Chapter 1: Mick
Len gets his one phone call in the holding cells of the CCPD and blanches, not that any cop would ever be able to tell. Mick is in the next holding cell over, roaring and hissing like he loves to do whenever he’s surrounded by pigs of the two-legged variety, but he sees it all the way down the hall. He waits till Len’s been tossed back into his cell and then pounds on the wall, snarling death threats. They’ve developed any number of codes over the years for situations where they can’t talk, and there’s a few that play on Mick’s supposed crazy.
This one says did something go wrong with the escape plan? because Len wouldn’t have taken them out in front of the television unless he had a specific escape plan for their inevitable capture. Likely something at the prison, or maybe in the process of transfer; Mick was holding out hope that Lisa would be involved – it’d been years, since obviously Len had won her in their little split, so he was looking forward to seeing how even more kickass she’d gotten.
“There’s no need for you to make so much noise, Mick,” Len calls back.
Interesting. That’s code for yeah something’s gone wrong and we’re going with plan B, because otherwise Len would’ve managed to fit in the word ‘Relax’ in there somewhere.
“You got us into this, Snart!” he roars back, meaning so what’s the plan, boss?
“You really ought to learn to trust me by now,” Len replies, which means we’re going to bust out of here right now which, holy crap, really? Something bad must’ve gone down on the phone.
Len leans as far out as he can from the holding cell and says, with a smile, “Hey, boys. I need another phone call.”
“Fat chance,” one of them says shortly.
“I’ll convince Mick here to let you take his fingerprints without violence,” he offers.
Mick never fails to be amazed at how quickly the pigs buy into the bullshit Len sells them. Sure enough, the CSI guy reappears and edges over to Mick, who’s sitting quietly.
“Um, hi,” he says.
“So my name’s Barry Allen and I’m going to be taking your fingerprints today…”
Len leans against the bars again. “Allen, huh?” he muses. “That’s unfortunate.”
The kid turns and scowls at him. “Why’s that?”
“You’re Doc Allen’s kid, aren’t you?” Len says, shaking his head. “Iron Heights, B Wing?”
The kid’s starting to turn red.
“I hate to put any more pressure on the poor guy,” Len continues, all eyes on him as Mick shimmies out of the chain to the table they attached to his handcuffs for the fingerprinting process. “Not that many people in prison are actually innocent, you know, or at least they don’t stay that way. Your dad’s good people.”
The kid is obviously taken aback, but also equally obviously pleased that someone’s noticed Doc Allen’s good qualities. In fairness, Len has a way of sniffing out guilt or innocence on any matter, large or small – large usually being crime, small usually being who ate the last brownie.
“You really think so?” he asks.
“Oh, certainly,” Len says. “That’s why it’s real unfortunate that you’re the CSI that got assigned to us. I guess we’ll apologize to him next time we swing by Iron Heights.”
The kid’s starting to look alarmed, but by that point it’s too late. Mick grabs him, pulling his handcuffs around his throat like a garrote, and Len pushes his door open with the key he lifted off of one of the more careless guards, swiftly disarming the guards who jerk out of their somnolence a second too late. “Sorry, kid,” Len says, sounding – and likely even being, knowing Len – sincere. “We gotta run, and it looks like you’re coming with us for a bit.”
“Oh crap,” the kid (Barry Allen, he said his name was) says.
They’re in the fourth car that they’ve swapped by the time Mick relaxes enough to ask Len what happened.
Len makes a face. “You remember Charlie?”
“The psychopath you keep in contact with for reasons that defy understanding, yeah,” Mick says. “What about him?”
“I keep in contact with him because he’s good at picking up intel about what crazy people do,” Len says defensively. “In this case, he’s got a solid job offer blowing up Central’s mainline at 8AM tomorrow morning.”
Allen, who’s been politely handcuffed in the back and given a case of Twinkies in case he’s hungry (which he’s finished already; he’s pretty cool for a hostage), starts in shock. “Central’s mainline?” he exclaims. “That’ll blow up –”
“The entire main road system that lies over it,” Len finishes. “And during rush hour, too. The Darbinyians would normally have crushed anything like it, but they're figuring it'll get blamed on the two of us and they're still a little steamed about that whole affair with the hookers –”
“You mean the time you unionized them,” Mick says with deep amusement.
“– okay, those conditions were unsanitary and they were underpricing themselves compared to other cities.”
“So, what, they don’t deserve proper medical care?”
“It just means it ain’t your business to fix it, Lenny,” Mick says with a sigh. “Also, you sold two Monets to get ‘em starting capital enough to fuck with the Families, and those were half mine, you dick.”
“We weren’t even talking at that point!”
Allen is goggling and also trying to hide a smile. Mick turns to him and says, “Lenny once saved a school bus full of orphans and nuns,” because that is his favorite fact in the world and he will literally tell it to absolutely anyone at any point.
“I didn’t realize they were freaking orphans!” Len exclaims, like that’s the issue. “And what was I supposed to do, let the bus go straight into the burning building?”
“It was hilarious,” Mick says solemnly, because it was.
Allen is cracking up and trying to hide it.
Len glares at him.
“Have you considered teaming up with the Flash?” Mick teases, trying to keep a solemn face and mostly failing. “I mean, you did just break out of jail to go stop a terrible crime –”
“I’m not letting some crazy asshole with a grudge blow up my city!”
“– so really, heroism is the next logical step. You know, when you swap over to the hero side, I hear you get to wear lots of skin tight leather…”
Now even Len barks out a laugh. “The Flash does look like he escaped from a BDSM club, doesn’t he?”
Allen chokes a little in the back seat.
“I’ve literally met hookers wearing outfits that left less to the imagination,” Mick says, then smirks. “Some of ‘em in your little union.”
Len rolls his eyes.
“C’mon, you gotta admit you’d hit that,” Mick prods. “You don’t dress up as a supervillain for anybody.”
Allen’s kinda making some sort of wheezing sound. Mick wonders if he has asthma or something. He digs around in the bag of stuff he was arrested in and tosses the kid an inhaler, which gets him a weird look.
“In fairness,” Len says. “Who wouldn’t hit that? Have you seen those legs?”
Mick sniggers. “When he’s moving slow enough, sure,” he agrees. “Forget those legs, have you seen that ass? But seriously, imagine the potential for friction burns.”
“I was thinking about the potential uses for super-speed vibrations, personally.”
“Ooh, nice, good one.”
“Can’t take credit for it – overheard the thought from some of the cops…”
“Some of the cops are talking about that?!” Allen shrieks, his voice having jump up by an octave or so.
“Everybody’s gonna be talking about that after our little stunt with the television. Now that everyone knows the Flash exists, things are going to change, even putting aside the impact on Central City's masturbatory habits,” Len says, pleased with himself. “For one thing, heists are going to be harder to plan if he works with the city, but that’ll just make it more fun.”
“So you’re going to go save the city from a bomber, but then you’re going to go pull more heists?” Allen says. “How do you even keep that straight?”
“Lenny here has layers,” Mick says. “Like an onion.”
“I am never letting you watch Shrek again,” Len says threateningly.
“I only watched it ‘cause you kept quoting it in the first place.”
“So how are we going to stop the bomber?” Allen interjects, clearly not wanting to hear them bicker over an old kids’ movie, which, fair.
“We?” Len says. “You’re our hostage, remember? You just sit back and let us do our thing, and we’ll drop you off before we split town. No harm, no foul. Don't need the heat of killing a hostage.”
“I can help,” Allen says stubbornly. “I want to help.”
“Your cop friends won’t be too happy about you helping us,” Mick warns. “No one ever believes criminals when we say anything, so if we manage to stop this bombing Len’s heard about, the cops won’t actually believe it was ever a thing, and then you’ve got aiding and abetting on your record, plus questions about if you intended to help us escape.”
“I’ll tell them it was early onset Stockholm Syndrome,” Allen says dismissively. “Please – it’s my city too.”
Len’s a softy at heart when it comes to non-criminals, so he sighs and says, “Fine, but if it looks like trouble, I’m pulling you out. I wasn’t kidding about your dad being good people; I ain’t getting his only son killed.”
Allen has hearts in his eyes hearing Len talk about his dad. Mick would foresee this being a problem, but Allen’s pretty cute and if there’s one thing he’s managed to impress into Len’s head after all these years together, it’s how to share and share alike.
So he just grunts and reaches over to undo Allen’s handcuffs. “Just don’t double-cross us,” he warns. “I take that personally.”
“I won’t, I promise,” Allen says eagerly. “So where to?”
“Here’ll do for now,” Len says, pulling in by an abandoned building. “We can pull some city planning docs and see how he’s planning on doing it, maybe try to get ourselves in on the plan and bust it up from the inside…the only question is if this has got to do with Mr. Banana again.”
“I didn’t come up with the name,” Len says stiffly. Every last bit of drama queen about him can't stand the name and it physically pains him every time he has to use it. Mick smirks.
“Central City criminal underworld reports sights of a man in bright yellow wandering around at night,” Mick tells their ex-hostage cheerfully. “Usually moving too fast to be seen, like the Flash does, but sometimes people catch a glimpse of him right around where there’s a murder or a disappearance discovered the next day and there are proverbial old fishwives that gossip less than Central’s black markets. But not everyone’s got your kid's talent for coining names.”
“The man in yellow,” Allen says, looking thoughtful. “I hadn’t realized he’d been seen…do you know where?”
“Do good on this job and maybe I’ll see about getting you some dates and places,” Len says, climbing out of the car. “Wouldn’t be too upset if either CCPD or the Flash took down Mr. Banana – I don’t appreciate serial killers in my city, either, and honor amongst thieves only applies if they’re actually thieves. Now, keep in mind, doing good means listening to what I say, when I say it.”
Mick nods and gestures for Allen to follow. “He’s the boss.”
“Got it, boss,” Allen says, beaming and clambering out of the car after Len.
Mick takes a moment to enjoy the view.
Then pauses, because he recognizes that view. Allen’s got the same taste in skinny jeans as a CSI as he’s got in leather when he’s being the Flash, and his assets are – shall we say – memorable.
Mick’s always been better at recognizing people based on body movement and shape than Len is, so he’s betting that Len hasn’t figured it out yet. He grins toothily.
This is going to be fun.
Chapter 2: Len
Everybody seems to love this fic, and so do I, so I'll do my best to continue it. Unlike most of my fics, where I write everything in advance and then post on a given schedule, I'm just going to post these ones as I write them, which will likely be irregularly. Mostly because this fic is like 90% silly banter, 10% plot.
Also we're going to rotate POVs between our three leads because why not, it's funnier that way.
Mick's being weirdly smirky, the way he gets right before Len's birthday or before Len gets himself involved in something incredibly stupid. It makes Len twitchy just looking at him.
Luckily, the badge - Barry Allen, once hostage, now accomplice - is actually not totally useless and Len can distract himself by answering Allen's incessant questions instead.
"Charlie will vouch for whoever we send in," Len is explaining now. "But it's on Darbyinian turf, you see, and -"
"And you unionized the hookers?" Allen says with a grin.
"Feel free to drop that any time," Len says, scowling a little. You help get a couple of working girls back on their feet one time (or maybe two) and no one lets you forget it. "And what I was going to say is that we're just going to have to be sneaky about getting there so that we can't be seen. And for that, I propose the carpool lane."
"Ugly ass minivan with wailing babies, ideally," Mick says from where he's smirking on the couch. "No one ever checks out their trunk." His smirk widens. "If you know what I mean."
"You meant exactly what you said, Mick," Len says, puzzled. "And yeah, that's about it. You know Mrs. Gonzales will do it for us if you promise to make her dinner - Mick basically feeds this corner of Central whenever we're around," he tells Allen, figuring he could get some of his own back on his excessively loud-mouthed partner. "He runs the community garden."
"It's a food desert!" Mick exclaims, sitting up straight. This is one of his surefire bugaboos, so Len's unsurprised by his vehemence, although Allen clearly is. "Middle of Central City and not a supermarket as far as the eye can see -"
"But there's a -"
"Don't mention the organic food shop," Len warns Allen, smirking at Mick. "He gets touchy about gentrification and unaffordable prices."
"They replaced the only place around here that sold fresh tomatoes with a novelty cupcake store," Mick says grumpily. "And not even a good one. I'm going to torch the place."
Allen looks alarmed. "Relax," Len advises him. "They're insured."
