Title: Whatever Happens Here, We Remain
Series: Overprotective Criminals 'Verse
Fandom: CW's The Flash
Pairings: Barry Allen/Mick Rory/Leonard Snart, Eddie Thawne/Iris West
Warnings: Established relationship, polyamory, canon-typical violence, Joe's A+ parenting, Lewis' A+ parenting, relationship reveal, canon character death, grief and depression
Summary: With what Barry hopes is the final battle with Wells on the horizon, there are only two people he really trusts to help him take out the other speedster. Getting them to come will be easy – they've been wanting a crack at him since Christmas – but getting the rest of his team to accept their help? That's going to be a little more difficult.
Disclaim Her: Not mine.
A/N: About the time I started working on A Distraction of Ice and Fire, I realised I would be writing something for the season finale. Which would, of course, have to involve Len and Mick helping Team Flash with Wellsobard. (Which meant I needed to figure out how much everyone knew about Barry's relationship; enter Relationship Status.) Are y'all excited? Cuz I'm excited. XD
This touches briefly on e20 The Trap, skips most of e21 Grodd Lives, and goes right into e22 Rogue Air and e23 Fast Enough. (With a side of Arrow s3e23 My Name is Oliver Queen.)
I sort of, while getting into the fandom, fell in love with the idea that a Barry who spent time with criminals before or during his first year as the Flash would have been a lot more proactive with getting the metahumans in the pipeline into more humane accommodations, so assume they're all either in Iron Heights, or Len and Mick broke them free en route. (I maybe have a vague idea for a headcanon in this 'verse where Barry helps them free Shawna, because I think this Barry would have a soft spot for her committing crimes to help her criminal boyfriend.) ANYWAY, the point is, there aren't any metas in the pipeline, so the whole mess with the Snarts betraying Team Flash doesn't happen.
It isn't until he's walking up the stairs to their current safehouse – after a long day of really shitty revelations and too many hours spent searching the city with no sign of Eddie – that it occurs to him that he hadn't seen any evidence of there being a camera inside the flat he shares with Len and Mick. Which, given, they'd only moved to their current flat four days ago, but there actually hadn't been any video surveillance of Len or Mick, so far as he'd seen. (Not that he'd really had time to do much digging, but Cisco had gone through everything while he was searching for Eddie, making a list of all the cameras they would need to pull, and he hadn't said anything. And, for all that Cisco was super good about Barry's being in a polyamorous relationship, he probably would have had something to say about who Barry was sleeping with.)
Still, as soon as he gets in, despite his exhaustion, he does a quick run through the safehouse, looking for any sign of cameras that look like the tech they'd pulled around S.T.A.R. Labs and coming up empty. Is the lack because of his own paranoia making it difficult for Dr Wells to follow him home and plant them, or because Len or Mick are paranoid enough to have spotted any shortly after they'd been placed?
"Barry?" Mick calls, and he realizes he's stopped in the middle of the living room and his–
Barry blinks down at his hands, a little disturbed to find them vibrating.
Warm hands wrap around his biceps and Barry looks up to find Mick watching him with that little crease between his brows that means he's really, really concerned. Len is leaning against the wall behind him, stance casual, but expression twisted with the same level of concern as Mick.
"Wells," Barry gets out, somehow. "He–he got away. Kidnapped Eddie. I can't–"
He can't find him. He can't beat Wells, couldn't even manage to trap him because he's been ten steps ahead the entire time. And now he has Eddie and is doing god knows what to him and–
Something – Len – presses against his back and a hand covers his eyes. "Breathe," Len murmurs against his ear, his voice gentle and slow. "Stop thinking for a moment, stop worrying, just breathe. Slowly, normal people speeds. There you go," he adds as Barry gets his breathing to match the rise and fall of the chest pressed against his back.
Barry lets himself droop back against Len, closing his eyes since he can't see with the hand covering them anyway, and makes himself focus on his breathing and the comforting warmth of his boyfriends bracketing him.
Len gives him a long moment, and then he says, "Hot chocolate?"
Barry isn't certain where the laugh that huffs out of him comes from, but he's so unbelievably grateful for it. "Yeah," he decides, because it's become a comfort drink, as often as Len makes it for him. "But go easy on the marshmallows."
Len makes an insulted noise and shoves Barry forward, into Mick's waiting arms – Barry doesn't even need to open his eyes to know he's there and ready to catch him – and stalks off into the kitchen while Barry manages to unbury another laugh, and Mick chuckles into his hair.
"Couch?" Mick asks after a moment.
"Yeah," Barry agrees, and opens his eyes to navigate the living room, because they haven't been living there nearly long enough for him to do it blind, and Mick always complains about how he's not eating enough on the rare occasion that Barry lets him pick him up and his mouth isn't busy with more important things.
Mick pulls Barry down to sit next to him, bodies nearly flush, leaving plenty of room for Len to take Barry's other side. And then Mick threads his fingers through Barry's hair and starts sort of...petting him.
