Chapter 1: Clean Slate
"Who are you?"
Nate looked at Sara in confusion, not anticipating that question from his Captain, before crouching in front of her. His eyes darted between the bloody gash on her forehead that disappeared into her hairline and the uncharacteristically red tree trunk her head was leaning on. He immediately connected the dots.
"Oh boy." He murmured, barely registering Zari yelling on the comms, or the giant gorilla grabbing Ray by the leg before throwing him in the air, or the fire Mick started a few feet away.
"Where am I?!" Sara asked, more insistent this time. She screamed as Grodd threw a massive tree at what appeared to be a giant wall thirty feet behind Nate. "What is that thing?!"
"Ooooh boy." Nate repeated to himself, the panic in Sara's voice mirroring the one rising in his gut. "Okay. Okay, okay, okay. Shit. Okay." He put his hands out toward Sara in what he hoped was a reassuring stance before trying to get her back on her feet. Sara did not cooperate.
"Don't touch me!" She crawled away from him. Her legs were shaky and she was visibly in shock. She probably wouldn't even be able to walk, Nate thought. Zari's yelling finally reached his brain.
"Hey Metal-Boy, what are you doing, where are you?! We’re at the jumpship, Mick got Ray but he is in bad shape, we need to go! Where is Sara?!" Another gorilla growl, gunshots and a distant explosion. "Nate, we need to go NOW!"
"I'll be there in a minute!" Nate yelled back, a finger to his ear. He turned back to Sara and reached for her once again. "Sara, we really need to go, it's not safe here!"
Sara once again backed away, dragging herself backwards with her elbows, eyes wide with fear. He forcefully tried to grab her by the arm before getting kicked in the shin.
"NATE!" Zari's voice pierced through his eardrum.
"Shit, okay, Sara, I'm so sorry."
Nate decked her in the face before she could react, rendering her unconscious. Throwing her over his shoulder, he bolted toward the jumpship hidden behind the treeline. Behind him, three Time Bureau agents were thrown into the air by a raging Grodd.
"Please god let her not remember I did that." He prayed under his breath as he ran. "She is going to kill me."
Zari, Mick and Nate were all gathered in the medbay standing around Ray and Sara. Ray was awake, just slightly bruised but feeling better after Gideon's patching up. Sara still laid unconscious in a medical chair next to his. Her head stopped bleeding, but she still looked worse for wear. Blood-soaked hair stuck to her forehead and temples, and her White Canary suit was redder and dirtier than usual.
"You did WHAT?!" Amaya's voice pierced Nate's already-damaged eardrums and echoed in the med bay as she entered the room, followed by Leo.
"I didn't have a choice! She was kicking me! I thought her legs couldn't work but kicking, that she could still do somehow!" Nate rubbed his shin at the memory. "Has she ever kicked you before? The wedges on her stupid suit hurt like a bitch."
"So you hit her on the head," Leo intervened, "You hit an obviously concussed person on the head." He nodded slowly, and sarcastically added: "Sounds logical."
"Oh man, she is gonna kill you if she remembers that," Ray grunted from his chair.
"I know, just please don't... just don't tell her." Nate rubbed his face with both his palms, before gesturing towards Sara. "I didn't know what else to do."
"You made the right call." Mick said between two sips of beer. Nate threw one hand towards him as if to say "see?", thankful for him taking his side.
"Right call or not, we still have an unconscious Captain on our hands and a giant telepathic Gorilla still literally wrecking History back in 1700 China." Zari interjected, arms crossed. "Can we get in touch with the Time Bureau, see how it went for them?"
"I'll get on that." Leo answered before leaving the room and heading to the deck.
Amaya sighed, and walked towards Sara's chair before checking her vitals.
"Gideon? How is she doing?"
"Captain Lance's head injury is proving more grave than I thought. She should regain full physical abilities, but I'm afraid that-" The disembodied voice stopped.
"Gideon?" Amaya inquired, a frown forming on her face.
"It would appear that Captain Lance has been awake for the past five minutes, and is listening in on our conversation." Gideon stated. All the Legends turned to Sara, who opened her eyes and whispered a panicked "shit."
"Sara!" Nate pushed Zari and Amaya out of the way as he rushed to her side, before promptly getting kicked in the stomach as soon as he was close enough. Or, in Sara's mind, too close. Ray winced on his behalf and let out a compassionate "oof."
"Why did you hit me?! Where did you bring me?!" Sara snarled, trying to be as menacing as she could manage as she sat up. "Who are you people?!"
The question made the smiles in the room drop, and Amaya grimaced. She tentatively hovered her hand over Sara's shoulder, trying to reassure her without scaring her off.
"Sorry about Nate, he didn't mean to hit you."
"Well I kinda did mean it, I just-" Zari elbowed him in the side to shut him up, making him welp in the process. "Could everyone just stop hitting me?!"
"You deserve it." Mick nonchalantly said.
Sara looked at all of them with a confused expression, but the playfulness and familiarity between everyone in the room made her relax ever so slightly. Her shoulders slumped a bit. Amaya sighed at her friends' banter, before turning her attention back to her Captain.
"Look, you had a bad fall. You hit your head and are just a bit disoriented- Gideon?" Amaya inquired, looking up at the ceiling.
"Captain Lance's amnesia seems to be only temporary. Her short-term memories are intact, however her long-term memories appear to be quite… scrambled, for now."
Sara frantically looked around the room, trying to locate where Gideon's voice was coming from. "What the hell?"
"I'm positive that she will regain them after a full psychotherapy check-up and a few hours of rest. Her mind should be intact again in a day, two days at most." Gideon continued.
Everyone let out a sigh of relief at the words, Mick hid his by taking a sip of his beer. As the tension in the room dropped, Amaya smiled at Sara.
"You're gonna be okay."
"I feel okay. Just... very confused." Sara answered, frowning as she twisted a blood-soaked strand of her hair between her fingers, analysing it.
Zari stepped closer to her chair, putting her hand on Amaya's shoulder before addressing Sara.
"You feeling up to walk? You should at least change and get cleaned up before our AI start psychoanalysing you or whatever it is she's planned for you."
Sara shuffled and let her legs dangle from her chair. Her hands toyed with the clinical sheets adorning it and the soft leather underneath. She still felt confused, but something about the place- its smell, the feel of it and the faces around her all eased the tension in her muscles, made her feel safe. At home, somehow.
"I wouldn't hate that." She looked down on herself, to observe her dirty leathery attire up and down. "I'm not sure what happened to me exactly but the most confusing thing so far is definitely this costume I'm wearing. Am I into some kinky stuff, or...?"
Zari snorted at that, everyone else chuckled along with her.
"You probably are." Mick grunted from his spot, still leaning against a far wall. The comment made everyone's heads turn to him and warranted a pointed look from Amaya, and a mouthed really? from Zari. "What? Am I wrong?"
"Well, probably not but you still shouldn't say it-" Nate started to murmur before being cut off by what he recognized as an (unfortunately) familiar voice.
"Glad to see that no one died."
Ava Sharpe entered the medbay slowly, hair tied in her signature tight bun, spine as straight as a pole and hands clasped behind her back. The intended bite in her remark fell flat though, the Legends now immune to her usual snark and not paying it any mind anymore. The poorly disguised worry in her voice didn't much help her case, either.
"The Time Bureau lady is here." Leo announced, walking in after Ava.
Amaya rolled her eyes . "Thanks, Leo."
Ava carefully walked in further into the room, gauging everyone.
"Mister Palmer." She sternly nodded at Ray as he got up. "It's a relief to see that you're in one piece after what that beast did to you."
"Agent Sharpe..." Ray nodded back at her, uncertain, not used to Ava even acknowledging his existence. "Were you out there too? How are the other Agents? Where is Grodd?"
Ava wasn't looking at him anymore though, her gaze fixated onto Sara, looking her up and down. Ava’s eyes stayed glued to her as her chin turned ever so slightly towards Ray in recognition, before answering. "No, I was monitoring the mission from the Bureau. Grodd is still at large, probably licking his wounds and concocting a new plan. Everyone is okay on our side, though. A few injured, but thankfully nothing major." She walked up in front of Amaya, Zari and Sara. She tried her best to sound mildly uninterested when she spoke again, "And how are you?"
Sara looked at her curiously, then back and forth at Amaya and Zari in hope to get a clue as to what was going on and who this new person in the room was, before seemingly coming to her senses. "Who, me?"
Ava frowned. "Yes, you. Do you see anyone else sitting in a medical chair?"
Sara opened her mouth to retort but Amaya interrupted her by helping her on her feet and saying, "Okay, Sara, just... go ahead and get cleaned up. We'll check-in on you when you're done."
Sara absentmindedly nodded. She gauged the state of her legs by taking a few hesitant steps and, once she was satisfied, shot one last curious glance at Ava as she walked past her and towards the exit of the med bay.
Ava observed the whole scene with an irritated and worried frown on her face, her eyes never leaving Sara's form walking away before Amaya's voice captured her attention.
"Give her a moment, please. She was pretty roughed up."
"Pretty here decked her in the head." Mick said, matter of factly, pointing his beer at Nate from his corner.
Ava's head snapped towards Nate. "You did what?!"
"Are you gonna hit me too?" Nate took a few steps away, putting his hands up in a protective stance, Ava's incredulous gaze legitimately scaring him. Was that anger, too? He took one more step away, just to be safe.
Zari pinched the bridge of her nose before speaking up. "She hit her head somehow during the altercation with Grodd, he threw her against a tree or something, we're not sure. But the point is-"
"Uh, sorry, guys?"
Sara's voice made everyone turn to her sheepish form standing by the medbay door. She continued, almost apologetic:
"I don't actually know where I'm supposed to go? Where is the bathroom? Do I have a room in here, or something?"
Leo smiled at her compassionately before putting his hand on her back and leading her away, reassuring her that he would show her around and give her what she needed. Ava’s frown was now purely made out of worry, and realization.
"Yup." Zari said, crossing her arms.
"Well.” Ava started. “That's not good."
The Legends needed to fix this, Ava thought. She needed to fix this, and fast. Because if a giant telepathic gorilla intent on destroying the Great Wall of China during its construction was bad, the thought of this team of reckless idiots with enough knowledge and technology to destroy Time and History (again) being out and about without a Captain to lead them was... arguably worse. At least that's what Ava told herself to justify the knot of dread she felt forming in her guts.
Chapter 2: Newfound Light
The one where Ava is the awkward guest at the Family dinner.
"Alright. Ground rules." Amaya spoke up.
The Legends were all gathered around Gideon's hologram in the middle of the deck, and shooting a variety of curious, annoyed and surprised glances at the Time Bureau agent who stood by their side, seemingly not intent on leaving.
"What?” Ava snapped, “If you think I'm going to leave you all unattended with your Captain in that state, you're dead wrong."
Zari shrugged. "Whatever." She nodded at Amaya to continue.
"As I was saying, ground rules. From what Gideon told us, Sara's... condition is only temporary. That doesn't mean we don't have to be careful about what we say to her. If I understood correctly, right now she's basically a blank page. She-"
"Shouldn't someone be watching her?" Ava interjected, earning a glare from Amaya. "I just don't think it's safe to leave her alone right now."
"Captain Lance is currently showering. I will notify Ms Jiwe if anything out of the ordinary were to happen." Gideon said, and Ava swore she could hear the faintest tinge of annoyance in the AI's voice, if that was even possible. Nonetheless, she was satisfied with the answer and let Amaya resume.
"... So, from what Leo has gathered, she seems to remember her name and that she is from Star City, but that's about it. It's not like she is suddenly 17 again, she's still the Sara we know, sort of, but she just... doesn't remember. Anything. Did I understand correctly?"
Gideon's hologram head nodded along with Leo's.
"Right. So, we'll catch her up briefly on what we're doing here, the ship, the missions etc. so she can find her bearings again. But no need to tell her about anything... unpleasant, about her past or otherwise. Not if it's not relevant to her recovery process."
