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When I Think of How

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~*~

Leonard threw back his head and swallowed his shot of whiskey, lining the empty glass next to its neighbor. His head buzzed with an alien, low-simmering anxiety, and he considered the benefits of ordering another drink. He was rescued from the choice when Lisa ran her fingers over the edge of the bar and slid onto the barstool next to him.

"Someone might look at you and think you've got a problem," she said, the corner of her mouth turned up into a teasing smile, as though she knew he was looking at her from the corner of his eye. She pushed the waterfall of her dark curls over her shoulder.

"They'll look at me and know you're my problem." Leonard smirked as Lisa's smile widened, and then he looked at the bar again when the bartender set down his next shot. "Leadership looks good on you."

"Someone's gotta keep those knuckleheads together with you and Mick out of the game." Lisa raised a finger, and the bartender nodded. He mixed a margarita and set it down in front of her. "What's going on?"

Leonard curled his hands around the shot glass and stared into it. "I've been thinking."

Lisa snorted. "That's not unusual." She licked the salt from the rim of her glass. "But you're thinking about something big, aren't you? You wouldn't have called me otherwise."

He shook his head. "Do you ever think about when you were a kid?"

Her hand tightened around the stem of her glass. "No. Why would I? Dad was awful, you raised me the best you knew how, and now I'm here, rolling in money and bossing people around. My life is sick, and I don't waste time thinking about stuff that doesn't matter anymore."

"Barry wants me to join the Justice League." Saying the words out loud didn't make them feel any more real, so Leonard knocked back another shot. "I told him I'd think about it, but—All I hear is his voice."

"Lenny." Lisa reached out and carefully squeezed his hand, tilting her head so she could get a better look at his face. "You're not a disappointment. You taught me what to say when those memories came around, maybe it's time I reminded you."

A smile tugged at Leonard's lips. "I remember."

Lisa raised her glass. "Fuck you, Lewis. My big brother's gonna be a superhero."

He grinned and turned his face away to hide it. "I'm no hero."

"Not yet." She pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Just imagine, you'll have to stop stealing."

Leonard frowned and shot Lisa an annoyed look. "That's not happening."

"The JLA has telepaths," she said, raising her eyebrow.

"The Waverider has amnesia pills." Despite himself, he relaxed. "What I don't know won't hurt them."

Lisa laughed. "I'm going to be your nemesis." At Leonard's look, she sighed. "Okay, not your nemesis. You never let me have any fun."

"You find enough on your own." He stared down at the bar and fell silent again.

Lisa scooted her stool closer to him. "Are you having second thoughts?"

He frowned in thought. He couldn't explain it to himself. He had no idea how to explain it to Lisa. "I'm still at first thoughts."

She tilted her head, peering intently at his face, and then she leaned back again. "Wait. You rabbited, didn't you? Barry asked you to join the JLA and you ran?"

Leonard's mouth twisted down at the corner, but he remained silent. Lisa sighed and shook her head. "Lenny… out of everyone I know, you're the one who's always wanted more. And as much as we pretend, it's not you and me against the world anymore." She stole a peanut from the bowl next to her and flicked it at his shoulder. "Besides, you got pardoned by the President, jerk. Dad tried to keep us small, but it didn't work. He didn't get us."

"When did you get so smart?" Leonard didn't reach out to touch her—that wasn't the way they worked—but he softened, stunned as always by the depth of his affection for her.

Lisa looked distinctly unimpressed. "I grew up years ago, asshole." She jabbed one of her pointy fingers against his shoulder. "Seriously, go home. Let him in. Caring doesn't always hurt."

Leonard rolled his eyes. "Sounds like date night with Cisco's going well."

She cut him a look from the corner of her eye and finished her margarita. "Good night, Lenny."

A smile tilted the corner of his mouth, and he set down enough money to pay for their drinks before he slid out of the bar stool and headed out the door. He hadn't bothered to drive when he left Barry in the apartment—he wasn't particularly a fan of drunk driving—so he retraced his steps until he ended right back where he'd started.

When he opened the door, he cased the living room for changes, the habit too ingrained in him to bother changing now. He saw that everything was in place except for two things: Barry had moved from the couch to the long stretch of rug behind it and Leonard would have to replace that rug, because Barry had run a trench through it with his pacing.

"Len!" Barry flickered, one moment across the room and the next immediately in front of Leonard, although Barry didn't reach out to touch him immediately. He wrung his hands instead, and Leonard was inexplicably charmed. Let him in, Lisa had said, but the problem was that Barry was already too far in. "I'm sorry, I should have asked you before bringing it up to the rest of the team, I just thought that—well, I mean, Sara and Jax and Kendra are already a part of it, and even Mick helps out sometimes, so I just thought—"

Leonard raised a hand, trying to slow down the tidal wave of words, and then he sighed, slipping off his jacket and hanging it on the coat stand. "You don't have to apologize. You just caught me off guard."

Barry opened his mouth, about to apologize again, but Leonard arched an eyebrow, so Barry huffed a small laugh instead.

Leonard let the silence stretch for another minute, just to watch Barry fidget. "Okay, Barry. Tell me what I need to know."

The wide smile that bloomed across Barry's face was everything Leonard wanted, and he thought for a moment that maybe, just maybe, being a hero wouldn't be so bad. Only then did Barry reach out and curl his hand around Leonard's forearm, squeezing it gently before he led the way into the kitchen. "We'll go over most of it while we eat, but rule number one is very, very important."

Leonard snorted. "Got it. Very important rule. I'm ready. Hit me."

Barry looked at Leonard seriously as he pushed Leonard down into his seat. "Don't laugh at Batman. He's a vindictive jerk."

Leonard lowered his eyes, a small smile curving the corner of his mouth. "I dunno, Red. Sounds like we'll get along just fine to me."

~*~