Wally took J'onn at his word when he said they would rebuild. Meetings at Bruce's — and that was weird at first, thinking of him as "Bruce" and not "big scary guy in a suit" - trying to hammer out plans for the new Watchtower. Towers? Bats — and that name is much easier to think, to grasp — is talking about a whole array of satellites around the main tower, clustered together in the sky. Backups, Bats says. Redundancies, Bats explains. Protection, Wally figures, and a barn-door approach to having been caught with their pants down during the invasion.
Plans. They are making plans. And that doesn't explain why they've done nothing yet to implement them, why they sit at the table and agree on defenses, armaments, and then go back to their own cities and fight the little crimes. Idling. They're idling and it drives Wally crazy.
They're falling apart, is what it is. Wally knows why, knows the shape and form of the fracture, the empty space none of them can stick words around. They move each other around instead, working and acting in weird-ass twos and threes, almost never in the room as the six of them because then it'll be too obvious that there aren't seven.
Bleeding slowly. They are. Yes. Even Wally can see it, as oblivious as he knows the others think he is. John's bleeding the worst, no surprises there. Wally gets that he still doesn't know even half of went on between the two of them, what mind games she'd played on John before the end.
John is stricter, straighter, stoicer (if that's even a word). Wally watches him in meetings and there's nothing in the world he won't do to stop his friend's inward collapse.
Sometimes Wally catches himself wishing she died in the invasion. That would have been cleaner, neater. As much as they could have hoped for anyway. Make up a story, or even tell the truth, that she'd helped them in the end, have Clark write a pretty obit, flowers on a grave, the end. They'd have mourned her. John would have mourned her, and then moved on. Instead they, and he, walk and work and live like relatives of someone waiting to die in a faraway hospice. Wally waits for the word: that a sniper with a grudge got lucky, that the bounty they know is on her head got paid, that they're needed at the hospital, that someone has to go to the morgue. They wait, and he waits, and there's nothing he can do but watch the mental scenes on fast-forward in his head, and then he feels guilty. He doesn't wish her dead, doesn't want her hurt. He wants her home and safe and that won't happen either.
Then he goes to another meeting, and Clark comes in the room, and suddenly they're six. Pain flickers over John's face and the bleeding starts again.
Eleven pm on a Saturday night and Wally is as likely to sleep tonight as he is to sit calmly in a fishing boat all week. Too many things in his head. The holding-pattern with the League. A tricky case at work: a rash of burglaries he can't crack in his day job or his night job.
He runs, trying to think or really, trying not to think, and he buys a case of Michelob and then runs just a bit slower so he doesn't shake up the beer too much before he gets to John's place.
He expects John to be asleep or up drinking, but he answers the door still awake with a book in his hand. John yells at him for coming over so late, then lets him in and digs out the bottle opener and they sit on the couch with the tv flipped onto something Wally thinks is probably the History Channel. It's in black and white, there are airplanes, and a couple of old newsreels of Hitler. The sound's off anyway.
They don't talk about her. John doesn't want to, and Wally doesn't either. Instead he tells John about the burglaries, about the clues they've tracked down and the dead ends. He's halfway through his description of the FT-IR analysis of the weird stain at the third crimescene when he notices John is looking at him funny.
"Nothing." But there's a world of "So when did you grow a brain, exactly?" in the word, and John looks at him with a little more respect.
Wally hasn't told them about his life, not really. Bats seems to know, but he's fucking omnipotent. It feels good to share this little bit of his world with the guy who is basically his best friend in the world.
"You're my best friend," Wally says out loud, and realizes the beer has been cold and sweet and went down really well.
John's mouth quirks, and John has a great mouth, Wally can't help but notice and then wishes he hadn't. "Idiot," John says affectionately.
Then that shadow, the one Wally's come to know so well lately, passes over the too-green eyes. Wally isn't John's best friend, or wasn't until very recently, and John's trapped in sticky memories again.
Some things are right, and some things are real, and some things are only really right now. Wally is on John's end of the couch in an eyeblink, and since thinking will get him into trouble, he kisses John quick and hard and fast without thinking at all.
Distraction. John needs a distraction. And John needs to be back to who he was. He's not going to stop bleeding until he covers his wounds, and right now, Wally wants to cover him entirely.
All this in a sharp thought, and then Wally has pulled away and back across the couch, watching John, waiting for the yelling to start, or for John to kick him out, or to punch him. To say anything except what he does, which is nothing, as he raises his hand (and John really has great hands, all corded muscle and strength) to his lips, which now that Wally thinks about it, he might have kissed a little too hard and too fast. Oops.
And then John has come over to Wally's end of the couch, and before Wally can say a word, their mouths are pressed together again, and Wally knows in the morning, this won't be real but right now it's like moving forward and Wally is down with that.