daylight_darknight: (Earth Sunrise)
[personal profile] daylight_darknight
And the writing continues.


Title: The Adventures of Time Dad
Characters: Rip, Mick, Ray, Sara, Martin, Jax, Leonard
Rating/Warnings: PG
Genre: Humor, Crack, Fluff, Family, Friendship
Word Count: 44,000 so far
Spoilers: Takes place between seasons 1 and 2 with random visits from Leonard because I keep forgetting he's dead.
Summary: Some days Rip wants to strangle them. Some days he wants to hug them. Some days he wants to do both.

Parts 1 - 4

Parts 5 - 8

Parts 9 - 12

Parts 13 - 14

Parts 15 - 18

19. Death by Chef Boyardee

Emerging from the darkness of unconsciousness, the first thing Rip became aware of was pain, a dull but persistent pain originating from somewhere in the vicinity of his temple. It was soon followed by several more little pinpoints of pain from various random places all over his body.

What happened? he wondered, his thoughts feeling slow and muddy. Had he been attacked? He didn’t remember being attacked.

The next thing Rip became aware of was the fact he was lying down. Embarrassingly, he seemed to be sprawled out on a metal floor. He could feel the cold surface beneath him.

He’d been on the ship. He knew that. He must still be there. Had something happened to the Waverider? Were the others alright? He tried to remember but the memories slipped away from him.

He lay there, eyes closed, mind a muddled mess, wondering what the hell was going on and trying not to provoke the constant throbbing in his head into a larger state of agony by doing something as stupid as moving.

Then Rip became aware of the voices.

“What the hell did you do?”

That was Sara. She appeared to be angry, very angry. That was a bad sign. An angry Sara was never a good thing. Sara got vicious when she was angry.

“It was an accident.”

And that was Ray. He appeared to be upset about something. What was he talking about? What had been an accident?

“An accident?” said Sara.

It didn’t sound like she believed him. Rip could almost hear her raised eyebrows. He wasn’t going to have to stop Sara from killing Ray, was he? He really wasn’t up to that at the moment.

“Don’t look at me. Haircut’s the one who screwed up.”

Oh, and Mick was there too. Wonderful. At least, the team appeared to be alright. It was only him who seemed to have a bit of a problem. Nothing he had heard so far, though, was helping him figure it out. He still didn't know what was going on or what had happened to him.

However, things were made somewhat clearer by a sudden cry from Jax who had apparently just appeared on the scene.

“Oh, my God. You killed Rip!”

“I didn’t mean to,” said Ray, the distress in his voices raising it to a high-pitched volume.

Wait, thought Rip. Did that mean he was dead? If this was death, the afterlife certainly left a lot to be desired.

“He’s not dead,” said Sara.

Oh, good.

“At least, I’m pretty sure he’s not,” she added.

That really wasn’t very helpful. He would really like to know one way or the other, though if he were dead, this would clearly be hell.

“What!” exclaimed Ray, his voice reaching new levels in his panic. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod...”

“If he is dead, can I have his stuff? Some of that junk he’s collected might actually be worth something.”

Yes, thank you, Mr. Snart. That really made him feel loved and cared for. And his stuff wasn’t junk. It was a collection of unique and exquisite items gathered from across the timeline.

“Can I have that silver skull he keeps on his desk?” Mick asked.

“Sure, but I’m taking the squid statue,” said Snart, “for sentimental reasons.”

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod,” Ray continued, babbling non-stop.

Definitely hell.

“Ms. Lance was only teasing, Raymond. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Captain is clearly still breathing. So maybe we could concentrate on helping him instead of divvying up his stuff.”

Martin. A voice of reason at last. So he wasn’t dead then.

“Thank God,” Ray said in relief and Rip echoed the sentiment.

“Too bad, Haircut,” said Mick. “Maybe next time. I can give you a few suggestions on how to...”

“I wasn’t trying to kill him!” Ray cried. “I told you it was an accident.”

“That’s what they always say,” said Snart with an audible smirk.

Of course, now Rip was starting to wish he really were dead.

The conversation quickly degenerated into who was planning to kill who and how it would be best to go about it.

That was it. Rip had had enough. With what seemed like a ridiculous amount of effort, he slowly opened his eyes. He was forced to blink several times before his blurry vision fully cleared. Once it had, the sight he saw made him seriously want to close his eyes once more and continue feigning unconsciousness.

He was lying on the floor in the galley completely surrounded by the members of his team. Sara and Jax were kneeling down on either side of him while the others stood around looming above.

It actually took a moment or two for any of them to notice his eyes were open. They all seemed much more interested in the continuing argument between Ray, Snart, and Mick.

Finally, Jax happened to look his way. “Hey,” he said. “Look who’s not dead.”

And suddenly everyone’s gaze was on him.

Rip cleared his throat feeling somewhat disconcerted under all the attention. “Um, yes,” he said. “So it would appear.”

“Are you alright?” asked Sara, scrutinizing him carefully, a concerned look on her face.

“I believe so.”

He pushed himself up onto his elbows, and then sincerely wished he hadn’t as the world wavered around him and a drumming started up in his skull. Grimacing, he rubbed his sore temple.

“What...?” he began but as he did so his elbow accidentally hit something which rolled loudly across the floor. He glanced over at it.

It was a tin can. In fact, there were numerous tin cans all around him. Reaching over, he picked one up and stared at it in confusion. It was wrapped in a blue label. At the top of the label it said Chef Boyardee and beneath that in larger letters it said PAC-MAN: Pasta in GOLDEN CHICKEN flavored sauce. At the bottom of the label was a spoon filled with oddly shaped pieces of pasta and a bizarre cartoon character who appeared to be eating one of them.

“What the hell!” Rip exclaimed.

