Ava was hovering above the last of their attackers. She kicked him lightly, making sure he wasn’t going to get up anytime soon. She heard Sara Lance’s voice, followed the sound and directed a snarky remark as an answer to the woman catching her breath a couple of feet from where she was standing.
The fight had probably taken the last bit of energy she had left, because, the moment the words exited Ava’s mouth, her voice didn’t sound right.
She started to inhale and exhale deeply, trying to control her breathing and heartbeat.
She lifted one hand and placed it on the burning side.
Her shirt was wet and cut and the skin underneath felt warm and tender beneath her fingertips.
It wasn’t her first time getting slashed or stabbed or shot, but each time she forgot how much that actually hurt. She lowered her gaze, glancing at the blood covered palm.
She tried to think back to the fight, on who or what had slashed her belly open, but the pain was somewhat blinding.
Her mind was foggy, her legs unsteady. Every breath she took felt like daggers straight into her lungs and it was getting harder and harder to stay upright.
She fought the pain and the exhaustion… until she couldn’t.
Her knee touched the ground and her gaze shot up to check on the last woman she thought she’d get to fight alongside with and not against. Despite all the animosity between the Legends and the Bureau, it was oddly reassuring to be stuck here with her.
She didn’t really know Sara Lance, but, having read all there was to read on the former assassin, Ava believed the Legends’ so-called “Captain” was probably someone she’d never have a normal conversation with – or at least a conversation that didn’t involve veiled insults and/or yelling – but she was perhaps one of the best resources when it came to field-related emergencies.
Not that she would ever trust her fully to handle a situation without major repercussions but having her there with her made the oozing gash on her side seem less unfortunate than if she had been, say, with... Gary.
Ava shook her head to clear her mind. When she lifted her gaze, she noticed Sara’s eyes were filled with dread and worry, emotions she never thought she’d see on the woman’s face. Especially not because of her.
Her vision was becoming blurry and it was getting hard to stay focused.
She watched as Sara lunged forward and the moment the other leg gave out under her, she felt two strong hands lift her up.
She was now struggling to stay awake, but she could still make out bits and parts of what was happening. She was laying on the grass, Sara’s hands were holding her head, as they gently placed it on her own lap. Ava opened her eyes and tried to form a smile, hoping Sara would catch the irony of it all.
Ava’s palm was still pressed firmly against her abdomen. She moved her head slowly and shifted the hand, trying to take a peek of the wound. The lower half of her white shirt and her pants’ waistband were drenched in blood. Sara’s hand hurriedly went to cover the open gash, probably trying to keep the blood in.
Where it was supposed to be.
Not all over her clothes.
How considerate of her.
She felt the other woman softly brush a strand of hair from her face.
Looking up, she realized Sara Lance – even if somewhat misty right now – had really pretty eyes.
“That ought to leave a mark,” Ava murmured, as she managed a half smile.
Her throat burned.
Her breaths were short and ragged.
It was getting really hard to keep her eyelids open.
This is no time to crack a joke, Ava Sharpe, she reprimanded herself as she gave into the exhaustion.
Everything was really quiet.
The annoying chirping sound that had accompanied her through the whole trip into the XV century was still there, but it seemed distant and somewhat dull.
She tentatively tried to open one eyelid, but realized the light was too bright for her to succeed anytime soon.
It was going to take a few tries.
“Hey, there…” a familiar voice caught her attention. It was soft and caring. She felt someone sit next to her on what she was now sure was some sort of bedding. The other woman took her hand in hers and started to brush the back with her thumb.
It was oddly pleasant.
Ava managed to crack open one eye enough to make out Sara Lance’s silhouette hovering over her. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she watched as the woman’s features softened, matching her tone. It looked like she went from concerned to… what exactly? The bright light coming from the window behind her engulfed her whole figure, highlighting the wavy – if messy – blonde hair that in turn were framing Sara’s sharp features. Her lips were curved into a sweet smile, while her eyes looked fraught with sympathy and something she couldn’t really put her finger on.
Ava Sharpe felt an uneasy knot in her stomach that had nothing to do with her injury. She gulped as she hurried to attempt and sit up straighter. This was the second time she regained consciousness to a concerned Sara Lance: she had looked vulnerable enough to last a lifetime – she needed to regain some sort of composure and respectability. Especially, in front of this woman who–
In that moment, she realized the chill she was feeling was due to the lack of a shirt on her body.
Agent Ava Sharpe of the Time Bureau was sitting – or better, struggling to sit – half naked in front of Sara Lance, former assassin, former vigilante, part-time superhero and time criminal, whom she had been trying to apprehend for the better part of the last three months.
She felt her cheeks warm up.
She really hated her body for making her blush, as if she wasn’t already embarrassed enough.
“You really shouldn’t mov-” Sara tried, but Ava’s icy glare interrupted her midsentence.
As she managed to sit upright, she grimaced when she felt the wound on her side sting as if it had been stitched closed. She glanced at her abdomen and noticed a clean bandage enveloping the lower part of her torso.
