by Hitman 44077
Superman walked onto the stage at the Flash Museum as the many heroes assembled grew quiet. He walked to the podium and addressed the heroes.
“Good afternoon. In spite of the troubles of recent days, it is good to see all of you here today,” Superman said. “In the wake of the Crisis, many innocent lives were lost. And not just here, but in a multitude of universes which also met untimely ends. We are looked at as heroes, more powerful than average citizens, but even we can bleed, hurt, and, sadly… we can die. The Crisis made that painfully aware to all of us here assembled.” Superman paused, remembering all that he’d witnessed during this tragic time, then continued to speak.
“However, all of us could have been killed as well, if not for the actions of one of our own. One man sacrificed his life in order to save the five remaining Earths that continued to fight for life. His name was the Flash.” Superman paused as the assembled heroes applauded the memory of the Fastest Man Alive. He applauded as well, then spoke as the applause died down.
“He was one man who gained super-speed powers. Now, he could have used these abilities to benefit himself, or to attain riches that many people dream of, but he sought to use his powers to benefit all mankind. He was one of the first crime-fighters of our age, and he was Central City’s greatest champion.
“His exploits were legendary, but those still paled in comparison to the friendship he offered to those he knew. He saved Central City, and indeed the entire world several times. He freed alien races that had been conquered. As a friend of his in the Justice League of America, I can say for a fact that he made a difference in our world. He inspired friendship among those that knew him and never had a bad word to say about anyone.
“Earlier this year, he was on trial for manslaughter, which was upgraded to second degree murder. He was tried and nearly convicted in a court of law. He suffered hardships besides that. But, when everything was on the line, he was there for us. He was captured by the mastermind behind the Crisis who knew that he posed a threat. Isolated from his friends and family, and even from the human race, he could have given up. But the Flash refused to quit.
“Instead, knowing the great stakes at risk, the Flash embarked on one last run — a run to save the five remaining Earths. To accomplish this, he had to destroy an antimatter cannon that was pointed at our five Earths, which, at the time, were partially connected. He knew that his efforts would kill him, but his knowledge didn’t deter him from embarking on his run. Faster and faster he ran, each step closer to saving our worlds.
“His efforts met with success, but it killed him in the process. He literally ran himself to death in order ensure life for our universes. It is a debt that we can never repay him, but as long as there is hope, and heroes, this world will continue to live and thrive well into a time where there will be no crime or suffering. We will never forget you, Flash. Rest in peace, my friend.”
Superman walked off the stage as the heroes assembled stood and applauded, and Green Lantern walked onto the stage. He made his way to the podium, and spoke.
“It’s been a while since I was last in the company of heroes. Frankly, it’s good to be back,” Green Lantern said. The heroes applauded. He spoke again. “Unfortunately, this isn’t how I wanted to return. You see, the Flash was a very close friend of mine — in and out of costume. He was maybe the closest friend I had over the years. Our views varied at times, but we never lost sight of that friendship. Whether it was with the League or during a team-up, we just clicked. We could anticipate what the other had in mind when facing some dangers together at times; it was fantastic.” Green Lantern smiled, remembering his friend, but the smile faded.
“I remember the time I first met the Justice Society of America, and I joked, ‘Hey, who are these guys supposed to be? I think they got our costumes wrong!’ Flash turned to me, a serious look on his face, and said, ‘These are the guys that inspire people like us.’ He proceeded to name all of the different heroes, in no particular order, and then he turned to me and said, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if someone wasn’t reading comic books with us as characters!’ We had a good laugh and proceeded to team up with the JSA.”
The heroes and Green Lantern laughed. Though it wasn’t that long ago, it seemed like a more innocent time. Green Lantern spoke again.
“That was the kind of man Flash was. He could be serious or funny — a very spontaneous guy, and a true friend to all of us that knew the man behind the mask. I will miss you greatly, my friend, and I will never forget you.”
Green Lantern walked off the stage as the heroes applauded, and the Elongated Man walked up for his words.
“What can I say about the Flash that hasn’t been said yet?” the stretchable sleuth said aloud. “I was able to meet him early on as I began my foray into crime-fighting. I was an aspiring detective who happened to gain elastic powers. Some might think that that’s not a true power, but Flash was different. We grew to become good friends soon after meeting the first time, and he sponsored me when I applied for membership in the JLA. Thinking of all the adventures we had over the years, well, I can’t really pinpoint one case to focus on. But I know for a fact that any case Flash was involved in was important.
“We were good friends, despite how different we were, but with his passing, I find myself thinking of the sacrifice he made. His was an act of courage… and heroism. Right here, and now, this time is possible because of him. May his memory inspire us to continue the good fight. I’ll miss you, my friend.”
Ralph exited the stage as the heroes applauded. Kid Flash walked toward and onto the stage. He was nervous as he approached the podium, but knew what he needed to say.
“I’m glad to see everyone here today,” he said. “It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to Flash’s family. I know it would mean a lot to the Flash, as well, to see this support. When Flash’s death was confirmed, I personally contacted his living family. We discussed at length as to how Flash’s identity should be handled. His family agreed that his identity should be revealed, so that he could be honored fully, not just as separate individuals. They have asked me to reveal who he was, and I’ll comply with their wishes. The Flash was Barry Allen, and he was the Fastest Man Alive.”
