Author: Kizmet PM
"Muddling thru Grey" tie-in, a longer version of the adult Rogues' joint mission with Batman on War World.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Family - & Bruce W./Batman - Chapters: 2 - Words: 7,997 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 10-09-11 - Published: 10-02-11 - id: 7430627
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Prelude: Cold Comfort
Disclaimer: Characters and premise are the property of DC, I'm just borrowing them for a little non-profit fun.
Author's Note: So I've been reading a lot of fanfic on the Rogues lately, and while I haven't read enough silver age stuff myself to have an opinion, it seems the general consensus is that Barry was overly... enthusiastic when it came to apprehending the Rogues. So this chapter is basically my attempt to reconcile my take on the YJ-version of the character with the comic version.
Once Wally had been briefed on his mission to verify that Superboy was all right staying with the Rogues he zipped out of the room and Flash got up to leave.
"Wait," Batman ordered.
Barry turned and gave him a curious look.
"To you, sending Kid Flash to check on him is nothing more than a ruse to re-open communication with Superboy," Batman stated. "How can you trust him to people you'd gladly see in prison?"
Barry shook his head and sat back down. "First, I am not glad to see the Rogues in jail, there has to be a better way. Second, I can trust them with Superboy because I have been trusting them with Trickster for four years now."
"I can remember when you despised the Rogues," Batman said. "You've changed."
"I like to think of it as growing up," Barry replied. "I stopped seeing in black and white. I stopped thinking that the system, our society would work if only it weren't for the existence of nutcases running around in costumes committing crimes."
Batman made a sound of disgust at that bit of naivety. He'd known that the system was flawed long before he'd heard of the Joker, Two-Face or any of the others. If the system worked his parents wouldn't have died or at the least their killer would have been punished.
"I believed it worked," Barry said. "When I first put this on I thought I was just going to help a little with the guys normal police couldn't stand up to. I thought it was just a few bad eggs ruining everything for the rest of us. Then you start letting an eight-year-old tag along with you and I thought you were crazy. But the next thing I know I'm fighting an eleven-year-old mask."
"Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heatwave, Captain Boomerang, them I could blame for our justice system's short-comings. Say it was them messing everything up for normal people," Barry continued. "But Trickster? He was just a kid, whatever he'd done he was just a kid. I couldn't make him a scapegoat. I loath his parents for leaving him behind like so much trash, but James? All I wanted to do was save him."
"And then I saw Cold was thinking the exact same thing."
Four Years Earlier
"Young man, you're coming home with me right now!" Barry ordered sternly, forgetting that this was supposed to be Flash talking to the newest of the Rogues not Barry Allen talking to his unofficial foster child.
"Kid's not going anywhere." Barry froze at the unexpected killing intent in Cold's voice. This wasn't the guy who robbed banks to get his face on the news and to get just enough money to keep his tech working so he could rob more banks. Barry had long since gotten used to thinking of the Rogues as destructive morons playing an endless zero sum game, but suddenly Cold wasn't playing anymore and Barry didn't have a clue as to what had changed.
"Len, chill!" James exclaimed. "He's not going to hurt me."
Barry's jaw dropped. Cold was trying to protect James from him? It made absolutely no sense but staring at Cold he could see it was true.
"Wait one damn minute here!" Barry protested. "I'm the good guy!"
"Sure you are, cop." And if Cold hadn't liked Flash before, somehow the revelation of Barry's identity and apparently his day job, had moved Cold past dislike to outright hatred.
"I can't believe him!" Barry ranted to Jay Garrick. "Implying I'd hurt James! For god's sake, he's a kid! He's lived with Iris and I for months! Where does Cold get off thinking I'm a threat to James! I'm not the one who robs banks every other week!"
"Captain Cold? That's Leonard Snart isn't it?" Jay asked hesitantly. "I remember an Officer Snart back when I was active... I remember being relieved when he went on permanent disability. I was a hero from the War, that got me a lot of lee-way, but I couldn't have done any good if I'd been at odds with the police. That's what held me back more than once when I happened across one of Snart's 'arrests'. The guys he brought in, well they all had this habit of resisting arrest, resisting right into a hospital bed, if not the morgue. He was a sadist hiding behind a badge. If your Captain Cold is who I think he is, he might have reason to worry about a cop taking home a kid who was going to be in trouble."
"Cold, related to a cop?" Barry protested. "I don't believe it."
