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Flashback!

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Central City 2040

If there was something Central City was never short on, it was criminal activity. Many citizens were accustomed to the streaks of purple that raced around the city, creating wind out of nothing, and swatting away bullets like they were flies. The Twin Tornado's. One minute the city would be calm and filled with people going about their business as usual, only to be interrupted as the purple twisters flew throughout the streets, causing quite the mayhem as they raced to save yet another person that was victim to the meta-humans who operated with no moral compass.

The people didn’t particularly care for the help of these Tornado meta-humans, but there wasn’t much the public could do about something they couldn’t see coming. So, they tolerated the appearance of them once in a while, and other than the occasional xenophobic comment towards them on the news the twins generally didn’t get much publicity. That might’ve been thanks to Iris West-Allen, as those ‘twin tornadoes’ happened to be her speedster children and she personally didn’t need any more trouble than the twins tended to create already. Speaking of trouble. Iris thought to herself as she noticed the latest story that was circulating around the papers.

“Armed Gunman Takes Central City Bank Hostage”

Iris placed her pen down on her desk and lifted her head at the ping of her phone. She sighed before she swiped the call screen and heard her daughter’s suspiciously cheerful voice light up the line.

“Hey Mom! I was just wondering how work’s been? Any new spicy headlines pop up recently?” Dawn breathed into the phone.

“Why do you sound out of breath?” Iris asked, raising her eyebrows at the screen she was currently skimming.

“On your left!” Don yelled in the background.

“N-no reason, don’t be silly I’m just walking downstairs, you know me…always getting in that extra cardio. What’s for dinner?” Dawn spouted out between breaths.
“Dawn West-Allen if I get home and you two are not there you are so screwed.” Iris pinched the bridge of her nose and placed her tablet beside the pen.

“Of course we’re home! In fact, how about Don and I make dinner for you. Yeah, we’ll do that. Just let me know what time you’ll be home so we can have everything all ready.” Dawn gasped out.

“Oh I’ll be home before you can say one, two, and three. If you think you’re going to get away with this whole crime-fighting-whenever-you-want thing you’re sorely mistaken.” Iris ground out between clenched teeth. She could kill Wally for putting the ridiculous idea into her children’s heads. They were still young. Barry was their age when he first became a speedster. Iris’s brain chimed in helpfully to herself.

“Ok so we’ll see you when you get home! Love you, Mom” Dawn squeaked into the phone, leaving her mother on the other end of the line to fume in an empty room.

Dawn clicked the ear-piece and felt relief bottle up inside her at the thought that she was momentarily spared from her mother’s wrath. Of course only until after Don and her caught the gunman that was holding up Central City Bank. Then it was full on Iris West rage time.

Without much thought--or effort, Dawn and her brother surrounded the man that had shot three bullets towards the hostages. Don skillfully plucked the bullets from the air while Dawn worked to un-tether the three people that were restrained against one of the many concrete pillars that held up the bank before she sped towards the black-clad man and whammed him in the crotch with as much of her regular strength as she could muster. The human attacker dropped to his knees with a groan and Don tapped his sister’s shoulder to remind her that they were on a clock. Dawn nodded and grabbed the guy, before both her and her brother sped off towards CCPD. After depositing the criminal on the steps of the police department, the twins high tailed it out of there before anyone could get an accurate description of them. The last thing that they needed was to be forced into giving up their powers by government douches who thought they were freaks.

“Race you home!” Dawn called over to her brother. Don didn’t say anything but he picked up his pace which caused Dawn to snort and speed towards the West-Allen household. Before either of them had reached within 10 blocks of their house they stopped at their meeting place; a small Big Belly Burger joint located on the far corner of City Centre before it tapered off into the more residential areas such as Chubbuck and Danville.

The twins began to walk at a normal pace like always, as they made their way towards their home in Danville. Danville was one of the middle class districts that existed in Central City. Call them cautious but the pair felt like they might give themselves away if they used their speed all the way up to their front door. In the years that passed without the presence of The Flash, law enforcement and criminals alike had become more temperamental. It was important to both Dawn and Don that their identities remained a secret. They didn’t need the press finding out who they were and exposing them to villains that might want to hurt people like their Mom or Pop-Pop.

