Burning Down The House

Title: Burning Down the House

Disclaimer: We own nothing from DC Comics or the television series Flash and are not making money from this fic.

Summary: Next in the Second Chances series. A rescue goes a bit awry due to a technical issue.

Warning(s): Contains spanking.

Authors: BlackFox12 and Hope1iz

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Wells was alerted immediately to the report that came in about the hostage situation. He'd been in his office, but as soon as it came through, he left his office and went through to the main area of Star Labs. "A meta-human's holding a family hostage." He was quick to pass on the details to the team.

"Where?" Barry asked, worry for the family clear in his tone. As soon as a location popped up on screen, he was speeding away.

Cisco blinked. "What is this?" He frowned, pointing something on the screen out to Wells.

Wells quickly moved over to look at the cameras, that were showing the interior of the house. He could see the family tied up; and a man and a woman standing guard over them. And he could also see the explosives in one corner of the room.

"Barry, you've got to cut the speed!" Wells spoke into the comms. "There's..."

A squeal of feedback had him wincing and dropping it. "It's down." But he thought his instructions had got through to Barry.

Barry heard Wells say cut the speed, but he didn't hear the reason why. And he couldn't see any reason why he would need to. As far as he could tell, the quicker he subdued the metas, the sooner the hostages would be safe. So, he didn't slow down. In fact, he sped up.

The cameras were on, but all they showed was a blur. Wells muttered a curse and began frantically trying to reconnect the comms. "Can you get a portal opened there?" he asked Cisco quickly.

Cisco blinked and stood, quickly moving to open a portal, but he wasn't quick enough. There was a bright flash and then the cameras went to static.

Worry stabbed through Wells and he quickly turned to Cisco. "Open it just outside the house." Or where the house had been. He forced down that stab of fear, making himself stay calm.

Cisco nodded, opening the portal in what used to be the front yard. He allowed Wells to go through first before stepping through himself. "Barry?!"

"Over here!" could be heard closer to the road. The family of four was there with Barry. The two children and the mother were okay. The father looked to have got a piece of shrapnel in his arm. Barry was applying pressure to the wound. It wasn't a critical wound, so the man had opted to wait for an ambulance with his family, instead of Barry speeding him away.

The hostage takers were all trussed up and locked to the family's mailbox.

Wells quickly moved over to Barry and the family, scanning quickly for any more serious wounds. The younger man working with him would heal...but the injury that had occurred wouldn't have if he'd been listened to. "The police and paramedics are on their way?" he asked.

"Yessir..." Barry quickly affirmed. "I called as soon as I had everyone out." A few seconds after he'd said that, sirens could be heard in the distance.

Wells shifted out of the way, his face almost a blank mask; only those who knew him well would know how tense he was. The moment the cameras had gone out had filled him with pure terror. He'd hidden it well, but if Barry's speed had triggered the explosives...

It was taking a bit of effort for Wells to reach a calmer state of mind that would allow him to deal with what had happened properly.

Barry could sense the tenseness but, not knowing the exact cause, decided to stay out of his way. Soon, however, the ambulance had taken the hurt hostage, the man's family following behind in the family car, and the police had taken the metas. Barry had put the fire out shortly before Cisco had opened the portal so there was nothing left to do.

Cisco opened a new portal and Barry quickly went through. Cisco waited for Wells to cross over before going through himself and closing the portal. "Imma head home now," he said to the room at large, before grabbing his stuff, grabbing Caitlyn and leaving.

Barry frowned. It was only him and Wells left in the building. "That was...abrupt..." he said, in a confused voice.

"Did you hear any of what I said through the comms?" Wells asked immediately. He was willing to give Barry the benefit of the doubt; maybe they'd cut out before the younger man had heard Wells tell him not to use his speed.

"You said...you said not to use my speed, but I didn't hear why you didn't want me to and I didn't see anything that made me think I shouldn't! I was afraid if I didn't, the meta might have some way of stopping me and would hurt the hostages...so..." Barry winced. Listening to himself, it just seemed like empty excuses. He should have trusted Wells to have a good reason for his directions, even if he couldn't see the reason himself. On top of that, a hostage had been hurt.

Wells took a deep breath...and then another. "It didn't occur to you I might have a reason for telling you not to do something? We had feed into the room where the hostages were being held. The metahumans had explosives. When you used your speed, the cameras were shot out." Wells was clearly having difficulty keeping calm as he said, "I have no idea if your fast healing would work if you get blown up. That isn't something I want to put to the test."

Barry swallowed, but had nothing to say to that. "I...I'm sorry..." he finally mumbled, unable to think of anything to say in his defense.

Wells was actually really struggling not to just pull Barry over his knee right then and there. Fast healing or not, he didn't want to spank the younger man while he was still angry...which had primarily been because he'd been so frightened. Just for an instant, but it had felt like an eternity.

"I promised I'd hold you accountable, Barry, but I need to take a few minutes to calm down. And I think you need to consider just how you should respond when a member of your team tells you to do something." Wells breathed in deep and held eye contact with the younger man as he said, "I want you to stand in the corner."

Barry's eyes widened at the order. (He was trying not to think about the accountable part.) He would have argued, but Wells had told him he would be holding him accountable and Barry had accepted that. Wanted it, even. If Wells felt like he'd done something that he needed to hold him accountable for, then Barry probably should think about why that might be the case. And Wells was obviously upset. Instead of arguing, he swallowed again. "In your office?" he asked, in a tiny voice.

Wells nodded. "My office," he confirmed. He began heading there, motioning for the younger man to follow him.

Barry quickly fell into place right behind him, not wanting to irritate his mentor even further than he already had. As soon as they were in the office, he headed to the nearest corner and faced it, his shoulders hunched over in embarrassed and ashamed misery. And thought about what he'd done. Wells had specifically told him to slow down. Just because he hadn't heard the reason why, it didn't mean it wasn't an important reason. Wells never told him to do anything without a very specific and usually important reason. But he'd ignored the older man because he couldn't see the reason for slowing down. It had been disrespectful in the least. The fact that the house had blown up and the father had been injured badly enough to need hospital care (even if he wasn't hurt so badly he wouldn't recover) made the whole situation worse. He'd apologize and admit that he knew where he'd gone wrong, but he didn't think that would be enough and might seem like an excuse if he started talking before Wells asked him to. So, he waited for the older man to calm down and tell him to come out of the corner and start talking. It wasn't easy. His body began to vibrate from the nerves.

Wells had planned to spend a few minutes working, to give Barry time to think. But the memory of the fear and worry made that nearly impossible. He waited a bit and then said, very quietly, "When the cameras went out, I felt fear I hadn't experienced before. I thought the explosives had triggered while you were in the house and you'd got caught in the blast."

Barry winced, and his shoulders hunched even further down. "I'm sorry..." he said, in a tiny voice, not offering up any excuses. He'd frightened the man, it was obvious; it wasn't time for excuses. It was time to apologize and try to make things right.

