Barry stared at the open compartment in the wall, arms crossed. The hidden safe where Cisco had stashed Captain Cold’s gun stood empty. Barry had reclaimed the gun for S.T.A.R. Labs after Snart used it to kill his father. He’d taken the weapon out of trembling fingers, wishing he could do more, maybe even place a caring hand on Snart’s shoulder, but no gesture seemed adequate. Not when Barry had to leave him there.
He would have gladly taken Snart out of the building, let Lewis take the fall for the heist alone, but with Lewis dead, and the evidence against Snart in the frozen ice shard stabbed through his father’s chest, there was nothing Barry could do to protect him.
Now Snart was out of Iron Heights, as promised—“Be seeing you.”—and within 24 hours he’d successfully retrieved his signature weapon.
“Didn’t we improve our security after Jay just walked right in,” Barry gestured emphatically, “and Harry walked around and out and back in, apparently, for days?”
“We did!” Cisco defended, hands held up in appeasement before pulling back in the one holding his tablet and jabbing frantically at the screen with the other. “I uh…maybe figured he’d come back for it. And reprogrammed the security protocols to let him.”
“You what!?” Joe barked, mirroring Barry with arms crossed. “And why would you pull some fool nonsense like letting Snart take his gun?”
Cisco kept his eyes averted to the tablet, moving around Joe to settle in his favored roller chair and kick off across the room until he came to a stop in front of one of the screens. He synced the tablet to it, pulling up a program Barry didn’t recognize. “He’d have found some other way eventually, it’s Cold, but this way…” Cisco glanced up and to the side, meeting Joe’s stare first, then Barry’s, then Caitlin’s as she moved to stand over his other shoulder, “I may have added something to the gun.”
“Cisco, a tracker?” Caitlin reprimanded. “You know he’ll find it.”
“Not a tracker, something smaller and less detectible.” He jabbed away at the keyboard several more strokes before dramatically clicking the ENTER button. “A microphone.”
Static roared over the computer’s speakers, a hiss and jostle, and then—
“—three man job,” came Snart’s voice, clear as ice.
“Three person job, you mean,” Lisa Snart broke in, almost as clearly, if somewhat fainter.
“Three person job,” Snart corrected without rancor or annoyance, or a pause to be interrupted again. “You two in?”
“Can Mick torch that godawful Picasso on loan? Personally, I think he’s overrated.”
“With pleasure,” Rory answered, louder, if only by volume and not proximity to the microphone on Snart’s gun.
“They’re planning to hit Central City Art Institute!” Caitlin cried.
“Cisco, I’ll never doubt you again,” Joe said, clapping the engineer on the shoulder. “Even if Snart finds the mic eventually, it’ll be worth it for this kind of intel. He takes that gun everywhere.”
“Shh,” Barry shushed them as Snart began to detail the plan of attack. He wanted to hit the museum in only two days’ time. He used to come through Central every six months, having planned a heist to the letter. Barry doubted Snart was getting sloppy. He’d stuck around Central this time because the game had changed, and that “Be seeing you” was a promise.
Barry resisted the urge to grin as time, location, logistics, everything they needed to know was laid out before them from Snart’s own mouth. It would be beautiful to show up as The Flash before any alarms were even tripped, let Snart know that for once he was one step ahead of him. But Barry couldn’t be in the hero business only for the glory, or for entertainment in a good foe.
“We have to warn the Institute,” he said, already digging into his pocket for his phone.
“Barry, you can’t!” Cisco rolled toward him. “If you warn the place, Cold will know he has a bug.”
“I can’t wait for him to strike and then—”
“You can’t show up to stop him either. He’ll know.”
“So I send in uniforms to face Snart instead?” Joe asked incredulously. “I have faith in our men, Cisco, but Snart even gives Barry a run for his money.”
Barry bit his lip to keep from smirking at the pun Snart of all people would have appreciated. “I can’t let him commit crimes, Cisco. What’s the point of knowing about them if we’re just going to sit on our heels?”
Cisco rolled back to hit the ENTER button again, muting the conversation. He looked up at Barry with a distinctive twinkle in his eyes. “I may have mentioned all of this to Iris after I called you in about the gun. She was here earlier and…she had a pretty interesting idea.”
Len had cased the museum for weeks leading up to this plot. Not openly. This time he used hired help, low-key thugs who owed him a favor or wanted to get in his good graces without the Santinis around. They weren’t as reliable as someone like Mick or Lisa, but with the right motivation anyone could be conscientious of the details, timetables, specific locations and direction.
Between blueprints of the building and his hands-on intel from having men on the inside, Len knew exactly where the pieces worth stealing were located, where ventilation ran and exited into the building, or out onto the street, and what times the night security guard did his rounds in certain areas of the Institute. The plan was flawless.
Have Lisa enter through an unwired duct, gold the wiring to the back door before unlocking it to let Len and Mick in without triggering the alarm, then have Mick torch the security grid while the guard has already started his rounds the opposite direction of the paintings they wanted to hit. Continue through a set path to 1) torch the Picasso for Lisa (and for Mick, who liked the idea of burning something extra), and 2) reach the highest valued paintings to pack up and fence later—a couple Len might keep. Then loop around, following behind the guard’s path, so that by the time he returned to the security room and saw the carnage, they had already sneaked back out the way they’d come in.
All in under 12 minutes.
The first sign of deviation from the plan came when Lisa opened the back door early.
“What’s wrong?” Len glowered at her.
“Someone already cut the wiring,” she said, eyes hard and brow tense. “Think it’s a trap?”
“Maybe they’re just lazy and never fixed it from somethin’ before,” Mick scoffed, itching to get inside.
“No,” Len said, “the intel would have shown that.”
“Call it?” Lisa asked, still facing them, blocking the doorway.
They’d been watching the building. Len hadn’t noticed anyone or anything out of the ordinary. “No,” he said, “we continue as planned. Eyes open. No more unwanted surprises.”
He pushed past Lisa into the building, leaving Mick and her to follow at his heels. He kept his hood back from his face to make sure his vision, while shielded behind his goggles if he needed to use his gun, remained unimpeded. He checked his watch at the end of the hallway, waited the appropriate amount of seconds, holding up a hand for Mick and Lisa to be silent.
The guard passed by unaware that they were there and disappeared down the opposite corridor.
Len led them around the corner into the security room, with cameras displaying every major area of the Institute, and where the alarms for the artwork connected if anything was removed from the walls. With this room taken out, no alarms would be tripped as they packed away paintings in the heavy duty bag Mick had slung over his shoulder. They didn’t need many of the pieces for this heist, just the right ones.
But as Len looked around the security room, he stretched his arm out to prevent Mick from igniting the board and screens. “Wait. Look…” He gestured out at the board and connecting wires, then twirled a finger up across the screens. They were all frozen—not from something like his gun, but stopped on single images, unmoving. “It’s already disabled.”
“Disabled,” Mick grunted, shifting restlessly, “but not burned.”
Len shook his head, then shared a worried glance with Lisa. Her brow was more tightly knit than ever.
“Someone’s already here,” she said.
“How? When?” Mick barked.
“Keep going,” Len said, spinning about to break through between them and move on out of the security room.
“Lenny…” Lisa chased after him, Mick bringing up the rear with a barely contained howl of irritation. “We don’t know what we’re walking into.”
Len barreled ahead down the appointed path. They didn’t have to worry about the guard or cops being alerted, only the unknown of whoever had cut that wire and disabled the system ahead of them. “No one beats me to my own heist,” he said, and checked his watch out of habit. They were forty-five seconds ahead of schedule.
