Okay, so this is the start of my Flash fic. It’s going to do a bit of narrative jumping, I’ll warn you now, since it is, despite being primarily a sequel to Justice League United: Apokolips, also a prequel to it. I wanted to explain exactly why we have Bart Allen as Impulse and then The Flash within that narrative, and the absence of Barry. I intentionally ignored Wally as I just have a weird thing against him which I admit makes no sense but I have the same dislike of Carry Kelly as Robin and Cassie as Wonder Girl. But anyway, enough about that. I give you; Fastest Man Alive.
I dnt like saying it but no one likes a lawsuit against them. The unholy words.. I DON’T OWN DC OR THE CHARACTERS IN IT.
Bart raced through the streets of Central city, yellow lightning crackling off his red boots as he did. In the last year, since the incident with Darkseid, the whole world had looked at the people like him, the heroes, differently. They seemed to view them with some kind of reverence, rather than the way they’d been seen before; barring Superman and Bart’s predecessor as the Flash, they were all thought of as urban myths.
Of course, Bart was more aware that he was filling in someone else’s shoes; Barry Allen, the previous Flash. Bart didn’t know what had happened to Barry, just that there was some kind of familial relation there; having seen photos, Bart knew he was virtually identical to Barry at his age. That was all he knew. There’d been some kind of incident, an explosion, which had taken out several blocks of Central City and the Flash. Bart had woken up, naked, in the centre of it, with no memory of anything before that.
It was out of a need to differentiate himself from Barry that he’d changed the Flash costume a few months ago. Now, it had a more metallic, slightly armoured appearance, being made of interlocking plates over a nano-fibre bodysuit. It was red from head to toe, with thin lines of yellow energy visible pulsing all over it, finishing at the yellow lightning bolt emblem at the centre of the chest, with a gold circle around it. The cowl was, aside from the new tint, essentially identical, and the lighting on the suit still provided the lighting patterns around the waist, gloves, and now the boots as well. It was the best Wayne Enterprises had to offer.
As Bart ran, he heard a beep from the police scanner built into his cowl. The device immediately began to play the audio.
“Dispatch, we have a highly dangerous perpetrator attacking the CCFD building.” Came the voice of the man reading the dispatch “Attacker is Garfield Lynds, alias Firefly.”
“On it.” Bart said to himself, doubling back and zooming towards the CCFD building, running up a building as he approached the building and diving off, aiming his trajectory at the assailant, a man wearing a red and black mechanical suit based on a fly, with a large afterburner on the back of the flight pack, and flames being fired from the gauntlets “Hey there, I’m the Flash and I’ll be kicking your butt today!”
“I’d like to see you try.” Firefly said, pulling a loop the loop and causing Bart to lose his grip, hurtling towards the ground and hitting it with a loud thud.
Bart picked himself up. He could keep trying to take Firefly down by jumping on him all day, it’d just end in him being taken down every time. On the other hand, bringing Firefly down to his level…
Bart began to run in circles at high speed, approaching what he considered to be his top speed, just below supersonic. As he did, the flame coming out of Firefly’s flight pack began to stutter, as the oxygen was sucked away by the vacuum Bart was creating. Bart continued to pick up speed, a sonic boom emanating from his location as he broke the sound barrier, still gaining speed. As he did, yellow lightning began to emanate not just from his feet, but his entire body.
There was a flash of energy, and a large shock wave as Bart passed his usual maximum, taking down both Firefly and a large number of the CCPD vehicles arriving at the scene. Bart stopped, panting. He looked around for a second, seeing Firefly being apprehended by officers. He offered a quick two fingered salute before speeding off.
Bart reached his apartment, running in at full speed. He quickly moved to the refrigerator, grabbing a gallon sized milk bottle filled with Red Bull, downing the drink in under 5 seconds. He grabbed a box out of the refrigerator that contained an extra large pizza with everything on it, proceeding to demolish it in a matter of seconds, before speeding to his couch, picking up the newspaper. He speed read the pages before tossing it aside.
This was the part of the day he hated. He was 21 years old, and yet still felt the need to read the papers for some reason he couldn’t explain. Maybe he’d been a bookworm before he lost his memory. Hell, for all he knew, he was meant to be doing a degree at the moment. Maybe forensics or something like that. That’d be cool.
He stood up, moving to the window at a normal place and looking out. This was his city. He lived in it. He protected it. It was a part of him as much as he was a part of it. He couldn’t even explain it; the whole place, him being the Flash, it had all came so naturally. He’d been hostile to the other members of the Justice League at first, in an attempt at respect for the dead, but he knew it was who he was.
He was the Flash.
