Chapter 1: The Prodigal Son
The Prodigal Son
“Yo, what’s up little brother?!”
Barry jumped a mile and nearly knocked over a beaker that was sitting on his lab bench. He looked up from his microscope in irritation. His eyes widened at first when he saw who was standing in the doorway of his lab, but they then quickly narrowed in irritation.
“Sebastian,” Barry replied stiffly.
“Wow. Please, tell me I don’t look like that when I scowl,” Sebastian laughed, sitting in Barry’s chair and putting his feet up on his desk, “The look really doesn’t suit us.”
“What are you doing here?” Barry demanded.
“What?” Sebastian asked in mock-innocence, “I can’t come see my little brother?”
“First of all,” Barry hissed, “You’re older than me by twelve minutes, so stop calling me your little brother. Secondly, I haven’t seen you in three years. So, no, you can’t just drop in and visit me, especially in my lab in the middle of the work day.”
“Ouch,” Sebastian smirked.
“Seriously,” Barry sighed, “What do you want, Bash?”
“Nothing,” his brother replied, looking absently at his nails, “Just thought I’d drop in. Say hi. Maybe stir up a bit of trouble. How’s dear old dad been? Still rotting in Iron Heights?”
Barry felt like he was going to explode. His face turned a furious shade of red as he glared at his twin.
“Get out,” he gritted, “Get out of my lab.”
“Touchy,” Sebastian tutted, “Why you even still care about that bastard, I’ll never know.”
“Because he’s innocent,” Barry snapped, “Dad didn’t kill mom. It was—”
“The man in yellow. Blah, blah, blah,” Sebastian mocked, rolling his eyes in annoyance, “Still going on about that?”
“It’s the truth,” Barry spat, “And if you came here just to argue about it with me, then you might as well leave. I’m done trying to convince you, Bash. You lost your faith in dad a long time ago, and it’s become painfully clear that you’re never going listen to the truth.”
“Sure,” Sebastian said sarcastically, “Let’s pretend that I’m the one in denial. And how many shrinks did they send you to, Barry boy? I lost count by the time we were twelve.”
Barry didn’t say anything. He silently turned back to the blood analysis he had been doing, his frustration beyond words.
“Alright,” Sebastian huffed, “Sorry. I didn’t come here just to argue about dad, alright?”
“Then why did you come here?” Barry asked bitterly, shooting a glare at his brother.
Sebastian crossed his arms, his eyes narrowing.
“My only brother is struck by lightning and wakes up from a coma nine months later and doesn’t even bother to call me?”
“Oh, don’t act like you’re hurt,” Barry snipped, “Why would I call you? You’ve never cared before.”
“That hurts,” Sebastian said, dramatically putting a hand to his heart, “You’re my brother, Bar. I care about you.”
“That’s rich,” he huffed, changing out a slide in his microscope, “If you cared so much, you would have made more of an attempt to stay in touch all these years.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes.
“Sorry I didn’t feel like coming back to Central City after mom was murdered here,” he replied defensively, “I didn’t exactly get to choose whom I was adopted by.”
“You could’ve come back,” Barry murmured, “You had the option to go to school here. We could have stayed together.”
“Please, Bar. You were a wreck,” Sebastian scoffed, “You’re the one who saw the whole thing. You were the damaged one. The social workers didn’t want you poisoning my mind with all your delusions. That’s why they separated us. Because of you, not me.”
“So you just went on your way then,” Barry said bitterly, “Off to your fancy private school with your rich, new family.”
“You could have had a different family, too,” Sebastian pointed out, “You chose to let that detective take you in, so you could stay here.”
“I decided to stay here so I could help dad,” Barry said angrily, “And I’m perfectly happy with the family I ended up with.”
Sebastian just shook his head at him in amusement.
“God, you never change, Bar,” he said with a dry laugh, “I thought maybe that lightning had unscrambled your brains, but I guess not.”
He stood up to leave then.
“I’ll be stopping by the house later,” he said offhandedly, “Drop in and say hi to the rest of your family. See you around, Barry boy.”
Before Barry could tell his brother to stay the hell away from him, Sebastian had already disappeared through the lab door, as fast as he had appeared. Barry sank down into his desk chair with a sigh. Why did this have to be happening now?
Sebastian grinned to himself as he walked down the stairs. It was just way too easy to push his brother’s buttons. The guy really needed to lighten up a little. Sebastian found himself really looking forward to dropping by the house later. The only people who were more fun to annoy than Barry were Joe and Iris. Barry’s foster family disliked him just as much as Barry did, but it was strangely amusing how they at least tried to hide it—unlike Barry.
It seemed that as soon as the man popped into Sebastian’s head, Joe was suddenly in sight. Sebastian was only half-way down the stairs when he noticed one Detective West walking through the ground level of the Central City precinct. He seemed to have just exited a small office on the other side of the room—one marked “Captain” on the door. Sebastian grinned to himself. As tempted as he was to go and mess with Barry’s boss, he thought that might be taking things a step too far too soon. For now, he would settle for Barry’s foster father.
“Hey, Bar,” Joe greeted when he sauntered over to the detective’s desk, “What do you say to grabbing an early lunch today? If I’m hungry, I’m sure you must be starving.”
Sebastian smirked in amusement. He and Barry were completely identical, so identical that even Barry’s surrogate father hadn’t noticed the difference.
“Oh, yeah,” he laughed, “That’s me, always hungry. Must be all the pot.”
Joe’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
Sebastian just laughed.
“Yeah, I just smoked a fat joint upstairs just now,” he said casually, jerking a thumb over his shoulder, “What else do you think I do up in that lab all day? Science?”
Joe blinked at him for a moment and then let out a light laugh.
“I think you better come up with a better excuse for your new appetite,” he chuckled, shaking his head, “I don’t think people are really going to buy that one, Bar.”
A small laugh escaped Sebastian’s lips.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he sighed, “I haven’t dope smoked since college. Iris and I used to all the time behind your back. It’s a shame she decided to go clean on me.”
Joe frowned at that, his expression no longer amused.
“Not funny,” he said, looking at him in confusion, his brow furrowing.
“It was pretty funny at the time,” Sebastian said with a shrug, “Every time you left the house, she and I would get baked. We were quite the rebels, she and I.”
Sebastian promptly walked away then, leaving Joe completely dumbfounded as he tried to wrap his mind around what he had just said.
Messing with all of them was going to be too easy.
Chapter 2: For Love (We'll Give it a Shot)
For those of you not familiar with Sebastian Smythe's character, here’s a short YouTube video that perfectly sums up his personality:
For Love (We’ll Give it a Shot)
“Dude, what’s your problem?”
Barry looked over at Cisco in confusion.
“You’re so cranky,” Cisco chuckled.
Barry rolled his eyes.
“Cisco, you ever think that the worst thing you can do to a cranky person is tell them they’re cranky?”
“Seriously, man,” Cisco continued, smile gone, “What’s up?”
“Nothing,” Barry muttered, moving toward the treadmill, “Just family stuff. I had a bit of an unpleasant surprise this morning at work.”
Cisco frowned at him.
“Does it have something to do with your dad?” he asked gently.
Barry shook his head.
“No,” he said, “Well…yes. I don’t know. It’s complicated. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Alright,” Cisco backed off, knowing when not to press Barry.
Barry didn’t say anything else as he climbed onto the treadmill and turned it on, taking a deep breath to let his mind clear. He wasn’t going to think about it. Odds were, Sebastian was only in town for a brief rendezvous with an ex or something. He wouldn’t stick around long.
He never did.
Barry was running on the treadmill for all of ten minutes before he suddenly had to stop to answer his phone. He quickly pulled it out and glanced at the caller I.D. Although he didn’t recognize the number, Barry decided to answer it, figuring it would probably be a wrong number or a telemarketer.
“Hello, Bartholomew,” his own voice answered back teasingly.
“How’d you get this number?” Barry demanded instantly.
Cisco and Caitlin both gave him curious looks, but Barry ignored them.
“I have my ways,” Sebastian answered vaguely, “Anyways, I just thought I’d give you a call this time, since you seemed…less-than-enthused about my surprise visit at your lab this morning. I’m on my way over. I’ll be at your house in five minutes, so you better have beer in the fridge.”
“I’m not even home,” Barry informed him irritably, “It’s just Joe and Iris home right now.”
“Oooh,” Sebastian said menacingly, and Barry could just imagine the smirk on his face right now, “Iris, huh? How ‘bout I go over there as you and confess my undying love for her?”
“Sebastian,” Barry growled.
“What? It’d be funny,” Sebastian laughed, “And I’d be doing you a favor. We both know you’ll never have the guts to tell her yourself.”
Barry pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath as he held the phone to his ear.
“Look, Bash, if you want to visit with me, then fine,” Barry said tiredly, “But please leave Joe and Iris out of it. I’ll be home in half an hour. You can come over then.”
Sebastian let out a dramatic sigh.
“Fine,” he huffed, “See you later then, Bartholomew.”
An angry, incomprehensible noise escaped Barry’s lips as he hung up the phone. As he tucked the phone away, he turned to find Caitlin and Cisco still staring at him questioningly.
“Who’s Sebastian?” Caitlin asked.
Barry sighed. He knew he’d have to tell them eventually. Might as well be now.
“He’s my brother,” he replied with a scowl.
Caitlin and Cisco’s eyes both widened in shock.
“You have a brother?!” Cisco nearly yelled.
“Is that so weird?” Barry responded, raising his eyebrows.
“It’s weird that you’ve never told us about him,” Cisco said, nodding.
“Well, I try not to tell most people about him,” Barry muttered, glaring at the floor.
“Why?” Caitlin asked in confusion.
“Because he’s kinda an asshole,” Barry said simply, walking back towards the treadmill.
Cisco and Caitlin both looked at each other. They could tell there was a lot more to this story, but Barry didn’t seem very keen on talking about it. That was made clear when he didn’t say another word on the subject and started to run again. Cisco shrugged and decided to let it go. Asshole or not, though, it was strange that this was the first they were hearing of Barry’s brother. They had been led to believe Barry was an only child. Barry, himself, had always said his dad was the only family he had left. Clearly, there were some serious issues here involving his brother.
Wow. For a smart guy, Barry was kind of stupid, Sebastian thought. He flat out told him he wasn’t home right now and wouldn’t be for a good half hour or so. How was Sebastian not supposed to have a little fun with that? Sebastian grinned as he parked his car a little ways down the street and then made his way over to the house. He didn’t knock but instead just walked right in, making himself at home.
He quickly found both Joe and Iris to be in the kitchen, and Sebastian smirked to himself when he overheard a bit of their conversation.
“Obviously, Barry was joking,” Iris laughed, “He couldn’t even handle a cigarette when he tried one in high school. He and I never smoked pot. He’s just messing with you, dad.”
Joe let out a nervous laugh.
“Right,” he said, sounding relieved, “I figured that.”
Sebastian smirked as he then walked into the kitchen.
“Hello, family,” he greeted the other two.
“Hey, Bar,” Iris said, smiling at him.
Sebastian sauntered over to the refrigerator then, promptly finding the beer and pulling out two bottles right away. He set one of them on the counter and twisted off the cap to the other. Joe and Iris both raised their eyebrows as he downed the first one in one go before opening the second one.
“Rough day, Barry?” Iris laughed, watching him in confused amusement.
“Yep,” Sebastian said, taking a large swig, “Work was a bitch. Why I chose such a boring, nerdy science job, I have no idea.”
Joe and Iris both looked at each other. Something was really off about Barry today.
“Oh my God,” Barry groaned, coming to a sudden stop on the treadmill, “I’m an idiot.”
“Is there a problem, Mr. Allen?” Dr. Wells, who had just entered the room, asked.
“I have to get home,” Barry said abruptly, “God, I’m so stupid! I just told my brother I wasn’t home. Why did I do that?”
With that, Barry flashed out of the lab.
“I take it Barry’s brother is in town?” Wells calmly asked the other after Barry’s abrupt departure.
“You knew he had a brother?!” Cisco asked incredulously.
“Of course,” Wells replied calmly, “I do my research on everyone I keep in my company.”
“Yeah, that’s not creepy,” Cisco muttered.
“I just did a search on Sebastian Allen,” Caitlin said, from where she was sitting on her computer, “Nothing comes up.”
“That’s because Barry’s brother changed his last name to Smythe,” Wells informed them, “All you have to do is search the public records.”
“He’s right,” Caitlin said a moment later, looking at her computer, “It looks like Barry’s brother was adopted by the Smythe family when he was eleven.”
She frowned at the records on the screen.
“I wonder why they were separated,” she said thoughtfully.
“I guess we’ll just have to ask Mr. Allen about that,” Dr. Wells said, “I know as much about it as you two now.”
That wasn’t exactly true. He had been watching Barry since he was eleven years old, and he knew quite a bit about his twin as well. Sebastian Allen hadn’t been in the house the night he had killed Nora, and Wells knew he had a very different viewpoint on the whole tragedy than Barry did. It was no wonder why Barry didn’t tell people he had a brother.
The two couldn’t be any less alike.
Barry came to a quick stop right outside the door to his house. He opened the door in a hurry and wasn’t at all happy—or surprised—to find that his brother was in fact, already there, sitting on the living room couch, knocking back a bottle of beer. Joe and Iris were in the living room as well, watching Sebastian polish off the bottle with confused looks on their faces. Barry closed the door with a snap, causing Joe and Iris to look over at him. The surprise on their faces almost would have been comical if Barry wasn’t so pissed.
“I told you I wouldn’t be here until six,” Barry said angrily, pausing in the doorway.
Joe and Iris looked back and forth between the two of them, realization suddenly becoming apparent on their faces.
“Sebastian,” Joe sighed, “That explains a lot.”
“Barry,” Sebastian called happily, “Sit down. Have a beer with us.”
Barry scowled as he sat down on the opposite side of the couch from his twin, who happened to be the only one drinking.
“Why didn’t you tell us your brother was in town?” Iris asked him as she sat down between them.
“Oh, don’t be surprised Barry didn’t tell you,” Sebastian said to her, “He doesn’t tell you a lot of things. Ain’t that right, Bar?”
He gave Barry a knowing look, and Barry scowled at him.
“He just surprised me this morning,” Barry answered her, ignoring his twin.
“Well, we should all go out to eat or something,” she said happily, “Catch up a bit.”
“And as thrilling as that sounds,” Sebastian said condescendingly, “I have a better idea. Let’s go grab some drinks. Live while we’re young and all that.”
“No,” Barry deadpanned.
“Yeah, sure,” Iris laughed, “Why not? It’s Friday, after all.”
“See?” Sebastian said to his brother, “Iris knows what I’m talking about. She’s always been the fun one. Although, it’s not very difficult to be more fun than you.”
Barry didn’t say anything. He just glared at his twin.
“Come on, Bar,” Iris urged, “It’ll be fun. We haven’t seen Bash in years.”
“He’s probably just chicken,” Sebastian taunted, “Afraid to have his first beer.”
Barry rolled his eyes.
“Fine,” he sighed.
Iris clapped her hands happily.
“I’ll let Eddie know,” she said, grinning, “You should invite Cisco and Caitlin, too.”
Barry rubbed his eyes with his palms. He had just wanted to get through the last day of the work week, get some training done, and then enjoy the rest of the night off. Now he was going out for drinks with his brother.
“I’m still a little hurt you never told us you had a brother,” Cisco said, leaning up against the bar.
“He’s not exactly easy to be around,” he warned, “You’ll see what I mean when you meet him.”
“Where is he anyways?” Caitlin asked, looking around the bar.
She had no idea what Barry’s brother looked like, but she didn’t see anyone else in the bar who even remotely resembled him.
“You can always count on Sebastian to be fashionably late,” Barry said, rolling his eyes.
“Holy shit,” Cisco said suddenly.
The other two looked at him to see that his eyes were locked on something on the other side of the room. Following his gaze, they saw no one other than Barry’s double sauntering into the bar, his usual smirk occupying his face.
“You’re a twin?” Caitlin asked, spinning on Barry.
Barry just nodded, not smiling. He didn’t think he’d be doing too much smiling tonight. Going out with his brother was that painful.
“Interesting choice of bar, Barry,” Sebastian said arrogantly as he joined them, “I take it it was your choice to come here?”
“Actually, it was mine,” Caitlin corrected him, “Best karaoke bar in Central City.”
She smiled at him then and held out her hand.
“I’m Caitlin Snow,” she said kindly, “I’m Barry’s doctor and friend.”
Sebastian shook her hand, his eyes flitting to Barry with a somewhat malicious-looking smiling playing at the corners of his mouth.
“Are you so messed up, Bar, you have to take your shrinks out to the bar with you now?” he asked with a smirk.
Caitlin raised her eyebrows in surprise, looking between the two brothers uncomfortably.
“Actually, I’m a physician kind of doctor,” she said awkwardly, “I’m not a shrink.”
Barry let out a heavy sigh, giving his brother an impatient glare.
“He knows,” he gritted, “He’s just being an ass.”
Sebastian raised his hands in defense, although the smile never left his face.
“Hey, honest mistake,” he said in a mock-innocent voice.
His eyes then turned to Cisco.
“And who’s this?” he asked, “Your boyfriend, Bar?”
Barry just groaned as Cisco stepped forward and shook Sebastian’s hand.
“Cisco Ramon,” he introduced himself seriously, “Barry’s friend.”
Sebastian just laughed lightly.
“Don’t be so serious,” he said with a grin, “I’m not trying to offend anyone, not that there’s anything offensive about being gay.”
“Sebastian’s gay,” Barry informed the other two, “He’s just messing with you. He has a strange sense of humor.”
“I’ve noticed,” Cisco said, laughing lightly, “So, Sebastian, why have we not met you before, or heard about you, for that matter?”
Barry gave Cisco an uneasy look, but everyone’s attention turned to Sebastian when he spoke.
“Barry didn’t tell you guys about me?” he asked, feigning offense, “I’m hurt, Bar.”
“Well, it’s not like you exactly tell people about me either,” Barry pointed out bitterly, “I’ve only met your adoptive family once.”
The smallest wince was detectable on Sebastian’s face at these words. If Barry didn’t have his speed, he doubted he would have even seen it. The smile slid from Sebastian’s face for half a second, but he pulled it right back up again as he answered Cisco’s question.
“I suspect Bar’s never told you about me because he’s insecure,” he drawled, “He’s always been jealous of me. I’ve always been the more talented one. Ain’t that right, Bar?”
Barry just rolled his eyes, not satisfying his brother with a retort.
They were interrupted then by the arrival of Iris and Eddie, who were joining them late due to the fact Eddie had only just gotten off of work.
“Woah,” Eddie said when he saw the two brothers standing side by side together, “You didn’t tell me Barry was a twin.”
Iris just laughed.
“Eddie, this is Sebastian Smythe,” she introduced, “Barry’s brother, which you’ve already figured out. Sebastian, this is Eddie, my boyfriend.”
Sebastian shook Eddie’s hand and visibly looked him over, top to bottom, a smile tugging at his lips.
“You better hold onto this one, Iris,” Sebastian said, unabashed, “You never know. Some girl might come along and swoop him up. Or guy.”
Sebastian winked at him then, and Eddie blushed. Iris just laughed, amused to see Eddie so flustered. Meeting Barry’s brother was always quite the experience. You just never knew what was going to come out of that boy’s mouth.
“I’ve actually never been to this bar before,” she said, looking around and taking in the inviting atmosphere, “How’d you guys find it?”
“Barry and I came here once,” Caitlin told her, “I even got him to sing some karaoke with me.”
“Ha!” Sebastian ejected loudly, “Barry singing? That is just too good!”
Barry blushed and glared at his brother.
“He actually was amazing,” Caitlin said with a smile, “Much better than I was, anyways.”
“Barry never sings,” Sebastian laughed, shaking his head, “Now, that’s something I’d pay to see.”
“And how would you know if I sing or not?” Barry said defensively, “I may not have done a Broadway tour of Westside Story like you did, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sing for fun.”
“Actually, Bar,” Iris said slowly, “Now that I think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard you sing before either.”
“Wait till you hear him,” Caitlin gushed, “He seriously brought this place down last time we were here.”
“Wait a second now,” Barry interjected, laughing and shaking his head, “Who said I was singing tonight? I’m not doing that again. No way. Sebastian’s the singer here. He should get up there, not me.”
“Glad you know who’s better, little bro,” Sebastian said, ruffling Barry’s hair.
Barry swatted his hand away in annoyance.
“You should both sing!” Cisco said excitedly, “You should go up there together!”
Everyone else nodded, but Barry shook his head, waving his hands.
“No,” he said firmly, “No way. I am not singing with him.”
“What are you afraid of?” Sebastian taunted, “Afraid I’ll make you look bad? Afraid to find out once and for all who’s the best?”
“Bash, singing is your thing,” Barry pointed out with a laugh, “Of course you’re going to be better than me. It isn’t even a competition.”
“Barry, everything is a competition with us,” Sebastian said seriously, the smile sliding from his face, “Always has been. Always will be.”
“Fine,” he said, knowing his brother wasn’t going to let it go until he did this, “Go pick a song then.”
Sebastian gave Barry a shocked look at first. He hadn’t expected Barry to actually agree to it. His shock wore off then, and his face broke out in a grin.
“I’ll pick a good one,” he said before rushing off to sign them up.
Iris laughed and shook Barry’s shoulders.
“Oh my God, Bar! I can’t believe you’re doing this!” she said excitedly.
“Neither can I,” Barry muttered, taking a sip of his drink.
He couldn’t get drunk, but maybe just the taste of alcohol would have a placebo effect or something. It seemed to loosen him up a bit, at least. Sebastian seemed to have had plenty already. He started drinking before six, after all. Joe wasn’t happy to find that he had cleared all the beer out of their fridge.
“So, Barry,” Cisco said after Sebastian had left, “You’re right. Your brother is a little bit of an ass, but that doesn’t explain why you seem to practically hate him.”
“I don’t hate him,” he insisted, trying to find the right way to explain this to them, “Things are complicated between us. We haven’t ever really seen eye to eye, and let’s be honest. He’s a little difficult to be around.”
No one could really argue with Barry there.
“Why were you two separated?” Caitlin asked gently then.
Barry looked at the ground, at a loss for words. Thankfully, Iris quickly stepped forward and came to his aid.
“This isn’t really the place to get into all of that,” she said quickly, casting Barry a furtive glance, “We should talk about that later.”
Caitlin nodded quickly, instantly realizing that she had brought up a touchy subject.
“Alright everybody!” Sebastian’s voice came from the stage, drawing everyone’s attention.
“My name is Sebastian Smythe. That wallflower over there is my twin brother, Barry,” he said, pointing over at where Barry was standing and now promptly blushing, “And tonight we’re going to find out once and for all which twin is the better singer.”
A few people in the crowd cheered and laughed.
“Get up here, Bar!” Sebastian called, smirking at him, “Don’t be shy.”
Barry rolled his eyes as he made his way over to the stage, trying to shake off his nerves. The crowd cheered for him when he made it up on the stage and grabbed the second microphone. Iris gave him a thumbs up, a wide grin on her face.
When the opening music started to play, Barry had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. Of course Sebastian would pick an 80’s classic. Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” It was so Sebastian.
Sebastian smirked at him before singing the opening line.
Tommy used to work on the docks
Union’s been on strike
He’s down on his luck
It’s tough, ohh so tough
Several people in the crowd cheered. Sebastian was good, very good. He looked over at Barry then, and Barry was determined to show him that he wasn’t the only one who could sing. They practically had the same voice, after all. Barry just didn’t have a rich adopted family to buy singing lessons for him. He was going to show Sebastian that he could still sing, even without lessons, and Barry found himself smiling as he opened his mouth and the first few words sprang free effortlessly.
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man
She brings home her pay
For love, mmm for love
The crowd all cheered and clapped and Sebastian laughed, and Barry was surprised to find that it wasn’t malicious or jeering. It was a laugh of pleasant surprise to see Barry actually singing. He was actually having fun with this, and Barry found himself having fun, too. He realized he was grinning as they sang the next part together.
She’s says we’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
We’ve got each other, and that’s a lot
For love, we’ll give it a shot
Both brother’s laughed as the crowd joined in singing the chorus. It was impossible not to sing along to “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Woah, We’re half way there
Woah-oh, Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand. We’ll make it, I swear
Woah-oh, Livin’ on a prayer
By the time they finished the song, neither one of them was caring about whose singing was better. Not even Sebastian, surprisingly. They were both having too much fun with it. The crowd cheered and whistled for them when they were finished, and they both hopped off the stage, laughing as they made their way back over to the others. Sebastian slung his arm around Barry’s shoulder and shook him as they walked.
They stopped laughing once they reached the group, and that’s when Barry realized the looks they were giving them. Iris even had her mouth hanging open.
“What?” Barry asked.
“Oh my God!” Iris shrieked, “That was amazing! Both of you! Barry, I had no idea you could sing like that!”
Barry just laughed, and Sebastian clapped him on the shoulder.
