DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Perchance to Dream
by Gabrielle Lawson
Lisa waited until thirty minutes after he left the shower. Then she took off her shoes and walked sock-footed to her bedroom. She had to see him again, to remind herself he was really there. It had seem so unreal, like a dream she'd wake up from.
She waited for her eyes to adjust to the dark and looked to the bed.
He was gone. She felt like she'd been punched in the gut. It was a dream. He was still gone.
Then she heard something like a whimper and she stepped further into the room. He was there! At the far side of the bed. She went to him. His knees were pulled up tight to his chin and he was shaking.
She droped to her knees beside him. "What's wrong?" She touched his arm, then the side of his face until he looked at her.
"It burns," he cried to her in a whisper. "It hurts.
Lisa dug into her pocket where her phone was. She found Cisco's number and called. It took a few rings until he picked up.
"Something's wrong!" she told him, panicked for her brother's sake. "I thought he would be asleep!"
"Oh." Cisco sighed. "The range. He's probably can't reach Gideon."
"Um, some software we cooked up to help him sleep. But it's, uh, hosted here at Star Labs. His tablet is probably too far to synch with it."
"Well, do something!" she ordered, frantic. "Leonard—he's—he says it burns."
"Okay, unlock your door. I'll send the Flash to help."
Reluctantly, she left Lenny there and went back to the living room. She unlocked the door then threw the clothes and boxes around to make a path for the speedster.
There was a rush of wind and then he was there. "Where is he?"
Lisa sniffed then wiped her tears. "My bedroom."
Barry was groggy from having just been asleep but the run though the city had given him a good jolt. She pointed him to the far side of the bed. The room was still dark, but he could see his way across the room. Snart was in a fetal position, pressed between the bed and the wall. He was shaking and trying to keep his eyes open. So this was why he'd been so desperate for Gideon's help. This was what happened if he slept without her. Barry could still see the device attached to Snart's temple.
"He's wearing it," he told Cisco, back at Star Labs.
"Gotta be range," Cisco's voice responded in his ear. "If Gideon weren't in the Time Vault, he'd probably be fine. I'll have to work up some signal repeaters."
"And I'll install them," Barry replied.
"I can vibe—" Cisco started to say.
"I'll be faster."
"Yeah," Barry said. "Just work fast, okay?"
Barry turned his attention to Snart. He was fine when he was awake earlier, and he wasn't sleeping now. So why wasn't he fine? If he'd fallen asleep and dreamed himself back to the explosion... That could have woken him up. Sort of.
Barry knelt down beside him. He tapped the side of Snart's face with his hand. "Come on, Snart," he said. "You need to wake all the way up."
Snart squinted into the darkness. "Barry?" he whispered.
"Flash," Barry corrected, noting Lisa's presence in the doorway. He grabbed the man's arms and started hauling him to his feet in the cramped space. He looked to Lisa. "Can you make some coffee?"
She nodded and left. Barry pulled one of Snart's arms over his shoulder and walked him out from the side of the bed. "You had a bad dream," he told the man.
"Not a dream," Snart said. "Gideon."
"Just too far," Barry answered, pulling him toward the bedroom door. Snart's head dropped and his body started to sag.
Barry shook him. "No, no, stay awake." Snart's head snapped up again. "Cisco's working on it. You just need to stay awake until he gets it fixed."
They made it to the kitchen area. Lisa hurriedly cleared two chairs and a spot on the table. She put a mug down there.
The light was on in here and he could now see Snart's eyes were bloodshot, but they were open. Snart's hand shook but he reached for the mug. Barry helped him take a drink so he wouldn't spill it on himself. Snart set the mug down again and rubbed his yes with the balls of his hands. "I'm not dead," he whispered as if he was trying to convince himself. "I'm not dead."
"You're not," Barry confirmed. "You're alive, you're whole."
Snart blew out a shaky breath.
"What was it?" Barry asked, though he thought he knew.
