rating/genre: (PG-13 for now) - angst, drama, romance
warnings: slash, het, angst, sexual content (eventually), language
summary: Batman realizes Flash is having trouble dealing with the changes within the League. (Slash) Don't like don't read.
comments/disclaimers: I don't own, just going to torture them a bit.
It felt late. According to Wally's digital clock it was only 10 at night but it felt much, much later than that. He wondered, for the first time in two years, exactly what time zone Batman used when setting the clocks on board the Watchtower. Because, it had to be later than 10 pm. Well, he was sure it was 10 pm somewhere on Earth, just not in Keystone City. Probably 3 in the morning there. Or at least that was what Wally's brain was telling him.
He had read once that your body has an internal clock that just knows what time it is. That's why you get sleepy around the same time every night and seem to wake up around the same time every morning. He never believed that before, but now he was starting to wonder. He briefly considered asking Batman about it... but that would involve talking to Batman.
Wally flopped back down on his bed, instantly, he regretted doing so. The moment his head touched down on the pillows his brain exploded. He'd had his super zippy ass handed to him last mission. He had just been discharged from medical in fact. Okay discharged may not be the right word for getting up and walking out when all the staff wasn't around.
He glanced up at his clock again, it was now 10:01. Wow, a whole minute, he thought to himself bitterly. Boredom was setting in hard, but there was nothing to do, which only made it worse.
Getting a workout in was out; Diana had trashed the training room... again. Parts were due to be delivered in the morning. Plus he was injured, last thing he needed or wanted was a speech from Superman about knowing his limits and other assorted take-better-care-of-yourself-Wally stuff.
He'd already raided the Mess Hall; stole, and consumed, a gallon of John's prized whitehouse cherry ice cream. He was certain John would kill him in the morning for that one.
He hated times like this. He was exhausted but not sleepy. He'd managed to slow himself down to normal speed, but everything still felt too slow.
After leafing through yet another magazine Wally craned his neck to look at the clock, it was now 10:03 pm.
"Damnit," Wally cursed the clock. The clock declined to respond, formally, but Wally could have sworn it was snickering at him.
"Okay, I need to do something other than lay here, I am getting loopy. Clocks don't laugh at you... everyone else does," the self-deprecating comment caught Wally off guard for a moment. Yeah, he needed to get out of the room before his dressers and other furniture started dancing and a tea cup that looked like Angela Lansbury began singing to him.
As Wally got off of his bed, he took a good look around his quarters. For the first time in a very long time his room was neat and clean. He'd cleaned it two days ago. Even dragged Diana in to see it, like some getty teenager trying to rack up brownie points with his mother before asking for a raise in his allowance.
He could go and bother John. John wouldn't mind, he never minds. Which is weird. Wally couldn't figure him out most of the time. He loved the old surly marine, definitely, but he wasn't completely sure why John would willing tolerate him. John was a cape and a cowl away from being Batman. Why would someone as mature and together as John want to spend large chunks of time with a speed freak kid like him? Did he miss Shayera so much that any redhead would do? Not fair, John probably just likes him.
Remember, Wally chimes to himself, they all did go insane when you died in that other universe.
And what the hell was with all these... people on the station? Before Shayera left/got booted it was only the seven of them. Everyone took turns doing station chores. Batman, John and Shayera usually dealt with the computers and structural stuff while the rest of them did everything else. And yes watching Superman load a dish washer, dressed in tights and a cape, is a surreal experience. Now there were all these people, support staff Batman calls them, running around. Are they paid? If so, who pays them? And where's my check, damnit? Wally bemoaned to himself.
Living college scholarship rebate check to college scholarship rebate check wasn't easy. You only got paid twice a year that way and you have to do all this planning in order to make the money last and cover the bills. He managed, though.
Wally looked over at the clock, 10:04. "Shessh!"
By 10:06 Wally was dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and his infamous cookie monster slippers and headed for John's room. Maybe John had a movie he hadn't seen. Maybe not. They had pretty much ransacked each others' collections over the years and saw anything new immediately. Still, watching a movie with John was more fun than watching it alone.
Wally reached John's door, the Green Lantern symbol was proudly etched on it at eye level. He raised his fist to knock...
"He's on a mission," the sudden appearance of that oh so familiar icy voice made Wally want to jump out of his skin. Visibly shaken, Wally turned to him. He drew breath to say thank you but Batman spoke again, "You belong in medical."
