Title: The Trials of a Teenage Speedster
Summary: Life as a teenager is tough; between mean teachers, malicious bullies, ridiculous workloads and a love life heading nowhere, it's hard to find a reason to get up in the morning. Of course, throw in superpowers, vigilantism, supervillains and a mountain of secrets and lies, and your life's just gotten a lot harder. Barry Allen can attest to that. Eventual SnowBarry. Slow Burn.
Beta Reader: Currently, none
Modified: 30/08/16, 12/09/16, 17/09/16, 24/09/16, 28/09/16, 29/09/16, 09/10/16, 11/10/16, 20/10/16
Total word count: 5139
Arc 1- Genesis of a Hero
Chapter 1- The Last Day of Normality
An 11-year old Barry Allen wakes up in the middle of the night, his brow lined with sweat as his nightmare subsided. It had been a nasty one- he knew he shouldn't have stayed up late watching horror movies. A sonic boom had him awake, and he quickly found its source. It was pouring outside- lightning bolts were flying about randomly, streaking across the night sky, illuminating it as though it was late in the morning as opposed to the middle of the night. Storms tended to be severe in Missouri, so he doesn't think much of it as he attempts to drift off to sleep again. So long as the tornado siren doesn't start blaring in the dead of night, he doesn't have anything to worry about.
He can hear the windows shattering as another bolt streaks across the sky. He's quick to dismiss it, before he realises that the sound hadn't even reached him yet- it must have been much farther than he originally thought it was- too far to shatter his windows. Eyes widening slightly as his mother's scream reaches his ears, he jolts back to attention, rapidly getting out of bed in attempt to figure out what was going on.
He only stops his frantic rush for a moment, as the aquarium in his room and all its contents suddenly decide to screw with one of the fundamental forces and gently float out of its container. He stares, uncomprehending, before he hears his mother screaming for his father again, desperation evident in her voice as another glass object violently shatters.
Grabbing his nerf gun in some sad attempt to pretend that he could take on whatever foe awaited him, he runs down the stairs, his movements completely drowned out by the sound of the commotion from the kitchen. Armed and ready to fire Styrofoam darts at any possible danger, he enters the living area, only to stare in shock at the sight before him, dropping his toy gun in his dismay.
Red and yellow lightning streaked across the room in circular motions, moving in ways no light could physically as it twisted and turned in an oval formation. The coloured lightning clashed against its opposite, yellow racing after red, being thrown up against the wall, demolishing anything unfortunate enough to intercept their path. And in the centre of the uncontrolled chaos, his mother laid screaming for her husband, both parents unaware to their son's presence.
"MOM!" he screamed in horror as he witnessed what seemed like a force of nature attempting to harm her.
Everything stopped in that moment. The bolts were still in motion, but his father's protective instincts took over as he grabbed his son by the shoulders, desperately telling him to "Run, Barry, run!"
And then the yellow lightning bolt's attention is drawn towards him.
It only takes a second, but it's enough time for Barry to make out a humanoid figure, a lightning man in a yellow suit with blood red glowing eyes- a monster out of his darkest nightmares, a being that seemed to horrifyingly powerful to even exist.
It starts towards him, and he's sure he was about to die, before he finds himself whisked away by the red lightning, feeling surprisingly solid for the brief moment he's in contact with it. His world spins for a moment as lights and colours all blur together in a disorienting image, but it is soon over, and he finds himself in the middle of a deserted street.
He falls to his knees in nausea as he tries not to expel the contents of his stomach. Eventually, his world stops spinning and the lights and colours become more coherent. Once he feels safe enough to stand without tipping over, he ventures across the street in his silent panic as he tries to read the sign indicating the street name. He recognises it- he's twenty blocks away from his house, almost near his school in fact.
Panicking, he runs off towards his house, his duck slippers quacking all the way beneath his weight.
He soon arrives in his neighbourhood, panicking and out of breath. His attention is drawn by the cop cars in front of his house, and he allows himself to briefly hope for one moment that all is well, that whatever horrors had dawned upon his family had been dealt with, and he could pretend the whole event had simply been a figment of his imagination, unspoken of and forgotten about until it fades away in his memory for good. It is a hope which is quickly diminished as he sees his father being carried away by the men that should have been there to help. It's only then that he realises what's happening.
