She's done martial arts from an early age. Her father had always insisted that she and Sara should learn to defend themselves. It's Ted who helps her to get her grief in check and find a new focus. He also brings home a fact that she'd already been aware of: Whatever Oliver says, the truth is you don't have to survive for five years on a godforsaken island, you don't have to live with trained killers, soldiers and torturers to be good enough to make a difference.
Sara had to come back from her darkness to find a hero in herself.
Oliver is still struggling with the bad he's done. It took him years to grow from killer to the vigilante he is now.
Laurel has never been a killer. She never truly wants to become one, although the rage inside her is strong sometimes. She thinks maybe she can be what both of them had trouble being.
She misses Sara terribly. But all this time later Laurel has learned a very important lesson, about how the person who has done unforgivable wrong may not be the person who has to be brought to justice at any costs. That person might just be manipulated, forced into it by circumstance. Laurel wants to fight the root of the problem, not just the symptom.
And she wants to do it the right way. She's her father's daughter after all.
The Black Canary want to help people, be an example.
She takes out a ring of drugs dealers all on her own. It's not Vertigo, it's the normal stuff that plagues all cities. It's the first time mentions of the Black Canary make it into the papers.
She's done it on her own. No Arrow at her back. No Ted helping with the plan. Sara would be proud. Her mother is.
The next night when Laurel is watching the streets it's Nyssa who appears beside her on a rooftop, carrying her bow as always, looking dangerous and amused, as she approaches. “You better not be gearing up for a fight,” Laurel calls out to her. I'm not going to lose to you, she thinks to herself. Whoever you are.
Nyssa's mouth forms a tiny smile, giving her face a deceptively soft expression. She loved Sara, not me, Laurel reminds herself. She's a cold blooded killer if she has to. Don't ever underestimate her.
“I'm not here seeking a fight, Black Canary,” she says in her clear voice and stops only a few feet away, using the name Laurel has taken up like an honorable title. She is the Daughter of the Demon. In her world names and titles matter. Laurel inclines her head in understanding and Nyssa walks the last few steps towards her.
“Why are you here if it's not for League business?”
“I didn't say it wasn't,” Nyssa said lightly and Laurel freezes, ready to strike, as she reaches into her belt and pulls something out. Her opponent is aware of her tension, of her stance. But she smiles that small smile again as she holds out her hand, holding out something small and round and made of metal. “You've taken the name and do it honor. You should have this. My love would be proud.”
The little metallic device glints in the darkness and there is no question about what it is. Laurel knows exactly what it is.
She doesn't reach for it. “I'm wearing the name for her. Not for the League.”
Nyssa nods. “For Sara. You are the Black Canary, not Ta-er al-Sahfer. There won't be another taking her name in our ranks. This is a gift without strings.” As Laurel still doesn't move, Nyssa reaches for her hand. “It's my gift to someone who loved her as much as I did, who misses her as I do, and who honors her memory in a way that I can't. Take it.”
Not exactly at ease, but knowing that hesitating now would cause offense, she reaches out. As her her hands close around it she can admit that she wants this, has been thinking about it.
“The Canary should have a cry,” Nyssa says over her shoulder, as she moves away. “And you are a true Canary.”
Laurel nods, moving the little device around in her hand, contemplating it. There is a little girl inside her who is crying for the sister who will never come back, there is a vigilante in her who wants to activate it right here and now, just to test the newest weapon in her arsenal.
She can still hear soft steps behind her, knows Nyssa hasn't simply vanished into the night. But the night is calling her and she jumps over the roof's edge without looking back.
Crime doesn't rest. And she's ready to meet it. She's ready for people to notice. To hear her voice.
* * *
There is a burly guy in front of her who is gaping, too surprised to even get his machine rifle aimed in her general direction.
She smiles at him. There are only five of them. It's nearly unfair.
Pressing the little device in her hand, to give herself the edge she'll need, she moves and strikes, the “canary cry” echoing though the room, making her enemies double over, break more glass.
They've heard her cry. It's time to spread her wings.