“It’s Bureau protocol.”
She couldn’t shake her own words from her mind as she hurried to input the Bureau’s coordinates to 2017.
Yes, protocol dictated that agents should wipe their memories when in contact with sensitive information about the future, but, in truth, she hadn’t learnt that much about it.
Just bits and pieces and maybe the notion that Sara Lance would become less insufferable and, probably, slightly less of a problem to her and the Bureau – which would save her a lot of headaches and the ulcer she was pretty sure she would develop soon.
On the cons side, Ava realized that she had indeed spent more than twenty-four hours with someone from the future and the Bureau called for memory wipes even after the briefest of contacts.
And this wasn’t exactly a casual someone.
It was Sara Lance, someone uniquely yet inevitably intertwined in her own timeline.
Amongst the things she learnt, there was also the substantial information about her own fate: she was going to survive. She didn’t know exactly for how long, but this Sara Lance obviously didn’t come from the near future. What if, knowing of her own fate, made her more reckless? What if she became a liability to the Bureau? What if agents got hurt because of this knowledge?
As she stepped through, her line of thought was interrupted when she felt something hit her hard, knocking the wind out of her lungs. Gary Green had launched himself over to her, hugging her tight. She gritted her teeth as the seething pain in her side was enhanced by the sudden display of affection.
“I know you said forty-eight hours, but it’s been thirty-two! Thirty-two hours without any kind of contact! I was so worried! I wanted to send an extraction team, but ‘she can take care of herself, Agent Green’, that’s what Director Bennett said, and of course you can, but, oh my-” Gary blurted out in a single breath, still clinging to her as if his own life depended on it.
"Calm down, Gary. Breathe,” she whispered, half smiling. She did welcome the hug, but she didn’t really want the rest of the agents to see her soft and loving to the rookie. She pushed Gary away, as she stared into the faces of the stunned and slightly frightened agents surrounding them, to whom she offered a strict and icy glare (she was aware they called her the ice-queen around the office, so she wasn’t about to lose her respectability because of this).
Everyone hurried back to their daily business and, even if she was keeping him at a distance, Gary still kept his hands firmly on her shoulders as he was studying her up and down.
“What happened to you, Agent Sharpe?” he yelped, horrified. “Are you hurt? Should I get you to the infirmary? I should call a doctor.”
As he was about to place one hand on her forehead, probably trying to feel her temperature, she slapped it away. “Personal space, Gary,” she snapped, still trying to suppress a smile. She circled around him, heading towards the med bay.
Protocol called for her to flash her memories away, yes, but first she needed to get her injury looked at by a real doctor, take some pain meds, and throw herself into the shower.
Gary started trotting behind her, a little less concerned but still evidently nervous. “You still haven’t told me what happened,” she shook her head, hiding a smile.
She heaved a sigh and halted, turning around to face him. “I’ll tell you over lunch tomorrow, ok?” she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Now, please. I really need to get some rest.”
“Alright, Agent Sharpe,” he conceded, a little disappointed. “I’ll be around if you need anything.”
“Thank you, Gary.”
The gash wasn’t as deep as she had first thought. There was no internal damage, nor the wound had given any sign of developing an infection and, even if the doctor had to change Sara’s makeshift stitches, Ava had been allowed to go back home and get a good night’s sleep in her own bed, with a prescription of pain medication and antibiotics, and the ban from field missions for at least a couple of weeks – three if necessary. She had groaned but reluctantly agreed.
The morning after, she decided to sleep in and, strangely enough, she woke up calm and rested and somewhat relaxed. The only source of anxiety was due to the fact that she still needed to wipe her memories, but there was time. She had to brief the director and write a report, first, so as long as she didn’t talk to anyone about Sara and the mission she would be fine.
She rolled to her side and checked her phone. It was almost 8:15am and she had 5 new messages – all from Gary.
GARY: goodmorning Agent Sharpe! briefing at 10AM w Director B on Davinci & Legends mess.
GARY: lunch at tony’s after?
GARY: I hear they have a new penis up
GARY: PEA SOUP*
Ava let out a small chuckle and wondered what the hell could the – current – Legends have gotten themselves into, while she was dealing with a future version of their Captain.
AVA: Sounds great! Thanks for the heads up. See you in a bit.
“Alright, Agent Sharpe. Let’s start from the Da Vinci mission,” Director Bennet was sitting across the conference table. It felt nice to be in her Bureau uniform and, even if the stitches under her tucked in shirt were pulling like crazy, she was happy to be back in the office and was ready to occupy her mind with some work.
