ajremix: (humor)
[personal profile] ajremix
Title: Occam's Gift Horse
Fandom: DC TV
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2309
Characters: Mick, Len, Lisa
Summary: Inspired by this post. Len and Lisa are not very good at receiving gifts.



Mick hadn't gotten more than five feet into the safehouse before Len, going the other way, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out without missing a step. Flummoxed, Mick asked, "What's going on?"

"Place's been compromised."

Tension gripped at Mick's back, instantly alert for anything out of place. He hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary but if there was one thing he was willing to trust over his own instincts it was Len's. "We bailing completely?" Wouldn't be a total loss. They'd learned pretty quickly not to get attached to things in case of situations like this.

"Not sure. Maybe," Len said shortly, dropping Mick's arm once they were out in a crowd.

Half an hour of meandering, doubling back and ducking in and out of buildings later, Mick finally asked, "What tipped you off?"

"There was a gun on the table."

"What?"

"Derringer. Mother-of-pearl grip, engraved barrel. Darbynians must've tracked us."

Mick came to a halt, not caring that he was in the middle of the sidewalk and people were giving him dirty looks as they went around him. "Wait- you think the Darbynians left that?"

Len gave him a look, stepping in close so it'd be harder to be overheard. "It's not mine, I know it's not yours and they've been threatening to go after us even before we did that last job. It's obvious."

Apparently not because Mick was rubbing at the bridge of his nose like he did when he thought Len was being particularly obtuse. "You really think the Darbynians broke into our safehouse and, instead of leaving an ambush or maybe a bomb, they left you a perfectly good firearm."

Len frowned like Mick was being the unreasonable one. "It only holds two shots. Obviously they meant it as one for you, one for me."

"The point is, considering how much they claim we've been pissing them off, they wouldn't give us a warning!"

"Then how else do you explain the gun?"

"I dunno, maybe ask if I left it there?" Silence stretched between them, Len looking like the very idea of Mick having a firearm he wasn't aware of was beyond comprehension. So Mick said slowly and carefully, "I left it there, Len. For you."

He drew back like he thought Mick might attack him. "Why?"

"It's a gift, jackass!" The concept was clearly foreign to Len, so he explained, "You were staking out for that last job and I was bored and kinda drunk so I decided to knock over a pawn shop. See if they had any cool commemorative lighters. I saw the pistol and thought it was shiny enough you'd like it so," Mick waved his hands at Len, silently accusing him for not appreciating the effort.

Len, meanwhile, went from bristling cat to looking like the world had turned sideways. "Why?"

Mick began trudging back to the safehouse, snapping, "You know what, I have no goddamn clue!"

~*~*~*~

The door slammed shut and Mick spared a moment to check the clock. Huh, earlier than usual. "Trouble?" He called out, not getting up from his sprawl on the couch. There was an uncharacteristic silence and Mick craned his head around to where he heard footsteps moving toward the kitchen. Lisa looked tense but unhurt as she unslung her backpack and dug around into the main pocket. Mick went to see what was wrong.

Never in all Mick's life had he ever considered children a possibility even after starting his partnership with Len and meeting his little sister. Even if, having just begun her teenage years, Lisa couldn't really be considered a child anymore. But their dad had just been thrown in jail and neither man was willing to let her go into foster care so Mick was now partly responsible for a minor. At least she wasn't difficult. Usually.

He stood in the doorway of the kitchen, leaning against the frame as Lisa took a brown bag from her backpack and threw it on the table like it was going to explode. She stared at it accusingly.

"Uh," Mick's gaze shifted from the bag to her and back again, "is something happening?"

"I found it in my backpack," she said by way of explanation.

Mick frowned at the paper bag, "You didn't eat your lunch?"

"It's not my lunch."

"Did you steal someone's lunch and not eat it?"

Lisa's stare finally broke from the bag, giving Mick an incredulous look. "No! This bag was in my backpack!"

Mick went over to peer into it. "It's your lunch."

"No, it's not! I've never had a lunch that had a not-baloney-actual-meat sandwich. Or a fresh apple. Or carrots and peanut butter crackers. Or fruit rolls or anything else in there!" Lisa grabbed at the back of a chair, back to staring at the bag as if expecting it to attack. "I think someone's trying to poison me."

Oh Jesus Christ she was just like her brother. "No one's trying to poison you."

"How do you know?"

"Because I packed your damned lunch."

She blinked large, round eyes. "What?"

Mick crossed his arms, glaring. "I've been feeding you two actual non-frozen food for dinner and you think I'm going to send you to school with leftover Chinese takeout for lunch?"

"You coulda said something."

"I didn't think I had to! Who the hell sees a bag of food in their stuff and thinks someone's trying to poison them?"

"Sensible people," Lisa said mulishly. She was being obstinate purely to keep from admitting she was wrong. Birds of a feather, those Snart siblings.

"Nothing sensible about being that paranoid." Mick watched the way Lisa was now eying the bag, no longer suspicious of it. He sighed. "Did you skip lunch 'cause of this?" She shrugged but stayed tellingly silent. It wouldn't have been the first time she went without lunch and she couldn't always swipe a bite from someone else. Mick reached into the bag and handed her the apple and bag of crackers. "Here. We'll save the rest for tomorrow's lunch but this'll hold you over until dinner."

Lisa gave a small smile, grateful and a little shy. "Thanks, Mick," she said before grabbing her backpack and heading off to her room.

Mick shook his head and went to plop back in front of the television. Snarts.

~*~*~*~

In a way the Snarts never really got over their inability to comprehend gifts. They at least got into the habit of asking Mick if he was responsible before assuming the worst. For the most part Mick circumvented the entire ordeal by just handing out gifts personally but, well... the way they circled mystery items like wary, investigative cats was pretty amusing. Their first Easter together was hilarious, the siblings treating every brightly colored egg they happened upon like it was going to hatch into some alien creature that'd attack them on-sight no matter how many they'd already found.

