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Chapter One

Leonard Snart stepped into the hospital feeling a little more than uncomfortable. He’d gotten a text from a number he wasn’t familiar with, requesting he be here today at this time. It provided a room number and a name. Alex Lincoln, a name he hadn’t heard in almost ten years. He wasn’t sure why he’d come, six years ago he and Alex had been partners in crime; she’d been the fourth person of their rogues' gallery before it was officially called that. He’d loved her, with every fiber of his being, but it had been something he’d struggled with. Len wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to love someone other than his sister. People were too unpredictable.

He found the room with ease on a floor labeled: Oncology. The very word sent a shiver down his spine. It’s how his grandfather had passed. Assuming this really was Alex, she deserved so much better than dying of cancer. He knocked on the door and stepped into the room to see the husk of a woman he’d once known. He’d held his breath before in pools, but this was different, it felt like he had a gun pressed to his temple being told not to breathe, not to let his heartbeat. It was suffocating; he couldn’t help the slight gasp that escaped his lips at the sight of her. Instead of the beautiful and curvaceous woman he’d once known, whose hair was nearly as broad as she was, and eyes were always alight with mischief and sass, he was faced with little more what than a memory. Her hair was gone, short now almost like his, barely curling like it normally did. Her skin was pale and waxen, almost translucent gray, eyes sunken in and filled with exhaustion. She had half a dozen machines Len didn’t recognize connected to her body, “Hello, Sweetie,” she smiled despite how terrible she looked, her tone still capable of flirting despite the situation.

He stepped closer, she wore an oversized sweater, likely to hide how thin and frail she was. She was shivering so it certainly wasn’t helping ward off the chill of the hospital. He took a moment to look around the room, it was more of a suite than a room, it was decorated with 'get well' cards, and stuffed animals, beautiful flowers adorning the window sill. A heavy blanket draped over her bed, she’d been here awhile now. “I’d ask how you are, but that seems clear,” he offered, his voice a little worn from just taking all the information in.

“Yes, I’m afraid this is the end for me,” she replied as if it wasn’t death but just another day ending. “That’s not why I called you, of course. Leo, I need to tell you something and I pray you won’t become upset. This is the most important thing I’ll ever tell you and I should’ve told you ages ago.” She reached out, gripping his hand, which he allowed despite not being a tactile person.

“Alex we haven’t seen each other in almost six years,” if she’d called simply to say I love you before dying, he was fairly certain he’d drink himself into oblivion.

“I know darling, believe me when I say I’ve spent the last five and a half years very aware of not being with you,” before she could say anymore another woman and a small child, he couldn’t possibly be more than five, stepped into the room. The boy had her light brownish blonde hair which was wavy and long enough for it to frame his beautiful porcelain features that matched her own except his nose, the nose was a bit smaller and rounder at the end, like Len’s. His skin was tanned looking, and he was dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and a sharp little vest. He was adorable, but it was his eyes that had Len staggering back for a moment. They were the same vibrant blue eyes he stared at every morning in the mirror.

“You always were brilliant,” she whispered from beside Len, she could see him just staring at the little boy. “I’m sure you’ve put it together by now.”

“You’re dying,” Len replied weakly as he slowly sank into a crouch before the little boy, “You’re…he’s…” he covered his mouth, he wasn’t a crier, and he had never been. Yet here he was, his eyes hot like irons staring into a face that he realized shared just as many similarities with him as it did with Alex.

“I ran away because I knew what we were into. I couldn’t…I couldn’t raise him to be like us, Leo. Please don’t hate me,” she whispered as she looked at their son, “I wanted a life with you, but I wasn’t sure you’d be okay with this. We were in a darker place and much deeper.”

Blue eyes looked up at his mommy, filling with tears the boy hurried to his mother and struggled to pull himself onto the bed. The other woman, who hadn’t spoken yet, helped him lie beside his mother. She pet his long hair with such tenderness that Len almost ached to have her stay now. “How long have you got?” he choked as he stood back up.

