Lisa’s all grown up now. She’s a badass thief, takes no prisoners, and is generally acknowledged by one and all to be all-around awesome. She’s gone up against the Flash and managed to start stealth-dating his science team under his nose. She knows no fear.
Still, every once in a while she runs into a situation so overwhelming that it goes straight to her instinctual hindbrain, which says, “I want my big brother to make this go away” in the exact same tone she used to say it when she was three.
Like, you know, accidentally getting on the wrong side of an insane gang of super-serum hyped-up crazy people. Who want to kill her and her stupid boyfriend and her stupid girlfriend and their stupid superhero friend just because they kinda maybe blew up the entire remainder of the Central City branch’s supply of the super-serum.
There’s more of them than Lisa had thought. Like, at least a hundred more. And they’ve hit Flash-boy with a tranq dart and slapped a power-draining bracelet on him, which means they are now officially down a superhero, and now they’re hiding in a tiny little corner being shot at by a lot of large angry men.
“Seriously, who the hell has a gang with over a hundred people?” Cisco whimpers in Lisa’s ear. “That’s not a gang! That’s an army!”
Lisa nods, yanking on the back of his shirt to make sure that he doesn’t do anything stupid like stand up to see if they’re still out there (again) because this time he’s definitely going to get shot. “I don’t disagree, babe,” she says. “How many do we think there are again?”
Caitlin uses her make-up mirror to look around the corner again. “There’s like, thirty in this area,” she whispers. “Still no clear way out that I can see.”
“Right, so that’s about twelve guys,” Lisa says. When Caitlin frowns at her, she shakes her head. “Babe, I love you, but you over-count every time. Still, that’s too many for a drugged-out hero and me to take down, and I’m not letting either you or Cisco get in a fight with a bunch of thugs. I’m calling girlfriend privilege on that one.” Lisa pulls out her cell phone. Cisco and Cait are the cutest couple of Cs, but speed dial number one is always going to be Lenny.
“Are you making a phone call?” Barry whispers, still looking dazed from the tranquilizer running through his now slowed-down system. “Now?”
“It’s after sundown,” Lisa replies, listening to it ring. Barely, but it should be late enough. C’mon, Lenny, pick up…
There’s a click. “Lise?” her brother’s familiar, sleepy voice asks.
“I’m being shot at,” Lisa says crisply. “At least fifteen guys that we can see. Corner of 30th and Newton.”
There’s an audible yawn. “I’m on my way. Jeez, Lise, it’s like seven p.m.”
“I waited as long as I could!” she protests, but he’s already hung up.
“Who was that?” Barry asks. "We can't call in the police against these guys - "
"Not the police. My big brother - he lives over in the Loop, down by the warehouses."
"That's an hour away!"
"Don't worry about it." Lisa grins and relaxes against the wall.
"Wait, is he a speedster too?" Cisco asks, brightening.
That's when the screaming starts.
Barry, being a stupid hero, tries to get up to go help, but Lisa and Caitlin immediately cling onto his arms while Cisco tries to valiantly crawl into his laps to keep him down.
Oh, Cisco, Lisa thinks fondly. How are you so good with tech and so bad with basic combat?
A few minutes later the screaming dies down.
"Hey, Lisa," her brother drawls. "Come out, come out, wherever you are."
Lisa rolls her eyes. "I'm not six any more, Lenny," she calls back.
Len strolls into the room. He's still got blood all over his face, but he's inefficiently wiping it away with a take-out napkin.
"You look disgustingly self-satisfied," Lisa tells him.
"I am disgustingly self-satisfied," Len informs her. "Also, thank you for reminding me to eat breakfast. Most important meal of the day, and I keep missing it."
"But it's 7:30 at night..." Caitlin says, hesitantly, trying not to show her confusion.
"Yeah," Lisa says. This is the awkward part. "So, my brother's a vampire."
"Girl, your brother's a what now?"
