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Two For The Price Of One

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The Fastest Man Alive raced into the Cortex as quickly as he could when he heard Cisco’s shout. The two women standing there in the middle of the room didn’t appear to be dangerous, although in their line of work, that meant very little. Both were short and slim, one blonde and one redheaded. They also had both their hands up as if they had a gun trained on them.

“We come in peace!” the redhead squeaked.

“Who are you?!” Cisco demanded, “And how the frak did you get in here?!”

“We’re just visiting from another reality,” the blonde said calmly, “We need the help of someone in this world to save someone from ours.”

“Who?” Barry asked, not completely letting his guard down but letting some concern show through.

“Well, in our reality, his name is Gage Petronzi, but we’ve been searching through a couple different realities, and we’ve found that the names aren’t always the same.” She cocked her head to the side. “Huh. Usually this is the part where people start freaking out about other realities. God knows I would be.”

Cisco scoffed. “Please. I can open breaches to other Earths any time I want. This ain’t our first multiverse rodeo.”

“Okay, three questions,” Barry asked, “One: Who are you? Two: Why do you need this Petronzi guy’s help? And three: Why do you have to search through multiple Earths to find him?”

“Okay, the first one is an easy one. My name is Buffy Summers, and this is Willow Rosenberg. We’re basically in the demon-hunting profession. As for the answers to your other questions…”

“It’s sort of complicated,” the redhead, Rosenberg, admitted, digging into her bag and pulling out a thin hardcover book – a school yearbook, emblazoned with the words ‘Sunnydale High School Class of 1998’ – and began flipping through it.

“Nearly twenty years ago, four guys on our high school swim team were exposed to this… experimental steroid that sorta turned them into fish monsters.” Summers winced even as she said it, probably acknowledging how crazy it sounded. “They wound up escaping into the ocean, and were recently re-captured. Willow here is a very powerful Wicca, and she’s figured out a way to turn them back into humans. Now, the basic ritual just requires a sample of their blood, untainted by the freaky crap that transformed them in the first place, so for that, all we’d need is to, like, cut the person’s finger and just collect a little blood from that. But, because the transformation had a side-effect of leaving their skin behind-”

“Ew…” Cisco interrupted.

“Hey, try having to watch it happen. Not pleasant. Anyway, the ritual can be done on any human who’s been turned into almost anything non-human, but the problem is, if we were to do the bare minimum, with just the blood, the guys would still be skinless when we changed them back, which would obviously result in them dying soon after.”

“And also ‘Ew’,” Rosenberg added helpfully, still looking through the book.

“Exactly. So we kinda need to find someone with the same DNA and not only get a blood sample from them, but also have them present during the ritual in order to fully restore the boys. Since none of them have identical twins, we’ve been searching other realities for their doppelgängers.”

“We’ll bring him back home when we’re done,” Rosenberg insisted, holding the open yearbook out to Barry now that she’d found the page she’d been searching for, “We’ve already restored, Dodd, Cameron, and Sean, but we’re still looking for Gage’s doppelgänger.”

Barry took the book and scanned the open page (labelled ‘Obituaries/Missing’ and disturbingly large for a high school yearbook) until he found Gage Petronzi’s name and the picture above it. His eyes widened as he took in a much younger version of a very familiar face, then dimmed as he remembered the fate of the man in question. “I knew this guy’s doppelgänger,” he said, “But I’m afraid he won’t be able to help. His name was Leonard Snart, and he’s been dead for a year. And there’s no body to be found, from what I know.”

Both women’s faces fell. “B-But…” Rosenberg stammered, “That doesn’t make any sense! I- I- I set the spell to only take us to realities where he has a living doppelgänger! We wouldn’t be here if he were dead!”

“How did he die?” Summers asked bluntly, “How sure are you that he’s dead?”

“According to our friends who were with him, he was holding down a failsafe mechanism on a device they were trying to self-destruct. They insist that no one could have survived the blast.”

“Can we check the site ourselves?” Rosenberg all but begged, “Please? All it’ll take is a simple spell to confirm it.”

Barry winced. “That… might be tough. He and our friends were living on a time-traveling spaceship when it happened. I have no idea where or when it happened.”

“Captain Lance, I have an incoming message from Central City, in the year 2017.”

Sara glanced up at the ceiling, a habit they’d all developed when addressing Gideon. “Play it.”

