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Primrose Path

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Primrose Path.

Phrase: the pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences...

 

 


 

 

 

You had heard about Central City and their metahuman phenomenon, but seeing a person’s abilities with your own two eyes is the most amazing thing you’ve ever witnessed.

When you'd watched the reports on the news before moving here, they only ever showed the dangers of metahumans and the ones who decided to try and bring this city to its knees.

But your first encounter is nothing like that.

You almost drench your poor flower pot stationed outside your flower shop, Primrose Path, when you see your first metahuman. The man is rugged and dirty with tattered clothes. You assume he’s homeless, and offer a kind smile. He returns it, then takes notice of the begonia display drooping - a cause of the relentless summer sun. The man reaches for a petal, and instantly at the contact, the flower blooms back to life in full colour. You stand there mesmerized. It's an utterly incredible gift, the power of restoration, right there at this man's fingertips.

“My goodness, thank you, Sir-”

“-Stand back, Miss!” hollers an authoritative voice. When you turn, you see a tall, blond, and well-groomed police officer who is taking cautious steps towards the man, acting as though he's just threatened your life rather than give assistance to your flowers. His hand is readily on his gun in his holster. You start to panic.

“No, no, really officer! I’m fine, he-”

“Get inside to safety, now!” he shouts. You drop your watering can and the contents spill all across the sidewalk. There’s no reason to be afraid, but the tone of the officer’s words themselves is what’s most frightening. You heed his orders and run into your flower shop. The very second you close the door, the officer clamps a pair of rather heavy duty handcuffs on the man, who is now hanging his head, and reads him his rights.

But even though muffled behind the glass, it sounds as if this metahuman, this man who did no wrong, has none.

 

***

 

Harry ends his call, sighing heavily as he sinks back down at his desk. Papers litter the glass plane, all regarding new projects and current ones to be approved for Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories - or S.T.A.R. Labs - utilization.

Tossing his own phone aside, his hand smooths over one of the documents in front of him. He presses his lips into a thin line, anger culminating inside him from the phone call. He takes a small gadget from the corner of his desk and hurls it to the other side of the room. The device shatters when it smashes against the wall.

Frustrated, that's what he is. Annoyed, about to go ballistic - a volcano preparing to erupt and spread fiery lava at any second.

There’s a brief, firm knock at his office door.

"What?" he snaps, one hand rubbing his temple while his other hand grips the arm of his chair. The door opens and a man puts his head around it, looking a little anxious at the tone of his boss' voice.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, Sir, but we've just had news that one of the vacant shops has been occupied by someone no one seems to have heard of. Apparently they’re from out of town. It's only two blocks away and... Well, we thought you should know."

Harry's eyes narrow at the lower-rank man, adjusting his posture so that an elbow is propped on the armrest of his chair while his chin sits in the middle of his palm. He looks at the timid employee for a few seconds, with a dangerous storm brewing in his glare. The younger man swallows, palms sweaty as he avoids doing any sort of action to piss off the dark-haired scientist.

"I'll deal with it," Harry grumbles through gritted teeth, bitter rage still boiling within him from the previous and unsuccessful phone conversation. The blond goon senses that his boss is feeling extremely prickly at the moment and simply moves forward, placing a piece of paper with the address of the new tenant on the edge of the desk. Turning, he leaves in a hurry without any further words so as to not poke the bear.

Two blocks away? That was awfully close. Somewhere for someone new to get near to him, threaten him in his own territory.

Harry stands, walking over to the large window which overlooks the city below him. This is his city, and he'll be damned if someone tries to make a move to change that. He grabs his gun and strides through the company building, holding an antagonistic expression and glaring at anyone who dares look him in the eye.

Outside, the sun is up in the middle of the vast blue sky, signalling that it’s midday. The city bustles with noise as people chatter through the streets and birds chirp from tree to tree. If anything, the city-life only fuels Harry’s bellicose mood as the world around him seems to experience ecstasy and bliss while he has to address a current complication on his territory.

Harry continues his war-path through the populous streets, weaving through the gaps in the crowds to arrive at the now occupied property. His hand instinctively touches the cool metal of his concealed gun behind him, slender fingers at the ready to pull out the firearm if necessary.

Danger, an anomaly, or another bastard seeking to do away with his work - Harry’s prepared to show whoever the hell set foot on his property just who owns Central City.

What Harry doesn’t expect is coming face to face with… potted plants? An array of flowers that sit within tiny, terracotta pots… He blinks, reading the sign above, Primrose Path, thinking this is some sort of prank or front.

Is this really a floral shop?

Outside the quaint business sit several baskets of brightly coloured flowers, leading up to the door where beyond it, lay more and more crates of blooms all over the interior of the shop. And that's when Harry first hears your voice come from just inside the door.