"Related to a brutal, drunken disgrace to the uniform," Jay replied. "Barry, most people have reasons for being the way they are."
The next day at work Barry found time moving slow. Any little thing could kick his perceptions into super-speed. Around mid-morning he ran a search in the data base on the name Snart. To no surprise Len Snart's name popped up followed by a grocery list of open warrants. Then there was a badge number for Joseph Snart along with a reference to a filing cabinet for his personnel file. Finally there was a third name: Isabella Snart, along with a case number.
During his lunch break Barry pulled the case file. Isabella Snart, beaten to death nearly twenty years ago, found on the side of the road fifteen miles out of town. The file included a picture of a pretty girl in a sundress standing between her two young children, smiling for the camera in spite of the bruises on her arm.
Barry's mouth thinned down to a grim line. The investigation had apparently consisted of the detective in charge writing up the conclusion: Ran away from her husband again. Took a ride from the wrong guy. The coroner's report list COD as a blow to the head, but that had been far from the only injury the coroner had listed. There had been a lot of other bruises and contusions when she'd died; some fresh, some a week old, some a month old. And the official conclusion was she'd been killed by someone just passing through.
Barry took the box back to his desk and pulled Joseph Snart's personnel file. An undistinguished career that ended with routine traffic stop gone wrong. Someone no one wanted to say anything about, someone who was constantly passed up for promotions and who couldn't seem to keep a partner. Permanent disability for a minor wound, reading between the lines and remembering what Jay had said it wasn't hard to see that as a quiet way of removing someone who never should have been a cop in the first place.
Barry was surprised to find Joseph Snart was still living at the same address he'd been at when his wife died. 'Apparently not haunted by his past... or his notorious son, either.'
A little more digging brought an address for Lisa Snart. Barry's first impulse was to run out and talk to her. Instead he took the file to his captain.
"You were on the force back then. Please tell me there was a reason the husband was never a suspect," Barry said. "Even with this perfunctory of an investigation I could make a clean case for domestic violence."
The captain skimmed through the report. "Any reason you dug this out?"
"Does it matter? The unlucky hitchhiker theory was just an excuse to call it unsolvable," Barry pointed out. "I want to interview the kids."
"You want to talk to Captain Cold?" Captain Frye asked skeptically. "I'll call ahead and have the hospital prep for a severe frostbite case."
"I figured I'd talk to the sister first," Barry replied. "Unless you're going to pretend the abuse angle isn't solid enough. I'm sure I could find neighbors, paramedics, someone who could fill in the blanks for me."
"Talk to the lead detective. He's retired now but he's still a regular at Mallory's Pub. Make sure the husband didn't have an alibi that somehow missed getting in the report. Then run with it. Try not to end up a popsicle, we're already understaffed around here."
"I'll do my best," Barry promised.
And that was how Barry found himself talking to a grizzled former detective that afternoon. "Yeah, I remember Joe and Isabella," he shook his head. "Joe wasn't any prince, but Isabella was a tart. Would have been selling herself on a street corner if Joe hadn't of taken a shine to her."
"Lucky her," Barry's voice dripped sarcasm.
"The girl never knew how to be grateful for what she had."
"Let me make this simple," Barry said with disgust. "Did Joseph Snart have an alibi for the night his wife was murdered?"
"You have to understand. Isabella was trash. It was bound to happen one day, a girl like her. No one cared. The department's image, that people cared about."
Barry got up. "I'll take that as a 'no'," he said. He started to walk away then spun around and demanded, "Has it ever once occurred to you that if someone had bothered to give a damn about Isabella Snart back then, maybe we wouldn't have a Captain Cold now?"
After leaving the cop bar Barry took a quick cross-country run to Michigan, Lisa Snart's current residence of record. The little girl from the photograph had grown up to look a lot like her mother, the likeness was enough for Barry to recognize her as she got out of her car with a pair of ice-skates slung casually over her shoulder.
"Ms. Snart?" he asked. "I'm CSI Barry Allen with the Central Police Department..."
"Don't bother," the young woman said with a frosty look. "Lenny may send me money, but he's careful about keeping me clear of his business. Take this as you will, but the last cop who tried to use me as leverage didn't fare so well."
"It's not about your brother," Barry said. "I'd like to talk to you about your mother's murder, if you have a moment?"