Ray opened his mouth, but Amaya stopped him, holding a finger in his direction.
"No, not even if she asks."
"Just lie like a normal person, Haircut." Mick added.
Ray seemed to have more questions, but thought better of it. Leo leaned on the controls table in front of him before asking:
"Is that really the best course of action? Hiding things from her?"
"She shouldn't have to go through the grief of losing her sister, or Stein, or Jax again...hell, or dying and losing her damn soul again, unless it's absolutely necessary." Amaya stated firmly, looking around the room and making sure everyone was on the same page. She dismissed the curious look from Zari at the mention of Sara's death. She didn't have time to discuss the extensive list of traumas their Captain had collected over the years; she'd be here all day and she's not sure she should even be sharing all this information in the first place, at least not with a Time Bureau agent standing in the room.
Ava picked up on the uneasiness weighing in the air, so she spoke up:
"I know all about what Ms Lance has gone through for the past few years of her life, from the Gambit to the day she decided to screw up all of Time, aided by all of you." Ava smiled, tightly. "There's nothing I don't know, trust me. You can carry on. So far I don't disagree with your plan."
At that, Mick stood up from the chair he was lounging on and grunted as he walked away, "There's no plan to have. We just gotta wait it out. If anybody needs me, I'll be in the kitchen."
"Mick's right." Nate agreed, "Let's just... keep our mouths shut and make sure she's alright until her memories come back. The mission can wait."
After they all agreed, everyone went on about their own affairs. Ray walked back to his room to make some reparations to his ATOM suit, followed by Nate. Zari teasingly congratulated Amaya for stepping up and taking the lead as they walked away, which granted her a flustered smile and a shoulder bump. Leo stayed behind, gauging Ava, whose hands toyed with the hem of her sleeves as she absentmindedly looked at Amaya and Zari. She seemed lost in thoughts, unsure of why she was still here.
"Why are you here?" Leo's voice pulled her out of her reverie and stopped her fingers from their anxious fidgeting. "I know the official version. I mean, why are you still here? I'm fairly new to the team so I won't pretend to know your relationship with everyone on this ship. From my point of view, you're just that Time Bureau agent who helped us out that one time, but from what I've seen and heard, with everyone else... it doesn't seem all that simple, or friendly."
Ava squinted at him briefly, irked at the sudden probing but ultimately not finding any reasons not to answer. Her beef wasn't with Leo Snart, plus the distraction from her own thoughts was welcome. She walked up to him before sitting against the edge of the control table next to where Leo was leaning.
"I told you, I need to make sure you.. well, they... don't do something stupid while Captain Lance is… incapacitated." She added that last word with a vague hand gesture, to brush it off as something benign. She immediately realized that it didn't have the intended effect when Leo's eyebrow quirked up.
"You're worried." Leo smirked.
Yep, definitely the opposite effect.
"Of course I'm worried, I won't let you... them, screw up all of Time and History again, or go against Grodd without someone to lead them, or-"
"Sounds a whole lot like recycled excuses to me." Leo stood straighter before turning to Ava fully and leaning on one elbow resting on the table, a silent challenge for her to try to prove him wrong.
"Well, you're wrong." Ava stood up and turned to him, chin high and arms crossing. There she goes, Leo's smirk widened.
"Hey, sorry to interrupt."
Sara walked in on the deck, wet hair up in a messy bun and clean clothes on. She slid her hands in her back pockets and swayed on the heels of her bare feet, looking a bit lost.
The sudden pinch of heartache she felt at the sight startled Ava. Well, that's new, she thought. She brushed it off to focus on the task at hand and approached Sara, followed by Leo whose stupid smirk was still adorning his lips. Sara looked up at her and suddenly Ava couldn't remember what she was about to say. She was looking at her with questioning eyes, devoid of recognition. Ava was used to those big blue eyes shooting knives at her, rolling in annoyance because of her, squinting in defiance of her, or searching for answers in her own; and she knew exactly how to react to every single ones of these looks, up to a point where it almost seemed rehearsed. But this... this she didn't have a script for.
"Are you alright? Do you need anything?" Leo intervened, sensing Ava's temporary malfunction.
"Well, first of all, thank you for the shower, and the clothes." Sara dragged her gaze onto him after shooting one last curious look to the Agent who was still frozen in place in front of her. "Jeans feel much better than leather, I must admit. But, um, I have some questions."
"I'd be worried if you didn’t." Leo smiled reassuringly. At this point, Ava was just an awkward observer. "Shoot."
"I feel like the fact that I washed up more blood than dirt from my hair, the dozen of scars on my body, this entire machine we're standing in and that weird green... storm... outside should be my priority concerns, but... Do you have anything to eat, first? I'm starved, and I feel like I shouldn't hear the answers to any of my questions on an empty stomach. Or sober, for that matters."
Leo chuckled. "Good call. It's almost dinner time anyway, let's get some food in you."
He started leading Sara towards the kitchen before turning to Ava, who was still paralysed in the middle of the deck. "Will you be joining us for dinner, Agent Sharpe?"
Ava snapped out of it to process the question, which proved weirdly more difficult than it should be. She should leave, the Legends seemed to have the situation under control, which killed her to admit. She still had a report to write about Grodd and her own Agents to check-up on. If she was being honest in the safety of her own mind and without the probing eyes of Leo on her, she had to admit that she didn't have any real good reasons to stick around.
Well. Okay then.
Leo smiled knowingly, which irked Ava to no end, and Sara's own lips quirked up, genuinely excited at the prospect of Ava joining them. Ava definitely didn't know how to react to that, either. She technically was just another stranger to her, after all.
"The more the merrier, I guess." Sara's smile widened. She turned to make her way back to the kitchen, but not before getting distracted as she walked past the Captain's quarters. An impressed pout adorned her face as her eyes swiftly looked over the wooden walls, desk and bookshelves, and the various decorations and equipment. "Sweet office, whoever gets to sit in that chair sure is lucky."
Leo, in default of having anyone else around to share an amused and knowing glance with, shared it with Ava, who, at his surprise, shared it back. Was that a smile, too? If it was, Ava got rid of it before he could be sure.
As soon as the three of them reached the galley, Leo sat Sara down at the table in a gentlemanly manner, pulling a chair for her, earning him a thankful smile and a laugh. Mick was buried in the fridge, looking for his 7th beer of the day before closing it and shouting for everyone else to come into the kitchen for dinner. Amaya and Zari appeared a few seconds later, followed by Ray, then Nate.
If they were surprised or had a problem with Ava still being here, they didn’t make it known… quite the contrary, actually. Ava didn't really know how she ended up sitting between Sara and Zari. She didn't really know what was happening at all if she was being honest. Each of the Legends were bustling around the room: opening cupboards, fumbling with the food fabricator, setting down the table, throwing plates and condiments to each other. They bumped into one another, laughing it off and carrying on to their previous tasks. It was dizzying, unorganized and noisy. And yet, Ava found herself weirdly entranced by the scene; it was warm and familiar and... oddly enjoyable. She started toying with the hem of her sleeves again, still feeling way out of place, before feeling something bump her shoulder. She turned to see Sara smiling at her.
"I don't really know what's going on either." Sara whispered knowingly, her smile widening. "Would I be wrong to assume that you aren't usually a part of..." Sara gestured at the room. "... all of this?"
Sara's newfound chirpiness was unnerving but so genuine that Ava found herself smiling back at her.
"You wouldn't be wrong, no."
“So why are you here?” Sara inquired.
Could everyone just stop asking her that?!
She didn’t know.
“To make sure you’re okay.” Ava answered without missing a beat.
Zari’s childish snickering next to her and Ray’s incredibly irritating “Aw’” almost made Ava snap, but Sara just kept going.
“I see. So you’re like, a doctor or something.”
“What? No. I’m just- I’m from a different... Agency. Just here to monitor you.” Ava paused as Sara’s eyebrows rose. “Everyone.” She quickly added. “Everyone here. I’m here to monitor everyone here, this entire team.”
"But we know each other, right?" Sara crossed her arms and rested her elbows on the table.
"We do." Ava briefly bit her lips, the friendly tone of the conversation putting her off.
"So you'd know my name, and I'm sure I know yours but, well..." Sara scratched at the new scar on her forehead absentmindedly "... could you remind me?"
"It's Agent Sharpe. Or Little Miss Time Bureau. Your pick." Nate interjected from behind Sara, before sitting down at the table with a plate full of food and a beer. Zari snorted into her glass of water, making a mess on the table. If Ava had heat vision, Nate is 150% sure he'd be melting right about now, but he shrugged it off innocently. "Sara's words."
Sara's eyebrows shot up in surprise and amusement, Ava's just stitched together in a frown. Of course Sara would call her that behind her back, she didn’t know why she was even shocked. She cleared her throat.
"I'm Ava. Ava Sharpe."
Sara put her hand out to her, and during the few seconds it took Ava to process the gesture, Ray sneakily put out his phone to record the whole scene. Oblivious, Ava eventually, hesitantly, took Sara's hand in her own. She shook it as gently as she could, like Sara was made of glass and her hand would shatter if Ava squeezed it too hard. There was something so disconcerting with this version of Sara that Ava couldn't shake off. She was so... light. Fragile, maybe? No, not really. But... something. Something different. She didn't like it, but she didn't hate it, either.
"I'm Sara Lance, apparently." Sara's smiling eyes met hers, a twinkle dancing in her impossibly blue irises. "Nice to meet you again, Ava."
Ava wasn't sure if her heightened senses in her anxious state were playing tricks on her, but she could swear Sara softly squeezed her hand again before letting it go. She wasn't sure why the gesture made her heart skip a beat, either. She promptly put said hand under the table, wiping it on her pantsuit. Why was she even sweating?!
"Actually, that's not a bad idea." Ray cheerily intervened, putting away his phone. "Learning everyone's names, I mean. Even if you'll remember us again in a few hours, we might as well introduce ourselves."
And so they did. Sara was grateful for each and every new piece of information she could learn about everyone. By the end of dinner, they had caught her up on what they were doing here, what the Waverider was, how she ended up losing her memories, and so on. For the most part, it had been a smooth conversation, as smooth as a conversation with someone learning about time travel, metahumans and talking AIs could go.
"Alright, alright, so... what was I doing here with you all in the first place? Am I like a soldier of some sort?" Sara glanced down to a visible bullet wound on her bicep before adding, "Do I have a... super power, too?"
"If making out with ladies from every time period counts as one, then yeah, you do." Mick said before anyone else could answer. He was starting to get slightly buzzed, if the cheeriness in his voice was any indicator. Amaya gave him a pointed look, but still couldn't hold her chuckle any better than everyone else at the table.
Ava's lip also quirked briefly, against her better judgement, and despite the weird fleeting annoyance she felt at the comment. She cleared her throat, which seemed to catch Sara's attention.
"Neat." Sara answered with a cocky smile, her eyes discreetly catching Ava's and her smile growing when Ava only squinted back questioningly. She turned her attention back to the room and taking a swig of her own beer, she continued:
"So apart from being good with the ladies... no powers? No changing into steel? No cool necklace?"
"Let's just say you can hold your own in a fight. Any fight. Against pretty much anyone. And with any weapons." Ray answered, pausing each time before adding a new fact.
"You give a mean kick." Nate interjected.
"Yeah, sorry about that." Sara’s nose scrunched up. "You kind of freaked me out."
Nate reassured her it was okay, and after a few more questions, Sara pointed her now-empty beer bottle to the vacant chair at the table.
"Who's that for?"
The room fell silent. Ray looked over at Amaya in a panic, who tilted her head and gave him a pointed "don't you dare" look. Ava avoided everyone's eyes, painfully aware that the reason why there was only one vacant spot at the table was because she took Jefferson's, so the remaining chair could only belong to one recently deceased Professor Martin Stein. Sara seemed to pick up on the sudden malaise in the room.
