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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Ray watched as Rip and the wave rider took to the sky and vanished before saying goodbye to his team mates. Everyone is warm hugs and " see you later " s except for Mick. Mick is already half down the sidewalk and Ray takes off at a slight jog to catch up to their resident pyro. Mick glares at him once he catches up but keeps on walking so Ray breaks the silence.

" So where ya heading big guy? " Ray asks.

" Whats it to you, haircut ? " Mick growls as he halts in his stride.

" I was just wondering if you'd like some company for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow? I'm gonna be alone otherwise and I would really rather not be. plus I can't cook for shit and I'd like to think you and the rest of the team would be dissapointed if I starved to death. " Ray says with a grin.

Mick just stares at him, his mouth open a bit in what Ray thinks may be shock. Mick finally shakes his head and Ray feels his enthusiasm wain but then Mick his pulling a card out of his jacket pocket and handing it to Ray. The card has a address on it but nothing more and just as Ray opens his mouth Mick begins to speak.

" I'll be here for Thanksgiving, I'm cooking and dinner is at six. ", Mick says in a low rumble, " be there even a minute late and I start without you. ".

Ray nods his head so hard he fears he may break his neck but he can barely contain himself when Mick Rory just agreed to having him for Thanksgiving dinner. Mick huffs air out of his nose and Ray thinks it may be a laugh and slips the card safely in his pocket before asking if he can bring anything. Mick seems to think it over before turning and walking away, over his shoulder he shouts out the request for three cans of cranberry sauce.

Ray yells back a affirmative and heads straight to a shopping center before even going home. He sleeps easy that night but the next morning is filled with anxiety. He wonders if its really okay to show up with only three cans of cranberry sauce. He doesn't know if dinner is casual or formal. The he spirals into a doubt of if he should even go at all, he did kind of forcefully invite himself after all.

After his third glass of tea he's calm enough to think clearly. He dresses casual because this is heatwave's dinner and the man doesn't even own suit, at lest Ray assumes he doesn't. He also knows Mick never says less than he means so if he requested three cans of cranberry sauce than that is all he needs. Jacket on and said cans in hand Ray heads off to the address printed neatly on the card.

He pulls up to a large warehouse on the outskirts of central city and he realizes with a start that this must have been Mick and Snart's last safe house before their journey began. Snart had been part of the reason Ray had insisted on joining Mick for the holidays. The man had just lost his beast friend, his better half and that is hard enough on a normal day, let alone on a holiday. Ray lets himself into the warehouse and is met with the most wonderfully smelling thanksgiving dinner of all time. He calls out a hello and Is expecting a gruff grunt as a reply but is instead met with a blonde woman emerging from the kitchen.

" You must be Ray, " Blonde lady says, " I'm lisa. Lisa Snart. ".

Ray's heart clenches in his chest and the small warmth that has been growing in it for Mick Rory suddenly lights like a fire. Ray should have known Mick would never leave Snart's baby sister alone at this time of year, especially not so soon after her brothers passing. Ray moves in closer and extends his hand for a shake. Lisa's grip is firm and her eyes are calculating but she smiles when he speaks so he counts it as a win.

" It's nice to finally meet you, Mick and Len talk highly of you. " Ray says before wondering if perhaps Len's name should be left unsaid for now.

Lisa's reply is a soft thank you and a warmer smile. She pulls Him into a large kitchen in the back where Heatwave is running around checking several dishes still in ovens or on stove tops. He nods a hello at Ray before taking the bag Ray holds. He takes the cans out and places them on the counter before tossing the bag into a nearby bin. Ray opens his mouth to offer assistance but Mick begins to pull dishes from metal cabinets and hands them over to Lisa and himself.

Lisa leads Ray to the dining area and manage to finish setting the table just as Mick begins to bring in the dishes. One by one the table is covered in food so delectable looking that Ray is sure Mick was a five star chef in a past life. Finally Mick brings out a large turkey and places it at the center of the table before taking his own seat beside Ray. Mick reaches for the turkey and Ray has to hold down his gasp when Lisa smacks his hand.

" You know the deal Mick, Prayer than food. " Lisa says and they all bow their heads as she speaks.

