Christmas on the Waverider was unusually subdued.
Normally, the crew would be drinking their faces off, singing off-tune carols, playing dirty card games and enjoying the best of Gideon’s fabricated food.
This year, even though digital snow was falling through the viewfinders, and the sounds of a crackling fire were echoing through the speakers, it just didn’t feel the same. Everyone was still drinking their faces off, of course, but for less than celebratory reasons.
“It’s this time of year I always wish I had someone special,” Ray said, breaking the melancholy quiet. Most of the team was gathered in the captain’s study, draped over the leather furniture and drinking. They were together, but alone in their own thoughts. “You know, someone to decorate a tree with,” he added.
Nate took a sip of his drink. “We did that yesterday.”
“I mean, someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve,” Ray explained. He stared longingly at the Christmas tree in the corner. “A romantic special someone. On Christmas, I remember Anna and I used to have marathons of all the best old musicals and movies.”
“Who’s Anna?” Zari asked.
“Dead fiancé,” Mick muttered.
Zari did a double take. “You were engaged?”
“Why yes,” he said, his eyes glazing over in thought. “To a beautiful, brilliant, wonderful woman…”
“Ray,” Nate sighed, “please don’t go to that dark place. Sad drunk Ray is not fun.”
“Then there was the Christmas I was with Felicity.” Ray smiled in memory. “It was so cute when she forgot to get me anything.”
“Oh!” Ray said, snapping his fingers. “But the best Christmas was 1959, when I was married to Kendra. The University threw the best Christmas party, with all this wonderful food and drinking and dancing. No one minded calling them Christmas parties back then you know,” he chuckled. “It was a simpler, less politically correct time.”
“You were married?” Zari’s mouth hung open. “Apparently I don’t know anything about you. Who’s Kendra?”
Mick belched. “You don’t wanna know.”
Nate tipped his drink back, frowning when he realized all that was left was ice. “Who’s Kendra?” He mocked, snickering into his empty glass.
Ray’s eyebrows shot up, shocked as he turned to Nate. “Have we never talked about this?”
“No,” Nate said, dripping sarcasm. “Yes, Ray, like a hundred times. How drunk are you?”
“Pretty drunk,” Ray admitted. “And now,” he sighed, then hiccuped. “Now, Nora’s trapped at the Time Bureau…”
Charlie frowned, shaking her drink. Hers, too, was down to just ice. “Stop talking about your love life,” she said. “It’s incredibly depressing.”
Ray took a sad sip of his beer. “Tell me about it.”
“Was it your mustache that scared them all off?” Charlie added.
“This Christmas is incredibly depressing.” Nate cut in, shooting Charlie a warning glare. No one brought up the mustache – not unless they wanted Ray to launch into a long-winded list of reasons why his features were perfect for a mustache, and watch as he had Gideon grow him a new one on the spot, only to shave it off again moments later.
“What’s got you down, anyway?” Charlie asked, annoyed.
“Oh, my dad just humiliated me in front of the whole Time Bureau and then uninvited me from family Christmas,” Nate said.
“Who wants a shot, then?” Constantine asked.
“You know, I don’t even normally celebrate Christmas,” Zari said, “but I really miss my family this time of year. We’re a pretty pathetic bunch.”
“Hey, come on now,” Mona said, smiling at everyone. “Gary and I came all the way from the Time Bureau to celebrate with you guys. It’s not all bad!”
Gary grinned. “Yeah!” He agreed. “Christmas with the Legends! It has to be the best Christmas ever.”
The room was quiet as everyone turned to look at them, their faces blank and unamused.
“So that’s a yes to the shots then?” Constantine asked, uncorking the bottle of good brandy.
“Yes,” they all said, in unison.
“Normally, I’d be shape shifting through London’s most fabulous soirées by now,” Charlie sighed, accepting a generous poor from Constantine.
“Garima was going to bake cookies. Now she’s gone,” Mick grumbled, then downed his drink in one gulp.
“It really doesn’t feel like Christmas without Captain Hunter,” Gideon agreed.
“Oh love,” Constantine said, “you don’t need that wanker.”
