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Cheetah, Leopard, Lion!

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Barry grumbled as he went to the pounding at the door. He had been up most of the night waiting on Len, but he knew it was going to be a long night when Lisa dropped off her daughter, Dani.

“What?” Barry demanded as he flung open the door. “Detective West.” Barry straightened.

“Barry, I,” he cut himself off. “Is Snart here?”

“If you’re referring to Leonard then no, he got up early to run some errands,” Barry lied. It was times like this that he was grateful Len helped him learn to lie on the fly.

“And you didn’t go with him?” Joe looked skeptical. Which Joe knew meant the errands were about Len’s Mob connections.

“I had to stay home to watch Dani, we’re babysitting for Lisa.” That much was at least true. Len and Lisa had had something come up last night and Dani was already there while Cisco was at work.

“Do you know when he’ll be back?” Joe pressed.

“Can’t say I do. Shouldn’t be too long though,” Barry mused.

“Then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if I came in and waited.” Joe made a move as if he was going to push the door open, but Barry put his foot behind it, not allowing it to move.

“I’m sure I do, Detective. You can come inside when you have a warrant. Until then, you gave up the right to come into my home uninvited,” Barry said, channeling everything cold Len had taught him. It must’ve worked because Joe flinched.

“Barry, I’m sorry, really, you’ve got to know that,” Joe said yet again. This was a common conversation whenever they crossed paths.

“I know you either think you’re sorry or you’re sorry I reacted the way I did. Either way, I don’t care right now. We can have this conversation when I’m not in the middle of making breakfast. Good day.” Barry tried to close the door, but Joe held it open just a moment longer.

“Please son, it’s gotten so bad that even Iris has stopped talking about you,” Joe said in a heartbroken voice.

Barry didn’t say it was because he and Iris regularly spoke, Joe didn’t need to know that yet. “Like I said Joe, I’m open to having a conversation. Just, just not now,” Barry said in a softer tone. “I’ll text you this week and we can get lunch okay?”

Joe smiled, somewhat sadly, but it was still there. “I’d like that Bear. You sure I can’t come in?”

Barry plastered back on the fake smile, “I’m sure, you want in, you bring a warrant. Have a good day Joe,” Barry said, this time closing the door. He went back to the kitchen to continue breakfast.

It wasn’t ten minutes later the back door opened and Len walked in, covered in blood. He held up a hand before Barry could say anything. “It’s not mine, I had to get creative. I’m going to shower then we can have breakfast.”

Barry huffed. “Fine, I’ll get Dani ready. Will Lisa be around later or are we taking her back?” He wiped his hands on his apron as he turned to towards Len.

“We’ll be taking her back. Ramon has a new dish he wants us to try,” Len said with a grimace.

Barry just laughed. “Oh, hush. He’s gotten better, and I’ll make dessert. How does that sound?”

“I’d rather have you as dessert,” Len purred. He stalked over to Barry.

“You are covered in blood, go shower,” Barry laughed dancing around Len’s playful attempts to grab him.

“Fine,” Len pouted. When Barry stopped Len stole a kiss. “Now I shower,” he said triumphantly.

Barry smacked him on the ass and rolled his eyes. “And your niece is here, don’t come out naked!”

“You ruin my fun!” Len called back.

Barry just grinned and started more bacon. After a long night Len would be hungry and just because Cisco was getting better at cooking didn’t mean he was good. Lisa would have other food, but it didn’t hurt to be prepared.

He heard the water start then there was another knock on the door. Barry sighed and went to the door. “I know you didn’t get a warrant that fast, Joe,” Barry started but when he opened the door, he was looking down the barrel of a gun.

“Hiya Barry,” Eobard Thawne said with a sharp grin.

Barry slammed the door, but Thawne stopped it and shouldered his way in. He was followed by Frank Santini and his men. He used the gun against Barry’s forehead to pin him to the wall. “Lovely home here, no shouting.”

Barry didn’t say anything, but he did glance toward the hallway, toward the bathroom, where the shower was still going. Thawne moved the gun slightly, so it was right between his eyes.

