Actions

Work Header

London Calling

Chapter Text

london calling final

banner by: Arienhod

==========

To say Felicity was nervous was an understatement. She was nervous, she was anxious, she was stressed, she was excited, she was vaguely nauseated...okay, she was more than vaguely nauseated. She kinda wished she had one of those convenient sick bags they kept in hospitals...the ones with the plastic bag connected to the hard plastic circle that fit right over your mouth...

Riley Finn smiled and shook his head as he leaned closer to her. “Felicity, breathe. You're going to be fine.”

They were standing in front of the headquarters of the Council of Slayers and Watchers. The building looked old and regal and historic. Of course, Felicity knew it couldn't be that old. The old Watcher's Council headquarters had been bombed back in 2002 by minions of the First Evil. And that wasn't intimidating at all! She was here to meet several of the warriors who actually fought back the Armies of the First Evil!

“Sure,” Felicity nodded, “right. This is going be awesome. Really!” She took a shaky breath. “I can't wait to meet legendary heroes and scores of super-powered teenage girls who all have years and years more experience than me. I'm sure I'll fit right in.”

Oliver's presence at her back was a warm comfort. He wrapped his arm around her waist and leaned forward to rest his chin on her shoulder. “No, you won't fit in. You'll stand out because you're remarkable.”

She huffed and smiled lightly at the familiar compliment. “I've got your vote, at least?” She turned her head and smacked a kiss on his cheek.

“Always.”

Facing the front again, looking back up at that imposing building, Felicity's nerves quickly returned. “If I can only get them to overlook the fact that I had a defective gene and got called super late and...”

Thea scoffed from Felicity's other side. “That's just because you're so awesome the world wasn't ready to handle you yet. It needed time to prepare.” She grinned and bumped against the blonde's shoulder. “You're looking at this situation all wrong, Felicity. The world could only handle so much awesomeness at once. It's also why I just found out I'm a witch. They needed to make room for us. They should be grateful. We've arrived.”

Felicity blinked and turned her head to look at the younger Queen. “Did they breed the arrogance into you or was it something they fed you?” she teased.

Thea smirked. “I'm a Queen. We're perfect from birth.”

“Excuse the lack of red carpet, Miss Queen,” Riley told her. He lifted a brow at Felicity. “You ready?”

“As I'll ever be,” Felicity nodded. She sucked up her courage and forced herself to climb the steps and open one of the huge ornate doors. Here went nothing.

Riley led them to the reception desk. It was situated in an unassuming if lavish entrance hall. The tile floors and walls in complimenting shades of warm beige gave the appearance of understated elegance and sophistication. A blonde woman, who appeared to be in her early twenties, wearing a loose bohemian style purple dress, sat behind the desk playing on her cell phone. It was alarmingly normal.

Personally, Felicity had been expecting something a little more...nondescript elevator deep into the earth a la Section One, but that could just be because all the lairs she'd visited lately were underground. The Slayer's Council, it seemed, were much too civilized for that. Which made sense as they were in jolly old England with all the very civilized, very British people, who would inevitably find an underground compound of slayer training awesomeness to be utterly crass and vulgar.

“You're babbling in a British accent in your head right now, aren't you?” Oliver whispered.

“Shut up,” she whispered back.

Riley cleared his throat to gain the receptionist's attention. She rolled her eyes before sitting down her phone and painting a wide fake smile across her lips. She glanced up at Riley. “Welcome to CSW. How may I help you?”

Her accent was American. That caught Felicity's attention and she examined the other woman more closely. Then she gulped. The stranger was a slayer. Felicity knew it, could feel it deep inside her bones. She was staring at one of her slayer sisters. This was actually happening!

Riley frowned. “We have an appointment with the Council, but I was told to ask for Rona if Buffy wasn't available.”

The slayer pursed her lips and tilted her head to the side. “Aren't you Buffy's ex?” Then her gaze slid to land on Felicity. A flash of instinctive aggression flared, predator recognizing predator, but her smile quickly turned genuine and curious. “Hi, I'm Maria, who are you?”

