It was a total stab in the dark. With safe houses in most countries in the world, going to one without any kind of indication as to if anyone would be there seemed foolish.
But Sara had a hunch. As she rode the old motorcycle down a dirt road through the Italian countryside, Sara was sure that she was getting close. There was a small shack tucked between a hill and a vineyard at the end of the road head. In front of the shack was a motorcycle much like the one she was riding.
The sky was dark and the clouds hung low like a grey sheet slowly coming to rest across the hills and mountains. Sara turned off the motorcycle a few vineyard rows away from the shack and placed it in the long hallway the walls of vines created.
Sara didn’t take any weapons with her. She wiped her hands on her pants as she walked. She was more nervous than she’d ever been.
It started raining when she got to the small round driveway in front of the tiny house. It was suddenly pouring, but Sara didn’t move any faster. She just kept walking at the same pace with her hands in her pockets. She wasn’t in a hurry, although she knew that she needed to be.
Sara stopped on the small rock paver that served at the porch and took shelter under the tiled awning barely big enough to keep her upper torso dry.
The wooden door was cracked and weathered, probably having stood centuries in the same spot. Sara shifted her weight and knocked on the door, softly, but also what she hoped was confidently.
Sara looked down at the rock under her feet, protecting her from the splashes of mud that were flying her direction. The rain was soaking from the back of her jeans from the knees down.
The door opened slowly and Nyssa looked at Sara. Her eyes were searching every facet of her face and body for some kind of clue as to why Sara was there.
Sara looked Nyssa over, trying to ascertain how Nyssa was doing. She was in black shorts and a white sweatshirt with Hindi writing on it. Nyssa’s hair was up in a messy bun and it was striking how normal she looked. She didn’t look like the queen of the assassins. She looked like a normal person with a normal job that was spending a rainy afternoon in her comfy clothes.
“What are you doing here?” Nyssa asked coldly. It was less cold than she would have liked, but part of her heart still tugged her toward protecting Sara who had taken a step back and was now standing in the pouring rain.
Sara swallowed and looked down. She suddenly felt really stupid for flying all the way to Italy to ask a massive favor of the one person in the world she had no right to ask anything of. Sara looked down again, her wet hair falling in an awkward curtain around her face. Sara shook her head, “I- I shouldn’t have come.” She turned around and started to walk through the mud, away from the small cottage.
“Is this about the mutant army amassing in Starling City?” Nyssa leaned on the doorframe and called out to Sara.
Sara stopped cold. She slowly turned around and looked at Nyssa. She shook her head at herself. She should have known that Nyssa already knew. Nyssa probably knew that Sara was on the plane to Italy mere seconds after her booked the ticket.
Sara nodded slowly.
Nyssa eyed Sara for a moment, seeing her hair matted form the rain and her clothes handing sadly on her frame. Then she ducked inside the house, but left the door open.
Sara knew that was Nyssa’s passive-aggressive invitation into the house. Sara slowly walked to the house and stopped in the doorway. She kicked off her muddy boots and rolled up her wet pants so that they wouldn’t drag mud on the floor.
However, she found that wouldn’t be necessary. There were grey sweatpants, folded and on the back of the chair right next to the front door. Sara knew they were for her even though Nyssa was cross the small, open house in the kitchen with her back to Sara. Nyssa looked out the window over the sink and slowly sipped her tea.
Sara changed in the doorway, knowing that no one was around for miles. She folded her dirty pants and placed them on the driest part of the area just outside the door. Then she wrung her hair out as best she could, hanging out the front door. Sara was a little hesitant in closing the door. It meant that whatever talk they were going to have was definitely going to happen and there was no getting away from it. It wasn’t going to be a nice talk or a short talk.
Sara inhaled and stepped into the cottage. It was small. There were no walls. One room contained the living room that consisted of love seat facing a fireplace and a small wooden chair by the front door. The dining room was an adjacent table with two chairs on either side of it. On the table was a laptop and other electronic equipment to ensure that even in her self-imposed isolation, Nyssa still knew everything that was going on with the League all over the world. The kitchen was in the far corner from the door and a small bed was tucked against the opposite wall, blankets a tangled mess across the white sheets. The kitchen counters were tiled from the edge up the wall to the old cabinets. It wasn’t much, but Sara didn’t figure Nyssa’s vacation was for pleasure.