"If I tell you not to do something, I have a good reason for doing that," Wells said seriously. "I'm not going to say things just for the sake of saying them, or for hearing myself talk. I know you heal fast, but you're not invincible. And you can still be hurt. It's my job to make sure you don't get hurt." He paused. That wasn't quite right. Clearing his throat, he voiced what he had been too nervous to the first time he'd been in this position. "I care about you. I don't want you to get hurt."

Barry bit his lip, giving a cautious glance over his shoulder. He hadn't been told he could leave the corner yet and he didn't want to irritate Wells further by moving before he'd been given permission, but a declaration like that deserved some type of acknowledgement. "I didn't mean to scare you..." he finally said, a hesitant and shamed tone in his voice. He knew everything Wells had said was the truth; Wells didn't just say things to say them. He should have obeyed the command when it came through, even if it wasn't clear to him why it was being given.

"This kind of reckless behaviour isn't acceptable. And if you can't avoid taking them yourself, then I'll have to provide some incentive for you to." Moving his chair from behind the back of his desk, Wells sat. "Come here," he directed.

"Sir..." Barry's eyes widened and his voice was pleading, his eyes reluctant. Still, he slowly turned and took tentative steps toward the older man, hoping with every step that Wells would change his mind about what Barry knew he planned to do.

"I promised I'd hold you accountable when you took dangerous, reckless actions...you admitted you needed that." Wells forced himself to stay firm as he held his hand out to the younger man.

"Why did I have to admit I needed that...?" Barry whimpered under his breath and closed his eyes tightly. His hesitancy didn't stop him from reaching out and taking Wells' hand, though, letting himself be drawn close enough that the older man could position him over his knee.

Wells gently drew Barry over his knees, securing the younger man with an arm wrapped around his waist, and then proceeded to bare him.

Barry whimpered again, flushing as he was bared. He reached down and gripped onto Wells ankle, more as a way to calm himself and make sure he didn't bolt away than to provide balance. "I'm sorry..." he said again. He honestly felt bad about scaring the older man; among other things he was beginning to feel guilty about. No excuse in the world made what he'd done okay.

"I know you are. And I forgive you, but that doesn't change that you need to be held accountable. That you need to remember you're not indestructible and that you can't just ignore what your team members tell you because you think you know better." Taking a tighter grip on the younger man, Wells started spanking. Like the first time, he started out hard and delivered several swats in the same spot before moving onto a new one.

"Yessir!" Barry said while holding his breath, the result being a high-pitched, strained sound that showed, more than anything, that the spanking was already affecting him.

Wells quickly settled into a pattern of swats, going down to Barry's thighs and then starting over from the top. He didn't like being this harsh, but he knew the spanking wouldn't get through to the younger man otherwise. "If I tell you to do something, I have a good reason to. I'm not saying things just to hear myself talk."

Like the last time he was spanked, at first, the pain from the swats ended nearly immediately, his body healing so quickly they were little more than annoying swats. But after a few minutes of Wells smacking the same spot over and over- hard- and then moving on... and the fact that he began again after covering his entire backside... eventually, his skin wasn't able to heal as quickly. It stayed pink for a longer period of time. The sting lasted for more than a few seconds. It hurt! And Barry's eyes began to water, even though he somehow managed to hold himself still. He couldn't help but whimper.

Wells knew he was hurting Barry; regretted it was necessary and had to force himself to carry on, completing a second circuit and beginning a third...going a bit harder and faster. "If the explosion had happened while you were in the house, it could have not only taken out the family you were trying to protect...but you as well. You would have taken yourself from your family and friends because you were stubborn and wanted to do things your own way."

Barry didn't know how he got the courage to admit it. he was afraid it would result in even harder and longer swatting, but he couldn't not say anything. Wells needed to know the truth, no matter how painful it might end up being. "The...the explosion did happen while I was in the house..." Barry whimpered. "...I sa...saw it happening and...and grabbed the children...and took them outside... and...and ran b..back in fo...for the pa...parents..." he choked out. "...An...and g...got the...them out." He couldn't help the tiny sob that escaped. "...I...I co...couldn't l..leave th..them th..there. N...not when...when it was my fault!" He didn't bother going into detail about how he'd had to dodge debris and fire. Or the fact that he'd actually got singed at one point. He'd changed out of his suit as soon as they'd got back to the labs; so quickly, no one had said anything; but if Wells looked at his suit, he'd know.

Wells hand tensed a fraction on Barry's back, as if the emotion was too much for him to handle stoically. "You disobeyed what I told you to do. It doesn't matter if you don't know the reason why; I've got to be able to trust you. You've got to trust me." His voice faltered, a bit, as he wondered if Barry's actions were a result of the imposter's betrayal. Maybe it didn't matter what he did; he'd always be living under that shadow.

"I know it doesn't matter if I didn't know the reason!" Barry wailed, not having meant his explanation to sound like an excuse. "I di..dis..disobeyed you and I shouldn't have! I...I shou...should've lis...lis...listened! I..." He choked on the words as a sob tore through him. "...I thou..thought I knew be...better and it was wr...wrong o..of me...N...not sposed to do e..every...everything on my own wi..without help. I...I kno..know better..." He continued to cry. "I'm sorry!" He went limp over Harrison's lap and just cried like his heart was breaking. Everything he had done from the moment he chose to ignore Wells' warning had been the wrong thing, it felt like. He felt so guilty, he didn't think one spanking would help at all. Especially when he was fairly certain it was his fault the father had been hurt. Especially when he could tell Harrison had been hurt by his disobedience and excuses. Especially when he knew that everyone would be upset when they saw the singing on his suit and realized exactly how close to being hurt he actually had been. And he wasn't going to hide that. They'd know. In fact, as soon as Harrison had decided he'd punished him enough, he'd show the older man and if it got him a second spanking, he'd be grateful and say thank you. He would...if it meant Harrison wouldn't be mad at him anymore. "I'm sorry..." he repeated through his sobs.

Wells stopped, his hand resting on Barry's lower back, as the younger man began sobbing. He could have continued spanking, but even if Barry healed fast, Wells didn't want to push past the point of surrender. He didn't want to hurt the younger man. "I know you're sorry." He gently rubbed Barry's back, like he had the first time. "And I forgive you for disobeying. But you need to trust me. I care about your safety. It doesn't matter how many people you save if the price that ends up being paid is you."

Barry continued to cry brokenly, but he was listening and with Harrison rubbing his back and talking gently to him, it enabled him to stop crying enough that he could at least answer intelligibly. "I do trust you..." he sniffled. "...I didn't dis'bey cuz I don't trust you. I dis'beyed cuz I'm an idiot and did'n think it through..." He took a quivery breath. "W...when I did'n see anythin' wrong...I jus fig'ered whatever was wrong was gone... or that it was sumthin I could outrun..." He sounded sheepish. "...I couldn', though. Not completely..." He stayed over Harrison's knee as he spoke, before admitting, "...My suit needs fixin...It...it got burned..."

