Dark is a lonely color
"I'm sorry, Captain, but there is nothing I can do."
Sara blinked once, twice, three times and sighed. The darkness was thick and heavy, like a dense cloak that covered her eyes. It was unsettling and her body itself felt bothered by it. Her eyelids tried to chase the darkness away, blinking it away like a speck of dust or an unwanted tear. But it remained. Darkness was there when her eyes were open and it was still there when she closed them. Unchanged, unmoved, unforgiving. She bit her cheek, hard.
"But there has to be something, Gideon! Run some more tests", Ava urged the AI.
Sara could hear the fear behind her anger and she wondered whether her face reflected more the anguish or the blind stubbornness. She snorted, her unintentional pun making her cringe.
"Don't, Gideon, it's alright." She removed the bracelet and unstuck the two electrodes from her temples. She went to put her feet on the ground but Ava stopped her. Her hand landed on her chest with a soft firmness and she sighed.
"Wait, Sara, let Gideon run more tests. She could have missed something." Her tone was pleading; there was probably a frown on her face. How were her eyes? Were they shinning with unleashed tears or hard with resolve? She loved her eyes, loved the kindness and strength that they always held. God, she loved how she looked at her, it always made her feel special. Like maybe she wasn't just a screw up, maybe she was more than her past and her scars. She needed those eyes on her.
"I didn't, Director." Sara imagined Gideon's human form crossing her arms on her chest with a defiant look.
She blinked several times again, nothing changed, the cloak of darkness remained unbothered by her weak attempts.
"It's useless, Aves, let's go." She had turned her head toward her, holding her chin up to compensate her sitting position. What was Ava seeing? Grey eyes looking back at her? Or maybe there were white? Maybe they hadn't change at all, maybe they were still the same bleu. She blinked more. Was Ava looking at her eyes or scanning her whole body? If she could only see one thing, please, let it be Ava's eyes.
"Please", her voice broke and she closed her eyes. The same darkness was waiting for her. She had lived with darkness for so long, she thought she was used to it. She was wrong. So fucking wrong. Metaphorical darkness was just bullshit faced to real and concrete darkness. This darkness was dense and thick and cold and scary and… She felt tears on her cheeks and wiped them with a frustrated sigh. "I just want to go, please Ava."
There was probably pity in her girlfriend's eyes now. The hand on her chest moved to her face and her thumb wiped the last of her tears. The touch was almost overwhelming. The softness of her finger, the faint scent of her perfume...
"Alright, baby, as you wish."
She helped her stood, a hand firmly settled on her waist as she got her bearing. Sara took a tentative step, testing her balance. Her heart was loud in her chest and she held her breath. The chair was in her back, Ava on her left, so, in theory, on her right was a small table and the wall. She lifted her right arm to test her theory and nodded to herself when she touched the table. Alright. She could do this. The League's training included different exercises with sensory deprivation: fighting with a blindfold, a deafening cacophony, blinding and irregular light, total silence provided by earplugs… She had been trained for that, she could do this.
"How do you feel?" Ava asked, her tone careful. Sara could sense her struggling between caring and overbearing, not wanting to be overwhelming but still wanting to provide help. God, she loved that woman.
"I'm fine, I can do this" she said confidently. Ava arm left her body but she didn't have to see her to know she was still hovering.
"Let's go" she said.
She started walking slowing, counting her steps. Has her breath always been so loud? And her heart? Has it always beat so loud? Her shoulder bumped into the doorframe.
"Shit, sorry baby" Ava apologized quickly, her hand finding its place back on her hip, gently guiding her. Even the humming of the ship was loud. She let her. The contact felt grounding, as if she was no longer drifting alone in this ocean of darkness. They walked and walked and walked. She had stopped counting after her stumble and now it felt as if she had been walking for hours. She grabbed Ava's hand in hers and linked their fingers. She was about to ask where they were when loud footsteps echoed. Two persons, no, three. Mick, his heavy step was unmissable, with… Nate, he was half walking half running, like a kid struggling to contain his energy but knowing it would get him in trouble. And with them it was… light step, steady pace… Charlie, it must be them.
"Blondie, still blind?" Mike declared plainly, settling himself on her right against the wall. He opened a bottle of beer and the cap fell to the ground, bouncing around for a moment before coming to rest.
