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DC And Marvel One Shots

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I can never finish a story. Literally...ever. I've been writing since I was 7 years old. Due to some bad situations I've been in (my dad was an asshole, putting it bluntly) I ended up getting a vicious sense of perfectionism. My writing was never good enough to him and, eventually, it was never good enough for me.
My mind is always alive with new things. New stories. New adventures. New relationships, both platonic and romantic. New characters. It takes a lot for me to actually settle into a story. I'll get something good and BAM: new idea. And the world I created gets tossed aside.

Now, I actually have a story, a novel. It was a fanfiction, originally, but I love my main character way too much just to keep her that way and she is now moving into an original work. But, I still write a lot. For the characters I tossed aside.

So, this book is for them. The ones I left behind. The ones who had potential. To the ones who still have meaning to me, but never a story.

If you have a request, don't hesitate to ask. I don't mind writing for people. Just need the character who want (can be both male/female). I won't write smut, as it's not my style and I don't really like it. It's personal preference. And I won't write m/m as I haven't fully gotten a grasp of writing as a male character. Maybe in the future though :)

For now, this is just for the one shots I write for the stories I threw away. All the characters (apart from the ones owned by the companies lmao) are mine and mine alone. Please don't pinch 'em. They mean a lot to me, despite how much I left them behind.

Things I mainly write for are:
X-Men
Avengers
DCTV (all of the shows, apart from Black Lightning as I haven't seen it yet)
Gotham
Young Justice
Literally anything DC

I really hope you like what I do. I just like sharing what I come up with with strangers. It's what I like to do.
Susanna x

Chapter Text

The Waverider was alive with activity. Another anachronism had been spotted and it was up to the Legends to fix it. They needed to put things right. That's how it always goes. The cause had to be Nora and Damien; those two were hellbent on getting their dirty little hands on every totem, but the team were so much faster. So much better. They'd get that damn totem before those two. It would serve better in the right hands, not the wrong. The office Ray had found himself in was cluttered and loaded, with papers strewn about everywhere, the faint scent of light perfume and alcohol hovering in the warm air. He knew Sara and Elia were sat drinking together, talking nonchalantly, before Ava came in and ruined their fun with news about the stupid anachronism. But, the two were still talking when the team arrived. Gideon had ordered them to the office on Sara's command. They quietened their chat as soon as everyone arrived. What the talk was about, Ray didn't rightly care. It wasn't any of his business. Sara rested her hands on the dark oak of the table, a uncompromising expression on her sharp but beautiful face. Of course, Sara was incredibly irritated. She abhorred Damien Darhk with a passion. Nora... She wasn't so bad. She was as evil, but Mallus was her main driving force. Everyone was here to be briefed about what was going down. That's usually how it always goes.
"So... This is the plan." Ray focused on every word that came from Sara's mouth as she gestured with her hands, drawing her finger over the oak of the table. He listened intently. He and Amaya would swoop in through the back. Mick and Snart would be the distraction. Sara and Elia were the strongest members of the team; Elia with magic and Sara with strength. Without a doubt, they could kick some ass; together, they'd be unstoppable. Those two would team up to keep Nora and her father occupied while the rest of the team worked out how to get the totem. It was a pretty solid plan.

Speaking of Elia.

Ray turned his head and saw the half-angel perched on a set of drawers, chewing on her index finger apprehensively. She only did that when something was on her mind. Ray had known her long enough to learn her tics. He watched carefully, seeing how the colour of her green eyes was dull and empty; like the vividness had been washed away. She didn't seem to be paying attention to anything Sara was saying. Something was definitely on her mind. It must have been that thing she was talking about, muttering about, in her sleep. He had woken to her murmuring and rolled over to see a shimmer of sweat coating her skin. At first he thought she was having a nightmare, but she didn't seem distressed. She seemed... Calm. So, he chose to listen to her slurred whispers. And he took the time to shake her awake when he'd heard enough. There were some things he didn't want to hear and how she died was one of them. It bothered him more than he let on; more than he wanted her to know. She was still clearly traumatized by the event. She could hide it as much as she liked, crack as many dark jokes about it, but it was clear Elia didn't show her true feelings until she thought she was alone. But, the two had started dating exactly three weeks ago and he didn't want her sleeping alone; especially when she had a bad day. So, he curled up on her bunk, her head rested on his chest. He thought it was adorable that his steady heartbeat was the thing to lull her to sleep. And she slept on, for a few undisturbed hours. Until the talking started. It was incoherent at times, but he heard enough to piece it together. From what he could understand... It seemed that since she was a child, she had some sort of terrifying premonition. And it was always the same. And as she grew older, the worse it became; the more graphic, the more detailed. It never changed. And she thought it was her. Snow white hair. Forest green eyes, filled with pure derangement and hatred. A long, torn blood red dress that billowed in a gust of smokey wind. Stood over a flaming, totally wrecked city. He couldn't believe it was her. She was too benevolent, too pure, too ethereal. She was nothing like the thing she rambled about. Nothing like her at all. It couldn't be.
"-ven listening?" Sara's voice cut through his thoughts, startling him. He looked at the assassin with wide eyes, seeing the whole team staring at him with a mixture of carefulness and chagrin. He could feel Elia's resplendent green eyes burning into the side of his head; feel the slight worry.
"Mm?"
"Are you listening to a word I'm saying?" He hesitated. He didn't realise he'd zoned out into his thoughts. Sara glanced between the two, seemingly understanding that something was up. She rolled her eyes and sighed, clearing her throat and brushing a strand of clean blonde hair behind her ear. Did Elia tell Sara something? Ray wasn't sure.
"All right," Sara muttered calmly, choosing not to reprimand Ray. "I'll start again."

***
Flashes of magic brightened the dark warehouse, dazzling eyes and pretty much mindfucking every single person present. Sara was handing Damien's ass to to him and Elia was pretty much kicking the soul out of Nora. Ray didn't particularly like seeing her get smacked all over the place. He bonded with the child Nora and... It didn't seem right. It hurt him a little; it was like he could feel the beating she was getting. Zari grasped her totem, creating gusts of wind when she spotted that Nora was getting the upper hand. Zari narrowly avoided a bolt of energy and it shattered some glass, spraying it over Constantine and Gary. Gary yelped and Constantine shielded him from the shards before sighing and watching Zari.
"Bollocks!" Constantine hissed to himself, gritting his teeth. Seeing his chance, he yanked hold of Zari's collar. "Come on, let's bloody go!" The Scouser dragged her into a wobbly sprint. Sara was still handling Damien well and Ray watched her back, managing to avoid everything Nora had begun to throw at him. A wave of crackling beryl coloured magic flew at him and he barely managed to elude it and he swallowed thickly. That was close. That came close. Elia spun her blades round her slender fingers, green eyes burning with exasperation. Nora swung for Elia's head, hand glowing a dark hue of blue. Elia ducked. Brought her knee up and slammed it straight into Nora's rib-cage. Ray winced. He swore he heard something snap. Nora gasped, agony crossing her face and she swung again. She struggled and managed to get one hell of a right cross and her fist slammed into Elia's right cheek. If Nora hadn't been using magic, it would have been fine. Elia would have laughed in her face and belted her right back. But, considering magic, it didn't go that way. Elia went flying and she slammed into Sara's back. The two tumbled to the ground, letting out bewildered yells and pained groans. Damien adjusted the cuff of his pressed black blazer and exhaled, as if the two women were insignificant, pathetic; beneath him.
"Find the totem. Kill them if you have to." Elia scrambled off Sara and rolled out of the way of Damien's sword, snatching hold of her discarded weapon. John. Zari. Gary. Ava. They wouldn't be able to manage Nora; especially if she let Mallus out of his playpen. Elia knew that. She fucking knew.

"Don't bloody think so, Darhk." She spat and everything fell quiet. The tone. The pitch. It was... Off. Something was wrong. Even to Ray, it sounded vexing; full of potent fury. He felt her voice in his soul; it felt like he'd been struck by lightning. It was twisted. Distorted. Something strong.
Even Damien looked concerned, his eyes flashing with undertones of fear.
"Elia?" Sara muttered, regaining her senses and rolling onto her knees and giving the half-angel a worried look. Ray watched tentatively. Dark purple laced through her veins, crawling along her skin. It reminded Ray of bruising. It made her skin look sore, irritated. The whites of her eyes went black, the green arrestive and picturesque. She screeched and the noise hit Ray like a bullet train. It was full of pain. Malevolence.
"Elia?" Sara's tone had more force to it as she clambered to her feet, spinning her bo-staff around her hand in a distracted manner. Damien thought he saw his chance to advance on the pair, while Sara was caught off guard, but a wave of purple energy slammed into him and launched him across the warehouse. He careened through the air and crashed into Nora; the two grunted and fell in a crumpled heap. That wasn't right. Her magic was usually a cool, calming shade of blue. It had never been a deep, alarming shade of purple. Whatever she hit the Darhk's with was enough; the pair were both out of it. Elia's level of power was immeasurable. Ray lifted the visor to his helmet and watched the way her magnificent eyes returned to normal and roll back into her head. Her knees buckled and gave out from under her, causing her to topple backwards. Wally whizzed around before Sara even had time to open her mouth, sending debris flying and he caught her; treating her limp body like china. He swept her up into his arms with ease, his elbow supporting her neck, her long white hair dipping towards the dirty floor. Sara swallowed, regaining control over the situation.
"Wally, get her back to the ship. The rest of you... Carry on. I'm coming." The strait-laced tone to her voice was one to mask her worry. Ray knew it. Seeing Elia lose it like that got to the assassin. She twirled her staff again and moved to run after the others. Ray went to follow her, but Sara's voice stopped him mid-step.
"Stay with Elia." She ordered. Ray hesitated. Sara sighed, a softer tone seeping into her voice. "You're the only one who can calm her down. She's gonna have a bad time when she comes to."
Oh. Yeah.
He exhaled and followed after Wally, who was already long gone. Sara was right, the half-angel would need him. Elia was unstable. She was close to losing it completely. And he had a feeling he knew why.

***

It had been a few hours. Elia was resting peacefully in the med bay. The totem had been retrieved without a problem and everyone was completely fine. Gary had a few small lacerations from the glass, but he didn't complain much. John had sat with the half-angel for a little and cast a protective charm when he thought no one was looking, his voice hushed. But, Ray was. He thought it was tactful gesture, coming from a selfish conman. John had checked her over as soon as he got back on board the ship and heard she collapsed. He confirmed, much to everyone's relief, that she just exhausted herself and explained that her sudden, violent outburst was because her friends lives were put in danger. The idea of Nora going after the others in her mindless search for the stupid totem had flipped a switch, and Elia couldn't sit by and watch it unfold. And it caused her to snap like a pencil. Usually, she would hold out longer, but Constantine mentioned she seemed to have a lot on her mind. Even before the mission went underway, Elia seemed on edge and fidgety. Everyone had noticed Elia's behaviour was vastly different, but Constantine knew her one hell of a lot better than the rest of them. They were friends before she stumbled across the Legends in her pursuit of Mallus. Then he did something moronic and she left. She died, again. And fate threw her back into his life, much to her dislike. But, Elia managed to push on and avoid Constantine. She managed to focus enough to help the team get the totems and deal with Mallus. It was helpful; especially because she was a master at the occult, dark arts, magic. And she's pretty much from Heaven. She was half-angel. She would have a better chance at kicking Mallus back to where he belonged and save Nora. Ray was utterly fascinated by her. The way she was heartfelt and sincere, but then a sarcastic asshole. The way she fought courageously and mowed through her enemies with grace and skill. She was beautiful, classy. One of the kindest people he'd ever met. He knew what he signed up for the minute he saw her. Ray knew she had been hurt before and she was distrustful. And he tried his best to look after her. He'd always look after her; because she always looked after everyone else.

Now, here they were. She was fine, resting, and he was sat right beside her, hand holding hers. Her skin was pleasantly warm; he knew her magic was still weak, but it always unconsciously worked behind the scenes. It made her seem human. It kept a heartbeat, her skin warm. If her magic didn't really help her, she'd be colder than ice and her heart wouldn't carry on. Like she should be, considering she's dead. He felt her fingers twitch and his eyes darted to her pale face. Her eyelids fluttered gently, eyelashes brushing her skin. He watched and waited patiently and felt her grip tighten. His fingers ached in complaint, but he didn't care. She was going to need him, and he would be right here. He wasn't planning on going anywhere. Elia's green eyes flew open and she sat up, flailing with a throaty noise of distress.
"Hey, hey!" Ray soothed her, using his other hand to steady her wobbling. "Hey, you're okay. It's okay." She jerked back and nearly fell off the bed, hand ripping from his. He frowned in confusion.
"You shouldn't be near me, Ray." Her voice was quiet and full of concern, her eyes wider than saucers. Full of fear. "I can hurt you. I nearly... I could have killed you lot. I'm going to become my vision." Ray took her hand again, squeezing her fingers gently. Tears welled up in her eyes, shimmering in the bright, artificial lighting.
"No, you won't, Elia." He kept the tone of his voice soft and comforting. He observed her tearful face and moved her hair out of her eyes, brushing it behind her ear tenderly. She looked broken and beaten. He wiped her cheeks delicately and peered into her watery eyes. "You're going to be fine." Ray was fixed on making her settle, make her feel better. She always struggled to find where she belonged; and that place was by his side and with the Legends. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and sat back, lacing her slender fingers with his.
"You will do extraordinary things, angel." He whispered, his voice so low he wondered if she heard him. "And if the other angels won't have you, we will." With a sniffle, the floodgates opened and she burst into tears. She threw herself on him and Ray wobbled, almost falling off the chair. He pulled her onto his lap and rested his hand on her head, running it through her hair endearingly.
"I love you, Palmtree." Elia's voice was cracked and muffled, her face buried into the crook of his neck. Ray half-smiled and shushed her. Elia tightened her arms around him, and Ray gave her the comfort she needed. Deserved.
"I love you too, Elia." He muttered, the faint scent of her perfume clouding his senses. He can protect her. Keep her safe from her fear. Keep her on the right track. He'll keep her in line so she doesn't end up like her vision.

He'll keep her safe and sound.

Chapter Text

Her shiny black heels clicked as she stomped down the street, allowing her potent and sharp indignation to be heard by anyone and everyone who listened; everyone around her. Her shoes were making her feet ache, despite them being only a few inches tall; then again, she'd been on her feet for most of the damn day and Doctor Quinn Lawson was exhausted. Pissed off. She was feeling a lot of different emotions and most of them revolved around negativity; rage. S.T.A.R Labs didn't need her anymore, apparently. Quinn's proficiency, skills, were no longer needed. She was no longer wanted. Harrison Wells made it quite clear that she was no longer needed; she didn't need to stick around to look out for Barry and he told her to leave. Quinn's anger was blinding. She had grown accustomed to working at S.T.A.R Labs and even given up her position at the hospital to join them; and she adored her job there. Quinn gave up one hell of a lot to help out around the lab, watch the then comatose Barry and give Caitlin a break; it was an easier job with the two of them working together. And, Quinn had to admit, the two women did work well together. She loved Doctor Snow. There were pretty close friends and a damn good team. Apparently, that wasn't enough for her to keep her position. Or Harrison was blind. He clearly didn't see how much work got done with Quinn around. Doctor Wells was such a bastard.

It was an utterly ridiculous notion. Being pushed out of her job. She loved helping Barry and the others. And the team seemed to really enjoy her company. She herself had come to value what Barry had started to bring, what he was starting to accomplish as "The Flash" and Quinn was proud, honoured, to have been there to see it all; see him grow. But, Harrison had to step in. Had to ruin it. And that fury was burning hot; hotter than a flow of lava. It churned within her heart. Hungry for destruction of some kind. Quinn never got angry. Currently, the doctor was hopping mad. So, she chose to do what Wells asked. She left. She grabbed her handbag, gave him a filthy look and left S.T.A.R Labs; didn't even look back once she got out of the building. The cold air was soothing and Quinn took as many deep breaths as she could manage. The night air was bitterly cold and she nestled herself into her coat, hands buried in her pockets in an attempt to protect them from the cold. She walked. And walked. And walked. Streets became less lit and less populated. Crowded with dirty bars, filth and rubbish. Quinn didn't even know where she was going. She didn't have a destination in mind. She just kept walking.

***

Now, here she was. In the sleaziest bar she'd ever seen. It reeked of dried blood, stale alcohol, vomit and dry sweat. It was disgusting, but Quinn didn't care. She had sat in the cleanest booth she could find, and even then, the leather was sticky and stunk. Her anger had now started to die and fade into a ball of hurt that was lodged in her chest. She didn't know what to do with herself. A faint sigh left her lips and she picked up the glass of warm scotch, eyes unfocused as she watched the patrons mulling about the bar. Quinn wanted to cry. But Quinn was one strong woman. She didn't go through years of medical school just to be told she was useless by the shadiest man on the planet; she swore that man had more secrets than Pandora's Box. She didn't need to be told what to do. Quinn was her own woman and could manage. The hospital was always waiting for her in case she wanted to go back; Quinn was their best, they made it very clear. The doors were always open to her and her skills, her precision, her aptitude. Hell, even the top doctors had her on speed dial in case something big ever came through their doors. Quinn would drop everything and run back to her old workplace, her old home, because she had an urge to. The urge to help people. The urge to do good. The urge to be... human. She needed to be strong. Stronger than most. Quinn needed to be the cheery, good-natured doctor who delivered good news with a sigh of relief and the bad news with a gentle, sympathetic smile and a promise on her lips. Quinn was never the type to let someone down. Hell no. Quinn was as sincere as they came. At least, she tried to be. She drummed her nails on the side of her glass, averting her gaze to the peeling paint of the wall, feeling her eyes become glassy with hot tears. Tears of pent up frustration. Hurt. Confusion. She lowered her hands and sniffed quietly. She knew her tears would lead to sympathy; if people noticed, that was. And sympathy would lead to more tears; and Quinn was far too tired for that. Someone took a seat in front of her and Quinn went stiff, eyes still directed away.
"What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" Quinn hesitated. She looked back and saw the one and only Leonard Snart sat with a mischievous smirk on his lips and two glasses of scotch in his hands. He moved hers and placed the fresh one down in front. Quinn was dumbfounded.

"Leonard! Did you... did you follow me?" Quinn gave him a wide eyed stare, caught off guard. Her hair fell in red ringlets, framing her pale face, her eyes a striking shade of emerald green. Leonard smirked to himself, like he was proud of himself, and twirled his glass. She watched him. He wasn't paying attention to her. But, she liked watching him. Admittedly, she liked him. He was completely different. He may have been a thief, but he had a strong set of morals. And he always seemed to look out for Quinn, which was strange. In a way, at least. He shouldn't care, but he seemed to. She's glad to call him her friend. An ally. A crush. Quinn couldn't find anything she disliked; apart from the stealing. But his voice, his stupid face, his smoldering stares and his damn voice again. It was all Quinn could dwell on whenever he was around; even when he left, she'd think about it. She felt like a teenager again. Leonard cleared his throat and she snapped out of her thoughts so fast, she's pretty sure she got whiplash.
"Yes, I did follow you," He answered coolly. "You were walking in a rough part of the city. So irresponsible of you." Quinn smiled, her mood lifting. That was a kind hearted gesture; to make sure she was safe. Her smile shifted into a smirk and she sipped her cold scotch, chuckling sarcastically.
"Would you look at that," She remarked casually. "The thief does have a heart." Leonard let out a snort and moved, pulling a necklace out of his pocket. He placed it on the table carefully. Quinn frowned. The necklace was rose gold and in the shape of a star; the Star of David. She touched her neck unconsciously and it dawned on her. It was hers. She must have left it at the lab. Her eyes went wide. How did he...?
"I saw the fight you and Wells had," He responded, as if knowing Quinn was bewildered. She went a dark shade of rogue, ashamed. "I noticed it. So I just broke in and took it back." Quinn went to take it, feeling naked without it, but Leonard swiped it back.
"I declare a friendly drinking contest." Quinn laughed as he slapped a fifty dollar bill on the table, along with her necklace. He couldn't be serious. "Winner takes all."
"No way. You'll lose." She quipped, letting out a snort of disbelief.
"I don't play games I know I won't win."
"You're playing a dangerous one, Snart."
"Mm?" His tone almost sounded flirty. It made her heart slam against her ribs. "Really?"
"In university, I downed three bottles of Jack in a drinking game."
"A good girl like you?" Leonard hid his bewilderment well, but Quinn saw it. "Shocking."
His tone dripped with sarcasm and the two shared a soft look before smirks crossed both their faces.
"You're on, Cold." She responded, feeling the need for the competition. "First round is on me."
Six shots of tequila, three beers and half a bottle of whiskey later and Leonard was gone.

***

Pale rays of warm sunlight streamed through some clean white blinds, lighting up the room and making the duvet cover feel warm to the touch. Quinn cracked her eyes open and lay there, quietly. Just observing the silence of her nicely decorated room. Pictures lined the walls, dotted around the place, some of them catching the sunlight, glittering and shiny. The scent of lavender rose up from her fresh sheets and she lazily ran her fingers over the pale lilac cotton, feeling the smoothness under her touch. Quinn felt a slight pounding behind her eyes, her mouth drier than the Sahara Desert. Despite that, Quinn felt as fresh as a daisy on a spring morning. And last night was a lot of fun. From what she can remember, that is. With a faint noise and a smile, she stretched and rolled over. She was still bleary-eyed, but Quinn was coherent enough to make out a figure sat on her window ledge, peering out over the city. For a second, she was terrified, heart jumping into her throat, mind going into overdrive. The doctor propped herself up on her elbows, blinking furiously to clear her vision. The head of the figure turned and Quinn relaxed, seeing that it was only Barry Allen.

"Barry?" She questioned, voice hoarse. She sat up straight and kicked her sheets off. He gave her a bright smile. "What are you doing here?" He chuckled and took a sip of the steaming cup of coffee he held between his slender hands.
"You were totally wrecked when you called me last night," He paused and laughed at her incredulous expression. "I stayed over to make sure you were okay." Quinn went a dark shade of scarlet, feeling the heat in her cheeks. She called Barry? She didn't remember that part of the night. To be fair, Quinn wasn't one to get drunk often. But, beating Leonard in that "friendly" drinking game was a priority. The doctor knew he wouldn't actually keep her necklace; Leonard had been around her long enough to know it held incredible meaning. He knew she had a shitty day, considering he witnessed what happened. He probably just wanted to cheer her up, make sure she was safe. Did he see her crying? Quinn hoped not. That would have been embarrassing. Quinn isn't that type of person. She preferred being alone before breaking down. She hoped he didn't see it.
"Thanks, Barry," Quinn gave him a gentle smile and he bobbed his head before putting his empty mug down and slipping off the window ledge, moving over and sitting next to her. Barry was, truly, her best friend. For a second, she wondered if he knew anything about what happened with Wells. His arm brushed against hers and a gentle smile graced her features as she peered out of her clean glass window. She could only see the light blue of the sky, but the faint sound of traffic greeted her ears. Barry leaned forward slightly, resting his arms on his lap as he clasped his hands. The action caught Quinn's eye and she glanced at him.
"The lab hasn't been the same without you," He commented and Quinn chuckled softly, playing with the ends of her ginger hair in thought.
"It's been less than a day?" She responded, watching him turn his head to look at her. He sat up with a bright, cheerful smile; the smile Quinn adored. She loved his goofy expressions; it was one of the things she valued in their friendship.
"A day too long," He muttered, still smiling like an idiot. Quinn rolled her eyes lightheartedly, sighing. "You're coming with me later. I'm not letting Wells treat you like that." Quinn hesitated and gave him a look. Barry gave her a comforting side hug, squeezing gently before he let go and stood up, rubbing his stomach and making his way towards her kitchen.
"Don't eat me out of house and home, Allen!" She called, hearing his response as a short, sarcastic chortle. She heard him pottering around her kitchen and Quinn settled into her thoughts. He was going to help her get her job back? Quinn didn't see that coming. It made her feel weird. She didn't expect him to really care; but then again, they were very good friends. She doubted Caitlin liked the idea of Quinn being gone. Cisco had no one to have nerdy conversations with about his pop culture references. Barry... those two were the greatest team; at least, Quinn liked to think so. He always knew he could rely on her. And, they protected each other. It reminded Quinn of the time Reverse Flash tried to kill her; Barry whizzed back and forth, trying everything to stop it happening. He kept her safe. She was frightened by the whole ordeal, and even after Barry saved her life, he didn't let her out of his sight for at least a week. It was a sweet gesture to her. And Quinn knew he would always be there for her if she needed him; it went both ways. Quinn sighed again and stretched, hearing her back crack. She saw her phone flashing on the bedside table and hummed, dropping her arms to pick it up. It was a text from Leonard. Quinn smirked and adjusted her shirt with one hand, unlocking her phone with the other.

I hate everything about you.

Quinn laughed to herself faintly, cracking her fingers before typing a swift reply: Aww. Hungover, Leonard? I told you I'd win.
Last night, she had to admit, was fun. It cheered her up. And gave her a sense of satisfaction knowing that she beat Leonard. He should have known she'd win; don't play games with a girl who can play them better. Her phone vibrated in her hand and she looked down, reading the message with a soft smile.

Only thing that hurts is my pride. Maybe I should book another appointment with the doctor and get it checked out.
Quinn giggled, heart lifting. Another night out with Snart? She clutched her phone to her chest, muffling a childish squeal of excitement.

Maybe he should.

Chapter Text

The night was drawing on, the sun fading into a serene hue of midnight blue, the summer air delightfully warm; the breeze brushed Gwendolyn's skin delicately. It was a splendid evening for a trip to the fair. Stars had started to appear, peeking out from behind the faint smokey grey clouds and Gwendolyn knew the air would get somewhat colder as the evening drew on. She wishes she had decided to wear something better than a loose sapphire cardigan. People move around in a flurry, voices overlapping into one loud symphony. Tired children let out quiet giggles as their parents carried them back to the cars, ready to make the trip home after a decent day out. Her showy silver sequins shirt caught every light, sparkling as she ambled along, her arm linked with Logan's.

Gwen had proposed the idea of getting out of the mansion before Rogue hassled them any further. The two had managed to keep their relationship quiet and private; for the time being, that is. Only Charles threw them knowing stares when he spotted them lazing around the spacious and decorated living room, Gwen reading a dusty old book and Logan just watching her aimlessly. His large hand would rest on her knee and she would sometimes cast a glance at him, her blue eyes alert and tender; she'd give him a mysteriously pretty smile, one Charles had witnessed on many occasions. Logan had somehow managed to talk her into going to a carnival of sorts and Gwen was relaxing into it now that she was here. It was a thoughtful gesture; and Logan wasn't known for being the kindest of people. Gwen admires his ability to be different for once. Could call it a date. Her skin flushed, the subdued colour of scarlet faint maybe obvious. Her pastel pink candy floss was tugged on by Logan's fingers and Gwen whipped out with her free hand, slapping his away. He let out a wary snort and snatched it back, shaking it out for a brief second.
"What was that for, darlin'?" He questions and Gwen rolled her radiant sky blue eyes in an amused fashion.
"You said you didn't want any, Canada. You ain't getting mine." She responded, tone sweet-sounding. He sneered and rolled his own eyes gently, no malice behind the action. Stifled music filled the air, the aroma of sugary delights wafting past. Logan plucked her wallet from the back pocket of her jeans, ignoring her sharp hiss of disapproval. Pulling a crisp dollar from inside the smooth leather, he straightened it out, the paper making a noise as he did so. Gwendolyn raised an eyebrow, brushing a strand of light ginger hair from her eyes.
"I have an idea." He smirked at her and the nurse snickered, sarcasm dripping from the tone. This should be good.

***

Logan missed the target once again and he heard Gwendolyn snort out a stifled snicker. He huffed in frustration and threw his gaze to the woman, who caught his eye and only giggled heartily at his misfortune. He watched her, his heart swelling with the weird feeling of pride. She had seen so much; felt so much. The war was hard on her, but her willpower only became stronger. She turned her animosity into altruism. She turned the resentment she felt into a sense of peace. She turned her hostility towards others into olive branches of friendship. Gwendolyn allowed the agony caused by the past to fade; she focused her mind onto something new, something prominent.
Her life. Her tomorrow. Her future. Logan missed the target again and grumbled, hearing Gwen snort loudly. He gave her a grouchy look and she folded her slender arms across her chest.
"C'mon, soldier boy." She remarked, the tone of her voice purposely sugared. He felt a shiver run down his back at the way her Irish accent curled around her words; she knew that damn voice, the tone, drove him insane. "I could do it blindfolded." Heaving out a sigh, Logan stuck his bottom lip out, almost pouting like a child that had been scolded. Getting a sudden idea, he moved to the side, using his hands to pull Gwen closer to him, hands resting on her waist. His touch was light and she turned her head, taken aback by the abrupt action. He placed the gun in her hands and gave her a cocky smirk.
"All right then, darlin'. Show me what you got." She rolled her eyes.Logan didn't need to guide her; World War Two taught her enough. She fought hard for her own path in life; her Irishness got her into trouble a lot back in the day, but Gwendolyn did what was right, no matter who opposed the mindset she had, the actions she made. After a while and a few chaotic displays of heroism, the others fighting alongside her realised she wasn't just a defiant and outspoken woman; she was an ally. Just because she was a nurse, a female, didn't mean she was spineless. Gwendolyn was gutsy and she had balls; was never afraid to get her hands dirty when the situation called for it.

He didn't expect her to die, back then. He thought she would grow older. When he saw her being carried bridal style through the trenches by a weary British soldier, he knew the tough lass had done something incredibly senseless. A young American trailed behind the Brit and Logan didn't know what to do. How to feel. Gwendolyn was the first person he could feel a connection with. She taught him how to feel again. Logan wanted to ignore the scarlet he could see blossoming against the dirty white of her nurse's uniform, painting the left side of her torso red. Pretended not to pick up on the scent of copper in the air. Her ginger hair drooped, slick with grease, sweat and soot. Even though she's here now, that moment will forever torment him. The night before she died, she came looking for him and gave him one hell of a smacker.
"For luck," She whispered timidly afterwards, and his lips tingled. She stepped back and slipped a strand of hair behind her ear. He didn't need the luck at all; she did. She was the one who needed it the most. He watched Gwendolyn carefully now, ingraining everything about her, every detail, into his memory. She's the one person he could never forget.

When he came across her again after Vietnam ended, Logan didn't know what do to with it. She was as young and as flawless as ever; her ginger hair was ablaze with colour and shiny, reflecting the warm sunlight. Her skin was milky white and her sky blue eyes widened when they met his. She moved her light blue skirt, grabbing the hem to make more space for her legs as she stumbled into an unsteady sprint, her path aimed for him. She dropped the material when she pounced on him, the force making Logan take a few steps back, arms flailing as he tried to regain his balance. Her arms looped around his back and he held her as tightly as he could. He didn't understand; he couldn't fathom it. He saw her dead; he held her body. She was most certainly gone. She took him to the side, a private corner, and explained her mutant ability; like a cat, she had nine lives. It was kicked off in 1912 on the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic. She did drown, but resurrected a few hours later. Gwendolyn couldn't exactly reappear after being shot in the chest. Everyone knew she was gone; she had to... feign that she wasn't coming back. She loathed it. Not knowing if Logan lived or died. But, she moved on; moving on was nessacary. They parted ways but remained in contact. They didn't come together again until Charles asked for her medical assistance after Kurt was injured. And, this time? She decided to stick around and catch up on all the years she had missed out on. God, having her back again was unreal; it felt like a dream, a distant memory. And, that sense of sentiment he held for her came back. Love started to bloom once again, like a daffodil in the first days of spring. How was he supposed to put it into words? If someone gave him a week, Logan wouldn't be able to list all of the reasons, describe what it was like. Being with her was everything and nothing at the same time; silence and sound. They were a strange pair. She was graceful, he was inadequate. She was serenity, he was rage. She was merciful, he was unforgiving. They were both beauty and calamity; chaos and calm. Snapped out of his thoughts, Logan caught sight of Gwen hitting the target dead on. She let out a hurrah of victory.
"Ha! Suck it, Canada." She smirked and the man behind the bench let out a loud laugh. She grabbed the snow coloured bear and gave the man a kindhearted smile. He felt her arm slip into his, linking it again and carrying on her merry way, dragging him alongside her. He pulled her to a stop and she moved to toss her candy floss in the trash, hand moving to Logan's, fingers lacing with his. Once she was turning to come back, he tugged her and twirled her, hearing her chuckle airily, her free hand splayed out like a star; directly over his heart. Her blue eyes lifted from where her fingers were rested, boring into his own. He leaned closer, pressing his forehead to hers. Dear God, Gwendolyn was sublime; too perfect for his hands to hold. The light smell of her Chanel perfume flooded his senses and he moved his head, hands sliding into her hair and through the silky strands. His lips met hers carefully and he felt the corner of her lip turn up in a smile. He kept her close, feeling her heart beating against his own.

***

Two old women saw the pair through the crowd. One with short and curled silver hair swatted her friend in the arm to get her attention. She was still rather petite, wearing an old fashioned coat, dressed in an elegantly old style. A pastel blue clip held her fringe out of her weathered face; a face that held so many memories, each wrinkle defined by the past. The other woman was slightly taller and her hair was a mixture of platinum and soft whirls of grey. She held herself better than her friend, her back straight, her weathered hands folding on a cane. Her hair was held back in a polished and sleek bun, resting at the nape of her neck. Her eyes were a deep shade of amber, flecked with speckles of gold. Her lips turned up and she beamed merrily at the sight of the couple. Gwen had stood on her tiptoes, being at least a foot shorter than Logan, but she didn't seem to mind. Her hand still rested on his broad chest, the other cupping the back of his neck; pulling him even closer. The two old women glanced at each other and made a sighing sound, the sound one of delight.
"My, oh my, a love like that will last a lifetime." The shorter woman spoke up, voice low, even though Logan and Gwen were too caught up in their own little world to hear them; and too far away. A look of placidity fell on the taller woman's face.
"And beyond, Mary. And beyond." The other woman, Mary, turned her head to look at her.
"I'll meet you at the car, Dorothy." She said smoothly, already moving to do what she said. Dorothy merely nodded, a coy smirk settling on her face. She adjusted her grip on her cane and hummed.
"God damn you Gwendolyn O'Conner, I knew you'd bloody do it." And with one last look at the couple, Dorothy moved to follow Mary, joyful to see her old friend once again; alive and well.

And happy with the man that she once loved.

Chapter Text

"Jeez, that was tough." Talla sighed to herself, running her brush through her long, golden blonde locks, her reflection looking worn and tired. She was exhausted. The day had started out great; the sun was shining, it was warm and she felt like she could conquer the world with how happy she felt; how content. But, of course, the happiness didn't stay forever. It didn't linger as long as Talla would have liked it too. Things progressively got worse and began to test every inch of her patience. Talla was known for hand-writing her articles and then handing them to Cat to see if the older, more experienced (often ruthless) woman approved or had any tips to make it better. It wasn't what most reporters seemed to do, but Talla preferred it. She'd always wrote things out on paper first before making a move to type it. She'd done the process since high school, Talla wasn't going to change now. She liked doing things her way, and her way alone. Someone accidentally knocked a mug of coffee all over the new article she was working on. It forced her to spend time airing off the soaked, stained copy and re-writing the entire thing.

After another hour and a half spent doing it, it was finished (again) and Talla took it straight to Cat. Cat was seemingly contented with it, and Talla could take a second to breathe and relax. Or, so the tired reporter thought. Not even five minutes into her lunch-break, the pleasing scent of the burger she'd bought wafting into her face, Kara called to explain an alien was attacking downtown. She zipped off to help, before coming back to work and being berated by Cat for being late. But, Talla wasn't that bothered with getting chided for her actions and lateness. Saving lives meant more to her; as much as she adored being a reporter and shedding light of the seediest of the things, being a superhero was somehow even better. It felt more rewarding. Doing two jobs at the same time wasn't always easy, but it was worth it. Talla barely had any time to herself which...wasn't ideal. However, that was the price Talla had to pay if she wanted to help Kara and the DEO protect the city, the people. Her home. It was kinda her job to step in when things went wrong, when things weren't as peaceful as they normally were. Talla had the powers to do so, to be better. It would just take a while to get used the hustle and bustle.

***

Moving to snuggle down into her fresh, awaiting, comfortable bed, Talla let out a breath and pulled her duvet up, rolling over to face the wall. Giving a small clap, the lamp went out. She took a mental note to thank Winn for creating such a magical little thing. Sure, not doing it herself made her lazier, but it also meant she didn't have to crawl out of her warm haven to switch it off. The darkness that surrounded her made it easier for the woman to relax, the tension draining from her muscles. She closed her eyes and waited for sleep to claim her. Considering the day she'd had, and how tiredness washed over her, Talla knew it wouldn't be long before she slipped off into dreamland. Tap, tap. Talla's azure eyes snapped open at the sound that greeted her. Her whole body went stiff under the cotton duvet, her hands tightening around the material that was bunched up to her nose, the scent of jasmine clouding her senses. Tap, tap, tap. Talla didn't dare roll over. Should she call Clark? Or someone? Ears pricked towards the tapping, she listened intently. A sigh reached her ears, another irritated tap breaking through the silence.
"I know you're awake, Talla!" A woman hissed. "Open the window." Talla rolled over to face it, heart in her throat. The tension drained from her body. Kara was hovering outside, her arms bound by the amount of stuff she held in them. Talla smiled brightly, watching the way the slight breeze blew through her hair, throwing the dirty blonde locks to the side. Kara tilted her head, eyes wide with playful impatience.
"Hurry up, please. Before someone sees!" Talla whipped out of bed and opened the windows wide, allowing her to fly in and land gently in the cream carpet. Kara dumped the stuff on Talla's empty bed and rolled her shoulder, tossing Talla a gentle smile.

Without a word, Talla raised an eyebrow, watching the woman whizzing around before reappearing before Talla in a pair of her spare red and white polka dot pyjamas. Her hair was knotty and windswept from flying through the cold night air, the clothes she was wearing neatly folded on Talla's mahogany dresser. She threw Talla a goofy smile.
"I brought snacks and three movies over. Zootopia, Grease and..." Kara picked up the DVD case, brow pinched as she read it over, clearly having forgotten what it was. "The new Wreck It Ralph." Talla couldn't help but give her dork of a best friend a lopsided smile. She was tired out, but this seemed like a good idea; and she could use something to cheer her up. The two hadn't had much time to sit and chat, and laugh about stupid things like they normally did. She missed Kara, even though Talla saw her almost every day. Kara settled herself on the bed, pushing all the popcorn bags and chocolate away and grabbing one of the several blankets from the pile of things she'd brought along with her. That was the thing about Danvers; when she wanted to do something, she didn't do it the way everyone else would. She went all out. The woman shook it out and smiled gently at Talla and Talla chose to ignore the heat that rose to her face, crossing the bridge of her freckled nose and into her cheeks. Talla picked up one of the DVD's and grinned foxily.
"Dibs." Kara snorted, opening a bag of popcorn.
"No fair, I brought them!"
"You snooze, you lose."
"I wanted to eat!" Talla only grinned again and sashayed her way towards her TV, slipping Zootopia into the player. Kara laughed and snuggled into the cushion of blankets she'd created for the pair, pulling her side of Talla's duvet over her crossed lap. Her hair fell over her shoulders in wavy ringlets and Talla twisted, tossing the remote on the bedding casually. She moved to flop on her side of the bed, grabbing her own bag of popcorn. She dimmed the lamp slightly and wiggled her way down into the sheets, the saltiness of the popcorn pleasing her. Kara knew what she liked. Kara allowed Talla to curl into her toned side, the blankets practically swaddling the shorter woman. The warmth, the comfort, nearly lulled Talla to sleep there and then.
"This is nice." Kara remarked, reaching down to grab the remote and start the film, her arm looped around Talla's back, fingers absentmindedly tracing a pattern, the light of the TV screen dancing over her flawless features. Talla smiled into the sheets and hummed.
"It is." While the rest of the city slept, Kara and Talla snuggled up together, watching the movies. While the rest of the city slept, the two talked about anything and everything, like they used to when they were kids. While everyone else rested through the cold night, the two caught up on the things they'd been missing. Talla's day might have had its annoying parts. But...with Kara here? Everything felt better. She felt so much better now she wasn't alone and had her closest friend by her side. Talla's energy was back and she felt ready for tomorrow; her next chaotic day. She was more than ready.

Chapter Text

Sighing gleefully to herself, Gwendolyn brushed a strand of intensely coloured ginger hair behind her ear and practically glided across her bedroom, placing the last few items of neatly folded clothing in the black fabric of the suitcase. She'd been pottering around for the last few hours, having been up at four in the morning. Gwendolyn's sky blue eyes roamed over the clothing in the suitcases, some summery dresses, some sweaters, blouses, shorts and jeans in this one. That was everything she needed for this trip. With another contented sigh, she pulled the lid shut and fastened it, the clips making a faint noise as they attached; locked in place. Gwen stretched and let out a soft grunt. She looked around her room and hummed to herself. It was sparsely decorated, but whatever was hung up had sentimental meaning. The wallpaper was an elegant black and decorated with silver flowers that had started to shimmer in the rising sun. A few pictures of Gwendolyn and people she had met over the years were hung on, straight and polished. Some of her and her old, best friend Peggy Carter. Steve bloody Rogers. Dorothy. Charles and Erik. Everyone Gwendolyn loved dearly. It felt like home; even if she didn't see some of her friends anymore, even if some had passed away, she still felt at home. To be fair, this was her home now. Her room was scented softly with spearmint and Gwen could hear the birds begin their morning chorus; little high-pitched, musical cheeps. It made her smile.

Knuckles rapped on her bedroom door softly before it creaked open. Scott Summer's brunette hair appeared; and then his head when he poked it through the gap. He saw her suitcases were closed and ready and he flashed her a pleasant little smile.
"I'll get your heaviest bags, Gwen." He commented. He moved into the room, barely casting a look at anything other than her bags and herself. He grabbed the ones that were on the floor; they may have been small, but she had packed them to the rim with supplies. One was full of food and other consumables. In the other was products; shampoo, soap, some medical supplies. He gave her another smile, which she returned casually and he adjusted his hold on the handles of the cases and left the room. She heard him bumping down the staircase for a few seconds before it all fell silent again. The woman gave one last look around the room and sighed again. This was her first holiday in a long time. She needed a damn break from all the noise around her. It was always so busy and Gwen wasn't like the others; she wasn't a mutant who could level houses with a punch, create fire with a snap of her fingers or a powerful psychic. She was just someone who had nine lives. Was basically like a cat. She picked up the few other bags and slung her backpack on, humming a simple tune to herself as she left the bedroom, feeling the softness of the cool grey carpet beneath her feet. She closed the door with her free hand and caught sight of Rogue leaning on the wall in a nonchalant manner.
"I promise no one will go snooping." Rogue grinned at her and Gwendolyn laughed, shaking her head, not bothering to answer.

***

The school was enormous. Gwen observed as she walked down the grand staircase. Picturesque paintings hung on nearly every wall and the stone structures were elegant. This place had been her home for years. She and Charles Xavier were quite close friends; she did owe him for saving her life. Gwendolyn was overjoyed that she finally had a place to call home. Sure, she missed Ireland and all of its green, but here? God, did she love it so. She adjusted her backpack and hummed again, the doors to the mansion open. She walked outside, coming to stand in the sun. It was still slightly chilled, but she felt the warmth starting to seep into the air. It was going to be a warm day, it seemed. Good. The scent of roses and other flowers greeted her senses as the slight breeze blew them into her face. Jean and Logan were stood chatting and they both turned in sync, seemingly sensing her presence. Jean pouted and Gwen beamed at her, putting her bags down and pulling her into a tight hug.
"Fourteen days, Jean. You can manage without me for that long." Jean's ginger hair tickled her cheek and Jean chuckled faintly.
"I'll be counting those days down, trust me." She pulled away from the hug and took Scott's outstretched hand, waving before she walked back inside the mansion with him, leaving.