“How would you know?” Gideon snipped. “You hardly knew him.”
“Oh I know,” Constantine smirked, holding his glass up to his lips. “Because now you have me.”
“Bold,” Zari said. Gideon huffed through the speaker.
“I didn’t know Rip well,” Nate added, “but I think Constantine has a point.”
“I did know Rip well,” Ray said, “and if there’s only room for one trench coat-wearing Brit on this time ship, I’m glad we’ve got the one we do.”
“That’s not a very Christmas-y thing to say,” Mona pointed out. No one listened.
“You’re all a bunch of brutes,” Gideon said.
“If I didn’t know better, Gideon, I’d think they hurt your feelings,” Charlie said. “Were you in love with this Hunter fellow?” She paused, reflecting. “Can computers fall in love?”
“You lot know nothing about love,” Gideon snapped.
“I knew Garima,” Mick muttered.
“Aye,” Constantine said, raising his glass. “I’ve lost my love as well.”
“Me too,” Mona said, and her face fell. “Konane had to escape capture, but now I might never see him again…”
“The kaupe?” Gary asked. He turned to Mona, shocked. “But what about me?”
“What about you?” Mona asked, confused.
Gary stared at her, his mouth agape. “Aren’t we –”
“It’s okay, buddy,” Nate said, cutting him off and slapping him on the back. “You win some, you lose some. Just like me. I have to spend Christmas with the face of my ex-girlfriend and remember her in perfect detail.”
“Yes and on that note,” Charlie said, smacking her lips as she polished off her drink, “Stop staring at me all the time.”
“In brighter news about love,” Mona perked up, changing the subject. “Captain Lance and Mr. Snart are so cute together.”
Gary hummed, his eyebrows still raised at her. “I just can’t ship it after what happened with Director Sharpe,” he said.
“She used to be with Director Sharpe?” Mona asked, surprised.
“They were beautiful together, but it just wasn’t meant to be,” Nate said, sagely, taking another sip of his drink.
“Well, it’s nice that Captain Lance met someone new,” Mona said, smiling.
“Always nice when two terrible people find each other,” Charlie agreed.
“They do make a good match,” Gary admitted. “They’re both so intimidating.”
“I don’t think they’re together?” Nate asked. He glanced at his glass, face falling to see it empty again.
“You know, I’m not sure either,” Ray said. “They were really close before we lost him, and they have been spending a lot of time together since we got him back.” He tapped his chin. “But I don’t think I’ve seen them being…romantic.”
“He’s Captain Cold,” Charlie argued. “Do you really think he’d be romantic?”
“Oh, Leonard is secretly sensitive, trust me,” Ray said, grinning. “You just have to get to know him.”
“They’re definitely together,” Zari said. “I always see him trailing after her like a lost puppy.”
“Say that to his face, and he’ll ice you,” Nate said.
“Really?” Zari shrugged. “I thought Ray said he’s sensitive.”
“Yeah,” Nate said, “sensitive to criticism. Just like me, apparently! Am I not allowed to tear up if my father yells at me in front of everyone?”
“It was awfully embarrassing,” Gary agreed.
“Guys,” Mona said, “they have to be together. Earlier, at the Time Bureau, I saw Mr. Snart whisper something in Captain Lance’s ear, and she laughed. She never laughs!”
“She laughed when that unicorn bit my nipple off,” Gary complained.
“I have always felt a lot of sexual tension between them,” Ray said, fairly.
Nate scoffed. “That’s all in your head. He isn’t her type.”
“I know Sara very well,” Constantine said, wiggling his eyebrows. “She doesn’t have a type, but she does love a bad boy.”
“They’re always eyeing each other,” Charlie said. “They’ve got to be shagging.”
“They’re not,” Mick said. The room quieted as they all turned to him. “Asshole is too scared.”
“Wait,” Nate said, “which one of them is the asshole?”
“Both of ‘em,” Mick grumbled.
“Well, that’s too bad,” Ray said. “How do you know?”
“Because,” Mick huffed, “I’ve been trying to push those idiots together for weeks. I even left them both a copy of my book.”
Mona’s face fell. She stared glumly down at her drink. “I guess no one gets to be happy this Christmas.”
