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Hi.

Is this awkward?

Kidding. But as you may have noticed, my life had suddenly gotten hectic. And, compensating for the sudden lack of time, I gave up on updating this frequently. My life was suddenly full of so much stuff I had to do. You actually all should thank my roommate, because she told me I was being a horrible writer and that I needed to update for you guys.

So, I really can't say anything other than sorry. Sorry, I broke my promise.

And that promise is going to have to stay broken. :( I just can't say that I'll update every week anymore. It's not a reality.

On the bright side, my life outside of this story has gotten a million times better.

Yay?

Haha, but I hope you guys enjoy this chapter regardless. I'm very rusty from not writing, so if you have any critiques, please tell me. I'm all ears. Please, ignore minor mistakes though...I didn't really edit this.

And if you guys have any SPECIAL REQUESTS for characters appearances, message me! If I get enough requests for a character, I'll put them in the story, because it isn't that hard to do.

I'm also thinking of conducting a poll so that you guys can vote on the ending, but...

Hmm. Lemme know if you guys want a voice, haha.


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Chapter 4

Crushed and Stolen

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Bruce had invited Wally and Max to spend the night over at his place since it was on the way to Central City. Wally never said no to a trip to Wayne manor. Who would say no to sleeping in a mansion? Better yet, who would say no to free food from a personal chef? (Alfred had to have been a chef before he worked for the Wayne's. There's no way he could make food so well otherwise.) Wally knew that, in his own way, Bruce had tried to make up for upsetting Wally's date with Linda.

The night and delicious food had ended though, and Wally and Max were back in Central City. The bright morning sun shined on Wally as he opened the door to his apartment. Stepping aside, he motioned to the older man behind him.

"Welcome to my humble abode."

Max stepped inside and looked around. Wally followed him in with a suitcase in hand, shut the door, and sped over to the room on the right. Not even a second later, Wally emerged, now empty-handed.

"That'll be your room. I'll sleep in here on the couch. The kitchen is to the left and the bathroom is straight ahead. And laundry is on the same floor."

Max sat down on the couch and Wally plopped beside him before turning on the TV. Max observed the neat and spotless room around him in surprise.

"You didn't strike me as a neat freak, kid."

"Meh. I have the time to clean it anyway."

Wally flipped through the channels of the TV at high speed, his eyes not really focusing on any shows in particular. Max noticed this and turned to his younger counter part.

"Alright, what's eating you?"

Wally turned to raise an eyebrow at him before sighing.

"Nothing. Or something. I'm not really sure what's bothering me."

"I think you know, but you think it's stupid."

Wally grinned and turned to Max.

"You and Jay are dangerous. You know me almost as well as Barry."

Max smiled bittersweetly. He patted Wally on the back.

"Come on. Tell me."

After a moment of getting his thoughts in order, Wally shut the TV back off and looked towards Max.

"I...I don't want anymore power. I mean, I'm so fast I could kill someone before they know what's going on. I could run to the past and change the future. If I sat here and thought hard enough I could probably figure out all the laws of the universe in a couple seconds flat. No one man should be able to do those things."

Wally looked down ashamed. Realizing what was bothering him, Max burst out laughing. Wally glared at Max.

"See? It was stupid."

"I'm laughing out of relief, kid. When you offer the average person power they'll take it, hoard it and abuse it. The fact that you think like that shows that you can handle that power."

"That doesn't change the fact I don't want it."

Max paused.

"Do you think the world would be better without Superman?"

"What? Of course not!"

"Why do you think the rules apply differently between him and you?"

"Because! Supes is Supes. I'm-"

"Wally, whether or not you want this power, you have it. I'm a hundred percent sure Superman has felt the same way about his powers as you do right now."

Wally stayed silent. Max stood and zipped out of the room. Appearing almost out of thin air, Wally turned to see Max fully clad in blue tights and mask, and a high-collared white shirt. He was in his Max Mercury uniform.

"Besides, you were saying those things like you can actually execute them. It's not that easy to do those things purposefully."

"Max, I really don't wanna learn how to actually do any new moves."

"Hey, you either do them on purpose, or they happen on accident," Max said. "Pick your poison."

After no response, the old speedster grinned down at the red-head on the couch.

"That's what I thought. Get dressed Wally, it's time to train."

Wally looked at Max and smiled. In an instant, Wally stood before Max completely clad in red.


Linda tapped her foot impatiently on the floor. She clutched her phone to her head as she sat on the central park bench. The ringing tone continued.

"Hey, this is Wally West. I'm not able to get to the phone right now, but you know what to do!"

Linda flipped her phone close in anger.

She hadn't spoken to her boyfriend since their little spat; this was odd, considering Linda usually had to ask him to stop calling her. Linda sighed and twirled her phone in her hand. She picked up the iced mocha next to her before unceremoniously tossing it into the trash can next to the bench. The dark-haired woman blew an irksome piece of hair out of her face.

