Felicity hurled the baton in her hand across the room partially in frustration and partially because it slipped out of her hand. “I can’t do this.”
Oliver took a deep breath. He wanted to help Felicity. He wanted her to be able to protect herself. Sometimes he needed her out in the field and he needed to know that she could protect herself. Or at least get enough distance between her and an attacker to run. But everything he had tried wasn’t taking.
Sara was sitting on top of the bar Oliver used to do pull ups on, her feet dangling at least ten yards off the ground. She had been watching the whole time and knew Oliver’s approach wasn’t going to work after Felicity started huffing twenty minutes ago. “Oliver.”
Oliver looked up at Sara, questioningly.
“You should get going,” Sara stated, jerking her head toward the door. “I’ll take over here.”
Oliver seemed to know that his approach wasn’t going to get him any farther tonight so he nodded. He looked over at Felicity. “I have to get back to the office. At least make it look like I’m doing work.” He nodded to both ladies and picked up his suit jacket off of the back of Felicity’s chair on the way out.
Felicity sighed and fell back in her computer chair as Oliver left. She swiveled around and faced Sara, “What are you going to try and fail at teaching me?”
Sara smiled. She jumped down from the bar and landed on her feet even though the drop was more just a little high. She stopped in the middle of the sparring space and looked Felicity over. She took her jacket off and tossed it aside. “Oliver depends on your for a lot.”
Felicity nodded and sat up more, interested in where this conversation was going. It’s not that she joined this group for the glory. She just liked being recognized occasionally for her aptitude at her job.
“You’re his eyes and ears everywhere,” Sara offered and started pacing around in front of Felicity. “And I imagine that Ollie isn’t too great at running a multi-billion dollar company with all the disappearing that he has to do at odd times.”
Felicity nodded. “It’s not a big deal. I mean I just ran a few algorithms through the system to make it seem like he’s doing stuff and then do it for him when I have time.” She sat up a little straighter.
“Before I can teach you to defend yourself, I have to teach you to focus on the moment,” Sara gestured for Felicity to stand. As Felicity stood, Sara added, “Before I can teach you to focus, I have to teach you to relax.”
Felicity frowned, “Relax? Are you serious?”
Sara nodded and pointed to a position on the floor where she wanted Felicity to stand. “If you’re thinking about a million things at once, like I’m sure you do, you’re not devoting all of your attention to what’s around you. You have to recognize a threat before you can take care of it.”
Felicity sighed, “So how am I supposed to forget everything?”
Sara licked her lips. She decided that the only way to get to Felicity was the way that her League of Assassin’s trainer got to her. “Level your chin and relax your shoulders.”
Felicity did as she was told. She rolled her shoulders in an effort to relax them. Then she shook them out.
Sara chuckled. Felicity looked at the blonde, “What?”
“You’re trying really hard to relax,” Sara stated with a grin. She stepped up in front of Felicity and put her hands on Felicity’s shoulders. “What do you do for fun?”
“I’m the techno-geek for a group of misfit vigilantes that run around in masks and hoods trying to defend Starling City from the ever present threat of terrorists and what one might call, super-villains,” Felicity looked Sara dead in the eyes and explained.
Sara removed her hands from Felicity, “You’re cute.”
“Of course,” Felicity dropped out of her stance and took a step back from Sara. “Of course I’m cute.”
“It was a compliment,” Sara’s smile dropped.
Felicity shook her head and looked back at Sara, “You didn’t mean it like that. You didn’t mean that I’m pretty or attractive. You meant naïve and helpless. Maybe I didn’t survive on an island for six years or tour Iraq three times or join a league of psychotic assassins or got injected with some weird miracle serum, but I’m not naïve. I grew up in The Glades. I know that things suck. I just choose to be happy in the life that I’ve made for myself.”
Sara put her hands up. “Alright. Noted.” She made a sweeping motion with her hand. “Next time I compliment you, I’ll tell you that you have pretty eyes.”
The fire behind Felicity’s rant seemed to die out with that statement. Felicity smoothed out a few strands of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail. She swallowed and barely choked out, “Th-Thank you.” She moved back into position in front of Sara.
“Okay,” Sara put her hands on Felicity’s hips straightening them out. She moved her hands slowly up toward Felicity’s face and gently tilted her head so that Felicity was looking at her dead in the eyes. “Just look at my eyes.”
Felicity licked her lips and nodded. “Okay.”