“I won.” Don said sliding up beside his sister as they turned down their street.

“You didn’t win! We weren’t even racing.” Dawn deadpanned, before smirking at her brother’s stone cold glare. Dawn frequently enjoyed messing with her brother because he was antisocial, a little bit quiet, and had about as much charisma as a garden snake. He was also her favourite person, and probably the only person, that she spent most of her time with besides maybe her Uncle Wally. And their dynamic was largely based on their fundamental understanding of one another, science, and the need to have a little fun once in a while.

As they came to a stop at the end of their driveway Don’s gaze turned fearful as he gawked at the sight in front of him, and Dawn’s own smirk crashed to a grimace as they both recognized their mother’s car in the driveway.

“I called her. You get to defend our life choices.” Dawn let out a quiet sing-song, before pushing past her brother and reluctantly opening the front door.
Don swallowed hard and gave a curt nod as both speedsters entered their house to Iris West standing in the middle of their living room, hands on her hips, with an expression on her face that would make Oliver Queen quake in his boots.

“DONALD WEST-ALLEN! DAWN WEST-ALLEN! WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT USING YOUR POWERS OUTSIDE THIS HOUSE!?” Iris glared at them.

“Mom we were car--”Don tried to respond but Iris cut him off.

“How many times do we have to have this argument, if you two get caught you’ll be imprisoned-or killed! You two are all I have left and if you think that I’m going to let you cont—” Iris was interrupted by Wally West waltzing into the house behind the kids.

“What’s this about you only having these two…what about your brother?!” Wally West cut Iris off as he walked in behind the twins. Their Uncle Wally’s sudden appearance hadn’t startled them as he often popped in to visit when he had some time off.

“Wally?” Iris exclaimed before rushing towards her brother wrapping her arms around him in a bone crushing hug. “What are you doing here? It’s so good to see you. What’s wrong?” Iris abruptly looked at Wally, slightly alarmed.

The twins peaked up at Uncle Wally and he gave them a wink before he directed his sister towards the kitchen.

“Nothing, I just wanted to come for a little visit. What’s for dinner?” He asked, smiling slightly. Don nudged his sister and the two of them sped around the kitchen; setting the table, throwing down the cutlery, and making the quickest version of Grandma Ester’s noodles that the family had seen since Barry Allen himself cooked the dish.

“I guess we’re having noodles.” Iris said, offering her little family a small smile before she took a seat facing her two children. She sent them both a look that said there would be a long discussion in their future about what had happened earlier. Dawn glanced at her brother and gave her shoulders a little shrug, trying to convey that it hopefully wouldn’t be as bad as he was imagining.

With dinner out of the way Iris brought Dawn and Don towards the living room and they stood across from her around the coffee table, waiting expectantly to be lectured on the importance of keeping their speed to themselves. What Dawn certainly wasn’t expecting was to be wrong. Iris sat down on the sofa and stared off into space for a little while, Dawn learned a long time ago that when she zoned out like this it was usually because Iris was thinking about their Dad. After a while Iris looked up at Dawn and her brother.

“You two have to promise me that if you’re going to use your speed you have to be safe. I don’t want to get any calls from Uncle Cisco or Aunt Caitlin saying that you’ve torn a piece through space or whatever.”

Dawn could almost physically feel how much that little mixed up analogy on the “fabric of time and space” killed her brother. She could tell that he was repressing his need to correct their Mom as best he could but she didn’t know if he’d be able to hold it in.

Unbeknownst to her, Iris continued. “If you two promise me that you will look out for each other and only go on small missions like you did today.” Iris took a breath. “You two can go and save Central City.”

The twins looked from their mom to one another and Dawn cracked a massive smile before putting her hand up for a high-five. They finally did it! They convinced Iris West to let them use their speed.
**********
“Don you can’t just say pass, it was a real question!” Dawn scolded her twin. She was acting nonchalant but in reality Dawn’s stomach was in knots and she was a bundle of nerves awaiting her brother’s answer. He shrugged his shoulders and muttered

“I just haven’t thought about it before I guess.” Don went back to reading his screen. Dawn had to restrain her urge to roll her eyes.

