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Pataphysics

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Summary: Wally may hate John Stewart, but not as much as he hates himself.

Disclaimer: I only own the story.

Warning: Adult language/themes, needless teen angst, and a mixture of spoilers and things I made up.

A/N: I decided to combine my growing interest in Young Justice with my adoration of Bruce Timm’s Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. In this universe, John Stewart replaces Hal Jordan, I totally skipped over Kyle. Just because this fangirl said so (bare with me, I’m sorry!).

-0-0-0-

-0-0-0-

Wally knows his place, whether they were on the battlefield or at a family dinner (both were oddly similar). Despite the perks of being his uncle’s sidekick, things aren't as cool as they could be. Uncle Barry’s forever stuck in boy-scout-mode, like a blonde Superman without the ability to fly, so Wally can never really beat the bad guys. He can never really do anything around his uncle. Deep down, he knows doesn’t want to be ‘Kid Flash’ or ‘Wally West’; he wants to be the Flash. He wants everything Uncle Barry has, the fame, the respect, the kick ass Justice League membership. But Uncle Barry's not giving up his title anytime soon, just like Jay.

Thank God his uncle has so many cool friends, because meeting other superheroes is a great distraction. Wally tries not to freak out whenever he spots the Flash and Hal freakin’ Jordan hanging out. But, sometimes his life is too surreal and just plain awesome for his inner-fanboy to take.

Because, unlike most superheroes, Hal genuinely likes ‘Kid Flash’; his compliments about speed and endurance leave Wally feeling like he's not a retarded teenage superhero.

And Hal isn’t a complete asshole; headstrong, kinda like Wally, but with the added characteristic of earnestness.

Wally is most definitely not earnest.

He’d be in some deep shit if he was.

Sometimes he wants to scream about how out of place he feels. Since his little ‘accident’, the world’s become a slow, boring place. Wally feels trapped, misunderstood. But he keeps silent, about everything. Especially about the uncontrollable tremors that happen whenever he stays still too long, so he gets woken up from the brief hours of sleep he needs to function. And despite the brief cat-naps, school is becoming unbearable, he can barely keep himself from vibrating in public…

But whenever Hal’s around, the frustration numbs away, because Hal gets Wally, gets his pent up anger and dives headfirst into battle with him. The guy even laughs at his jokes! But, Hal Jordan’s only around when the Flash is there.

So Wally makes sure to patrol with his uncle as often as metahumanly possible.

-0-0-0-

-0-0-0-

When word of Hal’s inevitable departure for Oa reaches him, Wally doesn’t believe it, not even after Batman explains the situation to the team. So what if Hal was desperately needed by the Green Lantern Corps? And who the hell were these random guys called the ‘Guardians of the Universe’? But Wally knows whatever protests aching in his throat are better off not being spoken. It wasn’t like the Earth's going to be without a Green Lantern; they’ve got John Stewart, the other green glowing guy, and Wally never cared for Hal all that much anyway, right?

Right.

The team’s allowed in the Watchtower (for the first time ever) and it’s for Hal’s going-away-party. The miraculous moment of being beamed to the ship dissolves into something more bitter than sweet. Behind the hilarious irony, Wally feels resentment toward everyone in attendance. They’re all just fine with Hal leaving, even Uncle Barry, it seems. He hugs Hal a bit longer than anyone else in the Watchtower, and Wally hugs Hal too, of course, but everything’s happening rather fast—and that was coming from Wally, Mr. Impulsive—so he stands in the background, listening to the various party sounds, Dick in Robin-mode at his side.

Hate.

Wally hates everyone.

Even Dick.

He feels himself vibrate and shifts his weight, leans back on the wall and back upright, and starts flexing his hands. Briefly, he feels the beginning stages of claustrophobia clawing at his throat.

“Wally,” and Dick starts talking about…something, but Wally’s not listening. His eyes are all over the party, drinking in every costumed babe in the joint, though he quickly freezes when he accidentally catches Artemis’ eye.

