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William and Kathleen Rory didn’t talk much about the rest of their family. Mick had grown up knowing distantly that his mother had had a handful of brothers and a sister – she usually mentioned them when chasing after Mick and his brothers – which like Peter Pan never aged in her stories beyond the age of twelve and that his father seemed to have sprung wholly formed from the ground, though he reluctantly admitted (once) that he might have had parents, some nameless, unformed ether-folk that never once came around for birthdays or Christmas with additional gifts.

They left no will and all their personal records, kept in a shoebox at the top of their closet, burned with them; Mick could tell the police, when they asked, no names of aunts or uncles or even distant cousins. He was, as far as anyone knew, alone in the universe. So it was seen as natural to move Mick into the foster system for his care until the situation was resolved and after, where the growing suspicion of his involvement in the arson that killed his parents and his own pyromania could be dealt with by experienced adults who nevertheless tired of him and moved him along once he became too much trouble.

So it was really a surprise to everyone when – two years after the fire – a man angrily swept into the child’s home demanding to know where one “Michael C. Rory” was located.

Mick was killing time after the mutual failures of extremely angry foster parents #4 and “on second thought we’re not comfortable with this” foster parents #5, with a few interviews in his pocket with “we have plenty of experience with difficult children” potential parents #6, and he had nothing better to do than watch.

“Excuse me,” the flustered Head of the home says, coming down the stairs. “I’m not sure who you are, but you can’t just come bursting in here –”

“I’m looking for my nephew,” the man says flatly, his vowels strangely rounded the way Mom’s sometimes used to when she was real angry. “Apparently the state just shoved him in here without so much as a heads up to any of us and now I find two years down the goddamn line that they’ve put Kathy’s only surviving boy here? You better tell me where he is right now or you’ll regret it.”

Mick watches from an upper floor with a mild level of interest. So one of Mom’s brothers did make it past age twelve, who’d have thought?

One of the other kids pokes at him. “You might be going home,” he whispers.

Mick shrugs, watching the Head hustle the guy to his office. “We’ll see,” he says cynically. He knows what happens now – anyone who shows any interest in him gets the Talk. The pyro talk. The “this kid burned his own family to death” talk. And this guy called Mom Kathy, which she hated – from what little he remembers of the experience, that means they’ve definitely gotta be family. Certainly no one would bother conning CPS for him.

About fifteen minutes later, the guy bursts out of the office looking just as pissed as he was when he went in. “- I don’t know how many times I gotta tell you,” he’s saying. “You get me the kid and the papers now, and no more of this fucking bullshit. I’m taking him with me.”

“I just want to be sure you understand the risk,” the squirrely little Head said. “Mr. Rory is a very troubled young man…”

“Risk!” the guy – his uncle? – exclaims. “Risk! I don’t give a flying fuck about risk! So little Mickey’s got a thing for burning down houses; I’m sure I can find something for him to do with that. I’m goddamn Jimmy Brady. I don’t give a fuck about risk. Now get me my nephew!”

Mick raises his eyebrows. The Head scurries over to the staircase, his face white. “Mick!” he called. “Mick, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

Mick gets off his knees where he’s been crowded by the railing with the other boys and walks downstairs, looking suspiciously up at his supposed uncle. He’s big already, especially for twelve, but this guy’s even bigger and pretty damn tough looking. If he tries to kick Mick’s ass, he won’t be as easy to intimidate as foster parents #4.

“So you’re Mickey,” the guy says, studying him.

“Just Mick,” Mick corrects him, crossing his arms. “And I ain’t much impressed with anyone who introduces himself and thinks everyone ought to know who he is.”

The guy – Jimmy Brady – doesn’t take any offense, grins like a hyena instead. “Oh yeah,” he says with satisfaction. “You’re definitely Kathy’s boy, no question about that. Even if you didn’t have her eyes, I’d be able to tell just by the brass on you; our Kathy never took no one’s shit either.”

Mick thinks about this for a second and shrugs in agreement. Can’t deny that.

“So you’re gonna come with me now,” Brady says. The Head splutters something about paperwork, wait time, background checks, whatever. Both of them ignore him.

“Am I now?” Mick says, still not uncrossing his arms. He knows what he is; perhaps alone of all the other foster kids he’s ever met, he’s never held out hope for some family member to descend from above to rescue him. “Head tell you about me?”

Brady shrugs. “I got room in my organization for a few fire-starters,” he says casually. “I’ll be betting you didn’t mean for it to get out of control, that’s for sure; I’m willing to take that chance. We’re blood, you know. A man shouldn’t leave his blood behind like that.”

“I’ve never seen you before,” Mick points out.

Brady’s grin goes a bit crooked. “Yeah,” he says wistfully. “Kathy told us all to buzz off, right ‘fore she moved to…” he gestures around him disdainfully. “Hereabouts to be a farmer’s wife, of all godforsaken things for a good Irish city girl to do. Never was one for following convention, our Kathy. And when we tried to visit or send gifts or whatnot, Kathy sent ‘em back in ashes by first class mail and said next time we tried it’d be our balls in the mail instead, and you know she were serious. First thing to know, kiddo, is that you don’t mess with a spitfire like Kathy!”

He clears his throat a little, looking a bit awkward. “To be honest, I only found out ‘bout you ‘cause I went to try to invite her to our unmarriageable cousin’s wedding – I thought she’d get a kicker out of that one even if she weren’t gonna come in a million years – and that’s when I found out she’s been dead and buried these two years and these bozos never said a peep to any one of us! Like we wouldn’t take in Kathy’s boy because of a little spot of arson,” he concluded, glaring disdainfully at the Head.

“More than one spot,” Mick says automatically, but he’s intrigued. Brady’s much more casual about the whole death-fire-murder thing than most foster parents, and he’s never heard so much truth about his Mom in any one given moment. Most people tended to pretend she was a sweetheart, a wonderful meek and supportive housewife, complimented her cooking or her lovely house and never mind the stream of swearing that she said was necessary to wrangle the oven down to her cast-iron will or her vicious practices with the shotgun when there’d been the risk of coyotes.

“Don’t worry about it,” Brady assured it. “We’ll figure it out.”

Mick looks at him thoughtfully. He’s still not sure if he trusts this guy, he’s definitely not impressed yet, but it might be better than where he is now. “Okay,” he says. “I’ll give you a shot.”

“Good kid,” Brady says approvingly. “You got a healthy sense of caution about you; keep that. Now come on, you’re going home with me.”

“Excuse me!” the Head finally manages to get out. “You can’t just take him on the very first day – there are social worker visits, foster care approval, background checks –”

“I just need a judge to sign off on it, don’t I?” Brady asks. “I’ll call up Judge Connolly, back in my area; he’s a friend of mine. He’ll get it all wrapped up. We can do that from home. I ain’t waiting around for you to pester me with all this pointless crap. I’m taking him home and that’s that.”

“I can’t just let you take the boy!”

Brady sighs, reaches behind his back and pulls out a gun and points it straight at the Head’s eyes. “Let me be more clear,” he says pleasantly even as the Head loses all color and some of the female aides scream in terror. “I’m goddamn Jimmy Brady, and I goddamn run the Brady Family branch up in Calvin City. I’ve killed more people than Mickey here’s started fires. I am taking him with me and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

Okay. Maybe Mick’s just a bit impressed.

