Teenage Turbulence: Chapter One
Eyeing the pimpled teenager uneasily, Wally West fingered the small object in his hand. The other boy tapped his foot impatiently and swept his dark, greasy hair out of his face.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Wally whispered, nervously glancing towards the door. They were sitting in a secluded spot behind the dumpsters, so they only had an obstructed view of the side entrance to the school.
"I've told you like a million times: my brother does this all the time. You can't be a high schooler without smoking pot at least once. Come on, it's not like you'll get in trouble for just trying it." The teen rolled the joint he had found in his brother's room between his fingers and stared at Wally.
"We're supposed to be in class! Of course we'll get in trouble!"
"If you're chicken, you can just go back to class! You're hardly ever in class anyway. Don't try to tell me that all of your absences are excused."
As a teenage superhero, Wally was forced to skip school with little explanation to his teachers. Of course, he generally kept local during the week, so he did not have much of an excuse to miss school. Blue Valley was a quiet little town nestled in the north of Nebraska, and any trouble that happened there could normally be handled in a matter of seconds. Wally was sick of boring monotony that encompassed every single day of his life there, which had brought him to skip Ancient History with his seedy classmate. He was a superpowered adventurer, and school was a waste of his time.
"Fine. I'll try it, but only if you try it first," Wally said. It was general knowledge throughout the school that the guy's his brother was a pothead, but Wally was not sure if the other boy had done any drugs before.
The pimple-faced teen pulled a lighter out of his pocket and took one long drag of the marijuana joint. His face reddened and a hacking fit racked his thin body. Wally decided then that the other boy probably was not a habitual user. A feeling of disgust suddenly overcame him, and Wally flicked his joint onto the floor. He was about to head back to class when his heart sank like a stone; a hard faced man stared down at Wally and the other teen, a face Wally recognized well.
"Why hello there, Principal Henley. How are you this afternoon?" Wally greeted, using his best innocent smile.
"How do you think I feel when I find a couple of my students smoking marijuana on school property? You should know better, boys." The principal's hard gaze lingered on Wally. A brief thought about running away crossed through Wally's mind, but he quickly pushed it aside.
"How about letting us off with just a warning?" Wally's classmate pleaded, "We have never done anything like this before. We were just experimenting!" His words were slightly slurred together, and it was obvious that his argument was only working against the two teenagers.
"I'm going to have to suspend you for two weeks, and I will need to call your parents in for a conference, unless you want to call them instead."
The two boys shook their heads, feeling too ashamed to own up to their parents. The principal frowned deeply. He was always more disappointed than angry when he caught his students doing drugs. They were only hurting themselves and their own futures. It was actually fortunate for them to be caught, especially their first time, because they had time for a second chance.
The gray-haired principal watched as Wally's green eyes silently pleaded with him. The older man felt almost sorry for what he was about to say, but he had said it so many times before that it was like second nature to him. "I've contacted the police, and they are on their way."
A greenish hue tinged Wally's cheeks, as he felt like he was about to throw up. He had never imagined himself on the other side of the law. Now, he pictured himself being taken away by the police in handcuffs and placed in Belle Reve. Flash would be so disappointed. The other young heroes would walk through the halls of the prison and see him banging on the walls of his cell, powers nullified.
"Don't worry, Mr. West. You will probably just be sentenced to community service, and once you complete it, your record will be expunged. This is only a first offense, and they will take that into account…" He trailed off as he escorted the two young teenagers back into the school and to his office. Picking the phone up from his desk, he flipped through his student files until he got to the name West, Wallace.
"You're grounded for the rest of eternity!" Wally opened his mouth to speak, but his father shushed him sternly. "At this time, next year, we will reevaluate the situation, but for now, you are not allowed to go anywhere unsupervised."
"Can I still go to Central City? Can I still spend the summers with Aunt Iris and Uncle Barry?"
"I don't think that you will be traveling on your own any time soon. Until you can regain our trust, your activities are going to be very limited. We'll explain everything to Iris."
