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Love in withdrawal was the weeping of me

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0.

 

Sara stopped for a second at the door and thought about turning around, asking for forgiveness, just… for them to not do this, not go down this road. She wasn’t ready to let go of this, let go of them.

She took a deep breath, however, and left.

This was not a break up, it was merely a fight. You just have to give her some time to cool down and it will be okay.

She opened a portal straight onto the kitchen where she knew everyone was having dinner. She could hear the talking and the noise of the dishes being passed around, but it all went quiet the moment they saw her face.

“I take it that it didn’t go as well as expected?” Ray said, after a moment in which no one dared say anything.

Sara sighed. “No, not really. But I don’t wanna talk about it, can we just… keep on having dinner? I could use some food. And the distraction. Mostly the distraction.”

So that’s how she spent the next hour, only to then be carried off to an impromptu movie night with Ray and Zari. Something that had nothing to do with romance, was her one request. Later they were joined by Charlie and Mick, who came in passing around some beers. Sara took one and kept on paying attention to the movie.

It was easy keeping the turmoil inside her at bay when she focused on the laughter and the jokes and just the feeling of being surrounded by her family.

If it was all tinged by this aura of melancholy and something missing, she didn’t give it too much thought.

 

1.

 

The next day Sara was okay. She tried distracting herself, she worked out harder than normally, read a random book. She just needed to give Ava some time to process what happened. They just had had a misunderstanding and the moment they sat down and talked about it, it would all be okay, she was sure of it.

For most of the day, she was very successful. Close to nighttime, though, she couldn’t stop herself from wondering, and asked Gideon to call Ava. Straight to voicemail.

The disappointment coiled deep inside her as she went to sleep, but she pushed it down and acted as if nothing was wrong. Tomorrow would be a new day. Ava just needed more time.

 

2.

 

The following day she tried the same routine, the work out, the distraction, only that it just wasn’t as easy. It was starting to bother her, all this time without talking to Ava. She had sent her a couple of good morning messages, even a picture of her breakfast that Ava used to make fun of, to no avail.

She even willingly did her weekly chores, to take her mind off things . It worked, for the entire afternoon. But getting to her room at night and looking at her empty bed, the cold sheets, Ava’s spare suit in the corner… The sadness deep in her made her move before she even realized.

Another call, again the voicemail. She poured herself a large dose of whiskey after the second phone call that went unanswered and gave up. For now.

It hurt, a lot. But she also couldn’t really blame Ava, she just felt that if they calmly talked, then they could solve it. Sara only had to make her see that. But it also wouldn’t work if she just barged into their- Ava’s apartment without her permission. Or blew up her phone with unwanted messages.

(She didn’t even want to consider whose apartment it was now. How she should refer to it. What she had potentially lost.)

That night she went to sleep with her lips numb and her body sore.

 

3.

 

The third day they had a new fugitive and Sara all but thanked the skies for having a new distraction. She had no problem convincing the team it was a good idea to go out, even if she kept jumping the gun.

Her problem with Ava was starting to spill out from her, entering discussions where it had no place being, the words coming out before she could really think them through, and she didn’t really know what to do about it. Which was exactly why she had been basically avoiding her team for the past two days.

A new fugitive was exactly what she needed to shove all her feelings deep down until Ava had had her time to think.

As the mission went on however, her mood got progressively worse. Her team being such a mess usually just gave her a laugh, made her feel fond even, but now everything made her feel terrible. She was usually in on the fun or just enough there that they wouldn’t all end up dead or stranded in time, but in that moment the only thing she could properly process was the fact that she felt terrible.

Two whole days. And no sign of Ava.  

It had been months since something like this had happened, and the last time it did it was her own fault. Her own past, her own failures and her own weakness getting in the way of her happy ending.

Oh, fuck.

As soon as the thought took shape in her own mind and she allowed herself to go back there she could feel the self-hate and doubt creeping up and trying to swallow her whole.

Ava had told her to leave . Ava had said she was done. Sara was trying to pass this off as a fight, to maybe stop herself from freaking out but the truth was-

She took a deep breath and pushed it down. They were in the middle of a mission and she had to get a move going or they were gonna lose Nixon.

It wasn’t until much later that she realized that they had forgotten Charlie, instead.

