The Brave And The Bold
Summary: Barry Allen looked up to the Starling City Vigilante long before the two ever came into contact with one another. After an investigation into an unusual case leads to the beginning of an even more unusual friendship, the man that would become the Flash finds himself falling hard and fast after the accident that made him the impossible allowed them to become closer than he ever would have imagined. And Oliver? Well, the kid might just convince him yet that his humanity isn't completely gone.
Pairings: Main pairing will be Oliver X Barry, with reference to some canonical early show relationships of other characters (Laurel/Tommy, Caitlin/Ronnie, Nyssa/Sara, Iris/Eddie, Felicity/Ray, other background relationships), plus references to past crushes/relationships of Oliver and Barry.
Warnings: This story will be canon divergent for the entirety of The Flash, and heavily canon divergent/AU post Arrow season 2. Content warning for canon typical violence (sometimes more graphic than in the show), depictions of mental illness (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc). Rated M for sexual scenes and topics later in the story. Things that may or may not be mentioned in passing that I will not be ruling out (abuse, medical trauma, past sexual abuse, self harm, homophobia, victim blaming). I will post individual warnings at the beginning of each chapter, but this is just an overall summary of things that could appear in this story. If you think it may both you, please do yourself a favour and don't read it! Thank you.
The first time they met was still crystal clear in his mind.
It wasn't just his unusually sharp mind to thank for that, but meeting him had unknowingly seared the date into his mind forever; because it had led Oliver down a path that would change his life so utterly and so completely, that he would never be the same again.
And, honestly, he was perfectly fine with that.
Starling City, December, 2013
There had been a robbery at Queen Consolidated's Applied Sciences Division; exactly what he'd needed so soon after his mother's trial, and on her first day back to the company. Not that he expected crime to wait for just anyone, but honestly, he needed to be at the office making sure no one started any trouble, not here.
As Diggle was quick to point out, the door was made of expanded, reinforced titanium, so the fact that the thief had managed to get through it at all was troubling. The two innocent guards who'd been killed, even more so. He may not have had so much as an acquaintance with them, but they were still QC employees, and furthermore, citizens of his city. And they'd been murdered; he intended to find out exactly what they'd lost their lives for, and make the person or people responsible for it pay.
Reviewing the security footage didn't give them any immediate leads into the identity of the man, but Lance and the others were passing around theories.
"He was the only guy we got on video... the rest of the crew must have come in after him."
Just then, an unfamiliar voice piped up behind them.
"Actually it was only one guy."
Oliver turned to the source of the voice, and saw a young man approaching them. It was hard to tell exactly how old he was; he could have been as young as sixteen, but was more likely in his early twenties in spite of his youthful appearance (then again, you never know; weird things had happened at crime scenes ). He was tall and slender, fair-skinned with untidy brown hair and green eyes; dressed in jeans, high tops, a button up shirt under a maroon sweater vest and a long gray plaid wool coat with red lining. The boy had a messenger bag slung over one shoulder, a mini tablet tucked under his arm, and was wheeling a large metallic silver suitcase behind him. He looked like he came directly off of the most preppy college campus in the vicinity.
He started to speak, but the stranger kept talking.
"Uh, sorry I'm late..." The kid began awkwardly, fumbling over his words as he added, "But, a-actually, my train was late. Well, the second one. The first one... I-I did miss, but that was my cab driver's fault." He apparently neglected to notice the confused looks on the others faces, and continued his attempt to explain, "I've got this great traffic app, and he thought that..." He trailed off, seeming to finally figure out that they didn't particularly care. He cleared his throat. "...he was right. But I'm here now, though, so..."
"Great," Lance began, with just a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "Who the hell are you?"
Oliver couldn't help but take a jab at the kid's appearance, "And do your parents know that you're here?"
Apparently, he was used to people making comments about him, for he seemed to brush off the remark after a moment, "My name is Barry Allen. I'm with the Central City Police Department." He floundered for a second before managing to find his ID, "I'm with the Crime Scene Investigation Unit."
He was tempted to ask if it was forged.
The explanation for why he was here made the bowman immediately suspicious; why would a police department in another city, in another state, send a forensics' specialist all the way to Star City without even giving them a heads' up first? Something didn't add up.
Lance seemed to accept the answer though, or at least was more skeptical of Barry's theory than he was his story, "And you think one guy just ripped through this door, like it was tinfoil?" he asked, incredulously.
"One very strong guy," Barry corrected, "But yeah."
Seeing the disbelieving looks he was getting, the CSI looked down for a moment, gathering his thoughts before speaking, "Uh, it takes about 1,250 foot pounds of torque to break someone's neck," he told them, before opening something on his tablet and showing them the autopsy photo of one of the security guards, the hand-print on his throat visible. "See the marks on the guard's neck? The bruising pattern strongly suggests... the killer used only one hand."
That wasn't possible.
Everyone who'd been injected with Mirakuru was dead, and he'd burned every remaining drop of the serum.
Seeing the distant and unimpressed look on his face, Barry seemed to think he didn't understand the full gravity of what that meant, "I'm guessing that you don't know how hard it is to break someone's neck."
