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Breaking the Cycle (Two Birds of Prey)

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Sara whirled around and neatly avoided Kendra’s staff that had been swung in a precise arc and aimed for her head. The woman had no real fighting experience, but sometimes something surfaced. Glimpses of an older, wiser, more powerful Kendra came to the surface and vanished. By now - traveling through space and time on a spaceship, fighting immortal bad guys and having learned about reincarnation from another angle - Sara knew about Chay-Ara, about Kendra’s elusive past that even she didn’t fully understand yet. But it was not Chay-Ara who was looking at her from behind Kendra’s eyes.

“I hate this,” Kendra spat and swished the staff in a straight line towards Sara’s midsection. It was a clumsy move that weakened her own grip on the weapon, but had still been fast enough to take out someone far less experienced than Sara. But to someone with Sara’s training, parrying the strike was no trouble at all. She grabbed the staff to make her point, let Kendra feel how easy it would have been for her to take her weapon.

Disarming Kendra was not her goal here, though and she already knew she had succeeded with her real one. Kendra was angry and she needed the anger to call up the powers slumbering inside her.

“Stupid destiny,” Kendra nearly growled when Sara pushed her away, wings suddenly reaching up to the narrow ceiling.

And that was a sentiment, Sara understood too well. “Fuck destiny,” she hissed back.

“I don’t even knew Carter. I don’t even know myself,” Kendra went on pushing back harder and harder, finally using her wings as another weapon and managed to push Sara into a corner of the Waverider’s training room.

I’m nothing but a monster, Sara thought, still moving through the steps without a problem, right until she snapped and pushed back, losing the part of herself that knew how not to kill. Everything became violence, darkness and movement. She went for the jugular like an animal.

Then...

“Sara!”

Kendra was trapped beneath her, fighting her hold. Her voice penetrated the bloodlust, like only Laurel’s had managed before. Nyssa’s voice ghosted through her mind: Beloved. It brought the memory of how Nyssa had shied away from her. Her savior, her teacher, her master and lover who had wished for her life, but not for the monster that returned from the darkness.

She was a monster. That was the truth of it.

But she was not going to kill Kendra. Slowly she released her hold and held Kendra's gaze, still crouched above her. “You think you have problems, princess?” she asked and pulled back, letting herself fall back on her haunches and away from the warm body.

“You’re not a monster, Sara,” Kendra whispered. “This is the third time you could have killed me and didn’t.”

Sara shrugged.

“Savage will always want to kill me. For being Chay-Ara. For choosing doomed love over and over again over him.”

Sara let herself fall back. “What would happen, if you chose not to?”

“Not to what?” Kendra sounded horrified. She was probably thinking Sara was advising her to give in to Savage. But Sara was not the kind to advice anyone to give yourself over to anyone – and sure as hell not a man who wanted power over you.

“Not to follow destiny,” she clarified. “Not fall in love.” Don’t fall in love with the prince, princess, she thinks. Break the cycle. Both of you die over and over again and it leads to more and more heartbreak, but what is to be gained by that? But Kendra had tried already with Ray and it had not worked out.

Suddenly the wings were back and Kendra was crouching over her and Sara’s body was ready to fight any attack that was thrown at her, but her back had already hit the mat with a slap. She was ceertainly not prepared for soft lips pressing down on her own. She couldn’t say when things turned from soft to, desperate and hot, only knew she was holding on like she was afraid to lose the grip she had on the lifeline she had been thrown.

* * *

She perched on top of the tower to watch the dark streets below. Gotham had never been the kind of city that appealed to her and even now she was surprised how much it felt like home. But it felt right to spread her wings and soar up into the sky the moment she heard the sound of a siren from the direction of the Burnside police department.

“Robbery,” the familiar voice of her lover whispered in her ear through the little microphone that was fixed there. “Nobody got hurt.”

Since they'd arrived here, Sara had not been idle. While as a girl she had not wanted to be a cop like her big sister Laurel had back then, she had still learned enough about her father’s job to know exactly how to listen to police radio and how to talk to the right officer to get information. And that was without all the tricks she’d been taught by the League of Assassins.

“What about the robber?”

“Robbers are on the run. Three men. One car.”

Not for long, Kendra thought. Not if we have anything to say about it.

Her wings carried her with ease. She had learned over the years to accept them as part of herself. Every powerful flap took her closer to the getaway. She grinned and let herself fall, landing with her feet on the hood of the car, her weight amplified by the power of the drop. The car, folded in on itself. She saw the surprised face of the driver - eyes, but not face, hidden behind his black mask - before she pushed herself back up, her wings helping her to put space between herself and the car.

“A+ solution of the car chase problem,” Sara whispered and chuckled under her breath.

“Where are you even watching from?” Kendra looked around herself exasperated, turning in the air to look around.

Sara’s merry laugh rang in her ears, a truly joyful sound. It brought a smile to her own face, even while she watched Gotham’s finest arrive and pull the dazed robbers from their damaged car.

Criminals caught, a long and dangerous car chase through the streets of Gotham averted, and her partner, the true love of her life, happy.

All in a day’s work.

To think that they had found happiness after their paths had crossed at a time when both their destinies had seemed set and their divergent paths clearly pointed towards tragedy. Time travel had taught Kendra much about the way nothing was ever truly set in stone, but that there were truths, paths, that time itself would make happen, inevitably, one way or another. Kendra had been on a path like that. Until Sara, struggling with her own fate, had been thrown into her way to show her that she did not need to accept the destiny that had been chosen for her millennia ago.

