The bar was loud and crowded. People laughing, bodies pressing against each other, sweat and alcohol saturing the air. Sara put down her empty glass and grabbed her beer. It was warm, the taste making her cringe but she gulped it down anyway. She tried to catch the barman's attention for a refill but the poor boy was overwhelmed. For a brief second, she thought of jumping across the bar and getting her own drink herself. She wasn't drunk. Not yet. She could feel it at the back of her head, in the pit of her stomach, in the heaviness of her limbs. She wasn't drunk yet, but soon. With a sigh, she resigned herself to wait. She didn't come here to make a scene. At her side, Mick silently offered the rest of his beer and she accepted it with a quiet nod while he called for the waiter, his voice loud and strong. She came here to get drunk. Which she could have easily done on the ship, but Gideon had been bugging her for weeks about her consumption of alcohol and she wasn't in the mood for her passive-aggressive comments. So, she had given the night to everyone, made a speech about laying low and being responsible and went to the bar. Mick had silently followed her, not bothering to ask where she went and if he could join. They had shared a look across the bridge and it was enough. Mick needed a drink too. Sure, he seemed to always need one, but this time was different, and Sara understood that. It was different for her too. She was finishing her gifted beer when the boy finally came around to refill their glass.
"Leave it there", she said, her voice hoarse.
The boy seemed embarrassed, nervously looking around and back at her, not sure he was allowed, not sure he should do it. He had thick eyeliner on and a nose ring that tried and failed to make him look edgy. He was weirdly familiar for an unknown reason until his tall and thin body matched with Garry awkward laugh and the thought annoyed her more than it should have. She reached in her pocket for some cash and dropped a hundred on the counter with a thud.
"Leave it there", she repeated firmly.
Emo Garry visibly blanched, but reached for the bills and left the bottle of whisky.
"Well done, Blondie", Mick cheered without any enthusiasm.
Maybe it was the lack of emotion in his voice, or maybe she was drunker than she had thought, but after sipping her glass for a moment, she asked him:
"Do you feel it too?"
"What?" he grunted around the rim of his glass.
Sara shrugged, not finding the words. She drained her glass in one gulp and refilled it, watching the amber liquid flow. The bottle emptied into the glass and filled it. She lifted the glass to her lips and took a sip, emptying her glass of some of its contents to fill herself. And yet the hollowness inside her was just as abysmal. She put it down with a sigh and ran a trembling hand in her hair.
"Yeah." Mick said at last.
She looked at him with a raised brow, but he ignored her, lost in the emptiness of his own glass.
"You forget how empty it can feel until you're reminded that this… void", he paused and frowned, not pleased with the word but coming short of another one, "it's part of you. It never fills, it never disappears, you just get better at ignoring until it seizes you by the throat and thrusts you head first into the freezing waters of its depths."
He spoke in a low voice, deep and bitter; his words were marked by a weary wisdom that made Sara shudder. In his eyes she read a resentful resignation that she shared only too well. She looked down to her closed fists, her nails biting in the skin of her palms and let out a bitter chuckle.
"I was thinking of the cold hollowness that rots you from within, but yeah, that's good to."
Mick grunted, as agreement or amusement, probably both.
"I blame Haircut", he said harshly.
"Same." She answered without missing a beat.
She drank one more glass, two, three, watched the bottle emptied a bit more each time and felt anger boiled in her veins.
"Fuck him", she spat.
Her grip on the glass tightened.
"Fuck them all", he pointed out.
"Fuck them all" she confirmed through clenched teeth.
She raised the glass to her lips but nothing filled her mouth and she realized it was already empty. She took a long look at it, her emotions raging in a dense storm of anguish, and rising to her feet, she smashed the glass against the wooden floor of the bar. The crash was muffled by the general chaos and the indifference of its patrons, but Mick beside her also stood up, let his glass shatter beside hers and nonchalantly picked up the bottle.
Emo Garry rushed to them with a broom and an anxious face, but Mick pushed past him.
"We're leaving", he said simply.
Sara followed him without a word and they went outside, entering the night.
She had lost another member of her crew. Well, technically he wasn't dead, but he chose to leave them. The result was the same still, he left. Ray left them, and no matter what she told him about doing what was right for him, it didn't sit well with her. Ray was just like Mike, he was an OG Legend.
And he had chosen to leave.