Best turn his attention to Miss Martian, with her less than cheerful date, Superboy. What the hell did M’gann see in that guy anyway? He likes sleeping in closets and wigs out at a moment’s notice, and never smiles. At least Wally can make her laugh and isn't a ticking time-bomb. She's so beautiful, with her smooth green skin and shapely figure—

“Stop looking at her like that, it’s creepy,” Dick interjects from beside Wally, nudging him in the ribs for good measure.

“Did you just admit you were watching me watch M’gann? Now that’s creepy,” says Wally, grinning from ear to ear.

Wally likes the alien a lot, but he also likes Artemis a whole lot too (despite also sort of hating her). He’s far too proud to admit he has no future with either of them, even if Conner breaks up with M’gann and Artemis tunes down the bitchiness. Something...something just isn’t right with the team. Eventually all their secrets were going to spill out though.

Speaking of spilling, Wally’s mouth was suddenly dry and his stomach was seriously growling.

“B-r-b, Rob,” Wally manages before he zooms over to a long stretch of refreshment tables. A bit too excited to summon any manners, he shoves his face full of nachos (nachos in the Watchtower, his life now complete), and grins at the revolted Fire and Ice.

Booster Gold, on the other hand, gives him an approving thumbs-up. Wally’s already heading back to Dick before the two women can make the next move (or any move for that matter, everyone's too slow).

In the thick of the buzzing crowd, Kid Flash finds himself spewing ‘hello's’ to as many superheroes as possible, and getting ignored by just as many. It’s alright though, everyone knows Wally’s the living incarnation of ‘trying too hard’.

He’s more than used to rejection.

“I hate my life,” Wally thinks as he eventually whooshes by Superboy and Miss Martian, with whom he purposely whispers some about Conner having dandruff.

Superboy’s reddening eyes narrow at him, and Wally narrowly avoids being backhanded by Jay—wait, Jay’s here too?

“Knock it off, kiddo, don’t need him acting up,” Jay says and nods his head to Conner. M’gann has things under control though, like she always does, and Wally’s comment’s already a thing of the past.

As usual.

“Not my fault he’s got anger management issues. Besides, Aqualad’s his unofficial punching bag,” snorts Wally.

“I’ve got issues too, ya know. We all do,” Wally doesn’t say.

He spots Aqualad, next to the king of tuna of course, engaged in a serious discussion with Power Girl and Wonder Woman. Even from a ways away, Wally can’t help but let his eyes fall to Wonder Woman’s ass and Power Girl’s huge

Wally,” Jay interrupts, but it’s too late, Wally decides to zigzag a bit too close to both Wonder Woman (because God damn, Wally’s got hormonal issues), and returns beside Dick within several seconds. And Wonder Woman’s glaring at them, like really glaring, but Jay’s in the conversation half a second later, casting Wally his own disapproving wrinkled look. And then everyone’s back to not staring at Power Girl’s tits, except for Wally.

For God’s sake, those things were practically the size of Billy’s head.

“Smooth,” Dick comments and sips a drink Wally figures he brought back, but doesn’t remember. “You’re officially the creepiest kid I know.”

“Oh please, you’re the one who hangs out with a giant bat in a cave.” Wally lets his eyes dart around assorted heroes and anti-heroes. “You two probably argue over sparkling vampires and pole-dancing werewolves more often than Zatanna. Where is she by the way?”

“No idea, probably within ten feet of Dr. Fate.”

Wally winces at the memory of Zatara saying goodbye to his daughter—and now Artemis has gone back to chatting with Black Canary, and Wally’s getting a damn good look at both of their assets. That is, at least until that inconsiderate Atom Smasher decides to set up camp right behind them, which was sort of creepy too.

Not really any of his concern though.

Wally’s eyes keep wandering, he can't stop if he wants to. Everyone’s here, everyone; the founders of the Justice League, a few visiting Green Lanterns, a few weirdos like the Question, and, wait, even Roy? Wally blinks. Roy's leaning against the opposite wall, arms crossed, face unreadable.

Well, fuck, how did Wally miss him? And where was Green Arrow? Oh, by Big Barda and Mister Miracle, duh.

“Look at Roy and Mister Sherlock Forest,” Wally mumbles. Dick looks up and follows Wally’s line of sight, and as if on cue, Roy snarls at them.

