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The Phoenix

Chapter Text

When Leonard woke again, he no longer felt numb, and he was only a little sore from the fight and Gideon's attempts to heal him.

But he was entirely too restless. He wanted to return to his own quarters and relatively comfortable bed to enjoy this rare opportunity to simply laze about, or perhaps to catch up on reading that wasn't critical to the job.

But he knew from past experience that if he tried to wander off, either he'd be ordered straight back to the Med Bay, or Rip would assume he was well enough for a debriefing and to rejoin the mission.

How ironic that they were on a time machine, and yet they rarely seemed to have time to simply enjoy themselves. Did Rip truly not understand how important downtime was to their ability to function, or did his desire for revenge completely override whatever good sense he claimed to possess?

In the end, it was pure boredom that sent him drifting back to sleep. And pure hunger that drove him, hours later, to wander towards the kitchen.

"Would my favorite AI mind if I had roasted salmon and potatoes and a mug of cocoa?" Leonard said. "Pick whatever seasoning you think is best, but please keep it light."

"Absolutely," Gideon replied. "Excellent choices under the circumstances, Mr. Snart. You're learning."

Leonard shrugged before he picked up the dishes that had materialized on the counter and arranged them on the table. The portions the AI had given him were small, no doubt to keep him from overdoing it until he was certain he'd fully recovered from the recent attack. He should've been irritated at Gideon for making that decision for him, but he would've made the same choice; he didn't like to waste food, after all, even if it was synthetic.

"What's the point of having a fully automated kitchen that can produce any food I could ever want if I can't enjoy some fine dining and eat healthy at the same time?"

"Oh, please!" Mick snorted behind him. "You'd be eatin' just as much junk food as me if Gideon let you." He pushed past Leonard and snagged a beer from the fridge. "And what fine dining? You got cocoa for god's sake. And not one of the fancy kinds either, I'll bet." He waved at the steaming mug with his bottle. "With extra marshmallows, looks like."

"Says the guy who won't drink anything without alcohol," Leonard said.

"I ain't the one tryin' to flatter a computer," Mick replied.

"True art is made to be admired," Leonard said. "That includes the art of a good meal."

"I guess we know why Gideon likes you so much," Sara said.

"Looks like we've got a regular teacher's pet on our hands," Kendra added.

"You all know perfectly well I never give praise if it is not deserved," Leonard protested. He looked up to glare at the two women in the doorway, and saw Rip standing behind them. "No."

"Oh, don't worry, Mr. Snart," Rip said. "Debriefing can wait; I trust your memory will keep long enough for you to finish eating."

"You trust his memory," Kendra said, "or you trust how inventive Gideon can be if she thinks you're interfering with his recovery?"

"Er... both," Rip admitted. "Though, of course, if Mr. Snart was willing to answer a few questions while he eats...."

"I said no," Leonard repeated. "Go away." He took a bite of the fish and immediately detected a hint of garlic amid flavors he didn't recognize. The taste was stronger than he was accustomed to, but it complemented the fish instead of overpowering it. And it was no seasoning... a little digging produced a garlic bulb buried amid the potatoes. "My complements to the chef," he said before he popped the whole bulb into his mouth.

"I thought you would appreciate the addition," Gideon replied. "Particularly given the restorative properties to be found in fresh garlic."

Kendra sat down at the table while Sara fetched more drinks from the fridge.

Rip, meanwhile, remained in the doorway and watched until Leonard had cleared half of his plate. "Um...."

Leonard sighed. "Does ruining my appetite count as interfering?"

"Seriously, Rip," Sara said. "Would you let him enjoy his meal for once? We're on a time machine for crying out loud; you can afford to wait until he's ready."

Rip nodded. "I should probably return to my study," he said, "see if there's anything we've missed in the information Gideon was able to dig up."

"Sounds like a plan," Sara replied.

