((I recommend listening to 'Come Away to the Water' by Maroon 5 ft. Rozzi Crane or 'Kingdom Come' by The Civil Wars))
"Recognize... Flash 0-4."
The group inside the cave all flinched at the sound of the speedster arriving, they knew what was going to come. What was going to happen.
"Where is he?" The Flash came storming into the cave, he didn't risk the action of using his speed, it was too contained of an area.
Superboy was the only one waiting in the entrance, his arms crossed and a sad look on his face. "Mr. Allen." He called out, the man looked up and nodded.
"Conner." He walked silently to the clone. "I got this message from Nightwing-"
"W-what did he tell you?" Barry looked at Conner in silence, he stuttered and his voice seemed hoarse. That was strange, the young man always talked clearly.
"That... Wally was injured. To come to the cave." Barry answered. "How is he? Something wrong?"
Conner closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. "Right. Come." He started walking, Barry had no choice but to follow.
"Conner, mind telling me what's going on? Where is everyone?"
Conner didn't reply, he hung his head as he led the Flash to the medical rooms.
Barry abruptly stopped when he looked at the crowd in the hallway, they were all outside of a medical room.
M'gann holding Batgirl, who sobbed into the older girl's shoulder. Close to M'gann was Gar, Jaime, Robin, and Cassie, they were sitting on a bench and crouched in front of them was Marvel, he was in his hero form and had been talking to the two in hushed tones. Near the door was Black Canary and Green Arrow talking to Mal and Karen, the two were hugging. Barry noticed how everyone was in their hero clothes, and all looked like they were just coming back from a mission. Superboy had made his way to Beastboy and Blue Beetle
"Dinah. Ollie." He called out, not worrying about formality at the moment. The two turned back with tight lips and paled faces. "What's going on, man? I was fighting Doctor Cold and I just got this call to come and-"
He was interrupted by the screams inside the room.
"NO! It was supposed to work!"
"Zee! Let him go!" Barry recognized it to be Nightwing. "He's gone!"
The group were quiet at the sounds but soon they talked again in hushed voices, Blue Beetle and Beastboy hung their heads.
Flash looked at all them again, at their sad faces and their quietness unsettled him.
He didn't wait for them to talk. He pushed past Ollie and went through the doors.
Dick was holding back Zatanna trying to pull her away from the body on the bed. Instead she was yelling at him, holding tight to a red gloved hand, her own gloves and clothes stained red. On the other side Impulse was sitting on a chair, leaning forward and resting his arms on his legs. He seemed to be crying. Barry couldn't see who it was, on the bed, Hal Jordan had been blocking the view with his body.
"Let me go!" She cried out. She stomped him on the foot, Nightwing backed up. Zatanna fell to the floor next to the hospital bed, raising the body's hand to her forehead, muttering words over and over.
"Hal?" Barry walked slowly.
The Lantern turned and looked at Barry with a sad expression, like the others. "Barry." He started walking towards him, Barry still couldn't see the face. "Who called you?"
"I did." Nightwing said hoarsely. He didn't meet the eyes of the speedster.
Hal nodded. "Now Barry." He said uneasily, as if it was hard to talk to the other. "I need you to remain calm."
"Hal, please just." Barry struggled past him, while the other tried to push him back.
The blonde man didn't listen, he pushed forward and managed to get through to see the face.
His eyes were open, lifeless. His chest didn't move up and down in its usual quick pace.
There was no smile on his white face.
Barry's mouth slacked, his breathing quickened, and he rushed forward to the redhead.
"Wally?!" Barry shook him, by the shoulders. No response.
Zatanna was speaking at that point while Hal and Nightwing remained silent. "I tried to help him! I really did! I tried all my healing spells but n-nothing worked!" She cried out to Barry, she had finally let go of Wally's hand and was being pulled away by Nightwing who sat her next to the shaking Bart.
"Come on kid!" Barry said frantically, he had paid no attention to Zatanna. His attention was on Wally. He held the young man's face, and on the other side of Wally's head Barry felt a crack, multiple cracks actually, and warm blood gushing out.
