by Hitman 44077
Wally West woke up around six in the morning. He tossed and turned, but it was no use. I just can’t sleep any longer. No nightmares, luckily, but the funeral is on my mind. I never thought there would be a day like today, he thought. Wally sat up, then stood, rubbing his eyes. He walked to the bathroom and took a long shower.
Barry, I’ve already decided to continue fighting crime as Kid Flash, but I want to do more than that. I want to do something that would make you proud and keep your memory alive, he thought, rinsing the soap from his body.
Once he was done, he dried off and tied his towel around his waist. He shaved his five o’clock shadow, making sure not to cut himself in the process. He then walked to his room and put on a pair of boxer briefs and a robe. He walked back to the bathroom and placed the wet towel in the laundry bin. Finally, he walked downstairs to his kitchen and brewed a pot of coffee. He sat at the table and thought about many things as the coffee brewed. Once the coffee was done, he walked to a cabinet and pulled out a coffee mug. He poured himself a cup of coffee, added a little milk, and sat at the kitchen table. It was a routine he did at normal speed, and it helped the speedster feel normal.
The initial shock is starting to fade, but I doubt it will ever fully vanish. I keep feeling that if I hadn’t retired, Barry would still be alive, he thought in between sips of coffee. Maybe a lot of things would be different. There’s no easy answer, regardless. I do have to wonder about Nora’s comments yesterday. She and Henry both saw Barry after the trial ended. Why didn’t Barry see me? I’m sure there’s a lot we’ll never know… and that bothers me a great deal.
Time passed rather quickly as he continued thinking of the good and bad times in both his and Barry’s lives. Before he knew it, it was 7:30 AM, and an empty pot of coffee joined the time. He turned the coffee maker off and rinsed the pot out. He placed his cup in the dishwasher and walked upstairs, where he noticed that his parents were getting themselves ready. His mom was showering, while his dad was shaving. Robert West noticed his son walking upstairs and spoke to him for a few seconds. “You feeling OK, Wally?” he asked.
“I’m as well as I’m going to be today. I haven’t felt this way since Aunt Iris died, Dad. I know people die, but I guess you’re never prepared for the unexpected,” Wally admitted.
“I woke up thinking about Iris, too, son,” Robert confided. “You don’t expect things like that to happen so soon in someone’s life. One day she was there, then everything changed. Sometimes I blame myself. I know it doesn’t make sense, but when things of this nature happen, you tend to remember the bad times, rather than the good. It took me a while to make peace with that — not being able to say goodbye to her, or to tell her that I loved her one last time.”
“I’ve felt like that a lot over the past day or so, Dad. The only peace I can find is knowing that Iris and Barry have been reunited. I value your words, Dad. I really need to be able to talk to you, and I’m glad I can,” Wally said.
“Wally, I know I’m not the perfect dad, but I want you to know that if you ever need to talk, about anything, I will always be there for you,” Robert said. A sense of inner strength was heard in his voice.
“I’m glad. Look, I’d better get dressed. Fran and I are going together in her car. She’s going to be here in a few minutes,” Wally said.
“Well, you be safe on the roads. Sometimes, there are crazy people that get behind the wheel of a car,” Robert said with concern.
“We will. I’ll see you at the funeral home, Dad,” Wally said.
“OK. Take care,” Robert said. He then went back to shaving, while Wally walked to his room. He opened his closet and pulled out a black suit and tie, a white shirt, and his pair of dress shoes. He laid the clothes on his bed and walked to his sock drawer, pulling out a pair of black socks. He put his socks on his feet, then put his shirt on. After buttoning the shirt, he put his pair of pants on. He put his tie on and placed the suit jacket over his shirt. He put his dress shoes on and tied the laces. He walked over to his dresser and placed Barry’s Flash ring on his right hand. He then walked downstairs, and waited for Fran to arrive. For someone with super-speed, the day was going by extremely slowly.
A knock at the West front door told Wally that Fran had arrived. Wally opened the door to see Fran standing there, dressed in a one-piece, long-sleeved black dress. “Hi, Wally,” Frances Kane said, her voice a little shaky. She was nervous, as her body movements revealed.
“Hey, Fran. Are you OK?” Wally asked with concern.
“Yeah. It’s just… well, I didn’t get much sleep last night. I haven’t been to a funeral since…” Fran’s voice trailed off.
“Since your dad and brother died? Oh, Fran. I’m sorry. If you feel uncomfortable–” Wally started to say.
“I’ll be OK. I just… I never had a real opportunity to deal with my grief, especially with my mother. I wanted to be a pillar of strength for you,” Fran said.
“Fran, I have all sorts of emotions flowing inside me right now. But don’t feel for a second that you have to be strong for me. Today is going to take a toll on everyone there. As long as those that cared about Barry are there, all of us will be able to keep a part of him alive,” Wally said.
