A/N: Right! So with the final chapter of Hostage Situation being posted, I am now also posting the first chapter of Hostage Situation: The Oncoming Storm tonight. Sorry for the wait, folks, but I wanted to end it right and to make sure I started the next one right too. I wanted to shout out a big thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, and or favorited this story and I hope you'll join me for Hostage Situation: The Oncoming Storm. You're all fantastic and this story wouldn't have gotten as far as it has without your readership.
So without further ado, here is the final chapter of Hostage Situation.
PS For anyone wondering about Sick Day, that's the next story on my list to work on.
Harrison Wells sat in his living room, watching the various screens that displayed footage of his enemies, deep in thought. The conversation between his ancestor and Iris West had been quite interesting. He'd always resented his ancestor for his lack of historical worth. Now… Now, he wondered if he had always underestimated him. The conversation had been most revealing. Too revealing… Harrison sighed. It wasn't supposed to be this hard.
Wells grabbed the remote and focused on the footage of the lab where Barry was sleeping with Joe West watching over the boy, wide-awake. This was disappointing. He wished that he could have paid his own visit to the boy, a visit which was being prevented by Joe West. He snorted. Joe West. Standing in his way like always, shielding Barry from-
Barry suddenly woke with a ragged scream and Harrison flinched, watching as Joe stood to calm the young man who threw his arms around the detective as Barry broke down in sobs. Surprisingly, Harrison felt a twinge of regret, but only a twinge. Barry looked absolutely terrified, whether it was because of Snart's crew or his own attack on the kid. Hopefully, this wouldn't hinder his progress in building up the young man's speed.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Joe said as Barry stopped crying and lay back down. Joe sat back down in the chair again, putting a hand on Barry's arm.
Barry let out a long sigh, shutting his eyes. "…not really…" He paused, letting the seconds tick by before he opened his eyes. "…but…I know it will help… It always did before…after…after Mom died…"
Joe gave Barry a soft smile. "Yeah… Yeah, it did. So…"
Barry nodded slightly. "It starts out at the warehouse. We're still tied up. Snart had just caught Eddie trying to free me. I can't move. I couldn't move then. Those cuffs…" Barry swallowed. "They were killing me… I was helpless to stop him… I still am helpless in my nightmare… I have to watch as Snart pulls the trigger. I have to watch…I have to watch as Eddie's skin turns black… The fear in his eyes… His face just…so…"
Barry started tearing up again and Joe gave Barry a sympathetic look. "…then…then I see Mick Rory turn to me, this sick grin on his face as he takes aim. Then…then everything goes orange and…"
Joe hugged Barry as the young man broke down all over again. Harrison felt a swell of hatred for Snart and everything he and his Rogues had put Barry through. In one day, they'd managed to practically shatter the entirety of the confidence that Barry Allen needed to truly become the Flash, his Flash. He'd need to remedy that and fast.
"We'll figure this out, Barry. We'll work on it. Together." Joe rubbed Barry's back as Barry continued to cry. "I promise I'll be with you every step of the way." Barry let out a soft whimper, nodding into his chest.
"And so will I, Barry…" whispered Wells quietly, "So will I…"
Harrison shut off the screens and leaned back in his chair, deep in thought. What to do with the Rogues? They were a threat now to Barry, but eliminating them or transporting them elsewhere wasn't an option. Maybe there was another option available to him, but what? He'd have to find out and he'd have to find out soon.
Iris held off going to STAR Labs as long as she could the next day. She'd called in to Picture News to inform them she'd be working from home today again and would be back in as soon as possible once things had settled after the kidnapping of her boyfriend and her best friend (and hero, because who could forget that new detail?). Mason was being unusually pleasant to her, as was the head of the newspaper. They were likely hoping that Iris would help them get an inside scoop into the kidnapping and possibly get them interviews with the two (well, three if they wanted to talk to Cisco) former hostages. She doubted they'd actually get anything, but it was fun to make them hope and it helped to get her out of going into work for a little while.