She had started this whole mess with him by her side, he had been there for everything, from Savage to Mallus, including their crazy crossovers with the Arrow team. She could always count on his bubbly enthusiasm, and having him around was like caring for a crazy smart yet impossible childish grown up. He was a friend and he knew her well. Well enough to know when to push her and when to let her breath. He knew about her past, and though she had never really confided in him, there was this tacit understanding between them.
And he had chosen to leave.
They had both started the Legends because they didn't fit with the Team Arrow, they were misfits, lost, dead to the world, alone. And they had built themselves a family with the other, with Rip, Snart, Mike, Kendra, Stein and Jefferson. But one by one, they all left. Mike and Ray, they were still there, a reminder of how it all started, but also a proof of how much they had all changed. So, maybe Ray wasn't her best friend, but he was family.
And he had chosen to leave.
To leave the Legend, to leave Mick and her.
To leave her.
"Fuck him", she said again to the night, and the wind carried her words away as if the weighted nothing.
Her eyes were burning with unreleased tears but she willed them away. They walked silently, passing the bottle between them, silence covering them in its thick coldness. When they finally reached the ship, Gideon informed her that everyone was already back in their room. Sara went directly to her office but stopped when Mick didn't follow her.
"A drink?" she proposed simply but he shrugged, showing her the almost empty bottle in his hand.
She didn't insist, only nodded and turned around, stopped again when he added:
"Don't let the void win, Blondie. We're more than its emptiness. I'll see you tomorrow."
She walked to her office and dropped herself on her armchair. Her tears finally ran free. She blindly reached for something to drink, anything, and brought it to her lips without glancing at it. The burnt in her throat was enough, she didn't care what it was. She needed to fill the emptiness or numb herself enough that it didn't matter anymore.
"Captain, I'll advise you to…"
"Fuck you, Gideon" she yelled.
At least, she had tried to yell, but a loud sob had escaped her lips and she resisted the need to scream. Clumsily, she opened a portal to the apartment's living room and crossed it on shaky legs.
She was alone.
Ava was on some mission, in the Ancient Greece, or maybe Rome. She had told her not to wait, that she'd be home late. Whatever.
She was alone.
She looked around the dark room, felt the cold in her body and bit her lips. Hard. She went for the bathroom, her steps heavy, exhaustion and tension weighting on her. The buzzing in her head was loud, but not enough to drown her thoughts. She turned on the light and groaned under its intensity, bringing a clammy hand to her forehead.
She was definitely drunk.
She gave herself a moment to get used to its brightness, took a sip from her bottle and placed it firmly on the edge of the sink. Her eyelids heavy, she looked at her reflection. She looked like shit.
"Fuck" she said to the silence of the room.
She undressed with effort, her clothes forming a sloppy pile on the floor. Her hands were shaking.
She reached for the bottle but her clumsiness made her knock the fancy soap dispenser thingy that Ava liked. It crushed on the ground in a heavy crash.
"Fucking fuck" Sara spit with anger, looking at the mess around her.
She was alone, naked, surrounded by shards of glass. Her teeth bite into her lips to stop herself. From cursing or crying, she couldn't tell. She didn't care. Her heart was loud and heavy in her chest, beating against her ribs with anger. She drank from the bottle, eyes still on the mess she made. The silence was mocking her. She threw the bottle on the tiles, it crashed shattering the heaviness of the silence for a brief instant. Her fists were tight at her sides, short nails leaving small crescents of moon in her palms. She forced herself to breath, to calm the hammering of her heart. She couldn't. Breathing hurt. It was hard. Air seemed to lose itself on the way to her lungs, leaving her panting.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck" she rambled as the stupidity of her actions washed her. Trembling hands started scratching her tights and a distant voice in her mind told her she was having a panic attack. It was Ava's voice, of course, only Ava could point the obvious with a soft and calm tone, stripped of judgment and anger. She closed her eyes, and focused. She was the captain of a fucking time ship, she was former assassin and vigilante, she wouldn't let herself be brought down by a fucking panic attack. Time passed without her moving. She stood with her eyes closed until she had her breathing under control, until her hands listen to her and release their grip on her skin. Finally, she opened her eyes and let out a shaky breath. She was so cold. She kneeled and started gathering the glass with her hands, trying to get a hold of the bigger pieces before going to fetch the broom. She was focused on her task alone. Gather the glass. Fetch the broom. Clean the floor. Take a shower. Gather the glass. Fetch the broom. Clean…
Ava's voice startled her and she froze instinctively.
"Baby, what happened? Are you alright?"