"That's not better!" Allen exclaims. "You can't torch a -"
"They sell chia-kale-carrots cupcakes and nothing else on Thursdays, priced at sixteen bucks a pop, in this part of Central, where there hasn’t been a non-criminal job that pays above ten bucks an hour in at least ten years," Len says, rolling his eyes. "It's obviously an insurance scam, Allen. Mick, tell the manager you'll torch the place if they give you 10% of the take. They'll try to argue for 5%, but tell them that you're famous now and no one'll question Heatwave burning a place down, so they’ll get the payout quicker if they go with you instead of one of the Families."
Mick nods. Allen looks somewhere between righteously angry and fascinated, mostly the latter. "Do people really - of course they do," he says with a sigh.
“I’d do it for free if they wouldn't get paid for it,” Mick grumbles. “Their cupcakes don’t have an ounce of actual nutrition in them, either; they just add food dye and stick on any foodie buzzword they can think of and figure no one here’ll know the difference.”
“Mick gets very vocal about vegetables,” Len says to Allen in a stage whisper. “He grew up on a farm and he can’t quite seem to let it go – sometimes if you get him very drunk, he sounds like he’s from one of those terrible reality television shows, except all about leafy greens – it makes a guy wonder sometimes –”
“Says the guy who probably would’ve died of scurvy ten years ago if it weren’t for me!” Mick exclaims, eyes darting over to Allen in – embarrassment?
Oh, Len gets it now. Mick’s attracted to Allen and wants to make a good impression; that’s why he’s been acting so squirrelly. Len glances at the badge sidelong.
Okay, yeah, he’s cute as a button. Totally fair.
Naturally, Len is going to take advantage of this to mock Mick backwards and forwards. Before making him share, of course.
Maybe this'll make Mick stop teasing Len about his thing with the Flash - but somehow Len doubts it.
Len reaches out and puts a hand on Allen’s shoulder and guides him a few steps closer to the table with the blueprints, making a point of standing unnecessarily close. “Here,” he says generously. “Take a look. If we can smuggle ourselves in here,” he points, “we should be able to meet anyone coming that way to blow it up.”
“That makes sense,” Allen says, frowning in thought as he looked over the map. He reaches out and prods at another part of it. “What about here, though? That’s another entrance.”
“Nicely spotted,” Len says approvingly. Kid knows how to read blueprints – better and better. Being a CSI seems like surprisingly useful background for crime; he wonders if they can convince the kid to let them keep him. “No one goes through that section, though. There’s a gorilla.”
Allen opens his mouth as if to say something, then promptly shuts it again. Then he says, “That’s, like, a nickname, right?”
“Actual gorilla,” Mick pipes up. “People think it may be an alien taking the form of a gorilla, though.”
“I personally have my money on it being a metahuman of some sort,” Len says. “Were-gorilla.”
“You watch too many bad movies. It’s probably a mutated super-gorilla. Secret government experiments.”
“Now who’s been watching too many bad movies?”
“We already have a superhero and a mad scientist lab,” Mick points out.
Len acknowledges his point with a nod.
“Gorilla,” Allen says faintly. He seems stuck on the concept.
“I’m sure the Flash’ll take care of it eventually,” Len says comfortingly to Allen, who doesn’t appear particularly comforted. Maybe he has a thing about gorillas. Len’s heard of weirder. “That’s why we’ve got superheroes, ain’t it?”
“Right,” Allen says faintly. “To deal with the…super-gorillas.”
“And to tempt poor, innocent, unsuspecting criminals such as Len into crushing on them harder than a twelve-year-old girl,” Mick says. “Lured into a life of supervillainy. It’s so sad.”
Len flips him off.
“What about you, Allen? What do you think about the Flash?” Mick says, his smile growing. “Think he’s hot?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Allen says stiffly. “I haven’t really been paying attention –”
“Come on, kid, he’s only been Central’s biggest story for the last few months.”
“No one knew what he looked like before you two challenged him,” Allen replies, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“Didn’t stop half the clubs in the city from having Red Streak night,” Mick points out. “And last week someone painted themselves red and ran out in the field in the middle of a game – three guesses what he was wearing – or not wearing, as the name might suggest –”
“Luckily he’s not called the Streak anymore,” Allen says hastily. “So that’ll put a stop to that.”
“Allen,” Len says sympathetically. “You work at the CCPD. I know you know what ‘flashing’ means.”
Allen groans and drops his head into his hands. He seems to take this all very personally. Then again, Len knows that Cisco Ramon was working with the Flash and now he’s working with the CCPD – maybe Allen feels like the Flash is part of his team by association.
“You really think people are going to start paying more attention to the Flash after this?” he asks, raising his head to look at Len, who pats him on the back. It must be nice to be so naïve.
Mick pulls out his phone, clicking around a minute. “Hey, look, Allen!” he calls, holding it up. “The Flash is already being voted one of Central City’s hottest new celebrities.”
“No need to be jealous, Mick,” Len says immediately. “I’m sure they’ll acknowledge soon enough that you go up to a higher temperature.”
Allen, who had been looking rather horrified, is surprised into a full-bellied laugh.
“That’s not what I meant and you know it, Frosty Freeze,” Mick says threateningly.
“Say that on camera and I will cut your balls off.”
“Whatever you say, O Captain, my Captain…”
“Do I look like the sort of person who thrives in organized hierarchies?” Len says despairingly to Allen, who has by this point wrapped his hands around his mouth and is making sounds not unlike a hooting monkey. “Cisco Ramon works with the CCPD, right? Those anti-ice shields and shit? Can you ask him what the hell he was thinking?”
“It’s just a supervillain thing, I think,” Allen chokes out.
“Awww, I think it’s nice of him,” Mick drawls. “And here we were having such trouble coming up with a proper stripper name for Lenny here.”
Allen actually falls over sideways, laughing hysterically. “Oh god,” he says. “I can just see the music selection – like, that song from Frozen –”
“Yeah, and Mick’s will be that song about the roof being on fire,” Len says, smirking. He likes his theme, and also strippers are badass. He’s not offended.
“Better than for the Flash,” Mick says with a glare for both of them. “Fastest man alive – that’s not exactly a selling point for everyone, you know.”
“Depends,” Allen says, still sniggering. “Shortest refractory time could be pretty good.”
“It’d tire out his partner, though,” Mick says, annoyance fading swiftly and turning to smirk at the kid. “Unless he’s got more than one, of course.”
Len nods approvingly. Good way to get the subject of threesome up in the air. No reason they can’t set one up with their pretty little hostage (they’d have to make it clear he was free to go first; Len's not into duress, though he is into roleplay) and stop a bombing at the same time, after all.
Speaking of which – “Allen, any chance you can fake being a criminal?”
“Sure! I’m, uh, totally down for that. Crime's my jam, man.”
Len stares at him mutely for a moment. “Was…that supposed to be an accent?” he asks, utterly fascinated in the same way he expects one is while witnessing a horrific train wreck. “And were those hand movements really necessary? Allen, you work at the CCPD, and yet I ask: have you ever met a criminal before?”
Mick coughs. “Why’s Allen faking a criminal history, exactly? I thought we were going to just go in and bust it up.”
“Still the plan,” Len says. “But if Allen’s coming with us, he’ll need to have some sort of official use. I don’t cart around dead weight and everyone knows it.”
“He can be our boytoy,” Mick suggests, smirking when Allen turns bright red.
Len rolls his eyes. “Mick, I’ve only allowed someone to come on a job he wasn’t fit for because I was sleeping with him once – and that was you.”
Allen looks intrigued, which is promising.
“It was at the aquarium in Coast City,” Len tells Allen, shuddering instinctively at the memory. “Not really what you’d call Mick’s element.”
“What was wrong with the aquarium job?” Mick says indignantly. “That job went fine. We went in, got the loot, came out. No issues.”
“Mick, you were supposed to be a tour guide, but the only thing you did was tell the audience how each fish could be cooked!”
“They had a whole bunch of nice, fresh hamachi floating right there! Probably sushi grade, too, with how clean they keep the water –”
“You didn’t,” Allen says gleefully. “That’s terrible. How in the world did you pull that off?”
“I told everyone he was a local chef and heavily implied he worked for one of the local Families,” Len says, sighing. “The tourists thought it was a neat gimmick.”
Mick rolls his eyes as Allen laughs. “You’ll have to wait till date three to get the story about Len and the amorous walrus at Sea World,” he tells Allen, then, before Allen can really respond, Mick turns to Len and suggests, “Say he’s the tech guy. He’s a CSI, he’s got to know something about computers.”
“That’ll work,” Len says. “Allen, just – be normal, okay? Not…whatever it was you were doing earlier. And we just have to hope the Flash will keep his nose out of it this time.”
“I don’t think he’ll bother us,” Mick says, smiling like he knows something. “I got a hunch.”
“As long as Mr. Banana doesn’t show up either,” Len says. Fuck, he hates that name. “I can’t stand that guy.”
“Me either,” Allen says unexpectedly. “I hate him.”
Huh, looks like the little CSI’s got some balls after all.
Len catches Mick’s eye and shoots him a thumbs’ up for an excellent choice. Mick seems to find that funny for some reason.
Chapter 3: Barry
Barry still cannot believe this is happening. Like, nothing makes sense any more.
He hadn’t minded getting kidnapped originally; he’d figured that worst case scenario, he’d be able to Flash away when they weren’t looking, and better him than anyone else, right? Then it turned out they were going to save the city, what the hell types of villains did that? He had to stick around to help out. Plus then it turned out there was the possibility of getting more info on the man in yellow – he couldn’t resist.
And then it turns out that Captain Cold and Heatwave are freaking hilarious.
He hasn’t laughed this hard in…wow. Counting the coma, it’s got to be something like a year by now.
Also, they’re apparently sleeping together, which is giving Barry all sorts of very interesting mental images which he’s going to have to spend some quality time with later, despite how absolutely wrong it is to think about your villains like that. Despite the fact that they apparently think he’s really hot, at least dressed up as the Flash, anyway. It’s still wrong. He can hear Cisco in his head now, wagging his finger and exclaiming, “Wrong, Barry! So incredibly wrong!”
It’d be a lot easier if they’d stop talking about his ass or his vibrations or having him be their boytoy as a cover. But seriously, Heatwave is freaking built and you'd have to be blind to miss it, and Barry’d been too busy worrying about other people last time they fought to notice how gorgeous Cold is with those eyes and that face and those hands…
No, Barry. Bad. No fantasizing. Especially not right in front of Cold’s equally gorgeous criminal boyfriend.
Remember that they literally kidnapped Caitlin less than twelve hours ago.
He winces at that.
“What’s up, kid?” Heatwave rumbles.
“Just wondering how Caitlin – uh, the woman that you kidnapped – how she’s doing.”
Heatwave snorts. “I set that bomb clear enough and slow enough that she could have hopped out of there still tied to her chair,” he says dismissively. “Lenny here figured the Flash would search the city for her first before coming to meet us, or send some of his buddies to do it. Not like we made it hard to figure out where we were.”
“You did that on purpose?”
“Len doesn’t kill women or kids because he’s stuck in the nineteenth century,” Heatwave explains, waving his hand at Cold.
“You start talking about the nineteenth century, Mick, we start talking about your collection of romance paperbacks,” Cold shoots back without missing a beat. “Also, while we’re at it, I want a castle.”
“I think they sell them in England,” Heatwave says thoughtfully. “Or maybe New York. Hey, you wanna be Bruce Wayne’s next door neighbor?”
“I can think of few things I’d like less than living in Gotham,” Cold says, mock-shuddering. “The pest control costs alone, ugh…Anyway, I think I’ve mapped the area out pretty well. Allen, you’re ready to go? We should infiltrate tonight to figure out as much as we can about where, who and why.”
“Yeah, I’m ready,” Barry says, taking a deep breath. Knowing he has his Flash powers is a serious relief, because otherwise he’d be terrified. Though the fact that Cold and Heatwave both seem to accept that Barry would have the spine to do this as a totally normal non-powered human says a lot for their confidence in him, which is…kinda cool, actually. He’s pretty sure the last time someone thought he was awesome for non-Flash related things was Felicity back in Starling City all that time ago. “Just play it cool, right?” he adds, grinning at Cold.
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” Cold replies with a smirk.
“Fucking hell, there’s two of you now,” Heatwave says.
“Relax, Allen,” Cold adds, still focused on Barry. “Everyone who’s been in or out of the can in the last decade knows Doc Allen; no one’ll be surprised that his kid went and got the skills needed to run with our crew.”
