by Hitman 44077
The funeral procession arrived at the Central City Cemetery, where everything had been prepared. The pallbearers, led by Captain Darryl Frye, walked toward the hearse and slowly removed the casket that contained the remains of Barry Allen. Slowly, as Barry’s family and friends walked toward Barry’s grave, the pallbearers followed. A police honor guard fired shots in the air, signaling the loss of an officer. The pallbearers slowly laid the casket on top of the gravesite. The casket lay still as the sky grew darker, threatening to rain. Small clasps of thunder were heard, but there was no storm break. Thomas Walken spoke, as Wally West stood next to the Allens, but the young man was too lost in thought to hear anything.
This is it, Wally thought sadly. The man who’d given so much to everything he knew, and this is his final resting place. God, Barry, I will carry on the good fight, but I want to do more than that. I want to keep what you represent alive… for the rest of my life. This world needs you still, Barry. I need you. How can I keep what you represent alive, though? What can I do to honor what you taught me over the years?
Without warning, in front of all at the funeral, a loud clasp of thunder boomed, and with it shot a flash of lightning across the sky. It shocked most, but for Wally, it was the answer he’d looked for.
That’s it, he thought, feeling a revelation. Now I know what I must do. For Barry, for the Allens, for everything that meant something to Barry. No matter what, his legacy will endure. Now and forever.
By this time, the minister had finished with the service, and Captain Frye handed a folded American flag that had been draped over the casket while it was in the hearse to Nora Allen. They stood, silently, as the casket was lowered, and slowly, with their respects paid to their fallen friend, they left the cemetery. Barry Allen was finally laid to rest next to the body of the woman he’d loved so dearly, his wife, Iris West Allen.
Sometime later that day, most of those who had gathered at the Allens’ home had left for their homes, the memory of this day staying within them forever.
Wally, with mixed feelings, decided to speak to the Allens about what he wanted to do for Barry. Fran was washing dishes for Nora. “Henry, Nora, I need to talk to you both,” Wally said nervously.
“What is it, Wally?” asked Nora.
“I’ve felt lost these past few days. Barry meant so much to me, and I owe so much to him. I wanted to keep his memory alive, but I had no idea how to properly do that. But today, at the cemetery, when the lightning flashed across the sky, that’s when I realized what I should do… to keep everything he taught me alive. Still, my main concern was for the two of you. I don’t know if you’d approve of what I wanted to do, but I need to ask you for your permission. I — I want to keep his memory alive, and I want to adopt the identity of the Flash,” Wally said with determination.
The Allens paused, not knowing what to say.
“Barry was my hero, and my friend,” Wally said. “The world needs a Flash to keep fighting the good fight. But I’m asking both of you for permission, because I don’t want to steal his identity or to make both of you uncomfortable. He meant so much to this world, and if I can keep his legacy alive, then, by God, I’ll do it.”
“Wally,” Henry said. “Barry was a special man. But you were special to him. He valued your friendship above most others. You’re a man, Wally, and Nora and I are proud of the way you’ve grown up. Not only do you have our permission, but you have our blessing, son.”
Nora and Henry smiled, knowing whatever happened next, there would always be a Flash, and thus a part of Barry would continue his crusade against those that threatened his city and loved ones.
“I just realized something. I’ll be back in a minute, Wally,” Henry said, walking toward his son’s room. A few minutes later, he walked back out, carrying a letter and a Flash ring. He handed over the letter to Wally but hid the Flash ring from view. “That last time we saw Barry, he spoke briefly, but he left this for you.”
Wally opened the letter and read it to himself.
Wally, this is Barry. I’m sorry I can’t stay right now, but something has happened. It’s a surprise, but I think you’ll be as happy as I am. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but I will, eventually. I haven’t forgotten about your problem, but I’ll do what I can to help you, no matter how long it takes. Always keep the faith, Wally. Barry.
Wally closed his eyes, remembering his friend and the trust they shared. Whatever happened, he was trying to find a cure for me. He never forgot me. And I’ll never be able to thank him for his efforts, he thought, opening his eyes again.
