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The Cold Factor

Chapter Text

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

“If the Legends went down with the ship…”

“Where are the bodies?”

The halls of the Waverider were eerily silent as Oliver led Dr. Heywood through them. The lights were off, but the air was somehow breathable. Oliver was no scientist, but he figured that it shouldn’t be, after sitting down at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for seventy-four years. That had to be a good sign, a sign that the ship’s life-support systems were still working.

The aforementioned lack of dead bodies, while not very informative, was nonetheless another good sign.

He certainly hadn’t expected to be here twenty-four hours ago when some crazy guy had charged through City Hall, making it all the way to Oliver’s office doors before finally being stopped by security, claiming to have important news about Oliver’s friends Sara and Ray. Once Oliver had actually managed to drag out of him some proof that they and the rest of the Legends were in danger, they’d hopped on a flight to New York, where Dr. Heywood had managed to wrangle them the use of a research submarine through a friend. From there, they’d used the coordinates Dr. Heywood had calculated to find the wreckage of the Waverider.

Except that ‘wreckage’ wasn’t the right word to use. The airlock doors had opened for them, the air inside was breathable, and while the lights were off, there was no visible sign of damage. Either the Waverider hadn’t been hit by an A-Bomb at all, or the ship was a lot sturdier than Oliver had previously believed.

Then he saw light coming from a room down the hall. Oliver had only been on this ship once, so he didn’t know his way around, but when he entered, Dr. Heywood staying behind him, he recognised the Med Bay. He also recognised the two men lying in the bed/chair things, bathed in a blue light that was being projected from the ceiling: Leonard Snart and Mick Rory. Both were unconscious, and the screens next to their beds appeared to show vital signs, along with the word ‘stasis’ in big, blue letters. “The ship’s keeping them in stasis,” he stated his observations aloud. He was a bit disappointed in the self-proclaimed ‘time detective’ when he questioned that and needed Oliver to point the screens out to him. Then the guy just reached out and touched an icon on the screen without knowing what it might do.

The lights flickered back on, and both Snart and Rory gasped like they’d been holding their breath for several minutes (or perhaps seventy-four years). Dr. Heywood took several steps back, and Oliver found himself with a fight on his hands as Rory’s fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. It was brief, however; Oliver managed to wrestle Rory back into his chair. But then a pair of hands grabbed him and yanked him away. Oliver spun around in time to catch Snart’s fist with one hand. He was ready to throw a punch of his own, but then Snart’s expression cleared, like he was only just fully waking up. “Queen?” he asked, “How in the hell did you get here?”

Oliver let him go. “I came on a submarine with Dr. Heywood here; your ship just let us into the airlock. I don’t know exactly how long the Waverider’s been down here, but we followed evidence from 1942 and it’s 2016 now. You two are the only ones we’ve found on board so far. What happened to the rest of the team?”

“You wouldn’t believe us even if we told you,” Rory groaned.

“Try me. I didn’t fly across the country and dive beneath the ocean just to wake you two up and then go home without knowing what happened to my friends.”

“Fair enough,” Snart agreed, “But I have to warn you, we’re not one hundred percent certain of everything ourselves.”

Rory groaned again as he sat up, pulling the cuff with the blue line attached to it off his wrist. “First thing’s first: food.”


“We were in 1942, and now we’re in 2016. We haven’t eaten in 74 years, and I’m starving.” And he marched out of the room without another word.

Snart turned back to the other two and shrugged. “The man has a point. Galley’s this way.” He ditched his own cuff and led the two of them through the hallway, the lights powering up as they went.

“How has the ship’s power stayed on for seventy-four years?” Dr. Heywood wondered aloud.

“Beats me. Anything that wasn’t necessary for my and Mick’s survival was probably shut down, but other than that… Jax or Rip could probably answer that question a lot better.”

Len was angry. He was keeping a lid on it, but he was extremely pissed off at Rip for pulling that ‘Time Scatter’ stunt. Just when he thought that their captain was done with the lies and the secrecy, he turned out to have hidden something else from them. Exactly what harm could have come from telling them about that contingency? As far as Sara, Jax, Stein, and Raymond would know, they’d been on the Waverider one minute and somewhere – and sometime – else the next, fending for themselves with no way of contacting anybody else. A little forewarning would have done them a lot of good.

Seventy-four years. He and Mick had been sleeping at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for seventy-four years. And they were only awake now because some historian had miraculously managed to figure out who and where they were and get the information to the right person. The odds of that happening had been very slim; Rip could have easily doomed them to spending centuries down there! What the hell had he been thinking?!

But of course, Len couldn’t get any answers to his questions, because Rip wasn’t there. Even after a quick search of the rest of the ship, all Len had been able to confirm was that he, Mick, Queen, and Heywood were the only ones aboard and that Gideon had gone silent. So now here he was, glowering at the beer bottle in his hand while Mick scarfed down junk food next to him and Queen and Heywood waited for an explanation. Well, it wasn’t like he had anything better to do.

“The last thing I remember is getting knocked out by Rip and his stupid flashing thing.”

“Me, too,” Mick added, “Very embarrassing.”

“I know that you guys were leaving to protect history,” Queen prompted.

“Why?” Heywood asked, “Why does history need protecting?”

“Because the assholes who were doing it before,” Len explained, rolling his eyes at the need to explain things to the new guy (couldn’t Queen have briefed him?), “the Time Masters, were corrupt as hell, and were collaborating with an immortal psychopath in his attempts at world conquest. We had to blow up their base of operations, killing most of them in the process. We’ve managed to spread the word to most of the lower-ranking field agents who, like Rip, weren’t in on the conspiracy, and for the most part, they’ve agreed not to try and kill us. But aside from those few, there’s no one else keeping the timeline in check, so we had to help pick up the slack.”

“Chasin’ down time criminals and fixing the parts of history they screwed up,” Mick elaborated, “‘Aberrations’, the captain called ‘em. We were chasing them for about six months without a problem.”

“Well, the occasional problem,” Len amended, “Even without the Time Masters’ interference, we seem to have a case of bad luck following us.”

“Starting with that mission where Lenny got shot by his old man.”

“Wait,” Heywood interrupted, “I saw news reports that said you killed your father a year ago. Was that a result of time changing, or…”

“No,” Len denied, glaring at Mick for bringing it up, “We crossed paths with a younger version of him in ‘89. He didn’t know he was shooting at an older version of his own son, of course, but yes, he shot me. But that’s got nothing to do with our latest crisis.”

“Right. I knew we were all in trouble when Rip made us put on blouses just to save the king of France…”

Wednesday, December 13th, 1637

“What a bunch of morons,” Len hissed to Jax.

“Yeah. I always thought assassins would be tough to take down. I mean, Sara would definitely have noticed us sneaking up on her like that. Girl’s a damn ninja.”

It had been ridiculously easy to sneak up on a pair of Richelieu’s assassins, bonk them on the head, and steal their cloaks.

“I look like an idiot,” Mick was complaining over the comms, just as he had been since learning what he’d have to wear for this mission.

“I rather like the style of ‘les mousquetaires de l’egarde’,” Stein commented.

“You would.”

“Can we concentrate, please?” Rip interrupted, “King Louis XIII is scheduled to meet an untimely end at the hand of Cardinal Richelieu’s men at any moment.” (Two of whom Len and Jax had already neutralised.)

“Roger that,” Raymond reported, “I have eyes on the King.”

“Whatever you do, do not let him out of your sight.”

“But… if today’s when he’s supposed to… you know, with the Queen, I…”

“Raymond,” Stein reminded him, “without that consummation, there will be no Louis Quatorze, no Sun King, and no Golden Age of France!”

Rip continued: “Which, by extension, means no Madame Curie, no Louis Pasteur…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. History will be totally screwed. But I don’t have to be there for the actual, you know, consummation, do I?”

“Some people might actually enjoy that, Raymond,” Len couldn’t help but add. Responses ranged from snickers from Mick and Jax, to embarrassed sputtering from Raymond himself, to put-upon sighs from Rip and the Professor. So Raymond definitely didn’t have a voyeurism kink, not that Len needed to know that.

The only person who didn’t respond was Sara, because she was waiting on Queen Anne, and couldn’t risk being overheard. She’d been there for the past three days, as had the Legends’ own ‘Three Musketeers’, acting as a servant. Which meant she was in the presence of the Queen and other servants almost constantly. But when she was alone, she could get rather explicit when talking to Len; apparently the Queen had been flirting with her quite heavily, and Sara couldn’t wait to get back to the Waverider and get a reward for her resistance and self-control. Because the Queen was hot; Len wasn’t going to begrudge Sara for noticing. But the jealous part of him wanted to take her back and help her forget all about Anne of Austria.

Even now, he could hear the Queen hitting on her. But he and Jax had almost caught up to the other assassins, who had reached the exterior of the palace. The two disguised Legends jogged over to join the group. Like a bunch of idiots, the assassins didn’t even give them a second look, didn’t notice that two of their friends had been replaced by complete strangers. No wonder this attempt hadn’t worked until some time-travelling bastard had meddled with events.

“Sara,” Rip tried to bring the conversation back on track, “I need to know that the Queen is secure.”

“In the meantime,” Len murmured while he was still on the periphery of the group, “The assassins have just arrived.”

“And I’d wager those aren’t just swords on their hips,” Stein added, clearly able to see them – and their weapons – now.

“Ah, yes, that would explain the Aberration,” Rip commented. Some time-traveller – most likely a time pirate – must have sold those futuristic blasters to Richelieu, concerned only with the profit and not at all about the consequences. Len could appreciate the idea of being the sole supplier of the best weapons around – more specifically the money it would bring in – but he was good at what he did because he knew how to look ahead and think of the consequences. And this was just plain stupid, with consequences that could completely change the world and risk wiping the time-traveller out of existence (as a different ruler on the French throne would mean different decisions being made, which could alter the outcome of wars, which could change who lived and who died, which could result in other key historical figures never being born if their ancestors got killed too early, etc.).

The assassins opened fire on Mick, Rip, and Stein, and the fight was on. Len and Jax followed behind them as they tried to storm the mansion. Len spotted Rip immediately engaging one in a swordfight, but kept going – the Time Captain had proven, in earlier missions, to be more than competent enough in that arena, so he likely wouldn’t need backup. Instead, Len went inside, just in time to see Mick tackle King Louis XIII out of the way of a laser. Jax, who’d been slightly ahead of Len, came at the asshat from behind and put him down with a few moves that ‘Killer, Klepto, and Pyro’ had taught him over the past six months.

More and more assassins came after them, only to be put down by Len and Jax while Mick practically dragged the King behind him. Eventually Sara joined them, pulling the Queen by the hand, and kicked one assassin in the head when he tried to attack the ‘easy’ targets.

Eventually, Rip ordered them back to the ship, but Len’s attention was quickly drawn to Jax when he and one assassin went crashing through a balcony door. Luckily, by the time he got there, Jax had just forced the bastard to drop his sword. Len saw the man pulling his laser gun and grabbed him from behind, twisting his arm – which Jax had already done a nice job of damaging – and snagged the blaster for himself before whacking the assassin in the head with it. The two Legends rejoined their teammates inside and made their way downstairs, which was clear now that all the assassins had been taken out.

Or not. The sound of a couple of explosions and a scream suggested that Raymond had had to take at least one down outside. Rip immediately began scolding him for using his future tech openly (flying around while shrunken-down so no one could see him very well didn’t count).

“Don’t look at me,” Mick defended over Louis’s panicked blubbering as they exited the building, “I left my gun on the ship like a good little Boy Scout.”

Len and Sara exchanged a smirk, knowing that if Mick was claiming innocence, he had to have swiped something shiny while they were in there. Len himself was thinking of ways to get that big gem off the Queen’s neck, but couldn’t come up with anything that this situation would allow. The King and Queen were understandably freaked out over the whole thing, especially at the sight of Raymond in his A.T.O.M. Suit, and would notice if he made any moves to take something off their person.

“What’s going on?!” Louis cried, “Who are you people?!”

“Just some concerned citizens looking out for your safety,” Sara replied breezily, her arms laden with the laser guns they’d taken from the men inside. No good could come from leaving those behind. Stein quickly joined them, having confiscated the future tech from the downed assassins outside.

“I believe your people can take it from here, however,” Rip continued, “Our work here is done.”

The Legends walked off, leaving the royal couple staring after them.

“Wait,” Heywood interrupted, “How did you go from the court of Louis XIII to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean?”

“You said you wanted to hear the full story,” Mick answered.

“We do,” Queen confirmed, “Just, some of us have lives that we’d like get back to.”

Len found himself in agreement. France in 1637 had been a fun story, but not really one they needed to hear to understand this debacle. And the sooner they wrapped up storytime, the sooner he and Mick could start searching for their missing team. “We got ourselves in trouble by visiting a time we were warned to stay away from,” he tried to get the story back on track.

“1942,” Heywood guessed.

“Yeah. Just before we left 2016, some guy crashed down in the Waverider – a heavily-damaged version of the Waverider from the future – introduced himself as Rex Tyler from the Justice Society of America, whatever the hell that is…” Len noticed that Heywood visibly reacted at the name, but otherwise said nothing. “…and told us not to go to 1942 or we’d all die. But then he and the ship just vanished right in front of us, literally just disappearing into thin air, before he could make with the explaining. So, we decided to go on our merry way and simply avoid 1942. But it turned out to be pretty much unavoidable, otherwise there would’ve been some serious consequences to history.”

“What consequences?”

“Well, that was fun,” Sara commented as they strolled off the bridge after being treated to Rip’s latest ‘You People Just Can’t Seem To Follow The Rules, Can You?’ Lecture.

“The fight, or living in the lap of luxury?”

“Please. I was a servant, remember? The quarters weren’t horrible, but they were far from luxurious.”

“And spending quality time with the Queen of France?”

She turned and raised an eyebrow at him. “Jealous?”

“Well, she is royalty. And that’s not something I can say about myself.”

“Oh, trust me, if I didn’t have you, I would’ve been all over her.”

“And I wouldn’t blame you. But you do have me. I’m standing right here.”

“That I do.” She fingered the black assassin’s cloak he was still wearing. “And that you are. And I’ve found myself missing you these last three days…” She gripped his shoulder and pulled herself up to kiss him, which he gladly returned. It wasn’t long before he scooped her up and carried her back to their room, passing the Professor, who simply sighed, having long since become resigned to their antics.

Unfortunately, they’d just barely gotten started when the ship suddenly shook all around them, causing both of them to fall off the bed.

“Gideon, are we under attack?!” Sara cried once she got over her surprise.

“Negative,” the AI responded calmly, “That was a shockwave generated by a Time Quake.”

Len and Sara looked at each other. “That sounds ominous,” Len commented, “even without the lousy timing.”

Both of them reluctantly got dressed in their regular clothing and made tracks for the bridge. What they learned fit Len’s prediction perfectly.

“That’s impossible,” Sara gasped.

The high-definition image of a nuclear explosion in the middle of New York City begged to differ.

“So,” Len began, “Someone nuked New York in 1942. Three guesses who that ‘someone’ is.”

“Nazis,” Mick growled, “I hate Nazis.”

“So that’s why you went to 1942,” Queen said, “Even after you were warned not to.”

“I’d rather die than speak German,” Mick declared.

“Not to mention the fact that all the other Time Captains we had on speed-dial were busy with other Aberrations,” Len elaborated, “They promised to wrap up whatever they were doing and come help, but it wasn’t like we had a lot of time to waste. So Rip decided that we’d be going there, to do what we could until reinforcements arrived. Our resident bookworms did some digging, and noticed that a particular someone went missing shortly before the attack: none other than Albert Einstein himself.”

“AKA, one of the only people in that time known to be smart enough to get that nuke working. We figured the Krauts kidnapped him, forced him to help them build it. So, our job was to stop that from happening, by snatching him up ourselves. Stein practically had a nerdgasm once he realized he’d be getting to meet Einstein. Funny how that worked out…”

Friday, October 16th, 1942

“So, how do we find Einstein in a city of seven million people?” Stein asked.

“Well, we just look for the physicist with the crazy white hair,” Raymond joked. Their own white-haired physicist glared at him, unamused. “I mean, the other one.”

“According to Gideon,” Rip explained, “there’s a cocktail party at Columbia this evening.”

“Cocktail party?” Mick asked, wearing most of his fabricated military uniform, but not to regulation, like Len and Rip. His coat was still tucked under his arm. “That means booze, right? Where is it?”

“Columbia. I just- Why does no one ever listen to me?”

Len ignored Rip’s whining in favour of noticing Sara breaking off from the group. “Sara?” he called after her. “Where are you going?”

“I have a grandfather who was in the FBI,” she responded calmly, “I figured I’d check in, in case we need backup before the other Time Captains get here.”

That set off so many warning bells for Len. For starters, this was still 1942, and this FBI agent grandfather – assuming she was telling the truth about that – would have no reason to believe that she was his granddaughter from the future and wouldn’t be inclined to listen to anything else she’d have to say, especially not in this time period. And Sara was smart enough to know that.

Second, he’d had a bad feeling about this since Raymond had come up to him and mentioned that Sara had disappeared into the library again. She’d been doing that a lot in the past six months, holed up in there by herself, claiming to be researching the time period of their next Aberration. But Len and Raymond were pretty sure they knew what she was looking for: Damien Darhk.

She hadn’t talked a whole lot about her sister’s death, hadn’t confided in Len about it like she had before they’d started dating. Oh, she still opened up to him about everything else, but she’d been rather tight-lipped about her grief and how she was coping. Len had initially thought that it was because the pain was still too raw, and he was hardly any better than her when it came to talking about past hurts. But when Raymond – the only other person on the ship who had known Laurel and was also grieving – had approached him with his concerns, well, Len had figured out pretty quickly that Sara was looking to cope in a way that, honestly, he wouldn’t disapprove of under normal circumstances. But if she went about killing Darhk the wrong way, it could have disastrous consequences, not just for the timeline, but for Sara herself. And Len found himself wondering if he would wind up having to talk her down, like Russia all over again. And if he would even succeed this time around.

So far, they hadn’t been in any combination of time and place where she would have an opportunity. But there was something in her eyes that suggested that this time was different. That she’d found what she was looking for.

But he couldn’t confront her about it. Not here. So he nodded and said: “Good idea. I could come along.”

She shook her head and replied just a little too quickly: “No, it’s okay. I’ve got this.”

He let her walk away, allowed her to get some distance before moving to follow her, but a tap on his shoulder distracted him. “Maybe I should…” Raymond pulled his A.T.O.M. Suit out of his pocket, and Len had no choice but to relent. As good as he was, Sara was better, and she’d notice him tailing her and shake him easily. Raymond would stand a much better chance at following her.

So he let the scientist go and stopped Rip before he could protest. “Raymond’s just going to back Sara up. Leave it alone.”

Rip wasn’t completely stupid, of course; he was clearly skeptical about Raymond going with Sara instead of Len. But he sighed and apparently decided to not bother with a fruitless argument.

They got into the party easily enough; Rip, Len, and Mick flashed their Gideon-fabricated military credentials, while the Professor showed his academic ones. Jax wasn’t coming; Rip had him fixing something on the Waverider instead, much to his annoyance.

While Mick complained about being at a ‘nerd party’, Len was following Rip’s advice (yes, that did happen from time to time) and keeping an eye out for the kidnappers.

“Tha- that-that’s him,” Stein whispered reverently, “The greatest mind the world has ever known.”

Len followed his gaze just in time to see the old man with the ridiculous hair pawing the ass of a pretty, young blonde in a green dress, only for her to yank the offending appendage away and slap it.

“Hah,” Mick laughed. “I like him. He’s a pig.”

Stein’s appalled face was quite the sight.

Beside him, Rip sighed. “I just found our spies.” Len looked over at the men Rip had just been eyeing: three men in khaki-coloured uniforms, just standing around and not talking, in contrast to the party guests merrily chatting the afternoon away. “Notice their uniforms. The stitching on their lapels? It’s exquisite.”

“You mean to say fake?” Stein guessed.

Len wasn’t entirely sure how that automatically meant ‘spy’, but then, he hadn’t read up a lot about military dress uniforms, so he decided to trust that Rip knew more than he did in that particular department. “Plus they’re just standing there, not talking, not even to each other,” he added his own observations, “One of them is eyeing the exits, another seems to be focused on security, and the other is doing a fairly decent job at pretending he’s not tracking Einstein’s every move. And of course the actual security detail isn’t paying them – or us – any attention at all.”

Sure enough, just seconds later, all three spies pulled guns out, noticed only by their own observers, and started walking away. The four Legends made their own move, Mick and Stein approaching Einstein while Rip and Len moved to cover them in case the Nazis tried to intervene. Stein insisted on being the one to talk to Einstein, going on about the theory of relativity and scaring away the pretty ladies, which had Einstein very annoyed. Mick just took the crazy-haired professor by the arm and started leading him towards the nearest exit.

Things went to shit, however, as Einstein suddenly yelled: “Help! I’m being kidnapped!”

The security guards, finally taking notice of something going wrong, rushed forward, only to be gunned down by the Nazis. Rip was close enough to punch one out and use his gun to shoot another, by which point Len was able to take the third down with a kneecap- shattering kick and a pistol-whip (with the bastard’s own gun, no less).

Together, the four time-travellers and one unconscious physicist (Stein had a surprisingly good right hook) made their exit among the screaming and confused partygoers.

“So… do we wanna talk about it?”

Sara sighed. She knew Len would be insisting on discussing her argument with Ray, particularly the secret he’d blabbed about in front of the others: that she’d ditched the mission to go hunting after Damien Darhk.

She’d just found the bastard when Ray had come up behind her, having been following her the entire way with the A.T.O.M. Suit. They’d overheard Darhk talking with another man in German, and managed to pick out one very important word: uranium. Ray had deduced that Darhk was supplying the Nazis with it so that they could build the nuke, which had meant that Darhk needed to be kept alive until the team located the stuff.

Then they’d come back to the Waverider to the news that kidnapping Einstein had done nothing to change the timeline. Stein and Mick had found out from the genius that his ex-wife was also capable of building the bomb, and then Gideon had confirmed that she’d been successfully kidnapped because no one had thought to guard her. Then Ray had brought up Darhk’s uranium and told everyone about Sara’s side mission, and had essentially called her selfish. Len had said nothing throughout the argument, but Sara knew he’d want to talk with her about it in private, which was apparently now.

“I thought you would be one of the last people to lecture me about this, Len,” she sighed, turning to face him, “after what you tried in 1975.”

“I’m not here to lecture you, Sara. Raymond’s already done that, and I imagine Rip’ll take a crack at it himself once this A-Bomb crisis passes. But I want to know why you felt the need to hide this from me for the past six months.” He honestly sounded a little hurt. “I would’ve been willing to help you.”

“I know,” she whispered, “You killed your father to protect your sister, and you also tried to stop him from becoming that monster in the first place. But this… this is something I have to do alone. Darhk was a member of the League of Assassins; I’m the only one on this crew who would stand a chance against him. I lost you once, Len; I couldn’t lose you again, not even if it got me my sister back.”


“Dr. Palmer has pinpointed the location of Damien Darhk and the uranium,” Gideon interrupted, “Captain Hunter has requested that everyone prepare for battle and gather on the bridge.”

A fire appeared in Sara’s eyes at the news that she would soon be facing her sister’s killer. “Let’s suit up,” she growled.


“We can talk about this later.” And she stalked off, leaving him sighing and worrying.

Raymond’s theory proved correct; he’d traced the uranium to a shipyard in Hoboken, and not only did they find the A-Bomb there, they also found Darhk and the former Mrs. Einstein. Not to mention a bunch of Nazis and a German U-Boat that had somehow managed to get in without anyone official noticing.

The Legends and Einstein were observing from behind a large stack of crates, preparing to attack. And it quickly became clear that everyone had different priorities, despite all having agreed on the same plan. Rip was primarily focused on getting the bomb out of Nazi hands, Einstein was worried to pieces about his ex, and Sara was dead set on killing Darhk. If all went well, all three of them would get their wishes, but Len wasn’t so optimistic as to think that all would go well.

Darhk led the procession towards the U-Boat, followed by two Nazis wheeling the bomb and two more ‘escorting’ Mileva. The Legends’ attack began with Raymond firing a shot between Darhk and the bomb, powerful enough to knock the Nazis pushing it off their feet, but not so powerful as to set the thing off and kill everyone. The Nazis dove for cover, while Darhk just turned around and glared at them, not a trace of fear on his face. Raymond’s demand for surrender was, predictably, met with a hail of gunfire.

Everyone split up to their respective tasks. Firestorm and Mick mostly laid down cover fire while Raymond went for the bomb, Rip for Mileva, and Sara and Len for Darhk. Rip had originally wanted Sara to help evacuate the poor woman, but Len had called that a bad idea. They all knew Sara would go after Darhk, and if he chose to get involved in the fight, she was the only one who stood a chance against him, anyway. So Rip had agreed to let their resident assassin take on the immortal, on the condition that Len would go with her to watch her back.

Sara leapt over a pile of crates and attacked Darhk, who’d been calmly walking away from the battle, with her staff, but he ducked almost casually. She tried several more times, but he dodged with ease until he grabbed the weapon out of the air and twisted around so that he was standing behind her, the staff pressed into her neck.

Len raised his Cold Gun, his heart in his throat. He was so used to watching her tear through enemies with ease that he’d almost forgotten that there were people out there who were even more skilled than she was. For a second, he was back in Kasnia in 2147, helpless to do anything as Vandal Savage held a knife to her throat. And just like that time, he couldn’t get a clean shot.

“Interesting technique,” Darhk was saying, “League of Assassins, am I right?” Right. Darhk was a friend-turned-rival of Ra’s al Ghul himself. Of course he’d be able to identify Sara’s training right off the bat.

Sara’s answer was an elbow to the gut, a fist to the face, and a kick that sent him staggering back, but he recovered quickly. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

“A long time for what?”

“To kill you.”

Darhk didn’t even look surprised or confused, because of course he’d done many horrible things by now that would have people wanting him dead, and he knew it. “Try to, you mean.”

Sara lunged again with a yell. She and Darhk traded blows several times; Len couldn’t get a shot in to disable the bastard and make killing him easier for her, so he switched back and forth between watching them and shooting the Nazis trying to kill the rest of his team.

Eventually, Rip yelled for them to fall back. But Sara didn’t listen. Instead, she wiped the blood off her face and kept fighting, even though Darhk was starting to put her on the defensive more often than not.

“Sara!” Len yelled, trying to get her attention, “Sara, pull back! We have to go!” He heard Raymond yell Mick’s name and turned in time to see his partner fall. “SARA!”

Darhk managed to disarm Sara and throw her to the ground. Seeing that he finally had a clear shot, Len raised his gun and pulled the trigger.

But then fire erupted in his back. He’d been shot enough times to recognise the feeling before he hit the ground.


Len was deliriously glad to hear Sara focusing on something besides her vendetta. Small yet strong hands gripped him and pulled him up; he spotted her worried face briefly before getting treated to a nice view of her ass as she hoisted him over her shoulder. Lifting his head was a struggle, but he did see Darhk, clutching his frost-coated arm, trying to follow after them, only to be blocked by fireballs raining down from the sky courtesy of Firestorm.

“Thank God for future tech,” Len groaned. His bullet wound might have been a through-and-through, hitting no vital organs, but he still should’ve been confined to bed for a long-ass time. Gideon had managed to heal him and Mick within less than an hour. It wasn’t complete, the AI had said, but they would be able to walk around the ship without any assistance, and the team still had a job to finish.

He was met outside the Med Bay doors by a miserable-looking Sara. Mick took one look at the two of them and swiftly vacated the area, dragging Raymond away by the back of his shirt when the scientist approached to ask how they were doing.

Sara wasn’t looking him in the eye, her gaze instead fixed at the level where they both knew there were bandages wrapped around his chest under his shirt. He’d bled all over her uniform on the way there, staining the white leather red. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, “This… this is why I wanted to go after Darhk alone, Len. You could have died.”

“So could you,” he reminded her, “He could have killed you if you hadn’t chosen to run. And you wouldn’t have made that choice if I hadn’t been hurt. You would have stayed and fought, you would have lost, and Darhk would have killed his second Lance sister. Or first, from his perspective.”


“Did you even hear Rip calling for us to fall back?! I know I’m not exactly the poster boy for following orders, but Raymond’s suit was disabled by the radiation, Mick had been shot, and everything was going to hell, but then you got tunnel vision and ignored everything else around you!” Len became aware that he was starting to yell, his anger and worry beginning to get the better of him. He took a deep breath, trying to clear his mind of the mental image of Sara dead at Darhk’s feet.

Standing in front of him with tears of guilt in her eyes, Sara didn’t look that much better. She opened her mouth to say something, but then the ship shook under their feet. “What was that?”

“Gideon?” Len prompted.

“Captain Hunter has begun to follow the radiation trail left by the nuclear bomb,” Gideon replied, “I would recommend making your way to the bridge and strapping in.”

Len sighed. He was tired of these conversations being interrupted. “We’ll talk about this later,” he told Sara as they proceeded to the bridge.

They arrived at the same time as Mick and the Nerd Twins. “We goin’ swimmin’ or something?” Mick asked when he saw all the water outside the windows. Beside him, Len heard Sara suck in her breath. Surviving two shipwrecks had left her less than fond of the water, especially the open ocean.

“I’m tracking the Nazi U-Boat,” Rip replied distractedly.

“Where is it now?” Len asked, just before a blast sounded and the ship shook again, this time accompanied by sparks coming down from the ceiling.

“It’s close.”

They all scrambled into their Jump Seats, which was a good thing, because they got hit again seconds later. “They’ve knocked out our telemetry, Captain,” Gideon reported.

None of them liked the sound of that.

“As you can see, the Waverider is ill-suited for underwater combat,” Rip admitted. Len saw Sara’s face grow even paler, and reached over and grabbed her hand. She squeezed it back tightly.

“I’m trying to bypass the tertiary substance debris,” Raymond reported, as he was sitting next to another set of controls.

“Make it fast, Haircut,” Mick growled.

Seconds later, there was another, more distant booming noise. “Yes!” Raymond cried, pumping his fist.

But his moment of triumph was short-lived. Something else, fired from the Nazi sub, rocketed past them and kept going. “What was that?” Sara asked, in the tone of someone who knew the answer to her own question but was praying she was wrong.

“They’re not firing at us,” Stein added, the exact same fear in his voice.

“It’s the nuclear bomb,” Rip confirmed their fears.


“Whatever it is,” Raymond said, “We’ve gotta stop it!”

“I fear that there is only one way to do that,” Rip told them before steering the ship in an abrupt U-turn.

Jax came running onto the bridge, ducking as something sparked over his head. “Okay,” he told Rip, “I don’t know what you wanted me to do, but I did it.”

Rip got up out of his seat and strode over to the kid. “Excellent work, Jax.”

“What’s going on?!” Mick demanded.

“I am piloting us on a collision course with the torpedo,” Rip answered as Jax got seated next to Mick, “Now, with any luck, it will hit us before New York City.”

Everyone twisted in their seats and stared at him incredulously.

What?!” Len hissed.

“How’s that lucky?” Mick growled.

“Can the Waverider handle the blast?” Sara asked.

“Honestly? I have absolutely no idea.”

The entire crew exchanged nervous glances, but Len only had eyes for Sara. They could die today. Sure, that was a risk they were willing to take every day when they agreed to stay on Rip’s crew, but now it was staring them right in the face.

He tightened his grip on her fingers. The last time he’d been in this sort of position, he’d been ready to die alone. And he wasn’t sure if he liked that fact that Sara – and the others – would be with him this time. One the one hand, at least he’d be able to spend his last seconds with her. On the other, he wished he could give her a chance of survival.

Rip continued speaking. “Which is why I’m doing this.” He tapped the tablet Jax had handed him.

There was a bright flash of light, causing Len to shut his eyes against the glare. But even before he opened them, he knew something was wrong, because his hand, the one that had been holding Sara’s, suddenly closed on empty air. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at an empty Jump Seat. “Sara?!” Twisting around, he saw that Stein, who’d been sitting on his other side, was also gone, and so were Jax and Raymond. Only he and Mick were left on the bridge with Rip. “What the hell, Rip?!” he snapped, “What did you just do?! Where is everyone?!”

“The appropriate question is ‘When’.” Rip started heading towards his study. “Over the last few months, I’ve implemented a safeguard in case of a catastrophe. A high burst of temporal energy has scattered our team throughout history.”

“I knew you never liked us,” Mick grumbled.

Len threw his restraints off and stood up, storming after Rip. “Why in the hell would you split us up?!” Sure, he’d wanted Sara to miraculously get away from this situation, but he had no way of knowing if she was safe or not. And why were he and Mick still stuck on this doomed vessel?!

“I’m afraid, injured as you are, the two of you wouldn’t survive the rigours of time-travel, which is why I’m doing this.” He held up the object he’d grabbed from his study, and everything went white.

“Next thing we knew, we were waking up in the Med Bay with you two standing over us,” Len finished. Telling this story had taken longer than he’d thought. He’d left out the issues with Sara’s vendetta, because even though Queen was her and Laurel’s friend, Heywood was a complete stranger and it was none of his business.

“That just leaves us with one question you haven’t answered,” Queen pointed out.

“Where the hell is Rip?” Len guessed. He looked over at Mick, who’d been knocked out a few seconds after him.

“I dunno,” his friend groaned, “Must’ve time-scattered himself like the rest of them.” The ‘and left us to possibly die’ was left unsaid. “Guess we gotta go play hero and find them.”

“Do you even think this ship still flies?” Heywood asked.

“I don’t see why not.” As if they hadn’t been hit by an A-Bomb. “Fridge works.” Mick held up his cold beer in emphasis.

“I don’t have time to time-travel,” Queen said, ignoring the irony in that statement, “but if your team is stuck in history, who better to find them than a historian?” He gestured at Heywood, who nodded in agreement, but then did a double-take.

Mick looked incredulous. “This guy?”

“Without Dr. Heywood, you’d still be in stasis.”

“Plus Gideon seems to be down,” Len pointed out, “And we have no idea where to look first.”

Mick agreed that both were very good points. He took Heywood to the library while Len walked with Queen to the airlock, knowing the mayor of Star City would have some more personal questions. He wasn’t wrong.

“You said Sara went up against Damien Darhk,” Queen prompted as soon as they were out of earshot.

Len sighed. “Yeah. And no, it did not go well. Apparently, Sara’s spent the past six months researching when and where she can find him, in case we ever get a mission in one of those times and places. When she finally faced him, he nearly killed her. Would have, if I hadn’t been shot, and if she hadn’t needed to get me to safety.” He ran a hand over his face. “I know I said I’d look out for her, but it’s hard to do that when she’s refusing backup and running in there without a plan.”

“Darhk’s already dead. I killed him myself.”

“Yeah, after he killed Laurel. Sara wants to erase all that from ever happening in the first place.”

“To save Laurel.” Queen’s gaze was distant. “Laurel brought Sara back from the dead. It makes sense that Sara would want to do the same for her.”

“And I’d like to help,” Len insisted honestly, “The difference is that Sara seems to be okay with getting herself killed – again – if it can save Laurel. I want her to be able to kill the bastard and then walk away, and I’m sure everyone else wants that, too.”

“I thought Captain Hunter convinced her not to go to the night of Laurel’s death because she would be the one who died.”

“He said that Sara and Laurel would die, along with their father. Sara’s fine with giving her own life to save Laurel’s but not anyone else’s, and that scenario has Laurel dying anyway, so there would be no point to it all.”

“Well, I thought you were more stubborn than that.” Queen looked him in the eye sternly. “Tell her you’re going to help her, because if she can’t get it done the smart way on her own, you’re going to have to.”

Len considered his words. “The second we’re alone, I’m putting my foot down. She needs to know that her life isn’t disposable.”

“Exactly. Good luck.”

Len made it back to the bridge just after Mick and Heywood. The historian was announcing that he had a lead on Raymond’s location. “Are you sure it’s not from one of our previous missions?” Len checked. Those wouldn’t be useful.

“It’s not,” Mick told him, “Unless I slept through a trip to the dinosaur age.”

Dinosaurs? Why on Earth would Rip think that was a good time to send anyone to? He glanced down at the magazine Heywood had dropped on a Jump Seat. It was open to a page with a large picture of a fossilised shoeprint, with the caption ‘Jurassic Man: Real or Hoax?’.

Heywood looked nervous as Mick got comfortable in the pilot’s seat. “Are you, uh, sure you know how to fly this thing?”

“Let’s find out,” Mick told him.

Len fought a laugh as he settled into one of the seats at either end of the new U-shaped control console. Thanks to his training as Chronos, Mick knew how to fly the Waverider and the Jump Ship just as well as Rip. He was just messing with the new guy, and Len saw no reason to spoil his fun.

Mick hit a few buttons and the console lit up. Then he began their ascent, causing Heywood to stumble and cling to a Jump Seat for balance. “Maybe you should slow down!” the newbie cried in a panic. Mick was driving faster than Rip normally did.

“Maybe you should shut up and strap in.”

Heywood followed the pyro’s instructions, his fear visibly giving way to excitement. “I can’t believe this. We’re about to travel through time!”

“Did he tell you about the side-effects?” Len asked, bracing himself. He’d never travelled tens of millions of years in one jump. Hell, he hadn’t even travelled one million years in one jump. This was not going to be fun.

“What side-effects?!”

“Ten bucks says he gets the bleeding eyeball thing!” Len shouted to Mick over the roar of the engines.

“You’re on!”

Monday, April 17th, 1693

Sara Lance was rather annoyed. Once Rip picked her up – if Rip picked her up (although she was actually trying to be more optimistic this time around) – she was going to have words with him about dropping her in the middle of the Salem Witch Trials. The time where common sense and decency and human rights were thrown out the window in favour of fear and hatred of anything even the slightest bit different from the Puritans’ tight-ass moral code. Why in the hell would Rip ever think a female, bisexual assassin with a penchant for violence would do well here?

The men had bound her hands tightly with rope (she could still work her way free easily) and were leading her to the noose. “Vile witch!” one called.

“You have corrupted the women of our village!”

One old woman stepped forward and spat on the ground, aiming for Sara’s shoes and narrowly missing.

“In my defense, it was just one, and I’d hardly call teaching her how to throw a proper punch ‘corruption’.” She’d come across a man attempting to rape one of the local girls, and had knocked him out from behind. Sara had been intending to move on to the next town within a few days (she’d have just skipped over this one completely if she’d been aware of exactly when she was and which town she’d stumbled onto), so she’d given the girl some pointers in case he tried to come at her again. And if she hadn’t still been hoping to see Len again, she probably would’ve made a move on the girl, too (Now, that would definitely be condemned as ‘corruption’).

But the man, after waking up, had publicly accused the poor girl of witchcraft, saying that she’d used dark sorcery to render him unconscious for no reason. No matter how much she’d pleaded that he’d attacked her, that she had been rescued by someone else, and that there had been no witchcraft involved, she’d nearly been declared guilty. So Sara had stepped forward and declared that she had knocked the bastard out, which, while it had cleared the innocent girl, had also led to her own conviction. Because no mere woman could ever overcome a man without the use of some dark, unthinkable devil worship.

“Hang the witch!” the villagers began chanting, “Hang the witch! Hang the witch! Hang the witch!”

Sara, deciding she’d had enough of this crap, grabbed the thick, wooden staff held by the man next to her, kicked him in the gut, and smacked him in the face with the staff. Women began screaming as she knocked another man out.

“You must be Sara Lance!” a voice came from behind her.

On instinct, Sara spun around and knocked the man’s feet out from under him.

“Woah, woah, woah!” another, more welcome and familiar, voice cried, “It’s okay. He’s with us.”

It was Ray. And he had Mick and Len standing on either side of him. Sara blew a lock of hair out of her face and dropped her weapon, stepping over the other guy (who was moaning “Is she always this violent?”) and running to her boyfriend. “Len!”

He held her tightly, like he was afraid she’d vanish if he let go. “You okay?”

“Ask a silly question. Do you really think I was going to just let those dumb Puritans hang me?” She looked up and met his eyes. “Rip has a lot to answer for, dumping me in this era.”

“I’ll be sure to tell him that once we find him. For now…” He dipped his head down and kissed her, threading his fingers through her knotted hair (they wouldn’t even give her a damn hairbrush in prison).

She tried to reach up and wrap her arms around his neck, but her hands were still tied. “Hang on.” She wriggled out of the ropes as quickly as she could and was about to resume kissing him when something whizzed by her ear. “What the hell?!”

The villagers had re-gathered their courage and were beginning to approach their group, some throwing rocks while the biggest men charged forward with their pitchforks.

“How about you two have your little reunion on the ship?” Mick suggested even as he started running, dragging the new guy behind him.

Sara grinned at Len and grabbed his hand before sprinting off after their teammates. “So, where have you been?”

“It’s a long story.”

“So let me get this straight,” Sara began as she changed out of that annoying seventeenth-century outfit, “Some historian was able to figure out who we were, what we were doing, the fact that we were in trouble, and where to find the ship, all by himself. Then he convinced Ollie to drop everything he was doing on nothing but his word to find you and Mick at the bottom of the Atlantic, where you were in some sort of suspended animation for seventy-four years – hah, that means you’re over a hundred years old, now.”

“That time doesn’t count. And even if it did, then that means Mick’s time as Chronos counts, which means that he’s still got a couple hundred years on all of us combined.”

“Right. So after that, you and Mick took the new guy on a few trips through time, saving Ray from a T-Rex and Stein and Jax from some bratty half-pint king in Medieval England. And how did it feel, traveling millions of years in one jump?”

“Well, I went completely numb all over for several minutes. Mick, the lucky ass, barely felt a thing, but the fact that I couldn’t really move meant that he had to clean up the mess Heywood made all by himself. The poor newbie seemed to be hit with every side-effect we’ve ever encountered all at once.”

“Plus bleeding from the eyeballs?” Despite Rip’s mention of it before their very first Time Jump, the Legends had yet to experience that particular side-effect. Len and Mick’s bet was not the first one to be made on that particular topic.

“Nope, not that, sadly. I lost ten bucks because of it.”

Sara laughed, slipping on a t-shirt and sitting next to him on the bed (where he’d been fully enjoying the show). “You know, we really should stop making bets on that. Aside from the fact that it would be horrible for the person in question, if a newbie traveling millions of years on his first Time Jump doesn’t start bleeding from the eyeballs, what’s it gonna take?”

“True.” Len sighed. “I’m probably tempting fate here, but I did say we were going to finish a certain conversation right before everything really went to hell.”

All traces of laughter fled from Sara’s face as she recalled their conversation after he left the Med Bay. “Right. How’s the bullet wound, by the way?”

He shrugged. “Gideon’s had seventy-four years to heal it; I haven’t actually thought to check, but it hasn’t been bothering me. Don’t try and change the topic, though.”

Sara looked down at her shoes. “I’m sorry. For what happened earlier. I’ve had a lot of time to think on it – not two years this time, thankfully – and… you were right. I lost focus in that fight. It’s something that would’ve earned me a serious punishment in the League, because even there, watching your allies’ backs was important. I just… I’ve been waiting six months for the chance to get that bastard, to save my sister.”

“I know. But if you keep going like this, you’re just going to get yourself killed. And I know this is a cliché line, but she wouldn’t want that. Laurel literally went through hell and back to bring you back to life, and throwing it away is a pretty poor way to repay her.” Seeing the tears in her eyes, he reached out and put an arm around her shoulders. When she didn’t push him away, he pulled her closer, letting her rest her head on his shoulder. “It’s not that I don’t want you to save Laurel. I told you, I want to help. I want to help you kill Darhk and survive the fight. Or have you seriously decided that that’s not an option?”

“N-no, I- I… All I can think of is that it’s not fair. It’s not fair that she’s dead after she brought me back. She became the Black Canary to honor me, and it got her killed. I would love to be able to live my life with her in it again, but… but I know that might not be possible, and I’d rather be dead and have her be alive than the other way around.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Len whispered, “I can help you, really. Mick would be willing to help, too. You just have to let us. And before you can pull the ‘we could get killed’ argument, that’s just as likely to happen any other day on this job.”

She looked up at him, a few tears running down her face. “I know. I just… I’m scared. Darhk’s already taken one person from me. I didn’t want to give him a chance to take another.”

“Then we watch each other’s backs. Just as we’ve been doing all this time.” He pressed a kiss on her forehead, until she tilted her head up to let him capture her lips instead.

After a few seconds, they parted. “We should probably get to the bridge,” Sara murmured, “With Gideon down, we either have to be there when they figure out where Rip is, or stay here until someone comes to interrupt us.”

“Ugh, you’re right. But just so we’re clear: you are going to let me help you get Darhk, right?”

“…Right. I’m sorry I kept it all a secret from you.”

“Oh, if you think I wasn’t aware of what you’ve been up to, you’ve severely underestimated me.” He paused. “Okay, so it wasn’t until Palmer came and talked to me that we put the pieces together, but yes, we both knew what you were planning.”

“I’m sorry,” Heywood told the team, “but so far, I haven’t been able to detect any historical alterations that indicate Mr. Hunter was… stranded in time.”

Raymond’s shoulders visibly sagged in disappointment, and he looked down at Jax, who was working with the wiring on the side of the central console. “Well, hopefully we’ll be able to ask Gideon where he is, soon. Jax?”

“Almost got it,” the young mechanic replied.

“Who’s Gideon?” Heywood asked the room in general, “I mean, Mr. Snart mentioned that name before, but-”

“You’ll find out in a sec. I just need to… There!”

Gideon’s holographic head appeared over the console, making the historian’s jaw drop. “Greetings, Dr. Heywood,” she said (she must have been listening in the whole time, and simply unable to respond until Jax fixed whatever he fixed), “I am the ship’s artificial consciousness.”

Sara smiled in relief. “Gideon! We need you to tell us where Rip is.”

“So we can punch him for his idiotic choice in Time-Scatter destinations, for starters,” Len murmured. Would it have been too much trouble for him to send them all to 2016 Star City or Central City, where they were guaranteed to have allies and a safe place to go?

“I am afraid I have no idea,” Gideon replied, “But I would be happy to play his final message for you all.”

Final message?” Raymond asked uneasily.

“Sorry for stranding you all throughout history…” Rip’s voice came from behind them. Everyone turned and looked towards Rip’s study, where a hologram of their captain was being projected. “…but it was the only way to save you. Ah, you know what they say: a captain must never abandon his ship… Well, neither shall I abandon hope of seeing you all again, someday, somewhere in time. As flawed and unruly as you are individually, together, you are the best crew, the best team a captain could ever hope for. So… stick together. And remember: history is yours, now, my dear Legends. … Good luck.”

For several moments, everyone just stared in stunned silence at the hologram until it vanished. Mick was the first to shake it off and stalk over to the study, muttering something about needing a drink. Len was next, gently pulling Sara with him. He settled down into one of the armchairs, and she squeezed in next to him, half-sitting on his lap. The others took similar positions around the room, processing this new development. Heywood, of course, was nowhere near as affected as the rest of them, but he respectfully kept his mouth shut.

“Where could he have gone?” Sara murmured quietly, finally breaking the silence.

“Anywhere, really,” Len muttered back, “And knowing Rip, he’s probably being the perfect little Time Master, making no changes to the timeline, which would be why Gideon can’t track him. There’s nothing for her to track.”

“So?” Raymond asked, “What do we do now?”

“We drink,” Mick suggested from his spot in the entryway, taking a bite out of a donut he’d been keeping God knows where and then following up with a swig of whichever expensive liquor he’d swiped this time (after six months of this, it was a wonder that Rip’s stash wasn’t completely wiped out yet).

“It’s not like we’re exactly Time Masters,” Len pointed out, “Even with Rip.”

“I think…” Jax began, “he knew that… one day, we might have to do this… without him.”

“And we all heard his message,” Raymond added, “He wanted us to keep going.”

“We have to keep going,” Stein insisted, “There’s a rogue time-traveler out there somewhere.”

“Yeah, a time-nemesis whose idea of fun is helping Damien Darhk and the Nazis blow up New York City,” Sara clarified.

“What’s to stop them from going back in time and kidnapping Einstein and his ex-wife again?” Raymond worried.

“We can’t be everywhere at once,” Mick pointed out through a mouthful of donut.

“But you can safeguard the Einsteins,” Heywood finally piped up.

“Safeguard the Einsteins?” Stein asked, “How?”

Heywood turned to face them all, a small smile growing on his face. “By making one slight alteration to history.”

Friday, October 16th, 1942

“How’d it go?” Len asked as he spotted Mick, Stein, and Heywood approaching them. He, Sara, Jax, and Raymond were waiting in an alley connecting the street to the empty lot where they’d parked the Waverider. Heywood’s idea had been rather simple, yet brilliant: jump back in time to before they first arrived in 1942 and convince Einstein to go public with the fact that his ex was as brilliant as he was and that she’d been his longtime collaborator. This way, the US government would put just as much effort into keeping her safe as it did him, preventing them from being taken by the Nazis. The three men had put on disguises similar to what Len and Rip had worn while pretending to be FBI agents in 1958, and had been the ones to approach the physicist, claiming to be from the OSS, precursor to the CIA.

As for the would-be Nazi kidnappers, the rest of the team had taken it upon themselves to await their arrival and quietly take them out, since Einstein’s personal security hadn’t been able to stop them the first time around.

“Good,” Heywood replied to Len’s question, “Until someone gives the Confederate Army machine guns, or breaks Mozart’s fingers…”

“One Aberration at a time,” Stein advised him as the seven began to walk back to the ship.

“What do you guys say we get out of 1942?” Sara asked rhetorically, pulling out the remote control to de-cloak the ship.

“I’m in,” Raymond commented, “Finally, we finish a mission without any problems.”

Just then, the sound of a weapon being cocked had everyone turning around. “Not until you answer a few questions,” a man in a strange red and blue leather getup, wielding a rifle and standing on a crate, told them, his tone hostile.

He wasn’t alone, either. Three more people approached the Legends on foot. “We’re the Justice Society of America,” the woman in black and yellow announced.

“And you’re coming with us,” the guy in the goggles declared. The man in black and blue with a hood and mask covering his entire face said nothing, and neither did the blonde chick dressed like a female Captain America wannabe as she floated down from the sky with a glowing staff in hand.

Why did you say that?” Len grumbled to Raymond.

Chapter Text

Friday, October 16th, 1942

Dr. Heywood’s reaction to the newcomers was a little unexpected. Belatedly, Len remembered the historian’s silent reaction to the earlier mention of this ‘Justice Society’. The man had known about them all along, but everyone had been too busy worrying about the team and then the Nazis to bring it up. Now, however, it looked like they were going to get some answers.

Heywood was staring up at the man with the rifle with an expression of awe on his face. “Oh my God. You’re Commander Steel.” He was acting like he’d just come face-to-face with his most favourite historical figure of all time, albeit less excitably than Stein’s reaction to meeting Einstein.

Len had never heard of the guy.

‘Commander Steel’ leapt down to the ground (doing a somewhat impressive flip for no discernable reason). “Who the hell are you?” He didn’t seem nearly as pleased by Heywood’s attention.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Raymond interrupted, trying to keep the peace, “Just relax. We’re all friends, here. Rex Tyler told us about the JSA.”

“Rex never mentioned any of you,” the star-spangled blonde retorted suspiciously.

“Mind telling us what you were doing, impersonating OSS agents?” Commander Steel demanded.

“It’s quite simple, actually,” Stein began, “We were protecting Albert Einstein from Nazi agents who were attempting to kidnap him and force him to build an atomic bomb… in the future.”

Len winced. Even in a time period when Einstein and the Nazis were around, that still sounded crazy.

“Time-travel,” Heywood added, “It’s hard to explain.”

“Great,” Len groaned, “You two have managed to convince them that we’re either insane or liars. Or both.” He sighed. “Look. Obviously you people don’t have any reason to trust us, but perhaps it would be better if we could just show you.”

“But the timeline-” Stein protested.

“At some point in time, possibly after this one, if he hasn’t even heard of us, yet, their friend is going to be crashing our ship in the year 2016. So they’re probably going to find out, anyway.”

“This is ridiculous,” Commander Steel snapped, “We’re taking you all into custody.”

“Whoa, take it easy,” Heywood said nervously (and still with an edge of awe and excitement), “L-let’s talk for a minute. After all, you’re my-”

He never got to finish his sentence, as Commander Steel hit him across the face with his gun.

The Commander’s friends took that as their cue to attack. Mick swung as the one in the blue and black hood came at him, but the guy turned into black smoke, re-formed elsewhere, and caught the pyro around the neck with a whip made of that same black smoke and threw him over his head.

“MICK!” Len barely heard Commander Steel giving an order, but the hooded guy responded by lifting one hand in the air, and the sky above them turned black as night.

Len knew he had to end this fight quickly. He had no idea what these people were capable of, but from what he knew, they were supposed to be on the same side. And for that reason alone, he and his own team couldn’t bring their A-Game. He spotted Sara engaging the black woman in hand-to-hand, and got an idea. His teammates would be pissed at him for doing it, but…

He pulled his Cold Gun and fired a high-powered shot that hit the woman in the leg, sending her down with a very real cry of pain. “EVERYONE FREEZE!” he yelled, holding the gun to her head (and no, he didn’t mean that as a pun – that time).

Everybody stopped at his words, all staring at him. As he guessed, even his own team looked shocked at his actions (except Mick).

“You people have questions. We get that. And we’re willing to answer them, and even provide what your friend here needs to heal from this injury. All we ask in return is that you shut up and listen when we give you your damn answers!”

Sara took over. “We’re not here to hurt anyone, regardless of what this idiot has just done.” Yeah, Len was definitely going to be spending several nights on the couch in Rip’s study. “And we do have the means to help your friend, means that you don’t have. Can we please just talk about this instead of jumping to conclusions? I promise, this one…” She pointed at Len. “…will face consequences for what he’s just done.”

None of the Justice Society members looked pleased. The rage in their eyes was exactly what Len would expect from his own team if some jackass were to hurt one of them. But when the Commander nodded and lowered his rifle, and the others stood down as well (and turned the daylight back on), he shut off the Cold Gun and backed away from the woman he’d just injured, hands out in the open as if the cops were holding him at gunpoint.

Sara jerked the Gun out of his hands, and he let her. “You had to go and be that cold-hearted bastard again,” she hissed furiously, “Now how are we supposed to get them to trust us?”

“I’m hoping that seeing is believing,” Len replied honestly, “We can’t exactly bring Gideon to her.”

“Maybe you’re right. But you’re still in so much trouble.” She raised the remote still in her hand and pressed a button.

The heroes of the forties were all rather stunned as the Waverider appeared out of nowhere and landed in the empty lot. “Who the hell are you people?” Commander Steel gasped.

Len wanted to roll his eyes and repeat what Stein and Heywood had already told these people, but decided that it would probably be best to not draw any more attention to himself if he wanted to maintain the truce he’d forced. Luckily, Raymond had the same idea. “Like Dr. Heywood here said, we’re time-travelers,” he explained, gesturing at the historian.

The reaction that got was… odd. All the Justice Society members, even the wounded woman, blinked and stared at Heywood, who was nursing his bruised jaw, and then all but Commander Steel turned their stares onto the Commander himself. “What did you say his name was?” the man in question asked faintly.

“Zero-seven-zero-two-three-three,” Heywood recited (whatever the hell that meant), “Those are the numbers on your dog tags. They’re not disclosed on any documents, military or otherwise, in case you think we’re Nazi spies, which we’re not.”

“Then how do you know that?” the Commander asked, a slight tremor now apparent in his voice.

Heywood reached up and pulled out a chain that had been around his neck and hidden under his clothes – military dog tags. “You gave these to your wife after the birth of your son in 1955. The dent on the front was from an assassin’s bullet when you saved President Roosevelt in 1939. Your son passed them down to his son. Me.”

There was a long second of silence. “Huh,” Mick finally broke it, “Didn’t see that coming.”

The guy in the goggles was shaking his head in disbelief, but Commander Steel – or was it Commander Heywood? – reached out with shaking hands to touch the dog tags and examine them. “These… These are my tags.” He pulled his own out, and while Len was too far away to tell, he was willing to bet that they were exactly the same, if a bit shinier and newer than the ones Heywood the Younger was wearing. “There’s no way you could have made those as a copy.”

“You’re not seriously saying you believe this time-travel nonsense?” the injured woman asked through clenched teeth.

“I… I do.”

Well, that was one person convinced. It was enough to convince the most of others to follow the Legends onto the Waverider and into the Med Bay (the one in blue and black, called ‘Obsidian’, was sent back to fetch Rex Tyler). Len found himself kicked out soon after, along with all the other men, as apparently treating the frostbite would require some ‘scandalous’ exposure of the injured woman’s (Vixen’s) legs, so Sara was left to supervise the healing with the star-spangled blonde – apparently codenamed ‘Stargirl’ – keeping guard.

Stein took the initiative and led the rest to the bridge. Len stayed by the doors, leaning on the wall nearby.

“Well, you wanted us to answer your questions,” Stein began, “So, please, ask away.”

Commander Steel still seemed a little too stunned by Heywood’s revelation, so the man with the goggles took over. “Why were you impersonating OSS agents?”

“Ah, that. We were telling Professor Einstein that he needed to go public with the knowledge that his ex-wife, Mileva Marić, was just as knowledgeable about physics as he was. He has a private security detail to prevent Nazi spies from kidnapping him; as you know, having a scientist of his calibre working for them, willingly or not, would not be a good thing.”

“But what people didn’t know was that it would be just as bad if they got their hands on his ex,” Jax continued, “and the Nazis somehow figured that out, but nobody was bothering to guard her. Now that everyone knows she’s just as valuable as her ex-husband, that’s gonna change.”

“We do this kind of thing all the time,” Ray added, “We’re still not sure how this one happened – no one went after Mileva in the original timeline – but we’re not the only time-travelers out there, and someone else did something to cause that change, and it’s basically our job to fix stuff like that. Like the last mission we were on; someone gave weapons from the future to Cardinal Richelieu, and his people nearly killed King Louis XIII before his son, King Louis XIV, could be conceived. So we had to go and save his life to keep history intact.”

“So your mission here is complete, then,” Commander Steel finally spoke up. Len noticed that he was avoiding looking at his apparent future grandson as much as possible, something that had the historian wearing a kicked-puppy expression that gave Raymond’s a run for its money. “So you’re going to be on your way?”

“Well, yes,” Stein agreed, “In fact, we would have already been gone by now if you hadn’t approached us.”

“But how do you know Rex?” Everyone turned to see the three women standing in the doorway, Vixen leaning on Stargirl, but otherwise in good health. She was glaring at Len like she wanted nothing more than to rip his guts out, but to be fair, he did deserve it.

“That’s… a bit more complicated. The last time we were in our native time period, the year 2016, we found ourselves face-to-face with a man who had crashed down in a time ship identical to ours – actually, it was the same ship, but from further into its future. He told us that his name was Rex Tyler, from the Justice Society of America, and that we would be in great danger if we went to 1942.”

“But you came anyway?” Stargirl questioned.

“We risk our lives every day on this job,” Jax pointed out, after giving her a flirtatious smile (looks like someone was developing a little crush), “And since the other Time Captains we’re in contact with were busy, it was either deal with the problem here, or let New York get blown up and let the war last for two extra years.”

“But why would Rex not mention any of this to us?” Vixen challenged angrily.

“Because it hasn’t happened for him yet,” Mick finally spoke up, lounging in one of the Jump Seats. When everyone turned to look at him, he shrugged. “What? The way he was talking when he gave us his warning, it sounded like he’d seen whatever danger was supposed to happen to us, and he said he knew me. Since I haven’t seen him yet, he obviously hasn’t gone to have that chat with us in 2016, either.”

“And after he gave you this alleged warning?”

Raymond winced. “Well he sort of… fritzed out on us. You know…” He made a sort of static-y noise and waved his hands around like that actually meant something.

“He disappeared,” Sara translated, “Literally vanished right in front of us, along with the version of the Waverider that he arrived in. I wish we had an explanation for that, but we honestly don’t have a clue.”

“Pardon the interruption,” Gideon interrupted merrily, causing the folks from the forties to jump and look around, “but it seems the remaining members of the Justice Society of America are approaching the ship.”

“What was that?” Vixen asked, alarmed.

“AI,” Sara answered, before apparently realising that that was not a good enough answer, “A machine that thinks for itself, and in this case, can talk to us. Don’t ask us how; this ship’s from over a century further into the future than we are.”

“Yes, Gideon is aware of virtually everything that occurs on board this ship,” Stein continued, “Ah, perhaps someone should-”

“I’ll go bring them in,” Jax volunteered, leaving the room.

Sara had expected there to be tension between Len and these other heroes. Hell, there was going to be tension between Len and their own team for what he’d done to Vixen.

She did not expect Rex Tyler to grab Len and slam him into the nearest wall as soon as he entered the bridge and Obsidian pointed him out. “You son of a bitch!”

Everyone who’d been sitting jumped to their feet, Jax coming in from behind the new arrivals to help Mick try and pull the man off their teammate.

“Rex!” It was Vixen who ultimately stopped the struggle, marching over to them with only a slight hobble in her step. “Rex, I’m alright!”

Mr. Tyler stopped and stared at her, dumbfounded, which allowed Mick and Jax to shove him away. Mick would have taken it further, but Sara stepped in between them with a small glare. Mick met her eyes and took up position next to Len, arms crossed and his expression threatening.

“Amaya? How…?” Tyler asked Vixen, “Obsidian said you had been shot with some sort of ice weapon. Second-degree frostbite.”

“These people weren’t lying when they said they’re from the future. Their infirmary has technology that our best medical minds probably haven’t even dreamt of.” She gestured at her leg. “It’s a little sore and chilled, but other than that, Miss Lance here says that I should be fit for duty within the day.”

Tyler breathed a sigh of relief, shutting his eyes for a moment before looking at Stein. “Thank you for healing her. Next time, keep your people under control.” He turned to the rest of his team. “The President called. Baron Krieger’s been spotted in Paris.”

“If it’s permissible… sir,” Vixen said, “I could fly ahead and record Krieger’s movements. I promise it won’t put any stress on my leg.”

Tyler looked unsure, but sighed and nodded. “That’s sensible. As always… Vixen.”

Sara looked between the two of them, noting how quickly they’d gone from concerned friends to coolly professional colleagues.

“We could help you out with that,” Ray offered cheerfully, “Fighting Nazis is kinda our thing.”

“Last time we tried that, Mick and I ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic,” Len snarked, finally bringing his silence to an end, “And you nearly got eaten by a T-Rex.”

“We can handle Adolf’s buddies,” Tyler declared, looking around at the Legends with some disdain, “And we don’t need anyone who thinks it’s okay to just freeze people they consider to be their allies.” He was still glaring rather hard at Len. “We also don’t need a team that can’t control its members, and frankly, I wonder why you would have a person like this one on your team to begin with.”

“Hey!” Sara snapped, “I don’t know who you think-”

“Excuse me, miss,” Tyler rather rudely interrupted her, “I was addressing the team leader.” He pointed at Stein, whose eyebrows rose in surprise.

“Really?” Len snarked, “You found Rip and haven’t bothered to tell us?”

“What he means is,” Ray explained, “Professor Stein isn’t the team leader. Our leader is Time Captain Rip Hunter, and he’s MIA as of…”

“It has been approximately one hour since Captain Hunter was officially declared Missing In Action,” Gideon provided.

“That does explain a few things,” the man with the goggles (Sara still hadn’t gotten his codename) muttered.

“Originally, when we came to 1942, we, like everyone else, were initially unaware of Milvea Marić’s significance,” Stein continued, “and were unable to stop her abduction, and while we were eventually able to rescue her, the Nazis still had a functioning atomic bomb.”

“Rip steered the ship on a collision course with the bomb,” Sara picked up, “and used a fail-safe called a time-scatter to, well, scatter most of us across time, which is how Ray came face-to-face with a dinosaur.”

“Me and Snart were injured in the fight with the Nazis,” Mick added, “so the time-scatter would’ve killed us. Rip knocked us both out and put us in some sort of stasis. When we woke up, seventy-four years had gone by, we hadn’t aged a bit, and we had no idea where Hunter went, or how this ship survived the blast. Lucky for us, Doc Heywood here was living as an ordinary historian in 2016, and somehow figured out who and where we were, and got the information to Sara’s vigilante ex.”

“We took a submarine down to where the Waverider was resting on the ocean floor,” Nate continued, “and woke them up, and I helped them track down everyone else here. But we couldn’t find Captain Hunter.”

“But we still had a mission to complete,” Jax took his turn, “Nate came up with the idea of jumping back earlier in the day and getting Einstein to go public about his ex, protecting them both and basically erasing her abduction and the creation of the A-Bomb. We hadn’t picked a fill-in leader, yet, but no one had a problem with the plan, so we went through with it, and then you guys showed up.”

“And now your mission is complete,” Tyler guessed, “I still see no reason for you to interfere with ours, however.”

“He has a point,” Stein agreed, “This mission would have happened, anyway, so it would be best for us to avoid meddling with events that do not need our involvement.”

Tyler nodded. “Exactly. I think you’ve just found your new team leader.”

More than a few of the Legends rolled their eyes, but Stein puffed up in pride. “I suppose we’ll be on our way, then. Good luck to you all.”

The JSA wasted no time in getting their asses off the Waverider. Len got the feeling that, despite their admiration of the futuristic technology that allowed one of their own to heal impossibly quickly, they still looked down upon his team. Some people, like Raymond and Heywood, were left down in the dumps because of it. The latter left the bridge pretty quickly to go sulk in the library. But Len didn’t really care, as long as he wouldn’t have to deal with those people again.

Meanwhile, the talk had turned to something Rex Tyler had brought up: team leadership.

“Rip’s gone,” Raymond was saying, “And who knows when or if we’ll ever find him. In the meantime, we need someone who can make the tough calls.”

Len had to admit that the Boy Scout was right. Sure, they’d all been in agreement on this last course of action, but that had rarely been true in the past, and they needed someone to take charge. “Let me guess,” he drawled, “You’re volunteering?” There was no way Len was going to take orders from Raymond. He’d take the Atom’s advice on any remotely scientific topic, but only because he trusted that Raymond knew enough about that stuff to know what the hell he was talking about. Leading a team like this required a whole different sort of expertise.

“With all due respect, Raymond,” Stein interrupted, “I think there’s a reason Mr. Tyler just naturally assumed I was in charge.”

“Yeah,” Jax stated what everyone else was thinking, “because Mr. Tyler is from 1942, and you’re the old, white dude.”

“‘Old’, meaning ‘experienced’,” Stein argued.

“Experienced in nuclear physics, maybe,” Len retorted, “Did you ever have to fight for life before becoming Firestorm? Or find yourself in charge of a group outside an academic setting?”

“What about-” Jax began to suggest.

“Martin’s right,” Sara suddenly spoke up, ignoring everyone who was looking at her like she’d grown a second head, “With Rip gone, we could use some adult supervision. Congratulations, Captain.”

Stein once again beamed proudly. “Well, then. Thank you, all, for your support.” Jax rolled his eyes. “I believe our first order of business concerns Dr. Heywood.”

“Are you seriously alright with letting the Professor take command?” Len asked as he and Sara left the bridge to tell Heywood he was being sent home, “Personally, I’d rather-”

“Be in command yourself?” Sara retorted. She was wrong, however. He was actually going to suggest her. “After what you pulled back there with the JSA?!”

“It got them to shut up and listen, didn’t it?”

He knew that was the wrong thing to say the second she whirled around and glared at him. “You could’ve easily had them convinced that it would be okay to start trying to kill us, Len! Even if we’d been captured, we would have gotten the chance to explain ourselves. You could’ve given them a reason to shoot to kill!” She threw up her hands in exasperation. “I don’t know why you think that’s okay! It’s times like this that I wonder if that cold-hearted bastard that first stepped on this ship isn’t completely gone. Go get what you need from our room; you’re on the couch tonight.”

Len sighed as she stalked towards the library, where Heywood had retreated after his grandfather had departed without sparing a glance at him. This, sadly, had not been the first time they’d fought; no relationship was perfect, and he’d been banished to the couch in Rip’s study a couple times before. It had startled the hell out of their captain the first time, but then Rip had given Len a sad, wry smile and welcomed him to the pains of living with your partner. Len wondered how many times Miranda had kicked him out of their bed.

As it stood, Mick laughed when Len re-entered the bridge with a pillow and blanket tucked under his arm. “Sucks to be you,” the pyro declared, “Three days apart while she’s playing French Maid, then you get interrupted by a Time Quake, and now she’s put you in the doghouse.” He ducked when Len threw the pillow at his head.

Sara came back soon after, a worried-looking Dr. Heywood behind her. “We’ve got a problem,” she announced, “We can’t leave 1942 just yet.”

“Are you sure?” Ray questioned, “The JSA was pretty explicit on us leaving.”

“Yeah, well, if we do, they’ll all die tomorrow. Nate?”

The historian took over. “My grandfather’s dog tags. They just vanished from around my neck.”

“Like your wedding ring in 1975,” Sara added, pointing to Stein.

“I checked my old notes on the JSA, and… they’ve changed.” He held up a worn, tan journal. “I have it here, in my own handwriting, that the entire JSA dies on tomorrow’s date, in France.”

“The mission Rex Tyler was talking about,” Jax realised, “The one in Paris.”

“Exactly. We have to go help them.”

“Are you certain, Dr. Heywood?” Stein questioned, “If we interfere-”

“If Grandpa Heywood dies in 1942,” Mick argued, “this one’s never born, Snart and I stay at the bottom of the ocean for who knows how long, and you and Jax get your heads chopped off in Medieval England.”

“Not to mention we haven’t done anything that would affect their performance in Paris,” Len added, “Sounds like our rogue time-traveler could be up to their tricks again.”

“Or that injury you gave Vixen could affect their performance,” Sara told him sternly. Len cursed inwardly. He hadn’t thought about how incapacitating one member could have long-reaching consequences for the JSA; he’d only been thinking about the consequences for his own team.

“Either way, we have to do something,” Jax pointed out.

Everyone looked to Stein, who blinked before remembering that he’d been named team leader. “Oh. Right. I agree. Gideon, plot a course for Paris, France.”

“Right away, Professor.”

It was nighttime in Paris by the time they arrived, although that was mostly to be blamed on the six-hour time difference. The City of Love was sparkling below the ship, looking quite beautiful for a city under the control of the occupying Nazis.

“This is where the JSA is gonna die,” Jax commented sadly, looking out the window.

“Not if we save them,” Heywood countered seriously, “Including my grandfather.” He, of course, had more riding on this mission than anyone else here – his very existence was at stake, here. It had erased all of his wide-eyed fanboying about time-travel.

“Well, first we’ve got to find them,” Sara prompted.

“Fortunately, we know they’re looking for a Nazi named Krieger.” The historian turned and swiped a finger across one of the screens on the holo-table, but nothing happened. “…A Nazi named Krieger. Can someone please help me operate this thing?!” Len tried and failed to suppress a smirk as Jax leaned in to help the newbie out. “Krieger and his men frequent ‘Les Folies Bergère’. We find Krieger, we find the JSA.”

“So, how do we sneak into a Nazi nightclub?” Jax questioned.

“I… have a plan,” Stein spoke up, “Are any of you familiar with Max Sülzenfuß, better known by his stage name, Max Lorenz? He was Hitler’s favorite singer, and, fortunately, has a passing resemblance to moi.”

Len raised an eyebrow. “You want to go into a nightclub pretending to be a celebrity? What if someone spots the façade? Gideon, is there anything that could cause a problem?”

Stein opened his mouth to protest, but Gideon interrupted him: “I believe a significant cause for concern would be the fact that Mr. Lorenz is, in this particular time period, only forty-one years of age, twenty-five years younger than Professor Stein.”

The white-haired professor waved it off. “I can put some dye in my hair to make myself look younger, Gideon. Besides, unless someone has a better plan…”

“Give me a bit of time, and I will,” Len declared. He’d been recruited for this sort of thing, after all.

“Does it involve you shooting anyone else?” Raymond asked, an untrusting note in his tone.

“We’ll go with my idea,” Stein declared, already beginning to march away from the bridge, “Gideon, I’ll need a suit fit for the likes of Max Lorenz.”

Len groaned, and shared a look with Jax before the kid jogged after Stein. At least the kid seemed to agree that this was a bad plan.

Bad plan or not, it was the one they went with, although Len did managed to add to it and make it a bit less dangerous. Stein, Sara, Len, and Raymond all got dressed up in fancy 40s clothes and entered ‘Les Folies Bergère’ through the front door like any other guests. Jax had wanted to go, but as Len had pointed out, it was a Nazi nightclub; they wouldn’t even let the kid through the door. Len had offered Sara his arm, but, still miffed at him, she’d taken Stein’s instead. Len resolutely ignored the ‘Well, you do deserve it’ look Raymond was giving him.

They descended the stairs into the club, where upbeat music could be heard and where they were stopped by a man in a nice suit. “The club is closed tonight for a private function.”

“Do you have any idea who I am?” Stein asked him, quietly playing up the image of a celebrity who was used to getting his way. Given the fact that Lorenz’s career and talent had protected him and his wife despite his being gay and married to a Jewish woman – two things that would have had the Nazis all over him – it was most likely in-character. “I am Max Lorenz.”

The doorman looked unimpressed, but beyond him, Len saw a man in a Nazi uniform stop dead in his tracks and turn on his heel. “Did you say Max Lorenz?” he asked in an awestruck near-whisper.

“Yes,” Stein proclaimed, “And I have never been treated with such rudeness.”

“Of course not. You are more than welcome here, Herr Max.” At his words, the doorman flushed and unhooked the velvet rope that blocked their entry.

“Thank you.” The four Legends sauntered in, Sara pausing to dump her fur coat in the arms of the doorman, sniffing like a high-class snob dealing with some lowly servant.

Once they were in, they split up, scanning the crowd for the man in the photo Gideon had provided. Nearly all the men were in Nazi uniforms, aside from a few in regular suits and the wait staff, which Mick and Heywood had managed to infiltrate (Jax was stuck on the Waverider, fixing a few things that were still damaged from when the ship had gotten friendly with the A-Bomb). Len wasn’t sure what status the women held, but the Nazis were certainly enjoying their company.

“No sign of Krieger or the JSA,” Sara reported over the comms after a while, “Canvas the area and stay on the comms.”

“I think I’ve got something,” Heywood reported less than a second later, “The blonde in the dark blue dress on the dance floor. I’m pretty sure that’s Stargirl.”

Len glanced over to see the blonde, and though she’d been wearing a mask the only time he’d seen the star-spangled hero, he had to agree with Heywood. She was smiling up at the Nazi she was dancing with, even though he had to be twice her age.

Before Len knew it, Raymond had walked up to her and cut in. “May I?” Len heard him over the comms. The Nazi simply nodded and left, but Stargirl glared at him, even as she allowed him to take her hands and begin dancing. After some brief conversation, of which the team could only hear Raymond’s side, he led her over to the other Len, Sara, and Stein. “Look who I found. And she’s thrilled that we’ve offered our help.” The look on her face said otherwise.

“Herr Lorenz!” The Nazi who’d let them in chose the perfect time to approach them and introduce ‘Max Lorenz’ to a general who was apparently one of his biggest fans.

“You are Max Lorenz?” the general in question asked somewhat skeptically, “Lorenz is well over 1.8 metres tall.” Len quickly did the math and realised that he meant six feet; Stein wasn’t quite tall enough to pass muster – not even with Sara crouching slightly to make him look taller in comparison.

“Ah, my towering voice often causes people to overestimate my height,” Stein bluffed.

But the general didn’t look completely convinced. “Perhaps you would treat us to a song, Herr Lorenz.”

Uh oh. Len had no idea how well Stein could sing, but he’d be held to some pretty high standards. Sara stood up, clinging to Stein as if she were his girlfriend. “Maxie has a concert tomorrow night and needs to rest his pipes,” she excused.

“I insist, Fraulein.”

To make things worse, as the general dragged Stein away to the stage, Heywood reported in on the comms. “Heads up. Baron Krieger just arrived.”

Len turned as casually as he could, seeing another Nazi – one that matched their photo of Krieger – entering the club and being pointed to a seat by the doorman. Which indicated that he’d asked for someone in particular and was being directed to their table. Judging from the direction he was walking in, it was a dark-haired man in a grey suit, sitting alone at a table.

Stein tapped the microphone awkwardly, getting the clubgoers’ attention. “Is this on? Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Max Lorenz, and, ah, this little waltz I am about to sing for you is an original song, very popular in Austria, where the hills are alive with the sound of music.”

“Oh Hell,” Len muttered, “I hated that musical.”

“Really?” Raymond whispered, “Who hates Julie Andrews?”

Stein muttered something to the guitarist and then went back to the mike. After a few bars, he began to sing.

Len had only watched ‘The Sound of Music’ once, with his mother when he was a kid (and when he had no real choice in the matter), so he didn’t recognise the song, but the tune was somewhat familiar. But holy shit, the old man could sing! A glance at the general who’d forced him onstage showed that the Nazi was fighting tears.

“I know the Baron’s plan,” Heywood reported again. Len saw him turning away from Krieger’s table, having evidently just served him and his grey-suited companion some drinks.

“Let’s get outta here,” Sara hissed, making throat-cutting gestures to Stein. Stargirl gave her an astounded look, seeing as she didn’t have a comm like the rest of them and wasn’t aware of Heywood’s report. Stein presumably skipped to the final line of the song, to a smattering of loud applause. And a cry of ‘Heil Hitler!’ that made Len’s jaw clench.

The next thing he knew, the Nazi general was getting into Raymond’s face. “You did not salute the Führer!”

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Len exchanged a look with Stargirl, who looked slightly panicked.

“Oh, yeah, sure I did,” Raymond lied nervously, “I’m all about saluting the Führer.”

“You’re lying. I was watching you the entire time.”

Len wondered why the general hadn’t noticed him, until he realised that he was leaning up against a pillar that had mostly blocked him from the general’s view. A rare stroke of luck, he supposed, but not enough to spare Raymond from the general’s attention.

Raymond was still trying to bluff his way out of it, blaming a crick in his neck for his inability to straighten his arm. But the general wasn’t fooled in the slightest. He performed the salute again, shouting : ‘Heil Hitler!’ and waiting for Raymond to respond in kind. And doing it again when the scientist did not.

“Now what?!” Stargirl hissed to Len.

Raymond made a few half-hearted tries, only getting a ‘Hei-’ out of his mouth and never raising his arm to shoulder level before backing out. After the fourth try, he muttered: “Oh, Hell.” Before decking the general in the face and sending him stumbling into another soldier.

“Damn, I wanted to do that!” Len declared with a grin as the second Nazi charged at Raymond. He tried to punch the scientist, but Len stepped in and slammed his own fist into his face. Another one started to approach, but Mick tackled him to the floor.

Thus invoking what Len had come to accept as a general rule for this team: whether it was a bar, saloon, tavern, or nightclub, they could not walk in and walk out without starting a bar brawl. The experienced Legends and Stargirl put down every Nazi that came at them, while Heywood struggled while dealing with just one. Even Stein, who was never much good at combat when not merged into Firestorm with Jax, handled himself well, fending off charging Nazis with a chair he’d grabbed.

Then the nightclub suddenly, briefly, went pitch-black, and everyone was knocked to the floor. When the lights came back on, all the Nazis were unconscious and Stargirl – the only one still standing – was joining a few extra people who had just arrived.

The JSA had shown up to ruin the party. “What the hell are you doing here?” Commander Steel demanded.

“We came back to… to rescue you,” Stein answered.

The JSA was not impressed by the fact that the Legends had interfered with their mission, even when Heywood reported his discovery to them. Vixen even suggested that their presence would be what got them killed. But Steel had acknowledged that their future tech might come in handy, and Stargirl had pointed out that keeping the Legends around was the best way to ‘keep them out of trouble’. The JSA had put it to a vote, and all had agreed to ‘let’ the Legends work with them – although Tyler did give Stein, Sara, Len, and Heywood the stink eye when they raised their hands in agreement as well.

“Did your reconnaissance yield any usable intel?” Tyler asked as he, Stargirl, and Vixen followed Len, Sara, Stein, and Heywood into the library.

“Only a map of the area,” Vixen reported as Stargirl shook her head, throwing a glare at the Legends present.

“Bringing one online now,” Gideon’s voice echoed throughout the room.

“Right,” Vixen murmured, “The ship talks. How did I already forget that this ship talks? There!” she pointed the image Gideon had put on the screen. “Fontainebleu Forest. I saw a few of Krieger’s men studying a map of it.”

“That must be where Krieger’s planning on making the exchange,” Heywood guessed, “I overheard Krieger talking about making a trade for something called an ‘Askaran Amulet’. I’ve never heard of it, but…”

“Hitler has long amassed ancient artifacts such as this one,” Gideon interjected, showing the amulet on the library screen, “He may want the amulet because it conveys some sort of occult power.”

“Our objective should be to take out the Baron and stop the exchange at all costs,” Tyler insisted.

“I propose we survey all military activity in the area to learn what we’re up against,” Stein added.

“We don’t have time for that,” Sara argued, Len shaking his head in agreement.

“I concur,” Tyler agreed, “We should have both teams gear up while Dr. Stein and I finalize the details. Be ready to go at first light.”

Sara nodded and left, along with the other ladies. Len spared a half-smirk at Stein and followed them out. “Looks like ‘Captain Stein’ isn’t going to last long,” he commented idly.

“And what, you think you’re going to step in?” Sara snorted, “Why don’t you find Mick and tell him the plan? And make sure he hasn’t gotten into Rip’s stash again; we can’t have him hungover in the morning.” And she stalked away. The two women from the forties threw him dirty looks and followed after her.

“…gotta admit, watching your team work like a well-oiled machine kinda makes me feel like I’m doing this whole hero thing all wrong.”

Len had updated Mick on the battle plans and had gone to find Raymond, figuring he’d be in the lab Rip had set aside for their resident scientists. Sure enough, he was in there, and it sounded like he wasn’t alone.

“If it’s any consolation, Dr. Palmer,” Vixen’s voice responded to Raymond’s comment, “You’re not really a hero.”

Len scowled. He insulted Raymond all the time, but that…

When the woman left the lab, she paused at the sight of him before continuing to walk right past him. Len, however, wasn’t going to let her slide so easily, and followed her. “You know, you have every right to be mad at me; I did shoot you, after all. But that? That was just uncalled for. Downright bitchy, even.”

She whirled around to face him. “Excuse me?!”

“Raymond never did anything to you, and you go and hit him where it hurts the most, for no reason. Even without his suit, I’d love to see you tell the people of his hometown, many of whom would be dead if not for him, that Ray Palmer isn’t a hero. They’d mob you in a second. You can insult me all you like, but leave the rest of my team alone.” He snarled the last bit in her face before whipping around and going back to update Raymond like he’d been intending to.

If he’d looked back, he would have seen Vixen still frozen in place, wearing a mixed expression of anger, curiosity, and maybe even a little bit of regret.

Saturday, October 17th, 1942

“Everyone ready to go?” Commander Steel asked, his voice betraying some awe at the fact that the Waverider had gotten them to the Fontainebleu Forest so quickly.

“Almost.” Len held out the box of comm units. “Stick one of these in your ear; they’re communicators. Smaller and more discreet than your radios. Better range, too.”

All the JSA members looked at him incredulously, but the guy in the goggles (Dr. Mid-Nite) hesitantly reached over and slipped one into his ear, and the others followed suit.

“Looks like they don’t believe me. Jax, say something for our old-fashioned friends.”

“What do you want me to say?” Jax asked, causing the JSA to jump in surprise, “You’re not in Kansas anymore? Luke, I am your father?”

“Dude!” Raymond protested, “No spoiling Star Wars forty years before it’s released!”

Mick laughed. “We should Time Jump to when it first came out, sit in the theatre, and shout that spoiler halfway through.”

“Now, that’s just evil. C’mon, Mick, you’re one of the heroes now!”

“I work with the heroes; there’s a difference.”

“I’m going to regret asking this,” Stargirl asked, “But what did you do before that?”

“I’m a criminal,” Mick answered easily, “I like burning things and stealing things.”

“Are there any other felons on your team?” Vixen asked, looking straight at Len.

“No,” Raymond denied, “No- well…”

“I’ve been running heists with Mick for decades,” Len admitted easily.

“And she’s an assassin,” Mick added, pointing at a smirking Sara, “but never convicted, right?”

“We’ve spotted the Baron’s caravan,” Stein interrupted, “ETA five minutes.”

Five minutes later, the Legends and the JSA were positioned on the road Baron Krieger was taking, ready and waiting for the caravan to arrive. They didn’t have to wait long; they could hear multiple engines approaching by the time they exited the Jump Ship. Mick fired his Heat Gun at the motorbike at the front of the pack, killing the rider and the guy in the sidecar and bringing the rest of the caravan to a halt.

Nazis spilled from their vehicles and charged, which was rather stupid of them; they were all armed, yet only a few were going for their guns. Most tried to take their opponents in hand-to-hand, which did not go well for them.

Len finally got to see the JSA in real action. Obsidian was smacking Nazis around in a more brutal manner compared to what he’d done to Mick the previous day. Stargirl was alternating between shooting bursts of energy from her staff or just bashing her opponents over the head with it. Commander Steel fired his weapons with precision, keeping cool under fire. Vixen tapped her necklace, summoning the blue spectral form of a freaking tiger, before attacking Nazis with all the ferocity of the same animal (Len was pretty sure he’d heard of someone from his own time with similar powers…). Dr. Mid-Nite proved to be extremely competent in hand-to-hand, if not at League level. And Hourman was kicking ass, moving at inhuman speed and tossing Nazis around with impossible strength (Len wondered if the pill he’d popped earlier had anything to do with it).

“I’ve got eyes on the Baron,” Raymond suddenly reported, having been flying over the battlefield and acting as their eye in the sky.

Len saw Vixen taking off, running away from the battle, and guessed that she had spotted Krieger as well. Shooting a Nazi in the head, he followed her, and shot a Nazi who was trying to sneak up on her.

Raymond landed near them and shot another. “Cold, Vixen, and I are going after Krieger,” Raymond responded when Stein demanded to know what was going on.

“Negative, Raymond,” Stein disagreed, “Our target is the convoy.”

“We’ve got the convoy covered,” Hourman countered, “Pursue the Baron!” The three exchanged a look before continuing to follow Krieger. The others would have the low-level soldiers under control.

Stein didn’t seem to agree, continuing to argue with Tyler. “We don’t have time for this!” Raymond snapped before it could get too far.

“Give me a moment,” Stein insisted, “I- I- I- I- I need to assess the situation.”

“Raymond’s right,” Len growled, “There’s no time for arguing or ‘assessing’. We’ve got two objectives, and we’re already split into two groups.”

Just then, an inhuman roar echoed through the trees up ahead. “What the hell was that?” Vixen asked, slowing.

She got her answer very quickly. All three came to a halt as the ground beneath their feet trembled, and it wasn’t coming from the battle behind them. Emerging from the brush was something that resembled a huge, muscle-bound human, well over eight feet tall. If Len had been prone to making comic book references, he would’ve thought it was the Hulk minus the green colouring.

Len and Raymond immediately started shooting, but the beast didn’t seem to even notice that he was being hit and just kept advancing, snarling and growling at them like an animal.

“We’re under attack!” Vixen reported, already getting used to the comms. She did her thing with the necklace again, this time summoning the image of a gorilla.

“It’s Krieger!” Raymond added, “He turned into a-” The thing Krieger had become took a swing and slammed his fist right into Raymond’s chest, sending him flying with a cry of pain.

“We need backup!” Vixen and Len shouted simultaneously.

“I think we found the change that would’ve killed the JSA!” Len added. Unless they really had been working on super-soldier serums in the 1940s, this had future science written all over it.

He ducked another blow aimed at him, but was too slow to avoid the second. Len got the impression of flying through the air before his back slammed into something, and then everything went dark.

“I must admit,” a voice was saying, “It’s a feat of engineering.”

Len’s head hurt. So did his back and chest, for that matter. It took him a couple seconds to remember what had happened, and a couple more to realise that he was sitting up, mostly, and that his hands were restrained behind his back.

The voice was still talking. “Far beyond anything I have ever seen, or expected from you Americans.”

“Well, maybe you Germans should just stick to your luxury cars.” He knew that voice. That was Raymond.

Right. Raymond had been with him when they’d been attacked. And so had that Vixen chick. But where were they, now? Len slowly opened his eyes and began to look around. He was slumped over in a chair in some dimly-lit room – some sort of laboratory, judging from the beakers of brightly-coloured liquid on a nearby table. Raymond’s voice was coming from behind him, and Len was willing to bet that the scientist was bound in a similar way. Len could also see the empty A.T.O.M. Suit lying on a table in front of him and to his right. Turning his head slightly, he could see Krieger – de-Hulked and back in his uniform – examining it.

“Why should I fear your suit, when I have become der Übermensch?”

“You really think a single case of ‘roid rage is going to win you the war?” Len snarked, raising his aching head.

“Ah. I was wondering when you would wake up. Given your apparent lack of powers, like the Negro here, or even a protective helmet, it is no wonder you were worse off than your allies.”

Len looked to his left, in the direction Krieger had gestured. Vixen was lying on another table nearby, unrestrained, though her body was completely limp, and she was blinking slowly like she was in a daze. They must have drugged her.

“Either way, once I have replicated the super-serum for the entire German Army…”

“But you haven’t replicated the… what’d you call it? Super-serum?” Ray cut in, “Kind of on the nose.”

“If you’re just planning to talk at us before killing us, just get it over with,” Len snarked, “Seriously, the inane chat is seriously annoying.”

“Oh, like you’re one to talk. From what I’ve heard from Team Flash, you were quite the chatty villain.”

“Shut up, Raymond.”

“You won’t get anything from us,” Vixen insisted. Yep, she was definitely drugged; her words were a bit slurred, but at least she appeared to be aware of her surroundings.

“I was hoping to torture you a little bit, first,” Krieger admitted, sounding genuinely disappointed, “But since you are in such a rush…” He unholstered his pistol. “…I will be glad to accommodate you and your schedule.” The Nazi pointed his weapon at Vixen.

“Wait!” Raymond cried, “Wait! I’m a scientist. That exo-suit? I invented it. I can help you with your little supply and demand problem. I’ll even improve it. Just… don’t shoot them.”

Len knew right away that Raymond would never actually help the Nazis, but it was a very good stalling tactic.

Krieger paused, still aiming his gun at Vixen, considering his options. “I hope you are as smart as you say you are… for your friends’ sake.” Finally, he lowered his weapon and left the room.

“You know he’s going to kill us all,” Vixen told Raymond, “even if you help him.”

“I have a plan,” he assured her.

“That’s what I’m afraid of. Does it involve him shooting me again?”

Len rolled his eyes. “Of course not. I only did that to get you and your team to shut up and listen. Our explanation was a lot more believable when we were standing inside our time ship than it would have been if we were inside a prison cell.”

Vixen sniffed. “So you played dirty because you knew the fight was lost, otherwise.”

“Of course. Not that it would have been a real fight. Between Future Rex Tyler’s warning, Heywood’s reaction to meeting you all, and your team’s name, we knew we were supposed to be on the same side; you guys just weren’t listening. With the exception of maybe Mick, we wouldn’t have put up a proper fight – if we had, you probably would’ve gotten one of Sara’s knives in your leg, instead.”

“He’s right,” Raymond agreed, “I mean, you guys were pretty badass against those Nazis out there, so you might’ve still beat us in a real fight, but we would’ve made you work for it.”

“And since we’re actually on the same side, I decided to cut short what would have been an unnecessary and humiliating scuffle with a shot that I knew Gideon would be able to heal.”

“But it was still a dick move,” Raymond couldn’t help but add.

“Once again: Shut up, Raymond.”

“If we approach from the southwest, we can destroy the weapons lab and the Baron in one move.”

After the last battle, the team had been forced into a retreat. Stein had become panicked and overwhelmed by all the pressure, so Sara had been forced to make the call, to order a retreat and, to her own heartbreak, leave Len, Ray, and Vixen behind. Obsidian and Stargirl had been hurt badly, and were recuperating in the Med Bay. Thankfully, Gideon had been able to track Ray’s suit and Len’s Cold Gun to a known Nazi bunker. Now, Sara was discussing plans for a counterattack with Stein and Hourman. Or rather, just Hourman, because Stein wasn’t contributing at all to the discussion, having been overwhelmed again after an argument over whether their priority should be saving their people or killing Krieger.

“Except for the last time we faced him,” Sara reminded Hourman, “He took out both of our teams.”

“Last time, we weren’t being backed by a squadron of B-17s.” Ah, yes, there was an upside to having official connections to the US Military. Teams Arrow, Flash, and Legends were only connected to ARGUS unofficially.

“Then how do we get Len, Ray, and Amaya out before the bombs start falling?” She would not agree to any plan that involved leaving their people to die.

“We don’t.” Sara stared at Tyler. She would have thought that he would want to rescue his own teammate, at least. “This conflict is bigger than any one of us. If it means ending the war one day sooner, Amaya would happily make that sacrifice.”

