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Lesser Evils

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The wise thing to do would be to flee the Gem Cities altogether. He should lay low for awhile, get back on his feet, make sure he’s got his powers and connections sorted before he strikes back. When a guy gets to the point of being kicked out of his own team through a murder attempt orchestrated by his sister, it’s probably time to stand back and reflect on his actions.

Nobody would ever accuse Len Snart of acting with much wisdom.

The last of his money went to this doctor whose surgery room is the back of a Chinese restaurant. His ribs are bitching at every step he takes and his left arm won’t leave the sling for a month if he wants to ever move it properly again. Len is trying to think positive on the scorched marks around his shoulder and up his neck - he’s heard the babes like a scarred man, but as he limps heavily through the Keys even the most broken hookers step away from him.

If he were sane Len would go to the hospital and escape Iron Heights afterwards. The prison might be safer than anywhere he can go to right now - however, instead of at least doing a quick raid of some bank and getting the hell out of town, Len enters Charlie’s bar like he owns the damn place. Screw the other Rogues if they’re there, he’ll fight them again if need be - all he can think about is that he needs either painkillers or vodka and the drugstore doesn’t have a tab with his name on it.

“Fuck Lenny, is that you?” Charlie grunts as Len takes a seat at the counter. “I thought you’d be buried by now. You guys made the big news this time around.”

“My sis and her lapdogs did, you mean,” breathing hurts, let alone talking. He doesn’t want to hear how Lisa and the other backstabbing suckers had successfully sacked that holier-than-thou scientist and forced the Flash to rescue a whole train out of the mirror world, all while beating the crap out of him and Piper alike. He has enough bruises to remember it for the months to come. “Just mix that pink crap your new boy made me the other day and keep ‘em coming.”

“It’s called a Central Daisy, chief,” the blond piece of nice guy shows up from the bathroom, bucket and mop in hand, sweat on his brow and a smile on his lips that makes Len want to punch his teeth in or something. “But don’t down too many of those ‘cause I’m not cleaning that toilet again tonight.”

“‘That a challenge, Al? I can hold my liquor just fine,” smirking hurts too, so he picks up the drink shoved in his direction and tosses it down in two gulps. Nevermind that his stomach lurches at the first touch of vodka against his palate - so yeah, he hasn’t had a decent meal on the last couple of days and he’s been only half-sleeping at this abandoned warehouse because he may be reckless but he’s not stupid enough to go back to his flat. All in all drinking may not be the best idea around, but his current state is little better than a hangover and everyone knows the best cure for one of those is to get wasted.

“Sure you can. I’d just hate it if you stained your white boots, though,” he’s off to mind the tables in the back and Len watches him go by the corner of an eye. All smiles, that one, but the guy has some spine on him.

As far as an evening in the Keys goes, it’s a quiet night. Al breaks a catfight at some point around midnight and Charlie stops pouring him drinks the second time Len’s elbow slips from the counter and he nearly crashes his face on it. He considers leaving then but he’s got nowhere better to go - and, at the very least, the smell of booze and dingy lights hold some familiarity against this stupid mess his life has turned out to be lately. No one talks to him as the hours roll by and he’s just fine with that - Len doesn’t have much left to say.

“‘The hell was that for?” he snaps when Charlie turns off the new TV, more out of principle than real interest in the college football rerun he’d been seeing without really watching. He could use one more shot, but he’s not pushing his luck any further - he’s sure his tab won’t be paid that soon.

“For closing the damn bar, that’s what. It’s almost morning and you know how I hate the diehard alcoholics that show up here before going to work,” Charlie glares pointedly and Len looks around to see the bar is empty save for himself and a plastered lady that Al is escorting far too gently to the door.

Len finds a chuckle to spare as he dismounts his stool with the pain of a thousand vengeful fratricides. “Yeah, I know you like ‘em better after their jobs have softened ‘em. See y’around,” he’s not quite sure how he reaches the door, alcohol and wounds teaming up to make his legs nearly uncontrollable.

Two steps onto the sidewalk and he has to brace himself against a lamppost to avoid kissing the ground. Damn wonderful. He has no will - and no idea how - to go back to his hideout in this state, so he hugs the post a little longer, trying to think, to form a better plan than let himself get killed or whatever.

