Here are the first two parts of Control, my fill from a yj anon meme prompt.
Fandom: Young Justice
Warnings: Emotional Abuse
Pairings: Smatterings of KF/R
It had started out with Artemis teasing Wally.
It was innocent enough, until Artemis found that Wally didn’t like it when people refused to call him by his name or by anything at all for that matter. No one really remembered how it started, but they remember what happened at the end. It was after a low key mission, nothing went wrong and no one was injured for once, and the teens had gathered around the kitchen. Kid Flash was not the only one who was famished after a long mission, their Friday night had bled into an early Saturday morning.
“I wouldn’t get in its way, it’s pretty hungry,” Artemis teased, referring to Wally.
“My name is Wally,” Kid Flash growled, anger leaking into his voice as he channeled his inner Superboy. He slammed the refrigerator door shut to emphasize his words after he grabbed the fixings for a sandwich.
Artemis smiled over at Megan and said, “It seems mad at me.”
Wally clutched the butter knife he was using to spread mustard onto a slice of bread and ground out, “Stop it.”
“Uh, let me make that for you, KF.” Robin pried the knife out of his friend’s hand and continued making the sandwich.
Kaldur sighed at the childishness going on and looked pointedly at their newest member, “And you, stop it.”
Artemis rolled her eyes, “Oh please, whenever it starts yapping no one bothers to shut it up. But once I get a bit mouthy, you jump at me in an instant.”
“Call me Wally.” Kid Flash’s hands clenched and began shaking with the excess energy that was building up in him along with his anger.
Megan looked nervously over at Wally. He was projecting loudly and it was beginning to worry her, she was used to Superboy’s anger, but she had never felt it from Wally before. She reached out to her friend and gently laid her hand on the other girl’s arm, “Artemis, maybe you should stop.”
But Artemis didn’t let up, she enjoyed getting under Wally’s skin. “Don’t defend it, Megan, not after the way it hits on you all the time.”
“MY NAME IS WALLY! I’M A GODDAMN PERSON! CALL ME WALLY!”
Everyone jumped at Wally’s outburst and a heavy silence fell over the room.
Once Wally caught his breath and managed to slow his racing heart, he looked at his friends and his heart sank, he could see that he had frightened them. He never meant to make his friends afraid. Taking a step back to distance himself from them, he apologized, “S-Sorry, I’m sorry. I’m tired, I just … I didn’t mean to yell.”
“Wally,” Megan moved towards him but stopped when he backed away from her. She was more surprised by the movement than worried, Wally never moved away from her.
“Sorry,” he apologized again, pulling his cowl back so he could rub at his face to feign sleepiness. “I’m just tired. I’m going to bed.”
Wally ran to his room before anyone else could get a word in. As soon as the door and locked was closed behind him, he stripped out of his suit and into his flannel pajama pants and his Green Lantern T-shirt with shaking hands. After he changed he noticed the trembling in his hands had spread to the rest of his body. He crawled into bed and curled up into a ball, pressing his knees into his chest and wrapping his arms around his legs. Tears burned in his eyes and his chest constricted in what felt like the beginning of an anxiety attack. He didn’t mean to lose control in front of his friends, he didn’t mean to worry them, to frighten them, to yell at them. His body shook as he tried to reign in the urge to cry.
The mattress next to him sunk down and an arm wrapped around Wally’s torso.
“Just breathe, Wally, you’ll be alright, breathe.”
Wally listened to the calming voice and his breathing evened out after a few seconds. The reassurance that he wasn’t alone and the feel of the arm wrapped around him helped to soothe the anxiety that had been suffocating him only a moment before. Once he had calmed down Wally uncurled his body, but he didn’t dare to turn to look at the younger teen laying in the bed next to him, afraid Robin would see the tears that still lingered in his eyes despite the darkness of the room.
“How did you get in here, Rob? I locked the door.”
“Like that would stop me,” Robin grinned. His smile faded though and he moved closer to his friend, “So, you want to tell me what that was about? Minus the bull about you just being tired.”
“Artemis is annoying,” Wally answered. “She’s not Roy.”
“That may be so, but that’s not what’s bothering. Tell me what’s going on.”
“First tell me your identity.”
Robin flinched behind of him. “What? No. And don’t change the subject.”
“Tell me your identity and I’ll tell you what happened.” It was dirty move, but it gave Wally an instant upper hand in the conversation. He knew if he started it then Robin would back down.
