kinda nervous about this lol

4

Here it is at last, the thing that took up most of my free time these past few weeks and the reason I haven’t been posting much art. My mind control beanie!!

I’m so happy to have finally finished it, and I’m pretty proud with how it turned out. Just in time for fall!

I Will Come Back to You

Note: I was inspired when I read a theory on 2x21 and was happy when I saw that there were others who believed the same theory that Barry’s gonna get stuck in the speed force (I don’t remember where the theory came from). I just kinda wrote this. It’s pretty long so shout out to you if you read the whole thing LOL. Kinda nervous about this, but whatever, enjoy?

“No,” Iris said, her voice soft at first in disbelief then it rose, “No!”

She tried to run over to the destroyed particle accelerator, but was held back by her father’s strong arms, grabbing her arms. She felt Joe’s whole body shake against her with sobs. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The particle accelerator wasn’t supposed to take him away.

“Barry,” she cried. 

He woke up to a familiar blue scene with bits of his life playing like a movie, but he couldn’t move. It felt like his legs weren’t working. Barry was just there. One second he was in the particle accelerator and then the next he was here in the speed force.

His heart rate, he noticed, was beating fast. Looking over at his hand, it was vibrating. His speed; it was back, but it felt like he didn’t know how to use it. He realized that he didn’t even know how to get out of this.

 Then he recalled the first time he knowingly trapped himself in the speed force. When Reverse Flash convinced him to travel back in time to save his mom so that Eobard could get home. Thawne explained to him that the images he was seeing were of his past, present, and future all in one.

It had been a month since Barry went missing into the speed force when Harry’s particle accelerator explosion failed. She remembered the electrocution and Barry’s wails from the pain. Then she remembered Wells saying that it was happening, the explosion was really happening. Wells was seemingly excited as Barry’s vitals rose to his old metahuman norms. Everything was going right, until it was so wrong. 

The system started crashing, overloading. Joe panicked and yelled for Wells to shut it off. Cisco ran to help Wells, but they both looked regretful, Cisco was angry and sad. Jessie was operating the computers until she couldn’t anymore. There were bright lights, and Barry screams got louder, his body couldn’t handle this level of electrocution. Then there was one final crash and a white flash then an explosion that knocked everyone off their feet.

Reality set in a few seconds later when Iris got up. She wanted to see Barry standing in front of her with his speed back, but he wasn’t there. Whatever happened, it took Barry away.

Now Iris was walking into STAR Labs, and it felt almost foreign. The last time she was in there was the night of the failed particle accelerator. She couldn’t bring herself to go there, but there was a metahuman attack and she wanted to help somehow.

Cisco and Jessie were standing in front of the television next to Barry’s glass suit holder. On the screen in front of him was a picture of a familiar young man, about Iris’s age, an uber buff guy with short dirty blond hair and crystal clear blue eyes.

“I haven’t ran facial recognition yet, but it looks like Girder here has the power to turn into steel,” Cisco said.

“That’s Tony Woodward,” Iris said informed as everyone in the lab turned to look at her shocked. Before she continued to speak, she glanced at Cisco who gaped, Wells who paused from fixing a small device, Jessie who looked between Iris and Joe, and Joe who was flabbergasted by it all. With a small brave inhale, she continued, “I went to school with him.”

“Hey baby,” Joe managed to say.

After the accident, Joe told Iris that Cisco and Jessie had been working together not only to find Barry, but track the metahumans that were coming in through the breach. He invited her to help, but she always made up excuses to avoid going. She didn’t miss the pity in Cisco’s eyes now behind the smile.

“Hey, I was at CCPN and heard about Tony. I wanted to see if you needed help,” she explained with a shrug, trying to act chill about it.

“Sure,” Cisco nodded, as she set her black jacket down on the desk of computers. They began to talk about who Tony was and how they could stop him without The Flash.

Barry saw the car ride, a sad younger version of himself insisting to Joe that his dad didn’t do it. Just a couple hours earlier, there was complete chaos outside his house with dozens of police officers at the scene and reporters with cameras.

He could remember running into the house after the older speedster version of himself got him out of the house. He remembered running in while people attempted to stop him, Joe tried to catch him but for the first time in his life, he was too fast. He pulled the blue sheet off his mother’s face to see her lying there lifeless. Her bright eyes were still, void of anything.