He runs to the crime scene, to the blue cover lying on the humanoid-shaped indent, unwilling to believe. Before any of the officials can stop him, he lifts it.
His mother's cold, unfeeling eyes bore into his own, staring into his very soul, and he can't help the tears that leaked from behind his own. The danger, though horrifying, had never seemed so real before, even when face to face with the lightning man. Not until he witnesses his mother's pale, lifeless face, littered with drops of crimson, does he truly believe his worst fears.
The uniformed individuals try to pull him away from his mother's body, trying to comfort him, but he can't hear a word they're saying- it all fades into an incoherent mumble as his brain tries to deal with the concept that had been dropped on him like a bombshell- he doesn't have a mother anymore.
They drag him to the station, still in his pyjamas and quacking duck slippers, and he just stares silently towards the back seat, seemingly staring through the very fabric of the universe. He couldn't move or speak even if he wanted to- his entire body feels numb, weighing him down with limbs of iron and a heart too heavy to carry. His mind shut off completely as he stares into the inky blackness of the night, replaying the events in his memory.
He doesn't know when his background had faded into that of the police precinct, and he doesn't care. He doesn't even realise that he'd been awake for hours on end since his mother's murder, and he only felt vaguely aware that they moved him into a private room to question him on the nights' events.
Briefly, he catches one of the men telling him that they were going to make sure his father got his due for what had happened, and the rest of reality seems to come crushing down on him. He denies everything, claiming firmly that it was the man in the lightning that had murdered his mother to any and all who would hear, but they just looked at him with sad eyes clouded in sympathy and disbelief, and it's clear that his story is too outlandish for them to believe- they who had not seen the monster tear apart his home, who had not seen physics take a back seat as the lightning man destroyed his entire life in a day, who had not seen him suddenly teleported almost the entire distance to his school. They try to explain that his story couldn't have happened, that it was impossible, but he wouldn't have it.
No matter how often they tell him he's crazy, that he's delusional, or that his mind is fabricating a story to help him accept what he saw because it couldn't handle seeing such an event as anything other than an act of God, he knows what he'd seen, and would insist time and time again on the credibility of his story, telling them to ask his father and compare his with his own. They do, and they are unable to deny the fact that they were all-but identical, but they still don't believe him.
They don't let them see his father, no matter how much he begs. He spends the night at the precinct, sulking and grieving, angry at the world for every person who'd looked him dead in the eye and called him a liar, or crazy, or even accused him of conspiring with his father.
He promises himself that no matter what happens he would bring to light what truly transpired in his house, and clear his father's name. But most of all, he would make sure that no one would ever suffer the same injustices as he.
"…Therefore, we can safely say that the velocity of an object moving at a constant speed is equal to the distance travelled divided by the time taken. Mr. Allen, if a plane moves the distance of 500km in 1 hour, what is its velocity?"
When people think of superheroes, they tend to think of courageous, nigh-omnipotent beings with an unbendable moral compass and the desire to bring justice to others, even if it means putting their own life on the line.
If asked what they thought superheroes would be like before donning their costumes, before winding up with their spectacular abilities that allow them to do what they do best, most people believe that they must have acted the same way; selfless, brave, athletic, sometimes even dramatic, and probably extremely popular, for who would pass up the chance to befriend such a person?
Other people, the small percentage of the population capable of using common sense, would know that most people with extraordinary abilities, such as bursting into flame or having super strength, would not have gained such abilities naturally, or at such an early age, so there might also have been a chance that those heroic individuals might just have been just another faceless individual in the sea of students that was high school. These people had the right idea in regards to Barry Allen and his friends, only they were worse off because Barry's entire friend group, save for Iris West, were at the very bottom of the social grapevine.
"42! Wait… what?" mumbled Barry as he woke up with a jolt, his physics teacher Ms. Lee- a bitter fifty year old woman who seemed to find joy in torturing students- staring down at him and giving him the evil eye. "What was the question again?" he asked, blushing harshly with his eyes glued to the workbook he'd fallen asleep on while the rest of the class erupted into giggles, noticing the tiny pool of drool that had been forming.