She saw in the corner of her eyes that Ava took a step into the bathroom and she hurriedly stopped her.
"Don't" she exclaimed "I broke glass."
She saw the confusion and the worry in Ava's eyes and couldn't help but chuckle under her breath. What a sight must she be. Ava didn't listen to her, and step carefully around the mess to join her. She reached for her robe and covered her trembling body with care. Sara realized how cold she was.
She could feel Ava's nervous energy, her need to ask questions, to clean the mess, to gain information in order to deal with the situation. But she knew her too well and didn't ask for the obvious.
"Do you want to get out?" she asked instead, holding her with soft hands.
Sara shook her head.
"I wanted to take a shower" she answered, and if her words sounded like a whine, none of them commented on it.
Ava nodded and made quick work of turning the water on to let it warm for a bit before helping her into the shower. Sara hadn't realized how tired she felt, her body almost too heavy to move on her own.
"You're okay in there?"
Ava was watching her with careful eyes, hands ready to catch her if needed. Sara thought of nodding and telling her she was fine but the words that left her mouth had another plan.
"Can you come with me?"
She would have been embarrassed of her needy voice if it hadn't been Ava. Ava, loving and patient Ava.
"Let me clean quickly and I'll be right here with you." She answered without missing a beat.
Sara turned to the water, letting its warmth work on her tense muscles. She closed her eyes and let the water wash away her thoughts. She felt calmer now and she even smiled when she felt Ava's hands on her waist. She let herself be pressed against her front, enjoying the softness of her skin and the light kisses she was dropping on her neck.
"Will you explain to me what happened, babe?"
Tender hands were traveling along her sides, grazing her boobs before slipping past them to her shoulders.
"I'm sorry for your soap thingy" she whispered, afraid her voice would break the comfort of Ava's touch.
"It's alright, Sara." She kissed her pulse point one last time before reaching for her shampoo.
She wouldn't insist, she wouldn't pressure her for answers. It could wait a bit more. With care, Ava washed Sara's hair, letting her fingers massaged her scalp in a familiar way. After some nightmares, Sara would take a shower, never a bath, and let Ava joined her. It became a quiet ritual between them, warm and intimate, calming for them both. Ava appreciated that Sara let her care for her, while her touch grounded Sara. She was rinsing her hair when Sara finally found some words to put on her feelings. Ava taught her the importance of communication, for their relationship but also for herself. Putting words on her demons was a way to affirm her control over them.
"I didn't want Ray to leave" she stated. "He's been there from day one, I need him."
It was the easiest truth to admit for now and Ava received it with a soft hum, letting her continue as she lathered her body in soap.
"We were the same when we started" she went on "lost and alone and… purposeless. But now, he doesn't need me, doesn't need the Legends anymore."
She sighed and passed a frustrated hand in her hair.
"I don't mean to sound petty."
She wasn't mad at him, she finally admitted to herself. She understood and respected his choice, but damn did it still hurt. It was as if he had grown enough with the Legends and now he didn't need them to be a surrogate family for he had a new one with Nora.
Ava slowly turned her in her arms to look at her eyes.
"What do you mean, babe?" she asked softly.
Sara lost herself a moment in the love that shone through her eyes, always a bit marveled to see it was for her. She poured some of Ava's bodywash in her hand and let them traveled her body. It was grounding to feel Ava under her hands, soft curves and tones muscles, tall and strong against her.
"He's changed, he's no longer lost and alone. He doesn't need the Legend to find his purpose, he has it in himself and…" she stopped herself, unsure of her next words.
But Ava was there, she held her face with caring hands and kissed her mouth with loving lips.
"You're afraid you haven't changed?"
Sara did not answer, but her silence spoke volumes. They finished showering in silence and then dried each other off, brushed their teeth and put on their pajamas. Sara got under the sheets while Ava fetched her some water and pills before joining her. She went to turn off her bedside lamp but Sara stopped her with a trembling hand and Ava understood. The darkness in her mind was too frightening tonight to be faced in the dark. Sara buried herself against Ava, wrapping her body around hers. She slipped one leg between hers, draped an arm around her waist, and rested her head on her breast so that she could hear the gentle beat of his heart. Her breath settled on hers and after a long moment, she felt the calm return to her thoughts. Ava gave her time, as always, patient and understanding, one hand slipped under her shirt to feel the warmth of her skin, the other lost in a soft caress in her hair. She took a deep breath and let the words out.
