Author's Note: Hey! Finally got a chance to send something out, haha. My soul is dying with how much work I have all the time. But this is going to be a… probably three-part piece? It's based off a prompt from Voltronblues123. Here's to hoping that it's everything you wanted! Read, review, and enjoy!
Wally was back. He was back, back, back. He dropped to his hands and knees, panting into the frigid air. He was shaking – vibrating – blurring. The arctic weather was trying to creep in through the gaps of his suit but the lightning in his veins (in them? Or had he become lightning so fully that there was no more differentiation between flesh and speed) fought back, leaving him feeling off center and not-right.
Shaking, Wally clutched at his chest, toppling over to his side. How long had he been in the Speed Force? It had clearly been longer than a couple hours as there wasn't even a trace of the heroes or the MFD. Was he in the same spot as when he'd left? He couldn't tell. He wasn't sure where else he would be. It felt like he'd been gone for centuries but surely that wasn't right. Surely, he couldn't have been gone for more than a couple days if the other speedsters hadn't even tried to enter the Speed Force to come looking for him yet. Although, it was odd that they wouldn't still be in the area, trying to open the Speed Force back up again. Wally shook his head sharply, swinging himself back onto his feet. Sitting there wondering about it wasn't going to get him anywhere. He would just go home and ask them.
Wally's lips tilted upwards at the thought of seeing Artemis again. When Wally had broken free of the Speed Force, he'd been thinking of a lot of people – Uncle Barry, Aunt Iris, Dick, Roy, M'gann, Conner, Zatanna – but it was thoughts of Artemis that had finally allowed him to break through the thick haze that had settled over him from the moment he'd phased into the Speed Force. Well, kind of break through. He broke through enough to leave the Speed Force, but he still felt a muzzy veil settled over the world. Things just felt – off. Hopefully, it would go away soon, and he would stop feeling so confused and off-center. Gathering his composure fully, Wally stretched his legs out and slapped his cheeks lightly to try to shake off some of the awful buzzing living under his skin. With one little excited jump, Wally was off.
He didn't stop running until he was in Palo Alto, grinning at the sight of his home. Some parts of it felt unfamiliar – had that camera always been there on the front porch? Where did his stupid plastic yard flamingo go? Wally shook off his growing misgivings. Maybe Artemis didn't feel safe after everything with the Reach. Maybe she'd brought the flamingo inside for some reason. It didn't matter.
Determinedly, Wally walked a little into the yard, peeking through the window. He let out a little trembly sigh at the sight of Artemis and Dick talking quietly on the couch. He was glad that they were there for each other. Wally still wasn't sure how happy he was with everything Dick pulled with getting Artemis back into the life, but Dick was still his best friend. He was happy that Dick was helping to keep Artemis company in the days that followed Wally's disappearance.
He was just getting ready to walk in the door, an excited exclamation on his lips, when Dick and Artemis… leaned in… and kissed.
Wally would never admit to the squeak that left him at the sight. What – what were they doing? Wally had only been gone a couple of days (had he? It felt longer – there were changes he couldn't explain. But… but they wouldn't have left him in there any longer than a few days. They wouldn't)! Why were they kissing? How long had this been going on? Wally felt sick. He stumbled back from the edge of the porch, heart racing, stomach in his throat. He was glad there weren't people around. It would have been embarrassing for strangers to see him having a breakdown like this.
Letting out another strangled noise, Wally stumbled back even further, fully turning around and walking rapidly away. He'd go find Barry. That would help. Sure, things had been a little tense between the two of them ever since Wally had walked away from the suit, but Barry would know what to do. Wally glanced around himself carefully before throwing himself into high gear and booking it to Central. It was the early evening, so there was a chance that Barry was still at work, but hopefully not. Well, Aunt Iris would be able to help, too. But Wally needed to talk to a hero about everything that had happened. He needed to talk to a speedster about his time in the Speed Force. He needed to talk to his uncle about his best friend and girlfriend kissing in his own house.
Wally swallowed down a sob. He still felt weird and off-center and his heart was pounding, and he was starting to feel like he'd stepped off into the wrong world.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris's house come into view. He put a hand to his face at the sight of his aunt and uncle through their window. Well, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, right? He remembered Iris saying she was pregnant and Bart saying it was… was…
Wally's eyes widened in shock (in horror) when he saw two little blurs race into the room. Speedster children. Speedster… twins. Wally clutched at his chest. There were no other speedster babies. These had to be the twins – Iris's twins. Those babies, those kids were Wally's cousins. And that meant… that meant it hadn't just been a couple days. Looking at those kids, it had been well over a year, maybe two. Wally stumbled back again, just as shocked and hurt and confused as he'd been in Palo Alto. He tripped over his own feet and blinked and felt the strong, terrifying, intense need to be somewhere else and then his feet moved, and he moved, and he was suddenly back in that snowbank in Antarctica.
