DISCLAIMER: The Legends of Tomorrow characters are the property of Berlanti Productions, Bonanza Productions, DC Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2018 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.

When Others Sleep

 

By Djinn

 

 

 

You're restless. Can't sleep, can't relax enough to read, so you finally settle for wandering through the ship, listening to it, how it sounds—trying to figure out if it sounds right. Without Jax on the ship, that's going to be important. Paying attention will matter. And Gideon, for all she's supposed to be super smart, doesn't always shout out the most important thing first.

 

Not that you're going to tell others you're being all proactive. The last thing you need is people running to you every time the toilets don't flush.

 

You work you way up to the Captain's office and find Sara there. She's kicked back, feet up on a table, beer in hand. She looks exhausted. Hot, but exhausted.

 

She meets your eyes, hers unreadable. "Can't sleep, Rory?"

 

"Keyed up."

 

"Me, too. I want to sleep but I can't stop my mind."

 

You nod. That's the feeling.

 

"Grab a beer, Mick. Pull up a chair."

 

You opt for just the chair. You've been paying attention to how much you drink. On the Q.T., because you don't want your new alter-Snart knowing you were listening to all the "You're an alcoholic" lectures. But you were listening, and you do drink too much, so you've been cutting back. "What's eating you, Blondie?"

 

You wait for her to scowl or glare or blast back something else sarcastic. You like the fire inside her, even if sometimes she doesn't.

 

She's cold, too. The perfect mix, you think. What you are and what you might like to be.

 

She closes her eyes and murmurs, "We're screwed without Jax. The engines—the ship..."

 

"I can tinker. And Haircut understands how things work. Between us and Gideon, we'll be okay."

 

She opens her eyes. "For real?"

 

"Yeah, for real. You think it's easy doing maintenance on a heat gun? I know more than you think. I know you've decided I'm stupid and all—"

 

"I never said you were stupid." She sighs. "Or maybe I did, but if so, I'm sorry. Especially if you can keep the ship running."

 

"Piece of cake." You're not so sure of that, but she seems to need you to say it so you say it with the most self-assured bullshit attitude you can.

 

She slips her legs off the desk, and sits up, leaning toward you, studying you. "Why aren't you drinking?"

 

"Not thirsty."

 

"Quenching thirst isn't really what beer is for."

 

"Not in the mood to drown my sorrows, either." You're actually not sure what you're in the mood for. "It's weird without them."

 

She doesn't ask who you mean. She just nods and says, "I know. I miss Stein's wisdom."

 

You never found all that much wisdom in the shit the old coot said, but you know better than to say it. Besides, he tried to help you when you were seeing imaginary Snart. So you nod, to show support if not agreement. She's your captain, after all, and you're loyal—

 

Shit, you're loyal to her. The same way you were to Snart before he went and marooned you.

 

Why can't you just be loyal to yourself? Why do you always have to latch on to someone, to protect them and want to take care of them?

 

She sighs. "It's weird having Leonard—Leo back too."

 

"You can say that again." You study her, the way she's jiggling her leg. "You liked the old Leonard."

 

"He was part of the team."

 

"No. You like-liked him."

 

She starts to laugh. "This is not some junior-high bathroom where we smoke and tell each other our secret crushes."

 

"Is that what girls do in there? You always take forever." Junior high isn't your favorite memory so you move on. "You know, he liked you too. Like-liked, I mean."

 

"Yeah. I think he did." She closes her eyes and you get to really look at her, taking apart the things that make her Sara and not just the kick-ass woman you've decided to follow. "Now...now Leo's got a guy waiting for him back on Earth-X."

 

"Maybe he's like you. Plays both sides." You lean forward, trying to figure out what she's thinking.

 

"Even if he does, that doesn't mean he'd cheat on Ray. I have a feeling he prefers guys." She grins in a evil way. "He talks about his Mickey with a lot of emotion."

 

"Don't even go there." Although if that version of you got killed saving pigs, then maybe you were different in other ways, too? You decide to refocus the subject. "So you prefer women over men?"

 

"Yeah, usually. They're softer. Do a lot of the emotional heavy lifting so I don't have to. Make me..." She shakes her head. "It's hard to explain."

 

"Not really. I mean, I dig chicks. I get it."

 

She laughs. "So poetic. And enlightened." She rolls her eyes. "Chicks? Really?"

 

"You're a canary, Blondie. You were a chick before you were a bird." You laugh and are surprised when she does too.

 

Then she throws back her beer. "You wanna spar? Work off some energy."

 

"There are other ways..."

 

"We're going to pretend you didn't say that. Come on, Rory. Let's get violent."

 

"Fine, if the other option's off the table."

 

"It's off the table." She leads you down to the corridor you've designated a training area and grabs a stick before tossing you one, too. "It's off the table but I didn't knock it onto the floor." She's laughing and you imagine this might have been what she looked like before she got on that boat with Robin Hood and changed from a troublemaking girl to this bad-ass woman in front of you.

 

She doubles down on that by knocking your legs out from under you. Luckily, the mats are extra thick because she's always doing this to you. You think it's a message as much as just a smart opening move. She's the one in charge—like you'd ever doubt that?

 

"Not on the floor?" You ask as you roll and get out of the way of her next blow. "Meaning what? It's in a secret drawer?"

 

She laughs. "Something like that."

 

"So there's a chance?"

 

"Miniscule, Mick. Microscopic. Nanite sized."

 

This time you swipe her legs out, and she has that pissed-off look that's also full of respect. It's hard to take her down.

 

"You've been hanging around Haircut too long, Captain. Now, are we gonna really fight or what?"

 

She wipes the floor with you after that, but only once you give as good as you get for as long as you can. As she holds her hand out to you to help you up, she says, "It's good to let go."

 

"It is." You so rarely get to during these quieter times on the ship. This feels right, to trade blows with her, to grunt and sweat and know that you're not going to really hurt her.

 

As she turns, you stop her. "We're alike, you know. The others, they're heroes. They came to do good. We..."

 

"We came to make up for bad?"

