daylight_darknight: (Earth Sunrise)
[personal profile] daylight_darknight
Title: Whiskey and Lucky Charms
Characters: Rip, Sara
Rating/Warnings: G
Genre: Angst, Friendship
Word Count: 2500
Spoilers: Set shortly after 1x12
Summary: One bad night Rip and Sara share worries over whiskey and Lucky Charms.

Rip was running, running, running. It felt like he was moving through thick sludge and his feet were made of iron, but he kept running. His team were running too. They ran beside him. They had to run. The Time Master's bounty hunters were right behind them, their dark battle armour gleaming, their weapons drawn. They were chasing the team down. He had to find a way out. If the bounty hunters caught them, the team would be lost.

But the team was gone and Rip was still running, running, running except now he was dragging Miranda behind him as she held Jonas tight in her arms. They had to run. Savage's men were right behind them. If they didn't run, the soldiers would shoot them down and Rip would have to watch his family die, again. He couldn't let that happen.

But his family was gone and Rip was still running, running, running. He wove between the crowds, through familiar, long forgotten streets, worn out shoes threatening to fall from his feet. He had to run. They were after him again. They were always after him because he was so small and they were so much bigger. He had to hide but he couldn't seem to find any of his usual hiding spots. If they caught him...

A hand clamped down on his shoulder. It spun him around and Rip saw a large face leering down at him. He reached into his pocket for his knife but it was gone. Where was his knife? He frantically searched for it as more hands came grabbing, pulling, tearing. He always had his knife with him. Where was it? Where...

Rip sat up gasping for air, heart pounding painfully in his chest. Everything was dark. Quickly, he reached down to his pocket and almost panicked when he found no knife there. Only after he'd done so did he recall himself, remember where he was. Of course, there was no knife there. He had broken himself of that habit years ago. He let out a long shuddering breath.

“Gideon, lights please.”

The room was immediately illuminated revealing the familiar surroundings of his quarters on the Waverider. Rip slid his legs over the side of the bed and sat on the edge resting his head in his shaking hands.

“Would you like a sedative, Captain?” asked the A.I.

“No,” Rip replied, his voice low and rough. “No, thank you, Gideon.”

A sedative was tempting. It would bring relief, escape, but he knew he couldn't risk it. It was doubtful anyone could find the Waverider as it travelled through the time stream, but nowhere was truly safe for them, not on this mission, and if anything were to happen, Rip knew he'd need his wits about him.

Rip sat there for several more minutes, head in his hands as his racing heart slowly resumed its normal rhythm. Even when it did, the feeling of the nightmare still clung to him, feelings of helplessness and fear. Nightmares weren't an uncommon occurrence for him, but it had been a while since one had brought up that particular period of his life, the period he had long hoped to have put behind him. Seeing his younger self had obviously stirred up old memories.

The usually comforting surroundings of his room began to feel cold and oppressive. Rip pushed himself to his feet and headed for the door. Out in the corridor, the lights were dimmed to give some semblance of night to the ship's crew. He stood in the doorway a moment uncertain where to go. His study would provide distraction. He could put on one of the vinyl records from his collection, curl up in chair, and lose himself in a book, but the study was also full of reminders, reminders of his constant failure to find Savage and save his family. He decided to go to the kitchen area instead. He wasn't really hungry, but it was something to pass the time, something safe and normal.

The lights in the kitchen were dimmed too and Rip didn't bother to ask Gideon to brighten them. Instead, he just went over to the corner of the room and opened a concealed cupboard in the wall revealing rows of brightly coloured cereal boxes. He pulled out a box of Lucky Charms he'd picked up in the 1980's. On the front, it happily announced the addition of new purple horseshoes. He closed the cupboard and was searching for a bowl when a voice suddenly called out from the back of the room.

“I'll trade you some of my whiskey for some of those Lucky Charms.”

“God!” Rip exclaimed dropping the box of cereal as he nearly jumped out of his skin.

Turning around, he saw Sara sitting at the kitchen table, half-hidden in the darkness. She had a bottle of whiskey in front of her and an amused smile on her face.

Rip leaned against the wall, his heart a rapid flutter in his chest. His body was sincerely not enjoying its second jolt of adrenaline that night. “Is there a reason you felt like hiding there in the dark besides trying to frighten me to death?”