---------------------------------

Mick would’ve thought that finding out that his parents were star-crossed lovers on the run from his mom’s mafia family would’ve had more of an impact on his life, but after Uncle Jimmy brought him home to meet the rest of them – Danny and Paddy and Thomas and Conner, all of whom work in the Family business, plus Auntie Fi who apparently works as a freelance assassin and is dating a very nice woman named Andrea – it turns out that not a one of them has any idea what to do with anyone younger than twenty. Apparently his mom’s policy of running off with a young man at a young age and having four kids in quick succession was entirely her own; none of the others had kids yet. Despite a positive horde of retired grandparents and grand-uncles and grand-aunts nagging them about it.

This basically means that Mick’s newfound family is both excessively affectionate and entirely clueless.

This is how Mick ends up living in an excruciatingly boring suburban house with Marcia and Suzanne, Jimmy and Paddy’s respective mistresses, all the way back in Keystone City proper because apparently they wanted to have somewhere domestic to live part time and were willing to take on a kid, and also because it’s “safe”.

Really, one could argue that knocking over the local liquor store and using the results to set fire to the abandoned house down the block was the only rational response to that sort of bullshit.

Still, it occurs to Mick as he perches in one of the too-small chairs outside at the local juvenile courtroom that his logic and normal-person logic might not always see eye to eye, and also pissing off the local Family Don (even if he is your uncle) is probably a bad idea. This is something that the guy inside the courtroom doesn’t seem to know, judging by the increased amount of shouting.

Also, if he has to sit in this waiting room any longer, he might seriously throw himself out of the window. He’s read all the magazines and the papers, daydreamed for a while, done a round of exercised – it’s been literally hours.

The door to the waiting room opens and this little punk gets shown in, social worker saying “Why don’t you wait in here until another room opens up?” Kid’s small, bony, and is sporting a hell of a shiner. Mick tilts his head towards the chair next to him, also the only other chair in the room. Kid studies him for a second – wary, Mick can respect that – before coming to sit down.

The kid can’t be more than twelve, but he’s sitting still as a rock: no twitching, no nervousness, which to be honest is more than Mick could really say for himself. It’s a bit creepy, actually, the way he stares blankly against the wall; that reaction could be anything from shock to existential despair.

“First time?” Mick asks.

Kid startles a little, but crushes the reaction ruthlessly, turning to give Mick an arched eyebrow. “You mean in juvie when I get there, or in family court?” he drawls. Kid’s got a serious Central City slum accent problem.

“You’re not thinking you’ll get off?” Mick says. “They do community service sometimes.”

Kid’s mouth twists. “Not for theft above a certain amount they don’t,” he says.

Mick’s a bit impressed. He’s gotten picked up for shoplifting a few times, as had other kids in the home, some of them even picking up some real expensive stuff, and they’d always gotten stuck with community service so far. He’d been in juvie for a few months before, right after the incident with his parents; he knew how over-crowded they were and how juvie courts would do just about anything to let a first timer off. “They must be real pissed at you, then.”

“They’re mostly pissed because I won’t tell them where the loot is,” kid says.

“At least you’ll have something to look forward to when you get out?”

“There won’t be any left when I get out,” kid says bitterly. “I’m only here because someone needed to take the fall.”

“Huh. Sucks.”

“No kidding.”

They lapse into silence again.

Eventually the kid speaks again. “Why’re they yelling all up a storm in there, anyways?”

Mick shrugs. “Apparently there’s really no way around going to juvie for arson,” he says. “But, you know, they’re trying.”

“Arson, huh?” the kid says. “On purpose?”

“Of course on purpose. It was an abandoned house down the street, not like anyone was going to miss it.” Mick’s eyes glaze over in memory. “It went up like a fucking treat, you know? I didn’t have any real accelerant – knocked over a liquor store on my way, got the highest content stuff they had but it was still pretty shitty – but it caught perfectly. Bit slow on the walls – I’ll know better for next time – but man, you should’ve seen it. The fire just built and built and built until it ate everything.”

Kid hums a little, thoughtfully, then he hops to his feet, walks over to the door. Mick’s not too surprised; people tend to skedaddle when he starts talking fire.

He is surprised when the kid comes back a few minutes later, plops himself right down on the seat next to Mick again.

Kid notices Mick looking at him and nods meaningfully at him. Mick’s not entirely sure how to take that unspoken hint, so the kid sighs and grabs his hand, pushing something small and hard into it. Mick glances down. It’s a lighter.

He looks at the kid, who shrugs.

“The guard down the hall smelled like a smoker,” kid says. “Sound of that shouting, you’ll probably be in here for a good while yet and it looks like you’ve already read through all the stupid mags.”

Okay, that reaction is definitely a first. Mick doesn’t really have friends; people who find out about the arson thing tend to run the other way and the ones that don’t usually want something from him. Usually related to his family, nowadays; that'd been a harsh lesson to learn. This kid’s probably never going to see him again and has no idea who the hell his family is; he’s got no reason to expect that he’ll get something out of it.

“Thanks, kid,” Mick says, and means it.

The kid smiles in response, and it’s – well, it’s something else. Turns that awkward bony little face into something remarkably pretty, all clear eyes and high cheekbones.

Instead of immediately turning to contemplating the flame liked he’d planned, Mick ends up talking with the kid. Not all that much and not about anything particularly important – recent movies make up a large part of it – but enough to find out the kid’s got a positively wicked turn of phrase and a vicious tongue sharp enough to cut steel. It makes Mick laugh.

The conversation dies abruptly when the door – again, from the hallway – opens up and a policeman steps in. “C’mon, kid,” he says, ignoring Mick. “You can come down this way and sit by the desks instead. It’ll do you some good, seeing where your dad used to work.”

Mick’s eyebrows arch. Kid’s a cop's son?

Kid catches his expression and shrugs as if to apologize for having such bad taste in blood relatives. “Catch you around,” he says, following the policeman out of the room.

Policeman puts a hand on the kid’s shoulder.

It’s not a particularly paternal gesture.

Kid as pretty as that and a cop’s kid to boot; he’s not going to last a week in juvie.

Mouth like that, he’s not going to last a day.

Another hour later, Uncle Paddy walks out, shaking his head in disgust. “Lawyers say six months in’s the best offer they can get,” he says, lips curling up in a sneer. “We’ll see ‘bout that.”

“No, it’s okay,” Mick says, still staring at the hallway door where he’s been looking at since the kid walked out. “I’ll go for the six months.”

“You don’t gotta, kiddo, you know that, right?” Paddy says, concerned. “Just ‘cause the juvie court’s not as much our ballpark as the grown-up one don’t mean we can’t get this fixed, given another week or so.”

“No,” Mick says. “I wanna go.”

“You sure?” Paddy says doubtfully.

“Yeah,” Mick says. “I’m sure. Say, how fast can I get in?”