The team once again proved very unhelpful. Mick simply grinned. Snart smirked. Sara and Jax both appeared to be trying very hard not to laugh. Martin, on the other hand, just shook his head with disbelief. It was Ray who stood out though. He was wringing his hands and looking extremely guilty.

“Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?” Rip cried.

This time all eyes turned to Ray.

“Uh,” he began hesitantly. “Do you remember how you sent Mick and I out to get groceries?”

Frowning, Rip nodded. He did recall that. They’d been low on food, or rather, low on what the team called food. They tended to grow rather tetchy if they didn’t have what they termed proper food ie. the sort of junk you could find in a typical American grocery store in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Since they had landed in Oregon in the mid 1980s to deal with the latest time aberration, Rip had thought it would be a good idea to send Ray and Mick out to top up their supplies.

Wait. A lost memory re-emerged. Hadn’t he come to the galley to check on what they’d bought?

“Well,” Ray continued, “when we were in the store, we happened to spot some Pac-Man Pasta and it turns out both Mick and I really, really loved Pac-Man pasta. You can’t get it anymore, in our time I mean, so we thought we’d buy all the ones they had at the store. And then we, uh,...” Ray cleared his throat. “Then we went to several other stores and bought all the ones they had too.”

Rip gazed at all the cans scattered around the room. “How many did you buy?”

Ray shrugged. “Um, 200? Maybe more. I kind of lost count.”

Letting out a groan, Rip rubbed his throbbing head once more. “As ridiculous and inane as that may be, I don’t see what it has to do with me waking up on the galley floor after having been apparently knocked unconscious.”

Ray gave another guilty wince. “Well, you see when we got all these cans back here, we needed to figure out somewhere to put them all. Mick and I were discussing this when we suddenly got the great idea to build a huge tower out of them. Somehow this turned into a bit of a competition to see who could build the tallest tower, and you see...”

“I won,” said Mick interrupting the story, a smug grin on his face.

“He did,” Ray agreed with a nod. “Apparently I didn’t get the structural integrity quite right on mine. I was just putting the last few cans on when you happened to walk into the room and the thing kind of... um... toppled over on top of you.”

Rip stared at him in disbelief. “Are you telling me I was rendered unconscious by canned pasta?”

Ray grinned sheepishly. “Uh, yes?”

Rip could only continue to stare.

Fifteen years as a Time Master. Thirteen years in command of the Waverider. He’d faced down countless time pirates, powerful evil warlords, vicious marauding mutants, and once even a gigantic, silver space dragon which had fallen out of an inter-dimensional portal. He’d fought against people with incredible weapons and unimaginable powers.

And he’d just been taken down by canned pasta by a member of his own team.

It started off as a sort of spasm in his diaphragm but it grew moving upward until his chest started to shake; then it moved up even further into his throat causing odd noises to emerge.

The faces around him suddenly grew serious.

“Rip,” Martin said with concern. “Are you...?”

But before Martin could finish his question, Rip had fallen back onto the floor, bellows of hysterical laughter erupting from him.

Ray gazed at him, wide-eyed. “My God,” he said. “I really have killed him.”

“Broken him, at least,” said Snart, shaking his head. “And here I was hoping I’d be the one to finally do that.”

“Uh. Should we take him to the medbay or something?” asked Jax, worriedly.

“Maybe we should have Gideon check him for brain damage?” suggested Mick gazing at the hysterical captain with raised eyebrows.

Sara just smiled at Rip. “In a minute,” she said. “Let him be for now. It might actually do him some good.”

Rip barely heard her. He was too busy laughing, tears running down his cheeks as he rolled around on the floor among the cans of pasta.

20. Just A Little Accident Prone: Ray
(Warning: This one has some blood and violence so avoid if necessary)

Though some days Rip was convinced that the whole reason the team took so many risks and were so accident prone was that it was simply part of a much larger plan of theirs to drive him to the brink of insanity, or heart failure, he had yet to decide which, he did worry. He tended to worry quite a lot actually. Sara was always pestering him about it.

The problem was he wasn’t actually a doctor. None of the team were doctors, at least not in the medical sense. And should their luck finally run out, if someone was gravely hurt beyond what Rip knew how to fix and they were out in the far reaches of history when medical knowledge involved not much more than leeches, little green leaves, and prayers to the gods, there would be nothing he could do since jumping to a time when there was a decent doctor around would most likely kill the injured person anyway.

The medical technology on the Waverider might seem miraculous but it wasn’t infallible. It had its limits. As much as Rip wished it could, it couldn’t heal everything. That had been proven when they’d lost Kendra and Carter’s son, Professor Boardman on their very first mission, and then again when they’d almost lost Kendra and only some inventiveness and skillful flying from Ray had saved her. They’d lost Carter too though they had gotten him back, sort of. They’d lost him before they even had the chance to get him to the Waverider.

And that was Rip’s other worry.

Because what was the point of having advanced medical equipment if you couldn’t get to it in time...

Rip didn’t hear the shot that hit Ray. He just saw him go down clutching his leg, a surprised look on his face. He did, however, hear the shots that came afterwards flying by him and pinging off the cars surrounding them.

Ducking down, Rip grabbed Ray and dragged him to safety between a red SUV and a silver compact.

“I think I’ve been shot,” said Ray, looking somewhat dazed.

“Stay here,” said Rip. He left Ray leaning against the side of the compact and carefully peered over the hood of the SUV.

A bullet shattered the headlight near him and Rip ducked back down.

Tapping the communicator inside his ear, Rip said, “Sara, you know that gang you were supposed to be tracking down?”

“Yeah?” came the reply over the comlink.

“I think they found us.”

Several more bullets rained down on them slamming against the cars and shattering windows.