“That’s it,” Zari said, standing. “Someone should be happy.” Her face hardened, resolving. “Gideon?”
“Yes?” The AI asked.
Zari looked up to the ceiling. “What is Leonard doing right now?”
Gideon was quiet a moment, checking. Then: “He’s reading alone in his room.”
“Typical,” Nate said.
“And what’s Sara doing?” Zari asked.
“Also typical,” Ray added.
“Tell Sara that Leonard asked to see her,” Zari said, her mouth curving up in a smile.
“Won’t he be confused when she finds him?” Nate asked.
“He’s always happy to see her,” Charlie said. “Those tight jeans don’t hide a stiffy well.”
“I didn’t need that image,” Zari muttered. “Gideon, tell Leonard that Sara is looking for him. And,” she added, “fabricate some mistletoe in Leonard’s room.”
“I’ve watched Captain Lance and Mr. Snart together for a long time,” Gideon said. “I doubt this hijink will change anything.”
“Come now, Gideon, it’s Christmas,” Constantine argued. “The spirit of the season is bound to loosen them up. I’ll bet you five pounds they bonk tonight.”
Zari rolled her eyes. “Romantic.”
“May I remind you, Mr. Constantine,” Gideon said, “that you don’t even have five pounds?”
He shrugged, eyes sparkling. “I will when I win this bet, love.”
“Gideon?” Mona asked. “Can you switch this fancy futuristic TV to show us Mr. Snart and Captain Lance?”
“Of course,” Gideon said, as the screen switched. The wintery scene was replaced with Leonard’s room, showing Leonard sitting on his bed with a book.
“Isn’t this an invasion of privacy?” Zari asked.
Charlie shrugged. “This was your idea, Z.”
“It wasn’t my idea to watch them,” Zari protested. “Wait. Could any of us watch anyone else at any time?”
“That’s a fun thought,” Charlie said.
“It’s better than the Hallmark Christmas Movie channel!” Ray gushed, grinning.
“Anyone want popcorn?” Mick asked, holding out a bowl.
Gary took a handful. “Where did you get this?”
“It’s Mick’s super power,” Nate said, taking some popcorn for himself. “He can summon food or a beer whenever he wants.”
Gary’s eyes lit with awe. “Really?”
Constantine chuckled. “You are adorably gullible, mate.”
“Can we hear them, too?” Mona asked, gleeful.
“Certainly.” Gideon turned up the volume just as the door to Leonard’s room swooshed open.
“Hey,” came the sound of Sara’s voice through the speakers as she entered the room.
“Gideon?” Ray asked. “Could we get a split screen so we can see Sara’s face, too?”
Gideon complied, and Sara’s face appeared on the left side of the screen, while the right side stayed on Leonard. He looked up from his book.
“How many cameras are in our rooms?” Zari asked, appalled.
“Your idea!” Charlie sang.
“Hey,” Leonard echoed. For a moment, the two of them just stared at each other.
“Look,” Mona sighed, “they’re so in love, they’re at a loss for words!”
“Or they’re just idiots,” Mick grumbled.
On screen, Sara shifted, her forehead creasing. “Were you looking for me?”
Leonard frowned. “I thought you were looking for me.”
“Shit,” Zari swore. “They figured that out way faster than anticipated.”
“Gideon?” Sara asked, looking up at the ceiling.
“The others asked me to lure you here and fabricate some mistletoe,” Gideon said. “Now they’re watching you from the other room.”
Zari’s mouth dropped. “Gideon! You rat!”
“There are five pounds on the line,” Gideon replied.
“Cold, Gideon,” said Nate. “Just cold.”
“There’s mistletoe in here?” Sara asked, glancing around. “Wow. There really is.” She looked back at Leonard. “Did you know?”
“That a plant grew out of my ceiling while I was sitting here?” He scoffed. Then frowned. “No, actually. Good one, Gideon.”
“Thank you, Mr. Snart.”
“Should we throw it out?” Sara asked.
Leonard shrugged. “Probably.”
“Shit,” Zari swore again. “Come on, we’ve gotta do damage control.” And with that, Zari rushed from the room.