"Hmm?" Oliver looked up to see the kid staring at him, and quickly replied, "No, no idea."
Felicity was staring at him, and he somehow just knew he was going to have to endure more remarks questioning his ability to lie. He could practically feel the blonde roll her eyes at him.
They were going to look at the list of the Applied Science's inventory and try to narrow down what was missing. Oliver wanted to figure this out quickly, and put it behind them; quite frankly, they had more to be concerned about, even if the circumstances of this particular theft did leave an uneasy feeling in his stomach.
"Actually," The Allen kid began, "I think I know what was stolen."
Oliver raised an eyebrow as he, Diggle, Felicity and Lance began following the CSI through the warehouse, all while he continued to talk. "A centrifuge," He told them, cheeks colouring a little at having four sets of eyes on him. Apparently he wasn't a big fan of being the centre of attention.
"An industrial titanium centrifuge, to be more specific. Probably the Kord Enterprises' 2BX 900, maybe the six series. Both have a three column base..." He stopped in front of a platform base that had sustained a bit of damage. "Here, you can see the three sets of broken bolts where the thief just... ripped it out of the ground." He demonstrated his point with arm motions and an added sound effect for emphasis.
Everyone stared down at it.
Slowly lifting his gaze, Oliver found himself staring at Barry.
Where the hell did this guy come from?
"And what exactly is a centrifuge?" Lance questioned.
Barry opened his mouth to answer, but Felicity quickly beat him to it.
"It, uh, it separates liquids." She informed them. "The centripedal acceleration causes denser substances to separate out along the radial direction." Her tone was so matter-of-fact that none of them questioned her on it; they knew better than to at this point.
The CSI seemed to want to add more, however this time his focus was solely on the blonde, "Yeah, and the lighter objects move to the top."
She tilted her head at him, suddenly more interested than she'd been before, her dark eyes curious. "What did you say your name was again?"
"Barry," the kid responded immediately, "Allen."
She smiled, which he returned with a slightly less shy one than before, "Felicity... Smoak."
During the little interaction, Oliver was scrutinizing him.
He did not like this kid, however observant he might have been.
This time, he seemed to notice his annoyance, because when Barry looked at the billionaire again, his expression cleared and he quickly went back to the relevant subject. "You can see the, uh, cracks, heading towards the door... footsteps. One guy." Oliver knelt down to get a better lock at the platform. "Anyway, it's just a theory. One backed by a lot of evidence."
"There must be another explanation." Lance wasn't buying it. Everything they'd seen up until now could mostly be explained away, but super strength? Far beyond anything steroids could do? Yeah, okay.
Barry sounded doubtful when he replied, "Y-Yeah... I'm sure you're right."
The vigilante was lost in thought.
Lian Yu. The friends he'd made and lost on the island while marooned, as well as the enemies.
He was restless, but Diggle stepping into his office and calling his name pulled him from his thoughts abruptly, and he looked away from the window where he had been watching the downpour before getting distracted by his past. He blamed it on this case.
"Got the final inventory from Applied Sciences, that CSI kid from Central City was right, the only thing missing is a centrifuge."
He took the papers from his friend to check for himself, and unsurprisingly, the information was as stated.
Nothing else was stolen.
Just then, Felicity walked in, "You have got to see this." She headed over to them with her tablet in hand, "I pulled up CC traffic camera footage from across the street of Applied Sciences. This is three minutes after the alarm went off, check it out."
She proceeded to show them the footage of the intruder walking out with the centrifuge, carrying it on one shoulder.
God damn it. No.
Before he could say anything, he spotted the kid from earlier hanging around near the doorway, apparently listening in on them, which didn't put him at all in a better mood. His tone was a bit more curt than it normally would have been, when he addressed him. "Can we help you, Detective?"
Stepping into the room, Barry corrected him on his assumption, "Oh, uh, CSIs aren't actually detectives."
Diggle watched as he stepped further into the room, crossing his arms over his chest. Hmm, perhaps he thought something was off about the guy as well.
"We don't even carry guns," he continued with his same awkwardness that would have been endearing probably, if he wasn't already annoyed with the man. "Just some plastic baggies." He chuckled, and Felicity seemed to find him funny, because she laughed as well at the little joke.
He did his best not to scowl.
"Uh, where should I set up my equipment?" Barry's question was clearly directed at him, yet he didn't seem to look Oliver in the face. The young billionaire wondered why that was; either he was more upset by that parent comment then he had let on, or maybe his status intimidated him. It wouldn't be the first time that had happened, he was sort of used to it at this point. He usually worked it to his advantage.
"Oh, I'll show you." Felicity volunteered instantly, causing him to frown at her in response.
"What's going on?"
Barry came closer, "Your assistant said that you prefer to keep the investigation "in house", so I cleared it with my captain to give you a hand..." That irritated him, because he kind of wished people (mainly Felicity) would start consulting him, he wasn't too keen on having a stranger work closely with them.
Trying not to look too obviously annoyed, he took the blonde woman by her elbow and pulled her a distance away, asking her quietly, "What are you doing?"
