Barry had had the worst week. Everything that could go wrong at work, had. Captain Singh had actually threatened to suspend him, he was so angry when Barry showed up at the third crime scene in a row late. Barry thought he’d been bad before, but he was even worse with being on time since becoming The Flash, which had to be some cosmic joke.
It wasn’t his fault the Rogues were becoming more organized, hitting targets together, or at the same time in separate locations around the city, so that Barry was pulled in several directions at once, several times a week. He’d had to cancel family dinner night with Joe, Iris, and Eddie—again. And sure, all of them knew he was The Flash, so they understood, but that didn’t mean he didn’t miss them. It didn’t mean Iris didn’t have that long-suffering sigh look every time he saw her.
And to make matters worse, Friday night, Friday night of all nights, Leonard Snart, who had way too much fun with his Cisco-given persona of Captain Cold, had decided to make Barry’s week even better by robbing the most lucrative jewelry store in all of Central City after they’d gotten a new shipment of engagement rings in. The worst part being…that was also where Iris’s ring from Eddie happened to be while it was being resized.
All Barry could think about was how disappointed Iris would be if he didn’t manage to get the ring back, if Snart actually took off with it. And then of course that’s exactly what happened. Snart had been doing the job jointly with Golden Glider, who was already long gone with her half of the loot, Snart only lingering to taunt Barry that once again they had outsmarted and outgunned him, and Barry knew, just knew which of the bags Snart was carrying had the rings that were being resized, and he just…lost it.
Legs frozen to the floor of the jewelry store, too enraged and frazzled to vibrate himself out of it, he snapped. Ranted at Snart, raved over his awful week, how of course, of course the Rogue had to make it worse by hitting this jewelry store, taking that bit of loot when Iris’s own ring was in there, his almost-sister, who deserved to be happy damn it, even if he never would be, and he couldn’t take this anymore, being Barry Allen CSI and The Flash, getting yelled at and looked down on as not being good enough, not being fast enough, when he was the freaking fastest man alive, all because he couldn’t get his life to sync up for once, let things go his way just once…
“And you, Cold, are just the icing on the cake, aren’t you? Ha freaking ha! Just…just go. You win. I suck. I just want this week to be over,” he’d finished, and finally flopped back onto the floor, his iced legs stinging, but he couldn’t even care right now, as he laid there and waited for Snart to leave.
Snart had sort of just stood there for a while, all the loot carefully tucked around him, and carried in his hands in various bags, as he stared at Barry, blank-faced but calculating. “I’ll see you around, kid,” he said, and was gone.
Barry waved a hand his way, not even really responding, and after a few moments, finally vibrated out of the ice and gave himself a moment for his legs to thaw before standing. It was only when he headed for the exit that he saw the bag with Iris’s ring in it left in the entryway of the store.
Iris was ecstatic. Barry didn’t even know how to explain, ended up saying he had managed to get that one bag away from Snart, even though he lost him afterwards, and it felt like victory to have at least saved Iris’s ring.
Snart must have pitied him after his outburst, Barry thought, but then that idea quickly crumbled when the very next night, S.T.A.R. Labs got an alert that Wells’s house was being broken into, which everyone knew was empty with the scientist ‘missing’ now for several weeks. Barry figured it would be an easy B&E to thwart, until he arrived to find Leonard Snart waiting for him.
“And here I thought you’d had a moment of kindness, Captain Cold. My mistake,” Barry growled as he darted toward Snart, but when a stream of cold headed his way, he had to flash to the side, and knocked right into a table with some priceless looking vase on it that crashed to the floor.
“Maybe I just like this dance, Flash, and you’re my favorite partner.”
Barry cringed. Did the guy have to make puns out of everything? Only he couldn’t help the way the corners of his mouth twitched up. “Gee, Cold, if this is a dance, then which one of us is leading?” Barry darted toward him again, only for Snart to ice the floor beneath his feet, then sidestep out of the way as Barry slid into a china cabinet that shattered dishes and glass all around him.
“I thought that much was obvious, Scarlet. I always know right where to lead you.”
Urg. Barry shook the glass away from him as he stood, unharmed, and honestly…not really minding the collateral damage for once since this was Wells’s place. “What are you even trying to steal here, Cold? Or am I late to the party again, and your accomplices already took off with the goods.”
Barry was tripped up once again on his next dash for Snart and found himself barreling toward a grand piano that had already been iced. When he crashed into it, it crumbled into so many chunks with an eerie twang of broken notes.
“I’m taking a page from Heat Wave’s book tonight, Flash. Destruction can be so therapeutic, don’t you think? Doesn’t it feel good to destroy something of the man who tried to destroy you?”
Barry’s stomach plummeted. How did Snart know? Not that Barry would put investigating and eavesdropping and any other underhanded ways of finding out more secrets about him past Leonard Snart, but it still gave him chills. And damn it, he didn’t know if he should groan or laugh when he walked into those.
He shook the ice from him as he stood and faced Snart again, the destroyed piano at his back, and several other shattered things around them making such an awful—wonderful—mess. “Wait…what?” Barry wasn’t the most eloquent when he was surprised. Had Snart really come here just to give Barry the chance to smash Wells’s things?