“And now the boy’s in a rush, good lord almighty,” Paddy says, lifting his eyes to the ceiling because he’s a drama queen who likes to play up his Irish side until it hurts. “What’s your hurry? You’ve been in before, you know it’s not exactly a thrill ride.”

Mick shrugs and doesn’t answer.

He doesn’t actually learn the kid’s name until nearly two weeks later, when he’s standing between his crumpled form and a shiv. Four goddamn hours to incite homicide; that exceeds even Mick’s most pessimistic guess.

Leonard Snart’s going to be trouble, he just knows it.

Mick can’t wait.

-----------------------------------------

It’s not so much that Mick hides the whole mob thing from Len as it just doesn’t occur to him to ever mention it. There’s him and his crazy uncle Paddy, equally crazy uncle Jimmy, and fucking hell Auntie Fi, and what with the way Mick’s been kept isolated from the family business because he's too young, it’s not like any of the stories he has to tell about them have anything to do with that. Just family stuff, like how they always have three turkeys for Thanksgiving because Fi won’t touch wet-brine, Jimmy thinks dry-brining’s the devil, and Paddy just full on can’t stand turkey to begin with and keeps trying to pass off an especially large chicken as a particularly small turkey.

Len had laughed until his sides went sore about that one.

Len’s stories mostly centered around his little sister, light of his life and likely cause of the ulcer he’s going to develop before he hits twenty, and there’s only so much mileage you can get out of little kid antics. Mick presses him a bit for stories about his parents – little awkward when it turns out Len’s mom is long dead and his stepmom split, but still, he’s got a dad, right?

Len tries, but he doesn’t quite have the right notion of funny when it comes to stories about his dad. Locking your kid outside in the middle of winter with a hole in his shoe until his heel is black and peeling isn’t funny, even if Len takes ghoulish delight in telling that story.

Mick quickly loses interest in family stories anyway, especially since Len is willing to sit up with him in the library and talk about fire. Len might be a bit of a genius, even if he talks like a bum, because he can read a college level chemistry book and explain it to Mick like it’s all easy. Mick’s grades have never been so good.

His shrink takes one look at them and starts talking about college, engineering, stuff like that. Mick’s pretty sure the admissions board won’t overlook the whole pyro business, even if he wanted to go, but it seems to make his shrink happy to daydream.

It takes a while before he notices that Len isn’t getting the same talks he is; Len’s grades are exceptional – he typically scribbles down the answers in the first ten minutes of the study period and spends the rest of the time talking with Mick – but he’s fidgety and bored in class, and the teachers never look at him twice. Mick eventually corners one of the teachers under the pretense of discussing college admissions and asks why they don’t get Len to apply anywhere.

“Mr. Snart?” the teach said, frowning. “I’m not certain if his grades would qualify –”

“He’s got higher grades than me,” Mick says flatly. “Try again.”

“Well, there’s also certain other matters,” the guy says, looking awkward. “There’s inclination, of course, and fitness for the sort of environment you’d find at a four-year college – has he considered trade school? It’s a perfectly respectable –”

“Grades are still better than mine, teach,” Mick says, crossing his arms.

“First off, I doubt Mr. Snart will be able to afford it,” the teacher says tightly. “Even assuming he bothers to finish out his high school degree. You’ll find, Mr. Rory, that there’s a certain type that doesn’t have much of an interest in bettering their future, and Mr. Snart is one of them.”

Meaning, as far as Mick can tell, what it really is because Len talks like a motherless slum kid, the teachers see him as nothing but that, headed for nowhere but the welfare line and the prison cell.

He bitches about the unfairness of it to Len, who shrugs and says, “Well, they’re right, ain’t they?”

No,” Mick says. “You’re a fucking genius. Why would you think otherwise?”

“I mean that I’m ain’t going to college,” Len clarifies, cheeks flushing red with pleasure at the compliment. “I’m not even gonna finish high school.”

“Why not? You could, no sweat.”

“Yeah, but you don’t have to go after age sixteen, and my dad’s gonna want me to work jobs with him,” Len says, making a face. “Even if I split from him, I’m gonna have to work jobs on my own, and that’s not gonna leave time for school. It’s okay, Mick; I don’t think I ever expected to go to school past sixteen anyhow.”

Mick thinks it’s stupid, and says as much.

Len laughs. “After we get out of here and I split from my dad in another couple of years, we’ll hook back up,” he says confidently. “We’ll be the best fucking team you’ve ever seen, you and me, and we won’t need anybody’s help. We’ll go anywhere we want, steal and drink and eat what we like, and we’ll have our run of Central City any time we like. We’ll be partners, you and me, don’t you worry.”

Mick likes that thought.

He likes that thought all the way through Len’s release, and then his own, and he finds that he still likes it even when he’s back home around his aunt and his uncles and all the rest of them. He likes it more than Uncle Jimmy’s vague suggestion that Mick ought to get involved with the Family business; Mick’s got a pretty good handle on who and what he is, and he’s no mob leader. Hell, he’s not even much of a leader, period, not like Len who organized half of juvie into a rotating betting league for three different sports and was seriously contemplating setting up some sort of dating thing with the nearby girls’ reformatory school before he got let out.

No, Mick’s muscle. He’s an enforcer: you tell him what to do, and he goes and does it, and does it well, too. He’s good at knocking heads together and he’s good at making people talk and he’s good at scaring people so they don’t make trouble. He’s not a planner, not an organizer; he’s not even a leader of thugs who can point to someone and order them taken out. Just plain old muscle.

But that’s not the proper place for a blood-born Family man to be, and certainly not a scion of the main line, heir (if indirectly) to the criminal empire his uncles run.

Mick explains this to Uncle Paddy, who tells him he’s mad, and to Uncle Jimmy, who says he should have a higher opinion of himself, and to Uncle Thomas, who is the most senior of the whole lot of them, operating out of Boston and Gotham, and who seems to think Mick is being adorably and unnecessarily self-sacrificing, before he finally throws his hands up and goes to Auntie Fi.

“Who do you want me to kill?” she asks when she sees his face.

“I’m quitting this entire family,” he says to her, exhausted and irritated beyond belief.

“Mickey, don’t do that,” she says, sitting up straight.

Watch me.”

“No, no,” she says, darting out of her chair and wrapping her arms around him. “Don’t you dare! You do whatever you want to do, baby, just don’t pull a Kathy on us, okay? You tell your auntie what the issue is and I’ll beat it into my brothers’ heads if I’ve gotta.”

So Mick explains it to her and he’s pretty sure she thinks he’s just as nuts as the rest of them do, to drop out of one of the most well-connected Families of the Irish mob to become a thug for hire, but she promises to see what she can do. She does ask if he knows where he’s planning on working and he explains about Len and Central City, and suddenly she’s beaming fit to split her face open.

“Oh, it’s like that, is it?” she chortles, though Mick isn’t sure what she finds so funny. “Oh, Kathy, your blood ever did run true. Well, better than a farmer, my dear; at least he’s still a criminal. Tell me more about him – what did you say his name was again?”

“No way,” Mick says, his guard raised back up. “You’ll stalk him.”

“Well, yes, but only because we care about you, Mickey, baby; we wouldn’t want him to end up in some sort of terrible accident before you get a chance to run off into the sunset together.”

