“This is not happening,” Ava muttered to herself, like saying it enough times would make it true. She closed her fists tightly, wanting something to ground her. If her uncle was anyone else she would think it was all a big joke, one last prank after their death, but Rip wasn't know for his sense of humor. Which meant it was all real, everything.
Ava took a deep breath, deciding to focus on getting home, and leaving her identity crisis for later. Her phone rang in her pocket but she ignored it, she was pretty sure of the caller's ID and was in no condition to deal with anyone at the time.
The journey home was a blur, and Ava exited the car just happy to finally be there. She almost tripped on her own feet when she noticed Sara leaning against the wall, casually playing with her car keys.
Ava’s need to be alone was suddenly gone at the sight of those concerned blue eyes. She stepped closer to Sara without even noticing. Sara grabbed her hand almost immediately, giving it a gentle squeeze.
“I don’t want to be one of those clingy girlfriends but the last time I saw you was at the funeral, and then you wouldn't answer my texts. I was worried,” Sara said softly. “I just wanted to see if you were okay.”
Ava nodded, feeling completely lost. There were too many emotions coursing through her, too many thoughts, and she had no idea what to deal with first. She needed a drink. Ava opened the door and pulled Sara with her, not wanting to be alone. Once inside she went straight for the whiskey, pouring a generous cup for herself and handing the bottle to Sara, who just set it down on the counter without serving herself.
“Do you wanna talk?”
Ava shook her head. “No. I don't know. I'm confused.”
“What happened?” Sara's voice was soft and encouraging, and Ava had to hold back sudden tears that she didn't even know where they were coming from.
“I, um, I went to see my uncle's lawyer for his will, and he left me a letter that… essentially said everything I know is a lie. Rip isn't even my uncle! Wasn't.”
Sara made a comforting sound and intertwined their fingers. Ava watched their hands silently for a few minutes, trying to wrap her head around what exactly that letter said. She was grateful for Sara's calming presence, but she was also starting to get increasingly anxious, realizing what would happen once Sara knew the truth. She pulled her hand away, using the excuse of filling up her glass again.
“Come here,” Sara said, getting up and offering a hand to Ava.
Ava bit her lip, something was telling her this was going to end badly but she was helpless to resist Sara. They ended up on the couch. Sara wrapped an arm around Ava's waist, and Ava cuddled up to her instinctively.
“We don't have to talk about it…” Sara started to say before Ava interrupted her.
“It's just too much, I don't even know how to…” Ava closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying hard to sort through her thoughts and emotions. Sara started to caress her hair gently and for some reason that action just opened the gates. “The lawyer left me alone with the folder and said it would only open for me as my uncle had instructed, I had no idea what that meant but as soon as I touched it it did open, and not in a normal paper folder way, and there were some weird colors to it, and it was written in the made up language me and my uncle used when I was five.”
“What did it say?”
“It took me a few minutes to remember how to even read that, but it said… it said that there were a lot of things I needed to know, and that uncle Rip never found the right time to tell me, and I would understand everything when I got into the vault under the garage, but that the basics were that we came from another planet and our ship crashed here. My uncle was escorting me to another planet when ours was mostly destroyed in a war, but when the ship crashed here he didn't have any way of contact with anyone else, and we got stuck here.” Ava said everything so quickly she doubted Sara had understood any of it, she wasn't sure she understood but it felt good to say it out loud, even if she felt like she was losing her mind.
Sara's hand stilled in her hair, and she could feel her body tense up. Ava stayed like she was, head against Sara's chest, afraid to look up and see Sara's expression.
“Are you saying you're an alien?”
“Oh man, Ray and Nate are gonna be even more insufferable when they hear that.”
Ava pulled back, confused, her eyes searching Sara's face intently. “You're not…”
“Freaked out? Yeah, a bit, but I can't even imagine what you must be going through.”
“I was going to say disgusted.”
“What? Why would I be disgusted? You're still the same sweet, dork Ava I know just… with a new twist.”
Ava shook her head in disbelief, that was not the reaction she expected, but she should know better than to underestimate Sara's ability to surprise her.
