Hey. I know it's been some time since I updated and I apologize for that. I planned on finishing this story this summer (I did the same thing last summer as well) but, sadly, life got in the way and there were not enough hours in the day for me to find time to work on this thing. I'm really excited about this chapter. Things are starting to pick up and head towards the ending finally. There are a few more chapters on the way. Hopefully I will finish this by christmas.
I only own the plot.
It was a little after three in the morning when an exhausted Jai West entered his small studio apartment on the outskirts of downtown Central City. He bartended at a small little joint on Fourth Street a few nights a week to pay the bills. He wasn't really into stealing things lately. The speedster was never interested in the money or the other things that most villains are interested in. He just wanted to stick it to his family. Well, he did. Lately the former Flash hopeful had a lot of doubts. It had been three months since he had encountered his long lost father and things didn't feel right anymore. However, Zoom was all he had left. He still hated Flash, but for different reasons. He hated what she stood for and what she represented. That hatred had remained since day one. Only now, Jai could not bring himself to actually hate his sister anymore.
The tall young man didn't even mess with the light as he stumbled in a straight line towards the couch that served as his usual bed. Jai never really bothered with furnishing his place. It wasn't like he was ever going to have people over. The speedster grabbed a blanket off of the floor and collapsed onto the couch with a groan. Sleep would've come quickly if it were not for the light that had blinked on and filled the room with a dim gold glow.
Jai quickly sat up in alarm. His eyes quickly found the smirking figure leaning against the wall in the corner of the room. The middle-aged man had dirty blonde hair and was wearing jeans and a red Keystone City sweatshirt.
"What do you want?" The exhausted young man barked at the stranger. Jai was in no mood to put up with anything at the moment.
The intruder held his hands up in a mock sign of surrender and let out a small chuckle. "I just want to talk, boy. I mean no harm."
"Who are you?" Jai demanded, crossed his arms and put on his usual scowl. He was two seconds away from kicking the man out of his apartment, but he was curious enough to see why someone would hunt him down to chat with him. The speedster wasn't really into the friend thing.
The man smirked and tilted his head slightly. "A friend," he replied simply.
Jai's frown deepened and his patience began to wear thin. "What's your name?"
"Thawne. Eobard Thawne." The words came smoothly off of the intruder's tongue.
"What kind of name is that?" Jai yawned. There was something about the man's name that seemed familiar after a moment, but the young man was too tired to entertain the thought.
Thawne shifted his position slightly and countered, "What kind of name is Jai?"
The young man made no effort to conceal his annoyance as he stared at the intruder. "What d'you want?" Jai asked again.
"I'd like to have a little chat." Thawne shrugged. "After all, you and I have something in common."
The young man frowned. "What could we possibly have in common? I don't even know you! Will you just get out of my apartment? I'm too tired for this." Jai was fed up with this nonsense.
The intruder shook his head. "Not so fast, young man. We have much to discuss. You and I have a lot more in common than you may think." Thawne grinned and revealed a yellow uniform.
Jai's eyes grew wide and his heart began pacing. "How-how did you find that?" The young man sputtered. He was so careful about concealing his alter ego that he had never anticipated the possibility of someone finding out what he did in his free time.
The blonde man looked at the spandex and smiled. "Y'know, I never would have guessed that you of all people would replace that idiot that thought he was good enough to take my place."
The young speedster's brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of the intruder's words. "Are you talking about Hunter Zolomon?"
Thawne nodded. "The only thing that man ever did right was tricking your father into the speedforce, as far as I can tell from what I've read."
"What are you getting at?" Jai demanded. He fought the yawn growing in his throat.
Malice brewed in the other man's eyes. "We speedsters are more than any man. We are not held back by the sands of time. Our abilities make us superior to everyone else and it's time the world realizes it. We were never meant to save the world, Jai, we were meant to rule it."
Chills ran down the young villain's spine as he realized how serious the other speedster was.
"I've come to offer you a place in my army. Boy, you and I are going to do great things one day." Thawne grinned sadistically. "With your help I am going to rebuild this world."
Jai couldn't believe his own ears. The man in front of him was clearly insane if he could think that he could take over the world. "Why would you need my help?"
