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I was just thinking you could be trusted

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The girl in the hospital bed was cold and pale, a long tube protruding from her mouth. Her eyes were closed, like she was sleeping, but Barry knew better. He’d seen some footage of himself during his coma, and she looked no different.

            “You okay?”

            He turned to see Leonard Snart leaning in the doorway, his usual smirk gone. His face was somber as he looked over the distressed speedster.

            “Yeah.” Barry nodded frantically. He rubbed a hand down his face to get rid of the tears and took a deep breath. He knew he was a mess—the whole situation he was in was a mess—but right now, he was holding it together. “Yeah, it’s just…”

            His eyes lingered back to the girl on the bed—Stacy Morgan, age 18—and the guilt came back. The next thing he knew, there was a presence beside him, and a hand was pressed into his own. He and Len stared down at the girl silently, and for the first time since the accident, Barry felt grounded. 

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It was three days later when the Justice Society were summoned to A.R.G.U.S. headquarters. Director Michaels—Lyla—stood at the head of the conference table the heroes were seated at, her arms crossed commandingly over her chest. To her left stood Oliver Queen.

“I won’t mince words. While many people see all of you heroes, many others prefer the word ‘vigilante’. You've operated with unlimited power,” Her gaze darted over to Barry, “and no supervision. That's something the world can no longer tolerate.”

            Barry hung his head as a news story started playing on the screen behind Lyla’s head. He already knew what it was about. The same news footage had been playing non-stop on every news channel across the country for over a week.

            The Trickster had planted bombs all over Central City. Oliver, Len, Laurel, Sara, Ray, and Dig all helped Barry spread out and find them, disarming them all at the same time the way they had with Digger Harkness’ bombs. Only they’d missed one—one on the pier near the boardwalk.

            Barry ran as fast as he could, getting to the bomb just before it blew and carrying it out into the water…only to lose his footing and stumble. The bomb flew from his hands, landing on a yacht nearby filled with a bunch of kids celebrating their high school graduation. The only survivor was Stacy Morgan, now comatose.

            Under the table, a cold hand wrapped tightly around Barry’s, and the speedster looked over to see Len silently fuming beside him at their being forced to relive the event once again. “I don’t see the point in this meeting.” He drawled, raising an unimpressed brow. “If Scarlet over here hadn’t reacted as quickly as he had, Central City’s marine life would be getting a new boardwalk, and the number of casualties would’ve been much larger.”

            “The point, Snart,” Oliver spoke up, “is that people need to feel safe. They need hope, and accidents like this make the public believe that maybe we aren’t the right people to give them that.”

            Len frowned. “There’s gratitude for ya. The Flash risks his life time and time again, never once asking for a thank you. Now, after one mistake, everyone’s ready to turn on him.”

            Barry swallowed hard. He didn’t want all of this conflict. It was bad enough that all of those kids died because of him. Knowing that he could be the reason for the Society fighting amongst themselves just made him nauseous. “What’s the solution?” He spoke up, running the hand that Len wasn’t currently holding through his hair. “I’m guessing that’s the reason you’ve summoned the entire Society here.”

            Lyla nodded. “The government believes that the Justice Society needs…a firm hand. Someone that can hold it accountable for your actions. I volunteered A.R.G.U.S to be that hand. Everyone would need to sign the Morgan Accords.”

            The room went quiet. When Barry glanced around the room, he could tell that this wasn’t going to end well. From Team Arrow, Dig and Laurel were nodding along with Lyla, silently agreeing with her, whereas Thea was staring wide-eyed as though she’d just been told that Malcolm Merlyn had just turned into a purple platypus and taken up ballet.

 From the Legends side, Sara, Len and Mick, along with both halves of Firestorm, were clearly against the act, Mick looking nearly ready to deck the next person who suggested it. Ray, on the other hand, was grinning ear to ear, happy with the decision, and Kendra shrugged as though it were no big deal. And from Barry’s own team, Caitlin was sitting, purse-lipped and thoughtful, while Cisco was slack-jawed at the very suggestion. 

            Oliver, also sensing the building tension, held his hands up in surrender. “No one has to agree on anything now, and no one has to say yes if they don’t want to.”

            “But….?” Mick growled, leaning forward menacingly.

            “But, if you do say no, you can no longer operate as a vigilante or a member of the Justice Society and will be arrested if you resist.”

            “There it is.” Sara scoffed. She sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “We have a choice, but not really because if we do the right thing, we get arrested.”