Barry doesn't last long before he closes his eyes and drops his head onto Mick's shoulder, letting the repetitive motion soothe away the stress of the day. And it's so nice to be able to forget that his carefully crafted world is falling apart, because, inside these walls, everything is the same as it's been since college. As stressful as it's been, at times, not being able to mix his boyfriends with the rest of his life, it's a relief, right that moment. Here, Wells is just a voice on the phone, and Eddie is just his jerk co-worker who his boyfriends occasionally whisper about punching when they think Barry can't hear them.
The familiar scent of Swiss Miss precedes Len over to the couch, and Barry finally opens his eyes so he can look up and accept one of the mugs Len has brought out. Mick's has the fewest marshmallows of the three, while the one Len keeps for himself is almost overflowing with the little white pillows of pure sugar. Barry's mug is somewhere between them, the exact amount he adds on the rare occasion he has to make himself hot chocolate.
When Len sits, he's as close to Barry as Mick is, and he feels a little bit more tension drain away, because he knows he's safe between them. (He also knows there's at least six guns in easy reach of one of the three of them, and Barry can get to the cold and heat guns in less than two seconds. And his boyfriends have made certain he can use both of them, if he needs to; if Wells finds them, there's a weapon in easy range that can, at the very least, slow him down. And that is more security than he's had anywhere else. God, he's never been so grateful that Len got that stupid gun.)
Len waits until they've all had a few sips of their hot chocolate, then he says, voice still that gentle, calming tone, "So, you were all correct that Harrison Wells is the Man in Yellow. This...'Reverse-Flash'."
"Yeah," Barry agrees quietly.
"I take it you discovered as much by cornering him, and he left some bruises as he fled with Detective Douche?"
Barry swallows, unable to dredge up his usual smile at the name Len had started using for Eddie after he'd found out about Barry being polyamorous and turned into an asshole over it. "We didn't–" He stops, has to take a long gulp of his hot chocolate. "We tried to get him to confess to Mom's murder, but it failed. It was–wasn't even him. He got Everyman – Hannibal Bates – you remember him?"
"Yes," Len agrees, and Barry can feel Mick nodding on his other side. "Charged with multiple counts of identity theft."
Barry nods, rubbing his thumb along the handle of his mug. "Reports say he was yanked straight through the outer wall of his cell. By the time Singh was trying to call Joe, we were watching who we thought was Wells walk into the downstairs lab. When he made like he was gonna kill Cisco, Joe shot him. And then–"
"He reverted," Mick says for him, like he knows Barry's struggling with the memories of that terrible moment, when he still thought that the last chance to save his dad was dead on the floor.
Barry takes another long gulp of his hot chocolate to steady himself, bring him back to the security of home. "Wells, he, over the the intercom, he taunted us, told us he–he's always one step ahead, that our lives are better because of him!" That last comes out a snarl, because how is his life 'better'?
But then a warm, familiar hand settles at the back of his neck – Mick – while Len's long fingers slide along the underside of his chin, turning his head until they're facing each other. "Whether your life – and the lives of your friends – are better or worse than they might have been without his manipulations, is no more something you can determine, than he can. All you can decide is if you like the life you have right now."
Barry closes his eyes and tilts his head forward, so his and Len's foreheads are resting together. Is he happy? Generally, yes. He has Iris, Joe, and his dad; that mix of people who helped shape who he is and the course his life took. He has Len, Mick, and Lisa; his second family, who he knows without question will always have his back. He's got a job he loves with people who maybe think he's a little weird, but generally trust that he's competent. He's got Caitlin and Cisco in Central, Felicity, Oliver, and Digg in Star; friends who aren't afraid to do what it takes to save complete strangers because it's the right thing to do. The only person missing is Mom, but she's always been with him in spirit.
Yeah, he's happy – stressed, angry at being manipulated, at having his life changed at the whims of someone he knows only lies about – but he's happy. Safe, curled between the two men who mean the world to him.
Len cups his cheek and presses a brief kiss against his lips, like he knows the conclusion Barry's reached. And then Mick tugs on him lightly, and Barry turns to get a kiss from him, too, just the littlest bit more heated.
"I suppose," he says, just the slightest bit of good humor slipping into his voice, "that I'm stuck with you two."
"What a shame," Len replies, deadpan.
Mick just snorts and lets go of Barry's nape to poke Len's cheek, which earns him a snarl and a snap of Len's teeth.
The laugh is quiet and small and not nearly as much of a surprise as his first one of the evening had been. But it's just as welcome, easing away some of the darkness that's started coming back to roost on Barry's shoulders.
(No, he wouldn't give up his boyfriends for anything. Not even, to his shame, his mom being alive.)
He gives them all a moment to just be – together, themselves, safe, happy – and then he tells them, "He'd planted cameras, was watching us."
Len goes stiff, his expression shutting down in a way Barry's only seen a handful of times. Mick grabs Len's shoulder – Barry can't tell if it's meant to hold Len down, keep Mick from raging, or a little bit of both – and then he says, his voice hard and on the edge of a wildfire's rage, "The racin' 'round when ya got in."