“I'm Felicity.” “Where's Macey?” Felicity and Riley spoke at once.

“Nice to meet you,” Maria nodded, then her expression soured and she rolled her eyes back to Riley. “Macey's on lunch. I'm covering for her.”

“Great,” Riley grumbled. He glared at the woman's borderline disrespectful attitude, “is Buffy available?”

The slayer snorted. “Yea, that would be a no. The General stays busy.” She turned back to Felicity. “Buffy and Dawn are at a lunch meet with some members of the Witches' Council. Something about a late bloomer witch coming in for training. I'm sorry you missed her, but I'm sure she'll catch you later.” She lifted her brows. “I don't recognize you. First time here?”

Felicity nodded nervously. She could practically feel Riley fuming. She sent him an apologetic look. “Is Rona available?”

“Sure thing,” Maria picked up the landline and hit a number. She waited for an answer before speaking into the receiver. “Hey Mace, you guys about done? Rona has an appointment out here. Finn, a slayer named Felicity, and...” the blonde leaned to the side to look beside Felicity and focus on Thea. Then her gaze slid up to the brunette's face and her mouth gaped open. “HOLY SHIT! You're Thea Queen!”

Thea grinned at Riley smugly. “I told you, I was born perfect.”

“She's the new witch,” Felicity filled in, carefully avoiding looking in Riley's direction.

“I would kill for your wardrobe,” the slayer told Thea still obviously stunned by her presence and the revelation of her supernatural status. Then she rethought her statement and edited herself, “or just your net worth.” She frowned. “I drive a Jetta.”

Thea snickered. “Noted.”

“I'm dead serious,” Maria said. She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “Also? Your brother is like SMOKING...” both Thea and Felicity stepped to the side to reveal Oliver standing behind them. The girl fell back forward and her face twisted in horror. “...hot.” Her voice trailed off to an embarrassed squeak.

Oliver smirked. “I'm flattered.”

The door behind the reception desk swung open to reveal another blonde, this one with long curly hair, big blue eyes, and wearing a pink dress. Felicity recognized immediately that she was staring at another slayer.

The new arrival scrambled to stand opposite the desk from Riley. “I am so sorry, Riley. I meant to be back by now. I know, it wasn't cute.” She spun to glare hard at Maria. “You should have notified me! I was expecting them.”

Maria's eyebrows shot up. “You were expecting Thea and Oliver QUEEN?”

The other slayer froze. Her head jerked around and she goggled at the Queen siblings. “WHAT?”

Felicity cleared her throat and tried to salvage the situation. “Hi, I'm Felicity Smoak. Riley was kind enough to escort us here. This is my...boyfriend?” she looked back at Oliver.

Oliver cut his eyes at her. “Partner.”

Felicity nodded and warmth filled her chest. She smiled at him. “Partner.” She turned back to the front. “This is my partner Oliver and his sister Thea. Thea's here for witch training.”

The new girl was still stunned. She nodded dazed and pointed toward Felicity. “You, I was expecting. You, I spoke with on the phone.” She held out her hand for Felicity to shake. “I'm Macey.”

“The first call I made?” Felicity realized.

Macey nodded. “When you thought we were all dead. It wasn't cute. I decided to let Rona handle it.” She turned a glare on Riley. “The infamous Queen siblings I was NOT expecting! That is also not cute!”

“I told Buffy,” Riley said.

Macey closed her eyes and huffed. “Of course, you did. And Buffy didn't bother to tell anyone else because she's Buffy!” She opened her eyes and stared exasperated at Felicity. “What did she think? He'd wear a hat and mask and no one would recognize him?”

Felicity winced and bit her lip. “You'd honestly be surprised.” Oliver poked her in the side.

Macey rubbed her hands over her face. “Do you have any idea how many sex-starved teen and twenty-somethings we have back there?” She hooked her thumb toward the door. “He's going to need a bodyguard to keep them from humping his leg. We're just lucky Faith's in Cleveland.”