Gazing back at him, Felicity replied softly, "We need to find this intruder, and he seems to know more about it than any of us." she glanced over her shoulder at the kid, then turned back and leaned in closer to whisper, as though it were some deep, dark secret, "Forensic science isn't exactly my forte, so..."
Right. That was computers.
She looked back over at Barry, and a small smile touched her lips when she noticed him instantly turn his attention away from them a few seconds too late, pretending he hadn't been trying to hear what they were saying.
"I say we need him." Felicity told Oliver, "Wouldn't you?"
Oliver agreed, a tight, forced smile on his face as he gave a slight nod, giving her a look behind her back when she happily turned back to the CSI.
She headed over to him cheerily, "I'll show you around!"
As soon as they were gone, Diggle uncrossed his arms and spoke to him as he turned to look back out the window, "Why am I getting the feeling you know more about this than Felicity's new friend?"
He sincerely hoped that wasn't true, because if it was, then it meant the theft would soon be the least of their worries. If it were up to him, this would all be chalked up to coincidence.
Thunder crashed ominously outside.
"Pray I'm wrong."
Barry had never met a celebrity before.
Now he understood what it meant to be starstruck.
That was really the only way he could describe how he felt upon meeting the Oliver Queen, face to face, for the first time.
He'd been in all the tabloids and on the news constantly when Barry was a young teenager, and when his family's ship sank, although he'd only been a high school senior at the time, it had still upset him greatly. True, he never knew the man, but it would have been the same if any of the people he followed on social media had apparently died. Everybody wanted to one day meet the people they secretly admired.
While his brother would claim he was a complete and unrepentant fanboy; Barry had never actually admitted to having a crush on Oliver, but he would be lying if he said that the return of the billionaire hadn't amazed him. Five years, stranded on a deserted island and totally alone - anyone that could survive all of that had to have some seriously strong will, and a true desire to live. He wondered how he would have done in the man's position, but could already guess without knowing.
He was a rather touchy-feely person, couldn't imagine going that long without any human contact.
While both he and Sebastian had been considered prodigies growing up, they were very different in almost every way. On equal footing in terms of intellect, they always came in at a tie. But when it came to athleticism - Sebastian had always come out on top. He was the sporty one, participating in everything from lacrosse to boxing to tennis and drama. On top of that he'd been popular, frequently defending his younger sibling from countless bullies.
But Barry naturally had something his brother didn't: People skills.
Sure, Sebastian could be charming when he wanted to, and was more than capable of making friends and getting attention - he was also far less awkward than Barry was - but he'd always been a sarcastic, somewhat selfish, troublemaker. His boredom in school only prompted his rebellious behavior. Not to mention his arrogance could be somewhat off putting. Barry had been considered the "good" twin, up until their mother died, every teacher's favourite, the golden boy, in spite of his occasional fights at school.
After going to live with Joe and Iris, they had drifted apart. Sebastian completely shut out Barry's attempts to convince him about the lightning man. He refused to believe in their father's innocence, and they struggled to connect every day after the night that their mother was killed. Not to mention an incident that had happened about a year after, which they never talked about.
A couple of years after that, Barry had returned home from summer camp at the age of fourteen to find his brother's side of their shared bedroom cleared out, and Joe told him that Sebastian had insisted on going to stay with their mother's half sister and her husband, in Europe.
Though he knew his brother had left for a multitude of reasons (he never really got along with Joe or Iris, for starters), the younger boy couldn't help but feel as though Sebastian was running away from him, away from their problems and their past.
He'd only seen his brother once or twice a year after he moved to Paris. While he never told him, Sebastian's eagerness at leaving Central City and putting his "past behind him" had hurt. Barry started hearing about how amazing France was, as well as the boarding academy for gifted students which allowed him to take university-level courses during his last two years of school.
Truthfully, the two boys had fought like crazy growing up, especially when Sebastian had tried to convince Barry to go with him when he left the continent, but he couldn't. He couldn't just leave their father behind, he didn't have it in him to just... pack up and leave and forget everything, and pretend to be someone he wasn't.
Because of the distance and infrequent communication between them, that had been their last big argument.
Suffice to say, their childhood hadn't been easy, and the distance didn't help, but it had shaped them both as well into who they were today. Besides, as adults their relationship had begun to steadily improve... for the most part.
For Barry, that meant working towards becoming a forensics investigator - though at the moment he was only a technician. He thought that if he could just understand everything there was to about that night, he could find a way to prove that the man in the yellow did exist, prove everyone wrong, and get his father released. Maybe then things would start to feel normal again, and he could move on.
He loved his job, even though he was only an assistant at this point, he still had his own space (because he was difficult to work with, as Captain Singh would put it, and no one had been using the space above the precinct due to the leaky roof), and working on cases with the police he had met some very interesting people. Most of them had been on drugs, but some of them weren't.
Never a celebrity, though.
When he realized he a chance to look into a case with possible supernatural involvement (an opportunity to find a possible connection to that night all those years ago) and meet Oliver Queen at the same time, he simply couldn't pass it up.
But when he arrived all he could do was babble on about traffic and other nonsense before snapping out of it, because the man was right in front of him, and he was so incredibly attractive and distracting...