After calling in, Iris had spent the rest of the day with Eddie. They'd sat together on the couch, cuddling, watching movies and talking things out. Eddie had told her about his nightmare last night, but it was only today, after he'd finally managed to tell her about everything that had happened when he was taken hostage, that she could really understand what he was going through. She'd hugged him and held him close as he told her about Snart almost killing him and the Reverse Flash ultimately saving him. He'd come so close to being taken from her life. She could have lost him forever...
Sometime after lunch, her dad had called to check on the two of them, informing her that he was going to be stopping by the house for a little while and then heading back to STAR Labs. To her surprise, he had sounded absolutely exhausted. Barry had apparently had just as a rough night as Eddie and Joe had been up most of the night with him. It was only after this that Iris even considered going to STAR Labs.
Originally, Iris had decided to avoid the lab for a while, give Barry some space and maybe, maybe once things had settled down, have a serious talk with him about keeping secrets from her. Then, maybe, she could forgive him for not telling her that he was the Flash. Maybe.
Upon hearing that Barry was going through the same troubles as Eddie, Iris wondered if having the two of them talk things out (and Cisco too if she could find him) might help speed up their recovery process. She had figured the trio would have some symptoms of PTSD, but she hadn't exactly figured out how she was going to handle it herself. Despite how she felt about Barry keeping his powers and superhero status, she cared more for his wellbeing than letting her grudge get in the way of helping him get better. Still though, she needed to talk to Eddie about it.
"So what did Joe have to say?" Eddie scooted over so Iris could plop down again next to him on the couch, stealing a kiss from her in the process.
"Dad said that Barry had him up half the night. He's been having nightmares too," said Iris, leaning into Eddie's shoulder as he wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer, "He wanted to let me know that he was heading home to get some clothes for Barry and freshen up before heading back to the lab."
Eddie stayed silent, letting himself be distracted as the TV announced the next movie. He eventually turned back to her, looking at her with sad, tired eyes that reminded her how much he had been through. "…do you want to go see Barry?"
"I…I don't know…" Iris let out a long sigh. "I want to be here with you… But…"
Eddie gave Iris a pensive look before extricating himself from her embrace and shutting off the TV. He proceeded to stand and grab his jacket from where it lay on draped over the top of the couch. "Let's go see Barry then."
Iris blinked, staring at her boyfriend. This was unexpected. "Eddie… You don't have to do this…"
"Iris, he's your friend and your brother. But he's also my friend and, hopefully, my brother-in-law one day," said Eddie as he slung on his jacket, "He's saved my life a few times now and considering what more he went through than me, I think Barry deserves all the help he can get. I know I'm not entirely…right yet, but we were in this together before and we're in this together now. All of us. He's always been there for us both as himself and the Flash. We should be there for him."
Iris stood and approached Eddie slowly, looping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a long, passionate kiss. She gave him a warm, loving smile as she broke away and stared into his eyes. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
Eddie smiled at her. "Maybe once or twice."
Iris kissed Eddie again and stepped away. "Just let me get my jacket and we'll head over."
"I'll get the car keys."
Eddie headed for the front of the apartment while Iris ducked into their closet to grab her jacket. A few minutes later, they were downstairs and in the car, heading straight for STAR Labs.
Barry jerked out of his doze at the sound of something loud falling to the floor. Glancing around the Cortex, Barry quickly noted that everything was in order and he was alone. As his senses returned, he remembered that Joe had gone back to the house around two with the promise to be back within the hour while Dr. Wells had been working with Felicity to coordinate scans for the Reverse Flash throughout the city. Caitlin had taken more than a dozen or so samples of Barry's blood and was working in one of the many other laboratories in the building to isolate the sedative the Reverse Flash had used on him as well as check to make sure there were not any side effects they would need to worry about. He groaned and forced himself to roll off the bed. He headed over to the table where Caitlin had been thoughtful enough to leave out some Cisco Bars for him and he snarfed down a whole bar in less than a second, surprised by his own appetite.