Iris West-Allen sat at her desk in the Central City Newsroom. She was working late, yet again. Since her husband, Barry, had vanished almost a year and a half ago, she’d been trying to work out what had happened the night he’d died.
Of course, she knew how it had started. There’d been reports of some kind of storm at the heart of Central City, a tornado. Barry had sped down there, and there’d been reports of some kind of battle between him and a man in a trenchcoat, who was apparently controlling the storm. Apparently, Barry had been trying to reverse the storm when some kind of lightning bolt hit him. There’d been some kind of explosion, taking out a large portion of the city, and a pair of streaks had been seen disappearing away, one red, one yellow.
The cleanup crew hadn’t found much. What they did find, however, was the charred remains of Barry’s costume. Shortly thereafter, someone had reached out to her. He had shown up at her office, his features a vibrating blur. He’d known about Barry, claimed to be related to him, and he’d helped her stage Barry’s death, give her a way out of having to claim he was away on a case in Star City.
He’d disappeared as soon as it was done, red lightning trailing behind him. She hadn’t seen or heard from him since, but had to assume he was the man now running around claiming to be the Flash.
She stood up, moving to the window. There were a lot of clouds in the night’s sky, but not much else. As she observed it, she heard the door open and slam in the same instant, making her turn on her heel in shock.
Stood at the door, his body vibrating at high speed, was a man. He wore a yellow suit with a red trim, red shin guards and red gauntlets. Red lightning bolts were visible where his ears were, a red, flipped version of the Flash symbol on his chest. His eyes glowed a bright, menacing red.
“Hello, Iris.” He said, his voice deep and reverberated “Please, don’t be afraid. It’s me. It’s Barry.”
Iris stood there, looking at the man in the yellow suit. The man claiming to be Barry. The powers were right, but the suit was wrong. She’d heard about a Flash in a yellow suit before, the man who’d killed Barry’s mother. Why would Barry be wearing that suit now? And why would he have gone AWOL for so long; he’d gone away for a day or so at a time before, but literally years? That wasn’t Barry.
This wasn’t Barry.
“If you’re Barry, my Barry,” She said “tell me something only he’d know. Our first date, Barry was late. What was the excuse he gave?”
“Car broke down.” The man in yellow said, Iris struggling not to let her expression fall “Right?”
“Right…” She said, moving to her desk and subtly tapping the button underneath it.
It wasn’t subtle enough. The man in yellow sped towards Iris, pulling off his mask as he picked her up by the throat. His face mostly resembled Barry, but the eyes were red, what looked like burn scarring on the top of his face.
“For what it’s worth, I am Barry Allen.” He said, smirking “Genetically speaking, anyway.”
“What… What do you-” Iris began before the man in the yellow suit was sent flying by a giant, glowing green baseball bat “Took your time…”
The source of the glowing green bat slowly lowered himself to the floor. He had black, wavy hair and wore a primarily black bodysuit, with large green, fingerless gauntlets, his fingers covered by the continuing black bodysuit. He wore green boots, and had a large green section over his torso, a white emblem in the shape of a lantern where the left breast pocket would go. On his face was a pair of green goggles with white lenses, a green ring glowing on his right middle finger.
“I’m surprised Batman gave you the direct line.” Green Lantern said “So, what do we call you? Dark Flash? Zoom?”
“Reverse Flash works well enough.” The man said, pulling his cowl up and speeding at Green Lantern fast enough to take him to the floor, his hand vibrating quickly as he plunged it into the Lantern’s chest, his hand apparently passing through the matter “Stay still, Rayner. It’ll all be over soon.”
“Have you been… Peeking?” Green Lantern choked out before a red blur impacted Reverse Flash “Took your time…”
“Wanted to see who won the game.” The Flash said with a smirk, helping Green Lantern to his feet, saying quietly “You okay, Kyle?”
“Oh yeah, having someone put a hand in your chest is just a day at the office.” Lantern replied, pausing “Actually, there is this one planet I went to a few weeks back that-”
Before he could finish, Reverse Flash charged him again, hitting him with such force that he went flying out the window. Reverse Flash grinned at the Flash as he held something out; Green Lantern’s ring.
“Damn it…” Flash said before charging out of the broken window.
Bart ran down the side of the building. He could see Kyle about twenty metres ahead of him. Ten metres above the ground, the gap closing fast.
Bart sped up, barely catching Kyle in time to turn around and run back up the building, setting Kyle down on the ground before speeding at the Reverse Flash, Snatching the ring from his hand before the Reverse Flash grabbed his cowl, tearing it off as he threw Bart towards the window, the speedster hurtling towards the pavement below.