"Things have changed since I was last here. Everyone has moved and I'm having trouble locating the things I need. You, on the other hand, know where everything is. We have to do a little housekeeping before get down to business." Thawne explained his motives.
What Jai imagined that housekeeping meant made him sick to his stomach. He wanted no part in Thawne's plan, but knew better than to not fear the man who stood before him. "What do you mean by housekeeping?"
Professor Zoom cackled. "Son, before I begin my new order we need to make sure that nothing gets in the way of me and the cosmic treadmill. You can't take over the world without killing a few speedsters." He shrugged like it was nothing to slaughter a whole family.
Jai's body went numb, but he stood his ground. "You can't possibly think that is something you can easily do."
"Well if I were to do it I would probably have a hard time tracking everyone down. Though since I've gotten back I've been doing a lot of reading and it turns out that your twin sister is now the Flash. I have a feeling that you keep tab on her and that makes your task a piece of cake."
A year ago Jai would've agreed to help Thawne. However today he did not find himself in the same position. Inside his chest anger boiled. He didn't want to hear any more of the insane villain's plans. "No."
"No? Boy, what do you mean by no?" Eobard challenged. He did not expect this response from his potential ally.
"I will not execute my family so you can lay the world to waste." Jai found a hidden courage within his heart and stood tall against the intruder. He saw the self-righteous look on Professor Zoom's face melt into fury.
"Then why even bother wearing this at all!" Thawne roared and chucked the yellow uniform at the young man.
Jai caught it with ease and let the fabric slip from his fingers onto the couch behind him. "I have my reasons for taking up this identity and it's none of your business."
"You're weak that's why. You want to have power but you're too weak to obtain it!" Professor Zoom spat. "Humanity is the downfall of greatness. If you're ever going to get anywhere in life you can't get over your conscience."
"Get out!" The young man ordered and pointed at the door.
Thawne complied and headed towards the threshold, but turned back before he made his exit. "I'm not going to make this offer again. You will die with the rest of them if you try to stop me."
The ominous warning echoed through the speedster's head as he tried unsuccessfully to get a few hours of sleep. At first he just wanted nothing to do with Thawne or his wicked plan, but as the night drew on into morning he couldn't help but feel guilty about keeping the information to himself. However, while Jai did feel guilty, he had no idea on how to act upon said guilt. No one would believe him that Thawne had returned. If he told the league it would be a prison sentence. If he told his family things would be even worse. The only question that remained in the air was if it was worth the cost of his freedom to save the world.
"Thank you for meeting me for dinner. I always enjoy your company." Damian smiled and smoothed the fabric napkin on his lap. The woman siting across from him was wearing a beautiful turquoise dress that made her red hair look like an October sunset.
"Thank you for inviting me. It's good to get out of work every once and a while." Irey grinned. She had spent the last three weeks pulling long hours at the lab trying to figure what went wrong with the treadmill. So far her success was limited.
The heir reached for his glass of wine and motioned for a toast. "To an unforgettable night."
"Oh really?" The speedstress raised an eyebrow and chuckled. "I thought we were just getting dinner?"
"Dinner was the only way I could get you to come." Damian said sheepishly. He had the whole night planned out. There was a showing of one of Irey's favorite vintage science fiction films in a tiny little theater a few blocks away and he was going to surprise her with the tickets once the main course arrived.
"Well I'd be lying if I said I loved surprises, but I'm confident that whatever you have in store for this evening will be absolutely wonderful." The redhead raised her glass to meet her date's. "To an unforgettable night."
The glasses chimed in the air and the two took a sip of their wine. They were sitting on the second story balcony of a small but fancy restaurant in downtown Keystone. It was about a quarter to seven and the sun had already dived beneath the horizon. The city itself was vibrant with light as the night scene took off into motion.
"So how are things back in Gotham?" Irey asked between bites of her salad.
Damian shrugged, "Things are good. Father is taking more interest in the company since he has more time on his hands. Timothy is still trying to adjust to the new uniform. Though I honestly thing that Richard is going to take it over sooner rather than later. I don't feel that the job is fit for Tim."
