mick rory was fucking fine, alright? he was fine. nothing was wrong. no, seeing past snart didn’t fuck him up at all. yeah, he was drinking, so what? he always drank. he was fine.
he was hallucinating his dead partner again and on the verge of collapse, but he was fine.
mick knocked back another bottle of beer, stared blankly at the wall until snart appeared again, like he always had.
but something was different this time.
snart wasn’t mocking, wasn’t cold and brutal, or even unnervingly gentle.
he looked fucking terrified.
“rory,” snart snapped, his voice sharp and slightly panicked, before mick could even get a word out to tell him to fuck off. “help me, goddammit.”
“you’re dead,” mick growled back, putting down his bottle. “nothin’ i can do to help that. piss off, ghost.”
snart paused, looking at his old partner with something resembling surprise, or even thankfulness. “you can hear me?” he asked, most of the anger gone from his voice now, replaced with a forced calm that he definitely didn’t feel.
“’course i can,” mick replied, slightly confused. “you’re in my goddamn head. the doc said you were a…” he frowned, trying to come up with the right word. “a illumination.”
“you mean hallucination,” snart automatically said, some of the tension draining out of him as he crossed his arms and leaned against the doorway. “i’m not in your head, mick. i didn’t die in the explosion, i think i was…trapped in the time stream, you could say.”
mick shook his head, and the image of snart started to flicker, to fade out of his sight, and that was all the proof mick needed to be convinced that snart was just a figment of his imagination. it only served to make snart look panicked again, though only for a moment, as he struggled to keep his face and voice level and calm, to make his instructions clear to his partner. “you need to tell rip, or gideon-they might know something about this. listen to me, mick-“ his voice cut off, and snart seemed to disappear into thin air.
mick looked at the place where the crook had been for a long, long time, his expression almost mournful as he turned over snart’s words in his head.
he wasn’t real. he couldn’t have been.
but he’d looked right, not like the perfect snart mick would reluctantly admit he had made in his head, he’d looked like the flawed, heroic bastard who’d killed himself for the legends, who’d refused to kill his friend.
god, mick was going to drive himself fucking crazy. well, crazier than he already was.
snart was dead. mick’s mind was playing tricks on him. end of story.
sara stepped into the kitchen, frowning slightly when she saw mick, sitting at the table with empty bottles of beer scattered around him. she knew he drank, hell, so did she, but she was starting to get worried. he’d never been completely the same since leonard had died, and it had only gotten worse after the legion of doom had showed up. and she was the captain, it was her duty to make sure that her crew was alright, that they were in good condition and could fight.
she’d be lying if she said she hadn’t been using mick’s grief as a distraction from her own.
she didn’t know what she had had with leonard, didn’t know what she could have had with him, didn’t even know if she loved him.
but she did know that it hurt. a lot. always worst when she least expected it. and she didn’t need that, couldn’t have her feelings for a man who’d been lost to her for a long time now distract her from her job. so she pushed them down, ignored them, focused on other people’s.
that didn’t mean they went away, though.
“mick? you alright?” sara asked, stopping in front of the thief.
he grunted, seeming to snap back into focus. “’m fine.”
she arched an eyebrow, not too inclined to believe him after seeing the look on his face. “you sure about that?”
mick didn’t bother to reply, knew that she would see right through any response that he tried to give her. he grabbed another bottle of beer, and was starting to open it when sara took it from his hands. he started to protest, made a move to snatch it back from her, but she tilted her head slightly, giving him a dangerous look that very clearly said ‘go ahead and try me, it won’t go well for you.’
he glared up at her, and growled, “the hell do you want?”
“you to stop trying to drink yourself into oblivion and start opening up about what’s wrong with you,” she said immediately, putting down the bottle on the counter. it was a bit harsh, it might not even work, might just make things worse, might make mick close off more instead of open up, but it was worth trying.
he hesitated, almost told her to go to hell, and looked away. there was a tense pause, and then he quietly said, “…saw snart again. he, uh. said he wasn’t dead. just trapped in the time stream, or some shit. asked me to help him, to tell gideon, or hunter.”
sara had to stop herself from showing how bad she felt for him in her eyes, knowing that it would only make him shut down. he didn’t want to be coddled, would rather suppress his feelings than let her offer him some sympathy, or even empathy. she saw leonard too sometimes, though not exactly in the way mick did.
he saw him standing, moving, having conversations-she saw the faintest outline of him all around the waverider, that insufferable smirk on his face, waving his stupid pack of cards, the slightest of memories, familiar and constant, never entirely gone.
“i thought you said you’d stopped seeing him,” sara said quietly, careful to keep her voice neutral.