The guard had been calm, meaning if there was someone else here, it was a small group, maybe only one very swift and stealthy thief. Len could handle one person with or without Lisa and Mick’s help.
They moved along at a clipped pace. Len hissed a “Not now,” when Mick asked about the Picasso they passed, separate from the other prized paintings since it was on loan. Len heard a low growl in response. He’d need to appease Mick somehow, but that could come later. For now, they had to get to the room with the rest of the high-end paintings, the ones that were worth something, the ones Len had come here to steal.
When they arrived, Len clenched the handle of his cold gun tight enough to hear it creak. They were gone. Every. Single. One. Not every painting in the room, but every one Len had planned to take.
Lisa gaped around the room. Mick huffed a laugh, looking ready to torch the paintings that remained. Len felt a similar heat brewing in his gut, but kept it carefully controlled, one hand on his gun, the other tightening into a fist.
Then his eyes caught sight of a glaring yellow post-it note on the wall, in place of the most expensive painting among the missing art. Len snatched it up with gloved fingers and crumbled it in his palm after reading it.
-Too slow, Cold.-
“Okay…that was fun,” Barry admitted, skidding to a stop back at S.T.A.R. Labs right in front of Iris, Cisco, Joe, and Caitlin. “Iris, you are an evil genius,” he said, pulling the ski mask from his face.
He hadn’t worn his Flash suit, but a simple outfit in black, and had purposely avoided using his speed unless absolutely necessary, like returning to the labs in due haste. He carefully set down the bag filled to the brim with expensive paintings.
“Hey now,” Cisco pouted, “while the idea to carry out Cold’s own heist right from under his nose was her idea, I had the foresight to plant the microphone.”
“I think we can share the title of evil genius,” Iris conceded. “I can’t believe the Art Institute agreed to let The Flash steal their art.”
“They’re even going to make it public,” Barry said, “play it up, and keep it quiet at first when I give the paintings back to them, so Snart doesn’t catch wise.”
“Sounds like Captain Cold just met his match,” Joe grinned, reaching out for Barry to grip his hand in barely contained parental pride. “Never thought I’d be praising you for stooping to Snart’s level, Barr, but this is legal enough with the Institute’s cooperation.”
“Cold sounds pissed too,” Cisco snickered, turning on the speakers to overhear Snart, Lisa, and Rory arguing in hushed tones as they left the Institute over who could have possibly bugged their safe house to know so many intimate details about their plan.
“He already assumes there’s a bug,” Caitlin warned, ever the voice of reason, despite the smile on her face.
“But now he won’t think it’s on the gun,” Cisco said, “because it isn’t The Flash foiling him, it’s someone new. He’ll go crazy trying to figure this out.” His smile was ready to burst from his face, and Barry couldn’t help but mirror it.
Sneaking in only just ahead of Snart to take the paintings first had been far more of a rush than facing down bad guys head on.
Cisco’s expression dropped to one of contemplation, and he steepled his fingers beneath his bottom lip. “You totally need a name, dude. And a costume.”
“Another name and costume for my fake thief persona?” Barry asked, though admittedly, next to The Flash suit, wearing just all black clothes and a ski mask felt pretty lame.
“What if you’re ever caught, or someone sees, or Cold catches you?” Cisco rattled off.
“He has a point,” Iris said. “Plus eventually we’ll need to plant some seeds that this other you really exists, so Snart doesn’t suspect you’re merely The Flash messing with him.”
Barry felt a bit like when he and Iris were younger, playing Power Rangers with dress up clothes, or pirates, or the heroic knight and kidnapped prince—he had absolutely no problem as a boy being rescued by Iris, or as an adult, to be honest, especially since it seemed to happen often enough.
Cisco’s eyes sparkled with mischief as he turned to the computer terminal in front of him and began frantically typing. “I have some ideas…”
One of Len’s safe houses had never been infiltrated before. It wasn’t even a question of whether or not Mick or Lisa snitched—that would never happen. Which meant only one thing: they had a bug. How someone could have planted a bug in his safe house, how they could have even known which safe house he was in, he had no idea, but this new thief had it out for Len, that was clear.
Someone was watching his every move the way he usually watched others. It unnerved him, got under his skin, made him fidget and eye dark corners with distrust. But it also intrigued him that someone wanted to outdo him so badly. Len wanted to meet this person—before he took them out of commission.
No time to waste. The Central City Art Institute had already issued a police report, and a story ran in Picture News—‘New Mystery Thief in Central City?’ It boiled Len’s blood, and spurred him on to prepare for his next heist immediately.
He moved safe houses, playing it extra careful and close to the wire. Watched his every move. Every step. Every associate. No bug was getting planted this time. He decided to aim for a different sort of target, a little of Central City’s high life, and steal some of the prized jewelry from the CEO of CC Opera House. She kept her most valuable pieces in a safe behind her desk in the Opera House offices.
No security guards, very few alarms to thwart, but a big enough payout if Len could crack the safe. The cold gun and a swift kick could handle that part.
No outside resources necessary, so no potential leaks through hired help. Len didn’t even need Mick and Lisa, but he knew Lisa would want her pick of the jewelry before he found buyers, and he still owed Mick something to torch. The CEO’s office once they had the goods was fine by him. Easily contained, and no one in the building to worry about casualties. Plus it sent a nice message to the CEO herself.
Len didn’t care for snooty aristocrats who looked down on the blue collar crowd. He’d heard that the lady was as rude as they came to anyone not on her donors list. Len enjoyed the finer things in life—good wine, theater, a nice suit—but he still enjoyed a beer and a hockey game with Mick and preferred his bike to some overpriced car. Mick could burn the office.
Only he didn’t. Len wouldn’t let him. It would have been poor sportsmanship, considering they arrived, everything going to plan, only to ice the safe, kick it into crumbled chunks, and reach in to discover…
-Time to find a new hobby, Cold.-
Signed this time: Silhouette.
Silhouette. Len wished that was a truer moniker, because then he’d at least have some vague sense of this person, but he hadn’t even caught the mere glimmer of a shadow. This thief had done the impossible again, and knew exactly when and where Len had planned to hit.
Len pocketed the note, even though the handwriting was too perfectly blocked in all capitals to be easily identified, and he knew better than to expect stray DNA. This person was too good, and Len was determined to discover who they were. In the meantime, he’d have to work double time to pull off a heist without this newcomer getting in his way.
This time his blood didn’t boil. The game was on now, and the thrill of the hunt made him smirk, even as he had to talk Mick down from burning the entire Opera House as they left.
“See, even Caitlin likes it.”
“You don’t think it’s a little much?” Barry said in his synthesized, deeper voice, turning about for Cisco, Caitlin, and Iris to get a better look at his new Silhouette costume.
Cisco had insisted on the voice modulator, which was a step up from Oliver’s. Snart would likely recognize Barry’s voice if he did his normal vibrating vocal chords trick. But with the suit overall, Cisco had definitely outdone himself.
It was all black with trimmings in silver, and not so much a suit as a pair of pants, boots, and gloves, and a long jacket with a zipper down the center that had a high collar meeting at the edge of his mask, and flared out at the bottom almost as if it had tails. Every edge was hemmed in silver, and his mask—a full mask, not like his Flash cowl that left his mouth and eyes exposed—was sleek and simple with silver outlined diamonds where his eyes would be. Barry had joked it reminded him a little of the black suit Spider-Man mask.
“Hey, man,” Cisco had defended, “good artists copy, great artists steal—and then modify and make it better.”
Modeling the costume for his friends one more time, Barry stood still and held his arms out at his sides.
Cisco did his best Vanna White impression for the girls. “Meet Silhouette. Barry’s other alter ego—The Flash’s shadow. Pretty badass, right?”
