Disclaimer: This is the end, and I still do not own Young Justice. Nothing has changed.
**************IMPORTANT BELOW, READ!************************
Mist: This is the FINAL chapter people! We've sure come a long way.
Whistle: We certainly have. I think your writings even gotten better.
Mist: Practice makes perfect :)
Whistle: And you had plenty of practice over these long months.
Mist: Yep! And I'd once again thank everyone for sticking with me until the end. It means the world to me :) I hope that I've checked off everything I've ever wanted by the end.
Whistle: Also, even though this is the FINAL chapter, there will be an epilogue right after it with Wally waking up safe. We had to divide it again because of length.
Chapter 28: Final pt2: Never lose Hope
(Wally/Kid Flash's POV)
I kept on slipping and falling, but somehow with the limited access to the speed force that I had I managed to stay ahead of Hartley. Though I'm sure I'll have plenty of scrapes and bruises by the time all this is over… I just hope it will be Uncle Barry or Aunt Iris who will be patching me up.
I'm not quite sure where exactly I am right now. My vision keeps on blurring so I could just be running in circles for all I know. I can also hear Hartley calling out to me; he keeps on telling me not to run away, promising that he won't hurt me. To my annoyance he also keeps reminding me to watch where I'm running, and alerting me that I'm about to run into a tree. (First time he said this I ignored him, thinking it was a trap. I started listening after I ran into the tree)
"Wally!" Hartley called out to me. "Stop running away! You're injured and confused! Let me help you!"
I ignored him and continued running, barely taking notice of the familiar looking trees around me.
"Watch out!" Hartley warned me.
I didn't know what he was warning me about, and my vision was going blurry again so I couldn't see anything. But I couldn't stop running; if I do I'll-
My foot got caught on a root and I fell face-first on the ground.
I whimpered pathetically as I tried to sit on, only to fall back on my face from the pain. My exhaustion and earlier injuries weighing down on me.
I felt two hands grab me by my shoulders and gently help me sit up.
I trembled as I looked with blurry vision at Hartley.
He caught me.
"Shhh…" Hartley said comfortingly as he stroked my cheek, rubbing off dirt and rock. "There, there… it's ok. I'll take care of you. Don't cry…"
It suddenly came to my attention that I was indeed crying, but whether it was from pain or fear I did not know. Either way it was embarrassing….
I struggled weakly in Hartley's arms, desperate to escape. Sadly I was even more drained than I was earlier and was unable to even affect my captor. I was trapped…
"Don't be afraid…" Hartley told me gently as his eyes scanned the surrounding area. "I've got you. None of those stupid capes are gonna get you. I'll protect you from them…"
So Hartley didn't know that I was no longer his puppet. I can use this to my advantage if I play my cards right. If I'm lucky I may be able to wait this out long enough to regain my strength and escape. But I have to be careful…
I looked up at Hartley, keeping my features docile so not to let him know that I had my mind back. "Hurts…" I told him sniffling, remembering that he expected me to act like a small child. Because apparently the creep enjoyed brainwashing teenaged boys into being stupid, overly-obedient, mindless children.
Hartley stroked my cheek again. "I know little one…" He told me. "But don't worry. I'm here. I'll make the pain go away."
With that he lifted me up and carried me a few feet into a forest clearing. To my shock I found that we were in the picnic grounds. That certainly explained why I recognised the surrounding area… but it also confirmed that I had been running in a circle, as the exit I took was on the opposite end as the picnic grounds.
My captor gently sat me down in front of a mossy tree, leaning me against it.
Hartley than pulled out a small box, which I identified as a first-aid kit. Without a word of warning the older boy grabbed my wrist and pulled my sleeve up to examine the cuts on it. He put disinfectant on them and 'Kirby' Band-Aids before moving onto the next body part.
I sat silently as Hartley tended to my injuries. Occasionally I'd let out a small whimper of pain as part of my cover, but besides that I didn't dare say a word.
"There, all better," Hartley declared after he had finished. "How are you feeling?"
"Dizzy," I answered truthfully. "And my vision keeps on going blurry and I can't focus…"
Hartley frowned and placed his hand on my forehead. "You have a fever," He told me as his frown was replaced by a false reassuring smile, "Perhaps you should rest for a while?"
