"So," Cisco says, "I was talking to Barry earlier."
Harry doesn't stop writing on the board, or actually acknowledge Cisco in any way, because why would he do that when another person is speaking to him?
Cisco has a theory, and that theory is that no one on Earth-2 has basic manners. Because otherwise, Harry's just that much of a dick.
Yeah, no, actually, maybe it's the second one after all.
After the five second pause Cisco has learned to allow before deciding that Harry really isn't going to answer, he continues. "About what happened the other day, you know, with my vibe powers and the nosebleeds and the universe-breaking seizures."
Harry makes a monosyllabic noise that still manages to convey a great deal of meaning, with most of that meaning being "why are you still talking to me". That man really has a gift. His hand tightens on his marker though, just barely, and Cisco can see over his shoulder that his proof doesn't make any sense.
He resists the urge to start nitpicking Harry's math, because last time he did that they had to go to Staples after they lost too many erasers in the crossfire. Also, Cisco is a man with a mission.
"Barry said you kind of freaked out about it."
The marker squeaks on the next sigma. Point to Cisco. He still doesn't turn around, though. "You were fading in and out of this universe, Ramon. I was as upset as was warranted by the situation."
Yeah, this is gonna take a while. Cisco sits down backwards in the desk chair and wheels it a few inches closer to Harry's back. "Dude, Barry said you even lost your exposition powers. Sounds pretty serious to me."
Harry gives up the pretense of working and caps the marker with way more force than the poor thing deserves. But hey, abuse of office supplies at S.T.A.R. Labs has been pretty par for the course since Harry showed up. He turns around, arms folded. "What exactly is your point?"
"The point," Cisco says, drawing it out now that he has the upper hand, "the point, Harry, is that you were worried about me."
"I'm glad that you're starting to take Mr. Allen's advice. The man clearly has a great grasp of interpersonal relationships."
Cisco snorts. "You don't even know the half of it." Wait, regroup. "I'm not saying Barry's the best with the ladies--or, you know, kind of anyone--but dude's got the emotional intelligence of a toddler sometimes. If he thinks that something was up, something was up."
Harry takes a step towards Cisco, which, okay--with Cisco still sitting down it's only kind of terrifying.
It's not that Cisco has lingering Reverse-Flash issues, except that he totally does, and Harry getting angry and doing the whole ominous looming thing really doesn't help.
In some universe, maybe this is enough for Cisco to stop pissing him off.
“I’m not sure why you think this matters,” Harry says, voice raspy. “You’re fine, the day was saved, you lived to waste my time another day.”
Cisco rolls his eyes. It turns out that’s kind of ineffective when you’re looking up at somebody, but whatever, he’s trying. “Okay, first of all,” he says, “rude. Second of all: It totally matters, because this whole thing where you treat me like I’m something you scraped off the bottom of your dumb shoes? Kind of getting tired of it! So, you know, some sort of acknowledgement that you don’t actually hate me every now and then would be cool. Didn’t you used to run a company? Is employee morale not a thing on Earth-2?”
“You’re not my employee, Ramon,” Harry says, in a tone that indicates that Harry would never hire Cisco for anything.
“Out of curiosity, do you treat your actual employees any better than you treat me?”
“I am a very busy man,” Harry says, without a trace of irony. “I do not have time for stupidity.”
“Yeah, okay, that’s pretty much what I thought,” says Cisco. He spins around in the chair once, mostly just to see Harry's eyebrow twitch. Gotta take the perks of the job as they come. "Are you trying to tell me that I'm stupid?"
Harry crosses his arm. "You and I both know that you are not stupid, Ramon," he says. "Don't you have better things to do than fish for compliments? I was upset when it looked like you might die, yes. If you died, it would be that much harder for us to find Jesse.” He turns back to the board and contemplates it. Or pretends to. Cisco can’t tell, because now he’s stuck staring at Harry’s back again.
“Jesus, dude,” he says. “Talk about cold.”
“I am not here to be your friend.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re here to save your daughter, and apparently the rest of us--who are trying to help you--don’t matter. You’ve been here for months!” Cisco stands up and takes a step towards Harry, kicking the chair behind him. “I know you try to play it off like you hate us, but I am calling BS.”
“Your opinion is duly noted,” says Harry. “Now get the hell out of my lab and leave me in peace.”
“Sure,” says Cisco. “I’ll leave you alone when you admit you’d be maybe just the slightest bit bummed if I got murdered by a metahuman tomorrow.” Cisco doesn’t know why he’s so angry about this, exactly. But he almost died last week, and Caitlin has been ignoring him to moon over Jay, which--sure, the dude's hot, but he has all the personality of a slice of Wonderbread--and Barry's been so down over Patty that Cisco feels like it's his job to cheer the guy up, not the other way around. And Harry can’t even bring himself to pay for Cisco’s post-near-death-experience burgers.
The other Wells would have at least pretended to care. Which, okay, fine. It’s kind of nice to know that this Wells isn’t going to trick them all by acting like he cares.
Harry shrugs. “It’s none of my business what you do,” he says.
Cisco, without thinking about it very hard, grabs his shoulder to turn him around, because if Harry’s gonna insult him then he might as well do it to Cisco’s face. This turns out to be a bad idea, because Harry responds to this by spinning around and shoving Cisco, hard. Hard enough that he stumbles and falls back into the chair in what Cisco is choosing to imagine is a really graceful manner. And then, no, yeah, there goes the ominous looming thing again--Cisco wonders if there’s a way to talk to Harry about that without getting yelled at--because Harry has both hands on the back of the chair, and that is definitely Looming 101.
“Do not touch me,” Harry says, voice all gravel. “What exactly is it that you’re hoping to hear, Ramon?" He sneers. "That I care about you? What do you think tends to happen to people that I care about?"
Ouch. Way to make a guy feel like shit, Cisco thinks absently, as his heart pounds in his ears, and Harry very pointedly doesn't move.
Harry is--he leans in just a bit more, and Cisco can feel his adrenaline spike like a boot to the gut. Part of him thinks that he's going to get his heart torn out, can remember in agonizing and gory detail just what that felt like, and another part of him thinks that Harry is going to--to what? Kiss him?
Of course, another part of him is just thinking that both of those thoughts are equally absurd, that this was a really, really bad idea, and also that he should probably leave. Now.
Harry jerks back, and the moment breaks. Cisco's chair rolls back a few inches.
"Get out," Harry says, and this time Cisco listens.
Harry is a drama queen. Cisco knows this, deep in his very soul. Like, the guy just really isn't very subtle. It's only been a few months and his temper tantrums are already legendary.
Plus, he's got this kind of Batman level brooding thing going on sometimes. Cisco would compare it to Oliver, but honestly the thought of Oliver and Harry in the same room is just...a really, really bad idea. But the point is, Harry has lived in S.T.A.R. Labs for literal months, and he's still staying on a shitty cot in the basement.
