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.”
Felicity stood in the spot where she and Sara trained the day before. Sara moved to her stop in front of Felicity. But instead of putting her arms up for Felicity to rest her arms again, Sara stood still and said, “I wanted to apologize for yesterday. I didn’t mean you’re cute in a condescending way. I’m sorry it came off like that.”
Felicity took a moment to realize what that meant. It meant that Sara thought she was cute. Not like puppy cute, but like cute girl at a bar cute. Felicity looked down at the ground, not really feeling deserving of the compliment from the assassin in front of her. Felicity had never had this problem before. She knew she was cute. She could be downright drop-dead gorgeous when she wanted to be. It just felt like such an immense thing from the woman in front of her.
She finally regained her speech and nodded, “It’s fine. I was frustrated. I might have overreacted.”
“But you’re right though,” Sara put her arms up so that she and Felicity could started training. “You’re more capable than we all give you credit for.”
Felicity decided to just leave the statement at that. She knew that. She knew that she was under appraised by most members of Team Arrow. But she wasn’t in it for the glory. She was in it to do some good for Starling.
When Felicity’s eyes met Sara’s their joined hands started moving. This time instead of the same pattern repeating over and over, Sara would change it up and Felicity would easily adjust. Then Sara would speed up or slow down, tying to throw Felicity off, but the other blonde was unshakeable. She kept Sara’s eyes locked in a solid gaze and adjusted to the variations as they came.
This time Felicity didn’t slip. She kept up with Sara. They were getting comfortable with each other. After half an hour Felicity’s arms were burning. “Can we take a break? My arms are killing me.”
Sara let out an amused smile, “Ten more minutes.”
Felicity gritted her teeth and got through three more minutes before her arms dropped. “I can’t.”
“That’s okay,” Sara put her hands on her hips. She walked over to her stash of water and got a bottle for Felicity. She handed it over and Felicity gulped the water down. “We’ll move on to something else.” She walked over to the salmon ladder and easily moved the bar up before swinging around to sit on it. “What do you think you need to work on?”
Felicity thought it over and smoothed out her hair. “Just like…everything. I feel like I need to be able to jump away from someone that grabs me.” Felicity paused and looked up at Sara, “I get grabbed a lot.”
Sara smiled and nodded, “Alright.” She leaned backwards with her hands on the bar and flipped, landing on her feet. “Do you need a break or would you like to keep going?”
“As soon as I can lift my arms, I’m good to go,” Felicity joked and sat down in her computer chair. “I just need to check on that meeting that Oliver is supposed to be at.” Felicity made her way through the computer to the security cameras as Queen Consolidated. She found the one to the boardroom and made it full screen. Sara walked up behind her and they both saw Oliver sitting at the table, checking his phone.
“He’s waiting for you to call him,” Sara chuckled.
Felicity let a smile play on her lips. It was nice to know that someone was waiting on her to call them, if only to tell them that there was a bomb/fire/hostage situation. Felicity did pick up her phone, but instead of calling Oliver away, she told him to pay attention. She watched on the camera as Oliver smiled at his phone and threw a casual glance at the security camera.
Sara walked over to the arrow table and leaned back on it with her arms crossed. She watched Felicity check the rest of whatever she checked. She watched Felicity’s eyebrows furrow in concentration. She watched her bite her lip in confusion then saw a self-satisfied grin when Felicity fixed whatever hitch she ran into. Sara wasn’t lying when she told Felicity she was cute. She found Felicity adorable.
Cute and adorable weren’t things that she saw much when she was an assassin. She saw sexy and dangerous. Nyssa was sexy and dangerous. Sometimes she could be sweet, but Felicity was completely different, perhaps the complete opposite of Nyssa. Oliver was nice, but sometimes he just seemed like more of the same. Felicity was openly sweet and caring. She never hid her emotions and even when she tried she wasn’t good at it. She was of pure heart. That was something that Sara had lost faith in during her time away. She stopped believing in pure hearts.
“Okay,” Felicity stood up and stretched her arms, “I think I’m ready again.”
Sara kept her position on the table, “Anything specific you wanted to try?”
“I know that there is a reason that we’re doing the hand thing,” Felicity threaded her fingers together in front of her. “But can you kinda show me, like a practical application.”
Sara stood up and walked over to Felicity, “Sure.” Suddenly Sara threw a punch at Felicity. Felicity squealed, but used her arm to deflect Sara’s fist while using her other hand to push Sara away. Sara stopped her attack and took a step back waiting for the realization that was about to wash over Felicity.
Felicity looked at her hands that were still in the position they were in when she was fending off an attack. She smiled up at Sara, partially in elation and partially in disbelief. “I did it.”
“You did,” Sara couldn’t stop her smile.
“And it’s that motion,” Felicity exclaimed and waved her arms around in a more generic version of the movements they’d been doing. She excitedly bounced in front of Sara and put her arms up, “Let’s keep doing it.”
Sara stepped up to Felicity, loving her enthusiasm. When their arms touched, Sara stepped up the pace. They moved with an intensity that was new to Felicity, but she was willing to try her best. She wanted to impress Sara and prove that she could hang with all of the trained people on their team.
Sara slowed it down a little and then sped up. She wanted to see if Felicity to keep her focus on what they were doing instead of what was going on at her computer terminal. Felicity’s eyes never wavered. She continued to push against Felicity’s arms and wrists, manipulating them into doing what they needed to and then let Felicity take the lead. Felicity was up to the challenge, even changing the motions to things they’d done previously.
Finally, Sara was actively trying to trip Felicity up, but Felicity’s movements were solid. So she figured out a way to do it without interrupting the pattern. She let out a sly smile and said, “You have pretty eyes.”
It only took one slip and Felicity’s hands got tangled up in Sara’s. Sara immediately untangled them and watched Felicity’s hand move up to where her glasses usually were only to drop when she realized she wasn’t wearing her glasses. “I – I…sorry.”
Sara picked up her training stick and twirled it around, “You don’t have to say sorry.”
“I just wasn’t – wasn’t expecting that,” Felicity tried to explain.
“You weren’t completely in the fight,” Sara stated, moving the stick around and switching hands.
Felicity nodded, “Yeah. I’m not really an in the moment kind of person.”
Sara rested the end of her stick on the ground and looked at Felicity, “What does it take for you to forget everything?”
“Usually an attractive person really close to my face,” Felicity mumbled, not entirely sure if Sara heard her.
“I guess I’m not attractive enough to get you to focus,” Sara teased.
Felicity immediately backtracked, “No you’re really attractive. Super attractive. I mean have you seen your abs when you do the salmon ladder thing. And you have…” Suddenly Felicity noticed that her mouth was blurting out everything that her brain had brought up to counter Sara’s statement. Of course she lowered her voice to finish her last sentence, “Pretty eyes too.”
That wasn’t quite the reaction Sara expected. She thought there would be some gentle reassurances, instead she got a panicked ramble. She smiled softly at Felicity, “Still cute.”
Felicity blushed and looked at the ground. “So, how do I, um, focus?”
“It’s easier when you’re actually in real danger,” Sara shrugged and kicked the end of her stick. She let the end arc into the air and land softly across her back. “We’ll work in it later.”
The door opened to the downstairs area and Felicity didn’t look up, but on instinct, Sara watched to make sure that they weren’t being ambushed. She let out a sigh of relief when she saw Oliver walk down the stairs in his suit. “How’s it going?”
“Great,” Sara rested the stick across her shoulders. She used it to stretch her core. “If she keeps working like this, we’ll have to find her a mask and a motorcycle.”
“I’m glad it’s working out so well,” Oliver smiled. He looked to Felicity, “Anything new today?”
Felicity shook her head. “All’s quiet on the western front.”
“Good,” Oliver turned back to Sara, “I came back to see if you wanted to have lunch.”
Sara noticed Felicity’s demeanor fall. She turned to the computer and sat down, slipping her glasses on. Sara frowned. Felicity’s behavior was a little perplexing and Sara wasn’t going to let it go without finding out why. “I was actually going to take Felicity on a run.”
Felicity turned around in her chair and looked at Sara over Oliver’s shoulder. She was a little confused. She was really, a lot confused. She wondered what it was about their previous encounters that led Sara to believe she was any kind of runner.