Lisa stared at him oddly. She tilted her head to the side. "The Records department doing spring cleaning?" she asked. "I mean you look too old to be some naïve kid trying to make a name solving a cold case because no one lets you in the field."
"I've got approval from my captain to re-open the case," Barry said. "And to follow the leads regardless of what direction they might point in."
"You're serious," Lisa said after another long pause. "You don't look like a complete idiot… Well, even if you are, it might be worth seeing how long it takes for someone to shut you down."
"You'll talk to me?" Barry verified.
"Yeah, there's a coffee shop around the corner. I don't like cops in my home," Lisa said. She tossed her skates back in her trunk.
Lisa didn't look at Barry as she led the way to the coffee shop. He waited until they'd gotten settled at a table before asking, "Did you notice anything unusual that night?"
The look on Lisa's face was pure bitterness. "November 18, 1988. There wasn't anything particularly unusual about that night, not for our house anyway. Just Mom's head hit the corner of the coffee table while Pop was using her for a punching bag. There wasn't much blood, not as much as I was expecting. Head wounds bleed like nothing else, trust me I've seen plenty. Still she didn't cry or get back up. Lenny and I wanted to call an ambulance; but Pop wouldn't have none of it. He wrapped her in a blanket, picked her up and put her in the car. That was the last time I saw my mother."
"You and your brother SAW your father kill your mother?" Barry asked feeling sickened. "No one ever talked to you before?"
"I was wrong, you are naive," Lisa said. "The officer who came to tell us when they found Mom's body was a friend of Pop's, one of the guys who always came around when the neighbors called about the fights. He was the only one who came to talk to us. Lenny and I knew better than to speak out of turn. Lenny already had stitches from trying to call the ambulance for Mom."
Len Snart, dressed casually, walked into the Central Police Station. He glanced around, grinned wickedly when he noticed one of the wanted posters featuring his picture and walked up to the desk sergeant. "Looking to talk to Barry Allen about the ex-cop that got arrested yesterday," he said gruffly.
The sergeant grimaced. "I'll page him, who should I say is here?"
Len just looked at the guy and waited for him to put it together. Behind him he heard a gun being drawn. "Relax, I'm just here to talk," he said. "Maybe even stick around and see a trial or two."
"Cold, surrender immediately. Keep your hands where I can see them," the bright officer who'd recognized him demanded.
"I didn't bring my gear," Len stated. He didn't move and was careful to keep his hands visible. A number of other police officers joined the first in pointing guns at him, but they all carefully kept their distance. "Long since gotten sick of getting clearing it off the black market every time you idiots can't keep your evidence lockers sealed."
"I'm not here for a fight," he continued. "I'm here to testify. My sister tells me you've finally gotten over that bad case of blind-eye about cops who like hitting their wives. I'll stand trial myself… for a front row seat when you all stop covering for my old man."
Cold's predatory smile surfaced as one of the officers called for back up. Eight armed cops, in the middle of their own station, he'd told them he wasn't packing and they still wanted back-up. It was fun being the scariest bastard in the room without even trying particularly hard. But the digs were starting to penetrate. Sparks of anger lacing through their fear and he really knew better than to provoke this kind of thing. But there was something irresistible about taunting cops.
Len caught sight of a blond man appearing out of thin air at a side door and studied him curiously. He'd known who the Flash was for several days, since the confrontation around Trickster. Still, Len hadn't seen him without the cowl before.
"Mr. Snart, you're here about your mother's murder?" Barry said, slipping past several of nervous looking uniforms. "You are aware that there are a number of open warrants against you? We do have to arrest you, you know."
"Like I said, I'm not here to fight. I want to see him go down. Convince me that this whole legal system of yours works when it's someone with a badge. Convince me that times have changed," Len stated. "You're the one I want to talk to. You think you can keep them from shooting me? They seem a bit on edge." Len favored the officers with another of his more wolfish smiles.
"Loan me your cuffs," Barry told one of the officers.
"Allen are you crazy? That's Captain Cold," the man warned.
"And he's here to talk. I'd like to get everyone settled down a bit," Barry said. "Once I put the cuffs on him, everyone in this room is going to holster their weapons, alright?" Barry looked around the room, making eye-contact with Len and the officers involved. He waited until he had signs of consent from all of them. Then he slowly crossed the no man's land that had opened up around Len and put the handcuffs on him.
When one of the officers was slow to put down his gun in response Barry glared furiously at him until he complied. Len was less perturbed by the slow response than Barry was. It was enough reassurance that the person in the room who could catch bullets had implicitly agreed that this stunt wasn't going to end with him eating lead.
