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Thank You for the Flowers

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"Robbery in progress, office building on 18th and Main – you on it?” Cisco’s voice came through Barry’s earpiece.

“On my way!” Barry responded, zipping towards the crime scene.

“Heads up, Barry, it looks like Captain Cold and Heat Wave are back – either that, or someone else got a hold of their weapons,” Caitlin added.

Barry slowed down slightly, surprised. He was vaguely aware that Mick Rory and Leonard Snart had been part of some sort of time traveling expedition with Professor Stein, Sara Lance, and a few other people, and he knew from his Star City friends that Sara and the others had returned, but he didn’t know the details, and he’d assumed – or at least hoped – the two villains’ participation in the venture meant they had turned over a new leaf. It didn’t make sense for them to turn back to crime so quickly. “Don’t worry, guys, I’ll be careful.”

By now, Barry was approaching the building. Closing in, he saw two figures standing outside. He stopped short, staying back to observe before moving in. They were dressed the way he expected – one in a blue parka, the other in tan, both wearing goggles – but Captain Cold was just off, and Heat Wave was holding both weapons, he was raising them, he pointed them at the man in the blue parka –

Before Barry could process what was happening, the weapons had been fired. He rushed towards the pair, but the man in the blue parka had fallen before Barry could get to him. “What the hell was that?” he yelled, skidding to a stop in front of Mick Rory. “I thought Snart was your partner!”

Mick, who had been staring at the body in front of him with a mix of disinterest and mild disappointment, looked up at Barry and blinked. “Snart was my partner. This kid wasn’t up to snuff.”

Confused, Barry turned to look at the parka-clad body on the sidewalk. The Heat and Cold Guns had done significant damage, but it was still obvious up close – the man was not Leonard Snart. The body was too small, the face too round, hair too dark. Barry turned back to Mick, shaking his head with uncertainty. “What, Snart’s out, so you’re holding auditions for a new Captain Cold?”

Mick’s eyes clouded over. “Haven’t you heard? There was an opening,” he answered vaguely. He gestured toward the body with one of the guns. “Doesn’t look like he’ll be getting a callback.”

Barry furrowed his brow. “What are you talking about?”

Mick looked back at Barry, his face completely blank. “Turns out, Snart wanted to be a good guy after all. Got himself blown up in the process.”

Barry felt as though the wind had been knocked out of him. “Oh. I … I had no idea.”

Mick nodded curtly. “Now, are you gonna let me go, or do I need to make you look like that guy on the sidewalk?” Barry stared wordlessly at him, still too stunned to move. “Right. I’ll be going, then.” Mick turned and walked away, disappearing into an alley.

Watching him walk away, everything gradually came back into focus for Barry. He briefly considered going after him but quickly dismissed the idea. Instead, he turned to run back to Star Labs. “Caitlin, Cisco, did you guys catch that?”

“Yeah, I caught most of it, but you sure didn’t catch anything – you’re just letting him walk away?” Cisco’s voice was incredulous in his ear.

“He lost his partner.”

“Do you think that makes him less dangerous? Because if that little show was any indication, Heat Wave just got a whole lot colder.”

“Yeah, Barry, if Heat Wave is back to killing people, he’ll have to be stopped,” Caitlin added.

“I just couldn’t do it,” Barry said from behind them, arriving in the lab with a whoosh. Caitlin and Cisco jumped slightly, turning to face him. “He’s  - he’s grieving.”

“And his coping mechanism is getting random people to wear Snart’s clothes and blasting them when they aren’t up to his psycho-criminal standards,” Cisco cut in.

“Look, Barry, your empathy is part of what makes you such a great hero, but you can’t let it blind you. Mick Rory is a villain, and so was Snart.” Caitlin stepped towards him, tentatively putting a hand on Barry’s arm. “Why do you care so much?”

Barry opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Why do I care so much? He couldn’t get Leonard Snart’s piercing gaze out of his mind. “Snart wanted to be a good guy after all …” He looked at his friends. “I need to know what happened to Snart.”

Caitlin and Cisco exchanged a concerned glance. They seemed to reach a silent consensus. “If we find someone from the team to talk to us about it, do you think that will be enough for you move on?” Caitlin asked.

