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Nate“I love you man.”
Ray“Me too. And always ready for a bro hug.”
— Ray comes back from being phased out of existence.

SteelAtom is the slash ship between Ray Palmer and Nate Heywood from the Legends of Tomorrow fandom.


Season 2

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Season 3


Nate is working out when Ray walks in and thanks him for searching all of history to save him from a supervillain. Nate says that it was two, Damien and Nora. Ray believes that Nora had a tough life and comes off worse than she actually is. Nate asks if Ray is into Nora, which Ray denies, but Nate reminds him that Nora isn't the sanest person. Ray just believes that there's hope for her. Nate calls him a softie and wants him to look out for his heart.

Season 4


Nate goes to the Waverider where he see's a pig in the Captain's office. He asks why it's there, when Gideon says it's no pig. As the pig snorts, Nate is somehow able to understand it and realize that it's Ray. Ray snorts some more, but Nate tells him to slow down. Ray explains how he got turned into a pig, but he'll probably turn back soon since the team is working on it. Nate gets that they're in a situation but he could still use Ray's help at the bureau. Ray says yes, and asks if Nate will carry him. Nate says of course and uses his jacket to cover him as they go to the bureau.


As Ray leaves the dining room, he runs into Nate. He awkwardly say he's sorry, and Nate says it's okay but Ray says it's not. He gave Nora a second chance and she ends up killing Hank. Nate gets it, they both thought wrong about people, and Ray can't believe that Nate is the one comforting him. Nate tells Ray that he loves him, and no matter what that's not gonna change. Ray tells Nate that he loves him too.


Season 2

Out of Time

  • Nate tells Mick that he got a lead on Ray.
  • Ray asks if Nate is okay after time traveling.
  • Ray tells Sara that Nate is with them.
  • Ray and Nate stand next to each other on the bridge.
  • Nate asks Ray who Gideon is.


  • Nate tells Mick that Ray made his suit.

Season 3


  • Ray calls Nate to bring the Waverider to them.

Welcome to the Jungle

  • Mick calls Ray, Nate's boyfriend.

Season 4

Tender is the Nate

  • When Ray finds out that Nate is coming back on the ship, he comments on how much he needs a hug.

Seance and Sensibility

  • Ray questions whether it's a good idea to go to Nate's dad's funeral.
  • Ray says that he can't face Nate and hides.
  • Ray kisses Nate on the cheek when they leave.

Season 5

Thong Song

  • Nate points out that Ray had the suit in the museum.


Ray“What time did you go to bed last night, buddy?”
Nate“I didn't. Drank a lot of coffee.”
— Nate basically being a college student
Ray“Who wants to hold hands?”
Nate“Ray, it's not freaking Toy Story 3!”
— Nate immediately held Ray's hand after saying this
Nate“Ray, can you hear me?”
Mick“Can't go a whole day without talking to your boyfriends, huh?”
— Welcome to the Jungle
Ray“You know, it's still weird not having you around.”
Nate“I'll always be there, big guy. In that giant heart of yours.”
— Tender is the Nate
Ray“Can't believe you're the one comforting me.”
Nate“Oh, come on. I love you. That's never gonna change.”
Ray“Love you, too.”
— Seance and Sensibility
“Look, I didn't have a choice. He was gonna kill Nate. It was the only way I could make sure my best friend would be safe.”
— Ray to Nora[1]
Nate“Ray, buddy! I can't believe you went all the way to hell to stop Neron from killing me.”
Ray“You would've done the same thing!”
Nate“I kinda just did.”
Ray“Yeah you did!”
— Hey, World!


Fans began to ship them after their adventure in the Wild West. They had a more fun adventure than their time in feudal japan. They continued to have their main interactions be with each other over the next couple of episodes. Bonding over their love of nerd culture, as well as them having a softer friendship in the process.

Some fans prefer their friendship over a romantic relationship, but both types of fans enjoy their overall "bro" dynamic. Many tumblr fans will portray them as the guys from "bro posts". Specifically in the "tumblr text post" meme. This lends well to them given that they've said "I love you." to one another and have shared many genuine hugs, and bro hugs.

On AO3, SteelAtom is the most written ship for Nate and the third most written ship for Ray. It is also the eleventh most written ship in the Legends of Tomorrow tag.



Ray/Nate tag on AO3
Nate/Ray on FanFiction.Net


boyfriends who'd die for each other
steelatom hashtag on Instagram


steelatom posts on Tumblr
ray x nate posts on Tumblr


steelatom posts on Twitter
steelatom hashtag on Twitter


  • Their goodbye made Buzzfeed's Best TV Moments Of 2020[2]
  • Nick Zano (Nate Heywood) hinted that he likes the ship[3].
  • The ship name comes from Nate's superhero name, Steel, and Ray's superhero name, The Atom.
  • Both Ray's and Nate's favorite movies were made by George Lucas.
  • Ray made Nate's Steel suit.




Atomic SteelVixen refers to the ship between Amaya Jiwe, Ray and Nate
DarhkSteelAtom refers to the ship between Nora Darhk, Nate and Ray
SteelAtomblazer refers to the between Nate, Ray, and John Constantine
Steelatomwave refers to the ship between Ray, Nate and Mick Rory
SteelCanaryAtom refers to the ship between Nate, Sara Lance, and Ray
SteelZaray refers to the ship between Nate, Zari Tomaz, and Ray


  1. Hey, World! (416)
  2. 100 TV Moments From 2020 That We're Still Talking About (December 2020)
  3. Zano Tweet (October 2017)


SHIPS slash AtomwaveColdAtomColdRayColdwaveConstandesConstangreenHellwave
NateradNate x DionStarblazerSteelAtomSteelwaveTimeHex
het Atomic HawkCanarrowCaptain CanaryDarhkblazerHellcanary
Time CanaryTimehawkZaray
poly DarhkSteelAtomDarhkWuSharpe
femslash Agent CanaryAvalanceEsperastraNyssaraZamayaZavaZelen
non-binary Zarlie
CHARACTERS female Sara LanceZari Tomaz
male Ray PalmerMick RoryJohn ConstantineNate Heywood