1. In Pieces
It had been a few weeks since her whole ordeal in purgatory and Ava was still dealing with the trauma of it all, but she could safely say that she was on the road to recovery. There were a few good things, she had to admit, that had come from her stay in purgatory.
She was glad they finally had a discussion about their future and what they both wanted from this relationship. She was now only a little worried about Sara settling into a slightly domestic life. Although, she got over that real fast when she realized that two people living in her little row house created twice the mess, with one person creating a disproportionately larger share of said mess.
She cooked most nights, not particularly well, but she almost always nailed the recipe on her second try. Surprisingly, they had gotten into the habit of doing the dishes together after dinner, with only some slight to moderate whining from her girlfriend.
“I don’t understand why you don’t have a dishwasher,” the ex-assassin grumbled while scrubbing a little too vigorously at a plate.
She finished drying the plate in her hand and placed it in the cabinet before answering. “I’ve never really needed one. I barely cooked before you, so I didn’t generate too many dishes.”
“But maybe you’ll consider getting one? You know, since your super-hot girlfriend who you love so much lives here now.”
“Maybe for your birthday,” she suggested, knowing that would get a rise out of her girlfriend.
Sara sputtered indignantly. “You are not getting me a household appliance for my birthday, like some 50’s housewife!”
She held her serious thoughtful expression for a few more seconds before chuckling. “I’m kidding. I already have your Hanukkah and birthday gifts planned out for this year.”
“No Christmas gifts?” Sara half joked.
She rolled her eyes. “That’s an awful lot of presents you’ll be getting this year. Wouldn’t want to spoil you. You’re already kind of a brat.”
Sara flicked some water from her wet dishwater covered fingers and she flinched away from the flying droplets.
“Stop,” she whined.
The captain smirked, but did as she was told.
“Baby,” Sara muttered under her breath.
She ignored the snipe and held out her hand. “Just give me that plate to dry.”
She took the wet plate from Sara, fumbling with it the second it was in her hands. They both watched as it slipped and dropped to the floor, cracking into three pieces.
“Dammit,” she swore.
She sighed and bent down to pick up the mess. She was lucky it didn’t shatter into a million tiny pieces and scatter all over the place. At least this was relatively easy to clean up.
“Need some help, butter fingers?” Sara said from above her, looking more than a little amused.
She glared at her girlfriend, but then relented. “Grab the broom and dust pan, will you?”
“On it, boss!” Sara chirped.
They finished cleaning up the broken plate together and deposited the plate remains into the trash outside. Sara went back to cleaning the last few dishes left in the sink, but she didn’t return to her role as the designated dish dryer right away. Instead she knelt down beside Sara to get at the cabinets beneath the sink, giving the other woman a little push.
Sara made a noise of annoyance, but otherwise moved aside as she was directed.
“Aves, what are you doing?”
Ignoring the captain, she reached into the cabinet and grabbed a box from the back, setting it on the floor beside her. She opened the box and pulled out a plate, identical to the one she had just dropped, and passed it up to Sara. She returned the box to its place and stood up to continue drying dishes.
“Do you break plates often?” Sara teased.
Her cheeks turned pink, but she shrugged as nonchalantly as she could. “I’m a little clumsy.”
Sara grinned at her. “How many plates have you broken?”
“Enough.” She hesitated and then admitted, “That’s my second box of replacement plates.”
Sara snorted. “Didn’t know I was dating such a disaster.”
She shoved at the captain with her shoulder. “Shut up, I’m trying my best.”
“And here I thought you excelled at everything.” Sara softened her statement with a kiss to the cheek.
“Domestic goddess, I am not,” she said in mock sorrow.
2. Green Thumb
Ava was thoroughly enjoying day one of her weekend off, lounging around in her pajamas and watching those baking shows that Sara found so unbearably boring. She didn’t usually do well with time off, but she guessed she actually needed a break this time around. It was nice to just do nothing and not have to worry about time exploding or something equally catastrophic.
She paused the baking show she was watching, deciding that now would be a good time to stretch her legs and water her plants. She had amassed quite a few plants over the years and they were scattered throughout the first floor of her house. She was fairly certain that a few of them had been purchased by the previous versions of herself. Those memories had always seemed a bit fuzzier than the memories she made as the 12th AVA. Her real memories were always clearer.