"What about you?" Wells didn't care so much about the suit; it was far lower down on his list of priorities, while Barry was virtually at the top. "I know you heal fast, but we've not been in situations where chemicals are involved. If the suit got burned, then I know you did too." He didn't even try to hide his worry now. He was past that stage with the younger man.

"I dunno?" Barry said hesitantly. "...I didn't look over myself to see..." he admitted nervously, afraid that it would upset his mentor even more and he'd rather have hundreds of spankings on top of each other than for Wells to act like he thought Barry didn't trust him, or for him to be scared about him. "Y...you would probably see if there was anything bad...It was all on the back of my suit... one of the spots burned was a few inches to the right of my bottom..." He squirmed slightly. Why saying the word 'bottom' to Wells would embarrass him when the man had just been smacking said bottom for him, Barry didn't know; but he couldn't stop himself from turning bright pink.

Wells was certain that he hadn't seen anything, but at the younger man's words, he began a bit more of a thorough examination, shifting Barry's shirt out of the way and doing the same thing with his pants and underwear; moving the younger man so he could check over every inch. "There's nothing left, but in the future, no matter how you think I might react...I expect you to tell me if you've been injured. Even if you think it's nothing."

By the time Wells had finished his 'examination', Barry was so bright red, it was as if he'd just been freshly spanked- all over his entire body. "Yessir. I'll tell you..." he said meekly, not willing or even wanting to argue against Wells instructions. As much as he didn't want his friends and family to worry about him, it felt good when they showed they cared and did worry. But if he could help alleviate that worry just a little by cooperating, he would.

"Good." Wells gently rubbed over Barry's back as he continued, "You're cared about by a lot of people, Barry..." Clearing his throat, he added, "Not just by me." He didn't know why it was easier to admit to that like this.

"I know, sir..." Barry said quietly. "...Thank you...for caring enough to...to take care of me..." He bit his lip, hoping Wells understood. Since thanking him for holding him accountable would be tantamount to saying 'thank you for spanking me'. Which seemed like it would be a weird thing to thank him for, even if it was something Barry needed occasionally.

Wells let his hand rest gently on Barry's back. "Thank you for trusting me to." The words were simple, but sincere. He didn't enjoy the actual spanking and causing pain part, but having Barry trust him to take care of him in this way? That felt good.

Barry sniffed again, relaxing over Wells knee. It seemed the punishment was over now; but when he was over Wells lap because he'd done something wrong, he never got up on his own volition. He'd wait until Wells told him he could stand. It wasn't like it was uncomfortable. It actually was more comforting than he wanted to admit, just lying there waiting for instructions. Especially when Wells was rubbing his back. That felt really nice. He could never get enough back-rubs, but the only ones who ever really gave them to him were Iris, sometimes Joe and now Harrison Wells, after he'd just roasted Barry's backside. "...Almost worth getting spanked to get the back-rubs after..." he mumbled to himself. "...Almost..."

Wells didn't stop, continuing to gently rub the younger man's back. "You don't have to get a spanking to get a back-rub." He reiterated what he'd said the first time, but he was at a loss how to actually do that without having Barry over his knee first; somehow, it felt more natural that way.

"I know. It just seems easier to admit I want one after I've gotten in trouble with you..." Barry said sheepishly. "...I know that's stupid. It's just easier...giving in... when you're already in full control of me..."

"Not stupid," Wells disagreed. "I find it...easier when there's already been a reason to show care," he admitted. "You've got so many other people who care about you, it doesn't always feel like you need one more."

"You aren't them...your care is different..." Barry said honestly. "It's...it's almost like my parents' was...or like Joe's care is...least I find myself reacting to it that way. But you're more...stern...than Joe. Sometimes I need stern..." He blushed again. "I know I don't always act like it; and sometimes I'm a disobedient brat and seem ungrateful, but you're important to me. I do need you..." Barry swallowed hard, hoping he hadn't said too much.

"You're important to me, too." Wells responded to Barry's honesty with his own. He wanted to say he needed Barry too, but didn't know how to word what he meant. He continued to gently rub Barry's back, his other hand still resting gently on the younger man's bottom.

Barry found himself relaxing at the words; he hadn't even realized he'd tensed up. "That's good..." he said quietly. "Less likely to bother you if you feel the same..." His tone was sheepish. He wiggled slightly, just to see if Wells would keep his hands on him or make him get up.

"You don't bother me. This doesn't bother me." Wells wasn't quite sure if Barry's wriggling meant he wanted to get up or not. Rather than guess, he decided to ask outright. "You want to get up?"

Barry blushed again slightly. "No, sir. Not really..." He paused. "Since I seem to find it easier to talk when I'm facing the floor...is there anything else you want to know? Or any other directions I need to think about and remember?"

Wells kept his hands on Barry, gently stroking and rubbing, as he thought about that. "You've told me everything that happened when you went to the house." It was more of a statement than a question. "And I think, by now, you understand to follow my directions, even if you don't know why I'm giving you one."

"Yessir..." Barry quickly agreed. He never wanted to cause an accident like that again...and having Wells think he didn't value him just hurt his heart.

"Also, I know you heal fast, but when you do get hurt, I want you to make sure you get checked...whether by me or by Caitlin," Wells continued. "Especially when there might be other factors involved."

"...Yessir..." This was said more reluctantly, but Barry still agreed. It made sense after all. "Are you mad at me? For not telling you about being singed?" This was asked even more reluctantly, as Barry didn't want to hear disappointment in Wells' voice.

"No. But it worries me that you didn't tell me," Wells replied. "Not knowing all of the information will make me worry about you even more. I need to know you'll be honest with me."

"I'm sorry. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to worry you. I'm just messing up all around today..." Barry sighed forlornly. "I want to be honest...I just got too used to hiding things. It's hard to not do it now..."

Wells' voice was understanding as he said, "I know. It's difficult to change the habits. Maybe I should start checking you over every time you come back."

"Would it help you feel better?" Barry asked quietly. "If so...I won't argue 'bout it..." He felt guilty for scaring Harrison and then worrying him on top of everything. He figured if it kept the older man happy, it could be his way of making up for his mistake. And Joe wound probably feel better about it too.

"It would help me worry less about you," Wells answered honestly. He was still gently rubbing and stroking over Barry's back, almost unconsciously now.

"Okay...then from now on...even if it's only a minor skirmish...I'll come to you and you can give me a check-up..." Barry said, almost in a whisper. "I can tell you exactly what I did and why and...and if I messed up, you can tell me how and if needed..." He squirmed again, not quite able to bring himself to say he'd submit to a spanking if Wells determined he needed it after hearing him report. Even if that's what he meant.

"If needed, I'll spank you," Wells finished for him. "But I'll make sure you're unhurt. I'll listen to everything you tell me. And I won't ever 'take care of you' if I'm angry."

