Actions

Work Header

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Work Text:

"I thought you'd be pleased," Oliver says, lips pursed. "This way he's out of your hair."

"You can't just lock up Captain Cold!" Barry squawks through the phone. "Just - I'll be there soon - don't do anything -"

The phone starts clicking in that irritating fashion that indicates that Barry has started running at super-speed before turning off the phone.

Oliver hangs up instead and turns to look at the two supervillains he had captured - at some trouble, no less. He'd already called the police about them.

"What do you have over the Flash?"

"Nothing," Heatwave grunts. Captain Cold just looks smug.

Of course, that seems to be his default expression.

"Then why does he want you freed?"

"Guess he's more comfortable with us at home," Cold drawls. He leers.

Oliver snorts at the implication. "He's engaged."

"She's very nice, too," Heatwave says agreeably. "But we aren't fucking 'em at the moment. Not what he meant."

"So you threatened..?"

They both look offended. In fairness, Oliver has heard of the Rogues' Code even in Star City, so he shrugs. It still doesn't make sense.

Barry breezes in and heads straight for Cold. "Oh, man, look at that, you bruised him!" he exclaims crossly, glaring at Oliver like this is somehow his fault. Which, yes, the bruising is, but it had been something of a heated battle… "They're gonna be so upset!"

"You fight Captain Cold on a regular basis," Oliver points out, feeling increasingly out of his depth. Madmen and murderers, fine, he can deal with that, but maybe this is one of Barry's bizarre alternate Earth adventures gone wrong...?

"I don't bruise him!"

"You kinda do, Scarlet," Cold says, nasal voice amused. "But I don't hold it against you." His smirk widens. "Glad to see you care, though."

"I just don't want unicorn tears on my doorstep again," Barry huffs.

Oliver's eyebrows shoot up. "Unicorns? You found a unicorn hero?"

Unicorns, of course, were the rarest of the rare. Delicate elk-like creatures, like horses with coats made of moonlight and manes that shine like rainbows in the light; they were said to be able to sense the presence of greatness in a virgin, typically a child, and bonded to them as a sign of incipient greatness. Of course, sociologists argued that it was public perception that associated unicorns with heroes and the roles of the unicorn heroes in important events was nothing more than confirmation bias and self-fulfilling prophecies, a conclusion which the biologists supported with claims that unicorns had evolved to have the ability to form social bonds with humans. Some people even argued that this was developed as a means to protect their herds by sacrificing a single unicorn to bond with a human so that they wouldn't be hunted for their horns and purported magic healing and protective abilities.

No one believed them, of course. Unicorns were universally revered.

Oliver wouldn't have been surprised that Barry was a unicorn hero, but he hadn’t had one last time they’d met and the lore was pretty firm on virginity being a requirement...

Oliver squints at Barry.

"Not me!" Barry yelps. "Him!"

"...are you telling me Captain Cold was chosen to have his own unicorn?"

"His own unicorn?" Heatwave snorts. "More like his own goddamn army."

That's about when Oliver realizes (slightly belatedly) that Leonard Snart, supervillain and internationally wanted thief, is the same Leonard Snart infamous for having been chosen by an entire herd of unicorns.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

It started traditionally enough.

Little Leo Snart spent a lot of time out of doors in an attempt to avoid his father, who had returned from his short stint in prison meaner than ever and a lot less likely to refrain from using his fists when he was disappointed. Being a child of Central City, he didn't really trust in parks or green stuff, and avoided it whenever possible.

Of course, when his father drove him an hour into the countryside and left him there, little Leo Snart didn't have much choice about going through it.

It wasn't a Hansel and Gretel story, as the adult Leonard Snart is quick to tell people. He wasn't being abandoned. On the contrary, his dad had ditched him - and, more importantly, the bricks of cocaine that he'd been smuggling - on the edge of a road and had entirely intended on picking him up later. It'd been little Leo's own fault for getting lost in all that awful green.

This is the part in the story in which everyone listening winces and exclaims, "Don't tell me you fed the -?! To the unicorns?"

Of course not.

Little Leo Snart robbed a convenience store before getting lost. Obviously. Who do you think he is?

So when little Leo Snart first found the unicorn, he fed it a granola bar, because he had the most of those. Oh, and there was the glorious moment of shining light, the signal of bonding, but little Leo Snart was too poor to afford a television, his father too cruel to tell him tales, his stepmother too distracted to remind him, his school too focused on survival to care, so he hadn’t really heard all that much about unicorn heroes except by hearsay.

