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The Princess and Her Canary

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Sara was standing on the deck, leaning on the railing. Despite all she’d been through on and in the ocean, the waves gently patting against the side of the boat as they moved along were calming. The sun had gone down a while ago, but she couldn’t seem to sleep. She wasn’t nervous or anxious. If Sara didn’t know any better, she would say that she was excited.

The door to the quarters closed with the scrape of old metal on old metal. Sara looked toward the noise and saw Nyssa. When Nyssa looked up and saw her, she reached back for the door, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were out here.” Nyssa opened the door to retreat inside when Sara called to her.

“You don’t have to go,” Sara turned around and leaned back on the railing.

Nyssa hesitated, but straightened up. She slowly moved to the railing next to Sara and leaned her forearms on it, looking out over the dark water. “It’s beautiful.”

Sara turned back around, “Yeah it is.” Her eyes caught the moon and held it, not feeling the need to speak.

Nyssa reached into her pocket and pulled out a small coin. She laid it flat in her palm and showed it to Sara. “I should give you this.”

“A whole quarter?” Sara picked it up, “You shouldn’t have.”

Nyssa smiled, “It has a tracking beacon inside of it. Your small blonde friend dropped it into my quiver before we departed.”

“She should have known that Nyssa, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, Heir to the Demon, wouldn’t carrying around such small American change,” Sara chuckled and managed to pop open the fake coin and see the beacon inside.

Nyssa smiled bashfully and looked down at the water hitting the side of the boat, “I was going to slip it in a tourist’s pocket in the first port we stop at.”

“Why would you do that?” Sara closed the coin and felt it in her hand. It was surprisingly accurate in weight. Or unsurprising once she remembered how detail oriented Felicity was.

“So that your friends would know that you made it to land safely,” Nyssa answered quietly. “But so that they won’t get themselves in any danger coming after you.”

Sara flipped the coin over in her hand and wet her lips. She looked over at Nyssa, “Our deal still stands?”

“You should know by now, I never go back on my word,” Nyssa stood up straighter. “You may leave anytime you wish. Even if you wish to part ways at the nearest port.” Nyssa tightened her stomach, knowing that the deal she made with Sara wasn’t one where she was likely to be pleased with the outcome. For a daughter of the Head of the Demon, Nyssa had become illogically and sentimentally attached to Sara Lance.

Sara looked over Nyssa’s face, seeing the thickly veiled and deeply buried fear. Sometimes she was sure that she was the only one who could see it. She was the only one who wasn’t blinded by fear of the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul. Sara slid her forearm along the railing until she could take Nyssa’s hand. She ran her thumb over Nyssa’s knuckles, but didn’t speak. She wished she had the words to comfort Nyssa. “Nyssa…”

Nyssa shook her head, “You don’t need to say anything. You’re free with all the assets of the League at your disposal.” Nyssa swallowed and pulled her hand back from Sara. She took a step back, “If you’ll excuse me, I am going to retire for the night.”

Sara’s eyes swept the ground. She wished that Nyssa wouldn’t be so guarded with her. It was like starting over. Sara heard Nyssa turn the latch on the door and looked up. Before Nyssa could disappear completely, Sara called to her, “I missed you.”

Nyssa stopped completely, a faint smile gracing her face. Her eyes flickered to Sara only to see the blue eyes sincere. Nyssa nodded, slowly, “I missed you as well.” Nyssa ducked through the doorway and closed it behind her.

Sara looked at the coin in her hand and put it in her pocket. She was going to do what Nyssa was going to do and dump it onto a tourist. Her friends would know she wasn’t involved in yet another ship disaster, but they wouldn’t be able to find her. Sara needed to find herself. In order to do that, she needed to not be dependent on anyone to save her or train her. She needed to not have anyone depend on her. She needed to not have expectations placed upon her. She needed to be close to the one person in the world that she ever felt really saw her. Sara knew that to Nyssa, she wasn’t the littler sister of a successful, driven woman. She wasn’t the girlfriend of Starling’s favorite son. She wasn’t someone’s last hope. She wasn’t someone’s troubled daughter.

Sara looked at the moon bouncing light off of the water one last time before making her way inside. She took a deep breath. She felt free for the first time.