"Yessir..." Barry relaxed again. Wells had not only understood, but he'd made an important promise of his own. It made Barry feel good that the older man would think about that before it ever became an issue.

Wells continued to gently stroke and rub over the younger man's back. "It won't change, either." He voiced another promise. "Now that I've made this commitment to you...I'm not going back."

"I won't either, sir. I... thank you. For being responsible for me... helping me be responsible..." Barry blushed again.

Wells knew that Barry was putting a lot of trust in him and he was determined not to risk betraying that trust. "I think we've about covered my expectations for you...is there anything you need to ask me?"

"If I'm ever not on a mission, but just want to talk? Just you and me...? Is that okay?" Barry bit his lip and held his breath.

"More than okay," Wells promised. "You've got my number, so you can call me if you ever want to talk." There was a happier note in his voice, at the thought the younger man might want to spend time with him outside of the missions.

"Great!" Barry sounded happier, too, at the realization that Harrison wouldn't mind spending time together outside of missions.

"Is there anything else on your mind?" Wells gently encouraged, knowing both of them were able to be more honest like this.

"I... I want to find out how the father of that family is doing...do...do you think you can go with me? So I can find out?" Barry couldn't keep the nervous hope or the deep worry out of his tone. He'd tried to save the family- and had- but the father had been hurt pretty badly. Even if it wasn't as badly as he could have been.

"Yeah. You want to do that now?" Wells agreed without hesitation.

"Please?" Barry's tone became a little more hopeful. "If that's not a problem?"

"Not at all." Wells carefully re-clothed the younger man and then helped him up off his lap.

Barry stood in front of Wells for a few seconds, fidgeting awkwardly, before throwing his arms around the older man in a tight hug, his head just under Wells' chin, on his shoulder. "Thanks..." he muttered, blushing again, almost shyly.

Although surprised by the affection, Wells nevertheless wrapped his own arms around Barry just as tight in return. "You're welcome," he responded.

Barry held on for a few moments longer; so Wells would know he wanted to hug him, that it wasn't just an obligatory 'thank you', and then pulled back slowly and gave a shy smile. "After we check on the family...Joe's making spaghetti tonight. I'm sure he wouldn't mind another person if you want to come with?" For some reason, Barry didn't want Wells to just go off alone tonight. Or maybe he just wanted someone else in his corner when Iris and Joe figured out what had gone down at the house with the metas and he was trying to calm them down so they weren't panicking (Iris) or giving him the disappointed dad look (Joe). No... that wasn't the reason. Harrison would side with Joe in this case. Still. Barry didn't want him going off alone. Something in him felt like it was time that he showed the older man that he really was important and needed in more ways than one. He bit his lip and literally bounced as they left the office to head out to the hospital, not moving more than a foot away from Wells at any time and waiting for the man to answer.

Wells might have been unsure that he was welcome, but when he looked at the younger man, he could tell that Barry really wanted his company. Any other day, Wells might have withdrawn, assuming he was just being asked out of politeness. But they'd talked...and Wells wanted to spend more time with the younger man. He nodded and smiled...a real smile. "Yeah. If you want me to come...I want to be there."

"Great!" Barry's eyes brightened at the positive answer. When they got outside, he scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Can I catch a ride with you?" He could run to the hospital, of course, but that would make it so Wells wouldn't be there for moral support; and he desperately wanted someone there with him when he found out how badly he'd screwed up.

Wells nodded. "Any time." He wasn't just talking about catching a ride, but wasn't sure if Barry would make that connection. Clearing his throat, he moved to his car, unlocking it and getting in the driver's side.

Barry's smile was big as he got into the passenger side and buckled up, leaning back and just looking around curiously. You could learn a lot about a person by their car. He found he wanted to learn as much about Wells as he could. He didn't need another father; but he figured an uncle would be a nice addition. Not that he was going to tell Wells that any time soon; the man had a daughter in another dimension. He didn't need a disobedient, spastic nephew to keep track of. Although, since he was already worrying about him and keeping track of him, Barry supposed it didn't make a difference if Wells knew he was now Barry's favorite uncle. Still. He glanced at the radio to see what station it was on and listened to see what Wells liked to listen to while driving in the car. Was it sports radio? Talk shows? News? Bubble-gum pop? He giggled as he thought the last possibility.

Wells started driving, raising his eyebrows at the giggle, but finding himself smiling in response. "Something funny?" He glanced sideways as he asked the question, watching Barry almost as much as he was watching the road.

Barry blushed. "Yeah...nah...yeah...I was just wondering what you liked to listen to while you drive. You wouldn't happen to be fond of Bubblegum Pop, would you?" Barry grinned impishly at Harrison.

"No." Wells took a moment or two to think about it. "I listen to all sorts, actually. It's good to have background noise when I'm in the car on my own."

"Yeah...I hear that..." Barry nodded. "If I didn't have background something or other when I'm alone, I might start talking to myself..."

"I don't really like being alone." The honest comment slipped out without Wells thinking about it. He winced and looked at the road. "That's probably hard to believe."

"Not really..." Barry paused, trying to think of a way to say his next comment without making the other man get depressed. "...You have a kid. I mean...I don't have one obviously, but I just know how my mom and dad were with me... and later how Joe was and sometimes still is with Iris and me. As often as Joe liked to say he needed 'alone time', he invariably searched us out if he didn't have us underfoot or hear from us for more than a day... " He shrugged slightly, giving Wells a crooked smile. "... Iris and I learned real quick not to go too long without checking in. There's nothing more embarrassing than to have your father's patrol car pull up behind you when you're making out because you didn't answer the phone..."

Wells nodded slowly. "I'm not going to stop being a father..." Her father, really. After a brief hesitation, he added, "But being responsible for someone else...helping someone else...even if you don't need me as a father..." His voice trailed off. Maybe he didn't really know how to finish that. How to say how important Barry was to him.

Barry bit his lip and turned so that he could look at Wells full on. "Maybe I don't need another father...I've been really lucky to have two great ones... I never had an uncle, though... and... I figure..." Barry swallowed, his gaze falling toward the seat for a few seconds before he got his nerve back up. "I figure with what I'm doing, the more people in my corner who care about me and want to help me do better, no matter what it takes... the better off I am. I wasn't just saying I needed you because I thought you'd go easier on me or anything...I meant it. You help me in ways that no one else does..." Barry swallowed, then grinned impishly again. "...And as my honorary uncle, I can tell you things I can't tell Joe because he'd give me the disappointed dad look. You'll just tell me to stop being an idiot."

Wells smiled...a real smile; not a smirk or a sneer. It didn't feel altogether natural on his face, but it was still sincere. "Turns out I need you around too...nephew." His voice was quiet. It was still hard to be honest, but he was responding to Barry's honesty with his own. He did care a lot about the younger man.

Barry's grin grew at that. "Cool!" He glanced out the window and noted they were almost to the hospital. His demeanor instantly became more reserved, almost nervous. What would he find out when they went in? Did his actions cause a family to lose their husband and father? The man had been talking and seemed to be okay when the ambulance took him, but that didn't necessarily mean anything.