Little Leo Snart saw the light and went "oh God I must be dying of dehydration, I'm starting to see mirages" and scurried away from his unicorn.

The unicorn followed, of course. It huffed angrily when little Leo offered a different unicorn a granola bar.

"You shut up," little Leo told it. "You already got one and decided not to stab me. I want this fellow here to make the same decision."

The same logic applied to unicorn number three, though that was more because she'd bashed her head against a tree and little Leo felt sorry for her obvious stupidity. It reminded him of his teacher's cat - loveable, but a little thick-headed, always ending up where it couldn't get back down from alone.

The unicorns spent a lot of time glaring at each other after that, adult Leonard Snart recalls with a wryness that his younger and more ignorant self did not possess, but he'd used a rolled-up magazine to smack their noses when they tried to charge each other on the assumption that if it worked for the neighbor's dog it ought to work on a unicorn.

Amazingly enough, it did.

Little Leo Snart felt bad for the unicorns three that had decided to follow him for reasons clear to everyone (he gave them food) but not to him (damn the American educational system!) and so ended up leading them into an orchard on his way back to the main road.

Then he'd hitchhiked a ride home while they were still happily prancing around in there and thought no more of it.

That, you see, was his mistake.

Unicorns do tend to bond only with one human, and only one unicorn at a time: the loners of the herd, the shy ones, the ones not exactly the right fit for where they are. It is, as the sociologists swear, an evolutionary design by which the least fit members of the herd are sacrificed to the human flock to preserve the mystique of the unicorn hero and thereby cause humans, desperate for heroes, to leave the remainder of the herd alone.

(That's not how evolution works, the biologists shout. What are you even on about?! Stop using that word! That’s our word!)

But you know what you get when you put a bunch of antisocial loners together in an overripe orchard, where they can snack on fermented plums to their heart's delight, and then leave them there?

Incredibly drunk unicorns bonding with each other over the dumbass human that ditched them there, that's what.

Each one of Leonard's Snart original herd - Flora, Fauna and Merriweather, because little Leo Snart had just seen Sleeping Beauty and it was the closest thing he could think of that wasn't totally dumb - started out as loners but discovered, as many more intellectually developed human loners did, that getting drunk and bitching about other people is a great way to become friends.

Once they were friends, of course, they no longer required - or, indeed, were susceptible to - the pull of a human bonding. It is Leonard Snart's belief, still standing, that they came after him just to show him up for daring to leave them behind.

This theory ascribes too much intellect to unicorns, which are more like monkeys or crows or dogs than humans, and yet the unicorn's cunning and ability to learn patterns is unmistakable.

Their presence is pretty unmistakable, too, which is why a trio of drunk unicorns barreling down a suburban street, huffing and snorting and singing their characteristic wail of sorrow, until they found little Leo Snart, was something that a lot of people took notice of. Especially well past midnight.

In this part of town, of course, no one called the police or the media about it. A Family representative did show up a few hours later, as little Leo Snart was yelling at them in the backyard to go back to wherever the hell they came from, and - tired from a long day of whatever the fuck gangsters do all day - suggested that little Leo let them stay until morning when they could be examined.

Little Leo Snart knew better than to disobey gangsters - see, he told you this wasn't a typical story, even if it does have the trappings thereof - and let them into his house and into his heart.

By morning, of course, it was too late. The examination revealed that all three half-grown unicorn yearlings - assholes, every one of them - had bonded with little Leo Snart and would answer to no one else.

This would be less of a problem, of course, if little Leo Snart wasn't already sentenced to go to juvie in about a week.

(He wasn't fourteen. That was a lie he and Mick perpetuated because it made Mick seem like less of a sap. The part about the shiv is true, but Mick barely did more than delay them until a set of murderous unicorns tried to break down the door.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"So," Mick says after a few minutes. "Unicorns, huh?"

"They're a recent acquisition," Len grumbles.

"Plural unicorns."

"They won't go away!"

"And you still got sent to juvie?"

Len makes a face. "They happened post-sentencing."

Mick nods wisely. The justice system, once its creaky gears had been set in motion, waits for no one and nothing.

They sit in silence for a few minutes.

"Think they're gonna let us out of here anytime soon?" Mick eventually asks.

Len gets up and goes to peek out of the little window in the door to the rest of the juvenile hall facility, him and Mick having locked themselves in the kitchen at first instance of trouble. The process of peeking involves tip-toes and, humiliatingly, a step-stool.