He almost doesn’t notice it when somebody takes his good arm and slings it across a firm set of shoulders. “I think I’ll be a little better than the post at helping you home, chief,” Al opens that goodie-two-shoes smile of his, and Len feels like freezing his balls until they fall off because guys this nice aren’t meant to exist and don’t last much at this neighborhood.

“I don’t have a home to go to, blondie. And cut the ‘chief’ crap, I told you my name’s Len,” he tries to detach himself from the bartender, however Allen’s grip is surprisingly strong around Len’s back. “I don’t need help, lemme go.”

“Nope, I don’t think I can do that,” the guy looks at him long and hard, and finally he’s not smiling. It’s not pity that makes his face more serious though, so Len is glad - if it were he’d really be obligated to give Allen a frosty shiner. It may be the drinks talking, but that doesn’t stop Len from feeling under analysis under that stare. “You can crash on my couch today.”

“I’m not your charity case,” Len snarls, fighting harder against his hold - the guy’s shoulder freezes where Len pushes him away, and in a split second Captain Cold, former leader of the Central City Rogues and one of the most feared criminals in America, is fallen on the curbside and incapable of standing up.

No, not a charity case. More like a complete failure, really.

Al sits beside him, shaking the ice form his T-shirt nonchalantly. Tough cookie, that one. The look he gives Len is mildly irritated at best. “Don’t make this worse than it has to be. You have nowhere to go, I have a free couch. Really, it’s just gonna be bad rep for the bar if you die here, and I don’t think you can move from where you are without a little help.”

“What’s in it for you? Why would you care?” his own sister doesn’t, for crying out loud.

That makes Allen pause - Len sees his eyes roll skywards while he fiddles with his sole gold ring, effectively giving Len the chance to see his profile hardening. When he looks back at the fallen rogue, his smile is back - more jagged, screwed at the edges this time. Len feels less like punching him. “I’ve already lost too many people - important people, people that could have made all the difference - because I didn’t do something about it. I just don’t believe in holding back when I can act instead.”

“I’m not important, man.”

“You’re joking, right? You’re Captain Cold,” the guy shakes his head, laughs to his own chest, then he’s pulling Len upright and it hurts like a bitch, “You make all the difference around here.”

It takes them a lot of fumbling and vehement protests from Len’s ribs before he’s standing up again. As far as sidewalk nursemaiding goes, Al isn’t half bad at guiding Len’s heavily limping form out of the avenue and into a quieter, narrower street. Len knows the Keys by heart, but after just a few minutes under the steering of a strong arm he can’t tell anymore where he is, and frankly he doesn’t care. It’s mighty stupid of him to just trust the first good samaritan to cross his path , but this new low he’s reached doesn’t allow him many other options. The kid had better have very good insulation if he thinks he can get the best out Captain Cold, either way - however worse for wear and wasted he is, unless Al takes him straight to Lisa’s wrath there’s plenty of fight left in him.

It turns out they end up at the stairs for a second-story apartment on top of what must be the only bookstore in the area. “Just a little bit more,” Al’s bright humor doesn’t seem to be affected by his spending an entire night minding tables at a shithole of a bar, only to end it by dragging a drunk criminal up his rusty fire escape of a doorway. Beyond the pain of every step up, Len is torn between wary relief at stumbling upon such a gratuitous guardian angel or raging for needing it in the first place. He can barely hold himself against the porch as Al digs his pockets for the keys. “Just don’t look at the dishes on the sink, I was gonna wash them today.”

The place is small and run down, with peeling wallpaper and really bad carpet. None of the furniture is new and there isn’t much of it - all that Len cares about is that Al drops him onto the couch and it’s soft and warm and he wants to stay there until his life quits being such a bad joke. “Congrats, Al. You just got yourself the worst stray you could have picked up,” Len snorts, closing his eyes and letting the world stop spinning around him.

“Take your boots off later,” Al chuckles lightly as he disappears past one of the two doors in the apartment, and Len dozes off to the sound of the shower running.

**

Frying eggs are the first thing Len smells as he slowly wakes up, hangover combined to battle wounds adding up the rather unpleasant total of his disgrace. He’s alarmed for a second, completely unaware of his surroundings - then he sees Al’s back past the counter that separates the modest living room of the meager kitchen and he remembers his surprise helping hand. Whatever he’s cooking, the scent makes Len’s stomach crave for a meal that doesn’t consist of distillates.

