Chapter 1: Come Alive
Leonard Snart doesn’t really want to be here.
Sure, he’d been kinda working with the Flash and the other heroes for a few years now. He’d done that of his own free will, even, driven by the need for something new, for a challenge, for yet another way to prove that he wasn’t (and would never be) his father. And while the CCPD (and some of the more general populace) still weren’t sure what to make of the change in Captain Cold, he was generally accepted as being more or less on the side of the angels these days.
(Of course, he kept his hand in. Wouldn’t do to let the old skills slide. But as long as Team Flash and the CCPD don't know, no harm done. Right?)
Still, even though he’d been one of those who’d helped quash this newest threat to the city—a tech-talented meta who’d gone the giant-robots-for-world-domination route—this celebration at STAR Labs is a little...squeaky clean for him. Boring, even. Heroes from a couple of different cities earnestly rehashing the fight, comparing notes and costumes and tech, exclaiming as they run across old friends. (They all seem to know each other. It’s a little creepy.)
Someone had acquired beer and pizza—they’d probably even paid for it, given this lot—and Ramon’s put on some music. Nothing to Len’s taste, of course, just modern crap with an awful lot of bass and no intelligible words. It’s become a real party, with a few people dancing (if you can call it that) and a great deal of laughter.
Leonard himself is slouching in a chair off to the side of the cortex, watching them all from hooded eyes, abandoned beer at his side. He kind of wishes that Mick was here, just to have someone to help him mock the whole thing—but he and Mick are on the outs again, over the fact that Leonard’s still hanging on to this “weird hero gig” (in Mick’s words) and hasn’t given up and gone back to a life of crime.
It’s not going to happen—at least, Leonard’s pretty sure it’s not. But Mick won’t accept that. (It’d hurt, if Leonard allowed himself to actually think about it. He doesn’t. Much.)
He’s not sure why he hasn’t left this stupid party. Maybe because Lisa’s still here, teasing Ramon out on the “dance floor,” and he wants to keep an eye on that. Maybe because it’s entertaining, at least, to be the one to puncture Allen’s high spirits over a fight that’d gone so well.
Maybe because he’s a little bored lately, looking for a new challenge and occupation, and at least this keeps him from backsliding. Maybe he’s...actually a little lonely.
Maybe it’s partly her.
He’s never seen her here before, the blonde in white who seems as alone as he is, just on the other side of the room. She’s just a little on the short side, lean muscle and long, golden hair and fierce blue eyes, and she’s fought like he’d never seen before. No powers short of being an utter badass, as far as he can tell, but that just makes her more interesting.
She’d been assigned with both him and that Atom nitwit to the city’s South Side, and he hadn’t caught her name. Some sort of a bird-themed hero moniker? He doesn’t recall, mostly because the incredible shrinking schmuck hadn’t shut up enough to let either of them get a word in edgewise. But once they’d been on site and the fighting started, she hadn’t needed words.
Her actions did plenty of talking.
Leonard gives his head a shake, chasing away the recollection of poetry and mayhem in motion, and stood, stretching and glancing across the room again. She also looks like she’d almost rather be anywhere else, and he’s not too sure why she hasn’t left yet.
Maybe the same reason he hasn’t.
Which is to say, maybe neither of them is really sure.
He should probably leave. Insult Allen one last time, scare Ramon, say goodbye to Lisa, and get outta Dodge.
But he doesn’t. In fact…
“I don’t recommend that stuff. Don’t know who bought it, but I’d suggest waterboarding them with the crap.”
The blonde looks up from her perusal of the beer as Leonard strolls toward her. She lifts an eyebrow, but he also sees her lips twitch just a little, and she puts the unopened bottle back down in its nest of ice.
“Suspected as much,” she says smoothly, folding her arms and considering him. “Thanks for the warning.”
“Least I could do.” Leonard parks his hip against the desk beside her, pauses, then inclines his head. “Didn’t catch your name earlier. Our ‘teammate’ was talking too much.”
“He’s prone to that.” Her lips twitch again, but she nods, considering him. “Sara Lance. White Canary.” She glances away, across the room, toward said “teammate.” “From Star City, like Ray. When Barry called for help, there was a lot going on. I...my sister asked me to come.”
Sister...he’s heard of Laurel Lance, even met her once. He hadn’t realized there was another Canary. “And was it all you’d dreamed?”
That gets a low laugh, one that sounds sincere. (He feels vaguely victorious.) Sara glances around, then shrugs, looking back at him. “Well, it was nice to get to hit things for a while. I’m not really sure I fit in with this gang though. They’re just so...so...”
“Shiny? Annoying? Heroic?”
“Hmmm. All of the above?” Sara studies him. “I know you’re Captain Cold,” she admits finally, “but I didn’t catch your name either.”
Leonard bites back a surge of dismay that she hasn’t heard of him. He’d thought his heel-face turn had made enough news, both publicly and in the circles these people moved in, that he was quite recognizable, in more ways than one. Still…
“Leonard. Leonard Snart,” he says smoothly. “Nice to meet you, Sara.”
That gets an actual smile. “I have heard of you,” she admits, “but I wanted to be sure.” A pause. “I’ve been…out of town, out of touch, a lot, of the past few years.”
It’s mentioned in a way that’s curiously both apologetic and oddly confrontational, and Leonard cocks his head at her, wondering. “OK,” he drawls. “Well. I’m me.” He holds his hands out to either side and smirks at her. “Central City’s most wanted.”
Sara gives him a wry look at the innuendo in his tone. “I thought you reformed.”
Her tone is teasing. Leonard lets his smile grow. “Well,” he returns, folding his arms. “I did. Sort of.” He pauses. “As far as any of the heroes know, anyway.”
“Well, you’re telling me.” Her tone is dry.
“Are you a hero? You said you didn’t think you quite fit in this lot.”
He regrets the flippant words nearly immediately, though, because a shadow crosses Sara’s face—although she seems to try to force it away nearly immediately. She shrugs, glancing away and toward the others, then back at him.
“Maybe not,” she says quietly. “But I’m trying.”
Sympathy is unexpected. But there it is, and Leonard finds that he doesn’t want to fight it.
“Yeah,” he admits, even more quietly. “Me too.”
And then, after another moment of quiet in which the two of them regard each other, he abruptly, uncharacteristically, takes a chance. “Wanna get out of here?”
Sara lifts her eyebrows at him. “And…what?”
It’d been so much a whim that he’s not sure, but he’ll be damned if he lets on. “Some decent bars around here. Bars that aren’t so…stuffy. Cheap beer that’s better than this shit. High chance of punching.”
He’s right. Her eyes brighten. “Yes. Please.”
Sara lurks in the corners, watching as this Leonard Snart bids a laughing young woman…well, a woman about her own age…farewell, glaring at Cisco Ramon in the process, then fades away into the crowd. She shakes her head, amused, then heads for one of the exits herself.
She can’t help smiling about it, though. This Snart—god, that name—has managed to intrigue her more than she’d ever expected. He’s hot, that helps…those eyes, that lean, muscular build--but Sara hasn’t really thought much about that sort of thing since the Pit. It’s a surprise that the knowledge keeps nagging at her, stirring her awareness and attention.
And to be honest, the sheer degree of understanding in his expression was even more of a draw. He just seemed to get how she was feeling, an assassin—former assassin--there in the midst of all those heroes. Given his own origins, Sara can understand that, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate the understanding all the more.
Briefly, she wonders if Snart knows who she is, beyond her name and maybe her connection to Laurel. Likely not. Since she’d arrived in Central City, it’s become apparent that although Barry and co. know the basics of what had happened to her with the Pit, the Laurel and the others in Star City had stayed quite close-mouthed about any details.
And Snart, while seemingly accepted and welcomed into the group here, seems to linger on the outside enough that he probably doesn’t know even that.
Sara pauses outside the building, listening carefully, then turns at the faintest of sounds, watching as Leonard strolls out of the twilight toward her. He moves quietly—though more, she thinks, by habit than any desire to surprise her—and she sees the appreciation in his eyes as he realizes just how quickly she’d marked him.
By all her instincts, it’s mingled with other appreciation too—she hadn’t missed him watching her across the room earlier or the smooth and thorough once-over as he’d introduced himself. But her instincts are telling her something else, too, and given how long it’s been since she’s felt this growing ripple of attraction for someone, it’s something she wants to be clear on.
“So,” she asks him innocently as Leonard starts sauntering away from the building and she falls into step besides him. “How’s the gay scene in Central? I haven’t been out here much.”
Those blue eyes flicker her way, and Sara sees a smile touch his mouth. But he doesn’t stop, and he doesn’t seem surprised.
“Not bad. I’m told,” he says in that sexy drawl. “It’s not really my style. I tend to keep to myself.” He pauses. “Excellent gaydar, though. I’m pan, if you’re looking for a label.”
Ah ha. Sara nods, accepting both the tacit confirmation that he could very well be attracted to her and the suggestion that he’s not usually one to just...hook up randomly. She finds she’s rather pleased at both.
“And you?” The tone is curious and cordial. They’re both testing the waters here.
“Ah.” She glances his way. “Bi.”
That doesn’t make his gaze so much as flicker. Instead, he just nods, and they walk on.
Was that question the gentle bit of fishing for information that he thinks it was, instead of an actual query about the scene? He’s pretty sure it was.
Or was she just suggesting she’d rather go somewhere like that, the queer bars down on Morse Street? But then why would she just drop it instead of asking? Although he had said it wasn’t really his style...
There are reasons he doesn’t really do the dating thing, Leonard thinks grumpily. He’s not used to second-guessing himself like this. He’s not used to caring enough to second-guess himself.
Why does he?
But Sara’s speaking again, as they walk, and he listens.
“So,” she says, "I get the impression you wanted out of there as much as I did. Why’d you even hang around? After the fighting was over, of course. You live in Central; presumably you have a place to go.”
“Mmmm.” He turns left at an intersection, crosses the street with Sara pacing him, still considering his words. “Good question. My sister was there...”
“Mmhmm. And that meant I was...obliged...to put the fear of me into Ramon.” He smirks at her as she rolls her eyes. “What?”
“The ‘protect the baby sister’ act? Really?” She flashes a grin at him. “Would you do it if it was a girl she was flirting with?”
“Would. And have.” He points at her. “Don’t get any ideas.”
Sara chuckles. Leonard finds he really likes the sound. Enough that he wants to get her to do it again.
What the hell is happening to him?
But there’s no more time for confessions at the moment, though, because they’ve arrived at the very dive bar he’d had in mind. It’s not Saints & Sinners—people know him there, and he finds he doesn’t really want to be known right now—and frankly he’s not even sure it has a formal name. But there’s neon in the dark windows, a whiff of cigarette smoke about the place although Central has banned smoking in restaurants for years, and a scarred, heavy door with a handle polished smooth by years of hands. So many of the harbingers of a “good” local dive.
Sara hums in appreciation, looking at it. She reaches out and pulls open that heavy door, and they move inside.
The bar looks, Leonard thinks, rather like a throwback to the ‘70s. There’s a jukebox in the corner, faded posters on the walls, and more of the scarred, heavy wood like that of the door…the tables, the bar, the support beams. There’s even a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. And, of course, there are the incurious eyes of a dozen or more biker-ish types, all denim and bandanas for the men and short-shorts and crop tops for the women.
And here’s Sara in her white leather and him in his black, sauntering in like ying and yang, and oh hell, this is going to be trouble.
He finds he welcomes it.
Beers are acquired—not so much better than that crap at STAR Labs, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore—and Sara takes a sip of hers, giving Leonard a thorough once-over of her own as someone messes with the jukebox behind them, starting up a song that seems vaguely familiar.
“You want to dance, Leonard?” she asks then, gaze challenging.
Don’t mess around…
“You go right ahead,” he tells her. “I’ll watch.”
There’s a gleam in her eyes, and she hands him her beer. “Suit yourself.”
And she walks out, into an empty space that could barely be called a dance floor, and starts to move.
Ain’t gonna set you free now…
Leonard keeps the smirk on his lips and his eyes on her steadily, doing his best not to let on to the intensity of his reaction. It’s inexplicable, really. He barely knows her, and he tends to need to know someone before being truly attracted.
But both body and mind and…he won’t admit to heart being a part of this…are. They’re attracted. Very much so.
Then the inevitable happens. The burly man who accosts Sara clearly isn’t politely offering a drink—and her response, glancing toward the dark-haired woman he’d left at the bar, is just as clear. And—just as inevitably—he grabs her.
The man yells. Several of his buddies converge on them. And Sara glances over her shoulder at Leonard.
“I got this,” she assures him.
Of course she does.
When those girls start hanging around
Talking me down…
Watching her fight is even better than watching her dance. Leonard tries not to be obvious about swallowing, working some moisture into his dry throat.
He almost glances over his shoulder involuntarily, to give Mick that “are you seeing this?” look. But Mick isn’t there; Mick doesn’t understand why he’s doing what he’s doing these days, doesn’t want to understand why Leonard wants to change, and that hurts—it always hurts—but maybe it hurts a tiny bit less, because—he suddenly thinks, with the shock of realization--Sara does.
She gets it.
Hear with your heart and you won't hear a sound…
She’s amazing, but either the first idiot had a lot of friends or there are simply a lot of people up for a barfight tonight. No sooner has Sara swept the floors with the first lot than more are converging.
She glances at Leonard again. “Now I could stand for a little help.”
He doesn’t need to be asked twice.
'Cause I really love you
Stop, I'll be thinking of you
Look in my heart and let
Love keep us together…
Joe West looks around as he shrugs his coat on, smiling at his daughter. However, that smile quickly runs away as he digests the concern on Iris’ face. “What’s wrong?” “Oh....” Iris shrugs, but the concern is still there. “Nothing, probably. Have you seen Sara?”
“Sara Lance?” Joe glances around involuntarily, but the blond woman, of course, isn’t in sight. The celebration has started breaking up a little, but most of the assorted hero types in Central City to help Team Flash with…what had Cisco named that guy? He forgets…are still there.
“Not in a while.” He studies her. “You worried about something?”
“She was really quiet. And you know, she’d been gone for so long…” Iris bites her lip, then shakes her head. “I’m sure it’s fine. She probably just went for a walk.”
“Who’s she staying with?” One of the drawbacks to getting so much help was then trying to find couches for everyone to crash on.
“Caitlin. Who also hasn’t seen her in a while. And Sara doesn’t have a key to her place.”
“Hmm.” Joe sighs. “I’ll keep an eye out. But she probably just needed some air…or decided she wanted to go get some rest.” He winks at his daughter. “I don’t think the lack of a key would stop Sara.”
Iris smiles reluctantly. “True.” She hugs him. “ ’Night, Dad. Say hi to Cecile.”
“Of course I will.”
His daughter turns away, moving back to where Barry, Ray Palmer, Professor Stein and Jax are good-naturedly debating something, and Joe sighs, giving the rest of the room one last scan. And then another, because his mention of breaking-and-entering has called another “hero” to mind.