“You don't even know any details, fuck I don't know the details. What if my… people are horrible or if I have a tail or…”
Sara interrupted Ava’s ramble with a soft but firm kiss, swallowing whatever she was going to say next.
“How about we go find that vault and you can freak out about the actual details instead of made up ones?”
“We'll need more alcohol.”
“I'm on it.”
Using what she remembered from the letter (it had self destructed after she had finished reading), they moved boxes and whatnot that Ava's uncle had kept in the garage to reveal a grey-ish part on the wall that definitely looked out of place with the rest of the decor. Ava didn't even know what happened exactly, but the second her hand made contact with the wall it opened, a big, mostly metallic room appearing in front of them. Ava stood in shock, nothing could've prepared her for this.
“Are we in a spac-”
“Welcome princess Aphars Verisha Avvuil, I'm Gideon, your AI. Does the human have your permission to be inside?”
Ava and Sara jumped, startled at the sudden voice, both tensing up into a fighting position and looking around for the source. A blurry hologram of a head appeared in the middle of the room.
“Princess?” the British accented voice asked.
“Uh, yes?” Ava said faintly, her mind too busy trying to absorb all the information around the room in addition to the AI.
“You're an alien princess?? I’m actually dating a princess who's an alien,” Sara said.
Ava ran a hand through her hair and took a deep breath, trying to sort through the million questions going around in her brain.
“Yes, princess Aphars?” came the immediate reply.
“I'm not… that's not my name…” Ava shook her head. “My uncle, I mean Rip, said I would understand everything when I got here. What's everything?”
“You tell me princess Aphars, Captain Hunter has instructed me to answer whatever questions you might have. The ship is badly damaged but my database is mostly functional, and I can answer any question.”
Ava looked at Sara, feeling a little too overwhelmed to actually pick a question. Sara smiled a little and turned to the AI's hologram.
“Where exactly are we? Is this a spaceship? Is Ava really a princess, and what was that name you used?” Sara asked, a hint of a smile on the last question.
“You're not authorized to access this information.”
Ava sighed, fighting to keep her growing frustration in check, why couldn't her uncle have left a long detailed letter or a video like a normal person. A little voice in her head whispered that it was because he wasn't a normal person but she paid it no mind.
“Please answer all of Sara's questions.”
“Yes, Princess.” Ava could've sworn the AI sounded reluctant. “You are indeed on a spaceship, Captain Hunter named it The Waverider. Yes, princess Aphars Verisha Avvuil, or Ava, as you call her, is the first in line for the throne of Vreerkoi. Aphars Verisha Avvuil is the princess’ real name, Captain Hunter just used the initials to make it a more acceptable name amongst humans.”
“Wow, okay that's… pretty crazy,” Sara said mostly to herself. “How did they get here? Ava and Rip, I mean.”
Ava was really glad Sara was taking the lead, she wasn't sure she could process everything and ask the million questions she had at the same time. It all felt like a weird dream that she would wake up from at any moment and have a laugh over breakfast with her uncle and her girlfriend.
“Captain Hunter took it upon himself to escort the princess to Ihveen when there were multiple threats towards the royal family, the Queens were concerned for their daughter’s safety and planned to take refuge in their secret house on the next planet until the war was over. The law dictates that the royal family shouldn't travel together in cases like this to minimize the chances of losing the entire royal line in one single incident. Halfway through the ship presented some malfunctions and we ended up crashing here.”
They stayed in silence, both digesting all the information Gideon had thrown at them. Ava looked around, suddenly needing to sit down and have a drink. Sara seemed to have the same idea because she grabbed Ava's hand and pulled her towards the closest seat she could find. Now that they weren't frozen at the door, Ava realized the inside of the ship didn't look all that damaged.
“Is the ship so damaged that Rip couldn't fix it and get us back to wherever we needed to go?”
“Captain Hunter said human technology would not work on the ship. I ran several simulations that showed otherwise until he asked me to stop. I do not know his reasons for that.”
