Sometimes the worst criminals are the ones that don't wear masks.
The first time he sees her it's on a patrol that goes horribly, horribly wrong.
It was a cold autumn night with a slight chill in the air. A scream shatters the silent. Within seconds, Wally comes skidding around the corner. Down the alleyway is a blond hair girl, begging for her life as a tall dark man stood in front of her. Glimmers of moonlight reflect off the sharp knife in his hand and there's a razor sharp grin spread across the man's face.
Wally takes one step forward before something cold impacts on the side of his head. It takes ten seconds to register that it's a crowbar, another fifteen to realize the man down the alleyway has a partner and another five to blackout completely.
And the world turns black, black, black.
He comes to moments later. The silence is wrong, all wrong and he can't pinpoint why. The world spins faster than ever and he can't make it stop. A sharp ragged breath makes it through the fog and then everything falls back into place: the robbery, the girl, the crowbar.
Wally crawls over to the girl. Her image is blurry and split into two. There's no way she's any older Wally, maybe a year top. It takes Wally a few seconds to actually find her. His vision doesn't have to be perfect to see the blood spilling from the open wound. Carefully, he applies pressure to it, trying to stop the bleeding. Her ragged breaths are getting softer by the minute.
The cold realization washes over him that she probably isn't going to make it.
No. Wally refuses to accept that. Any second now, his speed healing will kick in and he'll be able to rush her off to the hospital. She can't die, she doesn't deserve to die. She's young, there's so much more to live for.
An unnatural wind blows through the alleyway. Wally looks up to see a woman standing in front of him. Her reddish purple eyes seem to glow in the darkness of the night. Brown hair flies around her, blown by a heavy wind. He doesn't know where she came from, but it doesn't matter. "Please help," he croaked, voice cracking. The world spins, spins, spins.
She doesn't move, doesn't say a word. She simply stares. "Please!" Wally cries out, growing more and more desperate. Why doesn't she move or call emergency? There's still time to save this woman, there's time!
Still she doesn't move.
Slowly, the blond woman stops breathing.
This isn't fair.
The world spins, spins, spins and slowly turns to black.
Later Uncle Barry will find him collapse over the girl unconscious and halfway frozen. Between the nightmares, League mandate therapy and repression of the whole incident, Wally forgets about the woman that he saw.
Death is simply like sleeping
The next time he sees her it's at the park.
"Sorry Mr. Terrance!" Wally shouts, dashing front of the elderly man sitting on the green bench, scattering the birds gathered around the bench.
"You should leave earlier for school!" Mr. Terrance shouts.
"I try to!" Wally shouts back. Normally he tries to stop by earlier to help Mr. Terrance feed the birds. Ever since his wife died, Mr. Terrance always frequents the park to feed the birds. Everyone in the area knows him and it is common to see others join him. It's a familiar constant and one Wally indulges in taking part with. Mr. Terrance is pretty cool for an old man. He never runs out of stories to tell of his heydays as a kid.
"Tomorrow I'll get up super early to join Mr. Terrance," Wally vows to himself.
Just as he runs past the fountains, out of the corner of eye he sees her. Sun-kiss brown hair and this time amethyst-purple eyes, he sees her take a seat next to Mr. Terrance. They start up an animated conversation with smiles and laughs. Wally frowns and knows something is off about this picture but a quick glance at his watch tells him he's going to be late. So he speeds off without a second thought.
The following morning, Wally learns from the newspaper that yesterday Mr. Terrance has pass away peacefully in his sleep on that green bench feeding the birds.
Death and Life are two sides of the same coin
Wally doesn't know what to make of it the next time he sees her.
He thinks he's a little bit wary and a great deal more scared. He can't help it but think this woman is some of death bringer for everywhere she goes, someone seems to die. So naturally it's terrifying to see her standing next to Aunt Iris' bed in the hospital.
Even more so when he realizes no oneelse can see her.
