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Bittersweet Distraction

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“Captain Lance.” Gideon’s voice came over the intercom in her bedroom.

Both occupants in Sara’s bed groaned.

“She seriously has the worst timing.” Ava let out a frustrated sigh. “I was so close.” She pouted.

Sara chuckled, leaning down to kiss her disappointed girlfriend. “Can it wait Gideon,” she asked.

“It can Captain, but I believe you’ll want to see this.”

“I promise we can finish later.” She ran her hand up Ava’s bare side. She was just as annoyed at the interruption, but Gideon wouldn’t have bothered them unless it was important. “Alright Gideon give us a minute.”

***...***

“Bout time you got here.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “Shut it Mick.” She swore he went out of his way to make Ava uncomfortable when she was around. “What’s going on Gideon,” she asked the AI, ignoring the creepy smirk on Mick’s face that said, ‘I know what you were up to’.

“A level 4 anachronism.”

“You got us out of.” She stopped herself from completing that sentence. She’d been ready to say bed.

“Out of what, Captain.” Nate’s grin told her he knew exactly what Gideon had interrupted.

“What’s so important about this anachronism Gideon.” She both loved and hated her team sometimes. They’d all been forgiving of Ava’s past hunt for them. They accepted her as their Captain’s girlfriend but that didn’t stop them from teasing and making things extremely awkward for her.

“It’s not the level that alerted me Captain, it is the anachronism it self. Since the incident with Dr. Palmer, Professor Stein and Mr. Rory, I have put alerts in place in case any of you or your family members are affected by time travelers.” Gideon displayed a photo on the computer for the team to see.

“Laurel,” Sara whispered, running her fingers across the photo of her sister. “How,” she asked.

“I do not know Captain, I believe this may be the work of the Darhks. A level two anachronism jumped to a level ten moments after I received the alert for Laurel Lance.”

Sara nodded. “He’s trying to distract me.”

“Is it working,” Ava asked. Sara’s guilt for not being able to go back and save her sister always ate at her, so if Damien’s plan was to distract her then he succeeded.

“Not if I can help it. Amaya, you, Nate, Mick and Ray handle the level ten. Zari, Ava and I will get Laurel.” She trusted Amaya to lead the team and was relieved when no one argued.

“Captain.” Gideon interrupted. “Another anachronism has upgraded from a level three to a level eleven.”

Sara sighed, she couldn’t risk the safety of her team. “Okay new plan.” She pinched the bridge of her nose trying to think of a better plan.

“Mick and I will get Laurel. You lead one team, Ava the other to handle the anachronisms.” Ray offered a solution to an almost impossible situation. “We know her, she trusts me.”

Sara debated her options. She couldn’t risk anything happening to her sister, nor could she risk something happening to her team, her family. “Keep her safe Ray.” She was trusting him with her sister.

“Will do Captain.” He placed a hand over his heart, promising to keep Laurel safe.

***...***

“What is going on Ray, and don’t tell me you’ll explain later. I want to know now.” One minute she’d been fighting with Damien Darhk and the next, she’d found herself in late 1600’s Massachusetts being accused of witchcraft.

“Ms. Lance,” Ava greeted. “My name is Ava Sharpe and I work for the Time Bureau.” She extended her hand out to Laurel.

“Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on here,” she asked, refusing to shake the agent’s hand.

“Look Laurel, I promise when Sara gets back she will explain everything.” Ray jumped in. He hoped Laurel’s trust in him would buy them a little bit more time.

“Dr. Palmer is correct. Sara can answer your questions when she gets back from her mission.” They hadn’t had a lot of time to discuss how they’d treat the whole situation once Laurel was rescued. They could’ve taken Laurel back to her time without Sara ever seeing her but that didn’t feel right.

“What mission,” Laurel snapped, losing her patience. “Sara left a week ago to better cope with her blood lust, there is no way she’d go on a mission knowing how dangerous she is.” She turned away from the members in the med bay and started to walk out. “You’re lying, I’m going to find my own way back.” She glared at Mick when he blocked her path. “Move before I move you,” she threatened.

