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Cold Me Close

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The chill air had brought the nauseating throb pulsing through his body down to a dull ache behind his eyes. Not pleasant, but far more manageable than what it had been before. Still sharp enough that sleep is out of the question so he’s trying his best to focus on the words in front of him – he’s had to reread lines more often than he would like to admit.

(But he’s read The Fellowship enough times he’s not terribly worried if he’s accidentally skipped a line.)

He doesn’t look up as the door slides open.

“Wow, its cold in here! Is it always -”

He lowers the edge of the book just enough to glare at Raymond.

“Be quiet, Raymond,” he cuts the ramble off before the scientist can really get going.

That works to shut him up but also has Raymond shifting from foot to foot, mouth closed but hands wringing as he hovers in the doorway.

What?” he says after a moment. Lowering the book more to glare without anything impeding the expression.

“Can I stay here? I’ll be quiet – I won’t talk or anything, I just…everyone’s busy and Professor Stein tossed me out of the lab – ”

“Sit down, shut up,” he huffs, scooting over on the bed far enough that there’s room for the overgrown Labrador to join him. He’d rather be alone but it’s worth it when the nervous tension leaves Raymond’s shoulders.

“Still hurting?” Raymond asks softly as he toes his shoes off before joining him.

He nods shortly, returning to his reading as Raymond grabs one of the throw blankets that are in the room specifically for the scientist. And it’s not long before Ray’s stretched next to him, flipping through schematics on his tablet – making the occasional notation or change on what looks like the design for the A.T.O.M. gauntlets.

And he probably could have stopped himself from reaching down to run his fingers through the man’s hair with the hand not holding his book but it’s been a rough day what with the being shot at and all the arguments that go along with a mission on the Waverider, all with a nauseating headache that not even Gideon’s futuristic medicine was quite able to stamp down. So petting the Boy Scout it is. Not like anyone’s going to see how mushy Raymond makes him here.

The Boy Scout is as quiet as promised.

Even when he shivers for what has to be the third time.

“You should go,” he tells his boyfriend lowly.

“I don’t want to,” Raymond frowns at the tablet, that anxious energy from before causing him to almost scrunch up into himself all over again.

He pauses before he points at his dresser. “Get a sweater then.”

“But –“


He doesn’t usually let Raymond borrow his clothing. (Even though he’s got a ridiculously soft Palmer Tech sweatshirt stashed in the bottom that is not his size and has had it since the first time he actually stayed for the night in Raymond’s room. And Ray has managed to turn up on the bridge in a sweater that doesn’t belong to him a few times – only Mick noticed that though.) But it wouldn’t do for the Boy Scout to catch a space cold or something.

Raymond reluctantly rolls off the bed to fetch the item.

Len was going to go right back to reading again but he doesn’t, setting the book down to watch Raymond pull on one of his dark blue sweaters before crawling back into the bed with him.

“Want to tell me what’s wrong?”

Raymond can – contrary to first impressions and popular belief – be quiet so long as he has something to occupy himself with. So that he’s managed to comply with the condition to stay isn’t actually a surprise – especially since Raymond’s stupidly considerate about everything. But the anxious desperation to not be sent away and to be allowed to stay in the first place isn’t…well, it isn’t unusual, per se, but it isn’t something Leonard’s ever happy to see in his lover.

There’s a moment where his boyfriend’s lovely brown eyes slide away, debating if he’ll be honest or not. (Raymond always is, but it sometimes takes him a moment to get past the initial deflection of the ‘I’m fine, nothing’s wrong’ variety that the smiling idiot is so well versed in.)

“Just don’t want to be alone,” Raymond eventually mutters.

And…he probably should’ve guessed that on his own – would have any other day. No one here likes to remember just how much time Raymond’s spent totally isolated. And it’s not just the childhood so lonely he’d befriend a Dominator without a second thought and Anna’s death (Len refuses to think about the months when he was gone because of the Oculus), though those things certainly didn’t help, but also six months trapped in a glass cube and held prisoner by Damien Darhk’s goons and another six lost in the Cretaceous period.

And he can’t help but feel more than a little irritated with Stein realizing what’s happened.

When he’s like this Raymond usually can’t help talking to himself. Even more than normal. He’s just not very good with how lonely the quiet can sound. It’s not a refuge for him. It’s proof of how little he supposedly matters and if he’s talking, even to himself, even when he’s alone, then there’s no silence to serve as proof of that.

And it’s a habit that irritates the short tempered members of the crew to no end.

Ray was probably working on his own projects and not bothering the older scientist at all except that his muttering ‘was terribly distracting’ and Stein can’t help being an asshole.

Len breathes out a sigh. This is one of those things that can’t be healed easy. He knows it (he’s got enough of those of his own) but it still hurts to see the man he loves suffer and not be able to do anything. He hopes that he helps Raymond with this hurt as much as Raymond helps with his hurts but he’s not sure…but all he can do is try.

So he leans over and kisses his forehead softly.

“I’m right here.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Well…” he quirks his lips. “I don’t want you to feel ice-olated.”

“Really?” Ray laughs softly, all wondrous and fond, his tablet abandoned onto the table in favor for curling up against Len and cuddling. “But your migraine is snow laughing matter.”

“No, but I want you here too. That’s no mean sleet, Raymond.”

“That’s terrible – I concede this round to you, Captain Cold.”

“Good,” he steals another kiss – this one from Ray’s lips – before he opens his book up again. His fingers returning to playing with his lover’s hair. Content to read as Raymond falls asleep next to him.