I could hear the murmur of bass-like voices next to my cell, but I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy straining against the clamps strapping me to this cross-like structure to no avail. I couldn't get enough friction going to vibrate the manacles into exploding, let alone for me to vibrate through them. They were obviously too tough for me to escape out of normally. It made me wonder just what these restraints were made out of. Titanium wasn't it; I could melt that. Eventually. Some alloy or compound I didn't even want to begin contemplating. Whatever it was, it felt like I was being painlessly crucified at a wonky angle.
My green eyes narrowed as realized I had an audience, and I stopped my fruitless escape attempts abruptly. Really, there was no fathoming my loathing of the man in front of me right now. This may be Batman, but it wasn't Batman at all. Not mine. Anger suddenly welled up inside of me.
"What're you looking at? Huh?" I snapped angrily, but he didn't even flinch. Instead, he attempted what I thought was supposed to be a placating tone. It only served to piss me off even more.
"Calm down. You'll appreciate this someday."
I swear, if I had Supe's lasor vision the man in front of me would be a bubbling pile of goo. "Yeah? I don't think Hawkgirl's gonna appreciate it too much."
"That was an accident," The not-Batman replied, a little defensively. "She's in our best hospital right now, and-"
"I don't wanna hear it," I said quietly, and turned away from the man in disgust. Appreciate this? Ha! The things I appreciate are my Batman's little quirks of a smile, a good home-cooked meal with friends and family, partying and watching the stars. Not this. The monster standing in front of me obviously had no idea what the Flash was really like.
"Believe me," pressed the caped man, "the last thing we want is to lose another..." He stopped himself, biting off what he wanted to say.
"Another what?" I retorted waspishly, but the not-Batman merely narrowed his own eyes, so cold and indifferent compared to the passionate ones of my Batman, and stalked off. He disappeared out my field of vision, but I heard the doors at the other end of the hall hissing shut.
"I think he likes you," came the warmer tones of Batman. I welcomed them whole-heartedly, but it didn't do much to help my mood.
"Must be my magnetic personality," I quipped sullenly, unable to put my usual energy behind the words.
"More likely, it has to do with what happened to this world's Flash," came the reply. I paused as that sunk in, and my eyes widened.
"You mean he's..." I couldn't finish it.
"All this had to be set off by something."
"But to go this far....even over me." Did I really have that big of an influence on the League? Would they really turn to this without me? It made my head hurt slightly, and I bit back a frustrated noise.
"It isn't that far from what we do," Batman said pointedly. "If you think about it."
"I'd rather not." I knew the fine line that existed in what we do. One step over and we could never go back. That's why we're so careful to toe that line... this universe's heroes weren't heroes anymore. They were the villains, they just couldn't recognize it themselves. And they didn't want to be told either. They think they can bring peace to our world? All they'll bring is destruction, a dictatorship. And that wasn't the answer. I glanced around my cell, but still couldn't see anything to work with. "You figured a way outta here?"
"No." The answer surprised me no end. Bats always had a plan!
"Don't you mean 'not yet'?"
"No, I mean 'not going to'." I stared incredulously at the wall that separated us for a few seconds, then up at my manacled wrist. I tried to vibrate it out one last time, but like all the others it was useless. Barely biting back a growl my eyes searched the room once more, before they landed on my chest where it was starting to feel a little hot and pressured under the sensor nodes attached to it. Most likely due to my energetically futile escape attempts. My arms were hot too. Then I paused. Wait, sensors? I eyed them, and the stirrings of a plan formed in my mind. If they were monitoring my vitals... well, let's see if Wallace West could win out against technology.
I gritted my teeth and squirmed in my bindings. This wasn't hurting so much as it was uncomfortable; I've never tried this before, and it was taking all of my concentration. But it was working, my heart rate was speeding up. Majorly. I started trying to wrestle out of my confinement, straining. Only part of it was acting. Damn did this feel strange. When I felt I'd reached a high enough bpm that the machines wouldn't register it, I dropped my head and went limp. Hopefully it wouldn't be long.
