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An All Too Jagged Snowflake

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David knew it was going to be a long day from the moment he tasted his morning smoothie. Rob was experimenting with flavors and the results weren’t that pleasant. But he muscled his way through it and sipped the blended green muck on his drive to the precinct anyway. He was gearing up for a long week, because no week was ever quiet when you were the captain of the busiest police precinct in Central City.

Still, what David had come to expect from a long day was some new metahuman terror for his taskforce to deal with, a headache over the tail end of construction in the atrium of the precinct’s building, or, recently, some concocted issue from the military for him to run paperwork circles around.

What he didn’t expect was an unmarked envelop on his desk with this in it.

“Donna,” he picked up his direct line to his assistant, proud that his voice was under control. “Get me someone from Internal Affairs. Someone discreet. And let me know when Barry Allen gets in to work.”

At this rate, given that it was only first thing Monday morning, he suspected it was going to be a long week.

 

**********

 

Barry knocked tentatively on the door to his office at ten past nine. “Allen, come in,” David stood and motioned him forward. The young man’s eyes fell right away on the other occupant of the room.

“Allen, this is Patty Spivot. She’s with Internal Affairs.”

“Hi.”

“Uh, hi.”

“Patty’s going to be recording our conversation.”

They shook hands, and David had a second to wish that IA had sent someone who wasn’t quite so chipper as Spivot, smiling brightly at Barry despite everything. Most of the IA group were somber at their best, so he wasn’t quite sure how she managed. He blamed her youth, mostly—they’d sent over their rookie. A rookie beat a blabbermouth, but still...

“Have a seat, Barry.”

Barry looked nervous, which was definitely earned in this case, but David was pretty sure it was the use of his first name that set him off, scratching the back of his head and not sitting.

“Can I ask what this is about, sir?”

David sighed and pushed the envelop to the edge of his desk, tapping it with one finger. “Sit.”

Barry sat. And took the envelope. David sat too, and tried not to dread what was coming. He had already looked at those pictures, knew what was on them. But the conversation he was about to have was one he really never thought he would have to, not with Barry Allen, and not over something like this.

With a last nervous glance at David—Allen was way too easy to read for someone who did what he did, but maybe that was exactly how he got away with it—he pulled out the photos.

The exact moment recognition hit his face was also obvious. He was pale anyway, but he went white as a sheet, a sort of sick color. He’d only seen the top of the first photo and he already knew.

“Look through them all, Allen, and then maybe you can explain them to me.”

Explain to David why he’d received an unmarked envelop on his desk that morning with no traces on the surveillance of who put it there. Explain why inside the envelop were pictures of Allen holding hands in a café with Leonard Snart, gazing deep into the man’s eyes like it mattered; a snapshot of them smiling and walking arm in arm together; of them on a bridge, Barry’s face tilted back, Snart’s eyes focused on his neck in a way that made David's hands clench; and the most damning, three shots of them kissing in the park, the kind of kiss that almost made him look away because it felt private even though the photo was taken from far away, a little grainy. There was one photo of after the kiss, Barry’s face adoring while he looked at Snart, who was actually smiling.

Those pictures told a story, and it was one that made David sick to his stomach, left a worse taste in his mouth than any swamp water smoothie ever could.

Barry looked similarly ill when he finished flipping through the photos, clammy, a tense set to his jaw. He started to stand. “I’ll go clean out my stuff from the lab,” he whispered, voice tight.

“Sit down,” David’s voice was far from quiet. Allen sat.

“Are you arresting me?”

It had certainly crossed his mind, but David really didn’t want to do that. “Not for the time being, Allen. But you are going to answer some questions.”

“I’m not—I won’t tell you about Len, nothing that could be used against him.”

‘Len’, huh? David rolled that around in his head, mouth twisted down. “You’re that loyal to Snart?”

Barry didn’t respond. He just looked at his lap, looked close to tears, and David couldn't blame him. He was hoping Allen would talk, would make sense of this for him, but he knew the kid could be stubborn as hell when he dug in his heels and he was just sitting, face set and stiff. David supposed he was probably just trying not to break down, but clamping up wasn’t going to save him from this conversation.

