Chapter 1: Running away
Earth 2017 -Central City
They say that we never really learn from our mistakes. That we are destined to repeat the same wars , and shed fresher blood. This world that we live in today is the very embodiment of that theory.We have reverted back to our selfish, hateful ways...and for what? Our own personal betterment?
'Again ma'am there really isn't anything I can do, King Savit'ar has passed the law-all Gotham natives are to return to their homeland to ensure the safety of Central city's citizens.' The lady rehashes to me helplessly. I can see the genuine regret swimming behind her green eyes, and I hate that she is the one who has to enforce the rules and see my distress at the situation, while the said overlord sits peacefully in his castle.
I know it isn't her fault, that she was merely sent here to do her job; but this is my house, this is my family, and that selfish bigot in the palace up north had better pry my cold dead body from this city himself if I am to go anywhere.
I say that to her, and note the discreet upturn of her lip at my defiance. This is the third time this week that she has visited me with the same request, and in turn I have given her more or less the same answer, she never seems to get annoyed with me though.
'Miss West, it's my duty as a councilor to advise you to comply and avoid any further repercussions...' She stands up from the table , sparing a glance at my rather curious niece in the corner of our little apartment. She then turns back to me, brushing her tailored suit down before adding to her comment , 'But as a fellow woman and mother who wants to see this world change for my own daughter, I would encourage you to join the rebellion.'
Perhaps it is a good thing that her brute of a partner opted to stand outside- he looked like the type that wouldn't touch anything a person of color had, let alone step foot in their home.
I smile at councilor Smoak, also rising from my seat for her departure. 'Surely they don't train you to advise any defiant Gotham born black to join the underground resistance.' I chastise and she shrugs ,holding her file to her chest...a file with a list of Gotham expats that she has to ensure leaves the city within this month.
'With the week you have given me miss West , you might as well have already joined it.' She throws back playfully. She's almost right, I have thought about it,but somehow I thought it wouldn't have to come to that...that someone would overthrow the crazy King before any of his crazy plans were put into fruition... Alas...
'It's safer for her' she insists referring to Mia,who thinks she's doing a good job hiding behind the couch. 'The main base is in starling city, but there is a smaller base right here in the old star labs building.' Ms Smoak spares a glance at the window by the front door where her partner is merely hovering unaware of our conversation. She then turns back to me . Her green eyes are more sprightly probably because of the turn in conversation.
'You must pack your things and leave tonight with your family though, someone else will come to check your departure tomorrow morning... I can manage to fake records that you have exited the city, but you must leave .' She emphasizes .
Suddenly the surreality of it all hits me. This is actually happening -the Third World War would commence in my time and I really could do anything to stop it. 'I -I how do I even get in? When-...' She cuts me off , placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder. 'Ms west , I will help you - I have friends there,they will let you in and protect you.Take the alleyway train there, and enter through the 5th gate-ask for a doctor Caitlin Snow-tell her I sent you '. The way in she lays out the plan has me almost believing that it is that simple , but is it? Why would a central city born Caucasian councilor help a black Gotham native?
'Why are you doing this...how would this benefit you?' I ask skeptically. I wonder if I should pack my bags and just leave for Gotham instead...sure the city is not safe , ridden with crime, and gangs, but it was once my home....before Central city became a symbol of hope in this racially and inevitably economically segregated world,but then Savit'ar killed king Allen...
'Savit'ar is not my ruler, he never will be. I only do this job to keep your people safe ,but if you are willing to fight miss West, then you should... I too am part of the resistance. I recruit, while I protect.' She tells me as a ,after or fact. It makes sense really, Linda was literally dragged to prison after one warning from her councilor in her sector...Ms Smoak allowed me to get away with three...
'Mia would be safe?' I clarify again looking wearily at the blonde lady. She really is much too pretty and bubbly looking to have such a demoralizing job.
'My husband leads the resistance, and my daughter Thalia lives there too.' She replies. I raise my eyebrow -she hasn't answered my question.
'But will Mia be safe?' Miss Smoak lets her face fall slightly. 'She's safer than she would be here , or in Gotham...children are children there nothing more and nothing less.'
That's all I can ask for...
Mia ducks behind the couch again, seeing that I've noticed her presence.she's only four, and I promised Wally...I promised him that I'd take care of her.
'I'll do it...she's all I have left.' I tell the woman, and she nods .
So it was set. Miss Smoak left with the brute man,and Mia I packed everything we could carry into our little duffel bags.
We did not really own much, but the little we carried was enough for me to regret packing while slipping into the automated train with a four year old.