Mick makes everyone's plates for them, he even fills a fourth plate that Lisa sat at an empty chair. Ray feels his heart painfully tighten again at the realization that that empty chair is where Snart would have sat. Ray worries Lisa and Mick may have been more comfortable mourning in peace but then everyone is eating and talking. Lisa shares embarrassing stories of Mick and Len. Mick mostly just grunts or denies Lisa's stories and Ray finds himself the quiet one for once as he fights to eat as much as Mick's cooking that his smaller frame can hold.

Dinner goes by way to fast and Ray decides to buy a few more minutes with the two thieves by offering to help wash dishes. Lisa agrees hurriedly and runs off as if shes scared Ray will take his offer back. mick laughs as Ray stares at the spot Lisa use to be standing in before grabbing trays and dishes and heading for the kitchen. Ray follows suit but with less in his arms.

Ray talks the entire time and he expects Mick to tell him to shut up but the larger man doesn't. Once the dishes are done Ray is pulling on his coat and bracing himself for the cool night air when a hand on his shoulder stops him. He turns to find Mick with two beers in his hand, he presses one into Ray's hand and guides them to the couch where Lisa is already perched . They watch Christmas movies until Lisa falls asleep and then Mick walks Ray to the door and sends him on his way but not before inviting him to Christmas dinner.

Ray is speechless but manages a " ok " before Mick shuts the door. The night air should chill Ray to the bones in his thin jacket but instead he just feels warm and hopeful for the first time since he and Kendra split. He couldn't wait to see what other surprise Mick Rory would throw his way.

Chapter Text

" Mick ? " Ray mumbles as he rubs sleep from his eye with one hand as the other clings to the door frame for support.

" I need your help. " Mick says and Ray doesn't even know with what yet but hes already agreeing to help.

Now here he is, on the first day of December with Heatwave in the mall. Mick looks more panicked than he has ever seen him. By the fifth store Mick has broken out in a visible sweat and Ray just has to ask.

" Mick, If you hate the buying gifts so much why don't we just give Lisa a gift card. " Ray inquires.

" I can't. I have to get her the perfect gifts." is all Mick says in return.

" Mick " Rays whispers and grips mick's arm.

Mick doesn't shake him off and sighs before almost whispering, " Len would always buy Lisa two gifts one from him and one form me. He knew I hated shopping but we both loved Lisa so he did the hard part for both of us and now hes gone. " .

Mick pauses and swallows before continuing, " hes gone and its my turn to do the work for both of us. I can't let him or Lisa down. ".

Ray grips Mick's arm a bit tighter before letting go.

" We won't, Mick. " Rays promises with a smile.

It takes them four hours and eight stores but Mick finally finds what he claims are the perfect gifts. Ray even picks up something for Lisa. He'll pick Mick something up later too when the man isn't with him.

" It was nice of ya to buy Lisa something. " Mick says.

" Well its the least I can do since you two have been so kind. " Ray replies.

Mick shakes his head and with a low rumble, " Don't go expecting any gifts in return though, Pretty boy. ".

Ray blushes but still manages to keep a grin in place as he says, " All I really want for Christmas is you. ".

Mick jerks to a stop to glance wide eyed at Ray before snorting and continuing on. Ray is still stuck in a place for a moment. He had just flirted with Mick Rory and lived, maybe it would be a merry Christmas after all.

Chapter Text

Ray is jealous of a dead man. There is no easy way to say it without making himself feel guilty but its true. He has been over to Mick's place almost everyday since their Christmas gift adventure and he can't help but notice things. He first notice's that Snart's room in the safe house has been untouched since his passing but that doesn't mean the rest of the warehouse lacks his presence.

He often finds Lisa wrapped in one of Snart's many parkas. The living area is littered with blue prints of past and future jobs the thieves had planned. Ray finds it very bittersweet but then he is invited into Mick's room. Ray knows he should have expected it but it still burns in the pit of his stomach when he sees just how much Snart has marked Mick's life.

