Special thanks to Chicago and Rose for beta-reading assistance

*** The Finish Line ***

"I'm supposed to be the 'Fastest Man Alive,'" Wally West muttered to himself, "so why wasn't I fast enough to stop this!" He watched as the doctors and nurses methodically tended to his best friend. He knew they were working as quickly as they could, but it still looked as if they were moving in slow motion. How had this happened? How had Nightwing been shot with him standing not twenty feet away?

They had been having such a great time, too. Wally had called Dick yesterday, after a burglary spree that just had him stumped. When Wally couldn't give him the answers he needed, Dick offered to come to Keystone City to help out. Now this had happened. He couldn't help thinking about Batman's probable reaction. I'm doomed!

What was he supposed to do? He knew what Dick would prefer -- home to Gotham, and let Alfred take care of things. That had been his way since they were kids. But Wally didn't want to take that risk. Even at his top speed, it would take a little while to reach Gotham, and he couldn't safely carry a passenger at that speed anyway. Well, Dick could just yell at him later, Wally decided. He had picked Nightwing up and taken him to the nearest emergency room.

Flash stopped his pacing as he watched the medical team still working on his friend. He had already had one battle with them over Nightwing's mask. Wally had insisted that it remain in place at all times. They hadn't liked that, but the doctors finally gave their word that it would stay. As Wally continued to watch, one of the doctors turned away from the table and walked toward him. Wally met him partway as his heart tried to climb into his throat.

"Well?" he finally got out.

"I think your friend will be all right," the doctor replied. "We're going to take him into surgery now to remove the bullet and patch up the damage, but it wasn't as bad as we had feared."

Wally just nodded in relief as he watched the team prepare Dick for surgery. After they left, he continued pacing. He was so deep in thought that it took him awhile to realize there was a strange sensation coming from the remains of Dick's Nightwing costume that he held in his hands. One of Dick's gauntlets was vibrating! Oh, wait a minute, that's where Dick's communicator was!

Wally found the gauntlet, and flipped up the little panel on the back of the glove as he had so often seen Dick do. Somehow, he wasn't surprised to see the familiar Oracle symbol on the tiny display.

"Flash?! Wh...where's Di..Nightwing??"