Riley snorted. “True that.”

Felicity ground her teeth and narrowed her eyes at the two slayers. “Oliver's taken. He's mine.” Realizing how bad and possessive that sounded, she scrunched up her forehead and nose turning to Oliver. “Sorry.”

Oliver shrugged. “Tell Dare that.” Thea cackled out loud.

“Just be ready to defend your territory,” Maria advised, speaking back up as she pushed to her feet and walked toward the door. “Slayers be bitches.”

Macey nodded. “We're the nice ones.” Then she put back on a professional smile. “But welcome to CSW! Our home is your home! Please follow me and I'll escort you to Rona.” She waved toward the door and turned to lead the way. Riley, Felicity, Oliver, and Thea fell in behind her.

They were led down a long series of hallways. Maria peeled away at some point, waved goodbye, and disappeared through a side door. Macey turned them again, found the door she wanted, knocked and pushed it open. There was a pretty black woman who looked around thirty with long hair standing behind an office desk. She was wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. She was also glaring down at her cell phone. “I swear, Buffy Summers is going to hell. Do you know what she just texted me? 'Running behind. Handle it. BTW a wild Oliver and Thea Queen might appear. Prep your Master Ball.'” She shook her head. “That's a direct quote.”

Macey made a cute huffy noise. “That's not Buffy. Dawn sent that text. Buffy doesn't know a Pikachu from a Gyarados. She still gets confused by Candy Crush. Pokemon is beyond our fearless leader.”

“Figures,” the woman rolled her eyes and tossed down her phone. She looked up and zeroed in on Felicity. She smiled genuinely and stepped forward to offer her hand. “Felicity? Nice to meet you in person. I'm Rona Jordan.”

Felicity shook her hand and smiled. “Nice to meet you, too. Thanks for helping me out before. I know I was a mess on that phone call.”

“Understandable,” Rona shook her head. “You got thrown into the deep end with no swimming lessons. From what I've heard, you've handled it better than most.”

“I had a lot of help,” Felicity told her. She turned and motioned to her companions. “I'm assuming you know Riley, but this is my partner Oliver and his sister Thea. Thea just found out she's a witch.”

Rona winced and reached out to shake Thea's outstretched hand. “You have my sympathy. I promise, Willow should be back soon.” Thea was deeply confused.

“Dawn will be overseeing your training,” Macey explained, “and she's...temperamental.”

“And you?” Rona looked Oliver up and down. “Damn, you really are that hot. That is just not fair.” She pointed to Felicity. “You better be ready to...”

“Piss all over him?” Felicity said. “I've heard.”

“The Bitchettes are in residence,” Rona warned. “They live for American tabloids and I'm almost positive at least a few of them have pictures of him tacked up on their wall.”

“There might be a shrine,” Macey muttered. “It's not cute.” Then she turned to smile widely up at Oliver. “But YOU are!”

“You are going to be fun to look at,” Rona agreed.

Felicity snorted. “Wait until you see him working out shirtless.” She looked from Rona to Macey. “Tell me you have a salmon ladder around here somewhere.”

“We have an everything around here somewhere,” Rona said.

“He comes in shirtless?” Macey sounded breathless.

Felicity smirked at her irritated partner. “Oliver comes with all kinds of surprises.”

“Yep,” Thea nodded. Her expression was sly. “And he makes excellent bait, don't you, Ollie?”

His expression was dark and unamused. Felicity threaded her arm through his and leaned against him. “Oliver's an archer. He can hold his own.”

Rona nodded consideringly. “We can work with that. Formal lessons? Contests? Do you have any experience with moving targets?”

“I get by,” Oliver said. Felicity winced at his tone, Thea snickered loudly, and Riley grinned from ear to ear.

“He could train with the Watchers,” Macey said. “They can start on basic defense. Humans aren't completely defenseless.”

