Actions

Work Header

All things work together for good

Work Text:


 

Len believed in the supernatural his whole life, ever since his mother passed and he swore he saw an angel over her deathbed. He never told anyone about it, but in that moment, he knew there was another world beyond ours.

 

When he turned eighteen, he trained to be a demonologist under a man named John Constantine. That’s how, ten years later, he met Barry Allen.

 

Len’s sister, Lisa, went to Central City University, and he was asked to give a lecture on demonology. Well, technically, John was, but he didn’t do public appearances. So that left it to Len.

 

After his presentation, as he was packing up, he noticed one young man hanging behind. He was beautiful--thick brown hair, sparkling hazel eyes, and legs that went for days. “Can I help you with something?”

 

The kid blinked, like he was being startled from a daydream, and smiled. “Sorry...I enjoyed your lecture. But, you’re wrong.”

 

Len sighed inwardly. Great, another skeptic.

 

“You said that most, if not all, spirits are malevolent,” the kid continued. “That isn’t true, though. Most spirits want to move on, but can’t. They’re either being held to Earth by tragedy or by a real malevolent entity, like the demonic.”

 

It was Len’s turn to startle. Most of the time, when he came to give lectures, he had one of two visitors--skeptics who told him how stupid he was to believe all this or the ghost groupies (which he hadn’t known was a thing until he walked in on John in bed with two of them once). He’d never had someone approach to genuinely discuss his work.

 

“Really?” he asked. “You seem to know a lot about what spirits want. Chit-chat with any recently?”

 

He meant it as a joke, but the kid’s smile turned sad. Sighing, he held a hand out to Len. “My name’s Barry.”

 

Len accepted it, and the second their skin touched, it was like lightning between them. Barry’s eyes glazed over, and his smile grew wider. After a beat, he let go, his eyes returning to normal.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Len,” he said quickly. “I’ll see you again soon.”

 

There was no question, no invitation. It was a statement of fact. One that Barry held up three days later when he ran into Len at a coffee shop. They ended up closing down the place, discussing demons and ghosts and investigations they’d both been on.

 

For the first time in his life, Len told someone about the angel over his mom’s bed. And Barry actually believed him.

 

“Of course angels are real,” he explained. “Who else would lead us in fighting the good fight?”

 

Then, Barry opened up about his own secret. “You asked me before if I’d chatted with any spirits…”

 

“I’m sorry about that,” Len interjected, but Barry shook his head.

 

“No, that’s what I want to talk about. The truth is that I have. I do. I see and speak to spirits. It’s my own gift from God. I use it to help those trapped here move on, and to help the living being tormented.”

 

Len honestly didn’t know how to take that. If it’d been anyone else, he would’ve accused them of trying to manipulate him. But there was something in Barry’s eyes, something so wholesome and honest.

 

“Sometimes,” Barry continued, “I try to talk to my mom. She died when I was a toddler--jumped out of my nursery window. I can’t find her, though. I hope that means that she’s moved on, but...I don’t know. I’ve always felt like there was more to it. When I first met you, I saw something behind you--a light.”

 

Len raised an eyebrow.

 

“It formed into a woman. I think...I think it was your mother.”

 

Something sick settled in Len’s stomach, but Barry continued.

 

“She told me to tell you that she’s so proud of you and that she loves you very much. Also, something about finding a new partner, that John was going to get you killed. Who’s John?”

 

Len’s eyes widened. He never mentioned John, ever. That was the rule the Hellblazer had for Len speaking at colleges--he could talk about demons and exorcisms, but he could never use John’s name.

 

He clenched his fists and turned away from Barry.

 

“I…I gotta go.” He practically jumped to his feet. Barry frowned and looked like he was going to try and stop him, but Len ran before he could.

 

----------

 

“Ey, mate,” John greeted as Len stomped into their hotel room, “you seem more peeved than usual.”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

 

John, being the man he was, left it at that, not pushing because he didn’t really care about what had happened, he was just mildly curious. Len was about to head to the shower for some alone time when he paused.

 

“Actually,” he said suddenly, “I have a question: do you know the last name ‘Allen’?”

 

Constantine frowned. “Can’t say I’ve come across anyone with that name. Why?”

 

“No reason...but another question--what do you know about people who see spirits?”

 

That peaked John’s interest. The Hellblazer straightened from his spot lounging on one of the beds. “You mean like mediums?”

 

Len tilted his head to the side. “A bit more...exact than that.”

 

John’s eyebrows shot up. “You mean like someone who can contact ghosts and demons on a whim?”

 

“And can read their energy, yeah.”

 

John whistled low. “It’s a hell of a gift. Rare too, depending on how powerful they are. Ghosts and demons usually go after people like that because they hate humans that see them for what they are without their permission. Powerful ones don’t usually last long without help. Either get driven insane or some demon decides to do ‘em in. Real shame, though. They’re a hell of a lotta help with the right support behind ‘em. Why?”

 

Len didn’t answer. Instead, he continued his plan to hide in the shower, contemplating what his meeting Barry meant.

 

----------

 

It was the last day of his visit that things came to a head. He’d been packing to leave, preparing to visit his sister at her boyfriend’s house when there was a knock on the hotel room door.

 

When he opened it, Lisa was on the other side. Her skin was blotchy, eyes swollen and red, and there were fresh tear tracks on her face. He pulled her inside and sat her on the edge of his bed.

 

“What’s wrong, Lis?” he asked, taking her hand. “Is it Ramon? Did he do something to you?”

 

Lisa shook her head. “It’s not Cisco. I mean, it is Cisco, but I’m here for him. Lenny...I think something evil is in his house.”

 

Lisa wasn’t a big believer in the supernatural. She was supportive of Len, but she thought that John had played on Len’s mother’s death as a way to push his weird demon talks. For her to come to him for help meant something bad was going on.

 

“Start from the beginning.”

 

Lisa took a deep breath. “Cisco’s brother died when he was a senior in high school. Not long after, his parents moved out, but Cisco wanted to stay. They signed the house over to him, and he’s been living in it ever since.

 

“He has this room. It was Dante’s room, but Cisco makes sure that it’s left exactly how Dante left it. It’s like a memorial to him since Cisco feels guilty they didn’t make more of an effort to be closer. It used to be that he kept the room locked at all times. He has a roommate, Caitlin. She told me that, one night, they heard knocking in the room, footsteps, and the sound of someone moving stuff around. Cisco checked, but the room was still exactly the same. It happened every night for weeks after that, always starting at three in the morning and ending around six. Cisco was convinced it was his brother’s spirit, so he started leaving the door unlocked. Sometimes, he’d go inside and say hi, then leave.”

 

Lisa blew out a shuddered breath. “He asked me to move in six months ago. When I first walked inside, I felt...uncomfortable, like I wasn’t welcome. I ignored it. Then, I was woken up one night to the sound of all my glass ice-skater figurines you gave me being thrown against the walls of the living room and smashed. That’s when Caitlin told me about Dante’s ‘ghost’ and everything. I thought they were messing with me, until I woke up a few nights ago with these.”