 


 

As soon as they lost the Waverider and had to start the RV trip she was already regretting every single choice she had made that day. The trip was the worst thing that could’ve happened to her in that moment. She could feel herself spiraling, her thoughts out of control, the hate and the doubt swimming around, clouding her judgement and she couldn’t be alone to get herself under wraps. Usually she would do some puzzles or read a book, anything that kept her mind occupied long enough for her to calm down, and then she would work out and work through her thoughts to exhaustion. Or maybe just drink herself to numbness.

But now she couldn’t. She had to acclimate the new member of their team - who kept calling her captain and it was starting to get on her nerves -, had to keep Nixon from screwing up history, had to get them to Disney and had to keep Constantine and Mick from throwing a fit. Oh, and keep them all from being locked up by the Time Bureau.

She was very close to losing it. So very fucking close and- great, of course that’s when they find out that there’s a fucking truth bug . Exactly on the day that she cannot, under no circumstances, tell the truth.

If there was ever a moment that she wished she could just have a normal life, it was right then and there. She just wanted something to distract herself, but apparently the cosmos or whatever it was that was out there truly hated her. Or saw her as a huge joke. Whichever it was she was hating it.

 


 

Problems kept piling up one after the other: lose the bug, get the bug back, be chased by the police, be chased by the Time Bureau pretending to be the police, lose the bug again, and all she could think about was how much she wished she was anywhere but there.

She sighed and moved to the front of the RV to get some space. Sara could feel this huge migraine coming already. If she could just, breathe a bit maybe she would manage to stop them all fr-

“Captain? We are okay, right? I mean, we just have to focus on the mission.”

Sara sighed. Time to put on your best show, same old, same old.

“Yeah, Mona, we’re gonna be fine.”

Oh no.

Fuck.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

She covered her mouth as soon as she realized her mistake and hoped for the best. But of course the fucking bug would find a way. She could just feel the words spilling out of her mouth, being overwhelmed by the need to tell what was on her mind right that second.

“Of course we are not fine, Mona! Nothing is fine, and I am definitely not fine! Ava and I didn’t just get into an argument, she asked me to leave; and she hasn’t answered any of my calls since. And she was my one chance, my one chance, Mona, at something real! And now I don’t have a ship, I don’t have a girlfriend, I’m the captain of an RV and it is all your fault!

Sara could feel the train wreck coming.

“I won’t be your problem anymore.”

This was exactly what she had been dreading. She had opened up in the worst possible way and blamed it all on Mona, and the poor girl actually had nothing to do with her own personal hellhole.

She ran out to try and get Mona back but, with the bug, she only kept making it worse.

As Mona ran away with the bike, Sara saw her opportunity. She needed to be away from the team a little while to process what had just happened and she also couldn’t let Mona fend for herself in her first mission. So, she got Constantine to take the bug out of her and left after the disappearing bike.

 


 

Much to her chagrin, being left alone apparently wasn’t in the cards for her.

She could hear his steps behind her way before he actually talked. What was up with her team and their inability to just let things go? She was gonna fix it, she was going after Mona. It was not like she needed a constant reminder of how much she was doing wrong right now. And yet, there he was talking to her, coming after her. Fucking hell, John.

“Go ahead.” She turned around and said. She was not about to let him get the best of her, if he was gonna call her out on her bullshit, then she was not just gonna sit there and take it.

He looked at her, a bit confused, so she continued. “I know you’ve been dying to say ‘I told you so’, so just do it.”

“Quite the opposite, actually. I just… wanted to see how you holding up.”

That for sure wasn’t what she was expecting.

She had two options from here on out. Close off and maybe blow a fuse during the rest of this mission, to then go back to the ship and wallow, and have all her team looking at her with worry the next morning but everyone being too afraid that she would get mad to actually approach her, or open up to John fucking Constantine right then and there.

Well, she was already in deep shit. It was go big or go home now.

She sighed. Here goes nothing.

“Honestly? I am freaking out. With the Kaupe dead, and Mona in the wind, and then there’s Ava and-” She stopped. Actually talking about it was way more painful than she was expecting.

“What happened?”

“I went to go talk to her and… And I thought everything was gonna be fine, cause it’s always fine, and it was… bad , John.”

