Fandom: DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Pairings/Characters: Sara Lance/Leonard Snart, Lisa Snart, OCs
Summary: Sara brings an injured Leonard home with her just before Christmas.
Timeline: Pre-Series, roughly 2013, after Merlyn's earthquake in Starling City and before Leonard gets the Cold Gun.
Word Count: 9,478
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from DC Entertainment, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Phil Klemmer.
Betas: Thank you to angelskuuipo and shanachie_quill for looking this over for me.
Author's Note: This is my @ccss2016 Captain Canary Secret Santa present for @pintoblogs (request at end of story).
Footsteps pounded behind Leonard Snart as he ran down the dark, barely shoveled sidewalks until he came to an alley. He ducked down it, collapsing against the wall to catch his breath. Moments later his partner, Erik, entered the alley and collapsed against the opposite wall, police sirens echoing in the distance.
"I can't believe we got away," Erik said, grinning.
"Never doubted it," Leonard drawled, straightening up and listening as the sirens drew farther away from them. He nodded in satisfaction. "Hand it over."
"Here's the thing," Erik said, slowly. "I've decided to keep it for myself."
Leonard's hand went to grab his gun, but it wasn't there. His shock must have registered on his face as Erik lifted two guns and pointed them at Leonard.
"This was my heist," Leonard snarled, starting to take a step forward, but halted by the sound of both guns being cocked.
"And now it's my loot," Erik said, smirking. He began to back out of the alley.
"You'll pay for this," Leonard growled, following him with his eyes.
"What are you going to do, call the cops on me?" Erik asked, laughing.
"Nobody double crosses me and lives to tell the tale," Leonard growled.
"Too bad you won't be alive to hear me tell it," Erik said and pulled the triggers on both guns.
The first bullet struck Leonard in his left calf as he turned to dive out of the way and the second one struck him in the right shoulder. He fell onto his back, striking his head against the pavement, and crying out as the pain seared through him.
The last thing he heard before blacking out was the sound of Erik running away.
Sara Lance shivered as she pushed open the metal door leading to the alley from the bar, her tee shirt doing little to keep her warm on this cold December night. She hefted the two garbage bags and quickly walked to the dumpster and tossed them in.
As she turned to head back inside, her hands rubbing over her bare arms, she heard a low groan of pain coming from the other side of the dumpster.
She crept to the edge of the dumpster and slowly looked around the corner, seeing a man in a large blue parka on the ground, blood pooling beneath his body in at least two places.
"Shit," Sara said, dropping to her knees next to him and pulling out her phone. "Hold on, an ambulance will be here soon."
"No cops," the man wheezed, limply reaching for her. "No hospitals."
"You're bleeding out in dirty snow and I'm no doctor," Sara protested.
The man grabbed her arm with surprising strength, his pained blue eyes meeting hers. "Please," he begged before collapsing back.
"Okay, no hospital," Sara agreed, squeezing his hand. "What's your name?"
"Leonard," he choked out.
"I'm Sara. Hang tight, I'll be right back. I gotta get the bouncer to help me get you out of here."
"Not going anywhere," Leonard said.
"You better not," Sara muttered as she hurried back inside.
She grabbed her coat as she headed into the bar. "Hey, Matt, I've gotta take off. Got an emergency."
"Yeah, right," Matt retorted. "Could it be that it's a slow night?"
Sara flipped him off as she headed to the main entrance. She called back over her shoulder, "Need to borrow Dan for a few minutes, too."
"Everything okay?" Matt asked, now concerned that Sara needed to borrow the bouncer to leave. "An ex harassing you or something?"
"Or something," Sara said, pulling on her leather jacket. "Grab your coat," she told Dan as breezed past him.
Dan followed her outside, pulling on his coat as instructed. "What's going on?" he started to ask, but upon seeing Leonard, he snapped his jaw shut.
"Shit, guess that car back-firing wasn't a car," he said. "What d'you need me for? Just call the cops to come pick up the body."
Sara reached down and felt for the pulse in Leonard's neck, breathing a sigh of relief when she felt it, faint though it may be.
"He's not dead," she said. She turned to look up at Dan. "He begged me not to call the cops or an ambulance, and I promised I wouldn't."
Dan raised an eyebrow at that. "You sure you want to go getting yourself involved with some gunshot victim?"
"No, I'm not, but I'm also not going to leave him here to die. I've got some experience with bullet wounds; I can help him," she insisted. "I need you to get him back to my apartment."
"What makes you think I want to get mixed up in this?" Dan asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
"I'll babysit for you," Sara offered, knowing that Dan and his wife rarely got to go out alone after their second child was born last year.
"Deal," Dan said with a grin. He bent over and lifted Leonard in a fireman's carry. "Lead the way."
Sara checked to make sure there weren't any cops around before leaving the alley and heading down the block and around the corner to her apartment building. She loved having a five minute walk to work, especially when she often didn't get out until 3am most nights.
She held the door to the building open for Dan and called the ancient elevator. She usually took the stairs, but she wasn't about to have Dan make the climb with his precious cargo. Once on the elevator, it didn't take long to get to the third floor and Sara hurried to open the apartment door ahead of Dan.
"Where do you want him?" Dan asked as Sara shut the door behind him, flipping on the lights.
"This way," Sara said, leading him towards her guest room, grateful for the first time that she had it. It wasn't like she ever had guests. No one who would stay with her even knew she was alive. But the apartment had been cheap, came with all the furniture and she wasn't about to question it now.
"One sec," Sara said, as Dan started to lower Leonard to the bed.
"Hurry up, he's not light," Dan complained.
Sara ducked into the bathroom and grabbed two dark towels and spread them out on the bed. "Okay," she said, stepping out of the way.
Dan carefully laid Leonard out on the bed, pulling his shoes off after he stretched him out.
"Ever the dad," Sara chided him.
