It didn’t work. That’s the plot.
It didn’t work.
"If you were still wondering what my future looked like - here it is." Bart sat down on the splintered wood beam. "This is it."
There was no time to be sitting down. Because the Black Beetle had succeeded, and the kinetic energy just wasn’t enough, and Jaime had needed more than sixteen seconds. Because of that, Bart couldn’t help but feel he was right back where he started. Because if you didn’t have super strength, or speed, or some other unfair advantage - chances were you didn’t make it. But if you did; somehow, by some means, then it was still up to the League to protect you.
Or, what was left of the League.
Even so, Jaime and Bart still found time - no, made time - to sit down and stare at what was left of the black-blue sky.
"Blue, I’m gonna start guilting myself. But you’ll be feeling moded by the time I get through. So tell me when, or stop me now." Bart finally sighed out.
Jaime shrugged. “Nah, I’ve been needing some guilting. Give it your best shot.”
"You’re asking for this."
Bart took a deep breath, and leaned back against the remnants of the building.
"Killing you was always an option."
Jaime’s breath hitched.
"I mean yeah, I never really wanted to, but before I came back here, it was considered.” Bart wiped the hair out of his eyes as he tapped the wood beneath him. “It would be a self sacrifice play. Likely, the rest of the Team would dispose of me if I killed one of their own. But one life to save the entire world? Not unthinkable.”
Jaime tried to interrupt. “But you’re only thirt-“
"Doesn’t matter. I opted to do this job, and whatever was necessary came with it." Bart stared at his toes. "We’ve all got Scarab’s, buddy. That voice telling us to do something, even if we know we shouldn’t? Killing you was an option; I didn’t take it."
"You should have." Jaime grimaced. "A lot of things might have been easier if I were just removed."
Bart cast a sidelong glance at his friend. “We considered killing the Blue Beetle. I don’t think any of us considered for a second getting rid of Jaime Reyes.”
Jaime shook his head angrily. “But you should have.”
"No one thought that the Scarab would attach itself to a good guy. A great friend. A good person."
"Yeah?" Jaime tossed his head back. "But what does any of that even matter? Who cares about the guy I am if I’m ending the world?"
"Blue, you didn’t end the world."
"I should have just scanned properly the first time. Wally would have lived. We wouldn’t be here. This place is horrible, and disgusting, and it’s all a product of me being an idiot! It’s-" Jaime stopped as he noticed Bart tense beside him.
The shorter boy laughed bitterly. “My home? Where I came from? Nah, just keep going, ese.”
"Come on, Bart." Jaime pleaded. "You know I didn’t mean it like that. I’m guilt tripping."
"I told you to tell me when." Bart snapped.
"I didn’t say when. And I didn’t mean to." Jaime breathed when he saw Bart relax. "Please, continue into the fabulous prospects of me being killed."
Bart bit his lip. “I never would have done it. Not after meeting you. You’re my best friend, Jaime. You’re the first one. You’re the closest thing I’ve got.”
"But looking back? It’s so selfish to put a friendship ahead of all those people." Bart turned to Jaime, his eyes pained. "They all mattered too, yknow? And I just didn’t care."
Bart sifted a hand through his auburn hair as that mirthless laugh escaped his mouth one more time. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Look at me - making best friends with my enemy. I’m an idiot, you know? But I loved you dude, I loved you so much.”
Jaime felt his throat tighten as Bart’s voice began to quiver.
"I love you so much, hermano. So much, I can’t even regret it. I hardly even feel bad, letting all those people die if it meant I could keep you. I barely feel anything about it, unless I get to thinking too hard."
"I loved you so much, Jaime."
"I can’t even make myself feel anything about it, I love you so damn much."
"So what if all those people died? I still got to have Jaime. My Jaime all to myself." He’d pulled his knees up to his chest then, and was laughing out the saddest laugh Jaime had ever heard. "It doesn’t matter, as long as I get to keep my Jaime."
Jaime gripped the boy’s hand in his own. “When, Bart. I said when.”
"I know you did, I know." Bart sobbed out. "I couldn’t have just killed my Jaime.” By now, those two words were mocking themselves, undoubtedly poking fun at Bart’s own thoughts.
"My Jaime. I just couldn’t lose him, could I?" Bart managed to howl out between breathy whimpers.
Jaime pulled the smaller boy into a tight hug, rocking him back and forth as he tried to calm him. “I’m right here Bart, you didn’t lose me.”
"I loved you so much."
"I love you too, ese, believe me."
"I couldn’t do it. I should have, and I didn’t."
Jaime hushed Bart, stifling the boy’s tears.
"Que sera." Jaime mumbled as he buried his face in Bart’s bright hair.
Bart tried to choke out a laugh. “Eso si, right?”
Jaime held him a little tighter. “Que es.”