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The Path We Choose

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Eobard Thawne had made many rash decisions in his life. Ones that in hindsight had been moronic to make. But he couldn't regret any of them. They had led to meeting the Flash. Perhaps not in the way he had planned, but he had become an integral part of the Flash's life, even if it was as an enemy. Over time he had learned to think more before making a decision. Make a plan, then execute it. However, the impulsiveness had never really gone away. So in that moment, when he had been battling his adversary again, a thought flittered into his mind. A way to finally beat the Flash. Something that no one had ever been able to accomplish. He was going to be the first, and that had sent a thrill through him. So in that moment, the one that when someone looks back identifies as the pivotal moment, the one that changed everything, he ran. He ran faster than he ever had, and it worked. He could feel time slip away as he traveled further and further back. Twenty-four years back to be precise. It was such a simple plan. An elegant one at that. Go back in time to when the Flash was just a child, not a superhero, and kill him. It was perfect. Until he glanced behind him for just a moment and saw said hero chasing him. He wasn't gaining, just keeping pace. And maybe this was the moment that had changed everything because rather than simply keep going and merely staying ahead of his nemesis, (Eobard knew he could stay ahead, he was faster, not weighed down by morals and righteousness) he sped up. And that was the mistake that changed everything. 

Eobard pulled ahead of the Flash and pushed himself even faster. He finally reached his destination and slowed down. He stopped and searched his surroundings. A residential neighborhood in Central City. He smiled and recalled the book he had memorized as a child, the one about every superhero to exist in this golden age, and ran to the childhood address that had been listed within the book. He reached it and raced inside. Except, the Flash, nor his parents were in the house. Four random people were asleep within the house. He knew he had the right address. Eobard glanced at the calendar hanging in the office space he had stopped in and saw the year. 1977. Twelve years before the Flash was even born. He considered finding his parents and killing them therefore ensuring the Flash never existed, but there was something deeply unsatisfying about that. He wanted something tangible. Wanted some memory of the Flash to exist within the world. Something to say that he had defeated his enemy, even if it was an old news clipping of the unsolved murder of a child. 

So, Eobard came to a decision. He called to the speed force and ran, but this time to go forward. But this only worked for about one second before he stumbled and fell. He got up one more time and ran and tripped in even less time. His access to the speed force was fading. He could feel it. Eobard was stuck. He needed to get back to his time. And that's when he saw him. Harrison Wells. He was the reason the Flash existed. It was his particle accelerator that had created the scarlet speedster. 

He was in a restaurant, chatting with someone unimportant. Eobard waited. Finally, the man walked out and got into his car. On a deserted road, Eobard caused a crash and took the man's identity. He buried the body and began a new life as Harrison Wells. He severed ties with that woman Wells had been infatuated with, Tess Something. He became an established scientist and founded STAR Labs. And with time, his impulsiveness tamped down. He created detailed long-term plans, and they had all worked. Almost. There had been one miscalculation on his part. He had gotten STAR Labs a reputable title and had created the particle accelerator. But it was supposed to work. It wasn't supposed to malfunction. Not yet. So he watched in fascinated horror as all of his hard work and careful planning was ruined by a simple miscalculation. The particle accelerator blew in the spectacle that he had always imagined it to be when he was reading about the incident as a child. But it was early. Twenty- three years too early. So he stewed. He was stuck. There was no way that he could build the research company back up to its former glory and convince the public of the safety of another particle accelerator. Not in time. Eobard resigned himself to being stuck in another time, another body, with no Flash. And he continued to wallow for nearly a week after the explosion. Until he heard about a child, no older than two, who had been struck by lightning and survived. Eobard listened attentively and smiled when they mentioned the child's name. Barry Allen.        

 


 

Eobard had never understood Hollywood’s fascination with complex, inane plans that villains had in spy or superhero movies. His last simple plan had been a disaster because it had been hasty in its making. Simplicity did not usually mean half-baked, and Eobard would not make the same mistake twice. All over the news, stories of children and adults alike were developing powers. And an idea began to form in his head. He just needed to iron out the details. So he researched for forty-eight hours straight, and when he was done, he had a plan that couldn’t possibly fail. The first step was getting Barry Allen. And here was the simplicity of the plan. Barry Allen was a toddler, barely able to speak and unable to form real, lasting memories. Being so young meant that he had never learned distrust, so the first part of his plan would be easy. 

