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AUGUST 19, 2004

"I kill you, and then - Armageddon, right on schedule."

No. He wouldn't let that happen.

Flash ran. Faster and faster, circling the entire world to build up kinetic energy. This time, he didn't think about whether the fastest he could go would be fast enough. It didn't matter. Every time he crashed past the Braniac-Luthor hybrid, he could feel his own energy ripping away at the unstable bonds between the two entities.

He could feel something building, the same free, floating sensation that had been the prelude of coming to in this world five years ago.

He didn't need to go faster. There wasn't anything to outrun. Instead, Flash kept hold of that energy, containing it within his body even as he stopped in front of Luthor. In an instance, he was atop the melded monstrosity and ripping into it, not with his hands, but with his sheer velocity.

In the chaos of clashing energy, Flash systematically ripped away the thing that shouldn't have been there, inside Luthor's body. But, at the same time, he could feel the same happening to himself - coming apart at the seams.

Even as he moved away to stand beside the once again only human Luthor, he could feel himself… ceasing.

"I feel… kind of funny…" he muttered.

Through the clearing smoke, he could see his friends reaching out for him, the way Uncle Barry had as they circled the Magnetic Field Disruptor. Just like then, it was already too late. No longer able to hold itself together, the energy that had been contained in his body flowed outward, and with it, so did his entire existence.

Flash was no longer there, among the rubble of Metropolis. He wasn't circling the Earth, or anywhere on that planet.

He was running. Even though he wasn't anywhere, he was running, like he had back then. But this time, something held him back. It felt like someone tried to grasp his hand, and although the weak sensation couldn't have stopped him, he hesitated.

Beyond, on the other side of the swirling energy plane he was now part of, was that other Earth. Five years ago, Flash had crossed the stream blindly, crashing through to end up on this side, in this world. Now, he could see where to go. He just needed to run, and he would be home.

But behind him - and all around him, and so far behind in the place he had been - someone was calling him.

"Flash!" a voice he knew called out desperately.

"Shayera?" Flash muttered. He smiled, even though he didn't have a face anymore. Of course, she was worried. "It's so beautiful here. There's a force - a speed force. It's calling me home. I have to go now," he tried to explain.

"No, Wally! Take my hand!"

Take her hand? But he didn't have hands, he didn't have a body, even if he was still running. Except that, in the moment when he thought of it, he did. He reached out the hand he wasn't sure he had… and someone reached back.

Shayera's grip was strong and firm. When she pulled, it was with more strength than even Hawkgirl alone could have mustered.

"I'm here too, Wally!"

"We're all here!"

"You've got to come back to us!"

Others were calling him too. Strange. Where had he been running to? The place where everyone was waiting for him lay behind him. Had he gotten turned around?

It didn't matter. His friends were guiding him home.

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Notes: Aaaaaargh! I'm throwing up my hands and giving up. Still can't decide whether to include an Earth-16 epilogue.

Despite my best efforts, I feel like my personal feelings had leaked through. Can you feel my bitterness at YJ for the way Wally was portrayed there? Maybe I'm still too raw to be writing about this.

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