He’s still not completely convinced that Leonard Snart has changed his spots, though the man was certainly helpful enough today—and has been for a while now, honestly. Barry’s tendency to see the best in everyone is source both of amusement and occasional consternation, but maybe (Joe admits) he had it right this time.
The former criminal had probably ghosted out the door earlier with some of the better booze Joe knows perfectly well that Wells has tucked away. That’s not Joe’s hill to die on.
He’s no sooner out of the door from STAR Labs, though, when his phone—his work phone—rings. With a sign, he answers, getting into his car and leaning back against the seat.
“What now,” he says, closing his eyes. “After everything…”
Then he listens.
“Yeah, I’m near there. I’ll stop. But…OK, OK. Just a few minutes.”
It’s a dive bar not so far from STAR Labs, really. Joe’s not sure it even has a name that hasn’t been lost to time. He sees the flashing lights—a few patrol cars, an ambulance—and finds a parking spot, then leaves his car and walks toward the scene, wondering again why the lieutenant had called him.
He finds out soon enough.
“Hi, Joe!” Sara Lance says, sounding much too chipper, a smile on her face as she leans against the brick wall of the abandoned house next to the bar. She’s still in her White Canary outfit, which is presumably how the lieutenant had identified her. Joe stops in his tracks and stares at her, then allows his gaze to drift slowly sideways to the smirking visage of Leonard Snart, who inclines his head slowly toward the detective.
Joe takes a deep breath. Thanks his lucky stars that at least the lieutenant had called him rather than simply arresting two people hailed as heroes earlier in the day in the city. And then fixes his gaze on Sara and decides to ignore Snart for the time being.
“What,” he says carefully, “did you do?”
Sara’s chin goes up. “Just wanted a drink. And someone wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
Joe takes his hat off and runs a hand over his face. “You sent…eight? Nine?...people to the hospital with mild to moderate injuries. And there are more who wouldn’t go.”
“Yes?” Sara’s tone is a mix of obdurate and innocent and oddly pleased with herself. It’s a strange combo. “It was all self-defense.”
“Of course it was.” Joe shakes his head, then looks at Snart. “And you,” he says with a sigh. “You get your record clean and this is what you do with it?
Snart’s smirk grows. “Didn’t do anything,” he drawls. “Just helped the lady here take out some trash.”
There’s an interesting note in his voice. Is he...
Joe glances back and forth between the two briefly. Oh, hell. If this isn’t trouble in the making, he’s not sure what is.
But he’ll be damned if he’s going to give Leonard-friggin-Snart a lecture on hooking up with a cop’s daughter—or Sara Lance a lecture about doing the same with a “reformed” crook.
Joe draws in a long breath again, then lets it out and jerks his thumb away from the scene. “Get outta here.”
The pair look at each other, then back at him, faces unreadable.
“Seriously. I’m not explaining this to your father,” he says to Sara. “And I’m not explaining to the press why you got locked up for…self-defense…just hours after helping save the city.” He glances at Snart. “And, oddly enough, the bar owner doesn’t want to press any charges.”
“Imagine that,” Snart drawls, inspecting his nails.
“Right. Imagine. Now, get outta here. And Sara, text Iris. She’s worried about you.”
Sara: Hi. Im fine! Don’t worry.
Sara: Joe told me to tell u.
Iris: OMG you just vanished! Where RU?
Sara: Out. Having fun. Don’t wait up
Sara: Nope. 😊
Iris: Sara Lance…
Iris: Did U hook up????
Iris: With someone from here????
Sara turns the sound off on her phone and tucks it away again, grinning to herself. She turns to Leonard, who’s been watching her without comment, and lifts an inquiring eyebrow, a clear “What’s next?”
His lips twitch. They’d moved off into the shadows after Joe had turned away, but neither of them had, quite clearly, wanted to go back to STAR Labs. Sara had obliged the detective’s request, but now she’s watching Leonard with another gleam in her eye and a challenge in her expression.
Leonard doesn’t, quite frankly, want another bar brawl, no matter how much fun it would be. (He’d slipped the bar owner enough cash to keep his mouth shut, but he doesn’t particularly want to do that again either.)
But there’s something both a little wild and a little longing about the woman with him; Leonard doesn’t know quite what it is, but he’s not going to let her down now. So he leans a little closer and says, “Wanna see the Central City Museum?”
It’s not what Sara expects. She considers him momentarily until a smile suddenly lights up her face, the gleam in her eyes brightening. “After hours, I take it?”
“In a…manner of speaking.”
“Isn’t that across the city?”
She’s right. It’d be quite a hike, and Leonard had left his motorcycle back at STAR Labs. Still, he smirks at her. “Wasn’t that guy whose nose you broke wearing a Nickel City Swords hat? The one who went to the hospital to get a possible concussion checked out?” That hadn’t, as a matter of fact, been his or Sara’s fault. The guy’s buddy had intended to break a chair over Leonard’s head and…missed.
He takes a step toward the street. “What would the odds be?”
Sara looks…and grins at the sight of a Nickel City Swords bumper sticker on the small red car there. “And he’s not going to be looking for it right away, if I know the emergency rooms this time of night.”
“Indeed.” Leonard stretches his fingers. “I can…”
“No need.” Sara’s already moving toward the car. “I got this, too.”
Leonard’s impressed. Obviously impressed, although he doesn’t say a word and lets Sara go to work on the car without more than a raised eyebrow and look of appreciation. And she likes that, she finds, likes his assumption of competence without even question. Instead, he stands guard, watching her back, and only takes the driver’s seat when she asks him to, after the engine roars (well, sputters) to life a few minutes later.
She’d had no more than a sip of weak beer, Sara thinks, looking out the window of the “borrowed” car as the city slips back around them, but she feels a bit drunk. Giddy. Part of it’s because the bloodlust hadn’t taken over in the barfight, and she thoroughly pleased and relieved by this. Part of that is because she’s with a handsome man who seems quite impressed by her skill set and doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about her past.
Of course…he doesn’t really know about all of it.
“Where’d you learn to fight like that?”
Lovely timing. Sara turns her head at Leonard’s low murmur, studying his profile. And then she takes a leap.
“League of Assassins,” she tells him baldly, counting on the likelihood that a former career criminal will know of what she speaks. “Kind of a long story how I got there, but I was with them for years. Not anymore, though.”
The league doesn’t—generally—let its people go, and he’s likely to know that, too.
There’s a moment of considering silence. Sara, watching, sees Leonard lift his eyebrows. He doesn’t seem concerned, though, and there’s no moment of disbelief or revulsion—both of which she’s seen far too often in people who are supposed to be on her side.
A drawled “impressive” is the only comment.
Oh, Leonard’s impressed all right. Impressed, and curious, and more than a little turned on.
OK, well, he’d been that already, but he’s always found competence sexy, and danger nearly as much. Sara is very distinctly both competent and dangerous, and combined with her obvious intelligence and other attributes, it’s all one very gorgeous package.
No wonder she seems to get him, the crook who’s trying to find his place amidst heroes, if she’s an assassin who’s trying to do that same. And he hadn’t missed the look on her face when he had simply accepted her words without judgment or distaste.
He gets it.
He parks about a block away, and they leave the car, Leonard leading the way toward the museum—not the front entrance, of course, but one of the little-used side entrances for employees. He hadn’t really been prepared to do a little breaking-and-entering tonight, but…
Oh, who is he kidding? He’s always prepared.
They find a place nearby to watch unseen, and Leonard waits until he sees a security guard appear in the small pool of light by the door. The woman pauses, glancing around, then radios in to report the all-clear to the main security office. Leonard knows how it works. He makes…made it his business to know how it all works.
Then she continues on her route, going around the corner, and Leonard moves, Sara right on his heels. He pauses behind a pillar as the overhead camera sweeps by, then moves again as it turns slowly in the other direction, pulling out his lockpicks.
He has a minute. He only needs…let’s see, 42 seconds. And then they’re in, the door closed securely behind them.
Sara lets out a breathless, near-silent laugh—but she gives him an inquiring look before saying anything. Leonard nods, and she laughs a little louder, shaking her head.
“That was amazing,” she tells him, glee in her voice. “We’re OK in here?”
“Yep. They don’t have cameras on most of the areas inside. And indoor security guards only during the day. Gotta love budget cuts.” He glances at her, then decides it doesn’t make sense to ignore what she’d told him not long ago. “Picking the lock, you mean? I’d think maybe that’d have been something you learned in your…previous line of work.”
Sara’s lips curve in an expression that’s not quite a smile.
“Not really,” she demurs, looking around the entryway. “We generally went…other routes.” Her eyes are serious again as she looks at him. “I like your way better.”
Ah. But Leonard leaves the implication alone. Instead, he just holds an arm out with a slight flourish, inviting her into the museum at large. “Now. What would you like to see?”
Iris is studying her phone as she walks down the corridor in STAR Labs. She really would have rather been home by now—it’s been a long day—but the puzzle of Sara’s whereabouts is still nagging at her, especially since she thinks she has all those who’d been at the lab earlier accounted for. She glances up briefly as she emerges into the Cortex, registering that Barry is standing there waiting for her, but glances back down nearly immediately, sending one more annoyed text before putting the device away.
“I don’t get it,” she sighs, looking up at her husband. “She’s still ignor…”
The look on Barry’s face makes her stop. “What? Is everything OK? Barry…”
He holds out a hand hastily, though, reassuring her although that dubious expression is still there. “It’s OK. I think. Just…” Barry lets out a long breath. “Um. Well. Snart’s motorcycle is still parked outside. And no one’s seem him in hours. He was here, with everyone else. And then…he wasn’t.”
Iris stares at him, absorbing that. “You think that…”
“Erm.” He shrugs, giving her that kind of sheepish grin she usually likes so much. “Well…I suppose if you think about it…I could see them hitting it off…”
Iris frowns at him, just digesting this. “I always…I guess I thought Snart, well, liked guys.”
Barry blinks at her. “No? I…why would you think that?”
His voice is honestly perplexed. Iris stares at him a moment longer, then closes her eyes. After a long minute, she opens them again. Her beloved, sweet, clueless husband—whom Snart flirts with madly whenever possible—is still looking baffled.
“Never mind,” she sighs. “Well…I guess Sara didn’t say she was hooking up. I just got that impression.” She thinks a moment. “Although, Sara likes girls too, so maybe he’s similar. Makes sense.” A reluctant smile crosses her face. “He’s pretty flirty with almost everyone, actually. And he is kinda hot.”
Now Barry looks vaguely appalled. “Snart? Really?”
Dear, sweet baby. “Really.” Iris pauses. “You text him. Ask if Sara’s with him. I just want to be sure she’s OK.”
Barry shakes his head again, but he pulls out his phone.
Barry: Is Sara w/U???????
Barry: C’mon, Iris is worried
Barry: U guys ok?
Barry: what u doing?
Barry: If u don’t mind saying.
Barry: Iris thinks your hooking up. hahaha
Leonard shakes his head, turning his phone off entirely and putting it back in his pocket before glancing at Sara.
The blond woman is standing just a few feet away, studying a painting intently. Leonard’s no kind of fan of modern art, but the colors of this piece are appealing, and Sara certainly seems to be intrigued. After just a minute, though, she turns, grinning at him, and he smiles back.
“I think we’ve seen most of the largest exhibits now,” Leonard says quietly. “Except for the jewelry exhibit.” His smile grows a little. “They did put a camera in there.”
“And why do I think you had something to do with that?”
Sara laughs at the innocence in his tone. “Yeah? Like sparkly things, do you?”
“I like beautiful things.”
They hold glances for long enough that it feels distinctly warm when they both look away. Leonard clears his throat. “Is there anything else you’d like to see?”
Sara’s lips twitch, but she doesn’t take the (mostly unintended) bait. “We can head out.”
Getting out of the museum is much like getting in, except that no lock-picking is necessary. The two stroll away as if they’ve never thought of such a thing, and Sara keeps a straight face until a block away, when she busts out in giggles.
“Ahhh,” she says, spinning in place. “That was fun. Thank you.”
“Always nice to show off the skills,” Leonard acknowledges. He glances around. “Hm. Want to get a drink now? Without a barfight.”
Sara nods, but gives him a curious look. “Where? I’m presuming we’re leaving the car where it is.”
“I know a place nearby.” It’s on the way back to his apartment, too, but he’s not going to presume.
It’s late enough that Saints & Sinners isn’t full, but there are people there. Still, Leonard—despite his…newer occupation—is known, and people don’t fuck with him. Especially since his times on the hero gig tend to be helping the Flash and co. in dealing with metas and bigger problems, not the smaller-time crooks that often congregate here.
They find a booth, and Leonard, after a quiet query, makes his way to the bar, returning with two glasses of a rather nice scotch, if he does say so himself. He pushes one over to Sara without comment, smiling a little as she takes a sip and hums in pleasure, looking back at him.
“Thanks,” she says, then takes another sip, glancing around. “Saints & Sinners, eh?”
“Truth in advertising.” Leonard takes his own drink. He honestly doesn’t drink much, but when he does, it’s the good stuff. (The scent of stale beer, the funk of cheap liquor…these still scream “Lewis” at him, make him want to vomit.) “You good?”
“I am.” Sara studies him, taking another sip. “Tell me. What led you to…to ask me if I wanted to get out of there before? STAR Labs, I mean. Just then.”
Ah. Leonard inspects the amber liquid in his glass, takes another drink. “I was curious,” he admits. “I’d enjoyed watching you fight. And you didn’t look…completely comfortable there.” He pauses. “Rather like me, I guess.”
It strikes a chord; he can tell it does. Sara very nearly takes a gulp of her scotch, coughs, then regards him.
“Thank you,” she says again after a moment.
The scotch is very good.
Sara gets them both a refill after a bit, raising her eyebrows at the cost but paying without a qualm. She takes the glasses back to the table, and they continue talking.
She learns that his sister, Lisa (vaguely to Leonard’s horror) is just about Sara’s age. She learns that the last mark on Leonard’s record before it’d been expunged was the killing of his own father—and why, a tale he tells without a flinch, watching her with calm eyes that nonetheless seem to be watching for any sort of revulsion.
Revulsion Sara doesn’t show. Because she gets it. In fact, she thinks, watching Leonard’s still face, if Lewis Snart was still alive, she very well might go looking for him herself.
To get that look off his face—how has that face become so important to her, in such a short period of time?—she speaks up herself. She tells him more about the League. And then, almost to her surprise, the Amazo. Lian Yu.
At some point, Leonard gets them another drink. Then Sara—a little buzzed and more than a little reckless--gets them another.
Someone follows her back to the table.
Leonard stands as the other man—a weaselly sort wholly unlike the brawny thug back at the other bar—grabs her arm as she goes to sit down. But he doesn’t butt in, waiting to see what happens.
