Barry pulled down his hood and smoothed his hair back. "Well, that was…"
"Interesting," Cisco finished, falling back into the chair and swiveling around to face the Flash. Another day, another metahuman. The way they were keeping it up, they would have to install more cells soon.
"I think I've seen enough snakes to last me a lifetime," Iris said, crossing her arms, as Caitlin nodded in agreement. "Anyone for Jitters? I could use a latte."
Barry disappeared momentarily, reappearing again in plain clothes. "Coffee sounds amazing," he said, grinning.
"Guys?" Iris looked expectantly at Cisco and Caitlin, while Barry gave them a meaningful look.
Picking up on the hint, Cisco replied, "You guys go on ahead. I, uh, have some cleaning up to do here."
Caitlin stared at him. It wasn't like him to turn down coffee. He raised his eyebrows pointedly, and her eyes widened. "Oh, right! I mean, I'm beat," she said, her tone exaggerated. "I'm gonna head home and crash."
Iris cocked her head, smiling slightly. "Okay…Well, see you later." Before Barry followed her out, he mouthed, "Thank you."
Cisco grinned back at him, nodding. "Bro code," he clarified, after Barry and Iris had gone.
"I'm sorry?" Caitlin said. She couldn't help but smile back. It was infectious.
"He wanted time alone with Iris obviously. Bro code dictates that we leave them alone, even if it means missing out on the sweet nectar that is caffeine." He fiddled absently with a PEZ dispenser. "Plus I'm hoping they'll just get together and be done with it. I mean, how long are they going to do this tango with each other?"
Caitlin folded her arms and frowned slightly, but her eyes were still smiling. "I don't think that's any of your business, Cisco." She paused. "Besides, I don't think either one is ready to admit that they love the other. Not yet. A girl can tell," she added at his quizzical expression.
"Whatever you say," he said, popping some candy into his mouth. "I know I wouldn't waste any time. If I like a girl, I just tell her."
"Oh, me too," she said quickly, taking a seat on the table. Their eyes locked for a moment, but they quickly turned away. Caitlin started swinging her legs. She stopped suddenly and turned to Cisco. "Do you want to…grab a bite? I could kill for some chili cheese fries." She chuckled.
"Uh, yeah. That actually sounds awesome."
Caitlin looked a little surprised, but recovered quickly. "Oh, okay. Uh, let me grab my coat."
Cisco tried not to watch her walk across the lab. Was it weird they were going out? They had been out before. But usually Barry had been there, he reminded himself. It had been the three of them for so long. "This is totally normal," he said to himself, folding his arms as he stood, waiting for her. He checked his watch. It had been seven minutes. By the time she appeared again, it had been ten. He stared at her, narrowing his eyes. Her eyelashes looked longer and her eyeliner more pronounced. "Were you…putting on makeup?"
She threw her coat on, looking confused. "I was already wearing makeup," she said, walking past him.
He fell into step next to her. "Yeah, but now you're wearing more."
"So what?" she said. "I wanted to look nice."
He noticed the color blossoming on her cheeks and dropped the subject. They kept up the normal chit-chat while they walked to the bar, made each other laugh. Things were fine again, not awkward. He didn't know what had happened back there with the makeup…not really. Although, if he was perfectly honest and logical about it, he had embarrassed her. She had wanted to look nice, and not for this crappy bar—for him. Caitlin wanted to look nice for him. He was surprised. I mean, he had been noticing her more as a…woman…lately, but he didn't realize she had noticed him as anything but a little brother. But it wasn't crazy…the two of them together, was it? He was finishing his second beer when it happened. He opened his mouth and said something stupid. She was laughing at something he had said—some silly joke or story about his nutty family—so she didn't react right away.
"What?" Caitlin's face fell.
"We should go out," he said again, unfazed.
Caitlin was still on her first beer, barely buzzed. "We are out."
He shook his head and drained his glass. "Not what I meant. We should date."
Her eyes widened a little, then, upon seeing the two empty glasses sitting on the counter in front of him, her lips stretched into a smile. "Cisco, I think you've had too much to drink. I told you to wait until we got the food."
"I'm not drunk," he said defensively. She was blushing again. Was that a good thing? His expression became more serious. "If I've learned anything from the last few years it's that you never know how long you've got. We can't afford to waste a…a second." She turned towards him. He couldn't read the look on her face. Confusion, awe, sadness? "I've felt this…connection lately, between the two of us. But you obviously…haven't." He laughed a little, in a self-deprecating way. Defense mechanism. He closed his eyes a second, looking away. "Caitlin, sorry, I…I've had too much to drink, you're right—"
"Cisco," she interrupted, "stop talking." He turned his head just in time to see her leaning towards him. Their lips met. It was short, sweet, tender. And then it was over.
He was taken aback. "I…didn't expect you to do that.
She smiled. "I was testing a hypothesis."
"And?" Cisco looked at her expectantly, still not able to figure out that playful smile on her lips.
She took his hand and slid off of the barstool. "I think it requires more testing."
He stared at her for a moment, brow furrowed. Then he understood. "Oh! Oh…" He grabbed his wallet out of his back pocket, grabbed a handful of bills, and threw them on the counter. "Keep the change!" he called over his shoulder as they hurried out of the bar.