“Before I start with the details, the mission was diverted by an individual whose identity I cannot disclose due to security reasons according to title 75, section 9,” Bennett just nodded, and she kept going. “After a few unsuccessful attempts, we were able to locate the right date the displaced Da Vinci was from. We placed him back in his timeline, but one of our couriers was stolen. Determining the task to be fairly easy, I instructed the team to report back as I set to retrieve it. There was some commotion involving the aforementioned individual and I got wounded when attacked by roadside bandits. I was taken in by the Da Vinci family and I managed to retrieve the courier. This morning, I analyzed the timeline with our technicians and made sure this encounter did not cause any sort of new anachronism or aberration. I will disclose as many details as I can in the written report I will submit this afternoon, before I proceed per protocol.”
“Alright,” he looked satisfied enough. “In the meantime, you will take one week to rest and recover-”
“This is non-negotiable, Agent Sharpe,” he ordered. She just nodded and still sitting as straight as she could given the pain in her side, she looked down at her hands to hide her disappointment.
“Then… you will monitor the Darhks’ movements from the control center. They have been causing all sorts of mayhem since the London incident. Rumors say they even managed to put Sara Lance in a coma,” when she heard Sara’s name her head shot up, her mouth indecorously hanging agape. The moment she realized Director Bennett was giving her an inquisitive look, she hurried to compose herself.
She cleared her voice. “And, uhm, is she… going to be alright?” Ava already knew the answer but couldn’t help but feel queasy. She had learnt in the five years working at the Bureau – and having thoroughly studied Flashpoint – that time wasn’t fixed and there wasn’t always a way to put it back as it was supposed to be. On top of it, with the threat they were about to face, she wasn’t entirely sure the Bureau was going to be able to repair everything before some of the anachronisms and aberrations cemented.
“We have no idea. Apparently, Nora Darhk is far more potent than anticipated. The rest of the Legends are currently in Vietnam 1967 dealing with a super-intelligent gorilla. We are monitoring them very closely, but so far it doesn’t seem like the anachronism got any worse,” Ava scoffed, while scanning through her tablet to check on the state of the mission. The Legends were already ill-equipped to fix anachronisms on a normal day, without Captain Lance to keep them in check, what made them think they’d be capable to deal with a Level 8?
When Bennett finished briefing her on everything that had managed to happen in the thirty hours she had been absent, she kept swiping the files on her tablet, until she found the Hollywood 1937 mission report, looking for clues on current-Sara’s condition.
The file included only half a page that revealed even less than what Bennett had already told her.
Her heart sunk.
She shook the feeling of uneasiness that was threatening to cloud her judgment and headed towards her desk. She had a team of agents to organize for her week of absence, a report to fill and submit and a whole week of mandatory vacation to finish all the paperwork that had piled up since the Legends had broken time.
She didn’t have time to think about Sara Lance.
As she brushed the tablet’s screen with her thumb, Sara’s personal file popped up and Ava found herself staring at the picture attached to it. She suddenly remembered the way the woman had taken care of her. Her smile, as she had woken up the day before. Her soft and reassuring touch. The sunlight highlighting her figure-
“Is everything alright?” Gary came up behind her.
“Everything’s fine,” she hissed, shaking the thought from her mind.
“Why do you look worried?”
“I’m not worried!” Certainly not worried about fricking Sara Lance.
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
She softened up. “I’m fine, Gary. Let’s just go try that new pea soup, ok?” She smirked and nudged him with her shoulder. He blushed and nodded awkwardly. “I’ll meet you in the lobby in five minutes.”
As Gary started heading to the elevator, Ava opened her desk’s drawer and took the stun device out. She stared at it for a few seconds – conflicted, for the first time since joining the agency, about following protocol.
These memories were only going to endanger her and everyone else.
There was a reason there were rules in place.
She needed to get rid of those thirty-two hours as soon as possible.
She thought about Sara Lance one more time.
“History wants to happen,” she murmured as she tightened the grip on the device.
An alarm started beeping.
Sara groaned and turned around, covering her ear with one pillow. She hated mornings. She heard the woman next to her move, so she pretended to be as still as she could, in order not to alert her girlfriend she had indeed heard the alarm, in the hope she would leave her alone.
Ava laughed – Ava always laughed when Sara had trouble getting up.
