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Wherefore art Thou a Fuqboi

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God save me.

 

High school was every bit as bad as he assumed it would be.  Yelling, screaming, laughing, shoving, complaining, and kissing.  Disgusting.  People have no sense of control in public.  However, he was looking forward to this new year.

 

High school begins a new chapter.  It brings new opportunities, challenges, and knowledge.  It also brought him a chance to see Dr. Wells, a good family friend, and the reason his parents let him go to public school in the first place.

 

See, Dr. Harrison Wells had been close to the Rathaway's since Hartley was a child.  Most of his childhood memories involved that man;  he had been there for everything, more than his own parents actually.  Wells was like a father to Hartley, someone he could trust, talk to, someone who would always support him when he needed it.  He cared for Hartley more than his parents did, truthfully.  They were proud of his grades, sure, proud of his success so far, proud of him for being the heir to their company.  However, they weren't like Harrison.  Harrison, who had been proud of Hartley when he got his first one hundred on a major test.  Harrison, who had been proud of him when he graduated elementary school and moved onto middle school.  Harrison, who celebrated all of Hartley's achievements, while his parents celebrated the ones that made him the ideal heir to the company.  They celebrated a trophy son, while he celebrated a normal child.

 

Harrison worked at the public high school in Star City, and had convinced Hartley's parents to let him go to public school when he was going into middle school, so he would be more familiar and in-touch with how most of society works.  The selling point for them, however, was that he would be able to teach Hartley during his high school career.  So thanks to Harrison Wells, Hartley was being shoved against the lockers so a crowd of jocks could move though.

 

However, he wouldn't have it any other way.

Chapter Text

Everything he'd ever known vanished.

Everything he was hearing was silenced.

Everything he was thinking was crushed out.

His breakfast churned in his stomach.

His chest felt tight.

His body felt hot.

His arms felt numb.

He felt a pull, a desire, a longing even.

What is happening to me?

Was he sick?  Did he have a fever?  Did he need to go home?

Unlikely, as illness isn't usually caused by a tall Rowdy Boy.

Rowdy Boy, the one with a thick Letterman jacket and white undershirt.  Rowdy Boy, with a charming smile and an obnoxiously loud laugh.  Rowdy Boy, with lanky limbs and long steps.  Rowdy Boy, with a pack at his side and a girl on his arm.

Why would such an obnoxious teen stir up such a reaction from him?  What did this energetic boy, hardly a man, have that made his body quit working?  Why didn't he find his yelling and taunting annoying?

These were thoughts that he would usually be asking when something he didn't understand happened.   Why does this happen, what is the purpose for this, what would happen if, and so forth, but no, not now. Now, he couldn't even think to form a logical sentence looking at Rowdy Boy. Oh, who was this boy?

Lord, the questions he had.   What would his hands feel like in mine?   What would it be like to have his attention?  Who is he?

This wasn't like him at all. He didn't know what was going on, and he hated not knowing what was happening.  He hated being unaware, confused, and lost.  However, his hatred could wait.  Because his racing heart and foreign feelings couldn't.  He couldn't bring himself to tear his eyes away from Rowdy Boy, couldn't bring himself to miss a single moment.  His legs stopped, feeling like jello and would likely fail him if he made any form of attempt to walk away.  His attention was glued to Rowdy Boy as he made his way down the hall, his posy by his side and that beautiful girl holding onto his elbow.  While Hartley couldn't keep his eyes off of the stranger, the latter didn't even know he was breathing.  His attention was focused on his friends and their story about a funny incident that happened to some guy, involving him getting his nuts hit.

Rowdy Boy didn't notice his stare, but the dark skinned girl on his arm did.  Her lips formed a smirk as she tugged on Rowdy Boy's arm, pulling his ear to her lips as she whispered something, staring at the freshman the entire time.  Only after Rowdy Boy’s eyes met Hartley’s did he realize he was being talked about, and quickly gathered himself together enough to scurry off to see the only person he knew he could talk to, and the person who might know what the hell is going on with him.

 



 


“What is happening to me, Harrison?”  Hartley sighed out, running a hand through his hair as he plopped himself down on the table next to the man’s dest.

 

“I believe you’re experiencing a little thing we like to call attraction , Hartley.”  Harrison’s voice was laced with amusement.  He watched as the freshman processed the thought, trying to understand this new concept, attraction .

 

Him?  Attracted to anyone, men for that matter, is something he never expected.  He didn’t know what to think.  Not only was the idea of having feelings for someone new to him, but feelings for a man absolutely terrified him.  He’d heard his parents talk about men like that.  They called them faggots and never said anything kind when the topic of these men came up.  God, to disappoint his parents was the last thing on his list of things to do.

 

“Hartley, I know you might be confused or worried, but attraction is a completely normal thing.  And attraction to a person of the same sex is also completely natural.  It is nothing you should be concerned about, my dear boy.”  Wells did his best to pacify the young boy and his racing mind.

 

The young lad shook his head, bringing two fingers up to rub under his eyes.  “No, no Dr. Wells, you must be wrong.  I’ve heard the things my parents have said, and this attraction thing with another man is definitely not what it is happening to me.  You must be mistaking.”

 

“I don’t frequent mistakes, Hartley, you know this.  You have feelings for this ‘Rowdy Boy’ character, as you seem so keen on calling him, and no matter if you try to deny them, they won’t go away.”

 

“I don’t even know his name!  I’ve seen him once!  I can’t have feelings for someone I know nothing about!”  The freshman exclaimed, trying to push his point across to his friend that he does not have feelings for someone he hasn’t even met before.