"What's up with you?" Linda looked up at the cloudless blue skies. "Whatever. I'll still surprise you with dinner tonight. In the mean time..."

She reached into her blazer pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. Looking at the number on the piece of paper, she dialed it into her phone. She nestled it between her ear and shoulder while grabbing a notepad and pen out of her purse. The ringing was quickly interrupted as someone answered on the other side of the line.

"Hello?"

"Hi. It's Linda Park from Central City news. I'm calling to interview you about the meteor crash you witnessed?"

"Ah. Yes. First off, that wasn't a meteor."

"Right, well. Before we start I have to warn you that whatever you say may be quoted. Including that."

"That's fine."

"Okay. Good. So, it wasn't just a meteor?"

"I don't believe so. The thing vanished. My dog had gotten there before me, and he was scared of something awful."

"Really. So it moved? On its own?"

"Seems like it."

Linda paused, thinking carefully about how to ask her next question without leading him. She decided to cut straight to the point.

"Do you think the meteor was...alive? An extraterrestrial maybe?"

"Mam, I haven't the slightest clue. All I know is there was a trail of dead corn husks headin' south east."

"South east?" Linda contemplated where the farm was; she remembered it from her initial scope and from seeing it on a map. "Towards Central City."

"I think so. I couldn't follow the trail out too far since it hit the road and vanished."

"Have you contacted the Justice League with this?"

"I told the authorities, mam. They contacted the League for me, but they said they didn't see anything enter the atmosphere. Then people started saying all this was a hoax."

Linda paused. That was strange. Linda truly did believe the story the old man was telling her. But she just couldn't fit these pieces together.

"Alright, well thank you for this, Mr. Hamilton. I'll have some follow up questions soon."

Linda shut her phone. She reread the notes she had taken on her notepad.

"I refuse to believe this is a crop circle."

She scribbled a couple of sentences more and then stood from the park bench.

"Well, I have time to do a little digging."


"So, what are you teaching me first? Time travel, super fast thinking, or what?"

Max smiled.

"Let's start with the basics."

Wally raised an eyebrow at Max.

"I wouldn't be the Flash if all I could do was the basics. Come on, Max. I got those down."

"Oh really? Well, then. Why don't you phase through that tree over there?"

Realizing what Max said, Wally gulped.

"Nuh-uh. No. Nein. I don't phase through things. I can't do it without making explosions or getting a nose-bleed."

"Things are different now though. Give it a shot."

Wally looked over at the tree in the distance. He sighed before getting into running position.

"Tell me when."

"When."

Wally rolled his eyes, but nevertheless shot off towards the tree. Approaching it in almost no time, he slowed down and stood right in front of it. Then, he began to vibrate. His speed increased until he was just a scarlet blur next to the tree. However, this image was the complete opposite through Wally's eyes. In Wally's perspective, he could see the tree become more and more transparent. Eventually, it was so see-through that he put his hand out to touch it, but it passed through with no resistance. The only thing he felt was an extreme sensitivity to the world around him, and a slight tickle all over his body. Pleased with the results, he walked right through the tree and slowed down on the other side, allowing his molecules to slow and solidify back in their space. The tree regained its opacity, and Wally was on the other side. The young hero grinned and whooped.

"Hey, Max! I did it!"

Max was suddenly next to him, smiling.

"That you did, son. And no nosebleed!"

Wally couldn't help being giddy. He had tried to learn that move his entire life, until he eventually just gave up. He thought he would never be fast enough. But now...

Wally clenched his hand and then relaxed it. Staring at his open palm, he still couldn't believe he had the same power that Barry had. He couldn't believe that he was just as fast as the Flash he had idolized his whole life. Heck, he might even be faster. Max looked at him with a small smile, knowing what he might be thinking.

"Think you can do it again?"

Wally grinned.

"Please. I can do more than that."


Linda stood on the edge of the road, where a trail of dead corn intersected with the pavement. She leaned down to see the blackened husks falling over on the pavement. It was an unusual site to see corn husks vibrant, full of life, and so starkly contrasted to their shriveled counterparts. Linda glared down at the brittle stems, thinking about what this meant.

"Crop circles are made from corn being crushed. Not having some husks..." Linda reached out with her hand to brush a dead plant, only to have it disintegrate at her slightest touch. Her eyes widened. "Dwindle away into nothing. This is definitely not normal."

Standing up, she looked around to see if the trail continued anywhere else. It didn't. The only thing there was the sulfur grey road, stretching out to the shining city on the horizon.

She took out a notepad and began to scribble down some notes. Picking up her phone, she called her coworker at the office.

"Hey, Irene?"

"Hey, sweet cheeks. Surprise him yet? Planning on anything, you know, exotic for the night?"