Nyssa finally turned around to face Sara. She leaned back on the counter and held her tea poised before a sip, “This is where you tell me that millions of lives hang in the balance. You need me to send the League to Starling to help you and Robin Hood save the city.
Sara shook her head, “I’m not going back.”
Nyssa took a sip of her tea. That was not an answer that she anticipated.
“I just being chaos wherever I go,” Sara shook her head. She took a step farther into the house and looked at the fire. “Those are good people in Starling. I’m not…one of them.”
Nyssa narrowed her eyes. She was trying to decipher if this was some kind of manipulation tactic - making Nyssa feel sorry for her so that she would help, because every single time when Sara really needed her, Nyssa was the first one at her side.
Sara looked at Nyssa, helpless and defeated. It was all genuine and it definitely gave Nyssa pause. Sara shook her head, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I’ll clean the toilets in Nanda Parbat for the rest of my life or go back to Lian Yu and live by myself. I’ll never talk to you again, but please,” there were tears in Sara’s eyes. “Please save – my family isn’t going to leave Starling. They all want to stay and fight and I… I’ve already lost you. I can’t lose them too. Please Nyssa. I’ll do anything.”
“It doesn’t seem like that long ago that you would have rather killed yourself than come back to the very people you’re asking for help,” Nyssa turned to the kettle on the stove and poured another cup of tea for herself. Then she got down another mug and filled it up.
Sara watched Nyssa moved to the love seat and sit down. Nyssa placed the extra mug on the coffee table and looked into the fire. Sara moved to sit on the love seat at well. She picked up the tea and looked down into it.
Nyssa’s voice was a low rumble with the force of a thousand storms when she added, “And don’t you dare tell me that you lost me because we both know very well that you threw me away.”
“I didn’t -” Sara started, but knew that that wasn’t completely accurate, “I never wanted you to feel like that. I didn’t know what else to do.”
“You could have said something,” Nyssa snapped, “You know very well that I understand the obligation of family.”
“My family is not an obligation,” Sara countered, “My family is my family and I love them. I don’t want them to be ripped apart by mirakuru monsters. That’s why I’m here.”
Nyssa scowled at the fireplace and took a drink of her tea. Sara did the same and then put her tea on the table. She rubbed her eyes. “I didn’t come here to fight with you.” Her voice was cautious and quiet, “I came to ask – beg for your help. I will do anything that you ask of me. Please, Nyssa.”
“You said no more killing,” Nyssa turned to Sara.
“I’ll go back to doing exactly what I was doing before I left if it’ll save Starling,” Sara met Nyssa’s eyes so that she knew she meant it.
Nyssa was quiet for a long while. She could get exactly what she wanted all along. She could have Sara close for the rest of their lives. Sara would owe her decades of service for the might of the League coming down on Starling City. But Nyssa remembered the heartbreaking look on Sara’s face after Oliver had given Sara the antidote to the pit viper venom. She remembered the words Sara could barely speak. The words that finally broke Nyssa down to the point where she knew she had lost Sara. To the point where she knew dragging Sara back against her will would surely kill them both. Nyssa wouldn’t be able to stand herself if she forced Sara to go back to doing what was causing Sara to completely lose herself.
Nyssa shook her head and stood up. “You have to go back.”
“What?” Sara looked at Nyssa like she’d lost her mind.
“You have to go back to Starling,” Nyssa stated. She walked to the kitchen and leaned back on the counter, “Or you can stay here. Go back to Lian Yu. But I’m not going to be the one that forces you back into a life that you tried to kill yourself getting out of.”
Sara was momentarily at a loss. Her mouth was dry as she inhaled softly, taking in Nyssa’s words. She was sure that Nyssa would tell her that the only way she would sent the League to Starling was if she pledged her life back to the League.