“All right, now for the more important questions,” Sara said after taking a sip of her drink. “If Ava is an alien, why does she look like a human?”
Ava raised an eyebrow at that, the thought hadn't crossed her mind until Sara brought it up, but now she was just as curious.
“Captain Hunter made a cloaking device so the princess wouldn't look out of place among humans. I believe that necklace is responsible for your human appearance, princess.”
“My necklace…” Ava touched her neck, the simple A warm against her skin.
“Does she have a tail?”
“No, Miss Lance, she does not.”
Sara grinned. “See Aves, there's nothing to worry about. Gideon, how big is your database? Can you tell me all about aliens? How many species are out there?”
Ava was only half paying attention to the interaction, remembering how Rip told her to always keep the necklace on so she could feel close to her parents. She had tried taking it off once and the chain wouldn't budge. She wondered if it would now, but didn't know if she was ready to deal with having a completely different appearance at the moment.
“Wait, actually, do you have a blueprint of the ship? I have some nerd friends who can probably help fixing it and then we can go meet the aliens ourselves.”
“What?” Ava snapped out of her thoughts with a start. “Sara we…”
“Aren't you excited about traveling through space? In a spaceship? ”
“I think so…”
Sara hooked a finger through Ava's belt loops, pulling her close. Ava immediately wrapped her arms around her neck, visibly relaxing.
“It'll be okay, do you know how long Ray has been babbling about aliens to anyone who will listen? And Zari is… Zari. She'll be cool, and even if she freaks out it won't be in a bad way, trust me.”
“I do,” Ava said softly.
She should be more cautious in trusting people considering her only family, who turned out not to be her family, lied to her her whole life, but they way Sara looked at her with those soft blue eyes made it hard to do anything but trust her.
“Good.” Sara gave her a brilliant smile before pulling her into a kiss. “Everything will be fine, I brought donuts!”
Ava couldn't help but smile at her girlfriend's words, she didn't know how donuts would solve everything but she was willing to try anything. She pressed another soft kiss to Sara's lips, only barely holding back a groan when the doorbell rang, interrupting them.
“Come on, let's go tell some humans about aliens,” Sara said, pulling Ava towards the door.
“Hi! I'm Ray! It's really nice to finally meet you,” a tall dark haired man said with a big smile, shaking Ava's hand with gusto.
“Yeah, Sara wouldn't shut up about you. I'm Zari.” Zari nodded in greeting. Her eyes widened suddenly. “I smell donuts.”
Sara rolled her eyes with a fond smile. “We have donuts, but let's take this to the garage.”
“Is that where the ‘secret project’ you want us to work on is?” Zari asked.
Ava's anxiety was increasing with every step they took, only Sara's warm hand in hers keeping her from calling it off. It had taken a week for her to agree to calling Sara's friends, she was still trying to wrap her head around the whole being an alien thing, and she had no idea what revealing herself to strangers would result in. Sara had good points though, she hadn't been able to decide if she wanted to go to space to find out more about her birth family or if she'd rather just stay and keep living the life that she knew. Sara had reminded her she didn't have to decide right away, and they could try to fix the ship while she did that. It wasn't like they knew how long that would take.
When they arrived at the ship's door, Sara squeezed Ava's hand reassuringly before letting go so she could open it. Ray was looking at them with a curious smile while Zari was happily munching on a donut she had somehow grabbed out of the box in Sara's hand. Ava took a deep breath and touched the wall, the doors silently opening a second later. She stepped inside, the room still feeling a strange mix of familiar and foreign, and was immediately greeted by Gideon.
“Welcome back, princess. Ms. Lance.” Ava had tried to get the AI to stop calling her princess, but Gideon seemed to be dead set on keeping formalities in place. “You brought more humans.”
“Yes, they're here to help with the repairs. Answer their questions please.”
“As you wish, princess,” the AI said quickly.
“Uh, where are we and who's talking?” Zari asked with a frown.
Ray was looking around with curious eyes, glancing around so quickly Ava was scared he was going to break his neck. She swallowed her nervousness, standing up straight, hands behind her back, and prepared herself to answer the questions. Before she could say anything though, Gideon's hologram appeared beside her, still distorted and weird.