“There’s one more thing, Wally. Barry told me the two of you had a jog a few days after you graduated from high school. It was then that you explained that you wanted to retire from crime-fighting. What you didn’t know was this,” Henry said, revealing the Flash ring. “Barry never knew how long he’d be crime-fighting, but he’d thought that maybe a day would come that you’d want to carry on for him. He made the costume and crafted this ring, in case you ever wanted to adopt the Flash identity. He never told you about this, because he didn’t want to pressure you into doing something that you might not have wanted to do. He understood that you were your own man, and he respected that.”
Henry handed the ring to Wally. “The suit should fit. You still have the same height and build that you did the day you graduated. In some way, I feel it’s Barry’s final gift,” he said to Wally.
Wally held the ring in his hand, fighting back his tears, and placed the ring on his left ring finger. “Henry, I can’t thank you enough. This means so much to me, and I swear to you both, I will never let you or Barry down,” he said to the Allens. They hugged the speedster as Frances Kane watched. She’d viewed the whole thing after finishing the dishes, and she was never more proud of Wally than this day. She smiled as a tear dropped from her eye.
Bless you, Barry Allen, she thought, bless you.
“Tomorrow might be as difficult, with the Flash’s memorial service. Are you two sure you want to reveal Barry’s identity?” Wally asked.
“Yes. We were able to say goodbye to our boy today, but people need to know about the man behind the Flash. Nora and I plan on selling this house, anyway, because frankly, it holds too many memories. But when it comes to revealing Barry’s identity, well, I’d like to ask you to do that. Nora and I want to maintain a sense of privacy, and we need some time to mourn for him by ourselves,” Henry said.
“Then I’ll do it. But if you ever need anything, I’ll help you,” Wally said.
“Thank you,” Nora said.
“We’d better head off, Fran and I. Take care, all right?” Wally asked.
“We will. You two do the same,” Henry said.
Fran exited the kitchen and walked up to Wally. “I think everything’s in order. I’m glad I could help you two,” she said to the Allens.
“Thanks a lot, Fran. I hope you come by soon,” Nora said.
“I’ll try. Goodbye.”
Wally and Fran opened the door, walked outside the Allen home toward their car and entered it. After waving at the Allens, Fran started the car, and together, they drove back to Blue Valley.
The drive back to Blue Valley seemed quicker than the trip to Central City. Eventually, Fran found herself parked in front of Wally West’s home. “Thank you for going to the funeral with me, Fran. Today’s been very hard for me, and yet, I feel, I don’t know, better than I have in a few days,” Wally confided.
“I think your talk with the Allens helped a great deal, Wally,” Fran said, placing her hand on Wally’s cheek.
“It really did. It was hard to ask for their permission, but I needed to. For them to give both permission and their blessing, I can’t tell you how much that means to me,” Wally said, placing his own hand on top of Fran’s hand, which rested on his cheek.
“When are you going to adopt the Flash identity formally?” Fran asked.
“Tomorrow. Superman, Ralph and G.L. are going to speak before I do. I’m going to talk to them before the start of the memorial service and let them know about the talk I had with the Allens. I plan on giving my speech as Kid Flash before making my announcement. I am a little concerned, though. I’m not certain how they’ll react, or if they’ll approve,” Wally confessed.
“A hero’s deeds speak for his or her character, Wally. You have proven that many times. You stated to the Allens that you wanted to keep his memory alive, and I agree that your adopting the Flash identity would ensure that Barry’s legacy will live on. If you need any more proof than their blessing, then look at your left hand,” Fran said, rubbing the Flash ring with one of her fingers. “That is Barry’s gift to you. Embrace it.”
“You’re right, Fran. No matter what happens next, I’m prepared to face the future as the Flash. And I’m so glad you’re a part of that future, Fran. I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Wally said, slowly turning toward Fran’s face. The two shared a long kiss, their love never stronger. “I love you, Fran.”
“I love you too, Wally. You mean so much to me,” Fran said with a smile.
“I feel the same way about you. Before I go inside, I’d like to ask if you’re going to Flash’s memorial service tomorrow,” Wally said.
“I’d better not. For the time being, Barry Allen and the Flash are still two different people, and I’m not a super-hero. But I will be there in spirit. Just think of me if you feel alone, all right?” she said, feeling a little guilty.
“I understand. I’ll stop by tomorrow after the memorial service, OK?” Wally asked.
“OK. Good luck tomorrow,” Fran said with a pleasant smile.