“Crap, crap, crap!” Bart yelled before feeling his descent stop, looking up into the face of Clark Kent, better known as Superman “I’m not going to hear the end of this, am I?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” Clark replied coyly as he took Bart back to the Office “What happened to your-”
“Super Villain throw down…” Bart said rolling his eyes, glaring at the Reverse Flash as Clark set him down “Hey, ugly, didn’t anyone ever talk to you about manners? You don’t go compromising secret identities!”
“Oh my god…” Iris said from the corner of the room “It can’t be…”
Before Bart could attack again, the Reverse Flash sped off. Bart moved to pursue, before finding himself held in place by Clark.
“Let him go.” Clark said “Sometimes, you need to know when to call it a draw.”
“Like you do with Luthor?” Bart quipped “Is that why he’s not in jail? Or, you know, the stratosphere?”
“As Batman would tell you, not enough evidence.” Clark said “We’re working on it.”
“Right…” Bart said, turning to Kyle and tossing him the ring “You dropped something.”
“Thanks.” Kyle said as he caught the ring, slipping it back on “Guess with how many times you’ve pulled that prank, I should’ve been ready for that.”
“It’s funny when I do it.” Bart commented, turning to Clark again “So what now?”
“Now we-Hold on.” Clark said, putting two fingers to his ear “This is Superman. Okay, I’m on it.”
“What’ve you been given this time?” Kyle asked “Wait, who’s on monitor duty?”
“Wonder Woman.” Clark replied “There’s a brush fire in the Amazon, if you’ll believe the irony. They need help putting it out.”
“I’ll come along too.” Kyle said, turning to Bart “You alright cleaning up?”
“It’ll take two minutes.” Bart said with a smirk, scowling as he spotted his cowl on the floor “Fixing that? A bit longer. I hate sewing…”
Clark and Kyle both smirked before flying off. Bart began to speed around the room, cleaning things up. After a minute or so, the place was relatively tidy. He couldn’t undo the property damage, but that was less important than protecting the civilian. Who he had totally lost track of.
“Uhm, excuse me…” Came a voice from behind him, Bart turning around to face the young woman speaking “Do you remember me?”
“Should I?” Bart asked, cocking an eyebrow “Have we met?”
“Iris?” She said “Iris West-Allen?”
“Allen?” Bart said, suddenly remembering he wasn’t wearing the mask “Oh shit. Wait.. You know me? How do you know me? No one knows me!”
“I do.” She said, smiling “I’d recognise that face anywhere. Oh my god, Barry, it’s so good to see you.”
She threw her arms around him, Bart pausing for a second before wriggling out of her hold.
“Hate to burst your bubble, but my name’s Bart, not Barry. According to what I know, Barry kind of bought it fighting Weather Wizard.” Bart said “Besides, I’m a little young to be Barry Allen. By my count, he’d be about 31, and I’m, well, not.”
“Wait, I can prove it.” Iris said, reaching into her pocket and withdrawing a beaten up photo “This is a photo of me and Barry from our first date.”
Bart took a look at the photo for a moment, his eyes widening in shock. It was him. He shook his head, handing the photo back to her.
“Sorry, I’ve got to run.” He said, before speeding off into the night.
Bart sat on a bed in the Watch Tower medical bay. It was clinically clean and a metallic white, the same as every other area of the space station. He was impressed Bruce had managed to get it into orbit so soon. Then again, that was the advantage of being the fourth richest man in the world. Or was it second?
“Hey, Bats,” Bart called through as Bruce walked in, flanked by J’onn holding a tablet with Bart’s read outs on it “are you the fourth or second richest man in the world?”
“Third.” Bruce corrected “Ahead of Luthor and Queen, behind Kord and Stagg.”
“Your readings are interesting, Bart.” J’onn said, reading from the tablet “According to this, your cellular structure spent a brief period in a state of massive regeneration, even by your standards.”
“How massive?” Bart asked “Why would it do that?”
“We don’t know that.” Bruce said “However, according to some theories, it could be enough to reverse your aging. Then there’s your DNA. It’s a match, 100%, for Barry Allen. I don’t know how it happened, but you are Barry Allen, and you de-aged and lost your memories.”
“What the hell?” Bart asked “You’re joking, right? Tell me that, for the first time in your life, you’re telling a joke?”
Bruce shook his head and nodded to J’onn, who handed Bart the tablet. Bart looked at the readouts. He wasn’t exactly a scientist, unless what Bruce and J’onn were saying was true, but he could recognise an identical pattern. It was true. His DNA structure was a perfect match for Barry Allen.
