by Hitman 44077
Frances Kane sat in a chair inside her bedroom and thought about her boyfriend, Wally West. I thought he’d be home tonight. But when I stopped by his apartment, he didn’t seem to be there. I was looking forward to a quiet evening with him, too, she thought. Sometimes I ache when he’s not here. He’s a good friend, and I love him so much.
She stood up and changed into a nightgown. I know he’s OK, but today, when I saw him, he seemed… distant, Fran thought as she sat down on her bed, her thoughts shifting to something more personal. I think I’m always going to be insecure when it comes to different things, and I have my mother to thank for that. Sometimes her hatred hurts me so deeply. I miss my brother and Dad as much as her, but both of them are gone. Nothing can change that.
Fran wiped the tears from her eyes as the memories of the past flowed through her mind. Sometimes I hate myself, because her words dig at me. Sometimes I feel like their deaths were my fault, even though I know it wasn’t the case. One day, I don’t know when or where, we’re going to have to take care of this. Hopefully, we’ll finally make some headway. I don’t know if it’s even realistic to believe we could be family again, but I have to try. For both our sakes.
She turned off her light and laid down in her bed. I know I’ll feel better tomorrow. I’ll be able to see Wally, and hopefully, whatever’s bothering him, he’ll open up to me about it. I hope so, anyway, she thought as she quickly fell asleep.
Elsewhere in Central City, Captain Darryl Frye arrived at City Hall, where he approached several police officers who’d been there at the time of Daphne Dean’s abduction. I cleared things for Curtis, so there’s no problems with that, Frye thought, but there’s no sign of Wally. I left a message for him, so hopefully he’ll get back to me.
Officer Walton met Captain Frye, and together they covered some of the established ground. As Captain Frye finished speaking with Walton, he walked inside the building and surveyed the scene himself.
Walton was right, Frye thought, as he stared at the small puddle of water. It appears to be Mister Element’s handiwork. Of course, whether or not that’s Albert Desmond behind the mask remains to be seen.
Frye was interrupted by another officer. “Captain, there’s a call from headquarters. It seems the Flash Museum was broken into,” the officer said.
“Great,” Frye said, disgusted. “Any word on what was stolen, if anything?”
“Apparently, the costume of a character named Mister Element. The suit seems to match the description of the witnesses’ accounts this evening when it comes to Ms. Dean’s abductor,” the officer said.
“Thanks, Foster,” Frye said to the officer, addressing him by last name.
“No problem, Captain,” Officer Foster said and walked back to the crime scenes.
Well, at least there’s a chance that Albert’s not involved. I can’t see the logic of stealing a costume that he donated to the Flash Museum, Frye thought, first somewhat relieved, then growing serious once again. But we need to be sure. Once this is dealt with, I’m heading to the Desmond residence. One way or another, we’re going to get some answers.
Frye walked outside City Hall and toward his car, where he waited for any new information to come on Detective Frank Curtis’ front.
The trip back from Rokyn took longer to Flash than it did to arrive there. He sat in his seat, not really knowing how to react with hearing the news delivered to him by Zor-El. It’s hard to accept this already, the Flash thought, referring to the disease killing him, but I’d hoped that the Kryptonians would be able to help me in some way.
“Wally? How are you feeling?” Superman said, walking toward the speedster after placing the spacecraft they were in on auto-pilot.
“I want to say I’m OK, but, honestly, I just don’t feel that way, Superman,” Flash admitted. “I really appreciated you taking me to Rokyn, but if Zor-El couldn’t help me, who can?”
A troubled look appeared on Superman’s face before he spoke. “I wish I knew, Wally. Look, maybe you should take it easy for a while. That way, there can be some more work done regarding your health. I’m sure the League would be willing to watch over Central City–”
“No — that’s not an option,” Flash said defiantly. “The members have their own responsibilities to their own cities. If I surrender the identity now to search for a cure, then how do I live with myself if something happens in Barry’s city, something that I could’ve stopped had I not given up the identity? What if I don’t find a cure? I’m worried about myself — that’s very true — but I care more about Central City and its citizens more than my own health.”
