AN: Thank you all for your comments! I always love hearing from all of you. This chapter is going to have a twist that I think a lot of Laurel fans will love. The villain that is introduced in this chapter is the very reason I started writing again, because this specific character just really pissed me off in the new season. I think you all will love it!

A Caged Bird

Barry Allen

Barry Allen. He's supposed to be some hot shot forensic scientist from Central City. Whenever the Starling City forensic team are at a loss, they send their material to Allen. Allen always delivers. Laurel has never met Barry Allen face to face before, but she's heard nothing but great things from the people that have met him. To finally meet a man spoken so highly is a bit overwhelming considering the circumstances behind their meeting. Still, Laurel is looking forward to finally meeting him.

Laurel enters the police station with Oliver by her side. She hates dealing with Vertigo's trial. She hates being constantly reminded that the man still exists. Sometimes she wishes that she had killed him. Oliver would have. Helena would have. Even Tommy would have killed him if he got close enough to him. Laurel - she wants to believe in a different kind of justice. She wants to believe that the legal system still works. Judge Grell, Adam Donner, and all the other corrupt judges and lawyers won't stop her from trying to bring justice back to Starling City.

Her father is standing next to a tall, thin man dressed in a black suit. The brunette man has this youthful smile upon his face when her eyes meet his. Is this the Barry Allen people speak so highly of? Laurel notices that Oliver shifts uneasily at the sight of this man. The man extends his arm out to Laurel. Laurel takes it.

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you Miss Lance. I'm Barry Allen," Barry says. "I look forward to working with you."

"It's nice to finally meet you Mr. Allen," Laurel says. "I've heard so many good things about you."

Barry extends his hand to Oliver. "And, you are Oliver Queen I presume. Detective Lance has said so many good things about you."

Oliver is hesitant, but finally takes Barry's hand in his. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Allen."

"If you'll follow me, I'd like to explain some of the evidence before we go to trial," Barry says.

Laurel and Oliver follow her father and Barry. Laurel eyes Oliver. He looks uncomfortable. It's confusing to her. Laurel shakes it off. It's been a hard situation for everyone close to her. Her nerves are so high that she's probably just imagining all of it.

Barry opens the door into a small conference room. A single beige folder sits in the center of the table. Barry takes his seat first. Her father sits next to Barry. Oliver and Laurel take their seats, Laurel across from her father and Oliver across from Barry. Oliver is still looking to Barry as if he knows him, but Barry looks completely oblivious to it all. Laurel ignores it. It's just Oliver being his protective self. Her nerves are making her imagine situations that are completely non-existent.

"I looked over the evidence," Barry says as he opens the beige folder. He sets two separate pieces of paper in front of her and Oliver. There are images of compounds, and there are equations that she could only dream to understand. Laurel looks up to Barry, waiting for him to explain whatever is on the paper.

"These here," Barry points to the first page. "These are two substances that were found in Tiffany Thomas's bloodstream at the time of her arrest. The first was is a substance very similar to what's on the second page. It's street name is Vertigo, and accidental overdoses are more common than the prescription drug compound Oxycontin. The second compound is linked to Votura. I am of the belief that Tiffany Thomas never consented to engage in prostitution with James Warner that night. I believe she was drugged at the club she worked at and raped. The arresting officer was a new woman on the force by the name of Tina Boland. She handled the case. Miss De La Vega wishes to interview her, but Boland is being difficult."

Her father scoffs. "That idiot…"

"Do you work closely with Officer Boland, Detective Lance?" Barry asks.

"Not closely," her father says. "I'm just unfortunate enough to be graced with her presence once in awhile."

"I had Miss De La Vega do some digging for me on the entire case," Barry continues. "It appears that Thomas insisted she was drugged and she had no control over her actions. I do not even believe her Public Attorney believed her since the most he did for her was get her a plea bargain. She spent some time in a psychiatric ward after serving her assigned jail time. She was arrested twice for driving under the influence years after her first arrest. De La Vega plans to interview her this week. Maybe she can help with your trial, Miss Lance."

