Back to the Present

May 25, 2015:

Ronnie and Barry fill in Dr. Wells about her disappearance and make a plan for the future.


LABS to the Stars.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"I'm not really sure how it happened, Dr. Wells," Barry says as he leans against the computer desk and reaches out a hand to hold Ronnie's if she should want it. "Kitty and I both had the same dream, and when I showed up there were a ton of others there too. Booster Gold, some SHIELD agent, others… I think they had the dream too."

"Ronnie will be able to tell you more than I could, but it seems as though a future Flash came and picked her out of the past and brought her to the future. I mean, I'm not even sure how that's possible."

Ronnie does take Barry's hand, and give it a squeeze. Her hair is longer than it was a month ago — a lot longer — and brown, its natural color. She has it tied back lazily. She's wearing one of Barry's sweatshirts, 'PROPERTY OF THE CCPD ATHLETIC DEPT.,' that kind of thing. She's been evicted, lost her job, and who knows where all of her stuff is, so it's a borrowing-sweatshirts kind of a week.

"He was from the one hundred and first century," Ronnie notes. "They have, well, they have time travel then. It's heavily regulated but superheroes got to use it for… temporal crises and stuff, um, I guess. And he just kinda… snatched me. As far as anyone there knew, I'd been 'lost in the timestream' and he found me. I just… I kept my eyes open, and I waited for opportunities. I learned how to transmit messages through time. And then I jumped when I had a chance. I don't know who I was trying to reach, but I'm glad I reached who I did." Barry's hand gets a squeeze.

Squinting, Wells has become a virtual statue in his chair, silently assessing the pair and the information they provide. Perplexed, his eyebrows draw together, and his jaw tightens. His fingers, as much from habit and consideration, steeple together, and, his mind races with possibility. Finally, several beats after both have said their piece, he reanimates, leaning forward against the desk and allow his gaze to shift between them. There's still no words, just thought, as if selecting which piece to pursue first.

For a moment, it looks as if he's about to speak, but instead leans back in his chair again. "Alright," he starts, "by way of summary — " his gaze lands on Barry, "you had a shared dream with others you're familiar. This dream was something," his gaze turns towards Ronnie, "you experienced? But you," his gaze remains on Ronnie, "were physically taken to the future by a future version of," his gaze turns back towards Barry, "you?" Having perhaps unraveled the information, Wells leans forward in his seat and continues to think on what's been shared.

When he has allowed ample time to let the story sink in, he looks at Barry once more. "Barry," he begins, allowing even the name to have weight, "are you certain you were dreaming?" His lips twist to one side, thoughtfully, "If everyone had a shared dream, something drew you all together. Quite purposefully it would seem." He pauses and allows his head to cant at the younger man, "Time travel has always been theoretically possible. It's just another dimension we haven't managed to traverse yet, so it's certainly something that could happen, and someone could come from the future back to the past. But," he thinks aloud, "surely your future self would know the implications that could have for the entire timeline and the world? Even a small change could be disastrous. Changing the past could have catastrophic effects for the present." He looks towards Ronnie now, "And more than that, bringing someone from the present to the future seems incredibly unwise." His body stiffens. "What did you see?"

"Well, I'm not sure it was me," Barry says as he looks to Ronnie for an answer. "Was it /me/?" Now that Wells has the beginnings of an understanding of how weird everything has gotten, Barry adds another layer. "And there's more. There was another guy. ZTT is what he was called. He was like the anti-Flash. Like, Flash in reverse. He may have come /through/ that stream. I haven't been able to find him—I was hoping you might be able to help."

"It wasn't you," Ronnie says in the reassuring voice she might use to explain to someone that a movie isn't real. "He just kinda… it was like a lineage thing. Not family. At least, I don't think family. But… identity. Like, there'll be Flashes after you, apparently. Uh. Spoilers." Ronnie almost kind of smiles, but it feels inappropriate.

"As for what I saw, well… things had just kind of… evolved, I guess? Like, I don't even know how to describe it. I don't even know if I SHOULD." Ronnie bites her lip for a second. "Like, it's not like it was… robo-pocalypse or anything, it was just really… engineered. I was kind of like, um, what if, you know, what if a neanderthal wandered in here. People wanted to talk to me like you'd want to talk to them."

This time, Harrison considers Ronnie first. If at all possible, Wells squints more at Ronnie's response. "Right. Knowing the timeline is a burden. Going back in the past to show someone the future hardly makes sense." His lips purse, "They wanted to learn from you? What did they ask you? I think too much detail isn't good. Of course," he states, "we're discussing one theoretical future. Time isn't linear like we all suspect, but in showing you that theoretical future, the Flash jeopardized his timeline." There's another twitch of Wells' lips, as he puzzles through the theoretical possibilities of time travel. Moments later, however, he changes tracks,"But if everyone is having a shared dream experience, and you're travelling to the future, certainly there's something that we should know about. Probably."

He turns back towards Barry, "And perhaps that has something to do with this anti-Flash." He sucks on the inside of his cheek, "Was he fast like the Flash? What made him different?" His throat cleans, and he manages a small curl at the edges of his lips — reassuring, and encouraging, "And of course, I'm willing to help if I'm able. STAR Labs is committed to aiding where we can."

"He was weird," Barry says. "Evil. Superior. He wore yellow instead of red. When he ran, the energy that flowed over him…the lightning, it was red, not yellow like mine." Barry tries to think. "On his forearms were red lightning bolt scars."

Ronnie nods along with Barry. "I heard of that guy while I was there, he was — I don't know, I guess a supervillain. No one really said things like 'supervillain' then. I guess crimefighters and criminals with super-powers had progressed to being something normal?" Ronnie lets out a snort, as if finding her own hypothesis ridiculous.

