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Fic -- Sisters
Title: Sisters
Rating: G
Word Count: 800
Characters: Lisa Snart and Len Snart.
Summary: Lisa finds a kindred soul.
Warnings: Implied physical abuse.
Notes: For Lisa Snart Appreciation Week Day 2: Childhood. Set in the pre-Flashpoint comicsverse.

It’s difficult being a small girl in an unhappy and abusive family, and Lisa copes by escaping to secret hideouts where she can breathe. Places where nobody yells at her, and where she can be away from even Len’s well-meaning attention. Occasionally she uses it as a place to sob out her fears, but mostly she plays peacefully with her dolls and updates a diary using a cryptic code so no one else can read it.

Today, however, she finds a baby squirrel.

“Where’s your mommy?” she croons as she picks it up with more gentleness than her upbringing would suggest. She cuddles it to her cheek, and the small animal squirms feebly; it’s too young to fight back against such a large creature.
“My mommy isn’t home either,” she tells it matter-of-factly, with some resignation. “So we can be sisters, and I’m gonna call you ‘Jessica’. You can come home with me and stay in my room, but you have to be very quiet so Daddy doesn’t hear.”

Lisa tucks the squirrel into the front of her overalls and creeps back home, successfully avoiding any neighbours she knows. With careful practice she opens the front door and slips inside without attracting the attention of her father, who's drinking in front of the television and already seems belligerent.

“We made it!” she whispers to Jessica as she places the animal on her bed and sits down next to her. The squirrel curls more tightly into a ball but doesn’t seem to be flinching from her touch, and Lisa is delighted to have a gentle new companion to spend time with. But then she frowns, suddenly realizing that she has no idea what baby squirrels eat. She decides she'd better ask her big brother about it, as Len can be trusted to keep a secret for her.

She uses the code knock that the siblings developed to identify each other. “Hey, Lenny?” she asks quietly when he lets her into his room, keeping her voice low as was usual at home. “What do baby squirrels eat?”
He glances up from his homework and gives her an odd look. “I dunno…acorns? Why do you wanna know?”
Lisa holds out the tiny snoozing bundle cupped in her hands. “Her name’s Jessica. I found her.”

Len’s expression of delight at the cute animal quickly turns to dismay as he ponders the implications of their situation. “We don’t know how to look after her, Lisa.”
“But she’s our new sister! She doesn’t have a mom either!” Lisa tells him defiantly. Of all people, she’d thought her brother would understand.
“Mom will be back eventually,” he explains gently, even though he hopes she won’t come home this time. “She’ll freak when she finds Jessica here, and you know what will happen if Dad finds out about her.”
“He won’t!”
“Okay, maybe he won’t. But we don’t know how to look after a baby squirrel, Lise. She’ll die.”

Tears sting Lisa’s eyes as her fantasies of having a much-wanted sister and pet crumble. Deep down she’d known the situation was untenable, but she’d so wanted to have a tiny friend and confidante, and wanted to have something secret that her father couldn’t take away from her. She kisses Jessica’s head and Len gives his sister a hug, his heart breaking for her. He wants Lisa to be happy too.

“So what do we do?” Lisa asks tearfully as she cradles the small animal to her chest, and Len considers their options for a few minutes.
“You remember what happened when Mrs. McNaughton’s cat killed a mother bunny?”
“She took the babies to a bunny doctor,” Lisa nods, and he grins.
“Sort of. She took them to a rehab centre for animals, and they looked after them until they grew up. Maybe we can do the same for Jessica.”
“I guess that’d be fine,” Lisa concedes, obviously struggling to be brave, and Len’s very proud of her effort.

Half an hour later the siblings have slipped out of the house again with Jessica, and are on their way to the wildlife rehabilitation centre. It isn’t far by bike, and Lisa perches (very illegally) on the handlebars as Len determinedly pedals them there. He’d found the centre’s address in the phone book, and fortunately the place is easy for them to reach.

“It looks okay in there,” Lisa observes sadly as they peer through a front window at the centre’s pleasantly tidy office, a few empty cages sitting off to one side. Len seeks out her hand and grasps it tightly, as he often does when she seems distressed.
“They’ll take good care of her,” he replies patiently, his tone kind.
“Will you go in with me to talk to them?” she asks in a timid voice, and he smiles protectively.


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