“Oh, wait for me!” Mona called, following, with Gary trailing behind.
Ray grinned, setting his glass down. “Are you guys coming?”
“I mean, we can just watch it from here, right?” Nate said.
“Snart hates me,” Constantine said. “Too jealous I was Sara’s lover. Best not get involved.”
“Maybe he’d be more likely to make a move with you around,” Charlie said, fairly. “If he has to protect his territory, yeah?”
“Sara would gut you if she heard that,” Mick said.
Just then, Zari appeared on screen. “Guys,” she said, panting. “I’m sorry. We’re just all really depressed today,” she paused, sucking in a breath.
“You’re depressed, so you grew a weed in my room?” Leonard deadpanned.
“No,” Zari protested. “I mean, yes. We just wanted – I just wanted – someone to be happy today.”
“Why’s everyone so upset?” Sara asked, frowning.
“We’re all alone,” Zari explained. “Constantine lost Desmond, Nora is at the Time Bureau away from Ray, Gideon lost Rip, Mick lost Garima, Mona lost that creature thing.”
“Konane,” Mona inserted, coming up behind her.
“Right, that one,” Zari said. “Gary’s bummed that Mona doesn’t like him.”
“Hey,” Gary complained.
“Charlie lost her powers,” Zari continued, “Nate’s dad is keeping him from his family. I lost my family,” she added.
“But Zari,” said Sara. “We’re your family. We’re all here for you, and for each other. You’re never alone when you’re with family.”
Zari was quiet as the others watched on.
“She has a point,” Ray said. “At least we’re together.”
“Yeah,” Charlie agreed. “We are, that.”
“Guys, have I said lately how grateful I am for all of you?” Nate asked.
“You’re right,” Zari sighed. “I guess we were being pretty selfish.”
“And dumb,” Mick said to the screen, tossing a piece of popcorn in his mouth. “Don’t forget dumb.”
“Still doesn’t explain why you grew mistletoe in my room,” Leonard said.
“Well, you guys are just so cute!” Mona cooed. “We all wanted to see you get together. Someone deserves to be happy, right?”
“But mistletoe?” Leonard insisted.
“You’re supposed to kiss when you stand under it,” Gary explained. “It’s a tradition dating back to Ancient Greece.”
Leonard stared at him. “And you thought we would see it and kiss?”
“Well, you’re so cute together,” Mona said, smile faltering.
“Len, stop torturing them,” Sara said. She crossed her arms, her mouth curving up in a teasing smile. “If they’re talking about us, let’s give them something to talk about.”
“It’s about time,” Leonard said, smirking back at her. With that, he stood and crossed the room to her.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, taking a deep breath as she blinked up at him. “Were you drinking peppermint hot chocolate again?”
“Is there any other kind?” He murmured, and then he kissed her.
“Awww!” Mona squealed. “Gideon! Are you recording this?”
“Shh, Mona,” Zari said. “We’ve creeped them out enough.”
“Wait,” Gary said, grinning. “Were you two together this whole time?”
“Pretty much,” Sara sighed, as she pulled back from the kiss. “We’ve been waiting for you guys to notice.”
“Well, I’ll be,” said Nate, watching from the other room. “I never would’ve guessed it.”
“Because you’re not a romantic,” Mick said.
“I’m so happy for them,” Ray said, dabbing his eye, his voice thick.
“Are you crying, Ray?” Nate scoffed. “Really?”
“What?” Ray shrugged. “He died, and now he’s back, and they’re together on Christmas. It’s such a beautiful love story.”
“Damn,” Nate said. “Now I want to cry.”
“Gideon, love,” Constantine smiled, “a bet is a bet.”
“It certainly is,” Gideon said. “You bet they would bonk tonight. That is yet to be seen.”
“Bollocks,” Constantine swore. “I did, didn’t I?”
“Don’t worry,” Charlie said, patting his shoulder. “We’ll just keep the camera going all night and find out.”
“Guys!” Sara called, appearing behind them. “Are you finished spying yet? We’re going to play Cards Against Humanity.”
Ray smiled. “Sounds like a perfect Christmas to me.”