I shook my head. "Not tired," I insisted, knowing how dangerous/stupid falling asleep would be. I'm vulnerable enough as it is, I don't need to give him another advantage.
Hartley's smile morphed into a demonic smirk. "Is that so?" He asked me. "Or is perhaps that you're afraid to fall asleep near me? Which is it little one?"
I gulped and tried to form a response, but all that came out was a soft whimper.
The sociopath leaned forwards, forcing me to look into his heartless eyes. "Did you really think you could fool me little Wally?" He asked me, his tone was still gentle but now it sounded forced. "I know you to well for that."
I pressed back against the tree, trying hopelessly to distance myself from my attacker.
"Poor misguided child," The lunatic monologued, shaking his head at me. "Why do you cower in fear of me? I'd never hurt you…"
"Liar!" I snapped at him.
Hartley grabbed my shoulders and pinned me to the tree. "You should watch what you say," he warned me; his eyes were narrowed in anger.
I trembled in response, wisely deciding not to say a word.
"I have to say, though. I'm impressed that you were able to escape my mind control without help," he told me, sounding more annoyed than impressed. "You are a rare prize indeed, but no one is unbreakable. In time I will find a way to destroy your free will. And then you will belong to me."
I glared at him weakly. "You're insane!" I snapped defiantly.
"Aren't we all?" Hartley laughed, but unpinned me.
I debated trying to run away from him again, but I was too exhausted to so much as lift my arms. As much as I hate to admit it; I'm helpless.
Completely at Hartley's mercy…
I felt tears begin streaming down my cheeks.
Hartley's features morphed again, returning to the worried-older-brother façade he loved to use so much. "Shhh… there, there, don't cry," he told me gently as he wrapped one arm around me and used his free hand to stroke my cheek. "Everything's going to be alright… my sweet little Wally; there is nothing to be afraid of…"
I trembled in his embrace as I listened to his words of false comfort. "Wh-what are you going to do to me?" I asked, wincing at how terrified I sounded.
Hartley squeezed me slightly and nuzzled my hair. "The same thing I always do," he answered me, "Try to be a good big brother to you."
I opened my mouth to respond, but Hartley put his hand over my mouth.
"Hear me out," he instructed me. "Wally, is it not true that Artemis is cruel to you?"
"Well ya, but-"
"And do your so-called friends stick up for you?" he interrupted. I didn't answer him. "Didn't think so."
I didn't know what he was planning, but I had no intention of falling for it. Instead of responding to him I bit my lip and looked around, settling on watching a small bird that had flown onto a nearby tree branch. I whistled at it, trying hard to ignore the maniac next to me. Maybe he'll leave me alone if I don't acknowledge him? Like you're supposed to do with bullies. The bird tweeted at me so I whistled back at it.
'Ignore the maniac,' I told myself, 'Just ignore him…'
The older boy laughed at me. "Are you trying to stop me from revealing your truths to you by acting adorable?" He asked me.
I twitched at his 'adorable' comment. I was also disappointed that my 'ignoring him' plan had failed, no matter how unlikely success was in the first place. "Let me go Hartley," I hissed at him.
He shook his head at me. "Never," he told me, tightening the arm he had wrapped around me.
My trembled increased at his actions. I desperately pushed him away from me, using all my strength.
All my strength.
I put so much effort into my push that I wound up face-first in the dirt again. I tried to pull myself up so I could escape, but my arms felt like wet noodles and simply lay limp beside me, much like my legs were doing.
A low growl caught my attention, alerting me that Hartley was now pissed off.
"You shouldn't have done that," he growled angrily at me.
I felt my body begin to tremble again. Then I felt Hartley grab me –none to gently- and pin me roughly back against the tree. His nails were digging into my shoulders, causing them to hurt more than they already did.
I clenched my eyes shut, certain that Hartley was going to hit me now. Maybe even kill me.
But the attack I expected never came. Instead the older boy loosed his grip on me, eventually pulling me close to him so I way lying down in his lap.
I tried to move, but my exhausted limbs refused to acknowledge me. Feeling hopeless I allowed myself to sob silently.
