There’s Only So Much One Person Can Take
Leonard sits gingerly in his seat, setting his coffee down in front of him. He winces at the sharp pain that flares up in his ribs at the movements. “Are you alright?” Sara asks, looking on with concern. “What happened?”
He shakes his head. “Nothing, I fell against the edge of my desk last night.” he tells her, taking a sip of his coffee. His hand comes up to hold his side for a moment, before returning to the table. Sara looks skeptical, but she lets it go. Pushing has never gotten her any answers before and it certainly won’t now.
“So, do you have to work late again tonight?” she asks.
“Not too late. Why?”
She shrugs. “I was thinking we could grab something to eat, maybe catch that new movie, you know the one with the demon doll.”
He nods. “Yeah, that sounds good, I’ll call you when I’m finished, we can meet somewhere.”
Sara simply nods, turning back to her own coffee.
“So, how’s the shelter?” Leonard asks after a moment.
“It’s alright.” she sighs. “Just lost one of our financial backers, but I think I’ve found a new one.” she tells him. “It’s the kids I’m worried about. A lot of them have shown up presenting with meta abilities, and enough of them have plenty of reasons to use them for the wrong reasons.” she explains. “I’m not really sure what to do for them, it’s not like have mentor programs for metahumans.”
“So start one.” he responds.
“And how exactly, would I do that. There’s not really an abundance of metas using their powers for good.”
“No, but there’s at least one, and maybe he knows other people who can help.”
“And how exactly would I get in touch with him?”
Leonard hesitates, trying to come up with a reasonable answer that wouldn’t blow his cover. “I have no idea.” he finally settles on. “But knowing you, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. You always do.”
She nods, looking down at the mug between her hands. “Yeah, I always do.”
“We’ve got a silent alarm going off in the Hilltop Neighborhood.” Mick calls into the comms. The sound of rushing wind greets him as he switches them on and the crackle of ice forming filters in with it.
“I’m on my way.” Leonard replies. “Any reports on who it might be?”
“No, police are held up with that bank robbery you just thwarted. Looks like you’re on your own.”
“Good, less people to worry about getting hurt.”
“Just be careful, Lenny.” Lisa’s voice cuts in. “Don’t want to get all banged up for your date.” she teases.
“For the last time, it’s not a date.” he insists. “Sara and I are just going to the movies.”
Lisa sighs. “You’re hopeless, big brother.”
“Thank you for your input, but if you don’t mind, I’m almost there.”
Lisa rolls her eyes, sharing an exasperated look with Mick. “Just be careful boss. It could be The Canary again.”
“The thought has crossed my mind.”
With that, Leonard creates an ice bridge, guiding his descent toward his target. The house is really a mansion, too large for the one person who lives there. He himself had grown up around the corner, so he knows exactly whose house this is. An insistent thought pokes at the back of his mind, but he put it aside to focus on his mission.
The house is still dark, but the backdoor has definitely been picked. He creeps in, remaining as quiet as possible. It isn’t long before he hears footsteps above him, following the sound to the second floor.
The sounds are coming from a room down the hall and as Leonard approaches it stops. He peaks in as he gets there, finding a wall safe ransacked across from the door, but the perpetrator is nowhere to be seen.
Leonard steps into the room cautiously, looking from side to side. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to catch the woman who comes flying at him, driving him backwards off his feet and out into the hallway. She lands in front of him, glaring down at him.
“Always getting in my way, Cold, you think you would have learned your lesson last night.” the woman says, smirking down at him. Leonard groans, clucking his ribs where she hit him the night before. He looks up at her, only to find her smirk is gone, replaced by wide eyed look of fear. She takes a step back. She stares down at him for a moment, before turning on her heels and bolting back into the room, slamming the door behind her.
“What the fuck.” he breaths, grunting as he forces himself to his feet. Just as he makes it back to the door, he hears the crashing of glass. He forces his way in, the room empty and the window behind a large wooden desk completely broken out.
“Fuck.” he curses, doubling over in pain.
Leonard can’t really remember what happened before the particle accelerator went off. He knows he was at the lab checking the instruments they were using to measure output, and that he was running late for dinner with his best friend, but that’s pretty much it. The next thing he knows he’s waking up in one of the medical suites, his sister standing over him looking worried. It takes him a moment to realize she’s wearing a parka, and another to notice the way his breath forms in front of his face.
Within a few days the full extent of the damage is palpable. Not only was Dr. Wells, founder and head of Star Labs missing, but so were several other members of the public, and those who weren’t missing and affected by the explosion were displaying superpowers like himself. It wasn’t long before some of those people were using their powers to cause trouble and Leonard, feeling responsible for the mess, decided to use his own new abilities to stop Central City’s newest threat.
Within a few weeks of trying to juggle his personal life with his new professional life, Leonard met The Canary. A woman in black leather who seemed to only ever be out for herself. She mostly burgled homes of Central City’s elite, but there were a few reported break ins at City Hall and one or two at the local high schools.
None of it made any sense to him, but he supposed he didn’t really need to understand it to stop her. Unfortunately, she always seemed to get the better of him. Tonight for example had been particularly embarrassing, but he put it out of his mind, ready to spend the evening with his best friend and forget all about the problems that would still be there in the morning.
Sara: Hey, sorry, something has come up at the shelter. Rain check?
