Author's Note: The epilogue! Ta-da *coughs pitifully* Yeah, I'm quite sick which I feel is some sort of sign, haha. As much as I love this story, I am glad it is over. Let me know what you thought of the story! Fav characters, fav parts, fav lines, etc. Alright, read, review, and (most importantly) enjoy!
Responses to Guest Reviews:
Guest – Aw, that's so sweet! Thanks for the review!
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Aside from Wally and Cameron living (most of the time) at the Allen household, Harold was the first one to move out of the headquarters. It was a much more beautiful, purely happy moment than Wally would have been expected it to be.
During the first month or so after the world started changing for the better, the former Teen Titans and the former Circus members lived alongside the Team members in their actual base of operations – the Cave in Mount Justice. Kelvin had almost choked on his sandwich when the Team suggested they all move into their original headquarters.
For that month or so, all of the former members of underground metahuman groups organized themselves, pulling themselves together and figuring out their lives and, most importantly, becoming heroes.
A lot of people kept the same names and retained similar costumes, even if some were a little more fortified. Apparently, Oliver had been preparing new costumes for the Circus members ever since he held that meeting with Wally and Dinah on the roof in Star City. It had taken him a while to make sure that he got them right, but he'd managed.
Dinah had kept the name of Black Canary and had started patrolling with Oliver in the evenings, occasionally staying over at his house. Cameron, Kelvin, Jinx, and Lorraine all kept their names. Garfield went by Beast Boy and delighted in his new, thicker, more flexible suit. Harold chose the name Air Wave and dropped Maser entirely. Billy decided he would be called Captain Marvel instead of Shazam. Evidently it got irritating being unable to say his own code name without switching forms.
Wally was most excited by his own hero change, however. He really felt like it encompassed what had happened over the course of his alliance with the heroes. From his symbol-less, grey, drab suit, Oliver had designed a bright yellow and red high-tech suit that was (most importantly) host to the Flash's symbol (both Barry and Wally had cried at that, but it was during emotional times, so he felt justified) in place of pride on his chest. Wally had adopted the name Kid Flash in deference to his upcoming debut as the Flash's sidekick. Well, he was told that the preferred term was 'partner,' but he was so thrilled about the situation that he didn't even care.
The heroes had been keeping the adult and kid members on shadowing duty or covert ops duty just to make sure that they had a much fuller understanding of what it really meant to be a hero before they had to go out and justify themselves to their chosen cities. Wally was actually glad that they had the Rogues as villains because it would be easier to start out with fighting someone he knew. Of course, he understood that the unspoken reason that the Justice League were keeping them temporarily in the shadows was to ensure that some of the outrage, confusion, and turmoil of changes to meta laws didn't affect their hero careers that much. It felt nice.
What was even more nice was the quiet request from Harold for Wally to talk with him in his room.
Wally had barely closed the door when Harold had engulfed him in a hug, squeezing tight as Wally froze for a long moment before awkwardly returning the gesture. He raised his eyebrows at Hal, who was apparently in the room with them. When Harold disentangled himself, Wally smiled uncertainly at him, "What's up, Harold?"
Harold beamed, "They found them!"
Wally raised his eyebrows, "You're going to have to be more specific about who 'they' are and who 'them' are."
Harold rolled his eyes, "The rehabilitation programs found my parents."
For a long moment, Wally just gaped at him, "What?"
"Right?" Harold asked, giddy in a way Wally had never seen.
Wally felt a smile stretching across his face, "Seriously? That – that's amazing. Have you seen them yet? Have you got in contact? What's happening?"
Hal rolled his eyes at Wally's non-stop questions, but Harold didn't seem to mind, still bouncing on his toes, "They only sent me pictures to make sure that I actually recognized them. The system matched us as potential family when I listed family members and how my parents were missing, and they did the same for me and all that. Our house had already been sold and I honestly don't even remember the address so that wouldn't help much or anything. But they positively identified me, and I positively identified them! They're alive and well! Or, well, as well as they can be coming out of the camps, you know. I just got the message and sent the response, like, a couple minutes ago, but I had to tell you."