Hartley began stroking my hair in response to my sobbing. "Shhh… Don't cry my sweet little Wally…" he spoke gently to me, as though he had not just man handled me like a doll. "That never has to happen again, all you need to do is give into me…"
That's right… if I don't want him to hurt me; all I have to do is let him control me again… just go back to being his little puppet.
He must think I'm a total idiot. I'm not falling for the same trick twice!
Too bad my tired limbs make it seem like I was relaxing in his lap, like some kind of pet.
I bet he'd like that.
After a few minutes of stroking my hair he wrapped one arm around me and pulled me towards him so I was sitting sideways in his lap with my head tucked under his chin. He then wrapped his other arm around me and continued stoking my hair. I recognise this position; it's the same one he used to put me in when he'd comfort me after I had a nightmare (which was way too often to be natural). I guess the creep is trying to lull me with familiarity again… Too bad I still can't move an inch; he probably thinks his evil plan is working again.
"You are mine…" Hartley hissed so quietly I almost didn't hear him. "Mine to hold… Mine to control… I'll never let anyone take you away from me."
How come I got stuck with the obsessive lunatic?
I opened my mouth to respond, but I found myself yawning instead.
Hartley laughed at me. "Tired, little one?" He asked me lightly. "Perhaps you should go to sleep? I promise I won't do anything to you…"
"N-no…" I managed to whimper out weakly.
"Why fight?" Hartley asked me as he placed his fingers on my eyelids, forcing them shut. "Your friends will never find you here. You're all alone –with me. I am all you have, and all you will ever need."
"Flash… will… save… me…" I objected weakly and tiredly. I felt myself slowly losing my strength, but I knew I had to hold on. Someone would save me.
They had to…
"What a silly delusion," Hartley told me as he went back to stroking my hair. "How can he find you, if he doesn't know that this place exists? He probably thinks that you're still at the hideout. No, my sweet little Wally, the Flash will NOT save you."
I whimpered again. As much as I hate to admit it, Hartley's right. How is Uncle Barry supposed to find me if he didn't even know I was missing?
"Shhh… do not fret my dear sweet little Wally," my captor told me in falsely soft and equally falsely reassuring voice. "No reason to fear. No reason to cry. Just give in to me and you will be happy again. Were you not happy getting to play games and watch movies with James and me?"
Had I ever actually been happy? Did I enjoy my oblivious life as a mindless little brother/Pet? No, I hadn't. Hartley only made me think I was happy. He made me believe his lies. Turned me against Uncle Barry and my friends. He took advantage of my weaknesses. He tried to destroy what made me 'me'. I won't… I CAN'T let him do it again. I can't lose hope… I'll…
"Never… give… in…" I refused, forcing my eyes back open. "Not to you… not again!"
I pushed again, using strength I did not know I had. I pushed myself off his lap and forced myself to my feet, using a tree as support.
I looked over at Hartley. For a moment he looked shocked, but that was quickly replaced by anger.
"You stupid little brat!" He growled at me as he stormed over. "I'll make you regret that!"
Ok, so maybe pissing off the sociopathic lunatic wasn't one of my smartest decisions –but no way was I going to sit still like some kind of defenceless little kid and let him brainwash me again!
I glared defiantly at him. "Do your worst you sick freak!" I snapped at him. "I'm not afraid of you anymore!"
Hartley glared back at me with his heartless eyes. "You will be…" He growled before lunging at me.
With a small bust of speed (With I really should be conserving) I dodged his attack and got myself to a new tree to hold onto.
"Too show freak show!" I laughed, trying to ignore my increasingly blurry vision.
I shook my head to un-cloud my vision, and in that moment I suddenly found myself back on the ground, after being wacked in the head by Hartley.
"That fast enough for ya?" Hartley asked me, laughing emotionlessly.
I looked up at him to glare at him, but found myself having to quickly roll out of the way of an oncoming kick.
"You don't play fair!" I accused him.
Hartley rolled his eyes at me. "The time for playing is done," He told me, smirking, "Unless of course… you're willing to be a good boy and go back under my control."
I stuck my tongue out at him. "Not gonna happen creep!" I snapped at him as I once more forced myself to my feet. "How about you go back to hell where you belong!"
The older boy glared at me and took a step forwards.