 

She rolled up her sleeve to reveal three long, deep scratches on her forearm. “I tried to talk Cisco into leaving, but he started getting really angry and defensive when I suggested it. Then, he said that if I really loved him, I wouldn’t try to ruin the last connection he had with his brother.”

 

Len nodded along, trying not to reveal how scared for his sister he really was. “But something else happened, or you would’ve been here a few days ago.”

 

Lisa nodded. “I was packing a bag to leave for a day or two, and I could hear whispering in Dante’s room. Two voices whispering. I crept down the hall to see what was going on, and...I saw it .”

 

She covered her mouth to silence a sob, and Len threw an arm over her shoulder. “It’s okay, Lisa. You’re safe here. What did you see?”

“C..cisco was sitting in the floor, whispering to someone…” she forced out. “I think he thought it was Dante--but that thing was not his brother. It was some ancient, twisted looking thing. I gasped and...it looked right at me. I’ve never run so fast in my entire life, and I didn’t stop until I got here.”

 

She broke down, sobbing into Len’s shirt. Len shushed her, brushing his fingers through her hair as she cried. “You...you have to help him, Lenny,” she begged. “That thing is going to kill him, and he doesn’t even know it.”

 

He nodded. “I will however I can, but you need to understand something, Lis. What your boyfriend is going through sounds demonic, and if it is, I can’t perform an exorcism without proof.”

 

Lisa frowned. “Doesn’t John do them all the time?”

 

“Not safely,” he explained. “And he’s not...delicate with these things. Also, he’s kind of given up the whole ‘exorcism’ thing, so I’ll have to do it myself.”

 

Lisa’s frown deepened. “Can you do that? Is it safe for you to do it alone?”

 

No, but he couldn’t tell Lisa that.

 

“Isn’t there someone else who could help you with the investigation?”

 

A face popped into his head, and Len sighed.

 

----------

 

It wasn’t hard to find Barry again. He was a student on the campus, and every student headed for the coffee stand sometime. Len ran to catch before he went too far. “Barry!”

 

The kid slowed and looked back at him. Len skidded to a stop. “Barry, I need your help. It’s really important. Maybe life or death.”

 

Barry’s confused expression twisted into concern. “What do you need?”

 

----------

 

They showed up at Cisco’s house early that Saturday morning. Lisa told Caitlin that they were coming days before, but had only told Cisco right before they arrived, out of fear that whatever was in the house would lash out before they could do anything.

 

Caitlin was the one who answered the door, her body melting with relief when she saw who it was. “You’re Lisa’s brother?”

 

Len held out a hand. “Leonard Snart. This is my...associate, Barry Allen.” Caitlin shook his hand, and Barry grinned brightly as Caitlin shook his.

 

“This is a beautiful house,” he said, though Len could see he wasn’t looking at the house--he was staring right behind Caitlin. “May we come in?”

 

Caitlin stepped to the side, and the pair entered the home. Len wasn’t sure what he’d expected from Barry. Some kind of reaction to being in a haunted home, probably. But Barry continued smiling and followed Caitlin as she led them into the kitchen, where Lisa and Cisco were sitting.

 

Lisa sighed happily when she saw her brother. “Lenny, you know Cisco.” Len nodded to the boyfriend, who gave a little wave.

 

Barry walked in beside Len, his eyes tracing every inch of the house. “This is Barry Allen. He’s going to be helping out with seeing what’s going on here.”

 

Barry waved at Cisco and Lisa, though once again, his eyes were focused behind them. “They said your parents moved here before you were born?”

 

Cisco nodded. “Yeah. I think they bought it in some foreclosure thing when they realized they needed a house with more rooms. I don’t know what happened to the family that used to live here.”

 

Barry nodded but didn’t say anything else. Len frowned--there had to be something Barry was picking up.  If there was, though, he had one hell of a poker face.

 

Len cleared his throat. “Will you show us where the activity has been?”

 

Cisco rose to his feet and dragged his feet as he exited the kitchen, Caitlin right behind him. It worried Len. Cisco was always so energetic and talkative, but it was like every ounce of cheer had been zapped out of him. He could see why Lisa called them.

 

They climbed the stairs to the next floor, stopping at the first door on the right. “This was Dante’s room,” Cisco explained.

 

Len nodded. “Lisa told me you used to keep it locked all the time. What changed?”

 

“It wouldn’t stay that way,” Caitlin answered for him. “In the middle of the night, around three am, it would swing open so wide that it shook the walls. So, we open it at night and shut it in the morning.”

“Huh,” was all Barry said as Cisco pushed open the door. Barry stepped inside first, and finally, he reacted. He froze in the middle of the room, his eyes locked on the bed. For a second, they glazed over, and he raised his hand a bit, like someone had taken it.

 

Then, as quickly as it began, it ended. Barry inhaled sharply, his hand lowering, and closed his eyes. “Your brother died in here.”

 

It wasn’t a question, but Cisco answered anyway. “Yeah. He was a senior in college--a music major. He had a lot of stress, so his doctor prescribed him some pills. He had an allergic reaction to them and died in his sleep.”

 

Barry frowned but nodded. “I’m sorry.” Then, his eyes focused on something else. It was a mirror, set on the wall across from the bed, beside the closet. It looked old but well taken care of. Its frame didn’t have a speck of dust on it.

 

Barry walked closer to it, tilting his head to the side. Then, his eyes widened, and he turned like there was something behind him.

 

“Is he okay?” Lisa whispered. Len shrugged. He’d never seen someone work like Barry.

 

“Barry,” he called, approaching the medium, “are you alright?” He touched Barry’s shoulder, and all the tension drained from his body.

 

Barry nodded. “Show us where else you’ve encountered activity.”

 

The next room was Caitlin’s, the room across from Dante’s. It was, according to Cisco, his parents’ old room. None of the furniture was the same, so it had a clean, striking feel to it.

 

“It started with me lying in bed,” Caitlin explained. “I would wake up feeling like someone was watching me. There was a shadow behind my door, and I couldn’t explain why, but it scared me half to death. I knew there was nothing there, but I could feel it. Then…”

 

She took a deep breath. “One night, I felt something touch my leg.”

 

Len looked at Barry, who paled. “What kind of touch? Aggressive? Or...invasive?”

 

Caitlin crossed her arms over her chest and hung her head. “It was like there was someone standing at the edge of my bed, rubbing my leg. Then, it got worse.”

 

Cisco and Lisa both turned to her, wide-eyed. “What do you mean ‘worse’, Cait?” Cisco demanded. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

 

“I didn’t want to talk about it!” she argued. “I thought it was all a nightmare. It pulled my blankets off of me and grabbed me. I couldn’t move or breathe. I was pinned down, and I thought it...it didn’t, but it...it bit me.”