Turns out the Brotherhood of Blood or whatever-the-hell Slade's gang is called has a bit of a reputation. In more than one city. And they already called their other branches to tell them about them.
"...so in short we’re probably screwed,” Cisco concludes. “They still have a few dozen more members in Central and they’ve basically decided that we’re the devil incarnate.”
“I’m still offended they’re calling themselves the Brotherhood of Blood,” Len says, perched on a chair turned backwards, his face still twisted in disgust.
“I still can’t believe that you’re a vampire,” Cisco says, rolling his eyes at him. “I’d still say you’re just a super weird meta-human, but you let Caitlin take your non-existent pulse with the super-specialized technology we designed to measure Barry’s vitals, so apparently you’re not lying. So we’re even. Vampire.”
Len puts his hand over his non-beating heart. “Does being undead mean I don’t have the right to live?”
“Shouldn’t you be freaking out about all this newfangled devil magic, Mr. I’m Actually Several Centuries Old?”
“What can I say? As a vampire, of course I appreciate the bleeding edge of technology.”
Cisco groans. “Oh, man, really? That pun is just killer.”
Len nods solemnly. “The final nail in the coffin.”
“It just bites.”
“Oh god please stop,” Barry says.
This is not the first time Barry, Cailin and Lisa have had to live through a variation of this discussion. Lenny and Cisco are now best friends. Everything is terrible.
Lisa regrets all her life choices.
Also, Cait still can’t figure out how to get the power-draining bracelet off of Barry.
“I think you guys should come with me,” Len says. “I’ve got a guy who might be able to hack that off, and you can lie low with us for a while. Like, you know. What’s it called. Witness protection.”
Cisco immediately perks up, because of course he does. “Do you live in a vampire lair? Do vampires have lairs?”
“Forget everything Vampire: The Masquerade and Anne Rice told you,” Len says prissily. “Vampires are not actually a very social species. We’re more of a one-town, one-vampire sort of species.”
Lisa snorts. “Yeah, because little known fact, vampires have serious possessiveness issues. Do you know I – and anyone else in my direct line of descent ¬– am not allowed to live anywhere except Central?”
Len blinks, long and slow. “Why would you want to live anywhere else?”
“He won’t even let me visit Gotham –”
“I keep telling you, you wouldn’t like Oswald!”
“I could, you know, avoid him. Gotham only has, what, eight million residents?!”
Len grins at her. “Oh, so just like the time you went to Metropolis?”
“It’s not my fault your creepy vampire frenemies track me down to pass on their weird creepy messages because I’m ‘yours’!”
Len shakes his head like he’s sad for her plight, which he totally isn’t.
“As fun as watching the two of you bicker, maybe we should go back to the witness protection idea..?” Caitlin says. “I don’t want to get murdered in my bed.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Len assures her. “My people and I are very good with protection.”
“Oh, so you’re like bodyguards?” Barry asks.
Len opens his mouth and closes it.
Lisa starts giggling.
“How are you a real person?” Len says helplessly, looking at Barry. “Lisa, he keeps doing this ‘assume the best in people’ thing all the time. First it’s ‘if you’re Lisa’s brother I’m sure you’re great’, now it’s this. He’s a ray of sunshine. I want to keep him in a box in my room.”
“I’m pretty sure Mick would object,” Lisa says, giggling harder.
“Oh, I don’t want to sleep with him,” Len says, waving his hands. “I just…sunshine! I’m a vampire! We’re clearly obligated to be either enemies or best friends!”
Barry scowls at him. “Keep talking about putting me in a box and we’re probably going with enemies.”
“Now, Barry, don’t be like that,” Lisa scolds. “My brother will keep us safe.”
“So if you’re not a bodyguard, what do you do that involves protection?” Cait asks.
Lisa puts a hand on her shoulder and squeezes a bit. “Babe, you know how protection rackets work?”
“And how I’m a thief?”