But then, Wally blinks twice, and realizes the snarl was directed at Green Arrow, who was standing a bit too rigidly now. At least Mister Miracle seemed aware of the approaching confrontation.

“Oh man, think they’re gonna go at it?”

“Not with Batman in the same room,” Dick sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose with a dark gauntlet. “At least, I hope that’ll be enough to stop them.”

“Batman ruins all the fun.”

Wally’s shoulders slump, and he zooms away to get more snacks.

He’s actually not hungry this time, but just so fucking bored and so fucking pissed that there’s nothing to distract him (well, nachos are always good for a few seconds).

Though after this round of nachos, which keep magically appearing, Wally eyes a bowl of candy and returns with a fistful of warm Reese-pieces. Dick wrinkles his nose and Wally decides to eat them himself.

“I can’t believe he’s leaving,” Wally thinks aloud between mouthfuls of peanut-butter and chocolate. “I can’t believe it.” Another slew of slow minutes pass, and Wally eyes his uncle and Hal in the midst of the party. They’re casually talking, almost separate from everyone else, both sporting matching smiles and white teeth. Wally doesn’t like to see his uncle so…normal, not under the circumstances. It bothers him, immensely, so much that he doesn’t make another trip to get food. He might as well give the poor caterers a break anyway.

“He’s an important superhero,” Dick’s trying to be kind, and Wally decides to immediately tune out. He already knows how important and wonderful Hal is and always will be. It’s Dick who doesn’t know and would never know because Hal’s fucking leaving—

“—kind of like our universe’s police officer, and a good one too. Batman says the Guardians don’t just call upon anyone, not like this, to lead—”

Wally blinks, his eyes avert from his uncle’s face. The Flash is still smiling and talking with Hal, but Hawkgirl and John Stewart have joined the conversation.

“John Stewart, what an asshole.”

He stiffens and turns his attention to shaking his multi-crumb covered gloves clean. The distraction works for a few seconds, and then realizes the boy wonder’s still talking.

“—and I’m sure he’ll fix whatever’s going on with the Corps,” Dick finishes up. Wally blinks and looks to his friend, then back to the party. How long had he been talking?

“M’kay,” he offhandedly agrees, forces his eyes to land on Artemis again. Because if he finds John Stewart, he’ll have to make another distraction, and another, and another until he runs up and gets his ass kicked for attacking Hal’s replacement. Artemis is a good distraction, thankfully. She’s standing sideways and has a perfect profile. The blonde is so distracted with discussing something rather serious with Superboy and Miss Martian that Wally can look all he wants. And yet, her tight-fitted green uniform makes Wally think of Hal and the Green Lantern Corps, and what an absolute asshole John Stewart is for being able to fill in for Hal.

“I’m hungry,” Wally says absentmindedly and forces himself to speed off to the snacks, not to kick John Stewart's ass.

-0-0-0-

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Immediately after being beamed outside Central City, they speed to the glowing city. Uncle Barry doesn’t utter a word. Well, maybe he does, but Wally isn’t paying attention.

There’s no crime other than some thugs accidentally breaking into an antique store, followed by a fiery bag of dog shit (which the rickety homeowner said was no trouble, but Uncle Barry insisted he and Wally ‘properly’ dispose of it).

“Dog shit,” Wally says, but doesn’t laugh. His uncle doesn’t cast a disapproving glare over his shoulder either; they just keep running.

After looping around and zipping through the city several, Uncle Barry steers them to the city limits. Wally recognizes the direction they’re headed, and figures it’s a strategic place to check out the city as a whole unit. But after a few moments on the slanting hill, Wally becomes agitated. Firstly, he doesn’t like the silence; it’s incredibly loud. Also the fact that they’re surrounded trees and other forms of nature is incredibly dangerous, well, if there were any bad guys out.

“Slow night,” Barry acknowledges, and Wally rolls his eyes.

Alright, maybe Wally prefers the silence and nature to his uncle stating the obvious.

In the process of letting Hal go Uncle Barry’s letting go of a chunk of him too. Wally knows this, and during the party he reasoned that was enough punishment. So he’s putting up with his uncle and keeping his anger to himself.

