Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Young Justice. If I did, would I really be writing fanfiction?
Okay, so, this was co written with "YJFicsAndStuff" after he oh-so rudely stole my story and wrote a better ending to it than I ever could in about five minutes... -_-
JK. Love you, man. Seriously though. You're making me feel bad. Anyways, go check him out. He has AMAZING stories just like this one and is a huge Young Justice fan as well (as if the name wasn't obvious enough, lol).
This story was actually headed in a completely different direction until YJFicsAndStuff stepped in, and i'm sure glad he did. I like his ending better. So, everything after the first line break (not including the one to separate the author's note from the actual story) is his, and everything before that is mine.
Also, this story is based on a poem called "Moments In Time" by John Paluszek. Go check him out on the site called "PoetrySoup", as the poem is awesome and the inspiration for this fic.
Other than that, enjoy! R&R as we'd really like to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Bart Allen had failed.
It was difficult for him to even come to terms with it. The overwhelming burning feeling in his chest felt as though he had taken the fate of humanity and set it aflame. Though there were no ashes, the fire burned through the park. The trees cracking in time with the thunder claps overhead. Or perhaps those were gun shots.
It physically pained Bart to be here. To be seeing the future that he had came here to prevent unraveling before his eyes. The glow of the fire's heat washed over him in an unsoothing fashion. It made his eyes water, though he couldn't tell whether or not it was that or the heartache that caused his tears. The smoke had made it difficult to breathe. He felt as though his lungs had collapsed in his chest, and heart had plummeted to the depths of hell itself. That, or he was walking it.
Bart sat childishly on a park swing, soaring through the air.
His hair whipped in the cool, light wind as a stray tear tumbled to the red dirt below him. His feet hit the asphalt below, scratching him and causing momentary pain. But that was okay. He had been through worse and lived, all the while feeling dead. He was far too big for the swing. Evidence for this was that it creaked and groaned every time Bart went up and down. And the fact that his legs toppled over it awkwardly, causing them to brush past the ground with each push and pull. But once again, that was okay. A lot of things weren't okay at the moment, but at least Bart could still pretend like he didn't have a role to play in this fight. He could act as though he was a child once more. Why shouldn't he? After all, he had put on a facade for most of his life, hadn't he?
All seemed to be peaceful, disregarding the fire. And the screams of terror. And the bloodshed. Okay, so not everything was okay. Not even Bart himself was. But that thing that they had said, about the "calm before the storm", it did exist. Jaime had been the calm. Blue had been the storm. But deep down, Bart knew that that wasn't it. Jaime was so much more than a simple title or a word. He was all that Bart was not. His hope, his dreams, his wings. But that calm had brought him a false sense of hope. He had tricked himself into believing that he could keep Jaime forever. He had greedily kept the boy all for himself, not noticing that, really, he was taking apart the world, piece by piece. Stupid, stupid Bart Allen fell for the one person he wasn't supposed to. Now he paid the price. But it wasn't just him. So many others were suffering for his stupid mistakes.
He was the reason all this was happening. It was all his fault.
His vision became blurry once more as a choked sob escaped from his throat, deep down from the pit in his stomach. More tears fell pathetically to the floor, marking the red sand with salty tears that mixed in with the orange-red glow of fire that surrounded him. But that was okay. Bart wasn't afraid. How could he be? It was just everything that he had ever worked towards crumbling down right in front of him. That was fine. Another sob escaped him.
In the distance, he heard a battlecry. He wasn't sure which side it was from. He didn't care. The battle had started. That was all that mattered. But really, the battle had begun long ago. Bart was only realising it now. Coming to terms with his failure. More cries followed that one resounding one that still echoed in his head. These ones, though, were of horror and despair. More thunderclaps. More pain. More fire. The screams grew louder and filled Bart with more guilt.
'My fault. My fault. My fault.'
He thought back to all the times that he had witnessed tragedy. All the hurt he had gone through. All the pain. He had walked through Hell and back with a fake smile plastered on his face. And he would gladly do it again and again and again for Jaime. He would do anything for him. Through all his haunting memories and omnipresent demons, the hispanic teen had been by his side. And, in turn, Bart had stood by him through thick and thin. No matter what, he never gave up on him. Even when all others had lost hope. Bart still believed in Jaime. He was his only lifeline.
But both Jaime and Bart had miscalculated. Jaime had spiralled out of control and Blue had snapped at the bait. Bart could make no attempt to help, for this was Jaime's fight, and Jaime's fight alone. And so, he was forced to watch from the sidelines as the one person he truly cared about was swallowed up into the monster that had so terrorised him.
His past and present had collided with surprising force the first time Jaime (but not Jaime) had grinned over at him with a look so familiar, it was repulsing. He had actually thrown up. He remembered it in gruesome detail. The way his lips that were usually so soft upon his own had curled up into a snarl, and the echo of his laughter had filled the entire room and Bart himself with horror.