“But she doesn’t have to! Look, I know you and your team think we’re a group of irresponsible losers, but I know Leonard Snart, and I know Ray Palmer. Ray is a proven scientific genius, and whether you like him or not, Len is the best strategist I’ve ever met. And they have a plan to get out of that bunker. We just need to give them time.”

“Which means giving the Nazis time. I’m calling in the strike.” He made to move past her, but Sara whipped out a blade and pressed it against his throat.

“I can’t let you do that.” She would not let this self-righteous hero play god with her boyfriend’s life.

“You don’t have the authority!” Hourman countered, as if that meant a damn thing to her and her knife.

“Yes, she does!” Both looked over at Stein, who was looking far more decisive than he’d been lately. “Miss Lance speaks for all of us. I have watched her become the beating heart and steady hand of this team. She is the proper person to lead us. If she says that we are going to rescue our people, that is what we are going to do.”

Sara was more than a little stunned by Stein’s decision to suddenly promote her, but she hid it behind a triumphant smirk and looked Tyler in the eye. “I don’t know how your people operate, but we Legends don’t sacrifice our own if there’s another way. We don’t just assume that there’s only one way out. We can both finish Krieger and get our teammates back, without sacrificing the Amulet. You just have to understand that with this team, pretty much anything’s possible.”

“This would go a lot faster if I wasn’t handcuffed.” True to his word, Baron Krieger had returned with a set of handcuffs and an armed soldier. The soldier had held his weapon to Len’s head while the Baron untied Ray from his chair and slapped the cuffs on him. Raymond, true to his word, hadn’t tried to run, but the cuffs were hampering his ability to use the equipment at his disposal. “What, do you think I’m going to escape using a microscope?”

“Are you going to make more serum?” Krieger asked, “Or are your friends going to die?”

“First off, it’s not a serum. It’s a biomolecular enhancer.” Len rolled his eyes. Leave it to Raymond Palmer to care whether or not their enemies used the proper scientific terms. “By the way, who gave you this? Because from an engineering standpoint, it’s really rather amaz-” Krieger pointed his gun at Vixen again. “Yes, I can make more!”

“Palmer,” Vixen gasped, still loopy from whatever drugs she’d been given, “Don’t do it. Don’t help him.”

Before either Raymond or Len could say anything, Krieger backhanded her, hard. In spite of her drugged state, she spit on his shirt. Krieger glared at her before turning back to Raymond. “Back to work.” He marched out of the room, telling a pair of Nazi soldiers standing near the door to watch them.

“How can you do this?” Vixen asked Raymond, “I can understand him bargaining with these people to save his own skin, but I thought you were better. No member of the JSA would ever help the Nazis.”

“Neither would a Legend,” Raymond said simply, before picking up the microscope he’d been peering down and hitting the nearest Nazi in the stomach with it.

Len took that as his cue, and stood up. He’d already untied his hands behind his back ages ago, and swung his chair as his own improvised weapon, breaking it on the other Nazi’s head as Raymond bashed the first one’s nose in with the microscope. “Guess you can escape using a microscope,” he quipped before fishing a set of lockpicks out of a hidden pocket and beginning to work on Raymond’s restraints. “Can you walk?” he tossed over his shoulder to Vixen

“I’m not sure… Whatever they gave me, I can’t feel my legs.”

“Couldn’t they have just taken your totem off?” Raymond asked, still wielding the rather heavy piece of lab equipment.

“No. No, it doesn’t come off until I die.” She gave Raymond a strange look. “How did you know it was a totem?”

“Oh, I met a girl in late 2015 with a similar necklace. I heard it was something that was passed down, so she was probably one of your successors, or something.”

Once Raymond was freed, he went over to his suit, frowning when he announced that part of it was damaged and pressed the button to shrink the whole thing down, tucking it in his pocket.

“Guess I’m the muscle, then,” Len commented as Raymond helped an unsteady Vixen off the table.

“Hang on.” Raymond grabbed something off the table – the serum he’d been working on. “I did enhance this, and I don’t want to leave it behind for them to find.”

Thankfully, Vixen proved she’d be able to move with help, and the trio quietly left the room. Only seconds later, the distant sound of explosions and men shouting could be heard, presumably from outside. “Backup’s here!” Len announced as he punched out two Nazis who’d spotted them.

Only minutes later, two more people appeared in the hallway, but their appearance was much more welcome. “Mick! Sara!” Raymond called out.

“Hey, Haircut!” Mick replied.

Sara rushed forward and grabbed Len by the front of his shirt, pulling him in for a quick, searing kiss. She was wearing his jacket – which had been taken while he was unconscious – and carrying his Cold Gun, and Len found himself incredibly attracted to the image. “I believe this belongs to you,” she said, handing him his weapon. Another explosion sounded directly above them, shaking dust from the ceiling. “Steel, Mid-Nite, we’ve recovered the rest of the team,” Sara reported as Mick passed out replacement comm units.

“I suggest you save the teary reunion for later,” Steel was saying as Len turned his on.

“Hourman ordered the bombers to strike,” Dr. Mid-Nite added, “They’re five minutes out.” There was a pause, then: “But Baron Krieger is here right now!”

They rushed as quickly as they could with Vixen still disabled, eventually making their way out of the bunker through a busted-open door, presumably Krieger’s point of exit, as well. Firestorm was flying overhead, laying down cover fire for them as they ran to the cloaked Jump Ship, picking up Dr. Mid-Nite along the way. The vessel’s ramp lowered as they approached, and was already closing by the time Sara was slipping on board. Mick practically threw himself into the pilot’s seat and took off.

“Bombing round about to commence,” Hourman reported, “All points get clear!”

“Working on it!” Dr. Heywood replied. What the hell was he doing out in the field?

Len watched in dark satisfaction as Allied Bombers rained holy hell down on the Nazi bunker. “Let’s see ‘der Übermensch’ survive that,” he murmured.

Sara sighed in relief. “We’re clear,” she said over the radio, “Hourman? Steel?”

“I’m clear,” Hourman responded, “Commander Steel, what’s your status?”


“Commander Steel, what’s your status?!”

“Gideon, track Steel’s comm,” Sara ordered.

Gideon directed them to an area of the woods that had been hit by the carpet bombing, where Commander Steel and Dr. Heywood lay unmoving next to the wreckage of what looked like one of the Nazis’ motorcycle and sidecar combos.

“Henry!” Dr. Mid-Nite forgot protocol as he ran to his fallen teammate. “Henry, wake up!”

Sara went straight to their own Heywood. “Nate! Nate, please, say something.” She looked seriously freaked out. “Gideon, get the Med Bay clear. Dr. Heywood is a hemophiliac, and if we don’t stop the bleeding, he’ll die!”

Shit. That piece of news changed everything. A papercut could be deadly to someone with hemophilia. The historian’s blood was already soaking into the ground.

It wasn’t good. Heywood’s skin had gone chalk-pale by the time Mick carried him into the Med Bay, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Everyone but Sara, Stein, and Commander Steel had been kicked out of the room (the latter only being allowed to stay because he was freaking out over having to leave his dying grandson’s side). The rest, including a healed-up Stargirl and Obsidian, had retreated to the cargo hold.

“Were you two close?” Vixen finally broke the tense silence, softly asking Raymond the question. Already the drugs she’d been dosed with were beginning to wear off.

“No, not really. We only met Nate yesterday, but if it wasn’t for him, I’d still be trapped in the Cretaceous Period, being chased by a T-Rex.”

“I’m sorry,” Stargirl whispered, “This is our fight, not yours.”

“Blame Krieger,” Len snapped, “And whatever time-traveling bastard gave him that damn serum in the first place.”

“The serum!” Raymond gasped, searching his pockets before pulling out the sample he’d saved and running out of the cargo bay.

“Tell me he’s not doing what I think he’s doing,” Jax begged.

“Raymond modified that serum,” Len revealed, “We can only pray he did it right.”

“And if he turns Nate into another berserker?”

No one said anything, but everyone who had weapons on their person reached for them.

Minutes later, Gideon gave them the news. “Dr. Palmer’s serum has healed Dr. Heywood of his injuries,” the AI reported calmly, “And there doesn’t appear to be any adverse side-effects.”

Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief as one. “Thank God,” Hourman murmured, “Captain Lance wasn’t kidding when she said he was a genius.”

Len turned to look at him quizzically. “Captain Lance?” He grinned. “I knew she’d be better for the job.”

With the Nazis taken care of, the Legends gave the JSA a lift back to New York. The heroes promised to keep the Askaran Amulet safe, though they were unsure what the Nazis had wanted with it. Vixen had even apologised to Raymond for her earlier insult, saying that while he didn’t have any real powers, his saving Heywood had been very heroic.

They landed the cloaked Waverider in the same empty lot as before. Rex Tyler stopped to speak with Sara before he left. “Thank you for your help. I don’t know what we would’ve done without you.”

“You’d have gotten killed by the super-steroidal Krieger,” Len filled in helpfully. He hadn’t left Sara’s side since she’d come back from taking care of Nate in the Med Bay.

Sara elbowed him lightly, but didn’t disagree. “This is the second time in a row a time-traveler has messed with this time period. Possibly the same one, even. We’re gonna report this to the rest of the New Time Masters. If they try again, either we or one of the other agents will be there to stop it.”

“If it helps,” Len added, seeing the look on Tyler’s face, “The others act a bit more… professionally than we do. You’d probably get along with them.”

“That’s good to know. But it seems that despite your team’s… quirks, history is in good hands, nonetheless. I wish you luck in your future operations.”

Sara grinned and shook his hand. “You, too.”

After the JSA left, Sara shut the ramp door and sighed. “There’s just one thing left to do, and I really don’t feel like doing it.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, with Rip gone, and Stein making me the new Captain, I have to be the one to put together a report on what just happened. I’ll have to tell the New Time Masters that Rip Hunter is MIA.”

“Ugh. Paperwork. Maybe you should dump that responsibility on Stein.”

Sara pretended to think about it. “Tempting.”

They stopped outside their room, belatedly realising that they’d automatically made their way there. “So… do I still have to sleep on the couch?”

Sara smirked at him. “Perhaps tomorrow night. I did promise that you’d be punished.” But then she took his hand. “But don’t think I’m not glad that you’re okay. When we had to leave you and Ray behind, I thought… I thought this would be the second time I’d left you, after we’d fought. I thought that once again, I was going to lose you and spend my life regretting our last conversation.”

Len cupped her cheek. “Well, you didn’t lose me, this time. And for what it’s worth, I am sorry for disappointing you. Like you said, it was something that that ‘cold-hearted bastard’ would do.”

“As long as you recognise that.” She tugged him into their room by the lapels of his coat, kissing him soundly. “Now, before the Time Quake brought us to New York… where were we?”

Chapter Text

“So, are you going to hang around all day while I fly this tub?”

“You got something better for me to do?”

Sara craned her neck around to look at her lover, who was lounging in one of the two ‘co-pilot’ Jump Seats. “I could do with something to eat.”

Len smirked. “So I’m the one who goes to fetch your coffee, now, Captain? Actually, it won’t be coffee. You know how you get after too much of that stuff.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “It wasn’t coffee that woke me up last night. I could swear I heard someone moving around on the ship.”

“It was probably someone just making a trip to the bathroom. This is exactly what I meant.” Still, he got up and stretched. “Anything you want in particular?”

Sara smiled. “Surprise me.”

Len stretched again as he wandered into the galley, which was empty save for Mick. His partner was in the middle of making himself yet another monster of a sandwich. “You gettin’ bored already?” Mick asked when he came in.

“I dare you to call Sara boring to her face.” Sure, just sitting on the bridge while Sara piloted the ship could sound pretty boring, but their topics of conversation made up for that. “Sara just got hungry, so I told her I’d grab something for the both of us.” He searched through the fridge as he spoke.

“Pass me the mayonnaise, would you?”

Len rolled his eyes. “You finished that one off while we were in France.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, Mick. I was the one who found the empty jar you put back in the fridge. And Gideon confirmed it was you, so don’t bother trying to blame it on anyone else.”

“Whatever. That nosy AI needs to mind her own business.”

Len busied himself with deciding which of the available drinks Sara would prefer when he heard the clattering of silverware.

“Where are all the knives?” Mick complained.

Len rolled his eyes again and was about to tell him that they were all in the dishwasher when he felt a strong hand gripping his shoulder and a cool, sharp blade being pressed into his throat. “Found one.” His initial thought was that it was Sara, but the only times she ever held a knife to his throat were times when she’d woken up from a nightmare, and Mick’s bug-eyed expression when he turned around also suggested otherwise.

“You killed him!” It was definitely a woman’s voice and one he’d heard before, but he couldn’t place.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Listen, Animal Lady,” Mick threatened, “You’d better put that knife down and step away from my partner, or you’re in for a lot of pain. I don’t care if you’re a chick or not.”

But ‘Animal Lady’ – right, it was Vixen, the woman from the JSA with the magical animal powers – didn’t seem to care about the threat. “You probably helped him,” she snarled, “Murderers!”

Len, having absolutely no desire to have his throat cut today, took advantage of the brief distraction to grab her arm and flip her over his shoulder, getting the knife away from him. But she was no rookie; she rolled to her feet and pressed her necklace. An apparition of a roaring gorilla in blue light appeared around her and she turned and actually picked up a charging Mick before it disappeared, hurling him into the wall several feet away.

Glaring at Len with hate in her eyes and a large, six-inch blade in her hand, she charged. Len knew better than to let her hit him with that super-strength, and resorted to dodging her attacks and hoping backup would get here soon. Sadly, he barely lasted ten seconds before she grabbed his forearm in a crushing grip and used that to chuck him over the nearest table. While he scrambled to his feet, she ran around and followed up with a kick to the chest. Len hit the floor, all the air rushing out of his lungs upon impact. Snarling, she raised the knife Norman Bates style and pounced-

Only for a silvery hand to grab her wrist and stop her. She dropped the blade, caught it with her free hand, and tried to gut the person holding her, but it sparked against his metallic skin. She tried stabbing him, only for the blade to actually break off and clatter to the floor. Fear flashed across her face for a split second before a silver fist bonked her on the head and knocked her out.

Len stared up at his apparent saviour. It actually took him a few seconds to recognise Heywood, standing there in nothing but his underwear, every inch of exposed skin covered in silvery metal. Even his eyes and hair had changed!

Mick, having recovered from the blow dealt to him, stared. “What the hell happened to you?” he growled in confusion, beating Len to it, if only because Len was still trying to get his breath back.

Heywood examined his hands in shocked fascination. “I really don’t know.”

Len struggled to his feet, gripping a chair for support. “Two other important questions: How the hell did she get in here without anyone noticing, and who the hell does she think I killed?”

“The only people you killed in 1942 were Nazis,” Mick thought aloud, “And I don’t think she’d be tryin’ to avenge any of them.”

Len groaned. “Okay, we should probably get her into the brig before she wakes up. And you…” He pointed at Heywood. “…should get back to the Med Bay so the Geek Squad can figure out what the hell all this is about.” He gestured up and down at the historian’s metal skin in emphasis.

But even as he did so, the metal seemed to fade away, leaving a normal-looking Heywood standing, nearly naked, in the middle of the galley. He was surprisingly well-built for a hemophiliac nerd. “Ah, there might be a problem with that,” Heywood admitted, “I woke up to this loud thumping sound, and I found Dr. Palmer and Professor Stein unconscious in the hallway. Then Gideon told me you guys were in trouble, so I came here.”

Len straightened up and cursed himself for not thinking of it earlier. Of course Vixen would have neutralised the others before coming after him. “They were just unconscious, right?” Once Heywood nodded in confirmation, Len turned on his heel and marched out of the room. “I’m going to check on Sara and Jax. Mick, take care of our stowaway, and Heywood, go see if you can wake Raymond and Stein. And for God’s sake, put some clothes on!”

He could hear Mick laughing all the way down the hall.


The voice was too loud. It hurt her head. She wanted it to go away.


Did someone get the number of the truck that hit her?


Eyes shot open and seven years’ worth of assassin instincts surged. Her fist struck out at the first face she saw, only to miss narrowly as the owner of the face jerked back with a curse. Springing up from her prone position on the ground, she launched herself at her attacker and knocked the person over, pinning them to the ground with her body weight while simultaneously drawing one of her ever-present knives.


Suddenly, she recognised the voice yelling her name, her jaw dropping as she realised she was holding her boyfriend down with a knife to his throat. “Len?”

“Jeez, Assassin,” he groaned, “how many people are going to be threatening me with knives today?”

“W-What? Ow…” Her briefly-forgotten headache was reminding her of its presence. “God, what hit me?”

“That would be the chick from the JSA with the animal superpowers. She tried to cut my throat open, Heywood took her down, and Mick’s locking her up in the brig now.”

There were so many parts of his explanation that required explanation. Starting with the most bizarre. “Okay, back up: you said Nate took her out? As in, the guy who could die from a papercut and, last I checked, was laid up in our Med Bay?”

“Oh, yeah, you might also want to ask Raymond, once he wakes up, what the hell was in that super-soldier serum he stuck the new guy with. Because his skin basically turned to metal. Her knife broke when she tried to gut him, he tapped her on the head, and she was out cold.” Then he smirked. “Not that I dislike having you on top of me, but would you mind letting me up?”

Sara smiled sheepishly at him before sliding off, trying to remember what happened. “Last I remember, I was going to join you in the galley…”

“She must’ve snuck up on you. Which isn’t exactly an easy thing to do; I’ll admit to being impressed. Heywood said she knocked out Raymond and Stein as well, and Mick was there when she attacked me. I still haven’t checked on Jax yet.”

Sara gave the ceiling an annoyed glance. “Gideon, why didn’t you say anything?”

“Our stowaway was making no effort to kill or seriously injure members of the crew until she attacked Mr. Snart,” Gideon replied calmly, “I alerted Dr. Heywood, as Mr. Rory and Mr. Snart himself were already well aware of the situation, and the rest of you were all unconscious.”

Len also scowled at the ceiling. “You’re telling me you have no protocol for detecting a stowaway?” he growled disbelievingly, “Not even when she goes around disabling the crew one by one?”

“Sound an alert the next time anything like that happens,” Sara ordered, “and don’t just wait until the intruder is on the verge of killing someone.”

After finding Jax in the engine room and waking him up, Len and Sara made a quick detour to the Med Bay to get painkillers for everyone who’d been knocked out, then gathered everyone to the bridge to discuss Dr. Heywood’s new abilities.

“You injected me with Nazi serum?!” was the historian’s reaction to Raymond’s explanation. Apparently nobody had told him exactly how they’d managed to save him from certain death yesterday.

“Which I redesigned to quintuple my own strength and transform my skin into an alloy a hundred times stronger than steel,” Raymond half-explained, half-defended.

“Steel,” Mick grunted through the sandwich he’d gone back and completed once he’d locked Vixen up, “That’s a cool name.”

“Yeah,” Heywood agreed, “Especially since my grandfather was called Commander Steel. But what does that make me? Corporal Steel? Mr. Steel? Citizen Steel?”

“Who cares?” Jax chimed in, “You got superpowers now, dude!” The kid seemed a bit too excited about this whole thing, in Len’s opinion.

“Except I don’t know how I turned to steel in the first place.”

“He’s right,” Len added, “Super-strength in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it could cause us a lot of trouble.”

“So Ray will teach him how to use it,” Sara declared.

“He will?”

“He will?” Raymond echoed.

Sara nodded. “You said it yourself. You redesigned the serum.”

“Which I did beautifully, but it’s not like I have some sort of instruction manual.”

“Guess you’ll have to wing it. Now, I’m gonna have a chat with our stowaway.”

Len stared after her in disbelief as she walked away.

Heywood turned to Raymond. “This is gonna be so much fun!”

Len looked over at Stein. “Please tell me you agree with me when I say that those two together are a bad idea?”

Stein didn’t look all too eager to take a side, but then shrugged. “Perhaps some additional supervision would be-”

“I’ll stick with them!” Jax immediately volunteered. He, Raymond, and Heywood all but bounced out of the room.

All was silent among the remaining three for a few seconds. “They’re gonna break something,” Len predicted.

Amaya woke up in a strange room, one she hadn’t seen before, but it was obviously still on the time ship. The room itself had the same metal walls, but far more important were the three glass barriers containing her against one wall. The glass wall opposite her had a vaguely door-sized metal frame embedded in it, but no opening mechanism that she could see. Enclosed with her was a simple metal bench bolted to the floor and nothing more. There was only one logical explanation: she was in some kind of cell, in the brig of the ship.

She hurled herself against the wall, crying out in grief and anger. She’d been so close to killing Rex’s murderer!

She should have known the man wasn’t to be trusted. Someone who’d been cold-blooded enough to shoot her and then claim to be her ally should have been watched every single second. She remembered Captain Lance saying that they weren’t going to leave 1942 until the following morning, once her crew had gotten some sleep. How could she have been so foolish as to leave Snart the opportunity to break into the JSA headquarters, kill Rex, and steal the amulet? Or had she been in on it the entire time? She had indirectly admitted to being an assassin, a killer herself.

Amaya slammed her fist into the wall again and again, the image of the man she loved dying in her arms being all that she could see.

“Ms. Jiwe!”

At the sound of the voice calling her name, Amaya sprang into a fighting position, ready to fight whoever came at her, whoever stood between her and her target.

“Ms. Jiwe!” The feminine voice seemed to come from the ceiling, and Amaya remembered that the futuristic vessel had its own voice and consciousness, one that, according to the old man, was aware of everything that happened on board. “Ms. Jiwe, Captain Lance will be coming to speak with you in a moment. However, if you cannot control yourself or if you attempt to escape, I will be forced to utilise defensive measures to render you unconscious, for the safety of the crew.”

Yet they harboured a killer in their midst. Amaya scowled at the ceiling, but she had to admit that she knew nothing about what their technology was capable of, so she sat down on the bench, fists clenched, back straight, ready to demand answers from Captain Lance once she arrived.

While she was waiting, she wondered how she might have been able to escape the ship, if she had succeeded. She knew that they had lifted off after she’d snuck on board. Amaya would have killed Snart immediately upon her arrival, but to her dismay, he hadn’t been alone. When she’d located his room by crawling through the air ducts, he’d been with Captain Lance, the two of them curled up in bed together, and it had taken every ounce of her self-control to not jump down and kill the two of them together. How dare he return to the arms of his lover after slaughtering her own?!

What made it even more infuriating was how obvious the pair was, now that she’d seen proof of their affair. He hadn’t left her side come morning, sharing the shower and dressing with her, then spending hours with her on the bridge and engaging her in meaningless conversation while she flew the ship through something called the ‘Temporal Zone’. They made no effort to hide their involvement from each other, so soon after he’d taken away any chance for Rex and Amaya to do the same.

Eventually, the doors to the brig swished open on their own, and Captain Lance herself entered the room. “You stowed away before we Time Jumped from 1942,” she said calmly, stopping in front of the cell ‘door’.

Amaya glared at her. “I’m gonna get out of here,” she promised, “And I’m gonna finish what I started.”

“You mean, killing Len? I can sort of understand someone wanting to kill Mick – I’ve actually thought of it myself occasionally – but why Len? He may have shot you in the leg two days ago, but taking you to Gideon was also his idea.”

“He killed Rex.”

“What?!” If Captain Lance had, in fact, been in on her lover’s crime, she was an exceptional actress. “Rex Tyler? As in, Hourman?” She kept repeating his name as if Amaya could be talking about some other random person named ‘Rex’.

“His killer stole the Askaran Amulet,” Amaya told her, “Your boyfriend there has already admitted to being a thief. If you can’t see that he can’t be trusted, then you’ve let your emotions cloud your judgement, and you have no right to lead any team, much less this one!”

Captain Lance’s face hardened. “Look, I’m sorry about Rex. I really am. But Len didn’t do it.”

Amaya stood angrily and stalked across her cell to face the other woman. “He’s a thief and a murderer!”

“He’s also a Legend! And like you said, he’s my boyfriend. I was with him all night, so I know for a fact that he hasn’t been off this ship since we dropped your team off in New York. If you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to look at the ship’s security footage; Gideon records everything besides the bedrooms and bathrooms twenty-four-seven and keeps all the footage.”

That still wasn’t good enough. “With his last words, Rex told me his killer was a time-traveler!”

Captain Lance paused, looking pensive. “Do you remember when we told you about the other time-traveler? The one we’ve been tracking, who’s been trying to alter history? The same person who gave Krieger the super-serum?”

Amaya remembered, and nodded hesitantly, already getting at what Captain Lance was saying.

“This might be that same time-traveler.”

As much as Amaya hated to admit it, it was a possibility. Another time-traveller, who was already a confirmed enemy, and who had dealt with the man who’d previously pursued the Amulet that Rex’s killer had stolen. It made more sense than someone who’d risked his life and fought alongside her just hours earlier.

Captain Lance sighed. “Look, if I let you out of here, do you promise not to hurt Len? Unless he really deserves it? And I mean really deserves it?”

Amaya let out a shaky breath and nodded shamefully. She couldn’t believe her own mistake, her own hypocrisy. Captain Lance nodded back and waved her right hand over the door frame, somehow causing the door itself to slide open. Amaya stepped out and figured she should apologise. “Sorry for knocking you out.” She’d have to repeat that apology to most of the crew, for that matter.

“Sorry for locking you up.” The other woman offered her hand. “Call it even?”

Amaya shook her hand, but felt she had more to say. “I’m also sorry for what I said, about letting your emotions cloud your judgement. I guess I’m the one who’s guilty of that. I heard ‘time-traveler’ and latched onto the first suspect that popped into my head.”

“You and Rex were close?”

Amaya gulped back tears. “Yes. We were. But the JSA doesn’t allow fraternization between teammates, and it would be even worse if we were found because, well, even as civilians, a relationship between Rex and… someone like me… would hardly go over well.”

Captain Lance snorted. “The forties.” She said it like it was something to be scorned. Amaya wasn’t sure if she should be offended or in agreement. “For the record, it gets better.”

“How do you two do it? How do you keep your job and your… relationship… separate?”

To her credit, Captain Lance paused to give the question proper consideration before answering. “Sometimes we don’t. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I held a knife to Rex’s throat when he tried to order the carpet bombing without organizing an extraction for you guys. Looking back, I don’t think he was making that decision lightly; he said it was a sacrifice you’d be willing to make. Your life for ending the war even one day sooner.”

“I would. We talked about it, a long time ago. I told him I didn’t want him sacrificing the war for me. And if your teammates hadn’t been there, I would have already been dead, anyway.”

“Len and I had a talk of our own, after we got together. We – the team – had spent nearly a month believing he was dead, that he’d sacrificed himself to save us. His survival was… well, Stein and Ray could go on about the scientific theory behind it, but… I’m gonna call it a miracle. We did consider leaving the team, leaving the danger behind. But we would have wound up facing danger in 2016, anyway, with the sort of lives we live. So all we could really do was promise to protect each other, which, for the record, we already did long before that, along with the rest of our team. We decided not to let fear of one of us losing the other rule our lives. It’s really all we can do.”

“Anything you’d like to say?” Sara asked, sounding a bit too much like a kindergarten teacher mediating a squabble between two of her charges.

Vixen sighed and looked Len in the eye. “I’m sorry I assumed you had something to do with Rex’s death. I should have known better than to just jump to conclusions.”


This caused the other woman to huff, clearly not missing the fact that she was being treated like a misbehaving child. “And I’m sorry for trying to kill you.”

Len had not been impressed by the JSA, truth be told, and while they’d humbled up and apologised for accusing him and his team of being Nazis (and proved to be people he’d want on his side in a fight), their initial self-righteous attitudes had rubbed him the wrong way. So he felt perfectly justified in letting this woman stew a bit before shrugging and nodding. “Apology accepted.”

“Good,” Sara declared, “Now it’s your turn.”


“I don’t you recall you ever apologizing for shooting her back in 1942, which is why she assumed you were the killer in the first place.” She cut him off before he could protest. “Do you want to spend the next year on the couch?”

“Please, like you’d last that lo-” He’d spent many years perfecting his ability to intimidate people into submission with just a glare, but Sara could outdo him any day. Including this day. “Fine. I’m sorry I shot you. And threatened to leave you crippled for life.”

“…Apology accepted.”

“Excellent.” Sara grinned, before her look turned to mild annoyance. “Now, Len, do you think you can help me explain why we can’t go back and save Rex?”

“Why are you asking me? I’m not the physicist.” He sighed. “Okay, look, say we go back in time and stop him from being killed. If we can’t also capture the killer, they’ll just time-travel back to before we intervened, and kill him in that time. The last time we dealt with a time-traveling killer, she was restricted to only one attempt at killing her target by her employers, because multiple attempts could seriously screw up time itself. This time-traveler, if it’s the same one we’ve been tracking, doesn’t have that restriction.” He noticed the heartbroken look on her face and tried for a little bit of empathy (dammit, this crew was making him soft!). “We’ve already learned the hard way that even with time-travel, we can’t fix everything. Rip Hunter, the man who gathered us all in the first place, wanted to save his wife and kid, and he failed – we failed. I tried to change a part of my own past, save my own father from becoming the monster I wound up having to kill, and I failed.” He tossed a sidelong glance at Sara, but decided not to comment on her mission to kill Darhk.

“We are sorry about what happened to Rex,” Sara cut in, “But even with a time-ship, I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it. We are going to find out who did this, I promise you. In the meantime, Gideon can fly you home.”

“I’m not going back until Rex’s killer is brought to justice!” Vixen insisted.

“We don’t know how long that will take. Don’t worry; we’re professionals. We know what we’re doing.”

For a brief moment, Len mentally debated the wisdom of pointing out that no, they often didn’t quite know what they were doing, when a series of muffled bangs and blasts reached the trio’s ears. Len rolled his eyes. “I knew Raymond and the newbie needed supervision.”

Sara sighed in exasperation and marched toward the cargo bay, Len on her heels and Vixen trailing behind them. “Then why aren’t you there?”

“Jax volunteered to keep an eye on things. I should’ve known better than to trust the kid to supervise the overgrown kids.”

Sure enough, when they entered the cargo bay, they were greeted with the sight of Raymond, fully armoured up, shooting at a metal-covered Heywood, who was grinning like a loon at the fact that he wasn’t getting hurt at all, while Jax sat on a nearby crate and cheered like he was watching pro-wrestling. “If Grandpa Heywood could see me now!”

“Professional?” Vixen threw Sara’s earlier words back in her face.

“Ish,” Sara admitted.

“I thought we had a rule against shooting things on board the ship while in the Temporal Zone,” Len tried to remind Raymond and Jax.

“Since when do you care about the rules?” Jax retorted, “Oh, I know you’re not gonna take that, Ray! Go crush this tin man!”

“I care about the rules against things that could get me killed,” he clarified as Raymond charged forward and slammed into Heywood’s chest, shoulder-first.

Heywood took one step back, but was otherwise unaffected. “Nice try.”

“Since when does he have superpowers, anyway?” Vixen questioned.

No one was able to answer her, however, as Heywood suddenly shoved Raymond into the cargo bay door so hard that the door actually cracked open, and all hell broke loose. The women grabbed the sides of the doorway to the stairs while Len clung to a heavy crate as the air started to get sucked into the vacuum of the Temporal Zone.

“Hold on!” Heywood yelled, the only one who was still standing without hanging onto anything, “I’ll close it!” He slammed his hand onto the open/close button, but used too much force. The electronics sparked upon impact, the metal frame bent, and the door actually opened all the way. Raymond was left dangling by his fingertips, and Jax lost his grip on whatever he’d been holding, slamming into the floor and clinging desperately to the metal grating. Heywood held onto the railing for dear life, but the damage he’d done had weakened it. The metal rail snapped, and the historian was sucked out of the ship, screaming.

“NATE!” Raymond yelled.

“Ray, get inside!” Sara called, “We have to close the door!”

But Raymond, ever the hero, wasn’t going to do that. “No! I’ve gotta go after him!” His helmet snapped shut around the lower half of his face, creating an airtight mask, and he let go and flew after Heywood.

“Gideon, shut the cargo door!”

As soon as the door was closed, the four people remaining within the room scrambled to their feet and bolted. Jax split off to the engine room while Len and the girls made tracks for the bridge, where Stein was already in his Jump Seat and Mick was struggling with the controls. Len slid into his seat, Amaya copying him, while Sara took Mick’s place. Sara ignored Stein’s questions about what happened in favour of demanding a status update from Jax.

“Where are Dr. Palmer and Dr. Heywood?!” Stein continued asking.

“Did you check out the window?!” Len snapped, “Their horsing around broke the cargo bay door, Heywood got sucked out, and the Boy Scout went after him.”


“How is it that you people haven’t managed to kill yourselves yet?!” Vixen cried incredulously.

“The day’s still young,” Mick pointed out.

“Besides,” Len added, “most of us have been at least mistaken for dead at one point or another.”

Sara instructed Gideon to track down Raymond and Heywood, but the AI responded with some negative-sounding technobabble.

“For God’s sake, say it how it is!” Mick snapped, “We’re screwed.”

And of course Gideon took him literally. “We’re screwed.”

Len sighed. “I knew those idiots would break something.”

Saturday, June 7th, 1651

It took the combined efforts of Jax, Len, and Mick to get the ship fixed enough to track down the two dumbasses who’d caused the problem in the first place. Gideon tracked them to the mid-17th century, near Kyoto, Japan. Upon landing, Sara immediately set Jax to work on other repairs, with Stein also staying behind to help him (and to keep the two halves of Firestorm together). She also told Vixen to stay behind, but the other woman vehemently insisted on coming. Len was positive it was because she didn’t trust him or Mick, as suggested by her current rant.

“How can you bring a couple of thugs on a rescue mission?” she asked Sara, before glaring at the two men she’d just insulted, “I’ve known men like you. Men who take and prey on the weak.”

Len glared at her; he’d known men like that, too. He’d been forced to live with one for most of his childhood.

“Listen, Girlie,” Mick growled before Len could say anything, “I’m riskin’ my neck for two morons who fell out of this ship. Why? Because they’d do the same for me. Why are you on this ship?”

“Because I’m a member of the Justice Society of America. It’s my job to protect everyone.”

And there was that self-righteousness again. “Except for me.”

“Yeah,” Mick agreed, “You snuck up behind him and tried to slice his throat like a ninja.”

“There’s no such thing as ninjas, you idiot.”

“Tell that to Chuck Norris.”

“Who’s that?”

“And I’m the idiot.”

Len would have pointed out that Chuck Norris was probably a baby in her time, if he’d even been born yet, and didn’t become famous until the 70s. But he wasn’t going to take this woman’s side after what she just said about him.

“And by the way, I’m not your ‘Girlie’!” Vixen snapped.

Sara, frustrated with the argument, wheeled around. “Alright, if you two don’t quit your squabbling, I’m going to maroon you in a time period of my choosing. Together.”

“What about him?” Mick complained, pointing at Len.

“Oh, I’ll come up with something special for him.” The wicked smile on her face did not bode well. She didn’t elaborate, instead continuing to lead them to the fabrication room. “Okay, Amaya, let me introduce you to one of the cooler parts of the Waverider: the fabrication room. This thing can create clothing, accessories, and even weapons and other things from any time and place in history. Gideon, we need four outfits appropriate to seventeenth-century Japan, for myself, Mick, Len, and Amaya.”

“Right away, Captain Lance,” Gideon answered pleasantly, “Do you wish to dress in the fashion of the local population, or in the style of the European traders of the time period? Also, Ms. Jiwe will need to submit to a body scan for proper measurements.”

“What?” Vixen asked, confused.

“Let’s go with the local traditions, Gideon. Amaya, you’ll need to stand up on that podium. Gideon will scan you and take note of your exact body measurements so that she can produce clothing that actually fits you.”

Vixen looked like she still didn’t understand, but she stepped onto the podium that Sara had indicated and fidgeted a bit as the blue light scanned her body. Mick and Len turned away and began scrolling through the selections Gideon provided on separate screens. The AI had become accustomed to their individual preferences over the past six months, so it didn’t take long for the three more experienced Legends to select what they wanted. Thankfully, the clothing options for this time period were fairly limited in terms of style, so Vixen was soon able to make her own selection and even pick the colours she wanted.

Neither of the ladies had gone for the restricting kimonos that women were expected to wear in this time-period, choosing men’s clothing instead, the better to fight in. Len seriously pitied the first idiot who tried to scold them over it, remembering the fussy moron in the fifteenth century who’d taken issue with Sara not wearing one of those huge, frilly, ridiculous dresses with about a half-dozen layers of skirts. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the blonde assassin hadn’t just saved his life by beating the crap out of the guy trying to kill him.

“Gideon!” Len heard Mick while they were in the individual changing stalls, “How do I put this damn thing on?!”

Len held back a laugh, only for it to turn into a scowl when he looked in the mirror and realised that he’d put his on wrong, as well.

“The signal from Ray’s A.T.O.M. Suit is getting stronger,” Sara reported, glancing down at the device in her hand.

The four of them had all gotten dressed in typical Japanese clothing of the period, although Len doubted they’d be able to blend in, as Gideon had warned them that ‘gaijin’, or outsiders, were not welcome in the country during this time period, save for a few select trading ports.

“Doesn’t exactly look inviting, does it?” Vixen – who insisted that they call her by her real name, Amaya – observed, looking at the large building in the distance.

“It’s like ‘Ninja III: The Domination’,” Mick said.

“Never took you for a cinephile,” Sara commented.

Len grinned. “He’s probably watched every ninja movie ever made. I should know, considering he makes me watch them with him.”

“All I know is ninjas like to hide in trees,” Mick continued.

“I don’t see anything,” Amaya told him, more than a hint of condescension in her tone.

“Exactly. You don’t find them; they find you.”

“Just because you saw ninjas in a movie doesn’t make them real.”

“I have to side with Mick on this one,” Sara interjected, “They’re real.” Len nodded his agreement. He was dating one, after all.

“You think there’s a secret brotherhood of men trained in the art of the assassination?”

Len and Mick actually had to laugh at her choice of words.

“I hate to break it to you, Amaya, but I’m basically a ninja.”

“She was trained by an ancient order of assassins in the Middle East,” Len explained, “Aside from the location and the fact that it had women in its ranks, you’ve just described the League of Assassins perfectly.”

Amaya sighed, as if they were all idiots. “I miss the JSA.”

The infiltration of the house – castle, really – went unexpectedly smoothly. Only one guard spotted them, but he was quickly subdued by Sara before he could make a sound (Mick grinned at Amaya and mouthed ‘Ninja’ at her, earning him a dirty look). But if there was one thing Len had learned in the past several months, it was that with this crew, the mission did not stay smooth. Something was inevitably going to go wrong.

And it did go wrong, technically before they’d even entered the building. The tracker led them through the first floor and to a set of closed doors.

“Ray’s close,” Sara whispered to them, putting the tracker away, “Look sharp.”

She pulled the sliding doors open to reveal a large-ish room with the floor raised a step at the end. Raymond was standing there, fully armoured, his back to them.

Or so they thought.

Sara breathed a sigh of relief as the four all walked in. “Haircut!” Mick called to him, “Let’s get outta here. We’re saving your ass. Again.”

But then the person in the armour turned around, and even with the top of his face covered by the visor, the man before them was very obviously not Raymond. “It is you who need rescuing.” A second glance revealed that he was only wearing the armoured parts of the suit; the red and black leather that Raymond always wore under it was absent.

Before they could react, another man stepped out from behind a curtain, a man with a scarred face and dressed in samurai armour. “You are already defeated before you have even begun. I have been trained in the art of war by Shimura himself.”

Even if Sara knew who this ‘Shimura’ person was, she wasn’t letting that intimidate her, stepping forward confidently. “League of Assassins, Class of ’09.” She whipped her batons out from where she’d been hiding them. “Don’t take it easy on me.”

Len and Mick readied their guns, and between them, Amaya crouched in a ready stance.

None of them interfered, however, when Sara and the samurai began fighting. Mick covered the door while Len watched the man who’d stolen Raymond’s armour and Amaya kept an eye on the action. But eventually the new girl had enough of watching, summoning the power of a tiger and batting the man to the floor when he had Sara at a disadvantage.

The Legends grouped back together near the door, not liking it when the sound of the A.T.O.M. Suit’s blasters powering up reached their ears. “Don’t tell me Raymond told this guy how to operate the suit,” Len groaned.

All four of them ducked as the blast shot over their heads. Len decided it really didn’t matter how he knew; whoever this asshole was, he was a threat. He took aim with the Cold Gun, even though they’d learned from an accident in the thirties that only its highest setting would do any real damage to the suit.

“We gotta go!” Sara insisted, ordering a retreat. Len took one shot, forcing the enemy to duck while the four infiltrators ran for it.

They rounded a corner and nearly crashed into Raymond, who was grinning like a loon despite the obvious bruising on his face. “Hey, guys!”

Mick grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around so that he was moving in the same direction as the rest of them. “Wrong way, Haircut!”

“What about my suit?” Raymond turned back around, but apparently the sight of the A.T.O.M. Suit thief was enough to change his mind. “We can get it later!”

Sunday, June 8th, 1651

It took them all night to lose the Shogun’s men, circle around, and track down Heywood. Raymond babbled on and on about how he’d been knocked out upon his arrival by a group of samurai and how their master, the Shogun, had claimed the A.T.O.M. Suit for himself.

Heywood, not having a high-tech suit of armour with any sort of locator signal, had been difficult to track, but the device Gideon had provided had eventually picked up traces of radiation from the Temporal Zone. They’d followed the trail, only to turn around when it led them to a huge crater and they realised they’d followed it in the wrong direction.

Retracing their steps, the five eventually found themselves in a relatively small village near the Shogun’s palace. More specifically, they were led to a house that was a bit nicer than the others. No one was around, so they just opened the unlocked door and walked right in.

“Nate! You’re alive!”

Len made no effort to hide a smirk at the sheer irritation on Heywood’s face as he sat up straight, having been leaning in towards the beautiful young woman sitting next to him. Apparently they’d interrupted a rather… private moment. “Oh, hey, guys,” Heywood groaned, “You found me.”

“Bad timing?” Len asked, still smirking.

Both Heywood and the woman got to their feet. “No, no. Ah, Masako, these are, uh, my friends I was telling you about.”

The woman bowed, remarkably polite for someone dealing with strangers who’d just burst into her home. “Hajimemashite. Can I get you something to drink?”

Mick’s response was predictable. “Sake. Lots of it.”

Amaya fixed her own polite smile on her face. “What he meant to say is thanks for your hospitality, but we must be going.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Amaya’s right,” Sara intervened before they could start another argument, “Nate, let’s go.”

“I can’t.” Most of them stared at Heywood when he refused to leave, but Len just rolled his eyes. Pretty Boy #2 couldn’t have fallen for the girl and decided to stay and build a life with her so quickly, could he? Although his eyes cut over to Sara at the thought; he had decided to stay on that batshit crazy mission to kill Savage largely because of her. “We can’t leave.”

“What are you talking about?” Sara asked, “What’s going on?”

“I-It’s hard to explain; I…” he glanced over at Masako. “Masako, could my friends and I talk privately for a few minutes?”

Masako smiled nervously. “Of course. I need to fetch more water, anyway.” She moved past the Legends and out the door, picking up a yoke with two buckets on either end, and bowed to her visitors before walking away from the house.

With Masako gone, they could talk freely about time-travel. “Masako’s supposed to marry the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu today,” Heywood began his explanation.

“Yeah, we met that guy already,” Len told him.

“Not a fan,” Sara added.

“Well, the reason he sticks out in the history books is because he likes to murder his wives, and I can’t leave Masako to his mercy.”

“Especially since he stole my A.T.O.M. Suit,” Raymond contributed, reminding them of what Len considered to be a far more pressing concern.

“Exactly. Wait, what? You let the Shogun steal a twenty-first-century super-suit?!”

“After I crash-landed, trying to rescue you.”

“How does the Shogun even know how to operate your A.T.O.M. Suit?” Sara asked.

“I designed it so any idiot could use it,” Raymond admitted sheepishly.

“An idiot does,” Mick declared, beating Len to it.

“Guys, the bottom line is that, if the Shogun has the A.T.O.M. Suit, it’s not just Masako and the village that we have to protect. He can use it to conquer the whole region!”

“He’s right,” Len agreed, “Can’t let Raymond’s idiocy cause a new Aberration. Or Heywood’s; you two can argue about whose fault it is, later.”

Sara was already entering planning mode. “You said the Shogun’s marrying your new girlfriend today. So someone’s going to come and fetch her.”

“Uh huh,” Heywood answered, “Yesterday one of his men said the Shogun would be coming personally.”

“It’s easier to defend a village than to attack a castle,” Len realised, figuring out Sara’s train of thought.

“But anyone who tries to fight the Shogun will be cut down,” Amaya reminded them.

“Except if that person is made of steel,” Sara pointed out, looking directly at Heywood.

Heywood winced. “About that, I’m having… uh… a little problem accessing my powers.”

Len smirked. “You mean you’re having performance issues?”

Sara turned to Raymond. “Looks like you’re not done training him, yet. Now, the rest of us need to figure out how we could defend the village. Nate, do you know who’s in charge around here?”

“Ah, yeah, sort of. From what Masako has told me, her family is a middle-ranked samurai clan, which makes her father the highest authority within the village. The Shogun wouldn’t have even considered her as a bride, otherwise. Concubine, maybe, but not as a wife.”

“And where can we find Daddy?” Len prompted.

“He said he was going to talk with some of the local farmers; they’ve been having some kind of dispute; I didn’t hear many details. You’d probably find him down that way.” Heywood pointed off in the distance, where they could see a patch of what looked like farmland.

“Not me,” Mick mumbled, settling into the wagon he’d already made himself comfortable in, “Wake me up when the action starts.”

Len saw Amaya giving Mick a look of disgust as the two of them followed Sara down the path away from the house.

The local villagers had been wary of trusting the foreigners who were talking about fighting their ruler, their fear of the Shogun’s wrath overshadowing all else, until Masako had spoken passionately in their defense. Len scouted the entire area and determined that the temple was the most secure place for the civilians to take shelter.

Len was scouting the edge of the village, looking for alternate escape routes (or alternate ways the enemy could come at them, if they were smart), when Amaya joined him. “Why are you doing this?” she asked him out of the blue.

“Doing what? You’ll have to be more specific.”

“Protecting this village, instead of taking a nap like your pyro friend.”

Len shrugged. “Mick’s not a planner. He’ll get involved once the actual fighting starts.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I’ve known him for about thirty years, now, so while he’s not without his surprises, yes, I’d say I’m pretty sure.” He eyed a long, wide path that looked like it’d been trampled into being over time. “You don’t think they could ride their horses through here and come at the village from this angle, do you?”

She frowned and looked it over. “I don’t really know that much about horses, but they are most likely to take the main road.”

“I agree, but I like to be prepared for everything.”

“So you’re the planner, then?”

“Yep. My old man was a crook, but not a very good one. I learned from the dumb bastard’s mistakes, became a better thief than he could ever hope to be.”

“And a better killer?”

“No, actually. When a thief kills on a heist, either he’s pulling a double-cross on his crew or he screwed up. My father once got put away for killing a security guard who’d spotted him during a routine patrol. I broke into the same place two years later, after they’d tightened their security and everything, and because I took several months to plan it out, memorise the patrol schedules and such, I got in and out with no one noticing until morning. No blood was spilled. I don’t kill unless I absolutely have to.”

Amaya was quiet for a while as she kept on walking. “And what about Rory? He doesn’t exactly seem… stable.”

Len frowned. “Mick’s had a lot happen to him. Believe it or not, he was worse when he joined this team. Didn’t have anyone he could trust besides me and my sister, until then. Now… he’s still rough, still loves violence for the sake of violence, but he’ll put his neck on the line for any one of us. And since this group just loves to run into dangerous situations to save other people, he’ll be watching our backs.”

Amaya snorted. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Len sighed. He didn’t know why he was trying to explain himself and his partner to Miss Holier-Than-Thou. But then again, if she was going to be sticking around for a while, it would be better to put some of that attitude of hers to bed.

There were more samurai than Len had expected, following the Shogun as he rode in on his horse to personally claim his new bride. He looked like a walking anachronism, wearing high-tech suit of armour with a traditional samurai helmet while riding a horse.

Len and Mick waited in their hiding spots while Heywood walked out to confront the Shogun himself. A few samurai split off on their master’s orders, but Len ignored them, trusting Sara and Amaya to handle them should they attack the temple. He just hoped the bastards didn’t set the village on fire when they realised it was mostly abandoned.

He’d been hoping that Heywood would have mastered his powers by now, but the Shogun just blasted the historian in the chest and brought him down with not a hint of steel skin to be seen. When the tyrant took aim to finish Heywood off, however, Raymond stepped out, wearing the suit of armour that had apparently belonged to Masako’s late brother, donated to him by their father. The Shogun was less than fazed, but when he prepared to fire on Raymond, Mick took that as his cue to blast him off his horse with the Heat Gun.

“Konnichiwa, scumbag!”

Len stepped out beside him, Cold Gun at the ready. The Shogun yelled at his remaining men, who turned and charged at the two Rogues.

They really didn’t stand a chance. Len and Mick stood back-to-back and shot down any man who came near them. They admittedly didn’t stand much of a chance up close against trained swordsmen, so they killed all their opponents before they could get their blades close enough. It was only a matter of minutes before all the samurai attacking them were either dead or too badly injured to get up and fight.

“We’d better catch up to the others,” Len said, beginning to walk in the direction of the temple, “And check on Heywood while we’re at it.”

But then he heard a noise coming from somewhere behind him, and he knew it wasn’t Mick. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and his instincts were screaming ‘danger’. It wasn’t quite that ‘Alexa’ feeling, but it was close. Mick had noticed something as well, as he whipped around, searching the bamboo forest they were in but seeing nothing. Len thought he spotted a black-clothed figure darting in and out of sight, and wasn’t sure whether to groan or smirk at the thought of how Mick was never going to shut up about this.

He didn’t have much time to think about it, as only his quick reflexes, honed by years of dodging his father’s fists and getting into other fights, saved him from death by ninja sword.

“I don’t wanna shoot you guys,” he heard Mick say, “I love ninjas!”

The ninjas clearly didn’t feel the same way, and neither did Len, who fired his Cold Gun, only for the ninja in front of him to narrowly dodge. Another one appeared on his right, out of fucking nowhere, and kicked the weapon out of his hands.

They were as fast as Sara was during their sparring sessions, so fast that Len wasn’t sure just how many of them were there, attacking him and Mick. Len had to resort mostly to dodging while trying to make a break for his weapon, while Mick, who’d always been better at hand-to-hand, managed to get a few hits in. At one point, Len made a dive for his gun, only for one ninja to grab his foot and drag him away. Grimacing, Len pulled out a spare knife that Sara insisted he carry and scored a lucky hit to the ninja’s shoulder, forcing him to let go. It was enough of a delay for Len to get to his Cold Gun and shoot the same ninja, driving a sharp chunk of ice through his chest.

Len scrambled to his feet just in time to see Mick reach his own Gun and set one ninja on fire and snap another’s neck with a move he’d learned from either Sara or the Time Masters. Both looked around, weapons primed, but when no more came at them, they figured there must have only been three to begin with.

Len began to continue his run back to the village, only to turn around when he realised that Mick wasn’t following him. “What the hell are you doing?”

His partner was kneeling next to the biggest ninja, the one with the broken neck, tugging at his black garb. “Stealing a real ninja outfit,” he grunted in reply.

Len rolled his eyes and kept going. “If one of their buddies shows up late and kills you, that’s your fault.” Really, though, he trusted Mick to watch his own back.

He got to the temple in time to see Sara and Amaya fighting side-by-side, wielding a sword each. “Where the hell are Len and Mick?!” Sara was asking aloud.

“Right here!” Len made his entrance by shooting one samurai in the back as he attempted to sneak up on his girlfriend.

“I had that one!” Sara bantered back, grinning nonetheless.

Amaya suddenly landed near Len, having been shoved back by her current opponent. Surprisingly, she let him help her back up to her feet. “Did your friend ditch you to ransack the village, or something?”

Len was about to snap back at her when a black-clothed figure jumped out of the woods and threw one samurai into another before punching a third. He ripped off his mask to reveal it was Mick. “That was quick,” Len commented, grinning.

Mick grinned back before turning to Amaya. “Told you ninjas were real.”

The four of them continued fighting until only one samurai remained: the Shogun’s scar-faced right-hand man. Sara strode forward, clearly intending to finish this on their own. The man raised his sword with a yell and charged, Sara doing the same in silence. Like something out of a movie, they charged past each other once, a single clang of metal on metal being the only sign of contact with one another. Then the samurai gasped in shock and pain, coughing up blood before collapsing.

Sara’s sword was clean, but the small knife in her hand was dripping with fresh blood. Sometimes, it really paid to be a ninja.

“Is it over?” Mick asked.

A distant boom answered him. “Unless that wasn’t the A.T.O.M. Suit being destroyed,” Len commented, “I’m going to say yes.”

The sun had set, and the team still hadn’t left. First there had been the business of letting the villagers out of the temple, then they’d had to clean up the bodies of all the dead samurai. There had been some concerns about retaliation, but Sara had contacted Gideon, who informed him that there was no record of the destruction of the village. Five regents would rule until Tokugawa Iemitsu’s son Ietsuna, currently only ten years old, came of age. Despite killing the ruler of the country, they had not changed the timeline (the fact that they did it on the same day as his historically recorded death helped).

The villagers had been so grateful for their help that they’d insisted on celebrating. The Legends were treated to a traditional Japanese feast, although letting Mick get his hands on that much sake was probably something they would regret.

After the meal, however, it was time to head out. Sara and Amaya had already returned to the ship, while Len and Mick waited for Raymond and Heywood to finish saying their goodbyes.

“You guys almost done?” Sara asked over the comms.

“Almost,” Len replied softly, rolling his eyes as Heywood managed to get a kiss from the girl after all his heroic acts today, “Just waiting for the star-crossed lovers to finish smooching.”


“Hey, like you haven’t had a fling with someone in another time period. The nurse from 1958… Lindsay, I believe her name was?”

“You’re not going to stop reminding me about that, are you?”

“Only when you stop making hypocritical comments about our teammates getting attached to people who were long dead when they were born.”

“Well, Jax and Martin have everything fixed, so as soon as I help Amaya find something to wear, we’re taking off.”

“Got it.”

“Haircut!” Mick called when he got bored of waiting, “Steel! Sara says we’ve gotta clear out!”

“What an amazing time period,” Heywood sighed as the four men began the trek back to the Waverider.”

“Definitely my favorite,” Raymond agreed, “Besides the Old West.”

“Why are you two goofy bastards so happy?” Mick growled, “You lost your damn suit, the food sucks, and I’ve got no proof ninjas exist!” He stomped off ahead angrily.

“Well, I think we’ve accomplished more than we originally realised,” Raymond continued, “See, I thought the sword Masako’s dad gave me looked familiar, but it didn’t hit me until I saw Masako holding it, and until Ichirō told me what their family name is: Yamashiro.”

“Is that supposed to mean anything?” Len asked, hoping the scientist had a point.

“There’s a woman in 2016 named Tatsu Yamashiro who was with us when Team Arrow attacked Nanda Parbat in 2015. That sword is the same one I saw her wield in battle. She could be one of Masako’s descendants. If we hadn’t interfered, the Shogun would have killed Masako, and Tatsu would never have existed!” He frowned. “Then again, she was married, so maybe it was her husband who was Masako’s descendant, although, I heard someone say the sword had been passed down through Tatsu’s family… hmm…”

Len shrugged and kept walking, ignoring Heywood and Raymond’s theorising about who was related to who. If they had truly saved the life of someone important to the personal timeline of one of their own, that was good enough for him.

“Looking good,” Len commented when he saw Amaya’s new outfit. He’d expected her to be wearing something appropriate to her own time period, but instead she was outfitted in skinny jeans and a leather jacket.

“I know, right?” Sara agreed, “She’d fit right in on the streets of Central City in our own time.”

Amaya shrugged. “I come from a village in Africa that isn’t as… conservative as America is in 1942. In my home, women are respected as equally as the men, especially since the women in my family have been defending the village for many generations. I’ve found the American way of treating women in my time to be… rather degrading, even if my teammates on the JSA are a lot more open-minded. I’ll gladly dress the way I would in a time period where I’d get a lot more respect. Have you seen Mr. Rory? I… have something I need to say to him.”

Len raised an eyebrow, but went with it. She seemed almost… ashamed. He didn’t think that was possible. “He’s in the galley. I’m sure you remember where that is.”

Her cheeks coloured at the reminder. “Yes, I do. And I have to say, I’m sorry… about how I treated you both. Clearly there’s more to you and Rory than I thought.” With that, she slunk out of the room.

Sara smiled up at Len. “I knew she’d come around. Remember, most of this team had the exact same issues with you and Mick at the beginning of this whole mess.”

Len smirked as Raymond’s words came back to him: ‘Are you sure it’s a good idea to leave these two unsupervised on a time machine?’ “True. Very true. And now look at us. Integral parts of the team, and everything.”

Sara reached up and laced her fingers together behind his neck. “You know, Amaya asked me something after I let her out.”

“What’s that?”

“How we do it. How we manage to be a couple without letting it interfere with what we do with the team.”

“To be fair, sometimes we don’t.”

“Yeah, that’s what I said. But it made me wonder about… what’s going to change. Are we going to spend forever flying around throughout time, saving history until one or both of us get killed? Or is there going to be a point where we just want to be… us, for a while, and nothing more?”

Len pulled her closer. “I think… maybe one day, we could go for a change. But I think we’ve got it pretty good right now, don’t you agree?”

“Mmm. Yeah… yeah, we do.”

“I think it’s time we said ‘Sayonara’ to Feudal Japan,” Sara announced as they all prepared for takeoff, “Now, where to next?”

“I could always open the hatch, jump out, and see where I land,” Heywood jokingly suggested, earning himself an unamused look from his fellow newbie.

“I say we just sit back and see where the time stream takes us,” Raymond countered.

“Aren’t you forgetting that Rex’s killer is still at large?” Amaya asked.

Mick shrugged. “Not my problem.” Anyone who knew him, of course, knew he’d help Amaya get the bastard once they found him. “I mean,” he added, once Amaya fixed him with another look, “we should find the bastard and kill him.”

“Perhaps we can enjoy a little takeoff music,” Stein suggested.

Len rolled his eyes. The older man had been suggesting that a lot over the past couple of months, ever since he learned that Gideon could play music on the bridge.

Sara, however, was apparently more inclined to humour his request than Rip, as the opening strains of Irma Thomas’s ‘Time Is On My Side’ began to fill the room. “Ah, nice one, Gideon,” Sara complimented the AI.

“Captain Hunter always enjoyed this song,” Gideon responded, sounding almost… fond.

The mention of their missing leader admittedly brought the mood down a bit. “Speaking of problems,” Len murmured.

“Don’t worry,” Sara assured them, “We’ll find Rip. And Hourman’s killer. In the meantime, everyone just shut up and let me do the flying.” And she hit the throttle, sending them to their next destination.

Chapter Text

Len and Sara had just finished breakfast when Gideon alerted them to an emergency signal coming from the time stream. The two of them met Raymond in the library, and watched the transmission before wondering where either half of Firestorm was. For whatever reason, they weren’t answering Gideon’s pages, so Sara had to contact them over the comms. “Martin!”

Thankfully, Stein did respond to that, although he sounded a bit strange. “Sara! What can I do for you?”

Len quirked an eyebrow. Stein never used the first name of any of his crewmates except for Jax and, occasionally, Raymond. Sara looked back at him with an identical expression. “You never call me Sara. Everything with you is ‘Ms. Lance’.”

“…I’m turning over a new leaf.”

“Well, turn it over in the library. We’ve got something.”

“Yes, yes, of course. Jefferson and I will be right there.”

The two of them did show up minutes later. “What’s going on?” Jax asked.

“Gideon caught an emergency transmission,” Len explained, “Gideon, play it again from the top, for those of us who are late to class.”

The AI restarted the grainy, static-filled clip taken from inside some sort of small vessel. A pale-faced, brown-haired young man was sitting in the pilot’s seat directly in front of the camera. “Dontar!” he cried, breaking into a brief coughing fit, “Dontar, are you reading this? They’re-” Static filled the screen and cut off the sound for a few seconds, then he was back. “…heist went off easy. We got the TX-90 out of 2235 as contracted, but… but Alec got-” More static and silence. “-ryone!” The screen filled with a bright light for several seconds, then subsided. The man coughed a few times again, then continued speaking: “I don’t know when I am. I’m activating the temporal beacon.” He ducked as sparks flew from the machinery around him. “You get in the Dauntless, and you get out here and rescue my ass!”

That was the end of the transmission.

“He was vulgar, for a Time Master,” Stein commented, as if the man’s manners in the middle of an obvious crisis were the important thing.

“Time pirate, we’re thinking,” Sara corrected.

“Didn’t you hear the part where he mentioned a heist?” Len added.

“The names ‘Dontar’ and ‘Dauntless’ do correspond with a known time pirate leader and his time ship,” Gideon confirmed.

“He activated a beacon. We have to go after him,” Raymond insisted.

“Well, he’s a time pirate,” Jax pointed out, “Why would we rescue him?”

“Because if he ends up somewhere he shouldn’t…” Sara began.

“…and does something he shouldn’t…” Len picked up.

“It’s Aberration-Palooza.”

“So, where do you think he’s going to end up?” Stein asked.

Gideon chimed in. “I have tracked the time pirate’s temporal beacon to May third, 1863, in the State of Mississippi.”

Len frowned. “I never paid much attention in history, but I’m pretty sure that’s a bad time to land in.”

“Indeed. The time pirate has landed at the height of the American Civil War, and relatively near the location of upcoming battles that are critical to the victory of the Union Army.”

Great. This should be fun.

Sunday, May 3rd, 1863

“Nice dress.”

Sara rolled her eyes at her boyfriend and went back to sticking a spare knife – one of many – into her shoe. She hated this big, blue frock she was forced to wear. It was impossible to fight in. At least the weather wasn’t too hot, even in May, or it would be stifling in this heavy material that absolutely had to cover everything. The guys definitely got the better end of the deal when it came to clothing in the 1860s. Len looked much less ridiculous, dressed similarly to most of the other men – dress shirt, vest, coat, and trousers, but without the bow tie (Mick had ditched the vest as well as the tie).

They were in Mississippi 1863, at the height of the Civil War, to pick up the stranded time pirate and keep him from breaking anything. From there, Sara planned to bring him to the New Time Masters’ prison, and hopefully get some information on his crew.

“Along with comm. devices, I also packed sack lunches,” Ray was saying. Sara felt a little bad about leaving him behind, but he was especially vulnerable in the field without his A.T.O.M. Suit. They were going to have to come up with a role for him long-term, but for now, this would have to do.

“What are we, back in grade school?” Len drawled, eyeing the shiny, silver, and not exactly period-accurate bags being loaded into Nate’s large sack.

Ray just shrugged. “I just figured the food in 1863 is… pretty lousy.”

“Alright,” Sara announced, “the operation is simple: we isolate the target, we eliminate the time ship, and we get outta there.”

“And all while wearing this dress?” Amaya asked, annoyed. She hadn’t quite yet figured out how to get exactly what she wanted from the fabricator, and was wearing a bright yellow skirt and magenta blouse.

“So do we really think this is going to be as easy as it sounds?” Len asked as they disembarked and started hiking to the crash site, “After all, and here’s a tip for the newbies, things tend to go wrong rather spectacularly with us. A mission never turns out to go as easily as we planned it.”

“Especially if we have to go into a bar or tavern,” Stein added.

“So that fight in the club in Paris was actually closer to what you’re used to?” Amaya questioned.

“Yep,” Jax confirmed, “There’s this quote I remember from a movie that kind of fits.” He briefly switched over to a British accent: “‘We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose!’ Or something similar from a TV show: ‘Usually, we make a plan, it goes to rubbish, and we make a new plan.’”

“‘Just to be clear: this is the part where it goes to rubbish,’” Nate picked up, causing some questioning stares, “What? Coulson was my favourite character in the movies. Of course I’d watch when he got his own show!”

“Yeah, but I was quoting Agent Hunter,” Jax pointed out, “Not-”

“Guys!” Sara interrupted, “You can talk superhero movies later. Let’s just find and take care of this time pirate. Ray, do you see anything on the satellite, or whatever it is that Gideon uses to see us?”

“Nope,” Ray replied over the comms, “But I can tell you that the weather is a temperate 58 degrees. Ooh! A little trivia: you guys are in Hinds County, which is named after General Thomas-” The billionaire’s prattle was suddenly cut off.

“Did you just…?” Nate asked.

“Shut off his comms?” Sara finished, “Yup.” She really didn’t feel like listening to Ray’s random trivia. He knew how to signal them if there was an emergency on his end. Technically, he could use those means to get back on their comms and continue spouting useless factoids, but the Boy Scout would never think of misusing something as important as the emergency frequency.

Eventually they exited the forest the Waverider had parked in and came across a vast expanse of grass and weeds. Smoke rising in the distance led them straight to their target – a crashed Jump Ship lying at the end of a fresh trench in the middle of a large section of dry, trampled grass. Sara frowned – that suggested that they were in an area with high foot traffic. They needed to wrap this up, and quick.

“I can’t believe it,” Amaya murmured. Sara wasn’t sure what the other woman couldn’t believe – she’d been on a bigger, more impressive time ship than that.

“It looks to be a Jump Ship similar to ours,” Stein observed, “No doubt it fell out of the Temporal Zone.”

“No sign of anyone,” Sara noted as something inside the cockpit sparked. Well, no sign that specifically told them where the time pirate went, given all the evidence of other people being present at one time or another.

Jax carefully climbed in and began poking around the controls. “Nate, can you hand me my tools?” Nate pulled Jax’s toolkit out of his sack and passed it to him. Jax quickly got to work, and emerged with his kit in one hand and what looked like a chunk of grey plastic, until he opened it to reveal circuitry, in the other. “This is sorta like the black box. We can probably get some useful data off it, maybe find out which time pirate ship this belongs to. As for the Jump Ship itself… the power core looks exposed.”

“That mean what I think it means?”

“Only one way to find out.” Jax gestured at Mick, who, given his past training as Chronos, had to be thinking the same thing.

“Ah, thought you’d never ask.” He pulled the Heat Gun out, prompting Stein to tell everyone to step back, and fired it into the cockpit, aiming directly at what Sara assumed was the power core. Less than a second after the fire made contact, the whole thing exploded into flames, quickly engulfing the entire craft. “What’s next?!” Mick cried eagerly.

“Don’t you think that’s enough incineration for one day, Mr. Rory?” Stein asked. Did he forget who he was talking to?

“No, I do not, Professor.”

“This has turned out to be one of our easiest missions yet,” Jax commented, apparently forgetting that this team was Murphy’s Law personified, and that the time pirate himself was still missing.

“Help me!” a man’s voice cried in the distance, “Somebody, please!”

“You had to say that, didn’t you?” Stein deadpanned.

“It’s over there.” Amaya pointed in one direction, drawing their attention to a black man sprinting through the grass and the five grey-clothed men chasing after him – Confederate soldiers, most likely.

“Help me! Help!”

Amaya started in that direction. “Whoa, wait!” Jax cautioned her, “We’re not supposed to interfere with historical events!”

“Try and stop me,” their newest team member challenged before running off to help.

Mick shrugged. “Women.” He followed her, Nate on his heels.

“She certainly has a fiery spirit,” Stein observed.

“Which is either gonna get her killed or completely screw up history,” Jax muttered.

Len turned to Sara. “Are we going to try and stop her?” he asked.

Sara scowled at him for putting this all on her, even if he was right to do so. “Just end it fast,” she told Jax and Stein. The two men merged into Firestorm and took off, while Sara and Len jogged after Mick, Nate, and Amaya.

By the time they got there, Firestorm had taken the soldiers out with a fireball and Amaya was trying to calm the man down. It wasn’t exactly working, as the man’s adrenaline had to be flowing from the chase, and seeing Firestorm in the sky had not helped one bit. Nate and the others were faking obliviousness when he asked them about ‘that thing’. Firestorm landed on the path, out of sight, and separated, Jax and Stein following behind Sara and Len as if they’d been running with them all along.

“Who are you guys?” the man demanded breathlessly, “What’s going on, here?”

“Look, we’re just passing through,” Len tried to placate the man.

“Okay, guys, let’s get the hell outta here,” Jax insisted, apparently taking Rip’s spot as the one constantly reminding the others about the timeline.

“We can’t just leave him here!” Amaya protested.

“Well, unfortunately, we have to,” Stein pointed out, “If we rescue one man, we could alter history in the wrong way.”

“You’re a dispatch, aren’t you?” Nate suddenly asked the man (who was now even more confused thanks to Stein’s talk about altering history).

“Wait, what’s a dispatch?” Amaya questioned.

“He’s a former slave providing information to the Union Army.”

The dispatch looked at them all suspiciously, like he wasn’t sure whether or not he could trust them. “My name is Henry Scott. I’m a free man from Trenton, New Jersey.”

“Well, you’re a long way from home,” Mick observed.

“And we need to be getting outta here,” Sara warned the rest of her crew.

“Right,” Len agreed, “Just as soon as we find our missing… friend.” Sara was glad he didn’t say ‘fugitive’, because she figured that, around here, that meant ‘escaped slave’, which wouldn’t bring out a good reaction from Mr. Scott, here.

“Uh… guys?” Nate spoke up, pointing behind Scott.

The Legends peered around the man to see something very strange happening – strange even by their standards. The five dead Confederates got up and started running towards them, growling and snarling.

“Oh my God,” Stein whimpered.

“Those Confederates look a lot like-”

“Do-do-do-do-don’t say it!”

But Jax didn’t have to actually say it out loud, because the entire team was thinking the exact same thing: Zombies.

Len teamed up with Mick to deal with one of the zombies. Using a knife – Sara was rubbing off on him – he took advantage of it being as dazed as a zombie can get from Mick’s punch and stabbed it in the heart before slashing its neck, just to be safe. He looked back at the others and saw Sara knifing two more in succession and Amaya throwing one off of Jax and breaking its neck with the strength of a gorilla. Heywood, proving that his recent training was already starting to pay off, managed to yank a bayonet from the hands of a zombie attacking him and, by some stroke of luck, drove it dead centre (no pun intended) through its neck. Jax tackled the last one and held it down while Mick smashed its head in with a large rock.

That ended the fight, leaving the combatants panting among the hopefully-completely-dead-now corpses.

“Is everybody okay?” Len beat Sara to it, scanning the area for his teammates. He spotted the Professor, white-faced and peering out from behind a large rock. That left his crew (minus Raymond) fully accounted for, but someone else was still missing. Where was the dispatch guy, Henry Scott?

“What the hell was that?” Heywood cried breathlessly.

“You ask me,” Mick responded, “They look like zo-”

“Don’t- plea- don’t say it!” Stein pleaded, “I know they’re essentially a myth, but I have this irrational f-fear of-”


Please! Don’t say it!”

Mick grinned, giving Len the impression that his partner had said the word just to freak the professor out.

Then Len heard the groaning and spotted a sixth pair of legs lying in the weeds. “Shit,” he cursed.

“Oh, God.” Jax spotted them at the same time, and both ran over to the man bleeding on the ground next to a bloody bayonet. “Hey! Hey! Come on!” Jax pressed his hands to the wound, but it was bad.

Scott gasped and wheezed: “Satchel…”


“My… satchel…”

Len grabbed the bag and held it up, showing Scott that he had it.

“Are you… Union?”

“Kinda,” Jax confirmed.

“My… my orders… Collins plantation… Confederate… troop… movements… Without them…” Then, with one last, shuddering breath, he died mid-sentence, despite Jax pleading with him to stay awake.

Len carefully extracted the loop of the satchel from the man’s body, opening it up and peering inside. There was a folded piece of paper inside, along with other supplies such as a canteen, a knife, and what looked like a few dried fruits, but he decided to look it over when they got back to the Waverider.

Then he looked back up at Jax. The kid was not looking good, and Len didn’t blame him; even after six months of seeing some pretty nasty stuff throughout history, Len was pretty sure that this was the first time Jax had been this close to a person when they died.

Footsteps alerted him to Stein and Amaya approaching. Len stood and moved aside as they gently pulled Jax away from the dead man, and Heywood extracted a rag and a canteen from his bag so that Jax could get the blood off his hands.

“Let’s get back to the Waverider for now,” Sara suggested softly.

In the solemn silence, no one argued with her.

Mick was not happy when they got back to the Waverider and Haircut turned out to have no idea what had happened, because he’d had to take a damn potty break. “We were attacked by zombies,” Mick informed him, sitting down, “And someone put sprouts on my sandwich.” Damn Boy Scout and his pushiness about the crew’s eating habits. He bowed his head against the headache that had started up on the way back to the ship, after Stein and Amaya had pulled Jax away from the dead guy (the normal dead guy, not the zombies, although they hadn’t really stuck around long enough to be sure he wouldn’t rise again). He wondered if Haircut had also messed with the ship’s environment controls, because it was way too hot on the bridge – which was saying something, considering how much Mick liked the heat.

“The time pirate’s distress call referenced something called a TX-90,” Stein reported after looking something up, “It’s a futuristic bio-weapon. The infected’s condition strongly resembles those… things… that… I can’t say it.”

“Some idiot in the future was dumb enough to make a synthetic zombie plague?” Lenny drawled, rolling his eyes, “Intentional or not, that’s got to be one of the dumbest moves in human history.”

“How do you unintentionally make something like that?” Haircut wondered.

“Easy. Step One: try and make something else. Step Two: Royally screw up on Step One.”

“Well, if that infected time pirate is out there, spreading this virus,” Sara brought them back on track, “Then our job just got even more complicated.”

“No kidding,” Pretty Boy #2 agreed, “Having zombies, or whatever they are…”

Mick tried to listen to what Heywood was saying, but everything was getting fuzzy.

The next thing he knew, he was on the floor. Then everything went black.

When he woke up, it was to that annoying beeping noise he only ever heard in hospitals and the Med Bay. Sure enough, when he opened his eyes, that was where he was. Lenny, Haircut, and the Professor were standing over him, all looking worried. Not a good sign. “What’s goin’ on?”

“Apparently, uh, you were wounded during our encounter with the i-i-infected,” Stein answered.

“Impossible,” Mick growled. Because he’d seen enough horror movies to know what that meant – there had to be another explanation. “Those creepy bastards didn’t lay a finger on me.”

Haircut, who’d moved closer and was tugging at Mick’s shirt, frowned and spoke up before Mick could ask what the fuck he was doing. “But they might’ve gotten in a tooth.” Mick looked down, and his blood froze. “Or thirty.”

There, on his shoulder, was a bloody bite mark. He’d been bitten without even noticing it.

Len could swear that his heart stopped a little when he saw the bite mark. This couldn’t be happening. The thought of Mick turning into one of those… things… Would they have to fight him? Would Len have to do what he couldn’t back in 2046 and kill his partner?

Mick grabbing Raymond by the arm didn’t help much, either. “Mick!” Len stepped forward, ready to pull the scientist out of his partner’s grip if necessary. Beside him, Stein was being of no help, muttering in a panic that Mick was already turning.

“Ray, you gotta fix me,” Mick growled. The fact that he was using Raymond’s actual name was not lost on Len. “I don’t wanna be turned into a… a freakin’ zombie.”

Raymond nodded nervously, tugging his arm free before pulling Stein to the side to discuss science.

Len moved to stand beside Mick. “How’re you doing?” Even as he asked this, he glanced up at the screens. Aside from an elevated heart rate and core temperature, the Med Bay’s diagnostic equipment was reporting that he was in half-decent health – for now.

“What the hell do you think?” was Mick’s response, “I just got bit by a zombie.”

“Raymond and Stein will find a cure,” Len insisted quietly, glancing over at the pair, “Although Raymond will probably be doing most of the work, considering how Stein seems to be having a mini panic attack over this. Tell you what: if it doesn’t work, I’ll make sure they’re your first meal.”

Mick huffed a sort of half-laugh. “Don’t bother. I bet they’d taste like shit.” He gave Len an odd look. “You don’t have to pretend you’re not freaked out over this.”

Len frowned. Mick had always been able to read him relatively well, but the other man had been calling him out on things a lot more frequently than he did before. People always dismissed him as being an unobservant thug, and Mick usually let them – it meant they wouldn’t try as hard to hide anything from him. But he’d become a lot more open about his observations on this ship, around this team.

“If they don’t manage to cure you in time…” Len swallowed. “You know what might have to happen next.”

“Yeah…” They’d both seen enough zombie movies to know that.

Footsteps signalled the arrival of another one of their teammates. Sure enough, Len turned around to see Sara walking in. “How is he?” she asked worriedly.

“He was definitely bitten and infected,” Raymond reported, “Stein and I are working on a cure right now.”

Sara chewed her lip, but sighed. “Damn it. Alright, keep on that. I need you guys to hold down the fort here; the rest of us have work to do.”

Len frowned. “What’s the plan?”

“Well, Nate and I are going to the nearest Union camp. Since there are most likely lots of other zombies wandering around, those soldiers could be the next ones in danger, so we have to warn them of what’s coming. And Jax…” She ran a hand over her face. She was suddenly looking a lot more like Rip, whenever he was under a lot of pressure. Len didn’t like seeing that on look her. “Apparently the dead dispatch was supposed to infiltrate a local plantation and steal some documents with Confederate troop movements, for none other than Ulysses S. Grant. If Grant doesn’t get those, the Union will lose a key battle in the war, so Jax is going in to fulfil that mission.”

Stein looked up from his work, looking horrified. “You’re letting him walk into a Southern plantation on his own?! Do you have any idea how much danger he could be putting himself into?! I must go with him!” He actually started to rush out of the Med Bay, but Sara planted herself in his path.

“We need you here, Stein, making a cure for that virus.”

“Besides,” Len butted in, “I’m pretty sure Jax won’t be going in alone. Amaya’s going with him, right?”

“Yes, she is. They’ll be watching each other’s backs. Now, I know you want to be out there with your partner, Martin, but you have your own job to do, remember?”

The Professor did look like he wanted to argue some more, but the old man knew Sara was right, and his shoulders slumped in defeat.

She gave him a tired smile and patted him on the shoulder, subtly nudging him back towards his workstation, before turning to Mick. “Hang in there, Mick. You’re one of the most stubborn people I know; you can hold out until the Nerd Twins come up with a cure, right?”

Mick grinned back at her weakly. “Damn straight.” Like he hadn’t just been freaking out and practically begging Raymond to save him minutes earlier. But Len supposed they were all putting up brave fronts, and Sara was no exception, either.

She walked out of the Med Bay, motioning for Len to follow her. He did so, telling the others he’d be right back.

Only once they were out of earshot of the Med Bay did Sara start talking. “How are things going in there? Really?”

Len sighed. “We have no idea how long it’ll be before the infection… takes over. Raymond’s focusing on the task at hand even with all the pressure, but the Professor is so terrified of the whole situation that he might become more of a hindrance than a help. And Mick… Mick’s scared and is refusing to show it.”

“Wouldn’t you be?”

“…Yeah. And there’s one other thing.” The one thing he didn’t want to even consider, but had to if they wanted to live through this. “If Mick doesn’t get cured in time… he’ll be a danger to us all. Like after the Acheron, but possibly worse.”

Sara looked at him sorrowfully. “Will you be able to do it?” she asked him softly, “You couldn’t pull the trigger on him last time. Or on Jax in 1958.”

“…I don’t know.”

Len was starting to get really impatient, which was saying something. He normally did patience very well. Raymond and Stein were still working on the cure (well, Raymond was, while the Professor mostly hovered and kept giving Mick nervous looks from the opposite end of the room), and Mick was getting worse. His fever had skyrocketed and while he wasn’t looking at anyone like he wanted to eat them, he was getting slower with his responses, like he was getting tired. Len tried to keep him awake and talking, but it wasn’t working as well as he’d hoped. They’d put restraints on him at Stein’s insistence, but Len was praying they wouldn’t need them.

“Raymond, please hurry,” Stein urged him, “I don’t like the way this is going.”

“You don’t like the way this is going?” Mick echoed, glaring at the old man. Len did the same. As if the Professor were the one in real trouble!

Stein shrank back from back their glares. “How close are you to formulating a workable cure?”

“Very,” Raymond responded, to everyone’s relief, “I think.” Scratch that. He inserted a vial of some green-coloured serum into an injector and walked over to Mick. Len, who’d been sitting next to his partner, reluctantly moved so that Raymond could do his work.

“Raymond,” Mick whispered, “I’m counting on you.”

They all were, Len thought, even if he didn’t say it out loud.

“Don’t worry, Mick,” Raymond tried to assure him, “I got you.” He took a deep breath. “Here we go.” His hands were shaking slightly as he injected the cure into Mick’s arm.

Less than a second later, Mick shouted and jerked in his chair while the Med Bay’s diagnostic equipment went nuts.

“What’s happening?!” Stein cried, backing away.

“Raymond!” Len shouted.

“His heart rate’s spiking!” Raymond read from the charts.

Len pushed Raymond out of the way and grabbed Mick by the shoulder. “Mick! MICK!”

But Mick couldn’t seem to hear him. Len watched with horror as his partner’s eyes changed; the whites turning red while the irises and pupils clouded over and the skin around the eye sockets darkened, looking badly bruised. Mick looked down at the restraints and broke off the one on his left arm as if it were nothing. He did the same with his right, and it was only someone yanking Len back by his jacket that saved him when Mick tried to grab him.

But it wasn’t Mick anymore. Not really. Len froze as he tried to process the fact that this was really happening. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Raymond was supposed to cure Mick, and then they were supposed to go and help the others fight off the horde. His best friend wasn’t supposed to become a-

“Zombie!” Stein cried, “Zombie! ZOMBIE!”

“Shouting isn’t helping!” Raymond yelled from right behind Len. Len broke out of his shock long enough to dash out the door, pulling Raymond with him. It wasn’t easy, as the scientist made a dive for something on the work table, but they both got out of there. Stein had already fled ahead of them.

“Gideon!” Len ordered, “Put the ship on lockdown!”

“Lockdown mode activated,” Gideon responded as the Med Bay doors slid shut and an alarm went off. Len reached for his Cold Gun, worried that the doors wouldn’t shut quickly enough, but he didn’t see Mick attempting to attack them. A glance over at Raymond, who was brandishing Rip’s flashy knockout device (he really did need to find out the proper name for that thing) offered an explanation.

“Why didn’t it work?!” Len demanded as soon as he caught his breath. “Why didn’t your cure work, Raymond?!”

Meanwhile, Stein was white-faced, pacing, and panicking. “He was- he was- he- he wa-”

“Calm down,” Raymond told both of them.

“We’re going to die!”

“Tell me, Raymond, what the hell are we supposed to do now?!”

“You both just need to calm down!”

“I will not calm down!” Stein snapped, “He was threatening enough before he became one of the walking dead!”

Len grabbed Raymond and shoved him against the wall. “Why didn’t your cure work?!”

“I- I- I- I don’t know. I-It could be that subcutaneous delivery needs more than one dose.”

“Oh, and that didn’t occur to you while you were formulating your serum?!” Stein retorted.

“Oh, like you were any help!” Len snapped.

“Yeah, at least I’m not the one with an irrational fear of zombies!”

“There’s nothing irrational about my fear of zombies! He’s a ZOMBIE!”

“Look, I’m pretty sure I stunned him,” Raymond insisted.

“Oh, you’re ‘pretty sure’?”

“And if he’s knocked out cold in the Med Bay, all we have to do is go back in there and inject him again.”

“That had better work,” Len growled, though his response was drowned out by Stein’s:

“And if he’s not, I’m pretty sure he’ll kill us! So me and my irrational fear are staying right here.”

“Not an option,” Len growled, “Because it’s going to take all of us to subdue him, if we even can.”

“You have to help us!” Raymond added, “Because if you don’t and we get bitten, then you’ll have three zombies to deal with!”

The Professor paled even further. “Oh my God…”

Then Raymond looked at Len. “This isn’t over,” he said softly, “I’m not giving up on him, which means you can’t, either.”

“What are you-”

“What, you think I haven’t seen a zombie movie? I know what you think you might have to do if we can’t cure him-”

“Did Sara say anything to you?”

“What? No. No, she didn’t have to. But you’ve got that look on your face that I haven’t seen since what happened on the Acheron. You’re thinking you’ll have no choice but to kill him to protect the rest of us. But I’m not giving up on curing Mick just yet. Got it?”

Len sighed, his breath coming out more shakily than he expected. “Got it.”

Raymond looked back and forth between him and Stein. “Okay, you guys ready?”

Len nodded, activating his Cold Gun at its second-lowest setting (which would do nothing Gideon couldn’t fix up later), while Stein shook his head and whimpered.

“Just relax. He’s unconscious, remember?” He and Len both stood in front of the door, brandishing their respective weapons, and then Raymond opened it.

The Med Bay was empty.

The three men cautiously stepped inside, looking around, but there was no sign of Mick.

“Raymond,” Stein whispered, “If he was unconscious, wouldn’t he be here?”

“I’m pretty sure he was knocked out,” Len answered, “If he wasn’t, he would’ve made it to the doors before they closed. But it must’ve worn off faster than normal.”

“But how could he have gotten out?” Raymond wondered, “There’s only the one exit.”

Dammit. “That’s not true. Mick and I cased this whole ship when we first joined. There are secret hatches and passageways everywhere. It’s how Sara and I were able to avoid getting caught by the Time Masters at the Vanishing Point. And I recall one entrance being… here.” Sure enough, the secret door hidden in the back wall was wide open. The metal was twisted and bloody around the edges, like Mick had ripped it off with his bare hands.

“It seems that even in his… condition… he still possesses the memory of that hatch’s existence,” Stein theorised.

“Great,” Raymond muttered, “Now we have a zombie who knows what the hell he’s doing.”

Suddenly the lights went out, causing Stein to cry out in fear and latch onto Len’s arm.

“Tell me he didn’t just shut the power off,” Len complained, shoving the Professor away.

“Now what?” Stein whimpered.

“Hang on.” There was a rustling noise, then a cry of triumph from Raymond a second before the space was illuminated by one of the three flashlights in his hand. “Now, we look for Mick, obviously.” He handed the other two to his companions.

“This’ll be fun,” Len snarked as he turned his on, “Zombie-hunting in the dark. This is becoming more and more like a horror movie with every passing minute.” He took the time to slide the panel back over the secret passageway (at the very least, the sound of it being knocked over would alert them if Mick came back that way) before following Raymond out of the Med Bay, dragging Stein behind him.

The three of them crept through the corridors, nerves increasing with every step. Len led the way, warning the others when they were about to pass one of the other secret hatches, in case Mick suddenly jumped out of one of those.

“Damn, it’s dark,” Raymond whispered.

“If Mr. Rory is in a zombified state, how does he possess the intelligence necessary to operate a light switch?” Stein murmured.

“He did remember the secret passage,” Raymond reminded him, “Or maybe he just destroyed a conduit or something.”

“Neither one is very comf- shit!”

Len cut himself off with a curse when he caught something in the beam of his flashlight. It was Mick, and he looked even worse than before; blood streaked down his face from his eyes like tears, and his eyes reflected in the light, like a cat’s. He’d been completely silent, which was disturbingly unlike Mick, until he snarled at the sight of them and lunged at Len, pinning him against the wall.

Raymond shouted and ran forward, helping Len push the zombified pyro to the floor while Stein pressed himself against the opposite wall and screamed. Mick landed near Stein’s feet, eliciting a louder scream. “Come on!” Raymond yelled.

“He’s got me!” Indeed, Mick had managed to get a grip on Stein’s ankle. “He’s got my foot!” Raymond grabbed Stein and tried to pull him away, while Len went with a different approach.

“Sorry, partner,” he muttered as he whacked Mick on the head with the Cold Gun. Mick lost his grip, and as soon as Stein was free, the three men ran for it. They made it to the galley, the doors sliding shut behind them less than a second before Mick slammed into them. At least those were still working, even if the lights weren’t.

“This is a nightmare!” Stein gasped as soon he had enough breath in him to do so, “If Mr. Rory’s intention is to eat our brains, can you imagine the feast we’ll provide him, given our combined intellects, Dr. Palmer?”

“Hey!” Len snapped.

“Oh, right. I’m sorry, Mr. Snart, I didn’t mean to imply-” Suddenly, he gasped and staggered, catching himself on a nearby table.

“What is it?” Raymond asked worriedly. He wasn’t the only one concerned. Len was thinking back on that last encounter and wondering if Mick had managed to get a bite in without the rest of them knowing.

“It’s… It’s-it’s Jefferson.”

Len relaxed his grip on the Cold Gun, but was not pleased to hear that something was wrong with one of their other teammates. “What’s happening to him?”

“I’m not sure, but I- I- I’ve never felt him so… so frightened, or- or angry before. I knew I should’ve gone with him.”

“Well, he’s still got Amaya with him,” Raymond pointed out, “And Sara and Nate are still out there. Maybe they can help.”

“Len?” Speak of the devil. It was Sara on the comms. “Ray? Martin? Amaya just contacted me. She’s lost all communication with Jax. We could all really use some help out here.”

“Damn,” Len cursed, “We can’t. Raymond’s cure didn’t work, and Mick’s been chasing us all around the ship.” He could still hear his partner’s animalistic snarls and the muffled thumps as he continued to slam himself into the door. “We’ve locked ourselves in the galley, but we can’t do anything to help you guys until we have him cured or contained or…”

“Until we can cure him,” Raymond added, emphasising the most desirable option, “You guys are on your own.”

“Yeah, looks like we all are.”

“How are things going on your end?” Len asked, turning away and tuning out Raymond and Stein as they talked strategy.

“Well, it turns out that convincing General Grant and the Union soldiers that zombies are coming – and explaining what the hell zombies are – is actually very difficult, but still easier than fighting them off. We’re running out of ammo already, and even if we do manage to kill all the zombies with it, the army’s going to be short on supplies with some very important battles coming up.”

Len sighed. “So everyone’s mission is going tits up, not just ours.”

“Looks like. But it’s not like that’s ever stopped us before. Len, listen to me: you, Ray, and Stein are three of the smartest people on the team. If anyone can figure out how to help Mick, it’s you guys.”

Len half-smirked, half-grimaced at the idea of being lumped in with the Nerd Twins, but decided to take it as the compliment she’d intended it to be. “Well, the same goes for you, Assassin. Just find some knives and do that ‘throwing pointy objects helps me think’ thing that you do. You’ll figure something out. Good luck.”

“You, too.” And she cut the communication off.

Len turned back to Raymond and Stein to find them fiddling with a fire extinguisher, of all things. “What the hell are you two doing?”

Stein looked up. “Raymond came up with the idea of aerosolizing the cure, instead of injecting it.”

“Basically, we’re going to spray it in Mick’s face instead of trying to hold him down and inject him with it,” Raymond clarified.

“That does sound easier,” Len agreed, “So what’s the catch?”

“The catch is that this is the only dose of the cure that I have left,” Raymond admitted, holding out a single vial of the cure, “So if this doesn’t work, we’re screwed.”

“Well, if we stay here, we’re screwed, so I’ll take any plan we’ve got, at this point.”

It took them a while to rig the fire extinguisher to spray the zombie cure, but eventually it was all set up. The only problem was that, judging from the silence on the other side of the door, Mick had wandered off elsewhere. Rather than creep around in the halls like last time, Len suggested a different plan.

“I’ve always wanted to do this,” Raymond geeked out, “Ever since I saw Die Hard.”

“It’s not nearly as fun as the movies make it look,” Len told the nerd as he unscrewed the ceiling vent cover while standing on a table, “But at least Mick is too big to fit in any of the vent shafts, which means we won’t come face-to-face with him in the ceiling and end up having to out-crawl him.”

“Imagine if they made another Die Hard movie, but with zombies. What would they call it? ‘Un-Die Hard’? No, that doesn’t sound right.”

“Raymond, could you focus for ten minutes?” He finally managed to get the damn cover unscrewed and passed it down. Stein took it while Raymond climbed up onto the table with him. “Ladies first.”

Raymond gave him a mildly affronted look before climbing up into the ceiling. Len passed the fire extinguisher up to him before glancing down at Stein. “Are you coming, or not?”

“Not,” Stein declared firmly, “There is absolutely no possible way that I’m going up there.”

“So, what, you’re going to spend the rest of your life stuck in here if we get bitten?”

“We’re in the galley. There’s food here; I’ll survive.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Suit yourself. Just remember: if you hear the Boy Scout screaming, you’ve got no one but yourself to blame for not helping us.” And he hoisted himself through the vent. He cursed when he realised that Raymond had gone ahead without him, and hurried to catch up. “Raymond!” he hissed, not sure how well he could be heard from the halls and not in the mood to test it, “Raymond, where the hell do you think you’re going?!”

As it was, he was able to follow the sound of Palmer constantly knocking the fire extinguisher against the walls – it was a tight fit, tight enough that Len himself was only just small enough to crawl through without too much difficulty. And the loud clattering noise he heard up ahead was both helpful and not, because the way this team’s luck tended to run, the odds were high that Mick could hear it, too.

“I’m in the Med Bay,” Raymond finally responded. Len could hear him both over the comms and not too far ahead.

“Right behind you,” he whispered.

“Be careful, you two,” Stein advised them, “It won’t take Mr. Rory long to figure out where you are.”

