Chapter 5

Wally shifted his weight from foot to foot in anticipation. Finally, the door swung open, revealing the Golden Age Flash. Though already in his seventies, Jay retained a youthful air. It helped that he appeared much younger; his body was as fit as in his younger days, and gray was just beginning to encroach on his brown hair near the temples.

"Please tell me why I should let you boys in. It's the middle of the night, and I'm that whatever you want could definitely wait until tomorrow."

"We just couldn't wait to meet you! We're your biggest fans! Like, there's no one who admires you more than I do! I promise we're not stalking you or anything, although we may have caused a cataclysmic event that will destroy everything we hold dear, and we need your help." Wally rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly and shifted his weight back to the other foot.

"Right. Well, I supposed you can come inside for now." Jay ushered the three boys into his apartment, closing the door behind them. After showing them to the brown suede couch in his living room, he looked to the boys for answers.

"I don't usually get visitors at this time of the night, so what do you boys need?" he asked kindly. Warning bells were telling him to be cautious around the three teens, but, although he'd never had children of his own, his grandfatherly instincts were winning out.

"Okay, so I knew we said that we're from the Blue Valley Flash Fan Club, and I totally wasn't lying, but the thing is that we're from your fan club from the future, and there was this accident, and something happened, andweendeduptwentyyearsinthepast."

Robin rolled his eyes behind his sunglasses. "What my friend means to say is that we need help getting back to our present before our presence causes irreparable damage to the timeline."

Taking in Robin's solemn expression and Wally's obvious panic, Jay sighed. "You're telling the truth, aren't you? I was hoping you kids would just be out to play a prank on me… I don't know what else to say other than that I won't rest until you kids are safe back home with your families."

Conner clenched his fists, picturing M'gann and wondering if she'd noticed his absence or if they would eventually return to the exact time they left. Next to him, Robin grinned, feeling like he would have been perfectly at home alongside the hopeful and passionate heroes of the Golden Age.

Wally, on the other hand, after one look at the compassion in Jay's face, felt a rush of extreme regret. Mentally kicking himself for betraying his parents, Barry, and the rest of the Flash family, he wondered if it would be possible to time travel to his previous day's self to tell him not to go back in time. But that only made him wonder what would happen if his previous day's self decided not to time travel—wouldn't that mean that he never would have gone to tell himself not to time travel, so what would stop him from time traveling in the first place? Grimacing at the possible paradoxes, Wally reached up to rub circles into his temples.

"Would you like an aspirin?" Jay asked gently. Disappearing in a blur, he returned a couple seconds later with two aspirin and a bottle of water.

Conner, having been quietly contemplating since their arrival, noted his companions' exhaustion and suggested that they figure everything out tomorrow.

Jay surveyed the three teenagers and put on a reassuring smile. "I promise you that I'll figure it out. As a member of the Justice Society, I went on numerous time travel adventures, and everything always worked itself out in the end. No world-ending paradoxes." He paused, and his expression became sterner. "I hope you get some rest tonight because tomorrow I'd like you to come clean to me. I believe that you've time traveled from the future, but I know that you're keeping something from me. It's hard to trust someone who's hiding something."

And with that, he left the three boys alone with their thoughts.

Robin turned to his two teammates. "Do you think he has this room bugged?"

Wally, who was running his fingers through his red hair, paused and looked at his friend. "Rob, he's not Batman." Unable to see the younger boy's eyes through the dark shades, Wally had the unsettling feeling that he was on the receiving end of the infamous bat glare, although he couldn't confirm it. Zipping around the room at superspeed, Wally checked every vase and every cabinet before confirming that his instincts were right, and Jay was not Batman.

Over by the couch, Robin did not look at all like he was ready to go to sleep. "Wally, tell me everything you know about time travel. I'll see if I can think of a plan, but right now, our best option is to go along with Jay. But whatever you guys do, we can't reveal our identities to anyone who knows us in the present. It could mess up the time stream. We don't want to return home to discover that Killer Moth has taken over the world."

"I guess that's a good idea..." Wally agreed. "But isn't there some part of you that wants to meet young Batman? I mean, he must be around our age in this time period..."

"Didn't we already go over this? No messing with the time stream!"

"He wouldn't know who you are! And we could go in disguise! As long as we're trapped in the past, we might as well have some fun." Wally grinned, trying to work up some enthusiasm to override his feelings of guilt.

Frowning in thought, Robin pictured himself ruffling the hair of a twelve year old Bruce. He couldn't believe that he was actually considering Wally's plan, but even he had to admit that meeting a younger version of his mentor could be very fun. And his parents, they were alive at this time, young and very much alive. It'd be difficult to track down Haly's circus, especially with the current lack of technology, but if anyone could do it, it would be Batman's apprentice. Robin adjusted his sunglasses and smiled faintly at his two teammates. "Jay's right. We should get some sleep and figure stuff out tomorrow."

Conner, who had settled into a spot on the floor, gazed up at the ceiling. "Robin," he said.

"Yes?"

"Are you going to sleep with the sunglasses on?"