 

You nod. "Even this Snart is good." Annoying as shit, but a white hat.

 

"Zari's not a total hero."

 

"But she had a good reason. Her family. Her people. You and me, we're just..."

 

"Bad?"

 

"Yeah."

 

She cups your cheek, her eyes gentle. Then she slaps you, harder than necessary but nowhere near the kind of blow she can deliver if she's angry. "We were bad. Were, Mick. We're good now. Goddamn heroes." With a grin, she grabs the sticks, puts them away, and saunters out with an energy that makes it look like you two haven't been doing more than jumping jacks.

 

That kind of stamina—damn, she must be good in bed.

 

##

 

You're watching her, watching as she tries to hide the limp, as she reaches for something and winces. She pretends it's all good as she pours out celebratory drinks.

 

The captain makes the toast first—gets to drink first—but gets looked at in the med bay last.

 

You think that's bullshit, but you're not about to tell her that. Not when she's so hell bent on being a leader.

 

The way you figure it, a person either is or isn't. You never have been and don't plan on starting, but Sara just is. She never probably wanted to be, always looked up to her older sister—you can hear that in her voice when she mentions Laurel. How much better she thinks her sister was than she is.

 

You see Snart watching her, not in the way your Snart did, in the way that said he was interested, that he was falling for her hard and fast and without a word to you. But you knew him too well not to see it happening. This Snart—Leo—is assessing.

 

Judging.

 

You've had it up to here with being judged by someone who has no idea what you've all been through. So you get up, manage to bang into him hard enough to make him almost drop his beer, and walk over to Sara. "Time to let Gideon take a look at that leg, Captain." You say it softly, so only she—and probably Gideon—can hear.

 

"I'm fine."

 

"Unless you want Leo to take you down to the med bay, I suggest you get going." You're curious. Does she want this Snart to be interested in her? Way she tells it, she has someone she loves back in their own time, but that doesn't stop her from hitting whatever catches her eye. Does she think Leo will be the same way?

 

"Why would I want him to take me?" She runs the words together fast and low, and you almost laugh because it's the way kids talk when they don't want anyone else to figure out what they're talking about.

 

"Beats me, but there's no accounting for taste."

 

"Okay, Mick." She's talking loud now and very clearly. "Let's get that shoulder of yours checked out." She tosses a carefully lighthearted grin at the team as she pushes you to get you going.

 

"Is Mick hurt?" Leo looks confused, but not concerned. More like he's wondering how he missed you being hurt.

 

"Old war injury," you and Sara say at the same time, and she gives Leo the fake smile that your Snart would know means nothing.

 

This one doesn't seem to get it yet. If you were his friend, you'd tell him to look at Sara's eyes if he wants to know how she feels. Look deep though, because you have to go through layers of steel before you can see the pain.

 

You know because you see the same thing when you look in the mirror.

 

Once you're out of the main area, she drops the act and even leans on you. "Shit, this hurts."

 

"You don't have to pretend. They'd hold the celebrating till after you get patched up."

 

"I once saw R'as al Ghul eat a five-course meal to celebrate the vanquishing of an enemy. He'd been stabbed multiple times but he did it. The leader sets the tone."

 

"So the tone is 'Don't get medical help when you need it'?" You dodge the slap you knew was coming. "Besides, he had that Leprosy Pit to fix him right up."

 

She laughs. "Lazarus."

 

"Whatever." You know it's Lazarus. You even know who Lazarus was. You just want to hear her laugh because it's rare, and you think she sounds so young when she does it.

 

It's easy to make people think you're dumber than you are. You'll never be a brainiac like Pretty or Haircut, but you're not stupid. Nobody stupid could have survived your dad after the war. Or kept up with Snart.

 

She's leaning heavier. "And by the way, Leo has appointed himself my analyst. He's not interested in me."

 

"Yeah, he's offered me the couch, too."

 

She lifts her eyebrows and makes a "boom chicka wow wow" sound.

 

"Not like that."

 

"Did you two ever?"

 

"No." He was more than some physical thing. He was your friend—and your partner—and you've had few of either. And as far as you know, you don't swing that way. Chicks have always been your thing. "When did you realize you liked girls?"

 

"When I was a kid I had some friends and we used to practice kissing. For boys, the way girls do. But I just liked the kissing part. I didn't care what it was for. Once I got older though, I think I pushed that part of me down. Went for boys. It wasn't till Nyssa found me—remade me into what I am now—that I could love a woman that way. And it was after I left her that I understood I don't have to pick."

 

"Whatever catches your fancy?"

 

"Yep." She lets you ease her into the chair and get the auto-doc thing going. "What about you? No great love?"

 

"Not much about me to love." You meet her eyes. "I mean physically I'm a god."

 

She grins.

 

"But I'm the dumb guy that likes to play with matches. What girl falls for that?"

 

"Why fire?"

 

"Why not fire?"

 

She crosses her arms behind her head as the machine works. "Controlling fire must be a rush. I mean, it's not logical, the way it blazes up, twists and turns."

 

"Oh, it's very logical. If you understand it. And understand what other things do to it—enhance, suppress, divert."

 

"You ever consider being a firefighter? Or an arson investigator? Something a little less...deadly?"

 

You wait for the note of disgust to show up. You've killed people. You've burned them.

 

But you're talking to an assassin. Maybe that judgment's never going to come? She'll rip you a new one for disloyalty, but a past littered with bodies isn't going to get the same rise out of her that it would out of Zari or Amaya.

 

Amaya who didn't choose you. Zari, who seems to already be choosing Haircut. You don't feel all that bad about it. Not the way you did when Amaya and Nate got together. She'd made you feel things you didn't understand. Now you think it was just her support, making you feel like a human instead of some jerk the team allowed to work with them. She saw you, not the criminal. Which was ironic, since at the beginning she could only see the bad guy.

 

"Maybe when I retire from all this time-travel fun, I'll become an investigator—keep the world safe from people like me." Except you don't expect to retire. You expect to go out like your Snart or Stein did. On a mission, saving the others.

