"Our bank accounts owe you a round of drinks," Sara said from the Waverider's bridge.
"I take it your four years of well-earned backpay arrived," Ava said as she set down her case reports to look into Sara's smiling face on the video conference screen. "Nate was the one who slipped it into the new budget, and your ride along with Hank put him in a good enough mood to sign off on it. I just pushed the paperwork along."
"Either way, the crew is heading to Vegas to celebrate. Gideon's already booked us separate rooms with our own showers and everything. I'm looking forward to a few days of having my personal space to myself."
"That's where you're going after receiving your first paycheck since you joined the Waverider crew?" Ava asked with a chuckle.
"By unanimous vote, and I’m inviting you along. You already gave me your excuses for missing Aruba last year, and we never followed through on our makeup plans," Sara said. Ava gestured at the stack of reports to be reviewed that had piled up into the lower quarter of her video frame. Sara stared up toward the ceiling. "Gideon, you're connected to the Time Bureau's databases. How many vacation days has Ava saved up?"
Gideon's voice piped in through the video call. "Director Sharpe has accrued over 60 days of paid time off during her tenure at the Bureau and received numerous emails from the Human Resources department warning her on how many she can roll over this year."
Ava fantasized about grabbing Sara by the neck and kissing the smirk right off her face. "I'm not really into clubbing or gambling."
"We can lounge around the pool getting day drunk or check out a Backstreet Boys concert," Sara replied. Then with a bite of her lip and lidded eyes, she said, "If that doesn't excite you, we can spend the entire vacation in our penthouse suite where I can give you a private show."
Ava brought her hand up to her cheeks to hide her embarrassment. "You had me at the Backstreet Boys."
"Aha! I'll have Gideon send the hotel room coordinates to your time courier. Meet me there once you’ve packed."
Ava relaxed her body into the cushioned deck chair inside the private cabana as Sara re-applied sunblock to her back. Sara's body already glistened with suntan oil, and Ava couldn't suppress a smile as she imagined where the blades were hidden within Sara's strapless black bikini. She re-tied her top and sipped at a margarita as Sara finished up with the sunblock. "Not that I'm not enjoying being pampered, but are you sure you're okay with splashing all this money around?" Ava asked.
"I'm perfectly fine with spending my money on booze and women and squandering the rest," Sara answered as she took a sip of her own drink. "Relax and enjoy yourself, my sugar baby."
A hurling sound came from behind the cabana. They set their glasses down and rounded the corner outside to see Charlie bent over and emptying the contents of her stomach into the potted plants. A hotel employee in khaki shorts and a blindingly white polo hustled over. "Is she with you?"
Sara rocked a raised hand back and forth for the universal gesture for 'sort-of.'
"We're going to have to ask you and your party to leave the premises until you sober up."
"That might be for the best," Sara admitted.
With Ava's help, Sara escorted Charlie up to her hotel room. After they held her hair back as she purged her guts a second time into the toilet, Charlie wobbled to the sink to rinse out her mouth. "I might have indulged a bit too much, but when did Vegas get so corporate that they started looking down on drunks. It was way cooler in the 60s."
As they tucked Charlie into bed to sleep it off, Sara asked, "Do you want to check out a pool at another resort?"
"I think I'm all pooled out for today anyways," Ava answered with her hands on her hips.
"I could go for some window shopping. It may look effortless, but I have to work hard to stay this fashionable for 2019 when we're hopping backwards and forwards across time."
Ava whined as Sara swapped out her bikini for a blouse, so Sara gave a kiss to compensate her for the distress. They rode down the elevator hand in hand and walked past the rows of ringing slot machines. Ray spotted them from a blackjack table and gave a wave so enthusiastic Ava was worried he was in danger of tweaking his shoulder. She heard Sara's grunt of annoyance, but it was too late to pretend they hadn't seen him.
"Ray, I didn't take you for a gambler," Ava commented as they slid into the empty seats at his table. He was betting four hands at a time from a cache of chips.
"It's not really gambling when you have a foolproof system," he said with a wink. "You should join me. If I believed in Lady Luck instead of knowing that hot streaks regress to the mean, I would say she's at my side tonight."