He rejected the next question he wanted to ask, which was whether Joe knew. He couldn’t ask that in case Barry was stupid enough to yes, and then he’d have to fire his best detective. Off the record, he’d ask, but Spivot was sitting there with the recorder, taking notes.

“Let’s just start from the top. I'm willing to tell you that I have no idea where these photographs came from, that they were here when I got in and no one's quite sure how. This wasn't the CCPD tailing you. So while your reaction speaks volumes, I need to hear you say it. You don’t deny that these photos are authentic?”

Barry shook his head. “No, sir.”

“And you don’t deny that you and Leonard Snart are in a romantic relationship?” He should have called a spade a spade and said sexual, but the evidence was them smiling and kissing, and he would work from that.

Barry shook his head. “No, sir.”

David sighed, temples throbbing. “Barry—he could kill you. What are you thinking?”

Barry dragged in a breath, shook his head.

“Is this ongoing?”

He nodded.

David’s frustration was growing. “Never would’ve figured Snart for a PDA kind of guy.” His voice was a little bitter. He was losing his best CSI (his ace in the hole, really) thanks to 'Captain Cold' and he didn’t even know why.

But Barry let out a half-choked, single laugh. “You don’t know his possessive streak.”

David arched an eyebrow and leaned forward. “Is he forcing you into this, Allen? Hurting you?” It was the only explanation he could think of, and one he’d cycled back to more than once that morning.

No.” It was raspy but vehement, stronger than anything else Barry had said so far. “Len wouldn't—look, I’m fired. I know that. If you’re not arresting me right now, then I’ll just go pack up, okay? I’ll sign whatever you need me to sign. Just…”

David sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Spivot, put down the pen for a moment.”

She looked to him with eyebrows raised then placed the pen at her side, making a show of turning off the recorder, nodding at him. Barry looked between her and David, eyebrows down, shoulders down. The essence of a kicked puppy. David wasn’t sure he would ever get it, the confusing and ever-changing enigma that was Barry Allen. Just as soon as he thought he had the kid’s secrets all figured out…

“Off the record, Barry, just tell me why? How did this even happen? You know who he is, what he’s done and what he’s capable of,” better than maybe anyone else in the precinct, really.

Barry looked at him, watery eyes but set, determined. “Because he’s my Soulmate.”

Oh shit.

David swore, slammed a hand on his desk and the other two in the room startled at the noise. Then he pinched the bridge of his nose, beyond frustrated. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Barry shook his head. David’s eyes were closed, but he knew that’s exactly what Barry was doing—shaking his head with that little confused and worried expression of his. It made a strange, perverse sort of sense. Only Barry Allen could have this type of luck.

“Excuse me, sir?”

He didn’t even open his eyes, too consternated. “Yes, Spivot?”

“I just wanted to make sure it’s clear that you can’t fire Mr. Allen. If he’s willing to go on the record with that, I mean. And if he can prove that Captain Cold—sorry, that Leonard Snart—is his Soulmate.”

“I—wait, what?” Barry asked and David opened his eyes and leaned his elbows on the desk.

“Know your rights, Allen. Soulmates get Pair Exemptions. Nobody, including police and civil servants, can be fired on account of who their Soulmate is, regardless of that person’s actions or activities. Nor can you give testimony or be required to provide information on him, no obstruction of justice charges for withholding, you can’t be held criminally responsible for harboring your Soulmate, and more. You took criminology classes, I’m sure you know most of this, but Spivot can give you the details.”

He probably could fire Barry for hiding it or find a loophole somewhere, but he really didn’t blame him for doing it, and didn't genuinely want to fire him over this, not over something he couldn't control. The sick expression was back on Barry’s face but now David knew he was sick with hope. That somehow made it worse.

