Sara never thought that she would long for the feeling of the sun on her skin ever again.
Yet, here she is in Star City, wanting to return to Aruba. She's aware it doesn't have anything to do with the bad weather in Star City. In fact, she knows what makes her want to leave her birth city. However, the thing that makes her want to leave, also makes her want to stay.
Her dad who they just buried. Or maybe it has been hours ago. She has lost track of time, which has been an unfamiliar feeling since she boarded the Waverider. Thinking of the Waverider makes an unease spread through her whole body. How easy would it be to travel a week back in time and just push her father out of the way of that fatal bullet?
Sara knows she can. And she knows she can't.
She went through this with Laurel. Doing it again would only drive her crazy. Still, it's so tempting. Her job is to safe people and she does. They have saved so many people that she has lost count. The only people she can't save, are the ones closest to her. It makes her wonder how much more she can take before she breaks. She doesn't want to break, but it's inevitable. Every person has their breaking point, even she. Sure, the Amazo and the League may have pushed her close to her breaking point, but she never reached it . But this - losing the people she loves - it feels worse than all the torturing and killing she did.
If only she never left the League. In the League there was no time for caring about death. Death was just a part of their daily lives and she got good at dealing with it. Maybe too good, if she has to be honest.
But those days are behind her. She has to deal with this as a normal person, although she told Ava all those weeks ago that she would never be normal. She can't help wondering if Ava knows about her father's death already. Nobody really knows actually. When she got the call from Laurel - who isn't really her Laurel - she didn't tell anyone.
The last thing she wanted to do, was having to explain that her sister from another earth called to let her know her father (from this earth) was in the hospital. Sara couldn't even really understand it herself. Telling the others would only raise more questions and she wasn't ready for that.
She had wanted to call Ava. She really did, but at the end she didn't. After picking up the phone to call her and putting it back down many times, she decided that she would tell Ava after everything was over. Sara knew that Ava wanted to be there for her. The only problem is that Sara wasn't sure if she wanted Ava to help her get through this. She still isn't sure.
After breaking up and getting back together again, they decided to keep things casual. Sara would enjoy her time off with her team and Ava would deal with the remaining anachronisms. Eventually, they would meet each other again and start to rekindle their relationship.
But with her father dying, Sara has no idea with that will ever happen.
She has never had someone to help her deal with hardship. During everything that happened to her, she was alone. And suddenly, there is Ava, who would be more than willing to help. It's a welcome feeling and Sara has no idea how to handle it.
The only thing that she knows, it that she could really use a drink right now. She throws one last look at her father's gravestone and then turns around. Without looking back, she leaves the graveyard.
She makes her way over to the center of the city. Almost every bar that she passes is unfamiliar. It makes her realize how long she has been gone. The only bar that she frequented when she returned was Verdant and that isn't an option right now. She passes all the high-end bars and continues walking until she is in the lesser part of the city.
It is the part between the Glades and the rich part of Star City. It's where she had felt most at home. She enters the first bar she sees. It looks rather sketchy. The windows are too dirty to be able to look through and the door could really use some new paint. The door creaks when she opens it, but no customer bothers to look at her. A strong smell of beer, sweat and even sex engulfs her when she enters the bar.
Sara doesn't really register the awful smell. Her eyes are set on the bar. An uninterested barman takes her order after she has taken her place at the bar. She looks at the other people while waiting for her whiskey.
All the way to the left is a man in a suit. His tie hangs loose around his neck and he has unbuttoned his shirt. He even looks more out of place than Sara does. Another man is sitting between the man in suit and Sara herself. His beer belly is a clear indication that he comes here too often. Sara gets a bad vibe from him and she decides to keep an eye out for him. Especially after he grins at her when he catches her eye. The right side of the bar is occupied by two teenagers who are clearly too young to drink, but nobody really cares about that here.
Not a bad crowd, actually. No one will start asking questions.
The barman places a glass with scotch in front of her and Sara downs it in one go. She gestures towards the barman to fill it again and he happily complies.
This time she drinks it slower. She takes a sip and then puts the glass down. She starts carefully spinning it around and watches how the liquid follows her movement. This continues until she drinks the last drop of whiskey in her glass.
She hasn't even put her glass down, when it suddenly happens.
First, she feels a splitting headache. It's so severe that tears start burning in her eyes. She isn't even aware of her surroundings anymore. The only thing she can focus on is the headache and the darkness she sees from closing her eyes. She starts feeling dizzy and she has to grab to bar to prevent herself from falling off the bar stool.
Just when she thinks she is going to pass out from the pain, it is over.