Trying to get her thoughts in order to get this out was hard. She was sure that half of what she was saying didn’t make any sense, and the other half was all over the place and she didn’t know if he could comprehend what she meant. She kept pushing on, though.

“Look I just… I don’t know how to convince everybody that everything is okay when I’m not okay.”

There it was.  The most succinct way she could put everything that was bothering her on that day. Out there. And… it didn’t feel terrible. It even felt like the annoyance and the constant stress that was clouding her head during the entire trip cleared up a bit, if she were honest. And when John fed her her own spiel about leaning on the team because they were her friends she actually believed it.

She took some time to gather herself, thanked him, made a silly joke to clear the air and got going.

Crisis avoided. For now.

 


 

After her talk with John, getting over herself to help Mona down from her magic induced rage was relatively easier.

Sara had to admit it, she was doing a terrible job as a captain that day. The girl had been trying to tell her the truth, and she had ignored it, way too caught up in her own mind, and then she went and blamed Mona for things she had no control over. She was being a terrible captain.

The problem was that the moment Sara admitted that she was using Mona as a scapegoat she was left with the undeniable truth that this was all her own fault. This was her failure, her own doing, her own mistake.

She got back on the ship, said her good nights and went for her whiskey. Asked Gideon to call Ava. Once, twice, three times. With no answer.

That night she went to sleep with way more than just her lips numb.

 

4.

 

Sara knew this place. She had been here many times before.

It had been one of her first kills. The man looked like he knew she was coming. He begged and pleaded and when that didn’t work he tried to fight her off. She easily overpowered him, putting him on his knees, facing her. She took out the knife from her back and stabbed him close to the stomach, twisted it in and pulled it out.

She closed her eyes then. She hated this part. The noise. This was always the worst part for her. The pleading, the asking, the groaning. But when it came, it wasn’t a man’s voice but a woman’s.

She looked down and gasped, horrified.

Ava.

Ava was there, the white Time Bureau shirt that she had been using the last time Sara saw her was red and torn now, with blood spilling from the wound Sara herself had just caused. She let go of the knife she was still holding as if it was pure poison.

“No, no, no, no. Ava? Ava, baby? I’m so, so sorry.”

Sara kneeled next to her and took Ava in her lap as she started to fall. She tried to stop the bleeding, pressing to the wound, whispering out apologies, but it was too much. No matter how much she tried, the blood kept oozing out, staining the shirt, her hands, and pooling on the floor.

Ava’s hand slowly went up to touch her face, a quiet I love you falling from her lips. And then nothing.

 


 

Sara jumped up in bed. She hadn’t had one of these in a while, and even then, none were like this. Last time she had a nightmare she been woken up by Ava and her gentle touch, reminding her of where she was and what was real and what was not.

Now all she had to keep her company were her own demons and the memory of Ava’s blood on her hands, way too real for comfort.

Sara sat at the end of the bed and ran her hand through her hair. She knew she wasn’t going to sleep right now, especially with the alcohol still fogging up her mind. She put on some clothes and went to sit in the parlour, she liked to think things through there. And apparently that’s what she needed now, if her nightmare was anything to go by.

She picked up a bottle of water from the kitchen on the way and sat there just looking at the books and the pictures of her and her family that were around the space… and the pictures of her and Ava. She sighed.

She tried calling Ava once more just so she could put her mind at ease, even if she knew she wasn’t in the best mental space to talk about their problems at length. Still no answer.

She let her mind run rampant. How could this even be happening? They were so happy one moment and the next thing she knows, they’re aggressively dancing and then Ava tells her to leave. She tried and tried and tried to find a reason for it to be happening but she kept coming up blank.

There was nothing in the situation that warranted such a strong reaction, to make her spend three days now without so much as a text message. To just go ahead and ghost Sara.

It was their first real fight, and apparently their last one, if the past few days were anything to go by. Ava didn’t want to talk to her, and Sara couldn’t figure out why.

As the minutes went by however, all she could come up with again and again was the look of deep hurt on Ava’s face when she left her office, the strangled cry she could hear as she closed the door.

It’s your own damn fault. You were never made for happiness, you were a fool to believe. She was your only chance and you blew it. She asked you for one simple thing, for you to be there for her, and even that you couldn’t do. You opened yourself up and she saw you for what you truly are: a monster that is unable to be around people without hurting them. No wonder she doesn’t answer your calls. She doesn’t want you anymore, Sara Lance.

