Published: June 27, 2015
Title: A Dark Speedster: 74X-2D89
Chapter Nine: Company You Keep
Word Count: 2,887
Summary: Wally West doesn't have a great family life much to contrary belief. All his mother wants is for a normal family. His father blames him for everything wrong. In all honestly, though, he's dealing with. However, sometimes it's just too much. This night is father is hitting harder than ever and Wally is actually afraid. He runs to his friend's city but getting in contact with the bird is harder than normal. For there Everything goes down hill. A few days later, Wally wakes up in a hospital.
Recap: Wally is learning to control his powers, to rely on new abilities under King's training. Rachael has not only confirmed Wally's name and appearance but she's also found out that he was taken to St. Dymphna Care Center the night of the gala.
Wayne Manor, Gotham
"I'm afraid neither of them are available for an interview, Miss Gonzales. Please, have a good day." Alfred hangs up the phone, his tone tight.
Bruce stands beside him filtering through the mail. "Something the matter, Alfred?"
"That's the seventh time in the last five weeks that the same reporter has called. She will not take no for an answer it seems." Bruce just hms in answer. He's not really listening, Alfred knows that. The poor man was thinking about his boy and the missing side kick, Kid Flash. Robin has a close friendship with the boy and since Wally's disappearance; Robin hadn't been out of his room much. Bruce, like Alfred, was worried.
St. Dymphna Care Center, Hospital, Gotham
Rachael hung up the phone as she entered the hospital. She still couldn't get in an interview with Bruce Wayne and his son. At least it gave her time to come up with more information. The reported had entered through the emergency entrance knowing Wally must have come through it rather than admitted normally.
She found a nurse who told her she was lucky, the doctor that was in charge the night Wally came in was present. Dr. Harris was in his office, upstairs. Normally, the nurse added, Harris wasn't an ER doctor but an administer had order the doctor to cover for another doctor on leave. "Upstairs. Third Floor."
Rachael thanks the nurse and then made her way upstairs she thought nothing of the dark skinned nurse that got into the elevator with her. Dr. Max Harris' office was easy enough to find and when she knocked was greeted immediately with a young greedy doctor. She could tell by looking at him that he hadn't gotten into practice to help people.
"Can I help you?" The doctor asked not looking up from his work.
"I hear you worked the ER last month when a young man came through."
The doctor looked up and for the first time took her in carefully studying her. "You'll have to be more specific. A lot of people came in that night."
"Well, this man has red hair," She paused, removing the photo she had from her binder and handing it to the doctor, "and looked a lot like this."
The doctor's eyes widen a tale-tale sign the reporter knew that he did in fact recognize the kid. "What's going on, miss…"
He wanted a name not out of respect or good manners but so that he could look into her, but Rachael didn't know how to decline such a request. "Rachael Gonzales, Dr. Harris. I'm asking because I'm looking for the kid. His name is Wally, he's a friend of Richard Greyson and I wanted to talk to him. I know he was admitted here that night with serious injuries and I know you were the doctor on the floor that night." She was hoping the name drop would corner the man into admittance.
Harris took a moment to think. Did she know about him selling the boy – Wally, was it? – to Dr. King. Did she know he was a metahuman? Kid Flash? Such knowledge could certainly get him into trouble. Loss of his license and no doubt jail time. Did she know about any of that or was she being straight with him? Was she really just looking into a friend of the Wayne's heir.
A friend of Richard Greyson…Harris knew where to direct his lie. It wouldn't hold up but it would buy him time.
"That's correct. The boy woke up a few days later. He didn't remember who he was." Rachael took notes, "That Friday though, Mr. Wayne and Greyson came and had him discharged."
Rachael looked up from her short hand. "Mr. Wayne and his son came here?" She asked shocked. She hadn't heard of Mr. Wayne visiting any hospitals lately. His steps were often watched closely but he did slip away occasionally.
"Yes," Harris tried not to hesitate. He was committed to the story now. "It was kept low key." Well, that made sense. Greyson's friendship with the redhead was obviously not being broadcasted.