“It’s in the genes, I guess,” Sebastian said proudly, “I stand corrected, Bar. You can sing. I think I was just a smidge better, though.”
Barry rolled his eyes and laughed.
“You guys need to sing together more often,” Eddie said, impressed, “You make a great team.”
Barry just shook his head.
“Oh no,” he chuckled, “That was a one-time thing.”
“Barry wouldn’t be able to keep up with my dance moves anyways,” Sebastian said arrogantly, “He’s got two left feet. Can barely run in a straight line, let alone dance.”
Cisco laughed and gave Barry a knowing look. Barry just smiled and shook his head at him.
“Well, I didn’t exactly have time for dance lessons growing up,” Barry said, trying to laugh off his brother’s insult.
“No, you were too busy in therapy, I guess,” Sebastian shrugged.
The mood changed instantly. Everyone went dead silent, and the smile dropped from Barry’s face, his eyes narrowing at his brother.
“Oh, come on, Bar,” Sebastian laughed, smacking him lightly on the arm, “It was a joke.”
“You know, Bash,” Barry said seriously, “I get really tired of your sense of humor.”
“God,” Sebastian huffed, rolling his eyes, “Such a drama queen. You need to lighten up a little.”
Everyone was looking nervously back and forth between the two brothers. The atmosphere had changed so quickly with just that one comment.
“So, Sebastian,” Caitlin said nervously, trying to break the tension, “Tell me more about yourself. I feel like we know nothing about you.”
Sebastian grinned at her. He was more than happy to tell her all about himself and his accomplishments, about how he had been in several musicals, including a Broadway tour of Westside Story, which was now taking a brief break, giving him some free time to visit his dear brother. Barry was grateful for the change of subject, but he wished Caitlin hadn’t asked Sebastian about himself. His brother was known to go on and on about himself for hours on end.
“God, Barry, you drink like a teenage girl,” Sebastian said an hour later, rolling his eyes at Barry’s drink.
“What?” Barry asked in confusion, “It’s a beer. How is that girly?”
“Because you’re only on your second one,” Sebastian jeered, “Didn’t realize you were such a lightweight. I bet I could drink five times as much as you and still not be drunk.”
Barry just laughed and shook his head at his twin.
“I’m telling you now, Bash, you don’t want to challenge me to a drinking contest,” Barry warned fairly, “You will lose.”
“Ha!” Sebastian laughed, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
“Wow,” Eddie said, laughing at Sebastian, “You weren’t kidding. Everything really is a competition with you two.”
“Line up some shots!” Sebastian called to the bartender, “Your strongest whiskey!”
“Sebastian,” Barry said seriously, “I’m not having a drinking contest with you. Let’s just enjoy the night with everybody, okay?”
“No,” Sebastian said seriously, “I want to see you put your money where your mouth is. You seriously think you can outdrink me? Let’s settle this once and for all.”
“Dude,” Cisco said, a smile playing at the corners of his lips, “You really don’t want to do that.”
“Please,” Sebastian scoffed, “I bet any girl in this bar could outdrink Barry. The shit goes straight to his head.”
Barry rolled his eyes. He doubted Sebastian had ever even seen him drunk before. He had hardly ever gone out with his brother, and with good reason. He always took things just a step too far. Sebastian just never knew when to stop.
Sebastian smirked at him as the bartender lined up a row of shots in front of them.
“This isn’t a good idea,” Barry said, eying the shots, “Bash, let’s not do this. Let’s just have fun.”
“You just know you’re going to lose, Bar,” Sebastian taunted, pushing a shot in front of Barry before grabbing his own.
Barry picked his up and gave Caitlin and Cisco an unsure look. Cisco just shrugged.
“You did warn him, man,” Cisco said, smiling knowingly, “I say go for it.”
Barry shared a smug grin with Cisco before raising up his shot glass.
“Bottoms up,” Sebastian said, toasting his with Barry’s before both brothers knocked back their shots.
“Ugh, that’s awful,” Barry said, making a face.
“Ready to call it quits after one, Bar?” Sebastian teased.
Barry shook his head and smirked.
“Not even close,” he said, “Keep ‘em coming.”
Sebastian just shook his head condescendingly at Barry as they picked up their second round of shots.
“Okay,” Iris laughed nervously after their third round, “Barry, you were right. This is a terrible idea.”
Sebastian may have never seen Barry drunk before, but Iris sure had. Not that Barry was a major lightweight or anything, but he had never been much of a drinker either.
“You can back out any time you want to, Bartholomew,” Sebastian told him.
Barry just shook his head and grinned.
“Nah,” he said, “I’m still thirsty.”
Sebastian let out a laugh.
“Now that’s the Barry I wanted to see,” he chuckled, “I knew there was some fun in you somewhere.”
After the fifth shot, Sebastian started to slump in his chair. He had been drinking all night, after all.
“You okay there, Bash?” Barry smirked, “You’re not looking too good.”
“Still’look better’n you,” Sebastian slurred, “I’m the better-looking twin.”
Barry just shook his head in amusement.
“I think you’ve had enough now,” Barry said gently, taking the shot glass out of Sebastian’s hand and setting it back down on the bar.
“Is that your way of saying you quit?” Sebastian asked, raising his eyebrows.
Barry laughed and shook his head.
“No,” he said, “I just don’t want you to end up in the hospital tonight.”
Sebastian glared at him.
“Pick up your shot,” he said seriously, “This isn’t over yet.”
“Bash,” Barry urged, “You’ve had enough.”
“I’ll decide when I’m done,” Sebastian said, grabbing his shot and throwing it back.
He slammed the empty shot glass down on the bar and then looked at Barry expectantly, a dead serious expression on his face.
“Your move, Bar.”
Barry sighed and picked up his glass, throwing it back easily. Sebastian gave him an uneasy look then, clearly starting to become surprised by Barry’s tolerance. It was like Barry wasn’t affected at all. Sebastian was starting to sweat now.
He shakily picked up his next shot, but his face turned a pale gray color just at the sight of it. He tipped it back, though, gagging slightly as it went down. Barry had to hand it to him. The guy must have been really determined to win. Sebastian had always been that way, though, especially with Barry. He made everything a competition, and with Sebastian, losing was never an option.
As it happened, Barry didn’t like losing much either. He wouldn’t exactly call this a fair competition—seeing as alcohol had no effect on him besides maybe upsetting his stomach a little—but Sebastian had long since had this coming. Barry was a good guy, but a part of him took pleasure in showing his brother up, especially since Sebastian had taunted him into doing this in the first place.
After throwing back the shot, Sebastian slumped against the bar, looking sideways at Barry.
“Your turn,” he slurred, his usual flair and cockiness now gone.
Barry smiled and picked up his next shot. He held it up in a silent toast before throwing it back and setting the glass down on the bar with a snap. Iris laughed in surprise, and Eddie raised his eyebrows. Who knew Barry Allen of all people could knock back seven shots of straight whiskey like it was nothing?
Sebastian groaned as he looked at the next shot in front of him.
“Alright,” he groaned quietly, “I give.”
“What was that, Bash?” he teased, “I didn’t hear you.”
Sebastian glared at him.
“I give,” he growled, “You win.”
Barry laughed and raised his hands in triumph. Caitlin just shook her head at him in amusement, having known from the start that this was a contest Sebastian would not win.
“Just keep in mind,” Sebastian hiccupped, “This was not a fair competition. I drank a lot more than you before we started.”
Barry just shook his head, and then, feeling just a tad cocky, he picked up another shot.
“We’ll make it fair then,” he said with a grin before slamming the shot, following it with three more, one right after the other, polishing off the rest of the shots sitting on the bar.
Sebastian’s eyes widened, but he didn’t say anything. He just rolled his eyes.
“Alright, Barry,” Cisco laughed knowingly, “Now you’re just showing off.”
“I think we better call it a night,” he said then, “Bash looks like he’s ready to pass out.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes at him, but it was true that he was seriously slumping up against the bar now. Barry was actually worried he might not be able to walk out of there. As they were leaving the bar, Cisco nudged Barry and whispered to him.
“Tomorrow you should challenge him to an eating contest,” he said with a wink.
Barry laughed and shook his head.
“Yeah, sure,” he joked, “And then I can challenge him to a race.”
Chapter 3: Where to Draw the Line
Where to Draw the Line
Barry let his brother crash in their guest room that night. Sebastian’s family may be loaded, but a good brother and twin wouldn’t let their own family stay in a hotel room for the night, even if it was five star. Joe didn’t protest, of course. Family was family, after all, and as douchy as Sebastian may be, he was Barry’s brother and was always welcome in the West house.
Early the next morning, Barry was called in by STAR Labs to deal with a simple drunk driver incident. He told everyone else that he had to go in to testify for a last-minute court trial, and thankfully it hadn’t been questioned by his brother or Iris. It always helped to have Joe there to back him up on these things.
Unfortunately, Barry still had Cisco and Caitlin’s questions to deal with in the morning.
“So, Barry,” Cisco said, when Barry had returned to STAR Labs after putting the drunk driver in the back seat of a cop car, “You never really explained to us what the deal with your brother was.”
“What do you mean?” Barry asked, after changing out of his Flash suit and back into his civilian clothes, “You saw for yourself. He’s a douchebag.”
Cisco laughed lightly.
“He is,” he agreed, “But we still haven’t gotten a very good explanation as for why you never told us about him.”
Barry sighed heavily as he sat down in a chair behind the desk in the cortex.
“Things are so complicated between me and Bash,” Barry started.
“So you’ve said,” Caitlin said gently, “What you haven’t told us is why.”
Barry ran his hand over his face, refusing to look at either of them.
“Look, I know a lot about douchebag brothers,” Cisco said, “But I never lied to you guys about the fact that I had one.”
“I didn’t lie,” Barry said in a strained voice, “I just…I never brought him up.”
“Why, though?” Caitlin asked, trying to understand.
Yes, Sebastian was an ass, but why would Barry not at least tell them about him?
“Sebastian and I don’t really get along,” Barry muttered.
“Oh, really?” Cisco said sarcastically, “I hadn’t picked up on that.”
Barry rolled his eyes, but then he became serious again as he thought of the best way to explain it to them.
“Look,” he said seriously, “Sebastian and I have always just been different. Ever since we were little kids. We might look alike, but we’ve always had very different personalities.”
“I’ve noticed,” Cisco said with a small laugh, “That doesn’t really explain why you two fight like cats and dogs, though.”
Barry let out a heavy sigh and looked at the floor.
“We don’t agree on what really happened that night,” he said softly, “With my mom…”
“Oh,” Caitlin whispered, understanding.
“I don’t blame him,” Barry said quickly, “He was at his friend’s house for a sleepover that night. He wasn’t home, and he didn’t see the things I did.”
Cisco and Caitlin both looked at each other, but neither of them said anything. Instead, they let Barry continue.
“He believed in what the police said,” Barry explained painfully, “He thought that our father had really murdered our mother.”
Barry took a few deep breaths before continuing, this clearly being a painful subject for him to talk about.
“I, however, believed in my dad’s innocence,” he said quietly, “When I told the police what I really saw that night…no one took me seriously—including Sebastian. I was crushed. He wouldn’t believe me when I told him someone else had killed our mother, and that killed me more than anything. It killed my father, too.”
Caitlin put her hand on Barry’s shoulder to comfort him, but she didn’t interrupt his story. Instead, she let him continue.
“The court saw me as unstable, saying I was traumatized after what I had seen,” Barry told them, his voice wavering slightly, “They didn’t want to subject my brother to my…delusions, so they thought it best that he go into the system.”
Barry sighed heavily before continuing. He had explained all of this to them already, leaving out the part about his twin, but apparently telling them the full story including his brother in the mix was too much for Barry. His eyes filled with tears as he told them the next part of the story.
“Sebastian was quickly adopted by the Smythes,” he explained, his voice breaking, “It seemed like the perfect home. They were kind and very wealthy, and they could afford to give him a good life, but that meant a life without me in it. He ended up moving away—to Westerville. I didn’t see him again for a full year after we were separated. It…it was one of the hardest years of my life.”
“He didn’t want to try to see you more?” Cisco asked incredulously.
“We were twelve,” Barry said in a strained voice, “And twin brothers. Of course, he wanted to see me.”
“What stopped him then?” Caitlin asked gently.
Barry looked away painfully then.
“Social services,” he said bitterly, “We were only permitted one visit per year. They didn’t think it’d be good for him to see me more often than that, not when I was…still in therapy. Sebastian, he always blamed me for us not being able to see each other, and our visits were…less than pleasant. As we got older, the court stopped regulating how often we could see each other. By the time we reached high school, we were able to visit each other indefinitely, but we just…didn’t.”
Barry let out a shaky sigh.
“Sebastian wanted nothing to do with his delusional twin brother,” he said softly, “Or our dad, for that matter. I begged him for years to come with me to visit our dad, but he refused, and each time I asked him, I think I drove him further and further away from me. He didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t want to hear the truth about what happened that night, and he got angry every time I tried to explain it to him.”
“So you two drifted apart,” Caitlin concluded quietly.
Barry nodded solemnly.
“Now, he just visits me to stir up trouble,” he gritted, “I think Sebastian really hates me, and he only visits to torment me now.”
“Barry,” Caitlin said gently, “Did you ever think that maybe he came here because he secretly missed you?”
Barry let out a humorless laugh.
“Even if that were the case, Sebastian would never admit to it,” he told her.
Cisco and Caitlin didn’t say anything, and Barry then stood up.
“I should go home,” he sighed, “Bash is probably driving Joe and Iris crazy by now. I should go relieve them.”
“Okay,” Cisco said quietly, both him and Caitlin nodding thoughtfully as they contemplated what Barry had told them.
It made a lot of sense now, why Barry and Sebastian acted the way they did with each other. “Complicated” didn’t even begin to describe it. And Cisco thought his brother was complicated. It didn’t even compare to Barry’s relationship with his twin. Clearly, the two of them had a lot of old issues to work out.
When Barry returned to the house, it was to find that he had been right that his brother would be driving everyone crazy. Joe and Iris were both sitting at the kitchen table, annoyed looks on both of their faces as Sebastian was going on and on about himself. Barry swore that was all his brother ever talked about.
“How was court?” Iris asked him, cutting off Sebastian’s rant about his superior taste in expensive cars.
“It was fine,” Barry said, sitting down for breakfast, “We got the guy put away.”
“Good work, Bar,” Joe said, winking at him, knowing Barry had been doing a lot more than just sitting in a courtroom all morning as a forensic consultant.
“Yeah, good job,” Sebastian said sarcastically, “You ran a fingerprint scan.”
Barry rolled his eyes.
“I do a lot more than just run fingerprint scans,” he huffed, “I also do ballistic analysis, DNA sequencing, chemical analysis of—”
“Ugh,” Sebastian groaned, “You don’t have to go all nerd on me. I get it. You’re smart.”
Barry sighed in exasperation. Sebastian always made snarky comments, and then he had zero tolerance when Barry tried to retaliate. It was so infuriating.
“So, Bash,” Barry said, a smile forming on his lips, “How are you feeling this morning?”
Sebastian glared at him. Barry could tell his brother was hungover as hell just by looking at him.
“He’s been downing aspirin like it’s candy,” Iris laughed, earning her own glare from Sebastian.
She turned to her father then.
“Dad, you should have seen it,” she laughed, “Barry and Bash had a drinking contest, and Barry wiped the floor with him. He had like twelve shots of straight whiskey and didn’t so much as hiccup.”
“Oh, really?” Joe said, giving Barry a reproachful look.
Barry just smiled and shrugged, completely unabashed.
“He wanted to see who could drink more,” he told him simply, “It was a challenge I couldn’t refuse.”
Joe didn’t laugh, but Barry thought he almost saw a smile playing at the corners of his lips, as if he was trying hard not to laugh as he looked over at Sebastian, who was bracing an elbow on the table, supporting his head as he glared at his brother.
“Didn’t think you were one to gloat, Barry,” Sebastian snapped.
“Oh, because if you had won, you wouldn’t have rubbed it in at all,” Barry replied sarcastically, “Compared to you, I’m the picture of perfect humbleness.”
“True,” Iris agreed with a laugh.
Sebastian just gave both of them an irritated look. They were clearly both enjoying this. He watched the two of them laughing together, and his angry expression suddenly soured, not in anger—in thought. Joe came over to the table then and started talking about something else, but Sebastian was hardly paying attention as looked at his brother’s face.
Barry seemed so…happy. So content, sitting here, enjoying breakfast with his family. This side of Barry was somewhat foreign to Sebastian. His brother was always so serious when he was around, but now Sebastian could see it. Barry wasn’t always that way. He was only that way with him. Sebastian couldn’t help but think that with Barry’s real family, he was a much happier person—less closed off.
“Well,” Sebastian said suddenly, rising from his chair, “Thanks for letting me crash here last night, but I should probably be getting back to my hotel.”
Barry frowned at him, but it was Iris who responded.
“Don’t be silly, Bash,” she said, “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like.”
Barry gave her a sidelong glance at that, but he didn’t dispute her offer. Sebastian was his brother, after all.
“That’s okay,” Sebastian said, quickly managing to pull up his usual arrogant smile, “No offense, but this place isn’t quite to my usual tastes and standards. I think I’ll be more comfortable in my suite at the Osthoff.”
Barry rolled his eyes at him.
“Alright then,” he said, “Sorry us peasants couldn’t accommodate you with our humble home.”
Sebastian didn’t really retort at that. He simply said a quick goodbye, saying he’d be seeing them later, and he left the house as fast as he could, seeking refuge in his five-star suite. If he was being completely honest with himself, though, he preferred the quaint kitchen of the West house.
Sebastian didn’t bother Barry for the rest of the weekend. He tried not the let the fact that Barry didn’t even try to call him bother him. Of course, Barry wouldn’t reach out to him. He had stopped trying to reach out to Sebastian a long time ago. He did for a short while after their big fight three years ago, but Sebastian had ignored him. Sebastian couldn’t really blame him for not trying to reach out to him now.
So, by Tuesday, Sebastian decided to take it upon himself to reach out to Barry the only way he knew how: messing with him. After all, having Barry mad at him was better than having him ignore him, right?
When Sebastian walked into the CCPD on Tuesday afternoon, he had every intention of going up to Barry’s lab, maybe to play around with his lab tech or just talk his ear off for a while to push his buttons, but as he was walking through the ground floor of the precinct and his eyes landed on the door marked “Captain,” he suddenly got an idea. A wide grin on his face, Sebastian walked over to the door to the small office and briskly opened it without knocking.
The man at the desk, Barry’s boss, looked up at him as he entered.
“Allen,” he grunted, looking back down at his files.
Sebastian looked at the name plate on the desk. Captain David Singh.
“Singh,” Sebastian responded back in the same hard voice.
The man looked up at him with a strange look on his face, and Sebastian had to fight back a laugh.
“Something I can help you with, Allen?” Singh asked gruffly after a moment.
Sebastian walked closer to the desk, placing his hands on the back of the empty chair across from Singh’s. He looked over and saw a photo on the man’s desk of him with another man, smiling with their arms wrapped around each other. Sebastian had to fight back a smirk at the photo. Barry’s boss was gay! Oh, this was too good!
He looked back at the man again, and that was when he realized that Barry’s boss wasn’t bad looking. He was older, yes, but Sebastian had always sort of had a thing for older men.
“Actually,” Sebastian answered, “I’m here to see if there’s any way that I can help you.”
The captain furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, looking at him with a strange expression on his face.
“You can help me by doing your job,” he replied seriously, “You’ve already been given your assignment. How is everything going with the Hendricks case?”
“It’s going great,” Sebastian replied tersely, “Been making a lot of progress.”
The captain gave him another strange look and sighed impatiently.
“I need that case by the end of the day, Allen,” he said sternly, “I expected you to have it done by now.”
“You’ll get your report soon,” Sebastian said, “Just cool your chops.”
“Cool my…?” Singh said, taken aback.
“In the meantime,” Sebastian said with a sly grin, “Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?”
Sebastian licked his lips suggestively. Singh’s eyes flitted to his lips and then back to his eyes again, his brow furrowing in confusion.
“Are you…?” Singh said, confused, “Allen, are you coming onto me?!”
Sebastian leaned over the desk towards Barry’s boss.
“And if I am?” he asked in a sultry voice, leaning closer, his face now inches away from the other man’s.
Singh blinked at him in shock.
“And if you are, then I would say that this is extremely inappropriate,” he chastised.
Sebastian’s grin widened. He was now sitting on Singh’s desk, his face still inches from the other man’s. Sebastian smirked when Barry’s boss’s eyes flitted to his lips again.
“I’m pretty good at keeping secrets, sir,” he said with a wink.
Singh’s mouth dropped open. He looked at Sebastian like he was some kind of alien.
“What the hell, Allen?!” Singh demanded, “Since when are you even into men? And even if I wasn’t your boss, you know I’m engaged.”
Sebastian shrugged and glanced over at the picture of Singh with his fiancé again.
“Doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t bother you,” he said nonchalantly, placing his hand over Singh’s on the desk.
Barry’s boss goggled at him, wondering if he’d lost his mind.
They were interrupted then when Barry, himself, suddenly walked into Singh’s office, carrying the file for the Hendricks case. He froze in the doorway when he saw his brother there, leaning over his boss’s desk, his hand covering Singh’s. Singh’s already confused expression intensified when he looked back and forth between the two look-alikes.
“What the hell?!” he nearly shouted, pulling his hand away from Barry’s look-alike.
Barry didn’t immediately launch into an explanation. Instead, he stormed over to the desk, a furious look on his face as he roughly grabbed his brother’s arm and yanked him off of Singh’s desk.
“What are you doing?” Barry growled, looking like he was ready to kill his brother.
“Just what I said I was gonna do,” Sebastian shrugged, a smirk on his face, “Stirring up trouble.”
Barry looked like he was going to explode.
“Messing with my life is one thing, but now with my job; that’s where I draw the line.”
They were interrupted when Singh spoke.
“Mr. Allen,” he said loudly, looking back and forth between the two men, not quite sure which one was actually Barry.
Although, it was probably safe to say it was not the one who had just been sitting his desk, practically trying to seduce him.
“What the hell is going on here?!”
Barry turned to Singh then, an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m so sorry, sir,” he said sincerely, “This is my brother, Sebastian. My twin brother.”
Singh blinked at him.
“You have a twin brother?” he asked, “Since when?”
“I don’t see him often,” he explained, “He’s just in town visiting me right now.”
Singh nodded and seemed to relax a little at that. He cleared his throat and straightened his tie before looking back at the two brothers again, a stern look on his face.
“Mr. Allen,” he said in a business-like voice, the shock of having Barry Allen coming onto him only to find out it had been his twin brother wearing off, “This is not the place to be having family reunions. I suggest you save your family visits with your…twin for other times. This is a police department, not a place for you to work out your…family issues.”
Barry nodded emphatically.
“Yes, sir. Of course,” he said vehemently, “My brother was just leaving.”
With that, Barry stepped forward and placed the case file on Singh’s desk before grabbing his brother roughly by the arm and leading him out of the room. Sebastian smirked and winked at Singh as he was leaving.
“I can’t believe you just did that!” Barry said furiously after they had left the office.
Several of his coworkers were staring at them, no doubt confused as to why Barry was angrily pulling a guy who looked exactly like him towards the exit of the building.
“Oh, lighten up, Bar,” Sebastian said, “It was funny. You should have seen the look on his face! I think he was a little tempted.”
Sebastian waggled his eyebrows at Barry suggestively, but Barry didn’t laugh. He was nowhere near laughing at this point.
“Sebastian, this is going too far,” Barry said angrily as they stopped walking once they were out of the CCPD, “You never know when to stop. You never know where to draw the line, and I’ve had enough of it.”
Sebastian just laughed at seeing Barry get so angry.
“Geez, Bar,” he said, rolling his eyes, “Learn how to take a joke.”
“This isn’t a joke to me!” Barry snapped, raising his voice, “This is my job, my life, that your messing with! My life is so much easier without you in it! If you only came here to torture me, then I want you to leave! I’m better off without you here messing everything up!”
The smile slid from Sebastian’s face. Maybe he had gone a little too far this time. Barry seemed to be taking this one a little more seriously. Sebastian worked the smile back onto his face, though, determined not to let Barry’s words get to him.
“You don’t want me to leave,” he said surely, “Your life is more interesting with me in it. You would be so bored without me here to stir things up a bit.”
“You’re wrong,” Barry gritted, “My life is better without you in it, and trust me, it’s plenty interesting without you. I have enough to worry about right now without worrying about what you could be doing to mess things up for me.”
Sebastian opened his mouth to make a witty reply, but Barry cut him off.
“No, Sebastian,” he said firmly, “I’m done hearing it. I want you to leave. You and I were both better off not seeing each other. I don’t want to see you here again.”
With that, Barry turned and stormed back into the precinct, leaving Sebastian standing on the sidewalk in stunned silence. That was not how he had expected things to go.
Chapter 4: STAR Labs
Usually, Barry just needed some time to cool off after one of Sebastian’s pranks. He normally would come around eventually. He just needed time.