The sound of something else falling and a soft, mild cursing stopped Barry in his tracks as he followed the noise to Cisco's office, astonished to see Cisco tinkering with some sort of remote.
The scientist in question jumped about a mile in the air at Barry's voice, the remote flying from his hand in the process. Barry was at Cisco's side in an instant, catching the remote and steadying his friend whose startled expression quickly turned to one of embarrassment.
"Whoa. You ok, Cisco?"
Cisco gave him a weak smile. "Oh, I'm fine, just…" Cisco tried taking the remote back from Barry only to fumble with it once more and for Barry to catch it again
"Dude, you're so not ok." Barry set the remote down on the table and forced Cisco to take a seat. "…do you want to talk about it?"
"Do you?" Barry flinched and Cisco backtracked. "Sorry! I didn't mean…"
Barry let out a sigh. "It's ok, Cisco. I know you didn't mean anything by that…"
"Good… I mean…" Cisco looked down at his hands which were in his lap, trembling terribly.
"I know." Barry found another chair and sat down in front of Cisco. "…you want to talk it out? You and me?" Cisco tensed. "I mean…only if you want to. It's totally up to you."
Cisco gave him a scarce nod. "…so what kept you up?"
Barry bit his lip. "I kept…I kept having nightmares about Snart and the Rogues…"
"Rogues?" Cisco looked confused. "Is that what you're calling Snart's gang? 'The Rogues?'"
Barry shrugged. "It came to me while Eddie and I were tied up…"
"I like it. It fits. 'The Rogues' against the Flash." Cisco nodded in approval. "Wacked thing is that Snart would probably like it too."
Barry snorted in amusement. "Considering how much he approved of 'Captain Cold'? Yeah… He probably would."
"Nightmare. Same one every time," said Barry, "Eddie just got caught trying to help me and Snart's about to pull the trigger. Except, unlike in reality, I'm still helpless and all I can do is watch Snart…" Barry let out a heavy sigh. "Watch Snart kill Eddie… Then Mick Rory kills me… I think…"
"All I see is him turning to me with his gun and everything going orange and then…and then I wake up." Barry looked at his hands, swallowing hard. "…you?"
"The Reverse Flash." Barry couldn't help, but flinch. "It's a different dream every time, but it's him. And…he always kills me. He takes his hand and it's vibrating and…he sticks it through my chest…" Cisco's face twisted into a half-disgusted, half-scared look as he looked down at his hands. "Then he rips my heart to shreds and I can feel it… Like it actually happened…" Cisco looked up again and Barry could see the tears running down his friend's face. "God, I can just imagine what would have happened if my powers hadn't shown up when they did and-"
Barry leaned over and hugged Cisco as he broke down, tears streaming from his own eyes. "I'm so sorry, Cisco. It's my fault you're in this mess."
"No, it's not." Both Barry and Cisco jumped and turned to face the familiar voice, spotting Dr. Wells in the doorway to the lab. "My apologies for eavesdropping. But this wasn't your fault, Barry. It was mine."
"Dr. Wells." Barry swallowed. "You-"
"Barry, I caused all of this when I failed this city." Dr. Wells slowly guided himself into the room, stopping in front of the duo and clasping his hands in his lap. "I caused all this madness and everyone has just become entangled in the chaotic aftermath of my failure."
Barry half-heard Dr. Wells, his attention diverted by the familiarity of Dr. Wells' posture. It reminded him of something…
"…so…you heard what Barry and I were talking about?" said Cisco as Barry failed to reply.
"Yes, I did, Cisco."
"All of it?"
Wells let out a weak chuckle. "Yes, Cisco, all of it… Even the part about you having powers…"
"We didn't want to say anything until things had calmed down…" said Barry finally, his brain still trying to place what he had seen, "There's been enough going on besides Cisco finding his powers."
"Understood," said Dr. Wells. He turned to Cisco. "…can I ask what it is exactly? Your powers?"
"Um… I don't know exactly… I just… The Reverse Flash, well…" Cisco turned to Barry for help.