Rona nodded. “We also have ranged weapon specialists and an enchanted shooting range. They can evaluate your form and accuracy with both stationary and moving targets.”

Thea's eyebrows shot up. “Do they have tennis balls?”

Riley lost his fight with his laughter at that. He shook his head and looked to Oliver. “Now you know how Cross and Case felt when you wanted a rundown of her resume and training qualifications.”

“Eat it up,” Oliver glared at the other man.

Felicity was just trying to decide the best way to calm Oliver down and sooth his wounded pride when her ringtone went off. She pulled her phone from her pocket and checked the message.

Meredith: Can I come yet? Tell them I'm friendly!

Felicity snorted and sent back her own text.

Felicity: You want me to lie?

Felicity received back a string of poop emojis from her temperamental cousin. She took in a deep breath and blew it out.

When she tuned back into the conversation she found that Rona and Macey were still discussing the best possible training programs for Oliver and his new life of danger. She figured a change in subject before Oliver completely exploded couldn't hurt. She thought they could hide the fact that he was an asshole for at least the first day. First impressions and all that. She cleared her throat to draw their attention. “SO...what exactly is the Slayers' Council's protocol on dealing with Traditional half-vampires?”

That definitely got their attention. Both slayers stared at her slack-jawed. Rona recovered first. “Explain?”

Felicity winced and reached up to pinch the bridge of her nose. “You see, I have this cousin named Meredith...”

==========

Chapter Text

london calling final

banner by: Arienhod

==========

The situation was somewhat awkward. It was a first meeting and she'd brought along two notorious American celebrities. Besides, she was Felicity and she was awkward on a good day. This was before you added in the bonus of her half-vampire cousin. Then Meredith actually arrived and was forced to endure their questioning and vetting process and then there was 'The Shirt'. Meredith was never going to stop whining.

“WHY must I wear this?” Meredith continued to grumble even though the rest of the group had taken to outright ignoring her now. She yanked at 'The Shirt' she was being forced to wear. It was a bright red t-shirt with the words 'DO NOT SLAY' written on both front and back in bold white print. Meredith was not amused. “I'm a geek, you know? I get the reference. I'm not wearing the red shirt!”

Oliver, damn him, smirked at her. “Actually you are.”

Felicity elbowed him in the side and threw her cousin a pleading look. “They don't know you, Mere. You are in a building stuffed full of slayers. Can you just try to be patient?”

Meredith glared back at her.

“New slayers are called on a regular basis,” Rona explained. “Willow's spell is still active. We're not sure the exact catalyst, but once potentials reach a certain point the spell activates their potential and they become slayers. We've had newbies as young as eleven in the past. Our current youngest is Aline. She's a twelve-year-old from Brazil.”

Felicity took this all in and nodded. She wondered again what made her so deficient that the spell waited until she was twenty-three. She felt Oliver's hand curl around her waist and realized he must have noticed something change in her expression. The man knew her too flipping well.

“The majority of them are quickly located via the Witches' Council and shipped here for basic training and instruction.” Her expression when she faced Meredith was serious. “But these are still very young girls who have supernatural abilities and instincts. Those instincts will tell them that you are the enemy. That shirt is to keep you from getting jumped by the baby slayers. The distinction between Possessed and Traditional, as well as between full-vampire and half-vampire, is still beyond most of these girls.”

Felicity frowned. “But I'm a baby slayer, right? I've only been called a couple of weeks. I wouldn't have attacked Meredith even if she wasn't my cousin.”

“You're also a mature rational grown woman,” Rona stared at her in disbelief. “You're not a pre-teen who just got turned into Supergirl and thinks she can blindly follows her instincts.”

“And your training has been unorthodox,” Riley added. “Your mentors are Pures. A dear friend turned out to be a witch. A half-vampire is your cousin. You've been exposed to things these girls have not.”

“They've been sheltered,” Rona agreed. “We don't even consider placement on one of our field slayer teams until a girl has reached sixteen-years-old. They're only exposed to the supernatural under very controlled settings.”

