“Flash!” The Arrow shouted on the other side of the street, drawing his bow. The Flash ducked one of the burst of spell directed towards him and ran to the sorceress, weaving in and out to avoid spells. The sorcerer smiled and suddenly swung a knife at the red speedster, slashing his suit at the arm.
“You did not have that knife before.” He commented, a bit peeved. Smirking, the sorceress took a defensive stance and gestured with her hand an invitation to attack.
“Alright, this is ridiculous.” The Flash sighed, lifting his hands up. “I don’t want to hurt you. We don’t need to fight.”
“Who said I wanted to fight?”
“Your knife. And casting spells works too.”
She laughed and sprung forward, blade glinting under the street lights. The superhero saw her movement but waited for her to be closer before he did anything. An arrow suddenly hit the sorceress’s hand, making her drop the knife. She looked surprised for a moment. The red speedster went to grab her but she threw a vial on the ground. It exploded on the ground and smoke filled the air, leaving the Flash groping on empty air. When the smoke cleared, the Flash saw a green arrow embedded in the ground. He let a frustrated sigh and turned toward the Arrow who was approaching.
“What did you think you were doing exactly?” Barry started, throwing his hands up.
“I was saving your life.” Oliver replied, sounding bored.
“I’m the fastest man alive! I saw what she was doing, I was just waiting for the right moment.”
“It could have been a trap. And where would that leave us?” Oliver asked angrily. “An incapacitated Flash and still no intel to work with.”
“So what, you wanted to take her in? Interrogate her?”
Barry laughed, skeptical.
“If it needs to come that, yes.”
“Guys, don’t fight. You can talk all you want at the base.” Felicity’s voice said in their earpiece.
“I remember what your interrogation entails, Arrow.” Barry snarled, ignoring Felicity. He jabbed his finger on Oliver’s chest. “And that’s not what we do.”
“I changed, you know that, Flash.” Oliver said. “But sometimes, it’s what you have to do. People are in a coma and we didn’t find anything useful to reverse that. It’s time we step up our game and stop them. Indefinitely if needs be.”
"It's not a war, Oliver!” Barry replied, exasperated. “You can't go back to killing people. What happened to the "be a better a man" thing? I thought this Arrow was gone!"
"It is gone," Oliver replied through his teeth, his body tense. "Don't you dare judge me when I try to do what's right-"
"Right?!" Barry interrupted. "Killing people is right now?"
"Yes! When there's no other solution, it is! We could save people but you're too stuck up with your sweet and utopic ways. It doesn't always work like that."
Barry looked at Oliver, speechless. He wanted to argue that he wasn’t that naïve but he felt weary. He didn’t have the patience to continue this useless argument.
“You know what. I’m too tired to finish this discussion. Let’s regroup and… I don’t know. Think it about it more.”
“Leave, Barry, I won’t stop you.”
“Oh my G– you’re an obnoxious…”
Barry didn’t have time to finish his sentence as something struck him from behind. He fell on Oliver who tried to stop his fall. He blacked out and felt like falling indefinitely, with Oliver’s voice shouting something in his ears.
It felt like waking up in a dream. He didn’t feel like himself. He was sluggish and . He was in a square room, a yellow light was shining down on him, following him every time he took a step. He gulped walked to the wall in front of him. He raised his hand and brushed the surface. It rippled like water. Curious, he flattened his hand on it. An electrical sensation started from his fingers to spread through his body.
Images passed through his mind.
When Oliver was 10, his dad loved taking him to the warehouse near the harbor to work on his new yacht, “The Gambit”. His father didn’t want his wife to know yet. It was a secret and Oliver was thrilled to be in on it. These outings to the harbor were always fun. His father taught all things about boat and engineering, even though Oliver didn’t remember it all. Sometimes, his father would let him tinker with things.
Barry gasped as the vision stopped. He looked at his shaking hand and removed his mask. He looked around him. Wherever he was, the speedster didn’t understand why he just saw one of Oliver’s memories, if it was a memory. Why was he here? Why Oliver? If it was Oliver’s real memories, why was Barry seeing them? Maybe he needed to watch Oliver’s memories to find out the answer. He didn’t feel comfortable skimming through his friend’s past.
Testing his theory, Barry touched another part of the wall.
Oliver just had a little sister. His parents decided to call her Thea. He didn’t know how to feel about her. He didn’t hate her; no but... The thing was, his parents were not as doting on him as they were before. It made him sad. Before going to sleep, he wished his sister was never born.
Barry closed his eyes. Ok, it seemed there was some logic to this room. These two memories showed Oliver’s childhood. If a wall represented age, his teenager years and adult life must be on the other walls. He turned around and walked to the opposite wall.
He touched it.
Oliver was laughing with people. Someone offered a joint and the teenager grabbed it. He took a long puff, pretending it wasn’t his first time. The other boy laughed when Oliver choked on the smoke and coughed several times.
“Wanna try that?” the other boy asked, a pill inside his opened palm. Oliver looked at it, unsure. Then, with a fake smile, he said yes and swallowed the pill.
Barry shook his head. Oliver was a teenager now. And he thought he could recognized the other: what was his name? Tim? Tom? Tommy, maybe. It was strange seeing Oliver with no confidence. The young man there looked ill-at-ease at this party. He didn’t seem to be used to this type of parties. He may have not been used to this.
He continued his exploration of the wall. Other moments from Oliver’s life flashed before his eyes.
The first kiss with Laurel.
The first time he dropped out of college and the following fight with his parents.
The many with arguments between Oliver and his parents.
Several Oliver and Thea bonding.
The first kiss with Sara, Laurel’s sister.
Barry could only close his eyes. These memories were… horrible. They affected him more than he thought. He could still taste the horror of seeing Sara being sucked into the ocean. Or even the overwhelming fear of dying. The worst of it, though was when Oliver thought they were saved, when they were all in the lifeboat.
Barry had seen his mother’s murder but it seemed incomparable to this. Oliver saw his father kill a man then commit suicide. And for what? For Oliver’s survival.
The speedster felt sick. All of this, it put things into perspective. Especially when Barry saw what happened during Oliver’s years of absence. He didn’t see everything, no, but it was enough.
Barry frowned, he actually felt nauseous, with the beginning of a headache.
The last vision he saw before losing consciousness was Oliver’s return to Starling City, alone and out of place.
Barry opened his eyes with a gasp and sat up. He was in the infirmary at STAR Labs. Caitlin arrived and uttered, relieved, “Thank God, Barry. You’re awake. You’ve been unconscious for two days.”
“What happened?” Barry asked, a bit disoriented.
“The sorceress cast a spell on you and you fell, let’s say, asleep.”
Barry groaned in understanding. The persons weren’t comatose, they were probably “watching” other people’s memories. Wide eyed, the speedster couldn’t stop the worry creeping into his voice as he asked, “What about Oliver? He was next to me when I was attacked.”
The contrite expression of Caitlin said it all: Oliver too had been touched by this spell.
“Your metabolism must have sped up the spell’s effect,” Caitlin guessed, “I’m not entirely sure since it’s magic we’re talking about.” She paused. “We need to stop them, Barry.”
Killing them was out of the question, though. Barry still couldn’t condone it. He had to find something else to remove the spell.
After that, he was going to have a talk with Oliver. Barry wanted to discuss what they had seen in those visions and maybe, it’d help them understand each other better.
For now, they had work to do.