There was the sound of cursing over the comlink. “Where are you?” Sara asked.

“In the parking lot behind the theatre.”

“We’ll be right there.”

Rip glanced at Ray who was rapidly growing pale. “Hurry,” he said. “Dr. Palmer’s been shot.”

Rip pulled out the gun from the suit jacket he was wearing, not his usual laser revolver, a regular projectile pistol. It was the 1990s after all and he was trying to blend in. He and Ray had been posing as foreign business men before everything went to hell. He peeked over the SUV again but he still couldn’t see their attackers, so he fired in the general direction the shots seemed to be coming from hoping to deter them.

The incoming shots thankfully stopped and Rip took advantage of the momentary break to check on Dr. Palmer.

“Ray?” he said crawling over to the former billionaire.

Ray blinked at him. “I’ve been shot,” he said in a slightly confused tone.

“Yes, I know,” Rip replied.

Rip took a look at his leg. The bullet had hit Ray mid-thigh and a fair amount of blood was seeping out of the hole it had left. For a moment, Rip thought the bullet had hit the femoral artery and a feeling of panic washed over him, but then he realized that if it had, the blood would be gushing out, not seeping. The bullet must have hit something though.

“I’ve been shot,” Ray said again, clearly suffering from shock.

“Yes, but you’re going to be fine. I promise.” Rip put both hands on the bullet wound and pressed down hard trying to slow the bleeding.

Ray let out a brief cry grimacing in pain.

“You’re going to be fine,” Rip repeated, desperately hoping he was telling the truth. He looked for an exit wound but couldn’t find one. That was a bad sign.

“I’ve been shot,” Ray said for the third time. “I’ve never been shot before. I mean technically I have but that was with an arrow not a bullet. Which do you think is worse: an arrow or a bullet? I can’t decide. I’m not really liking either one right now. You know I think I might just pass out...” Ray’s babbling trailed off and his eyes began to close.

“No, no, no,” said Rip, smacking Ray on the cheek. “Stay with me.”

Ray’s eyes jerked open. “I’ve been shot,” he said again, unhelpfully.

Just then, the shooting started up once more, the bullets flying over their heads. Rip automatically ducked lower. The bullets still weren’t reaching them but it sounded as if the shooters had gotten closer.

Keeping one hand on Ray’s wound, Rip reached for his gun with his other and used it to fire a few shots into the air. That made the attackers pause again but only for a few seconds.

“Bloody hell,” Rip exclaimed. He put the gun away and tapped his communicator once more. “Sara?”

“We’re still a few minutes away,” she replied. “Hang on.”

Rip didn’t think they had a few minutes. Probably sooner rather than later, the gang was going to realize there was nothing stopping them from coming close enough to get a clear shot, but if Rip let go of Ray’s leg to shoot back... Ray was bleeding out much too quickly. It wasn't slowing down and with the state Ray was in, Rip couldn’t count on him to keep the pressure on the wound himself. Wrapping his jacket around it might help but not much. Getting an idea, Rip let go and with bloodstained hands, pulled the tie from his neck, suddenly very glad he’d been forced to pose as a business man that day. He quickly tied the tie around the top of Ray’s leg as a makeshift tourniquet.

“What...?” said Ray dazedly.

Rip held up a hand. “Just wait here. I'll be back soon.”

Going back to the SUV, Rip pulled out his gun, his real gun this time. The team were going to have fun ribbing him for using future tech when he’d specifically told them not to, but at this point, he didn’t care. Sticking his head out once more, he saw movement, a human shape moving behind a large blue truck. A bullet scraped the front of the SUV much too close and he crouched down once more. He wasn’t going to be able to get a clear shot. It would be difficult to get one of them let alone all. He wasn’t even sure how many there were and he didn’t have time to pick them off one by one, but that didn’t matter. He knew approximately where they were. That was the important thing.

Upping the power setting on his revolver as high as it would go, Rip jumped up and fired at the truck. The blue beam of the gun hit the vehicle making it glow momentarily before it burst apart in a spectacular explosion.

Rip didn’t bother to wait to see what the explosion had done to their attackers. He just headed back to Ray as quickly as he could.

Ray had grown even paler in the short time Rip had been away and his eyes had drifted shut. The tourniquet had slowed the bleeding down but hadn’t stopped it completely. Ray’s pant leg was soaked with blood.

“Ray,” said Rip, shaking his shoulder. “Ray!”

“Hmm,” said Ray, sleepily, his eyelids slowly cracking open.

“I need you to stay awake,” said Rip.

Ray’s eyes opened wider and he grimaced in renewed pain. “I’ve been shot,” he said for the fifth time.

“Which is why you need to stay awake,” Rip replied. His first aid training kicking in, he took a hold of Ray’s shoulders guiding him down towards the ground. “Lie down.”

“I thought you said I had to stay awake,” said Ray, frowning.

“Yes,” said Rip, “but I need you to do it lying down.”

Rip settled Ray on the parking lot’s tarmac and removed his jacket bundling it up and placing it under Ray’s head for a pillow; then renewing pressure on the bullet hole, he lifted up Ray’s wounded leg. Now positioned above Ray’s heart, the wound finally seemed to stop bleeding or at least, slowed down enough that it was barely noticeable.

Rip sighed in relief but the relief didn’t last long. Ray’s eyes soon started to close once more.

“I said stay awake,” Rip ordered putting all of his authority as captain into his voice.

Ray’s eyes snapped back open. Gazing up at Rip in confusion, he said, “What’s going on?”

“You got shot,” Rip reminded him.

“Oh, yeah,” said Ray. Looking at his leg, he added, “Is the bullet still in there?”

“I’m afraid so,” Rip replied. Craning his neck, he peered around hoping to catch sight of the rest of the team but there was still no sign of them.