This is where Cisco finds him on a cool Friday evening. Barry is with the West family, including the newly sprouted branch of it, and Caitlin is having dinner with a friend from Mercury Labs. Which leaves Cisco bereft of options for social interaction, because he doesn't really actually have that much of a life outside of work. Like a totally normal and well-adjusted twenty-something, obviously.
It used to be that on nights like these, Cisco would stay late at the lab on some sort of pretense. Sometimes he really did have projects to work on, and sometimes he just didn't want to go home and face his empty apartment.
And Dr. Wells would be at S.T.A.R. Labs at all hours of the night, and if Cisco stayed long enough then usually they would end up just talking.
On one or two memorable occasions, Dr. Wells had affably agreed to watch a movie with him.
Cisco kind of misses those nights. There'd been something untethered about them, as if they were floating in their own bubble of unattached space, apart from everything else in Cisco's life. Dr. Wells had liked sci-fi movies. The last film they'd watched together was Blade Runner.
Now, Cisco wonders if the whole time he was laughing at it. At him.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Cisco coming down to the basement on a lonely Friday night to try to wheedle Harry into watching a movie with him is probably a bad idea. But somehow, Cisco's feet still took him to his (extremely impressive) DVD collection, and then they took him to the kitchen for a bag of popcorn, and now here he is, at the door to Harry's deeply sad looking room.
Cisco knocks on the doorframe. "Hey," he says. "You there, Harry?"
So, off to a promising start, then.
Cisco brandishes The Fifth Element at him. "Movie night," he says. "A hallowed S.T.A.R. Labs tradition."
"This is a classic!" Cisco shakes the DVD case, emphasizing his point. "Also, I made way too much popcorn to eat myself."
Harry eyes the DVD with way more disdain than The Fifth Element could ever deserve. "You still use those over here?" he asks.
"DVDs. They've been obsolete on my earth for years, Ramon." Harry is on his back on his stupid cot, hands behind his head and legs crossed where they're almost falling off the end of the bed. He's staring at the ceiling, probably because there aren't any whiteboards in here for him to use as an excuse to ignore Cisco.
"So what do you guys have? Google glass? Wait, do you guys even have Google?"
"In 2005, maybe," Harry says dismissively. "We use LaserDisc, obviously."
"Yeah, okay," Cisco says. "I am just...not going to touch either of those things."
"Why are you here, Ramon." Cisco wonders if Harry practices that deadpan in a mirror. Or, obviously not a mirror, but maybe into like, a recorder or something.
Since clearly using words like an adult is not the way to go here, Cisco shakes the DVD case and popcorn meaningfully at Harry again, and he barges into the room.
Harry sits up and glares at him.
"Think of it as valuable research about this earth's culture!" Cisco says. He dumps the movie and popcorn on Harry's desk, and goes poking around the room. This has two advantages: it gives him the chance to snoop, and it prevents him from getting too close to Harry while he's in the middle of pissing him off.
Harry's room holds two cots, a nightstand, a desk, a few spare and empty metal tables, and not much else. Typical Harry: of course he would deprive Cisco the joy of going through all of his stuff by just not having enough of it. His desk is covered with papers and office supplies and, in general, the same boring work stuff that his desk in the lab is also covered with.
"What exactly are you hoping to find?" Harry asks, still sitting on his cot. "Evidence that I'm a mass murderer after all?" He's twisting his watch around his wrist.
Cisco gives up on finding anything even close to interesting in this god-forsaken room, and goes to sit on the cot opposite Harry's.
At that, Harry's fists clench and his jaw tightens. Cisco can't think of what he could have possibly done wrong, but hey, it's Harry. Probably he's just decided that Cisco is wearing the wrong kind of shoes or something.
"Is there any particular reason you're staying in what has got to be the most depressing room known to man?" Cisco asks.
"It's been months, dude. I know going outside is a little dicey for you sometimes, but there are actually ways to order a bed online. Hell, I'm sure Barry has a spare mattress lying around that he'd be willing to unload on you."
"I have more important things to do than worry about frivolities," Harry says.
"You could at least like, stick these two together," Cisco says, gesturing between the cots. "I haven't slept on a bed this small since college."
"That one's for Jesse," Harry says, like it's obvious.
Christ. Sometimes Cisco forgets this, forgets what's at stake for Harry, because he's so cold and impenetrable the rest of the time. But he gets this desperate look in his eye when he talks about his daughter. Cisco remembers when he told Harry that he'd seen Jesse, the way he'd grabbed Cisco's shoulders and looked at him like there was nothing else more important in the world.
"Man," Cisco says, "you should have seen the house that Dr. Wells stayed in. We didn't even see it until--well, not for a while. That place was nice. Well. Is nice. Technically Barry owns it now, but I think it's just gathering dust. But I can't imagine Dr. Wells ever settling for something like this."
"Yes," Harry says, voice low. "I am not the Harrison Wells that you knew."
"Yeah," says Cisco. His chest feels tight. He thinks about Jesse, the way that Harry looks when he talks about her. He thinks about the way Dr. Wells used to look when he watched Barry while he was recovering: concerned, yes, but underneath that, there was always something speculative. "Yes, Harry, I know that, because I have actually noticed lately that when you say that you care about people, you mean in the normal human way, where you do nice things for them and care if they get hurt, instead of just being--slightly disappointed when they have to get murdered in order for your world domination plan to work."
Cisco opens his eyes, because apparently he'd shut them tight, and he unclenches his fists from his knees. "You remember, right? The line I had you practice for Grodd. He said I was like his son. That was right before he killed me, in the alternate timeline."
There's a crash. Cisco looks up, startled. "Dude," he says, because Harry has--not for the first time this week--knocked the entire contents of his desk onto the floor. Except this time it's not his desk up in the lab, it's the small nightstand in his fucked up and sad bedroom, and Cisco knows for a fact that one of the things on that desk was a picture of Jesse.
"It's a good thing I never had the honor of meeting your Dr. Harrison Wells," Harry says. It sounds like he's speaking through his teeth.
"I dunno," says Cisco, watching Harry carefully. "I'm kind of getting the idea you might've slugged him. Which would be totally awesome, even if he was a speedster and probably would've killed you."
"Would've been worth it," Harry says.
"I'm not arguing," Cisco says. He glances down at the floor between them, which is now littered with papers and a few picture frames and luckily, no broken glass.
Harry stands, steps over all the shit he just knocked onto the floor, and starts pacing. "I would do anything to protect my daughter," he says.
"I know," Cisco says. Harry is objectively the worst, but he's got an overprotective streak a mile wide. He hardly ever talks about anyone from his earth, except for Jesse.
"I don't understand you, or Mr. Allen, or Dr. Snow," he says.
"Feeling's mutual, bro!" Harry, of course, ignores him.
"This man you all idolized. He got Dr. Snow's fiancé killed. He murdered Allen's mother. He killed you. And all the while he pretended that he loved you."