"Hey Cap!" Nate came close, so close to her she could feel his breath on her skin. "Cool to see you on your feet!" He was moving quickly, bouncing on his feet.
"How are your eyes?" Charlie, on her left. Close, their hand on her shoulder, then her face, probing her cheek. She chased them away. "Any other symptoms? Do you feel different?"
"Guys, maybe let her the time to…" Ava, she had dropped her hand and took a step forward.
"I'm sure your ninja training made you super deadly even blind." He moved again and she felt the wind of his moves on her face, probably doing his own impersonation of a ninja.
Nate kept doing weird moves, Mike burped, Charlie was listing possible symptoms. More steps came.
"Oi, love, I was thinking…"
"Not now, Constantine!"
"I was merely suggesting…"
"You might get glimpses of other…"
"I remember reading about a rare case of…"
"Shut up! All of you, just shut the hell up!"
All fell silent at once and Sara took her head between her two hands, squeezing her eyes shut tightly. She took a step back just as a portal opened up behind her, letting Gary in.
She stumbled against him, took a step on her right and bumped against the wall. The legends were arguing, their voices echoing from all around her.
"Fuck" she mumbled.
She had turned too much, she didn't know where she was.
She was breathless, why was she breathless? So many steps around her, everything was loud. Her heart was hammering in her chest and she pressed a hand against it to stop it from bursting free. She stumbled for a moment before leaning against a wall and sliding to the ground. The darkness was too thick, she couldn't breathe. She was blind and she couldn't even fucking breathe properly. She ran her hand in her hair, gripping them, letting the faint pain ground her. She felt sick. No, she wasn't sick. It would pass, she just had to get her bearing. She opened up her eyes to more darkness and felt ground moving underneath her body. She gasped and her hands went too the floor, scratching it, seeking something to hold to. She was warm, too warm, too hot. Something touched her shoulder and she cried.
"It's just me baby, you're fine", Ava said, her voice soft and warm like a nice cup of tea in the winter. Her name fell out of her trembling lips, barely a word, merely a sound. "It's just me" she said again, her hand cupping her cheek, her brow resting on hers. "Just us, my love, you're fine." Her other hand settled on her heart and Sara clung to it with her hands. She bit her lips not to cry and pushed forward to Ava until she took her fully in her arms, her hand still firmly, if not awkwardly, resting on her chest. "It's alright, baby, breathe with me. You're doing so good."
At last, her heart settled and her breathing slowed down. But she still held Ava close. She had'nt been traned for that...
"Can we…" her voice was hoarse and she cleared her throat. "Can we go home please?"
Ava pressed a kiss to her hair, her cheek and her mouth.
Sara heard her tapped on her watch and then a portal opened up. She helped her to her feet, and lead her through the portal. As it closed, Sara breathed deeply and felt herself relax for the first time since awaking from her coma. It was quiet here, no buzzing and bipping, no kids. Just them. She rested most of her weight in Ava, put her head on her shoulder and closed her eyes. The darkness was unchanged.
"We're in our bedroom, just past the doorway", Ava said softly, embracing her from the side, and Sara hummed, letting her memories filled what her blindness refused to offer.
She liked their bedroom, it was intimate and warm. She reviewed the room: a full-length mirror, a commode on which rested a trio of succulents, their wardrobe, a chair tucked into a corner on which she always left her laundry lying around, much to Ava's dismay, two shelves full of books and films, four photo frames with successively Laurel and her parents, the Legends with Garry, Ava and her in a park, Ava and her on the sofa, their bed with its thick navy blue duvet and a dozen perfectly useless cushions arranged by size, two bedside tables, one cluttered with files, the other with nothing but a crossword puzzle book and a half-empty bottle of water. Sara had bought fairy lights to hang above their bed and she could still see the candid amazement on Ava's face when she had surprised her with them. When they had gone to bed that night, she had light them up and they had made love. The soft and warm light on her girlfriend's skin, how it made her eyes shine, how it had felt like a secret treasure that only she could see, it had all left her mesmerized.
"A penny for your thought", Ava asked at last.
Sara opened up her eyes and sighed. Same old darkness waiting for her.
"I like our room." She straightened and confidently took the five steps to their bed and sat on it.
"Do you want to eat something? Or maybe take a shower?" Ava walked to her but didn't join her on the bed.