“What about the Reverse Flash?” Bart asked “I was talking to Kyle on the comm. link as I was coming up, he said that when Reverse Flash took off his mask, he looked like… An older, more burnt up version of me.”
“The burnt up could be accounted for.” Bruce said, pressing a control on his belt, causing his cowl to open, Bruce removing the cowl and setting it down before sitting down beside Bart “I first met Barry Allen nine years ago when I was 18. That night, I met the Reverse Flash. It’s the only time he’s shown up before to my knowledge.”
“Great.” Bart said “So, as much as I love history, what does this have to do with those burns Kyle mentioned?”
“According to Barry, the Reverse Flash, while trying to outrun him, ended up creating some kind of vortex.” Bruce said “He hit it and was apparently disintegrated.”
“He’s pretty spry for a dead guy.” Bart quipped, looking at J’onn “Come on, J’onn. You’re not buying this, are you?”
“We still don’t know everything about a few of the team’s powers, including yours.” J’onn said “However, theoretically, according to some research that my people were doing before the cataclysm on Mars, if you accelerate something to a great enough speed, it could be sent out of our space time and go literally anywhere. It was something we worked on to try to avoid time dilation at relativistic speeds.”
“In English?” Bart asked “Some of us aren’t from an episode of Star Trek.”
Bruce rolled his eyes. Bart could be a pain. Granted, Bruce respected what the young man could do, but his personality and constant bad jokes never ceased to annoy him. Still, he could understand Bart’s confusion; if he hadn’t spent time reading up on such things after Barry had told him about the Reverse Flash all those years ago, he’d probably be confused too.
“Basically, the closer you get to the speed of light, the more gravitational forces affect you. The more that happens, at those extremes anyway, time dilates. It slows down.”
“And what if passing that point were to fracture the space time continuum…” J’onn said “Theoretically, if you accelerated enough, you could pass that time dilation point and time would become your play thing.”
“So I could time travel?” Bart said, grinning “Cool.”
“Yes, except there’s no guarantee you could hit that speed…” Bruce said, pausing “Unless I brought up the Wayne Enterprises Kinetic Displacement Driver…”
“Kinetic Displacement Driver?” Bart asked “What’s that?”
“Think of a treadmill.” Bruce said, smirking “One with a high speed motor which nothing can get faster than. It’s designed as a trap for criminals with abilities like yours to be used by the Police and Military. It’s speed scales to whomever is on it. You could go as fast as you like and we could see if it’d work?”
Bart paused for a moment. It sounded like fun, he’d be lying if he didn’t say that. Then again, when the Reverse Flash had gone that fast, he’d been torn apart and ended up burnt up, apparently. Finally, he spoke.
“Could I go back?” He asked “Back to the night the Reverse Flash was apparently killed?”
“Maybe.” Bruce said “But I had another idea.”
“Which was?” Bart asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“You could go back to the night you arrived. The night Barry Allen died.” Bruce replied “We just need to find a way to protect you from the sheering forces that hit the Reverse Flash before.”
“Any ideas on that?” Bart asked “Pretty sure you’re not going to have an indestructible suit lying around.”
“Maybe not. Even on Mars, we didn’t have anything indestructible.” J’onn said “However, we know materials from one planet take on a much greater strength factor whilst exposed to certain types of solar energy.”
“What’s he talking about?” Bart asked, turning to J’onn “This is why we don’t hang out.”
“Objects native to Krypton gain much greater strength under our sun. It’s part of why Superman’s so hard to beat down.” Bruce said, turning to J’onn “Contact Kent. Tell him we might need something from his ice palace.”
Bart walked into the large lab in the Watchtower. Bruce and Clark were stood at the edge of the room, by a large, crystalline object, a terminal with crystals sticking out of it connected to the device. They were deep in conversation, whilst Diana was at the far side of the room, reading a terminal connected to what looked like a ten foot long treadmill.
“Bruce, can you give me a hand?” She called over to Bruce, who quickly finished up his conversation with Clark before going to help Diana, the two of them starting to talk in hushed tones as Bruce began pressing controls on the terminal.
“Bart, over here.” Clark called, gesturing to inside the crystalline object “Stand in the middle. I’ll start the process.”
“What process?” Bart asked, cocking an eyebrow “Am I going to be invincible?”
“Sort of.” Clark said as Bart stepped inside, Clark moving crystals in the terminal with a goo descending onto Bart, forming a flexible, crystalline skin “This structure will protect you from just about everything. It’s made of a fluid version of the material that the Fortress of Solitude was made from. That said, it has a pretty short half life. About two hours to be exact. Hence why I don’t bother using it. That and it traps my heat vision inside.”
“I can see a lack of laser eyes could be a problem.” Bart quipped, his voice echoey “Oh, that’s cool.”