Barry swallows and nods; it's not him they're angry with, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous or terrifying. "I didn't see any videos of us three or Lisa in the recordings I saw, and Cisco hasn't mentioned any. I don't think he got the chance to plant any – I certainly didn't find any when I got home. But the precinct, Joe's house, the labs..."
Len's been relaxing as Barry speaks, his too-still face easing into something more familiar. A little worried, but also relieved. "Given his clear disapproval of your mystery partners, not to mention our alter egos, I expect we would know if he was aware of Mick or myself. But his watching the rest of you certainly clarifies his play at omniscience. I presume the cameras have all been removed?" he says, his voice settling back into that gentle calmness.
Barry breathes in, lets Len's calm tones and the warm weight of Mick's arm resting against his shoulders ease him back into a place where he can face the past few hours without sobbing in defeat. "Yeah. Cisco watched all the videos enough to make a note of where all the cameras are placed. All the ones at the lab are down and deactivated. Joe, Caitlin, and Cisco are gonna get the ones at their places tonight, and Joe and I'll get the ones at the precinct and Picture News tomorrow."
"Iris' flat?" Mick asks, and Barry startles a little, because they'd all sort of forgot about that one. "Let us know when she's out 'n where it is 'n we'll get it."
"I– Are you sure?" Barry asks, looking between them.
Len flashes him a sharp little smile. "Please. Even if it is a cop's place, breaking in will be child's play."
Barry huffs and tries not to feel too warmed at the show that his boyfriends are willing to go out of the way to keep his foster sister – whom neither of them have ever met – just that littlest bit safer. "I'll text you when I know she's out of her place," he promises. "Pretty sure the camera's hidden on the shelf next to the front door, where they hang their keys and Iris' purses. I'll take a picture of one of the ones in my lab when I get in, so you know exactly what you're looking for."
"Good," Mick says, and lets go of Len's shoulder so he can curl his hand around the nape of Barry's neck again. "We'll worry 'bout yer sister, get sum'un to keep an eye on 'er."
"Someone subtle," Len adds, like he knows that Barry was about to remind them that Iris is a reporter who was raised by a cop; she'll notice a tail in a heartbeat unless they're damn good. "Now, you said something about Detective Douche getting grabbed?"
Barry nods and swallows. "He was with Iris – protection, in case something went wrong. Wells, he found them, grabbed Eddie and ran. I've searched...so much of the city," he adds, exhaustion creeping into his voice; the only reason he'd come home was that he was so tired he'd started tripping on stairs again. And if he's losing focus enough to be tripping on stairs, he's going to miss something.
He doesn't need to look between them to know Len and Mick are trading a look, having a quick conversation around him. He doesn't bother trying to figure out what they're saying – or not saying, as the case is – just swallows down the last of his hot chocolate.
He's actually kind of unsurprised when Len takes both Barry and Mick's mugs, then gets up to put them in the kitchen while Mick stands, then picks Barry up before he can stand on his own.
"Really?" he complains, even as he drops his head against Mick's shoulder, because there's no point in trying to argue this.
Len and Mick let him use the loo and brush his teeth on his own, but they don't let him undress himself – he's pretty sure both of them are trying to hide smiles by the time he's naked, as much as he's huffing at them – and Mick carries him into their bed, dropping him into the middle, even though Barry usually likes to sleep on the outside now, since the lightning made him even more of an obnoxiously restless sleeper than he was before.
Still, it's nice being held between his boyfriends, and he closes his eyes to sleep without any more huffing.
He wakes up twice from nightmares in the middle of the night, but they don't let him get up to walk them off, like he usually does, just rub at his hip or kiss his face and shoulders until he can settle down and go back to sleep. Which is unfamiliar, but actually kind of nice.
He wants to be grumpy at them spoiling him, but it's been a really shitty couple of weeks, and he's tired and worn down enough to admit that he maybe needs a little bit of being spoiled. And he wishes, more than anything, that he could just stay right where he is, warm and safe between the men he loves, until everything blows over.
He does not, of course, get to be warm and safe until Wells is handled. Instead, he gets to suffer Iris' upset when she corners him about his secret identity – "I don't know why I'm surprised at how many secrets you're hiding from me," she'd said, and that had hurt, because he knew she meant Len and Mick's identities, which he'd been hiding from her as much for her safety as theirs, and he'd thought she'd understood that enough to not hold it against him; not for the first time, he wondered if he should just introduce them and damn the consequences – the terror of losing Joe to a psychic gorilla and the very real concern that he won't be alive when they find him, and almost dying himself because of said gorilla.
And then the particle accelerator is turned on and Wells manages to escape Barry yet again, always moving just the littlest bit too fast. At least they find Eddie, but he's distant in a way that reminds Barry of those months that they'd avoided each other because Eddie didn't know how to handle knowing someone who was polyamorous. So he stays back, lets Iris handle her boyfriend, and tries not to think on it too much as she takes him home.