“Mr. Allen, I apologize for interrupting your morning but Snart and I need to discuss some things that just cannot wait,” Don Santini said.

The water shut off and now everyone looked towards the hall.

Don Santini looked back over to him. “You’ll be here to make sure things go smoothly,” he said taking a seat at the head of the table.

Thawne pulled him from the wall and pinned Barry against his chest. He stopped Barry from struggling by putting the gun against his temple and a hand around his throat. Barry’s breath stuttered but he didn’t fight Thawne’s grip.

“Barry did you get-” Len stopped short. Barry was glad Len did actually put on clothes, even it was just dark jeans and a light tee shirt. “Apparently not. Frank, to what do I owe this visit?” Len asked making a seamless transition into his Cold persona. He moved to the other end of the table to sit across from Santini. It gave him a view of the whole room, Santini, and Barry.

Thawne moved them out of the doorway and farther into the living room so they could speak quietly without the Dons hearing them. “Long time no see Barry,” Thawne purred.

“Wish it was longer,” Barry huffed.

“Now, don’t be like that,” he all but cooed. “I left you alone as you asked. Not my fault my work takes me back to you.” He leaned in closer, and Barry could feel Thawne’s hot breath over the back of his neck.

“I wouldn’t put it past you to organize this whole thing yourself,” Barry hissed, jerking away slightly.

“Careful Barry.” He squeezed Barry’s throat in warning. “My finger might slip. And since you’re so cozy with Cold I don’t see why it shouldn’t slip.” Barry sucked in a sharp breath but otherwise didn’t react. His jerk had gotten Len’s attention and he didn’t need Len to attack these guys just yet.

“Really, that’s what this is about?” His fists clenched at his sides, but he couldn’t stop the smirk on his lips. “I move in with Cold and the jealousy is too much for you? What? Did you think while we were just dating there was a chance you could get me back?”

“I did warn you I was the jealous type,” Thawne mused. He dug the gun harder into Barry’s temple and Barry couldn’t help the grimace that overcame his features.

Len’s eyes snapped to his and Barry forced himself to take a breath and mouthed ‘Fine’ to Len. His eyes stayed on his for a moment longer before Len refocused on Santini.

“It’s almost as if he cares about you,” Thawne growled. Of course, he didn’t miss Len’s reaction. He was probably watching for that as much as Barry’s.

“Just because you’re heartless doesn’t mean Cold is,” Barry growled.

“So, you melted Cold’s frozen heart? He ironic,” he scoffed, and Barry could almost hear the eye roll.

“There are several people from last night alone that would be to differ. You need to keep up Thawne,” Barry taunted.

Thawne let out a low growl and squeezed Barry’s throat tight enough that this time Barry’s hands came up to grab Thawne’s wrist.

Several things happened at once.

Len stood, knocking his chair back in his haste. The four armed gunmen drew their weapons on Len. And Len’s niece came out of her room.

Everyone froze to stare at the little five-year-old rubbing her eyes, clutching a stuffed snow leopard’s paw. “Uncle Lenny?” she asked in a yawn.

Barry was the first to respond. He elbowed Thawne in the ribs, Thawne let go in surprise. Barry dropped to his knees. “Dani, sweetheart, come here.” Barry held out his arms even as he felt the gun go to the back of his head. He scooped up the girl, hiding her eyes in the crook of his neck so she couldn’t see anything else. He stood up and looked directly at Don Santini. “Dani and I will be in her room.” He didn’t leave room for an argument.

“Barry-”

“Excellent,” Santini cut Len off. “Thawne why don’t you go with them?”

“Gladly,” he purred and stepped up close, digging the gun into Barry’s skull.

Barry curled his lip but didn’t respond. He nodded to Len with a smile just before they were out of the room. He walked into Dani’s room and the girl whispered, “What’s goin’ on?”

“We’re going to play a game, sweetheart,” Barry said sitting her on the bed. He felt the gun disappear off the back of his head.

“I like games!” she said clapping.

“What’s the game Barry,” Thawne asked.