 

Harrison stood, making his way over to the boy he almost considered his son.  “Look, attraction is this collection of chemicals and hormones reacting in your body when you look at, speak to, interact with, or are near a specific person.  Sometimes, these things come with knowing somebody.  Other times, they happen immediately.  You could see this person once and feel like you’re hanging off the edge of a cliff with that fluttering feeling in your stomach.  It’s completely fine, and completely natural.”

 

“I just saw him for the first time, Harrison.”  Hartley pressed, giving him an are you serious look.

 

“Romeo was in love with Juliet the second he laid eyes on her!  He was in search of a girl he had feelings for for some time, and then fell for a girl he’d never seen before!”  Wells tried, throwing his arms out in emphasis.

 

“Romeo and Juliet both died, Wells.”

 

Wells sighed, rubbing his eyes as he leaned against the desk beside him.  “My boy, you’re having problems, I understand that.  However, pushing these feelings and thoughts away won’t help you.  It’ll bring you problems.  It’s best to accept them.”

 

Hartley was silent, twiddling with his fingers as he attempted to process what he was being told.  Feelings?  Feelings for a boy?  God, of all the things he was expecting to learn at school, being attracted to men was not one of them.

 

“Tell me about Rowdy Boy.  What’s he look like, Hartley?”  The older man asked, attempting to pull Hartley’s mind from the central problem to something calmer, but not avoiding the situation at hand completely.

 

The young lad shrugged, chewing the inside of his cheek.  “He’s tall, kind of lanky.  He’s a brunet, and by his Letterman jacket, I’m going to assume he’s athletic.  That’s it, really.  Other than the fact he’s got a big posy and a pretty girlfriend who was hanging off his arm.”

 

“Letterman jacket?  Did you catch the name on the back?”  He watched as Hartley struggled to remember the bold letters on the back of the jacket.

 

“Allen, I believe.  Do you know a student with the last name Allen?”

 

“I do.  He’s a an amazing student, too.  His name is-”

 

“Doctor Wells?”

 

“Barry Allen!”


Speak of the devil and he doth appear.  

Chapter Text

Speak of the devil and he doth appear .

 

"My boy, how can I help you?"  Wells asked, spinning away from Hartley to face Rowdy Boy as the door closed behind him.

 

Great.  Did Hartley's life just become a clusterfuck of cliches?  First he instantly had a crush on a boy he'd never even met, now said boy just happens to enter the room at the most perfectly inconvenient time?  What's next, are they going to brush hands and then have some intense prolonged eye contact?

 

"I was hoping you could help me with this project I was working on, but if you're busy," he started, glancing over and nodding at the freshman, "I can always come back later."

 

Wells shook his head, waving Barry over.  "Nonsense.  If anything, I'm glad you two can meet.  Barry, I'd like you to meet Hartley Rathaway.  I'm very close to his family and I consider him my son.  Hartley, this is Barry Allen, one of my brightest students."

 

"A pleasure to meet you.  I'd shake your hand, but."  Barry smiled, gesturing to his hands that were filled with rolled paper, text books, and a worn notebook.

 

"Pleasure's all mine.  Let me help you with that?"  The deaf boy offered, taking some of the books from Barry's hand and placing them down on the desk beside him.  He received a grateful smile and a small 'thank you' in return.  He moved to lean against Harrison’s desk, allowing the two older men more room to look over Barry’s now-unrolled paper.

 

They talked for a few minutes, their voices being zoned out as Hartley paid more attention to Rowdy Boy, the way his face would change when he got an idea, or seemed confused, or was focused.  Currently, his face was one of confusion, while Harrison’s was one of amusement.  He was trying to make the junior figure the work out on his own, something about friction or whatnot.  Hartley watched fondly, finding the way Barry’s brows scrunched together and how his eyes narrowed at the paper extremely endearing.

 

“Hartley, you worked with this sort of thing just a year ago, didn’t you?  Perhaps you could be of assistance to Mr. Allen.”  Wells offered, stepping aside to let Hartley forward.

 

“Um, I can try.  What is it?”  He asked timidly, glancing over the print while waiting for it to be explained to him.

 

“I figured you’d been listening.  My mistake; I must have forgotten about your other problem that you were probably focusing on.”  Wells teased, sending a knowing smirk to the short boy.  This caused Hartley to whip around and glare at the man, mentally punching him in the face for his comment.

 

Barry, however, didn’t seem to notice their quirl, and began explaining the issue he was having with his experiment.  He went on about how he’d tried different materials, functions, and even changed the shape and design of it to avoid the issue, but it kept coming back.  Hartley looked over the paper of the current model, before pointing to a part of it.

 

“Have you tried using rubber?”

 

Barry stared at him with an exasperated look, then looked to his paper, then back at Hartley, before groaning and slamming his head down on the table.  “You’re fucking kidding me.”

 

“Language, Mr. Allen.”  Wells butted in, shaking his head at the profanity used by the young man.  Barry sighed, standing back up and looking down at the paper with a miserable look on his face.  “Does that help you with your problem, Mr. Allen?”

 

Rowdy Boy nodded, beginning to stack his things to leave.  “Yeah.  Yeah.  Thank you, man.  I really appreciate it.”

 

That smile .  Dear god, the smile he gave Hartley made his heart stop.  It’s not possible for a human to be as attractive as Barry Allen is, and a smile should not make someone feel as though they cannot function, feel as though their heart is going to explode, but goddamn if Hartley said Barry Allen didn’t make him feel that way, he’d be a liar.  A fucking liar.  He honestly couldn’t think of a time he had seen something so beautiful.   His sister laughing and saying “Bubba!” for the first time?  No.  The thousands of freshly bloomed flowers he had found in a field behind his grandparents property?  No.  Fireworks being launched over the ocean on a clear night?  No.  No, nothing, nothing came close to how stunning Hartley thought Barry Allen was.

