"He's not gonna remember anything?"
The meta smiled. "When he wakes up, he won't even know his own name."
Leonard looked down at where the Flash was lying in a crumpled heap, eyes closed behind the red cowl, long limbs sprawling on the asphalt. He was physically unharmed, but out like a light after being zapped with Sandra's powers. "And you're sure it's gonna be permanent?"
"Sure, unless I reverse it. Which I assume you won't want me to." She crossed her arms and huffed, clearly unimpressed with the cold stare he directed at her. He'd half a mind to direct something even icier in her direction, make sure that she wouldn't be around to give Barry back his memories. But if his plan worked out, her abilities could be useful again in the future, and he wasn't quite ready to burn that bridge. Or freeze it, if you would. "Trust me, Cold. This ain't my first rodeo."
He grimaced. "Let's see how this goes before we use big words like trust, Sandra."
The whole thing was one hell of a gamble, but if all went right, when this was over, he'd have two new meta-powered members of the Rogues to make his life plenty easier. A score like that was always worth a certain kind of risk.
It was only when Sandra had taken off, satisfied that her payment had been routed to her account, that he put down the Cold Gun and grabbed the little syringe from the inside pocket of his parka. Crouching down next to Barry, he pulled back the cowl and turned the kid's head to the side. Under Leonard's fingers, the pulse was beating a steady rhythm, a little too fast for an ordinary human. The vulnerable skin of his neck gave easily when Leonard pricked it with the needle and slowly emptied the pale blue substance into Barry's bloodstream.
Familiar, heavy footsteps drew nearer as Mick entered the warehouse, presumably having checked that there would be no nasty surprises waiting for them outside. He watched Leonard shoot up Barry with a curious expression. "Thought he's whammied anyway. What's the point of drugging him?"
"Even if it works like Sandra promised – especially if it does – I don't wanna risk having an amnesiac speedster on my hands. This is just to suppress his powers. Slow him down nicely." As if on cue, his fingers at Barry's pulse-point felt the change, the way the blood started pumping less frantically, his heartbeat easing up.
"Seems like more trouble than it's worth. We could just kill him. Not like he can fight back now. Would be a hell of a lot easier than trying to convince him he's one of us." He gestured at Barry with the Heat Gun.
Leonard knew how twitchy that trigger finger was, how much Mick would have liked to make their nemesis go up in flames. He let go of Barry's neck and rose to his feet, placing himself between his partner's gun and the Scarlet Speedster's unconscious body. "Except easy's boring. You've seen what the Flash can do. Just imagine having those powers on our side instead of constantly having to fend him off. The way it would change the game. Skew the balance in our favor."
Mick grunted, which could be agreement or skepticism. Either way, he stopped arguing and eased his hand off the handle of his gun. He stepped around Leonard, frowning down at Barry's exposed face. "How old is he anyway? Looks like a goddamn kid."
Leonard noted the judgment in Mick's tone with amusement, as if Mick had forgotten that he'd been the one who'd advocated straight up murdering the kid less than two minutes ago.
"Spare me the hard feelings, Mick. He's twenty-five. If he's old enough to be a pain in our asses, he's old enough to deal with the consequences." He grabbed the Cold Gun and pocketed the empty syringe again, mindful to leave nothing behind at the scene of the crime. "Come on, help me get him to a safe house. Don't want him waking up here. It's too damn close to his typical neighborhood. It wouldn't do to have someone who knows him run into him and mess up all the trouble we've been going through."
"Well, well, well, look who's finally decided to join the land of the living. Welcome back, Barry."
Leonard put on a smirk and tried not to let the tension drumming through his veins show, but he catalogued every minuscule expression on Barry's face: the way his eyes flickered across the room, the frown lines deepening on his forehead, the suspicion blooming. When Barry's eyes focused on Leonard, he half expected a, 'What the hell's going on, Snart?' but it didn't come.
"Who — Who are you? Where am I? Why's my head aching like that?" Barry asked, and Leonard felt some of the tension bleed out of his shoulders, his smile turning satisfied and genuine as Barry became visibly distressed. "Why can't I remember anything?"
"Whoa, easy there, kid." It felt strange to reach out and put his hand on Barry's shoulder. He wasn't accustomed to comforting people or to freely offer physical contact of the non-violent kind; but Barry seemed like the kind of guy who responded well to kind touches, and it was vital that Leonard established an air of familiarity if he intended to convince Barry that they were friends.
"You really don't remember, huh?"
Barry looked like he was making an effort to jump-start his brain but only managed to kill the engine in the progress. He shook his head unhappily.
"Well, let's see. You're Barry. You're part of my crew. We were pulling a job earlier today when we had a bit of a tussle with this meta. She got to you before we could take her out and did her thing, which apparently includes messing with your memories as well as taking your powers away. Good thing is, we think we have a way of getting back your powers. Might take a while, though. Not sure about your memories."