“You leave him alone!” Mick exclaims, concerned. Len liked his privacy and he wasn’t all too fond of the Central City Families, from the few comments he’d made about them (which Mick hadn’t commented on, because, well, he’s Irish; of course he doesn’t like the Santinis). “I don’t want you to scare him off.”

“Fine, fine,” Fi says, still grinning. “Now c’mon, I need to go kick my brothers’ asses about being more LGBT-friendly now that there’s two of us.”

“El-gee-bee-tee what now?” he asks.

She pats his cheek. “Don’t worry about it, baby. You know the rules about using a condom, right?”

“I can have as many as I like from the kitchen cabinet, but I don’t use one for any reason before they meet the family and someone’ll shoot my dick off, probably you, and you don’t miss,” Mick dutifully recites, though he's not sure why that suddenly came up.

“Good boy.”

It takes a present of gay porn for him to realize what Fi’s implying, because sometimes he can be a little slow, but the gay porn does it for him just as well as the straight porn does so he’s not going to complain. He’s not going to sleep with Len, though, even though he is kinda pretty – the kid’s a shrimp; Mick’ll probably break him in half.

When Mick does finally meet Len again, four years after juvie and halfway through a reluctant chemistry degree that he doesn’t even want but which his uncles have made a requirement for his side lessons with the Family’s bomb squad, Len’s grown nearly a foot taller till he’s only an inch shorter than Mick and suddenly all that coltish boniness has gone away, replaced by the most gorgeous man Mick has ever seen in his life, including in the pornos.

He ends up calling Fi later that night and blurting out, “How do you ask someone to sleep with you if you don’t know which way they lean?” which is not something he’d ever been particularly concerned about before. Uncle Conner ran the hooker-and-stripper side of the biz, and he always sent some of his best around as all-too-willing party favors for family parties; it wasn’t like Mick's a virgin or anything, either boys or girls.

He’d just never really asked anybody before.

“I thought you were going to meet your little juvie friend,” Fi says into the line, snickering. “The one you didn’t want to sleep with?”

“I was wrong, you were right,” Mick growls. “Now tell me!”

“Just ask, baby,” Fi coos. “Worst he can say is no, and if he’s a dick about it, then you beat him up.”

Mick still postpones it by two months out of sheer nervousness, but in that time Len plans out and orchestrates one of the most beautiful heists Mick’s ever even heard of, popping an armored car mid-transit and sending it along its way so that the police don’t even realize something’s been taken, and then they’re all celebrating and Mick just goes for it.

It being Len.

Len is awesome.

Mick might be a bit drunk.

Luckily, Len is also drunk, which leads to messy, drunken make-outs and grinding until someone (Mick’s not sure who) passes out first, followed shortly by the other.

When Mick wakes up in the morning, he promptly tries to panic and escape - not his best instincts, but since when has he had good instincts? especially with a hangover - but luckily his bad decision making is quelled, as it has always been quelled these last few months, by Len's timely intervention.

In this case, by Len being a stubborn, many-limbed octopus of doom that clings tighter the more Mick tries to escape.

Len's not even awake.

Mick peels Len's arm from over his chest and finds that Len's legs are wrapped around his waist; he moves the legs and suddenly Len's got his arms around Mick's neck and is starting to inadvertently make it hard to breathe. And now Mick's legs are tangled in the stupid blanket.

Mick ends up hissing, "Len! Lenny!"

"Mmrph?"

"Can't breathe!"

"'ow many times I gotta say, Mick," Len slurs, starting to blink awake, "you can't talk if you can't breathe -" Mick watches the moment awareness sinks in and Len is abruptly on the other side of the room in a feat of bed-exiting wizardry that Mick wouldn't have believed possible.

They stare at each other.

Len breaks the silence first. "You regret it?" he asks, nodding at the bed.

"Uh, no," Mick says, too hungover to lie convincingly. "You?"

Len relaxes. "No," he says. "I also don't get hungover. You want some aspirin and water?"

"Please," Mick says fervently.

And somehow, to Mick's surprise, it's as easy as that; things are settled. Mick is with Len, Len is with Mick, partners just like they were before, and the only thing that's changed is that Mick gets to wrap his arms around Len any time he likes.

Well, unless Len is feeling touchy about it, but Mick already knew better than to touch Len when he's twitching at every gust of air like it's an oncoming blow. He learned that in juvie.

The addition of sex every night (and sometimes mid-day) is also a big plus.

He forgets entirely about his call with Auntie Fi until he calls her about something different - he's told Len that he knows a great source for tear gas grenades for a job, which is true because Fi's a positive armory - and she yells, "Well? Well?" at him for five minutes straight until he figures out what she’s on about.

"Oh, yeah, it's cool," Mick says.

"Fucking hell, why'd you have to take after Kathy, all solemn and taciturn even when she’s being a bloody romantic idiot? Get in touch with your Irish side, boy! Tell me everything!"

"We're good," Mick says sincerely. "He's good. Great, even. Everything's good."

Fi makes an incoherent screeching noise of frustration, which Mick takes as a sign that this was not exactly what Fi was looking for.

"So about those grenades -" he tries.

"Yes, yes, I'll send you a care package," Fi says dismissively. "When are we going to meet him, huh?"

"As soon as you can get the boys to promise to behave," Mick says, meaning his uncles.

"So, Christmas?"

"Not this year," Mick says firmly. "Too soon, and anyway we're celebrating Hannukah with his sister."

"He's Jewish and he has a sister!" Fi cheers. "That's the most news we've had. I'm going to go lord it over the boys, now, thanks, babe. Next year, though - no excuses!"

Mick rolls his eyes and goes back to Len.

It's not a week after the grenades arrive, much to Len's glee, that Mick discovers something that he might have overlooked.

Len hates the Families.

Central isn't a Brady spot - they have an iron grip on their part of Keystone and no interest in starting something for a city that Uncle Paddy fondly refers to as being literally in the middle of nowhere instead of just adjacent to it - but it has its fair share: Santinis, Darbyinians, Aleskovs...

And Len despises them all. Not just dislikes or disdains, which Mick can understand, but hates with the sort of backbreaking effort that leaves him breathless and makes his eyes glisten bright unshed tears of rage.

It's not like Mick planned to lure Len into joining the Family business or anything - Len's plan of absolute independence was one of his appeals - but it occurs to him that this could be a problem.

"I think I have a problem," he tells Lisa glumly. She looks up from where she's painting his nails, tongue stick out sideways in concentration.

"How's that?" she asks. "What'd my brother do now?"

"You're a very cynical child, anyone ever tell you that? It could be something unrelated to your brother."

"No, 'cause then something'd be on fire," Lisa says firmly.

For a preteen, Lisa's pretty smart.

"Your brother really doesn't like the Families, does he?" Mick asks. "It doesn't seem like it's one in particular, which no one could fault a man for, but it's all of them."

"Yeah," Lisa says, making a face. "Our dad freelances for the Families."

Mick has heard enough said - or not-said - about Len and Lisa's father that he'd been seriously considering asking Auntie Fi to put a hit on him as his Christmas present.

"So he doesn't like them 'cause your dad works with them?"

