BY : megamatt09
Category: DC Verse Television > Flash
Dragon prints: 4820
Disclaimer: I do not own Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tommorrow, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter One:

A man made barricade on the side of the row stops a truck hauling sensitive scientific equipment on the way to Mercury labs. The driver and his passenger lay on the side of the street. Hands bound against the back of their heads with their faces down on the ground. One of the criminals holds a gun to the back of the heads of them while four more surround the back of the truck.

The captive hostages all shudder the very second the thugs surround them. Weapons lie at the ready, with none of them knowing exactly what they're going to deal with.

"Alright. Here's the deal! You guys stay on the ground. No one gets hurt! We all go home still healthy and a little richer. Well you guys won't be. But, we will be, that's the main thing."

One of the criminals grunts while working a crowbar against the back of the truck. "What the hell is in this thing anyway?"

"Who cares? All I know is that it's going to get us some big money. And that's all that matters."

The summer wind hits the shoulder of the crowbar wielding thugs. Another twist of the implement against the side of the truck pries it open with a solid crack. The other three criminals watch him. One of them taps the man on the shoulder.

"Hey hurry it up. We need to get this job done!"

"Don't sweat it. The CCPD are too busy dealing with the big fish to worry about the small fries like us. I mean it, all of these meta-humans and these rogues and all of the crazies like that. You know what I mean?"

All of the criminals nod. They know exactly what the first criminal means. One of them leans back and decides that he has another concern to talk about.

"What about Flash?"

The leader of the pack rolls his neck back. "What about Flash? Same deal there really, but no one's seen Flash around in about a month or so. I think it's that other speedster that was running around a while, Flash was stomped by him. If he's still alive, Flash is too much of a coward to show his face around here."

"He doesn't show his face ever though, does he? Wearing the mask and all."

One large slap to the back of the man's dome puts him completely back into perspective. "Don't be an idiot."

These words end up being words to live by. Crime in Central City had been more complicated for those who did not have the meta gifts or just were a strong personality like some of the Flash's rogues. The lesser gangs fade unless they partner up with one of the big fish.

"We need something to level the playing field. JOEY!"

"Yes, boss?"

"Hurry it up with the back of that truck."

"Perfect can't be rushed, Mac."

The leader of the gang, Mac, throws his head back and rolls his eyes. "I wasn't rushing perfection. I was rushing you, dipstick."

The gang leader hurls a toothpick down on the ground. Joey the goon finally wrenches the back of the truck open. Three crates lay in the back of the truck.

"Alright, I don't know much about science. But I know whatever's in this crate is going to go down in value if you punks drop it. So, if you drop it, the next thing you drop will be you mooks. Understand?"

Several grounds of understanding follow to show the gang's on the same page. The four goons lift up one of the heavy crates to transport it out of the back of the truck. It drops down onto the van which waits for them. Mac turns to the driver and the passenger who still quiver on the ground. They remain frozen when no cops show up.

"If you're holding out for a hero, you better hold out for the rest of the night. Because, there's no heroes here. And if there is..."

A rush of wind follows and the next thing Mac knows, he's on the ground with his hands tied behind his back. He watches out of the corner of his eyes.


These words fly out of Mac's mouth just seconds late to do any good. His group of the thugs end up on the ground and gift wrapped for the CCPD. The driver and passenger stand up. Just about thirty seconds ago from their perspective, they had a gun on them and criminals hauling equipment from the Mercury Labs van to the vehicle.

Thirty seconds later, all criminals tied up, all guns taken away, and the police arrive to pick up the would-be thieves. Perhaps less, but it happens so fast that none of them are able to process what's going on.

A blur disappears into the distance and leaves nothing other than a cloud of dust and the sound of sirens coming in the background. Mac howls out in agony. So close to getting the score of his career and yet so far.

'Your attempts to go back in time are unrefined. That's why you're not prepared for the ramifications. You're like a bullet going through the windshield. You don't just alter the timeline, you shatter it. And you really think you can just put things back together? The ripples are something you cannot fathom. You have no idea what you've unleashed.'