"Would it really have ruined your appetite?" Kendra asked once Rip was out of earshot. "Or would you have been able to answer his questions without any problems?"

Leonard shrugged. "I would've been fine. But what's the point of a good meal if I can't enjoy it in relative peace?"

The demigoddess grinned. "And what's the point of being teacher's pet if you can't use Gideon to mess with the captain, right?"

"That, too." Leonard finished the last bite of potatoes and moved on to draining his mug. Despite Mick's complaints, the cocoa was one of the better kinds; Gideon didn't make it with powder but rather synthesized it as a single liquid, which produced the perfect blend of bitter chocolate and sweet cream with every mouthful and no chocolate muck waiting at the bottom. Once he'd finished the last couple of drops, he dumped the remaining chocolate-soaked marshmallows onto the saucer and ate them for his dessert.

Mick reached for the plate, and Leonard quickly slid it away, but the thief gave only a half-hearted growl when Sara and Kendra each stole a marshmallow for themselves.

"So, this, uh... what did Snart call it?" Kendra asked Sara. "Whatever Savage is looking for in Nanda Parbat. It has something to do with the League, right?"

"I'm not sure," the assassin admitted. "I mean, Nanda Parbat is located in Tibet, but the name Leonard gave Rip—al Eanqa'—that's Arabic, it means 'the phoenix.' You're hardly going to find those two details put together unless it has something to do with the League. But I've never heard of anyone by that name in any of our history."

"The name al Eanqa' appeared multiple times in the Shadow Record until the early fifteenth century," Gideon replied. A hologram of the document appeared on the middle of the table. "Four times, to be precise. Given the repetition, it appears to be a title of some kind, rather than a League name, though I have been unable to locate any detail that identifies who held that title. But in the year 1438, the title was struck from their records." Another document appeared next to the old. Even though Gideon had shown them the documents in Arabic instead of translating them, Leonard was able to easily pick out the differences. "Not only did the title never reoccur, but every previous mention of it had been erased. For Vandal Savage to uncover that name in connection to the League, he would have required access to a version of the Record that predates the erasure."

Sara frowned. "A copy of the Shadow Record was known to have gone missing in 1438," she said. "Stolen by outsiders, or so it was believed."

"Stolen by Savage, probably," Leonard said.

Sara nodded. "Sounds like it."

"I don't know...." Kendra said. "When Carter and I first met—in this incarnation, I mean—he said that Savage would have wanted nothing to do with the League."

"I'm... sorry?" Sara replied. "How would he know that?"

"I'm not sure," Kendra admitted. "He never really explained it. But he seemed pretty confident."

Leonard frowned. "Phoenix... that's what you said it translates to. Savage was researching something called the Elixir of the Phoenix. It looked like he was trying to find a way to neutralize it."

Sara shook her head. "That doesn't make any sense. That elixir is just used in a cleansing ritual; I mean, Ra's al Ghul used the Lazarus Pit before Nyssa destroyed it, but anyone else who was authorized to handle his weapons and armor—his Horsemen or his heir—was required to drink the elixir every new moon. But that's all it's for; there wouldn't be anything for Savage to neutralize."

"Do you know what's in this drink?" Mick asked.

"Not really," Sara admitted. "I've been required to deliver it the Horsemen before, but I've never been authorized to help make it."

"There you go, then." Mick shrugged. "Maybe Savage knows something you don't. Or he thinks he does, anyway."

Leonard tilted his head to address the ceiling. "What do you think, Gideon?"

"There are no records of how the elixir is made," the AI replied. "The information was not lost or stolen from them; the League simply never wrote it down."

"So to find out what Savage is up to," Leonard said, "we'll have to find this elixir at its source."

"Indeed," Rip replied. "Gideon, set a course for Nanda Parbat, in the year 1438. At the last known sighting of the Phoenix."

"At once, Captain."

Leonard sighed. "Looks like break time's over."

Rip waved in the direction of the bridge. "Shall we?"