 

That's how you want to go out anyway. You want to make something good out of this life you've never done enough with. It's occurred to you that you've traded your obsession with fire for this new one of making a difference. Of being a better man.

 

The old you would have punched anyone who told him he could be a better man, much less would want to be one.

 

"Mick?" She's standing over you and you realize you didn't even know she was done in the chair. "Are you hurt? I'm not the only one who tends to be stoic."

 

"Nyah, I'm all right."

 

She stands for a moment, closer than you expect, not close enough to mean anything, though. She studies you and you wonder what she sees when she looks at you.

 

"I'm gonna turn in. Good night."

 

"Good night, Sara." You watch her walk out, no limp, but no devil-may-care sashay either. She's tired and you want to follow her and hold her and—

 

Shit.

 

Shit, shit, shit.

 

Because you know you're nothing she wants. Not that way—sympathy does not equal anything more. Shared backgrounds do not mean you get to think about holding her or...other things.

 

But you are thinking about those things. You've been thinking about them for a while now.

 

You should get in the med chair and have your head examined.

 

##

 

It's a nice night in Star City and you follow Sara as if it's totally normal for you guys to be policing the city instead of Robin Hood. Sara's dressed in black and you're in what you usually wear. It's not like she told you to come along and wear some lame matching outfit.

 

In fact, she told you not to.

 

But listening isn't your strong suit when someone needs a friend to have their back.

 

"So you're ex-boyfriend calls and you come running? I'm trying to figure out how he got a message to you."

 

"Actually my dad did. After Rip 'forgot' to tell me my sister was killed, I put a communication mechanism in place. If my family or friends need me, I want to know about it."

 

"Smart. Guess that's why you're the captain." You take a deep breath. "So I did some googling since you wouldn't tell me jack about this mission. Queen's in deep shit."

 

"It's not a mission. It's a favor. You aren't even supposed to be here."

 

"Yeah, we've been over that. Besides, you think I wanted to be on the ship? Leo's really starting to give me the creeps, the way he watches me."

 

"He watches me, too."

 

"I know." You're not sure which is more annoying. "So don't try to change the subject. Your guy's in hot water."

 

"Maybe. He's lucky normally. He'll come out okay." She stops and you stand, not talking, knowing the look of a person who's heard something but can't figure out from where.

 

"Thank you," comes from the shadows just ahead.

 

She smiles, and the expression is open and easy, and you realize she's never, ever given you that smile. Then again, you're not sure she's given anyone on the team that smile. This guy and her have the kind of history that cements.

 

He steps out, dressed in his Arrow gear—what is the point of you being here if he's going to strut around in costume? So you say, "Thought you had the heat on you?"

 

"I do." He doesn't even look at you when he answers.

 

"Thought you needed us to do some clean-up because you can't play Robin Hood."

 

"I do."

 

"Then shouldn't you not be playing dress-up?" You wait for them to get that finally there may be someone with a dimmer grasp on how to not get caught than you. But he and Sara aren't taking the bait.

 

He does turn to you, his jaw set. "And Robin Hood's not my name." His tone is tight; you've pissed him off. Or maybe you being with his ex pisses him off. Either way, you're fine with it.

 

"Fine, sorry. Pretty boy." You know you're smirking, and you let your lip go up just a little bit more, to really piss him off.

 

"Don't much like that one either."

 

"Good, because half of it's already in use. Look, do you two need some private time or are we gonna work?"

 

Queen looks at Sara. "You brought him why?"

 

"He sort of... It's a long story. But I trust him. He's good at my back."

 

You resist saying you'd be good at her front, too. You want to, but you think both of them will smack you down if you do.

 

He briefs you quickly. You tune out most of it except thugs, drugs, stop, and piers. There's a good bar near the piers. Maybe she'll let you go there on the way back.

 

"Thank you again, Sara." He looks at you. "Let her down, and I will find you and kill you."

 

"I didn't come all this way to let her down, Queen." You keep the sarcasm out of your voice this time. You want him to see you can be serious when it matters.

 

When a friend's life is on the line.

 

He looks puzzled, as if he expected some sass. So you just wait, staring but not so intently he'll get riled because you'd prefer to save your energy for the people you're supposed to be fighting now that you've finally got some marching orders.

 

Besides, Sara will probably be pissed if you muss up her ex.

 

And you don't want to see her not be pissed if her ex musses you up. You want to believe she'd care.

 

"Mick, come on." She's already heading out and you decide not to point out the piers are halfway across town and you're walking around like the vigilantes the pigs are looking for.

 

Do these people not use cars?

 

But then she's pulling out a key that Queen must have palmed her, and slipping her leg over a bike parked on a side street. "Hop on."

 

"I'm not riding in back."

 

"Well, you're not riding on the handlebars, Rory. Be a man, let a girl drive." She's grinning in the way you love, the same way she did when she drank you under the bar—or at least passed out on the bar—in Salvation. And you can't resist that grin.

 

So you get on behind her and you're fine until she guns it and you have to really hold on. She laughs and you say, "Real funny," in her ear, and she pats your hand like she's almost sorry.

 

She drives like a frickin' maniac and you get to the piers in record time. You get off the bike the same way you used to get off a really good roller coaster. A little off balance but buzzed on adrenaline.

 

"So what's the plan?" you ask as you follow her onto a roof.

 

"Wait for the bad guys. Round up the bad guys. Get information. Leave the bad guys for police." She pulls out a small phone Robin Hood must have given her at same time as the bike keys. "Let police know they're there. Dispose of phone."

 

"Then go to Sally's." You're waiting for her to squash the idea but instead her face lights up.

 

"I love Sally's." She's studying you. "How...?"

 

"The place had a reputation. When I was younger, I liked to go in there and sort of...make my mark."

 

"So you what? Walked up to the biggest guy and punched him?"

 

"There's a reason that's a classic." You smile when she laughs. "It was arm wrestling night. I won."

 

"I used to rock at that. No one ever saw me coming."

 

"Oh, they saw you. They just didn't know what they were seeing. No one could miss you."