"I am good," Wally said, a little surprised by what sounded like concern coming from Batman. Wally had always gotten the impression that Batman loathed him, tolerating him only because of what he contributed to the team. Maybe that was the reason for the concern, no other real speedsters on the team.
"No you're not, report to medical now," Batman ordered in a threatening tone.
"I am fine. Thanks for letting me know about John." Wally turned away and started off down the hall. He took exactly three steps before becoming so dizzy that his legs gave out. When the world stopped spinning Wally found himself in Batman's arms in front of the door that lead to medical.
"Does this mean you like me?" Wally asked looking up at Batman. He didn't get a reply. The door hissed open and Batman strutted in like he wasn't carrying a fully grown man that weighted 175 pounds in his arms.
It only took a second for Batman to realize that the place was deserted. Which explained how Wally managed to leave. Unacceptable. He made a mental note to terminate the night medical staff.
Batman entered the first cubicle on his right, then gingerly placed Wally on the observation bed. Suddenly, the darkened space blinked and hummed to life. Wally's weight on the mattress was enough to activate the monitors, lighting and other medical equipment. "Lay back," Batman whispered.
Wally did as he was told this time. But he had to know how Batman knew, "How'd you..."
"Before John left he said you were getting restless down here. He figured you might leave when no one was paying attention. He asked if I would keep an eye on you until he got back." Wally wanted to nod his understanding but thought better of it. His head was killing him. Batman was checking the monitors when he added, "Besides, John will appreciate that I kept you alive so he can kill you himself."
"Shit," Wally groaned. Shit. The ice cream. He was so dead. Wait a minute... "When did John come down and talk to me?" Wally asked. He had no memory of that conversation. Batman's reply came in the form of a thoughtful glance. A glance that let Wally know whatever thoughts his question triggered, in Batman's brain, weren't exactly good ones.
Batman was silent for a long stretch of time as he checked Wally. He poked and prodded him with the same annoyingly methodical methods the doctor had used earlier. Wally didn't complain this time though. Complaining to a doctor about his bedside manner was one thing, complaining to Batman about anything was just... well suicidal.
Batman stepped out of the cubicle for a moment and Wally followed him with his eyes until he noticed a clock on the wall, it was 10:22 pm. He had to laugh, all this shit had gone done in the span of sixteen minutes. It was confirmed, this was going to be a long night.
"Something funny?" Batman asked from across the room. Wally could see him flipping through a chart.
"Yes," Wally said tiredly, "this is going to be the longest night of my life."
"Because it already is. I feel like it should be like 3:30 in the morning or something but it's only 10:30... not even that yet," Wally smiled, perfect time to ask about the time zone thing. "By the way, what time zone do you use to set the clock around here?"
Wally looked up in time to see Batman return, cape swirling, to the cubicle. He stood there for a moment watching Wally. "Wally, what day of the week is it?"
Stupid question, "Thursday."
"No, it's Saturday, Wally."
"WHAT?!?" Now that was just bullshit.
"You were down here for the better part of two days. John has been gone a day. He said you were awake but a little flighty when he came to see you before..."
"Hedidn'tcometoseeme," Wally hammered out nervously as he struggled to sit up right, "youguysdroppedmehereandandand...," his mind went blank.
Batman placed surprisingly gentle hands on Wally's shoulders and eased him back down onto the mattress. The kid was vibrating slightly, a sure sign he was scared. Batman couldn't blame him, he was missing time, whole days.
According to his chart, Wally had been diagnosed with a reasonably mild concussion. But if the man was missing time, Batman was sure his concussion was much worse than the doctors had diagnosed. Again, unacceptable. He made a mental note to replace the day shift as well.
"Wally, stop, take a deep breath," Batman said as gently as he could manage without slipping into Bruce. Wally stared at him, confused for a moment, then eased back. "Now, you should be fine, but I need you to stay in medical for the night. You need rest, I don't want you walking around. Understand?"
"Yes," Wally shot back quickly.
"I set the system to run some tests on you. I don't think you're in any danger."
Batman got a heavy blanket from the cabinet next to the cubicle and then tucked Wally in. The younger man had to smile. He never knew Batman could be like this. Nice, sort of.
"You need to eat. You aren't healing as quickly as you should be able to, considering your metabolism, because you haven't eaten in almost three days. I'll bring you something."