Sure enough, the not-Batman pretty much screeched to a stop outside my cell, calling me frantically. I didn't answer, didn't give him any sort of response. He unlocked the door and desperately undid the clamp around my right hand. As soon as it was free I curled it into a fist and swung at him several times. There was a thud as he hit the floor unconscious, and I grinned in slight surprise and satisfaction that my plan had worked. I quickly freed my other limbs, and decided to give the Batman imposter a bit of a taste of his own medicine. I grabbed him and threw him onto the cross, slamming the bindings shut on him. I took a second to admire my handiwork.
"You'll appreciate this someday," I sallied as my heartbeat slowed back down, and then raced out of my cell straight to Batman's. As soon as I reached it my fingers were flying over the keypad. I had no idea of the code.
"What are you doing?" Batman sounded curious, and not just about my speeding fingers.
"Trying every possible combination," I replied.
"91939." Batman's voice seemed to be underlined with a bare hint of amusement, and I raised an eyebrow before typing it in. The door beeped open, and for some reason the sound amused me. I pushed it aside though, and stepped in.
"How did you know?" I set about freeing his hands.
"They're the numbers I use." He eyed me, like he was trying to work out if I was for real or not. "How'd you get out?"
"I sped up my heart beat til it looked like it flat-lined," I told him proudly.
"I didn't know you could do that." The was the barest trace of admiration in his tone now, I was sure. I'd become pretty good at picking up the subtle things with Bats. He really wasn't too hard to read, if you concentrated.
"Neither did I, but I had to come up with something if you weren't going to." I unlocked his other hand, and he snapped open the belt and foot bindings.
"I couldn't," he said simply. "Not with him anticipating everything I could ever think of." He passed me as he exited, and seemed to pause for a brief second. "But who could anticipate you?"
I watched him go, and then sped after him with a laugh. "I wouldn't be the Flash if I wasn't unpredictable," I chirped when I skidded to a halt next to him. He gave me one of those 'you think?' looks, and my grin widened. "Love you too, Bats." I dodged the swipe he sent my way with a cackle, and zipped over to bust out Wonder Woman, J'onn and Supes while Bats freed John. I kept my gaze on his form as Supes lasored the bindings round his eyes. I don't quite know how or why, but Batman had become one of my best friends. I'd be damned if I ever let anything happen to him, and I'd be more so if he turned into anything like this universe's so-called Batman. I shuddered. After Bats decided he'd go find the portal to do...whatever to it, I watched him swing himself up onto the upper balcony to get out. I hesitated, then sped after him to a shout from Wonder Woman. I yelled I'd be back in a flash (haha!) and caught up with Bats just a second later. He looked somewhat surprised to see me.
"Flash? Don't get in my way, I've got to find that portal."
"I know, I..." I sighed, rubbing one hand up and down my other arm. "Bats, I want you to promise me something." I think he sensed the uncertainty in my voice, because his next words were gentler.
"Promise you what?"
"Bats, it hurts to see this world's Batman like this all because his Flash died. It hurts even more to think that you...that my family could become the same if anything ever happened to me. Please, Bats." My voice gained an edge of desperation I'd been trying to keep out of it. "Promise me that if anything ever does happen to me that you won't become like this world's Batman."
"Promise!" I zipped up to him and gripped his arms, my eyes never leaving his. "Dammit, I couldn't bear to see my best friend fall into this state!"
A look of surprise and shock flickered across his face, probably because I admitted to his being my best friend, but that was quickly replaced by one of those barely-there smiles I knew and loved. "Flash, nothing's going to happen to you. But if - God forbid - it does, then I promise. For your sake."
My relief must have been palpable, and I relaxed and threw him a grin. "Thanks, Bats, that's all I wanted to hear. Now, go get that portal." I hugged him so briefly I think Ieft him wondering if I had at all, and sprinted back to the others. I shook my head at their questioning gazes, and none of them pressed. Instead we made our way up to the monitoring hub that "Batman" had been using, and I dashed to the seat and immediately began to speed-search for anywhere Hawkgirl might be being kept. I was counting on Bats to send us back home ASAP, but I knew he'd do it. He always had a plan.