“It’s called Cheetah, Leopard, Lion! Rawr!” Barry said in a playful way.

“I like that game!” she giggled.

“But we gotta teach Eo how to play,” Barry cooed.

“Eo?” Thawne muttered.

“Okay, you remember where the pieces are? You need to go get the pieces so we can play, I’ll explain to Eo how to play, he’ll be the Lion, okay, go get the pieces,” Barry took a step back. He stood slightly in front of Thawne as she nodded and ran to the bathroom. He held up his arm to stop Thawne from following.

“What are you playing at Barry?” Thawne asked with a chuckle.

“You’re down a hostage,” Barry said slowly raising his hands and turning around. Thawne raised the gun, so it was back in Barry’s face. “But it’s me, alone, that you actually wanted, isn’t it?”

“You always were too clever for your own good, weren’t you Barry? Too bad you’re also too fuckin’ stupid for your own good.” Thawne put the gun between Barry’s eyes and forced him back against the wall.

“You won’t shoot me,” Barry scoffed.

“I told you, I don’t like sharing,” Thawne growled, crowding into Barry’s space.

“You’ll kill Leonard before you kill me. So, lower the gun and tell me what this is really about,” Barry demanded.

Thawne smirked and made a big show of sticking it in the back of his pants. “Cold’s territory is right up against Santini’s territory. Both Don’s are in the other room. I’ve got enough allies that if I take out Santini, I could become the Don.”

“If Leonard is killed his sister will take over. Or Mick. They wouldn’t accept his killer,” Barry said immediately.

“But they would accept you. I wouldn’t ask you to kill him, killing is not in your nature. But, if he was killed, then they would look to you.” He locked his eyes with Barry’s. “They may have to be won over; I’m not saying this would be easy. But together, you and I could bring this city to its knees.”

Barry couldn’t help it. He laughed in his face. “No, just no,” he said after a moment. Thawne scowled so he continued. “You don’t share. I would be your trophy and you would try to control both territories and you would be killed. Then the city would fall into chaos with a power vacuum. So, no. Even if your plan didn’t involve killing Leonard.” He stepped forward, putting himself nose to nose with Thawne.

“You couldn’t handle all that power. That’s why you need me. I’m liked well enough in both Families. I’m enough of a smooth talker to win over the other Families. And I’m the only one that can handle you. Well, you know what, Eobard? I dumped you, and your grab for power. Because at the end of the day, it’ll always be you that needs me, not the other way around.”

Barry didn’t even realize he was moving until Thawne’s legs hit the back of the bed and he sat, leaving Barry standing over him. Thawne had a look of awe on his face that was tinged with fear.

“This is the Barry I know. Not that demure little act you put on for everyone else.” He started laughing. “The act he makes you put on!”

Barry grabbed Thawne by the shirt collar and yanked him closer. “Listen carefully, Eobard. No one makes me do anything I don’t want to. Not you, not Cold.” He let out a dark chuckle and dropped Thawne back to the bed. “I made my choices; I gave up the power you were pushing us for. I don’t regret that decision. I can’t even bring myself to regret letting you live. But if you come back here and threaten the people I care about again, I will end you,” Barry promised.

“You could’ve brought this city to its knees,” Thawne whispered.

“There are a few people I want on their knees in front of me. You are no longer one of them unless you’re begging forgiveness,” Barry mused. He turned his back on Thawne as if he were not still in possession of the gun, as if he were no longer a threat. And he wasn’t. Not to Barry.

It was only a few years ago Barry and Thawne were partners under some Don that had no right being in charge. Thawne tried to convince Barry to make a grab at power. And he almost did. With Cisco and Caitlin at his sides, he could’ve taken them down. But then the Particle Accelerator went off and Barry was in a coma for nine months.

When he woke up there was a new Don, and he had powers he could not control. Luckily the Vigilante was a personal friend and helped him get control. When he returned Thawne was nowhere to be found. So, he went back to Caitlin and Cisco, who told him there was a new Don. Leonard Snart and his seconds, Lisa Snart and Mick Rory.