"I'm so excited for you! And you too, Hal. I know they were family to you as well," Wally said, genuinely smiling.
Hal huffed out a laugh before sighing slightly, "I hate to be this person, but… what's happening after you meet with your parents, kid? You had been planning on living with me, but you've… got your parents now."
Harold frowned, "Well, um, I was thinking I could maybe if you were alright with it, continue living with you? And, um, maybe Mom and Dad could move in too? Or, well, we'd probably need to buy a bigger place because your apartment is tiny, but I've got plenty of money now and Mom and Dad are supposed to get their own money back from the banks."
"I… would they be fine with living with me?" Hal asked, obviously avoiding the question he actually wanted to ask. There were tears gathering quietly at the corners of his eyes.
Harold smiled softly, "Of course! Adult metas whose house has been sold have to spend at least a year living with a relative or a friend or a government person or someone before they're allowed to live on their own anyways. To help them adjust and not flood the housing market with eligible buyers and to allow the metas to get a stable job and be able to actually afford their own house, blah, blah, blah. Besides, they always loved you, too. It'd be great all living together!"
"What about my secret identity?" Hal asked faintly, looking more than a little overwhelmed.
"Oh, uh, I guess I assumed you'd tell them? I was planning on telling them mine. Have you not told anyone else in the family?" Harold asked curiously.
Hal smiled, "Not yet. I was planning on it, but then a lot of things happened, and I met you again and just – yeah. Never did do it. Maybe we can do it together. Tell your parents together and then make a big occasion out of letting the rest of the family know."
"You never know," Wally pointed out, "The fact that your parents were in the camps mean they're metas, too. They might even want to be superheroes themselves."
The group laughed, but the thought stuck in Wally's mind.
Wally hadn't known it for sure at the time, but Harold's parents did, in fact, want to be superheroes themselves. (They teamed up with Harold and, occasionally, Hal and became an amazing team working their way through Coast City and the surrounding areas).
To be frank, a shockingly large amount of metas wanted to be superheroes. A shockingly large. Most of them were doing it on their own time, just gradually adjusting to their new life and finding the call to be heroes within themselves.
Because of that, two months after they were freed, Kelvin pulled Wally aside for a private conversation. He rubbed the back of his neck for a moment, opening and closing his mouth as he tried to figure out what he wanted to say. Wally patiently waited for him to collect his thoughts. Eventually, Kelvin rumbled, "You know I've been talking to my family and all, Skyping, even if I haven't gone to actually see them in person?" Wally nodded carefully. Kelvin had been terrified when his rehabilitation team suggested that he meet his family again. He'd eagerly lapped up any information he could get about them – his parents were alive, and his little sister had graduated college and was now working her way towards a PhD with her fiancé trailing happily along after her. But he wouldn't see them in person or talk to them. He was too ashamed of what he looked like, of the changes that had been wrought on him from the activation of the metagene.
Finally, though, his therapist had managed to get him to do a very emotional, tearful, and cleansing phone call with his family. They'd been terrified when he didn't contact him, apparently. The fact that metahumans were looking for their families with the government's help had been widely publicized. Anyone who knew a metahuman who'd gone to the camps could fill out forms to try to speed up the reconnection process. Kelvin's whole family had filled out the forms, sending them in multiple times, waiting with bated breath (Wally had told his rehabilitation team, point blank, that – at this stage in his healing – he didn't want to know if people were looking for him, if there were forms desperately asking for him to be reunited with his parents). A lot of the nation was like that, checking the death list updates every day and praying that their loved ones' name wasn't on it.
People who didn't know if their loved one had been taken by the Collection Agency or if they'd disappeared for other reasons sent pictures into the rehabilitation centers, along with a brief description of personality and disappearance. The metas who were matched up with rehabilitation teams got daily updates on the potential missing. They would call into their teams if they recognized the person and could give information on whether that person had been in the camps and if they knew their fates. It was one of the only ways the dead were being identified. It was too hard otherwise. The camps didn't keep any real records and memories of the place and other people's names weren't always the greatest.