“Allen, on the device.” Bruce called over, Bart moving over to the treadmill and stepping onto it “Diana’s going to operate the system. I’ll be monitoring the systems, making sure they don’t overload. I call abort, you stop running.”
“Got it.” Bart said with a smirk “Ready when you are, hot stuff.”
“Don’t call me that.” Diana said, rolling her eyes as she hit a control “Device active.”
Bart began running. It was a strange sensation, picking up speed as quickly as he could but not going anywhere. He kept picking up speed, lightning coming off him as he did.
Meanwhile, Bruce was observing the readings. 320 metres per second and accelerating. He leant forward to the microphone in front of him.
“Approaching speed of sound.” He said, pressing a control, large, clear object coming down around Bart “Prepare for sonic boom.”
Inside the container, Bart leant forward, picking up speed. There was a loud sound and a shockwave emanating from Bart as he broke the sound barrier. He had to admit, he was impressed the treadmill could keep up. He began to pick up speed rapidly, the drag forces losing their effect on him.
Bruce looked at the readouts, noting a red light flashing.
“We’ve got a red line.” He said, speaking into the mic “Bart, abort.”
“I can go faster!” Bart called, accelerating “How’s the speed?”
“Too high to measure.” Diana said, looking at the readouts in front of Bruce “We can’t tell you.”
“I’m going in to get him.” Clark said, shooting forward faster than a speeding bullet, and being knocked back as he bounced off Bart, flying back through the wall of the lab.
“Damn it!” Bruce said “Bart, abort. That is an order.”
“Sorry, Bats.” Bart replied “You’re freelance, remember?”
Bruce slammed his fist down on the console. He paused for a moment before turning to Diana.
“Destroy it.” He said “You destroy the console, the emergency safeguards will engage and slow him to a stop.”
“And if he doesn’t stop?” She asked.
“Kent, take up a position directly in front of Bart.” Bruce said as he pressed two fingers to his ear “Be ready to catch him.”
“If I do that now, it could kill him.” Clark replied as he sped back into the room, taking his position in front of Bart “So I guess we’d better hope this works.”
“Diana, now!” Bruce said, Diana nodding before bringing her first down on the console, smashing it into pieces “Something’s wrong. It isn’t shutting down.”
“How’s that possible?” She asked.
“I don’t know…” Bruce said, looking at the readouts “Unless… It’s Allen. He’s sustaining it.”
“Then we’ll have to do this the old fashioned way.” Clark said, his eyes glowing red before blasts of heat erupted from his eyes, impacting the treadmill, causing it to begin smoking “Why isn’t it breaking?”
Before Bruce could reply, there was an explosion in the centre of the room where Bart was. Clark sped round, shielding Bruce from the blast, before the three of them looked at the position of the treadmill. It was intact, albeit charred. But Bart was nowhere to be seen.
Bart observed the vortex around him. It was a red, yellow and blue mass of lightning, forming a tunnel. In front of him, he could see a figure. A yellow and red figure, formed from the lightning. He looked at his hands. He was still tangible, but the figure in front wasn’t.
“Leave now, Flash!” The figure yelled back “Unless you want him to catch you!”
“Him who?” Bart yelled back, the figure in front tossing it’s head back, Bart turning his head to see a figure in a black version of his suit, the outfit hanging off of the body as if on a skeleton, the face apparently a skull “What is that?”
“Black Racer! The literal embodiment of death for speedsters, created by nature to keep us out of this ‘speed force.'” The figure yelled, slowing to a stop and turning to face Bart, who slowed, the two of them facing the figure “I hate to say it, but we need to work together.”
“Who are you?” Bart yelled, dodging the Black Racer as it reached for him “Too slow, ugly!”
“My name is Eobard Thawne.” The figure said, also ducking under the Black Racer “You’re going to know me by a different name.”
“The Reverse Flash…” Bart said, pausing “Look, I hate to say it but you’re right. You know more about this than me. What do we do?”
“Follow my lead, Flash.” Thawne said, charging at the Black Racer.
Bart followed, Thawne sliding under the Black Racer’s grip, Bart following suit and matching Thawne’s movements, the pair of them kicking the Black Racer, sending it hurtling into the exit aperture of the vortex ahead.
“We have to go after it!” Bart yelled, Thawne stopping him.
“No, we don’t.” Thawne said “I do. It was created by my meddling in the speed force, it’s my responsibility.”
Thawne hit Bart in the chest, knocking him down before charging through the exit aperture, leaving Bart to pull himself up before chasing after the yellow figure.