At first he sees nothing of interest, the coast (and the hallway) being clear.

"It's -" he starts to say.

A moment later a terrified adult dashes across the hallway, pursued at a respectable distance by a screaming unicorn stallion which is shrill with rage and foaming a little at the mouth.

"- not clear yet," Len concludes.

"Know when they'll calm down?"

"No goddamn idea. Barely saw them the week before I came here; I was trying to take care of my baby sister."

Mick shrugs and pats the floor next to him. Len returns there, since he and Mick have - since that initial rescue - introduced themselves, made friends, and agreed that it was too damn cold not to snuggle for warmth, an act neither would ever speak of again.

Len likes Mick.

"They've gotta get tired eventually, right?" Mick asks.

"I guess so," Len replies. He sighs ostentatiously. "I don't care if it gets me a shorter sentence, I'm looking up a way to get rid of them as soon as we get out of him. Someone's gotta want the buggers."

"I dunno," Mick says. "They're kinda cute."

Len shoves at Mick's shoulders. "You take 'em, then."

"You couldn't pay me to hang around 'em," Mick lies.

The unicorns do, eventually, get tired and Len and Mick rejoin their shaken classmates. Everyone is very, very nice to the two of them from that point on.

Len never does find a way to get rid of them, but Mick sticks around anyway.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Len?"

"Yeah?"

"They're poking at me with their snouts again."

"Goddamnit, guys! I told you he's part of the herd!"

Three sets of big dewy eyes look at Len.

"Part! Of! The! Herd!"

It takes about a month, but abruptly they decide that Mick is a Good One and take to bringing him choice bits of hay and grass and fruit and occasionally small animals, because unicorns are omnivorous like that.

Mick is delighted. Len resigns himself to being surrounded by four crazy mammals instead of three.

Five, if you count baby Lisa.

Len never thought his life could be so rich.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Len is about nineteen when Merriweather's increasing antics finally result in the inevitable.

Len is horrified.

Mick finds it hysterical.

"You never got 'em spayed, did you?" he asks in between gales of laughter.

"I didn't - they - you can't get them spayed, they ain't cats - they - Merriweather, you dick!"

Merriweather looks very proud of himself, nuzzling both Flora and Fauna. Both mares look equally pleased with themselves and the way their bellies have started protruding.

With more unicorns.

"That's the problem, I think," Mick points out with some justice.

"I don't have room for two more!" Len shouts. "I barely got Dad to agree to these, and only 'cause the Family thought they were cute -"

"Can I have a unicorn baby once they're born?" Lisa asks interestedly.

"No!"

"How long is a unicorn pregnancy, anyhow?" Mick asks.

About a year, it turns out, which gives Len enough time to beg enough money from all the sources he can think of - the words "baby unicorn" work like magic to turn on the money spigot, apparently - to build a small stable out by Keystone where Mick has some land.

Everyone politely ignores how Mick came into that particular land.

Len asks only once if Mick's okay with the use he's putting it to and Mick just shrugs.

"My sister Mandy woulda liked having a unicorn baby," he says. "Even Ellie woulda thought it was neat, I'd bet. They were twins, you know, and they hated ever liking the same thing, but I think they'd agree on this one."

When Fauna, ever an over-achiever, ends up having twin fillies, Len names them after Mick's sisters and doesn't comment on the way Mick's cheeks get all wet right after.

Flora ends up having a long-legged colt who Len permits Lisa to name - an offer he promptly regrets when she decides to name him Bob.

Lisa always was an odd duck.

Luckily for Len's sense of the dramatic, Bob's tendency to trip over his own overly-long legs gets him stuck with the nickname Oddfoot (short for "you nimrod don't put your goddamn foot there").

Len spends four days straight prepping for and assisting with the birthing process, a terrible ordeal that he never wants to talk about ever again. The girls refuse to permit anyone in their birthing barn but Len - not Mick, not Lisa, not even Merriweather - so Len does it all by himself.

When it’s done, he's damn proud of having managed it and strung out on massive amounts of coffee, so really, it's not so much that it was a bad time to ask as it was the worst time for someone to break onto their land and ask to buy one of Len's brand-new babies before they'd even left the birthing barn.

Len may or may not have charged at them, head down, like he's a unicorn himself.

Mick tosses the intruder bodily off the property, fires a few shots after the man to make sure he gets the picture and keeps going, then looks at Len curiously. "Thought you were planning on giving some away when they were old enough?"

