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Remembrance

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The first thing he saw when he woke up was a ceiling. An old, ratty, altogether really ugly ceiling.

The next thing he noticed was a voice, low, calm, really nice in a way. And the uncomfortable couch he was lying on.

He turned around and spotted a man. He couldn't place the man's face, but wow—that was a really handsome face. Definitely made up for the ugly ceiling.

The man stopped talking on the phone, looking over at him and coming over.

"About time you woke up."

He blinked, feeling confused. He was pretty sure that introductions should have been in order first. But the man acted like he knew him, somehow.

"What? No 'thank you for saving my ass'?" The man asked after a moment of quiet, raising his brows.

He sat up, wincing slightly. God, everything hurt. He felt pretty beaten up, but couldn't remember what had happened. Or why he was wearing whatever it was he was wearing, which looked like a garishly red suit. How weird.

He frowned. His body hurt, but so did his head. Everything felt out of place.

"Who are you?" He asked eventually, looking at the man expectantly.

The man seemed taken aback by his question, considering him with a calm look and crossing his arms. A moment of silence ensued between them, then the man stepped a little closer.

"You don't remember?" The man asked, seeming—wary, in a way. It was hard to place, as if every expression on the man's face was nothing but a carefully constructed mask.

He shook his head, feeling oddly helpless. "No. Should I?"

The man sighed, sitting down on a chair next to the couch. It drew his attention to an oddly glowing weapon strapped to the man's thigh.

"Do you remember who you are?" The man asked cautiously.

He opened his mouth to answer. Of course he knew, everyone did—

He didn't.

Oh, dear god, he didn't. He couldn't recall his name, didn't know who he was, and god, how was that even possible—

"Calm down, Scarlet. Don't panic."

Surprisingly, trying not to panic did not help much with not panicking. He sucked in a hurried breath that didn't seem like enough, then another, chest feeling too tight. Hands clutching into fists, he felt the strange red leather gloves pulling over his knuckles, and his hands were shaking in a really weird way, almost like they were vibrating but that wasn't possible, and the odd outfit was just another reminder that he didn't know anything about himself—

"Scarlet," the man cut through his thoughts, one hand reaching out and curling around his wrist.

He looked up, taking a deeper breath. Okay, right, right, he could do this. Ask questions first, panic later.

"You keep calling me that, is that my name?" That would be a really weird name. But then again, so was this suit he was wearing. What if he had been—was?—some really weird guy?

The man was quiet for a moment, and when he looked up, he saw that the guy was grinning a little.

"No. Your name's Barry Allen."

He frowned a little. The name didn't ring a bell, or feel familiar in any way. Was it supposed to feel familiar? Or was it to be expected that it felt strange?

"So... 'Scarlet' is a nickname? Does that mean we're friends? We have to be, right, you wouldn't have a nickname for me if we weren't—that means you know stuff about me? You can answer some questions?"

The man was grinning even more now.

"If you don't ask too many at once, sure."

He—Barry, okay, he could do this, his name was Barry—leant against the back of the couch. He tried for a grateful smile, and wow, it felt weird not knowing how that expression looked on his face, what his face even looked like.

"Okay, and... your name?"

"I'm Len," the man answered, a smug grin stretching over his lips. It seemed a bit uncalled for, a bit too complacent given the situation, but maybe that was just his face? "We're—friends."

"Okay. Uh, great. Why am I wearing a red full-body leather suit?"

Len was quiet for a moment before he replied. "That's the Flash's suit—not yours."

"Who's the Flash?"

"Superhero. Disappeared a few days ago, you decided to step in and got your ass handed to you by the Flash's enemies."

"And that's where you came in to save my ass, and that's why everything hurts right now?"

"Yes, that would be right. Mind getting out of that thing now?"

"Sure," Barry started and got up, gloved fingers slipping over red leather and finding the zipper almost on their own. Barry guessed that was a good thing, since he really wouldn't have wanted to ask for help. That would have been embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as suddenly sitting there with the suit pooling around his hips, and realizing that he was only wearing boxer briefs underneath.

He could feel the heat rising up to his cheeks, sending a sheepish glance over to Len. "Um, do you—"

"I should have some spare clothes. Wait here," Len instructed, still with that odd grin to his lips, and left the room.

He returned with a pair of loose sweatpants and a shirt that was a bit too wide around Barry's shoulders, but it was better than the odd suit. Once Barry settled back down, body still aching all over, Len insisted on him getting some rest before asking anything else.

As it turned out, that wasn't such a bad idea, because after drinking some water and stuffing himself with an unexpectedly large amount of frozen pizza, Barry felt quite a lot better. And with that newfound energy, he began drilling Len with questions.