That last part’s becoming more difficult, though.

“I hate you.”

Soon Wally’s vibrating from the lack of motion, but is too angry and too stubborn to leave his uncle’s side.

“You can go home,” quietly says Uncle Barry.

“You can too,” Wally tosses back, masking rage with sarcasm.

“I know.”

Uncle Barry’s feet shuffle and he crosses his arms, looking down at the city. He’s agitated too. Well, he should be.

“This is your fault,” Wally thinks. “Stop pretending to be so happy and okay with everything, it’s pitiful.”

Wally’s hands repeatedly clench and unclench, and he’s really about to lose it when Uncle Barry’s head snaps up.

He spots the green orb as well, and wave of relief replaces the budding tension. It’s terrible though, because Hal’s here to say goodbye for real. Earlier in the Watchtower, he’d given a short speech that Wally refused to fully listen to. This was partially because of Wally's short attention span, and partially because he didn’t want to cry in front of a ship full of superheroes. They both sort of knew Hal would find them after the party, but Wally is unable to admit how or why. Hal's simply here to say goodbye, and that's that. And it sucks.

“If it isn’t my two favorite speedsters,” greets Hal, proving once more how good with goodbyes he is. Wally feels like he’s back on an infamously stupid mission in New Hampshire, where he wasn’t able to slow down in time and plowed into a rather large mountainside.

“He’s really leaving, this is it.”

God did that mountainside hurt; but this hurts a thousand times more.

“Hey man,” Wally greets back, flashing his bravest smile yet. Uncle Barry keeps silent, arms still crossed.

Hal lands so he’s hovering a few feet above the grass, the city alive and glowing behind him. Combined with the green light and Hal’s billowing hair, he’s coming off as the messiah (if Wally believed in that shit). Wally steals a quick look at his uncle, who’s directly beside him, and confirms this to be true by Uncle Barry’s expression (which is a cross between awestruck and terror). His eyes dart back to the still hovering Hal.

“I’m really gonna miss you guys,” Hal punctuates his confession with a sad smile.

“Oh, stop being so emo, dude! It’s not like you’re dying or something,” Wally lies. The vibrations are causing him to physically move centimeter by centimeter, and that’d be cool if things weren’t so fucking terrible.

Because it really does feel like Hal’s dying.

“I am not emo, I take offense to that,” laughs Hal, and the laughter sends Wally vaulting into his expecting arms. Hal’s used to this, to Wally’s impulsive ways, and is holding him in bridal-style like it’s nothing at all (and it probably is nothing at all, because Hal once moved half of a New Hampshire mountainside off of Wally).

It’s easily the least ridiculous, wonderful moment in Wally’s life.

“So other than harassing Wonder Woman, how was your day?” Hal asks and grins at Wally, and that’s his cue.

“Don’t even get me started,” says Wally, and Wally starts and doesn’t stop talking until his brain screams for oxygen. He doesn’t recognize what he’s saying, stringing word after word together, barely keeping up with his own thoughts. Wally just wants Hal to listen to him, and Hal's watching him likes it’s the most fascinating and hilarious conversation he’s ever had. And when Wally finishes he has to take a deep breath. Well, several deep breaths. He forgets to breathe sometimes; it’s not a good habit, doesn’t exactly make him look ‘mature’.

“Really,” Hal peeks over Wally’s head to Uncle Barry. “I wish you’d brought something like that to the party,” says Hal, and Wally realizes he told him about the flaming bag of dog shit.

And Wally’s laughing.

He keeps looking at Hal, so he doesn’t have to look at his unce slowly unraveling.

“Imagine Batman’s face, er, wait, he does spend an awful lot of time in a cave full of bat guano...”

Wally laughs again, but it’s not enough; it’ll never be enough.

“Whelp, it’s your turn, guys. And can ya speed it up? I gotta date with a lady. Fishnets are involved, but that's all I'm allowed to say,” says Wally as he jumps the three feet to the ground, then slides to the side.