Oliver nodded understandingly, “I’ll ask Thea. Diggle is going to come by later today and I’ll be back at three to help Roy.” He kissed Sara, “I’ll see you ladies later.” Oliver stopped by Felicity’s station to kiss the crown of her head and leave.
“A run?” Felicity asked after Oliver left, “I don’t really run, unless it’s for my life.”
Sara chuckled, “It’s okay. We’re not going far.”
They didn’t actually run or even jog. Felicity held on for dear life on the back of Sara’s motorcycle. What was in reality only a few blocks, to Felicity felt like they sped all the way across town.
“Um, Felicity?” Sara asked when they stopped in front of the Chinese restaurant that she usually met her dad at. “We’re here.”
Felicity slowly lifted her head from its place, buried in Sara’s back. “I um, I’m…okay.” She let out a breath and sat up a little more not removing her arms from Sara’s waist. She took a moment to compose herself before peeling her arms away and removing her helmet.
They walked in and Sara greeted the people behind the counter in perfect Chinese. They seemed to recognize her and smiled when she conversed with them. Sara looked over at Felicity and added something else that Felicity didn’t understand.
“Did you just order for me?” Felicity asked, “Because I’m allergic to nuts.”
“I know,” Sara nodded and sat down at the counter. “I promise I won’t have to perform an emergency tracheotomy on you.”
Felicity chuckled, taking a seat next to Sara, “Something makes me think that you actually could.”
The other blonde just smiled coyly. The person behind the counter set two glasses in front of them and poured a clear liquid into them out of a decanter.
“What is this?” Felicity asked, picking up the glass.
“Baiju,” Sara explained and picked up her glass. She offered her glass up in a toast.
“Isn’t this usually used in celebration,” Felicity looked at her drink and looked over at Sara, “What are we celebrating?”
“You,” Sara tapped her glass to Felicity’s and took a sip.
Felicity just went with it and took a sip of her drink. She almost choked on it, not expecting it to be so strong. Sara smiled as she downed the entire contents of her glass. Then she set it down and observed that Felicity was trying to do the same thing. Felicity did manage to down the rest of hers, but she made a less than graceful face when she set her glass down.
Sara put her hand in the middle of Felicity’s shoulders, gently rubbing in a circular motion, “Are you okay? Was that too much?”
Felicity started laughing, “No, no. I’m good. I’m just not a big drinker.”
The food appeared in front of them next to a pile of chopsticks. Sara picked up the chopsticks and handed a set to Felicity. “That’s why I never see you at Verdant?”
“That’s usually because I’m under Verdant,” Felicity shrugged. She dug into her food. “This is really good.”
“You have an alarm right?” Sara asked, bumping her shoulder with Felicity. “Take the night off. Come get a drink.”
“Is this part of my training?” Felicity asked as she chewed, “You’re getting me to relax?”
Sara smiled, “Partially.”
Felicity raised an eyebrow in question, but didn’t ask. The alcohol was getting to her, but not enough for her to ask outright. She was still overthinking Sara’s every move. She decided to move the focus of this excursion away from her and asked Sara, “Did you eat a lot of this while you were….away?”
Sara looked down at the food. She nodded and looked back at Felicity, “Yeah. Part of the time.”
“Where were you?” Felicity watched Sara’s eyes get lost in thought. “If you don’t mind me asking…I mean Oliver doesn’t like to talk about it so you don’t have to…” She got cut off by a gentle smile from the former assassin.
Sara asked the person behind the counter for another round of drinks and when she had hers, she took a sip. “Well I started out on the island. From there I have been on every continent except for Antarctica.”
“I can’t imagine there being anyone to kill on Antarctica,” Felicity quipped and then immediately regretted it. She saw the shame in Sara’s blue eyes as she looked away. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it -”
“No, it’s fine,” Sara nodded and put her arms on the counter in front of them. “I did what I did and I have to deal with it.” She saw that Felicity felt truly terrible for what she said so Sara turned her body toward Felicity and leaned sideways on the counter. “So the first League headquarters I went to was in North Africa.”
“The first one?” Felicity asked, immediately interested.
“Yeah, there are more than one and they change all the time,” Sara explained patiently because Felicity seemed enchanted.
They spent two more hours at the restaurant. They had moved to a more intimate booth in the back and Sara continued to order food for the two of them to try. Felicity resisted drinking anymore and Sara followed her lead. Sara answered every question Felicity asked as honestly as she could while still keeping Felicity safe. She knew that Felicity was curious enough to look up some things on her own and looking into certain things would bring the League back to Starling City and possibly down on Felicity herself.
When they finally decided to leave, it was because Sara had to get the bar ready for Verdant to open later. Her phone rang as they were standing next to her motorcycle and Felicity was putting on the helmet. Sara saw that it was her dad and decided to take it before she got onto her bike.
Felicity wondered how ridiculous she looked in the helmet when she noticed Sara on the phone. “Yeah… yeah…. I understand….no…Dad, no. I’ll find somewhere else to stay…I don’t know with Oliver or something…alright bye.” Sara hung up and put her phone in her pocket. She looked up and saw Felicity looking at her. She put on a fake smile and gestured to the bike. “Ready?”
“What happened?” Felicity asked, immediately concerned.
Sara looked down at the keys in her hand and shook her head, “Nothing. Laurel is just having a little problem and she’s going to stay with my dad this weekend. It’s not a big deal. I just have to stay away because Laurel hates me.”
Felicity softened and took a step toward Sara, “I’m sure she doesn’t-“
“She does,” Sara stated and moved to her motorcycle. She swung her leg over it, ignoring Felicity’s approach. She wasn’t used to having someone care about her or comfort her physically. She didn’t know how to handle it and she didn’t want to upset Felicity by not reacting like a normal person should.
They rode back to Verdant and Felicity thanked Sara for lunch at one of the secret entrances. Sara nodded, “No problem.”
Felicity just nodded awkwardly before disappearing underground while Sara walked in the front door of Verdant to start her day job.
Sara had been working for a few hours, subtly watching all the areas that someone in the Arrow Cave could pop up in. She was hoping that Felicity would show up, but when she snuck down to the underground area during one of her breaks, she found it empty.
Sara put on a smile for the customers and kept slinging drinks. Around closing time, she was closing someone’s tab when the receipt machine started printing on its own. At first it alarmed Sara, but when she watched what was being printed out she smiled. It was the resident tech genius printing up her address, door code, and an invitation for somewhere to stay if she didn’t want to stay with Oliver. There were a few rambled sentences at the end about there being no pressure and she would understand if Sara would rather stay at the Queen mansion.
Sara finished closing out tabs and decided to take Felicity up on her offer. She wasn’t really in the mood for the Queen family and all their inner family drama. Or their prying. Or Oliver’s solid wall of emotionless steel.
But it was late and Sara didn’t want to disturb Felicity so she decided to climb up onto the roof for a while and cool down. It had been an emotional day although she didn’t show it. At lunch, she divulged details to Felicity that even Oliver didn’t know.
Once she was seated on the roof of Felicity’s apartment, she sat down and leaned back on the short wall surrounding the roof. She looked out at the lights of the city and just tried to forget everything. She wished that maybe she could forget most of what happened to her. She wished sometimes that she had fallen into a coma when the yacht went down and she had just woken up from a terrible dream. But she knew it wasn’t a dream. She could feel blood on her hands. Warm and sticky. She could see the dying eyes looking up at her.
The crunch of a boot on the roof made Sara shoot to her feet and whip out the knife she hid in the back of her pants. Sara lowered her attack stance when she saw Felicity stop her approach. She was carrying two mugs that snaked steam through the chilly night. Felicity was in light blue pajama pants covered in large parrots and a dark blue tank top. Her hair was up and her glasses were on. She looked like she had been asleep.
“How did you know I was up here?” Sara asked, equally impressed and curious. She took one of the offered mugs and sat back down.
Felicity sat down next to her. “I have the roof and all entrances to my apartment wired. There are four cameras up here.” She blew on her tea and resumed speaking with her eyes trained on the lit up city in front of them, “I figured that since Officer Lance knows that I work with The Arrow, some other people might too. And there isn’t always going to be a masked archer around to save me.”
“But there might be a masked ex-assassin around when Oliver is stuck at work or a party,” Sara tried to lighten the mood. She was impressed with Felicity’s diligence in her own safety and knew that she could help improve upon her current system if they kept working together.