“You’re right. Well, we’d better head out to Central City. We should arrive in time for the funeral,” Fran said.
“All right.” Wally shut the door behind him, and the two walked to Fran’s car. After both entered the vehicle, Fran started the car, and together, they began their drive to Central City and to the funeral of Barry Allen.
They arrived in Central City after a several-hour drive from Blue Valley. Both of them knew their way around the big city and were able to find the Warner Funeral Home with ease. Pulling into the parking lot, they noticed the time was 11:45 AM. “I know it’s a little early, but I’ll check on the Allens and see if it would be all right if we can come inside,” Wally said.
“OK, Wally. See you in a bit,” Fran said.
Wally exited the car and walked to the doors of the funeral home. He checked the door, which was unlocked, then entered the building. He walked slowly until he noticed Henry Allen standing by a wall. “Henry,” Wally said quietly.
“Wally!” Henry said quietly, with a smile. The two men hugged. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“I wouldn’t miss this day. I’m sorry to come in so early–” Wally began to say.
“Nonsense,” Henry said. “I was hoping you’d arrive early. You were so special to Barry. Right now, before the guests arrive, Nora and I have had the casket open. Even though all that’s there is his ashes and his costume, we feel he’s there. It’s hard… I’ll admit it’s hard, but I thought it’d be best to be able to say goodbye to him before everyone arrives.”
“Would it be all right if I said goodbye before the guests arrive?” Wally asked, his eyes starting to well up.
“Of course,” Henry said, seeing the pain in the young man’s eyes. “Let’s go.”
The two men walked inside the room where Barry’s service was being held. Standing by the casket was Nora Allen, who was visibly emotional. She noticed Wally, who took her into his arms, hugging the crying woman. “Oh, Wally, thank you for coming,” she said between sobs. “Barry was always proud of the man you had the potential to be, and he would be proud to see that you exceeded that potential. We couldn’t ask for a finer friend or family member.”
“I know, Nora. Barry was so special to all of us,” Wally said, glancing at the ring on his right hand. “I need to talk to Barry for a minute, Nora. Then I’ll tell Fran to come inside.”
Wally walked toward the casket, which contained the remains of his uncle, mentor, and friend. He stood transfixed on the Flash costume that rested with the ashes, then looked at the ring on his right hand.
“Barry. Oh, Barry,” Wally sobbed, his full grief pouring out as Henry and Nora watched, feeling his pain. Wally rubbed the tears from his eyes and continued to speak, even though his voice was shaky. “Barry… you meant so much to me. Where do I begin? You were my hero when I first heard of you. God, you could move so fast, and you broke so much ground. I wanted to be like you so much, and I’ll never forget when Iris told me that her fiancee had arranged a meeting between the Flash and myself. This was before I knew you were one and the same. The Flash was everything I expected him to be — strong, smart, and caring.” Wally smiled as he regained some composure.
“I remember wishing I could be like the Flash, and then it happened. I gained my powers the same way you’d spoken of, and it was a dream come true. I have always abided by the rules you entrusted to me, and I pray that I’ve never let you down. We went through so much together, facing all sorts of foes and menaces, traveling to different lands and times, all the while growing stronger in our trust in each other. I’ll never forget the shock of the day you revealed your identity to me. It was the best of both worlds — my mentor and idol, the Flash, was my aunt’s fiancé, Barry Allen. Then the two of you were married, and I couldn’t have been happier.” Wally’s smile faded as he recalled other facets of the past.
“Somewhere down the line, things began to sour for you. God bless you, we stayed close as ever, but you had so much to suffer through. There were times that you and Iris had differences, and her career as a reporter played a role in that. You lived by your marriage vows, even to the bitter end, when Iris was murdered. The battles with the Rogues over the years was a lot to handle, as well. If that had happened to me, well, I don’t think I could have handled it as well as you did. You defined the term hero.”
Wally took off the ring that had been Barry’s and held it in his hand for a minute, looking at it before speaking.
“Now… you’re gone. You sacrificed yourself for a world that had, at times, rejected you. Even through the darkest times, especially the trial, you always remained positive, looking for the best that could be found here.” Wally took the Flash ring and placed it on the ring finger of Barry’s costume below the wedding band that he’d worn while married to Iris. “I’m so proud to say I knew you. I’ll never forget what you taught me or the love and friendship we shared. Thank you, Barry, for everything I learned from your example. Goodbye, Barry. I love you.”
The tears flowed freely again as Wally bent his head down and held his right hand over his eyes. Nora and Henry Allen walked over to the young man and shared their love with him, hugging all together as they shared the grief.
Fran had entered a few seconds earlier and watched Wally’s heartache. She cried silently, feeling his grief. As the Allens let go of Wally, she walked toward her sobbing boyfriend and embraced him. Henry walked slowly to the casket, tears streaming from his eyes, and slowly closed it.