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it was worth it

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3x09- Post Beebo. "It was worth it."

A legend's work was never done. And yet, Sara found herself sitting back onto the bed in the med bay despite the growing 'to do' list in her mind. She mentally used needing to take a moment to regroup as her excuse when she actually needed to take a moment to process the fact that Agent Sharpe was beginning to become an addition to said list.

"Agent Sharpe…" Sara let the name roll off her tongue, looking around the empty room sheepishly upon realizing that it had come out audibly, not remained an internal sigh as intended.

Ava Sharpe was a complex being, her energy and presence having dug their way into Sara's life, however haphazardly. There was something different about her- Sara knew this as fact- what that something could be remained a mystery, as did many other things about the agent.

Just a few weeks ago Sara would have told anyone that Ava was a narcissistic bitch, a skilled agent with the unfortunate characteristic of knowing it. Sara would never deny the woman's intelligence or prowess when fighting. She respected the agent. That didn't make her dislike the woman any less.

Okay, so Ava was hot. Sara couldn't deny that either. Sara was proud and judgmental but she was definitely not blind. There was something about the way that Ava scolded her that left the captain feeling equally irate and aroused. Sara would consider how fucked up that was if she hadn't accepted her flaws long ago.

"See you again."

Sara replayed the words that Ava had just spoken to her, the tone and the air she emitted so different than they were just a few weeks ago. Ava held a look in her eyes, an almost fondness that made Sara anxious. When they were playfully bickering or no-holds sparring Sara could handle it. They had established a volatile competition nearly as soon as they'd met and it was something that she was comfortable with. It was this new feeling, less competition and more solidarity, that made Sara uneasy.

Loyalty was not something that the captain lacked. Some may say that she had perhaps too much loyalty, often undeserved. Finding herself feeling an allegiance with the time bureau agent made her twitch. She would never be a suit, never follow the rules just for the sake of order. Sara and her team were the type to do whatever it took to correct time and make things 'right', even if they had to make a lot of mistakes to achieve their goal. Ava's disdain for the legend's method was apparent and it had filled Sara with a sense of conceited pride.

Until it didn't.

Until Sara found herself questioning her tactics of literally shoot first and ask questions later.

Ava was beginning to get inside her head. That was not something that Sara could allow.

Finding the agent attractive, enjoying sparring matches and the feeling of Ava's warm skin and taut muscle beneath her hands was something that Sara understood. Ava was incredibly good-looking and fit and if Sara just wanted to fuck her everything would be fine.

Except she didn't.

Just.

Not anymore.

Now she found excuses to call the agent, to get her hologram on the line just to have a reason for the playful banter they had established. To see her smile, so different from the overly stern frown that usually graced her features.

Sara remembered the first time that she had heard Ava laugh, a genuine, joyful sound that still echoed through her—

No. Sara decided suddenly. Unacceptable. She sat up in the med bay abruptly and shook the auditory memory (along with the soft smile that she unknowingly wore) away.

"Do you need a drink, Captain Lance?" Gideon asked suddenly, the smirk audible in her voice.

"Gideon, under normal circumstances I would need to reprimand you for snooping through my mind," Sara said, standing from the bed and stretching the remaining ache from her limbs.

"Need I point out that these are not normal circumstances, Captain?"

"Shut up and make that drink."

