To sleep or not to sleep ?
The Lazarus pit is calling her, and Sara struggles to ignore it enough to go to sleep. But it appears that all one needs to defeat insomnia is a bit of Shakespeare and the soft touch of Ava Sharpe.
(See the end of the work for notes.)
Sara sighed and ran a trembling hand trough her hair. Here we are again, she thought bitterly. On her right Ava was softly snoring, one arm tucked under her pillow, the other thrown across her girlfriend's stomach. Sara took the time to look at her, to let her eyes follow the delicious curves of her body coyly covered by the light blue sheet. She didn't need to see it to imagine the roundness of her breast or the firmness of her abdomen. She knew her body pretty well, she had learnt the soft spots that made Ava purred, the tiny areas that made her moaned and the few patches of skin that were ticklish –"Did the Director of the Time Bureau just gigged?" "Shut up and kiss me"-. A few hours ago, she had made love to that body with patience and intention, following Ava's messy directions, loving the way lust made her loose basic speech skills, reducing her sentences to short verbs and pleas. Dropping a small kiss to her cheek, Sara got out of bed, careful not to wake the sleepy woman. One last look at her drooling figure in the bed and she left the room.
"Gideon, anyone awake?" Sara asked while already knowing the answer.
"No Captain, Zari took her donut and went back to sleep."
That made her smile. She sometimes joined Zari for her 1am snack when she could. They would just sit quietly next to each other, silently acknowledging that they weren't alone. Making a quick stop by the kitchen to take an apple and a bottle of water, she went to the training room. Changing in the sport clothes that she always left in her locker, she surveyed the room. She could take her bo staff for a couple of rounds against the dummy, but it may be too loud for her sleeping team. She won't rob them of their sleep just because she couldn't have her own. Stretching carefully she decided on the punching bag. In those moments she truly missed the Arrow cave and its salmon ladder or training with Dig and Oliver under the constant ramblings of Felicity. A couple of rounds with Ollie would have been ideal. She put on her earphones and played her training playlist, pushing the volume to its maximum.
"Gideon, could you warn me when Ava wakes up?"
"Of course Captain." The AI's voce responded through her earphones.
The loud beats of music filling her mind, Sara started her routine. It always began with basics workout exercises such as push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, squats,… Basics were good, it was grounding and she did a hundred of each, feeling her muscles working in this way that was almost hypnotic. She then passed to a more aggressive training learnt from the League, punching the air with ferocity. She was left breathless, her chest rising quickly while sweat ran along her neck to her back. Putting on her protection bandages for her hands, she stood in front of the punching bag, circling it like an opposant. If only she could punch the pit out of her mind… Slowly exhaling to control her breathing, she started landing punches. Time lost its meaning and Sara lost herself in her training. Her mind was blank, empty and peaceful.
"Captain, miss Sharpe is starting to wake up."
Gideon's voice broke her trance and she stopped, her heartbeats loud in her ears in spite of the music. Her arms were shacking a bit and she could feel the beginning of soreness in her legs.
"What time is it?" she asked while cleaning her stuff.
" Half past seven, Captain."
She nodded to herself, reviewing Ava's morning routine before going to the Bureau. She wanted to catch her in her shower, but her body was exhausted, both from their nightly activities and her training, and she didn't want to make it obvious to her girlfriend. Breakfast will have to do. She reached the kitchen and started a pot of coffee.
"Good morning Cap!"
She didn't have to turn to know Ray entered. Only Palmer could be that joyful in the morning. She liked his cheerfulness, how he filled the room with his rambling, sharing his random thoughts and being so easily and openly himself. She listened to him going on about his latest experience, drinking her coffee and trying hard not to let her morning workout go to waste. Darkness was always waiting for her but she had to be stronger. She could feel her headache returning. Fighting was exhausting.
"Morning babe" she said, hearing Ava entered the room.
She felt her arms embracing her and she let herself sink into her girlfriend love. A soft kiss was placed to her temple before letting her go. Ava served herself a coffee and asked for French toast. She smiled at Ray and laughed a bit with him before he left the room.
"You weren't there when I woke up."
Her voice was soft with no accusation in it but Sara knew it wasn't a casual remark. Swallowing the last of her drink, she put her mug in the sink and leaned on the counter.
"Yeah, sorry, I wanted to train a bit."
Ava nodded, but she didn't look convinced.
"It's the third times this week."
"A girl has to stay in shape" she tried to make it into a joke but it sounded wrong to her own ears.
Ava finished her breakfast in silence, then washing her dishes –"I won't let Ray cleaning after me!" "But he truly loves it Ava".
" You know you can talk to me, right? I'm here for you, and not just for the sex, Sara."