Logan and Gwendolyn stood together in a comfortable silence. Gwen clasped her hands. The two were still incredibly close friends. They met back in World War Two; Gwendolyn's mutation meant she didn't age as quickly as everyone else. And she still had seven lives left to her disposal. Ever since then, and the time they'd spent apart, their friendship had only gotten stronger. It had evolved, just like the times had. She was the one who could settle him down and keep him calm. He was her drinking buddy and her partner in crime. They were capable of helping each other when things got rough and that was all that mattered. On the field, they were an unstoppable team; completely lethal. They knew how everything worked, how combat worked. They knew what to do; they even had little tricks they'd work together on. Special attacks, so to speak.
"This should be fun." Gwendolyn remarked, looking out over the gardens and exhaling.
"I bet it will be." Logan said, casting a glance at her. Gwen couldn't fight the smile that lit up her features and she hugged him. He hugged back and Gwendolyn closed her eyes. He was much taller and bigger than her. It was always like she was being swallowed whenever he hugged her. And she could't exactly lie, he gave some damn good hugs.
"Don't get into too much trouble while I'm gone." She quipped. He snorted and it rumbled through his chest, through her cheek. She pulled away and squeezed his arms before letting go and sliding from his grip. She tugged her car keys from her jean pocket. They jingled, making a metallic sound as she grabbed her bags and walked towards her sleek black Audi. Her excitement bubbled in the pit of her stomach, making her feel giddy. This holiday was gonna be great. Gwendolyn could feel Logan watching her. She cast her eyes back at him as she threw her luggage in the boot and saw him stood with his arms folded, legs apart, dark eyes burning into hers. Gwen stuck her tongue out at him and closed the door, moving to get into the vehicle.
"Be careful, darlin'," He called, making her smile like an idiot. Again. He always said that, anytime she left for something. "Call if you need anything." He always said that too. She waved and slammed the car door, feeling the smooth of the leather seats underneath her. She started the engine, it rumbling to life and pulled away, hearing the gravel crunching under the tires.
"And, we're off." She muttered to herself as she drove down the driveway and through the large, shiny black metal gates.

***

The roads were practically clear and her car raced down them, one hand rested on her lap, the other wrapped around the steering wheel. The sun was low in the sky now, but it was still burning down; still a hot day. She had her window rolled all the way down and the wind blew hard, blowing her disheveled hair out of her face. It rushed loudly past her ears and a grin crept its way onto her face. Cars passed her by and she saw the silvers, blacks and navy blues melt into one. It had been twelve hours; with a few stops to pee and grab a drink from a cafe, but she'd been on the road for a full twelve hours. Gwen couldn't lie, she was starting to get tired and stiff, but she was still buzzing with the idea of her holiday and that is what kept her spirits high. A few months ago, she bought a cabin in the woods. Woods that were far, far away from the mansion and the cramped, clogged, dirty city. It was an enchanting and quaint little thing that was built by a clean, fresh water lake, surrounded by nothing but clean air, tall pine trees and... silence. Yeah, it was a forest, but it was serene and quiet and that was something Gwendolyn wanted. Just some peace and bloody quiet. Shifting in her seat, Gwen grinned even wider. Every mile she drove, she felt that excitement that had settled within her before she left the mansion grow. It was getting to the point she could barely sit still; she was just itching to get there and settle herself down. Have a damn break. She was in need of a bloody break. The school was always so loud and busy. And Gwendolyn had already admitted to herself that she wasn't like the rest of them. Yeah, she was a mutant, but her mutation was pretty fucking stupid. It just gave her nine lives and made her like a cat; gave her the speed, reflexes. She still had to work her arse off to become a fighter, to prove her worth in a man driven world; especially back in the Forties. And she was still under SHIELD; she hadn't yet been full transferred over; meaning whenever she got a call, she had to answer it. Whether it was a field operation or a boring old briefing, Gwendolyn had to go. Which, she utterly detested. But, Director Fury had other things on his plate and so she was lenient. One day, she would have been fully transferred; she'll just have to put up and shut up until then. But, currently, she felt like she didn't have any time to herself anymore. It was always spent at SHIELD or helping the X-Men, training them, paperwork, more SHIELD, more missions, more paperwork. It was tiring her out beyond words. She was more than used to getting a shitty night's sleep, but Jesus Christ, it was starting to take its toll.

Her mind took her back to the day before she decided to take a break, thanks to Charles and Ororo persuading her into it. She was exhausted after getting home from a three week long operation in Thailand and was immediately back to work helping Scott and Jean practice. She hadn't slept properly for seven days (even longer, counting the night stakeouts on the mission) and it got worse as the hours wore on. One minute she was chatting with Hank in the kitchen, the next she was moving and when she focused enough, Gwen realised she was being carried up the stairs by the one and only Logan bloody Howlett. She was embarrassed and squirmed, but he only held her tighter. He ignored her slurred and sleepy protesting and put her to bed. He even stayed by her until until he was sure she was fast asleep; just to make sure she didn't sneak out of bed after he'd left. He'd know her long enough to know her tricks. Gwendolyn couldn't help the smile that formed on her face when she thought of the memory; what she could remember, that is. Logan was good-natured underneath all of his grizzly, harsh, cold attitudes. Gwendolyn felt her skin tingle with the simple thought of him and adjusted her hand on the black leather of the steering wheel. She knew he had feelings for her; he'd made it obvious on more than one occasion. They'd almost made it happen on more than one occasion. She liked him as much as he liked her. But, Logan seemed to be waiting. Taking his time. And that was fine with her. Gwendolyn knew he didn't want to mess anything up, and she understood that. She didn't want to rush into it, either. It was completely fine. Gwendolyn didn't mind waiting. Hopefully, the two could get passed that "will they, won't they" stage. But, until then, his friendship was enough. She placed both hands on the wheel and grinned to herself once again. For once in her long life, Gwen couldn't lie, she loved it. She loved it and every direction it had started to lead her. All she had to do was pick a path and follow it; something the nurse was more than willing to do.

***

The highways had melted away into back roads and Gwendolyn had turned this way and that, ending up on a forest's back road. The trees became more and more dense as the drive went on. The aroma of pine needles filled the car and it was a charming scent; more than pleasant. Gwendolyn adored the smell of pine. It was a clean kinda smell; fresh. The sun was starting to fade away into dusk and it snaked through through the tall trees, trying to push through the thick branches. It glittered and shimmered, catching Gwendolyn's eye. She was about an hour away now; an hour away from her cabin. Gwendolyn could barely contain her excitement and was pretty much bouncing around the car seat. Her mind was clouded with the thoughts of what she would do when she finally arrived at that pretty, picturesque cabin. For now, for today, Gwendolyn would just unpack her luggage, unwind, drink some tea and then take one well needed nap. Considering she'd been driving for almost thirteen damn hours, a nap was probably going to be useful. Maybe some stretches beforehand. Knowing her and how exhausted she felt, Gwendolyn would probably sleep through the night. It would be much more than a "nap". If she did, it would be fine. She could just make a damn good breakfast, read that bloody book she hadn't had the time to look at. Maybe even take a dip in those chilled waters. No matter the weather, Gwendolyn was going in that damn lake; no one was going to tell her otherwise. No one was here to tell her otherwise.

A noisy bumping distracted Gwen and a frown formed on her face. The sound was obvious and it wiped her mind of the plans she was making. She listened intently. All she could hear was her tires, the gravel, the wind whistling as it came through her open window. It might have just been something on the road, like a bump; but then again, Gwendolyn didn't see anything. Shrugging to herself, Gwendolyn chose to ignore it and carry on her way, looking ahead and paying more attention. This holiday was going to be amazing and that was all that mattered. She could just unwind and chill and forget. If SHIELD wanted to call, they'd have to find someone else. Her phone would be on, but ignored. Only reason she brought it with her was in case there was an emergency; either here or away. She'd go running if something was going down at the mansion. SHIELD? Nope. They could cope. There were hundreds, if not thousands, or people working for them. They could deal with whatever came their way without bothering her to help them. The noise came again, this time making Gwendolyn jump and slam on her brakes. They squealed and the car came to a halt. Her hair settled in her eyes and she looked out of the back window in case she hit something. There was nothing in the road. She turned back and saw steam rising up from the engine. The woman clenched her jaw so hard, she swore she felt it crack. This...this was unexpected. She opened her car door angrily and got out. The silence was deafening, other than the hissing of the steam that rose up from her stupid engine and dispersed into the sky. Gwendolyn slammed the door, the noise echoing. Moving, she yanked up the hood and waved the hot steam out of her face. No matter how hard she looked, she couldn't see the problem; but she didn't have her tool kit, either. Gwendolyn didn't think she'd bloody need the bastard. Gwendolyn let out a frustrated sigh.
"You've got to be fuckin' jokin'." She muttered to herself, wanting to slam the bonnet on her head repeatedly. Gwendolyn was literally an hour away from the cabin. And she has two heavy bags and three lighter ones; she was used to carrying heavy gear but it wasn't happening now. She was stiff and tired and no. And it would be dark soon. And Gwendolyn wasn't comfortable with walking alone through a forest in the dark.

The last time when Victor went psycho didn't end so well. The crazy bastard nearly took one of her lives. She wasn't fully over it, even if she pretended to be. Gwendolyn shuddered at the thought of it and batted it away. No. She'd just freak herself out. Gwendolyn toyed with the options she had. She really didn't want to have to walk back and forth for her bags. Or leave her car. Even though she was pretty much isolated, Gwen wasn't that trusting. Or... she could call Logan. He was proficient at fixing things. And it would be nice to spend some more time with him, away from the prying eyes of the others and the noise. She smiled to herself at the thought and chose the latter. Closing the hood, Gwendolyn pulled her phone from the pocket of her leather jacket and dialled the one person she needed; Logan. It rang for a few seconds before it picked up.
"Hey, darlin'." He greeted her casually, voice gruff.
"Hey, Canada," She responded, scraping her foot through the gravel. "So... my car decided to give up on me. I can't fix it without my tools. Care to help a girl out?" The man didn't answer. Instead, Gwendolyn heard him slinging on his jacket and grabbing his keys.
"I'll be there in a few hours, darlin'." Gwendolyn swore she heard a smile in his voice as he hung up. She slipped her phone away and leaned on the car, playing with the ends of her hair in thought as she gazed at the stunning scenery; the trees and the setting sun before her. Gwendolyn wondered if he'd stay for a little while. She didn't mind that in the slightest.

Chapter Text

He was staring at her.
Oliver couldn't exactly help it. She was finally sleeping, her long velvety golden hair fanned out across her plush pillow like a halo. Her slate grey eyes were hidden behind the lids, her lashes long enough to brush her skin as she slept away; for once, completely unflustered. She always looked so tranquil when she took the time to rest. There was no torment hidden behind her eyes, blurring her beauty with anguish. There was no self-hatred, no self-doubt. She looked transcendent when she wasn't killing herself inside with all of the things she had done, all of the things she could never do.
All of the things she had failed to do.
All of the people she had failed.

Her nightmares had almost completely stopped now that Oliver had fully moved into her spacious apartment. It was an improvement and a good sign. Despite him moving in, John Diggle's door (or window) was always open for her. The bodyguard had grown accustomed to the witch breaking into his house; his wife did, too. They would know if they heard a window or a door, it was Sasha sneaking in. He'd grown used to her sighing and curling up on the end of his bed. Lyla would cover her with a spare blanket she had started putting down by the side of the bed for the moments Sasha would show up. And even though he was content with the fact Oliver had finally moved in with her, he couldn't help but grumble about it; the fact he would hear his window creaking open a lot less. Oliver smiled delicately and ran his hand through her hair, feeling the satiny strands brush against his calloused fingers. Sasha reminded him of starlight; bright and always glistening, only coming out during the darkest of times. She was always there when anyone needed her to be. The House of Mystery showed how benevolent she truly was. Underneath the cruel and calculating assassin was a woman who just wanted to do good in the shitty world around her. Sasha, Cheryl and Danielle were some of the most charitable people he'd ever met. Cheryl was a guest at the renovated House of Mystery and then moved in full time to help Danielle with the other clients. Sasha had dragged Oliver with her to see about the repairs for the House of Secrets; that had been damaged by a stray bolt of unstable magic from one Timothy Hunter, who now resides with a friend of Sasha's: Madame Xanadu. She had a lot of magical friends, Oliver noted.

***

Sasha wasn't the type of person to allow people to suffer. He knew she had seen her fair share of pain; especially when under the Talons' control. And Oliver knew Hell would freeze over before Sasha let anyone else go through that sort of suffering again; she swore to herself she would be the last child the Court of Owls ever corrupted. Sasha had a one hell of a big heart. She couldn't allow it. She had to face up to her past and own it. She had to swallow the hurt and do something, anything, to help those who wanted to escape the Talons. So, the House of Mystery was made into a sanctuary for those who needed to hide, who needed safety. And she did it for free. Sasha was a millionare. Money wasn't a problem and Sasha wanted the people who came to her for help to feel like they were safe. Oliver loved her for that. The fact she pulled souls from the spirit world and revived them and set them up in the House so they could stay until they got something else sorted; they could stay as long as they liked. Cheryl Masters was one of those people. She was murdered by her insane husband and her daughter, Gemma, came to Sasha for help. And Sasha brought Cheryl back to life. The level of empathy Sasha possessed always caught Oliver off guard. For someone trained to be a killer, someone trained to feel nothing...she felt everything.

Sasha stirred lightly, snapping Oliver out of his thoughts. He held his breath, only to release it when her humming noise droned off into silence and her eyelids stopped fluttering. Sasha needed as much rest as possible. She used one hell of a lot of magic taking down an angel that had decided to go rogue. Oliver had been busy looking after Spenser and William while Sasha was at the garage she worked at. It had been a normal morning, the boys were playing with the cats and Oliver was in a good mood. Jack had teleported in, looking a little battered and he held one Sasha Lockhart in his arms bridal style, her head rested against his broad shoulder. He nearly dropped a plate. He was just as distressed as Jack looked. But, Jack passed over Sasha to Oliver, wiping some blood on his skinny black jeans and he explained what happened while William stood on the sofa to run his boyish fingers over Sasha's bruised forehead. Sasha had used her magic to protect him and gotten kicked through the office window for her efforts. Constantine had sensed something was off and appeared while she was stabbing the angel to death, her skin lined with its blood and her wounds from the blade in her hands. John didn't want Oliver to see that part. He just cleaned her off with a dirty rag and went to...dispose of the angel. Jack had immediately tended to the unconscious Sasha at this point, bringing her home as quickly as he could manage. The demon then tended to the boys and Oliver to Sasha. He changed her blood spattered clothes and cleaned the few lacerations tenderly, the blood vibrant against her porcelain skin. He washed her small amount of make-up off before tucking her into the warmth of the blankets and lying down next to her. John had arrived and William had kicked him in the shins, which made Oliver snort at the sound.
"That's for Sasha, asshole!" William had spat and Oliver raised an eyebrow, listening to Jack fluster around and John groan out curse words in Latin.
"No, William. Your "angel" will have my head served on a platter if she catches you cursing. She'll know you learned it from me instantly, shh." Oliver smiled. This was what their family was like: weird and wonderful. Oliver wouldn't have it any other way.

Sasha's lips twitched and Oliver hummed in a hushed tone, soothing her; even if she couldn't hear him doing it. It was a habit at this point. He'd do it when her nightmares would run rampant, and when she awoke with a cry and her wild eyes met his, he'd pull her into his arms and soothe her; if she talked about it, he'd listen. Most of the time though, Sasha would bury her face into his neck and ground herself with his scent. Oliver loved sleeping by her at this point. He never really minded being woken up by her slurred mumbling. He loved her a little bit more each time she opened up to him. Her vulnerability wasn't a weakness, like she had been trained to believe; it was her greatest strength. And Sasha wasn't an open book. Hell, even when she did open up, she was still hard to read. But, all that mattered was that she tried. She allowed him to see the things that frightened her, the things that broke her. Oliver hated it, at times. He hated the fact she'd been so damaged. He hated the fact she had her emotions beaten out of her. He hated that she'd lost so many people. It killed him inside that she had to go through so much.

***
And then she found him; in her broken glory, she found him. And she fixed him. Without a problem, Sasha treat him with compassion and had more faith in him than she had in herself. Sasha believed he was a good man, and she helped him become a better man. Oliver knew what he signed up for the minute he started falling in love with her. The night she allowed him to stay over and he had a nightmare, she crept into the bed next to him and pulled him to her chest, cooing and holding him tightly to stop him thrashing around and hurting himself; and if he accidently smacked her, she'd snort it off and heal his hand. When he awoke with a start, her name on his lips, he was greeted with her tender gaze. One of her hands ran through his hair, the other looped around his waist in a soothing manner; a protective one. And he heard soft singing. He didn't understand the language, but she had a charming voice. Just like a nightingale. And, that was all it took for him to fall head over heels in love with her; seeing her affectionate side. The side she hid from the world. The side she had grown used to hiding. Oliver continued to fiddle with her hair, peering at her unblemished face, lost in his thoughts.

Don't even get him started on her eyes. They were breathtaking and bewitching, a unnaturally sharp shade of grey; and, without a doubt, they'd always be alight with fire. They twinkled and shimmered with the tameless emotion and passion she held inside. Sasha always seemed to have a grim look on her face, but whenever those damn eyes met his, they always softened; looking more like a delicate grey cloud after rain on a humid summer day. When she was angry? The colours whirled, settling on the deepest shade of grey Oliver could think of; almost black. They reminded him of a sea being battered by a hurricane; full of tempestuous anger. He always tried to avoid her in those moments, as her fury was pure and ferocious. Nothing and no one could make her settle; apart from revenge. He moved his hand to her slender shoulder and rubbed distracted circles with his thumb as he watched her sleep, feeling the definition in her muscles as he did so. She was everything Oliver didn't know he needed; and so much more. Sasha thought she was sharper than broken glass, sharper than the blades she carried with her; built to make people bleed... designed to cause nothing but sorrow. But she was so much more than what the Court of Owls tried to make her. She was so much more than what she believed. He tilted his head slightly, watching the way a strip of moonlight cast a shadow under her defined cheekbone. Why was she so... enchanting? She was utterly enthralling. Especially with the way she would light up about the things she enjoyed, her (short) time in the Navy. The way she moved when she mowed her way through her opponents, the way she would sit on the kitchen counter and throw him the most delightful smiles. Sasha would tell him stories about the things she got up to when Chloe was still alive and Oliver couldn't lie, he would get a pang of envy every single time. Sasha always spoke ardently about Chloe. Oliver couldn't really help but get jealous sometimes. All Sasha wanted was a love that was real, someone to look at her and value her more than the stars that lit up the night sky. She wanted someone to love her for her; not for the heroic things she had done. Sasha wanted to be valued for more than her looks. Sasha wanted a love that was real. She wanted a love that could withstand the storms that come with relationships, a love that Heaven couldn't even touch. But, alas, she lost a love just like that. Chloe Russel had been dead for at least three years and John Constantine couldn't see what was right in front of him until it was way too late. But, despite losing so much and so many, Sasha was a hopeless romantic at heart; even if she didn't admit it out loud, Oliver knew. She knew that love could be a forceful notion; she knew it would find a way. And she was fucking right.

***

She didn't even need to do that much. In the weeks he came to know her, he tried to ignore the feelings that had started to develop. She was witty and cunning; capable of taking down six armed men without a problem. And she was gorgeous. And she played hard to get. At times, Oliver thought it was funny. Others, he wanted to mash his face into one of Felicity's keyboards because she was difficult and always batting his flirty advances away with a big metaphorical stick. And after the nightmare incident and hearing her singing a Latin lullaby, that was it; his walls came crashing down and she had him snared like a fish in a fucking net, had his heart in the palm of her hand. After a few weeks of Oliver's pining, she realised. And when she noted that she had his heart, she handled it with the care she never truly received, handled it like it was cherished china, handled it with a tenderness that only captivated him further. Him and her? Together, they would go far. Sasha stirred again and Oliver beamed at her figure, his heart swelling with pride. She had come so far; felt so much. Sasha took her own life and changed it for the better. She'd managed to let most of her rage go, tried to move on. Yes; it was hard. Sasha still battled with her blood lust when fighting; the blood lust the Talons had beaten into her.

She was a child

Swallowing to stop that anger rising, Oliver leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to her cheek, feeling the smoothness of her skin under his lips as he did so. He moved and tucked her in again, her blankets disturbed by her shifting. Oliver took his place by her side, rolling over to face her. She had stopped moving; only shifting to turn her head, her magic breathing quietly, lips parted ever so slightly. Somehow, even the coldest of killers could look innocent; childlike.

She had her childhood stolen.

Oliver exhaled and cleared his mind. He could deal with that fury later; take it out on the poor punching bag in the base. He sighed softly, hearing the quiet whispering of Jack and John downstairs.
"I love you..." He whispered, voice hushed. He settled and sighed again, closing his eyes. All was silent for a few seconds before a soft Gothamite accent pierced through his drowsy thoughts.
"I love you too," Sasha whispered back, moving to snuggle into his chest, forehead resting on his collarbone, just under his chin. Her silky smooth hair tickled his skin and he pressed a kiss to the crown of her head. He adjusted his postion, looping an arm around her; holding her as close as he could manage. "Dork..."
It wasn't much longer before they both fell asleep, wrapped around each other as the moonlight shone upon them.

Chapter Text

Everything was shaded by dark spots that fogged up her sight. Sounds and images merged into one and an irritatingly monotonous ringing harassed her ears as she tried to get her bearings. She didn’t understand what had happened; it had knocked her out of focus. Talla blinked languidly, feeling the aches pound through her, heavy and hard. Her throat burned and she coughed violently, rolling off of whatever she was lying on. Her head felt like it was in pieces. Glimpses of what had happened in the previous moments seared into her brain, even more distorted than her vision. Talla felt the jagged fragments of broken glass under her palms, prodding at her skin; trying to pierce it and remind her that pain still exists, whether she wants to feel it or not. Of course, it still stung as it grated across her hand, as it was just waiting for her to move, but her skin remained intact. Her hands weren’t going to end up lacerated and bleeding; Talla thanks her slowly developing powers for that. Her father may not have been there for her after her mom died, but at least he was good for something. Coming from an alien planet she knew barely anything about gave her some sort of pre-eminence. She didn’t want the stupid powers, but right now? In this very complicated and fuzzy moment? Talla was pleased they were there. Whining guttarly, Talla sniffed at the air, her hand instinctively moving to cover her mouth. Thick plumes of smoke clouded the air, forcing Talla into another fit of gravelly, barking coughs. She concentrated her gaze, and as it swam into focus, she saw bright reds, yellows and oranges all fused into one dancing ball. It clicked in her mind as her senses returned.
The building was ablaze.

***

Blinking a few times to clear her eyes, the heat making them sting, Talla’s heart dropped through the floor as she finally managed to move her head and look around. Flames licked at the walls hungrily, the paintings and wallpaper being devoured by the strong and wild fire. Talla pouted in thought, trying to rack her fragmented memories; try to remember what happened. It came back in snippets, bits and pieces deciding to make themselves known. She had been at the posh art gallery opening, with Kara Danvers in tow. Supergirl wanted to make sure things went fine, went swimmingly and to make her meaning there apparent, she was also going to write something about it. It gave her a purpose to be there other than lingering in case a threat came into play. Things were going well and Talla had some fun. She wasn’t the biggest art fan, but she took the time to look at the work and appreciate the time the artists had dedicated to creating their masterpieces. . Talla had heard the clicking sound; so did Kara. Before the two could find out what it was, the room erupted into an explosion, throwing most guests in every direction; they briefly reminded Talla of paper airplanes. Talla lost sight of Kara and she was thrown back over tables. Glasses shattered with the shock-wave and Talla rebounded off of the back wall and landed on the table filled with decorated foods and pricey champagne. Even with her unusual abilities, Talla had the wind forced out of her, leaving her breathless. Her spine smarted and her vision went black at the edges. Screaming echoed around her foggy mind as she struggled to regain the senses that had been smacked out of her.

Now in the present, the shrieking had died down and Talla felt someone tug on the hem of her dress, the dark purple fabric making it obvious as it brushed against her leg. Talla managed to turn herself in the direction the tugging was coming from and a saw a young boy, no more than seven, hiding under the pulverised buffet table. His face was slick with soot and grime, his eyes a stunning shade of turquoise. The tears that had welled up in his eyes reflected the hungry flames that were making their way over to the two, clawing towards them painstakingly slowly. If Talla wasn’t half-Kryptonian, she’d be afraid; so very afraid. The boy’s coughing attracted her attention. The damn smoke inhalation; Talla hadn’t thought of that. She clambered onto her knees and turned to face the scared child. She offered a smile of compassion, trying to untrouble him, soothe his nerves.
“Come on, I’ve got you. Let’s go.” Before the boy could agree, Talla moved and grabbed hold of his slender, boyish arm. He rasped out a squeal and Talla barely felt him as he shifted to bury his dirty face into her shoulder, arms wrapped tightly around the back of her neck. She clutched at him, eyes darting this way and that as she tried to find a way to get out; to escape. The entrance had been blocked by the explosion, it seemed; a part of the ceiling had gave way. Smoke limited her line of sight, but her powers made life much easier. She scanned her eyes back and forth, seeing a crowd of bustling people outside, a safe distance away from the raging fire. Honing her senses, she heard a woman yowling like an injured animal. It was something that didn’t strike Talla as a wail of pain or apprehension; Talla understood the sound immediately. Her son was the boy Talla had. Talla narrowed her eyes and took a deep breath, very aware of the child in her arms. She held a life in her hands, basically. A life she wasn’t going to lose.

***

Talla pulled her glasses off and the boy didn’t seem to pay any attention to what she was doing; she was rather glad he wasn’t. Chirring echoed through the building, sounding like a gunshot after a while and Talla took off into the air, unbalanced and weightless. The boy screeched at the sudden lurch, nearly choking the life out of the woman. Forced to tug on his cute little jacket’s sleeve, Talla cleared her throat and exhaled through her teeth. He took the hint and loosened his hold, but he still clung on for dear life. He had a right to cling; she was about twenty feet in the air at this point. She hadn’t used her powers properly before. Yeah, Talla had used her x-ray vision and strength. But her flight? It remained mainly untouched. But, now, Talla didn’t have much choice in the matter. She either unlocked the ability or died trying. Kara was out there, trying to contain the blaze with her icy ass breath. She couldn't do two things at once and Talla couldn't let the boy die in here. She didn't want him to die in a fire, of all things. So... she has no choice. Talla shielded the boy's head with one of her hands, not wanting him to see her or get harmed by any falling debris; she had avoided most obstacles, but a few skimmed her, ripped her dress, grazed her skin. Her heart hammered against her ribs so hard it physically hurt. Fear coursed through her veins, faster than her blood did. Of course, Talla had a valid reason to be scared. This was all very new to her. She just wanted a normal life; using her abilities was far from normal. Talla was risking her secret identity to save this young child. Everyone she loves could be in danger; that is, if the boy babbles about it. Talla swallowed thickly and spun around in the air, flipping backwards and using her feet to shatter through what remained of the roof.

She couldn't land in front of everyone; Kara would recognize her instantly. And, Talla couldn't allow that. Kara would see the dress and know Talla was the dark haired heroine helping her save National City. Talla had a better disguise than those two; her hair went a dark shade of brown, her eyes a pastel purple. Her mother wasn't exactly human, either. She was a shape-shifter, in a way; and could control small amounts of electricity. Her father's side was more dominant, but Talla did inherit some of her mother's abilities. The dress would give her away and Talla wasn't wearing her suit underneath. She landed gently, heels tapping softly on the concrete. She jumped off the building and set the boy down when she landed gently. He looked at her with bright eyes, fright slowly receding.
"Thank you," He whispered, voice hoarse from all the smoke. Talla smiled tenderly and ruffled his hair in a cheery fashion.
"It's kinda my job, kiddo," She remarked cooly. "But, can you keep it a secret?" He seemed to understand immediately and nodded briskly, using a finger to zip his lips. Talla couldn't help but chuckle. Glass shattered somewhere behind them as the flames grew more intense and Talla heard the sirens growing louder.
"Go, you'll be safer with your mother." Talla ordered, her tone still gentle but holding more of a stern edge. He took off running and Talla returned to her original self; blonde hair and light blue eyes. Her glasses were totally unscathed, which gave her a shock. She placed them on her face quickly, adjusting them when she heard Kara landing nearby.
"Talla, thank God!" She sounded relieved and Talla didn't have time to respond, as her arms looped around her and Kara exhaled into her shoulder. "I thought you were still inside, are you okay?" The Maid of Might pulled back and held her at arm's length, running her eyes over her, checking her over for any injuries. Talla chuckled.
"I'm fine. Can we go?" Talla could hear the mother gasp with joy as her son appeared. A miracle, she had whispered as she picked him up and held him close, tears in her bright blue eyes. Talla felt the smile pasting itself across her lips. She had been a hero, once again. Her identity was put in danger, but you can never put a price on a life.

Chapter Text

Everything was utterly silent. And it wasn't the nice kind of quiet. The bedroom lights went out, followed by the kitchen lights. The only sounds were Alyssa's shiny black flats on the worn cream carpet and the lights switching off. She purposelessly moved through, using one hand to brush over the wall, feeling the cracked and flaking paint under her fingers, feeling the plastic of the switch. Another light went out. It was nicely decorated; even through the dimness, Alyssa could see the shiny glass coffee table and black leather sofa. It was a wonderfully quaint place. But, it was cheap and run down. Alyssa couldn't lie about that fact. Her dad bought it for incredibly cheap. He was working in a café in downtown Gotham, on a low wage. There wasn't much he could do about it; he couldn't get better. Alyssa learned to love it, despite how cracked the walls were, how poorly the windows were fitted, how loose the lighting fixtures were. It was a place to call home. A majority of the lights were now out. Alyssa stooped over and picked up the beaten old black leather suitcases that were placed near her bedroom door. She carried on walking through the empty, darkened apartment. The weight of the suitcases reminded her of the heavy feeling that hovered over her heart. This was it. This was actually it.

Moving through the dirtied kitchen, ignoring the unwashed plates, Alyssa heard the TV set playing. Flicking her eyes up, she looked towards it. It was scruffy, the black plastic worn and scratched. The screen flickered for a few seconds, the image of the female reporter pixelated and jittery. Alyssa stopped walking and turned her head to get a better look.
"In other news, Gotham's crime rate has spiked to an all time high-" Alyssa stopped listening, tuning it out immediately. She knew about the damn crime rate. The statistics. Alyssa had spent enough time around Detective Gordon to see him slowly fight the hopelessness that was building within. He still tried. He was a good man. He was a damn good man. Even more aimless than before, Alyssa's hand drifted over the screen, some static picking up on her fingertips. She switched it off, hearing it whirr as it fell silent. The heaviness in her chest grew; it swelled into a symphony of pain she didn't want. Pain she didn't ask for. Ever since her father, Daniel, had gone missing...nothing had been the same. Her search had meant using black magic and that meant her sanity was starting to suffer. Without him as her anchor, without his consoling aura, she was lost. She was alone. Without her dad, her magic was starting to overpower her humanity. She was weak. She was nothing. Fiddling with the ends of her golden blonde hair, she saw the gingery streaks that had started to form. Alyssa knew what she was; what she would become. Her Pure-Blood was almost out of her cage. Her magic was starting to control her more than she controlled it. Her blood lust was increasing, her humanity was fading. She was losing more and more of herself as time went by. She could feel it. That was why the apartment was up for sale again. That's why her drawers were empty of her clothes, her favourite belongings. That was why she was moving away.

***

She was leaving. Away from here; far away. To a pretty city in Ireland. Somewhere unassuming. Somewhere her friends wouldn't think of looking. Somewhere she would be safe from her own insanity. Some place she wouldn't be able to hurt her friends. That was all that mattered to Alyssa now; their safety. And with her trapped in a city as broken as Gotham...that wouldn't happen. They wouldn't be safe. Feeling hot tears spring to her eyes, Alyssa sniffed and dropped her bags, hearing them hit the worn carpet as she moved to the small bathroom. Alyssa pushed the door open with her free hand, the other clamped over her mouth to settle the sob that tried to force its way out of her mouth. It was tiny, the bath a lot cleaner than the sink. The black and white tiles were chipped and broken. Dad was saving up to redecorate this. A tear rolled down her cheek and she closed the door. Alyssa tried to breathe out the crying. She didn't want to leave this hellhole alone. She wanted her Dad. She needed him. But, he was gone and she was alone. Again. Alyssa heard the front door creak open. It made her heart leap. A part of her wished it was her father. A part of her wanted it to be him. But, she knew it wasn't. Her magic told her it wasn't. It whispered tauntingly that it wasn't. "Alyssa?" The voice was young, but more masculine that it used to be. Male. Bruce Wayne. She wiped her sky blue eyes, seeing the green flecks around the iris. He...picked the lock? What was the point in that? Now she had to say goodbye. Alyssa planned on slipping away unnoticed...just disappearing. But, no...that plan was out of the window. Alyssa's slender hands gripped the cold, grimy porcelain of the sink. She stared at her own reflection, her teeth gritted. Her eyes were red and puffy. She could at least see him before she left, for good.
"It'll be fine." Alyssa whispered to herself. Seeing him one last time wouldn't hurt. She pushed away from the sink and turned, grasping the silver handle. Taking a deep, calming breath, she pulled it open. Was she ready for this? Nope. But, Alyssa didn't have much of a choice.

Alyssa drifted out of the bathroom, closing the door carefully behind her. Bruce was stood, dressed in a plain black suit. Clearly, he'd been busy with his fledgling company; or at another gala of some sort. Like he normally was nowadays. Alyssa hadn't seen him in a few weeks. But, her heart still dropped at the sight of him. His dark brown hair was brushed and styled neatly, and it caught the dim lighting as he twisted his head to gaze at her. The confusion on his face made her bite the inside of her cheek; hard. Casually, the young man stepped past the suitcases, eyes returning to them briefly before he flicked them back to Alyssa. Taking another soothing breath, Alyssa stopped walking and clasped her slender hands behind her back, feeling how sweaty her palms were. Now, they were only a few feet apart. The heaviness in her heart grew; she loathed the feeling. He lifted his eyes once again, the blue reminding her of the sky on an early spring morning. They were still filled with confusion. Alyssa couldn't stop the melancholy from leaking into her expression. The silence was broken by his sharp intake of breath.
"What's this?" He questioned. Alyssa could see he didn't fully understand. Or, he didn't want to.
"I'm leaving Gotham, Bruce," she responded. A bewildered look fell across his features, somehow intensifying the colour of his eyes. Disbelief coloured his aura. He didn't want to believe she was going. It made her heart shatter, once again.
"You can't-"
"I have to." Bruce ran his hands through his hair, causing it to fluff up and become dishevelled.
"What about you dad?" Bruce pleaded, eyes practically begging her to stay. Alyssa bit the inside of her cheek again. She shook her head. The futility of the situation finally dawned on him. No matter what he said or did, now that he was here, would not change her mind. So many emotions swirled around her and she couldn't pinpoint all of them. Her heart ached for him. She was leaving to keep them safe. All of them. Bruce, Alfred, Selina. If she lost her humanity, they would suffer. Leaving....it was to keep them all safe. From her. From her destiny. From what she would eventually become. There was no avoiding it; only delaying the inevitable. She could have told him all of this. But, Alyssa's lips remained closed. She remained silent. His low-toned voice trailed off once he accepted the fact he was fighting a losing battle. The silence that fell over the pair seemed worse than before. It made her hurt even more. Tears welled up in her eyes, once again. God...she would miss him the most. They'd been friends for years. Leaving him behind so abruptly felt...wrong. But, Alyssa didn't have a choice in the matter.

***

A faint horn echoed, making both look towards the curtained window. Her taxi was here. Finally. Fifteen minutes late, but that didn't matter now. It was now or never. She felt her heart rate spike as she flicked her loose hair from her eyes, moving to stand on her tiptoes and press a gentle kiss to Bruce's chapped lips. She'd forgotten how much he'd grown. Once upon a time, Alyssa was taller than him. He was surprised for a millisecond, but soon relaxed into it, his hands resting against her cheeks. His lips molded against hers. Her hands slid up his shoulders, the material of his soft under her fingers. The sound of her own heartbeat clouded her mind. Why hadn't she done this sooner? Why did she wait so long? Why did her stupid brain decide now was the time to do it? Another honk broke through her hazy thoughts. Bruce pulled away slowly, breathing ragged, his thumb tracing a line on her cheek. Alyssa took note of how crestfallen he looked. In the dimness of the room, the colour of his eyes reminded her of the sea down by Gotham's port on a cloudy, rainy, stormy day. It made her want to change her mind. It made her want to stay. Alyssa stepped back, feeling his hands glide across her face and drop uselessly at his sides. She felt colder without him pressed up against her. Without a single word, she moved and picked up her bags, even though she didn't want to. Her heart wasn't in it anymore. Bruce's gaze burned holes into her shoulder and Alyssa straightened up, not wanting to look back. The girl didn't want to see the misery that stained his face. His voice made her hesitate mid-step.
"Alyssa, wa-wait!" She did as requested, turning to face him. His eyes met hers and her heart slammed against her rib-cage. "Will I see you again?" How very cliche. Alyssa stalled with her answer. She didn't know. Probably not. She adjusted her hands on the bags' handles, fingers aching; they felt so damn heavy. She gave him a heavyhearted, doubtful smile.
"Maybe one day." She replied, voice quivering. She opened the door and gave him one last look. One last time. "Goodbye, Bruce."

And, with that sad smile, Alyssa was gone. She didn't hear the deafening silence that filled the apartment. She didn't see the anguished expression that defined Bruce’s features. Alyssa sensed it, though. Her magic taunted her over it. But, she blocked out the whispers. That was all she could do in a time like this. It was time to move on. It was time for a new life. A new path. And that path was dangerously uncertain. Her fate was...closer; closer than ever. And this new little path she'd chosen? It needed to be taken by her, and her alone.

Chapter Text

The morning was dreary. Even more so than usual. Gotham City was terrible and cold, but today...it seemed worse. Everything was silent. The manor Bruce lived in was empty and darkened, the curtains tightly drawn. Silence was all that drifted through the home. Bruce adjusted his silken black tie, one that Chloe loved to play with when she was right in front of him. The smooth material slid through his calloused fingers and Bruce let out a heavy hearted sigh, hearing Damien's light footsteps across the wooden flooring. The man turned and gazed at his youngest son, feeling his piercing green eyes burning into his own.
"Hurry up, Father," the boy commented, pride in his stance as he drifted past him, hands clasped behind his back. "I want you to be there." Bruce didn't even have time to respond; Damien was already gone, disappearing through the large front doors and into the cold morning air.Taking a deep, calming breath, Bruce hid his trembling hands in the pockets of his onyx coloured blazer. He didn't want this funeral to be real. Anything but this. Anything but her. Chloe was gone and Bruce couldn't fathom it. He couldn't understand it. Every single time she went away on her quests to help other people on the other side of the world, she swore to him she'd return. And no matter what seemed to get in her way, Chloe remained true to her word. Without a doubt, she would always return to the manor and Bruce's side. This time, she didn't. This time, she failed to come back to Gotham. Come back to him. This time...she died.

"Bruce?" The man gave a start, snapped out of his thoughts, and turned around to see Dick. The eldest ex-Robin was stood near the door to the living area, dressed sharply in a plain black suit. A navy blue tie was loosely fastened around his neck. Again, something Chloe liked. She always thought Grayson looked good in blue. It was the main reason he switched back to the blue Nightwing logo pasted across his chest; once upon a time, it was a dark shade of red. He could deny it as much as he liked, but Chloe was one of his main driving forces. She was the mother he needed growing up, after he lost his own. She guided him in the right direction when Bruce couldn't. Chloe stepped in to the role of being a role model, a mothering figure he needed back then. She helped him grow into the man he was today. The man he became. That applied to Bruce, too. Everything he became was because of her. Everything he stood for was because of her. She helped him when he was training, she trained him to be better. She saved his life so many times, took bullets for him three months after first meeting him, betrayed the Court of Owls to be with him, to protect him. She was nothing less than a hero. And she died as one, too.
"Come on," Dick remarked, his voice uncharacteristically quiet. "We should get going. I...I don't wanna be late." Bruce gave a single, curt nod. Watching Dick leave, Bruce took a deep breath and made his way to follow. This was going to be painful, saddening. He never wanted this for her. He didn't want this. He didn't want to say goodbye. Not yet. Not now. Not ever.

***

Two months had passed. A whole two, agonizing months had went by. Two months without Chloe to keep him safe, to keep him sane. There was no Chloe there to cheer him up when it got dark, or keep his heart warm when he felt cold. Even though his heart ached fiercely for the part of it he'd lost, the rest of the family were somehow so much worse off than he was. And, Bruce understood it. Dick had lost his witty edge. He put on a show when on patrol and kept a small grin on his lips around the manor, but he was still grieving the loss of another parent. Jason had gone back into his shell, returning to his old attitude; apathetic and distant. Tim had retreated into himself a little bit, was less spirited. Damien was the most affected by Chloe's sudden death. He was beginning to come out of his shell. He was learning how to relax, starting to lose that cold, murderous edge. He was starting to be more a child of his age. Even if she didn't want to admit it, Chloe saw a bit of herself in him. She knew what it was like to be raised to be a weapon. She had her childhood stolen by the Court of Owls, had her innocence taken away. Damien was raised by the League of Assassins, by Talia. He was raised to be a killer. He didn't have a childhood like the normal children around Gotham. Then again, Damien wasn't like other children; and it showed. He was cocky, selfish, driven by his twisted sense of justice and perfected skills. Once Chloe realised this and learned about him by prying for information from Bruce, she immediately began to guide him, shielded him under her wing. Just like she had done with every other Robin who came through those doors, Chloe was kind and patient.

With Damien, it was more of a challenge. She just worked even harder. She tried her very best to show him that life was not all about killing and fighting. It took a while, but Damien started to relax into it. He started to settle into the strange life he'd found himself thrust into. Chloe was there through it all. She never faltered with her selflessness and patience. With every young, lost kid that came through the doors, Chloe and Alfred were there. They were always there, no matter what. And now, Chloe was gone. It didn't feel right. It probably never would. The doors to Bruce's study flew open, almost snapping off the hinges with the force. Bruce snapped out of his thoughts, spinning around in his swivel chair to face who was intruding on his brooding. Alfred was stood, his usually neat blazer dishevelled, his silver hair roughed up, sweat beading on his wrinkled forhead. Bruce straightened up quickly, concern pasting its way across his face, replacing his troubled expression.
"Alfred?" He questioned, voice quiet with his worry. His long-time guardian's eyes flashed with emotion. Hope.
"Master Bruce..." The butler paused, attempting to catch his breath. "There's something you need to see."

**

Voices drifted through the bleak halls of the manor and Bruce didn't know whether to be worried or confused. Alfred had walked off quickly, making sure Bruce was following every so often, flicking his eyes over his shoulder. The butler had regained his cool, collected composure, walking with an air of pride, his back straighter than a pencil. The voices grew louder and Bruce recognized the boys all talking excitedly, morphing into one big sound.
"All right, all right, settle down." A woman's voice sighed, a chuckle leaving her lips. "I'll explain everythin-ow, Richard, watch my arm!" Bruce nearly tripped over his own feet. It couldn't be. Picking up his pace and skidding past Alfred, he whipped around the frame of the living room door. And, there she was. In all her bruised and battered glory; Chloe was there. And she was alive. She was being swarmed by the members of the family that were present, Damien almost being smothered by the older, much taller boys. Bruce couldn't take his eyes off her, shock pulsing through his entire being. Chloe stooped down and hauled Damien up, giving Bruce full view of her face. Her nose was broken, her eyes black and blue. Her right arm was strapped up in a black support that looked clunky and awkward. Hidden behind the turtleneck, Bruce caught sight of the blues and purples that mixed together, blended into one. Whatever Chloe had been through, it hadn't been good. But...she was here. Alive. Alive. Chloe hadn't yet noticed him as she continued to be swarmed, hugging Damien, using her left arm to support most of his body weight. Finally, her gaze lifted to glance at Alfred. Her blue eyes shone within the bruising. A look of pure, unbridled joy filled her gaze. Bruce swore his heart stopped for a second.
"Bruce!"
"Chloe?"

