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DCU The Flash #23 Together (The Forgotten)

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posted by King Clown alias King Clown on Saturday 4th of June 2022 04:06:17 AM

"Now breathe in, then out. Feel the soil on the ground and the air flow through your lungs." "Uh, Mr. Jones, we're still in your restaurants' basement," Wally said, cringing at the annoyed expression the older man makes at the remark. "It's, uh, concrete… and the air is from the crappy unit that really needs replacement." The two had been doing warmups for the past hour, Eddie suggesting it to loosen Wally up. Wally had the suspicion it was less for him and more for the older man, but he preferred not being struck by the cane. "Damnit, Wallace, keep your concentration!" Eddie chastised, golden lightning sparkling around him. "Yup. Yup. Totally concentrating," Wally mumbled, blue lightning sparkling off his body, more wildly than Eddie's. "Breathing in the AC that smells a lot like tomatoes." "Alright," Eddie said, annoyed, reaching his hand out, a glowing ball of yellow lightning surging within his palm. "Take my hand." "Alrighty," Wally said, his hand trembling as he reached out, the ball of blue lightning in his palm fluctuating. "Im… I'm not really feeling it right no-" suddenly the ball of lightning exploded, sending him soaring into the padded wall. "You alright kid!?" Eddie shouted, hobbling over to the boy, who shot a thumbs up into the air. "Just… just peachy," Wally said, lifting himself up. "That was kind of fun, maybe it can be my 'ultimate move'? Ultra Joybuzz." Eddie sighed, shaking his head and walking away from the boy to sit in his chair. "I understand that this… entire concept is strange, believe me, I know…" Eddie began, crossing his arms, "but I can't teach you anything if you're gonna treat it as a game." "It isn't a game to me!" Wally said, jolting up from the ground and moving towards Eddie. "It's just… it's new to me, and not easy…" "Mhm…" "I'm serious!" Wally said, letting small amounts of lightning flow through him. "I'm still struggling to really control this… but getting mad about it? It won't help anything, y'know? If I can smile in the face of defeat, then I know I can come back stronger next time." Eddie was silent for a moment, Wally staring at the man through his tinted lenses. Eventually, he stood, walking towards the stairs. "Mr. Jones…" "Go run a few miles on the treadmill," he said, beginning to walk up the stairs. "I'll be back soon." -^- Barry walked into CCPD, the station grim inside. Officers felt less alive than normal, only one possible reason for it. Barry spotted Patty, who was escorting a detainee to the holding cells. "Hey, Patty," he called, gaining the blond's attention. "Barry, I was wondering where you were," she said, handing the cuffed man to another officer. "How are you holding up?" "I… um… I'll be fine, I was with Daniel," he said, receiving a solemn nod in return. "August told me Joe was here? I haven't had the chance…" "Oh, yeah," she said, frowning. "He and the DA were talking, Morillo is being extremely cautious about this matter, especially after what happened to Flash. Joe said he needed air and went up to the roof. He's been up there a while now, you should… y'know." "Yeah… thank you, Patty," Barry said, smiling at the small salute she gave him as the two parted ways. Barry quickly made his way to the elevator, standing in silence as he rode it to the roof. As the doors opened, he spotted Joe, sitting alone on the edge, looking out at the city. Barry slowly walked over, taking a spot next to the man. The two sat in complete silence, both simply gazing out into the city. Even though it was a single building, without Central City General the city felt so… different. Barry knew if he noticed, Joe also had to. "The view is strange without CCG, isn't it?" Barry asked, looking to his left. Joe was silent for another moment, before nodding. "The world just keeps changing," he mumbled, looking down at his hands. "Every villain you face, every crime you stop. It makes me wonder what I'm even doing at this point." "Joe, what I do wouldn't be possible without you," Barry said, placing his hand atop the man's shoulder. "Not just you the detective, but you the father. You helped make me who I am now." "I mean… what about now?" He asked, looking up at Barry. "I can't stop people like Mardon or Snart… someone like Thawne could kill me in seconds… and Eradicator…" "These people aren't just criminals, Joe," Barry reassured. "It's like you said, they're villains, super villains. Just because you can't stop someone who can control the weather doesn't make what you do any less important." "What do I do?" he questioned, looking out at the people walking below. "I couldn't do anything with Mardon, you had to face Snart all alone. My hands were tied with Jesse… I didn't even know about Thawne until you two showed up on my lawn." "You inspire people," Barry said with a smile. "People like me, who can fight the dangerous changes the world is facing… who can fight for change." Joe looked down, a frown on his face. "I know what it's