Cisco woke up, soft and slow like swimming his way up through layers of sleep, to the vague, distant realisations that his chest was warm, his left foot was frozen, and his nose was wedged in what smelled for all the world like someone's armpit.
Socks, he thought muzzily, too lethargic still to bother doing anything about it. He must have left his laundry scattered on the bed again. He really should stop doing tha--
The chest beside his head moved, a hiccup through the steady breathing rhythm as its owner made a kind of snuffled snort somewhere further up, and Cisco's brain kicked in a bit more on a surge of half-panic. Breathing. Someone was breathing next to him. Someone was sleeping next to him. His arm was stretched out across someone's stomach. Their arm was curled under and around his head. The thing his nose was wedged in didn't just smell like an armpit, it actually was an armpit.
A fairly rank one, too. Damn, whoever that belonged to needed to take a shower. Man, oh man, that was nasty.
Okay, not the point, Cisco. So totally not the point. The point was, who exactly had he somehow ended up in bed with? Because he was fairly certain ... he was pretty certain he didn't remember anything even potentially of that sort happening any time recently, and definitely not ... Last night? When was last night? What the hell had happened? He hadn't been drinking. His head didn't hurt enough for a hangover, and he didn't remember drinking. Point of fact, he didn't remember going out. Last thing he remembered, he'd been tinkering in the lab with Harry until stupid o'clock in the morni--
No. Oh no. No, he didn't. He couldn't have. He hadn't even been drinking, how the hell could he have managed ...
Screwing up his face, still at least partly because of the smell, he took his life in his hands and risked levering his eyes open. Ouch, no, some bit of his still-exhausted brain definitely didn't want that yet. Had to be done, though. There wasn't a lot of light, thankfully. Definitely no natural light. Not his apartment, no windows. Dimmed electric lights, the kind you got in Star Labs. Oh shit. Oh hell. He tracked his gaze up over a rumpled black shirt, past a grey-shadowed jawline, and there ... there was Harry Wells. With his head wedged oddly into the corner of the wall, eyes closed and breathing steady, and clearly deeply, deeply unconscious. Asleep, unconscious. Something like that. Harrison Wells, fast asleep.
They were wedged in on one of the cots together, Harry wedged up against the wall and Cisco somehow wedged in under his arm. Someone'd put a blanket over them, wrapped it mostly on Cisco's side at least partly to keep him on the bed and stop him from falling off the edge behind him. Most of Harry's right arm and Cisco's left foot seemed to have wormed their way outside the blanket. Hence the frozen foot. They'd taken his shoes off. Like, nothing else, from what little Cisco could tell without moving around too much he still had most of everything else on, but shoes and socks had gone bye-bye. He could barely feel his toes. Star Labs was freezing at night. It was all that concrete. Sucked all the heat right out of the air. Now that he was awake enough to notice that properly, he hastily wormed his foot back under the blanket, hissing faintly as it made contact with his other calf.
And, okay. If he was awake enough to move, probably he should have been moving something else. Like his whole self, maybe. All of him, off the cot and outta here. That would have been sane, probably. That would have been the thing to do. It was just ... it was damned cold out there, and Harry was pretty warm if also pretty rank, and seriously Cisco was still way too damned tired to be thinking of moving just yet. Harry was still asleep, right? Let's let him do that a while longer, and then Cisco could think about making a run for it when it was slightly less freezing out there.
What had happened, anyway? He had ... he'd dozed off? Like, there had been nights when that happened, when he'd stuck around the lab or the workshop tinkering with things and just ... forgotten to go home and woken up the next morning with his spine twisted into a corkscrew and half a fibre panel glued to his cheek by drool. That had happened. And Harry, Harry didn't just mostly live here now, Harry actually lived here now, him and Jesse both. So Harry must have found him, or ... Wait, they'd been working together, hadn't they, he remembered that, he must have just ...
He must have basically fallen asleep on top of Harry, is what he must have done. And spectacularly failed to wake up again, given how he remembered absolutely nothing else about last night, but he had kind of been running on about three days worth of a sleep debt the last week or so. So. Maybe not surprising.
