Screaming. That was all she thought she was good for. Opening her mouth and letting go of any and all sound she could muster up, hurting people, killing them. Working for the people who see her and save her and act like all she’s good for it hurting others. It wasn’t until Quentin that she saw herself differently. Saw the good she could do for people instead of the harm.
She knew that originally it was hard for him, seeing her and what she was doing and reconciling these two things. Knowing she looked just like his daughter but acted nothing like her. His daughter would never kill people because she was asked to, would never hurt someone who didn’t deserve it, or someone who couldn’t be helped.
But she didn’t think she’d come to care for Quentin. She never thought she’d actually see him as the father she never really had. Yet, she did. She went from calling him ‘daddy’ to see him squirm, to wishing she could call him anything similar and for him to hear her for what she was. A daughter who just wanted a father.
Another thing she never thought she would get was a second chance at life. After all she did, the person who gave her that shot was someone who should never have had to. Never should have felt the need to do so. But she did. She saw her and knew what Quentin believed, knew that underneath the pain and hurt and suffering she caused, there was a beating heart that ached for acceptance and love. For good. She saw it and she took over where Quentin left off, redeeming her and showing her the light. Dinah never had to do that, was the person who, out of everyone, should have been the least likely. But she saw past even the extreme pain that she caused her and knew that there was a path to redemption laying inside of her, however dormant it may be.
Dinah worked hard every day to move past Vinny’s death, to move on from seeing him die in front of her at her hand. To work side by side with the scream that killed the man she once loved. She hears it and she pairs it with her own and she forgives and forgives and forgives. Every single day. Dinah continued to treat her with the patience required to redeem her fully and completely.
No one else really understood how Dinah could do it. Not even Felicity, who believed in her so deeply that it felt almost like if Felicity believed any harder, her Earth one counterpart would rise up from within her and take over. But no one could see why Dinah was doing what she was doing. Was helping the woman that she not so long ago wanted to see dead. Wanted to kill, herself.
But to Dinah, they couldn’t see the look in her eyes when she was fighting the right side. Couldn’t see the hurt that shone in them when she was trying to be forgiven. They didn’t see how hard she fought every single day to not slide back into who she was. Or see her heart when she apologises, her heart when she forgives, her heart when she laughs at some dumb cartoon she found. Or her smile, tears in her eyes, over a photo of Quentin she keeps on her desk at work. They don’t see that like Dinah does because they’re not paying attention like she does. They ignore her or they don’t believe she can change, they don’t understand that if Dinah can forgive her, they all should find it easier than that. They should already have done so. But they take time, some of them take a lot of time.
When Oliver dies, she’s there on their side fighting. She’s there mourning the loss of another Oliver in her lifetime and another man who took her in and helped her become who she was. She met a man who was married to the Earth one version of her, she saw Quentin again and he assured her that she was exactly where she was supposed to be. She saw Nyssa again and understood the love that Nyssa holds for the women that hold the Lance name.
Most importantly, she continued to stand beside Dinah Drake. They stood together, day after day. Screaming together, fighting together, promoting justice and freedom together. And they fell together. Little by little, laugh by laugh, they fell.
The team don’t understand that, even less than they understood Dinah’s forgiveness all those months ago. They don’t quite know how Dinah went from wanting her dead to wanting her to be beside her always. They don’t know how Dinah went from fighting her at every moment to holding her up when she’s tired after a mission. From arguing to soft words, from anger to happiness. But just because they don’t understand it, doesn’t mean they don’t accept it. They watch Dinah as her face lights up when she walks into a room, sees a spark in Dinah’s eyes that they have never seen before and a love in her that shines brighter than almost anything. And in her? They see a whole bunch of things they never expected to see. They see softness, happiness, love, calmness. They see a woman who once tried to kill them all lean back into the arms of a woman who never should have forgiven her for what she did. Lean back, close her eyes and just rest. Totally at peace in the arms of a woman who loves her.
They watch as they disappear through a portal into another time to fight a battle together to save the lives of the children of Team Arrow. They watch two women who once hated one another, once fought and hurt and could barely steer themselves into the line of peace and justice hold onto one another and step into a future where they’re alone. They’re the only person the other has. And that has to be enough.
Laurel Lance steps into a future with Dinah Drake and watches their friends and family disappear behind them but knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that Dinah is her truth. After a lifetime of pain and sadness, people hurting her and no one loving her without conditions, she has found a love like nothing else. A person who will keep her right and call her out on her bullshit and love her in spite of it. Someone who is so beautifully forgiving that even the worst crime committed was forgiven. Laurel knows that she has a family now, a group of people that want her to be in their lives despite what she’s done. A group of people who wished for a different version of her to come back into their lives when Oliver died and reset the timeline. But like Quentin said, there is nothing wrong about her and she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be.
Laurel is supposed to be living a life on Earth one, going to save Star City again and living out her life in happiness with a woman who loves her against all odds.