Wells parked the car and turned to Barry...his nephew. It was almost strange how quickly he'd adjusted to that in his mind. "I know you're worried," he started out with, "but when I got there, the man didn't seem to be in shock or anything. I'm sure you'll find he's doing as well as he could be."

Barry swallowed, then nodded jerkily. "I... I hope so," he whispered, before unbuckling his seatbelt and getting out of the car. He waited long enough for Wells to get out and walk around to join him before walking toward the hospital entrance.

Wells walked next to Barry, not saying anything, but he hoped he was positioned enough that the younger man knew he had his support.


It was a few hours later and Barry was in the car, looking at the front door of the house. He hadn't got out of the car yet; he knew Joe would ask how the father was. He didn't want to tell his father that the man had gone into sudden cardiac arrest in the ambulance and was now in intensive care. The only reason he'd been able to find out that much was because he'd snuck into that ward and eavesdropped; not his proudest moment. He hadn't waited for Harrison to stop him, so he had no clue what the older man thought. Barry had been quiet and withdrawn, answering questions as briefly as possible; morose, almost. Taking a deep breath, he got out of the car and walked up to the front door, knocking on it before opening it and calling out, as cheerfully as he could manage, "I'm home, Joe. I brought Harrison with me!"

Harrison followed Barry to the house, concerned about his nephew's attitude and how he was feeling. He followed the younger man inside, a little unsure of what his welcome would be...but figuring that Barry wanted him there, so that was enough.

"Hey! Welcome!" Iris came out of the kitchen, carrying a platter of garlic bread. "Dad'll be out in a minute!" She leaned up and kissed Barry on the cheek, before taking the bread to the table.

Barry gave Iris a crooked grin, then smiled faintly as Joe came in. "Hi, Joe...it smells good..."

"Hey son." Joe smiled at Barry and then nodded to Wells. "Good to see you, Harrison. Everything go okay today?" he asked mildly.

Wells didn't say anything, figuring he'd let Barry tell how much he needed to.

Barry winced. Wells not saying anything wasn't suspicious in the least, he thought uneasily.

Iris noticed. "Okay...what happened?" she asked, in her no-nonsense voice.

"Uh...we caught a couple of metas?" Barry hedged.

Joe raised his eyebrows. "Good to know," he drawled. "What happened building up to them being captured?" He was fairly certain something had happened.

"I accidentally blew up the hostages' house..." Barry mumbled, looking at the ground, his shoulders slumping.

"You...blew up a house?" Iris thought she could be forgiven for sounding confused. "Wait...that was you?!"

"There were explosives inside." Wells thought he'd better explain. "Barry couldn't see inside and the comms cut out before I could let him know."

Joe looked at his son, then at Harrison, then back at Barry again. "You heard him say something?"

Barry winced again, but forced himself to look Joe in the eyes. "He told me not to run...I didn't hear why, though. And I thought I'd rescue everyone by whisking he hostages out. Since I didn't see what he saw...I ignored him..." Barry sounded thoroughly ashamed of himself. "I got everyone out before the house was completely demolished, but the father was wounded. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital." Barry spoke softly, his tone too remote, almost. Withdrawn. He obviously blamed himself for what happened.

"It wasn't your fault, Barry..." Iris said loyally. "You didn't know about the explosives, if the radios went down before Harry could explain; and you were trying to save the family. I'm sure they understand. And you got them out. The father is still alive. You should be glad about that!"

Joe could tell his son felt guilty. And he was also certain that Harrison had had words with Barry. "Okay, so the next time, you make sure you listen when someone tells you not to do something. But it's possible things could have been just as bad if you hadn't acted when you did." He glanced at Harrison, almost as if confirming that a conversation had already been had.

"I don't believe it will happen again." But Harrison wasn't prepared to go into any more details than that; at least not without permission from his nephew.

"Yeah. I'll listen next time..." Barry nodded quickly, not confirming that a conversation had been had, but letting it be known that he'd learned his lesson either way, so Joe didn't need to worry about him repeating that particular mistake.

Iris frowned sadly. "Maybe we can find a way to help the family. That way, the father only has to worry about getting better."

Barry shot her a grateful look. "I... I was thinking maybe the mother and kids could stay at our apartment while they wait for insurance to pay for working on rebuilding their home..."

"Or we could find them an apartment and help them move in until their home is rebuilt. I doubt they'd want to live with strangers..." Iris amended his idea gently.

Joe nodded. "We can talk through ideas while we're eating," he suggested, motioning for Barry and Harrison to sit. He checked what they wanted to drink and started pouring.

Barry did his best to contribute to the conversation and make certain no one worried about him, but he was obviously worried about the man in the hospital and felt guilty, despite Iris's assertions that it wasn't his fault and Harrison and Joe's belief that he'd learned from his mistake and wouldn't make the same mistake again. It was getting late and Iris finally turned to her father. "Thanks for dinner, dad. I've got an early day tomorrow, so I should probably be heading home now. You coming, Bar?"

"I left something at the labs I need to pick up, but I'll be coming home after I get it." Barry smiled faintly, giving Iris a quick kiss. "Be careful driving home," he added.

"You coming round tomorrow?" Joe glanced at both Barry and Harrison, making it clear that the other man was invited as well.

"I'll have to see..." Harrison wasn't entirely sure Barry would want him there two days in a row; he didn't want to say yes and make things difficult.

"Yeah...sure!" Barry quickly agreed. "Have a good night, dad..." He hugged the older man tightly. "I'll see you all tomorrow..." he promised, before making his way to the front door.

Harrison caught up to the younger man. "Did you want me to drive you back to the labs?" he asked, not sure if his nephew would want the company or would prefer to run.

"Yeah...sure. Thanks..." Barry gave Wells a weak smile. Part of him had wanted to run out his anxiety and worried guilt. The other part didn't want to be alone. He followed Wells out to the car, waiting until Harrison had unlocked it before climbing in.

Harrison got in the driver's side and set the car in motion. "We don't know the man's medical history. It's altogether possible he's had problems before."

"I guess..." Barry's voice was listless. He'd been unnaturally quiet at the house, but at least he'd been attempting to be social and not drag everyone down. He'd apparently reached his limit of being able to forge ahead, because he just seemed hopeless. Like a puppet whose strings had been cut. "I couldn't stay long enough to hear if he did. A nurse was heading that way. I didn't figure you'd much like if I got caught snooping where I wasn't sposed to be..." He was attempting for humor, but it fell flat. His heart just wasn't in it.

"I can find out," Harrison offered, as he drove them back to Star Labs. "If Cisco helps, we can see what the man's medical history is."

"No... I don't want you both to get into trouble for me..." Barry said softly. "Besides...it doesn't really matter anyway. He was hurt because of what I did. Even if he had a prior condition...it was my actions that set off the chain of events that would have caused the condition to flare up..." Barry hunched in on himself.