"I was back there. Exploding," Snart answered. "Burning."
Barry felt awful for him. And kind of amazed. This was not the Leonard Snart he'd first met back in 2014. But he was the hero Barry had sensed he could be, though he'd probably take offense at the title.
"Always there?" Cisco still hadn't said he was ready. Barry hoped talking would keep Snart awake long enough.
"Sometimes farther back. But it still comes to that. And after." He was staring at the wall beyond the table.
"You remember after?" Wasn't' he dead or at least very close to dead after?
"Not a memory," Snart breathed and Barry remembered seeing Snart standing in the control center while his body slept in the med bay. The Snart he'd seen could travel through time. He wasn't remembering being there. He was really there.
"It's just dark," Snart went on. "And it hurts. It burns."
"And without Gideon," Barry concluded, "you're stuck there."
"Got it!" Cisco's voice sounded loud in Barry's ear.
Barry signed and smiled. "Cisco's got the repeaters. I'm going to install them. Stay here. I'll be right back." He stood and walked to the kitchen where Lisa waited. "Keep him awake if you can, until we're sure the device works."
She nodded but he could see the tears on her cheeks. At least before she could have believed he'd gone quickly, instantly, without suffering. Now she knew he'd suffered, was still suffering. The state of the apartment told him it hadn't helped much even to think of that quick death.
He nodded and set off, running as fast as he could back to Star Labs.
Cisco met him outside with the equipment. He showed him on a tablet, three locations on a map of the city. "Go to the Time Vault," Barry suggested. "I'll want Gideon to verify he can synchronize."
"Sounds like it was pretty bad," Cisco said.
"He relives it," Barry told him. "For real."
Cisco nodded and turned back for the building. Barry headed back into the night.
"What's it like," Lisa asked, "when you have Gideon?" She squeezed his arm when he yawned hard.
"Strange," he replied. "Still start there. But she tells me I can get up. I can leave it."
"You can't do that yourself?"
He shook his head in slight movements. "I can't think there. Not until she talks to me. After that, I remember who I am. I remember what I can do. So I think of a time and place I want to see. Them I'm there."
"Did you come here?" She wiped at her tears.
He nodded. "I didn't want this for you."
She pursed her lips for a moment while she thought about what to say. "I tried. I just couldn't do it without you. The heists and all. When I thought you were just somewhere else, when you were on that ship, I could. You were fine. You were on an adventure. But after Mick told me"—She fingered her pendant—"I just didn't have the heart for it anymore."
He nodded and put his other hand over hers on his arm. "I can't be who I was, do what I did before."
At that moment, the door burst open and the rush of air told them the Flash was back before she could see him. "You should be good to go," he said.
Leonard try to stand, but nearly fell over. Flash caught his arm on one side. Lisa took the other.
"Is you tablet in the other room?" he asked. "Let's make sure it can synchronize."
Lisa didn't understand the technology that could reach inside Lenny's sleeping mind though the little device on his temple, or what kind of software Gideon was. But if this Gideon could help him get out of that fire, she wanted it to work.
She saw the tablet on the night stand and let go of Lenny to retrieve it. She handed it her brother as Flash sat him back on the bed. Lenny clumsily flipped it on. The device on his temple blinked a few times then its light turned solid before blinking off.
"Great, Cisco, thanks." Flash said. "Gideon just confirmed the synch. You can sleep now."
Lenny sighed and flopped on his side until his head was on the pillow. He hugged the tablet to his chest while the Flash put his legs on the bed and Lisa covered him with the blanket. Flash then retreated to the living room. She backed out, too, and felt embarrassed as Flash looked at the mess. "I was going to clean it tonight," she said. "Surprise him in the morning."
He smiled. "I can help. I don't know which clothes are clean or dirty, but the dishes I can manage."
Lisa shook her head. "You don't need to. You can go home and sleep yourself."