“Damn, I’m starving,” he croaks out in lieu of greetings. A smirk and a raised eyebrow are what he gets for his efforts as Allen looks away from the stove for barely a second to regard him.

“I figured as much. Omelettes will be done in a couple of minutes,” the guy waves his spatula absently, as if having Captain Cold freeloading at his home were routine. Allen is either insane or stupid to show such calm confidence around one of Central City’s most wanted, but Len finds he’s really not in the mood to look the gift horse in the mouth. If Al proves to be a murdering psycho in the end, well, that can be a good start for a new gang - having someone who cooks in the team would be a welcome novelty.

“Holler if you need me,” standing up is almost as painful as the fight that got him that way, but Len eventually rolls out of the ratty couch and stumbles into a cramped excuse for a bathroom. Just looking at his face and the bruises creeping beyond the cover of his shirt makes Len want to throw up, but the certainty it will do no good to his ribs is enough to make him hold it down. He reties his much-abused sling, takes a piss, washes his face with only minor freezing issues, works his boots off - by the time he manages to do it all one-handed, Al knocks at the door to check whether he’s still alive. “I’m fine, man, I’m fine. Just gimme a second.”

Fine is a far stretch from anything Len is right then. He needs to get back in shape due yesterday, he needs to have full control over his powers, he needs a plan to put Lisa and that bunch of ungrateful bastards back in line. He needs to hole up somewhere better than some charitable bartender’s flat. He needs to stop needing so much stuff.

His stomach groans loudly, and he really needs that omelette.

“A bit longer and I was going in to check if you froze in the shower,” Allen snorts before he swallows a mouthful of eggs and everything he had on the fridge, apparently. He’s sitting on the couch, watching an old TV that drones on a low volume about some raid Weather Wizard had just tried to raise around downtown Keystone and the Flash frustrated. Heh. Good for him.

Len throws his boots near the door, then grabs the meal left for him on the counter. Al makes space for him to seat by his side, and even fixes a pillow on top of Len’s legs so he can rest his plate down and eat despite his bad arm - Len loathes feeling helpless, especially near helpful people. “For serious now, Al. What’s the catch?” Len asks mildly, enjoying the view of Mardon getting pounded on the screen. That doesn’t stop him from seeing Al fidget with his ring again. “No such thing as a free meal and all that, double shift for guys like me.”

Allen eats the last of his food with a stern face, but when he sets his dishes aside and turns to fully face Len he’s got the sweet nice-guy smile going on and it doesn’t even look fake on him. “I saw the fight by the new monorail the other day. I was there,” he shrugs, but it’s like his rolling shoulders are too narrow to hold him, “I know you have done a lot of really questionable things in your life, but I think what that Glider lady is doing is even worse. Besides you helped that Pied Piper fellow escape, and he made a great deal of difference when the Flash was out.”

“That’s it, then? Some sort of backhanded gratitude?” Len laughs through a mouthful of food, enjoying the whole incongruous scenario even if his ribs hurt every time he moves.

“You could say that, but actually… Remember the other day when we were talking at the bar and you said things just aren’t like they used to be?” he scratches the nape of his neck, taking the dishes to the sink and staying there. There’s something familiar about his stance or the way his back curves and considering Len’s history that should alarm him, however when the guy turns to face him again he feels right at home, no regrets.

“Sure do,” Allen seemed a naive pretty-boy then and he does so now. Crazier perhaps, but still far too innocent to be consorting with the likes of Len.

“Maybe they should go back to what they were. I don’t agree with the whole Rogues thing, but at least people knew what to expect from you guys with Captain Cold in charge,” Allen shrugs again, looking at Len from the vast distance of four steps like he’s trying to reach at something in Len, and maybe he’s managing it. “Don’t get me wrong - I don’t think what you do is right, but it’s not as bad as what is going on right now. I guess I prefer a wanted criminal on my couch now than you dying some stupid death out there and never setting your partners straight.”

“Long story short,” Len finishes his lunch and smirks at his host with whatever humor is left in him - only to be surprised it’s not as little as it should have been -, “you think I’m the lesser evil around. I can live with that.”