"I'm fairly sure we could manage it without getting into trouble." Wells didn't push the issue, though. By now, they'd reached Star Labs and he parked the car and got out, waiting for Barry to join him.

Barry listlessly got out of the car, not really paying attention to Wells' comment, instead walking around and standing next to Wells. "Thanks for the lift...you don't have to stay...I'm just gonna go in... get a few things done..." He smiled crookedly. "I'll prolly end up being late..."

"I don't think you need to be alone right now," Wells said. "I'll head to my office. If you need to...talk or anything, that's where I'll be."

Barry nodded. "Yeah, okay..." he said quietly.

He watched as Wells walked away to his office and then called Iris. "Hey...I discovered some work I really should finish before tomorrow, so I'll be home late. You don't need to wait up for me..." He swallowed. "I will. Love you..."

After calling Iris, he sat and began working on the items he'd said needed doing; though they really weren't that urgent. Mostly, he kept going over and over what had happened, becoming more and more distressed the more he thought. When the urge to go out and catch bad guys without any backup became too strong to overcome - he knew he'd be putting on the suit and speeding out within minutes if he weren't stopped- he took a deep breath and quickly walked to Harrison's office. The door was open, so all he really had to do was knock on the door frame before walking in.

"I'm about to do something that will upset everyone if you don't stop me..." he blurted, in a desperate bid to not do just that.

Wells had been expecting something to happen; it was why he'd decided to stay, even though he didn't really have any outstanding work. He focused his full attention on Barry and said, quietly, "How do you suggest I stop you?" He wasn't sure if spanking the younger man before he did anything was appropriate...or even if that was what his 'nephew' needed.

Barry began to pace, fidgeting, his hands nervously running over his thighs, straightening his shirt, running through his hair. He winced at what was a very valid question. The only thing he could think of just seemed ridiculous to say, but... "Hold me? Don't let go of me? I won't run if...if I know it might hurt you..." He flushed darkly.

Wells stood from the desk without hesitation. This was what he'd stayed for, after all. As he stepped over to the younger man and wrapped his arms around Barry, though, he couldn't help but wonder if his nephew might respond better to a different position if he needed to be held and not let go of.

Barry held onto Wells tightly, but he was still obviously agitated and twitchy. Holding him like this wouldn't work for long. His need to go out and do something to try and make up for what he'd done wrong was too strong.

Wells could feel the tension in Barry's body and he decided to go with his gut. Giving the younger man a gentle squeeze, he moved over to the chair and sat, gently pulling his nephew across his lap.

Barry tensed for a few seconds before slumping, his whole body going lax as he realized Wells was going to help him. He couldn't just run in this position; he'd have to get up first and he somehow knew that his uncle wouldn't allow that. He shivered slightly before slumping even more. "Thank you..." he whispered.

In answer, Wells let his hand rest gently on Barry's back, rubbing soothingly...but also keeping his nephew in place. "Do you want to talk?" he asked gently, giving the younger man an opening if he needed one.

"I can't stop thinking about it..." Barry admitted, his voice sad. "If I'd have just listened to you...the house wouldn't have exploded. He wouldn't have been hurt. The stress wouldn't have...he wouldn't have..." Barry choked on a tiny cry.

While Barry was talking, Wells moved his hand a little bit lower as he rubbed soothing circles over his nephew's back, hand gently rubbing over Barry's backside. "Maybe being held hostage would still have affected him," he said gently.

"We'll never know, will we?" Barry said, in a tight voice. "I made sure the worst possible thing could happen. Even if he comes through with little lasting effects; the family is now homeless. With a slew of medical bills. I caused more problems than I fixed..." His voice was filled with self-recrimination and self-loathing.

"We were talking about ways of helping them over dinner." As he spoke, Wells continued to gently rub, remembering his nephew's comments about back-rubs. "Even though there are problems, we can help the family."

"It should never have happened." Barry's voice caught. "It was bad enough knowing I'd hurt and upset you by disobeying...if the father dies...I..." He choked, then began quietly crying. "I should have learned from the last time I ignored your advice and messed everyone's lives up..." He continued to cry. "I should have learned...!"

"Maybe you should have paid attention, but you didn't hear everything I said," Wells pointed out. "You weren't sure if what I was warning you about was still a factor. You didn't know. It wasn't like you planned to act dangerously."

"I didn't! I didn't mean to be dangerous at all!" Barry promised fervently, before crying some more. "...Which is why I shoulda obeyed you. At least until I was inside and able to see why you may have told me not to run. You're the smartest man I know, and you don't tell me things for no reason..." Barry reached down and held onto his uncle's leg, trying to calm down. The back rubbing calmed him slightly. So did the bottom rubbing, though he wondered if he shouldn't be a little embarrassed about that.

"So, you listen to me next time," Wells said. "You learn from what happened and you use that to make your actions better. Making a mistake doesn't make you bad."

"I feel like I'm bad..." Barry admitted.

"You said I'm the smartest man you know. That means you have to believe me when I say you're not bad," Wells said.

Barry couldn't help but giggle at that remark. "Using my own words against me?! Not cool, Uncle Harry..." Barry giggled again before what he'd just called Wells caught up with him and he stiffened slightly, not sure if the older man would be upset or not.

"I'll use what I need to so I can help you, nephew," Wells answered, hoping his use of the word would indicate the form of address was fine.

"You're the best..." Barry mumbled, relaxing a bit more. "And really good at stopping me from doing stuff I shouldn't."

"That's because I don't want to see you hurt. Or upset." Once again, it was easier to be honest while they were in this position.

"I... I think I'm calm enough not to run now..." Barry reluctantly admitted. Reluctantly because he was almost positive that it was as being in this position with his uncle holding him in place that was calming him.

"Do you want to get up?" Wells asked, hearing the reluctance.

"Will you think I'm being weird if I say no?" Barry laughed slightly.

"I think we already established we can talk better like this," Wells commented.

"Yeah." Barry sighed. "Which I don't understand. I mean, if it was just a case of talking easier when we aren't looking at each other...we could just sit in chairs facing opposite directions, or I could stare at the floor...while standing I mean." Barry blushed. "Why do I have to be in this position to feel comfortable talking?" He wiggled a little, in the hopes that Harrison would start rubbing again.

Responding to the wiggling, Wells began to gently rub his nephew's back and bottom once more. "Well, this was how we actually started talking to each other before..."

"So, it's kinda comforting in its familiarity?" Barry asked curiously, settling as Wells began to rub.

"Yeah. And maybe it's an easy way to show affection," Wells suggested, knowing he found it easier to respond when Barry needed him like this.

"You're better at affection than you give yourself credit for..." Barry said quietly.

"It's easier when I know you need it," Wells said. "I don't really know how to...initiate it when you don't indicate you need it first."

"Okay...new rule of thumb..." Barry's smile could be heard in his voice. "Just assume I always need it and want you to act on that..."