Her tone was so earnest and vibrant of love Sara felt guilty. She knew Ava was here for her but she couldn't do anything this time. No enemies to punch no nightmares to chase away. She couldn't sleep and there was nothing to do about it except wait for her insomnias to pass. Taking her hand, she linked their fingers and looked at her eyes.
"I know Ava, I know" she whispered.
They kissed slowly, savoring the taste of each other on their tongues.
"Now go get a shower because you really stink."
One last peck and Ava opened a portal to her office.
"A good day to you too, jerk."
Ava winked at her before leaving Sara alone. She smiled to herself, wondering what she did to deserve such a woman.
"Captain, you wanted to be warned if Nate and Ray started experimenting together without your knowledge"
Rolling her eyes, Sara thanked the AI and went to scold her children.
They had decided to spend the evening at Ava's apartment to have a nice homemade dinner just the two of them. Sara knew it was Ava's way to take her away from the training room without making a big deal of it, but she let herself be taken care of. She didn't want to make Ava feel like she didn't trust her. They sipped wine over lasagnas and watched a silly rom-com on Netflix before going to bed early. There were soft kisses and loving words and soon Ava fell asleep with her girlfriend's body pressed to her side. Sara tried her best to lie still, reciting Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech that she had learnt in high-school. It always helped her to keep her mind occupied; she used to do it a lot during her time with Ivo. When she joined the League and learnt Arabic she translated it in this new language, enjoying the gymnastic her brain had to do. She did the same in mandarin and then Russian, before going back to English.
"To die, to sleep, To sleep, perchance to dream, ay, there's the rub. For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life."
She didn't like Shakespeare when she was younger, but she had to admit that he get a couple of things right. Glancing to the digital clock on Ava's nightstand she had to grit her teeth not to swear.
Still seven hours to go.
Ava rolled on her side, mumbling softly in her dreams. She was adorable. Free to move without waking her up, Sara left the bed, careful not to let cold air enter the warmth of the covers. Her feet were light on the parquet floor until she reached the couch of the living room. She gathered their forgotten glasses and went to the open kitchen to rinse them. She did the dishes, wiped them clean and put them away, with a silly smile on her face, for she knew exactly where Ava's dishes were stowed. Then, she took a glass, and her bottle of scotch. She had brought it even before leaving a change of underwear at Ava's. She had laugh and they had both drank, exchanging sillies stories and getting pleasantly buzzed. She took a random book on some serial killer –"Half of your library is books on serial killers?" "Yeah, so?" "You're lucky I know you, 'cause it's kind of creepy babe"-, served herself a drink and sat at the counter. She read for a few hours, allowing herself only two refills, before her eyelids get heavy. A yawn made her paused and she thought maybe she could finally sleep. She managed to get less than 12hours of sleep since the beginning of the week and she knew it was getting dangerous for her to go on the field. She put the book back on its shelf; rinsed her glass and placing it back before going back to the bedroom.
Slowly she crept under the cover, spooning Ava warm body –"You're the smallest big spoon ever!"- and let her eyes close. Breathing evenly, she listened to the silence its heaviness weighting on her. Flashes of Laurel danced in her mind, but she chased them away. The whisper of the pit was getting louder in her ear making her tensed. It was so loud this week… She felt like it could swallow her at anytime, its humming trying to lure her into its darkness. She groaned and rolled on her back.
"Back to good old Shakespeare I guess." she sighed to the dark.
Having woke up beside her girlfriend, Ava supposed she had found the solution and Sara didn't had the heart to contradict her hopeful eyes. So she kissed her and applied a bit more make-up to hide the dark circles under her eyes. Once back on the Waverider she asked for an update on her team's antics while she was away and then started her day. The anachronism was pretty easy and she chose to stay on the ship, sending Ray, Nate and Charlie to deal with it. Mick went back to writing while she played some video games with Zari.
"You okay Cap? You seem a bit off those last couple of days" Zari asked while beating her for the second time at Mortal Kombat.
Sara sighed and threw her controller on the bed before sipping her beer.
"I'm a bit tired that's all, Z. Don't think you winning is gonna be the norm."
Her friend laughed while starting a solo round.
"Then take a power nap or whatever and come back to reclaim your title."
Sara snorted at the insolence of her teammate but could see she wasn't wrong. Regaining her room, she let herself fall on her bed after disposing of her shoes. She hugged Ava's pillow and closed her eyes. Maybe she needed a power nap.
"I'm sorry Captain? It appears your help is required on the anachronism, mister Palmer seems to have been kidnapped."
Sara groaned loudly, rolling on her back.