“Right,” Uncle Barry mumbles, barely audible. Hal’s cocky smile is unwavering, and he shrugs in response to Barry, because that's how he is. Wally’s glad he’s sort of in the middle but out of the way, that’s always been his place in the trio. But, for some reason Wally feels really awkward.

Uncle Barry’s not moving, or saying anything.

“Seriously guys, you know Black Canary; only wears yellow fishnets on special occasions,” but he can’t laugh because the tension is getting worse, Wally feels it in his twitching muscles.

“Um, guys?”

He looks from Green Lantern to Flash, back to Green Lantern and then back Flash, who’s pulling his mask off—wait, what the fuck—Uncle Barry’s bare face looks sickly. His face is drained of color, and his blonde hair is uncharacteristically messy (even for being in red spandex for so long).

“So long, farewell, to you my friend…” Wally hums mockingly. "Goodbye for now, until we meet again!"

The humor approach is failing fast.

Uncle Barry’s just standing there, blue eyes glued on Hal.

“Guys, uh…do you want…me, do you want me to—” he can’t put a sentence together, it shouldn’t be this awkward. Something’s wrong, really wrong. And, for a millisecond, Wally just knows he should leave, but Hal floats over to Uncle Barry in one fluid motion.

“It’s okay, Wally,” Hal says, but doesn’t take his eyes off of Uncle Barry. “Just give us a minute.”

Uncle Barry slowly shakes his head in response to Hal, but Hal keeps on saying it’s okay—and realization fucking slams into Wally. It’s like he ran into a mountain all over again, but Hal isn’t digging him out.

No one can dig him out, not from this.

“It’s okay,” Hal’s voice travels in the wind.

Wally can barely move, aside from the unintentional vibrating. This is not okay, whatever the fuck is happening. Wally closes his eyes, briefly, and listens to Hal’s feet touching the ground.

“You’re really leaving,” Uncle Barry’s voice was breaking, but he’s not crying. Wally screws his eyes shut as his uncle chokes back a strangled sound. His fists clench, and the vibrations increase.

“When will you be back?” Uncle Barry manages and Wally has to open his eyes. Hal, for some odd reason (Wally can’t imagine why), has his head in the crook of Uncle Barry’s neck, and Uncle Barry’s cradling Hal’s head and his other hand’s trailing down Hal’s backside and—

“I don’t know yet,” Hal coos.

Wally coughs, loud and hard, and expects them to stop, but they don’t. It’s as if they’ve both left Earth (and Kid Flash) behind.

“What do you mean you don’t know?” There’s an unusual hint of anger in Uncle Barry’s voice, and pain.

And hate.

Oh, wait, that’s probably just Wally, who should leave. He can’t though, he’s in shock—

“I promise I’ll contact you as soon as I know, alright? Calm down,” and Hal’s normal, collective voice is downright soothing, because Hal’s stronger than Uncle Barry and Wally. But Wally’s vibrating again, so he bites the inside of his cheek again to keep from running and screaming.

“I’ve been holding it together all day.”

Wally watches Hal’s posture waver and slant.

“I know. I’ll be back to visit, I just don’t know when,” adds Hal, as if that made everything better.

Wally’s eyes widen again as Hal’s hands snake under Uncle Barry’s arms.

“I’m going to come back, one way or another,” Hal whispers, though it sounds more dangerous than reassuring. “I’m sorry, I can’t stay too long.”

Uncle Barry’s nerves give in and he sobs into Hal’s shoulder, and Wally wants to run, but doesn’t, just keeps gnawing at his cheek. Because Wally wants to cry too, but not like this, not with Hal holding him or anything…gay. Well, cheating on your wife with Hal Jordan means you’re at least bisexual, right? Wally swallows those thoughts and pushes them aside.

“Hate,” Wally thinks. “I hate you both.”

Hal slowly untangles himself from Uncle Barry’s grasp and exhales as his uncle’s hands fell limply to his sides.

“Uh—” Wally breaks his incredibly long vow of silence, just because, “…I…I gotta go home now,” and his voice is a lot smaller now because Hal leans in and kisses—so Wally goes back to standing stupefied, slowly coming to terms that his uncle and Hal are more than...they should be. Even as Hal casts him a lopsided smile which might mean ‘sorry for ruining your life’, all Wally manages is nonstop silent nodding.