"So...your mission failed, your friend died and you've been stuck in the Alps healing for the last three months?" Dick's question was greeted with a polite silence. Now that the shock had passed and Chloe had given everyone a good greeting and a long apology, Chloe had began to explain what had happened. Her mission in the Alps had been going well, better than it should have. Chloe had twigged something was wrong, but before she could investigate further, she was betrayed. She and her companion, Jacob, were kicked off the edge of a steep ridge by the other member of her team; Harry Teiman. The pair fell at least thirty feet. Bruce was amazed she survived; then again, it shouldn't have surprised him. She managed to survive being shot three times in the chest protecting Bruce when they were both sixteen. She was nothing less than a badass. The snow wasn't as hard and packed in, so it cushioned her fall. Although her injuries were extensive, Chloe managed to survive and pull through. Jacob...wasn't so lucky. Chloe explained that when she came to, she saw him lying a mere few feet away from her. His neck was bent at an awkward angle, scarlet pooling into snow, surrounding his head like some grisly version of a halo. Even with agony radiating through her, blurring her mind and her vision, she knew he was gone. Once his brother, Jackson, managed to climb down and rescue her, he was completely numbed by the death. And when she was brought back to the make-shift base, it had been discovered that Harry had destroyed their communications. All of them. And that meant Chloe had no way over calling home. She had no way of letting Bruce and the others know she was okay, she was alive. She let out a gentle sigh.
"I'm sorry I didn't- I tried to fix it to call you." A mistiness came to her blue eyes, catching the fading sunlight that shone through the open curtains. Alfred moved gracefully and took the empty tea cup from her trembling hands and placed it down on the coffee table carefully, squeezing her hand with his other. The rest of them listened intently to the traumas she'd been through, compassionate and gentle looks on their faces.
"Let's continue this story tomorrow," Alfred spoke gently, giving Chloe a fatherly look. "Shall we?" The boys took the hint, noticing Chloe was getting distressed, having to relive it, and nodded fervently. They agreed. A faint, loving smile appeared on her bow shaped lips.
"Thank you." Dick was the one to move first, pressing a kiss to her forehead, giving her a goofy grin; one Bruce had oddly missed seeing. One by one, they filtered out, quiet and careful. It was as if they didn't want to leave; Bruce could understand the feeling. He felt like if he took his eyes off her for a millisecond, she would disappear. It felt like she wasn't real. Like she was just a fragment of his grieving mind; a part of him unwilling to let her memory rest. He was so caught up in his thoughts, he didn't see Chloe move over, hand wrapping around his wrist.
"Will you help me? I wanna go to sleep, but I can't get my shirt off with this damn thing on me." Her soft tone cut through his thoughts and he met her gaze, her eyes still shimmering with unshed tears. Alfred picked up the discard mugs and glasses, barely giving the two a glance.
"I expect you to retire to Master Bruce's quarters, anyway, Miss Chloe." Alfred's voice held a stern, but fatherly note. "You need rest." Bruce stood up, brushing Chloe, the scent of dried sweat and perfume hitting his senses. Chloe rolled her eyes playfully.
"You need rest." She mimicked as she moved up the stairs, Bruce following close behind.
"I heard that, Miss Chloe." The man responded. Bruce couldn't help but smile. Things hadn't changed. Underneath the bruises and breaks, she was still...Chloe. Bruce watched her climb the stairs, following behind in case she tripped. It would be a while before she chose to sleep. There was a lot the two needed to discuss.

***

It had been about an hour since the two shifted to a more private location. Chloe had been rather easy to help. She did most of getting changed herself, her torso covered in scratches that had barely healed and bruises dotted almost every inch of her skin. She managed to do it by herself, despite having asked for help. But, she did struggle with fastening her fluffy lilac dressing gown. Without a word, Bruce gently tied it and she pressed a kiss to his chin as a thanks, moving to lie on his king-sized bed. It had been an hour since he lay down next to her, feeling the heat of her body against his own, feeling her chest rise and fall. It had been an hour since she burst into tears. Bruce didn't know why she was upset. It was probably all of her pent up grief; Bruce had met Jacob, and knew how much he meant to her. He was more than just her friend, her ally. He was like a brother. . And now...he was gone. So suddenly, she had his loyalty and friendship taken away. There was nothing she could do about it, she couldn't change it and save him. Neither could Bruce. All he could really do for her was hug her and comfort her. He knew the feeling. He'd lost people and felt the world he'd built for himself crumble a little bit more, felt it dissolve. When Chloe was...dead, his world completely fell apart. He didn't know what to do with himself. How to carry on without her wit or kindness. They'd been friends for almost twenty years. She was the cold Talon sent by the Court of Owls to kill him, but after they first met she had a change of heart. She betrayed her duty, warned him and protected him. When Alfred learned that she was an orphan, Wayne Manor was where Chloe stayed. And, that was it. Their story grew, Chloe and Bruce were even closer friends. Now, fast forward to this moment, she was his partner. Someone he cherished. Loved. And losing her like that, when his world was built around her? Without even getting to say goodbye?

"Bruce?" Her clogged, broken voice broke through his thoughts, pulling him back to reality, to the fact she was right here; alive. He looked at her, humming a response. Her cheeks were blotchy, red and wet, but her tears had stopped flowing. Her eyes were bloodshot, the blue even more vivid among them and the swollen bruises. She sniffled and nuzzled into his chest, wiping her face on his loose fitting shirt. "I'm sorry about almost dying on you. I saw you put my gravestone next to your parents. That was actually...morbidly sweet of you." He snorted softly and pushed her off him, wincing at the hiss that left her lips. He shifted into a more comfortable position and pulled her back to him; handling her like the priceless china Alfred always looked over and cleaned with precision, watched like a hawk.
"You mean more to me than you'd think, Chloe." Bruce replied, voice light, feeling her heart beat against his own. "I love you." She smiled weakly and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
"I love you too, rich boy." She lifted her head from where it was resting on his shoulder, the familiar twinkle back in her eyes. It would take a few months, but he was sure she'd recover. Return to her normal self. All she needed was time. Chloe was strong; she could so it.
"So, my next trip is-" Bruce shushed her, glaring.
"Don't even think about it, Chloe." He wrapped his arms around her as she rolled over to press her back against his muscled chest. He tugged the blanket up and over them both with his free hand. "I'm not letting you out of my sight." She scoffed lightheartedly.
"You suck." She swatted his hand playfully before settling back down. Bruce waited until she was fast asleep before he forced himself to relax. It wasn't long before he fell asleep beside her, more than glad she was alive. By his side, where she was supposed to be.

Chapter Text

"Be safe, Talla!" A male voice called, the tone collected, almost jesting. Talla's lengthy clean blonde hair caught the rays of the streetlights shine as she turned her head to look at her friend and boss, James Olsen. He flashed her a pearly white smile, dark eyes alight with contentedness. Talla chuckled, adjusting her messy bun with her fingers.
"Goodnight, James," she smiled at him kindly, blowing a loose strand of hair from her pale aqua blue eyes. James Olsen leaned on the silver metal of the door frame, folding his arms over his muscled chest.
"Goodnight, Talla." She adjusted her hands on her folder and hummed, turned on her heel and started making her way down the street. As soon as she heard the door close with a metallic shing, Talla relaxed with a groan. Tiredness had begun to burn through her. Adjusting her glasses, she rolled her stiffening shoulders. The reporter wished she didn't leave work so late; now, she was aching and tired and her eyes burned from staring at a screen for more than what was recommended. Staying late wasn't her style. It wasn't like her to remain working past sunset. Well...usually. She had a routine, something she stuck to; for the most part. Her schedule was hectic, sure, but she liked it. Seven hours a day, five days a week; sometimes the weekends too, if something big came up. But, today was much different. Talla really wanted to finish that new article she'd been writing. And that in itself meant working overtime.

Now, it was well past ten in the evening and the air was brisk, the midnight blue sky moonless. Feeling a shiver run down her spine, Talla cleared her throat and picked up her walking pace. For a day that had been reasonably warm, the night sure was colder. Talla couldn't help but clutch her teal coloured folder closer to her chest, feeling the plastic dig into her slender fingers, the covering pressed against the muted blue material of her blouse. It was an adorable little thing she spotted in a charity shop and Talla had to buy it. It was neat and had slightly puffed out shoulders. The woman was all about proper and presentable clothing, but not paying half her wages on them. It went well with the skinny black jeans she wore and her snow white blazer that, somehow, didn't get covered in coffee like the last time she wore it to work. Her blue eyes turned upwards as she walked, her super hearing guiding her as she continued her way down the unusually quiet street, her strapped black heels the only sound greeting her ears. It was a magnificent night, despite it being so cold. The stars were out glimmering and shimmering. A few patchy grey clouds drifted nonchalantly across the deep blue horizon. Talla wondered where the moon was hiding. She would stop to look for it, but all she wanted was to get out of the cold and into her car, ready to set off on the journey home. But, something felt off to the reporter. Something heavy hung in the chilled air. Talla couldn't place it; she couldn't put her finger on it. She felt odd. Her joy stunted for a second, eyes returning to the lacklustre grey concrete in front of her. Something was definitely off. The sense almost made her hesitate mid-step. Her ears twitched at a clicking sound, her hair swishing as she turned her head to look around. It was probably just a light in the nearby apartments going off or coming on; it was quite late. But, it made her heart leap into her throat. Talla shook her head and tutted to herself. There was nothing to be afraid of. Talla slipped her slender hand into her bag, feeling the smoothness of the fabric inside. The white leather was beginning to wear, but it had a good few months left before it got thrown away or given to her friend, Rita. Rita was a wonderful woman, almost like a big sister and she loved old material; she could use the worn white leather to make something new for her little craft business. . Rita owned a café and a craft store, and she was adept in both career paths. Talla's lips twitched into a smile at the idea of going to Rita's in the morning for breakfast. God, those strawberry pancakes were to die for.

***

The clicking sound came again, this time right behind her. Talla caught it too late. Arms looped around her waist and her bag was pulled from her arm, and tossed carelessly. Its contents careened across the concrete, the leather scraping before coming to a jaunty halt by the door of her car. A van's engines roared into life in front of her, the headlights blinding. Talla screamed gruffly, kicking and thrashing. It didn't seem to get her anywhere. Everything felt like it was on fire. And the only thing that made her feel weak, like she was useless, like everything was failing was Kryptonite. And if there was Kryptonite...Talla began to struggle harder. Who knew? Who knew she had powers? No one could have possibly known. Everything, now, was completely in vain. Her file was torn from her hands and papers rustled as they came from the case, settling on the concrete neatly; like there wasn't a care in the world. Talla tried to yank herself free, a wild shriek leaving her throat. It didn't help. Her efforts were still as futile as they were before. The Kryptonite was starting to wear away at her defences. She was beginning to lose her senses. Lose herself. Her control. Talla began to be pulled towards the back end of the matte black van, her feet dragging uselessly in front of her as she feebly kicked her legs. The arm shifted up her torso, tightening around her windpipe. It wasn't enough to choke her, but it was enough to silence her shrieking.

A coarse fabric covered her face, scratching her skin, and it made her heart rate skyrocket. It reeked of dried sweat and blood. It almost made Talla gag as she struggled to toss her head back, to throw the bag off. Her breathing was ragged as she bucked and threw herself around, shaking her head so hard it made her neck ache fiercely. She wasn't getting anywhere, anytime soon. Her frustrated and panicked breathing was muffled and her chest tightened to the point it began to hurt; even breathing was a challenge. There was no getting out of this one. A hand rested on her waist and Talla felt herself get lifted and thrown into the van. Her back met the metal of the van's side and her spine smarted on impact, screeching out its pain. A guttural groan escaped her lips at the force; and the feeling of sharp plastic digging into her wrists soon greeted her clouded mind. Her heart nearly stopped when a female sighed, the sound of leather gloves snapping catching her attention.
"Well done, Corben." Talla knew that voice all too well. Lillian Luthor.

***

Everything had started to pulse with exhaustion, everything had started to ache. The plastic zip ties had been digging into her wrists for hours, and the skin was red and sore. Talla didn't know how long she'd been stuck in this stupid vault. It was completely soundproofed, and her super-hearing wasn't picking anything up. Backed up into an empty corner, the reporter looked around, practically peeking from behind her knees. She was terrified. And being in a locked room full of aliens and devices was not helping.There was even a Black Mercy; something that locked Kara in a personalised dream world. Something that could have killed her. Her fear was tainted with disgust. Lillian Luthor was somehow worse than her nutcase son. She was insane and driven by her thirst for power. Her thirst for control. Driven by the foolish aim to be on the so-called right side of history. She would never win. Hell would freeze over before that. Distracted, Talla's ears twitched towards the muffled sound of stilettos coming towards the vault she'd been thrown into. It had to be Lillian and Corben coming back. It couldn't mean anything good. Talla scrambled up, back still aching. She pressed herself even harder into the icy metal of the wall, feeling the iciness melt through her torn and tattered blouse, her eyes wider than saucers. She felt her gaze wandering this way and that as she glanced around. All of the things around her weren't helpful. Even if they were useful, her hands being tightly tied with a strip of plastic would make it harder. The vault door hissed as it opened and artificial lighting pooled onto the boring grey of the metal flooring. Talla's eyes were still wide, conveying how afraid she was, as she stared directly at the figures stood before her. Lillian, Corben, the cyborg that made her feel ill at ease and-
"Lena?" Talla's voice sounded meek and fearful. She couldn't stop the relief that seeped into her tone. Talla didn't the cover that sense of safety up. These last few hours (days?) had been hellish. Lena's flawlessly groomed and arched eyebrows puckered into a frown of confusion, distaste.
"Talla?" Her bewilderment melted into anger, her sharp eyes burning with the emotion as she moved and crouched, hands shifting to tug the zip ties. Pain shot up her arm and Talla couldn't stop the soft hiss that escaped her. Lena whipped around to face her mother, cheeks aflame with scarlet. "What have you done? She shouldn't be here! Why did you-" Lena cut herself off, resting her hand over Talla's protectively. Lena wasn't helping her mother, she wasn't on her side. She was as confused as Talla was when they kidnapped her. Well, when Corben did Lillian's dirty work for her. Lillian's painted red lips opened as she went to speak, but a booming crash cut her off. The sound made Talla's heart leap into her throat, hands scrambling to grip Lena's slender wrists. Kara had landed gracefully, the dust of the concrete settling around her, her blonde hair swinging as she glowered. Talla knew that was what Lillian wanted, all along. She wanted to draw the alien she hated the most out of hiding. Take out her sick sense of revenge on Superman's little cousin. All the sadistic bitch wanted was Kara.

Lena immediately shifted, hands sliding from Talla's as she straightened up. The younger Luthor hastily moved towards Supergirl. Her heels clicked and the sound echoed through the quiet warehouse, but she was halted by Metallo; Talla rolled her eyes. Stupid Corben. Thought "Metallo" was a badass name.
"Don't hurt her!" The panic and fear in Lena's voice made Talla's heart ache with pity; sympathy. Lillian just scoffed and glared at her daughter before lazily tossing one of the devices. Kara caught it with ease, her blue eyes filled with dislike. It let out an earsplitting sonic sound that immediately took an effect and disoriented the heroine. It rocked through Talla too, her body immediately wanting to shrivel up. Talla didn't need this to top off the pain she was already in. She didn't want or need anyone learning of her powers; she didn't want to explain how her father was a Kryptonian.
"Lock Supergirl in the vault." Lillian ordered harshly. Talla ignored her aching, ignored the noise echoing around her head, ignored her face that was crumpled into a look of pain. Talla shifted and kicked Lillian in the back of the knees. The Luthor let out a shriek that was lilted with her shock and pain as she stumbled and fell onto one knee, hand clutching her calf. Before Talla could land another one, anger pulsing through her, Corben threw her across the warehouse. Lena let out a sound of complete horror and went to help Kara, but the evil version of J'onn gave her a shove, knocking her to the concrete. She didn't get back up, which worried Talla. Corben dragged Kara to her unsteady feet as Talla tried to blink the black spots out of her eyes. Talla was in agony. The device and the metal container she got thrown into had done their damage. But, Talla was...well, she was Talla damn Yates. Talla ignored the aches. She chose to ignore how her back smarted, once again, from slamming into that damned container full of Lillian's alien torture devices. Even with her bound hands, Talla had to think fast. Kara needed her help. But, she didn't want to show off her powers...too much. The last thing she wanted was Kara to know. Talla lifted her sharp eyes and saw how Metallo dragged the distracted Supergirl towards the vault, with the robot J'onn's help.
"Hey, Corben!" The reporter shouted, voice lifted. Her fingers closed around the cold rim of a barrel. The two spared her a glance. Talla clenched her jaw, ignoring everything as she poured in every ounce of her strength. She ignored the way her muscles screeched in complaint as she lifted the barrel and launched it like a Frisbee. "Special delivery!" The man let out a grunt as it crashed into him, sending him sprawling across the floor. Cyborg J'onn moved to help Lillian, leaving Kara unattended. Kara stumbled and managed to regain her balance. Talla huffed and grumbled, her fingers aching. Worth it. Kara turned to the recovering Corben.
"Metallo's heart is going to explode." Her voice was weaker than normal; but that was expected. Corben seemed to hesitate.
"She's lying!" Lillian shot back. Kara winced and bent to rest her hands on her knees.
"No, I'm not." Another set of footsteps joined Kara's, a scarlet cape swinging. Clark.

"Superman?" The tone of Lillian's voice made Talla smirk as she stumbled to her feet again. She sounded fearful. As she should be. Before Talla could greet her boyfriend, Corben seized hold of her, making her yell out in surprise. The two heroes whipped around to face the pair. Her back was pressed right up against Metallo's synthetic Kryptonite heart. And, by God, did it burn. Talla didn't want it to hurt as much as it did. But, she couldn't exactly prevent herself from being weak to it. Thanks, Dad. Still not wanting to show off her powers, Talla struggled and groaned, eyes squeezed shut as a fresh wave of pain ran through her. She hoped to whatever God was listening that her friends thought it was just Corben himself. She prayed her veins weren't lined with a softly hued green. A whimper escaped her and she bit her lip so hard it bled. Tears and blood mixed together, dripping off the tip of her chin. How battered was she? Talla didn't have a clue.
"She has no part in this fight, Metallo." Clark's voice was hardened with ice. He was always serious, but bubbly in a fight. This was different; it felt different. Metallo convulsed and it made his grip on her forearms unbearably tight. Someone pulled him away from her, and the force sent her careening face first into the flooring. Her nose shrieked and Talla hoped it wasn't broken.
"Martian." Talla heard him breathe. Kara zipped over to engage the man in combat, but Talla didn't bother to watch. She rolled onto her back and groaned again, a guttural and pathetic sound. The black spots wouldn't shift this time, they wouldn't leave. She didn't know whether to be relieved that the pain was fading away (slowly) or annoyed.The lights blurred. Hands rested on her back and Talla mumbled incoherently as she saw her partner's face swim this way and that. She felt the stupid zip tie snap with a simple tug of his fingers, and she felt the blood rush back to the skin. It made them itch wildly with irritation. Ah, what the Hell, she could scratch them to her heart's content later.
"You're okay, Talla. We've got you." His voice had returned to its normal tone, even more gentle and comforting. He picked her up as carefully as he could manage and took off into the bitter night air. For the first time in God knows how long, Talla felt secure once again. As the pretty stars and clear midnight blue sky blurred into one big picture, one monotonous sound, Talla heard Metallo finally detonate like the time-bomb he was. Lena. Kara. Actual J'onn. She had no other time to think about those who might have been caught up in the blast, because that was Talla's final thought before she was enveloped in the comfort of darkness.

***

Everything felt numbed. Lights peeked through her eyelids as she allowed them to flutter open, the beeping sound ringing around her skull becoming clearer as Talla allowed herself to wake up. Her head felt like it had been filled with cotton balls, her ears still not registering every sound around her. She couldn't help but let out a sluggish mumble and rub her eyes. The artificial lighting was bright and blinded her briefly. She pushed herself up into sitting position and saw the faces of her friends; Clark and Kara. Their expressions conveyed their relief and concern as they eagerly waited for Talla to fully cooperate with them; till she was coherent enough to speak. The woman looked around in a tired fashion, still getting her bearings. Her lips pinched together in a look of dissatisfaction. The DEO's medical bay. God, the DEO had a hell of a lot of money to blow on fancy tech and toys to play with. Would it kill them to add a splash of colour to the place? It was uninteresting and as dull as dishwater. Talla loathed it almost instantly. She adored colour. All this room was was shimmering with silver walls that gleamed in the lighting, with glass windows that were polished to perfection and people wandering this way and that with bland black uniforms. Talla huffed. She felt a little numb here and there and knew the anaesthetic she'd probably been given hadn't fully worn off yet. Once she was settled, she propped her pillow this way and that, fluffing it up and leaning against it to cushion her back against the cold metal railing of the bed. The bed wasn't the most comfortable, it was nothing like the one waiting for her in her quaint apartment, but it would have to suffice for now. Kara gave her the brightest smile and Talla couldn't help but smile back.
"I'm so glad you're okay," Kara continued to beam and radiate joy, eyes alight with nothing but relief and a hint of guilt. "I'm sorry I didn't get to you earlier." Talla gave her another smile, taking her best friend's hand and squeezing it softly.
"There was nothing you could have done, Kara." She reassured. The heroine cleared her throat and looked towards the plan black bedside table.
"You got gifts." Talla followed Kara's gaze and lit up. Flowers! They were a mixture of sky blues, pastel pinks and reds, a sunflower peeking out from the middle. Finally, some colour. She picked up the note perched by the pearl white vase and read it carefully.
"I told you to be careful didn't I? I'll see you later, Talla. Get well soon. James x"
"Kara told me how you threw a barrel to help her out. That sounds BAD-ASS! You have to tell me more, Talla. Call me when you're awake xxxx Winn."
Talla let out a gentle noise and smiled tenderly, mentally taking a note to pay the two men, her friends, a visit as soon as she was released from the DEO. Kara straightened up and bent to give Talla a friendly hug. "I better get going. I'm working today. I'll visit later, though, okay?" Kara pulled away, the scent of perfume brushing past as she did so. Taking Talla's nod as confirmation, Kara bid farewell to her cousin and left, the door to the room closing behind her with a muted click.

It was peacefully silent after Supergirl had left; likely to continue working at CatCo and even more likely to notify Winn and James that Talla was doing better. The bed-sheets shifted, catching her attention as Clark moved himself forward. An affectionate smile graced her bruised lips as she felt his press against the skin of her forehead, careful and tender. It made her heart feel lighter, it made her feel even safer than she already was. Sure, the DEO was secure; it was pretty much a fortress, but he was safer. The little peck on the forehead was comforting. He was her hero, and then some. She could look after herself, but it was sweet to know someone had her back when she struggled to get herself out of it. A flower of warmth blossomed in her chest and her smile only widened. Talla had never been happier to see someone in her life. Of course, she was overjoyed to see Kara's bright smile and hear her gentle voice. It was wonderful to see her best friend sat there, waiting. But, Clark was her partner. And Talla hadn't seen him in person for at least a month. He had to go back to Metropolis, back to his daily duties at the Daily Planet and saving his city. Talla was happy, still. Clark could fly to her in under a minute and hold her whenever she needed it. He'd done it on more than one occasion. She was so happy she'd met him; so happy that they became this, became more than friends. He was her everything, as cliche as it may seem. He was the type of dream people didn't want to wake up from. He was hers. How Talla managed to snare someone as handsome and as selfless as Clark, she didn't know. She wasn't exactly special. Clark sighed gently, the brush of his breath tickling her skin as he did so.
"I was worried about you. You went all limp when Metallo exploded. But, I'm glad you're okay." She rested her smallish hand on top of his, his skin smooth under her bruised fingers. Throwing the barrel must have damaged her more than she thought. The skin on her fingertips were light hues of purples and blues. She met Clark's gaze, cheeks flushing a pastel pink. In a world full of nightmares, Clark was nothing short of a miracle. And Talla loved him for it.
"I'm okay, Clark." She shifted, ribs aching in complaint. Clark's sky blue eyes showed his concern when her heart-rate spiked, the beeping louder and quicker, but she pressed a kiss to his smooth cheek.
"You shouldn't move." He hummed, eyes roaming over her face. Talla gave a plain shrug, sticking her bottom lip out.
"I want to." She moved to hug him and Clark relented, knowing he wasn't going to get anywhere, arms looping around her back as gently as he could. It was peaceful, it was soothing. Everything was going to be fine, it would return to normal. Corben was gone, but Lillian was still out there. Lena was safe, too; she was okay. Her steady heartbeat lilted in Talla's ears. She was glad her powers gave her that gift. Talla settled back into Clark's arms, burying her face into his shoulder. God, she was glad she managed to outwit Corben and buy Kara a little more time. She was glad her powers weren't fully revealed. With the help of her best friend and her superhuman buddies, at least Talla made it out alive. At least she was here now. At least everything was okay. She'd be fine, with Clark holding onto her. She'd be fine once she returned to her bubbly, colourful self. Everything would be fine.

Chapter Text

"I was trying to save you from yourself, Jeanné. Trying to save us from you!"
"I don't need saving! And there is no us!" Jeanné snapped back, eyes aflame with frustration.

13th December 1993,
Snowflakes swirled through the air, dancing around in the breeze before continuing on their way down and settling onto the concrete; it had been snowing heavily for a few hours and it had started to lay, causing the streets to be coated in a film of white. The air was bitterly cold, forcing Rip Hunter to shrink away into his trench-coat, the collar turned up to protect his neck from the wind that blew. The Legends would be fine without him. For now, at least. Sara Lance was more than capable of being the Captain of the Waverider; she had proven herself on more than one occasion. He could even admit to himself that she was an even better captain than him. He'd taken a step back. He needed time to think. The only person who knew where he'd gone was Gideon; and her loyalty to him was strong enough. She wouldn't tell them where he had disappeared off to this time. He took himself to an unassuming time period (a place the Legends wouldn't look). He settled on the early Nineties. And it led him here. Strolling around the wintry city of Galway, hands shoved into the pockets of his coat in an attempt to protect them from the iciness that the winter had brought. Cars drove past slowly, almost hesitant, to not fall foul to some hidden black ice that had been camouflaged by the snow. Rip carried on his way down down the busy high street, people loaded with bags as they went by, chattering amongst themselves; some walked alone with a look of determination on their faces, others with friends or family. Obviously, these people were hunting out the last gifts they needed, considering it was almost Christmas here. A little girl no more than five, crashed into him, only tall enough to whack into his thigh. It gave Rip a start and he looked downwards. The girl had shimmering sky blue eyes that peered up at him with inquisitiveness. Her blonde hair had flecks of snow in it, her delicately coloured blue hat bundle up in her small, childish hands. Her gloves were the same colour as the jumper she wore under her coat; a deep shade of maroon. Her coat was practically a size too big, the midnight blue material swamping her. Her spotty red and white wellies squeaked as they moved through the snow.

Rip blinked at the child, bewildered. Her had no idea what to say or do. If he should just step to the side and carry on his way or see what what happening; he was unsure of how to react.
"Oops!" The girl took a step back, almost giddy with her excitement. "Sorry, Mister." Her voice was small, but Rip could pretty much hear the intelligence in her tone. She stuck her bobble hat back on, the blue material almost the same shade as her eyes.
"Elia, mercy me!" A woman's voice hit Rip like a car as he lifted his head from the girl and saw a red-haired woman walk down the street, a few bags on her arms. "There you are!" Her eyes were full of relief and she put the bags down and moved to pick the child, Elia, up. Rip met the woman's gaze and he felt his heart leap into his throat. Odd.
"Ah, the little min bumped into me. I was wondering if she was with company or not," he commented, the woman shifting to pick up the bags. Rip floundered. "Would you like some help?" The woman gave him a pleasant smile, one that nearly slapped Rip in the face. It lit up her electric blue eyes, shone brightly on her bow-shaped lips.
"If you wouldn't mind..." she muttered, adjusting her hold on Elia and a few of the bags. "My car is only around the corner." The girl threw her arms up in the air and giggled as she tried to catch snowflakes, wriggling this way and that. It made Rip's heart ache. How he missed the sound of his son's laughing. How he missed his beautiful wife.
Vandal Savage took it all away from him. Batting the image away with a mental stick, he focused and walked by the woman's side, allowing her to lead the way. She gave him another smile.
"I'm Jeanné, by the way." Her Irish accent curled around her words. Rip hid a smile with ease. A gorgeous name for a gorgeous woman.
"Rip," he responded, straightening his back in a proud manner. "Rip Hunter."

***

"There is no bloody us, okay?!" She continued, voice powerful and full of pent up anger.

January 12th 1998,
It had been almost five years since that fateful afternoon. The afternoon he met Jeanné Morton. She was utterly captivating; and Rip was enthralled. However, the man had to leave a few days after meeting her; the Legends were close to pinpointing his location. And Jeanné seemed to know of his departure. Seemed to understand that he had to go. Beside that, she somehow understood he was still suffering. Rip didn't question it; he assumed she was something else, something different. All of the books that surrounded her apartment told him that much. He didn't just keep coming back for Jeanné and her personality, no. He'd grown attached to the young girl, Elia James. She was intelligent and well-spoken for a child of her age, and was always willing to learn something new; her sky blue eyes always glittered with a keen interest. Rip knew he had to be cautious when speaking with the pair; it could mess with the timeline and cause more problems for the Legends to fix. It's why he kept leaving for a little while- just so he didn't cause too much damage to the timeline.

Rip, truly, had planned not to return to Jeanné. He planned not to return to that quaint apartment, full of wonder. He'd had his fun. But, no matter how hard the man tried, something always drew him back; back to her. She was witty, as intelligent as her daughter and...stunning. Rip always found himself staring at her, as time went by; especially when she wasn't looking. He wanted to shower her with affection, he could listen to her talk for hours upon hours. She was just enchanting, Rip couldn't deny it. And, as the months went by, the two became close friends. At first, Rip resisted the feelings that had started to grow. He chose to ignore them. He was still with Miranda, his loyalty to her still crippling. Despite Savage taking every little thing he held dear, Rip still loved Miranda dearly. She was his wife. She resigned and assumed full responsibility for the love affair; being a Time Master meant love was forbidden, which in Miranda's eyes, was wrong and unjust. And, the Englishman admired her for that. He admired her for the fact she was brave until the very end, giving the life he loved to protect their son, Jonas. But, it still wasn't enough. He still died. But, Jeanné seemed to know of that torment; he'd never mentioned Miranda, but the woman seemed to know of her. Perhaps it was to do with the strange books. Magic wasn't real, but Rip didn't understand how she knew. Jeanné never seemed envious of the fact Rip Hunter's heart belonged to another woman, albeit a dead one. She allowed Rip the time he needed, and waited patiently. The two continued being an "almost" and worked well together; wonderfully so. They were quite a...domestic unit.

When Jeanné was trying to soothe an ill and whiny Elia, Rip decided it would be best to stay over a night or so and help. Once the child had fallen asleep, the pair took turns to shower and stood wrapped up in warm bathrobes. They brushed their teeth together, side by side, and Rip swore he nearly choked on his toothpaste when he caught her gaze in the mirror; caught sight of the tired gleam that hovered low in her electric blue eyes, a dazed a smile forming on her lips. He carried her to room, feeling it unnecessary (and unsafe) for her to walk; she'd almost bounced off the bathroom wall in her exhaustion. The woman hadn't slept that much since Elia fell ill and Rip sympathised with her. Carrying her and putting her to rest was the least he could have done. And, in those moments, she had giggled airily, lips brushing against his jawline; accidentally, he assumed. In his shock, he nearly dropped her. She'd squealed, arms clenching around him, the two practically falling against her closed bedroom door. Her laugh was what caught him the most...that musical laugh. Rip fell one hell of a lot harder than he thought he would.

He didn't expect to return in the wintry January of 1998 and find police cars and ambulances surrounding the apartment block she lived in, their lights blazing blue and red, blinding him. He didn't expect to arrive on her floor and see her apartment door to be cordoned off with yellow tape. He didn't expect to feel his heart to drop through the floor, seeing how the police officers practically guarded it. He didn't expect them to stop him running in, hoarsely calling Jeanné's name, desperation clawing through him. He didn't expect to hear from her close friend, Thomas, that she'd died; in a way Thomas didn't want to divulge. He didn't expect he would lose someone all over again.

***

"There is no future for me, Rip!" Jeanné's voice cracked. It broke. Tears began to shine in her eyes.

2nd February 1985,
"This is a lot more fun than I thought it would be, Muirnīn." Jeanné's musical and gentle voice cut through Rip's thoughts like a hot knife through butter and he returned his distracted gaze to her. Her long red hair fell past her shoulders in perfect ringlets and her sky blue shawl was wrapped tightly around her torso, to protect her from the chilled breeze that blew every now and then. Her blue eyes glittered, shining brightly in the sunlight. Rip shrugged, an arrogant smirk of pride forming on his lips. He thought it would be a brilliant idea to take her to the nearest park and enjoy the heat- while it lasted, at least. It was still practically winter, but it was a surprisingly sunny day. So, Rip grabbed Jeanné and began the courtship again. In the Nineties, she would die. Rip couldn't prevent it, or he'd break time. But, he chose to go even further back in time; before Elia came along, before her eventual death. She was about twenty-two. Recently divorced from a man he only knew as Barry. From what he'd seen while he befriended Jeanné, Barry was a massive...knob. He treated Jeanné awfully, despite the fact they were childhood sweethearts. As soon as he had Jeanné married to him, had her under lock and key, he soon sharp changed his behaviour and became controlling; something the woman couldn't stand. Jeanné was one hell of a woman and uncontrollable; capable of handling herself and capable of managing on her own. She was soon to graduate from university with a degree in English. He knew she was a teacher, but he never knew she taught that particular subject. Rip thought it was endearing.

Back here, seeing her again, Rip fell just as hard as he did when he first heard that musical laugh of hers. This time, it was the way she presented herself, seeing how she acted. She was as beautiful as ever, as intelligent as she was when he first met her in 1993. Jeanné was the type of woman time couldn't truly corrupt; she was practically timeless. And, no matter where he went in time, he would always fall in love with her. Again and again, without fail. Despite his loyalty to Miranda, Jeanné was always there in the back of his mind and captivated him completely. Jeanné Morton had snared him; something only Miranda was capable of doing, once upon a time. She was everything Rip adored. Eloquent, intelligent, driven to do the right thing, no matter what stood in her way. She was like Miranda. Rip watched the way Jeanné ran her fingers through her hair, fiddling with the ends of it. Something she did when something was on her mind; Rip had been around long enough to pick up on certain tics.
"You have to leave again, don't you?" Her voice was so quiet, he almost didn't hear her. But, sadly, he did. Rip exhaled gently and glanced at the clear blue sky.
"Yes, Jeanné, I do." He answered, not bothering to hide the regret in his tone. He tried to ignore the fleeting look of disappointment that flashed in her eyes.
"I understand, Rip." Her voice was even quieter, softer than the breeze that blew. Rip didn't want to leave her again, but he had no other choice; he had no say in the matter. The Legends needed his help. And, Rip didn't know if it would be...right to come back. His thoughts were disrupted once again, his gaze catching Jeanné picking at the pastel blue material of her skirt, almost thoughtfully. He tossed his trench-coat from his lap and pulled her towards him carefully. The gentle noise of confusion that left her only spurred him on and he pressed a soft and loving kiss to her lips before pulling away and brushing them against the crown of her head. Her sweet-scented perfume clouded his senses and he felt her rest her forehead against his shoulder, the aroma of strawberries rising up from her glossy red hair. He pulled her to his chest, ingraining it into his memory. How she was practically a missing puzzle piece to his always-complicated puzzle. How her small, slender frame melted into his. How she felt against him. How her strong, peaceful heartbeat was the thing to lull him to sleep when his mind was racing with the thoughts of the past. How she looked at him; always with gentleness. He wanted to remember it all.

She glanced at Elia, as she kicked her little legs, eyes wide as she marvelled a strange, occult book.
"Not anymore..." Jeanné's voice was soft and broken, tears finally falling from her eyes.

January 12th 2018,
It was quiet here, for once. Everything was totally silent. Snow had begun to fall as he walked, rather heavily, and it wasn't long before the damp grey concrete was coated with snowflakes. It was mere minutes before it turned entirely white; it was falling far too quickly for the rain soaked path to dissolve it. Thus, it began to lay. Rip Hunter had seen better days. His bread needed a trim, his coat was in dire need of a wash and he felt as tired as he looked; the bags under his eyes were obvious and exhaustion pounded through him with every step he took. He came to a halt, at his destination and sighed heavily to himself; even he could hear the emotion in the sound. It was the simple sound of a man who had the weight of the world resting upon his shoulders, the sound of a man who'd lost it all. He was exhausted. Beaten. He had the face of a man who had lived too long, seen too much, who had lived too long, who had lived through war after war. It was the weary, weathered face of a man who knew what it was like to be alone; the face of a man who had lost everything. Even himself. He ran his calloused fingers across his unkempt stubble in an uncomfortable manner, standing awkwardly. Was it the right thing to do, to be here? He hadn't been here for a while. It wasn't...it didn't feel right. The last time he was here...the last time he came here was a long, long time ago.

"Hello again," he muttered, shoving his bitterly cold hands into the pockets of his coat. "How have you two been?" Silence still filled the air that circled Rip and he sighed again. He hesitated, jaw going slack. Things weren't right. He was silenced by his own inability to speak. He didn't know what would be right to say. He barely even knew the words to say. It was just so...broken. And he was just so...tired. He didn't know. Didn't know the right words to say in this snowy, cold moment. It had been far too long. The ex-Time Master didn't know how to speak to them; to her.
"Elia is a spitting image of you," he began again, voice scratchy and hoarse. His voice rang out in the reticent. "Well, even though she isn't your actual daughter. I mean...with her eyes and her humor...but the rest of it she got from you, Red." A lump formed in his throat and he cursed himself it. His weakness. His fresh grief. He tried his hardest to swallow it, push his torment back down to the darker side of him; the side only Gideon ever saw. No one was around to hear or see his heartache, his losses, but Rip didn't care. No one needed to know of his pain. A shiver ran down his back when the icy wind picked up, dying leaves scattering across the snowy pavement, doing their little jig as they went; almost mockingly so. "She's amazing. Kind-hearted. A warrior. And now, she's one of us. You raised her well." He ran his smart, polished black shoe across the concrete, the scraping noise greeting his ears. "I promise you, I won't allow anymore harm to come to her. I adore her like...like a sister...I just...I hope you're proud of her and what she has accomplished without you. It was always your dream to see her grow up...and...and she has..." Rip cut himself off, swallowing sharply, tears burning his eyes as he broke off the sentence he didn't have the heart to finish. But you never saw it happen. Your death caused this. Your death caused her to become something new, something different.
"Oh, bloody Hell, Hunter." Rip almost jumped a mile and span around, nearly slipping over on the gritty snow. He had been so caught up in his thoughts, he hadn't realised he'd been followed.

John Constantine was stood at least seven feet away, leaning on the the trunk of an aged tree; his dirty blond hair and tan coloured trench-coat were specked with snowflakes. It gave Rip an idea of how long he'd been stood; possibly as long as Rip himself. Rip didn't reply and John sighed, breath fogging up the cold air as he moved to come forward. "Of course they'd be bloody proud of her. And you, mate." He continued, remarking it as casually as he could. Constantine raised his hand and sighed again.
"Rosas superficiem." He waved his hand nonchalantly, some wreaths forming and settling themselves neatly on the graves. Rip was positive he would never get used to the magic; like he saw Jeanné use. When he first met her, he would have never took notice of the fact she was a Wiccan, a psychic, a witch. And, with Constantine...his use of magic reminded him of her. The flowers were a sweet gesture from a cynical bastard. They were fresh roses, vivid and a deep hue of scarlet. Her favourite flowers. Constantine did pay attention to Elia when she spoke of her adoptive mother, it seemed. The two men stood side by side for a quiet moment; it was like they were both taking a minute's silence for the people they barely knew (other than Rip; he knew them well).
"Come on," Constantine whispered, voice softer and calmer than normal. "Let's get back to the others." Rip sighed gently, looking at the gravestone of the woman he had once loved. He loved then all. He lost them both; he lost them all. Miranda. Jonas. Thomas. And now her. Somewhere in time, she was adopting Elia James from that godforsaken orphanage. Somewhere in time, she was walking down the wintry street with that genius little beauty. Somewhere in time, she was teaching a room full of children with patience and an ethereal smile pasted across her bow shaped lips. Somewhere in time, Jeanné Morton was alive and Rip Hunter was happy. As Rip rejoined the older (and a whole lot more dead) Elia and felt her strong arms loop around his waist to give him a warming and careful hug, the man wished he just had a little more time.

***
"Why die for her?"
"She's my daughter, blood-born or not," Jeanné spat, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. "She's destined for greater things."

April 9th 2018,
Now, time had passed. It passed on like it always did. That's how life chose to work. It never stopped for anyone; it always continued on its way, no matter how much people didn't want it to. It always went on, no matter how much people wished, prayed, begged it to cease moving. To stop and give them more time. Rip Hunter walked across the large and vast field, in the blazing heat of the sunlight that fell upon his shoulders. The time drive he had practically ripped from the Waverider was in his hands. It was highly unstable now. Its golden flare was brighter than the sun, almost blinding him. But, now, it didn't bother him so much. He couldn't complain. It was his own fault for doing his job. He was being a Legend. He was being the chainsaw towards the problem, not the scalpel. All he was doing was saving time. Rip chose his spot and stopped moving, adjusting his grip on the time drive, straightening his back, full of pride. He heard Sara Lance's voice ringing in his ears. He chose to ignore her voice. The sound of the urgent desperation in her tone. He chose not to give her the odds of his survival.
"It's all right, Sara," he cooed, in an attempt to soothe her. She was worried. She knew what he was doing and knew it wouldn't end well. His chances were more than...bleak. There wasn't much of a chance he would survive this encounter. Rip Hunter didn't care. His team were important; so much more important than him. "I would very much like to see my wife and son again." His voice quivered with his lie.

In these final moments, he wasn't thinking of Miranda. He wasn't thinking of the son he'd lost to Savage. He was thinking of her. He was thinking of her long and vivid red hair. He was thinking of the way it tumbled down her back. He was thinking of her gentle voice, her Irish accent, the way she said his name. The way she would smile. The sound of her angelic laugh. Mallus was the thing to snap him out of his thoughts about Jeanné. He angrily flapped his wings and Rip felt a rush of gallantry. It was like a wave of renewal. A wave of strength. It was like the woman he loved was stood right next to him, being his anchor. Being his power. Oh, how he loved that Irish beauty. Alas, she was gone and so was everyone else he loved. Mallus watched the Waverider zip away through the beautiful blue sky. What a perfect day to die.
"Would you look at that?" Rip spat, sarcasm seeping into his tone. "A time demon that's run out of time." Mallus let out an ear-splitting shriek of rage and bolted towards the Time Master. Rip clutched at the time driver, which was growing more volatile by the second. It spat its golden shards of light more fiercely, the light shining around it like a halo dazzling his eyes. Elia was screaming in his ears, her Irish accent like a storm; nothing like Jeanné's. The sound of the time drive tuned her out. It was something about losing him. Like she lost Jeanné. Rip partially felt torn. He had no other choice in the matter now, unless Elia teleported to retrieve him. But, there was no time for that now.