 

“Of course, anytime.”  He managed out, it sounding more like a jumble of sounds from the flustered freshman than an actual sentence, but he still managed the words out, so ten points Hartley.

 

“Well if that’s all, you might want to get going.  Lunch shift is almost over; you wouldn’t want to miss your next class.”  Harrison cut in, making both boys look to the clock to see that, indeed, it was almost time for them to head to their next class.  Shame, Hartley didn’t even have a chance to eat.



Barry began to pack up, though having some trouble as he had way too much stuff with him.  So, being the nice guy he is, Hartley helped him stack his unnecessary amount of notebooks and gather stray papers he had pulled out when showing Harrison his issue.  Everything was put away, the print rolled, the notebooks stacked, and Barry was starting to put some things in his bag.  One thing was left out, however.  Rowdy Boy’s textbook was left out on the middle of the table.  Trying to make sure the junior didn’t leave the important book here, Hartley reached out to grab it for him.  Just as his hand made it onto the book, a larger one landed on top of his, and oh, the sparks he felt.

 

He looked up, eyes catching with the taller boy’s.  They stared at each other, Hartley’s heart racing in his chest the entirety of their staring contest.  His hand still tingled from where Barry’s was placed on his, not having moved just yet.  He felt as though ten million monarch butterflies were beating against the walls of his stomach, his legs felt as though they were going to give out any second now.

 

Ring.

 

They were forced out of their trance by the sound of a stereotypical school bell ringing, signaling it was time for them to move on to their next class.  Hartley quickly moved his hand out from under Barry’s, turning away and grabbing his own bag to get the fuck out of that room as soon as possible.

 

“I’ll see you when it’s time to go home, Doctor Wells.”  The freshman blabbered out, quickly leaving the room and making his way to his English Pre-AP class.

 

God fucking dammit.

 



 

 

Hartley threw himself on his bed, the sounds of his parents talking to Harrison in the hall fading away as he switched off his hearing aids.  He needed silence.  He needed to think, to process what the fuck was happening to him.

 

Did he like boys?

 

Did he like Rowdy Boy?

 

Did he like boys?

 

Did he like boys?

 

Didhelikeboysdidhelikeboysdidhelike boys?

 

It kept repeating in his head.  Boys?  Was he gay?

 

It was driving him mad trying to figure it out.  He couldn’t be gay.   Could he?

 

He was pulled out of his avalanche of thought and confusion by the feeling of his phone vibrating on his chest.  Hartley picked it up, seeing a new notification from Instagram.

 

INSTAGRAM

Iris West (Iris.east) started following you.

 

INSTAGRAM

Iris.east: hey!

 

He scrunched his brows in confusion, swiping the notification right and using his thumbprint to unlock the phone.  Who the hell is Iris?  Hartley clicked on her username, watching slowly as pictures of the girl who was hanging on Barry’s arm load.  Selfies as well as pictures of friends, a man he could only assume to be her father, and Barry filled up his screen.  He clicked on one of Barry, her, and another boy who looked like her standing on the beach, and damn is that Rowdy Boy toned.  He decided to message her back, rather than creep on pictures of her boyfriend.

 

Hart_and_brains: hi?

 

Iris.east: we sit next to each other in chem, and i wanted to become friends bc you seemed hella cool.  Plus i figured since we’re going to be together all year, it’s best we get along and can talk to each other if we need something lol

 

Hart_and_brains: that seems reasonable.  Might be nice to actually like the person i’m with for the rest of the year

 

Iris.east: omg right? Do you know who anthony deeks is?

 

Hart_and_brains: nope

 

Iris.east: are you new here??

 

Hart_and_brains: i’m a freshman

 

Iris.east: OH! Omg stay the hell away from anthony.  He’s a fucking freak.  He has no regard for ANYONE!  He flirts with anyone, and he’ll grab & grope you if you let him too close to you.  He’s also a loud obnoxious dick.  I sat next to him in my english class last year.  He was hella handsy and i threatened to tell my dad, whos a cop, to arrest him if he didn’t stop

 

Hart_and_brains: jesus, he sounds like an ass.

 

Iris.east: he IS!  & he’s bi with 0 standards so legit no one in the school is safe from his greasy ass

 

Hartley chuckled at her statement, and was about to type a reply when a flash of light caught his attention.  He looked up, seeing his baby sister standing in his doorway with a flashlight to get his attention.  The freshman smiled, switching on his aids and putting his phone away.

 

“Hey, Jer.  What’s up?”

 

The little girl walked over to the side of his bed, handing him a children’s book.  “Read?”

 

His smile widened, staring fondly at his little sister.  “Sure thing.  Come here, come cuddle.”

 

She climbed up next to where he was lying, resting her head on his shoulder while he opened the book and began reading.

 

“I am Sam.  Sam I am.  That Sam-I-Am!  I do not like that Sam-I-Am!  I do not like that Sam-I-Am.”  He changed his voice to be rather goofy, making his sister giggle against his side.

 

“Do you like green eggs and ham?  I do not like them, Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham.”

 

He carried on, changing his voice between the characters, trying his best to entertain his sister while she slowly fell asleep.  By the time he closed the book, her breaths were soft and slow and her eyelids fluttered in her sleep.

 

Buzz

 

He looked at his phone, seeing a notification from Iris.

