January 28, 2002
It was a cold night in Gotham. The news had said the coldest in 22 years. The coldest since that night wh....
Before he'd conciously registered the sound, the Dark Knight had turned, a batarang in hand. A field of blue floated before his eyes. Glancing up, he saw the small red and gold 'S-shields' holding his cape to his shoulders.
The 'Superman' of Metropolis.
'No need for the weapon, Batman.' The Superman smiled. It was, the Batman noted, a genuine, friendly smile.
The Batman stood slowly, putting the Battarang back into his utility belt. 'Can I help you?' His voice was cool, flat, emotionless. The Superman stood slightly taller than he, and was equally well built, so he couldn't use his size to control the situation, but he would maintain control as well as he could.
'I've come to talk...' The Superman started, stopping when the Batman turned away.
'I'm working.' The Batman resumed scanning the streets below, but the Superman floated into his field of view.
'I've come to talk about work, actually. I won't be long.' The Superman smiled again. A bright, country smile. The Batman smiled slightly to himself. A farmboy. 'I'm sure you've noticed,' the farmboy continued, 'we're not the only ones in this game any more.'
'Central City, Coast City, Star City, Hub City...I watch the news. Religiously.' The Batman spoke to the other 'superhero', but continued to scan the streets.
On the corner of his field of vision, he saw the Man of Steel nod. 'Some of us - the Flash, the Coast City Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman...'
'The Themiscaran.' The Batman pulled a pair of binoculars from his belt, and looked into an alley. He'd spotted his quarry, Jason Twain, one of Two-Face's henchmen.
'Yes. We've decided it would be useful for us to form something of a new Justice Society. And we'd like to offer you a seat.'
The Batman tucked his binoculars away, and settled a Batline launcher into his hand. 'I decline. It would take me from Gotham too often.'
'Not that often. A few times a month. Not likely more than a day at a time.'
'See? Far too often.' Batman jumped from the roof, extending his arms. As he depressed the trigger of his Batline launcher, he felt his fall arrested. He looked up at the Superman's face, just as the other man heard the Batline connect with a nearby gargoyle and realise what had happened.
'Sorry?' The Superman smiled ruefully. And failed to let the Batman go.
'Sorry. I'll...let you get back to it.' The Superman let him go and flew into the distance, as the Batline slowed Batman's fall to the ground. He released the Batline from the gargoyle, and withdrew it into the launcher, before hurrying towards Twain's position.
It was a brisk fall evening, as Wally West and Linda Park left the Life Sciences building of Central City University.
'Need a ride home?' The way Linda smiled at him as she asked that made him regret having to turn her down.
'Nah...Uncle Barry's going to pick me up, then we're going to grab Aunt Iris for her birthday dinner.' He smiled and shrugged. 'I'll give you a call later, though, kay?'
Linda grinned, and nodded, giving him a kiss on the cheek as she hurried off.
So, Wally settled in to wait for his uncle Barry, in the shade of a construction crane. He'd done so most afternoons since the construction on the building's new wing had started. It was convenient. He thought he'd miss it when it was gone. He opened a text book, and began reading. He had an exam coming, and...well, if he didn't do well...well, it had been an awful expensive year to not do well.
So engrossed was was he in his studies that the motion of the shadow, the sound of snapping cables and the shouting of workers didn't register until too late. The crane was about to fall on him, and he couldn't possibly move fast enough to escape...
And yet...something that Wally could only credit as a freak wind effect caused by the falling crane...knocked him out of the path of the crane an infintessimal fraction of a second before it hit him. It was a certifiable miracle, and Wally wondered just which Saint had been watching over him.
Barry Allen was a little early to pick up his nephew, but it did give him some time to have a leisurely stroll around the campus - a luxury he rarely afforded himself.
He was at the opposite side of the campus when he saw the crane toppling. Someone could be hurt if he didn't act quickly. No time even to put on his costume....
He began to run...as he got closer, just who could get hurt began to become clear. Wally was under the falling crane...oblivious, and less than a second away from a painful death. He ran like he had never run before...impacting Wally in the very nick of time.
'Wally, are you alright?' Even as the words passed his lips, he knew something was wrong...he was still moving...Wally had become incorporeal...no...he had...the world was going white.
This was it, then...the last run.
At least he'd gone out with a reason.
He wondered, idly, what heaven would be like.
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