"I'll keep that in mind," Wells said. "Is it something you only need from me when we're alone?"

"What? No! You don't think I only want you around when no one else can see, do you?" Barry sounded equal parts worried and surprised. "I didn't give you that feeling, did I?"

"No. I just..." Wells hesitated before continuing, "It's like I said about thinking you didn't need another person to care. I'm not sure how much you want to keep between us and how much you're willing to let other people see." He was fairly sure the spanking part would stay private between them.

"You can hug me in front of anyone you want. I'd appreciate the back rubs be limited to family and the team...who really is like family...so I guess that's redundant. The spanking, I'd feel better if it was between just you and me; but if you feel like you need to tell Joe, I won't be upset. But no one who isn't already parental. I dunno if I could face anyone else if they knew I needed to be spanked..." He whispered the last, sounding sheepish.

"I wasn't planning on letting the spanking become known...but I think it should be your decision to tell your father about it or not," Wells said honestly.

"I'd rather keep it between us, unless I do something so horrible he needs to know. But if that ever happened, I dunno if I'd be able to tell that he needed to know...you know?" Barry sighed.

"If it ever did come to that time, we can talk about it. You wouldn't have to make that decision alone," Wells replied.

"That's...that's great. Thanks..." Barry sounded relieved that he wouldn't have to make that decision on his own. Maybe it was cowardly, but it was just such a personal thing and while he didn't think Joe would have a problem with it, it would hurt if the other man found out and had big issues with it.

He relaxed a little more, just focusing on Wells' knees underneath him and the older man's hands rubbing over him, providing comfort. Sadly, it didn't take away the original anxiety. "I'm still feeling guilty..." he finally muttered. "Guilty and afraid that I'll never learn and keep making the same stupid mistake of not listening when you tell me something and disobeying you."

Wells still kept gently rubbing, thinking about Barry's words. Finally, almost hesitantly, he suggested, "Would it help at all to have a reminder, almost? Not a true punishment spanking, but enough to remind you to listen to me?"

Barry thought about it. "I don't think it'd hurt to see if it worked. If nothing else, it'll give me a little more practice doing what you tell me; even if it is only to stay on your lap while you spank me..." Barry sounded chagrined.

Wells rubbed for a few more moments. "If it helps you, it'll be worth doing." He bared his nephew.

Even though Barry had all but asked his uncle to spank him, he couldn't stop the whimper that escaped when he was bared. There was no way he could deny that having his uncle pull his pants down, leaving Barry vulnerable and with no choice but to accept whatever Harrison did (once he'd accepted that he needed a spanking and submitted, it was always completely in his uncle's hands), there was no way to deny that it made him feel small and helpless and fully dependent on the older man.

But he supposed that was the point. It made him rely on Wells and if he just remembered to rely on him in situations like had happened that morning, maybe eventually spankings wouldn't be needed. "Thank you." He whimpered again and held onto Wells' leg tightly.

In answer, Wells rubbed his nephew's back before he lifted his hand, bringing it down in a hard swat. He delivered several on top of each other, but although the pattern was the same as the punishment spankings, he didn't use as much force, as punishment wasn't really the goal here.

Barry couldn't help but squirm. He could tell the swats weren't as hard as for punishment; the sting went away nearly immediately. But the initial sting was distressing enough that it didn't need to linger for it to have an effect. Taking a deep breath, Barry forced himself to relax so he could feel the sting even more, his body quivering and sometimes jerking with the swats. "I'm sorry I have such a hard time listening...obeying..." His voice was tight and high pitched...and full of shame.

"You have a hard time because you can't always see the reason why I tell you what I do," Wells said. "I know you know I always have a good reason...you just need to remember that, even when your first instinct to rush headlong into everything."

"Yessir..." Barry sniffled. "Wish there was a way to remind me at that moment..." He sighed, then snorted. "Would be a lot easier..."

"You've had to learn to temper and control your speed." Wells kept spanking, the same force and speed, going down to Barry's thighs before starting over from the top. "Now you have to learn not to always rely on it. We can work together on developing your instincts to take stock and listen first."

"Yessir! I... I need that!" Barry's voice quivered and he couldn't stop from wriggling a bit when Wells started over. "If I mess up again, something worse might happen. I can't...I don't want..." He sighed. "If I can't seem to learn...maybe I'll need you to spank me every morning so I'll be thinking of it all day long..." The words were joking, but his tone was completely serious.

"That'll be a last resort, if it's needed at all," Wells said, completing a second circuit and beginning a third, going a fraction harder and faster. "I fully believe we can work on it without resorting to a spanking every day."

"You think I'll be able to learn?" Barry asked doubtfully, obviously not having as much faith in himself as his uncle had in him.

"I have faith in you, Barry...nephew," Wells said, hoping the reiteration of their new relationship would help. "Even if there are occasionally mistakes made, I know you can learn from those and do better next time."

"Thank you Uncle Harry... for you, I'll do my very best..." Barry promised, before slumping over his uncle's knee and quietly crying.

"I know you will." Wells stopped spanking and resumed the gentle rubbing. "I know you'll do your best. I believe in you."

Barry lay there, just quietly crying, he didn't know how long. It was long enough for the sting to become a memory. The gentle rubbing calmed him, though, and even helped ease some of the guilt he felt about the hostage bring hurt. His uncle believed in him...wanted to help and take care of him...forgave him. That had to mean he wasn't as awful as his guilt was telling him he was. Right? Sniffling the last of his tears away, he hugged his uncle's leg like a child does a teddy bear. "I need to go home." He sighed...not really wanting to leave his uncle's comfort just yet, but knowing Iris would be worried and not wanting her to fret.

"Do you want me to drive you?" Wells asked, still gently stroking and rubbing.

"Kinda wish I didn't have to leave you yet," Barry admitted sheepishly. "I don't want Iris to worry...but I'm...I'm a little afraid I'll wake up tomorrow and 'this' will be a dream; and then I'll get all embarrassed and not know how to act around you cuz I dreamed that I needed and wanted you to spank me... and I like the rubs..." Barry blushed, hugging his uncle's leg tighter.

Continuing to rub Barry's back, Wells thought for a moment. "You told me I could hug you in front of anyone I wanted and that the backrubs were fine in front of family. I might be a bit awkward at first, but I can start being more...open tomorrow. So you can be convinced today did happen."

"You'll do that for me?" Barry sounded relieved and happy. "I'd like that..." he admitted. "I don't want to go back to how we were...how I was...before."

"I don't either," Wells admitted. "You're important to me. I don't plan to hide that fact."

Barry sniffled again slightly, then reached back blindly to try and fix his clothes. "I...if it isn't a problem...I'd appreciate a lift back to my apartment." He answered his uncle's previous question as he continued to try and reach his clothes to pull them up.

"It isn't a problem." Noticing his nephew was struggling, Wells carefully pulled Barry's clothing back into place for him.