 

"Was that a compliment?" She peers over the roof, as if she's not all that concerned whether you were saying something nice about her or not.

 

"Yeah. It was. You're blonde and hot and...you've got this attitude going on." You realize you're gushing and you shut it. Gotta preserve the mystery.

 

Especially when you know you don't stand a chance with her.

 

"All looks and balls, huh?" She sounds off, like you hurt her with what you said.

 

"That's the surface, Sara. You gotta get to know you to see the heart."

 

She turns and studies you, finally smiles slowly. "That was poetic."

 

"I'm a poet and I don't know it." You know you're grinning like an idiot but you're having fun with her and you don't care if it leaves you open and...vulnerable. Eager and silly and all the things that you've spent a lifetime not being.

 

"Roses are red, violets are blue—"

 

"They're purple. The person that wrote that was colorblind."

 

She laughs again. "Nothing rhymes with purple."

 

"That doesn't mean it's okay. Anyway, go on with your poetry attempt."

 

"Roses are red, violets are blue, you're a big softie, so joke's on you."

 

"Joke's always on me, sister." You move up and look over the roof. "Were they supposed to show tonight?"

 

"Eventually. You got somewhere else to be?"

 

"Nope." You get comfortable and play with your gun, flicking the safety on and off. You should have brought some cards, but that was Snart's thing, not yours.

 

"Someone's here," she says, waving you over. "There's supposed to be six of them total."

 

"Three to one. Sounds about right."

 

"Okay on my mark—"

 

A screaming cry came out of the alley. Suddenly three leather-clad people are taking on the bad guys. Is one of them wearing a hockey mask? Dumbest uniform ever. "This part of the plan, boss?"

 

"It's not." She cocks her head. "I think we did not get the whole story."

 

"Shocker." You frown. "Are we supposed to do something?"

 

She pulls out her own phone and calls up a listing that lacks a picture. "Uh, Ollie, there's another team here. Your team. Did you forget to tell them to take the night off?" She listens for a second, then says, "Ohhhh. And you didn't think you should mention that?" She rolls her eyes, and you smile because it's the thing friends do when other friends are being rock-solid stupid. "Yeah, fine, we'll interrogate once they're gone. Next time, we get the full story before deploying." She clicks off the call like maybe he was still talking.

 

"So...?"

 

"So his team may be half as big. Newbies went out on their own."

 

So Robin Hood can't hold a team together—that makes you feel way too good. "They're doing okay out there." You sigh because them doing okay means you're sitting on a roof without getting your violence on. "How much longer you think it'll be?"

 

She shrugs the way she does when she's super pissed but doesn't want to talk about it yet.

 

"I know this may seem weird coming from me, but your ex's communication skills could use some work."

 

"Yep."

 

You could go on, but her voice has that tight sound that means she really needs to punch something. "You wanna go teach the newbies a lesson?"

 

"Yes." She pulls you back down as you start to get up. "But we can't. They're still white hats, just unaffiliated."

 

"Free agents."

 

"Yeah, that's what unaffiliated means."

 

"I know." You were just clarifying for fuck's sake.

 

As you watch, the woman with the crazy yell gets on a phone and suddenly there are sirens on their way.

 

"So when exactly were we supposed to talk to the bad guys?"

 

Sara's back on the phone. "Cops are coming, Ollie. Something else you forgot to tell us?"

 

Us. You love that.

 

"Oh, she's a cop. A high ranking one who's called in the cavalry before we could ask any questions. Yeah, we're done here, Ollie—next time get your shit together before you call. I'll text you where we leave the bike."

 

We. You love that even more.

 

"Come on." She's so ticked off you don't question who's driving. If possible, it's a scarier ride than the one to the piers, and when you finally stop, it's not in front of Sally's but out of town, in front of a place called "Jeremiah's." She leans back against you, and you keep your arms around her even though you don't need to anymore. "They don't like me here, Mick. You don't have to come in."

 

"There gonna be fighting?"

 

"Count on it."

 

"I'm in." You let her go and slip off the bike, then follow her into the bar.

 

It's not that they don't like her. They freakin' hate her. The bartender grabs a bat. Three men come at her with pool cues. Guys from five tables are up before you've barely taken five steps in. "What the hell did you do to them?"

 

"Danced with their women."

 

You start to laugh. Beause of course she did. And then you let go and take on the closest guy and it feels good to finally let go, to not care who you hit or how hard. And as you fight, you keep an eye on her, remembering how Snart used to get on your case for being obsessed with fire and violence. Not anymore. You're here to fight, sure. But you're mostly here for her.

 

Not that she needs much back-up. She's amazing in action. It's like dancing almost and you could watch her fight forever and be a happy man.

 

Once she's worked out her aggression, she pulls the nearest girl to her, kisses her soundly, then says, "Till next time, kids."

 

"Gun," you say, as you push her out the door and a hole opens up in the wall next to your shoulder.

 

"Let's go." She grabs your hand and you run, laughing, to the bike. She pulls out like a maniac—but not until you're settled against her. There's always control in her wildness, just like there was with Snart.

 

You ride a long time, and this time she takes it slow and drives the country roads before heading to the city, and you realize she's leaning against you harder than before. That this time you're riding together, not just her giving you a lift. She finally pulls over somewhere downtown and stares up at a building that looks completely ordinary.

 

"That's where I died. Up on the roof. I fell and landed there." She points and you rest your chin on her shoulder and sigh. "Sometimes I think I should have stayed dead."

 

You realize this voice, this emotion, isn't the kind you ever hear on the ship. "I don't think so. I wouldn't want to miss out on meeting you."

 

"If I hadn't come back the first time, there would have been no Canary for Laurel to want to become. If I hadn't come back the second time, I wouldn't have been killed, and she would have stayed a lawyer."

 

"What would you have done if you hadn't come back? Stayed an assassin?"

 

She nodded. "Stayed with the woman I love. Killed with a light heart. Belonged. Followed."

 

"People like us, we don't belong a whole lot of places."

 

"But there, at Nanda Parbat, everyone was like us, Mick. I didn't want to come back. When we were stuck in the fifties. It was easy being there again."