Chapter Text

Sara awoke slowly, limbs heavy. Her muscles were sore from the delicious ache of being well-used the night before, a feeling that the captain admittedly had not experienced in quite some time. The warmth of a body surrounded her, all taut muscle and sinew, and she smiled. She imagined the sun shining and birds chirping, had she not been on a time ship.
A soft British sound mumbled through Sara’s consciousness, too blurred to understand but too loud to ignore. The sound repeated after the captain had chosen to dismiss it, not wanting it to break the sense of peace that she had finally felt.
“Captain, there is an incoming transmission from Agent Sharpe,” Gideon said almost sternly, having had to state that fact more than once before the captain awoke from her slumber.
Sara turned to her right quickly, jerking awake in a most unpleasant manner. Of course the warmth surrounding her was a figment of her imagination, as were the memories of energy well-spent. Her eyes narrowed in annoyance (and disappointment, not that Sara Lance would ever admit it).
Waking up from a dream- in a dream. Well, that’s new, Sara thought. At least when she had nightmares she was happy for them to end.
“Put her on, Gideon,” Sara grumbled, wiping the sleep from her eyes and trying to fully reach reality.
Suddenly the small hologram appeared in the room, Agent Sharpe’s stern face softening into almost a smile at the sight of the normally badass assassin.
“Miss Lance,” Ava cleared her throat attempting to cover her chuckle. “I didn’t mean to disturb you. I didn’t assume you’d be asleep at this hour of the day,” she smirked.
“I live on a time ship, Agent,” Sara reminded her. “There is no ‘at this hour’ here.”
The words had a bite to them, partially due to her irritation with ‘real life’ but mostly to hide the embarrassment that she was feeling.
“What time is it, in chronological life?” Sara caved, the bite suddenly gone, sitting up and rubbing her eyes once again.
“Eleven-thirty A.M.” Ava stated, still fighting her smirk as she watched the captain uncrumple her sheets, blond hair a mess.
“Damn…” Sara shook her head, surprised at herself.
Sleeping in was not a luxury that the captain had, no matter what the situation. Sure, she had had a few drinks last night and evidently a quite ‘restful’ sleep, but the fact that it was nearly afternoon irked her.
“Rough night?” Ava asked, full on smiling by this point. She curled up in her chair to the best of her ability and visibly relaxed, drawing the captain’s attention.
“Where are you?” Sara asked, squinting in hopes of seeing the choppy hologram a little more clearly.
“You dodged the question.”
“Not as rough as I would have liked,” Sara shot back easily, proud when she saw the reluctant blush color the agent’s cheeks. “Where are you?”
“Ahem,” Ava cleared her throat again, sitting up straight and looking obviously less relaxed in an instant. Sara thought that it must be exhausting to be her. “I’m at my place,” she admitted, scanning her surroundings self-consciously.
“Mental health day?” Sara teased, unable to deny how cute she found Ava’s anxiousness.
“Well on my planet it’s called Sunday, so…” Ava chuckled slightly, reaching out of frame for a moment before bringing a cup of coffee to her lips.
Sara envied that cup of coffee.
She wanted that cup of coffee and she wanted to be that cup of coffee and she was too sleepy to decide which she wanted more.
“Sunday…” Sara mused aloud, ignoring the flip in her stomach as she watched Ava’s throat bob when she swallowed the beverage. “Must be nice.”
“Says the woman who is lying in bed at eleven thirty,” Ava smirked.
“Hey, at least I don’t sleep naked,” Sara flirted, throwing in a wink for good measure. “At least I didn’t last night.”
“At least,” Ava agreed without passion, a distance visible in her eyes.
“So… Agent Sharpe, is this a social call, or…?”
The question had to be asked eventually and Sara was not one to beat around the proverbial bush.
“Not exactly,” Ava decided, pulling her legs up beneath her on the recliner, which Sara certainly did not watch too closely. “I wanted to see how you were feeling. Demon realm and all,” she added lightly. To lighten the definitely heavy situation.
“Honestly, I’m feeling worse from the scotch I drank last night than I am from the demon realm,” Sara grinned, lying back onto her elbow and brushing the hair out of her eyes. “But thanks for your concern.”
She said it teasingly in hopes of covering just how much it really meant to her.
“Of course,” Ava nodded curtly, suddenly professional. “Well, I need to go and get some work done. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay,” she said with as little emotion behind it as possible, as though it was simply protocol.
“But isn’t it Sunday?” Sara asked, leaning further into her bed and watching as Ava watched her. She wouldn’t just admit that she had hoped to spend just a little more time talking with the agent.
“Our work is never done, no matter what day it might be,” Ava told her simply, any remnant of a smile gone.
“I thought you might say that,” Sara grumbled, irritated with the mood swings. She had enough of her own; she didn’t need to deal with someone else’s. “Duty calls,” she rolled her eyes as she saluted the woman, making her annoyance evident. “Later.”
“Sara—” Ava said quickly, before the captain could end the transmission. “I’m really glad you’re okay.”

Chapter Text

John fucking Constantine.

After her encounter with Mallus (however brief) and the ever-growing to-do list that was Sara's life, he was the last person she felt like running in to. He wasn't a bad guy, really, but it was just a fact that when he showed up nothing good was going to come from it.

A demon that knows her name, eh? Sara wished that she could crawl back into her bed (or into the bottle of scotch she had been enjoying) and act like she had no idea what the demonologist was talking about. She considered it.

'A demon?! What demon?'

Sara was an ex-assassin; she was a very convincing liar when she needed to be.

"You think this has something to do with the demon we're fighting?"

Sara loved Nate like a brother. She also had the urge to slit Nate's throat like a brother when he spoke up without hesitation. So much for playing dumb. The daggers she shot with her eyes were enough to let Constantine know that Sara knew exactly what he was talking about.

So they were going to an exorcism. Sara hadn't been to one since, well, her own. And she was never one to turn down an adventure. She walked through the Waverider, mentally preparing and thinking about how much differently this day could have been going. She rolled her eyes. She couldn't help but think of Ava.