Barry's expression went from frustration to confusion. When Leonard was finished, he started rubbing his forehead. "I... barely understood a word of what you just said. What's a... meta? And what kind of powers are we talking about? Like, special skills?" Suddenly, he blanched. "And what do you mean, 'pulled a job'? Oh God, we're criminals, aren't we?"
Right. Apparently, Sandra hadn't been exaggerating about how thorough her mind-wipe abilities were. Leonard sighed. This was gonna take a while.
"Don't worry, kid, I'm gonna get you up to speed." His lips curled a little in amusement at the pun, almost regretting the fact that it was gonna be lost on Barry.
Mick nodded at him, but addressed Leonard. "Kid's gonna be okay?"
"He's fine. Looks like his memories are gone along with his powers, but I'm taking care of it." Translation: it was all going according to plan; nothing Mick had to concern himself with.
He could feel Barry's eyes going back and forth between them, and the tension that had just disappeared while Leonard had patiently answered all of his questions with varying degrees of honesty was back. He couldn't blame him. Mick's skepticism over this whole venture was written all over his face and posture. Leonard would bet that all he was looking for was an excuse to go off-plan and permanently remove the Flash from their lives.
Leonard turned to Barry. "This is Mick, by the way. No need to worry about him. He doesn't like you much, but he knows how to play nice, for his own sake." Even though he didn't bother to look at Mick, Leonard knew he'd heard the warning loud and clear.
Mick snorted. "Sure, Red. You're a fucking pain in the ass, but you're our pain in the ass. As long's that stays that way, we're good."
"Mick, enough," Leonard snapped, glaring at Mick as the barely veiled threat made Barry's wariness visibly kick up a notch. Stubborn idiot, to risk undoing all of the groundwork he'd done to win Barry's trust.
Unapologetic to the core, Mick shrugged. "Just making sure the kid knows his place even without his memories, boss," he said, before turning and walking out the door.
Barry's eyes followed his retreating form, and the tense lines of his shoulders only started to unclench when Mick was out of sight.
"Jesus. That was — Are all of your guys so scary?"
Leonard thought about Mardon and Bivolo and huffed out a laugh. "Actually, Mick's probably one of the least scary guys in our little Rogues' gallery. And that's not even counting the girls." Lisa was gonna eat Barry alive.
Barry shook his head in disbelief. "How did I even end up in your crew?"
"Believe it or not, you're the one who approached me. Tracked me down in this dive bar and hassled me until I let you join in on this heist."
He started spinning a pretty story, borrowing a little – only the barest bones – from the truth as he remembered Barry at Saints and Sinners, sticking out like a sore thumb and trying to negotiate Leonard's help.
"You were pleading so prettily," Leonard said, and it was only when a flush rose to Barry's cheek that he realized how his words could be interpreted. How Barry did interpret them, quite clearly, with the way he was going all wide-eyed and letting his teeth worry his lower lip.
"Are we —" Barry's hands fluttered, gesturing between them as his voice ground to a halt, but there was no mistaking the nature of his inquiry.
For a moment, Leonard wanted to say yes. Imagined taking Barry up on what he was clearly offering, fuck him right here, up against the wall of a bland safe house, tell him that they'd been doing this all along. Convince Barry that he was his, not just out there on the job but in between the sheets. Find out what kind of noises he could wrench from the Scarlet Speedster's throat when they were clashing in a different kinda way.
He swallowed hard and pushed the all too vivid fantasy away.
"No," he said, voice hard and cool. "I'm your boss, Barry, not your boyfriend."
Barry's face visibly fell, and his voice stumbled in embarrassment. "Oh, okay. Sorry, I didn't — I just. Sorry."
Barry barely acknowledged Leonard, grabbing a mug from the cupboard and filling it to the brim with coffee, almost downing it at once. Leonard's eyebrow climbed up.
"Someone's in a mood this morning," he commented conversationally, reaching around Barry for the coffee pot when he realized that he should save some for himself before Barry inhaled it all.
His naked arm brushed Barry's, and Barry almost jumped out of his skin, coffee spilling all over the countertop. "Fuck." An uncharacteristic string of curses tumbled from Barry's lips, and there was a new, unfamiliar edge in his voice. "Don't fucking crowd me, okay?"
Leonard's eyes narrowed, but he backed off, putting his hands up in a universal I come in peace gesture. Which wasn't strictly speaking true, given this whole thing he was doing; but for some reason, it looked like Barry suddenly needed to be pacified. It was odd, because he seemed a lot more skittish than he had last night when he'd finally stopped firing off questions to try and fill all the blanks in his head.