 

Iris.east: you there Hart?

 

Hart_and_brains: yeah, sorry.  My little sister wanted me to read her to sleep

 

Iris.east: you have a little sister?

 

Hart_and_brains: yeah her name is Jerrie.  She’s the one who named my instagram.

 

Iris.east: omg thats so cute.  Whats she look like?

 

He opened up the camera icon, pointing the front-facing camera at Jer and clicking the button.

 

Hart_and_brains sent a photo

Iris.east: oh my G O D shes adorable!

 

Hart_and_brains: isn’t she?  She’s my best friend lol

 

Iris.east: hartley rathaway, you and i are going to be great friends

Chapter Text

“Hatley, sweet Hartley. I am about to throw myself off of a bridge.” Iris said, throwing herself into the chair next to him and dropping her books on the black surface of the chemistry tables.

 


“Jump off the one on James Street. It’s high enough that you’ll die on impact. Matter of fact, I’ll join you.” The freshman said, his face squashed against the cold surface and his glasses uncomfortably pushed diagonally against his face as he looked at her.

 


It was the third week of school, and they were both ready to give up. They had become good friends fairly quickly, and tended to share the desire to either sleep for ten years or play in traffic. Now, their conversations weren’t always about wishing for a giant meteor to come down and strike Central City. No, they often bonded over shared interests in books or lesser-known musicians (no, they weren’t hipsters). Iris introduced Hartley to some of the music she enjoyed, such as Adele, Jon Bellion, and Sam Smith, while he did the same with bands such as Amber Run, Seafret, Weathers, and a singer named Hayley Kiyoko. They helped each other in subjects they were struggling in. Iris helped Hartley understand his AP World class that she had taken last year, teaching him how she got bye in that class as the teacher was a total dickwad (as a matter of fact, they referred to him as Professor Dickwad) and didn’t know how to teach, and Hartley helped her understand her Algebra 2 Honors homework when she struggled with the problems. They texted, called, and/or facetimed almost every day, always having something to talk or complain about. By now, Hartley knew all about how Gina was a two-faced lying whore and slept with Austin, Iris’ ex boyfriend, literally two days after they broke up, used her brother Wally, and had the audacity to call Iris a bitch for cutting her off. He also knew Gina had a wart that she named Ella and that she once sucked a teacher off to pass his class.

 


Iris had met Jerrie when she was facetiming Hartley about a week back, and instantly fell in love with the young girl; now every time they call, Hartley calls Jerry into the room so she can talk to her “bestest friend Iris” for a few minutes. He also sends pictures of when they spend time together, like this past weekend when he took her to a waterpark and got a picture of her on his shoulders as they took a break from the waterslides and swimming to get food, and then another picture of them using fries as fake moustaches. The latter also became his home screen on his phone.

 


“No, one of has to stay. We promised to take Jerrie for ice cream this weekend, and if we both die, who’s going to take her?” Iris pointed out, joining Hartley in laying her head against the table, but laying on her right cheek while he was on his left, so that they were facing each other.

 


Hartley hummed in agreement, and that was the end of their conversation. They just sat their, faces pressed against the cold-ish surface, staring at each other with a shared look of ‘kill me now’ for a minute, before both groaning and squeezing their eyes closed as the bell rang, signaling the start of class.

 



 

 

“You should spend the night at mine this Saturday after we take Jer out. We can watch romance movies on Netflix and cry over tubs of cookie dough ice cream!” Iris suggested, leaning against the locker beside Hartley’s as he exchanged his books.

 

 

The freshman smiled, looking over at his semi-taller friend for a second before shoving the last book in his bag and zipping it, slamming locker 1192 shut and turning to face her. “I don’t know. I’m more of a cookies and cream kind of guy.” He teased, walking with her towards the K hall, where the music and art classes were.

 

 

“I’ll provide you with some cookies and cream. Oh! I’ll have my boyfriend bring us the ice cream. I’ve been meaning for you to meet him.” She said excitedly, happy to think of her now-best friend meeting her boyfriend.

 

“Sounds good. I look forward to meeting him.” He said, trying to make his friend happy. Though inside he felt like a total dick, because he already knew her boyfriend. He was crushing on her boyfriend. Which is just a dick move, crushing on your best friend’s boyfriend.

 

Iris lit up more, swinging her arm around Hartley in a quick side hug. “Oh, I’m so excited! You’ll love him.” She sang, pulling away from the smaller boy.

 

“I bet. I’ll see you after class, Iris.” The freshman said, turning right at the T of the K hall towards the art section while she turned left to go to choir, the smile never leaving her face as she waved.

 

 



 


It was 12:03pm on Saturday, and Jerrie was jumping up and down on Hartley’s bed, trying to get her big brother to wake up.

 

“Hartley! Hartley! Hartley!” She yelled, each one getting louder before she drew out the last one. She huffed angrily, falling to her knees and shaking the boy. “Wake up dummy! We gotta get ready to go meet Iris! Hartley!”

 

Hartley was doing his best not to laugh, pretending to be asleep while his sister did her best. He rolled over, throwing his arm around her to pull her down and trap her.

 

“No!” She started, drawing out her ‘o’, “You dummy! You big dummy let go! We gotta go meet Iris!”

 


Her little limbs flailed, trying to escape. Suddenly, hands were tickling her sides and neck. She squealed, laughing and hiccuping as she tried to get away from her brother. “No! Lemme go lemme go!”


Eventually he gave in, laughing still as he sat up and let his sister slide off the bed. “You’re a big meanie, Hartley.” Jerrie said jokingly, grabbing Hartley’s hand to pull him from the bed.