The photos Ray expected, granted he hadn't expected them to cover half the room and he certainly didn't expect one to be a wedding photo. Its sitting on a makeshift bedside table, Snart is wrapped up in Mick's arms with the purest smile Ray has ever seen on the man. Mick, in the photo looks at peace as he holds the leaner man close and Ray feels his heart tug and drop at the same time. He almost doesn't believe the photo but then Mick notice's his gaze and begins to speak.

" We got married in December, " Mick says as he pulls a chain from around his neck, Ray can see three rings on the chain, " December 21st, the first day of winter. ".

" Lenny, loved the cold, something about it always made him feel safe. so when he asked for a winter wedding I couldn't tell him no. ", Mick's eyes are glassy but no tears fall as he speaks, " This December would have been our thirty year anniversary. ".

Ray watches as Mick holds the rings hard enough to bruise his palm before sliding them back into his shirt. Mick gets what he came for and they leave his room and Ray tries to ignore the small twist of Jealousy stirring in his heart. He fails because after he knows where to look he sees Snart everywhere and he knows hes a fool to think he may have a chance to find a place in Mick's life.

Mick already had a life, a full and wild life with a man who has a claim on him even in death. Ray feels awful, he knows Mick is hurting and even tough he and Snart weren't friends they were partners and Ray misses him too and yet Ray begins to resent Snart. How dare he go and die and leave Mick all alone. How dare he carve a place so big for himself that Ray could never fill it. The guilt hits Ray after each of these thoughts, Snart's dead and Mick is alone and the last thing he needs is someone chasing after him.

The feelings keep Waring in him for weeks and before he can blink its December 21st and he knows Mick won't call on him. He knows Mick will need to be alone, or to just be with Lisa but still he can't help but ache as he sits alone in his apartment. Hes cursing Snart again as he gets a buzz from the door down stairs. He grabs his glass of wine before pressing the intercom.

" Ray Palmer. ",Ray can hear the ice in his own voice.

" Can I come up pretty boy? " A distorted but gruff voice he would recognize anywhere asks.

He's buzzing Mick trough before he even replies to the man. It takes Mick a bit of time to reach Ray's apartment but soon hes holding a beer and walking around Ray's living room. Ray watches as Mick drains his beer and stares at photos in silence for thirty minutes. He knows Mick will speak when hes ready.

Mick re-enters the kitchen and grabs another beer before he finally looks at Ray. His eyes are red and Ray knows even though he'll never admit it hes been crying today. Ray still doesn't speak, just waits for Mick to organize his thoughts. Mick finally swallows before setting his beer down and dragging both hands down his face.

" I couldn't stay in our room. " Mick whispers, " not without him, not today. ".

Ray nods because he can't speak. He knows Mick is hurting and he hates it but he also feels a irrational wish that he was the one tearing Mick's heart apart. Ray hates himself for it.

" I'm alone, Ray. " Mick is looking at him with fresh tears threatening to spill, " I'm alone for the first time in thirty years and I don't know how to live without him. ".

Ray feels everything leave him. The pity for Mick, the anger at Snart, the jealousy, all of it just vanishes at this vulnerable side of Mick. Ray remembers that feeling, the feeling of not wanting to go on, that nothing matters anymore. He had felt it after Anna.

Ray's wrapping his arms around Mick's shoulders before he can think better of it, " No. Mick you are not alone. You have Lisa and even though you won't believe me you have the team as well. ".

Mick makes a dismissive grunt but Ray keeps going.

" And you have me. no matter what, I'll be there for you Mick. even if the team disbands permanently I won't leave you. " Ray is shaking by the end of his speech.

At first the room is silent and Mick hasn't moved and Ray knows words aren't enough but then Mick's arms are circling his back. Mick squeezes him a bit too tight but Ray doesn't make any attempt to move. Ray isn't sure how long they stay like that and before he knows it the sun has set and Ray is showing Mick to his quest room. Once Mick is settled in Ray turns in too. As he lays in bed and recalls the day he finds he is no longer jealous of Snart, He feels only gratitude for the man who had once held such a high place in Mick's life.

Chapter Text

Ray wakes up to the smell of bacon and the realization that Mick must be the one cooking it. It is December twenty-second, the day after Mick Rory's anniversary with Leonard Snart. Mick had come to Ray's house so distraught that he couldn't bare to be in his own home and now he was in Ray's kitchen cooking. Ray pushes his face into his pillow and groans at his own lack of forethought. He should have set an alarm and made the other man breakfast.