"That's good, I guess," the speedster nodded. "How's the night business going?"
"Ah, crime never sleeps or takes a vacation it seems, but don't we all know that by now." Damian shook his head softly and took another sip from his glass. "How is Barry doing?"
"He is adjusting. The poor man has twenty years to make up. He's staying with my parents until we can find him a new place." Irey tried not to frown. Barry was struggling to fit in again. It was hard seeing him hurt so much. "So what are your grand plans for the rest of our evening?"
"Well I—," The young man began only to be cut off by a loud explosion followed by a yellow streak.
Irey's eyes narrowed in anger and she stood up to survey the damage to the city square. The fountain in the middle of the area was gone and water flooded out from the hole in the ground.
"Shall we make our leave?" Damian asked and stood up to join Irey.
"No. Stay there. I'll take care of this." She dug her Flash ring out of her purse and set it on the seat. "I won't be long."
"Wait!" The young man caught the redhead's wrist. "Are you sure you want to do this? I don't want you getting hurt."
The speedster scowled. "Damian, this is my city and my mess to clean up. But if you're that concerned you can come after me if I'm not back in thirty minutes." She quickly yanked her wrist out of his grip and trotted off to the women's room before he changed his mind.
"Please be careful, Iris." The vigilante whispered under his breath and glanced at the wreckage at the center of the square. He had a horrible feeling that things might go wrong. Things always turned from bad to worse when the twins clashed. It was a safe bet to say that this time would be no different.
Damian fished his Justice League earpiece out of his pocket and placed it in his ear. He anticipated the call from the scarlet speedster. He really hoped that she wouldn't let her stupid pride go to her head.
After a little contemplation he decided it would be better if he alerted the West family about the situation. He shot off a brief text message to Artemis that indicated it would be in her best interest to turn on the news. Irey was probably going to kill him for this, but he felt that any punishment she would give out would be one hundred times better than possibly losing her.
Irey was racing through Keystone at breakneck speeds in pursuit of a man clad in yellow. She found it very odd that Jai would run this fast. It wasn't his style. He preferred to get in her face, not lead her to a chase. The heroine had yet to get a good look at her brother. It was a chore enough to follow him.
"Flash! What do you think you're doing?"
The speedster flinched as Milagro's voice came screaming through her old team communicator. It was surprising that Milagro still had her earpiece. She knew if the lantern knew about her latest quest of justice it would not be long until her parents found out.
She put a hand to her ear. "What does it look like I'm doing Mil?"
"Are you nuts?! Chica this is a horrible plan. Wait for some backup."
The last thing Irey wanted was more people going after Zoom. He was her brother and her mess. It's time she finally handled the situation.
"By the time you arrive he will be gone."
"No, Mil. I'm not going to let him escape this time. Please, let me do this on my own."
The yellow blur was stepping up the pace and Irey was beginning to worry for the civillains. Soon she would be breaking windows if her speed increased anymore. Nevertheless she took the risk and advanced in a burst of energy to meet Zoom. The villain had somehow anticipated her move and quickly danced out of her reach.
"Wally! Get in here!" Artemis barked from the living room. The speedster was there in an instant. Concern filled his mind as he easily recognized his wife's tone.
"Babe, what is it?" The archer was glued to the TV screen. The local news was on and Wally did not have to see any more for his heart to sink. Something horrible was going on.
Artemis was curled up on the couch with a mug of tea rested in her hands and her cell phone on her lap. Her hair was up in a messy bun and her forehead was creased with lines of worry. She turned to her husband and sighed, "He's at it again."
The redhead shook his head sadly and plopped down on the sofa next to the archer and put his arm around her shoulders. He didn't know how to comfort Artemis. His pain was equal to hers. No parent wanted to see their children fight.
"What do we do Arty?" The retired hero knew he could not intervene this time. At the pace they were going he would not be much help.
The archer reached for his free hand and squeezed his fingers. "Nothing," she sighed. "We do nothing."
They watched for a few more minutes in silence. For Wally it seemed like an eternity. He had set his mind into finding a weakness or something that he could help stop his son finally, but the more he watched the man in yellow the less it seemed to be Jai.