“Nice to know,” Allen’s laughter is short but warm to the ear. He finally leaves his post by the sink to collect Len’s plate from his lap, but he doesn’t straighten his bent torso away from Len’s personal space immediately - rather, his eyes inspect Len attentively. “You’re in pain, aren’t you? How bad is it?”

“Bad enough that I’ll actually accept whatever damn pill you’re gonna shove my way, mother hen,” blondie smells like omelette and deodorant and shaving cream, and Len definitely shouldn’t be noticing any of it.

“You’d better,” he walks off to rummage the bathroom cabinet, leaving Len to force his still hungover brain back to normal functioning. He’s not sure of how efficient that is, though.

**

It’s the middle of the afternoon and Len is in a happy fuzz of painkillers and bad action flicks on the TV when Al slings his backpack on a shoulder and makes it to the door. “There’s another set of keys on the kitchen if you need to leave, but I don’t think you should be doing that so soon. Help yourself to the fridge or the bathroom cabinet. My bedroom is off-limits,” he informs as he slips his trainers on.

“Off-limits, eh? Afraid I’ll break into your porn stash?” Len feels an ugly smile tugging at his mouth, pride, contempt and depreciation pulling at his facial muscles. “Y’know I’m not that great with limits and regulations, don’t you?”

Allen stops midway out, resting his body against the doorway and gazing at Len with quiet confidence. “That’s not true - you know all about rules and which ones are worth breaking. Trust me when I say a pile of laundry, an over sized chemistry set and some old family pictures aren’t exactly what you want to spoil my trust for. You’d get more by checking the money box under the couch, though not by much.”

Len has his fists closed, shaking and frosting over before he can think of his bad arm. “Watch it. I’m no street trash thief, Allen.”

“So don’t act like it,” he has the gall to beam sweetly as he closes the door behind him, leaving Len to try and regain some dignity by shaking away the ice coating that had just taken his hands.

Len closes his eyes and lets himself sink deeper into the cushions, letting the TV fade to background noise in his muddled head. As far as prisons go, this couch is one he doesn’t mind feeling close around him, since the keys he’s been given are little more than an empty pleasantry and they both know it. He’s arrested by his wounds, and until he can contact some of the other Rogue outcasts - assuming Piper truly made it out alive and fuck him, maybe he’d really need to start considering that brat Axel as a potential ally - he’s rather out of his league against Lisa’s little backstabbing troupe.

Of course he can freeze Allen’s ass six ways into the morgue if he wants to, but that would be plain and simple stupidity. Len won’t be able to fight any of his old friends for, at the bare minimum, the next week - a fortnight if he has any good sense in him and he lets his ribs mend properly. With the guy around he has fresh food, clean clothes and regular medication guaranteed, therefore abusing his welcome before being able to force it otherwise would prove to be astoundingly counterproductive.

That, and he just doesn’t feel like ruining Allen’s pretty face.

Len sighs heavily, eyeing the closed bedroom door blandly before popping one more painkiller. He turns to watch his brain-dead movie, only to be interrupted by yet another daring rescue the Flash carries out, this one on a massive fire Heatwave had been pulling at the industrial district.

Damn, but those suckers aren’t wasting any time. Old Red sure is working his ass off to try and contain all the havoc Lisa’s crew is raising - he’d always known how terrifying his sister’s anger could be, but Len had never expected to be at the receiving end of it.

Len shouldn’t have good intentions, ever - he only meant to give the Rogues more ammo, put them on the same level as The Flash or any other costumed freak who tried to stop them from giving society a taste of its own produce. That’s what he gets for teaming up with scientists, though - of course it would end badly. Now he can barely wash his face without freezing himself half to death, his mates are all bigger freaks than The Flash has ever been, and Lisa pulled a coup on him out of spite.

“You’re just so damn good at giving people what they want, Snart,” he grumbles, flicking the TV off and closing his eyes. Sleep doesn’t come easily, but nothing does these days.

**

After three days of bad TV, shaky wifi on a prehistorical laptop and boiling water in the stove to take a shower without facing instant hypothermia, Len will give anything to get a piece of the action the news have been broadcasting. Lisa has been setting the Gem Cities in flames, and Flash or no Flash they are going down by the hour - while Captain Cold is licking his wounds like a beaten dog, bored out of his mind.

A livid Allen stumbling through the front door and staining the carpet with blood isn’t his first choice for a contact with the mayhem, however.

