Summary: Zoom sends you to World 1, knowing that The Flash had been involved with your doppelgänger, hoping that you would be enough to distract him from his next attack.
Warnings: Mentions of death
Barry felt like there was trouble everywhere he turned. It was like wherever he went, he could feel at least one pair of eyes burning into him.
It was like he couldn’t trust anyone since it was impossible to tell someone apart from their doppelgänger. After the whole encounter with Dr. Light, he had realized just how dangerous this issue could become.
He thought it would be impossible to imprison someone if there were to look exactly like someone he knew. He could not imagine locking up Cisco’s doppelgänger or Iris’ or anyone who be personally knew. Seeing someone he loved—though everyone knew it wasn’t actually them it would still look like them and that would be weird—locked up in prison was too much to handle. He had already spent too much time visiting his father in prison and he assumed if he were to see Henry’s double locked up would arise some unwanted emotions again.
And if there was one person he was never expecting to see again, it would definitely be you. Standing only twenty feet away, he froze as he watched you wander alone on the street.
A cruel flashback appeared in his mind of this being exactly how it was when he first met you. The sun setting, him just getting out of work as he decided to stop at check up on Iris at her job when he noticed an unknown girl wandering around. People didn’t wander in Central City. There wasn’t much here to see so there wasn’t much to wander off to so Barry had instantly become intrigued by you. Visitors were rare in Central City so it was reasonable that you had first caught his attention
His heart ached when he snapped out of the daydream. Was he hallucinating? Or was the world just playing some cruel trick on him and making him regret his actions? Part of him thought that maybe he had somehow ran back in time and undid his past mistakes without him being aware of it but he always remembered those alternate timelines. This situation was too parallel to your first meeting to be a coincidence. Something sketchy was happening.
Was this the second chance he had been praying for since the accident? If he ignored this would he lose his second chance? He wasn’t willing to risk this passing him by.
In that moment, Barry decided that if this was some kind of joke, at least he’d be able to spend another moment with you. Even if it was just a dream he would still be able to apologize to you, something he hadn’t had the chance to do previously. Either it would be a second chance or some closure.
“Excuse me, miss?” He opted for the clueless introduction, as if he didn’t know anything about you. As if he was asked what you favorite book was, he wouldn’t be able to explain what it was and why. As if he had known nothing about your weekly, mandatory Saturday nights reality TV marathons. As if he couldn’t tell you where you two shared your first kiss or where you were when he asked you to move in with him. He was going to do this the same as the first time—though he still wasn’t sure if this was the universe repaying him for all his good deeds or a twisted joke meant to break him apart all over again.
You lifted your head to get a better look at the man talking to you and you froze. Nothing made sense anymore.
“Are you lost or are you just counting at the cracks in the sidewalk?” He let out a relieved sign when he saw you laugh lightly at his awful joke. It was the same joke from last time and though Barry remembered you telling him at your engagement party about how cheesy you had thought that was and only laughed in pity, he heart began to believe that this was his second chance. He could fix it all. He would fix it all.
Unbeknownst to him, you were facing the exact same issue as he was. A second chance.
“I actually am pretty lost. Everything is different from where I’m from, yet strangely similar.” It was much colder in this Central City than it was at your own home. Flurries of snow fell from the dark clouds above, making you wish you had worn something warmer that a thin hoodie.
“Well where are you going to, y/n?” Barry hadn’t even noticed the slip up, but you froze as soon as you heard it.
“How do you know my name?”
“Um, I’ve just seen you around before.” He wasn’t too quick on his feet with the lie but he had hoped he didn’t give anything away. Barry hadn’t thought it would be so hard to act like total strangers to a girl he was ready to marry.
His answer was sketchy but you chose to look past it. You had a mission to accomplish. You needed answers. “Well I’m looking for Star labs. Ever heard of it?”
Barry paled, this definitely was a perfect second chance but he still couldn’t lose the hope that this could be a second chance—second or not. “Yeah, I could take you there.”