 

You tighten your hold, not to cop a feel, but because you think she needs to know you're there, that she's not alone, that she belongs to the team and to...to you.

 

"Let's go home, Mick." She calls the jump-ship, texts Robin Hood the address they're dropping the bike at, leaves the keys in a hidden compartment you didn't even notice, and sends the jump-ship back the the Waverider.

 

She's sitting quietly, and it's like she's drawn a bubble around her.

 

You let her have silence like she seems to want, but just before you dock, you say, "If that place makes you sad, don't go back there."

 

"I'm not sad."

 

"Bull."

 

"I'm serious. I'm tired, Mick. Tired of being the leader. I lost...I lost Martin. That's on me."

 

"No, that's on Martin. He chose his path. We all do. We may follow you willingly, but we don't follow blindly."

 

She glances at you. "Sometimes you make too much sense."

 

"I know. It's a gift." And a curse because half the time, no one listens.

 

She stands and you see her pull a layer of toughness around her, then more, until she's the captain again, strutting down the corridor.

 

And you realize, as you follow her, that she let you see what she doesn't let the others get a glimpse of. She let down with you. She let you in.

 

She turns, walking backwards. "Thank you for coming."

 

"No problem."

 

"I'm going to turn in."

 

"I'm going to have a beer." In your quarters. Alone. While you think about what it felt like to have her leaning back against you.

 

What it felt like to give her some kind of comfort. You're not very good at it. Never had to be.

 

But for her, you'd try to get better at it.

 

##

 

You wake up in the med bay. Everything hurts, and your head is in some kind of brace that won't let you look down, and when you try to reach for it, you realize your hands are in restraints.

 

Gideon murmurs, "Please sit still, Mister Rory. I'm alerting Captain Lance that you're awake."

 

"What happened?"

 

But Gideon isn't talking, even if she does appear to be giving you a big helping of painkillers, so you close your eyes and ride the rush. You hear bootsteps—angry sounding.

 

"God damn it, Mick."

 

"What?" Did you screw up? Because usually you know when you've done that. All you did was throw yourself between her and the guy with the big scary gun.

 

"I told you to stay back."

 

You're still not sure why she's pissed at you. She didn't even see the guy with the gun. You did. You took action. The way teammates do.

 

And it was her. You were sticking close but you were part of her team. It was what you were supposed to do.

 

She looks down and her expression clears a little.

 

And that's when you realize you can't feel your legs. "What the hell happened?"

 

"Your legs were blown off. You almost bled out. If Ray didn't have that field medic glue Martin made us all carry..." She pulls up a chair and sits.

 

"It would have been you. You didn't even see him."

 

"Well, he's dead now, so..."

 

You get a happy little rush at that thought. "You kill him?"

 

"I did."

 

"Thanks."

 

She nods, tightly. "Why did you do it?"

 

"Because we're teammates, and that's what teammates do." You see her nod, as if this is the answer she wants. But the drugs are flooding you and you aren't sure you want to stop there. "And because you're my captain, and I'd follow you anywhere."

 

She smiles.

 

And then you go for broke because if she doesn't like hearing it, you can just pretend you don't remember, that it was the drugs making you goofy and sappy. "And because it was you. And I care about you. And if you weren't here, I don't know if I'd want to be."

 

It's out, this truth you'd probably never tell her otherwise. And for a moment you just stare at each other.

 

But then she looks away. "I can't be your true north, Mick. I can't be the reason you stay."

 

"Because you don't like me? Or because that's too much responsibility?"

 

"Not the first one."

 

You nod, because you suppose she might not want to hear she was responsible for someone staying.

 

But you think you'd like to hear that. When the hell have you ever heard that?

 

You study her—as much as you can with your head locked up in this brace-thing—and her eyes are really bright. "You crying?"

 

She wipes her eyes. "Don't be stupid." She sniffs in the way people do when they're pretending not to be crying.

 

"Yeah that would be stupid." And then you grin. "Can I get a beer to go with the drugs Gideon is pumping into me?"

 

"No," both she and Gideon say together.

 

"Didn't think so."

 

She takes your hand and squeezes gently, but she doesn't say anything and you don't make her. You just lie there, floating as Gideon works, and you hold her hand.

 

Your captain's hand.

 

The woman you love's hand.

 

She may not love you. You can't tell. But she's feeling something.

 

You're not sure what and you don't think it's the time to ask, but you can ask other questions you want answers to. Questions you can again blame the drugs for if they don't go over well. "The woman you've got back home. Is she your future?"

 

She shrugs.

 

And you like that answer. Because a shrug is just a cop-out way of saying "No." When people mean yes, they just say it. It's saying no that gives everyone trouble.

 

"Can I see a picture of her?" At her surprised look, you say, "I'm having legs reconstructed on your account, Blondie. Throw me a bone."

 

Rolling her eyes, she asks Gideon to pull up a picture of Nyssa al Ghul.

 

"Wow." And shit. You can't compete with that. Maybe she'll let you have a threesome?

 

"Yeah, she's beautiful." She lets go of your hand and gets up, pacing, which is a pain because you can only track her with your eyes when she's in front of the bed. "I left her. I keep leaving her."

 

"That's usually a sign that a thing's not solid." You think about it. "Or maybe that it was solid for the time it happened but wasn't meant to be more."

 

"That sounded pretty darn introspective, Mick. Multiple syllables even."

 

"I'm too high to dumb down my vocab. What about Queen? You and he have something—it's there, when you're together."

 

"It's just shared history. Most of it in hell. Besides, he's married."

 

"Ah, to Ponytail?"

 

She laughs. "Yes."

 

"That okay with you?"

 

"Yeah it is. I really like her."

 

"Like-like?" You smile, imagining that. But then somehow the idea that Queen might get them both intrudes and you let the thought go. "Kidding."

 

She sits back down and leans in, and you know it's because she wants you to see her face. "Why are you asking me all this?"

 

"Because I like you."

 

"Like-like?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Wow. Romantic." She's laughing.

