A/N

Sentences in italics are thoughts. Any mid sentence italics are for placing emphasis. POV should be obvious from the first sentence/paragraph of each section.

Chapter 1 – O Brave New World

Wally's first conscious thought was of how hungry he was. His second was of the cold that enveloped him, like every cell in his body was freezing up. Naturally, his third thought was of ice cream.

At a pace that was not fast enough for the speedster, his memories came to him.

I was running...

With Uncle Barry... And Bart...

He had been slower than them. Too slow… As he remembered the final words he'd spoken to his Uncle, his eyes flung open.

He was staring at the sky. At least, he thought it was the sky. It was a lot greyer then it had been and what looked like ash was slowly falling down.

Am I dead?

Instinctively, he began to move his arms and legs, tentatively stretching them, seeing if anything was broken. He felt the snow around him as he slowly stood and held his head which had begun to spin from the movement.

What happened?

Where am I?

Is this still the North Pole?

Where is everyone!?

"Uncle Barry!" he called.

The wind lifted his words and carried them away, but no response came back to him.

"Bart!"

Still the world around him was silent except for the wind that blew the ash around him.

He was alone and he was confused, but more importantly he was starving. He took a step, still not convinced he was real, that he was alive. He took another. And then he was running. And he was running fast. He still had his speed. Was he truly alive? Had he really somehow survived? He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry, but then he remembered.

Where had everyone gone?

Where was Artemis?

The rest of the team?

The League?

All those unanswered questions made his head spin and he thought of how hungry he was.

"Where the hell am I supposed to find food in the freaking North Pole!?" he thought out loud.

So he kept on running. The ash was still falling all around him and whipping into his face as he made his way to the nearest Zeta-Tube, but when he reached where it was supposed to be his heart sank. There was nothing there. Not even a remnant. What the hell was going on!?

That was when he remembered his com.

"Flash come in!" Static was his response.

"Artemis!" Still nothing.

"Nightwing! Aqualad! Supey! Anyone!" But again, no one replied. He was still alone. He was still confused. And he was still hungry!

So he took off running again, hoping he was heading in the direction of civilisation, hoping there was some logical explanation for what was going on.


For a long while Wally had been surrounded by ice and snow as he made his way south but suddenly that all changed. All around him was a desolate sight; rocky plains stretched for miles without any sign of civilisation or greenery. He was pretty sure he was somewhere in Canada when he finally stopped. It was the remains of what was probably a small city at one point that bought him to a standstill. The taller buildings had toppled over each other and all of the smaller ones he could see had been damaged in one way or another. The sight scared him. What had happened to the world? Despite how far he'd run the sky was still grey and ash continued to fall at a hauntingly slow pace. He felt like he was the last person on the planet, standing amongst the grey and the ruins in his bright red and yellow suit. He suddenly wanted to change his clothes.

On account of his stomach growling at him, Wally made the decision to enter the city to search for food… and some new clothes. As he wandered through the deserted streets he heard thunder roll off in the distance making him jump slightly. It was the first sound he'd heard that hadn't been the wind or his own footsteps since he'd woken up.

"This is all just too freaky," he said to himself as though talking out loud would make the hairs on the back of his neck stop standing up.

He was beginning to feel dizzy, he really need to find some food and fast.

He came across a partially destroyed building that he thought was once a convenience store. As he entered he had to wonder what he'd really expected. He found just two cans of beans buried under some rubble he happened to kick away. It gave him a small sense of hope that the place had already been ransacked – maybe, just maybe, there were more people out there. Maybe he wasn't alone.

He opened one of the cans and gulped it down in regular Wally fashion before looking longingly at the second – he decided it would probably be best to save it since he didn't know how hard it would be to find more food. He got up and moved on.

Locating clothes was a much easier task. He found a store only a block away that had what he needed. He grabbed some grey jeans, a shirt, shoes and a black hoodie – the darker the better he figured. He also picked up a backpack – it would probably come in handy. Luck was on his side as he also found some more food tucked away in the back room of the store. It wasn't much, but it kept his hope up.

The deserted city was starting to terrify him. He hadn't seen a single person but couldn't shake the strange sensation that he wasn't alone. So he decided on his next move – if he was going to figure out what was going on, he needed answers, needed to see the state of the rest of the world.

He took off running. His destination: Central City.


Wally passed many towns and cities on his trip south, all as desolate as the last. He entered just a few to look for supplies but mostly he'd stopped paying attention to them along with the never ending grey skies and the ash that just wouldn't stop falling. He didn't want anything to cloud his hope that maybe, just maybe, Central was ok. The he'd arrive and find his family alive and well. That they'd welcome him with open arms and tell him everything was alright. But that wasn't the case. He skidded to a halt, still over a mile from the city. Above it was something he'd hoped to never see again: a Reach ship.

He didn't understand. They'd stopped the invasion. They'd stopped the Reach-apocalypse. Hadn't they? The more 'answers' he found, the more confused he became.

