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“I really don’t think this is necessary,” Rip said, trying in vain to get to his feet.

 

“Oh no,” Sara said, pointing a warning finger at him, “You Mister High-and-Mighty, I know what’s best for everyone, ready to throw my life away at every opportunity I get… You are going to have a taste of your own medicine for once.”

 

“If you wanted to throw me back in prison,” Rip grumbled, “You might have found a less elaborate way to do so.”

 

“Really Michael, is that any way to speak about your mother?” Mary Xavier sailed into the room with the air of a general about to go into battle, wielding nothing more than a plate piled high with cucumber sandwiches.

 

“No mum, sorry mum,” he said automatically, glaring at Sara as she started snickering.

 

“Hm,” Mary said, placing the plate in front of Rip. “Now Michael, I expect you to eat all of those. When was the last time you ate a proper meal? One not primarily composed of scotch?”

 

Rip glared at the sandwiches. Cucumber sandwiches were his favourite, to the disgust of the Legends who claimed that they tasted like ‘mouldy water, seriously dude how can you eat this stuff?’ but the sight of the neatly cut triangles made his stomach turn. 

 

Food was a necessity, granted, but seeing as he hadn’t thought he would be living for that much longer it had rather fallen by the wayside these past few weeks. He had survived entirely on a diet of tea, whiskey, and spite, something that his mother undoubtedly knew. Honestly, he wasn’t sure how his stomach would handle solids at this point, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to find out.

 

“I can just have Gideon make me an energy drink-” he started.

 

“Wrong answer dickhead,” Sara said, then: “Sorry Mary.”

 

“I would prefer to limit the amount of swearing under this roof: there are impressionable children about,” Mary said, “But just this once I am willing to let it slide.”

 

“Rip, you look like you’ve just survived a terminal illness-”

 

“Well death is rather terminal,” Rip said.

 

“-and I’m not letting you back onto the Waverider until you’ve put on at least ten pounds.”

 

“Ten pounds?” Rip said, outraged, “And how exactly do you expect for me to do that in a week?”

 

“By being a good boy and eating all your vegetables?” Sara said sweetly.

 

Rip scowled.

 

“Mum,” he said, “Have I told you about Sara’s dietary habits-”

 

Sara quickly clamped a hand over his mouth and he, utterly fed up and possibly slightly delirious, promptly licked it.

 

“What the hell Rip!” Sara said, removing the offending appendage and wiping it on her trousers, “What are you, five?”

 

“Well, if I am to be treated as a five-year-old…” Rip said, raising his brows challengingly.

 

“Oh dear,” Mary said, “I’ll just go put the kettle on then, shall I?” She swept back out of the room, leaving the distinct odour of ‘fix your shit’ behind her.

 

Sara took a deep breathe.

 

“I know what you’re trying to do,” Sara said, “You’re trying to get me angry enough that I storm out of here and you can manipulate the situation to your advantage. You’re planning on escaping while your mother’s distracted. After all, she has to look after dozens of kids. Dozens of future Time Masters. There’s no way she’ll be able to stop you.”

 

“And is it working?”

 

Sara smiled. It was, Rip had to admit, not unlike the smile Sara had worn last time she had turned evil.

 

“Oh, you thought that your mother was the cavalry? No, sadly for you your mother’s only the first wave.”

 

She raised her voice.

 

“You can come in now guys!”

 

Golden hair and sparkling blue eyes, Booster Gold bounded into the room looking like a golden retriever: all endless enthusiasm and smiles.

 

“You called my dad?” Rip hissed, “Who’s being childish now Sara?”

 

“Junior!” Booster said, “So good to see you again! Captain Lance said that you wanted to engage in a little father-son bonding time!”

 

He gave Rip a friendly punch on the shoulder.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Rip said, “I can escape from this buffoon easily enough.”

 

“You’re so mean to your old man,” Booster said, but he didn’t look too bothered.

 

“I don’t know,” Sara said, “He does have a good six inches and a hundred pounds on you. You must take after your mother.”

 

“Sara, he abandoned me in the wrong time period to run off and become a superhero! Why in God’s name would I want to spend any more time with him than I had to?”

 

“Looks like poor decision-making runs in the family,” Sara said, “Something you guys can bond over. Think of this as motivation to put on that weight.”

 

“It doesn’t matter. I can still escape.”

 

“And that’s why she asked me to come along as well.”

 

Ted Kord stood, casually leaning against the door frame.

 

“Well bollocks,” Rip said, thoroughly outnumbered.

 

“Not to mention,” Sara said, “You’ll have to get past me.”

 

“What?”

 

“I’m taking a sabbatical after defeating Mallus,” she said, “Thought I’d check up on this old friend of mine. Bit of a dick, but you know. I do care about him. Make sure he’s taking care of himself, because let me tell you this guy is a human disaster.”

 

Rip tried to maintain his glare, but it kept slipping off his face, fatally undermined by the warm feeling bubbling up from his chest.

 

“Oh,” said Sara, tossing him an earpiece, “If you don’t check in with Gideon at least once a day I think she’ll start pining, so you might want to get on with that as well.”

 

“Well, you’ve thought of everything haven’t you Sara?” he said, putting on the earpiece.

 

“Don’t blame me, it was Gideon’s idea,” Sara said, “I’m just the one fulfilling her demands.”

 

“Hmph,” Rip said, looking around at his…Well. His family. And reaching out, he took a cucumber sandwich.