"I'm sorry; did you want his wet and bloody shoes on your nice comforter?" Dan snarkily asked.
"What I meant to say was thank you," Sara said, grinning.
"You bet your ass that's what you meant," Dan said. "You good?"
"Can you just help me get that coat off of him?" Sara asked, batting her eyelashes.
"Girl, you know that don't work on me," Dan said, lifting Leonard under his arms and holding him up so that Sara could peel off the thick parka.
"Are you sure about that?" she teased, tossing the coat into the bathroom to deal with later. She turned to usher Dan out. "Thanks so much for doing this."
"You call me if he causes you any problems," Dan insisted. "I doubt he got shot twice by accident."
"I can handle myself," Sara said. "One more thing?"
Dan sighed. "So close," he muttered.
"Don't tell Matt why I needed you?" Sara asked. "I don't want anyone else knowing about him."
"That's probably a good idea," Dan agreed. "I'll call you tomorrow to make sure you're still alive."
Sara laughed. "Good night."
She closed the door behind Dan and hurried into the kitchen. She filled the electric kettle and turned it on, then pulled out one large glass bowl and one small bowl.
As the water heated, she hunted through her bathroom closet for the medical kit she had stashed in there. She brought the entire box into her bedroom and set it on the bedside table, pulling a small leather case from the box. She rolled the leather out on the bed and removed the medical tweezers, a scalpel, and a needle.
Grabbing the alcohol, she took the medical instruments to the bathroom and cleaned them with the alcohol, making a mental note to buy more as she was probably going to finish off this bottle by the time she was done.
The kettle began to sing as she finished cleaning the instruments so she set them back in the guest room and went to fill the two bowls with water. She set them on the night stand, on a couple of magazines that had come for the previous tenant.
"I hope you're wearing underwear," she said, reaching for the button and zipper on Leonard's pants. It took her a little while to maneuver them off his body, especially where the blood was sticking around the bullet holes in his leg, but soon they were on the floor, and he was left in his black briefs.
Sara brought a lamp over so that she could examine the wound. The bullet appeared to have gone straight through, which was good. She grabbed the washcloth and the larger bowl of water and began to wash away the dried blood. The wound was still seeping a bit of blood, which she wiped away.
Picking up the bottle of alcohol, she apologized to the unconscious man, "Sorry, this is going to hurt."
She poured the alcohol into the wound, turning his leg to get both the entry and exit wounds.
Leonard jerked awake, howling in surprised pain.
Sara did her best to press him back down, mindful of his shoulder wound.
"What's going on?" Leonard demanded, eyes wild. "Who are you?"
"Careful," Sara cautioned. "You were shot, Leonard. My name is Sara and I'm cleaning your wounds."
Leonard looked around nervously. "Where am I?" He relaxed slightly, realizing he was in a bedroom of some sort, not a hospital. "How do you know my name?"
"My guest room," Sara said answering his first question first, sitting back down now that Leonard seemed to be calming. "And you told me your name before you passed out."
"How did I get here?" he asked.
"I found you in the alley outside the bar I work at. I got the bouncer to carry you here after you begged me not to call an ambulance. Do you remember that?" Sara asked.
"Vaguely," Leonard said. "You said you weren't a doctor."
"I'm not," Sara confirmed. "But I do have some experience with tending to bullet wounds. Now lie still so I can stitch the wounds on your leg and then I'll take a look at your shoulder."
"Army?" Leonard asked, assuming she knew about bullets from military service.
"Something like that," Sara said. "Sorry, I don't have any painkillers stronger than Tylenol."
"That's fine," Leonard said, making fists. "Get on with it."
Sara threaded the needle and applied three neat stitches to either side of the wound in his leg. She set the needle aside and covered both wounds with bandages.
Leonard was breathing heavily; sweat beading on his forehead by the time she finished.
"I'll be back in a sec," she said and left the room.
She headed for the kitchen and pulled a bottle of vodka from the freezer. She didn't even bother with a glass, drinking straight from the bottle, as she wondered what she was doing.
It had been three months since she'd abandoned her life with the League of Assassins. She'd been laying low, keeping her head down in hopes that the League wouldn't be able to find her to punish her for leaving without permission; an offense punishable by death. She didn't care. She'd had to see that her family had survived the earthquake in Starling City with her own eyes. But she knew she couldn't stay there. She couldn't endanger her family when the League came for her. So, she'd run to Central City and found a job bartending in a seedy bar in the not so good part of town.
It wasn't much of a life, but it was one without blood and death. At least she had thought so.
Shaking herself out of her thoughts, Sara grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge and brought them with her, along with the vodka. She set one bottle of water on the dresser and held up the other two bottles for Leonard to see.
"Vodka," he requested and she handed him the bottle, nodding. She set the bottle of water next to him on the bed. She idly noticed that he had pulled the throw from the end of the bed to cover himself from the waist down.
"Do you want to try to get out of the shirt the normal way or should I cut you out?" she asked, pulling a pair of scissors from the box.
"I'd rather leave it on, thanks," Leonard said.
"Not if you want me to clean that wound," Sara countered.
"Let me try to take it off," Leonard reluctantly said. "I'll need something to wear later."
He sat up and managed to get his left arm through the sleeve without any problems, but, as with the pants, the shirt stuck to his skin from the dried blood on his chest.
"Let me help," Sara offered, reaching for the material.
"I can do it," Leonard said, huffing.
"No, you can't," Sara countered. "You're weak from blood loss. I got your pants off; I can get your shirt off, too."
She could see that it pained him to accept help, but eventually he sagged, gesturing for her to get on with it.
Carefully, Sara eased the material away from his flesh, one hand on the shirt and the other on his bare chest. She tried not to take it personally when he flinched at her first touch.
She finally managed to separate the material fully from his skin and eased the shirt over his head and down his arm. She also noted that the back of his shirt was dry, which meant the bullet was still inside him.