"Barry. What's going on? You were fine yesterday."
Barry ran a hand over his face, somehow looking infinitely tired and frustrated. "It's — It's nothing. Sorry for snapping at you. I'm just —" He shook his head. "It's such a mess, not knowing anything about your life. It only really caught up with me last night, I guess, how messed up all of this is. I didn't really get any sleep, so I'm a little out of it now."
He pulled a face that looked like he was aiming for a smile and missed by miles, brittle and raw and fake, more of a grimace than anything.
For a moment, Leonard watched him in silence, taking in the dark circles underneath his eyes, the hollowness of his cheeks, the slumped stance. "Fair enough. 's a shitty situation, alright. Not much we can do about it, though."
Barry offered a jerky nod. "Sure. It just sucks." After a moment's hesitation, he asked. "What about my powers? You said you could help me get them back."
He squirmed a little under Leonard's stare.
"We're working on something. Not sure how long it'll take." It was a lie, of course. The antidote to the inhibiter he'd injected Barry with was ready to use, at a safe place. He just needed to know he was going to be able to trust Barry first. It was all well and good to spin a story for the kid and have him swallow it up, but it would be a while until he could be sure that it took. "Don't worry, we'll get you ready to run circles around our enemies by the time we pull another job."
The downturned slant of Barry's mouth didn't lift at the news.
Leonard deliberately invaded Barry's space when he reached for the coffee again, gauging his reaction, but this time, Barry didn't flinch away. In fact, he didn't react at all, just staring unhappily into his empty mug as if it held all the answers to unlocking his memories.
Perched on the cushy chair in the house's living area with his legs pulled up to his chest, Barry watched Mick disassemble and clean the Heat Gun, his eyes curiously following the reverent way Mick touched the weapon, the meticulous care he took with wiping away traces of dirt and ashes.
Without raising his eyes from the task at hand, Mick made a nonverbal sound of acknowledgement.
Mick frowned and looked at him. "What d'ya mean, 'why fire'? It burns, doesn't it? It's what the gun does, alright?"
There was a sound like choked laughter from Barry, and while Leonard couldn't see his expression from where he was standing, he noticed Barry shaking his head a little. "No, I mean — Leonard said fire has always been your thing. Even before the gun. I just... don't get it. I mean, sure, it's pretty, but... so are a lot of things that are less destructive."
To Leonard's surprise, Mick actually set the gun aside, fixing the kid with an inquisitive stare, like he was trying to decide whether his curiosity was genuine. It was something Leonard would have liked to know as well, and he wished he was in the room with them rather than following the exchange from the doorway. Whatever Mick saw on Barry's face must have been enough to satisfy his skepticism because he leaned forward, body relaxing. "'s not about being pretty, Red. Fire's honest. Brings out the truth, reveals what's underneath. You call it destructive, but that's only how people use it. Fire's not good or bad. Without it, we'd all have died out a million years ago. It's warmth and comfort. Evolution. And it's so alive. Snart's ice, it's cold and lifeless. It's pretty too, but every way you look at it, it's death. Fire's the opposite."
Leonard remembered Mick giving a similar speech to the Flash's little doctor friend a couple of months ago. Unlike her, however, Barry didn't recoil.
"Huh. I guess I hadn't thought about it that way," he said. His tone was contemplative, open and curious, a world away from the way he'd acted this morning around Leonard. Mick was wearing a satisfied expression, positively mellow by his standards. When he reached for the gun again, continuing to clean it under Barry's watchful eyes, Leonard slinked off quietly without making his presence known.
His clock told him it was after three in the morning. The safe house was secluded enough that they wouldn't have to deal with neighbors complaining about noise violation, but that didn't make this okay.
He put his gun back where it belonged before he went down to the living room, unsurprised to find Barry curled up on the couch under a blanket in the dark, illuminations from the TV screen dancing over his face.
Barry didn't hear him approach over the noise, and was clearly startled when suddenly Leonard stood in front of him, blocking his view. "What the hell, Barry? You wanna wake up the whole neighborhood?"
With the rapid action unfolding on the screen, the shadows moved too quickly over Barry, making it impossible to get a clear view of his expression, but the tiredness was plain to hear in his voice. "Sorry, I couldn't sleep. I was going to go for a walk, but none of the doors or windows open. Which, by the way, is violating about a million fire regulations, especially when you're sharing a house with an actual arsonist." The words were sharp, but there was no heat in his tone, as if he was too tired to muster up genuine anger.
Leonard sat down on the couch next to him, forcing Barry to pull away his feet. "It's a calculated risk. Can't be careful enough. There's a lot of people we gotta keep out." And some they had to keep in, but he didn't say that. He'd fed Barry a story how their last heist had ruffled a lot of feathers, forced them to lie low for a bit, hoping it would be enough to stifle Barry's impulses to go wandering. But the fact that Barry had checked all the doors and windows didn't bode well.