“You are having way too much fun with this, Cisco,” Caitlin said, but Barry could tell her appraising eye was appreciative over the sleek form of his costume. Iris’s too. And besides, Barry was having a little too much fun of his own.
“I love it,” Iris said. “Who knew you’d make such a good villain, Barr? Now we just need to get some photographic proof for the paper.”
“But if I let myself get caught on camera,” Barry said as he pulled the mask from his face, returning his voice to its usual timber, “doesn’t that ruin the effect of me being better than Snart?”
“Snart gets photographed all the time,” Cisco argued.
“But only because he wants to be,” said Caitlin.
“Exactly,” said Iris, dark eyes glittering as they landed on Barry. They were all having fun with this ruse, if he was being honest. “The trick is to get caught and make it clear you wanted to get caught. Give the cameras a little show—give Captain Cold a show. Keep him interested in you as someone out for his title as the city’s greatest thief, and he’ll be so focused on catching Silhouette, he won’t have time to give The Flash any trouble.”
Barry held the new mask in his black-gloved hands, staring at the silver outlined diamonds as a thrill shot up his spine. More than once Barry had thought if only he didn’t have such a strong conscience, he’d be the best villain, able to take anything he wanted and never get caught. He wasn’t that type of person, could never live with the guilt, even if all he did was steal without anyone getting hurt—like Snart.
But like this, as Silhouette, he could be bad without any of the consequences, because what he stole he’d been given permission to take. It was like some grand drama with him as the star, and all his most devious fantasies got to play out. Plus he got to piss off Snart at the same time, so win-win in his book.
“We can keep this going for a long while, Barry,” Cisco eyed his creation with pride, “as long as the places Snart wants to hit keep agreeing to let The Flash hold their valuables. It’s the perfect con. So why don’t we give Cold someone tangible to vent his frustrations at.” He clicked the ENTER button on the Cold Comm, as he’d dubbed it, and the lilting phrases and sharp consonants of Snart’s voice filled the room.
The best part of foiling Snart’s plans was listening in afterwards. It shouldn’t have amused Barry as much as it did, but Snart sounded less upset as time went on and more…impressed—intrigued, not angry, but still determined to discover Silhouette’s identity.
Barry pulled the mask back over his face, his voice a deep rumble through the modulator. “Game on.”
Len stared again at the photograph on the cover of Picture News. ‘Silhouette Out for Cold’s Crown?’ read the headline. The image was blurred, indistinct, but enough to make out a figure in black, mask covering his face, as he shot a salute at the camera, fully aware of being captured by the security footage at 1st National Bank—which had been Len’s next target. Naturally.
Len would have crumpled the paper in his hands, but instead his fingers traced the faint outline of the man in black, with some apparent vendetta against him. But no. This wasn’t revenge. This was playful. This was fun for the man in the mask. This was a game, meant to entice Len. And he was so very enticed.
No one he’d crossed directly had the same style as this new thief. Len’s memory was unparalleled, and yet no one came to mind who could possibly be behind that mask. It had to be someone new. A fan maybe? What a thought. Someone trying to get his attention. The notes were always so teasingly personalized.
-Feeling the chill yet, Cold?-
-Don’t think I’m cold-hearted, Captain, just slicker than you.-
And Len’s personal favorite so far…
-Must be lonely in my shadow, oh Captain, my Captain.-
Len knew his new nemesis was a man, that much he was certain of having a picture now to go with the name, but he had to discover the thief’s true identity. He had to. This miraculous man who, just like The Flash, was always one step ahead of him.
Barry had just gotten back from his most recent heist as Silhouette. A personal residence this time, which had made it a little more difficult to set up a meeting with the owner as The Flash so Snart didn’t catch wise, but Barry had managed.
The old woman had many unique valuables in a vault in the basement that she had given The Flash permission to steal for a short time, as long as he returned them promptly and without damage. He had assured her that everything would be in pristine condition, and this way Captain Cold wouldn’t have the chance to steal the items for real.
Barry sat in Cisco’s usual roller chair, mask removed but otherwise still in his Silhouette gear, feet up on the desk as he listened in on the Cold Comm. They’d been at this for weeks now, and Cisco, Caitlin, even Iris had lost interest in the aftermath of Barry’s thievery, except for the stories Iris got out of it for Picture News. But for Cisco and Caitlin, it was too easy. Barry didn’t need backup to sneak in and steal something no one else was there yet to fight him over, and it seemed only Barry continued to get pleasure out of listening to Snart’s reactions after the fact.
Joe didn’t pay much attention to it either, as long as Barry planned things well enough, and worked out legal permission with the targets of Snart’s plans. It became more like a weekly vacation, a night when Barry didn’t have to be on-call as The Flash, because he was doing Flash work undercover, and getting to have fun for once, no threat involved.
He leaned back in the chair as he listened to Snart recounting his most recent note to him.
“Better give up, Cold, you’re on thin ice already,” Snart huffed. “Cheeky. Whoever he is.”
“Maybe he has a point, Lenny,” Lisa said.
“Meaning?” Snart growled back at her.
“Maybe you need to take a break, is all. We change safe houses every week, and it hasn’t helped. You’ve alienated all of our usual grunts and muscle with your witch hunt, looking for snitches. However this guy has an in figuring out where and how we’re going to hit places, you gotta admit, he has you beat.”
Barry laced his fingers over his stomach and grinned to himself in open pride. For all the failures he faced as The Flash, finally this was something he always won at, and it was doing the city good, keeping Snart occupied with nothing actually being stolen.
“I’m not beat yet, Lise. He’ll trip up. No one is this perfect. He’s getting his information from somewhere. If I just had real footage of him instead of a still…”
“Wow, Lenny, you are so transparent. First The Flash, now Silhouette?”
Barry frowned at the console. What did she mean by—
“You heard me, Lenny. You get all hot and bothered when presented with a challenge, especially when the challenge looks that good in skin tight leather. The Flash is off limits as a hero, but Silhouette? Must drive you nuts that he’s one of us and still out of reach.”
“Lisa, please, if I wanted a good lay, there are easier targets than someone out to taunt me and ruin my reputation.”
Barry had started to relax, assuming Lisa was just teasing her brother, but Snart hadn’t actually dismissed his interest in men in tight leather with that response. Not that Barry cared if Snart was gay, he’d just never considered his enemy’s sexuality before. And this revelation should definitely not make him hot under the collar as he continued to listen.
He unzipped his high-collared jacket down to mid-chest and told himself it was just to relieve some of the flush from running back to the labs.
“Easier isn’t your MO, big brother,” Lisa said. “You need someone who keeps you on your toes, and this guy has you beat. Which of course you can’t accept, so while you nurse your steadily growing blue balls pining over him, you’ll keep setting yourself up for failure on the off chance of catching him in the act. You haven’t even met and he has you wrapped around his leather-clad finger. I could learn from this guy…”
“Enough,” Snart said, his voice flat more than angry, as if suppressing some other emotion from rising to the surface. And in that moment, Barry wished he had a visual to go with the voice, wondering if Snart was capable of blushing.
“You have a stalker, Lenny. Just trying to get your attention, not even coming after you as a real threat. He look as good out of that costume as in it, I might just be jealous.”
“Jealous over a stalker, undermining my heists every week, and seriously interrupting my preferred cash flow?”
“Please, Lenny, like you aren’t flattered.”
The long pause from Snart made Barry drop his feet from the desk and lean closer to the comm. When Snart finally replied, “Maybe I am…” Barry swallowed deep in his throat.
