Summary: When Ray inadvertently reveals that it is his birthday, the team decide that a party is in order. Hijinks ensue aboard the Waverider, leading to an important moment for Ray and Kendra.
A/N: This is a rather long 1-shot set sometime in Early Season 1 after Kendra turned down Ray for a date, saying that her life was too complicated. Ray/Kendra pairing. I personally really liked them together. I hope that you enjoy this.
"So where are we headed to now, Rip?" Stein asked as everyone was getting situated on the Waverider. Rip had a new destination in mind for them; another jaunt in a long line of them. They all wanted to catch the criminal mastermind Vandal Savage but so far, luck hadn't exactly been on their side. "How about ancient Greece? We could see the ruins, walk the same paths as the great philosophers Socrates, Plato and -"
Rip held up a hand to stop Stein. "We are not going to take a vacation in ancient Greece today, Professor. Our latest intel reveals that Vandal Savage is now in Hollister, New York, on the day of March first 1986."
"March 1st 1986, you say?" Ray spoke up.
Rip sighed. "I believe that's what I said… Why do you ask?"
Ray shrugged. "No reason really."
Sara, who had been wrestling to get her seat restraints into place, turned to look at Ray. "No, there was a reason you asked. Spill, Ray."
"We're waiting here, Raymond," Snart piped up. "We haven't got all day, you know."
"It's not a big deal. At all. It's just … I was born on March first in 1979."
Sara smiled. "So you would have been -"
"Seven," Stein said. "Ray would have been seven on that day in that timeline."
"Oh that's sweet," Rory said sarcastically. "Now can we get a move on here, or what?"
"Oh, nice. It's Ray's birthday," Kendra finally spoke up.
Ray turned to look at her and for some reason, she felt her pulse kick up a notch in speed. "Actually, it's not technically my birthday so-"
"We have to celebrate!" Sara said, shocking everyone into a brief silence.
Kendra nodded. "We do have to celebrate. That would be great."
"I don't think -" Ray started but Sara shook her head at him.
"We have to have a party for you, Ray. We've all been working so hard. We deserve this. And you deserve to have people remember you on your special day."
"I don't know," Ray said. "I guess it's up to Rip…"
"Finally, someone acknowledges that I am the one in charge here; the one who makes all of the decisions."
"Ain't nobody making decisions for me," Rory growled.
"Nor I," Snart agreed.
"We have a lot of work to do," Rip said, "and breaking for some party is completely out of the question."
"No, Rip, Sara's right," Jax said. "I think Ray and all of us deserve this. We've been busting our assses day and night to bring down Vandal Savage with no pay off. You owe us this much."
"Hah! I owe you? I owe you? Oh, the nerve," Rip said. "What I really owe you is a secure future for your progeny. A peaceful future where you children and grandchildren can -"
"Come on, Rip," Kendra said in a soft, coaxing voice. "This will be good for team morale."
"Yes, it will," Sara said. "Let's take a vote."
"Come on, Rip." She looked from person to person. "All in favor of throwing Ray one kick-ass birthday party, say aye."
Hands shot up one by one. Kendra noticed Ray hesitating and she offered him an encouraging smile. "This will be fun, Ray. You've been working so hard. We all have. You don't realize it now, but you need this."
A smile spread across Ray's pink lips and he nodded. "Actually I think do realize it so… aye."
Sara looked at Rip. "You're the lone hold-out now, Rip. Are you really going to be a party pooper and ruin everything for everyone?"
Rip rolled his eyes. "Fine, you can have your blasted party, alright? But it will be here, aboard the Waverider, and it will only happen if we actually accomplish something out there today. Which seems highly doubtful at this point."
"This is going to be such fun," Kendra said.
Sara smiled. "Definitely. We can put out food and drinks..."
"Did someone say drinks?" Rory asked.
Sara continued on. "We can decorate too. I am thinking a midnight blue theme would be perfect. We could really transform this ship into something spectacular."
"Decorating, Sara? I didn't know you were such a girl," Snart said with a little smile.
"Well, this 'girl' can still kick your ass and don't you forget it," Sara said cheekily and she slapped Kendra's waiting hand as they both laughed. The party was a go!
The Man of the Hour
The mission was a success, sort of. Though the Legends had once again failed to kill Vandal Savage, they had managed to beat the crap out of at least a dozen of his loyal lemmings and send him fleeing for cover in the process. While they yet had no idea where the madman would pop up next, Sara had assured Rip that they would restart their hunt the following morning. But tonight, she had said, "tonight we party."
