Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Angel or DC Comics depicted herein.
AN: It's not exactly my best work (I did it all in one sitting pretty much)
Maybe I'll expand on it someday.
FFA#742 - Connor/Bart Allen
"So, a Superhero, huh?"
Keystone City. Interesting place ... well, it would have been had he not just spent the last few weeks with his vampire father cleaning up what was left of a large part of LA. By cleaning up, he meant cleaning out any leftover demons.
Why did he even volunteer in the first place?
Connor shrugged at his thoughts and stretched out his arms as he stepped off the bus. Didn't matter all that much now, it was vacation time. He was going to visit the museums later, maybe check out some of the surrounding area - he was sure there was a national park nearby. Then it was off to Gotham and New York.
For now though, he was going to catch up on the seven hours of sleep he never got that night on the bus.
"Who knows," he murmured with a small smile as he headed to the information kiosk at the main building of Keystone's bus terminal. "Maybe I'll see a real live superhero here."
"Mr. Allen!" Connor started at the loud strict voice echoing through the museum. Quite a few people nearby glared in the direction most of the noise that had been filtering through the air ducts of the museum today had been coming from.
It was just Connor's luck to be part of a tour that ran simultaneously with a school field trip that day. He wondered if he and his friends were ever that annoying when they ...
Oh, right. This was the first museum he'd ever *really* been too. And despite the loud obnoxious kids, he was going to enjoy the experience.
Still, this teacher was making a big fuss over nothing. She must have really had it in for the kid. Not like he was doing anything wrong, he just corrected the tour guide about a tiny mistake in her speech. She didn't seem to mind, was probably rather grateful that *someone* was taking an interest in the ancient exhibits outside of weirdoes and weedy scientist types.
They moved on once the teacher had finished berating the poor kid for being intelligent. Connor snuck a look at the dejected boy. He certainly didn’t look the intellectual type, but then, Connor didn't exactly seem the Destroyer type either at first glance. Shaggy brown hair fell over his face and his clothes were the baggy skater style that was still rather popular these days. He hung to the back of his class group, ignored even by the outcasts. He must have been new to the class. Connor could sympathise.
Connor glanced around and decided to take a proper interest in the exhibits - and ask someone who knew what they were talking about.
"You must really like old stuff." Great opener there, Connor. Now, don't forget to amaze him with your amazing ability to shove two feet in your mouth and still manage to keep walking.
The boy looked a little surprised to be addressed by anyone, much less a stranger. He stared at Connor as though judging his sincerity. Connor would have tried to look friendlier, had he not been so distracted by the weird colour of the kid's eyes. He'd never seen a human with yellow eyes, but the kid didn't feel demonic. Must have just been a gene thing.
The kid finally looked away and shrugged, figuring the company of a mildly-enthused stranger was better than being alone.
"Not really. I usually suck at history - can't write essays for crap. But I like learning stuff. Primitive Africa was a really fascinating place and so many traditions were destroyed when settlers tried to colonise their land and stuff. We're lucky to even know half of what we do about their ancient culture."
Kid sure talked fast, and a lot. Not that Connor minded; the babbling made the exhibits a little more interesting. They'd gone past three exhibits before the boy stopped, blushing slightly. "Sorry," he mumbled, "You probably don't want me rambling on like this."
Connor grinned. "Ramble away. Might as well learn something useful while I’m here. I was just gonna stare at the pictures all day."
The boy brightened at this. "Well, that's fun too I guess." He was about to say something else when he hit himself on the forehead, surprising Connor yet again. The boy was rather random. "Gah, Max would kill me if he knew I did this. I'm Bart." He held out his hand to Connor, who looked puzzled, yet again by the randomness, before comprehension dawned.
He took it with a smile. "Connor. Who's Max?"
Bart's face fell slightly. "He used to be my guardian. He took care of me until last year."
Bart shrugged. "It's in the past. I'm not gonna forget him, but I’ve gotta move on, you know?"
"Yeah," Connor smiled. "I know exactly what you mean."
Bart looked a little curious at that but Connor didn't want to elaborate.
They'd fallen a little behind the tour group, but no one really noticed, or frankly cared. Bart and Connor had their own fun discussing exhibits and making up stories to go along with artifacts that kept getting weirder each time.
A loud wailing and the clang of automatic fire-doors shutting broke up their camaraderie.
"No sprinklers or foam," Bart muttered, eyes darting around their enclosed space frantically. "It's not a fire."
"A break-in?" Connor hazarded, really not wanting to think of other possibilities.