Barry can’t help but smile at Cold, even though he knows it’s stupid. Nobody he knows has any respect for his dad: Joe won’t talk about him most of the time, even now that they know he’s innocent and the man in yellow really does exist; Wells and Cisco and Caitlin don’t know him well enough to comment; and Iris still thinks he’s a murderer. It’s so weird to find acceptance here, of all places.
Speaking of which –
“You said you’d give me dates and places for the man in yellow after we were done,” Barry says hopefully. “Did you mean that?”
“Sure,” Heatwave says, arching his eyebrows. “Interesting conversational jump.”
Barry starts stuttering a little, searching for an answer, when Cold’s eyes narrow. “You think Mr. Banana’s the one that set Doc Allen up?” he says with a scowl, making an intuitive leap and hitting bullseye. He looks offended on Dad’s behalf, of all things; Barry feels warm and happy inside. “I didn’t think he was around that far back. All the metahumans came up after the explosion. Unless he had a preexisting M.O. before then –”
“I don’t know how it happened, exactly,” Barry confesses. “But I’m sure it was him.”
Cold nods. “Oh, I believe you,” he says. “Worst thing’s Doc Allen’s ever done is punch some guy who was talking shit about his wife, and he’s got such terrible form that can’t really be called assault anyway. Crime, yes, but mostly against style.”
“You really believe he’s innocent?” Barry says, unable to keep from pressing at that old, sore spot, unable to really believe that they believe his dad despite all evidence, even without having had the truth forced into their faces the way Joe had.
“I know he is,” Cold says firmly. “I told you, Allen, your dad’s good people. Stick with us and we’ll help you ice this guy.”
Barry gapes at him. That’s – he can’t – Wells had tried to help him catch the Man in Yellow, but he’d failed, but Cold looked so confident, and even Heatwave was nodding along, and he wasn’t even friends with them, they're villains, they didn’t want to study his Flash powers, they didn’t even know about them, but they were going to help him anyway –
“Don’t worry about it, kid; we’ll look into it,” Heatwave promises. “Give Len enough intel and some time to think it over, and we’ll get him. Guaranteed.”
“People wouldn’t have reported sightings of a guy in yellow from ten years back, though they might’ve seen it,” Cold says thoughtfully. “People would’ve thought they were nuts. We can ask around. No one dressing up in costume before the Flash came around.”
“Come off it, you love your theme,” Barry says before he can think better of it.
“I really, really do,” Cold says sincerely. “So much fun, kid, you won’t even believe. C’mon, let’s go before Mick gets bored and torches something, and maybe we can come up with a gimmick for you in time for Ramon to give you a nickname.”
Heatwave snickers. “I can think of a few,” he says, but when Cold gives him a look, he just smirks and refuses to volunteer any.
Barry flushes while the two of them are bickering over it because that – Cisco wouldn’t give him a villain nickname, of course, but when Barry had agreed to join up with Cold and Heatwave to fight the bomber, he’d dismissed the CCPD being concerned as mostly irrelevant because Joe would find all of this simultaneously horrifying and hilarious and would back him up if anyone at the CCPD got weird about it, but he hadn’t really thought about how Wells and the others would take it – Wells’d probably be disappointed in Barry’s choice of alliances –
Cold finally ends up rolling his eyes and saying, “Okay, whatever. Mick, go talk to Mrs. Gonzales –”
“Right, she has that cat she’s babysitting,” Cold says. “I’ll go. Keep Allen occupied, will you?”
The second that Cold’s out the door, Heatwave turns to Barry with a grin.
Barry blinks at him, wondering why he’s so cheerful. Especially since nothing’s on fire. “Cat?” he asks.
“It hates me with an unholy passion, but it loves Len,” Heatwave says with a shrug, still grinning. “We should try to come up with some sort of criminal persona for you.”
“I’m not going to become a supervillain, thanks.”
“Okay,” Heatwave says, shrugging again. “Let’s talk about something else instead, then – oh, I know. Flash: top or bottom?”
Barry feels his cheeks heat up. “I – I mean, we have no way to tell –”
“Oh, sure,” Heatwave says agreeably. “Just hypothesizing. I’m sort of torn, you know? On one hand, the guy’s pretty lean, like a runner or an overgrown twink, so I’m thinking it’d be a lot of fun to pull him into your lap and let him go for a ride –”
Barry swallows, his throat suddenly dry as the image plays out in his head: Heatwave’s a big guy, as tall as Barry and twice as broad, Barry could probably fit into his lap like he hasn’t been able for most people since college; he’s tough, too, so he’d be able to dish out anything that Barry throws his way – Barry remembers how intense he was during their fight, how focused, how wild – imagine having all of that focused on you –
“ – but on the other hand, you’ve got to think about that vibrating ability, like Len said earlier. Might be fun to take for a ride myself – or maybe just get my mouth around it, let him go crazy for a bit –”
Barry bites his lip as the image changes, turns into Heatwave on his knees, strong and fearless and fucking hot –
“– of course, Len would probably insist I share, you know,” Heatwave adds thoughtfully, like he isn’t driving Barry up the wall. Fuck, for him it probably is just hypothesizing, the sort of racy late-night joking chats that he and Cisco sometimes have about which X-man they think would be best in bed. “We’ve got a history of that, you know, share and share alike; we’re both switches, which helps. Got a bed big enough for three; Flash’d fit right in. Could play all sorts of games with him –”
Barry can just see it now, him and Heatwave and Cold, him on his knees sucking Cold off while Heatwave pounds into him – or hell, Heatwave said they were both switches, maybe he’d be fucking into Cold, bending him in half and staring into those cool eyes, that supercilious smirk, going crazy doing anything to try to make him lose that cool as Heatwave curls around Barry’s back, whispering into his ear in that deep, heavy voice –
“You know what, let’s talk about my criminal persona!” Barry blurts out, his voice a good octave or two too high, desperate to change the subject before he had to go jerk off in the bathroom. Hell, he might have to do that anyway. Thank god for superspeed; no one will notice. “What sort of things were you thinking?”
Heatwave seems inordinately amused by something, probably how red Barry’s face’s gotten. “Sure, kid. Criminal persona – let’s think about things that might make you different, yeah? A proper supervillain’s gotta have a theme, after all; at least according to Len.”
“I’m pretty normal, really,” Barry says hastily, trying to think of something to make his arousal go away. Something, anything – incipient bombing threat, evil metahumans, crime scenes, Singh yelling at him, Joe and Wells walking into that scene he was thinking about earlier – okay, yep, that does it, problem solved. “Nothing special.”
“Oh, I disagree there,” Heatwave purrs with a smirk, taking a step closer to Barry. “I’m sure you’re full of surprises.”
Problem not solved.
“Um,” Barry says.
“I fucking hate that cat,” Cold says, walking in, and Barry’s never been so relieved to see a supervillain complaining about a cat before in his life. “Why does that cat hate you, Mick? And can you teach me?”
“Did it try to romance you into have its kittens again?” Heatwave asks curiously.
“I’m refusing to dignify that question with an answer,” Cold says, and even Barry knows that that means yes. “What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to come up with a criminal persona for Allen here,” Heatwave says, and slings an arm around Barry’s shoulders. He gestures at Barry’s still blushing face. “I’m thinking of maybe calling him Scarlet, being that that’s his cardinal color and all.”
“Whatever. Do it in the car,” Cold orders.
Barry really wishes Cold had phrased that in, like, any other way.
Chapter 4: Mick
Mick’s starting to think Allen’s secondary superpower is obliviousness, if he hasn’t picked up that Mick’s hitting on him by now. Then again, he seems to be a perfect match for Len, who has picked up on Mick’s maneuvers in the general direction of a threesome but who hasn’t picked up on the Flash thing yet, and it’s not like Mick’s being all that subtle.
Honestly, he’s having too much fun to just come out and tell either of them what he knows, no matter how many times Len signs for him to spill on what the hell is making Mick snicker to himself.
Also, they really ought to stop this whole bombing thing.
Business before pleasure, he guesses. Never his favorite saying.
On the bright side, getting to the mainline is both easy and fun: they troop down to the garage where Mrs. Gonzales keeps her minivan and clamber into the back, and then she straps in one of her kids into a carseat and heads out the way they want them to go.
Of course, the only way to keep from being seen is to lie down in the back, side by side with Allen squished in between them, and neither Len nor Mick need to use any secret code with each other to realize this is a perfect opportunity to “accidentally” get their hands all over their “hostage”. Allen’s face is as red as a tomato and he seems to think that pretending he isn’t tenting his jeans is as good as it not happening.
Mick draws a hand down Allen’s hip and Allen shudders in a very promising manner. He’s very sensitive, Mick’s noticed; he can think of half a dozen ways to exploit that, easy as pie, and he’s sure Lenny’s thinking of at least a half-dozen more to judge by the look on his face.
“So, Scarlet as a name, what do you think?” he says casually, watching Len’s face. He doesn’t want to miss Len’s expression when he figures it out. “I think our boy here would look good in red, don’t you think?”
“I think the Flash might be offended by someone copying his style,” Len says, Mick’s point flying over his head like the cow jumping over the moon in the nursery rhyme. “But I like it. What do you think, Allen?”
“What do I think about what?” Allen squeaks. That may be because Mick just cupped his ass, but whatever, details. Kid should learn to pay attention while being distracted.
“Your criminal identity,” Len says patiently.
“Is it really so important? I’m not a supervillain.”
“You wouldn’t be half bad at it,” Len says, and that’s when Mick realizes that Len’s somehow gotten it into his head that Allen would be decent not just for a threesome, but for the supervillain crew he’s been talking about starting.
Len is trying to talk the Flash into joining his supervillain crew.
How? How is this even happening?
Sometimes it amazes Mick how epic Len’s rare bouts of utter fail are. For such a successful criminal mastermind, when Len screws up, he really shoots for the stars, doesn’t he?
“You’re smart enough,” Len is saying to an enraptured Allen, reaching out and just barely brushing his fingers along Allen’s arm, earning himself another shiver. “And there’s no rule that says you’ve got to be a meta to cause a little trouble, after all.”
“I’m not really much of a criminal, though,” Allen says helplessly.
Mick smacks the back of his head into the side of the van because wow, understatement much, kid?
“Got anything to add, Mick?” Len says, voice cool but sounding a little injured underneath. He hates it when Mick laughs at his plans, and now he’s going to be pissy about it unless Mick makes it up to him somehow. And a pissy Len doesn’t put out.
Great, now Mick has to try to help convince the Flash to join a supervillain gang. How’s this his life? He’s just a simple arsonist; all he ever wanted was to set things on fire and get rich through thoroughly unethical means…
“We’ve taken over a small part of Central to keep it away from the Families, and we’re thinking of expanding,” he offers, since there’s an outside chance he’ll be able to sell that part of it. “No more putting up with Family abuse, unionized hookers, no drugs – Len here can’t stand them – and very reasonable and limited protection money…”
Len snickers. “I don’t think being forced to BYOB to your barbeques really counts as protection money, Mick,” he points out. He’s not wrong, but whatever, it’s close enough.
“You’re protecting people from the Families?” Allen asks, a glimmer of interest in his eyes.
“Oh, yeah,” Mick says. “Thieves don’t really have territory, but supervillains totally do, so we don’t got a choice about setting up our lair somewhere, really.”
“It’s not a lair –”
“It’s totally a lair, don’t lie; you’re thinking of installing lasers in it even though you don’t have any reason for it.”
“Well, I mean, lasers,” Allen says, because he’s clearly just as big a nerd as Len. “Do you really need a reason?”
“Thank you,” Len says, aggravated. “Also, doors that go ‘swish’ like in Star Trek. I’ve always wanted those.”
“You should totally have those,” Allen says, nodding enthusiastically. “No supervillain lair is complete without them. Central City’s supervillains have been really falling down on the job. Oooh, have you considered a moat?”
“Don’t encourage him,” Mick says. “No moats! And the first person to suggest sharks is responsible for feeding them.”
Both Len and Allen shut their mouths in unison.
“Anyway, Allen, since Len here’s got a thing for Central City, it’s our job to take it over and run it the way we like. Did I mention Len’s no drug policy?”
“It’s not a ‘no drug policy’, Mick, I just don’t like ‘em! Christ, you make me sound like an after school program!”