"This was all just an excuse to gulp down vodka and slack off, wasn't it?" Rip muttered as he picked at a finger sandwich. Kendra and Sara had gone shopping in Hollister late that afternoon for food, drinks, and decorations. The refreshment table was weighted down with all manner of desserts and snacks. There was a giant devil's food cake too; as well as a big yellow Igloo cooler dispensing Hawaiian punch. Blue streamers were strung across the entryway of the Waverider and little matching azure lights twinkled like stars from the rafters. A large checkered banner taped to the far wall read, "Happy Birthday!".
Hearing Rip's words, Snart looked up. He and Rory sat nearby, a deck of cards between them. They had been playing some kind of game that involved a lot of cursing. "Wait. There's vodka? Then why am I drinking this?" He pointedly shook the wine cooler he had been ever-so-casually sipping on.
Kendra chuckled as she dumped some ice cubes into a big plastic bowl. "Truthfully, there is no vodka. We're here to have fun; not get totally wasted."
Rory shook his head. "Hey, getting 'totally wasted' is fun."
Rip sighed. "Well, don't have too much fun, comrades. Tomorrow we still have to try to save the world."
Rory waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah." He punched a slumbering Stein in the arm. Stein jumped, rubbing his shoulder. "Wake up, man. Didn't you hear the news? This is supposed to be a party, not naptime."
Stein glared at Rory. "I am aware of that, Mr. Rory. I was merely resting my eyes for a moment."
"That's why they heard you snoring in Guatemala," Jax chimed in. He earned a chastising look from his mentor. "Seriously, you gotta stay awake, at least until cake time."
"Cake … Mmm, I like cake," Rory murmured as he flipped over a card. Seeing it was an eight of clubs, he swore loudly, which caused Stein to wrinkle his nose in distaste.
"Where's the birthday boy anyway?" Snart asked.
"Good question," Sara answered, sauntering into the room in a satiny white dress that flirted just so with her kneecaps. She was carrying two bags of potato chips and if Kendra wasn't mistaken, Snart sat up a little straighter and coughed when he spotted her.
"Well, Sara, you clean up well," Kendra said.
"Thank you, Kendra. You don't look half bad yourself," Sara said with an appreciative smile.
"Oh, this old thing?" Kendra joked, fluffing the hem of her flowing baby blue gown. She and Sara had both bought dresses for the occasion, just for the fun of it.
"Should someone go get Ray?" Jax asked.
"If he doesn't show up soon, I call dibs on his presents," Snart said.
"Presents?" Rory echoed. "We were supposed to bring presents?"
Stein shook his head. "Well, what did you think all of those little packages at the end of the table were for?"
Rory shrugged. "I just assumed they were for us - you know, as bribes for coming to this lame thing."
"Lame, Mick?" Kendra said. "I think I'm a little offended."
"So am I," Sara agreed.
"Well… it could be a little livelier," Jax said hesitantly.
"Maybe you're right," Kendra said. She turned on her high heels and looked at the control panel. "Gideon, please play us some music. Something really upbeat."
In keeping with the 80's theme, Gideon responded by blaring "I Love Rock and Roll" from the sound system.
"Now that's more like it," Rory said.
"This isn't too bad. Who sings it?" Jax asked.
"Joan Jett and the Blackhearts," a familiar voice piped up from the doorway. They all looked over to see Ray standing there. He was dressed in pressed black chinos and a white button-down shirt, open at the collar. Kendra felt an involuntary flutter in her stomach. He looked damned handsome.
"Ah, the man of the hour finally arrives," Stein said, moving to his feet.
"Sorry I'm late. I was writing in my journal about the events of the day and completely lost track of the time."
"You write in a diary?" Rory snickered.
"A journal. Not a diary," Ray corrected. "Someone has to remember all of the important things we do so when we're gone, there will be a record of what we have accomplished."
"I think it's a splendid idea," Stein said. "I keep a journal myself actually."
"So do I," Kendra said. Ray's eyes moved to her and she felt the heat of his gaze sweep over her body.
"I think that's admirable," Ray said. He closed the distance between them, his eyes never leaving hers. "You look very pretty tonight, Kendra," he said softly, coming to a stop about three feet from her. Her heart was racing; her pulse thrumming loudly in her ears.