No, it couldn't have been serious. Wally had gotten a bunch of hits to the head before, nothing had affected him.
He lightly slapped his face, knowing it was an easy way for someone to gain consciousness. His voice got rougher, cracking at points. "Don't you dare play a game on me!" He pointed at Wally's face.
Same lifeless face.
Barry lowered his cowl, tears brimming at the edge of his eyes. "I swear to god I'll tell you're mother. And she'll make sure t-to not give you any more dessert after dinner a-and..." He rambled as he picked Wally into his arms. Hugging him close to his chest. Wally's head rolled back, and his body was lax. Not reacting to Barry's touch.
He felt light.
There was no possible way that Wally actually weighed as much as he ate, his metabolism wouldn't allow that. But Wally was not a lightweight young man, his whole body was muscle. And when Barry held Wally close he noticed the weight change. He laid the young man back on the bed, his hands shaking as he pulled back the blood stained sheet that was covering Wally's body.
Zatanna let out a cry, burying her face into her hands. Bart kept his head hung, as if he wasn't part of the situation. Hal and Nightwing looked away, for good reason.
Both of Wally's legs were gone. Cut up to his knees.
Barry started to panic, he stared at his protege's legs. They were bloody stubs now, nothing else.
"No." He breathed as he took another glance at Wally's face. He dropped to the floor. "No." He repeated. "Please, no."
Tears started falling down his cheeks, his eyes wide open as his hands grasped at Wally's body.
No. It wasn't true, it was a fake. That was it. There was no way that that was Wally's body. His protege, his nephew, his Wally.
They were fast, they were intelligent, they were the Flashes. Their legs were everything, something they always took care of. Barry would wake Wally up at five in the morning for a run on weekends, to exercise the legs, get them used to any type of terrain. He remembered the whines and complains the side-kick would give, talking about how sometimes Barry was just plain weird.
It was his fault. He was the idiot who told Wally how to do the experiment, he was the one who agreed to let Wally fight crime along side him.
But it made him so happy to see the young boy at the time be proud of the Flash as they fought against the villains. How well they worked together. How they managed to balance each other.
Barry got up, gripping Wally's hand. "How?" He asked the others, not taking his eyes of him. "Why?" His voice broke down. "Where are his... His legs?"
"His legs are in safe lock for now." Hal cleared his throat. "Barry, I can't..." He sighed. "You know why I can't tell you who did it."
"No." Bart finally spoke. Everyone looked at him, "You can't know. It'll mess up the timeline if you try to get revenge."
Barry for the first time was mad at the young man. "Why not?" He motioned at Wally. "This doesn't mess up the timeline!? DOES IT? Does this happen in the future!?"
Bart flinched and looked away.
Barry turned back to Wally, lowering himself and hiding his face into the redhair. Muffled sounds were heard, Barry holding Wally's hand, gripping it as if it would bring back life.
Everyone remained silent for a moment, knowing that the superhero needed this time.
"Wally." Barry repeated the name over and over, his face had small smudges of blood. "I'm sorry." He said, kicking the edge of the bed. "I'm so sorry."
Hal looked at Nightwing and nodded. "I need you to send out reports to any available hero. We must send out news immediately. Make sure to keep the news on Earth, we can't have any of the Justice League-rs who are gone try and sneak back for this." Nightwing nodded and left the room, he seemed haggard and he moved slower than usual.
Hal walked slowly behind Barry. "Come on." He placed a hand on his shoulder. "Barry, we're going to need your help with the arrangements. We need to do it right away."
"No!" Barry moved away, closed to the bed. "Leave me alone."
"Barry, we need to contact the family."
"I AM HIS FAMILY." Barry screamed. He held Wally tighter.
"Captain Marvel! Get in here!"
Billy came in. "Mr. Allen. Please, let's get out. It'll-"
Marvel didn't want to fight, especially on that day. He grabbed Barry, wrapping his arms around the older man's waist and trying to pull him back. "Let go of his hand!"