“I used to come up here more,” Felicity confessed after they had sat in silence for a while. “Before I knew what kind of bad guys were really out there.”
Sara looked over the city and then back at Felicity, “You don’t have to be afraid. Knowing makes it more difficult, but you can take care of yourself.” Her eyes fell to Felicity’s bare shoulder and the scar that now adorned it. “And other people.” She reached over and ran her fingers over the scar. She still felt bad that cute, sweet Felicity took a bullet for her. She could tell the caliber of the bullet and its trajectory. The last six years had been laid out in scars over her body and the bodies of her friends…former friends.
“I do what I can,” Felicity stretched her legs out and crossed her ankle. She continued to allow Sara’s examination of her scar.
“Does it hurt when it’s cold?” Sara ran her thumb over the raised skin.
Felicity looked over her shoulder at Sara, “It tingles. Do yours?”
Sara dropped her hand from Felicity’s shoulder and took a sip of the tea that Felicity gave her. She leaned all the way back on the wall behind her and looked up at the sky. “Sometimes.”
“Can I ask you a question?” Felicity interrupted the silence yet again when she couldn’t stand it anymore, “A personal question?”
Sara smiled humorlessly. Felicity didn’t know that she already knew Sara better than anyone else in the city and that was after only a two hour lunch. “Of course.”
“Why didn’t you go to Oliver’s?” Felicity knew that she had to ask. She had to deal with the voice in her head that was telling her that Sara had chosen her over Oliver when the logical part of her brain was telling her that that was stupid.
“I don’t think my relationship with Oliver is what you think it is,” Sara licked her lips and took a sip of her tea. “I don’t think it’s a relationship of want. I think it’s a relationship of need.”
Felicity leaned back on the wall and looked at Sara, “What do you mean?”
Sara lulled her head back and looked up at the night sky. “I don’t know why, but we need to be together. I don’t think it’s really romantic at all. We’ve both seen and done things that no one else in this can imagine. I’ve done some unforgiveable things and on some level Oliver feels like he has too. I don’t feel pressure with him to be someone I’m not or to be who I used to be.”
Felicity pulled her knees to her chest and rested her chin on her knees. “I believe you’re both more forgivable than you think.”
Sara ran a hand through her hair. “I hope so,” Sara quietly added.
A chilly breeze ran over them and Felicity’s arms encircled her legs. She wasn’t dressed for cold. Sara immediately shrugged off her jacket and draped it across Sara’s shoulders without saying a word. Felicity started to say that she didn’t have to, but Sara waved her off.
Felicity wanted to do something to comfort Sara. It was obvious that the other woman wasn’t having a great night. She wasn’t sure where she could touch Sara. She didn’t know if Sara was a hugger or someone who liked to be held. She didn’t know to the extent that Sara didn’t mind being touched.
But Felicity spotted an opportunity. She saw Sara’s hand resting limply on the gritty roof below them. She slowly moved her hand toward Sara’s and then timidly brushed the back of her fingers with Sara’s. She didn’t want to move too quickly lest she ended up startling Sara and losing an arm. Then she slowly slid her fingers across Sara’s palm and between her fingers. She didn’t secure her grip on Sara’s hand, but kept a loose hold, slowly stroking the length of Sara’s thumb with her own.
Sara looked down at their joined hands. She watched the lights of the city glint off of the ring of Felicity’s thumb as it moved its soothing path. It was a simple gesture yet so profound. No one, in a long time, had taken the time to just hold her hand.
Sara’s eyes moved back to the cityscape that lay glowing before them. She felt tears in her eyes, but fought them back. Her face remained stoic, showing no emotion, but the single tear that tracked down her cheek betrayed her front.
Felicity didn’t say anything and didn’t look at Sara. She just looked at the skyline as well, wanting nothing more than to figure out how to help the woman next to her.
They sat in silence for an hour. Felicity managed to hold her tongue longer than usual because she wasn’t sure what Sara really needed.
“Can we go to bed?” Sara asked softly, not wanting to interrupt the silence, but desperately needing to go to sleep.
Felicity nodded. She picked up her empty mug and took Sara’s with the same hand. She kept hold of Sara’s hand as she stood and led her into the stairwell door and down to her apartment. She had to let go of Sara when they got inside so that she could lock the doors and get blankets for the couch.
Sara examined the small apartment. It was modern, but still cute, perfectly matching Felicity’s personality. Felicity poked her head out of the hallway leading off the living room. “The bathroom is down this hallway. There’s a new toothbrush in the paper bag next to the sink.”
Sara started walking toward the hallway and asked with a smile, “Do you normally have a lot of overnight visitors?”
Felicity shrugged in a forced nonchalant way, “It was just in case you came over.”
That brought an unexpectedly bright smile to Sara’s face. She followed Felicity past the small bathroom and into the bedroom. Felicity stood in front of the bed and pointed to the dresser, “You’re welcome to anything around here.” She waved her hands. “T-shirts are in the top left side. Shorts are under that.” Felicity’s nose wrinkled a little when she knew her mouth was going to say something she regretted, “If you have a penchant for embarrassing pajama sets, they’re in the bottom left drawer.”
Sara smiled as Felicity stepped past her to the door. “This is great.” After another sweep around the room, she realized that it wasn’t a guest room. Sara tilted her head, “This is your room.”
Felicity nodded. “One bedroom apartment. I never had use for more square footage.” Felicity waved her hand around in the hyperactive way that she did, “Although I wouldn’t say no to more electrical outlets.”
“I can’t take your bed,” Sara shook her head.
“It’s fine,” Felicity waved Sara’s concern off. “I sleep on the couch all the time, researching or whatever.”
“The couch is a step up from everywhere I’ve slept in the past six years,” Sara took a step closer to Felicity. It wasn’t a complete truth, but it was really close to the truth.
Felicity smiled, “Then my bed is two steps up.” She ducked out of the room and walked down the hallway, “Goodnight.”
“C’mon we can share,” Sara called down the hallway, trying to at least compromise a little.
Felicity stopped dead in front of the couch in her living room. That sounded like dangerous territory. Not that she was a stranger to danger anymore. She just worried that in her sleep her hands might get a little roam-y. But when Sara threatened to sleep on the fire escape, Felicity gave in.
They both took turns getting ready and then got into the bed. Once the light was out, Felicity took off her glasses and laid on her side facing away from Sara. It was quiet for a moment before Sara spoke. “Thank you for tonight.”
Felicity turned her head toward Sara and answered just as quietly, “You don’t have to thank me.” She tucked her hand under her head.
“I do,” Sara confessed.
Felicity silently accepted the thanks and took a deep breath, “I’m sorry for how I acted when you first came back to town.”
“You more than made up for that by taking a bullet for me,” Sara offered back with a smile.
Felicity grinned, “We have each other’s back. The women of Team Arrow.”
“Always,” Sara agreed.
They just sort of both drifted off to sleep after that, content to know that they were safe with each other.
Sara slept well for the first time in a long time. It was a deep peaceful sleep knowing that Felicity had wired her apartment and the surround area. Also just knowing that Felicity was near her also gave her a sense of calm. However, waking up without Felicity in the bed did give her a momentary panic, but she heard movement in the other part of the apartment and knew that Felicity had just awoken before her.
Sara sat up in the bed and stretched. She looked at the light streaming through the window and knew that Felicity was probably late to her job as executive assistant to CEO Oliver. After brushing her teeth, Sara walked down the hallway and heard Felicity moving around in the kitchen. She decided to detour around the living room. What interested her specifically were the pictures. They always told a lot about people.
She picked up a picture of Felicity and some man smiling with the backdrop of mountains. The picture didn’t seem to be taken that long ago. Sara wondered who the man was. Sara replaced the picture and spotted one of Diggle and Oliver at a New Year’s party. Dig’s eyes were closed and Oliver had a silver paper horn hanging out of his mouth, but they had their arms on each other’s shoulders and they looked happy. That brought a smile to Sara’s face.
Then another picture caught her eye. It was an older picture of a woman. It was slightly faded so it had to be older. The woman had gorgeous brown hair and a warmly familiar smile.
“I take it this is your mom?” Sara ventured when she heard Felicity step into the living room behind her.
Felicity held the kitchen towel in both of her hands, “Yeah.”