Ray rolls out of bed and dresses as quickly as he can in the hopes that he can help Mick with some of the cooking. The kitchen table is loaded with plates of food and Mick is sliding a few slices of bacon onto a plate before turning off the stove. Mick spots him as he places the plate on the table and a soft smile graces his face. Ray smiles back as he takes a seat and apologizes for Mick having to do all the cooking. Mick waves him off with a shake of his hand and places a cup of hot coffee by the empty plate in front of Ray.

" Help yourself, pretty boy. " Mick says as he begins scooping scrambled eggs onto his own empty plate.

Ray follows suit and as the two eat in silence Ray lets out a slight moan once the butter on the toast hits his tongue. Mick smirks as he bites into his own slice of toast. Ray shoves the last of his slice in his mouth and starts grabbing more as he speaks, " Oh my god has butter always tasted like this? " .

Mick lets out a roar of laughter before being able to answer Ray's question. " It does if you add the right spices. ".

" You can add spices to butter!? " Ray shouts aghast.

Mick laughs so hard he has to hold onto the table to avoid slipping out of his chair. The sight is enough to make Ray forget the enlightening butter conversation and join in on Mick's humor. Mick wipes tears from his eyes as his laughter trails off and Ray calms at the sight, worry tugging at his chest for just a moment until his brain registers that Mick is still Smiling.

" Len reacted the same way the first time I made him breakfast. " Mick finally says with a bittersweet hitch in his voice.

Ray stands to clear the table and fights off the urge to hug the large man. Ray has all the dishes in the sink before deciding on a course of action. Mick is standing now too, looking as if hes over stayed his welcome and Ray knows he can't let the other man leave.

" You should stay, at lest until Christmas or if you don't want to leave Lisa I could stay with the both of you. " Ray says nonchalantly.

Mick shakes his head before pausing in motion, " What about yer own family? " .

" I usually see them for new years, I've been spending Christmas alone since I lost Anna. " Rays replies trying to mask the longing in his voice.

Mick is quiet for what feels like years and then finally nods, " I can't leave Lisa alone but you're welcome to stay with us if ya got nothing better to do. ".

Ray grins, teeth and gum showing in his excitement. Mick shakes his head but smirks back as he tells Ray to pack a bag or two so they can get going. Ray follows Mick's order with enough self control that he only jogs to his room instead of runs.

Ray unpacks in the guest room the minute they reach the safe house. He tells Mick he just feels more comfortable unpacking quickly when in reality hes terrified Mick may change his mind before Ray even has a chance to enjoy this chain of events. The rest of the day is a lazy haze of cliche Christmas shows, Lisa putting in request for Christmas dinner and tales of Leonard's life. Ray knows just two days ago he would have felt out of place but now all he feels is content and welcomed.

December Twenty-Third starts off as the best day Ray Palmer can remember having. Lisa ropes them both into putting up more Christmas decorations with her. Lisa is currently hiding a giggle behind her hand as Mick rubs stubbornly at the glitter adorning his face and neck courtesy of the glittered garland her and Ray hand been in the process of hanging over a door way. Mick, being as tall as he was had walked right into the sagging midsection of the garland as he came trough said door way.

After watching Lisa dissolve into a fit of giggles at Mick's increasing anger and despair Ray excused himself to the kitchen before returning with two rags, lemon juice and some coconut oil. Ray took one rag and dipped it into the lemon juice before pulling Mick's hands away from himself and going his skin with the juice soaked rag. Mick lets out a grunt but stays still as Ray shows the now glitter covered rag to him. Ray continues to gently wash Mick's skin with juice until most of the glitter is off.

Ray tosses the now dirtied rag on a side table before dipping the coroner of the other rag into the coconut oil and lightly rubbing it into Mick's now slightly dry skin. Mick lets out a hum that could almost be a moan and Ray fights down his pulse as he tires to mentally will his body not to blush. He flips the towel inward and uses the dry bits of cloth to blot excess oil before stepping away from Mick.

