The Young Justice: Animated Anonymous Fic Meme



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Dashing through the Store (Repost)

(Anonymous)
From part two (http://community.livejournal.com/yj_anon_meme/1399.html?thread=2856823)

Kid Flash's the newest thief in town. Dashing in and dashing out, he's the epitome of "cool" thief, and even had Robin-hood like episodes.

Young Justice's mission? Find him, catch him, and see if they can turn him to the side of good.

Your task, should you choose to accept it: Foe yay between thief!Kid Flash and Young Justice. All of it.




BONUS POINTS for fedora's and saxaphones, like a 1930's gangster.

More bonus points for including the feeling behind this song that a very lovely anon linked me to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Msg8ypnLqaw

Re: Dashing through the Store (Repost)

This was already an amazing prompt, and I was gonna second the SHIT out of it, and then you linked to the Baccano op, and I was like "HOLY SHIT EVEN MORE WIN!!"

Yesssss! Because if Wally's not the Flash's sidekick, he'd have to have a totally different outfit. Like a fedora, oh yeah.

The New Kid On the Block, Part i, 0/31

(Anonymous)
Couldn't work in a sax or the 1930s mood, but consider this my claim to the prompt.

- -

A person's first impression lasts the longest. A first impression establishes a crook's reputation, and having a good rep—or a bad one, admittedly—is half the fun of villainy.

Which makes the new kid's sudden appearance a little unnerving. He's quick, quiet, and sometimes you don't even notice he's there until he's long gone, and the jobs he pulls are just the same. Quiet. And Captain Cold isn't even sure how long the guy's been working in this town.

There's a new player in Central City, and no one knows anything about him.

- -

writeranon (Anonymous) Expand

The New Kid On the Block, Part i, 1/31

(Anonymous)
- -

Let's rewind a few days, back to the day Captain Cold first realized there was a new kid working the area.

”Everybody freeze.”

It started off with a normal mid-afternoon robbery at Jackson's Jewelers, and so far it had been going fairly well, by Captain Cold's standards—and by fairly well, he meant that the Flash hadn't arrived yet, and the situation overall was under control, with all workers and customers gathered in the front of the shop where he could keep an eye on them and make sure the police wasn't going to be alerted of the robbery.

He walked further in the store, his cold guns raised as he inspected the people he had gathered in the middle, all well-dressed upper class citizens who had the common sense and cowardice to sit quietly as the robbery commenced.

“Hmph.” This was going to be an easy job. Cold lifted the gun up higher to the ceiling to freeze the cameras before any could get a good shot of him—with his signature ice technology, there really wasn't much point in concealing his identity, but it was the principle of the thing—only to find that the camera domes nestled in the corners of the store were already shattered and broken.

Surprised, Captain Cold looked at the people huddled in the center of the store. Someone had obviously intended to hit this store before he had arrived, but no one had panicked until he came in here, cold guns smoking. Either someone had gotten to the store before he did and no one noticed that they had been robbed, or Cold had the bad luck to have hit a jewelry store at the exact same store as someone else. And as slim as the odds should've been, Cold wouldn't put it past chance to pull a fast one on him. Sometimes it seemed like the less likely something should happen, the more likely it would happen.

Captain Cold glanced down at the jewelry cases, all of them still full and decided, yep, reality was a bitch. Someone was hitting Jackson's Jewelers the same time he was, and that was a bitch move too, because no one made a big hit in this town without some form of coordination with their fellow criminals.

As soon as Cold came to this conclusion, his suspicions were confirmed as all the glass of the jewelry cases shattered as a whirlwind passed through. He covered his face instinctively at the sound of breaking glass—because a villain could never be sure whether or not they were about to get stabbed in the face—but it was apparently unnecessary. There was no attack on him, and he looked up to see another man, his inadvertent rival, standing before him, head tilted forward and hands obscuring his face.

“Huh.” The stranger lifting his eyes to meet Cold's.

Cold had mistaken this man for just another customer, dressed in a a waistcoat, a fedora and trousers. Now, with a mask obscuring his features, he was a bit more recognizable as either a new superhero about to get in Cold's way or fellow supervillain, also about to get in Cold's way.

He eyed Cold with what may have been a calculating expression, but with the eye holes of the domino mask whited out, it was hard to tell.

“Didn't expect company.”

The New Kid On the Block, 2/31

(Anonymous)
“Who are you?” Cold demanded, pointing his ice guns at the man.

“Seriously?” he asked. “You really expect me to answer that?”

He had a point.

Cold eyed the broken glass on the floor. With this kind of unnecessary collateral damage, he was pretty sure this guy was a crook like himself.

“Central City is full,” Cold told him, determined not to let this new guy one-up him. “We don't have room for any new costumed criminal.”

“Well unfortunately, I'm stuck here for the next few years, so someone's going to have to make room,” he replied. “Because if no one does...”

“You making a threat?” he asked the stranger. “Because I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm the one holding a gun in your face.”

“I'm just saying, I'm here to stay, and if no one makes room, there will be some serious toe-stomping around here until I can leave,” he said, looking completely unintimidated as he stared down the barrel of Captain Cold's cold gun.

“Stay out of the way,” Cold warned him. Central City was Rogue territory, and until this guy got himself a rep and introduced himself properly to them, he was just another young upstart intruder.

“Sir yes sir, Cap'n,” he said, tipping his hat to Cold in a mocking manner. “I'll be getting out of your hair then.”

He lifted the jacket that he had been holding, folded against his forearms and shook out pieces of glass that had gotten caught in the creases, and it was then that he had realized that there hadn't been any secret weapon, no kind of special equipment that had created the whirlwind force strong enough to break the jewelry case. This guy had broken it with his jacket wrapped around his arm, and he had done it so fast that Captain Cold hadn't even registered what he'd done.

And if he was fast enough to do that...

Cold looked down at the jewelry cases, realizing that they weren't just broken. They were empty. And in that moment spared to look away, the new guy had taken the opportunity to make himself scarce, just as he said he would, and Cold caught a glimpse of his running form, a blur of white and gray, outside the window as he disappeared.

Son of a...

Well, at least this one wasn't as bad the Flash, not as quick and certainly not as heroic. Though, like the Flash, it seemed his appearance had derailed his plans. It was supposed to have been a simple smash and grab.

Well, with the diamonds gone, he might as well salvage what he could from the situation. He pointed his gun at one of the workers in the store. “You! Open this safe!”

He hated speedsters.

- -

Meant to upload these two together...

The New Kid On the Block, 3/31

(Anonymous)
- -

There were certain patterns when it came to being a criminal Central City, one of them being that if you wanted to make a real career in crime, you hang out at Rick's. It's the bar where all the Rogues frequented and, like any other wise business move, where all the black market dealers set up shop too.

If you wanted connections, you went to Rick's. Period.

Captain Cold was telling the other Rogues about the business at the jeweler's, keeping an eye on both exits of the bar for the new kid's appearance, though he had a gut feeling that running into him a second time wasn't going to be so easy. After the incident, he had kept his ears close to the ground for any sort of rumors and hadn't heard a thing about this new guy, not even a name.

“So? Any of this ring a bell?” he asked the other guys at the bar. “Anyone know who he is?”

“Beats me,” Captain Boomerang shrugged over his pint. “But the way you describe his attitude and his speed, sounds like the Flash to me. You know, if the Flash were a criminal.”

They all paused, imagining the kind of competition they would have if the Flash was a criminal, and brushed the thought off. That hero didn't have it in him to do something like that. But still, if he did, the competition would probably still be pretty awful.

“Well, criminal or not, this guy needs to show some respect for tradition,” Weather Wizard said. “There are rules. Someone's gotta sort this guy out.”

Central's Rogues might not be all buddy-buddy with each other, but they had enough respect for each others work to, say, give a heads up about a job to avoid running smack into each other and ruining the other's operation.

“I thought he might show up here,” Cold muttered.

“It could be a while before he shows up,” Captain Boomerang said.

“Yeah, but how many speedsters do you know actually have the patience to take things slow?” he said.

“But how many speedsters do you know are criminals?” the Mirror Master asked. “This one doesn't fit the typical profile.”

“Or maybe...” Captain Cold looked around the bar room, making a mental headcount. He knew almost everyone here by name, but it took him a few moments to take into account who was here, who wasn't, and who should've been. “Maybe he's just a little more careful. Where's Nicky Jr.?”