“Gotta get ready, gotta meet my bestest friend Iris!” She said, pushing him to the closet.


“I’m going, I’m going. Gosh, you’re an impatient little bugger aren’t you.” He teased, pinching her cheek before moving to get ready.



 

“Where is she?” Jerrie asked again, standing on her toes to try to see where Iris was.


“We are early, Jer. Give her a minute; she’ll be here.” He tried to get her to sit back down in the booth they were at while they waited for Iris to join them.

 


“But I wanna see her now bubby!” She said, trying to see behind his head.

 


Suddenly, there were hands over her eyes, blocking her from seeing anything.


“Guess who!” A familiar voice said next to her, causing the small girl to whip around excitedly.


“Iris!” She all but yelled, raising her arms to get Iris to bend down so she could hug her.

 

After their small cuddle, Jerrie made room on her side of the booth for Iris to sit down, bouncing in excitement to meet the girl in person.


They looked over the menus for a minute before a waitress came to their booth, getting their milkshake orders (Jerrie got a Snickers, Iris an M&M’s, and Hartley a cookies & cream). Before long, they had brain freezes and were giggling at each other’s faces. Jer had one so bad she scrunched up her whole face and stuck her tongue out, causing Hartley and Iris to laugh at her until she joined in, then they began having a contest for the best brainfreeze face before it got to be too much and they had to stop.


“I’ve got too much left to not drink it, but not enough left to get it with my straw.” Hartley complained, putting his straw on a napkin and bringing his glass to his lips to get the rest of his milkshake out of it. When he placed it back down, Iris and Jarrie busted out laughing, giggling so hard Iris snorted, causing her to laugh harder.


“What? What’s so funny?” He asked, watching the two with a very confused look.


“Hold, h-hold on.” Iris managed out, pulling out her phone and taking a picture of Hartley. She then showed it to him, revealing that he had a very noticeable ice cream moustache. Like the moustache the creepy man down the block has, but white with freckles of black from the Oreo bits.


“Oh my god!” He quickly grabbed his napkin and wiped it off, laughing along with the girls. “How on earth did I not feel that?”


They stayed for about ten more minutes, telling jokes and listening to Jer talk about school, before they paid and went out to Iris’ car. Hartley sat in the back with Jerrie to keep her steady, as Iris didn't have a car seat for her. On the drive to the Rathaway manor, Iris being directed down unfamiliar wealthy roads by Hartley, they played Radio Disney, listening to Jerrie do her best to sing along to whatever was on the radio.


By the time they made it to the Way-Too-Big-For-A-Family-Of-Four home, Jerrie was sound asleep.


“I’ll be back in a minute. I’ve got to tuck her in and then grab my bag.” The freshman informed his friend as he carefully lifted his baby sister, closing the door with his foot and being quick to get to the door, which was opened by Anya, an older maid who was very close with Hartley and Jerrie.


“Thank you, Anya. Could you follow me to open her door too, please? I've got to tuck her in before I leave.” He said, already moving to head down the hall.


“I’ll take care of her, you go get your things and have some fun. I packed you a little surprise, too.” Anya gave Hartley a teasing look, taking Jerrie from the boy and disappearing down the hall without another word.

 



 


“Oh, he's already here! I’m so happy that you finally get to meet him, Hart. You both mean so much to me and it's really important to me that you like each other.” She gestured to the slightly beat up car parked in the street in front of her house, referring to her lovely boyfriend of a fucking year, as she had told Hartley on their drive over.


“I mean a lot to you?” He questioned, both surprised that she cared about him after knowing him for not even a month and trying to bring attention away from the fact that he already knew Barry and was going to be faced with his crush/friend’s boyfriend in a mere minute.


She parked the car in the driveway and smiled at him. “Of course Hartley! You're like my best friend.”


And though he felt like shit, he also felt warm. He loved this new feeling; the feeling of being appreciated. Someone cared about what he thought and how he felt. He wasn't used to it. It was brilliant, and he felt like he was on fire.


“I'm sure I’ll love him.” He already like him, how hard could it be to love him?


Iris squealed excitedly, unblocking her seatbelt and waiting outside the car for the freshman to join her. When he reached her side, she grabbed his hand and lead him to the door.


“I've always gotten nervous introducing him to family.” She said softly, taking a deep breath and swinging the door open. Leaning against the back of the couch in the living room and on the wall of the welcome room stood two males. The one against the couch was blond; Hartley hadn't seen him before. The one in the welcome room was the one and only Rowdy Boy.

 

“Hartley, I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend!”

Chapter Text

“Hartley, I’d like you to meet my boyfriend!”

Hartley’s heart was beating loud in his ears and the anxiety rushed through his blood. He was such a bad friend. Here he was, “meeting” his best friend’s boyfriend, who he already knew. He had feelings for her boyfriend. Barry was going to step forward and they would have this awkward moment of realizing they were going to meet someone they already met, and god Hartley wasn't looking forward to this.


Then, the blond boy stepped forward. He gave Hartley a warm smile and held out his hand. “I’m Eddie. It's nice to finally meet you; I’ve heard a lot about you.”


Hartley felt many things. Confusion, happiness, but most importantly, relief. He smiled back at Eddie, Iris’ boyfriend, and shook his hand. “Same here; the pleasure’s all mine.”


Eddie stepped back, and Iris cut in again. “And then you already know Barry, my brother.”


Brother?


“Nice to see you again, Hartley.” Barry’s smile was warm and his eyes were kind, causing Hartley’s face to warm up.


“Same to you, Barry.”


Relief.