Then he remembered when he faced Reverse Flash and Barry had the chance to save his mom, but was stopped. He remembered how hard it was walking in there and listening to her die. When he sobbed and told her that he and dad were okay, and when she smiled back at him before it all became dark again.

He saw Joe’s dark blue car pull into his best friend’s house. Young Barry went inside with Joe while Iris waited at the staircase.

“Barry is going to be staying with us for a little while,” Joe said.

“Iris, my dad didn’t do it,” Barry said for the millionth time that night. The cops tried to convince him otherwise even Barry explained to them what happened. How there were flashes of red and yellow lightning then in the blink of an eye, he was outside and he started running back home.

“I believe you, Barry,” Iris said and held out a hand for him. Barry grabbed on as they went upstairs. Even then she was the only person to believe in him.

Jessie and Cisco were trying to analyze Girder to find out how to stop him. They already devised a plan that involved electrocution, and they were examining a video to give any clues as to where Girder could be. It was on Central City News that Girder filmed himself saying that he wanted what the Flash had. He was smashing cars around him into a metal waste bin. Jessie asked how to get his attention over to STAR Labs.

“Use me,” Iris said suddenly as it all clicked in her head, “I can lure him here. He wants to be loved like The Flash, and I can pretend to put him in the paper like he wants!”

Jessie nodded as Cisco started on how good of an idea it was. Wells, who was still examining a small part of the particle accelerator, scoffed.

“No, not a good idea, Ramon.”

Iris furrowed her eyebrows and crossed her arms across her chest, “Why not? I can get Girder here easily. If the fame is what he wants, I have the power to do that.”

“Figure something else out. Using you as bait would just be idiotic, scientific minds, figure out a new plan,” Wells said with a harsh tone to his voice.

“Dr. Wells, I may not be a scientist, but you know just as well as everyone else that I am smart enough and I belong here, and I will be here until we handle Girder,” Iris snapped.

He was always doubting her, denying her, or acting that her questions were stupid. Usually she could handle his sarcastic attitude, but over the last month, she knew that her patience was wearing thin, and it was only a matter of time before she cracked.

“Iris,” Joe said, standing in the doorway, interrupting their intense stare-down “let’s talk for a minute.”

With a frustrated sigh, she walked away and met her dad in the hall. She had a sad pang of deja vu because they were standing in the exact spot where she and Barry argued after Grodd took Joe last year.

“What’s up, dad?” she asked, folding her arms across her chest.

“What is going on with you? Snapping at Wells, wanting to act as bait for Girder, this isn’t like you,” Joe said.

“Well, dad right now I don’t know what else to be! There is too much going on and with this meta, I know I can help. We went to school with Girder. Barry and I went to school with him,” she said that last part with sadness and a lump formed in her throat, “He used to bully him.”

Her tears spilled over after holding them in for this long. She tried wanted to stay emotionless through all of this because if she allowed herself to cry and be sad all the time, then it meant that Barry was really gone this time. She barely held it together when he was in a coma, but he came back to her. This time she wasn’t sure if he would ever come back.

Joe held her in a tight hug that she wanted to resist because it would only further aid her falling apart now.

“Dad, I told him I love him,” she cried, “I finally told him how I felt and a day later, he was gone. I just need to help now.”

“Okay,” Joe said.

After a minute or so, they went back inside where Wells sat quiet and Iris joined Cisco and Jessie at the computers. The tension in the room was thick, but they pushed that aside knowing that there were bigger things to worry about.

It’s that obvious Barry thought to himself. He couldn’t help how he felt about her, and he remembered Joe laughing and telling him, “I’ve watched you be in love with Iris since you were old enough to know what love is.”

He kept replaying that conversation in his head as he made his way over to the house. It was around Christmas time and he knew that Iris would be there finishing up with the Christmas decorations. He knew that his timing was awful as always, but keeping this from her felt like it was hollowing him out.

Opening the door, she stood there admiring her work on the tree and sipping on eggnog in her teddy bear mug. She said something about deserving an award for tree trimming. He didn’t her as all the blood rushed to his ear. His hands shook nervously as he looked at her and pulled her into a hug, knowing full well what he was about to tell her and how it could potentially ruin them.

Iris had just shown up to the cortex after getting a 911 text from Cisco. She rushed in asking what to do now.

“Okay, so here’s the plan,” Jessie started to say, “Girder knows Iris and has seen her articles about the Flash in CCPN. Since he wants to be revered like the Flash, we’ll tail Iris and go to Iron Works facility where Joe thinks Girder is now.” 