“I can." Spivot moved closer. "There’s a whole section to the laws and legislation governing Soulmate Bonds that is specific to Bonding with criminals. Regulations for civil servants filter down from the federal level, with extra protection from the state of Missouri. There’s going to be a small mountain of paperwork if your Soulmate is Capta—Snart, but your job won’t be at risk.”

Barry looked between them, sitting up straighter, halfway out of his seat with the burst of energy, “for real? I can come out about my relationship with Len and not lose my job or go to prison for it?”

“If you can prove that you and him are Soulmates,” Spivot said easily, and Barry relaxed back into his chair like he was melting, running hands over his head. His relief said more than enough. It was real.

“What uh, what constitutes proof? Because obviously Len can’t just waltz into the precinct and show you his Mark?”

If there was a God, she was laughing at David right now. Or at Barry Allen, and David was just along for the ride.

“Not like charging him with anything would be too easy, considering the loss of evidence and files in our system pertaining to Leonard Snart,” David’s eyes narrowed on Barry and he watched the other swallow.

“Ah—Mr. Allen, when did you say you and Snart achieved Initial Communion?” Spivot followed the unsaid accusation in David’s statement, but he shook his head at her before Barry could answer.

“Allen’s not a suspect in that. We have the Flash on camera doing it.” Which was rich, really, and honestly this explained a lot.

“Ah, right.” She smiled and nodded pleasantly, like the loss of those files wasn’t a perpetual frustration to David. “But we will still need to know the date of Initial Communion for the paperwork.”

“Uh, it was late June. He had just robbed the museum that caved-in? Wait, shit, don’t put the robbery part on record. But, uh, he ran into me while he was getting away—I was kind of in his way and it—it was messy.”

Barry openly admitting his Soulmate had robbed a museum in front of him and Spivot was either the high point or the low point of David’s day. It remained to be determined which.

“Spivot, what’s the regulation on burden of proof in this case? Does it rest on Barry or the CCPD, and what’s the time frame?”

“Ah, it rests on the individual to prove that they are indeed Soulmates with the criminal or wanted party, and as of two years ago, proof can be in high-resolution photographs of both Soulmates with the Soulmark and the face both visible, witnessed and signed by a notary-at-law. Or in the case of the individual in question being a member of a police division, including CSIs, it can also happen with a visible examination of both Marks side-by-side by the person from Internal Affairs assigned to the case with a similar signature by that individual. Which would be me.” She smiled brightly. David’s eyebrows shot up, as did Barry’s. “Oh, and the time frame is ten business days from the date when the case is opened unless there are extenuating circumstances, in which case we could file for an extension. But so long as Snart is in Central City right now, that shouldn’t be an issue.”

Barry was looking at David with bright eyes. “I can do that. We can do that. No problem. I’ll call Len and me and Spivot can meet him today and—”

“Whoa, whoa, Allen—you want an officer from the CCPD to go and meet with you and Snart? You realize he has ten days to get a photograph signed, sealed, and delivered, right? I don’t see any reason why Spivot needs to put herself at risk for this.”

Why Barry looked crestfallen and Patty looked disappointed was beyond David. These were the strangest two people in his precinct, he was pretty sure.

“I…” Barry sat up straighter, “look, Len won’t submit a photo of himself, especially not something as private as his Mark, for the CCPD to have on file.”

“The state, actually,” Patty interjected, then set back when David gave her a look. “Right.”

“Are you telling me that Snart would rather meet with a cop and all the mess that comes with that, rather than just submit a photograph?”

Barry nodded, still looking half-panicked.

“I have a hard time believing that.”

“Please, just trust me on this. Len is not going to give you a photo of his Mark. Especially not one with his face in it.”

“You realize it’s your career on the line.”

“He’ll meet with someone. Seriously. I can get him to today if I have to.”

David’s throbbing headache was back in full force. Even with the green smoothie as an omen, he had underestimated just how long this morning (surely, this week) was going to feel.

“You can get him on the phone?”

Barry hesitated and David thought he might actually say no but he pulled out his cell. “You want me to just…?”

