Thea woke the next morning to Sara shoving at her blanketed foot.
"C'mere," she whispered. "Don't wake Jesse up."
Thea glanced over at the alcove where Jesse was sleeping. The large room with no furniture and a bizarre amount of floor space Sara had offered them hadn't looked very inviting last night, but Thea was surprised at how well she had slept.
Sara motioned toward the door but Thea shook her head. "I'm in pajamas."
"It's fine," Sara encouraged. "We're just grabbing breakfast."
The small kitchen Sara led her to was the homiest part of the ship Thea had seen so far. It was the same sterile white and metallic as the rest of the rooms but the gleaming countertop almost reminded her of the Arrow cave.
"Pancakes?" Sara asked. "I'd offer you something else, but they're the only leftovers we have, and my cooking's even worse than Laurel's."
"I never learned," Thea admitted. "Sure."
They sat in companionable silence as Sara reheated a plate of pancakes and retrieved honey, butter, dishes, and silverware from a clusters of drawers above the microwave.
"Thanks," Thea said when Sara set a plate of pancakes in front of her and sat in the seat across the table with her own food.
"You're welcome," Sara said. "Now spill. What the problem?"
"I don't have any problem," Thea lied.
"You're having second thoughts. You wouldn't let me call you a vigilante last night, and you keep looking at everything in this ship like it's going to bite you."
"It's freaky. You laid time travel, other Earths, and a spaceship on me in the span of a couple hours." That, at least, was true.
"Yeah, I would have believed that a couple years ago maybe, but you already knew about time travel, we've both been dead before, and you spent the better part of last year fighting a magician," Sara said. "It's okay if you don't want to do the mission, but we have to have this conversation now. In a couple of hours you'll be on another Earth. Martin's great, but emotional talks aren't really his forte."
"They're not really your forte, either," Thea pointed out.
"Yeah, but I'm captain now. It goes with the territory."
Thea snorted. "Captain Lance."
Sara cracked a grin. "Yeah. Runs in the family. But seriously, Thea. You agreed way too quickly yesterday, and now it seems like you already have regrets."
Thea sighed. "I'm not Speedy anymore, Sara."
"You don't have to be. Time travel's great like that. No need to conceal your identity."
"I don't have problem with the Speedy identity. I don't know. It's Roy's costume and Ollie's name for me, I would feel bad about ditching it."
"Then what's the problem?"
"It's-" Thea huffed out a heavy breath. "I'm know I'm not a civilian. I don't want to be a civilian. I still train, not as hard, but when I have time, I do. It's just that there's a difference between having the skills and a costume in your closet and walking out the door every night knowing you're going to hurt someone."
"I get that," Sara said. "Everyone has to have a line in the sand. Especially us."
"Especially us," Thea acknowledged.
"This job is different," Sara told her. "I promise. Barry is different. Martin is different. Different from Oliver and different from me. Eat your pancakes. I slaved over a hot stove all morning."
Thea rolled her eyes and stabbed a pancake. "The mission isn't the problem."
"What's the problem then?"
"I'm the problem. Don't look at me like that, I'm not being self-depreciating. Did you know we used to have kidnapping insurance when I was a kid?"
"I didn't," Sara said. "That doesn't even sound like a real thing."
"It's real. Do you remember that I used to do archery when I was little?"
"I do," Sara said, laughing a bit at the memory. "Laurel and I tagged along to one of your competitions once."
"Ollie kind of upstages me now."
"He does. You'll kick his ass again one day."
"Of course. Anyway, I was snooping around my dad's office one day and I found some paperwork for kidnapping insurance taken out against me and Oliver. I asked Ollie if he knew about it, and he didn't, but he told me that when he was younger my parents taught him all these things to do if a kidnapper ever tried to take him. No one ever taught me any of that. They didn't want to scare me. Well, not knowing for so long just made me even more afraid, but instead of staying in a sport that was actually useful for self defense I quit archery and made my mom sign me up for horseback riding classes."
"The plight of the rich," Sara joked. "But what does it have to do with this?"
"League training," Thea said. "You've been through it."
"I did it twice, so I know it better than most."
"It's a long story."
"Yeah, anyway," Thea continued. "When Malcolm trained me, he taught me not to run from my fear. I hate him, don't get me wrong, but I'll always owe him for teaching me how to defend myself. I get now that all of you meant well when you were keeping me in the dark, but Malcolm was the only person who respected me enough to teach me to protect myself instead of just protecting me. Except the League training kind of sucks."
"It can be rough, yeah," Sara commented.
"It can, but that's not what I mean. Malcolm made me put all the fear and pain that I was feeling and put it in a box. When I came back to Star City I let myself feel a lot of my emotions again, but I never re-learned how to be properly afraid. It was great."
"Until it wasn't?" Sara guessed.
"Until it wasn't. I took a kid hostage when we were taking down Darhk. It's why I quit the team. I looked at her and realized that I went from being a kid whose parents had kidnapping insurance to a woman who kidnaps kids."
"And that scared you?"
Thea nodded. She had started to shake at some point during the conversation. She folded her hands into her lap to keep it from being too obvious, even though she knew Sara had probably already noticed. "I'm not scared of being Speedy. I know I can defend myself, and I don't think I would really hurt someone again. It's just...all I can think about right now is what Oliver is going to say at his press conference next week. I get that I have eight months to figure out what he should announce but I'm still worried."
"It's horseback riding, isn't it," Sara asked.
Sara blew away some hair that had drifted into her eyes. "If you're not scared for yourself, Thea, who are you scared for?"
"I don't know," Thea admitted. "I'm just...stuck. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm good about being Oliver's assistant, and I almost had to resign a couple of weeks ago and I just...didn't care. I didn't have any sort of back-up plan. I don't know what I would have done all day if I'd had to quit, but I didn't care."
Sara nodded and reached across the table with her knife to scoop more butter for her pancakes. "I'm the wrong person to give you advice on this. When I get stuck I have the bad habit of joining assassin organizations."
"I don't need any advice," Thea snapped. "If I wanted advice I would have paid for a therapist."
"Yeah, well, just for that I'm giving you my opinion anyway. I think that if you don't even know what's wrong with you, there's no way of making any good choices for yourself. You, my friend, need to do a little soul searching.
"Running away from everything isn't going to solve anything," Thea said, clenching her fists in her lap. "This was a mistake. I should go home and face this head on."
"You won't," Sara said knowingly. "You'll go back and start writing Ollie's speech. You're going to ride that horse off into the sunset without even knowing what you're getting away from."
"You're biased," Thea pointed out.
"Extremely, but this is still good advice. Jax is great. Wally and Jesse seem fine. Martin's a pain in the ass, but you're used to that. An elderly Barry Allen is going to show you a whole new world, and you can explore it with a couple of genetic freaks and two guys that explode into a nuclear fire monster. It'll be a blast, Thea. You're twenty-one. Go have fun."
Thea laid her head on the table so she could blink back a sudden rush of tears without Sara seeing. "You can't tell me what to do," she muttered.
"Yes, I can. I'm the captain, and this is tough love. Cook doesn't clean, so you're in charge of the dishes. I'm going to go wake everyone else up."
Sara patted Thea on the shoulder as she walked past, and Thea bit back a sob, not even sure what she was crying about.
"2056 is calling, Speedy," Sara declared, her voice fading as she entered the hall. "You're about to experience the wonders of time travel."
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