She helped to ease Leonard back down. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"
"I guess not," he admitted, waiting for her to notice the scars that littered his chest and arms. She didn't seem to even see them, though.
"I have some bad news for you," she said as she began to wipe away the blood.
"The shirt's ruined?" Leonard guessed.
Sara smirked at him. "Well, yes, but that's not it. There was no exit wound, which means…"
"You have to get the bullet out," Leonard finished.
"Yeah," Sara said. She finished wiping away the blood and handed him the vodka again. "Drink up."
She pulled a high-powered flashlight from the box and asked Leonard, "Do you think you can hold this up with your free hand?"
"We'll see," Leonard said, handing her the vodka in exchange for the flashlight.
Sara picked up the medical tweezers and took a deep, steadying breath. "Ready?"
Leonard clenched his jaw and gave a curt nod. "As I'll ever be."
Sara adjusted the flashlight and slid the tweezers into the bullet hole.
Leonard's eyes slammed shut, his free hand clenching around the comforter under him as he tried not to scream from the pain of the cold metal inside his body.
After what felt like an eternity, for both of them, Sara crowed, "Got it," as she slowly withdrew the bullet. A fresh flow of blood followed it.
Sara tossed the bullet in the small bowl of water and grabbed a wad of gauze to hold over the wound.
Leonard dropped the flashlight, taking several deep breaths as he tried to relax, knowing they weren't done yet.
"You're good at this," Leonard said into the silence.
"Sadly, you're not my first bullet extraction," Sara said, lifting the gauze to check the blood flow. When she saw it had nearly stopped, she removed the gauze and retrieved the washcloth and once again cleared away the blood.
She handed Leonard the bottle of vodka as she grabbed the less fun bottle of alcohol. "Drink up, this is gonna hurt again."
Leonard took several long swallows from his bottle before handing it back to Sara and preparing himself for the pain.
"Go for it," he said, grabbing handfuls of comforter in both hands.
Sara tipped the bottle, flushing the wound, grimacing herself as Leonard bit back a yell from the pain of it. Once she was satisfied, she set the bottle aside and wiped away the excess liquid so that she could stitch the wound closed.
As she worked, she asked, "Do you want to tell me how you came to be filled with bullet holes?"
"Not especially," Leonard ground out. "Is that a condition for your services?"
"Wouldn't have waited this long to ask if it were," Sara said. "Just curious."
"Let's just say that I was double crossed," Leonard said. "Bastard managed to lift my own piece off me to do the deed."
"Ouch," Sara said, wincing in sympathy. Nothing worse than being put down by your own weapon.
She finished stitching him up and covered the wound with a gauze pad.
"There, all done," she announced.
"Finally," Leonard sighed. "I'll take the Tylenol now."
Sara opened the bottle and tipped three pills into his hand before handing him the bottle of water that was still lying beside him on the bed.
She carried the bowls of water back to the kitchen before returning for the box and the rest of her supplies, leaving the Tylenol and water on the bedside table, along with a sling.
"You should probably try to get some sleep," she suggested. "Do you need anything?"
"My shirt would be great," Leonard said.
"I bet I have something clean you can wear," Sara said. She set the box down in the hallway before going to the closet in the room. Along with the furniture, the apartment had come with a few items of men's clothing. Sara assumed they belonged to the previous tenant's ex. She'd stashed them in this closet, intending to donate them to a shelter at some point, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. She found a blue hoodie hanging up and grabbed it.
Leonard raised an eyebrow at the men's sweatshirt she held triumphantly. "Your ex's?" he asked.
"Someone's ex's," Sara said. At Leonard's confused expression, she added, "Came with the apartment."
"As long as it'll keep me warm, I don't really care at this point," he said, slowly sitting up.
Sara unzipped the hoodie and helped Leonard into it, despite his protests. Once he was zipped in, Leonard lay back with a sigh of relief.
"Don't suppose you've got a pair of men's sweats in there, too?" he asked.
Digging around in the closet again, Sara did in fact find a pair of matching pants that looked like they would fit Leonard's lean frame.
"It's your lucky day," Sara said, approaching the bed.
"Debatable," Leonard dryly commented. "Hand them over."
"Sorry to say this, but you're not going to be able to pull them up yourself," Sara pointed out.
"I don't like needing anyone's help," Leonard admitted.
"Well, you do, so suck it up," Sara said. She tossed the blanket off of him and sat on the bed facing his feet as she began to ease the material up his legs. She stood and turned to face him when she reached his hips. "Lift up," she instructed, and pulled the material the rest of the way up his body. She whisked away the towels he'd been laying on while his hips were raised, then she covered him with the blanket again.
Sara bent to gather up his bloody clothes. "I'll wash these while you sleep," she offered.
As she was closing the door behind her, she heard Leonard call, "Sara?" She poked her head back into the room.
"Thank you," Leonard said, quietly.
"You're welcome," she returned just as quietly, sensing this wasn’t something he said often. She turned off the lights and closed the door most of the way, leaving it cracked just an inch in case he called out in what remained of the night.
Sara went into the bathroom and began to fill the tub with cold water and added some peroxide. While the tub filled, she carefully went through Leonard's pants pockets and set aside his wallet, a silver pinky ring, and a cell phone. She tossed the jeans, his shirt, and the towels into the water before repeating the process with his parka and turning off the water.
Then she quickly stripped out her probably bloody clothes and added them to the tub before running to her room to pull on a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
Sara was exhausted, but wired at the same time. She knew she wouldn't be able to go to sleep yet if she tried, so instead she went into the kitchen and began to wash the instruments and bowls she'd used with Leonard. She'd wait to re-sterilize them until the next time she needed them.
She busied herself with straightening up the apartment and checking to see what kind of food she had in the kitchen - and then making a grocery list - while the clothes soaked. Once they were ready, she rinsed them and hung everything up to dry. She'd run them through the washing machine the next day, just to be safe.