"Look, we gotta be smart ab—"
He didn't get to finish the warning before the door to the kitchen flew open and Mick stormed into the room, decked in full Heatwave gear, his gun powered up and ready to shoot. "What's going on? Whoever's attacking us better be ready to burn!"
They both stared at Mick from where they were sitting on the couch, and Mick stared back, the realization that he'd got all up in arms, quite literally, about some shooters on TV slowly dawning on his face. Embarrassment brought out a scowl, but before he could snap at them, Barry dissolved into laughter.
It was a high-pitched sound, more than a little hysterical, and he couldn't seem to stop until tears were running down his cheeks and he'd doubled over, holding his stomach. Every time he seemed to settle down, he set off again. Mick met Leonard's eye, and he could see his own concern reflected on his old partner's face.
When Barry finally calmed down a little, wiping his wet eyes while hiccups kept bubbling up, Leonard turned to him. "You alright, kid?"
Barry shook his head, but it seemed to be more a gesture of disbelief than an answer to the question, remnants of a smile tugging on his lips. Whatever tension he'd been running on all day seemed to have shaken right out of him. "No, I'm okay. It's just... This is ridiculous. It's all a bit much, you know, and here's Mick, storming in here like some kind of action hero..." He chuckled, voice trailing off.
"Ain't no-one calling me a hero, Red."
The way Mick scowled at him only seemed to make Barry's grin grow wider. "I don't know, Mick, as soon as you heard people shooting, you came rushing in to save us from the bad guys. Sounds plenty heroic to me."
When Leonard caught his gaze, for the first time since this morning's awkward coffee incident, Barry didn't avert his eyes.
Leonard catalogued the mercurial changes in Barry's behavior. He didn't trust it, too used to working an angle not to expect others to do the same, but it was hard to maintain his suspicion when Barry's smile was light and genuine and easily reached his eyes, and when he perched down at the edge of the table less than five inches from Leonard's coffee mug to steal the morning paper right from under Leonard's nose.
There was nothing in there about the Flash being a mysterious no-show for almost 48 hours now, nothing that could give Barry any kind of hint that what he'd been told about himself wasn't the whole truth – Leonard otherwise wouldn't have brought the paper anywhere Barry could catch a glimpse of it, but he was still wary as he watched Barry skim the headlines.
Barry's restless eyes halted when he got to an article announcing a new exhibit at the museum, starting at the end of the month. He turned to Leonard, eyebrow raised. "So. Is that the kind of thing we do?"
A smile stole onto Leonard's face despite himself, slow and satisfied. "Always knew you'd be a natural, even without your memories," he drawled. He'd always admired Barry's quick wit, the ability to think on his feet, and he couldn't shake the excitement of getting to use those skills for his own plans. The Flash was an annoyingly capable nuisance as a hero, but Barry was going to make one hell of a thief.
Barry huffed out a little chuckle, shaking his head. "Or maybe you're just really predictable."
Those skills of his were the only reason why the razor against his throat didn't slip and leave a harsh, bloody nick when the bathroom door suddenly banged open while he was shaving. Barry pushed through the doorway before grinding to a halt when he realized the room was occupied.
"Oh. I —" His voice faltered. Even if Leonard hadn't been watching him in the mirror, he would have felt the weight of Barry's eyes on him, following the exposed, stretched line of Leonard's throat down to his naked, shower-wet upper body, lingering on the long white scar at his side before dropping down to the towel he'd wrapped around his waist, dangerously loose and low on his hips.
Barry's face was too open and unguarded to hide the hunger in his gaze. Heat pooled in Leonard's stomach, his eyes remaining firmly on Barry as he finished shaving with slow, measured strokes, pretending that he was unfazed by Barry's presence and by the way Barry looked at him.
When the silence in the room had stretched so taut that something had to give, Leonard halted the razor against his skin and drawled, "Yes, Barry? Did you want something?"
It was an unfair question, loaded even when Leonard knew his face wasn't giving anything away.
Barry's throat worked as he swallowed rapidly, and his cheeks colored crimson. Even when Leonard'd had the Flash all trapped and facing the Cold Gun in the past, Barry had looked less cornered than he did now.
"Sorry. I ... didn't know there was anyone in here. I mean — Mick's been locked inside the bathroom downstairs for ages, and I figured I'd just come here to grab a shower. I didn't think — It was unlocked, so..." He shrugged, and Leonard would maybe believe that the awkward stammering and his jumpiness was all embarrassment, if the way Barry's eyes kept flickering across Leonard's arms and torso hadn't been making it obvious that he was distracted.