“Yeah, totally. That’s all it’ll take.” Barry said, nodding enthusiastically.

Caitlin pressed her lips together, clearly not convinced, but Cisco was willing to go with it. “Great. Who should we call?”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

It ended up taking several phone calls to piece the story together. Between the information they’d gotten from Professor Stein, Sara, and Ray Palmer, Barry could almost picture the sequence of events. It wasn’t difficult to imagine Ray volunteering to sacrifice himself to restore free will to the universe, but it was harder to picture Mick Rory forcibly taking his place as martyr. And then for Snart to jump in and take Heat Wave’s place … Barry made Sara repeat that part of the story five times before Caitlin made him stop, made him realize how emotionally draining his questioning was for Sara.

As Caitlin and Cisco wrapped up the last call and said their goodbyes to Ray, Barry walked to the other side of the room and sat down, resting his head in his hands. Once his friends had hung up the phone, it took a minute for Caitlin to tentatively break the silence that had fallen over the lab.

“So, Barry, do you feel like you have whatever it is you were looking for?” she asked softly.

“I just don’t get it,” said Barry, looking up. “He always took care of himself first; he wasn’t worried about the collateral damage.”

“Except when people he cared about were involved,” Cisco pointed out. “He teamed up with his abusive psycho crime-lord dad to protect Lisa.” 

“And Mick Rory was his partner. It’s not too hard to believe he’d step in to save him,” Caitlin reasoned. “Maybe he thought he could find a way out of it like he usually does, and he just couldn’t this time.” She hesitated. “Whatever his motivations, it sounds like Leonard Snart was a hero, after all.” 

Barry swallowed thickly. “Yeah. Yeah, he was.” 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

“You sure about this?” Cisco asked as he and Barry walked up to the front door of the Snart residence.

Barry nodded. Wearing his Flash suit and carrying a basket of flowers, he was well aware of how ridiculous he looked, but this was something he had to do. Seeing Lisa, offering his condolences – it would give him the closure he’d been looking for. It has to. Barry stared at the door. “You sure this is where she lives?”

“I cross-referenced CCPD records for her, her brother, and Mick Rory, plus I traced her Gold Gun, which –”

“Makes it sound like you’ve been stalking me,” Lisa Snart interrupted from behind them.

Barry and Cisco spun around. Barry was on guard, ready to grab Cisco and get out of there if Lisa went on the offensive, but it didn’t seem like that was going to happen. Lisa looked wary and on edge, but she also looked … defeated. The usual spark in her eyes had dimmed. The only time he had seen her this empty and vulnerable was when she had come to them for help after her brother was kidnapped.

“Hey! Uh, not stalking, that would be creepy, just doing a little research to, you know, verify our information about where you’d be – er, that doesn’t sound better, does it?” Cisco fumbled as Lisa circled them to stand between the two men and her front door. “B- uh, Flash, help me out here?”

“We heard about your brother,” Barry said, reaching out to hand her the flowers. “I – I’m so sorry.”

A pang of emotion crossed Lisa’s face as she accepted the gift, exposing a certain softness that hadn’t been there before. She quickly recovered her guarded posture. “Why do you care? Wasn’t he supposed to be your enemy?”

Barry swallowed thickly. Why do people keep asking me that? And why don’t I have an answer? “Leonard was a good man. He was a hero.”

Lisa laughed. “God, the face he’d make if he could hear that.”

“It’s true, though, whether he liked it or not,” said Barry. “He always said he didn’t want to be a hero, but everything he did –”

“Everything?” Lisa asked, eyebrows raised. “I think you might have some selective memory loss.”

“Okay, maybe not everything,” Barry amended, “but truly, Lisa, he’s going to be missed by a lot of people, whether they realize it or not. You should be proud.”

Lisa nodded, a tight smile on her face. “I am. I always have been.” She turned to look at Cisco, who had been standing awkwardly behind Barry. “What about you, Cisco? Are you just here for moral support? Or your stalking abilities?”

Cisco winced. “No. I mean, yeah, but I also wanted to offer my condolences. If there’s anything we can do for you, just say the word.”