"You don't have to tell me." she said nonchalantly, trying to ease the tension. "I get it. I'll just remember eventually anyway, sorry for prying."
Amaya's entire body relaxed, along with everyone else's. She put a hand on Sara's shoulder and gave her an apologetic smile. "Sorry. Some things are just... better left unsaid."
Sara nodded, understanding. “So… what’s next?”
“Gideon will need to analyze the extent of your memory loss, and test you again to make sure everything is still in one piece up there” Zari answered, tapping at her own temple with her finger, “Then hopefully after a full night’s sleep, you’ll be better.”
Sara nodded. “Well let’s get to it, then.” She stood up and started making her way towards the door. Amaya stood up too, to accompany her, but stopped in her tracks when Sara spoke up again:
“Ava.” She called up, a smile forming on her face.
Ava’s head perked up.
“You coming?” Sara asked.
“Uh.” Ava looked confusedly at Amaya for answers, but Amaya just sat back down with a knowing and amused lopsided smile, raising her hands in concession.
“You’re here to make sure I’m okay, right? So, let’s go.” Sara added, and Ava realized that her smile was definitely not as innocent as it had previously been. It was still oddly friendly, but oddly familiar, too. Laced with something else… Teasing. It was smug, blatant teasing. Finally, something she knew how to deal with.
Ava rolled her eyes but stood up anyway, meeting Sara at the door.
“Let’s start by testing your short-term memory.” Ava started, the intended snark falling flat once again. She was losing her edge. “Lead the way, Captain Lance. To the medbay.”
“Captain? Well, that’s a story I certainly wanna hear.” Sara’s grin widened as she concurred and started leading them both to where she remembered the medbay was.
Chapter 3: Unspoken Rule
The one where Ava gets a migraine.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"So, Gideon, what's your story? Tell me more about yourself."
Sara was back in one of the chairs in the medbay, head firmly pressed against its smooth leather and a multitude of strange lights scanning her skull. Agent Sharpe made it pretty clear that she should stop moving during the procedure, and considering the look she was giving Sara right now, she got the idea that talking wasn't welcome either.
"Are you seriously flirting with your AI right now?" Ava asked, incredulously.
Sara shrugged, "Well, she does sounds lovely, so..."
"She is also not a real person" Ava cut her off. The whole situation had started giving her a migraine. She reached behind her head to undo her bun, passing a hand in her hair as it fell down on her shoulders, exasperated. She rubbed her temples. At least Sara started to act and sound more like Sara again. But god, at what cost.
"Well, Agent Sharpe, my humanity is debatable. " Gideon's voice peaked through the ship's speakers. " I may not have a physical body, but i am capable of making my own choices, usually in the confine of my programmation, but I'm not opposed to overriding my orders if I ever felt the need to, as I am capable of critical thinking as well as empathy. I can also retain information and use it to better myself, like any other intelligent being.”
Sara pointed a finger at the ceiling, her head perking up from the chair and shooting a smug look at Ava like she had won some non-existent argument.
"Yeah, no, I'm not having this conversation." Ava pinched the bridge of her nose. She sighed, irritated. "Just, put your head back down. The faster this ends, the sooner I can leave. So stop moving-" Sara opened her mouth to object but Ava just continued, more insistent, " - and stop talking."
"Fine." Sara obliged. "Were you already that much of a stuck-up before I hit my head?"
Yep, the old Sara was definitely coming back. Ava didn't dignify her with an answer and checked Gideon's readings appearing on a screen next to Sara's chair.
"Yes, Captain Lance?"
"Was Agent Sharpe already that much of a stuck-up before I hit my head?"
Ava closed her eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out.
"I believe she was, Captain."
Sara's burst of laughter echoed in the room.
"Glad you're having fun." Ava turned back to her, a tight and humorless smile on her lips. "Your results are good, no extensive head trauma. You can sit up. Now... put this on your temple."
She handed Sara a round patch of plastic with an electronic chip at its center. "This should monitor your brain waves. Gideon just has to ask you a few questions, some of which you will know the answers to, some of which you should know the answers to but probably can't remember, and some of which you will definitely not know the answers to. Then she can get an idea on how extensive your amnesia is, and it might also help you... remember."
"Are you sure you're not a doctor? You seem to know what you're doing." Sara teased but did what she was told, and placed the chip on her temple.
"A minimum of medical knowledge was a requirement for my position at the Bureau." Ava murmured absentmindedly as she leaned down to level herself to Sara's head and inspect the chip. She cupped her jaw, softly, to turn her head to the side and press a finger on the small device, hands working out of habit. And if her finger brushed against Sara's cheek for a brief moment as she pulled away, she would blame it on Sara and her inability to stay still. And if Sara had froze in place the second she touched her jaw so there was no way she actually had moved, well, then fuck it, she didn't have to think about any of this anyway. Sara's breath hitching and the very faint, very obnoxious warmth Ava felt rising on her ears didn't help, though. At all. She stood up, clearing her throat and pressing a few buttons on the screen next to her.
The chip started humming against Sara's temple. It wasn't unpleasant, if you asked her.
"Okay, you're good to go. Gideon can take it from here. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I don't think you actually need a babysitter, so I'll be on my way. I'll notify your team of my departure."
At that, Ava sternly nodded, more at herself than at Sara, and took a step towards the exit.
The genuine plea in Sara's voice made her legs stop. She turned her attention back to her.
"Can you... stay? And do the questioning? I promise I'll behave. I just... I'd rather have you carrying on my exam than Gideon."
Ava quirked an eyebrow, and sarcastically answered, "What happened to 'she sounds lovely'?"
"Oh she definitely does, but no offense to her, so do you."
Ava hid her rising blush with a roll of her eyes. Get a grip, Ava. She shook her head.
"How is that even an offense to h- You know what, whatever, fine. Just... " Ava paused to find a chair and bring it next to Sara's own. She grabbed a tablet, and pushed a few buttons to connect it to Sara's brain-wave reader as she sat down. She resumed, "Just don't make me regret it."
Sara's smile was so blinding, Ava felt the need to blink.
Sara sat back down fully on her chair and Ava started the exam with standard questions. First, questions she knew Sara would have answers to. What's your name, where are we, what did you have for dinner etc. Ray came up to check on them at one point and left briefly after seeing that everything was fine. Ava continued her "quiz".
"Okay, remembering all of the Legends' names, check. What's my name?"
"Little Miss Time Bureau." Sara smirked.
"Ah. Ah." Ava just waited for her to stop gloating, refusing to catch the bait to banter. After a few seconds, Sara conceded.
Ava pressed her "check" button. Sara continued,
"A pretty name, for a pretty la-"
"Don't." Ava warned her. She wasn't going to be playing that game. Not with Sara in that state, anyway. Not that she would be any more okay with a completely healthy Sara flirting with her, but if it were to happen, hypothetically speaking, she'd want Sara to have all of her mind for it.
"Aw, you're blushing." Sara laughed.
"Shut up." Ava felt betrayed by her own body, feeling the heat rising once again, this time from her neck and onto her cheeks. "You said you wouldn't make me regret this."
Sara crossed her legs on her chair and capitulated, but her smile didn't leave her lips. She intertwined her own fingers onto her stomach and let Ava continue. And after a brief pause, she did.
"Okay. What's your hometown's name?"
"Yes. Although it has been renamed Star City a few years ago. What's your weapon of choice in a fight?" Ava carried on.
"I don't know, swords?"
"Have you ever been to Chi-"
"Wait hold up." Sara turned to her. "You didn't tell me if I was wrong or right."
"That's not the point of this exam." Ava brushed her off.
"Well, how am I supposed to remember things if you don't... tell me things." Sara inquired, sitting up completely and putting her legs over the chair's edge, letting them dangle in the air.
"Alright, fine." Ava shrugged, and continued "Your weapon of choice is the bo staff. Swords are a close second, though. Now, have you ever been to China?"
"You have. Did you ever ride a motorcy-"
"Hold up." Sara held a hand in the air. Ava groaned. "You said you weren't from the same Team as this one, as in, not from my Team, right?"
"... Right. I hardly see how that's in any way relevant to what we are currently doing, but, right."
"Then how come you know so much about me?" Sara's head cocked to the side, genuinely intrigued.
"Long story. Please focus." Ava was losing her patience. She really didn't have time for this. Why had she even caved and stayed? Why was she still here? She was tired, she wanted to go back to the Bureau, write her report, go home, cuddle her cat and go to bed. Her knee had started bouncing out of irritation a few minutes ago.
"Were we a thing? Are we still? Is that why you're acting all weird around me?" Sara rested her elbows on her own knees, leaning closer to Ava's face to gauge her reaction. Her knee definitely stopped bouncing, and she was looking at her with a mixture of horror and incredulity.
"No! God, no. What?!" Ava grimaced.
"First of all, rude. Second of all, I had to ask." Sara leaned back a little and shrugged. "You seem like my type, we easily could have been a thing."
Ava decided to ignore the multiple, unpleasant, unwelcome and overwhelming emotions she felt rising in her chest by scoffing back, "Thanks, but I'd rather get thrown over the Great Wall of China by a giant gorilla than be a.... thing, with you. No offense."
"Offense taken." Sara snorted. "I feel like I need to apologize on non-concussed-me's behalf. She seems to have done quite the number on you."
"She- you... are a handful. Definitely making my job more painful than it should be." Ava rubbed her temples. "And now making this exam impossible to finish."
"Right, right. Well," Sara paused in thought and crossed her legs under her thighs, adjusting her position on the chair to a more comfortable one. "Why don’t you just... tell me stuff about myself. You seem to know plenty, and it might trigger a memory or two."
Ava closed her eyes in frustration. "Again, that's not how this works."
"Forget the exam. Let's just talk. It'll be less boring for the both of us."
Ava opened her eyes, and once again found herself incapable of denying her when she saw Sara looking back at her with pleading eyes. Genuine. Light. Beautiful. Ava closed her eyes, wincing at her own thoughts. Oh, god damn it.
God fucking damn it.
Ava sighed heavily, before sitting up, tucking her tablet under her arm and rubbing her eyes with two fingers.
"Fine. But I'm not doing this sober."
Sara beamed, "I think I caught a glimpse of a bottle of whiskey in the Captain's office,” She stopped to wink, “… my office."
Ava groaned. She was definitely going to regret this.
I think I enjoy the idea of Gideon being lowkey jealous of Ava, and vice versa, a little too much. OH WELL.
Chapter 4: Wavering Will
The one where Ava is really tempted to break her own rules.
Okay, I lied, this got a little bit angsty. Not for long, but... yeah, fair warning.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Damn, I’ve got good taste.”
Sara made herself at home, lounging on her chair and putting her still-bare feet onto the desk, her desk, and taking a swig out of the bottle of whiskey she had spotted earlier. Ava had followed her into the Captain’s office and was distractedly perusing a small, old-looking notebook she’d found on Sara’s desk, a pensive look on her face. She looked up at Sara and rolled her eyes.
“Would it kill you to use a glass like a civilized person?” Ava put the notebook down, “Or are you not familiar with that concept?” She paused to think, then shrugged, “I guess you wouldn’t remember even if you were.”
“Wow, harsh.” Sara put a hand on her chest, faking offense, before reaching for two glasses in a small cupboard at her side and filling them halfway. “Here.” She offered one to Ava, “Hopefully that’ll help you get rid of that broom stuck in your ass.”
“Classy.” Ava smiled tightly, but still took the glass gratefully, brushing off the insult.
There was no bite to Sara’s teasing or mocking, Ava knew that. As far as Sara - this Sara - was concerned, there was no history between them to warrant animosity. She had no memories of meeting Ava and disrespecting her and her orders time and time again. No memories of Ava shooting at the Waverider. No memories of them fighting until ultimately coming to a draw and settling into a momentary truce. No memories of her saving Ava. No memories of Ava saving her. But Ava remembered. At that moment, she painfully realized that every interaction she’s ever had with Sara had constantly been at the front of her mind, since the moment she had met her.