“If your health factors in during a battle with some powered menace–” Superman said cautiously.
“Then I won’t have a chance. I know that… all too well,” Flash said, his words giving him inner strength. “I’m afraid to die, but I don’t plan on lying in bed waiting for the end to come. We’re heroes, both of us. And we have the ability to make a difference. I’ll continue to do just that until I can no longer. It’s that simple.”
“I understand. I look at you, and sometimes I think you’ve been at the side of the League since its formation,” Superman said. “Do you still intend to stay away from the League?”
“Yeah, I do,” Flash said quietly. “I’m no good to the JLA like this. I know that you and Ralph swore not to say anything to the others, but in case something does happen to me…”
“Wally,” Superman began, as a look of sadness appeared on his face. “I know I can’t alleviate your fears, but we’ll always be there for you. I know Zor-El will continue to search for a cure, as will Mackenzie Ryan at STAR Labs in New York. There are many possibilities available, so please — don’t give up.”
Superman’s words gave Flash even more inner strength. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Superman, and I won’t give up,” he said with determination.
“I’m glad,” Superman said, a small smile appearing on his face.
The Flash spoke again, changing the subject. “You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to, but did I hear you say that Supergirl had a daughter?”
“Yes, she did, and only recently did I learn of this,” Superman said, remembering how Jasma came into his care. “Several years ago, Kara had amnesia and ended up on another planet. She fell in love with one of the citizens of that world, and they married. They conceived a child in a much-different manner than most races, but the end result was a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Jasma, and she recently came into my care. That’s partly why I was unable to help battle Amazo sooner.”
“I’m glad that a part of Kara will live on, Superman,” Flash said. “It’s just hard to believe she had a baby.”
“You’re telling me,” Superman said with a nervous laugh. “I just hope I can teach her all that I taught Kara.”
“I know you will,” Flash said with a smile.
The spacecraft slowed down, and Superman realized that the two were near Earth’s orbit. “I wasn’t sure if you wanted to head back to the satellite, but I figured I could transport you back to Earth on this ship via its transportation tube,” Superman said.
“That would probably be for the best,” Flash said. “Let’s head to the transport chamber.”
The two heroes walked to the transportation tube, and Flash entered it. Superman made the proper settings and was ready to send Flash back to his apartment.
“Thank you for your help, Superman. It means a lot,” Flash said gratefully.
“No trouble, my friend. I hope that things work out for you,” Superman said. He activated the transportation tube, and Flash was sent back to his apartment. Superman promptly piloted the ship back to the JLA Satellite, prepared to stick by his vows to Flash.
The Flash arrived inside his apartment and removed his costume. He looked at his right arm and stared at the needle marks from his blood tests from this day and the previous day. So much blood, and so little results, Wally thought. And I am so weary again.
Wally walked toward his bedroom and spotted a clock. The time was nearly midnight. Damn, he thought, realizing he’d missed his time with Fran, and the possibility of dinner, among other things. Hopefully, she won’t be too mad. Then again, I haven’t even thought about talking to her about the disease. No need to trouble her this late.
Entering his bedroom, Wally spotted his answering machine, which was blinking. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even been able to check my messages for the past two days, he thought. I’ll play them tomorrow. I’ve also got to stop at the CCPD tomorrow, too, to see if anything’s new on Cecile’s disappearance. Wally crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep, not knowing how important the messages on his answering machine actually were.
At roughly two in the morning, Doctor Alchemy drove his black van into Manfred Mota’s warehouse and parked the vehicle. Upon exiting it, he saw that Mota was walking toward him.
“I assume my plan worked,” Mota said, not really asking a question so much as making a statement.
“It’s working perfectly, Mota!” Alchemy answered with zeal. “We gained two captives today and managed to cover our tracks. Because of the public nature of Daphne Dean’s kidnapping, everyone’s going to be on the lookout for my brother, Mister Element.”