They exchange cash for a handful of chips, which soon multiplied. As the dealer flipped another ace for Ava, the three of them cheered in celebration at the blackjack hand. Ava passed over a $100 tip to the dealer while she stacked the rest of the winnings into her growing pile. She high-fived Sara but noticed her eyes had flitted to the pit boss with the meaty paws speaking into his walkie talkie. Sara finished her whiskey and soda as he walked over to relieve their dealer.
"I'm afraid I'll have to wrap up your session. You're welcome to enjoy our other gaming options or take advantage of our world class on-site amenities, but not blackjack."
"I don't know what you're accusing us of, but there's no law against card counting," Ray said. Sara rolled her eyes.
The pit boss repeated the pleasantries but made it clear they needed to scram. A flash of darkness passed over Sara's features, but Ava gave a squeeze of her shoulders. "Let's go grab an early dinner."
"Preferably at a restaurant far away from where we're all staying," Sara said.
Ava's eyes looked over the wine menu though her mind was concentrated on Sara's foot as it brushed up and down her calf under the table. "Do you want to split an order of the bruschetta?" Sara asked as if she didn't know exactly what she was doing to her.
Before Ava could respond, the sound of breaking glass cut through the casino floor as a fight erupted by the sportsbook across from the restaurant. Sara’s knuckles turned white in her grip of the menu.
"Maybe it’s not—," Ava started. A cone of flame whirled through the air. "Okay, maybe it is Mick."
Sara tossed the menu aside because meathead or not, he was family. She sprinted over to the commotion with Ava following close behind. Security was also storming into the area to separate the brawlers, but not before Sara had torn her blouse cracking some skulls.
"They started it," Mick grunted among the heap of groaning bodies and broken chairs. Sara smacked him in the back of the head. A review of the security tapes corroborated that the other guests did indeed 'start it' which by a millimeter spared them a night in jail, but did earn them an armed escort to the curbside.
While Sara changed into a fresh top back at their suite again, Ava looked up reviews for Las Vegas buffets as she figured Sara had worked up an appetite between the fight and how long the hotel security had detained them. They hailed a cab downstairs and entered the line to get into the buffet at Caesar’s at the start of the dinner rush. Ava wrapped her arms around Sara from behind as they faded into the calm amidst the waiting crowd and clatter of utensils in the next room. Sara turned her head to nuzzle against Ava's cheek.
Sara narrowed her eyes at Zari who was adjacent to them in the line on the other side of the velvet rope barrier. She was staring off into space away from their public display of affection.
"You looking to start some trouble?" Sara asked.
"No, just looking forward to the all you can eat dessert."
"So you say. That's it, we’re out of here," Sara announced as she grabbed Ava's hand to leave before the universe had figured out three Legends were occupying the same space so that it could call down some calamity.
They hopped into a cab idling in the taxi stand outside Caesar’s main doors. As they inched along Las Vegas Boulevard, Ava rolled down her window to let in the cool desert air. Neon lights floated down onto the waves of pedestrians along the sidewalk. Sara leaned over to gaze at the fountains outside the Bellagio. "Do you want to talk about it?" Ava asked.
"Not really," Sara said as she followed the moving jets of water. After a pause, she continued, "I'll feel better after something goes according to plan, and I get some food in me."
The cab dropped them off at the In-N-Out where they ordered cheeseburgers and a side of animal fries to share. Sara was stealing a sip of Ava's vanilla milkshake when she pulled her ear piece out and slammed it on the table. Ava raised her eyebrows as she chewed on her burger. "It's Gideon with something about Constantine," Sara said.
Ava picked up the communicator. "Gideon, can he handle himself for a night?"
"Yes, Director Sharpe. I predict a below 2% probability Mr. Constantine will come to grievous harm from his current predicament."
"Good enough for me. Keep us updated if the situation gets above say 20%," Ava said. Turning to Sara, she asked, "Now, do you want to talk about it?"
"Sometimes, we don't screw things up for the better," Sara said. "I know you feel that normal is overrated, but the last few years we've only had a break in between universe threatening crises. I worked too many shifts at Sink Shower & Stuff to wish for a quiet life, but it would have been a nice change of pace for the two of us to do the tourist thing without a sense of impending doom looming overhead."
"Vegas is your go-to for destressing and detoxing from your everyday life?" Ava teased.
"The pirates and Romans here are only playing dress up, and they're main job is to make sure we’re having a good time instead of trying to string us up."