I took a step back in response, only to lose my footing due to dizziness and nearly fall down. And I wish I did fall down because what happened next was far worse…
Hartley caught my arm and steadied me.
"Look at yourself," Hartley lectured me, "You don't even have enough energy to be walking, let alone fighting. You're tired… just go to sleep…"
He pulled me into his chest and wrapped his arms around me.
I hung my head in pretend defeat, waiting for him to let down his guard so I could escape again.
"See little one?" Hartley said as he reached up to stroke my hair. "Isn't it so much easier if you just give up…?"
"I'll never give up!" I snapped at him as I stomped on his foot, causing to release me.
Once free, I once again used a remnant of my super-speed to get to another support tree. I then turned around to face my opponent, not wanting him to get behind me.
"Now stop petting me, damn it!" I snapped at him when I felt brave enough.
Hartley began to glare at me again. "I warned you," He growled. "Now prepare to be punished!"
He lunged at me again, but this time I wasn't able to get out of the way. Hartley caught my wrist and forcefully spun me around before slamming me face-first into the tree. He then used his free hand to grab my other wrist and pinned it behind my back as well.
Crap, trapped again!
Without another word Hartley shifted his hands so that one encompassed both of my wrists and freed his other.
I heard movement from behind me, but my attacker still had me pinned face-first to the tree so I was unable to turn around and check. Unfortunately, after a few moments I felt something sticky being wrapped around my wrists.
I'm not quite sure where he was keeping it, and quite frankly I don't really care. I'm more concerned about the fact that he's freaking binding me!
Hartley wrapped the tape several times around my wrists, hands, and a little up my arms. After he was satisfied that I could not escape he spun me back around, forcing me to look at his smirking face.
I glared defiantly at him, even though inside I wanted to burst into tears.
"Now be a good boy or I'll bind your feet too," Hartley warned me before roughly pushing me to the ground.
I tried to sit up, but my bound arms were making that difficult. It got even harder when Hartley placed his foot on my chest and forced me back down.
"I will break you down," Hartley growled at me. "And then I will make it so you'll NEVER fall out of my control again!"
I struggled weakly. "You won't win!" I objected. "My friends-"
"Have no idea where you are!" Hartley interrupted me as he bent down beside me, switching his foot to his hand to hold me in place. "You're all alone. Now be a good little boy and go back under the mind control before I hurt you."
I glared at him again. "I am NOT a little boy!"
Hartley laughed at me. "Oh, but you are," he told me as he began stroking my hair again with his free hand. "And by the time I'm done with you, you will be like that forever."
It's official, Hartley is completely insane.
"Ever been to Arkhem?" I asked him, "Because I think they have a cell with your name on it there."
Hartley's eyes narrowed. "Is that so?" He growled at me before smacking me in the head.
I whimpered softly from the pain, trying to keep the noise down so Hartley wouldn't hear me.
But apparently that didn't work so well, as Hartley was now smirking. "Aw, is the little baby hurt?" He asked me mockingly. "Want me to kiss it better?"
"Eww. No!" I squeaked as I feebly struggled to get away, even though I knew that I was trapped.
Hartley laughed at me before roughly grabbing me by my hair and forcing me to looking him in the eyes. "Don't be like that Wally," He told me. "You know you can't escape me. Why don't you just give up now? If you promise to be a good little boy, I'll take you out for ice cream tomorrow."
I glared weakly at him. "I'll never-"
Before I could get the rest of my objection out, Hartley slammed my head into the ground.
I nearly passed out from the pain and shock. The impact left me feeling even more dizzy than I did before and caused my vision to become blurrier than earlier, so blurry I couldn't see a thing for a second.
I blinked several times, trying to clear my vision.
Two hands cupped my cheeks.
"Give. Up!" Hartley ordered me.
I attempted to glare at him, but I couldn't figure out where he was. I tried blinking again, but that didn't help much –it only made me dizzier. Unfortunately I couldn't shake my head around, as Hartley was holding it still.
Never before have I been so certain that I was going to pass out…
When I failed to respond Hartley began stroking my right cheek where he had first hit me. "That's a good boy…" He praised, mistaking my silence for obedience. "Just go to sleep… everything will be alright in the morning…"
I managed to make a sound of protest, but it came out as a whimper.
