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Mutual Understanding

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Felicity slowly opened the door to Sara’s old safehouse, wondering if she was right about Nyssa being there.

She tried not to drop the casserole pot when she saw the arrow aimed right at her.

“Felicity Smoak,” Nyssa said, lowering the bow. “You should be more careful.”

“I opened the door like an inch at a time,” Felicity said, small nervous smile on her face.

“Yes. I take it you expected me to be here. Are you here to plead Oliver’s case then?”

“No,” Felicity said. “I brought you a casserole. It’s, uh, broccoli and peppers and asiago. It’s tasty….”

Nyssa just stared.

“Normally, people bring food to the grieving loved ones. I mean, not that you’re normal. I mean, not that you’re not normal. I mean you’d probably take ‘normal’ as an insult, and I definitely didn’t mean to insult you. I mean… I just wanted to do something. For Sara. And in the long run, we’ll get whoever did it, but tonight… this was what I could do. Thus… casserole.”

Nyssa looked at her, expressionless, for a long second, then nodded. “The gesture is appreciated,” she said, and gestured at a table where Felicity could put the casserole.

“You may sit, if you like,” Nyssa said then.

Felicity smiled, still nervous, but she sat on a chair, and Nyssa sat in one a couple of feet away (like Oliver used to sit, when the island was still too close in his memory, when he thought of himself as just a weapon).

“I, um, I really looked up to Sara,” Felicity said, tearing up a little as she once more thought about never seeing Sara again.

“As did I,” Nyssa said, sadness, despair, just barely cracking through as she wrinkled her forehead. She stared at the carpet.

Felicity said, “I, uh, brought something else too.” She pulled out a bottle of whiskey from her purse and held it up. “In my family, we drink when we’re sad. And happy. And well, we don’t need to get into that. But I brought this.” She opened the bottle and held it out, offering it.

Nyssa smiled. “A gift that shows great wisdom.” She took a sip, then handed it to Felicity. Felicity took a sip, then handed it back, and then Nyssa took a big long gulp that had Felicity a little worried.

“I thank you,” Nyssa said, voice rough, as she handed the bottle back to Felicity, who took another little sip. She wondered about Nyssa’s formal speech, about her readiness to kill, even in a time like this; she had heard things about the League, about Nyssa’s father, and she wondered what Nyssa’s childhood must have been like, if her entire life had been like Oliver’s island, like Sara’s dark life as the Canary.

“I just wanted to say, I’m really sorry for your loss,” Felicity said.

Nyssa looked at her. “Sara liked you.”

“I liked her too. She was a really, really good person.”

“She was a strong person. Which is far better than being a good person,” Nyssa said, as if she were defending Sara from some hint of accusation.

Felicity looked at her, confused. “Do we really have to argue about this?” she said, voice soft. She knew she sounded wounded, delicate, but she was too damn tired and sad to feel embarrassed about it.

Nyssa looked at her closely, as if remembering who she was dealing with, and said, “We do not. We both admired her. That is what matters.”

They were silent for a moment. Then Nyssa said, “I would not have hurt Thea. Sara knew the girl from when she was just a child. If that is what you’ve come here to discover.”

Felicity frowned. She got up her courage and said, “I know. Oliver told me he didn’t think you intended to hurt Thea, not physically anyway. And the reason I’m here is because Sara cared about you, and you’re some assassin who scares everyone and is far from home, and I was like 99% sure that you would be sitting here alone and grieving, and Sara wouldn’t want that. So I came.” She knew there was anger flaring in her voice, hoped it wasn’t a mistake.

Nyssa looked at her as if she found her very strange. “I see.”

“I mean, not that I thought you would be alone because you have to be alone, obviously you have like minions or whatever. And I’m sure friends too, that you hang out with, lots of friends. Unless you have some weird thing where you don’t like having friends. But what I mean is, you don’t seem the type to let like your fellow assassins see you upset. No judgment – I mean you want to talk emotionally detached, try Oliver. I mean not that you’re like Oliver. I mean you kind of are, but I like Oliver. When he’s not acting like an emotionless robot dickhead. Obviously I didn’t mean when I said that you’re like Oliver that you’re a robot dickhead. I mean not literally a robotic dick, I meant, well obviously you understood what I meant--”

“That will suffice,” Nyssa said, smiling. She wasn’t quite laughing at Felicity, exactly, but she looked like she knew exactly how grateful Felicity would be for ending that tangent.

“What I mean is… I don’t think Sara would want you to feel completely alone right now.” Felicity didn’t mention that Oliver thought that Nyssa’s own father had killed Sara, that Oliver thought at some level Nyssa suspected it too. Felicity couldn’t imagine anything lonelier than losing your love because your family betrayed you.

It was strange, feeling sorry for someone she was so terrified of.

Nyssa looked over at her then. She leaned back in her chair, defensive, but her voice, for the first time, sounded… vulnerable.