Barry revealed his powers to them, and he decided to pay Snart a visit. They came to an understanding of sorts. Barry would steal things to dangerous to send a team in for. What started as professional quickly turned personal. It wasn’t hard to pull Barry from missions altogether when other metahumans showed up and were a threat to either the city or to the Family, since only Lisa, Mick, Caitlin, and Cisco knew he was doing them. They were the only ones that knew about his powers.

When Thawne showed back up roughly half a year into Len’s reign as Don, he was an annoyance more than an actual problem. But Cisco built the Cold, Heat, and Gold Guns just in case. The Cold Gun really helped solidify his position, but it was still another six months until Len was accepted.

As of Santini’s visit, Len had only been the Don, securely, for about a year.

If Thawne tried anything Barry would be there to stop him. He vibrated his hand at Thawne’s chest. Stopping just shy of it. “Got it?”

“Got it,” Thawne whispered. His voice was hoarse with emotion.

Barry smirked. It had been a while since he’d used Oliver’s tactics on someone. He was feeling a little high on power. He knew that was why he couldn’t do this often. Because he could bring the city to its knees, and he’d enjoy doing it.

“Let’s go see if the Dons are done, shall we?” Barry asked once again turning towards the door.

Thawne audibly swallowed. “Sounds good.”

Barry opened the door and he was back to sweet smiles and happy go lucky demeanor. They all looked at him on his arrival. “Excuse me Dons,” he began stepping into the room fully before going to stand behind Len. “I’m sure this is all important and everything, but it is Sunday and we had planned on spending it out of the house. If this is going to be much longer then we’ll need to call and cancel. Would you be able to continue another day?” Barry asked batting his eyelashes at Santini. The man did not seem impressed, but he seemed more amused than disgruntled.

“We were are a good stopping place,” he agrees. “I look forward to seeing your fully fleshed out proposal Cold.”

“I look forward to giving it,” Len said. They stood and shook hands.

Thawne glanced over them with a hungry look. He was back to his previous self. Barry had little doubt Thawne wasn’t already pulling Frank’s strings. He just needed someone else on board to cut them so Thawne could take his place in the open. But until that happened Barry wasn’t worried. He would keep an eye on Thawne and if things got out of control, he would handle it.

Once they were out of the house Len turned to Barry, hands fluttering over him to check for injuries without actually touching him.

“I’m fine Len, just Thawne being a dick. We need to keep an eye on him. He’s wanting to start a usurp Santini but without a partner, he doesn’t have the power,” Barry explained. He grabbed Len’s hands, stopping him and prompting him to look at Barry’s face.

“He wanted you to be that partner?” Len nearly growled. Barry nodded. Len tried to pull out of his grip.

“You’re not going to ice him,” Barry huffed.

“He threatened my family and my position, like hell I’m not!” Len growled.

Barry released his hands and took a hold of his cheeks, keeping Len’s attention firmly on Barry. “I told him if he tried something like this again, I would end him myself. I need to have Cisco investigate it but I’m almost positive Thawne is pulling Santini’s strings. You get rid of Thawne and there will be a void that will be filled. You keep handling things in the public and I’ll deal with behind the scenes. Better the devil you know, right?” Barry said carefully stroking Len’s cheek with his thumb.

Len let out a soft laugh and put his hands over Barry’s, leaning into his touch. “When I heard about you, I never thought there would be this side of you,” Len admitted. “You’re all dopey smiles until someone threatens someone you love.” He shook his head. “I can’t imagine you before the particle accelerator.”

“I was more smooth-talking and subtle threats… and chemicals they couldn’t tie back to me. I had a nickname before it was cool,” Barry teased.

Len barked out a laugh. “Yeah, nope, still don’t believe you’re the Chemist, nice try though.”

Barry just grinned. The Chemist was a legend. He’d stolen items considered unstealable, or at least not without leaving a trace. Barry didn’t blame Len for not believing him. There was still a fair bit they didn’t know about each other and Barry had said it jokingly the first time. Then when Cisco and Caitlin had been around, they’d panicked until they realized Len didn’t believe him. Len didn’t realize how close Barry was to taking over the Family before the accelerator had exploded.

