I went into the writing of my second Spidey & Speedy fanfic piece, Starling City Storm, thinking it would be a great idea to ship the speedster with the Arrowverse's real Speedy herself, Thea Queen. I even made up my own ship name for it: Speedy + Flash = Splash. Catchy, huh? Well, nobody in the Arrowverse fandom seems to think so...yet. I dare you to read the following words and think they don't belong together, at least not in this alternate universe. :)
“Barry, could you help me out here?” Ollie calls me from down the hall, and I slide off the couch to go meet him.
“What’s up?” I ask.
He gestures to his bedroom door, which is closed - and locked, as he shows me when he tries in vain to open it. “Thea’s spent the last twenty minutes holed up in here, and I’m getting worried,” I say. “But because she’ll never trust me again if I come bursting in…”
“Oh, so you want me to be the bad guy?”
Ollie winks. “Not necessarily. I’m sure she’ll open up to you more than she would with me.”
“I heard that!” Thea cries from behind the door.
I look at Ollie questioningly. “You sure this is a good idea?”
“Hey, don’t raise your eyebrows at me,” Ollie laughs. “Eagles like to perch on those things.”
I laugh along with him, but then the good humor vanishes, sucked down a metaphorical drain, as I approach the door and knock gently. “Thea? Can I come in? Please?”
There’s a gap of about two seconds before she answers. “Being polite helps. Okay, Barry. But only you, all right?”
“Yeah, of course.”
I wait for her to unlock the door from inside, then I run through it before Ollie can follow me across the threshold. Thea’s waiting on the other side, and she’s quick - though not metahumanly so - to lock the door all over again.
“I can see why you wouldn’t want Ollie to come in,” I say.
Reflexively, Thea covers her chest with her hands, though it does nothing for her bare midriff. The only thing she’s wearing above the waist is a sports bra. I try not to get distracted by that particular sight - which, of course, is harder than it sounds. Especially because what I want to focus on instead is dangerously close to her undergarments.
“Is that from today?” I ask, pointing at the bruises lining her ribs.
“‘Fraid so.” Thea sits on the edge of Ollie’s bed, pulls her shirt on, and sighs, dropping her head into her hands.
“Speaking of today,” I ask as today’s latest Salish Dam incident comes back to mind, “what happened to you?”
Thea points at her side. “You just saw what happened,” she says.
“That’s not what I mean,” I say, dialing up the firmness of my voice the way Joe does when he’s trying to have a heart-to-heart with me. “Um...well, how do I put this? You were, uh, a little bit of a wild child on the battlefield.”
“Understatement of the year,” she scoffs. “It’s something I’ve had to deal with for a while, and you were just unlucky enough to witness it today.”
“What exactly is it?” I ask. “Don’t hold back, okay? If something’s bothering you-”
Thea looks up at me and holds up her hand, cutting me off. “If Ollie sent you in here to get me to spill the beans to him-”
“This is between us,” I say. Huh - who would’ve thought that twice in less than 24 hours, I’d be acting as a therapist for my fellow heroes? I can see the sign on my office door now - “Barry Allen, M.D., Meta.Psy.D, Pnk.Fl.D, BAMF.”
“Okay.” Thea tucks her hair behind her ears and talks. “I’m not gonna bore you with all the details, but...let’s just say I wound up in the Lazarus Pit, and I think I might’ve come back wrong. And...and I think it might be ‘cause I’m Malcolm’s daughter.”
This is a new one on me, especially the latter confession. “You’re…?”
“What, Ollie didn’t tell you?” Thea laughs bitterly. “That’s okay. He must’ve finally figured out that it’s my responsibility, and only mine, to come out as a villain’s flesh and blood. Yeah, Ollie and I are only half-siblings. He’s the lucky one, though, being all of zero percent Merlyn.”
“Well, I know Malcolm’s an odd duck,” I say, “and he’s done some...shall we say, misguided things-”
Thea interrupts me again. “I didn’t ask you in here for a pity party,” she says. “I just needed to confess to someone.” Her lip trembles, and she draws herself into a stiff, guarded stance, like a turtle about to retreat into its shell.
“Hey.” I take her hand, even though I’m only...maybe 38% sure she won’t bite mine off. “Whatever your issues are, you shouldn’t just hold them back.”
“Maybe I should,” she says, tears forming in her eyes. “I’m easily provoked into a homicidal rage these days. Malcolm loves that about me-”
“But nobody else does.”
I take her other hand, and on both of hers, I gently press my thumbs into her knuckles. Okay, maybe it’s a little soon to get this close with her, but she needs some affection and encouragement, and as long as I’m here… “I can’t tell you how to keep a lid on your emotions,” I say, “because I’m lousy at it myself. But…” I swallow, then reach up to wipe the tears from her face. “You said you went into the Lazarus Pit and that’s when this all started? Then I suggest you talk to Constantine. He might know a way to help you.”
She laughs weakly. “What if I don’t wanna give up my dark side?”
“You work with the Arrow,” I remind her. “I’d be surprised if you did.”
Seized by a sudden urge, I lean forward and kiss Thea’s cheek. In response, she embraces me tightly and whispers into my ear, “Thanks, Barry.”
“Don’t mention it,” I say, returning the hug and stroking her hair.
She takes a tissue to her eyes to dry them better, then opens the door and says, “You can have the bathroom if you want, Ollie!"
“Wasn’t waiting for it!” he calls after her as she disappears down the hall.
As I get off the bed and make my way to the door, Ollie sticks his arm into my path to stop me. “So...by any chance does your super-speed also kick in when you’re in bed?”
I fall over laughing.
“Yeah, I thought not,” Ollie says when he’s had his fair share of laughter at his own joke. “But if it did...I might just have to disavow all knowledge of your existence.”
“‘Barry Allen, you have failed this girl?’” I say.
“And I’ll definitely disavow you if you bastardize my old catchphrase like that again,” Ollie laughs. “Wasn’t even funny, man.”
I shake my head. “No, no, definitely not.” However, I can’t help but keep on half-smiling as my brain continues to process Ollie’s blue humor.