“Thanks, Cisco,” said Lisa softly. “That means a lot.” She took a deep breath. “Well, I’m sure you two should get going. Crimes to stop, cities to save, all that hero stuff.”

“Yeah, we – you’re right, we should go,” Barry nodded. “Like Cisco said, anything you need –”

“I know where to find you,” Lisa finished. “Careful making promises – I might just take you up on it.”

“I hope you do,” said Barry earnestly. He glanced at Cisco, who gave Lisa one more look before nodding at Barry. The pair began to walk away.

“Hey, Flash,” Lisa called. Barry stopped, turning back to face her. “Lenny would’ve really appreciated it. You coming here.”

Barry felt a tightening in his throat. “I hope so,” he said. He and Lisa looked at each other, each seeing their sadness reflected in the other. Moisture was gathering behind his eyes. There was so much more he wanted to say, wanted to make sure Lisa knew – make sure Leonard knew – but he couldn’t find the words and he was feeling too much and he needed to get out of there before he – or Lisa – broke down. Barry grabbed Cisco and sped away.

He dropped Cisco off at the lab, but Barry kept going, running out of the city, running until he was out of breath, running until he couldn’t hold it in anymore. And then he sobbed.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

“Should we say something?” Caitlin whispered. “It’s been almost a week since you went with him to bring those flowers, and he’s still acting like this.”

“Oh, yeah, do you want to lead the counseling session? ‘Hey Barry, we think you might’ve had stronger feelings than you let on about a supervillain who’s dead now, and your grief seems to be affecting your work.’ That couldn’t possibly backfire on us,” Cisco whispered back sarcastically.

Caitlin sighed. “I don’t think we should counsel him, I just think he might need someone to point out –”

“That he’s distracted? That he’s been making mistakes? He knows, you see how frustrated he’s been getting.” 

“Maybe he needs someone to point out he’s not alone.”

“I don’t think he’ll believe us.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Lisa sat at her kitchen table, staring at the now-faded flowers the Flash and Cisco had brought her last week. Whenever someone died on TV or in the movies, their loved ones were always surrounded by bright floral arrangements – dozens of them. She only had the one, and it was starting to look nearly as dead as the person it was supposed to commemorate.

I guess that’s what happens when a criminal dies on a top-secret mission to save the world, she mused wistfully. No one sends flowers. No one notices.

She was pulled out of her thoughts by a deliberate, measured knock at the front door. Lisa looked up, eyes narrowed. It wasn’t unheard of to get unexpected visitors – usually selling something – but it wasn’t exactly a common occurrence.

Grabbing her Gold Gun, she warily approached the door and opened it a crack. Her breath caught in her throat. Standing in front of her was a man in a black leather jacket – a man with the same build, the same face, the same piercing eyes – but it couldn’t be. He was dead. “What do you want?” she spat. “Is this someone’s sick idea of a joke?”

Leonard Snart shook his head. “Nope, just a brother checking in on his baby sister.”

“Bullshit.” Lisa tightened her grip on her weapon. “I don’t have a brother.”

At this, the man in her doorway – not Lenny, it can’t be Lenny no matter how much it looks like him – seemed concerned. “I’m going to kill Rip Hunter,” he muttered, eyes narrowed. “‘Your timeline doesn’t appear to be altered’ my ass.” He looked up intently. “Lisa, you really don’t remember me?”

Lisa bristled. “Of course I remember my brother Lenny. But you’re not him. He’s dead. He died saving the world, and I don’t know who you are or why you’re pretending to be him, but if you think for one second I’m going to let you get away with it, you didn’t do your research right.”

The man visibly relaxed as she spoke. By the time she finished, he was almost smiling. “Now this I can work with.”

“You realize I just threatened to kill you, right?” Lisa asked, eyebrows raised.

“Yes, and I know you usually make good on your threats,” he acknowledged. “But it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to prove I’m me than it would’ve been to write myself back into existence if my timeline had been erased.”

“And how exactly are you going to do that?” Lisa challenged. “You should know I’m not a very trusting person,” she said mockingly.