“This is the Waverider, and I'm Gideon, Ms. Tomaz.”
“Woah, how do you know my name?” Zari stepped back, a slightly annoyed look on her face.
“I might be damaged, but scanning everyone who comes inside and hacking human databases is just normal protocol.”
Zari frowned, confused, eyes narrowed as she studied the AI's hologram.
“We're on a spaceship, aren't we?!” Ray said suddenly with barely contained enthusiasm.
“Indeed, Mr. Palmer.”
He beamed, looking around again reverently. Ava could practically see him vibrating with excitement.
“Woah, hang on. What kind of joke is this?” Zari asked.
“It's not a joke, Z,” Sara said seriously. “I thought it would be easier to explain everything if you guys saw it with your own eyes.”
“Tell us everything! Whose spaceship is this? How does it work? Are there aliens here?” Ray asked all in one breath.
“Come on, man, this isn't funny. Look at how excited Ray is.”
“This isn't a joke, Ms. Tomaz. Ms. Lance seems to think you can help fix the ship. From my brief research into your abilities, I believe she's correct.” Gideon's hologram disappeared and reappeared closer to Ray. “This is a spaceship that belongs to the royal family of Gveet from the planet Vreerkoi. It would take at least a few Earth hours to explain how the ship works, which I can do if the princess wishes. You are the aliens here, but yes, princess Ava is what you would consider an alien.”
“Ava is an alien!!” Ray said it so loud Ava jumped, startled. “I have so many questions!”
“Um, I don't know much either. I only found out about all of this a week ago,” Ava said before he could start throwing more questions around. “I'm sure Gideon will answer anything you wish to know but maybe not right now.” She glanced at Zari, who had her arms crossed and was staring intently at Gideon's hologram.
Sara stepped closer to her friend, putting a gentle hand on her arm. “Hey, this is real, I wouldn't joke like this with Ray.” They both glanced at the man in question, who seemed to have found some interesting buttons on the wall. “Ava needs your help to go back to her planet, and you two are two of the smartest people I know, I'm sure it won't take long to figure this out.”
Zari closed her eyes and sighed. “Fine, fine. I’ll go talk to the AI and see what the damage is. But I'll need more donuts.”
Sara smiled and handed her the box with the donuts before leaving her to it and walked closer to Ava.
“Okay?” she asked, intertwining their fingers.
“I think so?” Ava ran a hand through Sara's hair distractedly. “They seem okay with everything?”
“I told you, they are big nerds.”
“I resent that!” Zari shouted from her spot on the floor, voice muffled by the donut she was chewing on.
Ava smiled a little, and Sara gave her a quick kiss before pulling back.
“So, Ray, what do you think?” she asked, turning around and leaning back against Ava, who immediately wrapped her arms around Sara's waist.
“I don't even know where to start! Everything is so amazing! There's these symbols, I imagine they are an alien language that I can't read, but I'm sure I can figure it out!” He smiled at them, looking like a kid opening their Christmas presents. “I'm gonna cancel all my plans for this week. Oh man, wait until Nate hears about this.”
“You can't tell Nate,” Sara said quickly. “I know this is hard but It's also important that it stays between us.”
“At least for now,” Ava added, feeling bad when his expression fell. “I'm still trying to figure everything out and maybe this won't even work, and I'll have to keep living here, it's better if we don't attract unwanted attention.”
“I get it. I just hate lying, and he's my best friend. It's okay, I'll just spend the week here trying to figure out the ships secrets, it'll be fine!” He nodded to himself and then grinned. “I can't believe you're dating an alien!”
Ava felt Sara's chuckle vibrations against her and tightened her grip, feeling incredibly lucky that this was her girlfriend. A small part of her kept waiting for Sara to decide this was all too much and leave her, but Sara just kept surprising her day after day with acceptance and love.
Ava was sitting on the floor of the Waverider, mentally telling herself to remember to grab some chairs so they wouldn't need to resort to that. Sara was lying beside her with her head in Ava's lap. Ava could feel her staring and it was breaking her concentration.