"Well Mr. Allen, now that you've graced us with your presence," Ms. Lee began, sarcasm and irritation oozing out of her voice, "would you care to tell us the velocity of a plane which has travelled 500km in 1 hou-"
"139 metres per second?" he questioned, and from the frustrated noise his teacher made as she turned her attention back to her lesson he could only assume that he'd answered correctly.
"Dude," whispered Cisco Ramon, his best friend and study partner from the desk behind Barry. "It's bad enough that Ms. Lee hates your guts, do you want the Ms. Dodds-wannabe(1) to have even more reasons to justify it?"
"Not my fault," Barry whispered back, only to get a raised eyebrow from Cisco as a response. "Not this time at least…"
"What happened, then? Were you 'held against your will' and 'forced' to watch a chick flick with Iris and her friends again?
"No, Iris woke me up in the middle of the night because she found a giant spider in her room- I ended up searching for three hours only to find one of those plastic spiders we hid in her room and lost when we were twelve. And don't say that- I hate those movies and you know it!"
"Is that why you went through two tissue boxes when we watched The Notebook with Iris on her birthday?"
"Is there something you wish to share with the class, Mr. Ramon?" echoed Ms. Lee's shrill voice.
"Uhh, no ma'am, just telling Barry what he missed," he lied, successfully deflecting the attention back onto an incredulous looking Barry, who played along and confirmed Cisco's story.
Ms. Lee looked like she wanted to argue, but the duo were saved by the bell which rang moments after.
"Make sure to read pages 126 and 127 by next lesson, and work out questions 1 through 7 on page 129. And as a quick reminder to the students who have chemistry class with me, your investigations are due next Wednesday, and any late work will automatically reduce marks from your grade," she called out to the class as they were dismissed.
Barry couldn't help but throw a light-hearted punch at his best friend's shoulder as they shuffled out of the classroom as a form of payback.
"Ow! What was that for?" Cisco demanded, subconsciously rubbing his shoulder.
Barry snorted. "You can't seriously tell me that actually hurt you- a kitten could punch harder than that."
"If that kitten was on steroids, and was actually a lion cub, then it would hit harder."
"You need to get out more- we're never going to get Woodward off our backs if that punch hurt."
"What exactly do you expect from me? I'm not a jock- I'm a science geek and proud. Besides, it's not like you'd do any better. I can see it now; Tony Woodward vs Barry Allen- a fight to the bloody finish. Would you like your funeral to be open-casket or closed?"
Barry laughed despite himself. "It wouldn't be that bad- I think I'd manage to give him a black eye before my demise."
Cisco looked sceptic. "Uhh… no. At best, you'd give him a split lip."
"The sad thing is that's probably true. So did you see the trailer for that new trailer for the Spider-Man movie that's coming out next year?" Barry asked.
"Of course! You think I'd miss anything that has to do with my all-time favourite superhero, like ever?"
"I thought your favourite was Green Arrow in Star City?"
Cisco rolled his eyes. "I meant favourite fictional superhero- and although I love Green Arrow it's not like there's that much to choose from- I'm stuck with him or that bat guy that allegedly is staking a claim in Gotham. Honestly I think that's just an urban legend because who in their right mind would dress up as a giant bat of all things, and seriously the descriptions are really inconsistent- one moment it's a giant bat hybrid and the next it's some dude in a black cape shooting grappling hooks all over the place."
"I don't know dude… remember back when you use to think GA was a myth?"
"That is not the same thing. Besides there was actual physical proof that he was real- his arrows. And really, a green archer I can understand, like you said before he probably ended up training in some forest environment before returning back to Star to fight for justice or whatever, but really what could make anyone want to dress up as a bat of all things?"
"Meh, I've heard he uses weapons too- apparently the GCPD calls them 'batarangs' because they're, get this, bat shaped boomerangs."
Before either of them could continue their debate, Barry was dragged backwards by the collar of his shirt and slammed against the lockers. He winced as his books and papers fell to the floor, flying all around the room, and he couldn't help but yelp as the handle of the locker dug into his shoulder blade. Tony seemed to take his involuntary noise as a sign of encouragement because he then proceeded to press Barry into the lockers in a fashion that his weight was all focused on the handle, rather than just leaning on it.
He bit back a screech of pain because he knew at this point that it would only serve to encourage Tony further, and he did not feel up to having his tall-ish stature used against him by being shoved into one of the terribly cramped lockers, as he'd been locked in numerous times before, occasionally being let out a few minutes later by Cisco or Caitlin, but more often than not having to wait until a teacher or janitor walked by to let both him and Cisco and Caitlin out.