“What the fuck happened to you?” he’s off the couch in a second, cracked ribs be damned, and pulls Allen to sit beside him. The guy’s shirt is in shreds and so seems to be his chest, therefore Len has no qualms to grab a fistful of torn fabric and yank it away from Allen’s body. The wounds seem mostly superficial, but there’s a great deal of them and it’s just not pretty. “Well, shit.”

“Whoa, careful there Captain, I’ll live. Could you just get some bandages and stuff from the bathroom?,” he grimaces, tugging what seems to be a glass shard out of one of the deepest cuts and flicking it irritably at an used dish Len had left at the floor earlier.

Len snarls, staring at the wounds without moving. “That’s Lisa’s work,” it’s not a question.

Allen rolls his eyes, pulling more glass out of his chest far too patiently for someone who’s self-nursing. “Yeah, your sister decided to stop by the bar tonight, check if Charlie knew of you or something. I was collateral damage. Thank the Flash later for still having a place to booze up, by the way - now, those bandages?”

“That’ll take stitches, idiot. Your luck is that a good Rogue is used to patching friends up,” Len makes a mess out of the bathroom cabinet as he tries to reach the first-aid kit one-handed, but he grumbles his approval as he sees a suture needle and some thread on the bottom of the box. Wet towel around the shoulder, he makes it back to the couch. “Tell me I haven’t drunk all the alcohol in this house, ‘cause you’ll need some sort of anesthesia for this.”

“I’ll grab the scotch under the sink later,” Allen sighs, and Len stops in his tracks at the stare under heavy brows that blue eyes pin on him. For such an upbeat guy, the look seems positively grim - but it’s not anger, nor despise, neither disgust. Those, Len could recognize from miles away any day. “That’s what it is, then? Patching friends up?”

“Unless Al the bartender is just too damn righteous to be friends with me,” his fist is freezing in three, two…

The smile that splits Allen’s face is gorgeous and sad, “No, I figure Al the bartender is just the right person to be your friend, Len.”

Len releases a breath he didn’t realize he held and opens a shark grin. “Fucking fantastic, now grit your teeth and start thinking of the hottest babe you’ve ever met. You’ll need it.”

They clean the blood, remove the remaining glass shards, disinfect the wounds - Allen presses the gashes closed so Len stitches his flesh back together, all while he tries not to marvel too hard at what the sweat rolling down Allen’s neck and shoulders must taste like.

Allen will leave that one with scars to remember, and Len finally gets to realize what kind of person likes their men scarred. Now, if Al would like comparing…

“I could use that drink now,” he gasps at the last bandage, chest heaving, face drawn in pain and barely-controlled screams. Tough, all in all, and Len smiles.

“You’ve earned it, soldier,” Len tries not to limp too much to the kitchen, and comes back to the living room drinking straight from the bottle. “You’ve earned it all.”

Allen wraps himself on the blanket Len has been using every night and takes the bottle, downing three long gulps in a row while Len pays far too much attention to his working throat. “Thanks,” Al whispers as Len sits beside him again, flicking the TV on.

Len waves the thanks off and circles an arm around Allen’s shoulders. They don’t look at each other, don’t question it, and that’s fine - the silence is comfortable, the hours roll by unaccounted for, and Len doesn’t know who dozes off against the other’s warmth first.

**

Days turn into a week and keep on rolling, and Len would call it dreamy if he were ever inclined to poetic interpretation of reality. As it is, he knows this cozy urban retreat is just the bubble of peace in the burning sea of chaos that rages at the Gem Cities - he’s restless, eager to take what’s his back where it should be, and humiliated by Allen’s goodwill at every second the guy is out minding the bar or doing odd jobs while Len waits for his ribs to stop bitching already.

That is, of course, until he comes home. Politics and public peace issues are pointedly avoided in conversation - Allen is too much of a goodie two-shoes, and Len takes pride in his criminal record - but they disagree loudly over baseball, and laugh together at crappy movies, and this one night Len catches himself singing old country songs with him. The next morning Allen has to defrost his hands from the bathroom sink and Len just spews out the deal he made with Dr. Elias, the catastrophic powers, his mates’ rage. He is met with understanding and somber reasoning, and Len just doesn’t kiss him right then and there ‘cause his lips are still blue.