The wide-eyed caught-in-the-headlights impasse was a damn good look on him, stretching Leonard's composure to breaking point, desire drumming under his skin. He wanted to push Barry against the cool tiles, wrap those long runner's legs around his hips and explore just how far down that blush went. Wanted to stake his claim with his mouth and his hands, cover Barry with finger-shaped bruises that weren't going to fade for days without his accelerated healing. Wanted to take every pained scream he'd wrenched out of the Flash over the last year or so and compare it to the way he'd sound screaming in pleasure.
The blade slipped. A sharp sting at the side of his chin, a drop of red against his skin when Leonard's eyes sluggishly pulled away from Barry to the small wound his carelessness had caused him.
He didn't have many principles. He felt zero remorse over taking away Barry's memories, filling his cute little head with lies and manipulating him into joining the Rogues – it was like he said to Mick: Barry had signed himself up for this fight when he'd donned the Flash suit and got between Leonard and his score. But if Leonard took this a step further, taking the kid up on what he would never have offered if he'd been in his right mind, he'd be crossing a line he knew he was going to regret crossing.
It didn't matter that the attraction had been sizzling between them like static electricity long before Sandra'd hit the reset button on Barry's memories, flaring up like a burst from the Cold Gun every time they'd clashed, every time Barry had got in his face. There was a difference between wanting and acting on it, and if Barry hadn't been willing to make the jump from one to the other then, Leonard wasn't going to make him do it now.
He toweled off his face, using the opportunity to hide in fluffy white cotton and take a few deep, steadying breaths, and sidestepped Barry on his way to the door.
"Bathroom's all yours."
Something settled in Leonard's gut, tight and uncomfortable and vaguely nauseous like a mild case of good poisoning. A bad feeling that made him wonder if the entire plan hadn't been a terrible idea from the start.
"Mick. A word," he snapped. He walked out of the room without waiting for Mick's response, certain that his partner would follow.
Precisely twenty-three seconds later, Mick shuffled into the kitchen, looking predictably annoyed at Leonard interrupting his game. Well, too bad, because Leonard had no patience to cater to Mick's whims now.
"What the hell are you doing?"
To his credit, Mick didn't play dumb. He shrugged. "It's just a game, Snart. Not like there's much else to do here. He's fun to hang out with."
Leonard pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to ward off the headache building up beneath his forehead. "You're not supposed to get all buddy-buddy with him."
"Why not? 's not like we're gonna be enemies again. He'll be one of us, for good, soon as he gets his powers back."
Mick was right, technically, but Leonard couldn't help but think it would be wise for them to hedge their bets. "We're not there yet. And there's no guarantees that it'll be a permanent fix. Plus, I doubt that Flash's little friends will just sit by and let us use their precious hero without kicking up a fuss."
Mick snorted. "What can they do, when we've got the Flash on our side? You worry too much, Snart. It's gonna be fine."
Famous last words, Leonard thought.
He'd learned to listen to his hunches. They were usually right, and he'd called off plans over a fraction of the bad feeling he had about this one. Problem was, there was no stop button on this, no way to walk away now without consequences. They'd been all in from the moment he'd started messing with Barry's head, and the hand he was holding now was the only one he could play.
Leonard leveled a glare at him. "Go read a book or something."
"I tried." Barry's voice took a whiny edge, and not for the first time Leonard wondered why he ever thought any of this had been a good idea in the first place. Truth be told, when he'd been considering all the ways this could go wrong, Barry driving him up the wall with his restlessness hadn't been on his radar. "But it's like... my body remembers that I should have super speed and it feels natural to speed through it, and since I'm physically unable to do it at the moment, my attention span barely lasts a chapter."
It certainly sounded frustrating, though Leonard wasn't really convinced that it was actually a side-effect of the Flash's meta powers rather than simply Barry being too impatient for his own good. "Tough luck, kid. I'm not gonna sit down and read you a bedtime story if that's what you're angling for."
Barry threw his head back and laughed, and Leonard found his gaze drawn to the long, exposed line of his throat.
He looked away, suddenly uncomfortable, and almost missed the nervous way Barry was biting his lip when he started talking again. "I heard you and Mick talking about that heist you got planned. When's that happening? You're gonna take me along, right?"
Leonard narrowed his eyes at him. "You really want those powers of yours back, don't you?" It was hardly the first time Barry had hinted at it. Subtlety didn't seem to be his strength.
He shrugged. "I'm just going stir-crazy. You and Mick, you keep talking about what a great team we are. How much fun it is, out there. And I wish I could remember, but I don't, so I at least wanna have the chance to make some new memories instead."
Leonard watched him, considering. Mick'd been pushing for it too. Give Barry back his powers, have them finally do a test run. See how it would go before bringing in the other Rogues, make sure they were all playing well together. And it wasn't like Leonard wasn't tempted.