She closed her eyes and laid back on the couch to wallow in her own self-pity. That was still better than the very real feel of Ava’s blood between her fingers.

 


 

When she woke up a few hours later, Sara had a very intense emotional hangover. She was tired of herself for all her wallowing and self-pity, she couldn’t even dare think about all the places her mind had gone to the previous night. She needed to do something about this, because it was starting to get ridiculous.

She was gonna talk to Ava, even if it was to truly end it all. She needed some closure, she needed to understand what was happening and she had to do it soon. She couldn’t keep going like this, in a downward spiral to god knows where only because her girlfriend wasn’t talking to her.

This was not what Sara Lance did and this was absolutely not who she was.

She was a problem solver, she was a go getter, and go get is what she was gonna do.

Before she could even go back to her room to actually do something, Gideon spoke up.

“Captain Lance, now that you are awake, apparently there have been some new developments in the Time Bureau”

Great. The moment she finally managed to get herself in the right mindset to deal with her own mess, shit happens.

She felt guilty about that thought as soon as Gideon told her what was going on. She called the whole team to the bridge to tell them the news and about Hank’s funeral. Zari went off to find Nate and comfort him and Sara sent everyone off to get ready, asking Ray to stay. She called him to a corner to tell him the news about how apparently it was Nora Darhk's fault what had happened. The way his face crumbled as soon as she said it let her know there was absolutely no way she was dealing with her own problems so soon. She sighed, pushed all her feelings down and prepared herself for a full day of babysitting and comforting.

 


 

As she was finishing getting ready for the funeral, a thought stroke her.

It was Hank Heywood’s funeral, the liaison between the Pentagon and the Time Bureau and basically Ava’s boss. There was absolutely no way she was going to miss his funeral.

Her heart started jumping a little. She was gonna see Ava whether she had prepared for it or not. She was gonna see Ava and hopefully talk to her. Fucking finally. Put this whole mess to rest, talk like adults, try that communication thing.

Sara was still holding onto that little bit of hope that this was all just a misunderstanding, and that her past was just trying to get in the way of her seeing clearly. It had been almost four days now, but she knew that Ava needed her own time. It was not a true break up. It was not a break up. It was not a -

She could not do this, not right now. This was for Nate, they were going there for him, and first and foremost she had to support her friend.  She decided to compartmentalize her feelings to be open and dealt with later, as soon as she got a moment alone with Ava.

Right now, it was time to get this show on the road.

 


 

Ava was not there. It had been half an hour since the reception started, and Ava was not there.

For the first time since this whole mess started Sara was actually getting worried. She knew that technically Ava was in a “leave of absence” but there was absolutely no chance in hell that she wouldn’t pay her respects to her boss, unless something extremely important came in the way.

Sara quietly approached Dorothy Heywood to ask her if Ava had been invited for the ceremony, and was told that an invitation had been sent to all the high ranking officials of the Time Bureau. Which meant that, yes, Ava had been invited too.

She asked Gideon to do a quick check on the Time Bureau to see if something that could’ve made Ava miss the funeral was happening, but Gideon let her know Ava was still in her leave days.

Damn it. There went her chance of actually talking to Ava. And this meant either one of two things, that a) Ava really didn’t want to see her, so much so that she missed her boss’s funeral, or b) something truly had happened.

She could feel the dread starting to overcome her from the pit of her stomach. She had to go to Ava’s apartment. Right now.

Before she could do anything about it, however, Mona called, and next thing she knows, they have a very real Jane Austen situation to deal with.

 

7.

 

The next two days were a fugitive capture chaos. This was the sort of distraction that she had been hoping for from the get go, instead of the RV fiasco. Sex dreams, Bollywood musical number, a lot of teasing and laughter involved. It was everything she could’ve wished for. Everything to make her forget her problems with-

Ava .

It had been 6 days.

She felt paralyzed for a second. How could she have forgotten? Yes they had all been on a sex haze due to the fugitive, but it had been six days. Six days and absolutely no sign of Ava.

“Gideon, has Ava called? At all? Any changes in her status at the Time Bureau?”

“No changes, Captain.”