Sara shrugged, clearly still amused. “Assassin,” she said as if that was reason enough.

Rip picked up the box of Lucky Charms and ran a hand through his hair suddenly aware of what a mess he must look in his old, rumpled T-shirt and sweatpants, his hair mussed by sleep. “What are you doing up?” he asked.

“Couldn't sleep,” she replied. “You?”

“Uh, the same,” he lied having no wish to discuss his nightmare.

“Right,” Sara said giving Rip the uncomfortable feeling she'd seen right through him. Thankfully, she didn't call him out on it though. “So do you want to share?” she asked holding up the whiskey bottle.

Rip gave her a look. “Since I'm pretty sure that's my whiskey you're holding, I think technically I'd be the one doing all the sharing.”

“Well, if you don't want any...” Sara began pulling the bottle back towards her.

“Now I didn't say that.”

Rip opened a cabinet and pulled out a couple of shot glasses and a large bowl. After emptying a good portion of the cereal into the bowl, he carried both the bowl and the glasses over to the table and sat down across from Sara. As he did so, he couldn't help noticing what she was wearing. On top, she wore a plain white tank top, but beneath...

“Are those unicorns?” he asked incredulously staring at the pattern of multicoloured horses adorning her pyjama pants.

“Don't diss the unicorns or you won't be getting any whiskey.”

Rip held up a hand in surrender.

“My sister gave them to me,” Sara explained as she poured whiskey into each glass. “I used to be crazy about unicorns when I was kid. I had unicorn toys, unicorn books, unicorn clothes. I guess Laurel thought it would be a good reminder of who I used to be.” She downed her whole glass in one quick motion.

Rip drank his a bit slower. “Is it?” he asked.

“Sometimes,” she replied pouring herself another. “Sometimes I don't think there's enough left of the old me to remember.”

“You don't really believe that, do you?”

Sara drank her second glass, and then twirled the whiskey bottle between her fingers as if trying to decide whether to pour herself a third. “I don't know. I thought I had a handle on things, but seeing my younger self today made me realize just how much I've changed. I barely even recognized myself. I mean I knew I was different, but I hadn't realized how much I'd lost.”

“Not everything,” said Rip as he helped himself to a handful of cereal from the bowl. “I actually noticed quite a few similarities between the two of you.”

Sara raised her eyebrows. “Really?”

“Really,” Rip echoed with a smile. “You're both headstrong. You both like to speak your mind. You both refuse to take any nonsense from anyone.”

“So you're saying I'm just as pigheaded now as I was when I was a teenager.”

Rip shrugged. “Well...”

Sara reached over and slapped him on the arm. He winced grateful, not for the first time, that he'd never had to go up against her in a fight.

“I meant other stuff,” she said, “like innocence and optimism, joie de vivre. I see things so differently now. Before everything, before I got on that damn boat, I'd see someone and I'd immediately start measuring up how hot they were. Now I see someone and I start measuring how easy they'd be to take down in a fight.”

“Change is inevitable as you get older,” said Rip. “And it isn't necessarily a bad thing.” He downed the remains of his whiskey and pushed the glass towards her.

“Even when you change into an assassin?” said Sara as she refilled his glass.

Rip stared at the amber coloured liquid. “We can not spend our lives judging ourselves by what we have done or who we were in the past. We need to judge ourselves by what we do in the here and now, and try to be better people in the future. That's what's important.”

Sara snorted. “I suppose that's a Time Master view of things. Do you really believe that?”

“I try,” Rip replied before downing his second glass of whiskey. Fragments of his nightmare swirled back to the surface of his mind and a thought occurred to him. “Do you have a knife on you?”

Sara raised her eyebrows but she reached down and from somewhere in the unicorn print pants, she produced a small knife which she placed on the table between them. “You going to lecture me on carrying weapons around the ship now?”

“No,” Rip said shaking his head. “No. I was just wondering.” He reached over and grabbed the bottle pouring himself a third glass.

Sara meanwhile picked her knife back up turning it around in her fingers so it caught the light. “And what does this say about who I am now? That even beneath the unicorns I'm still an assassin?”

