Wally West woke up to total darkness, with no idea where he was or how he had ended up there. He hurt all over, like someone had been using him as a punching bag, and his legs were absolutely throbbing.
His first instinct was to panic, but he quickly pushed that reaction to the side. He was a superhero - superheroes didn't panic. Well, he allowed, not unless it was a really serious situation, like an alien race trying to destroy the planet or his teammates being brainwashed into trying to kill him. A little bit of darkness and some slight memory loss was nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Then he tried to move his legs. Unsuccessfully. Very, very, very unsuccessfully. As in, they didn't move even a tiny little bit.
"Oh crap," he muttered, his breathing speeding up almost instantly. "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap."
Panic was good. Panic was appropriate. Panic was such a perfect reaction right now he couldn't possibly not panic.
Okay, he needed to think. Where was he? What happened? "Think, Wally," he said, trying to calm his breathing back down. "Think."
The last thing he remembered was the Watchtower. He'd been talking with GL, trying to convince him to trade shifts with him since Wally really hadn't been looking forward to spending all Saturday night staring at a bunch of monitors with nobody to keep him company except for Batman. There had been alert, and-- no, that was it. An alert. What kind of alert? It was-- was-- damn it, why couldn't he remember?
He hesitantly tried to move his arms, and he was relieved when they at least responded to the command. Letting out a shaky breath, he reached up and touched his aching head. His fingers immediately touched something warm and sticky, and his hair felt as if it was matted down with blood. Well, that explained the memory loss at least.
Wait, hair? Wally frowned as he fingered the gash in his mask, trying to judge its size. It was maybe three inches long, reaching upward from just above his right eyebrow. Great. Another uniform heading straight for the garbage. He really needed to be more careful. Those things weren't cheap, and he--
He seriously had more important things to worry about.
"Focus," Wally said quietly, trying to pull his scattered thoughts together. Talking helped, even if nobody was there to hear him. He was lying on his side, and the ground underneath him was hard and cold. Rock, maybe? It smelled musty, like dirt or at least dust, which would fit with that assumption. Still, something didn't quite feel right about it.
Tentatively, he tried to move his legs again. Now that he was paying attention, he could feel something heavy pressing down on them. He still couldn't move them, but he could still feel them at least. Even if it was just lots and lots of pain. That was something, at least. Maybe not a good something, but still something.
For just a second, he was tempted to try to phase through whatever it was pressing down on him. Before he could start moving, though, common sense kicked in. Until he knew exactly where he was and what was on top of him, that would probably be a very bad idea. The last thing he needed was the entire building to fall down on top of him.
Wally closed his eyes, trying to focus in on the flash of memory that had just popped into his head. He remembered-- something. Concrete floors, piles of crates and boxes stacked at least ten feet high. A warehouse? But why would he--
His memory flooded back.
"I'm a big boy, GL," Wally said, running a couple of laps around Green Lantern as he spoke. "I can take care of myself. You deal with the bad guys here, and I'll follow after their buddy."
GL shook his head. "Flash--"
"Yeah, yeah, I know." Wally rolled his eyes as he ran around Green Lantern another time or ten. "Superhero 101. Don't split up. Come on, GL, it's just one guy."
"The others will be here any minute," Green Lantern said firmly.
Green Lantern aimed his ring over Wally's shoulder, trapping one of the remaining men in a ball of green light. It totally made the guy look like an overgrown Christmas ornament, especially with the red outfits they were wearing. And, really? Red? Not exactly the most stealthy color if you were planning nefarious deeds.
"Besides, we don't even know what these people were up to," Green Lantern continued. "We should wait."
Wally stopped, raising an eyebrow. He jerked his head in the direction that one of the wannabe supervillains they had gone. The man had been standing closer to the door than the others, and he had made a run for it while Wally and GL had been dealing with the others. "Do you have any idea how far someone can get in a couple of minutes? Come on, man, it's an eternity."
Green Lantern frowned. Then he sighed, and a familiar wrinkle appeared on his brow.
Wally grinned. He recognized that look. "Be right back."
Wally was already gone, and he purposely ignored Green Lantern's last minute cry. He paused just outside the door, looking around at the dozens of abandoned buildings and warehouses nearby. The bad guy hadn't been that much ahead of him. Where could he have--
The front door of what might have once been an office building suddenly slammed closed. Wally grinned, and he was inside before the sound of the door closing had even stopped echoing slightly in the empty hallway. The concrete floor was dirty and damp, streaked with God only knew what.
Wally frowned as the door closed behind him. Once again, there was no sign of the guy he was chasing after. He carefully started down the hallway, keeping his eyes open for any sign of movement. This was getting ridiculous. How could one guy, presumably without any powers, manage to keep staying ahead of him? He was the fastest man alive. It shouldn't have been--
Outside, something exploded.
Wally spun around. There was another explosion, this one louder - and closer - than the first one. He could actually feel the floor shaking a bit under his feet.