“She’s beautiful,” Sara ran her fingers over the picture frame. Then she looked over her shoulder at Felicity, “You look just like her.”
Felicity let out a tiny smile. She ducked her head. “Thank you.”
“Are you close?” Sara asked, turning around completely to face the other woman.
Felicity nodded slowly and looked at the picture. “Yeah.” She paused, “I mean, on the days when she remembers who I am.”
Sara’s eyes lowered. She felt bad for bringing up something that apparently caused Felicity some pain. She swallowed, “I’m sorry.”
Felicity shook her head, “It happens.” She wrapped the towel around her right hand and finally decided to break the somber mood, “I made French toast.”
Sara smiled widely. “You didn’t have to.”
“I mean, you’ve probably had better French toast,” Felicity rambled, “Probably in France or something, but…”
“I haven’t actually been to France. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, but I was busy when I was in Europe,” Sara walked over to Felicity and put her arm around her shoulders, “But I’m sure what you made is better than anything I could have gotten in France.”
They both sat down at the small table in Felicity’s kitchen. There was coffee and orange juice on the table as well as some fruit in small bowls next to the French toast. Sara looked at the table and earnestly told Felicity, “This is the best breakfast I’ve had since I’ve been back.”
“Really?” Felicity asked, sitting down and pouring some coffee, “I’d have thought breakfast at the Queen Manor would be elaborate.”
Sara shrugged and picked up her fork, “I never stay all night.”
Felicity felt a little bad for bringing it up now that she knew the true nature of Sara and Oliver’s relationship. She wanted to change the subject, but her brain couldn’t think up anything to ask or comment on.
“Are you late for work?” Sara asked, easily.
Felicity looked at the clock on the oven and turned back to Sara with a grin, “Extremely.”
Sara laughed. “I guess it’s my fault.”
“Nah,” Felicity shook her head. “It’s not a big deal. There’s not really anything that I can do there, that I can’t do here.”
“Yeah,” Sara agreed, “What you did last night with the cash register was really cool.”
Felicity looked down at the table that was draped in sunlight coming in the window. “Thanks. It wasn’t that hard really.” She looked back up and found Sara’s eyes sparkling in the sunlight above an adoring smile. She couldn’t help, but smile so she decided to move the conversation away from herself to try to keep from looking dopey, “How was work last night?”
Sara told her it was ordinary and shared a few funny happenings. Both women laughed through breakfast and afterward, Sara insisted on helping clean up. Felicity found a clean shirt for Sara to wear with the jeans she wore the previous night.
“Did you bring your motorcycle?” Felicity asked as they both descended the stairs onto the sidewalk by the street.
Sara nodded. She gestured to the black vehicle parked in the alley. “I should probably start driving something else huh?”
“Yeah,” Felicity looked over at the alley, “Not many hot blondes riding around on motorcycles in Starling.” Then she realized that she had called Sara hot. “I mean – I – you’re…”
Sara chuckled and pulled her keys out of her pocket. “Well if you learned how to ride, there would be two hot blondes riding around.” She started backing away toward her bike and waved at Felicity. “I’ll see you at work.”
Felicity swallowed to try and wet her dry mouth. She gave Sara a half wave and stood frozen in place until Sara turned on the motorcycle and sped away.
“You’re late,” Diggle teased Felicity when she walked into work.
She smiled and put her purse down on her desk. She sat down and answered, “Well I had a houseguest. I didn’t want to be rude.”
“A houseguest?” Oliver stepped out of his office and buttoned his blazer, “Is Barry in town?”
Felicity suddenly felt like she had cheated on Oliver and helped Sara cheat on him too, even though she wasn’t dating Oliver and she didn’t actually sleep with Sara. Her face flushed and she shrugged, “No. Just a girls’ night thing.”
“Oh,” Oliver nodded, “Well, it’s good that you’re making time to relax. I am actually going to take Thea to lunch today.”
Felicity’s fingers took off as she scanned through spikes in activity on the streets the night before, “I’m going to sift through some data – see if I can find out where that rumored last stash of Vertigo in The Glades.”
“Roy called me this morning,” Oliver walked over to Felicity’s desk. “He said that he heard some guy named the Professor has it. See what you can find on him.”
Felicity looked up at him, “Are you coming back here?”
Oliver shrugged. “I don’t know. I was thinking about seeing if Roy had some time after lunch to train.”
Felicity picked up her purse and stood, “I’m just going to head to Verdant. There’s no reason for me to be here. I need to check on one of our servers anyway.”
“Do you need a ride?” Oliver asked, gesturing for her to lead the way out.
“No,” Felicity answered. “I drove.”
Being in, what she decided to call, the Arrow Cave alone was nice. She’d never admit it, but she felt powerful around all the weapons and advanced technology. She turned on some music and got to work. She wasn’t finding much luck with the Professor. He seemed to be an old school, word of mouth guy who had no cell phone or even pager to speak of, if he even really existed.
As she sent a query through her program, Felicity saw that it was going to take up to ten minutes to execute. She didn’t really have any other leads so she spun her chair around. She looked over all the weapons and saw two of the short sticks that Oliver, Diggle, and Sara used to spar with. After a quick look around, Felicity walked over to the table that contained them, her heels echoing through the massive space on the way.
Her rings made a gentle tapping sound when she picked them up. They were heavier than she thought. Everyone wielded them around with such ease that Felicity thought they must weight almost nothing. She grimaced when she realized how many times the three fighters had actually struck each other with them. It must really hurt.
Felicity walked over to one of the torso dummies and struck it in the head. She smiled and chuckled at herself. It was actually kinda fun. She hit the dummy again in the head and then in the chest. She looked at the end of the stick and then kind of jabbed it at the dummy.
“You really need to plant your feet,” Sara’s voice made Felicity jump.
When Felicity turned around, she saw that Sara was almost right behind her. Felicity swallowed. She couldn’t seem to form words.
Sara moved closer behind her and instructed, “Face the dummy.”
Felicity did what she was told and felt Sara’s hands gently grip her hips. She pulled Felicity’s hips back into her own and then used to foot to move Felicity’s feet around. Then Sara reached around Felicity, placing her hands on top of hers.
Sara’s voice was low when she said, “You want to start with blocking. Learn to defend yourself first and then attack later.” She started moving Felicity’s hands around in the motion that mimicked blocking. Even as controlled as Sara was, she had to take a step back after a moment. There was something about Felicity’s smell and her proximity that was making Sara lose focus.
Felicity had had her eyes closed the entire time because all she could think about was the body pressed to her back. When Sara’s warmth was gone, Felicity’s eyes popped open. She slowed the motion that Sara started down and then stopped.
“You did good though with the jab,” Sara crossed her arms and hopped up on the table that the sticks were on. “It’s hard to block a jab if they’re blocking your other hand.” She sat up straight and lifted up her shirt, “Ollie got me with that move last week.”
“Oh my god,” Felicity breathed out. There was a deep, dark bruise on Sara’s abdomen.
“I’ve had worse,” Sara dropped her shirt. She unzipped a backpack that was next to her, that Felicity just realized was there. It seemed that when Sara was around, everything else was dark and blurry. Sara pulled out an apple, “I thought you were going to work.”
“I did,” Felicity walked over to the table and carefully put the sticks down, “But Oliver left and I wasn’t sure if he was coming back so, I came here. I need to do some IT stuff on the servers anyway.”
Sara took a bite of her apple, “Do you mind if I hang around?”
“Never,” Felicity glanced over her shoulder at Sara. The former assassin smiled in appreciation at her and she felt herself completely melt.
Felicity got to work reconfiguring the servers so that they would operate at optimum efficiency. It was times like these that she felt like she wasn’t wasting a 3.9 GPA in college being Oliver Queen’s personal secretary. She was making the system faster so that they could save Starling. At times like this she realized that her work was more than a job title. She could be called the janitor for all she cared. She was the eyes and ears of Team Arrow. She was the brain and the tech.
Felicity was sitting under her desk, splicing some wires when a dull thud on top of the desk startled her. She looked out from her cave in time for Sara to kneel down in front of her. “I got burgers because I asked you what you wanted an hour ago and you mumbled something about security logs being wrong or something.”
“I…what?” Felicity asked, barely registering that Sara was talking to her. She’d been so focused on her work that it was taking her a while to shake back into the waking world.
