AN: So, this is something new for me! Hope you enjoy!
Central City, really far into the future.
Hadley slid to a stop on the sidewalk to catch her breath. She re-did her ponytail before continuing. She wasn't chasing anyone-it was the middle of the night, which is when she always did her training. Hadley had insomnia, so she spent the nights she couldn't sleep trying to get faster.
As Hadley ran up and down the streets of Central City, she'd help a few stumbling drunks find their way home safely, and they almost always threw up on her in the process. She timed herself by seeing if she could get the person home before they did.
Hadley's watch buzzed on her wrist and she stopped to read a text from her friend Kelsey.
Where are you? We're going to the club.
Hadley looked at the time. It wasn't that late, she supposed, only eleven, but she knew she had to try and get at least some sleep that night. And, on top of that, she didn't think her parents would be crazy about her going to a club at that time.
No, I'm good, Hadley replied. I gotta try to sleep.
But you're still up. Hadley could hear Kelsey saying that out loud and rolled her eyes. None of Hadley's friends knew she was a speedster. It was too dangerous to tell anyone, for two reasons. One, anyone who targeted Hadley could go after them. Two, people were growing more and more meta-phobic as time went on.
Hadley didn't think her friends hated metas, but she knew some of their parents did. No matter who it was, no matter what they did, people would find a way to turn it into something evil. Hadley would always get defensive when she would hear someone say something bad about the Flash, and she always defended him. Her parents warned her not to, telling her that it was an unnecessary risk. In fact, even Barry would tell her not to be so obvious about it. People knew not to challenge her on that topic, though.
Come on, Kelsey messaged back. Just for tonight?
Hadley sighed. Fine, I'll meet you there. Give me ten minutes.
Kelsey replied with fifteen smiley faces and hearts. Hadley rolled her eyes again and ran back to her house. She stopped in her bedroom and looked through her closet for something comfortable, but that also looked like she tried to pull herself together for this.
Hadley settled on high-waisted dark jeans and a black peplum top, her favorite, and black boots. She brushed out her hair and put it into a higher, tighter ponytail than before. Hopefully it wouldn't look as wind-swept as it usually did when she ran. After spraying a little on her hair, Hadley set the hairspray bottle down and left the house to head downtown.
She got to the club a few minutes before her friends did, unsurprisingly. When she saw them coming, Hadley ran back a few blocks so that she could meet them as they walked toward the door.
"Hey, guys", she said.
The group that Kelsey brought consisted of herself and their friends Jack, Calum, and Darcy.
Darcy and Calum were twins, and they were both home from college for the upcoming long weekend. They were a year older than the rest of the group. When Darcy saw Hadley, she ran to her and threw her arms around her neck.
"I missed you so much!", Darcy exclaimed in her high-pitched-super-excited voice. "I can't wait to tell you everything!"
Hadley laughed. "I missed you guys, too. Did you get that grant?"
Darcy was a chemistry major, and she had applied for a grant that the school offered to a small number of students so that she could do an experiment on metahuman genetics. She had always been curious about how powers were passed on from first-generation metas to their children. Hadley was, too, but it was more personal for her.
"They haven't decided yet", Darcy shrugged. Hadley could see that her friend was masking a semester's worth of anxiety. "But I am a finalist!", Darcy added, trying to be optimistic.
The group of friends entered the club and Hadley winced, as she always did, at the thumping bass of the large speakers. Every time she came to any place like that, it took her a minute to adjust to the noise.
The bartender yelled something to them that Hadley couldn't hear, but he was pointing to a bottle of some sort of alcohol, and she shook her head. Kesley, however, nodded, and walked over. The drinking age had been lowered a few decades earlier from twenty-one to eighteen, and Kelsey's eighteenth birthday had been two weeks earlier.
Calum elbowed Hadley and said in her ear, "Not her first time, huh?"
"Definitely not", Hadley snorted.
Kesley finished her drink and rejoined the group. As they made their way onto the dance floor, Jack looked over his shoulder at Kelsey. He had a look on his face that Hadley couldn't read. Kelsey came back before she could say anything.
As Hadley's ears adjusted to the noise, she was able to make out the song that was thumping through the speakers that hung throughout the entire building. It was a song that she knew she had heard before, some mid-2010s pop, but couldn't place the name of. It was Thursday-throwback night.
The group danced and sang for over an hour until Hadley's watch buzzed with the reminder that she needed to be home by one AM. It was twelve forty-five.
"I have to go", Hadley screamed, her voice almost gone. Darcy was the only one who heard her, because the rest of them were too busy laughing and being drunk. Hadley had a feeling that she'd be running back to take Kelsey and Calum home at some point that night.
Hadley waved obviously to Darcy so that the others would see her. Kelsey, absolutely wasted, looked sad.
"Nooo, Hadley", she whined. "You promised me you'd stay."