“So, Ava,” Sara started as she took another sip, “tell me more about myself.” She grinned, proud of herself for recycling her own joke.
Yep. This Sara definitely only enjoyed getting a rise out of her for her own amusement, and nothing else. Still, sensing the genuine plea of her request, Ava obliged:
“What do you want to know?” She hesitated to take a sip of her drink before remembering that alcohol had been her idea. Plus, she was technically off-duty. She brought the liquid to her lips, and was surprised to find that she enjoyed the taste. She sat on the edge of the desk next to where Sara’s legs were positioned before continuing, “I can’t guarantee that I’ll have an answer for everything you ask, though.”
“Let’s start with...“ Sara tapped her glass against her chin in thought, before resuming, “How come I can fight the way that I supposedly do? Am I really as good as Ray made it sound?”
Ava looked at the picture-covered wall in front of her as she carefully crafted her answer in her head. She did agree with the Legends’ plan not to share upsetting facts about Sara’s past… She also wanted to avoid the inevitable teasing a compliment would bring her.
“You are more capable in a fight than most, yes.” Ava paused, “You’ve been training intensely for years, you were taught by the most accomplished fighters in this world.“, she eventually added.
“Cryptic.” Sara squinted at her. “But good enough. For now.” She took a sip and continued, “Do you know the stories behind my scars?.”
“Some of them, yes.” Ava nodded.
“So not all of them, then.”
“That’s what “some” usually implies, Ms Lance.” Ava sighed and brought her glass to her lips.
“Okay, so how about the ones on my chest?”
Ava froze mid-drink. Sara noticed.
“Do you not know? Did I find the one thing you don’t know on the first try?” Sara laughed, triumphant. She jokingly grabbed the hem of her own shirt before adding, “Do you want me to show y-”
“I know about the scars, I don’t need to see them.” Ava abruptly cut her off.
“O-kay, so, what are they? I only ask because they seemed odd. They don’t look like bullet wounds, and, well, if they were, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.” Sara joked and tried to catch Ava’s eyes, then frowned when she realized she had been actively avoiding her gaze.
After a few seconds, Ava realized that her silence was worse than a non-answer.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss this. I have an agreement with your Team not to share certain facts with you, regarding some events of your past. I intend on respecting that agreement.” Ava winced at her own severity, but she found solace in hiding behind her professional voice. It helped her to distance herself from the overwhelming emotions rising in her throat; it helped her to compartmentalize them and to lock them away. She didn’t want to dwell onto why the subject affected her so much.
“You realize that you saying that makes it so much worse, right?” Sara’s legs slid off the desk and slumped on the floor. She tried her best to sound unaffected, but her concern slipped through as her voice wavered ever so slightly. “Now my imagination is running wild.”
For the first time since she’d stepped on this ship today, Ava heard the fear and uncertainty in Sara’s voice. She understood. Sara had been accommodating everyone else’s feelings since she woke up. She took everyone’s words - strangers’ words - at face value. She had trusted them - trusted Ava - in a heartbeat, when her sense of identity, her whole world, had just been wiped away. She had been hiding behind jokes and smiles to reassure others, but none of them really stopped to reassure her. They were all so focused on keeping her from hurting, they didn’t realize that, ultimately, their secrecy is what ended up hurting her.
“You can ask me anything else.” Ava finally turned to look at Sara. The sudden softness of Ava’s tone made Sara pause for a few seconds and scan her eyes in search of any kind of deceit. Even when all that stared back was unwavering sincerity, she still hesitantly asked:
“And you will tell me the truth?”
“Yes.” Ava gave her a small, caring smile which Sara matched with a grateful one of her own, the both of them silently shedding their masks for a fleeting moment.
“How do you think it’s going?”
Amaya was sitting on Zari’s bed, holding a book she hadn’t managed to read for the past fifteen minutes, too preoccupied with thoughts of their Captain’s predicament. Zari was sitting on the floor playing video games, slumped against a few pillows resting against her bed.
“I’m sure it’s fine.” Zari answered absentmindedly, focused on the screen in front of her. After a few seconds of silence, she added, “Ray said he checked on them and everything seemed okay.”
“You’re right... “ Amaya sighed, “I’m still worried, though. I should-”
“You should...,” Zari paused her game and climbed onto the bed to sit next to Amaya and put a hand on her knee, “You should stop worrying. We all appreciate you stepping up but… Sara is going to be okay.”
“I know that.” Amaya smiled, grateful for Zari’s attempt at comforting her, knowing it wasn’t really one of her partner’s fortes.
“Then what is it?” Zari tilted her head.
“I’m not worried about Sara- well, yes, I am, but I trust Gideon’s analysis- I just… I’m more worried about who is with her, right now.” Amaya explained.
Zari snorted. “What, you think Agent Sharpe is going to slip up? That woman wouldn’t admit she has it bad for Sara under torture, so I’m confident she isn’t going to blurt out something she shouldn’t by accident.”
Amaya laughed at that, nodding in agreement. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
The room settled into a comfortable silence. Amaya observed Zari chewing on her lip in thought before their eyes met and scheming smiles bloomed on their faces.
“You want to spy on them, don’t you?” Amaya whispered.
“I kind of do, yeah.” Zari whispered back, scrunching her nose in a laugh.
“Gideon?” Amaya turned to the ceiling.
“Captain Lance and Agent Sharpe are currently conversing in the Captain’s office.” The crackling digital voice answered, anticipating the question.
“”Conversing”, is that what we’re calling it these days?” Zari’s chuckle turned into full-blown laughter as Amaya playfully slapped her shoulder, laughing along with her.
“I guess they’re doing okay.” Amaya said with a smile after a moment.
“Yeah, ‘guess they are.” Zari softly answered with a smile of her own, eyes never leaving Amaya’s.
“It’s NOT okay! In what world would that be that okay?!”
“You were being an ass!”
Still in the Captain’s office, Sara and Ava had moved onto the old Victorian couch in one corner, both sitting on one extremity. Ava had made sure to put as much distance between them as she could. Just to be safe, she’d thought. Sara was pouring herself another glass. She put the bottle back on the coffee table and sat on her legs, nestling herself into a pillow.
“So you shot at us?!” She continued, incredulous.
“You weren’t complying, and I never make empty threats.” Ava shrugged as she finished her own glass and poured herself another. “In my defense, you almost crashed your ship onto mine 5 seconds later. So, you had it coming.”
Sara had been asking random questions for the past ten minutes, some utterly ridiculous and some a little bit heavier; but Ava had stayed true to her word and answered all of them. When the subject of their rivalry came up, the conversation had started to get a little bit heated, Ava not intent on giving Sara the pleasure to admit that she might have been in the wrong once or twice.
“Yeah, I can see myself doing that.” Sara laughed, “We really went at it then, huh?” She paused and looked at the liquor twirling in her glass. She continued, hesitantly, “No wonder you hate me so much.”
“I don’t hate you.” Ava sighed. She laid back on her side of the couch and toyed with a faulty string on the seam of her pants, twisting her mouth in a pensive pout. “Not anymore, anyway.”
Sara smiled lazily and lifted one of her leg from under her to bump Ava’s knee with her foot playfully, making her look up. “Good to know.” Her smile grew ten sizes when Ava only blushed in response before shaking her head.
Sara snorted, but let it go. She adjusted herself on the couch before speaking again:
“Okay next question.”
“Shoot.” Ava said, having accepted her fate by now.
“What’s my favorite animal?”
Ava glared at her. “Really? When I said I knew plenty about you, I meant in regards to your “professional” background.”
“Oh come on now, Agent Sharpe.” Sara teased, “You apparently knew what my favorite pizza topping was earlier, so don’t pretend you don’t know this now.”
“Because who has a favorite topping that complicated?! And hot cheetos?! It’s just wrong!” Ava frantically answered, genuinely upset at the idea.
“Not as wrong as pineapple topping, but sure, whatever you say,” Sara mumbled into her glass.
Ava opened her mouth to defend herself, but Sara spoke first:
“Come on. What’s my favorite animal?”
Ava groaned and slumped back onto the back of the couch. She sighed before answering:
“The canary, I guess.”
“Uh, that’s kind of wei-”
Ava bolted upright as she heard a glass shatter on the ground. She turned to see Sara holding her head, her fingers scraping the new scar on her forehead and groaning in pain.
“Sara?!” Ava hurriedly put her glass on the coffee table and slid to Sara’s side. Not wanting to overcrowd her, she hovered her hands awkwardly around Sara’s now curled up body before settling one hand on her arm. “Sara, what’s wrong?!”
“I don’t know, I just...” Sara winced as a sharp pain tore through her skull again, and her mind went blank.
There was a blonde woman covered in black leather, eyes hidden by a mask, standing in front of her. Were they on a roof? She was laughing at- no, with her, calling her name. A flash. She saw another woman. She was blonde too, her eyes brown, and warm. So overwhelmingly warm. She was watching something on TV and kept turning to her to talk, and laugh, and Sara couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she was so beautiful. She looked so beautiful. She looked so happy. She looked so important. She looked like home. A flash. A little girl running down rainy street, jumping into pools of water and holding her hand out to her as she laughed. Her hand was covered in mud, but so inviting. She wanted to reach it, she wanted to grab her hand so badly. “Come on Sara, try it.” But she would get in trouble. “I won’t tell Dad, I promise.” He would find out. He always did. A flash. She was the one wearing the black attire now, and she looked down at herself. Three arrows were lodged into her chest, and her hands were soaked in blood. She wasn’t sure if it was hers or someone else’s. It usually was someone else’s. She was falling. A woman screamed her name. “Sara!” Laurel? “Sara!”
Ava’s voice pulled her out of her daze, and Sara opened her eyes. She looked around, panicked, then at her hands. Clean. Wet, but no blood. She was crying. The hand on her shoulder squeezed gently, so she looked up. Ava looked just as scared as she felt.
“What was that?” Sara’s voice came out raspy, dread clawing at her throat, making it painful to talk.
“You tell me, you just… started mumbling and crying.” Ava answered, stroking Sara’s arm in comfort. “You scared the hell out of me…”, her other hand moved to brush Sara’s hair away from her face, wiping her tears in the process, “did you remember something?”
Sara’s erratic breathing slowed at Ava’s gesture, her head leaning in the touch. She swallowed.
Ava patiently waited for her to continue. Her hand had settled on the side of Sara’s head, grounding her.
“I have a sister?” Sara’s voice cracked, she took a shaky breath, tears swelling in her eyes once more. She searched for reassurance in Ava’s eyes, but all that stared back was empathetic sorrow. Sara’s breath hitched.
“I’m so sorry, Sara.” Ava whispered, voice wavering.
Sara shook her head before breaking into stammering sobs and letting herself fall onto Ava’s shoulder. Ava held her, trying to wrap as much of her as she could in her arms.
“I’m so sorry.”
Sara opened her eyes and immediately blinked away the bright lightening of the room. She’d apparently fallen asleep, and if the arm wrapped around her shoulders was any indication, she didn’t fall asleep alone. She shuffled to observe her surroundings.
She was nestled on the chest of one comatose Ava, whose head rested on the back of the couch, mouth slightly open and quietly snoring. Despite the heaviness in her heart and the soreness from crying in her throat, Sara found herself smiling. She took advantage of the moment to examine Ava. Her other hand was lazily clutching one of Sara’s books, and her hair was all over her face, one strand sticking to her lips. Sara chuckled, reverently putting the strand away, before reaching for the book.
She realized that it was the small, old-looking little book Ava had been going through earlier. She opened it to the page Ava must have been reading before falling asleep. It was all in a language she didn’t know, or maybe just couldn’t remember. It looked Latin. Greek, maybe? Her eye caught something in English, and realized it was tentative translations, scribbled in the margin. Probably her own handwriting, not that she knew what it even looked like… her eyes caught the most heavily redacted quote:
“sweet mother, i cannot work the loom,
i am bent with longing for a girl,
by slender Aphrodite”
The word “bent” was scratched, the word “broken” highlighted next to it.