He could kiss goodbye to his Kid Flash mantle for the time being, that was for sure. Glancing up at the small black dome on the ceiling that signaled the presence of a security camera, Wally chose his words carefully. "What if I'm needed? I mean, what if the team needs me, but you guys won't let me?"
"It's time to go home, Wally. We'll talk about this later." His mom firmly, but gently gripped his shoulder and steered him out of the school. Hanging his head down, Wally followed his mom's lead and ignored the sound of his father grinding his teeth angrily.
The car ride home was silent except for the sound of teeth being ground, and from Wally's position in the back seat of the car, he could not reach the radio controls, so he just had to suffer through the uncomfortable silence. He twisted the ring on his finger until he could feel the cool metal rubbing through the upper layer of skin. He had half a mind of pressing the release mechanism, donning his costume, and running away to Happy Harbor, but that could only cause more trouble. His parents would probably call Uncle Barry, who would call Batman, who would… do something Wally would rather not think about.
"Barry will be here in a second. I just got off the phone with him."
Wally gazed regretfully at his yellow and red costume and the several spares that he had laid out on his bed. This best thing in his life was being taken away, and it was entirely his fault. Now he would be stuck in boring, old Blue Valley forever.
The doorbell rang, and Wally felt none of the excitement he normally felt at a visit from his mentor and uncle. The blond-haired man ascended the stairs slowly, seemingly in no rush to confront his protégé.
Barry reached Wally's bedroom and took a deep breath before entering. Of all possible phone calls, the one he had never expected was from his sister-in-law saying that Wally had been caught with marijuana. Wally's regretful green eyes pleaded with Barry for a second chance, but the older speedster turned to the man standing in the corner of the bedroom.
"Hello, Rudy. Mary already explained to me and Iris what happened. By the way, your sister says hi."
Rudolph West nodded slightly, still frowning. He looked from his brother-in-law to his son and back again. "Do you want a moment alone with Wally? This may be the last chance you get for a while. He's not going to be Kid Flash for a long time, not until he matures and learns right from wrong." With that, Wally's dad exited the room and disappeared down the stairs.
Looking at his uncharacteristically quiet nephew, Barry smiled sadly. "I thought you knew better than this, Wally. Your parents aren't the type to let something like this slide."
"If it helps, I didn't even smoke any of the pot. In the end, I chose not to."
"Wally, I know you're a good kid. You just made a mistake, and now you're being punished. Don't lash out, and don't be too hard on yourself. This isn't the end of your Kid Flash career, and there's no reason to be depressed…"
"Me? Depressed? Ha!" Wally gave his uncle a goofy grin, and Barry rubbed the teen's red hair affectionately. "But what if Kid Flash is needed to help save the world?" Wally implored.
"I'm sure that if every other superhero in the entire world is defeated by an intergalactic menace, your parents will let you help. Unfortunately, your mom informed me that you'll likely be benched for at least a year. That means no missions with your little team, no missions with me, no solo missions, and absolutely no superheroics at all until your parents okay it. My suggestion is to be a perfect little angel until your parents forget what happened. Maybe they'll let you off early on good behavior?"
"I'm not in jail." Wally looked around at his small room, walls plastered with Flash posters. Everyday, he would be reminded about what he was missing. "Or maybe I am…"
"Oh wait! I have another idea." Barry tried his best to keep a straight face. "You could just go back in time using the cosmic treadmill and stop any of this from ever happening! I'll even let you borrow it!" He had cracked himself up, and was now chuckling heartily, blue eyes watering. He knew that his nephew would never do something as stupid as trying to change time. Experimenting with drugs was one thing…
Wally's own green eyes widened excitedly. It was a perfect idea. Uncle Barry obviously wanted him to prevent the whole incident from occurring in the first place, so they could go back to being partners again.
"Haha, Uncle Barry. Here are my costumes." The young speedster placed his ring and the uniforms in Barry's outstretched arms.