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This was supposed to be a shortish piece involving Rip and Snart having a conversation in a prison cell, but since it was a prison cell, Snart, of course, had to escape and things got a little out of control. On the plus side, I've finally written something long with actual action and a real plot for the first time in ages. The draft is done (about 13,000 words, 4 chapters and an epilogue) so it will definitely get finished but don't expect it to be posted too quickly. I'm a slow nitpicky editor and I keep adding and rewriting bits.

Title: Bank Robbers and Cutpurses
Characters: Rip Hunter, Leonard Snart
Rating/Warnings: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Hurt/Comfort (sort of)
Word Count: 3500
Spoilers: Set between 1x12 and 1x13.
Summary: Rip Hunter, Leonard Snart, a concussion, a broken ankle, and a time pirate prison cell.


Chapter 1


Rip felt as if he'd been through a millennium long time jump. A sharp spike of pain was drilling through the side of his skull and radiating throughout his entire body. His vision was blurring in and out, and even sitting on the floor as he was, the world seemed to tilt and spin at odd angles making his stomach lurch. There were other aches too, a throbbing in his left wrist, a twinge in his right hip, a burning in his ribs, but they barely registered beneath the all-consuming pain in his head.

From somewhere behind him, a voice penetrated the painful haze, a lazy, American drawl that was annoyingly familiar.

“You know why I don't like you?” said Leonard Snart.

Rip swallowed and blinked several times. The world seemed to settle somewhat and come into focus. He became aware of ropes tied tightly around his wrists and ankles, thick coils of rough rope which bit into his skin. There was also rope wrapped around his middle and a warm back pressed against his own. He felt the muscles in the back move as the person shifted slightly.

“No really,” said Snart, his movements yanking on the rope which bound them together. “You know why?”

Rip took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Is now really the best time to be asking such questions?” he said, his voice frustratingly scratchy and weak. He swallowed once more.

Snart's back shifted again, a shrug possibly. “It's not like we've got anything else to pass the time.”

Moving his head as gingerly as possible, Rip gazed around the room they were in. There wasn't much to see: gray metal walls, a gray metal ceiling, a gray metal floor. All covered by a collection of dark stains both disturbing and ominous. The only thing of any real distinction was the door, or rather the thick metal bars which stood in for a door. Nothing much could be seen on the other side of them but another gray wall.

“Maybe we could spend our time trying to find a way out of here and away from these pirates,” Rip snapped back.

How they'd actually gotten there was a bit hazy for Rip. He remembered attempting to take the team to a safe haven, somewhere they would be safe from the Time Masters for a while, only to find that what had once been a haven was now a hangout for time pirates, several of which, unfortunately, had a certain grudge against him. There had been a fight, of course. He and Mr. Snart had gotten separated from the rest of the team. He remembered seeing Snart go down, trying to reach him, and then something hitting him hard on the side of his head. After that things got a lot dimmer. He had a vague memory of being dragged somewhere while Snart complained loudly to anyone who was listening and another of being tossed into this cell, but the rest of the memories seemed to have slipped from his grasp.

“I'm working on it,” said Snart. “Trust me. Breaking out of prisons is my speciality.”

“I wonder why that is,” Rip muttered.

He tried to twist his wrists testing the bonds that tied them together but they were unmovable. All he managed to do was make them dig deeper into his skin. The pirates obviously found something perversely amusing about tying up their prisoners in such an archaic fashion. Giving up, Rip let his hands fall back into his lap and closed his eyes. The pain in his head was relentless and even the dim light of the prison cell made it worse.

“So are you going to answer my question?” asked Snart.

Groaning, Rip opened his eyes once more. For a moment, he had no idea what Snart was talking about, and then he remembered. Why Snart was bringing up the subject or why he had chosen such a time to pursue it, Rip couldn't fathom. It wasn’t as if it was a surprise that Snart didn’t like him. The man had never really done anything to hide his animosity.

“I assume,” Rip said, “it's because you dislike people telling you what to do.”

“That's true,” admitted Snart. “But that's not the main reason.”

“Well, I sincerely hope it's not because of the way I lied to you when you first joined the team. That would be more than a little hypocritical coming from you.”

“I suppose it would be. Can't blame a man for doing what he needs to do to get what he wants.”

The words stung, but Rip pushed the guilt aside. He didn't have the time or the energy to deal with it. “Alright,” he said. “I give up. Why don't you like me?”