Cisco nudges at one of the picture frames on the floor until it turns over. Inside is a battered picture that looks like it's spent the majority of its life in someone's wallet. It's a young brunette girl doing what looks like advanced calculus homework at a desk, chewing on the end of her pencil thoughtfully. What an embarrassing dad Harry must be. "Yeah, you're right, my life's been pretty shitty," Cisco says. "Thanks for rehashing all that, dude."
"I'm trying to understand," says Harry, turning back to Cisco. He picks up the picture from the floor and sets it back on the desk with a clatter. He doesn't touch the rest of the junk he knocked onto the floor, of course.
"What here is hard to understand?" Cisco asks. "He betrayed us! He did all of that because he was--an amoral piece of shit, I don't know, he wanted what he wanted and he didn't care what he had to do to get it! But I worked for him for years, he gave me--you don't understand what it was like. My parents have never understood me. No one else ever--Dr. Wells is the only person who thought I could do this. I can't just throw everything he did for me away. It's the same with Barry, with Caitlin, you know? We don't talk about it because it hurts too much and because some people actually, you know, try to avoid conversations that are painful. None of us can hate him, not really." Or maybe Caitlin and Barry can, and Cisco's just the fucked up one. Who knows. Cisco flops onto his back on the stupid cot and stares at the ceiling. It's boring. He wonders how much time Harry spends staring at it. No wonder he's so pissed off all the time.
Harry is looking down at the picture of Jesse. "It's alright," he says. "If you can't hate him."
Cisco rolls his eyes. He knows Harry can't see him do it from where he's standing, but it's cathartic. "If I wanted a pep talk I would so not get it from you."
"I'll do it for you," he says. "He called you a son and stuck his hand through your chest? I hate him." He bends to the ground and starts picking up his papers. "Now help me clean this up."
Cisco briefly considers dealing with that whole emotional can of worms. Yeah, no, he's pretty set for that tonight, thanks. "I'll help you clean up your own damn mess if you agree to watch this movie with me."
Harry grumbles out a noise that Cisco chooses to take as an affirmative.
Wonder upon wonders, it turns out that Harry likes The Fifth Element.
He also hoards the popcorn like an asshole, but Cisco is willing to take what he can get.
After a while, S.T.A.R. Labs starts to fall back into a routine. You really can get used to anything, Cisco figures, even if in this case "anything" means "a doppelgänger of a homicidal maniac hanging out in your lab, needling you, and sometimes throwing erasers at your head".
"And that's another thing," Cisco tells Caitlin, as they're nursing their drinks. Barry's out with Patty, so they don't have to feel bad about the fact that alcohol can actually affect them. They're taking it pretty slow, though--apparently Caitlin doesn't want a repeat of the karaoke night she and Barry had a few weeks ago. "What is with that guy and office supplies? Are social norms different on Earth-2 or something?"
Caitlin laughs. "I think that's just him, Cisco."
It's good that he and Caitlin can do stuff like this. Normal, average co-worker things, like mutually bitching about their colleagues, instead of all the crazy shit they're normally doing.
"Do you ever think we made the wrong choice?" he asks her.
"What do you mean?"
Cisco isn't quite sure what he means. They've made a whole lot of questionable choices at S.T.A.R. Labs, after all, starting and ending with the particle accelerator.
Well, no. Starting and ending with working for Dr. Harrison Wells.
"I guess..." Cisco turns his glass around the bar a few times, watching the condensation as it slides down the sides. "You were going to get out, you know, go work for Mercury. And don't get me wrong, I'm glad you came back! But sometimes I think maybe it would be better if I'd gone with you. I mean, if they'd have me. And we could still help Barry out, but maybe S.T.A.R. Labs is just too..."
"Yeah," Cisco says, with a sigh. "Something like that."
"I don't know," Caitlin says. "Things are going okay, aren't they?"
"It just kind of feels like we're doing the same things, over and over. Working at S.T.A.R. Labs. Fighting another speedster. Working with Harrison Wells."
"Things are different. Harry is definitely--a little abrasive--and I'm not saying I trust him completely, but at least in that way he's a known quantity, right? And we have more help this time. We've got Jay, and Barry knows how to fight another speedster now." Caitlin pulls her straw out of her drink and pokes Cisco in the shoulder with it. "We came out to have fun, didn't we?"
Cisco gives in and smiles at her. "Your point is duly noted," he says. "Whaddaya say we finish these drinks and then head out on the dance floor?"
"That sounds more like it," Caitlin says, and she knocks back the rest of her drink.
In retrospect, it should really not be that much of a fucking surprise that Harry was going behind their backs this entire time. So much for Cisco's vibe powers helping them get a read on him.
It also shouldn't be that surprising that of course now Barry wants them to work with him.
Cisco takes the device that Harry was using to steal Barry's speed down to the lab and starts attacking it with screwdrivers, because otherwise he's going to go to Harry's cell in the Pipeline and try to talk to him. And Cisco has spent enough time talking to Dr. Harrison Wells from the other side of that glass.
Barry's already convinced them that they should help Harry save his daughter. And Cisco's not unsympathetic, he really isn't: he knows what it's like. He's been there, with Snart and Dante.
That kind of just makes it worse. Harry betrayed them, like Wells betrayed them, and hey! Under the right circumstance, Cisco Ramon would betray all his friends too. That's totally something he really wants to spend a lot of time dwelling on.
Really, Cisco should be getting his shit together to go to Earth-2, since apparently that's what they're doing now. But figuring out how this thing works is complicated enough to get his mind off--everything else.
It isn't that Cisco doesn't want to go to Earth-2. It's just that he's not sure he wouldn't rather throttle Harry instead.
It's about an hour before Barry comes down to find him. Barry's a decent dude. He's good about knowing when someone needs space.
Cisco keeps hacking away with his screwdriver for a few moments before he abruptly realizes that he's been in this exact situation before, except it was him trying to talk to Harry and Harry ignoring him. Ugh. He looks up. "Hey, Barry," he says.
Barry walks over and leans against the edge of the desk. "Learn anything interesting from that thing?"
"I'm gonna be real with you," Cisco says. "What's happening right now is less 'research' and more 'stress relief'."
Barry laughs. "Yeah, I kind of figured," he says. "Look. I know that helping Harry out after all this isn't really your first choice."
"That's one way to put it, yeah." Cisco sighs, pushing his chair back from his desk. "I'm not--I'm not saying you're wrong. His daughter has nothing to do with this--I saw her, when I vibed Harry. You're right, that we should help her." Barry's always had better hero instincts, when it comes down to it. That's why The Flash saves people, and Vibe mostly just chills out in a lab and is sometimes occasionally useful.
"This is starting to sound like one of those speeches I get from Joe where he keeps telling me I didn’t do anything wrong, but actually he's trying to tell me that I did everything wrong."
Yeah, Cisco got a lot of those as a kid too. "I just don't know how we're supposed to trust him again, you know?"
"Yeah," Barry says. "Believe me, I've been thinking a lot about that too."
"Care to share with the rest of the class?"
Barry scratches at the back of his neck. "I guess it's complicated. But the thing is--Harry told us what he was doing. He didn't make us figure it out ourselves. He put the life of his daughter at risk to come clean to us. That has to mean something, right?"