"Th-thanks, Ray," she replied.
"It's true," Ray said. He spotted Sara in the crowd. "You look amazing too, Sara."
"Careful, Raymond, you're starting to sound rather predatory," Leonard said.
"I am not," Ray said. "Surely a man can pay two women a compliment without being some kind of lecher."
"Don't call me Shirley," Leonard said.
Everyone laughed at the drolly-delivered line from the movie "Airplane" - everyone except Jax, who was much too young to understand the reference.
Ray moved over to the refreshment table and admired the girls's handiwork. "Wow, everything looks great. I don't even know where to begin."
Rory moved over to the table. "Pick something already. You're holding up the line."
As Ray debated between chips, dip, and mini-veggies, Rory elbowed his way down the line, grabbing something of everything. He was about to dive-bomb the cake too, but Sara pushed it aside just in time, earning a glare from Rory. "We have to wait until Ray blows out his candles," she said.
"I'll go get the lighter," Kendra offered.
"Don't bother," Rory said. "I've got just the thing." He had yanked his heat gun from it's holster at his hip and aimed it right at the cake.
"Watch out!" Rip yelled as Rory fired the gun. The cake went shooting up into the air like a frosted fireball. Everyone tried to jump aside as it came crashing down in a hail of itty-bitty crumbs. Kendra felt some of the stuff land in her hair. She was mildly annoyed. At least, until Ray reached out and dabbed away some of the chocolatey residue. She smiled up at him as he brushed the crumbs into a napkin.
"All better," he said.
"Thanks," she said.
Leonard surveyed the mess. "Oh, Mick, you've done it now."
Rory just shrugged. He grabbed a handful of finger sandwiches and returned to his seat.
"I was looking forward to that cake, you know," Jax muttered.
"Tough break huh, kid," Rory retorted.
Sara shook her head but she was clearly trying not to burst out laughing. "So … presents?"
Kendra sat beside Ray as he reached for the first present on the stack. He was smiling and Kendra quietly marvelled that she had never seen such a brilliant smile. Such a handsome smile…
She looked away for a moment, feeling her face flush as Ray caught her staring. He unwrapped the first gift which was bundled up in an old newspaper. He held up a cracked leather-bound book, reading the spine aloud. "'A History of Cold Fusion', by Martin S. Stein." He found Stein's eyes in the crowd. "Wow. Thank you, Professor."
"It was the first book I ever published," Stein said. "It's out of print and very rare."
"Which means you can probably fence it for a lot of money," Rory said.
Stein ignored him. "Anyway, I thought one of my finest students would appreciate it."
"Do you finally remember me from your class?"
"No," Stein said, "but I know you now and that's how I know you were one of the finest students I've ever had."
"Thank you," Ray said humbly. "That means a lot." He carefully tucked the old book back into the newspaper for safe-keeping and set it aside.
Sara plucked a bright green envelope off of the stack and handed it to him. Ray tore it open with the zeal of a child. A little white card fell into his palm. He studied it. "It's a coupon for five free sparring lessons. Wow, Sara, thanks."
Sara nodded. "Now I am not implying that you need help throwing punches-"
"Nope, she's outright saying it," Rory cackled in between bites of pizza.
Sara rolled her eyes at Rory. "You are too much." She looked back at Ray. "But seriously, happy birthday, Ray."
"My present is next," Jax announced. "I couldn't gift wrap it or slip it an envelope so I'll just tell you what it is… I promise to repair your Exosuit anytime you need me to… For the whole of next year..."
"Thank you, Jax. I will definitely take you up on that," Ray said.
Ray reached for the next present. It too was wrapped in newspaper. He held up another book. This one by L. Ron Hubbard. It was called "Return to Tomorrow". He looked around the room and zeroed in on Rip in the corner. "Is this from you?"
"Yes. It's a first print edition," Rip piped up. "Autographed by Hubbard himself. I had a brief love affair with his novels. I enjoyed them so much in fact that I once traveled to his time to meet him at a signing... It's science fiction and somehow I know you will appreciate that."
"Oh, I do. Thanks, Rip," Ray said gratefully.
"What kind of nerd gets books for presents?" Rory said.
"That kind of nerd," Leonard answered, pointing at Ray who had started to reach for the last box on the table. Instead, Ray's fingers closed around something else first. He held up a small leather billfold.