Kelvin continued, jerking Wally out of his train of thoughts, "Well, they were talking about me moving in with my sister and her girl for my year transition – you know my apartment was sold which sucks because I liked that place. And I was going back and forth because you know I'm being mentored by Hawkman and Hawkwoman down in Louisiana and it would be a trek to go from my sister's place to Louisiana to this place in the middle and all of that. But then, uh, Jade contacted me. Jade from the Blood Pack? They're apparently going to stay a group, but they're going to be a hero group working in the city my sister lives in. They invited me to join and, well, I accepted. I'm going to go live with my sister and her fiancé."
"I'm so happy for you!" Wally cried, grabbing Kelvin around the shoulders and bringing him down a little bit to have a proper hug.
Kelvin laughed and picked Wally up, ignoring his squawk of indignation.
Wally knew that Kelvin was still incredibly nervous about going to live with his sister. It was the first time they were going to see each other in person and Kelvin was still anxious about his shape and skin color and size. More than that, though, Kelvin was nervous about his family seeing how truly changed he was.
It was one thing to hear his heavily edited stories of the time he spent on in the camps and on the run. It was another thing to live with him, dealing with his PTSD and his traumas and his new quirks. It was another thing to see the scars, mental or physical.
That was the same problem Lorraine was having. She wanted to go home to her father, and he'd expressed through several phone calls that he hated himself for sending her to the Collection Agencies and that he just wanted her to come home. He'd said that he would do anything and everything to accommodate her and that he was willing to really take the time to understand her powers and her new role as a hero and her old role as an international terrorist.
And Lorraine had been thrilled at all of that, more than excited to go home to her apologetic father and the manor and all of the people who worked there that she'd loved like family when she was younger. What she hadn't been thrilled about was the idea of her father finding out that she was paralyzed. It wasn't easy for the family members taking back metas who had been in camps. The camps were brutal places and there was a lot to do for recovery. Therapy sessions – individual and family sessions. Remedial schooling. Power control. So, so, so much more. It would be especially harder taking in a meta who'd been in a camp and was now paralyzed from the neck down.
So, against her therapist and doctor's (her and Leslie Thompkins had become something of best friends and Leslie was planning on continuing to work with Lorraine on her physical therapy for a long time. She'd even brought Lorraine home to meet her kids a time or two) suggestion to tell him, she'd kept him in the dark about it and refused face-to-face calls to avoid detection.
But, the continued good cheer and good news from both Harold and Kelvin finally got her to take the last step. Four and a half months after being freed, she told her father about her paralysis and finally went home.
For some, going home wasn't as easy, but it was just as satisfying.
Barry and Iris officially adopted Cameron seven months after they all went free and the rehabilitation team assigned to him confirmed that they were a good fit and that his own father wasn't a good fit.
Garfield, officially, was signed over to the care of Steve Dayton (a man who became a hero under the name of Mento), but he as good as lived in the Teen Titans tower. Starfire had been officially named as heir to Loren Jupiter's fortune and buildings and therefore owned the tower. She moved the Teen Titans back into it easily, letting the Justice League help her adapt the entire tower into a base for them, instead of just the hidden upper part. After bonding fiercely with Cyborg, Garfield (eight months after being freed) decided that becoming a Teen Titan was his best option. So far, he was loving it – especially the continued freedom of living in a base that was mostly teenagers.
Dinah superficially reconnected with some of her old friends from before she was taken, but it was hard to build anything with them. Most were flighty and uncomfortable with the prospect of her being a meta and suffering the way she did. She had some real true friends, but not all of them even lived in Gotham anymore. So, instead of going there, she stayed in the Cave as a sort of Den Mother, looking after everyone when she could. Ten months after being freed, though, Oliver proposed, and she said yes. The two easily moved in together, working and living flawlessly together.