But a small part of Sebastian knew he had gone a little too far this time. He had always messed with Barry’s social life, with his friends and family, but he had never messed with his professional life. He had never messed with his job.
Sebastian understood why Barry was upset. He had crossed a line, and he knew that now, but a part of him had a feeling that Barry wasn’t going to just simply get over it like he usually did when Sebastian went too far. This was about more than his job, and both of them knew that.
Barry didn’t want him in his life.
That was the ugly truth of it, and really, Sebastian couldn’t entirely blame him. He had thought he knew Barry, thought he knew his twin better than anyone, but he realized now, he hardly knew Barry at all. It had been three years, and Barry had changed. He was practically a stranger to his twin, and Sebastian really hardly knew anything about Barry’s life now at all. And now that he thought about it, he hadn’t really bothered to ask.
Sebastian had changed, too, but Barry thought he was the same asshole he had always been, and Sebastian knew why. He had been acting like…well, like an asshole. That was simply the only way he knew how to act around his brother, though. It was easier that way. That was how their relationship had always been. Sebastian would tease Barry and piss him off, and Barry would roll his eyes and ignore it. He would forgive it. Because they were brothers. That’s the way it had always been with them.
Barry was the only family Sebastian truly had. He had his adoptive parents, of course, and his Broadway family, but he wasn’t really close with any of them, not the way that Barry was with the Wests. He found himself envying them. They knew Barry in a way that he never would, and Sebastian would never admit it, even to himself, but that really hurt sometimes. He would never truly know his twin brother.
Sebastian was nervous as he knocked on the front door—knocking this time, not just walking right in like he had before. He didn’t understand why he was so nervous. He never got nervous, and if he did, he sure as hell never let it show. Even now, Sebastian did his best to pull his usual smirk up onto his face. It was easier to hide behind a smirk than it was to let Barry know that his words had gotten to him.
When Barry answered the door, he took one look at Sebastian and rolled his eyes, moving to close it again, right in his brother’s stupid face.
“Oh, come on, Bar,” Sebastian said, stopping him from closing the door.
Barry left it open with a sigh.
“What do you want, Bash?” he asked angrily, “What the hell do you want from me?! Haven’t you tortured me enough?”
The smile on Sebastian’s face faltered for a slight moment, but he pulled it up again.
“I just wanted to talk,” he said simply.
Barry let out a humorless laugh.
“Talk?” he seethed, “You’re incapable of having a real conversation. You’re incapable of doing anything besides making my life hell.”
“Oh, come on,” Sebastian smirked, “That’s my job.”
Barry wasn’t amused.
“Seriously, though,” Sebastian said, “Can I come in?”
Barry sighed and stepped aside. He didn’t see what good it would do, though. Sebastian would never change. He’d always only come around to torture him because he blamed him for them being separated. Sebastian hated him, and Barry was tired of apologizing for what happened when they were younger. He wasn’t going to apologize for his “delusions” anymore because he knew them to be true, and he wasn’t going to let his brother or anyone else make him feel guilty about that. He wasn’t going to let Sebastian punish him for it anymore.
“I really am sorry about what I did,” Sebastian said, as soon as they entered the living room, “I wasn’t thinking. It was a spur of the moment decision, and it was a really stupid joke. I’m sorry.”
Barry blinked at him. He didn’t think he’d ever heard Sebastian apologize for anything in his life. It was so out of character for him.
“Why did you do it then?” Barry asked in a hard voice, crossing his arms.
“I don’t know,” he muttered.
Then a small smile formed on his face.
“Maybe I just found your boss really hot,” he teased.
Barry didn’t laugh. He just stared at his brother, arms still crossed.
“Right,” Sebastian said seriously, the smile sliding from his face again, “Not funny.”
Barry sighed then, deflating a bit.
“I’m sorry, too,” he said quietly, “I didn’t mean what I said…about not wanting you in my life. I was angry. I just…Sebastian, if you’re going to be around, you have to stop pulling stuff like this.”
“I will,” he said, and Barry was surprised to see he actually looked serious, “No more pranks. I promise.”
Barry’s expression softened.
“You mean that?” he asked.
Barry couldn’t help but give his brother a small smile then.
“Okay then,” he said quietly.
Sebastian smiled, too.
“Are you doing anything right now?” he asked, “You want to go grab a drink or something?”
“Sebastian, it’s four o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon,” Barry laughed, “You need to give it a rest with the drinks.”
“What can I say? It runs in the family,” he laughed.
Barry gave him a confused look.
“Oh, come on,” Sebastian said, “No one who drinks like you did the other night can say they don’t like their booze.”
“Actually, I was kind of on my way out the door,” he said awkwardly, “I was going to head over to STAR Labs.”
“STAR Labs?” he asked, “That big research facility? What for?”
“I spend a lot of time there actually,” Barry told him, “My friends that you met the other night, Caitlin and Cisco, they both work there.”
“Oh,” Sebastian said, “I didn’t know that.”
“Did you want to come along?” Barry found himself asking suddenly.
Sebastian gave him a surprised look, shocked at the offer.
“Sure,” he said, “Why not? I’m not an uber nerd like you are, though, so don’t expect me to understand any of the science stuff.”
Barry just laughed.
“No, you’re just a gleek,” he countered.
“Touché,” Sebastian laughed, standing up from the couch, “Let’s go.”
“You really were going to walk all this way?!” Sebastian asked incredulously as he drove, “Dude, you really need to get yourself a car.”
Barry shrugged from where he sat in the passenger seat.
“I get around on foot just fine,” he replied simply, “And I could always call a cab if I need to.”
Barry laughed lightly to himself then, as if he found something funny about that.
When they arrived at STAR Labs, Sebastian looked at the building with raised eyebrows. It usually took a lot to impress him, but the sheer size of the building was striking. He waited patiently while Barry scanned his STAR Labs badge to get into the building. Sebastian was somewhat surprised. Barry must have been pretty close with these people to have his own pass to gain access to the facility.
“So, how did you end up being friends with the people who are partly responsible for the explosion that put you in a coma?” Sebastian asked curiously as they were getting into the elevator and Barry hit the button to take them to the sixth floor.
There were twenty-eight buttons there! This building was massive!
“They actually took care of me when I was in my coma,” Barry told him, “Remember how I told you Caitlin was my doctor? She oversaw all of the care they provided while I was recovering.”
Sebastian wanted to ask more about it, wanted to ask how they all became friends after that, ask why STAR Labs, a science research facility, would take such a special interest in him in the first place, but the elevator doors opened then, and they stepped out on the sixth floor.
The building may have been huge, but Barry certainly did know his way around it as he navigated the hallways. He must have been serious when he said he spent a lot of time here. They passed several rooms, and even though he wasn’t all that interested in science, Sebastian found himself curious as to what was in each room. This used to be one of the top research facilities in the country, after all.
“Most of the building is closed off now,” Barry told him as they walked, “We mostly only ever use this floor.”
He led them all the way to the end of the hallway, which opened up into a big room that contained a large desk in the center of it. Caitlin, Barry’s ex-doctor, stood behind said desk, hunched over a microscope.
“Hey,” Barry said as they entered.
“Hey, Barry,” she said without looking up from her microscope, “I’m glad you’re here. I was just going to call you. You’re overdue for a physical, and I need another blood sample. I’m still trying figure out how your cells—”
Barry suddenly cleared his throat loudly, interrupting her. She looked up at them then, and her eyes landed on Sebastian, who was looking back and forth between the two of them curiously.
“Oh,” she said, flustered, “Hi, Sebastian.”
“Hi,” he clipped, “What were you saying about Barry’s cells?”
She exchanged a tense look with Barry then.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said dismissively, “I was just doing a follow up. Nothing important.”
Sebastian frowned at her, glancing back and forth between his twin and the doctor.
“A follow up?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah,” Barry said, stepping in, “Caitlin’s just really thorough. She still likes to do checkups for me after the coma.”
Sebastian continued to frown. Something wasn’t right here, and Barry definitely wasn’t telling him the whole truth, but he decided to let it go for now as he walked around the desk and over to a small alcove they had on the other side of the room.
“What’s this?” he asked, looking at the bare manikin they had on display there.
“Nothing,” Barry said quickly, “STAR Labs was working on building a special fire suit for firemen, but the project hit a dead end.”
“Oh,” Sebastian said, “I guess a lot of projects went belly up when this place was shut down, huh?”
“Unfortunately,” Barry confirmed, nodding.
“How does it stay operating then?” Sebastian asked skeptically, “What do they do if they’re not creating technology anymore?”
“We do a lot here actually,” Caitlin answered him, “Most of it includes research, though.”
“Where do you get your funding?” Sebastian asked, raising an eyebrow, “After the explosion and all the lawsuits and everything, I doubt any investors would touch STAR Labs with a ten-foot pole.”
“Sebastian,” Barry muttered reproachfully, hinting that he was being rude.
“It’s okay, Barry,” Caitlin laughed, “I get it. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? We actually don’t have any investors or sponsors funding our operations anymore. We lost almost all of our funding after the particle accelerator exploded. Thankfully, though, we still bring in a lot of revenue from the patents that existed before the explosion. We still continue to make a lot of money off all the other technology we’ve created in the past.”
They were interrupted then by the arrival of Cisco.
“Dude,” Cisco said loudly, walking into the room, carrying a bunch of boxes that were obscuring his face, “I’m adding more boxes for our next trial. You nearly broke your neck last time when you wiped out. You need to start remembering to eat.”
“Cisco,” Barry said loudly, “You remember Sebastian.”
Cisco dropped the boxes immediately and stared with wide eyes at the two brothers in front of him.
“Uh, yeah,” he said awkwardly, “Good to see you, Sebastian. We weren’t expecting you here today.”
He gave Barry a meaningful look.
“Sorry,” Barry said, scratching the back of his neck, “It was a spur of the moment kind of thing.”
“What’s the problem?” Sebastian said with a smirk, “Afraid I’ll find out about some evil science operation you’ve got going on here?”
“I assure you,” Dr. Wells said, wheeling suddenly into the room, “After that horrendous explosion, we wouldn’t dream of starting an ‘evil science operation’ any time soon.”
He permitted Sebastian a small smile then.
“You must be Mr. Allen’s twin,” he said, wheeling forward and outstretching his hand, “Pleasure to meet you. I’m Harrison Wells.”
Sebastian raised his eyebrows, not shaking Dr. Wells’ hand.
“So you’re the mad scientist responsible for putting my brother in a coma,” he said flatly.
Dr. Wells lowered his hand then, a small smile still on his face, but his eyes narrowing slightly, calculating.
“I am,” he replied calmly.
“And he’s also the guy who helped save my life,” Barry said firmly to his brother.
Sebastian just shrugged and sighed.
“Any friend of Barry’s is a friend of mine,” he sighed, holding out his hand to the doctor, who took it gratefully.
Barry scoffed, and Sebastian knew why. What he said wasn’t exactly true. Sebastian had never gotten along with any of Barry’s friends before. Most of them hated him, mostly because he had managed to estrange each of them in some way. The only friend of Barry’s that Sebastian had managed to not drive away was Iris, and that was mostly just because she was also Barry’s family, and by extension, she had no choice but to accept him and put up with him.
As Wells gave him a proper tour of the facility, Sebastian couldn’t help but sense that there was something really off about the man. He gave him this look, like he knew something that Sebastian didn’t. “Creepy” was the only way to describe it. He looked at Barry in the same way, although it seemed to be much more intense. Barry didn’t seem to notice the way that Dr. Wells stared at him, but Sebastian did, and he really didn’t like it.
His brother seemed completely in awe of Harrison Wells, of course. It was understandable, Sebastian supposed. The man was interesting and eccentric, and there was no questioning his brilliance. Of course, he was the kind of guy Barry would be somewhat infatuated with, being a man of science, himself. Sebastian, who had no interest in science whatsoever, felt rather differently about the doctor.
There was something really off about STAR Labs, and it was more than the fact that it was mostly closed down and had only a few employees remaining. Sebastian felt like there was more going on there than they were telling him, but he couldn’t imagine what that may be.
Joe was surprised to find Sebastian at their dinner table that night, especially after hearing what Sebastian had done at the precinct earlier that very day. Barry had been ranting angrily about his brother all day at work, and now Sebastian was suddenly sitting at their dinner table, enjoying a meal with them.
He had to admit. He had had to hold back a laugh when he heard about what Sebastian had done. Really, it wasn’t funny, and Barry was lucky Singh had been so understanding about it. However, Joe would have paid anything to see the look on the captain’s face when Sebastian had been in his office, trying to flirt with him. His reaction would have been priceless.
Joe hadn’t expected Barry to forgive his brother so quickly this time, though. He knew Barry was always bound to forgive his twin for anything eventually, but he had expected him to stay angry longer this time. Sebastian must have done or said something pretty major to get Barry to forgive him this quickly.
Joe knew Barry had always had a weak spot for his twin. He had always let Sebastian get away with murder, and he was always quick to forgive him because that was just the kind of person Barry was. Joe was happy that Barry was trying to reconnect with his twin after all these years because he knew how important family was to him, but at the same time, Joe didn’t want to see Sebastian take advantage of Barry’s understanding and forgiving nature.
Joe decided not to bring up the whole precinct incident. He could still sense a bit of tension between the two brothers, and he didn’t want to make that worse by bringing up what was bound to be a touchy subject.
“So, Sebastian,” Joe said suddenly, breaking the silence, “How are your folks? You haven’t mentioned them at all since you came here.”
“They’re fine,” Sebastian said simply, taking another bite of his food before continuing, “My mom is working on a big merger for her bank that should bring in a lot of new clients, and my dad is out of state for some big business seminar. He didn’t say much about it, though, and I don’t really care to know the details.”
Joe glanced at Barry then and saw that Barry wasn’t looking at his brother as he spoke but was instead looking down at his food, a strange look on his face as he speared another bite of ravioli with his fork.
Joe didn’t need to ask to know what was wrong. Barry was no doubt irritated by Sebastian’s use of the word “dad” to refer to his adoptive father. Barry, himself, had rarely ever called Joe “dad” and it wasn’t much of a mystery why. To him, he and Sebastian still had a dad, and to call their adoptive parents “mom and dad” seemed wrong to him. Joe had never taken offense to it, understanding why Barry felt that way, and he knew it probably hurt Barry to know that his brother, unlike him, had accepted his adoptive parents as his actual parents now, acting as if the family they had before had never even existed.
“Well, tell James and Nancy I said hi,” Joe said with a small smile.
Sebastian nodded and ate another bite of his food.
Joe had met Sebastian’s family before, of course, but it had been a long time ago. They had only met briefly here and there when the boys were young, and they had only ever really seen each other when Barry and Sebastian had their scheduled annual visits. The couple seemed kind enough—a little snooty and ostentatious, but kind, all the same. The fact that Sebastian had fallen into a good family helped ease Joe’s guilt over the fact he hadn’t taken the boy in, himself. Had the court not mandated that the boys be separated, Joe probably would have taken in Barry’s twin and loved him just as much as he did Barry.
It had been difficult just trying to get custody over Barry, though. Convincing the court to let him, a single father who was also the detective who had worked on his mother’s case, had been difficult enough without adding Barry’s twin in the mix. Joe was just thankful he had gotten custody over Barry.
Unlike Sebastian, Barry probably would have had a hard time finding a family to adopt him, what with his trauma and court-mandated therapy he had been going through. Joe shuddered to think what would have happened to the boy had he not stepped up. He probably would have been put into the system, bouncing around from foster home to foster home as he tried to move past the trauma of seeing his mother murdered. It had been a tough decision to make, but now looking back, Joe knew that taking Barry in was the best decision he had made in his life.
Chapter 5: Twintuition
Barry stared wide-eyed at his brother in disbelief.
“Did you seriously just do that?!” he laughed, “You seriously just flipped the board right now?!”
“So what?” Sebastian said, crossing his arms.
Barry just stared at him.
“Sebastian, that was probably the most childish thing I’ve ever seen you do,” he laughed, “And I’ve seen you do some really childish things.”
Sebastian just rolled his eyes.
“I told you I didn’t want to play chess,” he snipped.
“Because you knew I would win,” Barry taunted, “We both knew it. I wasn’t expecting you to flip the board, though.”
“Well, I wasn’t expecting to spend my whole night playing board games,” Sebastian huffed, “I didn’t come all the way to Central City to play chess.”
Barry laughed and shook his head.
“I still can’t get over the fact that you just flipped the board just now,” he chuckled.
“Let’s do something else,” Sebastian sighed, “Let’s go out and do something.”
“Sebastian, it’s Thursday night,” Barry said for what felt like the hundredth time, “Some of us actually have to work tomorrow. It’s already nine o’clock. I’m not going out right now.”
“Iris went out,” Sebastian said flatly.
“Iris doesn’t have to work tomorrow,” Barry pointed out, “She decided to take off this Friday. Besides, she’s just spending the night at Eddie’s. It’s not like she’s at a bar or anything.”
“Well, we could at least order a pizza or something,” Sebastian grumbled, crossing his arms, “I swear there’s never any food in this house. All I ever see you eat are those disgusting granola bars.”
“I told you not to try one,” he teased, “They’re disgusting.”
“Then why the hell do you eat them?” Sebastian asked, shaking his head, “I thought you were just a weirdo who likes nasty granola bars. If you hate them, too, then why do you eat them?”
Barry looked away for a moment, an uncomfortable expression on his face.
“They’re specially made,” he said slowly, “Cisco makes them for me, and Caitlin makes me eat them.”
Sebastian gave Barry a strange look.
“Why? Are you manorexic or something?” he teased.
Barry rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“No,” he huffed, “I just need the extra nutrients. That’s all.”
The teasing look left his brother’s face then, and Sebastian furrowed his eyebrows at him.
“Why?” he asked seriously.
Barry shrugged and looked away.
“It’s just Caitlin being over-controlling,” he laughed dismissively, “It’s nothing.”
“No,” Sebastian said seriously, “It’s not nothing. Joe mentioned something strange about your ‘new appetite,’ too, and just the other day, Cisco was telling you to eat more. I’ve seen for myself how much you eat. It’s kind of hard not to notice. So, what’s going on with that?”
“Bash…” Barry groaned.
“Seriously, Bar,” his brother said, “What’s going on? Does it have something to do with the coma?”
Barry sighed and then nodded slowly.
“I just have to go on a special medical diet,” he answered vaguely, “The lightning, it…it just messed my metabolism up a bit. It’s not a big deal.”
Sebastian surveyed Barry seriously for a moment.
“Just how badly did that lightning mess you up, Barry?” he asked quietly.
Barry just shook his head.
“Not as much as it could have,” he said with a small smile, “I was lucky.”
“You’re one of the few people who gets struck by lightning, and you call yourself lucky,” he laughed, shaking his head, “You have a strange definition of luck, Bar.”
Barry gave him an uneasy laugh, feeling a surge of guilt well in his chest. He had thought seriously over the past couple days about telling his brother the truth, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it for some reason. Sebastian was his family, his twin, and he deserved to know the truth, but Barry couldn’t tell him. He hadn’t even told Iris yet, and she was a lot closer to Barry than Sebastian was.
If he was being honest with himself, Barry was also a little scared to tell his brother about his powers. He didn’t know how Bash would react. What if he thought Barry was a freak? What if he decided he wanted nothing to do with him then? The same way he did their father…
Barry was distracted from his confusing thoughts when his phone started beeping. He pulled it out and looked at it. Metahuman alert.
“I have to go,” Barry said abruptly.
“What?” Sebastian asked, taken aback, “You just said you weren’t leaving the house tonight. Where are you going?”
“Police stuff,” Barry answered vaguely, standing up from the couch, “I’ve got to go into work. Joe just texted me. It’s an emergency.”
“Okay…” Sebastian said slowly, “Do you want a ride? I can drive you.”
“No,” Barry said quickly, “I’ll just grab a cab. Sorry to ditch you. Here, take my card. You can order pizza if you want.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes at him.
“I don’t need your card,” he said, handing it back to him, “I have money, Bar. Remember?”
Barry nodded absently as he took his credit card back from his brother. He moved urgently towards the door then.
“Sorry,” he said quickly, “I’ll be back soon.”
Sebastian sighed after Barry disappeared out the door. Well, this was just great. Now he was stuck sitting in the West house with nothing to do, not exactly what he had been hoping to do when he came to Central City. Sebastian ended up ordering the pizza shortly after Barry left. Hopefully, his brother would be back soon, considering he ordered two extra-large pizzas that could probably feed ten people total.
Whatever had happened, it must have been some emergency. Barry had been in such a hurry he hadn’t even grabbed a coat before leaving. In fact, shortly after receiving the pizzas, Sebastian noticed that Barry hadn’t even taken his messenger bag with him. Didn’t he need it for work?
As Sebastian looked around the empty living room, his eyes quickly landed on the mantel above the fireplace. He slowly rose from his seat and walked over to it, grabbing one of the photo frames there. Sebastian held it in his hands and stared at the picture. It was of Barry, Joe, and Iris on Barry’s college graduation day. They had their arms slung around each other’s shoulders, and Barry had a wide, stupid grin on his face. For some reason, a painful lump formed in his throat as Sebastian looked at it.
With a sigh, Sebastian set the photo back down where he had found it. Looking around the room, he realized just how many photos there were on display. His own house looked rather similar. There were photos of him everywhere you looked, but now that he thought about it, most of those photos were of him alone. The only photos in his house that were of him and his adoptive parents were formal family portraits.
Sebastian turned away from the photos and looked around when the front door suddenly opened.
“Hey, Bar,” Joe said, as he closed the front door behind him, “Wait, sorry. You’re…which one are you?”
“I’m Barry,” Sebastian said immediately.
Joe took a closer look at him then.
“No, you’re not,” he laughed, “You’re Sebastian. You think I can’t tell my son apart from his twin?”
Sebastian shrugged, a small smile on his face.
“Worked the first time I tried it,” he pointed out.
Joe just shook his head, still laughing as he hung up his coat.
“Where’s Barry?” he asked then, looking around.
Sebastian gave him a strange look.
“He’s at work,” he replied, “He said you just texted him.”
Joe gave him a confused look that seemed to vanish a second later.
“Oh, yeah,” he said quickly, “That’s right. I did.”
Sebastian looked skeptically at Joe.
“You know,” he said bluntly, “For a detective, you sure are a lousy liar.”
Joe gave him an uneasy laugh.
“What makes you think I’m lying?” he asked lightly, “I just forgot that I had texted Barry, that’s all.”
“Right,” Sebastian said slowly, a frown on his face, “I’m just going to go ahead and pretend that’s true then. Are you hungry? I got us pizza.”
“Oooh, pizza,” Joe said happily, moving towards the couch, “I’m starving.”
Sebastian continued to frown at Joe as he watched the detective open the pizza box. He seemed to be a little too enthusiastic about the food, as if he were trying to move away from the subject of Barry as fast as possible. Sebastian sighed and sat down on the couch next to him.
“Olives, pepperoni, and jalapeños. You’re Barry’s brother, alright,” Joe laughed, shaking his head.
“It’s what we grew up with,” Sebastian said with a shrug as he grabbed himself a piece.
Joe gave him a strange look then, slowly chewing a bite of pizza with a thoughtful look on his face.
“You know, it’s easy to forget sometimes,” he said slowly, “I forget that you and Barry grew up together, at least while you were younger. It’s strange to think about.”
Sebastian nodded slowly.
“It’s kind of strange for me too sometimes,” he admitted, “Despite how different we are, Barry and I used to be so close.”
He sighed heavily then.
“Now it feels like that was a lifetime ago,” he said quietly, “It feels like I hardly know Barry at all now. It’s like he’s a totally different person. He feels like a stranger to me sometimes.”
“You know, it doesn’t have to be that way,” Joe said gently, “You two can be close again.”
Sebastian sighed, and a humorless laugh escaped his lips.
“I don’t think Barry can put up with me for much longer,” he joked.
Joe didn’t laugh.
“Barry may not act like it,” he said seriously, “But he is happy to have you here, Sebastian.”
Sebastian frowned at him.
“Is that why he lies to me?” he asked bluntly.
Now it was Joe’s turn to frown.
“What do you mean?” he asked uncomfortably.
“Oh, come on,” Sebastian said in exasperation, “How stupid do you guys think I am? I may not know Barry as well now as I used to, but I can still tell that there’s something weird going on with him. Call it twintuition or whatever you want, but I can tell there’s something he’s not telling me. I know there is.”
“What makes you think that?” Joe asked in an uneasy voice.
“STAR Labs,” Sebastian said seriously, “What’s the real reason Barry goes there?”
“His friends are there,” Joe said immediately.
Sebastian rolled his eyes.
“Don’t bullshit me, Joe,” he huffed, “I said the real reason.”
“What do you want me to tell you, Bash?” Joe said seriously, “Barry loves science. STAR Labs is science. What more explanation do you need?”
“Is he sick?”
Joe stared at him.
“Is there something medically wrong with him?” Sebastian demanded, “What’s wrong with my brother, Joe?”