Len had an odd way of replying, answering each question with only a few words and none of it felt familiar to Barry. But it was enough for Barry to get an idea of who he—who Barry Allen—was. As he got to know, his mother had been murdered when he was eleven. His father had been sentenced for life for the murder, but didn't actually commit it as Barry was ultimately able to prove. His father had been released just a few weeks ago, but left the city. Barry had been raised by the Wests, Joe and Iris.

Barry was a CSI with the Central City Police Department, had chosen the job to prove his father's innocence. But the police not believing him about his father's innocence for over 14 years had lead Barry to hold a grudge deep down.

"You don't really like hurting people, never did. But when we first met, you were pissed enough to agree to help me pull a heist. And you loved it. The thrill, the danger, the adrenaline—and you're good at it. You know how the police work, how crime scenes are analyzed. So you kept it up, worked with me a few times."

"Really?" Barry asked, feeling a bit incredulous. It sounded like a strange concept, working for the police and at the same time using that knowledge to be a criminal. But when Barry thought about it, about the rush of successfully pulling off something that nobody else could—that felt good. Right. Like something—someone—he actually was.

Len nodded. "You didn't do it often. Pretty sure I'm the only one you ever worked with."

Then Len went on about what had happened to Barry. When the particle accelerator had exploded, Barry had ended up with super powers. Super speed, to be exact. Barry didn't believe Len about that one until the other man pulled out a key ring, throwing it at Barry. In mid-air, the keys suddenly slowed down, almost standing still. It felt surreal and freaked Barry out enough that despite having pretty much all the time in the world, he didn't reach out to catch the keys before they hit his chest. It was enough to make him believe Len that something about him was different, though, so he accepted the super power story for now to let Len continue.

As if the story hadn't been crazy enough yet, Len went on to tell him that he wasn't the only one to end up with super powers, and also not the only one to have super speed. There were quite a lot speedsters, as Len called them, among them the Flash, some yellow guy and also one with a black suit that seemed to be really bad news. Barry himself had apparently decided to keep his powers a secret and not use them unless absolutely necessary.

Which turned out to be this evening, when Mardon and Jesse—whoever those two guys were—had threatened families with children. The Flash hadn't shown up, so Barry had grabbed a replica of the suit and gone out to take on the fight himself. A rather bad idea, if the bruises and pain were anything to go by. Especially Mardon, who seemed to have some sort of weather powers, had been hard on him, and Len's guess was that something between being hurled through the air, being hit with giant hailstones and struck by lightning had led to Barry's amnesia.

Once Barry felt like he'd asked enough questions—at least for now—he sighed deeply. It felt so odd to hear someone else recite his life to him, unable to recognize any of it himself.

"Do you think my memory's gonna' come back soon?" Was his last question, but he already knew that Len wouldn't be able to answer that one.

Just as expected, the other man shrugged. "Don't know. I know someone with medical knowledge, I'll ask her."

Barry nodded. "That'd be nice, thanks. So... How do we do this? I'm guessing I'll head back to my foster family—Joe and Iris, right?"

"You could. But I think you should stay here."

"Why that?" Barry asked, surprised.

Len gave him a wry grin. "Me and you working together—that's our little secret, Barry. As far as I know, you've never told any of your friends about this. Are you sure you could keep this hidden, now, in your state? And let me tell you, you're a terrible liar, even with your memory fully functional."

Barry frowned, gnawing on his lower lip. He couldn't even remember any of the people Len had mentioned to him, and the other man had seemed friendly enough so far. Barry didn't really feel comfortable with the idea of leaving. "I guess you're right, but won't they be worried if I just disappear like this?"

Len looked contemplative for a moment, then shook his head. "Don't think so. You moved out some time ago. Should be a few days until they start to wonder. And we were just about to plan a heist together."

"Okay...? I'm not sure if I can be much of a help like this," Barry mumbled. Hearing so much about himself had helped him calm down, but there was still the low hum of anxiety deep down inside him, reminding him that something about this situation was really, really fucking wrong. He had amnesia, for god's sake.

"Don't worry, Scarlet," Len answered, grin equal parts encouraging and oddly smug. "I'm sure you'll do great."

Barry nodded, shifting on the couch to find a more comfortable sitting position. "Sure... Thank you for saving my ass, I guess. And, you know—everything else. Telling me who I am."

Len's grin turned fully smug at that, almost predatory, and Barry couldn't help but find it oddly off-putting, that Len seemed to be so very satisfied and worry so little with a friend suddenly having amnesia.

"My pleasure, Barry."