Sara held Felicity’s hands in her own and then moved them so that she could press their forearms together. She started moving Felicity’s arms and hands by using different points to pressure Felicity’s limbs to go where she wanted them to go. Soon Felicity started to feel a pattern. She held Sara’s eyes as she kept up the motion that Sara had set, slowly taking over until she was the one guiding the motion.
Felicity started to crawl back into her own head. She bit her bottom lip as she stared straight at Sara Lance. That was when she messed up and Sara’s arm slipped away from hers. Felicity broke eye contact and looked down, “Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Sara offered kindly, “That was great. Do you want to try again?”
Felicity nodded, “Just give me a second.” Felicity had to look completely away from Sara. She needed to control whatever was going on in her stomach. Eye contact was usually awkward for her, but she just had to hold someone else’s eyes for twenty minutes. It was oddly relaxing and alarmingly deep. Like Sara jumped into her eyes as easily as she jumped through windows.
“Are you okay?” Sara asked, softly. She put her hand on Felicity’s shoulder.
Felicity turned to Sara, “Yeah. Let’s keep going.”
They both got back into position. Sara took the lead again, changing up the repetitive motion. Felicity became keenly aware of every point in which their arms touched. She could feel the firm muscles press against her own. She could see the variations in Sara’s eyes. She saw what looked to be gold flecks laced in the light blue.
Again, Felicity slipped. Her hand strayed from the set pattern and her hand moved toward Sara. Sara reflexively batted away the approaching hand. It threw Felicity off balance and she started to tip backward. Sara saw how Felicity lost her balance and thought quickly. She grabbed Felicity around the waist, stopping her fall about a foot off of the ground. Felicity’s arms instinctively wrapped around Sara’s neck. “I got you,” Sara cooed.
Felicity once again found her eyes moving to Sara’s. She swallowed, trying to clear the tightening in her throat. Her lips parted, trying to catch her breath.
Sara knew what was happening. She knew that compromising position they were in, but couldn’t seem to make her muscles move.
Suddenly there was a crashing of metal on metal near the door. Sara immediately sprang into action. She pulled Felicity up and behind her while her other hand grabbed the knife that Felicity had strapped to her lower back. In one swift motion, she yanked it out of the holster and threw it in the direction of the intruder.
Roy’s eyes grew wide as the knife imbedded itself in the wall in front of him. Sara finally saw who it was and let down her fighting stance with a sigh.
“You missed,” Roy stated, pulling the knife out of the wall and trying to keep his cool.
Sara walked over to him and took the knife back, “I didn’t miss.” She walked back over toward Felicity who was still trying to process everything, “It was a warning shot.” Sara gripped the smooth sides of the blade between her fingers and offered the handle to Felicity. She smiled coyly to the Tech Wizard, “Nice knife.”
Felicity was immediately embarrassed. She gently took the knife back. “I just – it seemed like a good idea.” Felicity slipped the knife back into the holster. Then she gestured to Sara, “You have one.”
Sara smiled. It was pretty well concealed, but Felicity noticed. Maybe training Felicity wasn’t a lost cause after all.
Roy continued walking into the lair. He took off his hoodie and walked over to the Wing Chun dummy. “I just came to work out a little before work.”
Sara turned to Felicity, “I have to go take a shower and get ready for work.”
Felicity nodded, “Okay.” She resigned herself to solitary confusion when she suddenly remembered something. “There’s a shower down here. I put it in last week. I meant to say something. We just had that whole insane guy who made us solve puzzles to find the people he kidnapped to deal with so I forgot.” Felicity noticed that Sara was smiling at her. It was the smile that told Felicity that she was babbling. She cleared her throat, “It’s this way.”
They walked toward the back of the warehouse and Felicity pulled back a green shower curtain. “There’s not really much privacy.”
“It’s okay,” Sara peeled off her tank top, “I’m not shy.”
Felicity’s eyes ran up and down Sara’s exposed upper half around her sports bra. She cleared her throat and turned to the shower. “Of course I had to geek it up and make the shower setting computerized.” She pointed to the glowing panel under the dual shower heads that was sticking out of the wall. “It controls water temperature, pressure, lighting in the shower, and music.” Felicity tapped around on the panel. “You can also save your customized settings.”
Sara saw on the screen that there was only one saved set of settings. She tapped where it said Felicity and stepped back. The lighting dimmed, both shower heads came on, and a low song with a seductive beat sounded through the small area. Felicity panicked and reached through the spray to turn it off. “Of course you’ll want to set the shower to your own probably not embarrassing settings.”
“I like it,” Sara tilted her head and put her hands on her hips, “Do you mind if you use yours? I’m not really up to date on music yet.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Felicity nodded. She decided to leave quickly before she said or did anything else embarrassing.