Barry sighed. "I did knock out the Reverse Flash, but…I tried to look under his mask. He…he wasn't really unconscious though and knocked me over. Then he tried to kill Cisco and…"
"I reacted," said Cisco, "I put out my hands to try to protect myself and these…sonic waves came out of my hands and threw him into a wall."
"Through the wall," corrected Barry.
Dr. Wells blinked, looking quite amazed by their tale, but sobering quickly. "Cisco… I'm sorry. This is my fault…"
"It's ok, Dr. Wells," said Cisco. "I'm not mad about it and I'm especially not mad at you. Yeah, I'm a little freaked out about having powers, but they saved my life today."
Dr. Wells nodded slowly. "I understand… If there's anything I can do…"
"You'll be the first to know," said Cisco.
"First to know what?" The trio turned, surprised to see Eddie and Iris in the doorway. "I hope we're not interrupting anything important…" said Eddie with a weak smile
"Not at all," said Dr. Wells. He backed up his chair, allowing room for the couple to join them. "We were just discussing some…developments."
"Developments?" Eddie gave the trio a curious look.
"I have powers," said Cisco, "I didn't want to tell anyone about it until later, but we found out about them when the Reverse Flash tried to kill me."
Eddie's eyebrows shot up and Iris' eyes widened. "Oh my God… Cisco…" Iris stepped forward, giving the young scientist a brief hug. "You should have told us…"
"It didn't seem as important as letting things get back to normal before we had another atom bomb of information dropped on us," said Cisco, flushing slightly.
"It's very important," said Eddie. He put an arm around Iris' shoulders. "That's not really something you should be facing on your own…"
Barry couldn't help, but smile, particularly as Iris leaned into Eddie and Eddie's posture eased, removing the faintest trace of a dark cloud behind his eyes. As much as Barry envied that Eddie and Iris were together, he was glad they had each other, especially if Eddie was going through the same thing he and Cisco were after the kidnapping.
With that thought in mind, Barry turned to Cisco again, noting the bags under his friend's eyes and his tense posture. Cisco needed to step away from all of this. "Agreed. Cisco, how about we take a walk? Maybe talk a little and get the nerves out of your system."
"Yeah. Sounds good." Cisco stood shakily with Barry. Out of the corner of his eye, Barry noticed that Cisco pocketed the remote he'd been working on before. He'd have to ask him about that. "Where to?"
"Anywhere you'd like." Barry gave Eddie, Iris and Dr. Wells a brief smile and followed Cisco out of the room. Something still had Cisco in a state of unease and Barry needed to know exactly what it was. He needed his friend to be ok.
Cisco walked with Barry toward the top of the building, his mind elsewhere. Yeah, he had opened up to Barry about having the bad dreams and to the others about his newfound powers, but it was what his dreams had revealed that he was still scared shitless of. He felt he'd hid his fear pretty well when Dr. Wells had entered the room, but still… Still it was eating away at him. Was it true? Did he want to know if it was true? God, did he want to tell Barry much less the others? Dr. Wells was their friend and mentor! And Wells acted as though he was so innocent in all of this! But what if it had really just been a dream after all and his fears were unfounded-?
"Cisco." Cisco nearly jumped out of his skin as Barry's voice brought him back to reality. Barry gave him an apologetic yet concerned look. "What's bothering you?"
Shit. How was he going to explain himself now? Was he going to tell Barry? Was he going to create a false distrust of Dr. Wells or would he end up uncovering a serious threat? Cisco looked at the remote in his pocket. He'd been working on it since he had eventually giving up on sleeping at all last night around 5 in the morning. If it did what it was supposed to, he'd know the truth. He'd know if Dr. Wells was truly their friend or something far more dangerous. "Can we go outside? Maybe take a walk around the perimeter? I think I need a little fresh air."
"Sure," said Barry. He led the way up and out of the building, neither saying a word until they were out the door and were walking along the fence.
"I…I told you the truth about having nightmares about the Reverse Flash," said Cisco eventually, pausing in the one part of the fence he knew the security cameras couldn't see. It was only a few feet worth of a blind spot, but hopefully now it could be put to good use.