“Because though you act like you're some high and mighty hero out to save the world, the truth is you're just like me.”

Rip's face crumpled into a frown. “What?” he said, and then he nearly fell over as the ropes around his middle went slack and the back he'd been leaning against suddenly vanished. He managed to catch himself before he ended up on the ground, but the sudden movement did nothing to help his head.

As Rip attempted to regain his equilibrium, Snart appeared beside him, his bonds miraculously gone.

“How...?” Rip asked in confusion.

Snart smirked and twirled a small knife around in his fingers.

“Didn't the pirates take all our weapons before they threw us in here?” Rip vaguely recalled something like that happening. His revolver was certainly missing, along with his coat for some reason.

“Oh, they did,” said Snart with a nod.

“And they just happened to miss that knife.”

“They found it alright. I just stole it back.”

Rip rolled his eyes. Well, he admitted to himself, there had been a reason he'd recruited Snart in the first place, and in this case, it was certainly proving useful.

Snart shuffled around on his knees until he was in front of Rip and quickly cut through the ropes binding his hands and ankles. As Rip rubbed his wrists trying to restore the circulation to his fingers, he caught Snart giving him an odd look he couldn't quite decipher.

“What?” he asked.

“Your head is bleeding,” Snart said, his tone as bland as if he was commenting on the weather.

Rip reached up and tentatively touched the left side of his head. Even the gentle touch made him wince. There was certainly blood, tacky, half-dried blood that caked a good portion of that side of his head. It was hard to tell how bad it was from touch alone and he thought that was probably a good thing.

“It'll be fine,” he said though he didn't sound particularly convincing even to himself. “We need to get out of here.”

“Great idea, Captain,” Snart responded, wryly. “And exactly how do you propose we do that?”

Rip gave him an exasperated look. “Let's start by figuring out how to get through this door, shall we. Then hopefully we can make a quick escape out of whatever this place is.”

“Yeah, there might be a slight problem with the whole quick escape part,” said Snart.

“And what's that?” asked Rip growing increasingly tired by Snart's snide attitude.

“I'm pretty sure my ankle's busted.”

Rip blinked. He gazed at Snart only now noticing the odd way he was kneeling, one leg pushed awkwardly to the side. “How bad?”

“Let's say it's not great.”

Briefly, Rip considered asking Snart whether he could examine the injured joint in question, but decided the chance of Snart reacting positively to that were remote. Instead, he said, “Try putting some weight on it.”

Snart gave him a look which showed just how stupid he thought that suggestion was, but he half crawled, half shuffled over to the door and used the bars to help get to his feet placing all his weight on his uninjured foot. Once upright, he took a cautious step forward. Immediately, he stumbled, his hand grabbing the bars again for support. He didn't make a sound, but his jaw clenched and his face went several shades paler.

“Snart...” Rip began, but Snart put up a finger putting a stop to whatever it was Rip had intended to say.

Badly sprained at best, Rip surmised. Knowing Snart's high pain threshold, the man had shattered his own hand after all, the ankle could quite possibly be broken.

“Got any more bright ideas?” Snart hissed through gritted teeth.

“We're still getting out of here,” Rip insisted. “We'll just have to do it a bit slower.”

“Obviously.”

“Let's take a look at that door,” said Rip ignoring the sarcasm.

It was his turn to stand and he did so, though perhaps a tad too quickly considering the circumstances. His body put up only minor protests as he got to his feet, but his head... The pain he'd been trying to ignore redoubled and the world spun around him. He managed to take a couple staggering steps towards Snart and the door before the darkness began creeping in at the edges of his vision and his legs gave out beneath him. He fell forward as consciousness vanished once more.

A short while later, Rip let out a groan as awareness began to return. He was surprised to discover that he wasn't, as he'd anticipated, lying crumpled in a painful heap on the floor. He was being held up by a pair of arms. In his hazy state of reawakening, he couldn't quite figure out whose arms they were.

“You puke on me and you'll wish I let you hit the floor.”

Mr. Snart's, of course, he realized grimacing, and sincerely wished the man hadn't mentioned puking as he felt his stomach roll. He swallowed the bile that rose to his throat and took a couple of slow breaths. When he had regained enough of his equilibrium, he carefully righted himself pushing away from Snart.

“Uh, thank you,” he said awkwardly.