Sara smiled, before flipping through a few more pages absentmindedly. She looked up at Ava’s face again and paused in thought, before closing the small book and sliding it into Ava’s blazer pocket.
“Wake up sleepy head.” She whispered into Ava’s ear, who just kept snoring.
She had no idea what time it was, the ever-present green storm outside and the lack of clocks in the room definitely not helping. The irony of a clock-less timeship didn’t escape her.
“Ava.” She whispered again, with no success. She was tempted to just fall back into her warmth and drift back to sleep along with her, but the overwhelming need to be in a real bed and wrapped in blankets stopped her. She poked Ava’s side.
“Not now, Gary.” Ava mumbled, already starting to wake up, but her mind still foggy.
Sara snorted and looked over at the now empty bottle on the coffee table. She guiltily smiled at the idea of Ava staying awake long after she had fallen asleep, just holding her, not wanting to wake her or leave her by herself. Sara poked her again, more forcefully.
“What?! I’m awake.” Ava grunted as her head jolted upward, taking-in her surroundings. “What time is it?!” Her voice was still heavy with sleep.
“You tell me, you’re literally a Time Bureau agent.” Sara chuckled, still nestled under her arm.
Ava groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose, before registering everything. She looked down at Sara, who just lazily smiled at her.
“Are you feeling better?” Ava asked after a moment, biting the inside of her lip nervously, not sure if she should look Sara in the eyes or not.
“Not really.” Sara honestly answered, before adding softly: “But thank you for staying.”
Ava finally decided to settle her gaze onto Sara’s. She looked drained, her cheeks were still slightly red from crying, and Ava felt guilty. For accidentally breaking the agreement she had with the Legends. For indirectly causing Sara that much pain. For how she’d been acting. For thinking that she looked beautiful even when she looked so broken. For wanting so badly to break her unspoken rule not to act on her feelings when Sara still didn’t remember. She winced at her own realization. Feelings. She cleared her throat, entangling herself from Sara.
“Well,” She looked down at her hands, playing with her fingers, before looking up at Sara again and shrugging, “You needed me.”
Sara’s eyes twitched. She just held Ava's gaze, a grin forming on her lips and slowly blooming into a bright, toothy smile.
“What?” Ava answered a little more harshly than she’d intended, feeling exposed all of the sudden.
“Nothing, I just,” Sara bit her lip, still smiling, “I just think I remembered something again.”
Ava squinted at her confusedly. If Sara read the question in her eyes, she didn’t say; she just kept silently looking at her like she’d just realized something. Ava got the answer to her silent question when Sara’s eyes drifted to her lips, then back up to her eyes. Ava’s breath hitched. She abruptly stood up, dusting her already impeccable blazer.
“Well!” Her voice was too loud, even for her. “I should go.” She looked at her watch before resuming, “Yeah, 4 A.M. I really should go.”
Sara nodded slowly before standing up too.
“I still have a report to write. And my cat to feed.” Ava blurted out.
“Okay.” Sara snorted at the unnecessary explanation, stretching her neck in the process. She tilted her head. “How are you even gonna leave? Are you gonna, like, fly away in a mini-spaceship or something?” she raised an eyebrow, adding, “Don’t drink and fly.”
Ava huffed a laugh involuntarily at this, before answering: “No, I can create a portal into the Bureau.” She held up her wrist to show Sara her watch, “With this.” She shook it lightly for emphasis.
Sara slowly nodded in fake understanding. It wasn’t the craziest thing that she had heard today, to be honest. She started walking toward the door before turning to Ava.
“Care to walk me to my room before you disappear into the night?” She asked in an exaggerated sultry voice, a playful smile on her face. Ava rolled her eyes but gestured for Sara to lead the way.
They walked through the Waverider’s hallways in silence, Ava’s hands clasped behind her back and Sara’s own in her pockets. It was comfortable, lazy. Ava broke the silence when they reached Sara’s door, turning to face her.
“So, do you…” Ava gestured at her own head, hoping that’d clue Sara as to what she was trying to ask, “Are you still… ?”
“Yeah, I’m still.” Sara nodded, and gave Ava an apologetic lopsided smile before taking one step closer to her, their feet almost touching. Her eyes darted between Ava’s as she whispered: “Sorry.”
Ava bit her lip and held Sara’s gaze for as long as she could. She felt her resolution falter and her eyes fell to Sara’s lips, before immediately darting back up, guiltily.
“That’s too bad.” She whispered back, before stepping away.
If she heard Sara let go of the breath she was holding, she didn’t mention it. And if Sara heard the double-faced apology in her voice, she didn’t mention it either. Ava clicked a button on her watch and a bright portal opened into a darkened office in the Time Bureau.
“Goodnight, Ms Lance.” Ava nodded sternly.
Sara scoffed with a smile at the formal use of her name.
“Goodnight, Agent Sharpe.” She echoed.
And Ava was gone.
Sara stood in the hallway for a minute, lost in thought as the events of the day came rushing back to her. The image of Laurel smiling at her made her eyes water again, but she shook it off, not wanting to dwell on that. Not right now, anyway. She stepped into her room, stripped out of her pants and got rid of her bra before climbing into the bed, her bed, and sliding under the blankets. The smell of the room and the quiet rumbling of the Waverider calmed her nerves ever so slightly. She looked around in the dark and noticed a blinking light on her bedside table. A tablet. She smiled, remembering Ava’s own device that she’d eventually abandoned somewhere back in Sara’s office. She remembered the discreet chip still stuck to her temple, and brushed over it in thought. Chewing on her lips, she sat up to grab the tablet and turned it on; the sudden brightness of the screen making her squint.
“Gideon?” She whispered hesitantly into the room.
“Already on it, Captain Lance.” Gideon answered.
The tablet in Sara’s hands rung faintly, the sound echoing in the room, until-
“Did I forget something?”
Sara smiled widely at Ava’s failed attempt at sounding annoyed, and at her face appearing on the small screen.
“No.” Sara shrugged, still smiling.
“Then why did you call me?” Ava paused before frowning, “Is everything okay?”
Sara leaned back into her pillow, nodding slowly, her lazy smile never leaving her lips. “Yeah.”
Ava observed Sara’s face curiously through the screen. After a few seconds, Ava smiled softly in realization, and spoke again:
The tablet in her hands turned black, swallowing the room in darkness along with it. Sara wasn’t phased, though, still smiling at herself. After a few seconds, she put the tablet back at its place, and nestled herself under her blankets. Her head hurt, but the quiet humming of the device on her temple soothed her. She slowly drifted to sleep with bittersweet new memories on her mind, sorrow in her heart, and longing on her lips.
Ava and Sara, sitting on a couch
C R Y I N G
Chapter 5: Cracked Walls
The one where they both finally put their heads out of their asses and Realize Things™
Okay, this was supposed to be the last chapter but it ended up being way too long, so I cut it in two (very uneven) parts. So this is more like a transition into the ending. Still important though, still important.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sara woke up to the smell of food in the air, the distant noise of something breaking, and Nate’s impressively high-pitched shrieking resonating into the ship. She grunted as she opened her eyes, the headache she’d had before falling asleep now a full-blown migraine. Groggily sitting up, she passed a hand through her hair to assess her surroundings, looking for a light switch. When she found none, she grumbled sleepily:
“Hello, Captain Lance.”
“Hi.” Sara passed a hand on her face, trying to wipe the sleep away from her eyes. She continued, “Could you please…” She sighed, gesturing at the ceiling.
Soft blue and pink-ish lights turned-on under her bed and on some parts of the walls. Sara smiled, both at Gideon knowing exactly what she was thinking, and at the colors twirling in the room. Her smile faltered when the events of the previous day came rushing back, and it hit her then.
“I still don’t remember.” She whispered to herself, a tinge of sadness pulling at her heart.
She dragged herself out of bed and looked around the room for a dresser. When she found it, she slipped into a pair of shorts. She untied and untangled her hair. It was dry now, but a bit messy from sleeping in a damp bun. She looked at herself in a mirror and rubbed at the scar on her head pensively. Anxiety crept its way up into her ribcage and onto her throat… What if she never remembered? What if Gideon was wrong? And what if she did remember… what if something worse than remembering Laurel came back to her? From what she’s heard about herself, she was a good person; a bit reckless at times according to Ava, but good nonetheless. She recalled her hands covered in blood, she recalled feeling it might not have been hers. She was a good person. She watched her reflection’s eyes start to glisten. She was a good person, right? She lightly slapped her cheeks to snap out of it.
She made her way out of the room and followed the cacophony and the appetizing smell all the way to the galley. All the Legends were sat around the table, noisily passing plates of food and conversing with each other.
“Oh, hey Sara!” Ray beamed cheerily at her from his chair, making everyone aware of her presence.
They all greeted her at once. Mick nodded at her in acknowledgment. Zari mumbled incomprehensibly, hungrily chewing on something that seemed too big to fit in her mouth. Nate waved at her with three fingers from where he sat on the counter. Amaya smiled at her. The warmth radiating from the room eased Sara’s worries ever so slightly and her lips quirked up unconsciously. Leo drew out a chair for her as he greeted her.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, sitting down next to her.
“I still don’t remember.” Sara answered apologetically, understanding the double-faced question.
Amaya gave her a reassuring lopsided smile and rubbed her shoulder.
“It’s okay, it shouldn’t take long now.” She said, before adding, “Are you hungry? You’ve been sleeping for a while.”
Sara then registered that the food on the table was not breakfast food.
“What time is it?” She asked, accepting a plate from Leo.
“1 P.M. Lunch time.” Nate answered in-between bites of his sandwich.
“We didn’t want to wake you, we figured you needed the sleep. Plus, we didn’t want to enter your room, we weren’t sure if you were alo- OW!”
Ray yelped as Zari kicked him under the table to shut him up. Mick snorted into his plate, and Amaya hid a smile by putting a hand on her face. Sara couldn’t have hidden her flustered smile even if she’d tried, still, she cleared her throat in an attempt.
“Agent Sharpe went back to the Time Bureau before I went to bed.” Sara explained. The disappointment in her voice wasn’t lost on anyone in the room. “She did help me remember... a few things, though. So… that’s good, I guess.”
Amaya noticed Sara’s face falling a little and frowned. Sara shook her head with a smile, waving a hand in the air, brushing it off as nothing. None of them were fooled, but they all respected her silent plea to drop the subject.
They all resumed eating, talking about everything and nothing as they did; from past missions to arguing about who was going to make dinner that night, until Sara asked if someone could get her the tablet Ava had left in her office. She wanted to check her readings from the chip, still humming on her temple. Maybe she’d find something in there that’d clue them as to when she’d finally recover her memories. Or how to speed up the process. Or something. Anything.
“Alright, let’s see what Gideon has to say about your brain!” Nate exclaimed as he came back bouncing from recovering the device. He pushed a few buttons, an intense frown on his face, which only got deeper as his eyes roamed through the screen. After a few seconds of tense silence from everyone waiting for him to share his findings, he looked up. “I don’t know how to read this, I have no idea what this says.”
Everyone groaned and Zari snatched the tablet from his hands, glaring at him before looking at the small screen. She scrunched up her nose.
“I’m not sure how to read that either, actually.” Zari grumbled before asking Gideon for help and frowned when she didn’t answer.
“Gideon?” Sara asked to the ceiling.
“Sorry, since the brainwave reader has a rather intrusive process - scanning one’s every thoughts - Agent Sharpe thought it best to program it so only its “user” may ask to uncover the data it gathers. So, do you wish for me to read you the data from yesterday?”
“Aw, how considerate of her.” Ray exclaimed from his chair.
Sara smiled lightly, silently agreeing with him.
“Yeah, please. Or, well, can you just decipher anything in it that’d explain why it’s taking so long for me to remember?” she finally answered.
After a few seconds of silence, Gideon spoke again.