"But…" prompted Barry.
"It was who I saw as the Reverse Flash, the man behind the mask, that has me…scared. To be honest, it has me scared shitless." Cisco met Barry's gaze, finding both curiosity and hesitation in his friend's eyes. Was Barry wondering who he had seen as the Reverse Flash or was it that Barry didn't believe him at all? Was it both? "I know it sounds crazy and I keep trying to convince myself that what I saw in each dream was impossible, but…"
"But it has you scared enough that you're more scared that you're right rather than going crazy for lack of a better phrase?" said Barry. Cisco merely nodded, pulling the remote out of his pocket. "…what's that for?"
"…I built it to test out a theory." Cisco pulled out his cell phone, queuing up the feed from the bunker where his failed force field trap was still housed. "In one of my nightmares, I was testing the capacitors to figure out why the force field failed. Except when I played around with the system, I found something I shouldn't have, something that I was never supposed to find and something that shouldn't have been in my system." Cisco took a deep breath. "The Reverse Flash killed me in order to stop anyone from finding out the truth, to keep what I'd found a secret."
Barry nodded slowly in understanding. "And the remote?"
"I set up this remote to do the same thing as what I did in the dream only from a distance. It tests out the capacitors and should help me prove whether the person I believe is the Reverse Flash is actually the Reverse Flash or not." Cisco felt the remote grow somehow heavier in his hand.
"So what's stopping you?" asked Barry.
Cisco met Barry's gaze. Should he tell Barry who he suspected first? Or would that just set a seed of doubt in Barry's mind, a seed not dissimilar to the one planted in his own mind by Joe's inquiries not few weeks before. A seed that had begun to germinate as a result of his nightmares. "I'm scared that I'm right and if I am…"
"If you are, we can handle it," said Barry firmly.
Cisco flinched. God, he had to tell Barry. He had to. "…even if it's Dr. Wells?"
Barry's face rippled with emotion, surprise, shock, betrayal and disbelief all evident. "Cisco-"
"I know, Barry. It's impossible. Dr. Wells is in a wheelchair, paralyzed. He was nearly beaten to death by the Reverse Flash at Christmas." Cisco swallowed. "I have to know though… I have to try… And if I'm wrong, I'll be only too happy to be wrong. But if I'm right…"
Barry hesitated, a serious conflict being waged behind his pained eyes. Something changed suddenly in his eyes and Barry let out a long and reluctant sigh, looking back at the main building briefly before nodding. Undoubtedly, the urge for Barry to catch his mother's killer had outweighing his fears of Cisco being right. He looked Cisco firmly in the eye. "Do it."
Cisco nodded and pressed the start button on the remote. No turning back now.
Harrison Wells was listening to his ancestor discuss the steps that Captain Singh had taken to isolate the Rogues from the main population at the jail in order to prevent Barry's secret from ever being discovered (some of them quite impressive feats for the police captain) when his phone alarm bleeped. He checked it quickly, panic flooding through him as it notified him that someone was looking into the capacitor systems on Cisco's force field. Who could it be? Cisco? Barry? They had been gone a while now and he had been too distracted by his ancestor and Iris West to check where Cisco and Barry had wandered off to.
"Is there something wrong, Dr. Wells?" asked Iris.
Wells force himself to remain outwardly as calm as possible. "Yes, everything is fine. It's just my reminder to go perform my daily exercises. You're both welcome to stay and wait for Cisco and Barry to return, but I'd better go do my exercises before I forget or Dr. Snow is forced to chastise me for neglecting my own health."
"Well, we did just come to see how Barry was doing," said Eddie, "And he seems to be doing a better than we expected so…"
"We should head back to the apartment," said Iris, "Maybe we'll catch Cisco and Barry on our way out. If not, do you mind saying bye for us?"
"Certainly," said Wells, "Now if you'll excuse me, I shall take my leave."
"See you, Dr. Wells," said Iris as she and Eddie exited the Cortex, Eddie merely giving the doctor a short wave before the two were out of sight.