Billy was a little harder. After looking through his case file, his therapist suggested one last foster home for him to try. He'd tried to stop going to the therapist after that, but the rest of them had been able to convince him to go back and, eventually, after eleven months of fighting it, try out the new family. Billy loved it with his new family – said they reminded him of the Circus sometimes.
Jinx was one of the hardest. As it stood, she knew nothing about her birth family and the system knew nothing about her birth family. The only name she had ever known for herself was Jinx and that wasn't in any sort of system. If she looked different before her metagene activated, then she didn't remember it. She was in no system and had no previous knowledge of the foster system. As far as her therapist was concerned, she wasn't going to have any knowledge of it. The therapist was one of the rehabilitation program's appointed ones and had stated numerous times that she trusted the meta foster system that had been put in place. She just didn't think that Jinx was in the stage of mental healing to try foster care at the time. Instead, Jinx had, eleven and a half months after being freed, asked the Justice League if she could officially live at the Cave with M'gann, Conner, and Zatanna (who had quickly become something of a sister to Jinx).
It took Wally fourteen months to even bring up his parents to anyone other than his therapist.
It had been the four of them at dinner in the Allen household, eating pizza to celebrate Cameron and Wally passing another level of the rehabilitation program. Wally looked up at the group, at his family, and blurted out, "I don't think I want to go back to my parents."
They all blinked up at him, thrown by his seemingly random comment. Iris put a gentle hand on his knee from where she was sprawled on the floor next to him, "Are you sure, honey? You haven't even seen them in, well, nine years now."
"That's why," Wally said, brows drawing together as he tried to figure out what he was trying to say, "Well, no. That's not entirely it. But it's part of it. I'm seventeen. I'd live with them for, what? Part of a year until I was eighteen and ready to move out on my own? It would be more than the awkward anyways. They know me as a little kid. An eight-year-old. I am so far from that eight-year-old at this point that it's not even funny. I don't think any of us would be happy." He frowned again and the others waited, able to tell that he had more to say, "And… and that doesn't mean that I don't – don't care about them. I do. I, well, I think I do. They're pretty much hazy memory at this point. But, I want to see them again. I know it was cruel to string them along for so long. It took me eight months before I even let the program inform them that I was alive and then I wouldn't even contact them after that even though they've apparently tried to contact me. I know that was cruel, but… I don't know. I don't know."
Barry's expression darkened the same way it did every time Wally's parents were mentioned and he muttered under his breath, "Not nearly cruel enough for what they put you through."
Wally scowled at him but Iris, who was closer, elbowed him quite hard in the ribs, so Wally felt that Barry could get away with his comment. Cameron nudged Wally with his foot, "So, what do you want for the remaining year, then? Remain here in limbo and just intermittently contact your parents?"
Wally turned his scowl onto Cameron. He'd been working up to that point. It was dumb. Wally shouldn't be as nervous as he was, asking this. He was pretty sure he knew what the answer was going to be. But he was still nervous. It was ridiculous! He was a camp escapee, leading the two largest camp escapes ever. He was the leader of an underground metahuman group. He was a hero. He was a literal king of a country (the entirety of New Holo City – after being declared a country called Holo – had voted on what Wally's official role would be and they'd decided that he'd be the King of the country mostly, Wally guessed, to mess with him. He'd messed right back by knighting the other Circus members (and himself) and a couple of the other metas). This should not be so hard!
The others simply watched placidly as Wally wrestled with himself. Maybe they knew how important this was for him to ask. They had to know what the question was by now. Wally swallowed and asked, "Would you two be willing to – to adopt me? If I got my parents to sign over guardianship?"
Iris and Barry's eyes were filled with tears before Wally even finished speaking, "Of course, kiddo! Always. Anytime. We'll talk to one of the placement officers about getting that paperwork sorted out as soon as we can. C'mon, get in here for a hug." Wally let himself fall into the hug.
And that brought him back to that moment, standing in his childhood city, in front of his childhood home. He'd convinced the others that he wanted to do this alone, that he didn't want to overwhelm his parents. It didn't stop him from wishing that at least Cameron or Jinx was there.