“i did,” mick replied, fidgeting with his gloves a little. “jus’ started up again little while ago. always tell him to piss off, but…never works. he jus’ fades after awhile.”
she tilted her head slightly, and this time couldn’t stop the sadness from showing on her face. “sounds shitty. is he still being an asshole, or just trying to get you to help him?”
“just wants help. sometimes he…he talks like there are times when he’s talking to me an’ i can’t hear him.”
there was another silence, deep and thick, and for a moment they both thought that that would be the end of the conversation.
then, in a quiet, small voice, painfully unlike her usual one, sara said, “i miss him.”
“yeah.” mick paused, grabbed another beer, and, this time, she didn’t make a move to stop him. “yeah, me too.”
leonard slammed his fist against the wall of the waverider’s kitchen, the familiar feeling of despair slowly rising up in him again as he watched mick stare right through him, unseeing, completely oblivious to his presence.
he wasn’t completely sure what was happening, had only pieced together bits and fragments, theories and possibilities.
he had died.
he was sure of it. he had held down the lever, had felt the explosion, had felt every molecule in his body rip apart, had felt himself burn.
it had been agonizing, and leonard found himself waiting for the pain to start up again, waiting for the visions of the legends, of his friends, to disappear and be replaced with the harsh blue light, searing and jarring, the image burned into his eyes until he could see nothing else, could remember nothing else.
but it never happened.
“goddammit, mick,” he whispered again, though he knew that his partner couldn’t hear him, knew that it wasn’t his fault, knew that mick had no reason to believe he was real.
leonard looked away from the kitchen, to one of the doors, started to walk out, maybe go to the engine room to keep trying to figure out what the hell was going on. and the he heard her.
“you alright, mick?”
he rarely saw her in between the black spots in his memories of his times as a dead man, rarely heard her speak.
he had called out to her, but she had never noticed, had never seen him.
he had thought he would get used to how it stung, but he never did.
she was beautiful, he realized, just as she had been the last time she had seen him.
but that wasn’t the important thing. the important thing was that she might have the power to help him, that she might be able to get him out of whatever limbo he was stuck in, that she could do something, anything to save him.
“sara.” leonard stepped forward, his voice urgent and clear. “lance. listen to me. see me.”
she tilted her head slightly towards him, and he felt that spark of hope again, that dangerous, elusive feeling. “sara?”
when she spoke, it wasn’t to him.
it was to mick, of course it was to mick.
she had never seen him, and she never would.
there was a little voice in the back of leonard’s mind telling him that he should give up. that he was going to be trapped there, forever, haunting the waverider, just out of reach of the legends, never able to see his sister again, or to see central city again. that he might as well just let go and let himself drown in the memories, in the burning blue of the explosion, let himself fade away until even the ghost of him that remained was gone.
he shook his head, and forced himself to turn away from his ex-partner and his...and sara, didn’t let himself look back.
he was leonard snart.
he was cold, captain fucking cold.
he had a plan for every situation, for every job, for every escape.
he would come up with a scheme to bring himself back.
he would see lisa again.
he would find his way home again.
he had to.
it had been weeks since sara had talked to mick in the kitchen, and she had all but forgotten their conversation about leonard. she had slightly more pressing concerns, and thinking about ex-somethings, ex-maybes, wasn’t really on her to do list.
but she had to think about leonard some time, cover the topic enough to stave off overwhelming emotions, and that was how she found herself in the cargo bay, her expression blank and cold as she threw knives at targets that she had hung on the walls and thought, thought about card games and drinks and thieves.
leonard from the past had joined the legion of doom.
they had wiped his memory of it and dropped him back off in his place on the timeline.
he had joined the legends, become a better man, and had fallen in something like love with her.
this time the knife was slightly off center, and she frowned, working out ways to correct her aim as she continued to think.
she had had feelings for him.
she…possibly still had those feelings for him.
the knife went wide to the left, and she scowled at it, crossing her arms. fucked up aim was one of the last things she wanted right now. she needed less problems, not more.
but when sara took a step forward to retrieve her knives, an alarm went off, piercing and loud, ringing through the halls.
speak of the devil and he shall appear, it seemed. another goddamn problem.
she covered her ears with her hands, trying to block out some of the noise. “gideon, what the hell is going on?”
the ai seemed to hesitate for a moment, and then said, “i would suggest going down to the engine room to find out, captain. mr. rory is already on his way there.”
sara arched an eyebrow, already on the move. “who-or what-is in the engine room?”
