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neon blue, like a scorching flame; spilled crimson, like a warning sign

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It’s a miserable ugly night out, and Barry is just getting off the clock from the pizza shop, damn them having to be open till two in the morning. He managed to forget until he was halfway home that he used up the last of his milk in his morning coffee, about fifteen hours ago. If he doesn’t have any for tomorrow it’ll be a misery, as well as the fact dry cereal is a literal crime.

On top of all that, Vader, his ridiculously cute black cat is spoiled rotten, and likes milk with his food. Barry sighs, and pulls into the parking lot of the closest gas station with an attached convenience store, wincing at how the engine blusters before he shuts down the car. It’s been needing a tune up for over six months, but he just hasn’t had the budget. Not with paying off student loans, and dad’s lawyer fees. Barry hasn’t brought it up with Bruce because he doesn’t want handouts.

He knows that knowing The Batman could help get dad out early, and then some, but Barry wasn’t raised that way, taking advantage of connections. His dad tried that once and look where it got him.  The guy behind the counter of the store sort of grunts in his general direction when Barry walks in, and he just throws up a peace sign, silent, beelining straight for the back where the fridges are.  It's nearly three am, and in a place like this it feels unreal, as if Barry’s taken a big hit off a burned out joint, and he’s really just floating through time and space. He hasn’t gotten high in over a month and a half. 

Tugging on his own ponytail, he browses the various brands of milk, soda and other beverages.

For Barry, there’s always a risk of being surprised with a drug test at his current day job, so he’s been trying to give it up, but it’s rough. 

Bruce has offered him a job as his PA about ten times in the last two weeks, and every time he turns the man down, feeling a bit weird about the whole thing. He gets the sense that the man is interested in him for more than business reasons, and while Barry is flattered and squirmy about it, because Bruce is hot as fuck, a successful member of Forbes thirty under thirty, there’s also the element of them already technically being coworkers in another way, and he’s not sure he wants to change that. Yet. To make their relationship evolve into something sexual. 

God… how long has it been since he got laid? 

Barry checks the dates on the milk jugs lined up in front of him, and stops doing the math on them to do the math on that. Same as the weed, maybe longer. Usually they go hand in hand. Barry feels his face growing hot, all the way to his ears. 

Why does his dealer have to be so charming and effortlessly alluring? Her face pops into his head, blue eyes, a crooked nose, smile lines, framed by flyaway blond hair that makes his fingers itch to stroke back behind her ears. Her smile. Everything about her was incredible, but Barry isn’t her type, not outside the casual fuck or makeout session after blazing up. She said that she knows what he wants, a great romance, to be wooed, and she’s not able to provide that. 

He can't even braid her disney princess hair for her. It’s probably why she won’t respond to his texts. 

She knows Barry needs a fix that doesn’t just include smoking. 

He digs his toe into the cheap dirty linoleum flooring of the store, and frowns at the milk, frustrated with himself. 

“Hey, are you gonna get something or just hog the fridge, kid?” Barry starts, having been so lost in thought that he didn’t hear the front door chime, or any footsteps. He’s lucky he didn’t crash through the shelves in his shock. He looks over and sees a guy watching him, wary, as if he thinks Barry is high or on something stronger, completely zoned out and leaning into the fridge. Barry shivers. “Yeah, no I’m done, sorry.” He snags the closest jug and backs away, careful to maintain a human speed. The guy eyes him again, a proper up-down now, and Barry looks at him the same. Big, buff, maybe a little chubby, but in a hot way. Like a linebacker, he’s someone who Barry would’ve blown behind the bleachers in high school. 

But this guy is probably pushing forty, if the silver white hair contrasting with dark brows isn’t just a fashion statement. He grins crookedly at Barry.

“Everything okay?” The man looks tired, slight bags under his eyes. Then again, it’s three am. 

He probably has the same expression. Barry nods. “Yeah. Crush me.”

He bites his tongue, but holy fuck, that wasn’t what he meant to say at all. The fluorescent lights hum a bit, loudly enough to help cover Barry's accidental blurt of a bad pickup line. To mistake something, and so the guy frowns, eyebrows pure black to contrast that hair and his silvery beard, confusion evident. “Sorry? What was that you were saying?" 

Barry wishes the floor would just open up and swallow him. 

“I said I don’t want to crush myself in the door, so I’ll move.” The guy doesn’t let him go far, slipping behind him to snag another milk jug of his own. “Don’t worry. I shouldn’t have snuck up on you. That was my bad. Lemme get that.” 