“Might as well, Mr. Allen.” Might as well get this whole mess settled as quickly as physically possible.

Barry didn’t look any less clammy, and now David’s dread morphed into something else entirely as well. He had no idea what to do but move forward here and try to process it all later. The phone was ringing.

“H-ey, Len…I, uh—weshit, I am not having a good day.” He let out a little laugh, the laugh of a person at the end of his rope, a little too choked up and David couldn't help but feel for him, just a little. “No, no, I’m fine, no, no one’s hurt, don’t worry, it’s just uh…” he sniffed, dragging a hand through his hair to hold himself in check. “God this is so stupid… Yeah, I know I am, you really don’t have to tell me… No, I’m… It’s—I’m about one step away from getting fired. The CCPD found out about us. They found out we’re Soulmates.”

David was having a hard time believing his ears, just the casual way Barry talked to Snart, the obvious familiarity.

“I don’t know, Len—they have photos… of when we met at Terracotta Coffee before opening Wells’s will? And last week, in Chubbuck park…”

Those photos were from last week? He wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

“What? No, Len—I wouldn’t let anyone trace this call, relax. I won’t let anyone use me to get to you… No, I'm in my Captain’s office, with him and someone from IA. That’s…yeah, I know… I mean, obviously someone is stalking us because these photos just showed up on my Captain’s desk this morning.”

There was a pause and Barry’s expression darkened, “probably. But that’s not why I called. I need a favor… no, you’re really not. I don’t suppose you’d get a notarized high-resolution photo of your Mark that shows your face?” He sighed, deflating, a nervous glance at David then away, down. “Yeah, no, I didn’t think so. Uhm… okay. The only other option if I want to keep my job is that you have to meet with me and a person from Internal Affairs… yeah.”

He winced then listened to the other end, and his voice was softer, quieter and more personal, less panicked when he kept talking. “Hey, hey, I know, but the officer from IA seems nice enough and if you just meet with us… I don’t know, somewhere neutral? …I—oh. Uh. I mean you know I—uh huh. That’s…” he looked at David. “Are you sure?”

He held out the phone to David.

Oh hell.

“This is David Singh.”

“Hello, Captain.”

It was actually Leonard Snart. Not that David had any reason to doubt, but if he had, this was more than enough. His stomach was tight and he felt a little sick.

“Snart.”

Patty leaned forward in her seat, attention rapt.

“I understand I have to meet with someone from your side of the fence to help ensure Barry’s continued employment?”

David supposed that it was good, in a way, that Snart was even considering this. Some people might’ve just let Barry get fired. Awful people, but David didn’t put much stock in men who terrorized the city for their own amusement.

“That is correct, Mr. Snart.”

“At a neutral location.”

“Ideally.”

“And how do I know some of your detectives won’t take it as an opportunity to try and catch me?” His voice was so smug and sardonic at once, it was strange to imagine him and Barry side by side.

“I could ask you the same thing—how do I know you won’t ambush anyone I send and use this to your advantage?”

There was a pause before he eventually drawled, “that’s fair. But something tells me we’re going to have a hard time taking one another at our word.”

David really didn’t like this guy. “I don’t trust you as far as I could throw you, Snart. But I trust Barry. So how about this. Barry, myself, and our officer from Internal Affairs will come to meet you." As much as he'd rather send Joe West, the man would be liable if it ever made it onto a record that he'd known about this in advance. Barry couldn't be culpable in being Bonded to a criminal, but West was a totally different story. "And you will come alone, because I’ll allow you to choose the location. No abandoned warehouses.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. Put Barry back on.”

David handed the phone back to Barry.

“Hey… I—should be, yeah. We're good. Got it. Wait, right now?” he addressed that to both him and Snart, from what David could tell, and David nodded. He’d cleared his morning for this, and this was top priority for Spivot. “Right, okay. So. Meet you there?”

He hung up, and David could almost see the weight of the world pulling at his shoulders. He couldn’t dwell on it, he had a precinct to run.

“Where to, Mr. Allen?”