"What's up, Allen?" Tony asked as he towered over Barry, being a few years older, with a smug and satisfied expression plastered on his face; an expression that Barry had learned long ago to associate with pain.
Tony and Barry had always shared a mutual dislike for each other, mainly because while Barry was incredibly gifted for his age, being branded as a nerd as early as third grade, Tony was severely lacking in the intelligence department and envied him, along with anyone else in school that regularly got As in most subjects. Of course, it was bearable at first; a few rumours here and there but nothing too severe. And then things got very complicated when Tony was held back enough times to wind up in Barry's class at age nine.
Ever since then the older boy targeted him and his friends, which at the time were only Caitlin and Cisco, because they were raising the grading curve for the entire class, something he could not afford to have. It started subtly, a few threats, a few shoves, but it escalated further when Caitlin decided enough was enough and decided to report him to a teacher. Unfortunately for them, Tony happened to be part of the football team and earned the school a lot of money, so her pleas fell on deaf ears, but it did make Tony aware that someone was willing to stand up to him. He then took a more direct approach, physically hurting them and demanding that they complete certain homework assignments, and at that point Caitlin had been too discouraged from seeking help.
Of course, when the inevitable day of Barry's mother's murder came, Tony was less than sympathetic- he truly couldn't care less about what happened. The only reason Tony even bothered to remember that particular fact was because it opened up an entire new set of torments he could unleash on Barry. It had seemed that the worst day of his life had made Tony choose him as his prime victim, if only because he could hurt him in a way he couldn't with his other targets. Of course, considering Barry was still suffering from the loss of both his parents, each harsh reminder of what he had lost only served to increase his enmity towards his tormentor. It had gotten to the point where Barry had pinned a picture of Tony's face to a dartboard in his room when his new crush and foster sister had found out about Tony's bullying, and had taken every chance she could to stand up for Barry.
And as the years went by, Iris and Barry both started to mature, and Tony developed feelings for Iris, despite her obvious hatred of him. To Tony, her hatred seemed to be her way of playing 'hard to get', and instead of being chased off by her anger at her foster brother's mistreatment, he tormented him even more in attempt to score a date, despite being almost three years older than her when his crush first developed when Iris had turned 14.
Of course, when he'd gone just a step too far in his torment of Barry and gotten suspended for three days, he'd immediately blamed it all on Barry for making so much noise. Instead of backing down, his bullying increased threefold.
"Woodward," Barry stated with a glare. He knew he'd end up paying for it, but he just couldn't keep his opinion to himself when staring him down.
"Heard you got a 96% on the trigonometry test last week, but then I thought that that can't be right because I specifically told you not to get higher than a 70%, didn't I?" He asked rhetorically as he squeezed Barry's shoulders enough to make him flinch- that was going to leave a bruise.
Despite this, Barry still didn't back down like most others would've. "Why would I do that, Tony? I'm not about to ruin my future just because you can't-"
His words were cut off by a sharp, stabbing pain blooming across his cheek, before he was thrown across the floor, falling with an audible thump.
"It's because of you that I fucking failed, you freak!" Tony growled as he stalked forwards and lifted Barry up and set him down roughly on his feet. Barry only had a moment to register what was going on before he was met with a fist colliding with his chest. "That's for showing off," Tony grunted before releasing another punch aimed towards his face. "That's for making me get a bad grade," he said, causing Barry to stumble back a few steps, only giving him a moment's break before Tony was up in his face again, "And that's for being such a freak!"
The final one threw Barry back against the floor where he slammed his back against the lockers seeing as the impact didn't absorb all the momentum. He could hear Cisco's protests as he tried to pull Tony off, but they fell on deaf ears and did nothing the slow Tony down. Fortunately, Barry had something that humans call the 'fight or flight' instinct ingrained into his DNA, so with the adrenaline rushing inside him, causing his heart to beat wildly at an impressive rate and his pain to numb, Barry subconsciously decided that since his opponent was bigger, stronger and meaner than he was, then there was only one option left.
He could hear the shouts of "Allen, get back here you coward!" behind him before Tony charged towards his fleeing figure like a rampaging bull, but that only served as incentive to pick up the pace rather than slow down.