“But you always trusted me,” he said quietly. “Your tenth birthday, you tried to sneak out to see that Disney on Ice show at the community center. I caught you, and Dad would’ve, too, but I covered for you and waited up to sneak you back inside. Thought you were taking a pretty big risk for a dumb show, but you didn’t stop talking about how great Princess Jasmine was for weeks, so I guess it was worth it.”

Lisa felt herself relaxing, but she was still suspicious. “Anyone could’ve seen me at the show, and it doesn’t take much to figure I snuck out. Especially if you can travel through time.”

“True,” Lenny – was it Lenny? – admitted. “How about this one. Right before Mick and I left on this time travel job, the three of us were sitting in the kitchen. I told you we were about to do something a little more reckless than usual, but you shouldn’t worry about us, and I told you I was proud of the badass, independent woman you’ve become.”

Lisa nodded slowly. “What else did you tell me?”

He smirked. “I told you I’d noticed you picking up some pyro tips from Mick, and if this house was in ashes when I got back, I’d kill him and then you.”

Lisa smiled. “The house isn’t in ashes.”

“Looks acceptable from the outside, at least,” Lenny agreed.

“Have you talked to Mick yet?”

He shook his head. “I came here first, as soon as I tracked down Rip and got a sense of what the hell happened to me.”

“Okay then, that’s next.” Lisa stepped back, holding the door open for him. “You can wait inside while I call him.”

“So you believe me?” he asked, raising a brow.

She shrugged. “I believe you enough to let you wait inside. I want to see what Mick thinks.”

Lenny sighed. “As much of a hassle as all this is, at least I know you’re probably paranoid enough to stay safe even if I’m not there to protect you.”

“Yeah, well, I learned from the best.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

It took Mick only a moment to make his determination. He walked into the room, immediately went up to the man, and whispered something in his ear. As soon as he responded, Mick pulled him into a tight hug. “Good to have you back, partner.” He took a step back, looked at Lisa, and nodded. “It’s him.”

Lisa looked quickly between the two. “What was that, you two have some secret code to prevent identity theft?”

Mick shrugged. “It’s been more useful than you’d expect.”

Leonard looked carefully at his sister. “So, do you believe I’m not dead?”

She quickly crossed the room and threw her arms around her brother. “God, Lenny, it was bad enough when you were just gone so long, but when Mick showed back up and told me you weren’t coming home – that was just too much."

“I know,” Leonard murmured, holding Lisa close. “I’m sorry.”

“Just try not to die again, okay?”

“How’d you avoid dying this time?” Mick asked, sitting down at the kitchen table.

Leonard shrugged as he and Lisa sat down, too. “As with most things involving time travel and Rip Hunter, not exactly sure. Rip seemed pretty surprised to see me when I tracked him down, but he had a theory. The Oculus was a portal through all of time and space, so when we blew it up, it used that final blast of energy to deposit me back into my timeline.”

Lisa looked somewhat lost, but Mick shrugged in acceptance. “Works for me.” He looked at Leonard. “Glad you’re alive, however you got here.”

“Agreed.” Leonard turned his attention to the flowers sitting on the table in front of them. “Looks like you two weren’t the only ones to miss me. Who sent the bouquet?”

“Oh, yeah – The Flash came by, with Cisco Ramon. Cisco was all cute and nervous, and the Flash – looks like you’ve made quite the impression on him, Lenny. He was pretty broken up about it when he thought you were dead.”

“Is that so?” Leonard’s mouth curved upwards into something between a smirk and a genuine smile. “Well, then, it might be time to let him know I’m back.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

“Uh, Barry, there’s a robbery in progress, but – I’m not sure you want to handle this one.”

“Why not? Just tell me where it is, Cisco.”

“The warehouse by the docks, but I really don’t think you want to go there.”

Why not?” Barry asked in exasperation, already running towards the warehouse.

“It’s Snart.”

Barry skidded to a stop. “Which one?”

“Leonard. It’s Captain Cold.”

“Maybe it’s Captain Cold, but it’s not Leonard Snart. It can’t be. He’s dead. You know he’s dead,” Barry snapped.

“Okay, well, it’s a damn good impersonator. I hacked into the security cameras, and whoever it is has the Cold Gun, and he looks like Snart.”

Barry took a steadying breath, then began to run again. “Thanks for the heads up. I’m going in.”