 

She pulled up the edge of her shorts, just far enough to show a mouth-shaped scar on her inner thigh. It didn’t look like human teeth, though. The marks were deeper and made with something sharper.

 

Barry walked towards her slowly and, with her silent permission, wrapped his arms around her. Caitlin broke down then, crying into Barry’s shoulder and hugging him back. “It’s going to be okay,” he promised. “We’re going to make sure of it.”

 

----------

 

After the breakdown in Caitlin’s room, they all moved downstairs, back to the kitchen, where Barry and Len sat them down.

 

Len breathed out slowly. He’d never spoken with people with an untested partner. Usually, John would take the lead with the talks. But, as far as he knew, Barry had never been part of an investigation like this. He was following Len’s lead. He just hoped that Barry was right to trust him.

 

“I can’t tell you anything without a formal investigation,” Len explained. “I believe your claims--Lisa’s no liar and that mark on Caitlin’s leg was made by something--but I have to do some research and come back with some equipment before I can tell you exactly what it is you’re dealing with. Barry,” he turned to his partner, “is there anything you saw or felt that you need to tell them about?”

 

Barry nodded. “First, you need to know that the thing haunting this house is not your brother, Cisco. It’s demon...a nasty one. It’s been here for a long time, way before your parents even bought the place. I’m almost positive that, if we were to look hard enough, someone who lived here had some kind of dealings with the occult. Here’s the important thing--it isn’t after you.”

 

Lisa frowned. “But why would it convince us it’s Dante, then?”

 

“Let me clarify--you aren’t its goal. It does, however, want to possess your body, if it can. All demons seek out human bodies and souls, but this one, in particular, is after something else.” His eyes went to Caitlin.

 

She paled. “It’s after me? Why? I just moved here two years ago.”

 

“This particular demon is an incubus.” Len’s veins went cold at the word. He’d heard of them and what they did to people, particularly young girls, but he never thought that one would be so close to home. “And it wants you bad.”

 

“I first saw it,” he continued, “when you answered the door. It’s on you, like a looming cloud of evil. Its claws are digging into you hard. Then, I saw it again when we moved to the kitchen. It’s connected to Cisco, but it won’t touch Lisa.”

 

Len smiled at his sister. “You still wear it?”

 

She reached into her shirt and pulled out the gold chain around her neck. On the end was a blessed scarab beetle that John gave him once. He’d given it to Lisa as a ward against evil that wished her harm.

 

Barry nodded. “That’s why you can’t stay here. The demon is pushing you out because it can’t have you. You’re a threat.”

 

“What does this incubus do?” Caitlin asked. “What does it want from us?”

 

“Like I said, it wants your souls. It wants to possess Cisco, and…” he squeezed his eyes shut like he didn’t even want to imagine, let alone say out loud what the incubus wanted from her. “Incubi don’t tend to take souls as most demons do. In most cases, they...rape their victims in their sleep, every night, until the victim goes insane or dies.”

 

Caitlin’s eyes widened. Cisco took her by the hand. “We won’t let that happen. They’re going to help us stop this thing. Right?”

 

Barry looked to Len, who sighed. “It’s...difficult. Are you baptized?” Cisco nodded, but Caitlin shook her head. Len ran a hand down his face. “We have to find a Catholic priest with connections to the Vatican. We have to prove to him that this is demonic activity, without a doubt. Then, the Vatican has to approve an exorcism on the house, and on the two of you.”

 

“Do you know anyone like that?” Lisa asked. He didn’t--usually John did whatever the hell he wanted, but Len wanted to take every precaution with this as he could. If something went wrong, Lisa could get in trouble if they weren’t protected by the Vatican.

 

“I do,” Barry spoke up. “My uncle is a priest. He used to live in Rome. He knows a lot of people in the Vatican.”

 

Len raised an eyebrow. Well, okay then. “So, the two of us have to come back as soon as possible and start our investigation.”

 

“Is tonight okay?” Caitlin asked. “I don’t think I can be alone with this thing another night.”

Len turned to Barry, who nodded. “Yes. I’ll acquire some equipment and bring it by tonight. Lisa has some friends she can borrow some stuff from.”

 

“I’ll stay here with Caitlin and Cisco,” Barry announced. “I don’t feel comfortable leaving them in this house by themselves.”

 

Len didn’t like the idea of Barry hanging behind, but he didn’t know him well enough to argue.

 

----------

 

Not long after Len left, Barry moved from the table and back into Dante’s room. There was something wrong with the mirror. Some cultures believed that mirrors could hold dark and demonic spirits. Is that what brought it to the house?

 

A knock at the door took his attention from it. Cisco was leaned in the doorway, watching him. “Hey, didn’t wanna scare you.”

 

Barry smiled. “No worries. I was just looking at this mirror. There’s something off about it. I don’t know what it is.”

 

“It’s been in the house as long as I can remember,” Cisco said, stepping inside. “It used to be in my parents’ room, but then they gave it to Dante when he started high school.”

 

Barry ran his fingers along the frame. It didn’t feel as malicious as before, but maybe the demon was hiding now.

 

“Were you close? You and your brother?”

 

Cisco shook his head. “No, not since we were little kids. My parents always thought he was the best, but they never understood me.”

 

For a second, Barry had a vision--two little boys, sitting in the middle of the bedroom floor, one bed on either side of them. The smallest one was crying because his toy was broken.

 

Don’t be upset, Francisco, the oldest said, wrapping his arms around the crying child. You can fix it. You can make it even better.

 

He pulled himself from the vision, but there was no doubt in his mind that it was a gift from Dante.

 

Cisco stepped up beside him, looking at the mirror with a frown. “What did you see in here?”

 

Barry didn’t turn away from the glass, the lightness from the vision fading. “What do you mean?”

 

“Dude, you freaked. You saw something when you looked in the mirror, and you saw something on the bed. It doesn’t take a demonologist to pick that up.”

 

“What I saw in the mirror doesn’t have anything to do with Dante or your haunting.” Barry sighed. “It has to do with mine.”

 

When he glanced back at Cisco, he seemed confused. “When I was a kid, my mother died. She killed herself. I never understood why, until my uncle showed me some pictures of me growing up. In every picture, if there was a reflective surface, something was looking at me. I could see its shape, just a pair of evil, yellow eyes. It’s followed me my whole life, but when I was in here, I saw what it was.”

 

Barry shuddered. “It was a demon--not the incubus, something older and eviler. It stepped out behind me and stared into my soul. I couldn’t move or breathe, and it just stepped closer and closer. Then, I finally got the strength to turn, and it was gone. I don’t know what it wants, but it’s been stalking me for a long time.”

 

Cisco nodded along with his story. “And what did you see on the bed?”

 

This was the part he didn’t want to share, the part that would make everything harder. “I saw your brother die. He told me the truth.”

 

“What ‘truth’?”

 

Barry looked to the bed sadly. “The incubus. Dante was its victim since he was fifteen.”

 

Cisco’s eyes widened with horror. “No...he would’ve told us.”