His smile widened. "It will only take a minute." Then, in a blur, he zipped to the sink and, true to his word, he was done. No more dirty dishes in the sink. He'd washed, rinsed, and dried every one. Now they were neatly stacked on the counter.
She didn't understand why he was so nice. "He tried to kill you, you know," you said. "Why are you helping him?"
His smile this time was soft. "I saw something in him. Just like Cisco saw something in you. I happen to know there haven't been any burglaries by a woman with a gold gun in the last year." He glanced at the table where her gun peaked out behind some towels. "And I was right about him."
"It got him killed," she accused. But there was no heat in the statement.
"Almost killed," he corrected. "I know. And I'm glad it was only almost. Goodnight, Lisa." He nodded and then he was gone. She went to the door and locked each of the locks in turn. She checked back in on her brother, but he was quiet and still. So she went to the kitchen and put the dishes away in the cabinet. Then she started in on the clothes. While she worked, she thought about how Cisco had helped her, even after she'd helped Lenny kidnap him. And how he'd invited her to the grief support group.
So what if she hadn't pulled off a heist in the last year? She'd been grieving. Besides, she didn't need to rob anyone. She could literally make gold. She could buy anything she wanted. She stopped and looked around. She could hire a maid.
She chuckled at that. Then she shifted some more clothes and uncovered two crates. And she knew from the grief support group that she'd covered them because it hurt to look at them, knowing they were Lenny's and Lenny was gone. But it didn't hurt now. Lenny was asleep in her bedroom. He was home.
Leonard Snart went back to the Time Bureau in his dreams. It was quiet and empty, locked up for the night. That, however, was no problem for him. He just thought himself beyond the doors and he was there. His first stop was Hunter's office. Unlike on the Waverider, Hunter kept his office neat and organized. There wasn't even a coffee cup on the desk. There were a few file folders stacked crisply on the corner in what was, apparently, an "in" box. Snart sat down in Rip's chair and looked at the computer screen. Locked. Even if he had the password, he probably couldn't type it in.
Gideon had thought he needed practice. Well, he had all night, or many nights, to practice here. And maybe the increasing levels of temporal energy weren't a bad thing. Maybe they would allow him to do more as they increased. He stood and walked back to the foyer. There were a lot of tacky, white couches aligned on three sides, a few standing plants in the corners, and a spinning disk near the ceiling with the Time Bureau's logo. His gaze went back to the plants. Leaves should be easy enough.
He walked to a corner where one leave plant stood between two couches. He looked closer. Plastic. Just as tacky as the couches. The leaves were dusty, too. Without thinking, he blew on one of the leaves to clear the dust. And it worked. He did it again. The leaf itself moved. It was a start.
He tried brushing a leaf with his hand and was gratified to see it move again. He took hold of it to stop its movement. He could feel the texture of the leaf, the coolness of the plastic. He smiled. Maybe he could move other things.
He went back to Rip's office and tried the keyboard. But his fingers went right though the desk. Too heavy? He needed something as light as the leaves. He looked to the "in" box on the corner of the desk. The file folder had no writing on it, but it was fairly thick. He put his finger on the folder and pushed down. The tip of his finger sunk into the folder but stopped just below it. Paper. Well, it was something.
He flicked his finger back toward himself and the top piece of paper slipped out a few inches. He pulled it out and started to read. It seemed to be an introduction to a demon named Mallus. He looked back at the folder. It had at least a half inch of paper still inside. Mallus must be a big deal. But not anything he was concerned with.
Ending the Time Bureau, however, was on his agenda. Unfortunately, one piece of paper wasn't going to do that. Still, he could cause some mischief and mischief was always fun. He fanned a few more pieces of paper out of the folder and spread them out on the desk until they fell to the floor. He stepped on one as he left the office.
He prowled the whole office, looking for papers and anything as light as paper or plastic plant leaves.
By the time the sun was shining in the windows, it looked like a whirlwind had blown through the corridors and offices. He heard voices and watched from Rip's office as agents walked out of the elevator and opened the double doors then stopped, mouths hanging open.