He read her text once, then again, tamping down the disappointment that welled up. If there was one constant in his life it was Sara Lance. She’d been his best friend since grade school, having moved from Starling City to live with her mother after getting in trouble while living with her father and sister. They had immediately fell in together. When she asked years later why he had been drawn to her so quickly, he’d told her he didn’t know, it just felt right, but in all honesty, he had had a crush on her on the minute she had walked into school that first day. Her reputation for standing up against bullies and her fearlessness certainly hadn’t helped his crush and despite the fact that they had both dated throughout their friendship, his feelings for her never changed.
Now that his life was a mess, his job practically nonexistent, his nightly activities a disrupting any chance at moving on from the fiasco that was Star Labs, having her around had meant more than anything. She was a rock, steady and immovable in the chaos that had taken over.
Deciding not to go home was a no brainer, but he didn’t actually notice he was heading toward the shelter until he rounded the corner onto Grant Street. The regulars at the shelter knew him pretty well, so none of them batted an eye when they saw him walking through the building. It wasn’t long before he was outside her office, knocking.
“Come in.” she replies, and he does. She looks startled to see him when she looks up from whatever she’s doing at her desk, and there’s a look in her eyes that disturbs him. “What are you doing here?” she asks.
“I, uh, I just wanted to make sure everything was alright. I know what things come up around here it’s rarely good.”
“Oh, right, yeah, no it’s been handled. One of the kids came in hurt. He’s alright now though.” she explains.
“Alright, well, if your done, do you want to grab that dinner?”
“I’m sorry, I have a lot of paperwork to finish, some other time.” she says and it’s not a question.
“Okay.” he replies simply. “I’ll see you for coffee in the morning.”
She nods and he turns, closing the door behind him.
The next morning he gets a text from Sara cancelling their morning coffee. They’ve been sharing a coffee every morning since she got back to Central to open the shelter and the only time either of them has ever missed is because sickness. Either one of them could have pulled an all nighter at work and they still would have stopped to have coffee before going home. It was the one way they managed to keep in touch when their lives got truly hectic.
Leonard decides to let it go, but the next morning when she cancels again, he knows something it wrong. He dwells on it all day and that evening, as he planned to confront her, he gets a call about another robbery, this time at his childhood home.
His father is out of town, no real loss there, he was mostly absent after his mother died, but his father is also a high powered business man and there are any number of things in his home worth stealing. He finds The Canary in his father’s home office, tearing through his files. He watches her for a moment when it becomes obvious that she hadn't noticed him and it’s only as he steps into the room that she finally does. She jumps to her feet, turning and dropping into a defensive stance. He’s seen that stance dozens of times, Sara had tried to teach it to him growing up along with any number of other martial arts maneuvers. He’s not too proud to admit he only agreed so he would have a reason to get close to her.
“You’re getting sloppy, Canary.” he tells her, watching as her eyes shift toward the open window. Like a rocket she takes off, but he beats her to it, icing over the wall and the window, trapping her inside.
She turns to face him again, a determined look in her eye and he can’t shake the feeling of familiarity that comes with that. She strikes out at him, but even he can tell it’s half hearted. It doesn’t make her any less dangerous and before he knows it she’s got him pinned to the ground, her fist raised, ready to hit him. She hesitates though, and it’s only in this moment that he finally gets a good look at her. Her startling blue eyes are filled with tears behind her domino mask, her body shaking as she tries to hold back sobs. He sees it now, the reason so much about her seems so familiar.
“Sara.” he breathes, watching her drop her head, eyes closed as tries and fails to hold back tears.
“I’m sorry.” she says, voice strained. “I’m sorry.” she repeats over and over again. “I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know.”
Leonard moves on instinct, sitting up and wrapping her up in his arms. He holds her while she sobs. Its only with the sound of sirens that he manages to snap her out of it long enough to get them out of there. It’s not until he gets her back to Star Labs that he can even think of getting any answers.
“Please Sara, tell me what’s going on.”
She sniffles, trying to catch her breath. “It’s just like I told you. After the particle accelerator blew up a lot of the kids started showing up with powers. They were scared and didn’t know what else to do or where to go.” she stops long enough to take a deep breath. “Some of our private backers, the ones who closed the gap between donations and government grants found out and pulled their funding. Within days there was barely anything left. So, I took things into my own hands.”
“You started robbing them?” she nods.
“I didn’t know what else to do. There’s no precedent for any of this and these kids need all the help they can get. It’s not fair that some rich asshole just gets to decide that these kids are just a tax ride off and then turn around a buy another fucking yacht.” she says, anger seeping through. “And I couldn’t just leak it to the press to shame these assholes, because there’s too much controversy around metas.”
“Alright, I understand that. But what does my father have to do with any of this?”
“He figured out what I was doing.”
“He’s blackmailing you?”
She nods. “All of the people I’ve robbed have been his business rivals. He black mailed me into helping him collect information. When you showed up to stop me all those times, he told me to get rid of you, anyway I could, but I couldn’t… and then I realized who you were and I knew I had to stop him.” she explains. “He hates Captain Cold, you’ve stopped a bunch of his associates recently and he wants you gone. Anyway he can make it happen.”
Leonard huffs humorlessly, turning away from her and running a hand over his shaved head. “He fucking knows.” he mutters to himself.
“What?” Sara asks confused. He turns back to face her, his face showing his rage.
“When I woke up from the explosion, he was there, he saw what I could do, he tried to talk me out of becoming Captain Cold, said it was too dangerous, he didn’t want anything to happen to me. He fucking knows I’m Captain Cold and he’s trying to fucking kill me. My own father.”
“Len.” she says softly, stepping up to him. “Let’s stop him. Together.”