“…Tell me something I don’t know.”

The sound of Mick snarling and growling and a loud crash had Len picking up the pace, discarding all attempts at being quiet. When he dropped into the Med Bay, he was greeted with the sight of Raymond wrestling with Mick, trying to keep the arsonist’s teeth away from him.

“Mick!” Len yelled, pulling the Cold Gun out of its holster. Mick twisted around and growled at him, his weight still pinning Raymond down. “C’mon, Mick, don’t make me shoot you.” There was more emotion bleeding out into his voice than he would have preferred.

Mick jumped at him, freeing Raymond (who scrambled for the fire extinguisher lying against the wall) but putting Len into a dangerous position. He fired the Cold Gun, the blast knocking Mick onto his ass, but Mick barely paused, jumping up again and grabbing Raymond this time and throwing him into the wall. Raymond’s head audibly hit the wall hard, and he slumped to the floor, unconscious.

Mick made to pounce on him, but Len charged, body-slamming him as hard as he could. It didn’t work as well as it would have if he’d been the bigger man, but it put all of Mick’s attention onto Len instead of the unconscious and helpless Raymond. “Professor!” Len all but shouted through his comm, “Raymond’s down! I need backup!”

Len ran out of the Med Bay, only getting around the nearest corner before Mick grabbed his arm in a crushing grip and threw him into the wall. Len fired another shot, but missed.

Mick came at him again, and Len put his hands up to defend himself. Mick’s teeth snapped in his face, causing Len to jerk his head back as far as he could with the wall behind him. He tried pushing Mick’s face away from him, but that turned out to be a very bad idea.

Len yelled in pain as his partner chomped on his left hand, hard enough to draw blood. He tried to hit Mick with the Cold Gun again, but his partner let go and caught the weapon with one hand before shoving it into Len’s own head. Len’s world spun, and he felt blood running down the side of his face. His grip on his gun loosened enough that it fell out of his hand, clattering to the floor. He blinked the stars out of his eyes, still trying to fight Mick off.

“Mr. Rory!” Mick turned and snarled at the sound of Stein’s voice, still holding Len in place. The professor was standing further down the hall, shakily brandishing the fire extinguisher. “I-I-If- If you- If you just cooperate, things will go much easier for us.”

Mick had really never been one for cooperation, of course, and being turned into a zombie hadn’t changed that one bit. If anything, it had only made it worse. He charged at Stein, only to get a face full of extinguishing agent mixed with Raymond’s zombie cure. He stumbled back, but when the smoke cleared, he lunged at Stein again and tackled him around the waist as the older man tried to run away, both landing heavily on the floor.

“Stein!” Len got up and tried to pull Mick off the other man while Stein did his best to push him away. Sadly, it seemed Zombie-Mick was stronger than both of them combined.

“You may be stronger,” Stein grunted, “but I assure you, you will not eat me today!”

A distant part of Len’s mind congratulated Stein on finally having the balls to do anything besides panic and scream like a little girl, but getting an elbow to the face and being knocked backwards had him focusing on other things.

Then, suddenly, Mick stopped fighting. By the time Len was on his feet again, he was just staring down at Stein. “Professor, what’s going on?” It was Mick’s voice, speaking with actual words instead of snarling and growling. “Was I just trying to kiss you?”

Len couldn’t help it. The sheer absurdity of the question startled a laugh out of him, and he sank to his knees in sheer relief. Mick was alright. His partner was okay, and Len wouldn’t have to kill him.

“I- I- I can only hope, Mr. Rory,” Stein breathed, “I can only hope.”

Mick looked up at Len, who was still grinning. “What the hell happened?” he grumbled as he pushed himself off the Professor.

“Long story short:” Len explained, “you turned into a zombie, broke out of your restraints, and chased us all around the ship until Raymond figured out how to actually cure you. And actually putting that into practice was a little… challenging. And painful.”

“Speaking of which,” Stein continued, “We’d better get back to the Med Bay. I found Raymond there, still unconscious. And I want to ensure that Mr. Rory is fully cured, not to mention take care of that cut, Mr. Snart.” He gestured at the gash on Len’s temple, where he’d been hit on the head with his own Cold Gun.

“I think this is the wound we need to be more worried about,” Len admitted, holding up his bitten hand.

Stein went white, and Mick’s eyes bugged out as he made the connection. Then Len suddenly found himself coughing and choking as Stein sprayed him right in the face with the cure.

Monday, May 4th, 1863

“Do I even want to know?” Len arched an eyebrow at Heywood, who was standing in the door to the Med Bay looking a bit green around the gills and covered from head to toe in… something nasty.

“I just blew up a whole crate of nitroglycerin to kill about a dozen zombies,” the historian said faintly, “And now I am covered in bits of them.” That explained the mess. And the smell. “So I might need the cure. And then a shower. And then I am burning these clothes.”

Raymond grimaced and held out a small, hand-held sprayer. “We’ve managed to create both a cure and a vaccine,” he explained, “The cure needs to be aerosolized and inhaled, so just take a whiff of this. The vaccine can just be injected, though.”

Len smirked at the recent memory of Stein’s panic when Raymond had insisted on testing the vaccine out on him. Between Len and Mick already having the cure in their systems, and the fact that Raymond was still recovering from a concussion, he’d been the only safe test subject available. But all had gone well, and the vaccine had been given the green light.

“Is Sara still at the camp?” he asked Heywood.

“What? Oh, yeah. They’re burning what’s left of the zombie corpses in a big bonfire, but it’s going pretty slowly, since no one really wants to touch them. If you want to help, be my guest.”

“Oh, wait! Take these!” Raymond held up a large sack. “I had Gideon fashion a bunch of period-appropriate syringes and sprayers, and there’s a bunch of vials of the cure and the vaccine in there. Should be enough for all the soldiers at the camp.”

Len sidled out of the Med Bay, avoiding all physical contact with Heywood, and changed back into his nineteenth-century disguise before following the historian’s map to the Union Camp. He was met along the way by Jax and Amaya, and they weren’t alone. “Couldn’t help playing hero, huh?” he asked the pair, nodding at the group of people – obviously slaves – trailing behind them. Not that he was scolding them for it.

“Mr. Rory seems to have rubbed off on Jax, here,” Amaya noted dryly, “He burned the entire plantation house down.”

“To kill all the zombies inside,” Jax argued, “Although even without that, it was pretty satisfying.”

Len was sure it had been. “Did you at least get what you came for?”

“Yep.” The kid held up some folded-up papers. “Now I just have to get these to General Grant.”

“Good to hear. I was just on my way there.”

Jax and Amaya fell into step with him, but the people they’d rescued looked at him nervously. “It’s okay,” Jax assured them when he noticed, “Snart here is a friend of ours. He won’t hurt you.”

“Sara and Heywood took care of the zombies attacking the camp,” Len continued filling his teammates in, “and Raymond figured out how to cure Mick, so it seems we’ve all accomplished what we set out to do. Speaking of the cure, does anyone here need it?”

“We did have one close call when I was leading them away from the house,” Amaya recalled, before turning to the others. “Did anyone get bitten by those creatures? Or even scratched?”

“One of them scratched my hand when it tried to grab me,” a woman admitted worriedly, rolling up the sleeve of one arm to reveal the deep scratches.

Amaya gasped. “Mary! Why didn’t you say anything?”

“You never said their- their… condition could be transmitted!” ‘Mary’ was already beginning to freak out.

“Okay, easy,” Len tried to calm her down, “I’ve got the cure right in here.” He reached into his bag and dug out one of the cure sprayers. “Just breathe in a bit of this, alright? It’s not going to be all that pleasant, trust me, but it will keep you from turning into one of those things. Understand me?”

Mary shuddered but nodded. Len held the sprayer close to her face and squeezed the trigger. She coughed twice as the vapour shot into her face, but then took a deep breath and smiled at him tearfully. “Thank you.”

Sara looked up and grinned when she heard someone calling her name. Len was walking towards her, his usual smirk on his face. Sara quickly looked him over, noting a healing cut on his temple and a bandage on his left hand, but that, thankfully, seemed to be the extent of the visible damage. “Len! Did it work? Is Mick alright?”

Len nodded. “Mick’s fine and back to his old self. And Raymond worked up a cure and a vaccine.” He held up the bag he was carrying. “Figured we should spread this around in case anyone here was bitten.”

Sara smiled and started leading him over to the tent designated for the camp’s medic, waving for the Union soldiers with her to keep on burning the zombie corpses. “There were a couple bites, but those men have been quarantined. General Grant was worried when he heard that that was how the infection spread, but I told him I had people working on a cure.”

“Exactly what story did you tell him?”

“I told him that some idiot scientist had accidentally engineered the infection while working on a cure for something else – something so top-secret, I’m not allowed to know what it was – and that a bunch of would-be thieves got infected, and our team was assigned to track down and take care of one that got away. I figured it is essentially true, once you remove the time-travel part. The best lies are the ones closest to the truth, after all.” She took his hands. “I’m glad you didn’t have to kill Mick.”

Len sighed. “So am I. One of the few things I’ve been able to tell myself… is that I’ll do anything to protect the people I care about. The thing is, for the longest time, that was just Lisa and Mick, nobody else. And if I had to choose between one or the other, Lisa would come first every time. It was simple. But now all these other people are involved: you, the team- hell, even Barry, of all people! And it’s just all so complicated. Choosing to kill one to save the other… it’s no longer simple or easy.”

Sara laughed. “Len, babe, your world ceased to be simple the second Barry tossed you off that armored truck two years ago. My world ceased to be simple when the Gambit sank. This life isn’t for those of us who can only handle ‘simple’.”

They dropped the cure and vaccine off at the medic’s tent, after giving one demonstration of how to apply the cure, then made their way over to the command post, where Jax and Amaya were leading the slaves away after talking to General Grant. “We’ve given your infected soldiers the cure our friends worked up,” Sara told the future 18th American President, “as well as a vaccine. The only Confederates you’ll have to worry about, now, are the living ones.”

Grant smiled in relief. “I’m obliged. Ah, your man Colonel Sanders, he, uh, tells me you’re his Captain. In any case, he mentioned something about you having regrets, about putting men in harm’s way.”

Len glanced over at Sara. She hadn’t said anything about that to him.

“I don’t think that’s something I can ever get used to,” Sara admitted.

“You know, by the time I’d taken over this division, there had already been three other generals in place before me, and they’d all stepped down, and given up. But, I believe in my men. And I believe in the good that we’re doing. Do you? Do you believe in your mission, Captain Lance?”

Inwardly, Len wondered what Sara had done to impress a 19th-century military man enough that he was addressing her by her title.

“I do,” Sara said firmly.

“Well, then, don’t regret making those tough decisions. Ma’am.” And he nodded to her in acknowledgement before walking away to talk to his people. Places to go, famous battles to win.

Len nudged Sara with his elbow. “Something you want to talk about?”

She smiled at him apologetically. “I didn’t bring it up before; you already had enough on your plate, with what was happening to Mick. It’s just… I don’t know how Rip did this. I mean, sure, he used us like pawns on occasion, like in Russia, but… I know he did eventually start to really care about us and our well-being, so how did he cope with putting us in dangerous situations, with the knowledge that if anything happened, it was his responsibility? When Jax first volunteered to go to the plantation, my first reaction was to tell him ‘no’, because I didn’t want to put him in danger. Because now, if one of us gets hurt, it’s on me.”

Mentally, Len was kicking himself for not noticing. “Well, you heard what our future president said. You believe in your people, and you have to have faith that we’ll look out for ourselves and each other, right?”


“Good. Now, did I hear correctly? Did Heywood seriously come up with an alias based on a fast-food icon?”

That lightened the heavy atmosphere considerably. “Well, it’s better than Ray introducing himself as ‘John Wayne’.”

“I once heard Jax say that Raymond also claimed to be ‘Dr. Hannibal Lecter’. In the future. Where, for all we know, there could have been someone who was into ‘old’ books or movies.”

“Smart people can be idiots under pressure,” Sara agreed, “Now, I think we’re done here.”

“Probably. As soon as- wait. Did you see the infected time pirate in this bunch of zombies?”

Sara’s face was a clear expression of ‘Oh, shit!’, but she didn’t get a chance to respond, because the sound of gunfire distracted them. Both ran towards the sound of chaos, just beating Jax and Amaya to it.

A group of Union soldiers was firing at a lone zombie in dirty, bloodstained, green and black clothing. Like all the other zombies, it shrugged off the gunshots and ran at the nearest soldier. The man – practically still a kid, actually – screamed and held up his weapon in self-defence as he was tackled to the ground. Sara blurred into action, knocking the zombie off the kid, and Len and Jax both moved to restrain it.

A soldier ran over with one of the cure sprayers, and, after learning that none of his own people needed it, administered the cure to the zombie.

It might have been kinder to just cut his head off. The young man, while cured of the zombie infection, still had at least a dozen bullets in his body. Sara, recognising the man as the time pirate, knelt over him. “Your crew,” she demanded, “What happened to them?”

“D-dead,” the pirate choked, coughing up blood, “All dead. Ship… lost…” That was the last word they could get from him, as he finally died seconds later.

“Well,” Len murmured, “At least we didn’t have to go hunting for him.”

All in all, it was a successful mission. Gideon reported that the timeline was back to normal, and the time pirate who’d caused all the carnage was in the Waverider’s cold storage. They’d deliver the body to the New Time Master headquarters, along with the data retrieved from his Jump Ship, and either they or another agent would go and deal with the Time Ship that was apparently just drifting through the Temporal Zone with zombies on board.

Len was in the armoury, checking and cleaning his weapon, when Mick suddenly walked in, dragging Raymond with him. “What’s going on?” Len asked, “Or do I not want to know?”

“We’re gettin’ Haircut a new weapon,” Mick answered, “He saved all our asses making that cure, so I’m helpin’ him pick something out that he can use since his suit’s gone.”

“Are you sure that’s the best idea? Raymond, do you even know how to fire a gun?”

“I know the basics,” Raymond replied enthusiastically, “And I’m willing to learn more, if that’s not good enough.”

Len thought about it. As annoying as Raymond was, Len just could not deny that he’d saved the day more than once with that suit, about as often as he did with his science chops. Like it or not, the team had lost an advantage when the A.T.O.M. Suit was destroyed, so it would make sense to give Raymond something he could use to defend himself – and them – in the field, instead of having him stuck on the ship all the time. God knew that Len himself would eventually get a bit of cabin fever in that situation, and he didn’t want to know what sort of idiot schemes Raymond might come up with either to prove himself or just to alleviate his boredom. “So long as you don’t do your target practice while we’re in the Temporal Zone, I… I guess that’s a good idea.”

“Great! Does this mean you’re gonna help?”


Chapter Text

“You killed my beers,” Mick growled.

Len shook his head, unable to believe that training Raymond could be this hard. “C’mon, Raymond, I know for a fact that your aim was just fine with the lasers on your suit-”

“Actually, they’re hard light beams,” Raymond corrected him.

“Does it look like I care? My point is, when you shoot at something, especially with a weapon like this one, you need to compensate for the recoil. You feel it jerk in your hands every time you take a shot, right? That’s the gun moving at the last second, aiming elsewhere at the last second.”

He should’ve known that he would wind up finding himself helping Mick with Raymond’s training, whether he’d wanted any part of it or not. Mick was smarter and more observant than most people knew, but he didn’t have Len’s eye for detail. Which was why Len was currently being forced to spend his valuable free time in a reinforced training room further into the ship’s interior (there was no way they were going to trust Raymond – or Heywood, for that matter – enough to train anywhere near the cargo bay anytime soon), watching Raymond fail utterly at shooting simple targets (the death of Mick’s beer was the pyro’s own fault for placing it anywhere near downrange).

Raymond frowned at the laser gun in his hands. “I know, I know. I’m used to the recoil from my suit, but the hard light emitters are mounted on the gauntlets on my wrists, so it’s a whole new feeling. I guess I just have to practice with this more until I get a better feel for it.”

“Guys!” Amaya interrupted, sticking her head through the door, “We’ve got an Aberration.”

Len shrugged. “Looks like target practice is going to have to wait.”

“Where’s it coming from?” Sara asked once everyone had gathered on the bridge.

“Washington, DC,” Heywood read, “December 7th, 1987, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”

Len raised an eyebrow. He knew that address, even though he’d never been there in his life. “Well, that’s not good.”

“Why?” Mick asked from the doorway, looking utterly bored with the whole meeting already.

“Dude, that’s the White House,” Jax explained.

“So what?”

“December 7th was the day before Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty,” Stein butted in, “reducing both countries’ nuclear arsenals, paving the way for the end of the Cold War.”

“And here I thought Heywood was our resident historian,” Len commented, “How did you know all that off the top of your head?”

“Well, I was in the Capital for that very summit. The Reagan Administration would call upon the top nuclear physicists to act as technical advisors.”

“Do you think someone might have traveled back in time to stop the treaty from being signed?” Raymond suggested.

“That, or worse,” Heywood countered, “Think about it: Reagan and Gorbachev under the same roof, at one of the most volatile moments in history?”

“What’s so volatile about it?” Amaya finally asked, “What ‘Cold War’?”

“It wasn’t so much as a war as it was a state of serious political tension between the Eastern and Western Blocs,” Heywood lectured, “primarily the United States and Russia, from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. It would be ridiculously easy for a time-traveler to start a war in that time period with all the fear and paranoia floating around. Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States in 1987, and Gorbachev was the General Secretary, the Russian leader, and the treaty they both signed on December 8th, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, was crucial to ending the Cold War.”

“Even a failed attempt at causing trouble at that summit could set off a real war,” Len guessed.

“So it’s a good thing our new Aberration-Detector detected it, first,” Raymond commented with a bright smile.

“Actually, Amaya came up with the name ‘Time Seismograph’,” Heywood corrected him, “You know, because it detects Time Quakes.”

“The JSA has a training academy in DC,” Amaya suggested, getting them back on topic, “I could reach out to the current membership, see if they have any intel or resources we could use.”

“Good idea,” Sara agreed, “But only if you can prove to them who you are. After all, you’ve basically been missing for forty-five years.”

Amaya looked briefly shocked at the realisation. “That’s true. I didn’t exactly… tell the others I was going after you guys. I guess I can only hope that they figured out where I went, and that the newer members were informed.”

“Alright, but you shouldn’t go alone. 1987 is a long way from 1942, and it’s dangerous to know too much about the future.” She shot a sharp look at Heywood for revealing the details of the Cold War to their old-timey teammate, however vague.

“I can handle myself,” Amaya protested.

“I’ll go with her,” Heywood offered, prompting a look from Amaya that was angrier than Len expected.

“Great,” Sara agreed, “You two reach out to the JSA, while the rest of us break into the most secure residence in the country.”

“And how, exactly, do we do that?” Jax asked skeptically.

“Easy,” Len told him, a plan already forming in his head, “We walk right in through the front door.”

Everyone stared at him in surprise.

“Of course, Gideon will need to help us with that. It will involve some hacking, unless you want to take a few months to do it the proper, legal way.”

Monday, December 7th, 1987

“Welcome to the White House. This is Cross Hall, a magnificent space that connects the State Dining Room with the East Room.”

Len was already getting bored with the tour, and they were barely a minute into it. His thief’s mind was already casing the joint, eyeing exits, security measures, and items that might be valuable, while tuning out the tour guide’s spiel. He was also keeping an eye out for anything Aberration-like, but so far, there was nothing that looked like it didn’t belong.

Gideon had hacked the White House’s computer records, adding them to a tour that had been booked, like all the other tours of the White House, months in advance. Luckily, the tour hadn’t been booked for a single group of people who all knew each other, and who would notice something amiss when a bunch of strangers joined them. As for the six people who’d previously been booked, whose slots the Legends had stolen, well… they were stuck in the lobby, probably getting refunds for the ‘computer error’ that had cost them their tour.

“Alright,” Sara told the team, “Fan out, stay on the comms, and report if anything seems out of place.” The six Legends split off as planned, Jax and Stein slipping away from the tour group down one hall and Ray and Mick doing the same down another seconds later, while Len and Sara stayed with the group, holding hands and playing the part of a typical, lovesick, nauseating couple. Not a single staff member or tourist noticed a thing, which Len had to balk at. This was the White House! How on Earth could the security personnel be so incompetent as to not notice?!

“This is way too easy,” he murmured in an undertone to Sara, “I know it’s only 1987, but they just let a walking, talking, nuclear reactor, a trained assassin, and three men armed with deadly guns right into the White House! And those weapons aren’t exactly small.” It had been difficult for him to conceal his Cold Gun under his dark denim jacket, same with Mick and the Heat Gun. Raymond, at least, had settled for bringing along one of Rip’s spare laser revolvers tucked under his sweater – and then he’d needed help from Sara to hide it in a way that didn’t leave an obvious bulge showing under the fabric. Of course, Gideon hacking the metal detector had been a significant factor in their success. “How in the hell were there not more Presidential assassinations?”

“Amateurs,” Sara agreed, “I bet if I were still with the League, I could get in, kill Reagan in seconds, and get out before they even noticed a thing.”

“Perhaps the two of you should refrain from discussing Presidential assassinations in the middle of the White House,” Stein suggested over the comms, “Just in case one security guard or one of the tourists actually happen to overhear your conversation.”

“Spoilsport. Although you have to admit it, Martin; their lack of attention is rather concerning.”

“They’ve got a point,” Jax added, “Even the security at S.T.A.R. Labs is better than this.”

“As someone who would occasionally break in there for fun when I was bored last year,” Len said, “Jax is right.”

“You what?!” Stein squawked.

“How do you think I recognized you on the rooftop when Rip first kidnapped us, Professor? We never actually met in-person before then.”

“I- I am an accomplished nuclear physicist, and I do have photographs in various scientific journals.”

“And, what, you thought I actually read those? You do realize that only nerds read those things, right?”

“I- I read those,” Raymond chimed in, “But… I guess that kind of proves your point. Hang on- Mick, is that…”

Raymond abruptly went silent. “Ray?” Sara asked softly over the comm, “Ray? Mick? What’s going on?”

“I think we found our Aberration,” Raymond suddenly reported a few seconds later, “Damien Darhk is here.”

Shit. Len saw Sara’s face shift from that of a concerned leader to something cold and angry. The Legend had been replaced by the Assassin, and she was hungry for blood.

“Sara, don’t do anything rash,” Stein practically begged her over the comms, “Sara? Sara, are you list-” Stein’s pleas were cut off as both Len and Sara shut off their comms.

“Try and keep your cool,” Len hissed to her as they smoothly and quietly slipped away from the tour group, following a hallway that, thanks to having memorised the floor plans earlier, Len knew to eventually meet up with the section Raymond and Mick had been assigned to investigate, “Remember: Do it the smart way, and both you and Laurel come out of this mess alive.”

“You’ve got my back, right?” she whispered.

“Of course I do. You’d think I wouldn’t be able to smuggle my Cold Gun into the goddamn White House, but…”

They quietly stalked through the halls, listening carefully for the sound of Damien Darhk’s voice, and soon enough, they heard it. Rounding a corner, they ducked behind a square pillar so as to not be seen by the immortal assassin, who was wearing a suit and talking to a group of people who were similarly dressed. What was even more troubling was how, even from afar, it was obvious that these people were hanging onto his every word. And the ID badges on their clothes weren’t the same colour as the visitors’ badges that the Legends and the tourists had been given at the start of the tour.

“It doesn’t look like he’s just here as a visitor,” Len whispered, “I think he actually works here. We have to pull back for now. We can’t hit him until he’s alone, anyway.”

Sara said nothing, slipping a knife from her sleeve. Her eyes were on her target and nothing else. She was getting tunnel vision again.

Len grabbed her wrist. “Sara. We can’t do anything right now. I know you just want to get this done, but we’re going to have to wait until we have more information, until we know what, exactly, we’re dealing with.”

Sara glared at him and opened her mouth to argue, but then her eyes flicked over his shoulder to something behind him, and then he heard the intimately familiar sound: the click of a gun’s safety being removed.

“Ma’am,” the Secret Service agent said, “I’m gonna need you to drop the weapon. Drop the knife, and then both of you place your hands behind your heads.”

Len froze and scowled. Just a few years ago, he would’ve shot the man dead on the spot, just for doing his job. And the look in Sara’s eyes suggested that she was actually contemplating hurting him for getting between her and her revenge.

“We’ve got a situation in the East Wi-”

A grunt and a thud cut the man off, and Len twisted around to see Mick standing over the unconscious agent, Heat Gun in hand. Raymond jogged up to them, holding his newly-acquired laser gun and bravely – and perhaps foolishly – planting himself between Sara and the man who killed her sister. “I know you want vengeance for Laurel,” he tried to talk her out of it, “But it’s not that simple.”

“Get out of my way,” Sara growled softly, pushing past Raymond. Unfortunately, Darhk and his companions had vanished while they were distracted, and five more agents were approaching them, guns drawn, shouting at the four them not to move. “Damn it!”

“Are we gonna fight or leave?” Mick asked, obviously hoping for the former.

“Fight,” Sara snarled before Len could say ‘Leave’. Mick stepped forward and started shooting, and Raymond and Len exchanged an exasperated look before joining him, their guns on their lower settings so as to not seriously hurt anyone. The Secret Service agents ducked for cover, clearly shocked as hell by what was being shot at them.

“Haircut, get outta here,” Mick said, “You aren’t done training yet. We got this.”

“What?” Raymond protested, “I’m not leaving you guys!”

With one hand, Len grabbed Raymond by the sleeve of his sweater and tried to yank him back. “GO!” he ordered.

But then disaster struck. Raymond yanked his arm free from Len’s grip, and then, for some reason, shoved Len away. Len stumbled, trying to regain his balance, and he only had a split-second to realise the danger before the stream of his Cold Gun crossed with the flames of Mick’s Heat Gun as a direct result of his brief flailing.

The resulting explosion threw all four of them off their feet, and while it clearly startled the hell out of the Secret Service agents, it didn’t do much more to them than that, so they kept advancing.

Luckily, Firestorm flew up from behind the agents and landed in between them and the rest of the team. “Go!” the two-in-one metahuman shouted.

Len pulled Sara along with him as they broke a window and ran across the lawn, hearing shouts and sirens sounding from all directions. Len angrily turned his comm back on. “Gideon!” he barked, “Whatever the hell you did to the Pentagon’s security the last time we were in DC, do it again!” The last thing they needed was to have their faces in terrorist files.

“Right away,” the AI responded calmly, as if everything hadn’t just gone to hell.

“We interrupt this broadcast with breaking news: Chaos in the Capital. Just a day before President Reagan is set to welcome General Secretary Mikahil Gorbachev to the White house to sign the INF Treaty, a White House tour ends in violence, and what witnesses describe as a ‘Rocket Man’. Was this an act of terrorism?”

“Please, turn it off, Gideon,” Stein spoke up over the Channel 52 news announcer, “I can’t bear it.” The older man turned to glare at Sara, who was leaning against the centre console and glaring a hole into it. “So, your thirst for vengeance nearly landed the entire team in prison.”

“I guess it’s only okay to change history if it suits your personal vendetta,” Jax added. Len got the feeling that there was a reference in there to a previous conversation he hadn’t been a part of.

“It wasn’t all Blondie’s fault,” Mick threw in, glaring at Raymond, “Haircut screwed up, as well.”

Raymond looked offended. “If you guys had just let me help instead of shoving me away-”

“You could barely hit a target at mid-range during practice,” Len shot back, “You weren’t ready. And this fiasco proves it.”

Raymond still looked stubbornly convinced that the stream-crossing explosion hadn’t been his fault, but instead of arguing about it, he changed the subject. “The bigger question is: Why did Damien Darhk become an advisor to Reagan’s White House on the eve of the nuclear treaty with the USSR?”

Right. That was the bigger problem: the Aberration that had brought them there in the first place.

“If his involvement with the Nazis in 1942 indication,” Stein presumed, “he’s working with our time-traveling nemesis.”

“The same person that killed Hourman,” Sara said darkly, “Amaya needs to hear about this.”

“So she can also lose focus, risking everything in a selfish pursuit of revenge?”

The thick tension that was already in the room went up several more notches. Sara stood straight and looked the professor in the eye. “Do you have something you’d like to say to me, Martin?”

Stein didn’t back down, even in the face of the former assassin’s death glare. “Yes. That killing Damien Darhk almost thirty years before his actual death will have countless unforeseeable effects on the history that we are charged with protecting.”

“Well, what about protecting my sister? She brought me back from the dead. She risked everything for me. How could I not do the same for her?”

“Because you answer to a higher calling, Sara. I’m sorry, but we cannot stray from our guiding principle.”

Sara was quiet for a second. “Well, I’m sorry, too. Sounds like you’ve never really cared about anyone.”

Anyone watching could see the old man flinch as if he’d been slapped. Then Sara turned and walked out of the room, anger radiating off every inch of her body.

“Aren’t you going to say something to her?” Jax asked Len, “Talk some sense into her?”

“She won’t even listen to me on this,” Len told him, “To be honest, I want to help her kill Darhk. But… I have to admit that the Professor does have a point.” He sighed. “For all we know, killing Darhk at the wrong time could result in bigger catastrophes, could kill Laurel or someone else Sara cares about before their time. Hell, it could set off a chain of events that gets Sara killed before Rip can recruit her, without the possibility of the Lazarus Pit bringing her back.”

“Her target fixation on Darhk could also get her killed,” Raymond added, “Remember how she lost it in New York?”

“Of course I remember New York. I was the one with a front-row seat. It was only me getting shot that pulled her out of her own head.” He let out another sigh. “Alright, I’ll talk to her, do what I can.” He left the bridge as well, going straight to the training room, where, as he expected, Sara was pummelling and stabbing a punching bag to death, the sand pooling on the floor at her feet. “It’s a good thing Gideon can make more of those,” he commented during a lull in her punches, pausing to lean against the doorway.

Sara whipped around to glare at him, then went back to the bag. “Are you going to lecture me, after all, Len? I thought you were on my side.”

“I am on your side, Sara. And I’m worried for you.”

“Why? I’m trying to be smart about it, like you asked me to.”

“Trying to attack Damien Darhk in the White House, surrounded by dozens of Secret Service agents willing to shoot you dead for trying, doesn’t quite meet my definition of ‘smart’, Sara. And as much as I hate to admit it… Stein has a point.”

“What?!” She whirled away from the bag again, looking like she might want to start wailing on him instead. “Len, how could you-”

“What happens if you kill Damien Darhk, currently an advisor to the President? You could set off huge changes in history, and I’m not just talking about big-picture changes here.” He pushed himself off the doorframe and stepped closer. “We have no way of predicting how it’ll affect you or the people you care about. How do we know a war won’t be started if… I don’t know, if the US winds up believing the Russians hired you to kill him? And how do we know that that war wouldn’t get someone else you love killed before their time – that it wouldn’t get Laurel killed even earlier?! I know you want to save her, but what if killing Darhk earlier only makes things worse?”

Sara had stopped glaring at him, now, looking more like she was just inches away from breaking down.

Len sighed. He looked over his shoulder to be sure none of their teammates were nearby and able to listen in. “You know, when my grandfather died, I wanted to hurt someone, too. I don’t know if the fact that it was cancer that took him, and not an actual person, made it better or worse, but I was pissed at the world, and I wanted someone to pay. But… to use Stein’s words, I had a… ‘higher calling’. Lisa. She was just two years old, and I was the only one left to take care of her. I was never exactly the religious type, and I’m still not, but I figured that, if he was watching over us, the best way to honor him would be to prioritize taking care of her.” He moved closer. “You said Laurel was the one who encouraged you to come on this ship. To find yourself. To make a difference. I may not have known her, but you need to ask yourself this: would your sister be proud of you for throwing that all away?”

Sara stared at him, shaking. “I… I don’t… I can’t talk about this, right now.”

“Okay. But… do you think you can just… back off for a while? Get this mission over with first?”

“Uh, yeah… I can try, anyway.”

Len felt like he was betraying her, seeing how broken and defeated she looked in that moment. He’d promised to help her kill Damien Darhk, but now here he was, telling her not to…

“Rex’s killer is here?” Amaya repeated, “In 1987?”

Heywood and Amaya had just gotten back from visiting the JSA academy, bringing the news that the group had dissolved, that most of Amaya’s teammates had gone MIA in 1956, and that the only remaining one, Obsidian, was apparently living in the abandoned academy premises like a hermit.

“Potentially,” Stein amended, “If Damien Darhk is still working with him.”

“No way,” Heywood exclaimed at whatever he was reading on the screen in Rip’s study, “Damien Darhk joined the Reagan Administration as an advisor at the Reykjavik Summit? And after the collapse of the summit, Darhk was credited with reviving the disarmament talks?”

“Darhk prefers stockpiling nukes,” Sara countered, “Not getting rid of them.”

“The nuclear treaty must be a cover,” Jax guessed.

“Alright, I’ve got one question: Who is this Damien Darhk?”

Amaya’s question stunned them all into silence.

Raymond was the one who eventually answered her. “Uh, sorry, Amaya. I- I guess we forgot to tell you… Not to give away too much about the future, but… Damien Darhk was alive in 1942 and 2016. He had means of prolonging his life, supernaturally, so he’s a lot older than he looks. He wanted to reshape the world, and by ‘reshape’ I mean ‘have every nuke in the world go off while he and his chosen followers hide in a huge bunker, then start over’. Our friends in 2016 were able to stop him and his plan, but one of them was killed. Her name was Laurel Lance, and she was Sara’s sister. And a good friend of mine.”

“Darhk murdered her personally,” Sara picked up as Amaya’s shocked gaze turned to her, “I hate him just as much as you hate the person who killed Rex.”

“Which is exactly what caused our disaster at the White House today,” Stein muttered.

“We are not having that discussion again,” Len butted in before another argument could start, “We don’t have time for that. What’s more important is that we find out why Darhk is doing what he’s doing in this time period.”

“Gideon, where is Damien Darhk now?” Sara asked the AI.

“I’m accessing the calendar on his secretary’s IBM personal computer,” Gideon responded, prompting an amused/derisive snort from Raymond, probably at the mention of the old, outdated (by their standards) tech, “Mr. Darhk has a meeting in Georgetown Park at 8 p.m.”

“Late-night meeting in the park?” Heywood commented, one eyebrow raised, “That’s not suspicious.”

Sara was clearly in agreement. “Len, take Ray and Mick. Find out who Darhk is meeting with and why.” She stood and started to walk out.

“Wait, just us?” Raymond questioned.

Sara sighed and met Len’s eyes for a second before answering Raymond. “Look, it’s not a good idea for me to be anywhere near Damien Darhk right now.”

Raymond still looked a bit surprised, but nodded in agreement.

This wasn’t the first time Len had spent long hours sitting in a vehicle for surveillance purposes, although usually it was for casing a target, memorising the guards’ patrol routines, etc. He, Mick, and Raymond had parked the van Gideon had fabricated for them outside Georgetown Park about half an hour ago, and aside from the occasional strolling couple or someone just taking a shortcut home, they’d had no luck. It was still only five to eight, of course, so Len figured he could wait for another ten or fifteen minutes before getting impatient. Mick, on the other hand, was already tapping his fingers restlessly against the Heat Gun, a sure sign that he’d need some sort of diversion soon, or he’d inevitably create one of his own.

Raymond was busy kneeling and attaching something to the underside of the nearest park bench; Gideon had shown them the full detail of Darhk’s schedule, and it had specified that exact bench as the meeting point.

“Got him,” Mick growled, sitting in the driver’s seat and peering through a set of binoculars.

Len sat up and leaned closer so that he could see the blonde man entering the park. “Raymond,” he hissed into the comms.

Thankfully, Raymond had just finished whatever he was doing and was racing back to the van. Darhk didn’t see him, thanks to the dark of the night and some conveniently placed trees and shrubbery. “Okay, we’re a go on audio,” he announced as he got into the back of the van.

“Cutting it close, Haircut,” Mick growled from the driver’s seat, “Darhk just sat down.”

“You were only five seconds shy of him seeing you before you got out of there,” Len told the nerd, “You’ll have to be faster next time.”

Raymond winced apologetically. “Sorry.” Then he reached into the paper bag he’d brought along and pulled a smaller plastic bag out, although it was too dark for Len to identify the contents.

“What are you doin’?” Mick asked.

“Well, we’re on a stakeout. I brought snacks. Apple slice?”

Mick stared at him for a second before grabbing the whole bag and stuffing a few slices into his mouth. “Ugh. I hate healthy food.” He kept shovelling them into his mouth regardless, then he turned on the radio.

“Oh… I just died in your arms tonight…” Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew sang.

“I hate eighties music, too,” Mick grumbled, shutting it off.

“It’s not a stakeout,” Len corrected Raymond, snatching a piece of apple from the bag and popping it into his mouth, “Cops do stakeouts, and we’re not cops.”

Raymond looked confused. “Then what is this?”

“Surveillance. Recon. Whatever. My point is that this is not a stakeout.”

“Is there any sign of who Darhk’s meeting with?” Sara asked over the comms before their debate into semantics could go any further.

“Not yet,” Len sighed, “Darhk only just got here.”

“A clandestine meeting in a DC Park,” Stein commented, “It feels like the beginning of a John le Carré spy novel.”

“I’m more of an Ian Fleming guy,” Heywood added.

“Who?” Amaya asked.

“They both wrote spy novels. Fiction. There’s basically no one in 2016 who hasn’t heard of Fleming’s James Bond.”

“The Bond movies were awesome,” Jax agreed, “More explosions, less clothing.” Len could just imagine Heywood and the kid fist-bumping, or something.

Amaya sighed. “I’m sorry I asked. What if Darhk is meeting with Rex’s killer?”

“Then we don’t let either of them leave,” Sara declared.

Then Len noticed something. “We’ve got movement. A man just entered the park.”

“Ray, we need audio.”

“Yep.” Raymond held up a bulky radio. “Way ahead of you, Cap. Thankfully, there was a Tech Village nearby.” He started extending the antenna, which went all the way to the front (nearly poking an annoyed Mick in the eye) and then out the driver’s side window. “You wouldn’t believe what you can hack together with a few household items.”

“Darhk.” A man’s deep voice crackled through the radio. It was hard to tell since he’d only uttered one syllable, but it sounded like he had a thick accent.

Heywood apparently noticed it, as well. “Sounds like he’s meeting with a member of the Soviet delegation, not Rex’s killer.”

“The package is procured.” Yep, definitely a Russian accent.

“Excellent news, Boris,” Darhk responded, “That is your name, isn’t it? Boris? Or is it Igor? I find it’s always one or the other with you KGB agents.” Len couldn’t help but smirk at that comment. “Anyhoo, once the treaty is signed, during the State Dinner, you will deliver the package.”

“And you will uphold your half of the bargain?”

“As agreed. But first, a toast, to peace between our two nations.”

“Darhk was never interested in the nuclear treaty,” Raymond voiced what they were all realising.

“He’s working a side deal with the KGB,” Len finished, hearing Heywood whisper a quick explanation to Amaya. Then he noticed something. “Incoming.”

“Oh no,” Raymond whispered as the new arrival, a blonde man in a suit, passed under a streetlight, muttering to himself nervously, “Mayday! Marty, Younger You just entered the park!”

“What?!” Len hissed. Oh, this was not good.

“Th-that’s impossible,” their Stein protested, “Today is December 7th, Clarissa’s birthday. I distinctly remember we had a dinner reservation for this evening, which took me months to procure!”

“Then why does it look like you’re blowing your wife off?”

“Should we stop him?” Raymond asked.

“Stop what?! What am I doing?!”

Len couldn’t see what was going on as well as Mick, who was hogging the binoculars, but he could clearly see the younger Martin Stein stopping right in front of Darhk. “Mr. Darhk, allow me to introduce myself. M-My name is Martin Stein, you may have heard of me, I’m on the negotiating team, and was recently nominated for my sixth Carlen Award in physics.”

“Congratulations,” Darhk responded politely, as if he wasn’t bothered at all by the other man’s sudden presence at his secret, most likely treasonous meeting.

“Thank you.”

“Did you follow me here?”

“I did.” Younger Stein actually sounded proud of that, which was a bad move on his part (on top of showing up in the first place). “You see, I’m- I’m working on a transmutation project that is vital to national security. I was hoping that you might pass the proposal on to the President.” There was a short, tense pause, as Marty’s attention seemed to drift to Boris/Igor/Whoever. “E-Excuse me, I- I can’t help but notice you’re wearing a Komandirskie watch, typically supplied to the Soviet… Ministry of Defense. M-Meeting with a Soviet outside of… the… official negotiation schedule? That is… highly irregular.”

“Oh, he’s not walkin’ away, now,” Mick murmured, “Not when he’s onto them.”

Darhk muttered something, presumably in Russian, and then the KGB agent got up and walked away.

“Guys, get in there!” Sara ordered, “Now!”

Len didn’t need to be told twice, already opening his door and jumping out of the van. Mick and Raymond were right behind him, but by the time they got there, Marty was bleeding on the ground and Darhk had vanished into the shadows like the League of Assassins veteran that he was. Len also heard his other teammates shouting Stein’s name on the Waverider.

“Len, what happened?!” Sara cried over the comms.

“Darhk just knifed Younger Stein,” Len reported, shedding his jacket and pressing it to the wound.

“Where’s Darhk?”

“We lost him,” Mick told her, “Bastard slipped away like a cockroach.”

“It’s gonna be okay,” Raymond tried to assure the younger Stein, “We’ve got you.”

“We’ll have to bring him to the Waverider,” Len said, “There’ll be too many questions if we take him to a hospital.”

“Fine, bring him here. Just hurry. Our Stein’s been hurt, too.”

They managed to get ‘Marty’ up and walking, and even being stabbed and bleeding didn’t stop him from incessantly asking questions of them. “Who are you? Where are you taking me?”

“We’re taking you to someone who can help,” Raymond assured him as he and Mick dragged the physicist along the Waverider’s halls.

The older Stein was already in one of the Med Bay beds when they arrived, Jax and Sara hovering on either side of him. “You again?!” Marty gasped, obviously recognising the three of them from their encounter with him in 1975, “I- I mean, me again?!”

“Guess he figured it out,” Len commented dryly, lowering Marty into the other bed and slipping the IV cuff onto him.

Marty continued to whine. “How did this happen? I’m too young to die. Too brilliant to die.”

“Would one of you please shut me up?!” the older one snapped.

Mick stepped forward, fist raised, but was blocked by both Len and Raymond.

“Gideon?” Sara called.

“I am cauterising the younger Martin’s wound,” Gideon reported as Marty gasped in pain, “I’m afraid it will leave both patients with a rather nasty scar.”

“You shoulda let me punch him,” Mick growled, stalking out.

“This is about time-travel, isn’t it?” Marty continued asking questions, “That’s why Special Advisor Darhk stabbed me.”

“He wouldn’t have stabbed you if you had been having dinner with Clarissa at l’Auberge as previously planned!” Stein shot back.

Marty gasped again. “Good God! Clarissa! She’s waiting for me at the hotel!”

“How could you have left her alone on her birthday?!”

“She ordered room service,” Marty whimpered. As if that was a good enough excuse.

“You are a careless, self-centered idiot!”

“Gray,” Jax interrupted the two Steins’ argument, “Gray, look, I’ll go to the hotel, and I’ll tell Clarissa that her husband’s working late. Okay? Just… relax.” And he hurried out of the Med Bay.

“Oh, Martin,” the older one groaned, “What on Earth were you thinking?!”

Len looked between the two of them. “How the hell did this happen, anyway? What changed?”

“Well, you were there,” Marty retorted arrogantly, “I am quite certain you saw-”

“I’m not sure,” Stein interrupted his younger self, “While I was called to consult on the nuclear treaty, I also don’t recall ever setting foot in the White House; only a handful of our number were allowed that privilege, and the rest of us worked in a building off-site.”

“What?! That’s not right! Why on Earth would I have been passed over for-”

“Oh, for goodness sake, could you forget your ego for one second?!”

Len rolled his eyes, thoroughly done with the byplay between the two Steins. “Gideon, can you please get Younger Stein to shut the hell up?”

“I am administering a sedative now,” Gideon responded calmly.

“What? Sedative? No, how dare you…” And Marty was out like a light.

Stein let out a big sigh. “Thank you, Gideon. As I was saying, my own personal history had already been changed by the time we arrived. Jefferson and I saw my younger self working right in the White House, but I suppose we forgot to mention it in the aftermath of the debacle that followed.” He looked straight at Sara. “Most likely, it was an unexpected side-effect of the alteration that led to Mr. Darhk being in the White House, as well. As I have said, any change to history can have massive, unforeseeable consequences.”

Tuesday, December 8th, 1987

“That looks good on you.”

Sara turned, swiveling slowly so as to show off her blue, eighties-style, one-piece pantsuit. “I could say the same.” Len was in a more generic black and white tux, pretty much identical to what the other men on the team were wearing.

Amaya and Heywood had convinced Obsidian – real name Todd Rice – to use his contacts from his JSA days to get them tickets to the State Dinner, since they knew Darhk deal with the KGB would be going down there. Hopefully, none of the Secret Service agents would recognise any of them from yesterday’s debacle.

“I’m surprised that this dinner is being held at all, what with the whole ‘terrorist attack’ yesterday,” Sara commented.

“Security’s going to be ridiculously tight.”

“Well, it’s a good thing we’ve got actual tickets. No having to sneak in.”

“True, but where’s the fun in that?” He stepped forward and put both hands on her shoulders. “Are you sure you can handle this?”

Sara took a deep breath. “No. I mean, I hope I can. Stein talked to me, earlier, after Gideon healed him up. He said that it wasn’t just history that he was worried about. He was worried about me, too, about my conscience. He sounded a bit like you did when you convinced me not to kill him in Russia. Did we ever tell him about that?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“It’s just… It is something to think about. Along with what you said, about what Laurel would want me to do. She’s the one who told me to ‘Be a hero in the light’. Right now, I’m just not entirely sure about what that means.”

Len kissed her on the forehead. “You’ll figure it out. You always do.” He took her hand and led her out of the fabricator room. The rest of the team was waiting for them, all dressed to the nines and looking very classy. Even Mick had cleaned up nicely.

Sara eyed the Professor. “Are you sure you’re up for this?”

Stein waved her off. “Of course. Temporally speaking, I’ve had almost thirty years to heal from this wound.”

“And your younger self?”

“He’s still in the Med Bay. Gideon has already healed him, but I don’t think it’s best for him to go to the State Dinner tonight. Not if Damien Darhk will be there.”

“Right,” Sara agreed, “We can’t have them crossing paths until this whole mess is over. Darhk will think Marty’s told someone and retreat, and Marty will probably poke his nose in again and screw everything up.”

“Exactly. Gideon is keeping him under sedation, because I know for a fact that my – his – our natural curiosity will drive him to explore the ship if he is left unsupervised.”

“Good call. What about everyone else? Are we all set?”

“Yes,” Amaya confirmed, “Todd will meet us there.”

“Okay, then, team. Let’s go crash a State Dinner.”

The Marines guarding the entrance didn’t even blink twice when the Legends presented their admission tickets and phony IDs and just waltzed right past them (once again, Sara had many weapons hidden on her person, and Len, Mick, and Raymond had their guns). Amaya led the way to an old, white-haired man who was waiting for them inside the Dining Hall. “Thank you for helping us get in,” she said to him. Alright, so that was Rice. Len had never seen his face during their trip to 1942, so he wouldn’t have been able to recognise the man, even if the extra forty-five years hadn’t been a factor.

“Feels good to be back in the game,” Rice responded with a wry smile.

“I don’t see Damien Darhk anywhere,” Sara muttered.

“He’ll be here,” Len assured her.

The Legends split off and roamed the large room, helping themselves to drinks and snacks and keeping an eye out for Darhk or his KGB friend. At some point, Len saw Stein walk away from Jax to dance with a beautiful blonde in a blue dress. “Jax, what’s the Professor doing?”

“Uh… trying to save his marriage? Clarissa was pretty bummed about her husband not being here. It’s just a dance, don’t worry about it.”

Len decided to let it go, and circled around the room once before joining the other men, as Sara and Amaya were deep in what looked like a serious conversation.

“Mr. Snart,” Rice greeted him somewhat coolly. Heywood had assured them that while the former JSA member had gotten old, he definitely still had his creepy shadow powers and was not to be underestimated.

“Mr. Rice. I hope you’re not still mad at me for shooting Amaya in ‘42. She’s already forgiven me for that, and it’s been only a few weeks for her and forty-five years for you.” He took a sip of champagne.

Rice gave him a sharp look, but didn’t say anything on the subject. Instead, he chose a different one. “So, who is this person who’s helping Rex’s killer? Special Advisor Damien Darhk? Amaya and Nathaniel were somewhat vague when describing him.”

“Well, to be fair, of the whole crew, those two know the least about him. Damien Darhk is over a century old, thanks to this dark magic water that heals the wounded, saves the dying, and resurrects the dead – that’s a long story. He’s got these really nasty plans of world domination and a God complex to match. By 2016, he’d gotten his hands on some ancient magical artifact that gave him other powers, but we’re pretty damn sure that hasn’t happened yet. However, he’s still a trained assassin; he’s got the same training as Sara, but with an extra hundred years or so of experience on top of that. He’s also a sadistic psychopath with a huge Messiah Complex. But unfortunately… we can’t kill him here. Not without screwing up the timeline.”

Rice’s eyes narrowed. “What is he going to do?”

“Attempt to destroy the entire world by setting off every nuclear weapon on the planet, after which he and his chosen loyal disciples would come out from their shelters and start over, with Darhk, of course, being their leader and ‘savior’. A group of heroes in 2016 manage to stop him, thankfully, before he can carry it out, but Sara’s older sister was part of that team, and she was killed in the process. Sara wants to kill Darhk before any of that happens in order to save Laurel, but every time she’s tried, it’s all gone badly. She can’t seem to think straight around him.” Len was grateful that he’d shut off the transmitting end of his comm for the conversation, because he didn’t want Sara to hear him saying that about her. Even if it was true.

“Amaya’s liable to be just as reckless when it comes to your time-traveler,” Rice warned him, “She and Rex were… Well, the Justice Society had rules against fraternization, but they were talking about leaving after the war ended, to try and have a relationship, despite how much opposition they were bound to face in the society of the 1940s.”

Len nodded, remembering his grandfather mentioning the difficulty of convincing his family to accept Len’s black grandmother in that same time period. “I wondered about that. Sara said that Amaya asked her about how we managed it, being together while still working on this team.” Then, Len caught a flash of white-blonde hair out of the corner of his eye. A second look confirmed it, and he switched his comm all the way on again. “I’ve got eyes on Darhk,” he reported softly.

“Me, too,” Heywood chimed in, “The same hallway we came in through.”

Len saw Sara look away from Amaya and recognised the angry tension in her body that appeared the instant her eyes landed on Darhk. “Mick, Ray, guard the exits. Everybody else, get ready to move.”

They all followed Darhk through the halls, miraculously avoiding any security (which was preoccupied with watching the crowd in the dining hall), and down to the basement. He wasn’t alone. The KGB agent was down there as well, accompanied by five shady-looking men in suits, and Darhk similarly had five men clad in full-coverage military gear – his Ghosts.

The Legends (and Obsidian) waited around a corner, listening to their conversation.

“Now that our governments are waging peace upstairs,” Darhk was saying, “What do you say we get down to the real business?”

“You have brought us the codes?” the Russian asked.

“It’s called a CD-Rom. The latest in Defence Department technology.” (Len heard Raymond over the comms, once again stifling a derisive snort). “As for the other half of the exchange?”

Len, carefully peeking out, watched as the Russian pulled a small, black box out of his jacket. It honestly looked like a simple jewellery box. The two men exchanged their respective items, and Darhk opened the box to look at what was inside. The evil smile and evil laugh were pretty good indicators that the Legends did not want to let him keep it, no matter what it was.

“Hand over the box!” Sara ordered as she and the others stepped out into the open. All the minions, on both sides of the arrangement, immediately pointed their guns at the newcomers.

“And the kick-ass CD-Rom,” Heywood added.

“What is this?” the Russian demanded of Darhk. He growled something in his own language, and most of his men turned and aimed at Darhk instead, forcing four of Darhk’s Ghosts to aim back at them.

“He thinks we’re working with Darhk,” Heywood murmured.

“Am I the only one who’s feeling insulted?” Len asked the rest of the team, scowling.

“Never,” Sara growled, half at Darhk, half at the Russian.

“No one has to get hurt,” Amaya said, though Len didn’t think she was so naïve as to believe that it wasn’t going to happen.

“That’s not really my style,” Darhk disagreed, “Now, we can waste time chit-chatting, or you can deal with the explosive my people have secreted inside the State Dining Room.” The Legends and Obsidian exchanged worried looks. “See, in about six minutes, Reagan, Gorbachev, and every hope of peace goes ‘Ka-Booom’.”

Shit. Len hadn’t had much experience with this guy, but really, as a villain, it was just like him to pull a move like that. Len himself had pulled something similar when he’d derailed that train two years ago, just to distract Barry and get the jump on him.

“Ray?” Sara breathed.

“We’re on it.”

“I am sorry,” Darhk apologised, not sounding sorry at all, “Inconvenient, I know, but try being me.” He then pulled a gun of his own out of his suit jacket and casually shot his KGB contact dead.

That was the cue for complete and utter chaos to erupt. The Russians and the Ghosts started firing on each other and the Legends, who jumped into the fight. Len caught sight of Darhk calmly strolling away from the three-way battle, followed by a cloud of black smoke – Obsidian.

“Todd?” Amaya called, running after him.

“We’re on the move to find the bomb,” Raymond reported.

Len ducked as Firestorm rocketed over his head and out of the room. Where the hell were they going?

“I got this, guys!” Heywood called out, “Go stop Darhk!”

Len and Sara nodded and ran out of the room, trusting that the metal man could handle a few measly mooks. They didn’t get far before they found their path blocked by one of the KGB agents, a hulking behemoth of a man. “I’ll take care of this one,” Sara said lowly, “As soon as you get a shot at getting past him, go help the others.”

“Are you sure?”

To her credit, Sara didn’t mistake his question for ‘Are you sure you can handle this man?’ “I’m sure.”

The man charged forward, throwing them both into a shelf of boxes. They clambered out, Sara taking off her high-heeled shoes and winging them at the guy’s head in order to get his attention as he started to stroll away, presumably to deal with the others. Len ducked around another shelf and raced out of there, hearing the sounds of combat behind him. He left the basement altogether, figuring that Darhk would be trying to get out of there as quickly as possible.

A minute later, Len figured that he’d been mistaken in that reasoning, because he didn’t see Darhk, or Obsidian or Amaya, but he did spot plenty of panicked partygoers running away from the dining hall, and fought through the crowd to reach Raymond and Mick, who were kneeling next to an overturned dessert table with an obvious bomb – complete with a digital clock with an ominous countdown – strapped to its underside.

“Good news: we found the bomb,” Raymond was saying, “Bad news: this type of system is obsolete. I have no idea how to disarm such a crude weapon.” He looked hopefully up at Len.

Len shook his head. “Don’t look at me. I know locks and alarm systems, not bombs.”

“Figure it out, Ray,” Sara told the scientist, “I’m still a little busy!”

“There’s nothing I can do!”

“Of course there is!” Mick growled, “You’re Ray Palmer! You can science your way outta anything!”

Raymond nodded. “Right. I’m Ray Palmer; I can science my way out of anything. I can-” He paused, and Len could see the lightbulb going off in his head. “If I can send an electrical pulse from an outside power source, I might be able to overload the bomb’s incendiary trigger! But…” He glanced nervously at Len. “You’re not going to like this. I have to dismantle the Cold Gun.”

Raymond was right. Len didn’t like it one bit. “What?!”

“Its internal engine is the only thing we have available on short notice. Nothing else in this time period is powerful enough. Believe me, I wouldn’t ask this of you if there was any other option.”

Len glared at the bomb, its stupid little red numbers showing that they barely had a minute remaining before the bomb blew. “Fine,” he growled, turning the Cold Gun off and shoving it into Raymond’s hands, “Just work fast.”

Raymond did work as quickly as he could, opening the Cold Gun up and using a little tool he whipped out from out of nowhere to mess with the wiring. But it still wasn’t quite fast enough for Len’s liking, not with his most prized weapon being desecrated right in front of him, and certainly not with the numbers continuing to count down.

“Ray, tell me the bomb’s disarmed,” Sara growled over the comms after the count hit 20.

“That would be a lie,” Raymond answered, not pausing in his work.

Mick picked a discarded chocolatey dessert up off the floor and sat down. “Well, ten seconds to live. There are worse ways of dying.” He calmly shoved the pastry into his mouth.

Six seconds left.

Five seconds left.

Four seconds left.

Raymond touched a wire from the Cold Gun to the bomb, jerking his hands away as sparks and smoke flew. The countdown stayed frozen with three seconds left. “I did it,” he gasped, “I did it!”

“Good,” Mick grunted casually through a mouthful of dessert.

Len sighed, looking at his also-smoking Cold Gun. “At least something good came out of this.”

Raymond’s triumphant grin faded. “I’m sorry, Snart. Really, I am.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m going to go find Sara.” He stood and exited the dining hall, going back to the basement area on a hunch that Darhk might still be down there.

He took a different path than the one he’d taken to return to the upstairs, and soon rounded a corner to see Amaya cradling an injured Rice while Sara was having a tense standoff with Darhk.

“I know that look in your eye, though,” Darhk was saying, “That’s the look of someone that I’ve taken everything from.”

He was baiting her, trying to get her to lose focus again. But Sara wasn’t buying into it. Not this time. “Not everything. You haven’t taken my soul. Which I’ve already lost once, and I’m not eager to do that again. And that’s why… I’m sparing your life.”

A knot of tension in his stomach that Len hadn’t even been aware of– probably because it’d been there for so long that he’d gotten used to it – came undone.

“How merciful of you,” Darhk sneered.

Sara’s dark smirk showed that it was anything but an act of mercy. “I’m sparing you, to prolong your suffering. Because I’m from the future, Damien.” She stepped closer, slowly. “And I know how this all ends. Your Ark, your grand vision. Just as you’re about to accomplish everything you desire, your wife is murdered, the love of your life. And in total despair, you even try to kill your own daughter. An entire city rises up against you.” She was right in his face, now. “And then you die, defeated, and alone.”

Darhk looked both shaken and murderous, but before he or Sara could do or say anything else, there was a gust of wind, the sound of something zipping through the air at high speeds, and then Darhk was gone, a trail of red lightning briefly lighting the room before vanishing.

For a resident of Central City, there was no mistaking what that all meant. A speedster. Damien Darhk’s ally was a goddamn speedster.

Heywood jogged up to them, evidently done with the lower-level goons. “What happened?” he asked, “Where’s Darhk?”

“He took him!” Sara gasped as Len also made his way over. “The time-traveler working against us…”

“He’s a speedster,” Len finished.

“Like the Flash?” Heywood questioned.

“I’ve seen the Flash in action. This one looked like he was even faster.”

“So the speedster and Darhk, they have whatever the KGB gave Darhk?!”

“Unless…” Sara was remarkably calm about the whole thing.

“Unless what?” Len prompted her.

Smirking, Sara held up the black jewellery box. “I swiped it off Darhk.”

“Shut up,” Heywood gasped, grinning.

Len felt a grin of his own forming on his face. “Don’t say I never taught you anything.”

“But you didn’t teach me this,” Sara countered smugly, “I learned how to pick a pocket in the League of Assassins, long before I even met you.”

“Can I hug you?” Heywood asked, “Do we hug?”

Sara finally grinned back. “Okay, just this once.” She let Heywood hug her, then she turned to Len. “You were right,” she said simply.

“Guys?” Amaya got their attention, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but Todd’s been shot, here!”

Heywood immediately broke away and dashed to Rice’s other side. “I thought his powers protected him from bullets.”

“They do. But he was shielding me.”

Sara joined them. “Let’s get him back to the Waverider.”

“Not yet,” Rice groaned, “There’s gonna be a lot to clean up. Someone did just try to set off a bomb in the White House.”

“I really am sorry, Snart.”

Len didn’t even turn around, knowing Raymond was hovering at the door to the armoury with that kicked-puppy look on his face.

Len had taken the rest of the team, besides the girls, back to the Waverider as soon as the Secret Service agents had finally allowed them to leave the White House, what with the bomb in the middle of the State Dinner and the dead guys downstairs, some of them being Russians. Rice had allowed a medic to examine the wound, and luckily it wasn’t life-threatening, so he was allowed to stay and debrief along with Sara and Amaya instead of being shipped off to the hospital.

Now, Len was examining his damaged Cold Gun, trying fruitlessly to see if there was any way to fix it.

“I know that gun was important to you. Really, if there’d been any other choice-”

“I know that, Raymond. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.” He threw his screwdriver across the room in an admittedly childish expression of frustration. “The whole thing’s fried.”

“Well, yeah, electricity does tend to do that. I can try and fix it.”

Len shook his head. “Gideon’s already taken a look at it. The entire engine needs to be replaced, along with literally all the wiring. And Gideon can’t even create all the parts needed. Apparently even the Waverider’s fabricator has it limits.”

“Damn. I was really hoping we’d be able to fix the gun afterwards. Especially now that we know we’re up against a speedster.” Raymond sighed. “The timing couldn’t be worse. I mean, Cisco created the Cold Gun specifically to stop rogue speedsters. Now we’re facing one, and it’s broken.”

“I thought the Reverse Flash didn’t show up until later.”

“He didn’t. Cisco and the rest of the S.T.A.R. Labs crew knew what Barry’s powers were going to be while he was still in a coma. Cisco only had second-hand stories from Joe and Iris to learn about his character, and he had no way of knowing whether the lightning screwed with Barry’s brain chemistry or not, whether or not it would make him into a different person. That’s when he came up with the Cold Gun.”

Len finally turned to face Raymond. “We didn’t even know there was a speedster involved until after the Cold Gun was dismantled. None of us saw it coming, not even those of us who already knew that speedsters could time-travel.”

“Well, either way, I owe you one.”

“You know I’m actually going to hold you to that, right? I’m not going to brush it off like Stein or Jax would.”

Raymond looked a little nervous at that. Probably imagining what sort of elaborate punishment Len might come up with in retribution for his signature weapon. “…Yeah.”

“Everything’s settled, then?” Len asked when Sara finally entered their room hours later.

“Yeah,” she sighed, beginning to unbutton her pantsuit. “It took Rice and I forever to convince the authorities that Darhk was the bad guy in this whole thing. This is why I went vigilante instead of becoming a secret agent for A.R.G.U.S., or something. Red tape sucks. Anyway, Rice has finally agreed to spend the night in the Med Bay, once Amaya threatened to physically drag him there herself.” She slid the blue fabric off and let it fall to the floor, puddling at her feet, then she slid into the bed next to him in her underwear, looking too drained to bother with putting on any actual sleepwear. Not that Len was complaining.

Len snaked an arm around her waist as they settled into bed. “Yeah, Stein told me his younger self is staying the night, as well. Jax took Clarissa back to the hotel as soon as she was allowed to leave, and he promised her that she’d see her husband in the morning.” He looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “You know, seeing Stein’s younger self on this mission has made me think about what everyone else’s younger selves are up to in this time period. I know I’m probably either asleep or changing or feeding Lisa – Mom only left three weeks ago.”

Sara looked over at him. “Really?”

“Yeah. Thursday, November 12th, 1987. Mom sent me off to school, just like any other day, except I came home to a crying baby sister in serious need of a diaper change and an otherwise empty house. Raymond would be about… six, so he’d have gone to bed hours ago. Mick is still in juvie – they didn’t let him out until he turned eighteen, and that’s not for another two months. I don’t know how old Heywood is, but he’s probably school-aged, too. Jax, well, he won’t be born for another eight years. And you…”

“I’m still kicking around in my mom’s belly,” Sara revealed with a small grin, “I wasn’t born until Christmas. Just six minutes after midnight.”

“Okay, I’ll make sure to remember that.” He stared at her, taking a good, hard look. She didn’t look like she’d slept at all last night, which Len knew to not be true, since he knew she’d already been asleep by the time he’d entered their shared room, and he was pretty sure she hadn’t been faking. “How are you holding up?” They needed to talk about what happened tonight.

Sara sighed, her grin fading from her face. “You were right. You and Stein and Ray and Amaya… All of you were right. Killing Damien Darhk before he can kill Laurel isn’t going to do any good. Not for history, and not for me, either. Stein was right. I’m not just an assassin anymore. I’ve got so much more that I’m responsible for. So much that she’d never forgive me for throwing away. So I have to…” She sniffed. “I- I have to let Laurel go.”

Len took one look at her and pulled her up against his chest. She shuddered against him, then finally the tears came. All those months’ worth of anger and grief and vengeance just bled out of her, and all he could do was hold her as she cried it all away.

Chapter Text

“What is it with bad guys and ancient amulets?” Heywood commented rhetorically.

The Waverider was now drifting through the Temporal Zone, and the team had gathered to discuss yesterday’s developments, mainly the fact that Damien Darhk and his speedster buddy were once again after some ancient artifact.

“Any idea why Darhk wants this?” Raymond asked the room in general.

“All I know is that it’s never a good thing when your enemy starts accessorising,” Sara mused.

“And he’s teamed up with a speedster,” Jax added, “That’s gonna make stopping them a whole lot harder.”

“What’s a speedster?” Amaya asked.

“Someone with super-speed,” Len explained, “Do you remember that flash of red lightning when Darhk vanished yesterday? Speedsters pretty much always leave that behind; it’s a tell-tale sign.”

“The energy of the Speed Force grants the speedster chronokinesis,” Stein explained, “temporal manipulation.”

“English, Professor,” Mick complained.

“It means that his running real fast lets him time-travel,” Sara translated.

“Weren’t you paying attention when Barry talked about his own time-traveling exploits last summer?” Len added.

“Not really.”

“You know a speedster?” Amaya cut in, “Could it be him?”

“Hell, no,” Jax denied, “Barry’s one of the good guys. And there’s more than just him out there. ‘Course, most of the ones we know about are dead, but if they were alive, they’d be on our list of suspects for sure.”

“Martin, you’ve known Barry the longest,” Sara began.

“The most consistently, anyway,” Len butted in, “I’m pretty sure I met him before you got involved with Team Flash.”

“Anyway,” Sara continued over him, “I need you to gather everything you have on speedsters.”

Stein nodded. “Of course. I just wish we still had a functioning Cold Gun. It’s ironic, actually, that we lose a weapon that was originally designed to stop rogue speedsters, on the same day in which we learn how much we truly need it.” He took his leave, Jax on his heels and Mick ambling out after them (though probably not to help).

“Also, Nate, you’re right. This looks a lot like the Askaran Amulet we recovered off the Nazis. There’s gotta be a connection.”

“Let me guess,” Heywood said dully, “I’m on library duty.”

The historian led Sara, Len, Raymond, and Amaya to the library, where several open books were already strewn over the desk.

“I already did some research on this thing last night,” Heywood explained, sitting down, “I’m thinking this amulet dates back to Antiquity and is Judeo-Christian in origin.”

“Great,” Raymond commented brightly. Heywood’s face, however, suggested otherwise. “Is… Is that great?”

“It’s rather vague,” Len pointed out, “Can’t you narrow it down any further?”

“Well, I tried, but I can’t find a reference to anything like it anywhere. Like, none. Historically speaking, this doesn’t exist.”

Sara picked the amulet up. “Well, this is right in front of us, and I’m holding it in my hand, so I’d say it does exist.”

“And we know that Damien Darhk and this speedster are willing to kill for it,” Amaya added darkly.

“Sounds like you’ve got some more homework to do,” Len commented.

Heywood leaned back in his chair with a groan.

“What?” Sara asked.

“I- I just thought that, after becoming a superhero, I would spend less time in the library than in my old job, so…”

“Well, research skills are a kind of superpower,” Raymond chimed in, “And you can turn to steel, so you’ve got two.”

Heywood gave Raymond an annoyed look, the scientist’s attempt at a pep talk clearly being anything but helpful.

Len could sort of sympathise with the historian on that front. He’d already gone through the ship’s entire armoury and had chosen a few replacement weapons, but two years of carrying his Cold Gun around left him feeling constantly vulnerable in its absence. He’d spent most of his life without it, and he knew he was still a force to be reckoned with on his own, but still, he couldn’t help but feel that his usefulness in the field had been seriously diminished by the loss of what had quickly become his signature weapon.

Heywood jumped up gleefully as the Time Seismograph started squawking. “Saved by the Aberration!”

“Ooh, what’s the Trouble Alert say?” Raymond asked.

“You’re not seriously calling it that?” Len snarked. He’d honestly preferred ‘Time Seismograph’, simply because it was a very accurate name. Raymond’s idea sounded like it came out of a comic book or something else nerds liked. Just because their lives had basically turned into a comic did not mean that they had to embrace things like geeky codenames and costumes (Raymond had once tried to design a more ‘heroic’ look for him, and had come up with what was basically a bright blue snow suit – Len had taken great pleasure in shredding the sketch right in front of the nerd).

Heywood picked up the tablet attached to the machine. “The Time Quake’s epicenter is Liberty, Colorado, 1874,” he reported.

Raymond’s face brightened immediately. “Huh. Back to the Wild West!”

“You guys were in the Old West?” Heywood asked.

“Yeah. The town made me sheriff.”

“Only because the job came with a huge target on your back,” Len pointed out, “and literally no one else wanted it.”

“That’s still cool,” Heywood insisted.

“The job hadn’t been as dangerous until you pissed off the leader of an outlaw gang by shooting one of his men dead in the middle of the saloon,” Raymond countered Len’s point.

“Because he was about to shoot Stein after the old man tried to tell him off for abusing the waitress.”

“Alright, well, I will go tell Jax and Stein,” Sara announced, interrupting the argument, “And you can tell Mick.”

Len blinked when he realised she was pointing at him. “Why me?” He tried not to sound like he was complaining.

“Your partner, your responsibility.”

Scowling, Len grabbed Raymond as he tried to leave. “Oh, no you don’t,” he told the scientist, “You still owe me one for breaking my Cold Gun.”

“But-” Raymond began to protest.

“No buts. You said it yourself last night: you owe me one. Now I’m collecting on that.” He dragged the other man out of the room, leaving Sara to explain to a confused Heywood and Amaya why no one wanted to be the one to give Mick the news.

They found him, predictably, in the galley, making another sandwich with one hand, as the other one was currently very busy holding a beer. “Mick,” Len called, getting his attention, “We’ve got an Aberration!”

“Great,” Mick grumbled, not all that enthused by that fact, “Where to, now?”

“It’s… roughly around a place and time we’ve been to before,” Raymond told him evasively.

“That doesn’t help.”

Raymond sighed, his own enthusiasm dampened by his resigned anticipation of Mick’s reaction. “We’re going back to the Old West.”

That bit of news changed the pyro’s attitude straight away. “We’re goin’ where?” A big grin stretched over Mick’s face.

“We’re going back to the Old West,” Raymond repeated.

“Awesome!” Mick threw back the rest of his drink and stood up, leaving the half-completed sandwich on the counter and pushing past the other two. “I’ll be in the fabricator room!”

“We still need to Time Jump there, first!” Len reminded him.

Mick was already halfway down the hall. “Then I’ll be dressed already! I ain’t wastin’ any time!”

Len and Raymond shared an exasperated glance. “Just to be clear, you’re the one who’s going to be babysitting him once we get there,” Raymond insisted.

“I’ve been trying to do just that for nearly thirty years,” Len reminded him, “If you’re expecting me to succeed, don’t get your hopes up.”

Mick doubled back, evidently deciding that they weren’t being enthusiastic enough. “C’mon, you two. I’m not lettin’ you waste my time, either.” He grabbed both of them and started literally dragging them down the hall to the fabricator room. Len shook himself free from his partner’s grip, but continued along under his own power.

Sara gave them a pleased ‘glad-I’m-not-you’ look when the three entered, already dressed for the time period. Mick practically slammed into his Jump Seat and yanked the harness down, a big, anticipatory grin on his face. “Are we goin’, or what?”

Amaya stared at him. “You guys really weren’t kidding,” she said faintly, “He really does love the Old West.”

“What’s not to love? Booze, gunfights, and more booze! Bring it on!”

“On that note,” Sara said with a grin, “Strap in!”

As soon as they were all settled into their Jump Seats, she hit the throttle, propelling them to the 1870s.

Tuesday, November 17th, 1874

Mick had waited impatiently for the rest of the team (minus Stein, who, according to Jax, wasn’t feeling well) to get dressed before they could leave the ship. Len and Raymond were a bit anxious for the others to finish, if only because they were stuck waiting with an impatient Mick. Eventually, they all trooped out, Sara with a map in her hands. “Okay, so we’ve parked the Waverider here,” she said, pointing at one spot, “And Gideon’s narrowed down the coordinates of the Aberration to here.” She moved her finger to another point on the map. “It’s within walking distance, thankfully.”

Sure enough, they’d only been walking for about fifteen minutes when they started hearing voices. Men, whooping and going “Yee-haw!” like in the movies. The team followed the sound until they spotted a group of guys surrounding one man sitting on a horse with his hands tied, a bag over his head, and a hangman’s noose around his neck. “It’s a hanging,” Mick stated the obvious, a bit of genuine (and morbid, in Len’s opinion) interest in his voice.

The bag was then pulled off the man’s head. The group was a little too far away to see any recognisable features with the naked eye, but Sara, looking through a small spyglass, gasped. “Is that Hex?”

Len whipped his head around to stare at her in astonishment at the sound of the cowboy’s name. He remembered their old ally Jonah Hex – it was hard to forget a face like his.

“You know that man?!” Amaya asked in surprise.

“We’ve gotta help him,” Sara insisted.

Len was in complete agreement. “Can’t just let him swing after all the help he gave us last time.”

“But we gotta take this crew out, first,” Jax added.

“They look armed,” Raymond observed. Len rolled his eyes. Of course those men were armed. He’d seen Hex in action; there was no way they subdued him bare-handed, even with four-on-one odds.

“Don’t worry, guys.” Heywood was suddenly sporting a cocky grin as he started to run off. “I got this!”

“That’s a reason to worry,” Len snarked back, but Heywood was already gone. “Now, what’s the real plan?”

Before they could even begin to discuss a plan of attack, they saw Hex kick one of the bad guys in the face while the bastard was laughing at him, causing him to stumble back and clutch his mouth. “You son of a bitch!”

Just then, Heywood walked confidently into the clearing. “You might wanna slow down there. Because these here parts ain’t big enough for the…” He paused, apparently counting his opponents. “…five of us.”

Len sighed. The nerd was seriously trying to pull off a Hollywood Cowboy imitation, and looking like a complete and utter fool while doing so.

“Who the hell are you?!” the asshat Hex had kicked yelled back, “On second thought, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!” The man pulled his revolver out and shot at Heywood, which did him absolutely no good as the historian’s skin turned to metal and the bullet deflected off his hand. All the others opened fire, while Heywood almost casually smacked the bullets away, looking like he was thoroughly enjoying himself. And the idiots kept on wasting ammo on a lost cause.

However, things were also going badly, as all the gunfire had scared the horse Hex was sitting on, causing the poor creature to run away and leave him dangling by his neck. “Shit!” Len growled, “This is what happens when things aren’t thought through!”

Sara lifted up her rifle, aiming carefully just above Hex’s head. “Hold still, Hex…” she muttered. Less than ten seconds later, in which Heywood decided to show off and catch the last bullet with his teeth, she fired, blasting through most of the rope. The little bit remaining snapped under Hex’s weight, dropping him to the ground.

“Nice shot,” Mick complimented her, grinning.

Hex stood up and shoved the gang leader with his still-bound hands, knocking him off his feet, then kicked him twice.

Heywood came up beside the scar-faced cowboy. “Now, you get on that horse and you ride ‘til you can’t ride any further, then…” He aimed his pistol at the downed man. “You ride some more. Now go on, get! Go on! Whoo!” He shot into the ground near the man’s feet, scaring the shit out of him. Heywood continued whooping and wildly shooting his gun in the air while the gang scrambled away and Hex stared at him like he was insane (and he wasn’t entirely wrong, in Len’s opinion).

Len rolled his eyes at the historian’s behaviour as the team approached. Hex caught sight of them and was obviously less than pleased. “Aw, Hell,” he groaned, “They’re back.”

“What, you didn’t miss us?” Len mock-asked with a smirk.

“‘Course not. Every time someone from the future shows up, crazy shit follows ‘em.”

“He knows about time-travel?” Amaya asked incredulously.

“Yeah, that was our reaction, too,” Jax admitted, “Apparently, he and Rip have a bit of a history.”

“Hi, Jonah!” Raymond greeted the cowboy enthusiastically, “Long time, no see! Oh, these are our new teammates, Nate and Amaya.”

Hex went back to eyeing a grinning Heywood warily. “Is this one sane?”

“He’s just an excited nerd,” Mick grunted, “Calm down, Heywood, you’re scaring the locals.”

“S’pose I should be thankin’ you for gettin’ me loose,” Hex said as they entered the Waverider.

“Oh, it was no problem,” Heywood said brightly.

Hex glared at him. “Not you. You was just showin’ off, and ya scared the horse away and left me hangin’ in the first place.”

Heywood blushed. “Oh. Yeah… sorry about that. I’ll just… bye.” The historian scampered off in the direction of the library.

“I’m gonna go check on Gray,” Jax added, also splitting off from the group.

Hex shrugged. “At least someone on this motley crew of yours knows how to handle a situation.” To their surprise, he nodded at Len.

“Wait, you think I was the one who shot the noose?” Len questioned.

“Well, yeah. Who else? I saw your work with a rifle three years ago in Salvation.”

“What did he do?” Amaya asked.

“Shot a revolver right outta Jeb Stillwater’s hand from a second-storey window.”

Len smirked, probably remembering his one-in-a-million shot (Sara was a little disappointed that she’d missed seeing that). “I’m flattered, but this time it was Sara doing the sharpshooting.”

Hex blinked at Sara, who smiled and gave him a little wave. “Saved by a filly. Ain’t that the damdest?”

Sara rolled her eyes. Hex had gotten the idea that she could fight as well as any man when he saw her and Kendra in action during their last visit, but she supposed that that one incident wasn’t enough to completely squash his nineteenth-century beliefs about women. “A simple ‘Thank you’ would suffice.”

“How’d you know I needed savin’?”

“Because we got an alert that history was being changed, and the coordinates led us to your hanging.”

“Well, I guess it’s nice to know that I matter.” That brought a small smile to Sara’s face, as it brought back memories of learning that history had considered her and the others to be insignificant. She was pretty sure that they’d proven history wrong, by now.

“We’re leaving already?” Mick complained as they gathered in Rip’s study, “I didn’t get to shoot anyone.”

“I need a drink,” Hex groaned, making his way over to the bottle of scotch and glasses sitting on a nearby table. Then he looked around. “Where’s Rip?”

Ah. That. Sara knew it was only a matter of time before Jonah asked about his old friend, but she still wasn’t sure how to explain it. “He’s MIA.”


“‘Missing In Action’,” Amaya explained before glancing at Sara, “That’s a relatively new acronym in my time, so he wouldn’t have heard of it.”

“Damn.” Hex poured himself a drink. “How the hell’d you miscreants manage not to get yourselves killed without him?”

Amaya’s lips quirked, most likely remembering asking them almost the exact same question after Ray and Nate’s shenanigans had sent the pair crash-landing in seventeenth-century Japan. “Ms. Lance has been serving as captain.”

Hex looked more confused than anything else. “But… she a lady. You are a lady, right?”

Sara gave him a big, fake smile. “You know I could take your life just as easily as I saved it, right?”

“Ooh, fiery. I love a wild ride.”

“Too bad this filly’s into other fillies,” Mick interrupted, “And him.” He pointed at Len, who gave Hex a sarcastic wave.

Hex blinked. “You don’t say?”

Sara felt they were getting off track. “So, how did you end up in the noose?”

Hex drained his glass and set it down. “Well, I was collectin’ a bounty on a pissant by the name of Quentin Turnbull.”

“As in Turnbull Country?” Nate came in at that moment, a big book in hand.

Hex looked like the very name was a disgusting offense. “Never heard of it.”

“That’s because it’s not supposed to exist.” He held up the book he’d brought in with him. “This book has changed since the last time I read it. Check this out. Gideon?”

“Right away.” Gideon pulled up a map on the main screen.

“That’s a map of the United States from 1876.”

Len took one look at it and sighed in exasperation. “Damn. I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be there.”

Sara frowned at the section highlighted in red and labelled: ‘Turnbull Country.’ “Alright, who’s Turnbull?”

“A two-bit, yellow-bellied cattle rustler,” Hex growled, glaring at the display in front of him.

“Who controls all the land west of the Rocky Mountains,” Nate added.

“Looks like we found our Aberration,” Amaya murmured.

“Am I supposed to have the faintest idea what the hell this means?” Hex growled.

“It means that this isn’t the way history originally went,” Len answered, “Something – or someone – made it change.”

“And that we need to stop Turnbull from taking over the West,” Sara added.

Mick stood up. “Looks like you’ve got yourself a posse, partner.”

Like last time, Hex seemed to know exactly who nearby had horses that they could borrow (although he was admittedly a little vague on exactly what he meant by ‘borrow’, not that Len was all that concerned). It only took a few hours for the entire team to have a ride to Liberty without needing to share.

Len wasn’t a big fan of horseback riding; he hadn’t even touched a horse, let alone having a clue as to how to ride one, until he’d been given an impromptu lesson during their last trip to the Old West. Sara had smirked and said that she’d to ride learned during her time with the League of Assassins, Raymond had apparently taken lessons as a kid, and while Amaya had never ridden horses in her life, she formed a bond with the mount Hex managed to get for her almost right away, thanks to her Totem.

That left him, Mick, Jax, and Heywood as the inexperienced riders, but while the first three managed to pick it up rather quickly (having gotten in a little bit of practice here and there over the previous seven months), their resident historian was… less than adequate. Len was pretty sure that the only reason Heywood hadn’t gotten separated from them on the way into town was that the horse just hadn’t been all that interested in splitting off from the group.

“Guys!” he squawked when they finally reached the town of Liberty and his horse started walking in circles, “I think my, uh, horse is broken!” Then he nearly fell on his face trying to get back on solid ground.

“Where is everybody?” Jax asked as he dismounted. Len had to agree with him; the streets were basically empty compared to those of Salvation, and the people who remained were all eyeing them suspiciously. And every last one of them was an armed man. No women or children, no sign that this was a full-blown town with families and the like.

“Ever since Turnbull set up shop six months ago, everyone’s been run outta town or made to work in the mine,” Hex answered as he led them down the road.

Len winced. Mining was a dangerous job, even in the twenty-first century; in the nineteenth century, it was probably as good as a death sentence, especially if it was run by someone who didn’t care about even the minimal amount of safety precautions or the lives of his ‘employees’. As they walked, his eyes flicked over his surroundings, noting how practically every other establishment they passed had the Turnbull name on its sign.

“Mine?” Mick questioned, “What kind of mine? Gold?” He was probably wondering if he could get his hands on a few nuggets (and now that it had been brought up, Len was honestly wondering the same thing).

“Hell if I know.”

“Nobody’s been mining for gold in these parts for half a century,” Heywood helpfully informed them, then grinned goofily, “Listen to me: ‘These parts’. I sound like I’m a cowboy.”

“He’s pulling something out of the ground that’s making him rich,” Raymond guessed, pointing to one of the signs Len had noticed, “Turnbull also owns the saloon.”

“And the hotel, the laundry, and the whorehouse,” Hex added.

“The answer’s no, Mick,” Sara hissed in an undertone before Mick could even say anything.

Len filed that information away, and started thinking. It seemed that Turnbull had a vested interest in many of the biggest businesses in town, the ones that might bring in a lot of customers and their money. They were all something he’d want to protect.

“Turnbull’s got an office above the saloon,” Hex continued, “He’s also got about a dozen men makin’ sure nobody gets close to him.”

“I think I know how we can,” Len declared, “If Turnbull owns all these places, he won’t want anything bad to happen to them; no criminal wants their cash flow to be cut off.”

Sara grinned at him, pulled out a wad of period-appropriate bills they’d had Gideon fabricate, and tossed it to Mick. “Why don’t you mosey on in there, and have yourself a good time?” She nodded towards the saloon.

Mick didn’t need to be told twice. “If you insist.”

“I’m not sure I understand your plan,” Amaya said as Mick walked away, “You just set a match to a powder keg.”

“And if Turnbull doesn’t want his saloon to burn down…” Sara began.

“…Then he’s gonna have to come out of hiding in his office and deal with it,” Len finished with a smug grin.

“It’d be better if you can get your boy to get in a fight with Turnbull and bring it out here in the street,” Hex suggested, his tone suggesting that he planned on using that opportunity to take his own shot at Turnbull.

“Len, Amaya, can you two keep an eye on Rory?” Sara asked, “Make sure he keeps his pistol in his pants until he’s outside the saloon?”

Amaya sighed. “Clearly we drew the short straw.”

Len looked Sara in the eye. “Don’t expect any miracles.” He shrugged before following Amaya into the saloon.

Mick had just reached the bar when Len walked in. He threw some money down. “One shot.” When Amaya gave him an annoyed look and Len cleared his throat, he shrugged. “Make that three.”

The bartender looked at Amaya skeptically. “You’re with them?” Of course the man would be skeptical; while slavery had recently been outlawed, the Civil Rights movement was still another hundred years or so away. Len glared at him, anyway.

“Unfortunately,” Amaya grumbled in response.

It wasn’t long before Mick wandered over to the Blackjack table. Len tried not to let his smirk show; he wasn’t the only one of the criminal pair who knew how to cheat at cards, and Blackjack was Mick’s specialty (Len’s was Gin while Lisa dominated at Poker). Mick could easily win more than enough money to get Turnbull’s attention. His partner also gained the attention of a pretty blonde in a black shawl who cuddled up next to him as he played; Amaya looked on in barely-concealed disgust at the sight while she and Len watched from a nearby table, nursing their drinks.

Eventually, Mick got up from the Blackjack table to wander back over to the bar, slipping the piano player some money to get him to play a more upbeat song (“I’ve had more fun at a funeral,” he said).

“Are we going to just sit around and watch him lie and cheat this whole place dry?” Amaya hissed to Len once Mick was out of earshot.

“No, we’re going to sit around and watch him cheat Turnbull out of his illicitly-earned profits. That is the plan, after all, remember?” He frowned when a man who was dressed a bit more nicely than everyone else struck up conversation with Mick. “And I think we might have something.”

“That’s my name on the sign on the front of the saloon,” the man was saying, “Or can’t you read?”

Mick laughed. “So it’s your money I’m winning. Well, that’s interesting.”

“Heads up,” Len whispered into his comm to Sara and Hex, “Turnbull’s here, and- oh, boy.”

Mick had pulled out his lighter and was burning a bill right in front of Turnbull.

“I’d say your luck has run out, partner,” Turnbull was saying ominously in response.

Mick dropped the flaming cash. “You just gonna stand there and make threats?” He reached for his pistol. “Or are you gonna back it up?”

“Len? Amaya? What’s going on in there?”

“You wanted Rory to start a fight,” Amaya murmured, “I’d say your plan’s working.”

Or maybe not. Amaya sighed, taking another drink. One second, it had looked as though war was about to erupt in the saloon. The next… Turnbull was laughing and telling the bartender to give Rory a drink on the house.

“Len, Amaya, it’s been forever!” Sara complained in their ear. Amaya had to restrain herself from looking over her shoulder, since she knew perfectly well that the other woman wasn’t actually there (it would take a while for her to get used to using these devices). “What the hell is going on in there?”

“Our plan seems to have caught a bit of a snag,” Snart admitted, “One I should’ve seen coming, after what happened during our unexpected trip to Star City 2046.”


“Well, it’s hard to…”

“It seems that Mr. Rory and Mr. Turnbull… like each other,” Amaya bluntly reported, glaring at Rory, who was laughing and clinking shot glasses with their target as they told each other stories about their numerous run-ins with the law. Rory was apparently smart enough to leave out any reference to future technology, but he was still going off-book.

“What?! What happened to Rory starting a fight?”

“I think it’s more likely that he and Turnbull get matching tattoos,” Snart grumbled, “I’ve never been one to hate bar brawls, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so impatient while waiting for one to start.”

“And then they told me to put my hands up,” Rory continued the story he’d been telling Turnbull, “and my pants fell down, because of all the loot I was carrying!”

Next to her, Snart cracked a grin in spite of the situation. “I remember being there for that. That was hilarious. My sister and I teased him about it for weeks.”

Turnbull clearly agreed, because he was laughing uproariously. “You see, that’s what them damn fools in government back in Washington don’t understand, that men like you and me, we wasn’t meant to live in cages!”

“Shit,” Snart murmured, his grin now vanishing, “This is what I meant by 2046.”

“What happened in 2046?” Amaya asked.

“We crash-landed in Star City, Sara and Raymond’s hometown, thanks to- well, that’s a very long and complicated story, but the point is, it was a future version of the city that had been overrun by criminals, low-level thugs who took whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. And there were no cops or heroes to stop them, besides this one guy, a son of one of Sara and Raymond’s vigilante friends. Mick… wasn’t as attached to the team as I was getting to be; this was only a week into our original mission. He loved the way they were living, and he wanted to stay there forever. I had to knock him out to get him back onto the Waverider; he was furious with me for it.”

Amaya bit her lip. “And you’re afraid that this will happen again?”

Snart looked unsure. “He’s gotten a lot closer to the team since then, but it might still be hard to pull him away…”

Amaya sighed. “Sara, what do you want us to do?”

Sara replied with a sigh of her own. “Brace yourselves.”

Before Amaya could even ask what their captain meant, the answer became quite apparent on its own: “TURNBULL!”

Jonah Hex had just entered the saloon, clearly intending to start the fight that Rory wasn’t bothering to.

The room practically went silent, everyone turning from their cards and drinks and conversations to watch the situation unfold. Even the piano player stopped.

Turnbull, for his part, just grinned. “Well, if it ain’t the great Jonah Hex himself!” He laughed. “Whoo, you got quite a pair to walk into my establishment like this. You’re like a cockroach, hard to kill!”

“I’m takin’ you in,” Hex growled, his eyes filled with hate, as he pulled a pair of pistols, “Alive or Dead. Your choice.”

Turnbull’s grin didn’t waver at the sight of two weapons pointing at him. Instead, it actually grew. “I choose… Dead!”

At that word, literally everyone else in the room that wasn’t a time-traveler stood and trained a gun on Hex. Even the little blonde woman who’d been cuddling up to Rory pulled a small weapon out of her shawl. Amaya heard Snart whisper a curse under his breath, but she didn’t look back at him, focusing on the scene in front of her and trying to figure out what the hell to do.

Turnbull stood. “Actually, Jonah, I’m glad you decided to pay me this little visit.” He had calmly pulled his own gun, but didn’t aim it. “You see, I been… workin’ on a little somethin’.” He discharged one round from the revolver and let it fall to the floor. “It seems that ore that I… ‘discovered’…” He pulled a bullet from the belt crossing his chest and loaded it. “Well, it’s got special qualities.” Then he took aim.

But the bullet didn’t hit Hex. At the last second, Sara burst in and lashed out with a whip, striking Turnbull’s hand. His shot missed, striking the far wall and completely destroying it, creating an unnatural cloud of blue smoke, which dissipated to reveal the street behind it. Sara then caught Turnbull’s ankle with the whip and yanked him off his feet.

Chaos erupted. Some people – probably the lesser-committed ones – started screaming, and Sara was throwing punches and kicking outlaws to the floor. Snart and Hex didn’t need any prompting to do the same, and neither did Rory, who managed to steal two rifles from two different gang members, shouting “LET’S PARTY!”

Another man took aim at their resident pyromaniac, but Amaya grabbed the nearest liquor bottle and smashed it against his head before fully jumping into the fight. Thankfully, it became apparent that none of Turnbull’s men had anything resembling formal training in hand-to-hand combat. She was able to down most of them with only one or two strikes.

Amaya soon saw Hex retreating through the saloon’s new ‘door’, with Sara and Snart right on his heels. She followed, and thankfully, so did Rory, shooting his new weapons randomly and yelling “COME ON!”

The five of them ducked behind a loaded cart for cover as gun-wielding men poured out of the saloon. They were joined by Ray, Nate, and Jax, who were dressed in far more ragged (and fragrant) clothes than the ones they’d been wearing since Amaya had seen them last. “Why do you guys get to have all the fun?” Jax complained.

Amaya was seriously questioning these people’s sanity if this madness was their idea of ‘fun’.

“We just got back from Turnbull’s mine,” Nate reported.

Ray continued: “The reason for the Aberration? He’s digging up Dwarf Star.”

Amaya remembered hearing that term when she was talking to Ray about his suit, and the extra-terrestrial alloy that had powered it. No wonder Turnbull’s bullet had exploded like it had.

“Speak of the devil,” Snart growled. The man in question had reappeared, and he was aiming at the cart that currently served as their only shelter.

Sara saw it, too. “Get back to the ship!” she ordered a retreat.

They turned and ran just as Turnbull fired, destroying the cart, along with the next one they tried to hide behind. “That’s right!” he yelled, “Run, you yellow-bellied cowards!”

