Inspired by the latest Doctor Who Christmas special, so big spoilers for that, but you don't have to watch it or understand anything about Doctor Who. anisstaranise and donnanople started this over on twitter, so consider this a dedication : )
Playing With Lightning
It stops both him and Sebastian dead in their tracks, the voice catching them unaware as it travels precipitously through the stale night air, and they turn in unison to find a single slim figure silhouetted black against a mild white fog.
"What the–" Sebastian starts, but the temperature around them plummets, steals the words right out of his mouth, and one of Sebastian's hands consciously winds around his wrist. His mouth goes dry.
A woman emerges from the mist, her white hair like smoke in the sudden onset of winter weaved all around them, her heels a tuneless tap-tap against the concrete. He wishes he could discount the mirage as a prank, a Halloween costume, but the past year has taught him otherwise. They're in trouble.
Sebastian tugs at his arm and he trips a step back, but when a strategically aimed blast of crystal clear ice wheezes right past Sebastian's ear they both freeze, while a metal pipe behind them bursts beneath the onslaught of absolute zero. "Blaine," Sebastian warns, because their first and only instinct should be to run, to at least try and get away from the murderess who's left a trail of cold corpses through Central City, but she's too fast for them. She already caught them alone leaving the theatre, and it's clear she'd been waiting for at least one of them. Why though?
"I know," he breathes, grabs back around Sebastian's wrist this time, hoping it'll calm his heartbeat, maybe even protect his friend—fearing that if he lets go one of two things will happen: she'll let Sebastian go because she's there for him, and he'll be left alone trying to talk himself out of an impossible situation; or she'll kill Sebastian to make a point, to satiate her need for heat, and he'll lose his best friend to this fiend. Either way, his heart wouldn't be able to take it.
"You know who I am?" the villainess asks, her black ensemble a trickster color, draining all the light from the alleyway, cold steel eyes burning small flames nonetheless. For some reason she only seems to be talking to him, taking no note of Sebastian. What does she want with him?
"Caitlin," he breathes, her real name, a name given to him by a man in a mask, a man he desperately wished was here to save them, a man who'd tried to save this poor girl.
He jumps back when another blast of ice lands right at his feet, freezing his left foot to the ground for a few moments. It's meant to scare more than incapacitate, and doesn't miss its purpose—his heart hammers at his ribcage, his hands sweaty, no thought in his mind that considers running.
Two snow-white eyes with pupils the size of needle heads pin him in place. "Try again."
"Blaine, we have to get out of here," Sebastian urges, while his mind has pulled a blank around a name his editor had coined a few months ago. Killer Frost has found them. Killer Frost could kill them. The Flash had tried to show her a different way of controlling her abilities, tried to make her see that being a metahuman didn't have to make her a villain, but the brilliant scientist who had dedicated her life to the mysteries of cold fusion lost herself. Caitlin Snow had disappeared into a new persona, her physical transformation replacing the once beautifully brown-eyed brunette; a heat vampire, one of his articles had concluded, another tragic consequence of the particle accelerator explosion that rocked the city almost two years ago.
"Killer Frost," he chokes out.
A smile stirs a corner of Killer Frost's mouth. Sebastian's grip on him tightens.
Cold eyes remain trained on him alone but he refuses to let go of Sebastian—his best friend said something like this would happen sooner or later if he continued writing his blog, now his column, dedicated to all the metahuman menace around the city; sooner or later one of these metahumans would find him and shake him for information—if not about the particle accelerator than The Flash, and he could get hurt. Sebastian meant well, and his concern touched him in ways he could scarcely describe, but someone had to write these stories. People needed to know.
"I want The Flash," Killer Frost says, and drops to one knee, a sheen of ice forming where her finger touches the concrete, moving towards them in whimsical lines until it encircles them completely.
"The Flash?" He falls back against Sebastian's chest, neither of them an inch of space to run to, and he swallows hard, caught in a storm of frightening thoughts. What if neither of them make it out of this alley alive? Can he live with the thought of bringing this on his best friend, the boy who knows him best, who's stood by him through everything, who lives in his heart as surely as The Flash does?
Killer Frost stands up. "You're the man he loves."
For the first time in almost two years, he gets a taste of what being struck by lightning must feel like. It rattles his bones, stands up the hairs at the back of his neck and leaves him biting at his own tongue. The man The Flash loves? Not only is it an absurd claim, not only does it tap into dreams he harbored against his better judgment, it's downright wrong. Where would Killer Frost even get the idea?
"He doesn't love me," his voice sounds barely above a whisper, and he can't help but reach for Sebastian's hand, entwine their fingers, hold him the way he's always wanted to—if this is going where he thinks it is Sebastian might hear some things he won't want to hear, things he's never wanted to voice in front of his best friend. But if it keeps Killer Frost talking– "He never has."
"You love him."
"I do." He nods, grateful to feel Sebastian squeeze his hand in support. "I'll never deny that. But that doesn't mean he loves me back. He's a superhero. He doesn't have time to notice people like me."
"And yet he has." Killer Frost tilts her head. "The articles you've written. The interviews. He's taken an interest."
It's a nice thought, thinking any moment The Flash will swoop in with his lightning speed and his casual "Hello, killer," attitude, followed by that cool as a cucumber smirk. He had a tendency to get ahead of himself in a fight, his Flash, overestimate his abilities, especially around Captain Cold and Killer Frost. Speed and cold don't mix.
"I chase after him."
More than he should, more often than it's safe for him to do so—this was bound to happen sooner rather than later and he wishes he'd listened to Sebastian, he wishes he hadn't spent years being in love with a boy without saying a word. What if it all ends tonight? What if he's wasted his days being in love with a masked superhero while he could have been honest with Sebastian? They could've shared something real.
