“I’m going to miss you, pretty-bird,” Sara says, pulling Laurel into a hug.
Automatically, Laurel smiles – no matter how many times Sara’s uttered it in the past few months, Laurel will never get enough of her sister using that particular nickname.
She just wishes it was under different circumstances. They’re in the police precinct, which is practically empty (the police are busy disassembling the roadblocks and attempting to restore order to Starling now the Mirakuru soldiers have gone). Laurel hugs Sara fiercely back, not wanting to let go, the emotional and physical turbulence of the last two days almost overwhelming her. “I don’t want you to leave.”
Gently, and clearly with reluctance, Sara extricates herself from Laurel’s arms, her head tilted a little to one side and a smile on her lips.
“I know,” she says softly.
“Then why do you have to?"
“I kind of… promised someone I would,” Sara admits. Her next words are unexpected, though. “Hey, do you remember, years ago, the day before Ollie and I disappeared on the Gambit…”
Laurel stiffens noticeably, causing Sara to briefly trail off.
After a moment, though, Laurel attempts to smile and shrug it off. “It’s okay,” she says, and she means it. She doesn't mean to make Sara feel bad. She never has. “What did I say?”
Sara smiles back and tries again. “You said – you said that if I met some amazing guy who wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, you would be so supportive.”
Laurel grimaces. “I’m sorry for that,” she starts to say, but to her surprise, Sara shakes her head, placing her hand on her sister's shoulder.
“No, you were right. Me and Ollie… what we did to you –”
Laurel’s the one to interrupt this time. “Sara, I made peace with that a while ago.”
“I know,” Sara says, squeezing her sister’s hand gratefully. “And I will always be thankful for that. But what I meant – you said you would be supportive and you were, even when…”
“Even when that amazing guy is my ex?” Laurel suggests. But her tone is playful, gently mocking, and she manages to elicit a laugh from Sara, to her relief.
“You made good on that promise,” Sara continues after a moment. “And… I guess what I’m trying to ask is – none of that would change if the person who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was a woman, right?”
Laurel is nonplussed at first. “Of course not. How is that even –?"
But before Sara has a chance to explain, Laurel is on her feet, for walking through the entrance of the precinct is the assassin who kidnapped her mother all those months ago.
"She's not going to hurt you," Sara tells her, but her words do nothing to placate Laurel – her throat begins to constrict and it's suddenly hard for her to breathe. "Laurel. Hey. Look at me." Laurel closes her eyes, waiting several seconds before she can meet Sara's. "Do you trust me?" Sara asks.
"Yes," Laurel replies almost instantly, and that somehow calms her. The assassin has reached them now, and up close, Laurel's surprised at the remorse evident in the woman's sharp features.
Sara turns towards the woman, reaching for her arm. "Laurel, this is my girlfriend, Nyssa al Ghul."
And despite herself, Laurel can't help but smile at the faint flush on her sister's cheeks as she introduces the woman in her life to her sister – so much so that Laurel finds herself extending her hand towards Nyssa. Nyssa seems as surprised as her by the gesture, but she shakes it nonetheless, and Laurel can hear Sara's audible sigh of relief as they do so.
"It's nice to finally meet you," Nyssa offers politely. Her accent sounds British – at least, that's what Laurel thinks at first. "Sara has told me so much about you over the years."
"Not all bad, I hope," Laurel says lightly, but Nyssa doesn't seem to get that she means this as a joke.
"On the contrary, Sara always spoke most highly of you."
"Habibti," Sara interjects, before Laurel can reply, "when are we leaving?"
Nyssa's gaze shifts to Sara. "We depart in twenty minutes."
"Okay, I'm going to call Dad, have him meet us at the docks." With one last glance at Nyssa and Laurel, Sara moves outside the precinct, phone in hand. Laurel watches her go, and in spite of what her sister has said she still feels slightly nervous in Nyssa's presence.
It's obvious Nyssa senses that, though, because she says, "I am sorry for everything I put you and your family through when I was last in Starling."
"It's fine. You got what you wanted," Laurel says bitterly. "Sara's going back with you to – wherever it is you assassins come from."
"Nanda Parbat," Nyssa clarifies. Laurel shakes her head. "Sara chose to go back after I freed her from the League. It was her choice to return to us."
Laurel tries not to show her surprise – a small act of mercy from Nyssa hardly changes everything, after all.
“To return to you, you mean,” Laurel can’t help but say, and the contempt is obvious in her voice. Nyssa doesn’t seem perturbed by this, though – she just nods.
"Laurel, I know we do not know each other, and that my encounters with your family do not exactly make me seem trustworthy in your eyes... but if there is one thing I can honestly say is true and pure in my heart, it is that I love your sister dearly. I would die for her in a heartbeat."
And when Laurel meets Nyssa's eyes, there is an unexpected kind of understanding that passes between them. "Well, that's one thing we have in common, I guess." Nyssa smiles, and for Laurel, that is even more unexpected, seeing Nyssa's eyes light up and soften a bit when her gaze falls on Sara as she makes her way back inside the precinct.
"Promise me one thing, Nyssa," Laurel says softly, so Sara can't hear.
"Anything," Nyssa replies, straightening so she is standing at her full height.
"Take care of her, okay?"
"Always," Nyssa vows. Laurel nods, managing a smile at her just as Sara rejoins them. And it's strange, given Laurel's reservations about Sara jetting off with her assassin girlfriend into parts unknown (Laurel's never heard of this Nanda Parbat, anyway), but somehow she's at peace with her sister's decision. Maybe it's because Laurel's seen for herself that Sara's going to be with the love of her life.
Laurel's hardly going to stand in the way of that.