But it seemed that Rory had other plans. He charged out from behind their third cart, shooting back. “Finally!” he shouted, “Some excitement!” He didn’t seem to care that he was outnumbered, or that he’d been firing those rifles a lot already and had to be running low on ammunition, or that Turnbull clearly had the superior firepower all on his own.

“Mick, no!” Snart called after him, “Mick, get back here!”

“And here I thought you and me was gonna be friends!” Turnbull retorted.

Even over the gunfire, Amaya could hear Rory’s growled response. “I don’t have friends.”

Then came a sound no one ever wants to hear in a firefight unless it’s on the other side: the clicking sound of an empty magazine. Rory had run out of ammunition in both his weapons. He threw them down in anger.

Amaya felt someone push past her – two someones, actually. Snart raced out from cover and grabbed Rory’s arm, trying to pull him back, while Nate stood between them and the danger, his skin already turning to metal.

Turnbull fired.

Amaya genuinely expected the bullet to not actually hurt Nate; even if it exploded, it would just knock him off his feet, right?

Instead, Nate staggered like any ordinary human who’d been shot by an ordinary bullet, his metal skin fading away. Snart went from trying to pull Rory away to catching their wounded teammate, and Amaya ran forward to cover them, a gun in each hand. Unlike Rory, she hadn’t wasted her entire magazine yet, and fired off enough rounds to force their enemies to duck.

“Nate?” she gasped when she saw the blood, “Nate! Are you okay?”

Nate was obviously not okay. He sagged against the team crooks as they pulled him along. “I’m the man of steel, remember?” he asked in blood loss-induced confusion.

Len was not pleased. He was never pleased when a plan didn’t go the way it was supposed to, something to which he’d been forced to become more accustomed while working with this crew, but this was right up there with Russia and the Vanishing Point, because one of his crew had gotten seriously hurt in the process of everything going tits up.

So when Sara stormed out of the Med Bay, death in her eyes, Len followed her all the way to the bridge and Rip’s study, where Hex was pouring himself another drink. She paused at the entrance, then strode up and stabbed a knife into the table, narrowly missing the cowboy’s fingers. “We had a plan. You went off-book, and now you’re gonna cut the crap and tell me what the hell is going on between you and Turnbull.”

“I don’t answer to you, Miss Lance,” Hex growled.

“It’s Captain Lance,” Sara growled back, “And if you did answer to me, Nate wouldn’t have gotten shot.” Her voice lowered dangerously. “Now, I know you don’t like taking orders from a woman.” She yanked the knife out. “But you’re gonna like getting your ass kicked by one even less.”

“Save some for me,” Len requested.

Hex was silent for several seconds. Then he slammed his fists against the tabletop in anger. “I’ve been after Turnbull for eight years, now. I almost got him, twice. He wants to see me pushin’ up daisies just as bad as I wanna see him do the same.”

“Because of what?” Sara prompted.

“It was a town in Oklahoma. Went by the name of Calvert. Turnbull and his men were harrassin’ it. They hired me to fight back.”

“Calvert?” Len remembered that name. “That’s the town Rip left in the lurch. The one you punched him over.” That was a rather fond memory.

“My little rebellion made other towns think that they didn’t need to pay ‘protection money’ to Turnbull and his gang.”

Len winced. He’d seen enough with modern-day gangs and crime syndicates to know that that wouldn’t sit well with the outlaw at all. Their greatest weapon, even more powerful than any guns they might have at their disposal, was fear. And when something happened to lessen that fear, they usually responded with violence and horrific overkill.

“So one night, Turnbull gathered every man, woman, and child in Calvert. Locked us in the church. Set it on fire.” Yes, that would definitely fit the requirements of violence and horrific overkill. “Somehow I escaped. The Lord saw fit to leave me a souvenir.” He turned his head so that they could see the burn scar on the right side of his face more clearly. “Aw, what the hell am I tellin’ you this for? You’d never understand.”

“Bull,” Sara countered, “Like I said, vendettas are kinda my thing. I’ve got a Turnbull. And he’s still out there.”

Hex scoffed. “Well, here you are with a time ship.”

“Been there, tried that. Killing Darhk before he can kill my sister would create ripples in history that I can’t control. But there are things that I can control. I can help you catch your Turnbull.”

“Even though I screwed up?”

“We’ve been there, too,” Len admitted wryly, “It’s kind of our signature move.”

Sara let a sort of half-smile show. “I’m starting to think screwing up is just an essential part in surviving.”

Len figured he should check on Mick, after what happened in the saloon. And it seemed that he wasn’t the only one with that thought, because when he approached his partner’s quarters, he heard Amaya’s voice drifting out of the room: “…you don’t sound like an ‘animal who just wants to watch the world burn’.”

“They like to pretend I’m part of the team,” Mick replied, “but they have me on a leash.”

That comment brought Len up short. Was that what Mick really thought about the team? Hell, was that what Mick had thought about Len all this time? Sure, Len had occasionally felt that way during their long years of partnership, especially when Mick’s violent tendencies got in the way of getting a job done the way Len wanted it done, but still…

Mick’s earlier claim to Turnbull that he didn’t have any friends was, sadly, starting to make more sense.

Len looked up as Mick ambled out of the room. The pyro just nodded and grunted and walked past him. Then Amaya exited and saw Len standing there. “How much of that did you hear?”

“Just the last bit,” Len admitted, “Makes me seriously wonder why he hasn’t tried to quit again in the past six months.”


“He tried about a week after we dragged him out of 2046. That did not turn out well.” He didn’t think she needed to know the full details of the Acheron Incident.

“I think there’s more to him than that,” Amaya said softly, “more than maybe even he knows.”

Len couldn’t help but crack a small grin at that. “Of course there is. I wouldn’t have kept him around for thirty years if there wasn’t.”

“How’s Mick?” Sara asked when Len returned to the bridge. She and Hex were now sitting and drinking together.

Len shrugged. “He’s alright for now. Amaya and I are going to deal with it more thoroughly after this whole mess is over.”

Sara raised an eyebrow. “You and Amaya?”

“Yeah.” He rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t read too much into it just yet, but she seemed pretty concerned about Mick. For him, not just worried about what sort of trouble he could bring.”

Sara smiled. “That’s good to hear. Whether he believes it or not, Mick could use a few more people looking out for him.”

“I think I know how Turnbull’s gonna make his own country,” Raymond announced, striding onto the bridge with a newly healed Heywood following behind him, “When I saw how much Dwarf Star ore he had in that mine, I started to wonder how he could transport such a heavy shipment. He’d have to use the-”

“The railroad,” Hex cut in.

“The railroad,” Raymond confirmed.

“That’s nice, Raymond,” Len indulged him, “Now get to the part where you explain why we need to care about the railroad.” Okay, so maybe ‘indulged’ wasn’t the right term. ‘Briefly humoured’ would probably fit better.

“I think he’s gonna use the railroad and the Dwarf Star to… wait for it…”

“I don’t wanna wait for it,” Sara told him bluntly.

“…close Summit Pass.” The scientist pointed to the main screen in the study, where Gideon helpfully provided a map.

“Oh my God, Ray’s right,” Heywood murmured, “Summit Pass connects the East to the West via railroad.”

Hex set down his glass and stood up. “So, if Turnbull uses this… magic…”

“Dwarf Star?” Raymond prompted.

“Yeah, to blow the thing up.”

“Well, if he destroys the Pass,” Heywood continued, “there’s no way of transporting soldiers and supplies from the East Coast. The US Army is effectively locked out of the West.” And unable to take the territory back from Turnbull, leaving him free to set up his own rule. “So, it’s simple: we just stop Turnbull from blowing up the Pass.”

Len rolled his eyes. As if that would be easy.

Sara clearly agreed with him. “Yeah, simple,” she retorted sarcastically, “You don’t have a suit, you just had invasive surgery, Stein’s out of commission…”

“We’ll think of something,” Raymond insisted.

“Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of it,” Heywood randomly said, as if that was even remotely useful.

“And what the hell does that mean?” Len asked as Raymond beamed, “You sound like a fortune cookie.”

“Well, what about Turnbull?” Hex added, “That train goes ‘boom’, he’s not gonna be on it.”

Of course not. Turnbull would either have the train parked at the Pass and then blown up once the people on board were cleared, or he’d simply send them off to their deaths.

“I overheard one of his people saying that he’d called for a meeting at his mine tomorrow morning,” Heywood offered.

“Alright,” Sara decided, “You, Jax, and Ray stop the train. The rest of us will deal with Turnbull.”

“You sure about this?” Hex questioned.

“Of course. This isn’t my first rodeo.” She mimed finger guns at Hex.

“Aw, I wanted to say that,” Raymond complained under his breath.

Wednesday, November 18th, 1874

They all got a good night’s sleep before splitting up the next morning. Raymond, Jax, and Heywood rode off to Summit’s Pass, while the rest of them rode over to a spot near the mine, tying their horses to a tree a fair distance away and approaching the edge of the nearby encampment on foot, in order to go unseen.

“There’s two or three of them for every one of us,” Hex counted the men he could see.

“There could be more men in the actual mine, though,” Len whispered back.

“Len and Hex and I will draw their attention while you two make sure Turnbull can’t pull any more Dwarf Star out of the ground,” Sara instructed Mick and Amaya, although she’d already discussed the plan with them that morning.

“We’ll need about five minutes to plant enough dynamite to seal the mine,” Amaya warned her.

“‘Bout time we got to light somethin’ up,” Mick grumbled.

Len knew what his partner was thinking. Though most of his heists in the past had required complete stealth, there had been a few times where they’d set off explosives as a distraction. Which had usually had the unwanted side-effect of distracting Mick in a rather unproductive manner. “Just light the fuse and run. Don’t stick around for the fireworks.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Alright,” Sara said as Mick and Amaya crept away, “Len and I talked last night, and we figured out a plan to get us close to Turnbull. Are you ready to follow my orders this time?”

“Aye aye, Captain,” Hex grumbled.

“Good,” Len responded, pulling the prop he’d had Gideon fabricate before they left out of his coat, “Now, put these on.”

Hex looked at the cuffs in disgust. “How in the hell’s that supposed to help?”

“You ever hear of a Trojan Horse?”

“It’s simple,” Sara explained, smirking, “Turnbull wants you dead. We show up and hand you to him on a silver platter, and he’ll be feeling very generous and trusting.”

“He’ll have his guard mostly down, what with being completely surrounded by what he thinks are all allies of his.” Len saw that Hex still didn’t look convinced. “Look, these cuffs were made by Gideon to be broken out of easily. Watch.” He slapped them on his own wrists, and then he slowly undid them by himself, so that Hex could see how he did it.

After Hex went through a few practice tries at releasing himself from the rigged restraints, the trio jogged back to where they’d left their horses. Len and Sara hopped back on theirs and loosely tied the cuffs to the saddle of Sara’s mount, so that Hex could pull away if all hell were to unexpectedly break loose. The two Legends pulled their bandanas over their faces, and Sara tucked her long hair into her hat. Having thought up this plan ahead of time, the two had deliberately dressed in different clothes than the ones they’d worn yesterday, so as to not be recognised, on the off chance that Turnbull or one of his men had actually bothered to pay any attention to such details. Then they made their way back to the edge of the mining camp.

Sara trained her pistol on Hex as soon as they were within view. “Quentin Turnbull!” she called, pitching her voice to sound a bit more like a man. It came out sounding more like that of a teenaged boy, but Len wasn’t going to comment on it – aside from the fact that they were now playing a role, he valued his life, and didn’t want to get on his girlfriend’s bad side over something so trivial.

Turnbull got up from a nearby table. “Who’s askin?”

“We heard you were lookin’ for someone,” Len answered, lightly kicking Hex in the back. The cowboy shot him a death glare, and Len shrugged back. He had to play the part, after all, and he was still a bit peeved over Hex botching their plan yesterday.

“Jonah Hex!” Turnbull cackled at the sight of his nemesis in shackles, “Well hell, looks like I’m gonna hafta kill you for the third time!” Hex didn’t need to fake any of the hatred in his glare. “I’m impressed, boys.”

Sara nodded and kicked Hex harder after untying him from her horse. Hex stumbled, but played along.

“Jonah, Jonah, Jonah. Back in the belly of the whale.”

“A lily-livered whale who kills women and children,” Hex growled back.

“Well now, that was before. I’ve changed. I got purpose, now. Matter of fact, why don’t I show you what I’m workin’ on so you know why you died?” He looked up at Sara and Len. “You come along, too, boys. Anyone who can bring in Hex has always got a place on my crew.”

Len smirked behind his bandana as he slid off his horse. The Trojans had fallen for the trap, and were eagerly letting the Greeks into their midst with open arms.

The four of them followed a well-worn dirt path towards a cave entrance guarded by three more of Turnbull’s men. Len idly wondered how Mick and Amaya had gotten past them, but Amaya, at least, would have reported any serious difficulties if she’d encountered them, so he figured that it was safe to assume that they had.

Turnbull pulled out his gun. “Colt single-action army. The gun that won the West. Some folks like to call it the ‘Peacemaker’. Only I don’t much care for peace. Eh, thanks to what I pulled outta this mine, I got my own weapon, now. Somethin’ that’s gonna tip the scales. Win the West back for the folks it belongs to: the outlaws.” Quentin Turnbull really did love to talk, Len noted. “Oh, hell, those bullets ain’t nothin’. Wait ‘til you see what I got now. Now, git on in there!”

Turnbull grabbed Hex and shoved him towards the mine, just before a huge fireball erupted from the entrance and knocked everyone off their feet. Len got up quickly, as did Sara, Hex, and Turnbull. The three guards, who’d been closer to the blast, didn’t fare so well.

“You ain’t no man!” he heard Turnbull screech when Sara’s hat fell off, letting her long hair fall freely down her shoulders. She yanked her bandana off and grinned viciously at him.

He didn’t get to say much else, though, as Hex threw the shackles off and tackled him to the ground. The two of them rolled in the grass until Hex was on top. “You yellow-bellied coward!” Hex spat, punching Turnbull, “You murdered all those people!” He punched him again. “For what?!” Another punch. “Some power?!” He fixed his hands around Turnbull’s throat and started squeezing. Turnbull tried to say something, but only managed a strangled croak. “Alive or Dead?!”

Turnbull barely managed to groan out that he wanted to live.

Hex looked up at Sara, then he growled. “You lucky son of a bitch!” Then he punched him out one more time, rendering the outlaw unconscious.

Mick and Amaya came out of the mine from behind them, looking none the worse for wear, Mick pausing to casually kick one groaning outlaw in the head and taking great care to step on another one. “Are we all good here?” Amaya asked.

“I think so,” Len replied, looking down at the bruised, bleeding, and unconscious Turnbull. Shouts came from the mining camp. Their little explosion had not gone unnoticed. “You do realize that we’ll have to fight our way out of here, right?”

Mick grinned and lifted up his revolver. “Oh, yeah. I can get behind that.”

Hex grabbed Turnbull and lifted him none too gently over his shoulder once Sara slapped some shackles – real ones this time – onto the outlaw. The first punk to come around the bend didn’t know what hit him. Mick’s bullet just slammed into his chest before the other man even had a chance to draw his own weapon.

The others were just a bit smarter once their buddy was shot down; instead of charging forward with no care for their own safety, they fired on the Legends from behind cover, forcing Hex and the time-travellers to seek their own shelter and fire back.

“Amaya!” Sara shouted over the gunfire, “You know we have a rule against using future tech when we don’t have to, right?”


“Well, I don’t think an ancient magical totem counts as future tech!”

Amaya nodded seriously, holstering her pistols in favour of using her preferred weapon. Touching the Totem, she summoned the spirit of some big cat – a cheetah, judging from the fact that she then raced out from behind cover at a speed that Barry Allen would be impressed by.

Hex stared with wide eyes at the spot where she’d been crouched a moment earlier. “You folks couldn’t be normal if ya tried, could ya?” he muttered.

“Oh, I think we could,” Len shot back with a grin, “But then it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”

The sound of screams informed them of how effectively Amaya’s tactics were working, as did the significant decrease in gunshots from the other side. The Legends moved out from behind cover, guns at the ready.

Amaya was waiting for them, surrounded by groaning men curled up on the ground. “There’s more of them at the actual camp,” she reported.

“I call this one,” Mick volunteered, leading the way.

The others let him, figuring he’d need to beat the crap out of someone if it meant that he was going to leave the Wild West happy.

There were still about half a dozen outlaws still at the camp, and they weren’t exactly happy to see the Legends coming at them with their boss slung unconscious over Hex’s shoulder. The biggest of them, about the same size as Mick, apparently decided to forgo shooting at them and just charged with a fist raised. Mick intercepted him, barrelling right into the man and working off his frustration by beating the crap out of him.

Len got close enough to another man to see the look of fear on his face when he ran out of ammo. Len pointed his own gun at him and smirked, Hex doing the same beside him. The outlaw paled, looked at their guns, glanced up at his defeated boss, and looked back at the guns one more time. Then he bolted out of there like the devil himself was after him.

“Coward,” Hex muttered, casually shooting another man who was trying to get a bead on them.

Mick finally got tired of pounding on the one guy, and Sara and Amaya took care of those remaining.

“Okay, now I think we’re done here,” Sara declared somewhat breathlessly, “Let’s get back to the ship.”

They met up with Jax, Raymond, and a thoroughly excited Heywood (who, according to Jax, was still coming down from his elated adrenaline high after he single-handedly stopped Turnbull’s train) back at the Waverider. The trio had also loaded as much Dwarf Star alloy onto the ship as they could manage – not that much, considering how heavy the alloy was. Sara had been in contact with the New Time Masters, who responded with a message saying that they would be sending a cleanup crew in to take care of the rest, lest one of Turnbull’s surviving minions decide to take up his boss’s mission. Turnbull himself was kept under sedation in the Med Bay until Hex said his goodbyes and took him to turn him over to the authorities and collect his bounty.

Meanwhile, Len decided it was time for that chat with Mick. Once again, he found that he wasn’t the only one with that idea, and that Amaya had beaten him to it.

“You were right,” she was saying, “The animal who wants to watch the world burn? That is who you are. But it’s not all that you are.”

“Your point?” Mick growled.

“Don’t deny the animal. But don’t let it control you, either. I can help you. Believe me, I know a thing or two about controlling wild beasts.”

Len smiled to himself and walked away. He could have his chat with Mick later. It seemed that Amaya had it well in hand for the time being.

He was just heading to the galley when Sara intercepted him, trailed by Raymond and Heywood. “Len, can you find Mick and Amaya and tell them to get to the bridge?”

“Sure, but why?”

“We just got a message from our friends in 2016. They need our help.”

She took off before Len could ask her to clarify, and the two nerds were just as clueless as he was, so he doubled back to Mick’s room. “We’ve got something,” he told the two of them, who were sitting there quietly drinking a couple bottles of beer.

“Already?” Amaya asked tiredly.

Mick groaned. “Where are we going now?”

Len allowed himself a small grin at the one bit of good news he could give. “Possibly either Star City or Central City, 2016.”

Amaya looked up. “Isn’t that your time period?”

That had Mick grinning back at him. “We’re goin’ home?”

“Sounds like it. It might not be a vacation, though; Sara said our friends sent a message saying they needed help.”

“Still, we haven’t been in our own time in months. Getting woken up by Pretty Boy and Queen doesn’t count, since we never left the ship.” Mick finished off his beer and stood up, Amaya right on his heels.

Sara had already gathered up Stein and Jax by the time the three arrived on the bridge. “Gideon just picked up this message on the frequency Rip left for our friends back home to use if they ever needed to contact us. Gideon, play the recording.”

“Right away, Captain.”

The perky voice of Team Arrow’s Felicity Smoak filled the bridge: “Hey, guys, it’s Felicity! Uh, we’ve kind of got an emergency here in 2016. One word: Aliens. Actual little green men from outer space. Except Barry said they were, like, seven or eight feet tall, so ‘little’ probably isn’t the word I should be using – anyway. As far as we know, they’re here to invade. Lyla says they came once before in the fifties, and a lot of soldiers were killed, and John is still annoyed that she never told him about that, or that he heard it first from Barry. Anyway, so, the story is that an alien spaceship crashed in Central City earlier this morning, along with three others around the world, and after Lyla told Team Flash about the last attack, Barry ran straight to Star City to tell us. But even with both our teams, it’s not going to be enough, so we could really use a hand with figuring out what to do, and fighting them off. We’ve already got a base camp set up, at a warehouse owned by S.T.A.R. Labs on the outskirts of Central City. Oh! And it’s Monday, December 5th here, and if you can show up around noon, that would be awesome. Can’t wait to see you guys! Overwatch, out!”

The recording ended, leaving many of the Legends a bit stunned.

“Did I hear that right?” Heywood asked, “Aliens are invading?”

Sara shrugged. “That’s what Felicity said.”

Amaya shook her head in disbelief. “I… can’t believe any of this. First time-travel, and now aliens. Actual aliens.”

“What, you thought your life wasn’t already a comic book, even with you being on a team of actual superheroes and all?” Len snarked.

Amaya opened her mouth to argue, then apparently thought it over and changed her mind. “That’s a fair point.”

“Well, to be fair, we already knew that aliens existed,” Raymond chimed in, “Remember, the Time Masters wanted Vandal Savage to rule the world so that he could fight off the Thanagarians. And his powers, along with Kendra and Carter’s, also came from Thanagarian technology.”

“Yes, but the Thanagarians weren’t scheduled to attack us until 2175,” Stein pointed out, “What if something has changed to send them to Earth over a hundred and fifty years early?”

“Either way, we’ve got to go home and help out,” Jax reminded them all.

“Agreed,” Sara declared, “So, everyone, get ready for a Time Jump. We’re going home.”

Chapter Text

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Barry grabbed Oliver and ran with him once more, this time ducking behind the S.T.A.R. Labs sign.

“Wow,” Oliver groaned, grimacing at his frost-coated arm, “You really did it this time, Barry.”


“Yeah. Yeah, seriously. You come to Star City, you ask for my help, and then inevitably, immediately, we end up up the creek!”

“Yeah, okay, that’s fair.” The explosions were getting louder. “They’re moving in.”

“On three, Team Leader.”

A thin beam of blue light suddenly burned through the sign in between the two heroes, narrowly missing them both.

“What’s that?!”

“That would be heat vision, remember?”

Oliver didn’t even bother with One and Two. “Three!”


Both of them stepped out from behind the sign to face their opponents. Thea, Dig, Mick Rory, Sara, and Leonard Snart advanced on them from the ground while Ray, Kara, and Firestorm hovered above them.

10 hours earlier:

“Alright, so lemme get this right: our, um, time-traveling buddies in a flying time-ship… are supposed to just pop up, right here, right?” Even almost a year after first hearing this, John still could not wrap his head around the fact that Ray and Sara (Back-From-The-Dead Sara) were now part of a team of time-travelling heroes. He’d already been out of the country by the time they’d taken a couple months of shore leave over the summer, so he hadn’t even gotten to see their time machine, and Felicity had said in her e-mails that she couldn’t send him pictures because even sending him an image of it could be dangerous to the time stream, or something weird like that. So this would be the first time that John would be seeing it.

“Yeah,” Felicity responded casually, trying to scan the sky with Cisco’s goggles (even though he said that they only worked with his powers), “This is the time and place I gave them, so if they got my message, they should be here…” A bright flash of light drew their attention upwards to a silvery, flying… thing that honestly looked like it belonged on a movie screen. “Right now!”

“You know, I’ve never done drugs,” John said to the group at large as the thing touched down on the asphalt in front of them, “It’s because I was always afraid I’d see weird stuff.” Never mind that his entire life, at least in the past few years, had been nothing but weird stuff. But at least in Star City, most of the weirdness was humanly possible, something that wouldn’t need a ton of computer effects if it was in a movie or on TV.

“Okay, uh, take everybody inside, alright?” Barry – who was the only one, of those out on the tarmac, in costume – asked, “And tell Oliver I’ll be right back.” He and Cisco, who took the goggles back from Felicity, broke away from the group.

“Where’re you going?” Thea asked.

“Well, since we’re fighting aliens, I figured we should get one of our own, right?”

John frowned. What in the hell did he mean by that? He was contemplating whether or not he even wanted to ask when, after a brief discussion, Cisco put on the goggles and stuck his fist out into thin air. And John’s day continued to get weirder as what he could only describe as a swirly, blue portal appeared in front of him. Barry and Cisco stepped forward and vanished into it. John was glad that the portal-thing disappeared with them, but still: freaky.

“Hi, guys!” Despite all the weirdness, John couldn’t help but grin when he saw Sara striding towards them, leading a group of six from the spaceship. Of the other five, John only recognised Ray on sight, which was to be expected, since Oliver had said that Kendra and Carter had left the team and gone back to living in St. Roch.

“Sara!” John gave her a big hug when she reached him. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?!”

“Hi, John!” she replied, echoed by Ray, “I wasn’t expecting to see you. Didn’t you go back to the military?”

“It’s a… long story.”

“One of his superiors framed him for treason, Ollie and Lyla broke him out, and now he’s a fugitive until we can find a way to clear his name,” Thea summarised, “It’s actually not that long.”

“Oh, God. Is there anything we can do to help?” Ray asked concernedly.

John gave him a sad grin. “One crisis at a time,” he told him.

Thea was frowning, slightly. “This is just the Jump Ship, right? Why didn’t you bring the Waverider?”

“I parked it in the Temporal Zone,” Sara explained (whatever the hell a Temporal Zone was), “I can recall it if we need more firepower.”

“So, come on in,” Felicity invited them, “Barry and Cisco went to fetch some more help, but everyone else is waiting inside.”

“Was that a breach I saw as we were exiting?” the white-haired, bespectacled man asked as they made their way into the warehouse, sitting on a large property just outside Central City, which was apparently owned by S.T.A.R. Labs.

“What’s a breach?” the lean, silver-haired man in the leather jacket asked from his spot at Sara’s side.

“It’s a doorway to a parallel universe,” the big, bald, rough-looking guy answered gruffly.

Felicity looked at him oddly. “And where did you learn that?”


Sara, Ray, and the other members of their team winced and nodded, as if that explained everything.

“You’re here!” Caitlin’s excited greeting interrupted anyone before they could ask, “It’s so good to see you all!” That prompted the other time-travellers to smile and greet those inside the warehouse – which really only consisted of Caitlin, Oliver, Iris West, and some guy named HR.

Two members of the team, however, hung back: Mr. Leather Jacket and the bald guy. However, after hugging Sara, Oliver approached them. “I see you got the team back together.” Right. Oliver had said something about taking a trip to New York a couple months back with a historian to fish their time machine out of the ocean… or something. “But where’s Dr. Heywood? And Captain Hunter?”

“Rip’s still MIA,” Leather Jacket Man admitted, “so Sara’s acting as Captain for now. And Heywood’s babysitting the Waverider with our newest recruit, Amaya. Have you ever heard of a superhero called Vixen?”

“Yeah, we’ve met. She’s operating in Detroit, and even helped us against Damien Darhk once. We really should have thought of calling her, now that I think about it.”

“Well, according to what I’ve heard, apparently that magic necklace that she uses gets passed down from mother to daughter, and our new girl might just be one of her ancestors, considering we picked her up in 1942.”

One of these days, John thought, he was going to wake up, and find out that the past four years were all one very bizarre and elaborate dream.

Either way, he shrugged and figured it was about time to introduce himself to the rest of Sara and Ray’s crew. “Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before,” he said, “I’m John, John Diggle.”

Leather Jacket Man smirked. “Baby Sara’s dad, right? Leonard Snart.”

John would admit to freezing for a second before allowing the man to shake his hand. Felicity had told them all, two years ago, about her trip to Central City in which she’d first helped Team Flash, and about the dangerous thief with the ice gun who had come closer to killing Barry than any metahuman he’d encountered by that point. He’d heard about how the man standing before him had kidnapped Caitlin, kidnapped Cisco, tortured Cisco’s brother, set free some of the most dangerous metas Team Flash had caught, and killed his own father. But since Oliver and Lyla had broken John out of prison, he had also heard quite a bit from Felicity about how the man had changed, how he’d sacrificed himself to save his team (even if the ‘dying’ part of the sacrifice hadn’t actually stuck), and how he was obviously, utterly head over heels in love with Sara, whether he would admit it out loud or not. Oh, and he had even gained the approval of both Oliver Queen and Quentin Lance, which everyone knew was not easy to get.

Still, he couldn’t help saying this: “Just so you know, if you hurt her, they’ll never find your body.”

Snart simply smirked at that. “Oh, I know. I’m sure Sara’s gotten very good at hiding the evidence over the years.”

“He said the exact same thing to me when I first met him,” Ray added from nearby, “See, I was dating Felicity at the time, and-”

“We got it, Haircut,” the bald guy grumbled, “Mick Rory, by the way.”

“Oh, and is Cisco going to be back soon?” Snart asked the room in general, “I need a favor from him.”

“Don’t tell me you need him to make you another Cold Gun,” Iris half-joked.

“Yes, actually. Raymond broke mine-”

“To save the White House from getting blown up in the eighties!” Ray protested.

“-and I do, in fact, need a replacement.”

John sighed, wondering when the hell this had become his life, and went to properly meet the other two members of Sara and Ray’s team.

“So… What’s new in Central City? Aside from the alien invaders, I mean?”

Barry and Cisco still hadn’t gotten back from their trip to another dimension, so there wasn’t much to do besides hang out and catch up. Len eventually found himself wandering over to where Felicity and Caitlin were chatting at the computers that had been set up in the warehouse, ignoring the dark-haired guy dressed like a hipster who seemed to be listening in.

Both women looked up when he approached, but it was Caitlin who answered him. “Well, aside from a new guy in a hood and mask creating new metahumans, we ran into one you may have heard of. Do you remember a man named Sam Scudder?”

Len straightened. Sam Scudder had been part of his crew a few years back, but he’d been more like Lewis than like Len, killing indiscriminately and being less than subtle about spending his take after the job. Len had eventually had enough, and had tried to kill him, but had been interrupted by the Particle Accelerator explosion. Since then, no one had heard from Scudder. He’d vanished without a trace, leaving Len looking over his shoulder for quite some time before figuring that Scudder had just decided to cut and run, even leaving his girlfriend Rosa Dillon behind.

But if Scudder was back, and if he had powers…

“I haven’t seen that smug bastard in years. What happened? How is he alive?”

“Well… once he was caught, he told everyone how you’d tried to kill him three years ago, but when the Particle Accelerator blew up, it gave him metahuman powers – specifically, the ability to travel through reflective surfaces. Since he was lying on a mirror when the blast went off, he sort of… fell into it and got stuck in it until someone picked it up and set it upright a few months ago.”

Len swore. “Dammit. He started looking for me, didn’t he?”

“Yeah. Don’t worry; Cisco called Lisa and made sure she stayed out of town until it was taken care of. But Scudder did throw one of your old associates into a mirror and out a second-storey window, then he broke his girlfriend out of Iron Heights. Once she told him you were nowhere to be found, they went back to old habits, using their powers to rob banks.”

Right. He’d heard that Rosa had gotten powers, as well, something about making people dizzy, but that she’d been nabbed by the regular police rather easily, compared to the other meta-criminals running around, without even needing the Flash’s help. “But you said they’re back in prison?”

“Yeah. We set a trap for them by tricking them into thinking you were back in town using voice-changing tech and that hologram we showed you guys, only Cisco and Harry managed to improve it so well that we were able to get it to talk and sound just like you. Iris had a blast playing that role. They were pretty easy to catch once they fell for it, and now both Mirror Master and Top are in Iron Heights where they belong.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Do you people come up with cute little nicknames for every meta you encounter?”

A wry smile crossed Caitlin’s face. “Sometimes, I think that’s Cisco’s real goal in life. Although Harry came up with Mirror Master.”

“Those are good names, though,” the hipster finally spoke up, drawing their attention, “Every supervillain should have a supervillain name.”

Len glared at him. “And who the hell are you?”

“That’s a very good question,” Felicity agreed.

The unknown man smiled. “Oh, sorry. Caitlin, I thought you said nearly everyone in Central City knew my face.”

“They do,” Caitlin confirmed, “But I think you’ve got your facial transmogrification device on.”

“What? Oh, right. Just a second.” The hipster rifled through his jacket pockets before pulling out a long, thin object that looked kind of like a pen. “Here we go.”

Len blinked as a bright flash temporarily blinded him. “What the hell?!” At least it didn’t knock him out, like Rip’s flashing device. Then he blinked again at the sight of Harrison Wells standing before him, wearing the exact same hipster clothes.

“What was that?!” Felicity gasped.

Wells was already grinning like a loon, but then he grinned even more widely. “My apologies. I am the Harrison Wells of Earth-19. You can call me HR. What you just experienced was a slight retinal adjustment. Basically, I made you guys immune to the illusion that allows me to walk out in public on this Earth without getting arrested for the nefarious misdeeds of my Earth-1 counterpart, which nobody even bothered to tell me about until earlier this week.” He gave Caitlin a pointed look, getting only a half-apologetic shrug in return.

Len raised an eyebrow. “So you’ve got a device that makes you look like someone else? That could come in handy.”

“You guys don’t have that on the Waverider?” Felicity asked.

“Not that I know of, but Rip has been known to keep secrets.” A smirk grew across his face. “Although, to be fair, I can imagine what sort of mayhem we could get up to with tech like that, so if Rip does have any, he’s probably keeping it out of our hands for that very reason.”

Caitlin grimaced. “Yeah, I could totally understand that. From what I’ve heard, you guys get into enough trouble as it is.”

HR just looked confused – evidently, he hadn’t been given much of a briefing on Len’s team and the rather… colourful personalities that made up its roster – and then shrugged. “I’m afraid I don’t quite know what you’re talking about. If anyone needs me, I’m going to go give the others the retinal adjustment so they can see me – they are all allowed to know who I am, right?”

At Caitlin’s confirming nod, the man beamed and jogged over to the nearest group of people, which consisted of Mick, Jax, John Diggle, and Thea Queen. He basically barged into their conversation – and literally into the middle of their group – and held up his flashing device in front of them all. Mick’s startled growl of “What the hell?!” could be heard from across the room, and HR had to back away from the annoyed arsonist very quickly.

Len looked back at the doctor. “Is he really a genius? Because I know Raymond can be an idiot and still know more about nanotech than pretty much anyone on the planet, but this guy…”

“Doesn’t know the first thing about science,” Caitlin confirmed, a distinct note of annoyance in her voice, “He had a business partner back on his Earth who really is a genius, and that guy solved the cryptogram we sent out as a sort of audition. HR was just the frontman, taking credit for a lot of the work, and got into serious trouble when their secret was exposed. We nearly sent him back to his own Earth, but he literally begged us not to, to let him prove he can be an asset to the team. So now he’s strictly a probationary member of Team Flash.”

Len glanced back at the guy who was now being interrogated by Oliver Queen while Iris West talked rapidly – probably trying to explain what the hell was going on. “Ten bucks says he doesn’t last a month. And speaking of Team Flash, where, exactly, did Barry and Cisco go?”

“Yeah, he wasn’t too explicit about that,” Felicity added.

Caitlin shrugged. “Apparently, when we were running some tests with a tachyon enhancer last spring, Barry actually ran so fast that he accidentally ended up on another Earth: Earth-38. It’s a world where a lot of alien immigrants live on Earth, and Barry met one who acts as a superhero in National City, and takes care of regular crime as well as the less-than-friendly aliens. He helped her take down a couple of villains causing trouble and then she helped him come back here. So he and Cisco are going to recruit her.”

“Okay, guys,” Queen got everyone’s attention, “Barry and Cisco should be back soon.”

Len nodded to Caitlin before wandering back over to his team.

“Alright, then. Team Arrow is here,” Felicity said, after apparently deciding that going through some sort of attendance list was in order, “Team Legends is here… is that everyone?”

“I think so?” HR asked more than answered.

“Nate and Amaya are back watching the Waverider,” Sara explained for anyone who hadn’t already heard, “The newbies.”

As was apparently the usual, Barry arrived late, though his method of entrance was something Len had never seen before today. Another glowing blue portal (he remembered it being called a ‘breach’) opened up, and Barry and Cisco jumped out with a pretty blonde girl in tow. The girl was wearing a blue and red outfit that could only be described as a superhero costume, complete with a long, red cape (unless they had some really weird fashion trends in her universe), and had a duffel bag slung over her shoulder. “That was cool,” the girl gasped.

“Guys!” Barry greeted them all, “Thanks for coming! Sorry we’re late; we had to deal with some nutjobs and their cyborg lackey who were trying to unleash an anti-alien bio-weapon on-”

“Barry, I thought you were bringing an alien,” Queen interrupted, eyeing the girl, who, despite her odd choice in clothing, looked perfectly human.

“And yeah, w-uh, we did. Everybody, this is my friend Kara Danvers, or Kara Zor-El of Krypton, or, as she’s also known on her Earth, Supergirl.”

“What makes her so super?” Jax asked skeptically.

Barry grinned. “Well…”

In response to Jax’s question, the girl suddenly levitated into the air and fired bright blue beams from her eyes, burning a symbol into the floor – the same symbol emblazoned in red on her chest – and grinned.

“I’m convinced,” Diggle said blankly.

So was Len.

“Best! Teamup! Ever!” Felicity squealed.

“You weren’t kidding when you said you had quite the team put together,” Kara told Barry as she floated back down, “On my Earth, it’s mostly just me and my cousin. And J’onn, and Mon-El, and all the agents from the DEO, although Mon-El actually isn’t all that interested in being a hero. Then there’s this new vigilante calling himself Guardian, but he’s honestly a bit of an amateur, so I really don’t know why I even brought him up in the first place. Oh! And you wouldn’t believe the guy they’ve got running around over in Gotham City-”

“Ah, K-Kara?” Barry interrupted her rambling.

“This chick babbles about as well as Raymond or Felicity,” Len whispered to Sara, who elbowed him but smirked back in agreement.

“Well, I guess you should know everyone’s names. This is Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Thea Queen, Sara Lance, Dr. Ray Palmer, Professor Martin Stein, Jefferson Jackson, Mick Rory, Leonard Snart, Iris West, Dr. Caitlin Snow, and Harrison Wells.”

Supergirl blinked. “Okay, one more time?”

Len rolled his eyes as Barry continued pointing at people and naming names, which got even more confusing once he added codenames, other nicknames, and power and skill descriptions into the mix. “Are we going to talk about fighting aliens at any point?” he drawled after a while, “Or are you two just going to spend all day playing name games?”

Barry flushed. “Uh… right. N-no, we’re not going to…”

“It’s okay,” Kara said, “I think I have this. Uh…” She pointed at Queen. “Oliver?”

“Green Arrow,” Queen prompted.




Their new alien ally went around, getting each of their real names right and receiving their code names in return, even remembering that Stein and Jax were one superhero together.

“And you’re… Snart?”

“Leonard Snart. Cold.”

Captain Cold!” Cisco interjected.

“I reject the ‘Captain’ part, and if you wanna be on my good side, ‘Supergirl’, so will you.”

After rounding off the roll call (and revealing the interesting fact that Caitlin Snow now somehow had brand new ice powers she couldn’t even use), Queen got them back onto the task at hand. Cisco clicked a remote, and the map displayed across a grid of six flat-screens changed into a blurry image of some creepy humanoid figure in a forest. It reminded Len of the alleged pictures of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

Barry began the briefing. “Okay, uh, the- these are the Dominators. We don’t know much about them-”

“Except they’re really strong,” Kara interrupted, drawing everyone’s attention to her, “I- I heard a lot of stories about them when I was a kid. They- they came to my planet before I was born, they did experiments on a lot of people, killed a lot more.”

“Well, they’re not the only ones with superhuman strength, I hear,” Thea pointed out, “Caitlin told me that Barry says that you’re more powerful than a locomotive?”

“We should use Kara as a stand-in for training,” Queen suggested.

“Since when was Robin Hood calling the shots?” Mick piped up through a mouthful of the sandwich he was eating. Len knew his partner had gotten used to taking orders from him, from Rip (to some degree), and from Sara, and trusted the rest of their team when they gave him instructions, but getting him to answer to anyone else would be a challenge – always had been.

“What Mick means to say is that it would be nice to know, given that we have three different teams here, each with their own leader, who’s taking point on this whole teamup thing,” Len translated.

“Maybe we should take a vote,” Raymond suggested, “Choose a leader.”

“Barry brought us all together,” Queen countered, “It should be him.”

Barry gave his friend a look that said: ‘Seriously?’, but went along with it. “O-Okay, um, cool- well, alright, I guess as, uh, team leader, the first thing to do is, uh, start out by, um… uh…”

“Doing a test run,” Queen prompted quietly, but still easily loud enough for everyone to hear.

“Let’s do a test run! Yeah, let’s do a test run, um…”

“Against Supergirl.”

“Against Supergirl! Alright! Test run against Supergirl!”

“Are we just supposed to pretend like we don’t hear him?” Sara snarked, pointing at Queen.

Very inspirational leadership, Barry,” Len added sarcastically.

“So, just, uh… suit up! Okay? Look alive! We’re training to fight aliens by fighting an alien, so… suit up!”

Everyone shrugged, and went with it. Queen pulled Supergirl aside to talk, the rest of Team Arrow went for a black van parked outside the warehouse, while the Legends started to head back to the Jump Ship, where all their stuff was still stored. Len, however, snagged Cisco by the arm. “I need you to do something for me, Cisco,” he said as he dragged the tech geek along, “Raymond broke my Cold Gun on a recent mission. I have most of the parts, so fixing it should be a pretty quick job.”

“You broke my Cold Gun?!” Cisco snapped once he got close enough to Raymond.

Len raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me? Your Cold Gun?”

“I’m the one who made it! I made the Flash suit, and I still say it’s my suit! The same logic applies here!”

“I beg to differ, but how about we discuss ownership after you fix the damn thing?”

“Alright, fine. So, what, exactly, did Ray do to the gun?”

“He fried the wiring to defuse a bomb that would’ve blown up the White House in the eighties, along with the President and the Russian leader, which would’ve turned the Cold War into World War III. For some reason, Gideon couldn’t just replicate replacement parts. Our return to the Old West might’ve gone a bit differently if she had; the standard laser guns issued by the Time Masters just aren’t the same.”

“For the record, I’m gonna geek out over those laser guns, but that can wait until later. So this’ll just be a quick rewiring job, then? Good.”

Apparently, when Queen had pulled Supergirl aside for a chat, he had told her to not go easy on them during training. Len was going to find some way to get back at him for that, because she was totally owning them all. Her powers apparently weren’t limited to flying and laser vision; she was invulnerable to pretty much anything (fire, ice, lasers, arrows, knives, etc.), was super strong, and had an icy breath capable of blocking Mick’s heat gun. Everything they threw at her, she shrugged off as if it were nothing and threw the heroes (and their allies who refused to be called heroes) to the ground.

Len had shown up late to training while waiting for Cisco to finish repairing/rebuilding the Cold Gun, so he wasn’t as beat-up as the others, and was one of the first to get back to his feet after the latest round.

“She really is a badass,” Thea told her brother, who was struggling to get up beside her.

“Yeah,” Sara added, as Len helped her up, “It’s kinda hot.”

“What?!” Len complained, “Sara!”

“Hey, I’m allowed to look, aren’t I? You didn’t complain about Queen Anne.”

“Because you took every chance you could to remind me that you weren’t going to go for it.”

“I just said she was hot! I never said I was going to go for her!”

“Let’s go again!” Queen ordered, breaking up the argument.

Len, Raymond, and Diggle all fired at her, joined a few seconds later by Mick (who wasn’t even bothering to get up off the ground, at this point), and everyone charged.

Len was the one who got the closest, but found himself quickly regretting it as Supergirl lifted him up and tossed him into Diggle, sending them both crashing to the concrete floor in a heap.

Queen was so going to pay for this.

Hours later, Queen had finally decided that that was enough training for the day (so much for Barry being the one in charge), and now everyone was resting. Kara, who, as it turned out, also had super-speed, was running around and getting everyone heating pads and ice packs and whatever else they needed, apologising profusely for beating them so hard.

Len was half-sitting, half-lying against a crate, one hand holding an icepack to his head while the other arm was wrapped around Sara’s waist. Caitlin had already checked him over, confirming that he hadn’t gotten a concussion, before moving on to the others. He was thinking about something Barry had said when he’d first returned from Earth-38.

“Barry, what was that thing you were talking about earlier?” he asked the speedster, who had already healed from his bruises (lucky, speedy-healing bastard), “Some sort of anti-alien bio-weapon giving you trouble during your visit to Supergirl’s Earth?”

Kara basically froze when the word ‘bio-weapon’ passed his lips. “The Medusa Virus. It’s a biological weapon from my home planet, Krypton. My father helped create it after we were nearly invaded before I was born. Now that I think about it, that might have been the Dominators’ invasion. My dad designed it to be lethal to anyone besides Kryptonians, but some human scientists got their hands on the formula and redesigned it to also spare humans. When Barry and Cisco came to recruit me, I was in the middle of fighting one of their agents, who was trying to steal an isotope needed to stabilise the virus and spread it over the city. We almost-”

“Yeah, yeah, I don’t need to know the whole story. My point is: couldn’t we use it against the Dominators? It sounds like it would be a quicker, easier way to go about things without risking all our lives.”

No.” Kara shook her head, looking horrified at the idea. “No, there has to be another way. It was bad enough to find out that my father was creating a killer bio-weapon instead of saving lives like he claimed he was doing, but I won’t use it.”

Len glared at her. This was the sort of reason why Rip had recruited him, Mick, and Sara: because heroes didn’t want to do the less-than-honourable things, the things that were sometimes necessary to get the job done and stop the real monsters. “You said the Dominators killed and experimented on a lot of people on your planet. If you can’t do what’s necessary to stop them from doing it again, then maybe you shouldn’t be in this line of work.”

Kara glared back. “Heroes don’t have to resort to something as… as terrible as an engineered epidemic of death to save people!”

“Well, that’s why sometimes the world doesn’t just need ‘heroes’. Sometimes it needs people who don’t let their hang-ups about what’s nice and what’s not get in the way of getting things done. It’s why I’m here.”

“Me, too,” Mick agreed.

“Guys?!” Felicity suddenly cried when her phone buzzed, interrupting the brewing argument. “Guys, it’s Lyla. The President’s been abducted by the Dominators! She needs us now!”

Despite the aches and pains, everyone got to their feet.

“Wait a second, we’re not all going, are we?” Len asked.

Kara shrugged. “Well, yeah, why not?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because this has ‘trap’ written all over it, in big, neon letters?!”

“Snart’s right,” Queen agreed, “If we all walk in there, and spring a trap, we’ll all be in trouble. Some of us should stay behind as backup.”

“Lyla wants to talk to you, anyway,” Felicity added, “You and Barry. Apparently she and the heads of various government agencies are squabbling about whether we should fight back or not.”

“Seriously?” Thea wondered, “Aliens are invading, the President’s been kidnapped, and someone out there thinks we should just sit on our asses and do nothing?!”

“This is why I hate politics,” Len commented to no one in particular.

Queen sighed. “Okay, fine. Barry and I will stay behind. Everyone else, suit up!”

It took Felicity almost no time to locate the signal from a tracer the President had had implanted in him, so they soon found themselves outside an abandoned factory, specifically a building from an old salt mine that went out of business years ago. Len would have made a comment about the cliché, but he kept those thoughts to himself, lest Mick remind him that Len himself had used such places as a base of operations many times. Although Len had tended to use warehouses, not old mining factories, so really…

“Sure we’re in the right place?” Raymond asked.

Supergirl, who’d flown there, came down from the sky and landed behind them. “Well, this is the last place the President’s tracer gave a signal. Must be nearby.” She stared at the building for a second, then nodded confidently. “Yep. He’s in there.”

“How could you possibly know that?” Len asked. Of course, given that she’d been dozens of feet in the air when Raymond had asked his question, and had answered it, anyway, he had a feeling that she still had other powers she hadn’t mentioned yet.

“I can see him,” the blonde alien replied, as if it were obvious. After a moment, she got an ‘Oh’ expression on her face and elaborated: “Oh, I have X-Ray vision.”

Oh.” Len knew exactly what Mick was about to say, and wasn’t sure if he should smirk or roll his eyes. “You can see everyone’s bits with those little peepers, huh?”

Kara’s face turned red. “No- no, I-”

“Ignore him,” Sara advised her.

“How did you get the name ‘Heatwave’?” Kara asked Mick, as if that wasn’t a complete non-sequitur.

Mick apparently decided to go with the brutal truth. “I burned my family alive, and I like things on fire.”

Sara facepalmed.

“Ah.” Kara was staring at him with that look, the one everyone had given Len and Mick when they’d first seen them with their superhero friends. The look that said ‘What on Earth is someone like him doing with a bunch of good guys?’ “Well, that’s a… colorful backstory.”

“Well, my shrink thinks so.”

“You haven’t been to a shrink in years,” Len reminded him, “And for the record, everyone, the fire that killed his family was an accident.” Sara, Firestorm, and Raymond already knew that, but he didn’t want Supergirl or anyone from Team Arrow suddenly deciding that they couldn’t trust him, especially not now, of all times.

“By the way,” Mick added, “I’m not gonna call you ‘Supergirl’. It’s stupid.”

“Really?” Raymond muttered, “We’re going to discuss this now?”

“…You could call me Kara.”

Mick shook his head. “That won’t work, either.”

Firestorm sighed from behind Len, who was rather inclined to think that the act was being done by both Jax and the Professor, not one or the other.

“Well, what are you going to shout if you need my help?”

Mick appeared to think about it very seriously for a couple seconds. “Skirt,” he declared decisively.

Thea snorted. “Seriously?”

“Seriously. But I’m not gonna need your help.” He turned and started walking towards the factory. The various Legends present just shrugged at Kara before turning to follow him. It took a while for people to get used to his personality.

The inside of the warehouse was dark and creepy, with a wide-open area and ringed with multiple levels of balconies. Everything was covered in dust, grime, and rust, illuminated only by the moonlight filtering in through the broken windows. But that wasn’t what brought Len to a halt only a few yards past the door. He was getting that feeling again. The feeling this whole thing was going to end badly. That feeling that had been dubbed the ‘Alexa’ feeling. “This was a bad idea,” he told the others, “Something’s not right.”

“I don’t see anyone else,” Kara replied.

“This isn’t gonna end well,” Len insisted.

Mick stopped and stared at him. “Alexa?” Sara, Firestorm, and Raymond stopped as well. While none of them knew the full story, they had long since learned what Len meant when he invoked ‘Alexa’, and they trusted his gut when it came to that.

“Look!” Diggle cried, “The President!”

Sure enough, the grey-haired man they recognised from the news as the President of the United States was standing on a nearby platform, his hands bound in front of him. “Get me out of here!” he begged them as soon as he saw them.

Kara rushed forward, but the Legends didn’t, and Diggle and Thea slowed when they noticed the others’ reluctance.

“Snart’s right,” Firestorm agreed, “This feels wrong.”

The Kara stopped dead in her tracks. “Something’s coming,” she said in a hushed voice. They could all hear it, some sort of unnatural sound that filled the building, seeming to come from all around them. It was like something you’d hear from a creature straight out of a horror or sci-fi film. On the second floor, a tall, grotesque, somewhat reptilian creature walked into view. Next to it sat a big, strange, metallic device that had something red and glowing in the centre. Everyone with long-range weapons pointed them at the alien. “Release the President!” Supergirl demanded.

“We knew you would come,” a creepy voice said. The thing was, it didn’t seem to come from the creature. It sounded to Len like it was coming from within his own mind, making his skin crawl.

“Did you guys hear that?” Raymond asked nervously, “‘Cause I heard it… in my head.”

“Yeah,” Sara confirmed, sounding just as disturbed, “We heard it.”

“You don’t need to harm him to get whatever it is you want from us,” Kara continued trying to negotiate, “Release him, and nothing will happen to you.”

The alien pointed its arm, encased in some kind of gauntlet, at the President. “He is not who we want.” The man had enough time to look at his would-be rescuers in horror before he was vaporised by a beam of green light shot by the alien.

“It’s a trap!” Diggle yelled.

“Yeah, I said that already!” Len snapped back. He was already starting to fire his Cold Gun, but then things got worse.

The alien turned and touched the weird device, which spit out something that could only be described as a… cloud of red energy. Len’s head suddenly exploded in pain, even worse than what he’d felt while being thrown through the time stream by the Oculus. Everything was pain; he was only dimly aware of his gun falling out of his hand, of his knees hitting the ground, of the others’ screams, and of Mick yelling “Supergirl! Do something!” before everything went black.

“What the hell is going on?!” Oliver demanded. They’d just wrapped up a video conference with Lyla, who, with their help, had gotten most of the other agencies on board with ‘letting’ the heroes and vigilantes fight the aliens, when suddenly an explosion shook S.T.A.R. Labs, where they’d gone to have the conference after their friends had left on the rescue mission.

Cisco was typing like mad on one of his computers, and let out a curse. “Well, we’re under attack, but I still don’t know what’s going on!” He pulled up the security feed onto the lab’s main screens. Barry felt his mouth drop open in shock as he saw Firestorm, the Atom, and Supergirl flying around and blasting things, with Cold and Heatwave on the ground doing the same thing. Speedy, Spartan, and White Canary were with them as well.

Oliver let a curse of his own fly before turning on his heel and sprinting for the exit. Barry grabbed him and ran him down to just inside the exit door. Once Oliver had gotten his bearings, the two of them stepped outside.

“Guys?” Barry asked nervously. The eight heroes said nothing, just grouped together and aimed their weapons at him and Oliver. “Can we talk about this?” He caught an arrow that Speedy fired at him.

“Guess not,” Oliver hissed through clenched teeth, ducking a shot from the Cold Gun that passed by so closely that it left frost on his arm.

A soon as their friends opened fire (Sara flinging throwing stars), Barry grabbed Oliver and pulled him behind a nearby S.T.A.R. Labs van. “What’s wrong with them?!” the speedster cried.

“I don’t know!”

“We need to find out!”

They ran out from behind cover, only for a combination of Firestorm, the Atom, and Supergirl’s blasts to make the ground under their feet explode. Barry grabbed Oliver and ran with him once more, this time ducking behind the S.T.A.R. Labs sign.

“Wow,” Oliver groaned, grimacing at his frost-coated arm, “You really did it this time, Barry.”


“Yeah. Yeah, seriously. You come to Star City, you ask for my help, and then inevitably, immediately, we end up up the creek!”

“Yeah, okay, that’s fair.” The explosions were getting louder. “They’re moving in.”

“On three, Team Leader.”

A beam of blue light suddenly burned through the sign in between the two heroes, narrowly missing them both.

“What’s that?!”

“That would be heat vision, remember?”

Oliver didn’t even bother with One and Two. “Three!”


Both of them stepped out from behind the sign to face their opponents. Thea, Dig, Rory, Sara, and Snart advanced on them from the ground while Ray, Kara, and Firestorm hovered above them.

Barry shot forward and slammed into Rory, knocking the pyro off his feet, then ran up to the roof of the S.T.A.R. Labs building, where the three flying heroes followed him. Spinning around, he generated enough energy for not one, but three lightning tosses. Mentally apologising to his friends, he threw one at each of them. The Atom and Firestorm were knocked back, but Supergirl didn’t even flinch, responding with another blast of heat vision that threw Barry off the roof and back onto the ground.

Oliver was locked in hand-to-hand combat with Thea, Dig, and Sara. He couldn’t help but hold back – this was Thea, Dig, and Sara, after all – but they held no such reservations. It was as if they didn’t recognise him. Neither one of them even spoke. He dodged a kick from Thea, ducked under a punch, and, knowing he would be regretting this for a long time, kicked her hard in the gut.

Next, he was forced to dodge twin blasts of heat and cold from Rory and Snart’s guns. He fired a net arrow at Snart, catching him around the legs and causing him to fall over.

Then Barry landed on the ground, hard, next to him. The four advanced on the pair of them, when suddenly a dark blur trailing yellow lightning ran by and knocked each one off their feet.

“Wally?” Barry gasped. It was Wally West, Iris’s kid brother, the new speedster who’d been told to stay out of the alien crisis because of his inexperience. But Oliver wouldn’t deny that he’d just saved their asses.

“Kid Flash,” the kid corrected, grinning like a loon.

His moment of triumph was short-lived, however, as a blast of icy blue ‘flames’ hit him. Snart had been knocked over, but he was not out, and was quickly freeing himself of the net, anyway. Wally, caught unawares, screamed and fell to the ground, ice coating his clothes and leaving his skin badly frostbitten. Barry zipped over to him. “Wally!” he cried, panic seeping through, “Talk to me!” But all he could get out of him was pained whimpers.

While Barry reported Wally’s condition to their friends still inside S.T.A.R. Labs, Oliver had other priorities (not that he didn’t care about the kid being hurt). “I need an ETA on overriding the mind control!”

The response was immediate. Cisco and Felicity had located a strange signal coming from some nearby salt mines, but they couldn’t jam it. Since they both knew that Oliver wouldn’t have enough arrows to hold them all off, even though he’d only fired the one so far, Barry gave him directions to a bunker and told him to get Wally there, while the Flash himself apparently had an idea of how to stop the mind control.

Oliver hissed apologies to Wally as he lifted him up in a fireman’s carry. The kid’s speedster healing factor was probably what was keeping him alive, but he was still in a lot of pain, given that he’d been hit by a weapon specifically designed to hurt speedsters. Oliver took off down the passageway Barry had pointed out, running as fast as he could, because his friends were right behind him.

Once they started shooting, Oliver had no choice but to set Wally down behind cover and start firing back. An explosive arrow helped him put some distance between him and them, but not as much as he’d like. Every so often, he’d find a spot to put Wally down long enough to shoot back.

Until the moment came where he reached for his quiver and his fingers met empty air. Sara was the first to reach him, the two League-trained warriors trading blows back and forth. But Oliver knew she had the advantage in hand-to-hand, and that he could only hold out for so long, even without taking the others into consideration. Whatever Barry’s plan was, it had better start working.

Then Sara stumbled back, her forehead covered in a strange red glow. She winced like she had the world’s biggest migraine, and blinked. Daring to take his eyes off the assassin for a second, Oliver looked around and noticed that all the mind-controlled heroes except for Supergirl (yes, he was including Snart and Rory as ‘heroes’) were in view, and all were shaking their heads and looking around in confusion.

“They’re back,” Oliver reported over the comms, breathing a sigh of relief.

“What the hell was I drinking?” Rory mumbled.

“More like: what the hell did those alien bastards do to us?” Firestorm corrected.

“I knew this had been a bad idea,” Snart practically growled, rubbing his temples.

“The Dominators put you all under some sort of mind control,” Oliver explained, “You basically tried to kill me and Barry. And-” It suddenly occurred to him that Wally was now the one to be the most concerned about. He knelt down and gently scooped the kid up again. “And he needs medical attention, right now.”

Gasps went up when they saw Wally’s condition, all eyes going to Snart, who stared at the kid with barely-masked horror for all of a second, before it was smoothly replaced by a blank, emotionless expression. But in that one second, he looked a far cry from the man who had once tortured Cisco’s brother for information.

“I’m calling the Waverider,” Sara said once she got over her shock, “No offense to Caitlin, but Gideon can heal him up a lot quicker.”

Oliver led the group out of the tunnel, noticing that Sara practically had to drag Snart along, as he appeared to still be shaken by what he’d done.

To say Len was upset was an understatement. Hearing the alien’s voice inside his head had been bad enough, but to have it take complete control was just… it was the most unsettling violation he could think of. Or perhaps not. Perhaps it was equal to what he’d felt after learning about the Oculus and what the Time Masters were doing with it. Which was worse? Having absolutely no memory or control over your own actions? Or learning that someone had been subtly pulling your strings for who knows how long, and leaving you forever questioning which thoughts and choices had really been your own?

Then there was what had happened to the West kid. What he’d done to the West kid. He was still audibly moaning in pain in Queen’s arms, pain that Len had caused. Whether he’d been in control or not, it had been his hand that had fired the Cold Gun, and for what? For trying to be a hero?

A few years ago, Len would have considered that an okay reason, because heroes were the enemy. Heroes were the ones who got in the way of his plans and looked down on him like he wasn’t even worthy of the effort. Now, though, it was all too easy to imagine Raymond or Jax, his crew, in that kind of pain. And that thought disturbed him.

And even before all of this, before he started giving a shit for anyone besides himself and Lisa and Mick, he hadn’t exactly been one to enjoy causing pain for the sake of pain. When he’d killed, it had pretty much always been quick. On the few occasions he’d tortured someone, he’d always had some sort of goal, something he intended to get out of it, some kind of information that would further his plans. Wally’s pain was accomplishing nothing.

It was raining by the time they emerged from the tunnel. Caitlin, Felicity, and the rest of the West family were waiting with a stretcher. Once, Len wouldn’t have cared about the furious glare Iris gave him as her brother was put on the stretcher and wheeled inside. Her father visibly restrained her from marching over to him, but he didn’t look any less angry as he led his daughter back indoors.

Felicity stayed out with them, covering herself with an umbrella. Mick, who hated the rain, ducked underneath it with her, and after a brief second of surprise, she readjusted it so that it was covering them both more easily. “So, what was it like, being all mind-controlled and stuff?” she asked as Barry zipped over from wherever he’d gone and rejoined the group. She sounded way too cheerful, considering what had just happened.

“I didn’t realize he had a mind to be controlled,” Jax joked, pointing at Mick. Mick just rolled his eyes.

“So, where’s Supergirl?” Thea asked.

“Scanning the city to make sure there aren’t any more of the orbs that whammied all of you,” Barry replied.

“Okay, so now what?” Diggle questioned.

“We call Lyla,” Queen decided, “tell her these Dominators aren’t here peacefully.”

“I could’ve told you that before this whole debacle,” Len muttered.

Meanwhile, Sara pulled out the remote control she would use to summon the Waverider. Len wouldn’t mind getting back onto the ship, even if it meant he’d have to be on board alongside its imminent patient and his understandably pissed-off family.

Sara was giving him a sad look. “We should talk,” she whispered. Of course she would want to talk privately about what had just happened. Len was just about to answer when there was suddenly a flash of yellow-white light and a strange sound, and then Sara was just… gone.

“SARA!” he and Queen yelled at the same time.

Then it happened again, only this time Len was able to see two beams of the same light come down out of the sky and make Thea and Diggle vanish.

“EVERYBODY INSIDE!” Barry was yelling, “GO!”

Len dashed away with the rest of them, hearing the sound again behind him. He performed a lightning-fast headcount of the people in front of him (Barry, Felicity, Firestorm, and Mick), then looked over his shoulder. Queen was standing alone. Raymond was missing.

Even as he looked, Len saw Queen vanishing in the same light. A red blur shot towards him, but soon Barry was the only one standing out in the rain, grasping at empty air and staring up at the sky.

“Sara…” Len breathed, not sure what had just happened.

“What the hell was that?!” Jax cried.

“Tell me that wasn’t some kinda death ray,” Mick demanded, his eyes wide. Len’s heart damn near stopped at that suggestion.

“No,” Barry insisted, zipping back over to them, “It was a teleporter.”

“What, like ‘Beam me up, Scotty’?” Felicity asked incredulously.

“Yeah. Which means they’re still alive, right?”

“They’d better be,” Len growled, “Or else I’ll kill every damn alien myself.”

Once they were inside, they were met with a veritable barrage of frantic questions. What happened? Why were people missing? What were they all going to do?

A sharp whistle from Caitlin shut them all up. “Okay, someone tell us what the hell just happened!”

“Oliver, John, Thea, Ray, and Sara have just been abducted by the Dominators,” Felicity quickly summarised, “So… Any ideas?”

“The Waverider can handle going into space,” Mick piped up, “But that’s a lot of area to search. We’d need something to narrow it down.”

“I thought only Sara had the remote to call your ship back.”

“Mick and I both know how to pilot the Jump Ship,” Jax interjected, “And Mick can pilot the Waverider. We can just fly back to the Temporal Zone and bring the whole ship back here.”

“I could try Vibing their location,” Cisco suggested, “But I’ll need some sort of personal item belonging to one of them.”

“And if that doesn’t help?” Len snapped, “Sure, if you can see whether they’re okay or not, that’s important, but will it tell us exactly where to fly the Waverider?”

“It’s a start,” Felicity insisted, “We just have to grab the stuff they left in the warehouse. And as for the rest, maybe Curtis can help come up with something.”

Len remembered meeting Curtis Holt over the summer, the second techie member of Team Arrow. Adding another geek brain to the mix would probably be a good idea.

“Right. So, we’ll go take care of that right now, and get the Waverider here so Gideon can help Wally.”

“I’ll start making calls,” Barry volunteered, “I mean, we could still ask Carter and Kendra for help. And Mari and Lisa.”

“I can call Roy,” Felicity volunteered, “It might be tricky, what with him being sort of on the run, of course – does it count as ‘on the run’ if no one’s chasing you because they all think you’re dead? Anyway, I will call him, because this is a serious emergency. Defcon One, all hands on deck-”

“We got it, Felicity. Let’s start dialing.”

After Kara was satisfied that there were no more of those mind-control devices in Central City, she flew to meet up with Barry at the main S.T.A.R. Labs building. When she entered the main room, she instantly knew something was wrong. Everyone in the room was looking worried, and not just for the badly-frostbitten boy in the bed in the room off to the side. Leonard Snart was particularly agitated, pacing back and forth like a caged animal.

“What’s wrong?” Kara asked the room in general, “What happened?”

Felicity was the one who answered, wringing her hands. “The Dominators abducted Oliver, Ray, Sara, Thea, and John. Just teleported them away. We couldn’t do anything to stop them.”

“What?! Okay, what’s the plan? Tell me there’s a plan!”

“Mick and Firestorm are picking up their time ship from the Temporal Zone and bringing their other teammates here with them, Barry and Cisco are making calls to other hero friends – it’s all hands on deck, now. And I’m waiting to hear back from our team in Star-” Her phone buzzed, and she looked at the caller ID. “That’s them! I gotta take this.”

Felicity walked off, talking to someone named Curtis, but Kara stopped listening in favour of checking on everyone else. As Felicity said, Barry was on his phone with someone named Kendra, Cisco was doing the same with a ‘Lisa’, Iris and an older man were sitting at the bedside of the injured boy, Caitlin was treating the boy’s injuries, and HR was mostly getting in Caitlin’s way.

That left Snart, who was being ignored by everyone else. It was understandable; the man was giving off a distinct ‘stay the hell away’ vibe. But Kara figured someone should talk to him, to see if he was okay. “How are you holding up?”

Snart’s angry gaze snapped up to her, and the Girl of Steel was actually taken aback by the sheer amount of anger in his eyes. “I’m fine!” he practically growled.

“You don’t look fine. Look, everyone’s working really hard to bring your friends back. Everything will be okay, I promise.” She reached out to put a comforting hand on his shoulder, but he slapped it away. Kara froze, more surprised by the action than anything else.

“You really are living in a bubble, aren’t you? What, you think that hard work and hope are going to make everything go the way you want it? If you want to help, why don’t you go do something instead of wasting your time talking to me?!”

Kara could only watch as the man stormed out of the room. “What’s his problem?”

“Do you want a list?” Barry came up from behind her, apparently done with his phone call, “Snart’s life has been anything but easy. I mean, everyone here has faced some sort of tragedy, but at least we had other people to help us get through it. Snart hasn’t really had anyone besides his sister and Mick until he got recruited onto the Legends team, and he’s not going to react well to people trying to comfort or coddle him. You can’t offer him hope with words; you have to do it with actual proof of progress. The fact that he barely knows you won’t help, either. Trust does not come easy for him.”

“So… he’s always this cynical? Enough to advocate using the Medusa Virus? You saw how nasty that was, how Mon-El almost died from it! How did someone like him and Rory get onto a team of heroes, anyway? They honestly seem like they’d fit in better with the villains.”

“Well, to be honest, that is how they started out – seriously, each one has a rap sheet, like, a mile long, and they’ve both actually tried to kill me at least once – but they aren’t the same guys who first stepped onto the Waverider. And even then, Snart’s biggest priority is and has always been survival. For himself and for the small group of people that he cares about. He’d be dead by now if it wasn’t. It’s why he was recruited for the Legends Team; he and Mick and Sara… they’re the ones who can make the tough calls, the smart ones, because sometimes we heroes can be idiots, or just don’t want to get our hands dirty. Snart just suggested the Medusa Virus as a way to remove the threat to his home as quickly as possible.”

Kara bit her lip, wondering if maybe she’d judged the man too harshly.

“You know, I’m pretty sure the last time you were on one of these trains was the time you derailed one just to get the jump on Barry.”

Len gave the engineer sitting across from him a withering look before going back to staring out the window. His fingers twitched in irritation, but he forcibly reminded himself that pulling the Cold Gun out at all, much less icing the nerd, would just cause more problems for him. And at the moment, he had enough problems as it was, thank you very much.

His girlfriend had been abducted by aliens. Abducted. By. Aliens. It sounded so surreal, he could almost imagine that it was all some very strange nightmare from which he would soon wake up. But the residual headache from the Dominators’ mind control and the bruises he’d woken up with – probably given to him by Queen while defending himself – said otherwise.

So now he was on a train to Star City, where Felicity and Cisco planned to work with Team Arrow’s own newbies – including Curtis Holt the tech geek – in hopes of finding Sara and the other four abductees. Cisco was also hoping to get his hands on a personal item to ‘Vibe’ their location, and apparently the street clothes they’d left in the S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse after changing into their battle gear didn’t cut it. Mick had said it would take them a while to bring the Waverider back to 2016, so they couldn’t just quickly grab something from Sara or Raymond’s rooms. And while Len knew he probably wouldn’t be much help in either area, he wanted to get that information as soon as possible, which meant being there when it was discovered.

Plus, since he’d shot that West kid, the kid’s cop dad and viciously protective older sister had been furious with him, mind control or no mind control, and he had no intention of staying behind with them. Nor did he need the reminder of the pain his own actions had inflicted on the kid.

He stared out the window, looking up at the night sky, wondering where Sara was, and if she was alright.

“We’ll find her,” Felicity said softly, “We will.” Her voice was gentle, and although it was basically the same thing that Kara said, Len couldn’t find it in him to snap at her. Maybe it was because, unlike the alien woman who’d just shown up in their lives today, Felicity had a much greater understanding of what Sara meant to him.

Len sighed. “I hope so. But what state is she going to be in when we do?”

The Sixth of December, 2016

Sara rolled over in bed, stretching. Her bare breasts brushed against warm flesh, the arm draped over her waist pulled her closer, and she smiled.

“Good morning.” She opened her eyes to see her lover smiling back at her.

“Morning,” she whispered back, kissing him softly, “How long have you been awake for?”

“Not for long. But we really should be getting up soon, if we want to be on time.”

Sara groaned, resting her forehead against his. “You know I hate mornings.”

“It’s eleven-thirty. Half an hour from now, it won’t be morning anymore. And we still have a long drive ahead of us. Besides, you’ve been talking all month about how you can’t wait to see your family again, to be there on Laurel’s big day…”

“I know, I know.” She sighed. “But seriously: five more minutes?”

Len smiled and kissed her on the forehead. “Fine. Five more minutes.”

Chapter Text

Monday, December 5th, 2016

“…they’re just mean,” Holt was saying as the elevator doors swished open, “I can’t believe it.”

“Try to start,” Felicity told him, stepping out into the Arrow Bunker with Len and Cisco in tow, “Guys, this is Cisco Ramon from S.T.A.R. Labs, and this is… uh… this is Len. Former criminal, but he’s on our side now, and he’s gonna help us, so… be nice.”

Holt shook both their hands with equal enthusiasm. “Good to see you guys again,” he greeted them, “Guys, Cisco’s the one who designed this whole bunker, and made a lot of the suits and tech we use. So, Rene, when you asked Oliver if the people who built the elevator also know his secret, the answer is yes. And Snart here is on an actual team of time-traveling heroes that include a few former members of Team Arrow.”

“Rory Regan,” the skinny kid standing on the platform next to the computers introduced himself, “Did you seriously just say ‘time-travel’?”

“Rene Ramirez.” The guy slipping on a sweatshirt was giving Len an untrusting glare, but Len shrugged it off. He had more important things to worry about.

“Okay,” Cisco murmured, “Curtis, I remember meeting you over the summer, Rene, and Rory. That’s two Rory’s I know now. The other one, he’s a douche, though. You’re not a douche, are you?”

“No.” Regan took Cisco’s rambling remarkably well. Most people would have looked a little bit weirded out.

“Okay, good, ‘cause… had to make sure, right? Ah, no offense, Snart.” Cisco only belatedly seemed to realise that he’d insulted Mick right in front of his partner.

“I’ve known Mick for thirty years, Cisco,” Len told him, rolling his eyes, “I’ve seen him at his worst, and ‘douche’ didn’t even cover it during those times.”

“Okay, so, guys, we have to find Oliver and company, and I’m not talkin’ about the garish, animated Disney film starring Billy Joel, okay? I’m talking… I gotta Vibe, alright? I need something to Vibe off of, something personal?”

“I’ve got one of Oliver’s old bows here somewhere,” Felicity offered, “It’s just too bad that the Waverider isn’t here, yet, so we could get something of Ray or Sara’s.”

“That’ll do.”

“Um, for those of us who don’t know you so well, what are you gonna do, exactly?” Regan asked.

“Oh, right. I’m about to ‘Vibe’. It’s this thing I do where I touch something, and I can not only see the past, I can see the future. But most importantly, I can see where people are.”

“So you’re one of them,” Ramirez said with an odd tone, “Metahuman.”

“Yeah, he is,” Len confirmed, “Don’t sound too excited about it.”            

Felicity handed Cisco a piece of a broken bow, warning him to not break it any further. Cisco took the damaged weapon and instantly stiffened up and was silent for several seconds. Len had never really seen the geek’s powers in action, but Felicity didn’t seem too concerned. Then he let out a shuddering breath. “I saw them.” Len leaned in, anxious to hear if Sara was okay or not. “They’re in some kind of stasis, like a ship. It’s, uh, a little Alien, a little Star Trek – JJ Abrams style – and a whole lotta tech.”

“But they’re okay, right?” Len demanded, “They aren’t hurt?”

“No, they don’t look injured. They all looked like they were… asleep in these freaky-looking pods.”

“You said tech?!” Felicity demanded.

“Yes, I said tech. It’s an alien spaceship, Felicity; these guys aren’t amateurs.”

Holt explained Felicity’s train of thought, suggesting that they get their hands on some alien tech and try to download some intel that could lead to the missing heroes’ location. He then geeked out over the piece of the crashed ship that Cisco pulled out of his bag. “This is seriously the best day of my entire life!”

The Sixth of December, 2016

“How much luggage did you bring?” Laurel asked as she heaved the last suitcase out of the car. Len came to her other side and helped her hand it off to the nearest maid. “What, do you think you’re moving in?”

“I wish,” Sara commented, looking up at the huge mansion. They’d gotten to Starling City just hours before Laurel and Oliver’s rehearsal dinner was scheduled to begin.

“Is there something you want to tell me?” Len asked jokingly as Sara hugged her sister.

“Relax, Len. I’m not going to drag you all the way to my sister’s wedding just to dump you.” She fingered the necklace Laurel was wearing, looking at the black and gold design. “This is beautiful.”

“Thanks. Ollie got it for me.”

“Is it a bird?”

“It’s a canary.”

Sara let go of the necklace, the word sending an unexpected jolt through her body.


Sara covered up her unease by hugging her sister again. “I just really missed you.” Still, she was unsure. What was it about the word ‘Canary’ that affected her like that?

Laurel eventually pulled away. “Well, I’m glad you could come. We hardly see each other since you moved to Central City.” She cast Len a significant look. “And I’m very glad to finally meet the reason why in person. I’ve gotta say, Skype doesn’t do you justice.”

Len smiled at the compliment. It was a warm smile that, although she’d seen it many times, felt incredibly rare and precious to Sara for some reason. “I am sorry to have kept Sara away from her family so long.”

“Although waiting until the last possible moment to tell Dad was my own choice,” Sara added, “You know how he likes to run background checks on every guy we go on even a single date with.” Len had had a bit of a rough childhood, but his mother had packed up and taken him and his sister away from their abusive father when Len had been fifteen, and aside from that one stint in Juvie (which was honestly all because of said bastard father), he’d managed to keep his record clean, so he had eventually gained the Quentin Lance Seal of Approval™.

“Anyway, there’s no point in standing out here,” Laurel prompted, “C’mon, I’ll show you guys to your room.”

She led the two of them into the house, Sara following with her arm hooked around Len’s and leaning into him happily.

Monday, December 5th, 2016

“So, what’s your beef with metahumans all about?” Len asked idly as he sat and did maintenance on his gun next to where Ramirez was doing the same with his own weapons.

The new vigilante scowled at him, clearly not all that fond of Len himself, either. “Nothin’.”

“Nothing? You were alright with Cisco before discovering he was a meta, and you got all grouchy the second he started talking about his powers, so if that’s not the issue, then what is?”

Ramirez huffed. “Alright, fine. Yeah, metahumans give me the creeps. All powers do, actually. Those people like to think they’re better than the rest of us, like they were chosen by God, or something.”

“Or they think they are gods, although to be fair, I’ve only heard of one or two who were under that impression. And there’s this couple that insist they were chosen by a god – Horus, to be precise – but that’s a long story, one that I am actually willing to believe, given that it was four thousand years ago and they’re still around today.”

Ramirez stared at him. “You’ve met a pair of immortal metas?”

“I just said that it’s a long story, and they’re not exactly immortal, nor are they exactly metas. The more likely explanation is magic. But you could ask them that yourself; after Sara and the others were taken, we basically declared an ‘all hands on deck’-type situation, so someone’s bound to have called them in.”

Great. Any others I should know about?”

“Well, one girl on my team has magic powers from this ancient amulet she has, and her possible future granddaughter or something – our girl’s from the forties – might be persuaded to come over from Detroit. They were also talking about a guy named Roy – no powers, though, but you might have already heard of him, since he was on this team, before.”

“Yeah, Felicity mentioned him. Took the fall for Oliver, went to prison for something neither of them did, and faked his death, or something.”

“Yeah, him. Then there’s another guy with powers on my team, but I wouldn’t call him a metahuman because he got them from this weird serum he was injected with – saved his life, though, considering he was a hemophiliac who’d been caught in a carpet bombing. He’s lucky he lived long enough for any of us to even get to him. And I’m pretty sure Mick called my sister Lisa, whether I want her there or not.”

“Lisa Snart, right? Heard she was a criminal, too.”

Len gave him a sharp look, but really, the other man had heard Felicity call him ‘Len’ and Holt calling him ‘Snart’, so it would have been painfully easy for him to put the pieces together. “Is that going to be a problem?”

Ramirez shrugged. “Depends on whether or not you guys shoot me or my friends in the back.”

That comment had Len bristling. “Okay, listen. I know I don’t have the most trustworthy backstory, but I have spent months fighting alongside the hero-types, and we’ve saved each other’s asses so many times we’ve lost track. I have their trust, and they have mine. And for the record, both of the Queen siblings, Felicity, and Holt know me, as well. Hell, even Quentin Lance is cool with me, somehow. Secondly, this is an alien invasion we’re dealing with. At the very least, you can trust that the Dominators are our common enemy.” He paused. “By the way, where is Captain Lance? Or ex-Captain, whatever, but seriously: his daughter is one of the people who’ve been kidnapped, so why isn’t he here?”

Ramirez got a sad look on his face. “He’s had a bit of a drinking problem for years. Nearly kicked it, but after Laurel died, he relapsed. Thea got him checked into rehab. Don’t spread that around, though.”

Len frowned. “Sara’s not going to like that. We’d better make sure she gets a chance to visit him once this is over.”

Both men looked up as Holt walked past them, saying something about a divine plan and space monsters, and approached Cisco and Felicity’s workstation. Len listened as the tall geek explained about his ‘3-PO Processor’, quoted Star Wars, and gave them his device to plug into the Dominators’ tech. The geeks and Regan all gathered around it, and Len could hear a faint whirring sound from where he and Ramirez were still seated. Surely it couldn’t be that easy.

“I feel like Elliott in ET,” Holt gushed, “‘It’s working! It’s working!’”

“Your tech guy’s still quoting movies, huh?” Len heard Cisco mutter, “Real original.”

“Feeling threatened, Ramon?” Len drawled.

He got no answer, however, as a rapid, high-pitched beeping had Cisco and Felicity yelling “NononoNO!” before ducking away as the device exploded.

Len and Ramirez abandoned their work and hurried over. “What happened?” Ramirez asked.

“What did you geeks break?” Len demanded.

“We made an idiot move,” Cisco confirmed, “that’s what happened.” He reached out to pick up a small piece off the table, but recoiled when it turned out to be hot enough to burn him.

“We tried to plug human tech into a Dominator power source,” Holt explained, “Of course it overloaded.”

“We need a regulator, okay?” Felicity declared, “Something that can handle the Dominator juice.” Holt suggested a prototype some tech company had been working on, and Len was ready to dust off his thieving skills and fetch it, but when Felicity looked it up, she discovered that someone had already stolen it. “According to SCPD reports, it was a doctor named Laura Washington?”

“A doctor?” Len questioned, “What in the hell does a doctor want with a regulator?”

“Apparently she’s been artificially augmenting herself with stolen technology, because why would the universe make anything easy?!”

Holt read over her shoulder. “It says here her implants gives her enhanced strength, stamina, and electricity-based powers. Well, that’s nothing we can’t handle.”

“That’s everything we can’t handle,” Felicity whimpered, “I mean, sure, we’ve got Len here, but I still don’t like the odds.” She picked up her cell phone and started dialling. “I’m calling in reinforcements.”

Len groaned. “You’re calling Barry, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m calling Barry. And I’ll ask him to bring Kara, too.”

Well, at the very least, that would end the fight with Dr. Washington a lot more quickly. Len was willing to put up with the annoyance that was Barry Allen in exchange for that.

The Sixth of December, 2016

“He’s not coming,” Laurel fretted. The rehearsal dinner was well underway, but the groom had yet to show up.

“Don’t worry,” Sara assured her sister, “He’ll be here. You know Ollie’s never been on time for anything his entire life.”

“You didn’t see him earlier. He had this look on his face, like… like he was backing out.”

“No way. He loves you.”

“He just- he looked like everything that he knew was wrong.”

“I’m pretty sure that every guy has that look the night before their wedding,” Sara told her, taking two glasses of champagne from the bartender and handing Laurel one. For some reason, she hesitated just the slightest bit before passing the glass over, unsure why the action left her feeling worried.

“You know,” Laurel admitted, “there was a time when I thought the two of you would actually hook up.”

Sara gave her sister an incredulous look, even though she suddenly felt a bit guilty for some reason she couldn’t understand. “You know I prefer girls.”

“Yet you’re here with a man.”

“Well, that says something about that particular man, since I’m with him over all those girls.”

Laurel smiled. “He makes you happy?”

“Yeah. And not just the physical kind of happy, either. He… he just gets me, you know? Like he knows me better than I know myself. And he even says the reverse is true, that I know him better than he knows himself.”

Her sister’s expression turned contemplative. “I wonder if being at a wedding will have him thinking of-”

“Laurel, don’t.” Although Sara couldn’t help but smile at the idea. “Please don’t be one of those ‘So when are you going to get married, already?’ relatives. Len and I are happy as we are right now, and we will decide if and when we want to take our relationship further.”

Laurel hugged her. “That’s my girl. You and Len take care of each other, no matter what your ‘official’ status is. And speak of the devil…” She let go so Sara could turn around and see her boyfriend standing there, holding two glasses of champagne.

“I see I shouldn’t have bothered with the second glass,” he noted, nodding at the one in her hand.

“Hey, that just means I don’t have to go back for seconds.” Sara replied, grinning. Laurel walked off to mingle, as the only guest of honour actually present, leaving the couple to talk.

“That is true. I still haven’t managed to spend all the money we won when you drank those frat boys under the table.”

“And mom said I’d never make a lot of money in a bar.”

“To be fair, I think she meant as a bartender. Even a very hot bartender.”

Sara’s grin widened at the memory of how they’d met. She’d been working to pay off her college tuition in a bar on campus, and had caught some skeezeball slipping something into a woman’s drink. The woman in question had turned out to be Len’s sister Lisa, and when the police had come to deal with the creep (and the fact that Lisa had punched him out), Len had shown up to drive his sister home. Sara had still been giving her statement when he’d arrived, and he’d personally thanked her for saving Lisa from getting roofied. Then Lisa had invited her to a party to thank her, where their paths had crossed again, and the rest was history.

Unfortunately, Laurel chose that moment to interrupt, tapping Sara’s arm to get her attention. “This is my sister, Sara, and her boyfriend, Len,” she told the tall, dark-haired man she’d been talking to.

Sara took one look at the man and suddenly an image flashed through her mind’s eye, of the same man, wearing a different shirt and looking at her sadly.

He had an odd look on his face. “Have we met before?” he asked.

Sara saw other things, other mental images. The man sitting next to her with what looked like a roller coaster harness over his chest. Wearing an old-fashioned blue suit and black fedora. Holding a sword and catching something that she’d tossed to him while shouting his name: Ray.

(Little did she know that he was seeing similar images. Her wearing an old-style skirt and blouse while hitting a man dressed like a pilgrim with a large stick. Her boyfriend in a nice suit waving a red leather wallet in one hand. The two of them climbing out of a red classic car, her in white leather and him lifting a huge gun and saying something about Boba Fett.)

“No, I’d think I remember,” she told him, although she was not all that certain of her own words.

“You just… seem very familiar.”

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Barry, Regan, and Holt were already waiting there, of course, when Len and Ramirez pulled up on their bikes (okay, so Len was riding Queen’s, but the ex-billionaire, if he ever heard about it, could just deal).

“You should’ve taken him up on his offer to carry you,” Holt told them, “It was awesome.”

“Nobody’s carrying me anywhere,” Ramirez growled.

“I’ve already done it, anyway,” Len added. He didn’t feel like getting run around by Barry again, a sentiment that Cisco, of all people, seemed to agree with. “And by the way, Barry, what were you even thinking that one time when you snatched me off my bike while my sister was still in the sidecar? She’s lucky she only got a few bumps and bruises.”

Barry blushed under the cowl. “To be honest, I kind of… wasn’t, after what you two had just done.”

Len shrugged it off. “Fair enough.”

“It’s so cool that Felicity reached out,” Regan said in his creepy Ragman voice (which he apparently couldn’t turn off without removing his raggedy mask), “It’s awesome to meet you.”

“Well,” Barry responded, “Wait ‘til you meet her.”

As if on cue, Supergirl came down from the sky and landed on top of a nearby shipping container. “Hey, everyone!” she greeted them cheerfully.

Ramirez took one look at her and shook his head. “Oh, I’ve had enough of this.” He got off his bike and stalked towards the building where Dr. Washington was supposedly hiding out.

“What was that all about?” Barry asked after an awkward silence.

Len got off his own bike and un-holstered his Cold Gun. “Apparently the guy has an issue with people with powers. Seems to be under the impression that you all think you’re better than everyone else.” And sure, while Len had once thought the same of Barry, if for different reasons, he knew the kid better, now. “Probably better if you two take the other entrance.”

He and Regan followed Ramirez while Barry and Kara entered on the other side of the building with Holt. Len had already memorised the blueprints, and was able to lead the other two directly to the main area of the warehouse after quickly picking the lock. He took in the shelves lined with medical equipment and tech, but was quickly distracted by two sounds: lots of footsteps, and the sound of something electronic charging up.

He ducked to avoid a bolt of electricity, but Ramirez wasn’t so lucky, getting hit and being slammed into a wall. Regan moved between Len and the threat, since his sorry-looking suit of rags was apparently magical and made him bulletproof.

Dr. Washington was standing there, along with a group of thugs wielding a mismatched assortment of guns. They seemed normal, but the woman had some sort of implant over her left eye, and most of her left forearm was covered in metal and charging up for another shot.

The Seventh of December, 2016

Sara really felt like punching Oliver Queen in the face. It was one thing to be late, like usual, but to not show up at all to his own rehearsal dinner? “You’re lucky I’m not a trained assassin, or anything,” she told him as she walked out of the room. She blinked afterwards. Trained assassin? Where had that come from?

Walking down the hall, she smiled widely as she saw a face she hadn’t seen in years. “Tommy!”

Dr. Tommy Merlyn grinned. “Hi, Sara.” The two hugged. “I’m sorry I got here so late.”

“Well, you were in an airport in Chicago when the rehearsal dinner was happening, so at least you have an excuse for missing it last night. Ollie didn’t have any.”

Tommy frowned. “Seriously? I mean, he’s late all the time, but missing his own rehearsal dinner? That’s not like him.”

“Well, maybe the best man can talk some sense into him?”

That got a wry grin from said best man. “You do remember that I was the one talking him into some… not-so-sensible hijinks, right?”

“Only half the time. The other half, it was the other way around. But you’re Dr. Responsible, now. So you have to figure out what the hell is up with Oliver and make sure his head is screwed on straight.”

“You say that like it’s an easy thing to do.” Both of them turned at the sound of Len’s voice. The man in question came out from the room he and Sara had been sharing, still in jeans and a t-shirt.

“Oh! Len, this is Tommy Merlyn, Ollie’s best friend and best man. Tommy, this is my boyfriend, Len Alexander.” It had been Len Snart, but he and his mother and sister had taken his mother’s maiden name after leaving his father. “Len, why aren’t you dressed, yet?”

Len rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “I… got a call from work. It took me way too long to explain to that new secretary that I’m in another city hundreds of miles away and can’t just ‘pop in’ to fix a wiring problem.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “What was the bet again?”

“That he wouldn’t last two months. I put down that he wouldn’t even last one, and it looks like I might just win.”

“Where do you work?” Tommy asked politely.

“Central City. I’m an electrical engineer. You?”

“Oh, I’m a doctor. Just transferred to a hospital in Chicago.”

Sara laughed. “Who would have thought, right? Irresponsible party boy Tommy Merlyn becoming a doctor like his mom? Oh, speaking of your mother, have you seen your parents, yet?”

Tommy nodded. “Mom and Dad met me at the airport and drove me here. I’ll freely admit that half the reason I’m coming to look for Oliver is to just get some breathing room; Mom has barely even let go of me since I got off the plane.”

Sara shook her head. “She just misses you, Tommy. This is the first time you’ve been home in the past year. Imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have her.” She blinked, not quite sure where that had come from, either. Shaking it off, she poked Len in the arm. “Now, I’m going to check on the reception area. You just hurry up and get dressed, already.”

She left the two men and started heading towards the area where the guests would gather before the actual wedding, passing by the garden entrance as she did so. The sounds of shouting and fighting reached her ears, and without thinking about it, Sara sprinted towards them. As she rounded a hedge, she saw Oliver and an unfamiliar black man being attacked by some freak in combat gear and a black and orange mask. The stranger was flipped and landed on the ground first, then the masked man went after Ollie with his sword. He brought it down to stab him, and Sara reacted, catching the psycho’s wrist and kicking his knee out from under him.

From there, it was easy to wrench the weapon from his hand and slash at him, although the blade glanced off the surface of the mask. A quick thrust into and out of the attacker’s chest was much more effective; he fell to the ground, dead.

Reality caught up with Sara. “How did I do that?!” she gasped. Sure, she’d taken plenty of self-defence classes, but swordfighting? And the way she’d killed him with no hesitation whatsoever… it was disturbing as hell.

She dropped the weapon, her hands shaking. Oliver’s hands immediately moved to steady her, leading her inside. The stranger came with them. “Alright, this is… hard to explain,” Oliver admitted once they were inside.

“Well, start trying!” Sara snapped.

“We think…” the stranger continued, “We think we’re in some sort of shared hallucination.”

Sara scoffed. “That’s crazy! I mean, not as crazy as me doing Kung Fu, but it is definitely up there.”

“That wasn’t Kung Fu,” Oliver corrected her, “That was… Jeet Kun Do, and I think that you learned in a spot called Nanda Parbat.”

“Nothing you are saying is making sense! None of this makes sense!”

“A-Alright! Sara, what is the last thing you remember?”

“I don’t know!”

“I mean, before you came here, yesterday. What is the last thing that you remember?”

Sara sighed. This was ridiculous. She’d been driving up with Len, pulling over at the last rest stop for a quickie just for the hell of it. But something else came to mind. A creature out of a sci-fi movie and a blinding headache.

“You remember something,” Oliver whispered, “Come on. Sara, come on, concentrate!”

The president disappearing in a green light. A young man, practically still a boy, moaning in pain and badly frostbitten. Len looking like someone had punched him in the gut. “There was a fight,” she remembered, more of it coming back to her, “There was going to be a fight, then my head started hurting, and I was suddenly somewhere else, and then I was… taken. We were taken.”

“Taken where?” Dig questioned. Wait – since when did Sara know his name?

“…I don’t know.”

“Look, I- I think there were five of us, at least,” Oliver added, “Who are the other two?”

Sara thought back, remembered the weird flashes – memories – when she met another supposed stranger last night. “Ray Palmer,” she said, remembering yet another name.

“And Thea,” Oliver murmured, “They took you first, Sara, then John and Thea, then Ray, then me.”

