You’re seven years old, and your favorite superhero is the Flash. You’re fifteen, and far too young to be stepping into your uncle’s scarlet boots. You’re twenty-seven, and your world is ending. A character study of Wally, leading up to his erasure by Flashpoint.
AN: Based on someone’s comment in regards to Flashpoint;
“So basically Barry killed Wally and his family, and won’t even remember it.”
There was just so much fridge horror to that statement that I felt like I had to write something about it. This is based on a composition of the different versions of Wally, taking in a bunch of eras and realities of the comics as well as some of the animated canons.
You’re seven years old, and your favorite superhero is the Flash. He’s like zoom-whoosh-blam! bad guys down, ’cause he has superspeed and can stop them before the baddies even know he’s there. How cool is that? All the kids at school talk about Batman and Superman, but you know the only reason Flash doesn’t take them all down is ’cause he’s too nice. Because Flash is the best.
You’re nine years old, and you’re meeting your Aunt’s new boyfriend for the first time. You don’t think you’ll like him, because he’s trying to take your auntie away from you (and good guys just don’t do that), but you’re wrong. Yeah, he’s goofy and makes weird puns and went to the bathroom way too much during dinner (and he doesn’t even leave it smelly afterwards you checked), but he’s also nice and he makes your aunt smile, so that’s okay. Plus, he works with the Flash! If Aunt Iris and the Flash approve, then he can’t be all bad, right?
You’re eleven, and your uncle’s the Flash. You’re not dumb and Barry’s not especially subtle about it, especially since the wedding. Confirming it is one of the best days of your life. The Flash is your uncle. Uncle Barry is the Flash. It’s too amazing to believe. You ask him everything, and with persistence he tells you everything. He becomes your dream. You’re good with science, and declare you’ll be a forensic scientist one day, just like Barry. You have a kind heart, and decide to be a hero too like the Flash too. You love people, and want to have lots of friends and a big family, like you just know your aunt and uncle will. You want to be like Barry, not matter what it costs.
You’re thirteen, and your life is about to change forever. Batman’s got a new partner, a kid that’s even younger than you. If Batman can take a nonpoweredkid younger than you out to fight in a city like Gotham, then certainly the Flash will have to do the same with you. There’s no way he can refuse your help. He does refuse, though, you don’t to give up. When you risk your life to re-create the Flash Experiment, you’re rewarded with chemical burns, hunger pains, and an arson record for burning down your parents’ garage. It’s worth it, because you have superspeed, so certainly your hero will let you help him now. He does, if a little grudgingly. You don’t let that hesitance bother you, nor your inability to keep up with his speed. You’re the Flash’s sidekick, and you swear you’ll do whatever it takes to make him proud.
You’re fifteen, and far too young to be stepping into your uncle’s scarlet boots. But your hero, your mentor, your beloved Uncle Barry is dead. It tears you up inside, though you never let it show. The world keeps spinning, even if the fastest man alive and no longer claim the last part of that title, and that world needs the Flash. So you pull on the scarlet cowl and take up the mantle. Kid Flash quietly fades to the back of everyone’s minds, and if anyone notices that the Flash has gotten smaller and slower, they don’t show it in their punches. You have more than one scar that can attest to that fact.
Being the Flash full time puts a lot on your plate. It’s too much, really, but you can’t let your Uncle down, so it’s the only thing in your life that you don’t let slip. You try to be there to comfort your aunt, but she misses him so much and you’re just the wannabe replacement, so you’re not surprised when you’re invited over less and less. Your grades begin to drop because you keep having to duck out of most classes to fight supervillains, and end up sleeping through the ones you don’t. Homework, of course, isn’t getting done either. Your teachers berate your work ethic, and refuse to sign you up for A.P. Chemistry. You smile at them, and nod your understanding, and tell yourself the regular classes fit your schedule better anyways. It was such a small desire, anyways. Nothing compared to keeping up his Uncle’s Legacy.
You’re seventeen and just became a founding member of the Justice League. You’re so proud; you’ve finally done something worthy of the Flash mantle. The other Leaguers don’t really take you seriously they think you’re a kid but you keep trying. You’ll do whatever it takes to prove yourself to them. It’s hard though, because the other members don’t seem to understand the concept of a school night.