"That's one reason," Lisa agrees. "Dad always finds a way to put Lenny under his thumb whenever they meet, so Len tries to avoid him."

"What's the other reason?" Mick asks.

"I don't know," Lisa says sadly. She's old enough to learn that if Len is hiding something from her, it's usually something bad that's happened. "But I've got a guess that it's got something to do with him going away to summer camp when he was thirteen."

Lewis would never pay for summer camp for his kids, and Len didn't go to juvie till fourteen. And if Lewis worked with the Families - Families plural - then Len was probably spending some time with a Family as collateral for Lewis' behavior, because Lewis might be a piece of shit, but he was a possessive one. Len and Lisa had both mistaken that possessiveness for affection too many times.

Shit.

Len’s never going to want to meet Mick’s family.

Maybe he can just not ever mention it?

-----------------------------------

“Thanks for bailing me out of there, Uncle Paddy,” Mick says. “Now where’s Len?”

“Who?”

“Save the bullshit for someone who doesn’t know you have spies watching me,” Mick says. “My partner. You didn’t leave him in there, did you?”

“I didn’t have any reason to think I needed to go after him,” Paddy protests. “You’ve never brought him home for the holidays, never bring him around to say hello, we barely see you – ”

Uncle Paddy!

“He’ll be fine,” Paddy says grumpily. “I paid off his bail as well, don’t you worry.”

“Then why isn’t he here?” Mick demands.

“How would he know where –”

“He’d know,” Mick says darkly. “And him not being here’s not a good sign.”

Len wouldn’t just ditch him, at least. He’d show up to yell it out first, in that painfully composed non-yelling way of his, with that horrible expression like he’s willingly sawing off one of his own limbs because he thinks it’s necessary, but he’d do it, and that’ll give Mick a chance to beg forgiveness.

The only question, then, is why isn’t he here?

“You’re really worried,” Paddy says, frowning.

Mick crosses his arms across his chest, hugging himself to ward off the sudden chill. “He ought to be here,” he repeats.

“Maybe they’re just taking extra time to bring him out? I can have one of my boys go ‘round to check.”

Mick nods stiffly.

“You really don’t need to worry, though,” Paddy says. “I dropped him off with his pa, and –”

“You did what?” Mick roars, spinning to face his uncle.

Paddy pauses. “Not good?”

Not good.”

“Shit,” Paddy says, and it’s only the fact that he really means it that keeps Mick from slugging him, uncle or no uncle. “I’ll send my boys to go talk to them and say we need him quick as anything, have him meet us at the house. Don’t you worry, Mickey.”

He doesn’t say they’ll get there before anything bad will happen, because Mick knows they won’t.

Len is escorted into the house by some of Paddy’s enforcers, and he’s terrified. Mick’s chest hurts just looking at him, because his face is flat as a ruler but his eyes are just the slightest bit too white around the edges, and Len didn’t even look that scared when he was about to get shivved in juvie.

Maybe he can ask for a mob war against whoever Len was staying with that summer for his birthday?

“Hey, Len,” Mick says, trying to play it casual, but somehow Len’s face twists even worse and Mick suddenly realizes that he thinks they’re going to use the two of them against each other, the way Len’s dad always threatens Lisa when he wants Len to do something for him, and that, worst of all, it's going to work. And Lenny knows it and hates it. Holy crap. Lenny really loves him. “It’s okay.”

Len smiles, lips pale with the effort. “Sure thing, Mick.”

“No, it’s okay,” Mick says, reaching up and rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. He really should have brought this up ahead of time. “Um. You remember all those stories I told you, ‘bout my family?”

Len frowns. “Yeah?”

“I may not have mentioned that they weren’t just my family, they were also, uh, a Family.”

Len’s eyebrows go up. “Your family works with the Brady mob?”

“No, not exactly –”

“So you’re the ne’erdowell that’s been keeping our Mickey from coming home on the holidays,” Paddy says cheerfully as he rolls into the room. “Good to finally meetcha! Paddy Brady, at your service – hope my boys didn’t give you too much trouble; Mick wanted you found stat.”

Mick winces.

Len’s eyebrows go up even more.

“I’m going to be the envy of the family, meeting you first,” Paddy says confidentially. “You ought to have heard my sister Fi when she managed to extract some details out of Mickey here – like taking teeth from a donkey, she said, which to be frank is probably a good comparison if you’ve ever felt him kick –”

Uncle Paddy!”

Len mouths ‘Uncle Paddy’.

“What?” Paddy says, turning to look at Mick. “It’s your own fault, you know, keeping him away for so long. We’ve had time to think about all the terrible stories we want to tell him about.”

“You’d better not,” Mick hisses, but he’s too busy looking at the humor slide back into Len’s eyes as the absurdity of the situation sinks in, and now there’s a little smile dancing around Len’s lips, and suddenly everything seems bright again.

“You know, I’ve always wanted to meet Mick’s family,” Len drawls earnestly, which has Mick gaping because that is a total lie, Len hasn’t said anything about wanting to meet Mick’s family, not once, ever. “It’s nice to meet you, ah –”

“Please, please, call me Paddy. I’ve already sent word that you’re both here – and staying for dinner, Mick, it’s the least you can do – and you’ll have a positive hornet’s nest of Bradys descending on you, so you may as well skip to the first name basis. Besides, you’re family! Might as well.”

Len’s hand falls on Mick’s arm and squeezes the sort of tight that communicates “we’re going to be Discussing This later”, but Len smirks and shrugs. “Pleasure to meet you, Paddy,” he says smoothly. “Leonard Snart, though I’m sure you know that.”

“Of course, of course,” Paddy says cheerfully, because concepts like discretion don’t run in Mick’s blood. “Now you two make yourself comfortable while I order in dinner for everyone, yeah?”

Len gives Mick a Look the second Paddy leaves the room. “Something you forgot to mention?”

“You don’t like the Families,” Mick says, feeling his face start to burn up now that it's so obviously not going to be an issue.

“Mick, they’re your family and you like them,” Len says firmly. “I could have gotten over it.” He smirks. “But I appreciate your consideration for my finer feelings.”

Mick shrugs Len’s hand off, embarrassed, but then Len flinches and that’s more important.

“You okay?” he asks.

“Peachy,” Len says, then looks like he regrets it because now Mick’s getting into his face trying to figure out what’s wrong. “Damnit, Mick! I’m fine. Just a couple of bruises for not sharing my intel on the Brady Family is all.”

“You don’t have any intel on the Brady Family,” Mick points out.

“That’s what I said,” Len says, dry as dust. “Oddly enough, with the head of the Keystone Brady branch paying my bail, Dad didn’t really believe me.”

“A couple of bruises don’t get a ‘peachy’ out of you,” Mick points out. “Spill.”

Len makes a face.

Len.”

“Dad says if I don’t get him a contact inside the Brady’s, he’ll sue for custody of Lisa back,” Len confesses.

“That’s shit,” Mick says. “But what’s the problem? I can get you a contact.”

“But it’s your family,” Len says, looking miserable. “And you actually like them. I don’t want them to have to depend on mine for anything.”