"And you discharged the amnesiac to Mr. Wayne?" She asked doubt in her voice, unsure about the good doctor.
"It was determined that the boy was older than eighteen so he didn't need a legal guardian and he was more than willing to go with the Wayne's. They said they knew him and he was physically healthy. Nothing more I could have done for him." Harris explained then tagged on, "Plus, you try telling Bruce Wayne no."
Rachael nodded. The story was odd but not unbelievable. She really needed to talk to Bruce Wayne and Richard Greyson now.
As Rachael Gonzales left, Harris leaned back into his chair relief written on his face. A minute after a large man entered the room, he was wearing a nurse uniform but Harris had never seen him before. However, he didn't make an effort to know the nurses.
"What do you want?" Harris asked harshly. He didn't want to deal with this right after getting rid of Ms. Gonzales. The nurse didn't say anything. He shut the door and locked it. Harris was immediately on edge.
Tiger was thrilled; it had been good timing and luck that he had been checking out this particular hospital – the twelfth one he had looked into since getting the job a few days ago – when he had spotted the photo the reporter was showing around the emergency room. When an actually nurse pointed her towards Dr. Harris, he followed her up to the third floor. He hadn't been able to overhear the conversation the two had but she had been in the office too long for a, "No I haven't seen the kid in the photo. I'm sure."
"I want you to tell me what you just told that reporter." Tiger growled as he pulled out specialized bronze knuckles from his pocket. "Now, doctor."
"Wha-what I told the reporter?" Harris nervously asked as he looked at the knuckles. He knew if he screamed he'd be dead before help showed up. He tried to remember burglary training the hospital made him take. Be non-threatening and comply. It's not worth his life. "I just told her where to find some kid."
"And I want to know too, so tell me." Tiger was already across the room. Giving the man less room to run if he chooses to make that mistake.
"He came into the ER, unconscious. When he woke up he didn't remember who he was. Or anything for that matter." That was interesting. No wonder the kid had shown up in the last month; he couldn't remember.
Long blades extended from Tiger's knuckles, "You discharge him?"
"Yeah…yeah…to Bruce Wayne." Harris lied.
Tiger shook his head, "I heard that tremor. You tell me the truth, Dr. Harris…or do you think you can patch yourself up if I sever your vocal cords for lying to me?" Tiger leaned close to the doctor. The tougher man had a knack for knowing when someone was lying.
Harris was shaking. "I-I'm sssorry. I…I sold the kid, okay? He had powers and I found someone who wanted him."
"To who?" Tiger grinned. This job was going smoother than he could have wished for.
Allen Family Home, Central City, Kansas
Barry was out running. It helped cleared his head. Iris understood this but she couldn't help but wish he'd come back already. Thankfully, it was a weekend and they hadn't needed to call into work once again. They couldn't afford to lose their jobs. They couldn't afford to lose their nephew though it was more and more beginning to look that way. Iris couldn't help but see it. The couple was grieving. They were trying to stay hopeful, positive as was their nature but it had been too long and it was weighing on them both.
Neither of them understood. Wally had been doing something for two week before he disappeared but no one could say what. No amount of digging turned anything up. And then he just vanished. There were no records anywhere to say where he had gone. His phone and wallet left at his parent's place. No way to track him. With his speed, he could have gone anywhere in the world. There was nothing. Nothing.
Iris swept her arms across her desk. She had been attempting to work from home, to get something done, to appease her boss but nothing. Papers and her keyboard crashed to the floor. Her mouse tried to follow but it only ended up hanging itself, its cord too short to follow. Iris folded onto her arms, crumpled onto her desk and she cried.
She had been strong long enough. She had been strong for her brother and his wife who lost their child. She had been strong for her husband who only blamed himself for Wally's disappearance and not being able to find him. She had been strong for her missing nephew. She had been strong for Wally's friends when they stopped by. She had been strong too long.