“I mean, if this is some kind of dream or… shared hallucination, then how do we wake up?” She still couldn’t remember much of what had happened before, but she was growing more certain, with every passing second, that this wasn’t real. Laurel and Len and this whole wedding weren’t real.

“By getting out of here,” John said, “The Smoak Technologies building.” Sara remembered seeing that building on the drive to the Queen Mansion. For some reason, it had felt… odd. Like it didn’t belong. “Maybe the reason why the place seems so strange is because that’s the way we get out of here. Wherever ‘here’ is.”

Monday, December 5th, 2016

“What do you want?” Dr. Washington demanded.

“You stole something we need,” Len drawled, keeping his gun pointed at her.

“You mean this?” She raised her other arm slightly, showing off the tiny device implanted in it that matched the pictures Felicity had found of the stolen regulator.

“Yep. Hand it over.”

“Or what?”

“Or we’ll take it from you ourselves,” Ramirez growled, having climbed back to his feet.

Dr. Washington smirked. “I doubt that. You’re outnumbered, and I doubt you freaks could handle me on my own, anyway.”

“‘Freaks’? That’s cute, coming from the cyborg.” Ramirez drew his spare guns and started firing, moving so that he was also behind Regan. The mooks opened fire, but strips of Regan’s costume lashed out, miraculously catching every bullet while Len and Ramirez fired their own shots. Len focused on the woman, knowing that cold was very bad for electronics – it was why he had to perform maintenance on his gun more regularly than he would with a normal weapon.

Then Ramirez got cocky. He ducked out from behind cover and started shooting at Dr. Washington. Len had to switch focus and take out her flunkies to keep them from shooting him. The woman just smirked and fired off another electricity bolt. Regan shouted his teammate’s name, but couldn’t do anything.

Thankfully, another bolt of lightning entered the scene, trailing behind the red blur that grabbed Ramirez and pulled him out of danger. The Flash circled around some shelves before punching Dr. Washington multiple times.

When Supergirl arrived along with the speedster, Len decided that the cyborg would be well-handled and went back to dealing with the minions.

He kept his Cold Gun on a low setting – he didn’t need Barry declaring their deal void now, of all times, though he’d probably wait until this whole thing was over, and they weren’t really worth it, anyway – but was utterly ruthless, otherwise. The punks wasted all their ammo trying in vain to hurt Regan, which allowed Len to get in close. It wasn’t his preferred style, but the tension that had been building since he’d woken up from the mind control was finally being released, in a way that would hopefully help get Sara back. With every punch he threw, he imagined that creepy alien being hit.

Screams let him know that Regan and Ramirez were also participating, and soon there were no more enemies left to fight. They were sprawled on the floor, either unconscious or probably wishing they were. One was groaning up on a high shelf – how in the hell did he get up there? And as for Dr. Washington, she was lying prone at the feet of Flash and Supergirl.

Holt finally showed up, and he and Regan approached the two powered heroes. “That. Was. Awesome!” Regan cried.

“There’s the regulator,” Holt pointed out, as if they didn’t already know, “She seems pretty attached to it.” He grinned and chuckled at his own lame pun. No one else did.

“Maybe just remove it?” Barry suggested. Holt nodded sheepishly and knelt down to do so.

Len looked over at Ramirez. “Something you wanna say?”

Ramirez sighed, looking like a scolded kid even through the hockey mask. “Thanks for the save.”

“Is that all you have to say?” Kara prompted.

“I don’t do apologies, sweetheart.” He pulled off his mask. “But I guess I can admit that not all you powered people are all that bad.”

Well, it was a start.

The Seventh of December, 2016

Sara reluctantly put her bridesmaid’s dress back on the hanger. She could only imagine how heartbroken Laurel would be when her sister and her groom skipped out on the wedding. But it wasn’t really Laurel. She had to keep reminding herself of that. Because she could remember it, now, visiting a grave with her father, placing flowers before it and reading the name Dinah Laurel Lance carved in stone.

Dressed in her casual clothes, she left her and Len’s room and went down to where the guests were gathered and mingling. She passed by Thea and Malcolm Merlyn – why did the sight of him fill her with hate? – and then spotted the person she was looking for, standing and chatting with a familiar blonde in a blue dress. “Ray! I need to talk to you.”

Ray looked at her, confused. “Sara, right? Hi, um, this is my fiancée, Felicity Smoak.”

“Hi, nice to meet you!” Felicity said, “Oh, you’re Laurel’s sister, right?”

But she wasn’t really Ray’s fiancée. Sara remembered her, now. Remembered the other woman taking a bullet for her, showing off her engagement ring – the ring Oliver had given her – while sitting in a wheelchair. And she remembered Ray holding hands with another woman with curly brown hair, and that same woman showing her another ring and, a bit confused and bewildered, saying: “I’m… engaged.”

“Yeah.” This isn’t her. “Can I steal him for a second?” She pulled him away even as Felicity – not-Felicity – stammered her permission. “Ray, doesn’t this all feel weird to you?” she asked in a hushed voice as soon as they were out of earshot.

“A little,” Ray admitted, glancing back at Felicity.

“I need you to think.” They really had to get going. Sara still couldn’t remember everything, but she had this horrible feeling in her gut that said that someone else needed their help.

“She’s not my fiancée,” he breathed, “My fiancée’s name is Anna. Or, it was.” Right. He’d lost another woman he loved before Sara had even met him. “What’s happening?”

Sara breathed a sigh of relief. “You’re remembering.”

“Remembering what?”

“Reality. Listen, I know this sounds weird, but all this…” She waved her hand around in emphasis. “Isn’t real. Do you remember anything else? Like, when Laurel introduced us yesterday, I started getting these weird… memory flashes. Did you-”

“Yeah. Yeah, I did.” He shook his head. “Okay, if this… world isn’t real, then what is it? And how do we get back to whatever is real?”

She placed a hand on his arm. “We’re not entirely sure what this is, yet. But go out to the garden patio; someone’s waiting there who can explain what we know so far. I still have to talk to Thea; she’s trapped in here with us, and we can’t leave without her.”

She got a bewildered nod, and then moved on to talk to Thea. Luckily, Malcom was gone, so she could talk without interference.

But it didn’t go the way she’d expected.

Oliver approached them minutes later. “Speedy.”

“She knows, Ollie,” Sara told him, “She knows and she doesn’t want to go.”

“My question is: why would you want to?” Thea asked brokenly.

“Because none of this is real,” Sara insisted.

“It’s real enough, okay? It’s better than our real lives. In this life, Laurel is alive. My parents are alive.”

“Those are not your parents!”

“They remember the only lullaby that would actually work to put me to sleep. They remember every day of my life, okay? They even smell like them, Ollie!”

“They’re not them, Thea,” Oliver told her, sounding like his own heart was breaking, “I want them to be… but they’re not.” He turned his gaze to Sara. “Where are John and Ray?”

“They’re waiting outside,” Sara said softly.

“Give us a few minutes?”

Sara nodded and left the room.

“Sara?” She looked behind her. Len was there, looking quite nice in a suit, and looking at her in confusion, “Sara, what’s going on?”

But it wasn’t Len. She had to remember that, even if she remembered every touch, every kiss-

She pressed her lips to his, even as she tried not to let the tears fall. It wasn’t fair that this would be their first and only kiss.

“Len, I… I- I have to-”

“Wait. Sara, just wait. There’s something I have to ask you.” He gently took her by the arm and led her further down the hallway, away from prying eyes. “I wasn’t going to do this today; I didn’t want to steal the spotlight from Laurel and Oliver. But I can’t wait any longer.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, black jewellery box.

Sara gasped, tears pricking at her eyes. “Len…”

“Sara Lance,” he began shakily, “Will you-”

“I can’t.” And God, it hurt to see the look on his face. “I can’t, Len, I just… there’s too much for me to explain.”

“But Sara…” There was so much pain in his eyes, and she wanted to kiss him and tell him that it would be alright, that she loved him.

She placed gentle kisses on his scars, the ones he got protecting his sister. “You don’t have to be ashamed of these,” she told him, “They show who you really are, the man who protected the most precious thing in his world when no one else was there to do it.”

“I’m sorry.” It tore her heart to turn away, to leave him behind.

“Get him out of here!”


“Just do it.”

She left him behind once, left him there to die. But he found his way back to her. There was a real Len, and he was alive and waiting for her.

Monday, December 5th, 2016

“Feel any better?”

Len looked up as Kara fell into step next to him on the way back out of the warehouse. “About what?”

Kara shrugged. “Just in general. I find that beating the crap out of bad guys can be great stress relief, and you took down most of Dr. Washington’s minions by yourself. Of course, I usually beat up old cars from the junkyard, especially when there are no alien bad guys available, but I’m pretty sure the basic idea is the same.”

“It… It helped. A bit. I kept imagining each one of them as the alien that mind-screwed us back in Central.”

“And it got us closer to finding Sara and the others. See? Progress! That’s something to be happy about, right?”

“Just make your point.”

She sighed before continuing. “I just wanted to apologize, for what I said earlier. About the whole Medusa Virus thing. I’m still against using it on the Dominators, but… Barry told me a few things about you, and I think I can understand where you’re coming from a bit better.”

That… could be a problem. “Exactly what did Barry have to say about me?”

“Well, he didn’t exactly give me your whole life’s story, but he did say that you would do whatever it took to protect the people you cared about. That’s why you wanted to use the Medusa Virus, right? Because you were ready to do what you needed in order to stop the Dominators, whether it was by playing nicely or not.”

“I never had a lot of success playing nice,” Len stated, “It was kill or be killed, a lot of the time.”

“You didn’t have anyone looking out for you? No family?”

Len snorted. “Mom walked when I was fifteen, Gramps died a year later, and Dad… his best parenting style was to just not be there. Our life has always been better without his involvement. It was just me and Lisa.”

Supergirl was quiet. “I’m sorry. I lost my family, and all of my friends, when I was a teenager. We survived the Dominators’ invasion, but we weren’t very good to our planet. Someone got the idea of tapping Krypton’s core as an energy source. The end result was the entire planet blowing up. My baby cousin and I were evacuated in time; we’re all that’s left. I mean, there was my aunt and uncle and a few others who were already… elsewhere, but they weren’t exactly the best of Krypton, and now they’re all gone, too.”

“But you found a home on your Earth, right?”

“Yeah. I have a foster family, people who took me in not long after I landed. Sometimes I take that for granted.”

The Seventh of December, 2016

It had started raining by the time Sara joined John and Ray outside. What was the superstition? That rain on your wedding day meant good luck? Well, Sara couldn’t be too sure of that, especially not in this situation. She helped John continue to bring Ray up to speed on what they knew, and then Oliver came out. Alone.

“Where’s Thea?” John asked.

Oliver looked at them all sadly. “Thea’s staying.” They all stared at him in shock. “Have you explained to Ray what we have to do?”

“Yeah,” Ray answered, “Apparently, we have to get to an office tower that my non-fiancée doesn’t own, which is a little strange, all of that coming from a guy who’s been having memories about being able to shrink.”

“Well, whatever we’re doing, we have to do it fast, because whatever the Dominators have done to us, they would have built in safeguards, probably manifestations from our memories designed to keep us here.”

The word ‘Dominator’ brought back more memories, of the creature Sara had remembered earlier speaking inside her head, of Felicity asking some big guy – Mick, his name was Mick – what being mind-controlled was like, of a cute blonde in red and blue saying that they’d come to her planet and experimented on and killed people.

She was distracted from any other memory flashes when an arrow came from behind her and struck Oliver in the shoulder. He groaned in pain and ripped it out, and the other three whipped around to see where it had come from.

Malcolm Merlyn stood there, wielding a bow and wearing the garb that she recognised as belonging to the League of Assassins. And he wasn’t alone. Names and memories fell into place as Sara identified each one:

Slade Wilson in full Deathstroke gear. Oliver’s former friend who’d gone insane over Shado’s death and killed Moira Queen, among others.

Damien Darhk. The man who murdered Laurel.

A Ghost. One of Darhk’s minions. John’s traitorous brother Andy had been one.

And a man in a black-and-orange mask like Slade’s. A member of Deathstroke’s super-soldier army that had laid siege to Starling City with him and killed many innocents, including Ray’s fiancée, Anna.

“They’re not real,” Oliver tried to remind them.

“They certainly look real.” Thea joined them from inside the house, having also changed out of her dress and into casual clothes. “But let’s not get into that right now.”

Oliver walked over to her. “Speedy?”

“Yeah, I had a change of heart, okay? Like I said: I can’t lose my family again.”

Oliver was the first one to walk down the patio steps and engage the enemy apparitions. There was no question as to who would take which one.

“You’re father’s still alive, Thea!” Sara heard Malcolm snarl, “Your real father, at least!”

Sara remembered the horrible things he’d done to Thea. He didn’t deserve to call himself her father.

But Darhk quickly drew all of Sara’s attention. “Unfortunately, this is gonna be a little less satisfying for me than killing your sister,” he sneered.

Sara didn’t say a word, just charged and began to fight him. Even though she’d accepted that killing the real Darhk wasn’t an option, at least she could settle for this lookalike. Even if it was a cheap copy, because while he was matching her blow for blow, he was slower than his real-life counterpart, unable to overpower her like he had in their previous face-offs.

“Sara!” Sara looked up and saw Thea grabbing the bow and an arrow from the downed Malcolm and firing in Sara’s direction. Sara caught the arrow and drove it into Darhk’s stomach. It was fitting, she thought, considering that was how he’d killed Laurel.

Looking around, she saw that John had won his fight (although he appeared to be injured), as had Ray, who’d apparently managed to get his hands on a gun and use it to kill the super-soldier. But Oliver was still battling Slade. Thea ran closer to the fight, called her brother’s name, and tossed the bow to him, an arrow already loaded in it. Oliver used it to shoot and kill Slade, and the five were finally able to take a breath.


Laurel came running out of the house in her wedding dress, tears in her eyes. The bride left at the altar.

Oliver and Sara exchanged a look and jogged over to her.

“Sara. Sara, what’s going on here?”

“Laurel… Look, I can’t explain, but… I have to go. We have to go.”

Laurel’s face became even more devastated as she looked between Sara and Ollie. Sara remembered her comment about having once thought that they would get together, remembered sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend and all the shame that came with it. “What? No. No, no, whatever it is, we can fix it.”

Sara wished that were true. But she’d already learned the hard way that she couldn’t bring Laurel back. “We can’t.” She hugged her sister one last time, saying the goodbye she’d never gotten the chance to say. “Some things, you just can’t fix.” Though it was tearing at her heart to do so, she pulled herself away and went to join Thea, John, and Ray, who were waiting on the lawn.

It was a long run to the Smoak Technologies building, especially with Ray and Oliver having to switch off on helping an injured John along, but they were met with no more interruptions and soon were entering the lobby. Ray was the one who noticed something strange. “Guys, I don’t think that belongs there.”

No, a swirling blue-green portal taking up an entire wall certainly did not belong.

“Okay, either that’s the way out of here, or we have to click our heels three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’.”

“And if that doesn’t work?” Sara asked.

“It has to work,” Oliver insisted, “John’s running out of time.” He passed John off to Ray, and the five of them stepped through the portal.

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Sara’s head hurt. Everything hurt, really. It was all coming back to her at once: the Gambit, the League, the Pit, the Waverider, the Oculus, the Dominators. She remembered everything.

She opened her eyes and took in her strange surroundings. She saw Ray, Thea, and Oliver climbing out of these freaky pods on her right, and Dig struggling to do so on her left. They were all wearing some sort of odd, grey pyjamas, instead of their hero gear. “Where are we?” she asked as she climbed out of her own pod, looking around.

“You alright?” Oliver asked a pained-looking John.

“Yeah,” Dig breathed, “It may not be real, but it still hurts like a son of a bitch.”

“Uh… Guys?” Ray called, “There’s something you really need to see.”

He was standing in front of a window. And outside that window was nothing but the emptiness of outer space.

“Any luck with the regulator we took off Cyber-Woman?” Regan asked as Cisco and Holt entered. The two engineers had run off to get to work as soon as they’d returned. Barry and Kara had travelled back with them, reporting that Wally West was on the mend and some reinforcements – including Lisa – had already arrived in Central City, before heading back there themselves.

“‘Cyber-Woman’. I think I’m starting to like you guys.”

Len rolled his eyes. Of course Cisco would be so pleased by geeky nicknaming.

“The regulator worked,” Holt confirmed, “But my translator did not.” Len clenched his fists. All that work for nothing! “The only thing I got back from the Dominator tech was… soup.” He held up a tablet, protesting when Len snatched it out of his hands. Sure enough, there was nothing but a bunch of random numbers on the screen.

“What?” Felicity cried, taking the tablet from Len, “Wha-no, no, no, this… No, this just looks random.”

“It’s not,” Regan insisted once he got a look, “It’s Gematria.”

“Huh?” Well, bonus points to Regan for knowing something that got that reaction from Cisco.

“Gematria is the numerology of-”

“Of the Torah,” Felicity finished, “How did I not see that?” She took the tablet to her workstation.

“For the Gentiles and those of us who actually had social lives in high school,” Ramirez butted in, sounding confused, “What the hell are you talking about?”

Regan briefly explained Hebrew numerology, how each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, as well as various words and phrases, each had their own numerical value. The important thing, Len figured, was that it was an ancient code. Part of him reflected on the possibility that the Dominators had been to their planet before, if their language was modeled on this ‘Gematria’.

“Guys!” Felicity called them over, “I’m getting references to five Terran captives, here, okay? The signal is coming from… dammit, these coordinates make no sense!”

Len looked over her shoulder. There were numbers there, but they didn’t appear to follow the standard latitude/longitude format. “Okay, so that just means that while the Dominators’ language is related to this gematria thing, they don’t use the same coordinate system we do. But I think I know someone who might be able to translate it.” He turned on his comm, which had been in his ear the whole time in case one of his teammates on the Waverider needed to contact him. “Gideon?”

“Yes, Mr. Snart?”

“You wouldn’t happen to know any alien coordinate systems, or anything like that, would you?”

“I am programmed to understand and translate many different systems of communication, including those of alien races with which the Time Masters have interacted. I presume by your question that you have uncovered the location of our missing crew members and allies?”

“Yeah. Is Mick there?”

“Right here, Snart,” Mick’s voice came over the comms, “Where do you need us to go?”

“Pick me up in Star City. I’ve got the coordinates, thanks to Team Arrow, but I think there’s a chance that we might wind up needing to take another trip into space.”

“You’ve gone into space before?!” Regan asked in surprise.

“I wanna go into space!” Cisco insisted excitedly, ever the geek.

“No one else is going into space!” Len insisted to forestall any further begging. “Mick, who’ve you got with you?”

“Amaya and Pretty Boy Number Two are still on board. The Professor’s gone to help figure out science stuff, and Jax is stickin’ with him. Think that’s enough?”

“If we wind up facing the Dominators’ entire armada, every goddamn hero on the face of this planet won’t be enough. We just need to get in, get our people, and get the hell out without getting killed.”

“Well, the Waverider’s only got nine seats, so if you count the five who’ve been snatched, I’ve really only got room for one more, anyway. I’ll be there to pick you up in ten minutes.”

“Got it. I’ll be outside.” He shut his comm off, then turned back to Team Arrow and Cisco. “I’m not bringing any of you with me. But they’ll need help in Central, so I’d advise packing up and heading there. I’m going to go get our people back.”

The halls of the alien spaceship were like a maze, one in which they could possibly turn a corner and find themselves face-to-face with a Dominator at any moment. And there were no maps posted around for the crew members, so naturally the five prisoners were absolutely lost. Ray tried to direct them based on similarities between Earth tech and what he was seeing on the ship, but that just led them into a room full of Dominators. So Oliver had grabbed a weapon off the wall, figured out how to use it, and held them at bay while the prisoners turned and ran in the other direction.

Luck appeared to finally be on their side, because they eventually emerged in a huge, spacious room that could only be a large hangar with dozens of smaller ships docked. “Do you think we can fly one of these things?” John gasped.

“I’m hoping that between you, me, Ray, and Sara, someone can fly one of these things.” Oliver responded. Thea looked a little put-out at the exclusion.

Finding the entrance hatch of the nearest ship was easy. And luckily, the ship had seating for five, in an outward-facing circle around a central pillar made of bright green wires. Everyone sat down, but all that was in front of each seat was a shorter pillar with no buttons or icons or the like. “Okay, now what?” Sara asked. She wondered if the steering system was actually telepathically controlled, related to how the Dominator at the salt mine had spoken to her and the others in their own heads. If it was, they might just be screwed.

“Ray?” Oliver questioned.

“Um… Now might be a good time to find the owner’s manual.”

Suddenly, the ship’s engines hummed to life. The interior lights shut off and back on, and the wires behind them were now glowing.

“And Mom said I wouldn’t amount to anything if I didn’t go to college,” Thea boasted. Sara twisted around to see that the younger woman had simply pressed her hand against the ‘controls’ in front of her. Apparently the method of pushing random buttons was a lot easier when you had only one button to choose from.

Then Sara got that feeling of being on a roller coaster plummeting down a steep hill. They were definitely moving, alright. But whether they were moving in the right direction or not was another question. For all Sara knew, they were en route to Pluto.

“Uh, really hoping there’s an auto-pilot,” Ray fretted, “because I don’t see any controls on this thing.”

“Hold on!” John cried as some ominous beeping started up, “We got incoming!”

“How do you know?” Sara asked, just as a boom sounded too close for comfort, and the whole craft shook.

“Lucky guess?”

There were more sounds, now, ones that reminded Sara of spaceship battles and laser guns in sci-fi movies. How many other ships were chasing them?

“We need to find a way to steer this thing, or we’re not gonna last very long!” Oliver yelled.

Thankfully, it was at that moment that help arrived. The tiny window above their heads suddenly let in a blue light, and the ship shook again, but this time it eventually stabilised. When the light vanished, Sara looked up through the only window and saw a metallic ceiling that looked rather familiar. “Ray, is that what I think it is?”

Ignoring the warnings of the other three, Ray and Sara scampered for the entrance hatch, which opened when they neared it. Sara felt like she could cry in relief as she recognised the airlock of a time ship. And not just any time ship: it was the Waverider’s airlock, because it still had the dent from that time she’d thrown a knife at a time pirate who’d tried to sneak in that way. They were safe.

Len was equal parts relieved and terrified when he saw an armada of what could only be alien spaceships chasing and firing at one other. On the one hand, it meant that at least one of the abductees had mostly escaped captivity. On the other hand, well, they were still being shot at. Three of the enemy ships had moved into a triangular formation, a freaky triangle of energy forming between them. Years of watching movies – if not as frequently as the likes of Raymond or Cisco – told Len that it was some sort of combined power super-attack thing.

Mick steered the Waverider directly at them, forcing those three ships to scatter in a game of chicken. Then he flew over their friends’ getaway vehicle and activated the tractor beam, pulling them inside. “Got ‘em. Just hang on one second.” He gave Len a look, which, given that his partner was halfway through removing his harness, was well deserved. Then the pyro punched the throttle, and the ship rocketed away at its highest speed – which would have seen Len crashing into the glass wall of Rip’s study if he’d been out of his seat.

But once they were at a distance deemed safe, Len needed no prompting. He was up and racing towards the airlock. He got there just as the doors swished open, and there she was. Sara.

And Raymond, too, but Len only had eyes for his girlfriend. He grabbed her in a hug and held her tightly, finally relaxing after the past several hours of stress. “Thank God,” he whispered.

Sara clung to him for longer than he expected. After all, she was a badass assassin; she was supposed to indulge him a bit, and then roll her eyes and give him a playful swat for getting all worked up over her safety. But instead, she buried her face in his chest and held him just as tightly, and Len felt his shirt starting to become wet. Relief was giving way to worry again. What had they done to her?

The sound of someone’s throat clearing had the couple finally pulling apart. Diggle and the Queen siblings had also climbed out of the craft – which was a good thing, because that meant that no one was dead or had fallen behind – and were now staring at them oddly. Len supposed it was to be expected; he and Sara were usually never this openly affectionate in front of others (in private was a whole other matter), and Diggle had only seen the two of them together today. While Raymond had been around them long enough to not be surprised in the slightest, the others looked rather baffled.

“Thanks for the save,” Queen said, and he clearly meant it.

“Like we were going to just let you all get shot to pieces in the middle of outer space,” Len drawled.

“Oliver!” Heywood called as he arrived, “Nice clothes. Shopping at Alien GAP?” It was only then that Len even noticed that the former abductees were all wearing the same ugly grey garb.

“Not funny,” Queen growled.

The seven began to walk back to the bridge, Len and Sara not letting go of each other for a moment.

“Well, lucky for you guys, the Waverider has a machine that replicates old clothes and weapons. Hi, I’m Nate Heywood.” He turned and continued walking backwards while introducing himself to Diggle and Thea.

“Hi. I’m Thea, and this is exactly twice as many spaceships as I ever thought I’d be on.” Despite having gone to Central City for the Legends’ ‘Going Away Party’ last summer, she’d only ever seen the Waverider from the outside.

“Actually, it’s a time ship, remember?” Sara corrected her. They’d only gone into space twice, now, so the distinction was highly relevant.

“How’d you find us?” Queen asked.

“We didn’t,” Len answered, “Your nerd crew back on Earth did. Between Holt’s translator and that Regan kid spotting a similarity between the Dominators’ language and Hebrew numerology, of all things, we were able to hack some Dominator tech and get your coordinates, though we needed Gideon to translate those, since Earth-based interstellar coordinate systems aren’t really a thing.”

“We should take Dig to the Med Bay,” Sara interrupted, pointing at the man in question, who was indeed clutching his ribs, “and have Gideon fix him up.”

“Whoever Gideon is,” Diggle muttered. He, Sara, and of course Len turned around and went back the way they came, since the Med Bay was in that direction.

“So what happened on that ship?” Len asked once they got Diggle settled into the Med Bay bed (and calmed him down when Gideon spoke up and startled him). “Cisco ‘Vibed’ you guys in some sort of freaky pods…”

Sara looked down at the floor, suddenly looking seriously depressed. Diggle was the one who answered. “They had us stuck in some sort of dream world. So many people we lost were alive. My brother, Oliver’s parents, Laurel…” Len began to understand why Sara was so upset. She’d been in a world where her sister was alive and had had to leave her.

“Laurel and Ollie were about to get married,” Sara finally spoke up, “Tommy Merlyn was alive, and I… I sort of remember having met his mother. She was never killed in the Glades, so his father, Malcolm Merlyn, never went insane from grief and never did all those horrible things that we hate him for. My parents were still together, Ray and Felicity were engaged, Ollie and I had never cheated together, the Queen’s Gambit never sank… we were all happy.”

Len stared at her. “How did you leave?”

“Our real memories started coming back. We remembered that we had others in the real world who were depending on us. It was hard… Thea almost didn’t come with us.” She was still avoiding looking Len in the eyes.

“Pardon the interruption,” Gideon interrupted, “But we’ve uncovered new intelligence regarding the Dominators.”

Len looked up at the ceiling. “Go on.”

“It seems that, while escaping captivity, Dr. Palmer overheard one alien speaking to another, and remembered what they said. The phrase loosely translates to ‘We are nearing completion of the weapon’.” The three in the Med Bay exchanged looks. Obviously, that did not bode well. “Also, I have been tracking the warship from which Captain Lance and the others escaped, and it is on a direct course for Earth.”

Well, shit.

Chapter Text

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

“So… is there anything else about that dream world that you haven’t told me, yet?” Len asked as soon as they were alone in their room. It had been late at night when Len and the others had left to go rescue everyone, and now it was really early in the morning, so Gideon was piloting while everyone else got some shut-eye before they returned to Earth and had to get back to work.

“There is, actually. I just didn’t want to talk about it in front of the others.” She sat down on the bed, looking uncomfortable, and he sat down next to her. “You were there. I mean, it wasn’t the real you, but… you know what I mean. We were together, and we were happy. Your mother had taken you and Lisa with her when she left, and your life was completely different, but we still somehow managed to meet, anyway.”

Len stared. He had wondered how his life would have gone if his mother hadn’t abandoned her children, had allowed them to escape their father with her. But it had never stayed on his mind for long, because he hadn’t been able to imagine living any kind of life that didn’t involve heists and prison breaks and pain.

“The Dominators… whatever they used to put us in that world, it didn’t let us go easily. You – the not-you – tried to convince me to stay. Y-He actually pulled a ring box out of nowhere and… started asking me to marry him.”

That startled Len. He knew he wasn’t exactly the marrying type. Even after he started dating Sara, even after he started thinking about ‘what the future might hold’, he hadn’t given any thought to marriage. “What did you say?”

“I walked away. I was remembering the real world, by then, and I knew that it wasn’t really you. I knew that the real you was outside that whole illusion, and I needed to get back to you.” She smiled shakily. “And here I am.”

“Here you are.” He placed a gentle kiss on your lips. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

She kissed him back, then pulled away. “We should probably get some rest; we must be close to home by now, and you look like you could use the sleep.”

Len rolled his eyes, but nodded, and the two of them settled down into bed. But sleep didn’t come easily to Len; as Sara dozed at his side, he stared up at the ceiling, his mind occupied with what she’d told him.

“I can’t believe that you guys escaped an alien spaceship,” Cisco gushed, his annoyance about having to take the long way back to Central City being overridden in favour of geeking out, “Key words: Alien Spaceship. I have questions.”

“They can wait,” Oliver growled as they approached the rest of the gathered heroes, who had increased in number since Sara had last checked.

“Kendra! Carter!” Sara broke into a grin when she saw the two former Legends. Kendra Saunders ran up and hugged her tightly, Carter Hall following behind her.

“Lenny!” Lisa Snart jogged up and punched her brother in the arm. “Aliens invade and kidnap your girlfriend, and you don’t even call?”

“Hi, Mari,” Ray greeted the woman with long, dark hair and a necklace identical to Amaya’s. Amaya herself stared at her future successor (and possibly her future granddaughter?), her eyes full of questions.

“As you can so obviously see,” Felicity explained, “We’ve managed to increase our forces. Hartley Rathaway’s working on something with Caitlin and Curtis back at S.T.A.R. Labs, which is why he’s not here at the moment, and I got a text two minutes ago saying that-”

“Miss me?” Everyone turned around to see another newcomer walking into the warehouse.

“Roy!” Thea gasped, freezing in place for only a second before running and practically tackling him in a hug.

“That Roy was only minutes away,” Felicity finished.

Sara was the next one to get a hug from Roy Harper once Thea finally let go of him. It was only fair, considering she’d been a corpse the last time he’d seen her.

Once the little reunion bit was over, including introducing the rest of the new Team Arrow to Roy, Ray, and Sara, Oliver brought them back on track. “What’s our status?”

“Nothing,” Barry answered, “since the Dominators paid their little visit to mess with our heads.”

“Why would they do that?” Nate questioned.

“What if they were trying to pit us against each other,” Ray suggested, “in order to gain intel about metahumans?”

“Yeah, I wish they would just send us an IM with a questionnaire,” Felicity complained, “Although I, for one, would ignore it, so…”

“Well, metas pose the biggest threat to their invasion,” Kara added, “It would make sense, they’d want to get to know their enemies.”

“By kidnapping people,” Stein realised, “Perhaps they were searching your minds for potential metahuman vulnerabilities.” He gestured at the five who were abducted.

“I think it’s time we return the favor,” Oliver suggested.

“What do you want to do?” John asked, “Kidnap one of them, now?”

Sara raised her eyebrows. It did seem fair. An eye for an eye. Let one of them know what it felt like to be held against their will.

“As tempting as the idea is,” Len cut in, “that’s going to be hard to do.”

Barry nodded in agreement and explained. “Ever since you guys faced that one last night, they’ve kinda been in short supply. A.R.G.U.S. satellites have been scanning the skies, and they found no ships besides the four that were already found and contained yesterday morning, and the aliens who’d been riding in those are nowhere to be found.”

“Actually,” Nate murmured, scratching his chin, “I know where to find one.” He walked over to the setup of computers. “I’ve been reviewing the old army footage A.R.G.U.S. gave us of their first encounters with the Dominators…” He tapped a few keys and pulled up the footage onto the big screens. “…and I think I pegged the fight to Redmond, Oregon. September 24th, 1959.”

It was the first time Sara had seen this footage. The grainy, black-and-white film showed soldiers shooting at something unseen, some getting hit by what could only be laser gun shots. Eventually, the camera lurched and everything went sideways, like the cameraman had been hit and had fallen to the ground. A Dominator could be seen approaching before the footage ended.

“You’re suggesting we travel to 1959, abduct a Dominator, and interrogate it to determine their intentions?” Stein asked incredulously.

“They kidnapped us,” Sara pointed out, feeling Len’s arm around her waist tighten almost imperceptibly. He had barely kept a foot of space between them, if any, since rescuing her and the others, even going so far as to hold her like this in public, something he was usually not comfortable with at all. “Seems fair.”

“Time-travel,” Cisco gushed, “I’m definitely in.”

Barry reminded Cisco that Caitlin and Stein might need his help on the science end of things, but Cisco shook his head adamantly. Felicity took Cisco’s side, insisting on going along as well, because, well, time-travel. “Besides, they’ve got Rathaway helping them, right?”

Nate sighed, turning to Sara and silently asking her to make the decision. Looking between the two geeks as they gave her puppy-dog eyes, she gave in. “Fine. But Len, I want you to go with them, and take Mick and Amaya for extra muscle. Mick can also pilot the ship there.”

Mick and Amaya nodded in agreement, while Cisco and Felicity squealed and cheered, running off to prepare for a geek’s dream come true. Len, on the other hand, looked uncomfortable with the plan, and she fixed him with a stern look. Yes, she’d been abducted by aliens, but that didn’t mean she was going to put up with his hovering for much longer.

“Oh, and the new President called,” Barry remembered, turning to Ollie, “which would be cool under different circumstances, but she wants to meet with us.”

Oliver nodded. “Ray, Sara, can you come with us as backup?”

“What about me?” Kara asked, “I can do backup.”

Oliver didn’t seem too happy about this, however. “Can I talk to you for a second?” Kara looked at the others nervously before following him away from the group.

The rest of them headed off to get ready for other things. “So, I may not have mentioned this, but for this trip, you’re gonna be the one in charge,” Sara told Len.


“Yeah, seriously. Cisco and Felicity have only ever visited the Waverider a handful of times, Nate and Amaya are still relatively new at this, and Mick is… well, Mick is Mick.”

“True. But I’d better not come back to find out that you’ve been abducted again.”

“After last time? They’d be fools to try.” She reached up and put a hand on his shoulder. “But seriously, stop worrying. Yes, I was abducted, and that’s scary, but I’m back, now. And we have more important things to worry about. You got that?”

Len sighed and took her hand, pressing it against his cheek. “Yeah. I got it. Say hi to our brand-new President for me.”

During the team’s shore leave over the summer, Felicity Smoak had been on the Waverider at least once, and Cisco Ramon had been on it several times. That didn’t stop them from harassing the Legends with a ton of science-y questions – mainly Heywood (apparently no one had told them that his PhD was in History).

“What type of propulsion system does it use?”

“No idea.”

“Oh my God, that construct on the bow looks maybe like some sort of time sphere.”

“Yeah, no idea.”

“For God’s sake,” Len interrupted their continued technobabble, “The science people aren’t here, so how about you two quit wasting our time with questions we can’t answer? Now, c’mon, the bridge is this way.”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember.” Cisco was, evidently, too excited by the imminent prospect of time-travel to care about Len’s irritation. “This is just so cool!” That last bit sounded more like a squeal than anything.

Amaya blinked at the two of them when they boarded. “Are you sure these two are part of the hero crowd in this time?” Len knew that she hadn’t really gotten the time to be introduced to most of the heroes she’d be working with.

“They’re mostly background support, mission control and stuff. Cisco’s about the best engineer on the planet and he mostly uses his powers to get useful visions. And Felicity’s a hacker; she does her best work in front of a computer screen.”

“I’ll explain hacking later when this is over,” Heywood offered, since Amaya was only barely familiar with the concept of a computer in the first place.

Mick grunted and slid into the pilot’s seat. “Quit your yapping and strap in.”

Len, Heywood, and Amaya took their seats, but Felicity and Cisco stared at Mick in trepidation. “Uh… not to sound rude, of course, anytime someone says that, they’re usually about to say something rude, but I really don’t meant it this way, it’s just-”

“Why is Rory driving?” Cisco finished, cutting off Felicity’s rambling.

“Because he’s the only one who’s been trained to pilot this ship,” Len answered, “Technically, most of us can do the basic piloting as long as Gideon does most of the work, but anything involving an actual Time Jump involves serious practice. Rip drilled Sara on it during the six months since we last visited, and Mick got some training in during the whole Chronos thing, but the rest of us aren’t qualified.”

“Chronos?” Felicity asked, “You mentioned that name yesterday, but you never explained what it meant.”

“Long story short,” Mick grumbled, “back when we were still chasin’ Vandal Savage, I tried to leave the team, sided with some time pirates to do it, and Snart stuck me in the middle of nowhere to get me outta the way. He was gonna come pick me up when the mission was done, but instead the Time Bastards scooped me up, did some pretty fucked-up things, and made me into their scary bounty hunter. Eventually, the team kidnapped me back, but having me on the ship meant they couldn’t go back and fetch earlier me to stop that all from happening, thanks to a stupid time-travel rule. Either way, I know how to pilot and fix a time ship, thanks to that.”

Len shifted uncomfortably at the reminder, not wanting to look at the horrified faces the other four must be making (they hadn’t exactly gotten around to explaining Chronos to the newbies). “Mick, I’m-”

“Sorry, I know. One of the few things you’ve ever said sorry for. Now, are we goin’ to the fifties, or not?”

Thursday, September 24th, 1959

Len blinked a few times, clearing his blurry vision relatively quickly. They’d only travelled fifty-seven years, after all. On his right, Heywood was rubbing his temples and groaning while Amaya didn’t look all that bothered besides the mild headache and disorientation that the more experienced Legends had always gotten in their earlier days of time-travel.

Mick, of course, didn’t look affected in the least.

“We made it,” Cisco was saying, “This is the fifties! Sick!”

Felicity expressed that opinion more literally, leaning over and vomiting onto the floor.

Heywood winced sympathetically. “Severe Time Jumps can cause nausea, temporary deafness…”

Felicity leaned back in her chair. “Oh, flingnum flart-” She paused, confused.

“…Linguistic disorientation.”

“First off, fifty-seven years is not a severe Time Jump,” Len couldn’t help but correct him, “Second, linguistic disorientation is when you start speaking in a different language, but one that’s still real.”

“Ka na mere gị n’ihu?” Amaya also paused when she realised she wasn’t speaking English, either.

“Was that Swahili?”


“So, like that?” Heywood guessed.

Len nodded and continued: “And linguistic dysplasia is when your words just come out in the wrong order. However, I have no idea what to call that mess Smoak just said.”

“Handrom-” Felicity grabbed Cisco’s arm and clamped her hand over her mouth in response to her second failure to speak any recognisable language.

“Whatever,” Mick dismissed the whole conversation, pointing at Cisco, “You, clean that up. We’re gonna go kidnap an alien.”

The four Legends got up and started marching towards the exit.

Cisco, of course, protested. “Okay, I know I did not just travel through time, so we could stay on the ship.”

Len rolled his eyes. “No, you traveled through time because you begged to be allowed to. And whether you like it or not, Sara put me in charge of this little venture, so when I say you’re staying on the ship, you’re staying on the ship. End of discussion.”

“Darmokandjaladattanagra!” was Felicity’s argument.

“I’ll take that as ‘Have fun storming the castle’,” Heywood said with a smile before leaving.

“Oh, for real?” Cisco complained, “You’re gonna use Princess Bride against me? Against me?”

The sound of Felicity puking one more time was the last thing Len heard as he exited the bridge.

Heywood had insisted on stopping and changing into his new superhero costume, something Len wished he hadn’t allowed. The historian hadn’t just gone for a mask; he’d come up with a full helmet, despite being the one who needed it the least, and the colour scheme was more than a bit ridiculous.

“Celebrating July Fourth early?” Mick finally asked.

“Ray made it for me,” Heywood replied, as if that made it perfectly okay.

“You look like a star-spangled idiot.”

“We need to find the army,” Amaya interrupted, finally speaking English again.

Just then, a loud ‘boom’ and the sound of gunfire could be heard. “When in doubt, follow the explosions,” Len commented.

They didn’t have to go very far before they reached the edge of a short bluff overlooking a wide, desolate expanse that was filled with soldiers and aliens shooting at each other. There was also a huge alien spaceship hovering over the whole mess and firing its own laser guns (Len was going to blame the tall trees for the fact that they didn’t spot that right away).

“I think we found them,” Heywood deadpanned.

It didn’t take much observation to see that the Army was clearly losing this fight. Even twenty-first-century weapons were outclassed by alien laser guns; these poor saps in the fifties didn’t stand a chance.

“What are we waiting for?” Heywood asked when Len didn’t immediately move forward to help, “Let’s grab an alien and get outta here.”

“You want to wade into that without a plan?” Len asked him.

“How about we just wait for one of the weaker ones in the herd?” Mick suggested.

“I don’t think there are any weak ones,” Amaya commented dryly.

“We wait until the battle’s over,” Len decided, “To keep things from changing too drastically.”

They waited until the fighting had died down, and the Army had called for a retreat. Many of their soldiers lay dead on the ground, and the aliens picked their way through them, picking up the bodies and dragging them away. As soon as they got beneath their spaceship, they were teleported inside.

“They’re taking off,” Amaya observed.

“I don’t get it,” Heywood muttered, “Why are the Dominators attacking us, then just leaving?”

“It’s an RAF mission. Reconnaissance and Force.”

“Just a quick trip to pick up some intel and a few specimens before they go on a full-fledged assault?” Len guessed.

“Ah, look,” Mick pointed out, “A straggler.”

Sure enough, one lone alien was still poking around. The four of them started down the hillside. “Just remember, we need him alive.” He tossed a significant look at Mick. “We can’t interrogate a dead alien.”

The pyro caught it. “I’m just gonna rough him up a little. It’s not like he can’t take it.”

By the time they got to the bottom of the hill, the straggler had already picked a dead soldier and was dragging him towards the ship. The four time-travellers stood in its path.

“Hey!” Mick shouted.

The alien screeched and hurled the dead man at them like a grotesque pillow in a pillow fight. Mick’s response was a focused burst of flame from the Heat Gun, eliciting another screech for entirely different reasons.

Once Mick finally shut off the flames, Heywood ran forward and dealt a steel punch to the alien’s head, knocking it out cold.

“Nice,” Len complimented, lightly prodding the alien with the toe of his boot to make sure it was unconscious, “Now, let’s pack it up and get it back to the Waverider.”

“Well done.”

Len whirled around and pointed his gun at the man in the suit who’d strolled out from behind an abandoned Army jeep. And he wasn’t alone; other men in suits were fanning out, surrounding the Legends and training guns on them.

“I see that you’ve managed to catch us a specimen,” the man continued.

“I’m afraid we’re gonna have to keep this one,” Len told him. He was not going to let the Men in Black take their only lead.

“Who are you?” Amaya demanded.

The man flashed a badge with an unfamiliar insignia. “Just a humble civil servant.”

“I don’t like guys with badges,” Mick growled. Len had his arm thrust between him and the Suit out of pure habit before Mick had even started moving, and Heywood also grabbed the pyro’s shoulder and pulled him back.

“We just want to ask a few questions.”

“Well, we’d love to answer them, but my team and I happen to be in a bit of a hurry.” Len mentally calculated their chances at getting away while hauling ET without getting hurt. They weren’t good.

“And so are we.”

Len ducked instinctively as the men around him fired, but he didn’t hear the bang of a typical gunshot. Something pinched his arm, and he saw a dart with a fuzzy pink end sticking through the leather of his jacket. Then his vision got blurry, and his limbs went numb. First the Cold Gun fell from his fingers, then his knees buckled. Everything was getting fuzzy. He vaguely heard Heywood’s voice saying something, but failed to make out the words before the darkness consumed him.

“Snart?” Len groaned when the distant voice came to his attention. “Snart, wake up!”

It took some effort, but Len managed to open his eyes. He had to blink a few times to clear his vision. Did they Time Jump while he was sleeping?

“Snart!” Mick was hovering over him. “Finally, you’re awake.”

Slowly, Len sat up, taking stock of his surroundings. They were in some sort of room with white walls, two benches against said walls, and two sets of metal double doors that he guessed were locked. The most interesting feature, however, was their cellmate. In addition to Amaya, who was passed out on one bench, and Heywood, who was hovering over her, he and Mick were locked in there with the Dominator they’d tried to capture. The creature was strapped to some sort of examining table, which was tilted so that it was almost vertical.

“This is why I hate the government,” Mick growled, looking over at Heywood, “Can’t you use your powers and get us outta here?”

Heywood shook his head. “Whatever they tranqed us with is screwing with my powers. Amaya tried using hers when she woke up, but some guy just came in and hit her with a few more darts before she could actually do anything. I guess since her powers come from her totem, the drug doesn’t affect her that way.”

“So they want to keep her unconscious,” Len finished. He looked over at the alien. “He’s still alive, right? Please tell me we didn’t go through the hassle of catching him and then getting captured ourselves just to have our one lead die on us.”

The Dominator growled in response.

“Good. Well, at least there’s that.” He stood up. “Might as well take our chance while we have it.”

“Chance?” Mick questioned, “To do what? Get captured?”

“To talk with one of the Dominators,” Heywood corrected him.

“And figure out what the hell they want with us,” Len added. He stepped forward. “Hey! ET!”

The Dominator shrieked back at him in reply.

“Oh, quit complaining. We’re just as stuck as you are. Look, we just wanna know what you and your buddies want with our planet. We’ve just been minding our own business down here, then you guys just drop down from the sky and attack us. Why?”

The alien glared at him – Len was pretty sure that expression was a glare. Then he heard that creepy voice in his head again. “There has been a recent emergence of metahumans on your planet.”

“Oh, God, that was creepy,” Heywood murmured, experiencing Dominator telepathy for the first time, “Wait, ‘recent emergence of metahumans’? He’s talking about the JSA!”

“We are here to determine if your kind are a threat.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Well, killing and scavenging the normal people doesn’t seem like the most effective way to go about that.”

Just then, both sets of doors opened, and a bunch of armed agents poured into the room, pointing their weapons at the Legends. Their leader entered, flanked by a pair of men in lab coats. “Let’s start with him,” he ordered, pointing at the Dominator, “The rest of you will have to wait your turn.”

The agents wheeled the Dominator out of the room, while Len and the others could do nothing but watch. “You’re making a big mistake,” Len warned the leader, “If you don’t let us outta here, I guarantee you there’ll be consequences in the future. And they aren’t going to be pretty.”

The MIB in charge just smiled menacingly at him. “Empty threats will do you no good, sir. I suggest you just wait quietly.”

Len scowled as the doors closed behind the bastard. “Stupid, smug son of a bitch. He’s going to screw his whole planet over.”

“What do you think he meant by ‘wait your turn’?” Heywood questioned nervously.

“Well, let’s see. Secret government agents, men in lab coats, two prisoners with superpowers… what do you think?”

“They’re gonna do experiments on us,” Mick growled, “once they’re done with the Dominator.”

As if on cue, a distant screeching sound could be heard from outside. Despite its alien origin, it couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than a cry of agony. Len walked over to the doors, after checking his pockets to make sure his lock picks were still there (they weren’t, but he hoped Amaya had a few hair pins he could improvise with). Sadly, the doors had no locks on their side, and the way they swung meant that they couldn’t be pushed open. There wasn’t even a handle or anything they could grip to pull them open. Maybe if he managed to unfasten the hinges…

Another sound came from beyond the doors: the sound of gunshots, but not from your typical fifties firearm. No, this sounded more like the laser guns he’d become abnormally used to hearing over the course of his time as a time-traveller. There were also more than a few men screaming like they’d been shot.

The sounds drew closer, and Len stepped back from the doors. Just in time, too, as the doors burst open, revealing Cisco Ramon and Felicity Smoak, each wielding a weapon from the Waverider’s armoury. “Hi!” Felicity cheerfully greeted them, “Y’all call for tech support?”

“Great,” Mick grumbled, “Saved by geeks.”

“Geeks with decent timing,” Len admitted, plucking Cisco’s weapon from his hands, “Don’t complain, Ramon; you have powers.”

Cisco scowled at him, but didn’t complain. “The Waverider’s ready to take us back to 2016.”

“Mick, grab Amaya,” Len ordered. Mick nodded and scooped the unconscious JSA member up bridal style. “Now, let’s get out of here.”

Unfortunately, they hadn’t made it very far before the Dominator’s screams brought them to a halt.

“If we leave him here, they’re gonna kill him,” Heywood fretted.

“So what?” Mick asked, “He’s an alien. And not even a cute one like Skirt.”

“Just because they’re douches doesn’t mean we have to be,” Cisco protested.

“Well…” Felicity actually seemed to be taking Mick’s side on this.

“We gotta send him home.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Not that I’m saying we’re going to, but how would we? His ride’s probably already left.”

“Don’t we have one of their ships aboard the Waverider?”

“Yeah,” Heywood confirmed, “But it’s damaged.”

“Felicity’s gonna help me fix it.”

“I am?” Cisco gave her a look. “I’m gonna help him fix it.”


Another haunting screech drifted down the hall. “That doesn’t sound good,” Felicity whimpered.

Cisco sighed. “Guys, it’s up to us to show the Dominators we’re better than this.”

“What, you want to befriend one and hope he can make the whole invasion go away?” Len snarked, “That’s not likely to work. This isn’t a movie.”

“It can’t hurt!”

“What can hurt is what the government finds out from those… ‘tests’,” Heywood pointed out, “They probably wouldn’t have gotten their hands on him if we hadn’t knocked him out. Who knows what kind of damage this could do to the timeline?”

That was a much more valid, concrete point in Len’s eyes. “Fine,” he decided grudgingly, “Mick, you and Felicity go on ahead with Amaya. The rest of us are gonna go play hero and rescue an alien.”

Mick shook his head. “This is stupid. Just for the record.” He turned and followed Felicity down the hall.

Len took point, leading Cisco and Heywood in the opposite direction. A small band of agents got in their way, but Len shot one and Cisco ‘Vibe’-blasted the rest into a wall. As they drew closer to the source of the screeching, Len spotted something that made his mood improve considerably. “Amateurs.” The agents had left the door to the room where they were keeping the Legends’ gear wide open. Len happily traded the laser gun for his Cold Gun, and Heywood slipped his helmet on and grabbed Mick’s Heat Gun.

They exited the room, only to be met by more agents, who immediately opened fire. Len and Cisco ducked back inside, but Heywood was too slow, and one of the bullets hit him.

Only for it to ricochet off his metal skin. “Hey!” he cheered, “My powers are back!”

Several steel-enforced punches later, the trio finally found the lab.

“Fascinating,” the lead agent was commenting over the alien’s screeching, as blandly as if he were discussing the weather, “The creature’s nervous system is not unlike our own. Which means it must be capable of experiencing pain.”

“Gee, don’t you think that’s why he’s screaming?” Len asked sarcastically as he walked up. He got a glimpse of the bastard’s shocked face right before Len slammed the Cold Gun into his nose.

Heywood was right behind him, and punched the lone scientist in the face, downing him easily. “Don’t worry,” he told the Dominator, “We’re gonna get you out of here.”

“Just make sure to put in a good word for us with your bosses when you get home,” Len added.

The trip out of the government facility was mostly uneventful – evidently they’d run out of agents to beat up – and the time spent waiting for Cisco and Felicity to fix the Dominator’s ship was… awkward. The alien they’d rescued didn’t seem to want to chat with them while they waited, so mostly the Legends just sat there and kept an eye on him until the techies finished the repairs. Eventually the alien got restless and started helping, even though he had at least one weapon pointed at him the entire time.

Finally, they were able to get it done after nightfall, and Len, for one, was glad to be done with alien babysitting duty.

They all stood on the bridge and watched the Dominator fly off. “Bye,” Cisco called, waving a hand that clutched some piece of tech, “He didn’t even say thank you.”

“What is that?” Felicity asked, pointing to whatever Cisco was holding.

“I think it’s a transponder.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“I… may or may not have stolen it… from his ship.”

“Are Mick and I starting to rub off on you, Cisco?” Len asked, smirking.

“Nah,” Felicity said with a grin, “If anyone’s rubbing off on him, it’s Lisa. And by ‘rubbing off’, I mean in the ‘influencing and passing on habits’ sense, and not the literal… and you knew that’s what I meant. ‘Cause it would be awkward if I meant it the other way, since she’s your little sister, and all… Cisco, what does that thing do?”

“I think we can use it to communicate with him when we get back,” Cisco answered, desperately jumping onto the change of subject.

“Oh my god, like an alien penpal.”


“You kids finished?” Mick piped up, having recently arrived on the bridge with a no-longer-drugged Amaya. Felicity sprang from the pilot’s seat, where she’d situated herself, as if it were on fire.

“Gideon, prepare for a Time Jump,” Len ordered, “Take us back.”

“Course plotted for Central City 2016,” Gideon announced pleasantly. Everyone got seated as the Waverider lifted off, Cisco and Felicity visibly bracing themselves.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

“I can’t see!” Felicity cried as soon as they landed, “Why can’t I see?!”

“At least you’re not throwin’ up-” Cisco was cut off as Felicity did just that, but everyone’s attention was quickly drawn to the transponder he was still holding, which was now making some strange, high-pitched static noise.

“What’s it doing?” Heywood asked.

“I don’t know. Either our food is ready, or this guy’s trying to call us.” He stood up and walked around to the central console. “Hey, how do I answer it?” He set the device down on the console, and a hologram projected out of it, displaying a Dominator (presumably the one they rescued, although they all looked the same to Len). “Hey! Oh my god! It’s him!”

“He’s even uglier than the last time we saw him,” Mick observed.

“Fifty-seven of your years ago, you saved me from capture,” the alien told them – thankfully through the hologram and not in their heads again.

“Listen, you don’t need to thank us-” Cisco began.

“Yeah, he does,” Mick disagreed, “He can thank us by turning around and heading home.”

“I will show you my gratitude by sparing your lives. But I cannot do the same for Barry Allen.” Barry? What did the Dominators have against Barry, specifically? “If your friend does not turn himself in, we will have no choice but to deploy a weapon that will exterminate all metahumans.”

On that threatening note, the hologram flickered, and the transmission ended.

“He can’t be serious,” Felicity murmured, “There’s no way- What do they want with Barry?!”

“Maybe they think he’s the biggest threat out of all of us,” Cisco guessed, “I mean, with his powers, he’s literally the Fastest Man Alive, plus he can time-travel without a time machine. But whatever the reason is, we can’t just hand him over!”

“No, we can’t,” Len agreed, “But the others need to know about this. And get ready for him to consider sacrificing himself, anyway. We all know he’d do it.”

Len was very glad to see Sara, uninjured and certainly not abducted, when the six of them returned to the S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse. He failed to recognise the beautiful brunette she was chatting with, however. “Sara,” he called as soon as he entered.

Sara grinned when she saw him. “Thank God you’re back!” she said, pulling the other woman over, “I know we have a lot going on right now, but Len, there’s someone I want you to meet.” As she got closer, Len noticed that she looked a bit… nervous. “Ah, Len, this is Nyssa. Nyssa, this is Len… My boyfriend.”

Ah. Len had heard quite a bit about this woman. She was eyeing him like she was considering how long it would take to gut him, and Len knew it wouldn’t take this woman long at all.

“Your ex, Nyssa?” Mick asked, having overheard, “The assassin lady who pulled you out of the water?”

“The very same.”

“Awesome. We could use another assassin around here.” He clapped Len on the shoulder. “If she kills you, I call your Cold Gun.”

“Thanks for the support,” Len deadpanned, watching the others swiftly vacate the area and leave him alone with Sara and Nyssa.

Nyssa was still giving him that look. “My Beloved has told me much about you.”


The assassin took a step closer. “Know this: If you harm my Beloved in any way, cause her any misery, I will use everything I learned from my father to ensure that your death is the longest, most agonising death it could possibly be.”


“Is it? Repeat it back to me.”

“If I harm Sara in any way, or cause her any misery, you will use everything you learned from your father to make sure that whatever’s left of me after she’s finished will die the longest, most agonizing death ever.”

Nyssa smirked. “Excellent. That was the proper answer.”

Sara looked between the two. “So… are we good?”

“I… think so,” Len answered uncertainly.

“Okay. So, how was your trip? Ours sucked.”

“The President give you any problems?”

“She didn’t even show up! Some creepy Men In Black types arrived instead, and tried to kill us seconds after arriving!”

Len snorted despite himself. “How many did you put in the hospital?”

That brought a small smirk to Sara’s face, though it didn’t last long. “There was a good dozen of them, and none are going to be fit for duty for a couple days, at minimum.”

“Well, we also met a bunch of government agents. They showed up after we managed to capture a Dominator, and just kidnapped us all. If we’d been in Nevada instead of Oregon, I would’ve guessed they’d taken us to Area 51. Their leader even hinted that they were going to do experiments on us, too.”

Sara scowled. “How’d you get out?”

“Well, what do you think? We fought our way out.”

“Felicity and I totally saved them with laser guns from the Waverider,” Cisco interrupted proudly.

Len threw him an unamused look, while Sara giggled. “That’ll teach ‘em to mess with the Science Squad.”

“Damn straight.”

“It’s a trap,” Sara insisted.

“Obviously,” Len agreed.

The two groups who’d gone on their respective field trips had compared notes; apparently, after Sara’s group had put a bunch of government agents down, their leader had given them the same ultimatum that the alien had given Len’s group: that if Barry surrendered himself, the Dominators would go away.

Len, for one, didn’t believe it for a second. He doubted that handing over just one meta would convince the Dominators to spare all the others. He was also pretty sure that cooperating with the enemy at times of war, such as betraying one of the few front-line fighters against the invasion, was considered treason.

Barry had gone off to think about it, and Queen had followed to talk him out of it. Mick, Amaya, and Felicity had also left, the latter to consult with the other nerds, and the other two to update all the heroes who had nothing better to do besides train against Supergirl.

Raymond was also on the same page as Len and Sara. “If they’re that threatened by metahumans, it’s hard to believe they’d be satisfied with just one.”

“Yeah, well, if I know Barry, he’s gonna want to be that one,” Cisco pointed out.

“Well, what’s the collateral damage of the anti-metahuman weapon our ‘friend’ was talking about?” Heywood asked.

“Not good,” Felicity announced as she returned, “I just checked in with Curtis; he did some more digging with that piece of alien tech we hacked to find the people who were abducted. He found some specs on a huge bomb. If it hits, say, Central City, the projected casualty count is around two million non-metahumans. They’re not even making it meta-specific; they’re just going to blow a huge hole in the Earth, and to hell with anyone else who happens to be nearby.”

“Okay, so what if we negotiated with them?”

“Weren’t you paying attention, Heywood?” Len drawled, “Our last little chat with that ungrateful bastard didn’t exactly go so well.”

“Well, what have we got to lose?”

“Oh, I don’t know, another seven billion people?”

“Look, maybe we should contact them,” Sara suggested.

Just then, Diggle and Jax just walked in. “Then make it fast,” Diggle told them, “Lyla just called; we’ve got incoming.” Cisco bent over the nearest computer and pulled up a map of the world, with red triangles appearing all over. “Dominator ships are coming in worldwide.”

“Including Central City,” Jax added, “You could see that one from S.T.A.R. Labs.”

“Yeah, but they’re not moving, or anything,” Cisco observed, “They’re just sitting there.”

“For now,” Diggle muttered grimly.

“So much for the truce Secret Agent Man negotiated,” Raymond commented dryly.

“They’re trying to leverage us into handing Barry over,” Sara guessed, before turning to Cisco, “Contact the Dominators. If anything, try to stall them.”

Cisco took Nate and Snart off to the side while everyone else prepped for the hopefully-not-inevitable fight. He’d pushed, pulled, and even tried twisting every inch of the transponder, trying to figure out how to place a call on it. He got nothing. Nada. Zilch. That, or the alien just didn’t want to pick up.

“Looks like our little alien pal isn’t calling us back,” Snart drawled, clearly getting bored, “I thought you were supposed to be a tech genius.”

“I am!” Cisco protested, “And you know it! This is alien tech, though! But I do have a Plan B. If this came from the drop ship, and the drop ship came from the mothership, then theoretically I could use it to Vibe us directly up there.”

“…And if you can’t?” Nate asked.

“Then… I’d be Vibing us into the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space.”

“Been there, done that, nearly died,” Snart told him, “So don’t.”

“Don’t plan on it. Okay, let’s do this.” He and Nate clasped hands, and Snart gripped his wrist. Then Cisco focused on the vibrations of the transponder, following them back to their point of origin and bringing Snart and Nate along for the ride.

The good news: they didn’t emerge in the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space.

The bad news: Cisco got the biggest headache in the history of headaches and dropped to his knees. A pair of hands grabbed his shoulders, keeping him from falling over, but he wasn’t sure whose. “Ugh,” he moaned, “Why are intra-dimensional Vibes more painful than inter-dimensional ones?”

He heard the whine of the Cold Gun powering up, and then a creepy voice speaking inside his head. “What an unusual gift.” Gah, that was disturbing! “You appear to be a metahuman as well.”

Cisco finally opened his eyes. His surroundings made his inner geek squeal like a kid in a candy store, but the ring of creepy aliens glaring at him kept him from doing so out loud. Nate was crouched beside him, steadying him and shielding him at the same time, while Snart stood in between the two of them and one particular alien – the same one they’d rescued. The Cold Gun was still pointed at the floor, but Cisco knew the thief could raise it and fire quickly if he decided they were being threatened.

“Yeah, well, I figured you’d cut me some slack,” Cisco responded weakly, “seeing as how we saved you back in 1959. Remember that?”

“Much has changed on your planet in the last sixty years. The threat of your kind has become imminent.”

“Listen, ET, we’re not a threat. Metas are protecting this planet.”

“And perhaps you didn’t notice, but we’re a little bit too busy fighting each other to even care about bugging other planets,” Snart added, “Guess your recon mission in 1959 wasn’t very well-done, if you weren’t even aware of that.”

“Besides,” Nate brought up his own point, “the guy who tortured your ugly ass back in 1959 was a normal human.”

“But what happens when a man like him inherits abilities like yours?”

Damn. ET had a point, there. Cisco didn’t know much about Nate’s experiences, but he knew that he and Snart had both seen what happens when really bad guys get superpowers. Vandal Savage, anyone?

“We have seen it happen on countless other worlds. Which is why we must exterminate your kind, before the scourge of your planet becomes the scourge of ours.”

The other aliens, who’d been eerily silent up to that point, growled threateningly. Cisco got the distinct impression that they had overstayed their welcome. “Let’s get outta here,” he whispered to Nate and Snart. He took Nate’s hand and let Snart grab his arm again, and focused his entire brain on the S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse.

Len was not pleased with the results of their little parley, not that he was expecting anything good to come out of it. As if convincing an entire alien armada to change its mind about an invasion that had obviously been prepared decades in advance was even possible!

The news they got upon returning was even worse. Barry had apparently made up his mind. He called for all the defenders they’d gathered into the warehouse to announce his plan to hand himself over to the Dominators.

It took a split second for everyone to process this, then nearly everybody in the room was on their feet, protesting.

“This isn’t up for debate,” Barry argued once there was a pause in the yelling, “It’s not even a close call. I turn myself over to the Dominators, they leave the rest of the world alone. It’s simple.”

“No,” Felicity protested, “It’s not ‘simple’.”

“Were you even listening when we said they wouldn’t?” Len growled.

“You can’t do this,” Diggle insisted.

Barry just kept going. “It’s been an honor to know all of you. To fight alongside you. Now it’s up to you to keep our home safe.” Damn, Barry was really aiming to fill all the ‘noble, self-sacrificing hero’ clichés, wasn’t he?

“Barry!” Queen called as the speedster turned and began to walk away. “I’m not letting you leave!”

“No offense, Oliver, but, you and what army?”

“Uh, this one,” Kara pointed out, gesturing at herself and literally everyone else there, who had their arms crossed and were staring defiantly at Barry, silently declaring that they meant business.

“Listen, Red,” Mick growled, “I don’t really care much for you, but when you have a crew, you don’t just take a hit for the rest when you don’t need to.”

A small smile appeared on Barry’s face. “Okay, that was actually pretty inspiring, up until Rory compared us to a bunch of criminals.”

“Hey, those rules apply not matter what side you’re on,” Len protested.

“And according to the Dominators, we might as well be criminals,” Amaya pointed out.

“We’re not letting you sacrifice yourself,” Cisco declared, “Plain and simple. There’s no way.”

Before anyone else could make any other declarations of how they were not going to let Barry be an idiot, all the computers started beeping urgently. All the techs immediately bent over the devices and all let curses fly at whatever they were seeing.

“Talk to me,” Oliver ordered.

“Something from the Dominators’ Mothership just broke atmo,” Felicity reported, “And, not to get too technical, it’s really, really big and falling to Earth really, really fast.”

“The alien A-Bomb?” the present-day Vixen, Mari McCabe, guessed.

“But why would the aliens drop ships on us if they’re just planning on blowing us up?” Roy Harper questioned.

“Because the ships are a distraction,” Queen guessed, “to keep us from stopping the meta-bomb.”

To say that things became more than a bit chaotic would be an understatement. Everyone resumed the task of prepping for battle, while Sara went to pilot the Waverider to try and stop the bomb, dragging Cisco with her. Before she left, she grabbed Len and pulled him into a searing kiss. “Don’t die,” she breathed as they parted. “Or else I’ll kill you. Seriously; I’ve got a time ship, and I know where the Lazarus Pit is. I can take your body back in time, dump you in the Pit, and kill you again.”

“Understood. But you’d better not die, either. Mick knows how to pilot the Waverider, too, and he’ll help. Deal?”


The others were still locking and loading and getting ready; Len had already cleaned and checked his Cold Gun, so he was all set. Some of the tech geeks were running around, handing out bunches of arrows – Holt explained that after Harper had managed to temporarily catch Supergirl off-guard in training with an explosive arrow, they’d worked on turning out a bunch more for the five archers (the Queen siblings, Harper, Nyssa, and Team Arrow’s newest archer, Evelyn Sharp, aka Artemis) to use against the Dominators.

“We have to keep the Dominators at bay,” Queen fretted, “Keep them distracted and keep them from stopping Sara and Cisco.”

“This might help,” Stein said as he pulled out a bunch of little plastic baggies stuffed with tiny metal objects, as well as a device no bigger than the palm of a hand with a cliché big, red button, “We’ve mass-produced a small device that, when placed on individual Dominators, will cause indescribable agony. Not the nicest invention, but this is war.”

“I didn’t know you could come up with something so vicious, Professor,” Len commented admiringly.

“Nice going,” Barry complimented.

“The caveat, of course,” Rathaway added while handing Queen his new arrows, “is that, if we activate the weapons before all the devices are placed on the Dominators, they’ll know what we’re up to.”

“Well, we gotta do it fast,” Queen prompted.

Barry didn’t even miss a beat. “Only way I know how.”

Most of the Dominators from the ship over Central City had congregated on a rooftop, so the Earth’s defenders gathered there. Hopefully, they would be able to distract the Dominators from both Barry’s actions and the Waverider’s. They had quite a crew: Green Arrow, Spartan, Speedy, Arsenal, Wild Dog, Ragman, Artemis, Mr. Terrific (Cisco swore he would come up with a better codename for Holt later), the Flash, Supergirl, the Atom, Firestorm, Steel, the two Vixens, Cold, Heatwave, Golden Glider, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Pied Piper, and Nyssa (who vehemently refused to let Cisco or anyone else give her a codename). Twenty-two against an army.

The Flash raced forward first, prompting all the others to charge with him. Once the fighting started, it was hard to keep track of everyone. Cold had no choice but to stay focused on the fighting going on right in front of him. He chose a Dominator and fired, hitting it point-blank in the chest with a stream of icy cold. Golden Glider wasn’t too far from him; he caught a Dominator suddenly becoming encased in gold out of the corner of his eye.

Someone bumped against his shoulder, a quick glance confirming that it was Heatwave. The two of them checked to see if it was safe to do the ‘firing in a circle’ strategy they’d employed in the past, but it was a no-go; there were too many allies ducking in and out of the danger zone.

Cold split off from Heatwave when he saw Pied Piper getting knocked off his feet, covering the other man for the brief seconds it took him to get back up. Another alien lunged at the pair, only for it to be snatched by Ragman’s magic rags and hurled off the roof.

“Fry, you freaks!” Cold glanced over and spotted Heatwave standing back-to-back with the Green Arrow, of all people. Supergirl flew overhead and shot down three aliens near them at once with her heat vision. The Atom and Hawkgirl swooped down and each grabbed one Dominator by the arm, flying high up and dropping them. Hawkgirl’s alien landed right on top of one that was about to attack Artemis from behind.

Cold shot another alien, noting the flash of lightning zipping by it as it fell back, no doubt planting one of the pain devices. One of the Vixens ran by him, moving with the speed of a cheetah, so he couldn’t identify which one it was.

An arrow, fired by Nyssa, suddenly shot right past Cold’s head; he whipped around to see it lodged in the chest of a Dominator that had gotten way too close for comfort, and scrambled back before the arrow blew up. He spared the time to nod in thanks at Nyssa before moving on to the next in the never-ending wave of enemies.

“Firestorm?” Chatter on the comms was mostly non-existent, so Len started a bit when White Canary’s voice sounded in his ear, “If you’re done playing with your friends out there, we could really use your help!”

“I’m on it!” Firestorm responded.

It was only getting harder for the defenders, but they were making a dent; the rooftop was becoming littered with dead or wounded Dominators, as were the roofs of nearby buildings as the fight had spread out, mostly thanks to the fliers.

Cold spotted one Dominator grabbing Hawkman by the leg as he flew by, bashing aliens in the head with his mace. The winged man was whipped around and slammed into the ground, so Len froze the alien as soon as he had a clear shot. He helped Hawkman to his feet, and his former teammate muttered a ‘thank you’ before scooping up his dropped weapon and taking to the air again.

“Good work planting Professor Stein’s nano-weapons,” Felicity – Overwatch – said over the comms, “But we’ve still got Dominators all over the country.”

“And the rest of the planet,” Caitlin added helpfully.

“This looks like a job for Supergirl.”

“Thanks, Felicity,” Flash replied dryly, “I’m not the least bit insulted.”

“Ah, sorry, I meant Supergirl and Flash. This is totally a job for the both of you. That’s what I meant, Supergirl and… Flash.”

Cold couldn’t help but smirk at the byplay even as he iced a trio of Dominators bearing down on Mr. Terrific (who didn’t seem to be cut out for combat, in his opinion). He stuck near the newbie, who was lobbing small spheres that blew up at the Dominators’ feet, but didn’t seem to have that many on him. Arsenal joined him, the pair shooting at anything green and otherworldly that came at them.

“Alright, devices are being planted,” Overwatch reported minutes later, “Let me know when I can bring the pain.”

Cold nearly lost focus when he spotted his sister getting picked up and thrown halfway across the roof, but thankfully Ragman caught her and Wild Dog covered her as she got up. Cold iced another one coming at them in thanks.

“Still waiting on that signal!”

“Do it!” Green Arrow ordered.


Suddenly, every Dominator still standing stopped fighting and started screaming in agony. It was a chilling sound; Cold did not want to ever be on the receiving end of that kind of pain, but he couldn’t bring himself to feel sorry for them. Not that he even tried to; this was what the space-bastards got for trying to blow up the Earth, for taking control of their minds, and for kidnapping their friends.

“It’s working!” Green Arrow reported.

“What about the superhero bomb?” Cold demanded.

Their answer came several seconds later. “They did it!” White Canary reported, “Ground, what’s your status?”

As if receiving retreat orders, the aliens all turned and ran at the same time, disappearing via the same teleporter they used to abduct Sara and the others. “They’re retreating!” Steel declared.

“It’s not just them,” Overwatch reported, “It’s all around the world.”

They had won.

The next hour or so was all a blur for Len. Most of the heroes around him were cheering and jumping up and down, including Raymond, who was running around and doling out hugs like candy. Lisa made her way through the crowd and nearly crushed her brother’s ribs. Sara landed the Waverider nearby, and she and Len didn’t come up for air until a couple minutes later (Kendra and Carter were much the same). Eventually, they all regathered their wits and headed back to the warehouse, where they got a surprise from Lyla Michaels-Diggle. It seemed that the new President wanted to thank the Earth’s defenders in-person.

Several initially refused. Five of their number (Len, Mick, Lisa, Diggle, and Nyssa) had open arrest warrants, two (Raymond and Harper) were supposed to be dead (and in Harper’s case, would also be arrested if he was found to be alive), and others just weren’t comfortable with the attention. Which led to a second surprise: the President was offering official pardons to anyone who wanted one. Mick and the Snart siblings accepted the ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card immediately, although Diggle declined, since he hadn’t committed the crimes he’d been imprisoned for, and accepting a pardon felt to him like admitting his nonexistent guilt. Harper also turned the offer down as well, as him being revealed as alive would ultimately cause more problems. Nyssa just said goodbye to Sara and left, skipping out on meeting the President altogether.

So that was how Len found himself standing on a platform in between Sara and Mick, facing a group of government and military officials, while the President stood in front of all the heroes and gave a speech.

“Many responsibilities have fallen to me since the President’s passing at the beginning of this crisis. Sobering, sad responsibilities. This is not one of them. Today, it is my distinct honor to bestow upon you a small acknowledgement of the great debt that the world owes to you all. Although your brave efforts must remain a secret, know that, metahuman or not, masked or not, each and every one of you is a hero.”

And then the officials were all standing up and applauding the huge group before them, which officially became the most surreal experience Len had ever had, even over the time-travel and everything else.

What’s a natural response to having defeated an alien invasion? Throw a party, of course. Once all the official types had left the building, everyone had changed out of their battle gear, someone had cued up some music, and a few people had disappeared and returned with food and booze. Rory Regan had even insisted on having Barry run him to Star City and back, returning with a large container of very strong homemade Schnapps. Mick had taken one sip of it and declared Regan to be his new favourite (cuing Raymond to begin pestering him about who his old favourite was).

Meanwhile, Sara was catching up with the friends she hadn’t seen in a while, namely Roy Harper and the Hawks. Roy had been a bit uncomfortable with the Rogues’ criminal status at first, until Thea had elbowed him and reminded him that their first meeting had consisted of him stealing her purse.

“So, how has the history-saving been going?” Kendra asked, “I mean, other than the part where Rip up and vanished on you guys?”

Len rolled his eyes. “Between ninjas, zombies, and trying to teach Raymond how to shoot, it’s been driving me up the wall.”

Sara elbowed him. “You had fun in Peru.”

Len allowed a wicked grin at that memory. “Ah, yes. Peru. Rip will never be able to look at a llama the same way again.”

“I thought it was an alpaca.”

“Does it matter? They look similar enough that either one will probably get the same reaction out of him.”

“True. Very true.”

Their conversation partners all looked a cross between intrigued and wary. “Do we really want to hear that story?” Carter asked cautiously.

Len and Sara exchanged another wicked grin and launched into the tale of Rip’s unfortunate encounter with one of the South American relatives of the camel.

However, the fun was briefly brought to a halt when Len spotted some unwelcome guests crashing the party. It was some old, white-haired guy in glasses and a suit, accompanied by two younger men who screamed ‘henchmen’. He pointed the man out to Sara, who immediately tensed up as if Damien Darhk himself had just walked in, and said that that was the secret agent guy who’d tried to convince Barry to hand himself over to the enemy (and who somehow knew Barry’s identity, and possibly everyone else’s).

Len and Sara both excused themselves and went to intercept him, arriving only a few steps behind Heywood. “Something tells me you weren’t invited here.”

“Dr. Heywood,” Secret Agent Man greeted the historian pleasantly, as if they were friends.

Heywood was having none of it, apparently. “Don’t ‘Dr. Heywood’ me. What the hell are you doing here?”

“Come to convince another one of us to commit suicide for no good reason?” Len snarked, glaring at the government agent. There was something uncomfortably familiar about the man.

“I like parties. And I’m here for the mop-up.”

“Oh, please, you mean cover-up,” Sara snapped.

“But you can’t cover this up,” Heywood declared.

“What are you planning to do?” Len questioned, “Make us disappear because we know the aliens exist? Good luck with that. From what I hear, you and your boys couldn’t even handle four of us.”

The agent laughed bitterly. “I think we handled you quite well in 1959.”

That was when Len realised where he’d seen the old man before. “That was you!” he growled.

Heywood apparently figured it out as well. “You locked us up along with the Dominator we were trying to capture!”

“And he also implied that they’d be doing experiments on us,” Len growled, causing Sara’s death glare to intensify.”

“So really, one could say that this was your fault,” Heywood continued, “We tried negotiating with the Dominators when we got back, and you know what the guy said? It wasn’t the heroes of Earth that the Dominators found to be a threat; it was what might happen when people like you get powers. They were afraid of what someone like you might do; not us.”

The Agent sneered. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said through clenched teeth.

“You can believe that if you wish,” Len retorted, “But in the end, we’re the ones who fought them off. You did nothing but hinder our efforts.”

“I’d watch it if I were you, Snart. You may have somehow convinced the President to give you a clean slate, but if you or your sister or that dumb flunky of yours so much as put one toe out of line…”

“Agent Smith!” Kara came over to join the tense standoff, beaming cheerfully, “It’s so funny seeing you here! You know, I had the loveliest chat with your President about you. I was telling her, how, on my Earth, we have the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, which deals specifically with aliens. She thought it was an excellent idea. She also loved my pitch about reassigning you to Antarctica.”

Agent Smith, who’d been sneering at Kara in disgust, paled a little. Len didn’t bother to hide his smirk. Apparently the nickname ‘Girl of Steel’ wasn’t just referring to her super-strength. If Len hadn’t met Sara, and if he hadn’t raised Lisa to be her own brand of badass, he never would have expected this sweet, petite blonde to be capable of something so vicious. The fact that she kept a cheerful smile on her face the entire time while making her threat was just icing on the cake.

“Maybe next time, you’ll be a little nicer to strange visitors from another planet,” Heywood quipped after she walked away.

Len called one last piece of advice as the man retreated with his tail between his legs: “Pack a jacket!”

Lisa hugged her brother tightly. “Don’t you dare die,” she threatened, “Understood?”

Len hugged her back before extricating himself from her grip. “Understood. And you try and stay away from trouble that you can’t get yourself out of.”

His sister grinned. “I still can’t believe we’ve got a clean slate. I wonder if I should wander into CCPD just to see how many of them try to arrest me.”

“Do it,” Mick encouraged her, “And bring a camera, so I can see their faces later.”

“I don’t believe Detective West would appreciate that,” Stein told them.

Mick shrugged as if that was completely irrelevant. Which it pretty much was, for him.

“He and Iris have already invited us to their annual Christmas Eve party,” Raymond added, “Please don’t give them a reason to take that back; I hear they have really good eggnog, with lots of bourbon.”

That actually appeared to be a better argument, as Mick stopped to think about whether or not freaking out the CCPD would be worth passing up boozed-up ‘nog.

Evelyn Sharp, who had apparently spent the party quizzing Raymond about the Waverider and had followed him over, looked at Mick in disbelief. “Felicity wasn’t kidding when she said your team was… unique.”

Sara finally joined them, having seen Kara off and said goodbye to her old friends. “Time to head out,” she announced, “I’ll be taking off in ten minutes, so everybody had better be on the bridge by then.” She let Lisa give her a hug of her own before boarding the Waverider, and Len allowed his sister to give him one more before following her.

“Well, that was fun,” he commented drily.

Sara huffed a laugh. “I’ll say. What’s next? Unicorns? Dragons? Ooh, how about the Knights of the Round Table turning out to be real?” She sighed. “It was nice to see everyone again. We’ve been so busy chasing time Aberrations, going from one century to another, it’s about time we got to take a break and visit our own time for a change.”

“You have a very interesting definition of the word ‘break’.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t tell me they’re at it again,” Jax groaned as he joined Len and Sara on their way to the cargo bay, following the boom sounds that indicated that Raymond and Heywood were being idiots once again.

“They are,” Len confirmed, “Gideon said that they’ve nearly made as much of a mess as they did last time.”

Jax blinked and stared at him. “Last time, they broke the cargo bay door, and having it open in the Temporal Zone did even more damage to the ship. ‘Nearly’ is still more than bad enough, in my book.”

“Mine, too,” Sara agreed as they entered the room. “Hey!” she shouted just as Raymond and Heywood were about to start another tussle, “What do you think you’re doing?!”

The cargo bay was a mess, crates that had once been carefully stacked and strapped down now strewn over the floor, a few of them open with their contents spilling out. Len just counted them all lucky that the door hadn’t been damaged – again.

“I, uh, it’s a spar,” Heywood offered up lamely as an explanation.

“Yeah, he’s helping me calibrate the new suit,” Raymond added.

“Last time y’all decided to spar, you wrecked my cargo bay,” Jax scolded them.

“Yeah,” Heywood remembered with a grin, actually raising his hand to high-five Raymond as if that were actually an accomplishment to be celebrated.

“Hey!” Sara snapped, “Don’t make me come down here again.” She pointed at her eyes and then at them in the universal gesture for ‘I’m watching you’, and turned and left the room, with Len and Jax following behind her. They didn’t even get halfway up the stairs before they heard the two nerds jokingly mimicking her threat like a pair of children. Sara turned right around and yelled “Hey!” at them again, before retreating once she believed they were properly intimidated.

Len hung back. “Unless you want our Captain to skewer you later on, I’d suggest cleaning this mess up.”

Heywood scoffed. “Oh, come on, it’s not that-”

“If my baby sister had the maturity to clean up her own messes at the age of six, I’d expect no less from two grown-ass adults with PhDs.” He walked away as the pair looked down in shame.

“What is goin’ on with them?” Jax asked as Len caught up to him and Sara.

“You don’t have any brothers or sisters, do you?” Sara answered his question with another question.


“Sibling rivalry,” Sara explained as shouts and the sound of Raymond’s lasers resumed behind them, “Nothing to be too worried about.”

“Are you sure about that?” Len asked dryly as the ship shook and the lights flickered after a particularly loud crash.

“This is why I’m glad I’m an only child,” Jax sighed, shaking his head at the utter immaturity of two of their resident geniuses, “I’m gonna go see what Gray’s up to.” He split off from them and headed towards the library, in search of saner company.

Len shrugged. “Lisa and I never really fought like that. Of course, our fights mostly consisted of arguments about how late she could stay up, or why she wasn’t allowed to wear her skirts as short as she wanted to.”

Sara developed a wicked grin. “Oh, that brings back memories.”

“Right, you said you used to be Daddy’s Little Delinquent when you were a kid.”

“It was just one shoplifting charge – well, that was just the one time that I got caught, anyway.”

“Really? What was it?”

“These really cute earrings I saw in a little boutique at the mall. I had enough money on me that I could’ve just bought them, but my boyfriend at the time dared me to steal them. And then he bailed on me when I got caught by mall security. Needless to stay, he wasn’t my boyfriend for long.” She shrugged. “Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered, really, because when I went to school the next Monday, Brittany Drew was wearing the exact same pair, and she would’ve given me hell for having the audacity to wear the same thing as her. God, I couldn’t stand that girl…”

A high-pitched siren interrupted Len’s response, and he glanced up at the ceiling in confusion. “What the hell is that?”

“Pardon me,” Gideon announced, “But Dr. Heywood’s Time Seismograph has detected an Aberration.”

“That doesn’t explain the annoying sound effects,” Len growled as he and Sara made their way to the bridge.

“Who installed the alarm?!” Mick demanded grouchily when he entered shortly after Len and Sara.

“That’d be me,” Heywood admitted.

“Kill ‘em,” Mick growled, and Heywood obediently shut the annoying thing off.

“We got another one?” Jax asked as he and Stein arrived.

“Yeah,” Heywood confirmed, “and judging by these readings, it’s a major one.”

“Is it really cause for all this alarm?” Stein asked, “Perhaps the… Aberration isn’t as large as we think!”

Len looked over at Stein quizzically. There was an odd underscore of… something… in the professor’s tone, but Len couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

“The temporal tremors originate from Union Station in Chicago, Illinois, October Seventeenth, in the year 1927,” Gideon reported.

“That’s fantastic!”

Now everyone was giving Stein curious looks, except for Jax, who smacked him on the arm and gave him a stern glare. What was that all about?

“I mean, I’ve always wanted to visit the Roaring Twenties, right in the middle of Prohibition.”

“That means no drinking,” Mick pointed out, “That’s not good.”

“Well, actually,” Heywood corrected him, “under Capone, Chicago was a hotbed of vice. There was illegal drinking, gambling, prostitution…”

“Well then, let’s fire up the tub and get there.”

“Grab your fedoras,” Sara instructed them all with a grin, “We’re going to the 1920s.”

Monday, October 17th, 1927

When they got to Union Station, the team split up. Len, Mick, and Amaya took up a position on a balcony, the two men disguised as employees, to get a bird’s-eye view of the whole situation. Raymond and Heywood dressed up as businessmen waiting on their next train, Stein and Jax took up position on the sidewalk outside, on either side of the station’s main entrance, and Sara coordinated everything from the Waverider.

“I can’t believe we’re here,” Amaya sighed, wearing the biggest smile that Len had ever seen on her face.

“What are you so happy about?” Mick growled.

Amaya grinned at him. “When I was younger, I’d read my mother’s magazines, and I’d see photos of Chicago. I never thought I’d see it with my own eyes.”

“Well, keep those eyes focused on whatever’s causing those temporal tremors,” Sara reminded them.

“Copy that,” Raymond replied.

“That’s Eliot Ness,” Heywood reported only seconds later. Len would’ve asked who that was, except he’d seen The Untouchables. He was the FBI Agent (or whatever they were calling it in the ‘20s) who took down the notorious mobster Al Capone.

Raymond had also seen that movie, apparently. “He doesn’t look like Kevin Costner,” the scientist commented with a scoff.

“What if somebody tipped off Capone that Ness is a future threat?”

“Then his life’s in danger. Don’t worry. I’m on it.”

“Those two sentences shouldn’t fit together,” Len muttered to himself. If solving the problem had involved anything science-related, he would’ve had faith that Raymond could handle it, but the inventor tended to botch anything people-related.

Standing on the balcony with Mick and Amaya, he watched as Raymond dashed out of the station after a man in a black hat and coat. Their comms allowed them to hear Raymond’s part of the conversation:

“Mr. Ness! Mr. Ness! Hi, uh, you don’t know me. My name is Ray Palmer. I have reason to believe that your life may be in danger. It’d be best if you came with me.”

Len frowned as he saw two police officers approach them, and after saying something to Raymond, the man left with them, and Raymond didn’t bother trying to stop them. Something was wrong.

Heywood raced out of the station, coming up to Raymond. “What just happened?” the observers on the balcony heard him ask.

“Well, it’s the strangest thing. Two cops just escorted Eliot Ness to the Bureau.”

Len sighed in aggravation. “Raymond, you goddamn idiot!” He turned and started for the stairs. Maybe Raymond hadn’t actually seen that movie.

Heywood was clearly of the same mind. “They’re not escorting him to the Bureau! They’re gonna throw him in the river!”


“Ray, in the 1920s, Chicago PD was the most corrupt police force in history. Almost all of them are on Al Capone’s payroll! Did you or did you not see ‘The Untouchables’?!”

“I did,” Mick piped up, having followed Len along with Amaya, “Cops win and the criminals lose? I hated it.”

“Jax, Stein,” Sara ordered the two halves of Firestorm stationed on the sidewalk on either side of the station’s main entrance, “I need you to intercept Eliot Ness. He’s being escorted by two police officers.”

The cops and Ness had been heading in Stein’s direction, and while the old man wasn’t all that skilled at what he called ‘fisticuffs’, Len figured that the old man could at least be trusted to effectively stall Ness and his ill-intentioned ‘bodyguards’.

Or not.

By the time Len and company got there, Jax was fuming and Stein was stammering apologies; Ness and the cops had walked right by him, and he’d done nothing to stop them. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” Len demanded.

“What the hell happened back there?!” Sara demanded once they all got back to the Waverider, “How come you didn’t stop him?”

“I’m sorry,” Stein apologised again, “I got distracted.”

“By what?”

“Tell her, Gray,” Jax prompted, still looking pissed at his partner.

“It’s not the Professor’s fault,” Heywood chimed in, “Ray let Ness walk right into Capone’s hands.”

“Sounds like they can both share the blame,” Len compromised.

“They were police officers!” Raymond protested, “And who’s to say they didn’t take him to the FBI like they said they would?”

Heywood sighed. “Gideon, pull up the Chicago Chronicle, October 24th, 1931.”

“Ah, yes,” Gideon responded as a newspaper headline appeared on the screens of the central console, “The day Al Capone originally went down for tax evasion. Only, in this version of history, he becomes something far worse than a criminal. He becomes a politician.” Sure enough, the main headline read ‘MAYOR CAPONE KICKS OFF OKTOBERFEST’, and featured a picture of Capone raising a huge stein of beer while a pretty girl kissed him on the cheek.

Len smirked. “Looks like even AIs agree that politics are evil.”

“Al Capone becomes mayor,” Raymond repeated dully, shame written all over his face, “Okay, I take it back. Ness probably is screwed.”

“Well, let’s find out where they took him,” Sara said, “so we can un-screw him before this happens.”

“I’ll start looking up Capone in the library,” Heywood volunteered, “See if any of his past crimes can give us a hint.”

“I’ll help,” Amaya volunteered. She and Heywood both exited the bridge, Mick following behind them. Len and Sara exchanged a look, remembering what Len had noticed developing between the JSA member and the pyro back in the Old West.

Only half an hour later, Heywood came running onto the bridge, declaring that he’d figured it out. Apparently, Capone had had a favourite spot from which to dispose of his enemies, so much that the surrounding area had become known as ‘Cadaver’s Cove’. Sara ordered the entire team to suit up in their actual battle gear instead of bothering with their 1920s disguises.

They got to Dock 39 just in time to see Ness, with his wrists bound in front of him and cinderblocks tied to his feet, falling into the water with a scream and a splash. Of course, by ‘falling’, that meant ‘getting pushed’.

“All this for some booze?” Mick asked loudly, getting the attention of Capone and his gang, “I like it.”

Capone just smirked at the sight of them. “Nice get-ups. Seems our new friends have got some ‘friends’ of their own. Get ‘em, boys!”

The gangsters (ten plus Capone) opened fire; those without armour or transmutation powers ducked behind Firestorm, Heywood, and Raymond, but only for a brief moment. Len, Mick, and Raymond opened fire, while Amaya dashed to the edge of the dock and, summoning the power of a dolphin, dove in to rescue Ness.

Up close, the grunts were painfully easy to beat, apparently having no real combat skills besides shooting and the most basic of streetfighting tactics. Mick was able to down one with nothing but a single punch. Len was pretty sure another one was about to wet himself before he clocked the wimp in the face with his Cold Gun.

“I’m going after Capone!” Raymond called.

“Let him go!” Sara countered, “We’ve got Ness!”

Indeed, Amaya had pulled the federal agent out of the water during the melee, and the Legends gathered around them once Capone’s goons were all down, aside from the ones that had escaped alongside Capone himself.

“Is he dead?” Mick asked.

“Unconscious,” Amaya reported worriedly, “He took on a lot of water.”

“Let’s get him back to the ship,” Sara ordered, “If we can’t even trust the cops here, taking him to the hospital will also be too much of a risk. And they might not be able to help him the way Gideon can.”

Mick grunted in agreement and helped Amaya lift Ness and carry him away from the dock. The rest of the team followed, but Len glanced back. He couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched.

“That’s a stupid idea,” Mick voiced his opinion of Heywood’s plan to keep Capone’s arrest on-track: to impersonate Ness while he was still recovering from his brain damage from oxygen deprivation, and to lead his men to seize a ledger they were supposed to get their hands on soon.

“It’s pre-internet,” Heywood protested, “Nobody knows what Ness looks like!”

“Nate’s right,” Raymond agreed, “I got this.”

“Actually, I was thinking I got this.” Apparently, their ‘sibling rivalry’ from earlier today had still not died down.

“Well, yeah, I mean, if the mission was impersonating Brad Pitt, you’d be the man. But I think we can all agree, if anyone looks a G-Man here, it’s me.”

“Well, we’re in this situation because you learned history from a movie.”

“And not very well,” Len piped up, deciding to take Heywood’s side.

“Alright, enough!” Sara snapped, “Ray, I’m sorry, but Nate knows more about this era than any of us. What’s the plan?” She handed the briefing over to Heywood.

“Okay, so if Capone’s ledger is anywhere, it’s probably at his primary speakeasy, the Chelsea Club. So Ray and I will go to the Bureau, assemble Ness’s team, lead ‘em to bust the place up, grab the ledger.”

“Great. Take Rory with you.”

Mick choked on his beer. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,” he protested once he stopped coughing, “Does this face look like a cop to you?”

“It’s not a good idea,” Len advised, remembering the one time he’d tried to have Mick disguise himself as a security guard for part of the heist. That hadn’t exactly gone well, so trying to make him play a full-blown cop was bound to be even worse. “Trust me, I’m speaking from personal experience on this one.”