Mick stepped aside when Ava gave a nod telling him to let her go. She wasn’t worried about her getting too far.

“Laurel,” Sara gasped as her sister bumped into her. She needed more time to prepare herself for her reunion with her sister so she’d been on her way to her room to change, she had not expected to literally run into her.

“Sara, thank god you’re here. Ray won’t tell me anything.” She hugged her sister, relieved to have her there. She had so many unanswered questions.

“I promise I’ll answer your questions soon, but I need a minute.” She withdrew herself from her sister and turned into the med bay. “Mick, Ray, thank you for getting my sister.” She smiled at the pair.

“She’s family Sara.” Ray would do anything for any of his makeshift family members.

“Besides,” Mick drawled. “She’s hot.” He winked at Laurel who smiled in return.

“Mick, I swear, if you so much as have another thought along those lines, I will kill you. And you.” She pointed to Laurel. “He’s not your type.”

Mick just shrugged.

“Sara calm down, you know what happens when you get angry.” Laurel’s smile was gone, she was too worried about Sara losing control to think about teasing her.

Sara frowned, she didn’t lose control, not anymore.

“You just left Star City to cope with your blood lust.” Ava supplied.

“Oh.” That felt like a lifetime ago to Sara.

“Sara.” Ava placed a hand around her bicep. Sara looked so conflicted and that broke her heart. She hated herself for what she was about to say. “Guys will you give us a minute.”

Ray nodded and walked out with Mick following. “We’ll take her to your office.”

“I know what you’re about to say.” Sara started. “I know what I need to do, but I don’t want to, not yet.” She wanted more time with her sister. “Ava please.”

“Sara, I’m just worried about you.” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind Sara’s ear, leaving her hand to cup her cheek. “Sending her back won’t be easy but the longer she stays, the harder it will become.”

“I know, I just miss her so much.” A tear slipped down her cheek.

Ava wiped the tear with her thumb. “I know you do. So how about this, she stays, for a few hours. When the time comes, I’ll wipe her memory and take her back.” If it wouldn’t disrupt the timeline, she had no issue keeping Laurel on the ship.

“Okay.” Sara nodded. She stood up on her tiptoes, giving Ava a kiss. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now go to your sister before Mick hits on her.” She shuddered at the thought.

“I will kill him.” Sara threatened. “You’re not leaving are you,” she asked.

She wanted to give Sara time alone with Laurel. “I need to submit my report with the bureau and inform Director Bennett of what the Darkhs are up to.”

“Don’t be gone too long. I want you to get to know Laurel.”

“I won’t.” She promised, tilting her head down for a kiss. “I’ll see you soon.” She pulled back and opened a portal to the Time Bureau. “Enjoy your time with your sister.”

Sara smiled at Ava’s retreating back. She couldn’t believe this was the same Ava that not long ago, was hellbent on following the rules. She returned to the bridge to fetch her sister. “Laurel,” Sara called out to her. Her heart skipped a beat every time she saw her. “Come on, I need to change.” She led her sister to her room.

“Change would be great.” She pointed at her leather suit.

Sara laughed, remembering how uncomfortable the suit could get when worn for an extended period of time. “I might have something you can borrow.” She led Laurel to her quarters and dug out a pair of sweats and T-shirt for herself and moved to a separate dresser to grab Laurel a change of clothes.

Laurel eyed the garments for a brief second wanting to question their ownership but decided she’d leave it be for the time being. She had more important questions she wanted answers to.

Once they were changed, Sara led Laurel to the kitchen where Gideon fabricated a bottle of sparking cider for them.

“Now can I ask my questions,” Laurel asked, once they settled down on the couch in what she assumed was a rec room.

Sara finished off her first glass of cider, poured another, before nodding. She wished she’d grabbed something stronger for herself. “One at a time.” She reminded her sister.

“Okay.” Laurel had so many questions, she couldn’t figure out which one she wanted to ask first. “Um, I guess let’s start with, where are we.”

“That’s kind of complicated, we’re on a time ship. We’re currently floating through time.”

