How long is too long? How long before medicine becomes poison? Before the silence is permanent? And is it worth it? To protect someone close to you, someone you care about, it is.

He didn't go home. He stayed with a friend. His only friend. The school friend. Hero friends didn't know. It was a stigma with West. An illusion for them not to see. He couldn't show them. Long sleeves. Turtle neck or scarf. Baggy pants. Makeup. Lots of makeup. And a look. A hidden, broken look. Sometimes, he was glad Batman showed him how to hide his emotions.

"Wally?"

"Yeah?" he strained. He was lying on his friend's couch. His skin was black, blue, green and purple. His lower lip swollen. Pain filled every fiber of his being. He held back the tears in his eyes. But he can almost hear his uncle's voice, "Sometimes a hero doesn't make it out alright. Sometimes, they die protecting people."

Wally knew that. He knew it before he knew Barry was the Flash.

"Chicken broth?" his friend offered.

"Thanks Eric," he murmured softly. If he could, he would've eaten solid food. It makes for a faster recovery. But now, he was limited. So he would heal as fast as a normal person. All because of his last beating had caused his throat to swell. He couldn't swallow anything solid. It was times like this he was glad that both of Eric's parents were nurses.

"My parents won't be back till morning. Do you want me to call your parents?" he asked. He always asked.

"No," he fought to say, "Don't tell them about…," he couldn't finish.

"I'll just tell them you're at my house," he reassured him.

Wally sipped the broth. It hurt immensely going down. But he desperately needed the nutrients. When Wally finished the broth Eric walked back into the room.

"Your parents weren't home," said Eric. They were probably looking for him, "So I called…"

"Please tell me you did not call my uncle," he moaned.

"No. But I called…"

Just then there was a pounding on the door, Wally recognized the rhythm of the hits as they rapped on the door.

"You called him?" Wally complained.

"Sorry! I freaked. He is the only person I could get a hold of that I somewhat know. And you've never been this bad!" he countered. If Wally could've, he'd have gotten out of there. He knew this wasn't going to end well. But his injuries kept him lying down. Eric opened the door. A muscular red-haired teen ran into the house. He gave one glance at Wally.

"Who… In the hell…did this?" he seethed.

"Nobody," stalled Wally. The last thing he wanted was to get another hero involved. Roy gave him a look.

"I'm taking Wally to my place. Kay kid?" He really didn't ask so much as state. He carried Wally outside to his car. He slipped him gently into the passenger side of the car. He then sped off.

Meanwhile, Eric was "preparing" for school.

Roy pulled out his cell phone.

""Hey Barry. Tell KF's parents that he's staying at my place tonight," he said over the phone. He then hung up before the adult speedster could object. Wally glanced over at Roy.

"You didn't tell?"

"I don't need the league breathing down my back while I'm getting you to tell me what's going on," he half growled. Wally gulped. Questioned by Roy. The only person who could make Roy seem not so bad would be Batman.

"It's nothing Roy," he mumbled.

"Seems like a pretty big nothing. And a painful one at that. God, not even a villain has done that much damage to you," he said driving to his apartment. Wally looked out the window. He thought about what happened. It was so fast, but it felt so slow.

Eric didn't do some jerks science projects. Honestly, the people wanted to just beat the shit out of someone. Originally Eric. But Wally kept Eric busy and distracted long enough for their rage to explode. They exploded on Wally of course. Two people holding him back. Another two beating the crap out of him. It was only about ten minutes. But one was a black belt in Karate so, he knew vitals.

Once they were done, they left him behind the school dumpster. Eric found him there moaning. The nurse had already gone home and he didn't have a cell phone so he walked Wally to his house which wasn't too far.

When they got to Roy's apartment, Roy carried him inside. Wally's eyes were slowly closing. He was so tired.

"Don't fall asleep on me Wally. I still have questions. And you are going to answer them," he said harshly. Wally gave him a mini bat glare.

"Sorry. Robin's got you beat," he replied. Wally laughed a little. But he stopped because of his throat. It hurt too much. Roy noticed almost immediately.

"You are not going on missions in the state you're in Wally."

"Who are you? My mother?" Wally struggled to say.

"No. I'm much worse," he said with an evil grin, "Now spill it or I'll have a brand "new" red couch."