 

Barry shook his head. “He thought they were dreams. The demon convinced him that everyone would think he was crazy or wouldn’t listen. It took advantage of him and tortured him for years. Then, it was just too much. He overdosed on his pills to escape it, not knowing he was playing right into its hands. It’s part of how it operates—isolating its victim and ripping them apart emotionally.”

 

Cisco covered his mouth to mask the broken sob that fell out. Barry understood. To find out someone you love was suffering so much that took their own life was a tragedy all to itself. But knowing that this evil was responsible for it, that it’d tortured and abused his brother, had to be awful.

 

He wrapped an arm around Cisco and let him cry, silently daring any demonic spirits to try something.

 

----------

 

Len came back with three boxes of equipment he’d... liberated from John. He wouldn’t notice. If Len knew him, and he did, John was in some bar drinking his demons away and flirting with the closest hot piece of ass there.

 

Lisa helped him carry the boxes inside, first the cameras and mics, then the religious relics. When Barry saw them, he grabbed the first cross he saw and smiled. When Len noticed which one it was, he froze.

 

It looked like nothing special, just an old wooden cross with light blue paint chipping off. Barry held it like it was made of gold, though.

 

“My mother carved that,” Len found himself saying, approaching Barry slowly. “She had this weird hobby carving soap. One day, though, she decided she was going to try to carve wood, and she made that.”

 

He laid a hand on it but made no attempt to take it away from the medium. “She gave it to me to decorate. I’ve never been really creative, so I just painted it my favorite color. It’s the only thing I have left of her.”

 

Barry smiled sadly at him and shook his head. “No. You are the last remnant of her. This just reminds you that she’s always there.”

 

Len hadn’t talked about his mom in years. Not to John, not to Lisa, but Barry had a way of breaking down his walls. Why was he drawn to Barry? Why was it that, whenever he looked at him, there was a familiarity and trust, like something just clicked for the first time in his life?

 

Barry walked over to the mantle and placed the cross on top. “There. Now, your mom is watching out for us. For you.”

 

A smile grew on Len’s lips. To think, he was standing in a house possessed by a sexed-up demon, and he felt calmer than he had in a long time. Felt safer.

 

He cleared his throat. “So, I did a little research on the house. Turns out that, back in the 1800’s, this was a brothel. Then, it was bought out and became a spiritual home for seances and the occult. A lot of people have died here from suicide or sudden illness. At least…”

 

“Nineteen.” Barry shrugged at Len’s shocked expression. “I’ve seen at least nineteen individual spirits since we first walked through the door. They’re all trapped here because of the demon, so I didn’t think it helped anyone to mention them. It would just make everyone sad, and we don’t need that now.”

 

Len nodded, still staring openly at Barry. “You take this whole ‘walking into a house full of spirits and demons’ thing really well.”

 

“I’ve seen them my whole life,” Barry answered. “Ghosts don’t scare me. Usually, they’re just lost, trapped souls, trying to make sense of their afterlives. They want to move on, but are too scared or don’t know how.”

 

That broke Len’s heart, especially when he remembered what Barry said about his mom. Was she trapped in some weird limbo, waiting for him to die and be with her?




They spent the rest of the evening setting up cameras, motion detectors, microphones, and bells on doors, courtesy of Barry.

 

“They’re in case something opens the door,” Barry explained. “Why waste a motion detector when this is just as effective?”

 

Around six in the evening, there was a knock on the front door. Len grinned as he opened the door.

 

“Is there a problem, Officer?”

 

“Shut up,” Officer Mick Rory grunted as he pushed his way into the house. Barry, who was standing in the doorway of the living room, frowned.

 

“Why are the police here?”

 

“I invited him,” Len explained. “Barry, this is Officer Mick Rory. Mick, this is Barry Allen. He’s an associate of mine helping with the investigation.”

 

Barry extended a hand, which Mick took with a raised eyebrow at Len. Len didn’t even acknowledge it, instead answering Barry’s question. “I always invite Mick to investigations. Having a police presence here is precautionary and usually brings a sense of security to the victims in the house.”

 

“Oh!” Barry smiled. “Then it’s great to have you here.”

 

Mick nodded, unsure how to take the cheery man in front of him. Barry was called away by a shout from Cisco upstairs, leaving the pair of them together. Mick watched Barry climb the stairs with a knowing smirk, turning to Len once Barry was out of sight.

 

“You ditched the Trenchcoat for an upgrade?”

 

Len rolled his eyes. “It’s not like that. Barry is a powerful medium--more powerful than any I’ve heard of. He’s the real deal, too, as far as I can tell. No dramatics or act and he knows things no one else could possibly know.”

 

Mick hummed. “Doesn’t hurt that he’s a nice piece of ass, right?”

 

Len didn’t even bother responding. Instead, he glared at his friend and headed for the living room to do one last check of the equipment.

 

----------

Once the interviews of the victims were recorded on tape, and the equipment was set, the real investigation began.

 

“Remember before we start,” Len warned, looking from Cisco, to Caitlin, to Barry, and then to Mick and Lisa, “our presence here is going to make this demon lash out. The second it finds us a threat, it’s going to lash out at us with everything it’s got.”

 

“Then, we’ll catch it on film and Barry’s uncle can get an exorcism approved,” Lisa replied stoically. She took Cisco by the hand and Cisco took Caitlin’s.

 

Barry smiled. “Keep that bond. The love you all share is stronger than anything that demon can throw at you. If you hold onto it, we’ll get through this.”

 

It should’ve sounded like a cheesy Hallmark card message, but out of Barry’s mouth, everything sounded so profound and layered with meaning.

 

Everyone stared as Len pulled out an old tape recorder from his pocket and popped a cassette inside. “They’re less likely to be affected by the EMF of the demon--you know what, you’re the ones with the demon problem. I’m not explaining myself.”

 

Barry chuckled under his breath and patted Len’s arm. “I think it’s cool. And smart, considering that a regular spirit can drain a phone battery in minutes, let alone a malevolent one.”

 

Len wanted to blush, but cleared his throat instead and pushed record. “We’re inside the Ramon home with Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, Lisa Snart, Officer Mick Rory, and Barry Allen. I am Leonard Snart, lead investigator. Is there anyone or anything in this house that would like to contact us?”

 

The house stayed silent, but Len wasn’t discouraged. It was rare when the spirits addressed them right away. He moved closer to the stairs. “C’mon. You don’t seem like a coward to me. Then again, picking on a couple of young innocents with no defense against you. That’s pretty cowardly. Why don’t you try to take me?”

He’d seen John use that tactic a thousand times, antagonizing the spirits. Usually, it ended with getting thrown through a wall.

 

Nothing happened, though. Len frowned. Why wasn’t the demon responding?

 

“Uhh...Snart? Is he supposed to be doing that?”