 



 

 

Barry Allen made Hartley act very out of character. Where he was normally calm and collected, more intellectual than anything, he was mushy and giggly.


Now, there were other people who changed his behavior. Iris and Jessie, for example. Though, they made him excited and vivacious, not some gushy kid who trips over his words and practically melts when they smile at him.


Barry Allen was something else. Barry Allen was kind, smart, humorous, easy to be around, and dear god was he beautiful. He was the kind of person you could stare at for hours. His voice was a smooth baritone, and Hartley could listen to it all day if he got the chance. He was fun.


Eddie had left shortly after they were introduced, having to go to work. He left a loving kiss on Iris’ lips and a quick wave to the other two boys, heading out for the night. Once he left, Hartley figured Barry would probably disappear up to his room or go out with friends himself, but he didn't. He joined them when they went to the kitchen to sit on the counters and snack on the pizza rolls Barry had made, and he stayed with them when they went to the living room to watch television until it neared sunset.


“Iris, we have to show him the roof.” Barry said, his eyes glued to the window as he watched the sky begin to orange.


Iris’ eyes light up, obviously loving the idea. “Oh my god, I didn't even think about that! Hartley,” she grabbed his hand, “follow us.”


The roof? Hartley was lost. Why would they want to show him the roof? It was just a roof.


They dragged him up the stairs and into a bedroom that could only be Barry’s. His letterman jacket hung over a desk chair at a messy-but-organized desk covered in blueprints and plans for different experiments and models. His shelves held track trophies and medals, while his walls held pictures of him and his team, friends, and family. On his nightstand was a book on chemistry half read, and on top of his mini fridge, which had a sign that said “DO NOT TOUCH” there was a box of candy, which also had a sign that said “DO NOT TOUCH.”


Hartley smiled as he looked around, admiring what could only be Barry for a short second before he heard the click of a window being pushed up. He turned his head to where the other two were, watching Iris crawl out of the window and onto the roof above them. Barry turned to him with a smile, nodding his head to the window. “See you up there.”

 

Then he was gone.


Now, Hartley was never one with climbing. Or pulling himself up. Or balancing his own weight. See, anything that was close to being physically active was not on his list. So, you can see why he would be hesitant to climb out of a window. Oh, and he was also scared of heights, so there's that.


“Hartley, come on!” He could hear Iris yell, and his stomach filled with the twisting knots of anxiety. Despite his fears, he approached the window, gulping and taking a breath before he started to push his body out of the window and grab onto the roof above him.


“Now might be the best time to mention that I have the upper body strength of an infant.” He called out, voice a bit wobbly as he dared a look below him. Fuck me.


“Grab on, Hart.” He looked back up, seeing a hand outstretched towards him and almost-fond eyes staring back. He smiled thankfully at Barry, grabbing onto his hand and allowed himself to be pulled up and onto the roof. Once he was up and on his feet, Barry held onto his arm with his other hand, making sure he was alright. They stood like that for a second, hand-in-hand, just looking at each other.


Do you remember, earlier in our story, when our dear Hartley had first laid eyes upon this rowdy boy? All the questions that ran through his head? “What would his hands feel like in mine? What would it be like to have his attention? Who is he?”  Well, Hartley finally had the answer to that first question.


Indescribable. The feeling of having Barry’s hand in his, not just on top of it for a split second, was like magic, something the boy didn't even believe in. Barry Allen was a work of art, and Hartley had felt like a tourist the whole time, wanting to reach out and feel the texture of the painting, but knowing that the ropes and the “DO NOT TOUCH” sign would always keep him back. But oh god, did holding Barry’s hand feel nice.


“Excuse me, boys. Don't mean to interrupt your little stare off, but you’re missing it.” Iris’ voice caught both of them by surprise, causing them to let go of each other quickly. They turned to her, and Hartley was breathless.


From the roof, he could see over houses and trees, telephone poles and kids in their yards. All of which were silhouetted by the setting sun. The clouds were illuminated pinks, oranges, purples, and reds as the sky was changing with similar colors. The sun was just over the horizon, and Hartley was at loss for words.


“It’s beautiful.” Hartley exclaimed softly, hearing Iris huff a little in amusement.

 

“It’s always like this.”


“No,” Barry cut in, his eyes on the sight ahead of him, “It’s even more breathtaking tonight.”


His eyes were on Hartley.

Chapter Text

“Truth or dare.”  Iris’ voice sang, her legs swinging back and forth behind her.

 

They were currently in a blanket fort in the living room, popcorn and candy between them, a movie that they weren’t watching on the television.  Their boredom had led them to a game of truth or dare, which in turn lead to Hartley dancing to “Watch Me” and Iris eating ice cream off the wall.  There had even been a point where Hartley was singing Sia while standing on the kitchen counter.

 

“Truth.”  Hartley said, picking up his can of Sprite and sipping it through his straw.  He was still trying to recover from the Sia dare, so he decided to give himself a break from physical activity.

 

Iris hummed, popping an Oreo in her mouth while she tried to think.  Truth’s were difficult, because the two were open, and had even told their life stories earlier in the night, so there wasn’t much she didn’t know about Hartley.  Finally, she decided to take the easy route, “Tell me a secret.”



“Uhm, I’m gay?”  He said it casually, as he had been saying it over and over in his head trying to find the right way to come out to her.

 

Iris looked at him with an ‘Are-You-Serious’ look, popcorn falling from her raised hand.

 

“Please don’t react wrong, I mean, I’m still-”

 

“Hartley, I knew you were gay.  I thought you were open about it!  Hell, that’s why I introduced you to Anthony!  He’s into you, Hartley!”