"The League had given me a purpose, working with Ollie had given me purpose, protecting my family had given me a purpose… But I died, I failed. And when I came back… I couldn't do any of those things any longer. The bloodlust, the pain, the past, everything was too much and I was left with nothing but this emptiness that no amount of blood and pain seemed to fill. Rip came to me because I had nothing, I was nothing. He gathered us because we had no purpose and he could give us one, something to throw ourselves into, something bigger than us."
She let out a shaky sigh as Ava kissed her hair and squeezed her waist.
"The team, the ship, the family we've built, it's all we have. But not Ray, not anymore. He left and he wasn't scared."
"Are you? Scared to leave?" Ava asked softly.
Sara closed her eyes and nodded, shame bringing new tears on her cheeks.
"What's scaring you, babe?"
"I… I don't think I could leave", she admitted in a whisper. "I don't know who I'd be without what we're doing."
She held her breath for Ava's answer, tension radiating through her body.
"I love you" she said in a rush, too scared of her answer to listen to it. She disentangled her body and sat suddenly. "I love you in ways I've never thought I could. And I… I want to live everything with you. I want to wake up in the morning beside you and feel you close as I fall asleep. I want to argue about groceries and dishes, and sip wine in front of bad movies. I want to grow old with you and learn new things about you every day."
"Sara, babe, slow down…" Ava also sat up and reached for her but Sara went on.
"I love you and I want everything with you, for you. Everything. I want to give you everything, baby. So, if you wanna leave, if you wanna settle down, I'd follow you, Aves, I'd try. But, baby, I'm not sure I could. I'm not sure I can. I don't know who I'd be."
She was breathless, eyes bright and cheeks flushed. She looked at Ava, her lips, her jaw, her hair, her nose, everywhere but her eyes. Ava took her hands and linked their fingers.
"Sara, I love you too, you know that, right?"
She waited for her girlfriend to nod twice before going on.
"And you remember what I told you? On our first date?"
Again, she waited for Sara. When she only nodded, she squeezed her hand to prompt her to speak.
"That I was the love of your life", Sara finally said, meeting Ava's eyes with a faint hint of mischief.
Ava smiled briefly but didn't let herself be distracted. She reached a hand to cup her cheek and brought her face to hers, resting her forehead on hers. Sara closed her eyes in a sigh. Her breath was warm and behind the scent of mint from her toothpaste, Ava could still detect the faint hint of whatever alcohol she had been drinking.
"I told you that I don't want you to be normal. I told you that I wanted to be with you for who you were because I want you. I want Sara Lance, former brat, reformed Assassin, ex-Vigilante, Captain of a bunch of idiots, tiny blonde with an alcoholism problem she doesn't want to acknowledge, fierce woman plagued with nightmares, strong badass that truly is a pill of mush on the inside."
Sara let out a watery laugh, kissing quickly the corners of her lips.
"I don't remember that many words being spoken", she pointed out in a whisper.
"A lot of it was implied, I'll admit."
She dropped a soft kiss to her mouth to taste her smile and brushed her nose on hers.
"My point is, I would never ask you to leave what gives you a purpose, I would never ask you to be someone you're not. I know how important what you do is for you, and guess what, babe, it's important for me too." She let her thumb caress the roundness of cheek, tracing an invisible link between her freckles.
"But you said you wanted our relationship to keep growing", Sara said with a pleading look. "What if one day, it's not enough for you? What if one day you want to settle down more, more than a couple of date nights and lazy mornings. What if you want children and I…"
"You want to have children?" Ava wondered with surprise.
Sara blushed and nervously licked her lips.
"I don't know… do you?"
Ava thought for a moment, lost in the blue of her lover's eyes. Did she want children? The world was a messy place, filled with darkness and loss, dangerous at every step. Her work, their work, was as dangerous as it was important. But she could see in Sara eyes the blurry figure of a child. A little boy with blonde hair and a dimple in his chin, a plushy shark in his hand.
"I don't know" she said at last.
Sara exhaled, relieved? Disappointed? Ava couldn't tell.
"But my point still stands, baby" she declared firmly. "We will cross that bridge when it presents itself to us, we'll find our way through it, we'll compromise, we'll talk and find a way together. That's how love works, baby, that's how strong and healthy relationships work."
She found nothing but guilt in her lover's eyes and frowned.
"Do you think I'll be selfish enough to ask you to give up what makes you?" she asked.
"No, of course not" Sara replied quickly. "You're not selfish, Aves, you're perfect. But you have the rights to want things, to want more, and I want to be able to give it to you."