“i doubt that you will believe me unless if you see it for yourself, captain.”
that was odd.
gideon had always given sara the information she needed, even if it was hard to swallow, even if it seemed more than a little ridiculous and unbelievable, even for them. whoever it was, or whatever it was, it must have been bad, though it clearly wasn’t bad enough that gideon couldn’t to send her in there blind.
she shook her head slightly, ignoring those nagging thoughts as she made her way through the waverider, pausing for only a moment outside of the engine room before quietly entering, her steps slow and cautious as she scanned for any signs of danger.
mick was there, like gideon had said he would be.
and there was someone on the ground in front of him, bleeding from a cut on his head and looking like hell.
an achingly familiar someone.
“mick, put the gun down,” the mystery man said, his voice cold and clear, and that’s when it hit her, clicked into place in her head.
it couldn’t be possible.
he was dead, or a villain from a time before he joined the legends.
maybe this was a trick, another opponent trying to fuck with them.
she took another step forward, enough to see his eyes, enough for him to notice her, a glimmer of recognition flickering across his face, maybe even what seemed like a spark of hope.
it disappeared just as quickly as it had come when sara made her expression go cold.
“mick, knock him out.”
leonard snart spent his first day alive again locked up in the brig, sitting with his back to the wall, his eyes hard and empty as he stared off into space, his mind whirring as he tried to figure out what had happened, what had changed, how he had come back.
all he remembered was a bright light and a flash of searing pain, and hitting the floor of the engine room, hearing sirens and seeing mick.
and seeing sara.
he remembered her, remembered the ice in her eyes and the tension in her stance, the way she looked at him like an enemy before ordering his old partner to knock him out.
it was a smart move, logical, and exactly what he would have done had he been in her position, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t still sting.
after awhile, he gave up on puzzling out the answer to his resurrection, accepting that he would have to deal with not knowing for now, that he wouldn’t get any answers while locked away by his own team.
he held back the temptation to tap his fingers, forced himself to look impassive, and waited.
they would send someone down to interrogate him.
he knew they would.
it was only a matter of time.
and it would be sara who came, he knew that, too.
he hadn’t seen rip or kendra on the ship in a long, long time.
ray was too soft to be anywhere near successful at interrogation.
stein wasn’t too good at reading people, and neither was jax.
the two newbies didn’t know leonard, wouldn’t understand what they were up against or how to even attempt to get honest answers out of him.
he doubted they’d trust mick to go anywhere near him.
so it had to be sara.
a brutal reunion, not the type one would usually expect, but they weren’t a usual pair, and he didn’t expect anything from her.
except maybe a punch in the face.
“you don’t have to do this, you know,” ray said to sara, stopping her at the door before she headed down to the brig to talk to the snart copycat they had captured. “i could go, or amaya-“
“if he’s anything like the real leonard,” sara interrupted, “he would tear both of you apart. i can do this, it’s fine.”
“you sure?” ray looked more than a little worried about her, he always had when it came to leonard. he didn’t know for certain whether or not anything had happened between him and sara, but he had always had his suspicions, and everyone knew that they had been close friends, even if nothing else.
“i’m sure. don’t worry about me, ray.”
he watched her go, nervous as he headed back over to the rest of the legends, watching the live footage of leonard in his cell. he had a bad feeling, though he wasn’t entirely sure why.
mick wasn’t with the group, he noticed, slightly concerned.
“gideon, where’s mick?” he asked.
“mr. rory is in his room,” came the smooth reply.
amaya started to say that she would go check on him, and then gideon added, “it would appear that he would very much like to be left alone.”
amaya shared a concerned look with ray, but gave a small nod. “thank you, gideon.”
“of course, ms. jiwe.”
everyone went quiet as sara came into view on the monitors, her jaw clenched as she stood in front of leonard, who coolly held her gaze.
this would be interesting.
mick sat in his room, staring at the box he was keeping the cold gun in, his face blank and his eyes empty.
seeing snart had fucked him up.
not because he had been a fake, not because mick thought it meant that they’d have to deal with that legion of doom bullshit again.
no, it was because snart had looked right.
he had looked like himself, like the man mick had been hallucinating.
maybe he hadn’t been hallucinating, then. maybe he really had been somehow seeing his old partner.
which would mean that snart, the real snart, had been asking for his help, had been asking to be saved, and mick had ignored him.
“gideon,” mick said, his voice slightly quieter than usual, “’s it possible that’s really him?”
gideon hesitated, and one could almost hear her thoughts whirring. “i…suppose it is, yes,” she replied eventually. “i could run some tests, if you like. it wouldn’t be too hard to confirm whether or not that is, in fact, mr. snart, though it would be harder to determine where on the time line he’s from.”
“jus’ make sure it’s him,” mick said, forcing down the spark of hope that he felt. “i’ll deal with the rest.”
“…thanks, gideon. an’ if it’s not him, don’t tell lance about this.”
“of course, mr. rory.”
“who are you?”
leonard tilted his head slightly to the side, kept his eyes locked on sara’s. “leonard snart,” he replied. “or captain cold, take your pick.”