“You don’t wanna stay with this guy,” the newcomer says, not even looking at Leonard. “He’s a cop squealer, now. If you’re one of us, babe, you’ll want to come with me.”
The look on Sara’s face is incredible.
Leonard isn’t sure whether to smirk or sigh as she darts that “are you fucking kidding me?” gaze at him. He keeps his expression mildly interested as he glances at the nitwit holding her, one Ethan Kozarovich, a not-so-bright and relatively small-time thug who’s always thought he was far more than he actually was.
The question in that gaze is unmistakable. And Leonard can’t deny Sara the chance to fulfill it.
“Got your back. But take it outside,” he says quietly, before downing the drink she’d brought him. “Got an agreement here.”
Sara nods. Then she turns that look on Kozarovich—who seems like he’s suddenly, vehemently regretting his life choices—and snaps, “Outside.” Then she downs her own drink, slamming the empty glass down on the table.
Kozarovich looks like he wants, quite suddenly, to wet himself.
Not so long later, Sara and Leonard are strolling away from Saints & Sinners, both trying (and somewhat failing) to keep from outright laughter.
It shouldn’t feel so good to knock down a minor-league jerk-ass like the Kovarovich, Sara thinks. But it does.
It does because the bloodlust hadn’t taken over. It does because the asshat who’d dared to grab her is still alive, just slightly damaged. It does because Leonard is looking at her with a gleam in his eyes that says just how very impressed he is, and that gleam is doing things to her, things she knows, knows she wants to explore.
It’s been a very, very long time since she’d truly wanted anything like that.
They’re cutting through a park, and Sara spins around in the night air, taking a deep breath and letting it out, then turning to Leonard, who’s watching her intently, pausing in his own stroll.
“I feel alive,” she sighs with a deep, completely pleased sigh, then continuing immediately, recklessly as he watches her. “No, you don’t understand. Leonard…I was dead for a year.”
His steps slow. “Pardon?”
“Dead,” Sara tells him recklessly, looking up at the stars to avoid seeing his face. “Cold and dead. Three arrows to the chest and abdomen. Dead before I hit the ground. I was mourned, I was buried. I…well, presumably I did what dead things do.”
She looks at him, then. “My sister...well, she found a way to bring me back. About two years ago. But I wasn’t...I wasn’t myself for a long time afterward. I’m only starting to feel that way again. But I felt more alive tonight than I have in a very long time.”
If he shows any disbelief…any sort of revulsion…
He doesn’t. He blinks, slowly, and considers her, but years of familiarity with the oddities of Central City—and maybe his own instincts--seem to lead him to believe her.
“That’s amazing,” he says after a moment, as Sara watches him. “But…you’re OK? Now?”
Concern wasn’t what Sara had expected. Of all the possible reactions to this story, she finds she likes that one best.
“I’m OK,” she agrees, then impulsively reaches out and takes his hand, pulling him toward her a little, putting it over her heart, which is beating strongly. Leonard studies her as she looks up into his face, smiling a little, her hand over his own. His own face is very serious, but not in a way that seems problematic.
“Alive,” she repeats. “And happy. And not at all cold.”
After another moment, Leonard cracks a smile.
“No, you don’t feel cold to me,” he says quietly, moving even closer. “And I know cold.”
Sara snickers. “Now, that’s a line.” She pauses, studying serious blue eyes. “You don’t feel cold to me, either.”
And he kisses her.
That first kiss is, perhaps, just a little tentative. Exploratory. Both of them seeing if the spark they’ve been feeling is really there.
The second kiss, after a brief pause for air, is a good deal less tentative. In fact, Leonard, much later, finds bark from the tree he’d been up against pressed into the soft, broken-in leather of his jacket. (It falls to the floor as he shakes the jacket out. In a rare display of sentimentality, he saves a few pieces. Later, they sit in a small bowl on his dresser, with the gold locket Lisa had worn as a kid, his grandfather’s lucky silver dollar, a pack of matches filched from Mick’s coat, and a few other things.)
By mutual agreement, they head for his apartment, the one in city center, acquired by a much-younger Leonard Snart before the area started toward gentrification and still owned today under an assumed name. It’s after midnight, now, and the building is mostly quiet; they don’t see anyone in the hallways or the elevator.
Which is good, because he decides it’s his turn to take the lead, boosting Sara up against the mirrored wall and continuing the kissing.
When the elevator door opens, neither of them is inclined to separate, so Leonard simply carries her down the hallway toward the door, as Sara wraps her legs around his waist and her arms around his shoulders and keeps kissing his neck, his jaw, his mouth, caresses passionate and just a little bit rough in a good way. Somehow, he managed to her his keys out and into the lock, then maneuvers them both into the apartment.
If not quite all the way to the bed.
Iris: Sara? Ray’s here. Says u were gonna ride back to Star w/him
Iris: Should he wait?
Iris: Sara, pls let me know your OK.
Sara: I’m good! 😊
Sara: tell him thanks, but I’m staying around here a few days
Iris: Do I wanna know where?
Sara, having fished her phone from the tangle of clothing strewn across the floor, bites back a laugh at the suggested irritation in Iris’ words. She chooses not to respond, putting the phone safely on Leonard’s dresser before turning back to the bed (where they had, ultimately, wound up).
The man in question is sprawled across the surface, nothing more than a sheet tugged over his hips, watching her from hooded eyes, a smile/smirk on his face. They hadn’t fallen asleep until early morning, and although it’s now after noon, he doesn’t look at all inclined to go anywhere. Sara runs her eyes over him, smiling herself, content and relaxed in a way she hasn’t been in a very long time.
They had been very well suited.
“Everything all right?” he drawls.
“Mmhmm. My ride is planning to head back to Star City soon.”
Leonard’s face shows a flicker of…something…but he quickly conceals it. “Ah,” he says quietly. Sara, watching, sees his shoulders tense before he sits up smoothly. “You have to go?”
There’s very definitely disappointment in the words. Which makes it easier and somewhat less awkward to stroll back toward him, smiling, and admit, “No. I said I wanted to stay around here a few days.” She pauses, suddenly feeling awkward anyway. “I mean, I can stay with Caitlin, help Team Flash clean up…”
But there’s a smile in Leonard’s eyes too, and he lowers his lashes again, watching her.
“Or,” he says smoothly, reaching out, catching her wrist gently, pulling her toward him, “you could stay here.”
Sara laughs, relief coursing through her. “But whatever would we do with our time?”
“I’m sure we could think of something.”
Chapter 2: Can the Flip the Switch
For those who aren't fond of pregnancy fic, it's not really touched on in this chapter either. Setting the stage...
Many thanks to Pir8grl!
About a week later
Laurel Lance, Black Canary (retired) and district attorney, is quite thoroughly focused on some papers on her desk when her sister breezes into her office, a smile on her lips and a light in her eyes that hasn’t been there in a very long time.
“C’mon, it’s a gorgeous day. Your baby sister is taking you to lunch,” she informs Laurel, who blinks at her in surprise. “You work too much.”
Laurel laughs a little, reaching out for her cane and getting to her feet. “OK! OK!” She pauses a moment, studying Sara. “When did you get back in town? Last I knew you were still in Central.”
But Sara’s out the door already, and all Laurel can do is follow her.
They go to a café down the street, the sort of place that’s all about local ingredients and many vegan alternatives—not usually Sara’s sort of place at all, but she says breezily that she thought Laurel might like it. They get sandwiches and drinks, and Laurel takes a sip of her fancy blueberry lemonade while studying her sister’s face.
Sara, taking a bite of her sandwich, catches her at it. “You’re staring,” she points out after a moment. “Are you OK? Sorry, I know I should have called…”
“No, no, that’s fine.” Laurel shakes her head. “Sara. You just seem a little…you seem more…”
Her sister, taking another bite of her lunch, rolls her eyes. “I’m fine,” she manages when she can speak again. “A little what?”
“Different. In a good way.” Laurel picks up her own sandwich, pauses. Wonders if she should bring it up.
“You know,” she says tentatively, “Iris did call me…”
Sara rolls her eyes, taking a drink of her iced tea. “Gossip.”
“She was concerned about you.” Laurel takes a bit, chews thoughtfully. “Does this…good mood…of yours have to do with the crook?”
It wasn’t, she thinks, so much that Iris hadn’t trusted this Leonard Snart than that she’d just been very curious about the way the two had hit it off and how Sara had vanished with him—and that she’d known all too well what kind of trouble their combined skill set could cause. All Laurel had been able to do was say that they hadn’t heard from Sara, and no news was probably good news.
(Predictably, that hadn’t set well with Iris.)
Sara smirks at her, clearly unrepentant. “Reformed crook,” she corrects. “And no.” But then she glances down at her plate a moment, thoughtful. Laurel waits. Her sister’s expression seems more reflective than anything else, maybe as though she’s starting to see herself through an outside lens
“Or…not just,” she admits, finally, picking up a stray piece of tomato from the plate. Then she looks up at Laurel, and the other woman sucks in a quick breath at the look in her eyes.
“He gets it, Laurel,” Sara says quietly. “In a way the rest of you don’t, no matter how hard you try. What it’s like to try to…to come back from where I’ve been, to try to fit in with the side of the angels after all I’ve done.”
Laurel wants to try to argue, to say that she gets it too, or she’s trying, but something in Sara’s voice stops her.
“Is this…serious?” she asks carefully.
Sara hesitates just a fraction of an instant, so briefly that anyone besides Laurel probably wouldn’t have noticed. Then she laughs, a sound that’s deliberately casual to Laurel’s ear, and smiles at her.
“No,” she says, looking into her tea. “Of course not. But I’m enjoying it.” Another brief pause. “He…he makes me feel alive, Laurel.”
Sara continues, tone lightening even as Laurel digests those amazing words, delivered from the sister who’d been dead and then alive but soulless. “And the sex is amazing.”
Laurel gets the picture and throws up her hands, laughing and choosing not to pursue the matter. “Too much information!” she declares, throwing a napkin at Sara, who throws it back. “OK. You moving to Central?”
Again, a very slight hesitation. Then: “No,” Sara says, but not like she’s truly sure about it. “No. But I promised to be around more often, help out Team Flash.” She picks up her sandwich again. “It’s nice to be somewhere a little different. And I’m sure you won’t mind having your apartment to yourself a little more.”
And the Leonard Snart portion of the conversation is clearly done.
Leonard is…content. Even…happy?
Is that a word that’s ever really applied to him? He’s not sure. He’s been proud, been smug, been relaxed or pleased or focused or energized by a successful heist.
Happy? That’s for kids. Some kids, anyway, not the children of Lewis Snart.
He thinks that right now, he is. Happy. How odd.
He and Sara hadn’t left his apartment for three days, in part because they were enjoying themselves—and in part because the increasingly curious and appalled messages on their whereabouts and activities from Team Flash were amusing. Then they did emerge, to get food and fresh air, but they didn’t tell the others just yet.
Leonard took great pleasure in showing Sara parts of his city for a day or two. They had lunch at the waterfront. They visited the museum, legally this time, taking a look at the jewelry exhibit they’d avoided during their nighttime excursion. (The head of security, looking profoundly nervous, shadowed them the entire time, to Leonard’s great amusement.) They watched the stars from the rooftop of the apartment building.
Then they visited STAR Labs. It’d been quite amusing to stroll into the Cortex with Sara and see Cisco Ramon turn multiple different colors as he stared at them.
The rest of Team Flash had been seemingly determined not to ask. Or stare. Or even allude to their clear suspicion that Sara and Leonard had hooked up. And were, as far as they knew, still hooking up.
Which they were, of course. But letting the others wonder was even more fun than confirming anything.
After about a week, Sara heads back to Star City to check in with friends and family--and, she makes a point of noting (a question in her voice) to grab a few more changes of clothing. They dance around the topic a little before she confirms that she’d like to return to Central, and to continue staying with him a bit, maybe in a few weeks.
And while Leonard waits for her to return, there’s nothing that says he can’t continue to torment Team Flash a bit more.
“Iris!” he drawls as he saunters back into the cortex one day, just after quashing an attempted robbery at Central City Bank (amateurs, they could have hurt someone), and seeing Barry’s wife sitting behind one of the computers, apparently alone. “Greetings. Excellent article on those mystery donations to the mayor’s campaign. Well done.”
Iris looks up at him, and Leonard stops in his tracks. It’s fairly usual for him to needle her about her articles (his words are actually quite sincere, but for some reason, Iris rarely takes them as such, so he’s not above using that), but these days, he doesn’t usually get that kind of death glare.
There’s a noise from the side, and Leonard glances over, too, to see Caitlin walking toward him as well. Her eyes are chilly and her expression is just as serious as Iris’.
Leonard spreads his hands out before him, unwilling to take a step back despite a certain hindbrain instinct telling him to do so, and glances around.
“Ladies,” he says smoothly. “I’m not sure what I’ve done lately to earn this…rather drastic amount of ire…but, please, tell me.” He waits a beat. “I’ll try to make amends.”
Iris studies him a long moment, then nods. She taps the pen she’s holding against the desk. “Tell me, Snart,” she says shortly. “What are your intentions?”
Leonard stares at her, then glances at Caitlin, whose expression doesn’t give him any hints, then back at Iris.
“What?” he asks a bit blankly.
“Toward Sara,” Caitlin tells him, moving closer. “She’s been back in Star a few days now. And her sister called Iris.”
Iris continues to study him like he’s a bug she found on the floor. “Confirmed a few suspicions,” she adds. “So, we felt the need to…have a talk.”
Ah. “You’re getting all protective of the former assassin?” he asks, trying for joking, knowing it doesn’t quite work. “Really?”
“Yes. Yes, we are,” Caitlin tells him fiercely, stepping toward him. (Leonard resists the urge to back up again.) “Because she’s been through a lot and she doesn’t need you deciding to…to…steal her heart like it’s some kind of piece of jewelry, just for the fun of it.”
His chin goes up at the remark, indignation stirring at the very idea. “I wouldn’t…”
“Wouldn’t you?” Iris asks drily.
“No!” Leonard takes a deep breath as both women stare at him, apparently a little surprised by his vehemence.
Crap. He’s going to have to talk about…feelings…just to get them off his back. And, to be honest, because he’s slightly pleased by how protective they are of Sara, he finds he really does want to reassure them.
So, he looks up and meets Iris’ eyes, then looks at Caitlin, trying to look sincere, uncertain how well he’s doing at that.
“Look. I don’t talk about this crap,” he tells them. “But I’m not trying to…steal anything, and I have no intention of hurting her. I…” He stops. Considers. “We’re having fun. This isn’t some…deathless romance or anything ridiculous like that.”
Or is it? But he’s sure as hell not telling them that.
Iris tilts her head at him. “No? Sara’s sister’s concerned,” she tells him. “Says she hasn’t seen Sara this happy in a long time.”