“There’s nothing wrong with him,” Joe said, furrowing his eyebrows at him, “What would make you think that?”
“Gee, I don’t know,” Sebastian said sarcastically, “Maybe the fact that he’s on some weird medical diet, or maybe it was when that doctor chick was talking about doing ‘follow-ups’ on his cells. I’m going to ask you one more time, Joe. Is Barry sick?”
Joe stared at him for a moment, a shocked expression on his face.
“No,” he said finally, “No, Barry isn’t sick.”
“But there is something going on with him,” Sebastian pressed, not really a question, but a statement, “What is it, Joe?”
Joe sighed and ran a hand over his face.
“You should talk to Barry about that, Sebastian,” he said quietly.
“I’m not talking to Barry. I’m talking to you,” Sebastian said flatly, “What’s going on with my brother?”
Joe opened and closed his mouth a couple times, a dumbstruck look on his face. He was saved from answering, though, when the front door opened.
“Sorry about that,” Barry said quickly as he closed the door behind him.
He quickly joined them on the couch and grabbed a slice of pizza.
“Mmm,” he moaned after taking a bite, “We may have different tastes in a lot of things, but you sure do have good taste in pizza, Bash.”
Barry looked back and forth at the other two, his eyebrows furrowing as he suddenly picked up on the tension in the room.
“What are we talking about here?” he asked curiously.
“Nothing,” Sebastian muttered, sitting back further on the couch, “Joe was just marveling over our similar taste in pizza toppings.”
“Even our taste buds are identical,” he joked, “Although, technically taste buds are like finger prints. Everyone has a unique tongue print, which is just weird if you think about it. I was just watching a documentary about…”
As Barry rambled on about taste buds and fingerprints, Sebastian didn’t stop looking at the detective. Over the last week, he had had a constant nagging feeling that something was off about Barry, and now he knew that he was right. He just didn’t know what that thing was.
But Sebastian wasn’t going to stop until he found out.
Chapter 6: The Scarlet Speedster
The Scarlet Speedster
Sebastian didn’t understand how these people got up so early. It was Saturday, the day to sleep in, yet he heard them all up and about in the house as early as seven AM. What the hell was wrong with them?!
“You know,” Sebastian said irritably as he finally descended the stairs and made his way into the kitchen, “When people are trying to sleep, it’s usually polite to be quiet.”
“Good morning, Sebastian,” Joe said in amusement.
“It’s ten o’clock,” Iris laughed, “Most people are awake at ten AM.”
“Not on Saturday,” Sebastian argued, heading straight for the coffee.
He looked around the kitchen then.
“Where’s the less-handsome twin?” he asked the other two.
Joe and Iris didn’t laugh. Sebastian was surprised when he saw the two of them exchange a nervous look.
“Barry had to step out for a bit,” Joe said simply, not looking Sebastian in the eye.
Sebastian surveyed the other two closely as they all sat down at the breakfast table.
“Where did he go?” he pressed.
Joe and Iris shared another look, which only caused Sebastian’s curiosity to intensify.
“He had a few errands to run,” Iris said vaguely, sipping on a glass of orange juice.
Like her father, she didn’t look Sebastian in the eye when she answered him.
“What kinds of errands?” Sebastian relented.
Joe sighed and continued to not look him in the eye as he replied.
“Just his usual Saturday errands,” he answered simply.
“Which are what exactly?” Sebastian pressed, “What could be so urgent that Barry had to leave this early on a—?”
It clicked then.
“He went to visit our dad, didn’t he?” Sebastian asked quietly.
Joe and Iris both looked at each other for a moment before Joe looked back at him and nodded.
“He does every Saturday,” he replied.
Sebastian’s lips tightened into a thin line as he nodded, not saying anything.
Just then, Barry suddenly walked in through the front door, a somewhat sullen look on his face.
“Morning,” he said flatly as he sat down with them, not looking up from the table in front of him.
Sebastian stared at him. Barry’s face, it looked like…Had he been crying?!
“How was your visit?” Sebastian asked stiffly.
Barry looked up at him, and Sebastian could see instantly that Barry’s eyes were, in fact, bloodshot.
“It was fine,” Barry muttered before looking back down at his plate again.
Sebastian continued to stare at him, taking note of the fact that Barry could hardly look at him.
“Does Henry know I’m in town?” he asked flatly.
Barry didn’t look up again as he speared a bite of eggs with his fork.
“No,” he said stiffly, “I didn’t tell him. I didn’t see the point.”
Sebastian nodded slowly.
“Good,” he whispered before picking up his fork to start in on his own meal.
Barry glanced up at him then, an unreadable expression on his face, before he quickly looked back down again. Joe and Iris looked nervously back and forth between the two brothers, both clearly uncomfortable.
“So, Barry,” Iris said slowly, trying to break the tension in the room, “What are your plans for the day?”
“Nothing much,” he answered, “I might go to STAR Labs later.”
Sebastian gave Joe a pointed look before looking back at his brother.
“To do what?” he asked, his eyes boring into Barry’s.
“Just hang out,” Barry said with a shrug, “Dr. Wells was going to tell me some of his theories on string phenomenology.”
“String what?” Sebastian asked, giving Barry a strange look.
“It’s a branch of theoretical physics,” Barry explained, perking up at the subject, “Dr. Wells has managed to reconstruct an extremely abstract, yet realistic model of particle physics based on string theory. He wrote a thesis a few years ago about—”
“Who cares?” Sebastian said, wrinkling his nose, “You’re seriously going to waste the better part of your Saturday talking to some creepy old man about physics?”
Barry frowned at him.
“He’s not creepy,” he said defensively, “He’s brilliant.”
“Yeah, but he’s also evil,” Sebastian said offhandedly, taking a bite of his food.
“What?” Barry asked, confused, “What makes you say that?”
“Are you kidding me?” Sebastian laughed, “Barry, he talks like Hannibal Lector.”
“He does not,” Barry scoffed, “He sounds nothing like Hannibal Lector.”
Sebastian just shook his head condescendingly.
“Dude, haven’t you seen the way he looks at you?” Sebastian asked incredulously.
“What do you mean?” Barry asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Wow, you are oblivious, aren’t you?” Sebastian said, shaking his head, “Barry, the guy looks at you like you’re something to eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had pictures of you in his nightstand.”
“He does not,” Barry scoffed.
“You’re right,” Sebastian smirked, “He probably just stalks you and keeps live footage of you on his bedroom television.”
“Sebastian, you’re being ridiculous,” Barry said irritably.
“Hey, I’m only partly joking,” Sebastian laughed, “I’m not gonna lie. I checked the shower upstairs for cameras.”
“You’re not funny,” Barry said, rolling his eyes as he stood up from the table, “I’m gonna get going now. I’ll see you later at Jitters for lunch.”
With that, Barry quickly exited the kitchen, and they soon heard the front door closing behind him.
“You know what I’m talking about, right?” Sebastian asked the other two after Barry left, “That Wells guy is a creep.”
“I don’t know him very well,” she said simply, “He seems nice enough to me, and he did save Barry’s life.”
“Yeah, after he endangered it in the first place,” Sebastian pointed out, “What about you, Joe? What do you think about Dr. Pedophile?”
“I have my reservations about him,” he admitted, “But he hasn’t really done anything to warrant any distrust.”
“He doesn’t have to do anything,” Sebastian insisted, “Just one look at the guy, and I can tell he’s got some skeletons in his closet.”
“Well,” Iris said slowly, “If Barry trusts him, then so do I.”
“Barry is naïve,” Sebastian said, rolling his eyes, “He trusts everyone. It’s one of his biggest flaws. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and he only sees the best in people. He blinds himself to the bad.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Iris frowned.
“It is a bad thing,” Sebastian insisted, “My brother is way too trusting, and that’s going to get him into serious trouble one day. He’s a total pushover, and he always lets people walk all over him. He needs to get a backbone already.”
“You should talk,” Iris laughed, “You walk all over Barry all the time.”
“Yeah, but I’m supposed to,” Sebastian shrugged, “I’m his big brother.”
“By twelve minutes, Bash,” Joe chuckled, “You really need to stop giving Barry a hard time for that.”
“Hey, I’m a good big brother,” Sebastian countered, “I may walk all over him, but I’m still looking out for him, aren’t I?”
“I suppose,” Joe laughed, shaking his head.
Sebastian impatiently drummed his fingers on the table, looking at his watch. Barry was late, like always. A lot of people found his chronic tardiness somewhat endearing. Sebastian didn’t, especially today. He actually didn’t really want to spend time with Barry today. He didn’t really want to be around anyone today. His conversation with Barry this morning was still replaying in his head.
I didn’t tell him. I didn’t see the point.
Sebastian was relieved Barry hadn’t told their father that he was in town, which was why he didn’t understand why Barry’s comment was bothering him so much. Really, it was just the fact that Barry still visited their dad every week that had him upset more than anything. He had known that Barry visited the guy, but he hadn’t known it was that frequently. He had thought it was once a month at most.
Really, it shouldn’t even bother him so much. It shouldn’t affect him at all if Barry chose to spend time with the murderer. That didn’t stop him from feeling sick about it, though. Who knew what kinds of things Henry was poisoning his brother’s mind with?
Sebastian took a sip of his coffee and glanced at his watch again. Seriously?! Barry was almost twenty minutes late! And meeting at Jitters for lunch had been his idea! Sebastian glanced at the TV screen that was on display in the more secluded corner of the café he was sitting in. Once his eyes were on the screen, though, he couldn’t pull them away from the news report.
Flash Saves 14 Residents from Burning Apartment Building
He had heard of this Flash character before, of course. Sebastian had seen him on a few news reports back in his own city, but it was strange actually being in the same city as the vigilante. From his hometown, Westerville, it all just seemed like some crazy story or something, but being here, in the same city, it made it feel more real. The Flash really did exist.
Sebastian wondered if Barry had ever seen him. He worked for the police, after all. He must have crossed paths with the metahuman at some point. He’d have to ask him about it later and ask him what he thought about the whole thing. Sebastian wasn’t quite sure how he felt about the vigilante. The Flash was clearly doing good with his abilities, but the guy’s powers were also kind of scary. If he wanted to, he could wreak havoc on the entire city if he ever decided to abuse his abilities. It made Sebastian a little apprehensive about the “hero.”
Sebastian looked over when he heard the front door of the café open. He was disappointed when he saw that it wasn’t Barry. Sebastian’s disappointment faded rather quickly, though, when he took a closer look at who had walked in.
“Holy shit,” he breathed quietly.
It was Oliver Queen.
Oliver Queen, the stupidly rich, yet extremely hot, party playboy from Starling was walking into Jitters of all places! Sebastian did his best not to stare, but that idea was kind of thrown to the winds when Queen spotted him and gave him a small nod of recognition.
Was he…? He was coming over here!
“Hey, Barry,” Oliver greeted casually as he approached him, “I didn’t expect to see you here. I was going to stop by STAR Labs after this. Felicity insisted that we grab some coffee first, though.”
The blonde woman, whom Sebastian only just now realized he was with, nodded.
“I’m addicted to Central City’s coffee now,” she laughed, “I blame trivia night.”
Sebastian stared at them in shock. Barry knew Oliver Queen?! How the hell did Barry know Oliver Queen?!!!
“Are you alright, Barry?” Oliver asked, furrowing his eyebrows at him.
Sebastian gave himself a small shake, trying to clear his mind. A smile quickly formed on his face. This was too good!
“I’m great,” he said smoothly, “Just surprised to see you here. What brings you to Central City?”
“Don’t worry,” the girl—Felicia, was it?—said quickly, “No emergency this time. Oliver just had a meeting in the city this morning, and we decided to stick around and catch up a bit. And I made Oliver promise not to shoot you this time, so don’t worry.”
Felicia laughed, but Sebastian frowned in confusion.
“Why would he shoot me?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows at them.
A small chuckle escaped Oliver Queen’s lips.
“If you’ve forgotten this quickly, then I think you might need another lesson, Barry,” he teased.
Sebastian stared at him in confusion for a moment, but then he brushed it off. They couldn’t be talking about literally shooting him. It had to be some kind of private joke that he and Barry shared, which led Sebastian to wonder how the hell Barry knew Oliver Queen well enough to share private jokes with him. Sebastian couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy over it.
He was struck by a sudden thought then: if Barry and Oliver were close, maybe Oliver would know what was really going on with his brother. Maybe Sebastian could get him to let something slip.
“Maybe I do need another lesson,” Sebastian said slowly then, his lips stretching into a mischievous grin, “Maybe you can teach me a thing or two, Mr. Queen.”
Oliver gave him a strange look.
“Uh, yeah,” he said unsurely, “Yeah, we can train today if you want, Barry. I didn’t even know you were still interested in training with me, to be honest.”
Training? What did he mean by training? Holy shit! Was Barry working out with Oliver Queen?! Okay, yeah, Sebastian more than just a twinge jealous now. How was it that the straight twin got to hang out with one of the hottest bachelor’s in the state? That was just unfair.
“Of course I am,” Sebastian said with a wink, “Who could pass up training with you?”
Oliver was still giving him the same, strange look, his eyes narrowed slightly in confusion.
“Okay,” he said after a moment, “We can meet in our usual location, Ferris Air, then.”
“Sounds good to me,” Sebastian grinned.
Oliver didn’t smile back fully, though. He just managed a small twitch of his lips. For the party playboy Sebastian had read about, the guy seemed much more serious in person. He didn’t even thank Felicia when she returned from the counter and brought back a coffee for him. He seemed too distracted—so distracted, in fact, that when he took the mug of coffee from her, it ended up slipping through his fingers, shattering when it made contact with the floor.
Sebastian only had a moment to look down at the shattered mug before he suddenly found himself being slammed into the nearest wall.
“Who are you?” Oliver growled, pressing his forearm against Sebastian’s throat.
Sebastian’s eyes grew wide as he clutched at the other man’s arm, trying to pull it away, to no avail. Who knew Oliver Queen was so strong?
“What…are you…doing?” Sebastian gasped, struggling to breathe with the pressure the other man was putting on his throat.
“Oliver!” Felicia yelled in surprise.
“Barry and I never trained at Ferris Air,” Oliver growled at her, “This isn’t Barry.”
Chapter 7: Oliver Queen
Barry knew Sebastian was going to be pissed. He was over a half hour late! The apartment building fire couldn’t have had worse timing. As Barry came to a stop outside Jitters and entered the building at a normal speed, he tried to think of a plausible excuse for why he was this late. All thoughts of excuses left his mind when he finally reached the back, secluded area of Jitters and found no one other than Oliver Queen, pinning his brother against the wall.
“Oliver!” Barry exclaimed, rushing over to them as fast as he could without using his speed.
He tugged on Oliver’s arm, trying to pull it away from his brother’s throat.
“Oliver, it’s fine! He’s okay! Just let him go!”
Oliver looked hesitantly at him and then reluctantly let Sebastian go. As Sebastian sucked in deep breaths and rubbed his throat, Oliver rounded on Barry.
“Where did we train the last time I was in Central City?” he demanded.
“What?” Barry asked in confusion.
“Just answer the damn question!” Oliver growled.
“The warehouse,” Barry said, “The abandoned warehouse off highway 10.”
Oliver seemed to relax then.
“Who is this guy?” he asked Barry seriously, jerking his thumb at Sebastian, “He was pretending to be you.”
Barry rolled his eyes.
“He always does that,” he sighed, “I’m sorry, Oliver. This is my—”
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Sebastian asked angrily, cutting Barry off as he glared at Oliver, “Do you always just attack people like that?!”
“This is my brother,” Barry finished with a sigh, “My twin brother, Sebastian.”
Oliver and Felicity both gave him strange looks, looking back and forth between the two brothers.
“I didn’t know you had a brother,” Oliver said seriously.
“Neither did I,” Felicity said, “How did I not know that? He’s never shown up in any of my search results for you.”
Barry opened his mouth to answer, but Sebastian spoke first.
“Okay, first of all, why are you researching my brother? That’s hella creepy! And secondly, does someone want to explain to me why I was just attacked by Oliver Queen?!”
Oliver sighed and rubbed his eyes in frustration.
“Sorry, uh, Sebastian,” he muttered awkwardly, “I didn’t know who you were. All I knew was that someone was trying to impersonate Barry.”
“Damn,” Sebastian said, shaking his head, “That island sure made you one paranoid son-of-a-bitch.”
“Sebastian!” Barry chastised, “Cut it out! It was an honest mistake.”
He turned to Felicity then.
“To answer your question, the reason why you probably never found Sebastian in any database was because he changed his name to Smythe. He was adopted by a different family in Westerville.”
“Oh,” Felicity said, “I guess that makes sense. Why didn’t you ever tell us you had a brother, though?”
“It’s hard to explain,” Barry said, awkwardly glancing at Sebastian.
Recovering slightly, Sebastian smirked then, starting to regain some of his usual flair.
“Barry doesn’t like to tell other people about me because he doesn’t want people to compare us,” he told them, “Everyone always likes me more.”
Barry snorted. He and Sebastian both knew that was far from true.
“I really am sorry I attacked you,” Oliver said sincerely, “How’s your throat?”
“It’s going to be sore as all hell,” Sebastian said bluntly, “Looks like those muscles of yours aren’t just for show. You must have been trying to crush my throat.”
Barry stifled a laugh, knowing full well that if Oliver had wanted to do that, he would have succeeded.
“I’m sorry,” Oliver said again.
“I guess I can’t stay mad at a face like that,” Sebastian sighed, causing Oliver to raise his eyebrows, “Maybe you can…make it up to me sometime.”
He winked at Oliver, and Barry groaned.
“Bash, don’t even start,” he said seriously, “First Eddie, then my boss, and now Oliver? Do you have to hit on all of my friends?!”
“When one of your friends is Oliver Queen?” Sebastian laughed, “Yes. How do you two even know each other, anyways?”
Barry glanced nervously at Oliver then.
“I, um, I met him through work,” he told his brother, “I went to Starling to investigate a theft case, and it ended up being in one of the Queen Industries buildings.”
“Wow,” Sebastian chuckled, “Your job was actually cool for once.”
Barry rolled his eyes before turning back to Oliver.
“So what brings you to Central City?” he asked.
“Work meeting,” Oliver replied tersely.
“We tried to stop by STAR Labs before the meeting to see you,” Felicity told him, “But they said you were visiting your dad this morning.”
She looked at Sebastian then.
“Or I suppose, you both probably were then,” she assumed.
Sebastian let out a forced, humorless laugh.
“Good one, Felicia,” he huffed, “You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to go see that bastard.”
Oliver and Felicity’s eyes both widened, and Barry looked down at the table, his hands balling into fists.
“Oh,” Felicity said awkwardly, “I’m sorry, I just assumed…”
“That I’m delusional like my brother?” Sebastian asked, no humor in his voice now, “No, I’m the sane one.”
“Sebastian,” Barry said quietly, “Please don’t.”
Sebastian glanced at Barry, a million different emotions dancing in his eyes. He didn’t have the same malicious look on his face that he normally did when he was making jibes about Barry’s sanity. He looked...angry. And sad. All at the same time.
Sebastian sighed and pulled a smile back onto his face, making it unreadable again, an ability that he and Barry were both very good at, just in different ways.
“So, Oliver,” he said slowly, his smile growing slightly, becoming more real, “Are you and Felicia sticking around for tonight? Catching a little Central City nightlife while you’re in town?”
“Her name is Felicity,” Oliver corrected, “And I don’t think so. I get enough nightlife in Starling.”
“Yeah, I know,” Sebastian said with a grin, “I’ve been to your club. Great atmosphere. The music could use some work, though.”
Barry let out an impatient sigh. It was always so embarrassing being around his brother when he was being rude. Barry knew Sebastian usually didn’t intend to be rude. He just had no filter and was always brutally honest.
Thankfully, Oliver just laughed at the comment.
“I’ll see what I can do about it,” he chuckled.
Barry took this moment to grab himself a cup of coffee. He didn’t really care for this situation. He had never planned for Oliver to meet Sebastian, and with good reason. He didn’t think their personalities would mesh well together. Really, though, so far the meeting wasn’t going as bad as he would have thought.
When Barry returned to their table and sat back down, he quickly picked up on what they were talking about, and he found he didn’t really care for the choice of subject.
“So I gotta ask,” Sebastian said, jabbing his thumb at the TV, “What do you guys all think of this vigilante guy?”
They all looked up at the TV, which was replaying footage of the Flash rescuing people from a burning building. Oliver and Felicity both looked at Barry, their eyes widening slightly. Barry shook his head as slyly as he could, silently communicating that no, he hadn’t told his brother his secret.
“I think he’s a hero,” Felicity said simply, not quite sure what else to say.
Oliver nodded his agreement. Sebastian then looked questioningly at Barry.
“What do you think, Bar?” he asked, “Do you think the Scarlet Speedster is a hero, too?”
“I think so,” Barry said slowly, swallowing nervously, “Do…do you?”
He really had no idea how Sebastian felt about the Flash, and he was nervous to find out.
“He’s alright, I guess,” he said, “Causes a lot of property damage, though, and I don’t know how I feel about him taking the law into his own hands. Kind of undermines law enforcement that way, doesn’t he?”
Felicity and Oliver looked awkwardly at Barry as he answered.
“I suppose,” he said quietly, sipping on his coffee.
“The suit is pretty hot, though,” Sebastian said thoughtfully.
Coffee shot out of Barry’s nose as he choked on his drink. Sebastian thumped him on the back a couple times as he coughed. Barry took a second to clear his throat before he looked up at his brother, eyes watering.
“W-what?” he choked.
“I just said his suit was hot,” he said simply, “It’s kinda kinky.”
Barry glanced at Oliver and Felicity, but neither of them could look him in the eye. Felicity’s face was bright red, and even Oliver’s cheeks were tinted slightly pink.
“Bash,” Barry said in a strained voice, “Don’t. Just…just don’t.”
Sebastian gave him a look of confusion mixed with a hint of amusement.
“Why?” he asked, a smile playing on the corner of his lips.
Because it’s wrong on so many levels, Barry wanted to shout.
Oliver and Felicity were both still looking awkwardly at the table.
“I, um,” Oliver said awkwardly, “I think it’s time we get going. I have another meeting back in Starling at four.”
As much as Sebastian usually wanted to go out with his brother, he hadn’t urged Barry to go out with him tonight. After a mundane week of playing board games and having family game nights at the West house, Sebastian had been seriously looking forward to having some real fun on the weekend. Now that it was Saturday, though, Sebastian suddenly didn’t feel like going out anymore.
He felt like drinking, yes, but partying? Not so much. He wasn’t quite in the partying mood, with everything that was weighing on his mind. It was for that reason that Sebastian now sat alone at the quietest bar he could find, sipping a Tom Collins as he tried to numb his mind from the things he hadn’t allowed himself to mull over in years. His plan was failing horribly, though.
He still didn’t quite know why he was so upset about Barry visiting their father. Of course, he visited him. He thought their dad was innocent. Sebastian wasn’t exactly surprised by it, but that didn’t mean it didn’t upset him. He just wished he could get Barry to see the truth.
He shouldn’t have left.
After their big fight three years ago, Sebastian should have stayed, should have stuck around to get his brother to finally see reason. The longer Barry believed in his childhood delusion, the less likely he’d ever be free from it. Sebastian should have tried harder. Instead, he left, and that allowed Barry three more years for his delusions to solidify.
Sebastian had to say, he was a little disappointed in Joe. When he came back to Central City, he was surprised to find Barry still believed their dad was innocent. He had thought Joe would have talked some sense into him over these last three years, but he hadn’t. He didn’t even try to discourage Barry from visiting the monster who had killed their mother.
It was sick. The whole situation was sick. Sebastian’s stomach churned every time he thought of Barry going and talking to their mother’s murderer, comforting him. The thought of it made his blood boil.
Sebastian had thought a drink would be just what he needed, but he was wrong. Sitting here, in this sleazy bar, Saints & Sinners, wasn’t helping anything. Sitting here just made him think about it more. His thoughts were interrupted, however, when a man with a short buzz cut suddenly sat in the stool next to him and spoke to him.
“Rough night, Scarlet?”
Chapter 8: Rogue Advice
“Rough night, Scarlet?”
Scarlet? Sebastian thought. That was an unusual thing to call someone you just met. He was wearing a red shirt, though, so he guessed it made sense. Sebastian then looked the man up and down. He was muscular and his hair was buzzed extremely short—not his usual type, but still hot. Sebastian considered his options. Maybe a one-night-stand would be just what he needed. It would be a welcome distraction.
Sebastian wasn’t really in the mood for that kind of thing, though, so he looked away from the man.
“Not interested,” he dismissed flatly, taking a sip of his drink.
The man gave him a strange look. This would be when most people would move on to find someone else to bother, but the guy didn’t leave.
“Well, you’re in my bar,” the man said, “I just assumed you came crawling here to ask me for a favor.”
“Yeah, not really looking for any favors tonight,” Sebastian said irritably, “You can walk away now, creep.”
The man raised his eyebrows at him, a surprised look on his face.