Lisa had a point. Len hated to admit it, but she did. Not that he would openly confess having any interest in Silhouette other than a professional desire to knock the man down a peg, but whoever the thief was, he had an edge over Len, and Len was no closer to catching him. He needed footage, to see how the man moved and worked, not just the occasional photograph run in Picture News.
So he turned to his resident hacker and tech expert, Hartley Rathaway. The most recent pictures had to be taken from camera footage like the rest, but the police, Picture News, no one was releasing that to the public. Not a problem for Pied Piper.
Len made it clear that he wanted Hartley to hack the jewelry store, not the police station. The last thing he needed was to leave a trail, however unlikely coming from Hartley, that Cisco Ramon might be able to follow. The footage was more easily obtained from the store anyway, which disappointed Hartley at the lack of a challenge, but Len only cared about the footage.
“Good work, Hart. Next place I hit, I’ll set aside a cut for you.”
“If that ever happens again,” Hartley muttered under his breath.
Len would have glared at the very least, maybe shot a stream of cold from his gun following Hartley out the door, or tripping him up on suddenly frozen carpet, but he was too focused on the computer in front of him, and the currently immobile shot of Silhouette on the screen. Len settled himself in at the desk in the small room of the safe house and clicked PLAY.
There was no sound, only visuals, in color for once so Len was able to see that Silhouette’s suit was indeed a deep black with silver edges. Classy. Well-tailored. He moved in full view of the camera, even gave it a brief wave at one point, but his hands were hidden whenever he opened the jewelry cases, so Len couldn’t quite see how he did it, only that he had them open so quickly, it seemed impossible, or as if he must have a key.
Len focused on the way the man moved from case to case. A certain skip in his step and jaunt to his stride. Something in the way he carried himself—his body shape, the length of his legs, the way he twirled on his heels at one point to spin back toward a case he had missed, before continuing to gather loot into the bag he carried.
Len knew that body language, recognized it from numerous encounters. His mouth opened to comment aloud to himself, before snapping shut, as his eyes fell on his cold gun sitting on the computer desk next to the mouse. His cold gun that had been in S.T.A.R. Labs during his incarceration. That he had made certain didn’t have any trackers, but that maybe, considering the guile and cleverness of a certain engineer, might have something else hidden—like a microphone.
Everything clicked into place as Len played the footage over again, watching carefully each move Silhouette made, grinning as he assured himself that yes, he knew that walk, that lithe body. And he couldn’t have been more pleased.
Silhouette was The Flash.
“Silhouette again?” Joe asked as he breezed through the labs, picking up Cisco for help at the precinct.
“I think your plan backfired with how much Snart has upped his activity the past few months,” Caitlin commented.
“I don’t mind,” Barry said, settling into the chair in front of the Cold Comm again. He was pretty proud of his note this time.
-The Shadow always knows, Cold.-
Snart felt like the kind of guy who would appreciate a pun with nostalgic reference all in one. Barry’s dad had been a fan of old recordings of the radio show, The Shadow, and Barry loved the 90s movie with Alec Baldwin.
“Anything to keep Snart from causing real trouble,” he added.
“Are you taking good care of my suit at least?” Cisco asked as he followed after Joe, turning back around before exiting through the main entryway. “Because it’s still mine. Just because this has turned into your obsessive little side hobby, doesn’t mean you can be all willy-nilly reckless with my babies.”
Barry snorted. Then frowned as he called after Cisco’s retreating form. “I’m not obsessive!”
“Sure, Barry,” Caitlin said with a touch of skepticism as she left out the other direction to work on something in another lab.
Barry waited until Cisco and Joe had fully left before clicking the ENTER button to listen in on Snart. He wasn’t obsessive, just…attentive. Barry had always known there was good in Snart, and now he had proof. He’d been basically harassing and annoying the man for weeks with foiled heists, and never once did Snart lose his cool—pun so intended. No one had been hurt. Very little property damage had been done with his gun, or Lisa or Rory’s for that matter.
The game let Snart blow off steam in a way he seemed to enjoy, but without cost, and Barry got to do the same. Plus countless businesses and individuals owed The Flash a huge debt now, even if officially the papers considered Silhouette a villain even The Scarlet Speedster couldn’t catch. That didn’t bother Barry, though, being compared to…himself. It just made the whole scenario all the more entertaining.
“Sure, Len, whatever ya say,” Rory’s voice came over the comm first.
“Have fun obsessing,” Lisa said.
Snart didn’t comment, but Barry felt a surge of comradery with him that their companions were attacking them for the same thing. He leaned a little closer to the console, looking around to make sure he was alone. Snart was obsessing over him?
Barry heard the telltale sound of loud clattering that indicated Snart had set the gun down somewhere. He must already be back at one of his safe houses. Barry hoped Snart didn’t leave the room, though so far, there had yet to be an instance after a foiled heist where Barry didn’t overhear something. Snart really did take his cold gun everywhere.
“The Shadow, huh?” Snart grumbled to no one—maybe to his gun, maybe to the note itself, if he’d kept it. “Man after my own heart, and he’s set against me.”
Barry’s pulse stuttered.
A BANG made him jump in his chair. Snart must have slammed a fist down on the table, because the cold gun clattered again.
“Who are you, hmm? Why so keen on me? Because I’m the best? Need to prove yourself against the city’s finest? Fine, but what do you want? You have to want a reaction, a response of some kind. Acquiescence? Expect me to publicly declare you the winner of our little game? Doubtful. Maybe you’re just waiting to be caught…”
A chill raced up Barry’s spine at the way Snart said that, as if he looked forward to such an outcome.
“What I wouldn’t give to have you in my grasp, Silhouette. Take you apart, piece by piece. Find out how you tick. What you really want from me...”
Barry sucked in a breath, because the words, the tone, it didn’t sound like Snart intended to hurt Silhouette if he caught him, but something…else. Something closer to Snart’s earlier words—man after my own heart—no joking implied. And shit. Barry’s pulse should not be thundering in his ears at the thought.
“When are you going to stop with the foreplay and make your move?” Snart said low, like a whisper. “Maybe I’ll just have to make mine…”
Barry leaned too far forward, and the chair he’d been balancing on the edge of rolled out from under him, nearly causing him to face-plant into the table. He righted himself quickly, hearing Caitlin’s concerned voice, giving him only moments to turn the Cold Comm off before she entered.
After reassuring her that he was fine, just slipped, and waiting until she left again, he turned the comms on one last time. But Snart was gone, or at least silent.
Barry was in so much trouble.
He changed out of the Silhouette costume and came back into the main labs to find Iris waiting for him.
"Forget something?" she grinned.
"Flash business? Or Silhouette again?"
Silhouette again. It seemed to be his new mantra. "I'm sorry, Iris. I don't mean to get so caught up in my alter egos I forget to be Barry Allen."
Iris laughed, linking her arm with his as she led him from the labs. Barry called a goodbye to Caitlin. He could meet Iris anywhere in moments, but a night out with his best friend wasn’t as fun without the time it took to get to and from places.
“You know, it’s actually a bit funny,” Iris said when they climbed into her car.
“What’s funny? My bad memory and terrible timing?”
She shoved him in the arm before starting the car. “I almost think you’ve been more like you lately.”
“Well, yeah, it can be annoying not seeing you as often as I’d like, having to patrol as The Flash, and sneaking around as Silhouette, but when you’re just Barry, you seem…lighter lately. Happier. Maybe it’s good for you, Barr, having the little angel and devil on your shoulders as personas you can play out. Just don’t let that devil side talk you into anything too naughty.” She shot him a sideways glance, like she knew—and Barry wouldn’t put it past her—exactly what naughty things he’d been thinking earlier.
“Ha…no worries there. But thanks, Iris.”