She just wanted sleep, nightmares be damned. She rolled out of bed, too exhausted to be discreet. She went to grab her bottle of scotch, not caring for a glass, and stumbled to the couch. Locating the remote, she mindlessly switched channels while sipping her bottle, enjoying how the burn of the alcohol drown out the pit's call. Because the universe had a sick sense of humor she found a channel showing Hamlet, the version of 1996 with Kenneth Branagh. As it was only starting, she decided that it would do. Easing herself between the soft pillows of the couch, she reached for the fluffy blanket. The second act was playing when she heard steps coming.
Ava's voice was heavy with sleep, and she was rubbing her eyes, the perfect picture of cuteness. Sara made her a place under the blanket and welcomed her weight against her chest. She rested her head on her shoulder for a while, watching Polonius and Reynaldo talking before losing interest and kissing Sara's neck.
"Did you have a nightmare?" she asked softly against her skin.
"Each time you leave the bed it gets cold, you know? That's how I know I've been sleeping alone most of the week."
Her tone was full of confidence, defying Sara to contradict her. She sat up and caught her girlfriend's eyes, silently demanding explanations. Sara bit on her lips and thought of making a distraction, but she could not lie when Ava wore her love on her sleeves. She also sat, not liking how laying under Ava made her feel vulnerable, and adjusted the blanket on their legs.
"I can't sleep" she quietly admitted.
Ava was always so patient with her, never pressuring her into anything, but letting her open herself by reassuring her of her presence and love.
"Are you having nightmares?" she asked when Sara failed to respond.
"I don't understand, Sara."
She linked their fingers and brought them to her lips. Sara watched Hamlet giving his speech to the Firs player before taking a breath.
"The pit, the Lazarus pit, it's calling me. And I'm used to it, it's always calling me, but usually it's more of a faint humming that I can easily ignore." The words poured out of her mouth and she didn't try to filter them, needing them out. She realized that she wanted Ava to understand her, she needed her to understand.
"But sometimes, it gets louder, like a roar in my chest and it's loud, Ava, so loud I can't properly think. It's louder at night and I can't ignore it enough to sleep. Every time I close my eyes I fear I'm going to go deaf. It's trying to force me to break, to surrender to it. I want to sleep, I swear Ava, I want to dream in your arms, but I can't." Her voice was trembling, imploring. No tears in her eyes but so much honesty it took Ava's breath away.
"Please, please don't make go to sleep."
Sara closed her eyes, not really afraid of her girlfriend's reaction but not sure she could deal with it for now. She felt her shift until she took place on her lap. Her lips met hers, showering her mouth with small kisses until Sara reached her hand on her neck and dove in for a deeper kiss. Ava's tongue caressed her lips before coming home in her mouth while her hands get lost in her hair. When they finally broke apart, she opened her eyes to Ava's loving smile.
"I won't make you sleep babe."
Sara let out a relieved sigh and kissed her again, more chastely this time. Ava hands pushed her to lay down before resuming her earlier position on top of her.
"But I'll stay with you." she whispered. "Because the bed is cold, and you're warm, and… wait, isn't that the pretentious douche from Harry Potter?"
"God, I love you, Ava."
Sara laughed surprised her for an instant but she welcome the spread of warmth in her belly that pushed the pit's call a bit further away.
She kissed Ava's hair before watching the beginning of the third act. Hamlet famous tirade came and went, the play unfolding under her distracted eyes. She could feel Ava breathing under her arm, the sound soothing her to relax for the first time this week.
It was nearing 5am when Sara finally fell asleep.
She didn't heard Ava's alarm, nor her girlfriend preparing for the day. She didn't heard her calling Gideon to let the team know not to try to reach Sara before speaking to her first.
She didn't move when she carried her back to the bed, dropping a loving kiss to her cheek before going to the Bureau.
She woke up at noon, her stomach growling, a bit disoriented, but a smile reached her face upon finding Ava's note on the pillow next to her.
I must you really love you to find you that cute when you're drooling over my head 3 Call me when you wake up, sleepy head, so I can properly kiss you.
I'm back with this second ff thanks to the kind respond I had with the first one, so thanks!
Will I ever let Sara sleep? That's the real question. I'm thinking of writing a series for the OS where I keep Sara awake, it would be called "What is sleep?". I'm not sure to do it, I'll see.
So here we have a bit of Shakespeare because it was starring at me from my bookshelves and why not? I know reciting something can be grounding and helps to focus, so at first I thought of a list of some sport thingy, like a serie of punches and moves allowed in Krav Maga, but I know more about Shakespeare than on any sport combat, so that will have to do.
I know there is not a lot happening here, but I thought it kind of soft, so I hope you liked it.
Until next time mates !