Warnings/Disclaimer: I own nothing. AU where Bart is introduced in YJ late Season 1 instead of 2. Wally whump/angst. Note: Iris isn't even pregnant yet. Wally's relationship with his parents is normal, but he feels closer to Barry and Iris thanks to their shared superhero lives.
Wally was so stupidly jealous and he hated it. Bart was his second cousin once removed and Barry's biological grandson, of course they were family. And Wally tried so damn hard not to act like a selfish brat, not when Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris were all that Bart had now.
Wally didn't go over nearly as often anymore, only going at all when he was invited. His parents sometimes regretted his presence more in the house, but Wally was loathe to go interrupt M'gann and Supey's couple time at Mount Justice. He was just kind of stuck, and it was all Bart's fault. Only it wasn't and Wally twisted that irrational hatred back in towards himself. He was the one being unreasonable and selfish.
Uncle Barry, and Aunt Iris, did not belong to him. It was stupid, he was so stupid.
The team could tell that he was acting genuinely less cheerful, but he always said it was nothing when they asked, because it was nothing. Just him being stupid. Robin got more out of him, but Wally still downplayed his emotions about Bart, blaming his neediness and that he just had to get used to the younger speedster's presence. Robin was only mildly appeased and pulled Wally over to his house more to spend time together. Wally was grateful.
And then one day Bart came to visit him at Mount Justice while Uncle Barry was out with League business.
"I can't wait to be part of a team! That'd be so crash!" Bart gushed, zipping over to every teammate to ogle their uniforms. "Or when Flash lets me go on missions with him!"
Artemis smirked. "Well there's no quota for speedsters on the team, and if there was, you know who we'd pick." The archer was teasing, saying much the same as Wally had to her when she'd joined.
Wally knew she was only teasing, heard his own words echoed back at him, but he still shattered into insecurities. Bart was his replacement. The thought had come and gone to quickly that even M'gann wouldn't have been able to catch it and Wally hitched his smile back on and turned a thousand watt grin to Bart.
"Dude, we're gonna drive her so crazy!"
"Yeah!" Bart pumped an arm, looking enthused to begin harassing Artemis, who now looked mildly horrified at what had just happened.
Luckily, Kaldur intervened with his cool polite voice and reminded Bart that he was still too young to join and Flash wouldn't allow it yet anyways. Bart whined and the team was amused but Wally wasn't listening. He was pulling glass out of his heart and cutting his fingers in the process. It hurt, and he blamed himself.
He was insecure and too stupid to know any better. He wanted to run and never stop but he couldn't do that, so he just continued to laugh despite how Robin snuck glances at him and M'gann's brows were pinched in confusion at the mixed signals he was giving. He was finefinefinefinefinefinefine.
She looked away and Robin was distracted by trying to avoid Bart's speedy pokes. No one noticed as Wally continued shattering into pieces.
Wally ate asphalt as the escaped superpowered Kobra Venom mutant Mammoth slammed him across the avenue. Blood spurted from his lips when his back collided hard with a building before he slumped bonelessly to the sidewalk, battered and probably broken.
Kid Flash had been taking grazing hits all afternoon, keeping the brute's attention on him, instead of Robin or Artemis. Connor and Kaldur were made of tougher stuff so they could handle the pressure. Wally could heal faster and M'gann was floating high out of reach keeping a telepathic bubble around the block so that Mammoth wouldn't further terrorize the residential area. But it had finally landed a good solid hit as Wally had transferred his momentum into Kaldur to send the Atlantean flying out of the way. Kaldur needed to stay standing for the final part of the plan. Wally didn't.
Kid Flash could feel that one of his ribs had punctured his lung, but before he could lever himself off his chest, the brute roared and lunged through the air, going after the downed team member that had been so annoying up until then. Wally tried to move but sharp pain spiked up his leg and he cried out involuntarily as something snapped near his knee before a massive weight landed on his back.
Robin shouting his initials sounded distant compared to the snapping of both bone and concrete under Mammoth's snarling as a massive hand slammed onto the side of his head. His reinforced goggles cracked and splintered, fortunately absorbing most of the force behind the blow and saving his skull even as his vision temporarily blacked out. Now, though, there was nothing stopping his head from being split open as the mutant reared back for a second hit.