“Just be careful, man,” Cisco cautioned. “Whoever it is seems to be trying to draw attention to himself – it’s like he wants you to show up.”

“Maybe it’s just another imposter who’s too reckless and inexperienced to know better,” Barry countered. “Either way, don’t worry – I’ll be careful.”

“I always worry,” Cisco muttered, but Barry was already tuning him out, focusing instead on the scene in front of him as he approached the warehouse.

Cisco had been right – as Barry approached, he could tell whoever was playing the role of Captain Cold wasn’t trying to keep his presence a secret. A thin coat of ice covered the ground leading to the door, which was carelessly left open. He wasn’t sure what to make of it – Leonard Snart hadn’t exactly been known for his subtlety, but Snart was dead and it seemed more than a little over-the-top for a successor to introduce himself to The Flash in such a flamboyant manner. Only one way to find out, he thought with a grimace, going into the warehouse.

He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, on edge and ready to dodge an attack. As the room came into focus, he saw a man in a blue parka sitting in a chair against the opposite wall. The Cold Gun was nearby, but it wasn’t aimed at anything – it wasn’t even in his hands, and he wasn’t wearing his goggles.

“Barry, I see you got my message.”

Barry hesitated. It looked like Snart, sounded like him, and he knew Barry’s name. But – “You’re dead. You can’t be here; you died.

“Did I? Must’ve missed the memo,” the man said, standing up. “You can get closer and see for yourself, but I seem pretty alive to me.”

A wave of emotion passed over Barry as he tried to focus on what he knew, what he’d been told. “I saw Mick Rory, I talked to Ray Palmer, Sara Lance, Professor Stein – they all said Leonard Snart died. They saw him die – the Oculus exploded. How can you be him?”

“Guess they were wrong. It happens to the best of us, I suppose. Not sure exactly what happened, but it looks like time chewed me up and spat me back out again.”

“How do I know it’s really you?” Barry asked, cautiously approaching him.

Snart shrugged. “I know who you are. And I know you dropped by my house with flowers for Lisa.”

Barry felt himself blush. Somehow, the flowers seemed more intimate now that the man they were meant to memorialize was standing in front of him. “Knowing about the flowers doesn’t prove anything – Lisa could’ve told anyone about that.”

“True. But Lisa doesn’t know your name.”

Barry nodded reluctantly. His heart was beating rapidly; he wanted desperately to believe the man in front of him was really Leonard Snart, but he was terrified it would turn out to be a trap, a lie. If Snart was dead after all, it would be like losing him again. And he didn’t think he could handle that.

“Okay, let’s say I believe you. Why are we here?” Barry asked.

For a moment, Snart looked as though he wasn’t exactly sure, either, but the flicker of uncertainty was gone from his face in an instant. “Just wanted to thank you for the flowers.”

“Why are we really here?” Barry pressed, too anxious to appreciate Snart’s response. “And how do I know you’re really Leonard Snart?”

Pressing his lips together, Snart ignored the first question. “Why is it so important for you to know? Why does the Flash care who’s wearing the parka, anyway?”

Barry paused, suddenly very aware of the microphone on his suit transmitting everything back to the lab. “Maybe the Flash isn’t the one who cares,” he said quietly. “Maybe it matters to Barry.”

“In that case, what can I do to convince you?” Snart asked.

Barry stared at him, at a loss, trying desperately to think of something and coming up empty.

Snart sighed. “No wonder you spent over year working closely with a fake Harrison Wells,” he muttered. “Would you believe Lisa?”

Barry thought for a moment then nodded. “Okay.” If anyone would be able to identify an imposter, it would be his sister.

“All right. My place, one hour. You know the address.” Snart smirked. “Oh, and Cisco,” he said, raising his voice slightly. “You’re welcome to join us. I’m sure Lisa will be happy to see you.”

Cisco’s voice sputtered to life in Barry’s ear. “Uh, I – er – do you think he means that, or is he just saying it to screw with me, because – not that there’s any reason to think she’d – or that I –”

“We’ll both be there,” Barry said to Snart, cutting Cisco off. He stared at Snart for another moment before breaking eye contact and speeding back towards the lab.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

“You sure you want to do this?” Cisco asked, eyebrows raised. “There’s no taking it back once she sees you, y’know.”

