Note: So my original intent in this fic was to keep it completely within the realm of canon. But about halfway through I realized that while I hadn't changed any events, the Sara I had created was different from the Sara we see in the scenes the show does give us to bookend this time they don't fill in. So, I went back and rewrote three scenes from that episode, not changing any dialogue but changing the feeling behind it, putting it in context. Plus one last little one at the end to close it out that I rather like.
I hope you enjoy!
Last night Sara had added the second post-it note.
Six months was what it took for her to fill the first, all three columns of tally marks. Six months of increasingly ridiculous workouts to keep herself entertained, of more and more difficult internal arguments to convince herself to walk in the door of Sink Shower & Stuff each morning, of less and less detail in her mind's eye when she pictures the Waverider's bridge. The note had been comforting, reassuring, but to have added a second had somehow made it more sinister. Carl had worked at Sink Shower & Stuff for five years – as he was over-fond of reminding them all – would she be at ten post-it notes before she was done? More?
And of course Carl was in a horrible mood today as well. She had walked in on him that morning brushing his teeth in the employee bathroom, a sure sign of a short temper for the coming day that they had all come to recognize. He always refused to explain it beyond vaguely referring to it as "a thing at home", so Sara had unashamedly stolen his phone about three months ago to find out why. Since then, she sometimes considers the way he glares at her, and wonders if he knows about it – sometimes, considering the way he glares, she wonders if he's grateful she does. Either way, this morning they had made eye contact as he spat in the sink, and in that moment silently agreed with a mutual bitterness to be nasty to each other.
So, par for their course, Sara waits until he's only a few aisles away before picking up a kitchen knife, spinning it around her finger to adjust to its heft, and sending it streaking across the store to sink an inch or so into a displayed cutting board. He retrieves the knife on his way over in a righteous fury – "This isn't auditions for American Ninja Warrior, you know," an oldie but a goodie, and "How many times have I told you not to throw the merchandise?"
She glares back, fingers pressing into a bruise on her palm, and calls up the memory of the knife, the wooden handle cooled from the constant flow of air conditioning.
"Oh, I know that look," he continues, and he does, but sometimes she wonders just how he would react if he knew what it really meant, if he knew how nonchalantly she could spill his blood, if ever she chose.
"It's the look of someone who thinks they could have gotten a better job." He begins to stalk forward, jabbing an accusatory finger in her face. "Well, let me tell you something, Freckles. You're lucky I even hired someone who had been reported dead, twice." That one's newer – originally, he'd steered clear of the topic of her past. It's only since she's started throwing knives and other vaguely knife-adjacent pieces of merchandise around him that he's gotten comfortable going for that one. "Especially in this economy," he concludes, crossing his arms with satisfaction.
She also wonders if he knows she wouldn't let anyone else talk to her like this. That his uselessness, his irrelevance, is a gift she has come to depend on.
"What?" he ribs, and she tightens her imaginary grip on her knife. "No thank you?"
Her quads tense and she sees herself dash forward. Carl shrieks as she bends back his fingers, leaps up onto his shoulders, knocks him to the ground. She glares down at him, pinned and helpless, for just a second, before with one swing of the knife she cuts open his neck and sends his blood splashing across the tiled floor.
He waits patiently for her reply while she scratches that itch. It's an impressively morbid habit, but it has become reassuring in its familiarity. Then, she bares her teeth at him in a joke of a smile. "Thank you," she grits out.
"That's better." He puts his shoulders back with self-satisfaction, and then smiles with his own private brand of sadism as he puts the cherry on top of it all: "Now, get over to Health and Beauty. Someone just spilled a whole mess of conditioner."
And that's almost impressive in how cruel it is, so she stalks away in a boiling rage and salutes him with her middle finger on the way off.
When her phone rings later – the latest installment in her day of stewing had been turning the ringer back on an hour earlier – she picks it up without looking at who it is. "Yeah?"
The burp tells her all she needs to know, but Rory goes ahead regardless, greeting her, "Boss."
It's the first time she's heard his voice in several months, the first time she's been called anything other than "Freckles" in a week, and the first time all day she feels anything other than bitterness. "Rory?" she asks, unnecessarily, shocked into hopefulness.
"I got a situation," he reports, as she checks that she's alone in the back room. "I think I bumped into one of those mechanisms…?"
He's delightful, and she is delighted despite herself. "Mechanism?"
"Anachronism?" she corrects, and, yes, sure enough, this is what hope feels like. It's been a while, but thankfully the unfamiliarity does not come with unpleasantness.
"Yes," he agrees. "Julius Caesar…" and in the pause Sara's world flips sideways and the room changes color, "Is in Aruba."
She throws down the towels she's carrying. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," he seconds. "I got him tied up in my casita. What do you want me to do?"
What does she want him to do? "Just sit tight and keep him safe," she tells him, pleasantly surprised to see she still knows how to bluff her way into the right decisions. "If you screw up history the Bureau will be on your ass before you can say –"
An imperious throat-clearing from behind her interrupts her. "Son of a bitch," she mutters, by way of explanation, and hangs up.
"Are you taking a personal call during peak consumer traffic?"
It's a familiar game, and one that doesn't mix well with her new optimism.