He was just raising his fist to knock when a voice from the next house over called out to him, "I wouldn't bother. They left a bit ago. They should be back soon, though."
Wally sighed, "My own fault for coming early, I guess."
He turned to face whomever had addressed him, only to squint curiously at the teenager standing on the next porch over. The boy squinted right back, cautiously asking, "Do I know you?"
Wally grimaced, "Maybe? I feel like I know you, but… I can't possibly imagine where from…"
The other boy was about to say something when the last person Wally expected to see walked out of the door, clapping a friendly hand on the teen's shoulder. Mark Mardon made eye contact with Wally as the speedster was still making a horrified face. Wally squeaked, "Mark?"
Mark stuttered, "Wally?"
"Wally?" the teen said, eyes lighting up.
A woman joined the strange group out front, calling out, "Josh?"
Wally blinked, "Josh?"
The woman blinked at him and then at the stunned faces around him. She sighed and leaned up against the wall, "I haven't seen you around. Coming to visit the Wests? You apparently know my son and my… boyfriend."
Mark pouted, "Why'd you say boyfriend like that?" She just shot him a glare and didn't respond. Josh snickered between them.
Wally smiled unwillingly, "Yeah, I came to visit them. They're, uh, my parents."
Josh crowed, "Yes! I knew I recognized you! We went to school together before…" His voice trailed off and his shoulders sagged a little bit. Both the woman and Mark instantly moved in towards him. Josh curled closer to them like a flower seeking sunlight.
Hesitantly, not sure if he wanted to do this (it was a constant struggle with the rehabilitation programs to get people to actually admit their time in the camps to strangers or quasi-strangers), Wally said as flippantly as he could, "I looked for you but I didn't see you at the camp. I had, um, I had assumed you'd have gone to the same camp I did." His hands were clenched, and his fingernails were digging into his palms, but he'd done it.
The woman was trying her hardest to not gape at her while Mark just gazed at him sadly. Josh blinked in surprise, "You… you're a meta, too?"
"Yeah," Wally shrugged, a little self-deprecatingly, "Chemical accident activated my abilities. I think I ended up in the camp maybe… a month after you were taken away?"
Josh flinched a little, "Ah, man. I was hoping you'd say that you were only in there for a year or two. Not, not, what? Eight years?"
Wally blew out a breath, "Nah, man. Less than that. I, uh, escaped." The woman's eyes flickered over him curiously, but she didn't say anything, obviously content to let the conversation go where it would.
Josh's eyebrows raised, "Seriously? Did you get out during the split world day, too?"
"Did you?" Wally asked incredulously. He hadn't seen Josh anywhere.
Josh grinned, "Yeah, man. A couple of us just booked it once the adults disappeared. I heard that the leader of that group, uh, the Circus? You heard of them? I heard that he went around and rescued a bunch of kids and brought them somewhere safe. That would have been nice. Me and the others ran around, hiding for a while until things calmed down and we were told that it was safe for us to come out. Did the Circus bring you to safety then?"
Feeling a little bit stupid and a little bit brave and a little bit like maybe he could trust for once, Wally leaned over the railing of the porch (the porches were stupidly close together) and said quietly, "Can you keep a secret?" Mark looked amused because he already knew this secret. The woman (probably Josh's mother) looked bemused, but Josh looked thrilled. All three eventually nodded. Wally gave a lopsided grin, "I am the leader of the Circus. Or, well, the leader of the since retired Circus. I led the escape that got the Circus out at year six. I mean, it was year six for two of us. The rest were a lot newer to the camp." Wally's grin faded a little bit, "I'm really sorry we didn't run into each other. When I escaped, I could only grab the guy on the table next to me and the ones who were building next to my friend."
Josh flinched again, "Table? You were an experiment?"
Wally winced, "Yeah."