“And then we can use this bad boy to shock Girder,” Cisco said excitedly and pointed at a contraption that to Iris thought looked like a glorified vacuum cleaner, hose and all, “Since he turns into steel and metal is a conductor of electricity, we can use this electric boom device to shock him.”

“Is this electric thing going to kill him?” Joe asked.

“No, it’s going to knock him out long enough for us to get him into the pipeline. This was our only option. The alternative would be a supersonic punch as I like to call it or a strong force coming an extremely fast pace.”

“In other words, we would need The Flash for that?” Iris asked.

With a hesitant nod, Cisco said, “Yeah.”

Joe sighed, and Iris could tell why. He never wanted her to be on the forefront of danger, but she knew that should handle this. She put a hand on his arm and smiled at him encouragingly when he looked at her.

“I’ll be fine, dad.”

Barry sighed as he sipped on a cappuccino from Jitters. Not only was today tough at work, but now he was waiting on Iris who was ordering herself a drink after running into Barry. They talked for a couple minutes and Iris went on about Eddie, detective pretty boy and how they were going on a date.

Watching and listening to his childhood best friend and the woman he was in love with fall in love with someone else hurt more than he imagined. But he knew not to be naïve and expect that life would have stayed the same while he was in that coma.

Iris sighed and set her jacket down on the chair and sat down.

“There aren’t enough cappuccinos in the world to get me through this day,” she said.

“Tough day at CCPN?” he asked.

“Yeah, but it’s so cool. I know when I started this thing and blogging about The Flash, I was just doing it. But now that I’ve settled into my job as an investigative reporter, I feel so in my element, you know?” she explained and began to sound so excited, “It gives me this rush when I’m able to put the pieces of a huge story together and give the people of this city the truth, which I guess is part of the reason why I started writing about the mysterious red streak.”

Barry watched Iris talk, admiring her while he saw her face beam and eyes light up over journalism. When they were still seniors in high school, Iris brought up the idea of one day being a cop, but Joe shot her down, telling her that it was dangerous. He noticed that day that a bit of her spark went away, but now it was back, and his heart swelled with joy and pride. He knew right then and there that no matter what, he would still be in love with her.

Iris was leaving Central City Picture News after spending a few minutes there to edit a story to turn in for that afternoon. The plan to trap Girder wasn’t happening for another hour because Cisco needed a little more time to perfect the electrical trap or “electric boom.” She walked out of the building and checked her phone, but immediately regretted it because a part of her was expecting a text from Barry. She wasn’t used to this yet.

She only took a few steps outside when something hit her head from behind, and everything went black.

The first thing Iris noticed when she opened her eyes was the familiar white and gray linoleum tiles, and she felt the cool exterior of metal on her back. Then she saw the trophy case across from her that showcased her elementary school’s awards for awards mostly for sports. She was back in Central City Elementary School, and Girder stood directly in front of her, waiting for to wake up.

“Iris West, remember me?” he asked, voice laced with anger.

“Tony Woodward, you used to bully Barry. How could I forget you?” she said, standing onto shaky feet, “What do you want from me?”

“You write for Central City Picture News, and I want to be in it,” he replied simply with a shrug of the shoulders and a wipe of his mouth.

“Why?” she asked, wishing someone would show up any minute now to help her, “Why is it such a big deal for you?”

“Because do you see the way The Flash is revered in this city? How he’s loved by everyone when that should be me! It doesn’t take a genius to realize that he was hit by whatever that was two years ago with the particle accelerator just like me. He’s got coffees, action figures, and the key to the city when that should have been me!” Tony yelled. Iris’s eyes widened at Tony’s sad confession that in a way eerily reminded her of Zoom; he wanted love.

He approached her, and she backed further into the lockers, clutching her phone. She quickly weighed the options in her head on how to get away from Tony, but there wasn’t anything she could do. A second later her phone rang loudly. She got to see that it was Cisco calling before Tony snatched the phone out of her hand and used his metal paw to break her phone.

“So are you going to help me?” he asked.

Over the past year since she became a member of the team, she learned to submit to the demands of a metahuman. The extent of their powers were always unknown, so she swallowed hard and nodded.

Barry was standing in front of the water front. By looking at Iris’s dark green peacoat and the impending storm, he knew exactly where he was. It was the day Mark Mardon took Joe hostage and Iris and Barry went to find him, it was the day he accidentally erased when he learned that he could time travel. The water was picking up speed and thunder and lightning cracked the sky with the impending tsunami.