But people pushing for something had never made him feel inclined to move the schedule ahead. The opposite, in fact.
"You will. Just not before everything's ready. Good plans take their time, Barry."
The put-upon sigh Barry heaved would have been amusing if Leonard hadn't been sure that he was going to keep arguing. Once again, though, Barry surprised him. "Yeah, okay. I get it, I guess. Can we just, maybe, watch a movie or something? Or else you might have to find yourself a new meta crew member because this one died of boredom."
Despite himself, Leonard's mouth curled into a smirk. He reached forward to grab the remote control from the table and handed it to Barry. "Be my guest. Don't want to have your slow and painful death by boredom on my hands, after all."
Barry grinned back at him and flicked through Leonard's Netflix account, lingering over several movies before finally settling on the first Indiana Jones. "Oh, I've always loved Raiders of the Lost Ark! It's been ages since I last saw it," he exclaimed absent-mindedly, hitting play.
With his eyes transfixed on the screen, he didn't notice that all of Leonard's attention was on him instead of the movie, taking in Barry's relaxed sprawl, the easy smile on lips, the way his feet hadn't moved from Leonard's lap since he'd sat down.
What a fucking mess, Leonard thought.
Barry looked like he was ready to fall asleep on his feet, scuffling into the kitchen to put the dishes into the sink.
It was a big enough house, but the kitchen was tiny and narrow. That first morning when Leonard had been crowding Barry against the counter and Barry blew up at him, Leonard wasn't just being an asshole – the narrow aisle between the counters really did make it hard for people to share the room and avoid contact. It was harder when Barry was careless and sleepy, turning away from the sink and crashing into Leonard just as he was about to open the fridge. Barry stumbled and lost his footing, instinctively steadying himself with his hands against Leonard's chest.
"Shit," he cursed quietly, startled. But unlike that morning, there was no anger in the tone. They were standing so close that Leonard could hear Barry's breaths coming fast and harsh, could see his pupils expanding.
He was about to step back, give Barry his space, when his hands fisted into Leonard's shirt to hold him in place. The grip was tight, but not tight enough that Leonard couldn't have broken it if he'd really tried to. Walk away and forget this ever happened.
He couldn't turn his gaze away from Barry's face, watching those green eyes flicker down to Leonard's lips. When they came back up and their eyes met, there was no mistaking where this was going, and Leonard didn't know if he had the willpower to stop it anymore.
He decided to put in a veritable last-ditch effort. "This ain't gonna get you your powers back sooner."
He held Barry's gaze, waiting for him to flinch or show some sign of skittishness – something, anything, that would betray that Barry was working an angle. But all he did was roll his eyes and snort, shaking his head. "You're driving me fucking crazy, Snart," he muttered under his breath before closing those last inches of space between them and kissing Leonard.
The moment Barry's lips crashed into his, all of Leonard's reservations got pushed to the back of his mind. He slipped his hands around the nape of Barry's neck, fingers tangling in soft, brown strands of hair, holding his head steady as Leonard licked into his mouth, lewd and possessive, months of pent-up desire giving the kiss a frantic, desperate edge. Barry didn't hold back either, his fists clenching in the thin cotton of Leonard's shirt until the pull became almost uncomfortable. There was anger in the way he kissed Leonard, and maybe if that had been all that it was, Leonard would have put a stop to it right there. But every too-harsh show of teeth was followed by a soft slide of lips, every muttered curse broke off into a breathless whisper of Leonard's name, and when Leonard's mouth trailed down Barry's neck, he arched his head back and offered his throat with a readiness that felt like a punch to the gut.
"Bedroom," Leonard ordered, forcing himself to pull back a little before this went too far. Barry made a whining sound of protest, wordless but expressive enough to convey that he didn't understand the need to move when they had a perfectly good kitchen counter right here.
It wasn't like Leonard didn't understand the sentiment, but he had no intention of fucking Barry between empty take-out boxes and dirty dishes, hitting their heads on the bottom edge of the cupboard.
The reward for his patience was getting to see Barry Allen spread out on crisp white sheets, miles of unmarked, pale skin on display. He got lost in the sight of it, his mind providing a detailed run-down of all the gloriously filthy things he wanted to do to Barry, all the ways to take him apart piece by pleasurable piece, and he didn't even know where he wanted to start, wishing he had time for them all.
"Are you just gonna stand there and stare, or do you plan on joining me anytime soon?"
Leonard's mouth curled. "Patience, Scarlet. Let me enjoy the view for a bit."
He liked the way Barry reacted to the drawl, the way he sharply pulled in breath and his eyes went darker.