It was ten days after the particle accelerator had exploded. Eobard had been conserving his energy and the little speed force that was left in his body for the last twelve years. He changed into the yellow suit that he made sure had haunted the Flash for years. He called upon the speed force and ran to Barry Allen’s house. Everything slowed down to the point that people, cars, objects came to a standstill. He entered the house to see Nora and Henry Allen in the living room. They were sitting on the couch and seemed to be discussing something serious. Nora Allen’s brows were furrowed and she was lightly frowning. Henry Allen looked exhausted with dark circles under his eyes and a sag to his shoulders. They were likely discussing their child and what to do about his powers. He let time catch up to him as he stood in front of his nemesis’ parents. They both jerked back and gaped at him. He smiled. This would be fun. 

Without warning he sped forward and vibrated his hand into Henry Allen’s chest and squeezed his heart. He withdrew his hand, and the man went down almost immediately. Instantly dead. He turned towards the brunette and watched as she muffled a scream. She glanced upstairs and glanced back at him. It was foolish, believing that she could outrun him, but as he would come to learn, parents did foolish things for their children. Nora Allen ran towards the stairs and he let her run up them. Then he followed. He grabbed her and pulled her until her back was against his chest. His hands was on her face. Her breathing was rapid and her heart fluttered.

“Please,” she begged quietly. “Don’t hurt my son.”

“Don’t worry, Nora. Barry is what I came for. I don’t plan on hurting him. In fact, I plan the opposite. Your son has been given a very special gift. One that I plan to nurture. Know that your son will be well taken care of. I’ll make sure that he grows up to be the man he was destined to become, a hero, a legend. Perhaps this will give you hope in your last moments,” he said before he jerked her head to the left and snapped her neck. He would wonder for years afterwards if his words had given her any comfort. He quickly took the bodies of Barry’s parents and hid them in their room. The young child didn’t need to see that. He changed into normal clothes and walked into Barry’s room. He was a small child with long eyelashes and a button nose. His brown hair hung down to his forehead and curled around his ears. 

“Barry,” Eobard said gently. 

The child snuffled as he rubbed his tiny hands over his eyes. He opened them and looked around blearily. 

“Barry,” he repeated. The small speedster looked over at him. He tilted his head to the side.

“Who’s you? Where mommy and daddy?” he asked in a light voice that was slurred with sleep. 

“My name is Eobard. Your mommy and daddy went out for a drive tonight while you were asleep and they crashed the car. I’m going to be taking care of you now,” he said. “I was a good friend of your parents.”

“Are mommy and daddy okay?” he asked. 

“No, Barry. I’m sorry, but your parents passed away in the car crash,” he said. 

“Passed way?” he questioned. 

“It means that your parents can’t wake up. They can’t take care of you anymore, but they wanted me to take care of you,” he said. 

“Can I see mommy and daddy when they wake up?” Barry asked in a wobbly voice as tears welled up in his eyes.

He gathered the child into his arms and rocked him back and forth as he said, “Barry, your parents won’t wake up.”

“But, I can see them ‘gain, right?” he cried as tears fell down his cheeks.

“No, I’m sorry Barry,” he said. 

The child sobbed in his arms for awhile before it turned to sniffles, and he finally drifted off. Eobard held him as he packed a bag with clothes and toys. He held the child, no, his child close as he ran back to his house. Now it was time for the second part of his plan. 

 


 

People suddenly developing superpowers had seriously freaked people out. Paranoia was rampant. Eobard could easily see another Red Scare happening. Luckily for them that wouldn’t be a problem. Well, it wouldn’t be a problem for him. 

Barry was asleep at the safe house they had been staying in. The child had adjusted better than Eobard would have expected. Barry still cried every night about his mommy and daddy, but he had grown fond of Eobard. Often when he was upset, he would go over to Eobard and crawl into his lap. And something unexpected had happened. Eobard had begun to feel affectionate towards the boy. He had never expected that. 

Ever since he had gotten his powers and learned that he would become the Flash’s greatest enemy, he had hated the man. As a child he had wanted super speed so badly because he had loved the Flash. He was by far the best superhero, definitely better than all of the others who had created the Golden Age of Heroes. Other kids had made fun of him for it since most children loved Superman or Batman. That coupled with his shyness and love of science had meant that he hadn’t had many friends growing up. But it had been okay because he would show them that the Flash was the best. He had recreated the accident that had created the Flash, and surprisingly it had worked. Except, later while he was rereading the Flash’s biography new information had appeared that he had never seen before. The Flash’s greatest enemy, the Reverse Flash, a time traveler from the twenty-fifth century, and a list of names that were suspected to be his identity. His name had been included. In that moment, Eobard had known true fury. He had sacrificed having friends and had risked his life to be like the Flash, and this is what he got in return. The Flash had tainted his powers, had tainted his life. And others had seen the changes in the biography. All of his friends, the few he had, had abandoned him when they learned he might be the Flash’s greatest enemy. The Flash had ruined his life. So he decided that if he was destined to be the Flash’s enemy, he would embrace it. He had never dreamed of holding the Flash as a toddler and slowly coming to love the boy as his own. It seemed that Fate had a sense of humor.