With her little plastic watering can, she made her way to the patio out back where a few of her succulents were. Outside the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies and a slight breeze. She hummed happily as she watered her plants with the sun warm on her face.
When she got to the last plant sitting on her wrought iron patio table, her heart dropped. Some animal must have gotten to it because the moderately sized (about a foot) cactus had dropped off the side of the table. Its painted terracotta pot was cracked and some of the gritty soil had spilled out around the ruins of the plant.
The absolute worst part was that the fall had snapped the cactus in half. She brought the cactus, which she had named Joey, inside and set him on the kitchen island. This plant was special to her because it was the first one she bought as herself, the 12th AVA.
She inspected the little guy carefully, trying to see if there was any possible way to fix this. She dropped down into one of the island chairs and leaned on her elbows, chin resting on her hands. This was probably it for Joey, unless he could grow back from the stump that was left of him. But even then, the stump had already started to decay. Still, she picked up her watering can and sprinkled some water on the stump. She was so intent on saving Joey, that she didn’t even hear a portal open up into the kitchen.
“I don’t think that’s going to help,” Sara said, suddenly standing before her.
She startled only slightly and when she looked up at her girlfriend, her face was a picture of misery. Sara’s eyes immediately filled with concern and she thought then that maybe she was being a little too dramatic about the death of her favorite plant.
“Joey is dead,” she lamented.
The corners of Sara’s mouth twitched as she tried not to smile. “You named it Joey?”
Ava’s eyes flashed with annoyance, not thrilled that her girlfriend seemed to be entertained by the matter at hand.
“They all have names, Sara.” The duh was implied.
Sara looked heavenwards as if asking for help. “Of course, they do. Silly me. I think this one’s kind of done for though.”
“I know that,” she said irritatedly and then apologized. It wasn’t Sara’s fault that Joey kicked the bucket.
“Is this plant special or something?” the captain asked carefully, unwilling to upset her further.
“It’s the first plant I bought as me, number 12.”
She silently picked up the remains of Joey and walked him over to the kitchen trash. The plant landed at the bottom with a dull thud.
With her back still to Sara, she said, “Sorry, I’m being overly dramatic about this. It’s just a plant. It doesn’t really matter.”
“Kind of seems like it does.” Sara said quietly behind her.
She chose to ignore that and went to wipe down the island counter instead. She continued to be grumpy for the rest of the hour and then decided that there really was nothing she could do about Joey. No sense in crying over spilled milk.
Eventually, she settled back down in front of the TV. This time snuggled up next to Sara. Her girlfriend didn’t even protest when she turned on an episode of the Great British Bake Off.
She woke up late the next day, enjoying being able to sleep in. She stretched and reached out to pull Sara close only to find that her girlfriend wasn’t there. Disappointment welled up in her chest. The bed next to her was cool to the touch, so the captain had been gone a while.
They didn’t need to be glued at the hip or anything, but it was rare that they both got to sleep in together. Between her work schedule and the Legends antics, they either woke up at separate times or woke up early together. She sent a quick text to Sara saying she was up and wondering where she got off to and then got ready for the day.
She changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt, and then pulled on a soft oversized sweater. The perfect lazy Sunday outfit. She padded downstairs, squinting a little against the bright light filtering into the kitchen. She definitely needed coffee first to start off the day.
She hummed contentedly when she finally had a steaming mug between her hands. When she was about halfway through her caffeinated beverage, the front door opened and Sara came bustling in. She had to restrain herself from jumping up immediately and rushing to greet her girlfriend. Sometimes she tried to play it cool, tried to pretend that she wasn’t an absolute goof around this woman.
Sara smiled when she saw her and greeted her with a kiss.
“Mmm, good morning to me,” she said once Sara pulled back.
Sara pressed another kiss to her forehead before speaking. “So, I guess you’re wondering where I’ve been.”
She shrugged and feigned disinterest. “Not really.”
Sara snorted. “Shut up. I have textual evidence.”
She cringed. “Don’t say textual.”
The captain grinned mischievously at her. “We’re both textually active adults, Ava. Grow up.”
She made a face. “You just made it worse. Now stop being a goober and tell me where you’ve been.”
Sara held up a store bag she had somehow missed before and placed it on the kitchen island in front of her.