Hartley chuckled and moved his hand to the back of my head, which now had a bump on it from the sociopath slamming it into the ground. "Don't be sad, my little pet," he spoke softly. "I'll take care of you from now on. You belong to me now. Body, mind, and heart. I will put you back under, and you will once more look to me as an older brother –and once more our little family will be complete."
Umm… maybe Arkhem wouldn't let him in? He might be too crazy even for them…
Hartley wrapped both his arms around me and pulled me into his lap. "My precious little brother…" he mumbled so softly I had to strain to hear him. "No one will ever take you away from me again… And if they try, I'll kill them."
Seriously, there were so many thousands of people that Hartley could obsess over, so why the hell did I get stuck being one? My life sucks big time…
But… I can't move. I'm trapped like this, no matter how hard I try I can't get away from him –let alone beat him. I guess I'm just doomed to this hellish existence for all eternity. Hartley's right, there's no point in fighting back anymore… no one will find me. I guess I'll spend the rest of my life as his little pet… Never to be with the team again… or Uncle Barry… or Aunt Iris… I'll never spend another holiday at home. Or race with Uncle Barry. Or go to the movies with Robin and Roy. Or… anything…
Hartley's going to take everything from me…
I –I can't let him win! Not like this, not without a fight!
"N-no…" I managed to say quietly, but it was so jumbled I doubt Hartley could even understand me.
"Is something the matter little one?" Hartley asked me, chuckling. "Are you having trouble falling asleep? Do you want me to play you a lullaby?"
"No!" I snapped, somehow finding the strength to speak up. "Never again… I-I won't give into you!"
"Bad choice brat," Hartley growled at me.
He's probably right, but at this point I don't care anymore. If I'm going down… I won't go down without a fight!
And maybe Uncle Barry will come save me…
Before I had the chance to snap at him again I found myself pinned to the ground again, staring up at my attacker.
"Fine!" Hartley snapped at me. "If you're not going to be a good boy and go back under on your own –then I'm just gonna have to FORCE you back under!"
"Then I'll just have to fight back harder!" I snapped back at him.
Hartley smirked at me. "Good luck fighting back against this…" Hartley sneered at he pulled out a flute. "Game over Wally. I've tried to be patient with you but you keep defying me. Now you've left me with no other choice than to break your mind."
My eyes widened in shock. I opened my mouth to ask him if he meant what I thought he meant, but before I could get a word out my ears were filled with a piercing sound that forced its way into my head. I felt it trying to wrap its way around me, just like the last time –but unlike last time it seemed to want to do much more than just cover my mind…
It wanted to shatter it.
I tried to fight back, and that made it hurt worse.
It was as though a thousand daggers were being slammed into my mind, trying to cut it into tiny unrecognisable pieces.
He was… serious. He was really going to destroy my mind!
I tried to move my body, but I was paralyzed by fear and pain.
I can't win…
It wrapped tighter around my mind, covering more ground. I can't hold it back any longer… He's won. In a matter of seconds my mind will be completely crushed and all that will be left of me will be an empty shell for Hartley to mold to his will.
But for a speedster, a matter of seconds is a long time.
Enough time for a miracle.
No sooner did I finally lose my grip, did I feel a pair of strong arms lift me up and cover my ears protectively.
The music stopped, replaced by yelling that I could no longer make out. Sounds that I couldn't understand filled my ears…
I shakily opened my eyes. My vision was still blurry as ever, but I could see what was directly in front of me… "Uncle… Barry?" I asked so softly I doubt anyone could hear me.
My uncle looked down at me and smiled. "Hey kiddo," he said gently.
I smiled weakly back at him. I-I was finally safe… Uncle Barry's here. Hartley was wrong, someone did save me in time.
This was my final thought before I finally passed out…
Mist: Bet ya didn't think he was gonna make it there for a second!
Whistle: He certainly did have quite a few close calls.
Mist: I'm just glad I'm done… Now all I have to do is write the epilogue and it's over…
Whistle: Hopefully you'll have less trouble writing that, then writing this.
Mist: for the sake of all our sanities, I agree.
Both: PLEASE review!