"His daughter is everything to him," Cisco says. "So yeah. I do get what you're saying."
"Right. And I guess I just think...Maybe it's not fair for us to expect him to be this amazing mentor, right? He's just some guy who came here to try and fight Zoom. I think maybe we're all hoping that he's going to be--something he's not, I guess, either for better or for worse."
"Still," Cisco says. "Just some guy who hopped universes to hang out with us really shouldn't be putting you in danger, Barry."
Barry shrugs. "I forgive him," he says. "He did what he had to do, right?"
"Yeah, of course you do," Cisco says. He sighs. Sometimes it's hard to live with a literal ray of sunshine in your life. "So when are we leaving?"
They go to Earth-2, and it's extremely cool, and it also goes pretty terribly.
But hey. They get Jesse and they get back home, so Cisco is going to call that a win. There's a moment there in Zoom's lair when Cisco is fairly certain that they're all going to die, but it's worth it. Cisco can see Harry's face the minute they get Jesse out of that cage, and he's never seen Harry look like that. Like he's been cracked open down the middle.
Seeing that, seeing the way Harry holds Jesse close to his side once they get back to Cisco's earth, seeing the way he smiles at her--look. Harry is still a jerk. He still betrayed them all. He still could have gotten Barry killed.
But watching him put his arm around his daughter, Cisco can kind of see why.
Of course, crazy metahumans stop for no man--or even chill out for one goddamn minute--so shit starts to hit the fan about five seconds after they get back from Earth-2. Jay gets dragged back through the breach. Caitlin is losing her shit and trying really hard to pretend like she isn't, and Cisco feels kind of hollow when he realizes she isn't going to let him help.
The whole King Shark thing is kind of awesome, though. Okay, except for the whole murderous shark man thing--but you know, honestly, nevermind, giant shark man, it's fucking awesome.
Pied Piper showing up again out of the blue is not so awesome. Especially when he, like everyone else in the universe, apparently hasn't gotten the Harrison Wells mix-up memo, and tries to murder him on sight.
Apparently, Cisco learns later, Hartley dropped by S.T.A.R. Labs with some sort of truce in mind, hoping to sort it out with Barry. Except he still had the gloves on him, and the first person he ran into was Harry.
Barry got there quickly, but Hartley still managed to do some damage in the meantime.
Cisco really shouldn't blame the guy, except that it's easy to blame everything on Hartley, because he's actually the worst. But in the end, Cisco supposes, Wells betrayed him too, so maybe he can give him a pass this one time.
Still, when Cisco is pacing around outside the room where Harry is currently passed out, while Jesse fidgets at his bedside and looks only about half as murderous as her father would look in her place, he isn't feeling so generous.
After he's done about fifty-two circuits of the lab, Cisco gives up and goes in.
Jesse looks up when he walks in. "Hey," Cisco says, feeling incredibly awkward.
She looks back down at her clasped hands. "Hey," she says. "Sorry, I know it's late. Caitlin said he's going to be fine, I know it's stupid, but--"
"Hey, hey, I get it," Cisco says, holding up his hands. "Mechanical engineer. Can't believe a thing unless you see it in front of you, I know the drill."
Jesse sighs. She isn't looking at her father. "You know," she says, "back when Zoom had me. I thought, for a while--I thought he wasn't coming."
"He was always going to come for you, Jesse. You were the only thing he ever thought about, the whole time he was here--let's be real, there's no way he would have put up with us if it wasn't for you."
She shrugs. "I dunno," she says, and then she smiles at Cisco. "It seems like you guys get along all right."
"Do they have another definition of 'all right' on your Earth?"
She laughs. "Just for Dad." She turns her grin to where Harry's still passed out on the bed. "Trust me. It could be way worse. I think you guys have grown on him."
Cisco doesn't tell her that it was, in fact, way worse, because she's his daughter and he's not going to bring up what an asshole her father is. Especially when her father almost got murdered today.
Jesse stands up and stretches with a sigh. "I'm going to go get some rest," she says. "You can take over bedside duty if you want."
Cisco sits down in the chair Jesse leaves and leans forward, elbows on his knees.
He remembers when Dr. Wells--the first one--had been laid up after the accident. He remembers sitting by his bedside for a few nights, just like this, remembers how his guts had been twisted up in knots, he was so worried that Wells wasn't going to be okay.
What a fucking joke.
Cisco looks down at Harry. He isn't that Wells. He's a cold-hearted jerk with anger issues, but he isn't like Wells. Harry has a daughter that he'd do anything for. He lies, but so far Cisco's only ever seen him do it to protect Jesse, or because he thinks Cisco's really dumb enough to buy that they don't have poker on Earth-2.
Yeah, sure, Harry betrayed them all, but he admitted it before anyone had a chance to even suspect him. Wells--fuck it, Thawne--would never have done that. There was no universe, no timeline where he ever admitted what he'd done, unless someone had already figured it out first.
Harry thought it was going to lose him any chance of saving Jesse, but he'd fessed up anyway, let them throw him in a cell.
Cisco wonders what that must have been like. Alone in a universe where he didn't belong, sure that he was going to stay that way.
And now he's still stuck in this universe, and sure he has his daughter back, but people are still trying to kill him for something he never even thought about doing.
Cisco is so going to kick Hartley's ass. God, what it would have done to Jesse, to lose her father after all that--
Which, okay. Cisco looks down at Harry's face, his dumb hair looking even dumber than usual and sticking up at odd angles. Cisco can't decide if the missing glasses make him look younger or older. Either way, looking at him like this is making Cisco's heartbeat pick up.
So fine. Maybe it isn't only for Jesse's sake that he really wants to punch Hartley for doing this to Harry.
At the very least, if Harry were gone, no one would get a single one of Cisco's movie quotes ever again.
Without thinking about it too hard, Cisco reaches out and takes Harry's hand. It's just--the guy has been so alone.
And Cisco's an adult--he's certainly more mature than Harry is, that's for sure--and he can admit that he was worried. Is still kind of worried about Harry, because for a coldhearted jerk, he has no clue how to take care of himself. And hey. That's another way that he's different from Thawne. That guy never did anything but take care of himself.
"Ugh," Cisco says, tipping his head back. If this was a movie Coldplay would be playing or something. This is ridiculous. He doesn't let go of Harry's hand.
About a week later, after Harry's mostly gotten his shit together again, Cisco goes down to the Pipeline to give Hartley his obligatory Big Belly Burger order--which is always hilarious, because the guy always has to stare at it imperiously for a minimum of five minutes before he'll deign to eat it--and he finds Harry sitting next to the entrance of Hartley's cell, leaning against the wall with his long legs stretched out in front of him.
Cisco backs away very slowly and quietly, and because his moral compass becomes a bit more flexible in the face of fucking Hartley Rathaway, he stays to listen.
"Let me guess," Harry is saying. "My doppelganger ruined your life as well."
"Well," Hartley says archly. "Not to put too fine a point on it. I may have perhaps helped him out."