“If this were a JSA mission,” Amaya weighed in, “we’d probably also send someone undercover at the club.”

“Well, I’m not doing that either,” Mick grumbled, holding up his beer bottle, “I’m done playing dress-up.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’ll go to the club with Len, Jax, and Stein, and you can stay here, drink your beers, and watch over Ness.”

Mick shrugged in what they guessed was agreement.

“What about me?” Amaya asked, the only one to not have an assignment.

“You can watch over him.”


“Sorry,” Sara called over her shoulder, already walking away.

Len just shrugged at her. “At least we’re not actively planning on having him start a fight this time.”

Tuesday, October 18th, 1927

Len and the others encountered no trouble gaining entry into the Chelsea Club, probably because security wasn’t making an effort to stop anyone from coming in. It was in ordering the drinks themselves that things got secretive. Jazz music played, and all sorts of people gathered and talked and enjoyed their drinks. Sara walked around disguised as a new employee, carrying a tray of what looked like packs of cigarettes, while the three men sat down at the bar.

“This place is quite lively,” Stein commented, “considering we haven’t seen a single bottle of alcohol.”

“Well Nate said it was a speakeasy,” Jax murmured.

“Yeah,” Sara confirmed as she walked by them, “That’s why it’s called a speakeasy.”

“You’ve got to know how to ask for the good stuff,” Len elaborated.

Stein nodded, then caught the attention of the bartender. “Excuse me, I’d like… a ‘club soda’, please.” He followed that up with a wink that was anything but subtle.

Len and Jax exchanged a look. Len had a feeling that wasn’t going to work. “Just water.”

“One club soda and one water, coming up.” The bartender moved away. Stein smiled victoriously.

“Here’s what I wanna know,” Jax wondered, “Why would somebody in the future be interested in helpin’ Al Capone?” He glanced up nervously as the bartender returned, placing glasses in front of Len and Stein before walking off to deal with other patrons.

“That’s what we’re here to find out.” Stein took a drink of his ‘club soda’ and grimaced. “This is just a club soda.”

Len smirked. “That’s because you still don’t know how to ask for the good stuff.”

Sara rolled her eyes and set her tray down nearby. “Ray? Nate?” she asked over the comms, “What’s your status?”

“Be careful,” Heywood warned them, “We’re comin’ in. Don’t get caught in our net.”

Len and Stein both got up from the bar and joined Sara as they made their way towards the door, but found their path blocked by a man in a grey coat with black fur trim and a black hat pulled low over his eyes. When he lifted his head, they all recognised him immediately. “What are squares like you doing in a place like this?” Damien Darhk asked.

“You,” Sara growled. Despite her decision to not kill Darhk, her hatred of him was still very much there.

“Jefferson,” Stein muttered worriedly. Jax got up from his bar stool and the two halves of Firestorm reached out to merge. Not the best idea in a bar filled with unsuspecting staff and patrons.

Before Len could tell them that, however, they were interrupted when a flash of red lightning zipped in between them, causing them all to stumble. “What the hell?!” Jax gasped.

The red lightning reappeared, coming very close to Len – and taking Sara with it. “SARA!”

He didn’t even notice Darhk turning and calmly walking away.

“Jefferson, the speedster is here!” Stein cried, “Run!” He vanished in another flash of lightning.


“Jax, come on!” Len grabbed Jax by his coat sleeve and began to pull him towards the exit, only for the pair to be forced to stop when the red lightning returned, only this time the speedster stopped long enough for Len to actually get a good look at him. He looked ordinary enough, just a blonde man in a normal-looking black leather jacket and pants. But then again, Barry Allen had never looked all that dangerous, either, even in his stupid red suit.

Len reached for his Cold Gun while Jax vaulted over the bar for cover, as if that would help, when the speakeasy doors suddenly burst open.

Len never got to actually see who was coming in, however, as he felt himself being lifted off his feet as the world blurred around him before going dark.

“This whole Capone Aberration was a distraction!” Pretty Boy Number 2 announced. As if they all hadn’t figured it out by themselves. “Darhk and his speedster pal knew it would attract our attention.”

Mick wasn’t facing the others, instead sitting in his Jump Seat and trying to drink away the memory of that… vision of his old man. There was no way he was really there; Mick knew the bastard had burned up a long time ago. But there he’d been, standing in the Med Bay door like nothing’d happened, his voice the same as Mick remembered it as he taunted Mick about going soft and staying with this bunch of do-gooders.

“But why kidnap Sara and Stein?” Jax asked. Mick listened, if only for the distraction. “I mean, what could he want with them?”

“Still trying to work that one out,” Haircut admitted.

“Are you alright, Jax?” Amaya asked the kid.

“I’m pissed.”

“Let it go, kid,” Mick advised him, “There’s nothin’ you can do about speedsters.” Even the Cold Gun and Heat Gun hadn’t been enough to stop the Flash from catching them.

“We’ll see about that.” Mick glanced over his shoulder when he heard a funny clicking noise, and saw Jax unlatching a big, metal case he’d set on the main console. “Long story short, Rip had a secret armory.” That caught Mick’s interest; he and Snart had cased the whole ship when they first started the whole time-travel gig, but they hadn’t found that. “Me and Gray found it when you guys were out in Feudal Japan.”

“And you didn’t tell us?” Mick didn’t have to look back to see Haircut’s patented Kicked-Puppy Face.

“This speedster killed Rex and kidnapped our friends,” Amaya growled, “We need him in the brig before dawn.”

“Yeah. If this weapon does what I think it does, it’ll stop him dead in his tracks. Which is a good thing, because Snart had the Cold Gun on him when he was taken.”

“Yeah, well, that’s all well and good,” Heywood interrupted, “but we still need to get Capone’s ledger, otherwise history’s screwed.”

“Since your last plan was a total bust,” Haircut gloated, “I suggest somebody else do the strategic thinking.”

Mick groaned quietly. Raymond taking charge and making plans? No thanks.

“Let me guess, that’s you?” Mick was with Pretty Boy Two on this one. “Alright, so, let’s hear your brilliant idea.”

Haircut was quiet at first. “Well, I don’t have one. But it’s gonna be better than yours.”

Mick decided he was done with playing by the rules. If Rip, Sara, and Snart – the real planners on the team – weren’t available, someone else who knew what they were dealing with would have to take charge. And this was one of those rare cases where that someone else was him. “Enough!” He stood up. “If you wanna nail Capone and Rex’s killer, you can’t do it by playing a Boy Scout or a historian or a policeman.” He looked Amaya in the eye, remembering her telling him about her silly childhood dream just hours ago. “We do this my way. Like a criminal.”

Len groaned as he lifted his head. God, he hated being knocked out.

He quickly took stock of what he was aware of so far: mainly, that he was in a sitting position, and that there were restraints around his wrists and his chest. He wrenched his eyes open. Blinking, he saw that he was in some kind of dimly-lit room, tied to a chair and surrounded by wooden barrels. Some sort of storage room, then. Sara and Stein were similarly restrained on either side of them, the Professor already awake while Sara was still stirring.

“Nice place,” Len commented sarcastically as Sara finally joined them in the realm of the waking.

“Yes, the Ritz-Carlton it is definitely not,” Stein agreed.

“How did we get here?” Sara wondered aloud.

“It appears our speedster friend got the better of us.”

“And he wasn’t working alone,” Len added bitterly, “Damien Darhk, another predictable ally for Al Capone.”

The door to their left suddenly swung open, admitting one lone man. “And don’t forget about me.”

Len knew of this man, if only through pictures and some second-hand stories he’d picked up from Sara, Raymond, and their friends. Malcolm Merlyn. This was the man responsible for the huge earthquake in Star City back in 2013 (or Starling, as it was called back then). This was the man who brainwashed his own daughter into killing Sara. This was the man who sided with Damien Darhk after losing leadership of the League of Assassins in 2016, and this was one of the many people who were present when the bastard had fatally stabbed Laurel Lance.

“It’s been a long time, Sara. You look good for someone who’s come back from the dead.”

Sara just gave him a derisive smile. “Why am I not surprised that you and Damien Darhk would find each other?”

“What do you want with us?” Len asked coldly, “I seriously doubt your little speedster buddy brought us here just so that you and Sara could catch up.”

Merlyn tipped his head in acknowledgement and started casually pacing around Sara’s chair. “You have something we need. And while my partners think I’m a fool for trying, I would like to broker a deal with you.” Three guesses as to what that ‘something’ was. “You have in your possession an amulet.” Bingo. “Give it to me…” He stopped his pacing to look Sara in the eye. “…and I will give you nine years of your life back.”

Sara glared at him. “What are you talking about?”

“Oh, maybe Oliver didn’t tell you. But I was the one who arranged to blow up the Queen’s Gambit.”

Len’s blood froze. He’d eventually learned that the Gambit had sunk due to sabotage, and not an accident, but neither Sara nor Raymond nor any of their friends had dropped the name of the person behind it. At this point, Len was starting to wonder which one had done more to hurt Sara: Damien Darhk or Malcolm Merlyn.

“That was the day everything changed for you, Sara. Hundreds of dominoes toppling. Dr. Ivo, Slade Wilson, the League of Assassins… losing your sister.”

Sara didn’t even blink. “Oliver did tell me. He also told me that it led to you losing your son, too.”

Something akin to pain crossed Merlyn’s face. “We both get clean slates.”

“Why don’t you just ask your speedster friend to take you back in time?” Stein demanded.

“Because Malcolm’s just his errand boy,” Sara declared, “sent to retrieve the amulet.”

“The low man on the totem pole can’t just ask such a favor from his big, bad boss,” Len taunted.

“Why’s it so important?”

“What does it matter?” Merlyn countered, sneering at Len’s comment but otherwise ignoring it, “I’m giving you and your sister a chance to live normal lives, to go back, maybe go to college, meet a nice boy – or a girl – and settle down.”

It had to be tempting for Sara. To be rid of the pain and horrors she’d gone through in the past decade. But the selfish part of Len couldn’t bear it if she took it, because that mean they’d never meet. At least, not in the way that they had. Even with Barry’s annoying optimism that he could be a hero getting into his head, Len would never get as far as he had without Sara’s influence, and a Sara who’d never known pain and darkness could never convince him to be a better man. Who knew where he’d be – what kind of person he’d be – if not for her?

“No, thank you. I was never meant for those things. And I know that, now. And besides, you can’t just go back and change things like that.”

Merlyn chuckled. “Well, why not?”

“Because time is sacred. And it can’t be changed to suit any one person’s desire without harming the lives of countless others.”

Merlyn stepped closer to her. “But you wouldn’t remember any of this, would you? You would be blissfully unaware of time-travel. Of loss. Of heartbreak. You’d be happy. And isn’t that what matters most, in the end?” He started to walk out of the room.

“Hey, Malcolm!” Sara called back after him. Merlyn paused in the doorway and turned around to listen. “Clearly, you aren’t aware of what happened on our previous mission. I’ll take a nightmare that’s real over a dream that’s a lie.”

Merlyn scowled and left, shutting and locking the door behind him.

“That was remarkably selfless,” Stein praised Sara.

Sara smiled. “Well, I had a good teacher.”

“Yes. Captain Hunter.”

“No. I was talking about you.” She looked over at Len. “And you played no small part in it, too.”


“Yeah, you. You’re the one who, out of the two of us, has always been better at looking at the big picture, thinking about cause and effect and consequences.” She sighed. “I can’t believe Malcolm thought I would actually take that deal.”

“But you were tempted, weren’t you?” Len asked.

“Of course. But for one thing, I wouldn’t have met you. I told Malcolm I’d rather live in a nightmare that’s real, and while this life isn’t perfect, it’s not all bad. And besides, we can’t let a man like that change history. Imagine the havoc that it would cause.”

“Ah, yes,” Stein murmured, “When it comes to time-travel, even the best of us can wreak havoc.”

“What do you mean?”

Len glanced over at Stein. “It almost sounds as though you’re speaking from personal experience.”

Stein only sighed in response.

“Martin?” Sara prompted, “You have been acting weird ever since we fought the Dominators. What’s going on?”

Stein was quiet for another few seconds, but then he finally gave them an answer. “It was an innocent mistake. I… I was just trying to give myself a bit of marital advice.”

“You mean, when we met your younger self in 1987?” Len guessed.

“Yes. Never did I imagine it would have an effect.”

“You caused an Aberration?” Sara gasped.

“I… have a daughter.”

Well, damn. Adding a whole new person to the timeline would definitely count as an Aberration.

“A what?” It seemed that Sara didn’t think that she’d heard correctly.

“Full-grown, human progeny. One I never even knew I had. She’s beautiful, brilliant-”

“And not real!” Sara snapped.

“At first, no. But… then I remembered. I… remember the- the countless nights I spent pacing the neighborhood with her stroller, trying to get her to sleep. The, the way my heart melted the first time she smiled at me. The… the distress she caused her kindergarten teacher when she insisted on singing the Periodic Table instead of the Alphabet. I, I- I remembered all of it.”

“But none of that happened to you,” Sara tried to remind him.

“But the memories are real. They are a part of me, now. She is a part of me, now. And… I love her.”

“Martin, you were the one who talked me into not killing Damien Darhk! Into not bringing my sister back because of the damage that it will do to history!”

Before the argument could continue any further, the doors to their cell opened again, only this time it was Damien Darhk who entered. “Ah, I’m sorry, but my ears were burning. I understand Malcolm tried to play nice and offer you a deal. Since you didn’t bite, we’re gonna have to be a little… rougher.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Spare us the euphemisms, would you? We know you’re planning to torture us. I was actually expecting it to start a lot sooner.”

“Do your worst,” Sara told Dark coldly. Len knew that, as a trained assassin, she could probably take it even better than him, but the thought of Sara being tortured still turned his insides cold.

“Oh, you didn’t think that I meant you?” Darhk asked with a chuckle, “Oh, I fear, with your League training, torture, while fun, would be a waste of time.”

Movement to their left alerted them to two trench coat-wearing henchmen entering the room through the door Darhk had left open.

Darhk moved away from Sara and stopped in front of and between Len and Stein. “Now… which one to choose? The one who’ll break more easily? Or perhaps the boyfriend?”

“Don’t you dare!” Sara threatened, lunging against her restraints.

Darhk smirked. “I think we’ll go with the boyfriend. Gentlemen?” He pointed at Len, and the two men came up to him and undid the ropes around his wrists.

Len fought back, of course. The man on his left got an elbow to the throat. The man on his right got a punch to the face. He would’ve done more, but Darhk moved over to Stein and pulled a gun out, holding it to the professor’s head.

“Ah, ah, ah,” Darhk chided, “You see, I really only need one of you two gentlemen. Believe me, Mr. Snart, if you continue to resist, I might just decide that two is one too many.” He released the safety on his weapon, making Stein gulp audibly.

Len glared at him hatefully, but stopped fighting. “Sara, whatever you do, don’t give them anything!” he told her as they dragged him out of the room.

“Len!” Sara cried, “LEN!”

Len was dragged down the hall – ‘tunnel’ would actually be more accurate – until he could see the exit. A flight of stone steps illuminated by moonlight. But there was someone in his way: a man standing halfway up the stairs, his features obscured in shadow.

Even as he was contemplating a way to escape his captors’ grip and run back to Sara and Stein (which would prove useless unless Darhk was no longer there to threaten the professor), Len found himself being roughly thrown to the ground. He looked up to see the henchmen closing a gate behind him, leaving him trapped on the other side with the silhouetted man.

The man stepped forward. “Mr. Snart, am I right?”

Len stood and dusted himself off. “Do I know you?” he snarled.

“Well, not really. We never actually had the pleasure of meeting. And even if we had, you wouldn’t recognize me as I am now.” As he neared Len, his face became visible in the light illuminating the tunnel. It was the speedster. He held up a small-ish, square, boxy, silver object. “I’m not going to lie to you: this, uh, little toy usually leaves the subject, well, dead. But, uh, I’ve adjusted it so that you should only feel… a little pain.” He pressed a switch on one side, causing what looked like the point of a long needle to pop out and the device to start making a whirring sound. “In theory.”

Len wasn’t about to just let him stick that thing anywhere near him, but it didn’t seem like he had that much of a choice. The speedster lunged forward, shoving Len into the gate behind him, fast enough and hard enough that it was like being punched in the gut by a Steeled-up Heywood. The henchmen, still on the other side of the gate, reached through and grabbed his arms while he was still stunned, holding him in place.

Len kicked and swore, but it was all for nothing as the speedster advanced on him and casually jabbed the device into his shoulder.

God, it hurt. Len could only imagine that this was what electrocution felt like, but it wouldn’t stop. Every nerve ending was on fire, and he couldn’t stop the screams.

Less than a minute later – or maybe more – the pain finally stopped. Len sagged against the gate, his limbs feeling like jelly. He blinked a couple times to restore his blurred vision, and then several more times when his brain refused to accept what he was seeing in front of him.

But it was there. The speedster kneeled down, now wearing a face identical to his own, even dressed in the same clothes. “Now,” Len’s own voice drawled from the speedster’s mouth, “let’s hope that your friends come to the rescue in a timely manner.”

Amaya had been skeptical when Rory had decided to take charge. Sure, he was one of the team’s resident criminals, but Snart had labelled himself as having always been the brains of the operation, the one who put the plan together. When Ray had voiced that same opinion, Rory had just snorted and said that thirty years of following Snart’s plans had taught him enough about actually making them. And it was fairly simple; a bit of historical research by Gideon and Nate had pinpointed a truck that would be carrying one of many illegal alcohol shipments to Capone’s main base of operations, although they couldn’t be sure their captive teammates would be held there. Still, it wasn’t like they had anywhere else to look, and it was likely that the ledger would be there, so at least they wouldn’t be walking away from this completely empty-handed.

Amaya and Mick had hijacked the truck, then followed the directions that Mick had scared out of the original driver all the way to Capone’s warehouse, with Ray and Nate riding in the back. Two men greeted them at the loading dock. “You’re not the regular driver,” one of them noticed immediately, “What happened to Vinny?”

“Vinny?” Mick questioned, “He, uh… He’s hangin’ out with your mother.”


“What?” Mick parroted back, mocking the man.

The two thugs were so focused on Mick that they didn’t see Ray and Nate jumping down from the back of the truck and attacking them from behind. Nate smashed the first guy’s head against the hood of the truck while Ray knocked the second one out with a punch.

“So, here’s the plan,” Ray began.

Amaya was having none of it. “It’s for us to rescue the people who got caught because of you.” She was getting seriously sick of Ray and Nate’s recent – and immaturely petty – obsession with one-upping each other.

“She’s talkin’ about you,” Nate insisted, pointing at Ray.

“No, I think she’s taking about you,” Ray retorted.

“Shut up!” Mick snapped at both of them, “You’re supposed to be partners. Partners have each other’s backs!”

Both Ray and Nate looked shamefaced at being told off. “Alright, Mick’s right,” Nate admitted, “We can all agree that we need to get Capone’s ledger. Fair?”

“Agreed,” Ray grumbled. The four of them made their way inside.

From there, they split up. Ray and Nate made their way upstairs in hopes of finding Capone’s office and the ledger therein while Amaya and Mick swept different halves of the lower floor. Amaya held the anti-speedster gun at the ready. That bastard would not harm anyone else she cared about, not if she had anything to say about it.

She tried a door to her right; it was unlocked, and she cautiously entered. Relief flooded her when she saw two familiar faces. “Sara? Stein?” She ran forward; both of them were seated in wooden chairs with their wrists tied to the arms and additional loops of rope holding them against the backs of the chairs. What was worrying, however, was the empty chair between them with discarded ropes just lying there. “Are you okay?”

“We’re fine,” Sara confirmed, “We need to find Len; they took him. I think they’re torturing him to try and make us give them the amulet.”

Amaya hurriedly untied the two of them, and the trio set off on a search.

It didn’t actually take that long to find Snart; behind yet another unlocked door, they found a couple of thugs standing over him where he was tied to a different chair with his nose bloodied. One thug was casually wiping blood off his knuckles.

They barely even saw Sara coming; the former assassin had them both unconscious and even bloodier than her lover before they could even defend themselves. “Len, are you okay?” She carefully lifted his head while Amaya watched the door and Stein quickly untied him. “Len?”

“…Sara?” Snart’s voice was weak, quiet.

“Len, what did they do to you?!”

Snart blinked a few times. “Used… some weird thing… must be from the future. Stings like hell.”

“And the bloody nose?” Amaya asked.

A weak smirk appeared on his face. “That guy just didn’t like what I was implying about his mother.” He tried to stand, but would have dropped back into his seat if Sara and Stein hadn’t caught him.

“Easy,” Sara told him softly, “We’re gonna get you out of here.” Together, she and Stein slung his arms over their shoulders and began to lead him out.

They ran into Ray and Nate along the way. “Hey! You found them!” Nate stated the obvious with a big grin on his face, “Are you guys okay?” He shot a worried look at Snart, who was still being held up by Sara and Stein.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Snart told him breathlessly.

“Let’s get outta here,” Amaya insisted.

The six of them only moved a few yards forward, however, when they ran into a problem. Al Capone himself was blocking their way, along with two of his thugs.

“Oh my God,” Nate gasped, “You’re Al Capone! That’s Scarface!” He sounded like he was… what was that word Jax had used once? Fanboying. Nate was fanboying over Al Capone.

“Yeah, I don’t think he likes that nickname,” Ray whispered back.


“I don’t like when people try and steal what’s mine,” Capone snapped, “How do you think it makes me feel, seeing all you thieves on my property?”

“I’m gonna go out on a limb and say not good,” Nate muttered.

Capone smiled thinly. “See, the doctor used to give me these pills, said it would help calm me down. Then, one day, I realized the only thing that makes me feel any better is killin’.” He raised his Tommy Gun. “Time for some therapy.”

Capone and his men opened fire on them. Amaya, Sara, Stein, and Snart ducked behind some crates for cover while Ray took shelter behind a Steeled-up Nate. A roar of anger, followed by a thud, brought the gunfire to a close. Sara vaulted over the boxes she and Snart were huddling behind and kicked one thug in the face. Amaya peered out from behind her shelter and saw Mick belting the other one in the face and knocking him out. Capone himself could be seen struggling to get up in one corner.

“Let’s go,” Sara insisted, helping a still-dazed Snart to his feet and leading the way out of the building.

Eobard Thawne knew it was only a matter of time before the Legends – idiots though they were – realised that something was off about ‘Snart’, especially his little girlfriend. He had to find the amulet, and quickly. It was just a good thing that he just so happened to excel at doing things quickly. But the irony was that his speed would not be enough to save him should his pursuer arrive in this time, so he needed to find that amulet if he ever wanted to stop fleeing his fate.

As soon as he got away from the crowd of sickeningly-concerned Legends (they were reminding him a bit too much of Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin), he wandered the ship until he found what appeared to be a library. An excellent place to keep the amulet, especially if they wanted to research it to figure out its origins. Not that they would have found anything yet – it had taken Eobard exhaustive searching and investigation just to locate the damn thing himself, and he’d already known what he was looking for.

He zipped around the room, searching through every drawer he could find, checking the inside of all the books for those cliché hollows in them. And he found nothing.

Eobard was just about to check for equally cliché hidden compartments in the walls and furniture when he heard them – footsteps. He stopped and grabbed a random book, leaning against the desk and pretending to be reading.

Sara Lance walked in only two seconds later, having already changed back into her regular 21st century clothes, with a serious look on her face. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

“I’m alright,” Eobard answered shortly, hoping she would go away.

Instead, she stepped closer. “Look, Len, whatever they did to you, you can talk to me about it. Like after what happened in Keystone in ’89, or after the Oculus blew you to 2024, or… or after Mick captured you as Chronos.” She actually reached up and cupped his cheek with her hand, but Eobard pulled away, hoping it wasn’t too out of character. Girlfriend or not, Snart had come across as the standoffish type, anyway, and probably wouldn’t be one for talking about feelings. “Hey, are you okay?” Lance asked in concern, “You’re kind of warmer than usual. You’re not coming down with anything, are you?” Dammit. Eobard knew that speedsters had a higher body temperature than normal, but he hadn’t been considering the possibility that that, of all things, might give him away.

Dr. Nathaniel Heywood then came in through the library’s other door, looking anxious. “Sara, uh, Jax and I were, just on the bridge, and, um…” The historian coughed nervously. “We want to talk to you about ship stuff.”

Oh no. Heywood’s request was so horribly vague and ambiguous and awkward that it could only mean one thing: that Heywood was trying to get Lance out of the library without having to say why. It could mean that he and the others were onto Eobard.

“‘Ship stuff’?” Lance questioned.

Heywood glanced at Eobard nervously, and the speedster knew at that moment that his cover had been blown. “…Yeah.”

Lance shrugged. “Okay.”

Eobard grabbed her arm as she started to walk past him. “I’m sure there’s no need to rush off. You and Jax can wait, right, Nate?”

Lance looked at him suspiciously. “Since when do you call him ‘Nate’?”

Heywood was still trying for subtlety. “Actually, it’s, uh, it’s pretty urgent. We should go now.”

Lance seemed to finally get what he was saying, and nodded. “Okay.”

There was a long, tense silence, as Eobard still had Lance by the arm. Then he decided to give up all pretense. He dashed forward at super-speed, grabbing Heywood as well and throwing both of them into the wall. Then he stood in front of them and vibrated the illusion away (the main purpose of his modifications to his doppelgänger device being to make the change only temporary). He let the pair stare at him in horror before running off. It was time to resort to Plan B.

What Eobard wasn’t expecting was to suddenly be hit with something that felt like a punch to the gut and sent him crashing to the floor, rolling several feet until he came to a stop. Even worse – he could feel his speed leaving him, his powers vanishing. He looked up, groaning, and saw Jefferson Jackson standing over him, daggers in his eyes and a large weapon pointed at Eobard.

Fortunately, Eobard recognised the weapon in question. “A speedster weapon. Impressive.” It was just too bad for the kid that no one had ever managed to make the effects of such a weapon permanent. Eobard felt his speed coming back already, enough for him to get up, disarm Jackson, and pin him to the wall by his throat before the boy could fire again. “Unfortunately for you, the effects are only temporary.”

“What did you do with Snart?” the boy demanded.

“Oh, I wouldn’t waste my energy worrying about him right now.” His fingers tightened over the boy’s throat.

“Whatever you’re gonna do,” Jackson choked, “Do it now.”

“In a rush to die, are we?”

“I wasn’t talkin’ to you.”

Movement drew Eobard’s attention to Jackson’s right shoulder. A miniaturised Dr. Palmer jumped off and at Eobard. Eobard stumbled back, his speed not completely restored yet, but not quickly enough to avoid being punched in the face as the inventor re-sized himself (he was never telling Darhk or Merlyn about this part).

He ran, thankfully fast enough to avoid the blast shot at him by Dr. Palmer. Prof. Stein appeared in his path with a simple stunning weapon (which he was holding incorrectly), and Eobard just punched him as he ran past, before the professor had time to try to shoot him with it. He made it to the bridge, closing the doors and sealing himself inside before Palmer and Jackson could get past them. Then, thanks to his research on time ships, he was able to disengage the cloaking shield and open the cargo bay door to allow Malcolm and some of Capone’s goons entry.

Fear. That was the first thing that Sara felt when she saw her boyfriend – except it wasn’t really her boyfriend – morph into the speedster. For all her assassin training, this man could both kill her and Nate before they could even perceive his attack. Then, when he ran off and left them alone, that fear for her own life changed into fear for Len’s. If they’d brought the speedster onto the ship, then where was the real Len? Was he still alone with Darhk and Malcolm and Capone? Was he still being tortured? Was he even alive?

Nate scrambled to his feet first, racing off after the speedster. Sara opted to grab some weaponry first, which turned out to be a pretty good instinct when Gideon pleasantly announced that the ship’s cloaking shield was down and, seconds later, that the cargo bay door was opening. She growled. Like how she and Len had used Jonah Hex as their Trojan Horse to get into Quentin Turnbull’s camp, the speedster must have used his disguise as Len to get onto the Waverider and let his allies on board. The news that Stein had been hurt just pissed her off even further.

Sara turned a corner and was nearly turned into a piece of human Swiss cheese, only her assassin reflexes allowing her to duck back behind the corner without getting shot. She peered out, sighting two men – some of Capone’s thugs, judging by the way they were dressed – shooting at her with Tommy Guns from either side of an open door. She fired back, hitting the one to her right, then his buddy on her left.

Another gangster took the first man’s place, however, and kept firing.

Sara had to duck back and reload. “Guys?” she called over the comms, “Could use a little help, here.” It took less than a minute, luckily, for Nate and a fully-armoured Ray to show up, although a fourth gangster had arrived, as well. “Steel up,” she told Nate, who nodded and promptly did just that.

He and Ray stepped out, bullets ricocheting off them for a few seconds until the gangsters apparently ran out of ammunition. “Isn’t that just like a thug?” Ray asked, doing what seemed to be a Sean Connery impression, “Brings a Tommy Gun to an Ion Blaster fight?” He shot the two of them and brought them down with ease.

“Nice work, guys,” Sara breathed, “Make sure the four of them stay down. I’m going to check Rip’s study; someone will probably be searching for the amulet there.” She ran off before either one of them could disagree, making it to the bridge and finding the study undisturbed, unlike the library.

Deciding that ambush would be a better tactic in this case, Sara used a chair by the door and the doorframe itself to climb up and hide, pressed between the frame’s ledge and the ceiling. She didn’t have to wait long; Malcolm Merlyn calmly walked onto the bridge, his coat draped over one arm and his hat in hand. He casually tossed the hat onto Rip’s telescope as if he were in his own home, and then began to search the room.

Sara dropped down, unable to completely silence the sound of her feet hitting the floor (League training could only do so much against the laws of physics).

“The League taught you well,” Malcolm said before turning around, “But unless you hand over the amulet, I’m going to have to teach you a few new lessons.”

“Those who cannot do, teach,” Sara mocked. She spun around and kicked at him, but he dodged by jumping and flipping over the table. Sara jumped over it as well and landed one kick to his chest, then swung out with her left fist and missed.

Malcom managed to punch her in the face once, then grabbed her by the back of her head while she was disoriented and slammed it into the table. Sara grabbed a heavy book off that same table and smacked him in the head with it. Malcolm ducked her next swing and tackled her around the waist, pushing her back, until Sara regained her footing and used his own momentum to throw him out of the study – as a bonus, his head even smacked against the doorframe while he was in mid-air. Sara kicked him again while he was still getting up, but he caught her follow-up punch and used it to flip her over and onto the floor. Turnabout was fair play, as Sara grabbed Malcolm’s arm and did the same thing to him. He kicked her in the gut and stood up when she stumbled back, drawing a knife from his pocket. Sara dodged his blade multiple times until he got lucky and slammed her up against the central console, leaving her struggling to keep his knife away from her throat.

“I gave you an out,” he growled, “Not just a chance to survive, but to live a better life!”

“I already found a better life,” Sara retorted, “One without you in it!” She forced his hand away and punched him in the nose, slammed his head against the console like he’d done to her, then followed up with another punch that sent him to the floor. Sara didn’t give him any time to recover, pressing one knee against his back, pulling his head up by his hair, and holding a blade of her own to his throat.

“What about your boyfriend?” Malcolm grunted, “Leonard Snart, wasn’t it? I see you still have a thing for bad boys and girls.”

Sara pressed her blade harder against his throat. “Where is he?”

“My dear, that information comes at a cost.”

Len didn’t make it easy for Capone. Though he was still weak from whatever the speedster had done to him, he put up a hell of a fight regardless and gave them a hell of a time just tying his wrists together and taking him back down to Dock 39. Even now, he was struggling against the two burly men holding him near the edge of the dock. “Don’t look so glum, Mr. Snart,” Capone was saying, “You’ll be in good company at the bottom of this here river. Thieves, snitches, a couple cops… they’ve all run afoul of my organization, but you? I’ve never had to whack someone quite like you.” He held up Len’s Cold Gun. “And I look forward to playin’ with this new toy you’ve given me. This’ll help me move up in the world, eh, boys?” The two thugs on either side and behind him chuckled.

“Like hell,” Len growled. He elbowed the thug on his left in the stomach as hard as he could, causing the man to double over and loosen his grip, then punched the second guy in the nose before shoving him over the edge and into the water. A knee to the face knocked the first guy out.

The whine of the Cold Gun starting up forced him to stop; Capone was pointing his own weapon at him, while the other two thugs aimed their regular guns. “Now, that wasn’t very nice. Maybe I’ll just test out my new toy instead o’ just throwin’ you in the river.”

Suddenly, both thugs went down with cries of pain; as they fell facedown on the dock, the throwing knives sticking out of their backs were glaringly obvious.

And then Sara was there, punching Capone in the face when he turned around. “Thank God,” she gasped, rushing forward to untie Len.

“The speedster,” he told her, “He did something to make himself look exactly like me, clothes and everything. You have to-”

“We know. He’s already shed his disguise, after we brought him onto the Waverider and before he let Malcolm and four of Capone’s men on board. Malcolm and the speedster are long gone, and the thugs are dead.”

“How’d you know where to find me?” he asked, rubbing his wrists once he was free of the ropes.

Sara looked down. “Malcolm told me… I gave him the amulet.”

Len stared at her. “What?”

“He wouldn’t tell me where they had you, otherwise. And we can get the amulet back someday, but we can’t get you back if you die!” She stood on her toes, laced her fingers behind his head, and pulled him into a desperate kiss.

The sound of Capone’s groaning had them breaking apart a few seconds later. “We should probably take this elsewhere,” Len murmured. He walked over to Capone picked up his Cold Gun. “And I’ll be taking this back, if you don’t mind.” Then he kicked Capone in the face. “I didn’t think you would.”

Wednesday, October 19th, 1927

Len was taken straight to the Med Bay when they returned to the Waverider. The team had Gideon scan him over and over to be sure that he was the real deal. Len grew impatient with this about five minutes in – unfortunately, the scanning and ‘precautionary measures’ lasted about half an hour before Sara finally put her foot down and told the nerds to stop fussing. She then spent the rest of the night showing Len just how grateful she was to have him back and in one piece.

In other news, Stein was recovering from his concussion quite quickly, and the speedster had nearly killed Mick and Amaya, but had just run off for whatever reason when, according to Amaya, his futuristic wristwatch started beeping. Whatever that was all about.

Len looked up when Sara re-entered their room the following morning, plates of fruit and toast in hand. “How’d your talk with Stein go?”

“It went alright.” She set the plates down on the side table and sat down next to him on the bed. “I’ve decided to not bother changing time, in his case.”

He raised one eyebrow. “What happened to ‘Time is Sacred’? Just last night, you were telling Stein that she wasn’t real.”

Sara shrugged. “I checked with Gideon. Lily Stein isn’t doing any damage to the timeline. In fact, she made a major contribution to our fight against the Dominators, and that sort of made her integral to the timeline. I guess that either the timeline adapted itself to her existence without really changing, or maybe Stein was always supposed to go back and make the change. Either way, erasing her from existence could actually do more harm than good. And I really didn’t want to have to do that to Stein, anyway.”

Len turned over her words in his head. “How did Stein’s daughter – you said her name was Lily?” Sara nodded. “How did Lily contribute to fighting the Dominators?”

“Well, apparently she’s got her dad’s brains, and Caitlin brought her in to help with the science angle – since everyone in 2016 now believes that she always existed. Those nano-weapons they came up with? Lily was the one who made the big breakthrough with those.”

“Well, there’s a point for not going back and erasing her. Dunno how long we would’ve been able to hold out without those things. Are we going to tell the others?”

“I’ve left that decision up to Stein. She’s his daughter, after all. Jax already knows, and the others will find out eventually, but Stein will decide the when and how of it all.”

Len smirked. “Which means that, with our luck, she’s going to walk up to everyone and introduce herself before he has a chance to explain.”

Sara grinned at that. “Yeah, that sounds like something that would happen to us.” She reached over and grabbed a now-cold piece of toast from her plate, playing with it in her hands instead of biting into it. “So… sorry to change the subject, but is there anything else you remember from when you were alone with the speedster? Anything we can use to figure out who he is?”

Len frowned, thinking back. “He knew my name, but he also said that we’ve never met, and that I wouldn’t recognize him if we had. I’m not sure what that means.”

Sara hummed in thought. “He could’ve just done his research; you’re fairly well-known in Central City, and we don’t even know what kind of resources he has, but considering he’s a time-traveling speedster who can get into pretty much any facility he wants, I’d say he has a lot.”

“So… we’re still at Square One?”

“‘Fraid so.”

Chapter Text

There were only a few things that could wake Len up from a sound sleep without pissing him off. The smell of frying bacon, for example, or the sound of Sara’s voice.

Loud, obnoxious rap music echoing through the halls of the Waverider was most definitely not on the list.

Sara rolled over and grumbled. “Whoever’s makin’ that noise… ‘M gonna kill ‘em.”

Len groaned and sat up. “It’s too late for this.” He glanced quickly at the clock. 3:03 a.m. “Or too early, whatever. Wait here; you went to bed later than I did.”

“Call me if someone needs killin’…” was her reply, muffled by the pillow she’d stuffed her head underneath.

It seemed that Len and Sara weren’t the only one disturbed by the noise. Raymond and Amaya were both outside in the hall, also in their sleep clothes and looking as disgruntled and annoyed as he felt. Len was mildly surprised that Jax and the Professor weren’t out there, as well, although he knew from experience that Mick could sleep through anything. Heywood wasn’t out there, either, and of those missing from the hallway, Len knew all but the historian well enough to know that they wouldn’t be behind this.

“What the hell is that noise?” Amaya complained.

“Music,” Raymond responded, “At least, according to some people.” It honestly sounded more like a bunch of men yelling to an electronic beat.

“I know music,” Amaya argued, “Music has notes. This is noise!”

Len couldn’t disagree with her on that. “Where in the hell is it coming from?”

“It sounds like it’s coming from this direction.” Raymond pointed down the hall, and the trio followed the noise as it got louder and more obnoxious, until they found themselves at the open door to the library.

Heywood was sitting at the desk, fully dressed, his feet propped up on the heavy piece of furniture as he read a thick book in his lap.

“Nate!” Raymond called, his voice barely audible over the din, “Nate!”

“NATE!” Amaya shouted with him, finally getting Heywood’s attention. The historian started and then twisted around in his seat, shutting off the noise.

“Sorry, guys,” he apologised, “It helps me concentrate.”

Len raised an eyebrow at that. How could the historian even think while surrounded by that noise, let alone actually concentrate?

“It’s three in the morning,” Amaya pointed out.

“Amaya and I were trying to sleep,” Raymond complained, “Uh, not together.”

“So were Sara and I,” Len added with a smirk, “Together, obviously. And you’re lucky she was too exhausted to get out of bed and kill you herself.”

“What are you doing up so late?” Amaya asked.

Heywood sighed. “Just trying to figure out what the Legion of Doom wants with those two amulets.”

Len blinked. “The what?”

Amaya scrunched up her face in confusion. “The ‘Legion of Doom’?”

“Darhk, Merlyn, and the speedster,” Heywood elaborated, “It’s from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon I liked when I was a kid. Sorry I woke you guys up.”

“We- We weren’t together,” Raymond insisted.

“He knows, Ray,” Amaya said, rolling her eyes.

“We all know,” Len drawled, “And as much as I hate to say it, maybe we should just leave the nicknaming to Cisco. At least he can come up with his own names, instead of ripping them off children’s TV shows.”

“Have you figured anything out?”

Heywood shrugged. “Well, I carbon-dated the amulet that Sara took from Darhk in 1987.”

Raymond nodded. “Before she gave it back to the… Legion of Doom, I’m guessing.”

Len rolled his eyes, figuring that that ridiculous name wasn’t going to be dropped anytime soon if Raymond was already starting to use it.

“Yeah. And Gideon puts the amulet’s date of origin around 30 AD.” Heywood picked up a sheet of paper from the desk and handed it to Raymond.

“High concentrations of manganese, copper, and zinc,” Raymond read, “Which would make bronze.”

“Correct. Now, Roman centurions put bronze in all their metalwork circa 30 AD. I also sketched the two amulets the best I could from memory, but they don’t match any artifacts on record.”

“Aside from what we already know about the Askaran Amulet?” Len prompted, picking up the sketches, “There’s not a lot of detail in these.”

“Well, of course not. I didn’t get to see much of them before we lost them. Especially the first one.”

“So? I could do better than this… scribbling.”

You’ve practically got an eidetic memory,” Raymond argued, “Give the guy a break.”

Amaya, meanwhile, had been staring at the papers in Len’s hands. “What if they’re not two artifacts?” she suggested, taking the sketches and walking over to the computer screen in the wall. She placed them against the screen, one on top of the other, its light allowing her to line the images up so that the smaller amulet looked like it was nestled in the first. “What if they’re one?”

Heywood got up and actually climbed over the desk to get a closer look, using both Len and Raymond’s shoulders to balance himself and not even seeming to care when Len shoved his hand away and he nearly face-planted onto the floor. “Shut up,” he breathed, a look of entranced awe on his face, “The Longinus Medallion.”

“The what?” Len asked again.

Heywood didn’t answer his question, grabbing the papers from Amaya and staring at them as if they were maps to the Holy Grail. “Gideon, wake everyone up and tell them to meet us in the study. I know what the Legion of Doom is after.” He then turned around and began tearing through the bookshelves and muttering to himself like a crazy person. Len took advantage of his distraction and left the library, figuring he should talk Sara down if it turned out that Gideon wasn’t explicit enough.

Sure enough, Sara stepped out of their room just as he arrived, a knife visible in each hand. “Please tell me that it’s nothing and that I should just go back to sleep,” she begged, “Whoever’s fault it is, I can wait until morning to kill them.”

Len shook his head, inwardly noting that she still looked hot even when she was barely awake and just on the edge of a homicidal rampage. “Heywood figured out what the deal is with those amulets, and what Darhk and his cronies want with it,” he offered.

Sara blinked. “Okay. That’s actually worth getting out of bed at 3 a.m.”

“So you’re not going to kill him?”

“Depends on what he figured out.”

“Longinus is the name generally associated with the Roman Centurion who pierced the side of Christ during the Crucifixion,” Heywood lectured once the every member of the team had finally shuffled to Rip’s study.

“Yeah,” Jax yawned, “He was, uh, blind, and got the blood of Jesus in his eyes, and then he could see again.”

“Look at you,” Heywood commented with a proud smile on his face. Everyone else looked at the kid in confusion.

“What? I went to Sunday School.”

Heywood continued. “Now, that blood allegedly got on the Medallion and powered it and the spear with magical powers.”

“Well, why does the Legion of Doom want the medallion?” Raymond questioned.

“‘Legion of Doom’?” Sara questioned.

“Heywood’s idea,” Len grumbled from next to her, “Don’t ask.”

“Well, according to legend, the Medallion calls for the Spear, and basically takes you right to it. The Spear is also known as the Holy Lance or the Spear of Destiny.”

“Hey, hold on,” Sara interrupted again, “This all just sounds like an Indiana Jones movie.”

“‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ is the reason I became a historian. Did you know that?”

“No, and we don’t care,” Len snapped.

“Okay, so the Legion want the Medallion so they can get the Spear…” Jax mused aloud.

“But what do they want with the Spear?” Amaya asked.

“Well,” Heywood answered, “this Spear allegedly has the power to rewrite reality.”

“Well, how’s that different from us traveling through time, making changes to history?” Raymond questioned.

“Changes to history cause Time Quakes and Aberrations, which we can undo. Changes to reality, however… those are permanent.”

“Shit,” Len breathed, “Not something we want the likes of Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn to have access to. They’ve already done enough damage, as it is.” He couldn’t help but look over at Sara, the woman whose sister had been murdered by Darhk and who had been murdered, however indirectly, by Merlyn.

“And I just handed the Medallion over to them,” Sara sighed guiltily.

Len looked over at her and shifted closer to her, lightly touching her knee to get her attention. Her eyes met his, full of sadness and regret.

“In exchange for Snart’s life,” Jax reminded her, “Any one of us would’ve made that call.”

“Would Rip?”

Friday, February 24th, 1967

“This is gonna be awesome!” Raymond cheered, “The Legends go Hollywood!”

After everyone had gotten a few hours of sleep (or at least tried to), Heywood had called Sara into the library over a new Aberration. The Aberration itself – the murder of two bikers, one of whom was supposed to live on and invent a new carburetor – was small and relatively insignificant, but the M.O. had caught Gideon’s eye, so to speak. According to Sara, the autopsy reports indicated that a League of Assassins technique had been used to take the lives of the two men. Which suggested that their two favourite time-travelling assassins were up to something in Hollywood, California, 1967.

“We gotta do the Walk of Fame!” Jax insisted, “I want to see Bela Lugosi’s star.”

“The what?” Amaya asked.

“The Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s a stretch of over two thousand stone stars embedded in the sidewalk that runs along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Each one is dedicated to someone who made big achievements in the entertainment world: actors, musicians, directors, producers…”

“It’s a tourist attraction,” Len summarised, “I’ve already been to see it, and that was obviously after 1967. There’s not as much to see in this decade.”

“You saw the Walk of Fame?!”

Len shrugged. “I was working a job in the area, and wound up having some free time.”

“We can play tourist after we’ve secured the Spear,” Sara butted in, getting out of the captain’s seat. Len frowned, knowing that if Rip had still been with them, Sara would’ve been talking about which tourist spot she wanted to see along with them. Her new responsibilities and her guilt over giving the Medallion to their enemies were seriously suppressing her ability to have fun. “Gideon, get us an address. In the meantime, let’s get dressed.”

There didn’t seem to be anything amiss at the coordinates Gideon had given them. The Legends (minus Mick and Stein, who were oddly secretive about their reasons for staying behind) had arrived at a section of the University of Southern California’s campus where students of the university’s School of Cinematic Arts were filming their movies (“Too bad this isn’t where they’re filming Bonnie and Clyde,” Len had commented, “Now that was a good movie.”).

“There’s nothing here,” Len sighed, “Just a bunch of film geeks.”

“Look, all I know is that Gideon said that the motorcycles Darhk and Merlyn stole are around here,” Heywood insisted.

“What, so just we’re supposed to walk around until we see a sign that says ‘This Way’?” Jax demanded, already getting frustrated.

Len spotted something behind Jax. “Good idea.” The kid spun around to see a sign, previously blocked by a group of people, which read ‘LEGENDS This Way’ in big, bold letters. “This can’t be that easy.”

They followed the posted signs, and believe it or not, they found what they were looking for. The first things Len spotted were Darhk and Merlyn, holding futuristic guns to two men. The guy with the thick, dark hair and the white shirt was unfamiliar, but his companion…

“Oh my God,” Sara gasped, “It’s Rip!”

Their captain looked very different from when they’d last seen him; he’d grown his hair and beard out and wasn’t dressed even remotely like himself, but it was definitely him. But there was something strange about the way he looked at them…

“Don’t worry,” Raymond assured their old leader, “We got you, Rip.”

The reaction that got was not the one they expected. “Who the hell are you guys?” And was that an American accent?

Of course, it was at that point that Darhk got annoyed with their interruption and started shooting at the Legends with his laser gun. Everyone either vaulted over or ducked under the railing that separated them from their captain and their enemies. Heywood activated his powers, the lasers bouncing off his metal skin, and covered some of his teammates, while Sara engaged Darhk in hand-to-hand combat, and Len and Amaya moved to cover Rip and the other guy, which didn’t work out so well, as one of Merlyn’s lasers bounced off Heywood, nearly missed Len’s head, and struck the unknown civilian in the arm.

“Get outta here, man!” the guy yelled at Rip, “No film is worth losing your life!” And he took off like a bat out of hell while Rip hid behind what looked like some random set pieces.

“Get Rip outta here!” Sara ordered.

Len, who was closer, reached over and grabbed Rip’s arm. “C’mon, let’s get- hey!”

Rip had started smacking him with a rolled-up bunch of papers like a sissy. “Get the hell away from me!”

“Rip! What the hell?!” Len grabbed the ineffectual weapon, yanked it out of Rip’s hands, and seriously considered smacking him with it in return. But then he heard it: sirens. Shit.

“Fall back!” Sara called as Rip ran away screaming. All the Legends booked it out of there. The last Len saw of Rip, he was being handcuffed by the cops while having a full-blown meltdown.

What the actual hell was going on, here?!

“Well, that went… apocalyptically awful.”

Raymond summed up their latest excursion rather accurately as he, Len, Sara, and Jax trudged onto the bridge.

“I’ve got Nate and Amaya researching where the police took Rip,” Sara told them, “We’ll spring him, and then…”

“We’ll find out what the hell’s going on with him!” Jax finished.

“I can’t believe he actually tried to bludgeon me with this… roll of paper,” Len drawled, holding said roll up, “Talk about a non-lethal weapon. His fists would’ve been more effective.”

“Well, we don’t know how long he was in the sixties,” Raymond pointed out, “He could be suffering from Time Drift, which is why he doesn’t remember us.”

“Or even the slightest thing about fighting? And possibly his sanity?”

“Okay, the question is ‘how?’” Sara insisted as they all gathered around the central console.

“Well, he could’ve Time-Scattered himself like he did with us,” Raymond suggested.

But Jax shook his head. “Nah. He recorded his final message after scattering us. He wouldn’t have been able to use it for a second time.” Len decided to trust Jax, who knew more about the ship’s myriad functions than anyone else present.

“Well, he got here somehow,” Sara prompted, “And so did Darhk and Merlyn.”

“The Legion of Doom,” Raymond added.

“I’m not calling them that.”


“If they came to 1967 looking for Rip, that means…”

“The Medallion must have led them here. Rip has the Spear of Destiny!”

“We’ve gotta bust him out of jail before they get to him first!”

“Sounds right up my alley,” Len commented, “I’ll go and get Mick, and then we can talk planning.”

He left Rip’s papers on the console before heading straight to the galley, where he knew he was most likely to find Mick.

And he was right, but Mick was not alone. Stein’s voice could also be heard as Len approached the galley. “Now,” the Professor was saying, “when did you first encounter the apparition?”

What? The odd question had Len slowing his pace as he listened. There was a long pause, and he could just imagine Mick staring at Stein in reaction to those words.

“…The ghost of your father. When did he first appear?”


“Back in Chicago,” Mick responded.

“Can you remember anything specific? Something that might have triggered the vision?”

“He said something about me not belonging here.”

“Why do you think he’d say that?”

“I don’t know.”

That was enough for Len, who’d been hovering by the door since he heard the word ‘ghost’. He strode in, and didn’t even bother pretending he hadn’t heard anything. Stein jumped out of his seat when he entered. “Mr. Snart! Hel-”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Len snapped at Mick, completely ignoring the Professor.

Mick blinked up at him. “Tell you what?” he asked through a mouthful of pizza, playing the ‘clueless’ act Len knew all too well.

“That you’re having hallucinations of your dead father! Why didn’t you say anything to me about it?!”

“‘Cause I wasn’t plannin’ on tellin’ anyone.”

“You told him!” Len argued, gesturing towards Stein.

“He just got nosy sooner than you did. Besides, what could you do about it?”

Len sighed. “I… I don’t know. Nothing, probably. But you’re my partner, Mick. That has to mean something, right?”

There was a long, very awkward silence, before Stein cleared his throat. “Ah, Mr. Snart? Was there anything you needed when you came in here?”

Right. Time to get back on track. “We found Rip. And before you start celebrating, he’s not exactly Rip, anymore. He didn’t recognize us at all, we don’t know how he got here, and Merlyn and Darhk are also in this era, and they’re after him. Which means that you two can’t sit this one out.”

“Of course,” Stein responded, “My apologies. I was just helping Mr. Rory with… well, you know.”

“Well, now I need Mick’s help. We’re breaking Rip out of jail. You know, the sort of thing the two of us were recruited for in the first place.”

“What’s he doing in prison? And how do you plan on breaking him out?”

Len sighed again. “Cops showed up when we faced off against our two least favourite assassins, and I guess they thought Rip was one of the instigators of the whole disturbance. As for how we’ll get him out, Amaya and Heywood having been looking up the prison while you were in here playing…” An idea occurred to him. “Do you think you can keep playing shrink for a little while longer?”

Len soon had a full plan worked out. Since Rip had been going absolutely nuts when the cops had arrested him, it wouldn’t be hard to convince them that he was crazy and needed to be institutionalised. Enter one Dr. Stein, with Nurse Lance and Orderly Rory. Len stayed on the ship with the others, watching from the hacked security feeds (this was one of the days when having Gideon around made everything so much easier).

Stein immediately approached the cop at the desk. “Good day.” Everyone on the Waverider could hear him over the comms.

They couldn’t quite hear what the cop was saying, but between the grainy video feed and Len’s limited lip-reading abilities, he figured he was saying: “Can I help you?”

“I believe you have one of my patients in custody.” The cop asked him a quick, one-worded question. “His… name…”

“Phil Gasmer,” Len immediately supplied, having looked it up ahead of time. According to Gideon’s records, Phil Gasmer was just an ordinary film student here.

“…Philip Gasmer. It’s imperative that he be released into my custody immediately. He suffers from delusions of being pursued by futuristic spacemen.”

The cop seemed to know immediately who they were talking about. He led the three Legends to the interrogation room where their wayward captain was being held. Rip looked up slowly as Stein walked in and stared at him.

“Astonishing,” the Professor breathed, “It’s really you.”

Rip asked him something.

“I’m… your doctor, Mr.… Gasmer. I’m here to, ah, take care of you.” When Rip leaned away from him and said something else – obviously about having never met this ‘doctor’ before – Stein turned to the cop, who was still hovering at the door. “Memory problems are a part of the delusion. I’ll have to admit him; he- he can’t be treated here.”

The cop nodded and left the room, causing Rip to obviously panic. Even though he wasn’t equipped with a comm unit, he raised his voice loud enough to be heard through the ones the others were wearing: “I AM NOT CRAZY!”

Sara moved to calm him down. “Hey! I know! I know, it’s okay. Look, my name is Sara Lance. This is Mick Rory and Martin Stein. We’re your friends.”

“Two of them are,” Mick argued.

Rip stared at Sara, apparently recognising her, but not in a good way. Then he started screaming for help.

Sara darted forward and slammed her hand over his mouth. “Hey! O- Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen to me, alright?! Calm down! We’re here to help you. You’ve got to trust me; your name is Rip Hunter.” Rip yanked her hand away and argued back before screaming again, prompting Sara to cover his mouth again. “Mick?”

Mick walked up and punched Rip once in the face, knocking him out.

“You do know you were given some sedatives, right, Mick?” Jax asked.

Len raised an eyebrow. “Did you really expect him to use them?”

The three exited the interrogation room, where another cop was waiting with a wheelchair. He raised his eyebrow when he saw Rip unconscious and being supported by Mick and Sara, but Stein waved him off with excuses about sedatives.

They wheeled him through the precinct’s narrow hallways, figuring that the best way to avoid suspicion would be to be seen walking out by the cops. It was risky; there was also the chance that the wrong people would see them, as well. “We’ve got Rip,” Sara reported, “We’re heading to the extraction point.”

“Oh no,” Amaya murmured. Len followed her gaze to the screen that showed the precinct lobby and cursed quietly. Speaking of the wrong people, Len watched as Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn approached the same cop at the desk. Darhk walked right past him, while Merlyn grabbed him by the shoulder and seemed to poke him in the stomach before moving on. The cop touched the spot, his hand coming away red from the apparent stab wound before he collapsed. While his fellow officers went over to see what was wrong with him, none of them noticed his attacker slipping further into their precinct.

“Sara, you’ve got incoming,” Len warned her, “Darhk and Merlyn just entered the precinct.” And they were getting dangerously close to crossing paths. Mick, pushing Rip’s chair, immediately detoured into an evidence storage locker, Stein and Sara following him.

Sara could see through the metal cage fence to where the pair had quietly taken out another cop and were looking through files on his desk. “Yeah, I see them. They’re blocking our escape.” It was true; the two assassins would be able to spot and intercept the Legends if they continued on their planned path out of the precinct.

“There must be another way out,” Stein insisted.

There was; Len had memorised the entire layout of the building. There was a fire exit that would trigger an alarm – not what they were going for – and there was also one other way out. “Jax?” he asked, “How well can you fly the Waverider?” He was asking Jax simply because the mechanic knew the ship better than anyone else currently on board.

Jax’s eyes widened as he realised what Len was suggesting. “Well enough. As long as it doesn’t involve a Time Jump, Gideon can do most of the work, anyway.”

“She can?” Heywood questioned.

“I can,” Gideon confirmed.

Sara and the others slipped into the elevator across the hall from the evidence locker while Darhk and Merlyn took out the rest of the cops – who’d finally noticed that they didn’t belong – and headed up to the roof. “Alright, we’re here.”

Jax lowered the still-cloaked ship to hover so that it was level with the roof, opening the cargo bay door. Raymond was quietly pestering him about wanting to fly the Waverider next time. “What if you crashed my ship?” Jax argued, “You break it, you buy it.” Ray pouted before running off to the cargo bay with Heywood.

Rip woke up as they arrived at the area of the roof that was connected to the top level of the car park. He immediately jumped out of the wheelchair and began backing away from his three rescuers-slash-kidnappers.

“Captain Hunter, you must listen to us!” Stein protested.

“Rip, just calm down, okay?” Sara begged, “We need you to remember: Your name is Rip Hunter. You are a Time Master. You fly the Waverider! It’s a time ship!” Rip started running. “RIP! Rip, just wait!” She and the others continued following their amnesiac captain as he staggered away. “Rip, be careful!” Sara called to him as he neared the edge of the roof.

It was at that moment that Jax decided to disengage the Waverider’s cloaking shield, allowing Rip to see his flying time machine in its full glory.

Rip promptly fainted.

Len probably would have laughed at that, but his amusement was chased away by the fact that Merlyn and Darhk had followed Rip and the others and were stepping out onto the roof, laser guns firing.

“Get to the ship!” Sara ordered, “GO!”

Mick picked up Rip, and the three Legends ran as Jax turned the ship around so that the open cargo bay door just rested on the ledge of the roof, allowing for them to get on board. Heywood stood ready to help, and Raymond was wearing one of the gauntlets from his suit and shooting back at Darhk and Merlyn.

As soon as everyone was on board, Jax shut the cargo bay door and flew them out of there.

Rip was immediately brought to the Med Bay, where Gideon sedated him to keep him from waking up and panicking while she performed a scan of his brain. “Well?” Sara asked after a minute or two, “Gideon?”

She, Len, Mick, Stein, and Raymond were all hanging around the Med Bay, waiting to hear the news.

“I’m afraid the news isn’t good, Captain,” Gideon apologised, “A deep scan reveals that Captain Hunter’s neural architecture has been completely restructured, his limbic system reprogrammed with a new identity.”

“So it isn’t Time Drift,” Len mused.

Sara got up out of the other bed, where she’d been sitting while Gideon had been working. “Rip didn’t forget who he was; he… changed.”

“Reprogrammed?” Raymond suggested, “But the technology to alter the brain at that level doesn’t even exist. Unless… Rip’s brain was somehow altered by impulses from the…” He trailed off, looking confused. “Uh, from the…”

“From the ship’s Time Drive?” Stein provided.

“Uh, yeah.”

Len raised an eyebrow. Raymond was acting oddly all of a sudden.

“You’re talking temporal electrocution. As a method of time-travel, it is practically suicidal.”

“Does that track?” Sara asked, turning to Raymond for confirmation.

Raymond continued to look confused. “Um, I’m not sure. ‘Scuse me.” He turned and beat a hasty retreat out of the Med Bay.

“What’s his problem?” Mick voiced the same question Len was wondering.

“I don’t know,” Sara murmured, staring after their resident inventor.

Gideon brought them back to the discussion at hand. “Captain Hunter must have shut down my systems because he knew I would never permit him to make physical contact with the Time Drive.”

“For good reason,” Stein pointed out, “He could have ended up anywhere and at any period in time.”

“But before he deactivated me, he recovered something from his parlour: a piece of wood approximately 0.6 metres long.”

“A piece of wood?” Len questioned.

“The Spear of Destiny?” Stein guessed.

“Could be,” Sara agreed, “I’m gonna go tell the others.”

She left the Med Bay, while Len hung back. Now that he was alone with Mick and Stein (Rip was unconscious and didn’t count), he wanted to resume that discussion about Mick’s little vision problem.

“I got an idea,” Mick told the two of them.

“So, this would be a new milestone for you, then,” the Professor commented.

Len rolled his eyes while Mick glared at Stein. “What’s your idea, Mick?”

Mick pointed at the scanner that was still positioned over Rip’s head. “Why don’t we use that thing to see what’s up with my brain?”

Stein winced. “I doubt you’ll find the results you’re hoping for. The- these tests are meant to find neurological changes. My theory is that your visions are the result of emotion.”

Mick was quiet for a second as he considered that. “You saying I’m crazy?”

Len winced. His partner had, sadly, never been the poster boy for mental health – who on this crew was, anyway? – but he really didn’t like being called crazy. It was okay if it was in the middle of one of their stupid, pointless debates over mini marshmallows and whipped cream as hot chocolate toppings, or stuff like that, but that was a different matter altogether.

“I’m- I’m saying you’re feeling something. And considering everything you’ve been through since joining this team, that’s perfectly normal.”

Mick turned to Len. “You agree with him?”

Len shrugged. “Neither of us are psychiatrists, Mick. But I do think we should check all possible explanations.” He turned to Stein. “Run the test. If it doesn’t give us anything, we can work on your theory.”

Mick had just gotten settled into the chair when Sara entered the Med Bay. She looked between him and the other two in confusion. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“Ah, we’re just hoping Gideon can help Mr. Rory with his- his… migraine.”

Mick took a second to catch on. “Yes, I- I have a very bad headache.” He smacked his head a couple of times with the heel of his palm – something that Len wouldn’t recommend for someone with an actual migraine.

Sara raised an eyebrow, but moved on. “I need someone to go back to the film school with Ray, Nate, and Amaya. Apparently, Darhk and Merlyn’s attack scared a student named George Lucas into dropping out, and somehow that means Ray and Nate no longer have the science and history knowledge we need.”

Len blinked. “Run that by me again?”

“It’s quite simple,” Gideon explained, “In the unaltered timeline, Mr. Lucas wrote, directed, and produced the film ‘Star Wars’ in 1977. Dr. Palmer saw this film and its sequels as a child, and was inspired to become an inventor. Likewise, Mr. Lucas also wrote and produced four films in the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise, three of which Dr. Heywood saw as a child, which inspired him to become a historian. Without these inspirations, both men took different career paths, Dr. Palmer becoming a heart surgeon, and Dr. Heywood becoming a yoga instructor.”

Stein gasped. “So, because of this Aberration, they’ve lost all the skills they gained in their proper career paths. If this goes unchecked, their very presence on the Waverider could be erased.”

“Which means things could go very differently for us,” Len guessed, “And not in a good way.”

“Exactly,” Sara confirmed, “Amaya’s taking both of them to talk Lucas out of dropping out, but I’d like someone who isn’t from before 1967 to go with them.” She looked over at Stein, the only one of them who was alive in 1967.

The Professor blinked. “Ah- I… Well, I suppose I can-”

“You expect me to figure out this thing by myself?” Mick interrupted, pointing at the brain scanner.

Stein looked mildly panicked, looking in between Mick and Len. “Um, no, I-”

Len sighed. “I’ll go,” he volunteered, “Just fill me in when you get back.” He gave Mick a look that promised retribution if he tried to hide anything from him again, then followed Sara out of the Med Bay.

Gideon provided Len and the others with a photo of what Lucas looked like now, as well as the address of his dormitory, so the four of them headed there. On their way there, Len was running through possible strategies for getting Lucas back into film school; ways to talk him out of leaving. Luckily, they didn’t need to go inside and hope he was in his room, because they caught him in the parking lot, struggling to load his bags into his car with one arm in a sling. Just in time, then.

“There he is,” Heywood pointed out once he spotted the guy.

“George Lucas,” Raymond breathed, “The man who inspires both of our careers. Supposedly.”

“Now, let’s go inspire him.”

Ah, that might be a bad idea. Neither one of those two geniuses were very good at diplomacy. Well, Raymond could be, if he was focused and had enough time to prepare, but Len had a feeling that he was too panicked to do it properly in this case.

Amaya seemed to agree. “Ah, guys, maybe Snart and I should do the-”

“Hey, George!” Raymond greeted the (hopefully) future director enthusiastically, “Remember us?”

“I had metallic skin-”

Apparently, Lucas did remember them, because he slammed the trunk of the car shut and backed away from them, clearly scared.

“Look,” Heywood told him sternly, “Time takes time to harden, and sooner or later, we’re gonna lose our superpowers, the same way we’re losing our memories.”

No, that didn’t sound like crazy talk at all. Amaya looked like she was resisting the urge to facepalm. Len didn’t even bother trying.

“If you don’t make the movies that you make,” Raymond continued, “I don’t become a brilliant inventor.”

“And I don’t become an incredibly handsome historian.”

Oh, God. Time for some intervention, before the pair accidentally made Lucas even more determined to get the hell out of Hollywood.

“I haven’t made any movies, yet,” Lucas protested, “Okay? I’m still in film school! …Or I was.”

“And that’s the problem,” Len butted in, pulling the other two back, “Calm down, you two; you’re freaking him out even more. Just let me do the talking.”


Raymond. Shut up.” He pushed the two of them back, letting Amaya deal with them, then turned to Lucas. “Alright, first off, none of us are here to hurt you, so you don’t have to worry about that. Secondly, this is all going to sound more than a little crazy – I didn’t believe in this stuff, myself, not too long ago. But the short version is: time-travel is real.” He paused for a moment to let Lucas process that. “The two idiots back there and myself are from the future, and the reason we came to 1967 doesn’t really have anything to do with you. But it seems that, about as a side-effect of our visit, we’ve screwed things up. I wouldn’t care you dropping out of film school otherwise, but apparently, in the original timeline, those two pick their careers because they were inspired by movies you make in the future. Without them, neither one gains the skills they were recruited onto our team for. So now, as a result of this mess, they’re losing those skills, which could potentially alter the events of our own pasts. And since most of those events and our missions as time-travelers have seriously big impacts, believe me when I say that that’s not good.”

“Stay in school,” Heywood told Lucas sternly, pointing at him.

Amaya sighed and stepped forward, pushing Heywood’s hand down as she passed him. “I’m sorry about our friends, they’re just…”

“Completely insane?” Lucas supplied. Len frowned as he got the impression that the film student was including him in that definition.

“Yeah. But what they’re saying is true. Same with Mr. Snart, here.”

Lucas released a wheezing, disbelieving laugh. “Okay, then, what? You guys are from the future? That you’ve somehow seen a bunch of movies that I haven’t even made, yet?”

“Well, actually, she’s from the past,” Len added helpfully, “but that’s beside the point.”

Amaya sighed. “Look, George, I don’t care about movies. But guys like them…” She looked back at Raymond and Heywood. “…they do. So before you get in that car and drive back to Modesto, just think about them. Okay? Them and all the millions of other people that your stories will someday inspire. The future of the entire world is at stake. And you’re our only hope.”

It was incredibly sentimental and cheesy, especially for Len’s tastes, but it worked. Lucas nodded timidly and opened the trunk, trying to pull his suitcases out.

“Here,” Len offered, “We’ve got this. Raymond! Heywood! Carry the nice man’s bags for him, will you?”

Amaya rolled her eyes, but Raymond and Heywood sprung forward eagerly, all but tripping over themselves to help. The five of them made their way inside to Lucas’s dorm room on the second floor.

“Glad you changed your mind, George Lucas,” Heywood thanked the still rather overwhelmed film student.

“Going back to film school, definitely the right call,” Raymond tried assure him.

“We agree.” The whole group came to a halt as none other than Malcolm Merlyn stepped out of the open door of Room 204. Before any of them could react, he kicked Amaya into the wall opposite. She recovered quickly and swung at him, while Len pulled out his Cold Gun and fired it at Damien Darhk, who had followed Merlyn into the hall.

Darhk was quicker, however. He ducked under the Gun’s icy blast, knocking it aside with his left forearm and aiming a punch at Len’s face with his right fist. Len caught the blow with his free hand, but wasn’t prepared for the painful strike to his right knee that caused that leg to buckle. A kick to the chest had him falling backwards, his grip on the Cold Gun loosening enough that Darhk was able to yank it out of his hand and aim it at him.

A laser gun shot filled the hall, followed by a scream of pain from Amaya.

“AMAYA!” Heywood shouted. He darted forward, but Darhk now had the Cold Gun in one hand and his own laser weapon in the other, aimed directly at Heywood’s heart.

“Ah, ah, ah,” he scolded lightly, “I wouldn’t try anything if I were you, gentlemen.”

“Or your little friend here dies,” Merlyn snarled.

Len craned his neck to check on Amaya. She was curled up on the floor, blood staining her shirt over her stomach. She was pressing her hands to the wound and breathing harshly.

Darhk then turned his attention onto Lucas. “Ah, Mr. Lucas. You have something that we have traveled a very long way to find.”

No way.

“A piece of the Spear of Destiny,” Merlyn continued, “WHERE IS IT?!”

Lucas could only stammer out a vaguely coherent explanation about the garbage chute (please don’t say the Spear of Destiny was in the trash) before the sound of many voices could be heard. A large group of people was coming up the stairs.

“Perhaps we should take this inside,” Darhk suggested, “Unless you want us to start shooting random bystanders.” He stepped back, giving Len room to slowly climb to his feet. Merlyn roughly grabbed Amaya by one arm and practically dragged her inside Lucas’s dorm. “Move it. But don’t get any funny ideas.” Len glared at their two enemies as he and the other men slowly filed into the room. Darhk entered behind them, shut the door, and locked it. “Gentlemen, if you don’t mind, hands up.”

“And if you do mind,” Merlyn added, his gun pressing into Amaya’s cheek, “we’d be happy to kill you.”

Lucas’s hands shot up immediately.

The Legends, on the other hand, had other plans. “I’ll cover George Lucas,” Heywood whispered.

“And I’ve got-” Raymond stopped mid-sentence, discreetly feeling his right jacket pocket.


“It’s not here. My suit’s not here.”

“I can’t Steel up,” Heywood gasped.

“It’s too risky as long as Amaya’s in that position, anyway,” Len hissed back at them. It was still bad news, though. If Raymond and Heywood’s situation was only getting worse, then that meant that they hadn’t fixed time, yet.

“Maybe I didn’t make myself clear,” Merlyn growled, raising his gun to point at them, “Put ‘em up!” Amaya was still at risk, however, as Darhk trained the activated Cold Gun on her. With her face barely an inch from the muzzle, she was liable to start getting frostbite just from the proximity.

The Legends raised their hands in the air, Raymond and Heywood stumbling over one another to insist that they hadn’t been talking. “Shut up!” Len hissed at them. He cast a critical eye around the room. It was in the ridiculously messy state of a room that had been thoroughly searched; all the drawers were open, two additional suitcases were upended and empty, all their contents strewn over the floor. From the looks of things, Darhk and Merlyn had been searching for the Spear and had turned up empty.

“Alright, Specky Four-Eyes,” Merlyn told Lucas (and really, Len had heard more creative insults in kindergarten), “I’m starting to lose my patience with you. Where is the Spear?”

“What Spear?” Lucas whimpered.

Darhk smirked. “We had a little ‘chat’ with the members of your film crew.” Lucas paled, obviously figuring out what ‘chat’ most likely meant, coming from these two. “And they all claimed the Spear of Destiny was a prop, and that you, Mr. Lucas, were its master.”

Now it made sense – somewhat. Rip had had the Spear with him when he’d fried himself with the Time Drive, and it had still been with him when he’d landed in the sixties. Then he’d decided to use it in the film he was working on – with no idea what he really had – and of course the prop master would be the one in charge of it.

“The m-movie was done,” Lucas confessed, “I- I- I tossed all the pro-props down the garbage ch-chute. Th-th-they were just t-trash.”

“Bu-bu-but- but- but- but,” Darhk mocked Lucas, “Shh… I have one question for you, Mr. Lucas, and your life depends on answering me honestly.” He slowly stalked forward (Merlyn’s gun turning back to Amaya) until the Cold Gun was pressing against Lucas’s chest. Lucas whimpered and flinched back at the biting cold it was giving off. “Where’s the city dump?”

They waited until the hallway was clear before exiting the dorm. Darhk and Merlyn made Len – the biggest physical threat – carry Amaya so that his hands were too full for him to fight back. He slipped off his jacket and pressed it against the wound on her stomach before lifting her up bridal-style.

After leaving the dorm, Darhk held them at gunpoint in a secluded alley while Merlyn hailed a van off the road. Pretending to be a lost tourist, he got the lone driver to poke his head out his window to look at a map Merlyn had produced, then the former Ra’s al Ghul snapped the poor man’s neck. Lucas was forced into the driver’s seat with Darhk while Merlyn kept eyes on the others in the back, Darhk having passed the Cold Gun to him so that none of them would think about attacking.

Once they got to the unguarded dump, Merlyn broke into the single, small office and checked the paperwork, determining that the load of trash from the dormitory’s dumpster was now in the trash compactor.

Now, Len was looking down into the mass of garbage in the compactor below him, wrinkling his nose at the stench.

“It’s down there somewhere.”

“Good,” Len snarked, “Because you’ll never find it.”

“You’re right,” Merlyn agreed, “You’re going to.” Len only had a second’s warning before he was shoved in the back and fell into the trash compactor, twisting so that Amaya, already injured, didn’t take the brunt of their landing.

Len, Raymond and Heywood groaned, Amaya cried out in pain, and Lucas whimpered: “I could be in Modesto by now.”

“Shut up and dig, George Lucas,” Heywood sighed, getting up and beginning to gingerly go through the nasty mess. Len slowly sat up, set Amaya to the side against one of the walls, and joined him. They might as well find the damn thing, even though they had no intention of letting Darhk and Merlyn take it once it was found.

“What kind of superheroes are you guys, anyway, huh? I mean, sure, they have laser guns, but aren’t you supposed to have superpowers?”

“We had superpowers,” Raymond argued, “But because you don’t make ‘Star Wars’, I don’t become a scientist, and I don’t make the A.T.O.M. Suit!”

“Or the serum that turns me into steel,” Heywood added.

“…Can’t believe we’re all gonna die…” Amaya moaned weakly, “…because of a stupid movie.”

“You can say that again,” Len agreed.

“Perhaps they need a little incentive,” Merlyn commented from above.

“Oh, agreed,” Darhk chimed in. Len glared up at them and saw Darhk holding a yellow controller.

Oh, shit.

When Darhk hit a button, a rumbling, mechanical noise started up, and the compactor started to vibrate. “Oh, no,” Raymond moaned.

“What was that?” Amaya gasped.

The walls on either side of them were closing in. Frantically, Len tried to jump up and grab the ledge; maybe he could knock Darhk and Merlyn off the platform and buy himself some time to pull the others up and out. He almost had it, but his fingers slipped. Sharp pain lanced through more than one digit, which were now dripping blood. He tried again, but only succeeded in painting the walls with red.

There was no way he’d be able to get up, take down their enemies, and get them all out. “Don’t just stand there!” he snapped at Raymond, Heywood, and Lucas, “Try and brace it with something!” He dug through the garbage, looking for something – anything – that might be able to hold the walls apart. He unearthed a long, metal pipe, and Raymond and Heywood helped him lift it up and brace it against the walls.

It wasn’t enough. The walls might – might – have been slowing, but the pipe was starting to bend in the middle as the pressure on it increased.

“Guys!” Lucas, who’d still been rifling one-handedly through the trash, cried, “I found it!” He held up what looked like an ordinary, two-foot-long piece of wood, one end looking broken.

“Don’t show them!” Raymond whisper-shouted insistently.

“What?! We are in a trash compactor! We’re going to die!”

“Raymond’s right,” Len argued, “If we give them what they want, they’re gonna kill us, anyway.”

“Well, then, what do we do?!”

“They’re going too slow,” Merlyn said above them, “Shoot one of them to move things along!”

“Which one?” Darhk asked idly, like he was trying to decide what he was going to order at a restaurant.

“Dealer’s choice.”

Then, the sound of laser fire could be heard, but none of Len’s teammates went down. Instead, when Len looked up, Darhk and Merlyn were gone. The Waverider flew across the sky overhead.

“What was that?!” Lucas cried.

“Our flying time machine,” Len answered with a grin. The team had come to the rescue. But as much as Len wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, unless one of them showed up right now, he and the others still might not survive this. The metal rod was creaking and bending further as the walls of the trash compactor continued to close in on them. Len tried one more time to jump up and grab the ledge, but his fingertips, now torn open from his earlier attempts and slick with blood, slipped off before he could get a grip. He glanced down at Amaya and saw that her eyes were closed; she probably wouldn’t last much longer if they didn’t get her to Gideon soon.

“You guys, we- we have to give it to them!” Lucas was saying, “There’s no other way!”

“There is,” Len disagreed, “You have to grow a pair and quit letting one isolated incident screw your future!”

“You have to become a filmmaker!” Heywood insisted, “You have to make movies, and you, George Lucas, have to believe that!”


“You have to make your movies,” Raymond added, “so we become who we’re supposed to become, so we can save you!”

“Your movies go on to change the world,” Heywood continued, “All you have to do is believe in yourself!”

“You have to believe that you’re gonna make amazing movies!”

“And believe it like there’s no tomorrow,” Len added, crouching down to pick up the barely-conscious Amaya and press his hand against her wound, “And do it quickly, before we’re all crushed!” God, this was turning into one of those ridiculously lame movie moments where the power of imagination saves the day.

“Say it, George! Say out loud!”

“George Lucas, what do you really want?!” Heywood prompted.

“What I really want…” Lucas whimpered, “What I really want… What I really want is to direct!”

If it had really been one of those movies, that last word probably would have echoed for no reason other than for dramatic effect. But it worked. Len knew that it worked, because Heywood turned to steel and pushed the walls of the compactor back, and Raymond triumphantly pulled his miniaturised A.T.O.M. Suit out of his pocket. Lucas’s eyes widened with an almost childlike wonder.

With the most immediate danger gone, Raymond was able to suit up and pull them all out one-by-one before flying off to the Waverider with Amaya.

Lucas took cover while Len and Heywood jumped into the fight. Sara appeared to have Darhk handled for the time being, while Jax was unarmed and backed up against the trash compactor by Merlyn (he must have brought a weapon into the fight and lost it, because Mick and Stein were nowhere to be seen). The newcomers immediately jumped in to help with that; Merlyn was actually stupid enough to try and punch a fully Steeled-up Heywood, shaking his sore hand before getting punched in the face by a metal fist.

Heywood threw Merlyn to the side, and Len darted forward and yanked his Cold Gun out of the assassin’s hands. “I hate it when people take what’s mine,” he drawled. He fired a low-powered shot at Merlyn (damn the timeline for making them need him alive), but the other man rolled and got back up to his feet, only to get grabbed and hurled through the air by Heywood.

Len then turned his attention to Darhk (damn the timeline to hell for making them need him alive), shooting and clipping him and hurting him enough that Sara was able to knock him down. Something fell out of his pocket and clattered loudly on the ground. Sara picked it up, lightly tossed it the air, and caught it again with a grin; it was the completed Longinus Medallion. Score.

Len was about to say something snarky about their timing when a blow from out of nowhere knocked him off his feet. All the air in his lungs promptly left in a rush, leaving him gasping for breath as he looked around to figure out what the hell hit him.

Around him, his teammates were also on the ground, and Damien Darhk was back on his feet, now accompanied by the speedster, wearing the same black leather jacket as before.


Merlyn, who’d been crawling out of the scrap pile Heywood had thrown him into, joined them as the Legends struggled to get to their feet. “About time you showed.”

“Where were you?” Darhk demanded crossly.

“Always busy, gentlemen,” the speedster replied breezily, “and yet, never late. So, who do we kill first?”

Len kept his eyes on the speedster. He knew that his Cold Gun was their best weapon against him; the trick would be actually managing to tag the bastard with it in the first place. He had no idea if this asshole could be as easily distracted as Barry, and even if Len had still been willing to start shooting at random bystanders to do so, there were none around, and besides, he seriously doubted that that would distract this speedster in the same way.

“That would be me.”

Len never thought he’d be so damn pleased to hear that voice, British accent and all, coming from behind him. He turned around, seeing Rip confidently standing there in his signature brown trench coat.

“Captain Rip Hunter!” the speedster called, “It’s been ages! I was beginning to think you were dead!”

“On the contrary, for the first time in recent memory, I am finally, truly… alive.” He took aim with his laser revolver and pulled the trigger.


Nothing happened. Rip pulled the trigger again, only for the weapon to produce another unhelpful clicking sound. “Oh, crap,” he grumbled, the American accent coming back, and tried twice more, “Hey, does this thing work?”

Crap again. Rip’s memories hadn’t come back; he’d just been bluffing. Their three enemies started laughing as the former Time Captain fiddled with his weapon.

“Oh, screw it! GIDEON!” Rip suddenly started shouting, “FIRE! FIRE EVERYTHING!”

The Waverider suddenly appeared over their heads as Gideon disengaged the cloaking, and one of the ship’s weapons fired a laser that struck the ground right at Darhk, Merlyn, and the speedster’s feet. Now, that was far more helpful.

“GO!” Sara shouted, as if she and the rest of the Legends weren’t already taking that as their cue to run like hell. Len spotted Lucas bolting out from his hiding spot behind some barrels, and waved him in the direction of the ship as it landed and the hatch opened.

Most of them had gotten on board by the time Darhk and Merlyn had regained their bearings and started shooting at them, but Rip had fallen behind.

“Hey!” Jax shouted to him, “Come on!”

“Rip!” Sara called, “Rip!”

Rip made eye contact with her for all of a few seconds before vanishing with a dark blur trailed by red lightning.

“RIP!” Sara screamed, starting to run after him.

Len caught her around the waist. “Sara, we’ve gotta go! He’s gone!” He pulled her back on the ship so that Gideon could close the hatch, and held her close as Gideon flew them away.

Once they were out of danger, Jax – because Sara was too upset about losing Rip to focus at the moment – took charge and sent Len, Heywood, and Lucas off to the Med Bay, telling them to have Gideon look them over before getting a shower and a change of clothes.

Raymond was hovering worriedly when they entered, still in his A.T.O.M. Suit, while Gideon worked on healing Amaya. Mick was climbing out of the second Med Bay bed with Stein’s help, and Len went straight over to them. “What happened?” he asked quietly.

Mick looked over at all the other people in the room, and shook his head. “Not here.” He shrugged Len off and stumbled out of the room.

Stein went to follow him, but Len caught him by the arm. “If he doesn’t tell me everything, I expect you to,” he told the Professor before letting him go.

Len allowed the AI to heal his torn-up fingers and give him some antibiotics (garbage and open wounds were not a good combination) before deciding to check on Sara. Gideon helpfully reported that she and Jax were in the cargo bay, so he made his way there.

He could hear Sara’s voice as he approached. “We lost him, Jax! Again!”

“But they won’t have him for long,” Jax insisted, “If I know one thing about you, it’s that you don’t give up. When you really want something, you are unstoppable, and God help anybody that tries to get in your way. We are gonna find him, and we’re gonna bring him home.”

“Is that a promise?” Sara asked.

“That’s a prophecy.”

Len smiled. “Couldn’t have put it better myself, kid,” he told Jax, alerting him and Sara to his presence, “Okay, I probably would have gone with something other than ‘prophecy’, but besides that…”

Jax grinned back at him as he exited the cargo bay, leaving Sara and Len alone to talk. The couple was silent for several seconds, before Len broke it, sauntering over to sit on the crate nearest her. “Are you alright?”

Sara sighed, sitting heavily down next to him. “I… this is on me. I should’ve… God, I don’t know what I could’ve done to save Rip, but I should’ve done it!”

“This isn’t on you, Sara.”

“But it is. I’m Captain, so our failure is on me.”

“And when we get Rip back, that’ll be because of you. I don’t need to repeat what Jax just said, do I?” He slipped an arm around her, and she leaned into him.

“No,” she admitted softly, “But I could use an explanation as to what’s going on with Mick. Apparently, he’s been seeing hallucinations of his dead father?”

That brought Len up short. “How did you know about that?”

“You wouldn’t believe what Jax and I found him and Stein doing when we were getting ready to rescue you. So we’re going to have a little chat about that, tonight.” She sniffed and wrinkled her nose, pulling away from him. “After you have that shower. You stink.”

Once Len had taken a quick shower and changed into clean clothes – he’d have to have Gideon fabricate a new jacket since his old one was ruined – he went to get some answers out of Mick and Stein. Like when he was looking for Sara, Gideon told him where to find the people he was seeking. In this case, they were in the galley, along with Sara and Jax.

“What happened?” Len asked as soon as he entered, “What did you find?”

Stein sighed and held up a small, plastic container holding what looked like a tiny piece of metal from afar. “It seems that Mr. Rory has had this chip in his head since his time as Chronos.”

“Dude, that’s messed up,” Jax breathed.

“Indeed. We thought that perhaps it was behind the… visions he had been experiencing lately.”

“Which you guys never told us about,” Sara added crossly, tossing a glare at Len.

Len held his hands up in self-defence. “Hey, I only found out today because I overheard these two talking about it.”

Sara turned her glare on Stein.

“I- I assure you, Captain, I was unaware until I caught him… conversing with the apparition last night, and he insisted that I not tell anyone. He was rather… persuasive, on that matter.”

Meaning he’d threatened the Professor into keeping his mouth shut.

“So, the chip was why you were performin’ brain surgery on him while we were out rescuing the others?” Jax questioned.

Len rounded on Stein. “Brain surgery?!”

“Yeah, that was our reaction,” Sara told him.

Stein leaned back in his chair as far as he could to get away from the angry crook. “I- I- Gideon talked me through the entire procedure, and she assured me that I did not do any damage to Mr. Rory’s brain!”

“Gideon?” Len asked, “Is that true?”

“It is,” the AI replied calmly.

“And did it work?”

“That’s what I was about to ask,” Stein said, before turning his attention to Mick, “How are you feeling? Have you seen your… father around lately?”

“No,” Mick grumbled, looking uncomfortable with all the attention, “That’s because you took the chip out.”

“Well, actually… after further inspection, neither Gideon nor I could figure out how it might have caused your visions. Its presence didn’t seem to be doing any damage, and whatever its purpose was, the device hasn’t functioned in months. I… I don’t believe it was the culprit behind what you’ve been experiencing as of late.”

“So then why am I seein’ a ghost?” Len and the others all turned to the Professor, silently demanding an explanation.

“There is no ghost. That voice inside your head is your own. If ‘your father’ is second-guessing your moral obligations to this team…”

“That’s what I feel,” Mick finished.

Len sighed sadly. He knew Mick had never really stopped feeling like an outsider on this team. The various cracks at his intelligence and his criminal lifestyle, made by their other teammates, hadn’t helped at all.

Stein continued on, gently. “We all hear contradictory voices inside our heads, Mr. Rory, creating what is known in psychology as cognitive dissonance.”

“My brain hurts…”

“Mick,” Sara cut in softly, “I know sometimes we don’t act like it… but you do have a place on this team. And if you decide that you want to leave… we’d prefer it if you stayed, but all you’d have to do is tell me, and I’ll drop you back home. You won’t need to involve Time Pirates.”

Len winced at the reminder of that debacle, but said nothing.

Len declined the offer to walk George Lucas – and now that he actually remembered who he was, Len was admittedly slightly in awe of the fact that he’d met the genius behind Star Wars – back to his dorm. Mick – in need of a distraction from Stein’s reveal – had gone off with Sara and Jax to retrieve and torch the van Merlyn had stolen to get them to the dump, since Gideon had alerted them to the fact that otherwise, the police would find it while investigating the murder of the owner and find Lucas’s fingerprints all over the steering wheel, which would make him the prime suspect and screw his career over even more than dropping out of film school. Len had overheard Raymond and Heywood talking about introducing Amaya to some of Lucas’s movies, and was considering joining them later, but for now, he was taking advantage of Sara’s absence to work on another project.

“Browsing for your next heist?” Len looked up, startled at the sound of the Professor’s voice. The older man was standing in the doorway to Len and Sara’s room, with one eyebrow raised. There was no judgement in his voice, so Len supposed that Stein was only joking about the heist.

Len hurriedly closed his search, but not before Stein caught a look at what he was researching.

“Are those… rings?”

“N-No, they’re… Yeah. Yeah, they are.”

It was something that had been plaguing him since they’d rescued Sara and the others. Since she’d told him about that dream reality in which he proposed to her. It had gotten him thinking about, well, ‘Me and You’ – again. He’d told Gideon to let him know if Sara was on her way back to their room, but he’d neglected to say anything about their other team members. He should have learned by now that they were too nosy for their own good.

Case in point, Stein was now sporting an excited, pleased grin, and was moving further into the room. “This is… quite a surprise. I- I mean, you and Miss Lance – Captain Lance – have always seemed to take pride in not being a… traditional couple, so I must admit, I wasn’t expecting you to…”

“Be looking at going the traditional route?” Len filled in, “I wasn’t, really, not until what happened with the Dominators.”

“Ah, yes. I knew that had to be a trying time for the both of you. If it had been Clarissa and I in your place, I don’t know how I would have managed.” Apparently deciding that it was safe to enter, the Professor ventured a few steps in. “Have you given any thought as to how you’re going to ask her?”

“A little,” Len admitted, “I’ve ruled out anything public; too much pressure, and… I’m not… all that comfortable with that sort of thing, anyway.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed. Perhaps, if you don’t mind, I could make a few suggestions. I have done this once before, myself, and quite successfully, I might add.”

“That you have.” Len sighed and adjusted his position so that he was facing Stein. “What did you have in mind?”

Chapter Text

“You’re all idiots,” Mick gruffly informed the rest of the crew while munching on his breakfast (an oh-so-healthy chocolate-dipped doughnut).

It was the morning after they had found Rip and lost him all over again. The entire team had gathered on the bridge to discuss what they were going to do about the fact that they had the Longinus Medallion and that Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn, and the still-unidentified speedster were keeping their old Captain prisoner and were probably committing unspeakable acts of torture to try and make him give up the locations of the Spear of Destiny. Given that he seemed to have no memory of the Spear itself, that could only mean bad things for Rip.

“Excuse me?” Amaya asked, clearly offended.

“Pot, meet kettle,” Jax snarked back.

“Yeah, Mick,” Raymond agreed, “Given your glass house, you shouldn’t throw stones.”

“Mixing metaphors isn’t going to solve anything,” Stein cut in.

“How about, instead of bickering, we figure out our next move against the speedster and his allies?” Sara ‘suggested’.

“‘Legion of Doom’ has a sexier ring to it,” Heywood insisted.

“No, it doesn’t,” Len disagreed with a roll of his eyes. He already didn’t need to know the historian’s opinions of what counted as ‘sexy’, but now he just plain didn’t want to. Especially considering the fact that he was talking about a name he got from a children’s cartoon.

“I’m not calling them that,” Sara said at the same time, “And we need to figure out a way to rescue Rip.”

“All you gotta do is trade the Amulet, or the Medallion, for the Englishman,” Mick insisted through a mouthful of doughnut, “It’s really simple.”

“The only thing is,” Heywood countered, “I don’t know how it works.”

Mick nodded and grunted, as if that proved his earlier point. “You’re an idiot.”

Amaya looked at Mick in disbelief. “You want to put an artifact that can rewrite reality into the hands of the enemy, and we’re the idiots?”

Mick didn’t seem to find anything the slightest bit wrong with that statement. “Mm-hm.”

“Our priority has to be identifying this speedster!” she protested.

“Of course you’d say that,” Len commented, rolling his eyes.

“Yeah,” Jax agreed, “I mean, he is the one who killed your boyfriend, so…”

Oh, if looks could kill, both Len and Jax would have been vaporised by the intensity Amaya’s offended glare. “He’s at the center of this, and you can’t defeat an enemy that you don’t know!”

“Look, Amaya’s right,” Sara interrupted, “And I hate to say it, but so is Mick.”

“I’m not an idiot,” both Raymond and Heywood protested in unison.

“Not about being idiots, about using the Medallion as leverage. But first, we need to figure out how it works.”

“Well, in my defense,” Heywood defended, “it’s a mystical object. It doesn’t come with a set of instructions.”

“Gideon, is there any record of… I don’t know, some tablet or whatever that serves as the Medallion’s instruction manual?” Len asked.

“I’m afraid not,” Gideon replied, “All the writings on the Longinus Medallion and its abilities are completely speculative, and Dr. Heywood has already studied them.”

Heywood nodded. “There’s nothing known to history that we can use. I guess those… ancient mystics, or whatever, didn’t want that information out there, in case it fell into the wrong hands.”

“Maybe that’s been the problem,” Stein suggested, “Approaching it from a mystical vantage instead of leaning into our strengths, which are…”

“Technological,” Raymond concluded with a smile.

“Exactly. And as it happens, I have a… colleague in Central City whose knowledge might prove to be advantageous.”

Sara nodded and started marching towards the pilot’s chair. “Gideon, set a course for Central City 2017. Jax, stick with Martin, and as for the rest of us, let’s work on putting a name to our speedster.”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Since Len hadn’t really had time to grab anything for breakfast before the meeting had started, he went directly to the galley as soon as they completed the Time Jump. He was at the food replicator, punching in the code for an omelette, when Stein walked in. “Thought you were going to visit a colleague, or whatever,” Len commented.

