Title: Relationship Status
Series: Overprotective Criminals 'Verse
Fandom: CW's The Flash
Pairings: Barry Allen/Mick Rory/Leonard Snart, Barry Allen & everyone(-ish)
Warnings: Established relationship, polyamory, acceptance, secret-keeping, relationship reveal, OCs using hate-language, some characters are assholes (not the fun kind)
Summary: Barry's Facebook status has changed between 'in a relationship' and 'it's complicated' at least a half-dozen times since he created the account, and he somehow doubts that will be changing any time soon.
Disclaim Her: Not mine.
A/N: This is something of an exploration of character relationships sort of fic. Which, honestly, I hadn't intended to write anything like this, but while I was working on the timeline for the next fic in the series, I realised I needed to figure out exactly how much everyone knows – or think they know – about Barry, Len, and Mick's relationship. And, yes, I could totally have just left this in my series notes – seriously considered doing so, actually – but then I decided, what the hell, might as well share this mess. So.
All that said, you don't actually have to read this fic to figure out what's going on in the next part. (Which will start posting next Monday.) This fic focusses a lot more on Barry's relationship with people other than Len and Mick, though they do get some scenes, so if that's not what you're here for, feel free to give it a pass.
As always, a thousand thanks to StillNotGinger10, who has provided services as both cheering section and beta reader.
So, Cisco Ramon's up first! (With honourable mention to Caitlin and Wellsobard.) This chapter covers some of this AU's backstory from Criminal Partners, with the 'present' part taking place around s1e2 Fastest Man Alive.
Part 1/5 - Cisco Ramon
Iris bullied him into joining Facebook not long after their return from the beach and Barry's discovering Len and Mick had vanished into the night. She'd used the offer of mind-numbing games to tempt him to join the time-waste, insisting that, if he was going to continue moping around the house the rest of the summer – which she hadn't meant meanly; she'd been his rock ever since he'd returned from the abandoned flat – he might as well do it in classic millennial fashion: From behind his computer screen.
In all honesty, half the reason he ended up joining was the vague hope that Len or Mick had an account. But, more likely, he admitted to himself as he came up empty on his searches for them, if they were anywhere on the internet, it was some sort of shadowy web forum used only by criminals. (He will later find out that he wasn't actually wrong about that, though they will both delete their accounts after taking on the code names Captain Cold and Heatwave. Because, as Len will joke, supervillains don't use 'plebian criminal web services'. He totally deserves the pillow and remote Barry and Mick throw at him.)
The options for relationship status ended up making him leave his room and actually get some real food – he'd done his best to ignore Joe and Iris' breaths of relief at his appearance in the kitchen – because while the abandoned flat had been a pretty clear 'we're breaking up', there hadn't been a note. Maybe they were just giving him the requested space? Maybe they'd had to get out of town in a hurry because the cops or FBI or someone caught wind of where they were? Maybe–
(Hope was pretty much the only thing keeping him going that summer, with a lot of help from Iris.)
He'd set his status to 'it's complicated', and Iris had come in and hugged him not long after he'd posted that, then showed him a few of her favorite games.
When he'd met back up with Len and Mick in Sun City a few months later, he'd changed it to 'in a relationship', and Iris had rung him within the hour demanding details. He'd also ended up having to explain the change to a few too many friends from high school or his college classes, and had eventually changed it back to 'it's complicated' just to get the lot of them to shut up about it for a while. (Especially as he hadn't really been comfortable publicly airing the particulars of his relationship; he was mostly out about being bi, and all of his friends who knew it were cool about it, but Joe's reaction to his being in a polyamorous relationship had been more than enough to teach him that he wanted to feel people out about that before letting them know the truth. And keeping which of his boyfriends' names he was using for a particular friend straight tended to be more of a headache than it was worth.)
He'd switched back and forth another time or three by the time Joe got him the job at his precinct. The first time one of his new co-workers sent him a friend request, he'd quickly changed his relationship status back to 'it's complicated', because he had no interest in tackling that bucket of worms in a police precinct, thanks.
So, really, it was no surprise that none of the members of the S.T.A.R. Labs team knew anything about his relationship when he woke up from his coma. Lady Gaga's music, sure, and probably a dozen other vaguely embarrassing facts – Barry has the sinking suspicion that Cisco had spent way too much time trolling through his Facebook page for nuggets of information about him – but nothing at all on the relationship front.
"So," Cisco asks a few days into the whole attempting to be a superhero thing, while they're waiting for Barry's broken ankle – he'd tripped up the stairs, and he's really glad none of the S.T.A.R. Labs team seem much inclined to mock him for his bumbling – to finish healing, "it's 'complicated', huh?"
Barry blinks a few times in confusion before it occurs to him what Cisco's talking about, then he groans. "You know," he says, potentially a little too honestly (though he will eventually learn that Cisco would have pestered him for more no matter how he answered), "the whole reason I leave that as my status, is that no one actually asks."
Cisco raises his eyebrows and leans forward a bit on his stool. "Oh, dude, you cannot leave it there. I'll make like a cat and die of curiosity."
