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22 January 2007 @ 09:58 am
Flash by Northwest (8/14)  
***
Flash By Northwest (8/14)
a Justice League story
by dotfic and mtgat
Copyright 2007
TV-14 (DSLV)
***

Disclaimer: DC Comics and Warner Brothers own the characters and situations. No infringement on their property is intended or should be inferred.

Continuity/Spoilers: Takes place after JLU "Destroyer" and the events of the flashback in "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker"

Thanks to amilyn for her beta on this work. Special thanks also to xffan_2000 and billa1 for editing above and beyond the call of duty on the final draft. All mistakes that may still be found herein are ours alone.

Pairings: Lots. If it was canon, if it was implied in canon --- heck, if we just thought it was amusing at the time --- it's in there.

Summary: The Big Seven (plus one) are trapped inside a fantasy world created by a magical artifact. As the body count rises, familiar faces hide deadly secrets and it's up to Flash to save them.


***
Chapter Eight
***

Well, that was just wrong.

Because in the movies, that's not how it happened; there was supposed to be a phone call first, giving him time to prepare. That's how these things were supposed to work.

Not on their way to the office from breakfast. Not an arm reaching out of the early morning shadows and fog (of course there was fog), grabbing Diana. Not her stumbling on high heels, the gleam of a knife at her throat. And no one else on the street at this time of day, though that at least was expected.

Out of instinct, Wally ran forward a few steps before remembering his powers didn't work. If their powers were working, the knife would be out of the guy's hand already. In fact, if their powers were working he'd have never gotten the knife to Diana's throat in the first place, because she would have sent him flying against the wall the minute he touched her.

"Take it easy." Wally hastily stepped back. The guy had a fedora pulled down low over his face. Just to make the cliche more perfect, he was dressed in a long black raincoat.

"Give me the necklace or I cut her," he rasped. Wally suspected the voice was put-on, like Bruce's batvoice.

"You don't want to do that," said Wally, trying to remember martial arts. He blanked completely on the best move to make when your opponent had a knife to a friend's throat.

"Oh, I don't, do I?"

Who writes this dialogue? Wally wondered in a detached way.

"No, you don't. Let's deal. I have the necklace. If you hurt her, you don't get it."

"If you don't give me the necklace, I'll do more than just hurt her."

What would Sam Spade do? Heck, what would Batman do? Think, Wally, think.

Before he could come up with a witty reply, Diana's elbow jabbed backwards hard into the guy's ribcage. He grunted; she let out a small war-cry as she twisted from his grasp. Her other hand shot out, palm flat, smashing into his face. The knife clattered to the damp pavement.

As he staggered back, clutching his bloody nose, Diana lifted her foot, pushing her heel against his chest and pinning him down.

She pulled off his hat, throwing it into a puddle. The guy had shaggy hair, a low, thick brow, full lips, bulging eyes--in short, the epitome of every goon in every black and white movie Wally had ever seen, with a touch of Peter Lorre.

Hands on her hips, shoe digging into the middle of his chest, Diana leaned over him. "Who hired you?"

"Nobody," he mumbled.

She twisted the foot, digging the heel in. "Try again."

"Go to hell," he said.

"What should we do with him?" Wally asked.

"Knock him out, tie him up, take him back the office, and ask him more questions," Diana said without hesitation.

The guy groaned.

"Works for me," Wally shrugged.

So she slugged him across the jaw. The goon passed out.

As Diana stepped off of him, Wally saw something in the dim light, the glow of the streetlight through the early grey dawn.

"Diana," he said.

"What?"

"You're bleeding."

"I'm..." her hand went to her neck. "It's all right," she said. "The cut's not deep."

Wally put his hand in the pocket of his trenchcoat and wasn't surprised when his fingers found a cloth handkerchief. "Here," he said, handing it to her.

She took it. "Thanks." She pressed it against the thin cut just below her jaw, where the knife had nicked her.

