For all that quick jobs made for quick money, Leonard Snart had never enjoyed them. Not the way Mick and Lisa did anyway. Those two seemed to prefer the easy marks; the quick and dirty grabs that would net them enough cash to live on until they could set up the next one.
Len never had. He’d always preferred the long cons; the ones that could take weeks, months, even years to set up and plan for and plan out because those were the kind that could leave them set-up for years and not just a few days. It was the better option, he’d always thought, the solid choice.
Even if Lisa gave him shit for it, teasing him like the annoying little sister she was because, in her words, his megalomania and overblown ego tended to shine better if he could spend a few months polishing them. She wasn’t wrong, Len supposed; he did tend to enjoy the slow burn of satisfaction that would wind its way through his gut when a plan came together. Nevertheless, for all her teasing and backhanded compliments, she couldn’t really argue with the results.
After all, their last job – a fairly substantial con on the outskirts of Keystone – had netted them enough funds to keep them flush for months. Or, at least, it would have had Lisa and Mick not decided to piss it all away. And by piss it all away, he meant trying and failing rather spectacularly at cutting the wrong deal with the wrong person without telling him. And by all, he meant all; they didn’t even have enough cash left to buy some shitty takeout for dinner.
“Do either of you want to even try to explain to me what you were thinking?” Len asked, tone deceptively mild as he made his way slowly across the warehouse. It was a relatively small space; a now defunct storage facility near the Central City docks that had once been used for overflow during the early 90s but had since fallen into disuse and disrepair. It was just the kind of place the criminal class needed for shady deals with shadier people.
Unfortunately, his little sister had never quite gotten the hang of those. Mick neither, for that matter. Unlike Lisa, though, Mick probably hadn’t been trying to prove some kind of point with this little stunt. In fact, Len would put good money on the fact that Mick had only come along because he’d hoped there would be violence.
“Well?” Len drawled as he got closer, cold gun still held loosely in his grasp. He’d already used it several times tonight, not only to scare away the rent-a-cops that had been half-assedly guarding the battered looking chain link fence surrounding the place, but also on the handful of assholes who hadn’t managed to clear out when he’d blasted his way inside; rusty metal doors blowing clear off their hinges in the kind of grand entrance he couldn’t have planned better.
Not that anyone had seemed to appreciate it.
“Do you?” He continued when the silence stretched on, ice creaking and crackling softly in the distance. “No? Oh wait, that’s right.” He paused a few steps in front of them, hand lifting to push his goggles up onto his forehead as he surveyed them both coldly. “You can’t.”
Strapped tightly to what looked to be half-rusted metal oil drums, Lisa and Mick both looked more than a little worse for wear. In fact, they both looked like hell. Lisa especially, with her hair matted up around her face and a large darkening bruise across one cheek; her mascara smudged around her eyes and tracked down her cheeks. That wasn’t to mention the musty-looking rags turned makeshift gags that had been stuffed part way into both their mouths.
Len was honestly surprised Lisa hadn’t chewed her way through hers yet. She wasn’t the type to keep quiet. Especially with the way she was glaring daggers at him, undoubtedly pissed that once again it was Len coming to her rescue and not the other way around.
Mick, for his part, just looked sullen. Eyes hard and flinty as he glared balefully. Not at Len – he wasn’t stupid enough to go there – but just in general, it seemed; angry that someone – anyone – had gotten the drop on him.
Glancing at them both, Len sighed, pointedly ignoring the way Lisa’s glare seemed to intensify at the sound, her fingers flexing agitatedly from where they were strapped – duct taped? – to the oil drum.
“You know,” he mused, hand once again lifting to push back the fur-lined hood of his parka. “Even if you could tell me, I’m not sure I’d want to hear it. After all,” his teeth flashed icy white in the dim lighting, tone turning slow and deliberately sweet, “the money’s gone either way.”
Mick grunted softly, the corner of one already swollen black eye twitching. Definitely pissed then. Len would have to make a point of keeping an eye on him – the last thing they needed was for Mick to set another one of their hideouts on fire.
“F’d y’u, L’n’y,” Lisa all but snarled from behind her gag, glare turning, if possible, a little bit frostier. Len quirked a brow. Christ, you’d think they were still kids with the way she acted sometimes.
Not that he wasn’t above getting to her level every now and then.
“Now, now, sis,” he drawled, lips still pulled into a toothy smile just to irritate her as he absently holstered his cold gun. “Is that any way to talk to your brother? Especially after he went through all the trouble of saving your ass after you made off with all his hard earned cash? Cash that you, by the way, managed to lose in a set-up that even a ten-year-old with bad eyesight could have spotted a mile off?”
