For a wild moment Barry thought he’d returned to the wrong Universe. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t even understand it. Maybe, no, definitely, he’d heard wrong.
“Can you run that by me again?”
Oliver gave a withering sigh over the line, “Sara, Palmer, Stein and that new kid he fuses with now, those hawk people and your criminals, Snart and Rory got tapped by some 'Time Master' for a time traveling adventure to ‘save the future.’”
“They’ve been gone for a while now, I don’t know why this is the first you’ve heard of it. Half the team are from Central City. Didn’t you notice when your supervillains went missing?” Oliver voice carried a hard lit that let Barry know he thought Barry was being particularly negligent.
Barry shifted guiltily. “I’ve been busy.” And he had.
Battling with Zoom, traveling Universes and being held prisoner had kept him heels up since the last time he’d seen any of the people Arrow had mentioned. As soon as he’d gotten back to his world he’d grabbed a newspaper expecting to see Central to have at least one meta related emergency in his absence. What he saw instead was a headliner noting a string of burglaries. He’d written that off as Cold being opportunistic, not really an emergency. He’d made a couple of rounds Central’s city streets, relishing the quiet, before settling on an empty office building to give Arrow a call.
“Well, now you know.” Oliver cut in succinctly. Barry winced his friend’s testiness and rolled up his Flash suit at the wrist to check his watch; 2 A.M., oops.
“I’m sorry for calling so late. It’s just- I just got back in town, and I needed to know if I missed anything important. This… this is big. When did they leave?”
“The 21st.” They were already in World 2 at that point. He'd figured that might have been the case. Some of the chaffing that Dr. Stein hadn’t mentioned anything faded a bit. Which is when Barry released he didn’t know what this day was. He checked the newspaper, February 17th, yikes.
Oliver spoke again after a beat, his voice less biting than before. “The world hasn’t fallen to pieces yet so I guess they’re making progress? Except, I don’t know why they wouldn’t just come back to the moment they left once they were finished unless they’d already died back in the 16th century.”
Barry couldn’t answer that. When he ran through time it seemed like more luck and hoping-really-hard than logic played a part in getting him where he was going, and he had no idea how this “timeship” worked. “Time travel is complicated? They’ll probably come back.” Barry ventured, for lack of knowing what else to say.
Except that wasn’t all he had to say, there was something that was repeating over and over in his head that he couldn’t get past.
“But why take Snart and Rory to save the future? I mean, I'd hoped with- I mean Snart has been showing some promise lately, but this is unprecedented! When did he decide come to the light side and what caused it? I was gone so who was his Qui G-”
Oliver cleared his throat loudly, cutting Barry off. “I have to go Barry. Try to enjoy some time off from your criminals. I wish mine would give me the same courtesy.”
Then the line went dead.
No need to be rude. Although, Barry was a little glad Oliver had cut off his stream of consciousness.
So, Captain Cold and Heatwave, traveling through time, saving the world.
As much as Barry wanted to believe it, he couldn’t quite bring himself to. Barry looked at his newspaper again and made the decision. It was time for the new leader of the Rogues to get a visit from the Flash.
Barry found Cisco at his brownstone apartment in a band tee-shirt and sleep pants. He didn’t look happy to see the Flash.
“Hey uh, Cisco, I need-“ Cisco tried to close the door. “Hey!”
“No. No way, dude. I don’t care. We just got back two hours ago. Shut it down.”
“Barry, shhhh,” Cisco shushed Barry with a finger to his lips, “Go home and go to sleep. Whatever it is can wait until tomorrow.” He then withdrew his finger and started closing his door again. Barry pushed his hand against the door and said the first thing that came to his mind.
Barry couldn’t say why that’s what made it through when he had a million other revelations that night, but it did the trick and the door stayed an inch open. Barry pushed it the rest of the way open.
“Lisa?” Cisco asked in a concerned voice.
Oh. “No, the other Snart. Captain Cold. I need Lisa’s number, I know you have it.”