Mick takes a glance at himself in the glass surface of the side table Ray had thrown the rag onto before nodding, satisfied with the lack of sparkle on his face before addressing the younger man.

" where'd ya learn a trick like that? " Mick ask curiously.

" I went trough a phase in collage where I wanted to piss off my parents. decided the best way was to date a stripper. " Ray looks wistful for a moment before finishing his reply, " He always had glitter stuck to him after a shift and asked me for help on getting it all off. ".

Ray had forgotten Lisa was even in the room but a little knowing " ah ha. " after his answer reminds him and his eyes find the floor as Mick claps him hard on the back.

" Damn haircut, a stripper!? didn't think ya had it in ya. " Mick is chuckling and Ray can't help but smile and meet the other mans eyes.

Lisa is watching them and Ray isn't sure what he sees in her eyes but it doesn't seem threatening so he lets it go. Mick excuses himself from the room shortly after to rinse the smell of the oil out of his skin. Lisa approaches Ray a slow yet steady pace. Ray feels as if hes being stalked by a predator.

" You like Mick. " is all she says.

" Of course I like him. " Ray reassures the younger Snart.

" No, I mean you LIKE him. " she says, emphasizing the word like.

Ray's heart twinges in his chest, " I, Yeah I uh do. " Ray stutters, " but I promise I'm not gonna act on it. I would never try to take Len's place. ".

" Good, because you can't. " Lisa starts and Ray feels as if he has been slapped and waits quietly to be kicked out, " but that being said doesn't mean you couldn't make your own place. ".

" Huh? " Rays mumbles.

" Mick needs an anchor, someone to hold him here when his mind wanders, when he wants to burn the world, himself included. ", Lisa looks toward the hall to make sure said man isn't returning, " I can't be that for him, I'm not enough but maybe in time you could be. I'm not saying start trying now. He needs time to heal but maybe when he has you can be there. ".

Ray opens his mouth but Lisa holds up a hand to silence him. " I don't know you, and maybe you wouldn't be his first choice or maybe you would be but I do know Len would want someone to be here with Mick. My brother would never want him to go unloved. ".

Ray feels as if he is drowning and flying all at once, hes so out of breath that all he can do is nod. Lisa smiles, just a small quirk at the coroner of her lips and then leaves the room just as Mick lumbers back in smelling of old spice body wash. His eyes clock Ray's serious expression and he glances back at Lisa's retreating back and opens his mouth to speak. Whatever he is going to say is drowned out by static on the wave-rider issued communicators he and Ray both wear at all times these days. The static carries on for a few moments and then a very familiar drawl feels the room.

" I hope this works because I can not stay in a world where I'm expected to be a responsible member of society. " is all Len's voice says.

Mick hits his knees as Lisa comes running into the room, hand clenched in her shirt over her heart. Ray keeps his eyes on both of them as he lifts his communicator to his mouth to speak.

" Cold? Is that really you? " Ray asks.

" The one and apparently not only Boy-scout. seems the occulus destroyed my body but not my mind. I'm in another world, or universe, not really sure on the specifics." Snart replies, annoyance clear in his voice, " but what I do know is that, this is not my body but mentally I'm still me and I need you to use that big brain of yours to bring me home.".

Ray's throat is closing up and he doesn't know if he wants to cheer or cry so instead he takes Mick's communicator to contact the other crew members as he keeps Snart on the line of his own so he can trace the signal once they are back on board the ship.

Chapter Text

Lisa joins Ray and Mick on the ship with the rest of the team as Ray and Rip work out a way to remove Len from the other dimension he's stuck in. Rip and doctor Stein are arguing over how the mind swap was possible during the explosion but Ray isn't concerned with the hows or whys. Ray's only concern is getting Len back by Mick's side. He knows, in the back of his mind that hes shattering his only chance with Mick by bringing Len back but he wants whats best for Mick.

It takes them five hours to locate the dimension Len is stuck in and another five to determine if they can safely remove Snart without affecting the timeline of both worlds. Mick and Lisa haven't spoken a word since Len came trough on the communicator but they share a twin sigh of relief as Rip informs them all that they can bring Len back with no dangers to the timeline. Rip tells them that this dimensions Len's husband, Mick Rory, passed away a few years ago protecting him from an assignation attempt.