It was the same snarl as that of an innocence forgotten a long time ago.
And then all the times he had been forced to see that snarl and stare into those cold, calculating eyes slammed into him at full force. All those daunting cackles and merciless commands that left his tongue like the butterfly kisses Jaime gave him that he was so used to. It was like a beauty turned evil. And to think that Jaime was apart of that? It hurt. It hurt a lot.
Bruised cheeks and bloody knuckles. Broken jaws and twisted hopes and dreams. Pain was just a word here compared to the choking blackness that he had dealt with back in a time that was no longer anything but a broken memory concerning his past.
You never truly know what the word "scream" means until you find yourself in a river of agony, crying out, begging for mercy. Bone chilling cries and blood curdling screams; that was what the meaning of "pain" truly was.
The fire swirled angrily, licking at Bart's bare legs, where his pant legs had begun to roll up. He was still swinging, seemingly unaffected by the smoke that had fallen upon the park, creating a black-like fog that would choke all those who dared to enter his sacred grounds. He clutched the metallic chains of the swing so tightly he was pretty sure that it was cutting into his clammy palms. His watery eyes stared out into the fiery haze, inhaling smoky ashes that would eventually settle in his lungs. His breath was shallow and shaky, much like his being. He wasn't scared, though. He was a lot of things, but scared wasn't one of them. But that was a blatant lie, of course, and he knew it. The truth of the matter was that Bart was living a lie. Nothing could speak against that, for it was the truth. He soared through the air once more, feeling for a moment that maybe he could take flight and simply leave all of this behind. Fly away, never to return. Perhaps he could. Maybe he should.
But, instead of doing that, Bart recalled memories of Jaime. Some of them good, most of them bad. Some good, though.
Of course it would be thoughts of Jaime himself that domained Bart's thoughts in his final minutes. Of course. He had never cared for anyone as much as he cared for the hispanic teenager.
He remembered when they had first met. The way Jaime's eyebrows had raised over at him and he had cracked a grin that Bart was so not used to seeing on his future enslavers face. The way that he punched him playfully in the arm, also not the treatment that Bart was used to receiving. The fact that no matter how many bags Bart went through, Jaime never ceased to buy him as many bags of Chicken Whizees as he wanted.
He remembered the days when his facade became too much to handle. How Jaime always seemed to be there with a face full of smiles and false promises. How he never asked too much but seemed to know everything all at once. And his gorgeous smile was so much better than Bart's fake one.
And then he remembered the ghost of the hispanics lips on his, and how warm and just right they felt there. He remembered his warmth and pure devotion to keep Bart happy, no matter what the cost. He would gladly take a bullet for him, and Bart would do the same.
They were perfect. And then, they weren't.
The mode had ruined everything.
Now, Bart was nothing more than a memory to Jaime, he was sure. Blue would never care for Bart. Not like Jaime did. Nobody could ever care for Bart as much as Jaime did. Bart used the word "did" because he knew that Jaime wasn't coming back. No matter how much he wanted him to, Bart would never be able to have him again. To see him. To touch him. To kiss him.
Another pathetic tear fell to the floor. Another choked sob escaped his throat.
And the fire blazed on, creating a burial ground for Bart's eventual-and inevitable-demise.
It was never going to end. This war. This battle. It was unwinnable. It would go on like this forever. It would never stop. What was that word again? Eternal. That was it. They would forever be trapped in this eternal haze. This choking blackness. This licking fire.
It would never stop. Never.
Jaime was gone. And still, even if he was there, even if there was this little piece left of him inside Blue; what reason did Bart have to keep going? To fight? None. He was just another person to Blue. A forgotten memory, like Bart's past. Except, that apparent forgotten memory had made its presence very clear to him now in the present.
It was sad to think that Bart was just another person to Blue. Another piece of meat. A waste of space. A recollection that would soon be forgotten in the writings of time and space. All the moments of time were coming together. And Blue's grin was beginning to become evident in the shadows of Bart's memories.
He had failed. The war was coming.
And, one word fell from his cracked lips as another tear trickled down his face;
And so, as the breeze around him turned to burnt ashes and his lungs to dust, Bart Allen did not fight it. Despite the fact that it was what he had been born to do, that he had been doing it all of his life.
Bart...didn't want to fight anymore. He just...he couldn't. He physically could not keep fighting.
And, Bart thought, this was not one of those happy endings that you read about in the books, but one that he was going to have to deal with nonetheless.
As the park bled red and his heart bled blue, as the flames climbed into the clouds and the battlecries sang the warriors to sleep, Bart shut his eyes. He shut his eyes and imagined, if only for a moment, that he was back in Jaime's arms. That he was warm and safe and happy again.
There was a time in his life when he had been alone. When he had learnt to live alone or die at the hands of somebody else's betrayal. Jaime had saved him from that reality. Jaime had shown him love and affection. Jaime had taught him to live again.