 

Len turned back at Mick’s question to see Barry, blank-faced, walking towards the stairs. Cisco and Caitlin tried calling his name as he started to climb, but something told Len that Barry wasn’t in control anymore. With a finger to his lip, he began to follow, all the others except for Lisa, who was watching the cameras, right behind him. Len had expected Barry to go to Dante or Caitlin’s room, but instead, he went straight for Cisco’s room.

 

Once he stepped inside, the door slammed shut behind him.

 

“Barry!” Len ran for the door and tried the knob, but it was no use. “Cisco, you got a key to this thing?”

 

Cisco shook his head. “There’s no lock.”

 

Len pushed the door even harder, pausing when he noticed two shadows moving underneath the door. “There’s someone in there with him.”

 

“Move outta the way,” Mick growled. Len darted to the side just as Mick took a running start at the door. It crashed in, and Len rushed inside behind Mick.

 

But the room was empty. There was a bed, a closet, a heavy dresser with a mirror on top. A rug covered the floor closest to the window. Other than that, there was nothing. No ghost. No Barry. He cursed.

 

Cisco and Caitlin ran in behind him. “What the hell?” Cisco asked. “Where did he go?”

 

“I don’t know…” Len furrowed his brow. People didn’t just disappear, not even in homes with demons. Something led Barry here, showed him something. “Ramon, go downstairs and ask Lisa to pull up the footage from this room. There has to be something we missed.”

 

Cisco nodded and dashed back out the door while the rest continued to search the room. Caitlin checked under the bed. Mick checked the closet. Len scanned the floor, looking for anything that would point to where Barry went.

 

He frowned when he noticed scratch marks in front of the dresser like it’d been moved. “Mick,” he called out, moving to one side of it, “help me move this thing.”

 

Mick hurried over to drag the opposite side of the dresser. When it was a foot away from the wall, Len noticed the small door behind it, cracked open an inch. Without consulting with his friends, he pulled his flashlight from his pocket and dove inside.

 

The door led to a crawlspace within the walls. There was a heavy layer of dust, with two sets of fresh footprints in it--one heavy with tennis shoes, the other extremely light and barefooted. He followed them through the walls, not even bothering to see if Mick or Caitlin were behind him.

 

Finally, the crawlspace ended at a room that had probably once been a part of a larger room but was cut in half during some renovation. If he had to guess, he would say it was part of Dante’s room.

 

Barry was lying in the floor in the center of the room, his eyes closed and mouth moving in whispered words. Len ran to his side.

 

“Barry?” He scooped the medium into his arms. “Barry? Are you okay? What’s happening?”

 

“It happened here…”

 

The voice that came from Barry’s mouth was hollow, empty, and Len knew that he was channeling something.

 

“There was a ritual--an occultist who lived here before the brothel. She released it into the world using the mirror. The children...it targets one, then drives the child insane and takes their soul.”

 

Len frowned. “It wants to drive them insane?”

 

Barry shook his head. “It wants his body to escape its trap.”

 

“What trap?”

 

Barry didn’t answer though. Instead, he sat up in Len’s lap, eyes still closed, and pressed a hand to his heart. “Love is strong enough to fight anything.”

 

Then, he convulsed, his eyes flying open and a cough forcing its way out of his throat. “Barry, are you okay?” Len asked, wrapping his arms around him. Barry nodded, and Len dragged him into a bone-crushing hug. “Don’t do that again. I thought it’d taken you.”

 

How did he love Barry already? He’d barely known the kid a few days, and already life seemed unlivable without him. The thought of him getting hurt…

 

“Len, she led me here,” Barry whispered back. “A girl, no older than fifteen, in a white nightgown. The demon tortured her until she killed herself. She wanted me to see this, where the occultist first summoned the demon.”

 

He pulled from Len’s arms and touched the floor. Now, Len could see the scratched symbols in the wood. He recognized them from some of John’s books--symbols of satanic worship and the demonic. Others, forming a circle around those, served a different purpose.

 

He helped pull Barry to his feet, not daring to release him for a second. Another light flooded the room as Mick and Caitlin stepped inside.

 

“What the hell…?”

 

Len nodded to the wall at the back of the room. “How much do you wanna bet that’s where the mirror in Dante’s room is?”

 

Mick passed them and laid a hand on the wall. He knocked once. When nothing happened, he knocked again.

 

A knock came from the other side.

 

Len pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialed his sister. “Lis?” he said once she answered. “You and Cisco both downstairs?”

 

“Yeah, why?”

 

“Is there anyone in Dante’s room?”

 

“No...but you’re going to want to see what we have from Barry’s little trip.”

 

Mick turned away from the wall, and a loud bang struck the wall so hard, it disturbed the dust in the cracks. Mick jumped back until he was on the other side of Barry.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” he grunted, heading out of the crawlspace quicker than Len had ever seen him move. The rest followed, Len still unwilling to let go of Barry, though there was a silent compromise of holding his hand.

 

When they arrived downstairs, Lisa was clicking away on the laptop, pulling up video files from the stairwell, hallway, and bedroom. Len approached, still pulling Barry behind him, and watched what she was checking out.

 

Len was yelling in the video, but Barry was moving his head like he’d heard something else. Then, he reached out his hands towards the stairs, ever so slightly.

 

“Watch,” Lisa urged. Len narrowed his eyes and leaned forward. There was something--he wasn’t sure how to explain it...a shape or refraction of some kind? --at the bottom of the stairs that took Barry by the hand. Then, the pair followed Barry’s path up to Cisco’s room.

 

“We know this happened,” Len said. “Why are you freaking?”

 

Lisa grabbed the headphones plugged into the system and handed them to him. “Because of this.”

 

Len put them on his ears just as Barry stepped into Cisco’s room and the door slammed shut behind him. Only, the shape pulling Barry didn’t move.

 

“No Exit…” a deep voice growled. “No return…”

 

Barry froze in place, his gaze sliding from the thing holding his hand to the camera in the corner. That’s when Len saw it--his eyes were completely white, rolled back in his head. The dresser practically flew out from the wall and Barry was rushed into the crawlspace.

 

“He won’t find you here,” a new voice, a young girl’s voice, whispered. “You’ll be safe.”

 

It wasn’t the first EVP he’d ever heard, but it was clear enough that goosebumps were tickling his skin. He removed the headphones and looked to Caitlin.

 

“Have you ever woken up in Cisco’s room, or found yourself sleepwalking in there?”

 

Caitlin shook her head. “No, but I do prefer spending my time in there. The evil doesn’t feel as strong.”

 

Len nodded. “That’s because the demon stays out of there. It’s the cleanest room in the house, mostly because someone warded the crawl space back there with protection symbols.”

 

“The scratches on the floor,” Barry said, and Len nodded.

 

“The girl that contacted you is probably the one who scratched them into the floor. The ghosts here aren’t trying to hurt any of us--they’re trying to warn us about the demon.”

 

“So,” Barry grinned, “what you’re saying is that not all spirits are malevolent? That they just want to move on and be free?”

 

Len narrowed his eyes playfully at the medium. “Your words, not mine.”

