“This is a joke.”
“It has to be.”
There's a sort of desperate edge to the words as they slip past her lips. The sort of desperation that was not usually in her tone.
No, usually her tone was civil, proper, the right words at the right times, exactly what her superiors had complimented her for many times before.
Ava had prided herself on always following orders.
On being aware of where the lines were and staying within them. On working her hardest to complete her academy training and then rise through the Time Bureau’s ranks immediately following the completion of it.
Ava took orders well, and this, this was supposed to be her first chance to give the orders.
To run a team of her own.
Rather than just following them.
A moment to prove herself, to the Directors, to the whole of the Time Bureau, and most importantly to herself.
But now -
She's half tempted to say that she doesn't want the promotion, that she’ll go back to being a part of Agent Bishop’s team. Surely that would be better than this? She’d at least get to travel through time then.
Or perhaps she could even volunteer herself for desk duty. Something she had ever wanted, but now couldn’t help consider as a half decent possibility.
She doesn't say either of those things though, mostly because of stubborn pride, and the need to prove herself, to prove that coming here to the Time Bureau wasn't a mistake.
It couldn't be.
She’d left her future, her family, her people for this - lost now to an abandoned time line that didn't even exist.
There was no way to go back even if she regretted it.
Perhaps that was why they'd given her the worst possible assignment for her first leading operation. Because the Directors knew Ava didn't have a choice but to say yes. That there was nowhere else to go if she decided that the Time Bureau wasn’t for her, that she’d be stranded in the early 2010s with nothing and nobody.
No, she couldn’t quit.
But that didn’t mean she had to accept this assignment without any fight.
She had to try.
“I think this has been a mistake,” Ava tries again, this time with a logical appeal, “Surely my potential shouldn't be wasted on something as benign as this. There’s other agents with more experience in surveillance, my record is one of action and accuracy.”
There's a look not quite like pity but almost in Director Hunter’s eyes. She finds herself hating that look. “There hasn't been a mistake, Agent Sharpe.”
“I didn't join the Time Bureau - I didn't leave my future- for this,” Ava insists, her logic slips as her voice risings. “To be running surveillance on one of the idiots who managed to fuck up all of time.”
If Director Hunter seems shocked by her language or tone he doesn't say anything. In fact his features hardly change at all.
“It’s not just any one of them it’s-”
“That makes it worse,” she bursts out cutting him.
Oh yes, the Legends.
She had heard all about them.
They were a cautionary tale for all Time Bureau agents, a case of what not to do and who not to be.
There'd been one moment briefly at the Academy when she’d been interested in them, fascinated by the tales of adventure, assuring herself that this was why she decided to become a Time Agent. The foresight granted by time travel had helped correct that misconception. Research proving that they weren’t anything special.
They became a study that Ava had carefully gone over in her days at the Academy, pointing out every misstep and mistake they'd ever made. A flawed system, a flawed team, that didn’t know when to stop themselves, didn’t know how to make things better rather than worse.
Sure, they had saved the world once, maybe twice, but at what cost.
She'd even written her dissertation on them, though more accurately on all the ways they had done wrong and how it easily could've been prevented with the right guidance.
After all, was it not their captain to blame in most of these bad decisions.
That woman, who had lacked the qualifications and the training to run a time ship, and had messed it all up in the process.
And now Ava was expected to - “Can I file an objection?”
“You can,” Director Hunter says, “If that's truly your wish.”
“Though I must say,” the Director pauses. Moving around from behind is desk, picking up the folder as he does so, and going to stand across from her. Her eyes drop to the folder insistently, seemingly locked there. “This assignment is very important to me. She is very important to me. There’s very few agents I would trust with an assignment such as this one. I know surveillance isn't a glamorous position, certainly not what you had in mind when I came to recruit you, but this is one of the most important and sensitive jobs the Bureau had to offer. You were selected for this, because I choose you myself, as the most suitable, and the one agent I can count on.”
There's something about the way he says it. Stressing the importance that gives Ava pause. She knows that Director Hunter used to be their captain, that he knows all of the Legends personally, in ways much more intimate than any numbers or sentences in a file or data packed could describe.
She knows that he was there when all of time came unspooled.
That the memory of that still weighs on him from time to time.
“I want Agent Green on my team.”
“Then you're accepting the assignment?”
She doesn't mention that she hardly had a choice.
Not when he put it like that.
“Hypothetically, if I accept the assignment, could I file an objection later if it does not suit my interests,” Ava asks.
His smile is not hidden at all. Her unspoken answer clear there in the quiet of the Director’s office.
She's going to do this.
Even if she ends up regretting it later.
Ava nods once, then once more.
“Could we not stop her now, here in this time, before any of this happens?”
“Well, then we’d both be out of a job,” he replied, handing the folder over to her.
“I suppose that’s true,” she says, taking the folder from him with one final nod.
It's a heavy weigh in Ava’s hand. Thick with pictures and notes and fact files and data.
“I won't let you down, sir,” she says, tucking it under her arm.
When Director Hunter dismisses her, Ava hurries from the room. Her heels clicking against the tile floor as she makes to back to her own office with more speed than necessary, quickly setting about making plans with the Agents that she will need to be on her team and the supplies they'll require to succeed.
She doesn't look at the folder though.
Not there in her office.
Not even once.
Not until much later when she's home, a protein bar open in one hand, while she scatters the contents of the folder out over her kitchen table.
“Okay, Sara Lance, time to figure out why you’re so important.”