“I know,” Barry said. He and Cisco were once again approaching the Snart residence, but this time, they were going as Cisco and Barry rather than Cisco and the Flash.

It hadn’t been an easy decision. Letting another person in on his secret identity – particularly another person who tended to align herself with the villains – was risky in and of itself, but showing up without his suit also made him more vulnerable if this turned out to be an ambush. It made him feel vulnerable in other ways, too, but Barry was trying to keep those feelings safely buried beneath the surface.

Barry and Cisco reached the front door. “Okay, let’s do this thing,” Cisco said, reaching up and knocking.

When Leonard – maybe Leonard, hopefully Leonard – opened the door, Barry knew he’d made the right decision in leaving his suit at the lab. The other man was wearing a black sweater with dark pants, looking very much like Leonard Snart instead of Captain Cold.

Leonard looked at him critically, as if he were unsure what to make of him. “I thought the Flash was coming.”

“I wanted Barry to be the one here for this conversation,” he said quietly. “Is that okay?”

Leonard hesitated. “Lisa –”

“I know,” said Barry quickly. “I want to tell her who I am.”

“I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the point of having a secret identity is generally to keep your identity a secret,” Leonard said dryly, but he was smiling faintly. “Come on in.”

He led them into the dining room. Lisa was already sitting at the table. Leonard sat across from his sister; Barry sat next to him, leaving Cisco to take the chair next to Lisa. “Hello, Cisco,” she purred. “And – I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?” she asked, turning to Barry.

“Barry Allen,” he introduced himself. “But most of the time, you’ve seen me as the Flash.”

Her eyes widened and she looked between Cisco and her brother, processing the information and the non-reaction from the other two. “Lenny, you knew and you didn’t tell me?”

He shrugged. “I promised him I wouldn’t. Besides, you didn’t need to know.”

Barry knew revealing the Flash’s identity to Lisa was an important moment for her, but he was impatient and anxious to get to the purpose of their visit. “So, Lisa, are you sure – really sure – this is your brother?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Completely.”

Barry felt a rush of relief at the simple, direct certainty of her response, and he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. “How do you know?”

“He told me things only Lenny would know, things from our childhood. And then I called Mick over – they apparently had a system in place to confirm each other’s identity in situations like this, so it took him about two seconds to be sure. Once Mick was sure, I was sure, too.”

“You seriously had a plan for this kind of situation?” Barry asked Leonard incredulously.

“We run with criminals, meta-humans, and time travelers,” he pointed out, eyebrows raised. “It’s a common sense precaution.”

“Hey Cisco, maybe we should come up with something like that,” Barry muttered to his friend.

“On it,” Cisco replied.

“Are you convinced I am who I say I am, then?” Leonard questioned.

“Yeah,” Barry nodded, “I believe you. And – Len – I’m really, really happy you’re alive.” The other man’s name felt intimate on his tongue.

“Good,” Leonard said softly. “So am I.” The two men kept looking at each other. The quiet intensity grew as they each refused to break eye contact or the silence.

“Hey Cisco, can you come check out my Gold Gun? I think it’s been acting up,” Lisa interjected, staring at Leonard before sliding her gaze over to Cisco, turning on all of her charm.

“Wha- what do you think’s wrong with it?” Cisco asked, snapping to attention. 

“It just doesn’t seem as responsive as it should be,” she pouted. “Come on, it’s in the other room.”

“Do you think Barry should come? He’s a forensic scientist, he might be able to help,” Cisco suggested obliviously.

“No, I think you can handle it,” said Lisa, rolling her eyes slightly. “Let’s go.” Standing up, she all but dragged Cisco out of the room. Barry and Leonard barely seemed to notice their departure.

After a minute, Barry broke his gaze and started to glance around the room. His eyes landed on the vase of faded flowers, still sitting on the table in front of him. “You haven’t thrown them out yet,” he noted.

“Lisa and I are rather fond of them,” Leonard said, keeping his eyes on Barry.

“She said – when we dropped them off – she said you would appreciate them.”

“I do.”