 

If he didn’t know better, he would’ve thought a blush crawled over Barry’s cheeks. He cleared his throat and turned to Cisco and Caitlin.

 

“Okay, this is good evidence, but we still have to prove that this thing is demonic and requires an exorcism. There can be no doubt by the Church.”

 

“That wasn’t enough?” Cisco asked. “Not even the voice?”

 

Len shook his head. “All we have is a good spirit and a menacing voice. Anyone could argue that it was a malicious spirit instead of a demon.”

 

“And they won’t take Barry’s word for it?”

 

This time, Barry shook his head. “There are too many fakes out there. My word means nothing, except it tells us what we’re looking for.”

 

He looked to Len and smiled sheepishly. “I think someone’s going to have to sit in its room.”

 

Cisco paled. Caitlin looked like she’d rather put her hand in a blender. “Are you sure?”

 

Barry nodded. “That’s the place it’s at its most powerful. To prove it’s demonic, one of us is going to need to show signs of violence.”

 

“Barry…” Len said, taking him by the arm,  “can I talk to you for a minute?”

 

Without waiting for an answer, he dragged the medium outside the room and into the kitchen. Barry didn’t seem too bothered, just confused.

 

“You can’t ask them to sit in there and wait for a demon to attack them!” Len hissed.

 

“I’m not,” Barry argued. “I’m suggesting I go in there and let it attack me.”

 

The anger bubbling in Len’s stomach boiled over. “That’s not better, Barry! You can’t just throw yourself into the arms of a demon! Do you know what it could do to someone with your abilities?”

 

“At least we’d have the proof.” His voice was so calm, it was irritating. “It doesn’t matter what happens to me. What matters is what that demon is going to do to everyone here if we don’t get rid of it. God gave me this gifts for a reason--maybe this is why!”

 

“For you to get yourself killed?” Len demanded. He forced himself to turn away and catch his breath. Screaming would get them nowhere. “Look, you wanna talk God? How about the fact that I’m here? Ever think he put us both here so we could find a better way than to dangle you like a piece of bait?”

 

When he turned back, the determined expression was replaced by something more...contemplative. He was searching Len’s face like there was something important he would find hidden in his microexpressions. Finally, he raised his eyes to Len’s and sighed.

 

“Fine. What do you suggest?”

 

----------

 

They all sat around the kitchen table, a recorder in front of them and a camera and tripod pointed their way.

 

“So, what are we doing?” Caitlin asked.

 

Leonard prepared the recorder. “A seance.”

 

“Wait,” Mick said. “I thought that seances were bad. Like, they could invite bad juju into your house.”

 

“Well, there’s already an incubus,” Len pointed out. “What else could we drag in here?”

 

“Plus,” Barry added, “those are usually done by people who don’t know what they’re doing. Len’s done a ton of these.”

 

Lisa frowned. “But you’re the one doing this. How many seances have you done?”

 

“Being the one calling on the spirits? This is my first, but I’ve sat in on about twenty, so I know what to do.”

 

Cisco sighed. “That’s...not convincing, but what do we have to lose?”

 

“That’s the spirit.” Len grinned as he got the recorder turned on and ready. “Now, we all have to take hands. Whatever you do, don’t let go.”

 

Cisco froze mid-way between taking Lisa and Caitlin’s hands. “Why not?”

 

“It could make us lose our connection,” Len replied, taking Mick and Lisa’s hands. Barry took Mick’s other hand and Caitlin’s hand, and they all took a deep breath.

 

“Calm down,” Len ordered. “Don’t get too anxious or scared. Barry’s going to try to hold the demon, but it’ll sense if you’re freaking out.”

 

“Wait, it’s going to possess Barry?” Lisa asked, trying to pull her hand away.

 

Len tightened his grip. “No. Think of it more like a telephone. It’ll talk through him, but Barry won’t invite it in, right?”

 

Barry nodded. “It’ll be alright, Lisa. I promise.”

 

Lisa blew out another breath and settled, and Len finally relaxed. “Barry, do you want to do the honors?”

 

Barry closed his eyes, and the others followed suit. Len kept one eye cracked, however, watching Barry for any signs that something was wrong.

 

“I call to the demonic entity in this house. I command you--show yourself and speak to us.”

 

Nothing happened.

 

“I call to the demonic entity in this house,” he repeated. “I command you to show yourself and speak to us.”

 

The table started to vibrate. Everyone, save Barry, opened their eyes.

 

“I command you to show yourself and speak to us.”

 

Anxiety curled in Len’s stomach as air in the room shifted.

 

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I demand you show yourself and speak to us.”

 

He never raised his voice, not once, but the command in it was enough to make everyone at the table sit upright. One of the crucifixes in the living room threw itself into the hall, the table continued to shake, but no one released hands and Barry didn’t so much as open his eyes.

 

“I command…” Barry stopped. Len’s attention shot to him immediately. His head was hung over, his arms limp.

 

“Here we go,” he whispered, squeezing their hands reassuringly.

 

Barry rolled his head up slowly, his eyes still shut, but Len still felt them looking him over.

 

“Are we speaking to the demonic entity torturing the inhabitants in this house?” he asked. Barry’s lips quirked on one side.

 

“Just having fun.” The voice wasn’t Barry’s. It was more of an animalistic growl than a human voice, one that made Len sick to hear coming from Barry’s mouth. His body language was entirely different--much more laid back and open.

 

“Your ‘fun’ is terrorizing these people. Why don’t you just leave them be?”

 

The quirk fell off Barry’s lips. “I was here first. I was summoned here. And oh, the feasts I’ve had. The brothel, the innocents living in that room. They were all delicious. Why would I give that up?”

 

“Because if you don’t, we’re sending you back to hell where you belong.”

 

Barry clicked his tongue. “That’s not very nice. Then little Francisco would never see Dante again. And Caitlin--well, who knows when that cold prude will ever feel someone touching her skin again.”

 

Caitlin blushed, embarrassed, and Barry threw his head back in a raspy laugh.

 

“That’s enough,” Len warned. “We’re not here to talk about us. We’re here--”

 

“You’re here because your sister, for the first time in her life, actually showed an interest in your dull existence,” the demon interrupted. “And pretty boy’s here because he’s easy on the eyes and more willing to put out than John, isn’t he?”

 

Len refused to let the demon bait him. He pushed the taunting aside and focused on the task, the way he was taught. “We’re here to get you to leave this house’s inhabitants alone.”

 

“Why would I?” it asked. “There’s so much misery in this house, so much unspoken desire and broken hearts. Degenerate souls for the picking. Why would I leave when you can’t even defeat your own demons?”

 

The demon chuckled, and Barry’s face contoured painfully. Len stiffened, accidentally squeezing Mick and Lisa’s hands a bit too hard. “Barry? You okay?”

 

“...stop…” Barry whispered almost inaudibly. “...no…”

 

“Barry?”

 

Suddenly, Barry’s eyes flashed open, revealing milky white eyes. “You cannot escape destiny, Leonard Snart. And neither can he. You can’t stop me from taking him. When I come, I will devour him.”