The heroes applauded for several minutes, and as the applause died down, Kid Flash spoke again. “Barry Allen was a lot of things to me. He was my hero as a boy, and later, I would become his partner when I gained powers in the exact same fashion he did. He was my friend, and we forged a bond that was never shattered. Barry Allen was also my uncle. He was a truly good man who never did a thing wrong in this world.
“It’s been quite a career he had. He made a difference in whatever he was involved in, yet at times, he had some bad luck. He lost his wife when the Reverse-Flash murdered her, and he had to sacrifice his Barry Allen identity to protect the sanity of a woman he’d fallen in love with. He had to suffer through a trial where he was made out to be a bad guy, but he didn’t let that destroy him or the morals he held onto. We know of his sacrifice, but we may never know everything that transpired from the time he disappeared to the day I found his costume. However, I think he found some happiness before he died.
“For a few days, I’ve hurt inside. Barry’s death has affected me greatly. He gave his life to save five Earths, and I wanted to honor his memory. With the permission and blessing of his family, I’ve found what I believe is the proper way to honor him and what he stood for.
“He was the greatest hero I’ve ever known, and a man I held in the highest regard. I do this now in his honor and memory,” Kid Flash said, pressing the new Flash ring and releasing the Flash costume from within. He clothed himself in the scarlet suit, which fit perfectly on his body. He held his Kid Flash costume in his hand, then spoke once again. “From this day forward, I will carry on in his name and uphold the rich legacy he began. Kid Flash’s race is over. Now, I am the Flash. I know I can never replace Barry, nor do I intend to, but if I can keep what he represents alive, then that’s what I’ll do. This is for you, Barry. I love you.”
The heroes weren’t sure how to react, until Superman, Green Lantern, and the Elongated Man walked onto the stage. Superman walked up to the podium and addressed the other heroes.
“There comes a day in all of our lives where we need to bridge that gap between being a child and being an adult. I myself, as Superboy, was able to accomplish that, though there wasn’t a Superman before me. The Flash spoke to Green Lantern, the Elongated Man, and myself before publicly announcing his decision. I, for one, am proud of him. G.L. and Ralph are equally proud, as well. This world needs a hero. It needs the Flash.”
The heroes made their decision. They stood and loudly applauded the actions of the Flash. Away from the podium, the Flash spoke to Superman, Green Lantern, and the Elongated Man.
“Thank you for the support out there, guys, and thanks for speaking about Barry,” said the Flash.
“Wally, until this day, there had never been a situation like this,” began Superman reassuringly. “There’s always been an unspoken word in regards to the junior half adopting the mentor’s identity in the case that the mentor dies. But it wasn’t that which made your decision. It was your love of Barry and what he represented that motivated you. You have nothing to prove to us. You’ve already earned the identity.”
“Thank you.” The Flash was amazed at Superman’s support.
“There’s no need to thank us. Just be the best man you can be, Wally. That’s what Barry would want,” Superman replied.
“I will, Superman. You can count on it.”
Superman walked back to the podium and spoke. “This concludes the memorial service. Thank you all for attending.”
“I’d better head back to Oa. The Guardians of the Universe have different things they need to discuss with the surviving Green Lanterns. I’m curious to see what it’s about,” Green Lantern admitted.
“I should probably head back to Metropolis, myself. It seems to be a Mecca for trouble most of the time, but I’m glad I could be here today,” Superman said.
“I’m glad you all showed up. I’ll see you guys soon,” the Flash said.
“We’ll see you as well, Flash,” Superman said. For some reason, it didn’t sound foreign to call Wally the Flash, and he was glad. After that thought was complete, Superman flew off toward Metropolis, while Green Lantern flew upward into space and toward Oa.
“I’m going to see J’onn. Hopefully, I’ll see you before I leave. And, Wally, I’m proud of you,” Ralph said, walking off the stage.
“Thanks, Ralph. I’ve got something I need to do,” the Flash said as he walked off the stage and toward the Flash Museum, carrying the Kid Flash costume in his hands.
He was met by Dexter Myles. “It would seem that this is the first of a new set of days,” Dexter commented.
“Yeah, it is, Dexter. I just hope I do Barry proud,” the Flash said.
“I think you will, Wally,” Dexter replied with a smile as he spotted the Kid Flash costume held in the grip of the Flash. “It would seem that history does repeat.”
The Flash knew what Dexter was referring to and smiled himself. “Yeah, it really is. This costume was a part of my life for so long. I hope that this can benefit the Flash Museum,” he said, handing the Kid Flash costume and ring to Dexter.
“I know it will, lad. The costume you wear defined your uncle. Let it define you, as well,” Dexter said, proud of the Flash that stood in front of him.
“Thank you, Dexter. I’m going to head back to Blue Valley. I’ll see you in a few days, though. Central City is the Flash’s home, and I’ll protect her as much as Barry did,” the Flash said, waving to Dexter, then leaving the Flash Museum.