"Oh? How's that?"
"I made the mistake of trusting him."
"Yes, that seems like it was a common affliction." Harry tips his head back to look at the ceiling. "A veritable gaggle of bright young ingénues, all held in the sway of one time-traveling egomaniac. This universe is charming."
Cisco is kind of offended.
"They did say you were from another earth," Hartley says in a neutral tone. "Did your precious particle accelerator explode over there, too?"
"And no one warned you?"
Harry shrugs. "Nope. I should have been more careful."
"Hmm. I wonder what I'm doing, on your earth."
"I don't know about you, specifically," says Harry, "but the company you run is busy being a pain in my ass."
"Company?" says Hartley. To his credit, he's doing a pretty good job of sounding like he's not internally losing his shit.
"Rathaway Industries," says Harry. "Not much of a businessman on this earth?"
"Not these days, no."
Cisco is kind of glad he can't see Hartley's face right now. The last thing he wants is to feel fucking sorry for him.
"Huh," Harry says. Cisco peaks around the corner again. He's got one leg drawn up now, his elbow on his knee. "What did this world's Harrison Wells do? Get you fired? Frame you for embezzlement? No, that all seems a little too passé for him."
Hartley laughs, then, this really fucked up, choking kind of laughter. Cisco is a little miffed that Hartley gets the nice version of this interrogation. Maybe Harry just doesn’t have any wrenches on him this time.
"Harrison Wells had nothing to do with it," he says. "My parents disowned me. It happens, when you're so crass as to admit to liking boys, and become the family disgrace."
Cisco remembers, very suddenly, the way that Harry's face had looked when Cisco told him that Dr. Wells had called him a son before he killed him. Cisco can't see what he looks like now, but he imagines it's much the same.
A little hysterically, Cisco thinks: better not ever tell Harry about his own parents and how well they've been dealing with their son's bisexuality.
Cisco doesn't know what he's expecting Harry to say. Something comforting? Harry only ever seems to be comforting when he doesn't really mean to be. Honestly, he expects something horribly rude, but maybe in that awkward, well-meaning asshole way that Harry has.
Whatever he's expecting, it isn't, "I'm sorry you had to be betrayed twice, Mr. Rathaway," in the gravelly mess that Harry's voice becomes when he's being sincere.
Cisco thinks Hartley might be crying. He sure as hell isn't going to check and see if he's right. Cisco's moral compass might get a little bendy around Hartley, but he's not that much of a jerk. And this conversation is really not his to hear. He tiptoes his way back out of the Pipeline as quietly as he can. He'll give Hartley his lunch later.
For all of Harry's faults--which Cisco of all people should know are numerous--he's actually not too bad as a parent. Hartley deserves a lot, the first thing on that list being a good punch in the gut--but he also probably deserves that, too, for once in his life.
And if Cisco feels a little nauseous once he settles back into the lab to do his actual work, there's no reason to think it isn't just the burgers he had for lunch.
Since Jesse's come back, Cisco has gotten a bit more privacy back in his lab, which he really, deeply appreciates. He especially appreciates it on nights like these, when he and a fifth of Smirnoff can get cozy together in a spinny chair without any interruptions.
It's been a long week, okay. A long week, a long month, a long year. And after his run-in with Hartley fucking Rathaway, Harry is fine, which is good. Harry and Hartley apparently get along pretty well, which is just so goddamn typical.
God, the way that Hartley used to make his blood boil. He'd never understood how Dr. Wells could stand the kid. Cisco had thought that he must have the patience of a saint, or something.
Now of course it's clear that between Hartley and Wells, Hartley is somehow the one coming out on top of the 'having a conscience' competition. Christ. Cisco takes another swig and lets himself cough through it, because fuck it, he's alone. Who's going to judge him, Harry's stupid equations?
Hartley is exactly the kind of guy that Harry would like. Would take on as his protégé. Not someone like Cisco, since as Harry so kindly pointed out a while ago--he never hired Cisco. He probably wouldn't ever. Wells had thought Cisco was smart. Even when he was killing him, he'd said that he was clever. The only guy who ever thought Cisco was worth anything was a time-displaced megalomaniac serial killer who didn't even like him enough to regret killing him.
Cisco takes another drink.
It's just. Sometimes Cisco doesn't feel like he's really cut out for the whole like, superhero sidekick thing? Like, Caitlin is prickly, but she's good, Killer Frost bullshit aside. Barry is basically a cinnamon roll made flesh. Joe is tough but he has a heart of gold. Iris always knows what the right thing to do is, and she isn't afraid to tell you. Cisco? Cisco makes cold guns for fun and then lets them fall into the hands of criminals. Cisco spends literal years hero-worshipping a murderer. In another life, Cisco is a supervillain with a dumb hairdo and a God complex, and sometimes that life doesn't seem so far away.
"Alright," Harry says, from the doorway. "From the look on your face, I think that's enough self-pity for one day."
Cisco spins the chair around to face the door. He holds up the bottle in what is either an offer or a salute--he's had a little bit too much to be quite sure at this point. "Isn't it past your bedtime? Don't you need your beauty sleep?"
"I could say the same for you." In what feels like a very short amount of time, Harry is standing in front of him, taking the bottle out of his hands. And--Cisco knows his perception of time is just fucked up because he's been drinking, he's not stupid, but for a second it's like Harry's a speedster and his chest is hurting and--
Harry hooks a foot under the legs of the chair to stop Cisco from moving it back, which is really just. Not helping.
"Dude," Cisco says. "Not cool."
Harry sets the bottle down on the desk and does not move his foot. "I don't know what exactly it is you're down here moping about," he says, "but I am sure that drinking yourself sick is not going to help."
"What's that, fatherly advice?"
Harry's eyes narrow. "Do we need to go over this again?" he asks. "Your Harrison Wells may have thought of himself as your father. I do not. I am not him."
"I fucking know that, Harry," Cisco snaps. "You have better taste in bright young ingénues, I get it."
A pause. "Ah," says Harry. "So you were listening in."
Cisco shrugs. "Sorry," he says, very insincerely.
"Hartley Rathaway is a bright young man. I can appreciate his attitude towards most people, as it is an attitude I tend to share."
"So you're an asshole, he's an asshole, it all works out? Is that how it is?" Cisco stands up, and only stumbles a little. Harry still catches him around the shoulders. Cisco thinks about shrugging him off, but Harry's hands are warm, and Cisco is tired, and he's also always been kind of a cuddly drunk. And it's been a shitty night. So he grabs Harry around the waist instead of pushing him off, and buries his face in the fabric of his dumb sweater, and squeezes his eyes shut.
Then he laughs, because Harry has gone all stiff, like the dude has no idea how to be on the receiving end of hug.
"Something funny, Ramon?"
Cisco answers without removing his face from Harry's chest, because hey, it's comfortable, and also Cisco is only maybe capable of supporting his own weight right now. "You," he says. "You're hilarious."
