ajremix: (gen)
[personal profile] ajremix
An idea that came about as I wondered on Len's comment about Amaya having a death wish.

Title: In Death and Time
Fandom: DC TV
Rating: PG-13 for death
Word Count: 1779
Characters: Len, the Oculus, Mick, Amaya, Thawne
Summary: After his death, Len gets to see the future.

Len expected a different number of possibilities when the Oculus exploded. Pain of various intensity and duration. The voices of those long since dead- and he’d braced himself for his father’s voice. Maybe even eternal damnation in case the Christians got things right. He hadn’t expected to find himself sitting in a chair, nearly encompassed by a curved wall that rippled like water and shone like the time stream.

“Not the afterlife I anticipated,” he said aloud. Though considering his idea of an afterlife was a general cessation of existence, any sort of awareness was not what he anticipated.

You have sacrificed yourself to free us, a voice didn’t exactly say so much as it just was. Like words were forming into existence in Len’s brain. He was not exactly a fan.

“And ‘us’ is who, exactly? Some sort of personification of the Oculus?”

Time. Fate. Inevitability. We are what is and what must be. The procession of every action and every consequence. Those that call themselves Time Masters harnessed us, twisted us and abused our very nature in order to manipulate events for their own needs. You have freed us. In gratitude, we shall show you whatever you wish to see.

“I don’t need the This Is Your Life treatment,” Len scoffed. “Death isn’t going to make those memories suck any less.”

You are not limited to your life or even your time. We span from the beginning of the universe to the end and you may witness any of it you wish.

There were many periods of time Len hadn’t gotten a chance to see on the trip that he was eager to. Jerusalem when the Old City was the only city, the Hagia Sophia before the iconoclasts destroyed parts of it, the Forbidden City when it was fresh and new, the age of pirates, the creation of some of his favorite works of art, dinosaurs, maybe the future when interstellar space travel becomes a regular thing. But before he could decide which he wanted to see, before he could even open his mouth, the wall rippled and congealed, parts pulling from the wall and forming figures and a room in front of him. The colors shifted but everything had a thin wash of green. Len’s breath punched out of him and he whispered, “Mick.”

You wish to see his future. You wish to see what becomes of him after your sacrifice, they said. The projection of Mick stood there, leaning against a table and Len had never seen that look on his partner’s face before. This is after he regained consciousness and was told what you had done.

Len got out of his chair, circling Mick’s figure. He stood in front of Mick, mouth dry as he tried to find words to speak. Even if this wasn’t the real Mick, Len still wanted to say something. Explain, perhaps, maybe even apologize. Instead he asked, “He lives, right? How long does he live?”

He dies eight months after your sacrifice.

Len whirled, even if there was no source of the voice to turn on. “What do you mean eight months? What happened? How does he die?”

The scene funneled back into the wall and a new one funneled out. There was a man and a woman fighting that Len didn't recognize. From the way he darted around, the man was clearly a speedster and the woman, every now and against, would touch the necklace she wore. She was clearly out of her league, despite a few good hits, she couldn't keep up with the man. He slammed into her, knocking the woman against a metal support beam and she struggled to regain her feet and breath.

The man laughed. "A smart person would've listened to their friends and gave up on me. But you decided you'd take me on by yourself."

"You murdered the man I love," she gasped, eyes hard and full of rage, slowly regaining her feet. Len had to give her points for resilience, even if he minused a couple dozen for putting herself in such an unwinnable situation. "I'll hunt you to the end of time to bring you to justice."

"Oh, I'm not I'm complaining," he grinned, teeth viscous and hand vibrating like a buzzsaw, "since it'll mean one less busybody getting in our way. But look on the bright side- you'll be with your man soon enough."

A jet of fire billowed across the room and the speedster disappeared in an instant and reappeared elsewhere, furious. Even if he moved the instant he felt the burn, the temperature of the fire was high enough to burn through his clothing and blister the skin beneath. For a moment Len watched fascinated as the skin healed itself before turning to the source of the fire.

