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Stuck in the Middle (of the Time Stream) With You

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Day 1

The first thing Sara saw when she regained consciousness was stars; she blinked, squinted, and the second thing she saw was Ava looking worried, her hair escaping from its bun.

"Sara, thank God. You hit your head on the console."

Sara realised that she was lying on the bridge floor, the lights flickering on and off. "Gideon?"

"She's down. Something crashed into the Waverider and overloaded her. Don't you remember? Maybe you hit your head harder than it looked."

Ava tried to check Sara for head wounds, and Sara batted her hands away. "I remember." She also remembered Ollie calling to say that her dad was in hospital, she remembered leaving her team in Aruba and going back to Star City to find--

Nope. Sara was going to shove those emotions right to the bottom of the box where she kept her feelings about Laurel, Martin, and her time as an assassin, screw the lid down tight, and never, ever open it. You know. Like an emotionally mature person.

"You've got your time courier, right?"

Ava held up her courier, which was still sparking and smelled of burnt plastic. "It was fried by whatever overloaded Gideon. The jump ship?"

"I, uh, left it in Aruba with the Legends."

Ava groaned. "Sara."

"Great," Sara muttered. "We've only been back together for five minutes and we're already fighting."

"We're not back together."

Wait, what? "We're not?"

"You called and asked me to come to the Waverider, and then as soon as I portalled in you practically pounced on me. But we haven't talked about it."

Oh. Right.


Day 2

"Well," Sara dropped the wrench onto the desk in the library with a dull clang, "I can fly the Waverider but I definitely cannot repair her. I hope you're having more luck."

Ava had been trying to repair her time courier. "I think so. I can't fix it, but I can set it up to work as a distress beacon. As soon as Gary picks up our signal he'll come and get us. Which," Ava conceded, "means we might be here for a while."

"The Legends will be out searching for us too." Ava scoffed, because apparently Sara wasn't the only one falling back into bad old habits. "If it comes to it John can use the same spell he used to find me when I was possessed by the death totem."

Ava groaned and dropped her head into her hands. "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm praying for Gary."


Day 3

Among the things that had gone down along with Gideon were the fabricator and the laundry. Ava had worn her suit for two days, but had drawn the line at three. She was too tall to borrow Sara's clothes, or maybe she just hadn't wanted to ask. She was wearing a pair of Zari's pants that showed her ankles and an oversized sweater of Ray's that smelled like vanilla.

Or maybe it was Ava who smelled like vanilla.

"My dad died," said Sara, leaning in the galley doorway with her arms crossed defensively over her chest. "That's why I was in Starling City, and why I left the jump ship with my team. I was in a hurry, and I wasn't thinking."

Ava looked up, eyes wide and sympathetic. "Sara, I'm so sorry." She crossed the galley and took Sara's hands. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Sara shrugged, a bit awkwardly because Ava was still holding her hands. "Your parents were actors, and I didn't want to make you feel like–"

"Like a clone?"

"I want you to feel normal, Ava, because you are."

"I feel normal when people treat me like I'm normal." Ava dropped Sara's hands, the sleeves of Ray's sweater fell down past her wrists, and Sara's heart sank. "I want to be your girlfriend again, Sara. I want you to be able to tell me things. I don't want you to feel like you have to walk on eggshells around me."

"I shouldn't have tried to jump on you the second you arrived on the Waverider," said Sara. "I just wanted to feel...better, just for a bit."

Ava was very close, holding herself tight as a drum without touching Sara. "I want to be the one who makes you feel better."

"I want you to be my girlfriend, Ava. I want to talk to you, even when it would be a lot easier to just jump your bones."


"Okay?" Sara asked. Ava bit her lip and gave a small nod, and Sara gathered a fistful of Ray's sweater and dragged her down for a kiss.


Day 4

Mostly sex.

Like, even by Sara's standards, that was a borderline obscene amount of sex.


Day 5

Ava was still asleep when Sara woke up, her hair loose over Sara's pillow, the duvet slipping down her naked shoulder.

Sara couldn't keep the soft grin off her face. She propped herself up on her elbows, and looked speculatively around the darkened bedroom. "Gideon?"

Ava stirred, and rolled over to look at Sara, wiping sleep from her eyes. "Is she back online?"

"Um," began Sara. "Gideon once trapped Zari in a time loop to convince her to stay with the team. I thought maybe she had done something similar to get us to..." Sara made a scissoring gesture with her hands that would have made Gary blush like a beetroot.

"Huh," said Ava. "I never thought Gideon liked me much."

"Oh," said Sara, "she doesn't."

"Thanks," said Ava drily.

"She likes that I li-love you," said Sara, ducking her head. "She thinks you're good for me."

"I always assumed she was jealous."

"Jealous?" Sara scoffed.

"You do have a weirdly flirtatious relationship with your AI, Sara," said Ava, snuggling close. "I don't blame Gideon, she's got good taste, and she knows you've got an open mind. I mean, you're dating a–"

Ava had striven to maintain an even, lighthearted tone, but she choked on the word clone.

"Hey." Sara pushed Ava's hair back from her face, cupping her jaw and forcing Ava to look at her. "You don't need to be okay with the clone stuff right away. I'll be okay with it for both of us."


Day 6

"Is it a little chilly this morning, or is just me?" Sara asked, taking the opportunity to cuddle in close to Ava, who went stiff. "What?"

"Ever since Gideon went down the Waverider has been running on backup power. Non-essential systems have been shutting down one by one to keep life support on line. The fact that it's chilly this morning means that the heating has been turned off to keep the air breathable."

Oh. "How cold does it get in the temporal zone?"


It got colder over the course of the morning, and Sara gathered up duvets and blankets from the other crew quarters. She left Mick's room alone; they weren't that cold yet.

"Laurel and I used to make blanket forts when we were kids," Sara said fondly, "Dad used to get mad when he tripped over them."

"I made forts too," said Ava. "At least, I remember making them."

Without looking at her Sara reached sideways and hooked her pinkie finger around Ava's; Ava squeezed and then changed the subject by picking up Sara's latest addition to their cold weather shelter/blanket fort. "What's this?"

"Nate's childhood Bebo," said Sara with a grin. "I found it in his room."

"We should both put on plenty of layers before we get in," said Ava.

"Cool, cool," said Sara, grinning. "It's been years since I got some good old fashioned over the clothes action."


Day 7

Gary, Nate, Ray and Zari portalled directly onto the bridge.

"Director Sharpe," cried Gary, rushing forward. "Thank goodness you're all right! Hang on," he said looking between Sara and Ava, "are you two–?"

"Do we know what crashed into the Waverider?" Sara asked loudly.

"Time debris," answered Ray with a sad little shake of his head. "Littering is a crime."

"You've been trapped here together for a week–" Zari looked around with her nose wrinkled "–would it be quicker if you told us which surfaces we can touch."

"Go Captain," said Nate, offering Sara his fist to bump. Sara caught Ava's look and left Nate hanging.