Unfortunately, College Board doesn’t care that you were out late saving the world. Your SAT’s are the day after a particularly rough mission and you haven’t slept in almost two days. No one wakes you when you fall asleep in the middle of the tests, so your scores are abysmal. You’ve screwed up your chances of getting into college, of becoming a forensic scientist like Barry, but tell yourself that the heaviness in your heart is just more exhaustion. It doesn’t even bother you when you miss your own graduation because the League needs you in Biyalia. There were no honors to be given for your barely-passing grades, and any friends you might have celebrated with have long since stopped inviting you to parties you’re never able to make.
You’re nineteen, and you’re a mechanic for the CCPD. It rubs you, a little, that the scientists there look down on your intelligence when you could easily point out their errors most the time, but you don’t let it bother you. Pay’s barely above minimum wage, but it’s enough to rent a small flat in a decent part of town if you eat most your meals on the League’s tab. Your boss doesn’t care when you work as long as the work gets done, so you won’t have a problem keeping up Flash’s work. That’s really all that matters.
You’re twenty-one, and Linda Park is the most amazing woman you’ve ever met. You always make the time to answer her interview questions as the Flash, and fall more in love with her every time. She’s in love with you too. Well, she’s in love with the Flash, at least. You know enough about her to give your alter-ego a fighting chance. She lets you take her on a date, and you don’t screw it up. You get to keep seeing her. She’s funny and witty and beautiful and you realize you want to be with her forever. You do something you swore you’d never do; ask Bats for a loan. It’s humiliating, but she loves the ring, so it’s worth every hour you’ll have to work for Batman to pay it off. You both say ‘I do’ and kiss, and it’s the happiest you’ve been in years. Someone actually loves you, not for being the Flash, but for being you.
You’re twenty-three, and he’s back. You’re so happy, and Aunt Iris is overjoyed, but there’s a small twinge of reluctance in your heart. Where has he been? you want to cry. You do get the full story eventually. It’s the kind of thing you would have loved as a child time travel and vengeance and the fate of the world all rolled into one. You allow yourself to be mesmerized, to remember why you idolize this man. You want to brag about your own adventures so he can tell you that you’ve made him proud. The words get caught in your throat; the fear that he might disapprove of your actions even greater now than it was ten years ago when you just started out.
The world doesn’t need two Flashes, so of course you step down. You know you’ve always just been the replacement, the placeholder, the pretender. Taking on the Flash mantle was an act of necessity at the time; it’s not necessary any more. You can’t even become Kid Flash again, because Barry’s brought his future grandson back with him to take that name. You don’t begrudge the child his position, even if it’s hard not to let his easy acceptance into the fold hurt. Just because you struggled constantly for Barry’s approval doesn’t mean everyone has to.
You’re twenty-five and you and Linda have children now. You make yourself be happy that you have more time for them than you would have otherwise. They remind you of the parts of your life that you didn’t give up for the Flash. They keep you busy enough that your lack of a life or relationships outside the League isn’t so noticeable. They give you a reason to duck out of the conversation when Linda tries to tell you that you deserve to be the Flash or that Barry’s not blameless in all this. They are your world now, so you don’t let yourself miss the red boots. When they grow up saying the Flash is their favorite hero, though, you wish they were talking about you.
You’re twenty-seven, and the world is ending. No. Not the world. Your world. Your uncle’s done something gone back in time, this time and the world is changing right before your eyes. You can see it the before and after as the two realities merge because of your connection to the speed force. You’re terrified, but still you try to soothe your children, as they too watch their world end. As they begin to fade out of existence.
Your best friend is starting to forget you he’s already forgotten his sisters but watching him turn his back on you still hurts. You keep it together, though, until the day your wife walks right past her crying children, unaware of her lost family. You hold them as they disappear, as your beloved little ones are erased from existence. You know you won’t last much longer.
Your uncle is your last hope, but he too moves right through you. The last thing you see, before it all fades to white, is his back as he walks away from you. Your last thought is to wonder if he’ll know what he’s done to you, this man you devoted your life to. You’re too far gone to be hurt that he won’t.