“who are you really?” she snapped back, her tone making it clear that there might just be consequences if he didn’t give her the kind of answer she was looking for.
“i told you,” he said. “i’m not lying, assassin.”
“don’t call me that,” sara growled, and leonard held up his hands in mock surrender, still keeping his face neutral.
“what do you want?”
“to figure out why i’m not dead,” he said. “and then to go back home, to central city. see my sister again, maybe. get back into the old business.”
“i’m a criminal, or have you forgotten?”
she frowned, and started to speak again, to ask him another question, when gideon interrupted.
“not now, gideon,” she snapped, wincing internally at how harsh she sounded. she didn’t mean to be short with the ai, but talking to leonard-or whoever it was that was pretending to be leonard-had put her on edge, and being polite wasn’t exactly her greatest concern at the moment.
“apologies, but this is rather important, captain,” gideon said, the slightest hint of hesitation in her voice.
“what is it?”
“according to the test i have run, it seems that we have apprehended the…real mr. snart,” she said slowly. “i am not entirely sure as to his origin on the timeline, but he is not a shapeshifter or some other form of copycat.”
sara had to force herself from freezing, to keep her expression calm, but leonard still noticed the hint of surprise in her eyes, the panic, and even the smallest, most hidden fragment of happiness.
god knew how many times she had dreamed of getting him back, but she still refused to get her hopes up, not after the damage another leonard had wreaked before, with the legion of doom by his side.
“thank you, gideon.”
“of course, captain lance.”
sara crossed her arms, and studied leonard for a moment, the silence in the room almost overwhelming as they stared each other down.
“what’s the last thing you remember?” she asked softly, finally breaking the quiet.
“knocking mick out,” he said. “convincing you to get him out of there. holding down the lever. the oculus exploding. searing pain, blue light, nothing. appearing on the ship, seeing mick again, trying to get him to help me, trying to get you to help me. mick was the only one who ever heard me, and he never listened. then i appeared in the engine room, he knocked me out, and i woke up in here.”
he didn’t mention the kiss, didn’t have to. she knew he remembered.
she also knew why he didn’t mention it.
no point in having that conversation now, was there? didn’t need anymore heartbreak just yet. especially not with an audience.
sara nodded slowly, let some of the tension slowly drain from her posture. “alright,” she said slowly. “alright. i believe you. for now. but if you make one goddamn move to hurt anyone on this ship-“
“you’ll kill me?”
“in a heartbeat.”
leonard smiled wryly, unconvinced and unafraid to let her know it. “if you say so, assassin.”
it had been two days since leonard had been released from the brig, and it seemed like everyone was walking on eggshells around him.
he wouldn’t have questioned it if it was the usual ‘you just died and came back to life, we don’t know how it changed you and what you’re going to be like’ kind of caution, but this was something darker, more nervous, as if they were all just waiting for him to stab them in the back.
mick hadn’t spoken a word to him since he had given the cold gun back to him, but leonard had seen him watching him when he thought he wouldn’t notice, a strange combination of fear and hope sparking in his eyes.
stein and jax were civil enough, but there was none of the hesitant trust between them that they had given him before, none of the sense that they were teammates.
the new people (or at least new to him), amaya jiwe and nate heywood, were…interesting. heywood already seemed to hate him a little, and jiwe watched him like he was about to attack, analytical and distrustful, though she also seemed to be actively trying to stop herself from doing so, trying to be nicer.
ray went quiet around him, became more subdued and careful, still smiled at leonard and treated him like a friend, but always had a bit of worry lurking on his face.
and sara…sara was something else entirely.
she had been careful to avoid him, leaving rooms when he entered and being careful to make sure nobody else on the team noticed that she did so, though leonard saw, of course he did, how could he not?
if he was being honest, he would say that it hurt more than he had expected it would, but he’d been a liar all his life and he wasn’t about to stop now.
leonard didn’t push any of them, didn’t demand answers and explanations, didn’t let any of them see how it stung, didn’t do anything but be the model teammate, kept his distance and did his job. secretly, he was talking to gideon, going over every aspect of his death and his resurrection, and building up to asking the ai what, exactly, had happened to make the legends mistrust him while he was gone.
he was sitting in his room when he finally asked, his back up against the wall, shuffling cards and staring at the ceiling. “what did i do, gideon?”
the ai seemed to hesitate, before cooly saying, “i’m not entirely sure that i know what you mean, mr. snart.”
“yes, you do,” he replied. “what happened while i was…gone that made the team distrust me?”
gideon paused again, and then said, “the legends fought against a group they named the legion of doom during your absence. it was made up of eobard thawne, malcolm merlyn, damien dahrk, and…you.”
leonard felt his heart stop as she went on.