“For being brilliant, and beautiful, and you.” He beamed at her unabashedly. It was nice to be able to do that again without worrying about any fallout from her knowing he had feelings for her. He still loved her, always would, but that tension was gone, returning them to just Barry and Iris, two kids who had grown up together. “I know this all came about because of Snart, but it’s been good for me too. A little…tension relief outside of being The Flash. So thanks for Silhouette.”
“Hey, I just had the idea for beating Snart to his heists. Cisco created your shadow.”
Barry's shadow. There was something very meta about that, and not because he had superpowers.
They laughed and chatted like normal on their way to dinner, and Barry lucked out that he wasn’t called in once during the night for Flash work. Even Central City gave him a break once in a while.
But he realized as they ate and caught up on each other’s lives that Iris was right: he’d been feeling more like his old self than ever lately. For the first time he wasn’t thinking about all the people he had let down since the Singularity, but the people he saved.
Having fun as Silhouette made it easier to remember that he could have fun as The Flash too, and even as just Barry. Who’d have thought that Snart would be the one helping him, in a way?
So what did it matter if he played the role of not-quite-thief most weeks, just to trip Snart up, and a few lines were becoming blurred? Until he was caught, Barry planned to enjoy this while it lasted.
Len hadn’t told the others the truth about Silhouette—not Hartley, or Mick. Not even Lisa. Silhouette was all his.
He’d laid a few important seeds going along with the most recent foiled heist like usual, but it was time to act. What he told the others now was that he’d discovered a bug on his gun and he had a plan to catch the thief in the act.
“Won’t you need help when you catch him?”
“No, Lise. I can handle Silhouette myself.”
“I’m sure.” She eyed him doubtfully.
He eyed her right back. “I just need you and Mick to play along when the time comes.”
He worked out the details for the actual plan while his gun remained safely in another room. He’d checked back in at the Central City Art Institute, and had discovered that the stolen paintings from Silhouette were mysteriously back in place now, weeks later. If Len had had any doubt about his new nemesis actually being his old one, he was certain now. Clever game, but Len knew a better one.
He’d been tempted to setup the trap at the Art Institute itself as an ode to their original encounter, but that made it too likely that Barry would realize Len was on to him. A smaller gallery across town had the right kind of security setup, offices, and potential loot to make his ruse work. He got the blueprints, made sure everything was perfect, then called in Lisa and Mick to discuss a bogus version of the plan near his gun.
They played it out as they had every other heist leading up to this one. Lisa and Mick performed their roles as if they really would be assisting him on the job. To be fair, Len did want the sculpture the gallery housed. Local artist from decades past, abstract, like a dancing bolt of lightning in a storm of blue—fitting, Len thought, and very valuable. If he ended up succeeding in getting away with the prize at the end of the night, all the better.
Len arrived at the gallery hours before he’d said he would—alone. He entered exactly as he’d detailed in the fake plan, the gallery not large enough to have a guard on call at night. One of the windows near the supply closet on the ground floor wasn’t wired for security, a glaring error on their part, making it a simple feat to slip in undetected. He was sure to leave no trace that someone had used the window, so that Barry wouldn’t notice when he inevitably took the same route.
Len walked without incident to the curator’s office, where the alarms system was localized, and where Barry would need to go first if he wanted to prevent the police from being alerted to his theft. One thing Len had come to count on was that Silhouette never tripped any alarms that might cause him and his crew to be the ones caught in the act—fair play on Barry’s part. So he expected the same tonight. He could wait patiently; this was a meeting long in coming.
A mere ten minutes before Len’s fake plan called for him, Mick, and Lisa to meet in the alley to use the window for entrance, Len heard the door to the office open. He sat in the large high-back chair of the desk facing the window, grinning to himself at how perfect this moment was.
Being in Silhouette’s actual presence, Len could feel it—feel that he was with The Flash instead of some up and comer. He knew it in the way the air changed, static with electricity. He was used to a gust of air accompanying his nemesis’ arrival, but the kid was playing it safe, not using his powers, other than to arrive mere minutes ahead of Len to better make him look the fool.
He wasn’t the fool tonight.
As the nearly silent figure behind him moved toward the painting on the far wall, where the security console was located, cleverly hidden behind it but a bit cliché for Len’s taste, Len slowly turned the chair around until he faced Silhouette dead on. One leg crossed over his knee at the ankle, he held his cold gun loosely in his lap.
“Well, well, well…we meet at last.”
Barry jolted back from the security console. Snart. In the chair of the desk. Smirking at him. With the cold gun. Goggles down. Hood thrown back. Smirking—at him.
What was Barry going to do? If he bolted, Snart would know he was The Flash.
“Cat got your tongue, Silhouette, or are you only witty on paper?”
Witty. Right. Barry was supposed to be witty, and confident, the best thief in Central. He had his guise on, all black, his mask in place, Cisco’s modulator—that Barry was super glad his friend had thought of now that he stood in Captain Cold’s presence—ready to mold his voice into something unrecognizable.
Barry squared his shoulders, stood up straighter, and said, “What are you doing here, Cold? Finally figured me out? Never thought it would take you this long. Maybe all that talk about you is just that—talk.”
That’s how these villains bantered with each other, right? Barry could do this. As long as he didn’t allow his eyes to linger on how alluring Snart’s jawline looked tilted just slightly back like that, reclining in the chair, completely at ease. How did he make a standoff look easygoing? Was he really that self-assured?
Suddenly it dawned on Barry that if Snart was here, the entire plan had been a fake. Lisa and Rory could be anywhere, ready to ambush him.
“Just me and my shadow,” Snart said as he rose from the chair, slow and purposeful in his movements, his gun held casually but still at the ready as his other hand swept the room. “No one else. When I found your bug, I told a few white lies to get you here, but it’s just us.”
“You expect me to believe you didn’t bring back-up?”
“Why would I? This is about honor among thieves—or at least one-upmanship.”
“Wouldn’t you have had to one-up me at some point for that to work?”
“And so here we are.” Snart spread his arms wide.
Damn. He had Barry there. Would Snart actually ice him to secure his spot as number one thief? Barry would have no choice but to run if he tried.
“Relax,” Snart said, coming around the desk and making a big show of putting his cold gun away in the holster at his hip. He raised his hands to prove they were now empty. “I’m not here to fight. You haven’t given me the chance to introduce myself. Get to know you. All I have is one-liner notes, sweet love letters with no context. What exactly do you want from me, Silhouette?”
Double shit. The one thing Barry hadn’t thought up with this guise and persona was a backstory. “You’re the best,” Barry made up on the spot, “hard to become the best without taking the forerunner down first.”
Snart waved a finger in the air. “This is more than that. This is personal. You’re an admirer, shadow dear. You want to impress me. You were just waiting for me to impress back. So here I am. And I am,” his eyes traveled slowly—appreciatively—down Barry’s body and up again, as he bit his lower lip, “very impressed. So I’ve come for the payoff.”
“P-Payoff?” Barry didn’t mean for his voice to waver. The modulator barely concealed it. He wanted to move, relax out of being so on guard, anything, but he feared whatever he tried would be too fast.
Snart circled Barry until he cut off the path to the door. He raised an eyebrow at him. “You know me well. Know the things I…want.” He let his eyes flick quickly down Barry’s body this time, and that, that action was familiar—how had Barry never noticed Snart doing that to him before? “Are you really going to try to tell me you aren’t just aching…for a team up?”
Barry told himself to stop being such an idiot; Snart was talking about the job. Of course he treated his work relationships like a courtship.
“Why be opposed when we could do so much more together? The sculpture could be the beginnings of a beautiful partnership. I take care of my own very well. You, Silhouette, might even be deserving of...extra perks. If you’re up for other kinds of fun.” Another flick of his eyes, his tongue darting out at his lips.