Meredith huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Fine, I'll wear the damn shirt until they get use to me.” She pointed her finger at Rona. “But I'm not going anywhere. Felicity is my responsibility. And,” her lips curled, “I'm not afraid of a bunch of rabid pre-teen girls. I'm meaner than them.”

Felicity shuddered and made a pained face. “I remember you as a pre-teen girl and you were probably meaner than them back then.” If the slayer remembered correctly, there'd been an incident with Meredith's friend group, some poor boy, and them doing a song and dance of “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC in the school hallway that led to her cousin almost getting expelled.

Meredith grinned. “Exactly.”

Choosing to ignore that, Rona pushed open the door to a massive and impressive training room. Felicity would have been gaping...except honestly the one under The Bronze was pretty impressive too. Her expectations were set somewhat high by this point. Still, it definitely beat their training equipment at the lair so that was something.

“Wow,” Thea muttered. Thea, who had not as yet seen the facilities under The Bronze.

Felicity nodded and smiled and tried to look really impressed. Oliver looked pissy. She could practically feel him thinking about upgrades he could make to the lair. She squeezed his hand where it was still wrapped around her waist to distract him and then noticed something. “OH! Salmon Ladder!” She hopped excitedly and pointed it out to Oliver. That made him crack a smile which was totally worth the embarrassment of everyone else looking at her like she was a little special.

“You do realize you are perfectly capable of doing the salmon ladder yourself now, right?” Oliver leaned close and spoke next to her ear.

Felicity rolled her eyes. “Not nearly as much as fun. I prefer the spectator role on that one.”

She could feel his breath on her skin when he spoke again. “Maybe I want to watch you do it.”

The slayer snorted. “You just want to watch me bust my ass.” She turned to look at him and noticed the heat in his stare. She gulped. “Or...you know...not?” And then he grinned...and Felicity bit her lip nervously because he was not supposed to look at her like that...or at least not in public! Bad Oliver!

“Could you two stop it?” Thea drawled and made a face. “I'd like to keep down my lunch.”

“Preach,” Meredith agreed.

Felicity pursed her lips and turned determinedly back toward the front. “There is nothing to stop.” She lifted her brows and looked to Rona. “Can we continue the wonderful tour?”

Rona was frowning at Oliver. She dragged her gaze back to Felicity. “The Bitchettes are gonna hate you. Hell, I've already got a hot boyfriend and I almost hate you.”

Felicity frowned confused. “Huh?”

“I refuse to hate you,” Macey told her happily. “Because I'm nice and you're CUTE!” She leaned closer to Felicity and lowered her voice. “I'm totally gonna drool over the man candy though.”

Felicity just nodded and went with it. “Sure.”

Rona sighed and rolled her eyes. She waved around the room. “You obviously seem to have some idea of training equipment and layout. Not surprising when you've been training with Pures.”

“I wish I got to train with Pures,” Macey grumbled.

“Hand-to-hand, close combat weapons training,” Rona pointed out the different areas, “strength and endurance.” She paused and looked at Felicity to make sure the new slayer was keeping up.

Felicity forced a big smile and gave her a thumbs up. “It's not a big tire you can beat with a sledgehammer, but I guess it'll do.”

Thea snickered and Oliver poked her in the side.

Macey frowned. “Dare does that?” Then she tilted her head to the side and her eyes lit up with interest. “Does he do it shirtless?”

Felicity and Thea both snickered at Oliver's expense.

Rona glared at her blonde companion. “Macey, could you try looking less like a boy-crazed ditz? Focus!” Once the blonde huffed offended, Rona looked back to Felicity. “I've called some of the slayer captains in to meet you. Maria should be rounding them up now. Once we get the introductions out of the way, they can break it down to their teams so they know who not to slay,” she notched her chin toward Meredith, “and who not to climb like a tree,” she looked pointedly at Oliver.

“Slayer captains?” Felicity wondered.