The cold didn't even register. Maybe it was because Wally was shaking so hard that nothing else could really get through. Wally – Wally needed to calm down. He needed to think about this rationally and try to push away the haze of the Speed Force and the thick weight of shock. He just – was getting mad. He knew part of this anger was direction at himself, at the Speed Force, at the Reach for making him sacrifice himself that way. But part of this anger was at everyone else. He'd been trying to get out of the Speed Force, to push past the drug-haze that had settled over him, and they hadn't. At least a year had gone by and they hadn't gotten him out. And they'd… they'd moved on.
Instead of trying to get him out or rescue him, Artemis had moved on to Wally's best friend. Neither of them even apparently prioritized finding him over exploring their budding romance. The least they could have done was rescue him first. He would have accepted it if they wanted to get together. Well, maybe it would have taken a while for him to accept it, but he would have eventually.
What hurt the most was just the two parties involved. The fact that it was his girlfriend and his best friend? If Artemis had moved on with someone else – someone from school, maybe, it wouldn't have been so bad. It would have hurt that Artemis gave up on him, but it wouldn't have been so bad. But with Dick? That meant that two of the most important people in his life – two who knew how much Wally loved Artemis and would move the world for her – looked at each other after Wally was conveniently out of the picture and chose to ignore that love and just – move on when he wasn't even dead.
Wally took in another shuddering breath, entire chest heaving with the exaggerated movements. He ran his fingers through his hair and ran though some basic breathing techniques that Black Canary had taught them. He needed to get things under control and pull himself together. He needed to make a plan. He'd lost a year or two. His girlfriend had moved which made the likelihood of going home awkward at best. He had his mom and dad, but they'd never really been close. The last conversation they'd had had been them screaming at him for going back out into the field. They were – they were a backup. There was Aunt Iris and Uncle Barry, or even Grandpa Jay. Really, anyone who was part of the Flash family. But… they'd left him in there. They'd left him in the Speed Force for so long.
Wally clutched his aching head. Why was everything so wrong? He worked so hard to get out and come back to the life he loved, and everything was all wrong.
Unbidden, a sob wrenched its way out of Wally's throat. He tried desperately to get his sobbing under control, but he couldn't. he gasped with the force of it, crouching down onto his heels and gripping desperately at his hair. It was all wrong, wrong, wrong.
He didn't know how he could go back. Not after something like this. Not after the way the world was falling apart around him. He needed – he needed to talk to someone who cared, someone who wouldn't tell anyone else that he was back. Someone who could help.
In the end, there was only one place he could go.
It only took him a moment to get to the Rogue's hero-friendly safe house.
Wally shuddered as he crashed into a couch. Distantly, he was aware of the way his fingers and toes began to burn with the drastic back and forth temperatures he'd been subjecting himself to. He had the vague thought that there was probably some condensation on his suit, and he was getting their couch wet. He wasn't sure he cared.
The Rogues crashed into the living room from various places around the house, weapons raised and snarls on their faces. They stumbled to a stop at the sight of him, shivering into the soft leather of the couch. Even though he was shaking hard enough that he was lucky he managed to lift his arm up enough to wave, he managed to get out, "Hey, guys. What's up?"
Hartley screeched, "Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? That's what you say after two years?" Two years? Huh. That was… that was a long time. Wally felt some part of himself disassociate at the news. He'd considered it but hearing it like that was different. Sam put a restraining hand on Hartley's shoulder.
Mick and Len made their way over slowly. They were approaching him like he was a wild animal about to flee. That was irritating. Wally was fine. He was – he was completely fine. Len sat down on the arm of Wally's chair while Mick crouched down in front of him, fingers testing over his suit, probably checking for injuries. Len quietly grabbed Wally's attention, asking, "Can you tell me your name?"
"You know my name," Wally scowled. He was fine!
Len allowed some of the softness to leave his voice and asked again, "Can you tell me your name?"
Reluctantly, Wally said, "Wally West. Kid Flash. Whatever."
Len blew out a breath, "Can you tell me the date?"
Wally frowned. He huddled slightly into himself, "I don't know. I – I don't know. Hartley just said it's been two years since I've seen you guys. I don't know what date it is."
"That's okay," Len said evenly, his unshakeable calm soothing some of the distress bubbling up and boiling over under Wally's skin. Len made sure that Wally was looking at him before he asked his next question, "Hartley's right. It's been just over two years since you disappeared. Is this the first place you've been?"
"Two years," Wally repeated, mostly to himself, "I've been gone for two years."
"Where were you?" Mark asked, voice gruff.
Wally shook his head, stress building back up again. He'd lost two years to the Speed Force (it'd felt like a hundred, like two hundred, like an endless void where time didn't exist). Why had no one come to get him? Two years.
Len's voice was back to that gentle softness that grated Wally the wrong way, "Wally, the heroes told us you were dead."