“I know we could never replace Joey, but you seemed so bummed about him. I wanted to cheer you up, so here…”
At the expectant look on Sara’s face, she cautiously opened the bag and looked inside. Sitting at the bottom was a little potted plant. She reached in and pulled out a palm sized cactus in a terracotta pot. It was squat and round with 3 little pink flowers blossoming at the top of it. It was absolutely adorable.
Did it make her a huge dork if she teared up a little bit at this sweet gesture? Maybe, but sometimes Sara was just so damn thoughtful.
“Sara,” she breathed. “I love her.”
“Good,” the captain said and then arched an eyebrow. “Her?”
“Her name is Penelope. She’s a cutie.”
She stood then with the little cactus nestled in the palms of her hands and headed to the wire shelf near the sliding glass door that led out to the patio. She made space for the new addition by moving a fern from the top shelf to the floor and placed Penelope in the spot of honor.
She felt like she was practically glowing with happiness. She’ll miss Joey, but now she has a new first plant. The first plant her lovely girlfriend Sara gave to her.
She turned back to Sara and swept her up in her arms for a kiss. “Thank you. You’re too good to me.” She pressed another kiss to the captain’s lips. “I love you.”
“Love you too, babe.”
3. Pink is the New White
Sara tried very hard to focus on what Ava was telling her and the rest of the Legends, but she kept getting distracted by Ava’s Bureau suit. Her girlfriend always looked hot in her standard issue suit, but that wasn’t the problem. There was something off about it today. She was squinting in concentration, eyes roving along the pressed pants, the navy blazer, and the button up shirt, when it hit her.
Once they had their assignment, she opened up a portal for the rest of the Legends to return to the Waverider, but let the portal snap shut behind them, staying at the Time Bureau instead. Ava had turned her attention to the main screen in the command center when the portal had opened, fingers tapping away on a keyboard. She cleared her throat and the Director paused in her typing and turned back around, looking mildly surprised to see her still there.
“Was there something you needed, Captain Lance,” the Director asked in that cool unaffected tone she put on when she was trying to be professional.
She moved closer to the Director and reached out to finger the collar of Ava’s button up shirt. “Is your shirt a really light shade of pink or am I just going color blind?”
Ava’s face fell. “You noticed? Do you think everyone can tell?”
“Probably, but they’d have to really be paying attention to your shirt.”
Ava sighed and hung her head. “I accidently threw in the new red sweater I bought with a load of whites. All my work shirts are pink and a bunch of your t-shirts are too. Sorry.”
She smiled kindly at her girlfriend who was resembling something like a kicked puppy in that moment. “It’s alright babe. Besides you look pretty in pink.”
Ava ducked her head bashfully, a soft smile on her lips, and looked at her through full lashes.
God, she is so fucking beautiful.
“Thank you,” her girlfriend murmured shyly.
She wanted so badly to kiss Ava then, but they were on the main floor in full view of everyone and she didn’t want another lecture about boundaries in the work place. Instead, she straightened the lapels of the Director’s blazer, adjusted the little Time Bureau pin, and smoothed out the collar of her light pink shirt.
She looked up and met steel blue eyes infused with warmth and affection.
“I’ll have Gideon make you some new white shirts, okay?”
Ava’s smile grew into a brilliant grin. “You’re the best.”
4. The Importance of Being Caffeinated
Ava had taken the morning off after a particularly harrowing mission the night before. One that had left her with a mild concussion and a few broken ribs, which were immediately and fully healed upon her return to the Waverider. She had been planning on going into work like normal the next day, but Sara had practically forbidden her from going in, stating that she needed to rest and take care of herself. Self-care was important, apparently.
She tried to protest, but Sara was having none of it. So, that’s how she found herself sleeping in and then visiting their local coffee shop for some overly priced, but very tasty coffee before heading into work late. The coffee shop was buzzing with activity when they walked in. Over the chattering of her fellow caffeine consumers, she could hear the whirring of the coffee grinder and the sound of bells jingling as more people entered the shop.
She made a beeline for the cue in front of the counter only to be cut off by a redheaded kid who had to be no more than 8 years old. She felt irritation flare up in her as he took his place before them in line waving his mom over and telling her to hurry up.