            “Agreeing with this act is the right thing!” Laurel argued, shooting a glare down the table at her sister. “We have to take responsibility for our actions!”

            “You mean allowing A.R.G.U.S to dictate what our actions will be, correct?” Professor Stein argued back. “And what if our ‘friends’ at A.R.G.U.S begin deciding who the villains are? These are the people, if you recall, who pressganged a group of criminals into doing their bidding by placing microscopic bombs in their spines.”

            “The professor makes a fair point.” Len agreed. “Besides, I don’t do well with being told what I can and can’t do. Kind of goes with the whole ‘ex-criminal’ mantle.”

            “No one’s keeping you here, Snart.” Dig scowled. “The door’s right there.”

            Len raised an eyebrow. “I would leave, but I’d like to know how A.R.G.U.S is planning to deal with the leather-bound elephant in the room.”

            The room went quiet again, only this time, everyone was either staring directly at Barry, or actively trying to avoid even looking in his direction. Oliver sighed.

            “Barry is going to be fine. I’m not going to let anything happen to him.” He assured. “By signing the agreement, he’ll prove to the people that he’s not an active threat to them and that they have nothing to worry about.”

            Len snorted. “I just love the way you make Barry’s decisions for him, Queen. What if he doesn’t want A.R.G.U.S dictating his life? Or is that what you’re doing right now?”

            Barry was almost sure that Oliver was about to start a fight with Len right there in the middle of the A.R.G.U.S conference room, and he couldn’t bear being the reason for it. He flashed out of the room just as Oliver opened his mouth to say something back, coming to a stop in an empty corridor at the other side of the building. There, he collapsed on the floor and let his tears flow freely, his mind drifting back to simpler times.

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It was the early days of the Justice Society—about a year before the incident—and Barry was stuck with the night shift at the Watchtower. Thinking he’d be alone the entire night, he’d gone into the kitchen halfway through the night to make a snack (which, by speedster standards, meant an entire meal). Which is why he jumped nearly a foot in the air when someone spoke behind him.

 “So,” Leonard Snart was leaning in the doorway of the kitchen, arms folded over his chest with an amused expression. “The Flash cooks. Color me shocked.”

            A blush crawled on Barry’s cheeks before he could stop it, so he quickly turned back to the fresh spaghetti sauce he was cooking. “What can I say? When you have to consume as many calories a day as I do, you learn to cook.”

            Footsteps approached behind him, and the next thing he knew, there was a hand reaching around his body. Barry froze, his heart skipping a beat, as Len’s fingers wrapped around the hand holding the spoon and brought it up to Barry’s shoulder, where Len’s head was now resting. Barry watched breathlessly as the ex-criminal brought the end of the spoon into his mouth and moan—yes, moaned—at it.

            “Damn, that’s good, Scarlet.” He whispered. The speedster shivered when his breath tickled his neck.

            “Thanks.” Barry cleared his throat and stepped away slightly. “It’s Joe’s recipe. He taught me how to make it before I left for college.”

            Len moved around Barry to lean against the counter beside him, his eyes following Barry’s every move. Barry finished preparing his spaghetti noodles, trying not to focus on the feeling of eyes on him. He grabbed two plates from the cabinet above him and scooped himself and Len a serving. The ex-criminal accepted the plate of spaghetti and moved to sit at one of the tables, Barry taking the seat across from him.

            “So…” the speedster spoke up after a few minutes of silence. “How are things?”

            Len chuckled. “Is this your attempt at small talk?” Barry shrugged, shoveling a forkful of noodles into his mouth.

            “Things are …odd.” The ex-criminal decided to say, swirling his own noodles around his fork. “I’ll admit, it’s been difficult adjusting to the Justice Society. Mick has had Ray to help him with the transition, Sara’s had Laurel, but it’s mostly just been me figuring things out. Then, there’s having to put up with Oliver Queen—has he always been such a tight ass?”

            Barry snorted, nearly spitting out his noodles. “You’re one to talk.”

            “Oh, no,” Len argued. “I have nothing on Queen. Has the man ever smiled in his life?”

            Barry was now doubled over in laughter, his hand covering his mouth to keep the food in his mouth. Len smiled back at him, and Barry felt warm all over. There were few times he’d seen Leonard Snart smile, and usually they were sarcastic or cold. This smile was genuine and happy, and Barry was proud he was the one to put it there.