Bart exited the vortex. The area he was in was familiar; the destroyed area of Central City he had first woke up in. Ahead of him was Thawne, pursuing the Black Racer. He looked ahead of them, seeing a red streak running around a tornado, a man with messy, blonde hair wearing a black trench coat and holding a metal wand like device in the centre of the tornado.
“Now you die, Flash.” The man said, aiming his wand at the streak, a bolt of lightning firing from the wand, causing the streak to disappear, the figure of Barry Allen in the Flash costume he’d worn being sent flying “Hasta la vista.”
The man aimed the wand again. Before he could fire, the Black Racer and Thawne both impacted him, his body surging with energy. The wand began to spark, a bolt of yellow lightning being sent into the sky, before crashing down on Barry. Bart waited for the smoke to clear, a black and blue streak hurtling away from it and into a vortex.
As the smoke cleared, Bart saw two figures in it. One was wearing a yellow and red suit, it’s eyes glowing red, and it’s body vibrating at high speeds. It looked down at the figure on the ground, raising it’s hand and slowly lowering it towards the figure on the ground.
Before it could make contact, Bart charged at the figure, hitting the figure flying. As it landed, it stopped reverberating for a moment, allowing Bart to see who was in front of him; the Reverse Flash.
“See you around, Flash.” Reverse Flash said before disappearing off into the night.
Bart moved over to the figure. He turned it over, seeing the badly injured form of Barry Allen. If what Bruce and J’onn had said was right, then Bart should’ve disappeared by now. He’d seen Back to the Future enough times to know that.
He picked up Barry and grabbed the wand from nearby, turning and beginning to run at full speed. As they hit the speed force barrier, Bart shifted their angle, the crystalline armour Clark had given him protecting him and Barry from the sheering forces.
“Come on…” He said “Come on you son of a bitch…”
He knew what he was waiting for. After a moment, he saw it ahead of him; the Black Racer. He charged at it, throwing the wand ahead of him. The device impacted the Black Racer, a large shockwave being send out. Bart took the brunt of it, small amounts of it hitting Barry.
Bart watched, as Barry began to have his features change and get younger. He spun on his heel, charging for the exit.
The young man slowly came to. He looked around. Where was he? Who was he?
He slowly picked himself up, looking around. In the distance, he saw a yellow figure for half a second, before it disappeared in a flash of red lightning. For half a second, he could’ve sworn he saw a red streak followed by yellow lightning, pursuing the red lightning.
He looked around, seeing a tattered trench coat on the floor. He grabbed it, putting it on before beginning to run off into the night. Fast.
Bruce stood at the wreckage of the treadmill. It hadn’t gone to plan, and now, they’d lost Bart. It was his fault. He’d come up with the plan, he’d suggested it, then he’d brought in the device. Any way you spun it, he’d caused it.
He sat down for a moment, observing the destroyed machine. As he did, a vortex of red and yellow lightning formed about ten metres away from them. After a second, a red streak came hurtling out of it.
The streak slowed to a humanoid figure, wearing Bart’s uniform. However, he was a couple of inches taller. After a moment, he stopped, pulling back his cowl, revealing the face of Barry Allen.
“Hey Bats.” He panted out “Did you miss me?”
“Barry?” Bruce asked, slightly confused.
“Yeah, it’s me. You were right.” Barry said with a small grin on his face “And I remember everything. I’m back, Brucey boy.”
Thawne stood atop the building across from the Central City News building. He was waiting for the majority of staff to leave. After all, the more people that arrived, the more likely he was to be detected and the more likely it was he’d have any member of the Justice League show up. If it were Wayne, that’d be one thing; Thawne could easily kill a man in a mask, and after Wayne’s involvement in his first ‘death,’ he’d take great pleasure in stopping the billionaire’s heart.
He watched as the Asian woman who’d been talking to Iris West-Allen left, leaving only her and the young man sat at the editor’s desk. Thawne smirked to himself. This would be easy.
He sped across the street, entering the building. He quickly got to the office, pushing his hand into the torso of the man through his back and removing his heart, tossing it on the floor as it’s last beats occurred. He ran towards Iris, only to impact a wall of green energy.
“You again?” He said, turning to Kyle “You’re boring me.”
“The feeling’s mutual.” Kyle said with a smirk “Batter up!”
A large green energy baseball bat quickly constructed itself, taking a swing at Thawne and missing, Kyle creating an energy shield around himself as Thawne ran towards him, Thawne bouncing off of it.
“I don’t fall for the same trick twice.” Kyle said “I mean, there was that one time with that girl, really frigid, or did she prefer frosty? Whatever.”
As Thawne charged at Kyle again, he was impacted by a red blur, being tackled out of the window, finding himself in a freefalling fight with an unmasked Barry Allen.