“thawne recruited you from the past, shortly before captain hunter convinced you to become a legend. he informed you that you died a hero, became weak, and got you to agree to assist him with his plans to secure a weapon known as the spear of destiny and rewrite reality to your preference. you inflicted significant damage on the team, especially mr. rory, who you convinced to betray the legends.”
he set down the cards, clenched his jaw, forced himself to focus on her words and ignore the slightly sick feeling that was rising in his stomach, the way everything started to make sense. he shouldn’t have been surprised that he had done this. he was a criminal. that was all he would ever be.
he was foolish to think that he could be a hero.
gideon had stopped talking, and leonard knew that he was waiting for a reaction, another question, a curse, anything other than icy silence and frozen eyes. but she wasn’t going to get one.
sara didn’t look up, kept making her sandwich. “yes, gideon?”
“mr. snart has been informed about his actions with the legion of doom.”
sara paused, and then put down the knife she was holding, her appetite suddenly gone. part of her had been hoping that he would never find out, that he wouldn’t question his teammates’ attitudes, but she never could have had that much luck, not with leonard snart. he was too smart for that, too observant. “how’s he taking the news?”
“i’m not entirely sure. he hasn’t given any verbal or physical reaction.”
she frowned slightly, only more concerned. “does he look cold? kind of like he’s blocking everything out?”
“that sounds about accurate, yes.”
“fuck,” sara said, putting away the butter knife and then brushing crumbs off of her hands. she had to go talk to leonard, no matter how badly she wanted to forget what gideon had told her, to keep making her meal and go back to avoiding him. “where is he?”
“alright. thank you, gideon.”
“of course, captain lance.”
sara walked out of the galley, tapping her fingers nervously on her leg as she went, trying to figure out exactly what she would say to leonard, how she would act around him, whether she should keep her distance or try to open up with him, to treat him like she had before he had sacrificed himself.
well, maybe not exactly the same way.
because that would mean letting herself love him again, and she didn’t think she could do that, not yet.
and if she already loved him, she wouldn’t admit it, not even to herself.
sara stood in the doorway of leonard’s room, her hands in her pockets. there was a time when she would have walked right in and started talking, but that was long gone, and she wasn’t entirely sure how leonard would even react to her.
he slowly looked up, held her gaze for a moment before glancing away.
“hey,” she said quietly, hating how tiny her voice sounded.
“if you’ve come here to pity me, or if you expect me to pity myself,” leonard said, “i’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed.”
she shook her head slightly. “i was more expecting self-hatred.”
he gave her a tiny, wry smile, and picked up the cards again. “well, we’ve got plenty of that here.”
“you’re not the same man who fought us,” she said, more than a little concerned. “you’ve changed, none of the legends blame you for-“
“yes, they do.”
sara wanted to argue, but she knew he was right. they’d all been treating him strangely, and it hadn’t even been subtle. “you know, it might get better if you talk to them about it.”
he gave her a ‘have you met me’ look, and she sighed. he’d never been the type for open communication, especially not with people he didn’t know too well and didn’t exactly trust, but she had thought that he’d at least try to speak with mick. then again, he’d always been a stubborn bastard.
“are you and mick still not talking?”
leonard nodded, and they both fell silent for a moment, neither quite certain where this was going or what they could say without giving themselves away about how they felt.
“…did i hurt you?”
she hesitated, and that was all the confirmation he needed to start imagining horrible situations, near deadly injuries and bloody fights, not that it showed.
“you hurt all of us, leonard.”
he didn’t care as much about the rest of them, though, except for mick.
he looked down at the cards in his hands, and remembered games of gin and quiet conversations, small, stolen moments of peace in chaos. he remembered how perfect sara had been, perfect for him, and the idea of fighting her, of hurting her, made him feel weak in ways he didn’t like.
so he still loved her, then.
and maybe, if he had been different, if he was actually the same man who had killed himself for the legends, he would be alright with that. maybe he would talk to her, be soft with her. maybe he would try to be the sort of person sara lance deserved. that would be the good thing to do, the thing a hero would do.
but leonard snart wasn’t a hero.
and he didn’t think that he wanted to be one anymore, either.
all it ever did was get him killed, after all.
and nobody, no matter how perfect, no matter how strong and kind and deserving, was going to make him one.
he wasn’t going to die because of love. not again.
leonard stood, and maybe it was the look in on his face, or the way he held himself, or the ice in his eyes, the kind she hadn’t seen since they first met, but something, some instinct, made sara take a step back.
“take me back to central city.”
she blinked, wasn’t entirely sure whether or not this was really happening. “what?”