like… having someone who caused you so much pain suddenly return, ready to hurt you again," Barry explained, looking out at the cloudy sky. "It made me scared. It made me… angry. I felt like the world, my world, was crashing down before my eyes… but I wasn't alone. You are not alone, Joe." "How are we supposed to stop him?" Joe asked, still not looking up. "If Coolidge alone could do what he did… then what are you supposed to do against both of them?" "We'll just have to figure that out," Barry said, lifting his hand from Joe's shoulder. "Yeah… we'll figure it out… together." A few minutes of silence passed as the two watched the city. Soon, Barry's mouth curved upwards as he heard a small chuckle from the man next to him. "Y'know, I remember back when you were in middle school, and Daniel would have an episode while I was at work," Joe began, causing Barry to chuckle lightly as well. "They'd have one of his teachers drive all the way to the middle school, pick me up, and take me back to the elementary all so I could calm him down," Barry said, laughing aloud. "It always had to be by the water fountain so he could get a drink after it all." "You graduated hallway pep talks a long time ago, Barry," Joe said, smiling at the blond. "You just… you say I inspire you… the opposite is true too. You're a beacon to me, the precinct, the city… soon you'll be a beacon to the world, I know it." "That beacon wouldn't be able to light up the night without you," Barry said, patting Joe on the back as he stood. "How about I go get everything we've got on Phillips and Coolidge, a couple Big Belly Burgers, and the two of us get to work." "Yeah… we'll figure it all out… together." -^- "You can't do this to me. I started this company… you know how much I've sacrificed!?" August sat on the West house sofa watching the burned copy of a newly released film. Sat beside him, snoring lightly, was Daniel. The boy had fallen asleep a few hours ago, but August refused to leave his side. The footage of the news broadcast replayed in his mind, the sight of Heatmonger brutalizing Barry, and Eradicator destroying an entire building without even touching it. It scared him. It scared him that Barry was forced to fight this battle alone, that he was the only one in the city who could stand any semblance of a chance against the duo. It scared him that he felt completely powerless to do anything about it. Knock Knock Knock August turned towards the front door. The sound of Daniel stirring made him frown, his and patting the boy's shoulder as he stood. "Get back to sleep, Daniel," he said, stretching. "I'll see what it-" "Barry… no… lock it…" August frowned again, before moving to the window. He looked around, hoping to see who was outside, but the street lamps only could reveal so much. As August reached the door, shuffling sounded off from the couch. "A-August… wait a second," Daniel said, reaching out towards August, his eyes wide. "D-don't…" "What's… wrong?" August began, before a cracking noise resonated through the house. August eyes shot open like saucers as he peered down to the brass doorknob, which was slowly beginning to chip. His eyes shot back to Daniel before the door exploded into hundreds of tiny pieces. August raised his arm, shielding his eyes from the chunks of wood before looking back at the door frame. Stepping inside was the red cloaked-man, his golden faceplate visible in the dull light of the living room. "Daniel, run!" August immediately reached for the coat hanger, swinging it like a bo staff at the intruder. Eradicator caught the object mid-attack,clenching his fist and turning the wood to ash in mere seconds. August stumbled back, lifting a side table and chucking at the villain, though he didn't even let it touch the ground before it was dust. Running into the kitchen, August pulled knives from the block and began chucking them at Eradicator. Eradicator, however, began to dodge each blade. Catching the last between his fingers, he clenched his fist, dusting it with ease. August continued to back up until his back hit the countertop, hand immediately opening the cabinet under the sink. "No more running," Eradicator said, moving in closer. "Give me the West boy, or die." "Oh yeah?" August asked, as he reached into the cabinet he was backed up against. "I think death is overrated." August then smirked, pulling a twelve gauge shotgun hidden under the sink. He quickly cocked the weapon before blasting Eradicator full of pellets. The villain flew backwards from the force, his body smashing into the dining table and crushing it under his weight. August took a deep breath, sighing out loud as he began walking to the front door. "It'll take more than a twelve gauge to kill me," Eradicator said, leaping to a stand. August's eyes went wide as he quickly cocked the weapon again, but as he pointed it forward, Eradicator placed his hand over the muzzle. August's eyes narrowed as he stared into the intruder's red eyes. The trigger of the weapon was pulled, but Eradicator's hand remained the same. The villain pulled his hand away, letting dust fall to the ground. "Pathetic." August jumped back, dropping the gun as it turned