Harry sighs very deeply. Cisco can feel it in his chest. "Hey," Cisco says. "You ever think that maybe you're kind of a shitty judge of character?"
"I can't tell whether you're trying to insult me or yourself right now."
"I mean, it's not even a question that I'm a shitty judge of character, right? What with the whole. Other You thing, you know."
Harry's hands have slipped off of Cisco's shoulders, but he can tell Harry still can't decide what he's supposed to do with them. Because the man has never had a normal hug in his life, apparently. "Ramon," Harry says. "I don't think that I'm the best person to talk to you about this."
"Who else is there? Caitlin and Barry will tell me not to blame myself, whatever, we all blame ourselves, this is not like, news. To any of us."
"Maybe it was your fault," Harry says, and Cisco jerks back. One of Harry's hands has gone back to his shoulder, so he doesn't fall. "But it isn't your fault that this Eobard Thawne was the person that he was, or did the things that he did. You stopped him when it mattered. He's dead. He isn't coming back, Cisco."
Cisco stares at his shoes. "Yeah," he says, quietly. "Sometimes I'm glad, like a sane person. And sometimes I think that's what I'm afraid of."
"That he's dead?"
"That he's dead and that now no one else is ever going to--to care. Let's face it, no one really cares about what I do, you know? Least of all you."
"I wasn't aware that giving you pep talks was part of the job description."
"It's not, but--is it so much to ask for your--your goddamn approval once in a while? Or, whatever! A sign that you think I'm worth more than one of these shitty disposable markers!"
Harry raises an eyebrow. "You don't need my approval, Ramon. It's not going to change the brilliance of the work that you do."
Cisco stares at him.
Harry rolls his eyes. "Get some rest. You're going to need it after the night you've had."
He ushers Cisco out of the lab and calls him a cab, and he doesn't say a word about the fact that Cisco doesn't let go of him again until he gets in the car to leave.
It turns out that Jesse is pretty cool. Making fun of Cisco is apparently a genetic Wells trait on Earth-2, which is terrible, but otherwise she's great: she's happy to discuss sci-fi tropes with Cisco, she's smart as hell and is way less of a pain in the ass to work with than Harry is, and she is always down for a TV marathon.
Cisco has to show her how the DVD player works--he still really cannot deal with the fact that LaserDisc is still a thing on Earth-2, but arguing about the superiority of DVDs has not gotten him anywhere with either Wells, so Cisco's mostly given it up.
Jesse does have to admit, after they plow their way through half a season of Buffy in a day, that box sets are pretty great.
Also, apparently Firefly had three seasons on Earth-2, so Cisco is willing to admit it must have some advantages.
That night, Barry and Caitlin stick around, and they all end up piled on the couch under several S.T.A.R. Labs blankets. Jesse loves them--apparently S.T.A.R. Labs is just as aggressively branded on her earth.
"They remind me of home," she says, which just makes Cisco want to wrap her in like ten more of them. She really does have a pretty rough deal.
They pick up where they left off with Buffy, Barry sitting with his knees tucked up under his chin and Caitlin nodding off at his side. By the time both of them have fallen asleep at about two in the morning, they've almost made it to the end of the fifth season.
It's probably for the best, honestly--the stuff about sacrifice in the finale might be a little too on the nose for Jesse right now.
Which, okay, Cisco probably totally blew it on that front with letting them watch the dead mom episode. Barry and Jesse had both sniffled their way through that one, and Cisco had felt like kind of an ass.
When Cisco gets up to take the DVD out, Jesse opportunistically flops over onto his spot on the couch. She's a clever one.
"Rude," Cisco says, standing over her. He nudges at her shoulder with his foot.
"You're just going to go home anyway, right?"
"And abandon my dear friends to face cricks in their necks in the morning alone?" Cisco gestures to the snoring S.T.A.R. Labs employee and snoring superhero, asleep beside Jesse on the couch. He shakes his head at them.
"Weak," Jesse agrees.
"Anyway, impromptu sleepovers are a hallowed S.T.A.R. Labs tradition," Cisco says. "So scoot over."
In the morning, Cisco wakes up with his face smushed into the side of the couch and his hair falling in his face. Out of the corner of his eye, he can just see Harry leaning against the wall, arms crossed.
Cisco would probably be able to tell if he was giving them a judging look or not if he raised his head, but honestly, that seems like way too much work. He goes back to sleep instead.
After the next day has really fully begun--that is, when the impromptu sleepover has turned into impromptu complaining about stiff necks and eating breakfast burritos party--Cisco bothers Harry in the lab, because apparently that's now a thing he can do without getting his head bitten off.
Okay, that's a lie, but at least these days Cisco is pretty sure that it's only going to be metaphorical.
"Tell me about Tess," Cisco says, going for casual. He's leaning against one of the tables at the back of the room, and for once, Harry is bent over the desk instead of scribbling away at the whiteboard.
"She's been dead for ten years, Ramon." Harry doesn't look up from the computer.
"Oh my god. You are such--I did not ask for the date of Tess's death. I want to know what she was like."
Harry looks up, and stares at a point about six inches above Cisco's left shoulder. "How do you know her name?"
Well, okay. This is kind of awkward. "I mean, Jesse talks about her," he offers. This is technically true. She's only ever called her "mom", though.
At least it seems like Harry's wife really was named Tess. That would have been real awkward if he'd married someone else on his Earth.
"Liar," says Harry.
Cisco shrugs. "Was worth a shot."
"What did he say, about this world's Tess?"
Cisco scratches the back of his head. "He didn't really like to talk about her. He didn't really say much except that she died in a car crash, and that building S.T.A.R. Labs together had been their dream. That was usually enough to get anyone with a soul to stop asking questions."
Harry stops typing. "You never thought to press for more information?"
"I said anyone with a soul," Cisco says. "Do you spend a lot of time interrogating your boss about his dead wife? Because that's what it would have been, dude."
"And yet," says Harry, "you come down here to interrogate me about my dead wife."
Okay, that stings. "I'm not interrogating you, Harry, Jesus! I asked. You can tell me to fuck off if you want, okay? And I'm not asking as your employee, you're not my boss, I'm asking as a--"
Harry raises his eyebrow into the ensuing silence.
Let it never be said that Cisco Ramon has ever backed down from a challenge. "I'm asking as your friend," he says, tilting his chin up. "It seems like she was a really important part of your life. I've seen the picture Jesse put in your guys's room. She looks like she was nice." And in the picture, Harry is smiling at her. Cisco doesn't think the guy's smiled like that once since coming to this Earth.
Harry pushes his chair back from the computer. "She died in a car crash. S.T.A.R. Labs was her dream. It doesn't sound like they were all that different." His brow is furrowed.
"Well, I dunno--what kind of ice cream did she like?"
Harry snorts. "Ice cream was a no go. She preferred gelato," he says. "She could be terribly pretentious. Jesse used to drag her to Baskin Robbins, and the look on her face, the entire time we were there..."