With a heavy heart and a pang, Barry put Eobard Thawne back on the path to killing Nora Allen. The chain of events will lead off to his father dying at the hands of Zoom.

A flash of light and Barry's head starts to spin. Time resets itself and at least three alternate sets of memories from three separate timelines beat themselves into Barry's head. The blinding waves of bright blue light and Barry noticing dots in his mind.

He pops out the same place and starts breathing in and out. It's a hell of a ride and Barry's just glad to have come out on the other side.

"It's done."

The Speedster zips down outside of the West Residence and to his parents grave. Both of them stand before him, the dates where they should be. Barry inhales and exhales a very deep breath before turning back around. It's really hard to put his head around everything with conflicting and splintered memories from multiple timelines making his head throb.

'Get back to Star Labs. And then back to the CCPD'

Barry holds his head and rushes to Star Labs as fast as his legs could carry him. He blows past the front doors and into the entrance.

Seconds later, Barry dials it back and slows it down. Star Labs is completely empty despite it normally having it's normal occupants at this time of the day.

"Cisco? Caitlin?"

There's no answers coming from anyone in any part of the lab. Barry draws in a deep breath and runs himself completely ragged down the hallways to look for any signs of life. A thick cloud of dust covering one of the desks indicate no one's been here for quite some time.

'This doesn't make any sense.'

Barry weaves in room after room to check for anything which sheds any light. He makes his way to the main lab and notices on a board several articles. Each one of them asks a very simple question regarding the Flash's whereabouts which brings Barry confusion.

"I didn't go anywhere. I've been right here the entire time. I've been here this entire time."

Humming brings Barry out of his thoughts. He notices a small silver object, almost undetectable by the human eye. A red button flashes on it. Barry sticks his thumb over the button. Glowing red light emits from the orb and scans Barry for a second before popping it up.

A three dimensional hologram of Cisco Ramon appears in front of him.

"I'm not sure if you'll ever get this message, Barry. You've been gone for a couple of weeks now and Caitlin and I, we haven't been able to track you down. It's concerning and I really hope nothing's happened to you, and...well people have noticed that Flash is gone. And people have taken advantage of the fact there's no Flash. You just up and left man and I understand if you want time away because of your Dad and everything, but not giving us the heads up, that's not cool."

A twinge of guilt fills Barry.

"See, I really hope that the theory that you went back in time isn't true because that could cause some headaches. So, there's a good chance that this message won't get to you. Because I wouldn't have sent it. Maybe I wasn't born. Or born a girl. Or I decided to become a mime instead of a scientist. Or I got into some other field. Of course, I don't know if I can work at Star Labs much longer. And before you blame yourself, it's actually not because of you. It's because of the new owner. It's going to be hard to do what we do with her around."

Confusion hits Barry. New owner of Star Labs? Wells, well Thawne, left full control of the lab to him. Keeping it running is another story entirely and paying all the bills.

"Thawne didn't cross the Ts and Dot the Is, or maybe he did this to pull the rug out of us again. That's just something the bastard would do. Anyway, best of luck, Barry, if you ever come back. But, I just can't...not with her involved. Providing you get this by the time she has it bulldozed and builds a country club over it. I think she was about to fire Caitlin and me anyway. Because of our connection to Wells. Old Wells, who was not really Wells."

A deep frustrated sigh passes over Cisco.

"It's been real. Guess I'll talk to you later. Maybe I'll take some time off. I hear Tahiti's a magical place."

Barry has far more questions than he does answers. Cisco's message cuts out and there's most certainly some trouble here.

'Time to see if can figure out what I'm working up against here.'

The cloud of dust kicking up leaves the only clue of Barry's presence.

The Central City Police Department bustles with the usual amount of activity one would expect from the police department of a major city.

"Did you hear the Trickster attacked that boat?"

One of Flash's most dangerous enemies catches Barry's attention. He raises an eyebrow and moves in closer.

"Yeah, that lunatic's running wild now that there's no Flash to catch him. Makes me think we got a bit lazy with the speedster around."

"But, Flash is back, isn't he? I mean, he took down those goons who tried to knock off that truck from Mercury."