 

“Who’s into Hartley?”   A voice was interrupted their conversation, and they looked over to see Barry standing at the foot of the stairs, seeming to be paused mid-walk to the kitchen, eyebrows scrunched and hands seeming to tighten around his cell phone.

 

Iris smirked, shoulder bumping her friend beside her.  “Anthony Lagg. He’s totally got the hots for Hart, and I think that he should go for it.”  Her voice lifted at the end, shimmying her shoulders to show her excitement.

 

“Oh.”  Barry started, turning his body to face the two of them.  “Well, are you? Are you into him, gonna go for it, Hart?”

 

Something in his voice seemed off, his body seemed tense, and his face seemed almost concerned.  It was strange.

 

The freshman thought for a second, and shrugged.  “I mean, he’s a nice guy, kind of smart, and all that good stuff, but he’s not really what I want.  I don’t know.”

Barry seemed to lift at that, but Iris looked a little down, replying with a pout.  “Why? What do you mean he’s now what you want?”

 

“I’ve already got my eye on someone.”  He looked away from Barry and to the pack of Oreos on the floor, reaching in to grab one.

 

“Oh my god! Who!”  Iris lit right back up, like a trick candle, grabbing onto the side of his arm.

 

“I’d rather not say.”

 

“Well, I hope that works out for you, Hartley.”  When he looked back at Barry, he seemed to be smirking a bit, and his voice rang a little happier than before.  Hartley smiled a shy thanks, watching Barry continue his journey to the kitchen. His eyes stayed on Barry’s back, not even turning to Iris when she spoke to him.

 

“I’m getting answers soon, Hartley.”



Strange.



___________________



“Morning Einstein Junior.”  Barry greeted as Hartley slid into the car, a half-smile-half-smirk on his face as he turned down the radio to talk.

 

“Morning Barry.  Where’s Iris?”

 

Hartley had been riding to and from school with Barry and Iris for a couple weeks now, ever since the sleepover.  More often than not, he’d go straight to their house, spend some time with them (and their brother Wally on the rare occasions that he was there), then have Barry take him home on his way to tack practice.

 

“She woke up at four today and threw up like seven times; she’s not planning on getting out of bed for anyone or anything.”  The junior explained, looking towards Hartley occasionally, as he was driving and trying his best to keep his eyes on the road.  “She was a little upset too; she was planning on finally cracking down on that ‘Who’s Hartley got the hots for’ case.”

 

“Oh no!”  Hartley exclaimed, faux pity in his voice.  “Whatever will she do! Oh, you must turn around so I can spill my guts to her!”

 

Barry laughed, reaching his hand out to smack at Hartley’s thigh, which that alone made Hartley’s heart race, but when the older left it there to rest for a second and gave it a light squeeze before putting it back on the wheel, he thought he had gone into cardiac arrest.  “You could just spill your guts to me and let me tell her.”

 

“Ha, oh right, why didn’t I think of that?  Yes, let me tell you, Barry Allen, about the guy I like before I tell Iris.”  Sarcasm dripped like honey (why drip like honey?  Why is that the phrase?  Honey hardly drips? Is it because it’s thick and likes to stick?  So i understand the honey part, but the drippage? what??) from his voice.

 

“What, I can’t know first?”

 

“No offense Barry, but I don’t want to risk having my head ripped off.”

 

“Wow, and I thought you loved me.”  Barry joked with a pout, putting his hand on the freshman’s knee.  “I thought we had something special.”

 

“Hn, well, y-, I, ykn, uh,”  Hartley spluttered, spitting nonsense from his mouth.  Barry looked over at him, looking concerned as he asked if the younger was alright.

 

“I’m having a stroke.”

 

The track runner laughed, patting Hartley’s leg again, but this time, he kept it there, resting on his thigh.



Hartley was going to die at this rate.

 

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Barry was acting really strange.

 

Like, really strange.

 

When he walked Hartley to first, he had his arm flung over his shoulders.  When he met with him after third, he did it again. They signed up for the same homeroom, Dr. Harrison’s of course, to work on some projects, and throughout the class, his hand switched from on Hartley’s thigh to around the back of his chair.  

 

Now, he wasn’t complaining.  I mean, come on, who would? But it was so unlike Barry.  Normally, the most he gets is arms rubbing together or semi-flirty smiles.

 

It was so strange.

They were at lunch when it started to get even more, well, strange.  Once again, Barry had walked with his arm around Hartley’s shoulders, but when they got to the table and started eating, Barry was touching Hartley every chance he got.  He’d grab his arms or thighs, fix his bangs, or even touch his hand sometimes.

 

“So, I was thinking that, maybe going back to mine today isn’t the best idea.  I mean, Iris is really sick, and I don’t want to risk you getting sick too. So maybe we could go to like the arcade at the bowling alley or something?  Unless you only hang out with me because of my sister, because then I guess I can risk you getting sick.”

 

“You know I don’t just hang out with you because of Iris.  I like you, Barry. The arcade sounds fun, and I’ll kick your ass at skeeball.”

 

Barry smirked, bumping his shoulder against Hartley’s.  “So you like me, huh?”

 

“Oh god, shut up.”

 

Strange.

Chapter Text

They walked into the rundown bowling alley, Barry’s arm around the middle of Hartley’s torso.  They greeted the employees at the counter who welcomed them, making their way towards the arcade to purchase an arcade card, bumping hips and laughing while Barry slid a ten dollar bill into the machine, waiting for the card to load and dispense at the bottom.  When it finally dropped, he picked it up and waved it around, once again wrapping his arm around Hartley’s middle.