The Rogues glanced around the bar room, looking for the black market jeweler who wasn't in his usual booth by the window. Even when he wasn't making a sale, he was almost always here at the same place and the same time. Except when he had a private meeting.

“I'm gonna check this out,” Cold said, finishing his beer and leaving money at the bar.

“Why don't you just wait for the guy to show up himself? If he's going to end up making a nuisance of himself, he's gonna show up on his own eventually,” the Pied Piper said.

“Normally, I'd agree with you, Hartley, but if this guy's anything like the Flash, he's going to be zipping all over town like he owns the place, and if he's a real crook, that means he's going to be edging in on our turf.”

And they would not have that.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 4/31

(Anonymous)
- -

Tracking down Nicky Jr. wasn't real hard. As skeevy as the guy could sometimes be, he followed an unexpectedly strict schedule. If he wasn't at the bar, he was almost definitely hanging around Carhartt and Holcomb avenue, Nick's usual alternative when his contacts didn't want to be seen associating with convicts and criminals.

Carhartt and Holcomb was the site of Nick's more legitimate business, a pawn shop, which was usually managed by a store assistant or something. Except on days Nick's more lucrative customers came calling, in which case the dealer usually handled that side of the business himself. Cold approached carefully from the side and peeked inside through the glass window to see he was right. The thief in the hat and suit was in there talking with Nick.

“Are you blind, old man?” the thief asked. “The necklace and bracelet alone are worth a thousand. I'm not going any lower than two thousand for all of this.”

“I know you've got a whole trove more of this. I'll pay you a fifteen hundred for everything on the table.”

“Oh come on!” he said frustratedly.

“Care to introduce me to your new friend, Nicky?” he asked the marketer. Nicky started at the sound of Cold's voice and started sweeping the diamonds under the counter, but the thief grabbed his wrist. The few pieces of jewelry that had fallen behind the counter were already in the thief's hand.

“Let's keep things up front and honest,” he tsked, firmly sliding the goods back in between them. “I don't want to tempt you.”

“Sorry, sorry, but I am an honest criminal with no intention of driving away a client like yourself,” Nick said. He turned to Captain Cold and smiled. “Len. Surprised to see you here. You got business with me?”

“I had business with him,” Cold said. “I did a job at Jackson's, and this kid got in my way.”

I got in the way?” the new guy repeated. “I was there first. I already smashed the cameras, and nobody even noticed what was going on until you came in, guns blazing.”

“I worked this town first, newbie. I was here first,” he said stubbornly. “And if you cross the Rogues in this town, you're gonna regret it.”

“You'll have to catch me first,” the thief said, and he turned back to face Nicky, rudely grabbing the money off the counter and counting off a thousand dollars for himself. “Tell-you-what-I'll-give-you-all-this-as-a-sign-of-friendship-and-we'll-do-business-again-another-time,” he said, words tumbling out of his mouth so quickly both of the older men could barely understand him, other than the clearly audible “see ya” when he left.

HEY,” Captain Cold shouted when the thief—definitely abso-fucking-lutely a kid—darted past him, snatching the sunglasses off his face on the way out with a shout of “souvenir!” and a cocky laugh. “Gah... what're you doing business with an amateur like that for, Nicky?” he grumbled as he took the stool in front of the counter.

“Getting rich, of course,” Nick said, holding up a bracelet in the life. “I really have to thank you for your timing, you just shaved two-thirds off his price. What's your beef with the kid? Aside from the Jackson's incident, of course. Coulda been an honest mistake, Len.”

“It's a mistake he would've avoided if he followed the rules,” Cold said. “We've got a code here in Central. A code that keeps us from turning this place into a shithole like Gotham. Anyone who wants to work a big job here has to pass inspection from the Rogues first. It's tradition.”

“Hah, I don't know much about him, but I do know that he is not gonna just go up and introduce himself to ya,” the broker said. “Kid ain't focused on the money, he's focused on not getting caught. You saw how he folded for a thousand when you came in here. Priority number one is getting away clean.”

“What else you can tell me about him?” Cold asked.

“Not much. He's young, that's for sure. May've come from Blue Valley a few weeks or months ago, if his MO's still 'run and leave without a trace'. And for all his recklessness, he's pretty paranoid. Wouldn't even give me a name or way to contact him. Really, that's all I can say.”

“That's it?”

“Well...” Nicky paused. “Kid's got a snazzy hat.”

- -

writer!anon (Anonymous) Expand
writer!anon (Anonymous) Expand
Re: writer!anon (Anonymous) Expand
writer!anon (Anonymous) Expand

The New Kid On the Block, 5/31

(Anonymous)
- -

Wally let out a deep breath. He was pretty sure it wasn't just a coincidence that Captain Cold had wandered into the Nick's pawn shop while he'd been there, even though he was sure he hadn't been tracked. Really, how many people could track him down on foot?

Paranoid, Wally patted himself down, wondering if he was going to find any bugs hidden in his clothes. But that wasn't Captain Cold's schtick, right? Finding nothing and starting to draw the attention of the people around him, Wally continued walking.

He needed a suitcase. Or a laptop bag, since those were more common for kids his age. Something he could carry his things in, because there was only so much his pockets could hold, and he could use a spare change of clothes in case he needed a quick disguise.

A thousand bucks. Wally frowned. He totally ripped himself off on that one, but at least selling the handful of jewelry would probably ensure a good working relationship in the future, and he still had plenty more where that had come from. Plus, he really didn't want to spend any more time than necessary with the Flash's enemies because, duh, they were the Flash's enemies, and Wally was pretty sure they would put anyone even remotely related to the Flash on their shit list. And Wally was a little more than remotely related to him.

Not to mention, the more time spent mingling with the Flash's enemies, friendly or not, the more likely he was to draw the attention of the Flash, which Wally would really prefer to avoid.

The fact that Captain Cold had managed to follow him to the jewelry dealer left him on edge, and he circled around town a few times just to make sure no one was tailing him, and once he felt secure enough and checked himself a fourth time for some sort of tracer, he jogged down a familiar alleyway, making a little running jump to run up a few feet against the wall and snag the bottom rung of the fire escape.

The people around here weren't entirely unused to people sneaking up and down the rung. Mostly kids, sneaking out of their rooms to go out to parties, but Wally had established a pretty good reputation around here since he'd first moved in a few weeks ago, thanks to his mom who had already been living here for a few years, and he didn't want anyone to think he was that kind of kid.

Quietly, he climbed the seven stories of fire escape, pulling out his keychain and unlocking the window to his bedroom and stepped inside, careful not to knock over the lamp that stood next to his desk.

Making sure his door was still locked as he had left it, Wally emptied his pockets of their contents and sorted them out, separating the various pieces of jewelry he hadn't pawned off yet from the folded cash.

And, of course, there was Captain Cold's sunglasses. Heh. Wally put them on. “Revenge is a dish best served... on ice,” he said, imitating the villain's deeper voice and holding up his thumb and index fingers like a gun before bursting into a fit of quiet laughter.


The New Kid On the Block, 6/31

(Anonymous)
“Wally? Are you laughing by yourself?” his mom asked from out in the living room.

“No, Mom!” he called, shoving the glasses into one of his shelves and hiding the money and jewelry in various board game boxes kept in the back of his closet. By the time his mom walked down the hallway to check on her son, his door was unlocked, all signs of his work was neatly hidden away, and he had already put his suit away to change into the t-shirt and shorts he was more recognizable as Wally West in.

“I was coughing,” he said, sitting at his desk with his textbooks and homework laid out in front of him.

“I'll get you some water,” she said.

“No, I'm good, Mom—” he said, but she had already left to get it for him.

The past few weeks had been spent adjusting to a new home schedule, marking down and calculating the times his mother came home from work, when she took naps or went to bed, and how long she watched television. It wouldn't do for her to find out her son was sneaking out of the house, after all.

He set down his pen, looking down at the journal he had pulled out at random, which had, coincidentally, been the the very first one where he had began keeping all his personal notes in, the very first entry marking the moment he had decided to focus on the chemical experiment that had created the Flash. The first draft of that experiment alone had used up a majority of the notebook.

'I should burn it, he thought to himself. Get rid of it, shred it, make sure no one can ever copy it...