"You can enjoy the view from down here on the bed," Barry shot back, reaching up to close his fingers around Leonard's wrist and pulling him down. He went willingly, covering Barry's body with his own and bending his head to suck a red bruise into the soft, tender skin of Barry's neck. He worried the spot with his teeth until Barry was a whimpering, thrashing mess beneath him.
Their hips rocked against one another with increasing urgency, Leonard's briefs the only layer separating their cocks. He sat back up just long enough to pull his underwear off and Barry whined at the loss of contact until he was rewarded by naked skin against his own, turning the whine into a broken moan. Their cocks sliding against each other was a glorious sensation, and Leonard could probably have come just from that, content with covering Barry's skin in shallow bite-marks and kissing away the sounds tumbling from Barry's lips. It sounded like a good way to end the night.
Barry seemed to disagree, though. "Hey, hold on," he said right against Leonard's mouth, in between wet, sloppy kisses.
Leonard pulled back a fraction, forcing his stuttering hips to a halt. "What is it?"
There was a moment when Barry just stared up at him, tension written all over him, his eyes searching Leonard's face for the answer to a question Leonard didn't think he wanted to hear. Whatever Barry saw must have been good enough for him, because the tense lines drained away, leaving behind nothing but naked want.
"Not like this. I want you inside of me," he said, leaving Leonard dizzy and unbalanced.
The smile Barry threw him was cocky and teasing. "Come on, don't tell me you haven't thought about fucking me right from the start."
And yeah, he wasn't even going touch that, not with the loaded implications of right from the start. It wasn't strictly speaking true, either. There had been a time when his fantasies about the Flash had ended with ice and death rather than heated couplings.
But this wasn't the time to talk about that, and Leonard sent a withering look Barry's way before reaching into the drawer to pull out lube and a condom.
While he got them ready, Barry's hands on his skin drove him to distraction, tracing each of the scars on his arms and torso with curious fingers. It should have been uncomfortable and invasive, shouldn't have felt as sensual as it did.
"Come on," Barry urged when Leonard took his time with preparation, his impatience flaring up again, and Leonard would have teased him about it if he hadn't been feeling the same burning need like a wildfire under his skin.
And then, at last, he was pushing into the tight, tight heat of Barry's body, and it felt so good that it made his stomach clench. His mind blanked out for a moment, and he had to struggle to keep his eyes open, unwilling to take his gaze off Barry's face and miss even a fraction of his reaction. Barry's mouth falling open in a toneless cry. The way his face scrunched up in painpleasureecstasy when Leonard bottomed out. His teeth sinking into his lower lip.
Leonard drank in the sight, trying to burn the images into his mind, because even riding the endorphin high and lost in thoughtless pleasure, he couldn't shake the knowledge in the back of his mind that this, tonight, was all he was going to get.
"So, Barry.... Since when have you had your memories back?"
Barry instantly went rigid with alarm, a series of complex emotions flashing over his face.
There was a moment when Leonard thought he was going to go for denial. It was easy enough to imagine: Barry spluttering and giving him the wide-eyed innocent look he'd been practicing to perfection. Instead, his features settled into resignation. He rubbed the back of his neck, eyes nervously flickering to Leonard and away, and Leonard knew what the answer was gonna be before Barry even spoke. "Since the beginning, more or less. It lasted maybe ten hours? I don't know. There was a while afterwards when things were a bit... fuzzy, but when I woke up the second morning, I was pretty much myself."
Leonard nodded. He wasn't surprised.
Barry's eyes were on him again, apprehension in his gaze. Mostly, though, there was curiosity. "How long have you known?"
"Suspected, for a while." Pretty much the whole time. He knew Barry too well, and Barry had been just a little too much Barry. "Known, not until earlier today. You slipped up about the movie. Wouldn't have taken you to bed if I hadn't been sure you were yourself."
He almost expected Barry to scoff at this being the point where Leonard drew the line, but if anything, he relaxed a fraction. Not completely, though, and it was obvious why when his next question was, "What's going to happen now?"
It would have been easy to draw this out, scare Barry. Payback for all this time Barry had let them believe that their plan was working. But Leonard wasn't really going to hurt him, and now that he'd had Barry naked and pliant beneath him and knew the kind of noises he made when he came, what he sounded like moaning Leonard's name, there was no satisfaction in watching him shrink back in fear.
He shrugged, as well as he could without sitting up. "Gonna let you go. No point wasting any more of our time than we already did. Unless you wanna try being a Rogue anyway? Could be fun, you know?"
The question earned him a grin that was somehow both amused and sarcastic. Leonard wasn't being serious; he knew there was no way Barry Allen was going to put down his white hat as long as he was himself. Perhaps not even if he wasn't. "Didn't think so."
"I — I'm gonna need my powers back."