“Babe,” she whispered, shaking her shoulder gently. When Sara didn’t move, she repeated. “Babe, come on. I know you’re awake.”
“Five more minutes,” she complained, her voice muffled by the fact that her face was now completely buried in the mattress.
“This is ‘five more minutes’, Sara,” Ava cackled. “I’ve been hitting snooze for half an hour now.”
Sara swirled around and faced the grinning woman on the other side of the bed. “It’s not my fault someone kept me up until five,” she protested.
“Alright, so now it’s my fault?” Ava scoffed, still giving no sign of wanting to get up either.
Sara offered a huge smile in return. “I mean,” she insisted, pulling Ava closer. “I had fun.”
“You did, uh?” Ava’s lips were now dangerously close to her own, as they both kept smiling.
“Yup,” Sara leaned closer, brushing the tip of her nose against Ava’s, before placing her lips on her girlfriend’s. “You kept your word alright,” Sara grinned, memories from the previous night replaying in her still drowsy mind.
“I guess I did,” she returned the kiss. “Even if someone didn’t really behave.”
“It’s not like I did it on purpose!” Sara pretended to frown. She couldn’t believe Ava would bring up her lateness after having been a super-girlfriend about it the day before. “I told you, I kind of crashed into someone and had to fix a huge mess.”
“Uh, is that so?” She teased. “Should I be jealous?”
“What? No!” Sara was taken aback. How was she supposed to answer that? It’s not like one can cheat with a past version of their current partner. Also, nothing happened. Why was she suddenly feeling guilty? “I mean,” she shook her head. “Of course, not!”
“You’re blushing, honey.”
“I am so not blushing,” she whined, as she covered her face with the covers. “I swear, it was nobody important…”
“Oh, yes? Then why won’t you tell me who it was?” Ava moved closer and brushed Sara’s arm, while sporting a very adorable and very infuriating pout.
“I just,” Sara grimaced, trying to find the right words again. “It’s, uhm… complicated.”
“Did you run into an ex?” she was sulking now.
“Uh,” she was being unfair. “S-sort of?”
“What does ‘sort of’ mean?”
“It means, she kind of was like… once, but wasn’t? I don’t know how to explain it-”
When she noticed Ava was so very obviously trying to suppress a laugh, Sara’s mouth fell open. “Oh, my God!” she barked, half incredulous and half impressed. “You never wiped your memory, did you?”
Sara teasingly slapped Ava’s side, her mouth agape. “Why did you never tell me?”
“You should know by now I don’t mess with time,” Ava bit her lip seductively, but Sara was determined not to let this go – even if she was slightly tempted to just give in and try and exceed the night before.
“I hate you,” she grunted, unconvincingly.
Ava moved closer and pushed her whole body against hers, softly brushing Sara’s cheek with her thumb. “No, you don’t.”
“You’re so unfair,” she moaned against Ava’s lips.
As they broke apart from a very tender and playful kiss, Ava rolled on her back and turned her head to meet Sara’s dumbfounded gaze. “I didn’t know how far we’d make it, until you told me you were going to introduce me to your mom. For a long time, I wasn’t that sure it was me you were talking about.”
“I can’t believe that Ava would break protocol,” she observed. Part of her was really surprised about past-Ava’s behavior, but she was really glad she opted out of erasing her memories in the end. “I mean, you were kind of a stuck-up, uncompromising bureaucrat back then,” she teased, wetting her lips with her tongue. She could see Ava was struggling to keep a serious expression on her face.
“Well, I can’t believe you said I was ‘nobody important’!” Ava scoffed, and Sara gasped, as she turned around, clearly offended. She soon felt Ava move closer, her stomach resting on Sara’s back and one arm hugging her tight. “Your words, not mine,” she whispered softly in her hear as she leaned in even closer.
“You know I didn’t mean it like that! Also, I’m not the one who’s been keeping a secret for years,” she mumbled as she hugged the covers, trying to pretend she was still very much insulted and wasn’t at all enjoying the cuddling.
Sara Lance was not a cuddler.
And even if she were, she sure as hell wasn’t the small spoon.
Most of the times.
Ava placed a quick kiss on her cheek. “I forgive you,” she conceded, as she stood up and pushed the bathroom’s door open. She halted and turned around, lingering in the doorframe. “Now… why don’t you let me make it up to you.”
As Ava disappeared into the bathroom, Sara eagerly followed, realizing mornings weren’t so bad after all.