He worries but Wally doesn't want to break the joyous mood. His mother is on the other side of the bed, cooing at Don and Dawn. Aunt Iris looks beautiful considering the fact she had been in labor for ten hours. Uncle Barry is sobbing tears of happiness over the thought of becoming a father. Wally is happy to be a cousin and no longer the only child in this family. The Garricks and his father are outside, not wanting to crowd the room any further.
Everything is perfect except for the fact that that woman is there. She looks harmless with her -more bluish this time- purple eyes looking bright and wide. She stands by the bedside, making faces at Dawn who responses back to her with cooing and gurgling. The woman laughs and whispers something to the both of them.
Wally wants to stay something, but what he could he say? No one can see her, clearly. Then the woman smiles brightly, waving goodbye to the twins and simply walks out the door.
How to Save a Life
It terrifies him beyond his wit the next time he sees her.
"Man I'm not looking forward to giving that speech tonight," Robin complained. In an hour he would have to leave head back to Gotham for a charity ball later that night. There is this silly welcome speech he is supposed to give and Robin is not looking forward it.
Wally on the other hand isn't paying attention. Rather his focus on that woman standing behind Robin. Her eyes were reddish-purple again and a frown marred her face. She made a frustrated motion and begins to circle around Robin almost like a shark surrounding its prey.
Wally trembles and remembers that cold night in the alley when the world spun, spun, spun. He remembers the blond girl dying far too young. The colors of her eyes, more red then blue, they're not a good sign. Now she circles around his best friend and Wally doesn't know what to do. Robin clearly can't see but Wally knows, deep down in his heart, he knows that this is bad.
'Not Robin. Not Robin,' his mind chants over and over again. Wally cannot and will not lose his best friend.
The woman stops, as if hearing his thoughts. She looks back at him and says something. Wally strains his ears to hear.
'Keep him here.'
Keep him here? Keep Robin here? Will that save him?
Wally then became aware that Robin was speaking to him. "Y-yeah?" he managed to stammer out.
"You okay," Robin asked. His voice was full of concern. "You look like you've seen a ghost or something."
Wally let out a feeble laugh. "Hah, maybe I did." Summoning up more confidence, "How about you skip then?"
"As if," Robin said. "Bats would ground me for life."
"Come on, Rob," Wally begs. "You're so busy all the time. We haven't had a chance to hangout in ages. I can and will race you across the ocean to prevent you from making there on time."
To that, Robin's eyebrow rose in curiosity. "I thought you weren't allowed to cross the ocean by yourself."
"As long as no one tells Uncle Barry, we'll be okay," Wally said with bravo.
While he couldn't see it, Wally knew Robin was rolling his eyes at him behind those sunglasses. "Fine, but I'm blaming you when Bats decides to ground me," Robin said.
Wally grinned. The plan was a success. "Deal," he said. He drags Robin off to the video game room and tries hard to ignore the woman standing in the background.
A few hours later they find out on the news that the charity ball that Robin was suppose to attend had a minor gas explosion. While no one ass seriously injured, the terrifying part is that the ground zero of the blast was on the stage during the time Robin was supposed to be giving the speech.
Perhaps there was some good in seeing that woman after all.
Every sacrifice comes with a high price
It's several years down the line when he sees her again.
It couldn't have come at a worse time.
He sees her moments after Uncle Barry died, making the highest sacrifice to save them all: giving up his life. As Wally sat there, cradling the still cooling body of his uncle, she stood before him. Her eyes are a dark red this time; there is no sympathy, no sadness within them. Like a status, she just stands, watching and observing.
"WHY?" Wally shouts. She helped him prevent Robin's death last time. Why didn't she save Uncle Barry? "WHY?"
There's a small part of the rational side of him that yelling at her, whom no one can see but him, was not the brightest idea to do. He doesn't need the League and his friends to think he's snapped with grief. It hardly matters when he's just a hair trigger away from doing so either way.
"BRING HIM BACK!" Wally shouts, his voice cracking in despair.
