Chapter 23 - You'll Dance To Anything

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***BARRY***

I should've known that fetching that croissant for Lisa Snart was going to bring nothing but trouble. That simple act, even if I'd left money in the till, produced enough bad karma to land me, her, and Cisco in the crosshairs of these angry gunmen whose uniforms look all too familiar after seeing them in action several times.

Then in comes Kara, smashing through the skylight and freeze-breathing the shooters. Cue the rest of us looking at her shamelessly like she's just taken our toys away. Especially Lisa, though I gotta admit, Lisa's weapon of choice is a little too lethal for Kara's taste.

I'm about to say that we had this covered, but when Kara turns on her heel and stands with those frozen assassins posed behind her, the words die on my tongue.

Not Lisa's, though. "We promise we'll ring the doorbell next time."

"You kinda did more than that," says Kara. "Boys, why all the secrecy? I could've saved your butts a little sooner."

Cisco pretends to hide behind my back for a second. "Dude, do her eyes turn red when she uses her heat vision?"

"Wanna look a little more close up and find out?" Kara teases him.

Cisco takes her at her word and says, "Uh...no thanks."

"Smart man," Lisa says to him in an undertone. "You'll live longer."

"Listen, Kara," I say as I step in front of my Central City peeps, "we're really sorry we didn't tell you we were coming. We were just following a lead-"

"So was I, until J'onn said you were here."

I sigh ruefully. "Is it too much to hope that we're on the same case? 'Cause it involves some kind of stolen Kryptonian tech. Just ask Lisa."

Kara raises her eyebrows. "Is it true?"

"You're really not gonna believe your own boo?" Lisa clicks her tongue. "Trouble in meta-paradise."

Ignoring Lisa's snark, Kara answers her own previous question. "That's a yes."

"So what's the tech we're trying to find?" Cisco's natural curiosity has come back but good.

Kara doesn't answer this, but instead roots around in the pockets of one of the guys we just defeated. Taking her lead, we do the same until I find something very strange: a small, crystalline stick with an extendable metal end like a retractable flash drive. I'm about to play with it - can't resist the urge - when I realize the extendable part extends far longer than any flash drive ever did. And when Kara sees it in my hand, she speeds over to me and takes it away.

"Oh, Rao," she whispers to herself. "How am I supposed to know if it's been used? I've never actually seen one before..." She snaps her fingers. "Conner. He might know. He said he saw the Luthors developing these things."

"Which are what?" I ask. "I mean, sure, it's Kryptonian tech. Obviously not using any kind of kryptonite or you'd be keeled over ready to puke up your lunch by now." I pretend to smell her to try and find out what said lunch might have been. "Pesto BLT?"

"I wish," Kara groans. "All I had for lunch today was espresso."

"No, but that place over there has a pesto BLT." Lisa jerks her thumb at the place from which I got her that croissant.

"No, please don't-" Kara begins, but she doesn't stop me from running over to that bakery and dropping more money on the counter to pay for that sandwich. I even warm it up a bit using heat generated by the friction of my hands - which makes me have to take my gloves off for a second, but it's worth it. Especially when I present the sandwich to Kara. Half of it, anyway, because God I'm hungry too. She takes it gratefully, and before she takes a bite, she says, "I can't stay mad at you when you treat me so royally."

"Just don't kiss each other later," Lisa says.

"No promises." I wink at her, then turn to Kara. "So, enlighten us. What's this funny glass thing that's got you so scared?"

"It's called a botxat," Kara says. She spells the word out for us, since we humans wouldn't be familiar with it, then adds, "It can download your brain right out of your body."

Lisa and I both grimace at the thought, while Cisco breathes, "Holy shit."

"That's a thing that Kryptonians invented...?" I sound surprised at first, but over time I've come to realize, from things I've learned from Kara, that despite their people producing a truly awesome Superfamily, the Kryptonians have done some stuff that's about as far from virtuous as it gets. Like this botxat thing.

"Yeah," Kara says, "and who knows how many more of these things are out there?"

"Especially when the Luthors are involved," Lisa points out.

"Especially when..." I make myself shut up for a second before I remember that Lisa - the real Lisa - has worked with us to plug a few leaks in the gaps between universes before. She knows that this isn't the only Earth there is. "Especially when we might have multiple Luthors involved."

"I say this as someone who likes a stiff drink at least every night," Lisa says. "That's a sobering thought."

Kara looks off to one side in quiet contemplation. "I hate to say it," she says, "but we're gonna need to bring Conner in on this."

"We might have to," I say.

"Who's Conner?" asks Lisa.

"Why don't we get out of here and explain to you on the way?" Kara says.

"Where are we going?" asks Cisco. "DEO? I don't think you guys'll just let me breach in-"

Kara holds up one finger and says, "J'onn? We got a breach about to come in." Pause. "No, this isn't the time for your Gandalf impression, as good as it is." Cisco and I exchange geekboyish giggles because we know exactly which line J'onn must be doing. "Got it, thanks." Kara takes my hand, then Cisco's. "You know where to go, right?"

"Wait," Lisa says. "Whose hand do I hold?"

Kara lets go of Cisco and takes Lisa's hand instead. "I've never done this before," she says. "Should be fun, right?"

"You remember how Harry Potter's first time Apparating went?" Cisco asks. "And as Dumbledore said in the movie, 'Most people vomit.'"

"You're kidding?" Kara asks.

I press my thumb into her middle knuckle. "You'll be fine, Kara. You've never vomited before, right? Today'll be no different."

"Well, there were times I was exposed to Kryptonite," Kara points out. "Plus, if I'm-"

She's cut off as Cisco opens the breach and takes us to DEO headquarters, where J'onn J'onzz stands with crossed arms to greet us.

Only mildly intimidated, Cisco says, "Yes, dude. Not only shall we pass, we did pass."

J'onn snorts. "I'll say. Also, would it surprise you that that's the only line from that movie I remember?"

"You never read the book?" I ask.

"If it's a thousand pages and I'm reading it, it's gonna be the user manual for an Argonian atmospheric generator." J'onn holds out his hand and takes the botxat from Kara. "Did you collect any more?"

"I searched the remaining guys," Kara says, "but this was the only one."

"One," J'onn says heavily, "is enough."

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