That becomes a lot easier when Cisco finds the future tech Wells – Thawne, whoever – has left behind to power up the accelerator.
"How long until it's fully functional?" Barry asks after Cisco makes it clear he has no idea how to disable the device.
"Best I can tell," Cisco replies with a sort of helpless shrug, "thirty-six hours?"
Barry nods. "Then that's when Wells will be back."
And, Barry realizes while Joe's questioning why Wells wants the damn thing on, that means they have thirty-six hours or so to find some sort of way to capture and hold Wells.
Barry remembers how safe he always feels at home, now, with the cold gun close to hand. He considers how unlikely it would be, for someone who didn't know about his relationship with Len and Mick, to envision him asking the two supervillains for help. They'll agree, he knows, but Joe and Caitlin and Cisco...
Well, he supposes the only way to find out if his two worlds can mesh, is to throw them together. And hope he's fast enough to pull everyone out of the way of any attempts at violence.
(He has a bad feeling this isn't going to end well.)
Len has been saying pretty much since their first trap against the Reverse-Flash failed that he'd like to know more about Barry's friends, so Barry isn't particularly surprised when his face lights up that way it does when Barry or Mick suggest he should unwrap them, when Barry finally asks the pair of them about helping out after he's had enough sleep to think and see straight.
Mick just sort of shrugs, then says, "Lisa's in town."
Len's delight darkens and he shoots Mick a scowl. "No."
"What's she gonna say when she finds out we took on this fucker without 'er?"
Len snarls, then pulls out his mobile and stalks towards the kitchen to, Barry can only assume, ring her.
Barry blinks at Mick a couple times, then points out, "A normal gun isn't going to stop him any more than it'd stop me."
Mick shrugs. "So talk t'yer builder friend."
Barry's pretty sure his giggle comes out slightly strained.
And then his mobile rings, unexpected enough he jumps. When he pulls it out of his pocket, he frowns to see Iris' name and retreats to the bedroom even as he answers with, "Hey, Iris. What's up?"
"It's Eddie," she says, and she sounds like she's been angry-crying, the same way she used to do when they were kids and Joe came down on them about something stupid and minor.
Barry closes the bedroom door and leans back against it, his heart plummeting in his chest. "What? Is he okay?"
"He's–" She lets out a frustrated noise, then blows her nose into something. "Dammit! Wells apparently showed him some proof that you and I get married in the future."
Barry chokes. "I– Wait, what?" That had been his teenage dream, sure: white picket fence, two kids, and a dog. But then he'd met Len and Mick, and he couldn't imagine leaving them for anyone. "No! I mean, Christ, Iris, don't take this the wrong way, because you know I love you, but like a sister."
"I know that," Iris insists, "and I thought Eddie knew it, too. But now he's got it in his head that the two of us are getting together and damn whatever I say!"
Barry sighs and rubs at his face. "Okay, shit, okay. Look, do you want me to try talking to him?"
Iris sighs herself, sounding a little less angry. "Please? I don't know how much it'll help, but he's not listening to me."
"Worth a shot," Barry decides. "Do you know where he is right now?"
"The precinct. Which, actually, where are you?" she asks, and Barry recognizes her reporter voice.
He almost tells her a lie so she won't worry about their current crisis, but then he remembers what she'd said to him after surprising him in S.T.A.R. Labs. "I– The particle accelerator, we're thinking we've got about twenty-three hours before it comes back online and Wells shows back up. So I'm trying to recruit some help he won't expect."
"Oh? What sort of help?" Iris asks, faux casual.
Barry can't help but glance at the door behind him. "Captain Cold and Heatwave?"
There's a beat of silence, then, "Bartholomew Henry Allen," she breathes, delight in her voice, "are you dating supervillains?"
"What?!" Barry replies, and he knows his voice went too high, that she'll know she's right.
Iris laughs like she's just won the lottery. "I knew the Flash had to know them personally, the way you three banter back and forth. Oh, I should have realized as soon as I found out it was you."
Barry moans and covers his face with both his hands, keeping his mobile to his ear with his shoulder. Because now he thinks about it, he can remember her hypothesizing that him, Len, and Mick were friends in their civilian lives and all knew who each other were. He'd sort of laughed her off at the time, but of course she'd put together 'Barry's dating two male criminals' and 'the Flash is super friendly with Captain Cold and Heatwave' and get 'Barry is dating Leonard Snart and Mick Rory'. Of course she would. "Please, please don't tell your dad."
"He's gonna shit bricks," Iris realizes, sounding way too delighted about it.
"Iris Ann West," Barry says, because she totally started the full name usage. "Don't you dare."
Iris is quiet just long enough for him to seriously consider tracking her down and locking her up somewhere. But then she says, "Oh, I think I'm going to enjoy holding a secret over his head this time."
"And you are letting me meet them, now."
Barry knocks his head back against the bedroom door a couple times, as though it'll actually help anything, then he sighs and agrees, "Yeah, okay. They're both willing to help, so we'll all be at S.T.A.R. Labs tonight. Earlier, maybe, depending on necessary prep time."