“What?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. “Do I have something on my face?”
“No, I'm just thinking.”
“Nate. And Ray. I know it's still hard to get used to having Zari and Ray around but I think it would be good for you and for Ray to bring Nate along.”
Ava made a hand gesture so the screen she had been reading from disappeared, and looked down at her girlfriend properly.
“I guess. I can see how Ray is struggling, we might not have known each other for long but he likes to chat.”
Sara smiled fondly. “He does. And you know, Nate is a big history nerd, he would be delighted to go through all of this with you.”
“Oh, so that's why you're suggesting we invite him here, you’re tired of reading!” Ava said with a barely contained smile.
“A little bit, yeah. History is not really my thing, and Gideon said she had some more interesting things she could show me. Like this fighting style that was banned from 12 planets because it's so dangerous!”
Ava chuckled. “If you really think it's for the best we can have Nate come along. Just, you know, be careful.”
“I always am.” Sara sat up suddenly, a hand going to Ava's neck so she could pull her into a kiss. “Don't worry, I trust these guys with my life. They won't do anything to put you in danger, they know how important you are to me.”
Ava felt warm all over at the look in Sara's eyes. She pulled her girlfriend closer, into another, deeper kiss, trying to pour everything she was feeling without having to translate it into words.
The Waverider was slowly looking more lived in, they had chairs and even a beanbag spread around the main room, Ray had brought in a mini freezer so they could store food until the ship was properly fixed. Ava couldn't help but be impressed at how far along they seemed to be already. With Gideon's database, Ray's resources, and Zari's skills, things were going faster than she ever thought possible. She and Nate had been studying her country and planet's history, trying to understand the war that caused her family to flee. It was all very fascinating, but Ava still felt like this was fiction, not her real life.
Sara interrupted her thoughts, hugging her around the waist, and Ava smiled softly to herself.
“Ray and Nate will be here soon, they just texted,” Sara said against her back.
“Something on your mind?” Sara prodded in a gentle tone.
Ava shook her head a little, not really wanting to bring that up but knowing she probably should. “Just thinking about the necklace.”
“I'm just a little frustrated with myself, I should've been able to just open this and get it over with but…”
“Hey,” Sara pulled at her waist so she would turn around, “it's okay, this is a big thing! All of these are big changes in your life and you can take your time. There's nothing wrong with that.”
Sara cupped her cheek, and Ava leaned against her hand, a small smile gracing her lips. “You're right. I…”
They were interrupted by the doorbell, and Ava shook her head before placing a kiss to Sara's hand and heading to the door.
Ray and Nate greeted them with matching grins, Ray holding a duffle bag that looked ready to explode, and Nate had a The X Files shirt that made Ava smile at the irony.
“We're ready to work, princess!” Nate said with a mock salute.
Ava rolled her eyes, a smile pulling at her lips. Nate, and occasionally Zari, had taken to call her princess and it was starting to grow on her.
“I hope you have Zari's popcorn with you, she seemed very adamant that she have popcorn earlier.”
“Nate! You forgot the popcorn!” Ray said with wide eyes.
“You were responsible for it, not me!”
Before they got trapped into a blaming loop, Sara pushed them apart, stepping outside the apartment. “I think Zari is the least of your problems.”
Ava followed Sara's gaze to a few meters away where an attractive black punk woman was standing beside a tall, strong, bald man.
“Charlie! Mick!” Ray said nervously. “What are you doing here?”
“We followed you two dimwits to figure out why you were being so secretive. Wasn't hard either, you're both shite at being stealthy.”
“Who's the Pantsuit?”
Ava frowned, confused at their words, and stepped closer to Sara almost unconsciously.
“Ava, meet the rest of the Legends, Mick and Charlie. Mick, Charlie, this is my girlfriend, Ava.”
“All right, why are Ray and Nate meeting with your girlfriend in secret?” Charlie asked, head tilted to the side as she studied them.