“Iris, you have to get out of here, get as far away from here as possible,” Barry said in a rushed voice.

“What? No, I am not leaving you,” she refused.

“Iris, please,” he begged, but she stopped him.

“Listen to me, ever since the night that you told me how you felt, I have not been able to stop thinking about you. At first I was really mad, and then I realized that the reason why I couldn’t stop thinking about you was because I didn’t want to,” she confessed.

If Barry’s heart was beating fast before, now it was moving so rapidly that he didn’t know if it was there anymore.

“I’ve never stopped thinking about you,” he smiled.

He cupped Iris’s face in his hands as he leaned in to kiss her. It was filled with adrenaline as he was reminded again of why he loved her. Kissing her in the past and on another earth even always felt so new, but comfortable. He knew that no one could ever compare to her.

Reluctantly he pulled away, remembering that the city was in danger. He took out his phone to call Caitlin who explained to him how to stop the tsunami. He turned to Iris and remembered what he told her the last time this happened.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t want you to find out this way,” he said and speed changed into his supersuit in front of Iris, “Now go!”

She ran off as he started running faster than he ever had. The water was splashing him, he felt cold drops on his face. He ran harder until he was back into the speed force again.

Her laptop was open as she typed into a document. She noticed how Girder was pacing back and forth.

“So where were you the night of the particle accelerator explosion?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant even though she used her laptop to send Cisco a 911 message. He would know what to do after that; use the signal from her computer to track her. Her dad, Cisco, and Jessie would be there soon, she would just have to stall for a couple more minutes.

Girder went into this story about how he was working late because someone came into Iron Works needing an oil change. It didn’t interest Iris as a journalist or person. She was getting anxious waiting so she wanted to attempt to escape. Stopping mid-rant, Girder saw that Iris was no longer typing. He stalked over snatching the laptop.

“Are you done?” he growled, looking at the screen. Iris stood up again, her fierce stare was a mix of defiance and anger as she watched Girder read the headline, “Childhood Bully Turned Metahuman Psychopath.”

“What is this?” he yelled, throwing the laptop down and pushing Iris into the lockers. He got so close in her face that she felt his hot breath on her face.

“Go to hell,” she said. Girder slammed his steel fist into the locker next to her head just as Cisco ran in with Joe who already his gun out and ready.

Barry was running through time, seeing his past as a child playing games with Iris. His future and two rowdy kids running through a house, his house. He saw himself in the subway station as Grodd controlled his mind.

“Do it for me, Barry,” Iris’s voice said.

He saw himself walking with Iris when two cars came speeding out of nowhere. It was just him and her. He didn’t think when he threw themselves to the ground to save her. Then he saw her standing by the new particle accelerator.

“Barry, survive this,” she begged, “Because the man you are is more than a hero, more than my best friend. You are the man I love.”

“Iris,” he murmured as he ran past those images. The countless times he ran to meet her on the rooftop of Jitters then on the bridge when Reverse Flash took Eddie; the spark, the lightning bolt between the two of them.

He saw her clearly now, and he ran faster to get to her.

Iris was being held into a strong chokehold as everyone stood still. Cisco couldn’t shock Girder because the amount of electricity would zap her too and could potentially kill her. Joe couldn’t shoot him because in his metal state, Girder was bulletproof.

“Do it, Cisco,” she choked out. Girder’s grip became tighter. He was going to do it, he was going to use his strength to strangle her to death. The trap they set up failed miserably. The worse that could happen if Cisco used the electric boom device would hurt Iris, but Girder needed to be stopped before he hurt innocent people.

“Cisco!” she yelled again.

The next thing she knew, she was free of Girder’s death grip, and knocked off her feet. The gush of wind came, the bolt of lightning followed him. Girder’s metal jaw was met with Barry’s iron fist.

“Supersonic punch, baby!” Cisco yelled in shock.

Iris stared, eyes widened and damp. Girder was knocked out as Barry’s chest heaved up and down as he tried to catch his breath, and he took of his mask. She felt like she couldn’t move a muscle, she was numb; this didn’t feel real. He turned to her, and she saw those beautiful green eyes that she could get lost in.

“Iris,” was all he said at the same time she said, “Oh my God,” and went over to her as they locked into a tight embrace; her legs came off the ground, her arms locked around his neck. He had his home, his anchor, his lightning rod.

“I told you I would come back to you,” he whispered.