When Sara finally collapsed into bed, she instantly fell into a dreamless sleep, despite the stranger sleeping in the next room.
Leonard awoke suddenly and in pain around noon. His instinct was to sit up and take in his unfamiliar surroundings, but the pain in his shoulder prevented him from doing so. He let out a groan of frustration, and pain, and tried to remember how he came to be in this situation.
The dual pains he felt from his shoulder and calf quickly reminded him that he'd been shot by his temporary partner. His soon to be dead former partner, he mentally amended.
There was a blonde woman. Sara. He was in her apartment. She'd found him and dressed his wounds after bringing him to her home.
Pressure in his bladder forced Leonard to move from his prone position.
Slowly, and with great care, he rose to a sitting position before easing his legs off the bed. He tested his weight on his injured left leg and quietly swore as he realized that it wouldn't support him. Leaning against the bed, he managed to hop to the door and into the bathroom, which was thankfully just across the hall.
He managed to take care of business, surprised to find his clothes hanging from the shower curtain rod, still damp. He also found his wallet, phone, and everything else that had been in a pocket in a pile on the toilet tank. He pocketed what he could before returning to the room he'd woken up in.
He found the bottle of Tylenol and gratefully took three pills with the room temperature water he found next to the bed and then settled himself so that he was sitting against the wall.
He pulled his phone from his pocket and sent Lisa a quick text to let her know that he'd run into trouble and would be lying low for a few days. Not at one of his usual safe houses, but somewhere else safe.
Then he checked the news to see if there were any reports of their heist. The only thing he could find was the report of the break-in on the CCPD blotter. Good. He'd make sure to send an anonymous tip with Erik's address later. Tell them exactly where to find the missing jewels, because Erik was just dumb enough to take them home with him.
Sara knocked lightly on the open door, startling him and causing him to jump, aggravating his shoulder.
"Guess I don't need to ask how you're feeling," she said, stepping into the room.
"Did I wake you?" Leonard asked, sliding his phone into one of the hoodie's pockets.
"Not really," Sara said. "I'm a pretty light sleeper."
"Well, once my clothes are dry I'll get out of your hair," Leonard declared.
Sara huffed out a laugh. "Don't rush out of here on my account," she said. "Not that I expect you'll be rushing anywhere for a while. Can you even walk on that leg?"
Leonard looked chagrined. "Not exactly, but that's never stopped me before."
"Look, I don't know if you have someone you need to get home to, but I'm not going to kick you out. Leg injuries are a bitch, and since I didn't find a pair of crutches in that magic closet, you're not going to get very far on your own. I'm not usually home much, so you can just stay here until you're walking better," Sara offered.
"What's the catch?" Leonard warily asked.
"No catch," Sara said. "Call it the Christmas spirit, or whatever."
"Is it Christmas already?"
"Just about," Sara confirmed. "It’s tomorrow."
"Thank you, Sara," Leonard said.
"You're welcome, Leonard," Sara returned. "Now, do you want some help getting to the kitchen? I'm not bringing you breakfast in bed."
"Right behind you," he said, watching as she turned to walk away, tilting his head to admire the view as she went.
As he moved to stand, Leonard noticed the sling on the bedside table and marveled at the thoroughness of Sara's medical supplies. He slid the strap over his head and eased his arm into the sling, feeling an instant relief at having the additional support for his arm.
Leonard stood and hopped into the kitchen, collapsing into a chair at the small table on the far side of the room.
"Coffee?" Sara asked, pouring a cup for herself.
"Please; with sugar," Leonard confirmed. Sara set a mug of dark coffee in front of him along with a handful of sugar packets swiped from various restaurants and a spoon.
"I don't have much in the way of breakfast foods right now," Sara said, apologetically. "I usually do toast and scrambled eggs or cereal and a banana."
"Cereal is fine," Leonard said. "Don't want to make you cook if you weren't going to."
"You know, I'm kind of in the mood for a hot breakfast. Eggs and toast it is," Sara said, turning towards the fridge and removing the eggs, milk and butter. She quickly broke a few eggs and whisked them with the milk while the pan heated on the stovetop. She set the butter to melt and dropped a couple pieces of bread into the toaster before pouring the eggs into the pan.
Leonard watched her while she worked. She moved with such confidence and grace and didn't seem fazed one bit at having an injured stranger suddenly under her care. He generally tried to avoid forming personal connections, but he was suddenly very curious about this woman he was staying with.
He knew that this was unlike him, not only to accept help from a stranger, but to feel so comfortable around them so quickly.
It wasn't just because she had taken care of him. He'd had enough people remove bullets and tend to injuries that he knew how to not form attachments.
It was the matter-of-fact way that she'd helped him. She didn't ask questions up front. She did ask him questions as she tended to him, and she accepted his vague response as to how he'd been shot. Not many women, aside from his sister, would be so blasé about being caught in this situation, and he respected her for that.
Leonard was pulled from his contemplations when a plate of food was set in front of him.
"Thanks," he muttered, embarrassed at being caught off guard.
"You're welcome," Sara said, sitting and pulling her feet up under her so that she sat cross-legged on her chair.
"So, what's on the agenda for today?" Leonard asked as he began to eat. "Putting up your tree?"
Sara scrunched up her nose. "Um, no. I wasn't really planning on celebrating Christmas."
"Are you Jewish?" Leonard asked. "Wiccan?"
Sara shook her head. "No, if I were to celebrate a winter holiday, it would be Christmas, but it's not my favorite holiday, so I was planning on doing my best to ignore it."
Leonard set his fork down heavily on his plate. His mouth gaped open. "You don't like Christmas? How does anyone not like Christmas?"
"I just don't, okay?" Sara said, testily. "It's none of your business why."