She must have made a face because she could hear Sara chuckle beside her. She huffed, but moved to join their hands and pulled Sara along with her to enter the cue.
She and Sara settled behind the mother and son pair, but she was still annoyed at the line cutting that had just occurred. She was feeling grumpy this morning and wasn’t completely awake yet, so she didn’t possess a whole lot of kindness or patience at the moment. Two things you probably needed when dealing with kids.
While Sara browsed the menu hanging up behind the counter, she observed the pair in front of her noting that the little hooligan’s shoes were untied. The kid turned around and stared at them, pausing for a long moment on their joined hands before glancing up at her.
She stuck her tongue out at him, wishing he would just mind his own business and stop staring at her like she was a freak. He made a face back at her, giving her the stink eye before turning back around.
She startled when she felt an elbow collide with her rib cage and whipped her head around to scowl at her girlfriend.
“Behave,” Sara warned jokingly.
“He cut us,” she hissed in a whisper.
“He’s just a kid. Do you want a repeat of what happened at Camp Ogawa?”
“Don’t remind me.” She turned away to scan the menu behind the counter, pouting sullenly as she did.
Clearly, she needed coffee ASAP. She could barely human without it.
The line finally started to move up and to her great amusement the kid tripped over his shoelaces as he tried to take a step forward, tumbling down to the floor in a mass of tangled limbs.
She snickered at the scene in front of her and Sara elbowed her in the side again.
“Be nice,” Sara hissed at her. “I can’t believe I have to tell you this.”
She thrust her nose up in the air haughtily, not even the least bit sorry for her actions. “He deserved it.”
Sara looked at her half in disbelief, half in amusement. “Oh my god, what am I going to do with you?”
She shrugged uncaringly. “Just accept that I’m going to be a disaster parent.”
Sara shoved her playfully. “You will not,” the captain murmured before pressing a kiss to her cheek. “You’ll be great.”
Her heart warmed at her girlfriend’s words. Sara had so much faith in her, more than she’s ever had in herself. They’d be okay if they ever decided to have a kid of their own, but mostly because Sara was the only competent one among the two of them, with kids at least.
5. Girl on Fire
Sara received a series of texts in quick succession, making her phone vibrate nonstop for a good minute. Her face scrunched up at the tickling sensation against her thigh. When it seemed like the flood of texts had finally slowed to a trickle, she slipped her phone of her jeans pocket.
She knew instinctively that the texts would be from Ava and judging by how many times her phone vibrated, the Director wasn’t happy. If she had to guess, Ava was probably texting to nag her about the case reports she never handed in last week. Oops.
She didn’t really have a good excuse for not finishing them, but she figured she could probably smooth things over with her own particular brand of persuasion and buy herself more time. She could be very convincing when she needed to be.
It turned out that she was right about the messages being from her girlfriend, but she was definitely wrong about the subject of the messages.
Ava <3: I need to tell you something and I don’t want you to worry.
Ava <3: Don’t freak out, but just wanted to let you know that there’s been a small accident at the house.
Ava <3: Very small, very minor accident.
Ava<3: The fire is already almost out.
Ava<3: It’s not even that big of a deal, so keep working.
Her heart seized with panic the moment her eyes landed on the word fire. She opened a portal inside their bedroom immediately and rushed down the stairs. The kitchen was still smoky when she entered it and through the light haze of smoke, she spotted the problem. It appeared that their poor oven was today’s victim. It was charred and black with soot and still smoking. The wall and roof above it were seared as were the counters on either side. There were puddles of water surrounding the oven, but the fire hose had already been removed from the house.
Sitting on the stovetop was a blackened and warped muffin tray with what might have been cupcakes at some point. At the moment they looked like little burnt chunks of brick. There were firemen still milling around the kitchen, but Ava was nowhere to be seen. Her heart rate spiked at the thought of Ava possibly getting hurt in the fire.
She hurriedly approached one of the firemen, shoes stepping in water that was spreading across the kitchen from the puddles surrounding the oven. He seemed surprised that she was there, but just as she was about to open her mouth and speak, her girlfriend walked through the front door with a firewoman in tow.
She rushed to her side immediately, engulfing Ava in a hug and then holding her at arm’s length to get a good look at her. Ava seemed okay. She was a little sooty with smudges of ash on her cheeks and forehead, but otherwise no burns, no major injuries.