“Not feeling too chatty tonight, huh, Red?” the man asked, a small smile playing at the corners of his lips.
Sebastian didn’t get why the man seemed so amused by his irritation, and what was with all the “red” comments? This was probably the lamest attempt at flirting Sebastian had ever seen.
When Sebastian didn’t respond, the man spoke again.
“So what’s with the drink?” he asked with a smirk, “Never seen you drink here before.”
“The drink is so that I can get drunk,” Sebastian replied, as if he were explaining it to a five-year-old, “Any other stupid questions you wanted to ask me?”
The man raised his eyebrows at him, but he still had an amused expression on his face, like this was fun for him.
“Someone’s feisty tonight,” the man taunted.
Sebastian rolled his eyes. If he was going to get “feisty” with anyone tonight, it certainly wouldn’t be with this persistent creep.
“You know, you’re not as smooth as you think you are,” Sebastian snapped, having had just about enough of this guy, “Not much of a looker either. You look like an overgrown sloth. Your eyes are too close together, your nose is too big, and your forehead is so big, it’s practically a five-head. Frankly, I’m getting sick of looking at your fugly face, and I just want to enjoy a drink in peace, so get lost, loser.”
The other man blinked at him, looking as if he had just been slapped in the face.
Sebastian felt a twinge of guilt. The last time he had shot someone down this harshly had been in high school, and things…hadn’t ended well.
Sebastian had ended up regretting it for the rest of his life. He would do anything to take back that moment; it was a dark part of his past that he was far from proud of.
“Sorry,” Sebastian sighed, deflating a bit, “I just have a lot on my mind right now. I shouldn’t take it out on you. You’re just trying to talk to me. You’re harmless.”
“Well, ‘harmless’ isn’t exactly a word I’d use to describe myself,” the man said with an amused smirk, “Got something you want to talk about there, Scarlet? What could possibly be so bad that it’d drag a goodie-two-shoes like you to this place?”
Sebastian huffed out a humorless laugh.
“Trust me,” he said, “I’m no ‘goodie-two-shoes.’ And what do you care if something’s bothering me? You don’t even know me.”
“True,” the man said, “I may not know you very well, but I’m not going to lie; you’re pretty fun to banter with, Scarlet.”
Sebastian’s lips twitched.
“I’d hardly call this bantering,” he pointed out, “Considering I’m the only one coming up with any good jibes here.”
The man laughed lightly and shook his head in amusement, but then his expression suddenly became serious again.
“So, are you going to tell me what’s wrong, or am I going to have to guess?” he pressed.
Sebastian shook his head.
“Don’t really feel like sharing right now,” he muttered.
Sebastian was irritated when the other man laughed.
“You’re not as mysterious and complicated as you think you are, Red,” he smirked, “Let me guess. Romance troubles?”
Sebastian didn’t answer him. He didn’t even look at him, just took another sip of his drink and ignored him.
“Okay,” the man said slowly, “Lost a fight? Work problems? Family problems?”
Sebastian’s face twitched slightly, and the other man’s smirk deepened.
“Family problems,” the man concluded smugly.
“If you must know,” Sebastian snapped, “My dad’s in prison, and my brother’s insane.”
The smile slid from the other man’s face then.
“You have a brother?” he asked, and Sebastian didn’t understand why the man seemed so shocked by this piece of information of all things.
“Lots of people have brothers,” he said irritably, “Why would that be so shocking to you?”
The man shrugged.
“I just didn’t know that,” he said simply.
Sebastian just rolled his eyes and looked away again, taking another large sip of his drink. This guy was so weird.
“You know,” the man said after a few moments of silence, “My father is in prison, too.”
“Wow, we should start a club,” Sebastian muttered.
“I’m just saying,” the man continued, “I know what it’s like.”
“Did your dad murder your mother, too?” he asked bitterly.
The other man didn’t seem at all shocked by this piece of information. It was strange. The very few people Sebastian had told about his past had had bigger reactions than this. The man’s face remained serious and didn’t even flinch. It was as if the information wasn’t new to him.
“No, she left when I was six,” he said stiffly.
Sebastian’s expression softened then. Maybe this man wasn’t so different from him, after all. Their situations were different, yes, but they were also similar. They had both lost their mothers at a young age, and they both had prison scum for fathers.
“I’m sorry,” Sebastian muttered quietly, “It’s not fair.”
“Life isn’t fair,” the man said with a shrug, “We can’t choose who our parents are.”
Sebastian nodded sullenly and took another sip of his drink.
“So this brother of yours,” the man continued, “Did you say he was insane?”
Sebastian nodded slowly.
“He’s been delusional since he was eleven,” he said in a strained voice, “I’ve never been able to get through to him, and now I feel like it’s too late, and I never will.”
“That’s rough, kid,” the other man said, “Don’t know what advice I could give you there, not that I’m one to be giving out family advice. You’ll get through to him, though. I know you will.”
“How would you know?” Sebastian asked skeptically.
The other man just shook his head.
“Because like it or not, I know you,” he said, “Getting through to people is one of the things you do best, Barry.”
Sebastian quickly stood up from his stool, eyes going wide as he looked at the stranger.
“Scarlet?” the man asked in confusion.
Oh, God. This guy knew Barry, had thought that was whom he was talking to this entire time!
“I’ve got to go,” Sebastian muttered quickly.
The other man looked surprised.
“What? Can’t stand any more of my ‘fugly sloth face?’” he joked.
Sebastian didn’t respond. He slapped some money on top of the bar to pay his tab and then exited the bar as fast as his legs could carry him. The man, Barry’s friend, watched him leave with a dumbstruck look on his face. Sebastian hadn’t even been trying to pull one of his usual pranks—he had learned that lesson earlier when he met Oliver Queen—but in a moment of vulnerability, he had unwittingly sought solace in one of Barry’s friends.
Was there nobody left in Central City who was safe to talk to?!
Chapter 9: Running
The tension between Barry and Sebastian faded rather quickly. By the next day, Sebastian finally managed to shove his feelings to the back of his mind, where they belonged. He decided not to confront Barry about the fact that he still sees their father so often. He knew it would only lead to a fight, and they didn’t want a repeat of three years ago. Instead of bringing up all that drama, Sebastian did his best to just enjoy the quality time with his brother and ignore the rest of it. Everything would be pleasant between them.
As long as they didn’t talk about it.
The two of them were starting to get along better and better, something that the others were quickly starting to notice.
Iris was in the kitchen, working on an article about the Flash’s heroics during the apartment building fire yesterday when she suddenly heard laughing from the other room. She stood up from the dining room table and walked into the living room to find Barry and his twin sitting on the couch, both laughing at something on Sebastian’s cellphone.
“What are you doing?” Iris asked in amusement.
“I think we broke face swap,” Sebastian choked, laughing as he made faces at the phone.
Iris just stared at them.
“You’re identical twins,” she laughed, “Why would you even try to use face swap?”
“To see what would happen,” Barry laughed.
Iris just shook her head at them.
“You two are so weird together,” she told them, an amused smile on her face.
Barry just laughed and then turned to Sebastian.
“Remember in fourth grade when we convinced our friend, Matt, that we were actually triplets?” he asked.
Sebastian burst into laughter.
“That was the best prank ever!” he choked, “He wouldn’t even believe us when we told him the third brother didn’t exist!”
“Hey, we pulled it off pretty good,” Barry laughed, “I think he was actually a little sad to find out that Chris didn’t exist and that he had been just hanging out with one of us the whole time.”
“Yeah, we were pretty convincing,” Sebastian chuckled, “Good times. We need to play a prank like that again sometime.”
“I think we’re a little old for pranks,” Barry said, shaking his head at his brother.
“You’re never too old for pranks,” Sebastian insisted, “especially when you’re a twin.”
“As long as the prank isn’t on me,” Iris laughed.
It felt good to see Barry and Sebastian finally getting along like brothers, even if it made Iris feel just a little bit left out. Barry was her best friend, after all, and they had mostly grown up together, so in a way, it felt like she was being replaced by Barry’s real sibling.
Still, she was glad to see him spend some time with Bash. Being twins, they had a special connection no one else could ever understand or replace, even if the two brothers hardly ever saw each other. Although it hadn’t been the case at first, Barry now seemed genuinely happy to have his brother here. He somehow seemed more complete with his twin by his side.
After Iris left the room to go back to working on her report, Barry cleared his throat.
“So,” he said gently, “Where did you go last night when you went out? Did you meet up with that friend you said you were going to see?”
“Actually, it’s a funny story,” Sebastian said, laughing lightly, “I ended up not meeting my friend, but I stopped at this one bar, Saints & Sinners, to grab a drink, and I ran into a friend of yours there.”
Barry’s heartrate sped up instantly when Sebastian said he was in Saints & Sinners. He didn’t like the sound of this.
“Who was it?” Barry asked immediately, praying Sebastian wasn’t going to say whom he thought he was going to say.
“Never got his name,” Sebastian said with a shrug, “Muscular guy, short hair. Talks so slow, it takes him ten years to finish a sentence.”
Barry’s hands clenched into fists.
“Snart,” he gritted, “What did you two say to each other?!”
“I didn’t know that he knew you when he approached me,” he said simply, “I thought he was just some creep who was hitting on me. I wasn’t very nice to him at first, to be honest.”
Barry raised his eyebrows.
“What did you say to him?” he asked curiously.
“I told him he looked like a fugly sloth and that he was a loser and should just leave me the hell alone,” Sebastian told him.
Barry snorted. He couldn’t help it. He would have paid to see Captain Cold’s reaction to that.
“Wow, I thought you would be mad,” Sebastian said, raising his eyebrows, “He’s your friend, isn’t he?”
Barry shook his head.
“No,” he said firmly, “He is most definitely not my friend. I can’t stand that guy.”
“Oh,” Sebastian said, “Well, that’s too bad. He seemed like a pretty chill guy once I got to know him.”
Barry’s eyes widened.
“What do you mean?” he asked seriously.
“Well, we got to talking,” Sebastian told him, “And it turns out we have a few things in common. He was actually pretty nice to me, even after I insulted him.”
“Snart?!” Barry said in disbelief, “Leonard Snart was nice to you?!”
“I still think he’s a bit of a creep,” he said thoughtfully, “And he really needs to keep his nose out of other people’s business, but he’s not so bad.”
Barry gaped at his twin for a moment.
“And he thought you were me?!” he asked, “The entire time he thought you were me, and he was nice to you?!”
“Yeah,” he said, “For the most part.”
Barry just stared at his brother, still not quite believing it. Snart was never nice to him, so why on earth would he be nice to Sebastian of all people? Barry was the sociable twin, after all. What had Sebastian said to make Snart have a pleasant conversation with him?
“What did you two talk about?” Barry asked curiously.
Sebastian looked away, not meeting his eyes.
“Just some stuff,” he said vaguely, “Nothing too important.”
“Sebastian, it is important,” Barry insisted, “I have the right to know, considering he thought it was me he was talking to the whole time. What did you two talk about?”
“Family stuff,” he said quietly, “Turns out his dad is in jail, too, and his mom left them when he was young.”
Barry raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t known that about Snart. What he found more surprising, though, was the fact that his brother had actually sat down and had a conversation like that with Snart—had bonded with him.
“Sebastian, I need you to do me a favor,” Barry said seriously, “I need you to never go back to that bar again.”
Sebastian gave him a confused look.
“Why?” he asked curiously.
“Because Leonard Snart is not a good guy,” Barry warned, “He’s dangerous. He’s a criminal.”
Sebastian raised his eyebrows at him.
“Why do you know him then?” he asked seriously.
Barry open and closed his mouth a few times, not knowing how to respond.
“It’s a long story,” he said vaguely, “Let’s just say I met him through my work, and the two of us don’t exactly see eye to eye.”
“Well, he seemed friendly enough,” Sebastian said with a shrug, “He didn’t seem all that dangerous or intimidating to me. Just annoying.”
“I’m serious, Sebastian,” Barry said, “Stay away from Snart. He will hurt you if he gets the chance.”
Sebastian raised his eyebrows at him.
“Why would he want to hurt me?” he asked in confusion.
“Because you’re my brother,” Barry explained, “And I work for the police. Snart hates the police. Just trust me; Snart has a history of using peoples’ family members against them to get what he wants.”
“Well, he had a chance to hurt me last night, and he didn’t,” Sebastian pointed out.
“Because he thought you were me,” Barry argued, “Sebastian, I’m serious when I say this guy means business. He kidnapped the brother of a friend of mine, and my friend’s brother nearly lost his hands. He’s not afraid to hurt people to get what he wants.”
Sebastian’s eyes widened, and Barry was relieved to see that his brother seemed to be taking him more seriously then.
“What kind of criminal is this guy?” he asked seriously.
Barry took a deep breath and shook his head.
“The worst kind,” he answered simply, “He’s killed people before. He doesn’t anymore, but that’s no reason not to stay clear of him if you can.”
“If the guy is a murderer, then why is he still on the streets?” Sebastian asked incredulously, “He clearly knew you, Barry, which means you’ve spent time with him. Why haven’t you turned him in?”
Barry opened and closed his mouth a few times, not knowing what to say. His brother sort of had him backed into a corner now.
“It’s…complicated,” he said lamely, “Snart and I…we have a deal of sorts.”
Sebastian raised an eyebrow.
“What kind of deal?” he asked seriously.
Barry just shook his head.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I can’t really get into the details of it with you.”
Sebastian looked more than just curious now. He looked concerned.
“Barry, what the hell is going on?” he demanded.
“If I could tell you about it, I would,” he said desperately, “It’s complicated, and I can’t really discuss it with you, so please just drop it.”
“No,” Sebastian persisted, stubbornly crossing his arms, “My brother is striking deals with dangerous criminals. You can’t expect me to just drop something like that.”
“Well, I don’t know what you want me to say, Sebastian,” Barry replied, throwing his hands up.
Sebastian stared at him for a moment, not saying anything. Barry could see the wheels turning behind his brother’s eyes, trying to make sense of the whole thing.
“What does he have on you, Barry?” Sebastian asked quietly.
“You heard me,” Sebastian relented, “What does he have on you? I know you, Bar. You wouldn’t be making shady deals with criminals unless you were being forced into it for some reason, and the only logical reason that I could think of for why you would do this is if you were being blackmailed.”
Barry stared at his brother. People who knew both of them usually thought of Barry as the smart twin, but they often underestimated Sebastian’s intellect. His brother may not be into science or be as book smart as Barry, but hell if he was smart when it came to everything else.
“Well?” Sebastian demanded when Barry didn’t say anything, “Am I right? Is this Snart guy blackmailing you?”
Barry let out a heavy sigh.
“I guess you could say that,” he admitted, “But it’s—”
“It’s complicated,” Sebastian finished for him irritably, “Yeah, you said that already. I don’t care what the circumstances are; I’m not going to let some asshole blackmail my little brother.”
Barry rolled his eyes.
“Will you please stop calling me that?” he chuckled.
Sebastian didn’t laugh, though.
“Barry,” he said in a worried voice, “What does this guy have on you that has you so scared?”
“I’m not scared of Snart,” Barry scoffed indignantly.
“Well, if he’s the murderer that you say he is, then you should be,” Sebastian said seriously.
The smile left Barry’s face then. Sebastian didn’t know about his powers. He thought Barry was just this weak, defenseless CSI and that he couldn’t protect himself. Sebastian didn’t normally admit when he was worried about him, which was why Barry found his concern somewhat surprising.
“Barry,” Sebastian said quietly, “What did you get yourself into?”
“I’m fine, Bash,” Barry insisted, “I appreciate your concern, but I’ve got this whole thing under control. Trust me.”
Sebastian’s frown deepened and his eyebrows turned down, his face becoming more of a scowl.
“Trust you,” he scoffed bitterly, “Yeah, okay, I’ll just take your word for it. There’s nothing too shady about my brother making deals with murderers. Then again, I should be used to this by now. You spend your Saturdays with one every week.”
“Sebastian,” Barry gritted, his eyes flashing dangerously, “Don’t even go there.”
“Why not?” his brother challenged, his voice rising, “I’m so tired of ignoring it! How can you expect me to just sit here? To turn a blind eye and pretend like everything’s fine while my own brother goes off and comforts our mother’s murderer?!”
“Bash,” Barry said brokenly, “Dad didn’t—”
“No matter how many times you say it, Barry, it’s not going to make it true!” Sebastian yelled, standing up from the couch to look down and shout at him, “It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now! That sick bastard drove a knife through mom’s heart, and he did it right in front of you! He scarred you for life, and in the process, he took both my mother and my brother away from me just like that. Dad tore our family apart, but you, Barry, you’re the one who’s stopping us from picking up the pieces! You’re the one stopping us from putting back together what’s left of our family!”
“Bash,” Barry said brokenly, feeling tears prickling in his eyes.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Joe and Iris appear in the doorway, having heard Sebastian’s shouts. They watched with concern, but they didn’t try to intervene, and Barry knew why. This was a conversation that he and his brother were long overdue for.
“When are you going to grow up already?!” Sebastian cried, a few tears escaping his own eyes, “How long are you going to keep doing this to me?! To both of us?!”
“Sebastian,” Barry choked, tears spilling over, “I’m not trying to hurt you. I just want you to see the truth.”
“The truth is that dad went nuts and murdered mom,” Sebastian said angrily, “That’s the truth, Barry, and it was the hardest thing in the world for me to accept, but at least I accepted it. I didn’t escape into some fantasy about some magical man in yellow. I processed everything that happened the best I could, and I tried damn hard to get past it. I moved on!”
“And you never looked back,” Barry said bitterly, feeling anger start to well in his chest, “You just started over. Damn the rest, right?”
“Don’t you do that,” Sebastian said angrily, pointing a finger at him, “Don’t you dare blame me for trying to move on with my life, Barry. You know I didn’t have a choice when I left Central City.”
“You were given the option to stay!” Barry yelled furiously, standing up from the couch now, “You didn’t have to leave, but you did. Don’t act like you weren’t given a choice because you were. And you chose to leave me when I needed you most!”
“I NEEDED YOU TOO!” Sebastian practically screamed, causing Barry to take a step back in shock, “Did you ever stop to think that maybe I needed you too, Barry?!”
Barry stared at him in painful confusion.
“Then why…?” he asked quietly, “Why did you leave?”
“Because I had already lost you,” Sebastian explained, his breath hitching, “Because you were already so far gone that you weren’t my brother anymore. Because we were only eleven years old, and while I was trying to cope with mom’s death, you weren’t there for me. Instead of being there for me, you ran off to comfort dad. We both lost a lot that night, Bar, but the hardest part for me was losing my brother on top of everything else. You weren’t Barry anymore. You weren’t the brother I grew up with, and that’s why I left.”
“You didn’t lose me, Sebastian,” Barry said angrily, “And you didn’t lose dad either. You just chose not to believe either of us, something that I still can’t understand to this day. You believed what the police said over your own family. I’ve always accepted you, Bash, for everything that you are—every fault, every flaw—but you turning your back on your family, that’s something that I can never forgive you for.”
“Do you think I care about your damn forgiveness?!” Sebastian shouted with tears in his eyes, “I don’t need you to forgive me, Barry. I don’t even need for you to like me. Unlike you, I don’t need anybody to like me! People may hate me for it, but at least I know who I am!”
“Sure,” Barry said angrily, “Just keep telling yourself that, Bash. Just keep driving away every person who cares about you! That’s what you do best! But, hey, it’s better than facing rejection, right?!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Sebastian demanded.
“I’m saying that you do care,” Barry challenged, angrily brushing away the tears on his face, “You care so much that you decided it’s easier not to try. Better to drive people away before they have a chance to leave you first. That’s why you’re a bully, Sebastian. That’s why you’ve always been a bully. Because you’re terrified that one day somebody is going to realize that behind all that bravado and indifference there’s really just a scared eleven-year-old boy who’s afraid to face rejection.”
Sebastian stared at him.
“That’s your theory?” he asked darkly, “That’s your theory, Barry? That I am the way I am because I’m afraid of rejection? Well, if that’s true, then you have no one to blame but yourself for that. You were the first person to reject me, after all. You chose dad over me, your own twin.”
“It was never a decision between the two of you,” Barry said calmly, shaking his head.
“YES IT WAS!” Sebastian yelled furiously, “And you chose dad! You chose that bastard over me! And you still are! We both would be better off without dad in our lives, but you still choose to spend time with the son-of-a-bitch! My only wish is that they had done more than just send him to prison. My only wish is that Ohio had the death penalty so we could finally be free of him!”
Barry punched his brother so hard in the face it sent Sebastian sprawling backwards onto the floor.
“Barry!” Joe and Iris both shouted, rushing forward to step between the two brothers before a full fight broke out.
“YOU’RE A COWARD!” Barry screamed ragefully as Joe held him back from hitting his brother again, “You’re just a coward who’s afraid to finally face the truth!”
Sebastian looked up at Barry from the floor in shock. Barry had never hit him before.
“I’m not the coward here, Barry,” Sebastian spat, scrambling to get up from the floor with all the dignity he could muster, “You’re the one who won’t face the truth!”
“Says the guy who has never even gone to see our dad!” Barry cried, “You never even tried to see my side of it! I, at least, spent half my life researching the case, processing the evidence. I tried to get to the bottom of it all. You just ran away.”
Sebastian glared at Barry for a moment or two, his mouth clenched in a thin line, air moving heavily through his nose.
“I’ve had enough of this,” he gritted after a moment and started moving towards the front door.
“Where are you going?” Barry demanded.
“I’m going to go stay at the Osthoff,” Sebastian said angrily, “Hell if I’m staying here tonight.”
“That’s right, Bash. Just run away then!” Barry yelled, tears streaming down his face, “That’s what you do best!”
Sebastian didn’t stop. He didn’t even look back as he made it to the front door, which he opened without hesitation. The door slammed harshly behind him as he left.
Barry collapsed down onto the sofa as soon as his brother was gone. He buried his face in his hands, so Joe and Iris couldn’t see it, but he couldn’t hide it when his body was then wracked with sobs. He felt one of them place a hand on his shoulder, but he didn’t look up.
“Bar,” Joe said brokenly.
But Barry just shook his head, not saying anything.
Everything that needed to be said had already been said.
Sebastian furiously wiped the tears from his eyes as he drove to the hotel, his heart still racing from unleashing everything he had been holing up inside for years. All his fears and resentments were laid out in the open now. He had been trying to avoid repeating his and Barry’s fight from three years ago, but in doing so, he only allowed all those emotions to stew and fester inside until they needed to be released.
This fight was so much worse than their fight three years ago had been, mostly because last time Sebastian had left before it could escalate to this degree, to the degree of Barry hitting him. Sebastian was still in shock from it.
It had actually gotten physical this time.
Sebastian’s blood boiled as he drove, having a half a mind to turn around and go back. He didn’t know what he would do when he got there, though. A part of him wanted to go back to that damn house to beat the shit out of his brother, and another part of him wanted to hug Barry and apologize. He honestly didn’t know what he would do if he turned back, and for that reason, Sebastian just kept driving.
He knew he needed to fix this. They couldn’t allow three more years to go by before they spoke again. Sebastian wondered if they would ever even see each other again if he left now. The only reason he had even returned to Central City in the first place was because he had found out that Barry had just woken up from a coma that he hadn’t even known about. Barry had nearly died. Sebastian couldn’t leave now and wait for another near-death experience to bring them together again. Barry was right about one thing: running was what he did best.
But not anymore.
He was done running from this. Sebastian was going to fight for his relationship with his brother. He was going to fix their family, even if Barry wasn’t willing to try. He was going to do it himself. He and Barry were going to be brothers again. There was only one way to that, though—one person he needed to go talk to.
It wasn’t Barry.
Sebastian needed to finally pay a visit to their father.
Chapter 10: Iron Heights Penitentiary
Iron Heights Penitentiary
Sebastian felt like his every nerve was on end as he walked into the daunting prison. He had never visited anyone in prison before. It wasn’t the prison that made him nervous, though. It was the fact that he was going to see his father for the first time in fourteen years. His father, who was also his mother’s murderer. Sebastian had a hard time deciding which one to think of him as, his father or the murderer.
He was both.
Sebastian wondered what his father would look like now. He couldn’t really remember what he had looked like before. Of the few family photos Sebastian had in his possession, he had burned all the ones of Henry. He had only kept the ones of him, his twin, and his mother. He barely even remembered his father’s face.
“Hey, Barry,” the guard at the desk said when he approached, “Came to visit early this week?”
He figured it would be easier to enter the prison as Barry. He wouldn’t have to go through the whole visitor registration process then.
“I’m sorry,” Sebastian said, “I forgot my visitor’s badge.”
The guard gave a dismissive wave of his hand.
“It’s fine,” he said, “It’s just a formality anyways. We all know who you are by now. I’ll send a CO to get your dad for you. You can head over to the visitation area. You know the way.”
Sebastian gave him an uneasy smile, and then walked down the hall that the guard had gestured to. Thankfully, it led right to the area that the guard had mentioned. Sebastian’s heart sped up when the row of desks came into view. He sat down at one of them and stared at the glass. Any second now, his father would be on the other side of it. Sebastian felt like he was going to be sick as he waited.
