“So, you see – I had to do this, Lois. I had to do something as good as I’d done bad.”
Lois sat there, as did her husband Clark, and Bruce and Diana – and everyone else they could get to the Kent’s ranch home in under twenty minutes - which consisted of Jessica, Simon, Barry, Arthur, and even Mera, who’d begun helping them from time to time, as they watched the video play out in shocked silence. The moment she’d received the bloodied letter at the Daily Planet, she’d called Clark and he’d called Bruce, and now – now they were sitting at her sofa, staring at the DVD playback in horror. At what Wally had sent them, and the snippets he’d interjected from Sanctuary’s AI system.
“When do the confessions go live?” Bruce asked. “Can it be stopped?” Wally had, after showing all that, explained he planned to air the supposed private moments of various Heroes and Villians - while masked - some of their greatest secrets and weaknesses, evidence of what their lives had cost them.
“Should they be?” Diana suddenly murmured, drawing everyone’s attention, as Barry practically buzzed with electricity, telling Lois he was both participating in the conversation and using his innate speed to monitor the dark web for the Sanctuary confessions and try and figure out what the hell Wally had done. It didn’t escape her notice how upset he was becoming, a haggard drained look in his eyes. He was the only one of anyone present that really knew Wally.
Wally was – Lois hesitated to even finish thinking it. He was—there really wasn’t any words for what Wally was, other than broken.
“I think Wally is wanting to show the world that Heroes are just as susceptible as anyone else to having flaws or issues. Is that such a bad thing to share? Surely the world would relate, in a way, and think of us all as more…human.” Diana had paused on that last word, glancing between Clark and Bruce, both of whom said nothing in response.
“I can’t find where he’s going to deploy it from,” Barry finally commented, still buzzing with the flyaway sparks of the Speed Force he was accessing. “But, hell, from what he’s pretty much confessed to…” Barry shuddered, visibly upset at what Wally was airing to them – that he was damaged, broken possibly beyond repair, and had done things so inequitably heinous that he could no longer be considered a hero amongst the small group who had watched the DVD playback – continuing on despite the struggle it seemed to cost him, “I don’t know we’d find it. He’s managed outsmart both myself and Bruce, it seems, and I don’t think his confession or the tapes of the Sanctuary AI are fake. Those are real. What he did…is real. Was real…could have been real.”
Lois turned watching Simon tap something into a laptop, shaking his head slowly when the images came to life from the Justice League’s Watchtower systems. All supposed victims – alive and accounted for.
“Where is Wally now?” Murmured Clark, frowning faintly in a way Lois knew he was thinking the same thing she was.
“Don’t know,” responded Bruce, his voice tight – controlled – like it always was. Clark seemed to notice the undercurrent in Bruce’s tone, though, sensing Bruce was also concerned.
“We’ve got five minutes before the confessions air, if Wally is to be believed. What are our options?” Diana asked again, turning her head to peer around the room. Arthur and Mera said nothing, just holding hands, and for a moment Lois’ temper threatened to lash out. They’d admitted to never using Sanctuary, so of course they were the carefree members of this little tête-à-tête, but immediately chastised herself for thinking that. Of course they’d suffered, just like everyone had in this room at some point or another, and choosing to use (or not use) Sanctuary wasn’t on them. Simon was too busy murmuring something with Jessica over the keyboard, so she chose to fill the silence with something other than frustrated brooding.
“My vote is to let it air,” she murmured, watching the collective group in front of her go silent. She turned, eyeing Barry. “You knew him better than anyone, it seems, especially with how he shouldn’t even be here if the timeline and emergence of…them…could be believed. I can tell what Wally did after the…accident…has rocked you. Do you still trust him enough that whatever he’s going to release will help us or hinder us? Should we do something or let it be?”
Barry blinked, eyes briefly widening, eclipsing the growing look of shattered pain in his eyes. When he felt everyone’s gaze turn his way, he scrubbed a hand over his face, seemingly lost in thought, his eyes going distant for several seconds before refocusing on her. He nodded mutely. “I say let it air.”
Lois turned to Bruce, Diana, and Clark. All three seemed to wear warring expressions of anger, dismay, and reluctant agreement. Finally, they all seemed to speak as one. “Let it air.”
“For better or worse,” Diana murmured, nodding her head.
Sighing, Lois swiveled in her chair, turning the television on. Any moment now, Wally’s forced “confessions” would air – and the Justice League had just approved it to happen. Whatever happened next would be ground breaking – for better or worse, as Diana said.
“Good evening,” The news anchor began with a smile, the news just starting – then it cut out. Standing there, in front of the camera, was Wally. Thankfully, this time there was no blood, but he still looked grim and broken.
“My name is Wally West, and I—” He started, then stopped, his gaze unfocused, before returning sharply to the camera. “No, I can’t say that anymore, I suppose. So, today, in front of the world, I’m just Wally. I’ve been given abilities, you see – abilities and a sense of justice and honor that did, once upon a time, make me a hero.”
Lois stared, feeling tears crush her eyelids, as she watched Wally confess. He didn’t mention the murders, making the collective mood of the room ease, but he did air confession – after confession, after confession – of what Superheroes went through daily. The remorse, the bad choices, the unforgivable decisions, the moments of weakness, fear, loneliness, isolation, terror, bitterness, and loss.
Wally had, in a way, showed the world they were merely like everyone else – with demons they had to battle constantly, and sometimes lost to. Did that make them less of a hero, or merely normal in a world that was in a constant state of nearly tipping into chaos? Knowing what she had seen, what Wally had done during those five days no one could remember – except this man on the screen, who’d seen too much already – she found herself not able to honestly answer that.
Were some sins unforgivable? Were others overlooked because of deeds done before and after, or were some so heinous, they’d be the only defining moment for the entirety of your life? Wally was making her question that, and as she turned, watching the others stare, she began to wonder if they too were beginning to question that.
Suddenly, the takeover blipped back to the news anchor looking flustered. Barry tensed, eyes wide, a short scream ripping from his throat – then he was gone in a flash of lightening and static.
Lois sighed, closing her eyes, feeling tears roll, knowing what Barry would find. She felt Clark’s hand touch her shoulder, heard the others murmuring softly in words she couldn’t make out, even felt the heaviness of Bruce’s stoic stare on her – usually his only way of expressing concern.
Barry was back in under a minute, sobbing, staring into space, another bloody letter clutched to his chest. He didn’t have to say what he found, they already knew – the DVD playback already told them what they’d find.
The letter was short – I’m sorry, forgive me, but don’t forget me.
Lois swallowed shakily, asking Clark to hold her. He knelt, wrapping his arms around her waist, and tugged her into his lap. The others slowly began to leave, one by one (or in pairs, like Arthur and Mera), until all that was left was Clark, herself, and Bruce.
Bruce said nothing for the longest time, but finally stood, his eyes dark. Lois looked up, knowing he probably related more to Wally’s words than anyone else here. Still, she didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything at all, just watched him leave.
“Where do we go from here?” She asked her husband, who held her closer. He sighed, touching his forehead to hers.
“I don’t know, Lois.”