Cisco sits down at the station next to Harry's. Before Barry comes back and starts discussing theories about Zoom, Cisco manages to learn that Tess Morgan liked electrical engineering, elegant cats that Harry was hopelessly allergic to, and bluegrass music.
It's probably the most words that Cisco has ever heard from Harry in one sitting.
Cisco watches his face, and the whole time, he's smiling.
About a week later, they get into another fight with another stupid metahuman, because this is Central City, so of course they do.
This time, it's a young woman who can control metal, which in practice, is actually super terrifying. And annoying, because "Magneto" is already taken as a nickname.
"Cisco," Caitlin says when he brings this up in the lab, exasperated, "aren't you supposed to be working on an algorithm to figure out where she is?"
"It's called multitasking!"
"On our earth, she's called Metal Master," Harry says. He still does that incredibly annoying thing where he sneaks up behind Cisco and makes sarcastic comments, but at least now, Cisco's used to it. He spilled so much soda on so many keyboards back when Harry used to startle him.
"Don't you think that's kind of basic?"
"It's descriptive." Harry sits down in the chair next to Cisco and nudges him over so he can get a look at the algorithm on his screen. "I don't see you coming up with any better ideas that aren't already trademarked."
"I was going to go with--I don't know, Iron Lady?"
Caitlin rolls her eyes.
Harry shoots him a look. "Now you're just stealing from famous musicians."
"Oh my god," Cisco says. "I can't even tell if you're joking or not."
Harry just shrugs at him, and steals Cisco's keyboard to start typing.
"Someday, I'm going to sit Jesse down in a room and get her to give me a full history of the world as it is in Earth-2. I refuse to believe that Margaret Thatcher is a--what?"
"Concert pianist," Jesse says, sticking her head into the lab. She grins and gives Cisco a little wave when he looks back at her.
"Yeah, I don't know why I thought you'd be any more trustworthy than him." He almost makes some comment about Jay, but manages to bite it back in time. No need to ruin the nice light team atmosphere they've got going here.
And it is nice. They've reached an equilibrium again. Cisco knows it's probably fleeting, because this is Central City, and anyway, eventually they're going to have to deal with Zoom. But for now, there are just run of the mill metahumans committing run of the mill crimes. He and Caitlin and Harry, and more and more often, Jesse, keep things running smoothly in the lab while Barry bags metas, and it's been like, four whole weeks since anything truly disastrous has happened.
Hell, it's even been two weeks since Harry has knocked anything onto the floor in anger. Having his daughter back really has been good for the guy, Cisco thinks, watching Harry's fingers move across the keys. Probably he should be mad that Harry is screwing around with his algorithm without asking. But he's kind of gotten used to it.
Harry snaps his fingers in front of Cisco's face, which is kind of a dick move, but also pulls him out of his head and back into the present moment. "I fixed your algorithm," he says.
Cisco grabs the keyboard back from him and takes a look. "Look, man, don't get all high and mighty on me," he says. "I specialize in mechanical engineering. Do I see you building any crazy awesome weapons? No! You had to steal one from Mercury Labs!"
"It's called delegation."
"Stealing is not delegation, Harry!"
"Uh," Barry says, from behind them, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I kind of have a metahuman to fight?"
"The algorithm should be finished running in a few minutes, so hopefully you can head her off before she gets to her next target," Harry says. "In the meantime, I think Cisco just volunteered to make you something to counteract her powers."
Cisco opens his mouth to tell Harry exactly what he thinks about that, but then he gets hit with the Barry Allen puppy dog eyes. Someday he's gonna make Barry teach him how he does that.
"If you've got something, Cisco, that'd be really useful," Barry says. "It's kind of hard to stop someone from robbing a jewelry store when she can control everything in there."
Cisco throws his hands up. "Yeah, yeah," he says. "I'll just go make a gun that controls magnetic fields, no problem, coming right up. Anyone else want any miracles while I'm at it?"
"Well, if you're offering..." Jesse says.
"Nope, nope, I'm heading down to the workshop, leave me in solitude and peace."
"Thank you!" Barry calls after him.
They get a lock on several of the meta's possible targets that night, but she doesn't strike until the next day. That's long enough for Cisco, with help from Harry and Jesse, to build a device that will--well, okay, maybe more like 'hopefully'--nullify her effects on local magnetic fields. It's about the size and shape of a soda can, and is pretty state of the art, if Cisco says so himself.
"So either it'll stop her crazy metal powers from working, or it will just magnetize all the metal in the room, which would probably mess with her powers anyway. I think," Cisco tells Harry. They're playing Barry's backup this time. Barry's already at the jewelry store they think Iron Lady--Cisco still can't get Harry to agree to his objectively awesome and clever name, but whatever--is going to hit next, and so Cisco and Harry are heading there in the van.
Mostly, Cisco is talking out of self-defense, because he's learned that Harry is the worst backseat driver he's ever met. Which is amazing, because the dude comes from an Earth where Central City has different traffic laws. And yet.
"As ever, Ramon," Harry says, dry as dust, "I have faith in your creations."
"Yeah, whatever," Cisco says. "I totally know you actually mean that."
"We'll see how much I mean it when your device explodes in our faces."
"Like I would ever let it do that! I like having eyebrows, dude."
Just then, they get a radio call from Barry. "She's here, guys!"
"Alright, I'll put the pedal to the medal," Cisco says. "Be there in five."
"Don't worry," Barry says. "I've got this."
As Cisco and Harry discover when they get there, he does not, in fact, got this.
So far, Barry hasn't had any extended encounters with this meta, except for the few times he's been just too late to catch her in the act.
It turns out she's kind of badass, and also extremely scary. When Cisco and Harry bust into the store, she's got Barry stuck up against the wall with what might have once been some really nice necklaces, and there are several very sharp and deadly looking shards of metal pointed right at his neck.
"Oh boy," Cisco says. The meta turns to him and Harry, which at least means that she isn't going to kill Barry immediately. Cisco at least had the foresight to bring the device he made in with him.
He's about to activate it when Iron Lady is kind enough to redirect the shards of metal pointed at Barry's neck towards Cisco's heart. For a non-speedster, Cisco thinks a little dizzily, watching certain death come for him, she's pretty fast.
His device beeps once, and he can see the metal wobble in the air, and maybe it actually worked and Iron Lady's lost control of her powers, but inertia is still definitely a thing.
It's about then that Harry dives into Cisco's side and knocks him over.
Cisco hits the floor hard, and then he hears the telltale whoosh of a speedster in action. When he looks up, Barry's got the meta well in hand, and Harry is collapsed on the floor next to him, bleeding from his side.
There is a lot more blood than Cisco is strictly comfortable with.
"Oh, fuck," he says.
"Ow," says Harry.
"I cannot believe you," Cisco tells him, tearing off his jacket and pressing it over the wounds in Harry's side. "Did you just--did all of those metal things hit you? Really? All of them?"
"Definitely a lot of them."
"Jesse is going to kill me."
Harry chuckles, and tries to sit up, because of course even now he has to be annoying. Cisco shoves him back down to the floor before he can hurt himself even more. "Well," Harry says, "she does take after me."
