The adoption didn’t go through.
It didn’t surprise Barry as much as it should have. Joe tried as hard he could, yelling and arguing. Iris cried and screamed at the unfairness of it all.
It didn’t matter.
Barry packed his stuff, transferred schools and got put in a small room made for one with five other boys.
He didn’t bother to unpack.
He’s on his own from here on out.
Barry always seemed to become the butt of the joke, whether that joke was physical or verbal, he was always the one getting hurt. He knew he was—freak—odd compared to the rest of them. He liked to stay in his room with his books and his science. Barry loved to learn. It helped to escape from the outside world, from this constant never-ending nightmare, that was his life.
Yet, no matter how far he tries to run away from it, it always came back to bite him in the butt. Or rather, it would be a ball to head, freezing water poured on his sheets, or ripped up textbooks. The world didn’t treat him well, but he had hope that maybe one day that change.
While the world changes and evolves, people don’t change, Barry learns this lesson very quickly. He’s running down the street his backpack is slung over his shoulder and Bette and her crew are quickly gaining on him. He knows he’s fucked when he’s being shoved into the metal pole, the shit knocked out off him.
“I’m really sorry about this, Allen.” Bette smiles at him all faked sweetness that was even worse than that sweet-and-low shit. “But, I ain’t going back.” She shoves something into his bag the rest of her posse holding him back.
“The hell are you—” She grabs him by the hair and knocks him against the pole. Barry swears he’s seeing stars, shining, singing, chiming, his ears are ringing. By the time he blinks, Bette and her posse are gone and he hears—cops?
Oh shit, cops.
If there is one thing in this neighborhood that Barry did learn is that you always run from cops, whether you did it or not.
Ah, but as always, he’s never fast enough.
If only there was a way to get faster, be faster, the fastest.
They know he didn’t do it, Barry knows he didn’t do it, the fucking police captain knows he didn’t do it, but someone's got to take the fall. And these cops don't care about one more good-for-nothing orphan ending up where they belong.
The world changes, but people don’t.
They put him in the interrogation room, handcuffed like a criminal an officer asks, “How old are you, son?”
“I didn’t do it.” He replies, even though he knows there is no point, he can’t help but try. The officer ignores him turning to his partner and looking through a file, on him, he figures.
“Son, you’re sixteen, right?” He asks like he doesn’t know, “Do you know what that means?”
Two years in juvie, apparently.
It’s his first week and people already trying to kill him, the only reason he isn’t dead is because of two serious badasses.
“I’m Cisco Ramon,” He’s got hair down to his shoulders and a bright smile, “And this is my BFF Caitlin Snow.” The girl's hair looks a blizzard came and never left, it’s pure white her whole body language radiates cold.
They become his best friends.
They all get out when they’re eighteen and they’re finally fucking free. The bad thing about being free is they need money, to eat, to sleep, to live. They all try to get jobs, but no one wants them. They all want to go back to school, but no one will accept them.
“What the hell are we gonna do, Cisco?!” They got nowhere to go, and no food and barely any money.
“I don’t fucking know, man, okay!” He buries his head in his hands sitting on the plastic stool.
Caitlin sighs, “I still got some inheritance money left okay, we’ll be good for this months rent, at least.”
“But then what, Cait?” Cisco groans, Barry’s pretty sure he’s trying to gouge his eyes out.
Then it hits him, there already criminals, might as well embrace it, “Let's rob a bank.”
It takes a few attempts and a few tries, sometimes ending in jail and sometimes not, but over the course of time they get good at it, really good at it.
Then the particle accelerator explodes.
He’s out for nine months.
When he wakes up Cisco and Caitlin are there, everyone is crying and he is oh so confused. But, apparently they have superpowers and he has crazy hospital bills.
As it really turns out, they all have crazy, insane powers. Cisco is psychic or something, Caitlin is an ice queen, and he is the fastest man alive.
No one can stop them.
At least, no one could stop them until Captain Cold came to party.
And, that's how Barry found himself here standing in a red tri-polymer suit dogging blasts of ice from Cold.
“We have to stop meeting like this, Captain!” He shouts at the man.
Another blast. “Then stop stealing, Flash!”
Barry flashes to the side trying to avoid another blast but then he quickly realizes as he feels a sudden cold hit him in the chest, that the first shot was a feint. He falls to the ground the ice freezing him in place and footsteps quickly come towards him, a shadow looming over him, “Can’t handle the cold?”
Barry glares at the man, “You think you’re funny?”
He smirks as the sirens approach getting closer and closer, “I’m hilarious.” Cold turns his back thinking he’s won. But, Barry is up ice shattering like glass and over Cold before he can even blink. Pinning the man's arms above his head, trying to avoid skin contact, he doesn’t wanna get turned into a popsicle.
“Oh Captain, my captain,” He says, his lips upturned and smug. “it’s time to see who you really are.”
Barry is sitting on the couch of Leonard’s very average, very boring apartment, in the dark waiting for the door to open. He hears the keys jingle outside and the door is cracking open, the bright light enveloping the room.
“What the fuck!” Leonard jumps dropping his briefcase and keys hands quickly covered in ice before Barry could get a single word out.
“Wait!” He skillfully doges a stream of cold. “Wait, Leonard!” Thankfully, the barges of ice stop and he’s given a minute to breathe.
“You’ve got five seconds to tell what the hell you’re doing in my home.”