"Before then, Bare," Iris insists. "I am not going to have the first time I meet your boyfriends be when Dad's holding a gun to their heads."
That's...fair, he supposes. And then he sighs and steps out of the bedroom and down the hall to the living room, where his boyfriends are both pretending they haven't been eavesdropping on his conversation. "Lunch with Iris?" he says.
Len blinks, a small but telling sign of his surprise, but Mick lets out a loud laugh and says, "Yeah, alright." Then he looks at Len. "Lisa comin', too?"
"It'll be a regular afternoon television meet-and-greet," Len says, deadpan.
Iris is giggling in Barry's ear.
Barry just rolls his eyes. "Iris, I'll pick you up on my way back from talking some sense into your boyfriend, okay?"
"Good luck," Iris says with a huff. Then she sighs and adds, "Thank you. I'll be in Jitters across the street."
"Sure. I'll see you soon." He sighs himself as he hits the end call button and shoots his boyfriends a tired look. "It was the bantering."
Mick starts cackling, while Len offers an unapologetic shrug and wiggles his mobile at Barry. "I'll call Lise back while you're having words with Detective Douche. Meet at Saints?"
Saints and Sinners is one of Len and Mick's favorite pubs in Central, and happens to be about halfway between their current safehouse and the one Lisa is most likely staying in, so it'll be convenient for those of them without superspeed. Depending on what Iris got dressed in that morning, she might stand out a little, but Barry's enough of a regular that most of the people who frequent won't make much notice of someone so obviously from the nicer part of town. (Anyway, only idiots would try something against the guests of Captain Cold and Heatwave; them becoming supervillains have done an awful lot in terms of their 'don't mess with us' cred.)
"Yeah, Saints works," Barry agrees, then goes to finish getting ready for what's promising to be another long day. When he's ready, he makes his way out of the flat and over a few blocks at a normal speed, before flashing into the city proper; avoiding flashing in and out of their safehouses is just being smart. Doubly so once people started to recognize what his trail of lightning means.
Eddie is just stepping through the doors into the bullpen when Barry steps out of the lift, and Barry doesn't bother with subtle, just snaps, "Eddie Thawne, you are an idiot."
Eddie isn't the only one to turn to look at him, but he is the only one who looks even vaguely concerned by the scowl Barry's wearing. One of the officers standing within range even reaches over and claps him on the shoulder. "Thought you knew better than to fuck up one of the lab rats' samples," he says with a laugh.
Eddie doesn't laugh in return, but he does appear to rally himself, and he steps towards Barry, closing the distance to no more than two feet between them, so the whole precinct doesn't hear him when he says, tone flat and unimpressed, "I should have known Iris would send you. She couldn't convince me of the truth, so she sent–"
"Her brother?" Barry suggests in as cold a tone as he can manage. "I have someone, Eddie, which you know. And I can't imagine either of us are going to do something that's so much worse than the shit we've put each other through in the past seven years, that our only option is to break up."
Eddie reels back, his eyes widening with shock. "Seven years?" he breathes. Because Barry has certainly never clarified how long he's been with Mick and Len, and Iris apparently hasn't either.
Barry smiles, then, not making any effort to make it particularly nice. "Consider, for one minute, that the man you're getting your information from purposefully built a particle accelerator that would explode and kill seventeen people, after he killed a man so he could take his place and lie to all of us for months. For years, if we're counting how long Caitlin and Cisco have known him. And he has knowledge of and access to future technology that even Cisco won't dare touch." He steps forward, getting directly in Eddie's face, and whispers, "I don't know about you, but I am not playing by his rules any more."
Eddie retreats a step, looking shaken. "That's easy for you to say. But you–" And then he stops, like he's maybe rethinking whatever he was about to say.
Barry gives him a moment to reword whatever it is, but when Eddie stays silent, he shrugs. "I'm taking Iris to lunch, then we're heading to the lab," he says, before turning away and heading back towards the lift.
Eddie doesn't make any move to stop him, and since it's Barry's scheduled day off – thank you, Wells, for at least planning around his work schedule – no one can yell at him about the backlog waiting in his lab, so he makes it across the street to Jitters without any further drama.
Iris is seated at one of the tables near the front, playing with an empty pastry bag and looking strained. When she sees him, though, her face lights up and she gets up to hug him. "So?" she asks, and there's so much hope in her voice.
Barry sighs and shrugs. "I said my piece. What he does now is up to him."
She closes her eyes and nods, an air of resignation about her.
Barry swallows and offers, "I told him we'd be at the labs after lunch, so maybe he'll show up there and you'll have to save him from Joe?"
That wins him a smile, which widens a bit as she says, "Oh, I'm not the only one who's going to be protecting her boyfriend from Dad."
"I love how you assume I'm going to be introducing them as anything other than the help," Barry mutters, tugging on her arm so she'll follow him out of the coffee shop.