The headache has disappeared. Slowly, she opens her eyes again.
The sounds of the bar return and it takes a few seconds for her sight to return. Only the strange man next to her is looking at her. The rest doesn't even seem to have noticed.
Even though the headache is gone, she still doesn't feel good.
"I'll be right back," she mumbles to the barman before running to the exit in the back.
The door leads to an alley, which is empty.
She leans against the wall. Not even caring about the sticky substance on it that she feels. She closes her eyes once again in the hope that it will make this weird feeling go away.
All her organs seem to be squirming. It is as if her brain is turned upside down. A hunger starts to spread through her veins until she feels it everywhere. The feeling is all too familiar.
"It looks like you could use some company," a deep voice says. "I hate to see a pretty girl like you alone."
Sara doesn't have to open her eyes to guess to whom the voice belongs.
"Just leave," she sighs almost defeated. She has no time and all of a sudden no energy to deal with him.
He chuckles. "Why? I thought we could have some fun."
She hears him move closer to her. In the meantime, her body feels as if it is imploding. She has no idea what is happening - only that it hurts.
"What's wrong with you bitch?" he growls in her ear when she apparently ignored him.
His last word makes her open her eyes and she sees red. Not just a red glance. This red she has seen so many times.
He grabs her arm, which is the last thing he should have done. She turns her head to look at him. When she sees his ugly mustache and sweaty forehead, she knows what is going to happened and she can't stop it.
She can hear his blood streaming and his heart beating, even though that should be impossible. Her mind runs through a thousand ways to kill him as long as there is blood. Lots of it.
And then it is as is everything explodes.
With the hand he isn't still holding, she grabs the knife that she has hidden in her sleeve. With one fluent movement, she turns around and stabs the knife in his throat. His eyes widen and he tries to step back, but she grabs his arm and pushes him against the wall.
The blood that is spraying out of the wound in his neck only fuels her. After seeing the blood, she can finally breath again, but it isn't enough. The man is still breathing.
She moves her hand from his wrist and puts her arm against his neck, so there is no way he can move. It also makes it harder for him to breath and thus to resist. The blood is leaking from his neck all over her arm, but she doesn't care. Actually, she likes the feeling of the warm liquid on her arm. Goosebumps spread all over her body.
Sara pulls the knife out of his neck and stabs him in his abdomen. Again, and again, and again. She goes on until the man is nothing but a limp body in her arms. Only then does the red in front of her eyes leave and the intense hunger leaves her body.
She steps back and the lifeless body falls to the ground. A small chuckle of joy escapes her mouth when she hears the thud of his body hitting the floor. Proudly, she looks at the mutilated corpse in front of her.
And then it hits her.
She just killed someone and she enjoyed it. She staggers back, her eyes never leaving the dead man. The knife falls from her hand. Sara keeps moving backwards until she hits the wall of the other building. Slowly, she slides to the ground. She wants to bury her head in her hands and just cry, but she can't. Her eyes are unable to move away from the corpse and her hands are drenched with blood.
She has no idea what to do, which is weird because this isn't her first kill.
However, she exactly knows what is different this time in comparison with all those hits during her time in the League.
This is the bloodlust.
She can never forget that feeling.
But the bloodlust isn't her biggest problem right now. There is a dead man lying in front of her and she is covered in his blood. All those people in the bar saw them. If someone were to discover her here, there would be no denying it.
She needs to get rid of the body and get the hell out of Star City. She, however, is in no state to hide all the evidence right now.
With shaking hands, she grabs her phone from her pocket and dials the first number she sees. She has no time to second-guess herself, because the person immediately picks up.
Sara's silent for a moment. It gives her the time to just relish hearing Ava's voice, before telling her something that will change everything.
"Ava, I killed someone," she whispers and finally the first tear leaves her eyes and rolls down, cleaning some blood of her cheek.
Ava sighs happily when she finally returns from fixing another anachronism. This one had been a little more complicated than the others, but nothing she can't handle. Uncharacteristically, she falls down in her chair and slouches a bit. She lets out a sigh of frustration. Not because the last mission. It isn't the mission that is bothering her. It's Sara.
During Sara's time off, they have held contact and started to make plans for their time together. However, it has been two days since she last heard from her and even before that, Sara started acting strange. She still answered Ava's texts, but it was different. There was barely any banter and not one flirty comment, which is not like Sara at all.
Ava has the means to just check where Sara is and if she's alright, but she doesn't want to invade Sara's privacy. It is very likely that Sara just got distracted in Aruba. She's probably swimming or just sleeping. Maybe her team messed something up and Sara has to deal with that, which is actually the most reasonable explanation for her absence. Or maybe she is distracted by all the hot women on Aruba.