Sara just laughed and offered her hand to Felicity. Felicity took it and allowed Sara to gently pull her out from under the desk. Sara subconsciously ran her thumb over Felicity’s knuckles before realizing what she was doing. She immediately dropped Felicity’s hand and cleared her throat. “I called Oliver to see what you liked.”
Felicity reached for the bag, suddenly realizing how hungry she was. “Thanks.”
Sara sat back down on the table and watched Felicity sit down at her desk. She decided to keep the conversation going, “I also got a new car.”
“Really?” Felicity’s turned in her chair with a mouthful of burger.
Sara nodded and showered Felicity the keys, “Courtesy of Starling PD’s auxiliary auction.”
“You bought a cop car?” Felicity asked, washing down her burger with a sip of her drink.
Sara chuckled, “No. I think my dad said it was seized in a drug bust. I don’t think I’m one to judge so I’ll be driving a boring sports car during the day.” She tilted her head and couldn’t resist adding, “No more hot blondes on motorcycles.”
Felicity decided to banter back with a grin, “What a shame. Just when I thought things in this town were looking up.”
Sara was thoroughly amused by Felicity’s boldness. She had to say that she liked it. She was about to add to the banter when her phone rang. She pulled it out of her pocket and saw it was her dad. She immediately answered it, “Hello?”
“Hey Sweetheart,” Quentin answered. “Look, I’m taking Laurel out to lunch. I’d like you to come if you want to, but if not and you need to get come clothes or something we’ll be gone for a while.”
Sara sighed and shook her head, “Laurel doesn’t want me there.”
“She’s just having a hard time,” Quentin tried to defend one daughter without hurting another one’s feelings. He felt defeated. “It’ll get better.”
“I don’t know,” Sara ducked her head and scratched the back of her neck. “I might go by the apartment to get my jacket or something.” She paused, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Quentin told Sara she he loved her and she echoed it back before hanging up.
Felicity had fallen silent, her happy and playful mood gone. She felt bad that Sara was going through what she was going through after all she’d already been through.
Sara sighed and pocketed her phone. She put down her burger and slid off of the table. She looked up and saw Felicity trying to discreetly look at her. “Sorry about that.”
Felicity shook her head, “You don’t have to be sorry.”
“I’m going to go get some stuff from my Dad’s,” Sara started putting her things in her backpack.
“Do you want me to go?” Felicity immediately offered. She didn’t want Sara to be uncomfortable at all or alone really.
Sara shook her head and slung her backpack over her shoulder, “No. I’ve got it. Thanks though. You’re sweet.” She solemnly walked toward the door, stopping to drop a kiss on Felicity’s cheek as she walked out.
Felicity just helplessly watched her walk out, wondering if there was any way to mend the rift between the two sisters so that Sara wasn’t hurting anymore.
After she finished lunch, Felicity retreated back under her desk to finish what she had started before Sara arrived. She was about ten minutes into it when her incoming message alert sounded on her computer. She quickly moved into her desk chair. She saw that Sara sent a video in from her phone. Felicity blushed when she realized what kind of video she was hoping for and that it was completely inappropriate for her to wish for one.
It was almost the opposite of what she hoped it was though. The video showed a file opened and its contents spread out over a table. Sara’s voice spoke while she used her phone to slowly take a video of all the contents of the table. “It looks like Laurel isn’t obsessed with the Arrow anymore.” The phone stopped over a surveillance picture of the Arrow and the Canary. There was a red box drawn around the grainy picture of Sara in her costume. “She’s obsessed with me.”
Felicity cut out all the pictures that were in the video and all the documents. She made a virtual copy of the file that Laurel had and started trying to track where all the pictures came from.
Diggle walked in twenty minutes after Sara sent Felicity the files. “Oliver called me. He told me what Sara found.”
“I’m working on where she got the pictures,” Felicity stated, not looking away from the screen. “A few of them were security cameras set up at private companies. I talked to one of the security directors and he said that an ADA had asked him for the videos. He turned them over without a warrant.” Felicity looked up at Diggle, “I bet that’s how she got the rest of them too.” She shrugged, “There’s one picture from a government building, but Laurel’s been a lawyer in this town for a long time. I’m sure people owe her favors.”
“From what you see is it going to be a problem?” Diggle leaned on the desk.
Felicity shrugged, “I can’t tell yet. Sara’s smart. None of the cameras have a straight on shot of her face which is good. With the wig and the darkness it’s nearly impossible to identify her.”
“Nearly impossible?” Diggle asked.
“If anyone could identify her from a few grainy, black and white pictures it would probably be her sister,” Felicity looked up at Diggle, hoping for some direction as to what to do.
Diggle rubbed his chin, “Can you search for other video of her and record over it?”
“Already on it,” Felicity gestured to the far left monitor. “I’ve been finding video of both of them and writing over it with whatever blank footage I can find.”
Sara and Oliver walked in after a few hours. “What do we have, Felicity?” Oliver asked before he was even off of the stairs.
“I have been erasing the Arrow and the Canary from digital video existence,” Felicity reported and turned to another monitor, “And I’m still running searches on the Professor. I’m getting a lot of actual professors and have eliminated all of the ones that are happily employed as well as ones that are no longer in the area,” then Felicity trailed off, “But that doesn’t help if he’s not an actual professor. Or an actual real person.”
“I’ll call Roy and see if he has anything else,” Oliver took out his phone and walked to the other end of the Arrow Cave.
Sara looked at her phone, “I have to get up to work soon.” She looked back at Felicity, “Thank you for your help.”
“Anytime,” Felicity barely choked out. Having Sara’s sharp gaze on her after the kiss on her cheek that she had been trying hard not to think about was intimidating.
Oliver hung up with Roy and turned to the three people around him. “Roy is going to look into it tonight, but he seems to think that the Professor is a ghost.” Oliver put his phone in his breast pocket. “I am going to talk to Laurel. See if I can find out what she knows.”
“I’ll call Sin,” Sara ran a hand through her hair. “If anyone knows about the Professor it’s her.”
“I’ll keep looking too,” Felicity nodded and turned back to her computers. Diggle followed Oliver and Sara out the door, leaving Felicity by herself.
It wasn’t an hour later that Oliver walked back downstairs. Felicity looked up at and asked, “No luck?”
“Laurel wants to meet me at Verdant,” Oliver took off his jacket and hung it on the back of a chair.
“Recovering addict in a bar,” Felicity leaned back in her chair, “That doesn’t really sound like a great idea.”
Oliver shook his head, “It’s not.” He stood up, “I’m going to go home and change. I’ll be back at opening.”
After Verdant opened, Felicity went back to looking for the Professor. She had found some mentions of him on deep web message boards, but it wasn’t more than what Roy and Sin told them. She was getting bored trying to talk some guy on the message board into taking her to meet the Professor.
A dull bang sounded above them and Diggle was the first to react. “What was that?” he asked and pulled out his gun.
Felicity’s fingers flew over the keyboard and she pulled up the security cameras inside Verdant. “There are men with guns inside.”
“Where are Oliver and Sara?” Diggle looked over her shoulder at the camera.
Felicity looked around, “Sara is behind the bar. There are a lot of people with her. Oliver is in the middle of the club.” She looked up at Diggle. “They can’t get out of there.”
Diggle looked over at the newly built case for Sara’s costume. Felicity giggled while she was assembling it deciding that it should be called the Bird Cage. Diggle looked back down at Felicity, “We have to do it.”
“Excuse me?” Felicity’s eyes widened.
“You don’t have to do much,” Diggle shook his head. “We just need to make enough of a distraction for Oliver and Sara to either slip out or help us take out the shooters.”
“And this way we can throw Laurel off the trail of her sister,” Felicity nodded. She stood up and walked over to the case. She opened it and hesitantly took the mask. She swallowed. “Can I take the sticks?”
Sara kept trying to get a look over the bar, but every time she tried to look she got shot at. She didn’t know where Oliver was. She just hoped that he could get out. There was no way she would be able to get away from the bar and all the people around it without giving herself up.
She picked up a broken piece of the mirror that was behind the bar and held it above her head, hoping to get a better angle. There were at least six men with sub-machine guns. They were all in black gas masks.