It was at the moment that it really hit Sara. Nyssa really loved her. Even after what Sara did, skipping out on Nyssa and the League, trying to kill herself instead of going back…Nyssa still loved her. The love was unconditional and it was foreign to Sara. She knew that her dad loved her no matter what, but with everyone else, Sara never felt that the love would flow forever no matter what happened. She tried to be who everyone wanted her to be. She tried to get good grades to make her mom proud. She tried to be like Laurel so that Laurel would always love her. She tried to be a savior to Starling to keep Oliver’s affections. She tried to be the best assassin to walk the planet so Nyssa would look at her the way she was looking at her now. The difference was… Nyssa loved all of Sara. She didn’t just love Assassin Sara or Warrior Sara. She loved sleeps through her alarm Sara and loves to play with snakes, but will scream if there’s a spider Sara. Nyssa loved cuddle even when it’s burning up outside Sara and only eats oatmeal for breakfast Sara. Nyssa used to move heaven and earth to make sure Sara was happy. Now she was doing something much more difficult. She was moving her feelings aside so that Sara would be happy.
Tears flooded Sara’s eyes and she sniffled trying to keep them back. She left the one person that had always loved her unconditionally because she didn’t know how to explain her need to go back to Starling.
Before Sara could speak there was some movement by the table. She immediately grabbed a knife that she had noticed, secured to the bottom of the coffee table and readied herself to fight. She found that fighting would be unnecessary because the disturbance was a small cat, slinking over toward Nyssa. It jumped to the kitchen counter and walked straight to her. Nyssa stroked its blonde fur and looked back at Sara.
Sara replaced the knife and watched Nyssa with the cat. As with most animals she encountered, Sara wanted to pet the cat so she walked over to the kitchen. The cat rubbed up against Nyssa while eyeing her suspiciously. Then it cautiously moved across the counter toward Sara.
“Hey buddy,” Sara quietly said to the cat. She offered it her hand and watched the cat cautiously sniff it before rubbing up against it. Sara smiled and stroked the cat, seeing its sharp blue eyes still warily looking at her. Sara looked the cat over and then asked Nyssa, “What’s her name?”
“Avis,” Nyssa answered in a voice so low that Sara wasn’t sure Nyssa actually wanted her to hear the name.
Sara knew Nyssa’s affinity for languages so she asked, “Is that Italian?”
“Latin,” Nyssa explained. She tapped her fingers on the counter and the cat sauntered over to her. Nyssa put her hand flat on the counter and the cat hopped up onto her shoulder.
Sara leaned her hip on the counter and asked, “What does it mean?”
Nyssa licked her lips and looked out the window when she said, “Bird.”
Sara smiled thinking how funny it was that Nyssa named a cat, bird, but the more she thought about it, the more sadness clicked into place. Nyssa’s blonde haired, blue-eyed companion shared a name, or part of one, with the person Nyssa loved who deserted her.
Sara swallowed and looked at the ground. She never really thought about how much hurt she caused Nyssa. Not in any great detail anyway. It was too painful.
“Is there anything I can do to…” Sara trailed off and looked up at Nyssa, “To…” She sighed. Words were failing her. Nyssa was the one that was always good with words. Sara was good with actions. She slowly stepped over to Nyssa and took her hand, their first touch since Sara had arrived. “I didn’t know how much I hurt you and I hate myself for it.” Sara swallowed, “I want you to be happy too.”
“Happy is not my lot in life,” Nyssa took her hand back from Sara and picked up the cat from her shoulders. She stroked her fur and then put her down on the floor. Avis scampered off to lay in front of the fire.
“It can be,” Sara offered, “You deserve to be happy. More than anyone I’ve ever met.”
“You know what I do,” Nyssa laughed humorlessly, “How can you even think that?”
Sara moved a little to catch Nyssa’s eyes, “Because I do know what you do. You saved my life. I was floating aimlessly, starving, about to die. You dove into the water and pulled me out. I’ve seen you save other people. You protect innocent people. You’ve taken down guerilla armies that terrorize entire countries.”
“For profit,” Nyssa stated coldly.
“No,” Sara shook her head, “Ra’s does it for profit. You do it because you know it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t go so far out of your way to make sure that the innocent people don’t get hurt.” Sara moved her hands up to Nyssa’s face to rest her fingers under Nyssa’s jaw, making sure that Nyssa was looking at her, “You’re a good person. You deserve to be happy and I had no right to leave you like I did without a word.”