Then Rip Hunter pushed past them and stood in the middle of all those couches, spinning slowly around to take it all in. Snart smiled and walked right past him, through the doors and into Lisa's apartment. She was asleep on the couch, her long hairs splayed over a throw pillow.
The room was completely different. All the clothes were folded and stacked or sitting in baskets at the far side of the room. The dishes were washed and presumably put away in the cabinets. He looked back at his sister. She was still dressed in the clothes she wore last night. But her face looked peaceful.
He remember the night before, remembered sitting at the table with Barry. He'd tried to kill Barry on several occasions, blackmailed him to allow him his freedom in return for keeping Barry's identity secret. But still Barry helped him with no hesitation.
Rip, on the other hand... He had known Snart needed to sleep and that he needed Gideon to do that. He'd sat beside him on the floor to show him the video of his reconstruction. Why had those five years changed him so much that he'd turn on the others, blame them for what he played a part in? Or that he'd take Gideon from a man who'd been dead just four days before? He had thought Rip cared about the team, about him. He should have known better. Hunter was a Time Master.
He was getting stronger. It would take time. But Snart knew how to play the long game. He'd haunt the Time Bureau until he found the key to taking it down, with all four Time Masters hiding in it.
For now, he just sat down on the floor and watched his sister sleep. She was, and always had been, the most important person in his universe. And he knew, without any doubt, that she felt the same way about him. It was why she'd lived as a hermit in a mess when she'd known he was dead, and why she'd stayed up late cleaning that mess now that he wasn't. Their mother had been gone a long time. Leonard had killed their father. They were each their only family.
And that's how he knew he wouldn't be joining the others when they stole back the Waverider. Lisa needed him to stay.
Snart thought about just staying there, waiting for her to wake up, but he really wanted to see Rip's reaction to the chaos some more. So he stood and willed himself back the point he'd left.
Rip was turning in the foyer, bewildered. Then an older man, black and graying and wearing what looked like a permanent frown, threw open both doors. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Ah, Director," the clone replied. "We've yet to determine the cause. My assistant was just checking the security feeds. He should be back in a few minutes."
Snart found it interesting that Rip wasn't even in charge of the organization he'd built for the last five years. Rip had stopped spinning when the Director had entered. "It appears to only be paper," he said, sounding still quite puzzled.
A younger man pushed through the crowd and whispered in the clone's ear. Snart remembered him from the drive. Gary. He leaned in close to hear.
"There was no one on the tapes!" he whined. "It was like a ghost did it. It started in Mr. Hunter's Office then moved from one area to another."
She turned sharply to Rip.
"Well?" The Director was impatient.
"It would appear," she started, obviously trying to choose her words carefully, "that someone unseen threw all this paper around. He or she started in Mr. Hunter's office." She waited while Gary whispered some more. "Then moved methodically through all our offices and corridors."
The Director's frown deepened. "A meta?"
"Possible," Rip replied, trying to be useful. "I can check with Argus and—"
The Director rounded on him. "And ask them if they've heard of an invisible meta who likes to scatter paper?"
Snart was enjoying this. No, not a meta. At least he didn't think of himself as a meta. He came by his "powers" a rather unique way.
"Just get it cleaned up!" The Director scowled and stomped off toward his office, where Snart hoped he'd find some interesting reading.
"I'll check with Star Labs," Rip told the clone. "I know Mr. Ramon keeps an extensive list."
Snart sighed. Would Cisco tell Rip about him? Not good. He wasn't exactly ready to go public just yet. The reaction to his excursion was far less fun now. He decided it was time to wake up.
Waking up was easier after trekking through time and space. He felt awake within in the time travel, so coming back and waking his whole conscious mind was as simple as deciding to do so and opening his eyes.
The room had been dark the night before, but he knew it was morning so he wasn't surprised to see the room lit up with light.