Sara reached out to find her waist and immediately hugged it, pulling Ava closer between her legs so she could rest her head against her stomach. Ava ran her fingers through her hair, and she wondered what her face looked like. Did she cry? Was the worry making her frown? Had strands of blonde hair been loosened from her bun to frame the delicate features of her face?
"Can we just cuddle?"
Ava chuckled but it sounded more relieved than amused.
"Of course", she kissed her hair. "Pajamas?"
Sara nodded against her but waited for a moment before untangling herself from her, bracing herself for the ocean of darkness to reclaim her alone. She lay down on the bed and slipped her hand under the nearest pillow, Ava's, grabbed her pajamas and threw them in her direction, holding her breath until she thanked her. She had aimed well. She stretched until she found her clothes and lazily undressed. She could hear Ava rustling around the room and instinctively she tried to follow her with her eyes. Ava tended to wander around the room in her underwear while she tidied up and went back and forth to the bathroom. It was a ritual that always made her smile, especially when she lit a few candles that gave the room a soft, intimate light. She pictured Ava's long legs, the smoothness of her calves and the firmness of her thighs. She ran her mental eyes over her abs and smiled as she imagined the mole that sat under her left breast, just below her bra. She flew over her chest and followed the curve of her neck to her jaw line. The rustling stopped.
"You're alright Sara?"
Ava walked to the bed and knelt on it. Sara reached for her, settling her hand on her tight already half covered by her nightgown. Her fingers fidgeted with the soft material.
"Yeah I just…" she snorted, embarrassed with herself. "I just miss you."
She felt Ava hands cup her face and she closed her eyes, let herself be drawn to her.
"I'm right here" she whispered on her lips before kissing them tenderly.
Sara melted at the touch and kissed back, a hint of desperation in the dance of her lips.
"I'm right here with you" Ava said again with a last brush of their mouth.
Sara nodded and finished putting her pajamas on while Ava put her clothes away. She asked her if she wanted to go to the bathroom but Sara refused, she felt so exhausted. They got under the sheet and cuddled close, Sara clinging to Ava like a koala to a tree. She nestled her head in her neck and filled her lungs with her scents, dropping random kiss on her skin, listening to her breath. Her senses gorged on her presence and she clung to her a little more, her anchor in this sickening ocean of darkness.
"Do you want to talk?"
She was running her hands back and forth on her back under her shirt, the rhythm lulling her slowly.
"It's so… dark" she confessed in a breath, scared of her own words. "Everything feels different, closer, louder and my own body feels different, like my balance is weird and my arms are heavy." Her voice grew stronger as she talked. "And it's always the same darkness, whether my eyes are open or not, it's just dark, pitch black, not even a hint of light or grey. It's dark, like I've stumbled into a hole and keep on falling, nothing grounding enough to stop me." She clenched her hand around Ava's hips. "I know you're here, I can hear you and touch you and smell you and taste your skin, but I can't fucking see you and…" A sob broke her words but she went on. "I just want to see you. If nothing else, I want to see you, I need it to know it's not… to know that I'm..."
Words failed her and she gave up trying. She could feel the tears gathered in her eyes but she wouldn't let them fall. Ava rolled on her side and waited for Sara to adjust herself against her before kissing every inch of her face, her temples, the crease between her eyebrows, the bridge of her nose, each of her eyelids, the tip of her nose, her cheeks, the space between her mouth and her nose, the line of her jaw, the dimple on her chin, and finally, she joined their lips.
"I'm so sorry Sara" she whispered, her voice trembling. She could feel her tears on her own cheeks and she raised a tentative hand to wipe them away.
"Please, Aves, baby, don't cry", she pleaded, felling her own tears broke free. She kissed her back and it was clumsy. "Baby, it's alright, I'm sorry, don't cry."
"I'm sorry, so sorry" Ava said again and again, barely making sense.
"What are you apologizing for, babe?"
They kept their faces close to the other, their lips brushing with each word they formed.
"I should have been with you, I… I should have done something. I almost lost you and I was so scared, Sara, so scared… I wanted you back so much, and now you're here and I'm so happy and relieved but you… I feel so selfish to still be this relieved when you're suffering so much…"
"Don't be" Sara whispered simply, "I love you." She kissed her. "I love you" she repeated between each peck.
They laid tangled together for what felt like hours, touching and kissing softly to comfort themselves, to feel the reality of the other. And when Ava's breath evened out, Sara tumbled into sleep soon after.