 

"Never claimed to be. Neither did you. Some things are raw."

 

"Elemental."

 

"Right." You wish you could reach out for her, brush back her hair, feel how soft her skin must be. "It's okay though, if you don't want that. You don't have to feel responsible for me."

 

"No?"

 

"No. I'm gonna feel what I'm gonna feel no matter what you do. And I'm used to it. Being alone." Shit. That sounded pathetic. You're definitely blaming that on the drugs.

 

"You're not alone, Mick."

 

"I know. You're here. So whatever happens, we're a team." Partners, you want to say, to make it more, but that's putting too much on her. She's never asked for you to make her that important to you.

 

She leans in, her lips on yours, soft, sweet. Not romantic exactly. Not just a friend, though, either. "You're not alone. Now sleep. Gideon..."

 

"Done, Captain."

 

And there's another push of drugs and you let go and float off into darkness feeling her hand on yours.

 

##

 

You're sitting against the wall of a cave as rain falls and lightning blasts the sky. Sara and Amaya are out at the entrance, waiting for the sky to clear but you told them it was going to be a while.

 

Do they listen? Of course not. Chicks.

 

You can feel the ozone. Lightning is related to fire in some way. Not that your fire obsession is a metahuman thing, it's not inside you like Firestorm's was. But you're attuned to it.

 

You think the team would pass out if they heard you use the word "attuned." Some days you think you may have gone too far with the stupid thing.

 

You hear steps, Sara's cadence, and she rounds the corner and walks over, sitting next to you even though there's an entire cave to choose from. Some parts are darker than others but plenty are lit up from the entrance, but still she plants herself right next to you.

 

"Rains blowing in," she says. "I think Amaya must have channeled an otter or seal 'cause she's digging it." She yawns, and you know it's because she's been up with a sick Ray in the med bay.

 

You think she doesn't need to be such a mother hen when Gideon pretty much works on her own, but since Stein, she doesn't want to lose anyone else. And Haircut is one of your favorite people so you don't mind. Even if he did go and find the only virus you guys aren't vaccinated against. "You're tired."

 

"I am. I'm dead on my feet."

 

You think with anyone else, she'd blow it off with some "Assassins don't need sleep" bullshit. It makes you warm inside that she doesn't do that with you.

 

"Haircut's okay?"

 

"Yeah. But his fever was so high."

 

"You didn't say that when I saw you in the kitchen."

 

"I didn't want you to worry. Gideon said he was responding and I know you and Ray are friends."

 

Friends. She knows that. That makes you warm too. "You didn't want this to be another Snart for me?"

 

"Right."

 

"Thanks."

 

"No problem." She yawns again, the kind that's huge and painful because all you want to do is close your eyes and sleep the day away. "Screw it. Wake me up when it stops raining." She slips her jacket off and pulls it over her as she curls up like a cat with her head in your lap. And just like the times cats have decided you'd be a great bed, you sit there frozen, afraid to move, afraid she'll think better of it if you draw any attention to yourself.

 

And then she's out—you can tell from the way her breathing changes—and her hair is wet and making a ring on your favorite jeans, but you just lean back and resist the urge to stroke her back or reposition her jacket so it covers her better.

 

You hear Amaya coming and you hold your finger to your lips before she can say anything.

 

Her eyebrows go way, way up. Then she smiles, and it's a gentle smile, like she's happy for you, not amused at this. And of anyone who could see this, you're glad it's her, because you think you could have loved her, but maybe it was better that she didn't want you, because you're not sure you could see Sara curling up on anyone else's lap.

 

Except your Snart. Or maybe Amaya herself.

 

"She was up all night with Ray," she says as she walks over and sits on the other side of you.

 

"Yeah." You don't want to talk. Don't want to wake Sara up.

 

"She's a good captain." Amaya leans her head on your shoulder and you're pretty sure you've died and gone to heaven.

 

"Wake you up when it stops raining?" you ask as softly as you can.

 

"Yes, please." Then she's out too. You're not sure why she's so beat, but it's probably more to do with Nate and sex than nursing Ray back to health.

 

You imagine what your Snart would have made of this.

 

Way to go, Mick. I didn't think you had it in you to land one of these girls, let alone both.

 

It makes you smile again and you sit and think about Snart and choices you've made and choices you haven't. And you think about the woman curled up on the floor who might actually be yours someday, and the woman who's not yours but who's cuddling into you probably more than she should be, but hey, you're still a guy so you're going to enjoy the hell out of it.

 

The rain stops way before you're ready for it to.

 

Once the rain stops, the mission goes as close to textbook as any of yours do. Leo and Zari are waiting for you on the other side of town, their portion of the mission done, too.

 

"Worried about you three. Thought you got lost." Leo never sounds exactly like your Snart. He lacks the...ballsiness, you think. He's so caught up in trying to get you all to talk about your feelings and "own" things that he's lost some of himself.

 

Or maybe this Leo never had that stuff to begin with. Maybe he had a version of his dad who wasn't a complete shithead.

 

As you all walk back to the Waverider, Leo holds you up with a hand on your arm. "I want to see you happy, Mickey. And right now, you look that way."

 

"Name's not Mickey." You almost laugh though. It's sort of karma, having a name you don't like forced upon you after all the nicknames you've handed out.

 

"Fine. But my point is, my Mick waited and his life was over before he could really live it."

 

"Oh, I've lived."

 

"Yes, I imagine sex with strangers is very satisfying."

 

You resist telling him you're not doing that anymore. You're...faithful, God help you. Even if its just to an idea, a hint of maybe, of someday.

 

"Mick, I need you," Sara says, her tone all business.

 

"Captain needs me." You hurry away, trotting up to her. "What's up?"

 

"Nothing. You just looked uncomfortable."

 

"Yeah. He's always trying to get inside my head."

 

"You were his friend, Mick. Possibly his best friend. He's just...happy to see you. And this is his thing—stealing our motivations and deepest thoughts instead of things."

 

"I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess our basic nature doesn't change."

 

"From what Earth X's version of my dad said, mine didn't, so why would his?"