Maybe he wasn't only talking about the job.
No. No way. Snart was playing him; he had to be playing him. “You’re angling for my identity, Cold. I haven’t gotten this far, taken this many heists out from under you, to be tricked out of my mask.”
“Then keep it on. I like a little mystery.”
Snart moved toward Barry with a sure swiftness few could match—other than Barry—and Barry found himself pressing back against the console, before thinking better of allowing himself to be trapped and angling instead to back toward the desk.
Snart slowed, held up his hands again. “No tricks. You tell me you’re not interested, we part as friends. After all, your big win over me was a cleverly planted microphone. I may not know how you got into contact with my gun, but the rest was merely eavesdropping. Points for boldness, but I could make so much more of you if we worked together. And say you’re only interested in half my offer. The play without any…play,” that tongue again, fuck, “fine by me, we split the difference on the sculpture. I know all the best fences in town. Or…”
This time, as Snart stalked closer to Barry, he removed his gloves, one at a time. The back of Barry’s thighs hit the desk and he nearly toppled, hands flying back to brace him, nowhere left to go, not with Snart closing in.
“If you want some fun, but to remain at odds professionally, I can be a good sport. But I bet I can convince you that both offers are more than agreeable.”
His gloves dropped to the floor, and naked hands slid over the top of Barry’s on top of the desk. Snart stepped with his left leg right between both of Barry’s, bringing them close enough to share body heat. Barry fought with every ounce of dwindling control in him not to tremble.
“Mask on,” Snart said, more like whispered near Barry’s ear, bringing them cheek to cheek. “Most of the rest? Likely…off.”
Barry shuddered despite his best efforts.
“You don’t have to reveal your identity unless you want to. Then, afterwards, if you’re feeling generous, we can steal the sculpture together.”
“Together?” Barry had to focus. He held himself still and turned his head to force Snart to look him in the eye. “And what’s to stop you from stealing it yourself once you have me distracted and at your mercy?”
Snart pulled back, licked his lips again—god, that tongue—and glided his left hand up Barry’s arm then to his hip, down his thigh, inward, and up—
Barry snatched his wrist, maybe faster than he should have.
“A lasting partnership would be so much more fun, I assure you,” Snart said, making no further moves now that Barry had physically stopped him. “The choice is yours, but you can’t tell me you’re not interested with how much attention you’ve put on me all these weeks. The heists. The notes. Aren’t you the least bit curious where we can go next?”
Barry was, oh he was. It was every fantasy he’d never thought to play out in his mind. Secret identity, Snart never knowing it was actually him. He could accept this, enjoy it, then turn around and say no to the rest, steal the sculpture himself and at least get one last heist away from Snart before hanging up the Silhouette costume for good. It wasn’t really swindling Snart if the Rogue was offering the anonymity himself, was it?
“Clock’s ticking,” Snart said, even as Barry held his wrist aloft. “I only make offers like this once. If the answer is no, on both accounts, we can end things amicably, as I said. But that doesn’t mean I won’t fight to take the sculpture for my own.”
Barry could win that fight, if he chose to fight it. Snart had holstered his gun, dropped all of his defenses. It could be over before it began. After all, Snart had already found the microphone; the game was over anyway. There was no reason…
No reason at all…
To even consider…
Snart bit his lip again, eyes flicking down Barry’s body while every other inch of him remained still, leaving the decision to him.
Barry released Snart’s wrist, reached inside his parka for his waist, and tugged the man closer. “Convince me.”
Len had to have heard him wrong.
“Convince me, Cold,” Silhouette said again, in that rumbling affected voice through the mask.
Was Barry really going along with this? Was this actually Barry? For a split second, everything Len had believed about this night came into question and he wondered if he was wrong, that this was never Barry Allen at all.
But no, he knew Barry—he knew this was The Flash, no doubt about it. He also knew that Barry couldn’t have figured out that Len knew the truth. Which meant Barry—sweet, fumbling, vanilla Barry Allen—wanted this.
Len figured he’d get the kid to crack, break character, flash away, but no, he was playing along, playing into Len, a hand at his waist, holding him close. Len had felt glorious nerves of want stir in his gut through his performance, but to have Barry actually respond like this, he hardened, fighting the urge to grind against the thigh between his legs.
Len did not have the strength of will to deny the kid this fantasy even if they were both conning the other in their own devious way. Barry knew exactly who Len was…and he was asking for this anyway.
So Len pressed forward, into Barry’s thigh, their chests tight, the breath from Barry’s mask warm on his lips as he leaned closer. He moved both of his hands to Barry’s shoulders, toyed at the high-necked collar, at the line of the mask beneath.
“Hard to do much convincing with this on.”
Barry stiffened—and not in the way Len wanted. “You said the mask could stay.”
“It can,” Len assured him. “I’m talking just enough to get at those lips. Your neck. No further.”
Barry didn’t answer, hesitating, debating, but Len felt a subtle buck against his own thigh. Barry was hard too, so apparent through tight leather.
“I know you won’t be able to talk with the mask pulled up or risk revealing what you really sound like. That’s fine. I’ll get you to make other noises, guaranteed.”
Barry’s hips stuttered forward. “You get off on being beaten, Cold?”
“On someone upping the stakes, making me up my game? Oh yes.”
“Even with The Flash?”
Cheeky brat. “The Flash isn’t here.”
Silence. Poor kid was probably debating if he should confess. And oh would that be a disappointment right now. So Len gambled on being bold. He found the edge of the mask and slowly, slow enough for Barry to stop him at any moment, began to lift it up. He peeled it carefully from Barry’s neck, past his chin, and just over his lips.
Barry tightened his hold on Len’s waist, added his other hand, waited, breath coming out noisy, but not daring to speak now that his buffer had been removed.
Len stared at the soft lips before him, letting his hands brush back to clasp Barry’s neck and hold him there, neither giving up any leverage to let the other escape. He moved in for Barry's lips but stopped, shifted at the last moment to place a kiss at the side of his neck. Then again, nipping lightly with his teeth.
A whimper, barely audible, passed from the kid’s lips. Oh yes—this was Barry Allen.
If Barry wanted this, much as Len had expected a very different outcome tonight, then he was all on board. He trailed his lips higher, up the curve of Barry’s cheek. Felt an impatient tug on his waist and thrust up against his thigh.
“So this is what you wanted. Glad we’re on the same page—” Len cut off, barely stopping himself from calling the kid ‘Scarlet’. He took in a breath to cover it. “Silhouette,” he finished, lingering on the name to show how much he liked it—he really did.
He fluttered his fingers over the base of Barry’s skull, still mostly covered with the cowl, the barest of hairs peeking out the back, soft against his palms. Kissed the corner of Barry’s mouth. Then moved dead center and slid his tongue past parted lips. Barry hummed, gloved hands squeezing the curve of Len’s hip bones through his sweater.
Barry’s tongue moved with a confidence Len didn’t expect, twirling deep and dominant, lips tentative for only a moment before they suctioned tight. Len rocked into Barry and felt like motion in return as they clung, and kissed, and fuck—Barry tasted too good to let go.
Len wanted to climb into his lap, but Barry was merely leaning against the desk, not sat on top of it. It made Len feel greedy, too impatient as he straddled Barry’s thigh and kissed him harder, wondering what it might take to bring the kid to his senses and ruin how good this felt.