While he hoped his planet-sized crush wasn't obvious, it probably was.
It seemed impossible, but Oliver Queen was even more devastatingly handsome in person. Tall, dark and gorgeous came to mind. But more than that, there was an aura about him... something strong and fierce, dark but also mesmerizing in a way that he couldn't quite put his finger on.
Maybe it was the brooding expression, or the piercing and stormy eyes, or the sharp, perfectly tailored charcoal grey suit, but it made being around him difficult to think clearly.
He couldn't help how pleased he felt at the almost reluctantly impressed look the billionaire had given him when he quickly deduced (and backed up) that the theft must have been of a Kord centrifuge, and that the culprit had been one very strong man instead of four. It was embarrassing to have so much attention on him, but at least he was hopefully being of use.
Secretly thrilled at the chance to work so closely to Mr. Queen, he had jumped at the opportunity that the perky blonde computer specialist had offered him. Felicity was nice and very friendly, despite working as a secretary of sorts for the very stern heir to Queen Consolidated.
Barry had felt bad about lying to them, especially to Oliver and Officer Lance - he could practically picture Joe's look of disapproval if he ever found out his foster son had lied to a police officer, but this wasn't just a once in a lifetime chance to meet his crush, but also something that could very well lead to a possible break in his crusade to find the truth behind his mother's death once and for all.
He hoped that, if they knew the truth, they would understand.
Maybe he'd get to see the Vigilante in action while he was in town.
The young CSI was in awe of the sheer quality of Queen Consolidated's equipment.
It really shouldn't have surprised him, the Queens were insanely, ridiculously rich after all, but he would have to be crazy not to get excited over being able to put his hands on some of this stuff - it was just so cool.
Barry was kneeling by the centrifuge's platform early the next morning, squinting as the blue LED lights shone overhead, while setting up his own supplies, which he had brought with him from Central City. He was so focused on the task at hand that he nearly jumped when a voice spoke up, having forgotten that Felicity was even in the room with him.
"What exactly is it you're looking for?"
Pulling on a pair of white latex gloves, he grabbed some tweezers from his kit, lowering his head down to one of the footprints the criminal had left behind, closely examining it, "Uh, your thief's shoes touched the ground, which means he tracked in dozens of clues as to where he's been the past few days."
Finding something so small it was nearly microscopic, he managed to pick it up and hastily stood with a triumphant, "Gotcha!"
As he made his way over to the processor, he noticed Felicity watching him with interest, and gave her a cheery grin as he placed the newly found evidence inside the machine, and she smiled back in response.
"Shouldn't take long," he informed her, his heart pumping a little faster with excitement.
As the blonde woman turned to look at her computer for a moment, he suddenly recalled something he had wanted to ask her, when she'd told him her name. "So... you've seen him, right?" he asked, tone curious, carefully examining her facial expression for any sort of reaction.
When the blonde merely looked back at him with mild confusion, he clarified, "T-The Vigilante?"
Felicity's eyes widened and her mouth formed a little 'o' of realization, before she quickly glanced back towards her computer as it beeped impatiently, but he continued anyways, "I read that he saved you. What was he like?" He was honestly dying to know.
Ever since he had first caught wind of a hooded, shadowy figure of the night guarding over Starling City, taking down criminals and rescuing civilians, he had been overwhelmed with curiosity. The archer was like a real, modern-day hero and even if he did have to break the law, Barry personally felt the world needed more people like him, people who weren't afraid to do what the cops couldn't in order to get results. To save people and put the real bad guys away.
Looking almost like a deer caught in headlights, Felicity scrambled for an answer, "Um... Green."
Oh! Of course!
"Green," Barry repeated, a little grin working its way onto his face, along with wonder, "That's really interesting, right?"
He put his hands down on the cold, metal lab table, a thoughtful hum escaping him as he mulled over that for a few seconds, "I mean, why green? Black would be much better for stealth, and urban camouflage..." he trailed off.
Hoping to divert Barry from his current train of thought, the petite blonde told him, "Well, maybe he just likes it. Me? I like purple. What about you, Barry, what color is your favorite?"
"Hmm?" The forensic scientist asked, distractedly, "Oh, uh, I like red. Blue and yellow are nice too I guess. Studies show environment has a lot to do with it..." he suddenly slapped his palm down on the table, causing her to jump in surprise, "I've got it! He must have trained in some sort of forest or jungle area, and the green could be a nod to his roots."
"I don't give the Vigilante much thought," Felicity all but snapped, as she went to turn off the LEDs. She hated being rude, and she hated lying even more. This guy was seriously smart to deduce the reasoning behind her simple, one word answer about her boss and she was afraid he'd put it together if she didn't shut him up, and her hasty reply had been an attempt to get him to drop the subject.
It worked, because Barry fell silent... for about three seconds.
The brunette boy fidgeted as she stood back up, before blurting out, "Police reports show that he uses carbon arrows, but if he switched to an aluminum-carbon composite he would have far better penetration."
Okay, Felicity knew the smart thing to do was stay silent, but she couldn't. After Oliver had broken his vow in order to save her from Count Vertigo so recently, she felt the need to defend him and his weapon choices, as illogical as that was. "Yeah? Well maybe he thinks he penetrates just fine." She froze, and a blush erupted across her cheeks at her totally accidental innuendo.