“Hey, guys.” The voice of Cisco Ramon filled the galley, where Sara was having breakfast with Ray, Stein, and Amaya. “Uh… Okay, this isn’t so much a distress call as it is that we’ve got something really, really weird going on. And I’m not talkin’ really, really weird from a normal perspective, I’m talkin’ really, really weird from even our persp-”

Barry Allen’s voice cut in. “Cisco, we don’t have all day.”

“Right. Uh, we’ve got a couple visitors from another Earth who need a lift in your time ship. It’s complicated, and it would be easier if we explained it all in person, but the important thing is that one of them can apparently do some seriously uber-powerful magic, and she has reason to believe that… Leonard Snart may actually be alive. I dunno what that’s all about, but you might wanna come check this out.”

Cisco gave the date and time co-ordinates, then the message ended. The four Legends present were stunned silent for several seconds.

Amaya was the first one to snap out of it. “Isn’t Leonard Snart Mick’s old friend? The one who was recruited by the Legion? The one who killed that future version of Mick?!”

“He changed,” Ray insisted, “He started on the path to becoming a good guy even before Rip recruited him along with the rest of us. The Legion of Doom just recruited him from a time before that.”

“Indeed,” Stein agreed, “The Leonard Snart we came to know was a hero. He even sacrificed his own life to save the rest of us at the Vanishing Point. We cannot allow ourselves to forget that simply because we’ve been reminded of what he used to be like.”

“But now Cisco’s saying that, what, he somehow survived?”

“That can’t be possible,” Sara murmured, more than a touch of anger in her voice. “But at the very least, we need to know what the hell the deal is with the people who’re saying it is. Gideon, plot a course for Central City, 2017.”

Buffy nearly had to restrain Willow when her best friend saw the time-travelling spaceship appear in the sky and land in the parking lot of the building they’d arrived in. A little bit of talk about this reality had told the witch and the Slayer that they’d landed in a world that was basically like a comic book, and right in the middle of the headquarters of the local superhero. It was one of their luckier landings, she decided, having arrived in front of good guys who were willing and able to help instead of being more inclined to just kill the pair. They’d dealt with plenty of those already on this quest.

Only two people came from out of the ship to meet them: a big, hulking, bald man with a huge gun strapped to his belt, and a blonde woman who was tiny in comparison, but still a bit taller than Buffy herself. The blonde made Buffy wonder if there were Slayers in this reality, because this woman moved like a warrior (it took one to know one). And she was clearly angry.

“Okay, someone had better start explaining,” she practically growled when she and her companion were within speaking distance.

“Uh, okay, first introductions,” Cisco Ramon suggested timidly, “Sara, Rory, these are dimension-travelers I mentioned, Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg. Buffy, Willow, this is Sara Lance, Captain of the Waverider, and Mick Rory, who… uh… He’s part of her crew. And Leonard Snart’s best friend.”

“What the hell’s all this about,” Rory growled.

“They have reason to believe that Snart’s alive,” Barry Allen explained, “Granted, it’s because of magic, and nothing we scientists can conform, but…”

“What’s the reason?” Lance interrupted.

“We need to find a doppelgänger of someone on our world in order to help him become human again,” Buffy explained, “The ‘why’ is a long story, but the point is, we’ve been traveling from reality to reality in order to find one, and the spell we’ve used to do so only takes us to realities where there’s a living doppelgänger. And it brought us here, so unless your friend secretly has an identical twin, he’s out there, somewhere.”

“And I can perform a spell that will narrow down that ‘somewhere’,” Willow continued, “But it would be best if I were at the place where he supposedly died.”

“You want to go to the Vanishing Point,” Lance said lowly, “You need a time ship to get there. The real question is: Can we trust you?”

Cisco began to stammer protests, but Barry seemed to be on Lance’s side. “The last time someone we didn’t know came into our world and asked for our help – without being vouched for by someone we trusted – he turned out to be Zoom. Remember him? Remember what he did to us? All I’m saying is, we should be a little more careful about this.”

“That’s smart,” Buffy agreed, “I don’t even invite my friends into my home, in case they’ve been turned into vampires since I’ve seen them last. And you don’t even know us. But I’m telling you, your friend is out there, somewhere, alive. And we’re your best chance at finding him and bringing him back.”