"Did someone lose their wallet?" He asked.
"Actually, that's your gift … from me," Leonard said.
"You shouldn't have," Ray said. He thumbed the leather, running his fingers over the clasp before opening it. He smiled almost conspiratorially. "Uh, Leonard?"
"There's a driver's license in here belonging to someone named Elizabeth Chase."
"Oh, don't worry. She'll never miss it."
"Leonard, you stole that?" Stein asked.
"Yes. There was only fifty cents inside of it," Leonard replied. "Hardly worth my time. But anyway, enjoy, Raymond."
Ray smirked. "I will. It's just what I've always wanted." Kendra covered her mouth to stifle a giggle. Snart and his sticky fingers were legends in their own right.
Ray slipped the wallet into the pocket of his trousers and reached for the last box - this one wrapped in sparkly red paper. He looked at Kendra, a gentle smile playing at the corners of his pretty mouth. "From you?"
"Yes." She watched him shred the paper and pull open the box. When he realized what he was looking at, he sought her eyes in an explanation. "You got me roller skates," he said quietly.
"I did," Kendra said. "I saw them in the window of this store Sara and I were passing by and I couldn't resist. I mean, what else do you get the man who has literally everything?" She chuckled. "Plus they're vintage. A-"
"Classic," Ray finished.
Kendra anxiously clasped and unclasped her hands. "If you don't like them -"
"No. I love them. Thank you, Kendra."
"Of course. Happy birthday, Ray."
His eyes locked and held hers in a state of rapture. "The happiest, Kendra. This is seriously the best party that I've ever had."
Kendra's heart thumped wildly against her ribcage. "I'm so glad. We all wanted you to have a special night. You deserve it."
The party lingered into the wee hours. When they had all finally agreed to turn into their quarters for the night, Ray insisted on walking Kendra the whole five feet to her door. She chuckled.
"What's so funny?" Ray asked, studying her closely in a way that made her skin heat under his gaze.
"Um, you walking me to my door."
"Oh." His cheeks tinged red. "Well, you never know when Chronos might show up."
"Is that the reason?" She asked, realizing that some part of her was testing him. She wanted to know if he was still interested in her. She was certainly interested in him. She could admit that now, if only to herself. Her life was still hellishly complicated, yes, but maybe there was something to be said for taking chances. She felt closer to him right now than she had anyone else in as long as she could remember. They had talked the whole evening and she'd been riveted to his every word.
She noticed the Adam's Apple bob in his throat. "Of course. I am just you know, trying to be a gentleman."
"You are a gentleman."
He shrugged. "I mean, sure you could easily fight off Chronos or any other intergalactic freak of nature but I just … I guess it's just something that was ingrained in me from a young age. I was taught that women should be protected and cared for. Perhaps it's an outdated concept but-"
She held up a hand to stop him. "No, it's not. It's … wonderful." She swallowed hard. "I appreciate it."
He smiled at her. "Uh … Well, I guess I should let you get some beauty rest huh? Not that I am saying you need it. Because you're - you're quite beautiful the way you are." He dabbed at his forehead. "Whoa. I am completely mangling this. I should really go before I bite off the foot I keep putting in my mouth."
Kendra nodded. "Okay… Well, um, good night, Ray. Oh, and once again, happy birthday."
"Thanks," Ray said. "You get some good rest."
She slipped into her room and closed the door. She sagged against the wall for a moment before she forced herself into the bathroom to change into her nightgown.
The Crash Landing
Kendra tossed and turned in bed for what seemed like hours, unable to shut off her thoughts. She kept picturing Ray's handsome face in her mind's eye. She heard every kind word he'd ever said to her reverberating like an echo in her brain. She imagined his full lips pressed to hers and wondered what it would be like to kiss him. She also wondered if she should feel guilty for being attracted to Ray in the first place. Carter was supposed to be her destiny. They had been together in every lifetime for the past 4,000 years. Was she betraying him by even thinking of being with someone else?
She flopped onto her stomach, burying her face in the downy pillow. She laid there for a long moment, just holding her breath. Then she heard a noise. Several noises actually. Something was clomping over the metal grating in the hallway. She heard the sounds ricochet like a shot and then there was an exclamation of surprise. "Oh crap!"
She recognized that voice. It was Ray. It sounded like he had just crashed into something.
She scrambled off the bed, dashing for the door. She ripped open her door and looked down the hall. She spotted Ray lying in a heap on the ground.