As Mallus ran at him and the time drive exploded, he was consumed by the sound of Jeanné's voice. It was the night he'd left again, for good this time. Her floor-length midnight blue dressing gown blew back in the breeze from the open windows, her hair curled and free from a hair tie. Elia was asleep at a friend's house and the two had argued. In that moment, looking at her back, he wanted to hug her; but he knew she wouldn't accept the gesture. They'd both wounded each other; and the man knew those wounds would scar, never heal. Rip thought Jeanné adopting Elia, even if it meant she would die in the future was brave. Respectable. But stupid.
"Viva enim mortuorum in memoria vivorum est posita." Rip felt his own lips muttering those same words she'd spoken as he felt the time drive detonate in his hands and absorb the flow of time, the thought of Jeanné sat on his mind. The life of the dead is retained in the memory of the living. And, as the ball of golden light consumed the Time Master and Mallus, he was at peace with the fact he would be remembered by those he loved the most. He would see them all again. He would see his love, Jeanné, once again.
"In another life." He breathed before the light folded in on itself and disappeared with the two and the field was empty, once again. Back to its serenity, once again.

In another time.

Chapter Text

The lab was silent as Barry lazily swirled some chemicals around in a clean glass test tube, eyes unfocused as he watched the pale blue liquid slosh. He wanted to go home, but the test needed to be completed. And the faster he did it, the faster he'd be able to finish up and go see Quinn. Barry slipped a lid on the tube, making sure it was secure. He didn't want any chemical burns. Smiling faintly to himself, he used his speed, hand vibrating as he did so. It was late, Barry knew that. But, Quinn was the type to be up late and sleep in her office, curled up on her sofa or sprawled out across her desk. A part of him wished she didn't do it. It couldn't be healthy. But, Quinn seemed to get on fine. Never came across as exhausted due to a bad night's sleep; or lack of. He hoped she was still awake and at the lab. He wanted to be with her. Maybe ask her out for a drink. It'd be nice to just sit with her and chat; just the two of them. Nothing to interrupt them. No metas. No Cisco and Caitlin to butt in because they need her help with something. Just the two of them.

Barry had noticed things about her. The way her auburn hair fell into her eyes when she was reading; how the emerald glittered with interest in everything that was said to her. How her eyes showed every emotion that crossed her mind. How her expression always softened when she looked at him. He was close to Quinn, Barry couldn't exactly deny it. Maybe he was finally over Iris. Because Quinn, apparently, had him snared like a fish in a net. A vibrating sound broke the silence and snapped Barry out of his thoughts about Quinn and the way she looked at him differently to how she looked at everyone else. Those thoughts about how Quinn was the first person he went to whenever he needed someone to talk to. How she'd been there when he realised his love for Iris was one sided. Iris had moved on. It was time for him to move on, too. And Quinn... Quinn was the one he wanted, more than anyone. She was utterly perfect. He looked at the location the sound was coming from and saw his phone screen lit up, Quinn's name pasted across it. Well, speak of the Devil and he shall appear. He stopped shaking the tube and placed it in its holder carefully, his gloves making a snapping sound as he yanked them off his hands. He slid a slender finger across the screen and picked the call up, pressing his phone to his ear.
"Hey, Quinn," He couldn't fight the smile that lit up his features. She had that effect on him. Glass shattering in the background made him jump, smile dropping off his lips; all of the cheer drained from his body. "Quinn? What was that?" He heard her breathing and then her voice came, pretty much harassing his ears.
"Barry, Barry!" He could hear how relieved she was that she'd managed to get him. But, the terror in her tone set him straight on edge. Something was wrong. Quinn's voice quivered and she stumbled over her words, trying to get them out as fast as she possibly could. "He's here! Reverse Flash is here! I-I'm alone, I'm alone and I-I-I don't know what to do!" Barry clenched his jaw. He wasn't going to let anything happen to Quinn. Not now. Not ever.
He grabbed his jacket and flicked it on, the test irrelevant now. It's not important anymore.
"Quinn, I'll be right there. Just... Just stay hidden." His tone was strict and harsh. He didn't want her to get hurt. He went to whizz out and to her, but he nearly tripped over his feet when he heard her shrieking, a table being flipped.
"BARR-" His name was cut short and everything was silent. All he could hear was papers fluttering as they fell. Lightning flashed in the whites of his eyes and he whizzed out of the crime lab, papers spraying everywhere. Quinn was in trouble.

A millisecond later, he skidded into S.T.A.R Labs, looking around, head whipping this way and that.
"Quinn!?" The lab was trashed, papers everywhere, glasses shattered, sprayed out over the polished flooring. Computers hung by their exposed wires, lights flashed as they broke and tables had been knocked all over the place. One of Quinn's matte black heels had been discarded by the door and Barry crouched, picking it up and looking it over. It was spattered in scarlet. She was hurt. She was gone. Barry ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. No. He shouldn't have let that happen. He shouldn't have. He should have ran in and swept her out of the danger she was in the minute her heard her panic. Her terror. But the sounds of her fright killed him. It made him hesitate. He'd never heard her sound so afraid. It caught him off guard. Pulling his phone once again, he blinked his troubled tears from his eyes and dialled the one person he needed the most.
"Hey, son." The voice came, sounding serene and quiet. It struck a chord of peace into Barry's heart, but he was still anxious.
"Joe! Joe..." Barry paused for a beat, swallowing thickly. "He took Quinn."

***

Everything was busy. Everything was completely and utterly chaotic. Most of the team were rushing this way and that, backwards and forwards, doing everything they could to find Quinn; try and get a location. So far, they had absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. Quinn was nowhere to be found and it was putting Barry on edge again. They were running out of time. She could be dying; she could be severely injured. The tests Caitlin ran on the blood spatter accurately identified it as Quinn's. The sound of Caitlin walking into the lab made Barry's heart ache. He was so used to hearing Quinn's heels tapping on the flooring as well. Barry looked up from where he was sitting and saw the brunette giving him a consoling smile.
"Don't worry, Barry," She spoke quietly, her tone of voice gentle and calming. She clasped her hands and cleared her throat. Poor Caitlin was hiding how worried she was. "Anyway... I called in one of Quinn's many favours." That confused him. Barry frowned and went to ask her what she meant, but a heavy set of footsteps caught his attention. Everyone turned and Leonard Snart stood, smirking, throwing his cold gun against his broad shoulder as he stood; he completely reeked of an ego.
"Him?" Cisco's bewildered voice broke the silence and Leonard gave a sharp snort.
"Look, Cisco, I may be cold..." He gave him a pointed look, full of irritated scorn. "But, Quinn is a friend." Barry's heart lifted ever so slightly. But, he could still feel its heaviness. He was no where near good enough to save Quinn. Even with Snart on his side, there wasn't much of a chance she'd be brought back safely. Barry had fought Reverse Flash on multiple occasions and gotten beaten. Would he be enough? He looked around at every single face, eyes full of apprehension. He wanted to give up. Curl up into a ball and cry it out until he felt better. Everyone in this room had some sort of connection with Quinn; they'll lose something important if he failed.

His gaze landed on Cisco. He was keeping himself busy, typing away on his computer, his brow furrowed with the level of concentration. He focused hard on what he was doing; which, was searching for Quinn. He would lose Quinn's logic, the way Cisco and the doctor would playfully roast each other. The way she could keep up with his intellect, even though they were in different types of science. The way they'd bicker over naming a new hero or villain, until they settled on something they both liked. Cisco would lose a friend who was witty and managed to make as many pop culture references he could. He shifted his gaze and watched Caitlin take her seat next to Cisco, fingers flying over the keys of a computer, her gaze full of the concern she was trying to so hard to hide. She was trying to be like Quinn; calm and collected when a crisis sprung upon them. Caitlin would lose her best friend. Her helper. Her therapist, pretty much. Caitlin would take it so much harder. She, herself, had lost too much; Ronnie. Caitlin would never truly recover if she lost someone like Quinn; someone who had been there since it all started. If Barry had never gotten struck by the lightning bolt, the two would have never even crossed paths.

Barry would lose the woman he liked. He couldn't let her down; she was probably hoping he'd come in and save the day. Quinn was never a damsel; she was more than capable of getting herself out of danger. But... This was someone who was so much faster. Quinn didn't stand a chance. Barry couldn't fail. He couldn't allow Quinn to die; not just for the sake of himself. But for the entire team. They would lose her. Her logic. Her rationalism. Her proficiency. They'd lose everything that they admired. And, for the sake of his sanity; the sake of the feelings he had for her, he'd try his damnedest to get her back. Barry felt everyone looking at him and he sighed heavily, clenching his hands together.
"I'm not just going to sit here and allow her to die. Quinn didn't give up on me." Barry remarked, voice filled with determination. Everyone made noises of agreement. A harsh beeping broke out and Cisco's eyes returned to the computer screen. Something ignited there. Hope.
"Quinn, you beautiful genius!" He grinned at Barry nervously, hopefulness written all over his face. "Her cell phone just turned on. I got a location." Barry sucked in a deep breath and glanced at Snart. Snart adjusted his hold on his cold gun and nodded his head swiftly. They were going to put aside their rivalry for this. They'd work as a team to save Quinn Lawson; the team's main hero. The team's main strength. The team's main lifeline. He swore he'd save her.

***

The warehouse was empty; covered in nothing but filth and trash that had managed to be blown in through the open doors. It reeked of damp, black mould lining some of the rusted metal walls. This thing had been deserted for years, it seemed. It could be a trap to lure Barry out. Barry slid to a jerky stop and saw Quinn's phone; it was now shattered. Someone had clearly stamped all over it. Quinn must have been caught with it, but she still managed to give the team enough time and enough of a signal to find her. He had dropped Leonard off a few meters from the back entrance. If they had any chance of getting her back alive, they'd need to catch Reverse Flash off guard. That in itself... it would be no easy task. Barry needed to keep him entertained and Leonard was only going to jump in when Reverse Flash was too distracted to see anything else coming.

Barry looked around and saw the pair. Quinn was in Reverse Flash's hold and he felt his teeth grind together in frustration. She was on her knees, her right hand wrapped around the cruel speedster's wrist as he held her throat in a vice-like grip; but not enough to be deemed suffocating. Just enough to be painful.
"Let her go!" Barry ordered, voice colder than ice. Full of utter hatred. His eyes landed on Quinn and he gave her a quick once over. She was battered and bruised, with speckled bruises forming on her skin. Her left arm hung uselessly by her side and he noted she was keeping it as still as possible. He was no doctor, but it was most certainly broken. Barry felt that anger ignite in his heart; potent and blinding. It really pissed him off; got under his skin. Quinn was hurt, Reverse Flash was pretty much choking her out and she looked terror-stricken by everything that was happening. But, if he wanted to do this right... if he wanted to save her life, he couldn't run angry. It wouldn't end well for anyone but Reverse Flash. And it wasn't the plan. Barry knew what he had to do.
"I can see this makes you angry, Flash," Reverse Flash's voice echoed around the abandoned warehouse, vibrating and reverberating back to Barry's ears; pretty much assaulting his senses. He saw his fingers tighten and Quinn writhed, tugging on his wrist powerlessly. He saw how much pain she was currently in. Barry clenched his jaw again, taking a deep breath; trying to calm himself down. Rising to the games would only end the exact same way. Stick to the plan. Barry could do this. He just needed to keep his cool.
"She means too much to you," He continued, eyes averted to give Quinn a cold and cruel look. "I'm here to take it away." Quinn could handle herself, but she didn't have a way of fighting back. Reverse Flash started vibrating his other hand, aiming to phase it through her chest. Barry swallowed thickly and tried to ignore his impulses to move, every single one of his nerve endings screaming at him to do something. Quinn's hand squeezed around the speedster's wrist, tears welling up in her eyes. She looked absolutely terrified. She probably thought Barry was just going to stand there and watch him kill her. But, that wasn't the case. A blast of pale blue whacked into him just as he went to land the fatal blow and Quinn shrieked until she realised. She slumped free from his slackened grip, green eyes wide.
"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to hit women?" Leonard questioned, teeth gritted as he kept the stream of cold energy directed at him. He then shifted his gaze to Barry. "Go on! Get her outta here!" Barry nodded and whizzed past Quinn, sweeping her up as carefully as he could. He was halfway across the city before he thought about stopping.

***

"Barry?" He took a few breaths before he crouched down and placed her on the floor carefully, gazing at her in a worried manner. Other than the blood that had dried on her temple, indicating a head injury, the lacerations from broken glass, a few bruises and her broken arm, she seemed totally fine. The fear lingered, however, hovering low in those emerald eyes of hers; but, she had started to relax, seeing that she was safe and sound.
"You okay?" He asked and she just gave him a thankful smile and wrapped her good arm around his neck, pulling him into a hug. He rested one hand on the rough gravel behind her, the other on the small of her back, pulling her towards him gently, avoiding her broken arm as best he could. He could feel her heart hammering against his own, adrenaline still racing through her bloodstream, and he buried his face into her neck, grounding himself with her scent; she smelled of dried blood, sweat and her sweet perfume. Her grip was tight, but not tight enough for him to be deemed uncomfortable. It was just right. It felt right. It was warm and soothing. Quinn clearly knew how much stress he was put under when she was taken. He felt her pull away slightly and he moved back, seeing her green eyes glittering. She felt safe. The fear had completely gone, vanished. All she needed was a good, soft hug. In that moment, they helped each other. In that moment, all it took was a single hug to fix something.

Quinn gave him a comforting smile, using the sleeve of her dirty lab-coat to wipe her smeared make-up off.
"Go and get Snart before he gets hurt. I'll wait here." Barry hesitated. He didn't want to leave her alone. He didn't even know where they were. Quinn gave him a calm look and scooted further from his arms. His chest felt cold without her against it. She waved her healthy hand dismissively. There was no changing her mind now; stubborn Quinn had made her mind up. She shifted again and leaned forward, pressing a whisper of a kiss to his cheek. Barry felt a blush crawling up his neck and prayed the Central City night hid it well. She hummed and sat up a little bit straighter.
"That's for the save," She said, voice quiet and shy sounding. "Now, go and get Leonard." Barry grinned at her as she looked around and brushed a strand of red hair behind her ear casually. Barry sped off back to grab Snart and drop him off at S.T.A.R Labs. Then, he would go back and collect Quinn. Well, he'd tell Caitlin about her injuries beforehand, and then he'd get her. He reckoned he'd be gone for about... a minute, depending on how long Caitlin kept him back. Quinn was out of harm's way and back to her old self. Yeah, the mental trauma wouldn't have caught up to her yet, but when it did, he'd be there. The whole team would be there to look out for her and make sure she was okay. That's what she did for them; it was time to return the favour. But, currently, she was just being her regular self. The one and only Quinn Lawson who always put others before herself. No matter what. She would always surrender herself and her time to make sure someone was fine. Even when she was beaten down or having a bad day, Quinn would always be there for someone else. She never gave up. Always persisted.

And that was the thing Barry loved about her the most.

Chapter Text

Paris was starting to settle into the coolness of the Spring evening, the sun beginning to fade from the sky; it would be a few more hours before night arrived. Clouds were a mixture of faded oranges and salmon pinks as they drifted lazily across the sky. A slight breeze blew and it was cool, refreshing. Thin curtains blew back in the draught, causing the living room to smell fresh and feel chilled; but not cold enough to force the windows to be closed. Dina looked up and watched her wife stroll through the kitchen-diner of the spacious (and expensive) apartment, her hands wrapped around a hot cup of lemon tea, the steam floating up into the air and disappearing. Dina observed and saw how elegantly Ariel moved, how it felt like she was gliding across the floor, her hips swinging gently. It was sexy in every way of the word. And Ariel probably never noticed it. She was the classy type; a woman who practically oozed beauty; a woman destined to be beautiful. Everything about her was perfect; literally. She was an angel. She was made to be perfect. Ariel's long black hair tumbled down her back, like an onyx waterfall and she blew a few strands out of her face. This was where the two women differed. Dina had fiery ginger hair, with auburn eyes that were usually full of fury. She was designed to be a killer, a warrior. She worked at Elia's bar; she had a lot of assholes that thought it was appropriate to hit on her, even though she'd tell them she was a married lesbian. If they ever tried to touch her, Dina would slam their faces off the oak of the bar and watch as security dragged them out. Dina was a mess of divinely brutal chaos; it was written all over her face, shone bright in her fierce eyes. Ariel was so much different. She was a tenderhearted French politician who had an eloquence that captivated thousands of people. Her way with words was unforced. She was kind; she had done a lot of good in her years active amongst the French government. Ariel was practically silver-tongued and beautiful. Dina was a rock chick. Ariel dressed that of a proper business woman. Dina was a total loudmouth, Ariel was soft spoken. Dina was an angel made for war, Ariel was an angel made for peace. But, despite their differences, the two loved each other dearly. They'd been through a lot together and overcome it... together.

Ariel downed her tea quickly and Dina heard her lips smacking together in satisfaction.
"Ma chérie, we must look smart for this gala." Ariel's thick French accent was sexy. God, it always got to Dina. Wound her up in the best way.
"No. I don't want to dress up in a stupid outfit for this stupid gala." Dina sighed, voice harsh. She crossed her arms over her chest and huffed in an irritated fashion. "Can't you just go on your own?" Ariel looked down at her empty tea cup and placed it down carefully, folding her hands once they were free. Dina shifted her gaze and peered at the dark skinned woman, seeing a puppy-like expression crossing her features. Dina groaned. Ariel seemed to have clicked on to the fact a look like that would get her whatever the hell she wanted; without fail, Dina couldn't resist. Her copper eyes burned into Dina's and she chewed on her lip in thought, brow puckered. She really didn't want to go to this damn thing; she'd rather spend an eternity in hell. Hell would be guaranteed to be more fun than a party full of old, stuck-up, rich people. Ariel's gaze only softened further, causing Dina to huff again. But... Dina wanted Ariel to be happy. And if Dina going to this fucking gala made her happy, then fine.
"All right, all right," Dina grumbled and Ariel perked up as soon as she realised Dina had caved in; given up. "I'll come with you, mermaid. As long as I can only interact with people I feel like talking to." A lovely little smile graced her wife's features, one that melted Dina's heart. It was a smile full of joy.
"We have a deal, ma chérie." Ariel replied placidly, voice calm; but Dina heard the hidden excitement in her tone. It truly made her happy. Dina felt her own smile form as she watched Ariel pick up her black satin dressing gown, slipping it on over her curvy figure with ease. "We must begin thinking about getting ready."

***

Two hours had passed and Dina was more than uncomfortable. She detested this sort of thing. Why she gave into Ariel's expression, the warrior angel didn't know. That look just worked; every fucking time. But, this time, Dina was hesitant, nervous. She'd never agreed to something like this. She'd never gone along with Ariel to one of these things before. It was never her style. She was all about bars, not fucking ballrooms. She sighed softly and moved towards Ariel's personal dressing room, hearing a majestic voice singing a quiet tune. She poked her head around the dressing room door and saw Ariel leaning over an extravagant table that was covered in different (and, again expensive) products. It gleamed in the dainty white fairy lights that were hung around the large mirror. Not only did Dina get a great view of her fine ass, but she also got to see how truly beautiful Ariel looked. She was wearing a simple jumpsuit; well, it looked like a jumpsuit. The top was short sleeved and glittery; the colour a faint hue of smokey grey. The pants she paired with it were flared and a vibrant pearl white. Her onyx hair was curled tightly and hung neatly just below her shoulder blades, looking shorter than it actually was. In the reflection, she saw Ariel applying the last touches of her outfit; her simple smokey eye was finished and she had moved on to pair it with a matte lipstick that was a dark shade of red; like red wine. Ariel never wore that much make-up, anyway; then again, she didn't have to. She was fucking beautiful with or without it.

Ariel caught Dina's eye in the mirror and she straightened, turning round to face Dina properly, looking even more elegant from the front. Dina shifted from foot to foot, stood awkwardly in the doorway, feeling Ariel's coppery eyes observing her. She wasn't the girly type. But, she tried. She wore a plain, floor-length black dress that had a single strap over her right shoulder. It hugged her toned figure flawlessly. Her ginger hair was washed and brushed, straightened for once, and clipped in a sleek side bun that was rested at the nape of her neck. Ariel looked rather surprised. Dina was, too. She'd never seen Ariel look fucking perfect. They met each other's gaze, eyes full of wonder. Love. Endearment. Dina was concerned. She was scared. She wasn't the prettiest of women; she was built for fucking wars. Not parties and dancing and beauty. "Do I look okay?" Dina questioned, allowing her concern and anxiousness to seep into her voice. "I really don't think I look...pretty enough." Ariel gave her an aghast look, looking like Dina had said an unforgivable curse. She moved over gracefully, fabric of her pants ruffling and she rested her hands on Dina's shoulders gently, giving her a reassuring smile.
"Don't be ridiculous, ma chérie," The dark skinned angel practically cooed, squeezing her shoulders tenderly. "You look wonderful. You always look beautiful to me." Dina gave her a shy smile and Ariel leaned forward, pressing a kiss to her lips. Dina relaxed into her wife's hold, tasting the lipstick and resting her hand on Ariel's waist. A sharp knock on the door made the two pull away from their embrace and look in unison. A man, around six feet, was stood. He was dressed in a clean black suit with his hands behind his back. He was old, around sixty, his chocolate brown hair almost grey. He nodded his head in a polite greeting. It was Ariel's butler, Alexandre Chastain. He'd been working for Ariel for years and even when Ariel offered him a luxury home and a grand sum of money for an early retirement, he declined. She only offered it to him early because of how much of a good man he was. He still chose to decline. He chose to stay by Ariel's side and work for her until the day he died because, to him, she was the most wonderful woman and she gave him more than he could ever repay. He was a loyal and kind man. The two trusted him and loved him dearly; and he trusted and loved them the same.
"Madame Ariel, the car is ready for you," His accent was an even thicker French and his voice was placid. He gave the two fatherly looks. "And, Madame Dina, I can assure you... you two will knock them all dead." And with that, he bowed his head in farewell and left to prep the car for the two when they were ready to leave. When his footfalls faded into silence, Ariel and Dina shared a look and broke out into smiles, unable to fight it off their faces. Dina felt a little more confident now the two most important people in her life both assured her she looked fine. Looked beautiful. Maybe the two would sweep the board with how damn good they looked. Dina linked her muscled arm with her wife's and gestured with her free hand.
"Well then, mermaid... shall we?" She asked, a provocative half-smile settling on her lips. Ariel grinned, flashing her pearly white teeth.
"Let us go, ma chérie. We have a gala to get to." Ariel adjusted Dina's bun quickly before taking her arm again and walking out of the dressing room in a proud manner. "And we are both beauty to behold." Dina smiled and picked up the skirt of her dress to walk down the lavish staircase. Maybe this would be fun after all.

Chapter Text

Everything was throbbing as Sasha dragged herself up the two floors of stairs, slender hand gripping the pale wood of the banister. Her grip was unbreakable and if she held it any tighter, the woman was certain the wood would snap; come clean away from the wall it was screwed against. Exhaustion pounded through her like a drumbeat and her strength was beginning to wane. There wasn't much she could do about it, however, and these stairs weren't exactly helping. Her apartment was only two floors away; she'd already climbed three sets of steep steps. Damn this building and damn this staircase. If the elevator was working, Sasha wouldn't have had to climb five sets of stairs to get to her small, run-down and cheap apartment in the scruffier parts of New York City. The parts the state never showed. It wasn't all glitz and glam in this part of town. But, no. Things never seem to go the way Sasha wanted them to. The elevator was out of order, the yellow tape blocked the closed silver doors making that inherently obvious as she entered the lobby of the block. Her exasperation was worn down quickly by how tired she felt. All Sasha wanted was rest. The fight had taken a lot of energy and magic and Sasha was surprised she didn't pass out immediately after the battle had been won.

A disgruntled breath broke through the sounds of heavy footsteps and laboured breathing. Glancing upwards, Sasha saw Chloe was lagging up the steps, a little ways in front of the Gothamite witch. No matter how hard Chloe tried, Sasha could see she was beginning to tire; her facade of being fine was starting to fade, her adrenaline rush beginning to crash and burn. Her black skinny jeans were torn in places and covered in mud; spattered in rouge. Her leather jacket was scuffed and filthy, her Converse no longer pearly white. She looked a total state, nothing but scruffy. Her hair was tied back into a ponytail, wisps of blonde hair escaping the hair tie, the blue streaks that ran through it dull in the artificial lighting that lit up the staircase. Her hair was limp with dried sweat. Sasha gazed at her girlfriend's moving back and smiled to herself, her heart swelling with the feeling of pride. Chloe had been so strong. She hadn't given in. She continued to be the fighter, warrior, Sasha knew she was at heart. They fought hard for their freedom. They had fought for their own lives. They had fought for control of their minds. It was a lethal fight; so much could have been lost. Their lives, their freedom. They could have been back to where they used to be; Sasha would rather die. The two women could have lost everything. But, luckily, their determination held out. They didn't lose. They won.

Despite the victory, the fight was anything but easy. It was laborious and bloodied. Sasha sustained minor injuries from the copper laced blades the Talons had in the suits. Sasha used a lot of magic to hold them off and the two women both had to fight with their fists as well as using their occult abilities. It took a lot of power, skill and bravery. They were the only force against their fears. It took so much. Sasha felt as bruised as she actually was. Blood had clotted into scabs over the small lacerations and she tried to move as gingerly as she could to avoid reopening the injuries again. It hurt enough when she sustained them. Her magic was working hard to heal the wounds, but it would take a few days before the damaged skin returned to its normal form; flawless and healed. The itchy pain, the aching in her muscles and the tiredness all melted into one and made Sasha feel pretty much dead on her feet. Her eyelids felt heavy and, for a second, she thought she wouldn't make it up the last few steps to her apartment. God, Sasha was more than ready to flop onto her bed and sleep for six years.

***

Keys jingled, metal tinkling as Chloe reached the peeling paint of the apartment door and freed the small set of keys from her jacket pocket. Sasha heard them enter the lock as Chloe twisted them. She closed her eyes briefly in utter relief, a gentle smile gracing her bruised lips once again. Finally fucking home. Chloe entered and Sasha hauled herself up the last three steps and let out a throaty groan. The living room was quaint, linked to a little kitchen. The wallpaper was a glittery black, decorated with slate grey stripes. The sofas were cheap and tatty at the edges, a mottled tan colour. The lamp was from a shop down the road and it dimly lit up the room, casting ominous looking shadows when the rays of artificial light shone upon certain objects that were dotted around the place. The small TV was on and playing some sort of film, the volume on low. Even Sasha herself strained to hear the lines, but even then it was too hushed to understand. John Constantine was passed out on the sofa in front of the TV, his arm rested under his head, the other dangling over the edge. His lips were parted and his chest rose and fell gently. Sasha and Chloe shared a glance and a hushed little giggle. Chloe drifted off down the hall, as quietly as she could manage. The two really didn't want to wake John up. They were too tired to deal with his questions about what had happened. He knew what they were going to do. Sasha hadn't expected him to wait up for them. Sasha snatched hold of a comfy pale yellow blanket that had been thrown lazily over the back of the chair and picked up her notepad from the dusty TV stand. She threw the blanket over him as carefully as she could and held her long, dirty chocolate brown hair back as she tucked him in. She then crouched and used her knee as a prop, clicking her black pen in and began writing.

John. Chloe and I are back safely. We're going to bed, we're exhausted. Glad to see you sleeping, for once. Wake us up and we'll kill you. Night.
- Sasha x

Once she had finished, Sasha placed the notepad on the worn cream carpet, right by the leg of the chair. It was an easy to see sorta spot; when Constantine woke up, he would notice it quickly. Sasha shifted and pressed a soft kiss to his forehead and moved to creep off down the hall, prowling like a cat. Bedtime.

***

The bedroom was dark, and it took a second for Sasha's midnight blue eyes to adjust to it before she managed to make out the shape of Chloe's curved figure already wrapped up in the clean white cotton of the duvet. Sasha's alert and observant eyes caught the way Chloe's blonde hair fanned out across the plump and soft pillows. The way the duvet hugged her figure; protected her from the chilled New York air. The cold breeze forced Sasha to remember that she needed to notify the landlord that the bedroom window was busted and needed to be replaced. If the landlord refused, Sasha would make the evil old bitch comply with a mind trick. The woman was tired of having to fork out to pay for the things that were already damn well broken before they moved into the shitty little place. It wasn't their job.

The sheets made a ruffling noise as Chloe twisted, a humming noise breaking the silence.
"Hey," Sasha whispered, voice light and hushed. Chloe's lips twitched into a sleepy grin.
"Hey, babe." Sasha flicked her leather jacket off and tossed it across the room. It landed by the window ledge with a soft thump before everything fell quiet again. Chloe let out a comfortable sigh and flicked the duvet back, patting the mattress next to her. Sasha let out a relieved breath and moved over, taking two big steps before flopping onto the bed next to the woman she loved. God, the bed may have been cheap and old but, damn, was it comfortable.
Sasha felt herself sink into it a little and felt the coarseness of the material under her hand when she ran her fingers across it lazily. Chloe's arm was pressed right up against her own, her skin pleasantly smooth and warm. She'd stripped off into some simple white shorts and a loose fitting vest top. Sasha was too tired to change. It wasn't that much of a big deal. The heat radiating from Chloe was pretty much lulling Sasha to sleep; knowing her girlfriend was right by her side, alive and well was enough to settle her tormented mind. Sasha shifted and moved up to rest her head on the soft pillow, the scent of roses greeting her senses as she did so. She rolled over to face her partner, the blinds still wide open, spilling pale moonlight over them. It shone in the clear sky and stars shimmered brightly, twinkling. But, Sasha wasn't focusing on the sky and how pretty it looked. She was paying every inch of her attention to Chloe. The blue streaks in her hair looked a lot more vibrant in the moonlight, shiny; yet, it was still filthy and in need of a wash. Her eyes glittered with sleepiness and adoration as she peered at Sasha, a gentle smile still on her lips. Sasha traced her hand over Chloe's waist, watching her fingers move over the curve intently. She loved everything about Chloe fucking Russel.

Chloe leaned over and pressed a tender kiss to the tip of Sasha's chin; her lips were rough, but the kiss itself was gentle. Sasha felt a smile of her own creep up onto her face. Fuck, she was overjoyed they managed to escape the Court of Owls all those years ago; and she was more than glad they escaped again, today. If they hadn't broken free of their chains, came to their senses and realised what they were being forced to do was wrong, they would never be were they were now; free. And, that was all Sasha truly wanted. Freedom. And Chloe to be right there by her side. The two lay in peaceful silence before Chloe took a breath and spoke.
"I'm glad you didn't die." Sasha glanced at her, seeing the other woman's fingers picking at the loose thread that hung from the sheet, sky blue eyes cast downwards. Sasha hummed and stretched, knee cracking. She was glad, too. That Chloe was alive, they both made it out alive, that they didn't sustain too many injuries; or severe ones, for that matter.
"Glad you didn't die, either," Sasha responded, making sure her tone conveyed her relief at that fact. She wrinkled her nose up in mock disgust. "You gonna shower, though? You smell so shitty." Chloe let out a bark of laughter.
"You're one to talk. But, we can take one in the morning, or whatever." Chloe threw Sasha a half-smile that made her heart do flips and her head spin. "I'm too tired to fucking care."

Chloe looped her toned arms around the witch and pulled her to her side, using one hand to pull the duvet up and over them both. The duvet was soft against Sasha's skin and smelled clean and Sasha felt the warmth in the sheets as she snuggled further into the haven, wrapped up in the arms of the woman she loved so hard it hurt. Sasha always felt so protected in Chloe's strong arms; even before they managed to run away from the Court of Owls; deserted their assassin lifestyles. She always felt safe in Chloe's loving embraces, ingrained the memory of it into her brain. Sasha felt herself drifting off into dreamland, and she faintly heard Chloe's breathing slow. It wasn't very long before the two fell asleep in the puddle of moonlight that fell upon the sheets, wrapped around each other; tangled together tightly. It looked like, to anyone who saw, that they were clinging on for dear life; never seemingly going to let go.

Chapter Text

It had been one of those days. Quiet, yet tiring. Constantine had been out for most of the day, only appearing for lunch, chatting with her for a few minutes and then having to leave again, a whisper of a loving kiss being pressed against her cheek before he vanished once more. Their routine had been decided on; and this week, it was Elia's turn to keep an eye on the house and work a part-time week. As much as the routine helped her focus, it made her ache. Elia wasn't fully used to it; it would take time to adjust to. Again. But, it worked. She just missed seeing Constantine every day. John was usually out and about, and considering it was Elia's turn, she was just settled. Working from home, cleaning up and just pottering around in general. There was a few loads of washing left to be done, hung out to dry and ironed. There were a few glasses left in the sink after last night's drink with the people she loved. Work for Elia had been slower than usual; even the rest of her "teams" had been fine, handling their own issues and enemies. Despite that, everyone knew they could call on Elia if they ever needed her assistance; either with her skills, her magic or her healing.

Lately, though, things had been a lot quieter. And it was peaceful; something the half-angel wasn't used to. She was used to hunting demons, being busy with clients, killing more demons, travelling through time with the Legends. That was years ago now; she still did it with them often, as she was the strongest ally. Despite not being a full member of their little, dysfunctional team; despite the fact that years had gone by since Mallus, despite the fact that Elia had moved on with her life...they were still her friends, her old team. The Legends still had her on speed-dial and she visited them as much as she could. They were her friends, after all. Humming a tune to herself, Elia drifted around the oak dining table and into the living area, barely flicked a gaze at the black wallpaper, the silver flowers catching the afternoon sunlight. Sitting down, Elia leaned back into the comfortable chocolate leather, closing her eyes. Heat prickled her fingers, her slender hands delicately wrapped around a steaming mug of tea. Elia decided to make use of the time she had. She had a few minutes to kill before the house was alive with activity, once again. It would give her just enough time for her to sit, drink her tea and relax. It gave her time to reflect on the things she had to attend to tomorrow. She had to go to her office for an emergency appointment, so it would have to be John's turn to stay home for a few hours. The appointment was early in the morning, so maybe he could take the-
"Mum!" Two young voices, full of joy and a hint of tiredness, yelled in unison. "We're home!" Elia sipped her tea and sighed into the mug, her breath causing the liquid to ripple. Or...not. She could plan her day later. Once the children were asleep and Constantine was helping.

***

Two girls skidded around the corner of the kitchen door, ponytails loose, pale blue cardigans crooked. Elia carefully put her half empty mug down on the coffee table as she stood up, a smile pasting its way across her lips. The girl who managed to rush in first was slightly taller than the other, with whitish-brown hair that was tied back neatly; although, wisps had started to escape the dark blue tie and frame her oval shaped face. Anastasia Faith moved to hug Elia's waist, giggling when Elia adjusted her position to lift her up. Her arms looped around her neck as the girl squeezed tightly.
"Hey, mum." She greeted, once again.
"How was school, luv?" Elia questioned, moving a strand of hair from her daughter's mouth and tucking it behind her ear, smiling affectionately. The girl giggled again, the sound airy and light. The noise made Elia fall in love with her all over again. There was nothing better than hearing a child's laughter; and, somehow, hearing it come from her own child made it so much better. Her eyes glittered and grinned. Anastasia had heterochromia, and the colours shimmered; her right eye was forest green, the other a dark shade of hazel. When she first opened her eyes after she was born, John pointed out that she had beautifully different eyes. Strangely, Elia and Constantine seemed to be both in Anastasia. Something that made her...perfect.
"School was great, mum!" The other girl chimed in, Anastasia nodding enthusiastically in a agreement. Ivy Rose. Her blonde ponytail was unruly and wild, her lips stretched out in a bright, animated smile. Her eyes were a muted shade of chocolate brown, her hair a clean dirty blonde. She looked so much like her father. Putting Anastasia down carefully, she moved to pull Ivy into a hug; along with her sister.The girls were non-identical twins, Anastasia being a good fifteen minutes older. Currently, the slight age gap didn't matter. Elia had a feeling that wouldn't last, however. Once they both grew older, Elia knew the eldest would rub it in her sister's face like salt on an open wound. But...that was a while away. For now, it didn't matter. The girls were as closest as could be. Ivy wriggled free of her mother's grip and took her cardigan off, beaming brightly.

A snort greeted Elia, and she lifted her forest green eyes to see John, who was stooped over putting the children's bags down. Elia sighed gently.
"Girls, what did I tell you about carrying your own backpacks? Daddy isn't your donkey." Elia scolded them gently, clicking her tongue.
"Naw, luv, it's all right," Constantine countered, smiling like an idiot. "I did it off my own bat." Elia exhaled again. Ivy looked somewhat sheepish, but Anastasia had an impish smirk on her lips. So much like her bloody father. Rolling her eyes playfully, she tickled both of them. Their giggles of surprise and delight made Elia's heart melt. After so much pain and torment...she finally found her joy. She loved her family so much.
"Fine, I'll let it slide this time, you little tinkers." Elia grinned, ignoring the way Ana wriggled, her laughter high-pitched and strained. Seeing they were getting tired, Elia relented her tickle attack and released them.
"Any homework we'll do after dinner, okay girls?" John piped up. They nodded and moved to take their discarded bags to their shared bedroom. Once they had disappeared, Elia felt someone pull her up from her position on the carpet.
"He, luv." Constantine practically crooned. Unable to hide the smile that graced her features, Elia twisted to hug him lightly.
"Hey, babe." He snorted, rolling his eyes. His arms slid to loop around her wait, pulling her tighter against his chest. She smirked and fiddled with his hair, other hand resting at the nape of his neck.
"I'm all for pet names, luv," he hummed, tilting his head towards hers. His breath tickled her cheek, scented with faint smoke and mint. "But never call me that again." Elia chuckled and went to meet him halfway.
"Mum!" The two sighed and Elia took a step back, pecking Constantine's chin lovingly.
"I'm coming, dearies!"

***

Dinner had been and gone, the sun had set; the winter months always brought darker nights so quickly. Constantine helped Elia clean up as the girls took a break, watching an age appropriate TV show while their dinner settled. It had been roughly an hour and Anastasia was left at the table, her sister having finished her homework rather quickly. That was the thing with the twins; Ivy was a tad brighter. They were both quite intelligent, but for different things. Anastasia loved all her classes, but focused most on Art and P.E. Ivy, on the other hand, focused more on Math and Science. Their differences made them a strange pair, especially as they were so close. Elia was fascinated by it. How they worked, how they were excited by the same things, how they paid attention. After everything, she'd been through, Elia never dreamed she'd have a family like this; a family of her own. Elia hummed a tune to herself, drying up the last few plates she'd left to drain, piling them up on the counter for Constantine to put back in the cupboards.The two shared a smile as Elia dried her hands off and began wiping down the counters. This was how they worked; once they settled into this new life, they were reasonably good as a domestic unit. They learned how to take turns, look after things. They worked together, just like they used to before they even became close to marrying. Of course, they still handled demonic forces and dealt with any supernatural threats; but they'd either do it as a team or Elia would handle it herself. Elia was technically better suited for it; and Constantine knew that incredibly well. He learned that years ago. She felt his hand lazily brush against the small of her back as he shifted past her to put a bowl away.
"Dad?" Ana called from the living room. Constantine didn't look up from where he was crouched, making sure the bowls were stacked properly.
"Yeah, sweetpea?"
"I'm stuck on this question." John stood up, smiling at Elia briefly and going to where Ana was sat, her brows puckered in confusion. He leaned over her, and she pointed to which one she was struggling with.
"Let's have a look, shall we?" He ruffled her hair and she chuckled. He continued to peer at the sheet of paper. His own confusion spiked; Elia could sense it in his aura. "What...in God's name is that?" Elia finished cleaning the counters and threw the towel over her shoulder. She wandered in and joined the two in the dining table. Math. Not one of Elia's strong points. She sighed and brushed a strand of hair from her eyes, examining the equation.
"Why...why do teachers give this stuff to ten-year olds?"
"Because our system is broken." Elia commented, answering John's muttered question.

After a few more minutes of Elia scribbling in her notepad, she relented. Not even she could wrap her brain around it; it wasn't the way she did it at school.
"Yeah, I got nothing." Elia quipped, giving her daughter her pen back. A giggle broke through the quiet that formed as Ana tried again. The three looked up to see Ivy stood in the living room doorway, hair brushed and free from its tie, tumbling down her back in gentle waves. She was dressed in her pink Disney princess pajamas, all ready to snuggle on her father's lap while he watched TV or read over a case file. She put her snow-white teddy bear, George, down on the sofa, a slight bounce in her step. She was always so buoyant and light; it was bittersweet for Elia to see. Ivy reminded Elia of Faith, before she died. The little girl who she tried to save all those years ago. To commemorate the friend she lost, she used her name for Anastasia's middle.
"I'll help her!" Ivy bounced from foot to foot. "I can guide her through it. I promise I won't do it for her." Constantine and Elia shared a glance, a secret smile shared between them. They stepped back and Ivy moved over, as fast as her little legs could carry her. She hopped onto the chair next to Anastasia. John pressed a kiss to the top of Ivy's head, getting a gentle giggle in return.
"You're an angel." He remarked. Ivy turned her head to gaze at him, beaming at her father as Elia tossed the towel back into the kitchen, watching it land by the washing machine's closed door. Her dark eyes glittered in awe.
"Just like mum?" She questioned, curious. Elia moved to sit down on the sofa, cracking her back and Constantine nodded, winking at his girls. She sensed his aura swell and Elia twisted to look at them. He pressed a kiss to Anastasia's head before moving and pressing one right between Elia's eyes. Snorting, Elia watched as he hopped over the back of the sofa, pulling Elia to his side. She snuggled into him on impulse, resting her head on his collarbone and her hand over his heart. Feeling it thrum against her fingers, Elias lips curled into a smile.
"Yes, Ivy," he finally answered, voice light. "Just like mum."

Chapter Text

New York, New bloody York. It was the same old place with the same old people. Sure, it was still...very much the same, if not a tad outdated. It was still a whale of a city; just like it was in the future, and it seemed a lot cleaner. The air felt less clogged. Then again...this was the 1920's. Cars were there, but they weren't as popular. Peopled bustled this way and that down the street, the skyscrapers shielding them from the warm summer sun. The air was humid, curling around Rip and Elia as they made their way down the street, side by side, purpose in every step. Rip Hunter was an arrogant man, at times. He was dressed accordingly to the time period, a sour look pasted across his shaped features. Elia had a swing in her hips as she kept up with his pace, her snow white hair brushed over her right shoulder, curled softly, methodically. They were clearly an odd pair. And Elia sensed she was drawing stares from the passing civilians; then again, it wasn't every day people could see a woman with shimmering white hair. It wasn't a...natural colour.

Annoyance pulsed through her entire being, her jaw clenched tightly. The street seemed to be just as busy, with many different men and women going this way and that. Maybe going for lunch or back to work; even just having a leisurely stroll. It was the perfect day for it. Scents of expensive perfumes, gasoline and car exhaust filled the humid air. Everything felt old. Elia wasn't used to this. And they were here because of Damien Darhk. He'd caused an anachronism which rocked the timeline in a way the half-angel didn't fully understand. The Legends left for the time period on their mission to fix what had been wronged. She could barely hide her irritation. Rip's eyes slid to the side to give her a quick once over, before they returned to the slate grey concrete of the path in front of him. Elia was pissed off. She wanted to help Sara and Mick. But, no. Rip wanted her to join him on the intelligence gathering. Something Elia wasn't fond on. She hated dresses. But, it was necessary. She couldn't exactly walk around in her skinny jeans and her Sex Pistols t-shirt. It wouldn't go down so great. So...she had to do it. Rip's pace quickened and Elia exhaled through her teeth, jaw clenching even tighter. The urgency hung in the air like the potent fumes did. This mission could not fail. Or else Damien would win; and the timeline would be in jeopardy. Elia adjusted the hem of her lilac flapper dress, eyes full of determination. Damien wouldn't get that far; she'd make sure of that. Personally.