Her lips were shaking as she shook her head, whatever time she had left was more likely days or hours, “I…You needed to know Leo. I don’t want him in foster care. We both saw what those places did too little boys like him. This is my final dying wish.” She looked back down at her son…their son and smiled at him, “Remember me telling you about your daddy, this is him, Michael.”

“You…you named him after Mick?” Len’s voice was raspy, tight and strained. He didn’t like to hug, or touch others but suddenly all he wanted to do was pull this little child into his arms and never let go.

She smiled, tears leaking out of her eyes, and shrugged, “I know you would’ve wanted it that way had you been there. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you, my love. Please don’t hate me. But I need you to be okay with this, with being his daddy now that I…” she closed her mouth, squeezing them together before brushing it off and gazing back down at her baby boy.

Len pulled a chair over and sat down heavily in it. He knew the answer already, no matter how terrified he was of becoming his father, this child was his responsibility. “Of course I am I would’ve been from day one. Hey Michael, I’m Len, or…um dad whatever you want to call me kiddo, okay?”

The little boy nodded, but hugged his mother around the neck, “No mommy,” he cried.

She hugged her long arms around his little frame and held on tight, “I know baby, but we talked about this. He’s going to take the best care of you, I promise,” she handed him over a zip drive, “It’s got all his pictures from infancy up, including some videos of him walking, talking, birthdays. God, please forgive me, Leo. I never should’ve taken this away from you.”

Len reached out and cupped her cheek, “I forgive you, I never hated you or was angry at you and I would’ve been there, but I will be now. You have my word Alex,” he replied with as much compassion and love as he could put into his voice. “All my records, everything was erased last year, I can start over. I never have to do any of that again. I’ll…I can be a good man.”

“You were always a good man,” Alex replied with a sad laugh, she and Barry were the only two people who’d ever thought that. “On the zip drive is also all my legal documents, I’ve left you my flat, it’s a large loft, I bought it a few months ago while I worked up the courage to tell you. You are welcome to live there with him; everything he owns is there as well. If you two decide to sell it, you can do that too. His name is Michael Lincoln legally, figured your mother’s maiden name was safer.”

Len nodded and watched as Alex hugged their son once more, gave him a kiss on the forehead and “You’re going to go with him, now. He’s going to take care of you baby, please be good. You’re such a wonderful boy and I know you’re going to grow up to be an incredible man. Trust each other, okay, please don’t ever be afraid to hug your daddy. He doesn’t always know how to express his love. Len, please give him all the love you have,” she begged her former lover.

“You know I will, you have my word,” Len replied, he could tell she was growing weaker, alarms started to wail as her eyes slid shut.

“No mommy,” Michael whimpered as he tried to hug her close once more. Doctors and nurses hurried into the room. Len stood, picking the little broken-hearted boy up and into his arms and stepped out of the room, the other woman, who Len had realized was likely a nurse, had joined the rest of the medical professionals. The cold man had just inherited something worth melting his heart over, he thought as he hugged the boy close for a long moment as they remained in the hall together.

As he stood there, outside a hospital room, clutching a weeping child, he realized this wasn’t something he could simply do alone. He’d raised his sister, so while he could certainly raise a child with little trouble, he’d need to get an honest job, something to make honest money by. He’d need credentials and a new persona. Captain Cold couldn’t be evil anymore. He closed his eyes and realized he’d need the help of the one person who’d been lamenting his goodness since the day they’d first met.

Pulling out his cell he texted his sister and Mick to meet at one of their better safe houses. One of the doctor’s stepped out of the room, “I’m sorry, she’s passed away,” he explained.

Len nodded, clutching his son close, rubbing his back and trying to soothe the poor child, “Thank you,” Len replied, he took a deep breath and made his way out of the hospital. He’d parked his motorcycle in one of the lots. He set the boy down in the sidecar and pulled out the helmet, “All right, this bike isn’t permanent, but I need to know you’re safe for these next few rides, are you all right in there?” he asked as he strapped the boy’s seat belt on, suddenly glad he’d invested the extra fifty into getting one.