“You’re okay,” she said in relief.
“I told you not to worry,” her girlfriend said matter-of-factly like she wasn’t in a world of trouble. “There was no structural damage to the house, but the oven will need to be replaced and the walls will need to be painted over.”
“I don’t care about the house. I only care that you’re okay.” She paused for a moment to give Ava a stern look. “And for the record this does not count as a small accident. This, babe, is an emergency.”
Ava looked at her sheepishly. “Sorry. I thought I had it handled.”
Sara gave her a pointed look. “Next time you call me when something like this happens and we can handle it together. I will not lose you to a kitchen fire. What happened anyway?”
Ava blushed bright red before her, reminding her of a time earlier in their relationship when Ava blushed anytime she even so much as looked in her direction. Adorable. Her girlfriend was adorable and as much as she was worried about Ava at the moment, she was delighted at the return of those scarlet cheeks.
“Well,” she prompted when Ava remained silent.
Ava looked off to the side and then scrunched her eyes shut and said in a rush of words, “I left the oven mitt in the oven.”
She couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face. “Sorry?”
Ava sighed. “I said-.”
She chuckled and waved a hand dismissively at the Director. “No, I heard you the first time. I just….” She shook her head. “You’re kind of a hazard in the kitchen, huh?”
Ava glared at her. “See if I ever cook for you again.”
Her eyes twinkled mischievously. “Frankly, it might be safer that way.”
Ava scowled at her. “I hate you.”
“No, you don’t,” she said punctuating her sentence with a quick peck on the lips. “You love me.”
Ava rolled her eyes but said, “I do.”
She wrapped her girlfriend up in a hug again, pressing kisses to slightly ash covered hair. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
+1 Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
Ava crumpled up her paper flyer into a small ball and chucked it into the kitchen recycling bin. The action would have been almost therapeutic if she wasn’t still so damn angry. All she had wanted to do was to try and make the world a slightly better place. Save the planet and all that.
Last week she had noticed that there were very few people with recycling bins in her neighborhood and she wanted to change that by starting a recycling initiative and encouraging all her neighbors to get bins for papers, plastics, and glass. She had made flyers and everything and had been going door to door all afternoon only to be met with disinterest.
Her neighbors didn’t care about her initiative and some of them didn’t even want to listen to her spiel about how easy it was to help their environment. Someone actually had the gall to slam the door in her face. It’s not like she was selling anything, just making a friendly suggestion.
She took another flyer and crumpled it up. “Selfish sons of bitches,” she grumbled.
This was just another thing to add to her list of failures. Why was she so capable at work, but couldn’t even manage to do laundry properly or bake or hell even do the dishes without breaking them? She was pretty much failing at all things domestic.
It had never bothered her before, well before she knew she was a clone. Now it just made her feel inadequate.
Maybe she wasn’t good at domestic tasks because it wasn’t in her programming? She shook her head to clear herself of that thought. She did not need to downward spiral. Besides, she reasoned with herself, she wasn’t programmed to love or feel joy either, but here she was with a girlfriend of her very own that she was head over heels for. This quelled her fears for the most part, but did nothing to soothe the anger she was currently still feeling. Her neighbors were still dicks.
She tossed the balled-up flyer in the direction of the bin just as a portal opened up in front of her. A little gasp escaped her lips when the paper ended up hitting her girlfriend directly in the face instead of reaching its intended destination.
Sara grimaced as the paper ball hit her. “You know, if you wanted some alone time all you had to do was say so. No need to be so dramatic.”
Sara didn’t deserve to bare the brunt of her anger, but she wasn’t in the mood for jokes and all that restless energy had to go somewhere. The captain’s expression sobered immediately when she saw that she was actually upset.
“What’s going on, Aves,” Sara asked, concern coloring her voice.
She glared at the captain and then picked up the rest of her flyers and tossed them violently into the bin as well. “Apparently, we are just going to recycle till we die because I’m no good at anything else and oh, I can’t even do that now!”
Sara’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Okay, wow. I don’t know where this is coming from, but you are good at so many things, Aves. You are a fantastic director, a great friend, an amazing girlfriend, and you’re really good at that one thing you do with your tongue,” her girlfriend said playfully.