Lewis Snart would as soon double-cross the Bradys as look at them, Mick knows. He shakes his head. “Don’t worry,” he says. “My family’ll take care of it. We’ll put one those guys in charge of managing suspected turncoats or something as his contact.”

“Those guys’ time doesn’t come cheap,” Len says skeptically. “Why waste it on a nobody like my Dad?”

“Because I asked?” Mick says, because that’s how it’s always been. He’s never had to think about things like cost or time or anything.

He tells Len as much.

“Holy crap,” Len says when he’s done. “You’re the princess.”

What?

“You know, like in the Yakuza! In the movies, I mean; there’s the whole Yakuza family and then there’s the cute little innocent granddaughter of the big boss, and she’s never involved with the bad things they do because she wants to go her own way and be legit, but everything she wants they get for her, no questions asked, because she’s the big boss’s favorite…”

“I am not a princess,” Mick says, even though the rest of that doesn’t sound as far off as he might prefer. It’s not his fault he’s their favorite. (Though one could argue that it is his fault that he’s the sole surviving member of their favorite long-estranged now-dead sister’s family, but Mick’s shrink has been working with him about not dwelling on bad thoughts like that.)

“Everybody loves you, don’t they? Even when they don’t much like each other?”

“…maybe,” Mick concedes. “But I’m not a princess!”

“You must be Len!” Fi calls out before she even barrels into the room. “I’m Auntie Fi, I’m sure Mick’s never mentioned me, but it’s so good to meet you at last!”

“And you,” Len says. “Thanks for the grenades.”

“So happy you liked them! You really must come check out my armory and go shopping before you head out on your own again – Mickey’s got great taste in explosives, but when it comes to guns he’s so boring – he’ll take anything that bangs –”

“Well, that definitely sounds like Mick,” Len says, pressing his lips together to keep from laughing, because he never could resist a terrible pun.

Fi doesn’t bother to hide her cackling.

“I’m sorry for intruding.”

“Hardly!” Fi exclaims, putting her hands on her hips. “Why, you’ve got Thomas and Conner to stop fighting and make up the little territorial spat they’ve been having ‘cause we told them they couldn’t come meet you if they didn’t, and everyone wants to meet Mickey’s partner that’s made him so happy all these years.”

Fi keeps talking, but Len manages to find time to look around her at Mick and mouth “princess” at him.

Mick flips him off.

Then the rest of the family comes bustling in, and it gets too loud to talk further.

-------------------------

"Do you know, I think your Aunt Fi is visiting Lisa at college?" Len says, curled up on his coach and luxuriating the way he always did after a job well done. He's propped the painting they stole across the room where he can see it without lifting his head.

Mick is more interested in the vast amounts of cash they lifted from the gallery's safe, happily counting it out and thinking of all the beer they'll be able to buy with it. Enough to fill a swimming pool in fancy champagne, actually.

He wonders if that's a real thing, and if he can convince Len he really wants to try it. Len would look good dripping with wine, delectable and delicious.

Admittedly, Mick can't even imagine the scene without seeing Len having his nose all wrinkled up and his lips in a scowl like a cat abruptly stuck in a sudden downpour, but a man's got to have ambitions.

"That so?" he asks absently. "They've always hit it off."

"I don't want Lisa's time at MIT screwed up with mob stuff," Len complains, but Mick can tell his heart isn't in it. He just wants to brag about Lisa making it into MIT again.

“Sure, sure. Do you think this is a lot of cash for a gallery to be handling? I thought it was a lot when we picked it up, even accounting for someone paying in cash for a painting or two, but it’s a lot.”

“Of course it’s a lot,” Len yawns. “It’s a money laundering front for the Darbinyians.”

Mick pauses.

“What?”

“Lenny, you’ve got to let me know before you get us into a mob war,” Mick lectures. “Maybe my family’d like to know about it, huh?”

“Oops,” Len says, utterly unapologetic.

“Lenny…”

“It’s not like anyone associates Mick Rory with the Brady Family,” Len points out, not without some pride.

It’s fairly well deserved – even Uncle Thomas, always the hardest in the family to impress, had begrudgingly admitted that the first name that comes to mind when you mention Mick Rory in criminal circles is Leonard Snart, and everyone knows how much Leonard Snart dislikes working with the Families. Fi and Paddy have an entire wall of framed newspaper articles relating to their heists, even though Mick has told them repeatedly that it makes them look like serial killer stalkers.

He thinks they might be taking that as a compliment.

Ugh, family.

“I meant a mob war with us,” Mick says grumpily. “Why’d you need all the cash anyway?”

“Maybe I wanted the painting.”

“You don’t even like impressionists.”

“I could learn to.”

Mick gives Len his best glare.

“Fine, fine,” Len says. “I was thinking we might want to go on vacation.”

“Vacation?” Mick asks, puzzled. “Back to one of the Family’s places in the Caribbean?”

“No,” Len says, sitting up. “Iceland.”

Iceland? Why?”

“Volcanos and holiday rituals involving fire,” Len says. “Plus enough glaciers to keep even my temperature down.”

“Okay,” Mick says agreeably, though still confused. “Sounds like a fun trip. What are we stealing?”

Len shrugs. “I guess we’ll see when we get there if there’s anything worth taking,” he says dismissively.

Mick’s eyebrows go up. “We’re not going there specifically to steal something?”

“No, I just thought it’d be a fun trip, get away from it all,” Len says, shrugging a little. “I know your Family’s been having some FBI problems –”

“Nothing serious,” Mick says with a return shrug. They might not let him know everything that's going on, but they usually give him a temperature reading, and right now the RICO issues still hovering at 'pain in the ass' rather than 'actual concern'.

“I know, but still. If there’s going to be a big Family gathering, the FBI’s going to be all ears and eyes and everything, and that means it’s going to be annoying as hell going anywhere on Family money. So I figured we’d fund the trip all on our own.”

“Big gathering?” Mick asks, frowning. It’s not the holidays, and the family tends to prefer to yell at each other by phone during the rest of the year, because the Family is split into semi-autonomous branches for very good reasons. Namely, that they can’t be in a room together for more than a ten minutes without squabbling.

“Yeah,” Len says, flopping back down and staring at the ceiling. “I thought Iceland was a good pick, don’t you?”

“Sure,” Mick says, deciding Len’s weirdness isn’t worth arguing about.

“Got stuff for both of us to be interested in.”

“Yeah.”

“Even aside from the hot and cold nature stuff, there’s also museums and hot springs and stuff.”

“Nice.”

“Might be fun just kicking back and relaxing.”

“Sure.”

"Plus, plenty of banks and stuff."

"Yeah."

“It’s not the most popular honeymoon destination, but I think it’ll suit.”

“Sure.”

“Glad we agree.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you think two, three months is enough time for your family to plan out the ceremony?”

“Sure, Fi likes to say with her pull, she can plan anything in a month and a half – ” Mick pauses, mentally rewinding the conversation and examining it. “Len, did you just ask me to marry you?”

Len is suspiciously quiet.