“Lenny, one of your favorite pastimes is going around and beating up anyone pushing drugs near the school zones,” Mick points out, long-suffering in a way only someone who has had to deal with Len’s ridiculousness for decades can be. “And one of the local schoolkids’ favorite pastimes is following you around and watching you do it. You are literally an after school anti-drug program.”
“Well, drugs are awful,” Allen says.
“Obviously,” Len says, looking like someone’s ruffled his feathers the wrong way the way he always does when someone dares to bring up his occasional good deed to his face. “Besides, if you’re gonna get into crime, you should do it with a clear head or else you’re just going to fuck it up and make the rest of us look bad.”
“…that may be the worst reason to be anti-drug that I’ve ever heard,” Allen marvels. “Don’t do drugs: you’ll be a worse criminal.”
“You’d be surprised at how well that message sells in downtown Central,” Mick says, shaking his head a bit. “Since there’s not many other chances at social mobility and shit.”
“Don’t you dare start with your gentrification bullshit rant, Mick,” Len says warningly.
“That was my economic justice bullshit rant, Lenny, not the gentrification one. Keep it straight.”
“I’m never letting you attend another non-profit rally again, fucking hell, you sound like those pamphlets you bring home to burn.”
“So, wait, let me get this straight,” Allen interrupts, looking thoughtful. “You want me to join a supervillain group in order to – and let me be sure I’ve got this right – protect people from the Families and keep them from doing drugs and possibly also to promote upward social mobility and economic stability for downtown Central?”
He actually looks tempted.
Mick is such a good salesperson he amazes himself sometimes.
“Well, all of that’s rather incidental to the whole supervillain thing, isn’t it?” Len says. “Comes with the territory and stuff.”
“It really doesn’t for most people,” Allen says. “I think. I mean, I haven’t had much experience with supervillains, but I think there’s usually a bit more…uh…villainy.”
“Well obviously we’d also steal stuff,” Len says.
“Mostly rich person stuff,” Mick throws in because Len’s about to ruin it. “They have insurance.”
“Well, yes, but –”
“Oh, hey, look, we’re here!” Mick exclaims, never having been so happen to have the car come to a stop in his life. He sits up and looks out the window. Mrs. Gonzales, who has been driving with a big fat smirk on her face the entire ride and seems to be biting her lips in an attempt not to snicker madly at them, has gotten them to a nice quiet corner very close to the underground passageways that Len was focusing on. “We should go find the gang that’s planning on blowing this place up, right? First priority.”
“Yeah, we should focus on that,” Allen says quickly, wiggling away from both Len’s attractive speech and Mick’s wandering hands.
Len sighs but nods, also sitting up. “Remember, kid, you follow my orders and support my plays,” he warns, clambering out of the car. Allen follows him.
Before Mick can make it out, Mrs. Gonzales turns in her seat and says in Spanish, “You two crazy boys be good to that one, Miguel, and he will be good to you.”
“Too bad he’s oblivious,” Mick grumbles back in the same language, even though he’s aware he has an incurably bad prison accent that makes her tsk at him every time, this time included. “Even though he’s clearly interested.”
“He is sweet,” she says firmly. “And very handsome – did you see his..?” She makes a very illustrative gesture.
“Oh, I definitely saw that,” Mick says with a grin, waving goodbye before clambering out of the car. Nice woman, Mrs. Gonzales; mother of five and every bit as wicked as she’d been in her wild and crazy twenties. He’d have to visit more often once she got rid of that stupid cat…
Len is studying Allen. “Hey, Mick,” he says. “Give Allen your spare gun.”
“I don’t think I’d be good with a flamethrower –” Allen starts, then blinks in surprise when Mick offers him a Glock instead. “Uh. What?”
“Our guns got confiscated by the police earlier, remember?” Len points out. “But don’t worry, in the fuss with our exit and your kidnapping, I’m pretty sure Ramon hasn’t had a chance to deconstruct them yet, and I’ve asked Charlie to get someone to go pick them up for us from the station, so we should be good to go soon enough.”
Mick’s good mood is immediately spoiled by the mention of Charlie. Ugh, why is Len catnip to psychopaths?
“Do you know how to shoot it?” he asks, eyeing Allen. The Flash isn’t necessarily one for sidearms.
“He’s a badge,” Len says dismissively before Allen can answer. “In Central, CSIs that go to crime scenes and follow along on active chases are required to pass the same entrance exams, including shooting, though with a lower qualifying requirement.”
“Plus my foster father’s a cop,” Allen offers. “I know how to shoot; I just don’t like to.”
“You probably won’t have to; this is a cooperative endeavor. Most of the time pieces like that aren’t actually good for anything except shooting the ceiling or waving around – you know, intimidation stuff. I don’t like unnecessary killing.”
“Any chance I could get you to revise that to no killing at all?” Allen asks, sounding wistful. “I mean, if you’re good enough a thief, you shouldn’t need to kill anyone.”
Len pauses, thinking about that. “I probably could, at that,” he concedes, looking interested. Len loves rules and he loves upping his game; this would probably make the whole supervillain thing all the more fun for him. “Tell you what, Allen, you join up, I’ll consider it.”
Now Allen’s really looking tempted.
Mick shakes his head in disbelief.
Len’s little as-of-yet-unnamed supervillain squad is going to be so weird.
Chapter 5: Len
They hang around the entrance to the underground a few minutes, Mick making those ‘I hate Charlie’ faces again and Allen fiddling with the gun Mick gave him, and then finally Charlie makes his appearance.
Len puts a polite smile on his face in Charlie’s general direction and Charlie beams back, making a beeline straight for Len. He’s always liked Len ever since Len was the only kid in juvie who’d give him the time of day – Len was a bit desperate for attention of any sort back then, or else he might’ve been inclined to avoid the infamous cannibal kid too – and although Mick not being able to stand someone is usually a good enough reason for Len to stop seeing them, Charlie’s always been pretty stand up when it comes to Len.
And he’s only try to lure Len into isolated places in order to kill him, dismember him, and cook the resulting pieces, like, three times, max. Maybe four. Either way, totally not a reason to stop a flourishing and often quite helpful acquaintanceship.
“You look good,” Charlie says, reaching out and petting Len’s arm with a hungry look. Len would normally object, but they are, unfortunately, currently reliant on Charlie vouching for them to get into this stupid bombing run. “Have you gained weight?”
Charlie ignores him, as usual. Charlie has this strange intensity about him where he focuses on just one person and the whole world around him could wither and die without him noticing; Mick calls it his ‘serial killer’ look. Even Allen looks a little weirded out.
“It’s good to see you, Charlie,” Len says, not answering the question. “What can you tell us about this bombing job?”
“Good money,” Charlie says distractedly, still smiling that creepy smile at Len and not removing his hand from Len’s arm. “Guy in charge is named Dale Biggs, probably not his real name. The whole job’s pro – been set up by an anonymous donor a step removed, a rich one, and one that doesn’t want to be named. Maybe they just don’t like Central City morning traffic…?” His smile broadens and he steps closer. “Why – what’s it to you?”
“Right, Stirk, you’ve maxed out your hands-on time,” Mick says. “Step away from the Snart.”
“I got you your guns back,” Charlie says dreamily, still idly petting Len’s arm. “Does that make you happy?”
“Very happy,” Len replies, sticking a professional smile on his face. “Could you go get them, please?”
Charlie nods and skitters away back into the darkness.
“Please tell me that wasn’t an ex of yours,” Allen says, sounding mildly horrified. “Because seriously I will do all the restraining order paperwork if you want, really, any time –”
“Don’t be absurd,” Len says, making a face.
“No, tell me more,” Mick says. “Can we get it so he has to go to jail every time he does that?”
“Well, I –”
“He’s not an ex,” Len clarifies, because that’s important to get straight. Len has standards, thank you. “And I’m not getting a restraining order.”
“You can still get an order even if you never dated,” Allen says hopefully. “Listen, was it just me, or did that guy look…uh…”
“Hungry?” Mick says, giving Len an ‘I told you so’ look. “His last few priors were for cannibalism, so you’re not wrong…”
“Charlie’s harmless,” Len says firmly, ignoring Mick and Allen’s incredulous expressions. “He hasn’t tried to eat me in years.”
“That just means he’s due for another try!”
“That bit about this being a pro job is much more interesting,” Len says, deciding to barrel on by sheer force of will and determination. “I need to see the guy in charge, but either this is the shittiest pro to ever work for a fee or someone doesn’t intend for this bombing to go off right.”
“How’s that?” Allen says, frowning.
“It feels amateur. Hiring people like Charlie and putting the bombing in such a main area means the guy running it is either not from Central or intends for them to get caught, though with the lack of intel about this and the speed of set-up, I’m not sure how they intended the police to even find out – huh. You think it might be a Flash trap?”
“A what?” Allen exclaims.
“Trap for the Flash,” Len clarifies. “I mean, I wouldn’t do it myself – I’d much rather test myself against him, anything else is just wimping out – but if you wanted to put the Flash through his paces, setting up something like this and letting him find out just in time to have to run around disarming everything would be a pretty good way to do it.”
“But why would anybody do that?”
Len shrugs. “Find out how fast he is so you know it going forward,” he suggests.
“But the Flash is getting faster over time,” Allen objects. “Whatever reading you get wouldn’t be useful for long. A stunt like this could actually result in him going faster.”
“Maybe they’re trying to make him go faster,” Mick says thoughtfully. Len looks at him, biting his lip a little in consideration of the point. Mick didn’t often make counter-intuitive suggestions like that, but when he did, they were usually born of some instinct that made him right more often than not.
“Why would someone want to make the Flash go faster?” Allen asks, which makes sense. “Wouldn’t that just make it easier for him to stop whoever it is?”
“Not if the plan doesn’t call for the Flash stopping him,” Len says, feeling out the edges of an idea, something tickling in the back of his mind – some old plan he’d dreamed up once when he’d first found out about the Flash, a half-thought-out dream, some old comic book, something.
Who wants a speedster to get faster? No, that’s not a useful question - who would know how to speed up an already inhumanly fast speedster? Allen had known that the Flash was getting faster, so the CCPD presumably did know, but they’d kept their connection with the Flash under wraps so far, and he didn’t have enough respect for the police to believe that they knew anything about speed. That meant it was an abnormally smart badge, one of the Flash team or…hmmm. Another speedster, maybe. Mr. Banana’s appearances did seem to be correlated with bursts of Flash activity, but disappearances, murders, vandalism, that sort of thing, it wasn’t the Flash’s style. So they probably weren’t teammates – maybe a would-be nemesis? A would-be friend that isn’t, like Charlie?
“You know, I think I might have something, but I’d need to check my files,” he says regretfully letting the idea go for now, wishing his memory was eidetic rather than just very good. “Some cross-referencing to do.”
“What’s your idea?” Allen asks, frowning. “I still don’t get why someone evil would want the Flash to go faster.”
“Well, honestly, it hinges on the guy behind this knowing that the Flash is something of an idiot,” Len says.
Allen looks offended on the Flash’s behalf. Allen’s a little sensitive, really; not that it’s really a problem. Len can totally account for that if Allen agrees to join the supervillain club, which he really needs to find a name for. Preferably nothing that involves the word "evil" or "doom", but still with a certain villainous feel to it.
“He is, though," he tells Allen. "Listen, the guy’s a hero and a softie; in both of my encounters with him so far, he’s been fairly easy to manipulate and predict in all relevant aspects.”
“You got arrested last time!”
“Because we didn’t have intel about an unknown technological angle, not because the Flash out-thought us,” Len says dismissively. “No, his behavior was entirely in line with what it’s been so far: heroic and self-sacrificing and – most importantly – predictable. We told him where we were going to be, and he showed up to duel.”
“What else could he have done?” Allen demands.
“He knew where we were going to be and he has super speed,” Len points out. “He could’ve cased the whole area in the five minutes prior to the start time and gotten us while we were still getting out of the car. He could have set up snipers. He could have set up traps. He could have walled off the whole street in anti-freeze shields. He could have tackled us from above. He could have –”
“I think I’ve got it,” Allen says, looking sulky.
Mick pats him on the shoulder. “Not everyone thinks like our Lenny here,” he tells him comfortingly, which is frankly bizarre. It’s not like Allen’s going to take Len’s critique of the Flash personally, after all. “I would’ve just shown up too.”
“It’s not like I didn’t have counters in place in case he did any of that stuff,” Len says, rolling his eyes. “Anyway, if whoever this is figured out that the Flash is predictable, maybe he’s trying to get him to go faster so that the Flash will be fast enough to do – whatever stupid stunt this guy’s going to try to trick him into doing. If it’s who I think it is, they already know that the Flash is just getting faster and they’re just too impatient to wait for him to do it naturally.”
