“Is trust not something you have on this Earth?” Harrison … or H.R. as he prefered, cracked tone invaded the wide space of Cisco’s work room halting the owner’s rapid search and Barry‘s rushed whispers.
They filter between “uh” and “um” like fish out of water the longer he waits to move into the room. “We were just…” Barry says first and Cisco intervenes with, “I was just…” At least he’s willing to take the blame for this. H.R. will give the small man with an absurd fashion sense credit for that.
He claims to be an engineer. H.R. is still on the fence about it. “Cissek-o.”
Sighing, Cisco swipes the side of his face, trapezoids bunching with frustration. “For the last time. It’s Cisco. Cis - co.”
“That’s what I said. Cissek-o.”
A corner of his lips tug up. He can use this. Now, there are more important matters to discuss. “I think we should focus on what the real issue is here,” he pauses and folds his arms. As predicted, Cisco does the same, straightening his height. Interesting. “Why are you going through my things?”
“It’s in my work station.”
After a beat, “so..?” H.R. dwells, crossing the room until he’s toe to toe with one half of his invader and asks, “is that how this earth works? Is every man guilty by association until proven otherwise.” He cast a withering look to Central City’s masked hero, who until this point was perfectly fine with going unnoticed.
Quirky behavior aside, H.R. doesn’t seem terrible. Was he a little suspect, a little unfamiliar with the simplist of tasks he was ‘hired’ to handle. Yes … but that doesn’t make him evil. Right? And yet, all it took was a simple “what could it hurt to vibe him?” and Barry is suckered in, caught in the cross hairs of distrust.
“Please, call me H.R.” Wells politely insists. Cisco rolls his eyes, sputtering.
“H.R. I admit our recent behavior is inexcusable. If the shoe were on the other foot I’m sure Cisco and I would feel the same way but you have to understand-”
“You’ve been burned. Yes. The cute doctor has informed me of your Eobard friend-”
“Oh, so you can pronounce his name no problem.” Cisco growls and what the heck? Barry better wrap this up quick before Harrison ends up in some inescapable dark dimension.
“As well as Mr. Zolomon but I can assure you, I am nothing more than your friendly neighborhood Harrison Wells. No more. No less.” His smile is a little wide, a little too bright. A little off. But what isn’t?
“I don’t trust him.”
Barry stretches out in the chair, extending his long legs to roll him back and forth. He doesn’t have to say ‘I know’. He doesn’t have to say anything. Not that Cisco has given him an inch to express his concerns in the first place…
“He’s not who he says he is. I can feel it in my gut, if I’d just…” his muses turn silent, leaving the sound of his sneakers scuffing the floor as the only audio along with a visual of his passing back and forth, biting his thumb nail first then his lip and back to his nail again. Barry knows that look. That look of disjointment like he’s failed and put all of their safety at risk even though three minutes and twenty-four seconds is hardly enough time to do anything let alone foil Harrison’s unproven maniacal plans.
“I should’ve been faster.”
He doesn’t mean to, but he laughs. “That’s my line.”
“I’m being serious.”
Barry plants his feet down, stopping the rolling motion of the chair and sits up straight, assessing his friend from his vantage point across the room and sighs. “I know.”
“Then how are you taking this so lightly?”
Trust him, he’s not. With all of the new changes in this timeline, worrying about all of the damage he’s caused and trying to fix it - with all of the good that remained like Iris - nothing is taken for granted. But the truth is he’d go out of his mind agonizing things out of his control.
“If the time comes-”
“When,” Cisco corrects. “When.”
Barry’s head drops forward, keeping a steady eye on the wringing loop he twist his fingers in and amends, “if or when the time comes and Harrison is not the person he says he is, we’ll handle it together, Cisco. Like we always do.” - “Get back here, now!” Cisco’s usual lax instructions pop through the earpiece in a rushed urgency, disrupting The Flash’s mundane nightly patrol.
“Cisco, what is it?”
“NOW!” and the line goes dead.
He zips in seconds later, skidding to a halt between Cisco and Joe and looks on at the hovering blue blob, pulsing in the center of the cortex. “Again?” judging the horrified looks drawn on his team’s faces, follow up questions seem almost pointless to ask.
