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The way time burned

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It burned- every part of him was being torn apart and put back together, torn apart and put back together, an endless repeating agony. Tendons screaming, ligaments melting, his very brain felt like its atoms were being torn, splitting, burning.

Fire was familiar. Why was fire familiar?

There was something he needed to remember, needed to see- someone? But the pain was too much. The fire was important, though. Mick.

Mick.

Where was Mick?

Images of Juvie flashed before his eyes (burning, bright, agony in his eyes, did he even have them anymore?). He was so much smaller than everyone else. It wasn’t just a memory that he saw. Yes, he remembered too, but in that disjointed way that memories were- he remembered the fear and how small he felt. He had never been closer to death than before that point when Mick roared in, all fire and fury. He remembered the scent of sweat. But it wasn’t just the memory- he saw it, flashing before his eyes. Images, as if from an outside perspective. Like a video, playing through the past. Watching time go by.

Time?

Time and Mick.

The Waverider.

Everything felt disjointed. He saw everything at once- from the dawn of time to the end of it, when the universe was too spread out and too cold for light to reach anything at all. He felt time. He was time.

And he was dead.

He remembered it now. Saw it. Mick had taken Ray’s place- stupid, self-sacrificing idiot. They were all idiots. Idiot family.

From the Time Stream, disembodied and pulled atom from atom, Leonard Snart was left to his thoughts. There was nothing for him to do but watch time. Seconds, minutes, years, centuries dragged by.

At first, some part of him waited to be rescued. It took him far too long to realize that it would never happen.

Instead, he watched as his partner fell apart without him. How he grieved without anyone to really help him. How he tried to replace Len to shake away the pain of losing him, to no avail. Mick drank and drank and drank more than he ever had before. He didn’t burn as bright, anymore. Len was never one to cry, but he wanted to cry for Mick. Oh, Mick. His partner.

Lisa disappeared off the face of the Earth, after he and Mick left with the Waverider. She got out of the life. She died too young, barely fifty. Neither of them had been very good at going straight.

He watched Sara. She met Ava. He watched Ray, and Stein, and Jax. Rip Hunter and the Hawks.

Eventually, his mind melted under it. He was still there, yes, but he had been left to time for too long. His sharp mind, which used to always be counting the seconds (crossing the t’s, dotting the i’s…), eventually couldn’t tell the difference between a moment and an eternity. His consciousness faded, a blessing in the eternal agony of his atoms being ripped apart and put back together again in an endless cycle.

Humans weren’t meant to live in the time stream. Leonard Snart was no exception. He was not extraordinary, he did not have powers to make up for it- he was ripped apart, atom by atom, in agony the entire time, watching as eternity unfolded behind his non-existent eyes.

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No one ever rescued Leonard from the Oculus.

No one tried. Someone could have. When time broke, someone could have reached into the moment when the Oculus exploded and pulled him out, frazzled, but alive. Barry Allen and Cisco Ramone could have worked together to pull him from the time stream, but they did not try. The Time Bureau did not even consider him. Even the team on the Waverider, though they missed him, only remembered him as a lie, much more pleasant than he actually was. They did not try to save him. The Spear of Destiny could shape reality itself. Sara did not bring back Leonard Snart.

He was never released. Time was broken, a prison shattered, but Leonard was too far gone to escape.