Chapter 5

Astrid walked slowly from behind the parked car from where she had taken shelter, after getting the crowd of people to safety. She had seen the whole thing. She said Joe's name, as she approached him. He was in a state of shock as other officers arrived at the scene.

He broke out of his trance-like state and stared at her. He had no words to say. But he had not seen Astrid's part in it. "B-Barry..." he stammered.

"Barry is ok." Astrid told him, comfortingly.

"Barry is not ok. Did you just see what he did?" 

"Barry was affected by the meteor shower, Joe. But right now he needs our support."

"Joe, Did the two of you see what happened here?" Singh had approached them. 

Astrid answered first, "There was some sort of crazy storm. My car it was smashed. Clyde pulled out his gun on Joe and Joe shot him in self-defense."

Joe looked at Astrid, and then added, "that's exactly what happened."

Eddie Thawne, who had arrived in time to hear Astrid's statement, walked towards Clyde's lifeless body and saw the weapon lying on the floor beside him. "the story checks out, but we might need a DNA sample from that weapon, just to be sure." 

Barry suddenly appeared back on to the crime scene with a forensic kit. Astrid silently hoped that there had been no bystanders left on the scene who could recognize his face. She mentally surveyed the area and to her relief, came up with nothing.

"You're late again, Barry! But it is your first day back, so I'll let it slide." Captain Singh told him.

Within minutes he had gathered and compared fingerprints to Clyde's body and the weapon that lay on the floor bedside him. "It's a match. Astrid's story checks out." He said, clearing his throat. 

"Barry, Astrid, do the two of you need a ride over to the station?" Joe asked them.

"That would be great, Joe. Thank you." Astrid replied. 

"If you don't mind, Joe. I need to take some time for myself." Barry replied. 

Astrid felt bad for her friend. She put her hand on his shoulder, "If you need to talk, Barry. You know where to find me." Barry shook her hand from his arm and walked away.

Once Astrid had reached her office in CCPD, she got to work going through the files that Singh had left on her desk. She would need to go out to Iron Heights by the end of the day to chat with some of the prisoners. She made a phone call to Sutherland Labs, looking for Barry. They hadn't seen him. 

Barry was also ignoring his phone. When she was almost ready to give up, she caught a glimpse of something flashing past outside her office. 

She stood up and headed towards Barry's office, finding him there. "Barry, I have been worried about you. Is everything ok?" 

"You should have told me, Astrid." 

"Told you what?" 

"That you were affected by the meteor too."

She was going to deny it, but she knew that it wasn't worth it. She had used her powers today in front of him. "Barry... what you saw today... I really shouldn't have..."

"You read Clyde's mind. Which means you must be able to read other people's minds too."

"Yes, Barry. I can. But when it comes to my friends, I won't invade their privacy. As much as I may be tempted, at times."

"I take it that Caitlin and Cisco don't know." Barry's tone had calmed down now.

"No, and I would ask that you don't tell them either. I'll tell them when I feel the time is right. We just have a lot going on right now. Like helping you."

"No, I think there's more to it than that." Barry argued, "I think you're afraid of telling them. It was you that wanted me to trust them, but why aren't you?" Barry looked down at his hand, it seemed to be shaking so fast that it had become a blur. "What's going on with my hand?" he was concerned.

"This is why we're focusing on you, and not me, right now." She argued, standing back up and walking towards the door, "we need to get you back to Sutherland Labs as soon as possible." 

Barry's hand stopped shaking. "It's ok. It's stopped!"  

Astrid continued, "I'll go to my office and call Cisco and Caitlin, they should have some idea. Otherwise, they're smart enough to figure it out." As she turned to leave she came face to face with Iris, who was standing at Barry's door.

"Oh, Iris. I was just leaving." Astrid told her.

"Oh, actually, Astrid. Can you stay here for a moment? I need to talk to you both." Iris asked. 

Astrid looked over at Barry and walked towards him. Iris had a pen and a notebook in her hands. "What do you need from us, Iris?" Barry asked her. 

"Ok, so I have been writing a blog and I heard that you were at the incident with that Marden guy today and I wanted to get your take on it."

", Iris... What did you hear exactly?" Astrid probed into Iris's mind. She needed to know if somebody out there knew Barry's secret.

"There was a rumor that Clyde tried to start some sort of tornado but someone countered his attempt. People are calling him The Streak. People are also saying that Astrid was recognized at the scene trying to get people to safety." Astrid knew by her thoughts that Iris had no idea who 'The streak' was, she was relieved. 

Before Barry could say anything, Astrid took the focus and said. "I was there. I didn't see anyone else, except your father and Clyde. What I also saw was Clyde doing something scary and I had to help those people. I would appreciate if you would leave me out of this blog. I prefer to stay out of the limelight." Astrid gave Barry a brief smile to say "your welcome" and left the office, leaving Iris and Barry alone.

As Astrid went through her paperwork in her office, she was startled by a knock on her door. 
"Joe, is everything Ok?" she asked, the detective who was standing at the doorway.

"Astrid, I understand that you are heading up to Iron Heights later. You wouldn't happen to have a certain file in your hands, would you?"

"Which file would you be referring to?"

"Henry Allen." Joe said, speaking quietly.

"Henry Allen... as in Barry's father. I do, why?" she asked.

"If you keep this quiet from Barry. I might ask for your help." 

"Barry's my friend. It depends on what you're about to ask."

"I want to reopen the case. Did Barry ever tell you what happened that night?"

Astrid flicked through the files on her desk and pulled out the one marked 'Henry Allen. "He did tell me... and I read through these notes. So why not tell Barry? He would be pleased to hear that his father's case has been reopened." Astrid handed Joe the file. 

"I'm keeping it a secret because if he knew, and we couldn't solve it. That would devastate him and I don't want to put him through that again." 

Astrid nodded, but before Joe could leave she told him, "I'm heading out to chat to Henry this afternoon. If you like you can come with me, I want to help Barry too. Even if this involves keeping this case a secret from him."
Joe nodded.


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