“Maybe it says that you're always ready and willing to keep yourself and those you care about safe,” Rip suggested.

“Maybe,” Sara said putting the knife down once more. She cocked her head to the side and gazed thoughtfully at him. “Mini you had a knife. He was pretty good with it too, but I don't think I've ever seen you use one.”

“No, you wouldn't have,” said Rip staring into his whiskey as if it could provide the answer to all of life's questions. “I generally avoid blades.”

Sara reached over to the bowl and grabbed a handful of Lucky Charms. “Bad memories?” she asked before popping a marshmallow star into her mouth.

Rip nodded and rubbed a hand tiredly across his face. “You might worry that there isn't anything of the younger you left, but I worry there's too much of younger me. Sometimes I worry I haven't really changed at all.”

“Come on,” Sara protested. “You know that's not true.”

“I don't know,” Rip said with a sigh. He stared at the knife sitting there between them. “You know I used to carry a knife around with me too. I was never without one.”

“When you were a kid?” asked Sara.

Rip nodded. “I had to. It was the only way to survive. If I hadn't...” He trailed off shaking his head. He'd said too much, the whiskey and the exhaustion of the late night loosening his tongue.

“Hey.” Sara reached over and placed a hand on his arm. “You were just a kid, and you're not the only one who's done bad things in order to survive you know. Much of the stuff I did still haunts me. Why do think I'm here and not tucked up in bed. If I'm not allowed to judge myself for it, you aren't either.”

“So you're saying I should practice what I preach?” Rip asked, lips twisting into a sardonic smile.

“You ought to you sure preach enough,” said Sara pointedly.

Rip threw a purple horseshoe at her. Laughing, she dodged out of the way.

“So how'd you manage to finally stop carrying the knife around?” she asked. “You stop when you got taken to the Refuge?”

“Oh, it was a while after that,” Rip replied. “I just didn't feel safe without one. Mother would keep confiscating it from me, but I'd steal it back, and if I couldn't find my own knife, I'd go for the cutlery.”

“Dinner must have been interesting.”

“You have no idea. Mother would watch me like a hawk and was always sure to count the knives when we were done eating. Once I even stole a butter knife I was so desperate.”

Sara smiled at that. “You'd be surprised by how much damage you can actually do with a butter knife.”

Rip grimaced. “I'd rather not know.” He took a slow sip of his whiskey before continuing. “Eventually as the years passed, I started to feel safe at the Refuge and my old life, the old me seemed further and further away until I found I didn't need the knife anymore.” He stared back down at his glass. “Now days though if I ever pick up a blade...”

“You worry you'll go back to being the old you,” Sara finished for him. “The scared kid who'd do anything to survive. Is that why you hesitated before when you first tried to kill Savage? You were afraid that's what you'd become.”

Rip nodded fingers tightening around his glass. “I hesitated that time, but all the things I've done recently...”

“You're trying to save your family, the whole world.”

Rip gazed up at her. “And how long can I use that excuse before I am right back where I started from.”

“I don't know,” Sara said honestly. “But you've got the team now. We'll help you, tell you when you've gone too far.”

An ironic chuckle escaped Rip's lips. “I suppose that's one good thing to come from everyone constantly questioning what I say.”

Sara smiled. “And we'll be happy to keep doing it.” She plucked a pink heart from the bowl of cereal. “I guess I'm not the only one who needs a reminder of their humanity.”

“I suppose we all do now and again,” Rip said softly.

Sara popped the pink marshmallow into her mouth. “But you have changed you know. You're not that boy anymore. And Mick was right. It is kind of nice to know that people really can change, get rid of their demons, become better. It means the rest of us have a chance too.”

“From what I've seen,” said Rip, “you're already well on your way.”

“So you still think I'm not a monster?” she asked as she poured herself another glass.

“You're not,” Rip replied with conviction. “Trust me. I've met people who are.” He pushed his glass towards her and she filled his too. “Still think I'm a good man?” he asked.

Sara gazed thoughtfully at him. “I think you're trying to be and that's good enough for me.” She held up her glass. “To changing for the better, losing our demons, and escaping our nightmares.”

“To escaping our nightmares,” Rip said as he clinked his glass against hers.
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 05:57 pm
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