Barry's eyebrow contorts into confusion at this news. He takes a casual step to listen in to the conversation.

"Well, no one's seen Flash, and it could just some meta vigilante with quick feet and quick hands, taking the matters into their own hands. But anyway, that Trickster attack, it's the third one and he's...what did they call that ship again? It was some stupid name."

"The SS Olicity!"

"Yeah, that's it. The dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. What does it even mean?"

One of the cops scrunches up his nose and starts think about it. "Wasn't that what they called Oliver Queen and that one broad he was going to marry, only he didn't...their couple name thingy? Her name was Felicity Smoak, wasn't she?"

The older cop shrugs. He really doesn't pay too much mind to the comings and going of the rich boys in another city along with their current flavor of the month. "So, Jesse blew the ship up."

"Yeah, and the witness said that Jesse mentioned just loves sinking ships."

Barry turns around from this conversation and almost steps back until he hears a surprised yelp from behind him.


Barry turns around and notices a familiar face coming down the steps.

"Patty? You're back?"

Patty Spivot crinkles her nose in surprise holding a cup of coffee in her hand. "Well, I just went out for coffee, but yeah I'm back. And you're back as well...well back after a month gone. I heard that you were a wreck after your father died. Really sorry to hear about that...and don't worry, I've tried not to mess up things in our lab too badly."

"Our lab?"

Barry's memories start clicking back into place. Patty gives him a sympathetic smile.

"Right, because tell me you haven't forgotten we've been working at the same lab for the past year or so, because you needed the extra help after all of the meta-humans and the fact you ran yourself ragged."

A small smile passes over Patty's face when she says the words "run yourself ragged."

"Oh, of course, I knew that."

"Are you sure?"

Patty gives Barry the once over with her eyes and smiles. "Well, the time off has done you good. Have you been working out?"

Perhaps it was Barry's fatigue because of going back through time and trying to reset the timeline, but his ex-girlfriend looking him over like he's a piece of meat throws Barry kind of off.

Something is completely weird here and Thawne's warnings about the changes rattle Barry.

"I'm sure Iris appreciates it, doesn't she?"

So, he and Iris still were together, and here, Barry takes a deep breath. He hit her voice mail, and could not get in touch with Cisco and Caitlin, so Barry's just trying to piece together everything.


Barry turns around and comes face to face with Joe who comes down the steps. He engulfs Barry in a bearhug and then the two separate from each other in a matter of moments.

Joe bends down so only Barry can hear him. Patty takes this as her cue to step back to give them space.

"Where have you been for the last month?"

"It''s a long story. And...listen, have you heard from Iris?"

Joe shifts a moment. "Yeah, she's...well she's been distant ever since you left. I've tried to get her to open up, but it's nothing. And she's obsessed with cracking open the story about those weird lights which popped over Central City just when you left."

Barry's interest piques. "What weird lights?"

"Allen? Nice to see that you've decided to come back to work."

Captain David Singh appears and at the foot of the steps and shows Barry. "You're looking well. Guess the month did you well after your breakdown. And I'm sorry to hear about your father."

"Thanks, Captain Singh. So, how are things around here?"

The Central City Police Department Captain sighs and one can tell he's been working hard. "Well, just by coincidence, the same time you disappeared, Flash decided to take a leave of absence."

"Imagine that."

"Yeah, Allen, imagine that."

The stoic look on Singh's face does not betray what's truly going through his mind.

"I expect you back at your lab first thing Monday morning. Spivot's been doing a bang up job filling in, but, you're the best we have and we need you now, especially since the latest rash of crimes. And when the Flash shows up again, we'll all breath a lot easier."

Singh claps Barry on the shoulder and turns to his office. Patty takes in a deep breath.

"I've got everything put together on the Trickster investigation if you want to take a look at it before Monday."

Barry nods and smiles, he really appreciates the help He steps back to allow Patty to show it and then vows to make another attempt to call Iris. She does have just cause to be angry with him, if it's the case.

The next stop for Barry is Star City. There's a couple other people he needs to talk to here to gain some perspective. Thankfully, the passcode Felicity gave him still works and it allows him to enter.