Which wasn’t entirely true, of course. A ten-year-old probably would have spotted it five miles off. Especially if they’d had the kind of childhood he and his sister had had.
Something they both knew, if the way Lisa’s glare seemed to sharpen, eyes like chipped ice staring back at him, was any indication. He couldn’t bring himself to care, though. He loved his little sister but she’d acted like an idiot – no, worse; she’d acted like a rank amateur, something they hadn’t been in years – and now they were all going to have to pay for it.
Fighting back another sigh, Len nearly shook his head in disappointment. As much as he might’ve wanted to deny it, he knew that he was partially to blame for this. Well, no, that dubious honor definitely lay solely on Mick and Lisa’s shoulders, but he knew he held some responsibility. He’d known Lisa was up to something after all; had done for a while now, even if she’d tried her best to hide it.
Poorly, as far as he was concerned, but then no one knew his sister like he did. Which was why he hadn’t pushed. Hadn’t even so much as acknowledged it, because if there was one thing he knew about his kid sister it was that she had a nasty habit of trying to prove herself, especially to him.
Why, he wasn’t entirely sure. If there was one person in his life who didn’t have to prove their worth to him, it was her, but that didn’t seem to matter to Lisa. She wanted his approval – his respect – both as his sister and as a criminal in her own right, and she was willing to do whatever it took to prove it.
Unfortunately for them both, that never tended to end well.
“Now,” Len said as he rummaged into one of his coat pockets and pulled out the pocketknife he kept for just this type of occasion. Well, maybe not just this type of occasion. It never hurt to have a little extra protection with you if the need arose. “I’d ask which one of you, you think I should untie first, but tonight I think I’ll be a gentleman and say ladies first.”
Flipping the blade out with a practiced twitch, Len made quick work of Lisa’s and Mick’s bonds, letting them both un-gag themselves lest he have to listen to either one of them bitch more than he absolutely had to; easily ignoring Lisa’s dirty looks and Mick’s disgruntled grumbling.
“I assume you didn’t bring your gun?” He asked the other man as soon as he was sure they were both relatively unscathed, cuts and bruises notwithstanding. It was a ridiculous question, he knew, especially where Mick was concerned. The man never missed a chance to burn down a building, even if it was the building he was standing in.
As if in agreement, Mick gave a disgruntled growl. “No. Princess here thought it would be a,” he paused, lips twisting into a hard crooked line that showed exactly how he felt about the idea, “show of bad faith.”
Brow quirking, Len couldn’t help but ask: “And you actually listened to her?”
“I’m still here, you know,” Lisa cut in before Mick could reply, tone waspish and biting as she gingerly smoothed her fingers through her hair, trying in vain to tamp down some of the tangles. “And yes he listened to me. The deal was no guns. I didn’t want things to go sideways.”
Mick snorted, arms crossing over his chest, even as Len’s other brow rose.
“You don’t say,” he murmured dryly, eyes cutting to the rusted oil drums. They still had the ragged remains of Mick and Lisa’s restraints partially stuck to them, bits of shredded duct tape hanging uselessly down their sides. Mick snorted again.
Lisa scowled deeply at them both. “Screw you, Lenny. I had everything under control – or I would have, if numbskull over there,” she waved an accusatory hand towards Mick, “hadn’t lost his shit.”
“Watch yourself, little girl,” Mick growled, arms falling to his sides as he took a threatening step forward. It was an empty threat, they all knew. Mick might’ve been unstable but he wasn’t stupid.
“Or what, princess?” Lisa sniped back instantly, eyes narrowing.
Len sighed. Again. Jesus Christ. Sometimes it was like looking after a pair of snot-nosed little brats.
“That’s enough, children,” he interjected before things could get any uglier. He really didn’t feel like having to listen to their pissing contest for the next however many hours. Hand sliding over the hilt of his cold gun, he continued: “don’t make me put you both in time out. I do so hate it when I’m forced to do all the heavy lifting.”
“He started it,” Lisa snapped before she could seem to help herself, face flushing slightly when Len gave her an unimpressed look. It was the same one he’d given her ever since they were kids and they both knew how much she hated it. “Well, he did.”
“And I’ll finish it too, princess,” Mick rumbled back, arms once more crossing over his chest. “Told you I should’ve brought my gun with me. Was stupid not to.”
Len’s lips pursed. This was going to be an incredibly long night, he could already tell. A painful one too, if the headache building behind his eyelids was any indication.
“Oh please,” Lisa retorted, “we both know if you hadn’t–”
“ –bullshit. Just don’t want to admit you were wrong,” Mick started at the same time, only for Len to snap.
