Under Stormy Skies
The next day started no better than the day before. If anything, there were only more reporters sitting outside making noise on the front lawn. Wally lay in his bed and stared up at the ceiling, mentally summoning the strength to get up and face the day. He reached over and grabbed his phone, firing off a quick 'good morning' message to Robin before finally forcing himself up and out of bed.
"You don't have to go to school today if you're not up to it," his mother said when he got downstairs.
"That's okay," Wally replied. "Besides, they'll probably have more to say if I don't go. And it's Friday, so I'll have the weekend afterwards. Besides, there's no way school can be worse than it was yesterday."
There were times when Wally wished he could just punch himself to stop him from saying things. The school day as a whole could go either way, but as soon as he stepped into homeroom, it was instantly worse than the day before. High-pitched, fangirlish screams pierced his ears the moment the door opened, and the speedster paused, his mouth gaping open as he took in the scene in front of him.
The classroom was crowded with way more students than should be allowed to fit in the room, all instantly surrounding him and spilling into the hallway to clamour for an autograph. Mr. Jorgensen, instead of controlling the kids or sending them to their own homerooms, was also in the midst of the crowd.
"Oh god," Wally groaned, ducking arms thrown and bodies as he dashed away to the safety of the second floor handicapped bathroom, making sure to lock the door behind him should anyone guess this was where he had gone. A sudden vibration in his jacket caused him to jump, and Wally almost threw the offending phone into the wall, for fear of it being one of his classmates. Glancing at it, though, he sighed in relief and plopped down onto the toilet cover to reply to Dick's text.
'D00d,' it read, 'Think ur more famous than me now. Number one trending topic on twitter!'
'Not helpful,' he sent back, fingers blurring over the keys. A minute passed, and his phone buzzed again.
'Not as helpful as ur mom. Batman vs ur mom: guess who wins?'
"Oh my god, she didn't!" he exclaimed. As if his day needed this.
'Batman's got nothing on my mom,' Wally replied. 'Bak on the team then?'
'Negotiations not ovr. Seems like theyr settling on week vacation. Ur uncle cant stop laughing.'
Wally groaned again, but at least that was good news. A week's vacation was infinitely better than temporarily suspended until further notice. A vacation sounded like he was being rewarded, which he damn well deserved to be after all this.
'Ur mom's awesome,' he got next, to which he replied: 'SB thinks so'.
The bell signifying the start of first period suddenly went off, echoing through the restroom, and Wally sturdied his backpack and braced himself.
'Ttyl. Class now. Too many fans. Ugh.' He sent off. Tucking his phone into his jacket pocket, the redhead eased the bathroom door open to the thankfully empty hall. He breathed a sigh of relief and then stepped out fully into the hallway, letting the bathroom door close behind him with a slam. He yelped and jumped when he felt a hand land on his shoulder, and turning around, he found the older boy from the principal's office yesterday.
"Oh my god, don't do that!" he all but shouted.
"Real brave superhero you are," the guy—Hartley, wasn't it?—replied with a grin. "You seem like you're having fun."
Wally just glared.
"Skipping class? That seems like a good way to end up back in the principal's office, you know. Which would look extremely bad on you, I imagine, what with you being a superhero and all." And that right there. That look on his face: it was really familiar somehow.
"You know, I really feel like I know you from somewhere else. Like déjà vu." the sidekick announced, half noticing the way the older redhead faltered for a second. "Weird. And besides, you're skipping class, too. And for the record: I'm not skipping, I'm late."
"And I'm not skipping; I have a free period."
"We don't have free periods at this school."
"Every period's a free period when you've got in school suspension."
"When you—what? If you're in ISS, how are you in the hall? You know what? No. Nevermind. I don't want to know. I'm sorry, but this conversation is done. I need to get to class."
"Right; of course. I'll see you around, Wally."
"Not likely," Wally replied, and took advantage of his newfound status to fully take advantage of his powers and speed away.
There wasn't much going on in the classroom when he got there, but there might've been a second or two ago. It was hard to tell when everyone stopped what they were doing to stare at him as he walked in.
"Ah, Wally, I see you're here," and that was Mr. Falkoff, who was talking to him without disdain colouring the man's voice for the first time all year. That was just truly bizarre. "We're not doing anything at the moment; you're just going over your projects with your lab partner."
And…oooooh. Wally forgot about that one. Which was a damn shame, because his lab partner…
"Hi, Hunter," he greeted, approaching his still ignoring him friend and lab partner. The other students in the class were talking amongst themselves, but he could still feel the eyes of most of them following him. They were probably talking about him, actually.
Hunter, rather than replying, turned his body away from Wally to glare at the wall.
"Look, you can't ignore me forever. Unless you want to fail this project."
"You wouldn't fail; you'd just do it your—damn it!"
"Hah!" Wally exclaimed triumphantly. "I knew you couldn't not speak to me."