Mick thinks about it some more. “Yeah, that’ll be a pretty big gathering,” he finally decides. “They’re going to invite the whole extended, you realize? Not just Fi and the boys – all the grandparents and granduncles and cousins and in-laws and –”

“That’s why I thought we might want to get out of there immediately after,” Len says earnestly. “I’d elope if we could, but I’m pretty sure the only place in the country we can do it legally is in Boston, and I’m not dumb enough to try to elope in Boston with the Brady Family princess and think I can do it without the Irish mob finding out.”

“Not a princess,” Mick says, automatically by this point.

Then he recalls an old promise extracted by Fi and sighs, reaching over for the phone to start dialing her up.

“Who’re you calling?”

“Fi,” Mick says glumly.

“Ah, yes…”

“Hi, Mickey!” Fi chirps in his ear. “What’s up? What’s new? You never call me unless it’s under the exciting news covenant!”

“Yeah, Len just asked me to marry him,” Mick says, then holds the phone away from his ear when Fi lets out an ear-splitting screech at a pitch so high that Mick suspects older people wouldn’t be able to hear it. He puts it on speakerphone, because there’s no reason Len shouldn’t suffer as well.

Len gives him a dirty look.

“He did! He did! Oh, Mickey! I'm so happy! When did this happen?”

“Just now,” Mick says, puzzled. “You told me to call you as soon as anything exciting happened. That’s the covenant.”

“Oh, sweet Jesus, Mickey, your priorities are messed up. You said yes, I take it?”

“Actually,” Len drawls. “He hadn’t gotten to the answering part yet.”

Michael Christopher Rory, you answer that boy this instant or I’ll shoot your goddamn balls off!”

“Please don’t,” Len says. “I’m rather attached to them.”

Mick puts his head into his hands in a gesture of despair and surrender, but mostly to hide his grin.

Now that Len’s going to be a real part of the family, he doesn’t know which side to feel bad for.

----------------------------

“No, Fi,” Mick says, phone shoved between his ear and his shoulder as he wanders around the storehouse. Len looks up from where he’s lounging on the couch, reading a magazine. “It’s fine, Fi. Please don’t kill the superhero, Fi. He does good work. First off, I didn’t get hurt – yes, I know you saw that explosion on the news, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked. Yes, I’m fine. Really. Totally fine. Cops were fine. Prison break went fine. Everything is fine. We're just having a bit of fun with the superhero, that's all.”

He pauses for a while, listens.

“Yes, it’s all consensual,” he lies.

Another pause.

“No, I’m not lying.”

Another pause, longer this time.

“Yes, Lenny’s here. I’ll let you talk to him.”

“You hate me, I knew it,” Len grumbles, but he takes the phone. “Uh, hi, Aunt Fi.”

Then he holds the phone at arms’ length to avoid having his eardrums burst out.

Mick snickers.

Yes, I’m gonna take care of him!” Len says into the phone desperately. “I promise – yes, better than last time, sheesh. It’s not like I lit that fire!”

He flinches at the amount of cursing pouring out of the phone.

“Yes, I should have done more at the time,” Len tells the phone. “I’m sorry. I’ve told Mick I’m sorry –”

He hasn’t, but when faced with Auntie Fi, you embroider the truth wherever necessary.

It’s okay. Mick understood what he meant anyway.

“And anyway, we’ve made up. Just like you always said we would. Because we’re stupid men and we don’t talk about our feelings. Which we will from now on. Because we’re not going to break your heart like that again – yes, I fully understand what you’ll do to me if I let Mick get hurt or heartbroken again. You’ve explained at great length. Several times. So what’s the problem?”

Her voice drops to a regular level and Len brings the phone back to his ear.

Then he sits up straight. “I am not leading your precious baby into perdition! Goddamnit, you’re a mobster assassin! You have no place to judge!”

Mick starts laughing, big, uncontrollable belly laughs.

“I am not being a bad influence! Supervillain is a perfectly legit choice of career! Especially given that we were already thieves!”

Mick has to put his head between his hands.

“What do you mean, unreliable? What the hell’s unreliable about it?!”

Mick’s gonna bust a rib.

"It has nothing to do with my comic book collection! I'm not - living out my infantile dreams? Where the hell do you get this stuff?"

Mick slams his fist down on the table, but it doesn't help; he's still laughing too hard to breathe.

“No, I am not collecting royalties, why the hell would I be collecting royalties?!”

Mick howls.

“Wait a hot second right there - what do you mean, action figures?!”

--------------------------

“I could get to like it here,” Mick says, throwing an arm around one of his brand-new groupies. Fire, violence, theft, sex, beer – what’s not to like? 2046 is the best.

Len’s being a sourpuss as always, of course.

“I’ve let you have your fun,” Len says. “Now enough of this crap, or I’ll pull out the big guns.”

“Big guns, huh?” Mick says, arching his eyebrows. “What’s that?”

He pulls the girl in closer pointedly. If Len thinks he’s going to win this by reference to their marriage, he’s got another thing coming, even if he is undoubtedly going to make Mick pay for the unauthorized flirting. Still, this is a fantastic era, and Mick doesn’t see any reason to leave, and unless Len’s got a really good argument…

“The larger the family, Mick, the more likely it survives,” Len says, crossing his arms. “And expands.”

“What?” Mick says, temporarily put off. He’s not sure what Len means.

“This is Starling, Mick. Your uncle Danny’s territory.”

“So? It’s been thirty years.”

“Yeah, only thirty years. Hey, all of you,” Len says, raising his voice to a bellow. “Raise a hand: who here’s ever heard of the Brady Family?”

Thirty hands go up.

Mick starts to get a sinking feeling in his stomach.

“And how many of you have heard about Mickey Brady?”

Most of those hand stay up.

Damnit, Mick should’ve known better than to challenge Len when Len started talking about the big guns.

“I bet his family’s dying to know what happened to him, right? Why he disappeared on ‘em like that? Probably offering up some sort of reward?”

Roar of agreement.

Mick very slowly removes his arm from the girl at his side. “Len,” he says warningly. “Don’t do something we’re all gonna regret.”

Len smiles at him with teeth. “Why don’t you ask your girl for help?” he says pleasantly. “I’m just having a conversation with your little fan club. Nice – harmless – conversation.”

“On second thought, maybe we should go find the rest of the crew,” Mick says hastily. “And leave. Now.”

“First man to find me access to a Brady gets to split the reward money with me,” Len calls.

Fuck you,” Mick says.

“Thirty years,” Len says with a smile. “You know, if she’s anything like that quasi-immortal grand-aunt of yours, your Auntie Fi’s probably still around…or at least her daughter is…raised with all sorts of stories about you, I’d wager, the precious, darling baby of the Brady family…oh, and there’s probably nieces…nephews…grand-nieces…grand-nephews…in-laws…I’m sure they’ve all heard about you…”

“I’m going to go rescue our teammates,” Mick says, turning on his heel. “Feel free to catch up whenever.”

“But Mick,” Len says, following behind him with a really annoying smug tone in his voice. “I thought you liked this era. I thought you wanted to stay in this era.”

“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you…”

“You’re probably a legend, really,” Len says. “I can see the stories now: princess goes missing, isn't found in another castle…”

Mick glances backwards. The crowd is talking avidly. Hands are being waved. People are very excited.