"No!" Len yells. He seems to be having volume control trouble. Probably all that coffee. "They're mine and they're staying mine!"

And with that he marches back into the birthing barn, now the nursery barn as Merriweather was finally invited in to meet his offspring, and collapses in a pile of unicorn.

By the time he wakes up and regrets everything, he has the distinct feeling that his little herd that follows him everywhere has irrevocably grown by three.

Oh, well. Flora, Fauna and Merriweather would never have forgiven him for giving away the kids anyhow.

At least he's pretty sure unicorns don't get pregnant when they have colts to raise.

...pretty sure.

God, he hopes that's right. Why aren't there experts in this?

Oh, right. Because he’s the first one this misfortune has happened to.

Goddamn unicorns.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"You need to parole one of my prisoners early," the warden says flatly. His left eye is twitching.

The DA blinks at him. The judge blinks at him. The head of the parole review board blinks at him.

In fairness, they'd just been having a friendly lunch in the judge's quarters to discuss the process of criminal reform in Central City when the warden of Iron Heights had shown himself in, uninvited.

"One in particular?" the DA asks.

"Yes."

"If he's causing a disturbance, why not put him in solitary or transfer him to another prison?" the head of the review board asks.

"Oh, the problem isn't him," the warden says grimly. "It's the unicorns."

"Unicorns?" the judge exclaims. He'd always had a fondness for unicorns, growing up, and his daughters were positive fanatics. "You have a unicorn hero in your prison?"

"No, sir," the warden says bitterly. "I have Leonard Snart."

"I don't think I'm familiar," the DA says, pretending she wasn't just as excited by the idea of unicorns. Unicorns were a good sign, a lucky sign; it made voters happy. And she was considering a run for office soon...

"He owns a herd of them," the warden explains. "And they miss him."

"I don't understand," says the head of the parole review board, who had no particular interest in unicorns but was very adept at reading the expressions of his two compatriots. "How do you mean?"

"He's been in the cells for two months," the warden says. "It took them a month and a half to track him. Now they sit outside the window of his cell and cry."

"They cry?" the judge asks, horrified at the thought of miserable unicorns.

"Cry," the warden confirms. "Big old wet tears. And there's wailing, too; long, sad mournful wails. There's a stallion and two mares and three itty bitty unicorn babies -"

"Unicorn babies," the DA breathes. She can see the campaign ads even now - both the positive ones and the attack ads. 'She Who Makes Baby Unicorns Cry' does not get elected. "Crying."

"Oh, yes. All of them. They're keeping everyone awake. The only time they're happy is when Snart goes out for yard time, and then oh boy are they happy - prancing around, showing off, leaping, the whole shebang - only to fall into the pits of depression when he goes back inside. I don't know how the man lives when he's on the outside - in a tent or something?!"

"It sounds - distressing," the head of the parole review board comments. He's already mentally drafting the papers he'll need to file on an expedited basis. He knows how to read the tea leaves. "I assume the issue would not be helped by transferring him?"

"That'll just move the problem," the warden says. "He says they don't like seeing him caged up."

"What was his crime?" the DA asks. As long as she couldn't be accused of releasing a murderer into the streets - actually, it depends on who he murdered -

"Robbery."

"Anyone hurt?"

"Insurance companies, mostly."

Three expressions of incredulity. The warden shrugs. "He's actually a pretty decent thief. Still a thief."

"A thief with unicorns," the judge says. "I don't suppose..."

"We should meet with him to determine his fitness to be released early," the head of the parole review board says, giving in to the inevitable. "Would the two of you like to come?"

"Oh, yes," they both chorus.

"And I'd like to bring some people with me," the judge adds, thinking of his daughters.

"Definitely," the DA agrees, thinking of a photographer.

"Thank god," the warden replies effusively, thinking primarily of getting a good night's sleep uninterrupted by complaints from the prison about inmates rioting if the goddamn unicorns don't shut up already.

That being said, not being an idiot, he can already foresee many, many shortened prison sentences for one unrepentant Leonard Snart.

But at this point, he doesn't even care.

Crying unicorns are very loud.

Who knew?

------------------------------------------------------------------

Len is actually about twenty five when the unicorns - which, being a species that bonds to human in a flagrantly ridiculous fashion, are ridiculously long-lived but also spend a lot of time on raising their colts - start in on him, but he doesn't actually realize it until he's nearly thirty.

It's only that they started so subtly, you see.