Linda rolled her eyes.

"Stop. This is a business call."

"Oh. Yay." The sarcasm was obvious. "My favorite. Well, as long as you keep me from doing my work."

"My god. Why aren't you fired yet? Anyway, I'm just going to tell you right now, this is definitely not just a crop circle. Can you help me push my deadline a couple days back so I can look into this more?"

"Honey, three questions. One: how do you know? Two: why would the grumpy old boss man listen to little ol' me? And three: when do I get to meet your boo thing?"

"Okay. Responding in that order: corn doesn't just suddenly die-"

"It's called weedkiller. Or corn-killer. Can't be that hard to poison."

"-shut up, don't interrupt. I don't agree. I've never seen anything on this scale. And anyway, you and that 'grumpy old boss' have had something going on for years. Don't deny it. And finally, hopefully never."

Linda laughed as she heard her friend's frustrated sigh.

"I'll find him someday. Even if I have to do it on my own. Oops, someone's on the other line, chat later, baby!"

Linda shut her phone, satisfied with her work.

Suddenly, a huge gust of wind rushed by and flipped the pages of her notebook forward. Her hair, skirt and jacket flushed to life with the powerful rush of air, her ears filling with the sound of a roaring rustle. Then the wind stilled, and ended without a warning. Everything returned back to its stagnant, lifeless state.

Linda looked around shocked by the sudden wind.

"What was..." Linda smacked her forehead, realizing what it was. "Come on, Linda. You live in the same place as the Flash. You should be used to that."

Sighing, she took a quick glance at her watch.

"Oh crap! I better make dinner soon."

With that, she rushed into her car and pulled back onto the highway.

Unknown to her, two hollow eyes followed her as she drove away. The eyes were framed by grey, degraded skin. The monster's papery flesh stretched as the corner of its mouth lifted into a ghost of a smile. Missing, rotting teeth showed from underneath the black cowl that covered its face. Dragging its lithless form from the edge of the corn, it took off in hot pursuit after the woman and the car. It could smell its prey on the woman. It was getting close.

The pavement cracked under its feet, and the trail of dead and decaying followed his trail.


"How's he doing?"

Shayera walked up behind Batman, who was watching Flash and Max in the middle of a vast field on one of the Watchtower screens.

"He won't be too happy to hear you're spying on him."

Batman didn't even look at her as he typed in some codes.

"He'll be fine as long as he doesn't have a speed seizure."

"Which brings me to my other question: did Barry Allen leave the Speed force?"

"Why are you asking me this?"

"I'm just worried about Wally. And actually Jay, too. That man's a sweetheart."

"There are no leads to go off of. If I had anything, it would be only speculation."

Shayera narrowed her eyes at the Dark Knight and took a seat in the chair beside him. She spun it around so that it faced her, and she hooked her legs around the back, folding her arms on top of the back rest of the chair.

"You and I, and everyone actually, both know that even if you so much as speculate something, that means it's probably happening. So, tell me. What do you think? Is Barry out of the Speed force?"

Batman released one of his rare sighs.

"No."

"Why?"

Batman scrunched his face up in annoyance.

"Call it a hunch."

Shayera frowned slightly. With a sigh, she stood from her chair and walked toward the exit.

"Do us a favor, and share your hunches with everyone. It can help us prepare for what actually did leave the Speed Force."

Shayera shut the door. She knew she wouldn't be getting much more out of the stubborn vigilante.


Linda knocked on the door of Wally's apartment. After a pause, she knocked another time on the door.

"Wally?"

Impatient, Linda took the door knob and jostled it. A click was heard and the door opened to let Linda in. She shut the door behind her quietly. Removing her shoes, Linda walked inside and headed straight to the kitchen. She opened the cupboards and pulled out some pasta.

Even if spaghetti was really basic, it was one of Wally's favorite foods that she could make. Her cooking wasn't the best in the world, but she had been trying to improve on it since she realized the true way to her boyfriend's heart was, really, through his stomach. Pulling out the sauce from the fridge, Linda picked up some pots and started boiling the pasta. Waiting for the pasta to simmer, she walked back into the main room.

A slight breeze caused her to look back to the entrance; the door was wide open, creating a draft. Scrunching her face up in confusion, Linda walked over and shut the door. The door was closed but she still felt...uneasy. Staring at the knob, she hesitantly reached up and turned the lock. She had just entered through here. After a second more of contemplation, Linda turned her back to the door.

"I could have swore..."

She was cut off by the sound of water boiling over the edge of the pots.

"Shit! My pasta!"


Flash wiped some sweat off the side of his head. Looking around the field and confirming it was empty, he pulled back his mask and laid down in the field. Max saw this and rolled his eyes.

"Tired?"

Wally caught his breath.

"Just a lot."

"Told you it wouldn't be easy. You're not used to moving that fast at extended periods of time."

