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(let's say) all of the things that we couldn't say before

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"You should have told me."

The words come out too much like an accusation: too bitter, too sharp, too charged with frustration and anger. Barry winces. He came here to elevate some of the blame, not pile on more of it, even if he doesn't get why Snart didn't just tell him about how the meta's powers affected him. Why he'd let Barry believe that he —

He doesn't want to finish that thought, not even inside his head.

Sliding into the free seat in the little booth, Barry waits for Snart to acknowledge him, but the other man doesn't even look up, like he's expecting Barry to leave if only he ignores him for long enough. Well, too bad, because this time Barry has no intention of going away before they actually talked about this.

The seconds tick by, stretching into tiny eternities as Barry waits. Snart fingers restlessly twirl his glass, and Barry has to clamp down on the impulse to reach across the table and put his hand on top of Snart's to still the motion. He knows it's a terrible idea, but he's tempted anyway. Maybe the touch with startle the other man into a reaction.

Snart doesn't lift his eyes from his drink, not even when he finally speaks. His tone is low, the clipped drawl of his more pronounced than ever.

"And why's that, Barry?" he asks, provocation dripping from the words. "Wouldn't have made a difference. What's done is done, doesn't matter if I was under the influence or not."

He takes a swig from the glass like he's trying to prove a point before setting it down hard enough to rattle the table, but Barry's distracted trying to wrap his head around what Snart said.

"What?" he splutters, incredulous. "Why would you think—? Of course it makes a difference!"

When Snart raises his head to glare at Barry, his eyes are bloodshot, his face haggard. He looks like shit. He looks... pretty much exactly like Barry feels, running on empty after six nights without sleep and self-destructive urges fueled by anger and self-loathing. The surge of sympathy Barry feels makes his gut clench, and for a moment, he hates the meta more fiercely than he did once he found out what exactly had happened. He didn't really grasp the extend of the damage she'd done then, not just to him but to Snart as well, but it's impossible to ignore when it's right in front of him.

"It shouldn't," Snart says, and Barry's attention snaps back to the here and now. "Her powers wouldn't have worked if I hadn't wanted it. So you see, no matter how you try to sugarcoat it and pretend that I'm not the bad guy in this horrific little tale, it's still on me. Don't fool yourself, Barry. The meta did her part, but I was the one who— who raped you."

He stumbles over the word, as if he's struggling to spit it out but feels like he has to. Barry tries very hard to hold back the instinctive flinch, but he doesn't quite manage.

He quietly processes what Snart just told him. He already knew how the meta's powers worked, the implications of it, but it's different knowing it and actually hearing Snart say it.

He swallows and looks away, gaze flitting through the bar as he gathers his courage to say what he came to say. He can't help thinking this is the one chance to fix things and once it's gone, it's gone. He afford to get this wrong.

"So, what you're saying is, you wanted it, but not like this."

"Yes, but don't—" Snart begins, annoyance written all over his face.

Barry interrupts him, not interested in hearing any more reasons why it was supposedly all Snart's fault. "Well, so did I."

The words stop Snart's protestations of guilt in their tracks. As the silence stretches uncomfortably, Barry feels the need to clarify, "Want it — want you, but not like that, I mean. Like, definitely not like that."

It's funny that the same thing that fueled his self-loathing immediately afterwards, when he still blamed Snart and hated himself for ever feeling the way he did (the way he does, present tense), turned into something that gave him hope once he learned the truth about the meta's involvement and what it meant.

Across the table, Snart is staring at him, expression inscrutable, and the urge to run buzzes underneath Barry's skin like electricity. Instead, he plants his feet firmly on the dirty tile floor and holds Snart's gaze until it's Snart who looks away first.

"Always have to make things complicated, Scarlet." He sounds put off, but Barry could swear that some of the tension has left his shoulders.

Barry's lips twitch into his first real smile in a week. It's small and a little brittle, but it's a smile. It's a start.

"Come on, Snart, we both know you like a challenge."

Snart inclines his head in agreement. He isn't quite smiling, but his face lost the pinched look from before, and Barry thinks that maybe, somewhere down the line, if they don't mess it up too badly, things are going to be okay.

End