"Nothing here is worth stealing. All the good ones are replicas."
"A hostage situation, or just a psychopath having fun at our expense. Sometimes I hate my life." Bart muttered this last sentence barely loud enough for Connor to hear over the alarm. "We've got to do something, somehow. I think this has been planned, the tour group should have been finished by now, so they'd be in the main foyer."
"How can you be so sure?" It was a little frightening to see the bouncy boy he'd met just an hour or so ago be so serious all of a sudden. It was like he was a different person.
"Just trust me on this; I've done this all before."
What was even more frightening was that Connor completely believed him. Then he pushed all that aside and got right to the heart of things. "So what do we have to do?"
It was risky showing Bart his true strength, but the boy didn't gape, just grinned and commented, "Well, now our odds are even more in our favour." Then he shoved his hand through a wall, completely freaking Connor out. The hairs on the back of his neck still wouldn't go down.
Of course the fact that he was crawling through a tiny vent blowing air only a few degrees above zero into his face might also have something to do with that.
They'd worked out a plan. Bart would be the distraction and Connor would take out the back guard and lead everyone out to safety. Simple, right? Sure, and if they'd lived in a world filled with rainbows and sunflowers everything would work out just fine for the heroes. But no, they lived in the real world and Connor knew a plan that simple had to have a catch that could destroy them. This one was easy to find.
"What will happen if they catch you?" he'd asked Bart.
Bart just smiled. "They won't catch me."
Like a fool, Connor had believed him again. Bart had an earnest face that couldn't lie. Or maybe it could and he was just really good at it. But then his tone of voice was so smug and confident ... argh! It was frustrating trying to work out what was going through the boy's mind. Hell, he'd concocted their rescue attempt in less than three seconds and apart from that one, rather large, flaw; it was pretty easy to pull off.
"Still, just what kind of distraction is he planning anyway?"
Connor didn't bother trying to answer his own question as he heard voices echoed up through the ventilation system. He was just about there. Now he just had to wait until...
"What the hell!"
And now his time to shine.
Dropping silently from the vent near the top of the back wall, Connor signaled to the hostages who'd seen him to keep quiet while their guards were busy being distracted. The guard at the side-door to the museum foyer didn't stand a chance; Connor took him out without a sound uttered by either of them. He gestured to the hostages to get through the open door, but a few wouldn't move, spellbound by the same vision that had captured their guards' attention.
Connor didn't want to look, just in case he blew it. Finding out the secret weapon to Bart's plan was enticing, but not when there were lives at stake. He had to practically drag three people away before they were finally noticed leaving by one of the guards.
Connor swore the gun had been aimed right between his eyes as the masked man shot, but no bullet hit. He felt a wind then nothing; the guard suddenly wasn't even there any more. It took a second to realise *something* had saved him before he snapped back to the mission at hand and finished his part.
If only he knew how Bart was doing.
Connor didn't see Bart until the police had questioned each of them thoroughly. He asked about Bart, but no one had seen him. When the police asked for his version of the events, he didn't say a word about his partner-in-rescue, deciding instead to tell them he was only in the next room over when the fire-doors slid shut and thought the vent might be a way to get outside. He claimed though, that when he dropped down into the foyer, he couldn't just leave the others there and decided to help. He also could honestly say he didn’t see what had managed to disarm and tie up the eight armed and heavily muscled men who'd attacked the tour group. Connor had kept his head down the whole way.
Others, however, hadn't. They say Kid Flash saved them and the police weren't disputing the idea.
"So, a superhero, huh?" Connor couldn't say when he finally noticed the boy standing beside him in the shadowed alley opposite the museum that was now lit up with red and blue, just that he was there now.
"Yeah." Connor looked out the corner of his eye and saw the uniform.
"You always this bad at keeping your identity secret?" He threw a smirk in the other boy's direction and found it returned.
"I figure it's probably safe with a guy like you."
Bart shrugged. "You looked experienced."
Connor turned back to the museum, not liking the way his stomach churned at the statement. "Yeah," he agreed quietly. "I did."
Bart looked uncomfortable at the change in tone so he turned away to leave Connor to his melancholy. But he stopped before completely dashing out of the alley and away to save the world again. "If you're ever in San Francisco, look us up. We can always use another helping hand." Bart handed him a small card and abruptly vanished, leaving only a faint after-image in Connor's eyelids.
Connor stared curiously at the card, emblazoned only with a capital "T". He turned it over to read, "You'll know it when you see it."
"Maybe I should cancel that side-trip to Gotham."