Dinah is running.
Granted, she's used to doing the chasing, rather than being chased by someone, but she doesn't mind - even if it's becoming increasingly difficult to shake off her tail. She's taken all the normal shortcuts, but her chaser seems to know all of them just as well as she does.
Who is this Black Canary person, anyway? Five years ago when Dinah was in Starling City there was only the Green Arrow - Dinah's mother. She ensured order was kept on the city. There was no need for other vigilantes. But now there's the Black Canary, and since Dinah's been back from Lian Yu this Canary has gotten in Dinah's way a few times now. It's getting frustrating.
At last, Dinah decides to stop running, reaching behind into her quiver to fire an arrow over the Black Canary's shoulder.
"You missed," the woman says. She's wearing a knee-length black leather jacket and a mask, and she twirls the bo-staff she's holding, separating it into two pieces and holding them ready to fight.
"That was a warning," Dinah says, and she keeps her bow at the ready, prepared to fire if necessary. "Try anything and you'll regret it."
"I mean no harm, Dinah."
She knows Dinah's identity. Alarm bells start ringing immediately, and she quickly says, "Who are you?"
"Once you know, your life will never be the same," the woman replies, and Dinah can hear it now, the faint trace of a British accent that sound oh so familiar even if she hasn't heard it in over five years -
"Nyssa?" Dinah drops her bow in shock, arrow clattering to the ground. The woman doesn't say anything, just steps closer, until she's right in front of Dinah. She reaches up, and somehow Dinah doesn't flinch or move as the woman lowers Dinah's hood and takes off her mask. Then she removes her own, revealing Nyssa Raatko - ex-girlfriend of Dinah's sister, Sara.
"It is really you," breathes Nyssa. "Dinah Laurel Lance."
"What are you - but you're a - police officer!" Dinah says in disbelief.
"Detective, actually," Nyssa corrects. "And you are an assistant district attorney." She bends down, picking up Dinah's bow and handing it back to her. Dinah takes it, still in shock. "Come. Let me buy you a black and white milkshake. We can catch up on the last five years."
Dinah raises her eyebrows. "What's a black and white milkshake?"
Twenty minutes later, the two of them are dressed in normal clothes, in Rosie's Diner on Sixth Street, sipping black and white milkshakes together.
"Mm," Dinah says, "so good."
"If I were to hazard a guess, I would say they didn't have milkshakes on the island you were stranded on."
"You would be correct," Dinah replies with a smile. "So tell me, Nyssa -"
"- why on earth am I parading around the city in a mask? I could ask the same thing of you."
"That doesn't answer my question."
Nyssa smiles grimly. "Your sister was devastated when she thought you died. When we all thought you had died."
"I know she was." Dinah just looks at her expectantly, and eventually Nyssa relents.
"Since Dinah Drake left Starling City, things have been… difficult, to say the least. Without the mayor, and without the Green Arrow -"
"Wait, you're saying you knew my mother was the Green Arrow?"
"Sara told me," Nyssa says simply. "She thought there was little point to a secret identity when she was… gone. Anyway, without the Green Arrow, there was no order to the city. Starling descended into chaos. And I simply feel I can do more as the Black Canary than I could ever do as Detective Raatko."
"Even if it means risking your life even more than normal?"
"I did not know you cared, Dinah," Nyssa says, and there just a trace of bitterness there.
"That's not true," Dinah says instantly. "It's just… things are a bit awkward with us. You know. Because of Sara. That doesn't mean I don't care about you, Nyssa. Because I do."
Nyssa seems moved by that, and she shifts in her seat for a moment. There's silence, and Dinah sips at her milkshake for want of something to do.
"I appreciate that," Nyssa says at last. "And things needn't be awkward between the two of us. I made peace with what happened between Sara and I a long time ago."
"She cheated on you," Dinah says flatly. "That's not something you get over quickly."
"I am at peace with what has happened," Nyssa insists. "In answer to your question… I risk my life every day as a detective. It only seems right that I risk my life each night also as the Black Canary. Not to mention - I have had extensive training from my father, and my time in the army."
"You mean compared to me?" Dinah says with a wry smile.
And to her surprise, Nyssa reaches out until her hand is covering Dinah's. "I will not even pretend to understand the horrors you must have faced on that island. But you are traumatised, are you not? Surely you should -"
"- see a shrink?" Dinah suggests dryly.
"I was going to say 'take a moment to breathe'. You know. Before you jump into the dangerous world of vigilantism."
But Dinah shakes her head. "You don't understand."
"Then explain it to me," says Nyssa gently, and somehow the sympathy that's written all over Nyssa's face is too much to bear for Dinah. She snatches her hand out of Nyssa's grasp, wraps it around her now half-empty glass.
"I - you know what I told everyone when they found me on the island? About my mom?"
"You said she drowned," Nyssa says.
"I lied," says Dinah. "I… the crew all drowned. But we both made it onto a life raft together. We drifted for what felt like days. I don't know how long. Only there wasn't enough food and water for the both of us. So my mother - told me -" she has to bite back a sob, and there's a lump that's been forming in her throat for a while, now "- she told me she loved me. Always and forever, she said. But that I had to survive this on my own. And once I was back in Starling City I had to take up her mantle as the Green Arrow and protect our city in her name. I was pretty out of it, but then… then she threw herself headfirst into the ocean, and I had to watch my mother die knowing I could do nothing to stop it from happening."
Tears prick in Dinah's eyes but she refuses to let them fall, instead blinking them away and tearing her gaze away from Nyssa. Nyssa looks like she's at a loss for words, and when finally Dinah can bring herself to meet her eyes once more she finds that Nyssa's are shimmering too.
"I am so very sorry," she breathes. "And I know how hollow that must sound to you, so I apologise, Dinah."
"It's okay," Dinah tells her, and she means it. "But that's why I'm here. That's why I came back. I made my mother a promise. And I intend on keeping it."
"Tell me," Nyssa says, leaning forward a little, "this promise of yours… did it include working alone?"
Once again Dinah looks away. "This is my crusade. And I work better alone."
"Do you not think it prudent to have an ally or two?"
"I don't want to put you in harm's way," says Dinah.
"I am already in harm's way," Nyssa counters. "As are you. We could do so together."
"Why do you want to team up with me?"
Nyssa sighs. "Because I am tired of chasing you, and I suspect you are tired of being chased. And no doubt you could do with a friend."
"I have plenty of friends." In Dinah's mind's eye she sees Joanna, Babs, Tommy, Oliver, Mia, Sin, Tatsu.
"And how many of those friends know about your nighttime activities?"
She has her there. "Fine," Dinah says, conceding defeat. "You have a point. Okay. I'll work with you."
Nyssa smiles. "Excellent." She gets to her feet and Dinah does the same.
"One more question," Dinah says.
"How did you know it was me?"
"Well, you come back to Starling City and the next thing we know, there is a new vigilante calling herself the Green Arrow," Nyssa says. "And given I knew the identity of your predecessor, it did not take long to work out that it must be a dear old friend under that hood."
Dinah can't help but smile. "Right."
"I've missed you, Dinah," Nyssa says, and rather spontaneously Dinah steps forward and envelopes Nyssa in a warm hug. She takes Nyssa by surprise, it seems, but after a moment Nyssa hugs Dinah back.
"I missed you too, Nyssa."