It wasn't so much that they didn't understand the concept of gifts and giving and altruism. Len, after all, broke his back giving Lisa everything he thought she needed- and many things she didn't -and Lisa would do just about anything to make her brother's life easier. It was just there was some disconnect when it came to people- specifically people other than each other -giving things to them. Even when it was Mick despite the fact neither were shy about showing their appreciation for him by plying him with all sorts of flammables or things to keep his hands busy. If they weren't handed something directly it was like their brains were unable to cope with the fact something- a positive something -was left specifically for them.

Mick didn't know if they'd ever get over that quirk but he supposed it'd be kind of fun to try.

"Did you leave this on the table?"

Len was holding a manila envelope, the corner pinched between two fingers like he was holding something disgusting. His expression, however, was bland, expecting Mick to say yes.

Mick blinked, somewhat confused. "No."

Len stilled, tension beginning to ratchet in his shoulders. "No?"

Lisa, taking up the entire couch while occupying herself with things other than her homework, propped herself up on her elbows. "Seriously? Where'd it come from, then?"

"Dunno." Mick noticed the envelope had both their names on it. "Did you look inside?"

Len thrust the thing away from him, suspicion dialed to high. "Of course not, I didn't know where it came from."

Mick, being the less paranoid and occasionally more reckless or the two, snatched the envelope away and opened it up. He stared inside until Len began shifting impatiently in front of him. "It's got tickets, passports and brochures."

Lisa sat up, eyes bright with curiosity. "For what?"

"A Caribbean cruise."

"Are you kidding? When do we go?"

"There's only two tickets," Len drawled, eyes narrowed and never wavering from the envelop as Mick scattered its contents on the coffee table. "Passports are under aliases Mick and I have previously used."

"Ugh, whatever."

Mick sat, staring at the brochures, trying to rack his brain remembering who they knew that had any ties to the Caribbean. He looked up at Len who had a sour expression on his face- guess he remembered first. "You don't think it's Cano, do you?" The man was locked up in Iron Heights for over a dozen years as part of a drug ring bust. It was only pure luck no one had connected him to the empire Cano's wife was carving out for herself in the Dominican Republic. On the positive side, it put Cano in prime position to make some international connections for her. "Why would he think we'd do jobs for him?" Especially anything drug related- Len was notoriously anti-drug.

The sour look deepened. "I owe him a favor," he admitted reluctantly.

"For what?"

"He kept you out of solitary."

"Fuck." No wonder Len refused to tell him how he managed that. Solitary was always rough on Mick, especially when he was on a bad swing like he'd been at that time. He hadn't known Cano had gotten over the unofficially-gay-married thing but then neither Len or Mick were remotely small-time criminals anymore. He must've been willing to overlook it.

"Oooooooohmygod," Lisa moaned, she flopped back on the couch and dropped her magazine on top of her face. "Now I know how Mick feels. I did it! It's your fifth anniversary and I know you two are too worried about your images to be sentimental or some bullshit like that. Even though I also know you're both secretly mushy saps that're over the moon for each other."

Mick had the decency to look appreciative and slightly embarrassed. Len, however, continued to be suspicious. "How did you afford these?"

She picked up the magazine so she could glare. "I do have money, you know. And a bank account. Plus- oh yeah! I'm a thief. It wasn't exactly hard."

Len scowled- remembering Lisa's career-ending injury courtesy of their father always made him angry. Coupled with always harping on Lisa to be more particular over her own money- especially when there were so many people that could be spending their money on her whether they were aware of it or not -he was about to go into full-on big brother mode. "Exactly how much did this cost you?"

"Pfft, like I'm gonna tell you."

Silence stretched between the two. A battle of wills between the two could go on for days so Mick broke the impending stalemate by saying, "Lise, you can't seriously expect us to go on this."

"Why not? Your first honeymoon was interrupted when an off-duty cop recognized you and I could certainly use a break from Len being all helicopter mom whenever I wanna go out and steal something."

"What would we even do?"

"Relax? Swim? Pickpocket tourists who would rather carry a butt-load of cash than pay international credit fees and tend to be drunk half the time?"

Okay, when she put it like that it sounded pretty good. Mick could already see gears turning in his partner's mind and as tempting as it was, Mick said point blank, "I don't wanna run any cons on this."

The other two looked confused. "Why not?" Len asked.

"It's an anniversary gift. I wanna actually do something that's just about us for once. Y'know. All special and shit." As opposed to their usual habit of significant gestures that neither of them acknowledged because, as everyone knew, it wasn't romantic if no one talked about it.

Len stared at him for a moment and Mick would almost dare say he looked touched. "Yeah?" He let his hand trace against the back of the loveseat until his fingers bumped into Mick's hand, resting on it.

"Yeah. Barely got two days last time before we had to go to ground."

Lisa rolled her eyes as their fingers tangled together. "Okay," she shoved off the couch and took long strides out of the room, "I really don't need to see you two get all sickeningly sweet on each other."

Len barely gave her a passingly glare as she went. When he looked back at Mick his expression was an understated sultry. "It was worth it," he protested lightly. "I did steal you that Song Dynasty dragon robe." Len allowed Mick to reel him onto his lap, squirming just enough to make Mick growl.

"I'll bring it for the trip." His hand traced up Len's thigh slowly, cupping his hip. "I'm not saying we can't do a little thieving here and there, just a little more interested in you and me and seeing how good their room service is."

Len's eyes grew dark and he licked his lips with a quick swipe of his tongue. "You are a persuasive man."
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