"We'd better get this guy back to the office." Wally bent down, grabbed his shoulders, and then slung him over his shoulder. The guy was tall, and Wally staggered a bit under the weight.

"I can't believe his gall, grabbing me like that," Diana said, as they walked down the deserted street, the thick fog seeming to disperse and part for them.

"He did it to get to me," Wally said, stepping through a puddle that reflected him and his burden for a moment before his foot rippled the water, destroying the image. "Because I'm the P.I. and everyone knows the tough P.I.'s one weakness is his Girl Friday." Wally laughed. "You played your part wrong."

"So I make a lousy Girl Friday?" Diana said, the corner of her mouth quirking almost to a smile.

"I think I like your version better than the original."

***

Clark drove.

He made no attempt to break the silence that filled the car. Bruce stared straight ahead, face impassive.

He'd called Clark with the stark basics: Dick and Roy, shot dead in their home. Barbara, barely clinging to life, shot in Dick's bed.

The drive seemed to take an eternity. At last they pulled to a stop in front of the morgue. Clark turned off the engine and sat back, hands lightly on the wheel, listening to the engine tick into silence.

"I could wait out here, if you'd like," Clark said.

"No." Bruce opened the door and stepped out.

Clark followed him up the steps, under the arch, and through the double doors into the simply furnished, bleak hallway.

There were forms to fill out, and then an attendant led them through another set of doors, down a hallway that Clark swore was growing longer as they walked. It was like the car ride, as if time were stretching out before him. This seemed more surreal than anything he'd seen so far in this world they were caught in.

The attendant opened one of the thick metal doors that lined one wall. A metal tray slid out with a clang. Clark winced, then glanced at Bruce, who stood motionless.

"Well?" The attendant said, after he'd flipped back the sheet.

Beneath black hair the blue eyes stared blank and fixed at the ceiling.

Clark looked at Bruce. He couldn't help it.

"That's him," Bruce said, his eyes on the waxen features.

Nodding, the attendant --- whom Clark didn't recognize but kept expecting to ---flipped the sheet back into place, slid the tray away, and slammed the door shut.

It was over.

Bruce turned and walked out of the room, unhurried. Clark followed. Though either of them could identify Roy Harper's body as well, neither would volunteer and no one would ask them.

Together, they stepped out into the Los Diablos morning. The sun was hidden by a blanket of fog rolling over them. Clark shivered.

"It's not really him. You understand that, right?" Clark felt like an idiot as soon as he spoke. There was no comfort that needed to be offered, because Bruce understood that just fine, thank you very much, and no comfort that would be accepted, because Bruce never accepted comfort even if and when he needed it, and he'd just looked at the corpse of a man identical to his adopted son.

"Yes," Bruce said flatly.

"Come on." Clark walked around to the driver's side of the car. "I'll buy you a drink."

***

Wally had to carry the guy up the two flights of stairs to his office. Diana unlocked the door with his key, which was in his coat pocket and boy, was that awkward because she had to pull the key out herself since his hands were full of Shady Looking Goon. She flicked on the light while Wally dumped Shady Looking Goon into a chair.

"We have any rope?" He tossed his fedora towards the coat rack. This time it landed gracefully over a hook. Wally stifled a whoop of triumph.

"I'll see." Diana rummaged through the drawers of her desk, checked the closet, then wandered into Wally's office to look in there.

"Look in the filing cabinet!" Wally called.

"Why would rope be in a filing cabinet?" She poked her head out of the office door.

"Because that's where P.I.'s keep stuff."

"I thought that's where they keep files?" Diana opened the filing cabinet.

"You'd think." Wally glanced at their prisoner, who stirred faintly.

He actually had no idea why he thought there might be rope in the filing cabinet. It wasn't something he could remember from any of his favorite old movies. Maybe it was from watching TV. A lot of those P.I. characters seemed to be slobs and kept stuff in the oddest places.

Usually, the only thing they seemed to use the filing cabinet for was to hide the gin.