 

"Yeah, but I died for pigs on that Earth."

 

"Which may mean you're not the jerk you pretend to be."

 

You nod, because you like that idea—or like her thinking that way about you, anyway.

 

"I think you should give Leo a chance. We've had the luxury of time travel to interact with the people we've lost, but he hasn't. So it's natural for him to want back what he had."

 

"Okay. I get that."

 

"Okay." She smiles. "Thanks for letting me sleep."

 

"Anytime."

 

##

 

You're working on a new kind of weapon, one that Gideon has given you the specs for, and you hold it up. "Does this look right?"

 

"Yes, it does." There is amazingly no surprise in her voice.

 

"Do you like me Gideon?"

 

"I am programmed to serve all members of the crew with peak efficiency."

 

"Great answer. Do you like me?"

 

"I'm not programmed to 'like' anyone, Mister Rory."

 

You chuckle to yourself, the way you used to when Snart gave a load of bullshit instead of a straight answer. Then you do it again, the way that always made him ask:

 

"You don't believe me, Mister Rory?"

 

Wow, people and AIs were so consistent.

 

"Sure don't. I listen, Gideon. Don't say much, as I think you know."

 

"Monosyllabic is, I believe, the word."

 

You laugh because that was really bitchy of her. "Right. So I listen and people don't know how much they give away by the way they say things. When you talked to Rip, your voice changed. You didn't just like him—you loved him."

 

"He was my captain. A captain occupies a higher place on the hierarchy of service."

 

"Yeah, well you don't talk to our current captain that way."

 

She clearly doesn't know what to do with that level of gotcha. She's saved from answering by the ring of your door chime.

 

"Come in."

 

"Jesus, Mick, you sleep in here?" Sara sounds more amused than bitchy. "Did you buy up an entire store of crap?"

 

"Not crap. You think it's easy replacing things?" You've been thinking ahead ever since you got on board. Snart used to give you shit too—even called you a hoarder. But then he needed something for his cold gun and you happened to have just the thing. He shut up after that.

 

"What do you want, Blondie?"

 

She walks over, leans into your side, her elbow on your shoulder and stares down at the mess of parts that's turning into a gun. "Are you an inventor now?"

 

"Gideon is. I'm a builder."

 

"A quite excellent builder, too," Gideon says.

 

"A monosyllabic builder." You laugh as you tell Sara to hold a piece down so you can solder it.

 

"But excellent, if terse." Gideon sounds weirdly positive about you.

 

"Why is she buttering you up?" Sara's voice is pitched low, her breath warm on your ear, and it makes you shiver.

 

"No idea."

 

"Mister Rory has proven himself quite effective at multiple tasks."

 

"Vague praise. The best kind." You shake your head. "Yeah, I can eat and walk at the same time."

 

"He is also an excellent fighter."

 

"Gideon, what're you doing?" Sara sounds more confused than pissed.

 

"It's never good for a captain to get too isolated. You and Mister Rory are compatible in many significant ways."

 

"She's matchmaking. That's disturbing." You move Sara's finger down so you can adjust a pin. "The captain's got a whole team to keep her connected, Gideon. Lay off the Yentl thing."

 

"It's yenta," Sara says, laughing softly.

 

"Whatever." You point to another spot on the gun. "Press here."

 

"Yes, sir."

 

"You're handy. Maybe I'm the one who needs company."

 

"Will it make you clean up this place?"

 

"Not a chance."

 

"Is there a bed in here?"

 

"Why do you care? You sleepy?" You push the magnifier over the gun so you can see what you're doing.

 

"That's not the only thing they're used for."

 

"I'm all ears, Captain." And one other part that's suddenly way more awake than it was before she walked in.

 

"I'm just saying. If you had someone you wanted to entertain, this would not be the place to do it."

 

"Right. I'd have to go to her place, wouldn't I?" There's an edge to your voice that you hate. Women always came to you and then ran off once the sex was done. Who ever wanted to admit they were seeing you?

 

"Well, I'm not sleeping in here."

 

You're not sure you heard her right. You keep working. Then you say, once the silence is about to get really awkward, "Did you just say...?"

 

She waps you with her free hand. "Way to leave a girl hanging, Rory. Jeez. This is why I like women, you dip shit."

 

"You kind of snuck up on it. Stealth come-ons are for smart people."

 

"Mister Rory's IQ is surprisingly high," Gideon says.

 

Sara laughs. "How high?"

 

"Gideon, get the hell out of here. I'll finish this later." You push the gun away and turn in a way that leaves Sara between your legs.

 

She turns. "How do we know she's gone?"

 

"Blondie, she's a ship-wide AI. She's never gone. Like it or not, we've probably got a voyeur." Then you decide to be brave and reach for her hair, pushing it back, running your hands down it. Soft. So soft.

 

She leans into your hand, then puts hers over it. "This isn't something I wanted."

 

"Then walk away."

 

"Don't want to."

 

"Then stay."

 

"Yeah. That's a good idea." She climbs onto your lap, straddling you, and you're not sure these work chairs were really made for two people, but you both know how to fall, so what the hell.

 

You expect frantic kissing and clothes coming off in a rush, but she just studies you, rubbing her hand at the back of your neck in a way that gives you shivers. Then she reaches down and smiles. "You want me."

 

"Never any doubt of that, Sara."

 

"Do you love me?"

 

"Do you want me to?" This is getting weird. Is she ever going to kiss you?

 

"I don't know."

 

And it hurts. More than you want it to. "I think," you say as you rub your hands down her back, moving them back under her t-shirt, skin on skin. "That if you don't know, you should get off me. Because I really like you and sex makes things awkward if people don't know why they're fucking."

 

"Do you have a bed in here?" She smiles, and it's a smile you've never seen on her face before. It's sweet and silly and not at all sad. And then she leans down and kisses you and this kiss is nothing like the one she gave you before.

 

You stand, carrying her as she wraps her legs around you in a way that might really hurt if she wanted it to. "Here is my bed."