She had to be cursed with the ability to say the absolute worst thing possible in any given situation.
Thankfully, Barry seemed to not notice her embarrassing little slip up, "Do you want to know something else?" he grinned as he turned to face her, "I think that he has partners."
"Really? What makes you say that?"
Clearly that was a question he wanted her to ask, and she instantly regretted doing so.
"Because! It would be almost impossible for him to go into a fight completely unprepared with no prior knowledge of what he was going to be facing. On top of that, how would he get from one place to another so quickly without help? I think he must have at least one, definitely someone with a background in computer sciences," he tone was matter-of-fact, "Maybe he has more. Someone with military training is a possibility, since they would have at least basic medical training - it's impossible to do what he does and not get hurt at some point. He might even have someone inconspicuous out on the streets working for him, somebody who blends in and can gather information on the down-low..." he rattled on, and Felicity felt so nervous she was almost sick.
The blonde was not so good of a liar that she could keep this going.
Barry was a few lucky guesses away from knowing Oliver was the Arrow, and that she and Dig were helping him. He even had guesses about Roy's involvement despite having never met him! If this guy was keeping tabs on crime in Starling it was only a matter of time before he figured out the rest.
"Yeah, maybe." She said, her tone wary, "So, um, why are you so interested in the Vigilante anyways?" she asked, both because of genuine curiosity, but also to hopefully distract him from anymore "guesses" about the Arrow.
Barry's excited smile faded, his gaze dropped to the table for a moment, and he seemed like he was struggling to find the right words, "...When I was eleven, my mom was murdered." He eventually confessed, and Felicity felt like a horrible person suddenly, even though she'd had no way of knowing.
"I-I'm so sorry."
That was not the answer that she was expecting.
"No, don't be..." Barry murmured, a look of sadness touched his eyes, "They, um, never caught the guy who did it,"
Despite what the records said, in his mind the case was still unsolved and open. Giving a little shrug, he said, "I just think... maybe he would have."
Silence fell across the room.
"I mean, that's what the Vigilante does, right?" The CSI straightened his back, biting his lower lip briefly, "He stands up for those that can't defend themselves, he solves the crimes that the police are too scared to... To be honest, I always wished there was a hero like that around when I was a kid, I feel like... maybe if he were around back then, my family would still be together."
Felicity didn't know what to say. She knew it was people like Barry that would push Oliver to keep doing what he did. Because even if the former playboy didn't see himself as a hero, he was, this proved it. It was ironic in a sad sort of way; Barry clearly worshiped both sides of her boss without knowing that they were one in the same, and yet Oliver seemed so suspicious and annoyed at his presence earlier.
Thankfully, before the quiet could get too awkward, the computer emitted a light beep sound.
Barry moved to check the results, "The soil." he muttered, "There's a crystalline structure in it. That's weird..."
The forensic scientist had a perplexed expression on his face, "It's sugar."
"You found something?" Oliver asked as soon as he caught sight of Felicity.
The blonde turned to look at him, "We found something," she corrected, with a stern edge to her tone that surprised him a bit, not that it showed on his face.
Barry moved so he was standing in front of him and Diggle, "There were trace amounts of sucrose in a speck of dirt that the killer dragged in here on his boot." he announced.
"Which got me thinking," Felicity nodded along with her new friend, "There is a sugar refinery two miles from here, and the land around it is suffused in waste sugar, so I checked. They had a delivery truck stolen a few days ago."
Diggle rose an eyebrow at that.
"Their truck matches the make and model of the truck that the thief used to steal the centrifuge."
Staring at Barry for a moment, he turned and pointedly asked Felicity, "Can you track the vehicle?"
"We've been trying." The computer beeped beside them.
Oliver frowned, "What was that?"
Checking the the screen, Felicity blanched, "You're not going to believe this... The truck, it was just used to rob a blood bank?" she phrased it more like a question, as if she couldn't believe what she was reading.
"Are you sure?" He asked sharply.
"Yeah," Despite her words, Felicity was shaking her head in disbelief, "Our guy just made off with 30,000 CCs of O-Negative."
Diggle's mouth opened slightly, shocked, "What, he has super strength and likes blood? Please don't tell me that we suddenly believe in vampires."
They heard a click and saw Barry had taken his cell phone out, "This isn't good. O-Negative is widely considered a universal blood type for donation, it's possible your thief might also have living human victims held captive somewhere." He said worriedly, "We should get this information to the local police-"
"No," Oliver said, almost too quickly, and the CSI gave him a startled, confused look, "I'll take care of that."
He proceeded to question Barry about the similar case he had mentioned working on back in Central City, and it was the boy's refusal to make eye contact and poor, nervous responses that made him more suspicious than he had been before. As soon as he and John were out of earshot, he told him to look more into Barry Allen's background, because something seriously wasn't sitting right with him.
Felicity was beginning to realize just how seriously Barry took his science.