The first three steps already clues in Barry regarding more changes from his return trip settle into this new, third timeline. He notices a figure off in the distance punching at a bag off to the side. She dresses in tight workout pants and a sports bra to show off her body. Blonde hair flips down past her shoulders and determination as she kicks away at the back.

The woman snaps around to reveal the one and only Dinah Laurel Lance, better known as the Black Canary. Barry tries not to leave his mouth open to attract insects. Laurel smiles when noticing Barry standing there.

"Barry, you're back."

"Yeah, I'm back and you''s good to see you."

Laurel gives Barry a very searching look for about ten seconds. "Yeah. It's good to see you too. We were...well we thought something might have happened to you after Zoom and everything."

Coming face to face with a woman who was dead when he left causes Barry's entire thought process to be thrown completely off.

"Okay, Speedy, the sensors are deactivated. Let me know if you need anything."

Oliver Queen sits at the computer chair with a heavy brace on his elbow. Several questions enter Barry's mind. Oliver turns to the side and gives Barry a slight smile.

"So, what happened here?"

Oliver sighs. "After you left, everything went to hell. It seems to happen every May in this city. Damien Darhk and I had a fight and...well I took Darhk down, but as you can see, I suffered for it. I'm not sure how long it's going to take to heal. But after Darhk almost took my arm off, I was lucky not to lose it."

A grimace comes over Barry for a second. Oliver tries to play it cool although it's very obvious that something is hitting him hard.

"So, you're playing Overwatch then?"

"Actually, I'm more of a Call of Duty guy myself."

Barry snorts a few seconds later and manages to calm himself down. Oliver gives him a strange look.

"Barry, did you...did you do something involving time travel?"

A sigh follows. "I come back in time. And things change. And there's a lot change."

Barely, Barry's eyes flicker in Laurel's direction who resumes her workout. The full inventory of the changes is still being put together. Barry only can guess at the ramifications both in the present and perhaps in the future. He takes out his cell phone and checks it for any call back.

Nothing just yet.

"Well, unless Thea needs my help, I've got some time to kill. So tell me all about it."

Seconds of silence pass after Barry finishes telling Oliver what he remembers from the timeline before he left and how it compares to what he knows about timeline now. Oliver taps the bottom of his chin.

"In the old timeline I didn't almost lose an arm against Damien Darhk."

Barry nods. "As far as I know. And Laurel..."

"She was dead."

Oliver offers a somber nod at this particular piece of information. Barry decides its now time to address the elephant in the room. The one name both he and Oliver tap dance around.



"What's going on with her? She's didn't..."

"She's still alive if that's what you're thinking. But...we haven't spoken in about a month. She didn't formally quit the team. She just stopped answering her calls and stopped answering the door."

"She's still alive though?"

A very tense look follows from Oliver. "I know she is."

Barry decides that's about as much information he's going to get out of Oliver on this front. A shrewd suspicion enters his mind about how things might have been said between Oliver and Felicity which Oliver wishes not to repeat here and Barry decides not to pry any further.

"After the incident in Havenrock, I think it shattered her mentally. It might have been a mistake to get her involved."

"She chose to get involved."

A noncommittal shrug comes from Oliver in response. "She left to go to Central City, looking for you, I guess. And then when you weren't there, she came back."

"Do you think anything I could have said made a difference?"

"You're a better people person than I am, Barry. Maybe you could have."

Barry is not sure how to take that one. Oliver eyes the window and then returns his attention to the screen check to see things are.

"Speedy calling Broken Arrow. I've got them wrapped up. The crates they have are military grade, and I want to know if I should blow them sky high or not."

"Get anyone out of the blast radius and do it."

Oliver turns back to Barry. "Broken Arrow was completely my idea. It took some time to convince both Laurel and Thea to use it, because they didn't think it was very funny given what happened to me. But if you can laugh at yourself..."

"Back to Havenrock?"

"The casualties were bigger than even some of ARGUS's covert operations against subversive countries."

Oliver's expression shows that he's not a fan of blowing up large parts of a country to get to a dangerous dictator. Despite him murdering a lot of his enemies, especially in that first year back, there's certain lines that you should not cross.

