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breaking all the rules (EDITING IN PROGRESS)

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Barry Allen was pretty used to getting his ass handed to him. The Flash, on the other hand, was not.

“Get down!” He shouted, and all twenty civilians in the museum took cover. Well, all except a little girl in green who stood, solitary, beside a painting of a bowl of fruit. Her eyes were a gleaming brown, messy curls sticking out of her ponytails. Far too young to be seeing the violence of a robbery. The men in a group, masks covering their faces, hadn’t seen her yet. Barry dashed to her and tucked her behind a pillar with a woman who resembled her in a dozen ways. When he turned back, he saw the person in the hoodie.

Miss Caitlin Snow didn’t enjoy having to patch up either of them.

“I told you to be careful!” She scolded him, attempting to clean up the rapidly healing cuts on their resident metahuman.

Barry winced as she dabbed disinfectant into an especially deep wound. “I told you, he was really good. I even tried to speed away from him, and he managed to clothesline me.” He rubbed his neck where the rope had choked him. “Really hurt, actually.”

The hoodie was a deep indigo, the color of the darkest patch of sky in Starry Night. Black biker gloves covered his hands. But it wasn’t the hood or the gloves that made him slow down to a normal pace- it was the fact that this man had somehow managed to hurdle up and around the first armed assailant, and, in midair, had him in a headlock. Barry was faster, of course. He had all of the guys ziptied- there was a stash in the hoodie’s pocket- and immobile in moments. He paused for a real-time second to admire his work. That’s where he went wrong.

“But… how did you let him get away?” Cisco asked, checking Barry’s vitals on the tablet. “This guy may be a ninja, but he’s not as fast as you.” When Barry stayed silent, he hesitated. “Is he?”

The man in blue didn’t seem too pleased to have been literally beaten to the punch, since Barry was met with a hard elbow to the face as soon as he turned around. Stunned, he fell back on a column. And then he tried to run- but the hooded man had pulled out a rope, one that took Barry across the neck. With his extra speed, it tore it from his hands, but the damage was done. He coughed and stumbled to his knees, time returning to a normal speed. “No one asked for your help,” the vigilante grunted. He stepped forward and knelt, uncomfortably close to Barry now. “Know your limits, Lightning McQueen.”

“No,” Barry muttered. “He just… distracted me.”

“Distracted you how?” Caitlin demanded.

He kissed him. One second he was being threatened, the next the vigilante in the blue hood was kissing him like they were lovers and not rivals. He didn’t want to admit to it, but his already racing heart sped to a dead sprint. A guy was kissing him oh god a guy was actually kissing him and holy shit holy shit were those teeth scraping his lower lip oh god oh-

“Barry.”

He snapped out of it, raising a hand to brush his thumb across his lip. “Uh- well. It was weird. Just kind of… happened.... Can we stop talking about it now?”

“No, we can’t,” Caitlin insisted, at the same time Cisco said, “Sure, whatever.”

The two looked at each other in surprise. Then, Caitlin’s expression morphed into a scowl. “Well, unless it’s essential to Caitlin doing her thing,” Cisco amended. Caitlin seemed appeased.

The telltale sound of electric wheels accompanied Dr. Wells into the medical room. “Distractions are dangerous, Barry,” he cautioned.

“I know,” Barry muttered. The feeling of the hooded man’s lips on his still lingered. “It won’t happen again.”

He wasn’t going to think about how much he wished it would.