"Here." Diana tossed him some rope.

He began to tie the goon to the chair. "Where'd you find it?"

"Under the cushions of the couch. Here, let me do that."

"O-kay." She tugged the rope tight. The Shady Looking Goon groaned and opened his eyes. "Hi!" Wally said cheerfully.

SLG frowned, then jerked forward. Finding himself unable to move out of the chair, he looked down at the ropes, then slowly looked back up at Wally with a look of fury so vivid Wally wished he had a camera. This guy looked like every heavy in every double-feature Wally had ever seen.

He stepped back, pulling Diana with him. "What do we do now?" He whispered.

"I don't know! You've seen all of the movies!" She looked over Wally's shoulder at the guy. "I believe you should ask him questions."

"Right. Good plan." Wally turned back. "All right, tough guy." He dropped his hands to the arms of the wooden chair, trying to loom. Wally knew a lot of guys in real life who knew how to loom; he didn't need Humphrey Bogart for reference. The guy jerked against his bonds again. Wally saw the head-butt attempt coming and pulled back quickly in a very un-Sam Spade way.

Wally coughed, pretending that pulling back suddenly like that was his plan all along, then sneered. "Who sent you?"

The man in the chair was silent.

"Di-an-a," Wally said through clenched teeth, under his breath, "this isn't wooooorking."

She'd been standing with her arms folded, one foot tilted back onto a high heel. Her outfit was much the same as the first morning they'd found his office, a simple navy blue skirt and matching jacket, white blouse with a frilly front. At Wally's plea, she unfolded her arms, gently pushed him aside, and stood before the man in the chair.

The guy's upper lip curled up at her. "I might talk if the dame sits on my lap."

"Watch your mouth, bucko," Wally said.

"Listen." Diana dropped her voice to a soft purr that made all the hair on the back of Wally's arms stand up. She put her hands on the chair arms, while goon kept leering but sat back a little, suspicious. "I'm having a very bad couple of days. Two people I care about have died. I'm far from home, my stockings itch, I've been demoted from ambassador to typist, and then I was rudely grabbed and had a knife stuck to my throat. So unless you would like me to remove my left shoe and ram the heel up your nose, I suggest you tell us what we need to know." Only then did her voice harden again. "Starting with who sent you to get the necklace."

"I ain't telling you nothin'."

Diana straightened up and walked back over to Wally. Then she tugged him over towards the water cooler. "I can't actually beat it out of him," she whispered.

"Why not? Even without your Amazon strength, you're tough enough to."

"Because we don't do things that way. Interrogate people? Hit someone tied up in a chair?"

"Yeah, I know." Wally rubbed the back of his neck. "But we have to get him to talk. Bribery?"

"It's worth a try, isn't it?" Diana gave him a little push.

Wally turned back to their prisoner. "Whatever you're being paid, we'll give you double."

"I'm being paid quite a lot."

"We can offer more." When the goon laughed, Wally added, "Trust me. We know people."

But the goon closed his mouth, lips going thin. This time, Wally tugged Diana over to the water cooler. "That's not working either. Have any other suggestions?"

"Wally, this isn't something I know anything about."

"But you're an ambassador. Isn't that your job, persuading people?"

"No. I'm a mediator. I don't talk people into things, I keep people talking to each other." She folded her arms again.

"He doesn't know we don't do things...that way."

"Meaning..."

"I think you should try threatening him with your shoe again."

"This is very new," Diana said.

"What do you mean?"

"We've never interrogated anyone before. We've never had to." She tugged at her jacket. "If I were in uniform ..."

"He'd be a babbling cretin, begging for mercy already. Actually ...." Wally turned to look at the goon, who glowered back. "That gives me an idea." He winked at Diana then said loudly, "No, you can't do that!"

"What are you--"

"Please, Diana, restrain yourself." Praying she wouldn't punch his lights out for doing it, he grabbed her by the shoulders. "Remember what the judge said! If you put another man in traction like you did last time ... "

It took her a moment, but then she caught Wally's eye and her lips twitched before she lunged forward. "He's scum! I'll get him to talk the way I did the others. Let me go, West."