"Six pink roses and a selection of white flowers to fill it out, wasn’t it? Oh, I’m sure that’ll make a wonderful display. Your mother is going to love it!"

Maybe Harry wasn’t as prepared as he thought.

The tenderness of your voice was definitely something he didn't expect. In fact, it rather takes him aback. Harry ducks and steps out of the way of the window so he wouldn’t be spotted, casting a glance at this new ‘resident’. Oddly enough though, when he catches sight of you, his fingers go limp from clutching his weapon. A weird, warm feeling courses through him as his eyes scan what they can from where he currently stands. It must be his gut warning him of something. With eyebrows knitting together, Harry figures he should go about this with caution.

He observes you with the customer, who had supposedly said something humorous because Harry hears you giggle and sees you covering your mouth. Your eyes crinkle in this adorable way that makes his stomach flip.

“Damn... she’s cute,” he mutters while hiding behind a hanging plant, peeking in through the window once more. He watches you for a few minutes, interacting with the customer and arranging a recent delivery of stock in your new premises. Your bright smile is utterly captivating and Harry finds the corner of his mouth turn up in a tiny smile as he looks at you. You couldn't be a threat, surely? No one that sweet would be trying to challenge him.

You let out another radiant laugh before Harry decides it’s time to leave. At the moment, he doesn’t consider you a risk or even a potential enemy in the future. Sometimes the property he owned was just a prime piece of real estate for someone to open a business. He has a hard time remembering that not everyone in this world has it in for him.

His hands bury into his pants pockets, still unable to wipe his smile away. He walks back to his company with the bell-like sound of your voice replaying in his head. The image of yourself has been burned into his mind.

"I'll come back and deal with this later," he whispers to himself, now registering how dry his throat had become.

He’ll deal with it... just not in the way he initially thought.

 

***

 

Ding ding!

You can’t stop the little gasp that escapes you when you see who it is walking through your door.

Since the event with the cop and the metahuman outside your shop, you’d been researching the creation and rise of the metahumans, and all of your reading seemed to culminate around the man now standing at the counter in your inconsequential little shop; one of the most famous, or maybe infamous, people in the city.

Doctor Harrison Wells.

From what you’d read, the man was a mystery, wrapped up in an enigma, wrapped up in a suit. A rather gorgeous, designer suit at that.

Several articles you’d found linked back to the War of the Americas and Harrison Wells’ name was prominently featured within them. He’d been discharged at the end of the war with a commendation and an award for bravery, though you hadn’t been able to find what it had been an award for. But now he seems to be seen more as a war-hero-turned-mad-scientist who had seen fit to turn this city upside down for his own gain as no one in Central City seemed to know what he and his team were working on in the high-rise S.T.A.R Labs building.

But despite much of this mockery and antagonism towards him, he had never been challenged to stop his work. He was a force to be reckoned with, and woe betides anyone who got in his way.

The rumours surrounding him seemed to go from the sublime to the ridiculous and you could not work out which, if any, were actually true. People said that since the war, there was a dark, underworld-type nature of most of his business that no one particularly wanted to talk about. He seemed to exude an aura of fear to the people of this city.

He apparently owned property in virtually every block, knew how to pay off the right people to get him what he needed and had a reputation of being able to… effectively deal with those who refused. The gossip all said that he dealt in the shadows, manipulating those small gangs in the criminal underworld to create the biggest empire the city had ever seen. Which, despite the mayor and elected officials, left Harrison Wells as the undisputed king of all of it.

But you couldn’t bring yourself to believe any of it. A man awarded such an honour during his service surely wouldn’t then come home to terrorize his own city. He was just another businessman, trying to make his way in a corporate world and people wanted to demonize him for his success.

Which brings you to the current hitch in your breath as the rumoured secret King of Central City lays a small bundle of bright blue flowers on your counter. His dark hair is messy, like he’s been running his hands through it, nothing like the styled pictures on the covers of magazines you’d seen. You notice his piercing blue eyes study you as you watch him. It’s hard not to be captivated by his handsome features but you force yourself to be professional again when he speaks.

“Hi there,” he says.

“H-hello,” you reply timidly. “Is this everything for you, today?”

“It is, thank you.” You ring in the bundle and tell him the cost. Harrison Wells slides a few bills across the flat surface to you, which you then place into the cash register. “Have a nice day...”

You offer your name at his hesitation and notice a slight tug in the upper corner of his mouth.

“(Y/N)... beautiful name.” You can’t hold back an uncontrollable, bright smile at his compliment. He doesn’t seem so scary. Harrison Wells turns to leave, but without his purchase.

“Uh, Sir? You forgot your flowers.”

“I didn’t forget,” the man says with a wink, leaving the shop as the door jingles when he exits. You pick up the pretty blue bundle of flowers and finally process their name.

Forget-Me-Nots.

~