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I did not fall in love with you.

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Ava hears it often, late at night when Sara assumes she is already asleep. A melodic whisper, in a language Ava cannot understand.

Sometimes it’s short, only a few syllables, whispered against her forehead like a goodnight kiss.

Sometimes Sara will wrap her arms around Ava, kiss her neck and Ava will fall asleep with the hum of much longer mutterings drifting softly through their bedroom.

She will dream of Sara whispering lovingly in her ear, warm and soft and safe. So unlike their daily lives.

She doesn’t know what Sara is saying in those nights, she wouldn’t dare to ask in these moments. Because clearly, it’s important to Sara. And so, clearly, it is important to Ava as well.

Ava knows what Sara has gone through in her life. Lives. She has read all the file the Time Bureau had on the Legend. And Sara talks about it. Sometimes. When they’re alone in the comfort of their own space, secluded and safe.

She trusts Ava with an intensity that leaves her breathless when she thinks about it too much. And her trust in Sara is just as overwhelming.

So these soft whispers at nighttime, they leave Ava wondering. Wondering, not doubting. She has no doubt about Sara’s love for her. She couldn’t. Not when the woman looks at her the way she does, holds her, cares for her.

But she does wonder. And worry about it. Sara doesn’t keep anything from her, has been so eager to open up her heart and family to Ava. Co-captains for life. All of life. Every life.

She worries about Sara, why she wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing those whispers during the daytime. When Ava can look into her eyes and see whatever meaning in Sara’s blue eyes. She wants to look at Sara and figure out what she’s saying just by seeing her face. Because Sara’s face, Ava knows, could never hide a truth from her.

It’s more than whispers in the dark.

It’s Ava walking into their room without a care to find Sara reading alone on their bed. And it’s Ava pretending not to notice the flowing foreign alphabet printed in gold on the cover of Sara’s book when she puts it away in her nightstand drawer, claiming she’d rather cuddle than read anyway.

It’s Sara pretending that she didn’t know that Ava had definitely seen the cover of the book.

Ava doesn’t ask. She doesn’t feel like she should. And Sara doesn’t explain.

And later that night, when Ava finds herself drifting off to sleep, Sara mumbles something into her hair. Lovingly. Ava doesn’t understand, but she feels the words in the way Sara’s arms tighten around her waist.

It’s love, in whatever language Sara wants to use. Ava knows this.

But she does wonder. And she does worry.

 

 

“Do you want to tell me what’s been bothering you?” Sara asks one night.

They’re already in bed, the lights are off and she can feel the brush of Sara’s bare legs against her own.

“I’m not sure.” Ava replies truthfully. Because if she talks about it, says it out loud, it will suddenly become this tangible thing. And Sara will feel the need to explain herself and Ava isn’t sure.

She isn’t sure if Sara is ready to. She isn’t sure if she herself can listen in the way Sara might need her to.

Ava turns over on her other side, looking Sara in the eye. She needs to see her face right now.

“You’ve been talking to me, late at night.” Of course she will tell her the truth, “and I wonder what you’re saying. And I worry you don’t feel comfortable sharing this with me.”

“Oh.”

Sara frowns a little, clearly trying to figure out how to proceed with this conversation. Ava doesn’t need her to.

“You don’t have to say anything.”

They stay silent. Ava doesn’t need Sara to explain. She doesn’t have to. But a part of Ava had selfishly wished she would.

Sara doesn’t seem like she will say anything more on the subject, so Ava just kisses her forehead softly and turns in her embrace. She shuffles so her back is firmly against Sara’s front and strong arms settle almost automatically around her waist.

No, she doesn’t need Sara to explain.

 

 

Almost a week later, Ava can feel her eyes starting to droop. Sara’s lips are soft on her neck and her arms are all the comfort she needs.

She’s safe and loved. She loves these soft moments with Sara. Wishes every minute could be spend just like this. Not only loved but in love.

“You’re going to think it’s stupid.”

It takes a full minute for Ava to catch up on what Sara is trying to say. She wants to turn around to face the woman, but Sara’s hands are soft, but firm on her hips preventing her from turning.

It’s okay. Ava knows. Sara sometimes needs this. Emotions are hard. And Sara feels so much, all the time. Sometimes it’s a lot to feel and to look Ava in the eye when she does it. Too vulnerable.