Ava could almost feel Nate and Ray fumbling for an excuse and Sara schooling her expression beside her as to not give anything away. She felt bad for asking them to keep something this big from their friends even if it was necessary. She stepped in front of Sara and the boys so she was closer to Charlie and Mick, if Sara trusted them it was enough for her.
“Ray, Nate, and Zari have been helping me fix my spaceship.” She was proud of herself for only hesitating a little before saying spaceship. “I asked them to keep it a secret but you might as well know that I am an alien.”
Sara's warm hand was suddenly on hers, a reassuring squeeze settling whatever nerves she had about being upfront with her girlfriend's friends.
“Is that all? I am too, love, but we usually just say immigrant.”
Ava blinked, surprised at Charlie's words, not knowing what to make of it.
“That's hot,” Mick said. “Do you have any beers in that bag Haircut?”
Ray and Nate kept opening their mouths to say something, but nothing would come out, they looked just as shocked as Ava at Charlie's revelation.
“All right! Let's all go into the garage and we can talk it out,” Sara said, already pulling Ava with her. “And yes Mick, we have beers.”
Charlie, as it turned out, didn't have much to say about the fact that she was also alien, she didn't know exactly what had happened to her but a while ago an accident had interfered with her shapeshifting abilities and took with it part of her memories. Even so, Ava felt slightly better that she wasn't alone.
Mick and Charlie added a new dynamic to the team that Ava wasn't quite sure what to make of, but somehow Zari seemed to work better with Charlie around, teasing, flirting, and getting sweets for her, and Mick, well Mick mostly drank and helped with heavy lifting, and Ava wasn't sure what else but he wasn't as bad as she feared after her first impression.
What Ava enjoyed the most about having all of these people around was how Sara acted with them, she would joke around and laugh with them but would also be ready to get them back to work if needed, and even intervene when there was an argument. It was a side of her Ava wasn't used to seeing and she was loving every minute of it.
A few weeks later, and the ship was already looking a lot better with the proper chairs restored and the command panel fixed if not functional. The food processor was fully operational as Zari, with Mick's support, had deemed it a priority. The engines and the rest of the things necessary to actually get the ship flying were still on their way, or so Ray, Zari, and Gideon said, Ava wasn't really sure what they were talking about half of the time.
She sat back into the captain's chair so she could read about her family again. There was a lot to go through, but Ava found herself going back to the queens’ marriage and their time in power, she felt drawn to them, wanting to know the people who were supposed to raise her. It was still hard to see them as her parents and family, but the more she read the more she felt inclined to like them.
“Hello, love. Picturing yourself flying this ship?” Charlie asked, throwing herself into the closest chair.
Ava turned in her chair to face the other woman. “No. I don't know what to think.” She bit her lip in thought. “Don't you remember anything about space?”
“Not really, I stayed inside a cell for a long time. Not much to see.” Charlie shrugged. “Don't worry so much, you're a princess, that's gotta count for something. Anyways, this is just like any adventure backpacking somewhere, except you have a crew and a ship.”
Ava shook her head a little, not really agreeing with that but she let it go. “How did it feel, having different bodies?”
“Bloody amazing, it's very freeing being able to change whenever you want, but I think I know why you're asking and it has nothing to do with changing my appearance. I've been on Earth for a good while now and I still had my powers when I first got here. As much as I enjoyed it I still always felt like kind of a freak. You're never gonna be human Ava, even if you wear a human face.” She leaned forward. “You just have to find people who accept that and will embrace your differences.”
Before Ava could say anything else Charlie was up and at the other side of the room. Ava touched her necklace, Charlie's words ringing in her ears. She got up quickly before she could talk herself out of it, and practically marched to were Sara was talking to Nate, grabbing her girlfriend's hand and pulling her into a corner.
“Babe? Everything okay?” Sara asked, a small note of worry in her voice.
“Yes,” Ava nodded, “I'm ready.”
“Ready for what?” Sara frowned.
Ava didn't answer, her right hand went to her necklace and she took a deep breath before softly muttering the words Gideon had taught her so it would open. The necklace felt warm against her skin for a split second before the chain fell open.