Barry doesn’t even try to protest when the guy scoops up his jug out of his hand, walking towards the checkout desk. 

“Oh! Gosh, thanks, you don’t have to-” he puts up a little fight, and the guy shakes his head, smiling. “I insist.” He also orders a pack of menthol lights, and then pulls out his wallet, a matte black credit card held between thick fingers. 

Barry feels sweat breaking out on his forehead. Those are fancy ass cards, requiring some kind of insane premium, minimum amount in the account. He knows, because Bruce has one. So does Diana. But of course, she’s been saving and making money for the better part of a century, so yeah, she’s loaded. Bruce is loaded from other ways.

Not like that. Stop thinking about your bosses dick. Barry gulps, willing away the damn horny thoughts. Why is he just surrounded by rich people despite having grown up in the slums of Central City, not to mention still living in just a different genre of them, with Gotham? How does this happen? 

“You still with me kid, or are you sleeping standing up, eyes open?” The guy is saying. 

Barry blinks. “Oh yeah, sorry, just daydreaming.” That’s stupid. It’s literally night time outside. “I think that’s regular dreams, half awake.” the guy hands over the bag with his milk in it, and Barry jolts, carefully making sure he doesn’t drop it. Saving four dollars might not seem like much, until he has to budget food for the week, and has that much extra. 

“Thanks.” He says, and the guy smirks a little. “You bet. What’s your name, kid?” 

They’re halfway outside now, and Barry’s jaw drops at the sight of the black lexus parked beside his beat up red mustang. “Uh, Barry. I’d shake your hand but-” He’s struggling, trying to get his car keys out of his hoodie pocket and not drop the milk. The guy grins, “It’s okay. My first name is a mouthful, but you can call me Chet.” Barry gulps and nods. “Cool.”

“Do you smoke?” Chet is asking, smoothly opening the trunk to his car, putting the milk in, extracting the cigarettes, then pulling a silver zippo out from his sweatpants. It has a satisfying sounding click as it lights up, and Chet gazes at him over the corona of the flame. “Uh, kind of.” Barry answers, not really sure if he wants to confess to imbibing illegal substances to a stranger. “What like, partial inhaling? I don’t know man, I think you either smoke, or you don’t. I won’t be offended.”

Chet inhales deeply, and then breathes out, the cloud of smoke momentarily hovering in the darkness, before being streaked through with the misty rain still sprinkling down over the city. 

Barry shivers. “I’m good, I think.” 

His reaction doesn’t go unnoticed, it seems. 

“You wanna start your car and sit in mine until it warms up? No offense but those older models haven’t got efficient Hvac systems.” Barry should by all rights be offended, but he’s not. “Oh-kay.”

Chet sweeps around him and climbs into his car, cigarette glowing gently in the cab before he turns it on. The car all but purrs, and Barry is swept over by a sense of something deeper than envy. Yearning, perhaps. He wants that.

Like he’s been told, he starts up his mustang, then shuts the door, only after checking to make sure it’s unlocked, and then he gets into Chet’s passenger seat, shivering again for another reason. The guy’s car has heated seats, as well as the warm air blasting out of the vents right in his face. “Nice right? Sometimes though, I like to wait until I get home and just have a bath, instead of hotboxing my car, literally.” Chet drawls, and Barry looks over at him, seeing a hint of a blush on the man’s face. Or maybe he’s just too warm. Barry is not sure how that could be possible since he ’s still shaking, his hoodie soaked through from the icy mist. “You freeze on your drive home?” He asks, making sure that’s what he just heard. 

“Not all winter, mind you. Just sometimes.” Chet answers confidently. Weird, but like, he’s so hot, Barry’s internal ‘daddy’ radar detector is going wild, to say nothing of his gaydar, considering how Chet holds his cigarette, like he’s trying to get it to burst into white smoke from a climax… he’s not even sure how long he’s been sitting in there. 

His ass is nicely warm. “So uh, thanks again for the milk, but I gotta get home and sleep. I work tomorrow.” Barry lies, not so smoothly. Chet looks over at him, exhaling a mild stream of smoke. “Of course yeah. Hey, let me know if you need anything, you can stop by the club where I uh, work. Tell em you know Chet. It’s the Iceberg Lounge. Heard of it?” Barry blinks. “Oh, yeah, I think so. I’m not twenty-one, will I still be able to get in?” Chet blinks, stubbing out his cigarette.

“You’re what, nineteen? Twenty?” Barry nods. “That’s fine. Just don’t drink and drive, and we’ll keep it a secret.” 