The cloud like structure shrinks and grows. The sound of lightening cackles from its’ center, thundering louder the bigger it grows. It wobbles, sucking itself in as well as the oxygen around it and explodes, releasing is pent energy into the room with enough force to knock everyone back.
“Is everyone alright?” Barry stands first, checking each member is alive and accounted for. One by one they crawl to their feet, shaken but okay. All except for Joe, whose wide eyed expression is the first to give him away. “Are you - what is-?” Barry turns to Cisco then Caitlin and finally landing on Wells whose paler than usual. Fizzled silence greets him, charged and palpable enough to grab.
Is it bad? He’s afraid to say aloud more so than turning around and discovering it’s worse. And then;
“Harrison. It’s lovely to see you again.”
It’s an octave lower than normal and smooth like a touch of silk. If he didn’t know any better he’d swear it was whispered into his ear instead of being called from a foot away. Different and the same. He knows that voice. After years listening and getting lost in the sound of its’ laughter, Barry could place it anywhere. After all. It was the one thing that always brought him home. “Iris.”
He turns in sync with Cisco’s uttered, “doppelgängers.” As in plural, because not only is there an Iris but a version of him as well.
Mesmerized, Barry looks on like he’s stuck in a dream. Watching his double place a kiss to her neck before removing his arms from her waist to fold up the sleeves of his shirt. He’s stuck. The only movement permitted is his speeding heartbeat racing at lengths even unnatural for him. Other Barry crushes his fist knuckle to knuckle, popping them then takes a step forward, pass Barry, Cisco and Joe; stomping up the short staircase, breezes by Caitlin and smashes one fist to Harrison’s jaw, dropping him like a swatted fly.
Caitlin yelps. And for a while it’s the only sound in the cortex.
“Good job, baby.” Iris coos, triggering a satisfied smile out of the E-19 version of himself.
“I told you, we’d get him.” All of STAR Lab’s focus zeros on the man identical to their own. Thwarted. Watching as he and Iris draw together like magnets. From the clench he takes to her hips to her pull on his tie fusing him closer by the lips.
It’s not so much their kissing that makes him uncomfortable. He and Iris have shared more than enough impromptu PDA moments to last a lifetime - as everyone will agree - however, it is E-19 Iris’ tongue snaking down her Barry’s throat that elicits a moan, a moan Barry is unaware he can make, that breaks the spell.
“… um, e-excuse me.”
Okay, and now his tongue is down her throat. He chances a look at Joe, and there’s something sickly green about his skin. He tries again, louder this time.
E-19 Barry’s lips smack against Iris’ in a loud smwaa noise, ceasing what looked to be a very intense victory make-out session, inching away from her lips by a hairsbreadth. Far enough to wage his attention. Close enough to retain her heat. And it may be Barry’s colder eyes staring death glares into his four proponents but it’s Iris who speaks.
“You’ll have to forgive my husband and I. We tend to get a little riled up afterwards.” and thank god Barry still dons the scarlet mask or else the full blush creeping down his skin would become visible for all the room to see. Especially as she calls him baby again, whispers in his ear and finishes it off with a suck to his earlobe.
E-19 Barry hugs her close once more before setting her down. This time as he steps away, his walk is controlled instead of rushed. He stops right in front of Barry, and reaches up to fix his rumpled tie, showcasing for the first time the black ink tattooed into his skin. ‘Stay’ it reads on the left and ‘Down’ it says on the right.
Barry gulps, but holds. Determined to stay in character of the valiant hero.
“If we have inconvenienced you, please accept our sincerest apologies.”
“At least they’re polite.” Cisco says from behind the monitors. One eye on their guest and the other on Caitlin.
“More than that.” E-19 Barry unfurls a wad of bills from his dress pants and plants it against the lightning insignia on The Flash’s suit. “For your troubles.”
“What do you want with H.R?”
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business.” Iris says, possessing both Barrys attention. To E-1 glimpsing over his dopples shoulder and to E-19 tilting his neck to the side to block his view. “Just take the money and go.”