"Alright," Barry began. "First, someone needs to call the DA and let her know that her second eye-witness in the Snart case is waiting to give his statement, and she needs to come over here immediately. Once that's done then you should get one of the detective to start organizing the charges against Captain Cold. Now, I'm going to take Mr. Snart back to one of the interview rooms and everyone is going to relax."
"You're just going to take his word for it that he's not armed?" one of the younger officers asked uncertainly.
Barry flushed as he realized he was ignoring protocol. He hesitated and glanced at Len. "I don't give a damn," Len stated. He gave the officers a scornful look, "Idiots, the lot of you. I knew I was coming here, you think I'd bring anything worth confiscating? But if you need hand holding…"
Barry felt an urge to tell Len to 'Be nice'. Once Cold had been patted down, Barry was allowed to take him back to one of the interview rooms, away from all the unnerved officers.
"They don't get suspicious?" Len asked. With a practiced motion he kicked a chair to spin it around then straddled it; pointedly accustom to being in handcuffs. "You're the only one in that room who wasn't terrified of me."
"Something you were enjoying way too much," Barry replied. "But no, I'm a lab rat. The general opinion out there is I'm too sheltered to know when I ought to be afraid."
"Blind morons," Len shook his head.
They stared at one another awkwardly for several moments.
"Shall we start? Or would your rather wait for the DA?" Barry asked.
"Yeah, I'd rather not repeat myself," Len said tersely.
Another long silence.
"How's James?" Barry asked.
"He's with Scudder this week," Len answered. "Kid's been browsing everyone's tech journals and he's got some new hare-brained notion he wants to test out. I don't do explosions but Rory looked it over. He doesn't think it'll blow up in the kid's face still… better the Reflected World than here. Scudder's enough of a worrier to yank him back through the glass before things get out of hand."
"Probably a good idea," Barry said. "Iris practically threw the both of us out of the house after I let James try one of his ideas in her kitchen."
Len snorted at that.
Barry hesitated then said, "Before he left, I was talking to the school system about enrolling James in spite of the irregularities in his guardianship. They were willing to over-look it as long as he doesn't play sports."
"What, they're worried about ringers in middle school?" Len looked bemused. "Who bets on middle school sports?"
Barry shrugged. "Didn't make any sense to me either, but since they don't have a gymnastics team…"
"Right. Can't really see Tricks getting too worked up over football or basketball," Len agreed. "Getting him back in school'll probably look good with the folks at Juvie if he gets caught again."
"Please, do not remind me of what you're letting him get up to," Barry groaned.
"I'll talk to him about school," Len offered. "He can still use your place as a permanent address? Half the places we live in double as bolt holes."
"Sure," Barry agreed quickly.
Silence descended again.
"So what is James trying to make?" Barry asked after awhile.
Len grinned toothily. "If it works I'm sure he wants it to be a surprise for Flash."
"Something to look forward to," Barry sighed.
"It's more about impressing you than hurting you," Len admitted after a moment.
During another silence Barry admitted to himself that James was absolutely the only possible 'safe' topic of conversation.
"The DA will be here soon."
"This is absurd," Warden Gregory Wolfe exclaimed. "Cold's escaped jail a dozen times already. And you want us to arrange for him to sit in on someone else's trial?"
"It's only a matter of time," Barry pointed out. "He's already needed to give testimony."
"Why is he here?" Wolfe demanded, turning to the DA.
"He made the case," she replied. "Cold is talking to him. I need Cold's testimony. Child witnesses, witnesses to a crime nearly two decades old, aren't the most reliable. I need Lisa and Len Snart collaborating each other."
The department's profiler rolled his eyes. "I don't see what the hang-up is. We routinely makes deals to get criminals to testify. This one is amazingly cheap: Cold doesn't want a reduced sentence. He wants proof that the circumstance he was forced to endure while growing-up; abuse being ignored and covered up because it was an officer of the law doing the abusing; are no longer tolerated by the department. After seeing the subpoenaed medical records I'm frankly shocked he's willing to give us even this much of the benefit of the doubt... Although, his fixation on CSI Allen is... odd. It's almost as if he thinks... Well, he's still writing off the police in general as corrupt abusers of power, but he's willing to entertain the notion that Allen is something different and it matters to him."