            The rest of their meal was pleasant—Barry telling Len some of his more embarrassing stories from when he’d first started working with Oliver and the others, and Len telling a few of happy memories from his childhood—all of them involved Lisa, and Lewis Snart was barely even acknowledged as existing. When they both finished and Len was putting their plates in the sink, Barry started to wonder if he was getting a peek at the real Leonard Snart, the one he always knew was there.

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“Have you decided what you’re going to do?”

            Barry raised his head from where he was sitting cross-legged in the center of his bed to see Len leaning against the entryway to his Watchtower room, a large duffle bag in his hand. He frowned and twiddled his thumbs nervously. “It looks like you have.”

            Len shrugged. “I’ve never been one to agree with Oliver Queen.” He replied in an attempt at humor.

            “Good luck.” Barry gave a small smile. “I hope that everything works out. Is Mick going with you?”

            “Yeah, he’s dropping by his boyfriend’s room to say good-bye, so it’ll be another hour or so before we leave, depending on if Palmer wants to cuddle after.”

            This time, Barry did laugh. “I did not need that image in my head!”

            Len smiled back, one of his rare, genuine smiles that stretched across his face and lit up his eyes. “It was nice to see you laugh, though. Everything’s been so bleak around here without the ball of sunshine that is Barry Allen—blinding everyone with his idiotic optimism.”

            He sat his duffle on the floor and stepped into the room. It occurred to Barry that this was the first time Len had actually ever come into his room, which the ex-criminal was taking clear advantage of. He stopped at every picture, examined every book shelf, his fingers running along every surface he passed. Barry just watched; Len’s presence in his room giving him some comfort.

            After a few minutes of studying Barry’s space, he turned to face the speedster, his eyes darting to the book in his lap. “What are you reading?”

            Barry held it up to show off the cover. “1984 by George Orwell.” Len smirked. “Fitting. By the way, don’t think I didn’t notice you avoiding my question earlier.”

            The smile on Barry’s face fell. Marking his page, he set his book to the side. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” He whispered, lowering his eyes from Len. “I mean, is putting limits on my abilities really the safest thing? Will it help save lives?”

            He felt his mattress dip as Len settled beside him on the bed. “What do you think?”

            “Oliver says that it’ll be safer if I sign.”

            He could almost hear Len rolling his eyes. “Great for Queen. But what do you think, Barry? Your opinion is all that matters.”

            Barry sighed. “I just…I don’t know.” His head dropped into his hands, all of the frustration from the past few weeks hitting him. “I mean, I love being the Flash. It’s all I wanted when I found out I had powers. But what if Professor Stein is right, and A.R.G.U.S starts choosing who the bad guys are for us? What happens if they send us to fight for something we don’t believe in? There are so many variables to consider.”

            An arm wrapped around him, and suddenly, he felt himself being pulled against Len’s chest. “If someone is trying to convince you to do something that doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it, Scarlet. It’s your life, not Oliver Queen’s, and not mine. Do what you want to do, and damn the consequences.”

            He raised his head to look at Len, who was only a breath away now, and blinked. Do what I want to do… he thought as he felt himself lean forward, only to be interrupted by a knock on his door. Barry jumped away like he’d been caught doing something naughty—which he might have if he’d been able to finish leaning in to kiss Captain Cold of all people—and glanced at the door. Cisco stood in the doorway, eyebrow raised in a somewhat judge-y way that Barry thought was a bit hypocritical considering he was engaged to Golden Glider.

“Hey, I was just dropping by to say bye, but I see that I am interrupting something that I didn’t know was something so…”

            “Stay, Cisco.” Len spoke up, rising from his spot on the bed. “I was about to go see if Mick and Ray were done.” His eyes met Barry’s, and he smiled tightly. “Good-bye, Barry.”

            With that, Len grabbed his bag, leaving Barry feeling like maybe he’d just missed his chance.

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            When Len left Barry’s room, he had to pause in the corridor for a few minutes to catch his breath. The tension between them had always been strong, from their first face-to-face encounter on the train he derailed, all the way to the moment Barry had come to him with a personal request to join the Justice Society. And yeah, Len always had a thing for the kid, but Barry had never shown signs of returning his feelings…until right then, sitting on that bed. When Barry looked up at Len, he saw something familiar in the speedster’s eyes, the same thing he saw in Ray and Mick’s eyes when they looked at each other, or Sara and Nyssa, or even Cisco and Lisa. It made Len ache in a way he’d never felt before.