“Cool,” said Ray with a tired grin. “Can I keep it?”

Rip turned back staring at him in disbelief. “What?”

“When you take it out,” Ray explained, “can I keep? You know, like a souvenir.”

“Seriously?” said Rip, still unable to believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t decide if Ray was getting delirious or simply being Ray.

Ray shrugged as best he could from his position on the ground. “It’s my first gunshot wound. I want something to remember it by.”

“You mean other than the scar you’ll undoubtedly be left with?” Rip said sarcastically, and then he sighed. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll make you a deal. You stay awake until we get back to the ship and I’ll let you keep the bullet.”

Ray pursed his lips seeming to muse on the proposal for a while before finally saying, “Deal.” He gave several slow blinks. “’S not going to be easy though,” he said, his voice slightly slurred and his eyes beginning to fall shut once more.

Rip really hated to do it but he pressed against the wound, hard.

The pain was enough to jolt Ray back awake.

“Don’t forget our deal,” said Rip. “If you want that bullet, you’d better stay awake.”

“Right,” said Ray with a dazed nod. He gazed at his blood soaked leg. The shock must have been starting to wear off because his forehead creased with worry and an edge of panic started to seep into his voice as he said, “You know that really doesn’t look very good.”

“You’ll be fine,” said Rip trying to reassure him while trying to keep any of his own anxiety out of his voice. “We’ll get you back to the ship and Gideon will have you healed up in no time; then you can have your souvenir and Mick can make fun of you for it.”

“Mick will love it,” said Ray, showing his sense of unreasonable optimism was still intact.

“So long as you’re still alive to show it to him,” Rip whispered quietly to himself.

It was a harrowing and infinitely long few minutes and it took several more interventions from Rip but Ray did thankfully manage to stay awake until the rest of the team arrived. Rip didn’t think he’d ever been more relieved than when he finally heard Sara and Mick calling to them. Ray even managed to stay at least half-awake as he got carried back to the ship in Mick’s arms though the fact Mick kept threatening to do horrible things to him if he passed out might have had something to do with that.

Once in the medbay, Rip was able to set up a plasma transfusion and give Ray painkillers and all the other things he would need in order to keep his heart pumping while Rip carefully dug the bullet out of his leg. That part proved relatively easy and soon Gideon was able to cauterize the wound and begin the healing process, knitting all the damaged tissue back together. Ray was left resting comfortably while Rip was left with drying blood on his hands, the shaky feeling that accompanied fading adrenaline, and one used bullet.

Rip stared at the bullet. Well, he thought, a deal’s a deal.

The bullet was cleaned and placed on a small table beside Ray as he slept. Ray’s face lit up in delight when he woke up and saw it there. Picking up the bullet, he turned it over in his hands gazing at it with a large grin on his face. Confounded and amazed, the poor beleaguered Captain shook his head at the sight, but he couldn’t help the small crooked smile which appeared on his face also.

21. Just A Little Accident Prone: Snart

There were illnesses to be treated also though they occurred much less frequently. Before they had even begun time travelling, Rip had made sure all of the team received broad spectrum immunizations to protect them against most of the major diseases they might encounter. However even the Waverider didn’t have vaccinations against every disease out there. It simply wasn’t possible. There were just too many. There were countless disease with countless variations which existed throughout the timeline. In the past, there were ones long forgotten to history and in the future, there were ones that had only just been invented usually in ways that made creating a vaccine especially difficult.

There was also still no cure for the common cold.

The Legends had not been particularly impressed when they found that out. A rather nasty cold had made its rounds through the team shortly after they’d defeated Savage, the blame falling squarely on Jax as he was the first one to get it. That was the problem with working and living together in such close quarters, diseases tended to get passed on. When the team had asked Rip why he couldn’t instantly cure them, he had tried to explain how the constantly evolving nature of viruses and the large number of varieties of rhinovirus made that difficult but they had simply given him sour looks and stomped off like it was his fault, all except Ray and Martin that is. Those two spent an hour arguing with him insisting they could come up with a cure and taxing Rip’s knowledge of immunology to its limits.

The only other major bout of illness that had to be dealt with, other than an unfortunate rash Sara managed to acquire somewhere, was the meat pie incident, involving some food acquired from an 18th century market stall, and the less said about that the better. There was nothing like trying to treat five cases of food poisoning while suffering from the same. Mick, to everyone’s annoyance, had proven immune.

Of course, there were colds and there were food poisonings and there was what happened to Snart...

Much to his chagrin, Rip didn’t notice when Leonard first became ill, but in his defense, Snart had proven very good at hiding such things, a skill he’d undoubtedly been forced to learn during his troubled childhood. He was also very good at hiding injuries. Fortunately, Rip had an unexpected ally in that regard: Mick.

Mick always knew when Leonard was hurt. Rip didn’t know how he knew, Mick just did. Whenever Snart was injured, Mick would give Rip a friendly, and occasionally painful, prod in the shoulder and jerk his head in Leonard’s direction letting Rip know it was time to order the man to medbay. When Snart was being particularly stubborn, Mick would drag Leonard to the medbay himself, shove him into a chair, and stand over him glaring, making sure Snart stayed while Rip treated his injuries.

Apparently, Leonard really hated people knowing he was hurt. He hated hospitals and doctors and having his injuries treated even more, and as Rip would find out, he hated being ill most of all.

It shouldn’t have been surprising then considering all of this that Snart had hidden the fact he was ill or that Mick, of course, had seen right through him and known from the start what was wrong, something Rip only realized in retrospect. It was Mick’s behaviour most of all which should have clued him in to the fact that something was off with Leonard. Snart’s behaviour barely changed at all. He was a little quieter and what he did say had a touch more bite to it, and his movements were perhaps a tad slower, but that was it. Mick, on the other hand, had suddenly become glued to Snart’s side keeping a close eye on him and acting like a silent sentinel. He didn’t say anything to Rip though. He must not have realized how serious it was but then none them did until it was almost too late.