"I wish I could get in touch with Cisco or Caitlin or rather anyone to see what we can do...if we can do anything about Star Labs."

A sympathetic smile crosses Oliver's face. "The lease for the lab lapsed. And Sapphire Stagg swooped in to buy it."

"You mean Simon Stagg's daughter?"

"Yes, her. I don't think she wants to do business with anyone who close to Wells, well Wells-Thawne anyway. Simon Stagg was a bastard, but still...he's her father and you could understand why she would be very upset."

Barry takes a moment to just settle everything. There's one nagging thought which keeps racing back and forth into Barry's mind.

"I should have left everything alone."

"Don't go into self-loathing. That doesn't help anyone. I would have done the same thing if I could. If I could save my parents, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Without really thinking through the consequences."

Those words from Thawne keep bouncing back into his head. How Barry's attempts to time travel were like blasting through a windshield with all of the precision as such. Even when he tries to repair it, there's cracks, alternates, changes, some of which Barry wonders if he sees the last of.

The doors open up and Laurel steps inside to join them.

"We have a problem. The Royal Flush Gang is back."

Laurel takes a deep breath. "If you're up for it we could use a hand."

Barry smiles, the Royal Flush Gang was just a bunch of rich punks with a playing card motif. He remembers how easily he handled them before.

How hard can it be to deal with them?

Something feels just right about heading back to the street in the old red outfit. Barry's not working with his usual mission support team, but perhaps he can adapt. Black Canary drives up next to him on a motorcycle at a pretty respectable place. They're joined by Speedy who comes around from the alleyway having scouted the back of the building.

"They've got hostages."

Having hostages makes dealing with the criminals even more difficult. Black Canary, Speedy, and Flash all scope out the area around the lab.

"I've got this one."

They left the entrance wide open showing just how arrogant they were. Of course, arrogance is often a common flaw in enemies. Flash's entire body courses with speed force energy as he bombards the entrance to grab the hostages.

A solid force field appears in a dome around the hostages and knocks Flash back out through the door. Flash hits the ground completely hard. A woman flickers into the light and smashes Flash in the ribs with an expanding force field. She wears Ten motif.

Black Canary opens her mouth and sends a Canary Cry towards the force field. The energy ripples back and knocks Black Canary onto her back hard.

Flash's mind rattles back into place. "Wait! They have super powers ! Since when?"

Queen of the Royal Flush gang steps out. "Honey, we're the all new and all improved Royal Flush gang. We're better than those losers who you fought before."

She bombards the heroes with a blast of flames from her hand. Speedy whips her arm back and fires three arrows off in succession. Two hands and a foot stretch out from an open window and catch the arrows before they connect.

Jack of the Royal Flush Gang shoots forward like an elastic band and throws the arrows at both Speedy and Black Canary. Flash catches the arrows before they impale.

A huge lumbering mass of rocks charges towards Flash and smacks him with the force of a wrecking ball. The large mountain of a man bombards Flash with constant attacks which knock him back a couple of steps.

Flash grabs both Black Canary and Speedy and pulls them out of the way before Queen can roast them like a hog. They move to the alleyway to regroup and reassess their strategy.

"Ten can create force fields and can be invisible. Queen controls fire. Jack can stretch. And King is a solid mass of rock. I swear this reminds me of something."

Speedy gives Flash a side look while slowly pulling away from his body. "And Ace, he has the proportion strength and agility of a spider."

"You're kidding me!"

Black Canary takes a deep breath and shakes her head. She still uses Flash for a support leaning against him as she catches her breath. "No. We're not. We already lost to these guys twice and...we were hoping you would have an idea which can beat them."

Almost an impulse, Flash prepares to contact Star Labs only to realize thanks to recent events, there's no Team Flash to contact.

Old habits die hard, he guesses.

'Okay, fine. Let's do this, Allen. You're supposed to be smart. Time to think.'

Now with a plan into place, the three heroes move into position for round two with the all new, all-different Royal Flush gang.

"One wrong move, and the hostages go up in smoke. We're only going to let them free after Star City pays our ransom demands! Not even the fastest man alive can touch us!"