“You’re in a vampire mafia?” Cisco asks. He looks way too happy about this idea.
“I told you, one vampire per city and death to all trespassers,” Len says. “I’m in a supernatural mafia. Totally different.”
“We are not going into witness protection with the supernatural mafia!” Cait exclaims.
“I dunno, man,” Cisco says thoughtfully. “I think we’d be pretty safe there. I’ve heard some of those fan conventions can get pretty brutal. Carry on, my wayward son –”
Len falls off his chair laughing.
Len gets them to the Waverider with his stupid shadow-walking abilities which Lisa hates because Lenny gets a ridiculous kick out of making them all walk into a closet and closing the door.
“Mina,” Cisco intones. “You are in the closet.”
Len cackles. “Cisco, don’t you think it’s time you came out of the closet already?”
“Man, I would, but you just shut the door on me.”
“You know what they say, when one door closet, another one opens…”
“I hate you both so much right now,” Cait says. “Can we get out…can we exit the closet? Why are we even in the closet?”
“You know, many people have asked the same thing. I find it’s all about societal expectations –”
“Fine, fine.” He pushes the door open and leads them out into the giant warehouse space he’s been hiding out in.
“Okay, how did that even happen?” Cisco immediately asks.
Len smirks at him.
“Vampires shadow-walk,” Lisa says with a jealous sigh. “Go in one shadow, out another. And yet he refuses to help me with my heists…”
“You know I’ll always get you out if you need it,” Len says. “But how are you going to learn how to properly plan a heist if I do all the legwork?”
Lisa rolls her eyes at him.
Barry looks around the empty warehouse. "So, we're going to hide out in a warehouse?"
"No, obviously, we're going to hide out in the spaceship." Len waves his hand and the Waverider shimmers into appearance.
"I love you so much right now," Cisco says dreamily. "I'm even going to overlook the totally unnecessary clash between the hard sci fi of a starship and your whole urban fantasy vibe."
"You shouldn't split genres artificially like that," Barry says absently, staring at the ship. "Okay, this is incredibly cool."
“Oh, just wait till you meet Mick,” Len says, voice suspiciously mirthful, and leads them up the ramp into the dock.
The reason for his mirth is revealed a second later when Len leads them to a room with a –
“Oh my god, it’s a Balrog!” Cisco squeals.
With joy, not fear.
Sometimes Lisa thinks Cisco has no sense of self-preservation.
Mick folds away his shadowy wings and crosses his arms, skin still shining red and glossly from his internal fires. “M’not a Balrog,” he grumbled. “I’m an ifrit. We came first. Lord of the Rings came later – hey, Rip, can we travel back in time so I can beat the crap out of JRR Tolkien for inventing that shit?”
“We most certainly cannot!” a human-looking man with a symbol inked onto his forehead snapped from where he was standing by a console and jabbing at it. “You realize, of course, that if we do that, you may be the reason he gets the idea for a Balrog in the first place.”
“But the book already exists,” Mick objects, smirking. “So clearly we’ve already gone back and so we need to do it to maintain the timeline.”
“You don’t know anything about time travel! Stop pretending you know anything about time travel! It is not – oh, we have guests. Mr. Snart, who have you brought us?”
“Some friends,” Len says vaguely. “Guys, this is Rip Hunter. He’s a golem.”
“Pardon me,” Rip said indignantly. “I am a technomage, the avatar of the computer AI that powers this ship…and also a golem, yes, but you really must stop introducing me that way.”
“Rip is going to get that bracelet off of you,” Len says to Barry, ignoring Rip. “Mick, you remember Lisa?”
Mick squints at her. “Yeah, of course,” he says. “Gold-girl, right? I melted a necklace for you for your fourth-grade school project.”
“Lisa, I love you, but why did you need molten gold for a fourth grade school project?” Caitlin asks, smirking a little.
Len blinks at them. “Hey, Lise, which one are you dating again? Science-boy or science-girl?”