Oh, look. Cell phones are still a thing in this era.

Run,” he tells Len, and beats a hasty retreat.

Even if she is likely to be ninety or something by now, he doesn’t want to face his Auntie Fi’s wrath.

------------------------------

Barry struggles to his feet and Mick catches him with his free hand, wielding his heat gun defensively. “Where’s Len?” Mick demands, because he is not in the mood for any nonsense.

Mostly because Barry is almost certainly at fault for this whole stupid alternate universe metahuman army invasion anyway.

He’s definitely at fault for beguiling Len into agreeing to help fight the aforementioned army invasion. Mick liked it better when they were purely supervillains, but nooooo, they had to go off and time travel and get recruited to the side of light, so now they have to help out when this sort of shit happens.

Goddamn Lenny.

“There was a wave of them –” Barry coughs, wiping the dust off his face. “He lured them off towards the bank after I got smashed into the wall – ”

“By himself,” Mick says. Goddamn Lenny.

“Um,” Barry says.

“You let him go against a wave of metas by himself.”

“I’m sorry?” Barry says helplessly.

“You’d better be,” Mick says. “Now get your ass back in gear and lets go find him before he gets himself killed, because if he dies –”

“Yeah, yeah, you’ll kill me.”

“No,” Mick says patiently. “I won’t. I’ll burn your feet off at the knee so you can’t run anywhere, then I’ll burn every member of your family, your friends, and acquaintances, up to and including your goddamn barista, and then I’ll ice you to death with Len’s cold gun. In memorium.”

“Um,” Barry says, staring at him with wide eyes.

“You know, people never seem to think I’m scary anymore,” Mick says, shaking his head sadly. “Is it the superhero name? Is it not intimidating enough? Too much ‘beach-time fun’, not enough ‘murder by burning’?”

“I’m plenty scared right now?” Barry offers.

“Good.”

“If I could do something more…” Barry says.

“It’s fine,” Mick says. “Let’s just keep Len from dying until my back-up plan shows up.”

“I thought all the Legends were already helping fight against Zoom?” Barry says, blinking and looking about as surprised as he’d been when they’d flown the Waverider onto the roof of STAR Labs and volunteered their assistance. Of course, he’d been happy to accept their offer a minute later, pushing back his hood to beam at them.

Then Mick had asked for an introduction, being as he seemed like the only person who didn’t know the Flash’s secret identity.

Cisco had complimented Len’s discretion.

(Len had, in the midst of bragging about his brilliance, offered to tell Mick. Mick hadn’t actually cared.)

“Not the crew,” Mick says. “Called my family for some back-up.”

“You have a family?” Barry asks, bemused.

“Well, it sure as hell wasn’t a stork I came out of, kid.”

Barry’s blush extends past his cowl, huh, who knew.

“I just meant –”

“I know what you ‘just meant’. Let’s go.”

They find Len in the center of trouble as always.

In this case, he’s literally surrounded by metahumans, crackling with electricity, poison gas, hedgehog quills…and one guy whose skill is pale blue and whose fingers crackle with ice, who Len seems to be convincing to test his skills against Len’s cold gun.

“Lenny and his big mouth,” Mick says, shaking his head in fond exasperation. Only Len.

“Is he – is he really starting a betting ring about this? In the middle of a fight?”

“Well, you gotta have rules about betting,” Mick says. “Or else it’s just a free-for-all and no one ends up happy.”

In the middle of a fight?

“Why not?”

“Zoom’s going to find out and come kill them all,” Barry says grimly, hand automatically going to his back. Zoom broke it, Mick’s heard.

“Well, my Len’s only got one back,” Mick says dryly. “And I’d prefer it in one piece. I say we tranq ‘em all and worry about the details later.”

“Tranquilize them? With what?” Barry says. “Even if Cisco could whip up some tranquilizers in the lab, he wouldn’t have enough for all of these people.”

“Yeah, and we don’t want to risk hitting them on the head and causing them all serious concussions,” Mick says.

That’d been Barry’s original suggestion, and Mick is never going to let him forget it.

“So what do we do? After they finish the test, they’re going to kill him.”

“As I said, tranq ‘em.”

“But we just said –”

“That we don’t have any,” Mick says, nodding at the little flash of light of a woman’s hand mirror as she applied her lipstick on the edges of the battlefield. The metas had absorbed them into her group as one of them, not noticing that she perhaps didn’t quite fit in. “Doesn’t mean there aren’t any.”

The woman snaps her mirror shut.

Tranq guns have a very distinct sound, particularly when fired by three dozen foot soldiers at once. And horse tranquilizers of a certain degree work very quickly.

Standing in the middle of a whole circle of collapsed bodies, Len waves at Fi, who waves back before slipping off into the darkness.

“What the hell,” Barry says.

Mick puts a hand on his shoulder. “You know the game Cowboys vs. Ninjas?”

“Yeah?”

“Ninjas would totally win that, because they're awesome. Anyway, that’s unimportant right now. We’re about to see Mobsters vs. Metahumans.”

“That feels like a bad idea,” Barry says. “Zoom’s pretty dangerous – and where are the mobsters coming from, anyway?”

“Keystone, mostly,” Mick says with a shrug. “Bunch from Central, too.”

“Yes, but – why?

“Hey, Mick,” Len says, walking up to the two of them. “Nice save.”

“He didn’t do anything,” Barry says blankly.

“Other than bringing the full force of the Irish mob’s rage down on Zoom’s army’s head, you mean?”

“The Irish mob? Heatwave’s part of the Irish mob?”

“No,” Mick says. “I’m not involved in mob stuff.”

“They just like to hurt people that bother Mick,” Len puts in, because he’s a little shit.

“Not often,” Mick objects.

Len gives him a Look.

Okay.

Maybe kind of often.

They’re a little overprotective, give him a break.

“Wait, you got the Irish mob to attack the metahumans from Earth 2? How?!”

“I asked,” Mick says blankly. Why do people find this so hard to understand? Family’s family.

“And you’re not a mobster?”

“No,” Mick says. “Just related.”

“He’s a mob princess,” Len says in a stage whisper.

“I have no idea what’s happening right now,” Barry says.

Things start exploding.

“Looks like Auntie Fi’s started her assault on the building they’ve been working on,” Mick observes.

“We should probably go keep Zoom busy to give them a fighting chance,” Len says.

“Is it even morally okay for a superhero to fight on the same side as mobsters?” Barry asks worriedly.

“Sure,” Len says.

“You have no moral compass,” Mick reminds Len.

“So?”

“Maybe you’re not the best qualified to answer the question, that’s all.”

“He’s saving the city; what does he care who helps?”

Mobsters,” Barry says.

“Several types, actually,” Mick says proudly. “Auntie Fi put up a bounty, so we’ve actually got a little competition among Central City Families to try to get them as well.”

“I feel dirty,” Barry says.

“You’re not alone,” Len says. “But beggars can’t be choosers when the city’s being attacked by an army of evil metahumans. Take your help where you can get it.”

“I’m calling your mobster family in to help with Grodd next time he shows up,” Barry says resentfully.

“Don’t you dare,” Mick says, horrified. “Auntie Fi might hire him.”