"And… they just asked me what life was like back, uh, now." Ronnie has more to the story she could tell, but she keeps it to herself. Forever, probably. Luckily, she's great at keeping secrets! Her grip moves to Barry's wrist, loosely. "I guess this is where I should mention that I've been 'gone' from this stretch of time, what, one, two months, but from my POV it was kinda, uh, around five years…?"

The thought of the anti-Flash prompts Wells to lean forward in his wheelchair. His elbows rest on the table, and he expels a soft breath. "He sounds the reverse of the Flash. Opposite in many ways. The relationship with red and yellow, the attitude." His lips purse lightly, "Has he shown up again," his eyes flit between the pair. "We could have Cisco and Caitlin keep an their ears to the ground, but ultimately, he has to have a reason for being here. If he is as you both say he is, his purposes must be sinister."

Harrison hmms quietly, "It's intriguing that the Flash didn't bring you back to when you left." His nose wrinkles, "Unless time travel doesn't work that way." His eyes flit towards the back wall, as something seems to spark his thoughts. "Maybe the risk is too great for creating a paradox. Two months means they definitely wouldn't get the time wrong. Because two yous in the same time-stream could confuse things immensely." His jaw tightens again, "And five years could definitely. Theoretically they could bring you to whatever time they wished. So while you experienced five years, we could've experienced five minutes. Or, in this case, two months."

"Five years?" Barry seems almost breathless in his lost for words as he double takes at Ronnie. He's not really sure how to take it all in, and just sort of looks at her with vacant eyes. Suffice to say he feels terrible for her.

But when Dr. Wells regards him, Barry forces himself to tear his eyes from Ronnie. "He hasn't popped up yet, no. But that doesn't mean he won't sometime soon. I guess that without knowing his purpose, he could show up anywhere. Is this something you think we should contact some of the groups about? JL:A? That sort of thing? SHIELD maybe?"

Ronnie laughs, but it's awkward-laugh, not haha-that-was-funny-laugh. She presses her lips inward and looks to one side. "Well, at least I don't LOOK like I'm in my thirties, I guess," she says wryly, though the wryness is obviously a bluff. "I can't wait to explain that next time I have to give someone my DOB…"

As far as what to do about the mystery yellow man, Ronnie just listens. She looks down at her knees, then at her hand on Barry's arm. She's very good at doing that — just kinda drifting off, and certainly not listening to every single word being said and filing details away for later. Certainly not that.

"You had another whole life," Wells observes. "Did you always know you were coming back to this time?" He frowns lightly, "I can't imagine that it's been easy for you. I'm sorry you've experienced this." He inhales an audible breath, "We will get to the bottom of this, and find the man in yellow — whoever he is."

Once more his eyes rest on Barry, "I think informing the JL:A and SHIELD about him might be wise. Whatever his purposes in our time, your explanations of him suggest they're nefarious. In the meantime, we'll watch for any irregularities. I"m afraid until he makes another appearance there may not be much more we can do." He swallows hard. "Unless either of you has another idea?"

"I wish I did," Barry says absently towards Wells. "I'll get on the horn to the JLA right away, Dr. Wells. I'll also update my rounds on the East Coast and see what Booster has to say about all of this. I know one of the Hawkeyes that runs with SHIELD, so that could be my in with them."

Barry looks over at the comment about being 30 years old, "You look great, hon."

"I knew I'd get myself back," Ronnie says, with such firmness that her belief in herself probably shouldn't be doubted. "I just had to get an opportunity, first. And it took a while, but…" Barry cuts in with the 'you look great,' and that makes Ronnie lean in and touch his head with hers. "…but I had a hell of an inspiration."

"Thank you, Barry. It might be wise to also talk to Joe and ensure he knows to watch for irregularities as well. A man out of time isn't someone to be trusted. He could be here for anything." The serious edge in Wells' voice softens, however, when Ronnie explains her inspiration. His eyes gleam with some unspoken thought, perhaps a little sad before he simply nods his head. "If either of you hear anything, please keep me in the loop. We can only be helpful here if we know what's going on and what we're up against."

Barry smiles and wraps his arm around Ronnie's waist, giving her a squeeze at her words. "I'm just happy to have you back."

"That's a good idea. I guess I didn't think about it, but it's probably not a coincidence he went after Ronnie. And if I have something to do with it, Joe would be another. I should probably give Iris a call too. I'll let you know whatever I find," Barry says with the punctuation of a nod.

"Not as happy as I am to BE back," Ronnie notes. "Trust me on that one." She grins, even though grinning is never appropriate in any kind of scientific laboratory setting.

When the pair of lovebirds leave the office, Wells' eyes turn up to the corner of the room. A smirk tugs on the side of his lips. Smugly, he turns the wheel chair away from the desk, slowly allowing himself to wheel towards the door of the room. The smile extends, drawing in his entire expression and transposing it to something predatory, wolfish, even. Pleased. Arrogant. His hands remain at the wheels of the chair and a single eyebrow arches.

The gears turn in his ever-working mind.

Slowly, like the lame man he is, he wheels down one of STAR Labs' spacious hallways until he comes to an unassuming panel on the door. A quick glance is cast over his shoulder. Cisco and Caitlin shouldn't be here. Gwen should be tucked away somewhere for school, but years have taught him to always watch.

He slides off the chair, bringing himself to his feet. His hands move to one of the many panels on the wall. With a small press of the heels of his hands against its surface, it opens.

His eyes focus on the yellow suit fixed in the centre of the room, and with the faintest chuckle, and the raking of his fingers through his hair, he strolls to the end of the room."Change of plans, Gideon."

His chin tilts upwards. "I think I may be able to devise us another way home."

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