“I am. I simply forgot some notes I was working on this morning.” Stein gathered up the stack of papers that were, in fact, spread out on a nearby table, and made to leave the room, but then he slowed and turned to look back at Len. “Have you given any thought as to our… discussion last night?”

Len looked over his shoulder to check that Sara wasn’t anywhere within earshot before responding to the Professor’s query. He walked over to the table, jerking his head to tell the other man to come over. “Some, yeah. And I think I have a few ideas in regards to the ring.”

“Ring?” Mick asked as he casually strolled into the galley, going straight for the replicator to get himself a beer, “What ring?”

Stein jumped. “Oh, Mr. Rory! Ah… we were just discussing… um…”

“I’m not deaf, Professor. The two of you were talkin’ about rings. I wanna know what kind.”

“Er… onion… rings?”

Both Len and Mick stared at the supposed genius in disbelief. “‘Onion rings’?” Len repeated scathingly. He sighed. Of all the people on the ship, he might as well tell his partner. “Alright, Mick, you cannot repeat what I’m about to tell you to anyone. Not even Sara.”

Mick grunted. “Why not Sara? You don’t normally keep secrets from h- Wait a minute…” He took a swig of beer and grinned. “You’re gettin’ a ring for Sara!”

“Yeah. Yes, I am. I… I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

His partner was silent for a full five seconds. “I’d better be the best man,” he finally said with a grin, taking another drink, “So, what was your idea about the ring?”

Len leaned back in his chair. “Well, my first instinct was to just buy one. It’s not like I can’t get the money I need from Gideon’s fabricator.”

Stein shook his head disapprovingly. “I must admit, that seems like cheating.”

“Have you forgotten than I’m a thief, Professor? Cheating’s not exactly something that bothers me a whole lot. But then, I wondered… what if I get one she won’t like? She’s not exactly one of those shallow girls who won’t accept any rings below a certain price tag, but it’s not like I could just go with any ring. It has to… It has to mean something. And you both know I’m no good at things like sentiment.”

He tried not to feel too offended when both men immediately nodded in agreement.

“So I want to stay away from anything heart-shaped. Too cheesy, and not her style, anyway.”

“Gotta be somethin’ she can fight with,” Mick added, “Remember that time one of her other rings got busted up when she punched a bunch of Time Pirates out?”

He was right; Sara always took her jewellery off when suiting up, but more than once, a fight had broken out while she was still wearing them, and one of those times, one of her rings had paid the price. So nothing with stones held by delicate prongs that could easily be bent out of shape and cause the stones to fall out. Nothing too big or bulky, either, even if she could probably do some damage with them when she punched people in the face.

“You know,” Stein mused aloud, “When my father proposed to my mother, he used the same ring his grandfather had given to my great-grandmother. Supposedly, the ring had been handed down the line, passed down through every other generation. Is there any sort of family heirloom that you might use?”

Len straightened as an old memory came back to him. Something his grandfather had told him about a week before his death, when Len had been sixteen and terrified of soon being the only real caregiver for his baby sister. “As a matter of fact, there is…”

“Len? Where are you going?”

Len turned and smiled at Sara as she called after him. “I thought I’d go see my sister while we were in town. I’ll be back soon.”

Sara folded her arms. “You do know that this isn’t a pleasure visit, right?”

“Yeah, I know. There’s actually some… family business I need to take care of, but like I said, I’ll be back soon.”

His girlfriend still looked skeptical, but thankfully she nodded in consent, anyway. “Okay. The rest of us are still gonna brainstorm, figure out who our mystery speedster is.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Are you going to call Barry and ask for his advice? Get a speedster to help identify another speedster?”

“If we get stuck for too long. From what we’ve heard, he’s got his own problems to worry about.”

“Fair enough. See you in a bit. Don’t make any earth-shattering discoveries without me.”

“No promises.”

As soon as Len was sure he was out of hearing distance, he pulled out his latest disposable cell phone and dialled Lisa’s most recent number. Thankfully, she was still using it, and picked up after a few rings. “Hello?”

“Hey, sis.”

“Lenny! You guys are back already?”

“Just for a quick stop. Stein wanted to consult a colleague on our latest lead. But I’ve got something else to take care of, and I’m going to need your help. Can you meet me at the North Side safe house as soon as possible?”

The North Side safe house was the most secure of all their safe houses, and it was where they stashed their more personal possessions. Neither one of the Snart siblings liked to think of themselves as sentimental, but they’d kept old photos and mementos from their happier childhood memories, along with everything that had been left to them by their grandfather.

Bryant Alexander had never really approved of his daughter Dianne’s choice of husband, but he’d loved his two grandchildren more than anything else. So much so that he put up with Lewis Snart even after Dianne had left him, in order to be there for Leonard and Lisa and protect them from their father. Unfortunately, Bryant had also had something else he’d loved: cigarettes. He’d smoked at least one whole pack a day, and had paid for it with his life, succumbing to lung cancer one week before Christmas when Len was sixteen and Lisa was two.

In his will, Bryant had left all his money and a few items that he’d wanted to keep in the family to his grandchildren. To keep Lewis from getting his hands on it all, he’d left it in the care of a lawyer until Lisa’s eighteenth birthday, not trusting Lewis to not use her as leverage to get his son to give the inheritance to him after Leonard reached his majority. Now all those items were stashed away in boxes for safekeeping in the North Side safe house.

And it was through those boxes that Len and Lisa were digging right now. “I cannot believe we’re actually doing this,” Lisa gushed, “I mean, this is even more unbelievable than all the metahumans and the time-travel stuff!”

“You forgot parallel dimensions and aliens.”

“Yeah, those too. I can’t believe that you, of all people, are actually getting engaged!”

“You’re assuming that she’s going to say yes,” Len reminded his little sister.

“Oh, she’ll totally say yes. Unless you do something to screw it up. I will never forgive you for that if you do, however, so don’t screw it up.”

“Oh my God,” Len interrupted, grinning crookedly, “Look what I found.” He held up a small, ragged, yellow thing. “Remember him?”

“Uh… no?”

“I guess you wouldn’t. This is Bee. He was your first stuffed animal ever. Great-Aunt Rosa gave it to you the day you were born. You started calling it ‘Bee’ because you couldn’t pronounce ‘Bunny’ when you first started talking. Drove Aunt Rosa crazy. Whenever she came to visit, she would spend an hour sitting there and holding it in front of your face while saying ‘Bunny’ over and over again, but you just kept saying ‘Bee’ right back at her. Screaming it, actually. I thought we lost him during one of our visits to his place. Gramps must’ve found Bee behind a couch somewhere and forgot to tell us about it, or something.”

Lisa wrinkled her nose. “Why is he so dirty?”

“Oh, yeah, he fell into the mud at least twice. You were pretty hard on the poor guy; all that chewing and tugging. Sometimes I thought you were actually trying to eat him.”

Lisa grinned and took the haggard, stuffed bunny. “He looks like he was cute at one point. I think I’ll keep him, if I can manage to wash him.”

“Do it by hand,” Len advised her, “He looks like two minutes in the washing machine would tear him to pieces.” He frowned as he looked through the box he’d found Bee in. “This box is a bust. Don’t know how much time I’ve got before I have to get back to the Waverider.”

“Well, if we don’t find it in time, I’ll keep looking,” Lisa offered, putting Bee on a table, “I’ll find it by the next time you’re back in town, I promise.”

“Thanks. So… how have things been in Central City? You’re still hanging out with Team Flash?”

“Yeah. It’s actually been more fun than I expected. Do you remember Jared Morillo?”

It took Len a couple of seconds to place the name. He’d only met Morillo twice, once when their prison sentences had crossed over (for about two days), and once when they’d coincidentally tried to hit the same museum at the same time. Luckily for Morillo, Len had been aiming to steal a specific piece, and the other thief hadn’t been willing to get dead when he could just steal all the other artifacts. It had been convenient for Len, since the cops had pegged Morillo for the theft of Len’s target artifact, as well. “Yeah.”

“Well, he got his hands on some advanced tech – stolen, of course – and went around robbing a lot more publicly than before. HR named him ‘Plunder’.”

“Like a pirate?”

“Yep. HR even started talking like a pirate until he was told to shut up. You should have seen the tech Morillo was using, though. We’re talking laser guns and heat-seeking bullets, ones that can even catch speedsters. But Wally took him down – his first real takedown, actually. Then some chick from Earth-19 showed up and tried to kill HR. It turns out that interdimensional travel has been illegal on Earth-19 since some other Earth tried invading them; so HR was in serious trouble just for coming here, and this woman is a bounty hunter who was sent to find him and either bring him back to be executed, or kill him herself if he resisted.”

“And let me guess: Barry beat her and saved the day as usual?”

“Nope. Cisco did.”

Len’s hands froze in the middle of rummaging through the next box, and he looked up at his sister in surprise. Lisa had a very proud grin on her face. “I’m sorry, I must have misheard. Ramon beat a meta? That geek?”

“That’s right. My geek beat a meta in a duel to the death. Except he actively chose not to kill her, of course. She has pretty much the same powers that he has, at least when it comes to opening breaches and that Vibe-blasting thing. I have no idea if she gets visions, too, or not. Anyway, Cisco beat her in a duel to decide HR’s fate, and she went back home and said that she would tell everyone that she killed her target. Hopefully she wasn’t lying about that, because we’ve had enough other-Earthly problems, already, thank you very much.” Then Lisa scowled. “She was also flirting with Cisco a bit, too. It took me grabbing him and kissing him right in front of her to get her to stop.”

Len scowled at the mental image of his baby sister making out with Cisco Ramon, but reminded himself of what he’d seen during his unexpected stay in 2024. Izzy. He had to remember Izzy. Which meant that he had to put up with everything on which her existence would depend. “Anything else?” he asked, trying to change the topic of conversation while also going back to the task at hand.

“Hmm… well, Felicity Smoak did email us about a couple new developments on their end. For starters, do you remember the rag guy?”

“He’s a little difficult to forget.” Yes, Ragman had been kind of creepy when he was fully suited up, but those magical bulletproof rags had saved both Len’s life and Lisa’s at least once each during the whole Dominator thing, and when out of costume, Rory Regan tended to be one of the quieter, more level-headed people in the hero crowd – which automatically made him one of the less annoying ones, in Len’s opinion.

“That he is. Well, according to Felicity, he used those rags to save some Russian city from a nuke and basically lost his powers doing that, so he’s gone off to try and find someone or something to help him fix that. And…” Lisa paused, looking uncertain. “Team Arrow apparently added a new girl to their roster a couple weeks back. She hasn’t taken up the name yet, but… They’re hoping she’ll one day be the new Black Canary.”

Len suddenly understood Lisa’s hesitation. “Sara’s not going to take that well,” he said bluntly, “How could anyone possibly think they could replace Laurel?” He’d never gotten the chance to meet the late Black Canary personally, but Sara had told him a lot about her big sister. So he was fully aware that this new girl would have some big shoes to fill.

“That was Team Flash’s reaction. Well, of the ones who knew her, anyway. Felicity said that Queen told her that it had been Laurel’s dying wish, or something, to not be the last Black Canary, and it’s not like he would take that final request lightly. I bet they went through dozens of possible Canaries before they found one that they thought might be worthy of the name. They’re looking at it as finding a successor for Laurel, one that she wanted, and not a replacement. So it should be fine.”

“Really? Then you can be the one to tell Sara about it.”

He could just picture Lisa rolling her eyes and imagine what she was going to say next: “I’m not the one dating her, Lenny.” But instead, he heard a soft gasp behind him. “I think I found it!”

Len immediately abandoned his own search and scrambled across the room to see what she’d found. It was a small jewellery box, covered with faded blue crushed velvet and a noticeable amount of dust. Lisa brushed off what she could before passing it over to him.

Len’s hands were shaking as he opened it up and looked at the ring inside it. Yes, this was definitely what he had been looking for.

Lisa peered at it over his shoulder. “It’s beautiful, Lenny. She’ll love it.” Her phone buzzed with a text. She started grinning as she read it. “I should get back to S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry and Wally are having a big race across town – ‘solely for training purposes’, of course – and if I don’t get back soon, I won’t be able to put anything into the betting pool.”

Len got back to the Waverider, his recovered objective resting safely in his jacket pocket, at the same time as Jax and the Professor. Interestingly, the duo wasn’t alone. They were accompanied by a short brunette in a tan coat and a blue beret, who was looking around in confusion. “Okay, I guess this is more private than Jitters, but why are we going all the way out-” The cloaking tech hiding the Waverider disengaged, revealing the time ship in all its glory. “…here?”

“Who’s this?” Len asked, alerting the other three to his presence.

“Uh… H-hey, Snart,” Jax stuttered, “Ah, this… This is…”

“Mr. Snart, did you accomplish your mission?” Stein interrupted his partner.

Len snorted. “‘Mission’? You make digging through musty boxes sound a lot more impressive than it really is.”

“What were you looking for?” Jax asked as they climbed up the entry ramp and into the cargo bay.

Len hesitated, then fished the precious object out of his jacket pocket. The brunette had been gawking at her surroundings, but she gasped when she recognised what he was holding. “Is that what I think it is?!”

“No way!” Jax gasped, “Wait, you didn’t steal this, did you?”

“Of course not,” Len scoffed, “Sara would kill me if I used stolen property to propose to her!” He then fixed the three of them with a glare. “The Professor here has already been sworn to silence; you two cannot say anything to Sara about this. Or anyone besides Mick! Amaya could probably keep it a secret, but I don’t trust Pretty Boy One and Pretty Boy Two to keep their mouths shut.”

He quickly got nods of agreement from both of them. Len stuffed the ring box back into his pocket and started to lead the way to the bridge.

“Oh, and Gideon also knows, obviously, but of course she’s been sworn to secrecy, as well.”

“Who’s Gideon?” the brunette asked.

“Greetings,” the AI answered pleasantly, making the young woman jump in surprise and look around for the source of the voice, “I am Gideon. I am the Waverider’s Artificial Intelligence.”

“Artificial Intelligence,” the woman repeated in a reverent, hushed whisper, “Is it the same kind that we have now, or…”

“Think J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Iron Man and Avengers movies,” Jax suggested, “She really doesn’t like being compared to Siri or Cortana.”

It was true; Mick had once called her ‘Siri’ as a nickname, and was cut off from his beer from the fabricator for three straight days in retaliation.

“Oh.” Lily nodded slowly, but otherwise didn’t seem to be paying attention to Jax’s comment. “What exactly is this thing, anyway? I mean, an Artificial Intelligence way more advanced than anything I’ve ever heard of, holographic indigenous camouflage projection… None of this technology should even exist!”

“Well, in this time period, it doesn’t,” Stein calmly informed her, “I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you about this sooner, Lily, but a time ship is really something that must be seen to be believed, and with you being out of town so often, I haven’t had many opportunities to show you until now.”

The young woman’s jaw dropped. “A time ship?!”

It was at that point that Len decided that he really needed to know what was going on. “Wait a second; Lily? You brought Lily here?!”

“Yes,” Stein answered stubbornly, “She is the colleague of whom I was speaking this morning. And while on our way back to the Waverider, we have been discussing a way to help Gideon access the Medallion’s data!”

Len pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Sara’s not going to be happy about this. Not at all.”

The brunette’s eyes were wide with wonder as she was led onto the bridge. “A temporal navigation vessel,” she kept saying, “I- I absolutely cannot believe it.”

“Um, hello?” Heywood asked as he and Amaya both left Rip’s study to intercept the newcomer, “Who are you?”

“Hi,” the woman greeted him, “I- I’m Lily. I’m Martin’s daughter.”

“I didn’t know Martin had a daughter,” Amaya stated, immediately looking to the Professor in question for an explanation.

Heywood looked just as suspicious. “Yeah, you told me you didn’t have kids.”

Stein looked panicked, glancing over at Lily, but she seemed too absorbed in taking in the fact that she was on an actual time ship to pay attention to the conversation. “I like to keep my private life private.” Of course; Len seriously doubted that Lily actually knew of her status as a Time Aberration, and hearing people talk about her like she wasn’t supposed to exist would have her asking the wrong questions.

“There’s private, then there’s lying. Sara, did you know about this?”

“Oh, I know all about this,” Sara growled, also exiting the study to glare at Stein.

Len quickly thought up a diversion. “Jax, why don’t you get Lily here set up in the library?” he ‘suggested’, giving the kid a significant look.

Jax got the message right away. “Yeah. Sure. C’mon, I’ll show you where it is.”

Lily nodded and gamely followed Jax off the bridge, looking a little confused as to why everyone was glaring at her father.

Mick and Raymond passed them as they entered. “Who’s that?” Raymond asked innocently.

“Well, she says she’s Stein’s daughter,” Heywood answered, not taking his eyes off Stein himself, “One that no one seems to have heard of, until now.”

“I-It’s a long story,” Stein feebly protested.

“Not really,” Len countered, “The old man here gave his younger self some marital advice when we were in the eighties, his younger self took it, and Lily was the unexpected result.”

“She’s a Time Aberration?!” Amaya gasped.

“You created a Time Aberration?!” Raymond’s eyes were wide with shock. “You?!”

“What’s the big deal?” Mick asked, “The Professor didn’t have a kid, now he does. Mazel tov.”

“Thank you.” Stein was getting visibly uncomfortable with all the scrutiny.

“The big deal is Lily is a Time Aberration,” Sara pointed out, “which was all well and good, until you plucked her out of 2017 and showed her a time ship, which could cause more Aberrations!” She was glaring at Len by the end of her scolding, for some reason.

“What are you looking at me for?” he asked.

“Because you were with him.”

“Hey, I only arrived at the Waverider maybe a minute behind them, and I didn’t know who she was until we were already on board. And that was barely a minute before she introduced herself to the rest of you!”

“I, quite simply, missed my daughter!” Stein defended his actions, “If Lily’s presence on the Waverider posed any temporal issues, I’m sure Gideon would have detected them!”

“Not to mention you think that she can get the Medallion hooked up to Gideon,” Len added.

“Wait,” Raymond interrupted, “She wants to try networking the ancient amulet with an advanced AI system?” He laughed for a couple seconds, as if the idea was utterly ridiculous, before turning earnestly serious. “I’m totally helping.”

“Fine,” Stein agreed, “Then I would appreciate it if you…” He paused to look specifically at Mick, “… if none of you were to reveal to her that she’s an Aberration.”

“Why’re you looking at me?” Mick grumbled.

“So, where are we on ID-ing the speedster?” Len asked, changing the subject.

“I think the technical term is ‘nowhere’,” Sara answered.

“Yeah,” Raymond agreed, “All the speedsters we know of are either dead – the Reverse Flash, Zoom, Trajectory, and the Rival – or the good guys – Flash, Kid Flash, Jesse Quick, and the Flash of Earth-3.”

“Isn’t there a new one, though?” Len questioned, “Savitar?”

Heywood shook his head. “Barry mentioned something about Savitar having white lightning. This one gives off red lightning. I don’t know if it’s possible for a speedster to change their lightning colour…”

“I don’t think it is,” Stein disagreed.

“Okay, we will figure this out,” Sara said, “In the meantime, Stein, Ray, you and Lily keep working with the Medallion to figure out where the rest of the Spear is.”

“Alright, let’s go over this again.”

“We’ve already been over it, Sara,” Heywood moaned.

He was right. All they’d accomplished since they jumped back into the Temporal Zone and the nerds went off to help Lily – and Mick wandered off who knows where – was to go over every speedster they knew of, explaining why they either couldn’t or wouldn’t be the one they were looking for. Len knew that Barry and Wally were good guys through and through, and while he didn’t know Jesse or the Flash of Earth-3, Team Flash had had nothing bad to say about either of them. And while he knew that doppelgängers could be very different from each other, he’d known Dr. Henry Allen while in prison. Even before he was exonerated of his wife’s murder, the man had been kind and unwilling to hurt anyone – really, it was a wonder that he had survived fifteen years in prison. Len was having a hard time getting his mind around the idea of any version of him being evil and homicidal.

Then again, his Earth-2 counterpart was supposedly the Mayor of Central City.

“Mm-hm,” Amaya agreed, “Again and again.”

“And again. We’re obviously dealing with a new player.”

Just then, the sound of footsteps could be heard, and they all looked through the glass walls to see Raymond and Lily walking over to the central console, Raymond carrying some sort of copper-coloured pedestal. “Hey, guys,” he greeted them with a cheerful wave, “Don’t mind us.” He set the pedestal down, Lily placed the Longinus Medallion on top, and then the two of them set to work, opening an access panel and doing something with the wiring.

“Whoever this speedster is, it’s someone you and your friends haven’t encountered before,” Amaya said, getting the rest of them back on track.

“Which means this speedster is from the future, which makes sense, because speedsters can time-travel.”

“Then what would the speedster need the Spear of Destiny for?” Sara prompted.

“That’s right,” Len agreed, “He could just go back and change history himself. Why doesn’t he?”

“Because he can’t change reality,” Heywood pointed out, “That’s why he needs the Spear.”

“The question is: What is the speedster trying to change?” Amaya asked.

“Or fix?” Sara thought.

“Something he can’t fix with time-travel,” Len added.

“Okay,” Lily announced suddenly, “That should just about do it.”

Raymond straightened. “Now we just have to activate the Medallion, and see if Gideon can access its data.”

“Okay.” Lily stood up as well. “So… what are we waiting for?”

“…Nothing,” Raymond answered in a tone that suggested that it was not ‘nothing’, “It’s just, if- if we’ve underestimated the size of the artifact’s data stream…”

“…we’ll fry the ship’s CPU and we’ll all spend the rest of our lives stranded in the Temporal Zone.”

“Wait, what?!” Heywood interrupted.

Gideon’s holographic head appeared over the console and cleared her throat. “The ship’s CPU has a name,” she crossly reminded the two scientists. She didn’t often show it, but the AI could get rather touchy about being talked about as a thing, rather than as a person.

“Sorry, Gideon,” Lily apologised. Now that Len looked closely, he could see that the pedestal-thing had some sort of metal plate on top, on which the Longinus Medallion was resting, and which was connected to the console by one thick, white cable.

“What have I said about experiments that could endanger the ship and everyone on it?” Sara asked sternly, directing her question specifically at Raymond.

“Uh… Don’t do them?” Raymond responded meekly, “But we’ve gone over the odds. It’s not likely to happen.”

“Can we at least talk about this before you connect-” Gideon’s pleas went unheeded as Raymond touched an odd, grey, handheld device to the Medallion, and the pedestal and the cable lit up with electric blue light, which visibly flowed into the time ship’s console. Both Gideon and the screens went all static-y before going out completely.

“Gideon?” Lily called out nervously, “You still there?”

“Oh no,” Amaya moaned.

“Oh my God,” Raymond gasped, “We killed her. Ow!” He rubbed the back of his head, where both Sara and Len had smacked him at the same time.

Gideon’s head popped back into view as the screens also went back to normal. “Artificial Intelligences cannot, by definition, be killed, Dr. Palmer,” she reminded them cheerfully.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. “Yes, I know.”

“It’s pretty remarkable,” Lily commented, “Considering we just mainlined one point two zettabytes directly into her brain.”

“I’m processing the Medallion’s temporal output as we speak,” Gideon confirmed.

“So, it worked?” Heywood asked in disbelief.

“Yeah!” Raymond cheered, raising his hand for a high five, “Nice work, Doctor!”

Lily happily smacked her palm against his. “You too, Doctor!”

“Good job, you guys,” Sara congratulated him, before smacking Raymond one more time, “Take a risk like that again, and I’ll feed you your small intestines.”

Lily blinked at the threat, then apparently decided to ignore it. “You don’t happen to have any champagne on this ship, do you?”

Raymond grinned at her. “We’ve kinda got a little bit of everything on this ship, actually. C’mon, I’ll show you to the galley. Do you guys want to come?”

“We’re good,” Sara told him before anyone had the chance to say otherwise. Raymond beamed and playfully held out his arm as if to escort a lady to the ball. Lily took it in the same fashion, and the two of them left the bridge.

“They hit it off pretty quick,” Heywood observed.

“That may just drive the old man crazy when he finds out,” Len murmured amusedly, “I’ll bring the popcorn.”

Speak of the devil, Stein then entered the bridge through one of the other doors. “Have you four seen Lily or Raymond? I just left the library to get some notes from my quarters, and the library was empty when I came back.”

“Check the galley,” Sara told the Professor, “They went to toast to their success.”

“Success? At what…” Stein’s eyes darted from the Medallion to the console, lingering on the cable connecting them. Len could see his genius brain putting the pieces together. “They did it?” he asked in a hushed whisper.

“They did it,” Amaya confirmed, “And they didn’t strand us in the Temporal Zone while doing it.”

“Astonishing!” Stein immediately turned to Gideon and began interrogating her in advanced techno-babble that went over everyone else’s heads. He was still geeking out over it all several minutes later when Lily returned to the bridge, alone. She had a serious, upset look on her face, but her father didn’t seem to notice, too caught up in his excitement. “You did it, my darling! You created an interface between a mystical relic from the first century and a twenty-second-century supercomputer! Only a Stein could be so brilliant!”

“What is a Time Aberration?”

Silence rang across the bridge. Lily had found out. Or at least, she’d partially found out.

Stein’s face paled. “I’m sorry, what?”

“You heard me, Dad.”

Poor Stein was visibly bracing himself for a very difficult conversation. “An Aberration… is an unnatural alteration of history as a result of… time-travel.”

“Dad?” Lily sounded like she was on the verge of tears. “Am I… Am I an Aberration?”

“I think it’s time we moved our talk to the library, gave them some privacy,” Sara murmured to the others. Len, Amaya, and Heywood didn’t need telling twice, as they all quickly followed her from the bridge as discreetly as possible.

“Gideon?” Len asked the AI as soon as they were out of earshot, “Who spilled the beans?”

“If you mean that question literally,” Gideon replied, “Dr. Heywood spilled a can of kidney beans while preparing popcorn for the recent ‘movie night’.”

“I cleaned them all up!” Heywood protested indignantly.

“But if you mean to ask me who told Dr. Stein about her status as a Time Aberration, that would be Mr. Rory.”

“Of course it was,” Heywood commented, rolling his eyes.

“Oh, Mick,” Amaya sighed, shaking her head in disappointment.

“I’ll talk to him later,” Len promised, although he wasn’t sure who he was promising, since the two people who would actually be hurt by his partner’s slip-up were back on the bridge.

The four arrived at the library and settled down in the various items of furniture – Heywood immediately claimed the chair behind the big desk, propping his feet up in the same position he’d been found in less than 48 hours ago.

“Why would a speedster need to change reality?” Amaya asked once more.

“How many times are you going ask that question?” Sara sighed.

“Until we have an answer.”

“She’s right,” Heywood agreed, “Speedsters can time-travel, so what’s stopping him from changing history, even without the Spear?”

“And how many more times will you ask that question?” Len complained. In his mind, they were basically different ways of phrasing the same question, anyway.

Heywood seemed to pay his complaint no mind, however. “Unless he doesn’t exist.” The historian stood and began pacing the library.

“Okay, so, what?” Sara questioned, “He’s a ghost?”

Just then, Stein walked in, looking seriously depressed. “Talk didn’t go well, I take it?” Len asked, not that he didn’t already know the answer.

“Did you expect it to?” The older man snapped, “How could anyone react well to learning that they’re a Time Aberration?”

“That’s my point!” Heywood cried, “What if, instead of creating a new person like Stein did with Lily, our mystery speedster erased himself from history?”

“Why would he want to do that?” Amaya questioned.

“I don’t know. But it would explain why we don’t have any evidence of his existence.”

But Len had an idea. If he was right, then Heywood’s theory was just slightly off, but Len himself would be smacking himself later for not thinking of it sooner. He looked over at the Professor and saw a dawning look of realisation and possibly the same ‘I should have figured this out ages ago’ feeling he was experiencing. The two made eye contact and both silently concluded that they were thinking the same thing.

“But we do,” Len murmured.

“Eobard Thawne,” Stein agreed.

Amaya looked at him in concern. “Is… Is he okay?”

“Eobard Thawne is a name,” Len told her.

“The name of a speedster,” Stein clarified.

“The Reverse Flash?” Sara questioned, “But he’s dead.”

Stein sighed. “Perhaps I should have been a part of this discussion, sooner; I could have clarified his fate for everyone. Eobard Thawne was defeated by Team Flash in 2015, but not by killing him. His ancestor, Detective Edward Thawne-”

“The one Iris was engaged to, at the time,” Len reminded Sara. She vaguely knew about Eddie Thawne and his fate, but Team Flash had been more focused on telling the Legends about the events surrounding Zoom and his invasion during their shore leave the previous summer.

“Yes, him. Edward committed suicide when it became clear that Barry would be unable to defeat Eobard, in order to erase his villainous descendant from existence. I was there – I mean, I wasn’t in the same room, but I was at S.T.A.R. Labs when it happened, and I saw the whole thing on the security cameras.”

“But how did you know that?” Amaya directed her question at Len.

Len shrugged when Sara and Stein also looked over curiously, as well. “I overheard Cisco telling Lisa the details last summer. She was asking about his powers, since he wasn’t ‘out’, so to speak, when she saw him last, and he told her about how he could sort of remember an alternate timeline in which Thawne had killed him. Their conversation just drifted from there.”

“Wait, Cisco can remember his own death?”

“That’s right. You two should form a club.” He directed that comment to Sara, who rolled her eyes at him.

“Well, all this would explain why the Time Masters didn’t have a file on him,” Heywood realised. Indeed, most of what they knew about the bastard had been based on what they’d learned either from Team Flash by word of mouth or Stein’s own personal experience with him.

“But if Thawne doesn’t exist, then how?” Amaya wondered.

“Well, that’s the thing with speedsters,” Stein explained, “Thanks to their connection to the Speed Force and their inherent ability to travel through time, they possess an odd… immunity to such disasters. After all, if time worked so simply, erasing Eobard Thawne from existence would also erase everything he did when he became stranded in the twenty-first century, which would, in consequence, erase Edward Thawne’s very motivation for killing himself and erasing Eobard Thawne in the first place. It would create a time paradox.”

“Is that what caused the freak black hole that year?” Len vividly recalled being in Central City when that disaster had gone down. It had been the first time that he’d truly hoped for the Flash to succeed.

Stein winced, which was understandable, given that his old Firestorm partner had died closing the black hole. “No, actually, that would be the result of a wormhole in time that we may or may not have opened up shortly before that… It’s a long story.”

“So, what does this ‘immunity’ mean?” Sara asked.

“Well… apparently, less than a week before Captain Hunter first recruited us in 2016, a past version of Eobard Thawne appeared in Central City. This one had yet to face off with Barry in the year 2024, travel back to the year 2000, kill Nora Allen, and find himself trapped in that time. Barry and the others captured him and held him in the Pipeline, but… they were forced to release him, as that would also cause a paradox.”

“So if our mystery speedster is Eobard Thawne, are we also dealing with a past version?”


Len shrugged. “Time can be weird, and the whole Speed Force thing is just plain complicated. But there’s got to be something getting in his way. After all, every time we’ve faced them, Darhk and Merlyn appearing to be doing most of the work that we know of.”

“Len’s got a point,” Sara agreed, “As a speedster, he could probably accomplish everything they’ve done so far on his own.”

“And faster.”

“So, why doesn’t he? Why would he even need Darhk and Merlyn?”

They all threw out ideas, all of which were quickly ruled out and metaphorically balled up and tossed in the trash. Each of the (rather scant) possible limitations they could come up with had an obvious workaround that wouldn’t involve the speedster needing any kind of help.

Then Heywood stood up and started pacing again as he had another epiphany. “Guys, I think I just figured it out.”

“By all means,” Len drawled, “Please enlighten us.”

Heywood paused, as if he was trying to figure out whether or not Len was being sarcastic, then he continued. “Okay, what if Thawne isn’t just chasing us? What if he’s running from something?”

“But running from what?” Amaya asked.


Sara stood, as well. “Time takes time to harden.”

Now Heywood was on a roll, and he was, admittedly, making sense. “And if Thawne ceased to exist the moment his great-great-whatever killed himself, then… maybe he has to keep moving in order for his own non-existence not to catch up with him!” He mimed his head exploding.

“That doesn’t even to begin to make any kind of sense,” Amaya bluntly told him.

“It does once you spend enough time time-traveling and hanging around speedsters,” Len disagreed.

Sara took Len and Heywood’s side. “It could work. Professor? What do you think?”

Stein thought about it for a second. “Per the scientific method, there’s only one way to prove it. You would have to trap Thawne in one place, and then… see what happens.”

Len scoffed. “Anyone got any bright ideas for that?”

Sara shook her head. “It’s probably a bad idea, anyway. Remember what Team Flash told us about Zoom’s defeat?”

Len shuddered at the memory. “Time Wraiths. Of course.”

“What’s a Time Wraith?” Heywood asked.

“A Time Wraith,” Stein explained, “according to Barry and his team, is a… creature of unknown origin that hunts speedsters who meddle with time. If a speedster can do so without being too obvious about it, they can go undetected and thus avoid the Time Wraiths, but they have to know what they’re doing in order to achieve that.”

“Zoom was particularly fond of creating Time Remnants,” Sara picked up, “using the Speed Force and time-travel to basically create clones of himself. Barry was able to trick him into creating a bunch of them, which attracted Time Wraiths, which carried Zoom off to his death. Or worse.”

“And they won’t just attack the speedster responsible for those disturbances in time. One tried to go after Caitlin, Cisco, and Mr. Rathaway when Barry once ran from 2016 to 2015.”

“Long story short,” Sara concluded, “Even if we were to manage to trap Thawne, the best case scenario is that he would eventually fade into nothing, or something. He messed with about 15 years’ worth of events, directly giving his ancestor a reason to kill himself in the first place, so the potential paradox is his fault. If a Time Wraith were to come after him, that would put all of us at risk.”

“Can we fight a Time Wraith?” Amaya asked.

Stein shrugged. “Mr. Rathaway was able to use his sonic technology to dispel one, but I don’t believe it’s worth the risk.”

“Okay,” Heywood conceded, “But just in case we wind up facing a Time Wraith, anyway, what do they look like?”

“Cisco said the first thing that popped into everyone’s mind was a Dementor,” Len offered.

“Oh, so, creepy and easy to spot, then.”

“What’s a Dementor?” Amaya questioned, reminding everyone that the pop culture reference was, as usual, completely lost on her.

“We’ll put Harry Potter in our movie marathon lineup.”

“The books are even better,” Len argued, “Just get Gideon to fabricate some copies for you.”

There was some further discussion of what they might be able to do with what they figured out, but eventually the five of them decided that they’d brainstormed all they could for the day – and that just figuring out the speedster’s identity and motivation was a big step forward, anyway. So they all left the library and split off to do their own thing.

Len, after remembering that he hadn’t told Mick about his success at the safe house, went to the galley to show him the ring, and to ask him how the hell he’d managed to tell Lily about Time Aberrations. Apparently she’d been gushing about Gideon’s food fabricator, and he’d made a comment about ‘Fake food for a fake person’, and it had gone downhill from there.

There were some days where he was seriously tempted to literally smack his partner upside the head, and this was definitely one of them, but he refrained, simply because he knew it wouldn’t end well on his part.

As he was going back to his and Sara’s room, he couldn’t help but overhear Jax and Stein talking in the Professor’s quarters along the way. “Just tell her how you feel!” Jax was insisting. Three guesses as to who ‘she’ was, given recent events, and the first two didn’t count.

“She knows how I feel,” Stein argued, “It goes without saying.”

“Yeah, for us, it does! We have a psychic connection! But for her? She just hears whatever comes out of that big mouth of yours. Just tell her you love her. That’s what dads do.”

“Clearly, you’ve never met my father,” Len interrupted. Jax jumped in his chair and twisted around at the sound of the thief’s voice; Stein had spotted him a few seconds earlier and did not react.

“Or mine,” the older man added, cradling his cup of what probably wasn’t just tea.

Jax sighed sadly, while looking at his partner questioningly. They all knew that Lewis Snart had been a horrible excuse for a parent (and for a human being, in general), but all they knew about Mr. Stein was that he’d willingly entrusted his newborn son to a strange pair of men claiming to be doctors (one of whom didn’t even know, according to Rip, the difference between pre-natal and post-natal care) and that he had later forced said son to go to rabbinical school before letting him pursue his dreams at MIT. Len also recalled learning, back during their first trip to the Wild West, that the Professor’s old man had also been a card shark and a compulsive gambler, but that was about it.

“You know, the reason Clarissa and I chose not to have children the first time around was because… I feared that history would repeat itself, that I would be… the kind of father that he was.” He looked up at Len. “He may not have been outright abusive, but he was so… so strict, and so difficult to please.”

“We’re Legends, Gray,”Jax reminded him softly, “Changin’ history’s what we do.”

Stein sat back to ponder that, and his partner patted him comfortingly on the leg before taking his leave, nodding to Len as he passed.

Len was about to go, as well, but he decided to add his own opinion, first. “Remember Salvation? That little talk we had at the card tables?”

“I seem to recall being the one who did most of the talking,” Stein pointed out.

“But can you recall what you said?” Len pressed. He could spot the moment the memory clicked just from the other man’s expression. “You told me: ‘‘Like Father, Like Son’ isn’t always inevitable.’ You were talking about career paths, back then, but why shouldn’t that also apply to parenting?”

He turned to leave, and got about two steps down the hallway before Stein’s question stopped him in his tracks. “Well, what about you?”

Len turned back around. “What are you talking about?”

“I- I just… In light of learning about your recent plans regarding Captain Lance, I was just wondering if you had ever thought about… taking the next step?”

Len froze at the idea. Kids? Him? The first thought that flew into his mind was ‘What if I turn out to be as bad as Dad?’ but he knew that actually voicing that thought would just result in the Professor repeating Len’s own words back at him – fitting, because Len himself had just done the exact same thing.

Stein kept talking when all he got from Len was silence. “I… After all, one of the differences between you and myself – before the timeline altered, I mean – is that you have already raised a child, practically all by yourself. Your younger sister, Lisa.”

“And she turned out to be a criminal just like her brother and her father,” Len pointed out, “Shows how good of a job I did.”

“But she has been turning her life around, hasn’t she? Just as you have been doing?”

“Yeah,” Len grumbled, “because she’s got the hots for a superhero sidekick.”

Stein only smiled. “But I seriously doubt that you were not a factor in her more recent life choices. Because you did manage to succeed at the one thing at which I was most afraid that I would fail.”

“And what is that?”

“Ensuring that the young woman whom you raised knows how much you love her. And that is something in which, even today, I don’t seem to be excelling.”

“Well, why don’t you go on and fix that?” Len suggested, eager to get away from this conversation.

Len wandered the ship until he found Sara in the cargo bay, where she was sharpening her knives. Fully aware that the ring box was still in his jacket pocket, he sat down across from her, legs casually stretched out in front of him. “So, are we still making a stop at S.T.A.R. Labs?”

Sara shook her head. “No, Gideon says that processing all the Medallion’s data will go a lot more quickly if we’re in the Temporal Zone, so we’re going back in as soon as we drop Lily off.” She sighed. “Guess we’ll have to wait until next time to catch up on all the superhero gossip.”

Len smirked. “Are you sure about that?”

Sara’s eyes snapped up from her knife and bore into him. “What did Lisa tell you?”

“Well, on the Central City side, Wally West made his first real takedown; a guy named Jared Morillo. He’s a thief, but I only met him twice, so most of what I know about him is by word of mouth. Anyway, the guy somehow got his hands on laser guns and speedster-seeking bullets.”

“Speedster-seeking bullets, huh? Know where we could get some?”

Len chuckled. Those would make dealing with Thawne a bit easier, since Rip’s anti-speedster weapon didn’t turn out to be so useful, after all, and Len and his Cold Gun couldn’t be everywhere at once. “Sadly, I imagine those are now in the hands on the CCPD, unless A.R.G.U.S. has snatched them up.”

Sara snorted. “Yeah, they would totally do that.”

“And apparently HR is actually a wanted criminal on his Earth, simply because he left it. Some bounty hunter came and tried to kill him, but Team Flash sorted it out. Long story short is that they’re basically stuck with him, now.”

“Lucky them,” Sara deadpanned, “What about Star City?”

Len winced. He decided to go with the less… controversial news, first. “Well, Lisa had bad news and news that… well, I guess it’s a matter of opinion as to whether it’s good or bad.”

Sara didn’t say anything out loud, but her raised eyebrow spoke volumes. Get on with it, she was saying.

“Okay, so the bad news is that Ragman lost his powers, although he did so while saving an entire Russian city from getting nuked, so I think he’d call that a win.”

“Well, of course he would. He, of all people, wouldn’t want to see another Havenrock happening.”

Now it was Len’s turn to communicate silently. A tip of the head asked: Why Regan, ‘of all people’?

“Didn’t anyone mention it to you? Regan’s from Havenrock. He lost everything and everyone on Genesis Day. He’s the one person, among all the heroes, who would want to kill Damien Darhk more than any of the others, even me.”

Len swallowed. “Damn. Can’t say I blame him.”

“Me, neither. So, what’s the news that may be good or bad?”

He hesitated. “Team Arrow… has a new member.”

“And is the newbie working for Prometheus, too?”

They all remembered the look on Ray’s face when he’d told them, after a ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah’ call to Felicity, not just about Black Siren (Sara had murdered three training dummies after hearing that news), but about Evelyn Sharp’s betrayal. Len still found it hard to believe that that girl (still just a kid, really) had sided with a serial killer who would probably have no problem with murdering the people she’d called friend for the past few months. But then, he’d hardly been much of a kid at her age, either. By then, he’d already dropped out of school to take care of his sister, to be the ‘man of the house’.

“Not that I know of. It’s what they plan on having her do that has people split over her.” He looked Sara in the eye. “They want her to be Laurel’s successor as the Black Canary.”

Sara’s hands froze in the middle of her knife-sharpening. For several long seconds, silence filled the cargo bay. Then: “They want her to be what?”

Len swallowed and then repeated. “They want her to succeed your sister as the Black Canary.”

She was up on her feet and pacing before he even blinked. “What? How? How could they even think of replacing her?!”

“It’s not a replacement,” Len tried to assure her, “It’s a succession. One that Laurel apparently wanted.”

That had Sara whirling around to face him, now looking equal parts angry and confused. “What?”

Len sighed. “Lisa said that Felicity said in her email that Laurel’s last request was to not be the last Black Canary. You know them better than I do; do you think they just went with the first person they found?”

Sara deflated, now looking sad and defeated. “No. Ollie alone probably turned down over a dozen possible successors before he found one he liked. I just…” She sat down heavily, this time beside Len. “It’s Laurel. It’s my sister.”

Len let her lean against him, then offered: “If it helps, I asked Lisa who they picked. She said it’s a former undercover cop with the CCPD, who got herself a Canary Cry of her own when S.T.A.R. Labs blew up three years ago. She legally changed her name to Tina Boland right before joining the force, but her birth name is Dinah Drake.”

That brought a small smile to her face. “Dinah, huh?”

“Like your sister, yeah. If you want to know who might be stepping into her shoes, all you have to do is ask Gideon.”

“Oh, I will. And whether she’s a good match or not, I’m still going to rip Ollie a new one for not mentioning this to me.”

Stein found Len in his room after they returned to 2017 to drop Lily off at home. The younger man had just secreted the ring in a small, hidden storage compartment he’d had Cisco add while the geek was fixing the Cold Gun. He figured that was one hiding place that Sara would never stumble upon by accident. “Well, I’ve seen Lily off. I think she still needs a little more time to… process what she’s learned about herself, but I believe everything is back to normal with us. Is it, ah, safe to…”

“Gideon?” Len asked, “Where is everyone right now?”

“Mr. Jackson is in the cargo bay fixing some minor damage done by the latest sparring sessions between Dr. Palmer and Dr. Heywood, Dr. Palmer is doing routine maintenance on his exosuit, and the rest of the crew, with the exception of yourself and Professor Stein, is in the galley. No one will overhear your discussion.”

“Excellent.” Stein beamed and walked in, sitting down on the desk chair. “Now, have you given any more thought to how you intend to propose, now that you have the ring?”

Len leaned back on the wall on the other side of the bed. “Well, I’ve already vetoed anything public. Hell, I’d rather if there was no one on the team there, either. I kind of want it to be just us.”

“Perhaps over a private dinner?”

Len thought about and shook his head. “We don’t do romantic dinners. She’d know I was up to something right away. And other big, romantic gestures, even if it’s just the two of us… She laughs every time she sees them in movies or on TV, says that it’s the little things that matter, not how much cash you can blow on something so overly extravagant.”

“So perhaps you should simply pull her aside at some point and ask her in private,” Stein suggested, “If you plan it ahead, then Jefferson, Mr. Rory, and I could run interference for you.”

Len raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? All of you?”

“Well, of course. It may take all three of us to keep the others out of your hair, but barring any Aberrations or other external crises, we should be able to ensure that you two are left undisturbed.”

“Don’t make any promises you can’t keep; you’ve seen Raymond at his nosiest. But I was talking about the idea that all of you would be willing to do this for me. Mick, I wouldn’t be surprised at, but you and Jax…”

Stein just smiled sadly. “Mr. Snart, you have been part of this team for over a year now. I would think it would have sunk in by now that we all care about you and your relationship with Captain Lance. Of course we would want the proposal to go well, and would be willing to help out in any way that we can.”

Len found himself at a loss for words, something that did not happen to him often. “I… alright.”

Stein’s smile broadened, and he stood, giving Len’s boot a friendly pat (and not pushing his luck with something like Len’s arm or shoulder) before taking his leave.

Chapter Text

“How long until Lily’s interface checks out another piece of the Spear of Destiny?” Jax complained with a heavy sigh.

It had been a whole week since they’d dropped Lily Stein back in 2017 and flown back into the Temporal Zone. Like the last time they’d spent so long sitting around and doing nothing, certain members of the team were getting restless. Mick, at least, wasn’t as bad as he had been back then, but that probably had something to do with the fact that he and Len were actually on speaking terms this time around. In fact, he was constantly pestering Len about when he was going to pop the question to Sara, already (Len was pretty sure his partner had money riding on that).

The problem was that Len couldn’t for the life of him come up with a good plan. This wasn’t a heist; those he plan out to perfection. This was a matter of actual feelings and emotions – his own feelings and emotions, two things in which he had no confidence in his skills, and maybe there was a part of him that was afraid of what would happen if she were to say no.

“I don’t know,” Sara answered their youngest crew member wearily. Jax wasn’t the first person to ask her that question, and he probably wouldn’t be the last.

“I’m beginning to think that maybe our super-computer isn’t so super,” Len commented.

“I heard that,” Gideon replied snippily, “You try processing one point two zettabytes of data.”

“Rip’s probably being tortured by the Legion of Doom right now!” Jax cried angrily, “The sooner we can locate another piece of the Spear, the sooner we can set a trap and rescue him!”

“We know that, already,” Len muttered.

“I can always reroute power to my sub-neural processing unit by shutting off life support,” Gideon suggested.

“Well, you’re lippy this morning, Gideon,” Sara commented, “I like it.”

“I wasn’t joking.”

“Let’s hold off on that idea for now,” Len suggested, “Unless we land someplace where we don’t need the life support. Sara, have you heard anything from Captain Baxter?”

Sara shook her head. Their former ally had gone silent on them a few days ago, after Sara had informed her of how they’d found Rip and lost him all over again. “Nothing. Neither she or the other Time Masters are returning any of our calls.”

Jax sighed again. “Yeah, what is up with that? It’s like they’ve completely shut us out.”

Len opened his mouth to comment, but then the ship suddenly shook beneath their feet. Jax managed to catch himself on the edge of the desk, but Len –embarrassingly – found himself on the floor. Sara, of course, managed to stay on her feet (damn assassin ninja training).

“What the hell was that?!” Jax gasped, “Tell me that wasn’t another Time Quake!”

“What else could it be?” Sara asked rhetorically as she helped Len to his feet.

“The last time we actually felt a Time Quake, the Nazis nuked New York City. Excuse me for wanting it to be something else. Hell, I’d prefer a Time Pirate attack!”

Sara led the way out of the library. “Gideon, where is the Time Quake coming from?”

“The Time Quake’s point of origin is December 25th, 1776,” Gideon responded, “It seems that General George Washington has now been assassinated before he can lead the Continental Army in crossing the Delaware River in a sneak attack integral to the success of the American Revolution.”

Len and Sara exchanged a wide-eyed look. Oh, hell. “Any idea as to who did it?” Len continued.

“Reports say that an unnamed British officer disguised himself as one of Washington’s men simply entered the General’s tent before killing him with a single gunshot. Descriptions of the weapon are consistent with a small firearm from the late twentieth or early twenty-first century.”

Len frowned. “Time Pirates would use something like a laser gun.”

“So we have someone from the future killin’ George Washington and stopping the America Revolution, not long after we get a piece of the Spear and the Medallion?” Jax summarised, “I’m not the only one who thinks this is a coincidence, am I?”

“Nope,” Len and Sara responded simultaneously.

“This has to be a trap,” Sara insisted.

Sara didn’t need to round everyone up and tell them to get to the bridge; they all congregated there immediately after the Time Quake. Stein, Amaya, and Heywood were gathered around the central console by the time Len, Sara, and Jax arrived, while Raymond was in Rip’s study, dusting the furniture as if this wasn’t a briefing about a serious Time Aberration.

“This is a trap,” Sara repeated, as if they hadn’t figured it out already, “It’s Chicago all over again. Thawne and his buddies are trying to lure us in to 1776.”

“And very effectively, I might add,” Stein pointed out.

Mick, the last one to arrive, casually walked in and said something unintelligible through a mouthful of… was that a pancake?

“You wish to speak, Mr. Rory? I notice the death of our forefather hasn’t diminished your appetite.”

“Mmm. Washington’s a punk.”

“He led America to independence and became its first President!”

“And without Washington, America wouldn’t have democracy,” Raymond added, abandoning his dusting and sitting next to Mick on the stairs to the study, “Or Hamilton.” As if that was as important as the fate of an entire country hanging in the balance.

“If Washington’s so cool, why’s he on the one dollar bill, and Franklin’s on the hundred dollar bill? Now, he’s cool.” Trust Mick to know his historical figures when money was involved somehow.

“He is cool,” Heywood agreed, “But he didn’t lead the troops across the Delaware in a sneak attack; Washington did. And, if that offensive fails, the American Revolution fails, and the United States ceases exist.”

“Like Sara said: Trap,” Len repeated.

“Well, surely you’re not suggesting we do nothing?” Stein demanded.

“No,” Sara told him, “We have to save Washington. And as much as we could use some help with that, it’s going to have to be just us, with the New Time Masters going silent on us. So we need to be careful about this. Nate, Len, with me.”

The two men followed her to the library. “So where do we find Washington?” Len asked, “Since we’re obviously doing protection detail on him?”

“The night before crossing the Delaware,” Heywood lectured, “Washington was in Pennsylvania, at the home of William Keith.”

“So we’re going to break into someone’s house on Christmas Eve?” Len questioned, smirking, “That’ll be new, even for me.”

Heywood snorted. “What, you’ve never robbed a house?”

“Oh, I have, just not on Christmas Eve. Always had someplace better to be. Besides, there would be the risk of little kids waiting up expecting Santa to be the one breaking in.”

“Well, Keith would have thrown a Christmas banquet for Washington and his men, so infiltrating that would be our best bet.”

Twenty minutes later, they returned to the bridge. “Congratulations, Mick,” Len told his partner, “You just became a private in the US Army.” Mick stared back at him, confused.

“Amaya, you and I are going to pose as wealthy newlyweds eager to make a contribution to the Revolutionary cause,” Heywood informed his fellow newbie.

“And so are Len and I,” Sara added, hooking arms with her boyfriend.

“Wait, aren’t people gonna find that a little… weird?” Jax asked, gesturing between Heywood and Amaya, “This is the 1700s.”

“Definitely, but the only way Amaya’s going to get into that party is with a white man. You and Stein will quarterback the mission from the ship. At the first sign of trouble, you Firestorm up. Ray, I need to miniaturize down in the A.T.O.M. Suit-”

“A toy in a Christmas stocking!” Mick interrupted, laughing. Len smirked at the mental image that provided.

“-and run reconnaissance,” Sara finished, “Alright, let’s go save America.”

Tuesday, December 24th, 1776

Getting into the party was quite easy; no one questioned Mick in his Patriot uniform, nor the two couples he accompanied. Upbeat music led the way to the largest room in the farmhouse, where men and women happily danced and chatted with each other. Even though it was nearing midnight, no one showed signs of wanting to retire from the festivities anytime soon.

Raymond, who was riding around on top of Mick’s hat, was clearly liking the scene. “A Christmas banquet in 1776?” he said gleefully over the comms, “This is so-”

“Stupid,” Mick interrupted again.

“Where’s your Christmas Spirit?”

“Ho, ho, ho.” The pyro was still grumpy about his uniform, particularly the pointy tricorn hat. Len himself was a bit annoyed with his costume as well; Gideon had insisted that he and Nate wear wigs, as men of their purported status in this era didn’t keep their hair so short. At least both wigs looked like real hair, and not those stupid powdered white wigs.

The two ‘newlywed couples’ quickly found themselves talking to a Patriot soldier named Lt. Boyd Cadwalader, and introduced themselves, claiming to be from Boston and promising quite a bit of money. Lt. Cadwalader seemed very interested in them. “Tell me, are you familiar with the Sons of Liberty?”

“Oh, intimately,” Heywood responded. From the look on the lieutenant’s face, Len guessed that the man was taking that statement a little too literally. “My wife and I are avid-” Amaya jabbed the historian in the arm. Heywood cleared his throat. “We’re- we’re avid supporters.”

Lt. Cadwalader now had something else to be shocked by. “This is your… wife?”

“I shudder to think what he thought she was,” Len whispered in Sara’s ear.

“Yes,” Heywood confirmed, a bland smile on his face.

“We’re newlyweds, actually,” Amaya elaborated.

“Brand new.”

Lt. Cadwalader shook his head in disbelief, struggling for words. “Well, they, um, they certainly do things… differently… up in Boston.” He didn’t say anything aggressive towards them, however, instead excusing himself politely.

“That went over better than I thought it would,” Sara commented.

“To be fair, we did just promise him and his friends lots of money,” Len pointed out, “Guess he figured he shouldn’t risk chasing that income away.”

The two pairs split up, and Len and Sara were soon approached by a middle-aged man offering them small glasses of eggnog. The two of them politely accepted them, downing the drinks quickly. “Got a kick to it,” Sara commented casually, to the other man’s clear astonishment.

“I’d say it even beats Grandma Esther West’s recipe.”

“It’s my wife Martha’s recipe,” the man told them, “A little heavy on the rum, but in these trying times, I believe extra rum is warranted.”

Wait a second, what did he say his wife’s name was?

“Martha…” Sara was clearly thinking the same thing. “You’re… George Washington.”

“At your service.” The general looked quite different without his powdered wig. “Now, tell me, from which of our thirteen colonies do you hail?”

“We’re from Massachusetts,” Len responded smoothly, “Boston, actually.”

“Get him out of there, you two,” Stein reminded them nervously through the comms.

Right. The mission. “General Washington, we have to go,” Sara told him, “We don’t have time to explain, but your life is in danger.”

Washington looked like he was about to argue, but then there was a sudden crashing noise from the direction of the front entrance, followed by a series of rapid-fire gunshots – too rapid to be from this period. Champagne glasses shattered as they were hit by stray bullets, sending their liquid contents and sharp, tiny shards flying all over the room. Redcoat soldiers poured into the room from two different entrances, carrying modern assault rifles and firing into the crowd.

Mick responded with his own period-inappropriate weapon, sending a stream of flames into the small group of British attackers. Sara and Len pulled their own weapons – the Cold Gun for Len and a flintlock pistol for Sara. “We need to go!” Sara ordered.

“I will not retreat!” Washington protested, brandishing a sword.

Sara turned around and jabbed her pistol into his ribcage. “I insist.”

Mick joined her while Len continued to cover the Redcoats, who were now mostly occupied with fighting Amaya and Heywood. “Georgie, out the back, now!”

“You are a most unusual woman,” Washington commented as he reluctantly obeyed her orders.

“That’s what I like best about her,” Len responded with a smirk. Sara responded with her own grin before going back to herding the general towards the back door.

They made it out unscathed and were making tracks toward the Waverider when the Cold Gun’s engine suddenly died.

“What the…” Len murmured, trying to turn it back on, “It had a full charge when we left the ship.”

Mick swore. “My gun’s fried, too!”

“We should turn back!” Washington argued, though at least he was walking without a gun being held to him.

“Protecting you is our first priority,” Sara shot back.

Len didn’t like this. There was a cold, foreboding feeling creeping up on him, something he hadn’t felt since right before the Dominators mind-screwed them, and before that, when they were approaching the Vanishing Point.


Movement ahead of them caught his eye, and all four of them came to an abrupt halt as someone stepped out of the trees and onto the road in front of them. It was Rip, wearing a black tricorn hat, a white powdered wig… and a Redcoat uniform.

“Rip?” Sara gasped, taking a few steps forward, “Rip! How did you get here?” Behind her, Len saw Washington reaching for his weapon.

“I don’t like this,” Mick growled.

“Me, neither,” Len whispered, “Alexa.”

Sara looked back at him in worry, then back to their old captain. “Rip?”

“Hello, Sara,” Rip sighed dispassionately.

More Redcoats came from the trees, all aiming their muskets at the Legends and Washington. Len raised his Cold Gun, for all the good that it would do with its power mysteriously gone.

Rip raised a weapon of his own – a modern handgun – and fired before any of them had a chance to react.

Sara gasped in pain, and her body started to drop. Len barely even registered his gun falling out of his hands as he automatically reached out to catch her. Her hands reached up to her stomach, but a red stain was already beginning to grow on the yellow fabric.

“Goodbye, Sara.”

The Redcoats grew closer, and Len pulled Sara tighter to him, clamping one hand on the bullet wound to try and stem the bleeding. He couldn’t understand what was happening. Well, he knew exactly what was happening – Rip was working with the enemy and had shot Sara – but he couldn’t understand why. He had never really liked Rip, but there was no way he would betray them all like this!

“You son of a bitch!” Mick growled from Sara’s other side.

Rip strode forward. “Mr. Rory, we meet again.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“On the contrary, nothing has ever been more right.” The almost cheerful grin on Rip’s face just added to the increasing unbelievability of the whole scene. “If anything…” He reached out as if to caress Sara’s face.

“Don’t you dare touch her!” Len snarled, stepping back and pulling her away.

Rip pulled his hand back but otherwise ignored him. “We’re a bit more alike, now, aren’t we? Take them away!”

Two pairs of hands grabbed Len from behind and tried to pull him away from Sara. He yelled and immediately threw one elbow back, feeling it connect with someone’s face. Shouts could be heard around him, but all he cared about was Sara.


A burning pain lanced through his side, and despite himself, Len felt his knees buckling and his body dropping onto the ground.

More hands grabbed him again, but then Rip’s voice could be heard. “Leave him. That one’s more trouble than he’s worth.” Len looked up to see his former captain standing over him, not an ounce of remorse on his face, right before Rip kicked him in the head.

The last thing Len heard before he blacked out was Mick furiously shouting profanities.

Amaya knew something was wrong – or rather, more wrong than usual – when Nate ran up to her with Ray balanced in the palm of his hand, and told her that the A.T.O.M. Suit had lost power, leaving Ray stuck in his miniaturised state. Amaya had tried to report it to the rest of the team, only to discover that the comms were down. So they had slipped away from the panicked partygoers and understandably suspicious revolutionaries and out the back door, following the path that Sara and the others had taken with Washington.

She didn’t need any form of animal night vision to spot the two bodies lying on the road up ahead. “Oh no,” she breathed, running over to them, Nate right behind her.

It was Sara and Snart. Sara was gasping and shaking in the snow, both hands pressed against a bleeding wound in her abdomen that was staining the white slush red.

Snart wasn’t moving, lying on his left side with an abrasion on his right temple and a similar red stain spreading beneath him.

“Oh my God,” Ray gasped, as Nate moved to help Sara, “He’s not…”

Amaya felt for a pulse. It was weaker than she would have liked, but it was there. “He’s still alive,” she reported, “Snart? Snart, wake up!”

Snart groaned softly, and his eyes fluttered open. “What…” He gasped in pain as Amaya gently rolled him over to get a look at his injuries. Through the layers of his eighteenth century disguise, she could see two wounds in his side, looking like the entry and exit wounds of a bullet, but she couldn’t tell much else.

“What happened?” she demanded, “Where are Rory and Washington?”

“Taken,” Sara wheezed, “Redcoats… Rip…”

“Okay, try not to talk too much,” Nate told her before looking up at Amaya, “We’ve got to get them back to the Waverider.”

Amaya nodded in agreement. “Sara looks like she’s worse off. I’ll take her.” She reached up to her Totem and summoned the Ashe of a gorilla for strength, and then a falcon, for flight. She picked Sara up – the captain now feeling as light as a feather in her arms – and took to the sky.

Len, once he was in a condition to do so, would swear both Raymond and Heywood to secrecy about their trip back to the Waverider. No one else needed to know that Heywood had carried him bridal style the entire way there. Amaya had met them in front of the time ship, informed them that it had also lost all power, and then flown with him up to a manually-operated emergency hatch on the roof, since they couldn’t open the main cargo bay door without breaking something.

Once inside, Len had regained enough strength to stumble alongside the Zambesi warrior as she dragged him to the candlelit Med Bay. Sara was lying on one of the beds while Stein and Jax stood at the foot of the bed, looking worried. “Whatever fried the ship must have done the same to our Quantum Splicer,” Jax was saying, “Like an EMP.”

“What does that mean?” Amaya asked as she helped Len into the second bed.

“It means that we can’t utilize our powers to restart the Waverider’s Time Drive,” Stein explained, “Which mean that we cannot get Gideon back online.”

“That explains why Ray’s stuck in miniature form. I guess we’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way, then,” Amaya commented, going through drawers and pulling out bandages and the like. Stein went over to another cupboard and pulled out a large textbook. Judging from the Rod of Asclepius on its cover, it was a medical text that they might wind up needing to consult.

Heywood appeared in the Med Bay door, panting, “I guess I still suck at rock climbing,” he wheezed, “Even with my powers.”

“Nate, I need you to go and fetch some sort of alcohol from the galley,” Amaya instructed the historian without turning around, “The stronger, the better.”

Since the galley was right next door to the Med Bay, Heywood simply nodded and went back the way he came. Amaya handed some First Aid supplies to Jax, who began to work on Sara’s wound, before coming over to Len. He tensed when she started to the remove his multiple layers of clothing to get at the wound, but he knew that it had to be done. Still he wished that it was Sara or Mick doing it; they’d already seen the scars and knew the stories behind them.

“Jax…” Sara groaned in between laboured breaths.

“I’ll find another way to get Gideon online,” Jax insisted, “You just… you just hang in there.”

“Jax… It was Rip.”

Amaya’s hands froze in the middle of pulling Len’s shirt away. Stein’s stopped mid-flip through his book.

“What?” Jax’s voice was thick with disbelief. “No, no, that’s not possible.”

“The Legion must’ve found some way to turn him.”

“No, they could never!”

“They did,” Len groaned, “He said something about…” He winced as Amaya gently wiped some blood off his wound to get a better look at it. “He said something to Mick about… them being more alike than before. If he was talking about Chronos…”

“What about Chronos?” Despite his miniaturised state, they could still hear the annoying inventor loud and clear as he rode back into the Med Bay on Heywood’s shoulder. Amaya grabbed a bottle of whiskey out of Heywood’s hands and immediately poured some over Len’s wounds.

“Agh!” Len flinched hard and clenched his teeth as the alcohol burned his side. “What the hell?!”

“I’m disinfecting the wound,” Amaya told him shortly, now holding the bottle up to his face, “Here, drink some. This should take the edge off the pain.”

Len grabbed the whiskey and gulped down several swallows, the burning in his throat distracting him from the burning in his side.

“Again: What about Chronos?” Raymond repeated.

“It seems that the Legion of Doom has managed to brainwash Captain Hunter,” Stein explained, “It appears that he attacked Ms. Lance and Mr. Snart and took General Washington and Mr. Rory prisoner. Also, we have some normal painkillers and disinfectant, Ms. Jiwe, up on the top shelf. But our mission remains clear: we must save Washington.”

“And Mick,” Len reminded him.

“That was implied.”

“Whatever the Legion’s done to Rip, we’ve gotta get him back,” Jax insisted.

“Jax…” Sara breathed, “I’m putting you in charge.”

“Wh-wha… Me? But I- I-”

“You got this…” Sara exhaled shakily before her eyes drifted shut.

“Sara?!” Len gasped, trying to sit up, even as Amaya firmly forced him back down, “Sara!”

“Gray, do something!” Jax begged over everyone else’s cries.

“She’s still alive,” Stein assured them all, “I’ll try to stabilize her, but we need Gideon!”

“I don’t know how to be a captain, man!” Jax protested.

And it was true; Jax wasn’t the first person who came to Len’s mind when he thought of people who would be good leaders. But really, who else was there? Len himself was in no shape to command, and that left the two newbies, the old man who had already proven to crack under pressure, and the guy who was currently the size of an action figure.

Stein, on the other hand, seemed to disagree. “Yes, you do, Jefferson.”

Jax took a deep breath and visibly straightened. Ready or not, he was going to take this challenge on. “Okay.” He turned to the rest of them. “Ray, you and I are going to work on restoring the ship’s power. Someone needs to rescue Washington so he can cross the Delaware.”

“I can do that,” Heywood immediately volunteered.

Jax nodded, “Amaya, could you go with him?”

Amaya nodded back. “Just as soon as I’m done here. This looks like a through-and-through, and the bleeding’s already slowing on its own. It just needs to be stitched up.” She turned to Stein. “Professor, can you…”

Stein looked in between Len and Sara. “If there was only one patient, yes, but I don’t think I can help both at once.”

“I’ve stitched up my own bullet wounds before,” Len informed them, “If you can take care of the back one, I can reach the front.”

Amaya looked to Jax for confirmation, and set to work as soon as she got an approving nod.

“Saving a President, a nation, and Christmas,” Heywood commented.

“And Rory,” Amaya reminded him.

“That was implied.”

“Listen, Rip’s out there, too,” Jax reminded them, “And his brain’s been scrambled by the Legion, so we need to bring him back.”

“If he’s been brainwashed,” Amaya said softly, “then…” She didn’t need to voice what she was thinking: that they might have to kill Rip. Frankly, the fact that their old captain had been brainwashed into shooting him and Sara was the only reason Len wasn’t fighting to go and kill Rip himself.

“No,” Jax disagreed vehemently, “We’ve gotta save him. No matter what it takes.”

“Okay,” Heywood submitted quietly.

Jax then left the Med Bay, pausing only to tell Len to hang in there and to let Raymond jump from Heywood’s shoulder and into this hand. Heywood quickly made himself scarce to get some supplies that he and Amaya might need.

Amaya carefully washed her hands with the proper disinfectant and helped Len do so before handing him a suture kit and assisting him in rolling over onto his right side so that she could have better access to the back end of the bullet wound on his left. He could hear her sucking in her breath when she saw the myriad of scars that crisscrossed his back, but she said nothing as she got to work.

Len tried to focus on his own end of the stitching, but that was hard to do when his position meant that he was facing away from Sara, who – though no one had come out and said it – was slowly dying of her own injuries, unless they managed to save her.

Amaya finished first. “Are you sure you don’t need any help?” she asked gently.

“I’ve got it,” Len growled, “Just go and get my partner back.”

She gave him a disbelieving look, but turned and exited the Med Bay, anyway. Len eventually finished up his own stitching, and then slowly rolled over onto his back again, only to see that Stein had taken up position between him and Sara, blocking Len’s view of his girlfriend.

“How is she?” he asked worriedly.

Stein turned, allowing Len to get a better look at Sara. Her yellow dress had been cut away, leaving her in the white shift she’d been wearing underneath it. The shift itself had been cut open over the stomach to allow Stein to access the gunshot wound, but still leave her dignity intact. “She is… well, I’ve stabilized her as best as I can, but if we don’t get Gideon back online soon… we’ll have to operate- I’ll have to operate on her myself.”

Len swallowed. “Do you even know how to do it?”

Stein took a deep breath. “There is enough information in this book that I should be able to. But… I’m afraid I cannot guarantee that it will work.”

“But…” Len stared at Sara. She was still, so still, and deathly pale.

A gentle hand laid on top of his, and Len jerked it away, his eyes meeting Stein’s compassionate ones. “Mr. Snart, I’m sorry. But there is going to be quite a risk that… she may not make it. Now, I swear to you, I will do my very best to save her. Do you understand this?”

Len blinked away the prickling in his eyes – no, he could not cry, especially not right now – and nodded once.

“Now, I am going to go inform Jefferson of these developments. I will return shortly.”

Len kept his eyes on Sara as Stein left the Med Bay. The silence weighed on him like it never had before. He reached out to try and take her hand, but there was too much space between the two chairs for him to hold her hand without her reaching out, as well. “Sara…” he murmured, “I know you can’t hear me… But please, please don’t leave me. I… I can’t lose you. It’s only been less than a year, but I don’t … I just can’t go back to a life without you. If that makes me weak in some way, then so be it. But I love you, Sara, and I can’t-”

A distant banging sound, followed by muffled shouting, caught his attention. What was going on out there?

Stein and Jax came back soon after.

“What’s happening?” Len demanded.

“It seems that Captain Hunter and the British are attempting to pry the cargo bay door open and storm the ship,” the Professor fretted.

Len sat up straight, or at least as well as he was able to, as his recently stitched bullet wound throbbed painfully. “What?!”

“Yes, no doubt Legion has tasked him with recovering our fragment of the Spear.”

“I’ll handle Rip,” Jax decided, “You operate on Sara.”

“Dammit, Jefferson!” Stein suddenly burst out, “I’m a physicist, not a doctor!”

“And I’m a mechanic, not a Captain!” Jax retorted, “So I guess we’re both trying out new things today!” He walked further into the infirmary and handed Len something: the same pistol Sara had been carrying earlier that night. “This is one of the few weapons we have that weren’t affected by the EMP. If the Redcoats show up…”

“Shoot them dead,” Len finished darkly, “And if Rip shows up?”

Jax looked uncomfortable. “Go for an arm or a leg or something. Ray’s going through the ventilation system to get to the engine room and switch the Time Core on to restart everything, so as soon as he gets that, Gideon can fix that and finish taking care of you and Sara. Everyone got it?”

Len nodded, and so did Stein, albeit very shakily, obviously disconcerted by the idea of shooting to kill, but he apparently chose not to voice that opinion, and instead bustled over to the sink located near the back of the room and started scrubbing his hands (at least the plumbing still worked).

“Jax,” Len called as their acting captain turned to leave, “Be careful. Rip may be brainwashed, but he seems to at least be somewhat aware of his past. There’s a good chance that he still knows this ship like the back of his hand, and that’ll be a big advantage for him.”

Jax nodded. “I know. But if there’s anyone who can match his knowledge of the Waverider, it’s me.”

Wednesday, December 25th, 2017

What followed was several extremely nerve-wracking hours as Jax went about setting traps for the Redcoats and Stein began the surgery. The Professor initially suggested that Len take some painkillers and sleep for a while, but Len argued staunchly against it, saying that he needed to be alert when – not if, but when – the Redcoats breached the cargo bay. Still, Stein insisted that Len stay focused on the Med Bay door, instead of watching the surgery, using that very argument against him: “Believe me, Mr. Snart, this will not be a memory of Sara that you wish to keep with you.”

So Len kept his back turned to his girlfriend and the man trying desperately to save her life. Half his attention was on the door, and the other half was listening intently for any sign that the surgery might be going wrong. He also downed some antibiotics (with some more whiskey) to help prevent his own wound from getting infected.

At some point, mortifyingly, he fell asleep. He wasn’t even sure when, but he was woken by a foreboding screeching of metal. “What was that?” he demanded, scooping the gun up from where it had been resting in his lap.

Stein sounded worried, as he should be. “I believe Captain Hunter and the British have managed to breach the cargo bay door,” he guessed.

“How long has it been?”

“Ah, approximately s-six hours, I believe.”

Dammit. It barely even felt like one, which meant that Len had been asleep and completely off-guard for a while.

Maybe five minutes later, muffled shouting and thumping noises could be heard from somewhere on board the ship – Len wasn’t sure where, but he hoped he was hearing Jax taking down a Redcoat and not the other way around.

“Professor?” Len asked quietly, “Are you picking anything up from Jax?”

“Jefferson appears to be alright,” Stein whispered back.

Then, several minutes after that, Len could hear footsteps in the hall outside. Thankfully, they seemed to turn into the galley next door rather than the Med Bay, but if that was an enemy, then it was only a matter of time before he came out and noticed the glimmering candlelight and went to investigate. Len raised his gun, ready to shoot.

But more footsteps could be heard, followed by the clear sounds of a struggle.

Then there was gunfire. A series of rapid bursts that could only come from one of the Redcoat’s assault rifles. Stein gasped in fear, and Len had his finger on the trigger when he heard someone running toward the Med Bay.

“Don’t shoot!” It was Jax. “I’ve taken down two British so far; no sign of Rip, yet.”

“He’ll come running now that he’s heard those gunshots,” Len warned him.

The kid nodded once in agreement. “How’s it coming, Gray?”

“I’m just finishing the sutures,” Stein told his partner, his voice tight with concentration.

Len looked back over his shoulder, and now could see the bloody bullet inside a metal dish next to Sara. “You got it out?” he asked, his voice rougher than he expected.

Stein sighed in relief. “Yes, I have. I believe Ms. Lance will recover.”

Jax grinned at them before taking off again.

True to Len’s predictions, it wasn’t long before Rip showed up to investigate the gunshots. Len could briefly see the flicker of torchlight before their ex-captain entered the galley. Any doubt that it was Rip was erased when Hunter began talking to himself. “Now, which one of my former teammates could possibly be fighting back, hmm? Well, I believe Ms. Lance and Mr. Snart are dead, Mr. Rory is in the custody of the British, Professor Stein is a little over the hill for these sort of shenanigans, and… Dr. Palmer is a trifle too small…” Rip seemed to be moving in the direction opposite the Med Bay, thankfully, but Len and Stein could hear him clearly when he started yelling: “Give it up, Jax! I taught you everything you know about the Waverider. There’s nowhere to hide, Jax!”

Stein let out a shaky breath when he was sure Rip was gone. “That was so close,” the Professor murmured, “I wonder why he never mentioned Dr. Heywood or Ms. Jiwe.”

“Why would he?” Len commented rhetorically, “I’m pretty sure that fight in the sixties was the only time he ever laid eyes on them.”

Several tense minutes later, in which Stein finished stitching up Sara’s wound and set his tools aside, wiping his bloodstained hands on a clean towel rather than run the risk of Rip hearing the running water from the sink, more running footsteps could be heard, and Len briefly caught a flash of Jax’s blue glow-stick in the storage room across the hall from the Med Bay.

Then the glow of torchlight could be seen on the walls of that room. Presumably, both Jax and Rip had entered through the storage room’s other door. “Something tells me I’m getting warmer,” Rip mused aloud.

Len kept the gun aimed at the Med Bay door. He would not allow Rip or anyone else to enter unharmed.

“Nope, colder!” Jax yelled, his running footsteps moving away.

The torchlight disappeared after him, but Len didn’t let his guard down. Surely Rip wouldn’t be so stupid as to not realise that Jax was trying to lure him away from the Med Bay?

Rip and Jax’s shouts could be heard as they taunted each other, and both Len and Stein jumped when they heard a single gunshot. “He hasn’t been hit,” Stein assured Len before he could even ask. He gave the same assurance several minutes later when another shot rang out. And again when they heard what sounded like a small explosion.

Then they heard something much closer. A quiet moan, coming from behind them. Both men twisted in their seats – Len with a bit more difficulty – to see Sara slowly opening her eyes.

“Sara,” Len breathed, setting his weapon to the side to lean over and reach for her.

Sara shakily lifted her right hand and gripped his tightly, smiling weakly back at him. “Hey,” she whispered.

Beside them, Len heard Stein whisper something that sounded like Hebrew. Perhaps a prayer of gratitude.

“Aww…” Rip had appeared in the Med Bay while they were distracted. “I’m sorry to interrupt this… tender moment.”

Len reached for the gun, but Rip darted forward and grabbed it from him. Stein stood, and bravely tried to put himself between Rip and his injured teammates, but Rip did something that had Stein slamming into the floor with a cry, then threw him into the wall and knocked him out.

Len scrambled out of his bed, intent on getting Rip from behind, but his bullet wound throbbed more painfully than it had before, and his vision went blurry for a second. When it cleared, Rip was right in front of him, and the former captain punched him in the abdomen, right where Len had been shot.

Len couldn’t help but scream in pain, not even aware that his knees had buckled until his face smacked into the metal floor. Then he cried out again as Rip stomped on the injury. “My,” Rip commented blandly, “I should’ve expected this. You two were always so difficult to kill.” Still standing with one foot on top of the thief, he reached out and grabbed Sara by the throat, beginning to choke her.

Len fought to push Rip’s foot off him, but no matter how hard he tried, his arms couldn’t muster the strength needed. Their former leader pushed his foot down harder, putting more weight on the bullet wound; Len was only able to partially stop the scream of pain. Something warm and wet ran down his side; the stitches had been torn.

Sara was gasping, struggling to breathe. He had to help her.

Jax raced in, his sneakers screeching against the metal floor when he saw his partner unconscious against the wall and Rip keeping both of his injured teammates subdued. “Get away from them!” he threatened angrily.

He started to run forward, but Rip raised his gun. “Not another step.” Jax froze, looking from Sara to the gun to Len and back to Sara again. “Now, one last time: Where’s the piece of the Spear?”

Sara let out another gasp.

“Sara,” Len whispered. He tried raising a hand to grasp her arm; to hold her, and let her know he was there. But he couldn’t reach.

“Don’t make me ask you again.”

“I’m tellin’ you nothin’,” Jax snarled.

Rip sighed in annoyance. “Very well.” He fired. Jax ducked and rolled over to the other side of the Med Bay. “There’s no reason all of you have to die tonight.” He leaned in toward Sara, squeezing her throat even harder, and lifted his foot to stomp on Len’s injury again.

“Whoa, okay!” Jax gave in. “Okay, okay, okay!” He sighed heavily, defeated. “The piece of the Spear is inside your telescope. Now just… just let them go.”

Rip slowly lifted his boot off Len and set it down on the floor. But he didn’t let go of Sara.

“Rip? Rip, it’s Sara. Come on, it’s Sara.”

Rip looked down at Sara, staring intently at her face. “You say her name as if she’s supposed to matter to me.” His voice was flat, dead of all emotion.

“Sara,” Len gasped weakly, “Rip, please.” He was begging. Leonard Snart was begging for the life of the woman he loved.

Rip didn’t even glance his way. “She doesn’t.”

And with a twist of his wrist, a sickening crack could be heard. Sara’s bloody hands, gripping Rip’s arm, fell limply, one dangling right over Len’s face.

She was dead.

Len couldn’t breathe. How could he, when Sara was dead? He almost didn’t register her murderer walking away, but he noticed soon enough to grab at Rip’s leg. Rip gazed down at him blankly, then he shook his foot free and kicked Len in the face before leaving.

Jax had run over to Sara and was shaking her, begging her to be okay, but she couldn’t. She wasn’t.

Len struggled to get up, but could only reach up to grasp her limp hand. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. For once, his life had finally started to go well. He had found a… maybe not a career, per se, but an occupation that challenged him and that he (mostly) found enjoyable and worth doing, and one that didn’t have him constantly thinking of how his father would have done it. His sister had also found someplace she felt comfortable – like she belonged – and someone who actually respected her and cared about her, and would likely stay with her in the long run.

And he had found Sara. Someone who didn’t just take him at face value, who didn’t run away from his dark past but instead showed him her own, who proved that he could actually trust her with everything, which was something he hadn’t been able to do since… well, since Alexa. Just yesterday, he’d been trying to plan out the perfect proposal – something that had never even crossed his mind with Alexa. He had allowed himself to try and plan out a future with her.

And now it had been ripped away from him, just like that.

Len hadn’t allowed himself to cry in a long, long time. He would admit to crying when he was fifteen and his mother had left him and his sister behind. He would admit to crying when he was sixteen and his grandfather had just passed away, leaving him with no family except an abusive father and a baby sister who wasn’t even out of diapers. It was the ultimate show of weakness, and in the life he’d lived, he couldn’t afford to show weakness.

But now, as he clutched Sara’s hand, he couldn’t stop the tears from falling, and Leonard Snart wept for what he had lost.

Martin groaned as consciousness returned to him. He wondered why he appeared to be lying on the floor, instead of in bed, as one would prefer to be when waking. Then he remembered Captain Hunter entering the Med Bay and attacking him.

And not just him. Mr. Snart and Ms. Lance were both in the room, and badly injured at that!

It was then that Martin became aware of a sound nearby. Someone was sobbing, a heart-wrenching sound that could not mean anything good.

And then there was Jefferson. Martin had to fight back the tears as his partner’s grief and fury hit him like a tidal wave over their psychic link. What happened?!

Martin forced his eyes open, but everything was blurry. He could just make out the form of his glasses lying discarded beside him, and he quickly put them on. As he sat up, his eyes were instinctively drawn to Jefferson, who was sitting against the opposite wall with his knees tucked up to his chin. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, but his face bore a murderous expression that only hinted at the righteous fury Martin felt boiling beneath the surface. “Jefferson?”

“I told him,” Jefferson said hollowly, “I told him where to find the piece of the Spear… He just killed her, anyway.”

It was then that Martin realised that the sobbing he was hearing was not coming from his partner. Feeling as though something cold had settled in the bottom of his stomach, Martin turned to his left to see Mr. Snart curled up on the floor, openly weeping, as he clutched Ms. Lance’s bloodstained hand. Ms. Lance herself was lying motionless on her bed.


No, this could not be happening!

“Where’s Raymond?!” Martin insisted as he forced himself to his feet. If Raymond could reactivate the Time Core, Gideon might still be able to save Ms. Lance.

“It’s too late.” Jefferson stood, as well, and picked up the pistol that had been discarded in the fracas.

“Where are you going?” Martin asked, feeling for a pulse in Ms. Lance’s neck but of course finding nothing.

The anger on Jefferson’s side of their bond was mounting. “I’m gonna find Rip, and I’m gonna kill him.”

“No, Jefferson, wait!” But Jefferson was already gone. Martin wanted to follow him and dissuade him from his plan of murder, but there was still Ms. Lance to worry about. Martin stepped around to the other side of the bed and began chest compressions, just as he had learned in college after one of his classmates had collapsed in the middle of a lecture and he’d been unable to help her (thankfully another classmate had been trained in CPR, but Martin had signed up for the first course he could find after that incident). “Raymond!” he called, “If you can hear me, we must get the main power online! Without Gideon, I can’t save her!”

Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long. Only thirty seconds later, Martin could hear the humming of the various machines and processors that ran the ships, and the lights slowly rose to full power.

Raymond had done it.

Len was only dimly aware of the lights turning back on, but Gideon’s voice cut through the haze. “Hello, Professor, Mr. Snart. How can I be of assistance?”

“Gideon,” Stein breathed, “Thank God. Ah, Ms. Lance is, uh, how shall I put this?”

“Dead?” Gideon oh so helpfully supplied.

“Delicate as always.”

“Gideon, can’t you do anything?” Len begged.

“Luckily, her brain cells are still functioning,” Gideon replied, “Let’s see what I can do, shall we?”

Len watched anxiously as Sara was bathed in Gideon’s blue light. Please, please let this work. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and briefly glanced over and up to see Stein also watching hopefully. He turned to look back at Sara, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand and doing his best not to lose it. Again.

Seconds seemed to stretch into hours. Gideon had to talk Stein through readjusting Sara’s head so that she could fix the broken neck, but finally, the steady beeping of the heart rate monitor filled the Med Bay, each one proof that Sara Lance had come back from the dead once more.

“Sara?” Len’s voice was audibly tight with worry. “Sara, wake up.”

Sara coughed. Her throat felt like it was made of sandpaper, and her neck and stomach ached. What had hap-


Rip had shot her.

Rip had strangled her.

Sara forced her eyes open, even if her eyelids felt like they were made of lead. Bright, white light blinded her, and she shut them again.

“Gideon, lights down to fifty percent.”

Once the light burning through her eyelids had dimmed, Sara opened them again. She had to blink a few times before the Med Bay ceiling came into view, then she turned her head – ow, that still hurt – to her right to see Len looking at her worriedly from the other bed.

He looked horrible, his face pale with dark shadows under his eyes, and he was still in his bloodstained clothes. “Thank God,” he breathed, “For a minute, there, we thought you-” The words seemed to get caught in his throat.

Stein entered at that moment, and a huge, relieved smile broke out on his face. “Ah, Captain! It’s good to see you awake. How are you feeling?”

“Pretty good,” Sara answered, wincing as her throat protested. Stein noticed and quickly got her a glass of water. She took a long drink before continuing. “For someone who got shot and strangled, anyway. I see you got the power back on.”

“Yes, Dr. Palmer was able to get to the engine room in the nick of time. If he’d been a minute or two slower…” The Professor also trailed off.

Sara frowned. “Gideon?” she asked, “What are they not telling me?”

Len and Stein both opened their mouths to protest, but Gideon beat them to it. “When I was brought back online, you had a broken neck and your heart and lungs had stopped for at least six minutes. Luckily, your brain cells were still functional, and I was able to repair the damage and resuscitate you.”

Now the haunted look in both men’s eyes made sense. “I… I was… Rip killed me?”

“Right in front of us,” Len whispered, his voice rough, “Jax went after him.”

“What?!” Sara struggled to sit up, despite the men’s protests and her own pains, “He’s not going to kill him, is he?!”

“Sara, you shouldn’t-”

Someone has to talk him out of it!” When she saw Len trying to get out of his own bed, Sara made a decision. “Gideon, put him under.”

It actually took Len a second to work out what she meant, but by the time he reached for the IV cuff, Gideon was already pumping the sedative into him, and he went limp and silent.

“Ms. Lance, I-”

“You don’t want Jax to kill Rip, either.” It wasn’t a guess; it was written all over the Professor’s face. “I’m just going to talk him down, and no offense, but it’ll mean a lot more coming from the person Rip killed.”

Stein reluctantly nodded, despite the worry written all over his face.

Sara jogged along the muddy road, hoping to find her mechanic and save him from himself. Hopefully she wouldn’t be too late.

Voices could be heard up ahead. There. She could see them, now, Jax holding Rip at gunpoint. Rip wasn’t even acknowledging him, casually turning his back on his former crew member. “Don’t!” Sara shouted.

Both Jax and Rip turned around and looked at her in shock. “Sara?!” Jax gasped.

“Gideon and Stein saved me,” Sara told him, clutching her stomach where the healed bullet wound still ached, “Looks like Rip put together a pretty good team. Will you put the gun down, Jax?”


It was then that Rip decided to enter the conversation. “I… think you should listen to your friend.”

“Shut up!” Jax snapped. To Sara, he protested: “He’s with the Legion, now! The Rip we knew is gone!”

“Do you know what day it is, Jax?” Sara asked gently, stepping closer, “It’s December Twenty-Fifth. It’s Christmas. It’s when we remember to be our best selves.”

“Why are you protecting him?!”

“I’m not protecting. I’m protecting you.” Firestorm may have killed before, in the heat of battle, but the stain of deliberate, premeditated murder… Sara knew first-hand what it did to a person, and she didn’t want Jax to suffer that.

That convinced Jax to lower his weapon, even though he was breathing hard in anger and by no means fully calmed down.

The shrill sound of a whistle and a voice barking orders rang through the crisp morning air.

“Speaking of Christmas miracles,” Rip commented, “The British are coming.”

Sara and Jax watched as he turned, Spear fragment in hand, and went to join the platoon of Redcoats marching up the road. Not wanting another confrontation, not when she was still healing and Jax only wielded a single pistol, Sara took him by the arm and led him in the opposite direction.

Len was not a happy camper when he woke up hours later. Mick filled him in about Sara talking Jax down, but more importantly, about how he and Washington (whom he was now calling ‘Georgie’) escaped death by hanging. He also confirmed that the Cold and Heat Guns had been recovered and were in their respective owners’ rooms, and that Raymond was finally back to normal size.

Once Len had showered and changed into clean clothes, he went and sought Sara out. Gideon was helpful as always. Jax was leaving the library, nodding to Len as he passed. Len was about to say something to Sara immediately upon entering, but was distracted by an image of a bronze statue on the library screen. “Is that… Mick?”

Sara smirked. “Apparently, George Washington never forgot the face of the Private who helped him escape execution.”

“He’ll strut like a peacock when he hears about that.” Len sidled up to lean against the desk next to Sara. “Why did you have Gideon drug me?”

Sara stared down at the drink in her hand. “I don’t want Rip dead. But just as much, I don’t want Jax to have that following him for the rest of his life. He hasn’t killed before, at least not when he’s not fighting for his life.” She looked up and met his eyes directly. “That argument wouldn’t work on you. You may have made that deal with Barry, but you broke it to protect your sister. I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk you down. So I did what I had to to avoid that.”

Len swallowed. “Sara, you died right in front of me. You were murdered by someone we trusted.”

“Well, that’s not the first time that happened, is it? Thea wasn’t in control of herself, and Rip, no matter how much he acted like he was in control, was brainwashed by the Legion.”

Len sighed. “I… You can’t expect me to just pretend this didn’t happen.”

Sara set her drink down and placed her hands on either side of his face. “I know. But I’m asking you to not give up on Rip, okay?” She stood on her toes and kissed him softly before pulling away. “Now, Ray has insisted that we join everyone in the galley at six. He’s throwing a Christmas party for the team.”

“…Another one?”

It became rather apparent, when they entered the galley, what Raymond had been up to since returning to his proper size. Christmas lights and golden streamers and baubles hung from the ceiling, and a sparkly, silver, artificial Christmas tree sat in one corner, covered with so many decorations that that alone would have taken the scientist at least an hour. A glowing Menorah sat on one counter. The smaller tables were shoved off to one side, and a larger one, with enough seating for all of them, sat in the middle of the galley, loaded with food. Even Gideon had gotten into the Christmas Spirit, changing the blue lights in the walls to alternating red and green and playing footage of flickering fireplaces on various screens. And to top it all off, Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ was playing softly over the intercom.

Half the crew was sitting around the table, Raymond pulling Christmas crackers with Heywood while wearing a silly, yellow paper crown. Next to him was Mick, drinking a beer while also having been somehow convinced to wear a red paper crown of his own. Jax was on Mick’s other side, enjoying some of the food. Amaya was adding one more ornament to the tree, while Stein stood by the food replicator.

“So this is you’ve been up to all day,” Len commented, looking around.

“We could’ve done it fast if you’d helped,” Heywood shot back.

“Hey, I got shot. I reserve the right to slack off on the decorating detail. And it’s not like you can also complain that you slaved over a hot stove making all of this.” He gestured at the pile of food.

“Actually, Gray made some latkes and… what was it called, again?”

“Sufganiot,” Stein replied as he carried over a freshly-replicated Christmas turkey, “A classic Hanukkah dessert; essentially deep-fried, jelly-filled donuts.”

“Mm, I’ll have some of those,” Mick declared. He reached over to a plate of desserts, but Amaya swooped in and lifted them out of his reach.

“Ah, ah, ah,” she chided lightly, “No desserts yet.”

“Yes, mother,” Sara muttered under her breath.

Stein handed a carving knife to Sara as she was about to sit down. “Well, would you care to do the honors?” he asked her, “You certainly know your way around a knife.”

Sara accepted it, twirling it in her hand. “Well, the League never covered poultry, but I’ll give it a shot.” She then proceeded to stab the blade directly into the bird.

“I am certainly glad to be human-sized again,” Raymond stated, either bringing it up randomly or continuing an earlier discussion.

“Yeah, it’s good to have you back,” Jax agreed, “This Christmas dinner idea? Might be your best one, yet.”

“Even though we already had Christmas dinner at the West house at Christmas,” Len commented.

Jax ignored him. “Makes it feel kind of like home.”

“Yeah, right down to the drunk uncle,” Raymond added, nudging Mick while the pyro was in the middle of another pull of beer. Everyone chuckled at the joke.

“Careful, Haircut. I’m your forefather, now.”

“Hey, I got you a gift.” Raymond reached down and picked up something that had been down by his feet. It looked more like a metal cage than a box, and inside…

“Dude, what the hell?!” Jax asked.

“A rat!” Mick gasped, peering into the cage at his brand-new pet and making kissy noises to get its attention.

Len shared a disbelieving look with Stein over his partner’s behaviour.

“I got you something, too,” Raymond said, trying to pass a box to Jax, “Actually, I got something for everyone.”

“Nah, nah,” Jax said, leaning away from the offered present, “If that’s a mouse, then I’m good.”