Barry moved his hands to Len’s shoulders when they gasped for breath, and pushed at the parka. Len dropped his arms back to let the jacket slide to the floor, then returned his fingers to the zipper at the top of Barry’s long jacket and began to slowly draw it down. He wasn’t wearing anything underneath, just smooth pale skin revealed. And the zipper went the full length of the jacket all the way down to just above Barry’s knees. When Len finally had it undone, it fell open, and he ran slightly calloused hands up the toned expanse of muscle.
Barry sucked in a breath, fought to keep from making any noise. His gloved hands pawed at Len’s sweater, then thought better of it and tugged at the waist of his pants instead. He un-situated his leg from between Len’s thighs to undo them. Len grunted when Barry got his zipper down and pulled his pants down his ass. Kid was intrepid behind that mask.
Len strained against the fabric of his black boxer briefs, eager to feel Barry’s hands on him. But at this, Barry hesitated, stared at him standing there in his underwear, pants half down his legs, as if frozen.
Stay with me, Len thought, and reached for Barry’s pants in turn. The leather—or whatever fabric, same as The Flash suit—was skin tight and maintained a slight stretch. Len had to slide his hands into the waistband, reach around to feel Barry’s firm ass, and—oh yes, no barrier existed between the fabric and Barry’s skin. He wasn’t wearing underwear.
Len pressed his only lightly fabric-covered cock forward into Barry’s thigh, couldn’t resist, before prying the pants down Barry’s hips.
Strong hands shot out and gripped his forearms as he moved to touch Barry. Len looked up rather than down at the now bared skin between them. He couldn’t see Barry’s eyes, couldn’t read his expression other than the way his lips parted as if he meant to speak but caught himself before he could.
“You say the word—” Len cut off with a short chuckle because Barry was not going to speak without the modulator. “You indicate you want to stop, we stop. You want to keep going…” he flicked his eyes down at Barry’s nakedness finally, licked his lips, then flicked his eyes up again, “I’m ready to be on my knees and stay there for as long as it takes to convince you.”
For a moment, Barry’s heavy breathing was the only sound in the room.
Len tugged out of Barry’s grip, held up his hands. “In or not? In, but you change your mind again, I’m gone. I need you committed, one way or the other. So answer. Do you want me to go?”
Barry frantically shook his head.
“Well then…” Len grinned, and lowered himself to his knees.
Whatever dissention remained in Barry, it dwindled quickly. He leaned further back against the desk, spread his legs, and let Len settle between them. His mouth parted in a tempting ‘oh’ as Len descended on him. The slick bead of precum on Barry’s head tasted like salt and sin, and Len licked it, twirled his tongue, and dove in, parting his lips to take Barry in deep.
There was no mistaking the moan that left him, even as Barry tried to stifle it with a fist in his mouth. He ripped the gloves from his hands and threw them to the floor, before reaching forward for the back of Len’s head, gently coaxing him and scraping his nails.
Len could get used to Barry like this. At his mercy but still railing against him for a sense of control. That was his Scarlet Speedster. Always a fighter, always believing he could get the upper hand. What he didn’t understand yet was that he was one of very few people Len didn’t mind handing control to.
So Len gave Barry what he wanted, what he probably would never ask for. He bobbed in close, swallowed Barry back low and deep in his throat with a pleased rumble that pulsed around Barry’s shaft. Another muffled moan, the fist in Barry’s mouth again. Len rested his hands on the curve of Barry’s thighs, thumbs teasing along the velvety skin beneath his mouth’s careful work.
Grunts and swallowed back curses were his reward for the attentiveness of his lips and tongue. Len wanted to swallow Barry whole until he begged, in his own voice, for release.
He pulled one hand back to grip himself, squeezing briefly to release some of the built up pressure between his legs. He needed out of his shorts. He tugged them down, shimmying them past his hips to bunch at his knees with his pants. The first touch of his hand made him moan into Barry’s overheated skin.
Another grunt and the more insistent presence of Barry’s hand on his head made Len pull away. Spittle shimmered on his lips, so he lapped at it with his tongue. Barry huffed as he looked down at him, and Len imagined the kid’s hazel eyes glassy with need.
“Problem?” He batted his eyes at the man above him, giving himself a few slow strokes in full view of Barry’s gaze. “Prefer to touch me yourself?”
Lightning fast hands shot out, gripping Len by the front of his sweater, and hauled him to his feet. Len’s hands fell limply at his sides from the force of Barry crashing their lips together. The kid’s tongue, cloying for his own taste in Len’s mouth, and the strength in his grip made Len tremble.
A moment later, Barry released him, swept his arm out over the desk, knocking everything atop it to the floor, then gripped Len’s sweater again. Super speed had to be involved, whether Barry was aware of it or not, because the next second, Len found himself on his back on top of the desk, as Barry straddled him.
What the fuck was Barry doing? This was insane. This was unforgivable when Snart didn’t know who he really was.
It was also the single hottest encounter he had ever had.
He seriously hoped Snart didn’t recognize the brief flash of lightning around them when he hauled him up on the desk, failing at keeping his powers in check. He needed leverage. Needed friction. Wanted to grind Snart into the mahogany until they came.
Snart’s mouth on him—Jesus. Barry would have made a joke about Snart being way too hot for the title of Captain Cold, if he was able to speak.
They weren't even fully undressed. Snart still had his sweater on, the goggles around his neck, his shorts and pants at his knees, and Barry wasn’t much better.
He licked a wet stripe up his palm and reached between them to make sure Snart was as slick as he was. Then he held them, their cocks tight together in his long fingers, slowly pumping his hips forward as his hand moved in similar rhythm.
Snart’s head dropped back, neck arching, as a low moan left him. Had the man always been this infuriatingly sexy, lips so inviting, Barry could have rocked his dick between them for days? But this, bodies pumping in tandem, was much better.
Snart’s lips parted, still shiny from going down on Barry, chest heaving as he panted. When his eyes, deep blue, focused on Barry again with a hunger he had never seen directed at him from anyone else, Barry felt a soul-deep vibration shudder through him that he had no control over to stop.
Snart couldn’t possibly recognize it for what it was, had to dismiss it as the earth moving with them, or Silhouette just being that good, but he laughed in the aftermath. “Harder,” Snart gasped. “Faster, come on.”
Oh Barry could go faster, but he didn’t dare. Didn’t know how much longer he could hold out without giving the game away, but he’d be damned if he was going to stop. He followed the first order instead. Increased his grip, pressed down more firmly into Snart as he rocked, their cocks so wet now, dripping with precum, mixing together with their spit and sweat. Snart was at his mercy, pinned to the table, and Barry loved it.
It felt so good, so intense. Barry could feel the heat building, the thought that this was Snart he was with only spurring him on. How long had he wanted this, he wondered? But that didn’t matter as much as having it now.
He was so close, he could feel it, almost…
“Fuck,” Snart huffed, neck arching again, hands clawing at the table, “yes…don’t stop…”
Barry ran his thumb over Snart’s weeping slit, squeezed their cocks tighter—
—and froze. Did he just…?
Barry looked down at Snart, all motion stilled. As realization dawned on Snart as well, his expression became a calculating mask, one Barry was only too familiar with, as if waiting—waiting for Barry to decide how to react.
“How long…?” Barry asked.
One side of Snart’s mouth twitched up into his customary smirk, but there was something gauging in his expression, timid and pleading that held Barry captive. Snart reached for Barry’s face, pulled the mask the rest of the way off, and tossed it aside as Barry’s hair poofed out from being smushed beneath the cowl.
“The whole damn time, kid,” he said, and, holding Barry around the curve of his jaw, pulled him down into a kiss.
This Snart was desperate, clinging to whatever he could before Barry pushed him away and fled. Only Barry didn't want to run away, not now, not yet.