"Oh, like he won't try to shoot them anyway," Iris replies, sounding way too delighted. Then again, it's pretty common knowledge that the Flash can catch bullets, so Barry expects she's envisioning a dramatic little moment where Joe fires and Barry catches the bullets inches in front of Len and Mick's faces. Which, as terrifying as the constant fear that he'll be too slow at some point is, is a very likely scenario.
Great. Now he gets to spend lunch thinking about that. Thanks, Iris.
"So," Iris says as Barry leads her into one of the alleys he regularly flashes into and out of in the area, "where are we eating? Your flat?"
Barry rolls his eyes. "A pub we frequent. And Len's sister, Lisa, is meeting us there. I'm gonna pick you up, okay?"
"Okay!" Iris chirps, looking like she's having the time of her life.
(Considering she's discovered, over the course of the past two weeks, both his secret identity as the Flash and the identities of his mystery boyfriends, she probably is.)
Barry flashes them into one of the abandoned office buildings a couple blocks over from Saints and Sinners, one which is a regular hovel for the homeless and transients, but is large enough that Barry never has trouble finding an empty room to return to normal speed in. When Iris starts looking around with a confused frown, he explains, "I have a handful of abandoned buildings I speed in and out of down here, so people are less likely to attach the Flash to Barry Allen."
"I suppose that makes sense," Iris admits as she follows him out of the office and down the cracked and pitted staircase to the rubbish-strewn lobby. "Especially on this side of town."
Barry nods and grimly says, "We're right on the edge of mob territory, yeah; some places, even the Flash avoids."
Iris tugs her purse against her chest and steps a little closer to him. "Is that safe? I mean, for you living over here?"
Barry shrugs, doing his best to act casual, because he doesn't want to spook her with the truth, which is that most of the times they move safehouses, it has something to do with Len or Mick pissing off one of the mob families. "No one's gonna chance taking on Captain Cold and Heatwave," he points out, "and it's common knowledge I'm both friendly with them and process crime scenes for the police, so most people leave me alone, any more."
Barry shrugs again and wraps an arm around her shoulders, because she looks a little spooked. (Which, too be fair, he's spent a lot of time being spooked in this part of Central, because Len and Mick haven't always been quite so dangerous to piss off, and he hasn't always had the protection of his being a member of the CCPD.)
Saints and Sinners is as much of a dump on the outside as ever, and Iris shoots it an uncertain look that makes Barry grin. (If only because he'd had a similar reaction the first time Mick dragged him to it.) The inside, though, is both dim and clean, with just enough of a crowd to make it clear that the place is a favorite lunch stop for those working nearby.
"Hey, B-Kid!" one of the regulars, Matty, calls to Barry while his eyes are still adjusting to the change in light levels. "You got five?"
Barry lets out a huff that's maybe a little too fond. Matty is the unofficial landlord of a couple of the abandoned buildings nearby and is constantly asking Barry for hints on how best to clean up new and often disturbing messes left by those who squatted there. At least half of them probably should have involved the police, but the handful of times Barry had tried to make a case, he was ignored. Mostly because there aren't that many cops who are both willing to run an investigation so close to mob territory and give a damn about the homeless and transients. "Not today, Matty," he calls back, nodding towards where he can see Len, Mick, and Lisa waiting for them in their usual booth near the back. "Try bleach."
"Already did," Matty complains, and Barry shrugs at him as he leads Iris through the crowd around the billiards table, where Rebecca, Janice, and Kim are facing off to decide who'll be paying for lunch that day. (More often than not, one of the guys watching them play pays, though only because all three of them are scary-good pickpockets who have no shame in baring a little skin as a distraction.)
As they reach the table, Barry sees that Len and Mick both found time to change into clothing that is a bit more dressy than they usually wear to the pub, but still casual enough that people can pretend they don't know they're supervillains. Neither are wearing their specialized guns, but Barry's familiar enough with the lines of their bodies to tell that Len's carrying at least one gun, while Mick's got at least two. Lisa is, of course, her usual sparkling self in designer clothing she probably stole and enough gold and diamonds to put a rich man's trophy wife to shame. Barry knows her well enough to assume she's got a gun in both her purse and hidden under her tight jacket, and she's probably got pepper spray in one of her pockets, just to spray in the faces of guys catcalling her on the street.
"Hey, cutie-bean!" Lisa calls to him with a wide, mean smile, and Iris chokes out a laugh at the nickname Lisa had started using for him the first time she heard Mick complaining about Barry being beanpole-thin.
Barry snorts and leans over the table to kiss her cheek. "Hi, Lise. New earrings?"
Lisa reaches up and touches one of the earrings, which have a gold setting with a trinity of miniature diamonds at the ear and a golden beryl drop dangling below. Barry only knows what the pretty golden gem is because he'd seen the list of missing items the jewelry shop Captain Cold and Heatwave had hit last week turned in. He resists glancing at his boyfriends, mostly because he's become used to seeing the items he knows they've stolen on people they know. (Usually on Lisa, of course, but they sometimes use them to pay for amenities or favors, when they don't have the necessary funds in cash, and he knows of two separate occasions when they'd given something pretty to someone who looked like they were in desperate need of something to cheer them up.)