“You think it’s the man in yellow,” Allen says, eyes going wide. He’s clever. Len really hopes he agrees to join their side.
“As I said, I need to do some cross-referencing, but all word says that Mr. Banana appearances seem to be tied into the Flash’s, and unless they’re working together –”
“– then we’ve got ourselves a case of super-speed stalking.” Len raises a finger and points at Mick. “See? I told you Charlie was useful. Wouldn’t have thought of it without him.”
Mick looks like he’s seriously considering trying to bite Len’s finger off.
“I’m glad I could be of assistance, however it was,” Charlie says from right behind Len.
Len tenses all of his muscles to make sure he doesn’t leap into the air in terror, because that’s not his style. Allen yelps and does a little hop, though, and Mick just looks pissed.
“I got your guns,” Charlie continues, holding out a cardboard box from the CCPD.
Len’s never been so happy to have his gun back, if only because now he can keep Mick from using his gun on Charlie.
“So why don’t we go in and say hello,” he says, trying to keep the situation under control.
“Who should I say is coming?” Charlie asks, still looking only at Len.
“Me, Mick, and Allen, here. Tell your boss that we’ll do the job for a ride out.”
Charlie nods and leads them into the underground, which is helpful lit up with lamps. The guards let him pass by without blinking an eye, which is helpful – some of them are Darbyinian men doing some freelancing. “I have new recruits,” he calls to the group of men standing around. “Don't worry, I'll vouch for them -" At least four weapons disappear back into pockets. "- and they say they’ll help out with the job in exchange for safe passage out of the city in the ensuing havoc.”
Len focuses on the main one, standing in the middle near an impromptu table with a map. Definitely a pro, and a battle tested one at that. He’d be tricky to get around unless Len can find an angle to get under his skin.
The guy – Dale Biggs, Charlie had said – looks at them thoughtfully, calm and collected. “Leonard Snart,” he says thoughtfully before Charlie can introduce them. “Mick Rory I might’ve expected to have an interest in blowing things up, but there’s no take here for you to care about.”
Len shrugs. “I need a ride and a cover,” he drawls. “I’ve already got what I came to town to get.”
“And what was that?” Biggs says, the slightest hint of a smirk curling his lips. “Losing to the Flash?”
Len’s got good enough self-control that the smile he’s feeling inside makes it nowhere near his mouth. Arrogance makes people easy to manipulate. An arrogant man’s ego is their most tender spot: they think highly of their own abilities, they’re jealous of other people’s competence, and they love to feel like they know things other people don’t. And suddenly the path forward is clear. “All part of the plan,” he drawls instead, playing it casual, and slings an arm over Allen’s shoulder. “Played the Flash for a laugh and got ourselves into the CCPD to pick us up the prettiest little hostage. The pigs were getting a little too nosy about our inside guy here, if you get my drift.”
Biggs’ eyebrows go up, impressed. “So that’s how you get away with those untraceable heists,” he says, nodding like he understands. “I knew you couldn’t be that good.”
Len is, in fact, that good, thank you very much.
“Always helps to have some backup,” Len says with a smirk. Mick steps forward, sliding his own free hand down Allen’s side, backing up Len’s implied story. “Allen here’s got a history of felony in the family line, but he batted his those sweet eyelashes of his and said he only wanted a chance to prove people are innocent. Redemption story, huh?”
Biggs nods thoughtfully. “Allen,” he says slowly. The way he says the word makes it clear he’s done his homework on the CCPD, and it’s confirmed by what he says next. “Huh. Bartholomew Allen – I thought his foster dad was a cop.”
“You saying that makes him more or less likely to be a crook?” Len says dryly before Allen can stick his two cents in and ruin Len’s play. “My dad was a cop, too.”
Biggs abruptly smirks, and Len knows he’s in. “Biggest cartel in the city’s the CCPD,” he says, nodding. “You’re willing to settle for a ride out?”
That last is said fake-casually. Biggs is smart enough to know that Len would’ve figured out that this is a paid job; he only wants to know if Len wants part of his cut.
“A ride out’ll do us fine,” Len says, inclining his head just a little, conceding the accuracy of Biggs’ deduction and playing it out like he doesn’t care. “Though we’ll settle for a chance to fuck with the Flash on our way out – you do have defenses against the Flash set up, right?”
Biggs’ eyes flicker a little, down and left, but he keeps on smirking. “Of course,” he says. “It’s all planned out.”
Nothing is planned out. This is totally a Flash-trap.
Len is almost regretful that he won’t get to see the Flash in action, but this is his city, goddamnit, and he’s not going to risk it just because some half-assed supervillain wannabe who can’t even be bothered to fight the Flash in person wants to play a game with necessary city infrastructure. Innocent lives lost by the dozens if not hundreds, the entire city torn apart in the aftermath, the costs of rebuilding being borne on the back of the slums, and no tangible gain from any of it – no way. Not while Len’s around.
“So when are we going to start?” he drawls. “Charlie here said tomorrow morning.”
Biggs’ smirk widens. “Change of plans,” he says. “We’re moving tonight.”
Well, isn’t that interesting.
Chapter 6: Barry
When Barry woke up this morning, he did not expect to end the evening in the sewer, armed with a gun and pretending to be Captain Cold and Heatwave’s mutual boytoy. This may, in fact, be very nearly more of a surprise than waking up nine months later after being hit by lightning having unexpectedly developed some neat muscle definition and also superpowers, but not quite because really, that one’s pretty hard to top.
Also, he’s about halfway into working out a decent plan with Heatwave – Mick, really, it’s hard to think of him as anything but when Cold’s always drawling his name like that – to get the creepy cannibal guy away from Cold, because for a supervillain, Cold is clearly way too nice for his own good.
Did Barry just think that?
Wait, can Stockholm Syndrome start in the space of a few hours? Barry honestly can’t remember any of the stuff he’s read about it. But seriously, if those bank robbers had been talking about economic equality and anti-drug policies the way his villains do, he totally doesn’t blame them.
Not that he’s going to do that, of course. No way. You can’t be both a superhero and a supervillain, after all.
(How would he do it, anyway? Maybe get Cisco to make him another color suit? Pretend he had a twin? Try to stop his own heists?)
He is definitely not going to do it.
He’s just, you know, going hear them out a bit more. For, um, science.
(Maybe he could part-time it or something?)
He’s not a supervillain, damnit.
(the Families really are a major problem in the slums, but even the CCPD is afraid of taking them out for fear of creating a power vacuum, but if there was someone already there to fill the vacuum, someone with enough showmanship to keep other organized crime groups away…)
Barry serious contemplates beating his head against a wall.
Cold’s gone over to whisper-fight with the guy in charge – he’d clearly been planning on having more time, and Barry almost wishes he could mention the Flash super-speed thing to him so that Cold could consider it in his planning – and Barry’s just sort of hanging out, trying to avoid creepy-cannibal-guy.
“Heeeey, how’s it going?” he asks one of the big, beefy guys that’s looming around looking dangerous and criminal-y.
The guy stares at him. As do the two equally large men he was standing with.
Barry swallows, abruptly aware of how much bigger than him they are. And the fact that he can’t use his super-speed without giving up the game. “Um.”
The big guy he tried to talk to looks both ways, clearly identifying Cold as busy talking to the boss and Mick fiddling with his gun and eyeing Charlie thoughtfully, and in either way neither looks likely to intervene.
He takes a step closer.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit –
“Have you really worked with Snart before?” the guy whispers. “I hear he’s awesome.”
Oh my god.
“He’s really good,” Barry says honestly. “The police hate him because they know it’s him, but they can’t do anything about it, because he leaves no trace behind, most of the time.”
“I heard he took that big diamond out of the museum, even with the Flash trying to stop him,” other of the others says.
“He didn’t even have any back-up, I heard,” the third guy adds.
“You must be really good to get a chance to work with him,” the first guy says to Barry.
“I’m just lucky,” Barry says hastily. He doesn’t want to give them the wrong impression. “Have you, uh, tried? He’s pretty fair. I think.”
“No,” the first guy says with a sigh. “Don’t have enough recommendations yet.”
“I tried out once,” the second guy confides. “He said I should try again after I got a bit more experience.”
Cold holds try-outs for his heists?
“He’s...really something special,” Barry says, shaking his head a little in disbelief.
“Did he really rob a bank in the middle of guarding one of the early Pride parades?”
Barry has no idea, but it sounds like him.
“I, uh –” he starts, then he notices Mick gesturing. “You know, I think Mick wants to talk to me. We should catch up another time.”
Like, never. Never is good.
The guys nod and go back to chatting with each other.
Barry goes back over to where Mick is. “Yeah?” he asks, and that's when Mick steps over, pushing him slightly into the wall.
“Play along,” Mick instructs, and leans in to run his lips along Barry’s neck, the lightest scrape of teeth and dry lips and then the barest hint of wet tongue.
Barry makes a little high-pitched mewling sound. With any luck, Mick will think he’s just playing along. Though if Mick moves his thigh any closer, Barry will be all but humping it and the fact that that doesn’t seem like that bad a scenario clearly means that Barry seriously needs to get laid, and soon.
“So what d’you think of Len’s little invitation?” Mick murmurs in Barry’s ear. Their cheeks are close enough that the light stubble on Mick’s jawline rasps against Barry’s. That would probably feel really good between Barry’s thighs, Barry’s just saying.
“I’m not much of a supervillain,” Barry says honestly.
“Oh, sure,” Mick says. “But, you know, you don’t have to come to every job. Just, you know, the ones you want to join in on.” He runs a hand up Barry’s side, lingering on Barry’s hip, his thumb stroking the line of the muscle in a tantalizing direction. “The fun ones.”
“Yeah,” Mick says. “Len and me aren’t really into people not being all in, you know. Voluntary participants only.”
“That’s good,” Barry says, distracted by the growl in Mick’s voice and the way Cold has started staring at the two of them over boss-guy’s shoulder at them. His eyes are intense. Like, the term eye-fucking may have actually been invented for Cold’s expression right now. “Voluntary participation. Very good.”
Cold and Mick are both really great actors; Barry could almost believe they’re really into it.
Mick sighs, an exhale of hot air on Barry’s neck right over the part he’s been running his tongue over, making Barry shiver. “Yeah,” Mick says. “We’re all about consent, me and Len. Wouldn’t want to do a tag-team with anyone who isn’t interested, especially if they made that really clear.”
“Right,” Barry says, nodding. They seem really nice about the whole consent thing, actually, even if they did start with kidnapping. Admittedly, it was the nicest kidnapping ever. They gave him Twinkies. And that was before he agreed to help them!
Mick sighs again and noses Barry’s neck. “Glad you understand me,” he says, his voice thick with irony for some reason. “So, what about it, Allen? Are you interested in consenting to a little bit of fun with Len and me?”
Barry’s already nodding – oh, wow, those mental images are really something – and that’s when it abruptly hits him. “Um, wait, are you…is this part of the plan?”
Mick pulls away and smirks at him. “What plan?”
“Cold’s plan to infiltrate? The one he described outside?”
“Wasn’t listening,” Mick says with a shrug and an evil smirk.
Wait, if this isn’t part of the plan, then –
Crap, Barry’s going to be in so much trouble.
“I – um – I –”
“You might say that this is more in the nature of a personal conversation,” Mick says, leaning in close again. “On behalf of both Len and me.”
Say yes, his dick screams at him. You will never get another offer this hot again in this lifetime, damnit, say yes.
This is probably a bad idea, Barry’s brain says. They are supervillains…
If you don’t say yes, you will regret this forever and I will hate you, his dick says.
Barry should really stop personifying various body parts.
“How do you feel about barbeque?” Mick asks abruptly.
Is that some sort of kinky threesome sex position?!
“Um, you mean like the food?”
“Yes, the food,” Mick says patiently. “The supervillain lair me and Len are planning up. He gets his stupid Star Trek doors, I get an industrial kitchen. Four ovens, minimum. I like to cook large quantities – used to do some part-time in a restaurant – and we usually throw a giant party during the summer, invite the whole neighborhood, fireworks and beer, a hundred chicken wings and thighs, a few dozen slabs of ribs, steaks piled higher than a man’s head, that sort of thing. You think that’s something you’d be into?”