“I’d listen to the lady if I were you.” E-19 Barry shoves the folded wad into his chest, dropping it down to his red boots when Barry neglects to take it. “Suit yourself.” he sneers, making a beeline for a downed Harrison Wells, much to Caitlin’s demand to leave him alone.
And Barry is there in a flash. “Looks like we’ve got a speedster on our hands, baby.” Iris teases, like it’s a common joke where they come from.
“So it would seem.” E-19 Barry smirks, proudly displaying a row full of white teeth.
“Then you know what to do.”
Barry sees Iris reach for the gun strapped to her thigh before anyone in the room is made aware. And that was his first mistake.
Falling for the decoy.
What happens next is a flurry. The gun is nothing more than a distraction for his copy to pierce needles through the fabric of his suit into his skin. Releasing a toxin The Flash is all too familiar from a time his loved ones didn’t fully believe him capable to take on the man that killed his father. He crumbles unable to take the weight of the charge leaving his body and looks on from his knees.
“Barry!” Joe screams, rushing to his side. Another mistake that Barry can’t speed through. Pop. E-19 Barry’s fist collide with the detective. Pop. rings again, quick and precise like his face is an easy target for Barry’s jabs.
Cisco doesn’t fair any better. He manages to push him off Joe but that earns him a knee to the abdomen for his efforts. All that leaves is Caitlin and the cool metal pressed to her head keeps her from moving an inch.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Iris of a different universe taunts Barry’s attempt to stand and clicks the safety off. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I’m pretty sure bullets to the skull work the same way on every earth.” she looks as deathly serious as she sounds and Barry is not willing to test her limits. “Now, it’s either Harrison or your friend speedster, choose wisely.”
Barry raises his palms up and out slowly, dropping back down to his knees.
“I’m glad we could reach a compromise.” she unleashes a devilish smile, keeping her eyes trained even as she speaks to her husband. This isn’t her first rodeo. “Come on baby, let’s go home.” The gun stays locked to Caitlin’s temple until her Barry finishes up and joins at her side with Harrison draped over one shoulder.
“This was fun.” Iris trails the gun from her head and down her neck until it’s pointed directly between her shoulder blades and pushes her forward. “Until next time.”
The last thing he sees is E-19 Barry mock salute his fallen team before lacing his fingers with hers. They step back, disappearing through the breach.
If Will had bothered to make eye contact in Jack’s office, he might have noticed Hannibal’s tendency to collect things – particularly shiny things, and Will himself is a rather shiny prize – and he might have made the connection.
If Hannibal had taken a little bit of a deeper breath, he might have smelled the scent of Will beneath his cologne – fresh water and grass and fish and dog – and he might have made the connection.
Instead, Will walks out with a new thorn in his side, forgetting entirely about the magpie in his fury, and Hannibal walks out with a new set of stars to set his eyes upon, forgetting entirely about the ibex in his wonderment. Outside, deep in the little forest of trees by Quantico, a magpie alights on a nearby branch where an ibex is standing, and although both are quite comfortable with each other, neither makes a move to reach out and touch, even though the ibex can tell the magpie is dying to touch.
skye was grateful for being rescued, leaving that hell she was held at, in ultra, but she couldn’t help but feel like a fish out of the water in the lair. she never learned full control of her powers, only to conceal them, suppress them. she wasn’t special, she didn’t have powers, she was no one. all those thoughts prevented her from giving in to her true self. skye believed that finding her birth parents would make her someone and it did in a way. she wasn’t no one anymore but ultra’s prisoner.
she only realized how wrong she was a little too late. but she couldn’t turn back time now. that’s why you would find her every night awake, usually in the training room. either beating the hell out of a punching bag or practicing her powers. the mornings she’d wake up with bruises on her body from bad teleportation landings weren’t few.
this night wasn’t an exception. after letting her steam out on the punching bag, she had started working on teleportation. which was her weakest power. with a small grunt she pushed herself off the ground where she had landed quite ungracefully.
upon sensing someone walking into the training room, the brunette cringed realizing they must have seen her failed attempt. “ i’m fine ” she announced without being asked. but they were all telepaths anyways. not to mention that her statement was a contradiction. not to her physical state but her psychological. skye was everything but fine.