He was met with a withering glare. It was very reminiscent of ones he'd gotten from Roy before, only…more tame. And then Hunter reached over to the table next to him and nudged Linda. The black-haired Korean turned, eyes lighting up when she saw Wally. At least that was one person happy to see him and not just because she wanted his autograph.
"Wally! You know you're the top trending topic on twitter right now?"
Oh god, not that again. "Uh, yeah. I, uh…I heard," he replied, half under his breath, as he pulled out his chair and took his seat next to Hunter, who looked just as irritated as Wally currently felt.
"No, really. I think you're even more famous than Lex Luthor."
He should've taken his mom up on the offer to stay home.
By the time the end of day two came around, Wally had never been more ready to leave school in his life. He had been all set to zip off campus and go home, but just as he made it out of the door to his math classroom, Ms. Leroy grabbed him and pulled him to the side.
"Wally," the young teacher greeted. Her face was serious, eyes wide and somewhat imploring as she stared at one of her favourite students. Wally shifted uncomfortably under the gaze. "I've been looking for you. You left school yesterday before class, so I never got the chance to talk to you. Walk with me?"
"Oh, uh—," Wally began, glancing around at the students milling around the hall and staring at him. Thankfully, not nearly as many as had been the rest of the day. The final bell always got people more focussed on going home for the day than superhero classmates. "Sure. I guess."
"Great!" she said, and began walking. "It's just…I never got the chance to thank you for Wednesday. You saved my life."
"Well, that's really—uh, it's not that big a deal. Really. I, you know, do it all the time. And all that."
His teacher gave him an indecipherable look, and the redhead got the feeling that he hadn't said the right thing.
"It might not be that big of a deal to you, but it's a huge deal to me. It's my life. And you've given up your privacy, your identity, your safety, all for my life. I don't think there's any way I could ever repay you for what you did."
Wally stayed silent, contemplating her words as they reached the front doors of the school amid the hustle and bustle of other kids trying to get to the school buses before they left.
"I mean…I understand that," he finally replied. "But you don't have to repay me. I don't really want people to repay me. I mean, all of this now, it's really inconvenient—like, you have no idea—but more than annoyed at this, I'm glad you're okay. And…I guess the thing is, what I'm trying to say, is that I don't really regret it at all."
"Hah," the young teacher laughed, a grateful smile on her face. "I always knew you were a good kid, Wally. I just had no idea how good."
"Thanks," he grinned back, but that smile turned to a frown as he noticed the large crowd of people gathering over by the parking lot. "What's going on over there?"
"I think that one's all on you, Gonzales." Wally turned to see Linda approaching, with another of their friends, Connie, in tow. The blonde girl was smiling a little too sweetly at Wally, and he kind of froze the second he noticed, rather than responding. He really hoped Connie wasn't staring at him the way he thought she was staring at him, because Chunk had had a crush on her for as long as Wally could remember, and the last thing he needed right now was another of his everyday friends mad at him. Ms. Leroy's hand coming to rest on his shoulder kicked him out of his temporary stupor, and the boy turned to face his teacher.
"I'm going to let you go, but I just wanted to say: don't ever change, Wally."
"When I'm already as awesome as I am?" he retorted. His teacher laughed again, and with a final wave walked off. "So, what's all this going on?" Wally turned back to his two friends, ignoring the way Connie was staring at him with stars in her eyes, and people around were again starting to turn to stare and point at him. The mass migration to the bus seemed to have turned into a mass migration to the student pick up area, and the crowd was only growing worse. At least there were no reporters around today, but that probably had everything to do with the obviously beefed up security. Wally was betting Batman.
"Like I said," Linda replied. "This one's all on you. You should probably go over and see for yourself."
"Into that giant mass of people?!" he exclaimed, staring at the black-haired girl in horror.
"Some big, strong superhero you are. Yes, into the crowd of people who worship and adore you."
Wally groaned, but sighed, and made his way over to the crowd, fully expecting to have to elbow his way through. It surprised him a bit, then, when they all moved out of the way, and Wally remembered that most people were seeing him as Kid Flash now, and not that weirdo science geek who eats too much Wally. As the crowd cleared separated for him, Wally realised with dread what the fuss was all about.
Sitting there, in the middle of the school parking for after-school pick-up on his awesome, "I'm-a-rebellious-eighteen-year-old-superhero" bike, was Roy. Or, rather, Red Arrow, because the older redhead was decked out in full gear, patent scowl included. Wally let out a slightly strangled, horrified noise before zipping over to where Roy was, noting the huge radius the crowd had left around the other hero. Well, at least Roy's angry vibes were good for something.
"What are you doing here?!" he exclaimed, making sure to keep his voice to a relatively low hiss. He didn't need their conversation being overheard by the whole crowd around them who were just a tad to nervous to approach for an autograph.
"I'm kidnapping you for the weekend," Roy replied. "Get on."