"Isn't that–?" Iris starts, probably having seen the same list, before she clears her throat and says, "They're very pretty."
Lisa's grin would make a shark proud. "Aren't they? Lenny got them for me."
Iris mutters something that sounds like, "I'll bet."
Barry shakes his head and motions to her. "Iris West, my sister. Iris, this is Len Snart and Mick Rory, my boyfriends, and Lisa Snart, Len's sister."
"Charmed, Miss West," Len says with his easy charm and slightly cool smile, holding out a hand towards her.
Iris takes it and doesn't seem particularly surprised when Len pulls it forward to kiss the back. Barry just looks at Mick and rolls his eyes, which wins him a quick, amused smile. "I'm sure you are," Iris tells Len, "but if you try to pull a Robin Hood with my class ring, I'll Mace you."
Lisa's laugh is delighted, while Len's smile takes on a distinctly sharp edge. "I like you," Lisa announces, patting the empty bench next to her. "Sit, come on."
Barry waves for her to do so before stepping away to collect an unused chair from the nearest table and pulling it over to sit in at the end of the table. When Mick raises an eyebrow at him – a silent offer to switch – Barry shakes his head, because he's comfortable enough in Saints and Sinners to turn his back on the room. Anyway, he'd rather have the extra room to react if something happens.
"So," Lisa says, "you're the mysterious sister who talks Barry into misbehaving just to piss off dad."
Iris shoots Barry an unimpressed look and he does his best to look innocent as he points out, "You were the one who told me to come back and sleep with Len and Mick."
"I was seventeen," Iris reminds him. "And Dad was being unreasonable."
"Sounds like an average Thursday," Len says with a thin, sharp little smile.
Iris opens her mouth, looking a little incensed, then pauses and glances at Barry before deflating. "You might have a point," she allows.
Len's smile twists into a victorious smirk.
They're saved from whatever response he's formed by the arrival of Mindy, who plays waitress during the lunch rush. (She's also a black belt in judo, and Barry has seen her break the wrists of eight patrons who got a little handsy with her since she joined the staff a couple of months before his coma. By the stories he's heard from other patrons, she breaks, on average, one wrist every nine days, though it was a lot more common in her first three months.) They give her their orders and she leaves them with a promise of getting their drinks right away.
"I do have to wonder," Lisa says once Mindy's delivered their drinks and gone to answer someone else flagging her down, "how many people have realized you three are shameless flirts in costume." She looks pointedly between Len, Mick, and Barry.
Barry feels himself flush, because, okay, he knows that's a problem, but it's so hard not to respond when Len turns that particular smirk on him. (At least Cisco and Caitlin haven't seemed to have cottoned on, yet? And Iris just thought they were friendly, not sleeping together.)
Mick doesn't react to the comment, beyond a grunt of recognition, but Len smirks at Lisa and says, "If you're so jealous, you should just find your own pretty superhero to taunt over gems."
Lisa turns wide eyes on Barry and says, "You've seen under that hood; how pretty is the Arrow?"
Barry chokes and shakes his head, waving a hand at her in a motion he hopes she understands to mean 'abort'. "Trust me, Lise, the Arrow isn't going to stand back and let you steal gems while you flirt."
"Wait, so he's not dead?" Iris asks, frowning at Barry.
Barry clears his throat and grimaces a bit at the reminder of everything happening in Starling. He doesn't have the full story, but between his own knowledge of Oliver's team, the news, and what Felicity had sobbed to him the last time they'd spoken on the phone, it isn't a good one. "He's not," he says, and his voice comes out sounding a little strange to his own ears.
A warm hand settles over his knee and he offers Mick a smile that feels strained; they've known he's friends with Team Arrow since his return from Starling before his coma, and while he's already filled them in about recent events in Starling, he's also been trying to respect Oliver's secret identity. (Though he's about ninety percent certain that both of his boyfriends have known who the Arrow is since well before Captain Lance's crusade to get Oliver behind bars, and Roy's little blame transfer act isn't fooling either of them.)
Iris looks like she wants to drag more out of him, but she takes a sip of her water instead, then glances between Len and Mick. "So, how likely am I to get an exclusive with Captain Cold and Heatwave?"
Mick turns his best dumb muscle glare on her, which doesn't faze her – Barry hadn't expected it to, but he also knows that Mick's act is intended more for the others in the pub – while Len says, "I'm afraid Mick doesn't do interviews, but I'd be delighted to answer a few questions from my favorite reporter."
Barry groans and rubs at his face, while Lisa lets out an inelegant snort into her drink.
Iris, though, meets Len's charming smirk with a smile with teeth. "Flattery will get you everywhere, Captain."
Barry regrets everything.
"Well then," Len says on a purr. Then he flinches and shoots Mick a pathetic look that tells Barry, at least, that he just got pinched. Which he absolutely deserves.
"Oh, is there a rule, now, about not flirting with your lover's sister?" Lisa asks cheerfully.