 

Len jerked away from the table, releasing Lisa and Mick’s hands to run to Barry’s side. With the connection broken, Barry slumped down, eyes closed and body limp.

 

“Barry?” Len took him in his arms, resting his head against his shoulder. “Barry? Barry!”

 

“What the hell was that?” Lisa demanded. Mick reached across to shut off the recorder while Cisco turned off the camera. “Was that the incubus?”

 

Len shook his head. “No. That was something else. Something older. It interrupted our seance with the incubus to terrorize Barry, specifically.”

 

“Why would it do that?”

 

“Mediums are seen as threats to malevolent spirits,” Len explained. “They can connect with their world, see them for what they are, and have the power to cast them out without exorcism if they’re powerful enough. Some demons take joy in terrorizing them, tormenting them until they go crazy.”

 

Barry whimpered, snuggling his face into Len’s shoulder.

 

“You can put him on the couch if he needs to sleep it off,” Cisco offered. Len scooped Barry into his arms and carried him to the living room, laying him gently on the sofa.

 

“Shhh.” He put one of the throw pillows under Barry’s head and draped his jacket over him. “You’re okay, Barry. I’m here. It’s gone now.”

 

Cisco, Caitlin, and Lisa strode into the living room, watching them worriedly. “What now?” his sister asked, crossing her arms tightly over her torso.

 

“The seance has to be enough evidence for Garrick to contact the church,” Len said. “Barry can’t take it now, not like this, and I’m not leaving him.”

 

“I’ll take it,” Lisa volunteered. “I know where the church is and can take my bike.”

 

“I’ll go with her,” Caitlin offered. She didn’t explain why, but Len could guess it had something to do with not staying in the house after they’d just stirred up trouble.

 

Len nodded. “Be careful, and text me the second he hears back.”

 

Lisa agreed, grabbing her coat and extra helmet as she hurried out the door, Caitlin close on her heels. Len sighed. There was a stillness in the air, a calm before a hurricane. The wind up before the punch. Maybe they were right to run out.

 

----------

 

It was an hour later when Barry’s eyes started to flicker open. Len was sitting on the floor beside the couch, head rested on Barry’s side and his hand clasping his. When Barry started to stir, Len shot up with a gasp.

 

“Barry?”

 

Barry moaned and sat up, flinching painfully. “What...what happened?”

 

“Another demon interrupted the seance,” Len explained, noting the way Barry paled. “It took a lot out of you.”

 

Barry swallowed hard. “Did we get what we needed?”

 

Len nodded. “How are you feeling?”

 

“Like I just got run over by an eighteen-wheeler.”

 

Len forced a laugh as he pushed off the floor to sit on the edge of the cushions. “You scared me for a minute there. I thought the demon...I don’t know.”

 

Barry reached over to brush his fingers against Len’s cheek. As soon as their skin touched, a sense of tranquility washed over him. Len found himself leaning into his touch and sighed.

 

A crash in the kitchen broke their moment, following by a shout. Len jumped off the couch and ran towards it, vaguely aware that Barry had done the same. Mick was sprawled out on the floor, surrounded by broken ceramic and holding his head.

 

“What the hell happened?” Len asked, helping his friend to his feet. “Where’s Cisco?”

 

“Saw ‘im talking to someone,” Mick growled. “When I asked, asshole hit me in the head with a plate.”

 

Barry crouched down and touched the plate. He gasped softly, eyes widening with fear. “The incubus...it has him. It took him while we were distracted.”

 

Mick frowned. “Are you telling me a demon kidnapped someone?”

 

Len rolled his eyes. “He means possession, Mick.”

 

Mick didn’t seem overly comforted by that either, but Barry was already on his feet and moving through the house. Len and Mick followed, the latter drawing his gun. Len didn’t know what he was planning on doing to a demon with it, but he found that it made Mick feel better.

 

Barry was stopped at the bottom of the stairs, staring up. “The demon brought him to Dante’s room.”

 

The house started to shake. A dark energy fell over them. Shadows twisted and arced around them. A wind blew down the stairs from nowhere, whipping around and cutting through them like knives.

 

This was happening. The demon had taken Cisco, knowing it was running out of time. They didn’t have the Church’s approval yet. If they didn’t do something, though, the demon would claim Cisco’s soul and damn him.

 

“We’re going to have to do this on our own,” he said. It was risky without the Church’s approval, but he and John had done it many times before. If something happened, he was willing to take the fall for it.

 

He grabbed the handcuffs out of Mick’s belt. As quietly as he could, he stepped up behind Barry and clicked one end around his wrist and the other to the stair railing.

 

Barry rounded on him with a betrayed face. “Len! What are you--?”

 

“I’m going to have to exorcize him right now. It’s too dangerous for you to be in there with me.”

 

Barry shook his head. “You can’t do this alone. We have to do it together.”

 

“Like hell I’m risking you over this!” He didn’t mean to shout, but he needed Barry to understand. He needed him to know that, if the demon lashed out, if something happened to him, Len would never forgive himself.

 

Barry’s hand shot out to take Len’s, and the medium met his eyes with so much honesty and emotion. “God brought us together for a reason.”

 

Len didn’t have an answer, except… “I can’t risk you.”

 

With that, he tore his arm away and ran upstairs, ignoring Barry’s yells. Mick came up behind him. “What happens if the demon kills us?”

 

Len shrugged. “We’ll be dead, Lisa and Caitlin will let Barry out, and Cisco’s soul will be damned to hell.”

 

“Oh, is that all?”

 

The door to Dante’s room was cracked open. The pair approached slowly, Len pulling his holy water from the inside pocket of his coat, Mick raising his gun. Mick pushed the door open, and the winds through the house stopped.

 

Cisco was standing in the center of the room, staring out the window with his back to them. “Cisco?”

 

He glanced over his shoulder at them, his lips curled viciously. The door slammed behind them.

 

“Whatever you’re gonna do,” Mick warned, “you better do it now.”

 

Len tore his rosary from around his neck and held it out. “I n the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” He traced a cross in the air, but Cisco didn’t even react. “In the name of Jesus Christ, the saints and all the angles, I command you to reveal yourself!”

 

Cisco finally turned, but his face was grey. His eyes were tinged yellow with red pupils. Big, purple veins branched away from his eyes.

 

“You had to do that, didn’t ya?” Mick said, white-knuckling his gun.

 

Cisco’s eyes darted to Mick and, before either could react, the officer was thrown backward. He hit the wall with a sickening crack and crumbled to the floor, unconscious.

 

“Vade retra, Satan,” Len continued, “Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio.”

 

“You think you can save them?” the demon hissed, Cisco lips not even moving. “You think that you can protect them all? That some cuffs will keep me away from him ?”

 

Len froze when he heard footsteps running up the stairs towards the room. Barry got loose from the cuffs.

 

“No...”