 

**********

 

The drive over wasn’t as awkwardly quiet as David was anticipating. Getting out the precinct had been. It hadn’t escaped anyone’s attention that David had Barry Allen and an officer from IA into his office first thing that morning with the blinds drawn. Joe had come up as soon as they exited the office but David had just held up his hand. “Later, Joe. Barry has someone he needs to introduce us to.” 

The man’s eyes had widened and he stepped out of their way, and Eddie had looked alarmed beside him. Why was the entire West-extended family so bad at plausible deniability? Though he supposed it didn’t matter. Everyone was going to know as soon as the paperwork was filed anyway, there was no way of hiding it now, and he tried not to feel too bad about Barry’s secret being out. At least, not about this secret. David would protect the ones that mattered.

For his own part, Barry was holding up better than David had expected on the drive, and David was reminded just how much mettle Barry really had hiding under his flailing awkward… persona. Or whatever it was that he was at work. But Patty was helping with drawing him out of his shell right now. She’d started with easy topics, about moving to Central, about forensics, about the metahuman taskforce and how she'd almost joined it before the military swooped in and she transferred to Internal Affairs instead. By then it was an easy transition back to the issue at hand and she had actually brought the paperwork, had started asking Barry questions along the drive. Details of the date and time of Initial Communion that Barry fudged his way through in typical fashion when he was called upon to lie. David was curious about the truth, but not that curious. Not curious enough to ask. Then other details, names, ages, birthdays, all things that Barry told her ‘Len’ wouldn’t want the CCPD to have on file again.

“Snart will deal with it if he wants you to have a job,” David snapped eventually, blood pressure too high. He was on his way to meet one of the most notorious criminals his city had ever produced and he wasn’t even going to arrest him. He was being sorely cheated.

Patty put away the paperwork and started asking Barry personal questions. “What’s he like? Captain Cold? Have you see the cold gun? Does it really freeze things to absolute zero?”

Barry laughed in discomfort. “I—yeah, yeah it does. It’s a mean piece of technology.”

“But you’re a scientist—I’ve read so many of your reports. It must be fascinating from that angle?”

“You read my reports? Umm… well, I kn—have met the guy who made it. Cisco Ramon, from STAR Labs? He helps out with the metahuman task force at the precinct sometimes.”

And David remembered that Barry’s true skill was deflection. Patty was dogged in her questions, Barry expert in his defusing of them, and David was just incredibly glad when he pulled into the driveway at Joe West’s house. It was a curious place for Snart to pick, but it made a helluva lot of sense from a tactical standpoint. Barry’s home—neither of them were likely to try anything while they were in there.

Barry unlocked the door, “so, welcome to my—Len! How’d you even get in here?”

David resisted the impulse in every fiber of his being to go for his gun. Leonard Snart was leaning against a wall in the living room, arms crossed and casual with a mug of coffee in one hand, parka on and cold gun holstered on his thigh.

“You think locks are an issue for me, Barry?” He sounded almost insulted, in an amused sort of way. By David’s side, Spivot looked a little too star-struck for his liking.

“Let’s get this over with, gentlemen.”

Snart pushed himself off the wall and deposited the mug on a side table while Barry moved over to him. David stayed by the entrance.

“Thanks for doing this,” Barry’s voice was soft and David, somehow, became even more tense. This room, this house, Snart here. Barry, having to thank his Soulmate for something that Barry shouldn’t ever have to go through in the first place.

“Not too much choice, was there?”

Barry sighed and David hated Snart for that. Then Barry turned to Spivot.

“So, uh, Officer Spivot, what’d you need us to do?”

“Where are your Marks located?”

Barry lifted up the side of his shirt, and huh. There it was. David couldn’t help but look, curious despite himself. It was big, bigger than most, probably six inches in diameter, a circle surrounding an intersection of jagged lines with smaller lines coming off them too, almost like an octagon someone got fancy with. It sort of reminded him of a spider web.