“You’ve seriously never thought about using your speed in order to travel back in time and maybe change, I don’t know…your college grades? Or do something beneficial for society? I mean I know that it’s technically illegal—but just think about how Dad used to do it!” She exclaimed throwing her hands up in the air excitedly, trying to hide the pit of guilt that sat like lead in her stomach.

“You heard the part where you said it was illegal, right? Also, you do remember Mom telling us that Dad’s number one rule was always don’t alter the timeline.” Don said, placing his work on the coffee table. Dawn made a face at him as she continued tinkering with the silver armband that she made a few days ago, trying desperately to ignore her growing paranoia.

Their father was Barry Allen, the Fastest Man Alive…or at least he used to be, before he sacrificed himself in some kind of Crisis. Their Mom said that he was a hero, and both Dawn and her brother were inclined to believe Iris except for the fact that their Dad went and got himself killed in order to save the multiverse. He left their Mom to take care of them before they were even born. Dawn couldn’t be too mad at Barry though, from the stories that her Mom told her, her father sounded like a real hero. She wished that she had gotten the chance to meet him. Instead all her and her brother got was a fraction of his speed. Both Don and Dawn were happy with their lives though, they didn’t need Barry because although they missed him, Iris was such a loving mother that she was pretty much all they needed. Plus they had their Uncle Wally and Pop-Pop, Aunt Jenna, and Cecille.

Don had picked up his tablet again and was back to studying up on some engineering blueprints that Wally had left. And Dawn was sitting on the floor trying to take the battery that powered Gideon apart. Sometimes the twins found that they preferred to work on smaller projects alone then one big one together.

“You should stop tinkering with Gideon or otherwise she’s going to get mad and tell Mom that you were the one who blew up the oven last week.” Don said, continuing to analyze his data. She lifted the battery to eye level and glared at it as if to say “You wouldn’t dare”. Not trusting the AI, Dawn decided that it might be easier if she asked for Gideon’s help instead of simply trying to take it apart and stuff it in her armband to use when she wanted…or when she needed.

“Good idea, I think I’ll go and work on this in my room. Tell Uncle Wally that I’ll see him tomorrow for our run.” She said before quickly getting up and speeding away. Their Mom had no rule about using their speed inside, which is something that Dawn often took full advantage of. Once she was safely in the confines of her room she took a deep breath.

“Gideon” She called.

“Good evening, Dawn West-Allen. What can I do for you?” The AI chimed.

“How do I get you into my super suit?” Dawn whispered to the AI.

“I don’t understand the question?” Gideon responded, smiling and tilting her head to the side.

“The Reverse-Flash, h-how was he able to install your programming into the armband of his suit?” She hissed.

After several hours of instruction from Gideon, Dawn had successfully installed the complex AI into the armband of her silver and purple super suit. It was a work-in-progress, but she had a plan. Dawn wanted to use Gideon to work with her in order to help fight off bad guys. She had already hooked up the AI to assist with most things inside the West-Allen household, from security to television, to making dinner. Gideon was incredibly helpful, not that Dawn would ever admit that to the AI.
There was another reason that Dawn was installing Gideon into her super suit. Gideon was able to help with things like analyzing displacements in time (such as a speedster) but Gideon was also a very good tool for someone who was planning on time travelling. In Dawn’s case, this was going to be a very useful tool for what she had planned for her future.

While Dawn was placing her tools inside her tool box she watched as a message popped up on her screen. Gideon had been helping Dawn research different techniques that speedsters had used throughout time in order to defeat their enemies and increase their connection to the Speed Force. A particular speedster was the subject of Dawn’s interest right now, much to her brother’s disapproval. The Reverse-Flash. Dawn was terrified of the man himself, but his powers were of great interest to her. She was intrigued by his ability to not only retain his knowledge after altering time, but also of his ability to create speed mirages, and of course, how he could run faster than her Dad.

“Gideon what’s this?” Dawn asked the AI. She received a note containing a bunch of weird looking symbols. Almost like hieroglyphics, but they were wrong somehow. Dawn thought about showing the note to her brother but for some reason something was telling her that this was for her eyes only. She grabbed a piece of paper and hastily wrote down the code, before shoving it into the pocket of her super suit.