It was a thought that ran through his head every day. A fear that someone might find his things, make a connection between him and the currently nameless thief, copy his experiment and use it to hurt people.

But as he held the journal in his hands, he knew he wouldn't be able to bring himself to let it go. All his work—proof of his very first accomplishments, proof that he was more than his dad said he would be—was in this room. Wally flipped through the pages, feeling vague bits of nostalgia as he looked through his notes from five years ago, noting small errors in his past observations and experiments—the experiment hadn't been perfect, probably wasn't completely identical to the original one that had created the Flash.

He wondered if he'd ever get to be as fast as the Flash and smiled wistfully, putting his old notes away, hiding them among his school work.

A kid could dream.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 7/31

(Anonymous)
Sorry it's a little late today, but yay, three updates?

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Even though, before moving to Central City, he only got to see her about once a year, Aunt Iris was still (a little sadly) one of the the best friends he ever had, and now that he had moved, it seemed his aunt was determined to make up for lost time.

“How was school?” Aunt Iris asked. They were eating at a small cafe downtown. Technically, it was Wally's second lunch that day, but she didn't really need to know that.

“Boooring,” Wally said. “The one bright moment of my day? Sitting through one of my midterms. Yeah. I like taking tests better than sitting through my lectures, that's how boring it is.”

“Aw, poor baby,” Aunt Iris sighed, patting his shoulder with false sympathy. “It must be so hard, knowing the material so well that you can ace your tests even while lectures put you to sleep.”

“It is hard,” Wally said in the whiniest voice he could.

She laughed. “Are you at least making any friends here?”

Wally rolled his eyes. “You sound like my mom,” he said sarcastically.

“Oh really?” she asked.

Not really, but it sounded like a mom-like thing to say. After moving back in with his mom, trying to reconnect had been... awkward. She was honestly trying hard to act like a mother again, and he like a son, but the conversations were strained and little interaction they had throughout the day was lacking.

“Yeah, anyway, I don't have time for that kind of stuff,” he said. It was true. Technically he had plenty of free time, but not free time he could use, if that made any sense. If he wanted to keep avoiding the Flash, he'd need to keep his schedule flexible and free.

Aunt Iris frowned. “You're missing out,” she said, shaking her head, as if she were honestly disturbed by this news. “I really don't think you're getting the college experience.”

“What college experience? You mean getting drunk in dorms and running around naked on campus?” Wally asked.

“That's exactly what I mean,” she nodded wisely. “It's a rite of passage to becoming a fully fledged adult.”

“I'll pass. Is that how you met Uncle Barry?” he joked. Aunt Iris took a bite out of her mashed potatoes and resolutely did not answer the question. Wally glanced up at the clock on the wall.

“Leaving for work soon?”

“Chester doesn't care what time I get there, so long as I get all the packages delivered,” Wally shrugged.

“You need a car,” Aunt Iris commented with a frown on her face. “It won't be fun riding a bike in bad weather.”

“It's still summer,” Wally shrugged. “Nice weather so far. Besides, I'll need money, and then a car.”

“You and your mom know Barry and I will always be willing to lend you a bit of money if you need it,” she said to him, a conversation topic she always tried to work into every day they had lunch.

“Mom's alright now,” Wally said, a little defensively. “And delivering packages might not sound fun, but it's not that bad, and it pays alright too.” Not to mention Wally's night job, which paid loads better, but he couldn't exactly explain the appearance of his money. It was hard to explain his new wallet and cell phone to his mom.

“Well, at least let me pay for my poor nephew's lunch,” Aunt Iris said, rolling her eyes a little, though she was proud of him. He and his mother never accepted any of the money she offered. They were an honest pair.

Wally always guiltily found his aunt's assumptions about him both flattering and hilariously wrong, but let her pull out her purse because the logical side of him knows that someone who makes the amount of money he was supposed to wouldn't be able to afford to go out for lunch so often.

But the moment the purse is out, Wally heard a crack and a boom and before anyone else has even had a chance to look up, he was grabbing his aunt and pulling her underneath the table as a large boomerang spun over their heads and into the far side of the wall, showering them with dust and debris.

The New Kid On the Block, 8/31

(Anonymous)
“Captain Boomerang...” Wally muttered under his breath, cursing his luck. There was something wrong with Central City. Really. The odds that he would run into another criminal so soon after meeting Captain Cold were supposed to be practically inconsequential. “What're the odds?”

“In Central City? Not as low as you'd think,” Aunt Iris said excitedly, pulling a video recorder out of her purse. “Hold this steady for me.”

“Seriously, Aunt Iris? Are you serious?” Wally hissed as his aunt crawled a little closer to the counter and readjusted her hair.

“This is Iris West-Allen reporting from The Coffee Grounds, a Central City cafe, where Captain Boomerang has just arrived, presumably to cash in on this coffee shop's recent success,” his aunt reported, managing to keep a straight face despite the expression on Wally's face, which was practically screaming, 'oh god, everyone in Central is clearly insane'.

“What do you mean it's empty?” Captain Boomerang bellowed. “Check it again!”

“Sir, there aren't many places in a cash register that money can be hidden—checking again,” the waiter said, his voice rising a few octaves as the villain held a boomerang of questionable effect up to his throat. “It... it really is empty. I don't know how, but it is.”

Wally guiltily glanced at his backpack that rested on the back of his chair, a little heavier with the contents he had emptied from the cash register. It had been an impulsive grab, one he couldn't resist, when he had excused himself from the table earlier to go to the bathroom and saw one of the waiters open the cash register beside him with devilish timing.

“In a unique twist, the cash register has turned up empty...” Aunt Iris reported, and even though she kept a straight face, Wally was pretty sure she was biting back a smile at the crook's misfortune.

“That kid again...” Captain Boomerang muttered angrily under his breath before skimming the rest of the coffee shop. “Everyone, purses and wallets now!”

Wally eyed his backpack. There was no way he could just give it up—Captain Boomerang would remember him as the kid in the coffee shop who had hit the store before he did, could recognize him if he ran into him later—his school ID was in there too. But not giving it up... it would draw unwanted attention to himself as well.

But his troubles were solved with the arrival of two blindingly colored blurs, a pair of red and yellow costumed heroes.

“First,” the younger one announced, dressed in a form-fitting yellow costume. Really form fitting. Show-off.

“Nuh uh, sorry, but I was here first,” Flash—oh god it was the Flash—corrected. “I beat you by, like, a whole second.”

“Prove it!”

As Flash and his sidekick bickered over who cheated and who had a headstart on the other, Wally frantically ducked his head. He wasn't in costume, but he did have a backpack full of money that didn't belong to him and oh god the Flash was going to catch him with it.

“Flash!” Captain Boomerang said with a grin on his face, and Wally kind of had to wonder if the man was completely dense because there was no way he had a chance of beating the Flash alone, let alone with his sidekick for support. “You're a little late to the party. Someone beat us both to the—”

It was, with great irony and relish, that the Flash's sidekick interrupted him in mid-sentence with a punch.

The New Kid On the Block, 8/31

(Anonymous)
“Hey!” Flash said, appearing behind Captain Boomerang to catch the man. “We're going to have to talk about you keep cutting off guys in mid-banter. How would you feel if someone kept doing that to you—?”

“I don't banter, Flash,” his sidekick said exasperatedly. Technically partner now, Wally surmised. Wally had been following the stories: Flash had been working with this metahuman for several years now, too long to just be considered a sidekick. “What're you looking at...?” he asked as Flash's attention was caught elsewhere. “Oh.” He couldn't see Zoom's eyes under the tinted glass, but Wally was pretty sure he was rolling his eyes.

Iris waved at Flash with a smile on her face.

“Iris West!” he said cheerfully, zipping over to her and leaving Captain Boomerang's unconscious body for his partner to deal with. “Well if it isn't my favorite reporter. Care for an exclusive interview? A private exclusive interview?” he asked with a smirk on his face.

“It's Iris West-Allen, now. I'm married, Flash,” she said, smiling back at him.

“Mister Allen doesn't ever have to know,” he wiggled his eyebrows at her.

Wally was torn between groaning at the exchange or to just continue staring at the Flash, who was so close now. Closer than he had ever been to Wally. In costume, anyway. There was always Uncle Barry's wedding, where he had figured out that his uncle was the Flash by the end of the reception, but that hardly count, because he wasn't a criminal at the time.