The words bring a rush of…something. Leonard feels his lips curve a little at the thought, though he immediately tries to scowl again, narrowing his eyes at Iris.
“Isn’t that a good thing?” he asks.
Iris starts to retort, but Caitlin, who’s been watching, holds up a hand. They both glance at her, and Leonard’s struck by how serious she looks, how intently she’s watching him.
“It is,” she says slowly, still watching, “if you’re not going to treat it carelessly—or vice versa, of course. Because you are too, aren’t you? Happy, I mean. With Sara.”
Iris makes a noise, but Leonard considers Caitlin for a few moments. What had she seen that led to this question?
But… “I am,” he tells her quietly. Not ready to say more.
Caitlin nods, then glances at Iris. The other woman looks uncertain for a moment, then sighs.
“Don’t hurt her, Snart,” she threatens, pointing the pen at him. “I swear…”
Leonard glares back at her.
“I can tell you that I won’t do so intentionally,” he says a bit stiffly. “Now, can we please not tell Ramon or Barry about this conversation? I do have an image to maintain.”
“What’s it worth to you?” Iris flings back, but she does smirk a little. Leonard nods once, then turns to go…and runs right into his sister, who’d apparently entered while he and Iris were enacting their stare down.
Or maybe she’s been here longer than that. Because Lisa’s staring at him with a look he can’t quite read, uncertainty and disbelief and an odd anger in her eyes. And finally, Leonard does take a step back as he’s faced with that look.
Lisa advances a step, taking a deep breath.
“I don’t know Sara Lance well,” she tells him, tone low and intent. “But if you hurt her, if you do anything, anything at all that reminds me of…of Lewis…”
Now, that stings. Leonard starts to retort, but Lisa pokes him in the chest with a finger, making him step back again. And again.
“I. Will. Geld. You,” she says, enunciating every word. “I swear to god. We’re finally making something good here, and if you hurt that…all because you couldn’t keep it in your pants…”
What the hell? “What on Earth makes you think that I would ever…” Leonard responds heatedly, only for Lisa to turn abruptly and stalk back out. Caitlin gives him a helpless look and follows her, and Leonard turns to look at Iris.
Who looks just about as confused as he feels.
Sara intends to stay a few weeks in Star City before heading back to Central, but after only a week or so, she gets bored.
At least, that’s her story. It’s even somewhat true. But in reality, she also misses a crook…former crook… who just so happens to live in that other city.
Misses his snarky sense of humor. Misses the gleam in those amazing blue eyes. Misses that deep well of intelligence and compassion he tries to hide. Misses the instinctive understanding they’d shared.
And misses the incredible sex. Yeah, that too.
It seems to be a good idea to have transportation of her own, now, so Sara buys a new motorcycle, something sleek and with decent gas mileage, on a bit of a whim, throws some clothing in a backpack, and heads out toward Central again. She feels a little guilty for merely leaving Laurel and her father a voicemail before doing so, but…she’s an adult. And her dad doesn’t need to know about Leonard. Not yet, anyway.
She’s trying not to think much about introducing the two, and under what circumstances that might happen. She’s telling herself this is an entertaining fling, that’s all. Something to help her feel human again. Nothing more.
Sara stops partway there to grab a bite to eat and call Leonard, belatedly thinking that he might have other things going on. Maybe he’s even out of town himself? Still, Caitlin will undoubtedly let her crash there, and even if…
Leonard answers the phone on the second ring, with a seemingly pleased and enticingly low “Sara?” He listens to her tentative questions about his location, confirming that he’s still in Central, and then as she tries to find a tactful way of admitting that she’s on her way back weeks earlier than planned.
But his response, quite frankly, is all she could have hoped for.
Fortunately, no one pulls her over on the rest of the way into Central, despite the new land-speed record she may well have set. Leonard meets her at the door to the apartment, his mouth on hers immediately as she drops her bag and kicks it out of the way, reaching up to put a hand on either side of his face. His hands land on her hips, steering her inside as he nudges the door shut behind them.
Afterward, Sara dozes while stretched out beside him, apparently tired from her drive from Star City in addition to their activities. Leonard, head propped on his arm, watches her rest, feeling a little creepy about it although he really doesn’t want to get up and leave. He can’t help thinking over the little “shovel talk” Iris and Caitlin had given him, and Lisa’s addition, which had apparently surprised them all.
He can understand Iris and Caitlin. Sara’s their friend, and while they’ve allowed him into Team Flash as he’s turned his coat and started helping, there’s still a small thread of uncertainty there. But Lisa…
The reference to Lewis…it still stings, badly, but Leonard’s more interested in figuring out where on Earth it’d come from. Lisa knows perfectly well that he’d hated the man every bit as much as she did and probably more—hell, Leonard was the one who’d killed him, and he has no regrets.
So why is his sister, with whom his relationship is as good as it’s ever been as adults, suddenly comparing him to Lewis?
“We’re finally making something good here, and if you hurt that…all because you couldn’t keep it in your pants…”
Lewis…Lewis had liked women, Leonard thought, mostly as toys and possessions, never as people in their own right. Leonard had tried to keep Lisa from seeing that too much of that, and frankly, Lewis had found the company of a small girl (and then a teenager) too irritating to spend much time around her. (All the better to help Leonard keep her safe, at least.)
But now, he had to wonder how much she’d absorbed of how the elder Snart had treated women. Enough to think that the younger one would do the same? Even though he’d never treated his sister that way?
He glances away from Sara, sleeping, gorgeous, badass, smart, funny Sara. Even thinking about Lewis in her presence is disturbing.
No, Leonard had never treated Lisa that way. But Lisa had never seen her brother with a significant other, not of any gender. The few more serious relationships he’s had never became established enough for him to introduce anyone to her.
He sighs, eyes on Sara, tempted to reach out and trace his fingers down the line of her spine as she sleeps, resisting because he doesn’t want to wake her. She looks peaceful. He should let her have that.
There’s Mick…but Mick is something else entirely. Both of them have always flinched away from defining anything (partner, brother, soulmate of sorts...). Leonard still flinches away from the thought, especially now, when whatever their relationship is might never recover from his “hero” turn. It’s never been physical, but that doesn’t mean it’s not...wasn’t...oh, hell.
At any rate, Lisa seems to think that if her brother’s with a woman on a more serious basis, he’s going to revert to Lewis behavior. Which is disturbing on so many levels, and probably speaks a lot about her strange, on-again, off-again relationship with Ramon, but that’s not particularly something he wants to think about.
Not until he has to, anyway.
When Sara wakes, relaxed and refreshed, she stretches slowly as she remembers where she is. The sheets, gray flannel, smell like Leonard’s scent of pine and mint, and she turns her face into them, breathing in deeply and smiling. He’s not there at the moment, but she can hear the faint sound of someone moving around out in the main area of the apartment. The noises are slow and unhurried; there’s nothing untoward going on.
This is the closest any place has felt to home in a while, she thinks suddenly, surprised at herself. And she’s known this man all of...what, two weeks? And for one of those, she’d been back in Star City.
But Laurel’s apartment, where she’s been staying, is fine, but...it’s Laurel’s, not Sara’s, not really. They have completely different styles, completely different preferences for their surroundings and just about everything else. Sara hasn’t wanted to get her own place, though, not until she figures out what she’s doing next, and Laurel says she doesn’t mind, but...
She’s thinking too much.
One of Leonard’s T-shirts is big enough to hit her mid-thigh. Sara ambles out of the bedroom, stretching again, glancing around to see Leonard perched at the counter between the apartment’s small kitchen and the living room. He looks up from the book he’s reading and Sara smiles to see the reading glasses he’s wearing. They seem a bit incongruous on the badass, larger-than-life Captain Cold, but just right on Leonard Snart, the man with hidden depths.
And they look pretty hot on him, too.
Leonard’s gaze is appreciative as she strolls toward him, and he puts his book down and turns toward her, eyes lingering on the hem of the shirt before slowly lifting to her face. Sara stops just within reach, and his hands settle on her hips, thumbs stroking gently through the soft and slightly worn gray fabric.
“ Evenin’,” he says, studying her expression, a smile lurking in the corners of his mouth. “Rested up?”
“Evening?” Sara glances at the clock, then, disbelieving, out a window. “Ugh. Didn’t think I’d slept that long.”
“Well. You were…worn out.” The words are a purr, and Sara, grinning, leans forward to kiss him--an activity that could very well have led them both right back to bed if Leonard hadn’t pulled away after a moment. She makes a noise of slight disappointment, but mostly in jest, and they regard each other in silence a moment with all the slight awkwardness of any new…well, whatever this is.
Finally, Leonard clears his throat. “You sticking around a bit?” he asks, glancing away momentarily. “I mean. Not just today. You’re welcome to…I’d like you to.”
Yeah, they’re both feeling their way through this. Sara nods. “I’d like to, too,” she confirms slowly, watching him. “I was a bit bored in Star…” Oh, that’s great, Lance, make it sound like he’s just the lesser of two evils. “…and I missed you.”
And that makes her sound like a stalker. Sara winces, but Leonard simply chuckles, a low, amused sound, though something deeper, she thinks, flickers in his eyes for a moment.
“Missed you too,” he admits, and it’s both a confession and a statement of…surprise? Wonder? “Though…you should know…”
His voice trails off, and Sara sees a spark of mischief in his eyes. “…your friends gave me a sort of ‘shovel talk’ a few days back,” he concludes, looking through his eyelashes—those totally unfair eyelashes—at her. “So, I’m hoping you might talk ‘em down a little. I like portions of my anatomy unfrozen, thank you very much.”
Sara blinks. “Who…” Wait, frozen? “Caitlin?”
“And Iris.” Leonard smirks at her. “Those ladies are scary,” he informs her, leaning back against the counter. “But I promised I would…” A pause. “…behave myself. In some senses of the phrase, anyway.”
It’s pretty obvious he’s leaving some things out, but Sara decides not to address that. (Though she makes a mental note to yell at Iris and Caitlin later.) Instead, she simply smirks back. “Not too much, I hope.”
“Of course not.” Another pause. “Your sister apparently called them…”
Laurel. Of course. Sara lets out an aggravated breath. “I told her…”
“No.” Leonard’s voice is quiet. “Apparently, she told them…that you were happy.”
Sara stares at him. “Isn’t that a good thing?” she asks, finally.
Something about the question makes him smile again. She gets a one-shouldered Snart shrug in response, and another one of those glances from underneath his eyelashes. “That’s what I said. And they ultimately agreed. Just told me to make sure it stays that way.”
Amusement wars with mortification. “Oh.” Sara waits a beat, then puts a hand over her face. “I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
After a moment, she hears Leonard chuckle again. “Oh, don’t do that,” he says, as she feels his hands close around her shoulders. “They mean well. I think. Mostly.”
“Still.” Sara growls, frustrated. “They need to mind their own damned business.”
She feels his huff of laughter stir her hair. “It’s good to have people who care.”
Sara’s about to retort with something snarky again, but there’s something… She tilts her head back just a little and sees the fleeting look of…is it sadness?...there.
“Don’t you?” she asks quietly, before she can think better of it.
There’s another flicker and then he’s smirking at her again, like she’d never seen the melancholy. Had she really?
“Well,” Leonard drawls, looking down at her, “do I care?” Pause. “I do my best.”
Sara starts to poke him in the chest and tell him that’s not what she meant…but then he’s kissing her again, and she loses the thought entirely.
The next day, Team Flash requests assistance from Leonard, as talk in the city has a new wannabe crime lord planning a strike at local financial institutions. As their resident “former” crook, he’s asked (pretty, pretty please) to help them figure out how and where that strike might come, and to help find ways to stop it without bloodshed.
Sara goes with him. They don’t make a big deal of it. As they enter STAR Labs, she promptly crosses the room to talk to Iris; there’s no hand-holding, PDA, or fanfare. But Barry’s face is still red as he explains the situation to the smirking Leonard, and while the color fades as they discuss the issue and Leonard offers very cool, analytical advice, the new…situation…is clearly still on his mind.
Finally, the speedster just can’t help it. He clears his throat, color rising on his face again as Leonard glances at him, but he doesn’t look away.
“So…you and Sara Lance...”
Leonard snorts in amusement. “This better not be another shovel talk,” he says drily.
“No…what? Another?” Barry blinks, then shakes his head. “Um. No.” He clears his throat again. “You’re…uh…a thing?”
“A thing?” Leonard keeps his tone as dry as dust, throttling down the laugh that wants to escape. “Seriously, Allen? Are you gonna ask us if we’re…what, goin’ steady?...next?”
Barry glares at him, but it’s spoiled by the continuing pinkness of his cheeks. It’s really rather cute, Leonard thinks, letting an actual grin touch his lips.
But the speedster doubles down. “Um. No. But…Iris thought…uh.” He rubs his neck self-consciously. “She said…she thought you liked guys.”
Oh, ho. This is too good to leave alone. Leonard gives Barry one of those looks from under his lashes, smirking as the other man blushes even more, although he’ll give Barry credit—he doesn’t back down.
“Ooh,” he drawled, considering his erstwhile nemesis with a widening smirk. “I really don’t…limit myself in that way.”
If possible, Barry turns even redder. “Um. You like both?”
“Barry, Barry. Really? Falling prey to the whole gender binary? How very…restrictive…”
Fortunately for the speedster’s well-being—at least at that moment—Sara chuckles from behind him. “Stop toying with him, Len,” she says, moving smoothly around to sidle up to her lover, leaning in close. “Unless you’re gonna put your money where your mouth is.”
The innuendo is not accidental. Oh, he lov….really likes this woman. Leonard tosses her a grin, keeping his eyes on the nearly incandescent Barry. “I don’t think Iris would like that.”
“Oh, I don’t know.”
Barry turns then, mouth dropping open as his wife approaches them all. Iris’ smirk is comparable, Leonard thinks, to his. Oh, this is entertainment.
She winks at him. “That could be fun.”
Barry makes a sound like air leaving an inflated balloon. Sara, obviously gleeful at playing along, lowers her eyelashes at Iris. “Yeah?” she asks.
Iris leers back, just a moment…and then breaks it by giggling. “It’s OK, Barry,” she says, patting him on the arm. “We’re messing with you.” A pause. “Mostly. I don’t know about Snart.”
Leonard shrugs nonchalantly. “I don’t poach.” He winks at Iris. “Not without permission.”
The smile she gives him is genuine. “Sorry. He’s mine.”
So is his response. “Lucky man.”
“And woman,” Sara chimes in, leaning against Leonard’s arm—possessively? Yes, possessively. Huh. He kinda likes it.
Barry decides to try to take control of the situation back then, at least a little. “Yes,” he says, speaking up, putting his arm around his wife. “Lucky. Both of us.”
But he’s looking at Sara and Leonard too. And really, Leonard can’t argue.
So he doesn’t.
Sara can’t stop grinning.