Sara walked toward her quarters when she decided to take a detour. She stopped before getting to her room, seeing light coming out from under the door of the room next to hers. Sara softly knocked.

An equally soft, “C’min,” came from the other side of the door.

Sara opened the door and stepped inside the dimly lit room. Nyssa looked like she was in the middle of changing for bed. She was barefooted, but still in her combat pants. Her torso was only covered by a black tank top. Her hair was up in a loose ponytail. Nyssa looked expectantly up at Sara. She picked up a blanket at the end of her bed and offered it to Sara with a small smile. “I figured you’d need this.”

Sara smiled and took the blanket with a smile, “You remembered.”

“Every time we’re out to sea at night, you get cold,” Nyssa smiled softly and moved to the small dresser in her quarters. She opened the top drawer and picked out some sweatpants and a long sleeved Henley. She placed them on top of the blanket that Sara was holding, “Even when we’re in the Caribbean.”

Sara looked down at all the things that Nyssa gave her without asking. Sara looked back up at Nyssa. “Thank you.” She tucked some hair behind her ear, “This is not what I came in here for, but I’m glad you remembered. I would have just froze.”

Nyssa sat back down on her bed, “Do you need something else?”

Sara nodded. She stepped toward the bed. Nyssa’s first reaction was to stand so that she could defend herself against the oncoming attack, but it was Sara. She trusted Sara although most of the League told her she shouldn’t trust the deserter.

Sara leaned over, bending at her waist toward Nyssa. Nyssa looked up, carefully watching Sara. The blonde lightly dropped a kiss on Nyssa’s lips. It was short and sweet. Sara straightened up and looked at Nyssa whose eyes were still closed. The master assassin looked breathless when her eyes fluttered open. Sara smiled widely and tucked a stray strand of Nyssa’s hair behind her ear, “I just came to wish you goodnight.”

Nyssa watched Sara retreat to the door, “Sweet dreams.”

Sara turned around at the words, meeting Nyssa’s eyes and earning a smile from the Heir to the Demon.

Sara stepped out of the room and closed the door, knowing that after everything Nyssa still cared deeply for her. Sara made her way to the quarters, changed clothes and laid her extra blanket on top of her small bed. She turned off the lights, slid under the covers and let to lull of the boat’s motor usher her into a deep, peaceful sleep.

When Sara awoke, she heard the sound of a port outside of the ship. She quickly got dressed and visited the tiny bathroom that she shared with Nyssa. It was clean and unoccupied because the general rule was that the person in charge got their choice of quarters and their own bathroom. Sara knew that Nyssa wouldn’t mind.

However, if Sara thought that most of the crew was on board, she would have used the more public bathroom to show everyone else that she was not getting any special treatment. She’d been doing that the past few days at sea. Sara didn’t come back with the League to become resented by the other assassins for her relationship, former or present, with the third highest ranking member of the League. Everyone loved her before she left. Now it felt like they were a little hostile because of what she did to Nyssa. They were closing rank around her, protecting the princess of their kingdom.

Sara was excited to get to walk on dry land again. They had been in the middle of the ocean for days. There were ways to entertain themselves. They played cards and worked out in the gym on board. They had sparring matches and meditation sessions. They even stopped the day before so that everyone could go swimming in the crystal clear ocean water. Sara didn’t ask where they were going because at the moment she didn’t actually care.

After a stop in her quarters to get her jacket, Sara found a small stack of money on the built in metal desk tucked under a brand new cell phone. She smiled and pocketed the phone. She examined the money to find out where they were and then tucked it into her pocket as well. She exhaled and said to herself, “Welcome to the Philippines.”

Sara moved up to the top deck, nodded to the assassin assigned the guard the boat and then walked down the ramp onto the dock. Sara turned around and looked back up at the assassin guarding the boat. “Hey David, when are we leaving?”

“Nyssa said we’ll take a day,” David shrugged and ruffled his short blonde hair. “We’ll probably head out around noon tomorrow.”

“Thanks,” Sara nodded and turned back around toward the city. It was strange at first, but standing on dry land was like riding a bike. Sara looked at the port they were docked in and up past it. They weren’t at some little fishing village. They were in a major metro area. Sara walked down the dock and up the stairs to the street level.

