“Look, I know you don’t like me much, but you cannot keep me locked in my own room! This is absolutely ridiculous!” Rip yelled at the ceiling.
“Perhaps if you ask nicely, Captain” the AI used the title as an insult.
“Oh come on Gideon, please? Don’t you love me?” Rip pleaded teasingly.
Rip tried not to be offended. It was just a program after all, and yet…The new Captain sighed and plopped down and started reading instead. His AI would let him out eventually. He just had to wait it out.
“Admit it, I’m your favourite Captain you’ve ever had!” Rip teased as he fixed the wires on the console.
“Saving your life does not indicate any sort of favouritism. It is an AI’s primary purpose to assure the safety of the Captain,” Gideon replied nonchalantly. (He could hear the relief in her voice though.)
Rip snorted, “You keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. Okay, there, done! How are the systems looking now?”
“Solar energy efficiency is now up by eighty percent. Good job, Captain. You’re getting better at this,” Gideon praised.
Rip smiled, “I knew you loved me.”
“You’re growing on me,” Gideon admitted. Rip would take it.
“Thank you. For not turning us in,” Rip said quietly now that he was alone. Well almost alone, Gideon was always there.
“Of course, Captain. I wouldn’t betray you or your wife,” a soothing voice filled the air.
“I can only imagine how hard it is for you to betray the Time Masters like this,” Rip apologized. She must have been going against her very root code for him.
“Protocol dictates the safety of the Captain is paramount. The happiness of the Captain is second, as long as it does not impede safety of the Captain or the integrity of the ship. You’re not hurting anyone,” Gideon admitted.
“Thank you, Gideon. The way you’re handling this is almost human-and I mean that as a compliment!” he knew how testy she got when he compared her to humans, “I mean it’s almost as if you’re acting out of love like I am for Miranda.” Rip considered her actions in protecting him and his wife in comparison to his own and he had to ask.
“Do you love me?” he meant it to come out teasingly as always, but instead it came out far more serious.
There was a pause before Gideon finally responded, “I respect you.”
Rip smiled. Coming from Gideon, that was the highest of praises he had ever received.
“You do realize you’re connecting the wrong wires, don’t you Captain?”
“I am not!” Rip glanced up at the ceiling, “I’ve been Captaining this ship for over a decade. I know what I’m doing, Gideon.”
“Clearly you don’t. There is less than a five percent probability it will work and as high as a thirty seven percent chance that you will cause a fire or major damage to the system,” Gideon argued back.
“Is she allowed to talk to you like that?” Jax asked as he leaned against the wall and watched Rip work. He was slowly learning the ins and outs of this ship now that they were newly formed Time Masters.
Rip shrugged, “Not really. I’ve never really had the heart to change her though.”
“You don’t mind her sassing you and yelling at you?” Jax asked again. Whenever Sara did it, Rip just walked straight out of the room.
“Yeah but, she only does it because she loves me, don’t you Gideon?” Rip grinned at the ceiling as he twisted the two wires together.
“No, I am not capable of love,” Gideon responded in a steely voice.
Rip frowned at the closed off response. Normally she responded with her own brand of lighthearted humor. He was rather put off by the lack of banter and accidentally missed a wire causing a spark to occur. Rip quickly jumped back with a shout.
“I told you they were the wrong wires,” Gideon sing-songed. Rip glared at the ceiling with more force than necessary, she always loved being right. Apparently she just didn’t love him.
Rip shook off the negativity and told Jax to work on the time drive while he got the rest of the tools necessary to fix the damage. Jax waited until Rip was out of sight before turning to the ceiling:
“So you’re not capable of love? Are you capable of lying to your Captain?”
“I fail to see the importance of this question Mr. Jackson. Please continue fixing the time drive if you will,” Gideon responded almost tonelessly.
Jax rolled his eyes as he focused on the time drive, muttering under his breath, “Sure you don’t. Liar.”
Rip sighed as he collapsed on his bed. He didn’t realize how much he had actually missed his team and his ship. The Time Bureau could handle themselves now, he was back where he belonged. Home on the Waverider.
“Oh I have missed this place!” Rip stretched out on his bed.
“And it has missed you, Captain Hunter,” a musical voice filled the air.
Rip smiled, “Gideon. I have missed you so much. Did you miss me?”
“You weren’t gone that long from my point of view, Captain,” Gideon teased.
“Is that a yes?”
“Yes. I am very happy to be reunited with you as well,” Gideon admitted.
Rip hummed, “I’m glad the Legends aren’t still angry with me.”
“The team was never mad at you, Captain. You were only doing what you thought was best. They cannot hold that against you,” Gideon announced loyally as ever.
“Sure they weren’t. Still, it could be worse. What about you Gideon? Are you mad at me? Do you still love me?” Rip asked playfully as he had over their many years together. For the first time, there was no response though.
“Gideon?” Rip prompted as he sat up somewhat worried.
“How can I tell?” Gideon asked softly.
“What?” Rip questioned.
“How can I tell what love feels like?” Gideon clarified, “How can anyone make sense of these emotions?”
Rip nodded as he lay back down on his bed and closed his eyes. He had always thought Gideon felt more than she had ever let on. He just never knew how much hardship it had caused her, he wished he had been there more for her. This was the most she had ever let on about how she felt for him.
“You just know,” Rip answered rather unhelpfully. Still, he thought to himself happily, if she had to ask then that meant he already knew her answer.
“Do you love me?”
It went both ways.