"Okay, okay," Leonard held his hand up in surrender and resumed eating. "Consider the topic dropped." They ate in silence for a few minutes, the only sound that of Sara buttering her toast. "Then what are we doing today?"
"I don't know what you're doing, aside from resting and healing, but I'm going to wash our bloody clothes and do some grocery shopping before going to work," Sara said.
"You're working on Christmas Eve?" Leonard asked.
"I volunteered," Sara said. "I don't mind working holidays since…"
"Since?" Leonard pressed when it looked like Sara wasn't going to continue.
She shook her head and said, "Since I wasn't going to be with family." Before Leonard could ask, she added, "And no, I don't want to share why."
"Wasn't going to ask," Leonard said, smirking. They both knew he was lying.
They finished eating in silence and Sara cleared the dishes and washed up.
"Do you want to attempt to shower?" she asked when the dishes were done.
Leonard thought about it for a moment before answering. "I think I'll wait until my own clothes are ready."
Sara nodded her agreement with that decision. "Okay, cool. Help yourself to any of the books in the living room. Or do you want to watch TV?" she offered as she disappeared into the bathroom.
"A book will be fine," Leonard called after her. He managed to get himself into the living room and found the bookcase that was full of many different genres of books. He grabbed a Stephen King book and settled himself on the couch. He relaxed into the cushions, surprised by how much better he felt just having his leg stretched out.
Sara smiled at him as she emerged from the bathroom, laundry basket full. "You need anything else?"
"No, I'm good," Leonard said, holding up the book.
"Great, I'll be back in a little while. Gonna run to the store while the wash is going," Sara said. She grabbed her coat and left the apartment.
Rather than starting the book, Leonard took some time to look around the room he was sitting in. It was sparsely furnished. There was the couch he was sitting on, end tables on either side of the couch, large flat screen TV across from it. The bookcase was built in.
The startling thing was that there was nothing personal. No photographs of family or friends. No knickknacks. Leonard had never met a woman who didn't have some mementos in their apartment, his sister included.
It felt an awful lot like one of his safe houses.
That realization had him even more curious about this woman he was staying with than he was before. He wondered if she was on the run. Her dwelling certainly lent itself to that assumption.
He knew that it was probably wrong that this assumption made her even more attractive to him, but he didn't care. He'd always preferred women, and men, who lived life outside the law.
Telling himself not to let his thoughts go down that path, Leonard opened the book and made himself concentrate on the words and soon he was engrossed by the tale of an injured man held prisoner by an overly eager fan.
At some point, Sara ran in and dropped off the groceries, putting them away quickly before heading back out to check on the laundry. She didn't return until the clothes were both clean and dry.
She deposited Leonard's clothes in "his" room before sitting on the arm of the couch, facing him. She caught the cover of the book as he closed it, marking his place with a piece of mail from the table behind him.
"Good book?" she asked.
Leonard looked at her curiously. "You haven't read it?"
Sara shook her head. "Came with the apartment," she informed him.
"Ah," Leonard acknowledged. "Much better than the movie, so far."
"Do you want to shower now? Or should I just change your dressings?" Sara asked.
"If you want me naked, all you have to do is ask," Leonard drawled with a smirk.
Sara smirked back at him, but didn't rise to the bait.
"I think I should wait until the leg's a little stronger before attempting to shower," Leonard admitted.
"Okay, cool. Give me a sec and I'll get the supplies and will check on your wounds," Sara offered, hopping off the couch and retrieving the medical supply box.
She pulled up the leg of his pants and quickly had the old bandages removed, the wound cleaned, and re-bandaged. Then she did the same with his chest.
"So, am I going to live?" Leonard joked.
"I don't know, you seem to have an awfully dangerous life," Sara commented.
"This is hardly a common situation," Leonard said.
"You could have fooled me," Sara said, her fingertips brushing against some of the scars on Leonard's still-visible chest.
Leonard jerked the hoodie's zipper up, nearly catching her finger as he did so, his face hardening.
"You don't know anything about my life," he coldly told her.
Sara's expression softened in apology. "You're right." Rather than make a now uncomfortable situation worse, she instead asked, "You hungry?"
"I could eat," Leonard admitted, mainly because he wanted to take more pain pills.
"I got some baked potato soup at the store. How does that sound?" Sara asked.
"Warm and filling," Leonard commented. He slowly managed to stand, his leg protesting at being moved. He hopped into the kitchen and sat heavily at the table. "I'd offer to help, but…"
Sara chuckled. "Don't worry about it." She busied herself with heating the soup up on the stove as she cut a few slices from a baguette and set them on the table. She set out a couple of bottles of water next. When the soup was ready, she ladled it out and brought the bowls to the table.
They ate companionably, keeping the conversation light.
"When does your shift start?" Leonard asked.
"Seven," Sara answered. "I might head over a little early to let Chelsea get home to her girlfriend."
"That's nice of you," Leonard commented.
Sara shrugged. "I don't mind letting people spend extra time with their families."
"Because you can't be with yours," Leonard guessed.
"Yeah," Sara agreed, sadly.
"Why can't you be with them?" Leonard asked.
"It's a long story," Sara said, sighing.
Before Leonard could ask any more questions, his phone began to buzz. He pulled it out of his pocket and saw it was Lisa. "Speaking of family…" He turned away from Sara as he answered.
Before he could even say anything, Lisa fumed, "You jerk!"
"Trainwreck," he drawled, affectionately. "Is that any way to greet your big brother?"
"Some big brother," Lisa huffed. "Big brothers aren't supposed to leave cryptic texts saying the job went south and they'll be laying low for a few days with no more information."
"At least I texted," Leonard said. "Hang on a sec, I'm going to go in the other room. I need to put the phone in my pocket while I do."
"What happened?" Lisa nearly screeched.
"I'll tell you; just let me get some privacy," Leonard promised.
"I can go," Sara offered.