 

It's behind a screen. It's behind a screen because you like to sleep in a nest of comforters and blankets and pillows. It's manly colored bedding, but still a lot of it. Snart used to give you such crap over it. What's the thread count on that ensemble, Mick?

 

"This is way nicer than my bed."

 

"That's why you should be a thief and not an assassin. The perks are hell of a lot better."

 

"I'll keep that in mind." She kisses you, sweeter this time, not so much the woman in charge—although you don't mind that. "Sometimes I like it rough."

 

"Me, too."

 

"Sometimes, I don't." She kisses along your jaw. "What do I want now?"

 

"A little of both."

 

"Right in one." And then she's off you and pulling off your clothes and you're taking hers off too. They end up over the screen and then she pushes you down and climbs aboard and rides you in a way you've been fantasizing about for a while now.

 

Only this is so much better than what you imagined.

 

You wait until she comes and then roll her over, pinning her arms, grinning. "I know you're letting me do this."

 

"You're nearly strong enough. I like that." And she wraps her legs around you, high up, and you're gone. Thrusting and moaning and calling her name, and you hear her saying, "Let go. I won't break."

 

So you do. You do and she doesn't and you both are breathing hard as you roll off her and pull her in.

 

You can see something in her eyes, something unfinished but not something she's going to say anything about, so you slide your hand down and murmur, "You tell me when you need more, okay? I will always give you more."

 

She's moving in time with your hand. "That's just your way of getting me to do more." Her words are coming out a little bit garbled but you get the gist and laugh and say, "Yeah, yeah it probably is. But also, I like to watch you go."

 

And you do, because she's powerful and free and so damn gorgeous as she lets go, as she cries out.

 

As she's yours. Even if it's just in bed. Or maybe just this one time. It would be worth it for just this moment.

 

She rolls into you, and you hold her tightly. You can just make out her saying, "I really like you, Mick."

 

"I really like you, too."

 

"It's okay if you want to fall in love with me." She looks up, a devilish smile on her face. "I mean, who wouldn't?"

 

You're laughing, touching her cheek to make sure she understands it's a joke when you say, "I don't know. Now that I've had you. Pffff."

 

"I know," she says as she grasps you, as she squeezes and slides her hand in a combination that you think may leave you whimpering in joy. "I suck in bed."

 

"You really do." You can barely get it out; what's she's doing feels so good. And then she goes down on you and you hope to God the walls are really, really soundproofed.

 

She's laughing as she comes up. "I hate a man who just lies there silently."

 

"Yeah. Sucks." You pull her to you, kissing her, tasting yourself on her. Loving that. Soon she'll be able to taste herself on you.

 

"This is a really comfortable bed." She pulls one of the throws up around the two of you. "Is this silk?"

 

"Yeah. Is that a problem?"

 

"Nope. No problem. I really need to upgrade."

 

"Or steal." You're not going to tell her you made them in the ship's replicator. You have a reputation to uphold.

 

And you think it's going to take a beating once you become her boy toy. Because right now there's nothing you won't do for her.

 

Then again, there wasn't much you wouldn't do for her before she had sex with you. So maybe nothing has to change?

 

"Are you hungry?" she asks as she burrows deeper into the covers.

 

"Starving."

 

"Go get us stuff. You know what I like."

 

And you do, because you've sat and eaten with her enough times. "Can I get dressed?"

 

"The others would probably appreciate it—if anyone is even up." And then she rolls over and gives you an amazing shot of her backside.

 

"God damn you're beautiful."

 

She looks back at you, the sexy way, over her shoulder. You're gone. Just gone. "Are you going to get food for us, Rory, or do I have to do it myself?"

 

"Fine." You pull on your pants and a shirt that you realize is inside out once you get halfway down the hallway. You haven't bothered with shoes.

 

"Mick, I'm making cupcakes. I got Gideon to let me have real sugar." Haircut is gesturing you over. He's got that crazy hyper energy he gets when he can't sleep and decides to make dessert.

 

"Save some for me." You start dishing up food. Your stuff is predictable, but you see Ray's expression change as you grab one of Sara's salads and the dressing she likes. Then you grab four beers and a bottle of water because she's always thirsty for it.

 

"Eating for two?" Ray asks, his expression teasing.

 

You're not sure if she wants it known that you two are together—whatever that means—so you just shrug and ask, "What kind of cupcakes?"

 

"I don't know. Why don't you ask the captain what kind she might like tonight?"

 

"Why would I ask her?"

 

Ray looks pointedly at the salad with the big "SARA" label on it. "Gee, Mick, I have no idea."

 

"Don't have to ask her. She likes mocha. And chocolate. And carrot cake with that cream cheese frosting." God, how much do you know about her? The scary thing is she could probably answer for you, too.

 

"Ooh, mocha sounds good. Okay, well, don't keep her waiting."

 

You're still not sure how to answer so you just hightail it back to your quarters. "Haircut's making cupcakes. He wanted to know what kind you liked." You point to the salad.

 

"Well I hope you told him. We're gonna need those carbs." She waggles her eyebrows in a way that makes all the unsure bits of you settle down. Then she sits up, pulling the silk throw around her like some Greek goddess, and you two eat in the companionable way you've learned to do. "I'll go out and get the cupcakes. Can't have you taking all the heat."

 

"So, this isn't a secret?"

 

"Nope. Unless you want it to be?" She looks up at you, and you see a moment of uncertainty in her eyes.

 

And you love her for it. "I don't want it to be."

 

"Well, okay, then."

 

"Okay. Good."

 

She starts to laugh. "Good."

 

He gets the game: who can say the least. "Mmmm." Then: "I win."

 

"Duh. You got me. You already did win." She shoots you a fake vain look, then waves it off. "We're both winning."

 

"You okay with this, Gideon?" you ask, winking at Sara.

 

"Oh, I was doing other things, so I am not sure what you mean, Mister Rory. " She says it in a way that is totally a big fat lie.

 

You think of another person who seems awfully interested in what you and Sara are doing. "Wonder what Leo's going to say?"

 

She smiled gently. "He'll be happy for us, Mick. He'll just be happy for us."

 

 

FIN