"No, Diana. He's not worth it."

Wally stole a look at their prisoner and yes, he did look a little nervous. The goon shifted in his bonds, his eyes never leaving Diana. A few strands of hair had come loose from the tightly coiled bun and she looked furious, a parody of her actual battle-face. Who knew Diana was such an actress? But then, she had to be, between being one of the League as well as being a diplomat. She didn't hide her identity like some of them did, but she played multiple roles all the same.

"Listen, buddy," Wally said, still holding onto Diana, "I don't know how much longer I can restrain her. She's usually a doll, but when she gets angry like this..." he winced, and shuddered. "That poor mook was in traction for months."

"What'll you give me if I tell you?" The guy said slowly.

"Double what you were paid to do this job."

"Let me think about it," he said sullenly.

Diana gave a little scream of rage and tried to shove past Wally, who was only half-pretending that it was difficult to hold her back, that she almost knocked him to the ground. "Think faster," Wally shouted.

"Who sent you," Diana demanded.

"I don't know. I was given instructions at a drop location. They wanted me to leave the necklace at the same location, where I'd pick up my money."

"What's the location?"

"The trash bin at 18th and Kane."

Wally immediately let go of Diana and went over to her desk so he could scribble the location down. Meanwhile, Diana gave a sigh, straightened, and began to tuck the loose strands of hair back into the bun. She gave the goon a serene smile.

"Hey..." the goon said. "You played me."

"I'll call the police to come pick up this guy," Wally said. He picked up the phone, then hesitated. "Um. Diana?"

"Yes?"

"How do I call the police again?"

***

Two beat cops arrived to take the goon away. Officer Dibny nodded in an amiable way at Wally and said "Another one, Mr. West? You sure do keep our arrest counts up."

"I do what I can," Wally said, with a grin and a shrug, pleased to see a familiar, friendly face as a policeman this time.

The other one, Officer Lord, didn't ring any bells. He looked a bit too slick to be a beat cop, his hair too neatly combed, and he kept smirking at Diana until Officer Dibny finally smacked him upside the head.

"What?" Officer Lord complained in the outraged tones of an innocent wronged as they dragged their prisoner away.

When they were gone, Wally unlocked the cabinet drawer where they'd put the evidence. He put the items out on his desk while Diana sat in one of the two leather chairs facing it. She picked up the necklace, letting it dangle from her fingers. The sterling silver question mark gleamed in the dirty sunlight peeking through the clouds and blinds.

"Someone went to a lot of trouble to take this away from us." Wally watched the silver pendant turning and frowned.

"We still don't know where the Riddler is."

"Maybe it's not his. I had a chance to look through some of my old papers last night. Vic Sage used to be my partner a few years ago."

"The Question?"

"Yeah. Looks like he vanished a few years ago right as the bills piled up. I think that's why I'm in so much debt."

"Even if it is Question's, he doesn't seem the type to wear silver necklaces. Who was wearing it when it was dropped in the club? Did they kill Ollie?"

"We have no other clues at the moment. It's gotta be connected."

"So we'll keep looking for Nygma. Any idea how to contact Sage?"

"If Wally West, P.I., and Vic had some kind of signal system, I haven't seen any sign of it. It's not like I can put masking tape in the shape of a question mark on the window and shine a light through it."

He sighed and sat heavily on his small, uncomfortable couch. "So. I'm the washed-up detective. You're the Girl Friday. Question is my ex-partner on the run. I wonder who's going to end up being the femme fatale?"

"The what?"

Wally recited: "A woman of loose morals who tries to seduce the P.I. in order to get what she wants. Usually one of the suspects." He turned when he heard the footsteps outside.

She didn't so much knock as bang once on the glass, open the knob, and walk in.