to dust following the pellets. With his reflexes too slow, Eradicator was able to wrap his fingers around August's neck, lifting him into the air. "You made the wrong-" "Let him go!" Eradicator swiftly turned, catching the downwards swing of a baseball bat. The wood turned to dust in seconds, Eradicator then grabbing Daniel, the attacker, and lifting him into the air as well. "Daniel, no…" August mumbled, trying to peel away from the villain's grip. "How noble of you," Eradicator said, looking into Daniel's eyes. "You shouldn't have announced the surprise attack though, it would've bought him a few more seconds to live." August watched as the man turned towards him once more. Letting out a shaky breath, he grit his teeth and closed his eyes. After a few seconds of nothing passed, his eyes opened to see Eradicator standing frozen, his eyes glowing white rather than the usual red. Moments later the red returned. "You're lucky, for you have been spared," he said, before flinging August across the room and into the wall. "He allows you to live, remember that." August attempted to stand, but fell onto his knees. Looking up, he watched Eradicator move towards him, lifting and slamming a boot into his face, leaving his vision to fade with the sight of Daniel being taken away. -^- Wally let out a sigh of relief as he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He'd been running for over 20 minutes and was bored out of his mind. The sight he didn't expect to see, as he hopped off the treadmill and walked towards the training space, was Eddie holding a portable radio. "Uh… did you go out and buy a radio?" Wally asked, pointing to the device as Eddie placed it on the chair. "Its mine, ya damn fool," Eddie mumbled, taking a CD out of his jacket's pocket. "Oh God, here come the 20's blues," Wally sighed, before a familiar drumbeat began to play. "Wait a minute… I-" The boy was cut off when Eddie's cane struck his shoulder. He looked up at the man, puzzled at the smile on his face. Let's get down to business, to defeat… the Huns. "Is this Mulan?" Another strike of the cane hit Wally, this time in the shin. As Wally opened his mouth to protest, he saw the older man holding back a laugh, golden lightning shining around his body. Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons? "Eddie, this isn't a mov-" Crack You're the saddest bunch I've ever met, but you can bet before we're through- "Alright then, grandpa," Wally said, smiling as his own lightning began to sparkle, "let's make a man out of me." -^- Barry's heart raced as he sped down the streets of the city. The blue flames burned bright in the night sky, easily visible to him from miles away. It had been hours that he and Joe were working on the case files when the report that blue flames emerged from Iron Heights. Joe couldn't even finish his sentence before Barry had been out of the precinct and on his way to the fire. "Of course I'm mad that I missed things… in my life and yours… but they aren't over, Barry. You still have so much life to live, and now I'll be a part of it, not a spectator behind a wall of glass." Barry grit his teeth, the air shattering around him as his speed doubled. 'Two weeks,' he thought to himself as body began to feel weaker the closer he got. 'He can't get hurt… not now!' Barry slid along the ground, nearly falling over to stop himself as he arrived. His eyes widened as he looked up, staring at the hellfire raging on the island. The grass was scorched, falling rubble crashing to the ground and into the water beside him. Standing in front of Barry, arms hanging at his sides, was Heatmonger. The villain was still, staring at the blaze he'd created. "What is wrong with you!" Barry shouted, feeling his speed drain at a rapid pace. "There are bad people in there, but no one deserves this!" "You've never been in chains, locked away from what you hold most dear," he said, his voice low. "With Raijin's power… I'll make my world a reality. I'll make sure no one feels that pain again." "You're murdering people!" "No… liberating," he corrected, turning to Barry, eyes visible before the lenses quickly closed. "Those bound in chains… they don't live… they never will again. Freedom for them is the embrace of death… with Raijin I will give them freedom and life… but until then…" "No… people in there do have a chance to live again!" Barry shouted, tears forming in his eyes. "You… you're taking that away from them!" Barry took quick steps forward, a punch ready, but hesitated as Heatmonger still stood motionless. He skidded to a halt, sweat dripping down his face. "You can try and stop me," Heatmonger suggested, gently flicking his wrist upwards, lowering the flames to a dull burn, "or be their savior. Up to you, really." Barry watched as the white suited man stepped past him, beginning to walk away from the island. Barry could feel the burning sensation on his skin lessen as his speed slowly returned to him, just not in full. He stared at the villain, curious about his lost bravado, before shaking his head and darting into the prison. Though the flames were low, they still were still hot, especially so in the dense corridors of