He didn’t know if he’d be able to get the words out when his father was sitting in front of him. He had already started to forget everything that he had been planning to say to the bastard.
Before he had time to clear his mind, a guard was leading a prisoner towards the desk on the other side of the glass. Sebastian’s heart nearly stopped when his dad’s face came into view, instantly bringing up so many bittersweet memories. Little league games, fishing, his father reading books to him and Barry before bedtime. All the memories Sebastian had been suppressing for years came rushing back in a single instant once he saw the man’s face, and Sebastian had to fight to keep tears from forming in his eyes.
His father looked a lot older than he remembered. More worn down, and his eyes didn’t hold the same warmth that they had in his memories of him. Sebastian supposed that was simply what fourteen years in prison does to a person.
Henry smiled as he sat down across from him and picked up the phone on the wall next to him. Sebastian took a deep breath and grabbed his own phone with a shaky hand. Henry spoke first, and Sebastian shuddered at the haunting sound of his father’s voice.
“Mixing it up a little today, Barry?” his father laughed, “Why didn’t you sit in our usual booth?”
Sebastian swallowed, his throat dry. He had been planning from the start to tell his father it was really him right away, so that he could unleash everything he wanted to say to him, but now that he was in front of the man, he froze.
“Are you okay?” Henry asked in concern, “What happened to your eye?!”
Sebastian reached up and touched his face. He had almost forgotten about the black eye Barry had given him. He didn’t answer his father. He hardly had it in him to look at him, let alone talk to him.
“What’s wrong, Slugger?” his dad asked seriously, “What made you come visit this early in the week?”
Sebastian shuddered at hearing his brother’s old nickname on his dad’s lips. He hadn’t heard it in years. He took a shaky breath and spoke as steadily as he could into the phone.
“I-I just missed you,” he stuttered, trying to think of what Barry would say, “It’s been a hard week.”
Sebastian felt like a coward, pretending to be Barry. Really, he did it all the time, but this was different. He wasn’t doing it to play some lame joke. He was doing it because facing Henry as Barry was slightly less terrifying than facing him as himself.
Henry frowned at him.
“Are you finally going to tell me what had you so upset the other day?” he asked.
Sebastian took a shaky breath and shook his head, not able to look his father in the eye.
“It’s nothing,” he muttered quietly, “I-I just wanted to see you.”
“Is it about me?” Henry pressed anyways, “Is that why you’ve been acting so strangely? Is this about my case?”
Sebastian open and closed his mouth, not sure what he should say.
“Because I told you not to obsess over that anymore, Barry,” Henry said seriously, “You need to stop worrying about me and move on with your life, son. You can’t keep dwelling on what happened to our family. I don’t care about what other people think. You know the truth, and I know the truth. That’s all that should matter.”
Sebastian looked up at him then with watery eyes. Had his father completely forgotten about his other son? What upset him more, though, were the games Henry was playing. Was this really the sort of shit he usually said to Barry?! It was no wonder why Barry still believed the guy was innocent. Henry was playing some pretty sick mind games with his brother.
“Barry?” Henry asked quietly, surveying his son’s face.
Sebastian didn’t know what to say. So many different emotions were washing over him at once. Sadness, heartache. Anger. He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t sit here and calmly pretend to be Barry while he talked to their mother’s murderer. Before Sebastian could think of anything to say, Henry’s expression changed suddenly, his eyes widening.
“Sebastian?” Henry asked in shock.
Sebastian’s head snapped up to look at him, his heart stopping in his chest. Recognition dawned on his father’s face and tears quickly formed in his eyes.
How had he known?
“Sebastian,” Henry choked, “It’s you, isn’t it?”
And then Sebastian panicked. He quickly moved to hang up the phone.
“Wait!” Henry cried, causing Sebastian to hesitate, “Wait, please, son. Please don’t leave!”
Sebastian’s panic was quickly replaced by anger in a matter of seconds.
“Don’t call me that,” he gritted into the phone, “Don’t ever call me your son. You’re not my father anymore.”
“Sebastian,” Henry said in anguish, “I—”
“Don’t,” Sebastian snapped, cutting him off, “Don’t talk. Your lies aren’t going to work on me the way they work on my twin. Just keep the bullshit to yourself, Henry. I didn’t come here to listen. I came here to say what I needed to say.”
Henry placed a hand over his mouth, tears rolling down his face, as he nodded, clearly still in shock having his other son visiting him after all these years.
“I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that I hate you,” Sebastian began, feeling his nerves leaving him, being replaced by rage, “You know that already. I’m not here for myself. I came here to tell you to stop poisoning Barry’s mind with your lies. Stop taking advantage of my brother. It’s sick.”
“Bash,” Henry cried.
“Don’t call me that,” Sebastian said angrily, “The man who drove a ten-inch knife into my mother’s chest doesn’t get to call me that.”
“Please,” Henry sobbed, “Please, just let me—”
“It should have been you,” Sebastian said angrily into the phone, “It should be you who’s dead right now, not mom. You tore our family apart, Henry. You murdered mom, right in front of Barry. You took my whole life away from me, and you destroyed Barry. Do you realize how many shrinks Barry’s seen by now? How scarred he still is by the whole thing? Barry’s childhood was a series of therapists and nightmares. Now me, I’m average, but Barry, he’s always been gifted. He’s always been special and so…bright, but he’ll never reach his full potential because of you. His whole life has been ruined by what you did. Both our lives have. You rotting in prison for the rest of your life will never be enough punishment for all the pain you’ve caused us.”
“Sebastian,” Henry cried desperately, putting a hand up to the glass between them.
Sebastian glared at the hand.
“I hope you rot in hell, dad,” he whispered brokenly into the phone before slamming it back onto its hook on the wall.
As Sebastian stood up from the desk, he could see his father shouting desperately to him through the soundproof glass, tears rolling down his face. Sebastian didn’t look back as he walked away.
He never wanted to see Henry’s face again.
Barry sighed as he hung up the phone for the twenty-sixth time. By now, he knew it was pointless. Sebastian wasn’t going to answer. Barry just wanted to talk to him, to work things out before Sebastian fled from Central City. That is, if he hadn’t already left.
Barry had even gone to the Oshtoff hotel that morning to see him, but Sebastian wasn’t there. Barry was afraid he was too late. Sebastian had probably already left Central City. Barry should have gone to him last night. He should have gone straight to the hotel to talk to his brother, to apologize for hitting him and for the things he had said, even if they were true.
They couldn’t keep this up. They couldn’t keep doing this to each other. Barry and Sebastian had thought they could get along, could act like brothers again, without addressing all the old issues between them. Ignoring the history of their family didn’t make it magically go away, though. It just made it harder for them when things inevitably came to a head.
Barry looked up hopefully when his phone began to ring. With trembling hands, he quickly picked it up. His face fell when he saw that it wasn’t Sebastian calling. The caller ID simply said ‘DOC Ohio call.’ Barry only knew one person with that caller ID, and that was his dad. Barry’s father never called him. He didn’t want Barry to have to pay the call fees, even though Barry had told him countless times that he wouldn’t mind paying them at all. As Barry hit accept on the call, he knew something big must have happened for his dad to be calling him. With a churning feeling in his gut, Barry pressed the phone to his ear and listened to the automated recording.
“This call will be recorded and monitored. You have a collect call from an inmate at: Iron Heights Penitentiary. Your telephone service provider does not allow collect calls from: Iron Heights Penitentiary. If you would like to accept this collect call, you will be charged: $17.35 per fifteen minutes on your prepaid account. We accept Visa and Mastercard. If you would like to accept this call, please press: 4. For prepaid account inquiries, contact billing and costumer service at: 866-230-7—”
Barry impatiently pressed four on his phone before the recording was even finished.
“Hello?” he answered nervously, “Dad?”
“Barry,” his dad said, and Barry’s stomach clenched.
He knew just from the sound of his dad’s voice that something was very wrong.
“What is it?” Barry asked urgently, “What happened?!”
“Your brother,” his dad said shakily, “He came to visit me this morning.”
Barry felt all the blood drain from his face.
“How long has Sebastian been in town?” his father demanded before Barry could say anything, “Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“What did he say to you?” Barry asked urgently, ignoring his dad’s question.
His father went silent, and Barry knew that it was bad.
“Dad, what did he say?” Barry asked worriedly.
“What do you think he said, Barry?” his dad sighed, “He hates me and wants me to stop talking to you. He thinks his father is a sick bastard.”
Barry immediately saw red.
“I’m going to kill him,” he gritted, “The next time I see Bash, I’m…”
“Are you the one who did that to his eye, Barry?” Henry asked seriously.
“Yeah,” he muttered, “And I was feeling pretty lousy about it until now. Now, I just want to hit him again, smack some sense into him.”
“Don’t,” Henry pleaded, “Please don’t make this worse, Barry. I just want you and your brother to get along. It kills me to know that my sons are estranged to each other because of me. I want at least one of us to have a relationship with Sebastian, and if fighting about me is what’s driving you two apart, I don’t want you to do it anymore.”
“Dad,” Barry said in a strained voice, “I can’t let him go around thinking those horrible things about you. You’re our father. You deserve better than this.”
“Besides,” Barry sighed, “We can’t just keep pretending like the problem doesn’t exist. Ignoring the issue—ignoring you—isn’t going to fix things. The only thing that will make things better between us is if I can convince Sebastian of the truth.”
“Sebastian’s never going to see the truth, Barry,” Henry said hopelessly.
He had given up on that hope years ago.
“Yes, he will,” Barry said firmly, “I’m going to prove it to him—to everyone. I’m still going to get you out of there, dad. Don’t give up yet.”
Barry heard his father sigh over the phone.
“I just wish you had told me,” he said sadly, “I wish you had told me your brother was in town, that you two were talking again.”
“I wanted to,” Barry said in anguish, “But things…they’re so complicated right now. Sebastian and I haven’t seen or spoken to each other in three years. It’s like getting to know a stranger sometimes. We’ve both changed so much. I didn’t see it before, but I can see now that Sebastian has changed. He still has a lot of growing up to do, but he’s not the same person he once was. He’s trying. I’m trying. I thought we could finally fix things between us, but we can’t do that until he sees the truth. The past couple weeks have been…messy, and I didn’t want to involve you in all that. I knew it would just hurt you.”
“I’m the father here, Barry,” Henry said firmly, “It’s not your job to protect me, and I had the right to know that my other son was in Central City.”
“I’m so sorry that you found out the way you did,” Barry said earnestly, “I should have told you. I didn’t expect Sebastian to do that…to go visit you. I’m so sorry.”
“I understand why you didn’t tell me,” Henry sighed, “Just…please don’t leave me out of the loop again. You and Sebastian…you’re my family. I deserve to know what’s going on.”
“Okay,” Barry agreed, “I won’t cut you out of this anymore. I promise.”
“Thank you,” Henry whispered.
“Are you going to be okay?” Barry asked worriedly, knowing how badly his father must be hurting after whatever Sebastian had said to him.
“I’ll be fine,” Henry said, his voice wavering slightly, making Barry doubt his words.
“I’ll find a way to get through to Sebastian, dad,” Barry assured him, “I promise.”
There was a long pause on the other side of the phone before his father finally spoke.
“I know you will, Slugger.”
Chapter 11: How the Days Will Unfold
How the Days will Unfold
Joe had tried.
He had tried to talk to Barry about everything that was going on, but Barry refused to talk about it. Joe knew he was dealing with a lot of emotions right now that he normally kept tucked away, out of sight. Between his mother’s murder and his dad’s imprisonment, Barry had always decided to simply not think about his twin brother. It wasn’t out of spite or dislike for him. It was simply because it would have been too much. Barry had always been so weighed down by what had happened to his family, and dealing with the issues with his brother on top of all of that…
Joe understood why Barry never talked about his brother.
But now that Sebastian was in town again, now that he and Barry had torn open old wounds, Barry couldn’t simply shut it all out again. He couldn’t just push it to the back of his mind, and Joe knew it was weighing heavily on him, even if he wasn’t talking about it. Sebastian had left town two days ago, right after visiting their father, and even though he was gone now, Joe knew the fight Barry and his twin had had was still haunting him.
When Barry descended the stairs of the precinct, anyone who looked at him could tell he had a heavy mind, especially Joe. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days.
“Hey,” he said glumly as he walked up to Joe’s desk, “Is Barry here? He wasn’t in his lab.”
Joe’s eyes widened.
The younger man nodded. Joe had gotten better at telling the two of them apart, but he hadn’t been expecting Sebastian to be here right now. Also, he and Barry both didn’t really look like themselves. Sebastian looked just as rough as Barry had the past few days. He definitely didn’t have his usual swagger as he approached the desk.
“Barry’s not here,” Joe said glumly, “He’s out on a scene right now, but he should be back soon. You’re welcome to wait for him.”
“Okay,” he whispered.
Joe gave him a surveying look.
“What are you doing here, Bash?” he asked gently, “Are you…? Are you here to work things out with him?”
Sebastian looked down at the small paper card he had in his hands.
“Sort of,” he said slowly, “I…um…I came to give him this.”
He handed him the card, and Joe looked down at it. It was a business card.
“Dr. Barbara Torrison?” Joe asked, “What is this?”
“She’s…she’s my therapist,” Sebastian said quietly, his cheeks turning red.
He let out a heavy sigh then.
“Listen,” he said seriously, “I know that I’ve made a lot of jokes and taunted Barry for all the psychiatrists he’s seen, but…I’ve been talking with Barb since I was eleven. I just didn’t ever want to admit to it. She’s really an excellent doctor, and I know Barry hates therapists more than anything, but I think he would really like her. She knows all the history with our family, and I know Barry and I have very different personalities, but she’s really helped me through a lot of stuff, and I think Barry would really benefit from talking to her. Maybe she can finally help him see the truth.”
“Sebastian,” Joe sighed, rubbing his eyes, “It truly means a lot that you’re trying to help, but…Barry doesn’t need a therapist. He wants to talk to you, not a shrink. He’s been trying to call you for days.”
“I know,” Sebastian whispered, “I just…needed some time, to work things out.”
“And to visit your father?” Joe asked gently.
Sebastian’s jaw clenched.
“I was long overdue to pay a visit to him,” he said stiffly.
Joe sighed and rubbed his eyes.
“This is a mess,” he muttered heavily.
“Joe, I’d really like your support in this,” Sebastian said firmly, “It’s up to us to get Barry to finally see the truth, and I know you’ve sent him to therapists before and that it didn’t ever really work out, but maybe together, we can convince him to go and actually try this time. Barry is so much worse than I thought. He really needs help, and Barb is one of the best psychiatrists in the country. Don’t worry. You and Barry wouldn’t have to pay for it. My family will cover it. I just need you to help me convince him to go, to get the help he needs.”
“Sebastian,” Joe said, giving him an uneasy look, “Barry doesn’t need help.”
“Of course he does,” Sebastian said seriously, “He’s delusional, Joe. He’s twenty-five years old, and he still believes in this…this man in yellow. He should have gotten over this years ago, and I just want to get my brother help now before it’s too late.”
“I believe him,” Joe said quietly.
Sebastian’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open slightly in shock.
“I believe him, Sebastian,” Joe said seriously, “Barry really did see something that night.”
Sebastian stared at him, not sure if he had heard him right.
“Are you insane?!” he shouted then, causing several people to look over at them.
“Sebastian,” Joe said gently.
“What the fuck, Joe?!” Sebastian yelled, “Are you fucking kidding me?! After all this time, you just decided to start believing him?!”
“Bash, keep your voice down,” Joe said, looking around.
Several of his coworkers were looking at them in confusion, no doubt thinking it was Barry who was standing here, yelling and cursing at him.
“What changed?!” Sebastian demanded, “What made you decide to just start believing this insanity?!”
“The Flash,” Joe whispered.
Sebastian gave him a confused look.
“What do you mean?” he asked, no longer shouting.
“Barry’s been trying his whole life to prove that the impossible exists,” he explained, “And now it does, with people like the Flash. Barry was right about all of it.”
“What the hell does that have to do with my mother being murdered?!” Sebastian asked angrily.
“What Barry saw that night…” Joe said slowly, “It was a speedster, Sebastian. It was someone with the same powers as the Flash.”
“That was before the explosion, though,” Sebastian argued, “That was fourteen years before all this metahuman shit. Barry didn’t see a ‘speedster’ that night. He saw our father plunge a knife into our mother’s chest, and then he ran for his life. Henry probably would have killed him too if he hadn’t run, and then I’d have no one. The funny thing is…I still have no one! Henry didn’t kill Barry that night, but he may as well have because I lost him either way.”
“You haven’t lost him, Bash,” Joe said sadly, “He’s still trying, and I know you’re trying, too. It’s time for you two to finally move past this. It comes down to this: one of you is right, and one of you is wrong. It isn’t until you can finally both learn the truth that you can fix what’s broken between you.”
“I’m right,” Sebastian spat angrily, “I’m the one who’s right, Joe.”
“Sebastian, you never even tried to see Barry’s side of it,” Joe said painfully, “You never tried to actually listen to him. I didn’t either, and that’s something I’ll regret for the rest of my life. Things would have been so different between us if I had just believed him from the start.”
Sebastian shook his head.
“No,” he said stubbornly, “I know that I’m right about this.”
“Bash, I know you’re confused, but—”
“I’m not confused, Joe,” Sebastian said angrily, tears forming in his eyes, “You think I want to be right about this?! You think I want my father to be a murderer?! I would give anything for Barry to be right, for our dad to be innocent, but he isn’t. It was the hardest thing in the world to accept, but I did, with the help of my therapist. I didn’t turn to some delusion for comfort. I accepted it.”
Joe looked somberly at the young man in front of him. He realized now that their personalities weren’t really what differentiated him and Barry from each other. It was this. It was the way they had both processed their family tragedy. Therapy had never gotten through to Barry. It had never worked for him. For Sebastian, it did.
“Sebastian…” Joe said painfully.
“I’ll stop by later when Barry is back,” Sebastian clipped, “If you’re not going to get him the psychological help he needs, then I will. I’m not giving up on him like you have.”
With that, Sebastian stormed his way out of the precinct, leaving Joe sitting at his desk, his stomach in knots from the conversation. There was no way to get through to the boy, to get him to see the truth—that Barry was right.
The only way to do that would be to prove Henry’s innocence, and Joe didn’t know how to do that. The man in yellow had threatened Iris if he continued looking into the case. Barry didn’t even know about it yet. He didn’t know that Joe had been threatened into dropping the case, and he still thought Joe was working to free his father, something that Joe felt immensely guilty about.
Joe didn’t want to tell him about the man in yellow appearing in their home, not with everything else that was going on. Barry was dealing with a lot emotionally right now. Telling him about the man in yellow showing up would only add to the load of burdens the boy was already carrying. Joe couldn’t tell him.
He couldn’t tell either of them.
Don’t go in the house.
His father had told him not to go in, but he had, and now Barry could never unsee what he had just seen. Why hadn’t Joe stopped him? Why hadn’t any of the cops in the house stopped him from walking into that living room? From pulling open that dreaded black bag?
The image of his mother, lying on the floor, her clothes stained crimson and her wet eyes, open and staring…
That was what haunted him the most as he walked out of the house. Her eyes. They were so…blank. So empty and lifeless. He would never get to look into them again. His mother would never smile at him again, never sing him to sleep or run her fingers through his hair to soothe him after a bad dream. She would never curl up on the couch with him to watch musicals together. She would never dab a towel to his face to clean him up after being beaten by bullies or whisper words of comfort to him when he cried.
She was gone.
“Where’s my dad?” Barry cried as Joe opened the door of the squad car for him.
“Don’t worry about that right now, Barry,” the man said sadly, “Your dad…he’s with the police right now. You don’t have to worry about him. You’re safe.”
Barry frowned in confusion with these words, not fully understanding their meaning. As Joe started the car, Barry looked down at his hands in his lap. They were still shaking. Barry didn’t think they would ever stop shaking for the rest of his life.
“What about Sebastian?” Barry asked, his voice cracking, “Is he safe? Does he know?”
“Your brother is fine,” Joe assured him sadly as he drove, “He’s staying at his friend’s house tonight. They’re going to wait until the morning to tell him.”
“I want to see him,” Barry sniffled, fresh tears pouring from his eyes, “Please?”
“I know you do,” Joe said sadly, “But it will have to wait until the morning, Barry. I’m sorry.”
Barry wiped his face and looked out the window.
“What’s going to happen now?” he whispered.
Out of the corner of his eye, Barry saw Iris’s dad turn his head to look at him.
“We have to go to the station now,” he said softly, “Just for a bit. They just have to ask you a few questions, and there’s a nice lady there. She’s going to just give you a check up and make sure you’re okay.”
“I’m fine,” Barry whispered, more to himself than to the detective, “I’m fine.”
Suddenly, Barry felt a hand on his shoulder, causing his entire body to jump violently.
“Sorry,” the man said quickly, pulling his hand back.
“I’m fine,” Barry choked again.
It seemed to be all he could say, and once he started, he couldn’t stop.
“I’m fine,” he whispered to himself, “I’m fine.”
“I’m fine,” he said again, this time the words coming out more like sobs than actual words, “I’m fine.”
His words quickly turned into full on gasps and sobs, a fresh round of tears issuing from his eyes as everything that had happened tonight crashed over him like a tidal wave.
His mother was dead.
“I’m fine,” he gasped, his breathing becoming more strained, air now refusing to enter his lungs, “I’m fine.”
His mother was dead.
“Barry,” the detective said in alarm, looking worriedly at him, “Barry, you’re having a panic attack.”
“I’m f-fine,” Barry choked, his throat closing up on him, “I’m fine.”
His mother was dead.
Barry’s hands shook so hard he could barely control them as he reached up to his throat in panic.
“Put your head down,” Joe instructed urgently, looking at him with worry, “Put your head between your legs, Barry. It’s okay, son. Just breathe.”
“I’m fine,” Barry sobbed as he did what the detective instructed, “I’m f-fine.”
“It’s alright,” Iris’s dad said, his voice cracking slightly, “It’s alright, Barry. Don’t speak. Just breathe.”
His mother was dead.
“I didn’t do anything,” Barry cried in anguish, gasping for air as he leaned forward in his seat, “I didn’t save her.”
“That wasn’t on you, Barry,” Joe said firmly, “You’re just a kid. You had no control over what happened.”
Barry didn’t say anything else then. He couldn’t get enough air into his lungs to speak. His breathing became more strained the more he panicked, and he felt like he was going to die.
His mother was…
“She’s dead,” Barry choked, “Joe, she’s d-dead.”
Joe reached out to put a hand on his shoulder, a lot slower this time so he wouldn’t startle him.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Barry,” he said sadly.
“I want to go home,” Barry cried in anguish, “Please, I just want to go home.”
“I’m so sorry, Barry,” the detective choked, tears in his eyes, “You can’t. I’m going to talk to social services and see if you can spend the night at my house, okay? Iris will be there.”
A broken sob escaped Barry’s lips. He didn’t want to go to the detective’s house. He wanted to go home. He wanted to go to his house. Barry’s mind was on overdrive, replaying everything that had happened over and over again in his head, trying to make some sense of it. It was like it was a dream, like it wasn’t actually real. What he recalled came in flashes, just short bits and pieces of the night, blurring together.
“Did they catch him?” Barry asked in a weak voice.
“Yeah, they got him, Barry,” Joe said sadly, “He’s in jail.”
Barry looked out the window again.
“Good,” he whispered.
They had caught the lightning man who had killed his mother. He couldn’t ever hurt anyone ever again, and Barry would soon be reunited with his brother and father. He just had to get through this night.
But things didn’t work out that way in the end.
Barry jumped and looked around, having been pulled from his thoughts. He looked to his right and saw the person who had spoken standing there.
“Sebastian,” Barry sighed, straightening up in his desk chair.
His brother had a serious look on his face as he crossed the dark room to approach him.
“I called your name like…”
Sebastian’s words trailed off as his eyes landed on the board Barry had been staring at, lost in thought.
“The case,” he said quietly, staring at the familiar newspaper clippings with wide eyes.
Barry turned back to the board, too.
“I used to study this board every day,” Barry whispered, “Lately, I haven’t…looked at it, as much as I should have.”
He turned and looked at his brother then, who was still staring at the board with wide eyes, almost as if he was shocked by the images in front of him. Or maybe he was just shocked to be seeing just how much research Barry had done on the case. Barry didn’t really know what his brother was thinking right now.
“I’m sorry, Sebastian,” Barry said quietly then, “I’m so sorry for everything, for our fight, for hitting you…”
Even now, Barry could see the now-yellowing black eye he had given his brother, and his stomach twisted with guilt. He really hadn’t meant to hit him that hard, but he had been angry at the time.
“I’m sorry, too,” Sebastian said, tearing his eyes away from the board to look solemnly at him, “We both said some pretty awful things to each other.”
Barry nodded. He then sighed and rubbed his eyes with his palms.