Down the hall the front door squeaked open and slammed shut. The sound of nails scampering across the hardwoods was followed by a furry blur that bolted towards Artemis. The archer was too absorbed by the screen to pay the dog much attention. Skippy immediately stopped all of his attempts to kiss his master's face when he recognized her worried expression. He let out a short whine and glanced over at Wally before trotting out of the room in search of his water bowl.
A few minutes later Barry strolled into the room wearing a fresh set of clothes. "What's going on? Is something wrong?" He had been out on a walk with the dog when Artemis first received the news of the Flash's latest battle.
"Zoom is back." The blonde woman muttered. She spat the words out like they left a bad taste in her mouth, but there was no doubt that fear was laced in her tone. Her eyes never left the screen.
Barry adopted the same expression the same expression the worried parents wore as he looked to the screen. He sat down on the armchair closest to his nephew. Wally was silent and oddly still. The redhead was focusing on something on the screen. The older speedster knew that something was up. Wally never stayed still, especially in stressful situations.
"Kid, what's wrong?" The speedster's question didn't break the redhead's concentration.
Artemis frowned and looked away from the screen at the blonde man. "Barry, there is nothing about this that isn't wrong!"
Wally broke his gaze to see what his wife was yelling about. "What?"
"What's wrong? I know that look. Something is up."
The father sighed and motioned to the screen. "There's something funny about the Zoom. He doesn't run like Jai at all, but his style looks so familiar." Wally had trained his kids, he could tell who they were by the way they ran. The Zoom on the TV didn't move like Jai whatsoever. His movements were deliberate and calculated; Jai's were usually careless and destructive.
Barry sat there for thirty seconds and stared intently at the screen. Wally could see the gears cranking in his uncle's mind. Then, without warning, the elder speedster darted out of the room and returned a second later with a tablet. He pulled up footage from a previous encounter between Zoom and Flash. Barry studied the way Jai ran in the video. A terrible feeling developed in the pit of his stomach as he came to his conclusion. Whoever Irey was chasing after, it was not Jai.
"Wally." His voice was grave. The blonde man grew pale as he realized that there would only be two possible options to who would be behind the Zoom mask. Barry had a sinking feeling that it was Thawne. The man on the screen matched the wicked speedster perfectly. To confirm his speculations he pulled up footage of the second Zoom. The man on the TV was too tall to be Hunter Zolomon. "You're right. That's not your son. It's much worse than that. It's Thawne"
He handed the tablet to his nephew so Wally could see it for himself. "Shit!" The redhead cursed under his breath. His expression took on an edge of panic. "We need to get Irey out of there now!" Eobard Thawne was the most sadistic adversary he had ever encountered. Back in the day, Barry would never allow Wally to face the first Zoom. The one time he had the misfortune of crossing paths with the man as Kid Flash he ended up in the hospital for two weeks.
"We need to call the league." Artemis said anxiously as she dialed the tower.
Wally pulled out his earpiece and tried to get ahold of Irey. She was not on the line. "Flash? Flash! Can you hear me? Please pick up!"
"Should we go out there and get her out ourselves?" Barry asked. "It looks like they're heading towards the financial district in Keystone."
"No, we can't do that. We don't know what Thawne knows." The redhead frowned. 'He could think we're dead and we can use that to our advantage."
The blonde man nodded and turned his gaze back to study the screen. He was going to try to find another way to save Irey.
Artemis walked into the other room to talk to the league. She could not bear to look at the screen any longer. It made her sick to her stomach to see her daughter blindly chasing after that madman. She remembered what he did to her husband years ago and she feared he would do worse to her daughter.
Okay so what did you think? Please let me know. Feedback and conversation about the story move the creative gears and get new chapters cranked out faster. I really appreciate reviews. They make my day. I would like to thank my betas The Almighty Leprechaun and Forensanthro. If you're ever looking for a good spitfire story you should check out The Almighty Leprechaun's stuff and Forensanthro is the queen of all things star trek.
If you have any questions or anything you can contact me on here or my tumblr. (I'm on tumblr more often and the link is in my bio)
Thanks for reading. The next chapter should be up within the next week.