“We split the girls into teams,” Rona explained. “Senior slayers are chosen to head up the teams and supervise and mentor their team members. We can't all just look to Buffy. We needed a functioning hierarchy and chain of command.”

“Will I be assigned to a team?” Felicity asked. She really didn't know if she wanted to be assigned to a team. Would she be getting ordered around by a teenager?

Rona grinned. “No, Felicity, you're here as a courtesy. You have a life back in Starling and we're not messing with that.”

“You might end up leading a team,” Macey pointed out. Felicity looked at her wide-eyed and Macey smiled like that was good news. “You're protecting an active hellmouth. When things start getting all hinky you're gonna need help. Buffy will probably assign you slayers.”

THAT did not sound good. THAT was not good news! Felicity gulped. “But...”

“There are two slayer teams in Edencrest,” Meredith added with a look at her cousin, “one run by Elise Stephens and the other run by some chick named Kennedy. But it is the biggest current active hellmouth. They need two teams. We don't.”

Rona looked Meredith over surprised. “You know slayers?”

Felicity waved that off because she didn't CARE about catching Rona up on Meredith's backstory. “I don't need slayers!” she insisted. “I have Dare and Cross and Meredith and Oliver and Thea and Roy and Case and Digg!”

Rona shrugged. “We'll see.” And that didn't sound nearly definitive enough for Felicity. The last thing she needed was super-powered teenage girls to start showing up on her doorstep and looking to HER to lead them!

“I've been a slayer less than two weeks!” She stomped her foot in a fit of pique.

Oliver pulled her back against his chest and rested his chin on her shoulder. He hugged her to him. “Felicity, breathe. We'll handle it.”

Felicity ground her teeth. “Fine! But if they start showing up, YOU get to lead the slayers. I'll swap you for Roy.”

Thea laughed out loud. “Can I tell him that? I'm pretty sure he'll be down.” She pulled out her phone and started to text her boyfriend. “He's still terrified you're gonna stick him with Team Lance. He'd rather face certain death every night than take orders from Laurel.”

Felicity's eyes narrowed. “Laurel does not get to give orders.”

Thea snorted. “Someone might want to remind her of that. She texted Roy what time he needed to be at the lair for a team meeting tonight. He threatened to go back to jacking cars to get enough money to buy himself a plane ticket to London. He says he's officially Team Supernatural.”

“He is,” Felicity said. “Roy goes where you go.”

Thea smiled at her affectionately. “There's a reason I like you.”

“Aww...” Macey leaned up against Rona and spoke softly, “they have their own little team. They have a Scooby Gang.”

Rona shook her head. “I don't even want to know.” She cleared her throat to regain everyone's attention. “If you'll follow me, we can wait for the slayer captains in the conference room.” She turned to lead them forward toward another exit.

==========

The slayer captains were...an interesting lot. Some were sugary sweet and eyed them like they were lollipops (males and females), a few were openly hostile and obviously believed everything they'd ever read about Oliver and Thea, a couple were pleasant and interested, and the rest were outright bored and irritated at the waste of their precious time.

Felicity was exhausted just from meeting them all...and these were just the captains! She looked at Oliver feeling overwhelmed. She winced as she caught his expression. Oliver's unaffected and charming playboy mask was wearing thin. His eyes and mouth were tight. If they were back in Starling, Felicity would be worrying about the furniture and the training dummies.

“I think we broke him.”

Felicity looked across the table and into the eyes of one of the most hostile of the group. Lex, if she remembered correctly, was a seventeen-year-old slayer with short cropped sandy brown hair and thick-lashed brown doe eyes. Her features were, in fact, so delicate and feminine that even her boyish haircut couldn't distract from them. Unfortunately she was also as mean as a snake and she'd spent the last ten minutes sharpening her tongue on Oliver.

“Back off, Cujo,” Meredith finally growled at the teen from Felicity's other side. She leaned across the table toward the younger girl. “Ollie's trying to play nice and he's too much of a gentleman to call you out as the bitch that you are. I suffer no such conscience.”