"No," she declares, and in a stroke of genius grabs another kitchen knife from a shelf and tosses it in his direction. It lands a little farther away from him than she intends, a small mercy that his expression of pure horror says he doesn't appreciate. "'Cause I quit."
She's quit before, of course. Last time on the way out she had told a customer that if she spoke to the manager she could get discounts on everything in even aisles. This time, she shows mercy. She knocks stacks of stocked towels down off shelves as she goes, jubilation putting a spring in her step.
Her anticipation and nerves bode poorly for her croissant as she waits for Nate to return. It's in several pieces, the crumbs all over her plate and fingers, by the time her comes to the table with his food. "All right," he greets, sitting across from her. "What's so important to make you catch a train out to Central City?"
"Where's Amaya?" Ray interrupts, heading off her carefully rehearsed explanation.
Nate makes a show of shame. "We kind of broke up."
Sara gathers herself and manages sincerity. "What?"
Luckily, Nate brushes it off. "So what's going on?"
"Rory found an Anachronism."
This time Ray doesn't get in front of her, and she perfectly hits the conspiratorial tone she'd imagined for herself every time she'd played this out on the way over. She pauses to let it sink in.
"Apparently, Julius Caesar just wound up in Aruba," Ray continues. "Mick's got him all tied up."
Sara hides her annoyance and jumps back in. "Look, this is our chance to get the Time Bureau to deal us back in." If they're really going back, she'll get used to being interrupted constantly soon enough. "If we pull this off, Rip might give us our old ship back."
From out of the corner of her eye, the way Ray's eyebrows twitch warns her just a second before he comments, "Wow, I had no idea you were so unhappy with your new life."
It's not quite enough of a warning.
She desperately reaches for scorn and falls far short, giving a half-hearted scoff. "Are you kidding me?" she laughs around the tight feeling in her throat. "I'm, uh. I'm loving it. I'm doing really good work." She shoves one of the massacres pastry pieces in her mouth, not tasting it.
Nate stares levelly back at her, not fooled, but then again only an idiot would be. "It says you work at Sink Shower & Stuff."
"Yeah, well," and she chews energetically for a terrifying moment. "Even vigilantes have to pay their bills." Oh, great, and now she's lying. "What are you guys so content with, huh? What are you doing?"
She lifts her cup to her mouth as they make their own excuses, watching her breath send ripples across the dark surface as she forces her heartrate to relax. Once she can bring herself to take a sip, she does, then sets it down again and checks back in with her teammates. Ray is winding up his own disappointed denial, and she gives it a second.
Then, "Let's go."
"Thank God," Nate mutters, they follow her out.
It takes all of fifteen minutes to pack up her apartment. Clothes, a few toiletries, important documents, in a bag. Food from the fridge, in the trash. Picture, personal keepsakes, various weapons, in the bag. The rest can be left behind as a gift to whoever rents the apartment next.
As she's doing her due diligence, a paperclipped sheaf of documents slides into the front of the drawer she's just yanked open. She flips through, snorts, and unceremoniously tosses it in the trash. She doesn't know what had possessed her to make a second copy for herself of her resume for the security company, but in it goes with all the rest.
Finished, she pauses in the middle of her kitchen, considering. Felicity and Oliver had gotten a text – they knew how these things went. Her dad, a full phone call, but he'd been understanding as well, and signed off with a "good luck, Captain" that had made her breath catch in joy. Her landlord, she texts now, her manager at Verdant, and…
The idea occurs to her with a flash of unholy glee, and she can't not. One last insult, one last poke, the last word in a months-long argument. She can mail it to him – no, not creepy enough, she can't have found out where his apartment was for nothing. She can slip it under his window, even sneak in and leave it on his desk, it's not like she has any respect for his privacy. It's perfect.
She picks gingerly through the trash and pulls out the resume. Most of it goes right back in a second later, but she's left with the picture: the President, a collection of masked heroes, and the White Canary. She grabs a pen, circles her face, then flips it over. Hello from your favorite employee, she begins.
For a moment, that's all she's got. She pauses and the blank space grows daunting.
As much as she'd like to believe this is just her parting shot in their ongoing feud, Sara knows that can't quite be true. Their entire relationship, strange as it was, was inseparable from their situation: both bitter, bored, looking for any place to turn anger that wasn't at themselves. Bringing the Canary into this, she can't deny, is way out of line. It's different, and it changes things permanently.
But things are changing – and about damn time. So she sets her doubts aside and writes.
"The face of someone who thinks they could have gotten a better job," you said this morning.
I couldn't before. But now I'm back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing, in the place I'm supposed to be. Long story short, I won't be back tomorrow.
Thanks for a shitty six months. I hope you can move out someday.
Hate you too!
White Canary and former Sink Shower & Stuff employee
Note: So, there you go. I'm done.
I have some mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think a lot of the chapters don't work very well with each other, some of them are boring and others are confusing. And this definitely vanished into the internet-void. That said, I'm also very proud. When I first created an account on this site I promised to only publish one-shots, because I thought I would inevitably abandon anything longer - and I am glad to have proved myself wrong. In the end, it is what it is, and if anyone's actually read this far, it must be because they rather liked it, so that mission is accomplished.
If you did read it, thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed it. I've written several other fics for Legends of Tomorrow that you can go read if you want. But even if not, I appreciate you having read this one. :)