The walk there made Barry so nostalgic. His heart ached at every witty remark you made yet he couldn’t think of the most recent time that he had smiled this much. Before the accident probably.
He made sure to text Cisco of what was going on—or rather what he perceived was going on—so that they didn’t think they were seeing some sort of ghost.
Caitlin was clearly uncomfortable in your presence but Cisco seemed to be very welcoming and hoped that this would lighten the situation a bit.
You sat at Cisco’s spinny chair, in turn making him steal Caitlin’s but she was too nervous to fight him over a chair at the moment. Barry was within arm’s reach, very unwilling to leave your side as you waited for someone else to join you before the questioning began.
An awkward silence filled the room as you waited but you took that time to steal glances at Barry, only to notice that his eyes were shamelessly locked on you. You hadn’t felt his stare leave you even when you glanced away but, luckily, it wasn’t an uncomfortable stare.
“Sorry I’m late,” Jay Garrick said as he tugged off his coat when he entered the room. “What’s up with the impromptu meeting? I thought…” His words trailed off when he looked up to see you staring at him with a surprised look. “Y/n?”
“You two know each other?” Cisco spoke up, waving his pen between you two.
“Y/n has always been a close friend of mine. She—along with a friend of ours—are some of the few people who know that I was the Crimson Comet.” He was shocked to see you again, let alone to be seeing you on this world. This could not have been a good thing.
You were in shock of seeing him again. You had done so much mourning these past months that you weren’t sure if you could handle anyone else mysteriously reappearing back into your life. “Everyone thought you died, Jay. Have you been here all along?”
Jay sighed, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to relax a bit. “We can discuss this later. What the hell is going on here? Why are you here? How did you even get here?”
Your hands started to shake and you quickly hid them in your pockets to hide your moment of weakness. You’re a strong girl but that doesn’t mean you’re fearless. “Zoom found me, Jay.”
His eyes nearly popped out of his head at your revelation. You were like his little sister and he hated the thought of what you went through during his absence. When he was around he would always try to shield you and your boyfriend from the horrors that he saw on a day to day basis but his absence had clearly defeated those attempts.
“He found me.” You continued, feeling all the eyes in the room on you. “Zoom was going to kill me. But instead he decided to bargain with me.”
Jay sent you an inquisitive look. “But Zoom doesn’t bargain.”
“I know which is why I don’t understand why he did.” Zoom had to be your biggest fear and it was dreadful to be revisiting your near death experience with him—one of them at least.
“What exactly were the terms of this bargain?” Caitlin spoke up. She was still clearly uncomfortable but Jay’s presence made her relax a bit—not too much but enough.
“All that he told me was to come here and find The Flash.” You sighed. You weren’t even aware that there were multiple universes but, all in one day, this had been sprung onto you. The worst, yet best, part would have to be seeing Barry again—despite the fact that it wasn’t the Barry you had grown to know and love. It was still nice to see him, alive and well. “And I had assumed he meant Jay since he had been missing for almost a month but now I guess he was talking about Barry…”
Cisco spoke up this time, chewing on the end of his pen while he talked. That was always a bad habit of his, especially when he was thinking hard. “Just find him? He didn’t tell you to kill him or anything?”
You shook your head. You’re not a killer. No situation would change that and Zoom knew that. So if he wanted The Flash dead he would have sent someone else but it was clear that there was reasoning behind his actions, you just had to figure this out. Zoom wasn’t one to do something without a purpose.
“I think I know part of the reason.” This was the first time Barry had talked since he brought you back to star labs. Throughout this entire conversation, Barry couldn’t take his eyes off of you—you looked just like her. You even acted like her. He visibly saw no difference between you on your doppelgänger who lived on world one only two months ago. He hardly could even locate a difference between your personalities and it confused him to no end. He didn’t know what to feel anymore. A part of him wanted to rekindle with you what he had with her, but he wasn’t sure if he was ready to open up those wounds again and start all over.