The little boy had yet to speak with him but gave him a solemn nod. Len sighed, crouching beside the car, he stroked the boy…his son’s cheek and looked into the identical eyes, “I know you’re scared, you don’t know me and sure maybe your mom spoke about me but that’s not the same as knowing your daddy. You have my word, I will do everything I can to make sure you feel safe and loved, okay?” Len knew he’d have to adjust to being tactile and affectionate, but he could do it for his only child.

The boy studied him for a long minute as if trying to decide he was telling the truth, “Kay,” he finally whispered.

“All right, helmet on,” he put the helmet usually reserved for Lisa on the little head, making it tight enough to stay. “Okay, kiddo,” with that he kicked the bike on and into gear and sped down the road towards their safe house. In the fifteen minute drive, he felt a little hand sneak out and grip his jeans, near his knee. It wasn’t a grip of fear, Len could see the excited grin beneath the helmet, he was fairly sure it was to feel a connection. As Len drove he made a promise to himself, to be ten times the father Lewis ever was. He’d break all his own rules, he’d never yell if he didn’t have to, he’d never be mean, never hit, or lash out. The only lessons he’d teach the child were ones of love and kindness. He’d be everything to Michael that Lewis had never been to him or to Lisa.

As he pulled into the small carport of their safe house, he stopped the bike and took his helmet off, watching in awe as little hands did the same beside him, “That was fun,” the boy grinned.

Len chuckled, “Glad you thought so, probably going to have to invest in something a bit more kid-friendly, but for now we’ll enjoy this, sound good?”

Michael nodded and held his arms out, so Len could lift him out of the sidecar. The criminal didn’t put Michael back on his feet but rather settled him against his hip, glad when he felt little arms wrap around his neck.

“So we’re going to meet your Aunt Lisa, who will be absolutely beside herself to be an auntie and your Uncle Mick.”

“Who I’m named after?”

Len nodded as he opened the door, praying that his idiot friend would somehow destroy all of this. He loved Mick, the man was like his brother, but sometimes he could be too much for anyone. He was mildly surprised to find Mick already making noise in the kitchen. “We need to restock this place, Len,” Mick’s deep voice called out, the man rounded the corner of the kitchen and his eyes went wide for a moment.

Blue eyes honed in on the mini-Len, as he looked from Len to the child and back to Len. Mick was silent for a long minute, as if trying to decide the best way to handle the situation, “Alex’s?” he asked.

“You knew?”

Mick snickered, “No, but I had a hunch,” Mick moved towards Len and the child, the little boy looked up at Mick nervously, “What’s your name kid?” he asked the boy.

“Michael Lincoln,” he replied in a shaky voice.

A sharp intake of breath came from Mick, “He…he’s got my name.”

Len nodded, “She knew it’s what I would’ve wanted.”

Mick looked back at the boy, “Cool,” was all he said, “I assume I’m not allowed to teach him anything about fire?”

Len smirked, “It’d be preferred.”

Mick nodded, and a second later he scooped the little boy out of Len’s arms and had him up on his shoulders. Michael squealed with delight as he reached up to touch the ceiling, “I’m flying!” he shouted with excitement.

Len chuckled, glad to see his friend could embrace being an uncle so instantly despite his obvious flaws. “Lenny?” his sister’s voice called as she entered.

“Hey sis,” he greeted. Before he could say anything more Mick came out, actually carrying Michael like an airplane our superman.

“Look daddy! I’m like the Flash!” the child cheered.

Len couldn’t help the red that covered his face while his sister’s mouth dropped open and Mick adjust his hold on the kid so he could throw his head back and laugh out loud. “Fantastic,” Len mumbled, realizing he’d now have to introduce his four-year-old to the Flash.