Finally she spotted Sara’s long blond hair, her white leather outfit shining in the dark, just a few roofs away. She swung further up and then recklessly sped forward and down to land, hard, but graceful, beside her love, catching herself on one knee.

Sara cocked her head to the side, no hint of surprise in her stance, and smiled. “I love when you do that. Very sexy.”

Kendra knew it, but at the same time wasn’t sure Sara realized how much she had influenced Kendra’s fighting style and posture. Sara knew her own strength and she knew she could fight, but Kendra had seen her fight the darkness within herself for so long that she understood why sometimes it was hard for Sara to look beyond the efficiency of her fighting, beyond the philosophy of the assassins who had taught her, to see the beauty and grace her own movements. For Kendra that was Sara: beauty and grace and a heart of power.

She stepped closer to Sara and smiled. “Hello, girlfriend.”

“The Hawk is not going to threaten a poor, helpless Canary, right? That might get heated.”

“Sounds nice.” They grinned, sharing a rare moment of quiet and peace. It was still strange that they had come so far. Together. Making a new home in the least likely place, after they’d had all of space and time to explore for a few years.

In the distance, sirens blared anew.

Sara laughed, as if someone had just invited her to dance. She was off, jumping across the street to the next rooftop the next second and Kendra followed her. Like she always would.

* * *

Sara’s track record with relationships was… not good. She understood love now much better than she once had, before her life had been ripped away from her for the first time, but it was hard sometimes to hold on to that when you had lost your soul to the darkness, had felt your life snuffed out and had still taken a breath and returned from the depth.

“Do you remember it?” Kendra asked. The knife wound to the belly was no longer bleeding. Gideon had helped her and Rory to save Kendra today, but it had been a close call.

It had been so easy to allow herself this thing with Kendra, because Chay-Ara was destined to be with her prince. Sara had found safety in the time limit placed on their intimacy. But it had been a year now since Kendra had turned her back on all that and stayed with Sara. Now she felt like being with Kendra was like taking Oliver from Laurel all over again, but sometimes, when Kendra’s voice was the only thing that brought back control, when Kendra made soft sounds of pleasure in the darkness of their room, then Sara was sure that nothing had ever been this right.

“Sometimes,” Sara admitted. “Not really, just sometimes… I think the memory is there but my mind doesn’t want to process it. I was dead after all. Don't think our brains are supposed to go there.”

“That’s how it is for me sometimes,” Kendra explained. “She’s there. She’ll always be there. In the darkness today I saw her. With Khufu.”

Suddenly she couldn’t breathe. Something like this had been lurking in the shadows. Does she call you back on your path?

“They looked happy. But then she turned and told me, that the only way to break the cycle was to listen to my heart, not hers, that this was good.”

Sara exhaled, surprised how afraid she had been of where this was going. Perhaps she had been foolish to think she could do this without falling in love. She grasped Kendra’s hand and kissed her brow.

There was no need for words or more declarations.

Not today.

* * *

The Gotham Gazette called them Gotham’s own vigilantes and never tried to find silly names for them. It was a TV station that tried to brand them as “Hawk and Canary”. Sara snorted when she heard it. “They have no idea who we are.”

“Of course not.”

They had found their common ground over years of teamwork and over shared experiences. Sara had been darkness in need of light and Kendra had been untouched by darkness in the beginning, but without a clear way. She dreamed of all the lives she’d lived sometimes and remembered the love of Chay-Ara, but she never thought of Carter as anything but an estranged friend. Sara was her home and perhaps, because she hadn’t been her destiny, but her choice.

She followed Sara out to their balcony. “We should open a bar or a club and call it Birds of Prey,” Sara suggested. They had been pondering their options for income and honest work for a while. “A barkeeper and a barista. We could do that, right?”

The thought appealed to her, but it was the first time Sara was suggesting they put down roots indefinitely. “Why Gotham? We could still go to Star City or… anywhere.”

“We’ve been everywhere. Star City? Too much history. And this city… it needs us. Crime is running rampant. It’s like Star City when it still was Starling. Worse, perhaps. But just look at it!” Sara threw out her arm. “It’s also beautiful. We can make a difference here, I can feel it.”

For Kendra, Sara already had made the difference. “Let’s open a club,” she said. “Perhaps little Miss Queen wants to join us. I hear she has experience in the field.”

“Thea,” Sara pondered, her voice wistful like it got sometimes when she spoke of her dead older sister.

But she did not want Sara to ponder sad memories. Kendra wanted to celebrate. There was no room for ghosts here, because both of them had too many of those. Reaching for Sara’s hand, stroking her fingers along hers to get her attention, she said: “I’m cold. Let’s go back in and… bring up the heat.” She was already pulling at the rim of her shirt, ready to pull it over her head and let it fall wherever it would. They were putting down roots here. They were building a life and she wanted to start it with a bang.

This was what love was supposed to be like.

“I like the way you think, Miss Saunders,” Sara said and already followed, like a predator, interest immediately piqued.

The sofa was close and they were both impatient, kissing and touching. She loved making out here, loved letting Sara push her into the cushions and take her to higher heights than even her wings could.

“I love you,” she whispered when passion took her, only realizing that she’d never said it before.

Sara moved frantically against her, rubbing her own hard and hot desire against Kendra, but Kendra knew the moment when her words sunk in and Sara gasped loudly, stilled, suddenly undone. All floodgates had opened. Sara jerked forward, touching their bodies together in just the right way to make Kendra gasp, too. They kissed, passionate and loving at the same time.

“My love,” Sara whispered back.

Their bond had been forged by something stronger than destiny. And nothing would ever break them apart.

Because this was just a new beginning.