“Better keep moving, Flash, or I’m likely to hit you,” Snart said with a grin as he fired again and Barry had to flash out of the way. He wasn’t used to fighting like this in a house, however large and spacious, and once again crashed into a table covered in trinkets, and damn, it did feel good to destroy something he didn’t have to feel guilty about.
No one was coming back to this house. Even if Wells—Thawne—ever did, somehow, he was the worst villain Barry would ever face, and he deserved to see some of his things wrecked after everything he had wrecked for Barry.
Before Barry realized what he was doing, he punched a glass case filled with fancy decanters of liquor and watched it all crash and ooze to the floor.
“You don’t always have to keep your cool with me, kid,” Snart’s voice called from behind him. “We’re all allowed to simmer, and even boil over when occasion calls for it.”
Barry whirled around. Pity from Snart? Because of yesterday? How distraught had he seemed?
He shook his head. “I’m not you, Cold. I don’t know how much you know about all this, but this man…he wasn’t really Wells. Some of this stuff could be the real Wells’s belongings.” And sure, Barry hadn’t ever met the real Wells, who was long dead now, but there was still a pinch in his gut of guilt if he let himself think on it too hard.
Snart lifted the nose of his gun up toward the ceiling in reprieve, taking a few measured steps closer. “Even if that’s true…Barry…which I highly doubt after fifteen years, wasn’t it?”
Damn, Snart was good. Did he have surveillance around Barry to know all these things?
“This Reverse Flash character would have replaced everything in plain sight with his own tastes long ago. These are his things. So why not take out a little aggression? After all, you’re just trying to stop little ol’ me, aren’t you? Who’d blame you for any unnecessary destruction when you can blame me?” He grinned…and fired at the ceiling above, which was all glass and had only recently been replaced since the last time someone shattered it.
Barry covered his head as Snart stepped back over the threshold into the other room, safe from the rain of sharp edges falling around Barry. But the suit wouldn’t be outdone by glass, not even that much glass, and Barry was fine once the shower of shards stopped and he looked across the room at Snart still grinning.
“Catch me if you can, Flash,” he said, and darted out of sight around the corner.
Barry gave chase, barely even crunching over the glass as he flashed across it. All of this was always a game to Snart, but Barry didn’t expect the smile that filled his own face, or the feeling of something shaking loose from his tightly wound muscles every time he destroyed something new inside the house.
He found himself always staying a step behind Snart—on purpose—and recognized how every shot of the cold gun was meant to miss him, or timed and aimed in a way that he could easily dodge. Every moment of the fight gave more and more opportunity for some part of Wells’s house to be iced and shattered, or crashed into and demolished, and it felt so good, so freeing. Barry had never had so much fun.
And Snart, he never stopped talking, never stopped walking them into worse and worse puns, about cold, and speed, and breaking things. About this dance they were doing and the thrill of, well…
“Cold meeting something as hot as lightening, kid…that is one hell of a way to let off steam.”
Barry tripped, and laughed, and held up a hand that he needed to stop, catch his breath. “Stop trying to cheer me up!” he huffed, and laughed again. “I’m cheered, okay, I’m good, shit…” He couldn’t run like usual when he was laughing so hard, especially when he thought harder on what Snart had last said.
Barry was hunched over, leaning on his thighs. He eyed Snart as he stood up straight again, who was also huffing and grinning and obligingly holding the cold gun pointed off to the side as they rested.
“Did you just…call me hot?” Barry gaped at him. “Because if this…if this is your way of flirting…”
Snart aimed the gun at him, but loosely, not seriously as he said, “Then I’m right on target."
Barry groaned, and laughed again, and flashed over to Snart, finally catching the man off guard. He pinned Snart to the nearby wall of…actually, Barry wasn’t sure what room they were in now, since so much of it was in shambles. The cold gun dropped, mostly willingly from Snart’s fingers, and he didn’t struggle against Barry’s hold.
“You going to take me in, Flash?” he asked in a low voice.
His face was sheened with sweat from their playful fight, and this close, Barry could see his eyes through the dark blue lenses of his goggles, looking all sorts of amused and content. He didn’t even care if Barry brought him to the police now; the night had been too much fun.
“Or…” Snart added when Barry didn’t respond.
“Or…?” Barry prompted. His heart was racing—it was always racing, but he could still feel the rush of nerves whenever he was…ha, playing with fire.
He’d only been teasing about Snart flirting with him, but the rumble in his gut, anxious but not unpleasant, as he pinned Snart, so close he could smell something like evergreen emanating from the other man…well, it was a telling sensation Barry couldn’t ignore. Snart was infuriating most times, but also entertaining and very, very attractive. Barry couldn’t help wondering what was under that parka and sweater that covered so much of him, and damn…the adrenaline must be going to Barry’s head.
“There are other ways to let off steam, Scarlet,” Snart said in a softer voice, their surroundings so strangely quiet now after all the chaos.
Barry felt like he should move away, pull back, call it a night, but…then Snart was leaning in closer, and Barry was suddenly very aware of the heat from the other man’s body, the full line of his body that Barry was currently pressing into.
So when Snart kissed him, he couldn’t think of any good reason to pull away.