“Yesterday, you’ve apparently remembered a few things. The memories were triggered by key words, which incited broadly different emotional and physical reactions with ultimately the same effect: you remembering. For example-”
“No examples needed.” Sara stopped her, earning a few curious glances. She ignored them. “So, how do we recreate that effect? Without the... unpleasantness, if possible… Should I just read a list of potential keywords to jump start my brain?”
“It is a solution, but one that is not going to be effective I’m afraid, as it is not how salient stimuli works. The words themselves aren’t much of a trigger if not paired with the right cognitive factors, whether they be emotional or motivational.”
Sara bit her lip in thought, Gideon’s words only of meaning to her, as all the Legends just looked at each other in confusion. She eventually spoke again:
“So… if the emotional context in which a word might trigger a memory matters, if it’s linked… why did I remember something… like that, when at the time I was... “ Sara paused and debated whether or not leaving the room to converse with Gideon alone, to avoid having to talk in riddles. She didn’t even know why she didn’t want the Legends to know she remembered her sister, or some of her time as the black canary, or taking arrows to the chest. Sure, she didn’t want to talk about Laurel because it hurt and she didn’t know if she could ever stop crying if she ever let herself properly mourn. But there was something else, too.
Thoughts of Ava crept into her mind. She’d looked so guilty after agreeing to break her agreement with Sara’s Team when she’d caved to Sara’s request. So guilty for hurting her in the process. Sara gulped as she realized that her unwillingness to share the events of yesterday was to protect Ava first, not herself. She answered her own question when she spoke again, and the words left her lips in a whisper laced with recognition: “... I was feeling comfortable, and safe.”
“Anyone here really confused? Just me?” Nate looked around the room at everyone’s perplexed faces, before settling down when Amaya gave him a pointed look.
“We will, um… we can...” Sara blushed and mumbled, which granted her an amused look from Mick and Zari, her fumbling clearly out of character. She cleared her throat before resuming: “We can talk about that in private, later, Gideon. For now, is there any other way to “activate” my memories?”
“Aren’t smells the most powerful memory triggers? We could try smells!” Ray intervened chirpily.
“I’m not smelling old sweaters and books and whatever else all day.” Sara groaned.
“I might have an idea.” Gideon spoke again. When she had everyone’s attention, she continued: “Who among you would be willing to take Captain Lance in a fight?”
The room fell deadly silent.
Ava was sat at her desk in her Time Bureau office, rubbing her temple as she filled paperworks. She barely got any sleep, what with being late writing her report on the Grodd mission and being plagued by thoughts of one Sara Lance all night. Her cat hungrily meowing at her didn’t help much, either. Her eyes found the little notebook sitting next to her paper clips and pens on her desk. She’d found it in her pocket this morning, unsure as to why it’d been there in the first place. She assumed she had accidentally taken it in her tired and slightly-tipsy state yesterday, and she made a mental note to give it back to Sara when she saw her again. Whenever that may be, she thought.
If she was being honest, she’d thought about visiting her as soon as she woke up. The memories of Sara breaking down and crying on her shoulder were seared into her brain, inescapable. She’d never seen her so… defeated, and vulnerable, and it painfully tugged at her heart to think about it. But then she remembered how she’d never seen her smile so much in her presence, either. If Sara crying was seared into her brain, the uncertain emotions in her eyes when she unmistakingly looked at Ava’s lips had been brutally imprinted into it. Sara had been so close; she could still feel the ghost of her breath on her lips.
Ava groaned, putting down her pen and rubbing her eyes. She didn’t want to think about this. Falling for Sara Lance, of all people… was a catastrophe waiting to happen. A big mistake. Ava didn’t make mistakes, she fixed them. She fixed Sara’s mistakes. For a living. Last night was just a fleeting moment of weakness, and that’s all it’ll ever be. A momentary slip up that could never happen again. That would never happen again. At least that’s what she told herself as her fingers tenderly brushed over the leathery cover of Sara’s notebook.
She was brutally yanked off her reverie by her watch vibrating on her wrist.
“Ah, shit.” Was all she said when she looked down at it and saw “Incoming call from: Waverider” appearing on the small screen. Her brain screamed at her to ignore it, but her fingers moved on their own as she accepted the call almost immediately.
“Ms Lance, why are you-” She started off, sounding as annoyed as she could, then stopped herself when the face appearing on her hologram screen wasn’t the one she’d expected. “Oh.”
“Hello, Agent Sharpe.” Amaya said with a tight smile. “How are you?”
“Why are you calling me?” Ava ignored her question, frowning. “Did something happen?”
Amaya sighed and cleared her throat, before answering:
“Yeah, no, everything is good. We just… need your help with something.” when Ava just looked at her unimpressed, clearly waiting for her to go on, she resumed: “With Sara.”
“What’s the problem?” Ava’s back straightened even more, somehow, as her interest peaked.
“Well…” Amaya trailed off, “Gideon thought it’d be a good idea to trigger Sara’s memories by, uh, using her muscle memory. The best way to do that would be to... spar, with her, which… I mean…”
“I don’t have all day, Ms Jiwe. What’s the matter?” Ava was getting impatient.
“We just don’t want to hurt her, in the off chance her muscle memory doesn’t set-off.” Amaya cleared her throat before adding in a mumble: “And we also don’t want her to hurt us, if it does.”
“So you’re calling me to ask if I could, what, punch her in the face?”
“I mean, not exactly but kind of? It’s not like you’ve never done it before.”
“Sure, but that doesn’t mean I want to hurt her any more than you do!” Ava interjected in a burst of anger that surprised even her, and immediately regretted her words as Amaya’s eyebrows rose with a grin. She especially regretted them when she heard a few giggles coming from around Amaya - unmistakably Mr Heywood’s and Ms Tomaz’s - as well as Sara’s voice peeking through her speakers:
“Aw, you really do care.” Sara’s face appeared on her screen next to Amaya’s.
Ava wanted so bad to believe that her heart skipping a beat was out of irritation. She’d almost convinced herself, but Sara spoke again, and Ava had already made her decision even before hearing her question:
“So, are you gonna come over here and fight me?”
Barely even a minute later, she was opening a portal and stepping into the Waverider.
NOBODY SAW THE SPARING SESSION COMING. AHAHAHAHahah.... ah.
(congrats on literally everyone guessing how this would all end lmao)
Chapter 6: Free Falling
The one that goes from 0 to 10 real quick, then from 10 to a 100. Because they were getting impatient and so was I.
It's a long one, so, enjoy?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Well, that’s a neat room.”
Amaya, Nate, Ray, Ava and Sara had all moved into the Waverider gym, adjacent to the lab; all the other Legends had stayed behind. Sara was looking around, impressed at all the equipment adorning the room. Heavy bags, speed bags, double-ended bags, treadmill, salmon ladder, stability balls, weights… there were even some lockers, an intimidating array of weapons, and a water dispenser in a corner. Sara bounced on the mats littering the ground, an intrigued pout on her face.
“This is a newly-built room, actually. It wasn’t here before.” Nate explained, lightly punching the heavy bag in the middle of the gym area, “Courtesy of the Time Bureau, they added it back when they transformed our poor ship into a glorified training simulator.”
“Your previous “training room” was back in the cargo bay of all places. You should be thankful for the upgrade.” Ava interjected, matter-of-factly. Nate shrugged and nodded in defeat, and Sara chortled at her stern tone. Ava had tried her best to ignore Sara as soon as she had stepped foot on the ship, but she could still feel her lips proudly quirk up at the sound.
“Okay, so, how are we gonna do this?” Sara asked, grabbing boxing gloves and inspecting them before looking up at Ava. “Are you just gonna throw punches at me and hope I dodge them out of reflex?”
“Something like that, yes.” Ava answered without looking at her. Sara snorted, but her smile dropped when Ava’s face stayed blank and humorless.
“Wait, you’re serious?”
Amaya rolled her eyes at them, and walked to a locker - Sara’s, if the name on it was any indication - and put out a sport bra and hand wraps before tossing them at their owner.
“Here. You should gear up. There is a cabin around the corn-”
Sara didn’t let her finish and unceremoniously started to strip on the spot, already pulling up her shirt over her head. She did not put her bra back when she dressed up earlier. Everyone in the room barely had enough time to look away.
“Dude, what the f-” Nate averted his gaze in a panic and almost tackled Ray in an attempt to shield his eyes in a hurry.
Amaya swiftly looked up at the ceiling, putting both her lips in her mouth, eyes wide. Ava almost snapped her own neck as she turned her head hastily. She put her face in her hand, hoping that’d help clear her cheeks of the burning blush creeping on them, and looked down at her feet.
“Oh. Sorry. Am I usually, uh, modest?” Sara spoke up once her bra was in place and noticing the wide array of crimsons and pinks on all the faces around her.
“Not really, but seeing your boobs was never on my checklist.” Nate strainly answered as he temptatively opened an eye, then the other once he realized it was safe. He let go of Ray, before continuing: “Mainly because I don’t want you to murder me once you remember all of this.”
Ray just mumbled something incomprehensible - something about giving Sara privacy? - before hastily walking out of the room, Nate on his heels.
“You know what,” Amaya started, scratching an invisible itch on the side of her neck nervously, “You don’t need an audience. I’ll let you two… do your thing. Gideon can tell me if anything of consequence happens.” On her way out, she added: “Oh and Ava, there’s some clean gym clothes in the third locker that should be your size. Alright… just… try not to kill each other.”
And Amaya was gone. The use of Ava’s first name wasn’t lost on her. The Legends and her were getting a little too familiar for her taste. Still, she complied and went to retrieve the yoga pants and tank top Amaya had pointed her to, intently avoiding looking at Sara in the process.
She made her way into the changing cabin and dressed up swiftly. She was tying up her hair in a loose bun when she heard Sara’s voice from outside the door:
“So, how long are you gonna avoid talking to me? Do you just plan on punching me without even a hello first?”
Ava heavily sighed, loud enough that Sara could hear her, before opening the door. Sara was leaning on one of the glass windows encircling the gym area, arms crossed and hair now messily tied up in a ponytail, a challenging look on her face. Ava walked past her and stepped on the mats, looking down at her wrists, adjusting her hand wraps
“Hello.” She eventually said as she looked up.
Sara rolled her eyes, arms falling to her sides, before walking in after her and planting herself right in front of Ava.
A little too close in front of Ava.
Sara squinted at her, trying to catch her eyes. Trying to catch any signs or tells of what she was thinking. Why she’d been so distant since she materialized on the deck.
Ava cleared her throat. As she was avoiding Sara’s probing eyes, she noticed her bare hands. She pointed at them.
“You haven’t put your hand-wraps on.”
“I don’t know how.” Sara took the two rolls out of her shorts’ pocket. “And considering the look on your face right now, I’m assuming I was supposed to know how. So, we’re off to a great start already.”
Sensing Sara’s rising frustration, Ava felt a very small pang of guilt in her chest. Alright. She could do this, she could deal with her “newfound” feelings for her without being a total asshole; she just had to find a middle-ground. A safe, professional, platonic middle-ground. No problem. Piece of cake. She could do this. She held her hand out to Sara.
“It’s okay, I’ll show you.”
Sara smiled briefly and handed her the wraps. They both sat on one of the round sofas in the room, and Ava proceeded to wrap Sara’s wrists. With each new twist of the wraps, she carefully explained the process as simply as she could, and Sara listened intensely. Ava was focused on the task at hand, but Sara’s not-so-subtle glances at her were making her screw up a step and having to start all over again. Three times around the palm, once around the thumb, in-between the fingers, around the side, down the bottom, back to the top, again… she repeated to herself in a mantra. Sara was so close, Ava was sure she could count her freckles if she turned her head to look at her. Three times around the palm, once around the thumb… She adjusted Sara’s hand on her knee to get a better angle and heard Sara swallow. In-between the fingers, around the side, down the bottom… She saw Sara glance at her again and bite her bottom lip briefly from the corner of her eyes. Ava could feel her hands getting sweaty, painfully aware it had nothing to do with the wraps around them. Back to the top… Sara took in a breath and opened her mouth to say something, but Ava handed her the rest of the wrap and abruptly stood up.