"There is now," Barry says, raising both eyebrows at Len.
Len raises one eyebrow back at him. But he doesn't argue, which means he's going to stop acting so coolly charming towards Iris, and Barry's willing to take that win without crowing about it.
Iris' questions get them through the first half of lunch, and Barry filling Lisa – and Iris, a bit – in about Wells and the coming fight gets them through the rest of it.
"We'll meet you at S.T.A.R. Labs," Len says once they've left Saints and Sinners and walked over to the cluster of three motorcycles Barry knows belong to Lisa, Mick, and Len. "Barry, make sure you do one last run through the building for any new cameras Wells might have planted."
"Oh god," Iris whispers, looking ill.
Barry, though, is unsurprised about the order and has been doing occasional checks around the precinct, S.T.A.R. Labs, and their safehouse since they'd found out about the first batch. Given where Wells was hiding, one last check through S.T.A.R. Labs before Len, Mick, and Lisa show up is a smart choice. "As soon as I drop Iris in the cortex. I assume you pulled up and studied the S.T.A.R. Labs blueprints at some point?"
Len flashes him Captain Cold's familiar superior smirk. "Who do you think I am?"
Mick guffaws at that, then reaches out and catches Barry by the nape of his neck, using that hold to pull him into a hard kiss, which Barry doesn't even think about refusing. When he pulls back, Mick murmurs, "Ya got us watchin' yer back this time, 'n we ain't gonna let 'im touch ya."
Barry can't help a resigned smile at that. "Don't make promises you can't keep," he suggests, because Wells is fast, so much faster than Barry, and there's no way Mick or Len can react fast enough to keep him off Barry.
Mick's eyes narrow and light with something dangerous. "I'm not," he says, murderous intent in every syllable.
Barry tries very hard to pretend he's not getting uncomfortably turned on; he's pretty sure that, if there was a superhero handbook, not getting turned on by someone looking like they're going to kill someone else would be one of the first chapters.
And then Len is stepping up next to them, long fingers sliding around Barry's back to curl against his hip on the other side. "If you're going to start fucking, best find a room," he says, his voice low and full of promise.
Barry doesn't whimper, but it's a near thing.
Mick grunts and nips at Barry's mouth, then steps back, leaving plenty of room for Len to crowd in close and turn Barry's head so he can kiss him – quite literally – breathless. And then, taking advantage of Barry needing to catch his breath, says, "I'm going to enjoy ordering you around, Flash."
"I'm gonna let Joe shoot you," Barry gasps out, and Len laughs into the kiss Barry presses against his mouth, because he knows Barry far too well to believe he'd let Joe hurt him.
And then Len's stepping away, warning, "Twenty-three minutes, Barry," and Barry blinks a few times, a little surprised to realize he's already wearing his ridiculous parka, his gun strapped securely to his thigh and his googles hanging around his neck. Mick is almost finished putting on the last of his costume, while Lisa is sitting on her bike and very obviously ignoring them, because while she's delighted Len's got two people who love him as much as Barry and Mick do, she has also made it clear that she's not going to play voyeur to their make out sessions. (Which Barry appreciates. Truly.)
Iris is a little less well-behaved, wearing a wicked smile that Barry saw far too much of before his accelerated healing meant any marks Mick or Len leave on him don't last long enough for him to make it to S.T.A.R. Labs or the area around the precinct.
Barry coughs and motions for her to walk with him back towards the abandoned building they'd sped into earlier, fairly certain he's turned the color of a tomato.
Iris kindly waits until the roar of motorcycle engines signal the three criminals hitting the road before she says, "Tell me you've had sex in costume."
"Iris!" Barry complains.
"You have!" she says, clearly delighted.
"I'm disowning you."
Iris just laughs at him and kisses his cheek, then skips ahead to get the door of the building.
Once they've found an empty room, as Barry's moving to pick her up, she presses a stilling hand on his chest and catches his eyes. "They really love you," she says, quiet and serious.
Barry swallows and nods, because neither of them say the words very often, but he knows they do. Can read it in the way their expressions soften just the slightest bit when they see him safe, in how they'll step outside their own comfort zones when he desperately needs someone to hold him while he cries, in the way they never stop trying to find ways to keep him safe, even though he's so much more durable than them, now.
Iris smiles, then, and pulls him into a tight hug, which Barry is all too happy to return. "I'm glad," she whispers against his shoulder.
"Thank you," Barry whispers back, because he doesn't say it nearly enough, even though she's been right there, supporting him since the very beginning.
When she pulls back, her smile's turned a little wet, and she quickly wipes at her cheeks, then straightens and puts on a confident look. "Right. Let's go stop the Reverse-Flash."
"Let's," Barry agrees, and picks her up and runs out of the building.
Part One: Criminal Partners
Part Two: A Distraction of Ice and Fire
Part Three: Relationship Status
1/Cisco Ramon || 2/David Singh || 3/Felicity Smoak || 4/Eddie Thawne || 5/Henry Allen
Part Four: Whatever Happens Here, We Remain
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