“Let them go,” Sara heard the distinct sound of Oliver’s voice alteration device. She sighed, relieved. It seemed that Oliver had made it out. She thought that until she saw Oliver with his arm over Laurel on the ground near the feet of the armed men. Oliver was trying to get a look to where the voice came from.
Sara tilted the mirror a little up and saw someone in Oliver’s suit. She was even more alarmed at who she spotted up in the rafters. She breathed out, “Felicity.” Sara knew that she couldn’t do anything that would give her away, but Felicity wasn’t ready to take on armed gunmen.
The men with the guns sprayed up the top of the club where Diggle and Felicity were. Sara felt her heart drop. She couldn’t let anything happen to Felicity. Even if it did blow her cover.
Sara dropped the mirror and stood up. That was when she saw Diggle and Felicity dropped from the ceiling. Felicity landed a little awkwardly, but as soon as two of the men were down, the crowd in the club started to rush for the door, blocking her view.
“Get out of here!” Sara yelled at the people hiding behind the bar. She pointed them through the back of the club and they all started running.
She turned back to the group of men just in time to see Diggle knock out one of the men with Oliver’s bow. He crumbled to the ground just as a man was about to strike Felicity from behind. Sara was about to call out when Felicity whirled around and blocked the hit with the training sticks. She followed the block with a crack to the man’s head that sent him crumbling to the ground.
Sara jumped over the bar and approached the fighting mass. She saw Oliver do the same. Sara went straight for a man with his gun aimed at Felicity, who was fending off another attack. Sara stayed behind the man with the gun and put her arms around him, aiming the gun at one of the other attackers. The man she was attacking pulled the trigger on instinct, killing his teammate. Hit the man in the face with the gun he was holding, knocking him out.
Just as Felicity dug the blunt end of one of the sticks into the last man standing’s ribs, the roar of police sirens came into earshot.
Oliver looked at the mess of men on the ground and looked to Diggle and Felicity. He smiled at Felicity and gave her a proud nod. Then he touched Sara’s arm, “We have to get out of here.”
Oliver buttoned his jacket and Sara caught Felicity’s eyes. She could see that Felicity was stunned by her own actions. She gave the other blonde a calming smile and then followed Oliver out the door.
“I have to get downstairs and fix the security tapes,” Felicity told Diggle as soon as what had happened sunk in.
He nodded and the both ran out of the room before the police could burst in, only to find a pile of unconscious or dead criminals in the middle of the club.
Felicity immediately stripped off the wig and the mask when they got to the Arrow Cave. She sat down behind the computer, picked up her glasses, and slid them on. She didn’t have much time before the police were going to have to ask Thea for the tapes.
Diggle put Oliver’s uniform back and put back the pieces of uniform that Felicity was slowly taking off as she fixed the videos. Felicity wasn’t going to have time to completely remove herself and Diggle, but she could cut the feed right after they appeared. She made sure that the angles where Oliver and Sara were seen weren’t cut until after she and Diggle jumped from the rafters.
She didn’t have time to think about what she’d just done. She jumped from the ceiling, landed on a man, then fended off other men with nothing, but two sticks. It was a lot to process. Immediately after she was finishing the videos, she flopped back in her chair. It was stressful trying to beat the cops. It was more stressful defending her own life and the lives of everyone in the club.
“Good job, Felicity,” Diggle smiled and handed her a water bottle. “You made us all proud.”
Felicity let out an easy smile. Now that it was over, she was actually really proud of herself. Then she looked down at her clothes, “I have to change.”
Felicity stood up and took a step. She stumbled because her ankle was throbbing. She didn’t realize it before. She limped back to her chair and pulled off Sara’s boots. The right ankle was turning purple. “Oh crap.”
Diggle knelt down in front of her and looked it over. “It looks like a sprain.”
Felicity took a deep breath. “At least it’s not a bullet.”
Diggle helped her limp to the shower where she changed before she sat on the table so that he could bandage her ankle. As he was wrapping the second bandage on it, Oliver and Sara walked in.
“What happened?” Sara trotted over and stood close to Felicity.
Felicity shrugged, “It happened when we jumped.”
“You were amazing, Felicity,” Oliver praised her with a smile.
“If it’s all the same to everyone, from now on I’ll stick to the tech stuff,” Felicity looked down at her ankle that was now wrapped.
Oliver smiled and touched her shoulder, glad that she was okay. “Let me get you home.”
Felicity looked around to see if Sara was going to stay with her again, but when she looked to where Sara just was, the former assassin was gone. Not just gone from her side, but gone from the Arrow Cave. Felicity looked around, “Where did Sara go?”
Both Diggle and Oliver looked around, confused. Oliver just shrugged it off, “She must have had to go upstairs. Let me and Diggle get your home and I’ll come back here to help clean up.”
“Thanks,” Felicity decided to take the offer. The more she sat on the table, the more her ankle throbbed.
Oliver and Dig helped Felicity limp up the stairs to her apartment and made sure that she had everything that she needed before they left. When she sat down on the couch, she moved her tablet to her lap and opened a few new windows. After looking at her computer for a moment, she put it down and stood up. She hopped on one foot to the window and opened it. She didn’t speak very loud, but she said, “You know I can give you a key to the front door.”
Felicity left the window open and hopped back to the couch. Just as she was sitting back down, Sara was standing inside of her apartment just inside the window. Sara closed the window, but lingered near it, “Sorry.”
“You don’t have to be sorry,” Felicity shook her head. She patted the couch next to her and Sara slowly moved toward it.
Sara watched Felicity use to tablet to control her TV and search through a mass of movies on the screen. Finally she decided to speak, “You were really incredible out there.”
“Well I had a great teacher,” Felicity smiled over at Sara.
They sat in on the couch both watching the TV until Felicity’s phone started beeping. Felicity picked it up and looked it over. She didn’t say anything before she dropped her phone and grabbed her tablet. Then she stood up seeming to forget that her ankle was sprained. She buckled, but Sara caught her.
“What’s going on?” Sara asked.
Felicity steadied herself on one foot. “I’ve been monitoring the police frequencies with a voice recognition program. It sends an alarm to my phone for certain trigger words.”
“What is it?” Sara put her hand on Felicity’s waist to steady her. “What trigger word?”
“Hostages,” Felicity stated.
Sara and Felicity arrived at the Arrow Cave ten minutes before Dig and Oliver. Sara was already dressed and Felicity was already behind her computer pulling up all the feeds. She had the communication’s system up and the ear pieces lined up on her desk.
Once Oliver was changed, he picked up the earpiece that was tinted green, “They’re color coded now?”
“Green for Arrow,” Felicity didn’t look away from her computer to explain, “Yellow for Canary. Black for 5th Special Forces Group.” She swiveled toward the three that were picking up their Comm pieces. “I’ve had a lot of free time to upgrade everything.”
Oliver, Sara, and Diggle all ran out toward their vehicles. Oliver and Sara wove in an out of traffic on their motorcycles while Diggle went as fast as he could in the car.
Sara climbed up the side of the building while Oliver went in through the back door. “What are we looking at Felicity?” he asked.
“Three gunman on the dance floor,” Felicity relayed, “Two on the bar. Sub-machine guns. It’s the same thing that happened at Verdant, gas masks and everything.”
Sara found a vent and kicked it open before sliding through. She quickly made her way to a space that hung over the dance floor. “You ready Ollie?”
“Go,” Oliver stated and burst through the door in the back. He pinned two of the guys to the wall by their sleeves just as Sara dropped from the vent. She easily took out two of the men on her way down. It didn’t take long for the men to all be subdued. Sara looked over at Oliver as the people in the club started to run out. “Did that seem kinda easy to you?”
Oliver nodded and looked around, “Anything outside?”
Diggle had been making his way around the perimeter through the alleys and kept a watch while he answered, “No.”
“Wait, there’s a van on the north side of the building,” Felicity squinted at the screen. She zoomed in as much as she could as she watched some men shove something out of the van and then speed off. “Oh my god. There’s a person with bombs strapped to them in the alley.”
“Is there a timer?” Sara asked as she and Oliver took off running to the north side of the alley.
“Yeah. You have two minutes, seventeen seconds,” Felicity stated just as Dig came into view of the person.
“He’s unconscious,” Diggle walked up to the person and knelt down. The person was dressed in a heavy jacket with the hood up and baggy pants. Diggle looked over the bomb and found a panel to pull open, exposing the wires inside the timer.