            The feeling of eyes burning into his back tore him from his thoughts. When he turned, Oliver Queen was standing in the middle of the corridor, arms crossed over his chest, giving Len what some would consider a threatening expression.

            “Stay away from Barry.” The archer growled in a way that Len was sure had frightened many a criminal. Unfortunately for Queen, Len didn’t scare that easily.

            “Why should I?”

            Queen scoffed. “Barry is a good person. He made a mistake, and now the world wants to crucify him for it. I have been working my ass off to find a solution that doesn’t involve him being carried off to the metahuman wing of Iron Heights, or worse: handed off to someone like General Eiling. This is the best solution I found. Everything I have done is to protect Barry. But he’s second-guessing everything because of you and whatever feelings he thinks there are between you two.”

            Anger ignited in Len’s chest. “He’s second-guessing because he wants to make his own decisions with his life.” He shot back. “The only reason he’s even considering signing your accord is because you want him to.”

            Queen’s nostrils flared as he strode over into Len’s space. “Careful.” The ex-criminal warned, his hand resting on the cold gun in his thigh holster. “I may not like you, but Barry would be upset if his favorite archer was turned into an ice sculpture.”

            “Listen, Snart.” He snarled, still in Len’s space, but careful not to raise a hand. “I know what you and a lot of the others are planning—turning against the accord and doing whatever the hell you want anyway. But if you care as much for Barry as he thinks you do, you’ll leave him out of it and let him sign the accord. If it does nothing else, it needs to prove that the Flash is the beacon of hope you and I know that he is.”

            Len never thought that someone as dull and predictable as Oliver Queen could shock him speechless, but now all he could do was stare slack-jawed at the archer. He often wondered about Barry’s feelings for the Green Arrow—he knew that he’d had a crush on him before they met, back when Queen was still the Hood; he knew that the crush had lingered for a while, eventually fizzling when he realized that his crush wouldn’t go anywhere. But Len had never considered that Oliver Queen would return Barry’s feelings, which he’d all but admitted to now.

            When he finally snapped out of his shock, Queen was gone, and he was alone in the hallway.

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            “Did you hear the news?” Sara asked, taking the seat across from Len. They, along with Mick, Lisa, Cisco, Stein, Jax, and Thea Queen and her boyfriend Roy Harper, were squatting in one of the Rogues’ larger safe houses—a mansion that once belonged to the Santini’s that he and Mick had…acquired. Since he, Mick, Lisa, and Cisco are the only ones that knew the Rogues took control of it, Len had figured it was the safest place to lay low after they all decided to buck the Accords and continue doing whatever they wanted.

            Len raised a disinterested eyebrow, his hands continuously tinkering with his gun. Sara apparently took that as a ‘please, tell me all about it’.

            “Well, according to our sources, i.e. Joe and Iris West, Barry is being moved from the Watchtower to Joe’s house until he decides whether or not he’s going to sign the Accords.”

            Len paused his hands, but kept his uninterested expression. “So?”

            Sara snorted. “So, they’re locking him up until he sides with them. How twisted is that? I mean, lock someone in one place, especially someone like Barry, and then he’ll do whatever they want to be free.”

            Something clattered on the table. Len didn’t even notice it was the pieces of his gun falling to the table as what Sara was saying hit him. Barry was being held against his will. Oliver Queen, with all his speeches about protecting Barry and wanting what was best for the speedster, was holding him captive like some common criminal. His hands clenched into fists at the thought.

            “That son of a bitch.”

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Len’s side burned. Lisa, Dr. Snow, and Mick all hovered around the hospital bed he sat on the edge of, watching him with mixed expressions.

“How bad is it?” Lisa asked, biting her thumb nail nervously. Before the doctor could answer, Mick let out a chuckle.

“I’ve seen much worse on much wussier guys than Snart. He’ll be fine.”

Snow began cleaning his wounds, and Len couldn’t help the hiss of pain that escaped. It may not have been that bad, but a burn is a burn, and this one stung like a son of a bitch. He flinched away slightly when Snow prodded his side again, and Mick chuckled while Lisa frowned down at him.

            “What happened out there, Lenny?” She demanded.

            Mick snorted. “I know what happened.”

            Len turned his head to shoot a glare at his partner, groaning when the movement pulled at his wound. Snow tutted at him to ‘sit still!’, and Mick started laughing harder.