His eyes widened. "GL."
And then the world exploded around him.
"Well, I guess now we know why they were lurking in abandoned buildings," Wally muttered. "I hate bombs. And GL's going to kill me for running off without--"
Wally trailed off. Green Lantern had been in the same building as most of the other bombers. The odds were he was fine. They wouldn't want to blow themselves up.
Yeah. GL was fine. He had to be. And the others were probably here by now. They'd get Wally dug out of here in no time.
The others didn't know where he was. That could be a problem.
There was an ominous creaking sound above him
Wally stared up at what he imagined was probably a fair bit of debris, though he couldn't seen anything in the dark. "That could be a big problem."
Groaning, Wally reluctantly opened his eyes. They felt gritty, his eyelids heavier than he remembered. He hadn't even realized that he'd fallen asleep.
A distant part of his brain chimed in that he'd probably passed out, and that's why he didn't remember, but he did his best to ignore that voice. It was probably right, but he could at least pretend that he wasn't completely screwed. It helped keep the panic at bay.
Wally's stomach rumbled, and he sighed as he reached up to touch his head. The cut didn't feel as if it was bleeding much anymore, but it was still there. Normally, his metabolism would have kicked in by now, and it would have been mostly - if not completely - healed already. Too many cuts and bruises, not enough food to turn into energy. That was the problem.
He tried not to think about his legs. They were aching, and whatever heavy thing was pinning him to the ground was definitely still there.
"Come on, guys," Wally muttered. "It's been forever."
Years. Months. Days. Hours. Minutes. Seconds. It really didn't matter. However long it had been, it was too long. The others had to be there by now. What was taking them so long?
Maybe they blew up a bunch of buildings, and they just didn't know which one he was in. Old as these places were, they were probably filled with lead. Superman wouldn't be able to use his x-ray vision if that was the case. Still, they had to be looking. Green Lantern would have told them that he'd gone chasing after a bad guy, making sure to mention that he'd told Wally to stay put, and they'd put two and two together pretty quickly.
"Nope, didn't happen." Wally cleared his throat, fighting back the urge to cough. "They'll be here. Anytime now."
Wally's eyes shot open. He had no idea how much time had passed, but he suspected it had been more than just a few minutes. Had he fallen asleep - passed out, that annoying little voice in his head chimed in - again? His head was pounding, and the ache in his legs had worsened into a throbbing pain.
Trying to keep his breathing even, he closed his eyes. J'onn? he thought as loudly as possible, well aware that the odds of the Martian actually hearing him were slim to none. Was he even on the planet right now, or had he gone with Wonder Woman for that meeting with that whatever-their-names were from a couple of solar systems over? Better safe than sorry, though. Hey, if you're listening, I could really use some help here.
There wasn't an answer.
"He went with Diana," Wally decided. "Had to have."
Wally tried to not worry about the fact that he really should remember whether or not that was true. Of course it was hard to think. He was buried alive, in the dark. That would freak out anyone, even if they weren't a little - a lot, that annoying little voice said - claustrophobic. Plus his legs hurt. And his head hurt. And he was hungry.
Really, really, really hungry.
Wally let out a sigh. If it ended up sounding more like a whimper, well, there was nobody else around to hear it.
The next time Wally woke up, he was hearing voices.
The cut on his head was bleeding again, sticky blood oozing slowly down the side of his face. The pain in his legs had died away to almost nothing; admittedly, that was because he really couldn't feel them, but still. It felt as if years had passed since the first time he had woken up.
And, of course, there were the voices. Those were new.
Wally frowned, furrowing his brow despite the pain it caused. That sounded almost like GL. If he was going to start hallucinating, was that really who his brain was going to conjure up?
"Flash, can you hear us?"
And that was Hawkgirl. Better, but unless she was going to appear in a bikini then it still wasn't--
The rubble above him moved. Not much, just enough to send some dust and pebbles falling onto his face, but it moved. Wally's eyes opened wide. Oh, God. It was bad enough as it was. If anything else fell, he was going to be completely buried.
Then his brain kicked in, and he realized the significance of the rubble moving.
"I'm here!" Wally yelled. Or, at least, he tried to yell. It came out more like a croak, barely audible even to his own ears. Worse, it set off a coughing fit that sent spasms of pain shooting through his entire body.
On the plus side, he could feel his legs again. They hurt like hell, but he'd take that over not being able to feel them any day.
The voices stopped.
"Come on, guys," Wally whispered, trying to get his coughing under control. "Come on, I'm here."
There was another bit of movement, broken wood and other rubbing raining down on him. And then, suddenly, there was light. Bright, glowing green light. Followed by four very familiar, and worried, faces. Well, there were three extremely worried faces, at least; Batman simply looked less irritated than usual, but Wally was pretty sure that for Bats that counted the same as utter panic for a regular person.
Wally tried to grin, but he wasn't sure how well he succeeded. "It's about time," he said, lifting his left hand a couple of inches off the ground in order to half-heartedly wave at them. "What took you so long?"