“Miss me, Thawne?” He asked, punching Thawne in the face “There’s only room for one fastest man alive in Central City, I’m afraid!”
“Welcome back, Flash!” Thawne said with a smirk on his face, ceasing the reverberation of his body he’d been using before “Nice to see you again.”
“Too soon for my liking.” Barry said, kicking off from Thawne and being caught in mid-air by Diana “Thanks for the ride, Princess.”
“Not a problem.” She said “I have to say, I like you a lot more when you’re not constantly hitting on me.”
“Yeah… Maybe don’t mention that to my wife.” Barry said awkwardly as she set him down several metres away from Thawne “Give it up! You’re surrounded!”
“I count 3 of you.” Thawne said with a grin “I can outrun two of them.”
“Actually, it’s five.” Came a gravelly voice from above, Thawne looking up in time to see the black mass of Bruce in his Batsuit hitting him in the face, Clark landing a few feet away “Barry, you want to take him in?”
“I don’t know.” Barry said “After all, he was going to kill my wife. Maybe I’ll let you have him for a while.”
“Barry.” Clark said, his tone warning “Let’s not go down that route.”
“Come on, boy scout.” Barry said with a smirk as he pulled his cowl up “We’re just goofing around. After all, we’re the good guys.”
Thawne stood there, facing down the majority of the Justice League. He was a genius where he came from, and he knew when he was beaten. He held his hands up in defeat.
“Okay, you’ve got me.” He said, a small smile on his face “This time.”
“Every time, Thawne.” Barry said, returning the smile “Kyle, get him out of here.”
Thawne was enveloped in a green bubble of energy, being raised into the air and flown away by Kyle. Clark and Diana took off into the sky, acting as escorts for the prisoner. Barry turned back to Bruce.
“Just like old times, huh?” Barry said with a grin, holding a hand out to Bruce “It’s good to be back.”
“It’s good to have you back, Barry.” Bruce replied, shaking Barry’s hand “If you need anything, let me know, I’ll see what I can do.”
“I might have a favour to ask.” Barry said “But first, I’ve got someone to go and see.”
Before Bruce could reply, Barry sped off, leaving Bruce alone.
“Huh.” Bruce said, inwardly smirking to himself “So that’s what that feels like.”
Iris stood in the newsroom, having just removed her jacket and used it to cover over Malcolm, her boss. He’d deserved better than what that Reverse Flash had done. There was a gust of wind and she turned around, her mouth falling open in shock.
“Barry?” She said, looking the man in the red and yellow suit up and down “Is it you this time?”
“Who else?” Barry replied as he pulled back his cowl with a grin “You miss me?”
“What do you think?” Iris said, running up to him and kissing him “Where’ve you been?”
“It’s a long story.” Barry replied, hugging her “The main thing is, I’m back.
Iris stood there for a moment. Holding him, feeling him. Making sure he was really there. How many times had she dreamt about him coming back since he’d disappeared? How many nights had she woke up and checked his side of the bed to see if he was there?
As she held him for a moment, he shifted slightly. It took her a second to realise why; outside, she could hear police sirens. She released him, watching as he pulled his cowl up. She put a hand on his arm.
“Promise me you’ll come back.” She pleaded.
“Always.” He replied with a smirk, before speeding off out of the building into the night.
Barry sat in a seat on the stage that had been erected. Apparently, Bruce and J’onn had used some connections to set up a plausible reason for why Barry Allen had been declared dead over two years ago. The excuse they’d come up with was a special task force undercover operation, with Barry having used his chemistry background to infiltrate a drugs ring.
Barry knew that Bruce had set up some crooks to look like a drug ring, though unfortunately, their boss, a ‘Matches Malone’ had got away. He knew that was Bruce’s alias for when he was undercover, and couldn’t help but feel he’d probably disrupted something Bruce had been working on.
However, it had worked, and now, he was sat on a stage, about to receive a medal from the Mayor’s office. Of course, the Mayor hadn’t been available, but a local phhylanthropist had stepped forward to present the award in the Mayor’s stead.
“Now, without further ado, I present the man of the hour.” The man at the front, a tall, slim man with Brown hair wearing a red suit, said “Mr. Barry Allen!”
There were rounds of applause as Barry stood up, walking forward awkwardly. He shook the man’s hand, the man holding on to pose for pictures. The man clapped a hand on Barry’s shoulder and leant in to say something quietly to him.
“Keep it short and sweet.” The man said “Trust me, they eat it up.”