She’s happy. She’s actually freaking happy, for one of the first times in...how long? Too long, really, she thinks, watching the newly arrived Harrison Wells argue with Leonard about some sort of anti-crime tech as Caitlin tries to play referee and Cisco, watching, keeps egging them on. Barry and Iris are having some sort of low-voiced conversation not far away, but they’re both smiling, and things appear to be just fine.
She has a place here. She has the blood lust at least under control, at least for the moment. Has a lover with whom she is very well-matched. And while she’s not yet sure what the future will hold...well. Who ever really is?
Yes, Sara thinks contentedly, leaning against a desk and taking a sip of her coffee. Life is good.
Just then, she catches a whisper of noise and a flicker of movement to the side, and she turns her head just in time to see a familiar brown-haired woman stop in her tracks, staring at the scene ahead of her. Then she glances at Sara, freezes—and then whips around to leave the way she’d started to enter.
It takes Sara just a beat to decide follow her.
“Hey! Lisa!” She picks up her pace a little to catch Leonard’s sister as she hurries down the hallway, wondering why the rapid exit. The other woman starts to speed up, then just...slows and stops as she approaches the door, as if she realizes Sara’s not going to quit. She turns as Sara slows too, a curiously still expression on her face.
Sara extends a hand, smiling at her. “I don’t think we’ve really been formally introduced, but I’m...”
“I know who you are,” Lisa Snart says in a low voice, watching Sara from out of the corner of her eye. “You’re the fool who’s messing around with my jerk brother. And you’re going to regret it.”
That’s...not any sort of reaction she’d expected. “Excuse me?”
It doesn’t seem to be a threat, not really...Lisa’s tone is more matter-of-fact, maybe a little sad. But as Sara stares at her, grasping for a response, the younger Snart’s demeanor changes, as if she’s putting on a façade, not so unlike the shell of ice her brother wears when he doesn’t want the world to see what he’s really thinking. (Or even more, feeling.)
“That’s what Snarts do,” she says, faux-lightly, tossing her head and smirking at Sara, an expression that seems to be holding a whole lot more behind its practiced heedlessness. “We hurt people. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes even when we don’t mean to. Doesn’t matter, though. We hurt them anyway. You’ll learn.”
Sara finds her voice. “Your brother...
But Lisa Snart is gone, vanished out the door. And Sara can do nothing but stare after her, wondering what all that was about.
Chapter 3: Take the World and Redefine It
OK. Now...the stuff pertinent to the overall plot starts hitting us.
Early pregnancy. Angst. Stress. Talk of options. You've been warned. Remember, however, that it IS me. ;) And there will be some resolution at the end of this chapter.
Many thanks to Pir8grl!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
About five weeks later
It starts with the coffee.
Sara just doesn’t want any one morning. That’s a bit unusual, but she’d slept well the night before, and she’s not so caffeine-addicted that she’ll get a headache by skipping a day. So, she does. Then another.
And then it seems there’s always something going on, and she just doesn’t start that particular morning tradition again. It’s not so drastic that Leonard notices, either—although Sara winds up spending so much of her time with him in Central City than they might as well be officially living together, neither of them is one for lazy mornings.
At least, not unless those lazy mornings are spent in bed. And not sleeping.
After an uncertain amount of time, she notices that on those mornings Leonard does make coffee—he has a single-cup maker—it just plain smells…off. Foul. Stomach-turning. She mentions it once and he gives it a sniff, shrugging and dumping it out and muttering something about cleaning the coffee maker. And Sara forgets again.
Then Sara sets foot in CC Jitters one morning on her way over to STAR Labs, and she nearly has to clap her hand over her mouth and run back out as the mingled strong scents of coffee, breakfast foods, and other things turn her stomach. But she’d promised Iris and Caitlin coffee this morning, and damn it, she’ll keep that promise.
“When the hell did Jitters change their house coffee blend?” she asks irritably as she walks into the Cortex, juggling the drink holder. “This one stinks to high heaven. Just…eww. I wanted to gag. Actually, I did.”
Caitlin gives her a surprised look, taking one of the cardboard travel cups. “I don’t think they have? I was there just yesterday with Harry and it seemed exactly the same.” She removes the top of the cup and takes a careful sip as Sara and Iris exchange amused glances over their friend’s gradually ever-increasingly “Harry” references. “Hm. Tastes the same too. How odd.”
Iris shrugs, giving her own cup a sniff. “Seems fine to me. Smells like coffee.” She lifts an eyebrow as Sara takes her own cup. “So you didn’t get any?”
“Yuck. No. Got a smoothie instead. The idea of drinking that…crap…upsets my stomach.” Sara turns away, taking a healthy slug of her drink as her friends exchange a glance. “I haven’t really wanted breakfast lately, but this sounded good.”
Then something about the quality of the silence captures her attention and she glances back at them. “What?”
Iris tends to be the blunter of the two, but she seems to be at a loss for words, and it’s the doctor, of course, who speaks up.
“Sara,” Caitlin says carefully, putting her coffee down and folding her hands on the desk. “Uh. I don’t know how to ask this any more tactfully, but…are you…you know...late?”
Sara frowns at her, taking another drink. “Excuse me?”
Caitlin turns a little pinker. “You know…your, ah, cycle? Because that sounds a little…”
She’s saved from explaining any more of the birds and the bees as Sara nearly sprays out a mouthful of strawberry smoothie. “What?!”
They’ve got to be kidding. Really. She has to be imagining this.
Iris has found her voice, though. “She’s asking if Snart knocked you up,” she says a touch acerbically, but there’s concern in her eyes. “Because that does sound suspicious.”
Sara chokes again, dabbing at a runaway dribble smoothie on her sweatshirt. “Oh, for fuck’s sake! We’ve been careful. Precautions have been taken. Cait…”
“Answer the question, Sara.” Caitlin’s voice is implacable now. Her doctor voice, used when dealing with a recalcitrant patient. “Is your period late? Tell me it’s not, and I’ll leave you be.”
Sara huffs at her, then thinks a moment. And as she’s silent, her eyes widen just a little, and she shakes her head back and forth slowly, as if denying the words she’s about to say.
“Yes…” she says slowly. “About…maybe a couple weeks?” Then she makes a visible effort to shrug off the worry. “But…Caitlin, things haven’t been…normal…that way, not since the Pit. It’s not unusual. At all. It’s not…not that.”
At this point, Team Flash—and Leonard, as far as it goes—knows about the Pit. Caitlin bites her lip, but she also perseveres.
“Still. You don’t…can’t….know that. Please, Sara.”
Sara throws her hands in the air. “What is it you want me to do?”
That, it seems, Caitlin can deal with. She nods, implacable again. “Take a pregnancy test. Just…if it’s negative, we’ll let it go.”
She darts a look at Iris, who shrugs. “I have a couple unopened ones downstairs,” she adds, then rolls her eyes at Sara’s expression. “What? Barry and I…well, we’ve kind of started trying, and we’re here more than we’re at home, it sometimes seems.”
For a moment, it seems like Sara might fight that, too. But then she shrugs as well. “OK. Why not? Small price to pay for getting you off my back.”
It’s silent in the Cortex as Iris departs. Sara can’t quite bring herself to look at Caitlin, who seems to understand, puttering around checking computers and such and leaving her friend to her thoughts.
She hadn’t lied. They had taken precautions, although Sara hadn’t bothered with more than snagging a condom whenever necessary. (They’d stashed them all around the apartment.) Maybe they’re not the best of means, but…given that her cycle has been so erratic or nonexistent since the Pit and it seemed so unlikely that one who’d been honest-to-god dead could create life…well, she hadn’t worried much.
It couldn’t be. It couldn’t.
Iris is back all too soon, handing Sara a drugstore bag and beating a hasty retreat to Caitlin’s side. Sara takes a deep breath, squares her shoulders, and heads to the restroom. The sooner this is done, the better.
But it isn’t. It really, really isn’t.
“It’s positive,” she says numbly a few minutes later, staring down at that unobtrusive little stick, having stumbled out of the bathroom only moments before. “That can’t be…”
She looks up, taking in Caitlin and Iris, who are both staring at the test too. “It has to be false. Right? That happens?”
But Caitlin clears her throat and reaches out, gently testing the test from her. “False negatives aren’t uncommon this early,” she says quietly. “False positives…that’s not likely.”
“But…I mean, it’s not like we just ignored it. We were careful. And…” Sara lets her voice trails off as she stares at her friends.
This is real, she thinks suddenly. And she’s just starting to put her life back together, just gotten to a point where she’s truly glad to be alive again, and…
Sara takes a step back. Then another.
“I can’t do it,” she says, hearing a note of hysteria in her voice as Caitlin and Iris watch her. “I just can’t. I’m still dealing with…with everything from the Pit, and…” She scrubs a hand over her face, trying to remember what they know, what she’s left out of the story.
“I was an assassin,” she says, words dropping into the silence of the Cortex like stones. “I killed people. A lot of people. I can’t be a mom. That’s just…that’s not right.”
Caitlin, bless her, steps forward after only a moment. Trying to help, because that’s what she does.
“Well,” she says carefully, taking another step and putting a hand on Sara’s shoulder. “You have options. This is early. You know we’ll help, with whatever you want to do.”
Sara drags in another deep breath, but then Iris, always the speaker of the things people don’t want to hear—it must be the journalist in her—joins them.
“Are you going to tell Snart?” she asks gently.
Sara blinks at her. She’s barely begun to digest this herself, let alone think about what it might mean to her lover. “What? No!”
Iris takes a deep breath. “You certainly don’t have to,” she allows. “But if…if you care about him at all, you might want to.” She pauses. “He might surprise you.”
It’s too much. Too soon. All at once.
Sara shakes her head violently. “I can’t believe he’d want…not after his childhood…” She pictures the look on Leonard’s face, the shock, the realization…
And then it all coalesces. She really thinks she does love Leonard, but after all they’ve been through, there’s only one person she really wants to see right now.
“I need to go back to Star,” she says abruptly, turning away. “I need to see Laurel.”
Iris circles her, stopping in front of her on her way out the door. “But…Sara, what about Snart?” She sighs. “OK, I’m maybe not his greatest fan, but…you care about him. You’ve really seemed happy with him.” She bites her lip. “I mean…maybe don’t just vanish on him?”
She’s right, but… Sara shakes her head. “I can’t talk to him yet. I just…I just can’t…” she says helplessly. “Iris…tell him there was an emergency? And that…that I’ll be back. Probably. I just…I need to…think…”
Her friend pauses, then takes a deep breath, reaching out and giving her arms a quick squeeze.
“OK,” she says quietly. “OK. Sara, do what you need to. We’ll get word to him.” She glances over her shoulder at Caitlin. “Just…let us know if you need us.”
That’s all Sara can manage to agree to before she runs out of the room.
The drive to Star City seems to take a lot less time than it actually does. Sara finds herself simply staring ahead as she drives the motorcycle, keeping her mind empty, trying not to think about…well, anything, really.
It’s a Saturday, which means Laurel is at home, and thank god, she’s alone. There’s no way Sara could deal with Ollie, or her father, or even Felicity at this point. She hammers at the door, nearly falling in when Laurel opens it, wrapping her arms around herself as she stumbles in and crosses the familiar apartment, Laurel closing the door behind her, voice rising in question.
The couch is soft, comfort more than show—that didn’t use to be Laurel’s style, but it is now. Sara subsides onto it, glad to be stationary. Surely, things should feel even more…different?
“Sara,” her sister says sharply, turning, crossing toward her. “What’s wrong?”
Sara takes a deep breath, then lets it out. She looks up toward Laurel’s worried face, then squeezes her eyes shut. Then opens them, and rips off the bandage, as it were.
“Laurel. I’m pregnant.”
Then her sister blinks, taking in her own breath.
And then she sits down, wrapping an arm around Sara’s shoulders, holding her tight.
“The crook?” she asks carefully, not looking at her sister just yet.
Leonard doesn’t deserve that tone, and Sara bristles, just a little. “Leonard,” she says, a little sharply. “Former crook. And…yes.” The tears rise, even though she’s not quite sure why. “I just…I don’t know what to do…”
Laurel holds her tighter. “OK,” she says. “OK. Take a deep breath.” A pause. “Now another. And tell me. When you’re ready.”
That’s really the best thing her sister could possibly say. Sara obeys, for once in her life, dragging in a few deep breaths before glancing over at Laurel’s profile.
“I didn’t think I could...after the Pit,” she says. “I mean...I...it took months for some physical things to get back to approaching normal.”
Laurel nods, after a moment. “That makes sense,” she says. “But…they did? More or less?”
Sara glances away, then back. “Yeah. More or less. And it’s not like…we didn’t take precautions.” She snorts, humor rising despite herself. “Yay for condom value packs.”
Laurel gives her a stern look, through there’s also humor lingering at the corners of it. “Hey! TMI.” She rubs a hand over Sara’s shoulders. “They’re not 100 percent, you know,” she says carefully. “Nothing is.”
“Yeah. Apparently.” Sara sighs, allowing herself to lean against her sister. “But…I never thought…”
They’re both silent a long moment. Sara decides she’ll always owe Laurel for not pointing out how very foolish that “never thinking” was.
“Well,” Laurel says finally. “You’re…ah, not very far along.” She studies Sara’s face. “Do you…want to end it? You can. It’s pretty early. I’ll back you up, no matter what.”
Sara stares down at her hands. On some levels, she thinks, it’s the obvious choice. But…
“I know. But…I always wanted kids,” she says in a low tone. “I mean…once. What if this is my only chance? I mean…I wasn’t kidding when I said things are…very erratic. Still.”
Laurel thinks that over.
“I don’t know,” she says finally, squeezing Sara’s shoulders again. “I can’t answer that. I don’t know how the Pit...affects things. It’s not like there are studies out there on it.”
Sara’s still silent. Laurel takes another deep breath, then takes Sara’s shoulders in her hands, studying her face seriously.
“All right, then,” she says. “What if you do keep going with the pregnancy? What happens then?”
Sara stares at her. She hadn’t really expected that to be held up as an option, even though, somehow, in her heart, she couldn’t help thinking of it as one. Despite everything. Because…even despite everything…this might be her only chance. And, honestly, the idea of Leonard’s child…it’s not…totally unappealing.
But how would he feel about that?
So, she doesn’t say anything. But Laurel, perceptive, nods.
“Snart,” she says quietly. “Will he be a problem? Will he want to...to be involved?”
Sara’s not sure if she’s thinking Leonard will be a problem if he wants to be involved, or if he doesn’t. And she’s not up for arguing about it.
“He had a pretty messed-up childhood,” she admits. “I don’t know. But...I also know he pretty much raised his sister.” She takes a deep breath. “We’ve talked. A lot. I know…he’s trying to be the man his father wasn’t. Maybe...maybe he’d think of this as a second chance too.”
Huh. That’s the first time she’s truly articulated it like that…that she’s thinking of this as a second chance. Sara blinks, considering, but Laurel doesn’t seem fazed, simply squeezing her shoulders again.