“So, is that just because you like flowers, or …?” Barry asked.

Leonard raised his eyebrows. “Really, Scarlet?”

“Hey, it’s a nice arrangement,” Barry protested. “I didn’t want to assume ... that it meant more to you than it actually does.”

“In that case, let me be perfectly clear: it means a lot to me,” Leonard said. “It’s nice to be remembered by somebody,” he continued. Barry’s face, which had been hopeful, fell slightly. Somebody. “It’s particularly nice to be remembered by you,” Leonard added. Oh.

“When I found out – I thought I saw Mick kill you, but it was just someone dressed in your clothes.” Barry let out a shaky breath. “I was so relieved that guy wasn’t you, it took me a minute to understand what Mick was saying, that you were dead, too. I just couldn’t imagine Central City without you.”

“I’d been gone for months,” Leonard pointed out. “Didn’t you get used to me being gone?”

“Yeah, but I knew you were still somewhere. It was different when I thought you’d be back.”

“I thought about you a lot, while I was gone,” Leonard told him. “I kept thinking about what you said to me at Christmas, about being a hero. That’s what stuck with me, convinced me to sacrifice myself for the team. So really, this entire death situation is your fault.”

Barry laughed. “You’re not a good person just because I said you were. You’ve always had good inside of you. You’re just getting better at showing it.”

Leonard grimaced. “This entire ordeal has reminded me why I prefer the darker side of things,” he complained. “It’s a lot safer.”

“I don’t know, I like you better as the good guy,” Barry said. 

Leonard leaned towards him, angling his head slightly. “In that case, it might be worth it after all.”

“Good,” Barry whispered. Leonard’s eyes were on his lips. Barry felt himself moving towards him, closing his eyes, closing the gap. An instant later, he felt his lips connect with Len’s, pulling him into a deep kiss. His taste consumed him, drew him in, made him forget everything but Leonard Snart and how wonderful it felt to be this close to him.

Too soon, they broke apart. Leonard looked at him carefully, breathing heavily. “Was that okay?”

“Yes – god yes,” Barry assured him. “That was – that was good. Really good.” He paused. “Was it okay for you?”

Leonard smiled. “Exceptionally so.”

Just then, Cisco came back into the room, looking slightly disheveled. “The Gold Gun is fixed!” he announced, a bemused Lisa trailing in behind him, holding her weapon loosely at her side. “Barry, we should probably get back to the lab.”

“Um, yeah, sure, we should – we should get out of your hair,” Barry agreed, standing up and walking towards the door with Cisco.

“I’ll see you out,” Leonard said. They reached the front door; Leonard held it open for them. “Thanks for stopping by, Barry.”

“Anytime. Really. W-we should – um – do that again sometime,” Barry stuttered.

“Agreed,” said Leonard, smirking. “See you around, Scarlet.”

The door closed; Barry and Cisco began to walk back towards Star Labs. Cisco looked as though he was about to burst. As soon as they’d turned the corner away from the Snart residence, he blurted it out. “I made out with Lisa.”

Barry grinned. “I kissed Leonard.”

“Caitlin’s going to kill us,” Cisco said, his voice filled with apprehension.

“She’ll get over it,” said Barry, laughing. “Maybe Len and Lisa have a cousin they can set her up with or something,” he suggested.

Cisco wrinkled his nose. “You think they’re going to talk about us, to each other?”

“Probably. We’re talking about them, aren’t we?” Barry liked the idea of Leonard talking about him, thinking about him when he wasn’t there.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~

“So, you and Cisco?”

Lisa nodded. “You and the Flash?” 

“What have we gotten ourselves into?” Leonard sighed.

“I don’t know about yours, but mine’s a real good kisser,” Lisa informed him.

“Cisco Ramon’s kissing skills go firmly on the list of things I wish I knew nothing about.”

“Suit yourself!” Lisa shrugged.

Leonard’s gaze went back to the flowers. “Hey, Lisa, think you could use your Gold Gun on the bouquet?”

“Sure,” she said. She looked it over before carefully aiming her weapon and firing, turning the vase of flowers into a shimmering gold statue. “There. Looks nice,” she smiled.

“Yeah. It really does.”