Barry rolls his eyes and presses his hands together, because if he lets himself start rubbing at the itching of bones knitting together, it'll just make it take longer. So, because he can use the distraction, and he genuinely likes Cisco, he cautiously explains, "Sometime people get a little...weird. When they find out."
Cisco shoots him a comically wide-eyed look. "Dude. If you tell me you have a harem, I'm moving in with you."
Barry chokes out a laugh. "No, sorry. No all-night orgies for either of us." Even if Len hadn't vanished without a sign, Barry wouldn't have that, mostly because his boyfriends seem to think that, if they aren't all settled down in bed with the intention of getting sleep six hours before Barry's alarm for work goes off, he'll finally piss off Singh to the point that the captain fires him. Which, in all fairness to them, they might be right about.
Cisco sighs and leans back towards the nearest counter, almost falling off when he misjudges the distance.
"Nice save," Barry tells him with a laugh.
Cisco wiggles an unimpressed finger at him in return, then opens one of the drawers next him and pulls out a bag of dum-dums; it didn't take Barry long to realize that he's the reason there are sweets stashed pretty much everywhere in the lab. "Laugh at me and miss out on sugary goodness."
Barry grins and shakes his head. "Sorry, man. Could I have a grape one?"
Cisco digs through the bag for a moment, then tosses him one of the grape lollipops. He unwraps a red one for himself, politely waiting to shove it into his mouth until after he's said, "Seriously, how weird can your 'complicated' relationship be? I mean, compared to what we see every day?"
Barry takes a moment to suck on his lolly, debating whether or not to tell the truth; they may deal with things like superspeed and guys who can control the weather just fine, but polyamory is a completely different world of different. And not usually the sort people accept right away.
Still, he's done a bit of Facebook stalking of Cisco in return, and he's about seventy percent sure he'll take the truth well. (Well, the polyamory truth, at least. Barry dating a couple of wanted criminals? Maybe not so much.) So Barry sighs and pulls his dum-dum out of his mouth, then says, "I'm part of a threesome," and shoves the lolly back into his mouth.
Cisco blinks a couple times. "Huh. Like, two chicks and you? Because that would be–"
"No," Barry interrupts, turning his frown down to where his fingers are smoothing out the creases of his wrapper. "Three guys."
Cisco is quiet for a moment that feels way too long, and Barry honestly can't say how much of that is due to his own nerves causing time to dilate around him. (An unfortunate side-effect of his speed that he really could do without most of the time.) But then Cisco says, "Huh, that's cool. You three been together long?"
Barry swallows and nods. "Yeah. I missed our six year anniversary while I was in the coma."
"Shit, dude! I'm lucky if I make it past the second date!"
Barry glances up, then, and he can't help but laugh at Cisco's aghast expression, so obviously overdone it's impossible not to laugh.
But then Cisco's expression closes down, turning a little uncertain. "They never came to visit you while you were in the coma?"
Barry turns his attention to the empty stick of his dum-dum, picking at the edge of the paper like he always used to do as a kid, when he'd unroll it and use it as scrap paper. "Joe and them don't really...get on," he lies, because he'd much rather that excuse than telling the truth about Len and Mick's occupation. "They visited me in hospital, I guess, but they weren't willing to chance it once I got moved here."
"Shit. I'm sorry. If we'd known – if I'd known, at least – I coulda snuck them in the back when Joe wasn't around."
Barry offers him a tired smile. "Yeah. If I end up in another coma, I'll tell them to ring you about that."
Cisco makes a face at him.
Barry snorts, then carefully climbs out of the bed, testing his ankle and is grateful when it holds. "So, tackle more robbers?"
"Absolutely!" Cisco sings out, jumping up from his stool and racing Barry out of the medical room.
Cisco and him don't really talk about his boyfriends again, beyond an occasional teasing, "Someone had an awesome night," when Barry comes in with a skip in his step, or an apologetic, "Sorry to drag you away," when Barry gets called back in after he'd already gone home for the night. And Barry is so utterly grateful, because Cisco isn't weird about it, but he doesn't push, either. Like he gets that Barry hates having to lie about the men he loves to protect their identities, so he just doesn't give him cause to have to.
And Caitlin, likewise, takes her cues from Cisco on the matter, though she does end up insisting on running some additional tests that she hadn't bothered with previously, as she hadn't known he was sexually active. At least his early rehashes with Iris makes answering her more specific questions about his sex life a little less embarrassing than he might have expected them to be.
Dr Wells, on the other hand, has that same silently judgmental stare that Joe sometimes wears when Barry's being obstinate about not sharing his boyfriends' personal information or their current address. Barry takes to responding to it in the same way as he does with Joe: He avoids the topic whenever possible, and ignores Dr Wells' expression as best he can when he can't.
Part One: Criminal Partners
Part Two: A Distraction of Ice and Fire
Part Three: Relationship Status
Part Four: Whatever Happens Here, We Remain
One ||| Two ||| Three
Part Five: Nobly Save or Meanly Lose
1/Angel's Wings || 2/Damini's Shock || 3/Mini Mia || 4/Kerry's Flame || 5/Jackie's Force