The only question was, how had him falling asleep on top of Harry in the lab somehow translated to him asleep on top of Harry in a bed? Like, even if he had stubbornly refused to wake up again, couldn't Harry and Jesse have just propped him on a bench or over in med bay with a blanket or two? Harry needing sleep too wasn't surprising, Harry was working off more or less exactly the same sleep debt Cisco was (and fuck Harry needed a shower too, Cisco was just bringing that back again, he wiggled himself over a bit so that his head was more on Harry's chest than stuck next to the evidence of that), but that still probably shouldn't translate into Harry somehow winding up sleeping with Cisco.
Not that Cisco was complaining about that, mind. Not necessarily. Okay, so, the tiny cot and the armpit and the frozen foot weren't exactly what he might have had in mind, and it wasn't like he'd ever thought thought about it, not exactly, but ...
It was nice. It actually was. It was just ... nice. Harry was warm, and quiet, and he kept making these little snuffle-snort noises every so often, like a man who should maybe get his sinuses checked, and in the middle of all the chaos and the panic this last while, something like this just felt ... safe. Like a bubble. Warm and quiet and safe. 'Cause Harry was ... he didn't need anything explained to him, he didn't need secrets kept from him, he wasn't a villain or a civilian or a reincarnated hawk goddess, he wasn't going to be complicated in the morning. Harry was just Harry, Harry already knew everything, Harry'd stayed up all night fixing shit in the lab right next to Cisco, Harry was working off the exact same sleep debt. Maybe he'd murder Cisco in the morning, maybe he'd shove him off the bed and snarl at him for four days straight, but he wouldn't be complicated about it.
And, you know, the smell and the needing-of-a-shower aside, Harry was also ... not so bad of a thing to wake up next to. Which possibly said really fucked up and screwy things about Cisco, given who Harry looked like and what had happened with him, but Harry ... was different. Physically different. He moved differently. He growled and hissed and snarled, he touched where Thawne had shied away from it, he ... he kept doing that thing, holding out his arm for you, like he was trying to grab you and pull you out of danger. Thawne hadn't done that. Almost nobody did that. It was ... it was a stupid thing to get hung up on, but Cisco liked that thing. He liked that arm. He liked the way it reached out to him.
He liked the way it was curled up around him now. He liked being tucked in under it, he'd been wanting that for a while now. He kind of ... he kind of liked this whole thing right now. Being warm and scrunched up and safe, with Harry all awkward and gangly and exhausted next to him, warm and familiar, breathing quietly under Cisco's ear. He hadn't expected this, he didn't remember what had led to this, but he liked it. He liked it a lot.
He dozed off again for a little while. Not all the way, just drifting in and out a bit, floating just under the surface and listening to Harry breathe. It couldn't last, though. As tired as he still was, he couldn't go all the way back to sleep again, and the cot really was too tiny for longterm comfort when a body was awake enough to be feeling it. Cisco had to move eventually, to wriggle over onto his back and try to wake up the arm that had been trapped between him and Harry. His tee-shirt rucked up in the process of that, and he had to wriggle around some more trying to tug the big, uncomfortable folds out from under his spine, and somewhere in the process of that he wriggled a bit too close to the edge of the cot. He flailed, feeling himself start to fall, and scrabbled his arm across Harry's chest to try and pull himself back on.
Harry woke with a snort, a panicked, blustering surge straight up into awareness, and almost knocked probably the pair of them but definitely Cisco right back off the cot again. Cisco gave a little yelp, something in it clearly registering to the semi-conscious Harry as familiar, and Harry coiled his arm under Cisco's shoulders reflexively and yanked him back into his chest. Cisco grabbed at him equally instinctively in return, his fingers knotting in the shirt just behind Harry's right shoulder blade, and then they just ... lay like that for a second or two. Harry's arms locked vice-like around Cisco's shoulders, Cisco's nose mashed into Harry's chest, chests heaving and brains trying to dial the panic down a notch or twenty and figure out what the hell just happened.
Well, Cisco already knew what happened, more or less. Harry had just woken up, though. Harry wasn't all the way online yet. The man needed a minute or two to catch up.
"... Cisco?" Harry rasped eventually, as his arms finally loosened enough for Cisco to peel his face out of the man's shirt. He sounded angry and bewildered and like he'd been gargling gravel in his sleep. He sounded wrecked, and more than a little cranky about it, and it was ... Honestly? It was adorable. It was the most adorable thing Cisco'd ever heard in his life, and he hastily ducked his head back into Harry's chest so that Harry wouldn't see his smile and promptly try and wring his neck. It was a nice morning. It was too early for violence yet.