***

The bank wasn't as busy as the city street outside was, but people were still flocking around; Elia didn't care about what they were doing or why they were here. Elia had a job to do, and she was hellbent on doing it. Voices overlapped into one sound and Elia could sense every emotion in the building. They all varied. Some were pissed off, some were depressed and hiding it with a flashy smile and a thick wallet. Some were just plain happy. Some were neutral. Her emerald green eyes scanned each and every face. None of them seemed to be Damien. None of them had his aura. He wasn't here. Elia took a deep, calming breath and decided to distract herself. Twisting her head to look around, she saw bank tellers talking to customers. She saw the gold painted banisters, pillars that rose to the ceiling, the polished marble floor, the shiny mahogany of the desks. The air was scented with perfume and money. It was timeless. It was fascinating. As annoyed as she was, Elia couldn't stop the excited bubble from forming in her chest. She loved everything about history and would always learn about it. It was one of her favourite subjects in school; she even took it as a degree in university. Being with the Legends was...it was strange. They were an odd bunch, there was no doubt about it. But, she had the opportunity to help them with her magic, kick Damien Darhk's ass and send Mallus back to Hell. Or kill him. She'd probably kill him. And despite how Elia had to wear a flapper dress, coloured a soft hue of violet and frilly at the ends, paired with some silver heels, the pearls around her neck heavy, she was still buzzing.

A hand gripped her arm carefully, making her stop walking. She turned to face Rip. He let go of her arm when he noticed she'd halted. The man adjusted the sleeves of his blazer, eyes surveying his surroundings.
"Here's the plan," Rip began, his voice quiet as he spoke to the half-angel. Elia resisted the urge to roll her forest green eyes. She knew what the plan was; she was there for the entirety of the damn planning. "You stay here. Watch. If you see Damien, notify me immediately. I'm going to go and see what Damien's used this bank for." Before she could even open her mouth to object, Rip moved past her. Elia stared at his retreating back as he moved away, further into the people, completely mute. Frustration bit her once again. He placed her on watch duty? Rip knew better than that. Elia was much more capable to snoop around. She was stealthy and could teleport.
"Ma'am, are you alright?" The male's voice was loud and slightly raspy, the New York accent lilting his tone thick. It startled Elia out of her thoughts. Elia immediately switched her irritated expression with a pleasant, surprised smile. She knew how to handle this. Elia turned around, greeted by a man with glittering copper eyes and lightly tanned skin. His suit was a sharp grey colour, pressed just so. His hands were shoved into the pockets of his matching trousers. His azure aura showed no signs of malice. He had no ill will towards her.
"Oh!" Elia exclaimed, clasping her slender hands together as she flashed that same, adorable smile. "I didn't see you there."
"Do you need any help?" Elia shook her head softly. That was the last thing she needed.
"No, thank you, I'm fine." She gave him a kind look, gesturing with her head, white hair swinging with the action. "I'm jus' waitin' for a friend."

***

Half an hour had gone by. Then an hour. Then an hour and a half. Rip had been snooping around for exactly one hour, forty five minutes and fifty-six seconds. Elia had gotten tired of waiting around the forty minute mark. She wandered this way and that, kept her keen eyes peeled and made conversation with strangers. Elia had given up exactly ten minutes ago. Waiting wasn't her style. She had made herself comfortable on the plush white sofa, her legs crossed as she glowered lazily at the wall across from her, ignoring every figure that passed her by. It was starting to bore her. He'd been gone for far too long. A part of her wondered where he was. Another wanted to leave him to it and go help Sara. But, Elia knew that wouldn't be the right thing to do. Something had felt off for a while, the woman just couldn't put her finger on what it could have been.

A wave of dizziness ran through her and the half-angel stifled a groan as it rose up her throat. A choked noise managed to escape her lips and the half-angel hoped no one heard it. Her eyes closed as she waited for it to pass. It would soon abate. Her powers would fall from the crescendo they'd reached. Her ears rang something rotten and her vision blurred, the old fashioned walls disappearing into a single image. It carried on and Elia clenched her fists on her lap. The downside of being such a powerful psychic. She knew things were going wrong. She loathed this part of it a lot of the time. Her ears twitched as she heard Rip muttering incoherent sentences under his breath, heard the sound of a rusty file cabinet as it creaked opened. Papers rustled, files opened. Elia snapped back into herself and knew instantly things were about to go tits bloody up. With the Legends, that seemed to be a normal occurrence. Their plans always seemed to get fucked up. Elia hated it. Her plans always went accordingly. Taking a soothing breath to quiet her mind, her eyes silvered over and were immediately drawn to a man practically pushing through the people. His suit was a dark navy. She ignored that. What she didn't ignore was his aura; it was a distressing shade of black. The mark of a man who'd sold his soul.

Elia's immediate reaction was to stand up sharply. They knew. Damien bloody knew. Rip was about to be in one hell of a lot of trouble. She set her jaw and began to follow, watching as another four men moved to follow the first. Every single one of them had black auras. Exhaling out her irritation and the fear that lingered at the back of her mind, a man stepped directly into her path. The men she was trailing disappeared from her line of sight and it took every inch of her self-control not to scream and stamp her feet. She was running out of time. The man clearly worked here, as some sort of security. He was large and gorilla-like, towering over her. He stood at a solid six foot four, but Elia could pretty much flick him and shatter his sternum. Her strength knew no bounds.
"Where do you think you're going, dollface?" His accent was a heavy Brooklyn drawl, and his tone was icy with disdain. Elia rolled her eyes. There was no time for this.
"Past you." She responded, moving to slip through the gap. He moved into her path again and Elia nearly bounced off his broad, muscled chest.
"This is off limits," his voice had hardened even further, his olive eyes burning into hers as he craned his neck look down on her. "Move along." Elia took a deep breath, focusing. She needed to get back there. Her eyes silvered over once again and Elia employed a mental trick.
"I work here." Magic slithered through her words, ancient and hypnotizing. His jaw went slack. "I'm allowed through."
"You work here," he repeated. His voice was empty and monotone, his dark eyes glazed over. "You're allowed through." He stepped aside, still dazed, and Elia shoved past him, huffing quietly to herself. Her eyes returned to their normal shade of green and she shook her head.
"Fuckin' idiot." The half-angel carried on her way, ready to wage war.

***

Purpose in every single one of her steps, Elia flicked the hem of her elegant flapper dress up, revealing the black leather sheaths strapped tightly around her toned thighs. With barely any hesitation, Elia pulled those polished angel blades free and twirled them around her fingers, eyes narrowed as she focused them ahead of her. The sounds of punching and grunts of power reached her ears as she urgently carried on down the hallway, not paying any sort of attention to the old-fashioned beauty of it. Her ears were telling her Rip was kicking some arse, but she knew he'd tire. He was only human after all. Peeking through the large double doors, Elia caught sight of Rip getting thrown over an oak desk, slamming into the wall with a heavy thud. Her jaw clenched once again, fury pulsing through her. Those sons of bitches. Five versus one was hardly fair. Mission be damned, he was much more important than information.

Elia didn't wait for the men to get to the disoriented Rip. With a swift kick, the doors flew open, the hinges creaking in complaint. The men barely had time to respond to the crashing sound. Her blades left her hands with deadly precision. Blood spattered over the desk as they cried out and dropped. One slumped over the desk, the other hit the floor. They stayed down; as intended. The room was scented softly with lavender. It wouldn't last; iron would cloud the air. She was more than used to that. Used to the stench of blood. It usually wasn't human, but that wasn't the point. She was used to it all; hearing the whump of her blades as they sank into flesh. The look on Rip's was a mixture of dismay and shock. The other two moved to advance on her, but Elia didn't give a single fuck. Without her weapons, her hands lit up and she threw them out in front of her. The neutral shade of blue contradicted against its violence as it left her skin, crashing into the older two men. They sailed through the air and hit the wall with a thud and a yelp. Rip scrambled and rolled out of the way as gravity did its work and pulled them back to the carpet. He skidded to a stop on the other side of the desk. Eyes shimmering with a silver gleam, she pulled the magic back with a flick of a wrist.
"Acuite." That single word switched up the magic, the wave of magic sharpening to a point. Rip flinched when the shards of magic stabbed into the men, staining their white dress shirts with scarlet. They looked more like pin cushions now as the magic fizzled out.

The office looked less like an office and more like an abattoir. The men pretty much shit themselves immediately as the light drained from their eyes. A gunshot rang out and Elia jerked forward as the bullet pierced the bare skin of her shoulder. She straightened, the skin healing over. She turned around slowly, tauntingly, and let out a bored snort. The last man was stood, pistol shaking as it aimed it at her. He saw her skin finally fix, and the shaking intensified.
"What the Hell are you?" He managed to spit out, eyes round with terror. His aura reeked of it.
"A messenger of the Lord." Elia answered, pushing the gun away with a finger. "I'll see you in Hell, bonny lad." With that, Elia span round to perform a flawless roundhouse. Her foot connected with his jaw and the sickening snap of his neck was the next sound. He spun around before dropping like a bag of shit. His body hit the carpet. All was silent. Rip's face had darkened. Elia chose to ignore how his aura pulsed, pulling her blades free and wiping them on a blazer.
"You just killed five people." Rip's tone was hard, but he tried to hide his disbelief. He couldn't. Elia was an angel. She saw it in his aura. Elia slipped one blade away, the metal still warm. She shrugged plainly.
"So...?" Rip glared at her, his eyes alight with irritation.
"What the Hell do you have to say for yourself? I said no-"
"What'dya want me to say? Fucking 'oh shit, my bad'?" Elia finished wiping the other blade down, meeting his furious stare.

The atmosphere grew with the tension between them. Elia stared him down, eyes full of her own anger. Rip's lip curled, but he remained silent.
"I'm here for different purposes. I'm not a member of yer shite team. I'm me. I'm a demon hunter. Mallus is my only goal. That's all I'm bloody helpin' you with. You are not my gaffer. Don't get all pissy with me because my values are different. When you do a job like mine, you learn that empathy gets you nowhere with people like them and the demons they sold their souls to." Elia glowered and wiped the specks of blood off her face, unbothered by it. Her heels clicked as she spun around and walked away, back straighter than a pencil.
"We're done here, Hunter." Rip looked at the mangled bodies of the men she slaughtered. Blood was still pooling. The stench of fecal matter had started to rise. All that remained as Rip trailed after her was the ominous sound of her heels as she walked coolly down the empty hallway.

Chapter Text

Paris was one marvelous place. It had its streets delicately lined with modern streetlights, but if you looked hard enough, you'd find the old-fashioned side of the city. It was so much prettier. Of course, the lavish apartment was located in the upper, richer parts of the city, but Ariel was known to frequent quaint cafe's and bookshops that were located down sunny, cobbled streets. For now, the city was quietening down into the evening. People would be returning from work, greeted by the things they held dear; sure, some would be greeted by the silence of their homes, by the loneliness in their hearts, but some would have children to run and greet them, their young giggles filling the air.

It had been a lovely and warm Spring day. Now, it was fading into a cooler night; something the French woman valued. The apartment Ariel resided in was grand; in every single way of the word. It was painted carefully and a deep shade of crimson, the black sofas lined with a golden trim. She wasn't one to flaunt her riches. Ariel had given to many different charities. She just liked things to look...classy. Elegant. She was allowed to enjoy her money. It didn't give her joy or a sense of power over those who had less. Humming, Ariel flicked her gaze towards the large glass window that overlooked the balcony. The scarlet curtains had been pulled back, fastened neatly to show the glass, the sky. The sky was beginning to darken, the sun disappearing into the horizon. Her hazel eyes caught sight of the stars that had begun to twinkle. She smiled gently, admiring the view. A gentle scent of green tea drifted through the warm apartment's air, soft and pleasing to the senses. A flat screen TV lit up once again, after an advert break finally ended, returning to the show Ariel was watching inattentively, curled up on the black fabric sofa, sinking into the comfy cushions. Her slender, but toned legs were curled underneath her as she leaned into the comfortable arm of the chair, an exquisitely painted china teacup resting between her hands. The liquid inside steamed and she took a sip of the fresh green tea. It warmed her chest and soothed her mind; but it didn't ease the apprehensive look that was resting upon her face. It wasn't lifting any time soon, even with the TV playing in the background. Strands of her onyx hair fell into her eyes, cutting her vision into strips. A grandfather clock carried on ticking as time passed by. It only reminded the upper-class angel of the fact she needed to get dressed soon.

She was a politician. She usually didn't have much time to herself, like this. Sat alone, with her favourite show playing quietly as she drank some handmade tea. The gala that was being held tonight was to raise money for a charity Ariel had been very vocal about supporting. As a thank you, she was invited as the guest of honour. Only problem was, Ariel hadn't told her wife about where she'd be going this evening. Dina was a stunning woman, but she wasn't about ballrooms. They were quite different, but in a way...they were the same. She was an angel of war, designed to kill. Ariel was an angel of peace, designed to spread love, heal the injured. Fix what had been broken. Despite that...the two loved each other deeply, dearly. She was overjoyed to spend such a long time with Dina; they'd been married for at least a century. Ariel was loved. She always felt loved when she was with Dina. Their love, truly, would never die. Taking a deep breath, Ariel downed the rest of the cooling tea, placing the cup down on the polished oak coffee table. She straightened up, black skirts falling neatly by her ankles.
"I'll get your cup, Madame." A cool, male voice broke through the silence. The angel turned and threw her butler a kind, heartwarming smile. His greying chocolate brown hair caught the light as he adjusted his pearl white gloves.
"Thank you, Alexandré." Her voice was gentle and soothing, complete with a musical lilt. She swiftly walked out of the expensively decorated living room, making her way up the grand staircase. Ariel moved elegantly, her footsteps silent as she practically glided up the stairs. A door nearest to her was open. The angel peeked in. The bedroom was dark, the curtains tightly drawn. Her eyes took a second to adjust and she saw the figure hidden beneath the sheets. Ariel held her breath and heard the soft snoring from within. Dina was still resting, it seemed. A loving smile graced her features and she moved away from the master bedroom, even quieter than before, making her way towards her dressing room.

***

A soft humming carried down the halls, Ariel knowing the sound would soothe her wife into deeper sleep. The dressing room was dimly lit, with a lamp in the corner, but her mirror was covered in shining fairy lights that illuminated her face and cast shadows on her shoulders. The sound of humming carried over the room as she continued the little tune. It was pretty and lilted, soft and soothing. The mirror was large and polished, not a single smear in sight. Ariel tilted her head to the side, eyes cast towards her reflection as she applied the finishing touches of her outfit. The blush smelled like flowers and Ariel smiled gently as she felt the smooth bristles of the brush caress her cheekbone. The dress she'd chosen was floor-length and made out of golden fabric, the sequins and glitter that covered it catching the light. Her hair was washed and straightened carefully before being brushed and placed into a side bun, a few wisps left to frame her oval face. Ariel was well aware of her beauty and she appreciated what she had. She knew what she was, and what she wasn't. Her dark caramel skin was complimented by a dark red lipstick and a softly golden hue that glittered on her cheeks lightly. Her eyes shone hazel. In the right lighting, they would look richer than gold. She was petite, but not thin; she had curves and a muscle mass that was quite capable of turning heads.

Ariel hummed once again, using one hand to fasten a hair pin that had come loose, when an arm loosely slid around her waist. Catching sight of a drowsy Dina in the mirror, Ariel put her blush brush down and rested her hands on her arm.
"Where are you going?" Dina mumbled, voice slurred slightly. Ariel couldn't help but wince.
"I'm sorry, ma cherié," Ariel apologized, hoping the tone of her voice would be enough. "I have a charity ball to attend. I would have told you about it, but I know you are...well, you are not exactly fond on them." Dina grinned, her face looking flawless without makeup. A small scar curled around her nose and she snuggled further into her wife, pressing a kiss to the back of Ariel's neck. A shiver ran down her back, which caused Dina to smirk. They may have been married for a century, but they'd been together for literal centuries. Especially after Elia fell from grace; Dina had lost a love and Ariel had lost a friend. But somehow, through the heartache, they found each other.
"That's fine with me, mermaid." Dina let go of Ariel to stretch, voice strained as she spoke. Ariel's laugh was sweet-sounding and soft, carrying over to Dina's ears easily.
"Stop calling me that."
"Never."
"You are impossible."
"You still love me." Ariel rolled her eyes playfully, turning to press a kiss to Dina's forehead, her heels allowing her to be the same height (for once).
"That I do, ma cherié."

The embarrassment that hounded Ariel faded into love as she watched Dina carefully. The shift at Elia's bar must have been draining. Dina looked exhausted; something the angel of war usually never looked. Despite that, Dina looked beautiful. Her fiery ginger hair was tied up in a messy bun, some hair escaping and falling into her face. Her copper coloured eyes glimmered in the fairy lights. The white shorts and teal sweater hugged her curvy figure perfectly. Dina moved to thumb the lipstick stain off her forehead, and the women shared a lighthearted giggled.
"Oh, and Ariel?"
"Yes, dear?" Dina bopped her nose with a finger, making the French woman snort in surprise. Dina laughed gently, the sound heavenly to Ariel as she gave her a little Eskimo kiss.
"You look fuckin' beautiful." Ariel giggled again and poked Dina's muscular shoulder.
"It isn't a Dina comment without an expletive, is it?"
"Nope." Dina sleepily beamed. "I love you. Have fun. Be safe. I'm going back to bed. It's calling for me." Ariel grinned as Dina trotted off, hesitating at the door as she waited for Ariel's reply.
"I will. I'll be safe, as well. And I love you too, ma cherié." Satisfied, Dina continued on her way, a yawn being let out as she went. Relaxed and back into her cheery mood, Ariel turned back to her dressing table, slipping a silver hoop earring in. Tonight was going to be a lot of fun.

Chapter Text

Horns blared as a car ran through a red light, brakes squealing and fists immediately being driven into the horns; it was a reflex for something as stupid as that. A few windows rolled down and curse words were screamed, even though the car and its driver was long gone. Sasha Lockhart's bright midnight blue eyes caught the shimmering lights that came from the cars that drove by and the city itself. Her teeth clenched automatically at the sound of the brakes squealing. For a second, Sasha was worried she'd be the witness to an accident. Maybe she would have to give a statement to the Five-O. She hated cops. She would have sprinted down the nearest alley and avoided the flashing blue and red lights, the whirring of the sirens. Sasha relaxed when the driver managed to avoid the accident and she continued on her way, walking towards the doors of the shitty apartment block. The air was ice cold; as expected, it was December. She let out another sigh, her breath steaming up the air. Thank God she had the sense to put on a coat before she left. Yeah, Sasha was wearing a plain black crop top that hugged her toned figure, but the coat was floaty and warm. Her skinny jeans were nice and tight, a pale blue colour that went well with her calf-high tan boots. The heels clicked with every step across the damp concrete, echoing through the somewhat quiet street. Her chocolate brown hair was straightened and clean (for once) and it caught the streetlamps she walked under as she climbed the steps to the apartment block, shining in the dullness.

Sasha licked her lips and tasted the tequila she shotted over an hour ago. She could still feel it burning the back of the throat and taste the whiskey she'd used to wash down the shot. Sasha was smart enough to not get piss drunk; she had places to be and had to walk home through a rough part of the city. Her girlfriend had driven her out; Chloe didn't like the adult conversation they were having and it turned into a heated argument. Sasha was worried about her; Chloe had been drinking a lot more over the past few weeks, usually being dragged in by a concerned Constantine. Her drinking had gotten so much fucking worse and Sasha didn't know why. Sasha had felt her temper flaring, feeling magic pooling in her hands and took a deep breath, grabbed her coat and walked out; she slammed the front door so hard it rattled in its frame. She walked to the local bar and had a drink. Just gave her some time to settle down. To be fair, Sasha wasn't planning on going back. At all. She was tired of having to wait up and hold her drunkard girlfriend's hair back as she vomited herself to sleep. Sasha loved her with every inch of her being, but Chloe's drinking was beginning to get out of hand and Sasha wasn't sure she could take it anymore. Sasha climbed the stairs to the apartment, more than ready to apologize for storming out. Chloe would, hopefully, understand. Sasha's power was volatile. Losing her temper meant losing control of Serenity and that was never a good thing. She was bad enough without the other woman coming into play. Sasha saw the apartment door and took a deep breath, ready to utter wholehearted apologies as soon as she entered. But, her magic told her something was wrong. It whispered in her ears, crooned in her mind, and Sasha couldn't ignore it. Her eyes squinted in confusion. Something was definitely wrong.

***

The door was slightly open and her observant gaze caught how the silver metal of the lock was buckled and broken. Sasha was sure she didn't break the door when she slammed it. Urgency in every move, she tripped up the last few steps, ankle aching in complaint. Her gun was immediately in hand and her other pulsed with a gentle hue of purple. Sasha had to clench her jaw when heat rushed through her skin; like someone had set her on fire. It felt awfully painful this time around, but Sasha knew it was because she hadn't used this sort of magic in a long time. She preferred spell-casting now, not mental. Spell-casting was safer. Less...dangerous to the people around her. It would take a few minutes for her body to grow accustomed to it. Heart hammering against her ribs, Sasha moved forward tentatively and pushed the door with the nozzle of her Glock. The room reeked of Chloe's musky perfume, stale alcohol. The strong aroma of copper.
"Chloe?" Her call went unanswered. All that she could register was silence. Growing a set, she pushed the door wide open. It creaked its warning, but Sasha paid no heed to it.

Chloe was lying in the middle of the living room, blood pooling around her torso. Sasha heard the sound of her breathing; it rattled faintly. The witch had to strain to hear it; to understand if she was alive. The other woman's eyes were barely open. The small shitty coffee table had been shattered; Chloe had clearly been slammed off it before the injury. Glass was all over the floor; it glittered dully in the lamp's dim light. Scarlet was spattered up the back wall and the TV had been pushed off its stand, the wire the only thing keeping it from crashing to the carpet, the screen black and broken. The cracks that ran through it reminded Sasha of a spider's web. It hit Sasha in the gut, hard. It was like she was back in the Court all over again, forced to kill Tessalyne. The feelings were too much to handle; the woman could barely understand them, they moved far too quick for her to detect. It slapped Sasha in the face that Chloe was half-dead on their living room floor. The air left Sasha's lungs and she deflated like a balloon; she felt winded. She couldn't breathe. Chloe had fought for her life while Sasha was out sulking and, ultimately, lost. By the way her claret coloured aura flickered in and out like a dying candle, Sasha knew the ex-assassin didn't have much time left. Chloe's time was fucking running out.

Her gun slipped from her fingers, grip loosening, fingers going completely numb. Her heart hit the floor along with it and swelled into a crescendo with the grief, the shock of it knocking the air out of her lungs all over again. Without a hesitation, Sasha skidded across the rough carpet, dropping to her knees and sliding over the last few feet. Trying to reach her as fast as possible. Sasha didn't want to waste time. She felt the coarse carpet burn her skin, scratch at it, rip at the fabric of her jeans. She swept Chloe up into her arms, her elbow supporting her neck. Her dirty blonde hair dipped towards the floor, almost long enough to brush it. Her skin was ashen, her eyes closed. Sasha didn't need to feel her pulse; she could sense the life-force. Chloe was alive. Barely.
"Chloe, babe?" Sasha questioned in a gravelly whisper, her throat sore. The tears clogged her voice. They demanded to be freed; the pain pulsed through her faster than her blood, faster than her magic...it demanded to be revealed. To be felt. Her voice shook as much as her hands did. Chloe didn't respond; she was as still as a lake on a calm summer's day. A soft, broken sob pushed its way out of her mouth, her torment revealed to the world around her. But, no one was home. Constantine was in the bar. It was just her and Chloe. Chloe's hazel eyes flew open, wider than saucers, her bloody hands finding the one Sasha had rested on her shoulder. It was slick and warm and Sasha ignored the urge to vomit. She'd killed hundreds of people. She knew what it was like to see someone die. To have their blood on her hands. Both in a literal fashion and metaphorical. The woman's breath wheezed past her pale and bruised lips, sounding like something from a shitty horror movie. Sasha lifted her eyes, swallowing past the lump in her throat. Chloe could barely keep her eyes open, her breathing wheezy and strained. She blinked sluggishly. The woman was too weak to even focus her waning attention on Sasha's sorrowful face. Poor Chloe. Sasha's heart twisted with rage; painfully so.

***

This wasn't supposed to fucking happen! Chloe was fine an hour ago; apart from the fight. Who the fuck could have found out about their little apartment? Who found them? They were supposed to be safe. Someone had to have found them out. Someone had to have ratted them out to the Court of Owls. Someone had to have known who they were and what they were running from.
Chloe grimaced, lips parting slightly. Sasha shushed her gently, sniffling.
"Don't try to talk, Chloe." Sasha said sternly. She didn't want her to waste what strength she had left. "Save your energy. You're gonna be fine, I'll get the first aid kit and I'll-I'll f-fix, fix you." Chloe just gave her a dazed smile, not seemingly hearing a word Sasha had uttered. Sasha sighed heavily, exhaling the tears. She felt a finger run across the back of her hand, the touch faint and careful.
"You...you know what you need to do, darlin'. And that involves letting me go." Chloe's voice cracked and wavered in and out. She clenched her hand as a fresh wave of pain ran through her and Sasha couldn't help but wince. For someone who was dying, Chloe still had the grip of a bloody God. She wanted Chloe to know that everything was okay between them. That their spat was healed. Chloe knew she was dying. And her wish would be allowed; Chloe wanted to die and Sasha knew, even if she tried to save her now, it would be futile. It was far too late now. Chloe's shoulders shook as she tried to suck in a breath.
"Chloe-"
"Do what- do what is right. Like you always do, Sasha." Sasha let out a throaty whine.
"No!" Sasha spluttered, her emotions making her head spin. "Please-please don't leave me. I-I don't wanna be alone. Not again." "You're n-never alone, idiot." She muttered. Sasha strained to hear her beautiful and musical voice. "I love you." Sasha's lips twitched and she felt the hot tears spill and run down her cheeks. A gurgling noise broke the silence and Sasha clutched onto her tighter, as if the action would stop the choking. She held her tightly to her chest, as tightly as she could. Clinging to the last bit of life Chloe had left. Chloe's voice trailed off, voice dying in her throat. Her hand tightened in Sasha's, her mortality slapping her in the face; Chloe looked afraid. For once in her life, she looked terrified.

The gurgling died down after a failed attempted to breathe; the breath choked and Chloe struggled violently to stay alive. But, she went limp. Panicked, Sasha looked back into Chloe's eyes and saw the light fade from them; until they were devoid of the life she came to know. Came to love. She watched the red aura in horror, heart slamming against her ribs even harder. It flickered. One last time, before fizzling out. It vanished before her wide eyes. Sasha felt her heart break. Her lips parted in a silent scream, every glass shattering, spraying shards everywhere. Sasha felt someone behind her and she whipped round and aimed Chloe's gun, pulling it free from her waist band. John gave her a wide-eyed stare, moving forward and taking the gun from her bloodied hands. She let out a sob and Constantine tossed the weapon away, pulling Sasha into his arms. Wheezy sobs broke the quiet and he shushed her softly, awkwardly ran his hand through her tousled hair. He muttered soothing words and eventually covered her face with his hand, burying it into his shoulder; forcing her to tear her gaze from Chloe's lifeless body. It was all her fault. Her fault, everything was always her-

***

A crack of thunder was the thing that startled Sasha the most, her legs kicked the sweat-soaked sheets from her skin. The gasp wracked up out of lungs, the force of it making her chest ache. Sasha was well aware of the name on her lips; pretty much the first syllable of Chloe. Sasha panted to herself, feeling her whole body vibrating with shock, with fear. A wild sense of panic ran through her, making her phantom heartbeat kick into high gear. It almost made Sasha feral. She felt her nerve endings come to life with every urge to get up and run. She didn't know if she'd been dreaming about the past of if Chloe was still lying dead in her living room, posed in a taunting manner by the organisation Sasha had once been a part of. Sasha let out a soft whimper, throat croaky and sore; she felt like she'd swallowed gravel. Had she screamed out in her sleep?

Her bearings were lost and she flicked her slate grey eyes all over the bedroom; but all she could see was darkness. Blackness. Her eyes had not adjusted properly yet; Sasha didn't want to admit it frightened her. Sasha kicked her legs again, the rest of the blanket flying off. Her hands clapped together loudly, the noise echoing.
"Lumina." She hissed. Nothing happened. "Lumina!" Clapping her hands together once more, the lamps flickered into life, lighting up the reasonably sized bedroom. The light may have been dim, but it blinded Sasha for a second, forced her to squint when it illuminated the dark room. A figure next to her made her ready to leap out of bed and scream bloody murder; she was wired enough to do so. But, Sasha thought logically and turned her head to look. The figure mumbled sleepily at the light that pooled over the bed sheet, stirring softly. All the tension drained from Sasha when she realised it was only Constantine. There was no need for her hysterics; her panic. It was nothing but a distant memory that had come out to haunt her once more.

It had been three years since Chloe died. It took one helluva lot of time, but Sasha moved on. Painfully so. Everything around her reminded her of Chloe. But, despite how her time in New York came to an end, Constantine was there through it all. He followed after her when she left that bloody city. Sasha had given him the choice the night she had left; he could either stay in New York City and forget about her. Or he could come with her and work on their friendship considering he almost ruined it. He didn't make his mind up and so, Sasha left. But, a year later, he showed up. On her doorstep, of all bloody places. Sasha smiled gently to herself, running a slender hand over his shirted chest, feeling the material under her fingers. His heartbeat. Sasha began to settle down and sighed softly to herself. She didn't want to wake John up over something ridiculous. It was only a stupid dream. That's all it was. That's all it ever was; when it crawled out of the darkest parts of her broken mind. It was just a dream. Nothing more than a distorted memory of the woman she had once loved. The woman she had lost. Sasha adjusted her position and lay back down, snuggling into his side, feeling the heat radiating from him; the scent of cigarettes and soap grounded her back into reality. She hugged him as tightly as she could, feeling herself calming. Truly, Sasha should loathe this man.

A few days after Chloe died, he threw her from a two-storey building. He wanted Sasha to die. He was trying to save her, ultimately. Constantine knew what she would become; Serenity came out and brought her back to the land of the living, but the trauma came with it. The trauma remained. But, when he showed up in Star City, right outside her apartment...Sasha couldn't bring herself to slam the door. She couldn't force herself to forget about him. The fun they had; with and without Chloe. So, Sasha let him in. And that was the beginning of something strangely beautiful. Sasha felt the man shift, felt herself be pulled tighter against his side. With her powers, she knew the action was unconscious; Constantine was still sound asleep. His side was warm and comforting; his aura reeked of peace. Something the two had chased, something they had longed for; together and apart. The feeling of safety was the thing that lulled her back into a dreamless, but serene sleep. By the side of the person she had grown to love. The past was the past. Chloe was gone; there was no magic to change that. No Latin words to heal the pain of the loss. But, here? Right now?

There was no place Sasha would rather be.

Chapter Text

Everything was beginning to settle down, much to Elia's gratitude. Things had began to get rowdy as the evening progressed and now they were starting to settle into a drunken quiet, bliss; well, as quiet as they could be. They'd been more than happy to help Elia celebrate her birthday, even though Elia was adamant to not get involved. The half-angel didn't see the point in her birthday anymore; considering she was as dead as a door-nail and didn't age. Not anymore, anyway. The aging process came to a total halt the day she died. But, the rest of the team were hellbent on making her have a good day and Elia really didn't have a say in the matter. Sara, Mick and Rip were pretty much passed out in various parts of the Waverider; which Elia found more than amusing.
"We're pretty good at handling our alcohol," Sara had told her as she watched Elia make a few shots.
"Yeah, well this is designed to knock an angel out, Lancelot," Elia had practically crooned, a devious smirk pasting itself across her lips. "It'll put you down, too." And that it bloody did. Elia's bar was the Infernum. And her infamous "Hell's Fury" shot was a big hit, a best seller; and a total knockout to any mortal who drank it. Sara, Mick and Rip thought they had a chance. It was a risk they miscalculated and now they were sleeping it off. They'd regret it in the morning, Elia knew that much for sure. But, man, it would be hilarious to watch those three drag themselves along for a few hours. Her shot was designed for angels to get buzzed; and mortals to get smashed.

But, despite laughing mercilessly as the three fell about the ship, she was exhausted; her social interaction had been worn out for the day and she just wanted to go back to her apartment and chill out. Watch a few shows. Check if she had any cases to complete; to solve. It'd give her time to herself and time to recharge the fucks she gave about people. Elia just wanted some peace and quiet now after dealing with the rest of the uproarious Legends; she'd been dealing with them for most of the bloody day. All she wanted now was a break. Elia stood up from her seat in the galley and stretched. The sober and mostly-coherent members of the team glanced at her nonchalantly. Elia threw them all a faint smile. God, she was overjoyed to have a family to spend the day with. Zari stood up with her and put her sleek violin down. Elia opened her arms and pulled her friend into a warm, swift hug.
"Thank you," she pulled away and beamed at Ray and the others. "All of you. You made this day bearable." Ray hummed and nodded his head.
"No thanks needed, angel. Where are you going?" He asked, leaning back in his chair, wrapping his hands around his plain black mug.
"Just home. I'll be back in the morning, don't worry, Palmtree." Ray snorted and rolled his eyes; the nickname didn't bother him, she would sense it if it did. He was just being as playful as Elia herself. Elia winked at him and teleported into the forever-busy New York City; about seven blocks from her apartment. Elia decided to get some fresh air for once and just walk for a little instead of just teleporting everywhere all of the time. It was a nice night; traffic lit up the city, the streets and roads damp. It must have been raining; puddles glittered in the shine of car headlights and the lights of the Big Apple itself. Elia zipped her leather jacket up to the throat, even though she couldn't feel the chill in the air and smiled to herself, walking towards her home.

***

Now Elia had some time to herself, she could begin to think things over; especially now she didn't have any noise to keep interrupting her train of thought. She needed some time to think. About things. The day's events. The laughter. The genuine happiness she felt in her heart; felt radiating around her entire being. It was something she hadn't felt in a long, long time. Elia never really expected to celebrate her birthday again. Jeanné's death really put a wrench in those plans. She hadn't truly celebrated a birthday since she was ten years old. She was always too busy to celebrate anything with Father Hawson, the man who took over in raising her after Jeanné died. Elia was always too busy adapting her skill in her magic use and doing all of the school work she was assigned. And as she got older, the half-angel was getting more and more desperate to kill the fucking thing that took everything away from her. She knew that was the thing that fucked her up so badly; losing Jeanné was hard enough, but Faith and Father Thomas was pushing it too far.

It made her lament all of the little things. The fact she always turned down opportunities to spend time with the man, the fact she could get so angry at him over petty things. She hoped, prayed, that wherever his soul was resting now, he was at peace. She hoped to God that he could forgive her for all of the mistakes she had made, all of the pent up anger she threw at him. All Elia wanted was to stop the tragedy from eating her alive. It didn't work; it never bloody well worked. It continued rip her world apart mercilessly, piece by piece, until it finally chose to end her. After everything, Elia was alone. And she died alone. She spent years before and after isolated. Yeah, the half-angel had Danni for most of it, but they lost touch after finishing university. Elia was coping with all of the grief and rage that she had carried on her shoulders for years alone. And when her demise finally came to pass, she accepted it. She greeted death like an old friend. There wasn't much point in living anymore; at least, she didn't see one. Of course, she was still terrified of dying; everyone, truly, is afraid of death. And it did instill a strong fear into her. Falling fifteen stories would do that to anyone, not just her. And even after she resurrected on that icy cold metal slab, Elia was still alone. In the asylum, she was alone. After Constantine, she was alone. Elia hadn't had a proper birthday since she was bloody ten years old.

But, to be fair, everything really changed when Jeanné died. Elia was forced to grow up; her childhood had ended there and then. Her innocence had been stolen. Not only did she lose her mentor, but she lost a friend, a guardian; a mother. Elia would never belong anywhere. Heaven hated everything about her and spat her name around like they had a dirty taste in their mouths and she was far too celestial for Earth; the mortals would never truly understand what she was and where she came from. Elia didn't know where she belonged in this mess of a world; this overly complicated puzzle. It was like her purpose was to drift from place to place, be the ghost she never got to be, and that was simply that. It was her purpose to remain on the run from the thing that had taken everything away; Jeanné, Faith, Father Hawson. Everyone she ever loved was gone because of that fucking thing. But, her fear was always driven back by her twisted sense of determination. That bastard may have broken the human Elia, but it would never get to touch her and anyone she loved again; not now. She'd kill the thing before it even raised a hand to strike; opened its filthy mouth to whisper. It was sick, cruel. But, Elia's urge for its demise was her driving force. It may have been evil, but Elia can show evil. She could also be malicious and inhumane. As the saying went; it takes two to tango. She would catch it eventually. Elia would do anything in her power to end it. Murder was never a problem for Elia, back then. That hadn't changed.

***

But, when she got involved with the Legends, things changed. They were a bunch of misfits, a mix of heroes and criminals, dorks and badasses. Overall, they were a team. A family. She finally had a place to call home, a family to call her own and a life that was starting to brighten with every passing day. She wiped her teary eyes, vision blurred. She didn't know what she was feeling. Happiness for the things she valued and now had, but weeping for the things she had lost on the way. Flattening her jacket and sniffing, she cleared her throat. Now was not the time for regrets. It was just time to relax and have a break. That was all. Elia opened the door to the apartment blocks and started to make her way up the stairs.

Her stormy thoughts had settled back down to the quiet seas she needed once she reached the twelfth floor. She chuckled to herself faintly, trying to brighten her mind herself. A part of her liked the way she is; it meant she could pretty much run up and down these floors and never tire out. Perks of being dead, she guessed; no breathing nessacary. Her keys jangled with a soft noise as she pulled them from her pocket and slipped one in the lock, turning it and opening the pale white door with ease. First thing she noticed was the apartment was dimly lit; there was light coming from somewhere. Confusion hit her like a train. She hadn't been home in a few days, and Elia was confident she hadn't left any lights on. And they weren't automatic, either. But... the door was locked. Elia's phantom heartbeat started going, fear rising within her. What if her killer her found out she was still "alive" and came to finish the job? What if he was here? Elia nearly snorted, cursing the fear. That moron wouldn't stand a chance now. She'd beat his arse from here to the Waverider. Elia rested her other hand over her sleeved wrist, feeling the shape of her blade under the leather. If he was here, Elia was more than ready to end his pitiful existence, just like he ended hers, those years ago. Her confusion and fear melted into a sense of alertness; every single one of her senses were peaked. She could hear music playing; a slow style pop song. The aroma of lavender hung low in the air; but it wasn't too strong to be potent and overbearing.

Fairy lights hung everywhere and Elia was bewildered all over again. She definitely didn't leave those things up. They sparkled in the dimness, and formed a trail of sorts. Elia, despite her thoughts, decided to follow. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her now. It couldn't be her killer. But, even though she knew it wasn't, Elia kept her guard up. She never knew the first time it happened. The music got a little bit louder, but it must have been playing on a low volume; even now, as she was getting closer to the source of the sound, it was still far too faint to comprehend what it was. Elia pushed the living room door open and looked up from the fairy lights, seeing a figure out of the corner of her eye. Luckily, her eyes registered it faster than her hand did, as she was more than ready to throw her blade. It was only bloody Nate. As soon as he noticed she'd arrived, he beamed her, face lighting up. Elia settled, relaxing and sighing softly. She'd forgotten she'd given him a spare key. He rubbed his hands together and Elia took her jacket off, putting it over the back of the sofa, giving Nate a look that was full of admiration. He was always such a dork.
"Elia, hey," He greeted her with bouncy enthusiasm. He pulled a red velvet box from his blazer pocket and held it out for her, going shy. "Here... I got you something." Elia frowned gently and took the small box from his hands, running her index finger across the smooth material. She opened it carefully.

Inside was a golden Cross necklace; it glinted in the soft lights that were hung up everywhere and looked exactly like the one she'd lost. The one that Jeanné had given her.
"I know how much you loved that necklace," Nate continued speaking, seeing her stunned expression. "And how upset you were when you lost it. So... I, er, took one of your photos and had an exact copy made. I-I know it's not the same but-" Elia pressed a kiss to his cheek and silenced his rambling. She slipped the necklace on and blinked the joyful tears from her eyes. He went out of his way to get her a new necklace and that was all. It was a sweet and kindhearted gesture.
"Thank you, Tin-Man," Elia muttered, cheeks hot. "It means one helluva lot." Nate relaxed and grinned, sticking a hand out for her to take.
"Care to dance, angel?" The two stared at each other for a few seconds before Elia nodded and slipped her hand in his. He rested his other hand on her waist and just swayed with her in between his arms. Elia placed her head against his shoulder and smiled daintily. This had to be the best birthday ever.

And she was bloody well glad she had a crazy family and a loving boyfriend to spend it with.

Chapter Text

Silence. That's all that filled the acrid air of the shabby New York apartment, hidden in the dirtier, lesser known parts of the city. New York wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Sure, the city was stunning. It was skyscrapers and bars. People and places. But...it wasn't perfect. In the scummier parts, it was decrepit and rundown. It was murder and hookers. It was violence and filth. Sasha grumbled to herself, flopping over the arm of the sofa, maneuvering past the filthy mugs and plates to do so. The apartment in itself was reasonably tidy, discounting the cups that were dotted around on the worn beige carpet. It wasn't too bad. Sure, it was little cluttered and knackered and run down. The landlady was a merciless old bitch, but it was...well, it was a damn house. Despite the plates that littered the scratched glass coffee table and carpet, the living area of the apartment was actually quite clean and tidy. Sasha stared at the flaking paint of the ceiling, midnight blue eyes narrowed.

The silence was bothering her. She was used to it, but that wasn't the point. Sasha hated it so much. She preferred some sort of sound. Someone to talk to. People to annoy. But, she was alone. The living room reeked of stale smoke, and even though the windows were wide open to let the fresh air in, the scent wouldn't budge. Tires squealed and horns blared as the traffic moved swiftly through the gridlocked streets. Sasha exhaled again and kicked her legs, feeling the air shift as she did so. Her arms rested behind her, cushioning her head, the strands of silky hair slipping through the gaps of her fingers. A rusty spring was digging into the base of her spine and Sasha knew she was playing a dangerous game; either staying still or getting prodded with sharp metal. She would see what new sofas would suit the apartment after Chloe returned. For now, the stinging pain she received as punishment for her movements would have to suffice. Boredom pulsed through her as she craned her head back to look out of the window. The sunlight that came through the glass shone into her eyes, forcing her to squint, casting shadows under her defined cheekbones. She lifted her phone and twisted her head awkwardly to avoid the sun's blinding rays. The screen was covered in cracks that reminded the woman of spiderwebs and her eyes skimmed the message pasted across it once again. She'd lost count of how many times she'd read it. Her eyes adjusted back to the duller lighting of the room and she felt her sigh whistle past her teeth. Chloe was still drunk. The text was still painted across her screen, the black font vivid against the amber background she'd chosen for Constantine's chat.
"If you're still worrying your tits off about where your lass is, relax. She's here at my apartment. Looks like she's been dragged through a bloody hedge backwards. I'll bring her round tomorrow afternoon, considering I'm working a case. She should have bloody recovered by then. Currently, luv, she's passed out on my sofa." Yup; Chloe was still smashed. And it irritated her greatly. Chloe had been spending more time at the local pub than she had been with Sasha. Without Chloe, Sasha had ran out of things to do; and that was leading to her boredom. She'd been trying to do things for days, weeks. And...she'd started to run out. It was driving her up the wall.