Cisco’s expression went flat, but he didn’t bother denying it and just whipped out his phone obligingly. “You know you don’t have to sprint to the guys rescue every time he sneezes.”
Barry scoffed. “I’m not. I just need to find out what she knows about him joining up with a superhero team to save the world." Cisco raised his eyebrows disbelievingly. "I know how it sounds."
"I doubt that." Cisco pressed a button on his phone, then brought it to his ear. "Hey Lise, it's Cisco." There was a silence on their end for a second then Cisco shot Barry a sour look, "Yes, it's late, I'm sorry. We just got back into town and the Flash wants to speak with you." Female Snart says something on the line and Cisco smiles. "What's your condition?" Cisco's cheeks darken. "Alright G. G., see you soon."
Cisco retreated back into his apartment without a word to Barry, and Barry stepped in after him.
"What was her condition?" Barry hazarded to ask.
"We're buying her pancakes." Cisco said simply, his mood considerably brighter.
Barry huffed bitterly. This was not what he had in mind. Barry sat hunched in the plastic booth, Cisco's borrowed hoodie pulled low over his masked face, like he was the criminal at this table. His usual Flash persona was hard to sell at the moment, and he didn't feel like he had much leverage to control the situation. Lisa, who was sitting across from Cisco and him, grinned at him around the straw she was chewing like she knew how unhappy he was with the irony.
"So, tell me if I got this straight: you dragged me out of bed at 3 A.M. to gab about Lenny?" She didn't sound nearly as upset as Barry thought she had the right to be, and Barry regretted leading with a question about Snart's whereabouts.
Barry couldn't bring himself to feel bad about it though.
He didn't buy for a second that they had roused Lisa from her bed. From her hair and make up to the light behind her eyes she looked more awake than anyone else at the Diner. Not to mention the flirting she'd aimed as Cisco since she arrived.
She winked at Cisco and Cisco's cheeks dimpled with a smile.
Barry bit back a tired sigh.
At least pancakes were coming.
"Stop twisting my words." Barry finally said. "I want to know a few things. I'm assuming you're the new leader of the Rogues. I need to know that we still have a no-kill deal."
Lisa leaned in on her elbow. "Are you gonna let me in on secret identity like you did with Lenny?"
Barry's hackles raised when he felt Cisco stiffen next to him. "Are you going to kidnap and torture someone if I don't?"
"Hey, everyone walked away okay last time." Lisa said defensively. She did send an apologetic look Cisco's way, at least. "It's not like I enjoy to hurting people."
"So you'll do it?" Barry ventured.
Golden Glider blew out a long suffering sigh, making her long brown hair wave in front of her face. "I don't know how you expect me to trust you not to turn me in so long as I don't kill anyone if I don't have any security." She gave Barry a pointed look. "There's no way I'm gonna offer any side perks that Lenny does."
"Just what kind of relationship do you think we have?" Barry asked faintly. Lisa held his eyes in a scrutinizing stare for a long moment. Barry did his best not to shrink.
The waitress brought their pancakes, and Cisco thanked her politely.
Cisco reached across Barry to snag the bottle of syrup. He drenched his pancakes, then offered the bottle to Lisa with a charming smile. "Can't you just take us at our word?" Cisco asked, breaking the stilted silence. "Team Flash has a pretty good track record with the Rogues at the moment."
Lisa shrugged one shoulder, and poured some syrup over her pancakes. Barry had to admit, watching her cutting up pancakes like a regular person was a bit disarming.
She gave Cisco a coy smile. "Maybe if you and I can work more closely together."
There was an amused lit to Cisco's voice, "I'm sure we could work something out that would be mutually beneficial."
Lisa hummed happily around a bite of pancake.
Barry rolled his eyes. "Not that this lovefest isn't adorable, but what do you know about 'this time traveling hero adventure' Cold and Heatwave took off on."
"I don't like that you seem to expect me to be the only one giving here." Lisa frowned, and Barry'd had enough.