Josh blew out a breath, "Man, didn't you know? Even one year as an experiment means that you don't have to apologize to anyone ever again. You've got six. People should be apologizing to you. Don't sweat not being able to find me. You have to know that the entire metahuman population knows that you and your Circus are largely responsible for the freedom we have now. Nope, don't give me that face. It's the truth. We all know it. Deal. You did save me, man. More than that, you made sure life for me was as easy as it was going to be. You did sign up for a rehabilitation program, right? I'm not sure since I heard you've got some sort of secret place for metas or something?"
Wally snorted, "I wouldn't call it that much of a secret anymore, but yeah, I got signed up with a program. They're, uh, the ones who put me back in touch with… Mom and Dad."
"You don't look too thrilled," Josh sympathized.
Biting his lip, Wally leaned forward again, "Probably because this is the first time I've seen them in nine years and I'm asking if they'll transfer guardianship to my aunt and uncle."
Josh hissed, "Brutal." Mark was giving Wally a concerned glance from behind Josh, eyeing the house wearily.
The woman blinked at the house, "Really? Why?" She blushed and put a hand in front of her mouth, "I'm sorry! That just came out. Please ignore that."
"You're fine," Wally laughed, "Honest. It's just… my uncle's a meta and they've already adopted my best friend – the one who was with me from the moment I got onto the bus to camp. I've been living with them for over a year now. I'm almost eighteen, so there's not much time to get comfortable with them. I just – I don't know. I've lived for others too long. I'm not going to give myself over to people who are essentially strangers when I can be with people I know and love. And, sure, maybe time will fix things with my parents, but… I don't need time for my Aunt and Uncle."
The woman's expression was oh so impossibly sad when she whispered, "They turned you into the Agency, didn't they?"
Josh went stark white at the name and the implications while Mark's own suspicious gaze on the West house intensified. Wally grimaced, "I don't blame them for it. It wasn't the best time for me to suddenly become a meta. And the doctors noticed the activation first, so there wasn't a way to deny it. They did what they thought best at the time. As far as I remember, at least. I try to not remember that kind of stuff, to be honest."
"Amen," Josh commented, fervently. Mark ruffled his hair absentmindedly.
The woman sighed suddenly, "That's their car now."
Wally tensed, turning around to look at the car trudging down the road. He didn't recognize it. Then again, that made sense. Not a lot of people kept cars for almost a decade. Or longer? How long had they had the car that Wally remembered? He didn't know.
The woman cleared her throat to get Wally's attention back, "If you ever need anything, just knock. I've heard about you from both of my metas and I think I can say you're a good kid. We host a little meeting, calm down, group chat, safe space for teens who were in the camps from Blue Valley here every Wednesday at 6 pm. You're welcome at any time. You're welcome as Supersonic, savior of the metas, or as Wally, another meta who needs a safe space. Okay?"
"Okay," Wally said, somehow pushing it out through the lump in his throat. Josh gave him a look that said that he understood. Mark lingered a second on the porch as the other two went back into the house. He hesitated before finally settling on just giving him a crisp nod. Wally nodded back and Mark went into the house.
Wally turned around to face his parents.
His mother was out of the car first, fluttering up the path slightly before stopping just before the stairs up to the porch. She looked up at Wally and said, somewhat nervously, somewhat awkwardly, "We're sorry! We just remembered that we hadn't grabbed Rudy's – or, um, your father's favorite dip and, well, we thought we had time. I hope we didn't keep you waiting!"
Wally could do this. Wally could do this. His therapists had prepared him for this. His friends had prepared him for this. He could do it. He gave her a somewhat shaky smile before admitting, "Not long. I got a little – over eager and got here early. It was good anyways. I got to see Josh again." He stepped slightly to the side, indicating that he'd follow her in.
She fluttered slightly as Wally's dad grabbed a bag out of one of the back seats. He gave Wally an awkward nod that Wally sent back with a little more confidence. Carefully, the three of them trickled into the house.