“I don’t want to fight with you, Bash,” he said tiredly, “I can’t fight with you anymore, but I also can’t just ignore all the issues between us. I don’t know what to do.”
“Me neither,” Sebastian said, tears forming in his eyes, “I…I just want to fix things. I just want to help you, Barry.”
Barry saw it then. What he had originally mistaken for sadness in his brother’s eyes, he now realized was more than that.
It was pity.
Sebastian then stepped forward and nervously handed Barry a small card.
“What’s this?” Barry whispered, staring at the doctor’s name on the card.
“She’s a psychiatrist, Barry,” Sebastian said gently, “I thought maybe she could help us.”
“Like…group therapy?” Barry asked, already hating the sound of this idea—they didn’t need to tell some stranger about their family tragedy.
Sebastian shook his head.
“No,” he said, “I mean…if you want, I’ll go with you. We can talk to her together if that would be easier for you, but…”
Barry understood then.
“You want me to see her,” he said flatly, “You want me to see a therapist.”
Sebastian let out a shaky sigh, a strained look on his face.
“She’s my psychiatrist, Barry,” he admitted quietly, “I’ve been seeing her for almost fourteen years.”
Barry stared at his brother for a moment, processing his words.
“Are you kidding me?!” he shouted angrily then, “Seriously, Bash?! For years, you’ve been tormenting me and constantly throwing it in my face, reminding me about all the therapists I’ve seen, and you’ve been seeing one yourself?!”
“You have every right to be mad at me,” Sebastian said sadly, “I…Barry, the reason I always tried to make you feel ashamed about going to therapy was because I was ashamed of it. I guess…I guess I just didn’t want to accept how messed up I was over what happened to mom.”
“I’m the messed up one,” Barry said angrily, “Isn’t that what you’re always telling me?! That I’m the one who’s broken?!”
Sebastian’s eyes turned down to the floor.
“I have issues, Barry,” Sebastian said bitterly, “I’m fucked up in the head, always have been. I’ve always treated everything like a big joke, playing mind games with people, driving them away, driving you away. You were right, Barry. I am a bully, always have been. I’m far more messed up than you are. You have your entire life together. You have friends and family that love you and accept you, all of you. I…I was jealous.”
“You were jealous of me?” Barry asked in shock.
“And that’s why I always try to tear you down,” he said quietly, “I didn’t want to be the messed up one.”
Barry stared at his brother in shock. He had never even considered the motives behind Sebastian’s mind games. He had always simply thought his brother was trying to punish him for everything that went wrong in their family, for being the cause of their separation. If he hadn’t rambled on and on about the man and yellow at the police station that night, he and Sebastian probably would have been reunited immediately after Sebastian had been notified of their mother’s death the next day. They could have gone through this together. Instead, they had both ended up alone.
And that had messed Sebastian up more than Barry realized.
“I don’t want to tear you down anymore,” Sebastian choked, tears welling in his eyes, “I want to help you, Barry. I want to help you finally get past this. Please, just come see the doctor with me. I’ll support you through all of it, I promise.”
Barry shook his head and looked down at the card in his hands, a single tear falling from his eyes.
“I can’t do that, Sebastian,” he said sadly, “I can’t tell you what this means to me, you being honest with me, trying to help me…but I don’t need help. I need for you to finally listen to me. I need for you to know the truth, all of it, if you’re ready to hear it.”
Barry was talking about more than just their father. He wanted to tell Sebastian about everything, about what the lightning had done to him, about him becoming the Flash. He wanted his brother to truly know him, all of him.
“I can’t,” Sebastian said, shaking his head sadly, “I’m sorry, Barry, but I can’t. I can’t support your delusions the same way Joe has. They’re not healthy.”
Another tear etched its way down Barry’s face.
“Okay,” he choked, his heart tearing in two, “Okay, Bash.”
He knew then, knew that Sebastian would never be ready. He would never be able to accept the truth, no matter how hard Barry tried to get through to him.
“So, where does this leave us?” Barry asked quietly, wiping his face, “What now?”
“I don’t know,” Sebastian whispered, glancing painfully at the board again.
It represented everything that was holding them back, everything that was coming between them, stopping them from repairing their relationship. Their family tragedy haunted both of them in different ways, but the hardest part about it for both of them was what it had done to their relationship, how it had driven a wedge between them all these years.
Sebastian tore his eyes away from the board again and gave Barry one last painful look before he turned around and walked away, not saying another word.
Neither of them knew what else to say to the other.
A choked sob escaped Barry’s throat after Sebastian disappeared through the door. He didn’t know where they were supposed to go from here, what was going to happen now. He felt like he was eleven years old again, riding in the passenger seat of that cop car with Joe, not knowing what the future would bring, how the upcoming days would unfold. He didn’t know what his future held, but he knew one thing.
He wanted Sebastian in it.
Barry let out a shaky breath as he set the doctor’s card down on his desk and walked over to the window, watching Sebastian leave out the precinct door down below. It was dark and raining outside. Lightning flashed, and thunder rolled in the distance. Barry watched as Sebastian got into his car. He looked up from the street then, not wanting to watch his brother drive away, to watch him leave again.
Lightning flashed again, and Barry’s heart nearly stopped.
There was someone standing there. Someone was standing on the roof of the building across the street from him, watching him.
And he was wearing yellow.
Chapter 12: The Man in Yellow
The beginning of this chapter is based entirely on this season one scene:
The Man in Yellow
Maybe Barry was crazy.
He couldn’t be standing there. The man who had haunted him for half his life could not really be standing there, right across the street from him. Barry had only a moment to process the figure standing across the empty street before the man suddenly moved, red lightning streaking behind him as he moved down to the street below.
Barry moved, too.
Without thinking twice about it, he ran down the precinct stairs and flashed out into the dark street. His heart nearly stopped when he made it out the precinct doors. The man had flashed towards a car, Sebastian’s car, and removed the driver.
Sebastian had just put the car into drive, and the vehicle was just starting to crawl forward when everything suddenly seemed to blur. He felt his body get roughly thrown from the vehicle, and all that was running through his mind was that he must have been too distracted by his conversation with Barry. He must have pulled out in front of another car and had now been hit and ejected from the vehicle.
When the blurring didn’t stop immediately, Sebastian wondered if maybe he was dead, and all he could think about was the last thing he had said to his brother. He couldn’t remember what it was—but it hadn’t been “I love you.”
Everything eventually came to a stop, and Sebastian hit the ground with a thud. The smell of freshly cut grass filled his nostrils, and he soon registered that he was lying on a field of some sort. Before Sebastian could even fully process where he was and what had happened, he suddenly heard his brother’s voice speaking from somewhere close to him.
“It was you,” Barry said in shock, “You were the one in our house that night.”
Sebastian blinked repeatedly, and his brother’s back swam into view. Through his blurry vision, Sebastian could make out another figure standing some distance away, and it was him whom Barry was taking to as he stood between them.
“You killed our mother!” Barry screamed in a fury, “WHY!?!”
“If you want to know that,” a chilling voice replied, “You’re going to have to fight me.”
“Barry!” Sebastian called out to his brother as he started to regain his senses, “What’s happening?!”
“Run, Bash,” Barry ordered seriously, turning to glance at him, “Run!”
Sebastian’s eyes widened in shock when he realized what Barry was planning to do. He was going to fight the man.
“Barry!” Sebastian shouted, “Don’t!”
The words had barely escaped Sebastian’s mouth before Barry suddenly disappeared. In horror, Sebastian thought the other man had grabbed his brother, the same way he had grabbed him, but after blinking, Sebastian realized.
Barry was moving just as fast as the man.
All the lights in the stadium burst to life from the electricity the two men were producing as they charged at each other, from opposite ends of the football field. Sebastian watched in shock from the ground as the two men collided, red and yellow lightning crashing violently together.
It was hard to keep his eyes on them, but Sebastian saw the moment when Barry was suddenly sent flying through the air, hitting the ground with a thud before rolling to a stop.
“Not fast enough,” the other man taunted, “Flash.”
Sebastian sucked in a breath. Barry was the Central City vigilante. He was the Flash. Sebastian had only a moment to process this information before the two speedsters disappeared into lightning again. He watched in shock as yellow and red lightning surrounded him, both men running through the stadium seats, turning the entire space red and yellow. It was unlike anything Sebastian had ever seen before. The raw power of it was palpable in the air, and it made the hairs on the back of Sebastian’s neck stand on end, both in fear and amazement.
The lightning came to a stop when suddenly the two speedsters were back in the middle of the field again, Barry being thrown through the air and hitting the ground much harder than the first time. Before he could even remotely get back to his feet again, his opponent flashed to the other side of him and gave him a harsh kick in the ribs, sending him sprawling back the other way before coming to a stop to stand over him.
Barry sucked in a ragged breath and looked up at the other man.
“WHO ARE YOU?!” he screamed, blood spewing from his mouth.
“You know who I am, Barry,” the man replied calmly.
Sebastian was shocked when Barry got back to his feet after that. He kept fighting!
It didn’t do him much good, though. The other speedster struck him in the stomach and flashed around him to strike him again from behind. He landed several more blows before flipping Barry onto his back again, like a ragdoll. Barry scrambled to recover himself, glaring up at his attacker from his place on the ground.
“I don’t know who you are!” Barry said furiously, gasping for breath.
“But you do, Barry,” his opponent taunted, “We’ve been at this a long time, you and I, but I’m always one step ahead.”
In a rage, Barry flashed to his feet and attempted to strike the other man in the face. His opponent was much faster than him, though. He avoided the punch easily and then threw Barry to the ground again. He placed a hand on Barry’s back, pinning him face first into the ground with only one hand as he spoke.
“It is your destiny to lose to me, Flash,” he said in a chilling voice, and Sebastian was worried when Barry didn’t attempt to get up again, “Just as it was your mother’s destiny to die that night.”
Sebastian felt as if he had been punched in the gut as he then watched the mysterious man disappear in a flash of red lightning, leaving his brother sprawled out on the ground, still laying on his stomach.
“Barry!” he screamed as he ran towards his twin.
Barry wasn’t moving as he laid on the ground. When Sebastian finally reached him and dropped to his knees next to him, it was to find Barry awake and conscious. He was laying there in shock.
“Are you okay?!” Sebastian asked frantically.
That, at least, caused Barry to move. He planted a hand on the ground and turned himself over, so he was laying on his back. Barry groaned in pain and clutched his ribs.
“Don’t move,” Sebastian said worriedly, “I’m going to call an ambulance.”
“Don’t,” Barry choked out, “I can’t go in an ambulance.”
Sebastian stared at him, giving him a pained look.
“Because you’re the Flash?” he whispered.
Barry looked back at Sebastian with watery eyes.
“Sebastian,” he said quietly, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”
Sebastian wiped his face, only just now realizing that he had tears running down the sides of it.
“Were you ever going to?” he asked quietly.
“I was,” Barry said seriously, still clutching his ribs, “I swear, I was. You just…weren’t ready.”
Sebastian sniffed and wiped his face again.
“We can talk about it later,” he said numbly, his mind still in shock, “You’re hurt.”
Barry nodded, and Sebastian didn’t say another word as he helped pull his brother to his feet.
“Three broken ribs,” Caitlin said seriously, “You’re lucky you didn’t puncture a lung.”
“I’m fine,” Barry sighed, looking through the glass window of the med bay.
Sebastian was sitting in a chair in the cortex, a faraway look in his eyes.
“He’s in shock,” Barry said sadly, looking at his brother.
“I already checked him,” Caitlin assured him, “He’s in shock, yes, but Sebastian will be fine.”
Barry sighed and shook his head.
“I’ve never seen him like this, Caitlin,” he said seriously, “He hasn’t said a word since we got here.”
He had never seen Sebastian this quiet before.
“It’s just the shock,” Caitlin assured him.
“What do I say to him?” Barry asked in anguish, “He wasn’t supposed to find out like this. About me being the Flash or the…man in yellow.”
“At least he knows the truth now,” Caitlin said gently, “How he found out was horrible, but at least he knows the truth.”
Barry sighed and nodded.
“I should talk to him now,” he said quietly.
He was practically vibrating with nerves as he stood up and walked into the cortex. What the hell was he supposed to say?!
“Are you okay?” he asked quietly as he sat down in a chair next to Sebastian.
His twin looked pale. He wasn’t crying, but he had a blank look on his face as he turned to look at him.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” Sebastian whispered shakily, “You’re the one who just got beat up by…”
“By the man in yellow,” Barry said softly.
Sebastian’s eyes filled with tears then. He buried his face in his hands and sucked in a ragged breath.
“Oh, my God,” he whispered.
Barry could see from where he was sitting just how badly his brother was trembling. He had never seen him like this before.
“I’m so sorry, Sebastian,” Barry choked.
Sebastian looked up at him with watery eyes.
“Why are you sorry?” he asked, his voice cracking, “I’m the one who didn’t believe you. You were right. All this time…you were right. I called you crazy for years. If I were you, I’d be saying ‘I told you so’ right about now.”
“I would never say that,” Barry said sadly, “This isn’t some bet about who can drink the most, Bash. This is about our family. I would never say ‘I told you so.’”
Sebastian shook his head and buried his face in his hands.
“You should hate me,” he choked, his voice muffled by his hands, “After everything I said to you…everything I said to dad…”
“He’ll understand,” Barry said sadly.
Sebastian let out a pitiful sob, keeping his face in his hands as he then broke down. Barry had never seen Sebastian cry like this before.
“I hated him,” he sobbed, “For fourteen years, I hated him and wished he was dead.”
“Dad understands,” Barry assured him, “He does, Bash. He knows why you felt that way. You thought he was guilty.”
“This is too much,” Sebastian sobbed into his hands, “I can’t do this. This is too much.”
“You’ve been through a lot tonight,” Barry said sadly, “Finding out about this, and about me being the Flash. I’m so sorry you had to find out this way. Please, just take whatever time you need to process it.”
Barry had thought he would feel happy when this day came. For fourteen years, Barry had been waiting for the day when Sebastian would believe him, and now that it was finally here, Barry didn’t feel happy. He felt sick.
“I can’t even process that you’re the Flash right now,” Sebastian said, shaking his head, “I can’t process the fact that my weak, dorky brother is a vigilante with superpowers.”
Barry let out a heavy sigh. He knew Sebastian wasn’t trying to take one of his usual digs at him by call him weak and dorky. He was just in shock. What bothered Barry more, though, was the way Sebastian said ‘vigilante.’ Sebastian had only spoken briefly of the Flash before, and he hadn’t exactly been clear about how he felt about him—if he was for or against him. He had seemed on the fence about it.
“I’m still the same person,” Barry said softly, “I’m still your brother.”
“Yeah, my brother with superpowers,” Sebastian choked.
Barry couldn’t help but flinch.
“Do you…do you think I’m a freak now?” he whispered.
Sebastian’s eyes widened.
“No,” he said firmly, “I mean…I’m freaked out, but I don’t think you’re a freak, Bar. I just…I just need a little time to adjust. This is kind of a lot to process right now.”
“Yeah,” Barry said quickly, “Of course. Take all the time you need. If you need some space, I can…”
Barry trailed off awkwardly, not knowing what to say or do to make this easier for Bash. To his surprise, Sebastian gave him a small, watery smile.
“I think we’ve had enough space from each other,” he said quietly.
Barry smiled in relief.
“I agree,” he breathed, “You’re more than welcome to stay at Joe’s again. You shouldn’t be alone right now.”
“I’d like that,” he whispered.
“But you should know,” Barry said seriously, “You can’t say a word about this to Iris.”
Sebastian gave him a confused look at first, but then his eyes widened.
“She doesn’t know yet?!”
Barry shook his head.
“No,” he said, “I haven’t told her.”
“Damn,” Sebastian muttered, “You keep all kinds of secrets from her, don’t you? You really need to start telling her the truth, Bar, about all of this, and about your not-so-settle feelings.”
“I’ll tell her when I’m ready,” he muttered awkwardly, “It’s complicated.”
“Your feelings aren’t that complicated,” Sebastian argued, “You love her. It’s simple. So just tell her.”
“Not all of us are as confident as you,” Barry said.
Sebastian sighed, shaking his head at his “little” brother.
“Well, you can count on me to keep your secret, Flash,” he said with a small smile.
Barry felt his heart warm at these words. Sebastian was taking this a lot better than he thought he would.
“And you can count on me to keep yours,” Barry said then, a mischievous grin spreading across his face.
Sebastian gave him a confused look.
“Hate to break it to you, Bar, but I’ve been out of the closet for almost nine years.”
Barry laughed and shook his head.
“I mean,” he said slyly, “I won’t tell anyone what you said about the Flash.”
Sebastian’s eyebrows furrowed, and Barry’s mischievous smile deepened.
“What was it you were saying about my ‘kinky suit?’” he asked, fighting a laugh.
Sebastian’s face turned bright red. Barry couldn’t believe it. Sebastian was actually blushing! He had never seen Sebastian blush before.
“Oh, my God,” Sebastian groaned, burying his face in his hands, “That is so wrong!”
Barry just laughed.
“Imagine how I felt,” he chuckled.
Sebastian looked up at him then, his ears turning red.
“Not a word to anyone,” he said seriously.
Barry grinned at him, feeling just a bit smug that he had managed to embarrass Sebastian for once.
“I wouldn’t tell a soul.”
Sebastian was extremely quiet for the rest of the night. When they went back to Joe’s for the evening, he hardly said a word, and he went to bed early. Barry didn’t blame him, though. In fact, he was quiet, too. What had happened had affected him just as much as his brother. He had seen the man in yellow. He had spoken with him, fought him.
And he had lost.
He had let him get away. He had finally been given the chance to free his father, and Barry had let him get away. He didn’t know how he was going to face his dad and tell him that it was now his fault he was still stuck in Iron Heights. Barry wouldn’t have to go alone, though. Now, he had Sebastian. He hadn’t talked to Sebastian about it yet, but surely Sebastian was going to go with him to see their father now. As sad as the circumstances were, Barry was looking forward to it, to the three of them finally coming together for the first time in fourteen years. As a family again.
It was all so bittersweet. They could all finally mend their relationships now, but the circumstances they were under were less than ideal. If Barry had just managed to stop the man in yellow, his father could walk free. They could all truly be reunited.
As it turned out, they wouldn’t be reunited in any way like Barry had thought—at least not right away.
“Why don’t you want to go?” Barry asked in confusion.
“It’s just too soon,” Sebastian said, pouring himself a cup of coffee, “I…I don’t know what to say to him.”
“I told you,” Barry said desperately, “Dad’s going to forgive you, Bash.”
Sebastian shook his head.
“You weren’t there, Barry,” he said sadly, “I said…horrible things to him. I…I don’t know how to face him now.”
“So…what? You’re just not going to go?” Barry demanded.
Sebastian let out a heavy sigh.
“Of course I’m going to go,” he said earnestly, “I just need more time to figure out what to say to him.”
“I’ll be there, too,” Barry reminded him, “You don’t have to go alone.”
“I know,” Sebastian sighed, “Please, Barry, just…give me a day. Just give me a day to process everything and figure out what to say.”
“Okay,” Barry whispered, “I understand.”
He didn’t understand. If he were Sebastian, he’d want to visit their father immediately after finding out the truth. He and Sebastian were different, though. Sebastian was a lot prouder than Barry, and it was a lot harder for him to admit when he was wrong. Barry didn’t think this was about pride, though. Sebastian wouldn’t let that stop him. It was fear. It was his brother’s deepest fear.
So the two brothers didn’t go to Iron Heights that following morning. Instead, they went to STAR Labs.
“He acted like he knew me,” Barry was explaining to Joe and Dr. Wells, “Like we’ve done this before.”
Sebastian listened to his brother explain with rapt attention. The anger in Barry’s voice didn’t go unnoticed by his twin. He knew Barry was more than a little affected by what had happened last night, and Sebastian was trying to keep in mind that he wasn’t the only one who had had a bomb dropped on him by the man in yellow’s abrupt attack. Barry was clearly shaken by the experience, and rightly so. He had been kicked around that field like a football by the very man who had killed their mother. Sebastian couldn’t even imagine facing an emotional and physical assault like that all at once.
“He was antagonizing you, Bar,” Joe said calmly.
The response made Sebastian’s blood boil.
“That’s easy for you to say,” Sebastian spat at the detective, “You weren’t there. This wasn’t just some stupid playground fight. This is the man who murdered our mother. A little more outrage from you would be nice.”
“Bash,” Barry said softly, putting a hand on his brother’s shoulder to calm him, “I’ve got this.”
He turned back to the other two.
“I would get close, and he would just pull away,” Barry explained, his voice shaking in anger, “This was just some sick game to him.”
“You’ll catch him,” the Wells creep assured unhelpfully, “We’ll help.”
Sebastian glared at him, but before he could say anything, Barry beat him to the punch.
“You don’t get it, alright?” Barry said in frustration, “His speed, it’s beyond me. I’m not the fastest man alive. He is! So how do we catch somebody even I can’t keep up with?!”
Sebastian had seen Barry angry on many occasions. He had been on the receiving end of that anger a lot of the time. But this was different. It was scary to hear how much Barry was trying to control his voice—his rage. He had seen Barry angry, but he had never seen him like this—fighting for control.
“The beautiful thing about force fields, Mr. Allen, is they’re impervious to speed,” Wells said calmly, taking off his glasses to clean them.
He was cleaning his fucking glasses! He was talking in a calm voice as if they were discussing the weather! Did Joe and Wells seriously not understand how upsetting this was for them?! Why were they both so calm?!
“We’re almost finished fabricating the trap,” Wells continued calmly.
“A trap?” Sebastian asked, forgetting his anger, “What trap?”
“STAR Labs has been working on creating a trap that can catch a speedster,” Barry answered him quickly.
“All that remains is for Detective West to procure the bait,” he said, looking at Joe.
“I’m on it,” Joe said, moving towards the door.
Barry immediately started to follow him, and Sebastian quickly moved along with his brother.
“Barry and Bash, why don’t you two stay here?” Joe said calmly as he walked.
Before Sebastian could bitch the detective out for his nerve, Barry spoke first.
“No, Joe, today is not the day to tell me to stay behind,” he said angrily.
The detective didn’t protest then as they made their way out to the lot.
“Want a lift, Bash?” Barry asked flatly, still fuming as they exited the building.
Sebastian looked nervously at him.
“I think I’ll ride with Joe,” he said slowly.
Barry shrugged, too distracted by his anger to press the issue. He took off a moment later, disappearing with a flash of lightning. Sebastian stared at where Barry had been standing a moment ago. The air was still crackling with electricity and contained the faint smell of ozone. Like lightning.
“You’ll get used to it,” Joe said, as he opened the door to his car.
Sebastian quickly shook it off and got into the car with Barry’s foster father.
“I don’t know how anyone could get used to that,” he muttered as he closed the door.
“Put on your seatbelt, Bash,” Joe said as he started the car.
Sebastian rolled his eyes but complied.
“So,” Joe said as they started to drive to the precinct, “How are you handling all of this?”
“What are you, my therapist?” Sebastian muttered, looking out the window.
“Believe it or not, I do care about you, Sebastian,” he said simply, “How are you holding up?”
“Well, let’s see,” Sebastian said sarcastically, “My brother is a superhero with superspeed, and the man who really killed my mother has been walking free for fourteen years. How do you think I’m holding up?”
“I know it’s a lot,” Joe said quietly as he drove.
He glanced at Sebastian then, giving him a curious look.
“Why didn’t you let Barry run you?” he asked, “Since you clearly don’t want to talk to me.”
Sebastian sighed, deflating a bit.
“I don’t know,” he said quietly, “I guess I just didn’t want to be run anywhere by another…speedster.”
Joe gave him another thoughtful look, and a few moments passed before he spoke again.
“You’re not afraid of him, are you?” he asked gently.
Sebastian looked out the window.
“He’s my brother,” he muttered, “Of course, I’m not afraid of him.”
Joe didn’t say anything. He just continued to drive, thinking. He clearly didn’t fully believe him.
“It’s just,” Sebastian sighed, “He has the same powers as…him.”
Joe nodded thoughtfully.
“I suppose I can see how that would cause you some…anxiety,” Joe said softly, “You know Barry is nothing like him, though, right?”
“Of course I know that,” Sebastian said, rolling his eyes, “It’s just…scary. What Barry can do. His powers are…”
“Dangerous,” Joe finished seriously for him, “I know. But Bash, there’s no better person to have been given these powers than Barry.”
“I know Barry would never abuse them,” Sebastian said quickly, “I know he would only ever use them for good, but…it’s what he could do that scares me. If he wanted to.”
“Barry is a good person,” Joe said needlessly, “He only uses his powers to help people.”
“Yeah, but at what risk?” Sebastian asked quietly, “He’s not invincible, Joe.”
“I know he’s not,” Joe said, seriously, “And Barry knows that, too.”
“Does he?” Sebastian asked softly, “Because last night…when he was fighting that man…it didn’t look like it. He kept getting up. He kept fighting.”
“That’s just Barry,” Joe sighed, “He’s always been that way. With bullies. With life. When life knocks him down, he gets back up. That’s just who Barry is.”