"They have Nitric Acid next to Hydrazine?" Barry's tone was completely horrified, "Permaneganates on top of Acetone? This is the definition of dangerous." He shook his head in obvious disapproval and began to rearrange the chemicals on the shelf into a safer order.
"Um, if it's so dangerous, maybe you shouldn't be touching them..." The blonde told him lightly.
Thunder crashed outside, and the young man was temporarily distracted from his self-appointed task as he glanced out the window.
"Barry?" She called, and he blinked, looking back at her.
She began pulling on a pair of blue latex gloves, "I managed to get a sample of the perpetrator's blood from the police department," she said, "We need to isolate a sedative in the blood, it could help lead us to the thief..."
"How did the police get it?" He asked, distantly, still focused on his sorting and reorganizing.
"Apparently the Vigilante shot him with an arrow."
Barry's head snapped up and she had to suppress a smirk, because she knew that would get his attention. "You're kidding." He jumped down off of the stool and made his way over to her, "You know what this means, right? This means the Vigilante must be working the same case as we are!"
"Heh," she rubbed the back of her neck, before moving to extract the blood into a vial for analysis. "Go figure."
"How did you get it?" He questioned, and she stiffened momentarily.
Felicity settled for telling him a partial truth, "Oliver has a lot of connections."
He chuckled, but his voice was still pretty amazed, "Wow... Pays to work for a billionaire."
"Actually, my take home's nothing special," She told him honestly, "Especially given that I am rarely at home, since I'm with him every night."
"Ah..." Barry looked down awkwardly, "I didn't realize that you and he were-"
She turned red up to the roots of her hair, "Oh, no. Work." She emphasized quickly, "He and I are not... No. I do not like Oliver. Not like that."
Getting the picture, the man nodded at that, falling quiet, and she caught a flash of something on his face.
Was that... relief?
That was a little pleasing, especially considering Barry was super smart and cute in the nerdy-but-lovable sort of way, and she thought that they'd been getting along really well the past little while.
Maybe now was her chance...
"Um, I was invited," she began, and he turned back to face her, having been looking restlessly at the ceiling, hearing the rain pour outside, "To a work function... It's a party, and I have a plus one." He blinked at her, and she wanted to groan at his now obvious obliviousness, "I was thinking that you would make a really good plus one."
"Oh," Barry seemed legitimately surprised by the offer, staring at her for a moment, before asking, "There's, uh, not going to be dancing, is there?" At her questioning look, he told her, "I'm just... not too good on my feet."
Felicity shook her head and smiled brightly at him, because wow, he was totally clueless.
It was kind of sweet.
Later that afternoon, Barry was watching the news while awaiting more test results.
"-Central City is just a day away from making history when the controversial S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator is finally turned on."
Felicity was curious about the big grin on his face, so she went to join him by the television.
"It's pretty cool, right?" He asked excitedly.
Looking at him with disbelief, she said, "You know there's been a hundred percent increase in earthquakes since they've turned on the Large Hadron Collider?"
His smile faded and he rolled his eyes as if she had said something utterly ridiculous, "Hey, that data is... misleading."
Taking his tone as a challenge, the blonde put her hands on her hips, "Oh, do tell?"
Just then, Oliver entered the room, "You would know about misleading, wouldn't you?"
All the humour and playfulness immediately left the room, and Felicity frowned a little, concerned and a bit peeved about the way her boss was glaring at her new friend, "What are you talking about?"
"Well, he's not from CSI," Oliver was glaring daggers at Barry, "He's a forensics assistant. Whose bosses don't know that you're in Starling, and there is no similar case in Central City." He crossed his arms, all of what he said unnecessarily confirmed by the look of immediate guilt that flashed across the kid's face, "So tell me, Barry, what are you really doing here?"
Confused, Felicity looked to her fellow geek for answers.
Barry lowered his head for a moment, closing his eyes briefly, and then exhaled, the sound was painful. When he spoke, he was addressing Felicity, seeming unable to meet Oliver's gaze. "I... I told you my mom was murdered."
"By your father." Oliver stated, and Barry flinched at the shocked look he received from the blonde, before his eyes darkened and he took a few steps towards the CEO with an abruptly fierce expression, "He didn't do it. I was there that night, I know what really happened." He said vehemently.
"...But I thought you said that the police didn't find the man who killed her?"
When Barry turned to look at her again, she was surprised by the amount of pain in his hazel green eyes, "The police think they did." He whispered softly, his arms curling around himself instinctively in a protective way. "My dad has been serving a life sentence...for a crime he didn't commit. They didn't believe me, no one believed me."
"About what?" Felicity asked, her voice was gentle, and she reached out to put a hand on Barry's shoulder, ignoring the hard stare that Oliver gave her in response.
"I was eleven." He told her, swallowing hard, "One night... something just came into our house like a tornado. I could feel the static," he closed his eyes again for a minute, remembering, "There was a blur of red and yellow...electricity. Somewhere inside that blur, I saw a person."
His words hung heavy in the air.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Oliver looking away as if in thought.
"My dad went to fight it," Barry said, his shoulders were tense, his expression hard, yet still vulnerable somehow. "The only reason his prints were on that knife was because he was a doctor, he couldn't just take it out without her bleeding to death, he was trying to keep her condition stable until help arrived. I remember... I tried to get to them, when suddenly..." he stopped, and sighed, because even if she did believe him so far, she wouldn't on this next part, no one ever had.