All the lightness Sara had been feeling the past few days lifted off her and it was as if ice-cold water was poured into her veins. Three days ago she had already realized that something could be wrong and she let herself get so lost in the job and distracted and what if something had happe-

No . It was not the time to panic.  

She took a deep breath and asked Gideon to call Ava. Voicemail.

Oh, hell no. This is not happening. This cannot be happening.

She got up, got dressed, took some knives and a gun – just in case, she kept telling herself – and portalled right outside the door of the apartment.

It was relatively late, she was not about to barge in if Ava didn’t want her in. Sara didn't want to give them any more reasons to fight, she was gonna give Ava some time to adjust.

Her throat was dry and her hands were a bit clammy. Sara was trying so hard to not get carried away, to not let her worry get the best of her, even if all she wanted was to get in and pull Ava to her arms just to make sure she’s ok and there and real .

She opted against using her key and went for the doorbell. She rang it once, twice, and no answer. Keys it is, then .

“Hello? Ava? I’m coming in.” She said as she opened the door.

The moment she entered the apartment, all the dread she had been trying so hard to push to the very back of her mind suddenly was there stuck in her throat and she could do nothing about it.

Sara took a deep breath, looking around. Everything was dark and there was a bit of dust on the furniture, as if no one had been there in days. When the realization hit, it was as if the floor was taken from under her. She took out her gun and started calling for Ava.

Sara’s mind was running, nonstop. How could I have been so stupid, so selfish? Now that she knew something was wrong, she realized how much of an asshole she had been. Ava would have talked to her, last time she barely lasted three days without telling her all about her ex and her new upswipz account, how could she have thought that Ava would’ve been ignoring her this whole time?

All this time something was going on and she was wallowing, too consumed in her own pity to realize something was wrong with the person she claimed to love the most in the entire world.

As she got closer to the living room, the panic was starting to consume Sara. She logically knew that there was a possibility that Ava was travelling, away somewhere resting, taking a break from them, or taking a break from her specifically, but something deep inside her told her that this was not the case here, and that she better find Ava fast .

She kept calling, and calling, with no answer. Her heart was stuck in her throat, she was trying to keep a straight face and her mind clean so she would be prepared, but it was proving more and more difficult with each passing second.

As she was about to enter the kitchen, Sara saw the broken mirror in the other side of the living room. She turned on the lights and gasped out Ava’s name as she ran to her side.

There she was lying on the floor, with one of her stay-at-home shirts and jeans, glass shards all around her, dry blood on her chest and purple marks on her neck.

“No, no, no, no. Ava? Ava, baby? I’m so, so sorry.”

She kneeled next to her and started accessing the damage. As soon as she touched Ava’s skin though, she couldn’t keep the sob that escaped her. She was so cold. Dead cold.

Your own selfishness brought you here. If Ava is… this is your fault.

With each glass shard she took out of Ava’s skin and every place she realized she wasn’t hurt, a part of Sara’s heart was breaking. It wasn’t even panic, dread, or sadness that she felt anymore. It was darkness. Pure darkness, right there, ready to embrace her, to keep her company, to not let her go.

The darkness of the blood of every single one of her past killings, the darkness of the loss of her family. The darkness that could now be the loss of the woman she loved.

Because this was her fault, too. Just as much as any of those killings in her past had been. For not thinking, for not looking past her own hurt, for not seeing that her girlfriend needed her. For not realizing…

What if Ava was truly gone? What if there was nothing she could do right now? She was paralyzed with the fear, her hands were suddenly numb and her fingers wouldn’t move. Her mind was on overdrive.

What if she had come when she first thought something was wrong? What if she had come here on the first day instead of distracting herself with meaningless things? What if she had come here instead of drinking herself to sleep? What if she had come there the night of her nightmare?

Then maybe Ava would still be here. Not cold, lying there, unmoving, unresponsive. Maybe she would still not want to be with Sara, maybe even hating her, but at least she would be alive and well and breathing and warm and healthy and real . Not this. Not like this.

Her own fucking fault. How naïve, to think that she could be happy, have something good, some lightness in her life...

Sara swallowed dry. She pushed the fog in her brain away, locking up her emotions, numbing herself. This was not the time for feelings. This was the time for action, if she wanted to have any chance to save Ava.

She opened a portal to the med bay, picked Ava up as best as she could and walked through it.