“Why did Damien bring me back to the sixteen hundreds.” She didn’t miss Sara’s tensing at the mention of the villain. “You okay,” she asked.

“I’m fine, Damien’s been a thorn in my side. He’s been messing with time, making major changes to the timeline, he was trying to distract me.”

“I’m sure he’s gonna be sorry to realize it didn’t work.” Laurel laughed.

Sara smiled but did not join in her joy of winning this one. While she and the team had managed to stop Damien and the three anachronisms, he’d still distracted her. She was sure this visit and the pain it would leave her with would stay with her for a long time.

“Sara,” Laurel said worriedly. “Last time I saw you, you’d just left Star City.” Laurel missed her sister. She’d just come back from the dead and said she’d needed to leave, to figure things out. It had been hard to let her go but seeing how she turned out, she was glad she had.

“It’s been a few years for me. A lot has changed, time travel is a complicated thing.”

“Change like your suit.” She’d wanted to make a comment about the all white leather suit her sister had arrived in.

“That was actually your doing. You had Cisco make it for me, you told me I didn’t need to wear a mask anymore.”

“It’s no wonder I like it.” Laurel smiled. She was happy her sister was doing well.

“Captain Lance, Agent Sharpe has returned.”

“Thanks Gideon, send her our way.”

“Agent Sharpe, she’s the one that was in the med bay right,” Laurel asked. She’d been curious about her and where she stood with her sister.

“That would be her.”

“I hope I’m not intruding,” Ava said walking in, a glass of whisky in hand. She eyed Laurel’s outfit for a brief second before giving Sara a knowing smile.

“Is that whiskey,” Sara asked in envy.

“It is.” Ava nodded, taking a sip, humming.

Laurel laughed, her sister was practically drooling beside her but she wasn’t sure if it was for the whiskey or the woman that was now dressed in jeans and a T-shirt holding the glass. Something told her it was mostly the latter.

“Ava.” Sara pouted.

Ava grinned. She’d been prepared for Sara wanting to steal her drink, especially after Gideon had informed her that she and Laurel had taken a bottle of cider to share. She produced a bottle of Whiskey and a spare glass from behind her back.

“You know me so well.” She grabbed the extra glass and the bottle from her. 

Laurel smiled at the pair, Ava seemed not only to know her sister well enough to bring her hard liquor, she knew enough about her not to offer her any. “So, do you work for the Time Bureau too,” she asked Sara who burst out laughing almost spitting out the sip of alcohol she’d just taken.

Ava rolled her eyes.

“So that’s a no.” She directed the question towards Ava since her sister appeared to be incapacitated.

“No, up until a few months ago, I was actually trying to bring your sister and her team of misfits in.” Ava thought about those days, thankful she hadn’t succeeded.

“That somehow does not surprise me.” Laurel smiled, Ava seemed to be the responsible one in the group. “Sara always surrounds herself with questionable people.”

“Hey,” Sara whined. “You two are not allowed to hang up on me. It’s not nice.”

“We’re not ganging up on you Sara. Laurel was just stating a fact, one I happen to agree with.” Ava winked at Laurel which only caused Sara to groan.

The three spent the next few hours with Laurel and Ava getting to know each other and Sara spending some much needed quality time with her sister.

“Captain Lance,” Gideon interrupted the trio. “I believe the Darkhs are at it again.”

“Okay Gideon, have everyone meet on the bridge, I’ll be there in a minute.” Sara sighed, she knew her time with Laurel would have to come to an end. “Sorry sis, duty calls.” She stood up. “Ava’s going to take you back, she’s gonna have to wipe your memories of the future, Time Bureau rules.” She did her best not cry, saying goodbye was just just as hard as she imagined it would be.

Laurel nodded, hugging her sister, holding her extra tight. She wished she could stay longer. “I figured, I love you Sara, so much. I’m proud of you.” She stayed strong for her sister. She knew if she cried, her sister would too. She didn’t want her distracted on her upcoming mission.

“I love you too.” She released Laurel with a sad smile.