He winks, and then rubs his hands together, “I’ll be bartending this weekend, so come by any time.” 

“Okay, cool.” Barry says again, opening the door and glancing back, “You’re sure you won’t get fired for that?” 

Chet grins. “I know the owner, it’s all good.” 

By the time he’s in his own car, and the lexus has pulled away and driven off, Barry’s mind is racing. He’s pretty damn sure that the Penguin owns that club. He’s heard Bruce talking, sat in on a few meetings. He’s called the guy his ‘least’ crazy enemy out there in the streets. On a scale of Joker to Ra’s Al Ghul, Barry thinks he’d rather deal with the scary clown. Bruce seems to feel the same way, taking most of their encounters in stride, throwing him back in Arkham with a sense of humor. 

Crazy doesn’t always mean full danger, but the immortal ish Leader of the League of Assassins is no joke, literally. Barry hopes he doesn’t get in trouble for a lot of things, besides underage drinking, being spotted in the club owned by one of his bosses foes could be bad news too. 

The truth is, he’s off this weekend from his pizza delivery job, the side hustle he does to make ends meet when he’s not on Justice League missions. Barry has about fourteen dollars saved up to get a drink with, and maybe Chet will give him a discount since he’s a friend, kind of. 


When Saturday night rolls around, he puts on the nicest thing he owns, which is basically a black suit jacket and red scarf. Barry also makes sure to thoroughly comb out his hair and catch all the strays, ruffling some calming cream into the haphazard waves, taming the frizz, and making himself look somewhat like the fancy clientele who regularly attends the nightclub. A ponytail won't work for this. He asks Vader to wish him luck and gets a loud meow in reply. Barry grins, giving his cat a good ear rub before checking the food and water dishes. All good. No midnight milk tonight. 

He pulls on a pair of black jeans to finish off the look, and for shoes, well his keds will just have to do. They’re comfy, good for dancing, theoretically. 

Barry parks a block away, for free, and then walks the rest of the distance to the club, nervously patting over his scarf and front pocket, where he stowed his wallet. 

Approaching the bouncer, he smiles nervously. “Hi, I’m here to see Chet?” It’s more like shouting than talking, but the big guy gives him a once over, then nods, lifting the rope to let Barry pass through. “Holy shit. That worked?” He mumbles, mostly to himself, because it’s so fucking loud he can barely hear himself think. 

The room pulses with music, people, and spinning lights, hues of blue, purple and white making everything blur together. Barry half feels like he’s high again, a bit dizzy, probably from the way he keeps getting blinded by lights overhead. 

He spots the bar in the back of the room, and staggers over to it, carefully trying to avoid getting in between the writhing couples and pairs of dancers on the floor. Barry can see Chet behind the bar, but he’s not mixing drinks, he’s watching the room, scanning faces, until he spots him, and then smirks, pushing off the wall to approach the counter. With a white shirt, sleeves rolled up, and a black shiny vest over that, Chet looks so damn good Barry can only pray he’s not literally drooling at the sight of him. “You made it!” He says, and Barry nods, feeling properly dizzy now. 

“I’m here! Very thirsty too.”

For once, it’s both literal and mental, so Chet jerks his head back towards the liquor bottles lining the wall and Barry catches the question in his eyes. “Can I just have a shirley temple with a splash of citrus vodka?” Barry shout-asks. 

Chet laughs, shrugging, “If you say so. Mind if I join you?” Barry blinks, glancing around, as if the boss, the Penguin himself is going to appear and condemn them both. “Is that allowed?” 

Chet is already making his drink, hands moving fast like lightning, slightly slower than Barry himself when he’s at full speed. 

“I think it’ll be okay. We can go check out the VIP room. I’m about to go on break anyway.” His eyes have to be as big as saucers at this, Barry is sure. He takes the pink sparkling drink from Chet’s hand, three cherries all but glowing red at the bottom of the glass, while the top fizzes lightly from the soda. “Okay.” He clutches the drink in his hand and takes a sip from the black straw, sweetness tapered by sharp liquor hitting his tongue, flavor exploding across his taste buds. 

Barry can’t remember the last time he snuck some booze. Probably before his dad went to jail, long before the League. 

Every time Bruce tries to have a champagne toast, Barry declines. He's not ready to explain why yet. Chet leads the way up a staircase, past a very ferocious looking bodyguard type of dude, and then they’re walking into a dimly lit, truly iceberg looking room, where quieter music plays. 