"Captain Cold having some right to judge the police? What sort of lunatic asylum did you break out of doctor?" Wolfe demanded sarcastically.
The profiler gave Wolfe a disgusted look. "This is a step toward Len Snart deciding NOT to commit crimes. Admittedly a small one, he may not be emotionally capable of confronting his father himself and that could be why he's allowing his mother's murder to be dealt with by the courts, but it is a step forward."
"Goddamn bleeding heart liberal," Wolfe muttered. "Costumed freaks like Cold don't reform."
"Given your, repeatedly proven, inability to keep Cold and the other Rogues, not to mention the really violent and sadistic costumes in jail we'd better hope you're wrong about that," Barry snapped.
Wolfe glared at him hatefully.
"Enough," the DA exclaimed. "Len Snart is making a reasonable request. I need his testimony. If we go along he might actually keep his word and stay in custody long enough to be tried himself. Not exactly a common occurrence these days."
Wolfe's teeth ground together audibly. Barry sighed, with just one of him and four; he grimaced; now five Rogues, someone always managed to escape. The Rogues had proven remarkably loyal to each other. As long as one of them remained on the loose a jail break was only a matter of time.
"This isn't a debate," the DA finished. "This is the way it is going to be. Wolfe make the necessary arrangements."
Len forced himself not to fidget no matter how uncomfortable he felt as he was sworn in. When he'd stood trial he'd always pled the fifth. When you got caught standing in an unlawfully opened bank vault Len didn't really think there was anything you could say in your own defense.
Boomerang was of a different opinion, but Len suspected the Aussie was more than slightly in love with the sound of his own voice. Digger also took an extremely liberal view of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Rogues tended to leave Digger in stir until he'd had his day in court just to hear the tall tales he'd spin on the stand.
"Please place your left hand on the bible and raise your right hand," the bailiff requested.
Len raised his bound hands and gave the man an annoyed look. The bailiff glanced back at Len's two heavily armed escorts. The senior guard shook his head. "Well, er, do your best," the bailiff offered.
"Looks like you got the wrong person on trial," Joseph Snart remarked from the defendant's table.
"Old man, you're just ticked because they're more afraid of me than you," Len shot back. "I go up against the Flash. I figure back in the day you waited 'til the cuffs were on before you got in your licks."
The judge rapped his gavel. "Save it until after you're sworn in," he said.
"Always was a mouthy brat," Joseph added.
The judge looked irritated. "You feel free to make the prosecution's case for them, but could you please wait until your son's sworn in before you pick a fight with him?"
While the formalities were observed Barry watched Lisa try to persuade her brother's guards to let her sit with him. Watching her Barry couldn't help but remember the medical records they that were a large part of the evidence in this case.
Len Snart had been seven when he was treated for a broken arm, a spiral fracture, the first record of an injury characteristic of abuse. Every few months after that it had been something else, something bad enough to need treatment. If Joseph Snart had felt any guilt over killing his wife it hadn't shown in his son's medical records.
Lisa's injuries had been less frequent. The medical personnel who remembered the siblings had agreed it was because her brother protected her. It was unsettling for Barry, adjusting his thinking to recognize that at least one of his rogues gallery possessed a strong protective streak. A streak James apparently could bring to the surface as well.
"Never could make sense of Mom always coming back," Len was saying. "Lise and I swore if we ever found the means to go we'd never come crawling back."
'And they hadn't,' Barry thought. According to the neighbors Len had disappeared when he'd been around sixteen. A year later a talent scout watched Lisa skate and she found her way out as well. 'I wonder if she ever knew her brother paid that scout to make a stop in Central?'
Whatever help Len had been able to provide was lost shortly before Lisa turned fifteen. Her brother had been apprehended for the first time, by the Flash, and spent the next four years incarcerated. Len Snart hadn't had the Rogues or any special gimmicks back then. By the date Barry knew it had been Jay who caught him that first time, but it was only the date that told him as much. Barry knew he wouldn't have remembered a nineteen-year-old safecracker who'd been captured in under a second. That first time Len Snart served his entire sentence. He spent the time studying cryogenics and within a few months of his release he'd transformed himself into a very memorable adversary. Still, alone at fifteen, Lisa had managed to keep her and her brother's resolve, she hadn't gone back.