So I found this strange… thing… while looking at ocean water under my microscope. I assumed it was the remnants of a shell from a microorganism that had eroded to form an eerie face by mere coincidence.
Later, while looking at a different sample, I came across this:
Maybe its some weird fish scale? A bizarre foram shell? At any rate it is freaking me out. For general scale, its about the size of a grain of sand. Somebody help me out here
It’s like a crack. Not so much as when something breaks, it’s more like a light bulb burning off all off the sudden. The world goes dark. No one else notices. The people in the bar keep drinking, the guns keep being pointed at her, the only other shift is the face of the mutant in front of her. He doesn’t notice the magic disappearing (oh, God), it’s her face that changes, hesitated for the first time during the whole talk.
“You are in over your head,” he says in broken English, with a voice that rumbles low like a bass. He has no idea how right he is. She is suddenly aware of how small she seems by his side.
“No,” she grins confidently, “you are. You know who I am. If you don’t keep your word, I keep mine.” She relies heavy on her reputation. She goes as far as to take a step forward.
The guns pointed at her follow. She gives them a disregarding look, mind running. One of those and she’s a goner. The mutant looks at her, his rocky arms shifting into fists.
“Do you really want this to end in a fight?”
He hesitates. There’s a long moment of tension. He puts the hard drive on the table. She grins. She downs her drink, takes it and shoves her in her pocket. It’s always good to have contacts in the streets. Even if right now they wouldn’t respect her if they knew… She has to get out of here.
Then it all turns wild. She doesn’t know how it starts. Someone throws a punch, she barely dodges. One stamps her against the bar, she retaliates with a bottle. How does Kate do this? Shots fly by, she hides behind the bar. Makes a run for the door. It takes punching three guys to get out, from the pain she is sure she broke something inside her hand. She makes it out, keeps running, and running. Into alleys, up to the rooftops, back down to the street. She can’t fly. She nearly trips from a rooftop. She can’t fly. Oh god. What is going on?
It’s well into the night, soon to be morning, when she stops, curled on a train station, somewhere, hood tugged over her face, body shaking with exhaustion and adrenaline. She keeps trying to reach out, to feel something. She can’t. She can’t breathe. People look at her like she’s a junkie, and god, this has to be like abstinence.
Four trains go by before she thinks of pulling her phone to check the hour. Then it hits her. She needs help. She can’t get out of this. Of here. She can’t-
I really hope the writers realize what a revelation 218 was for Ichabod as a character. Like, for me that was the missing piece of the puzzle with him, the thing that made me go “oh, that’s who Ichabod is”, the thing that made him more than just the funny weirdo fish-out-of-water who rants about kids these days and their newfangled etc. It made him make sense, almost entirely, except for Katrina because there’s no making sense out of that mess…
It didn’t tell us anything really new, but actually seeing his old self and how he carried himself in his time shed so much light on who he is, and who he could be in the show and in the narrative going forward.
I’m so worried they’ll forget about that, that we’ll be straight back to the way things have been, that it’ll be more important to preserve Ichabod as the comic relief and amusing curiosity than to have him grow as a character. It’s not like having him grow necessarily makes him less prone to ranting about things - plenty of people who HAVEN’T woken up from a 300 year long death-come rant about shit anyway, myself included, and including “these kids today with their etc” stuff. Hell, if done right him growing doesn’t even need to mean a “normal” wardrobe, but at some point we do need to address it and find a way to frame it where it makes sense for him to keep wearing it. Like, maybe he doesn’t want to lose himself completely in the 21th century, maybe he wants to remember where he came from and who he used to be (for good and bad), but then we need to see him come to that conclusion, rather than just keep his clothes “just because”.
There are ways to preserve most of his characteristics and actually have them make more sense and be less grating BECAUSE we know where they’re coming from. Ichabod isn’t a good character because he’s mysterious, he’s not one of those characters where if you peel back the layers you lose the appeal of him - he’s a protagonist and characters like that make for terrible protagonists. Unfortunately I think that might be where we are though, with him doomed to be preserved in amber as if he was still sleeping in that grave. And that’s one of the biggest things worrying me going into season three.