It wasn’t a mouse, but a brand-new set of tools with Jax’s initials monogrammed into the handles. Raymond handed a whole stack of presents around; Len got, to his surprise, a set of nice throwing knives with snowflakes embossed in the handles (“I know Sara’s been showing you how to use hers, but I figured you should have at least some of your own.”)

Eventually, once she’d carved up the turkey and distributed a piece to everyone’s plates, Sara stood up and tapped a champagne flute with a butter knife. “Alright, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and… whatever people who exist outside the timeline say. Now, I know that it may seem like we don’t have anything to celebrate. Rip’s been brainwashed and took our piece of the Spear of Destiny… There’s a monument to Rory in Washington, DC…” A few people clapped and raised their glasses to a proud-looking Mick. “But, we saved America. And we’re gonna save Rip. And get back the rest of the Spear. Because as powerful as the Legion may be, they don’t have this: family. And we all know nobody fights like family.”

“Here, here,” many members of the crew cheered as they all stood and clinked their glasses together.

In any other circumstance, Len would have left the party at least an hour ago, probably as soon as all the sufganiot was gone. There was only so much Christmas cheer that he could stand – especially considering they’d already celebrated the holiday just weeks ago.

But Sara was still enjoying it, and after what happened last night, he couldn’t bear to let her leave his sight. Every word, every laugh, every breath served as a reminder that she was here. That she was alive, despite the fact that he’d been grieving beside her dead body just this morning.

Eventually, the party finally broke up, only Raymond and Heywood remaining in the galley with them, and Sara told the pair to clean the mess up before walking over to Len and taking him by the hand, leading him to their room.

The door hadn’t even shut behind them before she was in his arms, gripping the front of his jacket and burying her face in his jacket. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, feeling the warmth of her living body through his sweater as another welcome reminder that she was still there with him.

“Are you okay?” she finally asked him after a long period of silence.

Len wasn’t sure he was hearing this. “You’re asking me that? You’re the one who-” The word ‘died’ stuck in his throat. He couldn’t bring himself to say it.

“Yeah. That. Gotta stop making a habit of that.” Sara was laughing as she said that, but it was a forced laughter, unnatural.

Len only tightened his grip on her. “It’s not funny,” he whispered, “You were dead. You died right in front of me.” He choked. “I didn’t- I couldn’t stop it.”

Sara pulled away slightly, only to reach up and run her hand along the side of his face. “I’m right here, Len,” she whispered, “That’s all that matters, now.”

“You’re here,” he murmured, “Thanks to Gideon. But what if, the next time one of us gets hurt, we aren’t so lucky?”


But Len had made up his mind. Screw all the half-formed plans he’d had running through his head and the ideas he’d bounced off Stein. “No, I’m serious. It could happen. We’ve talked about this before, but it never felt so real until today.” He let go of her and reached for his Cold Gun, opening the hidden storage compartment – the place she was least likely to find it in – and pulled out the little box he’d retrieved from his grandfather’s belongings.

Sara’s breath hitched when he turned around and she got a look at what was in his hand. “Len?”

“Ever since you told me about the Dominator dream world, about how my counterpart was going to propose to you… I couldn’t stop thinking about it. About what our future was going to look like – our real future. I can’t imagine any kind of future right now without you, Sara, and I haven’t been able to in a long time.”

“Wh-when did you…”

“I had Lisa help me find it while we were parked in 2017. I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect way to ask you, even went to the Professor for advice. But tonight… Tonight changed things. We’re doing something that could kill us at any moment, and since neither of us are going to turn and run away from it, there’s no sense in waiting for the ‘right moment’.”

With shaking hands, he opened the box and sank to one knee.

“Sara Marie Lance, will you marry me?”

Chapter Text

“Sara Marie Lance, will you marry me?”

Sara Lance was rooted to the floor with shock. She’d had the feeling that her boyfriend was hiding something from her, but that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But this…

She hadn’t thought about marriage since telling Len about the Dominators’ illusion. But as he spoke, she found herself realising that she’d been feeling the same way about their future, that she couldn’t picture one without him, anymore. And he was right; any day on this mission could be their last, so putting anything off was just going to end with unfinished business and unfulfilled dreams. They’d already learned that the hard way, once.

So she smiled and held out her left hand. “Yes,” she breathed, then she said it again, louder: “Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you!”

She would never forget the expression on Len’s face for as long as she lived. It was the first time she’d seen him so… happy. So completely unburdened by the pain and bitterness of his past. He surged up from his kneeling position and kissed her, before slowly pulling away so that he could see what he was doing as he clumsily slid the ring onto her finger.

Sara held up her hand to look at her new ring. “It’s beautiful.”

The band was a silvery colour, possibly white gold, possibly something else, and split into three separate braided ‘strands’. The stone itself wasn’t a diamond, either; instead, it was a simple, circular piece of polished turquoise that gently reflected in the light. There were also no raised edges on which something could get snagged during a fight, which was a bonus.

“It was my grandmother’s,” Len told her, “My grandfather spent a whole year saving up to be able to buy it for her. The band is silver; he couldn’t really afford the shiny gold and diamond rings that were becoming the standard around that time.”

Sara grinned at him. “I love it. Really.” She showed him just how much she loved it with a lingering kiss, much longer than their last one.         

When they came up for air, Gideon decided to cut in: “Might I reminded you both that the both of you have yet to fully recover from your injuries, and that partaking in your usual form of physical activity is still inadvisable. On that note, I understand that congratulations are in order. Shall I inform the rest of the crew?”

Sara sighed, resting her head against Len’s chest. “No, Gideon. We’ll tell them in the morning.”

That night, the two of them humoured Gideon and just held each other in bed, Len resting his head with his ear over Sara’s heart, so that he fell asleep to the sound of her steady breathing and her beating heart. And if either one of them noticed any tears from the other, they never said a thing.

Sara woke up slowly, having gradually gotten used to waking up to the presence of another body pressed up against hers in bed. Just nine months ago, she would have initially tensed, unsure, in those first few seconds of consciousness, of who had been able to get so dangerously close without her noticing. Len was even worse, having had even less experience with physical contact not meant to harm (and that was even taking into account the fact that he was fifteen years older than her).

She could feel a weight pressing on her chest and cracked one eye open, glancing down to see Len’s sleeping head resting over her heart. The memory of the mission gone oh so horribly wrong came rushing back to her, but on its heels was the far more pleasant memory of Len’s sudden proposal. She extracted her left hand out from where it had been tangled under the sheets to look at her brand new engagement ring once more. It looked just as beautiful as it had the night before, and the sight of it made her smile.

The slightest flicker of motion in her peripheral vision drew her attention back to Len. His eyes had fluttered open, and he blinked a couple times before looking up at her.

“Good morning,” she whispered, moving to run her fingers through his close-shorn hair.

“Morning,” he murmured back, stretching and shifting position so that his face was level with hers, “Tell me last night wasn’t a dream.”

Sara showed him the ring, her smile broadening. “Last night wasn’t a dream. And the next thing out of your mouth had better not be anything on the subject of me possibly changing my mind.”

“It wasn’t. Part of me thinks it might be a better idea for you to do so, but…”

She poked him. “Well, tell that part of you to shut up. Because I’m not going anywhere.” She completed her point by leaning forward, closing the small amount of space between them and stealing a soft kiss. “I love you, Len,” she whispered against his lips.

“I love you, too,” he murmured. It was something he never said in front of anyone but her. It wasn’t because he was embarrassed by their relationship, but because he was still uncomfortable with displaying to others how easily he could be hurt through her. If someone were to hold a grudge against him, they could see Sara with him and go after her as an easy way to hurt him. It wouldn’t be nearly as easy as they’d think, but Len had had enough experience with people targeting his sister to have him worried.

That thought had Sara wondering, for a second, how he would handle the actual wedding ceremony, openly saying his vows and talking about his feelings in front of other people. Which had her wondering…

“I know we just got engaged last night, but what are you thinking for the actual wedding?”

Len blinked at her, but she just propped her head up on her fist and met his gaze unflinchingly. “I… well, I thought about just finding a JP and getting it done quickly, just the two of us, but I have a feeling that that wouldn’t sit well with many of the other people in our lives.”

“Damn right, it wouldn’t. It would break my Dad’s heart if I didn’t let him walk me down the aisle.”

“And Lisa would skin me alive if I didn’t invite her.”

“I heard Stein’s fully qualified as a rabbi. Would you mind horribly if he does the ceremony?”

“We’re not Jewish.”

“Neither were Caitlin and her husband Ronnie, and yet they still had him marry them. Just promise me you’ll think on it?”

Len shrugged about as well as he could while he was lying down. “I’ll think on it. Now, moving on to more short-term matters, what do want to do with the team today?”

Sara grinned. “And by that, do you mean ‘How do you want to tell them?’”

“Well, Mick, Jax, and the Professor already know what I was planning, so they’ll all notice your new ring pretty damn quickly. But the others…”

“Should we gather the whole team up and just make an announcement?”

A wicked smirk spread across Len’s face. “Actually, I was thinking we could just not say anything, at all.”

“What? You want to keep this a secret from them?!”

“No, no, not at all.” Len paused. “Well, somewhat. I want to see how long it will take for them to figure it out on their own. Think of it as an assessment of the observational skills of your crew.”

That had Sara developing a smirk that mirrored his. “That idea… has merit.”

So when they entered the galley, they said absolutely nothing about last night’s development. The only people in there were Mick, Nate, and Amaya; the JSA member and the arsonist were bantering over toast and bacon while the historian was giving Amaya a completely unsubtle puppy-dog gaze, which she was totally ignoring. Mick immediately looked up upon their entrance, and right away, his eyes zeroed in on Sara’s left hand. For some reason, he scowled briefly before getting up and walking over, confusing the heck out of Amaya, who’d been in the middle of a sentence when he abruptly bailed on their conversation.

“You couldn’t have waited until later?” he muttered to Len, “I mean, I’m glad for you two and all, but now I owe the Professor ten bucks.”

Len responded with an eye roll. “You’ve been betting on our love life again, Mick?”

Mick simply shrugged, completely unrepentant. “Hey, it keeps things interesting ‘round here, when we’re not dealin’ with Aberrations and crap like that. The old man was positive you’d throw away all your plans and just pop the question after yesterday’s shit. I only took that bet because I was bored.”

“So, how long have you known?” Sara questioned in a low voice. She looked over at Nate and Amaya, but they, thankfully, were now engaged in their own conversation and not paying the slightest bit of attention to the three of them.

“Well, Stein was the first one I told when I started thinking about getting a ring,” Len answered, “Wasn’t planning on it, but he caught me looking at some on the computer, before I decided to use this one. And like I told you last night, I did bounce a few proposal ideas off Stein, considering he and his wife will be reaching their fortieth anniversary next year. I figured that if anyone on this ship would know anything about the subject, it would be him.”

“Haircut’s been engaged twice,” Mick pointed out.

“Yeah, and while it’s certainly not his fault the first one ended, he couldn’t keep Kendra around, could he? Anyway, Mick overheard me and Stein talking about rings before I went to get it from our safe house when we stopped in 2017.”

“Oh, so that was your ‘family business’?”

“Yes. It’s my grandmother’s ring, and Lisa helped me dig it out. Oh, and Jax was just there when I got back to the Waverider and showed Stein the ring. Lily, too. Other than that, no one else knows.”

“Good morning!” As if the mere act of mentioning of his name had summoned him, Professor Stein walked into the galley behind them. Like Mick, the first thing he did when he saw Sara was look at her left hand. She smiled and held it up slightly so that he could clearly see the ring.

Unlike Mick, the older man’s reaction was to beam happily, and not just because he’d won the bet with the pyro.

“Mind keeping it quiet?” Len asked in an undertone before he could say anything, glancing over his shoulder at Nate and Amaya to be sure they couldn’t hear, “We’re kind of waiting to see how long it’ll take anyone else to notice.”

“Consider it a way to test their attention to detail,” Sara added, a feeling a small smirk playing on her face.

Stein nodded in agreement. “Of course,” he whispered, “But I must say now, congratulations to you both.” Then he went off in pursuit of his morning coffee, discreetly accepting a wrinkled bill from Mick as he passed the disgruntled arsonist with a smug grin.

After getting a quick breakfast, Sara had some Time Captain duties to attend to, and Len tagged along with her. While checking in with Jax about the repairs to the cargo bay door – fixing the damage caused when Rip and the Redcoats had forced it open – the kid had also looked for and spotted the ring as soon as he saw Sara, and he gladly gave his congratulations, as well. Unlike Mick, he hadn’t made the mistake of betting against Stein.

That just left Ray, Nate, and Amaya, the only three members of the crew who hadn’t known about Len’s proposal plans ahead of time (well, besides Sara herself).

After talking about the repairs with Jax for a bit, the newly-engaged couple split up, Sara going to the library while Len stayed behind to give Jax a hand. It was harder than Sara had expected, considering the fact that she’d been dead less than forty-eight hours ago, something that had honestly shaken Len more than it had shaken her (which was not to say that it hadn’t shaken her at all, but Len seemed to have been hit harder by the whole ordeal). But still, the two needed to be used to being physically apart; them being engaged didn’t mean that she had to be joined at the hip with her fiancé twenty-four-seven.

Her fiancé. A small part of Sara, a part that she thought had died when the Gambit sank, giggled and squealed like a love-struck schoolgirl because she had a fiancé! As it was, she had to fight to keep a huge smile off her face.

Nate was in the library, saying that Gideon still had not gotten a location on another fragment of the Spear of Destiny. Still, the two of them spent the rest of the morning bent over the history books, Sara studying the legend of the Spear while Nate pored over other texts for possible hints at the locations of the other fragments. Even when Sara used her left hand to pass him a book, her ring glinting obviously in the light, the historian didn’t notice a damn thing. He just took the book and went back to reading.

Finally, lunchtime came, and Sara took her leave from the library and made her way to the galley. Len was already there when she arrived, and so were Ray, Mick, and Amaya. Mick was being… less than subtle, looking back and forth expectantly between her and Ray and Amaya as she sat down. Len rolled his eyes at his best friend’s behaviour, but said nothing.

Then, finally, Amaya spotted the new addition on Sara’s left ring finger when the Captain laughed at something Ray had said with her mouth full, and put her hand up so that the others wouldn’t have to look at the lovely display of her half-chewed lunch.

“Is that what I think it is?!” she blurted suddenly, first looking at Sara in shock, then at Len, then back at Sara.

Ray looked at her in innocent confusion. “Is what what you think it is?”

“Is that… Have you always been wearing that ring?”

Sara swallowed her food and shook her head, knowing that she had a smug look on her face and not feeling the slightest bit ashamed about it whatsoever. “Nope.”

“Congratulations, Amaya,” Len drawled, “You’re the first person to notice, besides those who already knew what I was planning.”

Beaming, Amaya got up and all but ran around the table to hug Sara tightly. “Uh, I’m pretty sure the congratulations are supposed to be going to you two.”

Poor Ray was still utterly confused. “Huh?”

Sara decided to let the poor guy off the hook and hold out her left hand, giving him a clear view of the ring.

The inventor’s expression went from bewildered to overjoyed so quickly, you would have missed the change if you blinked. He got up as well, practically bouncing around the table to hug Sara as soon as Amaya let go. Then he gave an enthusiastic hug to an obviously-uncomfortable Len, as well, although he let go much sooner, out of respect for the crook’s issues with contact that everyone on the ship knew about but rarely spoke of out loud.

“This is so great!” he cheered, “This is awesome! We’ve got to celebrate!”

“We just had a Christmas party last night,” Len complained.

But Ray was already lost in his own little party-planning world, now, and didn’t appear to hear a word Len said.

Sara laughed and patted her fiancé’s hand (yep, still a little bit of internal squealing, there). “Sorry, Len, but once Ray decides to throw someone a party, there’s no stopping him. Remember the ‘Housewarming’ dinner he threw us when I moved into your room?”

“I remember,” Len responded with a smirk, “Can we sneak away from this one, too?”

After lunch, the two split up again, as Sara had to pilot the ship through the time stream so that Gideon could devote more processing power to her search, and Raymond had cornered Len and started pestering him about the engagement party. Len had tried to escape him, but once Raymond started prattling on about snowflake and bird decorations for the galley, he reluctantly decided to participate in the planning, if only to keep the overenthusiastic inventor from going overboard.

However, he was saved when Gideon passed on a message from Sara, asking him to report to the bridge.

“Did we find a piece of the Spear, yet?” Len asked as he arrived. He looked around, confused, when he realised that he and Sara were the only ones there.

“No,” she responded, “We got another message from the present. And this time, they’re asking specifically for you.”

Len blinked. “Me?”

Sara nodded. “Gideon, play it back.”

Barry Allen’s voice filled the room. “Hey, Snart, it’s Barry.” The speedster sighed heavily. “Look, I know you guys have your own crises to deal with, but I really need some help, here. I need the expertise of a master thief, and as good as Lisa is, even she agrees that it would be better if I had her brother with me, instead. I won’t even say no to having Rory there, if that’s what it takes. Please, I…” Barry’s voice broke, sounding incredibly choked up. “If I don’t get this power source, Iris will be killed by Savitar. Tonight. Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017. Please, Snart, I am begging you. I need your help.”

The recording ended there. Sara turned to look at Len. “It sounds pretty serious.”

Len sighed. “Should we take the whole team?”

Sara paused in consideration. “It sounds like something that will only require the expertise of a thief. The rest of us could just get in the way. If you’re going to go, we can just be on standby if you need us.”

Len thought about it. Wondered what he would do if Sara were the one whose life was on the line. It didn’t take long for him to come to a decision. “I’ll need someone to pilot the Jump Ship.”

“Take Mick, then. Just promise me you’ll be careful?”

“As careful as I can be. Oh, and while I’m there, do you think I should say anything to Barry about a particular enemy of ours?”

“You mean the Reverse Flash?”

“The bastard killed Barry’s mother, Sara. Practically right in front of him. What the hell am I supposed to tell him?”

Sara sighed. “Take a look at what’s going on there, and then make your own call as to whether it will do more harm than good. You don’t want to risk distracting him from saving Iris.”

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Len took in the group that was gathered in the main room of S.T.A.R. Labs when he silently entered: Lisa, Barry, Cisco Ramon, Det. Joe West, Iris West, and HR Wells. Dr. Caitlin Snow was nowhere to be seen.

HR was in the midst of describing some ridiculously harebrained plan to an obviously unimpressed Cisco and Lisa. “I know we don’t have a plane. We steal a plane! Okay, we’ll put it back. Alright, and we parachute out of the plane, we land on the roof – gotta land on the right roof – right? And then whoosh! Right down the air ducts, Mission Improbable style. Easy.”

“Easy?” Lisa challenged, giving him an incredulous look while she lounged in a chair at the main desk with her feet propped up on said item of furniture.


“What about the counter-terrorism missiles?” Cisco added.


Len raised his eyebrows at that. Whatever place Barry wanted him to break into, it must be pretty damn well-fortified if it had counter-terrorism missiles. Which made HR’s plan even more idiotic. Rolling his eyes, Len decided to make his presence known before the fake genius could waste any more of their time. “Hello, Barry. Joe, Cisco, Wells.” He spotted something sparkly on Iris’s left hand – something that Barry had neglected to mention – and smirked at the coincidence. “Iris! Love the ice, sparkly. Mazel tov. Hey, Sis.”

“Lenny?!” Lisa gasped, more confused than anything at his presence, but still smiling at the sight of him.

“Captain Cold?” Cisco questioned.

“I thought I told you to drop the ‘Captain’ part.”

“Snart, what the hell are you doing here?” Joe questioned.

Len glanced over at Barry. “You didn’t tell them I was coming?”

Barry sighed as all eyes turned to him, silently demanding an explanation. “I called Snart on the Waverider with the frequency that Captain Hunter left us last summer. He’s gonna help me break into A.R.G.U.S., and get the power source.”

That made Len do a double-take. “You never mentioned anything about A.R.G.U.S. in your little message. And, last I checked, you were all buddy-buddy with the Director; why don’t you just ask her to give you whatever it is you need?”

“Don’t you think we already tried that?! She said no! Look, if we don’t get this power source, then we can’t power this weapon a friend is building to stop Savitar. And if we don’t stop him, he will kill Iris. I saw it when I accidentally ran to the future last Christmas. We’ve spent the past five months trying to prevent it, but we’re running out of time.”

Now that Len got a good look at him, he noticed it: the little signs of stress and sleep deprivation that Barry was exhibiting. This was a desperate man, a man willing to break into a top-secret government facility – and betray a friend, no less, in doing so – in order to save the woman he loved. “Alright, then, I’ll do it. God knows my own fiancée would kill me if I walked away from this. And we all know how good she is at that.”

Lisa sat up straight in her chair. “Sara said yes?”

Len smiled. “Sara said yes.”

Despite the tenseness of their situation, Lisa squealed and got up to throw her arms around her brother.

“Mazel tov,” HR echoed Len’s earlier comment.

“Thank you.” Len pried his sister off. “Now, I understand that we’re on a tight schedule. I need building plans and security details, people, let’s move it.”

Cisco wasted no time in pulling up everything Len needed. Len copied it all to a USB drive and took it to Cisco’s lab so that he could plan in peace. Lisa followed him, however, shutting the door behind her.

“There’s one other thing you need to know about Savitar,” she told him seriously, all traces of her earlier excitement gone, “He’s Barry from the future.”

Len whipped his head around to stare at her. “He’s who from where?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?!”

“Apparently, in the future, Barry will create a bunch of Time Remnants – some sort of speedster clones, I have absolutely no idea how the hell that shit works – to fight and defeat Savitar. Most of them will die, but one will survive and go batshit insane and become Savitar in the first place. So, by defeating Savitar in the future, Barry will have no choice but to create Savitar. What this means is that everything that Barry doesn’t need to know about the weapon we’re building doesn’t get told to him, otherwise Savitar will know it, too, because he has all of Barry’s memories.”

Len sighed. “Which also means that Savitar now knows that I’m here. You’re telling me we’re up against a bad guy who knows everything we’re going to do to stop him because he’s already done it himself?”

“Yeah. A while back, Cisco and Julian tried this utterly idiotic scheme that was supposed to block Savitar’s memories, only instead, it gave both Barry and Savitar amnesia. The timing was pretty crappy, too; Barry was supposed to testify at Heat Monger’s trial, and he screwed it up because he couldn’t remember a damn thing about the case, so the guy walked.”

“Who the hell is Heat Monger?” Len shook his head. “Someone’s really got to talk to Cisco about those silly nicknames of his.”

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Heat Monger is some guy who tried to take Mick’s spot as the most dangerous arsonist in Central City, but he’s really just a cheap knockoff. Oh, and he nicknamed himself; Cisco was less than impressed. Luckily, after Barry got his memories back, he and Wally did catch the idiot and put him away again when he celebrated his freedom by immediately setting another building on fire.”

Len scoffed. “Amateur. I’m sure Mick will love to hear that story. Okay, two more questions: who is Julian, and where is Dr. Snow? I would think that she’d also be interested in keeping Iris alive.”

That surprisingly brought Lisa up short, a sad look crossing her face. “Julian is another CSI who started working for the CCPD last October. He’s known the Flash’s secret identity since Christmas, and he was even at the Christmas Party – not that you would have noticed, seeing as how you disappeared upstairs with Sara less than twenty minutes after arriving. I’m not sure where he is right now, but it had damn well better be important. And Caitlin…” She sighed. “It turns out that the reason why Caitlin can’t use those cold powers of hers is because they come with a second personality. They call her Killer Frost, since that’s what the evil Earth-2 version of Caitlin – the one who worked for Zoom – called herself. I know I’ve called her Doctor Uptight, but she does have a good reason in this case; Killer Frost is a scary, heartless bitch, and ever since she first surfaced months ago, Caitlin’s been terrified of what might happen if Frost took over again. She had a power dampener that Cisco and Julian collaborated on, but then she got really badly injured and nearly died, so Julian took it off her so that her abilities would help her heal, and…”

“Killer Frost came out,” Len guessed.

“Yeah. She’s working for Savitar, now. The others are devastated, even Julian – it seems that he went and fell in love with Caitlin while they were working together. Cisco’s not taking it well, either; she’s basically the sister he never had, you know?”

Len grimaced. Back to the task at hand. “So, what, exactly, is this power source?” he asked, “And how big is it?”

Lisa blinked at his sudden change of subject, but went along with it. “Cisco said that Lyla said that it was tech they recovered from one of the Dominator ships that crashed here last December.”

Len scowled. “I hate those bastards.”

“Join the club. I don’t think she said how big it is, though.”

“That might be a problem. If it turns out to be too big to carry it out…” As they were talking, Len had plugged in the USB and started looking through the information it provided. Luckily, one of those pieces of information was a photograph of the power source, held quite easily in the thickly-gloved hand of an A.R.G.U.S. researcher, so at least it was small enough to be easily transported. “Anything else happen that I missed?”

After Len had conducted a quick (by his standards) examination of the blueprints and security intel, he gathered Team Flash to go over it. “My guess is that the power source is most likely here,” he said, pointing at one spot on the blueprints.

“Why there?” Joe questioned.

“Because it’s the deepest part of the facility. And if it’s as valuable as you say it is, then the deepest recesses of any facility are usually the most secure.” Joe nodded in understanding.

“Smart, Snart,” Cisco complimented. Then he snorted at the incidental rhyme. When nobody else laughed or even smiled, he coughed awkwardly. “I’m gonna keep hacking away and find out for sure.” He fled the room rather quickly.

“Do you have, uh, any idea what else might be down there?” Barry asked.

Len rolled his eyes. “You people were the ones who gave me all the intel I have, remember? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with the Legends, it’s that there are only four rules you need to remember.” He counted them off on his fingers. “Make the plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails… Throw away the plan.”

Lisa snorted. “Quite the departure from your usual tight-ass standards, Mr. ‘My Backup Plans Have Multiple Backup Plans, All Timed To The Second’.”

“First off, I am a little pressed for time, here. Secondly, with a misfit crew like the one we’ve got on the Waverider, it’s either adapt to the chaos or go insane. My point is, Barry, just follow my lead, and you’ll be fine.”

“I trust you,” Barry told him.

“We all do,” Iris added, complete sincerity in her voice.

Which was a bit of a surprise for Len. Despite the time he’d spent regularly interacting with Team Flash during the Legends’ shore leave last summer, the fight against the Dominators, and the Christmas party, he’d still felt that the rest of them didn’t hold the same trust in him that Barry did.

He covered up his surprise with sarcasm, his usual deflector. “Just don’t seat me at the singles’ table at the wedding reception. It’s not like I’d belong there, anyway.”

Iris smiled weakly. “So long as you don’t stick us there at yours.”

He smirked back. “Deal.”

“Just out of curiosity,” Joe asked, “Do you have a plan for getting in there?”

“I’ve got that covered,” Barry responded.

Len was about to ask for specifics – he did not like surprises on his heists, thank you very much – but then an unfamiliar blonde woman just walked right in, carrying a steaming S.T.A.R. Labs mug of what smelled like coffee. HR immediately jumped up and handed her his own mug. “Whoa! Uh, can you hold that for a second? Yeah?” He held his hands up in front of her confused face. “Okay, and don’t look-”

“What?” the woman asked in bewilderment.

“Hey! Flash! Superhero! Cowl on, please! We’ve got civilians in the house!”

Oh. So this woman didn’t know who the Flash was. Yet apparently, they were just letting her wander unsupervised around S.T.A.R. Labs, where she could accidentally stumble onto something she wasn’t supposed to know about – as she’d just demonstrated.

“It’s okay, HR,” Barry told HR, “We’re trusting Tracy with our lives; we can trust her with this.” ‘Tracy’ still hadn’t moved to try and see past HR’s hands, just obediently standing there in place.

“Good point, yeah. Okay. I’ll put my hands down, now.”

He did so, allowing Tracy to get a look at Barry’s face. “Oh!” she cried, a smile on her face, “Totally should have figured that out!” She looked over at Len. “Have we met?”

“Tracy, this is my brother Lenny,” Lisa introduced her, “He’s going to help us get that power source you need.”

“Oh, great! That’s great! Right, I should get back to work.”

“Carry on,” HR told the others, leading her away. Len idly wondered what she’d even come down there for in the first place.

Barry turned to Joe. “Alright, Joe, I need you to take Iris someplace far away from here. Far away from me.”

“Barry…” Iris began to protest.

“I can’t know where. If I know, then Savitar knows.”

“I’ll get Wally,” Joe said, “We’ll keep her safe; don’t worry.” He left the room as well, leaving the Snart siblings alone with Barry and Iris.

Sensing a touching personal moment coming up between the couple, Len and Lisa quietly left, as well. “Are you going with them?” Len asked.

“My Gold Gun won’t be of much use against Savitar. Granted, nothing is, really, but I’m going to stay here, and I’ll be on comms the entire time. Two thief brains are better than one, after all.”

Len smiled. “That’s right. Mick didn’t even bother to come; he just dropped me off in the Jump Ship and then went back to the Waverider. I just hope Raymond doesn’t enlist him in his stupid plans for the ‘engagement party’.”

That got a laugh out of his sister. “Why do I get the idea that the party was not your idea?”

“Because you know me? And because I’m talking about Raymond Palmer?”

“Both. So, how did it go? I mean, I know she said yes, but you didn’t have a solid plan when I last saw you. How’d it go down? I want all the details.”

Len winced, memories of that horrible night not so long ago running coming back to the surface. “I never did come up with a proper plan,” he admitted, “We had a… really tough mission. It was bad, Lis. Sara-” He swallowed. “Sara died. Right in front of me.”

Beside him, Lisa gasped.

“Gideon was able to bring her back, but after that… waiting any longer just felt like the worst idea ever. So, the following night, I proposed in our room – did the whole ‘down on one knee’ thing, and everything – and she said yes. That was less than twenty-four hours ago, for me.”

“Oh my God,” Lisa whispered, “She’s okay now, right?”

“Yeah. Pretty much back to full health. And we spent the whole morning waiting to see how long it would take the others to notice. Mick, Stein, and Jax all knew that I was going to propose ahead of time, so those three spotted the ring right away. Amaya spotted it, next, and Raymond was in the room, but Sara still had to point it out to him. Heywood… Actually, I don’t think he’s noticed, yet.”

Before they left, Cisco jogged up with a box tucked under his arm. “Hey, wait up!”

Len paused, motioning for Barry to go on ahead of him. “What?”

Cisco held the box out to him. “Here. This might help.”

Len scowled at the nerd. “You’d better not have made me a stupid costume.”

“Okay, first, my suits are not stupid. Second, it’s not even a suit… well, not really.”

Len begrudgingly opened the box and took a look. Inside was what looked like a shirt made out of some matte grey material.

“It’s a special under-armor you can wear under your clothes. Lisa was a little worried about you and Rory being the only ones on your team without any sort of body armor, and I figured neither of you would want me to make you a suit, so this was the best compromise that I could think of.”

Len reached picked at the shirt and felt the material. It was surprisingly smooth and light. “What’s it made out of?”

“It’s a fabric I created myself, based on what I use to make suits like Green Arrow’s and White Canary’s. It’s about as thin, light, and flexible as I could make it without making it useless. You should be able to move around just as well as you would without it, and it’s durable enough to withstand bullets from the lower-power firearms and should reduce the damage from the higher-powered ones. It’s also made to withstand the low temperatures given off by the Cold Gun, since you don’t seem to be wearing that silly parka anymore. And Rory’s is a bit different; it’s basically fireproof.”

Len rolled his eyes at the comment about the parka, then shut the box. “You made this because Lisa was worried about me?”

“I… Uh- Yeah,” Cisco stammered, “I mean, the first time you left on a time ship, she wound up getting a casualty notification visit, and she obviously doesn’t want to get another one. And…” He was quiet for another second. “I don’t know if anyone told you guys this, but about a month after you guys left last summer… my brother was killed.”

Len blinked. No, he had not heard that. “Killed?”

“It was a hit and run. Some drunk guy got behind the wheel and ran a red light while Dante was crossing the street. I found out not long after; Barry was assigned to the case and ran here as soon as he was done because he didn’t want to give me the news over the phone.”

Len didn’t know what to say. He’d only met Dante Ramon once, and during that meeting, he’d given the younger man every reason to hate him.

“My point is, I know what it’s like to lose a brother. And I’ll be damned if I let that happen to Lisa.”

Barry’s brilliant idea of getting into A.R.G.U.S. turned out to involve using HR’s facial transmogrifier device to disguise himself as Lyla Michaels-Diggle to gain entry. If Len had still had arrest warrants out on him, they would have had ‘Lyla’ bringing him in in handcuffs to be locked up, but since he’d been pardoned after the Dominator Invasion, they would have to go with a slightly different approach.

They waited until the real Lyla had left the building, gave it another twenty minutes, and then walked in. Len would have preferred to wait a little while longer, but the clock was ticking on Iris’s life, and Barry was looking closer to losing it with every second that passed.

“Director Michaels,” one of the two guards at the security desk said as he saw them, “I thought you were en route to San Francisco.”

“Plans changed,” Barry-as-Lyla responded, “Mr. Snart and I have a few important things to discuss.”

“Captain Cold,” the guard gasped when he recognised Len.

“Just ‘Cold’,” Len corrected with a roll of his eyes, “The alliteration makes it sound like something out of a comic book.”

“We’re just headed to my office,” Barry told the guard.

The man nodded. “Of course. We’ll just need your ID.”

Barry stepped forward and held the fake A.R.G.U.S. ID Cisco had created up to the scanner. The computer beeped happily, accepting it.

“And your eye scan?”

Barry leaned over the retinal scanner and allowed it to do its work. HR’s transmogrifier was a work of genius; the computer also accepted that with no problem.

“You boys really dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” Len commented.

The guard ignored him. “Finally, Director Michaels, Elvis Banana.”

Len and Barry exchanged a nervous look. It was a code phrase, no doubt, but they had no idea how to respond. This hadn’t been in any of Cisco’s files.

Cisco clearly didn’t get it. “What the hell?”

“Search me,” HR commented before coming to the same conclusion as Len, “Elvis Banana. It’s word association! Barry must have to come up with the next correct words in the sequence!”

“Like, Peanut Butter Bacon!” Tracy chimed in.

“Kevin Bacon.”

“Melody Young.”

“James Brown Split!”

“Okay, Lenny, Barry, you’re gonna have to stall,” Lisa told them.

The security guard was getting suspicious. The second one, who hadn’t said or done anything since Len and Barry entered, stood up. “I repeat, Ma’am: Elvis Banana.”

But Barry obviously had no intention whatsoever of stalling. As if he were a trained secret agent himself, he vaulted over the security desk and proceeded to lay into the two guards, even though the metahuman power dampeners in the building kept him from using his super-speed. One of them got close enough for Len to whack him on the back of the head with his Cold Gun, and Barry punched the other one out.

Once they were sure the pair was out cold (no pun intended, seriously), Barry pulled out the transmogrifier and shut off the illusion of Lyla.

“My, my, my,” Len commented, climbing over the desk, “Getting rather violent in your young age.”

Barry ignored him. “Cisco, where to next?”

“Okay, you will take the… East elevator?” Cisco didn’t sound so sure of himself.

“They should take the West elevator,” Tracy could be heard correcting him.

“I agree with Tracy,” HR added.

“Yeah, that one goes further down,” Lisa agreed.

Cisco bowed to their advice. “Barry, take the West elevator!”

The West elevator took them down several stories; no doubt they were deep underground. Getting out on the bottom floor, Len and Barry found themselves walking down a dimly-lit concrete passageway, past heavily-reinforced doors. Len heard a loud roaring sound coming from behind one of them. “Who’s… ‘Grodd’?” he wondered aloud, reading the name off the security panel next to it, which also seemed to display a heart rate monitor.

“Telepathic gorilla,” Barry responded nonchalantly, “Have you not heard that story?”

“…I think I’d remember hearing that one.”

“Oh. Well, since you’ve been gone, I spared his life on another Earth, and he repaid the favor by invading this one. That’s what mercy gets you.”

That last comment disturbed Len a little. Barry was acting… out of character. He’d shown little to no concern for the two A.R.G.U.S. guards who were just doing their jobs, and his comment about mercy… it just wasn’t like Barry at all. Len wouldn’t have had much of a problem with it, himself, but this was Barry Allen. This was the same guy who always preferred to bring criminals in alive rather than dead, the guy who’d refused to kill his own father’s killer (although, yes, that also consisted of letting the bastard suffer a fate worse than death at the hands of the so-called Time Wraiths).

They passed a few more cells, belonging to someone named ‘Cheetah’ and ‘Cupid’. “Cupid,” Len murmured, “Is that the same chick I heard about last summer? The crazy archer who went on a couple of murder sprees?”

“Yep. This must be where Waller kept her Suicide Squad.”

Len had heard about that, too; the blackest-of-black-ops taskforce made up of captured criminals with bombs in their necks to keep them in line (and wasn’t that bringing back less-than-fond memories?). It had further explained why A.R.G.U.S. had had files on him, before he’d had Barry erase them; sure, he’d been a notorious thief with a powerful weapon, but bank robberies and diamond heists were somewhat beneath the notice of an agency such as this one. The old director must have been considering adding him to that Squad before the taskforce was shut down.

“I think this is it,” Barry said, drawing Len out of his musings. The speedster was standing further down a side hall; the only door in that one was at the very end, and even from a distance, Len could see a device similar to the one the Dominators had used to control their minds last December. That wasn’t a fond memory, either. “Cisco, we found it.”

Len could hear Barry both in person and over the comms, but something was up with the latter. It sounded like he was cutting in and out.

“Hello? Barry?” Cisco seemed to be having trouble hearing him, as well. “Barry, can you hear me?”

“Cisco?” For that matter, Barry seemed to be having trouble hearing Cisco.

“Barry, do you copy?”

Barry frowned in confusion and walked back over to where Len was standing further up the hall.

“Hey, Cisco, can you hear me?” Now the signal sounded clear, but as Len moved closer to the door, Cisco’s response became garbled and unintelligible. But Barry seemed to be able to hear him just fine, now. “Hey. Uh, so we found it, but… there seems to be some kind of signal interference at the end of the hall, and the lock is the Montgomery 3000.”

Len couldn’t tell what Cisco was saying, but he sounded worried. Poor, naïve amateurs. Meanwhile, Len pulled the panel off the wall and started making a few useful changes to the wiring. The Montgomery 3000 was one of those security systems that were more difficult to bypass legitimately than illegally, and despite needing three different verbal passcodes in three different voices, the whole system was painfully easy for someone of his skills to simply rewire. There were simply no safeguards against that.

Sure enough, Len soon heard the clicking of the door unlocking. “Thirty-seven seconds,” he bragged as Barry turned around, stunned, “I must be out of practice.” His record was twenty-nine seconds.

“Well, A.R.G.U.S. should ask for their money back,” Barry commented, in response to that and whatever Cisco said. Despite the audio cutting in and out, Len was pretty sure that he could hear little bits and pieces of his sister’s laughter.

The pair worked together to lift the heavy door up slightly; it didn’t fall back down when they let go of it, so at least neither one of them would have to stay there and hold it in place for the other. But something didn’t feel right…

“Make the plan,” Len muttered, only partially to himself, “Execute the plan…”

Without warning, Len was suddenly treated to an the unexpected sight of a huge shark appearing in the window, making a roaring sound that definitely did not normally come from sharks. Both Len and Barry jumped away from the window and pressed themselves up against the door, away from the window.

“…Expect the plan to go off the rails,” Barry continued.

A few seconds later, they heard the sound of heavy footsteps walking away from the door. “I’ve seen a lot of things,” Len commented in a whisper (sharks had excellent hearing, after all) as the two of them bent down in crouches, “But a half-man, half-shark takes the cake.”

“Wait, we didn’t tell you about King Shark, either?” Barry asked, keeping his voice down, as well.

“No, you did, but hearing stories about him second-hand is one thing. Seeing him in person? Well, that is something else entirely.”

“I can’t believe A.R.G.U.S. turned him into a guard dog.” Something in Barry’s eyes hardened. “Give me your Cold Gun.”

Len frowned. “So you can do what, exactly?”

“Snart, there’s only one way that tech’s getting outta here.”

“Oh, I see.” It was starting to make sense. “You didn’t just recruit me for my skills as a thief, did you? You wanted a partner who wouldn’t mind if you got all murder-y.”

The thing was, Len did mind. He’d long since accepted that, while he was trying to do things a little less ruthlessly, he was still on his team to do the things that the others weren’t comfortable with doing, morally. His job was to get his hands dirty so that they wouldn’t have to. But it seemed that Barry was becoming more willing to do it himself. And that thought disturbed Len more than it would have two years ago.

“I told you what I’m up against,” Barry reminded him, “Alright? Give me the Gun.”

Len decided to hand his weapon over to him, if only to see how far Barry was willing to take this.

Barry turned the Cold Gun on and stood up, aiming at King Shark through the window. “Open the door.” When Len didn’t move, he repeated himself. “Open the door!”

Len, however, was thinking about other ways to get this done. One of his guilty pleasures was watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel every summer. Mick preferred the movies with all the blood and gore and someone getting eaten and/or torn to shreds every ten minutes, but Len would rather see the real deal; it was far more informative. Although, he had to admit, this was the first time the information had ever come in handy on a heist. “Have you seen Shark Week, Barry? Me, I can’t get enough of it. Good thing the Waverider has cable.” Gideon hadn’t allowed him to watch any documentaries from the future, but he was still able to re-watch the old ones that he hadn’t seen in years. Sara had enjoyed ribbing him over his obsession, but Len had found an unexpected viewing partner in Amaya, who had a genuine interest in conserving wildlife of any kind.

Barry ducked back down as King Shark growled suspiciously. “What’s your point?”

“Most sharks are cold-blooded, much like reptiles.”

“He’s susceptible to cold,” Barry realised.

“Actually, the Great White Shark, like our friend here, is partially… warm-blooded, which makes him more resistant to cold than other shark species. But still, he never strays into water colder than fifty-three-point-six degrees Fahrenheit. If we lower the temperature in that room to fifty-three-point-five degrees, King Shark should fall asleep like a little baby. Or, you can go ahead and kill him, and prove what a badass you are. Your choice.”

Barry hesitated, then gave the Cold Gun back to Len.

Len quickly detached a specific piece of the Gun, making a few adjustments so that it wouldn’t bring the temperature down to sub-Arctic levels and cause problems for himself and Barry as well. “Throw away the plan,” he completed the list, and slid the part under the partially-open door. A thick vapour began to pour out of it, and Len could soon feel the chill even from the outside.

King Shark roared in confusion and rage, but before long, a loud thud told them that he’d passed out. Barry and Len lifted the door the rest of the way open, observing the large room before them. It was filled nearly up to their waists with the cold vapour, so high up that the unconscious King Shark couldn’t be seen at all. Not exactly comforting.

“By all means,” Len said, “you first.”

“Thanks,” Barry replied sarcastically. Len carefully followed behind him before moving to where he was pretty sure the Cold Gun component had landed. He nudged around with the toe of one boot until he found it, scooped it back up, and put it in his pocket.

A growl startled them both, but no movement could be seen. Len just hoped that that was King Shark’s version of a snore. “Reminds me of Jaws,” he murmured, “They didn’t show the shark because they couldn’t afford to make him look good.”

The pair stuck to the edge of the room, hoping that King Shark was dozing somewhere in the middle. Another, softer growl could be heard, the distinctive dorsal fin rising from the mist less than ten feet away from Barry. Len’s hand went for the Cold Gun, but he belatedly realised that he hadn’t properly put it back together, yet. Shit. Both he and Barry froze, holding their breath, until the fin slowly sank back into the mist and disappeared.

“How long do you think he’ll stay asleep?” Barry whispered.

Len gave him an annoyed look. “I like Shark Week. I’m not a marine biologist.”

Slowly, they made their way around the edge of the room until they got to the alien device. Barry climbed up onto the platform while Len kept watch. He could hear Barry slowly pulling the power source out.

That was the moment things went sideways. A.R.G.U.S. must have set up a failsafe triggered by the removal of the power source, because an alarm started blaring and the door began to drop back down.

Len and Barry bolted. Len stuck to the edge of the room like before while Barry charged straight through the spot where King Shark’s fin had appeared. As a result, he managed to reach the door and slide underneath it to relative safety before it slammed shut.

Len didn’t make it there quickly enough. He was painfully aware of the fact that Barry taking that path yet reaching the door unscathed meant that King Shark had moved, and that the beast was likely awake and stalking his prey.

“Snart!” Barry cried, looking at him desperately through the window.

“Barry! This place is gonna be crawling with A.R.G.U.S. agents in the next two minutes!” There was no way Barry would be able to somehow get him out and escape with the power source. He might not even be able to escape at all, even if he left Len for dead and left right this second. “Look on the bright side, Barry: this is your chance to show how ruthless you really are!” Barry looked around in a panic, obviously conflicted. Len checked over his shoulder; no sign of King Shark – yet. “Sometimes, you’ve gotta make the tough call, Barry.”

Len himself wasn’t so sure what he wanted Barry to do. On the one hand, they needed that power source in order to stop Savitar and save Iris’s life. On the other hand, Len wasn’t exactly all too eager to die, himself. Sara would probably march into A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters, retrieve whatever was left of him – even if she had to cut King Shark open to do it – and take all the remains back to Nanda Parbat in a time before the Lazarus Pit was destroyed and use said Pit to bring him back to life just so that she could kill him all over again herself.

He still had the Cold Gun on him, but after the adjustments he’d made after detaching that one piece, he’d need the Gun’s maintenance equipment and time – neither of which he had – before the weapon would be of any use to him against King Shark. The best he could probably do was to throw it into King Shark’s mouth and hope that the beast would choke on it.

Barry backed away from the door, but instead of making a run for it, he started talking frantically to Cisco over the comms. Inside the vault, Len couldn’t hear a damn thing that was being said. Several seconds later, Barry came back. “Cisco’s working on it,” he reported. Then he paled. “Whatever you do, don’t look behind you.”

So of course Len’s first reaction was to look behind him. Utter terror coursed through him as he took in the sight of King Shark getting to his feet, standing at his full height and looking at him with death in his cold, black eyes. “If Cisco saves my life, I swear to God, I won’t give him any more crap about dating my sister.”

That seemed to do trick, even though Barry never got the chance to pass the message on; just seconds later, the door started moving.

“Come on!” Barry shouted.

Len didn’t need to be told twice; he dropped down on all fours and began crawling under the gap. He was almost through when something large wrapped around his right ankle in a crushing grip and started to drag him back into the room.

Barry dove for his hands and grabbed them. “I’ve got you! I’ve got you!” He pulled Len back out, but King Shark wasn’t giving up without a fight. As soon as his left foot was clear, Len planted it against the door and shoved, trying to break free. “Cisco, now!” Barry shouted, “Close it!”

The door came down on King Shark’s hand, severing it at the wrist and spattering his blood all over the floor. Len scrambled away as soon as his foot came free. “Ouch,” he commented, vividly recalling his own personal experience with severing a limb, “Been there.”

Gasping for breath, he and Barry climbed to their feet and peered through the window, trying to avoid stepping in any shark-man blood. King Shark held up his stub of a right wrist, and all three of them watched in morbid fascination as it literally regrew in seconds. He roared one more time at them in fury and frustration.

“Let’s get outta here,” Barry suggested breathlessly.

Len was in total agreement with him on that one. However, they only took a few steps away from the door before freezing at the sight of several armed A.R.G.U.S. agents blocking their path. Lyla stood at the head of the group, and she looked pissed. “Barry,” she growled, “Snart.”

Len started to rethink his chances against King Shark.

Instead of immediately throwing them into cells, Lyla and the A.R.G.U.S. guards escorted Len and Barry back up to the main floor. “I told you I couldn’t give this to you,” she scolded Barry, brandishing the power source she’d plucked from his hands.

“Yeah,” Barry mumbled.

“And you snuck in here anyway?!”

“To save Iris’s life, Lyla, yeah. I’ll do anything.”

Lyla’s gaze softened slightly. “Not anything. I saw the whole thing on the security monitors. You could’ve left Snart to die. But you risked your freedom and Iris’s life to save him.” She stared at Barry for several long seconds, then she sighed and held out the Dominator power source.

Barry hesitantly took it. “You’re just gonna let me have it?”

“I couldn’t let Iris die knowing that that could save her. And I know you’d do the same thing for me if it were John’s life on the line.”

“Thank you. How is John, by the way? Felicity sent us an email about that whole thing on Lian Yu last week, but…”

“He’s pretty shaken up. They all are. Thankfully, nearly everyone on our side got out alive, except for Samantha. Well, and Malcolm Merlyn, but you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t shed any tears over him.”

Len raised an eyebrow at that as Barry shrugged and nodded. Either the Reverse Flash had actually recruited Merlyn from some point in the future and Merlyn wasn’t really dead, or he would eventually be put back in his own place in time. Which would suggest that the Waverider crew might win. That was actually somewhat encouraging.

“And Thea? Has there been any change?”

Lyla only shook her head sadly. What on Earth were they talking about? “Now, go. Do it. Save Iris.”

Barry nodded his thanks one last time and headed to the exit.

Lyla turned to Len. “As for you, you’re pushing your luck, breaking into this place just months after getting a full pardon.”

Len shrugged. “Oh, I’m well aware of that, believe me. But it’s not like the risk of having a warrant out for my arrest has ever deterred me in the past. Not to mention, my own fiancée would gut me if I stood by and refused to help Barry save his.”

Lyla blinked, then smiled as the penny dropped. “Congratulations. Are you and your team staying long, or should I pass the news along? We really could use some good news after last week.”

“We might be leaving sooner rather than later. We’re honestly not sure. Check with your husband tomorrow, and if he hasn’t heard the news yet, you can tell him and the rest of Team Arrow. Just make sure Sara’s dad is sitting down when he hears it. Can I go, now?”

Lyla nodded, and stood aside and allowed him to follow Barry. “Wait, Snart?”

Len paused mid-step and turned around to look back at her.

“Is the Montgomery 3000 really that easy to get past?” This was said in a tone filled with resigned embarrassment.

Len smirked back. “Yep. You might want to consider asking for a refund on that thing. And arrange for some retraining for those two guards Barry and I took down. Barry did most of the work there, without his powers, and he’s not the one with a trained assassin for a sparring partner. The shark-man, however, that’s worth keeping around. That one was the real stumbling block.”

“What happened to Thea?” Len asked as he tried to get his balance back (he hated being dragged around by a speedster, but it was most efficient way to quickly get to and from A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters in Star City on a time limit like theirs), “What the hell were you two talking about?”

Barry bit his lip. “Prometheus happened. He and his allies kidnapped nearly all of Team Arrow and some other people in Oliver’s life and took them to Lian Yu to lure Oliver there. I don’t know all the details, but it ended with the entire island blowing up. Oliver’s side had two fatalities – Malcolm Merlyn and a woman named Samantha Clayton – and Thea’s in a coma. But… if you could tell Sara… I think she needs to know that Black Siren… you know, Earth-2 Laurel…”

“I know.”

“She was there. And she’s dead. I don’t know if that’s something to be happy about, but…”

Len nodded. “But Sara deserves to know. Thanks.”

“Tell me, Snart,” Barry asked after an awkward pause, “Did you think I had it in me? To leave you behind?” They walked up to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Mick had parked the Jump Ship after Len had called him on the way out of the building, and could see Lisa, who’d apparently gone out to say hi and catch up with Mick, climbing out and waiting by it.

“I wasn’t sure,” Len admitted, “I’ve always known you had the potential to be as ruthless as they come. Your history made sure of that, same as mine. Who knows? Maybe that’s why we get along. You see the good in me, I see the bad in you.”


Len stopped and turned around to face him. “Piece of advice: stop trying to beat Savitar at his own game. Your… goodness… is your strength. Call me sentimental… I think the Flash should remain a hero.”

That finally brought a smile to Barry’s face. “Take care of yourself, Snart.” He held out his hand to shake, and Len took it. Then Barry zipped off into the building, armed with what he needed to build his weapon and save the love of his life.

Len then approached the Jump Ship and his sister, who hugged him tightly. “No more getting stuck in shark tanks,” she practically ordered him, “I mean it.”

“I can promise you that I will do my damn best to actively avoid landing in such a situation again.”

“I wish you didn’t have to go so soon,” she whispered.

“I know,” he responded, “But we’ve got a lead on something really important, and we can’t afford to waste a second going after it. If our enemies get their hands on it first… They’ll change the world. And not in a good way. The only reason I was even able to come here today is because we’re still waiting on Gideon to get some results.” He hesitated, then made his decision. “Once this whole thing with Savitar is over, there’s something Barry and the others need to know. Don’t tell them until you all can actually afford the distraction, but… The guys we’re up against, they’re being led by Eobard Thawne.”

Lisa finally let him go, pulling away so that Len could see the frown on her face. “Thawne? Like the cop who died two years ago?”

“His descendant from the future, actually. You might have some more familiarity with his alias… The Reverse Flash.”

Understanding dawned in her eyes. “You mean- The Harrison Wells impostor? The asshat who killed Barry’s mother? And killed Cisco in an alternate timeline?! I thought he was dead!”

“Yes and no. Eddie Thawne killed himself to wipe Eobard out of existence, but apparently, him being a speedster makes it a little more complicated. He’s probably one of those Time Remnant things, too, and he’s looking for something that’ll keep him from getting erased completely. And God only knows what his co-conspirators will do with it. So we have to get this artifact first.”

Lisa hugged him again. “Just be careful, for God’s sake. I don’t want to see Mick and Sara standing alone on my doorstep again.”

Len nodded against the side of her head before pulling away. “Take care of yourself, Trainwreck.” He grinned at her one last time before climbing into the back of the Jump Ship, where Mick was waiting and drinking a beer. A box similar to the one Cisco had given Len, probably containing Mick’s own under-armour, was sitting on one of the seats. “If I didn’t know how well you can hold your beer, I’d be getting right out and calling the Waverider to pick me up.”

Mick grunted. “Whatever. Could’ve asked to stay here longer; it’s been damn boring, just waiting around for Haircut and Mini-Stein’s contraption to get us some results. The only excitement was Haircut planning that stupid party of his for you and watchin’ the first Harry Potter movie since Amaya hasn’t seen it.”

“Hey, you’re the one who said you didn’t want to come along. Tell you what: next time, I’ll lounge around the ship, and you can get yourself locked in a room with a giant, walking, hungry shark-man.”

Chapter Text

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

The rest of the team was hanging out in Rip’s study when Len and Mick returned from Central City 2017, laughing and chatting while watching the opening credits of ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’. Sara was the first to notice them, smiling at Len and moving so that he could slide into the same (thankfully large) chair as his fiancée. “Good timing, guys. We just started.”

“What time is it?”

“Uh… midnight. We decided to keep the time of day consistent, remember?”

Oh, yes. Len remembered how that rule had come to be. About a month before the disaster in 1942, Rip had made the mistake of having them leave one time period at nine o’clock at night after a particularly exhausting week-long mission, and then immediately going to deal with another Aberration – arriving at the crack of dawn in the second time period, with no break in between. This resulted in the entire crew – already ready to drop – awake for more than forty-eight hours. And that had resulted in a near-mutiny, after which Rip agreed to have the Waverider follow a set clock. If they left one time period at seven o’clock and hung around in the Temporal Zone for an hour before going to a new one, they would arrive at their destination at eight o’clock.

“And you’re starting a movie now?”

“Dr. Palmer insisted,” Stein told them, getting out of his chair as he spoke, “We have already watched the first film while you were gone. I, for one, am going to bed. I shall see you all in the morning.”

Most of the others bid him goodnight, but Mick just wandered over to his empty chair. “There’s still drinks, right?” Amaya passed him a can of beer from a cooler at her feet, and the arsonist took it before flopping down where the Professor previously sat.

“Did you at least have some fun?” Sara asked, snuggling a bit closer.

“Well, I got locked in a room with King Shark,” Len admitted, “Does that fit your idea of fun?”

Raymond choked on his popcorn and scrambled for the remote to pause the movie, Len’s tale apparently being far more interesting in the geek’s eyes.

He wasn’t wrong, Len thought.

“Who’s this… King Shark?” Amaya asked, exchanging a bewildered look with Heywood.

“He’s a metahuman from Earth-2, who basically mutated into a giant half-man, half-shark,” Jax told them.

Both the newbies stared at him. “No, seriously.”

“I’m serious!” Jax protested before turning to the others, “Back me up here, guys!”

“I nearly got eaten by him today,” Len pointed out, “Trust me, that thing’s real, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.” He lifted his right leg and rolled his jeans up a bit to show off the already-darkening skin. “He’s got a damn strong grip.”

Sara gasped. “How did you not get eaten?!”

“Cisco shut a nuclear-bomb-proof door on his hand and sort of recreated my escape from the Orion, minus the freezing.” Everyone winced, particularly Mick, since it had been his (or Chronos’s) fault. Len saw Amaya about to ask again. “Don’t ask.”

Sara poked Len. “Well, you’d better not get eaten by a shark. I kind of need you to show up alive at the wedding.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be there.”

“What wedding?” Heywood asked confusedly, “Who do we know who’s getting married?”

Len looked over at Sara. “He still hasn’t figured it out?”

She shrugged. “I wasn’t overly aggressive with dropping hints.” Giving up, she turned to Heywood and held up her left hand, showing him the ring. “Len proposed last night, and you’re the only one who hasn’t noticed.”

Heywood’s jaw dropped.

“To be fair, most of you guys knew ahead of time,” Raymond commented.

Heywood shook off the shock and his face broke into a wide grin. “Congratulations, you guys!” He got up out of his chair and went over to hug them both at once.

Len was not pleased at the historian’s sudden invasion of his personal space, but he held his tongue and settled for a scowl until Heywood backed off. “Well, it turns out it’s not just us. Seems that between this visit and our last, Barry and Iris also got engaged.”

“Really?!” Raymond cried, beaming, “Awesome! Have they set a date, yet?”

“Not that I know of, but with Savitar pretty much done for, it’ll probably be soon.” He sighed. “In other, more depressing news, that guy Prometheus tried to kill all of Team Arrow and some other people Queen knows last week. Most of them got out alright, but Thea’s in a coma. They don’t know if or when she’s going to come out of it.”

Sara gasped. “What?!” Right, she’d known Thea since they were kids.

“Oh my God,” Raymond breathed, “We have to do something.”

“Can we get her onto the Waverider and use Gideon to heal her?” Amaya suggested.

Sara bit her lip. “I don’t know. I mean, yes, Gideon could probably help, but if Thea’s hurt badly enough that the trip could kill her…”

Nate reflexively looked up at the ceiling. “Gideon, can you hack Star City General’s database to check Thea Queen’s condition?”

As it turned out, it would, but thankfully Team Flash was willing to help out, there. It was a complicated operation; Rene Ramirez and Curtis Holt distracted hospital personnel while Barry and Wally ran both Thea and Queen (who wouldn’t leave his sister’s side during the process) to the Waverider’s Med Bay. Since she got to Gideon much more quickly than normal, her heart hadn’t had time to stop before the advanced medical tech kicked in, saving her. Felicity waited in the hospital room with a bit of future tech that fooled the monitors into thinking Thea was still there. Once she was stable enough to move, the Queen siblings were brought back to the hospital to make her recovery as believable as possible.

Team Arrow was overjoyed to have their friend on her way to recovery, but the news from Team Flash was less than pleasing. The power source that Len had helped Barry steel had turned out to be useless; Savitar had countered the super-weapon and supposedly killed Iris, only it later turned out that it had been HR using his hologram tech to disguise himself as her and take her place. The team had just buried him, and once Thea was back in the hospital, Barry and Wally had to head right back to Central to finish dealing with Savitar.

After that, the Legends tried to distract themselves by continuing their Harry Potter movie marathon. They got all the way through ‘Chamber of Secrets’ and ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ by lunchtime (Amaya agreed with Heywood’s assessment that Dementors were ‘creepy and easy to spot’), and then Len left, although he asked Gideon to let him know when they were almost at Umbridge’s first scene in ‘Order of the Phoenix’ (he enjoyed watching Mick curse at the TV whenever she was on screen).

He went through the process of restoring his Cold Gun after dismantling it the day before, and had only just finished when Gideon asked everyone to report to the Bridge.

“What’s goin’ on?” Heywood was asking when Len arrived.

“Lily’s algorithm finally located a piece of the Spear of Destiny,” Sara told him.

“When?” Raymond asked, “I mean, I know just now, but when and where are we headed?”

Gideon answered that one. “Detroit. The year 3000 AD.”

“A journey into the distant future!” Stein said gleefully as he got into his Jump Seat, “How exciting!”

“Speak for yourself,” Heywood griped.

Jax looked at him in amused disbelief. “C’mon, man, who doesn’t like the future?”

“I like history,” their resident historian reminded them, “Yeah, I know it’s filled with terror and violence, but the future is-”

“Uncertain?” Stein guessed.

“Yeah. And it freaks me out a little.”

“Then just stay on the ship,” Amaya suggested.

“You think I should stay on the ship?” As if her opinion had any say in what he chose to do.

Amaya shrugged indifferently. “I don’t care. It’s up to you.”

Any further discussion had to be put on hold as Sara hit the throttle and began the Time Jump.

Saturday, September 6th, 3000

“I am a time-travel professional!” Heywood protested as soon as they landed in Detroit, “If you need me to visit the future, I can visit the future!”

“And I’m just saying it’s entirely up to you!” Amaya repeated in frustration.

What the hell was going on between those two?

“And I’m just saying: shut up!” Sara snapped, “Nate will stay on the ship, the rest of us will go find the Spear.”

“Unfortunately,” Gideon interrupted, “the Medallion is no longer sensing the presence of the Spear fragment.”

Everyone sighed in frustration. “So… we came here for nothing,” Raymond complained.

“Maybe not,” Mick disagreed as Sara got up to look at the nearest screen on the central console, “Gideon, do they have booze in the year 3000?”

But Sara appeared to have a different idea. “Better yet, Gideon, do you have the last position of the fragment?”

The coordinates Gideon gave them led the team (minus a pouting Heywood) to the lab of a medical research company called ‘Chapel & Cross Research’. The team was able to sneak past the guards rather easily (Gideon managed to hack their security system) and take the emergency stairwell to the second floor before making their way to the appropriate lab.

The room was mostly dark when they entered, although there were screens lit up with some sort of blue and red display that Len couldn’t make heads or tails of. “Could somebody find a light switch, or something?” Len complained.

“The hell does a light switch look like in the year 3000?” Jax wondered. The lights turned on seconds later, and after he blinked a couple times to adjust, Len saw their youngest team member standing next to an ordinary-looking light switch from the present day. “Yeah, I guess there’s not many places you can go with a light switch.”

“Everything else is leaps and bounds beyond our current science,” Stein commented, referring to the weird architecture of the room, the odd light fixtures, and the (visibly broken) screens that were located deeper into the room. There was also shattered glass on the floor, along with smeared blood and…

“I can’t believe you find the tech more interesting than the dead body,” Len pointed out.

Stein, who’d bent down and picked something up off the floor, whipped around to stare in shock at the dead man in white sprawled in a pool of blood at the far end of the room. Sara got to the body first and rolled it over, revealing him to be a black man around fifty years old.

Amaya gasped and covered her mouth. She looked… horrified. And she had never reacted so strongly over dead bodies before…

“Amaya?” Sara asked softly.

Amaya knelt down beside the body. “Charles…” she whispered.

“How do you know the stiff?” Mick asked bluntly.

“This is Dr. Mid-Nite of the Justice Society.”

“What’s a member of the JSA doing this far into the future?” Stein questioned.

“Rest in Peace,” Mick murmured, staring at the bloody floor.

“That’s sweet, Mick,” Amaya told him gratefully.

“No, it’s what he wrote on the floor.” Mick pointed, and sure enough, when Len looked closer, he saw the letters R, I, and P written in blood on the floor. “R.I.P.”

Len frowned. He seriously doubted that Mid-Nite’s last act was to write his own epitaph. Especially not if he had been murdered…

“That’s not Rest in Peace,” Jax realised.

“That’s the name of Dr. Mid-Nite’s killer,” Sara concluded darkly.

Amaya glared angrily at her.

“I just don’t get it,” Heywood said – for what had to be the third time since they returned to the Waverider and told him what they’d found.

“Please be more specific,” Stein requested, “That could be a very long list.”

“Okay, even assuming the Legion took the Spear fragment from here, how did they know it was here?”

“Without the Medallion, you mean?”

“Rip must have told them,” Sara stated, “Somehow he remembers where the pieces of the Spear are.”

“Well, then,” Amaya growled, “It’s a good thing you let him escape.”

The tension in the room increased tenfold. Amaya had been silently angry all the way back to the ship, but Len was willing to bet that most of the team had assumed that her anger was directed solely towards Rip. But Len had seen that first look she’d aimed at Sara; he knew that she blamed her for Rip even having the chance to kill Dr. Mid-Nite.

Sara met Amaya’s glare with a cold gaze of her own. “Do you want to say something to me?”

Amaya stood up. “Jax told me about how he was going to kill Rip in 1776, and about how you stopped him.”

“Because we’re not killers, Amaya.”

“Except for yourself,” Stein pointed out, “and Mr. Snart and Mr. Rory…” Sara and Len both glared at him. “I’ll stop helping, now.”

“I’m not condoning murder,” Amaya insisted, “But the JSA would have captured Hunter without regard for sentiment.”

“You think I let Rip go because of sentiment?”


Heywood cut in: “Alright, let’s just all take a breath-”

Sara ignored him. “I am sorry that your friend got killed. And it may be sentimental, but my team comes before tactics.”

Amaya got right in Sara’s face. “And as a result, you’ve put the whole of reality at risk! Maybe this is why your team loses so often.” She stormed out of Rip’s study.

“Just curious,” Len called towards her retreating back, “Exactly how were they supposed to capture Rip when Sara had just been shot and Jax only had the one pistol?”

“And there were a bunch of British soldiers approaching,” Sara added in an undertone.

“That, too.”

Amaya didn’t answer, simply leaving the bridge in silent fury.

“Pardon the interruption,” Gideon chimed in.

“Excellent timing, Gideon,” Stein commented in relief.

“Your daughter Lily’s algorithm has identified a location for another piece of the Spear.”

“Well, when it rains, it pours,” Heywood murmured.

“Where is it, Gideon?” Sara asked.

One screen in the study flickered and showed a map. “A small island known as Britannia in the year 507 AD,” Gideon answered.

Wednesday, February 21st, 507 AD

Len checked his crossbow one more time, idly recalling that just one year ago, he hadn’t even touched one. Rip had insisted that they learn how to handle some of the more old-fashioned types of weapons – and then handed the responsibility of actually teaching them all to Sara. And Mick, once he held his own quite easily against the assassin in their first swordfight and reminded them all of what the Time Masters had taught him. Len was fairly okay with a sword, but he had gravitated towards the crossbow as his primary weapon when they had to go period-appropriate in the pre-firearms era.

Sara and Amaya (who now weren’t really talking to each other) had already left in their sixth-century dresses, and Jax was in one of the changing stalls. From the content of the hushed cursing coming from that direction, Len guessed that the kid was having a spot of trouble with his Moorish turban. Mick and Stein had opted out of going on this trip, and Raymond and Heywood were still with Len in the fabrication room.

“Medieval England,” Heywood was saying as he grabbed the metal glove Raymond had just had fabricated, “See, this is what I’m talking about: a nice, well-documented piece of history.” He sounded much happier than he’d been in 3000.

Raymond, meanwhile, was playing with his sword (the only reason Len wasn’t getting the hell out of there was because the inventor had become reasonably competent with the weapon under Mick and Sara’s tutelage). The nerd was wearing chainmail armour similar to what Len had put on, with the addition of a chainmail hood, while Heywood was apparently going for a peasant look. “Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, and best of all, jousts!” He mimed thrusting a lance with his blade.

“Well, jousting didn’t appear in England until 1300 AD,” Heywood corrected him.

Raymond waved his sword in Heywood’s face with a slightly manic gleam in his eye. “Don’t take this away from me.”

Heywood pushed the sword away. “Raymond,” he scolded lightly.

Len decided to add his own two cents. “Raymond, put the sword away before you hurt yourself, or more importantly, someone else.”

Raymond pouted, but he finally sheathed the large, sharp object – which was the safest thing he’d done with it since Gideon had produced it two minutes ago. “Just forget about history for once, alright? We’re in the age of legend!”

“Well, remember what Santayana once said: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’”

“Was he a knight? I don’t remember his name. And I was pretty obsessed with Arthurian lore as a kid.”

Heywood hummed. “Well, if you were, you would know that there were no jousts.”

Raymond’s face fell. “Oh. Well, agree to disagree.” He stuck his hand out for a handshake.

“Fair,” Heywood admitted, and then handed Raymond the glove in lieu of an actual handshake.

“Dammit, how am I supposed to wear this thing?!” Jax finally cried in frustration.

Heywood sighed and went to rescue the mechanic from his own turban.

“Look, all I’m saying is, the stories you grew up on are just that: they’re stories, alright?” Len rolled his eyes as Heywood continued giving them a history lecture. He’d been going on and on and on about how popular portrayals of this era were horribly inaccurate and how they were all going to stick out like sore thumbs, yada, yada, yada. “The medieval world was a time of turmoil. It was the collapse of Rome, which led to the collapse of civilization itself. And don’t even get me started on health and sanitation.”

“Yeah, please don’t,” Sara requested.

Heywood got himself started on it, anyway. “Cholera, diphtheria, uh, typhoid fever, and I’m not even touching skin diseases.”

“Speaking of which,” Amaya interrupted, “Why did you choose to dress like a leper?”

“I didn’t. This is historically accurate. You all look like you’re going to a Renaissance Fair.”

Suddenly, Sara stopped them.

“What is it?” Raymond asked.

“We’re being followed.”

Len looked around. He couldn’t see anything, but he trusted Sara’s instincts and shifted his grip on his crossbow, anyway.

Heywood was still more focused on making his point. “And, by the way, even if I was a leper, it would be way less obvious than a bunch of knights in shining armor.”

All of a sudden, there was a loud rustling all around them. What they’d thought were ordinary bushes dropped down, revealing knights in shining armour wielding swords. Sara pulled out her batons, and Len raised his crossbow, but they were completely surrounded. A white horse approached from behind some trees, carrying one knight with a shield decorated with some sort of crest.

“Wait!” Raymond cried, “I mean, ho! I mean- I mean, hark! Good knight, we intend you no harm! We are but mere travelers in this land!”

“Your dialect is way off,” Heywood hissed, as if the translator pills they’d taken before leaving (set to Old English) wouldn’t fix that.

“I, Raymond of the Palms, and my band of Merry Men – and Women – humbly request safe passage to Camelot, and an audience with King Arthur!”

Heywood groaned.

“King Arthur?!” Amaya whispered incredulously.

“Even I know he wasn’t real,” Len hissed.

“Yeah, I can see his crest on the shield!” Raymond defended excitedly, pointing.

The mounted knight holding that shield set it down and took off his helmet. Or rather, her helmet. The woman shook her long, brown hair loose before speaking to them. “I am Guinevere. We shall escort you to Camelot.”

Holy shit.

“But your leper must remain outside the castle walls.”

Len smirked as Heywood complained: “I’m not a leper!”

Queen Guinevere and her knights kept their word, and escorted them safely to a huge, walled city. Many of the townsfolk stopped in their tasks and stared at the strange newcomers. Some of them visibly recoiled from Heywood until he got tired of it and pulled off his leper’s hat.

They were led into the castle at the heart of the city, and into a room with a large, round table in the centre, occupied by seven men, although several other spots were empty. Two other long tables were placed on either side of the chamber, and many men and women sat there, eating. A huge boulder in the back of the room caught Len’s eye. Or, more specifically, the shiny hilt of the sword stuck inside it – Excalibur. All heads turned when Guinevere led the Legends inside.

“Still think this is just a story?” Raymond murmured to Heywood.

“This place shouldn’t exist,” Heywood whispered back through clenched teeth, twisting his hat in his hand agitatedly.

Raymond bowed to one of the men at the Round Table. Unlike the others, who were dressed in armour, this man wore a red cape and a gold crown. Three guesses who that was supposed to be.

“There’s no need of that here,” King Arthur told Raymond, standing, “We are all equal in the court of Camelot.”

“That’s why I love this guy,” Raymond breathed, a big grin on his face.

“Our paths crossed in the wood while tracking the Black Knight, Your Grace,” Guinevere reported.

King Arthur’s face hardened in suspicion. “How are we to know that they’re not in league with that vile rogue?” The knight at his right hand stood, as well.

“Ray?” Sara quietly prompted.

Raymond, who apparently had become their spokesperson for this time period, spoke up. “Your Grace, I swear, we are not your enemies.” Was that a British accent he was suddenly trying to imitate? “We are warriors, on a quest, a race against evil.”

King Arthur still eyed them with mistrust. “A great evil haunts my land these many days, kidnapping my noble Knights of the Round Table. Therefore, it shall fall on my wisest advisor to measure the truth of your words.”

“Oh, please don’t say it,” Heywood groaned.

“Summon Merlin!”

Heywood threw up his hands in exasperation.

A hooded figure, carrying a tall staff, emerged from a side entrance and slowly made his way towards him. Raymond grinned like he was about to meet his favourite movie star.

“Get ready to fight our way out of here if Merlin rules against us,” Sara told her team in an undertone.

Merlin pulled back his hood, and…

An unexpectedly familiar face stared back at them, significantly older than when they had last seen it, but still much younger – and much more feminine – than they’d expected.

“That’s Stargirl!” Heywood gasped.

Amaya pushed her way to the front of the group. “What are you doing in Camelot?!”

Stargirl seemed at a loss for words. “A-Amaya?!”

King Arthur looked between the two women, confused. “Merlin, do you know these people?”

Stargirl snapped out of her shock and nodded. “Yes, Your Grace. Amaya is an old friend that I have not seen in many years, since before I came to this land. And while I do not know her companions quite as well, I have met them before, and I am confident that they would never support the Black Knight.”

That turned King Arthur’s mood right around. “Well, if they are old comrades of yours, then they shall be welcomed as honoured guests.”

The Legends breathed sighs of relief. “Thank you, Your Grace,” Sara thanked the king, “I am Sara Lance; I lead this group.” A few eyebrows raised, but the various knights and ladies did not react badly to her statement. “This is Raymond Pa- of the Palms, Leonard Snart, Nathaniel Heywood, and Jefferson Jackson.” She pointed to each of the men in turn.

The King smiled and took Sara’s hand, gently kissing it in greeting, and nodded to each member of her team as they were introduced. “You are welcome to join us for dinner, if you wish.”

Sara smiled and agreed. “Thank you, we will. But if don’t mind, could we please borrow Sta- ah, Merlin, for a few minutes? It’s been quite a long time since we’ve seen each other.”

“Of course. Take all the time you wish.”

The original plan was for the whole team to go back to the Waverider with Stargirl, but Raymond was still geeking out over Camelot being real and all, and he wanted to stay and see the place in more detail. Guinevere was happy to give them a tour of the kingdom, so while Jax, Raymond, and Heywood took her up on that offer, Len and the ladies trooped back to the ship.

Stargirl sighed happily as the four of them entered the bridge. “This ship. It never ceases to amaze me.”

“Well, speaking of amazing,” Sara began, “Merlin?”

“Just an identity I adopted to fit into this era.”

“But what are you even doing in this era?” Amaya repeated her earlier question.

“Let me guess,” Len voiced his opinion, “It has something to do with the Spear of Destiny.”

Stargirl blinked in shock.

“We found Dr. Mid-Nite in the year 3000,” Sara explained.

“Charles is dead, Courtney,” Amaya told her old teammate softly, “We think he was killed because he possessed a piece of the Spear.”

Stargirl – Courtney – winced at the news of Dr. Mid-Nite’s death, but kept her composure. “What do you know about the JSA’s final mission?”

“Obsidian told me in 1987 that the JSA disappeared after a trip to Leipzig in 1956.”

“The mission was to recover the Spear of Destiny and keep it from falling into enemy hands.”

“And how was it that you were all scattered throughout time?” Sara pressed.

“We were joined on our mission by someone who called himself a ‘Time Master’.”

Len, Sara, and Amaya all exchanged looks, quickly putting the pieces together. “Rip Hunter.”

“Yes. Your old Captain. Although, he didn’t seem to believe us, at first, when we mentioned any of you. Then he told us not to tell him anything, something about our past being his future.”

“It’s like when we showed up and started talking about having met Rex Tyler,” Len guessed, “The Rip Hunter you met had to have been a past version, one who hadn’t even thought of recruiting us, yet.”

Courtney nodded in acceptance of his explanation and continued her story. “He said the Spear could alter reality itself, that it was too powerful for any man or woman to possess. So we broke it into four separate pieces. Captain Hunter took one.”

“And took the rest of you to three different time periods,” Amaya realised.

“When I arrived in Camelot, it was a middling kingdom. Once I got over my surprise over the fact that it was real at all, to help me protect my piece of the Spear, I fashioned it into the legendary court of King Arthur, and his Knights of the Round Table, just like in the stories I’d read years ago.”

“Which stories?” The four of them turned around to see Stein walking in, Mick following behind him with an open bag of chips in hand. The Professor stopped when he recognised Courtney. “Ah, who are- Stargirl?”

She smiled. “Hello, Professor. You haven’t aged a day in the past… Well, it’s been about twenty years for me.”

Stein looked back and forth between her and the other three. “I- I- I- How are you here?”

“Long story short, Rip found the Spear in 1956 with the JSA,” Len explained, “They went MIA because he took them to three different time periods, each with a piece of the Spear. You wouldn’t happen to know when and where Old Man Heywood is, would you?” He was, of course, directing the question to Courtney.

She shook her head. “Sorry, no. Henry was the last of us to be dropped off, and I didn’t even know where he left Charles until you told me; Henry and I were kept in a different room during the drop-off and were never told. That way, if someone found one of us, they couldn’t give the others up.”

“So where’s your piece?” Mick grunted through a fistful of chips.

Courtney’s expression darkened. “Why do you want to know?”

“Because someone’s after the Spear,” Sara answered, “Three very dangerous people.”

Four very dangerous people,” Amaya corrected her.

“Until we get Rip back and fix what they did to him.”

“Before or after he kills more people?!”

Courtney looked between the two of them, confused. “Wait, what are you two talking about?”

Stein cleared his throat awkwardly. “I- I’m afraid that our enemies, the group that is pursuing the Spear of Destiny, have captured and brainwashed Captain Hunter. He may have been the one to kill Dr. Mid-Nite, and he knows where all the pieces of the Spear are located. So… there is a good chance that he and the Legion are on their way here right now.”

“Unless they’re going after Henry first,” Amaya added darkly.

“My point,” Stein pushed forward, in order to avoid further argument on what to do about Rip, “is that it is of paramount importance that we secure the next piece of the Spear, as they already have two in their possession.”

“So where is it, Courtney?” Amaya repeated Mick’s question, “We can’t protect it if we don’t know where it is.”

Courtney pursed her lips. “It’s in a safe place within the royal palace. As long as Camelot stands, your… Legion… will never be able to get it.”

Despite the Legends continuing to press her for details, Courtney never gave up anything else about the location of her Spear fragment; she just kept emphasising, over and over again, that it was safe.

Len was certain that Dr. Mid-Nite had felt the same way about his piece, and look at how that ended for him.

Since hiking back and forth between the Waverider’s original landing site and Camelot would become tiresome quite quickly, Sara and Gideon were able to locate another suitable location much closer to the walled city, which meant that Len, Sara, Amaya, and Courtney were able to get back to the palace in time for dinner. The Legends actually got to sit at the actual Round Table, eating well-prepared meat and vegetables and bread.

Len and Sara sat in between Raymond and Queen Guinevere. “Your tracking in the woods was excellent,” Sara complimented the Queen, “There’s not many people that can get the jump on me like that.”

“I was a warrior long before I was Queen,” Guinevere informed her.

“Why does it sound like you preferred that?”

“Politics is not one of my passions,” Guinevere admitted, “But Arthur is a true friend and ally. And I believe in his vision for a more just and peaceful kingdom.”

“Well, from what I see,” Len interjected, “Camelot lives up to its reputation. Where is the good King, anyway?” For King Arthur had been absent when they returned to the castle, and had yet to show up for dinner.

“He’s on the hunt. No doubt chasing a boar through the brush as we speak.”

Len smirked. “Sounds like fun.”

Sara snorted. “Yeah, unless the boar gores you to death.” She smirked back at his surprised look. “Yes, Len, I’ve hunted boar. And other animals. How do you think the… my old trainers and I fed ourselves?”

Guinevere looked intrigued. “You are a hunter, as well?”

“My training was primarily warrior training, but animals made half-decent practice targets.”

The Queen asked Sara a few more questions about her training, and the former assassin did her best to keep her answers vague; they knew that the League of Assassins was already well-established by this time, but were unsure if those in Camelot had heard of it, and if so, how well they would receive the fact that Sara was a former member.

A trumpet fanfare suddenly sounded behind them. Len twisted around in his seat to see the main doors to the hall opening up, with two trumpeters entering on either side. King Arthur must have returned.

Sure enough, the king entered next, alongside a man in jet-black armour with chains around his wrists. A few more knights came in behind him. “Arthur has captured the Black Knight!” Guinevere gasped.

Len frowned. There was something… off… about the way the Black Knight was chained up.

The Knight was shoved down onto his knees as Courtney stood and walked over to them, a relieved smile on her face. “Arthur, I was beginning to-” She gasped as Arthur suddenly grabbed her by the arms, spun her around, and pressed a dagger to her throat.

The Legends, Guinevere, and various knights rose to their feet in shock. Len reached for his crossbow with one hand and the quiver full of bolts in the other, noting out of the corner of his left eye that Jax was also reaching for his sword.

The Black Knight stood, casually dropping the chains that had only been loosely looped around his wrists, and then removed his helmet. “Sorry about the ruse,” Damien Darhk ‘apologised’, “But it was the only way to get inside. Oh! Hey, guys!” The last was directed at the Legends, as if he were one friend cheerfully greeting another. “I see you’ve met my friend Arthur, here.”

Throughout all this, Arthur kept a dead, blank, mindless expression. One of the other knights lifted the king’s helmet, revealing something glowing red near his ear – his long, blonde hair obscured it and kept them from seeing exactly what it was.

A second knight removed his own face-covering helmet; it was Rip, wearing some high-tech headgear that was glowing green. “Give us a smile, Arthur,” the former Time Master requested.

The king’s mouth curved upwards in a disturbing mockery of a smile.

“Arthur?” Courtney whispered.

“The King has left the building,” Darhk told her, smiling before realising that she didn’t seem to react to the joke, “You don’t get the reference? Pity.”

Rip stepped forward and looked Courtney in the eye. “Basically, your king now does anything I want him to do,” he explained coldly, “So if you don’t want him to spill your blood all over this floor, I suggest that you hand over your fragment of the Spear.”

“My patience is running short,” Darhk growled, tearing his gaze away from the Legends and turning to glare at Courtney as well, “The fragment. Where is it?”

Courtney glared back defiantly. “As long as I live, you will never have it.”

Len noticed movement on his right side, and glanced over to see Sara reaching for a knife on the table behind them. She met his eyes and nodded almost imperceptibly, then made eye contact with Courtney, who briefly glanced at the knife, as well.

Rip sighed in mock disappointment. “That might turn out to be shorter than you think.”

Sara grabbed the knife and charged forward. At the same time, Courtney elbowed Arthur in the gut and then the nose and twisted out of his grip while Len slapped a bolt into his crossbow and fired. The other Legends also jumped into the fight, along with Guinevere and a blonde knight that Raymond had been talking to.

The brainwashed knights who had arrived with Arthur were dispatched easily, but when Len looked over to see where Arthur himself was, he saw the king pulling his knife out of the back of the blonde knight before raising it up to his own throat. Everything came to a standstill.

“Stand fast,” Darhk ordered, “Or your king dies.”

“All I have to do is think it,” Rip threatened, “And he slits his own throat.”

“Ultimatum time:” Darhk continued, “Deliver the fragment to me by dawn, or I’ll come back with an army just as obedient as Arthur, here. The choice is yours: Camelot or the Spear.” He casually took a sip from a goblet he’d picked up off one of the tables, dropped it on the floor, and walked out, with Rip and Arthur in tow.

Raymond walked over to the fallen knight and crouched down, picking up his sword after checking his pulse and apparently finding none.

For nearly a minute, the residents of Camelot were in a state of too much shock to do anything. The Legends (and Courtney) recovered far more quickly, checking those who had been injured to see if they were still alive. One knight was, and that declaration was enough to get Guinevere to snap out of it and order that he be taken to the royal physicians immediately. That got the others moving, going about the business of escorting all the unnecessary personnel from the hall and tending to the dead bodies, both on their side and the other.

Queen Guinevere personally draped a sheet over the body of the blonde knight – none other than Sir Galahad, according to Raymond. “Galahad, may you rest in peace. Your sorrow and pain are banished. May the everlasting light of Camelot shine upon you.”

Nearby, Courtney was demanding answers from Amaya. “How do you know this Black Knight?”

Amaya sighed. “His name is Damien Darhk. He works with the speedster who killed Rex and turned Rip Hunter against us.”

Sara, kneeling beside a dead knight who’d fought against them, peeled a bit of futuristic, glowing red tech off his right temple. “Well, Rip’s not the only one under their control, now.”

Guinevere saw it and strode over, grabbing the tech from Sara’s hands. “That thing’s dark magic has turned my King, my own husband… into my enemy!”

“It’s not his fault,” Sara assured her.

“I watched him strike down Sir Galahad with my own eyes!”

“You have to believe that your husband can be saved, or else he will be truly lost.”

“Unless we stop the Black Knight’s army, we may never find out.”

“My Queen, you must be strong,” Courtney urged, “With King Arthur missing, the Knights of the Round Table will look to you to lead them.

Guinevere shook her head, looking like she was about to cry. “The mantle of King is Arthur’s. Not mine.” She dropped the future tech and began to swiftly walk away.

Sara chased after her. “Guinevere, wait!” The Queen slowed enough for Sara to catch up to her.

Len tuned that conversation out in favour of continuing talking to Amaya and Courtney. “Who else is part of this group?” Courtney asked.

“Well, first, there’s the speedster Eobard Thawne,” Len began, “He can run faster than you can blink, and from my previous experience with other speedsters, he can also run through walls and through time itself. But he’s vulnerable to cold, so my Cold Gun’s probably our best weapon against him. Too bad he doesn’t stand still long enough for me to hit him. Then there’s Darhk, who’s at least a century old and has spent most of his life as a trained assassin. He also knows a lot about dark magic and the like. Malcolm Merlyn, the third guy, is also an assassin – those two and Sara all learned from the same master, but they have more experience than she does. And each of those three men is responsible for the death of at least one person that someone on this team knew.”

Thawne may never have killed them personally, but his actions had led to the deaths of Eddie Thawne and Ronnie Raymond; Len, Mick, and Raymond had known the detective and Stein had known them both.

Darhk had personally murdered Laurel, Sara’s sister and Raymond’s friend.

And Merlyn had, on top of killing Sara herself, caused the deaths of Robert Queen and Tommy Merlyn, both of whom Sara had known.

“You saw what they did to Arthur,” Amaya chimed in softly, “Imagine what they could do with an army of brainwashed knights.”

“What are you suggesting?” Courtney asked suspiciously.

“The Fragment of the Spear. We need to get it out of the castle.”

“How can your team protect the Spear?! You couldn’t even protect Charles!”

Amaya flinched as though she’d been struck. “That’s not fair.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Courtney declared, “And neither is the fragment.”

Just then, Jax re-entered the hall, having joined the task of moving the bodies out. “What’s going on?” he asked, immediately noticing the tension.

“Nothing,” Len lied, picking up the discarded piece of future tech and passing it to the kid, “Get this back to the Waverider. The more we know about it, the better.”

“I’ll go with you,” Amaya volunteered, throwing Courtney another hurt, angry look before turning and storming from the hall. Jax looked at Len in confusion once more before following her.

Thursday, February 22nd, 507 AD

Amaya had her own reasons for going to the Waverider; once there, she had slipped away from Jax and the others and taken the Longinus Medallion before flying back to the palace with the speed of a Peregrine Falcon. Now she was entering the hall, holding the Medallion and looking around the room as the artifact glowed and whirred. It had been glowing more brightly and making a louder noise as she moved further into the castle, so she could only hope that that meant that she was getting closer to her goal.

“What are you doing?” a voice asked.

Amaya jumped and whirled at the sound of it, but relaxed when she saw that it was just Sara and Snart, who had obviously slipped away for some privacy. She sighed. “If Stargirl won’t give us the fragment for safekeeping…”

“You’re stealing it,” Snart concluded, a grin on his face, “Mick’s rubbing off on you, isn’t he?” He grimaced when Sara elbowed her fiancé and stood up.

“She’s not thinking straight,” Amaya insisted, holding up the Medallion again. Its glow grew brighter than ever, lighting the room, until Amaya realised that it wasn’t the only source of light; the hilt of the sword embedded in the boulder displayed in the room was also glowing. Amaya smiled. “I should have known.” Of course Courtney, after making Camelot into the legendary kingdom she’d read about as a child, would hide her fragment of the Spear of Destiny with the equally legendary Excalibur, the Sword in the Stone.

Amaya handed Sara the Medallion and walked up to the Stone.

“You sure this is the way you want to do it?” Sara asked, “Stargirl was your teammate, not to mention your friend.”

“The Legion of Doom is closing in on us as we speak,” Amaya reminded her coldly, “There’s no time for sentiment. Do you really want to chance Damien Darhk having the power to rewrite reality?”

Sara’s face hardened. “I guess not.”

Amaya, seeing that neither Sara nor Snart were going to stop her, stepped into a position to remove the Sword.

“It’s set in stone,” Snart helpfully reminded her.

Amaya just grinned. “Not for long.” She touched her Totem, summoning first the power of a gorilla, then a falcon, then a bear. Then she gripped the handle of Excalibur and pulled. The sword didn’t come out easily, but she tugged it out, inch by inch, until finally the sword was out and in her hands. She admired it; it was a work of art, as far as weapons went, but her eyes were drawn to the tip. It matched the illustrations and images Nate had shown her of one of the relics that had been claimed to be the Spear of Destiny.

“Damn, that was badass,” she heard Sara mutter.

“Does this mean that she’s the new King of Camelot, now?” Snart asked idly.

Amaya carefully tugged the point of the Spear off the sword; thankfully, it had just been inserted over the weapon’s existing blade. She stuck Excalibur back into its proper resting place and grinned at her teammates. “Let’s get out of here.”

But of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. Courtney came in from another door, and she looked furious.

“Put. It. Down.”

Amaya glared defiantly back at her. She’d been hoping she’d be able to get in and out of the castle with the Spear fragment with her old friend none the wiser.

Courtney stepped forward. “I don’t want to fight with, Amaya, but I will if I have to.”

Amaya closed the rest of the distance between them. “Then get ready, because I’m not leaving without the fragment!”

“Hey!” Sara tried to intervene, “We have enough enemies as it is without fighting each other!”

“You left us, Amaya!” Courtney spat, “I was there to protect the Spear, and I will continue to protect it until I take my last breath!”

“Because you know that doing the right thing is more important than doing what feels right! You’re still a member of the Justice Society-”

“No, I’m not!” That surprised Amaya. “My heart belongs in Camelot!”

“Your heart?”

“You, of all people should understand. It wasn’t duty that led you to join the Legends.”

No, it wasn’t. It had been grief. It had been anger. It had been her… her love for Rex. Amaya sighed as the pieces came together. “You’ve fallen in love with King Arthur.” She had noticed it when the king had returned, before they had realised that he was under the Legion’s control. Courtney’s face had lit up the second she saw her king; she had made her way straight to him before the queen even begun to do so.

Behind her, she could hear Snart huffing in exasperation. “Your fake kingdom is a real soap opera,” the thief commented.

“Seconded,” Sara agreed.

“How can you expect me to turn away…” Courtney asked sadly, “… from the truest thing I’ve ever known?” She had doubled in age since Amaya had seen her last, but now she seemed even older.

Amaya sighed. “All I know is that the Legion of Doom will not stop until they get this.” She held up the blade. “And once they do, the world as we know it is over.” She handed the fragment to Courtney, hoping that her friend would be able to see reason.

Courtney took it. “Which is why you’re taking it, Amaya.” She immediately handed it back. “I can’t go. So you will have to fulfill my oath. Protect the Spear.”

A horn of warning sounded from outside.

“Alright,” Sara declared, “You hear the wizard. Let’s boogie.” Both she and Snart swiftly left the hall. Amaya went to follow them.

“Amaya, wait.” Courtney swept her up in a hug. “I’m sorry I didn’t say it earlier, but if this is the last we see each other… I’m glad I got to see you one last time.”

Amaya fought tears as she hugged back. “So am I. I was hoping I’d come back to 1942; apparently, I’m supposed to have a granddaughter in my teammates’ time.”

“You said you ran into Todd in the nineteen eighties, right? How is he?”

Amaya smiled at the memory. “He’s still rather fit for a man in his seventies. And he’s happy; he’s found someone, as well.”

Courtney released a shuddering sigh. “Good. I’m glad.”

Len and the girls made quick tracks back to the Waverider, bumping into Heywo