Sara put her hands in her jacket pockets and was surprised to find something in the pocket. She wrapped her hand around the small silver, cylindrical device. It was one of her sonic scream devices. She looked at the back of it and smiled when she saw an inscription in Arabic. Canary Cry.

Sara couldn’t stop a smile when she put it back into her pocket. Sara caught a cab and asked him to take her to one of the only places she’d ever heard of in the city. Sara took out her phone and decided to get acquainted with it on the way to her destination.

She first looked through the contacts. It seemed that everyone in her old phone was in there. Her dad, Laurel, Felicity, Oliver… everyone that she had left in Starling City was at her fingertips. There was also a new number in the phone. It didn’t have a name to it, but Sara was sure she knew who it was. She put her phone to sleep and leaned back in the old vinyl seat.

When she got to the hotel, she paid the driver and went inside. The foyer was grand and beautiful. She immediately spotted the reception desk. It didn’t take her long to book a room. The first thing she wanted to do was shower. She didn’t mind being on the boat, but the showers left much to be desired. She didn’t have any luggage with her which was a point of confusion for the man who checked her in. She just smiled as him and made her way to the elevators.

In the hotel room, she looked out the window and saw the ocean laid out in front of her. She dropped her room key on the dresser and disrobed on the way to the bathroom. The hot water felt amazing on her skin. She stretched under the spray and used the hotel shampoo to wash away the humidity of the sea that seemed to stick to her skin.

The towel she used to dry off was so much fluffier than the one on the boat, but less comforting. Everything on the boat felt normal. She felt like she was home. Not that she was complaining about the hot water and fluffy towel.

Sara fell back on the bed wishing she had bought some pajamas or something before taking a shower. Now she had to put on the clothes that she was borrowing from Nyssa. She pulled on her own jeans and pulled Nyssa’s deep red tank top on. She left her jacket because it was balmy, yet humid outside. The sky looked like it was about to become clouded over. Sara wanted to get back before it started to rain. Maybe she could just sit on her balcony and enjoy the rain.

It was a short walk down the street to a small line of shops. She picked up a few things, leaving in under an hour. She didn’t need much. She took what she had with her in Starling, but that wasn’t much either. As she was walking back to her hotel, she spotted a familiar face. Well not really a face. It was a familiar back. Sara could pick Nyssa’s swagger out of a packed Olympic stadium full of people.

She didn’t try to follow her. Sara knew where Nyssa was going so she stopped at a flower vender with a cart across the street from the hotel. She pointed him in the direction of the assassin and gave him extra money to walk the flowers over to her. Then Sara took her purchases to a café down the street. She ate a light brunch and then ran through the rain, returning to her hotel room.

She couldn’t say that she was surprised when she found Nyssa sitting on the balcony. One of the flowers that Sara had sent Nyssa was sitting on the small table between the two chairs on the balcony.

Sara dropped off her purchases, then walked to the mini-bar and got out a few tiny bottles of liquor. She made her way out the screen door and sat down in the chair next to Nyssa. Sara put the liquor between them and no words were said.

Sara was the first one to down an entire whiskey. Nyssa chose the more familiar vodka. After a moment, Nyssa picked up the rose on the table and stood. She leaned on the railed and presented the rose to the rain. After the rose had gathered a few drops, Nyssa brought it to her nose and took a deep breath.

“You are a weakness I’m not allowed to have,” Nyssa whispered into the flower.

Sara frowned and stood up, “What do you mean?”

“I am Nyssa Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, heir to the demon,” Nyssa replied softly without the power and pride usually behind those words. “I cannot be vulnerable. Weakness is vulnerability. Vulnerability will get me killed.”

“That wasn’t a problem before,” Sara moved closer to Nyssa and tried to get Nyssa to look directly at her. Nyssa kept avoiding it. She looked out over the damp city and looked down at the rose in her hand.

Nyssa sighed heavily, “I’m starting to lead with my heart. The League has a battle brewing in Starling but it was not with Slade Wilson.”

“Are you saying that you don’t want to be with me?” Sara frowned, actually forcing Nyssa to look at her by pulling Nyssa’s shoulder back so they were facing each other.