“And that doesn’t worry you?” Sebastian asked seriously, “He could get hurt, Joe. He could get killed.”
“Of course it worries me,” Joe agreed, “I worry about Barry every time he puts that suit on.”
“So, why do you let him do it?” Sebastian asked angrily, “Why do you encourage it?!”
“Because he’ll do it anyways,” Joe said simply, a hint of sadness in his voice, “That’s how he’s always been, when he was a kid and I was telling him not to go to Iron Heights and even just now when I told him to stay behind. When Barry has his mind set on something, there’s no changing it. You can either support him or turn a blind eye to it. I chose to support him. If I hadn’t, Barry wouldn’t have had the confidence he has now. He would fail.”
Sebastian nodded silently to himself. Joe was right. Barry was stubborn as hell, but he also lacked confidence when he didn’t have the support of his loved ones. Sebastian, himself, had always taken advantage of his brother’s shaky confidence. He knew all of Barry’s insecurities, and he had always manipulated them. That’s how he knew Joe was right about this. There was no stopping Barry from doing what he wanted to do. All you could do was support him.
When they arrived at the CCPD, it was to find Barry already talking with someone. Some woman. Sebastian figured out pretty quickly who she was. Tina McGee, the head doctor from Mercury Labs.
“If Judge Hankerson was going to sign this, he would have done so already,” Dr. McGee said angrily, looking at the search warrant Joe had handed her.
She handed the warrant promptly back to him, a stiff look on her face.
“Look,” Joe sighed, folding up the warrant, “I’m sure you don’t want this investigation to get more public that it’s already been. Do you, doctor?”
“This has Harrison Wells written all over it in big black letters,” she said angrily, “I am not giving you my tachyon prototype!”
Joe opened his mouth to speak but he was cut off by Barry, who spoke first.
“It was quite the tour of your facility, doctor,” he said calmly, earning a few confused looks from Joe and his brother, “You were fine to let us dumb cops walk around, but I majored in physics and chemistry, and I saw a whole lot of stuff that Science Showcase Magazine would love to hear about. So, should I call their editors directly or just leave a post on their website?”
Shit! Barry was threatening her! He was actually threatening her! Sebastian couldn’t believe it. He gave his brother a look of approval as the doctor glared at him. Barry didn’t smile. He didn’t even look smug. He just stared at her, waiting for her response.
“You’ll have the tachyon device within the hour,” she said venomously.
Barry smiled slightly and nodded at her. Sebastian could tell his brother was itching to apologize already, but Barry didn’t. He maintained a solid poker face that would put even Sebastian to shame.
“I see why Dr. Wells holds you in such esteem, Mr. Allen,” the doctor added angrily, “You’re very much alike.”
With that, the doctor stormed off. Barry frowned after her, but Sebastian moved in front of him to smile at him.
“Nicely done,” he approved proudly, “And I thought I could be intimidating.”
Barry didn’t smile, nor did he say anything. He just looked seriously at Sebastian before walking away. Joe stared worriedly after him.
“What was that?” Joe muttered seriously.
“I know, right?” Sebastian grinned, “I’ve never been more proud of him. Maybe we’re brothers, after all.”
Joe didn’t say anything, though. He just continued to frown. Before either of them could further discuss Barry’s uncharacteristic behavior, they were approached by another detective. It was Iris’s boyfriend.
“Hey, Joe,” Eddie said, “You got a second?”
“Not now, Eddie,” Joe answered shortly.
“I read the witness statement,” Eddie continued anyways, “The Flash was there, at Mercury Labs. I know you’ve got something in the works.”
“Yeah, but you don’t want any part of this,” Joe said slowly.
“I’ve got a task force approved to capture him,” Eddie said seriously, “I want in.”
“Capture who?” Sebastian asked in confusion, “The Flash?”
Eddie nodded seriously.
“We’re going to get that menace off the streets,” he said firmly, “The city will be a safer place for it.”
“The hell kind of logic is that?!” Sebastian asked angrily, “He protects this city. How the hell does capturing him make the city safer?”
“The Flash is dangerous, Barry,” Eddie said seriously, “I thought you agreed with me on this. From the beginning, you were always against Iris’s blog.”
“First of all,” Sebastian said angrily, “I’m Sebastian, not Barry. Secondly, I don’t give a damn about some stupid blog I’ve never seen. What I have seen is a hero protecting this city. Since I’ve been in town, I’ve seen reports almost every day about the people the Flash has saved. He’s a good guy, and if you can’t see that, then you’re an idiot.”
“He attacked me,” Eddie said flatly, “He pulled me out of a moving car and beat the shit out of me, Sebastian, so before you jump down my throat about this, I suggest you get your facts straight.”
“Sounds to me like you deserved to get your ass kicked,” Sebastian said coolly.
Sebastian kept a straight face, but it was hard to hide his shock upon hearing this. Why would Barry beat up Eddie? Sure, the guy was dating Barry’s lifelong crush, but Barry would never go into a jealous rage and beat someone up over that. The detective had to be exaggerating.
Eddie ignored Sebastian then and turned back to Joe.
“I’m not asking permission, Joe,” he said seriously, crossing his arms.
“Excuse me?” Joe said, raising his eyebrows.
“If my task force isn’t a part of this, I’ll go to Captain Singh,” Eddie threatened, “I’ll tell him something’s going on, and you’re not talking.”
Eddie’s face softened slightly.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, “You’d do the same thing if you were me.”
Joe took a deep breath, reigning in his frustration. Sebastian, however, didn’t make any attempt to hide his glare.
“Fine,” Joe said shortly before walking away.
Eddie watched him leave and then looked back at Sebastian.
“You know,” Sebastian said, “Iris could do a lot better than the likes of a dim-witted detective like you.”
Chapter 13: Loyalty
“Shouldn’t we be focused on other things right now?” Sebastian insisted, “This can wait.”
“Bash, why are you so reluctant to see him?” Barry implored, “He’s our dad.”
Sebastian opened and closed his mouth a couple times, not knowing what to say.
“I just can’t deal with this right now,” he said in a strained voice, “I don’t know what to say to him.”
“He’s going to forgive you,” Barry insisted, “I know it’s been fourteen years, but you know dad. He’s just going to be happy to see you. He doesn’t blame you for anything.”
“Well, he should,” Sebastian said softly, “He should hate me.”
Barry stubbornly shook his head.
“He doesn’t,” he insisted, “Dad loves you, Bash. It’s been killing him, not seeing you for all this time. He just wants to talk to you. It’s been fourteen years. Don’t make him wait any longer.”
“But the last time I saw him…”
“I know you said some terrible things to him,” Barry sighed, “But he’s going to forgive you. I know he will. You just need to give him the chance to.”
Sebastian let out a heavy sigh and ran a hand over his face.
“Okay,” he whispered, “Okay, I’ll go see him.”
A wide grin spread across Barry’s face at these words. Sebastian’s lips twitched.
Barry was so confident that their father would forgive him, but it didn’t help calm his nerves. His stomach churned both in dread and excitement to face his father again. Sebastian knew Barry was right. His father would forgive him.
That didn’t mean Sebastian would forgive himself.
“I’ll run us over there!” Barry said excitedly, grabbing Sebastian’s arm.
“No!” Sebastian ejected, yanking his arm from Barry’s grasp.
Barry gave him a confused look. Sebastian took a deep breath and forced a smile on his face.
“I’ll just…I think I’ll drive there.”
At these words, the smile quickly slid from Barry’s face, becoming a frown.
“Okay,” he said softly, his eyebrows furrowed.
Sebastian kept the forced smile on his face as he explained.
“I just…want to use the drive to think about what I’m going to say.”
Barry continued to frown at him.
“Okay,” he said quietly, “I understand. I…I’ll meet you there then.”
Sebastian nodded, giving Barry an uneasy smile.
Barry’s lips twitched, but the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. He took off without another word, disappearing in a flash of lightning. Sebastian let out a heavy breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding.
He didn’t know why he was so opposed to having Barry run him places. Barry had offered three times now, and Sebastian had declined every time. Really, Sebastian still wasn’t sure how he felt about Barry’s powers. They were cool—he’d give him that—but something about them left an unsettling feeling in Sebastian’s gut. Part of it was that his first experience with being run anywhere by a speedster had been that night with the man in yellow. It hadn’t exactly been a pleasant experience, and it wasn’t one he was eager to try again, even if he trusted Barry.
Did he, though? Did he trust Barry? At first, Sebastian had been sure Barry would never abuse his gift. He would never hurt anybody. But then they had had that run-in with Eddie. Eddie said the Flash had attacked him. Barry had attacked him.
Sebastian hadn’t brought it up to Barry yet. He hadn’t given him the chance to explain, so it really wasn’t fair of him to jump to conclusions just yet. He didn’t see how Barry could possibly justify it, though. He had used his speed to hurt someone.
Maybe Eddie had been exaggerating, or maybe Barry hadn’t been trying to hurt him, but Eddie had mistakenly seen it that way. Sebastian wouldn’t blame Eddie, if that was the case. Eddie said Barry had pulled him from a moving vehicle, and Sebastian unfortunately knew what that felt like. He had gone through the same experience with the man in yellow, and it had been terrifying. Being pulled from the safety of your own vehicle, being helpless as you’re carried in a speedster’s arms in a nauseating whirlwind of lights and colors…
Sebastian gave himself a small shake. What the hell was he doing?! What was wrong with him?! Barry was his brother, and here he was, comparing him with the man in yellow. It wasn’t Barry’s fault that he had the same powers as their mother’s murderer. Sebastian felt sick to his stomach. Who was he to judge Barry? Sebastian had spent fourteen years, thinking his father was a murderer, and what was he doing now? He was comparing his brother to the man who had really murdered their mother. Barry was nothing like the man in yellow. He was a good person. He was Barry.
Still, Sebastian didn’t know how to feel about his brother now. They hadn’t seen each other in three years, and when he came back to town, Sebastian had quickly realized his brother had changed. It wasn’t until now that he realized just how much Barry had changed. Did Sebastian really know him at all?
As he pulled up in the Iron Heights parking lot, Sebastian realized with a jolt that he had spent the entire drive thinking about Barry and the man in yellow. He hadn’t paid any thought to what he was going to say to Hen—to his father. Now that he was here, though, Sebastian’s mind was racing.
His stomach twisted terribly as he got out of his car. Barry was waiting patiently for him by the door, giving him an encouraging smile. Sebastian managed an uneasy twitch of his lips.
“Come on,” Barry said softly, resting a supportive hand on his brother’s shoulder as they entered the building.
Sebastian took a deep breath and allowed Barry to guide him to the visitation area.
“Hey, Barry,” the guard at the desk said, grinning widely.
It was the same guard as before.
“Hi, Officer Gracie,” Barry greeted.
The smile slid from the officer’s face when he laid eyes on Sebastian. He looked back and forth between the two brothers, a confused look on his face. Barry let out a small laugh.
“Jim, this is my brother,” Barry introduced, “Sebastian.”
The officer continued to look confused as he shook Sebastian’s hand.
“The doc has two sons?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowing.
As he released his hand, Sebastian realized just how bad his hands were shaking. He quickly stuffed them in his pockets, looking awkwardly at the floor.
“Yeah,” Barry answered quietly, “Sebastian, he…he lives out of town. He doesn’t get the chance to visit often.”
Sebastian kept his eyes on the floor, his stomach twisting in guilt with Barry half-truth. Officer Gracie raised his eyebrows, a thoughtful look on his face.
“You wouldn’t happen to have been in here last week?” he asked slowly, a small smile forming on his face, “Lost your ID, huh?”
Sebastian looked up at the man in surprise.
“How did you…?”
“Barry never forgets his ID,” the officer laughed, “Besides, I’ve been doing this job for fifteen years. I know when someone’s trying to pull a fast one on me. Isn’t that right, Barry?”
Barry laughed and shook his head.
“You definitely take your job seriously,” he chuckled, “Never made it easy for me.”
Officer Gracie laughed.
“Well, I’ll give you points for creativity,” he said, shaking his head, “You were only eleven, but you always managed to keep me on my toes. It’s rare we ever see someone trying to sneak their way in to prison, but you were definitely a master at it, Barry. I swear, you know the layout of this place better than I do.”
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that,” Barry chuckled, “You almost always managed to catch me before I could get in.”
“Almost always,” Officer Gracie said, an amused smile on his face.
The two of them both laughed, but Sebastian looked down at the floor again. For fourteen years, he had refused to visit their father, but Barry had spent most of his childhood doing everything in his power to go see him. He was only a child, but he still managed to break into a prison, just for a few minutes with their dad, and Sebastian hadn’t ever bothered.
“So,” Barry said after a moment, sideglancing at Sebastian, no doubt noticing the look on his face, “Do you think we can get Sebastian a badge? We’d like to visit our dad together today.”
“Of course,” the officer nodded, “I’ll just need you to fill out a few forms, but it shouldn’t take too long.”
And it was true. It didn’t take long to fill out the forms and get the visitor badge. In fact, Sebastian wouldn’t have minded if it had taken longer. In almost no time, Sebastian had his own badge and Barry was leading the way to the visitation area, an excited grin on his face.
Sebastian knew how much this meant to Barry. Barry had been asking him for years to come visit their father with him. Sebastian had vowed that day would never come, but now, here they were. Sebastian knew Barry still felt bad about how Sebastian had learned the truth, but he was over the moon about the fact that Sebastian finally believed him. Barry was happy, but Sebastian…
He didn’t know how to feel.
It wasn’t about pride. Yes, Sebastian always hated being wrong, but this was a rare occasion where he was happy he had been wrong. He was happy his father wasn’t the murderer he had thought he was. But amongst all that happiness, there was one feeling that trumped all others: guilt.
As they sat down in the visitation booth, Sebastian let out a shaky sigh. And way too quickly, their father was suddenly entering the room, on the other side of the glass. Sebastian’s hands tightened into fists, his nerves eating away at his stomach. He jumped slightly when he suddenly felt another hand slide into his. He looked over at Barry, sitting next to him. Barry gave him a small smile, squeezing his hand reassuringly. Sebastian squeezed it back, letting out a slow breath as he looked back to their father.
Henry paused in his tracks when he laid eyes on the two of them, his eyes widening upon seeing both his sons sitting there, waiting to see him. His eyes quickly filled with tears, a small smile forming on his face as he sat down across from them and picked up his phone. Barry held their own phone in between them so they could both hear their father speak.
“Sebastian,” he choked, his eyes swimming, “You’re here.”
Sebastian managed a small, watery smile, realizing now that his own eyes had filled with tears.
“I’m here,” he said softly, “I’m here, dad, and I…I’m so sorry.”
Before their father could even say anything in reply, Sebastian continued, speaking in a fast, shaky voice.
“I b-believe you, dad,” he cried, “I believe both of you. I know the truth now. I know you d-didn’t kill m-mom. I know you’re innocent. I know you l-loved mom and would never have hurt her. I know the man in yellow killed her. I…I know the truth.”
“Bash…” his father whispered, putting a hand over his mouth.
“I’m so sorry, dad,” Sebastian sobbed, letting his tears brim over, “I’m so sorry I didn’t believe in you. I’m so sorry for everything I said to you. For never visiting you all these years. For thinking you were a…”
“Sebastian,” Henry choked, cutting him off, “Sebastian, it’s okay.”
Sebastian let out a small sob and shook his head.
“I forgive you,” his father said firmly, “Do you hear me? I forgive you, Bash. None of this was ever your fault. You were a little boy. You had no control over any of it.”
Sebastian shook his head again, a sob escaping his lips.
“That’s not true,” he choked, “I had a choice, and I chose not to believe you. I turned my back on you. On you and Barry.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” Henry said firmly, “You were being told so many confusing things. Every other adult in your life was telling you I did it. You weren’t allowed to see me, and you were separated from Barry. You were a kid, Bash. You were only eleven years old. With everything you were being told, I can’t hold it against you for not believing me.”
“But,” Sebastian whispered, “But Barry…”
“Barry was there that night,” Henry said seriously, “He saw the whole thing. You didn’t.”
Sebastian shook his head, wiping tears from his eyes.
“Barry still would have believed you,” he said surely, “Even if he hadn’t seen it, he still would have had faith in you. He’s…he’s always been the loyal son.”
“Bash…” Barry said quietly.
“Don’t say it isn’t true,” Sebastian choked, “You never would have lost your faith in dad. You never would have believed what the police were saying, but I…I did. I believed it so easily.”
“Sebastian…” Henry whispered, shaking his head.
“You and mom were fighting that night,” Sebastian whispered, “When you dropped me off at Trent’s house…you were arguing in the car. You were arguing about Barry. And then the police told me it was a domestic dispute, and I…”
Barry gave Sebastian a shocked look. His eyebrows furrowed as he looked at his dad.
“What is he talking about?” he whispered.
Henry let out a heavy sigh, running a hand over his face.
“It was a small argument,” he said quietly, “I wouldn’t really even call it a fight. We were just disagreeing on something.”
“About me,” Barry persisted, speaking in barely more than a whisper, “What did you disagree on?”
Henry let out a heavy sigh.
“Your…your bullying problem,” he said in a strained voice, “Your mother wanted to go to the school board…to stop those kids from picking on you. I disagreed with her. I thought that would only make the problem worse. I thought it was better to let you fight your own battles, to stand up for yourself. She didn’t want you fighting, though.”
Barry stared at his father, tears forming in his eyes.
“You were fighting with her the night she died,” he said in anguish, “Because of me.”
“It wasn’t even a fight, Barry,” Henry assured him quickly, “It was just a disagreement we had.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about it?” Barry choked.
“Because I didn’t want you to do what you’re doing now,” Henry said seriously, “I didn’t want you to feel guilty.”
“Of course I feel guilty,” Barry said in anguish, “Because of me, your last moment with mom…”
“My last moment with your mother was tucking you into bed that night,” Henry said firmly, “It was a good moment. Yes, we had a small argument about you earlier in the car that night, but it was only that. A small argument. I never told you about it because it wasn’t a big deal, Barry. It was nothing. It wasn’t worth mentioning.”
“But I mentioned it,” Sebastian said quietly.
The other two looked at him. Sebastian was looking down at the desk, his eyes sparkling with tears.
“I mentioned it to the police,” he whispered, “When they questioned me about that night, I…I told them I had heard you fighting.”
Barry’s hand suddenly slipped out of his.
“You what?” he whispered, staring at his brother in shock.
Sebastian looked up then, looking back and forth between the two of them in anguish.
“I helped the police establish a motive,” he choked, looking at his father, “I helped them put you away.”
“Bash,” Henry said in a strained voice, “That wasn’t your fault. You just answered the detectives’ questions. You were only eleven. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I helped put you in here!” Sebastian cried, “You can’t say I didn’t do anything wrong. I helped send my own father to prison.”
“That would have happened with or without your statement,” Henry said surely, “They had more than enough evidence against me without everything you told them. I never blamed you for it.”
“You knew?” Barry asked, an incredulous look on his face, “You knew about it and you didn’t tell me?!”
“I didn’t want to give you more reason to be angry with your brother,” their father explained calmly, “Barry, he didn’t do anything wrong. He was a little kid.”
Barry shook his head and let out a heavy sigh, a strained look on his face.
“I know,” he sighed after a moment.
He turned to his brother then, who was giving him a nervous look.
“It wasn’t your fault, Bash,” Barry said quietly, “You just answered their questions. You were young. I…I can’t hold it against you.”
Sebastian shook his head, looking at Barry in disbelief. How could Barry possibly forgive him so easily? He had just admitted he had helped send their innocent father to prison, and just like that, Barry forgave him. Barry forgave him for everything. He always did. Every prank he took too far. Every cruel comment he ever said to him. He forgave him for leaving him when they were young. He forgave him for never answering his phone calls and skipping their visitation meetings. He forgave him for calling him crazy, for taunting him about all the therapists he was forced to see.
For never believing in him.
Sebastian had always taken advantage of Barry’s forgiveness. He had always pushed it to its limits, seeing just how much he could toe the line, how much he could get away with and have Barry still forgive him. Through all if it, Barry never failed to be the bigger person. He never failed to forgive his brother, and Sebastian had always found it amusing.
Not now, though.
Just for once, Sebastian suddenly found himself wishing Barry wouldn’t forgive him. He wished Barry would finally hold him accountable for his actions, even if he had been only eleven at the time. He wanted Barry to be mad. He wanted Barry and his father to rage and scream at him.
They didn’t though. They forgave him.
Sebastian would never forgive himself, though.
“I don’t deserve you,” Sebastian whispered, “Either of you. You both have every right to hate me right now, but you don’t.”
“No,” Henry said with a watery smile, “We don’t. We don’t hate you. We love you, Sebastian. I don’t care how long it took you; I’m just happy to have you here with us now. I just want to move on like the last fourteen years never even happened. We can be together now, as a family.”
Sebastian choked out a small laugh that was more of a sob. Held up his hand, hesitating for a brief moment before putting it up to the glass, the same way his father had last week. His father smiled at him, tears streaming down his face has he placed his hand on the other side of the glass.
“I wish we could be together,” Sebastian choked, “Really together. I wish there was some way…”
“Don’t,” Henry said seriously, “Don’t start thinking that way. I’ve been going through this with Barry for years, and I’m not going to start going through it with you, too. Listen to me, both of you. I’m perfectly fine. You don’t have to worry about me. Of course, I wish I could be on the other side of that glass with you, but I can’t even begin to say how happy I am right now. My sons…my two beautiful boys, together again. Seeing both of you here, supporting each other, it’s all I could ever ask for.”
“Dad,” Barry whispered, looking down at the desk, “There’s…something I need to tell you.”
The smile slid from Henry’s face as he stared at his son. Sebastian had a horrible feeling in his gut. He had a feeling he knew what Barry was about to say.
“I screwed up, dad,” Barry whispered, “After…years of searching…I finally found him.”
Henry’s eyebrows furrowed slightly in confusion, but he didn’t say anything. He let Barry continue.
“I found the man who killed mom,” Barry said, looking up to meet his father’s eyes, “The man in yellow. The one in the lightning.”
Henry’s eyes widened, but he still didn’t say anything. The anger was audible in Barry’s voice as he continued.
“He’s out there,” he gritted, “And I had him.”
Barry let out a heavy sigh.
“He got away,” he said quietly, shaking his head as he looked away, “I…I was so close.”
He looked back into their father’s eyes then, his own filled with anguish.
“I promised you,” he choked, tears filling his eyes, “I promised you that I would get you out of here. Every day you’ve spent in here was because of him…until today. Now you’re in here because of me, and I’m…so sorry.”
“Barry…” Sebastian whispered.
He knew that wasn’t true. Barry had done everything he could. He had fought the man in yellow. He had done everything he could to beat him. He kept getting up. Every time the man knocked him down, Barry got up. He kept fighting. He had fought for their father’s freedom. For fourteen years, Barry had been fighting for it. He didn’t deserve to take on this blame.
If anything, Sebastian did. He had never done anything to help their father. Barry had been trying for years to get their father out, but Sebastian hadn’t bothered to even visit him. Yet, Barry was sitting here, trying to take on the blame.
“Barry,” Henry said quietly.
Barry’s face screwed up, tears streaming down his cheeks as he ran a hand over his face, hiding it from view. Sebastian reached out and placed a hand on his brother’s arm, his heart clenching. He knew his encounter with the man in yellow had been eating at Barry ever since that night, but he hadn’t realized Barry had been feeling like this. He knew Barry was angry, but Sebastian hadn’t had any idea Barry was actually blaming himself for any of it. As Sebastian had been processing all of the new information he had recently learned, Barry had been struggling with this alone. He had been keeping all of it bottled up inside.
And now he was unleashing it. Horrible sobs escaped Barry’s throat as he buried his face in his hands.
“Barry,” Henry said firmly, “Barry, son, look at me.”
Barry choked back a sob and looked up at their father, his eyes red and puffy.
“This is not your fault,” Henry said firmly, “I know what you’ve given up. Every decision you’ve made in the past fourteen years has been because of me and your mom. What you studied. Why you became a CSI. Why you stayed in Central City. You haven’t let yourself live, Barry, because you’ve been too consumed with what happened to our family to let yourself have a life. Well, let it go now, Barry.”
Sebastian felt his own eyes watering as he listened to their father, fully realizing for the first time just how much their family tragedy had held Barry back. It had held him back too, had affected his life in colossal ways, but Barry…it had more than incapacitated him. It had consumed him.
“Hear me now, both of you,” Henry continued looking between his two sons, “The man in yellow…he’s taken enough from us already. Don’t let him take any more.”
A small sob escaped Sebastian’s lips. He had only just learned that the man in yellow was real. He had only just come to accept the truth, that another man killed their mother.
And now he was supposed to forget about it?! He was supposed to just let it go?
As he and Barry were leaving Iron Heights, Sebastian grabbed his shoulder to stop him, spinning him around to face him.
“We’re not really just going to let this go, right?” he asked angrily.
Barry shook his head, his face set in determination.
“Not a chance in hell.”