The loud and boisterous voice of Ace comes over for everyone to hear. Flash readies himself to do what he needs to do and rushes at the edge of the door one time.

As predicated, Ten smashes him back down to the ground with one of your forcefields. "The Fastest Man Alive? Not at thinking I can tell you that. Why did you think that would work a second time?"

Ten raises her hand and a second passes as the force field disappears from around her body. An arrow shoots out of the distance and sticks the landing in Ten's hip. A magnetic charge courses around Ten and causes her to be unable to perform her forcefield or invisibility attacks.

Flash rises up, ears still ringing from the concussion coursing through his head.

King jumps out and smashes the ground. Flash zips off at the other direction.

"That's right! You better run! You better hide! Because I will find you! We'll get bragging rights when..."

Black Canary bombards King with a canary cry. The Canary Cry vibrates his rocky form. King turns to Black Canary with a dangerous look in his eyes.

"What do you think that's supposed to accomplish? I'm not going to go down. You're not going to take me down! Do you hear me? You're not going to..."

Flash picks up momentum and bombards King from the backside with leaping lightning strike. The combining attacks causes King to launch up into the ground and smash down onto the ground. The force knocks him completely out.

Jack stretches his arms outside of the window. Black Canary drives a staff down onto the hand of Jack. He howls out in misery and then uses his fist to punch away at his opponent.

Flash zips in front of Jack and then runs across the city. The fist follows him halfway across the city and chases him all around. He speeds up and slows down just enough. Jack continues to stretch his arm.

The arm snags onto the back of the truck and Barry notices Jack's limits having been reached. He flies out of the window of the building and starts flying down the street, screaming. He pulls himself out of the truck and then lands on the ground.

Several lighting fast punches drop Jack down onto the ground. Every muscle ending in his body burns completely when he drops down to the ground.

Queen holds her hand against the back of the head of one of the hostages. "I swear! I'll do it! I'll burn them alive! You better not make me do it! Because I will do it! I swear I will do it!"

A blink of an eye and this time Flash comes in to ensnare all of the hostages. Black Canary and Speedy stand in front of a very angry Queen. Her eyes start glowing in complete rage as the entire building starts to heat up.

A rapid fire arrow connects with a fire extinguisher. The contents explode and cover the Queen. She raises her hands up and only gets a few small flickers.

Black Canary lands behind her enemy and sticks the landing before dropping down to the ground. She stomps Queen down onto the ground and renders her completely unconscious from the impact.

"Four down and one to go..."

Speedy's bow snags out of her hands. Ace drops down to the ground. He has a new toy, a pair of devices on his wrists which shoots a sticky spider web like substances. One of the webs catches Black Canary in the mouth. The material muffles her to prevent the canary cry. She still goes on the attack with Ace using his agility and danger sense to avoid the attacks.

The acrobatics look pretty impressive and Ace stays one step ahead of Thea.

"You can't stop me! You heroes are going to see why I'm called Ace because..."

Rip, rip, off go the two web shooting devices and Ace whirls around just in time to see Flash standing behind him. The devices dangle in Flash's hands. A wooden staff catches him across the back of the head and drops him down to the ground.

Black Canary pulls the web gag off of her mouth and makes sure Ace is completely knocked out. The members of the Royal Flush Gang scatter across Star City.

Flash puts a hand on Black Canary's shoulder and causes her to turn around. She relaxes, just a bit jumpy after their third battle with the Royal Flush Gang. Third time being the charm, with a pretty excellent good luck charm on their side.

"I'll be back in a second. Hopefully these guys don't wake up before I get something to contain them."

The doors of Star Labs open up. The first few steps Flash takes in causes him to be met by some red dots on his head. Three imposing gentlemen hold sniper rifles on him. The speedster keeps himself a couple of steps ahead.

"You're trespassing, Flash. We have orders that no one is to be here until Ms. Stagg is ready for anyone to be here."

Disbelief comes over Barry's face. He's lost Star Labs and it's a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

"Relax your guns."