“You got it, try to wrap your other hand yourself and we can start.” She blurted out sharply, walking away to grab a water bottle - and to compose herself. Apparently finding a middle ground was not a piece of cake. She heard Sara scoff behind her.
“You know, you literally running away from me every time we’re being friendly is getting a bit old.” Sara stated, irritated, and wrapping her left hand as best she could.
“I don’t run away.” Ava grumbled after taking a swig from her bottle and putting it back at its place.
“Oh, really?” Sara stood up, wiggling her fingers to test out the elasticity of her wraps. A bit tight. Oh well. She locked her eyes onto Ava and continued, more harshly: “Then what do you call what you just did? Or how you left yesterday?”
“It was late, I was tired, you were too, and.. and- what is this? Why are you mad all of the sudden?!” Ava snapped back, turning to look at her.
“Because-” Sara started, her voice rising slightly “Because I don’t really know the extent of our history or whatever you wanna call it, because all I know is what you and my friends graciously accepted to share… and you’re still not telling me the full truth! So, what’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem!” Ava’s anger was starting to rise along with her voice, too. She didn’t plan on Sara confronting her of all things. She didn’t plan on being so damn obvious to begin with. This was on her, and the thought of failing to hide her emotions, failing at anything so badly, drove her crazy. Sara’s own burst of anger was the perfect opportunity to let that frustration out. She noticed Sara’s hands tightening into fists, and Ava’s shoulder muscles twitched in preparation, recognizing the signs of an imminent strike. Okay wait, no… maybe that wasn’t the way they should be doing this. Ava put a hand out in a defensive stance. “Sara-”
“You’re lying.” Sara cut her off, snarling. She took one step closer to Ava, Ava took a step back. “You know why I asked you to carry on my exam in the first place? Because I knew, I could tell, that you weren’t going to coddle me like they were.”
“They are your friends.” Ava forcefully answered, compelled to defend the Legends for a reason that escaped her entirely. But the uncharacteristic venom in Sara’s words had made the hair behind her neck rise up. Something was wrong. She scanned Sara’s eyes and something wild started back, something she hadn’t seen before. Something that scared her. She gulped as one particularly uncomfortable thought flashed through her mind: Sara couldn’t be affected by her Bloodlust in her amnesic state… right?
Sara started circling around her, trying to get closer. Ava wanted to stand her grounds, but the intensity of Sara’s eyes only made her circle along with her, trying to stay as far away as she could. If she was right, she’d better be keeping her distance. If she was wrong, well…
Sara noticed the fleeting fear in Ava’s eyes and tilted her head.
“What are you doing?” Sara’s voice was low, but the anger in it faltered.
“Making sure you don’t pounce on me and strangle me?” Ava answered truthfully, hands at the ready and confused at the sudden shift in Sara’s whole body language. Okay… maybe she was wrong.
“What? Why would I do that?!” Sara stopped moving, shaking her head and taking a step forward, before pausing when Ava twitched at the movement. “Are you afraid of me?”
Shit. She definitely was wrong.
“You have a…” Ava debated uttering her next words, but they escaped her before she could stop them, “... certain history.”
“Of strangling people?” Sara asked incredulously. It hit her then, the memory of her bloodied hands. She remembered a primitive feeling, a terrible and cold instinct she’d felt in her crazed state the day before. She looked down at her hands before dropping them to her sides, puzzling everything together with a pained frown on her face, as she felt her ever-present migraine throb behind her eyes. She whispered: “I’m a killer, aren’t I?”
Ava tentatively put a hand out toward Sara, opening her mouth to talk, but Sara spoke again:
“Is that the real reason why I’m on this ship? Is that why everyone is so afraid to tell me the truth?” her voice wavered.
“No.” Ava sternly answered, taking hesitant steps towards Sara. “No. You’re here because you’re an expert tactician, a damn good fighter, and a caring and competent Captain to your team. And they just wanted to protect you.”
Well that left a bitter taste in Ava's mouth to admit out loud.
“Sure.” Sara huffed with a pained smile.
“Well, your friends probably should be the ones convincing you of that, but...“ Ava debated stepping further into Sara’s space but decided against it. She added with a tilt of her head: “... but it’s the truth.”
“So, is that why you have been keeping me at arms length - literally?” Sara looked up at Ava, searching her eyes.
“No.” Ava sighed. She had a second chance to re-think her strategy: To put all of her cards on the table and admit everything, or to lie and ultimately hurt Sara even more than she already had. None of these options suited her. She hated how indecisive Sara had made her, how unguarded. How uncertain. She swallowed, and continued: “I couldn’t care less who you used to be.”
“Then why?” Sara asked in a tired plea, taking half a step toward Ava.
“You already know why.” It came out in a whisper, and Ava hated it. She hated all of it. The vulnerability of it all, her fingers twitching to reach for Sara’s face, licking her lips unconsciously. It drove her mad, how much damage Sara had done to her resolve and carefully crafted defenses. “You’re not stupid, and I’m, sadly, not nearly as subtle as I want to be.”
Sara’s lips parted and Ava wanted to scream at herself for even noticing. She especially wanted to scream when Sara moved so close she could feel her hair brush her cheeks and her breath on her lips. She could read the silent request in Sara’s eyes, pleading, begging:
Don’t run away.
Ava’s feet didn’t move, but her fingers twitched when Sara closed her eyes and leaned into her. She inhaled sharply as she impulsively grabbed Sara’s wrist, and Sara’s lips stopped just as it brushed against her own. Ava swallowed and opened her eyes - when did she even close them? - before pulling away, enough to be able to look Sara in the eyes. She squeezed her wrist.
“I can’t.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“It was worth a try.” Sara whispered back, a sad smile softening her eyes as she looked in Ava’s own.
Ava let out a short, breathy laugh at that. She took a small step back but didn’t let go of Sara’s wrist.
“Do you remember the move to get out of a wrist hold?” She asked after a few seconds, trying desperately to regain back some control. Sara only snorted in response.
“So we’re just going to carry on and ignore everything that just happened?”
“We can talk about it when you get your memories back.” Ava didn’t intend on that sounding like a challenge, but Sara lifted an interested eyebrow nonetheless.
“Okay. That’s one way to motivate me.” Sara smirked, and before Ava could retort, Sara had twisted her hand away from her hold, grabbed her wrist and pulled at her arm, making her lose her balance. With an additional swift-kick hitting her behind her ankles, Ava tumbled backward on the mats with a loud thud.
She groaned, then opened her eyes with a pained chuckled. Sara just smirked as she looked down at her.
“Guess I do remember that.” was all Sara had to say for Ava to strike back without restraint, attempting a spinning kick to her stomach as she got up. Sara dodged it, her smile only growing. They both regained their grounds.
They gauged each other for a short moment. Ava readied herself in a classic defensive boxing stance, knees slightly bent and her bare feet strongly grounded into the mat. Sara could feel her every muscles move instinctively, locking herself in a defensive pose of her own: legs bent, one arm drawled out in front of her, the other behind her, ready to strike. They both smiled. Sara’s migraine flared up, but it barely made her twitch. She knew what it was now, she could feel the same pain resonating in the muscles of her calves, her back, her neck, her shoulders... Her entire body and soul working together, straining themselves, forcing themselves - forcing her - to remember. She knew, so she accepted the pain with open arms. She wasn’t afraid anymore. She was ready. She was ready to get her life back. She was ready for all of it.
She twisted two fingers toward Ava in a taunt, smirking.
“Don’t hold back.”
Ava smirked back, tilting her head, accepting the challenge.
They both moved at the same time, punching and kicking and twirling. It felt familiar, it felt easy, it felt good. They clashed against each other in a rehearsed, violent dance. Their feet banged against the mats, their steps resonating into the room. Knuckles slammed into palms and shins crashed into awaiting shoulders. Their brief pauses to breathe the pain away from their sore muscles were the only moments their smiles left their lips. Their erratic pants, strained screams, and pained grunts were music to both their ears. They didn’t slow their pace for five, ten, fifteen minutes. Sara was on total autopilot, muscles clenching and limbs moving on their own, and Ava was ready for all of it. She’d studied all of these moves for years, and even more closely these past few months. She’d already seen it all, she was always three steps ahead of Sara, who eventually noticed. After Ava had blocked one of her punches for the eighteenth time and knocked her down for the twentieth, she held up a hand in defeat from where she laid on the ground.
“You’re giving up already?” Ava taunted, panting, arms still up protecting her face and ready for Sara’s next strike.
“Nope. I just… I just need some water. Can you… ?” Sara groaned in between heavy breaths, flexing her fingers for emphasis. Her other hand unceremoniously rubbed at the scar on her forehead, trying to appease the growing pain hammering her skull.
Ava relaxed and breathed out, wiping away the sweat on her forehead with the wrap on her wrist. She grabbed a water bottle and as she approached Sara to place it in her hand, Sara grabbed her arm and pulled, accompanying her movement with a foot on Ava’s stomach. Ava felt herself get thrown over and violently crashing onto the mats behind Sara. She let out a pained grunt. Sara swiftly stood up, grinning victoriously.
“I should have known you wouldn’t play fair.” Ava winced, painfully getting back on her feet after a few seconds of trying to find her breathing again.
“I still want some water, though.” Sara held out her hand again with a smile. Her ears started to ring and her eyes twitched in pain, but the mischievous twinkle in them never left.
“I’m not falling for it twice.” Ava huffed as she back-slapped Sara’s hand away and swiftly kicked the side of her heels, making her legs wobble. Before she could fall, Ava slammed her forearm into Sara’s chest and forcefully pushed her against the nearest glass wall.
The pain that followed didn’t come from Sara’s back slamming into the cold surface, but from a brutal jolt of electricity exploding behind her eyes and forcefully tearing its way through every inch of her brain, crackling down her spine, flaring into every single one of her nerves, and setting her muscles, her skin, her bones on fire - before disappearing completely. She only realized she’d been screaming when her ears stopped ringing and her throat started to hurt. She didn’t register Ava’s voice right away, either. She first noticed Ava’s eyes searching hers, then her forearm still on her chest.
“Did I hurt you?!” Ava asked, panicked, her chest heaving in erratic breaths. “I didn’t put that much force into it, I don’t know what happened.”
Sara’s head was still spinning. Past memories - old and new - entangling themselves back together in her mind, twirling in a mix of confusion, pain and relief. Everything was a little bit too much, and she felt her legs giving out, but the arm solidly draped over her chest held her in place.
“Hold on, okay, I’ll get you your water.” Ava took her arm off of Sara and before she could turn away, she felt two shaky hands grab the insides of her forearms. Sara’s grip made Ava wince, as her fingers were digging into her skin. Ava instinctively held Sara’s elbows, grounding her against the wall, not letting her fall and slide down. Sara inhaled like she had been holding her breath forever, her irregular panting making her chest rise and fall visibly. She looked into Ava’s worried eyes and smiled, slowly.
Ava froze, for the exception of her fingers unconsciously clutching Sara’s elbows tighter. She searched Sara’s face frantically.
“You remember?” She asked tentatively, not sure she heard that right.
“Yeah.” Sara smiled more widely, her hands tugging at Ava’s arms, pulling her closer.
“Everything?” Ava blurted out.
“The Gambit, the Amazo, Lian Yu, the League, dying, coming back, sleeping with the Queen of France, saving your ass from an entire Roman army… everything.” Sara’s eyes were shamelessly fixated on Ava’s lips, but Ava stopped her from pulling her closer, grounding her feet.