He wondered if he was making strange faces at the two of them flirting with each other, because Iris laughed and changed the subject. “Flash, this is my nephew, Wally,” she introduced them, and Flash shook Wally's hand. Holy damn, he was shaking hands with the Flash.

“He's been your fan as long as I could remember. I think he's had at least five years' of birthday cakes dedicated to you,” she said.

Aunt Iris...” he groaned, mortified even though his uncle already knew he was a huge fan. “I'm turning this off!” He closed the video recorder, finishing the small segment with Flash and his aunt laughing together.

“Pleased to meet you,” Flash said, a note of restraint in his voice as if there was a joke hidden in there. Wally was pretty sure he knew what it was, though he didn't say anything. “I don't suppose you're a big fan of my partner too? He could use a bit more popularity. Hard for him to compete with a superhero as awesome as me.”

“Hi,” the younger hero said, extending a hand on cue. “I'm—”

“Zoom,” Wally said. He shook the hero's hand and showed his teeth. “I know. Flash's partner for five years. The serious one of you two.”

“That's me,” Zoom said, his straight face breaking. He looked a little flattered that Wally knew this, though Wally had never really been a fan of Zoom. After all, he was supposed to be Flash's partner. The Flash was the reason he got his powers.

But Zoom was a good superhero, talented, supposedly almost as fast as the Flash himself. Incredibly quick, Wally thought, feeling disappointed. Definitely faster than Wally, and he didn't even seem to be running at full speed.

“He likes you,” Iris comfortingly tried to assure him as Flash and Zoom left at an impossible speed for Wally, mistaking the reason for her nephew's slumped shoulders and wistful expression. Of course he does. The Flash was married to Aunt Iris, and if Aunt Iris wanted you to like people, you liked them, no questions asked, no faces made.

“Yeah, I know,” Wally said, picking up his backpack as other occupants of the cafe left as quickly as they could, determinedly trying to ignore the supercriminal tied up for the police. “You'd have to be a pretty terrible person for him to not like you.”

The contents of his backpack were heavy with his textbooks and his mask and his money. He would've given it all up for a chance to be where Zoom was now.

- -

That's right, guys. Zoom is the Flash's freaking sidekick. (Zoom, not Professor Zoom, though, because that would be insane.) What do you think?

The New Kid On the Block, 10/31

(Anonymous)
- -

“The kid's got no sense of boundaries,” Captain Boomerang complained over drinks with the other Rogues. “We stick to our own territory, we pull off our jobs without bumping heads, but that kid? Stealing on our territory is stealing from us.”

“It ain't right,” Heatwave said. “Nobody steals from the Rogues.”

“Nicky says the kid hasn't been turning up,” Captain Cold said. “And that he probably won't until I stop checking up on him.”

“Pity he doesn't stay around long enough for a chat,” Captain Boomerang said threateningly, rubbing his knuckles against the palm of his other hand in a threatening manner.

“Yeah...” the Pied Piper sighed, considerably less menacingly. “Pity.”

“What's with the sigh?” Cold asked, and Piper looked at them all in surprise.

“Nothing.” The youngest and newest member of the Rogues shrugged, mostly lost in his own thoughts as he swirled his drink around in his glass. “Just thinking.”

The other Rogues rolled their eyes. They all had their suspicions about Hartley, but it was an elephant in the room that they would've rather just left alone. Taste in company aside, the budding criminal wasn't so bad to hang out with, and the trick with his flute was pretty useful.

“Say,” a man said, approaching the area that the Rogues occupied. “Who's this kid that's got you guys all up in arms?”

“If we knew who he was, we wouldn't just be calling him 'that kid',” Captain Cold said. “He's just some punk who came out of nowhere. We're having a hard time... persuading him to leave.”

“Any chance this kid might be a speedster from Nebraska?”

“Definitely a speedster,” Cold said, “and I heard some things about Nebraska. Blue Valley?”

“That's the guy I'm looking for,” the man said, pulling up a chair in spite of the unwelcoming glares he was receiving. Still, they were too curious about what this man had to say to chase him off. “Got caught robbing a Blue Valley Bank a few months back and has laid low ever since. And by 'got caught', I mean as in someone actually almost saw him, and by 'lay low ever since', I mean he's gone right back to not existing.”

“What's your beef with him?” Hartley asked.

“No beef, just business,” he said in a tone that put the Rogues on edge.

“You do plan on taking your business out of town, am I right?” Captain Cold said.

“To tell you the truth, I haven't planned that far ahead yet. All I really need from him is information,” he said. “Whether or not you see him again after I'm through with him depends on the information I get and how I get it.”

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 11/31

(Anonymous)
- -

“Mom?” Wally ducked his head inside the apartment and looked around to find his mom sitting at the kitchen table.

“You're home a little later than usual,” she commented, not looking up from her work.

“Delivery took a little longer than usual today,” Wally said, crossing pass the dinner table and heading straight for the kitchen. “And before that, I was at lunch with Aunt Iris and Captain Boomerang came and tried to rob the place, could you believe that?”

“Sounds like it was awful,” she said distractedly.

“Not really. Flash and Zoom came and stopped it,” he grinned as he opened the fridge and pulled out the milk carton. “Wasn't as cool as I thought it'd be, but I guess you can't really do anything really impressive when you're just fighting the Boomerang. I mean, it was two-on-one, so couldn't have expected them to go all out or anything.”

“Mm-hmm,” his mom nodded noncommittally, but Wally knew better than to try and press for further conversation while she was looking at the bills and headed towards his room with a glass of milk.

Kicking his door shut with the back of his heel, Wally set his milk on top of his dresser before dropping his backpack on the bed and dumping out its contents on the mattress.

Including the pockets picked the last week, it put him at a total of two thousand bucks, which, even though it wasn't close to what he could've made if he didn't have to worry about running into the Rogues or Flash, was pretty good for a college student. Satisfied with the week's work, Wally finished up his drink and jumped on his bed, going through the food he had brought in his backpack.

Sports drinks and energy bars. Wally wasn't sure what he would do if he ever got tired of them. Drumming his fingers against his knee as he chewed on one of the bars, he skimmed his textbooks. He already finished reading the two semesters' worth of material for most classes.

...God.

Aunt Iris was right. He needed friends.

Wally glanced at his reflection in the full length mirror, watching himself from across the room, and got up to stand in front of it.

He wasn't bad looking in civilian clothes. Ginger jokes aside, he was – in his own modest, humble, unbiased opinion – a pretty good looking guy. Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and running sneakers, he really did look like any other first-year college student. His stride, his posture, and even his facial expressions were absolutely ordinary – perfect for passing himself off as an ordinary person.

It was just when he opened his mouth that he had a problem.

Whatever was wrong, it was all in his head. Literally. Wally was all advanced sciences, corny jokes, hero-worship, sci-fi jokes, and fanboyish tendencies and, combined with his ten second attention span, nobody could follow him. No, nobody wanted to follow him – he always had enough time between sentences to make sure they followed a logical order, easy for normal people to follow if they wanted to.

Finger tapping impatiently against the side of his leg, he threw off his Wally West's clothes and changed into his thief's attire, slacks and a simple button up shirt with a waistcoat worn on top, along with the occasional jacket on cooler days.

And despite the impatience he had shown when throwing on his clothes, Wally combed his hair back and placed his hat on his head with more special care. It was the last and the most important addition to the illusion of Wally West, thief extraordinaire, covering his messy red hair and drawing attention away from his face.

The thief was cool. Didn't speak unless spoken to, and when spoken to, always had something smart to say. It was easy to have some witty remark when you had to pick and choose. Otherwise, he'd just keep running on and on from topic to topic. He had a collected yet stylish surface that hid Wally like a calm ocean surface could belie violent tides underneath. Except in this scenario, there wasn't anything exceptionally dangerous about what was underneath, just an embarrassingly dorky and sometimes anal retentive personality.

Yeah. Wally made a better thief than he did a normal person.


The New Kid On the Block, 12/31

(Anonymous)
“I am slick,” he said, holding the domino mask over his face to give himself a quick look-over. He jumped at the sound of a tricorder going off – his Star Trek ring tone – on his bed, and caught the mask that he had accidentally thrown up in the air. By the second ring, he had his thief attire on hangers in the back of his closet and was dressed in a t-shirt and boxers as he picked up the phone to find a text message from his father.