“Do you want Snart to have any bearing on your decision?” she asks carefully. “You don’t have to. But I think you care for him, and...”
“And he is the father,” Sara says. “Yeah. I don’t…I don’t know.” She bites her lip, something occurring to her. “Oh, god, Dad’s going to want to kill him.”
That actually gets a gurgle of laughter out of Laurel. “Well, we won’t let him. It takes two and all that,” she says, studying Sara. “I mean…you love him, don’t you? Snart.”
It’s not really a question. And Sara has to nod.
“I do,” she says quietly. “I know it hasn’t been that long…but, yeah.” She sighs. “We’re so…the same. So…both trying to find our ways to something better. I think this is real. But…” She gives Laurel a helpless look. “I wasn’t planning on this. We weren’t planning on this.”
Laurel gives her a sympathetic smile.
“Well,” she says carefully. “You wanted a new challenge. This could be a pretty big one.”
Since Sara’s secretly been thinking about that, she can’t really complain. But she also can’t help feeling a bit guilty about it.
“It’s really not fair to the...the kid, though,” she says, looking down at her hands…and her still-flat stomach. “To make him or her an experiment for two damaged people trying to unfuck their shit.” She glances at Laurel. “And...who am I if I’m not a vigilante? I can’t really go out kicking ass when I’m pregnant. Can I? I don’t even know.”
Laurel gives her a sympathetic look. “Well. Who am I if I’m not Black Canary?” She puts a hand on her cane, which she’s used ever since her run-in with Damien Darhk. “I think I’m doing OK.”
“I didn’t mean…”
“I know.” Laurel pats her arm. “You’d have to figure that out. But, Sara…if you want to try…I’m here for you.”
Sara feels her eyes well up again. “And if I don’t continue the…the pregnancy?”
Laurel leans over and hugs her. “Then I’ll be with you then, too.”
Sara's not there when Leonard gets back to the apartment that day, but he doesn’t think that much of it.
It’s not like they’re in each other’s pockets. He’s spent the day out doing some check-ins with more criminal contacts, and he knows that she’d been planning on spending some time at STAR Labs, training Snow and Iris in some basic self-defense and, in all likelihood, gossiping happily. He has no idea when she’ll get back, but it’s fine whenever she does, and it’s not something he’s even remotely worried about.
Until there’s a knock at the door
Iris takes a deep breath, shifting from foot to foot in the sort of nervous motion that isn’t really her. Snart’s actual living space isn’t a secret anymore—it’s more or less Sara’s apartment too—but it still seems odd to be here. He’s always seemed a, well, denizen of penthouses or safe houses, nothing in between, certainly not this ordinary apartment in a nice, but not fancy, building in center city.
It’s just so not…supervillain. Not that Snart’s really playing the villain at all anymore.
There’s a long pause before he answers the door, during which she’s pretty sure he’s considering her through the door’s peephole. And when the door finally starts to swing open, Iris takes a deep breath, organizing the words she needs to say.
She said she’d do anything to help Sara, and she’d meant it. She’d really prefer, though, not to be doing this.
Snart’s eyes are already narrowed as he regards her. “Is Sara OK?” he asks immediately, eyes fixed on hers. Worried? Maybe?
“Can I come in?” Iris responds quickly.
Those blue eyes widen, and he steps backward, a clear invitation that Iris swiftly takes as he pushes the door shut behind her. Iris sucks in a breath, glancing around quickly, then focuses on him again. She’s never seen Snart in short sleeves, but he is now, safe in the confines of his home…a gray T-shirt and jeans, showing scars on his forearms she’s never seen bared before. They don’t surprise her, but Iris jerks her gaze away immediately. She thinks he probably already feels exposed enough.
“What’s going on?” Snart asks, voice low and intense, and Iris can see his hands clench and loosen.
Iris takes another deep breath. “Sara,” she says quietly. “She wanted me to tell you. She had to go back to Star. Suddenly. An emergency.”
Snart’s eyes flicker. He glances to the side. Iris follows his gaze, realizing that his phone’s sitting on the table there. He’s obviously wondering why Sara hadn’t just called or texted him.
“Is everything OK?” he asks intently. “Her sister? Her father? I’ll go...”
Ah, hell. Iris shakes her head quickly, though she thinks the better of him for immediately saying that.
“No,” she tells him. “No, don’t do that. Just…let her…”
What can she say? Not much. And it’s obvious that Leonard realizes that. He stares at her, very clearly registering that Sara doesn’t want him to follow her, and that she didn’t want to talk to him herself. Iris stares back helplessly, feeling pretty rotten about this.
“I didn’t...,” Snart says, as if to himself, glancing away. “Things were fine...” Then he looks back at Iris as if considering something. “Ah. Her ex.”
Does he think Sara’s gone back to Nyssa? “No,” Iris tells him. “No, it’s not that. Just…” She sighs. “Just wait for her, OK? Please?”
Snart stares at her another moment. Then: “That supposes that she’s coming back,” he says quietly. “Is she?”
And Iris can’t bring herself to prevaricate. “I don’t know,” she admits. “I think so.”
He turns aside, then, staring into the apartment, but not like he’s not really seeing it. Iris wants to leave, but…
Her heart, so unexpectedly, is hurting for him. Maybe it’s because this is a far more vulnerable Leonard Snart than she’s ever seen before. Maybe because the tiny touches that say “Sara” are all over the apartment now if you know where to look. It’s a home, not just a place to stay, and they shared it. Seems like that’s something he’s probably never really had before.
And now Sara’s gone, and she can’t even tell him why, or even if she’s definitely coming back.
Snart doesn’t look back at her. But Iris can hear the strain in his voice when he speaks again.
“I’m sorry, Iris,” he says, nearly inaudibly. “But…please go.”
And what else can she do?
Leonard decides that he’s not going to think about it. That goes against the grain, really, but he just…can’t.
For a few days, at least, he’s not going to think about how stupid he might have been, letting someone in, letting someone have the power to hurt him. Mick had had that power...and used it, by leaving, by lashing out before he’d left, angered and disgusted by Leonard’s need to change. And Lisa...she has it too, and he’s still not sure what’s going on there.
Sara had been the first new person he’d let into…into his heart…in a long, long time.
And she’s gone. Maybe not returning.
No. No, he just can’t think about that. Not yet.
Then, three days later, he comes home from a ramble around the city and a stop at the gym...and Sara is sitting there, curled up in a corner of the couch, watching him.
Leonard lets his bag fall to the floor with a thud. He takes a step toward her, then another, torn between relief, and fear, and maybe even a little anger that he won’t acknowledge—anger and hurt that she hadn’t felt like she could tell him what was going on with her.
But mostly, there’s relief.
“Are you OK?” he asks, staring at her. “Sara, are you all right?”
She gives him a weary smile and a shrug but doesn’t move from her spot on the couch, arms still wrapped around her legs, folded in on herself. Leonard's worry starts to rise again.
“Yes?” Sara says then, as if unsure. “Maybe? I...” She takes a deep breath. “We need to talk.”
Leonard lets the statement hang in the air for a moment, then lets out a humorless laugh. “Nothing good ever started with those words,” he mutters, but he walks over and takes a seat anyway, at the other end of the couch, giving her some space as he studies her.
She looks...tired. Tired and pale and drawn. Sick? Is she...
The words fall into the silence like stones. Leonard stares at her, speechless for once in his life, trying to make them make sense.
Sara’s mouth twists. She glances away from him, shoulders hunching a little more.
“It’s yours,” she continues. “If you’re wondering. There hasn’t been anyone else in a long time.” She shrugs, still not looking at him. “I know we...ah, took precautions, but they apparently didn’t work. Somewhere along the line.”
Still, silence. Leonard knows he needs to say something, but he has no idea, no plans for this at all, no...
"What do you want to do?” he says finally, wondering if he should move toward her—or if he’s done rather enough at this point, thank you.
Sara’s eyes flicker back to his, gaze holding on, and there’s a measure of relief there, he thinks. Had she thought he’d flip out or something? Or unilaterally demand...what?
He couldn’t do either even if he wanted to. He can barely breathe.
Sara shrugs again. She relaxes her guarded posture just a little, watching him. “I don’t know,” she admits. “I keep...see-sawing.” She takes a deep breath. “And I decided I at least wanted to hear what you...how you felt...before I made any final decisions.”
It’s a stupid thing to say, but he says it anyway. “How I feel? About...?”
Sara rolls her eyes at him, looking a little more like herself. “The pregnancy, jerk. I mean...about...well...um, parenthood. With...me.”
Leonard stares at her. Once again, trying to line up the words to make sense.
She’s asking him?
Oh. Oh, maybe that was a mistake.
Sara bites her lip as Leonard’s eyes widen, stunned surprise clear in them. I broke him, she thinks, a bit hysterically. All he’s been through, and I finally broke him.
Of course, he doesn’t want to be involved. Not after Lewis, not after his own childhood. She’s being foolish, thinking about second chances and challenges. They’re a crook and an assassin, not anyone who should ever be…
But then her lover says, in a voice so low that she can barely hear it, “You’d...trust me with that?”
There’s something fragile in the words. Nothing quite like she’s ever heard out of Leonard before. Disbelief and...and wonder...and...
Oh, Sara thinks again.
Oh, she’d started to misinterpret that badly.
A laugh leaves her lips as more of a sob, and she shakes her head. “Leonard,” she tells him, “I think you want so badly not to be your father that I trust you more with parenthood than I trust myself.”
Leonard gives her a sidelong look—the one that says he’s thinking something he’s not going to say just yet.
“You don’t give yourself enough credit,” he does say, quietly. And then, after another moment, he gets to his feet.
“I...I know you just got back,” he tells her, voice a little rough. “And I’m glad. I’m glad you came back. But I need...I’m gonna go for a walk. Get some air. Think about things. Won’t be too long.” A hesitation. “Will you stay here?”
He’s worried she’ll leave again. Sara fights back a rush of guilt and nods.
“Sure,” she says, settling back, relieved and almost contented to be back in this place that’s becoming home. And hoping it remains that way. “I’m not going anywhere.”
The air’s just a little chilly. Leonard hunches his shoulders in his jacket as he walks into the wind, but in truth he doesn’t mind it. His head’s spinning so much that the cold breeze feels good, like a blast of ice water, keeping him in the here and now.
He doesn’t have a set path in mind, just lets his feet pick while his mind is still awhirl.
When he’d decided to turn over a new leaf, faced with the boredom in his old life and the feeling that he was just becoming another version of Lewis—albeit one that was much more competent—he hadn’t really had much of a plan. Just a frustrated sense of wrongness with the status quo and a need for something—anything—different.
And it was good. (For the most part. The regret and anger over Mick and his refusal to understand...it was still there.)
And then there was Sara.
And that was even better. And now...
A kid. Well, not yet. Just a few cells, right now. But him and Sara. Together.
Oh, he gets the mechanics well enough. But a kid.
Maybe, a long, long time ago, a much younger Leonard Snart had thought a family of his own, in one way or another, was something the future might hold for him. Maybe he’d sworn that he’d be a much better father than his ever was.
But he’d gotten older. Gotten harder. He’d done a lot of bad things, and he no longer thought about really changing his fate. He just wanted to be remembered as better than Lewis Snart.
It was only recently that he’d started thinking, again, that maybe there was more than one way to be better.
“A kid,” he says out loud, slowing, saying the words to the Central City skyline. He’s just about at the waterfront, and it’s twilight, and his city is sparkling around him. Full of potential.
Leonard ambles over to the railing and leans on it, studying the view.
And then, quieter, he tries other words on for size. “A dad.”
It scares the crap out of him.
Leonard’s gone about an hour. Sara makes herself a cup of weak tea (the smell doesn’t turn her stomach like coffee does, and surely this little bit of caffeine can’t hurt) and settles back on the couch, reminding herself to breathe.
She’s come to a realization, herself, about what she thinks she wants. She’d decided when Leonard had looked at her with that expression in his eyes. But…that part, that’s not just up to her.
She jumps when she finally hears the door, trying to calm her suddenly racing heart, and looks over as Leonard lets himself in. He shrugs off his jacket and drapes it on a chair, then saunters over, taking a seat himself and finally looking at her again.
Sara can’t read his expression. She licks her lips nervously, wondering, preparing herself to leave, to figure out what’s next, by herself.
But then…then. He moves a little closer, reaching out to take her hands in what is, for Leonard, the height of romantic gestures. And he meets her eyes again, his own…resolute.
“OK,” he says, watching her intently. “What it comes down to…you’re the one who’ll have to deal with all the…work, now. So, I’ll back you up, whatever you want to do. Whatever.”
Sara blinks, registering that, but Leonard’s not done.
“And if that means...having the kid, I’m in,” he says, a thread of something almost nervous in his tone. “I mean, if you want me to be.” He studies Sara’s face, looking uncertain. “I get it if you want to…to run for the hills and not have it have anything to do with me. But I hope you don’t.”
Sara opens her mouth. Closes it, trying to parse out that declaration.
Leonard glances away, then back. “I don’t know how much good I’ll be to you or...it...him...her...but I’ll be damned if I’ll leave you to do this alone,” he mutters. “I figure two people muddling through, if they’re trying their best…gotta be better than one.”
A tiny smile actually tugs at the edge of his mouth as he glances at her. “And I figure you’ll kick my ass if I screw up too much. Might need that.”
That’s just so…Leonard…that Sara lets out another sound that just might be a chuckle. She’s not even sure herself.
She’s not sure of anything other than the sense of…relief, she thinks it’s relief…spreading through her.
Sara lowers her head, blinking furiously, wondering if this is the first sign of the rampant emotions she’s read might mark the early stages of pregnancy. Leonard shifts a little closer, and Sara looks up at him again, registering the concern on his face.
“Sara?” he asks carefully. “What…”
Sara launches herself at him, more or less. She buries her face in his shoulder, feeling his arms going around her, feeling the tears well up in her eyes. And this time, they spill over, and she thinks briefly that if she didn’t look a fright before, she certainly will now. But that’s OK.
“I think I’m going to. Have the kid, I mean,” she whispers into his already sodden shirt. “I hope it’s not a mistake. But…I think it’s something I need to do. And hell yes, I want you with me. Please.”
One of Leonard’s hands goes up to stroke her hair. For a long moment, they both just sit there, taking it in, both with worries and fears, both with baggage and doubts.
Finally, Sara feels him move, just a little, pressing a gentle kiss to her hair and taking a deep breath, arms tightening around her again.
“Then,” he says, quietly, “I guess we’re gonna be parents.”
So, I have two kids. Guess my first symptom with each pregnancy? :) I'm usually such a coffee fiend. And it was suddenly a big ol' NOPE.
That was a surprise with Kid 1. Then Kid 2 happened and the first time coffee smelled "off"--I knew.