***

God, Sasha missed her place in the Navy. She missed the bonds that were formed, the training she was put through (she was used to so much worse). She missed the excitement waking up in the morning brought her. She missed the integrality she felt. It was so much safer than the Court was; and plus, they didn't beat everyone who did something wrong. Now, she had been honourably discharged due to her PTSD and intensive scarring, it felt...different. Sasha didn't have to wake up early in the morning anymore, she didn't have to complete the duties that were assigned to her. She missed seeing the people she hung around with every day, the people she befriended with ease. It felt strange and Sasha hated it. She hadn't gotten used to the silence just yet; considering it had only been a few weeks since. Now, Sasha was lounging around, thinking, her brow furrowed with her thoughts. She kept some of the things she'd learned while with the Navy; she already knew how to fight. The Court of Owls taught her that much. But, Sasha felt...useless now. Of course, she could continue practicing her skills, honing them. She went to the gym downtown three times a week. That didn't fill the emptiness she felt in her chest; the hole in her heart. Sasha tried her best to live the way Chloe lived; except without the debilitating alcoholism. She tried to live a normal life, the way other people did.

Sasha sighed and turned her head, catching sight of her laptop resting on the coffee table. It was a matte black, the plastic scraped and battered. It probably needed replacing. Probably on its last legs. With a soft frown, she pushed herself up and reached over to grab it. She got a thought.
"Maybe...maybe I don't have to live like that." She muttered to herself. It was no lie that Sasha wanted to be better. Sasha wanted to fight crime. She wanted to atone for the wrongs she'd committed while under the Owls' control. She wanted to use the things she'd learned over the years for good instead of evil. She planted her laptop on her knee and opened it, sitting at full attention. A cruel look of delight crossed her features as it booted up. With skill and precision, she accessed her Internet, delving into the darkest parts; not like anyone would catch her. Sasha wasn't stupid.
"Ah, hello Dark Web, my old friend." Sasha grinned as she typed away, fingers flying over the keys. "It's showtime."

***

Sunlight streamed through the gap in the closed curtains, glinting in the puddle of scarlet that hadn't yet dried; hadn't yet sunken into the material. The living room was still in order; somewhat. The small TV set had almost been knocked over, being perched perilously on the edge of its wooden stand. The glass table was damaged, a large crack running through it and a blood spatter painted across it. The sofa had been flipped onto its back, ripped in places, the pale white cotton popping out of the sides, leaking out of the material and onto the floor. The room was still in decent shape, despite a few things being knocked over, cracked or fully broken. Sasha pushed her ponytail away, so that it fell down her back and not over her shoulder, cackling as she launched another blade at the hit-man she'd hired. He was dressed in a plain black suit; Gucci, it seemed. Who in their right mind would wear an expensive suit to a hit? It was stupidly impractical. Now, it was smeared with blood, ripped and dirty. The woman couldn't relate. Sasha would never.

His blonde hair was messy and short. Dried blood coated his temple and his amber eyes could barely focus on anything. He was an excellent fighter, but not like Sasha. Most of the damage that littered the room was his. He'd been flipped, thrown, punched and kicked. All of his attacks were swings and misses. The blade whumped into his shoulder. With Sasha's aim and proficiency, she knew it would have shattered his clavicle on impact. A bellow tore its way out of his throat, before he wobbled and dropped to one knee, disorientated. Bony hand wrapping around the knife, he took a deep breath before yanking it free from his skin. Blood spattered from the shiny metal of the blade, covering the carpet once again. Without a hesitation, barely moving an inch, Sasha twisted and avoided the knife after he threw it at her. She heard it collide with the wall behind her, bouncing off the wallpaper and clattering to the carpet with a soft thump. She flicked her blue eyes up to the man, sighing tiredly.
"That...was pathetic." She hummed, watching him give her a hesitant look. "I'll give it to you, though. You're a clever little bastard, aren't ya? Probably gave you a shock when I kicked your ass. Still, I'm bored. We're done." She pulled her Beretta from the back of her skinny black jeans and cocked it simply. It clicked in his mind what was about to happen; his eyes widened, revealing the flecks of copper around the irises. She didn't even give him a chance to beg for mercy. Pulling the trigger, it hissed and his head whipped back in a spray of brain matter and blood, coating the back wall and floor. His eyes rolled back for a millisecond before his body hit the floor with a lifeless and heavy thud. Sasha sighed again, rolling her eyes as she lazily unscrewed her silencer, tossing it onto the table.
"That's five down." She mumbled to herself, taking note of it on a piece of paper that was near her. A door opening and footsteps caught her attention, and she lifted her head.
"What the fuck is this?"

Perking up, Sasha nearly pulled the trigger, not giving a single shit that the silencer was off and lying a few feet away. Realizing who it was, letting out a breath and put her gun down, scoffing out loudly.
"Fuckin' hell, Chloe, I nearly blew your face off." Sasha exhaled out her surprise, rolling her shoulders stiffly. Constantine peeked over Chloe's broad shoulder, looking at the dead man lying on the carpet. A mixed look of dismay and revulsion crossed his features, dark eyes pinched with the emotion. Chloe didn't seem to mind it. She was dressed in a thigh high white dress that hugged her curves perfectly, her wavy blonde hair brushed over one shoulder. Her shiny black heels were in hand, leather jacket slung over her shoulder carelessly. Her tatty white trainers made a noise as she rocked back, observing the mess. Chloe didn't seem to be fazed by it; she'd seen this sort of crime scene before. Usually, before they escaped, she'd be the one to have caused it...but, that was besides the point. John, on the other hand, was seemingly horrified. Then again, it was likely he had never seen the inside of the a man's skull. At least, not a human man. Sasha shrugged plainly, putting her gun down and wiping her hands down her pants. Every time Chloe had planned a night out, Sasha would delve into the Dark Web two days before and hire a hit. On herself. And request they bring the money she paid. And then steal it back after she killed them. Not only was it good practice and kept her entertained, but it meant she was cleaning some filth up. And every time Chloe returned, the apartment would be pristine and the body gone.

This time...Chloe was home earlier than planned. And she looked irritated.
"What-" she took a breath and gestured wildly with her free hand, for emphasis. "What the fuck is this?" Play it cool, Sasha.
"Oh, hey babe, you're home...early."
"What the fuck are you doing?" Sasha looked at the corpse staining her carpet. She smiled sweetly and clasped her bruised hands.
"This? Oh, he was just target practice." Chloe managed to usher an astounded Constantine out and closed the door in his face. He knew she'd call him later. Chloe waited until she heard him walk away before exhaling, the noise hissing through her clenched teeth. Tossing her shoes and coat casually, she moved to tie her messy hair back. Without a sound, she moved to press a kiss to Sasha's cheek, smirking when the ex-assassin flushed scarlet.
"You're lucky we're re-decorating, anyway." Chloe crouched and dusted her hands off. "You're annoying, though." The two grinned at each other and Chloe shifted to straighten the overturned sofa. Chloe grunted, lifting the chair as Sasha snorted playfully and started prepping the body for dumping.
"But, you love me."
"Doesn't make you any less annoying, sweetcheeks."

Chapter Text

"You're a bloody dead man!"
Breaking point. Oliver pretty much hid away when he heard Sasha's heels clicking down the hallway; even the echo of her walk sounding ominous. Sasha had kicked off one of her expensive heels and launched it directly at John's head. He ducked to avoid it, it making a thudding noise as it smacked into the wall. She's at her breaking point.Her pale face had gone rigid, jaw clamped so tightly it looked like it was wired shut. Oliver could practically hear her teeth grinding together. Her knuckles were whiter than her skin, and Oliver's alert gaze caught the blood snaking down her fingers, a drop cascading across the floor as it fell from her skin. She had clenched her fists so hard, her nails had cut into her palms. The bitterness that hung in the air was thicker than honey; sharper and more potent than acid. Blood had slowly crept into her face, Sasha doing her best to extinguish that growing rage. Oliver didn't know who she was more annoyed with; him or John. Then again, she did throw her shoe at him, so it was probably Constantine. Her black suit was wrinkled, her ear piece dangling down her back. Sasha had left a client to deal with whatever John had done. Not a wise move on her part, but damn. She was pissed. John threw her an egotistical smirk and Sasha's eyes turned to slits as she snapped.
"Give me my fucking locket, you son of a bitch." Sasha's voice frightened Oliver. Her tone was impersonal and had a vicious lilt to it. She wasn't even yelling out her anger; she'd gotten past that point.
"What locket?" He answered smoothly. This only fueled Sasha further; like John had just poured gasoline on an already raging fire. Her fists tightened. Oliver heard something crack and Felicity retreated and hid behind him when every light bulb imploded. Glass rained down on all four of them, Felicity yelping in surprise. Oliver shielded her with his arms, feeling the blonde strands of hair under his palms. Sasha's eyes glowed a flaming shade of green. Sasha had lost her temper and her magic had destabilized. The hatefulness had set off her inner angel; it engulfed the original Sasha, burned through her morality and made no use of her passionate loyalty.

"Sasha, come on, luv." John's voice cut through the terrified silence. Oliver glanced at his bow; he had a specially designed arrow he could use to take Sasha out. John glared at him, as if reading his internal thoughts. Oliver didn't have the heart, anyway. She was an ally; a friend. Constantine pushed her so hard and so damn far that Sasha lost all sense of control. It just invited her second personality to come out and play. Oliver chewed on his lip and caught John's eye again.
"Don't even bother." Constantine hissed through his teeth, voice a dangerously low tone. He then returned his attention to Sasha, who was now several feet off of the ground, wings flaring up. He put his hand out tentatively, ready to draw it back in case she snapped every bone in his arm. Her green eyes blared brighter. John retracted his hand and exhaled.
"Sasha... let it go." Her brow puckered. It was like she could hear him. A gasp ripped from her lips and she dropped like a bag of shit. John lunged forward and Oliver heard the impact of her body colliding with his. For a second, Oliver thought Sasha was out of it, but he heard her breathing shudder. She blinked sluggishly a few times, the final wisps of emerald leaving her eyes. John moved to touch her cheek, but she whipped out with newfound energy and batted his hand away.
"Get your bastard hands off me." She seethed. John let go of her and retreated a few feet.

Oliver knew the two hated each other, to a certain degree. But he never realised it was this bad. Sasha steamed with pure hate for the other man. Oliver could see she didn't want to hate him, but John had a habit of taking things of hers; hiding her guns, her books. And he let her die, but they don't talk about that. That was a time Sasha would rather forget; and so, it meant paying no heed to the fact Constantine didn't save her life, even though he had the chance. Oliver knew that upset Sasha more than she cared to let on. She had her whole life destroyed by one action. John may have been doing her a favour, but the trauma she went through... The nightmares of something faintly remembered; the flashbacks to something she barely remembered.The way she would go still and her hands would tremble. The way dread would ignite in her eyes, like embers to a dying flame. Oliver disliked the way she would sit and stare at a wall for hours, eyes empty; devoid of any emotion. He could never tell if she was thinking about the things she could never have or was lost in her head-seeing the ghosts of those she had lost; those who she left behind. Oliver tugged on Felicity's arms, seeing the way John was looking at Sasha as she moved back, still sat down, hands knotted in her tousled blonde hair. Felicity understood and straightened, flattening her dress with her hands. Oliver crept out of the room, pulling her with him. He hoped the two would sort their issues before Sasha flipped her shit again.

***

Sasha had said nothing for over twenty-five minutes. She had nothing to say. She had lost control; nearly unleashed her side bitch of a personality. Sasha could feel John staring at her, but she didn't want to look back. The look of exasperation on his face would just make her lose it again. The anger was still blinding her. She didn't want to end up saying something she would regret. A sound caught her attention, but Sasha didn't bother looking up. Her hair shifted and she stiffened, digging her nails into her kneecaps. Something cold rested around her neck and she frowned in confusion, moving her hand to touch it. It was metal; a chain of some sort. She pulled at it and realised it was her locket. It caught the light, the golden metal shimmering. Sasha huffed and shoved it behind her white dress shirt, feeling the need to unbutton her blazer. The metal was cool against her warm skin. John watched with thoughtful eyes. Her heartless fury was troubling; it was spiteful and powerful. He never worried about her frequent outbursts; he liked winding her up to the point she barked at him. No, he never cared about those ones. It was these potent mood swings. They threatened burning down their entire relationship.
"You do this every god damn time, Constantine, and I can't take it anymore." Sasha's voice had settled, but she could still feel that tornado of poison brewing somewhere inside. John didn't say anything.
"I'm sorry." John Constantine? Sorry? That was something he could never feel; even if it slapped him in the face
"Sorry doesn't bloody cut it." She spat, rancour lacing her tone. "This is my locket. It has powerful magic in it. Without it, I'm at risk to every demon in town." John seemed to look ashamed when she told him that, fiddling with the sleeve of his unkempt trench coat. Sasha went to turn back to her position facing the wall, but Constantine moved first. In the next instant, he had slammed his lips to hers and nearly knocked all the wind from her lungs.

She's taken straight back to the night she left New York. The years before she realised he was the reason she became an angel, before she finally took notice of how toxic he could be. The night Chas dropped her off and the city sparkled in the night; pleasing and bright. Sasha liked John; understandable, really. She was alone and unguarded, still reeling from Chloe's death. Constantine was there to guide her and her battered heart picked him, even if he didn't feel the same way. Sasha needed to leave him; needed to leave in general. It was the best for her survival. The Court would find her if she stayed in that godforsaken city. In that moment, John stood with his hands shoved in his trouser pockets, the lights blindingly bright behind him. Sasha realised she didn't want to be alone again.
"I'll see you around, angel." He had remarked, a look of yearning hanging low in his eyes. She looked back, vision blurred with tears, stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. He didn't even hesitate to kiss back. He ran his hand through her long blonde hair, cradling her head as he tilted his, pulling her closer, arm looped around her waist. Chas had sat on the bonnet of his car, smirking like a cat who had gotten the cream. In that single moment, everything stopped. It was just her and that charming British bastard.
No demons. No Rising Darkness. No death. No suffering. Just them.

This time, it was different. John's lips were as chapped as ever and Sasha nearly kissed him back, reminded of the times when she was good and pure. Now, she was dirty and defiled. Nothing but broken glass and a shattered heart. But, she was slowly being repaired. By someone else. Sasha jerked back, hearing John's sharp intake of breath as she did so.
"I'm married." Was the first thing to leave her lips. John shrugged. But, Sasha saw the instant pain flashing in his eyes; there were some things that could never be hidden. For a second, she felt sorry for him. All he needed was somebody to love him. To help heal his open wounds. That person couldn't be Sasha. Sasha had moved on with someone else; someone that wasn't him. If he decided to stick with her, back then, maybe things would have been different. Maybe she would have dated him and not Oliver. Maybe she would have married him and not Oliver. But, she can't go back in time; not that she would anyway. Her heart lay with Oliver Queen. And that's the way it would stay. She fixed him when he was broken and he started to fix her. John lit up a cigarette and walked off, not saying a word; probably going to lick his wounds in private. Drink away his broken heart. It was only until she stood up and dusted her suit off that she had realised.

Her wallet was gone.

Her face went red again and she clenched her fists.
"CONSTANTINE!" Her voice echoed throughout the base; and once again, her heels could be heard clicking down the hall.

Chapter Text

Horns blared as traffic finally started moving again. New York City was always bloody busy; Elia knew that incredibly well. She had been in it and around it long enough to know that it could get gridlocked pretty easily; even people walking the pathways could get rather dreadful. It was always crowded. She was thankful she was quite a patient person; otherwise, she'd have fly kicked every single person who had the audacity to be a slow walker by now. Elia bloody hated them. Elia watched out of the window nonchalantly, watching things slowly blur as the car began to pick up speed; again. The half-angel sighed to herself faintly and returned her forest green eyes to the plain white notepad in her slender hands. She flicked it open and ran her fingers across the smooth paper, the black ink vivid against the white of the paper. The address written tidily in the notepad was where they were all heading. Elia wanted to do it alone. It would have been done faster; it would have been much easier. She'd have space to breathe and avoid all of the staring, the looks. Things hadn't been right since she came clean about that harrowing vision that had haunted her since she was a child. The same bloody thing, over and over. The one where someone who looked exactly like her stood over a wrecked, flaming city. Laughing at the flames that reflected in her green eyes, the eyes that were devoid of the love she once held for humanity. Laughing like a complete fucking nutcase as everything she once loved burned to ashes. Elia could never fully believe that it was her. She was pretty much designed, destined, to save the world. She wasn't referred to as "The Last Guardian" for bloody nothing. She was there to save the world. She would save the place she called home. Not fucking destroy it.

But, despite that, the others seemed to believe the vision more than their friend. Everything had been nothing but tense since she told them everything. Elia trusted them enough to understand. Trusted them enough to let them in the dark hole she had for a mind. Trusted them enough to see her fears; her thoughts about the vision itself. How it couldn't be fact. And yet, she was left. Abandoned. When she needed them to truly understand her and what she was, what she knew she would never become, they distanced themselves. They were nothing but fucking distrustful. They didn't understand; Elia needed them to. But, fucking no. It never went the way Elia wanted it to. Even now, the tension was still bloody high; Elia could sense it hanging low in the air. It was giving her a headache. Zed had been careful around her. Not as talkative. Elia hated it more than anything. Zed was supposed to be her best friend, and it was starting to feel like telling her the truth had put a wedge between them. John wasn't speaking to her at all; only when he had to. She couldn't sense anything from him, at all, whenever his gaze met hers. And that hurt her more than she wanted to let on. She didn't know why. It just... did. The person who hadn't changed the way they behaved and was there for her, was Chas. He seemed to completely understand her fears and decided to not push her away. He didn't decide to be a complete wanker. He chose to not step back or leave her alone to deal with the stress. He chose to stand by her. And, Elia loved him for that. He was the big brother she never had. She valued him for his friendship. His loyalty. Elia closed off her thoughts, numbing herself to them. Enough of that or she'd have a breakdown. She could sense her magic pulsing. That meant she was close to losing it and Elia couldn't have that. Not now. Not ever.

***

A few more minutes of driving and the city faded into suburbs. The appalling silence was getting to her now, but she heard Chas hum. He pulled up to the address, the car bumping softly when he mounted the kerb. Elia turned, looked out of the window and observed the house in front of her. Elia let out a sound of satisfaction, gazing at the house in wonder. The house was unrepentant with how modern it was. It looked like it had just been finished off; like work had been completed mere days ago. Everything about it was new and shiny; and bloody expensive. It was clearly built on an audacious budget. The lawn was a faded green colour, but the grass still looked healthy. Elia opened the car door, the metal creaking, and stepped out. She adjusted the sleeve of her black leather jacket and leaned on the cold metal, still observing the house. In Elia's opinion, it was majestic and pretty; but it did seem like they were on one hell of a rich estate. The area was probably filled with pompous bastards who just had money to throw around like fucking confetti. Every single house coming up to this one looked modern and built with the newest materials on the block; or the most expensive. Whichever it was, Elia couldn't lie, it looked damn good. Multicoloured flowers grew in potted plants and the in the large garden itself, stretching out for the bright rays of sunlight that fell upon them. They whirled vibrant pinks, yellows and reds. Whoever lived here really liked their gardening. But, Elia chose to admire it; a lot of work had been put into this house and its garden. Elia's attention was caught by the curtain twitching in one of the large windows; the living room, she assumed. The movement was light, faint, but she saw it. Anyone else would have missed it, but Elia wasn't like most people. Her senses were practically honed to perfection now that she was back to her original form. She saw that curtain moving, no matter how brief. There was someone home. They couldn't hide from the group now, even if they wanted to.
"Someone's home." Elia commented, tossing her notepad into the car and moving, slamming the door with a single, fluid movement.

The half-angel didn't bother waiting for the others and ran a hand through her long, snow white hair, making her way through the dark wood of the gate. The scent of the flowers greeted her and Elia allowed a gentle smile to grace her features. It was full of fuchsias and roses. Lavender. Orchids. Sunflowers. Elia could pinpoint each flower individually just by the scent in the air; no matter how mixed up they were, how they pretty much formed into a great big flowery aroma. She was halfway up the garden's cool grey pathway when the painted white door swung open. It made her jump a little as she looked up, eyes wide. A man stood in the doorway, his back straight. He towered over Elia, even on the porch, at least six feet. His short ginger hair caught the light when he turned his head, his gaze locking onto her. Freckles were dotted across his pale skin, reminding Elia of constellations as she noticed how they were all over his nose and cheeks. His green eyes glittered and Elia felt a chill run down her spine. They reminded her of her own. He was dressed in some simple black pants and a white dress shirt that was pressed just so. Elia estimated, just by looking at him, he was in his late thirties. He looked down briefly to adjust the cuff of his sleeve before returning his gaze to the half-angel, his eyes filled with serenity.
"Ah, Elia." He piped up. His voice had a gentle edge to it. A calmed lull. The thick New York accent sounded strange to her. More like the fact he knew her fucking name. "I see you've arrived. Must say, earlier than I expected. Please, all of you. Do come in." She realised, then. It hit her like a train and caught her off guard; knocked her off her game. She nearly tripped up the steps, but saved her own arse and played it off cool. Elia raised her eyebrows at the sharply dress man, perplexed. She had no idea who this man was; had never seen him in her life. Or spoken to him, for that matter. She hadn't really used her powers in this country, never mind New York; she usually helped the people in her apartment block, back in Galway. Ireland. How the hell did this guy know her name?

***

Inside was even more extravagant than the exterior; it oozed nothing but class and reeked of this man's wealth. The man pushed open the oak doors that lead to his living room and it swung open with ease; not even a creak ringing out from the hinges. The group entered and Elia felt a slight chill in the air; he seemed to have his air conditioning on. It didn't surprise the half-angel, it was a hot day. And, as a ginger, he'd probably fry. Light jazz drifted up from an old but stylish phonograph. Colourful children's blocks were cast onto the beige carpet in a haphazard fashion; Elia decided to make a mental note of it. He had a child. The pictures on the sleek raven black walls were of a man and a woman who had gorgeous azure eyes and long amber hair. His wife. She knew he was married when she saw the silver band around his ring finger. Zed planted herself on one of his large, chocolate leather sofas while Constantine chose to keep out of the way and leaned on the door frame. Chas chose to stand by Elia's side. He seemed to understand, click on, to her discomfort. The man knew her fucking name. Elia didn't see that coming. It was unexpected. He turned from an intricately painted teapot and smiled. Elia sensed no malevolence in it; no lie behind it.
"May I interest any of you in some tea?" He questioned politely. Elia shook her head. He nodded to himself and the aroma of lemon clouded her senses. He stirred a teaspoon in the white and blue china teacup before carefully picking it up and taking a sip. "I assume you and your friends are here about the demon you're looking for?" Elia's interest was peaked immediately. He knew her name and now this? How? Elia couldn't tell if he was psychic or not; she'd been observing him since he greeted her and nothing about him was giving anything away; he was a completely unreadable book. It was making her anxious. She could feel a ball of it in her chest and she rubbed her hands down her thighs to try and ease the stress. Elia was worried. If he knew her name and about the demon, he could know more about her. Maybe everything. What if he did know everything? What if he let something else slip? What if he talked about her past? About the things she wanted to forget? What if she lost the trust of everyone because of something she hadn't yet told them?

Elia was distracted from her panicked thoughts by the sense she received; it felt like Chas was staring at her; but she didn't dare look to see if he was or not. She realised that he was watching for her tics; the ones she did when she was uncomfortable, anxious. The rubbing her hands down her thighs, the fidgeting, the shifting from foot to foot. Elia had already given herself and her feelings away. Given away the fact her fear, her anxiety was about to eat her alive; swallow her whole. Fuck sake I am completely useless. Elia swallowed thickly and kept her eyes directed at the softly coloured carpet. Chas' arm brushed hers and he huffed.
"Knock it off, man," His voice was bitter and harsh, even to Elia's ears. "Just get on with it." Elia relaxed, leaning into the taller man. She finally lifted her eyes and he gave her a brotherly smile, nudging her gently with his elbow. He'd always have Elia's back; something Elia would be forever grateful for. If she ever needed someone, Chas was her go-to guy. He never seemed to abandon her when she needed someone. And Elia would always give that degree of kindness back. Not just because he was her friend. Not just because he always looked out for her. But because he was one damn good man with one big heart and he deserved it more than anyone.
The other man raised a hand in defeat and apology.
"Sorry," He cleared his throat, voice gentle. "I'm not used to my powers. But, to explain. I'm like you, Elia. A half-angel. My father- your grandfather- was an angel who was disgraced because he fell in love with a mortal woman." He downed his tea swiftly and smacked his lips together before placing the cup down and straightening in a proud manner. "My name is Issac Jones. I'm your uncle." Elia's jaw went slack. She managed to gather herself enough to blink in shock.
"I didn't know my dad had a brother." Elia responded, unable to keep the bewilderment out of her voice. Idris' eyes met hers. He radiated coolness; peace. He was completely collected.
"He didn't."

He was referring to her mother; her biological mother. Shock slammed into her. Her lips parted and she stared at Issac, trying to work out if he was lying. But his aura told her nothing but the truth. He was being honest. He was not lying. He was her uncle. He knew her mother. He pretty much fucking grew up with her. Elia had been looking for her real mother for years. Long after Jeanné died. She put so much time and effort into trying to find someone, anyone, who was actual family. After Jeanné died, Elia spent bloody years feeling alone; wondering if she had any true family left. But, that shock passed quickly. Those forest green eyes lit up when she finally understood that the man in front of her was family. A faint, hesitant smile graced her lips and Idris gave her a warm one in return. He moved forward and swaddled her in a hug; one that was full of disbelief but also relief. Care. He barely knew Elia but he already seemed to care about her. It made her feel whole again. After everything, all of the loss, the isolation, the misery and hopelessness... she finally had someone in her life who was blood.
"It's so nice to finally meet you," He practically crooned. Idris pulled away from the hug and held her at arms length, squeezing her shoulder reassuringly. "But your mother... don't try to find her." Elia frowned. What? She'd been waiting for a moment like this her entire fucking life. And she suddenly shouldn't find the one person she was looking for? It didn't make sense.
"Explain."

***

"Your grandmother and I were dragged to Hell when your mom was eight. I was seven," He explained, knowing that Elia was still reeling and now bewildered. "Your grandfather was eventually strong enough to save us both a few years later but... he set us up here. Far, far away from Alyssa's madness. She had become so desperate to get us back that she had turned to black magic and slipped into her Pure-Blood insanity." Elia gave Issac a dubious look. She didn't know whether or not he was being totally honest with her. He squeezed her shoulders again and she read his aura. He was telling the truth and the whole truth. Elia let out a hum, trying to reignite the hope she held in her battered heart. There had to be a way, there had to be.
"I'm her daughter. What makes you think I can't get through to he-" He cut her off smoothly.
"No, Elia, my dear. She's too far gone. She was lost to everyone years ago. She's now a full blood angel and a psychopath." He shrugged. "I never fully understood how, either. But, the Alyssa I knew growing up is long gone." Constantine cleared his throat and Elia glanced over to see him lighting one of his cigarettes and leaning like the cocky prick he was.
"Don't wanna interrupt your family reunion, mate, but we're here for a demon. Not Jeremy Kyle." Constantine remarked, exhaling a cloud of smoke casually. Elia wanted to punch him. She told him she would do the talking. Family or not, she was better at it than he will ever be. Issac gave a grave chuckle and stepped back, his bony hands sliding from Elia's shoulders.
"Find that thing and you'll find Alyssa. She's the cause of your problems. The demon is just her lackey."

The room went silent. The shock came back and slapped Elia in the face before draining from her senses, her being, slowly. It took a few seconds before the sadness made its way in and replaced it. It flowed through her veins like blood and forced her brain to repeat the fact that her mother was the bad guy. The enemy. She was nothing but the bad guy. She was a killer, an angel who had turned into the evil she was meant to fight against. Elia had spent so many damn years searching for her; but apparently, it all meant nothing. The sadness poisoned the hope she had, her spirit, and she felt completely numb to everything else; every other emotion was gone. It was as if a black rain cloud had formed over her bloody head and started pouring icy rain. There was no point in hoping anymore. The world she thought she had been ripped out from underneath her. Her whole purpose in life was a total lie and she knew fucking nothing. Elia regained her composure and sensed everyone looking at her. John had moved and was stood behind her, his dark eyes burning holes into the back of her head. Not wanting to lose it and ruin her image, and with barely a word, she turned on her heel and shoved past John and Chas, flicking her hair over her shoulder. Zed knew what Elia was planning and uncrossed her legs, giving the half-angel a concerned look. She stood up and reached for Elia's arm.
"Elia, wai-" Zed's plea was not heard. Elia teleported away, some papers fluttering, the sound of her wing-beats breaking the silence. Issac sighed faintly.
"Do not fret," he said, voice filled with grief. He felt her pain. He understood it. "Elia just needs... time."

***

Elia was perched on the edge of a high rise building, peering out at the city all those feet below her. The wind was a lot stronger up here, so high, almost whistling as it blew past her, tossing her untamed hair in all directions. She wished it was loud enough to drown out her thoughts; but alas, she couldn't have everything. The scent was fresh air and the hint of car exhaust from the traffic below. It felt sort of freeing to be up so high. She could swan-dive off of this roof, free fall, feel the wind hitting her face, tearing at her clothes and then she could unfurl her graceful wings and zoom up into the sky. Dusk had started to fall and lights had started to shimmer everywhere. It was pretty. An incredibly beautiful city; when it wanted to be. She might move here, one day. Once she had free time. When there were no demons, no angels trying to kill her, no nothing. Just bloody peace and quiet; something Elia longed for. She exhaled and looked at the horizon, the sky a faded pink and blue.

Her thoughts came back and Elia tried to bat them away; to no avail. Elia tried so damn hard to find Alyssa. Her mother. Her real mother. But, now she knows the truth, everything was just tormenting her. Hurting her. Everything she thought she knew was nothing but a bloody sham. Jeanné was wrong; for once. But, then again, she was never wrong. Jeanné lied? Maybe? Elia dug her fingers into her kneecaps so hard, the bones began to complain. Did Jeanné lie to shield her? If she did, Elia was capable of understanding why. Elia was only a child; she wouldn't have understood what was being said to her fully. Jeanné might have planned to tell her the proper facts when Elia was old enough to fully understand. And, Jeanné died. Took her own life because of a demon. She never had time to grow up. Jeanné never had time, to be honest. And Elia didn't know what hurt more. The fact Jeanné was gone or the fact she'd lost both people that could be classed as mother figures. One to death, the other to apparent insanity. Elia's vision blurred and she wiped her teary eyes. Sniffling, she bit her lip; she didn't want to bloody cry. For the things she'd lost. For the things she could never have. For the things she will never know. For the thing she knows now. Elia wasn't much of crier; she never usually cried her agony out. She'd swallow it down with some whiskey; she'd rather have a stotting headache, a dry mouth, her face over a toilet bowl for a few hours in the morning. She'd much rather a hangover from Hell than coping with her grief logically. She'd much rather get blackout drunk than remember. It was how she coped with it all, back then. But, now she's fucking dead and can't get fucking drunk. Now she's forced to remember. And it was all too much to bear. The truth; the lies. What was fact; what was fiction. Everything she'd bottled for the past few days was trying to claw its way out.

And, for once in her shitty life, the half-angel allowed it. She was too tired to fight anymore. She was hundreds of feet up into the air, far away from people. Elia was alone (again) and she could cry. And, that's what she chose to do. Elia sobbed every inch of raw heartache inside of her out into cooling air of busy New York. She covered her face with her slender hands, even though no one could see her and wept. Tears slipped through the gaps in her fingers and ran down her hands, warm, wet and salty. Elia felt lost. More lost than ever. It was more than just pathetic, pitiful crying; even to her, it was the desolate sobbing that came from a woman who had lost the last bit of hope she had been clinging onto for dear life. Now, Elia had truly lost it all. Jeanné. Faith. Father Hawson. And now she could add her mother's name to that fucking list; even if she wasn't dead. That ever-growing list of the people she had loved and lost. Elia hiccuped and felt someone touch her shoulder. The half-angel let out a clogged shriek and flailed, nearly slipping off the edge of the roof. Even if she did fall, she could just teleport to safety or fly. But, hands wrapped around her mid-section and hoisted her back; they steadied her. Kept her still. Her mind was too loud, stormy and broken to sense who it was; she didn't even sense anyone coming.

Elia scowled, hating the fact she'd been heard and seen in such a state and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She cleared her vision and saw Constantine's eyes burning into hers. God fucking dammit.
"Sorry, luv," He moved his hands when he saw that she was propped back in her original position and not falling. "Didn't mean'ta scare you." Elia sighed and ignored him, returning her gaze to the city. He dusted the gravel off himself and sat next to her, dangling his legs over the edge.
"How'd you find me?" She asked, clearing her throat; demanding the lump that resided there to move the fuck out. She hated how broken her voice sounded. His arm brushed hers and the scent of smoke and soap greeted her. It was a smell she could always place with Constantine.
"Oh, you know. A little bit of pain, smoke and divination. Another day in the jolly life of John Constantine." Elia couldn't help the chuckle that escaped her. It was flat, but it was a laugh nonetheless.
"Coulda just called me, you idiot." He gave a shrug.
"Now, luv, where's the fun in that?" Elia smiled weakly and ran her hand through her hair. John wasn't the most comforting of people; he wasn't really made for that gig. But, he was trying to help. Earlier, he was barely speaking to her. Now, he's back to his normal self. What did Issac tell the three? He sighed and looked out at the city with her. A silence had fallen over them, but it wasn't awkward. It was simply comfortable. Like it used to be.
"That had to have been hard. I know how long you've been bloody looking for your mum. And then finding out she's lost the plot and joined the dark side? Rough." Elia picked some lint off her jeans and dropped it over the edge of the building.
"I'll be okay," She replied lightly. Elia didn't know if that was true or not, but it would do for now. Tears of frustration welled up in her eyes and she bit her lip hard. John nudged her softly with his elbow. It was uncharacteristic of him, but Elia wasn't in the mood to analyse.
"I'll help you pick up the pieces, luv."
"Thank you." He gave her a cocky half-smile, returning to his normal self and Elia felt her cheeks redden. He scooted a bit closer until his arm was pressed right up against hers. She rested her head on his shoulder and sighed to herself, tears drying on her cheeks. Constantine didn't seem to mind the action; she didn't sense anything, at least. The two sat in silence, just watching everything that was happening below them.

She didn't feel so alone anymore.

Chapter Text

Sunlight pooled over Kimberly's shoulders as she did her daily dose of kicking the stuffing out a poor punching bag. Sweat had beaded on her skin, making her loose fitting t-shirt stick to her back. Strands of her chestnut hair stuck to her forehead, the jerky movements of her body making it slip free from the ponytail she'd tied up. The sound of her laboured breathing filling the quiet of the gym. Kimberly had done most of what Fury had asked her, and she was in of a stretch. After finding a gym that was completely empty, Kimberly switched her uniform for her S.H.I.E.L.D shirt and a pair of sports leggings. As much as she loved sweatpants, they weren't fun for her to work out in. They would make her skin itch if she worked out too much. The leggings were tighter and she found them easier to move around in. And that was the thing she cared about and liked about sports leggings more. She chose to lounge in sweat pants, instead. Her knuckles burned with each punch, her bare feet squeaking on the polished linoleum flooring as she twisted this way and that, using her feet, elbows and fists. Anything could be used as a weapon if it was used correctly; something that Kimberly took advantage of. She wasn't the tallest of women or the strongest. Despite that, she could still hit someone like a truck. Something Kim was proud of.

Choosing to ignore the sound the door opening, Kim continued to pummel the bag. Whoever it was could wait just a little bit longer.
"What did that bag ever do to you?" Tony's Stark crisp and cool voice greeted her eats and she clenched her jaw, smacking the bag one last time. Her knuckles complained about the force, aching due to the impact, but it was worth it; just imagining the bag was Tony's pretty little smug-ass face made almost breaking her hand worth it. With a heavy sigh, heart hammering against her ribs, Kim turned around to face the billionaire. He was dressed like he usually was, in a sharp dark-coloured suit, his sunglasses hiding his eyes from view. Kim chose to roll her eyes and wipe her forehead with the back of her hand. Her breathing was ragged and it took her a few seconds to catch enough of her breath to respond to the arrogant Avenger.
"I was just working out some issues," Kimberly responded, stretching. "What do you want, Stark?" Tony openly flinched, which made Kim feel on edge. She couldn't help but stiffen, knowing damn well something wasn't right. Her sky-blue eyes narrowed.
"Stark." The warning that edged her tone made him snap out of his stupor. He swallowed and exhaled.
"It's Bucky." Kim grabbed her discarded towel and tossed it over her shoulder lazily. "He had an outburst. Which is...not uncommon."
"Has Stever tried to settle him?" Kim questioned, using the end of her towel to wipe her face down. Tony worked his jaw, shifting his sunglasses, revealing his tired eyes. He'd reverted back to his sleepless nights, it seemed. Kimberly took a mental note of the exhaustion and to ask Pepper how things had been with him, lately. As much as he annoyed her with his arrogance, Tony was a good man at heart. If he was struggling to sleep again, he knew Kimberly was always somewhere. She would make him some chamomile tea like she used to.
"Yes," Tony's voice broke through her thoughts. She returned her gaze to him. "But you know what he's like He needs you." He adjusted the cufflink on his sleeve, meeting her eyes. Kimberly rolled her shoulders lightly, sensing the tension in the room. Kim sighed and wiped her face down once again, the towel rough against her skin. Without another word, Kimberly shifted to get past the man, leaving the gym as quickly as she could. If Bucky needed her, Kim would be there. Without a doubt, without fail, she would always be there.

***

"I brought in the big guns." Those were the first words to leave Tony's mouth when they both arrived back at his tower; even know, Kim still loathed it. It was so pompous and just screamed how much money he had. Steve was sat on the sofa nursing a black eye and Clint was perched on the nearest counter, drinking his black coffee from the jug he'd made it in. Like usual, Bucky had nearly knocked Steve's lights out and Clint was inhaling his coffee like it was air. An everyday occurrence with the Avengers, it seemed. Kim hadn't been back here for a good few months. Her skills weren't needed constantly and she didn't have to live there with them; she had a place of her own. If they ever needed her help, they knew where they could find her. Or Fury would give her an order. Usually, Kim would ignore him. He could be one scary bastard when he wanted to. Even then, he'd never managed to intimidate her into doing what he wanted. He had tried but never succeeded. Giving Natasha a gentle, friendly smile, she shifted past the few Avengers that were lounging around the spacious dining area, making her way towards Bucky's room. Tony had mentioned in the car that was where he'd cooped himself up after giving Rogers one hell of a shiner. He wouldn't attack Kim; that's why Tony came to collect from S.H.I.E.L.D. Kimberly and Bucky were close friends. And Kim knew HYDRA better than anyone; she understood it better than they ever could. HYDRA was a bunch of terrible, inhumane people. Every single agent there was corrupted in a way that meant the lost who they were underneath that training; they lost themselves. They became nothing but machines. Things that HYDRA could toy with, use. They became nothing; they meant nothing. Kimberly wiped her hands down her skinny denim jeans, ears tuned to the sound of Bucky mumbling to himself fervently. She exhaled and stopped right outside the closed door, chewing on her bottom lip in thought.
"Bucky? Can I come in?" Kim made sure her voice sounded soft and serene, not wanting to upset him further. She didn't get an answer, but the talking abruptly faltered and drifted off into silence. Kimberly waited patiently, keeping quiet. When she didn't get a response, she raised her closed fist to knock on the door.
"Who is it?" His broken, hoarse voice greeted her ears. It made her hesitate an inch or so from the door.
"It's me, Kimberly." She answered calmly. She was greeted with another silence before he spoke, once again.
"Come in. Shut the door behind you." Kim smiled gently and entered, doing as he requested.

The room was darkened, the blinds drawn tightly shut. Kimberly ran a hand through her hair and waited for her eyes to adjust to the dimness. Bucky was sat with his knees up on the other side if his bed, hands knotted in his unbrushed and dishevelled hair. Kim tilted her head to get a better look at him, seeing his metal arm shimmering dully. Kimberly moved and sat on the floor, directly in front of the ex-assassin, her back pressed up against the cold metal of the radiator. It seeped through her shirt and cooled her warm skin. She lifted her head and watched Bucky carefully, staying quiet. She was giving him a chance to speak, giving him the chance to talk to her about it. It didn't matter, either way. If he didn't want to talk about what triggered him, that was fine too. All she wanted was him to feel better, to feel like he wasn't alone. Her company would be enough; at least, she hoped it would be. Kimberly met his gaze, seeing how haunted his expression was. She saw the wild emotions that flew around his face, almost completely hidden away in his eyes. Kim knew how it felt. She knew the feeling all too well. Once upon a time, she'd been with HYDRA; except she wasn't brainwashed to be a mindless killer. She was just relentless tortured. And that in itself left a mark.

Hearing Bucky shift slight, Kim snapped herself out of her thoughts and focused. That wasn't what was important. Her friend was.
"Are you okay, Buck?" Kim questioned. She scooted forward to adjust her position, straightening her legs so that they were on either side of him. His lips twitched lightly before he returned his empty, blank expression. Kim sighed softly and patted his knee with her hand. He remained silent. Kim ran a hand through her hair again, looking at the ceiling.
"Hey, Jarvis?"
"Yes, Miss Carter?" The AI's smooth, calm voice broke through the silence.
"Can you ask one of the others to bring a kettle, mugs and my chamomile teabags, please?" She ran her fingers across Bucky's kneecap in a distracted fashion.
"Of course, Miss Carter."
"Thanks, J." Kim felt a hand rest over hers. Returning her attention to Bucky, she twisted her hand and looped her fingers with his. He never lifted his gaze from the floor, but his grip was firm.
"I've got'cha, Buck." Kimberly said quietly. His head gave a simple nod. Moving, she shimmed her way over to sit directly by his side. His metal arm was cold, but Kim wasn't fussed by the feeling. She'd been friends with him long enough to get used to it. Turning her head and adjusting her hand on his, she gave him a reassuring smile. She squeezed his fingers once more.
"I'm not going anywhere just yet." She commented, resting her head against the smooth metal. "I'll be here as long as you want me to be." She felt a breath brush against her hair as Bucky turned his head. When she raised her eyes, she saw the torment in his gaze was softened by her presence.
"Thanks." His voice was barely a whisper, his throat hoarse. Kimberly brushed his shoulder-length hair from his face and beamed, patting his cheek, feeling the coarseness of his stubble under her fingertips. She felt the corner of his twitch upwards.
"I don't need you to thank me, Bucky. I'm your friend. It's what I'm here for." Kim let her hand drop and rested it on his other arm, squeezing gently. The silence returned, but this time, it was a comfortable one. Bucky moved his arm so that Kim's head fell onto his collarbone. A slight tapping on the door made them booth twist to look. With a hum and a stretch, the S.H.I.E.L.D agent clambered to her feet and cracked her back, throwing Bucky a soft smile.
"I won't be a second. Then, we'll have a cuppa, eh?" Bucky's head tilted towards the sound of her voice. She made her way towards the closed bedroom door, Bucky responding to her, his voice calmer. Gentler.
"Sounds good to me, doll." A smile rose up onto her face again and she opened the door, taking the tray from Steve. His face held a hopeful look and she threw him a wink before shutting the door in his face. The Avenger snorted but didn't complain. She placed the tray down and pulled the kettle into the nearest socket, pushing her hair out of her eyes.
"Then, let's get on with it, shall we? It's time we had a right old heart to heart."

Chapter Text

Sunlight shone down, the crystal blue sea reflecting the rays of warm light as they met, the delicate waves glittering under them. The waves lapped against the side of the large ship as it moved through them at a steady pace, gliding smoothly over the water. The scent of the salt was strong, but pleasant, the wind blowing it into Sasha's face carefully. Today was the perfect day for sailing; it was warm and beautiful. And Sasha adored the sea and everything in it. It made it so much more peaceful for her. It was still reasonably early in the morning, the heat still quite gentle against Sasha's skin. By the time they docked at the port, it would be at least lunchtime and a lot hotter. For now, though, it was still nice and soothing and not overpowering. Sasha took a deep breath, inhaling the salty air, a small smile pasting itself on her lips. No matter what, she always knew she'd love the sea. After she escaped the Court, the sea was the place she'd try to visit; or, at least a lake of some kind. It was always serene. Of course, the sea could be merciless, a cruel mistress. It could be violent, unrelenting. But, even when it was brutal, its waves tossed against the darkened sand, it was strangely peaceful and never failed to soothe her stormy mind. The scent of the salt that always seemed to hang in the air, the rippling sound, the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore. It never failed to calm her, soothe her.