            “I don’t know what happened.” Len finally answered. From his spot in the infirmary, he could see the Society moving around the Watchtower cortex, planning their next moves. A red clad figure caught his attention—the same way it had in the field when Nimbus surrounded the Scarlet Speedster with his poisonous gas and tried to choke him. Despite knowing that Barry could handle himself against Nimbus, his first instinct was ‘protect’. He’d been struck back by a bolt of lightning curtesy of Weather Wizard before he could act on his instinct, thus leading to the huge wound on his side.

            “I just…got distracted.”

            Lisa frowned. “You were distracted during a mission? I didn’t think there was anything important enough for that.”

            Barry Allen laughed at something Cisco was saying in the other room, and Len couldn’t even be upset about the wound on his side. “I didn’t think so, either.”

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When Oliver suggested that Barry take some time off and go back to Joe’s to think about everything, all the speedster felt was relief. Living in the Watchtower was great, but now it just reminded him of everything that’d happened, and added that extra lump of pressure to his decision. Besides, being back in his old room was great. If he laid back on his bed and closed his eyes, he could pretend that it was before the particle accelerator, and that the only thing he needed to worry about was whether or not Singh was going to fire him for being late to work.

Of course, his stomach growling reminded him that he was, in fact, still a speedster with a speedster’s appetite. Barry was running down the stairs, coat in hand, when a loud crash from the kitchen drew his attention.

Before he could panic, though, Ray rushed through the kitchen door, hands raised.

            “It’s okay!” He reassured. “Everything’s okay! I was looking for the can opener, and I may or may not have broken the blender.”

            Barry chuckled, tension leaving him, but curiosity lingering. “You scared me. I didn’t know anyone was here.” He strode past Ray into the kitchen, stepping over the shattered blender on the floor, and pulled the can opener from the top drawer beside the sink. He frowned when he noticed two cans of ravioli on the counter beside two empty bowls. “What are you doing here anyway, Ray?”

            Ray shrugged, picking up one of the cans. “Oliver sent me.” He explained as he cut open the can. “He wanted me to watch out for you. And I thought you might be hungry, so…” He motioned to the can with a smile.

            “Well, that’s…nice.” Barry replied, still very confused. “But I don’t think that a can of ravioli is going to cut it with my metabolism. I was actually about to go out and get something if you wanted to come with.”

            He moved exit the kitchen, but Ray quickly moved to cut him off, his smile stiffening. “Why don’t we just order a few pizzas instead? We could stay and marathon Star Trek, or Star Wars, or that show they’re reviving on FOX with Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller.”

            Barry stared at the billionaire, who was shifting nervously like he didn’t want Barry to leave, but he didn’t want him to know why. That’s when it hit him. “Oliver didn’t send you to watch out for me.” He scoffed, stepping back to lean against the counter. “You’re here to make sure I stay here. He’s trying to protect other people from me.”

            Ray sighed, but didn’t deny it. “Oliver just wants to make sure you’re okay, Barry.”

            Barry rolled his eyes and threw his coat onto the counter. “By locking me up in my own house? Yeah, I’m just peachy.” He pushed past Ray, making his way back towards the stairs. “Don’t worry about me escaping through the windows.” He shouted bitterly behind him. “Joe took care of that after the fifth time I ran away. Guess I should be used to being a prisoner.”

            He could hear Ray tentatively following him, but he couldn’t deal with the man and whatever excuses he had for Oliver’s behavior right now. So, he flashed back into his room and, like he did when Joe would tell him that he couldn’t visit his dad as a kid, slammed his door shut and locked it, hoping he could keep out the world.

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            At some point, Barry must have drifted off, because he was awoken halfway through the night to the sound of an explosion nearby. He was out of bed and downstairs in a flash, only to find Ray standing in the living room, dressed in full ATOM gear.

            “Barry, you stay here.” He ordered. “There was some kind of explosion at one of the houses down the street. I’m going to go check it out.”

            Knowing that it would be futile to argue that he could take care of whatever it was in half the time it would take Ray to make it to the front stoop, Barry just nodded.

            The minute the ATOM left the house, Barry could feel eyes on him. He shivered at the chill down his spine, until a snicker made him realize it wasn’t just a feeling. Someone was in the house with him.

            He whipped around, ready to attack the intruder, when—

            “Len?”

            Captain Cold was sitting nonchalantly in one of the living room chairs in almost the exact same position as when he warned Barry about Trickster and Weather Wizard that one Christmas. Barry was filled with relief. 