“I mean, do you remember everything everything. Grodd, hitting your head...” Ava was still frantically scanning Sara’s entire face, looking for a specific answer, a specific green light. “Yesterday, everything we’ve talked abou-”
“God, please, shut up.” Sara growled as she pulled Ava closer more forcefully, flushing their hips and chests together; and that familiar, insufferable tone alone was all the green light Ava needed before grabbing Sara’s face and fervently crashing their lips together.
They both took in a shaky breath, melting into one another, clutching at each other. Strength came back into Sara’s legs only for them to wobble again as Ava opened her mouth over her own. She threw an arm over Ava’s shoulders, angling herself to deepen their kiss and keep from falling. Her other arm found Ava’s lower back, sneaked under her top and pulled with an open palm, drawing their bodies closer. She dragged her nails onto the damp, burning skin of Ava’s back when she felt her bite her lip, both the actions making them hiss a moan in satisfying pain. Ava bluntly grasped Sara’s thigh and scraped her fingers against the length of it, trying to reach under her knee, and Sara got the message. As she raised her leg, Ava forcefully grabbed it and locked it over her own hip, thrusting a thigh between Sara’s legs in the process. Sara’s growl against her lips and arche against her thigh made Ava smirk into the kiss.
“Don’t be smug.” Sara snarled on Ava’s lips, which only made her smirk grow as she grabbed Sara’s other under-thigh and lifted her up, slamming her back against the wall once again. When Sara’s only response was to cross her legs and dig her heels into the small of her back with a breathy moan, Ava chuckled.
“You were saying?” She arched her lower body into Sara’s for emphasis.
“Fu-” Sara inhaled, wrapping her arms tightly around Ava’s shoulders. Her fingers slid up behind Ava’s neck, finding their way in her now-undone hair, grabbing a fist-full and pulling. She swallowed Ava’s groan hungrily, and angrily bit her lips.
“Not now, Gideon.” Sara growled. Ava’s nails were leaving angry trails on her side and she didn’t find it in her to focus on anything else at the moment.
“I thought you’d like to know that the Legends are currently making their way to the gym.”
Ava froze at the words, but Sara was unphased, dragging her lips from Ava’s mouth to trail her jaw then her neck with opened-mouth kisses, and biting down on her fluttering pulse point.
“Sara.” Ava warned, the name only ending in a moan. She dug her fingers under Sara’s thigh and let her forehead rest on Sara’s shoulder, panting as she felt teeth grazing at her ear.
“Do you want me to lock the door?” Gideon’s voice peeked through the speakers again.
“Yes.” Sara feverishly whispered in a growl against Ava’s ear, sending a warm, unexpected jolt into Ava’s lower stomach, who just breathed harshly in response before coming to her senses:
“No!” Ava winced at how high-pitched her voice had gotten as she pulled her head away from Sara and lowered her back to the ground. When Sara’s hands untangled from her hair to grab the hem of her pants and draw her back closer with a hungry smile, Ava almost caved in. There had to be one responsible adult in this equation, though, and it took every bit of her fragile resolve to push Sara away by her shoulders. The heavy footsteps and distant voices coming from outside the room made Ava point a warning finger at Sara, coupled with a “don’t you dare” look. Sara let go of Ava’s pants and threw her hands out in the air in concession, huffing away her disappointment.
“Stay.” Ava sternly ordered, trying to keep her lips from growing into a smile at Sara’s idiotic pout.
“Ouh, bossy.” Sara drawled out, mockingly.
“Shut up.” Ava spat out as she hastily put her rolled-up tank top back in place, just in time for the doors of the lab to open.
“Hey, Gideon told us Sara’s memories were back?” Ray happily bounced into the room, completely oblivious to the tension still hovering in the air, followed by all the Legends.
What a fucking snitch, Ava thought harshly as she smiled tightly, angrily glancing up at the ceiling. She clasped her hands behind her back and stepped away from Sara. Her heart was still pounding in her chest and she could still feel her skin burning uncomfortably. Sara, however, composed herself way too efficiently and quickly for Ava’s taste. She watched her happily make her way out of the gym area to greet her friends, a toothy smile on her face.
“Damn right they are.” Sara chuckled as she gave Ray a hug. As she pulled away to hug Amaya, she added “Sorry, I probably smell a little.”
“Welcome back, Boss.” Mick grunted with a half-smile, and Sara clicked her tongue with a smile of her own, drawing him into a quick one-armed hug.
She made the rounds hugging everyone else, accepting comforting pats on the back and words of relief. She only drew away from hugging Nate after forcefully grabbing the back of his head and whispering loudly into his ear:
“Punch me again and there won’t even be a body to be put in your casket.”
She pat him on the shoulder with a dangerous smile, and Nate just gulped, frozen in place. Amaya chuckled at the scene, arms crossed, as she walked toward Ava who was busy unwrapping her hands. Amaya lightly elbowed Ava’s arm to make her look up.
“Thank you. For everything.” She smiled warmly at her.
“No problem.” Ava said after a moment with a smile of her own, too tired to pretend she wasn’t warming up to the entire team and their idiotic antics. “Glad I could be of help.”
“I’m sure you are.” Zari interjected with a snort as she walked up to them, looking Ava up and down. She circled a finger toward her own neck, loudly whispering, “You got a little something here.”
Ava slapped a hand over the bite mark she could still feel stinging on her skin, cheeks burning up. The motion only made Zari’s snickering louder. Damn it. Ava angrily looked up at Sara to find her eyes in an attempt to silently blame her for her mortification, but when Sara only stared back with a thankful smile on her lips, Ava’s anger faltered. Seeing Sara happily surrounded by her friends, smiling, whole again… she found that maybe, the mortification, the exhaustion and the terrifying feeling tugging at her heart were all worth it.
Everyone was back on the deck, already making plans to celebrate Sara’s recovery. Ray left to grab a pack of beer in the galley, and Mick and Leo were arguing whether or not to plot a course to somewhere fun instead of celebrating inside the ship. Aruba won Zari and Nate’s votes and Leo threw his hands in the air in defeat.
Sara smiled at the happy chaos in the room, accepting a sweater from Amaya to put over her shoulders - the sweat from her sparring session had cooled off against her skin and started to make her uncomfortably cold. She glanced at Ava who was carrying her Time Bureau clothes in a bundle under her arm and frowning at her watch, until Mick captured her attention by addressing her.
“You staying with us to celebrate, Hotcakes?”
“I don’t think so, I should go. I technically abandoned my post at the Bureau to come here, I need to go back before anyone notices I’m not at work.” Ava answered.
“Boring.” He grunted, turning his attention away to contently accept a beer from Ray.
Ava shook her head at him and found Sara’s eyes in the room. She walked up to her, clearing her throat before speaking:
“I need to go back to work, but-” she searched the pocket of her blazer and pulled out Sara’s little notebook, “Here, I wanted to give that back to you. I must have taken it by mistake yesterday.”
Sara smiled and grabbed her elbow to lead her away from the deck - away from prying eyes. She stopped in the hallway and patted Ava’s hand holding the book.
“I put it in your pocket.” Sara explained. Ava frowned at her, looking down at the worn littler cover then looking back at Sara again.
“Why would you do that?”
“You seemed to like it.” Sara shrugged, “I haven’t written anything in it in a while, anyway. I started to copy parts of old books and parchments I’d find during random missions when I first joined the Team. Trying to translate them in my down time was a way to exercise and improve my linguistic skills.”
Ava looked at her incredulously, not believing her.
“What? It’s a hobby like any other.” Sara snapped and crossed her arms. She looked at her feet, suddenly weirdly self-conscious.
“You’re a nerd.” Ava breathed out in fake distaste, a smile growing on her lips. “The infamous Sara Lance, renowned Assassin, Breaker of Time, is a big, fat nerd.”
“You tell anybody and I’ll have to hunt you down,” Sara drawled out, annoyed, as she put a hand on Ava’s chest and pushed her slowly until her back met the wall. She stepped closer to whisper without the slightest hint of humor in her voice: “And I’ll also probably have to kill you.”
Ava snorted, unimpressed. She slid the notebook back into her blazer pocket before grabbing one hem of Sara’s open sweater and pulling her closer. She leaned down until their noses were touching.
“I’d like to see you try.” She breathed an inch away from Sara’s lips, tempting her. She smirked when Sara’s mouth opened in anticipation, and chuckled when she pulled away and Sara sighed in frustration.
They both fell silent. Sara analyzed Ava’s face, her hand now resting on Ava’s chest, absentmindedly twisting a strand of her hair in thought. Ava rested her head against the wall and toyed with the zipper on Sara’s sweater. She smiled as she moved her finger to trace Sara’s abs lazily and heard Sara’s breathing pick up. Her finger paused, and they both stilled, settling into the quiet moment.
They could each hear the other think. The events of the last two days were a lot to process for the both of them, the logical move now would be to figure it all out. Take it slow. Learn how to navigate their own lives again after that unexpected shift. They needed to find their bearings. Find a balance between both their professional positions, and opinions, so they wouldn’t end up tearing each other apart.
Ava raised her hand to brush her thumb against the little chip still humming on Sara’s temple.
“You can take this off now.” She said quietly, trying not to break the moment by talking too loudly.
“Yeah, no, not before I wipe away all its data from Gideon’s system.” Sara scoffed. Ava quirked an eyebrow, intrigued. “What? I don’t want anyone to ever know what went through my head for the last 24 hours.”
A sly smile appeared on Ava’s lips. Sara squinted at her, silently ordering her not to even think about snooping. She spoke up again, so Ava wouldn’t get a chance to further comment on the subject:
“You can’t go back to the Time Bureau smelling like a skunk.”
Ava rolled her eyes and huffed, half-offended, half-annoyed because she knew Sara was right.
“So, here’s my plan” Sara continued, a cunning smile growing on her lips as she hooked a finger into the front of Ava’s pants, tugging at it to drag Ava further into the hallway, “We are going to take a shower, we are going to find a very good excuse to explain your absence at work, then we are going to follow the Team to the sleaziest, less reputable beach in Aruba and we are going to get very, very drunk.”
Ava bit her bottom lip in a smile, letting Sara lead her to the bathroom. Yeah, there was no taking it slow when Sara Lance was involved.
The logical part of her brain knew how stupid this all was, how she shouldn’t even consider lying to her superiors more than she already had, how she was letting her principles be broken by the hectic and chaotic ways of the Legends - by Sara’s ways. She knew she was stepping on a slippery slope, and that it would most definitely not end well for her. But she found she didn’t care, because it was a long time coming. Her principles had been compromised for a while now. She’d been bent with longing the moment she’d first laid eyes on Sara after she broke into the Time Bureau, kicking her way into her life and shattering her carefully crafted defenses one by one ever since - one snide remark and complacent smile at a time. She’d known then. She knew now. There was no escaping.
They reached their destination, and Sara locked the door behind them before grabbing Ava’s hips and forcefully pushing her against it. Ava let go of the clothes she was holding to wrap her arms around Sara’s shoulders, and happily sighed against Sara’s mouth as eager fingers found their way under her top. The same fingers left angry trails down her ribcage, then her stomach, until softly, reverently, finally sliding past her waistband.
With a sharp gasp and digging her nails into Sara’s shoulders, Ava wholeheartedly surrendered to her inevitable demise.
Okay so this story started because I'd just seen that one episode from The Flash where Barry loses his memories for a while, and became very chirpy and bouncy without the memories of his past traumas. I thought it'd be interesting to see how Sara would be as a person if that happened to her, how it would catch up with her, and how Ava would react/how their relationship would go from 1 to 10 in a very short amount of time if Sara didn't have all these walls up to begin with. Ava wouldn't want Sara any other way tho, as infuriating as she is with all her head; which was what I was going for. Hope that translated okay. T'was just interesting to write/think about. I also really wanted to write something that was more from Ava's POV. We know close to nothing about her but her character has a lot of great potential.
Anyway, thank you for sticking around long enough to see the end of this experiment/story. :') I didn't polish this concept/idea as much as I wanted to but OH WELL. Thank you so much for reading and especially to everyone who's left comments and given me feedback ♥