His lip curled in distaste. He had the serum hidden in another safe house with plenty of distance between the depowered speedster and the antidote. Unfortunately, that also meant plenty far away for him now, and he wasn't keen on driving out to Keystone at this hour of night. "Tomorrow gonna be okay? I don't exactly have the antidote on hand."
A long moment passed while Barry held Leonard's gaze, as if trying to judge his sincerity. He seemed conflicted, and Leonard got it. He hadn't exactly done anything that didn't suggest that he'd fuck the kid over, give the whole mind-wipe thing another try tomorrow. At last, Barry seemed to settle on a compromise. "Can I call home? I've been gone for ten days, they're going to be sick with worry."
Leonard considered it. It wasn't an unreasonable request. Rolling out of bed, he grabbed his parka from the closet, reaching inside and pulling out Barry's smartphone.
"Catch," he said as he threw the phone towards Barry. Even without his powers, his reflexes were impressive.
Before Leonard could make a smart-ass remark about it, Barry had thrown him a quick, grateful smile and dialed a number, getting up and walking into the bathroom, pulling the door shut behind himself. From the outside, Leonard heard him talking, the agitation in his tone audible even through a closed door, the words too muffled to understand.
Whoever Barry was speaking to – Detective West, Leonard imagined, or maybe his daughter – kept him on the line for a long time. Leonard wondered if he should get dressed and ready to take off should the CCPD be already on its way. But Barry knew better than to have him arrested when he still needed Leonard to get his powers back. Then again, his foster father might not have been in the mood to be reasonable about this.
He'd pulled on his briefs and grabbed the Cold Gun from underneath the bed when Barry emerged from the bathroom. He frowned at Leonard. "For real? You're going to pull a job now just because I'm still out of commission? It's past midnight."
"Crime never sleeps, Barry," Leonard drawled. "But no. Not what I had in mind. Just wondering if I needed to shoot my way out of here when Detective West and Central's finest arrive."
Barry snorted and rolled his eyes. "God, you're paranoid. I didn't even mention your name."
He reached for his jeans and slipped his phone into the back pocket. Instead of putting them on, though, he folded them up and laid them down on the floor. He should have been dressed and out of the door already, should have sicced the cops and the entirety of his superhero buddies on him. He should have been putting as much distance between himself and Leonard as possible. What he shouldn't have done was pull back the covers and get back into bed with no flicker of hesitation.
Leonard's hands flexed against the handle of the Cold Gun, at a loss of what to do with a Barry Allen who wasn't his prisoner anymore but who made no move to leave. "What did you tell them?"
"That I was whammied by some meta who took away my memories and powers and I only just got them back, and that I'd be coming home tomorrow because I didn't want to disappear on the kind people who took care of me in the middle of the night."
The story was so ridiculous that it might almost have been true. Except of course Team Flash was never going to buy it. "You can't lie for shit, Barry."
"Yeah?" Barry raised a challenging eyebrow at him. "Tell that to Mick. He bought my amnesiac act hook, line and sinker."
Point. But Mick didn't know him. The only reason Leonard didn't point that out was because it implied that he did know Barry. Which wasn't wrong, but even when it was a statement of fact, it felt like an admission – here, now, with both of them almost naked and only Leonard's side of the bed between them.
Something about his hesitancy must have been showing, because Barry deflated, the challenging tone gone from his voice when he spoke again. "Look, Snart... Leonard. Let me worry about it, okay? I'm trusting you to undo whatever you did to my speed, you can trust me with keeping you out of it in return."
If Barry'd had a single truly manipulative bone in his body, Leonard would have assumed that Barry knew exactly what he was asking, what he was implying. The challenge of it. The dare. The underhanded reciprocity, putting him on the spot. But wrapped up in Leonard's sheets, with his hair still mussed and the bruises Leonard had sucked into his skin earlier lingering, he looked soft and guileless. He made it seem easy, like he genuinely didn't know what this kind of trust cost Leonard. Could cost either of them, really.
Leonard kept his eyes on Barry when he put down the gun, pushing it back underneath the bed with his foot. He killed the light and slid between the sheets, unsurprised when the distance between them shrank almost immediately, both of them gravitating towards each other as if due to an invisible pull until Leonard was wrapped around Barry, an all too possessive arm thrown around his waist and their legs hopelessly tangled.
"These last two weeks should have proven that you can't trust me, Flash."
"Funny. I would have said they showed me that I can."
Barry sounded almost smug, wrenching a snort from Leonard. "Only you, kid," he muttered in disbelief as he wondered what part of kidnapping him, drugging him and wiping his memories had made Barry trust him.
But despite himself, his hold around Barry tightened. Being a thief was too embedded in his genetic make-up, and he'd never been good at letting go of things that weren't supposed to be his. Sure, his original plan had gone haywire, but he might just have ended up pulling the biggest score of all.