It'd started with the way their ears perked up when he hung around women that weren't his sister. Mostly business associates, really.

They would come by far more readily when one of them was around, permitting the woman in question to pet their hides, nuzzling her gently, occasionally giving love taps with their horns when the woman tried to leave. They even sometimes let her see the colts.

It was a bit odd, actually, given how protective and (dare Len say it) paranoid they usually were.

Len's not entirely sure he approves and ends up complaining to Mick, who apparently also doesn't approve of how much time certain people have been spending with visiting women and decides to make his feelings known.

Vividly and at length.

Len was very much in favor of Mick's feelings and decides to provide a demonstration of his own on the subject, also at length.

Suffice to say they don't get out of bed for a while.

The unicorns are -

Well, the unicorns are fucking delighted. Len almost thinks they're more happy about Len getting laid on a regular basis than he is, and he's pretty damn happy about it. His dad in prison, Lisa in school, Mick in his bed, unicorns in the yard - really, things are going well.

The unicorns finally consent to carry Mick, too, a signal honor thus far reserved for Len himself and (if Len begged) for Lisa.

There were more unicorns, too, ever since baby Mandy made friends with a wildling unicorn that escaped from some poachers - Len had tracked them, Mick had fried them, and the judge had actually shaken his hand for that, which was weird but kind of hilarious. They'd let the wildling - named Solo because Mick hadn't had a chance to name one and because Mick was weird - wander back to his forest, which he had done only to come back to Len and Mick and the other unicorns with his mom (Padme), aunt (Leia), and uncle (shy little Luke) to boot.

Merriweather had been thrilled, to say the least. Len was, too, since he finally got to name some of them after Star Wars instead of after a Solo cup, which he half suspected Mick had done just to fuck with him.

Len gave Merriweather long talk about not expanding the herd with Padme and Leia.

He ended up giving up when little Vader was born to Padme. At least there was only one addition this time (since Leia didn't give a fuck and liked to hang around with Solo) and he was a rare sable-haired addition, no less.

But the unicorns keep on being all friendly to various people, so it's not that they're lonely. Not just women, now, but their own strange discernment of who deserved to be liked.

Liked - and nudged next to Len.

Mick still gets nudged the most, actually, even after he's been officially accepted.

"I could barely get them off the last two," Len complains to Mick. "Wish I knew how they picked 'em. Or why!"

"...do you really not know?" Mick asks, looking amused.

Len has a sinking suspicion that he's missed something obvious.

Something so obvious Mick is having trouble choking down laughter.

"Fine, I'll bite," Len says, because curiosity has always been a weakness. "What?"

"You thought the last two were hot," Mick says.

"Well, duh," Len says. "Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn."

"You thought they were hot," Mick says again, emphasizing it.

“They’re fucking each other, Mick.”

“You still thought they were hot.”

"Blocks of stone would think they're hot -"

Mick sighs, interrupting Len. Len eyes him.

"Len," Mick says slowly. "You're an honorary unicorn."

"Because I'm part of the herd," Len agrees. They'd established that the unicorns thought of him as one of the head stallions of the herd fairly early on. "So?"

"You're a stallion like Merriweather is. But Merriweather's got something you don't."

"...a horn? Hooves?"

"Girlfriends. Or boyfriends, since they've determined that also floats your boat."

It still takes a second for it to sink in.

"They're trying to get me a mare?!" Len squawks.

"You aren't having little baby proxy-unicorns fast enough, Lenny," Mick says sweetly. "For shame. How could you let down the herd that way?"

Len lets his head fall down. "Is that why they were so happy when we -"

"Yup."

"...you're not sleeping with me for my unicorns, are you?"

Mick swats him.

"Right, right," Len says sheepishly. "But, I mean, I have you, don’t I? Why are they still trying to hook me up, then?"

"Not sure if you've noticed what with Merriweather and all," Mick says dryly. "But unicorns don't really believe in monogamy. More like – harems."

Len groans.

---------------------------------------------------------------

"I can explain," Len says.

He really can't.

"No," the Flash - Barry - says slowly. "You really can't."

Len sighs.

"Is there a reason your unicorns have kidnapped us?"

"I was supposed to come in, warn you about James and Mardon’s plans in a dramatic fashion, then exit stage left," Len complains. "It was all planned."

"Doesn't seem to have worked out for you," Barry says dryly.

"They miss me when I'm in prison," Len defends himself. “It’s been a while.”

"So they kidnap people for you?"

