Secret Garden

by Wendi

"Are you sure about this?" Clark sounded dubious at best, worried if Wally was honest about it.

"C'mon, stop jerking me around!" Wally paced around League headquarters, red cowl pushed back from his head and bunched loosely around his neck. Daytime duty sucked. No one pulled anything risky in broad daylight and he didn't even have Clark to play a decent game of cards with him. Since the thwarted bank robbery this morning, Wally's day had gone steadily down the slippery slope of boredom, and he had been alone with his thoughts for too long to sit still. "Just put her on the phone before I chicken out."

Someday, he was going to get that Clark Kent sigh mastered and then he'd conquer the pout and rule the world with his petulance. Either that, or he'd finally succeed at lacing one of Clark's cocktails at the next dinner party at Chez Chrome Dome, and get the guy to drop the four year old kid routine. "Don't say I didn't warn you." There was something mumbled on the other end before he was put on hold while recorded phone ad guy tried to get him to purchase a subscription to the Planet to keep up on the latest news around Metropolis.

Wally heard the rattle of cord against plastic when the phone came off hold, but it didn't brace him for Lois' demanded question. "What?"

"Uhhh, Lois?" He tried a grin as he dropped down into a chair near the global video feeds. "Wally West. How's it going?"

"I know it's you, what do you want?"

There was a furious clatter from an abused keyboard somewhere beneath the growl of her voice and he wondered again how Clark Kent, possibly the nicest guy to ever come out of the wholesome Midwest, could be fucking the two meanest people in Metropolis. "I guess you've heard about me and Chloe--"

"What about you?" He heard her drop the phone down beneath her chin. "What the hell is going on with West and Chloe?"

Garbled nonsense that sounded vaguely like a puppy caught under a bucket, which was probably a pretty good comparison. Wally kicked his booted foot against a pile of Bruce's gear that would so get his ass kicked if anyone knew about it. Enough with the polite bullshit. He didn't have time for this when he was the watchdog for the whole boring world. "You know you could ask me." Silence. Heh. "I'm dating her. Will be dating her. I have a date with her tonight, actually."

"Chloe's. . .with you?"

"Hey, what am I, Luthor's kid brother or something?" Wally kicked at something in the pile that shot a line across the room before the grappling hook caught on a chair and jerked it several feet from the table. "Say that again like it's not an STD?"

"Okay, the last time I checked, you humped anything with breasts that stood still, like an oversexed Chihuahua. I'm thinking STD wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility."

"Hey, hey!" Wally hunched over, elbows on his knees as he frowned. "The rat dog comparison is completely over the top, let's not get insulting, here." He dragged his fingers through already mussed hair, scratching in frustration before he sat back. "Look, I like your cousin. I think we both know she's a big girl. If I'm out of line, she'll snap me like a twig. You know that. I know that. I just wanted to know what her favorite flowers are, could you cut me a little slack?"

"Oh." There was silence then an annoyed, "What are you staring at, Kent?" Wally bit his tongue and waited. Silence hadn't been this hard since Mrs. Collins time-out hell in second grade. Superheroes didn't squirm, damn it.

He squirmed. "Loooissssssss."

"She likes sunflowers and if you hurt Sunshine, I'm kicking your ass all the way to Gotham and back, got it?"

Before he could thank her, she was gone. A dial tone was a beautiful sound.

"Sunshine," Wally mused aloud, staring down at the cordless with a senseless grin. He was jerked out his goofy reverie by a low growl.

"What the hell have you done to my equipment?"

Wally did a double take at the familiar, smooth voice, spotting the bald head gleaming over a display of tiger lilies. Oh jeez, weren't there people who did flower shopping for rich megalomaniacs? Ducking his head he dipped down to inspect a bucket of sunflowers close up. So close that a bug almost crawled onto the bridge of his nose. Smacking at it, he popped up, face to face with the smiling bastard.

"Special occasion?"

How the hell did the man always know everything about everyone? It was amazing that there were any secret identities in the Justice League that operated right under the nose of Information Central. "Maybe. What about you? Buying funeral flowers before you order a hit?"

A small smile, and Luthor tilted his head, as if he were considering several possible targets for that hit right that moment. "Clark's a romantic. He enjoys fresh flowers."

Wally refused to indulge the hysterical images of flower petal trails and candlelight. "Really? Not the kind of thing we talk about." Wally took the opportunity to pop Luthor a good one across the chest with the back of his hand, grinning wryly when cool eyes flickered down then back up, at the audacity. "Lucky for you, he's not my type."

"I hear Chloe Sullivan may be."

Something protective and primal that probably would've disgusted Chloe, welled up suddenly at the casual way Luthor dropped her name. Too familiar, reminding Wally of too many years when she had been vulnerable to the monster cloaked within the man. Twitching in his skin, he fought off the absurd reaction, striving for flippant. "Too bad it's none of your business."

Luthor leaned in, murmuring with what could only be his own twisted version of amusement. "I'd be very careful with Chloe, if I were you. She has friends in very high places who care about her." Returning one audacious gesture for another, Luthor slapped Wally on the back, squeezing one shoulder and sharing a small, tight smile. "Excellent gesture, by the way. She loves sunflowers." Pulling back, he tilted his head, observing the bright, bobbing blossoms before skimming one gloved hand over the petals. "Never cared much for them, myself."

Wally kept a close eye on Luthor until the flowers were collected and he exited the shop, stepping back into the back of a limousine. Incredible to think that the entire city was crazy about the same girl. With a grin he gathered a bundle of sunflowers and headed for the counter. Lois Lane and Lex Luthor were actually on the same side.


"You know, if you. . ."

"Listen, big guy, I've already been warned off by your boyfriend and your girlfriend." Wally combed his hair again, checking his reflection in the mirror. Since when did he give a rat's ass about his hair? Since a week ago last night when Chloe danced with you, now stop futzing around and get going before you're late, idiot.

Heading for the door, he rolled his eyes at Clark's earnest protest. "Hey, she's still my friend and she's been through a lot. . ."

"I like her."

"You'd better not. . ."

"I really like her, are you listening to me?"

"I'm serious about this."

Keys. Keys? God, driving was a pain in the ass when running was so much faster. "So am I."

"Oh." Clark was quiet for a moment, then plowed on. "Don't forget the flowers."

"Got 'em."

"Tic-Tacs are your friend, Wally."

"Are you saying my breath smells like ass?"

"Yeah." Lying bastard.

"I'm hanging up now."

"Have her home at a decent hour."

"I'm telling her you said that."




He was laughing?

"Shut up, Clark."

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