Sara was the second to figure things out, and then Leonard suddenly had two silent sentinels who he put up with only very grudgingly. Sara had become almost as good as Mick at noticing when Leonard wasn’t alright and would fill in for Mick when he wasn’t around letting Rip know what was up. She, of course, had her own way of dealing with a stubborn Snart. It didn’t take much more than a glare from her to get Leonard to do what she wanted, all of his snarky protests met merely with an amused smirk.

It was almost two days though before Rip found out and it was only because Leonard threw up after a time jump that he finally realized what was going on. The more time you spent time travelling, the more your body grew used to it and the less side effects you experienced. Those days, unless it was a particularly long or particularly turbulent time jump, no one experienced much side effects at all. It had been months since anyone had been effected badly enough to spill their lunch on the floor, and since it had been a fairly smooth time jump, Rip knew the moment Snart bent over and began heaving that something was wrong. Illnesses like injuries tended to get aggravated by time travel.

As Sara rubbed Snart’s back, Rip scrutinized Leonard noting the pallor of his cheeks and the weariness in his eyes. There was also a deepening in the creases on his forehead and a tightness to his jaw as if he were in pain. “Why didn’t you say something?” he demanded.

Gathering himself, Snart sat up and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth managing to recover enough to send Rip a snide look. “Well, I’d have mentioned how lousy your flying is earlier but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Rip rolled his eyes. “You’re ill,” he said. “You should be in bed resting. I’d never have made the jump if I’d known you were...”

“I’m fine,” Snart snapped.

Sara put a hand on his arm.

Taking a deep breath, Leonard reigned in his temper and said, “I just shouldn’t have had the tuna salad for lunch. That’s all.”

“Even if that’s the case,” said Rip, “I believe it would be in your best interest for you to go back to your quarters and take it easy.”

Snart scowled at him.

Unmoved, Rip crossed his arms over his chest. “If necessary I can order Mick and Sara to take you to bed,” he said. “When it comes to your health, they, at least, might listen to me.”

A spark seemed to return to Leonard’s eye and a smirk spread across his face. “Just to make sure I have this clear,” he said raising his eyebrows. “You’re going to order both Mick and Sara to take me to bed.”

There were several cleared throats and half-stifled snickers from the rest of the team.

Realizing what he’d said, Rip placed a hand across his face and groaned, “Oh, God. I didn’t mean...”

“That’s not usually my thing but hey, if a threesome’s what the doctor ordered...” Snart said with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Oh, God,” Rip said again. “Will someone just please take him to his quarters and make sure he gets some rest.”

Amid several more snickers, Sara took Leonard’s arm and after some persuasive glaring, managed to pull the reluctant Snart out of his chair and lead him off of the bridge towards his room.

Mick snorted. “About time you noticed,” he said before following Sara and Snart out.

Rip gave a weary sigh. This illness meant Mr. Snart would be even more difficult to deal with than usual over the next few days, not to mention the fact they would be one short for their current mission, or more likely two since Rip was pretty sure Leonard wasn’t going to stay in bed unless there was someone around to keep an eye on him. Oh, well, he mused, this too would pass eventually. With the proper care, Snart would recover fairly quickly.

Looking around, Rip noticed that while he’d been lost in thought the rest of the team had quietly snuck off the bridge leaving him alone to clean up the mess Snart had made.

Putting his face in his hands, Rip let out another groan.

Their mission was thankfully dealt with fairly quickly. They succeeded in fixing the time aberration completing what they needed to do before the sun even set that day, and they did it without Mr. Snart’s help though, Rip had to admit, his expertise would have come in useful on more than one occasion.

With Leonard’s current condition in mind, Ray made chicken soup for dinner, or at least, tried to. Cooking wasn’t Ray’s strong point. Thankfully, Jax stepped in and helped him make it. Unfortunately, the bowl of soup sent to Snart’s quarters was returned untouched.

Rip wasn’t too concerned. Loss of appetite was a common enough symptom when feeling ill. Shut up in his quarters as Snart was, Rip hadn’t even seen him since the incident on the bridge, but with Sara and Mick looking after him, he was sure Leonard was in good hands, and they assured him that Snart was still healthy enough to be a pain in both their asses. So Rip went to bed peacefully that night with few worries on his mind.

And then he was woken up in the early hours of the morning by Mick literally dragging him out of bed.

The man barged into Rip’s quarters, Rip had long since given up locking the door as all the members of his team had proven quite capable of finding a way past it, and grabbed Rip’s arm yanking him out from under the covers. Still half-asleep, Rip almost ended up on the floor, only just managing to stumble along as Mick pulled him out of the room and down the corridor.

“Mr. Rory!” Rip exclaimed cursing as he was dragged along. “What the hell is...”

But Mick’s only response was “Medbay now!”

Rip scowled and was about to utter a few more choice complaints about the rough treatment but all protests were forgotten when they reached their destination.

There were two people currently occupying the medbay. One was Sara. She stood leaning over the medical chair at the far end of the room. She wore a rumpled set of pyjamas. Long strands of blond hair had escaped her ponytail and her eyes were filled with a desperate worry. The source of her worry was obvious. Leonard sat unconscious on the chair, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, his skin shiny with sweat, and his face pinched with pain. His complexion, which Rip had thought pale before, had reached a new deathly shade of pale except for his cheeks which were flushed a deep pink.

Rip didn’t bother asking questions. He just rushed over to the screen beside Snart’s chair which was currently displaying Leonard’s vital signs. Gideon was registering his temperature as 105.7.