"I was twenty blocks away from our house, standing outside. It was like something moved me. I ran, I ran as fast as I could, but by the time I got back..." his voice was wavering, and he swallowed hard, "It was too late. She was already gone. I'd...I'd never seen anyone killed before..."
For a moment, he thought he saw a flicker of something in the CEO's eyes, empathy...maybe.
It was gone before he could be sure.
"No one ever believed what I saw that night. Not the police, or the psychologists, even my own brother told me I was crazy. They thought I was some scared little kid trying to cover for his father. Everyone said what I saw was impossible. But what happened that night... I'll never forget it. It was real." They didn't think he was just afraid, they thought he was nuts. All of the forced visits to therapists and psychiatrists proved that they thought so. Hell, after getting desperate enough he'd visited a church, figuring maybe it was some sort of demon in his house that night who'd committed the crime.
No one there believed him either, though.
He stared Oliver directly in the eyes then, desperate to make the man see what he was trying to say. That he wasn't crazy. "As real as the man that ripped down that metal door with his bare hands." He held his breath, struggling for a moment, not seeing the way Oliver turned his head away. "That's why I look into cases like this, the ones nobody believes are possible. I believe in the impossible, because I saw the impossible happen."
Barry looked like he was fighting tears now, "Maybe... if I can just make sense of one, I might be able to find out who really killed my mother... and free my dad. My family is the only reason I do what I do." He took a deep breath, facing Oliver once more, "I am sorry I lied to you. But would you have believed me if I was upfront from the beginning? I've tried that method before, it never works."
He gave Felicity a sad wavering smile, his expression full of pain and regret.
"Better find another plus one."
Without another word, he collected his things and walked out.
At the look Felicity was giving him, Oliver sighed, trying to ignore the nauseating twist in his gut, "He did lie about who he really was."
She shook her head, scoffing as she stepped in front of him, "And what do we do everyday?" she asked him, her voice impossibly quiet, before she, too, left.
Oliver couldn't stop thinking about what had happened earlier that afternoon.
Had it really been wrong of him to confront Barry like that in front of Felicity? She certainly seemed to feel that way, and was currently not speaking to him at the moment.
Thinking back, he realized it probably would have been simpler if he had just taken the kid aside from the beginning and asked him what his real motivations were. Sure, he had lied, but his "assistant" did have a point - was it really so different from the lies he told?
What was it Barry had said before he left?
My family is the only reason I do what I do.
He could certainly relate to that.
Though he didn't know whether the man's father was innocent or not, nor was it any of his business, he did have a bit of trouble with believing anything was impossible these days. A man had torn a titanium door off of it's hinges, after all. If someone really was trying to recreate Mirakuru... was it really that crazy to think that a man made of lightning had killed a woman?
It may have sounded insane, but that didn't stop him from feeling almost...guilty.
Felicity had been visibly upset earlier, because no matter how he might have felt, she cared about Barry.
He had to do something to fix it.
Well, this day just kept getting better and better.
Thea was angry with him (even if she didn't show it), and so was Felicity, and the party for his mother was a complete disaster, so he'd really only succeeded in upsetting three of the most important women in his life, in some way or another, all within the span of a day.
Hopefully he would be able to fix at least two of those things by the end of the night.
Despite hating being tricked, Oliver had to admit it was worth it when he saw the smile that appeared on the blonde computer tech's face when she spotted her new friend in the doorway. Even if it sent a slight pang of jealousy through his chest, he managed to brush it off with another not-so-subtle jab at Barry's young appearance before leaving the two alone.
Barry almost didn't have the nerve to show up that night.
He had been in shock when Oliver called him, and invited him personally to come to the party he had thrown for his mother.
No mention of his lies were brought up, just the fact that Felicity would be very letdown if he decided not to come.
For some reason, that was slightly disappointing.
Of course she was why he had called (how had he gotten the room number of the hotel he was at anyways?), it was obvious he cared about Felicity as more than a friend. There had been an implied threat in his words about if he decided not to show up, and thus hurt her feelings.
Still, he did want to see them again, both of them.
It was absurd, but even after all that had happened, he still wanted to see Oliver again.
Maybe to try to further explain his actions, make him understand, or ask for his forgiveness...
Either way, he couldn't help the fact that his legs felt like lead as he entered the room.
When Barry seemed to go missing from the party, Oliver wasn't sure why, but his first instinct was to check the balcony connecting to the ballroom.
His instincts were rarely wrong.
The younger man turned to look at him, and Oliver frowned slightly at the expression on his face, "You okay? You took off all of a sudden, Felicity wanted me to make sure that nothing was wrong."
It was a half truth, Felicity had noticed his absence, but it had been his idea to go looking for him.
For some reason, Barry's shoulders seemed to slump at the mention of the blonde.
"Just looking at the stars," he said softly, directing the older male's gaze upwards, where the night had shifted into a tapestry of brilliant, shining diamonds, strewn across the ever darkening sky. "It's something I do whenever... I feel like I need to clear my head." A small smile appeared on his face.