"It was normal, nothing special. I don't remember what had him riled up, wasn't anything big, never was," Len said. "He'd knock her around eventually she'd end up on the ground staring up at him, crying and afraid. He hated the crying. She didn't cry that night. She went down, head bounced off the coffee table, just lay there staring..." Len trailed off. For several long moments he was silent. Staring off into the past. He shook his head and finally said. "No wonder he said she didn't need no ambulance."
"Your father prevented you from calling an ambulance?" the DA prompted.
"What? Yeah. I was twelve, hadn't seen a dead body before. Wanted to call someone, thought they could help. The old man wasn't having none of it."
"Could you elaborate on that?" The DA asked.
"No," Len stated. "We didn't call an ambulance for Mom."
The DA gave him a look that was part sympathy, part frustration. "Your sister called an ambulance from the neighbor's house?"
"Objection, leading the witness."
"Len, could you tell me what happened when you tried to call the ambulance?" the DA asked. "Your medical records show you were treated for scalp lacerations that night."
"He took the phone from me, broke it over my head. I was a few years short of being able to fight back," Len admitted through gritted teeth.
Joseph snorted. "As if you ever. All you did was run when you couldn't take it anymore. And look what you ended up as without me keeping you in line: Some costume-wearing freak."
"Wanna throw down now, old man?" Len asked. "Now that I'm not in grade school?"
The judge rapped his gavel and gave Joseph a dark look. "Does the prosecution have anything more for this witness?"
"Nothing further your honor."
"Defense, your witness," the judge said.
After a whispered warning to his client the defense lawyer stood up and cautiously approached the witness stand. "Mr. Snart... Or do you prefer Captain Cold?"
"Cold is good," Len replied.
"Captain Cold. You have a very... colorful arrest record."
"Objection relevance?" the DA said without much hope.
Len watched the defense lawyer with narrowed eyes.
"Establishing character of the witness," the defense lawyer argued.
"Allowed, within reason," the judge said. "Don't belabor what we've all seen on the news."
"I'll come right to my point. Captain Cold, both you and your mother suffered injuries that night. No one else, correct?"
"Don't insinuate," Cold sneered. "Just fucking come out and say what you mean: Could I have killed my mother? Now I'm not a nice person, no arguing that. How about we ignore that I was twelve at the time. And lets 'belabor' my record a bit: I've resisted arrest... a lot. Assuming I don't break out straight off, I get in fights while I'm in lock-up. I mix it up with Flasher every chance I get." Len bared his teeth at the lawyer and enjoyed the way the man flinched back. "If you ever get me in here for a murder it won't be for some over-grown little girl who couldn't even run away proper, let alone put up fight in her own defense." For a moment the look in his eyes turned distant, "Something broken or missing in her: Never could look out for herself, or anyone else. I may be a lot of things and most of them no good, but I'm not him and I'll never be him."
"That time he actually stayed in jail a few months," Barry finished. "Long enough to make it clear that he didn't want his father dead," The speedster shook his head, looking a little sickened. "It's almost karmic, Cold must have spent years knowing he could die at that man's whim. Now the only think keeping Joseph Snart alive is that it's Cold's whim, I think he'd rather be dead."
"It started with Trickster, but the more I dug the more I found myself dealing with people, not masks" Barry admitted. "Then one day I'm in the middle of stopping a bank heist and instead of bantering, Cold and I are talking about James needing his tonsils out and how one of us really ought to find a way of getting legal custody of him, for medical purposes if for nothing else. Simple good guys/bad guys was pretty much out the window by then."
Batman frowned. "Alright, I'll accept you know your Rogues better than I do. I still want Superboy back under our care as soon as possible." He sighed, "As soon as he can be convinced to come willing."
"Um, one other thing," Barry said hesitantly. "When I said I thought the location of the cold-themed villains' attacks was important? I wasn't being totally frank. Cold was approached by a mystery group, they had a Crisis vibe in his opinion. So he took the job, then warned me they'd strongly emphasized time and place, and I moved the fight half way across the city before it could really get started."
At Batman's look Barry shrugged. "We've done this before. Cold doesn't want the end of the world any more than any sane person would. It's not just the good guys who can see things in black and white; there are plenty of villains who think everyone on the wrong side of the law would happily watch the world burn around them. They approach Cold, he takes their money, then feeds me information to screw their plans."
"I thought your information on Crises was a little too good sometimes," Batman said.
"Not this time," Barry replied. "Cold prioritizes his people over anything else, and he's already counting Superboy as one of his unless I miss my guess."