"You need a shower, Harry," he said, when he'd managed to tone his expression down from a beam to just a smile. He looked up at the man, the confused, sleep-addled expression on his face, and almost had to grab his own cheeks to hold them still. "I'm, like, so serious over here. You stink, man. You smell like gym socks. When was the last time you bathed?"
Harry opened his mouth at that, his brow wrinkled in mixed bewilderment and offense. He shook his head, apparently nothing coming to mind, and closed it again. Cisco watched him look around. He watched him figure out the cot and Cisco and proximity and get x+y, before visibly struggling for the causal z. Namely, whatever the fuck had happened last night for them to wind up where they had. Cisco couldn't help him there. With the adorable expression of befuddlement Harry was wearing right now, he wasn't sure he would have wanted to either.
"... What the hell?" Harry managed eventually. "How did you ..." He trailed off, the memory apparently hitting home at last, and screwed his eyes shut in pained aggravation. "I hate my daughter," he announced, squeezing his arms around Cisco apparently instinctively. "I hate my daughter so much. When I catch up to her again I'm gonna kill her."
Cisco blinked. "What did Jesse do?" he asked, mouth still curled cautiously in a half smile. "'Cause I mean, man, unless she found us both unconscious and somehow managed to pile us into a bed all by herself ...?"
"No," Harry said repressively. He opened his eyes, squinted down at Cisco in annoyance. "She didn't find us both unconscious. I found you unconscious, and like the annoying person you are you refused to wake up again, so I was trying to put you somewhere slightly safer for sleeping than right next to the soldering iron, and somehow you managed to pull your best octopus impression and latched onto me and wouldn't let go again. Which my daughter, my joy and my light, apparently found hilarious. She thought I should just go along with it and camp out next to you for the night, and since you wouldn't let go, in the end I didn't have much of a choice. You can thank her for the blankets, by the way. I had my arms too full of an unconscious idiot engineer to manage them. Which would have been fine, even nice, if she hadn't kept snickering at me the entire time."
Cisco bit his lip. Hastily, rapidly, shoving one hand across his face as well. He shouldn't laugh at that. He really shouldn't. He should be too embarrassed to laugh at it, too mortified that apparently he'd limpet-clung to Harry Wells in his sleep and refused to let go again, but he could just imagine Jesse doing that. He could imagine her practically bullying her father into lying down, probably taking a handy opportunity to make Harry go to bed at all, and laughing at his affronted expressions the whole way.
She was a sneaky, sneaky girl, Jesse Wells, and she had her father's stubborn streak as well. It must have been the clash of the titans for a couple of minutes there. It was almost a shame that Cisco had been unconscious for it. Except, you know, for the fact that if he hadn't been it never would have happened in the first place.
He should probably feel weird about that. About Jesse bullying her father into bed with him. Platonically, as far as she knew, but given Cisco's thoughts earlier on this morning ... But then, he'd been the unconscious one, so it wasn't like anything would have come of it. If Harry had ever entertained thoughts in that direction about him at all, which probably wasn't likely, he most definitely would not have entertained them in front of his daughter. There was weird and then there was wrong weird, and Harry wouldn't have done that.
So it was fine, probably. It was all fine. Nothing weird, just two sleep-deprived scientists getting rolled into the nearest bed by an amused and aggravated family member to sleep off a week's worth of a sleep debt. That was ... not too far from normal, right?
Of course, for it to be normal normal, or at least closer to it than they were managing now, Cisco should probably be thinking about moving already. He should be trying to lean away from the man, to wriggle out of his arms and pull his face away from Harry's chest, and not ... not just lie here, with Harry's arms still coiled half-instinctively around him, still feeling that same strange mix of warm and safe and lazily conscious of Harry's breathing. Lazily conscious of more than that. There was a thing about having Harry coiled protectively around him, yanking him in close to pull him out of danger. There was a thing about warmth and strength and that gangly, familiar body curled around him. Cisco was awake now. He'd woken all the way up, body, brain, and ... a couple of other things as well.
Harry was going to kill him, he thought distantly. Any minute now, Harry was going to notice and Harry was going to kill him, and that was a far sharper, nastier thought now that they were both awake. It still felt oddly distant, though. It felt oddly far away. The bubble hadn't burst yet. The little ball of safety and warmth hadn't gone away. It was ... hard to think of anything horrible happening just as long as they were still inside of it.