Len stares at the ceiling from his spot in the couch when Allen is away, wondering at the constellations of mildew stains that show even in the dark. If he were a smarter guy, this could be his forever - the suburban happiness, a regular job with a crappy salary and a babe to come home to, drink some booze with, argue with, have some fun with. If he were smarter, he’d be welcomed away from the couch and past closed bedroom door.

Len snorts at the very notion, much too rebellious to ever settle down, no matter how much he wants to be saddled by that pretty smile.

**

Sunday morning Al shows up with fatigue weighing down every line of his body - the crowd at Charlie’s is never pleasant, but the weekends seem to be specially horrendous. He drops a bag of fruit on the counter and splits half the contents of the drugstore package in a pile for himself, the other for Len. “I wish I had my lab back, I could mix those pills myself,” he sighs, and Len knows he’ll have to rob a bank or two to repay all the money the guy is shoving on nursing him.

“Just my luck, eh? You’re a scientist,” and those have this uncanny tendency to be Len’s downfall when a speeding vigilante isn’t. Moving around doesn’t hurt so badly anymore, and he can even move the fingers of his wounded arm without worrying about permanent damage, so Len joins him at slicing apples. “What’s gotten you into busing tables at shithole bars, then?”

He rolls his shoulders like the whole world is pressing down on them. “Let’s say my field of research is very… experimental, not to say controversial. I lost all my support, so here I am.”

“Good ol’ college bigheads cut your funding. I’ve heard that story before,” Len shakes his head, snatching a piece of fruit and wolfing his medicine down with it. And it’s a stupid notion, but maybe… “Y’know the Rogues can always use a talented guy. You could be my chemistry backup.”

Allen keeps at his task for a few seconds more, before he closes his eyes and sets the knife down. He turns to Len, taking one step closer, and damn his smile for looking so perfect when he looks so firm and so miserable. “I’ve told you before, Len. I may be standing by you now, but I don’t stand for what you do - not now, not ever.”

“You know that won’t stop me,” he should be furious, but all he feels is this vacuum at the back of his chest - it pulls him closer to Allen, nose to nose with his fierce little savior, and every breath they take draws from the other’s air.

“I never expected it to,” sky-blue eyes flicker from Len’s gaze to his mouth for half a second, and it’s all the invitation he needs.

It’s a kiss of crushed mouths and misplaced noses, no softness to be found in thin lips but with plenty of warmth poring from every pressed stretch of skin. A sliver of teeth becomes tongue, Len circling Allen by the waist and plunging in deep, tasting every corner of his mouth. Allen’s hand snags his hair, guides his face so he can reach more of Len with the swipes of his tongue.

“I shouldn’t be doing this. Any of this,” Allen whispers as he scrapes lovebites to Len’s jaw remorselessly.

“Do it anyway,” Len chuckles but he’s demanding it, begging for it, damn near groveling for it when he kisses Allen again, eyes closed and hand riding up his shirt, because he needs to taint him with transgression, with his own brand of reality, at least once.

They stumble to the couch in a tangle of legs that want to bring them closer than it’s physically possible, licks smeared to necks and lips and ears and collarbones in an indistinct blur of motion. Len sits across the pillows, bracing his torso up on his good arm, while Allen ends up kneeling between his legs, kissing him drunkenly, pushing Len’s top up to his chin. His breath is hurried but his eyes are calm, perfectly full of willing intent as his fingers trace Len’s chest, flick at his nipples, hover nearly reverently over the bruised and taped ribs. “Lay down,” Allen’s voice is quiet and unwavering, rolling off wet lips like a caress.

“Only if you make my day for it,” Len smirks, but he’s already resting fully against his home of old pillows and ratty blankets. He sees hunger in Allen’s stare, desire on the curve of his shoulder, unrepentant insistence on the bow of his head as he bends down to lick and bite burning trails down each of Len’s muscles and scars.

“I can do that,” and so much more, they both know it. Instead he throws his own shirt away and gives Len a glimpse of abs and still-healing chest and working muscles, before he puts his weight down on both arms and holds himself over Len without crushing him. His kiss is the whole deal, strong and demanding and taking from Len every little bit he gets for himself.