"We have to go back to the crash scene," Shayera said without preamble. "With something to take an impression of a tire track. We could use...what is that called..." she snapped her fingers. "Plaster of paris. We should be able to find that here, right?"

"And a good morning to you too," said Diana, dropping the necklace into a desk drawer.

"I found tire tracks but no footprints." Shayera went on. "I couldn't make out that much last night, I'm hoping it will be better in daylight."

"Well, actually, Wally and I were planning to..."

"Oh, come on, Diana. What? Jot more notes? Look, I know a little something about how to do this."

"Actually, so does Wally." Diana wrote something else down on her notepad.

"I can't sit around and do nothing. I figured you two could use some help."

"We're doing okay," said Diana.

"Are you going to argue with me or are you two going to come back with me to the crash site?"

Wally pulled himself up from his couch. "We might as well. Maybe we'll find something."

"We need plaster of paris."

"We'll stop at a crafts shop," said Wally. "I'll call us a cab."

"No need, I've got a car."

"You drove here?"

"I'm a trained pilot, Diana. Yes, I drove here. Now let's go."

Wally shrugged. "I was stuck for what to do next anyhow. Just hope we survive the ride out there. Maybe I should drive?"

"No way." Shayera opened the door. "My car."

"Let's go then." Wally paused, watching as Diana pulled on her jacket. "You feeling okay?"

"Peachy."

***

Shayera only ran one red light and scraped her car against a mailbox once on the way to the crafts store where they got the plaster of paris.

She took the curving hill road way too fast, in Diana's opinion. Wally sat in the front passenger seat slumped down with his hands over his eyes.

The car pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

"You can open your eyes now, Wally," Shayera said calmly. She opened the door and stepped out. Diana and Wally followed.

Woods lined the road on either side. "Where are we going?" Wally asked, as they followed Shayera along the road. Birds twittered softly in the quiet.

Diana thought it was interesting how quickly Wally gave up his air of authority now that Shayera was there. He seemed content to follow, different than the last few days where Diana for the first time found herself deferring to Wally as leader.

Now that Shayera was there, things seemed more the way they were back at home. It filled her with irritation as well as relief.

"I found the spot where J'onn was murdered," Shayera said, in a flat tone.

"Oh," Wally said, ducking to avoid a low, jutting tree branch.

"Careful where you step. You might disturb evidence."

"Thank you, Shayera, I don't know how Wally and I managed before you showed up." Diana caught the slow, assessing look the other woman gave her, trying to figure out if she had actually heard Diana's sarcasm or it was all in her head. Gesturing graciously for Shayera to go ahead of her, Diana gave her most diplomatic smile. "You first. I wouldn't want one of my clumsy Amazonian feet to crush something important."

Shayera's lips pursed. Yes, she'd definitely caught the sarcasm. Diana thought she was better at concealing it than that, but then, Shayera was trained in espionage.

Kneeling, Shayera pointed towards the base of a palm tree. "There. I marked it."

There was a rune etched into the bark and nearby, a stain on the road. Diana closed her eyes a moment.

"Look around, see if you can spot anything. It was too dark when I was here last night."

"There's nothing here," Wally said, finally, after ten minutes of searching.

"That's what I was afraid of. Whoever the murderer is, they're meticulous." Shayera stood up and brushed off her slacks. "Anyway, over here is where I found the tire track. Wally, go get the plaster of paris and we'll take an impression."

"Are you going to let her boss you around like that?" Diana kicked off her shoe to dislodge a pebble, then slid the shoe back on.

Wally looked from Shayera to Diana and didn't move.

"I'm not bossing him around. We need the plaster of paris."

"So go get it yourself."

Shayera rolled her eyes and lifted her hands up as if in supplication. "Great, I don't care, I'll get it myself. What is wrong with you?" She stomped off for the car.

Wally turned to Diana and opened his mouth to speak but she held up her hand, palm flat. "Don't start," she said.