“Nice concussion you've got there,” said the crook. He was still standing with all his weight on one leg having braced himself against the door in order to take Rip's weight too.

“It'll be fine,” Rip said realizing he was repeating himself.

“Sure, it will,” said Snart.

Ignoring him, Rip peered through the bars as best he could. All he could see on the other side was an empty corridor going left and right. “No guards,” he observed. “That's lucky.”

“Or unlucky,” countered Snart. “If there'd been a guard, we might have been able to trick him into letting us out. Where do you think they all are?”

“Hopefully, they're busy dealing with the rest of the team,” said Rip. He didn't voice the worry in the back of his mind that the rest of the team were trapped in cells similar to this one.

“Should we wait for them to spring us?”

Rip gave him a look. “You of all people seriously want to wait around for help to arrive?”

“No,” Snart replied with a smirk. “I just wanted to see if you did.”

Rip sighed and turned to examine the doorway. The bars that covered it were made of a thick and undoubtedly unbreakable metal. They went straight from the top of the door into the floor. Some sort of mechanism must cause them to slide up into the wall, Rip realized. They just needed to figure out how to trigger it. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, there didn't seem to be any controls on their side of the door.

Snart leaned casually against the wall crossing his arms over his chest. “There's a control panel on the other side to the left.”

Slipping an arm through the bars, Rip felt along the other side of the wall until he felt the smooth surface of the panel. Something beeped as he hit one of the buttons. Unfortunately from this angle, he couldn't actually see the panel. If he only knew what it looked like...

“The thing's about four inches by six inches with a nine digit number pad, black numerals on white buttons. There are three more buttons at the bottom, red buttons with some symbols I didn't recognize. The background is black and the whole thing is outlined in fluorescent green.”

Rip stared at Snart.

“I'm very observant,” Snart said with a shrug. “Not sure what good it's going to do us. The thing's a little after my time.”

“Yes, and it's a little before mine,” said Rip. “But I think I know how to bypass it.” Hopefully, the system the pirates were using was the one he thought it was. The description certainly matched. He had dealt with the system a few times before so he knew how it worked. Now, he just had to somehow deal with it without actually being able to see what he was doing.

Snart raised his eyebrows. “Really?”

“Really,” Rip echoed. “Despite what you might think, Mr. Snart. I am not completely without skill.”

“I never said you were,” replied Snart. “I just find it interesting that one of those skills happens to involve getting through locked doors.”

Rip just gave him an exasperated look and held out his hand. “Your knife.”

Snart handed over the knife and Rip took it slipping his arm between the bars once more. It was an awkward affair, but he managed to wedge the tip of the knife into the seam between the panel and the wall and pry the thing off. The panel fell to the floor with a loud clatter.

Rip froze. He and Snart stayed silent for several moments, but no one appeared to check out the source of the noise.

“If this were my crew,” said Snart, “some people would be in for a serious beat down leaving a couple prisoners unguarded like this.”

“Maybe they thought tying us up and putting us in a locked cell would be enough,” said Rip. “Just be grateful for small mercies.”

He ran his fingertips over the wires and circuits inside the panel. It seemed to have the standard set up. He tried to picture how it should look in his mind, but the continuous pounding in his head was making it hard to concentrate. Bringing up the knife once more, he got to work slicing and rearranging various wires praying that he was hitting the right ones. The last step involved tripping several circuits. He managed to get the first two but the last one eluded him. He couldn't seem to get the tip of the knife in the right spot. Sweat began beading on his forehead and his arm and wrist ached from being in such an awkward position. He tried again and missed. He growled in frustration. None of this was helping the pain in his head. He wished it would let up a moment so he could think. Eventually, the pain became too much and with the vertigo and nausea threatening to return, he pulled his arm back inside and knelt on the floor.

“Giving up?” Snart enquired.

“I just need to rest a moment,” Rip replied with a shaky breath.

“You're not going to pass out again, are you?”

“No.”

“Good.”

A minute or two passed in silence as Rip sat there staring at the floor concentrating on his breathing as he willed the pain in his head to die down.

“You know it took me a while to figure it out,” said Snart who was keeping a watch on the empty corridor on the other side of the bars.

“Figure out what?” Rip asked, wearily.

“Why I don't like you,” said Snart. “Despite the obvious that is.”

Rip cast his eyes towards the ceiling. “Oh, so we're back on this again, are we?”