Green Lantern shook his head as he carefully put down the debris he had lifted with his ring somewhere outside of Wally's line of sight. "What did I tell you about running off on your own?"
"Which time?" Wally asked.
Green Lantern's expression didn't change, but Wally saw the flash of fond annoyance in his eyes even if he tried to squash it almost instantly.
Shaking his head, Superman flew down to land beside Wally. He knelt down, studying the large piece of concrete that was pinning Wally's legs. "Let me get this off of you."
Trying not to let his relief show too much, Wally sighed. "Gladly."
Superman reached out, picking up the concrete as if it weighed nothing. The moment he lifted it up, the vague numbness that had been creeping up Wally's legs for the past however long disappeared. Sharp, stabbing pain rushed through them, moving up his entire body before stopping to do a drum roll right in the middle of his head.
Wally hissed, vaguely aware of Superman's eyes going wide as he started to say something. Wally's vision started to go a bit fuzzy, but he thought he saw a flash of red near his legs that looked darker than his uniform, except that didn't make any sense and for some reason he smelled copper and--
"Crap," Wally muttered, not even opening his eyes. "I passed out again, didn't I?"
There was a tired chuckle somewhere nearby. "You can say that again."
Wally's eyes shot open. "GL?" he asked, sitting straight up. A distant part of his brain pointed out that he was in the infirmary in the Watchtower, plus he felt a lot better than he had before, but he pushed that bit of information aside for the time being. "Wait, you mean I wasn't imagining--"
The world went a little gray around the edges for a few seconds, and Wally felt himself being quickly shoved back down onto the bed. As his vision cleared again, he found himself staring up at Green Lantern's worried face.
"You're an idiot," Green Lantern said matter-of-factly.
Wally managed a weak grin. "You say that as if it's a secret."
For a second, he thought Green Lantern was going to say something else. The other man finally just shook his head, though, before turning slightly. He used his ring to pull the chair he had apparently been sitting in a little closer to Wally's bed before sitting back down in it.
Wally tentatively reached up to touch his head. He frowned when he touched the tear in his mask, his fingers touching a bandage underneath it. "You took off my mask?"
"Hawkgirl took off your mask," Green Lantern said, raising an eyebrow. "She said that she'd already seen your face, so she figured you'd rather have her put a bandage on that impressive cut of yours instead of, say, letting Batman do it." He paused for a second. "Though we all got a glimpse of that bright red hair of yours."
Wally shuddered, pointedly ignoring the last part. "She's right," he agreed. "I don't even want to imagine what Bats would do if he saw my face. He'd probably hack into the FBI database or something in order to figure out my secret identity."
Green Lantern snorted, but he didn't say anything. He just kept staring at him, his eyebrow still raised.
Wally glanced at the IV stuck in his arm. "The cut's probably gone by now, anyway. It feels like my metabolism's back in action."
Green Lantern just kept staring, that eyebrow still raised.
"What?" Wally asked innocently. "Do you really think I'm going to tell you how she ended up seeing me out of costume?"
This time, Green Lantern rolled his eyes. "Are you even going to ask how long you were unconscious after we dug you out?"
Wally shrugged. "It couldn't have been that long."
"Try a day."
Wally opened his mouth. Then he closed it. He frowned, trying not to let his complete confusion show, but he didn't do a very good job of it judging by the sympathetic look on GL's face.
"There was a chunk of metal in your leg," Green Lantern said. "The only reason you didn't bleed out before we found you was because of the pressure from all that concrete pressing down on it. When Superman lifted it up--"
"Got it," Wally said, cutting in. He tried very, very hard not to think about that bit of information.
Green Lantern shook his head as he reached out to rest a hand on Wally's arm for a second. He let go as he stood up. "I should go let the others know you're awake," he said, turning toward the door. "They were here earlier, but then there was a small crisis in Newark of all places, and, well, you know how it goes."
"Yeah, I know how it goes," Wally agreed. He watched as Green Lantern walked across the room, heading for the door. "Hey, GL?"
Green Lantern turned around, glancing back at him.
Wally shot him a tentative smile. "Thanks."
Green Lantern rolled his eyes, despite the corners of his mouth twisting up in a smile. "What? Did you think we were gonna leave you there or something?"
Wally shrugged, not quite meeting his eyes.
Green Lantern shot him an exasperated look. Then he sighed. "You're welcome," he said. "Now, do me a favor, stay there for a couple of minutes while I go let everyone know that the peace and quiet around here's about to disappear."
"I'll do my best," Wally said, pushing himself up into a half-sitting position. His vision didn't go blurry, so he took that as a good sign.
Green Lantern shot him one more skeptical look before disappearing out the door, leaving Wally alone in the room. Wally smiled, and he stopped propping himself up with his arm.
Then he closed his eyes. If nothing else, he knew there would be someone waiting for him when he woke up.