"Only some people - and what's this about kidnapping? You're in your own house!"

"Which I can't leave," Barry points out. "Because I'm surrounded by unicorns."

"Stop complaining, Barry," Iris - who is sitting down, petting a unicorn who’d shoved his needy little face into her lap for nose-stroking - instructs. "Enjoy the unicorns."

"Mick will be here soon," Len predicts gloomily.

"Will that help?" Barry asks. "I do have work tomorrow."

"No," Len says. "They just like to gather up people for me when I get out of prison."

"And Mick is one of those people."

"Yes."

"Lisa?"

"...no."

Barry looks puzzled. Len is relieved for all of three seconds before Iris says, "I heard unicorns that go out from the herd and then come back are especially randy. That apply to unicorn heroes?"

"A, I'm not a hero," Len says automatically. "And B..."

"B?"

"...uh."

"Told you he thought you were hot too," Iris tells Barry.

"Iris!" Barry splutters.

"Actually, both of you are plenty -" Len pauses. "Too?"

"I'm dating Iris!" Barry squeaks. “Monogamously! Just putting that out there!”

"You know, I don't think we've discussed that," Iris muses.

At that fascinating moment, Mick opens the door, saying "I'm going, I'm going" as he's shoved in by an enthusiastic Flora.

"Did I miss anything?" he asks when he sees Len standing there.

"Interesting revelations," Len tells him, still studying Barry.

"Snacks?"

"Kitchen," Iris says. "Want some hot cocoa? Snart's already helped himself."

"They don't have mini marshmallows," Len says.

"Because our cocoa is so good we don't need it," Iris says, extracting herself from her unicorn (Oddfoot did so like his scritches) and sashays over to Mick, sliding an arm into his and leading him to the kitchen.

"What is happening right now?" Barry asks desperately.

"The start of a bad romance novel," Len says. "Wait. Doesn't Miss West write that Flash blog?"

"Well, she did. Why?"

"It had a fiction section..."

"It what?! Iris!"

----------------------------------------------------------

"It's not going to work," Mick had predicted.

Mick was right.

"You were right," Len concedes to him. Lisa, although long-recognized as a part of the herd, had not been accepted an adequate substitute for Len.

"I wasn't expecting this, to be fair," Mick says. He's staring a little. "Were you? Did you know about this and not tell me?"

Len shrugs. "Not...exactly?" he hedges.

Mick glares at him.

"Listen, I knew they could get somewhere faster than their gallop speed and much farther, too. I didn't know unicorns can literally follow me through time."

Mick's still glaring, but it fades away into amusement when Jax and Kendra dash past their doorway chasing after the giddily prancing Oddfoot, with Rip Hunter close behind them shouting "How did the unicorn even get on the Waverider?! If one of you brought it on deliberately, so help me -"

"He's not going to like it when the rest of the herd shows up," Len observes.

"Nope. He is definitely not," Mick says with satisfaction. Rip had been rather rude to him.

“We should probably do something,” Len says reluctantly.

“Yeah, I guess.”

Just at that moment, Ray pokes his head into their room. "Hey," he says. "I don't suppose either of you know about how we got the unicorn..?"

"What unicorn, Haircut?" Mick grunts. He’s examining his gun.

"That related to the next mission?" Len inquires, squinting at Ray. "Unicorn tapestry, maybe? Unicorn hero? We care about unicorns now?"

"Uh, no. Never mind. Just, if you see - you know what, never mind."

Ray leaves.

Mick and Len look at each other and start laughing.

They’ll deal with the unicorn problem…

…at some point.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

"You can't be here, you little idiot," Kronos hisses, shooing Vader out of his room.

Vader tries his best big sad eyes on him, but Mick is immune.

Kronos is immune, he means.

Mick Rory is dead. Or at least he’d better be, or else Kronos is going back in that godforsaken chair, and he’d really rather not.

Vader makes a little whimper that sounds like he’s actually in pain and Kronos forgets himself to actually check for a second, because Len would be upset if any of his herd were actually injured, but no.

Vader’s just being a manipulative little attention-hungry brat again.

Goddamn unicorns.

Kronos tries to shove Vader's plump pony ass out of his room.

Vader resists.

Kronos shoves harder.

Vader's foot slips and suddenly they're both tumbling out of Kronos' room and onto the Pilgrim, who'd been walking by.

"What the fuck," she says. Her voice is monotone and expressionless as always, the result of too many wipes over too many endless years.

"Uh," Kronos says.

