The Keystone summer carnival was a cavalcade of color, noise and people. Mick stumbled into the path of a group of screeching teenagers, backing up against the cold metal of a carnival ride as they pushed past him.
An arm grabbed his and led him through the crowd. “Don’t worry,” Len murmured in his ear. “We’re not staying here.”
Mick had been having a bad day, on a spectacular level. Flaring tempers and broken glass, till a haggard Len had just left him to it for a while.
Then he’d unexpectedly returned, with his resolute face on, and said, “Come on.” (And, damn - a Snart with a purpose was a dangerous Snart.)
“Where we going?”
“You’ll find out.”
Mick narrowed his eyes and said, “Fine. But if you kill me, you’ll never find the money.”
Len’s chuckle was warm and reassuring, like his hand on Mick’s shoulder, and Mick felt his resolve shatter even as he rolled his eyes. “No questions. Got it.” He’d grabbed his coat and trailed out after his partner.
So there they were, in an empty field behind the carnival ground, Len laying out a blanket like they were in some 1950s movie. Mick blinked at him. “What, no picnic?”
Len pulled a couple of cans of beer from his backpack, smirking like the asshole cat he was. “Will these do?”
Mick shrugged, grabbed one greedily and sat. “What’s this about?”
“Shh,” Len said, pointing in the direction of the carnival. “It’s starting.”
Muffled voices over a distant loudspeaker. Then, above them, the fireworks began. Rockets shot into the sky in a dozen colors, exploding into waterfalls of light.
A slow smile spread across Mick’s face. He set his beer down next to the blanket and laid himself out beneath the sky. “Ahh,” he sighed approvingly.
Beside him, he heard Len’s low laugh. “Have I lost you for the night?”
“Nah.” Mick patted the blanket next to him. There was some awkward shuffling, and a head appeared next to his own. Len grinned at him. Then, together, they turned towards the sky.
They lay in silence as Mick lost track of time and his surroundings, his focus sparking and sputtering under the dazzling pyrotechnics.
“Tell me what you see,” Len said, out of nowhere, an unfamiliar note to his voice.
Mick side-eyed him, but Len’s gaze was distant as he played with the fringe of the blanket. Mick looked back towards the sky. “Power,” he rumbled, after a minute. “But… controlled. Locked up until you need it.” He paused, chasing the words. “All that energy, waiting to combust. Fire in the palm of your hand. And then -” He brought closed fists up at the sides of his head, flinging his palms open. “Boom.”
“Huh,” Len said softly. “Promethean.”
Mick huffed and nodded, head moving against the blanket, eyes riveted on the spectacle overhead. He felt Len slide closer, and curled into him, docile under the flare and flame.
“I like it,” Len said in something close to a purr.
“Watching you get lost in it,” Len murmured.
Mick paused. “Not what you said before,” he said after a moment, in a flat tone.
Len stilled, but didn’t let go of Mick.
It wasn’t quite silence, with the sky exploding, crackling and hissing above, but neither of them said another word for a while.
“In my defense,” Len said at last, “you did go full Targaryen on me.”
Mick snapped out of his trance just to give him an irritated, questioning look.
“Mad king. A Song of Ice and Fire,” Len murmured.
Shrugging, he replied, “Never read it.”
Len answered his stare with a grin. “The Targaryens might not be the best literary representation of pyromania. I’ll get it for you. You can always hate-read it.”
“Nerd,” Mick said with an eye-roll of defeat.
“It has dragons," Len said, his eyes fixed on the sky.
Mick snorted. "You didn't think of opening with that?"
A stellar set of rockets flared pink, purple and blue, then fizzed back to earth - one, two, three. Mick’s eyes were wide and wild. “When I was a kid, I used to think the sparks were gonna hit the ground on their way back down, and set everything alight.”
Len shifted beside him. “You thought, or you hoped?”
Something twisted inside him abruptly, and he pulled away from Len, pillowing his hands under his head. “Yeah, well. Wouldn’t’ve cared much if everything had burned.” His limbs felt heavy, suddenly, against the soft ground. Damp was seeping slowly into the blanket.
This time he came back into focus slowly. “...You could always try the old shrink again,” Len was saying, a little too gently. “You liked her.”
“Nah,” he said, the word escaping as a sigh. “Never did help much.” Blue and white comets chased each other's tails in the distance.
“Does anything?” Len asked, his voice low, tentative.
A palette of red and yellow stars burst across the deep blue canvas above them.
Mick reached out his hand in answer.