Disclaimer: The Flash is (c) DC Comics.
A/N: Just had this "scene" stuck in my head for a while and had to write it out.
The Flash: Crossing The Finish Line
The universe was ending, but the heroes would be damned if they went quietly into the night without a fight. It was true that they didn't have a clue why the end had come, but it simply wasn't within their character or moral codes to do nothing. They wouldn't be heroes if they just stood by and did nothing to try saving people, after all.
The problem is that the universe is indifferent, and across the universe there were planets being crushed like tin cans or simply shattered into fragments which were shot across galaxies due to the mere force the planetary extinction events.
Once upon a time, there was name for this particular type of cosmic event. A Crisis.
In most cases, people didn't remember when A Crisis occurred. Understandable considering that the conclusion to such events was seen as "pressing the reset button."
However, there have always been outliers.
Barry Allen, The Flash, had seen seen a lot in his lifetime as the beloved speedster hero of Central City. He had negated dark future timelines, fought alongside THE Superman in battles against madmen with immense resources like Lex Luthor or reality warping villains like Mr. Mxyzptlk, and heck there were numerous circumstances where he punched the notorious mind-controller Gorilla Grodd in the face time and time again.
Due to all of his story arcs and crossover events, Barry Allen knew the consequences of altering the timeline or reality for personal reasons. He knew that much all to well. There were many mistakes that he made that he had to learn and grow from.
But this time was different.
Before, there was always a chance of undoing certain damages inflicted upon space-time before the damages and changes were permanently cemented.
This time was different.
The Flash chased the man of yellow lightning as the world contorted, crumbled, and disintegrated around them. Their race was nearing its end.
Pushing himself forward in a burst of speed, The Flash was able to cut off his nemesis with a punch to the abdomen for good measure.
"That's far enough, Eobard!" The Flash decreed.
Grunting and slowly bringing himself to stand again, The Reverse-Flash spat onto the road and chuckled. "Well, well, hello to you too, Barry."
There was something in that moment that felt different and wrong.
There was something wrong with the man, the villain, that The Flash had fought for so long.
The Reverse-Flash's body didn't seem to fill out his suit as well as it used to. To be frank, he looked unnaturally thin and feeble. Bone thin. Weak.
Barry didn't even understand how Thawne was still capable of standing.
And then, The Reverse-Flash pulled his cowl back and the face that greeted Barry was a face that was equally wrinkled and skeletal in appears. The face of mummified-looking old man with matted, graying hair and tired, sunken eyes staring at him. Putting it lightly, of course.
Gone were the traces of pride, confidence, strength, arrogance, and contempt towards everything that Thawne possessed in his younger days.
The Flash felt a chill as spine as he was slowly starting to understand what was happening, but not completely.
"I got old. Isn't it obvious?"
"Happened? Time did, and so did space-time oddly enough. Time caught up with all my errors, missteps, and ego. I just ran out of reprieves and favors. My luck ran out and I got old...and sick. My time's up almost up. There's nothing that science or magic can do for me now. It might just be me, but it seems like there's a lot of that going around."
The Reverse-Flash made a grandstanding, sweeping gesture as more of their world floated away as atoms leaving behind a growing, consuming white void.
"Then why have you…"
"One last hurrah, Barry. One last hurrah. Of course, when the time comes and I croak and descend to my punishment...well...for all I know you'll run into some other version of me in my prime - still arrogant and narcissistic - this time next week or next year. The cosmos is prone to doing things on a whim, after all. You never know who or what The Writers will create or bring back."
"Barry, you'd be stunned if I told you just how many times our lives and existence has been torn down like everything else and rebuilt all over again. How would you feel if I told how many times I watched from the shadows while you were attempting to gather the courage to ask your precious Iris West out on a date? And oh dear, all the different times I was there to crash your wedding!"
"You're rambling, Thawne."
The old man flashed a smile of yellow teeth barely held in place by receding gums at Barry, "Sorry. Old habits die hard, you know."
A silence fell over the two.
Thawne tried to hold it in, he tried so hard to have some decorum, but he failed and burst out laughing.
"I-I'm sorry. Really. I tried not to, but I just couldn't help it." The withered Reverse-Flash apologized between wheezes and giggles.
Barry rolled his eyes. "Alright then, you're running on borrowed time and the end approaches. Why take everything else down with you?"
Another awkward pause.
"Seriously, Barry Allen? Did you forget that I'm a SUPERVILLAIN?"
"But you've never been some...Joker-tier madman acting on pure id! What are you hoping to accomplish? What could you possibly gain from any of this, Eobard?!"
"Isn't it obvious what I want, Barry? I want release." Thawne replied, throwing his arms up in exasperation.
"I'm tired, Barry. I'm tired and down with all of this. I want to cancel this world and eliminate my perception of it. I obviously have no desire to go to hell, and even if I did I'd just be suffering for eternity with full awareness of what happens to me down there. I'm done with this...LOOP of fighting epic battles and losing in the "final hour" over and over and over again. As far as I'm considered, I've already sent in my two weeks notice to the universe and I look forward to my eternal retirement. With nice, refreshing nothingness."
"And you're just going to damn everybody else in the process?"
"Thawne, this is suicide!" Barry pleaded.
"Actually, I think the term omnicide is more applicable in this situation."
Lightning flashed and thunder boomed as what was left of the Earth was slowly, agonizingly pulled apart.
"Can't you smell it? Can't you just smell that wonderful scent of dust in the rain and the song of atoms all around us screeching as they are ripped limb from limb?!" The Reverse-Flash proclaimed with joy.
"Everything ends, Barry Allen, and you can't deny that you can feel it to. You cannot outrun time or consequences forever, Barry. We've both learned that the hard way. Just think, Barry. Just think and you will understand. Our race will end and will we have our rest."
There were still many people that were dying, dead, and about to die. People making pleas for help or mercy that were unheard. Bodies of heroes and villains were littering the ground and the body count was growing with every passing second. And all of them were left to the void just as everything else.
Barry took it all in...and understood.
The corners of the Reverse-Flash's mouth turned upward for a brief second.
"That's alright, Flash. I am too."
Existence as Barry Allan and Eobard Thawne knew it ended and any left-over particles were briskly swept away to parts unknown.
A cosmic void to be filled by the next cosmic bidder.
Sometimes, you have to restart everything just to get everything right.
Elsewhere in the Multiverse, a pencil met paper.