***

They took an impression of the tire with a minimum of bickering but a bit of mess. Their clothes were all spattered with the white plaster by the time they were done; they mixed the stuff in the bucket Shayera had put in her trunk along with a water-filled canteen.

"I'll take this to the local tire store." Wally gently lifted the tire track mold. "Have to compare it to all the different makes. Once we figure out the brand at least, we can narrow it down. It's not like we can run a check against a computer database like I could back home. This could take a while."

"Then we'd better get on it," Shayera said, nodding.

"Not yet," Wally said. He reached into the backseat of the car and pulled out two bottles, one clear glass, one amber, and a handful of rags. As Diana watched, mystified, and Shayera waited impatiently, he dosed the rags and handed them out. "I want to see if we can find the murder weapon. We know he was hit in the back of the head. Look for large rocks, anything that could've been used to do it, and wipe them down."

They split off into different directions, poking through the underbrush. Diana found a few stones that looked hefty enough, but when Wally added his other liquid, nothing happened to her rags. Shayera found a thick branch, also a negative. Wally didn't find anything.

"Can we go now?" Shayera asked.

***

They raced back down the curving road, the windows open and blowing their hair every which way. "Could you go just a little slower?" Wally pleaded.

Grudgingly, Shayera let the speedometer drop a few notches. Wally's shoulders relaxed just a little.

"Shayera..." he said. "Maybe you should wait back at my office. You know, in case people check in."

"Sit around and answer the phones? I don't think so. Let the princess do that."

"Excuse me?" Diana snapped from the back seat.

"No, Diana's working on the investigation. I just meant it might be safer if you stay there."

"Safer?"

"So you don't get into any trouble."

In the back seat, Diana put her palm to her face. Wally wasn't the most tactful person.

"Wait a second." They reached the bottom of the hill. Shayera pulled the car to a stop for a red light and turned to Wally. "Was this John? Did he talk to you?"

Wally began fumbling with the glove compartment. "Wow, sun's bright today, got any shades in here?"

Shayera smacked his hand away from the handle. "Look at me, Wally. Did John tell you to make sure I sat tight somewhere out of the way? Safe?"

The reply was an indistinct mumble that sounded a lot more like "Bruce."

Smacking her hand against the steering wheel, Shayera cursed in her native language. This was all news to Diana.

Nobody said anything again until they got to the tire dealership. After Wally explained to the owner what they were doing, it took a almost an hour to compare the plaster cast to the treads of the tires that were in stock.

It turned out the pattern was the same make as the tires on J'onn's car.

Diana felt smug, then guilty about feeling smug. The important thing was to solve this case, and here she was, giving in to a petty competition, glad that Shayera's clue had added nothing new to their knowledge. Never mind that Shayera was bossy and several times made a remark that suggested she and Wally would have gotten nowhere without her brilliant plaster of paris idea.

"Well, that was completely pointless," Wally said as they stood blinking in the afternoon sun. "Anyone else hungry?"

There was a soda shop across the street. As they approached, a petite dark haired woman in a trim, A-line skirt and a short jacket, her little hat perched at a perky angle on her head, ran up to them.

"Mr. West?" She said breathlessly, notebook clutched in one small hand, pencil in the other. "Word on the street is you're investigating the Macabe murder case. Could I interview you?"

Shayera stepped in front of Wally. "Who's asking?"

"I'm Linda Park with The Daily Babbler."

Diana glanced at Wally, who shrugged. They hadn't heard of it but it sounded like a tabloid.

"We're busy." Shayera started to tug Wally towards the door of the soda shop.

"But our readers would really be interested to know how a private eye goes about solving a case like this." She transferred her pencil to her other hand and put her palm against Wally's chest. "I'll bet you have some nifty stories you could tell," Linda said, her eyes bright as she looked up at him.

Diana watched Wally's resistance melt like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. She rubbed her forehead with one finger, feeling a headache coming on, while Wally's face broke into a wide grin. "Well, now, I guess I might have a few. Like the time I recovered the rare Maltese-- "

While Diana was still thinking about doing it, Shayera went ahead and ground her heel into the top of Wally's shoe.