“Both, actually,” Lisa tells him blithely. “I know you hate repeating yourself, so either you have to give the shovel talk to them both at once or come up with a new one for the second.”
Len makes a face. Mick rumbles with laughter, the temperature in the room rising by a few degrees before settling back down.
“Just…take it as given,” Len says, waving his hands. “Anyway, Mick, this is Cisco, he likes puns; Caitlin, secretly badass; and Barry, ray of sunshine.”
“I’m feeling weirdly objectified,” Barry observes.
“Don’t worry, Barry, I’m sure he likes you for more than your optimism and good nature,” Lisa assures him. “You also have a nice butt.”
“Yep, we’re officially in weirdly objectified territory, thanks, Lisa.”
Cisco wraps an arm around Lisa’s waist with a grin. “I love my intro,” he tells Len. “You know, I’ve also made some pretty sweet superpower guns. I could be ‘puns and guns’.”
“Superpower guns, huh?” Mick says interestedly. “Any fire guns?”
“Oh, man, I made this heat gun that – ”
“Mr. Rory! You don’t need any more firepower!” Rip exclaims from where he’s examining Barry’s bracelet.
“You always need more firepower,” Mick says. He glances at Len. “Specially with the thing we got coming up.”
“Thing?” Lisa asks.
“Don’t worry about it,” Len assures her. “Just a thing. Nothing important.”
“Nothing important – that is the very central purpose of our mission!”
“Rip. Time to be quiet.”
“No, now I’m interested,” Lisa argued. “We can help!”
“Nope. Mick, are Jax and Stein around?”
Mick shakes his head and points to the corner where there’s a pile of greyish dirt. “They’re reloading.”
“Shouldn’t someone clean that up?” Caitlin asks.
Mick sniggers. “Nah, those are our phoenixes having some downtime. Get really pissy when someone moves their ashes. Len, remember when we turned a cat loose on them?”
“That’s evil,” Cisco says approvingly. “Also, for the record, phoenixes? Awesome.”
“Lenny…” Lisa says warningly, crossing her arms. “What’re you not telling me?”
Len shrugs. “So two of our newest members, the harpy couple – that’s Kendra and Carter, you’ll meet them later – are being stalked by a Koschei called Savage that Gideon – that’s Rip’s computer god – has a whole grudge against for other reasons, so we’re basically at war right now.”
Cisco blinks. “Tell me you didn’t just say you’re at war with a coochie?”
Mick bursts out laughing, flames flickering out of his eyes and mouth. “Oh, that’s great, gun boy. I’m using that next time we bump into him.”
Even Len’s mouth is twitching.
Rip looks a little offended. “A Koschei,” he clarifies. “Koschei the Deathless. A creature which has removed its soul in order to obtain immortality.”
“There’s also some bullshit with a duck and a rabbit and a tree, but let’s not talk about that,” Mick adds. “Ever.”
“Okay,” Barry says, “I’m not asking.”
“Ah-ha!” Rip says triumphantly, and the bracelet falls off.
“Oh, man, thanks!” Barry says, beaming. “I feel much better already.”
“Who’s the ray of sunshine?” a woman standing in the door asks.
Len gestures at her. “Yes! Exactly! Lisa, this is Sara. Sara, this is my little sister-slash-distant-descendant. She’s already dating two people, which is perfectly acceptable. Three is not.”
Lisa eyes the woman, who is dressed all in white and who is very hot. “Unfortunately, he’s probably right,” she says regretfully. “Long-term, anyway. Orgy, maybe?”
“I like you,” Sara says approvingly even as Caitlin and Cisco squawk and blush. “But probably a bad idea. I’m bad luck.”
Sara grins. “I’m a rusalka.”
“A beautiful woman killed before her due time, brought back to kill untrustworthy men with the sound of her voice and her unyielding grip,” Len drawls. “Notoriously bad luck, but that’s only because men make the official stories and they tend to be a little worried.”