“Yes?” Barry says, because, um, obviously? If Mick could cook enough to feed a whole neighborhood, the Flash’s metabolism stands no chance. “That’d be cool.” He pauses. “Uh, no pun intended.”
“You should think about joining, then,” Mick says, then he backs away, why the hell is he backing off? He’s going the wrong way! “As I said, consent’s real important to Len and me. Big decisions like that, you ought to think about it rationally.”
Right. Supervillain league. Supervillain league, with economic justice, copious barbeque, and possibly sexy, sexy threesomes.
Barry’s supposed to think rationally about that?!
Cold stalks over to them. “Job’s on tonight,” he says, then lowers his voice to just above a whisper. “The big boss – and I’m more and more convinced it’s Mr. Banana, Barry, just so you know – wants everything moved into action quick as possible. He’s trying to lure the Flash out from wherever he is.”
“Got it,” Barry says. Bombing, right. Need to stop that, keep the city from being destroyed. Barry can focus on that instead of thinking about possible threesomes. Barry can be cool.
That’s when Cold pushes Mick into the wall and slides their mouths together for a fierce kiss, filthy and deep, catching Mick’s wrists in each hand and pushing them back against the wall until Mick’s pinned there at Cold's mercy.
Barry’s jaw drops.
That’s really hot.
Cold pulls away from a panting Mick. “I’ve volunteered us to take care of the bomb under the main pipeline,” he says casually, voice back to normal, as if he wasn’t just halfway to ravaging his partner in front of the entire bombing crew. “That’s the most central part of it, so we’ll be able to help keep an eye on the rest of these guys, make sure everything goes smooth.” He smiles. “Think you can handle that, Allen?”
Barry is in so much trouble.
Chapter 7: Mick
Mick’s feeling pretty damn pleased with himself. Allen looks like he’s having a minor heart attack and/or a serious debate with his pants, Len’s raring to go do some city-saving that he’ll twist himself into knots arguing is really evil, he swears, and given that they’re now aiming for Central City evening traffic instead of morning, he might be able to sneak off and roast Charlie with his heat gun before anyone notices.
Allen would probably help, actually; his knee-jerk instincts seem a bit violent for a superhero.
Huh. Maybe Len wasn’t too far off asking him to join up with the supervillains.
“The good thing is the bombs are pretty basic,” Len is saying in an undertone as he leans against the wall. “Disable the trigger piece – bit on the top – or pull out the actual explosive; no tricks, no traps, no trouble, at least not in regards to the bombs. The not-so-good thing is that there’s a lot of bombs. There’s two, maybe three, for every man here. I’d been counting on disabling some before they went out, cutting down on the number we need to stop mid-set, but looks like that’s not gonna happen.”
“That’s a lot of bombs,” Allen says, gnawing a little on his lower lip. It's a remarkably attractive look on him. “How much damage do we think they’ll do?”
“The bombs are a lot less high-yield than I was initially worried about, but you set them under the structural supports like they’re planning and whole strips of road are going to dissolve. We’re going to have to split up to take them all –”
Yes, prime Charlie-roasting time!
“– and I’m sure Charlie can help and take down a few on his own, so no killing him.”
“Allen, I’m going to send you and Mick out together at first, but then I’ll need you two to split up – you think you can handle the northern set on your own? I’ll disable all of ours, of course, so you can just put them into place and follow along the other guys as they put theirs in. Once they’ve moved on, disable their bombs, too, quick as you can. That’ll knock down a quarter.”
“I can do it, no problem,” Allen says.
Yeah, and Mick's pretty sure he can do it nice and quick, too.
Allen's really not subtle. He's got the whole chin-raised, eyes-shining hero vibe going, too.
Mick barely keeps from snickering.
“Mick, after you and Allen split, get the eastern set,” Len instructs. “Keep an ear out in case Allen gets into any trouble. I’ll take the south with Charlie, then ditch him and we’ll all meet up by the west side. If the bombs go off there, it’s – well, it ain’t great, but it’s a fairly isolated area compared to the rest, less damage. First one there starts undoing the bombs. If any of you see that it’s gonna blow, though, fire off two warning shots at the ground. Let me reiterate: at the ground, not at a bomb, Mick.”
“That happened once,” Mick protests automatically. Mostly because it had, in fact, only happened once, and also because it was back when they were in their twenties and stupid; Len had nearly gotten them captured that time because he was howling so hard with laughter.
“Don’t listen to him,” he tells Allen, who’s fighting a smile. “He’s a filthy liar. But, uh, yeah, you probably don’t want to fire randomly in the air. No matter what the movies say. Never forget: the bullets have to come down somewhere.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Allen says, giving up and grinning widely. “We good to go?”
“We definitely are,” Len says, giving Allen a slow once over. “But all things considered, it should probably wait till after we've dealt with the bombing.”
Allen’s face, which had been slowly resuming normal operation, promptly goes tomato again.
“Relax, Allen,” Len says, his trademark devil-may-care smirk appearing on his face. “Worst comes to worst, I’ve got a back-up plan. Now I think Biggs is going to move us out, so be ready to go.”
And then he’s gone, probably to go hover around and look like a supervillain.
Judging by the admiring looks he gets while he’s doing it, it’s actually not as useless as Mick always suspected it is.
“What’s he doing?” Allen asks in an undertone, watching Len inspect the troops, tapping his chin thoughtfully and gesturing around with his cold gun dramatically as he does.
“Peacocking,” Mick says, shaking his head. “S’what the parka’s for – tail substitute. Showing off his plumage.”
Allen snickers. “Well,” he says, eyes bright, “he’s certainly got some excellent…plumage.”
Mick roars with laughter.
They all line up and get their bombs from the distribution – two each – and split off from Len and Charlie. Mick disables his as he walks. “Swap with me,” he says to Allen, who nods and hands them to him.
Mick shows him how the disabling’s done.
He’s feeling a bit antsy, but he figures that’s because he never likes jobs where he and Len split up.
“So, what’ve your parents got to do with Mr. Banana?” he asks, because he’s frankly curious. If Allen’s parents were offed by Mr. Banana, that would be his first known kill – and it’s such a weird choice in kills, too! Doc Allen wasn’t political or corrupt, and from his description his wife was even less political than he is, some chemistry professor, so it wasn’t Family business, but the way Doc Allen described it – a single stab to the torso – just didn’t sound like a crime of passion either, especially with the way the guy ghosted afterwards.
More like revenge, if anything. Revenge against who, though, that was the question.
Allen shrugs helplessly. “If I knew that…” he says, trailing off.
“Fair,” Mick concedes. “What about the Flash?”
“What about the Flash?” Allen asks, blinking. His shoulders go up defensively when Mick asks, which is so adorably obvious a tell that Mick kind of wants to pinch his cheek and tell him to leave the lying to the big boys. In the interests of not coming across like his grandmother, he resists the urge.
“Well, if Len’s right about the guy being a stalker – and you probably missed this earlier, but Biggs basically confirmed that there aren’t any Flash defenses, which is really stupid nowadays.”
Allen’s nodding. “If he’s a professional, then he would have accounted for it,” he agrees. “So you think the goal is to lure the Flash here and let him disable the bombs?”
“Can’t see what else it is,” Mick says with a shrug. “But it makes a guy ask: how does Mr. Banana even know the Flash?”
“I don’t know,” Allen says, clearly frustrated. “I wish I did.”
“Well, what do you know?” Mick asks.
“Basically nothing. I saw him – well, I mean, I saw him when I was eleven. When, uh…”
“Your mom snuffed it and the pigs hung a frame job on your dad, yeah.”
“Snuffed it? Really? Is that a fire pun?”
Mick groans. He hadn’t even noticed that one. “Len’s thing for themed puns is contagious, okay?” he grouses. “You’ll find yourself doing it, just you wait. So you actually saw him?”
“Basically,” Allen says. “I saw the lightning, and the man in the yellow, and that’s all. And then I didn’t know anything about him until he showed up last week.”
“What he do last week?”
“He, uh, stole a tachyon emitter,” Allen says.
Mick’s eyebrows shoot up. “You guys caught him mid-heist? Not bad.” He wouldn’t have thought the police (or the Flash) had it in them.
Allen looks embarrassed. “Actually, we were kind of, maybe, trying to use the emitter as, uh, bait? For him. It…didn’t work. He ended up with it after all.”
Yeah, that sounds more like the CCPD Mick’s familiar with.
“Wait,” Mick says, because something about that doesn’t make sense. He’s not the brightest bulb in the set – goddamnit, Lenny, now he’s thinking in puns, and also mental note that he should try to see if he can reverse-engineer the heat gun to make some really killer light bulbs – but he’s spent enough years hearing Len plan that he’s not totally inept. “If you didn’t see him till last week, how’d you know to bait the trap for him?”
“Well, he showed up to make fun of the Flash first,” Allen says. “He said he’s the Reverse.”
“The Reverse,” Mick says, shaking his head. “Of the Flash, y’mean? That’s dumb. He really is a stalker.”
“And yet,” Allen muses, “somehow so much less immediately creepy than Charlie. More evil, definitely, but less creepy.”
“Want to help me ambush Charlie later?” Mick asks, grinning when Allen perks the hell up at the thought – what vicious little creature he’s turning out to be, Mick approves. “C’mon, help me brainstorm.”
“Should we be focusing on, uh, you know?” Allen gestures at the bombs.
“Best way to seem like we’re acting normal is to talk about something else,” Mick points out.
Allen considers this, and shrugs. “Good point. So, what were you thinking?”
“Well, I’ve got a heat gun…”
“Cold said not to kill him,” Allen points out. “That doesn’t mean we can’t do non-fatal things, like dump him at the CCPD. With, like, a warning sign.”
“I like the way you think,” Mick says approvingly. He likes the way this conversation is heading.
Something keeps bugging him, though.
It’s times like this he wishes he had Len’s quickness, because he knows there’s something he’s missing. Len would have caught it if he were here; Mick’s just got a bad feeling, that’s all.
Something about Charlie.
“The thing he does when he stares at Cold is just so weird,” Allen says.
“I know,” Mick says, because it is. “He’s just always there, too; hanging out and staring at Len. Ever since we were kids, too.”
Allen wrinkles his nose. “You’ve never asked him to join for a threesome, right?”
“Ugh,” Mick says, wrinkling his nose. “Hell no.”
They duck down to start defusing the first few bombs left behind by the first group.
“Good,” Allen says. “’cause that’d be grounds for a ‘no thanks’ right there. Sorry, but it’s true.”
“It’s not like you’d be in bed with him,” Mick points out, amused by Allen’s implicit concession that he’s closer to a ‘yes’ than a ‘no’ right now. “Just us.”
They are going to do so many roleplays if this turns out to be a thing.
“Yeah, yeah,” Allen says, blushing a little. “But, you know, it’d just be weird even knowing about it. Him. Just, you know, ugh by association – it’s not you, it’s the fact that he’s associated with you, you know? I’d hope you’d be better than that.”
Mick comes to a halt.
Allen takes three more steps before realizing it and turning back. “Mick?” he asks, frowning. “We still have a bunch more bombs to defuse.”
“You’d feel weird if we’d done Charlie first, even though he’s not actually there,” Mick says slowly, feeling his way to an idea. “Because you’d be…jealous?”
“Well, I’d certainly feel less special,” Allen says, arching his eyebrows. “Why?”
“Flash’d have to know about the trap for it to be a Flash trap,” Mick says, and now he really feels like an idiot. He's been thinking about Allen as the Flash, so obviously the Flash knew about the bombing run, but if he hadn't known about that, if the Flash wasn't there, how would he have learned about it happening? “There’ve been no visual signs of it above ground. Not by evening rush hour; not enough time to spread out clues. It can't be a Flash trap.”
“But if it’s not a Flash trap,” Allen says, frowning. “Then what could it possibly…?”
“Mr. Banana thinks he’s the Flash’s reverse,” Mick says, fear starting to crawl up his back. “You think it’d make him feel less special if all the TV shows start talking about the Flash’s best new supervillain? Only guy to go up against him and get away clean twice?”
Allen’s eyes go wide with horrified understanding. “The Flash isn’t the target –”
“– Lenny is.”
Chapter 8: Len
“Can you disarm the bombs in this area?” Len asks Charlie, nimbly evading the way Charlie keeps reaching out for his arm like he wants to link hands together. Like they’re on some sort of date.
Which – maybe in Charlie’s dreams. No way.
“I can do that for you, Len,” Charlie says, eyes shining.