"Look, you want something, here it is, you or the Rogues kill someone then I'm taking all of you in. Jail, the pipeline, it'll be over. You play nice, I'll leave you to the police. No casualties."
The ultimatum hung in the air for a moment.
Lisa supposedly didn't want to kill, and she definitely didn't want to go to war with the Flash when things were going so well, so it seemed like a fair deal to Barry. Cisco calmly ate his pancakes.
Lisa leaned back into her booth when she relented.
"It's been nice having you gone." She conceded nodding to the Flash. "Fine. Here's what I can tell you 'Scarlet,' and it's not much. Lenny and Mick joined up with the plan to steal things as they travel through time. Supposedly the leader, the 'Time Lord' said they're 'Legends' and need to help take down some immortal douchebag, or some such nonsense. It all sounded ridiculous to me."
Barry vaguely heard Cisco ask excitedly, "You watch Doctor Who?" in the background, as Barry's head was spinning.
They're... stealing things from the past? "That’s insane!" Barry blurted, near hysterical, "Haven't they ever heard of the Butterfly Effect? One little change to the timeline could disrupt history completely! Don't they care at all for the present?"
And that's when it occurred to Barry that maybe they didn't. Oh God. Barry might be having a stroke.
Lisa shrugged, unfazed by the Flash’s panic. "Maybe they already have changed history. Who would know if our present was different today than it was yesterday if it had been completely rewritten?"
Barry side-eyed Cisco, who shook his head minutely. Lisa carried on, "Or, maybe time isn't as flimsy as you say, and our present now just has some precious gems that went missing mysteriously in that past and no one could figure out how. Either way, I'm not worried too terribly about things changing."
"But how can you possibly-"
"Because I know my brother. Lenny might seem cold, but he does care about his present."
The significant look she gave Barry made the color rise in his cheeks and the air rush out of him. "O-oh?"
The costume wasn't enough to mask his reaction, apparently. Lisa grinned wolfishly and took another piece of pancake in her mouth. Barry had to avert his eyes and unfortunately turned to see shit-eating grin Cisco was sporting.
Barry turned to stare out the dark window instead.
This whole situation is out of Barry's hands. It wasn't like he could run around all of time and space until he found them and force them to give up their mission... or include him. And if Lisa was right, and it looked that way based on the state of the present, then they were going about it responsibly enough.
Barry would just have to focus on his present and try not to think about it. For his sanity's sake.
And Central usually kept him busy enough.
So it was decided. Barry would trust these so called 'Legends' to take care of things on their end, the way he trusted Oliver to take care of his villains in Starling. And if this 'Time Master' claimed that Snart and Rory were Legends then maybe they are. Maybe this was the opportunity that Snart and Rory needed to recognize their potential to do good.
Dread fell into Barry's stomach as he realized that he was beginning to hope, again. Barry scrubbed a hand over his masked face.
Barry noticed his plate was empty. When had he...?
"I'm gonna head out." Barry decided suddenly. Cisco moved so Barry could slide out of the booth. "It's been... weird." Lisa gave Barry a thumbs up and Cisco fell back into the booth.
"Go to bed," Cisco called after Barry, causing the speedster to bristle as he disappeared out the Diner doors and into the early morning.
"He's pouting, that's adorable." Lisa said turning a small genuine smile on Cisco. "You seem very calm about the whole 'time traveling' thing."
Cisco grinned at her and shrugged, "With all I've been through lately I guess it doesn't bother me right now. I'm less worried about your brother than he is."
Lisa quirked an eyebrow, "Not concerned about Lenny wrecking time?"
"Like you said, he's got some good motivation to make it back." Cisco gently took Lisa's hand. "Flash may become insufferable in the meantime."
A blush settled over Lisa's cheeks. She took her hand back delicately and straightened her back. "I guess it would be okay to tell you Lenny that said that he's aiming to return March 3rd, 'Legend' or not."
"Maybe I'll tell Flash later if he pays me back for his pancakes." Cisco said conspiratorially.
Lisa laughed lightly at that.