“I knew the moment we met that you were more than some time travelling, British cowboy out to save the world,” Snart continued undeterred. “You were too ready and willing to make the cold blooded decisions, do what needed to be done regardless of the moral implications.”

“Is there a point to all this?” Rip demanded.

“The fact you lied to get us to come along was my first clue, but it wasn't the last. There was the way you kept putting the fate of the mission above the lives of your team, the way you were willing to consider things like killing a kid an okay price for saving the world, but I wasn't able to put all the pieces together until we got to meet the younger you.”

Rip turned to glare at Snart.

“Cutpurse is just a fancy name for pickpocket.” Snart gave him one of his lopsided smirks. “This whole time it turns out you're a thief and a criminal just like me.”

“Was a thief,” Rip snapped. “There's a difference.”

“Once a thief, always a thief.” Snart cocked his head to the side. “Though I suppose robbing banks and picking pockets isn't quite the same thing. Personally these days I generally avoid anything under a hundred grand.” He paused a moment; then added, “Unless I can get a good kick out of it,” and after a second pause, “or if I'm bored.”

Gritting his teeth against the pain, Rip got back up and pushed his arm through the bars so he could work on the control panel once more. The sooner he got them out of there the sooner he'd be away from Snart and his sudden need to personally analyze him.

“Of course, it's not the fact you're a thief that bugs me,” Snart continued. “It's the fact that you go around pretending you're some big hero, acting like you're better than me and Mick.”

“I never said...” Rip grunted as he pushed his arm further through the bars trying to get the knife in the right spot. “...I was a hero.”

He felt the knife connect and the switch move; then suddenly the bars shot upward. So suddenly that it pushed Rip backwards causing him to lose his balance. It would have knocked him right off his feet if Snart hadn't caught him again.

“Let's not make a habit of this,” said Snart.

Rip groaned. Getting his feet back under him, he removed himself from Snart and handed the man back his knife, ignoring the smug expression on his face. Taking a step through the door, he did a quick scan of the corridor. It was empty.

“Alright,” he said talking half to himself. “Now which way...” He hadn't exactly been conscious enough to note the direction they'd come in.

“Right,” said Snart who obviously had been conscious. “But we'll be sitting ducks without our weapons.”

“Did you see where they put them?”

“I saw where the guy took them. We’ll pass it on the way out, but it’s a long way between here and there.”

“Maybe if we’re lucky,” Rip said, unconvincingly, “we’ll find something else we can use before then.”

“I don’t believe in luck,” said Snart.

“Frankly, neither do I,” said Rip. “Come on.” He took a couple of steps down the corridor only to be stopped by Snart.

“You forgetting something,” the crook called out behind him.

Turning back, Rip saw Snart hadn't followed him into the corridor. The man gestured to his foot and Rip cursed himself. He had forgotten about Snart's ankle.

“Right.” Rip grimaced. This was a complication he could really do without. Returning to the cell and Snart, he raised an arm to take ahold of him, but the man dodged out of the way, a wary look in his eyes.

“What exactly are you planning to do?” he asked.

“Well, I’m certainly not going to carry you,” said Rip, “but if you lean on me, I can get you out of here.”

Snart snorted. “That’s your great plan?”

“Unless you’d rather stay.”

Snart scowled and Rip gritted his teeth in frustration. He couldn’t decide whether Snart was being difficult because he disliked needing help or because he disliked needing help from him. Whichever it was, there wasn’t time for this, not if they were going to get out of there alive. Rip was ready to snap at Snart again, but there was something about the way he stood, eyes narrowed, body shrunken back, one hand clutching tightly to the doorway. There was something almost vulnerable about it, like a trapped wild animal, which made Rip tame his temper and swallow the insults he’d been about to send Snart’s way.

“It’s the only way,” he said, tiredly.

Leonard looked away letting out a loud sigh of resignation.

Taking that as a sign of acceptance, Rip wrapped an arm around his back. He felt Snart’s body stiffen as he touched him. He tried not to take it personally, but he wished the man would at least trust him after all this time even if he didn’t like him.

Snart placed a reluctant arm across Rip's shoulders, letting go of the wall and slowly shifting his weight onto the former Time Master.

“If it’s any consolation, Mr. Snart,” said Rip as they took their first, awkward step together, “I’m not terribly fond of you either.”


Chapter 2

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