“He said he was fine,” said Rip, anxiety softening the sharpness of his words as he went through the results of the scans Gideon had done so far.

“He always says he’s fine,” said Mick with a snort. “He’s an idiot.”

“I don’t suppose he told you his symptoms,” said Rip. It was obviously some sort of infection but he was uncertain as to what kind.

“He didn’t say,” said Sara, tiredly brushing a strand a hair from her eyes. “But from what I saw, I’d guess headache, exhaustion, nausea, chills.”

“Dizziness,” Mick added. “He almost ended up flat on his face earlier.”

Those symptoms could mean a thousand different things, and unfortunately, Rip’s medical training had concentrated mainly on treating injuries, not diseases. Feeling out of his depths, Rip looked at the scans again: high temperature, swollen lymph nodes, white blood cell count low instead of high so most likely a viral infection rather than a bacterial one.

As if on cue, Gideon announced, “There are indications of a virus in Mr. Snart’s bloodstream.”

“Can you identify it?” asked Rip.

“Negative.”

Rip cursed. That meant there was no convenient antiviral Gideon could synthesize, no ready treatment plan they could follow. Trust a member of his team to catch some rare, dangerous viral strain no one had ever heard of. Rubbing his forehead, Rip gazed down at Leonard. The body already had an inbuilt system for handling diseases. If they just went with the old standards of giving him plenty of fluids and something to keep the fever from getting too high, Leonard’s body might be able to fight the virus off on its own.

Eyes still closed in whatever restless sleep or state of unconscious he had fallen into, Leonard rolled his head to the side and let out a moan, a faint sound of pain and weariness he would have never let cross his lips if he’d been awake.

Rip felt his heart constrict painfully in his chest. Glancing back at the screen displaying Snart’s vitals, he saw that Leonard’s temperature was now at 105.9.

“Gideon,” Rip called out. “Wake Dr. Palmer and Professor Stein. We’re going to need them.”

Once Ray and Martin had been woken up and appraised of the situation, they immediately set to work trying to develop a cure for Leonard. Neither one was a medical doctor but they both had backgrounds in biochemistry and hopefully that combined with some help from Gideon would be enough. Rip prayed it would be enough. They were currently stuck in the 12th century so there was no hope of any help from elsewhere. It would have been helpful to know where Snart had picked up the virus but they had been to several different time periods in the recent week, all of which occurred several centuries before humans even knew what a virus was. With very little to go on, the two scientists shut themselves in the lab analyzing the virus and trying to find its weaknesses while the others cared for Leonard and waited and waited and waited...

Hours passed, days passed and Leonard did not get better. He only grew worse, his body slowly weakening. He woke rarely and when he did, he was delirious, barely aware of what was going on around him. Those times were mostly spent trying to get him to drink down as much broth and juice as possible before he fell asleep once more.

Sara wouldn’t leave his side. She sat on a stool beside his bed reading to him from one of the old, lengthy novels he seemed to enjoy or simply holding his hand. Mick spent a lot of time there also but could only stand seeing Leonard in such a state for so long before his restless temper forced him out of the room and sent him raging through the ship’s corridors.

Rip was in and out of the room routinely checking on Leonard and doing what he could to make him comfortable. His inability to do more frustrated him greatly and he found himself wishing for something much more substantial than a virus to fight. With the state Snart was in, they couldn’t travel in time so they were stuck in the same time period with no mission to go on, not that anyone really had the heart to go on a mission anyway. Rip spent his spare time trying to research possible time aberrations but found it hard to concentrate, his mind unwilling to focus on what he was reading.

It was because of this that late on the third day he found himself strolling down to the medbay for what was probably the twentieth time that day. Upon entering, he was surprised to find that on this occasion both chairs were occupied. Sara, after spending most of the past few nights awake, had finally succumbed to sleep. The chairs had been converted into beds and Sara lay on the one closest to the door, curled up awkwardly on her side so she faced Leonard. Of Mick there was no sign. He was probably demolishing the cargo bay again. Rip had assigned Jax to keep an eye on him. It gave the young man something to occupy himself with and kept Mick from doing too much harm to the ship or himself.

Rip pulled a blanket out of one of the cupboards, and then went over to Sara and gently lay it over her. The fact she didn’t so much as twitch when he did so only went to show how exhausted she had to be. Rip brushed a stray lock of hair from her face frowning when he noticed the dark circles under her eyes. Leonard wasn’t the only one getting worn down by this disease. It seemed like the whole team was suffering right along with him.

Speaking of Leonard... Rip turned to the medbay’s other occupant. There was no doubt Leonard Snart was suffering. The man had taken on a cadaverous appearance over the past few days. His face, which had retained its pallid colour, had grown thin and drawn highlighting the sharpness of his cheekbones. The shadows under his eyes were so dark they made his eyes look as if they’d sunken into his skull.

Rip tucked the blanket covering Leonard more tightly around him, and then lay a hand on Snart’s forehead to check his temperature. The heat of his fever still raged. Gideon could measure Leonard’s temperature to a hundredth of a degree but for some reason, Rip still felt the need to check for himself and at the moment, he could tell the temperature was much too high. Gideon seemed to agree. The temperature she displayed was 106.5. They’d been fighting to keep it below 105 at the very least but even that fight they seemed to be losing.

“Gideon, give him another dose of the antipyretic,” said Rip, keeping his voice low so as not to disturb Sara.

Matching his volume, Gideon replied, “Mr. Snart has already reached the maximum recommended dosage.”

Rip gave a tired sigh and reached up to massage his temple. “Do it anyway,” he said. “If we don’t keep the fever down, liver damage will be the least of his worries.”

“Administering antipyretic,” the A.I. declared.