“Ok, so you really don’t want to talk about it. I’m just worried about you, so is everyone else.”
“I know, I was tired–”
“Spare me your excuses. But you know if you want to talk–”
“I know, you’re here for me. And thanks, man, for being there.” Wally felt better, he took control of the situation and it did make him happy to know that Robin wasn’t mad at him for earlier. He turned over, careful not to disturb the arm around him too much, so he was facing his friend and grinned, “You know, I think you’re losing your investigative skills and at such a young age too.”
“Dude, I just let you off the hook, don’t push it.”
“Yeah, yeah. Now get out, it’s like 3AM, let me sleep.” Wally gently pushed Robin away and tugged up his bright red comforter with yellow lightning bolts and pulled it over his head, signaling his desire for sleep
Robin slipped out of the room to let his friend rest. He walked down the hall and made a mental list of things to do to figure out what was wrong with his friend. The outburst could have been nothing, it could just be that Wally was in a bad mood and Artemis was being pretty obnoxious. But Wally’s silence on the subject spoke volumes and while Robin said he wouldn’t force the topic, it didn’t mean he would leave it alone. His four years of being Batman’s partner taught him to be patient and persistent.
It was difficult to run at a normal pace, but Wally knew better than to risk using his speed out in the open without his uniform on. But it was tempting, especially as he was running late coming home from school, his math teacher who was also the track coach had cornered him after school and asked him again to join the track team. Looking down at his watch he saw that it was a quarter to four and while his dad usually didn’t get home until six, he didn’t want to run the risk of him coming home early and Wally not being there.
When he opened the front door to his parents’ house, Wally heard the sound of people talking right away and he thought he was going to throw up right then and there. His dad had come home early, like he had dreaded.
But as he listened he noticed that were three voices, all of them were familiar, but none of them belonged to his dad. Taking off his shoes at the entrance, Wally quietly padded over to the kitchen and for the second time in less than an hour he thought he was going to throw up. Sitting at the kitchen table was his mom, smiling cheerfully. Sitting across from her was Robin and Superboy, who were both dressed in their civvies and Robin was wearing his annoying sunglasses. They were both munching on a plate of freshly baked cookies.
Mary West turned to look at her son with pride on her face and said, “Wally, I didn’t know you had taken up tutoring.”
Wally opened his mouth and the only thing that came out was, “Huh?”
“I know, my big brother is such an idiot when it comes to physics, thanks again for helping him, Wally, he wouldn’t be able to graduate without you,” Robin said sweetly. Superboy just rolled his eyes and shoved another cookie into his mouth. Robin then smiled at Mary, “And thank you, Mrs. West, for letting us study here. Connor isn’t allowed in the library after the … incident.”
“Oh, don’t mention it, Tim, Wally never brings home any friends. I’m so happy that he invited you boys over,” Mary looked rather pleased. “I always worry that Wally isn’t normal enough.”
Superboy narrowed his eyes at Mrs. West’s odd comment, “What –”
“Let’s go study in my room,” Wally cut off Superboy and tried his best not to glare at his friends. They were lucky that Wally didn’t have heat vision or both of them would’ve burst into flames at that moment.
“Thank you again, Mrs. West,” Robin grinned and motioned for Superboy to follow him. He watched as Wally stomped ahead of them upstairs and noticed with worry that the speedster didn’t even grab a cookie.
The boys gathered in Wally’s room and jumped when he slammed the door behind them, now openly glaring at them. In a low voice, he growled out, “What the hell are you guys doing here?”
“Just wanted to see where you live,” Robin explained easily. “You’re always so open about everything, I didn’t think you’d mind us dropping by.”
“Then why didn’t you just tell my mom who you guys were, or you know, tell me you were coming, Tim.” Sarcasm dripped from Wally’s words when he said the name Tim, it was one of the aliases Robin used on the occasion. He knew that the unexpected visit had something to do with the incident over the weekend when he yelled at his friends, but he didn’t know what Robin would be looking for or why he would bring Connor with him.
“I thought you’d like the surprise and I don’t know what you tell your parents.”
“Your room is bare,” Superboy commented as he looked around the bedroom. Connor’s own room at Mount Justice wasn’t filled with things, but it was more than the minimalist design of Wally’s bedroom.