He darted past the idle students and the teachers rushing from one classroom to the next, past the cafeteria and the gymnasium with Tony hot on his trail, with seemingly no goal in mind but to get away from his pursuer, idly realising that if only he'd had this kind of incentive in gym class then he'd be acing it, and only when he collided his female best friend, who was standing by the locker with his crush, did he slow down.
"Barry!" Caitlin yelled as she picked herself up from the floor. "What the heck is wrong with you?!"
He didn't get the chance to explain because at that moment, Tony had caught up with him.
"Think you're going to get away that easily, freak?" Tony asked as he approached.
Iris, well aware of the situation at hand, tried to jump to his rescue, unaware that by doing so she'd only anger Tony further. "Hey, leave him alone Tony," she said warningly.
Tony snorted. "Or what, he'll sick his dad on me? Is he gonna murder me too then?"
"SHUT UP!" Barry screeched, trying his hardest not to let the tears that were prickling his eyes loose.
"Aww, is the little orphan boy gonna cry now? Does he want his mommy to kiss it and make it better? Oh right, she can't because she's dead- your father killed her."
Barry shook his head, and the three occupants of the room couldn't hear his mumbled "No he didn't," because Iris was too busy yelling at Tony for bullying her brother. Unnoticed by his crush and bully, he picked himself up and ran as far away as he could, without and destination or goal except to get away.
Barry was found two hours later sulking outside in the school yard, huddled off in a corner, by none other than Caitlin Snow.
"So… you missed third period," she said as she approached him. He looked up, and though she wasn't looked she couldn't help but notice the faint tear tracks that the sunlight glistened off of. She hated seeing him like that, knowing that such a kind and innocent person could be so mistreated in the world.
"Mr. Jason will understand," he mumbled.
"…Are you feeling okay?" she asked, only to wilt under his glare. "Sorry, stupid question."
"I hate him, Caitlin. I hate him and I can't even do anything about it because he's so much bigger than me. I feel powerless and alone even though I know you guys are there for me and have my back… I just… I don't know how to explain it but it frustrates me."
Caitlin nodded, and she understood- truly understood- what he was going through, because she'd felt it enough times herself, and it hurt her to see her best friend- the one she would jokingly refer to as her little ball of sunshine- so upset. "It gets better. It has to. There's no way that this isn't going to come to bite him back someday. Every time you fall victim to that arrogant pig, it's just going to make you stronger. One day, when you're Central City's leading forensic scientist -or whatever it is you're going to do when you're older- Tony's going to make a mistake. He's going to hurt someone, or do something, and he's going to go to jail, and you'll get to watch him getting dragged away, finally getting justice- not revenge; justice- for everything he did to you, and you're going to stand there, knowing that you were the one who gathered the evidence needed to convict him."
And Barry smiled despite himself. "Yeah, nice sentiment. Honestly though, he'll probably just end up working at his father's fireworks store or something. But it's still a nice fantasy."
"Did it make you feel better, though?" she asked hopefully.
"…Maybe a little bit. Definitely more helpful than the 'Don't let him get to you, it'll only encourage him' bit I get from the teachers."
"Hey, would it cheer you up if I told you that Iris actually decked Tony in the face, and someone took a video which is currently circling the social media? Talk about a blow to his ego."
Barry's mood had taken a complete one-eighty before she had even finished her first sentence.
"Hey Barry, can you help me out with number five?" asked Iris as she and Barry sat at the kitchen table and attacked their respective piles of homework. "I'm not really great at math. But seriously, when are we going to need to know things like trigonometry in real life?"
Barry shrugged as he looked over his foster sister's homework. "Dunno, navigation, maybe?"
Iris rolled her eyes, "Right, I'll be sure to remember this stuff when I'm lost in the middle of the Amazon."
"… You multiplied when you should have divided in step 3; the answer should be 65"
Realisation instantly dawned on Iris as Barry pointed out her mistake. "Thanks Bear, what would I do without you?"
"You wouldn't last a week," Barry teased, and before Iris could retort their conversation was interrupted by Iris's dad, Detective Joe West, arriving home after a day's work.
"Hey Joe," Barry chimed, not looking up from his work.