“Oh wow,” Patty stepped closer and knelt down to examine it. With Snart standing next to Barry, that put her much closer to that gun of his than any sane human would want to be. “It’s so intricate, and large. Have you read any of the Soul Signs literature on—”

“Yeah, we’re Vitalis.”

David didn’t miss that Snart arched an eyebrow at Barry, but Patty was engrossed. “Of course, that makes sense. It’s so close to the organs and the lines are jagged. Does that mean your bleed—”

“Are you done?” Snart snapped. David’s eyes narrowed but Barry shot him a look and Patty finally looked a little frazzled.

“Right. Um. Just one…” she pulled a magnifying glass out of her kit bag she’d brought for this. “I just have to check the microstructure. Most people don’t even know a SoulMark has a microstructure, but if you zoom in, they aren’t made of solid lines but actually each line will be formed of much much smaller lines, often similar to a crystalline structure in two dimensions. That’s why tattoos and falsifications can’t perfectly mimic their look.” She grinned and David’s headache was coming back. But then she seemed to realize the lack of reception to her enthusiasm and held up the tool to examine Barry’s Mark, getting close with latex glove-covered fingers pressing lightly against Barry’s skin and David didn’t miss that Snart’s fingers twitched closer to Barry for just a moment. Possessive streak, indeed.

“Oooh it’s heptagonal, you don’t see that too often. But it's very real. Okay,” she leaned back and looked up at Snart. “You next?”

He pursed his lips for a moment, eyes flicked to David who tried to look put upon. It wasn’t hard. Then he shrugged out of that parka and rested it on the couch before he looked back down at Patty and slowly lifted up the side of his sweater.

Wow,” she breathed, and for the first time, David wanted to echo her sentiment. Snart had tattooed a pattern around his Mark, so seamless it was almost impossible it tell it was a Mark except for the white color to it, and even then he had white tattoos in the mix to obscure it, other snowflakes disappearing up above the line of his shirt. “This is quite the obfuscation design. I’ve never seen one so clever, or so big. Is there more?”

To David’s extreme surprise, Snart actually looked pleased for a half second. “Much more.”

“May I—sorry, that’s inappropriate, I won’t—” she cut off talking when Snart began to pull up his shirt to his chest, revealing more of it, and it seemed like it might bridge down his arm. Even Barry looked surprised by the movement, but then, Captain Cold had always been a bit showy. Something about Snart enjoyed a captive audience, and Spivot was unwittingly providing, jaw slack.

“That’s some ink, Snart. How much of that did you get done in prison?” David couldn’t help the comment. It was petty, maybe, but he didn’t get to arrest the man so at least he should get to piss him off a little.

“You ought to know I haven’t been to Iron Heights in fifteen years, Captain. Maybe if your detectives were a little faster…”

David’s eyes flicked to Barry then back to Snart. “Something tells me speed isn’t the issue with the man who slows things down.”

Snart snorted and David hated the feeling of being dismissed. He looked back down at Patty though, “just about finished?”

“Right! Right, sorry, I was just—it’s remarkable, hah, and it’s covering your Mark, sorry.”

Snart’s face actually softened into amusement again and Barry dropped his head back to quietly whisper, “please don’t encourage the puns.”

David could only imagine. But Patty had her magnifying glass out and then was done, stepping back and letting Snart pull his shirt back down.

“Anything else?” the man asked, looking at Barry, who looked at David, who looked at Patty.

“Oh! Um. Paperwork, and signatures? And, ah…” apparently asking Captain Cold to basically strip was just another day for Patty Spivot, but asking him to fill out a form was impossible. “Barry wouldn’t tell me your birthday. Or age. Or, well I could guess your gender, though if you identify differently—and we normally take finger prints to verify—”

“Not happening.”

“Errrr…” she looked at David for support. He sighed.

“Fill out her forms and we’ll leave the finger prints. Your birthday isn’t a state secret, Snart.”

He tilted his head to the side in that cocky, acknowledging way he had and took the forms from Patty, strolling to the couch like he owned the place and sitting down, unholstering the gun and putting it on the coffee table while he completed the forms, still but for eyes his scanning the pages. Barry wrinkled his nose in distaste, staring at the gun. David could only imagine.