"Ray, are alright?" She asked as she ran to him on bare feet.
"What? Oh yeah? I'm -" He tried pulling himself up but sagged back to the floor. "I'm just fine. Except I think I might have sprained my ankle."
"Oh no," she said as her eyes fell on the black roller skates on his feet. The skates she had given him. She dropped to her knees beside him. "I am so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen. When I got you those skates, I wasn't thinking. I was-"
He placed a gentle hand on her arm. "Hey, hey now. This isn't your fault. I love the gift you gave me. I was obviously really eager to try them out."
"Ray, you could have broken your neck."
"But I didn't. It's only my ankle and it will heal."
"You always see the positive side in everything, don't you?"
"I try." He lifted himself up onto his elbows. "Don't be upset, okay? An hour in the med bay and I'll be as good as new."
He squeezed her arm gently. "I'm okay. This isn't on you. It's on me for trying to -"
"Trying to what?"
He looked away. "Never mind."
"No, not never mind. What were you trying to do besides kill yourself?"
He chuckled. "Nothing quite so dramatic, I promise you… I was just… I wanted to try out the skates. They looked so inviting sitting there on my dresser. I couldn't resist. Plus …."
She reached out and lightly slid two fingers beneath his chin. She tilted his face upwards so that they were looking into each other's eyes. "Go on."
"Well, I guess I … wanted to get your attention."
Kendra laughed in spite of herself. "I would say you accomplished what you set out to do." Her fingers lightly zipped along his jawline. His skin was smooth and warm. She knew she should pull away but she couldn't make herself.
"I am a clumsy fool," Ray said huskily.
"You're not a fool."
"Just clumsy then? I'll take it." They both laughed heartily at that. He reached for her hand and ran the calloused pads of his thumbs across her knuckles.
"I like you, Kendra."
She swallowed hard. "I like you too, Ray."
"No, I mean I really like you. I've always admired your strength, your intelligence.. Your beauty … But every time I am with you, I feel like I learn something new. Something that makes me just …. want you more." He sighed. "I know your life is too complicated. I understand that and I accept it but I also can't really help how I feel. I can't even be sorry for it. But I understand you're not ready for more. Not with me or-" He broke off as Kendra was suddenly pressing her lips to his. He paused for a moment, shocked into stillness, and then he returned the kiss.
His hands came up to knot in the soft locks of her hair. His lips moved against hers and she savored the feel of them. It was a kiss like few others she could ever remember experiencing. It simply stole her breath away; her ability to think clearly. She was floating, floating upwards on a cloud of pleasure. His tongue scraped against hers and she leaned down to get still closer to him. They might have kissed for several moments or minutes; she wasn't sure. She only pulled away when the need for oxygen became too great. She halfway collapsed against his chest, panting.
He panted in time with her as he slowly slipped his hand down her back to wrap an arm securely around her waist. He held her for a long time; neither of them daring to speak.
She rested her head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat racing in her ear. "We should get you to the med bay now," she whispered.
He sighed. "I know."
"Can you walk?"
"I can try."
"Okay, well let's try after I take off those skates for you."
"Not the skates."
"For now, yes," she said with a little smile. She helped him take off the roller skates, along with his socks. Then she scooted into the curve of his well-muscled arm and gave him a push upwards. He groaned but was able to pull himself upright.
"You can lean against me," Kendra said as they fell into slow steps.
"This is pretty embarrassing."
"Don't be embarrassed. Things happen."
"Yes, like kissing a beautiful woman on impulse."
She looked up at him. "Are you regretting it?"
"No, but I have to ask… are you?"
She shook her head. "No... I actually really liked kissing you."
"Mmm, me too," he said. "So... is this a one time thing or-"
She grinned. "I don't know. Depends on you, I guess."
"Okay, well you know what I want, Kendra. At least I hope you know. I want a chance with you, to see where this could go. But I also would never pressure you to give more than you're ready for."
"I know… But I want to try this too. Something tells me that -"
"We could be really good together."
"I agree. So what do you say to a date sometime?"
"I say… yes. Definitely."
"Well, I'd say that you pretty much gave me the best birthday I could have ever asked for." He pulled her to a stop and pressed his lips to hers again. Her fingers splayed against his hard chest.
"Happy birthday, Ray," she said.
"Thank you, Kendra, thank you so much."