Laurel looks down at both pieces of paper. She eyes the first one and tries to imagine what kind of life Tiffany Thomas must have led. The poor girl was gaslighted by an irresponsible police officer. Ten years of living with the stigma of being a prostitute and shamed for a crime she hadn't even committed. Then, on top of that, being institutionalized for telling the truth. It's no wonder this Tiffany Thomas turned to alcohol.

Justice, at least the kind Laurel wants to believe in, is gone. The legal system has always been polluted with people that abuse their power. These people are why this city needs her and Oliver. In a world with a corrupt legal system, vigilantes might be the only one to deliver the justice that these criminals deserve.

"We need to clear her name," Laurel says. "Tiffany Thomas is just as much a victim as I am, and she's been haunted by all this stigma for ten years."

Barry takes both of the sheets of paper and places them back into the beige folder. He rises from his seat. Her father rises to his seat and shakes Barry's hand with a "thank you". Barry turns to both Laurel and Oliver. "It was such a pleasure to meet you, Miss Lance. You too, Mr. Queen."

"It was nice to meet you too, Mr. Allen," Laurel replies.

Barry exits the room, leaving the three of them alone in the conference room. Laurel lets out a deep breath and tries to force away all the lingering trauma. She needs to get out of this room. She needs to just be alone for one moment. Coffee - that will help.

"I'm going to go get some coffee," Laurel says. "I'll be right back."

Laurel leaves the room and walks down the halls till she reaches a small table. She grabs a styrofoam cup and pours herself a hot cup of coffee. She sips the coffee as she tries to ground herself. She needs to be strong for her father and for Sara. She needs to be strong for this city that needs people like her. She can't just fall apart again. She just can't.

"Laurel!"

Laurel is pulled from her thoughts as she looks to see who is calling her name. She sees Helena's with wide eyes. She is looking to Laurel from across the hall. Laurel sees two cops - one male and the other female. Helena's hands are in handcuffs. Laurel advances on both cops without even a thought.

"What is the meaning of this?" Laurel asks.

"Dinah Laurel Lance," the woman says. "You no longer work for the District Attorney's Office. This is police business. I'm going to ask you to step aside."

Laurel eyes the woman's name tag. Boland. She feels anger rise in her chest at the sight of this woman's name. How dare Tina Boland address her by her full name as if she knows her? Heat burns in her veins and the temptation to screech at this woman is so strong. Laurel tenses as she takes one more step towards her. She crosses both of her arms and looks directly into her eyes.

"No, I don't work for the District Attorney's Office," Laurel says. "I work for The Law Offices of Jean Loring. Helena Bertinelli is now a client of ours. I wish to know why she has been placed under arrest."

Boland scoffs at Laurel. "There was a huge gang war at her father's estate. We believe that your client played a part in Frank Bertinelli's family business."

"On what grounds," Laurel says. "I want to see an arrest warrant."

Boland procures a piece of paper from her pocket and thrusts it at Laurel. Laurel takes the paper in hand. She skims over the piece of paper, spotting Judge Grell's name signed at the bottom. She boils with anger. This man had wanted to dispose of her for pushing against his corruption months ago, and she has a sick feeling that he had set Vertigo on her to silence her. She's half tempted to tear the paper to shreds in Boland's ugly, smug face. Laurel reminds herself to be professional, and returns the paper to Boland. The woman sneers at her as she pockets the paper.

"You are your father's daughter," Boland sneers at her.

Laurel crosses her arms and stares her down. "What is that supposed to mean?"

Boland's eyes narrow to her. Laurel is mentally imagining screaming at this woman until her ears bleed. Oliver places one hand on Laurel's shoulder, taking Laurel away from her vigilante fantasies. Laurel draws in a deep breath and reminds herself to be calm.

"What's going on?" Oliver says.

"Call Tommy," Laurel says. "Helena's going to need someone to post her bail."

Laurel and Boland stare each other down. Laurel has an awful feeling about this woman. Perhaps she'll pay Barbara visit. If there's any dirt on this woman, Barbara Gordon is the only woman that might be able to dig it up.