But he was satisfied Snart wasn’t about to hurt Patty and this was above board, so he turned to Barry. “Mr. Allen, a word?” He nodded at the door. Barry, who’d been standing there with one hand at his mouth, worrying his thumbnail in his teeth, the other hand cupping his elbow—so many easy tells of his anxiety—looked startled, then nodded.

He touched Snart on the shoulder before following David out to the driveway.

“You okay, Barry?”

The other blew out a long, heavy sigh. “Honestly, Captain? This is not how I planned to spend my day, but… it beats being fired?” He said it with a smile, clapping his hands together, a sense of flowing energy about him now that he was outside.

“I have to say, it floored me—you and him.”

“Ah, yeah,” he scratched the back of his head, kinetic, always moving. “Surprised me too. And everyone else I know. But… it’s good to have a little faith.”

“How long has Joe known?”

“Just over a month… but zero days, if he’s not supposed to know.”

David sighed. Joe had an unfortunate habit of covering for Barry, but he could understand, in this case. “It’s off the record…” he paused, picking his words. “He treat you okay? Snart, I mean.”

Barry looked surprised, and a little vulnerable at the question. “He does. He’s… I know what he’s done, I know who he is, I’m not—I know. But he’s also not who everyone thinks he is. He’s good. There’s a lot of good in him, deep down it seems sometimes, but it’s real. And I believed in that before we Bonded.”

Allen was both very good and very bad at hiding things. It almost made David cringe sometimes just how bad, and yet somehow he managed to get away with massive secrets. Plain sight. But a wake up call might help remind him to choose his words more carefully. “So you knew him before you Bonded?”

The deer-in-the-headlights look was almost too much. David had seen Barry’s ‘oh shit’ face enough times though not to bother relishing in it, so he just ploughed on.

“Is that why you erased his records all those months ago? Or did you actually Bond before June?”

Barry’s face froze, as expected. “I—wh—you uh, you said it yourself, the Flash did that.”

David just stared at him, seeing the alarm grow on his face, letting him stew before he took pity. “You’re right. It was the Flash. Though I’ve always suspected someone helped him hack into our systems.”

He could almost see Barry sweat. “I Bonded with Leonard in June, Captain, and I didn’t know him before that. I just… processed evidence on his cases, saw his fight with Flash, and thought… there might be more to him. But I don’t know anything about the Flash erasing his records.”

David had to hand it to him, he was a better liar than he used to be, at least. “Had to check.”

“Of course, sir.”

He wondered if there was a way he could ask Allen to stop slipping so much extra information into his reports, information it would be impossible for anyone who wasn’t at the scene to know, but he doubted it. After all, plausible deniability was very important to David.

“Relax, Allen. You’re not on trial.”

Barry sagged a little, nodded and dragged a hand through his hair, collecting himself. It was alarming, how vulnerable he could be as Barry Allen, and how indestructible he seemed as the Flash, how fearless and reckless he seemed in that red suit.

“About, the records—I’m sure the Flash had a good reason. There’s more to Leonard than just...” he waved, vaguely. “I’m sure there was more to it. Lives to save or something.”

David nodded. He’d always hoped there was some bigger purpose to it. Knowing both sides of the coin that was Allen meant he was more likely to give either the benefit of the doubt, which could be a slippery slope but… at the end of the day, he actually did trust Barry. Even after all this.

“I’m sure it was something like that. Now, if that’s everything, go tell Patty to hurry up, it’s getting close to lunch time and I had half a green swamp water mix for breakfast.”

He moved to the car and Barry moved back to the house. Neither said thank you, for the implicit trust, for not trying to put Leonard Snart in jail and for not making this any harder than it had to be. And as he sat down and let himself relax by a fraction, David realized with a sinking feeling that he’d pretty much just lost all hope of ever seeing Captain Cold brought to justice. It was bitter, but well, at least the Flash would keep him in line.