Harrison immediately headed for the bunker, his frustration building all the while. Who knew? Who did he have to kill now?
Cisco and Barry stood watching the security feed for several tense minutes before anything began to happen. The first sign of any trouble came as the capacitors began to fail while at still full power without explanation. As Cisco's remote began cycling through its program, the force field continued to fluctuate randomly.
Barry glanced at Cisco whose eyes never left the phone. If something had been tampered with, they would have seen it by now. "Cisco, I don't think-"
There was a bright flash of light from the feed, causing both Cisco and Barry to jump ever so slightly. As the light returned to normal, Barry felt his heart skip a beat at the sight before them. There, in the force field, was the Reverse Flash except it clearly wasn't him. It couldn't be the real Reverse Flash. The image flickered, turning ever so slightly to face the doorway. A hologram. It had been some sort of hologram right from the start.
"Dr. Wells, we meet at last." There was a long, tense silence. "My goals are beyond your understanding."
Cisco exchanged a glance with Barry. This couldn't be happening. It was the same dialogue as from the night the Reverse Flash had attacked.
"Oh, I'm not like the Flash at all. Some would say I'm the reverse."
Barry took a step back from the phone, his brain struggling to catch up with the revelation as he felt the beginnings of a panic attack. This couldn't be happening…
There was the sound of a door sliding open and Cisco's eyes widened. "Barry… You need to see this…"
Barry slowly took in a deep breath, doing his best to quell his fear before coming to stand next to Cisco once again. Walking towards the main control panel was Harrison Wells, his legs fully functional and his expression clearly one of extreme annoyance.
"Now how could you have possibly started up without anyone at the controls?" said Wells flatly, his tone horribly dark yet equally curious. He proceeded to shut down the machine, vibrating his hand at an incredible speed and yanking out the main circuit. He dropped it to the floor and proceeded to crush it under his heel. "Well it won't happen ever again… We can't have anyone seeing this too soon…"
Barry watched as Wells proceeded to dismantle several cables without even the slightest difficulty. For feigning weakness, Wells was incredibly strong. Then the man did the unthinkable. He vanished in a streak of red lightning.
"Cisco, shut off the feed," said Barry quickly, "We can't have him find out you were watching him."
Cisco did just that, shutting down his phone and removing the SIM card as well. He looked at Barry with fearful eyes. "…Barry, what do we do?"
"…did you record the footage on your phone?" asked Barry thoughtfully. Cisco nodded numbly. "Good. I think we need to talk to Joe and Oliver. Eddie and Iris too if we can spare them."
"And Caitlin? And Felicity?" asked Cisco.
"They should stay here. Well would get suspicious if we all suddenly disappeared." Barry pulled out his phone, dialing Joe's number. "Hey. Joe, I need you to meet me somewhere. Somewhere away from the Labs. There's this warehouse where Oliver and I have gone to train at a few times. I'll text you the address and meet you there… And Joe?" Barry paused, taking in a shaky breath. "The only thing you need to know it that you were right. You were right about everything."
Joe paced around the roofed walkway of the warehouse, trying not to look at Oliver who stood stock still against one of the support poles. The Starling City vigilante was frowning deeply, clearly deep in thought. Barry had sounded both scared and cryptic over the phone as he told Joe exactly where to meet and for him to shut off his phone before driving there. Oliver had apparently received the same message and was waiting there when Joe arrived, neither saying a word to the other and simply nodding to each other in greeting.
Eddie and Iris pulled up to the warehouse, both giving Joe and Oliver wary looks as they joined the duo on the walkway. Joe merely nodded to them, his mind still drifting between thoughts.
"So I'm guessing Barry called you guys too…" said Eddie, breaking the silence.
Oliver nodded. "And told us to turn off our phones before coming. Did he tell you anything?"
"Only that Caitlin and Felicity wouldn't be joining us and he'd have to fill them in later," said Iris.
"He told me that I was right about something. That I was right about 'everything,' whatever he meant by that," said Joe.