An attractive blonde wearing a professional looking business ensemble steps in. Purple blouse, suit jacket, a modest length skirt, stockings, and heals, along with her hair done up in a bun. Sapphire Stagg gives Barry a long and searching look.

"So, the prodigal son has returned."

"Yeah...I'm back. Why did you take over Star Labs?"

The Billionaire Princess responds with a snort.

"Because someone was going to do it. Would you rather someone like Lex Luthor do it? Or Roman Sionis? Or Roland Daggett? Or Morgan Edge? People who would not hesitate to spit on the legacy that all of the fine people of Star Labs have done. Not that Wells and his little folly did not do the same thing on it's own."

Sapphire's tone softens a fraction of an inch.

"Star Labs squandered some great potential it once had."

A compulsion to argue and defend the work he and the rest of Team Flash did hits Barry hard.

"We've done some great things."

"But, you can do better things."

Sapphire's tone softens. "Flash, I'm not a monster. I'm not my father, and I'm not Wells. I won't put my entire staff in danger because of some nutcase experiment when I fully knew the risks."

Barry understands where she's coming from.

"I'm going to offer you a deal. You can use the resources of Star Labs, and if your groupies want to come back, they can."

Barry frowns at Sapphire's term referring to both Cisco and Caitlin. She's not finished.

"But, Star Labs is not your personal clubhouse. It's a business and I'm going to run it like one. So, I'm going to be part of what the Flash does if you want to keep using this facility. I want everything out on the table. No bullshit, no secrets, nothing like that. If you're going to be a part of this team, then we're going to work together and make Central City a better place. Fix the mistakes Wells made in the past."

"So, you want me to work for you?"

"Yes. That's exactly what I want. Think it over."

Barry considers his options. Sapphire steps over towards him and smiles. "You're one of the few good things that have come out of this entire mess with Star Labs over the past three years. I would hate to lose you."

"I'll think about it."

"Good. And I'm sorry about my men. Was there a reason why you were here by the way?"

"I was getting the anti-meta cuffs to restraint some metas in Star City."

Sapphire nods in response. "Make sure the Scarlet Speedster gets everything he needs. Consider it the first token of what I hope is going to be a long and fruitful partnership."

"I'll think it over."


Barry returns back after making sure the all new Royal Flush Gang were all safe and secure. Thea sits outside and waits for him.

"So things have been pretty rough for you guys lately?"

Thea takes a moment to sigh. "Yeah, pretty much. Ollie's on the shelf. Diggle's decided to return to the army and Felicity's...I don't even know. She's just shut down completely. And if I'm honest, I thought about hanging it up and finding myself as well."

Barry understands where she's coming from. Sometimes it's hard to get out of here.

"But, it's just Laurel and I here. I think that we might go insane if it wasn't the two of us. Thankfully, Laurel's there. We had a near miss with her and Darhk, but she got out of it okay, thankfully. And Darhk's gone and HIVE's...well they're gone as well. It's just there are other problems."

Thea decides to turn outside. Barry leans towards the open door where Laurel's in a conversation with her father. The consideration of trying one more time to fix what is broken fades from Barry's mind. He's going to have to make a best of this situation.

"Talk to you later. Okay, Dad, I'll see you this weekend if nothing comes up."

Laurel leaves the room and walks over to look at Barry and Thea.

"I've got to head out. Got something I need to do. I'll talk to the two of you later. Thanks for everything, Barry."

Thea smiles and slips out of the room to leave both Laurel and Barry alone with each other. Laurel decides to cut to the chase.

"I'm glad you're here and you helped us. But, you're acting kind of weird and when you saw me, I swear that it looked like you saw a ghost."

Barry takes in a deep breath. Sapphire's words about how secrets help no one hit him harder than he thought.

"I went back in time to stop Thawne from killing my mother and also I thought that would save my father from Zoom. I created this entirely new timeline, Flashpoint. But, it was too much and I fixed things, only I didn't fix things. Because when I left, things weren't this way. Both our teams, well they weren't perfect, but it wasn't in the state that they're in right now."

A small pause follows from Barry recollecting his thoughts

"Star Labs wasn't taken over by Sapphire Stagg. Oliver wasn't crippled, Felicity didn't have severe PTSD, and..."