“This camera is in black and white,” Felicity told Diggle as Sara and Oliver slowed to a spot behind him. “Tell me what color the wires are.”
“Red, green, black,” Diggle looked through them and pulled out a knife.
“Okay,” Felicity switched screens and her fingers flew over the keyboard. It only took her a few seconds to pull up a schematic of the bomb with an identical make. She moved back to the surveillance screen, “The green one. Cut it.”
Diggle knew better than to question Felicity this deep into their relationship so he cut it without comment. The timer immediately went off. Diggle cut the tape that was holding it to the man and gently set it aside.
Sara moved to the man and pulled back the hood only to reveal a white mask. Something behind it seemed off so she pulled up the mask. The second the mask was off, she was sprayed with something in her face. She dropped the mask and recoiled.
“Sara!” Felicity called through the comms.
Sara tried to wipe off her face for a second before she got dizzy. She stumbled and collapsed against the wall of the club.
Diggle dropped what they found was a dummy and ran to Sara. He and Oliver carried her through the alley to his car.
Felicity didn’t usually condone, hacking into the city’s transportation grid and turning all the lights between her team and herself green, but this was an extenuating circumstance. Diggle carried Sara into the Arrow Cave and set her down on the table the Felicity that cleared off.
Oliver immediately went to making the herbal tea that helped him against the Vertigo. Felicity had a wet towel ready and gently cleaned off Sara’s face. She felt nauseous. She should have seen that it was a dummy or known that there was something in the dummy’s face.
“I got some of the spray,” Diggle stated and looked over at Felicity.
Felicity walked over to him and picked up the slide that contained a white powder in a clear solution that Diggle had extracted from the device used to spray Sara. It would have taken too much time to dig out of the dummy’s head in the alley so there was a mutilated dummy head on the ground next to Diggle’s feet.
Felicity slipped the slide under the microscope and started her analysis. It didn’t take long for her to identify that it was a plant toxin. Oliver was done with the herbal mix and had Diggle hold Sara while he administered it.
They moved her to the bed that was an emergency crash zone for anyone too tired or worn out to get home. Sara started groaning which Oliver told Diggle and Felicity was the good thing. They couldn’t do anything, but wait until it was flushed out of her system.
“The bomb was made by a man called Jervis Tetch who called himself The Mad Hatter,” Felicity quietly told Oliver by the computer terminals. “He’s been in Arkham Asylum in Gotham City for ten years.” Felicity gestured to the computer, “but there was never a plant toxin or a dummy.”
“So these men are working for someone who knows The Mad Hatter,” Oliver crossed his arms.
Felicity picked up her tablet and handed it to Oliver, “I also found the plant that Sara was poisoned with. It’s a Brugmansia, known as an Angel Trumpet. Native to South America, but easily found all over the world.”
“How hard is it to extract the toxin?” Oliver asked.
“Anyone with basic lab equipment and an internet connection can do it,” Felicity told him and took her tablet back. She set it on the desk, “But this is a really clean sample so it has to be from someone with a botany or chemistry background.”
“Just what we need,” Oliver crossed his arms, “Another mad genius.”
Felicity pushed her glasses up and rubbed her eyes. “I’ll start looking for scientists that had contact with the Mad Hatter in Arkham.”
“You’re tired,” Oliver put her hand on her shoulder, “Maybe you should go home.”
Felicity shook her head. She knew that she couldn’t leave. She wasn’t sure which reason she was going to allow herself to believe, but she shook her head. “I’m not leaving.”
Oliver put his arm around Felicity’s shoulders and kissed the side of her head, “I’m going to go change and I’ll help you.”
Felicity closed her eyes and bowed her head as he walked away. Something about Oliver treating her so well made her feel guilty. She decided to just keep her head down and get to work. There was nothing to do about it at the moment. Felicity looked over her shoulder at Sara. She needed to find out who did this to Sara.
For the next hour, Felicity buried herself in medical records and visitor forms. She ran background checks on every visitor that the Mad Hatter had and tracked them all down to their current residences. It took her another hour to find that none of the visitors had been anywhere near Starling City in the past year.
Felicity was getting frustrated. She kept hitting dead ends. Felicity pushed her glasses up on top of her head and looked over at Sara. Oliver and Diggle went upstairs to help Thea and Roy clean up the club. Felicity stood up and walked over to the bed. She picked up the damp rag next to the bed and went to the shower to put cool water on it.
As she wrung the excess water out of the rag, she heard a scream. Felicity ran to the bed where Sara was sitting up and panting. Sara’s entire body was covered in a sheen of sweat.
“Sara?” Felicity sat down on the bed next to her. “How do you feel?”
Sara blinked and ran her hand through her hair. “I…the bomb?”
“It was diffused,” Felicity assured her. “You were sprayed in the face with a plant toxin.”
Sara squinted and shielded her eyes. “What’s it doing to me?”
Felicity quickly turned on her tablet and used it to turn down the lights in the Arrow Cave until the only lights came from the computer monitors, a dim square of lights in the ceiling, and the costume cases. “One of the symptoms of poisoning is sensitivity to light.”
Sara laid back down. “It’s a good thing that I work in a bar and fight crime at night.”
Felicity smiled down at Sara and pressed the cool rag to Sara’s forehead. “You scared the crap out of me,” Felicity confessed in a volume barely above a whisper.
When Felicity went to put the rag on Sara’s face, Sara grabbed her wrist. She swallowed thickly and took a labored breath, “I think I’m hallucinating.”
“Really?” Felicity looked around like she would be able to see it.
Sara rubbed her eyes with her free hand. “Tell me where we are.”
“We’re under Verdant,” Felicity moved the rag to her other hand and slipped her arm back so that she could hold Sara’s hand while she wiped her face. “In the new and improved Arrow Cave.”
Sara smiled with her eyes closed. “Who else is here?”
“It’s just you and me,” Felicity explained patiently. “Oliver and Dig are upstairs with Thea and Roy.”
Sara writhed around for a moment before lying flat on her back. Sara looked up at Felicity, “Angel Trumpet?”
“How did you know?” Felicity ran her thumb over Sara’s knuckles in what she hoped was a soothing motion.
“It felt familiar,” Sara let out a humorless smile and forced a deep breath. “This is a lot stronger though.”
“Yeah,” Felicity touched the damp rag to Sara’s face, trying to cool her off as best she could. “Whoever did it knew what they were doing.”
Sara looked up at Felicity, but her eyes focused on something behind her. Sara quickly pulled Felicity down onto the bed and into her arms, rolling Felicity away from where she had been standing.
“What’s wrong?” Felicity asked, afraid to move.
Once she had a moment to rationalize, Sara realized what happened, “Sorry. I think it was a hallucination.”
Felicity didn’t move much. She just asked in a hushed whisper into Sara’s shoulder, “Is it a dragon?”
Sara smiled and loosened her grip on Felicity, “An old friend.”
“Friend?” Felicity countered.
“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Sara closed her eyes again and winced.
Felicity looked around. When she spotted the water bottle she was looking for, she sat up a little bit, Sara’s arms slipping down to her waist.
“Don’t – Don’t go,” Sara tried to stop Felicity from getting off the bed.
Felicity reached over Sara to get the water bottle, “I’m not going anywhere. You need to drink this.”
Sara cracked an eye open and saw the water that Felicity was holding. She sat up as best she could and took a long drink. When she finished, Felicity closed the bottle and put it on the floor next to the bed so that Sara didn’t think she was leaving again.
Sara fell asleep with her head on Felicity’s shoulder. Felicity watched Sara sleep for a little while and stroked her hair, trying to make sure that none of her ‘friends’ came back. She still felt bad and partially responsible for what happened to Sara.
Of course after half an hour, Felicity was itching to get back on the trail of whoever did this to Sara. But she also wanted to hold Sara for as long as she could because she knew it may never happen again.
After several attempts at trying to figure out how to get her tablet, including an unfruitful attempt at using The Force to get her tablet to come to her, Felicity gave up. She just moved a pillow behind her head and closed her eyes. She was exhausted anyway. Maybe looking at the situation with fresh eyes after a short nap would help.
Felicity was jerked awake by a panic that rose up through her chest. She immediately sat up in the bed and looked around. Her glasses had fallen off so most things around her were a blur.