“Thanks. See you then,” Wally said with a smile of his own. He opened the car door, exited the vehicle, closed the door, and waved to Fran. Fran waved back, and she drove herself home. Wally himself walked to his home’s front door, let himself in, and shut the door behind him. After locking the door, he walked upstairs, undressed, placed his new Flash ring next to his Kid Flash ring, and went to bed; his final thoughts concerning Barry and the Allens allowed him to fall asleep quickly and peacefully.
In the wake of the ending of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, once again there were five Earths. On Earth-Two in Keystone City, Jay Garrick walked inside his home, took off his Flash helmet, and sat down in a chair. His demeanor showed just how distressed he truly was.
“We won the war against the Anti-Monitor, and yet I feel so hollow inside. Green Arrow’s dead, Wildcat’s legs were crippled, and Hawkman’s still recovering from the wounds suffered in the villain war. I’m ashamed to think it, but none of it bothers me the way Barry’s death does,” Jay said sadly. “For several hours now, I’ve been thinking of the many adventures we had together, and just how much his friendship meant to me. If not for Barry, this old speedster would still be retired, or worse. His involvement paved the way for the JSA to band together once more. It’s still hard to believe that on Earth-One, I was just a comic character, but I made a difference to Barry’s life, just as Barry did to me.”
Jay stood up and walked to a shelf containing photos from his team-ups with the Earth-One heroes. He removed a photo that showed Jay and Barry’s historic handshake from when Barry first crossed over from Earth-One to Earth-Two. He smiled as he remembered the past. “Those were some good times. It wasn’t fun and games, but the fact that we could anticipate what the other would do was uncanny. What a guy Barry was,” he said, putting the photo back. He walked toward a window and looked outside, up into the stars.
“Now… you’re gone, Barry. Clark told me of Wally’s finding the Flash costume. I wanted to be there for the Allens. God knows I feel guilty. I tried, Barry. God, I tried to cross over, but no matter how fast I moved, I — I just couldn’t cross over. And a part of me wonders if you’d still be alive had it not been for my inspiration–” Jay said.
“Jay?” a familiar voice said behind him. Jay turned around to see his wife, Joan Garrick, wearing a robe.
“Joan, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things today,” Jay said.
Joan reached out to Jay, holding his hand with her own. “You’ve been thinking about Barry, haven’t you?” she asked, concerned for Jay.
“Yes. Joan. I just can’t believe he’s dead. He was a good man, Joan, and at times, he was like a son to me. This Crisis had too many deaths attached to it,” Jay said, never one to hide anything from his wife. “I can’t even cross over to Earth-One. I can’t give Henry, or Nora, or Wally any support. Barry saved lives on this Earth as he did on his own Earth. He needs to be remembered as much here as he will be on his own Earth.”
“You first met Barry after he helped you liberate Keystone City. I think, had he lived here, his morals would have helped inspire others to follow in his steps. Perhaps he needs a lasting tribute here, as he would receive on Earth-One,” Joan suggested.
Jay smiled as he realized what he should do. “You’re right, Joan. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he said before racing off.
At sudden speed, Jay raced to the construction yard where he and Barry had first encountered each other. He located a large piece of metal, which he crafted and molded with his super-speed into a life-size likeness of Barry Allen’s Flash. As soon as that was finished, he grabbed a bucket, and with more super-speed he made trips to a small pond, scooping up water to cool off the statue. Within several minutes, and thousands of trips back and forth, the statue finally cooled, as it was tempered. Securing it to a cart, Jay pulled the statue to the exact spot that Barry had first arrived on Earth-Two and secured the statue to the ground.
With that task done, Jay then made a plaque to go with the statue. It read: In Memory of Barry Allen, Earth-1’s Flash, Who Died to Save Five Earths. May He Rest In Peace. He secured the plaque next to the statue, so that all could read about this man who made history in so many ways. He smiled, feeling that he’d given a little back to the man who’d looked up to him. He sped home and brought Joan back to the sight.
“Oh, Jay, that is so beautiful,” Joan said, as she wiped tears from her eyes. “Barry would be so proud.”
“Thank you, Joan. I hope our world can appreciate all he gave to it. I know I do,” Jay said.
They stood several more minutes, and then left to go back to their home. Joan went to bed, but before Jay himself went to bed, he thought a few more minutes. Thanks for being a friend, Barry. I’m glad that I was able to know you. You will never be forgotten, my friend. Jay then went to bed, his conscience feeling better than it had in a long while.