Iron Heights. He spotted multiple open cells, likely the guards escorting as many of the inmates out of the prison as they could. Barry could feel his heart rate rise once again as he moved towards E-Block, the section of the prison his father was held in. Barry gasped in horror at what awaited him. Unlike other cell blocks, this hall had been burned to a crisp, as if the fire started here. Various cell doors were dripping, the metal liquified by the heat. Corpses charred black sat in their cells, the concrete walls discolored and cracked. Swallowing his fear he approached his father's cell, his eyes watering at the sight. The man was sitting against the wall, half of his face burned to the muscle. His prison jumpsuit was covered in ash, as was his skin. Barry bit his lip as he stepped into the cell, the door melted like the rest. Kneeling down, he tore his mask off to stare into his father's lifeless eyes. The man's head fell, tears dropping onto the blackened flooring. "Dad… I…" Barry began, letting out a harsh sob. "Dad you were… you were so close… it was your time." "S-son…" Barry's head shot up, watching as his father's mouth moved slightly. His hand jolted forward, two fingers placing onto his father's neck. The low, but present pulse caused more tears to fall from Barry's eyes, a smile spreading along his face. "Don't worry, dad," Barry said, pulling his mask over his face and lifting the man into his arms. "I'm gonna get you home. I'm gonna make sure you come home." -^- Barry stood outside the operating room, watching as a nurse applied a sedative to his father. The man in the bed had been immediately issued to the small clinic's intensive care, but their resources since CCG was destroyed have been stretched thin. The man had fourth degree burns, but the proper surgery could take days to begin. He was pulled from his thoughts as Joe placed a hand on Barry's shoulders, squeezing him lightly. As the nurse exited the room, Barry opened his mouth, but Joe spoke first. "How is he?" he asked, looking at Barry, then back to the nurse. "My son, back home… that's his real dad. Please tell me there's good news for him." Barry inwardly sighed a thank you to Joe, realizing he nearly blew his identity in front of the woman. "He… is alive, at least," she said, putting up a sad smile. "He'll… he'll need multiple surgeries, but he'll live, thanks to Flash. If you didn't get him here as fast as you did, he wouldn't be." "J-just doing my part…" Barry mumbled, looking into the room through the window, holding back tears. beep beep "Oh, I'm sorry," the woman said, clicking the small pager on her breast pocket. "Someone downstairs is calling. If either of you need anything, please let me know." "Of course, thank you, ma'am," Joe said, nodding her off. Once the woman was gone, a tear rolled down Barry's cheek. "Why…" he whispered, gnawing on the inside of his cheek. "He… was so close to being free." "He still will be, Barry," Joe said, leading him to the pair of seats opposite the window. "Look at this like a setback, a delay. He's still coming home to you, it'll just take a bit longer than expected." "I'm… I'm so tired," Barry said, his hands coming up to rub his eyes. "Tired of waiting… tired of others getting hurt because of me-" "This wasn't your fault Barry," Joe interrupted, turning to the blond. "You know that, right?" Barry sat silent for a moment before nodding. "Yeah… yeah I know, not everything is on me," he sighed, leaning back in the seat, letting out a long exhale. "I'm not a god… I'm not." "You aren't, and that's alright." "I just… I don't get why it was so bad there, in dad's block," Barry mumbled, rubbing his eyes once more. "I've got that answer, at least," Joe said, grabbing Barry's attention. "I called Morillo about it, asked if they could've found some sort of motive… turns out E-Block is where Lucious Coolidge was locked up at." Barry's eyes widened, before he nodded, bringing his folded hands to his chin. "He mentioned something about freeing those chained… by death…" Barry recalled, looking at Joe. "If that was his cell block, maybe that is where the fire started… some kind of twisted salvation." "It's the best we got," Joe said, before falling silent. "He… he wasn't there, was he?" "No… just Lucious." "Right…" "Joe?" "Hm?" "Back when the nurse was here… I don't have a real dad," Barry said, smiling at the balding man. "I have two." Joe stared at Barry with wide eyes before chuckling lightly, a small smile plastering over his face. "I… I'm glad." Bzzz Bzzz. Bzzz Bzzz. Joe reached into his pocket, looking at the phone's caller ID. "August is calling," he said, flipping the phone open and bringing it to his ear, "he probably wants to know if Henry is-" The phone suddenly fell, making a small thud as it hit the floor. Joe was frozen, tears beginning to well in his eyes. Barry looked at him, puzzled. "Joe?" he asked, seeing the tear run down the man's face. "Joe?! What's wrong?" "Daniel…" he mumbled as he began to hyperventilate. "Eradicator took Daniel." ---------------------------- NEXT TIME: A Gold Mine of Information, The Underworld!

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