She shifted a bit and tugged at her shirt.
"There's this emptiness in me that never leaves and… without the team, without what we're doing, I think it'd swallow me. And I wish it was different, I wish I was like Ray, strong enough to fill the void myself, not to need that anymore, to give you the best, to give you every…"
Ava's hand settled more firmly on her cheek and brought her mouth to hers, silencing her with a deep kiss. Sara was surprised for a moment but quickly catch up and joined Ava's tongue in this familiar tango. Her hands found their way in her girlfriend's hair and she let herself be pulled on her lap. Kissing her was familiar, it felt good and soft, but there was also something powerful in it. Feeling Ava's love, feeling her move underneath her, hearing her small moans and drinking them in their kiss, it felt empowering. Not in a control way, not in a superior way, but in the knowledge that she was the one Ava had chosen to kiss, that she was the one Ava let see this all, hear this all, that she was the one allowed to grip her hair, hear her moan, and thrust her tongue in her mouth and taste her warmth. Ava's hands found her ass and squeezed it as she encouraged Sara's to move against her. With a groan, Sara broke the kiss and let her head fall on Ava's shoulder, moving her hips, griping her hair. She felt the strength of her arousal in her veins, felt it dampening her panties.
"Baby", she breathed harshly, "please, baby, please…"
One of her hand slipped under her shirt, cupped her breast and teased her nipple. Sara moaned and closed her eyes as the pleasure pulsed through her body.
"You're everything", Ava whispered in her ear as her other hand crept under her shirt to her other boob. "You're everything I want and need."
Sara whimpered and found her mouth again. Her kiss was messy and desperate but Ava understood. Her hand went down to her shorts and found the heat inside. She groaned loudly as Sara bite her lip.
"How can you not see", she mumbled.
Her long fingers stroke her slowly.
"How can you not understand."
She found her clit and circled it with the pad of her thumb as she tugged more firmly on her nipple. Sara moaned breathlessly. She pressed herself against Ava chest, her hands pulling at her shirt.
"Aves… I need… please", she pleaded, her voice deep and low making Ava seek friction of her own.
"What baby? What do you need?"
Sara bite the skin of her neck and then licked it.
"I wanna feel you, please." She pulled harder on the offending garment that robbed her of her girlfriend's skin.
Ava pulled her hand out of her shorts and in one swift movement, removed both their shirts. With a soft whimper, Sara pressed her chest to hers and kissed her fiercely. She pushed on her shoulders until Ava fell back on the bed and she settled more fully on top of her. Her hands slid over her breasts, over her stomach, and grabbing hold of Ava's pants, she waited for her consent before slowly removing them, doing the same with her shorts. She resumed her place on top, welcoming her thigh between her own. With her eyes closed, she moved her hips, pressing herself against the flexed muscles of Ava's thigh, her movements pressing her leg a little harder against her girlfriend's soaked flesh. It wouldn't be enough, not even close of what she needed now. Reading her mind, Ava reached for her and kissed her panting lips.
"What do you need?" she asked again in a breath.
"You" Sara said, the only word making sense.
"I've got you, babe, I'll always do."
Her hand found its way back between her tights and Sara moaned with relief.
"How do you feel?" Ava asked as she entered her with two fingers.
"Good, so fucking good"
With her other hand, she found Sara's and brought it to her own legs.
"Do you feel that? Do you feel me?"
"Fuck, baby" Sara flicked her clit several times before dipping a finger in her warmth. "You're so fucking wet, you feel so good."
They synced their thrusts and their moans aligned.
"You're everything, Sara, everything."
They kissed and panted, and groaned and fucked.
"You're everything I'll ever need, everything I'll ever want."
Her words were clumsy, but Sara nodded, Sara heard her.
"I love you" Sara said, over and over, the words melding together but never losing their meaning, their strength.
Ava added a third finger and groaned when she felt Sara doing the same.
"You're not empty" she grunted. "You never were and never will."
When Sara came, her cry was loud and unrestrained, and she curled her fingers just the right way to bring Ava with her over the edge. A couple of tears ran down her face but she didn't care. She fell on Ava's body and nestled her face in her neck and breath her skin, filling herself with the taste of her sweat.
In that moment, the afterglow of her orgasm still present, Ava's fingers still inside her, the echoes of her words still haunting her mind, Sara was struck with an indisputable truth. There was no room inside her for emptiness, not while Ava was there to fill her with her love.