            “What are you doing here?”

            Len pursed his lips and shrugged. “Thought I’d pay a house visit to Oliver Queen’s latest convict.”

            Barry sighed, crossing his arms embarrassedly. “You heard about that.”

            The ex-criminal (or was it now back to criminal?) rose to his feet with a smirk and crossed the room until he was a foot away from Barry. “Of course. Which is why I planned this little prison break.”

 Barry’s surprise must have shown, because Len laughed. “What, did you think that the house down the street burst into flames on its own? I’m sure Mick is having the time of his life setting fire to every abandoned property on the block.

“However,” he said, taking Barry’s hand in his own. “It’s not going to distract him for long. So, really, we need to get moving.”

            He tried to pull Barry along, but the speedster was still too shocked to move. “Why?”

            Len frowned. “Why, what?”

            “Why did you come save me? You could have left me here; they aren’t going to hurt me. At least, I don’t think they are.” Barry stepped closer to Len. “So, why are you breaking me out?”

            Something shifted in Len’s eyes, something that drew Barry in. He had to know why Len came for him. It couldn’t be because they needed more people for the cause—they already had enough badasses to take on Oliver, and there were two (or three, if you count both sides of Firestorm) metas on their side. If anything, coming to rescue Barry was a liability. He was the reason for the fight. People in the streets were calling out for his blood. Why risk everything for someone like that?

            His questions were answered when Len stepped forward and pressed their lips together. Barry melted—all of those years of frustration and pent-up tension were getting poured into it, Len’s hands wrapped around Barry’s waist, moving around from his back down to his bottom. Barry moaned, digging his fingers into the fur of Len’s parka, pulling him as close as he possibly could. When Len finally pulled away, Barry knew, rather disappointedly, that he was right to—any longer, and they may not have made it to Barry’s room, much less out of the house.

            “Oh.” He panted, unable to look away from the steely blue eyes staring back at him.

            “Yeah.” Len swallowed hard in an attempt to compose himself and once again took Barry’s hand. “We really need to get going, Scarlet.”

            “And where exactly are you going?”

            Len stiffened slightly. With the distraction of…well, each other, neither Barry nor Len had noticed Ray come back. Now, he was standing in the way of their only exit.

            “Cool down, Raymond.” Len drawled, drawing his cold gun from its holster. “Let’s not make this a fight.”

            Ray nodded. “Agreed. Now, step away from Barry and leave quietly. That’s the only way this is going to end differently. Did you really send Mick to try and distract me?”

            “I may have considered that, if you caught Mick, you’d be more inclined to let him go than anyone else on our side. Or you may have had make-up sex, I didn’t really want details.” Ray blushed at Snart’s crassness, but didn’t stand down. The cold gun whirred to life. “Sorry. Barry doesn’t deserve to be locked up like a criminal by people who are supposedly his friends.”

            When Ray aimed one of his arm cannons at Len, Barry knew that they meant business. “Keeping him here is the only way to keep him and others safe. That’s all we’re trying to do. It’s for his own good.”

            “I’m sure he feels that way.” Len sneered, his finger twitching on the trigger.

            Barry looked between the two, never friends but once teammates, ready to strike each other down. So, he did the only thing he could think to do.

In the blink of an eye, Barry was across the room, grabbing Ray. In another, the ATOM suit was upstairs and Ray was in the chair Len had been sitting in earlier. In one more, Ray was taped down to the chair with two rolls worth of duct tape from Joe’s tool box.

            No one even realized what was happening until it was all over. Len laughed as Ray struggled fruitlessly against his bonds, looking up at Barry with pleading eyes. He gave a guilty shrug.

            “Sorry, Ray.” He said, grabbing one last piece of tape. “I promise that, once we’re far enough away, I’ll call Joe and tell him to come let you out.”

            Ray shook his head. “Barry,” he pleaded, “don’t do this. If you leave with him, you’ll be a fugitive. There will be no turning back—Oliver will have to hunt you down and, this time, there will be no house arrest. You will go to prison.”

            “I’m already in prison.” Barry responded as he stuck the last piece of tape over Ray’s mouth.

Len stepped up beside him and threw an arm over his shoulder. “I have to say, Scarlet, I admire your work.” He pecked Barry on the cheek before leading him back towards the door. “Mick’s waiting down the block with the getaway car.” He smiled more genuinely than Barry had even seen. He squeezed the hero’s hand tighter. “Then, we’re free.”