Ava groans while she pinches the bridge of her nose at that particular thought. It's the first thing she came up with and she forced herself not to think about it. It would only make her jealous and she has no right to be jealous. It isn't as if their relationship is official. Sara is free to do whatever - or whoever - she wants.
Sara probably just needs some space and Ava is willing to give her that, although it takes everything to refrain herself from snooping around a bit.
But what if Sara is just waiting for her to make the next move?
With another groan she opens her drawer and grabs her phone. She can call Sara, right? Only to make sure she's okay.
Just when she's about to call Sara, her picture appears on the screen.
For a second, Ava contemplates letting it ring for a while, just to put Sara on edge. Ava, however, is too anxious to talk to Sara and immediately picks up.
"Hi, Sara," she greets her, too relieved for her own liking.
A heavy feeling settles in her stomach when she hears Sara's hard breathing. Something is wrong.
"Ava, I killed someone."
Something is completely wrong.
Sara's voice sounds scared. Ava never imagined hearing her talk like this.
Sara continues muttering something, but it is incomprehensible.
"Sara, where are you now?" Ava asks. She can hear the panic in her own voice.
"What is happening?"
"Sara, are you okay?"
It is silent again and Ava has to do everything to stop the panic from taking over. She has to be calm and collected to deal with this. Sara needs her, that much is clear.
"Please, help," Sara whispers before the line goes silent.
With a frustrated scream, Ava throws her phone on her desk.
She leans on her desk and stares at her computer while trying to come up with a plan and repress her panic at the same time.
First, she has to figure out where Sara is. Is there a chance she's still in Aruba?
Most likely not. Ava could hear the sound of a city in the background. Star City? Maybe she went to visit her father.
Ava feels hurt that Sara is back in the States but didn't bother visiting her. She ignores it for now. There are more pressing matters.
She turns her computer on and connects it to her phone. Within a few minutes she has traced their last call.
In a small alley behind some bar.
That can't be good, right?
Or maybe it's nothing. There is a possibility that Sara just drunk too much. She, however, can handle her alcohol very well, so it's not very likely.
Ava loads a new magazine in her gun and tucks it back into the waistband of her pants. With one click on the computer, she transfers to location to her watch and opens a portal.
With a final nod, she steps through the portal onto the streets of Star City.
It takes some time to orientate herself, but when she turns around, her heart skips a beat.
There is a man lying on the ground. It's clear that he is dead.
There is a pool of blood around him and his shirt is completely soaked in his own blood. It looks as if his whole abdomen is stabbed to pieces. Ava isn't sure, but it looks like there are pieces of his organs leaking through the wounds.
Ava has seen a lot, but this causes a bile to rise in her throat. This man was brutally murdered - slaughtered.
Ava can't even finish that thought. There's no way, right?
But when she looks to the other side of the alley, she sees the only confirmation she needs.
Sara is leaning against the wall. Her knees pulled up, so her head is resting on it. She has her arms wrapped around her legs and is slowly rocking back and forth.
There is blood everywhere. Her arms are covered in it. There is even blood on her face.
A knife is laying in front of her, also covered in blood.
Ava has no idea what to think and feel right now. She is disgusted by the murder scene she just saw, but when she looks at Sara, there is no room for disgust. She feels fear, surprise even, but most of all she feels worried about the woman that has wormed her way into Ava's heart.
The woman that looks so small and defeated right now.
Ava tries to mask all her feelings, before she approaches Sara. She can only hope the only thing visible on her face right now is support.
This isn't Sara and Ava knows this. Something must have happened.
As if she is approaching a scared animal, she slowly walks towards Sara and crouches down in front of her. She places her hand on Sara's knees to stop her frantic movements.
Ava tries to make eye-contact with Sara, but her eyes are glued to the man behind Ava. She doesn't even blink.
In order the take Sara's sight of that awful scene behind her, Ava removes one hand and places it carefully on Sara's cheek. She slightly moves Sara's head, so her eyes are on Ava.
Ava softly gasps when she sees the tears in Sara's eyes.
"It's okay," she tries to reassure Sara in vain.
Sara only starts to shake her head. "No, no, no," she mutters.
She has to get Sara out of here. It will only be a matter of time before someone spots them. Besides, she doesn't think it will do Sara any good if they stay here.
"You know what," she starts, trying to get Sara to focus on her again. "I will get you out of here and then we will take care of everything. Alright?"