“I’ll be here when you get back.” Ava placed a hand on Sara’s shoulder in an attempt comfort her.

Sara nodded. “Bye Laurel.” She took her sister’s hand in hers briefly before leaving to meet with the rest of the team.

Laurel’s shoulders slumped once Sara was out of the room. “I’m not around anymore, am I,” she asked. “It’s okay, I knew it the moment I bumped into her. I could see it in her face.”

“I’m sorry Laurel.” And she really was. She wished things were different. Sara deserves some happiness after everything she’d been through.

Laurel nodded sadly. “I guess we should go. I need to change.” She let Ava lead her to Sara’s quarters, not surprised with how familiar she was with the ship, and Sara’s room. “So, how long have you and my sister been dating,” she asked once she’d finished changing.

Ava was about to deny it when Laurel stopped her.

“Please don’t start lying to me now. I know my sister and I know when she likes someone. I may have just met you but something tells me you’re not the type to go around comforting people with gentle touches and bringing them whiskey because you know how hard it will be for them seeing their dead sister.” She held up the clothes she’d taken off. “And something tells me these are yours.”

She’d tried to be less noticeable but she hadn’t been able to resist comforting Sara, even if it had been a subtle touch of the arm or soft smile when their eyes met. “Not long. She’s special.”

Laurel smiled, tears filling her eyes. “I’m glad to know she’s happy and taken care of.” She wanted to say loved but something told her Ava wasn’t ready for that word yet. “Ava,” Laurel said her name hesitantly.

“What is it,” Ava asked. Leading them out of the room and into the corridor.

“I don’t want you to take my memories of this time away.” Ava was a rule follower that was one thing she’d learned while spending time with her so she knew this was a long shot but she needed to try.

“Laurel it’s against regulation. Your knowledge of the future could alter it. It’s not safe.”

“I won’t say anything to anyone, I swear. I know I’m going to die but I don’t know how or when so I couldn’t change that. Seeing as Sara hasn’t gone back in time to save me, I know that she can’t. I’ve accepted that. I know it’s against the rules but I just want to remember my sister like this. The last time I saw her, she was in so much pain,she’d just come back from the dead and the blood lust ruled her. I want to remember this Sara. I want to know that everything will be okay for her, I want to remember her smiling and looking at you like you’re the most important thing in the world.” Laurel was openly crying now. Her heart was breaking at the thought of losing this precious time she’d been given with her sister.

Ava let out a heavy sigh. “If your teams asks about where you were.”

“I’ll tell them I don’t remember, my memory was wiped to keep the future safe and that’s all I was allowed to remember.” She answered quickly. “Please Ava.”

“Alright.” She conceded, breaking protocol.

Laurel hugged her tightly, thanking her.

“It’s time,” Ava said after a minute. She opened a portal inside the elevator that led to team Arrows hideout.

Laurel stepped towards the open portal. “Take care of my sister.” With that she stepped through to the other side. She turned around and waved at Ava. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”

“Me too.” Ava smiled sadly as the portal closed. She wished that things could be different, that Laurel could be saved, that she could get to know her better. In the little time she’d gotten to know the elder Lance, she’d come to like her.

***...***

“I couldn’t do it,” Ava tells Sara later that night as they laid curled up together in bed.

Sara lifted her head from Ava’s chest. “Couldn’t do what,” she asked.

Ava lifted her head to place a kiss on Sara’s forehead. “Erase her memory.”

“You didn’t,” she asked, tears filling her already red and swollen eyes.

Ava shook her head. “She asked me not to, she wanted to remember you happy after everything you’ve been through.” She cupped Sara’s face with her hand. “And knowing what’s to come, I want her to have peace knowing you’re okay.”

In that moment, Sara forgot all the sadness she’d felt when she’d stepped away from her sister. “You violated protocol for me,” she asked, overwhelmed that Ava would do that for her. This wasn’t disobeying an order that would result in a slap on the wrist if found out, she could get in serious trouble.

“I would do it again.” She had meant it when she’d told Laurel, Sara was special. She would do anything for her.