At least they'll have Bart…
But then M'gann cried out and the crushing weight on his back was gone. Pulsing black and red swamped his eyes and blood poured from his lips as his lungs desperately expanded for air and pushed the liquid out with weak hacking. Wally's eyelids fluttered, struggling to bring the world back into focus.
M'gann had cried out as if in pain though she should be safe and only Superboy or Aqualad were strong enough to move the mutant, but neither had been close enough to do anything. A blur slammed into the brown blob that Wally dazedly thought was Mammoth, transferring momentum like Wally had done earlier and coming to a bright red solid standstill.
Uncle Bar-Flash was here. Wally didn't even try to move, it all just hurt too much. There was hot sticky blood pooling under the side of his face that was mashed to the cracked asphalt and all Wally wanted to do was stop breathing so his lungs would stop tearing and his bones would stop rebreaking. It just hurt…
Artemis and Robin were there with him now, crying out his name with varying volumes of panic and Wally could see a boot- Arty's boot- slide past his face, slipping in his blood. Wow, must be bleeding somewhere else besides internally and his head for there to be that much. That wasn't good. Quick hands- Robin's hands- flitted down his back like bird wings to determine his injuries. Bad enough not to touch, not to dare risk moving. That was bad.
And then M'gann was there, projecting her fear accidentally in her distress and Wally feebly heaved as the emotion hit his stomach.
"M'gann, please," Kaldur's polite calmness was strained, and when did he and Supey get there too? "You are not helping."
"Is he broken?" Good ole gruffly innocent Supey, so like and unlike a child.
"Give me some space."
Uncle Barry, Uncle Barry's hands pressing down on his shoulders and back, and only more blood bubbled in his throat as Wally tried to force air out instead of in, out into words. It only sounded like a wet gurgle and immediately everyone was telling him not to waste energy talking, each in their own way.
"Shut up, Baywatch!"
"Remain still, Wally."
"Still can't stop talking, huh KF?"
"I'm here, Kid, stay still for me, kay?"
Wally tried to shake his head, only managing to slide his cheek a millimeter forwards. He tried again, and this time air got out. "…ry…"
"Shut UP, Baywatch!" Artemis shrieked, sounding panicked and angry and Wally was sorry for putting her through this.
"Shhhh, Kid, it's alright, you did good." Uncle Barry soothed, his voice trembling as his hands vibrated on Wally's back, trying to apply speedster first aid, trying to encourage Wally's hyper-accelerated healing. "You're gonna be okay-"
Wally stopped breathing.
Wally hated hospitals and/or medical wings. The food was always bland and the lights too bright. The IV was itchy and the sheets were too starchy and smelled like old people and medicine. He was always hurting really bad when he woke up in a hospital or medical wing too. But okay, that was good. If he was hurting, then he wasn't dead, and being alive was always a good thing, no matter how useless he'd been feeling lately.
His head felt thick and heavy and his back felt supported by a chopping board. His toes and fingers were numb with pins and needles. Wally had woken up enough times not to panic over the tube down his throat, and didn't fight it, allowing it to keep breathing for him. His ribs and lungs ached with each inhale and the tube tasted like blood against his tongue, though that was probably more of his mouth than the tube. He felt awful, probably looked worse.
He winced at both the thought and sharp pain in his lungs at the next particular machine forced inhale. He hoped someone would come in soon and remove the tube, it was starting to hurt. Until then, all Wally could do was stare listlessly at the gray speckled ceiling and try to organize his quickly circulating thoughts.
What kind of insecure selfish child was he that all he thought about who was going to replace him after he was dead while he died? How stupid and self-centered of him.
His parents grieve, and Wally liked to think that Uncle Barry, Aunt Iris, and his team would've mourned him. But even as he thought the words, Wally felt no conviction in them. The idea of being replaced had already rooted deep in his head no matter how he told himself differently. Wally closed his eyes and pretended the tear that slipped free didn't exist. He just felt defeated.
He opened his eyes to let a nurse who bustled in to check on his vitals know he was awake, and was thankful when she removed the tube and helped him sip water to soothe his throat. He didn't ask for anyone and closed his eyes again, hoping that the nurse would think he'd gone back to sleep. He didn't have the strength to put his mask back on, and needed time to construct a sturdier one. He'd be fine, just not now.
A nurse came out and told the group waiting that Wally had woken up briefly to get off the respirator, but was now asleep again and needed his rest, that they would have to wait awhile longer still to see him.