Ava gave her girlfriend a look. Still not enthused about the jokes, but she did feel a little less angry. Sara walked towards her and wrapped her arms around her in a comforting embrace. All the fight left her body. She sagged against the smaller woman feeling foolish now.
“So, you’re not good at domestic things,” Sara continued. “Who cares? It doesn’t even compare to all the other amazing things you’ve already done. You’re an accomplished agent of a secret government agency. You’ve had to deal with becoming a Director before you were even ready for the position, and on top of that you’ve had to cope with the whole clone thing. Seriously, I’m so proud of you.”
Sara was right. In light of everything else that had happened to her not being good at one facet of her life wasn’t that big of deal. In fact, maybe not being good at everything actually made her more normal and less like the perfect woman she was designed to be.
The captain smiled kindly at her. “We can just be bad at domestic things together. Who knows? Maybe with time we might even get better?”
“Yeah, probably. Sorry,” she mumbled into Sara’s shoulder, slightly embarrassed now. “I was being completely irrational, I know. Thank you for putting things into perspective and for putting up with me.” She paused. “I’m still kind of bummed no one wants to join my recycling initiative.”
Sara stroked her hair soothingly. She soaked up the offered sympathy, secretly enjoying the attention Sara was giving her. So she was a little needy, so what?
“Aww baby, I’m sorry. I know how weirdly excited you were about that. I can help you with it, if you want to try again?”
“I would like that.”
“Good,” the captain breathed out.
While she had her girlfriend’s pity, she figured she might as well milk the situation a little. She gave Sara her best puppy dog eyes and a pout she knew the captain had trouble resisting. “You know what would make me feel better?”
“If you took me out for ice cream.”
Sara chuckled. “Sure. I’ll even buy you an extra scoop of that disgusting rum raisin stuff you like.”
She pulled away from Sara, affronted. “It’s a good flavor, Sara. I’m sorry your palate isn’t sophisticated enough to appreciate it!”
The captain snorted, amused at her behavior. “Okay, ice cream snob, let’s get going before I change my mind.
A few weeks after the recycling initiative incident, she began to notice that quite suddenly all of her neighbors had recycling bins in front of their houses. She knew that Sara had agreed to help her, but she thought that they would go door to door again together.
She had attempted to talk to her neighbors about the sudden appearance of the bins, but each time she started to approach them, they hurried off either to their cars or back inside their homes. She might have just been seeing things, but they kind of looked scared of her? She found this to be quite odd but didn’t give it too much thought.
And then one day she managed to catch one of her neighbors across the street unaware as he was taking his empty recycling bins back in. He was in his late 20’s and was generally a good neighbor, kept his house in order and didn’t make too much noise. She vaguely remembered his name being Steve but wasn’t positive about it.
Steve startled slightly when she appeared at his side, seemly coming out of nowhere. His face looked terrified for a brief second and then morphed into a pleasant neighborly smile.
“Oh, Hi Ava. Just taking in my recycling bins because I’m totally all about the recycling now,” he rambled nervously.
“O-kay,” she said slowly taking in his odd behavior. “Thanks for joining the initiative by the way. The environment appreciates it.”
He chuckled awkwardly and said, “No problem.” Steve paused and then hesitated before adding, “Your girlfriend is terrifying by the way.”
Her brow furrowed. “Sorry?”
“It’s, uh, nothing,” he said scratching nervously at the back of his neck. “It’s just that when she came to talk to me about the recycling thing, she may have vaguely threatened me? I mean she didn’t actually say the words, but it was more like how she said it and the tone of her voice. But like it was definitely implied.”
Her brow furrowed in confusion. That did sound like something Sara would do. That would explain why all of her neighbors joined the initiative so quickly and without her having to revisit them.
“I’m sorry about that,” she quickly said. “She just really cares about the environment. Total tree hugger. I will definitely talk to her about that, so don’t worry about it and thanks again.”
Steve seemed relieved at that. “Yeah, no problem. I’ll, uh, catch you around.”
She turned around to go back to her house. She should probably talk to Sara and let her know that it was not okay to threaten her neighbors, but she had to admire the results of the captain’s work. Her recycling initiative was actually successful and it’s not like anyone really got hurt. Maybe she could ignore this, just this once.