Sara slowly nods and Ava grabs her hands to pull her up. She opens a portal to her own apartment. When it becomes clear that Sara isn't going to leave voluntarily, Ava puts an arm around her and guides her through the portal.
She tells Sara to take a shower, while she takes care of everything. Sara only nods again and walks towards the bathroom, leaving a trail of blood behind her.
Ava waits until Sara closes the door before returning through the portal once again. When she is back in the alley, she tries to come up with a plan. She could just go back in time and stop Sara from murdering that man, but she has no intel about the situation. She has no idea what happened and if she can even stop Sara from killing someone.
She read Sara's file and it isn't hard to guess what happened here. Based on the wounds the man has and the amount of blood everywhere, this could only have been one thing.
Which means that if she were to go back in time, it isn't even sure if she can stop Sara. Once the bloodlust takes over, there is no way of preventing this from happening.
Sara barely talked about what happened to her after she was resurrected by the Lazarus' pit and Ava never asked. It seemed like something that Sara wasn't willing to talk about, just like her time on the Amazo or some things that had happened while she was with the League.
She has to talk to Sara about this. Maybe they even have to contact that god-awful man Constantine. After all, he gave her back her soul and maybe has an idea what is happening. Until then, however, she can't leave that body there. Or any witnesses. They must have seen Sara. The alley doesn't lead to any busy streets, so they must have been in the bar.
Ava opens the door and enters the bar. She tries not to judge the people who are sitting in this liveless place. Before she starts to wipe everyone's memories, she asks the barman if anyone has left the last hour. Luckily, no one has entered or left the bar after Sara.
Ava nods and then starts to use her flasher. It is just as if she is fixing a normal anachronism.
After she has made sure that she has dealt with everyone, she goes back to the alley. She checks the alley to be sure that there are no surveillance cameras. The only thing that is left, is the body.
A plan starts to form in her head.
"Am I really going to do that?" she softly asks herself. She has no choice. There is no way anyone wouldn't condemn this. Not the Time Bureau, not the local police. With a case like this, the FBI might even get involved.
"What have you done to me, Lance?" she mutters while opening a portal. She starts to drag the body behind her through the portal. It leads towards another alley in Star City with no surveillance cameras and witnesses. She can't risk placing him in another time. It could only create another anachronism. Besides, she doesn't have time to really get rid of the body in the current time. Moreover, she has no clue how to hide a corpse properly. That isn't exactly required from a Time Bureau agent.
She opens a portal again and finally returns to her apartment. She's aware this doesn't fix the problem, but it at least gives them time to come up with a strategy. Someone can always go back in time to stop her from doing all this. She just had to make sure nobody started asking questions.
It makes her realize what she has done. Getting rid of witnesses, hiding a body. She just covered up a murder. A murder that her girlfriend - or whatever they are right now - committed. She takes a seat on her couch and starts to rub her temples, trying to wrap her head around everything.
She is so lost in her thoughts that she doesn't hear the bathroom door opening.
It's only when she hears Sara's voice that she looks up.
"I'm sorry," Sara tells her softly while leaning against the door post.
Ava is relieved to see her clean again. "I know you probably don't want to talk about it," she starts and Sara nods while biting on her lower lip.
Ava knows it isn't the right time, but she can't help but notice how beautiful Sara looks in one of her sweatpants and old sweaters.
Sara walks over to the couch and takes a seat next to her. She's just out of touching distance and she avoids eye contact. Her eyes trained on some magazine that is laying on the table in front of them.
"I was afraid you had left," Ava admits, just to break the silence and maybe to get Sara to start talking.
Sara just shrugs. "You were back sooner than I thought."
They are silent again. The clock is softly ticking in the background and she can hear the children of her neighbors playing on the street. It's so normal during a situation that is so far from normal.
"Do you want to tell me what happened?" Ava asks, surprised by the softness in her voice. It has been a long time since she used that tone.
Sara swallows and tries even harder not to look Ava in the eye. When Ava is sure Sara is about to leave, she opens her mouth. It takes a few seconds before she starts to speak.
"I lost control."
Ava nods, encouraging her to continue.
"The bloodlust. It was back so suddenly."
"Okay," Ava lets her know she is listening, her tone just above a whisper. "Do you know how?"
Sara shakes her head. "I thought I had it under control. Those two years with the League helped immensely."
Sara has to pause before she can continue with a shake breath.
"But today, it came back. Just as strong as it was when Rip recruited me."
Ava places her hand on Sara's cheek again.
"We are going to fix this," she says with as much conviction as she can when she finally sees those blue eyes again.