"It's fine," Leonard said, pushing himself to his feet and hopping to the room he was staying in and closed the door. After collapsing on the bed, he told Lisa, "Okay, I can talk now."
"Who was that?" Lisa demanded.
"That was the woman who saved your brother's life," Leonard reluctantly admitted.
"What?" Lisa screeched, causing Leonard to pull the phone away from his ear.
"Erik double crossed me," Leonard said. "Got my gun off of me, somehow, and shot me twice, leaving me to bleed out in an alley."
"Ohmygod, are you okay?" Lisa gushed.
"I will be," Leonard said. "Alley was behind the bar that Sara works at. She agreed not to call the cops and brought me back to her place and patched me up. Seemed to know what she was doing."
"You found yourself a nurse?" Lisa teased. "Is she hot?"
"Not a nurse, but she is hot," Leonard said, smirking even though he knew Lisa couldn't see him.
Something green caught his eye from the open door of the closet. Curious, he hopped over and opened the door more to see what it was. On the top shelf, there were some Christmas lights and fake fir garlands overflowing from a box labeled "Christmas".
A wide grin spread across Leonard's face.
"Hey, Lise, what are you doing tonight?" he asked.
"I know that tone of voice. You're up to something. Spill," Lisa responded.
"Depends on what you're doing tonight," Leonard said.
"I guess I'm doing whatever it is that made you sound happy and evil," Lisa said, sighing. "It's not like I have other family to spend Christmas Eve with. Where are you?"
Leonard picked up a magazine from his bedside table and rattled off the address. "Don't come before 7pm," he cautioned. "I want this to be a surprise."
"You sure she won't mind you letting a stranger into her apartment?" Lisa asked.
"You're not a stranger, you're my sister," Leonard pointed out.
"Anything else you want me to bring?" she asked.
"Yeah, my shaving kit and a change of clothes. Also, do we still have those crutches from the Sanderson job?" Leonard asked, sitting down again.
"I don't think so, but I do have a cane from last Halloween," Lisa offered.
"That'll do," Leonard agreed. "Bring it."
"What's the magic word?" Lisa teased.
"Trainwreck," Leonard said.
"Jerk," Lisa rejoined. "See you at seven."
Leonard stared at his phone for a while after hanging up, lost in thought about what could be in that box and how much Sara would like what he was planning.
A soft knock pulled him from his thoughts. "Come in," he called out.
"Everything okay?" Sara asked, entering the room. Her hair was wet and she was wearing a similar tee shirt as the night before.
"Yeah, my sister just got my text that I was laying low for a few days and freaked out," Leonard admitted. He was surprised that he was sharing something so personal with this virtual stranger, but she seemed to make him want to do a lot of things he normally wouldn't do.
"Older or younger?" Sara asked, sitting on the other side of the bed.
"Much younger," Leonard said. "Lisa was a big surprise for everyone."
"My sister's name is Laurel," Sara shared. "She's only a couple of years older than me."
"You close?" Leonard asked.
A shadow passed over Sara's face. "Not anymore."
Leonard knew better than to pursue that line of conversation. Instead he asked, "Ready for work?"
"Yeah, just need to dry my hair. Will you be okay on your own for the rest of the night?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'm probably going to just turn in early. Get some healing sleep," Leonard said.
"Give me your phone," Sara said, holding out her hand.
"Why?" Leonard asked.
"So I can put my number in it," Sara said. "Call me if anything happens or you need me to come back and I'll be here."
"I don't want to get you in trouble for leaving," Leonard objected, handing her his phone.
"It's right around the corner," Sara informed him, quickly entering in her cell number before handing him back the phone. "I can run out for fifteen minutes if necessary."
"Thanks, but I'm sure it won't be," Leonard said. "I'll be fine."
As Sara stood to go, Leonard thought of something. "Actually, there is something I could use." Sara raised an eyebrow and waited. "Do you have a spare toothbrush?"
Sara laughed. "Yeah, I'll leave it out on the counter. Toothpaste is behind the mirror over the sink."
"Thanks," Leonard said.
Sara disappeared to finish getting ready for work. Leonard returned to the couch and his book. A few minutes later Sara was ready to go.
"I meant it; call if you need anything," she said, pulling on her coat.
"Yes, ma'am," Leonard agreed. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good night," Sara said, locking the door behind her as she left.
Barely fifteen minutes later the door buzzer sounded. Leonard hopped over to the intercom and buzzed Lisa in.
He had the door open by the time she arrived at the apartment.
"You look like shit, Lenny," she said, entering the apartment and closing the door behind her. "Go sit down before you fall down."
Leonard was in too much pain to argue with her.
Lisa took a long look around the apartment. "What kind of safe house is this?"
"That was my reaction, too," Leonard said. "Don't think she's a criminal, but she's definitely on the run from someone."
"Where do you want these?" Lisa asked, holding up a plastic bag and the cane.
"I'll take the cane, the rest can go in the first room on the right," Leonard said. "While you're in there, can you grab the box labeled Christmas in the closet?"
"I see how it is," Lisa said as she did as asked. "You only invited me over to fetch and serve."
"Isn't that what little sisters are for?" Leonard called back.
"You're just lucky that it's Christmas and I don't have any other plans," Lisa said, returning with the box and setting it on the couch.
"Don't I know it," Leonard said. "So what do we have here?"
"How come she's making you do this?" Lisa asked. "Seems kinda mean to make an injured man decorate as payment for services rendered."
"She didn't ask," Leonard admitted. "She actually said she was planning on ignoring Christmas."
Lisa looked at him hesitantly. "Do you think this is a good idea, then?"
"I wanted to do something nice for her," he said, pulling a ball of Christmas lights from the box and beginning to untangle them. Lisa saw him struggling with the arm in the sling and took it from him to do herself. "She didn't have to help me, to let me stay here, but she did. And she hasn't asked for a thing in return. She didn't even take the cash out of my wallet when she emptied my pockets so she could wash the blood out of my clothes."