His research prior to getting Barry had proven useful. He had a solid database of meta-humans. Now, he just needed to get them. It wasn’t hard. Everyone was scared. A few pretty words, like safe and freedom, and people would follow you anywhere. He had gotten a little less than a hundred meta-humans in total. More than enough for his plan to succeed.

As for the last part of his research, he had found an island that was uninhabited and was plentiful in resources. This was his favorite part of the plan. A new meta-human society that he would lead with Barry Allen, the Flash, his nemesis, as his son. In a way, this was the best revenge he could have enacted because rather than the Flash hating him, Barry would love him as his father. There was something even more satisfying about this outcome that his original plan to kill the Flash. 

A young man, named Mal Duncan, opened a portal to the island to allow some of the adults to go to the island and build their homes and the small village that would become their home. The rest of the adults stayed behind in Eobard’s safe house to watch the children. Superpowers made quick work of building houses that were modern enough to have running water and some electricity, but little else. Eobard made sure that once they were on the island, everyone was cut off from the rest of the world. And it wasn’t hard to convince the others. There were stories of meta-humans across the country disappearing after being visited by the military. As far as everyone was concerned it was better to vanish and stay cut off from the rest of the world that be taken away from it by force. So within a week, everything was ready. Duncan created another portal, and everyone walked into the new village on a small, remote island in the Pacific. 

The village consisted of a group of five one-story houses that circled a clearing with dirt roads connecting to other clearing with other houses, and at the center was a market place and council building that doubled as a medical building. On the outskirts of the village, farmland was ready for crops that were brought with them and ones that could be taken from the island. Next to that were pens for farm animals that were being brought over. Quite a few of the meta-humans Eobard had selected were farmers and ranchers, which made them useful. 

To Eobard the village was crude compared to his childhood house or even the house he bought as Harrison Wells. But it was quickly becoming home, something he hadn’t known since he had traveled back that first time. Barry was happy. He was crying less, and becoming more open. He smiled and laughed more. Although being the youngest, Barry quickly made friends with the other children in the village. The boy still missed his parents, but he was healing from the loss. A year passed when something happened that Eobard had only dreamed of since this whole plan had begun. 

“Daddy,” Barry called. “Daddy!” He came zooming into their cottage and promptly tripped. Eobard jolted upright as he started to get up with the fear that the three-year-old was hurt, but Barry just got right back up and grinned at him toothily. “Daddy, guess what?”

It was only once he saw that his son was okay that it registered that he had called him Daddy. Barry usually referred to him as “Harry” since he was unable to pronounce his alias’ full name (Eobard had been forced to keep the identity since many had recognized him upon meeting).

“What, Barry?” he questioned with a small smile. 

“Shaw-a,” that must be Shawna Baez, Barry had trouble pronouncing her name, “made me go, go poof wif her. We went poof, Daddy.”

“You did?” he exclaimed. “Where did you go poof to?”

“We, we poofed to the other side. Me and Shaw-a went from, from one tree to one on the other side. And, and then I ran and ran,” he rambled with a bright smile. 

“Was that fun?” Eobard asked. 

“Yeah,” Barry answered while nodding enthusiastically, his hair bobbing up and down. Eobard made a mental note to cut it soon. 

He went over to the toddler and picked him up. Barry was still talking about some of the flowers and bugs that him and his friends had been looking at. Eobard asked questions as he sat Barry down at the table and got him some water. They talked about inane topics that only a child could come up with while Eobard got lunch ready. It was an assortment of fruit, vegetables, and cooked meat. He made sure that Barry’s food was in small, cut up pieces and set it down in front of him. He got his own plate and sat down next to his child. Eobard smiled, talked, and laughed with the little boy as they ate. 

It had taken nearly thirty years since he had gotten his powers, but Eobard had gotten more than he could have ever wished for. Revenge had consumed him wholly, that need to win. And he had won. He had beaten the Flash, no, he had beaten Fate. He was no longer the Flash’s enemy, he was Daddy. He was the leader of a new community and loved by everyone within it. He was happy. Eobard had gotten everything he had ever wanted and more. Nothing could possibly take this away from him. And if something or someone ever tried to take away everything he had worked to get, he would destroy them and everything they cared about.