Robin looked around and automatically saw what Superboy saw. There was nothing. Wally’s room at Mount Justice had pictures of the team and the Flash all over the walls, there were books, comics and science magazines on the bookshelves, little mementos and action figures of the Justice League and their teen partners on free shelf space, first prize ribbons from school science fairs pinned above the cluttered desk, and a Flash sheets and comforter over the bed. But this room had bare white walls, a solid blue blanket with matching sheets on the bed, a desk with a neat pile of textbooks and papers, and a walk-in closet. It looked more like one of the rooms at Arkham Asylum than the bedroom of a fifteen year old.
“Jesus, Wally, where is all your stuff?” Robin opened up the closet to see if there was anything in there, but he was met with some neatly hanging clothes and a small set of drawers. And there were only a few set of shirts and sweatshirts hanging in the closet and from the size of the dresser Robin determined that it could hold no more than some underwear, socks and pants.
Wally shifted uneasily from foot to foot and automatically answered, “We’re going to repaint the room, so all my stuff is packed up.”
Superboy frowned and cocked his head to the side, obviously listening to something that the others couldn’t hear. “You’re lying. Your heart is beating too fast.”
So that was why Robin brought Superboy, Wally mused to himself, becoming increasingly anxious by their presence. They weren’t supposed to be there, they weren’t supposed to know.
“Look, you guys can’t stay. Thanks for dropping by, but you have to go.”
Robin crossed his arms and sat down on the bed, making himself comfortable. “So pushy, KF, your mom doesn’t seem to have a problem with us being here. She seems thrilled that you have some friends.”
“She’s happy that he’s acting normal,” Superboy spat out the words.
The sudden sound of a car pulling into the driveway made Wally’s heart lurch. But before Wally could convince his friends to escape through the window, his mother opened the door and peaked her head in the room. She smiled at the boys and said, “Wally, bring your friends downstairs, your father came home early.”
Wally nodded his head, “Yeah, we’ll be down in a sec.”
As soon as Mrs. West disappeared, Robin got to his feet and gripped Wally’s shoulders. “Wally, are you alright? You look like you’re going to faint.”
“His heartbeat is getting faster,” Superboy added.
“No, I’m fine,” Wally brushed off Robin’s hands and gave his friends a shaky smile. “Come on, it’s best not to keep my dad waiting.”
The three teenagers made it downstairs and to the kitchen where Mr. and Mrs. West were talking. Rudolph West gave the boys an easy smile and shook Robin and Superboy’s hands before putting a companionable hand on Wally’s shoulder.
“It’s good to meet some of my son’s friends. I hear my son is helping you with your studies, Connor,” Mr. West addressed Superboy. “I’m glad to hear that he’s doing something worthwhile with his time. Unfortunately I’m going to have to ask you boys to head home, it’s rare I get home early and I was hoping to take the family out.”
“That’s ok, sir, it’s our fault for coming unannounced. It was nice to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. West. We’ll see you later, Wally,” Robin replied and nodded to Superboy before they exited the house.
A few moments of dreadful silence went by before the hand on Wally’s shoulder tightened its grip. Rudolph West didn’t even look at Wally as he said, “I don’t remember giving you permission to spend your time tutoring.” He shoved Wally away from him and turned to his wife before he left the kitchen, “Don’t give it any dinner and keep it quiet, I don’t want to hear anything from that thing tonight.”
Wally stood rooted in the kitchen, the knot in his stomach tightening and his hands trembling with a familiar anxiety.
“Oh sweetie,” Mary West whispered to her son, “it wouldn’t be like this if you were normal.”
Interlude – Iris and her nephew
The car ride home was a silent one, Iris Allen was busy being consumed with worry and Wally was wallowing in his own misery. He had fainted during his gym class and was forced by the school nurse to go home. When his mom and dad didn’t answer their phones at work, his Aunt Iris was called and she arrived at the school in less than fifteen minutes to take him back to her house to take care of him.
Wally tried not to think of why he collapsed earlier. The night before his father had deprived him of his dinner and the only thing Wally had eaten before that was the barely edible lunch served at school. And in the morning his mom had set out a plate for him for breakfast lifting his hopes, but she refused to serve him any food, saying that his dad was still mad at him. For Wally not eating was a dangerous thing, even if he wasn’t using his speed. His metabolism was always on, burning away energy rapidly and skipping meals left him feeling weak.