“you heard me, lance. i’m leaving.”
when leonard left, it was without a word.
he didn’t have anything to say, not to the legends, nothing that he could say that would both show how sorry he was and how little he wanted to be like them.
he didn’t even speak to mick, because mick was becoming a hero, gaining a family, being happy, being better, and leonard would be damned if he ruined that for him.
his silence towards sara was the coldest, though, and she didn’t quite know why.
ray was the only person who tried to stop him, stepping forward and placing a cautious hand on leonard’s arm, starting to speak before leonard pulled his arm roughly away, shot him a glare that could freeze a supernova. ray bowed his head, didn’t try to stop him again, and that was that.
leonard snart turned away, and walked out of the waverider.
mick and sara sat in the library, both taking long swigs from bottles of beer as they stared at the wall, eyes a little blank and stances a little tense.
“we’’ll get him back,” sara said eventually, but the words sounded empty, even to her. truth was, they didn’t know if they would ever get him back, if he would ever be the leonard they knew again.
“you don’ know that,” mick replied, taking another swig from his beer. “he left, lance. when he makes up his mind about things-he’s not gonna come back.”
she ran a hand through her hair, wanting to continue to argue with him but not able to make herself do it. “a girl can dream, right?”
he grunted, and finished his drink, let the room fall silent again. it wasn’t uncomfortable, exactly, they knew each other too well for that. it was more…worried, slightly tense. they both knew what they wanted, knew what they weren’t sure they could get: leonard back. even though they knew it wasn’t likely, knew leonard was stubborn and hurt and that they probably weren’t enough to keep him anywhere, but they wanted to be able to hope, to believe.
just this once.
just in him.
was that too much to ask?
after everything, everything they had seen and done and been through, was that too much to ask?
leonard slung the cold gun over his shoulder, kept his gaze icy and even as he glanced around the bank, saw the tension and fear in everyone’s postures as they watched him.
unplanned bank robberies weren’t usually his style, but he wanted to get back into the swing of things, start out with something easy, something he knew he could pull off with sheer intimidation alone, no casualties or associates necessary. just him and his gun.
and if there was a small part of him that was hoping that barry allen might show up to save the day, or that his sister would hear the news and let him know where she was, well, he wasn’t going to admit it.
“well?” he said, looking at one of the tellers. “you know the drill. hand over the money, or things might just get a little cold in here.”
leonard was halfway down the street when the flash picked him up, racing him to star labs before he could even get a word out.
“who the hell are you?” the speedster demanded, keeping his mask on. “why are you pretending to be leonard snart? where did you get that gun?”
“i’m not pretending to be anyone, scarlet,” leonard drawled, leaning against the wall. “i got the gun back from the crew of the waverider. they’re also the ones who brought me here.”
barry shook his head, clearly angry as he glared at the other man. “leonard snart was a hero,” he spat. “he died saving-“
“he died making a foolish mistake,” leonard growled back. “and then i came back, and decided not to make the same choice again. i was never a hero, and i never will be. thinking otherwise is naïve. then again, barry, you’ve always seen the best in people, even when you shouldn’t. especially when you shouldn’t.”
barry paused, and then said, “it’s…really you, isn’t it?”
leonard nodded, and barry rushed forward, grinning as he pulled him into a hug that that the thief didn’t return, only awkwardly patting him on the back in response.
“oh, man,” barry said. “i missed you!”
leonard tilted his head slightly, not used to being missed, or having someone be this affectionate with him, especially not someone like barry. and if there was a small part of him that wanted this to be coming from sara-he cut off that thought, stepped back a little. “did you, now?”
“’course i did, you’re my friend,” barry said. “and good in a fight. a hero, no matter how much i know you disagree.”
“i'm not a hero, barry. i'm a thief. heroism gets you killed, i have firsthand experience with that, and there's no room on my agenda for a permanent death."
barry gave him a sad smile. "you're wrong. you’re a good guy, snart, deep down. even if you don’t believe it, even if it’s hard to see sometimes. you don’t want to hurt people, and you’ve got honor. you’re not a villain.”
“sure,” leonard said. “keep dreaming, scarlet. now, can i get my money back?”
barry laughed, shook his head. “yeah, no. i’m gonna be giving this back to the bank. nice try, though.”
leonard smiled wryly, and started to head for the door. “i’ll see you around, flash.”
“i’ll catch you later, snart.”
“nah, you won’t.”
amaya knocked on the door to sara’s room, giving the blonde a small, sympathetic smile when she looked up from the deck of cards she was shuffling, leonard’s cards.
“hey,” amaya said softly, stepping into the room. “how are you feeling?”