The slayer blinked at her and shrugged. “I was only checking my facts.”

Meredith rolled her eyes. “You were throwing every dumbass stunt he's ever pulled up in his face. You don't know him from Jack. Keep your venom to yourself.” Then she realized what she'd said and made a pained face. “And now you've made me defend OLLIE!” She pointed her finger at the girl. “You are on my shit list!”

Thea glared at the girl from Oliver's side. “You do get that tabloids lie, right? Even if you did have the right to judge my brother, which you don't, half that shit isn't even true.”

Lex leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest unimpressed. “Maybe you're right. Maybe he isn't the waste of space the tabloids make him out to be.” Her eyes hardened. “But that sure as hell doesn't mean he belongs here.” She leaned back forward and seethed at them. “You think this is some game? That we're some tourist attraction you can come gawk at? Let's meet the super-teens and watch them do tricks? This shit is life or fucking death!” She slapped her hand down on the table. “This is the actual battle between good and evil. We are warriors for the forces of light and we are fighting to save the damn world! What the HELL business does some playboy celebrity have here?”

Felicity didn't know where it came from but she was on her feet and leaning across the table toward the younger girl before she could blink. There was a snarl on her lips. She slammed her own hands down and heard the table groan at the hit. “Oliver is here with ME! I don't know who lied and said YOU got a vote on who was and was not allowed in this facility, but I am here by personal invitation of your Slayer General and I could give a FUCK less how you feel about it.” She eyed the girl up and down and something in her roared and snarled to attack. “You think your life is hard? You think you know anything about Oliver and what he's lived through? You think you deserve any more respect than he does? Well, you need to get your facts straight, little girl, and grow the hell up!” She sniffed and looked down at her. “You DON'T impress me.”

The girl shrugged and sat back again but something in her expression looked...satisfied. The blanket of rage receded from before Felicity's eyes and her body tingled with awareness. Her eyes scanned the table and she realized she now had the attention of the entire room. She swallowed nervously...then narrowed her eyes back on Lex. Felicity wondered just how much of that had been genuine and how much was a test. Her face flushed with embarrassment. Great, now she was competing in a pissing contest with teenagers. Her life had reached a new low.

“Right then,” Rona spoke up and Felicity took the excuse to turn her attention to the senior slayer. The other woman was frowning down at the cell phone in her hand. “Our fearless leader says you should all head to training and pass the information on to your teams.” She looked pointedly at several of the captains. “Keep your girls in line. Visitors are to be treated with respect and any complaints can be brought to her.”

The captains all started to stand from their chairs and head for the door. One hung back and smiled toward Oliver. She had long bright blonde hair, cornflower blue eyes, and perfectly applied makeup. She spoke to Rona. “I could give the visitors a tour.”

Rona's expression was wry. “You planning to hit on Finn or the vampire, Laney? Cause everyone else in this group's already taken.” The girl made a face and Rona lifted her brows. “Get to training. No one's interested.”

After watching the blonde huff and leave, Felicity made her way around the table to stand by Rona. She cleared her throat. “I...uh...I should apologize for making a scene.”

Rona snorted and waved her off. “You're a slayer, Felicity. We only come in aggressive. If you don't demand respect around here, you usually won't get it.”

Felicity winced and nodded. “Right. I'm getting that.” She looked back briefly at Oliver. He was still tense, still obviously angry and uncomfortable, and she wanted to do something to alleviate that. She lowered her voice and spoke to Rona. “Is there any way you could show us the shooting range next? Oliver might need to blow off some steam.”

Rona's expression was sympathetic. “I'm sorry about Lex. She can be a hardass but she's a hell of a slayer.”

“I just wish she'd picked on me,” Felicity said. “Oliver already spends enough time beating himself up about his past. He doesn't need help.”

Rona looked like she would have said more, but Oliver stepped up to join them and she painted a smile across her face. “So...how about we check out our shooting range?” She led them to the door. “We've got some cool features that I think you'll enjoy.”