Barry had literally worn scuff marks into the floor during his hours pacing through the surgery and now waiting for any news of Wally waking up again. The teenage team was all present, mostly blankly watching Wally's uncle pace worriedly. Iris was forced to stay at home preventing the impulsive Bart from blowing cover by streaking everywhere in a panic but she called Barry every hour in great concern for her nephew. Roy was even there, looming by the windows showing out into space and staring darkly at the medical wing door that hid Wally's room. The waiting room was empty but for them, which made it exceptionally silent except for Barry's pacing.
A nurse bustled into the room on her way to the doctor's station, pausing to give an apologetic smile towards the heroes who had all looked up sharply, before continuing on her way. The team drooped and Barry resumed pacing tirelessly, fighting to keep a normal pace.
Wally was allowed to go back to the Mount Justice medical wing after a week in the medical care wing of the Watchtower. He was constantly hooked up to an IV for nutrients despite being perfectly capable of eating solids after the fracture in his jaw had healed. He knew that he looked pretty good considering he'd almost died, since bruises tended to heal quickly and the broken bones only took marginally longer to heal and were out of sight (ignoring the bright plasters… okay nevermind).
M'gann spoiled him like crazy with cookies, and he'd learned that she'd cried out during the fight because Uncle Barry had ripped through her telepathic bubble with his speed, and it had caused her pain. He happily ate whatever she brought him, no matter its quality. Acting normal soothed her, and that made him glad.
Artemis was a different case, she constantly appeared pissed at him. Wally thought it was because of how scared she'd been when he'd apologized lying broken and bleeding on the street. Ever since Red Tornado's android siblings had invaded Mount Justice and she had nearly given up herself, only to pull through, she absolutely refused to allow anyone else to give up in the face of even near-impossibility. And to her, his apologizing had been him giving up, and she was a mix of scared and relieved and angry with him. He understood and didn't pressure her for giving him the cold shoulder. He still woke up sometimes and found her asleep, curled up in one of the chairs.
Superboy acted like a needy little brother who had just gotten a scare and slept Wally's first night back in Mount Justice in the room with the speedster. The clone had sat in a chair and crossed his arms on the side of Wally's bed, sleeping on his wrists when he got tired. Wally indulged a little and stroked Superboy's raven tresses while the other boy slept. He was happy that he meant so much to his friend.
Kaldur brought him a protection crystal from Atlantis on one of his daily visits to the medical wing, which Wally had happily freaked out over as a souvenir from such an exotic place, one he hoped to see with his own eyes sometime. Kaldur was always willing to tell Wally stories about Atlantis and his experiences on the surface. He provided some soothing conversation when Wally was really close to restlessness from sitting in a bed for days on end. Aqualad's electricity had jumpstarted his heart right there on the street, providing his body with precious minutes before they were all beamed up to the Watchtower for immediate treatment.
Robin basically moved all their entertainment at Mount Justice into Wally's room of the medical wing, and the best friends happily spent hours on end playing video games and watching movies that weren't technically released yet. The Boy Wonder was especially clingy after this most recent scare, since Wally had really flatlined for a minutes at a time before Uncle Barry ordered a stunned Aqualad to jump start his heart again. Wally understood and liked all the attention and touches he was granted by the usually distant Boy Wonder.
Uncle Barry also visited him daily, bringing large amounts of Aunt Iris' cooking with him every time. She was unhappy that she couldn't be brought to see him but settled for cooking him a lot of homemade food and contented herself that he was eating them to the very last crumbs. Bart also made a lot of visits to see Wally, expressing genuine worry over Wally's injuries, which only made Kid feel sicker about his feelings. He never showed it though, swallowed down how goddamned bitter he was when he saw Uncle Barry lead Bart out by a hand on the shoulder whenever they left together.
God he was so pathetic. He spent a lot of time sleeping since he couldn't do anything else, and everyone understood. It was a peaceful escape from the restlessness of slowly swiftly healing bones and the exhaustion of pretending to be normal for his constant visitors. Wally wondered if he should retire from being Kid Flash sometimes, but the thought of giving up running for good made him only squirm with edginess. He could keep pretending forever just to keep running as Kid Flash. Hopefully that wouldn't kill him permanently.