He lapped at Snart's tongue, slid his free hand up the thief's stomach beneath his sweater, and rocked his hips forward again. Fingers wrapped around their cocks, rhythm increasing. Faster. Harder. Barry didn't have to hold back now, not with Snart, not when he knew.
"Barry..." Snart gasped again, breath panting on Barry's cheek. Barry liked that sound, his name—his name—on Snart's lips.
Breaths heavy, bodies writhing, Snart tangled one of his hands in Barry’s hair and tugged. Barry moaned at the tingle of nerves being assaulted, not needing to smother the sound any longer. Snart’s skin against his own, cock against his cock, lips on his neck, body thrusting up beneath him—this was the crescendo Barry had been waiting for.
They rocked, and rocked. Barry could feel the tide rising. Snart got there first, body tensing as teeth bit into Barry’s neck and he stuttered upwards with his release. The dull edge of teeth on Barry’s skin made him shiver, rocking faster, faster into the mess left between them, until another empowered shudder vibrated through him and he came moments after Snart with a relieved sigh.
No regrets, Barry thought as his heartbeat hammered in his chest. Not a damn one.
Len felt warm and tingly down to his toes. Whatever that was when Barry blurred in the midst of his power, it felt amazing against Len’s body. If he hadn’t come already, he would have right then, feeling Barry’s release with a pulse of speed.
Len longed for a lengthy afterglow, but he never expected slow or gradual when it came to The Flash. Barry would come to his senses now and jerk away, roll from the desk, and—
Barry lifted his head to capture Len’s lips in a frenzied kiss.
Not what Len had expected.
They were overheated, half dressed, an utter mess on some stranger’s desk. They were enemies at odds, Barry caught in the act trying to pull one over on Len, while Len had been pulling one over on him. The fierce sex should have ended in a fight or deep-seated shame on Barry’s part, not a renewed, passionate embrace. This kid was just full of surprises.
Len gave as good as he got, sinking into the kiss, relaxing there beneath his nemesis as Barry slowed the lip-lock, letting it drag on long past merely being caught up in the moment. Then Barry hummed as he had when they first met mouths, shooting a fresh jolt of want right to Len’s groin.
When Barry stopped, he didn’t leap away, but rolled only slightly to the side, careful not to roll off the desk, and laid there tucked into Len’s body. Len got his languid afterglow. He kind of never wanted it to end. But someone had to be the voice of reason.
“We are eventually going to have to clean up.”
“I know,” Barry said, forehead pressed to Len’s shoulder. “I got it.”
A whirlwind and shock of lightning filled the room, making Len gasp before he realized it was already over. Barry stood off the side of the desk, pants done up, but jacket still unzipped, as he dropped a collection of tissues into the wastebasket. Len had been wiped clean.
He tilted his head at Barry. The kid actually grinned back at him. Huh.
“Need a hand?” Barry said when Len started to sit up.
Len chuckled and waved him away. “Think you already gave me one.”
Len hopped off the desk, pulled up his underwear and pants, while a warm buzz filled his gut, leaving him too content to think clearly about where to go from here. He cast his eyes appreciatively down Barry’s body as the kid re-zipped his jacket.
“Give Cisco my compliments on the new suit, Barry. But do try a new tactic next time.” He reached into his pocket and handed Barry the mic from his gun.
Barry shook his head and slipped the device into his own pocket. “How long?” he asked as Len moved around the desk to retrieve his lost gloves and parka. “Really this time.”
“Since Hanson Jewelers. Hacked the video footage. Watching you move versus a still shot was a dead giveaway. I know that body in motion. Even more so now.” He smirked to himself as he dressed, and caught Barry doing the same when he joined him to grab his gloves and mask. “Fun while it lasted though,” Len said. “Do keep the persona. Wouldn't mind seeing Silhouette again sometime.”
At last Barry paused with a sense of the night’s events catching up to him.
Inevitable, but Len decided to push his luck anyway. “We could still finish the heist together. Didn't I do a good enough job convincing you, shadow dear?”
There was that smile again, dimpled and endearing. “Nice try, Snart.”
Another whirlwind and sparks of yellow, and the desk was left exactly as they’d found it, no trace that they’d been here at all. Barry even set the painting back over the security console.
Len stood in awe of the kid, not visibly, he couldn’t afford that, but he was always in awe of how Barry moved. “What now, Scarlet?”
“I'm not leaving first. You'll just steal the sculpture yourself.”
“Why not leave together?”
Barry eyed him suspiciously. “You asking for a ride?”
Len wasn’t sure what he was asking, but he knew what he wanted. He’d figured best case scenario he’d be leaving with the loot, not The Flash. But he wondered. Wondered if there was a way to keep this going. He’d never had so much fun. With The Flash. With Silhouette. Tonight—even the sex aside. Though the sex was memorable. And there were so many other things they could try.
Len stepped into Barry’s space, not at all veiling what he wanted. “This time I'm giving you a ride. Can you get us to the north exit without any cameras seeing?”
Barry didn’t answer at first, face flushing with color as he undoubtedly remembered what they’d just been up to and considered the offer for more. “I can do that.”
“Then do it.”
Barry pulled the Silhouette mask back over his face, slipped an arm inside Len’s parka, and held him close. The jolt that hit Len’s gut didn’t nauseate him. It carried an inherent thrill. Being in the office one moment and at the exit the next.
“After you,” Len said.
Barry opened the door into the alleyway opposite the one with the window they had both entered, revealing Len’s motorcycle waiting.
“Helmets under the seat. Safety first,” Len said, holding the door as Barry exited.
Poor kid hadn’t done quite as much research as he should have, relying instead on eavesdropping to tell him everything he needed to know about this heist. Len had left out something important. This door opening and closing wouldn’t trip the alarms neither of them had disabled, but the moment it closed, the action would trigger the outdoor camera to take several snapshots of anyone who left.
He could have warned Barry, but this was much more fun.
The door closed, and instantly several pictures were taken one after the other as Len moved to join Barry on the bike and accepted the helmet the kid handed him.
“Hang on tight now. Not ready to lose track of you just yet.”
“Where are we going?” the modulated voice of Silhouette asked.
Len revved the engine. “My place. Any objections?”
Barry didn’t hesitate before wrapping his arms around Len’s waist. “Not tonight.”
Barry spent the next day scrambling to keep up with work and Flash business and normal life, especially after sleeping in, wrapped around Snart—Len—before dashing off to work the next morning. If his patrol that night included a run by Len’s apartment, well, he couldn’t be fully to blame for that. Len was very convincing.
Barry had managed to avoid going into any details about his final night as Silhouette with any of the others—and it was his final night, though he planned to keep the costume for…other purposes.
The day after was a different story.
Barry was still in a blissful haze, not ready to face repercussions for his actions, for sleeping with Len—more than once. He’d kept Len busy for months running him in circles with Silhouette. If he kept him busy other ways from now on, at least the city would remain safe.
He couldn’t keep the grin from his face as he worked on a blood sample in his lab, humming “Bad Company” to himself while tapping his foot on the top rung of his stool. He didn’t even notice when Joe first came in, not until a copy of Picture News slapped onto his desk.
“What’s this?” Barry asked before he really looked at it. He noticed Joe’s expression first; the furrowed brow, tight lips, hands on his waist.
“Care to explain that, Silhouette?”
Barry glanced fearfully at the paper. The front page read: ‘B&E, Nothing Stolen. Cold & Silhouette Turned Vigilante?’ with a photograph of the pair climbing onto Len’s motorcycle. Written by Iris West.
Shit. Barry was so hearing about this from her later. And from Cisco. And Caitlin.
“Uhh...rehabilitation program?” Barry smiled sheepishly.
He decided to leave out that the rehabilitation program was his dick.