Sara gasped softly in front of her, and she risked glancing at her to see her expression. Sara's eyes were wide and her mouth was slightly open, but Ava couldn't quite read her.
“Aves… you're beautiful.” Sara sounded so awestruck it brought tears to Ava's eyes.
Sara brought her hand to cup Ava's cheek, fingers gently tracing her face lovingly. Ava leaned against her hand, Sara's skin feeling colder than she was used to. She watched Sara's eyes as they studied her face, not a trace of repulsion or disgust in those blue depths. Ava felt like nothing really mattered when she had Sara looking at her with such love.
“Wow, Ava, you're pink!” Nate exclaimed, startling Ava a little as she remembered they weren't alone.
Nate's statement caught the others attention, even Ray who was in another room poked his head inside the main room to see what was happening.
“There ya go!” Charlie said with a wink.
“You look so different! But not like bad different, you look very beautiful. Not that you don't look beautiful all time, I mean….” Ray babbled awkwardly.
“Thank you, Ray,” Ava said with a small smile. She looked down at her hands, noticing the soft pink tones where her pale human skin used to be.
“Gideon, can you get us a mirror or something?” Sara asked.
“Certainly,” the AI said, a mirror image of Ava appearing in front of her.
“Oh.” Ava blinked at the reflection of herself, surprised. She didn't know what she expected but this wasn't it. Her pink skin contrasted nicely with her light purple eyes, her hair was still blonde but had a few strands of light pink framing her face. There was a slightly darker shade of pink high on her cheekbones going over her nose and a sole line from her hairline to her nose, passing through her eyebrows. She touched the markings, the mirror image doing the same. The skin there felt just as smooth as the rest of her face, more like a tattoo than anything else.
“I told you you had nothing to worry about,” Sara said quietly. She grabbed Ava's hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. “Still hot as usual.”
Sara grinned at Ava, pulling her around the ship.
“Sara, where are we going?” Ava asked half-heartedly.
“You'll see.” Sara winked and kept pulling her by the hand.
Ava shook her head with a smile and just let her. The ship was completely fixed on the inside, according to Gideon they only had to do some more technical repairs to be able to do a test run. Ava was impressed with what she had seen so far, the group and Gideon had worked hard, and the ship was looking amazing, a mix of alien tech and Palmer tech all around.
“This, is you room,” Sara said when they stopped. The doors opened automatically and Sara pulled her inside. “What you think?”
Ava glanced around, surprised to see the room was mostly a big bed with a virtual desk to the side, but it was all decorated with small knick knacks from Ava's actual room. A picture of Sara was fixed to the wall, and Ava smiled at the sight.
“I love it.”
Sara smiled, pleased, and pulled her inside, the door closing behind them. Sara was quick to jump on the bed, and Ava followed suit. Sara cuddled up to her as soon as she had found a comfortable position. Ava started playing with Sara's hair distractedly, trying to just enjoy the moment and her girlfriend's closeness.
“I can practically hear you thinking, Aves,” Sara said after a few minutes. “What's up?”
“I guess it's just finally hitting me that the ship is almost ready and I'm actually going to space. To find my birth family and birth planet and god knows what else.”
“I know it's a lot but you won't be alone.” Ava stopped her motions in Sara's hair, pulling back a little to see her face. “What? You really think I'm letting you go alone?”
“I didn't think… Sara, you have family here and friends, I can't ask you to leave everything for me.”
“You're not asking and I want to. I'm also not leaving my friends since they are coming with me.” Sara grinned. “You didn't really think those nerds would help you fix a spaceship and not want to go for a ride, right?”
Ava opened and closed her mouth, no words coming out. She cupped Sara's cheek and pulled her into a kiss, trying to pour all of her gratitude into it. She pulled back slowly, and rested her forehead against Sara's.
“I love you.”
Sara's eyes widened in surprise at the words, and when she smiled, Ava's breath caught in her throat. Sara had never looked more beautiful than she did at that moment.
“I love you too, princess,” Sara said.