"No, I told you that I'd come. Nothing about staying later than this."
Kelsey put her arm around her best friend and pulled Hadley closer to herself, "Please."
Hadley pushed her away and quickly left before anyone else could say or do anything.
As she was seeing if the coast was clear to run, Hadley heard a news story from a nearby monitor anchored on a lamppost. The tired newscaster read the headlines in a bored tone, until he lit up.
"And in exciting news tonight, a new speedster has been spotted in the city. Now, I know what you're thinking-this was not the familiar blue streak that we all know and love, Impulse. No, this was a red streak, similar to the Flash himself. Could he have come out of retirement? Is this a new hero? We will have more on this fascinating story as more information becomes available. Now, a word from our sponsors."
Hadley stood frozen on the street, staring up at the advertisement playing on the monitor. It couldn't be the Flash, could it? Barry definitely would have told her if he was going out on the streets again. Besides, she and Wally had been doing a good job of keeping the streets safe for the past few years. Why would he come out of retirement now?
Hadley considered calling him, but it was late, so she decided to wait until the next day to talk to him.
Hadley looked at her watch. 12:54. She would just barely make it.
She tightened her ponytail out of habit and took a deep breath. Right as she was about to speed off, she heard someone walking behind her. Without turning around, Hadley took off.
The stranger was right behind her.
Central City, 2018
Barry was running as fast as he could, and so was Nora. She needed his help to get back to her time, and she told him that she knew how fast they both needed to go to send her back.
Nora sped up, signaling to Barry that they were close. He focused on running faster, faster, faster, until Nora looked back at him and nodded. Barry propelled himself forward, pushing her into the future. When she disappeared in front of him, he tried to slow down, but he couldn't. Barry fell through a portal somewhere and landed on his hands and knees in an alleyway.
Great, he thought, pulling himself up and brushing off his suit. The last thing the team needed was for him to get stuck in the future. Barry wondered if Nora was nearby, maybe she could help him in return.
It was dark, so Barry wasn't worried about being spotted by anyone. As he looked around, he marveled at how different and futuristic Central City looked. He stopped to watch the news report on a monitor attached to a lamppost.
"It is eleven o'clock on July 14, 20-"
Barry's eyes widened. He wasn't in Nora's time. He was easily twenty, maybe even thirty, years past that.
Barry ran to S.T.A.R. Labs to see if he could find anything that could help him get home. He was shocked to see that his team's headquarters had been condemned-for real this time, it seemed. Boards covered the windows, the entrances were closed off, and almost the entire building was covered in caution tape. What had happened there? Did someone find out about what went on at the lab? It wasn't illegal, Barry thought. Well, not totally.
Barry continued to run around the city, checking every familiar place for someone he knew. The lights in Joe's house were off, and Barry realized with a pang of sadness that Joe and Cecile had probably passed away by then. He wondered how their daughter was, what she was doing. She probably had kids of her own.
Barry shook his head to get rid of those thoughts. They made him feel old.
Barry returned to the alley that he had landed in and pulled out his now horribly outdated cell phone. Amazingly, the internet still worked on it. He searched for "The Flash", and three pictures appeared. Himself, Wally, and a young woman in a blue suit. Barry smirked at the idea of Wally taking over his role in the city. He definitely wasn't going to tell the younger speedster about this.
He was curious about the girl, though. She was probably another descendant of his, maybe Nora's daughter. Nora wasn't listed on the page.
All of the speedster's birthdays were listed as well. Barry was still alive, in his mid-seventies. Barry supposed he could go and find himself, ask for help getting home.
Barry took a deep breath, ready to take off again, when he heard someone yell,
"Flash? Flash! Where have you been? We've missed you!"
It was an older man, and Barry swore he knew who it was, but couldn't place him. He waved awkwardly and ran off.
He first went to the loft, even though he was sure that he and Iris had moved out long before then, then ran through different neighborhoods that he and his wife had talked about moving to. Barry had no way to tell which house was his without breaking in and looking around, which he decided against.
He ran around aimlessly for a couple of hours before returning yet again to the alley. As he ran, he saw a young woman watching a monitor on the lamppost. The news anchor was showing a picture of a red streak.
The girl looked around before she took off, her silhouette replaced with a dark blue streak of lightning. Barry followed the trail of light. This was the girl in the blue suit.
This was the speedster who would replace himself and Wally. The next Flash.
The girl stopped a few blocks down. She knew he was following her. She slowly turned around to face him. She stared at him for a moment before walking toward him.
"What are you doing out here? And why are you wearing that suit?"
"Listen, I need your help", Barry said. "And what's wrong with this suit?"
"That suit is, like, I don't even know, forty years old? Which is really beside the point, considering that you retired ten years ago."
Barry took his mask off. The girl took a step back.
"I need your help getting back to my time."