==========

The shooting range was impressive. Of course, Felicity hadn't done much training with ranged weapons as of yet, but she was sure Dare would get around to them eventually if Oliver didn't beat him to it. Felicity could also feel the magic pulsing through the air. She listened vaguely as Rona explained some of the enchantments that their witch allies had placed on the room. No harm enchantments, self-returning arrows and ammunition, smart targets...it was a lot to take in. Still, that wasn't why she'd asked to see it.

She turned to look at Oliver with a grin. “You ready to try it out?” But she fell silent as she found his attention focused elsewhere, a frown on his face. “Oliver?”

He started and threw a small smile her way. Leaning over, he pressed a kiss her temple. “I'll be right back.” He walked forward down the range.

Felicity frowned after him. Even Rona stopped talking to watch him go. The senior slayer moved closer to Felicity and cocked her head to the side. “He okay?”

“Uh...” Felicity was about to shrug when she realized where he was headed. Oliver walked up behind a young girl, a young slayer, who was practicing her archery. The girl couldn't have been more than fourteen with long straight brown hair and awkward lanky limbs. Though she hit the target with every arrow, even Felicity could see that the girl's form was awful. Oliver shook his head as he watched her. Felicity grinned and nodded. “He's gonna be fine.”

“Layla's stubborn,” Rona said as she watched the girl loose another arrow. “She's determined to learn archery, but she missed the sign-up for the latest class. We told her we'd get her worked in as soon as we could, but she's got no patience.”

Felicity watched Oliver fondly as he started to step forward to draw the girl's attention. “She's fixing to get a lesson.” She started walking toward her boyfriend and the preteen.

Rona snorted as she followed her. “This should be interesting.”

Focusing in, Felicity heard Oliver clear his throat. “Move your feet closer together,” he told the girl, “your throwing your balance off.”

Layla lowered her bow for a moment and turned to glare at the stranger. Her face was painted with all the angst that only a preteen girl could carry off. She planted her free hand on her hip. “I hit the target.”

Oliver cocked a brow at her. “Doesn't mean you aren't doing it wrong.”

The girl seemed to consider that for a moment. She narrowed her eyes on the vigilante. “Are you a watcher? I don't recognize you.”

Oliver shook his head. “No, I'm here with my partner. She's a slayer.” He nodded toward Felicity.

The girl looked back briefly at their approaching group. When she settled on Rona her lips drew into a mutinous line. She tossed her hair and turned back to Oliver. “Well then why should I listen to you?” Layla asked.

Oliver huffed a laugh. “Because I may not be a watcher, but I am an archer. And you're never going to hit a moving target unless you correct your form.”

Layla seemed to consider that. Then staring up at Oliver in challenge, she held out her bow. “Prove it.”

Oliver's grin only grew as he took the bow and measured its weight in his hands. He pulled an arrow from the girl's quiver and drew it back to test the bow string. “This is a little small for me, but okay.”

“I swear to god,” Thea whispered to Felicity as she stepped up beside the slayer, “if he says she reminds him of me, I will figure out a way to set his ass on fire.”

Felicity chuckled because she knew the little girl did. Oliver couldn't help comparing little girls to his baby sister. He adored Thea. The younger Queen should just get over it.

Layla put both hands on her hips now and watched Oliver doubtfully. Her mouth fell open in awe as Oliver nailed dead center of the target before turning back to face her and holding back out the bow. “Your turn?”

The girl took the bow and eagerly spun back to face the target. This time when Oliver directed her to move her feet she quickly complied and looked for further instruction. He moved around behind her and helped guide her into the correct stance.

“I need to brush up on my archery skills,” Macey sighed.

Rona snorted and leaned toward Felicity. “You better hope all the other slayers don't hear your boy has actual skills. There'll be a line all the way out the door waiting for his personal instruction.”

Felicity grinned back at the other slayer. “You ain't seen nothing yet. That was him being humble.”

==========