"No!" Barry struggled, making it harder for anyone to take him out. "I'm not!"
Wally's lifeless body was pulled this way and that as everyone joined in to take Barry out.
Chaos was what it was that moment.
The newer team members didn't join in as the adult heroes tried to get rid of the grip Barry had on Wally's hand. M'gann and Superboy were forced to hold Wally's body down on the bed as Marvel tried to take Barry away, they needed him out of their. The blonde man was not used to anger and this was enough to traumatize anyone.
They managed to take Barry out of the room, his arms were outreached to Wally, he was crying.
Nightwing stood on the floor, writing a letter on the holographic screen. He sent it to anyone within contact and was soon bombarded with dozens of replies within only minutes. He wasn't paying attention to the chaos that came from the medical hallway.
Murdered by Sportsmaster.
Cause of the death: Multiple hits to the head, a severe case of head injury, and major loss of blood, legs cut off. Still unconfirmed what had managed to kill Kid Flash.
That was the message and sending it to everyone caused panic.
No one knew what he was feeling though.
To lose someone so close. A best friend.
He saw how Zatanna and Barbara cried, both close friends to Wally. The three always managed to get along, even sticking together to go against him sometimes. Even the newer members looked up at Kid Flash, Gar looked up to him and Beetle and Wondergirl always asked him about their past adventures. They had hung their heads and had not looked at anyone when people ran in and out of the medical room.
The adult heroes couldn't believe it. Wally was one of them, even if he wasn't a Justice League-r. He grew up around adult heroes, just like Dick. They were so used to and open to the world of crime fighting and it was a good thing for them to see Kid Flash running around and still pulling jokes while he was hurt.
Nightwing shakily took a breath. He sent the message to Kaldur. Secretly. He had then deleted any record of him sending a message to a small computer in the possession of Kaldur in the depths of an ocean.
Nightwing didn't know how Artemis would act. Would she be mad? Sad? Traumatized? Would it affect the mission?
Dick laughed sadly to himself, he was horrible. His best friend was dead on a medical bed while he was worried about the secret mission.
He definitely was Bruce's son.
He didn't know what to feel exactly. He was mad, yes. And of course sad but he couldn't express them. As Zee sobbed he stood, his jaw tight and his eyes downcast. He was a bit like Barry at the beginning, he denied everything and threatened Wally but with less nice words.
He couldn't even look at the redhead's legs as Zatanna repeated spell after spell trying to heal him in any way. Nothing worked.
He remained unresponsive as they brought Wally into the cave, put him on the bed and contacted Barry.
Zatanna even called him heartless, she had been trying even after Nightwing claimed him dead to try and heal him, and Dick didn't do anything to retaliate. He just nodded and pulled her back. He knew that the pressure of losing two friends, two very close friends was enough to push anyone over the edge.
But Artemis wasn't really dead. Wally was.
Dick finally picked something to feel. Anger. He was angry at Wally. He was promised by the slightly older man that they were going to kick villain ass till they had to get a set of fake teeth. Dick believed him, they were going to be the best team. They were going to be part of the League, they were going to be two of the most powerful crime fighters of the world, they were going to be best friends till they died.
He broke all those promises. He was gone.
Nightwing lowered his arms, his call to the Wests, Garricks, and Allens was heartless. He sounded like a robot.
"The Justice League regrets to inform you that Wallace Rudolph West..."
"My baby! Not him, NO! Please, not him!" Mary repeated, she was on the floor crying and hyperventilating as her husband and sister held her. Iris' chin shook and she whimpered as she buried her head into her sister's shoulder. Rudy was holding the two, keeping his head up and his eyes closed. He wasn't going to cry, Wally would have made fun of him for it.
The phone she held only five minutes before was on the floor next to the three.
Joan opened the light of the den, she found Jay looking out the window and muttering words.
"Jay dear." She walked slowly up behind him.
"He's gone." His voice was low and tears brimmed his eyes.
"Oh, honey." She hugged him from behind, breathing heavily into Jay's thinning hair.
Their surrogate grandson was gone.