"Follow me. I can do normal and quiet if that’s what you need," Ava said as she rose from the table and grabbed their tray of food. She led Sara outside and opened a portal to a desert scene far away from the smoke-filled casino floors, outlet malls on the city fringe, and the 15 freeway that kept the whole enterprise going. Sara quipped about corrupting Ava into using her time courier for non-official business. After stepping through the glowing square into the wilderness, Ava opened another portal back to their hotel room where she gathered up the linens.
She lay a blanket down against the sandy ground and wrapped a comforter around their shoulders. Under the expanse of the night sky in a year that didn't need their saving, Sara and Ava huddled together to finish their date in peace.
Some jerk had thrown back the curtains to let the sun stream in through the bedroom windows. Ava brought a hand up to her temple in an attempt to massage away the throbbing headache. She and Sara had returned to their penthouse after stargazing and found the Legends already getting plastered; Sara had probably anticipated they would congregate in their room given all the extra space they had. The last thing Ava remembered was Mick mentioning something about the only rule of drinking with the team was not to be the first one to pass out.
Ava stretched out her arm to the other side of the bed but found only cool sheets. Sara and her absolutely unfair alcohol tolerance had probably already gotten a work out in for the morning. Ava rubbed at her bleary eyes and stumbled out of the bedroom and into the living room area, where she found the members of the team in various stages of undress. The previous night came back to her in flashes like afterimages from a dream. Nate had arrived after work with a case of beer under his arm, sparing them from making a run all the way down to the lobby for more booze. He was dozing on the couch with his suit jacket as a blanket. Constantine was lying face first on the carpet. He had escaped whatever his predicament was sometime past 2am and started pouring everyone shots when he arrived. Ava recalled rattling off professions of love to Sara from there.
Sara stood by the kitchen counter sipping on a mug of coffee in jeans and a T-shirt as she worked on a crossword. Room service had brought up two carafes of coffee and orange juice alongside a platter of fresh fruit with Greek yoghurt. Ava passed over the spread to fill up a glass of water at the sink. Sara tossed her a bottle of aspirin for which Ava was so thankful she could marry her.
After Ava downed the pills, Sara grabbed her by the hips and leaned in for a kiss. "Good morning, sleepyhead."
Ava tried leaning her head away. "I haven't brushed my teeth yet," she pleaded.
"That’s no bother to me," Sara said as she pulled Ava closer and pecked her on the corner of her mouth. "We should save time getting ready this morning by hopping in the shower together. I can't wait to go ring shopping."
"I do like the sound of that shower," Ava said with a curl of a smile. "But ring shopping? Are you looking to get something new?"
Sara brought Ava's left hand up to her lips where Ava noticed for the first time that she was wearing one of Sara's silver rings on her ring finger, and Sara had removed all of her other rings except for the one on her ring finger. "Mrs. Sharpe-Lance, it was real romantic for you to get down on one knee and slip off my own jewelry to propose, but I want to get actual gold bands so that the other ladies know you're off the market."
"We decided on Sharpe-Lance?" Ava choked out. The fog of the hangover had been blasted from her mind.
"That's what we put on the marriage license at the chapel last night. Lance-Sharpe sounds like a guy on the local news who does the sports segments," Sara said. Ava sputtered while trying not to break her new bride’s heart in revealing that she had no memory of the ceremony. For better or worse, she hoped one of the Legends had video evidence so that she could play along until she got her bearings. Sara's grin widened until she couldn't contain the laughter. "I'm sorry, it was Charlie's idea to prank you for falling asleep first with a story about us eloping. It could have been far worse, but I think she went easy on you in thanks for taking care of her when she was drunk at the pool."
"Oh, I'm going to—," Ava said as she chased after Sara who had slipped from their embrace. They juked back and forth with the couch between them. Ava vaulted over the couch, and Nate steeled up just as her foot landed on his chest. Ava would later testify she had absolutely predicted Nate would react in time. Sara dashed out into the hallway where she squared her shoulders and bent her knees. Ava charged straight into Sara's stance and had her forward momentum redirected as Sara literally swept Ava off her feet.
Damn assassin training. Sara caught Ava before she hit the floor and pulled her back up into a kiss. Maybe it's not all bad.