Rip watched the screen displaying Leonard’s vital signs. It took a little while but Snart’s temperature slowly began to go down. 106.4 106.3, 106.2... It got as low as 104.7 but then stopped and remained steady. Rip shook his head. Better but still nowhere close to good. The same could be said for the rest of his vitals and every day they grew worse. Leonard couldn’t last much longer at this rate. His body was simply wearing away.

Though his eyes remained closed, Leonard’s face scrunched up and he muttered something incoherent as he stirred restlessly on the bed.

“Shh,” said Rip, patting him gently on the shoulder. “You’re alright.” He let his hand rest there though it felt odd offering comfort when it would have been so quickly rejected if Snart had been in any other state of mind.

It seemed to work though as Leonard quietened down and became still once more.

Rip took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. Leonard Snart had been a pain in his ass more times than he cared to remember, probably more so than anyone else on the team. He was impudent, belligerent, eternally aggravating, constantly challenged Rip’s authority, and yet... Rip remembered the dark hole that had been left behind when they’d thought they’d lost Leonard before. They couldn’t lose him again, not like this.

Leaning forward, Rip whispered in Leonard’s ear. “I know you hate taking orders especially from me but just this once I would like you to listen, just this once I would like you to do what I say.” He took another deep breath and said simply and quietly, “Don’t die.” He gazed at Leonard searching, hoping for some sign that he’d been heard. “Don’t let a blasted virus take down the great Captain Cold. You’re time’s not up yet. We still need you here so don’t you dare leave us again. Do you hear me?”

There was no response. Leonard lay there quiet and still, his body limp, his face lifeless.

Rip sighed and rubbed a hand over his eyes. Turning away, he grabbed the stool Sara had been using so much recently and sat down taking up a position between her and Leonard. The only noise in the room was the quiet sound of breathing as he settled in for a long vigil.

Several hours passed with little change in Leonard’s condition. Sara remained asleep and Rip fell into a pensive mood as he watched over the two of them. Eventually, his own exhaustion started to catch up with him and he would have most likely nodded off but someone suddenly burst into the room startling him awake once more.

It was Ray and he was closely followed by Martin.

“Rip,” Ray declared waving a small vial of pale blue liquid at him, a large grin on his face. “We...”

Rip placed a finger to his lips and gazed pointedly at the still sleeping Sara.

Following his gaze, Ray winced.

Fortunately, the exhausted Sara slept on.

Ray crept passed her coming over to stand beside Rip and continued speaking at a much lower volume. “Sorry we took so long. The virus had a rather complicated life cycle and we had difficulty finding a good target; then there were problems synthesizing the proper proteins and..."

"Dr. Palmer," said Rip, impatiently.

Ray got to the point. "I think we’ve found it.”

Rip’s eyes widened and he quickly rose from his chair. “An antiviral? You’ve found something that will kill the virus?” He stared at the vial in Ray’s hand as if it contained water from the fountain of youth itself.

“Well, technically it won’t kill the virus,” Martin explained. “But it should stop the virus from replicating and hopefully help Snart’s own immune cells target it directly.”

“Hopefully,” repeated Ray with a wan smile.

“Any hope is better than none,” said Rip who had little of his own left. He nodded towards Leonard. “Do it.”

Ray inserted the vial into an injector and shot the antiviral directly into Leonard’s neck. “It’s not an instant cure,” he admitted, “but if it works, it should give Leonard the fighting chance he needs.”

Rip gazed at the display of Leonard’s vitals knowing it was too soon to see one but hoping for some sort of sign the antiviral was working. “How long do you think it will take until we see a change?” he asked.

Ray and Martin looked at each other.

“A few hours maybe,” said Martin, rubbing his forehead tiredly. “I’m afraid I can’t be any more precise than that.”

Rip gazed at Martin. The professor looked haggard, Ray as well. They’d been putting all of their energy into finding a cure over the past few days. They probably hadn’t gotten anymore sleep than Sara had.

“Why don’t the two of you go get some rest,” he said. “I’ll keep an eye on Snart.”

“Are you sure?” asked Ray. “I mean... we can...” He interrupted himself with a yawn.

Rip gave him a weary smile. “Go. Sleep,” he said. “I’ll be fine.”

The two were obviously much too tired to argue and they slowly trudged off to their respective quarters leaving Rip alone with the sleeping Snart and Sara. He sat back down on the stool and sighed running a hand through his hair. Once more he was reduced to waiting. He hated waiting. He scrutinized Leonard carefully. Was his colour better than before? Rip shook his head convinced he was seeing things.

Time passed slowly, minutes and hours blurring together, and soon Rip’s eyes began to droop, exhaustion drawing him into a light doze.

He was brought back to awareness by a voice, a weary croak that sounded as if its owner had been gargling gravel. It said, “You look horrible.”

“What...?” Rip blinked wondering when he had fallen asleep. His gaze automatically sought out their sick patient and he almost fell off his chair when he saw Leonard gazing back at him.

Leonard gave an amused huff, his lips twitching in the tiniest of smirks.

Rip’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Leonard. You’re...” he began and then what Snart had said registered as Rip’s brain finally caught up with him. He shook his head and pushed back the fringe of hair which had fallen over his forehead. “Look who’s talking,” he said with a wry smile.

Leonard might have looked awful but he looked so much better than before, his complexion less pale, his cheeks no longer flushed.

Rip got up and placed a palm against Leonard’s forehead as he’d done so often recently only belatedly realizing the gestured would probably not be a very welcome one now that Snart was rather more aware of what was going on. He quickly pulled his hand away. Thankfully all Snart did was give him an odd look. His temperature felt much better than before and Gideon confirmed it. The temperature she currently displayed was 99.1. The fever had finally broken. In fact, all of Leonard’s vital signs were vastly improved. The antiviral must have worked.