Iris, on the other hand, was more interested in jumping at the opportunity to take a break from her work, and did not hesitate to strike up a conversation.
"Hey Dad, how was work?"
Unfortunately, Detective Joe West, although brilliant at his work, had a bad habit of accidentally revealing confidential information about ongoing cases to his family, and more often than not it would be information that had not been released to the public yet. Luckily, both Iris and Barry knew better than to speak about such information to the public, with Iris having had that lesson drilled into her head by her mother from the moment she could speak and Barry having enough common sense to keep such matters secret.
"I swear this city just keeps getting weirder every day. Five known criminals were found dead in random alleyways in the Upper East Side, and Julio Mendez(2), the lead CSI, can't make heads or tails of it because, get this, they were found frozen, each one of them was encased in a block of solid ice. And it's only August. But that's not even the weirdest part- this one guy, James McGuire, showed signs of a struggle and Julio theorizes that the victims were hit by blasts of ice, because apparently he managed to dodge the original blast and the street lamp behind him had 'zero fiscal elasticity', which apparently means that the particles in the lamp, which normally vibrate constantly, where completely still- frozen even. It was so bad that when Julio accidentally bumped his arm against the lamp, it shattered like he'd thrown a bowling ball at a glass. After the case is closed, Julio might just bring some scientists in from either STAR or Mercury Labs for further investigation. He looked ridiculously excited about the prospect- something about 'absolute zero', whatever that is."
Iris was blatantly gaping when Joe had finished recounting his story, and Barry, whose work had long been forgotten in favour of scoping out the unexplainable case, stared at him wide-eyed.
"And you haven't gotten any leads?" Barry asked curiously with an underlying hope of finding a new connection with his own unexplainable case.
"None at all, although Julio seems to think that some new vigilante like that Green Arrow guy in Star, one who's not afraid to take lives first and ask questions never, but it's all up in the air at this point."
"Are these guys connected in any way?" Iris asked, not wanting to be left out of the conversation.
"They're all suspected gang members, but they're from the smaller ones scattered around the city and none of them are connected beyond the fact that they have criminal records."
Barry raised an eyebrow. "Are they all from the same one or two gangs or…?"
"Not according to our investigations."
"Then it might be some sort of gang war, or some criminal hoping to rise up by intimidating some of the lower-tiered gangs. Or it could be just some guy who just wants to cause chaos."
Joe shook his head. "We've got an undercover cop working in one of the gangs- some Puerto Rican one called Los Lobos- and he claims that the higher-ups are just as baffled as we are, and extremely panicked and paranoid. And a scared criminal is always a violent one."
"Any idea on the weapon?" Iris asked, intrigued.
"Not a clue, but we need to get some traction on this, and fast, before it gets any worse."
A/N: To those who've been following me for a while, yes this is the promised reboot of my original (now deleted) story, and I've got to say that although I'm regretting spending so much time on something that ended up scrapped, I am definitely not disappointed by the way this one is looking so far, and I hope you aren't either.
Now, some of you may have noticed the numbers next to certain sentences or words, and those are just indicators of something that will be explain here, in the author's note, like so:
1: Ms. Dodds is a Percy Jackson and the Olympians character. Read the books if you haven't already- they're awesome.
2: Julio Mendez… well he's the CSI since Barry doesn't work for CCPD at this point. (Also, am I the only one who is kinda curious about that? I mean as far as I know Barry's a forensic assistant so… where's his supervisor?) Fun fact, Julio Mendez actually worked alongside Barry as a CSI in the 1990s The Flash TV series. I thought it'd be fitting to let him be the CSI for that reason.
Now, I know not much has happened in this chapter, it's basically an intro+ a bunch of setup+ SnowBarry fluff scene, but it's still only the first chapter. Oh, and I'm going to try my absolute hardest to keep a semi-regular update schedule this time around- by the time you see this I'll probably have finished the first ten chapters at least. And I'm trying to make them a bit longer and of a higher quality than the one's I use to write for my older version but obviously it'll take me a bit longer to update.
Oh, and yeah, this will be SnowBarry. Maybe. Eventually.
By the way, that gang I mentioned- Los Lobos? Totally a real thing… in the comics anyway.
Until Next Time,
P.S. Do you guys want my old QOTC to come back, or just hold out on it altogether?
Next Chapter: Lightning Rods