"Is that a unicorn?" she asks. That's an actual inflection at the end of a question - serious emotion for her.

Kronos wonders if he can deny it.

Vader tosses his mane.

The room temporarily glows with the rainbow iridescence of his mane.

No, no hope.

"Yes," he says. "It is."

"A dark-colored unicorn?"

"His name is Vader," Kronos confesses.

"I have never seen a dark-toned unicorn before," she says.

Vader studies the Pilgrim for a moment, then pointedly throws himself at her, nuzzling and snuffling like a pro. If there were professionals in the art of attention whoring, anyway.

The Pilgrim holds out a hand, which makes Kronos flinch; that’s how she activates her time micromanipulation device when she’s about to attack.

Vader, the little idiot, just shoves his soft snout into her hand instead.

"...he is very attractive," the Pilgrim allows after a few seconds.

Wait.

Was that calling the little monster 'cute' in Pilgrim-speech?

Vader looks her straight in the eyes with his best soulful expression.

"...you are very attractive," she says to him directly. There is a distinct hint of an upward curl to her lips. "Yes, you. You are. Very attractive. Very strong, too, no doubt."

What the fuck.

Goddamn unicorns. Apparently you really do have to build up a resistance.

Though now that Kronos thinks about it, this could be useful.

"I don't suppose I'll be allowed to go out on my final mission soon," Kronos says in his best casual tone. "More training. I'll have to spend my time here, instead of leaving him behind." He pauses. "Probably for the best. I have no idea who I could leave him with."

The Pilgrim stills.

It is not a subtle trap.

Kronos does not intend for it to be subtle. It would not matter if it was; it is a trap that will work or not, no matter if it is recognized.

"I could watch him," the Pilgrim says at last, taking the bait.

"No need," Kronos says. "I have nothing more than more training -"

"I will speak to the Time Masters," she says. "You will go out at 0600 tomorrow on the Revenge. Ensure the unicorn is prepared for transfer to my quarters for the duration." She hesitates for a moment. "You should include grooming implements."

Then she stalks off.

"Thanks," Kronos tells Vader. "Who knows how long I could've been stuck in their endless training, without you."

Kronos is not prepared to go after the Legends, he knows that. He is too emotional. He has not undergone enough wipes.

Kronos does not like the wipes, so, you know. Fuck that.

"You'll let her groom you a bit, right?" he checks. He’ll need to convince the equipment machines to produce a variety brushes, hoof picks, maybe some ribbons for the mane…

Vader nods happily. He likes grooming, the little cuddle-slut.

Goddamn unicorns.

Kronos goes on mission, chasing the Waverider.

He finds Len.

He takes Len.

He gets about two sentences into his spiel of threats against Len before the herd group-tackles him.

It is very hard to be threatening when you're surrounded by cooing unicorns.

Goddamn unicorns.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Okay, that's weird," Ray says.

Mick grunts, taking another sip of beer. He doesn't much care what's weird. He hasn't really cared - well, to be honest, not since Len died.

But especially not since he was brought back, and Mick had to put him on the road to dying again.

He drains the rest of the bottle just to stop thinking that.

"Hey, Mick? Can you come consult?"

Mick sighs, but goes.

"What is it this time, Haircut -" Mick stops abruptly.

No.

What -

Why?

"So the unicorns are back," Sara says, pretending to be captain-like and all like he can't see her holding out secretly palmed sugar cubes.

"What are you doing here?" Mick asks them.

"Unicorns don't talk," Stein reminds him.

"No," Mick says. "This - this is wrong. Merriweather is here."

"Merry-who? Which one is he – she? – again?"

Mick ignores the Legends, swallowing hard, staring at the stallion still playing proud papa and surrounded by his now-quite-sizeable herd. The last time Mick saw Merriweather, Len had just knocked Mick out at the Oculus and send Mick's unconscious body with Sara back on Flora.

Merriweather had stayed with Len to the bitter end.

Len’s first unicorn and, all protestations aside, not-so-secretly his favorite.

Looks like Len ended up being a unicorn hero after all.

Actually, come to think of it, the Len that had been recruited by the Legion had been remarkably free of unicorns. That was rather unlike him.

Really, Mick should've figured out that something was wrong with him as soon as he'd seen that. He had, actually, but he'd been so sunk in grief that he hadn't cared, desperate for any chance of Len.

But why is - how is - Merriweather here now?