It’s been awhile that Len has last gotten laid, even more with another guy - he tells himself it’s just the lack of recent practice that has him rock-hard for a kiss, squirming at the press of heated skin, clawing bruises at every piece of solid flesh his hand gets access to. He sinks his teeth on Allen’s shoulder and the moan he gets out of it rings through the rundown flat like a promise neither of them can keep.

Bite by bite and hickey by hickey Allen makes his way down again, until he stops with his teeth scraping hard at the front of Len’s jeans. “Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” Len growls, enjoying the view as his not-partner in crime snaps his button open and unzips his fly.

He has the gall to blush while he pulls Len’s pants off with his teeth. “Thanks, you too,” his smile is playful but his fingers are steady as he tugs at Len’s erection, and then he’s out of the couch and walking away.

“What the-?” He’s silenced with a kiss and a quick pull at his balls.

“I’ll be right back and it’ll be worth it,” and there’s no way Len will protest over that when the look Allen gives him makes pre-come start to roll down his dick.

He disappears in his bedroom, and all that Len can do is breathe in deeply and jerk himself lightly to keep his hard-on as he waits until the rummaging noises end. It doesn’t take much - a minute at most, but it does feel like a bloody eternity when it’s been brewing for so long and he’s not thinking about how long it’ll last - but when Allen comes back he’s naked, bloody gloriously naked and ripping a condom package open.

“I hope you haven’t missed me much,” he whispers, kneeling back on the couch. With a firm grip he rolls the rubber down on Len, before inching himself closer, one leg thrown around Len’s hips, the other sliding down the front of the couch so he supports himself on one foot. “Hold on tight.”

Len howls, white-hot pleasure squeezing every last one of his muscles as Allen lowers himself around Len’s cock slowly, moaning low through every inch until Len is balls-deep inside him. He’s tight and searing-hot and slick, so goddamn slick and that was some fast prep up and Len can’t care since he’s way busier trying not to bust his ribs all over again as he bucks up.

Allen rocks hard on top of him, one hand pressing down on Len’s chest, the other playing with his jaw and lips in a way that makes Len want to suck each of his fingers in. “Easy. You don’t want to hurt yourself,” he pants, each movement of his bouncing hips exploding a new supernova inside Len.

“Fuck that,” he’s smiling because he can, because if this is all he can have he sure as hell will use it up to the last stretch, because he thrusts up as Allen slides down and the pressure building inside him is a train wreck he’s glad he’s set in motion.

He wouldn’t last much longer if he froze his own balls - Len enjoys every movement, every minute of the ride as if it were his last goddamn chance to go down in style. He’ll leave bruises at Allen’s thigh where he grips it and his eyes can’t stop rolling from the sweat sliding down Allen’s chest to the contraction of his stomach to his cock standing hard and wet and untouched - and back to the way his pupils are blown and his open mouth spews whines and gasps in a litany. The guy is all around him, ass and legs and hands and that smile, that damn smile he opens when Len roars and comes harder than he thought himself able to.

Allen rocks on top of him until Len has nothing left to give, then proceeds to roll off with almost too much grace for a guy who’d just gotten himself fucked so eagerly and thoroughly. He sits at the edge of the couch, the curve of his back touching Len’s side, and removes Len’s condom like nothing’s happened - all while he’s still hard. Damn idiot.

Len breathes in a couple of times, checks whether he’s not broken anything important again - a couple of sores down his ribcage but he’ll live - and sits up. “Quiet,” he snarls when Allen opens his mouth to protest, then kisses him for good measure. From that wet heat it’s easy to slide off the couch to his knees, push his legs apart and get a mouthful of his dick.

Len is no pro at blowing guys - gag reflex is a bitch and he’s not really trying to cup Allen with his freezing touch still unchecked. Allen seems to like his broad swipes of tongue and enthusiastic sucks to the head just fine, though - Len fills his mouth with what he can, bobs his head up and down, tries not to choke on the salty bitterness that leaks from the slit he teases mercilessly. Allen has a vice grip on his shoulders, scratching him despite how blunt his nails are, and Len knows he’s doing it just right.

Long moans turn into outright screams when Allen’s abs start to tighten sensibly under Len’s fingers. “Len, I’m coming… I’m…” he grits his teeth, his whole body flushed and covered in sweat. Allen tries to pull Len’s head away, but he makes a point out of batting his hand away and opening his mouth nice and wide with the tip of Allen’s cock resting against his tongue.