Roy quietly trained by himself and Felicity swept all the electronic networks she could for any kind of trouble. Then she decided to unleash a new program that she wrote that would catalog abnormalities in the city and sound an alarm when a certain number of them had built up. She watched the computer run the program on the screen and muttered to herself, “Welcome to 1984: Arrow Team Edition.”
“Felicity?” Sara called from the far end of the warehouse.
Felicity swiveled around in her chair. “Yes?”
Sara stepped out of the shower area in some clean clothes she kept around for when she changed in and out of her Canary outfit. She hung up the towel on the rod that held the shower curtain, “Do you have a blow dryer?”
“Oh yeah,” Felicity stood up and went to the shower area. She opened an office box next to the shower and pulled it out.
When she handed it over to Sara, their fingers brushed and Felicity immediately moved away from Sara.
“Do you mind if I hit the shower?” Roy asked Felicity as she retreated, “I have to get to work too.”
“Go ahead,” Felicity’s hand fluttered as she walked past him back to her desk, “It’s for everyone.”
Felicity tucked some hair behind her ear and picked up her glasses. When she slid them back on, she moved to the computer and tried to decide if she wanted to go home or stay and work some more. A hand on her back made her jump, but she knew who it was before she looked over her shoulder. Oliver’s cologne was distinctive. “Anything new?”
Felicity shook her head. “I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s quiet tonight.” She spun fully around to look at him.
Oliver put his hands in his pants pockets. He was wearing a black suit with a light blue shirt that was casually unbuttoned at the top. “How did training go?”
“She’s a fast learner,” Sara butted in now that her hair was dry.
Oliver nodded and smiled, “Good. Maybe you two can train together more often.”
Both pair of vigilante eyes landed on Felicity who quickly nodded. “I’d – I’d like that.”
“Me too,” Sara smiled wider. She put her hands in her jacket pockets, “How about tomorrow morning?”
Felicity agreed and watched as Sara and Oliver left, followed closely by Roy. Oliver told her to go home and rest, but Felicity wasn’t sure she could go straight home. Her brain was in overdrive thinking about everything that had just happened. Not that anything really happened. She had just seen Sara in a different light. A less jealous and more a butterflies in the stomach kind of light.
“Stupid,” Felicity shook her head at herself and stood up. She needed to get out of the Arrow Cave.
Felicity took the back entrance out to her car and drove home. She decided that she needed a night to clear her head. She’d been working every night for twelve days straight. It was time for her to relax.
Relaxing was just what she needed. In the morning, she woke up refreshed and ready to take on whatever Starling’s most psychotic threw her way. She wore her workout clothes to the warehouse and brought along a duffle bag of extra clothes she was going to keep for emergencies. She was tired of going home in clothes that she’d been hacking in for twenty-four hours at a time.
When she opened the door, she heard the telltale clank of the bar against the salmon ladder. Felicity was curious to see if it was Oliver or Sara. If she was honest, she would be equally pleased with either one of them, shirtless, muscles rippling as they traveled up and down the equipment.
As soon as Felicity’s foot hit the ground, she saw that her instructor was moving up the salmon ladder with a speed she didn’t expect. Sara was laser focused as she moved up the ladder. When the bar was on the top rung, Sara swung her legs up so that she could get them over the bar. She hung upside down for a few seconds before she started doing crunches.
After a hundred that Felicity counted, Sara jumped down and turned around. She looked at Felicity who was still standing at the bottom of the stairs gaping. The second Sara’s eyes landed on hers, Felicity looked away. She checked her mouth to make sure that she hadn’t drooled while her mouth hung agape. She grappled for something to say, “I just need to check the computers before we get started.”
“I’m going to head upstairs and grab some water bottles,” Sara tried to squash a smile. She knew that she had just been ogled.
Once Sara left, Felicity flopped down in her chair. She checked the monitors. There hadn’t been enough indicators last night for the alarm to go off. Apparently her binge watching the Discovery Channel wasn’t actually putting the city in danger like she worried most of the night.
Sara returned with as many water bottles as she could carry. Felicity saw the amount of water there was and asked, “Are you really going to work me that hard?” Then she closed her eyes, realizing how that dirty could have sounded.
Sara just went with it and set the water down on the table where Oliver sharpened his arrows. She answered with a sly smile, “Harder.”
Felicity could fell herself blush so she closed her eyes and counted backwards from five hundred by prime numbers to keep her cool. Then she stood up. “I’m ready.”