Lisa gave a low whistle. "You found some kind of Christmas angel is what you did."
"Don't I know it," Leonard agreed. "She probably doesn't even know she has these. I bet they came with the apartment, like everything else. But I want to make the place look nice for her."
"Then that's what we'll do," Lisa agreed.
It was after 3am by the time Sara stumbled through her apartment door. She gasped, realizing she could see without having turned on the lights.
There were strands of Christmas lights around the windows. Little dots of cheerful color casting the room in a soft glow.
Sara flipped on the overhead lights and saw there were fir garlands adorning the bookcase and other Christmas knickknacks on the shelves and tables. She slammed the door closed, waking Leonard, who was fast asleep on the couch.
"What the hell?" she demanded, crossing to him. It took every ounce of strength not to hit him.
"What?" Leonard groggily asked. "Sara? Why are you yelling?"
"What did you do to my apartment?" Sara asked through gritted teeth.
The color drained from Leonard's face. Lisa had been right. Sara was furious.
"I-I wanted to thank you, so I decorated," he stammered.
"Where did you even find decorations?"
"In the closet in my room," Leonard admitted.
"I told you I wanted to ignore Christmas," Sara said. "This is my apartment. You had no right to do this without asking."
"I'm sorry," Leonard apologized. "I just wanted to do something nice."
"Well, you failed. Just, get rid of it," Sara said and stomped off to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
Leonard winced. He ran a hand over his face and sighed. There was no way he could take the lights down by himself, although he did unplug them. Lisa had done everything. He was going to need her help to take it all down again.
He pulled out his phone and texted his sister.
Lenny: You were right.
Lisa: I usually am. About what?
Lenny: Why are you still awake?"
Lisa: Waiting for your text or call. She hated it?
Lenny: She hates me now.
Lisa: Doubt it.
Lenny: Can you come take it down tomorrow?
Lisa: Of course. Just tell me when.
Lenny: I owe you.
Lisa: And I'll collect.
Leonard heaved himself to his feet and managed to walk with the help of the cane to Sara's bedroom. He knocked on the door, softly calling out, "Sara, can I come in? I'd like to apologize."
He thought he heard a sniffle, but then she said, "Come in."
Sara was sitting on her bed, her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees. She was wiping away tears with the heel of her hand.
"I really am sorry," Leonard said, sitting at the foot of her bed. "I was trying to do something nice. I guess I'm more out of practice than I thought if it's making you cry."
"It's not that," she said. "I just really miss my family."
"Ar-are they dead?" Leonard tentatively asked.
"No, I am," Sara said. She let out a slightly hysterical chuckle. "At least they think I am."
"Why haven't you told them you're not?" Leonard asked.
"It's complicated," Sara said. "I'm not the same girl they remember. It's been six years since they thought I drowned."
"That's a long time. Where were you if not with them?" Leonard knew he was pressing his luck by asking so many questions, but he also sensed that Sara desperately wanted to tell someone. May as well be him.
"I was basically being held prisoner on the slave ship that found me after the boat I was on with my sister's boyfriend sank in the North China Sea. When we got away from there, I was stuck on an island and then nearly drowned again. I was found by a member of the League of Assassins."
Leonard's breath hitched at that pronouncement.
Sara nodded, not surprised that he'd have heard of them. "I became a member."
"You're on the run from them," Leonard guessed. "That's why you live in an apartment with nothing that makes it your home."
"Yeah. After the earthquake in Starling City I had to see for myself that my family was okay so I just left. I couldn't stay there once I saw they were safe, so I came here. I can't go back to that life and I can't go home, either."
"Is that why you hate Christmas? It reminds you of the family you can't be with?" Leonard asked.
Sara laughed. "Actually, no. I've always hated Christmas." She bit her lip before confiding, "It's my birthday."
Leonard's eyes goggled and soon he was laughing, and Sara joined him in laughter.
After several minutes, Leonard sobered enough to ask, "So tomorrow is your birthday?"
Sara glanced at the clock. "Technically, it's already my birthday."
"Happy Birthday, Sara," Leonard said, sincerely.
Leonard yawned, his body reminding him that he should be sleeping. He stood and promised, "I'll get the decorations down tomorrow. I'll just need to bring back reinforcements."
"I was wondering how you did all that by yourself," Sara said. "Who did you let into my apartment?"
"Just my sister, and she won't tell anyone anything," Leonard said.
"I'll judge that for myself when I meet her," Sara said. "Sleep well, Leonard."
"You too, Sara," he said.
Once back in his room, Leonard sent Lisa one more text.
Lenny: When you come back, bring a cake. Or brownies. I know you always have brownie mix at home. It's Sara's birthday.
Lisa: No wonder she hates Christmas. Will do. Go to sleep.
Lenny: You too. Thanks, Sis.
The next morning, which was really afternoon by the time they got up, Leonard hesitantly exited his room with the aid of the cane to find Sara in the living room, holding a figurine of a snowman with a wistful smile on her face.
"You still mad?" he asked.
"Yes, but I no longer feel the need to disembowel you," Sara said, sweetly, setting the figurine back on the table.
Now knowing she was a member of the League of Assassins, Leonard knew this wasn't an idle threat. He swallowed hard. "That's good. My sister said she'd come back to take it down. I'll text her once we're ready for company."
"I can do it," Sara offered.
Leonard shook his head. "No, you said you didn't want it and I should have listened. Lisa can help undo what we did."
"She bring you that?" Sara asked, gesturing to the cane.
"Yeah. Was getting tired of hopping and holding on to walls all the time."
"How're you feeling?"
"Still very sore," Leonard admitted, "but I can put a little weight on the leg now, which is good."
"Yes, it is," Sara agreed. "You want breakfast yet?"