"I meant about Dr. Wells." The quartet turned to see Barry walking toward them, Cisco in tow. The two young men seemed downcast, Cisco looking particularly spooked while Barry appeared to be more angry than anything else. "You were right about his involvement with my mother's death."
"Barry, what are you talking about?" Iris shot a concerned look toward her father and then at Barry. "What does Dr. Wells have to do with the Reverse Flash killing your mom?"
"They're the same person," said Cisco quietly. Iris gave him a confused look. "It's true. Barry and I saw him."
"How?" Oliver stepped away from the support pole, his emotionless expression never changing.
"I…I had a sort of hunch about something," said Cisco, the kid genius obviously beyond nervous, "So I thought I'd test it and…" Cisco handed his phone to Oliver. "Just play the video…"
Joe, Iris and Eddie crowded around Oliver, Joe taking up a spot on the Emerald Archer's right side while Iris and Eddie took up a spot on Oliver's left. What Joe saw next instantly made his mouth run dry. The hologram. The dialogue. It was the same as what they had heard the first time they had confronted the Reverse Flash. Had it all been fake?
"Oh my God." Eddie's soft exclamation brought Joe out of his thoughts once more and his attention back to the video where Harrison Wells was walking into the bunker. The scientist proceeded rip out a circuitry panel with his hand which was vibrating at impossible speeds. Wells continued to take apart the machine with unnatural strength, leaving no doubt in Joe's mind just who they were dealing with. Harrison Wells suddenly racing out of the bunker in a flash of red lightning was just the icing on the cake. Harrison Wells was the Reverse Flash. There was no doubt about it.
Oliver handed the phone back to Cisco as the video ended. "...we need to take him down."
"Agreed," said Eddie, "But how would you propose we do that?"
"As a team." Everyone turned to Cisco who seemed to shrink momentarily before straightening his posture and giving them all a firm gaze. "We have to stop Wells, but we have to do it right. If we do it wrong, not only could we end up dead, but we could destroy our last chance to clear Barry's dad's name…"
"Wells is dangerous," said Oliver, "He needs to be taken care of now."
"Without backup? Without a plan? With Barry at only about one thirty second of his normal strength, we'd be screwed," said Cisco. Oliver clamped his mouth shut, Cisco's words clearly hitting the man hard. "We have to do this the smart way. We have the evidence and when the time comes, we can use it, but we have to be prepare to face Wells, not run in blind and at half strength."
"Cisco's right. We're going to have to take this slow," said Joe. He turned to Barry who had remained silent the whole time. "Bear?"
Barry gave him a weary look, a silent rage still simmering behind his sad eyes. "…we take it slow. But we're going to have to make sure that Wells doesn't find out about what we know until it's too late." He swallowed. "We have to do this together or not at all." He turned to Cisco. "…you up for working on your powers outside the lab?"
"Powers?" Joe stared at Cisco. "You mean…?"
"I have powers, yeah," said Cisco sheepishly, "They're the reason I'm still alive right now and that the Reverse Flash-Wells-didn't rip my heart out of my chest yesterday."
"We'll work on them," said Oliver firmly, finding his voice again. He gave Cisco a brief nod of understanding. "I'll do what I can to help while I'm here and when we're ready to make our move. But you're right, Cisco. We have to do this as a team."
"So where do we start?" asked Iris, crossing her arms, "What's the first step to taking down Wells?"
"We recover," said Barry, "Cisco, Eddie and I. We get back on our feet and then we work things out from there."
"Sounds like a plan," said Iris, wrapping her arm around Eddie's waist. Joe couldn't miss the emotionally drained look that crossed Eddie's face as he pulled Iris close and kissed her head.
A different expression crossed Eddie face suddenly and a small measure of panic made its way into his eyes. "Not to be the bearer of bad news or anything, but there's kind of something else we need to do first…"
"What?" Oliver crossed his arms defensively over his chest. "What are we missing?"
Eddie grimaced, glancing around at the others. "…who's going to tell Dr. Snow and Felicity about Dr. Wells?"