"But he doesn't go around falling in love with people. He wears a mask for a reason."
"That bothers you, doesn't it?" Killer Frost's eyes narrow on his face. "The lack of reciprocity. He doesn't see you the way you see him."
No. If anything he chases after a man in a mask because The Flash never can, he never will love him back—and that's easier to accept than the possibility of Sebastian rejecting him, of losing his best friend because after all these years he might finally be brave enough to share his feelings. It's been too long, too many years, too many milestones reached with Sebastian by his side to really change anything at all. Loving The Flash doesn't make him a coward.
"Blaine," Sebastian calls, drawing him a step back so that they're side by side, but even if Sebastian had asked him to look at him, asked him to ignore Killer Frost's attempts at getting under his skin, he wouldn't be able to see through his tears. He has come to love The Flash the way he came to love Sebastian—Sebastian's kindness and compassion might hide under a shroud of sarcasm and witty banter, but in so many ways his best friend and the superhero are the same. They've both dedicated their lives to fighting crime; Sebastian as a CSI, The Flash by using his powers for good. They're both good and kind and hard workers. And neither have much interest in loving him the way he wants them to.
He blinks to stop from crying. "You can't expect a lightning storm to love you back."
"Blaine," Sebastian urges, but he doesn't hear it.
"And if you think that hurting me will bring him here you don't know him at all," he says, breathing hard and heavy, hardly aware of the words he's saying. "He may be fast but he can't be everywhere at once. He has far more important things to do and people to save than me. If you honestly think he'll somehow know that I'm in trouble, that he'll show up just because you chose to target me you're dead wrong. He has his limits just like you. He won't come, he–"
He's had to be his own hero often enough to realize The Flash can be as tardy as Sebastian. Maybe if he keeps talking long enough, if he keeps Killer Frost occupied, or God forbid he might convince her there's no point in using him as bait, they might yet get out of this.
"Blaine," Sebastian tries again, softer now, as if he knows he'll catch his attention this time around.
"What?" he asks, and looks up at his best friend, the boy he's loved quietly since childhood, who makes his stomach swoop with every touch, whose every smile could easily eclipse The Flash's if not for the unmistakable–
"Hello, killer." Sebastian smiles softly, while an unmistakable flash of lightning dances in the whites of his eyes.
He releases a breath.
"What is this?" Killer Frost sneers, but he can't tear his eyes away from Sebastian, The Flash, one and the same man all this time? Every meeting, every secret rendezvous they shared in the dead of night—it's been Sebastian too. He's been with him all along. He's with him right now.
"Sorry, Frostie," –a voice next to them, and before he knows it he's staring at the cool as a cucumber smirk of The Flash. But how– "Not tonight."
Wind wheezes past his ears, the breath knocked out of his lungs as he's raced halfway across town, far from the deathly grip of Killer Frost.
"Didn't I tell you writing that column would catch up with you sooner or later?"
He whips his head left and right, but they're alone again, Sebastian somehow changed into The Flash suit, his cowl down around his neck, and he blinks, wondering if he's starting to lose his mind. Had he not seen The Flash and Sebastian at the same time?
"How did you do that?"
"Speed mirage." Sebastian grins wide, and shrugs, "A new trick I learned. Wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off, but when you're motivated–"
Staggering a step back Sebastian's by his side again, calling out a soft, "Hey," before his hands land on his shoulders, a steadying force in a lightning storm of impressions. How can Sebastian joke at a time like this? They could have died, and he confessed to being in love with The Flash without realizing he'd been talking about Sebastian too. If only Sebastian knew how true that was. He should've known. How did he not know?
"Everything I said–" he stutters, while his chest unwinds around the truth—he fell in love with the same man twice. That has to mean something.
Sebastian reaches out a hand, running a thumb along his jawline, his eyes tracing the movement as if he's too afraid to look at him directly. "The Flash– can't love you back," he says, no hint of regret in his voice, so he doesn't let any touch his heart. He never wanted The Flash to love him back; he needed The Flash as an excuse, as a man who he was allowed to love from a distance because he'd never learn who hid behind the mask anyway. "But Sebastian Smythe can."
It's a beautiful night for confessions, safe from danger, from any other metahumans, from cowardice. Maybe Sebastian used The Flash as an excuse all the same, to get closer to a boy who'd never shown a hint of any deeper affection.
"Blaine Anderson, I've been in love with you half of my life." Sebastian cups the other side of his face too. "And right now I'm going to bet everything on the fact that you feel the same way."
"I do," he breathes, tears needling behind his eyes again, his heart too big for his chest to contain. Sebastian brings their lips together slowly, hesitantly, as if he still can't quite believe what happened, how everything has changed in a ten-minute span and time's such an awfully fragile notion. So he rises to his toes to meet Sebastian, parts his lips in encouragement, reassurance that time can't steal this from them. Nothing can. This point is as fixed as the day they met.
"Can you–" –a blush creeps into his cheeks at the mere notion of the request, but Sebastian's lips still play against his, fingers tiptoeing at his hips, and there's nowhere else in the world he'd rather be– "–put on the mask again?"
Sebastian smiles, sweeping him off his feet all over again. "I'd have to ask the storm."
He giggles. "Please, shut up."
"–the lightning itself," Sebastian continues to tease, but pulls the mask back over his face. And it's so clear then, how these two men he loves are one and the same, how there was never any question about it.
There are stories about them, Blaine Anderson and Sebastian Smythe; a barely forgotten hyphenated last name in a holographic projection; hints from a man in yellow with red burning eyes; a look in a time traveller's eyes that couldn't be mistaken.
Sebastian kisses him again. The Flash kisses him. The distinction hardly matters anymore.
He never thought he'd see the day time travel would prove to be real.