For a moment, Wally had to pause on the threshold. The experience hadn't been quite so jarring with the Allen household where Wally had visited only briefly in his child. Here? In his childhood home? It was like stepping into a memory. A warped memory. This wasn't the house he knew – it wasn't filled with any aspect of him out in the open other than a rather large framed photo that sat, beautiful and bright, directly above the fireplace. Wally drifted closer to it, drawn in by the thought. His parents had looked at this, at him every day. It was something they'd had done after he was gone because he would have remembered this.
His mom asked quietly, "Did you know Josh from – from before? Did you go to school together?"
Wally winced, hesitated, and then decided to be honest, "Yeah. He was in my grade. He, uh, he was the one who made the storm that, well, made me."
"Oh," his mom said before sitting heavily into a chair and gesturing at the low table in front of her, "Feel free to grab whatever you like! And take a seat, take a seat!"
Wally was gratified to see that his parents had put out a bland, typical variety in front of him. He'd heard horror stories of people who went home, and their parents put out all the snacks that they used to like as kids. It had only hurt to be instantly reminded of the childhood they'd lost. This was much better. He wondered if they'd gone to meetings to figure out how to best do this. There were programs set up for that, designed by kids who thought of all the things they would and wouldn't want to see coming home and all the things that the therapists thought would help or hurt.
Carefully, Wally sat down and leaned over, grabbing one of the small foam plates and piling it with little snacks and treats. After a second, his parents did the same thing from the other side of the table.
There was a silence while they ate – heavy, certainly, but not as stilted and awkward as Wally had been expecting. Suddenly, his dad broke the silence, "We knew you weren't going to be living with us after this meeting, but… you're not coming back to live with us at all, are you?"
Wally glanced up, startled. His parents were giving him identical fond looks that he really didn't know what to do with. He stuttered out, "I, uh. No. No, I'm not. I'm sorry. I – I meant to. I don't know what I'm trying to say. I came here to get to know my parents again, but… I think it's better if I keep living with Aunt Iris and Uncle Barry. I, um, wasn't going to bring this up until later, but, well, I was wondering if you would sign guardianship of me over to them?"
They looked sad, crushed even. They also looked like they were expecting it. His dad let out a somewhat wet chuckle, "Hand the papers over. I'll look through them while your mother explains." Wally must have looked as confused as he felt. Numbly, he handed his father the papers. His dad grabbed out reading glasses (had he always had those?) and started going through the papers.
Wally's mom gave him a small, brittle smile, "We were so happy when we found out you were alive and in the rehabilitation program. It was more than we could have ever asked for. When we found out what was happening in those camps… I can't explain what we felt. I just… I can't explain. So, knowing that you were alive, and as safe as you could be – it was the best thing we'd heard. Then you didn't want to see us. And… that hurt, admittedly, but we thought we understood. We figured that you hated us for, for sending you there. For not fighting for you. But we still wanted to see you, at least once. We wanted to apologize at the very least. So, we went to one of the meetings for parents with meta children who were in the rehabilitation program. We thought we'd be the strange ones out because our kid didn't want to see us, but we realized that a good number of the parents there had children who were staying with other people, who were waiting to come home. And the person in charge of those meetings, he explained a lot of things. He told us probably more than we wanted to know about the camps. He told us a little bit of the psychology, of the generalize emotions that camp escapees would feel. And we started to understand a little bit better. Obviously, there are still things we need to talk about. We can't generalize you based on what some man said. But… we understand. We don't know everything. We'll never know everything. We'll never understand what you're feeling. But we're your parents and, in this, we understand. And we love you."
With a choked cry, Wally sat down the plate he'd been holding and rushed around the table (trying to do it at normal speed so he didn't blow the snacks away or startle his parents) to throw himself in his mother's arm.
Thing's weren't fixed.
That was going to take a very, very long time.
But that was alright. Because people were changing. Because evil had been vanquished. Because bonds had been forged. Because Wally had friends and family and his Circus.
Author's Note: There we go! Make sure to check out 'Rogue's Perfection' – the sequel to 'Rogue's Status' if you read that! Thank you so, so, so much for reading this behemoth! Let me know if there was anything you specifically liked or if there's anything you think I should work on!