A thought he'd been holding back finally pushed its way to the forefront of his mind. What about his family? Were they in this city? A part of him hoped they weren't. And really, from the state of things, he probably shouldn't call it a city at all. The destruction here was a whole lot worse than the place he'd first encountered back in Canada. He could feel the hope he'd been desperately clinging to start to melt away leaving him with the horrible reality before him. But he didn't let it stop him. He ran on, straight into the city.

And in hindsight that was the dumbest move he'd ever made.

He almost immediately ran into a Reach patrol and had to scurry back around a corner – the streets were clearly not safe.

With a lot more caution he took off running again – heading for his parent's house. Well, what used to be his parent's house. There wasn't even a trace that anything had ever been built on that street and it stung Wally's heart. He wanted to keel over, curl up into a ball, and then maybe he'd wake up from this nightmare. But he couldn't. He wouldn't.

He checked the other houses of people he knew and all were either deserted or destroyed. To stop himself from completely falling apart, he figured he should run to another city. Gotham or Star maybe, but that plan didn't work out. Every which way he ran he saw Reach patrols. He couldn't make it out of this particular section of the city. He wondered how he'd even managed to make it in. So he came up with an idea he knew he'd regret and headed down into the sewers.

And yes, he instantly regretted it. Despite the post-apocalyptic world upstairs, the sewers were still the sewers. He trudged along, heading in some vague direction he hoped would lead him out of the city, trying to ignore the fear that he would get incredibly lost.

By some strange miracle he found an exit on the edge of the city. Well, it wasn't so much an exit as the rest of the sewer didn't exist anymore. The opening was overgrown with weeds and he could hear the wind howling outside – it had picked up at some point and he could also hear thunder rolling in the distance.

He pulled down some of the weeds and looked out, seeing the grey still stretching endlessly across the sky. The wind pulled a new sound to his ears; it was almost, but not quite, like the sounds of a construction site. He couldn't see the source of the noise, so against his better judgement, he pulled down more of the weeds to get a better look. He seemed to be up on a cliff but from his position he couldn't really be sure so he dashed over to a formation of rocks that hid his presence effectively while he looked over the edge. What he saw down below made his breath hitch.

Humans. The first he'd seen since he woke up in the North Pole. Some seemed to be scavenging through an assortment of things Wally couldn't quite see while others carried items about. It was then that he realised where he actually was – not outside of the city, but on the edge of it, where many buildings used to stand; these humans were sorting through the rubble.

Directly below him he saw a kid who couldn't be more than 13 stumbling along carrying a computer of some sort. He spotted what appeared to be an inhibitor collar around his neck piquing his curiosity enough to keep watching this particular kid. He looked weak, and as Wally pondered this, the kid's feet gave way beneath him making him fall to his knees. Wally could see he was struggling to suck in each breath he took. That's when he had the biggest fright of his life – Blue Beetle. Except, this wasn't the Blue Beetle he knew, this one was a whole lot bigger and meaner looking. He had appeared out of nowhere.

"On your feet slave!" he barked before firing a warning shot

The kid's face scrunched up in fear as the edge of the blast scratched his arms and face but then he relaxed and lifted his head to look at his tormentor. It made Wally think the kid had tremendous courage.

And that was the moment everything clicked into place.

Wally silently kicked himself for not realising it all earlier – how had he not recognised that mop of brown hair below him! But, really, who would have instantly seen that person? Not when he was buried beneath the tattered clothes, the dirt and a face so hollow it rattled Wally though he wouldn't admit it.

His thoughts were interrupted by Blue Beetle's snarling voice saying, "don't make me tell you again."

But as the kid stood up, his arms no longer had the necessary strength to pull the computer along with him. Before he could flop to the ground again Blue Beetle struck him across the face sending him flying. None of the surrounding people even flinched and Wally thought to himself that that was the scariest thing he'd seen so far.

The kid tried to get up again but he was at his limit. He stayed lying on the ground and Wally watched as his eyes slid closed; he was out cold. Blue Beetle walked over to where the kid was lying, changing his plasma cannon to a scythe.

"Meat. You're all so weak," he spat as he loomed above the kid.

Wally couldn't stand by doing nothing anymore. The realisation of what had happened to him had sent him into a momentary state of shock, but it had also cleared his mind and he knew what he had to do. So he left the safety of the rocks on the cliff side and ran. He ran down to where the kid was lying and scooped him up in his arms and at the fastest speed he could manage he ran back up the cliff and back into the sewers. He didn't have enough time to think of any other places they could go.

As Wally ran further into the sewers, he looked down at the kid in his arms. Bart. It was definitely Bart. He still couldn't quite believe it.

Was this really the future?


A/N

And that's that: the first chapter to my first fanfiction ever! I hope you enjoyed it but as it's my first time doing this please forgive any OOC-ness or general terribleness. If you feel the need to review, please do, all constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

And I have some good and bad news: the good news is that in 4 weeks I'll be on holidays meaning I will have heaps of time to work on this fic and update regularly! The bad news is that I probably won't get to update before then because of all the assessment I have due.

But don't worry, I hate leaving things unfinished, and I have a fairly solid plan for this story (but any suggestions are definitely welcome so please, if you have some constructive criticism or suggestions do speak up!)

Next chapter will be called "But This Swift Business I Must Uneasy Make"

Well then, good bye for the next month!