Going to Victoria’s Secret, in person, was not Barry’s Plan A.
Obviously Plan A had been surreptitiously purchasing something online, having it delivered to a P.O. Box, and then wearing a trench coat and Groucho Glasses to pick it up.
But Barry knew (from trying to buy Iris presents over the years) that while men’s clothing sizes were based on actual body measurements, women’s were derived from some sort of insane space math -- no two stores had consistent sizing, some used odd numbers, some even, some used letters, and if the item was imported from the U.K. you could just forget the whole thing.
If he bought from the VS website he’d have no real idea of the comparative size of what he was ordering. So Plan B it was.
They had a location in the City Center near the used book store where he got his paperbacks and the Gap where he got his cardigans, so it was safely within his comfort zone. He could be calm about this. Just one of the neighborhood regulars, stopping in to pick up a gift for a female friend or relative.
Or maybe a girlfriend! They didn’t know.
Anyway it wasn’t like he was going to try anything on. He’d take the first pair of panties that looked like what he wanted, eyeball the size, and be out in no time.
“Welcome,” said the security guard(?!) because apparently Victoria’s Secret had a security guard: a kind looking man who appeared to be in his late 60s. He’d said one word of greeting, and Barry was ready to confess to every crime.
“Uh!” was Barry’s super smooth response, but luckily the guard had already turned back toward the door.
Barry scooted further into the store, hoping to move off of the other man’s radar, but he could see that the middle room was mostly fragrance, and the back was bras and cotton underwear. The lacier/sexier stuff was here in the front room.
Barry stood there for a beat, honestly considering a sensible pair of cotton briefs. Breathability could be sexy, right?
He sighed and turned to the right, toward a display with several mannequins in all manner of thongs, corsets, garters and panties in black and white and jewel tones with crisscrossing straps and lace edging.
They were exactly what he wanted -- what he’d always pictured when he’d let himself think about this sort of thing. He didn’t want to fully cross-dress, not really. He just wanted to wear panties.
He was pretty sure the urge came from the only centerfold he’d managed to get his horny little teenaged hands on.
It was a sexy librarian vignette, except it was torn from a magazine that was not Playboy or Hustler, so the production values were just not there. The girl was a mousey brunette, and awfully skinny (you could see the bones of her rib cage beneath her pale, freckled chest); she even appeared to have a pimple on her chin.
The only reason Barry even had it was because one of the older boys up the street had ripped it out to show everybody how funny it was that this girl was looking vaguely cross-eyed into the camera.
Barry’d identified with her intensely.
He’d only tried jerking off to her once, but it felt wrong, so instead he spent furtive hours looking at the picture under his blanket, thinking up her story -- simultaneously feeling bad that the other boys had laughed and excited that a girl like her (like him) had gotten into this sort of magazine at all.
At 15, struggling not only with his feelings for Iris, but also his growing infatuation with certain broad-shouldered boys on the swim team, Barry had looked at his centerfold girl and wanted to be her. Pretty, and not perfect, but still worth looking at for someone out there.
He’d imagined himself in her pose, her panties, spread-out for someone he wanted. On those occasions he’d had no problem at all getting off.
Now here he was, an adult with a disposable income and a side gig as a superhero, and all he had to do was reach out and grasp what he’d been wanting for so long.
Just as soon as the security guard wandered over to the other side of the store.
“Do you want to call her?”
Barry jumped at the sudden question. “What? Are you talking to me?”
The security guard chuckled a little and said, “Your wife. Or girlfriend? Trust me, if you don’t know her size it’s best to just call and ask. If you pick too small then she can’t wear it, and if you go too large you’ll be sleeping on the couch.”
This could be so easy. All Barry had to do was laugh, say he was fine, grab a few pairs in a variety of sizes (they were 6 for $24 after all), and then go try them on in the safety of his own home.
Instead he stood there white-knuckling a thong like he was trying to juice it, not saying anything and looking like a pervert. Looking like the sort of mouth-breathing creeper who the security guard was hired to keep out of the store.
“Darling, you would look terrible in that.” This time both Barry and the security guard startled, turning to take in--
--Leonard Snart. Looking unfairly attractive in a leather jacket over a zipped-up grey hoodie. With a smug smirk he reached over and plucked the thong out of Barry’s hand, tossed it back into the tray, and snarked, “Wrong size, too.”
Over Snart’s shoulder Barry watched the security guard’s expression change from confusion to a look of understanding and vague discomfort. He was older, Barry supposed, and braced for some sort of homophobic outburst.
But the guard just nodded at them once, then shuffled off to the other side of the room, hrmm-ing a bit to himself and shrugging, like, ‘Kids these days.’
“Len-- Leonard, what the hell?!” Barry scream-whispered, shoving the older man’s shoulder.
“I was passing by on my way to Jitters, and who should I see through the display window? Just figured I’d stop in, say hello.” The man was infuriating. “Did you know that you blush all the way to your wrists?”
Barry growled, and pulled his sweater sleeves down practically over his thumbs.
“This was supposed to be a surprise,” he groused, going back to listlessly sifting through the panties in the tray in front of him.
“Oh, it’s definitely surprising,” Leonard reached over as he talked and smacked a pair of lurid pink boyshorts out of Barry’s hand. “Say, you weren’t planning on stealing these, were you?”
“Of course not!” Barry grabbed up the pink pair again, purely out of spite.
“Shame. There’s definitely a spot on the Rogues for Barry Allen: Panty Thief.”
Barry couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of him, or the burst of fondness at the small, shy grin Len was fighting in response to getting that reaction from him.
They were new, the two of them. Newish, Barry supposed. It was sort of like the distance between two points as the crow flies versus how you actually have to travel on the roads. Their first date had been over six months ago, but between Flash business and Len’s time-travel, they’d really only been together together for about two.
“I hope this isn’t your way of telling me we need to spice things up already,” Len mused.
“Uh, no,” Barry felt his blush returning, “No this is just... just something that I’ve wanted?”
The look his boyfriend gave him managed to be both tender and hot, like he intended to make Barry feel as normal as possible about his desire to wear panties while also ripping those panties off with his teeth.
“Well in that case, you’re looking at the wrong style. No thong cut for a woman is going to look right. Briefs would work, but I would go with...” he walked around to the other side of the rectangular display table and held up a light blue pair that had the hip-width of a boyshort, but lacked the full coverage of a brief in the back, “a cheeky.”
Barry was torn between giggling at Captain Cold saying ‘cheeky’ and making a little eager noise at the underwear the man was brandishing. It had this cute little cut-out at the top just over the butt, and little bows on the front over where his hipbones would be.
“I want those.” Barry moved over to Len’s side.
“Me too. Pick four more, and we can pay and head to your place.”
Barry shot Len a confused look and asked, “What happened to Jitters?”
Len coughed a little and scratched under his chin in an attempt to seem nonchalant. There was a flush high on his cheekbones.
“Changed my mind. I’d rather just spend the night in with my boyfriend.”
Barry smiled and linked their arms together. “Sounds good to me.”
The pink pair turned out to be Len’s favorite.