Once she and her partner were sure they were far away, out of the Owl's reach, she signed up for the Navy. Her love for the sea was one of the main reasons she joined; it wasn't just to clean the blood off her hands, serve the country she was raised in. Exhaling softly, Sasha clasped her calloused hands, stood at ease. The wind tossed a loose strand of her chocolate brown hair from her face, her bun resting loosely at the nape of her neck. Magic swirled around her and Sasha tilted her head, eyes squinted when the sun's light got caught in her eyes. She acknowledged the slight change in the breeze and took a mental note of it. Smiling once again, eyes directed at the glimmering horizon, she felt her heart soar with the love she held for every single body of water. She loved the smell of the ocean on a summer's day, just like this one. The way the breeze felt when it caressed her pale skin. The way the waves lapped at the sides of the ship as it passed them by. Sasha loved everything about it, and everything within.

***

A metallic sound caught Sasha's waning attention, making her tear her midnight blue eyes from the sea. Sasha's brows pinched together in confusion. Whatever that sound was, it came close. Taking a step forward, Sasha rested her hand on the smooth metal of the railing, peering over the side of the ship. All that greeted her was the waves lapping. The sea itself was clear. No people swimming around, no boats. Shaking her head, Sasha stepped back from the rail and exhaled. A glint caught her eye, and she craned her neck to get a better look at it. It was sharp enough to stick into the ship, whatever it was; and Sasha knew she was a sturdy old girl. Sasha wandered over, puzzled, and peered at it. It was a blade of some sort. Wrapping her slender fingers around the sharp silver metal, Sasha effortlessly tugged it frees. She flipped it casually, the blade catching the sunlight as she did so. It was familiar. Sasha ran her fingers over it, feeling the smoothness and the weight. Raising an eyebrow, she looked over the symbols that decorated the handle. It was a weapon she used to own a long time ago. One she recognized as a weapon used by many Talons. Her heart dropped and Sasha felt a wave of panic wash over her. After all these years, how did they manage to find her? The minute she felt safe, secure, it's ripped away from her. She was meant to be safe here. Sasha was tired of running away. All she wanted was a place she could call home, a place she would be out of their reach. If they found her, she would have to leave again. Go on a journey to find a new safe place.
"Lockhart?" A voice called, making her jump. Whoever addressed her was lucky. In her heightened sense of panic and the dread that powered through her veins, her fingers twitched, ready to turn and throw the knife at them, lodged in their voice box. But, since her freedom, since she deserted them, Sasha had taught herself that not everyone was her enemy. Sasha taught herself how to relax.

A whistle snapped her out of her thoughts. Gathering herself, Sasha turned towards the airy voice, back straight. The man was stood nearby, hands clasped behind his back. His dark rimmed sunglasses shielded his eyes, his white uniform pressed just so. A petty officer. Sasha smiled at him and he nodded in return.
"Sir." Sasha greeted. Elliot Newton lifted his sunglasses, placing them on top of his head as he threw her a lazy half smile.
"You know you don't have to call me that, Sasha." He moved over, his voice airy and soft. His accent was a mixture of American and Canadian. And his voice didn't match his structure. He was built like a brick shit house, stood at a solid six foot. He could probably crush someone's skull with his bare hands. But, his voice was so gentle. Elliot could get angry and below, but for the most part, he wouldn't hurt a fly. Elliot peered at the blade in her hands, his jade coloured eyes showing his confusion and curiosity.
"That's one sweet lookin' blade. Where'd you get it?" Sasha shrugged. She couldn't exactly tell him she was trained under an enigmatic crime organization and had killed more people than he could imagine. She couldn't tell him the stories about her scars and where they actually came from. All they know was that she got them in an accident with a faulty boiler when she was a kid. In reality, the truth was far more devastating.
"It was thrown. It got stuck in the metal nearby." Elliot ran a hand through his auburn hair, brows almost flying up to his hairline with his shock. Sasha sensed his disbelief. She gestured with her head to the place where she pulled it frees.
"I'm serious, I'll show you." Sasha walked back over to the dented metal and pointed, waiting for Elliot to look. "See?" He tilted his head to get a better look at the damage.
"That's fuckin' weird. How is that sharp enough to do that?"Sasha's ears twitched to a clicking sound. Her magic rose and swirled around her kind, telling her that coming over to the blade was a good idea. Hair swishing as she looked back to where she and Elliot had been stood, her alert eyes caught sight of a red flash. The explosion that rocked the ship threw both Elliot and Sasha over the railing. Sasha was weightless for a millisecond before she smacked into the water with a heavy splash.

***

After the commotion and the blast that had rocked through the battleship, everything had started to return to its placid state. Sasha was a tad sore from being dropped hard. If she'd had the time, she would have positioned herself so that slamming into the sea would have hurt a little less. But, considering Sasha had let her guard down, she didn't see the blast coming. Her back still smarted lightly. Elliot was fine; he was mainly annoyed about losing his shades.
"They were Gucci!" He had yelled fiercely as he was hoisted back on board. Sasha had wrapped herself up in the plain cotton blanket that had been handed to her by a sympathetic officer and watched as some engineers began to examine the origin of the blast. The damage wasn't as bad as she thought it would be; which was what Sasha had been worried about the most. However, the ship was a strong girl. It would take a few days to repair. And now they were docked, the repairs could be started. She was a strong old girl. She had faced firefights and pirates, storms that threatened and tried to batter her into submission. The ship didn't really fucking care. She remained grounded through it all. Of course, she'd been scratched and had a few bumps and bruises. They never seemed to slow her down, she was still as good as strong as ever. Damage was always repaired and Sasha knew she would be good as new once fixed.

Sasha clenched her hands around the blanket until her knuckles went white as she stared out at the horizon once more.
"Lockhart, you alright?" She turned her head, to see the Admiral wandering towards where she was sat. His chestnut coloured eyes were filled with concern as he sat by her. His greying dirty blonde hair caught the sunlight and Sasha relaxed, his aura soothing to her troubled mind.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just soaked." Sasha answered, telling him half of the truth. Her mind was racing. Whoever threw that damn blade either had terrible aim or they were trying to save her life. The Court wasn't fond of using...other methods to take care of their problems. They usually used their Talons, their mindless toys. They normally used blades. In the years she trained under them, Sasha never saw them use explosives. And that meant whoever planted that bomb was able to masquerade as a Naval officer get on board.
"Elliot is pretty pissed about his shades." The Admiral commented, humour lilting his gruff voice. Sasha couldn't stop the knowing smirk that fell upon her face.
"To be fair, Sir, I'd be pretty pissed too." Sasha leaned back, feeling the rays of sunlight against her face. "They were expensive." He let out a snort, nodding his head in agreement.
"After your interview, you can go home, Sasha. Your woman is probably worried sick."
"Interview?" The Admiral's gaze softened.
"Nothin' serious, Sasha. Just to get more information about the blast. And to work out if the dead officer in the galley had anythin' to do with it." Sasha had heard whispers about the guy found dead, slumped over one of the tables, foam pooling in his mouth. The scent of almonds that hovered nearby him meant he'd offed himself with one healthy dose of cyanide. Sasha pretended to be shocked and horrified, but she knew damn well it was the Talon who set the explosive. That's what Talons did when they failed or got caught. They took the easy way out. They saw it as honourable. Sasha saw it as illogical. The Admiral hummed softly in thought, patting her shoulder carefully, his grip gentle.
"After, you're free to go home." He told her, giving her a smile. "You need to rest. Take the week off, I'm not bothered. You've never had a day off." Sasha snorted softly.
"I'll be fine-"
"That's an order."
"That's unfair." The Admiral stood up, knees cracking as he did so. He gestured his head politely. Sasha took the hint and joined him, climbing to her feet with ease. He adjusted the crooked blanket, making sure it was wrapped tightly around her and stepped back, moving back to get inside the ship. He turned to look over his shoulder, giving her an encouraging smile.
"Let's get this done, shall we?"
"Yes, Sir."

***

Hours had gone by and Sasha had been sent on her way by the Admiral, the interview taking less than an hour. Night had fallen, the air had cooled and Sasha was back in her apartment, pacing around in the dark. Her magic guided her as she roamed in the darkness. She didn't want to turn the lights on. If the Talons knew where she was, it would make her an easier target. She'd been on her own for a few hours. Just alone with the silence and the darkness. It was oddly comforting. Chloe wasn't home yet; and she wasn't frequenting the nearby bar. It worried Sasha more than she wanted to let on; she could feeling it eating away at her mind, feel it weighing heavily at the pit of her stomach. What if they found Chloe? What if she was injured? Dead? Sasha clasped her hands together, squeezing as hard as she could. She'd definitely have to move again, there was no doubt about it. Being found wasn't something she wanted. She didn't want to go back to the Court; if they caught her, that was.

Sasha knew incredibly well that she was their favourite weapon. She had Serenity; an angel. And together, they were lethal. The angel bonded to her was savage, locked away in the mind prison Sasha skillfully, painfully, built. But, Sasha knew the Court had their ways of freeing Serenity. Sasha was lucky enough to never remember it. She would just black out while Serenity clawed her way out of her soul, broke through her self-control and wrecked havoc to those who were...unfortunate enough to cross the Owls' path. Sasha was glad she would never remember any details of those brutal assassinations. Sasha did it quick and easy. Serenity toyed with her targets until she got bored. Taking a breath, she stopped pacing, ears pricked towards the sound of light footsteps drawing up the stairs. Without a second thought, Sasha moved and yanked her guns from her bag, setting her jaw as she twisted and aimed them at the door. Frustration pulsed through her as she narrowed her eyes. Stupid damn Owls. Always trying to capture her and drag her back to that hellhole. When Sasha managed to escape, she swore to herself she'd never return. They stole her life, her childhood. They'd never steal her freedom again; or anyone else's, for that matter. Sasha wouldn't allow it. Not anymore.

Guns might not have been a good idea. She didn't have the time to screw on the silencers. And explaining a dead body to the cops wasn't exactly...ideal. Changing her mind, she slipped guns away. Instead, she backed herself up into a clear corner of the room and lifted her hands up, fingers splayed out like stars. Magic could be lethal too. Only if she wanted it to be. The door opened slowly, the bright artificial light from the hallway of the apartment block pooling over the worn carpet. She was fine; she was shielded by the dark corner, the shadows covering her. She always did work best in the shadows. A noise caught her attention, blue eyes glittering as she listened intently. A scraping sound. A hand brushing across the wallpaper. Whoever was in the apartment was trying to turn the light on. Sasha felt her hands sweat and wiped them down her thighs before raising them once again.
"Rigescunt indutae." A wave of dark cyan ran up through the intruder, going from the base of their feet to the top of their head. A muffled grunt broke the silence, their jaws clamped shut. Sasha's hands glowed the same shade and she snapped her fingers. The lights flickered into life.

***

Chloe's hazel eyes burned with irritation and Sasha realised her mistake. Hands dulling, she pulled the magic back, freeing her partner. With a reflexive gasp, Chloe relaxed, the forced tension leaving her almost instantly. She glowered, causing Sasha to wince in regret.
"Every time," Chloe began, tossing a plain black duffel onto the floor. "I come home, you either almost shoot me or use magic." She dragged her across her face tiredly.
"I'm sorry, Chloe." Sasha rubbed the back of her neck, the action sheepish and timid. "It's been...one of those days." Chloe enveloped her in a hug, arms looped around her back, fingers tugging at the material of her shirt. Adjusting her position, Sasha wrapped her arms around Chloe, holding her just as tightly. Sasha had been so worried that Chloe wasn't coming home. Chloe sighed, the exhale of air brushing against Sasha's gently.
"Someone tried to kill me earlier." Sasha declared, tracing a pattern on the small of Chloe's back with her fingers.
"Yes, I know," Chloe twisted her head around to gaze at the discarded duffel. "The blade was mine." Bewildered, Sasha pulled back from the hug, holding Chloe at arm's length. The taller woman smirked at Sasha, who only blinked, unable to manage words.
"Are you out of your fucking mind!?" Sasha finally managed to sputter out. "They could have killed you!"
"They didn't."
"That's beside the point!" Sasha exhaled, air hissing past her clenched teeth.
"I couldn't let 'em kill you and your friend. It was worth the risk." Chloe countered, pulling Sasha into her toned arms.

Relenting, Sasha snuggled into her, the feeling of her heartbeat against her cheek calming.
"Do we have to move again?" Chloe snorted at the sad tone that lilted Sasha's voice.
"No, babe, I took care of their entire operation. The won't be finding us for a long time." Sasha couldn't stop that smile that began to form on her lips. Chloe was always better at killing them than Sasha was. Sasha had distanced herself from her sadistic ways; her girlfriend had not. Sasha would hesitate, Chloe would not. That was the glaring difference between the two women; Chloe wasn't deterred from murder. She wasn't afraid to do whatever it took. The woman pressed a kiss right between Sasha's eyes; soft and loving.
"Now, after that whirlwind of a day, I'm starving." Chloe squeezed Sasha's shoulders. "I fancy a Chinese. Want anything?" Sasha hummed, pulling away and moving to flop on the sofa, grabbing the TV remote.
"Surprise me, babe."
"That I will." Sasha flicked the TV on, feeling Chloe perch herself on the back of her legs.
"So glad I was successful in saving your bony ass." She grimaced, adjusting her position. Sasha laughed, the sound sharp. She twisted to smile tenderly, Chloe's dirty blonde hair partially hiding her face from view.
"So am I, Chloe." She returned her gaze to the TV screen. "So am I."
"You owe me." Sasha scoffed, the sound obnoxious.
"Do I fuck." Sasha felt Chloe's hand pat her back playfully. "Get off of me and order the food, smart-ass." Chloe grinned and bent down to press a kiss to the smooth skin of her jaw.
"Fine, fine." She stood up and moved to get her phone from the bag, leaving Sasha to smile gently and continue watching TV. Chloe was an idiot. But, Sasha was glad she had her to catch her when she was in danger. That's what they did; protected each other, no matter what the cost would be.
."

Chapter Text

It was one of those quieter days; something that Clint took and ran off with. He'd spent the majority of the day practising his shooting, annoying Bucky from the vents and drinking more coffee than what was recommended. Dusk had fallen, the New York night sky darkening into a deep shade of blue. It wasn't very often he had time to himself. He was an Avenger. Time off wasn't something he could willingly take. Unless he asked Fury for some vacation time. But, then again...he was an Avenger. If a portal opened up in the sky (again), the sunny vacation he was dreaming of would be abandoned. Saving the world was a must-do on his list, working or not. For now, the archer was perched in his normal spot by the window, watching the other Avengers. Pietro had been whizzing back and forth, this way and that; it was starting to annoy Wanda. He reckoned it wouldn't be long before she used her magic to trip him up and then smirk when he smacked into the floor face first. It wasn't the first time she'd pulled a trick like that. Clint doubted it would be the last. His eyes stuck to Steve, as he lifted his mug of coffee, feeling the heat caress his face. He was sat watching an old black and white movie Clint hadn't heard of. Tony was pestering Pepper while he made himself something to eat; it was the first time Clint had actually seen him out of his lab and interacting with other people. And that applied to him eating, too.

Bored of listening to Tony, he resumed drinking his coffee. Lifting his mug, his gaze caught sight of Kimberly. She was sat at Tony's bar, twirling a glass of alcohol she'd made for herself. Her hair was done up in a French braid, not even a single strand escaping the hair tie and clips she'd used to keep it in place. Clint tilted his head in confusion, seeing that she'd swapped her skinny jeans and tank top for a knee-length turquoise dress that glimmered with silver glitter. Her knee bounced up and down, her chin resting in the palm of her hand. She glared at the wall across from her, barely paying attention to anything that was happening around her. Which was...strange for Kim. She was always listening in, always paying attention to the things going on around her. It was something he was rather fond of. Tony whispered something in Pepper's ear and Clint watched Kimberly bristle with irritation at the airy giggle Pepper let out, followed by an amused and swift:
"Tony, save it!" Her eyes rolled to the ceiling and she lifted her glass of brandy, slamming it with ease. Her lips smacked together, the red residue from her lipstick coating the edge of the glass. She never reacted like that when Tony and Pepper were flirting. She'd make kissy noises or tell them to get a room. She'd roast him on it for hours on end; usually until she got bored of her own jokes. This wasn't the Kimberly he was used to. Something was bothering her.

***

Pushing himself to stand up, he moved past Tony and sat by Kimberly.
"Hey." Her voice was flat, the note of dejection in her tone easy to detect. She adjusted her dress and exhaled through her teeth, not bothering to look at him. She twisted her finger and ran it around the edge of her glass. Clint felt her silence wash over him. It didn't reassure him. And, oddly, it made him feel uneasy. She would have cracked a joke by now or smiled at him brightly.
"Are you okay?" Clint questioned, frowning at her gently. Kimberly shrugged plainly, pushing her glass away. She sighed and sat up straighter, adjusting the strap on her dress.
"I guess." She responded, voice uncharacteristically empty; devoid of the enthusiasm he was used to.
"You're clearly not," Clint pointed out, gesturing with his hand for emphasis. "You've been quieter than usual and you didn't mock Tony when he flirted." A flat chuckle escaped her lips.
"Those eyes never stop seeing things, do they?"
"Nope." Clint adjusted his position on the stool, clasping his hands, the wood smooth under his skin. Kimberly sighed again, working her jaw in thought. She was clearly irritated now, but it wasn't with Clint.
"I was meant to be going on a date tonight. But...my date decided he wanted to go with someone else and messaged me to call it off." She grabbed the bottle of brandy and popped it open, pouring herself another drink. "Didn't even sugar coat it. He'd found someone better and wanted to go with her, instead." She sipped her drink casually, the glass chinking when she put it back down. Clint now understood why she was annoyed. Anyone would be annoyed and dejected by that sort of thing. It must have been the dude she'd been talking about for the last few days. She seemed to be into the guy-Clint didn't know his name- and was looking forward to the date they'd planned. Kimberly had been out of the dating game for a while, but she seemed to be happy to find someone she clicked with. Who in their right mind would do something like that to a woman like Kim? The girl he'd picked over her couldn't have been better. Or prettier. Or smarter. Or more badass. Kim was...amazing. She was bubbly and energetic and tried her best to be positive in the face of fear. Kimberly never let what happened to her bring her down; at least, she tried her best to move forward from it. Clint couldn't see how someone would just...toss her aside for someone else like she meant nothing. It bothered him more than he wanted to let on. She deserved better than that. Kim was better than that.

He stood up, pouting in thought.
"Get your jacket." Kimberly glanced at him, raising an eyebrow. Clint rocked back on his heels, beaming at her. She looked confused, eyes alight with the emotion.
"Why?"
"I can't sit by and let my best friend mope over an idiot." He responded, eliciting a sceptical snort from her. Clint had a point, though, and she knew it. It pained him to see Kimberly so down over something like that. She wasn't as bouncy and it made him feel unhappy, too. If her date was gonna leave her in the dust like that, Clint could take his place. Kim deserved to have a nice night out. She'd done nothing but work her ass off. For once, Kimberly deserved a break. And having her date called off wasn't fair; especially on her. Clint shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans, rocking back on his heels again to get a better look at her. She still wore a confused expression, but it had slightly faded into a look of acute understanding. Her blue eyes twinkled under the lights above the bar, and she watched as Clint gestured with his head, raising an eyebrow. He exhaled.
"Are you coming or not?" He questioned, pouting at her. Kim smirked and downed the rest of her drink.
"Where are we going, Barton?" She pushed her glass away and stood up, adjusting her dress when it rode up. His grinned slyly at her as she grabbed her leather jacket and slung it on, making sure her braid was out of the way.
"On an adventure." He replied. Kimberly could barely hide her own little smile as she brushed past him, a whiff of her lightly scented perfume catching his attention.
"All right, fine, Hawkeye." She turned and threw him an amused look. "You're driving."

***

Hours had gone by since Clint's offer of an adventure and Kimberly was beyond exhausted. Her heels clicking across the pale concrete, she tucked herself into her jacket to protect herself from the cold breeze that blew. It was nearing midnight and the two Avengers were stilling wandering around, taking a shortcut through Central Park, talking about anything and everything that crossed their minds. After he'd pestered her into tagging along, he'd let her in on what he had planned. All he wanted to do was fill in for her shitty date ditching her. One of the more mushy things Clint had offered to do for her. After the dinner at the restaurant he'd pulled her along too, he'd offered to pay. Kimberly wouldn't have or take his explanation as an answer. After bickering playfully over it, they finally came to an agreement and spilt it instead. Kim wasn't fond on people paying for her; even if someone bought her a gift, Kim would go shy. Of course, she would accept it, but it wouldn't stop her from feeling bad. Kim felt like she didn't deserve people to nice to her in such a way. He'd paid for her drink at the nearby bar, however, which Kimberly wasn't as fussed about. Drinks weren't as expensive as a meal; depending on the drink.

Listening to Clint chatter about his hiding spot and how he wanted to build a pillow fort in it at some point to maximise comfort, Kim tilted her head to peer up at him. He was way taller than her, making her crane her neck up to get a better look as he ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. He was still going on, lost in his own tangent, and Kimberly felt the corners of her lips twitch into a soft smile. He was such a dork. Constantly. Of course, he was the witty smart-ass who made dry jokes on the battlefield. It probably kept him sane, to be fair. Kimberly had her own dry sense of humour that she cracked out whenever a mission got rougher than intended. And, as irritating as others may have found it, she found it kept her calm; and for the most part, the jokes worked on soothing her troubled mind. It would distract her enough to regain a sense of clarity, focus. She couldn't speak for everyone, however. Those were her tactics. That didn't mean everyone used them. Clint, it seemed, was like her. Probably one of the reasons why they got on so well. Looking up again, she saw Clint giving her a knowing smirk. Kim stretched her neck and blinked at him, silent.
"What?" He let out a laugh, breath fogging up the cold air.
"You nearly walked into a pole while you were staring at me." Kimberly darted her eyes away, feeling a hot blush shoot up her neck. She felt her jaw go slightly slack, mind blank. With nothing to retort, Kim huffed gently and rolled her eyes.
"Shut up." He let out another laugh.
"Nope." Kimberly half-smiled, glancing at him again. Clint threw her a mischievous grin again, before returning his gaze out in front of him. Kim adjusted her braid, which had started to come undone ever so slightly, strands of hair frizzing up and coming free from the hair ties she'd used to hold it in place. It wouldn't matter. Once the two got back to the tower, she was going straight for a quick shower and into bed. Tired wasn't the word for how she felt now.

"What were you thinking about?" Clint questioned, breaking the comfortable silence that had fallen over the pair. Kim tilted her head in thought, humming softly.
"Just...about how much fun I've had tonight." Kimberly felt his hand against her shoulder as he half-heartedly shoved her. She wobbled before snorting and pushing him back. "Hey, I'm serious!" She rolled her shoulders and regained her balance. Clint smiled, eyes alight with his cheerfulness.
"You're a lot better than McFuckFace, that's for sure." Clint snorted and shook his head, giving her a look.
"Damn straight." He placed his hands back in the pockets of his unzipped leather jacket, exhaling. "Man, he sucked." Kim bobbed her head in agreement, brushing a strand of hair from her eyes.
"In retrospect, yes. He really did."
"I'm better." Letting out a snort, Kimberly swatted his forearm.
"All right, reign in the ego, Barton." Kim snuggled back in her coat, cheeks still flushed scarlet. He wasn't exactly wrong, but telling him that (again) would only inflate his ego further. He'd gloat over it for days. Something Kimberly would probably punch him repeatedly for. But, he was right. He was a lot better and he actually treated her with respect; which she expected, considering the fact he was her best friend. Clint took the time to drag her on a date she'd given up on, made her laugh for hours with his overly terrible jokes and cheered her up. Made her forget all about Tom and his dumbass behaviour. He was better suited to her humour than Tom ever could be. Sure, she had slight feelings for Tom; not anymore, but she did. He was cool and hot; but, Clint was...cooler and way more attractive. With a nudge of her elbow to get his attention, she smiled at him kindly.
"Seriously, Clint, thanks." She adjusted her hair again to keep her hands busy and ignored the heat pulsing through her face. "You really cheered me up." He grinned cockily and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes again.
"Don't mention it, Kim." He responded, exhaling. "You're one of my best friends and I hated it seeing you so down over that asshole." Kimberly chuckled flatly. Tom was an ass, for sure. His handsome face hid his "I'm an actual prick" personality. She should have seen it coming, but she was a little rusty coming back into the dating game. Now, Kimberly knew to take more care and analyse them and the signs before diving in headfirst. It only upset her when she acted impulsively, instead of rationally. But...the lesson had been learned. Then again, forgetting Tom, Clint seemed to be a better fit as a partner. And, as they walked back to Stark Tower through the darkened park, under the clear midnight sky, Kimberly felt her heart ache with a wave of a new emotion. One she chose to ignore. Clint was her perfect fit.
But, she wouldn't tell him that.
They were friends and nothing more.

Chapter Text

Evening had fallen. The curtains had been tightly drawn. The only light source in the entire apartment was the living room lamp and the TV screen, which aimlessly played adverts. Quinn was sat back on her sofa, staring at the ceiling, exhaustion pounding through her. She was so tired. Doing too much work was always an issue, and would often cause her friends concern. But, despite their gentle pressing and pushing, it was her job. Quinn had taken an oath to help people; and that was exactly what she would do, tired or not. After a long, arduous day, this is what Quinn would come home to do. She'd get home as fast as she possibly could, make a herbal tea, grab the book she'd been reading and curl up on the sofa...just unwinding. After a rough day of saving Barry and going this way and that trying to help him and the rest of Team Flash, all she needed was to kick her heels off and chill out. As soon as she got home, Quinn had changed into her new set of pyjamas that Caitlin had helped her pick out when they had a girl's day out when they both took a break from the hectic lab. The fluffy pastel pink material was soft against her skin and warmed her. Snuggling further down onto her sofa, Quinn placed an old TV show on while she grabbed her book from the coffee table and flicked it open to where she had placed her bookmark. She could finally get back to her new favourite book. Maybe read for an hour or so and then climb into her warm bed and sleep. Sleep sounded so good. But, for now, she needed to unwind and relax. Going to sleep stressed would make it harder for her to fall asleep. Reading through a page, Quinn sank further into the sofa and smiled faintly to herself. This was perfect to her. The quiet, a good book and a steaming cup of tea by her side. What could be better than this?

A knock broke through the haze of her mind, harshly snapping her from the world she had started to build while reading. Startled, Quinn looked up, adjusting her glasses with the back of her hand as they slid down her nose. Before she could even get up and make a move, the knocking came again. With a sigh, she slipped her bookmark back in clumsily and hopped up, dusting herself off.
"Hang on, I'm coming!" She called, voice gentle as to not disturb her neighbours. Quinn unlocked her apartment door and swung it open with ease, coming face to face with her boyfriend of three months, Leonard. "Snart. It's a little...late." Her voice trailed off when she saw the expression on his face. He hadn't greeted like he normally did. Whenever he showed up at Quinn's door and she greeted him, Leonard always looked like he was melting. Every time, without fail, one little smile would melt his icy heart.
"You're leaving, aren't you?" Lately, Leonard had been chased around by a strange man who said he was from the future. From the small snippets of information Leonard had told her, the man wanted him to join a team to help him save time; he wanted Mick, too. Then again, Mick and Snart were a team. Leonard's lips thinned into a grimace and he nodded. Quinn's fingers tightened on the doorknob, face going pale. Hurt pulsed through her chest and her bottom lip trembled, but she bit it in an attempt to stop it. But, he wasn't stupid. He caught it. He gave her a tender look; a look he only saved for her.
"I'm leaving with them tonight. I dunno when I'll be back." Quinn took a deep, shaky breath and nodded, clenching her jaw. Her eyes burned with hot tears. Sighing, she darted her green eyes to the floor, swallowing thickly. Leonard bent down to her height and pressed a kiss in between her eyes, the touch light and loving. His lips were cold from the outside air, but it didn't bother her.
"Do you have to go?" Quinn questioned, voice hoarse. Leonard nodded, falling silent again. She stood on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "I'm glad you didn't ghost me." She blinked and dashed her fingers under her eyes, catching the tears before they fell. Leonard sighed heavily, using his sleeve to wipe her face, his touch soft.
"I'm gonna miss you, Cold." Quinn swallowed again, the lump in her throat threatening to silence her. I love you. But, Quinn wasn't the type to speak about things like that.
"For once...I'll miss someone too." He answered, letting his hands drop. "I'll see you around, Doc." And with that, he stepped back. With a final look, pain creeping up into his secretive expression, he walked back down the hall. Quinn pushed the door shut. It closed with a soft click. She hadn't expected any less. Leonard wasn't the type of man to dramatically sweep her down and kiss her senselessly. He wasn't the type to say "I love you". But, in that painful moment, she had wanted to.

Tears blinding her vision, heart aching with the feeling of Leonard's abrupt departure, Quinn snatched hold of her phone and immediately called the one person she needed; Caitlin. It rang a few times before being picked up.
"Hey, Quinn," Caitlin's crackled through her ear, voice serene and sweet. It didn't soothe Quinn's racing mind, blinded by her own hurt. "What's up?" Quinn leaned on the door, feeling like a teenage girl who's boyfriend had broken up with her and burst into tears, unable to hold back the emotions swirling through her entire being.
"Quinn, are you okay?" Concern swept into her friend's voice.
"Leonard's gone." Silence met her ears. The only thing she could hear was her own sniffles and sobs.
"Barry and I will be right there. We'll be a second, okay?" Quinn hiccuped, chest tight and nodded to herself.
"O-okay." With that, she hung up and tossed her phone onto the carpet, leaning her head back against the wood. She raised her hand and covered her face, feeling the hot tears leaking through the gaps in her fingers. So much for a calm night. All Quinn wanted was a chilled time, a break. Some peace and quiet.
She didn't ask for her heart to be broken.

***

Hours had turned into days. Days into weeks. Weeks into months. There had been no sign of Leonard. They'd barely spoken since he left for the new team he'd be pestered into. After their shitty goodbye, Quinn had spent most of the night blubbering over it while Caitlin and Barry tried to cheer her up. It didn't take her very long to realise why it hurt her so much. She genuinely had her heart broken. And, even though she missed him with every inch of her soul, Quinn had managed to pick herself up and carry on. It wasn't easy, to begin with. She was easily irritated and the idea of relationships just made her bitter and salty. Iris and Barry were respectful enough to keep PDA to a minimum when she was around; they didn't have to, but they chose to. They seemed to understand it made her miss Leonard even more, and they kept it out of her way. Then again, Quinn ignored the few occasions Barry was involved in a near miss and Iris would throw herself at him with her relief. In those moments, it was warranted. But, time passed by. And Quinn got better. It was what it was, and there was no changing it. She was fine before he came along and tripped her up and she would be fine now that he was gone.

It was almost a new year. A completely new start, a clean slate to draw all over, once again. Quinn was back to her regular, bubbly self; of course, not always. Some days, she missed Leonard for no reason. Other days, she saw little things that reminded her of him and her heart would twinge with regret at what she no longer had. But, those little moments of sadness never lingered for too long. Quinn just took it in her stride and kept looking ahead, moving forward. It was all she really could do. Barry had invited her round to Joe's for a small little gathering to celebrate New Year's Eve, with his family and their shared friends. Quinn got dressed straight after work and made her way over, her pastel blue dress keeping her warm and hugging her petite figure. Now, she was sat laughing with Cisco about a TV show they both enjoyed watching. Drinks were flowing, music was playing and Quinn could practically feel the joy radiating through the household. Joe wandered over and pressed a fatherly kiss to her temple and Quinn chuckled and beamed at him. In the weeks after Leonard had left, Joe helped keep an eye on her. The two had developed a stronger bond due to it. He never let it slide that Quinn had saved his son's life those years ago. Quinn welcomed his sage advice whenever he offered it to her. He was a lot wiser than his age would suggest and he always gave her the things she was looking for; even before she knew she needed to hear it. He was a good man, a greater cop and one hell of a father. Joe made her part of his family, even if she wasn't his blood. And she loved him for that.
"It's almost midnight." He commented, grabbing another bottle of beer from the fridge. Quinn smiled at him and stood up from the table, picking up her discarded wine glass.
"I'll pour myself another drink and be right over." Joe nodded and walked back to give Iris a loving side hug. Quinn grabbed an open bottle of red wine and filled her glass halfway, taking a sip as she moved to join the others.

One minute and the new year would begin. Quinn smiled at Barry when he caught her eye, his eyes glittering with excitement. Quinn leaned on the nearest wall, hearing the others chattering amongst themselves, voices overlapping. Quinn swirled her wine glass casually, lost in thought. Her first year without Leonard following her around the lab, without him and Mick defending her from Wells. As happy as she was now, it still felt odd without the pair bickering with each other and just being...themselves. It was strange not having them around. Mick was like her constantly pissed off big brother and Leonard was her boyfriend. Sure, they'd only dated for a short time, but they were friends for so long. And, this would be the first full year without him. It felt weird. But, that feeling would eventually die as time went by. Startled out of her thoughts by the others yelling as they counted down from ten, Quinn looked at each and every one of her friends and smiled fondly. Each one of the people in this room had such a special place in her life; her heart. As morbid as it sounded, if Barry hadn't been struck by that lightning bolt, Quinn may never have met any of them. He was unlucky, but that incident gave Quinn the chance to befriend such amazing people. When the countdown hit zero, cheering broke out, which Quinn joined in on weakly. Fireworks lit up on the TV screen and popped out in the distance. Quinn joined on the chorus of "Happy New Year" and giggling. While the rest of them were distracted by their joyous celebrating, Quinn opened the front door and slipped out into the cold air. There was a hint of smoke hovering from fireworks that had been set off and Quinn lifted her head, brushing her loose hair from her eyes and smiling at the clear midnight sky. The stars twinkled and blinked at her and she felt the smile twist into a gentle and poignant look.
"Happy New Year, Cold." She muttered to the sky. "Wherever you and your friends are. I hope you're well." Silence greeted her; as she knew it would. This wasn't a movie, he wasn't going to pop up and grin at her like the cocky prick he was. Fireworks still popped and cheering still echoed. Before she got too emotional, Quinn slipped back inside the house, happy to be back in the warmth. She closed the door and turned to be greeted by Barry, Caitlin and Cisco. The three didn't waste any time and crowded around her in a group-hug, making Quinn laugh softly.
"You guys are the best," Quinn commented, voice muffled by Cisco's shoulder. The three dragged her back towards the kitchen and poured her a fresh drink.
"That we know," Cisco replied, smirking. "Now, party with the rest of us. No moping on my watch."

***

In a completely different place, Leonard was doing the exact same thing. He was surrounded by his friends, listening to them celebrating the New Year and getting blackout drunk. Rip was long gone (again), Jax had left. They tried to not take Jax leaving as a negative. He was a good kid. He had a life to live and grief to handle. But, Jax was strong. He'd pull through and enjoy the rest of his life. Leonard picked up his almost empty beer bottle and stood up, ignoring the stare Mick was giving him. Leonard chose to ignore him and glanced at the others while they made small talk around the table, drinking and eating. The usual. Snart needed some time alone. Snart had one thing left to do.

The night air was chilled as he stood on the open ramp, leaning against the metal wall to peer out into the grassy field the Waverider was pretty much parked in. It was empty and desolate out here. Low chance of someone finding the futuristic and strange ship, considering it was in the middle of nowhere. Exhaling, Leonard took a swig of his drink, breath fogging up the air. He hadn't set foot in Central City for a while. And, Leonard didn't know if that was a good thing or not. Barry was his friend. They had a different set of morals and beliefs, but they could work together when the time called for it. And he hadn't seen Quinn in a long time, either. He wondered how she was doing. He had heard her completely break down after he'd left her standing in the doorway of her apartment; she clearly thought that he was out of earshot, but he wasn't. It hurt him, too. He just didn't show those sort of emotions well. Leonard missed her more than he cared to admit. He missed how she cared about anyone until they hurt her or her friends. How she never gave up on life, even when other people had. How she would always smile whenever he came to see her or whenever he managed to catch her eye when she was working. How she would flick her head a certain way to get her hair out of her face. How she would use the back of her hand to push her reading glasses up her nose because she didn't want to let go of the book. Quinn was perfect to him; for him. And he hated the fact he had to leave her behind. Leonard sighed, his heart feeling heavier than it normally did. Quinn was so hurt by it all and Leonard was the reason.
"What are you doing?" A female voice echoed through the hold, the tone questioning and hoarser than usual. The question caught his waning attention. Leonard would have jumped out of his skin, but he had heard the light footfalls coming. He twisted round to greet Sara, who offered him an unopened bottle of beer. He remained silent for a second, shrugging. He took the bottle from her, cracking it open with ease.
"Just wishing a Happy New Year, like everyone else." Sara snorted softly.
"To who, exactly?" Leonard gave her a cryptically bitter look, taking a long swig of the icy alcohol.
"To someone I used to know." With Sara's quirked eyebrow, Leonard pushed off the wall and moved back to join the others. There would probably be more questions later; ones he could avoid. For now, Sara wouldn't press the matter. For now, he could pretend it wasn't going to happen. For now, he could relax and at least try to celebrate with the rest of them.
"Okay then..." Sara muttered to herself, voice drifting to his ears. He chose to ignore her. There were so many other things he could have said in response to Sara's question. To an old friend. To his partner in crime. To someone I used to love.

Chapter Text

Rays of sunlight streamed through the curtains and warmed up the silky white bedding, the room tranquilly quiet. A few stories below, traffic thrummed, horns beginning to blare as rush hour approached. Things would only get louder later on, but the windows of the bedroom were tightly shut and their painted white frames were thick; not much sound would get through. It would just sound muffled like it was currently. It was quiet enough in there to be deemed serene and peaceful, and that was really all that mattered. Sasha Lockhart looked around the room, seeing the bright sunlight reflecting off the glass and shining into the room. The walls were a pale cream colour, and a few pictures lined them. Some of Sasha, some of her cat and a few of her and Roy together.

The glittery black frame of the picture on her bedside table caught her eye and she turned her sharp grey eyes to it. It was the one she usually hid away, but now Roy knew about it, there was really no point. Two girls stood, smiling as club lights shone behind them; creating shadows. Back when Sasha was truly alive. When she had a heartbeat and a place to call home. Her hair was a shimmering chocolate brown, her eyes a radiant midnight blue. The girl stood by her side was a few inches taller, and was grinning like a complete idiot. Her hair was honey blonde but had bright blue streaks running through it, her skin pale and her eyes a simple baby blue; just like the streaks that were in her hair. Chloe. Her ex-girlfriend; her dead ex-girlfriend. She died a few days before Sasha herself did, but a lot more violently. Sasha thought she'd never recover from the loss. But she did. John Constantine helped her get over the worst of it and that was was that. He was there when it all went down. The day it happened. When Sasha joined the legion of the dead. The door to the bathroom opened, snapping Sasha out of her thoughts about the past. Roy pretty much shimmered in the sunlight, water running down his skin. Sasha smiled, watching the way he used the towel to wipe the shower water off, droplets falling from his hair. After he'd finished, he threw his towel in the washing basket, moving and grabbing a clean red shirt from his set of drawers. Sasha frowned to herself gently. Roy didn't notice her expression until he wiped his phone screen down and slipped it in the back pocket of his jeans.
"Sorry," The aura around him confirmed that he truly felt awful; apologetic. "Oliver wants me tonight." Sasha felt her heart drop in disappointment, but she kept the emotion from ending up on her face. That wasn't fair. Oliver knew it was Valentine's Day; he knew it was Sasha and Roy's first one together. They'd only been dating for just over two months, but it was still a great time, and they were quite happy together. Oliver had Felicity; what, was he going to ruin her evening too?

Instead, the witch chose to give him a smile, humming when he stooped over and pressed a kiss to her lips. It was short and sweet, and she was instantly reminded of their first kiss; the minute he kissed her back then, Sasha knew she was home; because he felt like home. Roy straightened and petted Smokey's head, the cat scoffing and hissing at him. Sasha chuckled.
"Smokey, behave."
"But-" Smokey's retort was cut short when Sasha tapped his nose with her finger. The cat rolled his resplendent emerald green eyes and jumped off the bed, licking his paw and scuttling off somewhere else. Roy grabbed his red jacket and winked at her before leaving the bedroom. Sasha tried to practice her magic. To regain her focus. To distract herself from the fact her day had been ruined. She heard the front door shut and lock. Her azure coloured magic sputtered and died as her focus waned. She let out an irked sigh and flopped backwards onto the duvet, feeling the feathers inside it shift with her weight; cushion her back. So much for a romantic evening. Thanks, Oliver.
"This blows." Sasha mumbled to herself, staring at the ceiling.

***

Now, she was annoyed. Today was supposed to be the day the two got to spend some time together, maybe go out for dinner. It wasn't really their style, but who knew what could have gone down? Oliver ruined it. Because he chose to be a broody bastard who preferred fighting crime more than hanging out with his friends. It wasn't damn fair. Sasha had things to do and so did Roy. Oliver couldn't just expect the pair to drop everything for something petty. It clearly wasn't anything serious because if it was, Sasha would have had to go too. Sasha stewed on her thoughts, frowning at the ceiling, legs dangling over the edge of the bed. It was so stupid. Letting out a huff, she exhaled through her teeth and rolled onto her stomach, looking out of the window lazily.

Roy had been gone for about a half-hour and Sasha was getting bored. She didn't have much to do. Magic was out of the window because she couldn't think straight. The bedroom door opened and her grey eyes flew open wide, her hand instantly sliding under her pillow and her slender fingers wrapped around the hilt of her handgun. She yanked it free and rolled on her back, already aiming at the door, finger hovering over the trigger, the safety clicked off. Her gaze settled on the figure and she relaxed, lowering the weapon and moving her finger. It was only Roy. He held his hands up in defence, a smirk on his lips.
"I'll kill you one of these days, Harper," Sasha sighed softly, putting the gun back under her pillow. "What are you doing home?" He shrugged plainly and flicked his jacket off, throwing it over a chair and flopping onto the bed, right by her side. His body felt warm against hers and Sasha felt her heart lift.
"Well... I got halfway there and then called Oliver and told him it was my day off." Roy grinned coyly at her and Sasha rested her head against his shoulder. He told Oliver to shove it? Ballsy play. That wasn't going to exactly end well. But, Sasha valued the action. It was a sweet gesture and Sasha loved him a little bit more for it. She felt so much better. Her mood had brightened now he was here. Now, they could spend some quality time together. Just like Sasha wanted. Like she pretty much planned.

He sat up and moved to rest against the headboard of the bed.
"So... what do you want to do?" Sasha asked, humming and flicking her blonde hair from her eyes. He gave her a half-smile.
"Well, I ordered six different pizzas before I got home," He leaned down and pulled Sasha along the bed and to his side, his hands resting against her back. He moved and clapped his hands and the T.V rose up from the cabinet at the end of the bed. Sasha used her magic to pull the remote forward and Roy took it with ease. He put the T.V on and opened Netflix. Sasha snuggled into his side, feeling nothing but comfort in his embrace. He always made her feel this way. It was comforting. It always settled her mind. Roy scrolled through some movies and hummed to himself, the sound vibrating through his chest. He clicked on "Groundhog Day" and Sasha lit up like a Christmas tree. One of her all-time favourite movies. It was one Constantine showed her. Due to her assassin upbringing and being on the run for so long with Chloe, Sasha never really had the time to catch up on films. When Constantine found this out, he sat the pair of them down and made them watch a few. "Groundhog Day" was one of them, and Sasha loved it. Roy seemed to remember that. She hadn't watched it with him, yet; but she told him about it when he asked her a random question on their first date. It was adorable that he remembered such a small piece of information.
"Hey, Sasha..." He whispered, voice gentle. She peered up at him, eyebrow raised. He grinned again. "Happy Valentine's Day." She chuckled, cheeks reddening. He bent his head down and kissed her sweetly. His aura radiated with love, and the kiss itself was soft and affectionate. Sasha chose to pull away and press a chaste kiss to his nose.
"Love you, babe." She whispered before snuggling back into his side, pretty much absorbing his body heat. He moved his arm and rested it around her, his finger tracing patterns on the small of her back sensitively. Sasha waved her hand and the magic inside made the duvet move; she used her magic to cover them both. Roy laughed, the noise rumbling through his chest and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

She felt calmer than ever. Warm. Safe. Everything she'd wanted to feel for years, but never could. The Court of Owls were far behind her now. The past was in the past. The past could be forgotten about; for now. For now, Sasha could forget about them. She could focus on the smaller things. She could focus on Roy and the way he felt against her. They could spend the rest of the day eating pizza and watching cheesy movies, snuggled up in the warmth of her apartment; the warmth of their love for each other. They'd spend Valentine's Day together and that was all they needed. And, Sasha was content.