"I still find it cruel that you told me that I would learn all these cool moves, but you just made me phase through different things."

"These things take time." Max leaned over and offered Wally his hand. Wally took it and stood up. "I had to make sure your phasing wasn't just a fluke."

"No kidding."

"Think about it, Wally. You're speed has increased, but your acceleration remains the same. That means it takes you even longer to get to your top speed, which may not seem like a big deal, but it can be all the difference in battles. With this exercise, we got to increase your acceleration and help you get acclimated to what frequencies you need to vibrate at to match different materials' oscillation patterns. As you learned, you can't pass through everything at the same speed."

"Yea, yea. Molecular imbalance, De Broglie's equation, whatever. Max, I'm hungry. Let's go get some eats."

Max shook his head.

"Trust me, Wally. You can do so much once you realize the key to speed powers is actually being in complete control of your kinetic energy."

Hearing a sound near them, Wally whipped on his mask so fast that who ever caused the noise wouldn't have been able to see anything. He turned to face the perpetrator of the sound.

Green Lantern was right behind him. Smiling at the obvious exhaustion that was effecting Wally. Wally let out a breath he didn't know he was holding.

"Jeez, John. A heads up would be nice."

"Sorry, hotshot. But I need you back on the Watchtower. Batman is on to something, but he needs you to verify." John turned to the elder speedster. "You're welcome to come, Max."

Max shook his head.

"I'm good. I haven't run this much in, well, God know's how long. I think I'll be retiring early today."

John nodded. Wally turned to Max.

"There's some pasta in the kitchen, if you're hungry. Some leftovers in the fridge, too."

"Thanks, kid. That sounds wonderful. Now go to your space clubhouse."

"Space what?! Come on, Max it's-"

Wally was cut off as he and John were zeta'd up to the Watchtower. Max Mercury smiled and ran back to the Central City apartment.


Linda was in a horrible mood.

First of all, Wally was still not back in his apartment. She would have been suspicious that his uncle was even visiting him if she hadn't seen a case of luggage in Wally's room. (Which was full of male clothing...not that she checked.) It was getting late, and she was tired of waiting for him. Linda put down her notepad on the counter, which she had been reviewing to kill time.

Impatient, she poured the pasta she made into a bowl. She was hungry, so she was going to eat. Linda didn't have to wait for him if he was going to take so long. Grabbing a fork and spoon, she set down her food and utensils on the kitchen table. Just as the dark-haired woman was about to sit, she heard a noise in the back corner of the room.

And that only added to her bad mood. Linda had been alone in Wally's apartment plenty of times, but never has she felt so creeped out. Something was watching her. When she had been cooking, she had felt a breath go down her neck. And doors had just randomly shut. And...she was so freaked out. Linda knew she was being illogical. She was trying to calm down, but a particularly large bang at the door freaked her out.

Forgetting her food, Linda ran over to the living room and looked at the entrance door. The lights from the afternoon was gone, casting a gloomy and dark look in the open space. Linda saw the outline of a man hunched over by the door. Fearful, but stubborn, she grabbed a pot from the kitchen and ran back into the room.

"Hey, you! Get out of my boyfriend's home! You hear me?!"

The figure didn't even turn around. Linda growled.

"I'm warning you! He'll be home any second!"

After being ignored once again, Linda gathered more courage and decided she had enough of this guy's antics. She stalked up right behind him.

"Hey, asshole, if you don't get out of here, I'll-"

Linda froze. She couldn't move.

The shadowy, hunched-back figure slowly swerved its head around, looking at the young woman. His eyes were empty; just two bottomless pits glaring at Linda's frozen figure. His skeletal arm slowly edged upward, revealing bony, claw-like fingers that encircled around Linda's delicate neck.

Linda stared, terrified in her paralyzed state, unsure if it was her fear or the supernatural thing in front of her preventing her from moving. Even with the grey, decaying complexion, she noticed the black outline of what appeared to be some twisted version of the Flash uniform. Her contemplation was cut short. As the fingers steadily tightened around her neck, Linda dropped the pan and started tearing at talons that held her in a vice-like grip, cutting off her air.

"You just couldn't stay away, Linda Park," cackled the creature.

"Who...what are you?" Choked out Linda.

The twisted image smiled crookedly, finally conveying that it was coherent. It released a breathy chuckle.

"Who am I?" He choked Linda harder. She gurgled and struggled for air. "I am the Black Flash. What am I..."

Linda's eyes rolled back into her head.

"Death."

With that, the Black Flash shot off with Linda at impossible speeds. Leaving to where no one could hear her silent screams.


Whoop, there it is.

So if you didn't read the message I wrote at the beginning of the story, please go back and skim it. Important stuff in there.

And I hope you don't hate me too much ( please ) and I hope this was good enough!