“It is not I who left without saying goodbye,” Nyssa tried to make her words forceful, but her voice cracked. She swallowed it. “It was never that I didn’t want to be with you.” Nyssa tucked some hair behind Sara’s ear, “It was that I cannot have an ordinary life, especially romantically.” Nyssa started to tear up so she turned back toward the rain, “I cannot be someone deserving of such a beautiful heart.”

“What are you talking about?” Sara tilted her head, not understanding, or not wanting to understand what Nyssa was saying. Sara shook her head and blinked.

Nyssa tried to remain strong against the blue eyes that had sucked her in from the second they met. She opened her mouth to speak, but Sara interrupted her with a kiss. Nyssa was helpless against the emotional onslaught that Sara’s lips rained down on her.

“You can’t tell me that anything about kissing me feels wrong,” Sara whispered against Nyssa’s lips.

Nyssa had to take a second to catch her breath, sharing the same air with Sara. “Nothing about it feels wrong.”

“I know,” Sara paused. She took both of Nyssa’s skilled hands and looked up at her. “Nyssa, I know that I hurt you. We were great and I just…I left. My family means the world to me, but you’re my moon and stars.” Sara looked down to regroup. “I know that it may take a while for you to trust me again, but I’ll wait.”

Nyssa held one of Sara’s hands and brought it to her lips. She dropped a kiss on the tops of Sara’s fingers, “You shouldn’t have to wait for me.”

“I should have to do more than wait for you,” Sara offered Nyssa a smile. She kissed Nyssa’s lips softly. “I missed you and I will do whatever you want me to do so that I can try to heal the wounds I left behind.”

Nyssa closed her eyes, a few tears slipping past her lashes. “Sara, I-”

Sara let go of Nyssa’s hands and gently caressed her face, “You don’t have to say anything. Unless you want me to go. I’ll leave and you’ll never see me again if that’s what you want.”

Nyssa’s eyes flew open. The tears were now flowing freely. She stepped into the hotel room and lowered her head. “I fear what you leaving again would do to me.” Nyssa wiped her eyes as Sara stepped inside and closed the balcony door. “I barely survived the first time.”

Sara licked her lips and nodded, “Then I won’t leave.” Sara sat down on the foot of the bed, keeping to the side farthest from Nyssa. She folded her hands, “I, um, I still can’t sleep on your side of the bed…unless there was someone else in the bed. If there was someone else, I’d sleep in your spot because it was never right to let someone else have it.”

Nyssa clenched her fists and swallowed. Sara knew how to dig under her barriers and just exist inside of her sacred space. Nyssa moved to the bed and sat on the foot of the bed, not looking at Sara.

Sara ran a hand through her hair and let out a faint smile, “I know why you always pick the side of the bed closer to the door.”

“So I could escape quickly should something happen,” Nyssa chanced a glance at Sara and earned a loving grin.

“You and I both know that’s bullshit,” Sara ducked down, trying to catch Nyssa’s eyes. When Nyssa was looking at her, Sara offered, “You slept closest to the door so that you could protect me.”

Nyssa bashfully looked away, “You don’t need it.”

“Not anymore,” Sara shook her head. She turned toward Nyssa, “That first night after you rescued me…you took me to your personal cabin and let me sleep in the bed. I was terrified that something would happen while I was on the boat and you just sat in the chair, reading all night and watching over me. You put your chair right in front of the door.” Sara made sure she had Nyssa’s attention when she added, “We’ve saved each other’s lives more than a few times, but you always try to keep me safe.” She touched Nyssa’s face gently, “It’s my turn now. I have your back and I’ll protect your heart like I should have before.” She kissed Nyssa’s forehead.

Nyssa closed her eyes as Sara’s lips rested on her forehead. When Sara pulled away Nyssa stood and silently made her way toward the door. She opened it, but hesitated before she walked through. However, she didn’t turn around. The hesitation was only momentary and Nyssa disappeared.

Sara fell back on the bed. She knew she had a lot of making up to do with Nyssa. She just hoped that their relationship hadn’t degraded so far that reparations weren’t going to bring them back to where they were.

Sara rolled off of the bed and went to the balcony. She opened the balcony door so that she could hear the rain. She stood in the doorway just looking out over the city for a while before going to the bed. It had been a long couple of days, a tiring shopping trip, and an emotional hour. Sara was going to sleep on a queen sized bed and relax for the rest of her time in the Philippines.