Still it had not been the ten or eleven hours he'd suggested he might sleep. So he was still somewhat groggy. He found there were two opened crates in the room that weren't there last night. So he walked over to them and was happy to see some of his things from the Waverider that had been sent to Lisa after his death.
He changed into the first clothes he found there. He had to get to Cisco before Rip did. Lisa was still asleep on the couch, but he could see her phone on the end table. He wouldn't normally take and use her phone without permission, but as far as he knew, he didn't have a phone anymore. And he certainly didn't have Cisco Ramon's number.
He picked up the phone and walked back to the bedroom so he wouldn't wake his sister. Cisco's contact was right there on the screen. That's how Flash had known to come, he realized. She'd called the engineer. He pressed the call button then held the phone to his ear. It rang twice before Cicso picked up.
"Hey, Lisa, everything go better after we put up the signal repeaters?"
"Slept like a baby," Snart replied.
"Oh!" Cisco stammered for a second. "Uh, good. Glad we could help. What's up?"
"I starting thinking this morning," Snart began, "that I hadn't even told my team what I do when I sleep. But you and Barry know and that means Iris and Dr. Snow know—"
"—And Ralph Dibney," Cisco added unhelpfully.
Snart did not know who Dibney was, though the name sounded vaguely familiar. "It needs to stop there," he told the younger man. "No one else. I may not have my gun yet but my sister's works just fine. I'd hate to have to gold-plate someone's lab."
"Message received." Snart could hear in his voice that he was smiling though. His threats used to incite fear. "Oh hey, Rip Hunter is calling me."
"No one else!" Snart reiterated, hoping he hadn't woke Lisa with that outburst.
Threats weren't carrying the weight they used to. He needed a different strategy. "Might I remind you that Rip Hunter kicked us all off the Waverider just two days after I started sleeping, with Gideon's help. He knew that and didn't even offer an alternative."
Cisco sounded puzzled. "So he didn't tell you about our Gideon."
"Gideon told me about your Gideon."
The line was quiet for a moment. "Okay, that wasn't very nice of him. So he's on your naughty list. Right. No one else will be told until you want it told."
"Thank you," Snart told him then hung up. His stomach growled. He thought that now his life consisted mostly of sleeping and eating. Being alive again was very different than what he might have thought it would be. He replaced the phone on the end table then went to the kitchen to see what groceries Lisa had.
Rip called again. Argus didn't know of any meta's that were invisible. Lyla had practically chuckled when he'd mentioned the penchant for paper vandalism. Finally the call connected. "Hello?"
"Mr. Ramon, thank you for taking my call." Rip held the phone between his shoulder and his ear then started thumbing through the stack of papers now sitting haphazardly on his desk. "Our offices were visited last night by someone we can't see."
"Oh? What'd they do? Break into your servers?"
"No, but they did scatter just about every loose piece of paper in the building. Do you happen to know of any meta who might fit the bill?"
"Hmmm..." Rip heard paper turning. "Not as such. There is this one guy I've heard about. Calls himself Time Walker. Not yet clear what all he can do but he's rumored to sort of leave his body in a sense."
"Like astral projection?" Rip was half listening and half scanning papers as he flipped through them. He saw Gary passing by his doorway and waved him in.
"Yes and no." Cisco chuckled. "But really, only got rumors on this one. Can't tell you anything definite."
"Time Walker, right." Rip held up one finger to let Gary know to wait. "Thank you. If you think of anyone else..."
"I'll let you know. Bye now."
Rip set the phone down. "Gary, where'd these papers come from? They're not mine."
"No? They were the ones in your office. On the desk, the floor, the chair, under the desk—"
Rip waved a hand to cut him off. "They look like they might belong to the Director." And as soon as he said that, he felt a sinking pang in his stomach. If he had the Director's files, did the Director have his?
"Shall I take them to the Director, sir?"
Rip shook his head. "Uh, no. I'll do it myself." He waved Gary out. "Carry on."