Disclaimer- I do not own Young Justice. If I did, I wouldn't have to write this.
Okay so... this just happened the other night; my muse attacked me in the shower and then I rushed to get out and write this. IDK. I guess this has turned into a series of "fix-it" oneshots? I've already got another that I need to finish and intend to put here so... yeah.
Nights like tonight make Barry question his career choices. The whole lab is quietly subdued, but none more than Barry Allen. No one asks him why he's taking it so much harder, and he's glad because he isn't up to offering the information.
He runs his fingers through his blond hair and departs, digging his keys out of his coat pocket as he sloshes through the pouring rain to his vehicle. The entire drive home is a blur, for his mind is a million miles away, back with the body that will soon be in the hands of the autopsy lab.
He had saved her.
Red hair, porcelain skin, a freckle or two on her nose. Ice blue eyes.
He looked right into those eyes as the Flash. He saw the fear and then the hope in those eyes as he set her safely out of the way of one of his foes. He told her to follow the crowd out of the area and that he hoped she'd have a safe rest of the day.
Apparently she hadn't.
And Flash hadn't been there to save her from the bullet.
Barry rubs at his eyes, idling at a stoplight. They itch, are wetter than usual, and he digs his thumb and forefinger into them painfully. He's not sure what he had hoped would happen, but all he accomplishes is squeezing a small tear out and making spots dance before his vision.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. And it never hurts less.
But this time it hurts so much more potently, because for the past few weeks, every dead body is Wallace Rudolph West.
Three weeks. Three weeks and it still hurts.
He hadn't been fast enough to save his own damn nephew. Who was he kidding, trying to keep this charade up? He couldn't save anyone anymore.
He was losing his touch.
His eyes are dry by the time he gets home, and even the sight of a very pregnant Iris running(waddling at a fast pace, rather) towards him, grin lighting up her face, eyes shining, cell phone clutched in her hand does little to lift his mood. Her excitement fades as she takes in his bloodshot eyes.
"Babe, is everything okay?" she asks in concern, stepping toward him. Barry shrugs off his wet jacket and digs his digits into his sockets again, shaking his head and holding up a hand as he does so.
"I just... it happened again," he says, voice hollow. He doesn't even need to explain, because she knows. She gently lays her cell phone down on the table and pulls him to her, and he bends to her height, hugging her as much as he can around her swollen belly.
"Oh, Barry, I'm so sorry," she murmurs, her fingers running through his hair. He blinks and a few tears escape again.
"Another Wally," he laughs bitterly. "Another person the Flash just couldn't get to in time. Maybe I'm losing my touch."
"Babe..." she chides quietly; Barry rarely gets so low, and it hurts her to see him this way. He doesn't answer, just squeezes her a little tighter, placing his forehead on her shoulder, and for a while they just sway back and forth together on the spot, her fingers curling in the hair at his nape.
"I was thinking, Iris..." he begins quietly.
"Actually, Barry, I need to tell you—"
"I was thinking we could name one of the twins after Wally—"
Barry pulls away from her, brows furrowed.
"Artemis? Is there something wrong?" He asks because it's been awhile since they last talked with the poor girl; they had comforted her in any way they could, comforted each other, really. But Artemis had gone completely silent in the last week. Barry wonders if something bad has happened.
But that wonder fades as the smile returns to Iris's face, and her eyes shine again.
"Barry, it's Wally. He came back."
The speedster's brain short circuits.
Iris laughs, a genuine laugh, the first he's heard from her since Wally's death. It does things to his heart, warming it from the inside out, as if a small flame has just been reignited there. He loves the things she does to him.
"Wally's alive, Barry! Artemis called a few minutes before you got home."
Barry can't believe this. He has to be dreaming.
"But... how!?" he splutters, eyes widening, heart pounding; this can't be real. "I saw him go, Iris! I saw him go, he was right beside me and then he was... he was gone!"
Tears have escaped down Iris's cheeks by this point, but they're happy.
"I heard his voice, Barry. He was with her, she put him on. They haven't figured out what happened yet but he's here!" the reporter tells him happily, throwing her arms back around him for a much happier hug. Barry returns it, his own laughter belting out. He's not sure if this is some sick dream, but he's going to live it out even if it is, even for this one glorious moment of happiness. Iris pulls away and holds out her cell phone. "They wanted to talk to you, but I told them you were still at work. Call them back, right now."
She didn't have to tell him twice. Fingers shaking as he scrolls through the contacts, he selects Artemis's and lets it ring, Iris standing with her hands over her mouth and tears still glistening in her eyes. He pulls her close to his side as he waits.
"Artemis?" he asks as soon as the phone clicks, voice quavering. And he's never in his life been so happy to hear that woman's husky voice rasping back at him from across the line.
"He came back in a flash," she chokes out. And for the first time in weeks, it's with laughter instead of sorrow. The phone must be on speaker between them, because the next voice is not Artemis's. Barry nearly collapses to his knees when another voice filters in over the phone, strong and deep.
"Hey, uncle Barry. Sorry it took me so long."
I just wondered if Barry had ever saved anyone as Flash, then found their dead bodies as a civilian CSI. I'm so morbid.