A content yet sinister smile slowly grew on Mota’s face. “Very good, Alchemy, very good, indeed,” he said, pleased with how things were working for him.
“Tomorrow should be interesting, to say the least,” Alchemy said. “Albert’s going to continue to keep people off our trail. And he’s going to fight the Flash.”
Alchemy’s words didn’t sit well with Mota. “And why is that?” he said, concealing his anger.
“I tricked him,” Alchemy said, proud of himself. “I threatened to kill his wife if he didn’t obey my demands. The weak fool loved his wife too much to allow her to die and undertook the order I gave him.”
“And what if he reveals your role in this, Alchemy? I cannot allow or tolerate any mistakes!” Mota screamed in anger. “I have waited too damn long for any slip-up, no matter how small it may be. For your sake, Element had better remain silent.”
Alchemy had some fear within him but managed to keep calm. “Mota, as long as we have his wife, he will remain quiet. I know him better than anyone else. Trust me,” Alchemy said, trying to calm Mota down.
Suddenly, a voice yelled at the two villains, “Blast you both! What has the Flash done to either of you?”
The question seemed to turn Mota’s attentions away from Doctor Alchemy, who was very grateful. Mota turned toward the hostages and saw that Henry Allen demanded the answer. “Bring your two hostages over towards this fine group, Alchemy,” he said aloud, as he walked toward Henry Allen.
As Alchemy tied the still-unconscious Daphne Dean to a chair, Mota addressed Henry. “The Flash has done enough. But I have no desire to answer your questions right now. You, as well as my other guests, will find out when I choose to reveal my reasons.”
“These are innocent people! They haven’t done anything wrong!” Henry yelled at Mota.
Mota bent down to Henry’s level and coldly spoke. “They were friends of the Flash. Their friendship with him makes them as guilty as he.”
“Hey, Dad!” a sarcastic voice called to Henry Allen. Both Mota and Henry watched Ross Malverk and Lady Rogue walk toward them, hand-in-hand.
“Don’t you dare call–” Henry began before pausing in shock. Even through the mask, Henry recognized the costumed woman. “Fiona?!” Henry said, unbelievably horrified. “What are you doing with these monsters?”
“You…” Lady Rogue seethed with anger. “You betrayed Barry! You wanted the Flash to be your son, so much that he lived with you, even as Barry lay near death! It wasn’t good enough, was it? You even claimed that Barry was the Flash! But you lost!” Lady Rogue slowly kissed Ross, even as a glint of hate sparked in his eyes. She continued addressing Henry Allen. “Mota saved Barry! He brought Barry back to me! And Barry’s aware of your betrayal!”
Henry tried reasoning with Lady Rogue, even as Doctor Alchemy brought the once-more-human Rita Desmond to the other captives and secured her to a chair.
“Fiona, I wish Barry was still alive, but he’s–”
Rogue interrupted, still fueled with anger. “He’s here! Right in front of you!”
Ross faked distress as he spoke to Lady Rogue. “Fiona, his words hurt me. Please… make the hurt go away,” he said, rubbing his tearless eyes with his hand.
“I want to kill you,” Lady Rogue said as Mota and Ross backed up a few feet. “I want to kill all of you, but not until Mota’s goals are all met!”
Finishing her sentence, Rogue removed a gas capsule and threw it to the ground next to Henry, who choked on the fumes but passed out shortly thereafter.
“I’m proud of you, Fiona,” Mota said in a fatherly fashion. “It seems that, with Barry’s love, you are growing more sure of yourself.”
“I have you to thank, Mota,” Fiona said with a friendly smile. “What shall we do tomorrow?”
“We shall do nothing tomorrow,” Mota said. “Mister Element’s battle with the Flash will help feed into my plans. But I assure all of you, I’m far from finished. When I decide the time is right, I’ll enact the next phase. And once I am done, once I have accomplished what I’ve set out to do, there will be no more need for a champion for Central City.”
Together, the four criminals stood, confident that the Flash was closer to his final day of life.