Chapter 4: You'll Never Be the Same
Many thanks to Pir8grl and SylvanHeather!
It must have been the sheer amount of feelings going around, because despite all the stress and uncertainty of the past few days, Leonard falls asleep nearly immediately that night and sleeps well.
That might, he thinks in the morning, also have something to do with Sara’s returned presence. She curls up next to him and falls asleep even before he does, but she’s still there, warm and real and not leaving, after all.
He’s become…accustomed…to this. To sharing his life with someone, someone knows so much about him and doesn’t care about the crap in his past. The sex is great, yeah—he sure as hell doesn’t want to dispense with that--but it’s more than that.
It’s having someone he can be honest with about that crap, about the weirdness that is his life…both their lives…someone who gets it.
Someone who knows it but won’t leave.
It isn’t the same, but in some ways, it is, and Leonard flinches away from the thoughts again.
He lets out a breath, that next morning, trying to distract himself, looking around the apartment and realizing that things will need to change. It’s been a long time since Lisa was little, and he’d been nearly a kid himself then. What do people figure babies need, now days?
A crib. They’ll need a crib. A changing table, that’s probably not a necessity. And…
Leonard hears Sara emerge from the bathroom behind him, and he turns to see her standing there, still drying her hair, watching him. He waves a hand at the rest of the apartment awkwardly, uncertain how much to get into his thoughts right now.
“So, uh, how long do we have?” he asks. “Nine months? To get things…ready?”
Sara frowns a little, but it’s not directed at him. She puts the towel down, looking thoughtful.
“It doesn’t work quite like that,” she says slowly. “I think. They sort of…postdate it…from what I know.” She shakes her head. “Which isn’t much. About eight maybe? I think?”
Sara sighs, then, meeting his eyes and giving him a rueful smile. “I need to call Caitlin. She said she’d get me in to see an ob/gyn friend of hers. Might as well be here instead of Star.” She shrugs. “I…I really don’t know what I’m doing, here.” She looks down at herself, in skimpy sleep shorts and T-shirt, no sign of what’s to come yet. “Sorry.”
“Hey.” Leonard saunters toward her, reaching out to put his hands on her shoulders. “Like I do? Though I mean….hell, I kinda already did my part…”
He layers innuendo into his tone, hoping to see her smile, and he’s not disappointed. Sara rolls her eyes at him, but she does grin, eyes sparkling, looping her arms around his neck.
“Well,” she says smoothly as Leonard transfers his hands to her hips. “I suppose you did.” She tilts her head as if considering. “All…what…a minute’s worth?”
That startles a laugh out of him, too. “Hey…” He leans down, nose brushing hers, smiling as she looks up at him. “That’s not fair. Did I ever not…take my time…with you?”
His voice is a purr, and he can see her pupils dilate at the memories. Sara licks her lips, then smirks, going up on her toes so that they’re nearly even.
“True,” she whispers back. “You certainly did.” She pauses, studying him. “Well. One nice thing about this…situation.”
“I can’t get any more pregnant. So…”
She hasn’t even finished speaking when he gives in to temptation, swings her up into his arms, and carries her back to the bedroom.
It’s early afternoon by the time they emerge again, and Sara can’t regret it. She showers again—turning down Leonard’s offer to join her, lest they be delayed yet again—then dresses and makes herself some more weak tea while he gets ready.
When Leonard emerges—abstaining from his usual coffee, which makes her smile a little—he joins her while they eat a very late breakfast in companionable silence. Then he carries the dishes to the sink, returning to sit across from her at the counter, and they consider each other, knowing that more serious talk needs to happen.
“So...Snow knows?” Leonard asks finally. He looks down into his glass of orange juice. “Iris, I imagine, too. And your sister.”
“Yeah.” Sara looks thoughtful. “I need to, um, see what I can do,” she says, before he can ask his next question. “I mean, can I keep fighting with Team Flash? Can I do some things and not others? Should I have Felicity start teaching me more about being the computer geek of the team?”
Her eyes widen then, despite herself. “Oh my god, Felicity’s reaction,” she says with a gulp. “And Ollie’s!”
Leonard snorts. He’s certainly encountered Oliver Queen before, since he started working with Barry, Sara knows, and he knows who the man is. In more ways than one.
“ ‘Ollie’ will deal,” he mutters.
After a pause, Sara flashes him an impish smile. “I’m sure he will,” she says. “Not really worried about him.” She tilts her head and considers him. “Who…who do you need to tell?”
His eyes flicker. “I’ll want to tell Lisa before she hears it from anyone else,” he says quietly. “And…” A lengthy pause. “Not really anyone…else.”
Sara knows perfectly well there’s more there than he’s saying. But she lets that go…for now. “I need to tell my parents,” she says quietly, watching as Leonard winces. Well, honestly, she’s not looking forward to telling her dad either…and she can only imagine how he feels.
“Laurel said she’d help,” she volunteers after a moment. “With Dad, I mean.”
Leonard gives her a rueful smile. “I need to meet Laurel.”
“You do,” Sara acknowledges. “You definitely do.” With a sigh, she gets up, stretching and reaching for her phone. “OK. Calling Cait now.” She smirks a little as Leonard hastily heads toward the bedroom. “C’mon, we’re not going to be talking about...oh, the gory details right now. And you’re going to probably have to get used to some of that anyway.”
“Not yet, I don’t!” The door closes behind him.
Sara’s still smiling, maybe about his rejoinder, when Leonard cautiously emerges a bit later, having taken the time to tidy up the room and go through some things. But there’s something nervous in it, too, which he quickly learns is because Caitlin’s friend had a cancelation later that very afternoon. And as a favor, she’d fit Sara into it.
“Do you want me to go along?” he asks tentatively. Prospective fathers do that now, right?
But Sara shakes her head. “Let’s get past this...and then see,” she says with a sigh. “Cait says it shouldn’t be anything more than...than verification and then lots of talking.”
Yeeahhhh, not the sort of thing he really wants...or needs...to be part of. “Still. If you need anything...”
“I’ll ask. Promise.” She still looks unnerved, but she smiles at him too. “I’m leaving now, actually. Cait and Iris are taking me out for...well, I guess we’re not really doing coffee...or drinks...maybe dessert. Before the appointment.” She twists her hands together. “I think they’re trying to make sure I don’t run again."
“I can’t say I mind them doing that.” Leonard hesitates, sidling over to her. “I’m going over to STAR Labs. Does...anyone else there know?”
Sara looks a bit sheepish now. “Sorry. I forgot to ask Caitlin.” She sighs. “I’m going to presume Barry doesn’t? Because if he did, I bet everyone else on Teams Flash and Arrow...and maybe even over on Kara’s Earth...would know too, and our phones would be ringing off the hook.”
“Fair point.” He hesitates again as Sara glances up at him, feeling like he should probably do something or say something more, before sending his...his...Sara off to this first pregnancy ordeal.
But in the end, he just kisses her.
It seems to be enough.
Sara walks in the door of the bakery, looking around for her friends and taking a wary sniff of warm yeast- and vanilla-scented air. Fortunately, it seems that’s not something that sets her stomach off, and though the place sells coffee, it’s not the overwhelming cocoon of smell that it would be at Jitters.
Iris waves from a table back in the corner, and Sara waves back, heading that way even as she sees Caitlin move away from her perusal of the goodies at the counter and join them.
When Sara pulls out a chair and sits down, though, the other two just watch her for a moment, long enough that she looks down at herself then back up, wondering why they’re staring.
"What?” she asks irritably. “C’mon. I know I don’t look…” She lowers her voice despite herself. “…pregnant…yet!”
Iris rolls her eyes and takes a drink of her water. Caitlin sighs, long suffering.
“Sara,” she says patiently. “You vanished for a few days, then call me today, saying you’re back and could I please get you an appointment with Maggie. A prenatal one.”
Iris leans in, then. “We take it you made a decision,” she says, a bit drily. “And since you’re in Central, that Snart’s in on it now. What happened?”
Oh. Right. Sometimes it feels like Iris and Caitlin, of all of Team Flash, know what’s happening before anyone else. Sara considers, trying to get the words in order. It feels like it’s been a month instead of a few days, in some ways.
“I went back to Star,” she says, looking down at her hands as she shreds the paper wrapper off a plastic straw. “Stayed a few days with Laurel. Talked a lot.” She glances up at the avid faces watching her. “Yes, she knows. And then...you were right, Iris, I wanted Leonard to know, too.”
Iris gives her a “well, duh” kind of look, but Sara plows on. “We’re, um. Going to do this,” she says with a deep breath, studying her friends’ faces. “I know maybe it sounds like…like a bad idea, but we agreed. Both of us.”
Iris’ eyes widen. Caitlin actually claps a hand over her mouth, like she has to hold the words in. Sara bites her lip, wondering if they really think it’s that bad an idea, but then a slow smile spreads over Iris’ face, and Caitlin emits a quiet…well, it might be a squeal if it was less contained.
“Oh my god,” she says, leaning across the table. “Are you getting married?”
Sara blinks at that. “What? No.” She shakes her head, a little bemused. “I mean...not now. We haven’t talked about that. There’s enough going on.”
Caitlin starts to ask another question, but Iris cuts in, holding up a hand and getting to her feet.
“OK, we need sweets before this continues,” she commands. “Sara, it’s my treat. The flourless chocolate cake and the pumpkin torte are both amazing. What sounds good to baby?”
Sara has to chuckle at that, but she joins them both at the pastry counter, finally selecting a piece of the torte, which is stuffed with cream cheese frosting, cinnamon, and walnuts. When they sit back down, desserts in hand, it’s quiet for a bit while they all industriously ingest sugar.
Finally, Sara clears her throat, looking up cautiously. “Did either of you tell anyone?” she asks carefully. “I know I didn’t say not to, but…”
Iris snorts, fork still full of chocolate deliciousness. “Oh, hell no,” she says, pausing just a moment to take a bite. “Can you imagine Barry? He can’t keep a secret to save his life.”
Sara laughs, looks down at the remains of her own dessert. “I figured. Still…we’re just trying to plan things out. This is all still so weird.” She glances over at the third member of their party, then pauses.
Caitlin is looking down very intently at her mostly empty plate, pushing a few crumbs around with her fork. Then she glances up…and there’s guilt in her gaze.
Iris calls it. “You told Wells,” she says with a sigh, sitting her fork down. “Seriously?”
Caitlin looks a little embarrassed. “Well, he’s a dad, right?” she asks, looking back and forth between them. “And Snart actually gets along with him, and maybe they could talk.” She sighs, then. “And…well, he could tell I was distracted by something. So, I kind of had to clarify. Before he guessed.”
Sara lifts an eyebrow at her, more amused than anything else, but Cait just looks down at her plate, caught up in her own thoughts.
“When I told him, he thought I was pregnant at first,” she says with a half-hearted laugh. “I thought he was going to faint. Or hit someone. But it’s not like I’m even seeing anyone.” She looks up, back and forth at Iris and Sara. “What?”
Caitlin and her blind spot concerning Wells is not Sara’s problem right now. “Right,” she says quickly. “Right. Um…” She shrugs. “Well, it’s not like he’s going to tell anyone. He’s not exactly Mr. People Person.”
Caitlin bristles a little but doesn’t argue. Instead, she just sighs, nodding. “Are you going to wait?” she asks. “To tell people? Many people do, to the end of the first trimester.”
Sara considers, feeling a little uncertain. She doesn’t even know when that is, not yet. “Um. Maybe? I need to see…what kind of changes I need to make, I guess.” She picks a walnut off her plate, popping it in her mouth. “If I can’t go out kicking ass for a while, I’ll have to tell Barry and Cisco. And we’ve already decided we should…tell family, sooner.”
Iris groans. “Good luck with that,” she says, leaning back in her chair. “Does your dad even know? About Leonard?”
“No.” Sara shrugs, trying to look more nonchalant than she feels. “It’ll be OK. I’m a grownup.”
Sara ignores the knowing tone. “And Leonard wants to tell his sister before anyone else can.” She hesitates, looking back and forth between her friends. “I’ve had the impression she’s not that happy about…us…already.”
Caitlin gives her a rueful smile. “I don’t know, really,” she admits. “Lisa hasn’t been around much lately. Cisco’s been either mopey about it or full of that sort of forced cheer he has when he’s pretending not to be.” She waves her fork uncertainly. “She’s seemed to fit in pretty well, since Snart joined Team Flash and she tagged along, but she’s never wanted to be part of the group as much as he is.” She tilts her head to the side. “As strange as that sounds.”
Sara makes a thoughtful noise, but Iris leans forward then, lowering her voice.
“You know about…what Snart’s dad did, right?” she says quietly. “To Lisa. I mean, right before he…died.”
Right before Leonard killed him, Sara thinks. But she also nods. “The bomb? Yeah.”
Iris nods. “Heaven knows I’ve always been…skeptical…about the Snarts,” she admits. “In fact, I kind of regret some of what I said about Leonard, once. But he’s more than proven that he means to…to change his spots, to use Dad’s phrase.” Her smile is a little sad. “And Lisa’s always seemed to be, well, just happier since that happened. I mean, Snart snark is a constant, but it’s a little less…brittle?...now.”
Caitlin chimes in. “But…she seems worried about what this…her brother and you…means.” Her eyes are sympathetic. “I hope everything’s OK.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
Leonard saunters into STAR Labs with his usual nonchalance, even though he can’t deny a feeling of trepidation. Barry might come zipping out any time to try to hug him…OK, that’s always true, but he has a feeling that “Snart, you’re gonna be a dad!” hugs will be even harder to avoid.
He’s still struggling with the idea himself. He’s not ready for that.
To his definite relief, though, the only one in the cortex is Harrison Wells, who merely glances up from his computer screen, nods, and continues silently with his work. Leonard nods back, then finds a free computer himself. He’s resisted having a desk of his own…somehow, the notion reeks of the sort of confined existence he’s always fervently avoided…but this doesn’t bother him so much.
The scuttlebutt in the criminal community…which eyes him warily these days but walks the line mostly because Leonard doesn’t bother with small-time shit or small-time players—is that a new player is out there, maybe a meta. No one’s quite sure of anything else—just that they’re recruiting, and the criteria don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. Some of his contacts are the best of the smaller-time folks, actually (and have a code much like his), and they still haven’t been able to find out more.
Notes at his side, he does some careful searches through the STAR Labs databases, but if there are connections or patterns, for once he can’t see them. Leonard scowls at the computer, then sighs, flipping his notebook (he’s old school, OK?) shut and standing, strolling toward the fridge to grab some water.
Wells glances up, then nods to him again. Leonard nods back—ah, the silent code of people who don’t like a lot of chit-chat—and continues, retrieving his drink and turning back toward the desk again.
Wells is watching him. Again. Leonard lifts an eyebrow and the other man shrugs, nonchalant, before glancing back down at his monitor.