"--Ow!" Wally turned to glare at Shayera.

"Sorry," she said, and smiled innocently. "Goodness!" She shaded her eyes with her hand, as if looking towards a distant clocktower--Diana hadn't seen one nearby but in Los Diablos they were common. "Look at the time! Gotta go."

"But Mr. West..." Linda ran after them, her heels tapping briskly on the concrete.

Shayera turned, drew herself up to her full height, and glared.

Linda Park let out a small squeak and backed up a step. Diana felt sorry for her.

They turned and walked on, Wally a bit reluctantly; he kept trying to look over his shoulder at the perky reporter.

A delivery guy on a bicycle whizzed past them, almost knocking Linda down. "Watch where you're walking, ya Jap!"

"I'm Korean, you jerk!" Linda darted aside, stumbled, and almost fell. Wally quickly stepped over and caught her by the elbow.

She smiled up at him, eyes wide with hero-worship.

"Would you like to go inside and--" Wally began.

"Sir," Diana said, in what she thought was a tone a good Girl Friday would use, "You have that appointment with the Police Commissioner in ten minutes. I suggest we get going."

Wally looked at her like the fire hydrant had suddenly started speaking ancient Greek.

"That's right," Shayera said, and hooked her arm through Wally's. "You know how anxious he gets until he knows you're on the job." Her voice dropped low, with a purring note.

"Uh...right...the Police Commissioner. Sorry, uh, Ms. Park, maybe we can do that interview later?"

"Any time," the girl said, and winked.

"He's going to be insufferable now," Diana muttered to Shayera, who rolled her eyes.

***

Wally was in his back office, leaning back in his chair with his feet up on the desk, fingers steepled, trying to feel like a private eye.

Motives...names...old grudges...debts...times...dates... Forensics in a way was easier. He didn't have to figure out the big picture, just zero in on a microscopic-sized clue, then pass the information along.

Heroing was easier, too. He didn't have to figure things out, merely react. If someone had a gun, take it from their hands. If a piece of flying debris was about to hit a civilian, zip over and move the civilian out of the way. If someone fell, windmill his arms to create air currents to keep them aloft. There weren't an endless number of lists and theories.

He heard Diana answer. "West Investigations. Hello, Clark, what..." There was a pause, nothing significant in itself, but there were pauses and then there were dead silences.

Wally lowered his feet to the floor with a thump, got up and went to stand in his office doorway. He watched Diana on the phone. One finger had twined into the cord connecting the headset to the phone; it was a plain, straight wire, not curly like modern phone cords. But her finger was still now, frozen. Her face looked blank.

"Oh," she said softly. "Oh, I see. Yes. They were together, then?" Diana moved her hand, and the phone cord slid off her finger. "Roy too?" She sighed, a distressed exhale.

With dread, Wally moved out into the main room. Diana glanced up at him and he mouthed What happened? She held up a finger, Wait.

"How's Bruce... Yes, of course he knows that.... Yes, I know. Okay, I'll remind him." She hung up then swiveled her chair slowly to face Wally. "Dick Grayson--this Dick Grayson--was found shot dead earlier this morning. Roy Harper was in another part of the mansion where they were, he's dead too. Barbara Gordon is still alive, but she's in surgery and they don't know her condition. Clark said he tried to call earlier but we were out."

"Yeah," Wally said softly. "Damn." More people were dying. He rubbed his face with his hands. "We're not solving this quickly enough."

"We're doing all we can," Diana said firmly. "Clark is going to meet us to go over the details from the shooting. Let's go."

"Go where?" Shayera hadn't even bothered to knock this time. She'd been out asking questions at the jewelry store down the street; Wally figured she couldn't get into too much trouble that way and it meant she and Diana weren't trying to kill each other.

"To meet Clark," Diana said. "There have been more murders."