His growing apprehension over Robin and Connor’s appearance at his house a couple of days ago didn’t help matters either. The more he thought about it, the more it raised his anxiety and paranoia, he knew he had been acting off and when Robin’s curiosity was piqued he didn’t stop until it was satisfied. He was so paranoid that Wally started searching his house for bugs or any recording devices whenever he got the chance. Trying to figure out all the nooks and crannies Robin could get into was certainly difficult.
“Go get dressed in your pajamas and lay down in bed, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Iris Allen ordered once they arrived at her house and she helped the young speedster up to the guestroom that Wally used when he spent the night. His clothes filled the closet and a few of his things graced the room, a couple of pictures, books, and his prized Flash action figure he had for years.
Wally watched as his aunt left the room and changed into his Superman pajamas, as much as he hated being babied he knew better than to try to argue with Aunt Iris. He caught a glance of himself in the mirror hanging in the closet and he saw why his aunt seemed so worried. His red hair was a mess, his skin was sickly pale, dark circles were under his dulled eyes and his face was pinched with the pain from his headache.
By the time he got into bed, Iris had returned with a tray laden with food, sliced up fruit, leftover pot roast, a couple of sandwiches, rice, a salad and a pot of tea, and put it down on the nightstand within Wally’s reach. She helped him sit up before sitting down on the edge of the bed and handing Wally some aspirin, though they both knew it would only give him some temporary relief.
“Ironic that I get the call that you’re hurt at school after all of the dangerous places you’ve been,” she commented, laughing a little. She then smoothed back red hair and pressed her hand to Wally’s cool forehead. “You’re not running a fever, so you’re not sick. Did you eat enough?”
“I could eat some more,” Wally smiled tiredly.
“Then eat all you want and get some sleep.” Iris smiled back at her nephew. Her mouth fell open though when the food disappeared in less than a minute, she knew that Wally ate fast, but this time he ate like the food might not be there if he waited. “Did you even chew your food?”
Wally shrugged sheepishly, “I was hungry.”
“I’ll let you rest, dear. Let me know if you need anything.” Iris moved to stand up, but a cool hand on her wrist stopped her. She looked curiously at her nephew, who suddenly seemed to be working something out in his inquisitive mind. “What is it, Wally?”
“Do … Do you ... Do you ever wish Uncle Barry was … You know, normal?”
“Normal?” Iris repeated and then she understood what he was asking. “You mean that he didn’t have his powers?”
“I … I think used to,” Iris admitted and her heart ached at the fallen look on her nephew’s face. “It wasn’t really about his powers, but I was always worried about him not coming back, I still worry about the both of you. But being a hero is part of what makes Barry who he is and I love him even more for his ability to be so selfless. Now I can’t even think of a life with Barry without his powers. It seems kind of like a boring life, huh?” Iris chuckled. She studied the teen’s face and watched as he absorbed her words. “Wally … why would you ever ask such a thing?”
“I … I was just wondering,” Wally answered lamely, turning his head away.
What he really wondered was if things at home had been better before he became Kid Flash. And they had been better, not good, but better when he was what his mom considered normal. No, that wasn’t right, he had never been normal, he had always been rather mouthy which made him the target of his dad’s temper and his surprising intellect when it came to science almost scared his mom. But things had been better before.
Iris wrapped her arms around Wally and pulled him into a hug. She couldn’t know what her nephew was thinking, the dark thoughts that plagued his mind, but Iris made her best guess and she figured it to be the issues that all teenagers often faced. She knew that teens sometimes suffered from insecurities, but being both a teen and a hero must be hard for her nephew. Not only did he have to suffer from the pressures of high school, she remembered how awkward and terrible those days could be, but Wally also had the responsibilities that came with being a hero. While he didn’t go out saving the world like Barry did with the Justice League, he was a hero to Central City and he did important work for the League with his team. Such pressures must’ve been difficult for her nephew and Iris couldn’t blame him for wanting to have a normal life.
“Wally, I know this is a difficult time in your life. Just remember that I love you and that you’re perfect the way you are, with or without your powers,” Iris whispered fiercely to the teen in her arms.
Wally buried his face into his aunt’s shoulder as she tightened her hold on him, rubbing his back in gentle small circles. He tried not to cry but he quickly lost that battle, soaking the fabric of her shirt. No one had ever said anything so nice to him before.