Even though Len was expecting him, seeing Mick standing there made his chest tighten. There was nothing but empty space behind Mick and Len doubted, in the times since his death, the rest of the team finally grasped the concept of an ambush. That boggled Len's mind- why would Mick come here without back up? He had to have known the woman was facing a speedster and he knew from experience not to go up against one alone and without a plan. Despite what others may think, that level of recklessness was abnormal for Mick.

Except, he thought, when Len's safety was on the line. He cast a backward glance at the woman and felt a sharp pang of jealousy and possessiveness.

"Fine," the speedster growled out, hand vibrating again, "I can spare a second for you, first." He moved in a bolt of lightning and the only thing Mick did before that hand drove through his chest was lower his aim.

"MICK!" The scream tore out of Len's throat at the same time the woman cried out "No!" The speedster withdrew his hand and Mick fell to the floor, blood pooling out of him. Even if wasn't actually there, Len scrambled to his side anyway, not caring that the speedster's projection walked right through him on his way back to the woman. Len didn't care what happened to her or what the man did after, he just fell to his knees by Mick, trying to hold him. "No no Mick, please no. I didn't want this to happen. You were supposed to live. Dammit, why-"

He stopped as Mick's lips worked softly. Len leaned down just in time to hear Mick breath out his name before finally growing still.

"Fuck," Len stood up running his hands over his head and pacing. "Fuck fuck fuck. Why didn't you pull the trigger, Mick? Why did you even come here?" He took in a deep, shuddering breath, biting into the palms of his gloves until he worked the worst of his emotions aside. Len looked up at the wall. "Go back. Right after Mick shoots the speedster and hold it there."

The scene rewound and Len kept his eyes closed until it stopped. He went up to Mick and studied him carefully.

He looked worn out. Exhausted, beaten down, like simply holding his heat gun was a chore. Len tried to remember the last time he'd looked that bad. Not when he'd been jailed without Len for a few years, not when he'd spent a couple weeks in solitary- it hit him then. After his family burned to death, Mick had spent months on the edge of suicidal depression, kept trying to drive Len away and had convinced himself he was a worthless monster and a timebomb that would take out anyone he cared about. It had taken Len nearly a year of careful support to get Mick stable again.

"What happened?" He asked, studying the ragged lines in Mick's face.

We do not understand the question.

"I want to see Mick's timeline from my death to his. All of it. I don't care how long it takes."

He watched it all. Every second of Mick’s life after Len died. He watched the cruel jokes made to his face, the comments the others didn’t notice Mick overheard, the way they tried passing off dealing with him like some distasteful chore or punishment. But most of all he watch Mick sink deeper and deeper into his grief and loneliness and despair. He watched the life and passion bleed out of his partner until he was just a shell passing time, waiting for an opportunity to die.

“No,” Len whispered as he watched all the way through until he witnessed Mick's death a second time. "No, dammit- this wasn't supposed to happen! What the hell are those guys doing? How can they not see Mick needs their help?" Without having anything else to hit, Len kicked over the chair. "Fucking heroes- I should've let one of them die!" He scrubbed his hands over his head when a thought suddenly occurred to him. He turned back to the wall. "You can help me. The Time Masters used you to manipulate the course of time- you can do the same for me!"

We cannot. Time happens as it will, it is not the course of things to change what is.

"You owe me, dammit! You owe us! I didn't sacrifice myself for you, I sacrificed myself for Mick. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him! If it wasn't for me, he would have been the one to free you!"

Had not a countless number of a single action happened, you would not have made that choice. That does not make us beholden to every being whose influence has led you to that point of time.

"Please! I have to do something!" Len's throat knotted up, hands trembling so hard he clenched them into fists. "I can't let Mick die."

For a long moment, the words were silent. Then, We will not directly interfere, nor are we able to resurrect you. We can project you into his reality but you will not be able to interact with any object or any person other than him. That is all the allowance we shall give you.

A ghost, then, Len thought. Or a hallucination. Not ideal considering Mick's state of mind, but there was no way he was going to pass the opportunity up. "Can you show me what I have to do to save him?"

We cannot show you possibilities, only what is. Only if his future changes will we know what the outcome will be.

"Alright," Len took a deep breath in through his nose, running scenarios through his head. "Alright. Let's do this."
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