So much brightness. Sara closed her eyes but nothing changed, the light was so harsh it went straight through her closed eyelids. It was blinding. It was suffocating. She gasped.
A word, multiple voices all at once. Quentin, Laurel, Nyssa, Zari, Ray, Snart, Oliver, Sin, Ava…
She tried to follow their voices but they came from all over her and she didn't know where to walk. She took a step back and felt no ground under her feet. She looked down, saw nothing but the blinding light and fall. She tried to scream but no sound left her throat and she kept on falling. Colors drifted past her as the voices grew louder, calling her name. Blue, pink, purple, green, orange, yellow, brown and then red. So much red. Only red. And her name. she was trashing, trying to reach for something, for somebody as she kept on falling.
Her back hit the ground, her bones throbbed, air exploded in her lungs and darkness engulfed her.
She sat up abruptly, a silent cry falling from her lips. Darkness everywhere. She blinked and blinked and rubbed her eyes and blinked again. She was breathless. It was hot and cold all at once. No, it was just cold. She was freezing. She could barely hear her thoughts over the madness of her heart. She stumbled out of bed, bumping on the commode as she reached for the bathroom.
Her name again, but only one voice this time
Her fingers found the light switch on reflex but it didn't change a single thing. She was still drifting in the darkness, falling in this endless void. Her feet found the way to the toilet easily and she dropped heavily to her knees. The lid was open and she threw up, acid burning her throat.
A hand on her shoulder startled her but another spasm of her stomach kept her from chasing it away. Her hair was pulled from her face and soothing circles were drawn on her back. At last, she was as empty as she felt and let herself fall on the body behind her. Ava.
"You're better?" she asked and Sara nodded.
Ava rose to her feet, her touch leaving her cold and alone and Sara whined again.
"Don't leave me!" she cried.
Ava took her back in her arms immediately.
"Shhh, I'm right here, baby."
Sara clung to her and willed the darkness away. Fear made her shiver and she pressed her face in Ava's chest.
"Don't leave me, please, don't leave" she mumbled over and over.
"I'm not, I won't, never." Ava promised over and over and at last, her words made sense and she believed her.
She looked up and implored the darkness to show mercy. She needed Ava's eyes on her. She needed her face, she needed her. Her girlfriend pecked her brow.
"Do you want a glass of water?" she asked and she nodded.
They both stood this time. Ava flushed the toilet and closed the lid, one hand never leaving Sara's. She followed her closely to the sink and accepted the offered water. She rinsed her mouth, brushed her teeth let herself be put back in bed. She refused to lie down choosing instead to sit between Ava's legs against the headboard. Ava hold her close.
"Talk to me" she implored, "tell me how you feel, tell me what you need."
Sara gripped her arms tightly to keep them across her, keep her here, keep her from falling, keep her from drowning in the infinite darkness. The silence was deafening. She took a deep breath but her body felt empty and cold. She exhaled with a whine.
"It doesn't feel real, none of it." She shivered and Ava hold her tighter. "Like a nightmare that wouldn't wait for the night. I'm here with you, but it doesn't feel real, at all. How can I know if it's truly real? How can I know if I'm still… I could be anywhere, I could be stuck in hell or still in a coma, I could be drugged and hallucinating or maybe I'm not even…" She groaned, frustrated by her inability to find the words, the good words for how scary the darkness truly was.
"You're real" Ava said in a whisper, her lips brushing against the shell of her ear. "You're here, you're with me and it's real."
Sara cried. Ava knew, of course she knew. No one understood her as well and as deeply as Ava.
"I don't want to be dead again" Sara sobbed, fat tears drowning her face. "I don't want to wake up without you, but I don't want to be stuck in this darkness forever."
"Baby, you're not dying…" Ava was crying too.
"It's so lonely here" she mumbled weakly as she turned around in Ava's arms, facing her in her darkness. Her hands came to her face, tracing with trembling fingers her features. "I need to see you, I need to see you to know it's real, to know I'm still truly here, with you."
Ava kissed her fingers as they passed her lips and her own hand found Sara's face.
"My love, you are, you're here, you're real with me." Their bodies were pressed against each other, their chest moving to the same rhythm, breathing the same air. "Please, Sara, trust me. You're not alone and you're real."
In the midst of their tears, they kissed and Sara forced the words inside her, she drank them from Ava's lips and make them hers.