Mick had taken the herd back to 2016 and left them with Lisa. But they're here, now - not all of them, since fat old Blobbo, an elderly unicorn that was a little lame in one leg that had joined up with them in the last few years, had always preferred to sit at STAR Labs whenever something was happening, and STAR Labs liked to have him there, placidly chewing on something or another. They said it was good luck. But by and large most of the herd was now on the Waverider.

Why?

How?

Merriweather sees Mick and whinnies happily, going over and nosing at him. At first it's friendly and Mick takes it that way, but after a few minutes it starts to feel - deliberate.

Some of the other unicorns - Mandy and Ellie, Mick's own not-so-secret favorites - come over to nose at him as well.

Mick would assume it was sympathy, but it's a year late, and also he's felt that purposeful shoving before.

Usually when Len wants him. The unicorns are way too invested in their relationship.

Normally that would be fine; it would be nice. Pleasant, even.

But it's impossible.

"He's dead," Mick says, trying to convince them. Trying to convince himself before he did something stupid and let his hopes get up. His gut is seizing up already, though, and he can feel the start of a glow in his chest, so it’s already too late to prevent the start of hope. "He's dead."

Mandy lips gently at Mick's shirt tugging him to follow her. He does.

She leads him out the door - the other Legends see him go but don't comment, far too busy cooing over unicorns where they are - and then down the hallway to another door.

Their bedroom door, where Mick hasn't been. Not since -

Well.

It's been a while.

Mick swallows. Mandy whinnies and snuffles and keeps on yanking Mick's clothing.

Mick opens the door and goes through.

There's a moment of nausea - disorientation - god, he hasn't had a time jump this bad since he took that wild training spin as Kronos -

"Mickey!"

That sounds like Lisa.

He opens his eyes, which he hadn't realized he'd shut.

It is Lisa.

And with Lisa, there is a very bashful looking Leonard Snart.

"Len?" Mick croaks.

"I'm so sorry it took so long to get back," Len says quickly. "I got lost after the Oculus. The unicorns had to drag me back to the proper timeline, and sometimes it was hard to figure out if something had gone wrong or if there had been something that there hadn't been -"

"Oculus," Mick breathes. "You remember the Oculus?"

"In vivid, searing detail," Len says, wincing at his own bad humor for once.

Mick doesn't remember moving, just suddenly being across the room with Len in his arms.

"Don't you do that to me ever again," he growls.

"Don't worry," Len laughs. His own voice isn't the steadiest, which is practically a sign from above about how strong his feelings are. "The unicorns won't let me."

"Good."

-------------------------------------------------------

"- and the unicorns are an endangered species, Oliver," Barry concludes. His fists are at his hips and his chin is self-righteously high. "You can't just go around kidnapping people they’re bonded to!"

"Yes," Oliver says dryly. "I can. Maybe not this man, not yet -"

"Not ever! He's my villain!"

"In my city!"

"He's sorry about that!"

"I'm really not," Snart interjects.

"Shush, you're not helping," Barry says.

Oliver raises his eyebrows. "Do you have a vested interest in this man's unicorns, Barry?"

Barry flushes. "He does let us take care of Blobbo."

"...Blobbo?" Oliver says, mildly scandalized. A unicorn hero is one thing. A unicorn hero that is also a villain is…well, admittedly strange, but definitely not the strangest thing Oliver's ever seen. He's the last person on earth to protest about a hero sometimes needing skills learned on the wrong side of the law.

But a unicorn named Blobbo?!

Barry shrugs.

"Well," Oliver says, shaking his head to clear it. He needs to set firm boundaries, clearly. "What I think is clear that we need to do now is -"

"Oliveeeeeeeer!" Felicity sings as she runs in, closely followed by the rest of the very clearly excited Team Arrow. "There are unicorns upstairs! And they're so cute!"

"They're getting faster," Heatwave observes.

"They have babies!"

"And more cunning in their manipulation of people," Snart adds with a sigh.

"We are totally keeping one!"

"What?" Oliver says, in the tone of someone who has the feeling they have distinctly lost control of the situation. "Wait. No."

"We really are. Barry, who do we have to talk to?"

Barry points at Snart.

Team Arrow surrounds Snart, talking a mile a minute, apologizing about Oliver's behavior - apologizing! for his perfectly reasonable behavior - and inquiring about unicorn rides.

Oliver buries his head in his hands.

Barry pats him on the shoulder. "Sorry, man," he says, not without real sympathy. "You're doomed."

Unicorns, Oliver thinks sadly. Why did it have to be unicorns?