“Good,” Len says. “I’ll go disarm the rest of ‘em in this area, tell the boys I’m double-checking them or something, and then I’ll –” ditch the hell out of you “– see what to do next.”
Charlie pouts. “I worry about you sometimes, Len,” he says. “You work too hard. Too much stress.”
“I thought you were supposed to stress meat,” Len says, because he can’t help himself sometimes.
“Only after it’s been prepared,” Charlie says indulgently. “See, this is why I like you so much – maybe we can discuss it at length later –”
Len makes his excuses to Charlie and then double-times it through his set of bombs – it takes barely any time at all, the bombs being almost pathetically easy to defuse – then head westward. He’s certain that Mick can keep an eye on Allen and Allen had definitely seemed smart enough to handle a few bombs; between the two of them, he can trust that that section will be handled, and Charlie – well, he doesn’t have to like Charlie to admit that, cannibalistic instincts aside, Charlie’s not totally incompetent. He’s certainly capable of handling the bombs, and he has no reason to double-cross Len.
Besides, Charlie knows how Len deals with people who double-cross him. He wouldn’t dare.
At any rate, the bombs are even more stupidly made than he’d hoped they might be. It has to be a Flash trap: even if the Flash wasn’t particularly expert with bomb defusing techniques, a voice in his ear could walk him through the basics - sure, there's a whole lot of them, but he could disable them all if he ran at top speed, or maybe a little faster, which fits in with Len's theory about it being about getting the Flash to go faster.
Len wonders for a moment how Mr. Banana knows that the Flash would have access to someone with the right expertise. Well, they probably went up against each other and Flash talked to his earpiece the way he had the first time Len had fought him, but bomb-defusing experience seems like a specialization that you wouldn’t think a hero would necessarily think to have on his team. As quick as the Flash is, Mr. Banana’s left him a hell of a short time frame to find an expert if he didn’t already have one.
Something to think about.
Now, however, is not the time to consider such questions. Len’s got a city to keep intact.
After all, this is his city.
The good part about the tunnels on the west side of the highway is that they extend out from where the raised central portion of the highway, under the mostly deserted slum buildings just adjacent to it. The tunnels go up until they’re basically nearly at surface level, under the highway and next to the buildings, so a bombing here would be bad but not catastrophic – far fewer structural supports to knock down.
Still, he’ll be damned if a single squatter loses his life to some stupid hero-obsessed villain. Not while Len’s around, no sir.
He makes it to the tunnels, which are already deserted – the people assigned to come here have already planted their bombs and gotten the hell out of dodge, which is fair – and he’s listening to the countdown clock in his head that tells him he has plenty of time, but he barely takes two steps into the main space when there’s a gigantic boom like thunder and he’s suddenly thrown back against the wall.
Okay, when did he end up lying on the floor? He doesn’t even remember that happening.
Len’s head hurts, and there’s dust everywhere. He’s a bit dazed, but not nauseous, which at least means he’s not concussed.
What just happened?
That couldn’t have been a bomb going off already: there was no heat. He's been Mick's partner long enough to know that much about explosions.
“I tawt I saw a puddy cat,” he says, blinking concrete dust out of his eyes and absolutely mangling the impression. “Or at least I think I saw Tweety Bird.”
He pushes himself up on his elbows painfully and sits up.
Len’s not in the tunnels anymore; or rather, one of the tunnels is now open to the sky, but not because of the dead bombs that lie scattered on the ground. And they are quite certainly dead, he can see that; these bombs have been ripped apart and their pieces scattered everywhere. They’re never going to grow up to be nice big explosions, and won’t Mick be sad about that? But they definitely aren’t the reason that there was now a big hole in the wall under the highway, letting the evening light – half fading sunlight, half glowing streetlights – shine in.
There’s another cause for that.
Len’s never actually seen Mr. Banana before, but there’s no doubt that the man standing before him, vibrating so fast that the air around him shivers like an optical illusion, is the one.
“Holy crap –” Len says.
Mr. Banana raises his head proudly and smirks.
“– that is the ugliest shade of yellow I’ve ever seen,” Len concludes.
Mr. Banana looks taken aback.
But seriously, damn. Tweety Bird would be ashamed to be associated with that color. Big Bird would teach the audience a very special lesson about embarrassment just to cover it. The Teletubbies would think it a step too far.
Len’s still a bit iffy on the whole ‘Mr. Banana’ name, but he’s got to admit that he can see the basis. He’d shoot him with the cold gun just on principle, except that it’s lying halfway across the street.
Len twitches a foot.
Looks like he's somehow got no other guns, either: not the spare he’d tucked in the small of his back or the secondary one strapped onto his ankle. Mr. Banana must have grabbed them when he’d rammed himself thought the tunnel wall like a human-sized super-fast sledgehammer and then threw Len across the room.
Probably doesn’t want Len interrupting him in the middle of his carefully planned out solo number. Len gets that.
Doesn’t mean he has to like it when it’s being done to him, but, well, he gets it.
Evil Overlord rules, you know.
(If Mick didn't want him to quote them, he shouldn't have given Len a copy for his birthday this year.)
“Well, well, Mr. Snart,” Mr. Banana says. His voice reverberates strangely. Vibrating his vocal cords, the way the Flash tried to do early on and then just sort of gave up on. Kind of adorable, actually. This guy clearly has more practice. “You have been an admirable enemy –”
“Have we even met?” Len asks, reaching for his pocket.
Mr. Banana smirks. “You don’t know me,” he says. “But I know you. I’ve seen the work you’ve been doing so far, and you've become quite an impressive adversary for the Flash despite not having any powers of your own."
Gee, thanks. Always nice to meet a fan.
"Unfortunately," Mr. Banana continues, lengthening his syllables into a disdainful drawl which is clearly ripped off from Len, "there’s a risk that you’ll interfere with my plans with the Flash, and that’s – what are you doing?”
“Texting,” Len says, typing on the phone he’s just pulled out. “Obviously.”
“I know, I know, I’m a bit old to be a millennial, right?”
“Put that away and listen to me!”
“Sure, mom,” Len says, clicking send.
There’s a burst of lightning.
Len blinks at the space where his phone was. His poor phone is currently being crushed to death in Mr. Banana’s hands. Mr. Banana’s mask is doing a poor job of hiding his irritation.
Len shrugs and pulls out another one.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mr. Banana says with disgust.
Len holds up the phone and sets it to record. “Wait, lemme get a pic before you destroy this one,” he says. “Don’t worry, feel free to monologue; I swear I’m listening.”
Mr. Banana seems to be contemplating destroying Len's phone again, and possibly adding some pain for Len into the mix in the process; he crosses his arms and glares death at Len as he considers how bad the pain's going to be.
“Lemme guess,” Len drawls, intimately familiar with how to distract people in that sort of mood. “‘Put that phone away this instant, young man, or I’ll kill you even more dead than I was already planning to?’”
Mr. Banana struggles with rage for a moment – his eyes do this thing where they glow even more red and start crackling with sparks of lightning a bit, very Sith-lord – before he manages to rein it and smirk.
“I suppose you have a point,” he says agreeably, in the way rich people do when they think they have the upper hand and decide that they’re going to be all generous about it, just to rub it in.
If he survives, Len is going to find this asshole’s house and rob it, just out of spite.
It can’t be that hard to find. Look at this guy’s preferred color scheme! Definitely one in a million – his house has got to be the most garish collection of no-taste rich-guy stuff imaginable.
Len bets he has a chandelier.
Len's totally going to Phantom of the Opera the shit out of it.
“So, what’ve I been doing that’s been pissing you off so much?” Len asks. “Sorry, I wasn’t actually listening earlier.”
That gets an actual eye-twitch.
He didn’t even know that was a thing real people did.
“Captain Cold,” Mr. Banana says. “Your exploits against the Flash are impressive –”
“What time?” Len inquires, quite seriously. “The time I let his friends scare me off with a vacuum cleaner or the time he kicked my ass up and down the street? Really, I want to know; I’m keeping a ranking list on my wall and I can’t seem to decide which one should be number one.”
Mr. Banana probably thinks he’s joking, but Len really does have a list.
“They will be,” Mr. Banana says impatiently. “But I have decided that your interference in the Flash’s timeline is an unacceptable risk to my plans. As is such, regardless of my respect for you, I’ve decided to end your life. Are you listening now?”
Len’s brain processes the words that just got spoken, but he ends up with nothing but question marks and blue screens of death and gibberish. Nothing that just came out of Mr. Banana’s mouth makes any sense, but it also doesn’t seem particularly useful for the time being either, and therefore he’s going to put his questions aside for contemplation at a time when his life isn’t imminently in danger.
“You do realize I’m stalling for time, right?” Len asks instead.
He’s not too sure. Maybe Mr. Banana is like Charlie and thinks they’re having an actual conversation or something.
Mr. Banana smirks. “Your little friend won’t be able to help you –” he starts.
Len’s jaw drops.
Mr. Banana checks behind him. It’s a barely noticeable motion, but it’s there.
Ah, glorious paranoia.
Very useful – to the person trying to fuck with you.
“No, no,” Len says soothingly. “No ambush yet, relax. I’m just – that’s the first time anyone’s called Mick my ‘little’ friend. Have you met him?”
He gestures a bit with his free hand, a vague outline of ‘very large and intimidating man who is hardly little in any respect’. He adds in a 'if you know what I mean' gesture because really, Mick deserves it, and also it makes Mr. Banana look vaguely like he's bitten into a lemon.
Mr. Banana looks like he's going to say something - Len's really hoping for it to be a lecture on having some more class as a supervillain, he's always wanted to hear one of those - but speak of the devil and he appears.
Mick bursts through the tunnel entrance, heat gun at ready, but he’s still too far away to help if Mr. Banana decides to skewer Len. Allen’s at his heels, eyes wide in horror.
“No!” Allen shouts, even as Mick’s eyes narrow and take in the scene.
Len feels vaguely bad about that, actually. Poor, pretty little hostage – bad enough that the mission went south, but he shouldn’t have to see people who flirted with him die.
Assuming Len does die, of course. Len’s not quite willing to concede on that yet.
Mr. Banana’s face stretches into a smirk, like he was waiting for the audience to arrive for the grand finale.
There’s something’s ticking in Len’s brain.
Something he’s missed, though he’s not sure what.
Mick’d probably know in a minute; he’s always been better with people than Len, even if Len is better at plans and strategies and such.
Hell, Mick probably does already know – he’s been smirking it up like crazy the last few hours.
What is it?
“I do apologize, Mr. Snart –” Mr. Banana says, and Len’s been in enough fights – and watched enough bad movies – to know that Mr. Banana is gearing up for the final murder sequence, and all Len’s got is a bunch of bruises and no guns.
Oh, and his camera phone, still recording.
“–but I’m afraid our time – that is, your time – is up at last,” Mr. Banana says, eyes bright and his tone gloating. He holds up his hand and starts vibrating it as fast as a circular saw, which is a hell of a murder method if Len’s ever seen one, and he steps forward and –
His face when a lacey red bra smacks him right in the face is priceless.
And that would be the other ambush Len had planned via a little community chatting.
Len grins at his phone.
God bless the Internet.
Chapter 9: Barry
What the hell even just happened?!
First Mick and Barry are standing in the tunnels, talking, realizing what’s going on, then Mick’s telling Barry to go run and disable the rest of the bombs in their section as fast as he can while Mick goes to find Cold, and for Barry to catch up later.
Mick’s emphasis on the whole “as fast as you can” is a little weird, since he says it with a lot of stress and repeats it, like, three times, but Barry doesn’t think much of it – Mick’s probably super worried about his partner in crime and wants to be sure Barry won’t slack off on his part of disarming the bombs. Cold would be upset if they let the city infrastructure crumble just because they got distracted trying to save his life, even Barry has figured out that much about him by now.
Cold is such a bad supervillain.
Or, well, he’s pretty good at supervillaining. He’s just really bad at evil.
Either way, as soon as Mick takes off towards the west side at a run, Barry can speed up to full Flash mode. Sure, he doesn’t have his suit, but that’s not necessarily an impediment when he’s moving faster than people can see.
The rest of the thugs aren’t a problem, either, as it turns out. The second they see lightning, they all shout, “The Flash!” and turn tail to run, dropping whatever bombs they have left.
It’s…kind of weirdly offensive, actually?
Barry’s a superhero. People should not be running scared like he’s going to hurt them or kidnap them or something awful. Not even bad guys!