'Mommy, are we gonna see mama?' Mia asks halfway through our journey. The train isn't really the fastest, but it is the easiest mode of transport to use to get to the secluded industrial area without much detection.
I turn to look at my caramel skinned niece. Her silky brown curls are barely held by the pink Alice band atop her head, and her beautiful Korean eyes peer hopefully at me. She misses her mother, I had taken her to visit Linda in prison only two weeks ago , but on the central city express train... She obviously hasn't noticed that we are going in the opposite direction.
'No , no honey ...um, we are gonna go see pawpaw Joe's friends...' It's the best way I can explain the situation to her without flat out lying.
'But paw paw 's died...' She is very intuitive, and just like her mother ,smells a lie from a mile away. My dad was in the rebellion, and he paid with his life not even a week after leaving for it. That's why I really am hesitant about this...I can't loose Mia, and I can't have Mia loose me.
'Yes, but he still has friends that are alive ...they might not remember him though...' I say the last bit mostly to myself. It was two years ago when he died, and two years ago when I cut myself off from anything and everything to do with the rebellion. Linda was a part of it, and it's what inevitably led to her arrest instead of mere deportation.
Mia does not reply for a moment , perhaps to ponder my comment.
'Mommy, are we running away...like Paw Paw?'
Always the perceptive little thing.I put my arm around her waist pulling her closer to my side and kiss the corn of her little head.
'Yes baby, but we are running away together .' She seems to relax a bit with my comment,resting her head on my arm. I would move mountains for this little girl, and Savit'ar should know that there are millions of other women and men who would do the same for themselves and their families. He may have gotten away with so much over the past few years, but he will fall.
Evil never wins .
Earth 2017 -Central City
I don't know exactly what I was expecting to find at star labs ,but when the very prim and proper brunette leads us into a fully functional ,state of the art medical hospital with a refugee hostel making up the underground floors of the building ,I am utterly surprised . Mia stays close to my side, her little eyes staring at all the people buzzing about in awe.
She leads us to a small room that has two twin beds, a joining bathroom and a small wooden closet. It is small and quaint , not exactly as fancy as the medical part of the building, but better than anything we would have lived in back in Gotham . There are no windows, but she says that we are free to go to the surface grounds at any time.
'I thought Star Labs completely shut down ... How are you hiding all of this from Savit'ar?' I ask the guide in bewilderment.
'Cloaking device. that's why the building looks so run down on the outside. Of course it also helps that Doctor Wells publicly announced that the area is dangerously radiated following his particle accelerator explosion.No one , including Savit'ar has had any real interest in investigating the place thereafter.' I freeze when she mentions radiation. How could I have forgotten that this place had been closed off and declared unsafe after that mad scientist almost blew the city to smithereens three years ago.
'Have you found a solution to the radioactivity or something, because there is no way I am hiding my child here when she's likely to die here anyways.'
The Lady is not the one to reply to my question, instead it is another tall Caucasian lady with long brown hair and green eyes standing at the entrance of our door.
'Have you ever heard of activated water treatment ?' The lady asks to which I shake my head in response. ' well it's a proven way of reducing contamination caused by radioactivity...the cortex on the ground level is really the dangerous part of the building, but it is shielded off by led, while the rest of this building is constantly being treated by the water system running throughout each level above.' She explains, then stretches out her hand for me to shake.
'I am Doctor Caitlin Snow, I am told that Felicity Smoak referred us to you and your daughter.' I shake her hand in return, I notice that her hand is rather icy cold, but that's probably because of the air conditioning.
'Iris west and Mia west.' I tell her , and she nods in acknowledgement, before turning to the woman who led us here. 'You may leave us miss Cooper, I will take it from here.'
The woman leaves very briskly as if afraid of Doctor Snow... I'm not sure if I should be afraid of her too or something...
Once we are alone ,she takes a seat on one of the ready made beds, she gestures that I do the same.
'I want to keep my daughter safe, I have no real desire to participate in the rebellion.' I explain to miss Snow very quickly. The last I want is to be pulled into something I never-...
"I know who you are Iris. And I know that Mia west is not actually your daughter." She says as if that statement is supposed to reassure me and not freak me out.
She smiles softly, before brushing her crisp skirt down as if out of habit.
"Joe was a good friend of mine...so was Wally.Never met Linda, but from what I heard, she was quite the arsonist." She says with a chuckle. I frown at this strange woman. I may not have seen my dad and brother and dad as much in the few years leading up to their ...passing, but surely they would have mentioned that they were good friends with a Caucasian rebel leader...I assume she is one of the leaders anyways...