It had killed the Don’s men, leaving him vulnerable and Lisa had learned through Cisco that there was an opening. Barry didn’t blame Cisco. He’d panicked because Barry was in a coma so there was no one to take over. Len, Lisa, and Mick slinked into town the next week and began their takeover in the chaos and confusion.

Now, metahumans were a thing and it was safer for them to work together. Barry had no desire to overthrow Len.

“Where’s Dani?” Len asked stepping back.

“We played Cheetah, Leopard, Lion. She did great. Just like we practiced,” Barry said. He went to the bathroom. There was a hidden door that only she and the top members could open that blended seamlessly into the wall, courtesy of Cisco. There was one in every home Dani might go to. Cisco knew this life was dangerous and he was not going to have his daughter in more danger than necessary. It was also large enough that is the adults needed to hide it could open into a full-on bunker. But Dani’s area was just a room for her.

“Sweetheart?” Barry knocked on the door. “Lion is gone it’s just Cheetah and Leopard now, can you come out?” They had to identify themselves as such for the game to be over and Dani to come out. Obviously, they hadn’t told her why they were playing this game, but they practiced it semi-regularly.

There were a few seconds wait before Dani opened the door and ran into Len’s arms. “You did so good Snowflake, you won the game,” he encouraged. “Let’s go tell Mommy and Daddy.”

Barry knew this had shaken Len more than he let on if he was calling Cisco her Daddy. Len didn’t like that Lisa and Cisco had been dating on and off since Cisco and Barry joined the mob in college.

Lisa had been seeing some sleaze bag and only met Cisco by accident. They both volunteered at a woman’s shelter, Cisco did handiwork and electrical work for them. The shelter had helped Lisa and leave the sleaze bag and she continued volunteering to get to know Cisco. They never put a label on it, but they’d been going steady for a few months when Lisa vanished.

Barry had to comfort him and that was actually around the time they met Caitlin. She was the daughter of a mob doctor, following in her mother’s footsteps. It hadn’t taken long for the three to become thick as thieves.

About a year later Barry had met Thawne and they had an unhealthy whirlwind of a romance. Lisa had returned with a baby girl, Dante Snart, after Cisco’s brother that was killed in a car accident ten years before. Cisco had immediately taken her back and they moved in together. They were on again off again, but it was mostly on. Then the accelerator exploded, and their lives were never the same.

“I’ll shoot Cisco a text and let him know we’ll be there early. It’ll just worry them if I tell them why,” Barry said standing up. “I’ll pack up the breakfast stuff and we can finish there.” He was determined to have a nice day.

Twenty minutes later they were at Lisa’s. “Hi princess,” Lisa cooed scooping her up. “How was Uncle Lenny’s?” Lisa asked nuzzling into her playfully. The girl just giggled and gripped the snow leopard, a gift from Barry.

“We played lots a games!” she said excitedly.

“Why don’t we let Lenny tell Mommy about the games, Dani? We can go help Daddy cook,” Barry asked. She scrambled out of Lisa's arms and booked it to the kitchen.

After calming both Lisa and Cisco down after telling them everything they agreed to no counteraction, yet. It was late when Barry and Len left and arrived back home.

“Scarlet?” Len asked as he shut the door. “Be honest with me, how are you?”

Barry smiled sadly at him. “I’m upset this happened today but glad no one was hurt. I just want to go to bed and forget about Thawne and Santini for a bit.”

“Mmhm, I can help with that,” Len purred, and Barry shivered. “Want me to help you forget?”

“Yes.”

Barry was pinned to the wall within a moment with Len’s lips on his and his hands above his head. Barry eagerly returned the kiss. “Get us to the bed,” Len demanded, barely pausing for a breath.

The next moment they were naked on the bed, Len still on top. “Eager?”

Barry glared and rolled his hips. “Same as you.”

Len moaned. “We’ve got all night Scarlet.” Barry grinned and pulled Len back down for a kiss. He was going to enjoy forgetting for the night.