 

There was pounding on the outside of the door where Barry was trying to get in. Cisco’s eyes darted to the sound, and a dark smile grew on his lips. Before Len could go for his holy water, his legs were thrown out from under him, and the lock clicked open.

 

Barry fell inside, his eyes going first to Mick’s unconscious body, then to Len on the floor.

 

“Len!” He ran for his side, only to be thrown back and pinned against the wall by some invisible force. Barry grunted in pain and thrashed, trying to free himself from the demon’s grasp.

 

“Ah omni visibili et invisibili et ubique in hoc saeculo liberetur…” Len continued, but Cisco didn’t even react. His attention was fully locked on Barry.

 

Barry tensed as, suddenly, one of the legs of his pants ripped under invisible claws. His eyes widened and he started to squirm. “Len…”

 

“Let him go, you son of a bitch!” Len growled, pushing to his feet, only to be knocked down again. A very non-Cisco laugh echoed through the room, and the bottom of Barry’s shirt started to move.

 

“Len…” Barry repeated through gritted teeth. “Keep going. Exorcise him!”

 

Len swallowed hard. He knew Barry was right. He needed to hurry though. “Omnes fantasma, omnis legio, in nomine Domini nostri lesu…”

 

“Barry Allen…”

 

Len paused his chanting. The voice was unlike anything he’d ever heard from Cisco--raspy and slurred like it was being spoken through teeth. Cisco approached Barry, his eyes tracing every inch of the medium.

 

“What a treat. The most powerful medium in a hundred years, thrown into my lap. Eobard might seek your soul, but you’re with me now.”

 

He dropped his hand to the exposed flesh of Barry’s thigh, sharp nails jutting from his fingers and into the meat. Barry cried out in pain, and Cisco threw back his head with laughter.

 

“I will feast on your misery, on your pain, until you’re begging me to kill you, to take your soul. And little Cisco will cry as I destroy you, and his soul will be mine, too.”

 

“Cisco,” Barry said calmly, even as the claws started tearing at his clothes even more. “Cisco, remember Dante. Remember when you were children, sharing this room together. How he called you Francisco, how the demon couldn’t even touch him until you weren’t in here anymore--it’s because of that love you shared. Remember it now. Fight the thing that took him away from you!”

 

Wrenching his arm from the wall, Barry threw his hand against Cisco’s forehead. He squeezed his eyes shut. At first, Len thought he was trying not to think about whatever the incubus was planning to do. Then, Cisco stumbled backward.

 

“No…” he whispered, scratching at his head. “No, no, no. This is my house. My body. Your soul is mine!”

 

“No,” Cisco’s own voice argued. “This is mine. And you can stop messing with me and my friends and go straight back to hell!”

 

Cisco doubled over. Then, the room felt all the lighter. When he stood back up, his color was normal again. Barry dropped to the floor, hard, but he was alive. He’d made it.

 

Len probably should’ve checked Cisco first, or even Mick. Instead, he went straight to Barry’s side. “Are you okay? Did it do anything?”

 

Barry shook his head. “I’m going to be okay, Len.” He reached up to touch his cheek, his gentle smile back on his lips. “I promise.”

 

----------

 

Mick sat in the kitchen with an ice pack on his head.

 

Cisco was outside on the porch, head in his hands, trying to breathe through the panic growing inside him.

 

Lisa and Caitlin were on their way back to the house--not ten minutes after the exorcism, Len received a text saying that Garrick had been able to push their request through and it was approved. Go figure.

 

Barry was taking the religious icons down. Mick gave him a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie from his cruiser. The clothes he’d been wearing were ripped beyond repair, but Barry didn’t seem concerned at all. He was even humming to himself as he cleaned up.

 

Len was leaning in the doorway, watching him with a small smile. All in all, it hadn’t even been one of his most treacherous investigations or exorcisms--there was one time when John accidentally opened a portal to hell and Len nearly got dragged inside. But, for the first time, something dangerous twisted in Len’s stomach.

 

The feeling like he had something to lose. Something precious, or something that could be meaningful. Barry took his mother’s crucifix again and smiled.

 

“She is proud of you, you know.”

 

One day, Len wouldn’t be surprised that Barry always knew he was there. Today wasn’t that day.

 

“What?”

 

The medium turned and walked over to Len, holding the cross out to him. “Your mom is so proud of the man you’ve become.”

 

Len blew out a laugh. “She tell you that?”

 

Barry shook his head. “No.”

 

Len’s smile faltered for a second. Barry’s sparkling eyes looked right through to his heart, and Len still couldn’t tell if he hated it or not. He found himself leaning towards ‘not’. He reached out to take the cross, but at the last second laid his hand on Barry’s.

 

“I want you to have it. A keepsake for our first case together.”

 

For the first time, Barry seemed surprised. “I can’t accept this, Len. It was your mother’s.”

 

“You can always return it to me later,” Len suggested, shifting nervously. “Like, if you come in for another lecture, or want to investigate something again, or maybe just…”

 

Damn, he was never this nervous. If John could see him, he’d laugh himself into a stupor.

 

Barry, however, just smiled. Len tensed when the medium leaned over and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “I’m free Friday if you want to get a pizza or something.”

 

Len’s nerves settled. “Yeah. Yeah, that sounds great.”

 

They stared at each other in silence, leaning in closer and closer until…

 

“If you guys really want a souvenir from this nightmare,” Cisco yelled, coming down the stairs with the mirror from Dante’s room, “take this. I don’t want anything demonic.”

 

Barry broke gazes with Len and approached the mirror. His smile twisted to a frown. “There’s still so much darkness latched onto it. I’ll take it. Maybe my uncle has a place for it.”

“If not, John does,” Len suggested.

 

Cisco shrugged. “As long as it’s out of here, you can sell it at a yard sale for all I care.”

 

----------

 

Mick helped them carry it to Len’s car, and, after bidding their goodbyes, Barry and Len left the Ramon house behind.

 

Barry stayed quiet for most of the ride. The demonic always took something from him, little by little, each time he used his gifts, but this time, he’d received something.

 

The first time he’d touched Len’s hand, back at the lecture, was when he caught his first glimpse. He saw himself and Len, sitting in the living room of an old house. Len was playing guitar and singing Elvis, while Barry stared lovingly at him. There were gold bands on their ring fingers.

 

Then, during the seance, the incubus showed him something. He was standing in a mirror, pitch black around him, and long, gray fingers were curling over his shoulders, preparing to pull him into the Nothing.

 

Then, finally, he saw it. Len was on the floor at Barry’s feet, his neck twisted all the way around and his eyes blank. The demon--Barry’s demon, the one who lurked in his every step--stood over them as Barry cried.

 

This is what comes of anyone you love. It promised.

 

Now, sitting in the front seat of Len’s car, hands lightly gripping each other’s, and the sun slowly rising in front of them, Barry found himself hoping that God would find a way. Because, already, he loved Leonard Snart.

 

And God help anyone or anything that tried to take him away.



END....?