 

“I believed you challenged me to a match of skeeball.”  He had a playful smirk on his face, his hand tight around Hartley’s midsection, fingers dancing along his ribs and borderline tickling Hartley.

 

The freshman laughed, grabbing Barry’s arm and pulling him to the twin machines and bouncing on his toes while waiting for Barry to swipe the card through both slots.

 

Three rounds of skeeball and a lot of taunting later, Hartley emerged victorious with a perfect 3/3 win.  He held his head high as he moved to look through the rest of the games, Barry’s hand soon finding a place to rest on Hartley’s hip.  To be honest, he was too into the moment to have noticed the intimate gesture.

 

“Told you I’d kick your ass at skeeball.”  He teased, letting his hip bump against Barry’s lightly.  The junior snorted, smiling down at the shorter lad.

 

“I went easy on you; if I hadn’t wanted to see that smile so bad, I would have won.”

 

Hartley’s mouth popped open in a surprised smile, lightly hitting Barry.  “How dare you insist that your choice to not play your best means I’m not actually the king of skeeball.  I’ll have you know, I have only ever lost one match of skeeball.”

 

“Impressive.  Let’s make it two next time.”  Barry teased, sending a playful wink and laughing when Hartly rolled his eyes.  He pulled the younger boy towards a claw machine game, sliding his hand off of Hartley’s hip and nodding to the variety of stuffed animals.  “You might be the master of skeeball, but I’m the master of claw machine games. Pick something and it’s yours, in three turns or less.”


“And if you don’t get it in three turns or less?”  Hartly teased, leaning against the metal edge and peering in.

 

“I’ll buy you a milkshake from Steak ‘N Shake on the ride home.”  Barry offered his word, wiggling the card between his fingers.

 

After a lot of teamwork, maneuvering between the sides of the game to get a better look at the stuffed animal, and two dollars off the card (as he wasn’t able to get it the first go), Hartley held a stuffed hedgehog in one hand, a large smile on his face as Barry placed a hand on either side of his hips, holding the boy’s back against the machine.

 

“Told you, three turns or less.”

 

Hartly let out a soft laugh before faking a pout, leaning his head back against the glass.  “Does that mean no milkshake?”

 

It was the older boy’s turn to laugh, letting his head drop down and nudge the side of Hartley’s with his forehead, shaking his head no lightly.  “Nah, I’ll still buy you one.”

 

The grin on the freshman’s face grew, eyes shining up at Barry.

 

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Barry rested his hand in the middle of Hartley’s thigh, rubbing it a little every now and then.  Every time Hartley would say something that made Barry laugh, he’d squeeze the leg a little. Honestly, all this physical attention was driving Hartley insane, but he was living for the chance to feel Barry’s hands on him.

 

The entire ride back to the Rathaway residence, the junior kept his hand there.  He’d rub it up and down when Hartley would laugh, or drum his fingers to the rhythm of whatever song came on the radio.  Every few seconds, he’d take his eyes off the road to spare a glance at the boy in the passenger seat, being scolded if he got caught with his eyes on him for too long.

 

“Barry, you’re gonna get us killed if you can’t keep your eyes on the road!  It’s not that complicated to just look at the street .”  Hartley ranted, using his hands to gesture towards the road.

 

Barry just smiled fondly, taking his eyes off the road again to look at the pouting boy.  “It is with you next to me.”

 

He squeezed his thigh again, moving his head straight again to focus on the road that Hartley was oh-so passionate about him keeping his eyes on.  When he didn’t get a reply, he stole a glance next to him, seeing the boy flustered and blushing the color of his red sweater. He laughed loudly, patting at the leg beneath his hand and making a right to turn towards the large house.

 

“Alright dweeb, you got everything?”  Barry teased the younger boy, hand still resting in what must be his favorite place.

 

Hartley nodded, then fake-glared at the older boy.  “Did you just call me a dweeb?”

 

Barry shrugged, biting his lip to keep a smile at bay.  “Maybe.”

 

“Barry Allen, that is bullying, and I will not stand for it.  I am going to go online and file an anonymous bullying report on you the second I get inside.”

 

The runner through his head back laughing, his grip tightening and his chest shaking with it.  Hartley could only take in the sight and smile fondly, happy that he could evoke such a reaction in Barry.

 

“You do that.  Anyway, I’ve gotta run… Well, I’ve gotta run so I can run.”  He joked, causing Hartley to scoff at his sorry excuse of a pun.  “Thanks for hanging out today, Hart. We really should do it again sometime.”

 

“When Iris gets better, she won’t let it be the two of us, and the bowling alley only has two skeeball machines.”  Hartley pointed out, a joking look on his face.

 

The look fell when Barry didn’t laugh, just stared at him with what seemed to be fondness and admiration.  When he spoke, his voice was soft, “Then we don’t tell her. I’d hate to give that time with you up to anyone else.”

 

The freshman couldn’t even stammer, too flustered to conjugate any form of sound in reply.  Barry squeezed his thigh once more, bringing his hand up to fix Hartley’s hair. He nodded his head towards the house, a silent signal that it was time to leave.  Hartley gathered his stuff and began climbing out of the car, only stopping when he heard Barry’s soft voice once more.

 

“Goodnight, doll.”

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guys i've been on a writing kick & i've been writing a lot, so i came back to see if i could come up with something for the next chapter, but i've come up blank!

I have a couple suggestions from the last time I asked for some, but I need a little more to go off of. Please leave some ideas for things you might want to see, because i am bone dry atm

love y'all, hope to see you soon!