She was finally at peace.

Chapter Text

Magic swirled into the air lightly, up and sideways; this way and that. Rays of dazzling light beryls and scarlets mixing into one. Shimmering golds and silvers. Bruce could never have thought magic would be so colourful and bright. Then again, he didn't believe in magic until she came along. Alyssa knew that. She could feel his emotions shifting, see them pulsing in his aura. He was utterly enthralled in what he was a witness to. Completely and utterly hypnotized by the colours that lit up her skin. Alyssa continued to light her right hand up, watching the child behind the bins peek out, her curiosity getting the better of her.

It had been a good half an hour since Jerome pulled the heist at the bank. He'd gone in, guns blazing, with his deranged followers. The little girl had been there with her mother and the gunshots made her mom go into protective mode. Jerome had frightened the little girl while he took hostages. Once he found her spot, she told the kid to go; run as fast as she could on her mother's command. Alyssa and Bruce knew Jim would have his hands full with getting Jerome and decided to take it upon themselves to bring her back. Gotham was a big place; and scary to someone so small and young. From what she knew, her mother was safe. That was all that mattered.
"It's pretty, right?" Alyssa finally spoke, addressing the child, smiling tenderly. Her azure eyes drifted to Alyssa briefly, before she returned them to her glowing hand. The light cast gentle shadows and reflected in her eyes. Feeling Bruce, wandering closer, Alyssa barely gave him any of her attention. He wasn't her main priority. This poor kid was frightened and Alyssa needed her as calm as possible if she was going to get anywhere. The girl finally responded with a swift, silent nod. Alyssa sat down crossed-legged and hummed gently, closing her fist. The magic she had summoned fizzled and died out, wisps of it curling around her fist like smoke. Bruce crouched next to her, throwing her a smile when she caught his eye.

***

This was the pair on the days evil reared its ugly head. Bruce was trying his best to be a better person and Alyssa was raised to be kind. They were just a pair of kids with a vision of a better world; they were just kids trying to help in any way they could. They couldn't exactly do very much, considering they were only teenagers. Bruce was training to fight with his loyal butler, Alfred; and he was incredibly intelligent. Alyssa used her magic, her skills in boxing and her smarts to help as well. A place like Gotham needed someone...good. The city was a merciless and cold place where rich practically spat on the needy. This was a city where evil triumphed on most days. And, Alyssa hated it. She hated this city for how broken it was. Alyssa was taught that there was a line between good and evil, but it blurred into grey. People, sometimes, had to do bad things to survive. It didn't always mean they were awful people. Sometimes a shoplifter would have a heart of solid gold and the rich neighbour in his big house and perched on his high horse would be the arrogant prick who laughed in the face of the helpless and turned a blind eye to the chaos. The world was a backwards place; but, Gotham was even worse. And, if Alyssa was destined for anything, she would help clean this damned city up. It was one of the main things she planned to do when she actually grew up. Even if she couldn't use the powers she was taught, born with, she'd find a way. A hero was what the city needed and if Alyssa was going to be anything, it would be that.

The child had inched her way out from behind the filthy bins, still incredibly fearful. Alyssa offered a warm, friendly smile and waited patiently. Alyssa didn't want to scare her away again, so she took her time. She was slow and hesitant. Any loud noises or sharp, abrupt movements might startle her.
"Your knee is bleeding." Alyssa commented, eyes drawn to the blood drying on her kneecap. She must have caught it on some broken glass or tripped over at some point. "Does it hurt?" Stupid question. The little girl stalled with her answer, childish fingers gripping the edge of her stained pearl-white dress. Mute, she nodded once again. With a sigh, Alyssa bent her head to get a better look at the cut. It didn't look too deep, but it was covered in gravel and dirt.
"May I take a look?" Her azure eyes ignited with fear. Alyssa smiled again. "I'm not going to hurt you, I promise. I can fix it." The girl remained silent. Bruce watched the encounter, still nearby Alyssa, hands shoved in the pockets of his trousers. He allowed her to do her thing, as she had a better aptitude with children. Cautiously, the girl finally moved over, her brunette pigtails knotty and loose. She sat a few feet away and Alyssa hummed. She brushed a strand of her fiery ginger hair from her emerald eyes. Apparently, that meant a yes. Alyssa moved her hand and hovered it over the broken skin.
"Percuro." Alyssa's voice was soft as she spoke the dead language. The mere word made shimmering blue lines form on her arm, twirling and twisting as they crossed her skin. Alyssa focused her attention, feeling the heat pool in the palm of her hand. With a mental push, the beam of soft blue light landed on the little girl's kneecap, covering her skin. She didn't flinch away. The colour and the magic seemed to captivate her; kept her distracted while the skin healed over. It wasn't the deepest of cuts, so it didn't take very long. As soon as Alyssa noticed it was done, she pulled her hand away and her glowing palm dulled down to nothing.
"There, all better." Alyssa straightened up. "How about we get you back to your mom? She'll be worried sick." She offered a hand and the girl got up, dusting the gravel off her knee. Her small hand gripped Alyssa's and she moved to stand close by her side.
"Good girl. C'mon then." And with that, she walked slowly with the girl clinging to her hand and Bruce trailing behind, a smile pasted across his lips.

It took a good fifteen minutes to get back to the bank. Red and blue lights were still flashing, casting their colours onto buildings. It seemed they were still clearing up and treating any injured, police cars and a few ambulances littering the closed off roads. Alyssa had had to pick the girl up at one point as she seemed to grow tired. Her hold on her was firm but gentle and the kid seemed to enjoy not walking.
"I never asked for your name," Alyssa realised, giving the girl a smile. "How very rude of me. I'm Alyssa. What's yours?" The girl was silent, strands of her mousy brown hair blowing into her eyes.
"Ella." Her young voice was meek and quiet, but she spoke. Alyssa adjusted her hold and smiled once again.
"That's a very pretty name." She replied. The girl, Ella, gave a shy smile, diverting her gaze to Alyssa's grey cardigan. Ella wriggled and Alyssa took the hint, stooping down to place her on the ground. She took hold of Alyssa's hand and dragged her towards a woman sat in the back of an ambulance, wrapped up in a blanket. She tugged harder, forcing Alyssa to throw Bruce and apologetic look over her shoulder, and quicken her pace. Ignoring the spike of affection that clouded his aura, Alyssa realised why Ella was tugging. It wasn't much longer before she let go of Alyssa's fingers and took off running.
"Mom, Mom!" She hollered at the top of her little lungs. The woman lifted her head and her face positively radiated her relief. She tossed the blanket off and moved to run over, scooping her daughter up like she weighed nothing. Without hesitation, she peppered kisses all over her face, much to Ella's disgruntlement.
"Ella!" She sighed, hugging her tightly to her shoulder, throwing Alyssa a relieved and grateful look. She was completely lost for words. "Thank you." Alyssa grinned and snapped her fingers, a crisp dollar appearing between them. She handed it to Ellia, who took it cautiously.
"The sugar rush might help chill you out."
"Thank you, Miss Alyssa." Alyssa rocked back on her heels and grinned once again.
"You're very welcome, little one." She responded, tone soft. "You be a good girl for your mom, 'kay?" Ella nodded vigorously while Bruce retrieved the blanket and handed it to her mother. With that, she gestured with her head and Bruce followed, walking back down the street.

This was how it was meant to be. Happy. Heroic. Alyssa was the Gotham girl who used magic for the better of mankind; she used it for good. She'd go to the orphanage and perform little magic shows, just to lighten up their dreary lives. She'd use her magic to pop kittens and puppies into existence and then hand them out to lonely people who she knew would look after them. Alyssa would do anything in her power to be one of the good guys. Help the homeless, babysit. Whatever she could do that would benefit others, she'd try her best to do it. Alyssa was an unsung hero who didn't do it for recognition. She didn't do it for the money or fame. She did it because she wanted to. One day, she'd be a hero. That was how it was meant to be. But life has a funny way of changing fate.
A few weeks later, she was gone. She'd left with no explanation, a painful goodbye. Without her, Gotham was dark and empty once again. Its light had left.

***

Years Later...
The night was dark and sombre; cold and wet. Gotham rarely ever saw sunlight. If it wasn't raining, it was just cloudy. Gloomy. The summery, warm days were rare. It was always cold. Things never seemed to change. bruce was crouched on the edge of a block of flats, peering out onto the streets below him. A few cars drove by here and there, the headlights piercing through the darkness of the night. It was a quiet night, for once. Other than an attempted mugging, it had been reasonably sound. Which was rare, considering the criminals. And considering Gotham was known to have one hell of a high crime rate; even with Bruce parading around as a giant bat. But, he managed. He had help to call upon whenever he needed or wanted it; which, wasn't very often. Bruce knew he worked better alone. He had done for years. Ears twitching towards the sound of a woman's voice echoing nearby, Bruce turned his head.
"Seems like Gotham never changed." Her voice was loud but soft all at once, holding an Irish accent. She sounded bored, voice lacking any emotion. "Move aside." The tone had grown harsher. Something was off about it. Robin's head twisted from where he was doing handstands. He'd been so quiet, Bruce had almost forgotten he was there. Dick twisted to land on his feet gracefully, dusting the loose bits of gravel from his gloved hands.
"Sounds like someone's in trouble." He spoke up, his young voice breaking the silence. Bruce practically glided to his feet, continuing to listen to the woman as she grumbled in a frustrated manner. His black cape swished as he moved forward, choosing not to respond to him. He would handle it. It would be quick and easy like muggings usually were. Following the sound of the voices, Bruce began to formulate a plan of action while Robin kept close to his side.

The sounds of punching filled the cold air as Bruce dropped down from his vantage point, landing silently near some grimy trashcans. Robin followed suit, landing just as quietly, as gracefully. His masked eyes widened as he peered out from his spot near the bins. The woman seemed to have handled the situation herself. One of the thugs was knocked clean out, blood spattered across his face. The other was pinned against the filthy wall by the woman Bruce must have heard. The woman was at least a foot shorter than the thug, but she was keeping him pinned there like it meant nothing. Her white hair was barely tousled from the fight, still straight and perfect, shimmering in the dull street light that reflected onto the pair like a spotlight. Her hair was such a unique colour, Bruce noted. It wasn't every day he saw someone with vivid white hair. She twisted his arm further up his back, causing him to groan.
"Do you know who she is?" The woman spat irritation lacing into her tone. He didn't answer. His silence only made her twist harder, making him cry out once again. "Answer me or I will break it."
"No, please, don't-" he managed to choke out, his voice conveying the pain he was in. "I don't know her, I swear!" The woman was silent for a few seconds before she exhaled and released her hold. She stepped back and he scrambled to turn around and face her, nursing his sore arm.
"You're telling to truth," she sighed heavily, looking at her nails. "I am a woman of my word. I won't hurt you. Now, take your mate and stay out of my way." Without any sort of hesitation, he grabbed his unconscious friend and dragged him out of the dirty alleyway, whispering for him to wake up. The woman adjusted her floor-length, blood red skirt and kicked at the ground casually.
"I know you're there, Bruce." Her voice nearly made him jump. "Come out. I don't bite." How did she know who he was? He'd never seen this woman before in his life. Without a word, Bruce stepped out of the darkness. Now he was closer, he could get a better look at her. She was beautiful; devastatingly so. Her hair was definitely snow white, her eyes a deep shade of emerald green. Her skin was almost ashen, with a delicate blush dusted on her high cheekbones. She was almost...etheral. Her lips were painted a dark shade of rouge and the parted in a friendly smile, her hands raised.
"Lovely to see you." Her Irish accent was heavier than it had sounded before. Bruce glowered at her, his jaw clenching.
"How do you know who I am?" His tone was caustic and his voice was low. The woman scoffed. the sound loud and obnoxious. She rested her hand over her chest as she pouted playfully; tauntingly.
"Is that how you greet an old friend, Brucie?" He nearly choked. His eyes widened and he felt the shock hit him hard.
"Alyssa?"

Her lips parted once again as she went to speak, but a gunshot rang out. Alyssa let out a small hiss of surprise and blood sprayed from her arm. A throaty yell broke the silence and Bruce looked up when Robin pounced on the gunman. From the clothing and gruff tone, Bruce realised it was the thugs Alyssa had beaten. Seeing Dick handling the men with ease, Bruce snatched hold of Alyssa and pulled her against his chest, using his free hand to yank his grapple gun free. They zipped up and he landed on top of a building and he placed her down as gently as he could. She exhaled, tugging at the sleeve of her dress. Blood coated the pale skin of her forearm and she pulled the bullet free and tossed it away with a huff. The injury healed over, much to Bruce's bewilderment. Magic was still fascinating to him; just like it was back then. Back when the two worked as a team. Back when it was just them against the world. Back when they were kids who just wanted to make the world a better place.
"I didn't need your help, but the offer was appreciated." Alyssa dusted herself down, tutting as she put her finger through her torn sleeve. "Dammit." Bruce slipped his grapple away and pulled his mask back, revealing his face.
"You've...changed." Alyssa looked mildly hurt for a second, but the look was replaced with something he didn't recognize.
"As have you."
"What happened to you?" Bruce wanted to know. Alyssa had been gone for years. She was once a girl with a big heart, a girl who made people happy. She planned on making the world a better place for everyone. This Alyssa was different. And it wasn't just her looks. Her personality had altered in a way he didn't understand. He didn't like it; or trust, for that matter.
"I found who I was meant to be." She replied, voice sharp. He would have asked again, the answer too vague for his liking, but the tone of her voice made him understand the topic was off-limits.
"Who are you looking for?" Alyssa clenched her jaw. But, a sly grin spread across her face, one Bruce didn't like. It was spiteful and felt...wrong.
"That's for me to know and you to work out. You are the great detective Gotham loves to hate." Of course. Bruce sighed heavily, growing more agitated. This was wrong. She was wrong. This wasn't who Alyssa was; wasn't who she used to be. What happened?
"You're different. You aren't who I used to know." Alyssa scoffed again, the sound full of hostility.
"Shame. That Alyssa has been dead for years, Brucie. I'm better as I am now. She was weak and pathetic." Bruce wanted to punch her, as much as he wasn't fond of hitting women. This definitely wasn't the Alyssa he knew; she was hateful and cruel. This wasn't his Alyssa. This wasn't the Alyssa who he grew up with, who he had planned so many things with. This wasn't the Alyssa who kissed him goodbye the night she left for good, all those years ago. The Alyssa he knew was determined and strong-willed. Kind-hearted and selfless. She was never weak. She was never...this.
"What are you talking about?" Bruce felt like a kid with too many questions. He felt like the teenager she left behind. "You weren't weak. Or pathetic. You were perfect. Gotham loved you!" Alyssa let out a flat, empty chuckle. Devoid of humour. Emotion. She didn't give a damn about what he thought. A cruel smile fell across her painted lips.
"So did you." Bruce felt like he'd been slapped. He gritted his teeth and remained silent. He couldn't retort because she was right. He loved her, back then. She sashayed closer to him. She was still shorter than he was, so he craned his neck to look down at her flawless face.
"You and I are so very different now," her voice was low, full of indifference. "It's a shame you never tried to find me after I left. You forgot." He never forgot. He just didn't know where to start. "Maybe I'd still be the same Alyssa you cared so much about." And again, he felt like he'd been punched. Her lips parted as she smirked, knowing she'd gotten under his skin. Her scarlet heels clicked on the roof as she walked away, a sultry swing in her hips. She turned, practically silhouetted against the moonlight.
"I must be off. I have a daughter to find and, well...kill." She waggled her fingers in a sarcastic wave. "We'll meet again, Bruce." And with that, she faced the moon and stepped off the edge.

***

Bruce nearly tripped over his cape as he sprinted to the edge of the building, ready to leap off after her. Was she out of her mind? Peering over, he saw her land elegantly, skirts fluttering before hanging back to her ankles. There was no cry of pain. There was nothing. She was completely unharmed, even though she jumped from about fifty feet. As if she knew he was watching her, Alyssa straightened up and blew him a kiss. And then she was gone. Just like that, she disappeared into thin air. Bruce blinked in surprise. Clearly, she had more tricks up her sleeves. As if she hadn't surprised him enough; especially when they were friends. He thought she'd shown him everything she knew. However, now, she knew more than he ever would. Gravel crunched under feet as Dick revealed himself, looking over the edge. He scanned the empty street. Bruce had stuck to his memory. The image of her figure-hugging red dress glued to the forefront of his mind.
"Hey, where'd she go?" Dick muttered, more to himself than to Bruce. "She got away." He bounced on the balls of his feet, ready to give chase. Bruce couldn't focus on finding her. All he could think about was her retreated back, the toned muscles of her shoulders, the swing in her curved hips. How her white hair glimmered in the moonlight, blew back in the breeze. She was so much different now.
"Let her go." Dick hesitated, frowning at him.
"Wait, what? Why?"
"She hasn't done anything wrong." Yet. Whoever her daughter was, she was going to be in trouble. Who would kill their own child? What had she done to deserve Alyssa's hatred? What had Alyssa become? Dick grumbled, kicking at the gravel. He was bored by the lack of activity, apparently.
"Who was she? You seemed to know her." His young mind was always so curious, always bursting with questions. But, Bruce was still reeling from her reappearance. And this was a never best left untouched. It would be a story for another time; once he'd had time to think things over.
"Yes," Bruce answered, not seeing the point in lying to the boy. He spun on his heel, pulling his mask back over his face. Grabbing his grapple gun once again, he made a move to jump off the other edge of the building. It was time to call it a night. Bruce needed to think. He sighed and glanced at Robin, who was still peering at him in curiosity. There were so many things Dick didn't know about Bruce, and Bruce knew he wanted to know them.
"I knew her. Once." Dick seemed to take the stricter, colder tone as an answer to stop pushing. Bruce aimed his gun for the next building and fired, hearing it hiss. Alyssa was going to be great. She was a better hero than he could have been. But life had dragged them down different paths. They'd both changed. Bruce felt her words still bite at him, felt the regret tug at him. He chose to push it away. Maybe she was right. He should have tried to find her. Maybe they would have been together again. Maybe they would have been a team again. Just like before.

But, life had a funny way of changing fate; he learned that the day she left.
And it was never for the better.

Chapter Text

A snort broke the silence as the lights flickered into life. A heavy bag hit the flooring with a dull thump and footsteps followed; light and stealthy. Roy Harper placed his bow down carefully by the discarded bag and lifted his gaze to watch Sasha make her way towards the nearest piece of gym equipment. There was a slight swing in her hips as she moved, humming a tune to herself. Sasha was in a cheery mood this evening, it seemed, as she pranced about the base. Her slate grey tank top rode up slightly as she stretched, revealing the base of her abs; the shirt was tight and her ponytail was tighter. Sasha wasn't dressed provocatively. She was just dressed in her sports gear. Roy drifted across the base's floor and sat in Felicity's empty chair, spinning round in boredom.
"Do you seriously have to work out now?" The man whined, tossing his head back to rest it against the black leather of the computer chair. When she turned to look at him, he gave her a playful pout. Roy watched the way the lighting slipped through the loose strands of her golden blonde hair, the red streak running through her fringe eye-catching. Her sharp grey eyes were alight with a gentle sense of amusement as she cracked her back, standing on her tiptoes as she stretched once again. She let out a musical laugh and moved towards him, away from the beaten tan leather punching bag. Her ponytail swung lazily as she plopped herself down onto the cold metal of the table behind Roy.

The archer hummed and spun his chair around to face the half-angel, who had a gentle smile pasted across her bow-shaped lips.
"Mm, I guess it couldn't hurt to chill out for a bit." She responded, pulling the hair tie free from her long, thick hair. It tumbled down past her toned shoulders, catching the light as she ran her slender fingers through it roughly to style it and fix her scarlet red fringe. Her grey eyes shimmered with amusement as she pulled her phone from her bag using her magic. While she browsed, eyes keen with interest, Roy couldn't help but observe. She was one hell of a beautiful lady. She may not have been the most refined or the type who wore expensively sexy dresses to impress the youngest, richest bachelor, but she was still damn well gorgeous. She was superb, she was everything a man could ever wish for; could ever want. Sure, she was a stunner and her inner angel was the most flexible person he'd ever seen. Sasha was unique. She could kick some serious ass. Sasha wasn't like many other women; especially the pretty ones. Sasha swore like a sailor, smoked like a trooper and could move like a damn showgirl. But, that wasn't all that mattered. Looks were never anything. Roy had seen some of the most beautiful women whose hearts were colder than ice. But, Sasha? She was...different. She was the definition of magic. She was never anything less than magical.

He lazily tossed a ball of crumpled up paper at her and heard her scoff when it ricocheted off her forehead. A sly grin formed on his chapped lips as her eyes shot up to meet his.
"Dude, the fuck?" A short laugh escaped her lips and, God, Roy would never hate that sound. It was his favourite sound. Sasha was upbeat, most of the time, always finding something to cackle about. Roy appreciated it. She was the lighthouse in his life. She was practically his sunlight. She was everything he needed in a friend, and more. She had swooped into his hellhole of a life in the nick of time, right when he needed someone the most. They'd only been friends for a short period of time (two years), but the archer felt like he'd known her his entire life. When he first met her, he was in an awful mood, Oliver was being a broody bastard and she was just...there; the newest recruit to Oliver's little vigilante club. At first, he hated her. There was never an actual reason for his spite, he just wanted something to be mad at. That didn't deter her. Sasha still went out of her way to befriend him. And, Roy was happy that she was stubborn enough to do so. He'd never been happier. With her, his little world was brighter.

When she was gone, it was still...well, it was fine. He only got bored easily, and that sense was worse when she wasn't around. He'd feel a little more lonely. But, Sasha was only a call or text away. He'd always see her later. Whether Sasha was by his side or not, Roy was never truly alone. And, he was overjoyed with that fact. That her friendship-the bond the two shared-was strong enough to do that. Sasha was a strange woman, something he respected and admired. Her weird contradictions were what lured him into this beautiful friendship, anyway. Sasha was bloodthirsty but gentle. She was soft-spoken but overbearingly loud. Loyal, but cunning. Optimistic, but cynical. Cruel, but kind. She was a total mess of untamed chaos, but it somehow made her even better. She was his best friend. He adored her and every little thing she did. With her, his world was alive with vibrant colour and positive feelings. With her, his world was alight with the power of hopefulness. With her, he understood what happiness felt like. Roy watched as she tossed paper back at him, it making a soft impact as it bounced off his dark red hoodie. He snorted and picked it up, chuckling at her. The pair tossed the paper this way and that, back and forth, the sounds of the immature and childish laughing filling the silence that had fallen. Roy truly did understand joy because he was, finally, happy. And it was all because of her. Her eyes were lit up with pleasure, her lips twisted into a grin, another musical laugh filling the air as she giggled. Roy ingrained that perfect sight into his memory. He loved her. He loved her fiercely. And no matter how close he got...it was never enough.

***

There were moments when his light would be stuck in her own personal darkness. And Roy detested it. She suffered for years under the Court. Her life was awful before she managed to escape their clutches. She was raised to be an assassin, a stone-cold killer. She lost everyone she cared about; even her own life, eventually. And Roy had a bitter hatred that aimed directly at John Constantine. He was the main cause of her mental anguish, her inner torment. Constantine was nothing but a selfish bastard. All he ever cared about was himself. And Sasha was just another pawn in his games. After she died in New York, all she was left with was the trauma. Her nightmares could be awful and wildly terrifying and Roy would be the one to get the panicked phone calls in the middle of the night. He would drive to her house, let himself in and find her hidden away in her blankets. He'd hold her until she relaxed, remind her that she was safe. Her murder caused that. Her inner angel managed to bring her back to life. It healed her injuries, her wounds. But, the trauma could not be repaired; it could barely be eased. Now, here the two were. Stuck in a darkened warehouse, wrapping up after the entity Constantine summoned. The symbol Roy didn't understand was charred and burnt into the dirtied ground. It reeked of incense; it made Roy feel nauseous. The demon had been sent back to where belonged with a perfectly timed arrow.

Now the fight was over, Roy could catch his breath. But, Sasha was nowhere to be seen. She did get her ass handed to her by that hell-spawn. Roy span around in wild circles, looking for her. He spotted black ripped jeans through the rubble and his legs moved faster than his brain. He stumbled over bits and pieces of broken wood, concrete, and skidded to a stop by her still figure. Her smokey grey wings were bent and broken, the feathers singed and snapped. Her hair was knotted and clotted with scarlet, the head wound gaping and ugly. Her grey eyes slid this way and that as she lost her focus.
"Sasha?" His voice was quiet. Her left side was gashed. blood pooling around her, making the concrete sticky. The demon clearly managed to get the upper hand before she did. Before Roy stepped in to help. Before Constantine did her dirty. And, that was her fatal flaw. Her forgiveness. Her ways with Constantine...led her to here and now. That moment here being her mortality slapping her in the face. The archer felt his world crumbling back down to its foundations, the world he'd built with her. There was no chance she'd make it out of here alive. He felt his heart ache fiercely as Sasha's bruised slender hand tightened on his shoulder, the material of his jacket going tight as she pulled on it. He hadn't even noticed she'd moved her hand. He should have seen this downfall coming. She was his best friend, someone he loved dearly. But, Roy should have known better. Happiness was sweeter than fresh honey, it was always so vividly colourful. But, happiness was never forever. The pain was a bitter truth, whereas happiness was a beautiful lie.

"Angel?" His heart dropped when Sasha finally went limp, a smeared handprint left behind, blood staining his jacket as it slid down and dropped onto his lap. Roy looked up sharply, eyes scanning the abandoned warehouse. Constantine was gone. That was expected. He was nothing but a coward. It was his fault that Sasha got hurt. It was his fault she just fucking died. Roy didn't even have it in him to cry. He would. He'd go back to his run-down apartment and open the door and see that she wasn't there, sat on his scruffy sofa, eyes blank as she watched him drop his things and grumble about Oliver being a douchebag. She'd throw him a beer and laugh if he missed it, using her magic to catch it before the glass bottle shattered over the floor. He'd break down then. For now, his eyes were dry. Empty. Devoid of feeling. He scooped her up into his arms and exhaled. She felt heavier than normal. Her once gorgeous grey eyes were wide and devoid of the life he'd come to know, staring straight ahead. Empty. Just like Roy. Empty empty empty empt-

The scent of copper was making Roy feel even worse and he felt his jacket stuck to his arms. He tried not to look. Tried no think about it. His stomach twisted and he heard it gurgle; he wanted to vomit up an entire week's breakfast, but he held it back. The building was silent as he made his way out, into the icy night air. Everything was grey. He felt grey. His heart was grey. The sound of his breathing filled his head, the gravel crunching under his feet. Someone once asked Roy if there was such a thing as magic. Roy had told them yes. It was a magnificent thing. It was sacramental words, intricate symbols, skilful hand gestures. Sasha was the definition of magic. Sasha was his magic. But, if asked again; he had the answer prepared like a shitty speech. Only if they wanted there to be.
Only if they wanted it.

Chapter Text

"This is it." Quinn murmured to Killer Frost. The other woman nodded, snow white hair swinging with the movement. Quinn's power ring let out a gentle emerald green glow as she clenched her fist, eyes narrowed under her mask. Cicada twirled his dagger in a taunting manner, as she and Killer Frost stood together. God only knows where Barry was. He had his ass handed to him by Cicada. Crumpled in a heap, hidden behind some boxes; Quinn did see him go flying. Where he landed exactly, she didn't know. He was fine, though. Of course; if he wasn't she wouldn't be stood by Frost. She'd be helping him, aiding his injuries. All that mattered now was taking Cicada down. His dagger didn't affect Quinn and Frost the way it affected the other metas; she wasn't a meta, to be fair. Quinn's powers were not given to her in a freak accident. The ring sought her out because of who she was. Her willpower. A Green Lantern, as she learned they were called, died somewhere and the ring chose to seek out its new host; it settled to choose Quinn. Of course, she was reluctant and sceptical, considering she wasn't made to be a hero; at least, not in the superpowered sense. Quinn was a hero in her own way like many other civilians were. Medical professionals, the fire department, the police force. Everyone could be a hero if they did the slightest thing differently. If they did something to save or help another; even if it was just walking an old lady across a busy street. Parents raising their children, single parents, step-parents (who weren't total assholes) to be better, to have a happy childhood. Heroes were not defined by the powers they possessed. They were defined by the paths they take; the things they choose to do.

For now, it was just Frost and Quinn against the psycho who used his dagger to block out meta-human powers. They were the only two, holding him off to let the other metas get to safety in the chopper that was hovering outside, picking them up. But they could do it. They were strong enough to take him on. They had each other's backs. Killer Frost wasn't as cold as she seemed; she protected Quinn and Barry when Cicada had the upper hand. Quinn took a deep breath, too soothe her racing mind. She could totally kick this guy's ass. All she had to do was remind herself of what this man had done. All she had to do was think about the lives he'd taken. The metas who died because of him and that damned blade. He killed the metas because of the powers they didn't ask for. Those metas could have been better people. They didn't deserve to die. Hero or villain, they were people. And, despite the crimes they may have committed, they deserved to live. She became a doctor to put her genius to good use. Helping people was all she ever wanted to do. It wasn't just a flimsy wish she had as a kid. She was a kid with big plans. And when she got older, those big plans became a reality. Quinn took an oath to save lives and that was exactly what she was going to do. Cicada's eyes flicked over the two women and he didn't hesitate to slam his dagger into the concrete. Without hesitation, Quinn's ring lit up with what she wanted displaying in her mind's eye. A shimmering green forcefield formed in front of the pair in a last-ditch attempt to stop them getting tossed across the building like paper aeroplanes. Frost's silvery-blue eyes held a look of confusion.
"Is that even going to work?" Her voice sounded flat. Quinn clenched her jaw. She wasn't used to her ring yet; it still required a lot of thought.
"I really need to focus right now, Frosty." She took the hint and went quiet, hands clouded with ice. The shockwave of dark matter slammed into the shield, cracking it ever so slightly. But...it didn't break. The two were still up and standing, totally unaffected. Quinn glanced at Frost, who was just as surprised as she was.
"Holy crap, it actually worked!" Quinn made the shield disappear, it evaporating into thin air. Her lips twisted into a cocky smirk. "You ready for this?" Frost only smirked back, the frost in her hands extending into clear and sharp icicles. The two women returned their attention to Cicada. Frost tilted her head.
"Let's dance, cricket freak."

***

Her closed fist shone a bright shade of emerald and the two took turns to attack Cicada while he was distracted. He would slash his dagger at Quinn but never managed to land a hit. Her mind worked faster than he could move. Her ring was forming different plans and ideas constantly. For now, she settled on gauntlets to protect her wrists when she'd go on the defensive. Green sparks would fly every time the dagger connected. It didn't bother Quinn. She was focused on her ring and kept her mind open for new ideas. Kicking Cicada's ass was easier said than done. He was much taller and bigger than her. She had to rely on tiring him out more than attacking. Frost held herself well when Quinn would zip back from his attacks. She'd made him bleed. The tip of one of her icicles was slick with scarlet, and it sure as hell wasn't Caitlin who was bleeding. Boxes shifted and Quinn heard Barry grumble as he clambered to his feet. Cicada could see he was fighting a losing battle. He was versing two women who his blade couldn't mess with and a speedster who was more than ready to kick some sense into him. Slamming his blade into the ground once again, a crackling orange shockwave slammed into all three heroes. Quinn wasn't prepared for that one. None of them were.

With a bewildered yelp, Quinn flew through the air, unable to pull herself free or fly to safety. She slammed into a wall, spine aching on impact. Winded, Quinn landed awkwardly on her knees, a grimace forming on her face. Blowing a strand of hair from her masked eyes, she rubbed her back.
"Ow, okay. Didn't see that one coming." She mumbled to herself. Quinn got up and moved to help Barry, giving him a once over. He seemed fine, physically. Just a tad disoriented.
"Barry, you still with me?" She asked. He nodded, shaking his head clear. "I'm gonna go help Ralph with the metas. If anyone gets injured, it's best if I'm there." Barry didn't question her. He had faith in her; Quinn knew that. He nodded his head once again, grunting a response. She could understand why. Those shockwaves he sent out with his dumb dagger were somehow able to affect everyone; not just metas. Taking a running jump, Quinn avoided Cicada and zipped off into the air, escaping the building and hovering near the helicopter. Ralph gave her a tight, worried smile, using his powers to reach down and lift the metas up. Quinn's ring sputtered and she raised an eyebrow. It sputtered once again before the light vanished; along with her suit. And her powers. She managed to slow her descent before slamming onto the concrete. Quinn flinched, knees aching with the force; she'd definitely skinned them on impact.
"You okay?" Ralph's voice barely reached her over the sound of the helicopter. She must have used up the power supply with the shield she'd made. Never mind, she could recharge it. For now, she could manage without it. Quinn was capable.
"I'm okay, Ralph. Get the last few metas. Then me."
"I'm already on it." Her ginger hair was whipping this way and that due to the chopper's whirring blades, the sound filling the air around them. She didn't see Cicada's blade until it hit her. With a pained shriek, she stumbled forward, slamming straight into Norvock. The blade didn't stop moving and Ralph yanked both of them up and out of the way. Once on the helicopter, Quinn scrambled out of Norvock's hold and pressed herself against the nearest part of the chopper, away from the door. Her hand locked over her side and she whined.
"Quinn, you okay?" She didn't answer Ralph, her mind blurred with pain.
"She got clipped by his dagger." Norvock glanced at her with his good eye. Quinn grimaced, breath shuddering as she exhaled.
"I'll be okay once I get back to STAR Labs." Ralph chewed on his lip in concern, eyes directed at the blood seeping through Quinn's blouse. If her ring hadn't died, she might have had some protection. Her suit could have blocked it. But...alas, she was left standing in her work clothes. Not very good at blocking sharp objects. She'd be okay. She just needed to focus and keep pressure on the wound.

***

Cicada's dagger had done more damage than Quinn realised. But Caitlin did her best and patched her up, keeping an eye on her as she slept off the sedatives. It would be a slow healing process...but, she did. Once Quinn had recovered enough from the injury, she was immediately back to work; something that the rest of Team Flash weren't too fond on. The injury was severe; it could have been fatal if left untreated for too long. Nora managed to get Barry to snap out of his blinding anger while Ralph had to watch Quinn struggle to sort herself out, rouge staining her favourite shirt. Cicada managed to get away; while Nora talked Barry back, Cicada picked himself up and made his escape. He'd been quiet for the last two weeks, but everyone knew he'd come back to deliver more pain and cause more carnage. In the moments landed back at the lab, using Ralph as her anchor, Quinn knew the team were scared. She'd been with them since the beginning, since Barry first got his powers. Losing her would be like losing a part of themselves. Caitlin switched from Killer Frost and immediately went to aid Quinn while Barry paced this way and that, eyes clouded with his concern. She made it. The cut was deep and jagged, but it would heal. It would just take time. Something Quinn wasn't fond on.

And, time did pass. It'd been dot on two weeks. Right now? She was back at work. She wasn't as quick as she used to be, before the whole ordeal. She would move slower and sleep that little bit longer. The rest of the team decided that they'd only let her join on things that would be effortless and forced her to sit out of anything that was too physical and/or dangerous. Barry would have to persuade her to sit out, which wasn't an easy task. She was stubborn and protective. And a constantworrier. She'd eventually relent and grumble to Cecile until they returned, Cecile taking the brunt of the conversation; but the woman seemed to enjoy the company, offering Quinn consoling words to soothe her and stop her pacing around. It would only tire her out more. Quinn was still slowly getting back into the swing of things. A fresh, bruised scar lined her skin and she thought it was pretty badass. Caitlin had mentioned that Killer Frost regretted not stopping the blade sooner; Quinn didn't mind. Frosty couldn't have known Quinn was going to get caught in the line of fire. Then again, neither did Quinn. But it was fine. Quinn lived to tell the tale and would have one hell of a sick scar. It was the price she chose to pay for helping people. She was technically a superhero now. They couldn't win every fight. Quinn felt fine and she'd heal.

Once things had settled back to normal and Quinn was getting back to her peak physical fitness, she started getting back into exercise. Nothing too much; just gentle stretches and meditation. She had daily checkups with Caitlin. She was almost ready for actual combat. Barry would watch her like a hawk and Quinn thought it was endearing. She found that all she could think about was Barry. How his hair would be all tousled after speeding around everywhere. How his blue eyes glittered, how they conveyed every tiny thing he felt or thought, whether he cared to notice it or not. Quinn would catch herself thinking of how Barry made her feel. How she felt her heart almost skip a beat when she saw the speedster smiling or when Barry would address and talk to her about anything. Quinn would daydream about him like a teenager and often wondered if his hair was as soft it looked. And when she was sat catching up with Cecile and Joe, she realised. So did Cecile. Her dark eyes lit up with joy and Quinn raised a finger.
"Don't. You. Dare." Quinn warned. Cecile grinned and Joe raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Oh, my God, Cecile." She shrugged plainly, clasping her hands on her lap.
"You're the one thinking about Barry. Again." Joe turned his attention to Quinn, who threw her head back with a throaty groan. Joe smiled kindly and let out a low rumble of a laugh.
"What's funny, West?" Quinn crossed her arms and glowered gently at them.
"What, you thought it wasn't obvious?" Quinn nearly fell off her chair, eyes wider than saucers.
"You knew?"
"Quinn, I've seen how you look at him." Joe gave her a gentle smile. "He might not know. But I knew from the start." Quinn gave him a shy smile, cheeks burning red.
"Go and talk to him!" Cecile bounced in her seat with her excitement. Quinn rolled her eyes in an amused fashion. How very cliche. She slid off the stool and rolled her shoulders.
"Not today. Maybe tomorrow." She wandered out of the room, listening to Cecile groan in displeasure.

***

Her office was silent for once. All the could be heard was the sound of her keys clicking as Quinn tried to finish typing up some information she'd taken about Cicada. She'd run the tests tomorrow; all she was doing right now was taking notes. It was all she really needed. The rest was more of a team effort. While the rest of the team had settled and gone home, calling it a night, Quinn had stayed back. Quinn thought it was best to at least sit in for a little while longer; at least, while she had the energy to finish up the notes. She'd missed a few things and didn't exactly have the time to do so when she was bedridden. Quinn was feeling a lot better, but she still got fatigued easily if she over-worked herself; which never used to happen before. Quinn was still recovering. She'd get back to her normal self in a few weeks. It would just be a little while. She hated the feeling. She didn't feel as useful as she was before. Caitlin was the main one dealing with the injuries that the team sustained while Quinn rested. She hated not being able to help like she normally did. Exhaling, Quinn moved her glasses and rubbed her stinging eyes. A slight tap on the door made her look up sharply, moving her fingers to see who it was. Barry smiled when he noticed she'd looked up and stepped in, pushing the door closed behind him. Her cheeks flushed scarlet; she could feel the heat pulsing through her face. He threw her another soft smile and leaned on the wall casually. Quinn cracked her fingers and settled back in her chair, hoping he couldn't see the scarlet that coated her cheeks.
"I thought you were going home?" Barry asked, raising an eyebrow. Quinn glanced at the clock on the wall. It was well after ten in the evening. She hadn't realised how late it had gotten.
"I was just finishing some work off," she laughed at herself airily, gesturing at her computer. "Didn't realise how late it was." Barry smiled at her and ran his hand through his hair.
"Cecile said you wanted to talk to me." He spoke again, causing her to nearly choke on her next breath. "Everything okay?" Quinn looked at him with wide eyes. She knew Cecile wouldn't let it go that easily. Of course, she would try and get the two to talk it out. What did she know that Quinn didn't? Quinn faltered with her reply, fumbling with some loose papers to make herself seem busy. Barry raised an eyebrow.
"Quinn?" She chewed on the inside of her cheek, silent. Dammit, Cecile.

Quinn rubbed her eyes again and sighed heavily. It was probably best just to get it out in the open instead of hiding it. It would just mean he could let her down easy if he didn't feel the same. Then again, now Cecile had practically tossed her in the deep end, Quinn didn't have much of a choice. Continuing to rub her eyes in a tired manner, she exhaled through her teeth.
"Okay, fine, Cecile read my mind when I was thinking about you and how I feel about you and wanted me to tell you...like straight away, but I told her I'd wait. Clearly...she wasn't having that-or taking it- as an answer..." Quinn trailed off, heart hammering against her ribs. She'd spoken quickly but made sure her words were precise, even though she felt like she was stumbling through a plausible explanation blindly. She wasn't used to this. She wasn't used to feeling so much at once, especially about someone she was friends with. Quinn was better at putting feelings in compartments. She was good at dealing with them one at a time, section by section. Quinn felt things a lot stronger than some other people and she had to handle it somehow. Barry wandered over and sat on the edge of her cluttered desk, angling his head to get a better look at her. Quinn didn't look up. She didn't want to. If he didn't feel the same way towards her, this would have just been stupid. But then again...Quinn was far past the childish "I like you" stage. She was in love with him. But she wouldn't tell him that right now.
"So, you like me? Is that why you were acting weird earlier?" Barry questioned, a dorky smile painted across his face. She didn't know whether she wanted to punch him or not.
"It sounds childish when you put it like that. But...yes." She squirmed in her seat. Quinn cleared her throat and buried her face in her hands, feeling the heat radiating from her cheeks. "Look, Barry, I'm not used to feeling this way. About anyone." He hummed in acknowledgement but didn't reply.

Quinn sat up again, skimming her hand over her desk, looking for her glasses. She knew they were somewhere. With a frown, Quinn searched her desk, shifting papers. Barry grinned and reached over, pulling them from the top of her head and pushing them up her nose carefully. Her face grew hotter.
"If it counts for anything, I like you, too." Quinn stared at him, dazed.
"Wait, what?" He smiled softly.
"How about dinner? This Friday?" Quinn stood up so fast her chair nearly tipped over, hands splayed out like stars on the table. Her brain was shorting out like a faulty circuit. Barry stood by her door, patiently waiting for her answer.
"I, er...sure!" She answered, throwing him an embarrassed smile, mentally slapping herself. Really? Sure? Sounds like a fantastic answer, Quinn. Barry laughed, the sound tender and light. It made Quinn's heart do a flip. She always loved the sound of his stupid laugh. He threw her a wink and Quinn could have punched him. Again.
"Friday it is, then." And with that, he whizzed out, lightning crackling as he went. She stopped her papers from flying everywhere and sighed.
"Oh. My. God." It hit her. She had a date with Barry. A date. With Barry Allen. This Friday. She squealed and pushed the papers away. Screw her notes and the paperwork, she needed to freak out with Caitlin. Grabbing her coat hastily, she yanked it on and left her office. Time to have a drink and discuss outfits with her friend. She'd need Caitlin's help. And Iris. And Cecile. She just needed her girlfriends to help her pick an outfit that was cute. They were better at looking cute than she was. Quinn had been out of the dating game long enough. She would need her girls to give her a hand. This Friday was going to be...fun. Hopefully.