“Huh. Weird.”

He and Rudy hadn't ever really been on talking terms, considering the awkwardness that ensured the custody battle between Wally's parents. A month after he had moved out of the house and into Central, he had actually found himself wondering if his father had even noticed any difference. He'd mostly been left up to his own devices, which made Wally's descent into robbery considerably easier to hide.

Dad: Hi.

Wally frowned and texted back his response, wondering if maybe he accidentally had someone else's number saved under his dad's name.

Wally: Dad?
Dad: This is right nmber right?
Dad: Wally?


Wally stared at the screen for a moment before responding.

Wally: Yeah, what's up. Something wrong?
Dad: Nothing. Jst saying hi. Ur not here. Quiet now.


He frowned, feeling marginally guilty about that. He didn't really dislike his father, but living with him after the divorce had been like living with a stranger. Admittedly, it was an improvement compared to living with him and mom before the divorce, but still.

Dad: How is school? Making frnds?
Wally: It's alright. And you sound like Aunt Iris.
Dad: What, not ur mother?
Wally: Nah, mom's usually busy. She got new job.
Dad: Nice 2 hear.


That didn't sound like his dad.

Dad: About time.
Dad: I guess.


There they go.

Dad: How is Central? Meet Flash yet?
Wally: Yeah, I did. Today. He stopped a robbery.
Dad: Was it awesome?


Wally laughed at his dad's phrasing. He'd never heard his dad use the word 'awesome', like, ever.

Wally: It was adequate. Bringing his A-game against a B-list is overkill.
Dad: No kill like overkill. Maybe next time?
Wally: lol... Hopefully.
Dad: Wally, that is morbid.
Wally: What? You started it.
Dad: I did not raise barbarian. Creative pic though.


Wally paused, taking a moment to try and understand what his father was saying before smacking his palm against his forehead.

Wally: lol = laugh out loud. Not man drowning.
Dad: Oh. Oops. Well I loled out loud 2.
Wally: You're doing it wrong!
Dad: No u.


Wally grinned at his phone. He didn't remember the last time he ever had an actual conversation with his father. In fact, he didn't remember many conversations with him at all. Wally thought about his mom, on the other side of the door. She loved him more than his dad did, Wally had always been pretty sure. But in the two years that they'd been apart, there hadn't been much of a happy tearful reunion, just a hug and a smile and the start of many future awkward silences between the two of them.

So what did it say that, after only a few months away from Blue Valley, his father could just text him out of the blue and start a conversation more fun than anything he'd said to his mother in years?

He laid back on his bed with a thoughtful expression on his face. It was wholly unexpected, but for the first time in ages, if ever, he wanted his dad.

- -

Before any of you guys actually complain about my portrayal against the elderly and technology, my parents text me sometimes. And they do talk like that. I will admit it is weird though.

The New Kid On the Block, 13/31

(Anonymous)
- -

Wally had never really enjoyed shopping before he got his powers. Seeing everything you wanted but couldn't have sometimes put a damper on the mood. But superspeed made just taking what you wanted so easy, and nowadays, he had enough money in his pocket to just buy what he wanted if the thrill of the theft ever wore off.

But it didn't, so shopping was easy and fun and, most importantly, free. Well, except when he paid for his suits. He had the feeling that most clothing stores looked down on kids who walk in wearing worn out t-shirts and ragged jeans, so it was always a great pleasure to see the looks on their faces when he paid for tailor-made suits in cash.

It wasn't as if he was a hero or anything—he didn't have to worry about being some kind of role model for kids to look up to so, really, he could afford to throw a little money around or take part in the five-finger discount.

Wally was convincing himself that his suit needed a pair of cufflinks at a small-time jewelers at the mall, playing with the Flash insignia between his fingers when he heard boom echo outside of the store. Wally immediately pocketed the Flash cufflinks and ran out of the store to see the commotion and found Zoom wrestling with the Top by the fountain. Over the fountain. In the fountain, now.

Oh jeez, he was running into them everywhere.

Other people were running around back and forth, trying to make for the exit, but tops littered the floor like tiny spinning land mines, which Wally eyed warily. He'd heard of this guy, but couldn't ever manage to take a man named the Top seriously until now, as he watched a shopper attempt to carefully walk around a top, only for it to go off and cover the surrounding area in presumable noxious fumes.

Well with Zoom and Top occupying the other, Wally lifted the front of his shirt and ran for the civilian, sprinting at an easy but quick pace and dragging the collapsed man away from the gas.

Tear gas, definitely some kind of tear gas, Wally thought, feeling his eyes water and skin redden, but with his limited exposure and rapid healing, his skin almost immediately cooled once he was a safe distance away.

“Aaah...” Wally glanced at the hero and villain battling each other. Wasn't really much of a battle, with the Top dunking Zoom's head under the fountain water with almost childish spite, but he really looked like he could probably use some help.

Not from a thief, though. Wally liked the anonymity.

He ran forward, only slightly faster than what was natural, and as soon as he was in distance, he jumped up and slammed his feet into the Top's face before running off away from the fountain. He heard the Top sputter and swear as he hit the water. Wally looked over his shoulder, knowing either the Top would chase after him and leave an opening for Zoom to get him or that the Top would dismiss him as a civilian one-hit wonder and return his attention back to Zoom, in which case, Wally could just go back for a second round.

The Top might've been about to choose the former, turning to look at Wally, when Zoom shot out of the water and dragged the Top down in his place, knocking the villain down and stomping his head down for into the water after that with a little more vindictive pleasure than Wally thought appropriate for asuperhero but... oh well. He hadn't been the one getting strangled under dirty fountain water, so he couldn't say anything.

With the Top subdued, Wally saw Zoom staring at him from the fountain and gave him a little wave before leaving.

Wally walked out of the mall, with a spring in his step and a suspiciously heavy jingle in his backpack.

Oh yeah, Wally mentally congratulated himself, as he pocketed one of the Top's tops as a souvenir for the day. He had snatched the Top's stolen goods right in front of Zoom's nose. He was awesome.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 14/31

(Anonymous)
- -

“I saw his face,” Roscoe Dillon groaned. “It had to be the Kid. No one here moves that face in this town beside Flash and Zoom and now this guy.”

“What'd he look like, Top?” Captain Boomerang said.

“I don't know,” he grumbled. “Kid moved too fast, and by the time he stopped, he was too far to get a good look at and Zoom was scraping my face at the bottom of a water fountain.”

“Did you see anything useful?” the man from the other day asked. Robert, he said his name was, but he wasn't going to give them anything more than that.

“Was a redhead,” the Top shrugged. “Not much other than that.”

“Say, shouldn't you, you know, be chasing that kid out of our town already?” Heatwave asked "Robert" irritably. He hadn't ran into the infamous Kid himself yet, but he didn't look forward to it either, because the only thing worse than running into the Flash and Zoom was managing to escape from them only to find yourselves empty-handed from the job by an unaligned speedster brat.

“This is me bring productive,” Robert said, knocking back another drink. He held his phone up and gave it a little shake. “Sorting things out right now.”

“What's on there?” one of the men at the bar asked, reading for the cell phone to see what the man was doing, but Robert pulled it away.

“Nuh-uh, that's mine,” Robert said.

“You know, that never stopped us Rogues,” Captain Boomerang said menacingly as he and the other Rogues began to convene on the man.

“Come on, people,” Captain Cold said loudly, noticing two men and a woman off in the corner tense the moment the Rogues moved. A blue costumed trio, and while he was suspicious of Robert's motives and methods, it wasn't worth starting a brawl between him and those three strangers. “It's not worth a peak at someone's cell phone. Leave it and have a drink. I think we're all a bit tense today.”

The Rogues backed off, realizing the logic in Cold's words.

“So what're you thinking?” Captain Boomerang said. “About how you gonna deal with the kid and all.”

“Yeah,” the Top said. “I mean, I don't know if you've actually noticed, but a speedster on the move isn't exactly easy to keep up with, let alone catch.”

“Of course,” he said. “I have an easier plan.”

“Gonna share with the class?” Captain Boomerang asked.

“Well,” Robert said. “I'm going to knock on his door. And he's going to let me in his house.”

“That's it?”

