This is from trash-by-vogue's "The Way You Said 'I Love You'" prompts on tumblr. haunt-the-stars asked for #17: When the broken glass litters the floor. So here's my attempt at ambiguous birdflash, I hope you like it!
Over the years of being a vigilante, Wally has seen a lot of traps. A lot of really good, really well-hidden traps. So one would think that, after all of this experience, he would look for traps before (literally) running into things.
Well, one would be wrong.
Because Dick is missing. Dick is missing and he's not answering his comm. He could be hurt—or worse—and Wally is panicking. Dick is his best friend; Dick is, well, Dick.
He knows Dick can take care of himself. He's been doing the vigilante thing way longer than Wally has—he knows that. But feelings are stronger than logic, and worry without evidence is more blinding than reassurances without weight.
Besides, if there's ever even the slightest chance that something is wrong, that Dick is in danger, Wally will come running. Always.
And that's what he does, that's what he's doing. He's running at full speed, so when he finally sees Dick tied up in the center of a room, he doesn't stop to think. He just runs towards him and—
Smacks into something hard enough to send him to the floor reeling.
Had he paid more attention, he would've seen warning in Dick's wide eyes and shaking head. Warning that said: slow down, idiot, there's a glass wall in front of you!
"Whuh," Wally slurs as he pushes himself up onto his elbows, letting himself lean against them until the world stops spinning. He blinks a few times, and once the world is done spinning, he focuses on what he had just run into: a giant glass cylinder.
Wally mentally shakes himself, then gets up on his feet and presses against the cool glass. "Hold on," he says, "I'll figure out how to get you out of here."
Except, Wally has no idea how he'll do that. Running into the thing at full speed didn't leave anything even resembling a crack, and running was kind of his go-to thing.
He looks around the room, hoping to find something to whack against it. Maybe that in addition to his speed could get a crack in after a few rounds. And, he loves Dick, but he'd much prefer to get Dick out of the cage without a concussion. So he puts body-ramming on the back-burner and gets to searching.
He finds nothing.
"Okay, okay," Wally says, mostly to himself. "I-I'll look for a weak spot. Yeah."
And so he looks. He checks every spot—twice—even running up the thing to check the top. Instead he comes back feeling more defeated: there are no air vents. No air vents mean Dick has a limited air supply, which means every second Wally doesn't get him out of there is another second closer to Dick suffering from hypoxia.
Wally bites his lip and thinks, only looking back at Dick when he notices movement in the corner of his vision.
Dick hasn't moved from the center of the cage, so Wally guesses he's stuck there somehow, but he can't see exactly what is preventing movement. Dick does, however, have full motion of his head, and he's using that to his advantage in an attempt to get the gag off. It doesn't take long, and soon a saliva-soaked (and slightly bloody, but Wally isn't going to focus on that right now, okay?) gag is pushed out of his mouth to hang from his neck.
He expects Dick to shout some master plan at him, or even tell Wally where some secret lever that will lift the cage off of him is. He doesn't expect Dick to smirk and ask, "You good? Looked like you hit your head a little hard back there."
Wally's lips tug into a brief smile, feeling a little less freaked out that Dick is at least okay enough to make jokes. But Dick's voice is breathy like he's not getting enough oxygen. Which is obviously bad, it's just that Wally doesn't think that Dick has been in there long enough for him to be running out of oxygen. Something else must be going on. And yeah, Wally might not have all of the facts (for all he knows, this villain decided to suck most of the air out of the cage before fleeing), but signs are pointing towards a chest injury.
Either way, it means they're running out of time faster than Wally previously thought. And that? That worries Wally in more ways than one.
Although, he's sure Dick is way more aware of the severity of this situation, and Wally voicing it will just add to Dick's anxiety. So he doesn't mention it. Instead, he tries to play along, keep things calm.
"Psh, never better. What about you, Boy Wonder?"
Dick pauses, shifts slightly. Then, "Getting there."
That snatches the almost-comfort away from Wally faster than it came.
He swallows. "So, got any ideas on how to get you out of this?"
Dick frowns. "He stole all of my gear and I have no idea where he took it."
And sure enough, upon closer inspection, Dick's gloves, boots, cape, and belt are all missing.
"Hey, that's okay. Um," Wally trails off, trying to think of a good plan while weighing their current options.