Until Harry's expression changed, anyway. Until befuddlement and aggravation and the annoyed adoration for his daughter faded off his face as he took in Cisco's expression, and probably a couple of other things as well given how Cisco was still pressed up alongside him. Harry blinked down at him, and Harry at least partially caught on. Cisco watched him do it. Cisco managed a nice, familiar spike of pure panic in the face of it.
"... Cisco?" Harry asked, with a stunned edge to it that Cisco desperately hoped was pure shock and not anything else or anything darker. "Cisco, you ... Are you ... What?"
"Um," Cisco said, his hand curling into a careful fist on Harry's chest, ready to push himself off and hopefully out of range the second he had to. He smiled queasily. "I don't supposed you'd accept it as just a morning thing?" Too much to hope, really, but hey. Maybe the world would be kind for once.
Harry blinked down at him. He looked ... he didn't look mad. He looked confused, mostly, and kind of terrified as well. That kind of panicky, half-awake, this-does-not-compute sort of expression. He shook his head. His question, when he asked it, was about as half-hopeful as Cisco's had been. "Is it?" he managed carefully. "A ... a morning thing?"
... And again, Cisco should have said yes. He should have said yes like he should have gotten out of bed, should have leaned away before Harry had figured it out, shouldn't have let himself just lie there and bask for as long as he had. It was the sane thing. He should have done the sane thing. Life presumably hurt so much less when you did things like that.
Presumably. Because ... because Cisco didn't know too much about it, did he? He didn't know all that much about sane anymore. And Harry just ...
He'd felt safe, lying here. With Harry, because it was Harry. Harry with his exhaustion and his head wedged at odd angles and his arms curled protectively and his haven't-showered-in-four-days-because-panic-and-saving-the-world smell and his snuffle-snorts in his sleep and his grabbing Cisco instinctively to keep him from falling and ... and Cisco had wanted to be curled up under that arm for a long time now, probably since that other Earth, he admitted that to himself, and this was a nice bubble, he liked this bubble, he wanted to have this bubble again. He wanted ... maybe more than that. He kind of wanted Harry. A lot. Not very lazily at all.
O-kay. Okay. So he was going to die now. They were going to get right on that murder part. But Cisco wasn't going to do the sane thing. He'd made up his mind. He hadn't been sane all morning. He might as well not try starting now.
"... It's kind of a morning thing?" he said carefully, trying not to squirm under Harry's wary, still kind of panicky gaze. "But, um. It's ... It's also kind of a you thing. A little. Okay, kind of a lot. You just, um. Like, in my defense, I kind of didn't expect to wake up in the same bed as you? I didn't think you were ever going to know. That I ... with you ... And, look, this is kind of terrifying right now, my brain is having trouble making words, can you just ... If you could avoid killing me, that would be very nice, but if you could respond to this right now, that would be really great, because I'm panicking over here and I'm kind of running out of words as well."
He trailed off, trying to smile but his face not quite managing it. Harry blinked at him for a long second. Harry's face tried to do about six different things at once, most of them bewildered. Harry's forehead screwed all the way down, his head shaking absently from side to side. There was just a complete lack of understanding going on there. Cisco could see that. Harry's brain was just in no way able to compute that.
"... Why?" was what he managed at last. Sort of flatly and bewilderedly. "You, with the ... with me. Why? You don't ... I don't, I didn't, I'm not nice at all, why would you ...? Ramon. Cisco. Just ... me? Are you ... I mean, did you think that through ...?"
Cisco laughed at him. Not really on purpose, not because he wanted to, it just came out. He shook his head hastily. He reached up to cup the side of Harry's face, to stop the headshaking and the twitching and the bewilderment. Harry stared down at him in something like a panic. Harry looked at him like he was full sure Cisco had up and lost his mind.
Which, you know, very possible. Kind of probable, really. But. Not the point.
"Yes, you," he informed the man, seriously and hopefully gently. "I mean, do not ask me why, there are about five billion things wrong with it, yes, I am aware of that, and also you seriously stink right now. I get that it's more than a little weird. I get that, I do. You're a left field sort of choice to get randomly hung up on. But. You just ... I just feel safe right now. With you, because of you. I hung onto you in my sleep. You just ... you make me feel safe. Not a lot does that right now. You're one of the few, Harry Wells. So I guess I just ... decided I want you."