Barry looks around, confused, the place is empty. The club downstairs is bouncing, literally vibrating through the walls, but not unpleasantly. 

Clearly there’s some soundproofing in place for the VIPs so they don’t get ear damage.

“Where are all of the fancy people?” He asks, glancing to Chet. The man shoves his hands in his pockets and shrugs. 

“I booked it for this whole weekend. No one else will be in here. I did it just in case you showed up. I wanted to impress you.” Barry takes a big nervous gulp of his drink, feeling the low burning heat of the alcohol starting to simmer, to trickle into his veins. 

“...Oh. I see. How much did it cost you?” He can only assume Chet is pretty well off, since he’s driving a lexus, even as a bartender. He must have some other form of passive income or something, like owning an apartment complex to collect rent. Subletting out the management. Barry overheard Bruce telling Arthur that would be a decent way to make some money without having to actually boss people around. To be precise, the man has said he has several ‘spare’ buildings he could convert into living spaces. Barry kind of hurled into his mouth a little at the thought, but he’s planning to spare Bruce the guillotine when it’s time to rebel against the billionaires. Just barely though. 

“It's no big deal, like I told you, I know the owner.”

Chet says, edging over to the balcony, the massive sprawling windows overlooking the busy dance floor. 

Barry doesn’t think he’d really want to be down there anyway, unless he was somehow encaged in Chet’s embrace. Some dirty dancing that could turn into thigh riding, and coming in pants, or maybe a quickie in one of the club bathroom stalls?

He gulps. Too early, too soon for thoughts like that, he thinks. 

His horny feral energizer bunny brain apparently can’t really be shut up as easily when he’s drinking, or when he gets blitzed. 

“So you said you smoke a little, I remembered. Does that mean you prefer things besides tobacco, Barry?” Chet is asking, and he blinks. “Oh shit. I mean… maybe? Why, do you have some?” The itch has never been so strong. Two months now. 

Chet smirks, and then pulls his hand out of his pocket, the same lighter sitting right beside a mint tin.

“I might. What’s the magic word?” Barry’s brain goes to about ten million different conclusions in three seconds but all he can come up with is the singular yet very wrong sounding, “Pull my hair Daddy?” He almost chokes on his next sip as Chet lets out a throaty sounding chuckle. 

“Not exactly what I was looking for, now, but that’ll do. Come here.” 

Oh god, he wouldn’t get away with calling Bruce that , now would he? Maybe Diana though… 

Barry shakes himself out of that line of thought and walks, only a touch unsteadily, over to where Chet is now sitting on the sprawling curved white leather couch, and he goes down so close that their knees brush together as he leans in. 

Chet doesn’t hesitate for even a split second, putting his free hand to the back of Barry’s neck, fingers weaving into his hair, tugging lightly on it. He groans and the man pulls him in those final few inches, his mouth meeting Chet's in a swift and heated kiss. 

It starts slow, a deep press of flesh on flesh, lips sliding wetly, until Barry starts at the feel of a tongue that must be cool from drinking against the seam of his mouth, and he gasps. Chet tilts his head slightly, going deep, pushing his tongue in, up against Barry’s, until he tastes aged rum and sugar sweet smokeyness. “Mmm, oh my god.” Barry mumbles. 

Chet smiles into the kiss even as it breaks, and he pulls back slowly, his hand petting gently over the nape of Barry’s neck. “Yes?”

“This wasn’t really what I expected to happen, but like… I don’t think I even need the weed if you keep kissing me.”

Barry feels his face heat up at his own confession, and he watches as Chet returns the container of joints and his lighter back into his pocket, smiling a little. “Okay. Good to know. It usually calms my nerves better than booze, so I carry both.”

“So you’re like a boy scout huh? Always prepared?” He jokes lamely, but Chet laughs. “Something like that, yeah.”

Barry can’t think of anything else to say, so he just leans back in for another kiss, which he gladly gets, along with the man’s other hand now skimming up from his knee to his inner thigh, making him inhale sharply. “You’re not gonna-”

Chet noses down the side of his cheek to his ear, and then bites the lobe gently, causing the semi Barry walked up those stairs with to suddenly morph into a full on boner. “Uh… hm.” He can’t really form real words, much less coherent sentences, not when Chet’s palm cups over his groin, massaging his cock through his jeans. 

“What’s that baby? Do you need Daddy to make you come?” Barry’s brain is currently short circuiting on the way around the bend from ‘daddy kink confirmed’ to ‘am I slutty enough to let him jerk me off behind one way mirrors but still very much in a public place?’ conclusion?