“’m fine,” sara replied, though she knew it was obvious that that was bullshit.
amaya frowned a little, and sat down beside her. “i’ve only ever known snart as an enemy,” she said, “but it’s clear that he…that the team cared a lot about him. especially you. you don’t have to force yourself to be alright, sara.”
sara sighed, and looked away from her, before saying, “it’s my fault. that he left. i should’ve talked to him earlier, should’ve told him about the legion before he asked gideon. he doesn’t want to hurt the team, and he’s…scared, i think. of dying again. and leonard snart never gets scared. so he ran. easier than trying to deal with this mess, more profit in it for him. it’s the logical thing to do, really.”
amaya studied her for a moment, quiet and concerned. “just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it’s good,” she said. “you wanted him to stay, right?”
sara hesitated. “yeah,” she said slowly. “yeah, i did. he’s my…friend, i guess, i-“ i love him.
the thought was unexpected, and unwanted, too. she couldn’t know that, not yet. he had only just gotten back, she couldn’t love him. eventually, maybe. but not yet.
“i care about him,” she finished quietly, and amaya took her hand, gave it a gentle squeeze.
“you should try telling him that,” she said, and sara almost laughed.
she shook her head, unable to stop herself from smiling wryly. “captain cold doesn’t do emotional heart-to-hearts. it’s not his style.”
“i think you’d be surprised,” amaya replied. “maybe he’s changed some.”
sara paused, and considered it for a moment, remembered the way leonard had looked and talked and held himself, the microexpressions hidden beneath all that ice.
“maybe he has.”
leonard shoved his hands into his pockets, his expression a picture of sadness and even the slightest hint of fear as he waited for lisa to answer the door, everything about the way he held himself almost completely different from how it had been when he had spoken to barry.
when his sister swung the door open, he opened his mouth to speak, before stopping himself when he saw the anger on her face. she knew it was really him, not some fake, of course, because if anyone could tell on sight alone it would be her, would always be her.
leonard trusted his sister more than anything in the world, loved her more than anything, and the anger in her eyes when she looked at him, the hurt-it hurt like nothing else had, other than maybe the look on sara’s face when he had told her he was leaving the waverider.
“you died,” lisa said, never letting go of the doorknob, perfectly ready to slam the door shut in his face and leave him there at any moment. “you died, you left. you left me.”
“i…i’m sorry, lisa,” he said quietly, unable to meet her cold gaze. “i shouldn’t have gone. it was stupid. and i’m not doing it again. no point in going off to die for a second time.”
she paused, wanting to continue to yell at him but not sure if she could. he was her brother, after all. the only person she had left. and, god, she loved him, more than she would ever admit. “the city wasn’t the same without you,” she finally said. “i almost left.”
leonard looked up, and the moment they locked eyes, lisa cracked, reaching out and pulling him forwards into a tight hug. he hesitated, and then hugged back, let her bury her head in his shoulder.
after a minute, lisa pulled away, and hissed, “if you ever scare me like that again, i’ll kill you.”
he gave her a wry smile, nodded. “that’s fair enough.”
“you gonna get back in the business?”
“already have,” he replied. “you willing to work with me again?”
she smiled, and said, “of course.” she let it be silent for a moment, and then added carefully, “are you…sure that you’re not going to join up with the legends again?”
he frowned. “very. why?”
“i talked to mick while you were gone,” she said. “he told me about what happened, before you died. what you were like. the heroism was stupid, yes, but…he made it sound like you had a home with the legends, lenny. or like you could have had a home with them.” he didn’t respond, just watched her, and so she kept talking. “you’re my brother. and, yes, i want you stay in central to me, to have it be like the old days, cold and gold, at it again. but if you can find happiness with them..take it, lenny. you deserve it. even if it means you don’t get any other profit.”
leonard tilted his head slightly to the side, more than a little surprised by her words. he hadn’t expected that from her, not at all. but…maybe she was right.
she might have been right once, before the legion and all of the bullshit he had done to the team. but now? there was no place for him on the waverider, no matter how much he might want there to be. they’d be idiots to let him stay with them.
“i’ll…keep that in mind,” he said quietly, before straightening his posture and going into what sara had once called ‘business mode.’ “i’ll see you soon, lisa. i have some things to do to get settled back in in the city, some order to restore, time to catch up on. and i need to start planning my next move, of course.”
she bowed her head, and when she looked up again the expression on her face was nearly identical to his. it was clear that they were siblings, that was for sure. “have fun.”
“alright, guys,” sara said, standing in front of the assembled legends, her arms crossed, refusing to show how nervous she was about what she was about to propose. this could change everything, or it could just flop and make her look like a slightly lovestruck fool. “i want to bring leonard back to the ship.”
the room fell completely silent, and she could see some of the confusion and surprise and worry on her teammates faces.
“but,” she continued, “i want to get your votes on it first. after everything with the legion, i…i want to make sure that i won’t just be forcing you to deal with someone you don’t want to see.”