Barry needs Leonard to trust him, he’s already betrayed him once, he needs trust—Barry removes his mask letting it drop to his back like a hoodie, “My name is Barry Allen and I need your help.”
Barry is almost ready to put his hands over his ears and walk out if the tiny Snart didn’t stop whining. After she gotten over the fact that the Flash looked like a high schooler, all she kept bringing up was, “Why are we trusting him again?!” Lisa shouts for at least the fifth time, “especially after what happened at Ferris Air.”
Barry scrunches his face in disgust, “While our justice system sucks, a trial is better than no trial.” Lisa scoffs and turns away from him facing her brother again.
“You said he had something to tell us?”
“Just wait until the rest of the team is here, Sis.”
He hears the clacking of heels and an oddly familiar voice? “Oh my god,” He turning while a very familiar—so damn familiar—voice continues, “Barry?” The last people Barry had expected to come through those halls was Iris and Joe West.
By the time he’s facing her she already has her arms around his neck hugging him tightly, he can’t remember the last he saw her, spoke to her, remembered her. “Iris West.” He finds himself saying as he’s pulling back then Joe is walking with no other than, Mick Rory, into the room.
There’s a gun aiming at him, a fire quickly lighting up the room, but just as fast there’s ice and Leonard is standing in front of him. And, Barry is shaking his head, “And you call us crazy.” Leonard nudges him and he realizes that he’s not helping, but he’s not a hero, he doesn’t help. He sticks his head out from behind him, resting it on Leonard’s shoulder, “Hello, Joe.”
He steps out from behind Leonard, “I mostly go by The Flash, these days.” And, he can hear Iris gasp from where Leonard pushed her aside.
“What the hell happened to you?”
“I was a good kid, you remember.” He smiled viciously, “Then I spent two years in Iron Heights,” Barry paused shaking his head, “I wasn’t a good kid after that.” He quickly composes himself, “Anyway, I didn’t come here for reunions, I need your help.”
Everyone stays quiet and Leonard motions with his hand for him to continue, “No one knows his actual name, he goes by Jay Garrick, Hunter Zolomon, or Zoom. He’s a speedster like me, but he won’t follow your rules, Cold. Hunter isn’t afraid to do whatever he wants to get whatever he wants—and he took my friends, that he’ll have to pay for. But, I can’t stop him on my own.” Barry looked up at him, icy eyes staring right back, “I need someone to slow him down.”
They make a good team, him and Leonard, which is oddly nice? Zoom-Hunter-Jay is taken care of quickly with Leonard and the rest of his team on his side.
He manages to whisk Caitlin and Cisco back to the Labs where Lisa is watching over them, tending to their injuries. Then he flashes back on to the front lines, with Cold behind him. “We don’t make a half bad team, Cold.”
He hears Leonard huff behind him, sounding amused, “You’re not wrong, Scarlet.”
Scarlet? That's a new one.
If it makes him feel warm and tingly on the inside, well, no one has to know.
Caitlin and Cisco are fine, thank god. Barry, begrudgingly finds himself thanking Lisa for her medical skills. She glares at him and the gives him a solid nod.
They’re on there way out before Leonard stops him in the hallway, Cait and Cisco turn around ready to attack—they’re on edge, always on edge. He motions for them to go, “I’ll catch up, guys,” He winks, “Don’t worry I’ll be fast.” Caitlin rolls her eyes, Cisco laughs and then they’re gone. And, it’s just him and Leonard.
“What do you want, Leonard?” Barry stares at him, crossing his arms, “Gonna arrest me?”
“That depends,” He pauses for a moment, “are you into handcuffs?” Barry feels his face go red immediately, but then Leonard is laughing and Barry feels his face grow hotter. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.”
His face is still red and he feels stupid for hoping that Leonard wasn’t joking, “Just tell me what you want.”
Then Leonard smiles at him all knowingly, “You’d do anything for the people you love Barry, that’s not something a true villain would know how to do.”
“So what I should be a hero like you?” Leonard shrugs crossing his arms, but he’s still smiling.
Barry shakes his head and steps back—when did they get so close? “Be seeing you, Len.”
He flashes away.
He running late, as always, which has to be some kind of ironic paradox.
And, then he’s falling, of course. The Flash may be the fastest man alive, but Barry Allen has two left feet.
Barry trips on absolutely nothing and his coffee goes flying to the wind on none other than, “Leonard?!”
And, Barry is starring in morbid fascination as his scorching hot coffee seeps through Leonard’s white button down. The man has his eyes shut from where splashes of coffee also managed to hit. Barry squeaks out,“I am so sorry.” Then he’s is pulling out napkins and patting down his shirt, he may rob people but that doesn’t mean he’s an asshole.
A strong hand is grabbing his and pulling it away, his eyes opening revealing their vibrant blue color,“It’s okay, Barry.”
“I can make it up to you?” He doesn’t know whether he’s asking or telling.
Leonard is smiling, it’s bright and Barry quickly doesn’t know what to do with himself, “Actually you can.”
Leonard nods and pulls out a CCPD notepad and a pen that he carries in his shirt pocket, smiling at him, he pushes the folded note into Barry’s hands, “Dinner. With Me. Tonight.”
And then that’s it before Barry realizes it Leonard is already gone and he’s left to deal with himself. In the middle of the fucking sidewalk. Alone.
Barry shakes his head muttering to himself, feeling the blush slowly creeping up as he processes what just happened, “Goddamn it, Cold!”