"I could eat. I'd offer to make it for you, but I still can't stand for long periods of time," Leonard said.
"I don't mind," Sara said, moving into the kitchen with Leonard following. "How does French toast and bacon sound?"
"Perfect," Leonard answered, his mouth already watering.
She set the bacon to cook in the oven first, then began to beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla, tossing in a little cinnamon as she mixed.
Leonard eagerly poured maple syrup over the stack of French toast when Sara handed him a plate and took a bite, nearly sighing with pleasure.
Sara laughed at the look of contentment on his face as she took a bite of her own food.
Sara asked questions about Lisa, which Leonard was only too happy to answer.
When they finished eating, Sara pushed her plate away from her and leaned over the table.
"I think it's time you told me about why you were shot," she said. "Before I let you bring anyone into my home. Again."
"Fair's fair," Leonard reluctantly agreed, pushing away his own empty plate. He took a deep breath before saying, "I'm a thief."
"Job gone bad?" Sara guessed.
"Job was fine. Got the goods and got away clean. Then I was double crossed. Sonufabitch grabbed my gun somehow and shot me," Leonard snarled.
"Your sister in the same line of work?" Sara asked, sitting back and crossing her arms over her chest.
"Learned from the best," Leonard said, nodding.
"You?" Sara asked.
"Of course," Leonard drawled.
"Go ahead and give her a text. Tell her she can come over in an hour. That should give us time to shower and dress," Sara said. "I assume you're showering today?"
"God, yes. I'm starting to wonder how you can stand being around me," Leonard said.
"You go first while I do the dishes," Sara offered.
"Thanks." Leonard stood and headed for his bedroom to grab his shaving kit and text Lisa. He left the sling in there, too.
He discovered that Sara had set out a clean towel and washcloth for him to use when he entered the bathroom and without too much trouble managed to get himself into the shower after removing his bandages. He gratefully leaned against the shower wall while he used the washcloth to clean his body.
Sara was waiting for him in the hallway when he emerged, towel wrapped around his waist, sweats balled up and held against his chest with his bad arm.
"Let me dress your wounds," she said.
Leonard was a little uncomfortable with her seeing so much of his skin bared, but then he reminded himself that she'd already seen him in less, and nodded his consent.
Sara already had the bandages and antiseptic ointment out and quickly tended to Leonard's injuries.
"You're good at that," Leonard commented when she was done with his chest before moving to his leg.
"Lots of practice. Maybe someday I'll show you mine," she teased.
"Maybe for my birthday," Leonard said.
"When's that?" Sara asked.
"June," Leonard told her.
Sara looked thoughtful. "That might be too long to wait." She grinned at him before heading for the door, her job done. "Time for my shower."
Leonard collapsed back on the bed with an audible groan, which made Sara laugh as she closed the door.
"You're an evil woman," Leonard called out.
"Lucky you," Sara called back before the sound of the shower could be heard.
"Lucky me," Leonard agreed. He took a few Tylenol pills and pulled on the clothes Lisa had brought him, feeling more like himself than he had in days.
He was back on the couch with his book by the time Sara emerged in a gray sweater and jeans.
"Do you have any particular requests for the day, as it is your birthday?" Leonard asked.
"You mean after the decorations are removed?" Sara asked, teasingly. She ran her eyes over his body, as if she were imagining him without his clothes, and licked her lips. "I'm sure we can think of something to make the day special."
Leonard felt his body stir at the heat in her eyes and nearly cursed aloud when the buzzer for the apartment sounded.
Sara laughed, knowing exactly what had been going through his mind, as she got up to answer the door.
Leonard willed his body into submission in the moments before his sister appeared at the door.
"Happy Birthday," Lisa exclaimed as Sara opened the door. She was holding up a pan of brownies with a candle in the center.
"What?" Sara said, stepping back and blinking at the treat being offered to her by this beautiful stranger.
Leonard appeared at Sara's side. "Sara, this is my sister, Lisa. Lise, this is Sara, my savior."
"I don't know about that," Sara said.
"From what Lenny tells me, you are," Lisa said. She moved the brownies into one hand and held out the other one. "Nice to meet you. Thanks for saving my jerk of a brother. These are for you."
Sara finally took the brownies from Lisa, still feeling a bit off kilter. "Come on in," she said, "and thank you."
Lisa shrugged out of her coat and hung it on a hook near the door. "You're welcome. Lenny said it was your birthday and every birthday deserves a cake. Or, in this case, brownies, because that's all I can make."
"Her brownies are the best," Leonard said.
Sara looked up at him, startled by how tall he was now that he was standing up straighter while using the cane. "You asked her to make these?" Sara asked, blinking back tears.
"Like Lisa said, you should have something cake-like on your birthday, and she makes great brownies," Leonard said.
"Where do you want me to start?" Lisa called out. "With the lights or the mistletoe?"
"What mistletoe?" Leonard asked, turning to look at his sister.
Sara poked his good arm and when he looked at her he saw she was point up. "Probably that mistletoe," she said.
Leonard looked and they were, in fact, standing beneath a sprig of mistletoe. He smirked down at Sara. "What do you think? Should she start with the lights or the mistletoe?"
Sara set the brownies down on entryway table and slid her hands around Leonard's neck. "I think she should start with the lights on the far side of the room."
Leonard's smirk turned into a full smile. "Start with the lights," he called to Lisa.
He dropped the cane and slid his arm around Sara's back, pulling her closer. When his lips were nearly on hers, he whispered, "Happy Birthday."
"Merry Christmas," Sara returned before she closed the distance and kissed him.
They ignored Lisa's exclamation of, "Come on, I'm right here," and simply enjoyed the feeling of having the other in their arms as one kiss lead to another. And another.
Secret Santa for: Pintoblogs
prompt: sara taking care of/patching up an injured leonard or vice versa.
want: fluff, angst, hurt/comfort trope trash
don't want: ???