Wally's eyes widened. He knew Roy was one not to joke.

"Just hiding my secret identity," he fought to say. Roy cocked an eyebrow.

"Going a bit too far? Baywatch?"

"Dude," he groaned, "Not cool."

"Neither is seeing your younger brother getting his ass handed to him," he countered, "But I know you'll be okay."

Wally couldn't hold back the tears in his eyes. He hurt too much.

"Shut up Speedy," he said softly. Roy stood up and turned the light off.

"Don't even think about going to school tomorrow," said Roy. He left to go into his room and sleep. Wally closed his eyes and relaxed.

Next day.

Wally woke up early. Despite what Roy had said, he wasn't going to miss school. He snuck into Roy's room. He took a long sleeved turtle neck and a pair of his pants. He then found Roy's disguise kit. Soon he looked like the ever perky Wally West. He slipped out of the apartment quietly with his limp. Leaving only the sound of Roy's soft snores.

Because of his injuries he was stuck walking. He'd be late for school. Shocker there. What could he really miss from being late though?

Arrival at school.

Wally first heard screams. Then he smelled smoke. He heard police sirens His eyes widened. He moved as fast as he could to his school. He froze when he made it to the front of the building. Smoke. Explosions. Emergency vehicles carrying people to the hospital. And out front, a kid with a gun. A kid he knew too well. Eric. Blood splattered on his face. His eyes wide with power and insanity.

Police had him surrounded. He laughed with cruelty.

"What? I'm just giving justice. Justice that me and my friend have been deprived of! Spreading the pain he was forced to under take!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. Wally couldn't move. It was a big thing. He saw a familiar shadow. Eric was on the ground in no time. On top of him was the scarlet speedster. Wally feel to his knees. His world was falling to pieces.

He saw as the cops took Eric away. The Flash left well, in a flash. Wally felt a hand on his shoulder. A teacher stood behind him. One of his favorite teachers. Miss Granges. He was scared to see that even she was hurt. Her face was cut up from broken glass.

"It's okay Wally," she said softly, "The bombs are being disabled so no one else will get hurt."

Wally didn't feel the tears fall from his eyes.

"He was my friend," he struggled to say. He didn't know what to do. His friend had attacked the school.

"You're not alone Wally," said his teacher.

"What makes you say that?" he sniffled. She turned his head. He saw the team. Standing there in civilian wear. Robin ran up to him. He gave him a hug.

"Good news is, no one's dead," he said trying to lighten the mood.

"Bad news is, I might've lost a friend," said Wally. Robin pulled something out of his bag.

"I found this," he said showing him a journal. Wally opened it up. Inside were notes. Plans. Attack strategies. Weapons. How to make bomb instructions. Wally almost couldn't read it. He flipped through the pages. He stopped when he saw his name.

Why do people have to be so cruel? There is no point. Or so I thought. Seeing his blood. Seeing his pain. Hearing his cries of pain. He'd never hurt another person. But if he won't fight, I'm afraid he'll die. And then I'll really be alone.

I've decided to take care of the problem now. They've crossed the line. Too many times. Way too many times. This time Wally won't stop me. This time I'll protect him, before he needs to be protected.

On April 20, 1999, in the small, suburban town of Littleton, Colorado, two high-school seniors, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, enacted an all-out assault on Columbine High School during the middle of the school day. The boys' plan was to kill hundreds of their peers. With guns, knives, and a multitude of bombs, the two boys walked the hallways and killed. When the day was done, twelve students, one teacher, and the two murderers were dead. The haunting question remains: why did they do it?

The Boys: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were both intelligent, came from solid homes with two parents, and had older brothers who were three years their senior. In elementary school, Klebold and Harris had both played in sports such as baseball and soccer. Both enjoyed working with computers.

The boys met each other while attending Ken Caryl Middle School in 1993. Though Klebold had been born and raised in the Denver area, Harris' father had been in the U.S. Air Force and had moved the family several times before he retired and moved his family to Littleton, Colorado in July 1993. When the two boys entered high school, they found it difficult to fit into any of the cliques.* As is too common in high school, the boys found themselves frequently picked on by athletes and other students.

This story. I don't know exactly what compelled me to write it. But tears won't stay out of my eyes. It might not be good. But I think at least deserves a review. Crappy or not.