"Dead?" Wally's voice cracked. No. That wasn't possible. He wasn't the first one to be trapped in the Speed Force. How else would they know about it? Surely there had been signs, energy spikes that indicated that he hadn't just died. Why would they think he was dead if there wasn't even a body? Had there even been ash? What did they think had happened to his body? Did they even try to find that?
Hartley had calmed down by that point and had sat down on the floor in front of Wally. His brows were drawn together, and his lips were pursed, "Wally, did you die?"
"What kind of question is that?" Wally asked, voice raspy. He jumped when James came up behind him, holding out a water bottle. Wally accepted it even if he didn't think he was stable enough to drink from it. Shock was settling thick and heavy and blazing over his skin, mixing with ache of his head and the general confusion of talking to this many people after so long being one merged being in the Speed Force. He flinched again when James tapped the water pointedly. He carefully unscrewed the top and took a sip, feeling instantly better. He slowly drained half of the bottle. After he carefully screwed the top back on, he looked down at Hartley, "I'm sitting right here. I can't be dead."
"Doesn't mean that you haven't died," Sam joked cautiously, "You heroes can't seem to stay dead."
Wally gave him a shaky smile for his efforts. Mick spoke up, interrupting whatever Len was about to say, "You need to get out of this and into some comfortable clothing." Wally nodded, pushing himself up. The others helped him stand and then stood back, familiar with his changing routine. He was just glad that he had extra civvies stored in his suit. The moment he finished changing, though, he flopped back into the chair, worn out. He'd done a lot of running which – probably wasn't advisable after coming right out of the Speed Force. His heart was pounding with adrenalin.
Len sat on a nearby couch, expression intent, "Is this the first place you went, Wally?"
Wally shook his head wordlessly. Len frowned at him, clearly expecting more of an explanation. Wally couldn't do it, though. He couldn't put those thoughts, those sights into words. Not to them, at least. Probably not to anybody, but at least not to them. The Rogues were friends to the Flashes, but they were still supervillains. Wally shook his head again. His leg was jiggling, almost blurring. He clamped all of his control on it, determined to not set fire to the couch. He glanced up at Len, "I need your guys' help."
"What do you need?" Len asked evenly.
"I need to start over. I need a new identity. I – I need something iron-clad. I don't. I don't want to be – I don't. I need papers," Wally forced out, trying to stop the way the words fractured on his tongue.
The Rogues were looking alarmed, frowns taking over their expressions. Sam stepped forward a little bit, arm outstretched, "Wally, what are you talking about? You need to go home. Barry's going to be thrilled to see you."
"No," Wally said, hands shaking again, "No. I'm not going back. I'm starting over."
"No deal," Len decided, "We are not going to do this for you. Especially when you can barely form coherent sentences. We can call Barry and get this figured out."
"No!" Wally shouted, standing up in a flurry of movement. He breathed hard for a moment, calling control back to himself. He needed to be calm and rational about this. He needed to know for sure that this was what he wanted to do. He still had a chance to go home, to try to deal with the missing two years, with the fact that no one had looked, with the fact that the love of his life had been swept away by his best friend. But… but that was for someone else. That wasn't for him. Everyone had moved on. He'd seen that through those brief glances in the window. They were fine without him. The world hadn't stopped. Wally was willing to bet that Bart had taken over the mantle of Kid Flash now that Wally had given permission. No one even needed that side of him anymore.
He wasn't needed by them. They clearly weren't missing him at the moment. It was better to not disturb this new life they created for themselves. A thick thread of betrayal rushed through him, but he ignored it. He needed to be rational. He couldn't think about how much pain he was in, about how much his heart was shattering.
Wally took a deep breath and looked at the leader of the Rogues, "Len. I know what I'm doing. I'm serious. I want to start over. Completely. So thoroughly that even Batman couldn't track me down. I want to be someone else. I mean that, Len."
"Please let us talk to Barry first," Hartley begged, "Or Artemis! Someone!"
Wally set his jaw and looked at them determinedly, ignoring the way he still didn't feel stable, ignoring the rush of pain he felt at hearing Artemis's names, "Look, I went to Artemis and when that didn't pan out, I went to Barry. That didn't pan out either and I came here. So, just, please help me."
James frowned, eyes clearer than usual, "You're lying. They wouldn't turn you away. You're family." Wally locked eyes with a considering Len, ignoring James's words. Sure, Barry probably wouldn't have turned him away, but he shouldn't be put in the position to have to choose. Clearly, he was better off without Wally. Wally wasn't going to interrupt that.
Len sighed, scrubbing his thumb and pointer finger over his closed eyes. He stood up and pinched his nose briefly before announcing, "Alright. We'll make you your papers. We won't call anyone. You're going to owe us, though. Got that?"
"Got it," Wally said firmly over the sounds of the rest of the Rogues shouting objections. Wally didn't know what Len had seen in his eyes, but it had clearly convinced the man.
"Okay, kid," Len said, a heavy note weighing down his voice, "What's your name going to be?"
Author's Note: Alright, part 2 should be out in a moment. Thanks for reading!