“When have I ever thought you were stupid?”

Sara chuckles, “Only always.”

And Ava is happy to lighten the mood a little.

“Aves…”

“You don’t have to.” Ava reminds her.

“I want to.”

Ava squeezes the hand on her hip, trying to show her support. She stays silent, Sara doesn’t need her to talk.

Sara sighs deeply behind her.

“When I left… left the League. I wanted to forget everything about it. I wanted to go back to my old life, pretend nothing had happened,” Ava doesn’t need to see Sara to know she is struggling, “I just wanted my life back.”

“Sara.”

“No baby,” Sara kisses the back of her head, “Let me say this, I want to.”

Ava falls silent again. The air in their room has become heavy, and part of Ava wishes she had never said anything at all.

“I wanted to move on,” Sara continues, “But I couldn’t. Obviously. It’s… I don’t wanna…”

“You don’t have to.”

“Hmm,” Sara finally accepts her words, “What it comes down to is, I can’t forget and I can’t let go. It’s never going to happen. So instead of trying to forget, I tried learning to live with it. Use the skills I have for something… better. Something I can be proud of.”

“You have so much to be proud of.”

“You have to say that, you’re my… my everything.” Sara kisses her neck this time, and Ava mumbles an “I love you” back.

“I learned more than just to fight there. The Arabic, I didn’t want to learn but I had to, to survive.” How Sara can talk about such brutal memories, while holding on to her so reverently, Ava will never understand.

“I wanted to forget about that too, but then I…” Sara sighs again, “This is so stupid… It’s really… Arabic is a very sweet language, did you know?”

Sara’s grip on her loosens, and Ava takes it as her queue to turn around. She presses a quick kiss to Sara’s lips, hoping to lessen her sorrows.

“I did not know.”

Sara nods seriously now. She has that look on her face. That look that tells Ava that she actually really truly cares about something, but she’d rather not show for fear of being mocked.

“Hmm, some of the best poems about love were written in Arabic.”

Ava smiles softly. Of course, Sara Lance would be into love poems in foreign languages.

“There’s nothing stupid about liking poetry, my love.”

Sara ducks her head, avoiding Ava’s gaze, “It’s not that. I don’t like poetry… not that much. I just, I wanted to learn how to live with it. The Arabic. I want some good memories for it…”

Ava doesn’t understand. She gently puts a finger under Sara’s chin, guiding her to look back at her again.

“Baby…” Ava kisses a flushed cheek, “I’m sorry, but I don’t get it.”

Sara huffs, “I’ve been reading Arabic love poems so I can recite them to you to associate them with the best thing I have in my life. Our love.”

“Oh.”

Silence. What can Ava say to that?

Sara doesn’t show her vulnerabilities. No. She rips her own beating heart from her chest and offers it to Ava to do with as she wills.

She gives and gives and gives so much love, so unafraid, so willingly.

How does she respond to such a thing?

Ava is in absolute awe of the woman in front of her.

Sara’s back to avoiding her gaze. Embarrassed but unapologetic.

“I love you.” Ava finally whispers, but it doesn’t seem adequate enough. It’s so much more than love. It’s the absolute knowledge that this woman right here, next to her on the bed in the darkness of the night, this woman was born for her. And she was born for Sara.

All her hardships, all the times her heart got broken and mangled, it was just preparation for meeting this person, this one woman with her own broken pieces. And together they could finally sand down the hurt and the aches of the past, and glue their hearts back to a whole.

Their love is one heart, smoothed down but still visibly mend. It took a lot of punches and the past has left its scars, but it’s alive and it beats. And everyday it beats stronger than before when Ava doesn’t think it possible.

But she cannot put it into words. She kisses Sara then, deeply, hoping to convey everything she has ever felt for her. Hoping that it means enough.

And then she reaches over, over Sara, and takes out the book Sara had hidden in her nightstand. She hands it to Sara.

“Read to me?”

“You won’t understand?”

Ava kisses her again, “It’s you. I’ll always understand.”

Sara looks at her then, all blue eyes and beauty even in the dark, she doesn’t open the book, and a familiar whisper fills their room:

لم أقع في الحب، لقد مشيت إليه بخطى ثابتة

مفتوحة العينين حتى أقصى مداها

إني واقفة في الحب، لا واقعة في الحب