“That's it.”

- -

I was actually a little unsure about calling him Robert, but as I was writing, I had trouble saying "he" and "the stranger" the entire time, so in the end I just called him Robert. Now, I'm just going to sit here and worry if this is too big a clue, but at the same time wonder if anyone knows who this is now. And also worry that someone might give it away. But at the same time hope someone does figure it out anyway. *sits and continues to argue with myself*

Oh, also, finals are coming up soon. I was already posting the story faster than I could write it, which was killing my buffer, and since I'll have less time to write, I MIGHT be slowing down the posts to every other day until I'm done.

The New Kid On the Block, 15/31

(Anonymous)
- -

Mary knew her son was home the moment she heard the door open and rearranged the envelopes in front of her in an attempt to make things look a little less disorderly.

“How was your day, Wally?” she asked absently, as he walked into the kitchen area, setting his things on the counter between them. When he headed straight for the fridge, Mary closed her eyes and wanted to wince. She'd forgotten to buy groceries.

“Eh. Met a guy today,” he said, discreetly closing the refrigerator door without saying anything and foregoing his usual after school snack for a glass of water.

“A friend?”

“Sorta,” Wally said.

“That's nice...” Mary said tiredly, rubbing a hand against her forehead to release the stress headache that had been building up for a while these past few days.

“He's a teacher's assistant from my psychology class. He's Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris's friend too. Uncle Barry got him an internship at the CCPD as an assistant criminal profiler, which is pretty cool. He's cool. We met up after class. I'm pretty sure Aunt Iris put him up to it. But for a glorified undercover babysitter, he's alright...”

She nodded along with his conversation absentmindedly, not realizing he had stopped talking until the usual silence began to set in again, and Mary looked over her shoulder to see Wally on his toes, looking over the counter at the bills that were on the table. Mary started shifting the papers around again; it looked worse when everything was all over the place, like every electric and water company was trying to get in front of the other to get their payment first.

Wally was still quiet when he walked up next to her at the table pulled out his wallet – was that a new wallet? – and started pulling out folds of bills, so many that Mary's jaw dropped.

“What...? Wally, what is all this?” she asked as he left the money on the table in front of her.

“It's about to be three months,” he told her, watching his mom count out the money, her face completely frozen and blank, other than her wide eyes. “Fifteen hundred dollars should be enough if I'm paying for half the rent.”

“Wally, you're my son,” Mary said, a tinge of frustration in her voice. “I will not going to charge you for rent—”

“I know you were almost late on the last payments, and we've been cutting back on food and electricity. Yeah. I noticed, Mom,” Wally interrupted, effectively silencing her. “And if it helps, don't think of me as your son.”

Mary couldn't say that the implications didn't sting a little, that Wally hadn't forgotten being left behind with his father after the divorce. She felt the urge to apologize and hug Wally and tell him she did want him, that he was her son and that she still loved him, but ignored it. She knew better than to think he would accept it.

But now another thought was beginning to rest heavily on her mind. A sinking feeling in her gut, stemming from what she didn't know. “...You don't make this much money delivering packages for Mr. Runk,” she said quietly.

“I know,” he shrugged, his expression not changing as he admitted this, and Mary felt her chest tighten a little. Something in her expression must've given her inner doubts away, because Wally smiled and gave her this awkward one-armed hug that eased her thoughts, and she couldn't believe she needed this so badly from her own son. It was the mother's job to take care of her child. “Don't worry, Mom, it's not like that,” he said. “I've been working since I was thirteen, and I've barely spent a single dime of it on anything. I saved up a lot. Like, a lot.”

Mary smiled, returning Wally's hug. He was nothing like his father, and she couldn't believe she just about to accuse her son of being involved in some sort of dark and underhanded business.

Wally is a good and honest boy.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 16/31

(Anonymous)
- -

He hates to say it, but Wally's psychology TA is, in fact by far one of the coolest guys Wally's ever met. In fact he's pretty sure it's physically impossible not to be cool with a name like Hunter Zolomon, who might work as a TA but is about to start an internship as the police's Department of Metahuman Hostilities, a position Hunter said was given to him thanks to Wally's Uncle Barry.

Not to mention, he was pretty sure Hunter was Zoom.

And Wally is pretty grateful for the friendship. Aside from the fact it brought him closer to Flash and Zoom and gave him a somewhat inside view as to what the pair were doing, Wally's psychology lectures put him to sleep, as lectures tend to do, and it helps to have a friend who knows his onions.

“Honestly,” Hunter said to him after class, “I do think you have ADD. Maybe ADHD, but we'd really only be able to tell if you actually got scheduled an appointment with a doctor for once.”

Wally rolled his eyes as he unwrapped his sandwich. Other students passed by to head to their next classes, but Wally and Hunter had an hour and a half gap between their own classes and took their lunch breaks together. “Total waste of money.”

“Is not,” Hunter insisted between bites. He doesn't eat as much as Wally in one sitting, and since Aunt Iris often teased Uncle Barry for how much his uncle ate, Wally's pretty sure that means he and Uncle Barry had similar powers and Hunter, curiously, did not. “Medication makes everything better. Scientific fact.”

“What's better than perfect?” Wally asked, pulling out his check-riddled exam for Hunter to see. “Nothing. Scientific fact.”

Hunter let out an appreciative whistle. “Perfect score?” he asked. “Nice. I hated chemistry.”

“It is also another little known fact that I am a scientific genius,” Wally nodded.

“Of course, when it comes to understanding people, the great Wally West is the definition of socially awkward,” he said.

“I'll have you know, when I'm in the groove, I am the slickest thing on two feet,” Wally said. And technically it was the truth, even though he doubted Hunter would ever recognize him when he was 'in the groove'. Nobody recognized Wally when he was working. Which was kind of the point.

“I'm going to have to challenge that claim,” Hunter grinned. He paused as his cell phone rang and gave Wally an apologetic smile as he cut their conversation short and picked up. “Hello? Yeah... Yeah, I can be there in, like, two minutes. Alright, see you there.”

“Work?” Wally said.

Hunter nodded as he gulped down the rest of the soup, spoon tossed back in his bag. “Yeah, sorry, I've got to run,” he said. Wally wanted to roll his eyes and wondered if the pun was a mistake or if even Hunter wasn't immune to the occasional corny joke. “See you later.”

Wally watched Hunter run off with his things, a little wistfully, before shaking his head. He couldn't be the Flash's sidekick anyway, not with Zoom already in that position and not without raising some questions as to what he'd been doing with his powers since he'd gotten them. His own life was good enough, and there were worse things than being a college student with super-speed and a steady, if not legitimate, flow of money.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 17/33

(Anonymous)
Wally West was a pretty cool kid.

Actually, no he wasn't. Not the kind of cool that meant he had a posse of friends following after him because he was such a people person, but he wasn't the scared “small town kid in the big city” that Iris had implied when she asked Hunter to chat Wally up – a request he politely skirted around, in fact. He was a superhero, he had a job, and now an internship, and he didn't have time to babysit some kid, even if it was his mentor's nephew.

Okay, so Zoom could make time. But it didn't mean he had wanted to.

On the other hand, Wally West had been at the mall the other day when Top went on the rampage and he had saved him. Yeah, so Zoom could've gotten out of the chokehold eventually, and 'eventually' for someone of his skills passed by pretty quickly by normal people's standards, but the kid had helped him out anyway, managing to distract Top long enough for Zoom to reverse their positions, beat him down, and send him off for the police to deal with.

Most people would've stayed out of the fight, ignored it in favor of their own personal safety. That was why people like the Flash and Hunter existed: they believed in justice and action and wouldn't stand idly as someone got hurt.

Even if he didn't have any powers, Wally had the mettle of a hero, which made his actions all the more admirable, he thought before deciding to approach the kid as Hunter Zolomon rather than Zoom. Hunter Zolomon, as gruff as that identity could be, could still have friends. Zoom, on the other hand, was far less people-friendly, especially when compared to his mentor.

And Wally, as he had found, was surprisingly friendlier than Iris had implied

“You made him sound like some kind of weirdo,” Hunter said to Iris as he, Iris, and Barry sat around the dinner table as he always did after finishing a mission with his team. “I mean he is, but not the socially off-putting kind that I hate.”

“You're such a swell guy,” Iris shook her head.