She had died only two months ago in a fire. Barry wasn’t even aware that she had been there—if so then she would have been the first person out of that building. He had tried so very hard but the fire wouldn’t stop. Only two people didn’t make it that night. The first was Jake Calling, who was the one who purposely started the fire for his own entertainment, who died almost instantly since he underestimated the flames power. His death was instant. But hers was slow and painful. Barry swore it was a night that she wasn’t working—he was even at Jitters with Iris when he had gotten the call from Cisco about a fire. He was relaxing while she was spending her final moments in immense pain.
He could never forgive himself for not saving her. He had promised to always protect her when he had proposed only months before she died but he let her down in every way he possibly could have. This was probably the worst thing Zoom could have done to him—and that was counting when he had beaten Barry to a pulp in front of his own city.
“You’re my ex-fiancé’s doppelgänger. Zoom must have found this out and sent you here to hurt me.”
Barry left not long after he made that announcement, shocking you and Jay with the news. You had quickly caught up with Jay while Barry spent some time along. It was clear he needed the space and you weren’t going to intrude yet.
Barry was sitting near the metahuman prison when you found him almost half an hour later. He was sat on the floor with his knees pulled up to his chest, staring blankly ahead.
You sat down next to him, sitting in silence for a few moments before you deemed it appropriate to speak up. “I’m not her, Barry. I’m sorry that you had to go through that pain of losing her and I understand if you can’t bear to be around me. Having me show up can’t be helping with that grief. Loss is a hard thing to cope with when your wounds won’t heal, I would know.”
He didn’t respond, just continued to stare off into space. This wasn’t the second chance he had in mind.
“I can tell that you loved her. She meant the world to you.”
Once again, silence. This was definitely going to be harder than you thought. So you debated for a few minutes on your next step before you decided to ask the question that had been pestering you since you found out about his relationship with your doppelgänger.
“How did she die?”
He stiffed at the question, debating whether or not it he should actually answer this, but he had no reason to push you away. You were reaching out to him; making sure he was alright. That had to count for something. “There was an arsonist who set the building she worked at on fire. I didn’t know she was there and I thought I had saved everybody but in reality I had just lost the person who had made me feel whole.” He didn’t elaborate much but it was a start.
You shivered at the mental image he gave you. It was eerily familiar to you and you desperately wanted to lock away the thoughts that arose with it but you couldn’t. It took so much of Barry to talk about this—though his reasoning was brief—so you may as well share your story too. You wanted his trust and honesty seemed like a good place to start.
“I almost died on my world once.” You sighed. Here goes nothing. “I just started working at Central City News and it was a huge building. So the company’s manager sent the Barry from my world, who was the best journalist in the company, to show me around. And it was like I instantaneously harbored some sort of a crush on you—him, sorry. We even went on a few dates here and there and we really hit it off. We were official within weeks and were instantly inseparable. He and Jay were my closest friends. One day, a guy came in our building, higher than a kite with a fully loaded gun. He shot four people before he had made his way towards where I was hiding under my desk. He pulled me out from hiding and by that time I had tears streaming down face because I was terrified. I wasn’t ready to die. He was about to shoot me when you—Barry from my world—called out to him, effectively distracting him from me. He took your life that day instead of mine and ever since that day I’ve been questioning why my life was traded for yours.” You paused for a moment, trying to rid yourself of the melancholy feelings that those thoughts had aroused. You didn’t want to cry in front of him. “So if it helps, in another world, you did save her and sacrificed your life in place of hers. It just wasn’t meant to be in this world.”
You both had loved and lost and just those encounters still haunt of you. But maybe, this was your second chance. You were sent here to distract him, even hurt him further by bring up those depressing nightmare that haunted him but maybe Zoom’s plan backfired this time. Maybe this would end up being the world where things would fall into place; it just wouldn’t be how anyone at all had expected.