Wally's reply was soft and almost inaudible. Batman lowered the lights in the cubicle and turned the volume down on the monitoring equipment before leaving.
He returned a half hour later, 10:57 pm.
Placing the plate he'd prepared on a nearby serving tray, Batman moved to Wally's side. The young man had drifted off to sleep. Batman allowed himself a rare and real smile as he watched him sleep. No teeth, just the corners of his mouth easing up.
In sleep, Wally looked like a child. It's easy to picture him as an angel-faced but mischievous 10 year old running around causing all kinds of trouble. Batman also imagined the kid's smile or his infamous puppy dog eyes getting him out of whatever punishment all his misbehavior should have earned him. John and Diana fell for his tactics often.
Wally was painfully young, only 19, but he had been 17 when the League first formed. Batman had been leery about someone his age being involved in something as serious as the League, his childish behavior didn't help either. Both Tim and Dick were years younger than Wally had been when they assumed their roles as Batman's assistant, but they were far more mature than Wally had ever been. But Wally had proven himself, time and again, worth his position within the League. And as much as Batman hated to admit it, even to himself, the kid was the glue that held the team together. Or at least the core seven...six members.
Batman knew that Wally saw the League as his family. With his parents AWOL for most of his life and both his Uncle Barry, the original Flash, and his Aunt Iris dead it's no wonder he would fixate on the team. But it also helped that everyone seemed eager to play the roles he'd assigned them without him even having to ask. John and Shayera, happily assumed the roles of mother and father. While Diana and Clark filled the roles of big sister and brother. With grandpa J'onn bringing up the rear. So, Batman wondered, where did that leave him? The spooky uncle, maybe?
He and Flash were not close and that was by design. He didn't need another liability; Tim, Dick, Alfred and Barbara were enough. The last thing he needed was another person to lose. But to be honest he already knew losing Wally would hurt, terribly. The Justice Lord's Batman was proof of that.
It was better to keep all of them, including and especially Wally, at arms length though. He knew the kid more feared him than respected him and that was fine. When no one else could get the boy to do what needed to be done, a simple glare or growl from Batman would straighten him out instantly.
Still, Batman had this... want... desire, to have Wally look at him the same way he looks at John. Wally respected John, liked John, would move heaven and earth for John. Not even Tim looked at Batman that way. His wards were as suspicious of Batman as he was of them. They cared for each other but his relationships with them was... different... difficult.
Wally and John's relationship reminded Batman of... of his own relationship with his father before he was murdered. John was always loving and indulgent while managing not to spoil him. And Wally was thriving off the attention. Batman wonders what would have happened to Wally if John had gotten that transfer to Oa he requested. Had John even thought about the kid when he put in the request?
"Wally," Batman said loud enough to wake him but not scare him.
Wally flinched a bit but didn't open his eyes, "Huh?"
"Wake up. You need to eat."
Wally's strawberry blonde lashes fluttered then parted as he woke. He looked over at the plate and muttered, "Gross, vegetables."
"Eat," Batman wasn't even close to mad at the kid but he flexed his voice as if he were. It got the desired effect. Wally sat upright, albeit slowly, and ate. Batman stood right there. He was fairly certain Wally won't toss the vegetables but there was that paranoid part of his brain telling him to stay put, just in case.
Wally attacked the broccoli first, which Batman heaved on the plate in large quantities. Then he ripped into the two baked potatoes and the steak sirloin tips swimming in gravy. Oddly enough he saved the glass of orange juice for last. Having finished his dinner, Wally reclined back patting his puffed mid section. "Wow, you can cook?"
"Leftovers, from yesterday," Batman corrected. Wally was about to say that chicken had been served in the Mess Hall yesterday but remembered that he had missed the real yesterday. His yesterday was two or so days ago. Confusing? Yes.
"Am I ever going to get those two days back?" Wally asked as he hunkered back down and under the covers.
"Doubtful, but anything is possible," Batman replied. "Rest, I'll check back with you in a few hours. If you need anything press the red button next to your bed."
"Okay," Wally whispered, sounding for all the world like a little kid home from school with the flu.
Batman watched him settle down. Turning, Batman began to leave but Wally's soft "Batman," stopped him in his tracks.
"Thanks... for everything."
"You're welcome, Wally."
The time... 12:00 am.
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