In a burst of brilliant green light, Hal disappears off the face of the Earth. With him he takes a very large piece of Uncle Barry and whatever sanity Wally thought he had, and that’s just great.

“Man, what the fuck… Uncle Barry...” Wally begins, the rage threatening to spill over. Uncle Barry doesn’t respond, far too consumed with the sky Hal’s flown off into, so Wally leaves his uncle on the miserable hillside and goes home.

And it’s like nothing’s happened.

Sure his parents know about Hal’s mission, and they know about the going-away-party. They know Wally was out patrolling with Uncle Barry right afterwards too, as word of the flaming bag of dog shit somehow got back to them, and his Dad cracks a joke about it. Because, nothing's funnier than dog shit on fire.

But they don’t know about the affair.

Neither does Aunt Iris.

Wally eats dinner and kisses his mom; he chats with his dad about some upcoming science fair; he responds to a text from Aunt Iris about Uncle Barry’s whereabouts with an innocent lie.

They can never know, Wally realizes.

It’s not his place to destroy his aunt and uncle’s marriage; it’d tear his family apart, and Wally's love for his family always outweighs his hatred.

-0-0-0-

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They never discuss that night or Hal or the future of their family.

They don’t need to.

‘Uncle Barry’ no longer exists; he’s now simply ‘Barry’. He's still married to Aunt Iris and occasionally stops by the West household for family meals, and as far as everyone else is concerned Wally and his dear uncle are closer than ever. They pull off the charade perfectly. Wally doesn’t flinch when he peppers sentences with ‘Uncle Barry’ this, or 'Uncle Barry' that, and Barry smiles and says he's lucky to have a nephew like him. It's sickening, how easy lying can be.

Family gatherings aside, they occasionally patrol Central City (and only Central City). Once in a while him and Barry will have a chat in the Cave, but their conversations are hallow and awkward. Wally thinks if he keeps acting like everything's fine, no one will catch on.

-0-0-0-

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Once, Wally was in complete awe of the Green Lanterns, especially Hal Jordan. Both him and the Flash were so awesome together; they were like Batman and Superman, except without the polar opposite moral objectives. And in contrast to whatever domestic partnership Bats and Supes were sporting, Hal and Flash were more like…friends, actual friends. In the news, on the cover magazines, they seemed like total bros (not, you know, undercover fuckbuddies).

No matter, Wally wishes his and John Stewart’s relationship was like Bats and Supes’, because those two can at least hold a conversation. They also have a little thing called trust. Wally knows about the Kryptonite bullet Bats has, and Dick’s told him of the few cordial meals Supes has come over for. But what does Kid Flash get? A pissed off former marine who scares the shit outta him (but pride won’t allow Wally to admit that last part).

John seriously isn’t making things any easier. Unlike his fearless predecessor, he's a huge, uptight, cautious asshole. He’s worse than Batman, how is that even possible? Don’t Green Lanterns like having the most powerful weapon in the entire universe? Wally knew Hal sure as hell did (as well as Guy Gardner) but John? Absolutely not; he was all work and no play eleven days of the week. And instead of doing his own thing, the guy's seriously trying to pick up where Hal left off, in every sense. Well, not sleeping with Barry (hopefully), more like attending Justice League board meetings and trying to patrol with the Flash and his stupid sidekick. At this rate, Wally fears the women of his family might push for John to join them for dinner, and it's absolutely not funny because it probably will happen.

But, what really gets under his skin is how John always has some remark to throw his way. Like, how Kid Flash is too ‘reckless’, or Kid Flash needs to stop his ‘inappropriate advances on Miss Martian’. Just total bullshit Wally doesn’t think twice about, but John does. Because John’s a man of duty; being a Green Lantern in the Justice League is no different than serving in the Marine Corps. Wait, does that make Wally a cadet? He sure feels like one, because John's got the whole drill sergeant routine down to a tee. The dude just...looks at him with those freaky glowing eyes, barks out an order or two, then punches out until the next crisis.

All in an asshole's day of work.