"You Wests are apparently very strong fighters." She comments, and I read between the lines very easily. How dare she speak about my brother, father and best friend as though their actions were necessary , and would be remembered?? How dare she insinuate that I have some sort of duty to continue their fruitless mission??
"Yeah well their 'fighting' got two of them killed and the other in jail ,and miles away from her daughter, so again I say-I am not joining your rebellion."
She seems unphased by my snippy reply. Instead her eyes trail towards Mia , who has gotten ahold of a conveniently placed teddy bear on the bed that I assume they prepared for her.
"I am not asking you to join , or do anything " I don't feel comfortable with her eyes on Mia...thankfully she returns her deceivingly warm brown eyes on me.
" I just want to make sure you know that you are in good hands- your family trusted us" she says before raising from her seat, and I watch her carefully.
"Goodbye Mia-Lin." Dr snow says, which unsettles me even more. Could she at least be a little less creepy and stop throwing information at me, that I never told her...
"Bye bye Doctor ." Mia says in clear wonder.Even she noticed that she used her full name without anyone mentioning it.
"Everything in this room is fully furnished.we have a 24 hour cafeteria on floor 7, feel free to, pick at anything there.If you need anything or need any more questions about 'radiation' answered,feel free to ask for me- as much as there is a war outside, within this facility, we are family."
Dr snow says to me before turning at her heel. And leaving the room.
May eyes stay fixed on the door even after she has vacated the room , leaving only the smell of her jasmine perfume in her wake.I really hope I didn't put us in more danger...
"Mommy, I'm hungry." Mia says pulling me from thy thoughts .She them leaps from her bed to mine.incatch her effortlessly ,but frown.
'Hey young lady,I know this isn't your real bed,but you still should not do that." I chastise.
"Mommy I'm hungry." She wails dramatically like she always does As If it might distract me from being mad at her. I roll my eyes but stand up with her in my arms. I prepared a two tuna sandwiches for us before we left, but I might check out the cafeteria with her tomorrow morning for breakfast .
"Sandwiches for dinner-how about that?" I ask her once I've slipped the neatly wrapped food from the lunch bag we came with." Mia barely acknowledges my question as she greedily grabs the food from my hands.Inchuckle and set her down so that she appeases her monster appetite. We literally stopped at a noodle place before we got on the train,it's probably only been two hours since then,but I don't mind. I love that she loves food, just like her dad honestly.Wally was never not hungry , and it would drive me up the wall when it was my turn to make dinner because he was also very impatient .Both attributes seem to have made their way into Mia's DNA .
Mia has long since passed out when I hear a knock at our door.its literally 12 pm, and the only reason I am still awake is because I'm looking up radiation water treatment .i don't really trust that we are completely safe here yet...I don't Think I ever will trust that.
I quickly jump out of bed to answer the door before my nieceg is woken from her slumber by the inconsiderate ..... Angel?....
I don't quite believe I'm awake as my eyes land on the man before me... Tall,thin but not lanky-that much is proven by the sculpt that his full black leather suit follows.
Gorgeous Bright green eyes meet mine, well he is sporting a shiner on his left eye, but that hardly seems to ruin the image before me.
"U-um I-Iris west?" The guy asks as he nervously scratches the back of his neck. I usually hate when guys do that, but he kinda looks cute being all unsure like that.
"Er- yes? " I reply folding my hands at my chest.
" um...I ,um" he stutters , then looks behind me before asking if he may come in.absolutely not.in what world would someone let a strange unknown man into her room without even saying who they are and what they want.
"My daughter is asleep-so no, we can talk out here." I state, closing the door behind me partly to prevent .
"...oh, daughter?" He says as if I have some reason to further explain myself to him.Okay he is good looking, but this guy needs to,leave.
" is there something I can help you with." I ask . Go figure I would have to remind him that he probably had a purpose for this intrusion. His eyes widen as if realizing just that.
" um yes. I ...well my name is Barry. Barry Garrick."
The name rings a bell somewhere in my mind, but I can't seem to put my finger on it.
"I-I don't -..." I begin,but the man starts to clarify
"I worked with your brother...Wallace west-..." My blood runs cold at the mention of his name ,"h-he um... He saved my life" he says very solemnly , and it all clicks.
My brother sacrificed himself to save the life of one of the higher-ups of this resistance during a failed attack on Savit'ar's castle... Many lost their lives that day ,and apparently my brothers death was considered the most noble because he gave his life for one of the leaders ... The same man standing before me...Bartholemew Garrivk ...
My face wasn't exactly welcoming before he introduced himself....but I know it's hardly warm now...