"Yo, Barry, a little help here!" Cisco calls. His jacket is totally ruined. There is really a lot of blood.
Barry does something with the Iron Lady--Cisco really isn't paying attention at this point--and then he comes and grabs Harry to whisk him back to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Caitlin is going to patch up his side and everything is going to be totally fine.
"Right," Cisco says, to the empty jewelry shop. There's pieces of jewelry and chunks of malformed metal everywhere. "Everything's going to be totally fine."
He drives himself back to S.T.A.R. Labs, alone.
Harry is fine. Cisco doesn't haunt his bedside this time, because he's too busy pacing around his workshop and messing with his magnetic device, which he's too distracted to try to come up with a snazzy name for.
Iron Lady's in the meta wing of Iron Heights, so it's not like they really need the thing for anything at the moment, but who knows. Iron Heights can be kind of porous sometimes.
Caitlin comes down to find him after a few hours.
"Harry's vitals are all normal," she says from the doorway. "He'll be feeling pretty rough for a couple weeks, but none of the wounds were very deep. He should be okay."
"Thanks, Caitlin," Cisco says. "I don't know what we'd do without you around, honestly."
"You guys would just have to learn how to take better care of yourselves," she says, leaning against the doorframe. "Are you alright, Cisco?"
"Right as rain," he says. "Harry made sure of that."
"Yeah, Barry told me," Caitlin says. "He was in shock, by the time Barry got him back here. He kept asking if you were okay."
Cisco tosses his dumb un-magnifier up and down in his hands a few times, and fails to think of anything to say to that.
"He really isn't like the other Wells, is he."
"No," says Cisco. "He's not." He puts the device back down on his desk. "You're sure he's okay?"
"Positive," Caitlin says, with a smile. "You should go see him. I think it would do both of you some good."
"Yeah," Cisco says. "You're probably right."
He runs into Jesse on the way down to the Wells Family Compound. She hugs him around the middle and doesn't let go for several seconds.
"I'm glad you're okay," she says, muffled into his T-shirt.
Cisco hugs her back. "Hey, that makes two of us," he says. "I'm really sorry I got your dad hurt."
Jesse pulls back and gives him a look. "It's Dad," she says. "He's always going to do dumb stuff for the people that matter to him. I should know." She points towards the hallway she just walked up from. "He's being kind of insufferable, so I'm tapping out to go get coffee with Caitlin. Try talking some sense into him, okay?"
"Yeah, like that'll ever happen." Cisco and Jesse share a companionable bro eye-roll.
Harry's room has gotten one hundred percent less depressing since they got Jesse back. There's stuff on the walls, now, and actual furniture other than bare metal tables and a single cluttered nightstand. Harry is sitting on his cot, staring off into space and fiddling with his watch.
"Hey," Cisco says, and Harry jerks his head up.
"Cisco," Harry says. "Are you alright?"
"Think you're stealing my line there, buddy," Cisco says, coming over to sit on the cot across from Harry's.
"If that woman had--if you had--" Harry snaps his mouth shut, regroups. "We were underprepared. We shouldn't let that happen again."
"Yeah, no argument there," Cisco says. "And--thank you. For pushing me out of the way. With where I was standing--I think you saved my life."
Harry's fists clench, and he looks away.
"Hey," Cisco says. He nudges Harry's foot with his own. "Remember a couple months ago, when I almost faded out of existence and you told me you didn't care whether I lived or died? What happened to all that vim and vigor, huh?"
"I never said I didn't care whether you lived or died."
"Yeah, you kind of just pled the fifth. Which was super rude."
"Jesse cares about you," Harry says, still not looking at him.
"You are so dramatic, Harry," Cisco says. He stands up. "Look. I know it was touch and go there for a while, but Jesse didn't die. You brought her to a whole new universe just to save her, she's going to be fine. You just--you just nearly died for me, and I'm going to be fine too. You admitting that you care about someone, that you were worried about them, isn't going to get them killed, okay?" Harry is watching him now, his face unreadable. Cisco keeps going, because in for a penny, right? "You keep saying that you're not like the other Wells, and you're not. When he cared about people he got them killed. When you care about people, Harry, you save them."
Harry takes off his glasses and rubs at his eyes. "Cisco," he says. His voice is quiet. He's sitting on his shitty cot, elbows on his knees, and he looks so tired. Cisco's standing in front of him, and his heart hurts. "I don't think my track record is as pristine as you think it is."
Cisco throws up his hands. "So you fucked up! Welcome to the human race, Harry! As much as it pains me to say this, you aren't actually a robot."
Harry cracks a smile. "So kind of you to say," he says, and then he sobers again. He puts his glasses back on. "You should be more careful."
Cisco sighs, and thinks about pushing again.
But Harry has enough issues to rival Cisco's comic collection, and what is Cisco really expecting here?
Harry is still watching him. He hasn't kicked Cisco out, or tried to intimidate him, or refused to talk to him, even though this is a conversation he would clearly rather not have. He almost died for Cisco, and he told him to be more careful, and now he's giving Cisco the same desperate look he had in his eyes when he found out that Jesse was still alive.
Cisco takes one step closer, and then another. Harry doesn't say anything biting, and in a moment Cisco stands between his legs, looking down at him.
Well. In for a pound. He takes Harry's face between his hands and leans down and kisses him.
For a moment, nothing happens. Cisco's heart feels like it's going to pound its way out of his chest. But now it's the kind of racing heart that you get when you kiss someone new, instead of the kind you get when you think that you're going to die. It's nice. It'll still be nice, even if Harry decides to punch him for this.
It's about at that point that Harry apparently makes up his mind to kiss him back. Which is also nice.
"Okay," Cisco says, pulling back to take Harry's glasses off and also to take stock of his life choices, "so just to make sure, you aren't going to punch me, right?"
Harry laughs, and Cisco almost drops his glasses instead of putting them on the table. Which, it's not like he hasn't seen Harry laugh before. Harry laughs at him kind of a lot. But usually it's not in a nice way. More in the making fun of Cisco's very legitimate trauma way. So, okay, Harry laughing like this, like a normal human being who is happy about something, is kind of breathtaking.
"No," Harry says. "I'm not going to punch you. That would be somewhat counterproductive, after the events of today. I don't know if you've noticed, but I have gone to great lengths to keep you safe, Cisco."
Cisco gapes at him. "You don't know if I've noticed, huh. Wow. I think maybe you should be more worried about me punching you," he says, but he also can't really stop smiling.
"Also," Harry says. "Your hair is absurd." He reaches up to tuck a piece of it behind Cisco's ear.
"Oh my god," Cisco says. "My hair is absurd? Have you looked in a mirror at any point in the last, I don't know, twenty years? I thought for a while they might not have combs on Earth-2, but Jesse seems to actually know how to use one! What's your excuse?"
Harry laughs at him, and he buries his hands in Cisco's hair and tugs him back down. "Shut up, Cisco," he says.
Cisco's heart skips a beat.