“I'm just saying, he's unexpectedly normal for a guy who spends his spare time studying particle physics for fun. Really smart. And a big Flash fan. He picked up electrochemistry years ago, just because he somehow heard about the Flash's experiment. Which, by the way, how did he know that?” Hunter asked Barry.

“Oh. Wow, I didn't realize he remembered that,” Barry said thoughtfully. He laughed and shook his head. “Way back when Iris was introducing me to her family, I really wanted to impress them, and while I got along with Mary and Rudy well enough, the kid seemed really unimpressed. Since Iris told me he was a big fan of the Flash, I told him I knew the Flash, and then he loved me.”

“You told him things about your secret identity?” Hunter said, disapprovingly of his mentor.

“He was seven, I didn't think he'd remember anything,” Barry shrugged. “Besides, I don't see the harm in inspiring a love of chemistry.”

“No harm? Sam Scudder invented trick mirrors that let him teleport to to other dimensions, fire laser blasts, and create 3D doppelgangers. Did he take advantage of its many practical applications to create profitable business that could better society? No, he called himself Mirror Master and became a petty thief. Hartley Rathaway? He's Beethoven with a flute and an extensive knowledge of sonic theories and sound-based sonic technology, but would apparently rather rob a bank rather than, oh, become a world-famous musician,” Hunter said and sighed. “The geniuses of our time are a little confused, priority-wise.”

“Are you saying Wally, of all people, is going to be a criminal?” Barry laughed. “Wally barely even takes lunch money from us. When he said he was moving down here for college, he wouldn't let his mom get him a car for graduation, so she got him a bike. And he paid her back. I'm not saying Wally's priorities aren't a little off, but there is no way he could ever have his heart set on crime.”

Barry was right, of course. Hunter shrugged. “I just mean that you never know what could happen when a smart kid like Wally gets his hands on a chemistry set.”


The New Kid On the Block, 18/33

(Anonymous)
“Well, I might've told him some of the basics of the experiment, but there wasn't anything in my lesson that anyone could've picked out, even if it was Wally. And believe me, the kid was insistent on getting the details. He kept asking me if I could replicate it but, you know, I was just Barry Allen at the time, and I wouldn't have done that even if I was showing him the experiment as Flash. Besides,” Barry said, “if he did get powers, it only means I get to invite him into this family. And I could use another sidekick.”

“What am I, a hobby?” his current sidekick asked crossly.

“Come on,” Barry said, “you're about to turn 22 in a few months. You've been fighting crime since you were eighteen, and you even have your own team. I think you've outgrown the 'sidekick' title years ago, Hunter. You were a real superhero the day you got your powers.”

Hunter didn't smile at that – because smiles weren't things he handed out very often, but he knew Barry could see the gratified expression in his eyes. He'd worked with Barry long enough for his mentor to recognize those looks easily. Still, he knew where this conversation was going, and regardless of the sincere flattery, he did not want to go there. “I know what you're going to say, and I've told you already,” he said apologetically. “I'm not ever going to be the Flash, Barry.”

“The Flash is a legacy name,” Barry said, a note of resignation in his voice. “I need to make sure there's someone who can wear the mantle after me.”

“The Flash is a speedster legacy,” he corrected. “You need to make sure there's a speedster who can wear the mantle after you. Which I'm not.”

Barry noticed the growing irritation in protege's voice. Zoom's ability to manipulate time made him potentially one of the most powerful metahumans on the planet, which he always felt made him more than worthy of the Flash legacy, but Hunter had, on more than on occasion, expressed his frustration that it just wasn't the same.

“Well then maybe we were onto something with Wally and my experiment,” Barry joked. “Think we can arrange a little chemical accident?”

“People do fall into vats of chemicals every other day,” Hunter said solemnly. “OSHA, eat your heart out.”

“If you two get my nephew killed, there will be no one to call themselves Flash because no one will ever find your bodies,” Iris warned them.

“So if he survives, it's okay, right?” Hunter asked before Iris got That Look on her face that generally signaled the end of a bad joke. “Okay. Well one Flash is better than no Flash. So I guess we're back to your lack of successors.”

“Which is, by the way, totally unfair,” Barry said. “There are billions of humans on earth, and no one else is having a life-changing chemical experiment that'll give them superspeed? Okay, I'll buy that. But how does the entire league have someone to carry on the name? I mean, even the last Kryptonian managed to get one. Maybe if I clone myself...”

“Well, if the experiment affected you on a genetic level, I guess,” Hunter said doubtfully.

“It might have—oh,” Barry said, looking shocked and then a little delighted. “Iris, Iris, do you want to have a baby?”

“...You want me to bear you a child just so you could have a sidekick with superspeed,” she said slowly.

“...No?”

“Eat your dinner, husband,” she ordered. “We'll work on babies later tonight.”

Barry pumped his fists in the air with a cheer, and Hunter cleared his throat uncomfortably.

“Excuse you.”

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 19/33

(Anonymous)
- -

Dad: I heard talk abt a special demonstration coming up in C.City today.
Wally: Yeah, Ace Chemicals made this lubrilon thing. Supposed to have lower friction than even teflon.
Dad: Sounds like something right up your alley. u going 2 go?
Wally: As much as I like chemistry, can't see a demonstration of low friction being too interesting.
Dad: Unless they used it for air hockey.
Wally: Whoa.
Wally: Best. Idea. Ever.


Leading a double life wasn't very hard with superspeed. Wally would know – his was a triple. There was his normal life, for one, where he spent it as Wally West the college student. Then there was the thief and pickpocket. And the third, Wally had recently come to realize, was the one with his father.

While he'd lost track of all the reasons his parents fought, all that mattered now was the fact that Wally knew better to mention his mom when he lived with his dad, and he didn't mention his dad now that he lived with his mom.

Things were simpler that way. He and his mom had a hard enough time talking without bringing his father up into the mix. Keeping her from finding out was simple enough, since he paid for his own phone bill now.

Wally put his phone away. He was done making small talk. He pressed his mask down against his face, making sure it stayed flat against his skin so it wouldn't fall loose. In action, he usually ran too fast for people to make out his presence, let alone his face, but there was no sense in taking risks.

It was a small neighborhood, gated community, low crime rate, had its own neighborhood watch. Flash didn't patrol this area very often, if at all. Not that it mattered. He wasn't planning on walking away with much.

He pulled out a stopwatch, a cheap one that he had picked up at a sports center on the way here – literally. He didn't see why a decent stopwatch should cost so much.

0:00'00"00

Wally ran up to the front door and with a quick look around to make sure no one was watching, he knelt down in front of the door, chewing on the edge of his lip. He inserted the tension wrench into the keyhole first before trying out the first rake. He felt around for the tumblers inside the lock, hearing little 'plinks' as they shifted around his lock picks. After several tries, Wally finally pulled back the rake and twisted the tension wrench and heard the lock click.

Success.

He twisted the door knob and pushed the door open, seeing the inside of the house. Wally checked his stopwatch.

0:08'42"22

Almost nine minutes. The edge of his mouth twitched slightly in irritation. He didn't have anyone to practice with and compare his time to, and, ever the overachiever, his results with this new kind of lock left him feeling rather dissatisfied. He was a speedster, and he wasn't breaking into simple school lockers anymore. The thief needed to up his game.

Wally shut the door without taking anything and glanced down the street at the row of houses, all of their occupants at school or work, ripe for the picking practice.

Luckily, he had plenty of places to practice.

- -

The New Kid On the Block, 20/33

(Anonymous)
- -

Wally was beginning to think he really needed a life.

Normally, he wouldn't have given his lifestyle a second thought, but the people of Central City were getting to his head. The fear of getting caught by the Flash had dulled, but it was still a conscious presence in the back of his mind whenever he walked around with his 'work attire', and now Hunter, damn him, had actually introduced him to some friends of his which, as well-meaning as it was, kind of felt like he was rubbing his awesome life and sexy friends in Wally's face.

Because, seriously, if he was like Hunter and had girls like Artemis and Megan within arm's reach of him, he'd be all over them. Seriously, they were total babes. And that wasn't even bringing up the other two guys. Between Dick, Conner, and the two girls, Hunter kept some pretty good looking company. Damn him.