This time the woman's eyes regain a shade of purple. She kneels down before him and places a hand on his shoulder.
'I'm sorry. I can't.'
Then she vanishes like dust on the wind.
Hindsight enlightens, Foresight prevents
This time he found her.
Faster and faster, Wally raced around the globe. Racing across oceans, checking hospitals and battlefields, in the slums, graveyards and baby showers, everywhere where life and death meet. It strange that when he wants to see her, she doesn't appear before him but thousands of people die every day across the planet. It's only natural to assume that she can't always be near.
He wishes she was.
There's no time left.
He has to find her.
Finally, he found her in Japan, standing on top of a building, observing a crime scene. Her eyes are purple this time. She was watching a small elementary school boy with blue eyes and glasses far too big for him. Seeing the small boy renews Wally's determination and desperation.
In a red flash, he's spins her around, grips her by the shoulders and begs, "Please! Tell me there's a way to save her!" Wally hopes the woman knows what he's talking about, because there isn't time to explain. Every seconds counts and he just has to trust that she knows how to help him because it isn't fair and he needs to save her.
"I'm begging you" Wally pleads. "She's only five! She... Lian, we can't..." His words begin to choke as he struggles to explain the situation.
All he can think about is his tiny niece, Lian, laying on the hospital bed in pain. She kept begging them to make it hurt go away and Wally can't, can't, watch her suffer like this. Whatever Ra did to Lian, retribution for Cheshire's betrayal no doubt, has the doctors stumped. Batman and Nightwing have been on Ra's trail for five days now. Artemis hasn't stopped crying since the beginning, Jade has gone missing and Roy... Roy keeps flipping between unstoppable rage and grief.
Wally just wants Lian to be okay.
There's no time left.
"Please. I'll do anything." He'll move mountains, give up his life, turn back the earth if he must. This woman, this deathbringer, she must be able to help him, to prevent Lian's death. It was too late to ask her when it was Uncle Barry, but she helped him prevent Robin's one. That must mean if he asks, he can save Lian because Lian isn't dead, not like Uncle Barry, not yet. There must be a way and this woman must know.
Wally closes his eyes, trying to stop the flood of tears from leaking out. Lian doesn't deserve this. She's too young, too new to this world. What good is his speed if Wally cannot even save his niece?
The woman sighs and looks at him with sympathetic eyes. Wally draws in a sharp breathe, worried that she'll deny him an answer like last time.
Then her eyes glimmer blue and she opens her mouth to speak.
'Gotham Docks. In an abandon warehouse 1412 in the basement under a large crate in the upper right hand corner. There is a ladder that leads to a passage way. At the end of the tunnel is a door. Passcode: 314159265. Two scientists and one league assassin. Vial 13, second shelf. One dosage, one chance.'
Wally lefts out the breath he was holding. "Thank you."
And he's gone.
When it's all said and done, Death is just an old friend.
"Bye Grandpa! Love you!"
Wally smiles and he watches his youngest grandson dash out the door. The kid will grow up to be a great speedster one day, he knows it. Wally lets out a yawn and hobbles off to his bed. He's feeling a bit tired then usual today. A nap should do the trick. Artemis' brownies always seem to make him sleepy.
Lying down, Wally closes his eyes. The world turns black, black, black.
When his eyes open again, he notices something extremely weird. He's awake and standing somehow but his body is still lying in the bed. A glance at his hands, show that they are smooth and wrinkle free again.
"Oh... I guess I died," Wally said, a slow realization overcoming him.
The former speedster turns around to see the woman standing behind him in the doorway. Her eyes, red this time, while still cold looking, managed to look slightly amused. "Hello," she says. "I'm Death."
Wally grins. "Yeah, I kinda figured that out a long time ago." He extends his hand out. "Nice to finally meet you old friend."
Death smiles. She reaches out to shake Wally's hand. "Nice to meet you too Wally West. Shall we go?"
Wally West died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 89.