Maybe Cold’s whole “it’s better for people to know about the local superhero as more than just a legend” thing has some merit to it after all.
...maybe not disappearing supervillains into the Particle Accelerator jail would help, too. Just maybe.
Something to think about.
Barry defuses the bombs pretty quickly – honestly, at this point he’s barely even following Mick’s directions, he’s just ripping them apart with his bare hands, but it still works pretty well – and then turns around and zips after Mick, only slowing down when he’s in the tunnel directly behind him so he can jog the rest of the distance like a normal person.
After all, if Mick saw him arrive in a burst of lightning, he’d probably be a little suspicious.
More than he’s already going to be, given that Barry’s clothing is kinda-maybe-sorta sizzling from how fast he was running and his sneakers’ heels are starting to melt a little bit from the friction.
Yeah. Definitely suspicious.
Which would be bad.
For…reasons that Barry will have to remind himself about later.
After all, if he's discovered, terrible things would clearly happen. Like, he might be blackmailed into helping support their fight for economic justice and against gentrification and there will be barbeque and sexy threesomes –
The secret identity thing is important. Barry has to remind himself of that.
But at least it's clear that Barry’s supervillains are obviously the best.
Oliver’s gonna be so jealous.
Not that Oliver’s going to get told about this whole disaster of a day. Ever.
Barry’s just going to...convince everyone in Central City to take a vow of silence about it. Forever.
It's not like the media would pay all that much attention to a jailbreak from the middle of the CCPD headquarters –
Oh god, Oliver already knows.
Barry is so doomed.
But first they have to make sure that Cold isn’t.
Barry runs down the rest of the tunnel at his best attempt to mimic a more normal speed, which ends up being a sort of half-jog, half- skip sort of thing because if he actually tries to run he goes straight into lightning mode and wow he really needs to work on that, but one way or another he ends up catching up with Mick.
“Get ‘em all?” Mick asks when he sees him, and Barry nods. “Good.”
Oh, good, he doesn’t question why Barry’s there so fast or why he's skip-jogging instead of running. Secret intact! Barry mentally pats himself on the back. He’s doing great.
That’s when they both hear a blast.
“Bomb?” Barry asks, eyes wide.
“No,” Mick says grimly. “That was more like a truck hitting a wall real fast.”
A truck, yeah. Or a person.
Mr. Banana – it’s actually kinda funny how quickly Barry picked up that moniker, given that he’s called him ‘the man in yellow’ for years on end and Cisco has been campaigning to get ‘Reverse Flash’ in as the guy’s official nickname – is springing his trap for Cold.
Damnit, Barry, if you’re going to sleep with them, you really ought to call them by their first names, not their supervillain names.
…okay, apparently at some point in this whole mess, Barry’s subconscious has decided he’s up for it if they are.
Which they wouldn’t be if they knew he was the Flash. Their nemesis. Their archrival. Their superhero enemy.
Well. You know, there's actually a chance that they still would; they did have all that discussion about the Flash being really attractive earlier, so maybe – but no, it would never come up, because Barry wouldn’t be able to tell them or else they’d know his secret identity and –
Wow, this is so horribly inappropriate to be thinking about when Mr. Banana is planning to kill Len.
Barry can barely force himself to stop from flashing forward and yelling “don’t you dare touch my (prospective) boyfriend (out of two) you bastard!” or something stupid like that if Mr. Banana is there.
Uh, boyfriend’s probably a bit premature, and that’s not even the biggest thing wrong with that sentence.
What is wrong with him?
(Answer: his libido. Clearly.)
And that’s when Mick barrels out of a tunnel and onto some rubble, Barry right behind him, and, shit, Mr. Banana is there, vibrating too fast to focus the way Barry can, and Len is on the ground just like Mom had been – oh God no, not again – and the Man in Yellow is saying something that Barry can’t hear through the roaring in his ears, and Barry’s shouting “No!” futilely because even at Flash speeds he won’t be able to get there in time to stop what’s going to happen because he’s just not fast enough and then –
And then –
Okay, and then Barry’s brain needs to go reset itself because suddenly the Man in Yellow (Mr. Banana, Barry reminds himself) has a bright red lacey bra hanging on his head and he looks vaguely stupefied about it.
This may be the only instance in which Barry sympathizes with the bastard.
To reiterate: what just happened?!
It’s not the only piece of underwear, either; the next thing that happens is that someone, somewhere, manages to pitch what appears to be a pair of booty shorts composed about 90% of shiny pink sequins right at Mr. Banana’s face, followed by something involving bright blue tassels but not a lot of fabric otherwise.
Superspeed reflexes or no superspeed reflexes, Mr. Banana immediately drops all attempts at murdering Len in favor of batting the increasing shower of various pieces of underwear away from him.
“What in the world..?” he demands, sounding absolutely baffled.
Barry kind of agrees. Not going to lie.
“You know,” Len drawls from where he’s sitting on the ground, “this here’s union territory. You really ought to be careful about who you try to knock off; they take that personally.”
“Union?!” Mr. Banana exclaims. “What union?”
“Oh my god,” Barry says. It can’t be.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mick says flatly, briefly shutting his eyes as if that could make what’s happening stop happening by sheer force of willpower.
But nope, it’s happening.
There they are, appearing on all of the rooftops and in the alleys and all around.
Leonard Snart’s goddamn hooker union.
Barry bursts out laughing.
And not just laughing, full on belly-slapping, howling and hollering, tears streaming down your face laughing.
He can’t help it.
It’s just –
Do you know how hard it is to be scared of someone, even if it is someone who murdered your mother, framed your father, and traumatized you for life, when they have a set of red-white-and-blue flag-themed undies hanging off one of their lightning-shaped ear-spikes?
Also: how did it not occur to Barry how dumb those look? Man, he is seriously going to have to have a talk with Cisco about a few redesigns.
Mr. Banana twists around to stare at where Mick and Barry are standing.
Barry’s making hooting monkey noises again, he just knows it, but he can’t help it.
This is just so dumb.
This is the dumbest thing that has ever happened.
They’re literally just throwing underwear at him and he's paralyzed.
The great Man in Yellow, defeated by shiny stripper underwear.
Obviously the Flash needs to turn in his superhero card because this is clearly a superior crime-fighting method.
Maybe he should consider adopting it.
Oh, oh, and the underwear could have little lightning bolts on it -
Nope, now Barry’s laughing even harder.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mick says again, and his voice is still disbelieving.
Barry glances at him, still trying to keep from strangling himself laughing.
“It’s a pun. That fucker.”
“What?” Barry manages to choke out.
“Mr. Banana,” Mick says, and he looks up at the sky as if asking for help. “You said he calls himself the Reverse Flash, right? He wants to be the enemy of the Flash? And Len stopped him –”
That’s when Barry gets it and he has to cover his face because no. No. Len didn’t.
“– with a flash mob,” Mick finishes.
“I really hate the fact that I’m gonna sleep with that guy,” Barry says, aiming for a meme-appropriate despondent tone but probably not making it anywhere near because he’s still giggling.
“I feel you,” Mick groans. “What’s worse, I actually found that funny.”
Yeah, Barry too.
“I’m gonna suggest you get the hell off our turf,” one of the ladies (Barry is not calling her a hooker!) says.
“How did he even get all of you to come here?” Mr. Banana asks, absolutely bemused.
Someone sling-shots something sparkly at him. Barry’s not even going to try to figure out what it is, but there’s even less fabric involved than the thing with the tassels.
“Standing up for each other’s what a union does,” the lead lady says smugly. “Time for you to go now.”
She’s got something in her hands.
A phone, actually.
“And how do you plan to make me?” Mr. Banana snaps. He sounds angry.
No, he sounds pissed off, and that’s almost enough to get Barry to stop sniggering uncontrollably, because he knows how dangerous he is, but every time Mr. Banana spins around, the flag-colored underwear flaps around behind him like a little waving flag and yep, there Barry goes losing it again.
(Mr. Banana keeps glaring at him about it, too, which for some reason keeps setting Barry off again. He looks so offended, even through the blurring.)
“Clearly you don’t understand. I could kill each and every one of you in the time it takes to blink,” Mr. Banana continues, glaring at all of them. “And there’s nothing any of you can do to stop me! There’s no weapon fast enough!”
“Think the Flash might object to that,” Mick says.
“He’s not fast enough to stop me,” Mr. Banana scoffs.
Barry bites his lip, his laughter fading.
That’s true. He’s not fast enough. It’s on him, because if only he were faster –
No, wait. Len had been very clear, earlier, that the Flash’s weakness (Barry’s weakness) was that he kept playing into people’s expectations. He’d even proposed that Mr. Banana was setting up this whole trap to make Barry have to run faster.
It wasn’t that, of course, the aim of the trap was Len, not Barry.
Mr. Banana could’ve killed Len a dozen times over before Mick and Barry got there, given how slow they were moving, but he didn’t.
Think, Barry, think.
He wants you to run faster. That’s why he taunted you – he wanted you set up the trap with the bait so that he could escape. He was playing you then, he’s probably playing you now.
He’s jealous of Len being your rival, just like Mick deduced.
So why not kill Len efficiently? Unless -
Mr. Banana wants Barry to see this.
But – why?
“You might be able to kill us,” the lead lady says with a sniff. “But we’ve got you on camera – on a lot of cameras, now – and we’re going to bring down the whole of Central City on your head.”
“Central City,” Len adds helpfully. “Not the Flash. Hell, there’s that army base outta town that’s been real into speedsters recently; I bet they’d be into helping out. And all the Flash’ll have to do is sit back and wait. Wouldn’t even have to take the time to fight you himself.”
Mr. Banana looks even more pissed off by that.
“You’re not gonna be much of a rival for the Flash,” Mick observes, “if he never even bothers to fight you.”
“Yeah,” Barry says. Oddly, Mr. Banana seems to be avoiding looking in Barry’s direction now that he’s no longer laughing, even though Barry knows he knows who Barry is. Almost like he doesn’t want Barry to look at his face too hard or something. “Not much of a rival at all.”
Mr. Banana looks super angry.
Mick is definitely right about him.
“The Flash will come out to fight me,” he boasts, but he’s looking around at all those cameras, scowling. Seems pretty clear he doesn’t want this to be made public yet.
Barry figures out what he’s going to do a second before he does it, but there’s no time to stop him and no way to stop him, not without speeding up himself and revealing himself in front of all those people – and he can’t do that, not with Joe and Iris and everyone depending on him –
Mr. Banana flashes off, zipping around the square and grabbing all the phones. Barry’s the only one who can see fast enough to see what he’s doing, but it’s okay: he doesn’t hurt anyone, just grabs the phones. His restraint is weird, but Barry’s not going to complain, not when people aren’t dying.
But by the time he’s back in his original position, smirking, phones gathered in his arms, Len’s gotten his gun back and Mr. Banana steps right into a beam of frozen light that ices over his feet up to the knees.
“If Len smashes him to pieces after freezing him, would that make him a Banana Split?” Barry loudly asks Mick, who groans.
“You’re goddamn perfect for him and he’s going to be so disappointed if you turn down his little offer,” Mick grumbles back even as he leads the way forward, gun pointed at Mr. Banana. “You know that, right?”
“He’s not going to say no,” Len calls back, grinning like a maniac; just as Barry had intended, he’d heard Barry’s question.
Mr. Banana is making a disgusted face, so he clearly also heard what Barry said.
Maybe he’s judging himself for setting himself up as Barry’s nemesis now or something.
Clearly, Len and Mick are a better class of villain.
So there, Mr. Banana!
But Mr. Banana kicks his way out of Len’s ice pretty easily – how does he know how to do all of this stuff?! – and stepping forward.
“Your stupid puns aren’t going to save you,” he sneers, ignoring Barry entirely. “And neither is your ice.”
“Cold,” Len says, sounding annoyed. “Not ice.”
Mr. Banana rolls his eyes. “Your cold won’t save you.”
“How about gold then?” a female voice drawls from behind him.
There’s a vaguely familiar-looking woman there, brunette, in a slick leather jacket with gold chains, and she’s pointing what is a very recognizably Cisco Ramon created gun, colored dark yellow this time, right at Mr. Banana.
And, much to his surprise, Cisco and Caitlin are standing right next to her.
Well, to be fair, they’re slightly behind her, but that’s fair. She’s the one holding the gun.
She looks really familiar for some reason, but Barry’s pretty sure he’s never seen her before.
“Hey, sis,” Len says, sounding pleased.
Dear god, there’s two of them.