As soon as Dawn heard the tap at the door she raced around the room throwing various mechanical parts into various drawers and praying that it wasn’t her mother who was patiently waiting outside her door. After throwing her suit into her closet and slamming the door she gave a breathy.

“Come in.” Dawn was met with the warm brown eyes of her brother.

“Hey, what’s up?” Dawn said, putting on her best poker face. She tried to not fidget at the sweat that was running down her back. Don walked into his sister’s room, flopping down on her bed and surveying her from her awkward stance near her closet. Dawn narrowed her eyes at her brother’s observational stare and held her head high as she marched towards the chair by her desk and took a seat, daring her twin to say something. Don could tell that Dawn was doing something she wasn’t supposed to be….call it his intuition.

“Nothing much, I was just wondering how it was going with Gideon.” Don phrased this more like a statement than a question because he knew that as soon as Dawn figured out his intention she would kick his ass out of her room within 0.0001 seconds.

“Oh it was fine, I got everything sorted and now Gideon should be very helpful when we go out on out “little” missions.” Dawn said, quoting their mother from their earlier conversation.

Don took a breath, a long time ago he learned that his sister liked to work things out by herself and then when she had calculated all the risks in her head she’d ask him to join. Occasionally she’d be a bit more forthcoming with her ideas but for the past few months Don could tell that Dawn was hiding something from him. He didn’t know exactly what it was but instead of confronting her about it Don had been satisfied with just letting her do her own thing. Now, Don wasn’t so sure he made the right choice.

Lately, Don noticed that Dawn was having trouble sleeping, and he rarely saw her when they weren’t out saving people. He felt like she was distancing herself from the family altogether and he had a feeling it had something to do with the Reverse-Flash. A few months ago Dawn began researching all of the speedsters that their Dad defeated back in the day, and Don was worried that she was becoming too lost in the past.

“Dawn, why do you keep insisting on researching all of Dad’s old enemies?” Don asked quietly.

Dawn didn’t bother answering because she knew that Don already knew the answer. She insisted on researching her Dad’s past because it was the only way that she would ever be able to know him. He wasn’t around now, and as much as she always pretended that it didn’t bug her, she couldn’t always keep up that front around everyone. It’s not that Iris wasn’t enough. Dawn loved her Mom unconditionally, and the rest of her family as well. There were just some things that she simply needed her dad for—it just felt like a piece of her was missing.

“You have to stop Dawn, there is no way that he’s coming back, okay. I know that you want him here, and I do too, so does Mom. But the only thing that we can do as a family is to move on and live our lives. You and I are already doing more for the citizens of Central City than it’s seen in a long time. Dad would’ve been proud of us.” Don argued quietly.

“You brought up changing the timeline earlier. You can’t do that Dawn. If you left and came back you’d be coming back to a world that only you would know was different.” Don continued.

Dawn simply gave her brother a small nod and a tight lipped smile before she got up to head to the washroom to get ready for bed. She’d had a long day and Don’s lecture made her feel bone tired. After letting the blistering heat of the water soak through her sore muscles Dawn put on a pair of sweat pants and a tank top and headed back to her room. Crawling into bed Dawn hoped that it would be a better day tomorrow. Right before she felt herself drift off to sleep Dawn remembered the mysterious note that she had received earlier that day. Racing towards her closet Dawn tore through her pockets at the speed of light and snatched the paper from her suit. Holding the paper up Dawn was able to determine that the note still didn’t make any sense. She couldn’t describe it though, she felt a connection to the symbols that were on the piece of paper.

Abruptly, Dawn felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Suit still in hand, she raced down the hall towards her brother’s room and crashed against the door frame as she came to a stop. Don’s room was empty. Turning, Dawn raced down the stairs towards the front door and without warning she watched as men with guns, in black armored suits began to pour through her front door. Shocked, Dawn sped towards the back of the West-Allen house, where her mother’s room was located. She found her brother speeding around Iris’s room throwing things into a suitcase. Iris was gripping a gun and pointing it towards the doorway that Dawn currently occupied. Iris’s eyes widened at the sight of her daughter.