It was too bad Bart wouldn't be able to do the same for him.
One of the most important things that Bart had learnt when coming back to the past was that acceptance was key. His friends, his family; they all managed to accept when things just couldn't be made right. When nothing could be done.
He had been stupid to think that he could save everything to begin with. He was just one boy. What was he going to do? Save the world? Right.
Bart accepted it now as he felt his grip loosening on the chains of the swing. As he felt his heartbeat slow to the steady pound of a soft drum in his ears.
As he allowed himself to slip away. Accepted it.
His only regret in that moment was not being able to see Jaime one last time. Not being able to speak to him. To tell him one more time how much he loved him. How much he cared. How sorry he was for not being able to save him.
And so, in those final moments, as tree bark snapped and burning infernos glistened against the dying sky of a dying world, Bart thought only one thing as he allowed himself to finally give up his everlasting fight;
Jaime Reyes, I love you
"Last one?" Blue Beetle's orange eyes flickered up to his fellow companion's. Black Beetle didn't meet his gaze, but instead looked around at the sight before them.
It was a land of nothing but grey. What had been an orange and red disaster only a few hours previous was now a dull, dead world.
"Check over there for any more." Black Beetle commanded, pointing one of his huge fingers to what seemed like a hill of ash and rubble. "I will take these bodies to the burning pit."
Blue Beetle nodded, looking over to the lifeless forms that were slung over Black's shoulder. Nightwing, Robin, and Bumblebee.
Who knew Nightwing and Robin had blue eyes?
They must've been so bright and beautiful when they were alive, Blue thought. Well, they weren't now. The formerly full-of-life eyes were now glossed over. Simply dead.
Black's jetpack activated, and Blue watched him leave before making his way to the ash-rubble pile, using his scanners to find anyone or anything of significance.
One dead body detected.
Blue dug his way through the ashes, finally recovering what was a mangled, burned mess. He wondered who it was. Narrowing his eyes and tilting his head, he looked at the body himself. When he failed to figure it out, he had Khaji Da assist him.
Scans confirm that the deceased body is of the Impulse.
Jaime felt a pang in his chest. "Why was he over here?" he looked around, "This was a playground."
Cowardice, Jaime Reyes. The Impulse was scared, and fled like a child.
Jaime was holding the mangled, charred, dead body of his best friend. The one who'd always steal his food but Jaime would never feel mad over, the one who had brown hair in a certain type of lighting but have red hair in the other. Bart, the one who would teach Jaime about future slang, the one who would ask what time it was when only a minute had passed since he last asked. Bart, the who would always be there for him and work with him during missions, the one who would hang out with him and lean on his shoulder when they were playing video games or watching T.V. Bart, the one who gave Jaime strange feelings, would make him feel warm and fuzzy inside. The one who Jaime would daydream about while he was at school, nearly unable to wait to see him again so they could hang out. The one who kissed like an angel. The one who had a touch and smell that seemed to linger days after he had gone. The one Jaime couldn't live without.
Bart was dead.
You obtained romantic feelings for the Impulse.
Jaime couldn't help but laugh, and he didn't know why. He laughed and he cried, holding himself close to the mess that was Bart's body.
Your emotions are distracting you, Jaime Reyes. They have caused you to shed your armor.
Jaime didn't listen. He hadn't even noticed his armor was gone. And frankly, he didn't care. He just kept laughing and crying into the grey ground, his tears hitting the rubble.
You refuse to contain yourself. I must do this.
Jaime suddenly let out a scream of pain, and felt his armor spreading itself among him once more. He caught his breath before looking once again down at Bart. He stood up, turning around to face Black Beetle, who had returned from burning the other bodies.
"I have found the Impulse's body." Blue Beetle informed, his voice robotic and dull.
Black Beetle grinned, his red eyes looking over it. "Isn't that the boy who attempted to prevent our takeover?"
"Such a fool, he was, to believe he could stop the Reach." Black Beetle let out a chuckle, then turned serious. "We must bring him to the pit as well."
Blue nodded, popping open his wings and flying towards the fire pit that they created only about an hour ago. It was already set aflame. He gently placed Impulse's body in there, watching the fire wither away at it even more.
"This war is not over." Black Beetle confirmed from behind him. Blue didn't bother to look at him. "There are still other heroes out there to fight."
"I understand." Blue nodded.
Though he didn't see it, Blue knew Black had smiled. "The Ambassador is proud of you."
"For allowing the one you loved to die."
Blue frowned. "I never loved Bart Allen."
Black Beetle smiled, placing a hand on Blue's shoulder. "That is what I thought."
Blue didn't respond, and instead, continued to watch Impulse burn. The flames cracked, and set a soft reddish glow on his blue and black armor. Blue's orange eyes were just as dead as Nightwing's and Robin's were. Dull, with no emotion to be seen. Black Beetle removed his grip.
"Come now, little brother. There is still work to be done."