Glancing up into the infinite night, giving it a more thorough look than he had before, the archer could understand why Barry seemed so relaxed out here. It was cool, breezy, and calm.
He got a distracted hum in response.
Moving closer, Oliver leaned against the rail, noticing the distant expression on Barry's face, "Is there something on your mind, then?"
Barry hesitated, before turning to face Oliver completely, and the man was slightly taken aback by the look in his eyes.
It was so damaged, and defeated...
No one his age should have that look, the one he knew all too well at this point. He briefly considered that it might have been due to recent events, maybe the kid was thinking about his parents, or maybe it was something else. After all, he'd seemed plenty happy earlier when awkwardly trying to dance with Felicity. Either way, he didn't have to wait too long until the younger boy spoke again.
"Have you ever had a secret you couldn't tell anybody?" He asked abruptly, although it seemed rhetorical, so he didn't respond. He got the feeling this was just something Barry needed to get off of his chest.
Barry gazed at Oliver, looking conflicted, "I mean, not even your family, or your best friend? And not because you think they couldn't keep it, or because you didn't want them to know, but because you were terrified that they... they just wouldn't accept you, for who you are? That they would treat you differently once they found out the truth about this thing you've been keeping from them?"
Kid, you have no idea, Oliver thought somberly, but instead told him, "We all have secrets, Barry."
The boy blinked at him in response.
"Some we choose to share with those closest to us, and others we keep to ourselves for a variety of reasons." He continued, turning to look back up at the sky, "But it's your secret to tell, and no one can force you to share it before you're ready to. You want my advice?"
He waited, and the CSI nodded at him slowly.
"If it feels right, I say that you should tell them, and if they can't accept you for what you are - for who you are - then... maybe they're not the kind of people you want to have in your life after all." His own expression became distant then, as he considered his words.
Barry, at this point, got the distinct feeling he was getting lost in his own mind at this point, and decided to leave him alone for awhile, and rejoin the party, but first...
The man looked over at him, questioningly, and to his surprise he saw that light in Barry's eyes again, burning with admiration for reasons he couldn't even begin to understand.
It was harder than he thought to say goodbye to Felicity, so Barry couldn't even begin to consider going to talk to Oliver before he left.
He had no idea what he would even say, for starters.
Plus he had a deadline, and had to make it back to Central City before Singh found out he wasn't sick and he got fired.
But of course he was unlucky enough to have just missed the last train for the night. Sighing heavily, Barry sat down and prepared himself for a long wait - he didn't have anywhere else to go considering he'd already checked himself out of the hotel he was staying at.
Great, just great.
He was completely alone in a train station, at night, and in a storm no less.
This was how horror movies started.
Barry was drifting in and out, and his senses weren't all that great to begin with.
So he never saw it coming.
A sharp, sudden sting in the side of his neck. He reached up and saw the dart, a look of confusion crossing his face. Then, he was falling, vision blackening before he even really understood what was going on, remembering an overwhelming sense of panic before he slipped into unconsciousness.
When he awoke, the bright lights overhead made his eyes hurt, and he became aware of the fact that he was laying on a very cold, very hard metal table.
A lab table...
His gaze drifted slowly across the unfamiliar room, as he sat up carefully he pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned, completely disoriented.
What was going on?
Looking around, he began taking in strange things - computers, a metal mannequin, arrows, and other weird and slightly creepy things.
No way, he wasn't...
Had he been abducted by the Vigilante?
Before he could begin freaking out (or be thrilled, whatever came to him first), Barry noticed a table opposite to him. First, he saw the black boots, long legs covered in leather pants, gloved hands and a motionless torso clothed in a biker-esque jacket.
And that was when he saw his face.
Trying to wrap his head around what he was looking at made him dizzy, because it just felt so surreal, and he didn't know what to think.
Actually, no, it wasn't, not even slightly. As the shock quickly fell away, he realized it made way more sense then it should have. The secrecy, how the Vigilante seemed to know everything they did at the same time, Oliver's irritation at being lied to, Felicity freaking out whenever he brought the guy up...
They were the same person.
He noticed Oliver's bodyguard - Mr. Diggle - standing beside him, and that was when he realized the man was totally unconscious.
In fact, it looked as though he wasn't breathing, and that was enough to send his heartbeat skyrocketing.
What was wrong with him?
Though fully aware he had been drugged and abducted (something which he wouldn't really think about until much later), he couldn't take his eyes off of Oliver's face.
Before he could ask what in the hell was going on, and what he was doing there, Felicity came out of nowhere and was blocking his view of the billionaire, a look of subdued concern on her face, yet her voice was small and frightened, barely restrained, when she spoke, as though she were afraid.
"Please save my friend."
Not a whole lot of changes in this chapter, though I did try to remove unnecessary words, fix spelling mistakes, and I also blended the first two chapters together. Since there isn't much difference from what happened in canon aside from me adding details, and it wasn't very exciting, I figured it couldn't hurt to just combine them so I could get on with the story.
I don't own anything from DC Comics, the Arrowverse, or Glee, lol.