As soon as she was settled and somewhat comfortable, she took a quick look around the room and from the simple agrestic furniture, the smell of mold and embers, and the naked stone walls, she realized they were definitely still in 1467.
“You were in and out long enough for me to drag you to Da Vinci’s house,” Sara started, shifting Ava’s attention back to her. “The boy went to visit a friend in a nearby village, his uncle said he’ll be back soon.”
Ava nodded. “How long was I out?” Her voice was hoarse, and her throat felt like it was on fire.
Sara handed her a cup of water which she accepted gladly. “After I stitched you up, you dozed off almost immediately,” Ava was starting to remember Sara and a middle-aged man standing above her, frantically trying to avoid even more blood loss, while she came in and out of consciousness. “You slept through the night.”
“Yes. Da Vinci wasn’t coming back until today. His uncle was kind enough to let us in and spend the night.”
“Alright,” Ava took in a deep breath as she rested her head against the wooden headboard. She closed her eyes, trying to concentrate. Simultaneously, Sara eagerly shifted her body so that she was now fully facing the agent.
“So, what’s the plan, Agent Sharpe?”
Ava lifted her head, her eyes betraying her utter confusion. “I didn’t think you followed anyone else’s orders but your own, Miss Lance.”
Sara cackled and casually patted Ava’s hand with her own, which sent an odd shiver down the Agent’s spine. What the hell was happening? “Well, Ava,” Sara began, obviously trying to provoke her. “I kind of ruined your mission. So, it’s just good manners, you know.” She offered a mischievous grin that any other day would’ve made Ava’s blood boil.
“There’s not much to do,” Ava concluded. “We wait for Da Vinci, get the courier, wipe some memories and get back home.”
“Sounds easy,” Sara commented skeptical, as she stood up and started pacing around the small room.
“You don’t sound convinced,” Ava prodded, trying to understand another piece of the puzzle that this version of Sara Lance was proving to be.
Sara seemed lost in thought, when suddenly she registered her comment and looked back at her. “No, no,” she assured. “It’s just… everything I did yesterday was supposed to be easy too,” she offered a troubled, almost bittersweet, smile.
Ava studied the woman for a few moments. She had her arms crossed and she looked nervous enough to make her restlessly pace back and forth. She didn’t look like the Sara Lance she had come to know: the reckless, more brawn than brains, use-dynamite-to-kill-a-fly kind of Captain she had been so hell-bent on arresting. There was obviously more to the woman than what the two-dimensional descriptions in her file had offered, but this – whatever this was – looked like something else entirely.
Ava scanned the room and noticed a clean white blouse sitting on a wooden table near the window, a few inches from her own bloody shirt and blazer. She slowly got up and moved to the edge of the bed, until her bare feet were touching the ground.
Sara halted and stopped to stare at her, almost as if she was refraining from rushing to help her. She gulped. “Do you, uhm… do you need anything?”
Ava pointed at the clothes. “Just the blouse, it’s getting a bit chilly.”
“Oh, yes, of course,” she managed, looking like she was just now realizing Ava was half naked in front of her. “I, well… I guess I’m sorry I undressed you,” she cautioned, visibly struggling to find the right words.
Ava suppressed a chuckle, she never thought she’d ever be able to witness the formidable and terrifying League trained assassin blush. It was kind of cute, honestly. “Well, it’s not like you wanted to,” she replied, and she could swear she saw a glimpse of Sara’s face turning crimson before she turned away from her and faced the window.
She threw the blouse on, careful not to pull the stitches in the process. She brushed her fingers over the bandage and turned back to Sara, who was keeping herself busy going through what looked like very messy notes scribbled backwards. “Thank you by the way,” when Sara shot her with an inquisitive look, Ava glanced down at the bandage.
“Ah, no problem,” she dismissed her gratitude with a shrug. "It’s not like I could’ve left you there.” Sara offered a quick smirk and what looked like an attempt at a wink.
“Well, I have been threatening your team and calling you an idiot for the past few weeks,” she conceded, a hint of sarcasm not-so-hidden in her tone. “You must’ve been at least tempted.”
“Nah,” Sara sat on the edge of the bed and stared directly at her. “Despite that,” she proceeded to gesture up and down, indicating Ava’s whole figure. “Stern and uncompromising demeanor… you’re a good one, Ava Sharpe.”
Ava lowered her head but kept her eyes on Sara as she offered a timid smile.
Great, she was blushing again.
Sara tilted her head, staring at her with a very distracting grin on her face. “Are you getting soft on me, Miss Sharpe?”
“I, uhm,” caught off guard, Ava swallowed, almost choking on her own words. “What?,” she adjusted the collar of her blouse and tried to stand up straighter, putting her hands behind her back and trying to regain a bit of posture. “I assure you, Miss Lance, that’s never going to happen.”
Sara flashed her a knowing grin and, as she stared out the window, Ava Sharpe was left with a million questions she wasn’t entirely sure even her thorough Bureau training would be able to keep her from asking.