A wave of relief washed over Rip.

“Uh...,” said Leonard, and then he coughed and cleared his throat.

Rip quickly fetched him a glass of water and a straw.

Leonard’s hands shook a little but he managed to hold the glass long enough to take a few sips. Once he had done so, he said, “I don’t suppose you would mind telling me what the hell I’m doing here and why I feel like I’ve spent the past few days being pummeled by a ten ton gorilla.”

“You, Mr. Snart, have been rather ill,” said Rip, taking the water back from him.

Snart frowned. “Yeah, with a stupid cold.”

Rip shook his head. “That was much more than a cold. Whatever virus you had the misfortune of catching has had you stuck in here for over three days.”

Leonard rubbed a hand across his face and let out a groan. “You have got to be kidding me.” Looking past Rip, something caught his eye and his features became contorted with concern. “Sara, is she...?”

“She’s fine,” Rip reassured him. “She’s just catching up on the sleep she’s been missing out on recently. She’s been rather busy watching over you the past few days.”

“Oh,” said Leonard. He continued to stare at Sara, a softness to his eyes Rip had rarely seen.

Rip looked away trying to give the man some privacy. “So you don’t remember anything about what’s happened recently?” he asked.

Leonard sighed and shook his head. “Just some half remembered dreams,” he said. He frowned, and then turned to stare at Rip, the odd look returning to his face.

“What?” said Rip.

Eyes still narrowed in that inscrutable stare, Leonard said, “I do have one vague memory. Something about somebody telling me not to die, that I was still needed.”

“Well,” said Rip. He cleared his throat and turned away pretending to study the medical diagnostic screen. “Well, your fever was rather high and you were more than a little delirious.”

“Right,” said Snart, slowly drawing out the word. “Probably just my overactive imagination.” Letting out a huff of air, he added, “So when do I get out of here?”

Rip rolled his eyes. Of course, Leonard’s immediate concern would be to get out of medbay as soon as possible. “You still need time to recover. Your body has been through a lot. It needs rest.”

“I can rest in my room,” Snart protested.

“We need to continue monitoring you to ensure the virus is completely out of your system so you don’t have a relapse,” Rip countered. “And you’ll probably need a few more shots of the antiviral Dr. Palmer and Professor Stein concocted to ensure that happens, and for that it’s best if you stay here”

“Fine,” Leonard grumbled.

Rip raised an eyebrow. Was Snart actually going to listen to him? Of all the miracles and wonders. “You should enjoy the peace and quiet while you can,” he said. “Knowing this team, it won’t last long.”

He was right.

Only moments later, Mick stomped into the room, his eyes widening when he saw Snart. “You’re awake!” he exclaimed.

That was perhaps not the best thing to do in the circumstances since it finally roused Sara from her deep slumber causing her to spring from her bed and draw a knife.

Rip had no idea where Sara had been keeping that knife and he didn’t want to know.

“What’s going on?” she cried gazing around frantically.

“The idiot’s awake,” said Mick.

“What?” said Sara, and then her eyes fell on Snart. “Leonard...” she whispered in breathy relief.

Snart rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I’m awake,” he said. “What’s wrong with you two. You act like I was dying or something.”

Sara shook her head in exasperation but the effect was ruined by the huge grin that spread across her face. “You...” she began pointing a finger at him. Seeming to change her mind, she lashed out at Rip instead swatting him painfully on the arm.

“Ow,” Rip exclaimed as he rubbed his arm. “What was that for?”

“Why didn’t you tell me he was awake?” she demanded.

“He literally woke up five minutes ago,” said Rip raising his hands in the air in protest. “Besides you were asleep.”

“Aw, lay off the captain,” said Leonard. “He knows better than to wake a sleeping assassin.”

And now Leonard was coming to his defense. Rip’s eyebrows raised in disbelief. Clearly Snart’s brain had been damaged by the fever.

“But he’s going to be okay, right?” Sara asked Rip, some of the worry that had been weighing her down the past few days returning to eyes.

“He’s going to be fine,” Rip assured her. “Dr. Palmer and the professor came up with an antiviral and it’s helped break the fever but Mr. Snart still needs rest.”

Mick, who had been quiet throughout this, walked over to Leonard, put a hand on his shoulder, and leaned over him glaring.

“Hey, Mick,” said Leonard, giving him one of his best smirks, not the least bit intimidated by the other’s large, looming form.

“Don’t do that again,” Mick growled.

“Right,” said Snart with a nod. “In future, I’ll be sure to avoid any deadly viruses I happen to come across.”

“See that you do,” Mick said pointedly as he let go of Leonard’s shoulder and stood up straight once more. “If you don’t...”

“I know, I know,” said Leonard. “If I die, you’ll kill me.”

“Same goes for me,” Sara said with a wry smile. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around him in a hug.

The hug surprised Leonard and his normal cool demeanour was briefly broken though he tried to hide it as he hugged her back.

A tired smile crept across Rip’s face as he watched them. Seeing the exhaustion still very much present on Leonard’s face, he said, “I think it’s time we let Mr. Snart rest. In fact, I think it’s time we all went to bed.”

“Great,” said Snart, his lips spreading in a wicked grin. “Then we can finally get started on that threesome.”

“What?” said Rip, and then he groaned casting his eyes to the ceiling. “Oh, God. I don’t... That’s really not...”

“Or we could have a foursome if the captain wants to join in,” Snart added.

“Oh, God,” Rip said once again, groaning even louder. He could feel his face flushing as both Sara and Mick grinned at him.

“The bed might be a bit small but I’m sure if we...”

“Oh, God,” Rip said for the third time hiding his face in his hands.

Well, he thought, at least everything was back to normal.

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