“I’ll take that under advisement, Mr. Lord. Thank you.” Barry said quietly before turning to the crowd “I’ve had it suggested to me I keep this short and sweet, so that’s what I’m going to do. I became a Police Officer because my Father was accused of my Mother’s murder. As I’m sure the reporters here will know from frantic research in the last few hours, I was eventually able to clear his name, with a little help from a certain man in a red spandex. Now, thanks to the help of both the CCPD and the Metropolis PD, I’ve been able to return the favour and help get some real crooks off the streets. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a crime lab to get back to that I’ve neglected for two years!”
There were laughs in the audience as Barry left the podium, shaking Lord’s hand again before sitting down beside Iris. He leant in.
“Bet it feels weird being up on the stage rather than asking questions of the people on it.” He said quietly “I know it feels weird for me to be on a stage out of the suit…”
“I can imagine.” She said “So, what’re you doing later? I had an idea or two of what we could do. I was thinking dinner, and then for dessert…”
She whispered something in his ear that would have made even the likes of Bruce or Oliver Queen blush. He paused for a second before speaking.
“Sounds great, but I’ve got something I need to do first.” He said “Or rather, someone I need to visit.”
Barry walked into the Watchtower Prisoner Containment Facility. He walked through the cells, passing several criminals who’d been put in there in the last year since the Justice League formed; Leonard Snart, John Corbin, Barbara Minerva and Basil Karlo, to name a few. Finally, he reached the cell at the end.
Thawne had been given reconstructive surgery, his face now looking a few years older, and without the burn scars. He smirked at Barry.
“Nice of you to come see me, Mr. Allen.” He said, leaning back in the chair he was sat in “I hear congratulations are in order.”
“Yeah.” Barry said “I’ve figured it out. How you knew so much, how you were able to kill my Mother and not age a day. The same way you got here in the first place.
“What’s that?” Thawne said with a small smile.
“Time travel.” Barry said “You don’t need to confirm or deny it. You don’t even need to tell me how. I’ve kind of got that figured out. What I want to know; you helped me against the Black Racer. Why?”
“Did I?” Thawne asked, cocking an eyebrow “Barry, you weren’t the only one with at least partial memory loss from that explosion. The few minutes before it, total blur.”
“So you don’t know about the Black Racer?” Barry asked, smirking “Then can I give you advice?”
“Always, Barry. I so enjoy our little chats.” Thawne replied.
“Sleep with one eye open.” Barry said “You told me the Black Racer exists to prevent people tampering with nature using the speed force. Having yourself resurrected probably qualifies.”
Barry turned and started walking away. As he did, he heard banging on the clear material of the containment cell Thawne was in. He turned back to face Thawne.
“Hit it all you like.” Barry said “It’ll hold.”
“Good to know.” Thawne said “Now, you’ve warned me of something, let me return the favour. Don’t trust Maxwell Lord.”
“I’ll take that under advisement.” Barry said before walking out, tossing back “Until next time, Thawne.”
“Until next time,” Thawne said with a small smile on his face “Flash.”
Maxwell Lord walked into his office, locking the door behind him. He moved over to his desk, pressing a few controls on the keyboard in front of him. On the screen came up images of several people, and several so called ‘super heroes’. Lines were drawn between the people on the screen; Dinah Lance to Black Canary, Oliver Queen to Green Arrow, John Jones to the Martian Manhunter, Kyle Rayner to Green Lantern and Donna Troi to Wondergirl.
Lord smirked to himself as he pressed a button, one more line being drawn, between Barry Allen and the Flash. The only remaining heroes without a person connected to them were Batman, Robin and Superman. Lord picked up the phone on his desk, quickly dialling a number.
“Waller here.” Came the voice of a woman through the line “What’s the matter, Max?”
“Just thought I’d tell you to check the logs.” He said with a smirk “We were able to track down the Flash today.”
“Good work.” Waller replied “That leaves the Kryptonian and the ‘Dynamic Duo’ as potential rogue elements.”
“Not for long.” Lord said, picking up the black king from a chessboard at the edge of his desk, observing it “We’ve got time on our side. We can afford to bide it for a while.”
“And then what?” Came Waller’s response.
“And then, my dear, it’s Checkmate.” Lord said with smirk on his face, hanging up the phone and facing the window.
They’d have those so called heroes in their pocket soon enough. Then they could add them to the talent pool of their little squad…
TO BE CONTINUED………
Boom! That’s the end of Fastest Man Alive vol. 1. I included Lord out of a desire to cameo some other characters (also why there were namedrops for Captain Cold, Metallo, Cheetah and Clayface) then decided to use his presence to give us a little tie in with the Titans fic I posted a month ago.
This the prequel to the Titans Together VOL 1: Checkmate