"I was dead in that timeline."

Laurel's words cut straight to the point. She reaches in and puts a hand on Barry's forearm. She takes a deep breath and sighs.

"You were dead. You were killed by Damien Darhk."

A twist of Laurel's stomach occurs. She pulls away from Barry's arm and looks over him. "I had a feeling. But I had to know for sure."

"How did you..."

Laurel holds up a hand. "I've been having these nightmares ever since the fight with Darhk. The one where he almost killed me in that timeline. Only he did kill me in the dreams and I woke up. I thought my heart was going to stop."

"No one should be put through that."

"They're not as bad as they were when I started. Really, they stopped over the last week, but for the longest time...okay they were pretty bad."

Barry closes his eyes. It's not until now he slowly reconciles the damage done. And now, he realizes any attempts to fix it will just cause more cracks to emit through the timeline. The deeper Barry goes into the timeline, the more problems there is going to be.

Laurel clears her throat and Barry turns his attention back to her.

"It was selfish for me to go back..."

"No! It was human. I would have gone back in time if I had the chance. To the Queen's Gambit, and stopped Sara and Oliver from getting on that boat. I would have done it if I had the chance. It would have...everything might have been different then."

There would be no Green Arrow, no Black Canary, no nothing, which is a reason not to do it. Still, given the opportunity, Laurel will be sorely tempted for other reasons. Just to put everyone in a healthier mental state all together.

Really, the temptation would be too high, despite it being a damned if you do or damned if you don't type situation.

"But, I guess they had to go on that ship to set the ball into motion. Things happen for a reason. Maybe I was given a second chance to live for a reason."

A smile comes over Laurel. She gives him a good looking over for a second. He returns the smile as Laurel steps a bit closer towards him.

"You would have done what anyone would do if they had been given the chance. Don't beat yourself over what you did wrong. We get that enough from Oliver."

A small amount of laughter comes over Barry despite himself. Laurel is very close to him now and looking him dead in the eye.

"That Particle Accelerator changed many lives. Especially ours, Barry. Especially ours."

Barry raises an eyebrow. He means to ask Laurel about her more natural powers. Similar to her alternate Earth doppelganger Black Siren who Barry fought weeks ago. Barry means to ask her about that fact.

"Another thing that's different I see."

"Yeah, it's different."

Laurel spends a second almost considering something. Something is different about Barry as well. And she can't say it's entirely something Laurel disapproves of.

What she's going to say or do next has to wait as Oliver buzzes in her ear. Laurel snaps out of her thoughts and becomes all businesslike.

"Yeah, Ollie?"

"There's a hijacked truck on Preston Ave. Speedy's already heading out, but she might need backup if you can."

"Be right there."

Laurel turns around to get suited up as the Black Canary. Barry's attention diverts when his cell phone's ringtone starts playing.

Iris West fumbles with the light switch and enters her apartment. It has been a long day of working on a story. The rise of crime in Central City makes for an interesting story and it's the one her editor wants Iris to write about. She's far more interested in the mysterious events of a month ago in Starling City with the bright lights.

Naturally, the government, both state and national, spin their own damage control about of the origin of these lights. Iris knows for a fact there's more to them meets the eye.

After a long day, Iris decides to check her message. She shifts through the usual amount of spam along with a couple of angry calls about an article that she wrote. Standard fare for a reporter really.

"It's Wally. Just checking in to let you know that I've settled in. Got a roommate, his name's Dick Grayson. Nice guy, but he doesn't get back until early in the morning sometimes. Other than that, things are pretty quiet. Call me back if you get a chance. I know you're busy. Bye."

Iris swipes through her messages until one catches her eye.

"Iris, it's Barry. Sorry about running out. I understand that you're mad at me. But, call me back if you...if you can. I'd really like to talk to you in person. I think I might have screwed up something big time."

Excitement emits from Iris along with a small spark from her fingertips. Her fingers blur over the phone to call him back.

To Be Continued on June 6th, 2018.

Thanks for the Favorites, Follows, Reviews, Comments, and Kudos and I'll see you for the next chapter.

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