"We're receiving a transmission from the Time Bureau. It's Agent Sharpe. Or should I call her Ava?"

Damn it, Gideon.

Sara couldn't help the little flip in her stomach upon hearing that the agent was reaching out. It somehow no longer mattered why the Agent might be calling; Sara found herself happy to hear from her regardless. When Ava admitted that she could use a little encouragement, Sara was torn between feeling sad (because of the way Ava's expression softened, showing her vulnerability) and elated (because Ava allowed her expression to soften and show Sara her vulnerability.)

"I think what we could both use is a glass of wine."

Yes, Sara realised that she had places to be and exorcisms to assist, but she lived on a time ship, for god's sake. She would fit time with Ava into her schedule whenever she could, damn the consequences. But unfortunately the agent declined. (Reluctantly? Sara swore she seemed reluctant. She hoped.)

Leo's smug whine tore Sara from her fruitless ruminations. Stupid gay instincts.

"That woman clearly has a crush on you."

Sure, Sara had wondered before. Considered if what she saw, if the transition of her relationship with the time agent was all in her head. But if Leo saw something then maybe- just maybe it wasn't a figment of her imagination. The way Ava nervously brushed her hair behind her ear, eyes down, blush forming. It was certainly worlds away from the Agent Sharpe that Sara had met and despised.

But had she ever really despised the woman? Probably not. They were completely different people, as she was quick to point out to Leo. That much hadn't changed. So what if she found herself slightly more willing to follow the rules when Ava was involved? So what if it seemed like Ava was a little more willing to break them? Whatever it was, it could never work. Despite the pull of disappointment she felt upon realizing that, Sara just had to keep reminding herself.

x

It could have been considered a moment of weakness. It was, just not in the way one would assume. It wasn't like Sara was so attracted to John that they couldn't keep their hands off of each other. Sara was certain that wasn't the case for John, either. Sleeping with John Constantine served as a reminder for Sara; of who she was, of what she deserved. Two 'damaged' souls, not allowing themselves to become close enough to anyone else to get hurt. With John it was just sex, and it wasn't even sex that she wanted to have a repeat occurrence of.

As Sara sat in the armchair, sipping her scotch and contemplating, she wondered if she was simply punishing herself. Sex with John wasn't bad. But it wasn't anything. And that's what Sara needed. As soon as her lips met John's an image of Ava flashed into her mind. She felt guilt and sadness, like she was betraying the woman somehow. Like she was betraying herself.

Sara pushed the thought far from her mind, blocked the pain she felt at the prospect of hurting the agent. She blocked it with the memory of who she was. Sara Lance didn't deserve to make love. She didn't deserve to be with anyone who actually made her heart skip a beat, her eyes brighten. Not after the things that she had done. There was no time for love or affection. A quick shag in a different decade was all that she could afford. A reminder.

“Gideon, can you get me a line on Ava, please?”

The request slipped from Sara’s lips before she could overthink them. She hadn’t even realised that she had taken to calling the agent ‘Ava’ naturally until Gideon asked if Sara wanted some privacy. Despite the day that she’d had and the swirling emotions that she tried to push down, the AI’s cheeky suggestion brought a smirk to her face.

The smirk turned to a full-fledged smile upon hearing that the agent was just about to call her. The smile faded quickly upon hearing the tone that Ava held. Sara stepped out of herself when she asked Ava if she wanted to come to the ship; at this point she honestly had nothing to lose, right? But the seemingly negative tone became even more apparent when the agent informed Sara that Rip had escaped. Like Sara needed another stressor today. She found that the tension she felt emanating from Ava (even through an electronic transmission) was the biggest stressor of all.

Chapter Text

“Captain, there’s an incoming transmission from Ava,” Gideon said cheerfully, bringing a smile to Sara’s face despite her exhaustion.

Sara looked herself over quickly, in a faded Grateful Dead t-shirt, surrounded by crumpled bedsheets that made apparent her sleepless night. She rolled her eyes at her self-consciousness and focused instead on the fact that these morning phone calls seemed to be becoming a trend.

“Put her on, Gideon,” Sara said, smile audible.

“Would you like a moment to make yourself more presentable, Captain?” Gideon asked, humor in her voice, and Sara narrowed her eyes.

“I SAID put her on, Gideon.”

“As you wish, Captain.”

“Damn right, as I wish…”

“Ooh, did I just interrupt an argument between you and your AI? Because that would be…weird,” Ava said, nose crinkling in amusement and confusion, having overheard Sara’s irritated grumble.

“Nothing new for the Waverider, Aves,” Sara said lightly, leaning back into her bed and pulling the sheet up slightly. “If you spent more time here you’d see that Gideon is a smart ass just like the rest of us.”