It was her nephew that was gone! She was the one that took him to all the museums as a child when his parents were too busy. She was the one that always gave the best presents for his birthday. She was the one that not only demanded Wally be in her wedding but drove two hours to pick him up for it in her wedding gown because her brother refused to. She was the one that taught him to drive. She was the one that he stayed up late with talking, chatting, and understanding. She had been the first one on the scene when Wally blew himself up to gain his powers. She was the one that baked and cooked for the every growing speedster. She was the one that he first introduced Artemis to as his girlfriend. She was the first one he told that the pair had broken up. She was the one that was there whenever he and Roy got into a fight. She was the one that consoled him whenever he was convinced that Robin didn't trust him – after all Wally didn't even know who Robin was. She was the one he came to with his fears about living up to the mantle of the Flash, to his uncle.
He was her family.
She had a right to cry, to grieve, even if she prayed and hoped he'd come back. She had to grieve. She had to deal with the lost.
The doorbell rang. Iris bolted up right, startled. She was expecting anyone. For a moment, she considered ignoring the door but after a moment she cleared her face of tears but not the sorrow and answered the door.
Linda Park, Wally's classmate and friend, stood on Iris' front porch. Her hands were filled with papers and she had been looking over her shoulder at the driveway where Iris' car was obviously wondering if the car meant if someone was home or not.
"Hello, Linda." Iris got out. The young woman snapped her head back. She was pretty and had not been crying moments ago. Iris couldn't help the small pang of jealousy over that.
"Oh! Hi Mrs. Allen." She paused, biting her lip. Wally had mentioned that the girl always did that when she was nervous. Wally had always been observant of his friends. "I stopped by Wally's parent's house but they weren't home and well, um, this is Wally's class work…I figured…I figured he'd need it when he came back." Linda's words weren't very strong but they were sincere. It was no secret that Wally had been declared missing by the police. Several officers had talked to individuals at Wally's school. Several of his friends had been questioned including Hartley Rathaway and Linda Park. Hartley had come by before. Offered worried smiles and sad laughs. This was the first time Linda had come by, though Iris knew she had stopped by the West family home before.
So there was no doubt, Linda knew what had occurred but she was remaining positive. Her friend would come back and when he did he would need to catch up on his school work so that he could graduate that June along with his friends.
Iris moved out of the doorway, "Thank you." And she was thanking her for more than just bringing over Wally's school work. "Why don't you come in? I have some brownies made. You can take some back to your parents?" Iris offered wanting to offer her own amount of comfort.
Linda seemed to think it over before following Iris inside to the kitchen. There were a massive amount of bake goods. Some of them half eaten, the rest left untouched. Iris seemed to register that this wasn't painting the situation or herself in a positive light. "Sorry about the mess." Iris paused, her eyes watering again her back to Linda as she studied the different dishes. She hugged herself, turning towards Linda but not meeting her eyes. "They're for Wally." She whispered.
Linda placed the stack of books and papers on the kitchen table. The young woman nodded, smiling sadly. "Yeah, he loves your cooking." It's hard, but she talks in present tense. She's strong too.
"I…he's coming back." Iris responds, sternly and she's not really talking to Linda but she is. She's knows what her coworkers think. She knows the statistics for a missing person. She knows all of that but she also knows Wally. She wants Linda to know too.
Linda nods, her hair lose, moves with the movement. "He is." She confirms and then laughs bitterly, shortly, "It's why I got him his schoolwork. You should have seen the teachers' faces." Linda's lips twitch downward. The teachers, the classmates, they always looked at her with pity when she'd ask for a copy of the work for Wally. They, like Iris' coworkers and other acquaintances, didn't know Wally. When Linda's mind make its back to the room, she's surprised to have to match Iris' gaze. She's more surprised by how green her eyes are. How similar they are to Wally's. How broken they look. How strong they look. Linda finds herself admiring the older woman before her.