“Dawn! Come on we have to go, you and your brother have to leave now!” Iris’s panicked voice filled Dawn’s veins with ice and for the first time in her life Dawn felt truly terrified. Don shoved the last of their mother’s clothes into her suitcase and looked up at Dawn.

“We need to go.” That’s when Dawn realized that the clothes Don was packing weren’t for Iris, they were for her. Don grabbed his backpack and Iris’s suitcase and he shoved the latter into his sister’s hands before turning back to Iris.

“I’m taking you to Uncle Wally’s and Aunt Linda’s place.” Don said firmly to his mother. Don turned back to his sister and they shared another look. They'd meet at the Meeting Place.
Dawn nodded and the twins parted ways as they each raced in separate directions. Don sped out the back door with his mother, and Dawn dodged her way through bullets, while taking out as many of the intruders as possible before racing through the front door and down Danville. Dawn didn’t stop to look behind her until she was almost to City Centre. Skidding to a stop in front of Big Belly Burger, Dawn’s heart lurched into her throat when she rounded the corner and came face to face with Wally.

“Jesus Fu-” Dawn was cut off by Wally grabbing her by the shoulders and pinning her to the wall in the alley behind the fast food chain. Slamming his hand over her mouth to keep her from growling out more curses, Wally whispered in Dawn’s ear.

“They’re rounding up the metas….I don’t know why. Linda took the kids and your mom to a safe location, we’re meeting them there but we have to get out of here fast before anyone fin—” Wally was interrupted by a loud bang and both speedsters turned at the sound of the barrel of a gun being emptied.

Wally easily dodged the bullets and walked over towards the man, before he pushed him against the wall and knocked him out. Turning back to his niece who was looking wild eyed and bit like a deer stuck in the headlights. Wally grabbed Dawn’s arm and looked at her, eye level, before he said something that he hadn’t said since Team Flash disbanded.

“I’ll drive them in another direction. Just find your way back to Don and your Mom ok. I believe in you. Now Run, Dawn, Run!”

Dawn’s mind was travelling a mile a minute as she heard Wally relay his plan to her. She dropped the suitcase and spun around throwing on her super suit. With his final request Dawn rocked forward and gripped her Uncle in a bone-crushing hug before she shot off into the night. Hearing Wally’s unwavering faith in her made Dawn certain that she had to get help.

Dawn raced through Central City, a purple firework down the streets as she ran, faster and faster. Dawn needed to find someone to help her save the city. She would find someone to help her, and she knew exactly who it was that could fix whatever it was that was happening in her town. With renewed vigor, Dawn dug her heels into the dirt and sped off towards the outskirts of the city. Dawn thought back to all those times that Iris had smiled and told her how much like her father she was, how Don had always been there for her, how Wally was the supportive Uncle and father-figure that she adored. She was determined to not let any of them die.
Dawn screamed as she threw herself into the tunnel that was steadily forming.

She remembered reading about the Speed Force in the Reverse-Flash’s journal but being inside it herself was a whole other experience. The sheer amount of energy that surrounding Dawn made her feel like she was being crushed, but Dawn continued running. There was something that she was looking for, she was looking for the Flash. The Flash could save her city. Her father could save her family.
So Dawn kept running, she ran and ran…until she felt another presence behind her, turning to look back Dawn was horrified to see the withered, skeletal face of some kind of black eyed demon. Except this black eyed demon was gaining on her…terrified Dawn veered out of the way right as the demon speedsters claws gripped her shoulder.

Tumbling out of the Speed Force was not a very pleasant experience to say the least. Especially when that person tumbles out of the Speed Force above a Big Belly Burger and crash lands through the roof.

“Ouch” Dawn moaned, as she pulled herself up off the floor of the restaurant. Dawn raked her hands over her body to see if there were any broken bones before she unsteadily got to her feet and exited the fast food joint. Leaving behind a very startled looking college kid at the front counter. Dawn tapped the side of her armband and Gideon’s voice bloomed throughout her com.

“Good evening Dawn West-Allen, what can I do for you.”

“Gideon…” Dawn said between erratic breaths as she frantically looked around the streets.

“Where the hell am I?”