“I said that’s enough,” he broke in sharply, irritation crawling along his spine because they were supposed to be professionals for god’s sake, not fucking teenagers. “I don’t give a damn who started what. As far as I’m concerned, you’re both to blame. Now, which one of you is going to tell me what the hell happened to my money?”
For a moment, silence reigned. Lisa and Mick both staring at him with varying levels of annoyance and, at least on Lisa’s part, resignation. Maybe even guilt, though he doubted she’d ever admit to it.
“I’m going to find out one way or another,” he warned when the silence dragged on and neither of them seemed like they were going to say anything. Not that he was surprised; Mick could be an obstinate sonofabitch when he wanted to be and it had always been a little like pulling teeth to get anything from his sister. “You know I will.”
Another beat of silence passed before suddenly, Mick grunted, boots shuffling along the ground as he shifted. His head gave a quick jerk towards Lisa. “Ask her.”
“Traitor,” Lisa hissed, fingers curling into fists at her sides like she wanted to hit something. Possibly Mick. Probably Mick.
Maybe even Len, too, for that matter.
Snorting softly, Mick scowled. “Rich coming from you, princess. Was your brilliant plan that got us here in the first place, wasn’t it?”
“Fuck off, flame brain,” Lisa snapped harshly, mouth twisting into an ugly line as she fisted her hands tighter at her sides, knuckles turning white beneath the strain. “Everything would have been fine if you hadn’t opened your goddamn mouth and– ”
Body moving with practiced speed, Len pulled his goggles down with one hand, drew his cold gun from its holster with the other, and fired a judiciously aimed shot between them. The icy blast from the gun knocked one of the oil drums clean off the ground; the close-quarters blast propelling it across the room to shatter against a stack of crates lined against the far wall; metal shrieking as it cracked and splintered. The rapid clink-clink of metal shards and ice hitting the concrete floor echoed loudly in the sudden deafening silence in the warehouse.
“Now,” he drawled mildly, cold gun-laden hand moving slowly back down to his side as he glanced coolly between them, irritation frosting his words as he casually pushed his goggles back onto his forehead. “I believe I asked you both a question. Is someone going to give me an answer?”
For a long drawn out moment, neither of them spoke; both their faces set into fiercely vicious scowls before finally Mick grunted, expression turning mulish. Head once more jerking in Lisa’s direction, he repeated: “Like I said, ask her.”
Forget teenagers, he was dealing with a pair of fucking toddlers. Fully grown pain-in-the-ass toddlers but toddlers nonetheless. Both of whom were becoming far more trouble than they were worth.
“Well?” Len prompted when Lisa merely stood there, sullen silence stretching. “You going to tell me this time, sis? Or shall we wait for the cops to show up?” As if on cue, sirens began to wail faintly in the distance; still far enough away that they weren’t an immediate concern. “I’m sure that they’ll be just as interested in what you have to say as I am. Maybe even more so.”
Jaw clenching, Lisa shuffled on her feet, arms crossing defensively over her chest as she glared balefully in his direction. Her gaze, he noticed, didn’t quite meet his own when she finally spoke. “I screwed up, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? I screwed up. Again. End of story.”
Mick snorted derisively at that, eyes rolling when Len shot him a pointedly withering look, but he thankfully kept his mouth shut; expression turning bored when Lisa glared venomously at him. Len didn’t bother to hold back a sigh. He really needed to start looking for a new crew – or possibly just a set of real toddlers.
They’d probably be easier to control.
“Lisa,” He tried again, only for her to shake her head, mascara-smudged eyes finally meeting his own. They looked – not resigned, exactly, her expression was far too aggravated for that, but something close to it. Like the last few hours were only now just catching up to her and she was starting to realize just how badly she’d fucked up.
Len frowned. “Sis– ”
“No, Lenny,” she interrupted, expression turning sour and pinched and, to Len’s eyes, weary as the sirens grew closer. “Look, can we just go? I promise I’ll,” she grimaced, lips pulling down hard at one corner. “I’ll let you read me the riot act when we get back to the safe house, all right? I just – I want to get out of here. Preferably before we have to deal with what passes for cops in this part of town.”
Eyes narrowing, Len studied her. She looked, if possible, even more like hell; the bruise on her cheek more vivid than before, the edges of it having spread and swelled until it was puffy and tender and probably starting to hurt like a bitch. More than that, though, she just looked… tired.
Fingers flexing around the grip of his cold gun, Len sighed, glancing between them both.
“Fine,” he agreed reluctantly, free hand lifting to once more settle his goggles and parka hood back into place. “But this conversation isn’t over. Are we clear?”
“Crystal,” Lisa replied, tone sour. “Can we go now?”
Nodding sharply, Len ordered, “follow me”, and led the way out of the warehouse.