The taste is crap, has always been and will always be, but Len swallows it to the last spurt.

Collapsing with his head pillowed by Allen’s thigh is the only natural way to end it, and from his panting sprawl on the cushions, Allen doesn’t seem to mind it in the least. For a few minutes all he can hear is his own blood rushing at his ears and the budding traffic from the chaotic neighborhood beyond the sanctum of the cheap apartment. For a few minutes it’s a lazy Sunday morning with his babe, and if Len can ever be ridiculous, laying on a stained carpet with his pants around his ankles must be the ideal moment for it.

“I… really shouldn’t have done that,” Allen says when Len is nearly dozing off on his leg. He takes it as a cue to drag himself back to the couch, and even pulls his pants up.

Allen doesn’t look very repentant according to Len’s book, however. Great. “But you damn well loved it.”

“Someone’s got an ego going around here,” his tone is joking, carefree, as he puts his T-shirt back on. He doesn’t deny any part of Len’s statement, they both notice quite fully.

“Yeah, right around here,” Len points to the general area of Allen’s crotch, and the guy blushes scarlet. He’s forced to laugh, really. “Look, you don’t need to drive yourself up a wall over it. Think it’s just the lesser evil all over again.”

Allen looks at him from under furrowed eyebrows again, too serious for his free spirit, too anxious for his kindness, too guilty for his strength. Len would think getting some could loosen him up a bit, but apparently no such luck. “Oh yeah? How do you figure that?”

“Bang me once and know you like it even if it’s, y’know, me,” Len smirks and kisses the thin line of his mouth more softly than he meant to, “or spend the rest of your life wondering what if you’d banged that wanted criminal one day back when.”

“Certainty of corruption over doubt of weakness; is that really your definition of a lesser evil?” Allen shakes his head, but he’s smiling again and the world is still spinning as it should.

“The only one I live by,” Len stands up slowly and heads for the bathroom - when he comes out Allen has disappeared in the bedroom.

**

“Damn Captain, you know how to hole up when you want to,” Trickster perches at the window right above the back of the couch, and it’s just the fact that Len’s arm is still not perfectly healed after two weeks that stops him from transforming the kid into a tasteless ice statue.

He’s been waiting for it, for a sign, for the moment of bending or breaking, for leaving paradise - but he almost punches Axel all the same. Between the wish to keep the microcosmos of simple happiness inside that apartment and the need to conquer every alley of the bustling cities outside, Captain Cold is not above killing the messenger of disgrace.

“What are you doing here?” he snarls, old habits fitting him like a second skin he never intended to shed.

“Getting you back in the loop, that’s what. You want to kick your sister out of power, you come with me. Piper is getting the shit we need ready as we speak,” Axel tugs at his hoodie, and Len does bat him away this time.

He knew this time would come - he’d expected to say goodbye at least, but Allen left the day before saying he’s got an interview about his chemistry projects. Maybe he is getting back on his feet, getting the good graces of decent people again. Maybe Len will only drag him down. Maybe he won’t be so welcome the next time blondie walks through the door.

It’s probably better off this way. “You raided my place before Lisa did, right?”

“I think I got everything that matters at my own base, Cap,” the kid is restless, looking over his shoulder all of the time, and Len can taste the action in the air almost as clearly as he’d been tasting Allen for the last week.

“Gimme any money you have on you. Now,” Axel gives him a long look but doesn’t complain - the lunch money of a thousand kids his age is deftly flicked his way, so Len snatches it and drops it on top of the kitchen counter. For the medicine he scratches out on the notepad beside the phone.

He’s got on of Allen’s shirts under his hoodie - he’s keeping it. Besides it there’s nothing to take he hasn’t got with him already. “I’m off through the stairs, brat,” he snarls, grabbing the keys he’d never used before and heading out. The first step out isn’t as hard as it should be, neither is the second, even less the third.

Turning around to close the door makes him wish he had some excuse, some reason to come back in - he sees the closed bedroom door and why not, why the hell not add spite to hurt? - but he has none. He locks the apartment up, shoves the keys under the door and tries not to limp too badly down the stairway to heaven.

“Lead the fucking way,” leaving Al to live his life in peace with no goodbyes is the lesser of all evils Len could cause, and he wishes he could have done his worst.