“Your mafia is so cool,” Cisco enthuses. “You have got to let us help you defeat the, uh, Cooch…Kos…Kosh…”
“His name is Savage,” Len drawls. “And do you have any skills on the offer?”
“I run really fast?” Barry offered. “Cisco’s a tech genius? Caitlin is a medical genius?”
“I have the best boyfriend and girlfriend,” Lisa told Len who arched an eyebrow and inclined his head at Mick and Sara. “Hmm. Point taken.”
“We should bring Haircut in before we do any more interviewing,” Mick says. “But I’d like to hear more about this ‘heat gun’ business. And we can always use a real doctor. And another thief.”
All the supernatural creatures turned to look at Rip, who sighed, looking aggravated. “Gideon, please ask Mr. Palmer to join us.”
A few seconds later, a very tall and cheerful looking man ducked his head in. “Did someone call?”
“Lisa, Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, Ray Palmer,” Len drawls, pointing to each of them in turn. “He may not look it, but he’s a gryphon.”
“I tend to put always the lion paws and eagle beak away when meeting guests,” Ray says earnestly. “I try to look human.”
“Ray, you forgot to put away your tail,” Sara says kindly – and sure enough, there was a lion’s tail happily wiggling from side to side.
“Cisco works on technology,” Len says. “You may like him. I’d say you will, but a 90% chance doesn’t a truth make.”
“Oooh, another techie?” Ray says happily. “You’ll have to take a look at my suit – it has growing-shrinking technology.”
“That is awesome!” Cisco says. “I’ve never –” His mouth moves but nothing comes out. Cisco’s hands fly to his throat.
“You can’t lie, mislead, or otherwise deviate from the truth in front of a gryphon,” Mick says. “And if you say a partial truth, you usually end up blurting out the rest of it. Lemme guess, you’ve never seen one before in real life but you’ve seen one in comics?”
“Yeah,” Cisco says gratefully. “That’s accurate.”
“So, interview time,” Sara says. “Barry, what skills do you consider yourself to have?”
“Well, I’m a superfast speedster meta-human, I’m a CSI, I’m now really good at eating contests, I can’t get drunk by any means I know, I read really fast, I can distinguish the taste of different types of orange soda, I know all the words to a lot of Disney songs, I can kind of juggle but only for about three minutes, I can –”
“Question revoked for vagueness! Question revoked for vagueness!”
“Wow,” Barry says. “I really just couldn’t stop.”
“Can you really distinguish types of orange soda?” Len says curiously. “That seems like something this team can really use.”
There is silence for a long moment as everyone considers the fact that Len’s statement must have been meant as total truth.
Lisa buries her face in her hands. Lenny is such an embarrassing older brother. She unwisely goes to say that and accidentally blurts out, “Lenny, I love you very much and never want you to change.”
Len beams for a second, which changes into a smirk when he sees from her horrified expression that it wasn’t what she was planning on saying.
“Sorry,” Ray says apologetically. “I can’t really turn it off without some very uncomfortable…well, let’s not get into details, okay?”
“Speedster, huh,” Mick says. “Say, do you think you can catch a running rabbit?”
“I can go Mach 2.”
“Yes, but can you catch a running rabbit?”
Barry pauses. “Is it a magic running rabbit?” he says suspiciously.
All of the crew of the ship grin with teeth.
“So we passed the entrance exam to the supernatural mafia?” she says wickedly.
“We’re not joining a mafia,” Barry says.
“We can take care of your little Brotherhood problem if you help us with our Savage problem,” Len offers.
Barry visibly wavers and glances at Cisco and Caitlin.
Lisa gives them her best puppy eyes.
Cisco is basically in already, that much is clear, but Caitlin…Caitlin sighs. “Okay,” she says. “We’re joining the supernatural mafia. But only for this job!”
Lisa punches the air.