Harry stared at him. For a minute, for an endless second. He opened his mouth again, snapped it closed almost immediately. He closed his eyes, scrunched his face in and screwed them shut and just ... just breathed for a second. Just thought about it. Cisco let him. He was feeling ... See, Harry hadn't said no. Harry hadn't even for a second said anything about him not wanting anything. He'd just been weirded out that Cisco did. And, okay, that could have been just the shock of it, could have been just how out of the blue, but Cisco ... was hopeful. He was feeling hopeful right now. Harry didn't quite have the face of a man about to say no.
"... I didn't want to stay with you," Harry managed eventually. Which, not the most auspicious start in the world. But he opened his eyes then, he looked down at Cisco, and his face was all ... tired and rueful and vaguely amused, and not at all horrified. He smiled faintly. He shook his head in vague amazement. "I didn't want to share a bed with you. I didn't want you to wake up and find, um. Find somewhat insistent proof of why I actually did want to share a bed with you. But, you know. That wasn't exactly a thing I could say to my daughter. And then you ... You always make things turn around. You always turn things end-up, Ramon. It's very annoying. I really hope you know that."
Cisco blinked at him. Cisco blinked, and stared, and then, slowly, Cisco beamed at him. Widely, stupidly, happily. He couldn't help it. He really, seriously, honestly couldn't.
"I know," he said happily. "I know. I'm an annoying octopus, and you're a dick and you stink. We're both very annoying people. But, hey. Maybe that's why we work so well together."
Harry grimaced down at him. "Your definition of 'well' needs work, Ramon," he growled, but Cisco noticed his arm curling tighter around Cisco's shoulders. He noticed the man was doing a bit of hanging on himself. Harry grimaced again, and awkwardly tried to be a bit more serious. "You really sure you want to try this? Ninety percent of the people who work with me end up wanting to kill me, let alone people trying for something more intimate. Jesse's mother was pretty much the exception that proves the rule. This isn't going to end well. It never does. You have to realise that this is going to end badly."
Cisco just shrugged at that. "That's kind of a given with my life," he pointed out. "I haven't had one relationship turn out right yet. So, you know. You're actually one up on me there. And maybe that's the advantage too, having this between you and me. I started out kinda hating you. We've already done that part, the wanting to kill each other part. We didn't do it then, we're probably not gonna do it now. So maybe we've got a better chance than most."
Harry blinked at that, bemused, and then just ... sort of shrugged. Taking the point, maybe. Accepting that as a fair argument. He looked back down at Cisco and his expression went ... wary and hopeful and kind of hesitant once again.
"Okay," he said softly. An agreement, an acknowledgement, and Cisco felt something settle gently inside his chest, something warm and safe and happy. "Ramon. Cisco. Okay. Say I ... Say I want it. Say I want you. What do you, uhm. What ... What now?"
Cisco smiled at him. He brought up his other hand, held Harry's face gently between his palms. The man squinted warily at him, and Cisco gently shook his head. "Now?" he repeated carefully, and grinned a little bit. "Now you go get a shower. I am so serious, Harry, you need one in the worst way. We're not doing anything until after that. Or, well. Maybe until during that. But. That's the plan. We get up, we get a shower, we figure the rest out from there. Whattaya say?"
Harry looked over at him in plain, disgruntled affront. "... I say you make life very difficult, Ramon. That's what I say. But if it's really bothering you that much, sure. I will go and have a shower."
Cisco smiled at him. He leaned up and pressed his lips lightly to Harry's mouth, smiled at the way Harry stiffened and half-way flailed at the surprise of it. He waited until Harry softened into it, waited until Harry loosened out and leaned in and brought his hands up to rest on Cisco's hips with careful, cautious possession. Then he leaned in all the way. Then he opened his mouth and kissed Harry the way he'd always wanted to be kissed. Because, you know. You might as well start as you meant to go on. You might as well give it your all right from the start.
Harry blinked dazedly at him when he pulled away. Harry stared at him, dazed and bemused and like his brain had quite neatly shut right down again, if this time for a happier reason. Cisco bit his lip. Cisco leaned in and rested his forehead against Harry's.
"Thanks, Harry," he said quietly. "Thanks for that. And hey. Look on the bright side, you know? At least your daughter's a lot less likely to walk in on us in the shower."
And it was a sign of their lives, wasn't it, that Harry's horrified face just made the perfect cap to a warm and lovely morning.