They come up with a plan and fill Len in trough the communicator as they head out. This dimensions Len is mayor of central city and his term is up in a few months and Rip is sure and early leave of position is no danger to this dimensions citizens. They stage an assassination. Ray makes a movie style blood pack and meets Len in his office to place it on Len's chest. Len has a public meeting in an hour. As he takes the microphone Rip shoots a blank towards him from the crowd and Ray sets off the blood pack.

Len crumples to the ground as gasp from the crowd feels the air. Rip, Ray and Len make a run for it. Rip from the crowd towards the back of city hall where the meeting had been held, Len off the balcony he had just been giving his speech from. Len and Ray run from his office and into the stair well, sounds of rushing foot steps in their ears from guards rushing from floors below up to them. They reach the exit to the back of the building and make their way out and to the ship.

Rip shuts the doors as they enter and they're off before anyone can say a word. Once they are all safe back in their own dimension and timeline the adrenaline wears off. Ray watches as the team tries to welcome Len back as Len ignores all of them as he walks towards Mick. The ship becomes so silent you could hear a pin drop.

" I'm so sorry, Mick. " Len says as Mick glares at him.

Ray wonders if Mick is going to hit Len for a moment but the the largers man face falls and Mick is pulling Len into a hug. Face buried in Len's neck Mick begins to speak.

" I forgive you. just don't ever do that again. " Mick says.

The team watches the whole interaction in confusion until Mick lifts his head up and slams his lips to Len's in a kiss so passionate Ray half expects the two lovers to catch fire. The kiss ends and Lisa and the team moves into to welcome Len back. Ray knows he should be doing the same but while hes happy to have Len back his heart feels as though its breaking and he decides to leave the ship while every one is preoccupied. He doesn't notice Mick watching him as he leaves.

XX

He's half way down the side walk, The same side walk They had walked down when Mick had invited him to thanksgiving dinner, when he hears foot steps speeding towards him.

" And where do you think you're going Pretty boy? " A voice drawls from behind him.

He turns to see not only Len but Mick as well.

" Its good to have you Back Cold but I have to get home. its the holidays after all and my family is waiting. " Ray says in a weak lie he knows Mick will see right trough.

" Hair cut you and I both know thats bs. " Mick says quietly.

Ray looks at the ground and refuses to look up even as the two men move closer.

" Thank you for finding me. " Len starts, " But more importantly thank you for looking after Mick. ".

Ray wants to scream but instead he just nods.

" Ray, look at me. " Mick says quietly and Ray can't refuse him, " I'd still like you to stay for Christmas. ".

" we both would. " Len whispers as he grabs Rays hand for a moment before quickly letting go.

Ray isn't sure whats going on but he feels something nagging in the back of his mind, feels something surging trough the air and even though he isn't sure he wants to he says okay. Mick grins wide and Len gives Ray a look and a nod before turning back towards the parking lot the ship landed in. Ray figures hes going back to grab Lisa or to spend more time with the team.

Mick moves closer to Ray before speaking.

" Rip says we gotta do some test on Len before we can go home. make sure his new body isn't too different from his old one but then we can all go back to our break. ", is all he says before heading after Len.

Ray glances behind him at the empty sidewalk and then towards the two criminals waking away. He should keep walking but hes already told them he'd stay so instead he swallows and turns to follow them back to the ship. He isn't sure whats going to happen now but hes in to deep not to see it trough.

Chapter Text

The test all come up clean. Len's new body is different of course but only in the most basic sense, less scars since this Len grew up in a more stable environment. He also ways a bit more which Len seems unhappy about but Ray secretly thinks is a good thing, its not like its a visible difference anyways. Ray is walking back to the safe house with the small reunited family and he feels like an intruder. He tries to keep a few inches between him and the other three but they seem determined not to let him do so.

Lisa keeps going back in forth between yelling at Len for sacrificing himself and telling him how proud she is and how happy she is to have him back. Mick is quiet but his eyes hardly seem to leave Len's face but every once in a while they dart over to Ray as if hes scared Ray will have run off. Its a fair fear considering Ray has been thinking about since they got Len back.