Wally was shocked the first time he threw up near immediately after eating. He had eaten ravenously, happier than he had been in quite a few days, and had been relaxing with Robin on the sofa watching some reality tv show, when he'd absently heard Kaldur and Artemis talking about how much he'd eaten and how they wondered if Bart ate just as much as he did, and if he did then how did Flash afford to feed the both of them? That had used to be him and Uncle Barry, and then Wally's stomach had cramped and he'd shot off to the bathroom within nanoseconds.
He was still emptying his stomach in the toilet bowl when his concerned teammates finally caught up to him, all asking questions of what was wrong. It had only been a mere week since he'd been cleared for active duty again since the Mammoth incident, so he understood that they thought something might still be wrong with him, even though Batman himself had given him a clean bill of health.
Wally temporarily ignored them, still reeling in shock over the fact that he'd physically reacted to his emotions. He didn't realize he was trembling until he felt his forehead jittering with unstable vibrations against the rim of the toilet bowl. Oh this was bad… it'd gotten to that level of extremity. He should tell someone and get therapy or something before it got any worse or dangerous to his health.
Instead, he adopted a shaky smile and tilted his head towards the gathering of heads peeking into the bathroom. "Think I need a little more time off, guys… don't think my stomach can still handle a lot." It was a somewhat flimsy excuse, it was true that his stomach had been badly injured and should've recovered by now, but no one had known for certain, so hopefully it would fly.
They all immediately adopted individualistic expressions of relief at his weary attempt of a joke.
"I will call the Flash," Kaldur said, touching his belt symbol.
Wally whined, "Kaldur, I'm fi-uagh…" but then gagged as his stomach cramped again, but he could only cough and spit since his stomach was empty of food now. "…okay maybe not that fine…"
Robin knelt beside him and rubbed his back soothingly, flushing the toilet and gesturing for a cup of water so Wally could wash his mouth out. M'gann hurriedly complied and passed one over, and KF greedily rinsed his mouth out and tentatively sipped some water, wincing as the liquid hit his now empty stomach. He distantly heard Kaldur talking to Aquaman who promised that he'd pass the message onto Flash.
Wally was just starting to feel strong and stable enough to move away from his fetal position around the toilet bowl when Uncle Barry actually vibrated through the bathroom wall and crowded close.
"Kid, Kid, are you okay? What happened?"
Wally let out a weak chuckle. "Man, this bathroom's getting so much action today…" He smiled apologetically when Flash gave him an exasperated look. "Sorry. I'm okay. I think I just ate too much and my stomach couldn't handle it yet. I'll be okay."
Uncle Barry's expression, even behind his mask, was so relieved that Wally's stomach twisted and everyone was alarmed again when KF puked up the water he'd just managed to keep down. If only Bart wasn't here, then Uncle Barry would see that he was lying and would insist on taking care of him. Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid, don't be stupid, West. You're being a stupid selfish child again, get over yourself.
His teammates scrambled out of the way as Barry scooped up his nephew and bundled him out of the small bathroom, zipping over to the sofa and cacooning the redhead in a comforter stolen from Wally's bedroom at the mountain. Wally curled up in a ball, struggling to keep his 'mask' from falling off because all he wanted to do was cry because Uncle Barry was going into his "psychotic mother hen mode" and god how he'd missed this…
A bucket was placed by the head of the couch just in case he started feeling sick again, and Wally obediently nibbled on the crackers that Uncle Barry folded his fingers around. He even had a Sprite with a straw, just like how he'd use to whenever Wally was younger and ill with the flu before he recreated the experiment to get his powers. The memory made Wally crumple and he gave in to the impulse and cried.
He could practically feel Uncle Barry and his friends' alarm and concern as Wally refused to eat another cracker and pulled the comforter over his head so they at least wouldn't see him crying.
"Wally? What's wrong?" Uncle Barry whispered, because it was Uncle Barry despite the man wearing his Flash uniform. He sounded so worried… His hand was warm, even though the comforter, on Wally's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"I'm okay… I'm okay…" Wally whispered back, forcing the words through the tightness of his throat. Maybe if he repeated it enough, it'd be true. He just wanted things to go back to how they were before… but Bart… his second cousin once removed was so happy and genuine and he adored Wally, and yet here he was being so damned selfish…
He shuddered and vainly tried to curl up tighter, wishing that everything would just disappear, just for a little while…
Just so that he'd stop hating himself for being so unreasonably insecure.
I was unsure where to continue after this point, and to see if anyone likes it enough to even see it continued. Please review, tell me what you think, and any ideas of where it could go are most welcome!