He woke up at the sound of the ring tone, and reached for his phone automatically. It turned out to be nothing more than a scammer threatening an Internal Revenue audit, not (mercifully) Caitlin or HR telling him to rush to S.T.A.R. Labs or check the news for some Flash crisis. Even so, he was grateful for the interruption. It had been one of those dreams.
He rolled over, hoping to go back to sleep, but it proved elusive even though he’d worked far too late on his latest tweak to the Flash suit and ought to drop right off. But the echoes of the dream stayed with him. It had been not been the marvellous sort where he succeeded in building a translight drive or universal translator. It hadn’t even been a normal nightmare of monsters chasing him down an eternal stairway to hell. In fact, it hadn’t actually been a real dream at all: it had been one of those weird visions—the kind that he’d had, in flashes, when his vibe powers had just begun to manifest. Except nowadays at least he knew he wasn’t going mad.
He rolled over yet again, seeking elusive sleep. This time, it hadn’t been Thawne’s hand through his chest. It had been one of the Dante dreams.
One of the Dante dreams. He’d had dozens of them by now. He never knew when they’d come. Weeks might go by. Then he’d be shocked by another.
He never forgot any of them.
In some there’d been quarrels; but he’d also seen reconciliation. He’d seen Dante become a priest; and he’d seen him married to Melinda. He’d seen his brother with hands crippled: he’d seen him playing dance tunes at a wedding: he’d seen him triumphant on a major worldwide concert tour. He’d seen him die, seen him comatose in a nursing home, seen him gamely on stage in a wheelchair. He’d even seen the Flash snatch Dante to safety. Each was a vision of a timeline that didn’t exist. Each was a “dream” that once had been real.
Just how many time changes had there been? He knew of Flashpoint, all too well. But before that the Flash had travelled in time to defeat Mardon; and then there was the time-change that had brought Hartley as ally. Had Barry made other time trips he’d never told them about? It worried Cisco that his friend might have changed time, over and over, without telling them.
But … of course, there was Reverse Flash. Yes, and the Waverider—and, if he’d got it right, other Time Masters’ ships tweaking events throughout history. Cisco could feel those alternative timelines also. They lay just within reach, as if they’d not only happened somewhen but still were true now … when he was asleep. In his “dreams”, they were still real. He had woken from worlds where Kennedy survived the grassy knoll, where the Titanic arrived in New York, where the Beatles died in a plane crash. Most of them made perversely little difference to the everyday world, for all that the Cisco in the dream was aware of history; but, as someone who liked music, he did regret the last one.
Dreams in which the particle accelerator didn’t explode, where Thawne still masqueraded as Wells, Ronnie was still alive, and Hartley his greatest rival—those he could almost dismiss as real dreams of a happy past. Dreams in which Barry never woke from his coma … well, from those, Cisco woke to a better reality. Dreams of Dante, though, were another matter. They didn’t just hit closer to home, they literally hit his home.
Cisco had been with Team Flash from the start. Hell, before the start! He’d made the prototype Flash suit long before the explosion. Oh, yes! He was a brilliant engineer. (Cisco had no false modesty: he knew he was brilliant.) He’d saved the day over and over with his inventions. Yet it felt at times now as though Vibe was his main role. He could sense what he touched, open breaches to other worlds, and throw concussive blasts: he was of active use to the team in combat, not just in the lab. At this point, he suspected the others had pretty well forgotten how his powers had first manifested with visions of his own death.
Did they know that he still got “dreams”? Did they even realize? Would they even care? He wasn’t the sort to go around complaining about nightmares. His parents hadn’t raised a whiner.
There were times, though, when he just plain hated his powers.