“tha’s assuming you can get him back,” mick said, and ray winced slightly, though sara nodded.
“yes, it is. so. opinions?”
there was a slight hesitation from the group, and ray was the first to reply. “i vote yes,” he said. “leonard’s one of us. well, was, i guess. he’ll always have a place on this ship.”
amaya nodded, ignoring nate’s surprise and saying, “i think we should give him a chance. he was clearly a different man when he sacrificed himself for the legends, and i believe we should try to help him become that person again.”
“i…agree with ms. jiwe,” martin said after a moment, nodding a little.
“i’m with grey,” jax chimed in. “he was a good guy. damn good in a fight, too.”
“agreed,” gideon said, and if they could see her she would have smiled.
nate sighed when sara looked to him, ran a hand through his hair. he wasn’t so sure about this, but snart clearly meant a lot to the captain, so who was he to fuck this up for her? “fine,” he said, and amaya grinned at him. “but if this goes bad-“
“i’ll deal with it,” sara said, before turning to the only person who had yet to speak on the matter, and maybe also the one who’s opinion mattered the most: mick.
the thief stared at the ground for a long moment, his face empty and unreadable. sara didn’t say a word, just let him think, knowing better than to push him when it came to leonard.
“alright,” mick said eventually, not looking up. “do it.”
sara smiled slowly, letting herself have this one victory, this one moment of happiness before everything fell back into the chaos of trying to figure out how to get snart to come
she could do this.
she knew she could.
and if she couldn’t, well…sara lance was no stranger to hurt, or to heartbreak. she’d get over him. it’d be fine.
it wasn’t like she’d only thought of him since the moment he first appeared in the engine room or anything, of what it was like to befriend him and to kiss him and to mourn him and maybe even love him.
okay, yeah, she was fucked.
coming back to central city had been harder than leonard had anticipated.
everything was so familiar – the streets, the buildings, the marks. but it was also so different, so changed, years’ worth or modernization and little changes drastically altering the layout of his home.
was it even his home anymore?
that was the worst part of coming back to life.
the disassociation from the world he had returned to, never quite being able to fit in again in the place where he had once stood like he was built for it. that had been a life he had made for himself, patched together with ruthless decisions and stolen money, one that he hadn’t been glad enough to have.
maybe he just had to start over again.
make something new for himself.
he could do that.
but maybe he didn’t have to.
maybe, with the legends, he could-
he cut that thought off, and went back to polishing the cold gun, running a cloth over the metal until it shined. his movements were careful, methodical, and so devoted that you almost would have thought that he was completely unaware of his surroundings.
that wasn’t the case.
so when sara walked into the room behind him, leonard spun around immediately, the gun aimed directly at her heart.
sara stopped moving, kept her expression neutral, and said calmly, “i talked to the legends, and they all want you to come back to the ship, leonard. we’re still your team, your friends. we-“
“don’t waste your time trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.”
“that’s the thing, leonard.” sara took a step forward, unflinching even as leonard tightened his grip on the cold gun. “i think there’s a small part of you that does want to be saved.”
his hand shook slightly, and she could’ve sworn she saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes, but he didn’t lower the weapon.
there was a tense, terrifying silence, both of them frozen in their places, hardly daring to breathe.
“you owe mick.”
with that, the silence snapped, and leonard tilted his head to the side.
“you left, you-you died,” sara’s voice cracked, and she had to force herself to keep talking, “and past you showed up and fucked him up. and now you come back, and you fix it.”
he narrowed his eyes, taking a moment to steel himself before coolly saying, “was my miraculous return from the dead not enough for him, then?”
“goddammit, leonard.” she clenched her fists, and he shifted, wanted to fire, but he couldn’t, couldn’t move, couldn’t throw away this chance she was giving him, this one last chance to be a hero again, to have friends, to have a family, like lisa had said, and to maybe even have sara, though he wouldn’t admit that he wanted her.
to be a hero.
he wanted to be a hero, or at least as close to one as a man like him could be.
that was new.
leonard snart gave up on heroism when he held down that lever and burned to save the universe, to save the legends.
or at least he thought he had.
sara was talking again, he knew she was, but he didn’t hear her for a moment, staring off into space-until she said something else.
“come back to me, snart.”
he arched an eyebrow, his gaze unreadable as he asked, “to you?”
“to the ship,” she clarified, and they’d both be lying if they said that the change didn’t sting a little.
“i won’t die for you again, lance.”
“no one wants you to.”
he paused, and you could’ve heard a pin drop during the long moment between that moment and his next.
leonard slowly lowered the gun, and sara gave him a small, relieved smile. but he didn’t return it, simply saying, “lead the way, captain.”
and so she did.