How did a grumpy guy like him end up being friends with people like them anyway? Even from the limited but polite interaction he'd had with Hunter, he'd already figured that even though Hunter was nice enough as a person, he was pretty opinionated and sometimes a little harshly blunt.

The fact that Hunter had introduced Wally to his too-good-for-him friends just after Wally was privately celebrating reducing his lock picking time to a record of twenty-six seconds certainly didn't help. He definitely needed a life – or rather, less hobbies, more people.

“You know,” Wally said, holding up two fingers to block his view of Dick's face, “something about you looks really familiar.”

Dick coughed and adjusted his sunglasses, and the entire group looked rather uncomfortable. “Well, my dad is pretty well-known...” he said.

“Who's your dad?” he asked, but then he frowned, a speculative look in his eye. “Wait, I've seen you before—” His question got cut off by a ring tone.

“That's mine,” Hunter said quickly, picking up his cell phone. “Yeah? Yeah. ...Oh.”

A strange expression flickered across Hunter's face, so quickly Wally was sure no one other than him would've been able to notice it. Hunter glanced at Megan and the rest of his friends, and something about the mood of the entire group seemed to change, and Wally felt like there was some sort of loop and he was caught on the outside of it.

“Wally, we've got to go,” Hunter said. “Their bus home leaves soon.”

The rest of then nodded with the explanation before heading off in a hurry after Hunter.

It was on the way home that Wally got a phone call himself. Steering his bike to the side of the road, Wally pulled out his cell phone and saw who was calling.

“Uncle Barry?” Wally picked up, a little confused. He talked to Uncle Barry enough whenever he came over, but they never really spoke much over the phone.

“Kid?”

Wally frowned. He sounded out of breath. From running, probably, but how much running would he have been doing as the Flash to actually feel worn out?

“Yeah?”

“Sorry, I ah... don't take East Grey and Fifth home, okay?” Uncle Barry said. “In fact, stay away from those roads entirely. Streets away.”

“You called me to warn me about traffic?” Wally asked skeptically, almost certain there was something more to this than his uncle was telling him. “What's going on?”

“Rogues hit it, and things still look pretty bad. Iris reported it on TV,” he said, adding the last bit as an explanation as to how he got the news, though Wally was pretty sure his uncle had an even more personal source for information. “Major collateral damage, buildings are wrecked, and a lot of people are hurt... You can't come over here.”

“Uncle Barry, what's wrong?” Something wasn't right with the cautious, reserved way he was talking.

“We're still looking for your mom.”

- -

The other day, I backtracked and slipped what is now numbers 17 and 18 inside, shifting the chapter count up from 31 to 33 so that Hunter's later interactions with Barry don't feel as sudden. Thus we have four bits of fic rather than two. *swallows pride* Also, I have to admit I'm not very familiar with Zoom in the comics and was just going to hope no one says anything about my characterization but it just kept bothering me. Anyway, is there anyone here able and willing to give me a little insight on his character?

The New Kid On the Block, 21/33

(Anonymous)
- -

Hunter was first to arrive and immediately got to lifting up rubble that had fallen into the street from the surrounding buildings. Flash was already running everywhere, lifting what he could without causing damaged buildings from collapsing any further. The entire area of this part of downtown was down, windows shattered and buildings torn by the bricks, leaving the streets rough and a little difficult to run on.

“Your team?” Flash asked over his speakers, unwilling to waste even a moment to stop and talk to each other face to face.

“Miss Martian contacted Aqualad, who'll be coming soon. She, Artemis, Superboy, and Robin should also be on their way,” he answered.

“Good,” he said tersely, looking around. The part of his face visible under the mask looked unsettled, which was unlike Barry, who was always calm and unruffled by situations that would've left others in a state of panic.

“Something wrong?” Hunter asked.

“Other than the fact that so many people got hurt today?” Flash said, sounding a little angry. He pointed at a small blue car, parked by what was once a parking meter with its hood smashed in and lowered his voice. “That car belongs to Wally's mom. She works in this area.”

Hunter knew his mom worked somewhere in this part of town. He'd been hoping she'd avoided the catastrophe. He didn't know what Weather Wizard was thinking, striking in a public place like this one. There wasn't much money to be made, randomly setting tornadoes on this area. But Flash mentioned something, something about how he couldn't seem to control it. God they... the Rogues could be so irresponsible, those half-witted morons, and sometimes he wondered why people didn't settle for more permanent solutions, rather than simply throwing them in jail for them to escape only a few weeks later tops. They might as well put a revolving glass door in prison.

The rest of the team's arrival on site came as a relief. Superboy's strength and M'gann's telekinesis came as a huge help when it came to sifting through rubble to find people who'd been caught in the attack, and M'gann's telepathy was practically invaluable when it came to locating them.

While she spread out her range, M'gann felt another mind brush against hers, undeniably present but difficult to pinpoint.

Robin? she asked, forwarding the odd presence toward him.

“I'll go check it out,” he answered quickly. He and Artemis had been sifting through the rubble by hand. He felt mildly irresponsible, taking the first excuse to switch tasks, but they weren't in need of a team leader at the moment, and his extra pair of hands could be used elsewhere – perhaps finding out if this presence was a Rogue and then beating the tar out of him for all the people hurt today.

Dick disappeared the way he was taught to since he was nine, out of sight in one of the buildings, battered but stable, and darted out the other exit, sneaking from behind cars to see who it was. He caught his first glimpse of the stranger in the side mirror of one of the cars, a blur of dark gray and white.

Alarmed at the speed the object was moving, Dick ducked his head from behind the car and saw what it was once it came to a sudden stop, peaking in buildings and under cars. A man dressed in a suit – not a typical supervillain's suit, but an actual suit, sans the jacket and tie, though he wore a pin-striped fedora and a domino mask to cover his features. His sleeves were drawn up past his elbows, and his hands were dirty with grime and dust as he searched for people, carrying them out of buildings, laying them out on the street where is was at least somewhat safer.

The man – young, from what Dick could tell, maybe a little older than himself – looked up in alarm at the sound of Flash's voice, carrying across the ruined streets and ducked behind a car himself. After a few seconds of no movement, he stood back up and in doing so spotted Dick and froze.

Dick met his gaze head-on and didn't move a muscle in case this man took it as his cue to run and disappear. After that initial second of surprise, the stranger relaxed, cocking his head slightly to the side with a casual smile.

“...Oh,” he finally said, with a small laugh. “You're Robin. I knew you looked familiar.”

The New Kid On the Block, 22/33

(Anonymous)
“Who are you?” Dick asked.

“No one important,” he shook his head. “Not a Rogue, if you're wondering. But not a hero either.”

“Some people might say otherwise,” Dick said, nodding his head in the direction of the people he had laid out safely on the ground.

“Some people are just lucky. I'm looking for someone I know.”

Dick winced. “Sorry,” he said.

The stranger didn't say anything for a moment, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath to maintain his calm composure. “I'm not a hero,” he repeated out loud. As if he was telling himself this.

As if saying it out loud would make it true, Dick thought to himself, but he was pretty sure he understood what the man was trying to say. His wanted to stay out of the ongoing battle between heroes and villains. It was understandable – the fights could get pretty nasty sometimes.

“I get it. You're not interested in the fight,” Dick said, meeting his eyes. “So long as you stay that way, I won't tell anyone.”

“Not even the Justice League?” he asked, though for some reason, Dick was quite sure he meant the Flash in specific.

“Not a soul,” Dick promised. “Not until you come out and say it yourself anyway.”

Dick blinked, and the man was standing beside him.

'Almost as fast as Zoom...' he realized.

“Thanks, Dick,” he said into his ear.

Dick's eyes widened at the sound of his name. M'gann must've felt his alarm through the telepathic link, because a second later, the man was gone, and Zoom had arrived in his place.

“Something wrong, Robin?”

“I was worried for a moment,” Dick lied easily, kneeling besides an unconscious man. “Thought this guy didn't make it.”

Hunter looked at him, looking somewhat unconvinced – over the past three years of working with the Young Justice team, he had never known Dick to be squeamish – but shook his head and left, not interested enough to ask questions.

Dick raised his wrist-mounted display and brought up his GPS tracking system to make sure the tracer he had planted on the stranger was working properly. Dick watched on the screen as the metahuman blinked from block to block before turning it off.

Just in case of emergencies, Dick told himself, he would know where to find this guy.

- -

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