"He's coming backing." Linda repeats, reaffirms. And then Iris is hugging her, crying and comforting all that same time because she need this and she's been strong long enough but she's still giving and caring. Linda hugs Iris back and she's struck with a strong amount of confidence that her friend will come back because he's a lot like his aunt and if she's strong enough to endure this then so is he. He's going to come back and for the first time in a long time Linda smiles a real, heart touching smile into Iris' familiar red hair.
Training Yard, King Research Facility, Unknown Location
King has assigned them a job.
They were to check out a Mark Shaw. He apparently was involved with some bad people – the type of people that hunted people down and killed them. Not good people. King didn't say who Shaw worked for but it isn't pertinent to the job.
Get Mark Shaw. Get his files – SR3 would know which ones. Get his computer. Bring it back to the facility.
The file King gave them to study also had a map of the man's workspace and home, a schedule the man seem to keep, a small biography and a photograph.
74X reread the small biography. He wasn't sure how many times he had read it before but one more time couldn't help. There wasn't much there. Mark was born to Hugh and Rose Fletcher. The boy's father died and Rose remarried to a man named Eliot Shaw and Mark was legally adopted by the man hence the name change. It listed the man's occupation as a public defender before he seemed to disappear off the face of the planet for a while. He reappeared some time later and opened up his own private eye detective agency.
It was odd but what pulled at the redhead's mind was the man's listed contact information.
At the bottom of the first page King had listed Shaw's addresses for both home and work, known email addresses, and phone numbers. The home number was just a list of numbers but for some reason the man's work phone seemed familiar. As if he had called it before or if someone he knew called it…called Shaw…who was obviously a bad man…
74X frowned. He was coming along with King's training as well as with the team training. He had even been able to study a good amount – King promoted education with all the books he provided the team. Hell, he even was getting along with his team and they were now working together with more ease. He was moving forward, moving towards becoming a hero but he can't help when something like this tugs at his mind so prominently he can't help but wonder about before.
It was becoming clear that 74X wasn't a hero before – he might not have even been a good guy at all – but he would be now. He might have been involved with Shaw before but now he was going take him down.
More and more, 74X was thankful for his memory lost.
A/N: Sorry, I've been so busy. I've been doing construction on my house and between that school and work I just haven't had much time to get on much less write. However, things are settling down a bit. Also, I know this chapter and the previous one were a bit short but they do start getting longer again after this so look forward to that! I'm really excited about this story so while it might take me a bit to get chapters out I'm not abandoning this story anytime soon. I have a trip at the very end of July, so I'll get the next chapter up before that.
I'm not sure how many of you guys read this story before I changed it but in my previous edit of the story the two teams meet for the first time in Mark Shaw's office. It's once again, going in a different direction. The team, Barry and every one are still ignorant of Wally's location and King's facility.
Also, the scene with Linda and Iris was a last minute addition but I wanted to know only show how someone who actually cared about Wally was doing but how individuals involved with Wally's nonsuperhero life were handling anything. It says a lot about a person by the company they keep. And showing strong characters as Wally's friends, I believe only reflects positively on Wally himself - It's one reason Wally is having a hard time right now because he doesn't know who his time was being spent with. I haven't forgotten Roy, I promise! He'll be a larger character in later chapters.
YouProbablyDontKnowMe: Thank you so much for the reviews for each chapter! It makes me so happy hearing how this story is being received. It's certainly a roller coaster so far for emotions. There won't be a romantic aspect to this story, I'm bad at writing such things, though I will leave some things open ended so that if the reader likes to they can apply a more romantic tone to certain scenes. In this story, Artemis and Wally have broken up but did date as they had in the show. The reason for their breakup will come up later when I get back to how the Team is doing with things.
Guest: Thank you for the review! I'm excited about what comes next too.
Post U Later: Yay! I'm so glad you're sticking with this story and are enjoying it! In this story he's nineteen, senior year of high school so while he's had some practice with vibrations he hadn't been able to do it routinely. So under the strict training schedule at King's Facility Wally is learning to improve his abilities. Being able to rely on his own powers will certainly come in handy later!
Thanks for Reading! -8ami