Tears entered Nyssa’s eyes though she refused to let them fall, “I am trying so very desperately to get over you, Sara Lance.”
Sara swallowed. She knew that that was probably the case. She knew that she had wrecked Nyssa so far that she had no right to ask for her back. She nodded slowly, “I’ll help you do that in any way I can. I’ll leave you now and never track you down again, if that’s what you want.”
A tear fell down Nyssa’s cheek and she quickly wiped it away, “As much as I should, I don’t want that at all.”
“I’m so sorry,” Sara found herself tearing up as well, finally feeling the full weight of what she did to Nyssa. Sara placed one of her hands on Nyssa’s waist trying to comfort her in any way that she could. It was an instinct – a need – because she’d never see Nyssa this broken.
Nyssa allowed Sara to pull her close. She tilted her head down and rested her forehead against Sara’s. She closed her eyes and tried to steel herself. It was so hard around Sara. She was the only person to get being her formidable barriers.
“I never stopped loving you,” Sara whispered.
Nyssa took a step back, her face pained, “Please don’t tell me that.” She put her hands up, palms facing Sara. She just looked so defeated. “I’ll help you with the mutant army. You don’t have to lie to me.”
“I’m not lying,” Sara’s head was bowed, but she kept her eyes on Nyssa.
Nyssa used one of her hands to cover her eyes as she turned away from Sara. She moved her hand to her mouth and walked to the couch. She dropped down in it and put her head in her hands. Nyssa wiped her eyes and looked at Sara, “Do you enjoy watching my writhe in my own misery?”
“No,” Sara quickly walked over to stand in front of Nyssa, a safe distance away, “I hate it. Tell me what to do to make you happy. I’ll do anything.” Sara pointed to the ground, “I’ll pledge myself to the League again right here if you want me to. I’ll call Ra’s and tell him to come get me right now.” Tears flowed easily down Sara’s face. Her voice shook when she said, “I hate myself for what I did to you and I want to make it right.”
Nyssa dropped her head into her hands again and squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t know if it’s something that can be made right, my darling.”
Sara nodded. She wiped her eyes and resigned herself to failure. She did wreck everything in her path. She needed to get out of there before she completely shattered Nyssa all over again.
Sara walked to the door, grabbed her jeans and boots as she walked out into the rain. She didn’t even put her boots on as she walked through the rain and the mud. She just needed to leave and quickly.
“Sara!” Nyssa called from the door of her cottage, “What are you doing?”
“I’m leaving,” Sara yelled without looking back, “I shouldn’t have come here and hurt you again.”
“Sara come back here,” Nyssa ordered.
Sara just kept walking.
“I will shoot you if you don’t stop,” Nyssa threatened as Sara got farther away.
Sara kept trudging through the mud toward the vineyard. She was pretty sure that Nyssa wouldn’t shoot her.
An arrow embedding itself into the ground a few inches from her foot made her jump, but Sara just kept moving.
There was a sound that was almost drowned out in the pouring rain. “Don’t leave me again.”
Sara stopped dead. She was doing it again. She was running away from her problems. She turned around and found that Nyssa was standing in the rain as well, a few meters from the front door of her house. Her bow was in her hand and a quiver of arrows hung over her shoulder.
Nyssa was angry when she marched over to Sara, “You cannot come into my life and disrupt it whenever you please. You can’t leave me without saying anything. Especially when I have done nothing, but love you unconditionally, against all my better judgment.”
Sara nodded slowly, “I’m sorry. I know. I’m sorry.” She looked behind her at the vineyard the held her escape. She turned back to Nyssa and knew that she owed Nyssa. She had to stay for Nyssa. Sara offered her hand to Nyssa, “Can we go inside and talk?”
Nyssa looked over Sara’s face, suddenly completely unsure.
“I won’t leave,” Sara told Nyssa. She took a step toward Nyssa and pushed up on her toes to drop a soft kiss on Nyssa’s wet lips.
Nyssa felt the kiss suck the breath right out of her lungs. She blinked slowly and then looked at Sara’s extended hand. After a moment of trepidation, Nyssa placed her hand in Sara’s.
Sara smiled, relieved and elated. She slipped her fingers between Nyssa’s and started the walk back to the house.