Hmm. Nothing Leonard has ever seen has indicated that Harrison Wells plays for multiple teams—to borrow a phrase—and this doesn’t have the feeling of being checked out. Besides, Wells’ and Snow’s weird little dance around each other is pretty much the worst-kept secret of Team Flash. Except to maybe Ramon.
Leonard gets along with Wells. They share a certain acerbic outlook, and they’re both a bit older than the usual run of hero in this place. Sure, he’s from Earth-2 and he has…
“You know,” he says bluntly, watching the scientist, who looks back up at him abruptly. It’s a statement, not a question. “What’s…going on.” He still can’t quite bring himself to say the words here, out in the open. “With Sara. And, ah, me.”
Wells eyes him and then sighs. He takes off his glasses and rubs his forehead in a habitual gesture, then replaces them and looks back at Leonard, inclining his head.
“I do,” he acknowledges. “Snow…something was clearly distracting her the other day.” He pauses. “I just offered a…sympathetic ear.”
Leonard snorts despite himself. “Uh huh.” He folds his arms and studies the other man, torn between actually having someone reasonable to talk to about the situation and prodding Wells for the sheer amusement factor of it. The former, for the moment, wins.
“I…” he says carefully, glancing away, hating himself for the weakness. “Your kid. Jessie. Were you surprised?”
He’s met Jessie Wells a few times, and he has a pretty good idea how much she means to her father. He’s seen the two together and while he knows they’ve had their bumps, the affection between the two is clear.
Here and now, Wells looks briefly startled, then chuckles.
“No,” he says, giving Leonard a little more of his focus. “No, Jessie was planned. More or less.” He looks amused. “Although I don’t think there’s a baby in the world who isn’t something of a surprise, in the details at least. It’s never quite like you’ll think it’ll be.” His smile is brief but genuine. “So, don’t hold onto any preconceived notions. If you have any.”
Leonard’s flicker of amusement is no less genuine.
“Can’t say that I really do,” he admits, leaning on the desk. “I…” He can’t remember what Wells might know about Lewis. “I didn’t really have much of any example.”
Something dark flashes through Wells’ eyes. “I’ve heard,” he responds tersely, tapping a pen against the desk. “For the record, in the end, you were probably kinder than I would have been.” He shrugs at Leonard’s nonplussed expression. “Freezing, presumably, is at least quick.”
Ah. “Presumably.” They share a look of understanding and then Leonard sighs, straightening to go back to his research.
“Thanks,” he murmurs quietly, unwilling to admit to anything more.
“Welcome.” Wells is equally terse…but then he speaks up again as Leonard turns away. “Snart.”
Leonard glances back. The other man is staring at his computer screen, but he’s still tapping his pen against the desk distractedly.
“Do you love her?” he asks quietly. “Sara?”
Leonard stills. It’s not a word he’s spoken with Sara. It really hasn’t even been that long that they’ve been together, and if not for a…a certain surprise…who knows if he’d ever be able to bring himself to say it, or even really think it.
But the first response he has to Wells’ question is a sudden, instinctive yes.
But it doesn’t seem right to acknowledge it to anyone else first. So, while he starts to speak, he stops…and after a moment, the other man nods in understanding.
“Then just remember that,” he says softly. “It will mean a lot.”
Leonard’s already back at the apartment when Sara arrives, though he calls out a rather distracted “just a sec” from the bedroom instead of immediately emerging.
That’s fine with her. Sara drops onto the couch with a sigh, leaning back and closing her eyes, still digesting her experience at the doctor’s office. It wasn’t like things hadn’t seemed real before, but...well, they seem realer now.
After a moment, she hears Leonard emerge, feels him settle himself at the other end of the couch, senses how he’s watching her. But he waits for her to be ready instead of pressing her, and she realizes how very, very grateful she is for that.
Finally, Sara opens her eyes and regards him, giving him a faint smile and seeing him relax just a hair when she does.
“Well,” she says with a sigh. “I’m very definitely pregnant.” She glances down at herself, through there’s still no outward sign of anything. Well, OK, certain portions of anatomy are a little bigger, maybe, but it’s not like she’s measured. “Um. She thinks probably six or seven weeks, though the technical estimate would be nine. But that really doesn’t work because my...my cycle’s just weird...and there’s not really any telling exactly when it, um, happened.”
Sara looks up at him then, registering the still, listening expression on his face. “So, we’re going with six or seven, based on, well, a number of things.” She puts a hand on her stomach despite herself. “So, about the size of a pea. Or a blueberry. Somewhere in there. It’s always weird they use food analogies for this stuff, isn’t it?”
As she glances at Leonard again, she sees the shadow of a smile on his face and sighs. “I’m babbling, aren’t I?” she says, resting her head back against the couch. “Sorry. It’s a bit...overwhelming.”
“It’s OK,” is the quiet response. “Due date?”
“Uh, end of May. Ish.” Sara sighs again. “She didn’t want to give me anything more concrete until kiddo’s a bit bigger and they can get measurements.”
Kiddo. The word hangs over all the more practical stuff. They’re having a kid. She has their kid—or what will be their kid—inside her. Sara swallows, hard—and then gets up and bolts for the bathroom.
As she pulls the door shut behind her, she hears Leonard following. “You OK?” he asks carefully.
Mercifully, he leaves it at that. And he’s in the kitchen when she emerges, watching a kettle of water on the stove, setting up a mug with a tea bag in it on the counter.
“Mint tea?” Leonard asks, glancing over his shoulder. “It...might help. With nausea.”
It’s so unexpected and sweet that Sara’s raging emotions have tears welling up in her eyes before she can try to stop them. She dashes them away, then nods.
“Sure,” she says, taking a seat at the kitchen bar and watching him. “That, um, wasn’t what it was, though. It wasn’t nausea. This time.” If he’s really going to be doing this, he’s going to have to know some gory details after all, so she recklessly continues. “I didn’t think it’d be a thing yet, but I sort of have to pee all the time. The doctor—Maggie Saitō, I liked her—said that was normal too.”
Leonard blinks at her, but that’s all. He turns to grab the kettle, then pours some steaming water into her mug, making himself a cup as well before returning it.
Sara shakes her head, amused. “How are you managing to stay so calm?” she asks, dunking her tea bag and inhaling the smell of peppermint. “I feel like...like...I don’t know. Like my whole life’s been turned on its head.”
Leonard smiles a little, also studying his tea. Then he glances up at her, eyes dark and serious.
“I’m not really,” he admits. “All that calm. But the decision’s made, and we’ll do the best we can.” He pauses. “Unless...you want to change it.”
His tone’s hard to read. Sara nibbles her lip, considering him. Is he hoping she’ll change her mind?
“No,” she says definitively. “No, I don’t want to change it.”
Dr. Saitō, startled by the scars on Sara's abdomen and back, had insisted on doing an early ultrasound to make sure things were...intact enough, inside her...to carry a baby. She’d seemed rather surprised when they were. The Pit had apparently done its work well, though Sara had had to prevaricate a little to keep the doctor from asking more questions about how the wounds had happened and how they’d mended.
No, Sara definitely wants to take this chance while she has it.
“I'm glad,” Leonard murmurs, then throws another question at her. “And training? Fighting?”
Sara allows herself to be distracted. A little. “I can keep training to some extent. And run the classes I started at the community center, at least for a while,” she tells him, sipping the tea. “I kind of...danced around exactly what it is I do...but eventually I just had to ask about combat.” She sighs. “And got a flat ‘no.’”
Leonard gives her a commiserating look. “Not a real surprise.”
“No, but...well, not close quarters anyway.” Sara considers. “I need to do some research, but I think I’m going to get my archery equipment out. I’m rusty, but I’m sure I can get the skills back with practice.”
Leonard looks intrigued, but she can see him swallow his questions. Instead, he merely nods, finishes his tea and washes the mug, then glances at her again.
“What next?” he asks quietly.
“She wants me back in a month, as long as the rest of my bloodwork is good, just to check on things.” Sara finishes her own tea, watching as Leonard takes her mug, too. “And she asked about the dad...you. Said she’d like a family medical history when possible. Just in case?”
They’ve known each other well enough to have created a baby—well, an embryo that will be a baby—so why does it seems so awkward to ask that...to call him that? But Leonard merely nods in response to the words.
“I can do that,” he says. “To some extent, anyway. Lewis wasn’t exactly forthcoming on the family side of things and my mom...well.” He glances away, then back at her. Sara tries not to look wildly curious and probably fails, and they stare at each other for a moment longer before they both look away.
“So,” Leonard says finally, the single syllable drawing out. “Guess we should...tell some people, now.”
Sara nods, relieved at the semi-change of topic. “I’m going to talk to Laurel about going to dinner with Dad or something,” she tells him. “I’ll handle my mom myself. She’s pretty unflappable.” She studies Leonard’s profile, thinking about what Iris and Caitlin had earlier. “And you should tell your sister. Up to you if you want me to be there, too.”
Leonard glances back at her, and she’s pretty sure she can see gratitude and concern both in his gaze.
“I think...let me do this on my own,” he says slowly. “Then...we’ll go from there.”
Let me know if you need me, Sara thinks.
But she says, simply, “OK.”
It proves more difficult than Leonard had expected to track his sister down. She doesn’t answer her phone—probably just as well, because she’d know something was up if he called and said he wanted to get together; they just don’t work like that. Ramon admits that he hasn’t seen her in a while, and the other members of Team Flash concur.
Leonard goes to her apartment, a place she’d secured near the University District after they’d been given their pardons and started working with STAR Labs, but he doesn’t have a key yet, and he can only loiter around outside for so long before the neighbors might start giving him funny looks. So, in the end, he doesn’t stay long at all, heading instead for the CC Jitters nearby and setting up camp there instead.
Lisa does like her coffee—especially the Golden Glider latte (complete with sparkly gold sugar) that’s been added to the menu along with the Captain Cold Brew. (Barry had giggled about that for a week.) Leonard, ensconced comfortably in a chair with a view of the counter, wonders if he can suggest a White Canary drink without any actual coffee so that Sara can try one. Maybe some sort of tea latte or something.
He’s still mulling over that when he sees his sister.
She looks happy, actually. Relaxed and smiling, a backpack slung over her shoulder, flirting casually with the pretty barista in the way that’s second nature for her. Leonard smiles, leaning back into the confines of his armchair so she doesn’t see him, watching. It’s good to see, in more ways than one, but it does make him wonder why she’s been so weird around him lately...and what she’s been up to.
When Lisa turns away, coffee in hand, Leonard waits just a moment before getting up and following her toward the door. He catches her just a moment after she leaves the café, hurrying his steps to pull alongside her as she walks to the intersection.
He’s smart enough, though, to make sure she sees him before he says anything. Lisa has the same hard-won instincts he does, damn Lewis to hell.
Her eyes widen when she does see him approaching as she waits for a light, and the smile goes away. Leonard tries not to let that hurt. Much.
“Lise,” he says tersely, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Got something I need to talk to you about.” He pauses. “You haven’t answered your phone.”
Lisa shrugs, watching the light turn. “I’ve been busy. And I’m in a hurry, Lenny,” she says, just as tersely, crossing the street with alacrity, without waiting for him at all. “So talk fast.”
OK, then. He’d rather do this a different way, but...
Leonard does wait until they’ve both crossed the street, following his sister into the park there, going farther into the district. He wonders briefly where she’s heading, but there are other things on his mind right now, and as she slows just a little to look at him again, he blurts it out.
Lisa stops in her tracks, there in the green space in the center of the park.
Then she looks at him. Eyes wide.
“Yeah, it’s mine,” Leonard barrels on, just trying to get the words out there for once. “And we’re gonna have it. Well, she is, but I’m going to…help.”
For a long moment, Lisa just stares at him, shock in her expression. And for that moment, Leonard actually has a rather foolish chance to hope.
Maybe his sister won’t take this the way he fears she will. Maybe he’ll have a chance to explain to her, how and why Sara and he had made this choice together. Maybe she’ll actually be happy. For him. Hell, for them. Not just Sara, but this is part of Lisa’s family too; it’s always been so small.
But then she takes a step back, still staring, and there’s nothing of happiness on her face.
“How could you?” she whispers, the words barely audible despite the relative quiet of the area.
Leonard’s eyes narrow despite himself. Lisa doesn’t seem to notice, though, and from her expression, her disbelief is quickly turning to anger.
“How could you?” she repeats then, taking a step forward. “You know what that bastard did to us! How could you pass it on to a new generation?”
“It’s not going to be that way,” Leonard retorts, stung. How dare she think he’d be anything like Lewis? Especially when it comes to this?
His hands clench into fists at his sides, and Lisa notices that. She laughs a little wildly, dropping her bag, whatever goal she’d been walking toward so hurriedly apparently forgotten for the moment.
“Sure it isn’t,” she says, scoffing. “You can say that all you want, but what happens when…when…” She waves a hand. “When something goes south, and you lose your temper? I mean, what other kind of example did you have, right? Why do you think you’ll be different, when it comes down to it?"
Leonard blinks at her in disbelief.
“Listen to me,” he says fiercely, angry and troubled and quietly, intensely wounded by her words. “I will never hurt a child of mine. I will never hurt his mother. I am not Lewis.”
Lisa looks back, and he’s startled to see tears in her eyes. It’s been years since he’s seen her cry—Lewis’ reaction to any sort of “whining” had been brutal, and Leonard hadn’t been able to protect her all the time.
The realization just makes him tenser, but Lisa’s next words largely defuse that.
“I know,” she says quietly, wiping at her eyes. “I know you’re not. But, Lenny...I...I like how my life is now. I like that I don’t have to live in safe houses or off the grid. I like that I’m...doing something different, learning new things.”
She shakes her head as he wonders just what she means. “But you...you’re just being...selfish.”
That’s not even remotely what Leonard had been expecting. “Selfish?”
Lisa shrugs, picking up her bag. “What else would you call it?” she asks wearily. “You’re so busy trying to pretend you’re something that you’re not that you’d even take it to this level.”
Leonard digests that, realizing something of what she’s getting at. “You think I’m going to...revert,” he says carefully. “Go back to being a criminal.”
Lisa gives him a sad smile. “I think you’re playing a game because you’re bored,” she says with a sigh. “I know you, Lenny. Eventually you’ll get bored of this, too. They’ll be some sort of new jewelry exhibit in town or somewhere else, the sort of project you can’t refuse, and that’ll be that.”
Her expression is both defiant and so very, very tired as he stares at her. “And it wasn’t a big deal at first,” she says. “I figured I could start over too, build my own life before it happened.”
Lisa shakes her head again. “But now it is,” she adds. “It’s a really big deal, and it’s going to hurt people. This Sara, and your kid, and that will bring other people into it. And they’ll remember who I really am, too, and this stupid little hope I had...it will all be over.”
And with that, she gives him one more long look, then turns and walks away.
Leonard, still stunned, watches her go.
And he can’t help, despite everything, wondering if she’s right.