She didn’t mean anything by it, subconsciously or otherwise. It wasn’t supposed to be a dig at Ava turning down- now twice- an invitation to the ship. Sara didn’t even realise what her semantics had implied until she saw the agent’s light expression falter.

“That’s…actually what I’m calling about. Well, kind of,” Ava said, brow furrowing as she scratched at her temple timidly. “I wanted to apologize for the state I was in last night. There was just… a lot going on, and with Rip escaping and having so much on my plate—“

“Ava,” Sara said softly, drawing the woman’s gaze back to her. She found herself wishing that she could reach out to the agent, run a hand through her hair, anything to stop her anxious fidgeting. “You don’t need to apologize to me,” she smiled slightly, closing her eyes briefly as she watched some of the tension leave Ava. “Rip escaping is a pretty big deal, especially for you. I can’t imagine the pressure you must be under,” she admitted, sitting up in bed and watching as Ava watched her.

“I know but it’s just work, you know? Nothing I’m not used to. And I shouldn’t let my stress affect—”

“Aves—” Sara interrupted the self-conscious ramble again, only to immediately worry that the woman might think it was because she didn’t care what she had to say. That was certainly not the case. Sara didn’t have to worry that the intent was misunderstood for long, as a slow smile crept upon Ava’s face.

“Aves, huh?” the once-serious agent asked with a grin, clearly teasing as she called Sara out on the nickname. “That’s new,” she noted, looking through the transmission straight into Sara’s suddenly flustered blue eyes. “I ignored it the first time, but twice…” she trailed off, leaning a bit nearer to the camera upon detecting the hint of a blush on the captain’s cheeks.

“I didn’t even notice,” Sara told her bluntly, too caught off guard to even offer a quip in return. “I’m sorry,” she said, not wanting to offend the agent by acting as though they were closer than they were. Their relationship may have been shifting but it certainly wasn’t at pet name status, contrary to that very conversation.

“It’s okay,” Ava admitted reluctantly, wishing to keep up the teasing. The fact that Sara didn’t even have a playful remark back worried her for a moment. “I like it.”

Ava’s eyes widened, surprised by her own admission. She had intended to tell Sara that it was okay that she had a nickname. She had NOT intended to tell the captain that she liked it. Even though she did. Even though her breath caught at the sound of the word escaping Sara’s lips so freely, making her imagine it being emitted under much more personal circumstances.

“Oh, you LIKE it, do you?”

Great. Now teasing Sara was back with a vengeance and Ava was the one left feeling flushed. THAT was definitely not the plan.

“Oh, shut up, Captain,” Ava said sternly, rolling her eyes and fiddling with the hem of her sleeve, keeping her gaze from the bright eyes sparkling at her.

“What? No comeback?” Sara flirted, watching as Ava shifted in her chair, lifting her eyes only for a moment.

When their gazes met, something changed. For the first time in the months of their transitioning acquaintance, there were no blinds up between them. The looked at each other without trying to act like they weren’t. Any feigned disinterest or distaste for the other was gone. Sara refused to break the eye contact for fear that the walls between them would return.

“Have I left you speechless, Agent Sharpe?” Sara asked softly, voice tinted with the intensity of the look they shared.

“You wish,” Ava teased back, raising an eyebrow and effectively letting Sara know that the innuendo was deliberate.

“Yeah, I do,” Sara told her, any hint of joking absent from her tone.

They looked into each other’s eyes over the transmission, lost there for only a moment before Sara could hear Gary’s lilting tone from the other end. Ava’s expression changed so quickly that it looked physically painful and Sara couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Agent Sharpe?”

“Gary, what do you do when a door’s shut?” Ava asked him so sternly that it made Sara wonder if she’d missed her calling as a Sunday School teacher.

“But Director Bennett is asking about you. And he left it up to me to find you,” Gary said, panicked, and Sara wished she could see his nervous weasel face.

“When the door is shut, it means I’m busy. And then you knock, Gary. You don’t just walk in and—“

“But you weren’t busy. You’re just sitting in here talking to Captain Lance,” he said as though it was not the dumbest thing he could have ever thrown at her.

“Uh oh,” Sara said out loud, drawing Ava (and her anger-filled wild eyes) back to her for a moment. Ava’s unbridled rage was super hot and Sara wondered if it was fucked up that she thought so.

“Sara, it looks like I have business to deal with here at the Bureau,” Ava told her, suddenly back to her stuffy self.

“Looks like,” Sara smirked, watching as Ava’s gaze lightened for a moment “Don’t kill him too hard, Agent Sharpe,” she chuckled.

Ava smiled, momentarily forgetting the Bureau, forgetting dumb-ass Gary.

“I’ll talk to you later, Captain,” she nodded softly.

“I’m counting on it.”