"Hi, Shayera," Wally said. "I guess I'm...we...aren't working fast enough to solve this. People keep dying."

Shayera's fingers clenched into a fist. "Who?"

"Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Roy Harper," Diana said, and looked down at her desk as if not really seeing the papers strewn all over it.

"Clark is going to give us the details, and then Diana and I were going to check it out. You...uh...should come with us," Wally said.

Diana's head came up sharply, and even Shayera looked a bit startled. "All right."

Wally hoped she didn't figure out that he'd asked because if she was investigating with him, he could watch her and keep her alive. If Wally had it his way, they'd investigate in a group. Maybe he should suggest it. No one would go anywhere alone. They could all stay at Wayne Manor. They could sleep on the floor of the main living room and toast marshmallows in the big fireplace and compare case notes.

No one else dies. No one.

He grabbed his fedora from the hat rack and waved Shayera and Diana towards the door. "Ladies. After you?"

To be continued...
 
 
 
allaine77: Bridesmaidallaine77 on January 22nd, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
I wonder whose brain Max Lord popped out of. Bruce? J'onn? I also wonder if the SLG was inspired by someone, or was merely a melange of conventional "goon" physical characteristics as Wally thought.

Considering all the murderin' going on, not to mention the attempted mugging, this chapter seemed oddly . . . uneventful. But still a good read.

And I didn't realize there were female Korean journalists back then ;)

Sincerely, Allaine
Merlin Missy: Milk Cartonmtgat on January 22nd, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
And I didn't realize there were female Korean journalists back then ;)

Only in Wally's head. ;)
getting the chocolate in the peanut butter: Flash: hero in progressdotfic on January 22nd, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
And I didn't realize there were female Korean journalists back then

There wouldn't have been. We were having fun with Wally's brain. However, to our credit we did research what the attitude towards Koreans would have been in 1940's LA.

We like a little realism mixed with our self-indulgence.
Matt Zimmermattzimmer on January 22nd, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
The thing I really liked about this chapter was the interrogation scene. I think I'm sick of shows like 24 showing that torture is a leginate option to get information out of someone and that the higher standards Batman and the rest of the League hold themselves to actually work. I think that scene was really cool.
Merlin Missy: Teamtgat on January 22nd, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, though they're also uncomfortable with the threat of torture, as they ought to be. :)
getting the chocolate in the peanut butter: Flash: hero in progressdotfic on January 23rd, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
Not having their powers or the intimidation of their rep and costumes at home, Wally and Diana had to figure out how to get this guy to talk, and they probably wouldn't be eager to hurt him.

So...they bluff! :)
Kiraava_cabot on January 22nd, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
Oh Linda. I <3 her so much.
Merlin Missy: Milk Cartonmtgat on January 22nd, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
We do too! :D :D
getting the chocolate in the peanut butterdotfic on January 23rd, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yay, Linda! :)
like a vore turducken: I LOVE YOU MAXapathocles on January 22nd, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
Ralph! MAX!

*ahem*
Merlin Missy: Flashmtgat on January 23rd, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
Hee! *icon love*

I keep rereading "Formerly Known As the Justice League" and I keep loving Max. You know?
like a vore turducken: beaapathocles on January 23rd, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, how I know. *sigh*

*returns the icon love*
getting the chocolate in the peanut butterdotfic on January 23rd, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Heheheheh. :D
sunless_deathsunless_death on January 23rd, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
;_; Dick on a slab! Roy! Who were living together! *cough*
Diana was awesome, including her interaction with Wally. And sarcasm!
Aw, woobie!Wally! They should totally all camp out at Wayne manor, as they're picked off one by one... but that would be a different genre altogether.
Merlin Missy: Pancakesmtgat on January 23rd, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
Closely-related, though!

Dick+Roytheirloveissopure! *grin*
getting the chocolate in the peanut butter: Flash: hero in progressdotfic on January 23rd, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Ack. We killed both of them off. *facepalm*

Yay, glad you're enjoying the Wally and Diana banter.