“It is the job of my subordinates to clean this apartment, to keep anything of value to the League and destroy everything else.”

“But you didn’t want them to,” Felicity said softly.

Nyssa raised an eyebrow. “They are not worthy.”

“I understand.”

Nyssa sighed and gestured at the place. “I must leave in the morning. I should be packing her things to take with me. But all I have done is… stare at her things. Hold her clothes in my hands…” Nyssa’s voice breaks.

“Let me help you,” Felicity said. “Not that I’m… worthy of like some kind of assassin belt, or badge, I mean not that I actually think you guys have like badges, I just--”

“You are certainly worthy. You were one of the very few to be honored with the Canary’s friendship.” Nyssa was standing now, more confident now that she was bestowing something instead of asking for something.

“Oh.”

“I… would be grateful if you would pack her personal items. I find myself … moving slowly as I look through them. I will pack her weapons and any items associated with her missions of course.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Felicity said, smiling sympathetically. She hoped she didn’t seem like she pitied Nyssa – she did, for her loss, but Felicity didn’t think Nyssa was the type to stand for being pitied.

They made fast work. Sara didn’t have too many things and in a little over an hour, the safehouse was packed up.

“My subordinates will clean the place of fingerprints and residual traces in the morning,” Nyssa assured her.

“Good,” Felicity said politely, thinking Yeah, that’s totally normal.

“You have demonstrated great loyalty to Sara by coming here. You must have been scared to approach me.”

“… No. I mean… no…” Felicity said, as innocently as she could.

Nyssa smirked at the obvious lie. “I thank you for your assistance. But now I must ask you for another favor.”

“Uh…”

“It has nothing to do with the League. It is something for Sara,” Nyssa said, seeming amused that Felicity thought she would ask her to kill someone.

“Okay. What is it?”

Nyssa gestured for Felicity to sit down again, and she did. This time, Nyssa sat facing her.

“I have known for a long time that Sara watches over a girl in Starling City. She is a friend of Thea and Roy, Sin.”

“… Sara knows Sin?” Felicity asked.

“Sara did not… tell me about her. But when I discovered that she visited Sin, I clearly had the girl investigated.”

“Clearly,” Felicity said, not sure if she liked where this was going.

“Sin’s father crashed and died on or near the island Sara was trapped on, while she was there. It is my belief that Sara made a promise to him to watch over his daughter.”

“Oh.”

Nyssa looked down. “I do not know why Sara would keep this from me. We are not fond of mercy as a rule, but it is honorable to keep one’s word. We would not have shunned her for keeping her promise. I do not know why she felt she had to keep this secret from me.”

Felicity crinkled her forehead. “Sara led like five different lives. At least.”

Nyssa looked at her sharply.

Felicity continued, “What I mean is, she was this badass fighter but she was also someone who loved you and she was also a sister to Laurel and a daughter to her parents and now she was like, a protector to Sin too. Just because she didn’t tell you about Sin doesn’t mean that she didn’t trust you to know. She just… kept things separate. A lot. She was … a very mysterious woman. And that’s not a bad thing, it just….”

Nyssa smiled at her. “She would like that. To be called a mysterious woman.”

“I’m glad.”

“I did not tell you this so you could offer comfort, however. I will be leaving town soon. And I believe that Sara cared deeply for this girl.”

Felicity understood then. “I’ll reach out to her. Tell her that I was friends with Sara, and that she can always come to me. And I’ll watch out for her. Computer hackers are really, really good at watching people.”

Nyssa smiled.

Felicity quickly said, “But not in a creepy way! In a way that is way, way less creepy than I just made it sound.”

“I am glad to know the girl will be looked after. I am happy to reward you for your efforts.”

“Definitely not.”

“You are afraid to take blood money?” Nyssa said, head tilted, and Felicity wasn’t sure if Nyssa was mocking her or actually insulted.

“No. Well, yes. But I’m not going take anything for doing something for Sara.”

Nyssa smiled, almost kindly, and nodded. “Then you have my appreciation. But it will be dawn in a few short hours, and I would like to spend those hours alone.”

Alone in Sara’s room, surrounded by Sara’s things, packed up in boxes.

Felicity didn’t like the idea. But clearly Nyssa had decided that she’d had enough company.

“Okay, I’ll be going. You don’t need to return the casserole dish.” Felicity felt silly all of a sudden.

But Nyssa just smiled and escorted her out. As Felicity stepped out, Nyssa said, “Sara was right about you,” and before Felicity could ask what that meant, the door was closed.

--

The next morning, Felicity found the casserole dish, empty, on the kitchen counter of her apartment.

She should probably have been worried that a world class assassin was in her kitchen. Instead, she just muttered to no one, “Told you it was tasty.”

She had cooked the same dish once for Sara, Diggle, and Oliver. Sara had eaten two servings. She had given Felicity a big smile after, a little piece of the broccoli still in her teeth. Felicity almost laughed, thinking about it, but the laugh stuck in her throat.