He could go look for Dick's utility belt, but Wally doesn't think that would be a smart use of their oh-so-limited time. Mostly because it's highly unlikely that the belt is still in the building, but also because, even if Wally did find it, it probably wouldn't be of any use to them. Sure, Robin had batarangs in his belt, but Wally doesn't think they'd be able to cut through the glass. Robin's explosives wouldn't work either; Dick would be too close to the blast-zone to come out unscathed. Lifting the cage off of the ground was also a no-go because—last he checked—neither of them had super strength and Wally doesn't have Superman on speed-dial. All of that left him needing to come up with a way to break the cage in a way that causes minimal (preferably no) damage to Dick.
"Oh! Maybe I can vibrate the glass and make it shatter!" Wally shouts, buzzing with excitement.
Dick hesitates, looking up at the glass ceiling. "Might work. Just," Dick grunts, and Wally looks closer and notices that his hands are moving now, "just need to… get out of these," he pauses to take a few breaths, "so I can… cover my face."
Right. Shattered glass would be sharp, and it would fall directly on top of Dick, who would be completely defenseless. If things went as planned, the shard would be small and relatively harmless, but there was a chance that a big piece would break off. And if landed right, it could be deadly.
Wally nods, trying to ignore images of Dick's lifeless body with a sharp piece of glass sticking out of his skull, trying to ignore how out of breath it's making Dick to try to free himself.
"Just zip ties," Dick assures him, telling Wally that he isn't doing a good job of hiding his concern. "Practiced a million… times with Batman. Almost had 'em… before you… got here."
Wally nods again and starts pacing. Minutes pass, and Wally can hear Dick's breathing, and he swears the glass is starting to fog up. Wally tries to think of other ideas, and he's about to suggest one when Dick finally shouts, "Got it!"
Wally whoops and jumps in the air, filled with relief and a new-found energy. They were going to get out of this!
He puts both of his hands against the glass cage and waits for Dick to tell him he's ready. Wally takes a breath, closes his eyes, and starts to vibrate his molecules just like he had practiced with Uncle Barry. He can do this, he just needs to concentrate. It's all in the technique.
"Shit!" Wally shouts when he feels blood leaking from his nose. He stops vibrating, leaning forward on his knees to catch his breath. "Damn it! No!"
Panic is setting in because the realization hits him like, well, like a cage of glass: Wally is going to lose Dick because he's not a good enough speedster.
So many things they'll never get to do—never get to be—because Wally didn't train harder. Because he didn't push enough.
Because he's a failure.
He makes a fist and bangs it against the glass, a frustrated growl escaping from his throat as he does.
He barely sees Dick flinch, but he does see it. And it makes him feel awful and guilty for being frustrated when it's his best friend who's about to be in a glass coffin—not him. He's supposed to make Dick feel safe, and right now, Wally's doing the exact opposite.
"You almost had it," Dick tells him, comforts him. "Take-take a break and… and try again, yeah?"
Wally nods. He'll do anything Dick asks—anything. If it means getting Dick out of here, he'll try a million times. He'll try until he can't.
He wipes the blood away from his nose, takes a breath, and puts his hands back up against the no-longer cool glass. Then he starts again.
The blood is coming out of his nose stronger and faster than before, but Wally doesn't stop. He closes his eyes; he can feel that he's close. Just a little faster.
He feels the glass give way, then he hears the beautiful sound of shattering glass.
He's hot, out of breath, and full of relief. He's kneeling at Dick's side just as the last of the broken glass litters the floor. He lifts him into a sitting position by his biceps, mindful of the (small) glass shards that managed to pierce themselves into his skin. Superficial wounds that are meaningless because they're getting out of here together in one piece.
Dick doesn't hold himself up, just leans against Wally and pants for a few seconds. Then, he lifts his head up and smiles at Wally. "Have I ever told you that I love you?"
Wally huffs out a breath he didn't realize he was holding in. There's so much he wants to say, but that can be for later. When Dick isn't hurt and freaked out, when Wally isn't hyped on adrenaline. When it's just the two of them together and calm, not in a state of relief because the other just saved their life.
So instead he offers his own soft smile and says, "Let's get you home."
And there you go! I have one more of these prompts in my inbox, and now that my semester is over, I'm hoping to get it out in a more reasonable amount of time. I also have some EDS AU fics I want to put up, so stay tuned for that. Don't forget to leave a review if you liked it, even something simple like "I liked this!" is great and really helps with motivation :)