“I am not leaving you two behind in any future you feel like! If you cross over with yourselves, you'll potentially ruin things more than everything we've just fixed! Two Captain Colds and two Heatwaves? Please, gentlemen!”
He shouldn't have to hold his hands up in the air in defense, shouldn't have to have a hot and cold gun pointed at him because really, really, shouldn't they be done with all this by now?
“I thought we were passed this!” Rip continues, exasperated.
Len shrugs a shoulder. “What can I say?” he drawls. “The future is saved, we just want to kick back, settle down. We're getting old, Hunter. We want a retirement plan.”
“And am I gonna get an alert one day that your Central City is in flames?”
It's Mick's turn to shrug. “Maybe.”
“No,” Rip tells them. “You belong in 2016. That's where you're going.” Maybe he can appeal to... something else in them. “Don't you have family there?” he asks Len.
“Low blow,” Mick says to Rip.
“My sister's becoming the queen of my Rogues. She's doing good for herself. She doesn't need big brother breathing over her shoulder. Honestly, Rip, you worry too much. There won't be any fires—”
“—Speak for yourself,” Mick interrupts.
Len continues, unperturbed, “And we'll stay away from our other selves. We'll take somewhere... tropical. With tourists and silly little umbrellas in drinks and shorts all-year round.”
“Your legs aren't that good.”
Rip paces the floor, headache worsening. He's reminded that he still has other appointments to deal with; Stein, for one, who wants to continue to travel with Rip on occasion, seeing more of space and time; and Ray, who just wants to stay aboard permanently.
“Fine. I don't want to deal with this. I want you two out of my hair. Somewhere tropical!” He jabs a finger at them. “So help me, if you two threaten to destroy the timeline, I'm hauling your asses straight back to 2016!”
At their matching grins, Rip knows he's making a mistake.
Rip leaves them in 2029 at a nice estate beachside. He wonders if this is some kind of midlife crisis for them, or if maybe Savage throttled them one too many times.
When 2030 rolls around, Gideon announces that he has a wedding invitation. First, he thinks it's a prank. Second, he wonders how in god's name did Gideon get alerted to it.
“You had me track if there was any unusual fires in the vicinity of their area. This popped up.”
“This” Rip is horrified to find is a field, hundreds of miles from Leonard Snart and Mick Rory's beach house, where in large, flaming letters, reads: RIP HUNTER YOU ARE INVITED TO THE WEDDING OF LEN AND MICK APRIL 6 2030 BRING FRIENDS.
He most certainly was not bringing friends. Or attending. Or anything.
Tagged-teamed by Ray and Stein, Rip goes to the wedding. More reluctantly, he brings the rest of their once-crew. It's a lovely and awful celebration on the beach and Rip's still sure it's a prank up until the two kiss and oh, yes, that is what love looks like.
It reaffirms for Rip why he still won't go back to rejoin the Time Masters, even though the invitation is there.
They stay around in 2030 for longer than is strictly necessary.
Rip wonders when exactly everyone attending became family.
When they leave, Rip gives the pair a communicator that has a direct-link to the Waverider. So that if they want to get in contact for whatever silly reason, Mick doesn't have to set anything on fire.
(They invite him for dinner months later; Mick still sets something on fire to do it.)
“We have a problem,” Len says, peering around a curtain to look out the window. “A very scarlet problem.”
“Shouldn't have pulled that heist,” Mick calls from the living room. When he makes it to Len's side, he hands him the cold gun.
Len gratefully takes it. The doorbell rings a second time. “I was bored. You were bored. Besides, we're thousands of miles from Central City. Out of the speedster's business!” Annoyed, he goes to the front door and yanks it open, cold gun held up in greeting. “What?” he demands.
Barry, in full Flash regalia, rocks backward. “Oh. It really is you. But you're... In Central City. Right... now.”
“Time travel. Deal with it and go away. We didn't even steal enough money for you to care, so why are you here?”
“Uh... Well I heard there was another cold gun in existence, so I got concerned. I didn't realize it was... another you.”
“Surprise. Then if you don't want this me to use this cold gun on you, I'd flash your way back home. I'd imagine even with your speed, that'll take you some time.”
“Right... I'm just going to...”
Len slams the door on him. He doesn't bother locking it, knowing if Barry really wanted to cause a fuss, he could get in, lock or not.
“You'd better not kill anyone!” Barry yells from outside.
Len smirks. “Listen to that, Mick. Speedster's seal of approval.”
“You still never told me who he is.”
Len laughs and walks back into the living room, setting his cold gun onto the coffee table and sprawling down on the black leather couch.
“Think it's a secret I'll keep.” He reaches a hand out to Mick, who sighs and takes it, waiting for Len to rearrange his legs before sitting down. “Sara's birthday is coming up.”
“You wanna do something for it?” Mick asks.
“We should try. It's good to pull everyone together.”
“Last time I left a fire-message Rip said he'd start ignoring them.”
“Then you can set more on fire and show him what good ignoring you does him.”
Mick laughs, loud and full. He leans down over Len, filling spaces with his own body. “I'm thinking barbecue,” he says.
“For what?” Len asks. “Sara's party or Rip's message?”
Mick hums. Len can feel it rumble through to him. “Both, I think.”
“Great. Can't wait.”
After Mick burns down two (thankfully abandoned) buildings, Rip recognizes the threat for what it is: don't ignore messages in fire left by the pair of not-entirely-retired married criminals. He tells them later, when he arrives with the party guests, that he didn't even ignore them on purpose. He got distracted picking out a gift for Sara. They could learn a thing or two about patience, just once.
“So you like my messages, then,” Mick says. He's got an arm over Len's shoulders, and a flaming shot in hand.
Rip tries to look annoyed, but it fails. “I like getting messages at all,” he grumbles at last.
“You could just visit from time to time, Rip,” Len tells him. He grins at the Time Master's surprise. “Someone's gotta keep the family together,” Len quips.
Rip sighs. “Yes, well... Perhaps I will visit.” He pauses. Frowns. Thinks. “I could bring your sister to see you.” The answering silence and the blank, closed-off stares makes him wonder if he's overstepped far too much. He isn't sure how to backpedal the conversation. Maybe he should abort altogether and find Sara.
“You...” Len's still straining to find words. “Thank you,” he manages at last, with a sincerity that isn't ever in his tone, certainly not when talking with Rip.
“Means a lot,” Mick adds.
“I...” Rip wonders if this unusual camaraderie would have existed had he left these two in 2016 as planned. He wonders if the team would have joined up, with or without him. He wonders if he would have cared, had that been the case. He realizes how glad he is that these two forced his hand to dump them in 2029. He lets out a small laugh. “Your welcome,” he finally says.
This hadn't been a mistake.