Sniffling once more, Barry got up to his feet and wiped at his eyes. "Thank you, Uncle Harry," he said gratefully. "I'm feeling very tired all of a sudden," he admitted bashfully.

Wells stood and gently squeezed Barry's shoulder. "It's been a long and emotionally taxing day," he commented.

"Yeah. It would have been worse if you hadn't been here," Barry said softly. "Thanks for being here for me..."

"I'm here for you anytime if you need me," Wells said quietly...though he was starting to think that maybe there was another young man who needed to know that as well.

Barry nodded, giving a smile. He waited for Wells to be ready and then walked out with him. He moved close enough to the older man that he could bump shoulders, or slide under the older man's arm if Wells was inclined to wrap an arm around him.

Wells responded, wrapping his arm around Barry's shoulders as he led the younger man out of the labs and to the car. "Why don't you give me a call when you wake up?" he suggested. "You could have breakfast with me and Cisco."

"I'll do that. If Iris isn't on a job, I'll likely stay with her...but even if I don't see you both for breakfast, maybe we can meet up later." Barry grinned.

"I'm okay with that." Wells let go of his nephew so they could get into the car. Once they were both in, he drove them to his nephew's place.

Barry bit his lip as they pulled up in front of his he apartment. "Thanks again, sir. It means a lot that you stayed with me all day..."

"I'd do it again if you needed me to," Wells said, completely honestly, without any hesitation. "You have my number...you can call me any time you need to. Doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night."

"I will. It means a lot..." Barry impulsively leaned over and hugged the older man before hopping out of the car and heading into the apartment building.

Wells watched to make sure Barry got safely inside (he was still a father and he still worried about those he was responsible for) before he started driving back to his own place. When he got there, he sent a quick message to Cisco, checking they were still meeting for breakfast.


Cisco had sent a text to the affirmative, asking that Wells come by his apartment first as he had something he wanted to show the other man. It was now the next morning and Cisco was running around, trying to find the item in question. He could have sworn he left it on the kitchen table.

Wells had got up early and dressed quickly, not surprised to realise he was looking forward to seeing Cisco. In a way, talking to Barry had helped him realise how he felt about the other young man who relied on him.

Standing outside Cisco's apartment, Wells knocked.

"Come in!" Cisco yelled toward the door, as it was unlocked. He was frantically looking under the sofa cushion for the item.

Wells opened the door and stepped into the apartment, spotting Cisco looking for something. "Need some help there?" he asked.

"I can't find it!" Cisco exclaimed. "I had it last night at the kitchen table and now I can't find it!" He wrinkled his nose in confusion. "It's a pair of glasses, like my vibe goggles, cept it's for someone else to wear so they can see what I see when I vibe something..." he muttered, even as he opened the kitchen cupboard in case he put it in there.

Wells didn't waste any time, moving over to help the younger man look. "We'll find them," he said, as reassuringly as he could.

"I just...I don't understand why they aren't where I left them. It's like they got up and walked on their own; and I know that's not possible!" Cisco frowned.

Wells stepped a bit nearer to Cisco and, even though it was a bit hesitant, as he wasn't sure Cisco would welcome his touch, reached out to gently grasp the younger man's shoulder. "Why don't we have some coffee?" he suggested. "Take a few minutes. Look again in a little while."

Cisco paused and took a deep breath, shifting so he was leaning into Harrison's hand. "Yeah...Okay. That'd be good. Maybe I'll see it if I'm not trying so hard to see it..." He grinned sheepishly. "I did pick us up some coffee..." He led Wells to the kitchen table and handed him a large cup. "Dark roast, no sugar, one cream, right?"

"Thanks." Wells took the cup with one hand, taking a sip. Since Cisco had reacted positively the first time, he let his other hand rest gently on the younger man's shoulder. "I wanted to talk to you about something anyway."

Cisco continued to lean toward Wells, the older man's hand seeming to act as a magnet for the younger man. "Yeah. What about?" He smiled and took a sip of his own drink.

Wells responded to Cisco leaning towards him by outright wrapping his arm around the younger man's shoulders. "I've come to realise there's a particular way I... view you." He was a bit hesitant, wanting to be open and honest with the younger man, but not entirely sure Cisco felt the same way.

Cisco stiffened and gave Wells a worried look. He didn't think the older man viewed him negatively- he wouldn't be putting his arm around him if he did- but he'd had enough run ins with dopplegangers from other dimensions by now that, if this wasn't his Earth 2 Wells but one from another dimension that might view him as...well...he cleared his throat. "I...I hope it's in a good way. One that is not going to have Gypsy coming after your head..."

"I'm not good at this." Wells' mutter was more aimed at himself. Hoping that Cisco would respond positively in the same manner Barry would, he set down his drink and wrapped his other arm around the younger man, so he was hugging him. "I'm not good with voicing how I feel...I think you know that by now." He took a deep breath. "I just gained an honorary nephew...and it made me think about how I view you. As my family." Hesitantly, he finished with, "As a son."

"As a..." Cisco blinked, then laughed in equal parts happiness and relief. "...As a son! That's great! I thought you meant as a..." He paused, quickly shifting. "Never mind what I thought... I'm just...I view you like my dad...so...that's great!" Cisco threw his own arms around Wells and hugged tightly. "I'm so relieved Gypsy won't be trying to kill you!"

Wells didn't ask Cisco for clarification, fairly sure he knew where the younger man's mind had gone. Instead, he tightened his arms around him. Choosing not to respond to the other comments, he said, "I'm glad you view me that way. I'm sorry it took me a while to catch up...son." He said the name hesitantly, hoping Cisco would respond well.

"Hey...It's not like I was ever obvious with it myself. I mean...I figured you didn't really want or need another kid, especially one that gave you such a hard time when you first arrived and... well...I'm just glad I didn't drive you away or anything..." Cisco said shyly. He hugged onto Wells more tightly as well, as if afraid the older man would change his mind if Cisco let go. "Do you think the others will be weirded out if I call you dad?" he asked hesitantly.

"I don't think so. Even if they found it strange at first, you shouldn't let it stop you. I'm not...I don't plan to hold back," Wells said honestly. "Ideally, if I could, I'd make it official." He didn't say there'd be at least one person who definitely wouldn't see a problem with it.

"I know you can't really make it official, since we're from two different dimensions and all...But the fact you want to? That's all I need..." Cisco smiled at the older man. "...So... Dad... want to go get breakfast now?"

"Yeah, son." Wells returned the smile. "I'm ready."

Cisco grinned brightly and gently turned Wells towards the door. "I figured we'd go to this little cafe just a block from here. It just opened...and would you look at that! That's what I wanted to show you!" He nabbed the 'glasses' off the table next to the door. "We can go to the lab and test these out later, if you want..." Cisco began jabbering at Wells as they left the apartment, only pausing long enough to lock the door, then led the older man to the café; the younger man more than willing to fill in any gaps when Wells didn't feel like saying anything.

The End