“Oh god, not you too!”
Sara chuckled and pulled Ava into another kiss that left Ava dizzy.
Ava stood by the control panel of the ship, looking at the hologram buttons without really seeing them. The ship was finally ready. Gideon had informed her they could do a test “drive” whenever she wanted, and Ava was trying to get a grip on her anxiety by walking around the ship like she would notice if anything was amiss. The others were coming by later for the test, but she was glad to have some moments to herself, and to sort out her thoughts and feelings. She wasn't used to having so many people around for long periods of time, and it was a pleasant surprise that she actually enjoyed it. Still, after being just her and Uncle Rip for so long it was good to have more people around.
“Do you need any assistance, princess?” Gideon asked, her hologram appearing in front of her.
Ava startled at the sight. Zari had said she had done some upgrades and changes, but Ava hadn't seen them until now. Instead of the blurry bald hologram, Gideon was now a beautiful human woman, so lifelike it was almost like a real person.
“Wow Gideon, you look…”
“Miss Tomaz said it would be better if i wasn't a bald weirdo.”
Ava snorted. “You look great, Gideon. And no, I'm okay, just thinking.”
“Excited about the trip, princess?”
“Yes, and anxious. I don't really know anything about space travel and what exactly I’m supposed to do when we actually get there. And I know you've told me what you can, but the fact that you can't get current information is really worrying.”
“I will be able to provide more accurate information the closer we get to Vreerkoi. Dr. Heywood has read enough information to be able to assist you shall you need it, princess.” Gideon's tone was weirdly reassuring for an AI. “I believe Ms. Lance is outside, should I let her in?”
“Yeah, of course, Gideon. Always assume I want Sara in here unless I tell you differently.”
“As you wish, princess.”
A few seconds later Sara strode in, a smile on her face that immediately brought a matching one onto Ava's lips.
“How's my favorite alien princess doing?” Sara asked, wrapping her arms around Ava's waist, and standing on her tiptoes so she could kiss her.
Ava smiled into the kiss, hugging Sara to her even after she pulled back. “I'm fine. What are you doing here? I thought you had to work.”
“Nope. I quit, figured I could just go ahead and do it already. We're going on a long trip after all.”
Ava pressed a soft kiss to Sara'a nose. “I love you. I don't know what I would do without you helping me through all of this.”
“Princess, if I may…”
“Woah, Gideon! You look hot.”
“Thank you, Ms. Lance. As I was saying, there is a piece of information I believe you should know.”
“What is it, Gideon?” Ava said without letting go of Sara.
“It is traditional that the princess chooses someone to be the Captain of the ship, it is usually done through a ceremony, but that's not exactly possible without the rest of the royal family. Either way, I advise you to choose someone so I can instruct them on how to properly pilot the ship.”
“The princess can't pilot the ship?” Sara asked.
“It is not advisable, it could be taken as offensive, Ms. Lance.”
“I'm actually relieved. I don't think I'm cut out to pilot a spaceship.” Ava smiled. “And I know exactly who to choose for the job.”
“Who? I think maybe Zari since she's such a tech nerd or Ray?”
Ava shook her head. “No, you. You're what keeps this group together, my love, and I trust you to keep us from crashing into another planet.”
“All right gang, let's go meet new planets!” Sara called out, taking her place at the captain's chair.
Ava sat in the closest chair, excitement and anxiety making her heart pound. The others all strapped in into the available chairs, getting ready for the trip.
“You better not crash this ship, Sara, I'm not gonna fix it again,” Zari said.
“Rude, I know what I'm doing, I spent two hours learning how to fly this thing!”
“Two hours? We're definitely gonna crash,” Charlie snorted.
Sara turned in her chair to argue with the other women, and Ava smiled to herself, she was still apprehensive, and she knew a lot of things could go wrong, but with these five humans by her side she had a feeling things would at least be fun. Losing her uncle had left her feeling extremely lonely, but a few months later and not only did she have a potential alien family to meet, but a group of humans that had seemingly adopted her into their little family. Now, the last thing she felt was alone.