They reach the safe house quickly and Ray wants to lock himself in the guest room until the holiday is over and he can get away from any hope he had of a chance with Mick. Lisa doesn't give him a chance to however, as she grabs not only Len's hand but Ray's as well to pull Len trough the elaborately decorated home and tells Len which parts were her ideas and which ones were Ray's. Rays face is flush as he tries to hide his eyes behind the fringe of his bangs. Len is smiling brightly at his younger sister and Ray feels that strange nagging idea in the back of his mind again. He knows hes missing something but he can't quite put his finger on it.

" The place looks great Lisa, and I'm glad Ray was here to give you a hand since I know Mick was no help. " He says with a smirk directed at all of them.

Mick and Lisa laughs at his words and Ray knows normally he would too but hes made the mistake of looking at Len as he spoke and the mans eyes are softer than hes ever seen them and they aren't on Lisa or Mick, at lest not exclusively, they're on him and Ray feels his body heat and the loose idea in his head lock into place. Ray test the water with a shy smile and feels his heart trip as Len returns it before glancing over at Mick who Ray now notices is wearing a matching smile as he watches the both of them.

Lisa must notice the energy in the room since she excuses herself to make them all some hot chocolates. Ray's eyes speed back to the floor and his hands find his elbows as he crosses his arms across his chest. He can hear Len and Mick moving closer to him but he can't bring himself to look up until a slim, cold hand is at his chin encouraging him to do so.

" You took care of Mick for me. " Len states.

" Thats what friends are for. " Ray says.

" we're not friends haircut, or at lest we weren't . " Len points out.

" True but we were team mates and Mick and I became friends. I couldn't let him go trough this alone. I Just wanted to help. " Ray whispers.

" You did, pretty boy, and I told Len I wouldn't have been able to get trough it all without you. " Mick's gruff voice cuts in.

" He did, Ray, told me as much as he could back on the ship, and I would like to say thank you but I also need to ask a question I know Mick won't ask. " Len says as he moves closer to Ray, " Is it just friendship Ray? ".

Ray knows he could lie, should lie but his eyes find Mick's face and he can't, " No, it was, at first but now I have feelings for him. " .

" I thought as much. ", Len says as Mick sucks in air, " would you be open to sharing ? " .

Ray's mouth drops open and if he were made of rubber his jaw would have hit the ground, " Excuse me? ".

" Mick and I are married but we haven't been unknown to take other lovers, sometimes together, sometimes apart as long as everything is discussed in a honest fashion. " Len explains.

" I don't understand, you've been married for thirty years, how can you do this to each other and still be happy !? " Ray shouts.

" We don't " do " anything to each other Raymond. what we do is discuss our needs and interest like adults and in a healthy poly relationship . " Len sneers.

Ray takes a moment to let the words sink in before asking any questions, " You would be willing to let Mick and I date or are you asking me to date both of you? "

" Well that depends on you pretty boy, if you only want Mick thats fine as long as you realize I am and always will be his husband and that we are not rivals or if you'd like I'd be willing to give you, mick and I a chance. It would take a few long talks and a few dates because I don't do the causal hook up thing and only date those I'm romantically interested in. " Len elaborates.

Ray processes all the new information as quickly as he can before addressing Mick, " is this something you would want? me ? me and Len? ".

Mick nods and Ray asks another question, " and if I also wanted Len? would that really be okay with you? ".

" yes. " Mick says, " I love Len and I've grown fond of you, if the two of people I care about most care about each other as well then I see no reason to stand between that. " .

Ray feels as if he may float away or pass out with the amount of relief and excitement feeling his heart. He grabs Mick's hand and then locks eyes with Len. He feels Mick squeeze his fingers gently and Len's still smiling.

" I'd like to date Mick, and after getting to know you better I wouldn't mind being with you as well. " Ray says with a small yet growing smile.

" sound like a plan Pretty boy. " Len agrees as he turns and heads for the kitchen, " lets get started over Lisa's famous out coco shall we? "

Ray and Mick follow after him, smiles bright and hands intertwined.