"Today is a sad day for Central City." The reporter said into the camera "Two funerals are happening at the same time for our very own Kid Flash." She was located outside a graveyard, gates as a background.
A collection of people where at the graveyard, watching as the casket of a loved friend was lowered into the ground. Most of the people there were in their hero costumes, honoring Wally's love of crime fighting. The only people without any hero clothes on were Wally's parents, his aunt, and the Garricks. Surrounding the area was a circle of Central City policeman, trying to keep it private for the family.
Barry was holding Iris, in a suit instead of his Flash's costume. He listened to the sermon with tears running down his face.
"We have footage of the reveal of Kid Flash's identity and a speech from the Justice League." The reporter said.
On the screen of millions of Americans came the flimsy video of Green Lantern giving a speech to a crowd.
"... A loved hero to the community... Kid Flash represented what was a true hero, honest, caring, and brave." Hal stood in front of Mount Justice, a row of heroes behind him. "We offer condolences to those who were touched and helped by Kid. To his close friends and family. His life is not in vain and he will be well etched into our memory as someone who stood up for what he believed. He was a victor."
"And his true name!?" Came a voice. "Who was he?"
Hal sighed. "We were given permission by the family to reveal that Kid Flash is Wallace Rudolph West. Of Central City. He had resided in Palo Alto up until now."
Hushed sounds and voices was the only reply by the crowd, he had to have been part of a small town since no one had heard about him.
Soon everyone searched Wally up, and soon he was the talk of decade.
A dead hero.
In Central and Keystone City were raids and commotion. To honor the hero citizens screamed his name, held candles, stayed up through out the nights, even let out fireworks. Everyone knew that the loud hero needed to be let go in a big way, he deserved it. He game so much to the community and this was their thank you gift.
They had even built a monument, a statue in the each city's major park. Kid Flash in a pose he was known for and a huge grin on his face.
"Artemis?" Kaldur knocked on the open door. He stayed in the doorway and looked at the girl sitting in the window, looking at the moving water.
The two were five leagues underwater and were waiting for their next mission.
"Hmm?" Artemis turned to him, her face was expressionless. Her hooded eyes seemed more lifeless than usual. Tear streaks ran down her cheeks and she looked more pale.
"I just came to check on you."
"Oh, right." She nodded, turning her head back to the window pane. She brought her legs close to her chest.
They remained silent and still for a while. Kaldur didn't want to leave her in such a position and Artemis seemed to be in another world. She surprised him when she finally spoke.
"Do you know who did it?"
"No." Kaldur lied, doing as he was told to do. "Nightwing is working on it."
Artemis nodded and chuckled. "Remember what my last words were to him?"
Kaldur remained silent.
"What could go wrong?" She said, resting her head on the metal wall of the ship.
He nodded. "You must not remind yourself of the unhappy moments."
It didn't seem that she was listening. She wiped at her eyes. "We worried about what would happen to me instead of worrying of him, or you, or Nightwing." She looked at Kaldur. "He's gone." Her chin shook.
"I know." He said gently, Kaldur himself was hit hard. Kid was part of the original side kicks, the side kicks that showed that they were capable enough to handle big things. He was considered capable and died on a big mission.
It was irony at its best.
She started to cry, silently but she held the sides of her face in her hands. Kaldur remained silent as she saved herself from more tears. She rubbed her face and got up, putting on her mask.
"My name is Tigress." She said, now she was rougher. But Kaldur noticed how her eyes weren't responsive as usual, there was no usual smirk or snarky tone.
Wally was in the ground now, lifeless, and Artemis was now someone who had nothing to go back to, to just fight against these people and have no one to hang onto but herself. She was exactly the same Artemis before she joined the team.
((Requested by DonnaTroll))
((Image Credit: HelioZero on DeviantArt - "YJ- The Little Things"))
((A/N: Since there's a bunch of stuff in here that needs to be explained, I'd rather not write it all out so ask me anything your confused about in a PM or even a review. Whatever your comfortable with and I'll make sure to answer.))