"What? Get on? I can't just—go! In case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of in the middle of a crisis here!"
"Kind of hard not to. You know you're the top trending topic on twitter right now?"
"Yes, I've heard," he responded dryly. "I'm more famous than Superman."
"Don't overestimate yourself, Kid. You're not that famous. And hurry up and get on, we have things to do."
"I told you, I'm not—"
"Yes, you are," Roy cut him off, and Wally could feel the glare he was receiving from the other's mask-covered eyes. "And before you say anything, this is already pre-approved with your parents, and was your uncle's idea. I've got a bag full of your stuff, more food than I can possibly ever eat, and babysitting money. So get on the damn bike. This isn't a choice."
"Not a choice? You can't just show up at my school to pick me up as a superhero! Oh my god, do you know what people are going to say? Oh god, I'm never going to live this down," Wally moaned.
"Okay, first of all: you are clearly the most popular kid at your school right now, especially if the internet is anything to go by, and I highly doubt having your awesome, badass superhero friend come pick you up from school is going to tarnish your reputation. But we need to talk, I fucking cancelled all my weekend plans for you, and I've spent the last few hours listening to either Robin or Ollie ranting at me, so hurry up because I'm not in the mood for this right now."
Wally froze, his indecision painted over his face, and Roy huffed. "Look, if you're really that desperate to recover your reputation, just tell people I'm your older, much cooler superhero boyfriend who decided to pick you up from school. You live in the Midwest; I'm sure people will be back to hating you in no time."
The younger redhead blinked, and processed what Roy had just said. With a frustrated grunt, the speedster climbed onto the back of the bike and grabbed Roy's waist. "Fine. Whatever. But only so you don't make another lame joke like that. And you better have food; I'm fucking starving."
Roy revved up his bike, and the crowd cleared a path in front of him, wary of being run over by the irate-looking hero. "When aren't you?" he shot back, and Wally shrugged in return. It was a valid observation, after all. There was never a point in arguing with a valid observation.
Roy's apartment was nice, as always. Stepping through the door, Wally's first instinct was to dive onto the sofa, the cushions ragged but always comfortable, but a sudden growl from his stomach had him at the fridge, digging through to see what Roy had available.
"Wow, you really are stocked up," the younger redhead commented as he grabbed a couple sets of Tupperware, not bothering to check what was in them.
"Told you. Your uncle dropped a bunch of stuff off earlier," Roy replied as he locked the door behind him. "Give me your phone."
Carefully balancing his food between his arm and chin, Wally reached into his back pocket with his other hand and pulled out his phone before tossing it to Roy.
"What do you need that for?"
"Weekend rules: no TV and no internet, which means no smartphone. You are officially cut off."
"Wait—what?" Wally whirled, almost dropping the containers he held. "You can't do that!"
"My house, my rules."
"What if my mom or my uncle or Dick or—"
"Oh, come off it," Roy snapped. "You still have your communicator; if anyone important needs to reach you, they can. Or they can call me. So just eat your food."
Wally pouted, but dropped the food onto the coffee table in the living room. "Does that mean no video games, too?" he asked, plopping down on the couch to begin complying with the order he'd been given. Roy's face crinkled into disgust, and Wally raised an eyebrow. "Wha?" he asked through a mouthful of teriyaki.
"You're not gonna heat that up?" the archer asked, gagging a little as he watched.
"Why? That just takes longer, and I'm starving. S'like cold pizza! But better."
"I have no idea why I'm friends with you sometimes," was Roy's only response. He dropped down on the couch next to Wally. "And to answer your question: video games are definitely on the schedule. I can't go a whole weekend with nothing to do but watch you stuff your face; I'll drive myself to suicide. Like I said: I have everything planned out."
"Any idea why my uncle wanted to boot me off to you for the weekend?"
"None whatsoever. But don't tell me you're not happy to get away from that freakshow media circus surrounding your life."
Wally nodded that he was, but internally he frowned. He couldn't shake the feeling that something else was going wrong, something that was undoubtedly his fault and connected to his new celebrity status. For this to be his uncle's idea, to shunt him off to Roy, something had to be going on. Else, Wally was sure he'd just be staying at the mountain for the weekend—or, barring that because of his hesitant team status, at Wayne Manor with Dick. At the very least, he could've gone to stay with the Garricks.
Either way, just because Roy was attempting to keep him cut off from any news source for the next two or three days didn't mean that Wally wouldn't find out. Because he would, the same way he had found out how to replicated Barry's accident to grant himself super speed—determination.
Sooooooo, sorry about the really ridiculously long wait. Young Justice has been dead to me as a fandom since the finale, when they killed off Wally. But I really enjoy writing YJ fic, and I'm trying to get better at finishing things, so here's to it not being another year before an update. A little bit shorter of a chapter this time round, but better a short chapter than no chapter at all?
Side note: shout out to all y'all awesome reviewers. You guys rock.