'Why are you here?" I ask trying ,y best not to raise my voice, or show more emotion than necessary. My brother chose this mans life over his wife's ,mine....his daughter, and for what? For this rebellion to continue in futile ? Barholemew is the ghost rebel leader that everyone knows about, but no one ever sees. He works in the shadows, but leading the most dangerous of raids and attacks that always frikken fail, but admittedly cripple Savit'ar's defenses somewhat. When Wally wrote to me telling me that he was finally chosen to help with one of Garrick's raids, I tried my best to contact him directly and talk him out of it... But he went anyways and lost his life... It wasn't worth it...
Garrick's green eyes are filled with sorrow but no amount of remorse will make the loss of my brother less painful. "I ....I just wanted ..." He trails off at the end .
"You wanted forgiveness?" I ask sardonically " you want me to tell, you that I understood my brothers sacrifice and don't hold you accountable?" I continue. He opens his mouth to respond ,but Ido bt let him as I take a step forward, he takes a step back warily "you want me to tell you to stop feeling guilty, and move on?" I point a thin, my voice raising a bit as my blood boils. Who did he think he was coming here?? Bartholemew Allen was a person I tried hard to forget. I still worke for the paper back then when journalists still had the right and means to tell the truth about our governance ... Back when the people still regarded the media as an ally and means to stop the injustice of our land...
I decided to leave the paper with Linda in search of the truth about this rebellion and our WAlly's death, and we almost got killed for it...Linda got arrested after she joined the rebellions task force as a spy which inevitably got her locked up...but before then, we did find out some things-Wally died taking a bullet for a general named Bartholemew Garrick, and now had an entire troop of the rebellion named in his honor .
Without knowing anything about Bartholemew Garrick ,I felt this red hatered towards him and desire to make him suffer ,but knew that the only way for me to move on with my life and be a good aunt to my recently 'orphaned' niece in the weakest moments of central city ,was to bury my thoughts and opinions of my brothers death and leave the crippled journalism business before I too was locked up as my sister in law leaving Mia with no one.
So I put him out of my mind, and filled my thoughts with new memories with my niece who had a heart of gold just like her father.
It was maybe a year after Wally died when the first letter arrived ...addressed to 'Wally Wests loved ones' from an alias named flash'... No return address .I knew it wa from the rebellion, and I also knew it was from Garrick... The way in which the text was written, was far from business like-more from a man tormented by the sacrifice of one of his men . It took me a week to gear up the sanity to read the letter about how "my brother was a good man" and how " his sacrifice would never be forgotten" ; how "he would send Wallaces belongings"...(after a year mind you), " and would send us subsidiary money for our loss" ...when my father disssapeared years before, I barely got a note from the group, yet my brothers equally pointless death deserved a full 3 paged letter and a large sum of cash?
I didn't want his blood money , and was angered more by the thaught that this general believed that my brother death could be so easily compensated for with money and poetically written letters... I tore it up , and only saved the money in an account I opened for Mia, because although my pride could allow me to suffer, Mia deserved better, and had every right to use the money she would need one day... It's still in there, all 100 000 dollars of it...
I received another letter 2 months later, and after 3 glasses of wine the same day of delivery , I read it. It was the same thing... But I ciuld feel the guilt laced with every written word... The letter was pointless, and I am sure that he knew that...do were the 3 letters and wads of money sent afterwards... But I knew the letters were not about me, so much as they were for this man hoping to write away his sins.
If I wanted , I could honestly have reported the letters sent to me, but I would have been taken in and questioned, possibly tortured on suspicion of me working with the rebellion... Of course Garrick knew that do he continued to send these journal entry intended letters. I do not know why it took me 7 letters and some months to put my foot down and just not read them anymore... It was bad enough that he was the reason for my brothers death, but he was further endangering the family my brother left behind for the sake of "setting his soul free"-those were his words exactly... He also admitted to him not knowing whether I was receiving the letters...and for the first time he adressed the letter to me 'Iris west' personally. The same day we were searched on suspicion of receiving large amounts of money despite my low salary working at a coffe shop. I lied that the money came from an uncle in Gotham who wished to not be traced... We were nit investigated again.
I received 2 more letters over the course of 1 year which I immediately burned along with the previous letters....and once again I had to erase thoughts of Garrick and my brother... It's been 3 years now
"Nothing I say to you will ease any of your Demond's" I say to him , and he bites his lip. "Or make me feel better over the loss of my only brother".
He doesn't seem to know what to say to me, so I turn at my heel ready to go back to my niece, but he says something that almost makes medal over .
"Your brother did not die by a bullet... "
Hey guys - Sorry I've been AWOL from thi story, I've been really busy with school and stuff