It only took her a moment to realize that it was her phone ringing.
“What’s wrong?” Sara asked, having been awakened by Felicity and the phone.
Felicity shook her head, “No-nothing.” She felt around for her glasses and found them on her pillow, “Sorry.” She looked over toward her computer terminal and saw her phone ringing on the edge of the desk. Diggle and Oliver were sitting there using to computers.
When she got close, Diggle handed Felicity her phone. She saw who it was and answered, “Officer Lance.” The name got all three of the other people in the room to look at her.
“I have some information for our mutual friend,” Officer Lance told her. “It might not be much, but he’s done more with less.”
“Okay,” Felicity turned one of the computer monitors toward herself and took the keyboard out from in front of Oliver. She started running a search that she thought of in the seconds after she woke up.
“The goons with the guns in both nightclubs that were hit – the ones with the gas masks,” Quentin explained quickly, “Under their masks, all their faces were painted, like clowns.”
“Clowns?” Felicity stopped typing.
“White paint on their faces with black rings around their eyes and red over their lips,” Quentin went on. “Creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. We’re not releasing it to the media. There’s no reason to terrify everyone in town.”
“Got it,” Felicity finished her query on the computer and stood up straight, “I’ll let him know.”
After she hung up, Felicity got in a few more keystrokes before she explained what Officer Lance told her.
“That’s creepy,” Sara moved to stand behind Oliver and look at Felicity.
“Totally,” Felicity adjusted her glasses and turned back to the computer. “So I already went through all the visitor records and tracked down everyone who ever visited the Mad Hatter. I tracked them all down and none of them have been to the area in a while and most of them don’t have the means to make a bomb and hire a bunch of body guards.” Felicity paused to open a few files. “What I didn’t search through were personnel files,” Then she mumbled to herself, “Everyone that had access to the Mad Hatter.” She looked through the many results and tried to think of a way to narrow it down further.
“Did any of the ones that have access, also have a contact that’s a botanist or chemist?” Diggle asked.
Felicity’s fingers flew, “There was a patient there. Dr. Pamela Isley, PhD in botany, known for using plant toxins to commit crimes.” She continued searching. For a few minutes the only sound was Felicity’s fingers on the keyboard. “One of the psychiatrists was in charge of patient care for the Mad Hatter . She saw him almost daily until she resigned. The day before she resigned she discharged Dr. Isley. Credit cards show that she is renting a room at the Fairmont Hotel in Starling.” Felicity swiveled around in her chair to look at the other three with a single picture up on the computer behind her. “Dr. Harleen Quinzel.”
Oliver stood up. “Let’s go pay her a visit.”
Sara walked right up to her costume case and opened it.
“Sara, you can’t go,” Oliver told her after he spotted her.
Sara grabbed her top and pants out of the case and looked over her shoulder, “I don’t care what kind of state I’m in, you can’t stop me.”
Oliver turned around and put his hands on Sara’s shoulders, “I don’t want you to get hurt.”
The blonde shook her head, “I’ll stay outside for backup, but you can’t expect me to just lay here.”
“We have to stake out her room until she gets there,” Diggle suggested trying to keep someone from getting hurt before they even left. “Why don’t you and Sara get a higher vantage points while I take,” he put his hand on Felicity’s shoulder, “Killer here, and we’ll stake out the lobby.”
Felicity groaned. She was starting to feel like none of the others would ever see her grow out of being the nerdy, awkward IT girl.
Everyone was getting ready to go when Sara walked up behind Felicity. She was in costume, sans her mask that was in her hand. “Hey,” Sara said softly.
Felicity turned around and looked up at the Assassin. She furrowed her brow, “Are you sure you want to go out? I mean, she’s just a psychiatrist. How many of us do we need?”
Sara smiled, “That’s like saying, ‘He’s just a Transit employee how much trouble can he be?’ Or ‘He just makes dolls. He’s harmless.”
“Touché,” Felicity pointed at Sara in acknowledgement of her point.
“I just wanted to tell you one more thing before we leave,” Sara carefully put her mask on and then looked at Felicity. She put her hands up, cupping her hands over Felicity’s ears. “Clapping your hands over someone’s ears is the easiest way to defend yourself. It’ll drop them immediately.”
Felicity smiled, touched that Sara was worried about her. She had learned that move during a self-defense class she took after her stalker incident in college, but had forgotten about during the fight at Verdant. “Thanks.”
Sara dropped her hands from Felicity and walked off, not wanting to say something she’d regret or start something she wasn’t ready for.
Felicity sat in the lobby of the hotel with a book in her hand. The bookmark in the book was a picture of Dr. Quinzel. Diggle was in the hotel bar, drinking tonic water and watching the lobby in the mirror behind the bar.
Sara was on the roof of the building on the west side of the building and Oliver was on the roof of the building that was east. Sara looked down at the alley below and saw a few workers exiting the back of the building together. Oliver checked the street and watched some cars go by before tapping his comm device on, “How are you holding up Sara?”
“Great,” Sara answered although it was a lie. She had been staying away from the edge of the building just in case she got dizzy again. “Anything inside?”
“Not in the bar or the front door,” Diggle leaned on the bar.
“Negative,” Felicity mumbled behind her book. She turned the page and went back to pretend reading.
“Oliver, north side of the building getting out of the black Towncar,” Sara knelt down by the edge of the building. She spotted a woman getting out of the towncar with the help of the driver.
He tried to see the woman’s face, but all he could see was the top of her black hat and her high heels. “I can’t get a good look. Coming your way, Felicity.”
Felicity looked over the top of her book and saw the woman that was walking into the hotel. “It’s not her. It’s Mrs. Queen.”
“Mom?” Oliver asked. “What is she doing?”
“She’s walking into the restaurant,” Felicity watched carefully over the top of her book. “Oh my god, is that Walter?” She grinned behind the book, “They kissed at the host station. They’re having dinner.”
Oliver tried not to smile, but it did warm his heart that his mother and Walter were trying to make things work.
“The front door,” Felicity’s tone changed quickly, “Dr. Quinzel is here.”
The woman walked into the lobby wearing a strapless red dress. Her blonde hair hung in soft curls over her shoulders. Her sheer tights were tinted black and her high heels clicked powerfully on the marble flooring. Felicity watched her walk by. She sunk back against the couch and announced quietly, “She’s going up to her room.”
“I’ll meet her there,” Oliver stated and shot a zipline arrow at the wall just above Dr. Quinzel’s hotel balcony. He hooked his bow onto the line and jumped.
Sara looked for a way to get to the balcony as well, but her head started swimming. She tried to force her head to focus, but she was having a hard time, “I’ll watch from the roof.”
Felicity closed her book as planned and walked out to the front door, trying not to have a noticeable limp. “I’ll be in the car.”
Oliver landed on the balcony and used a small dart to pry open the sliding balcony door. It seemed quiet inside of the room. The lights were off, but Oliver could see from the light coming in the glass balcony door. He stepped back outside on the balcony, closed the door, and waited. It took a moment but he heard the electronic lock on the door click back. He heard the slide mechanism on the door scrap against the door plate. He waited for it to slide back into place before going inside. He counted to ten and it didn’t slide back into place. Then he heard a dull metallic thud on the carpet. He knew that sound all too well.
Oliver jumped off the balcony and as he was falling shot an arrow up into the building across the alley just as Dr. Quinzel’s hotel room exploded. He held onto his bow as it swung him dangerously fast into the neighboring building. He landed against the building with his feet first, rolling onto his ankles, then his hip to cushion the blow.
“Oliver!” Felicity called into the comm piece, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Oliver assured her and looked down from where he was hanging. He saw a fire escape under him and released his bow from the zip line. He fell onto it with a soft thud. “She knows I’m here. She threw a grenade at me. Where is she, Felicity?”
Felicity was already hooked into the hotel’s surveillance feed via her tablet. She rewound the footage and saw when Dr. Quinzel threw the grenade into the room. Then there was a glitch. The screen turned back for two seconds. When the feed came back up Dr. Quinzel was gone. “She got into the feed or one of the cronies,” Felicity explained, “She just…disappeared. The feed went black and when it came back up she was gone.”
“She has a team,” Sara sat down on a vent of the room. She watched a line of cars waiting for their wealthy clientele. “She’s not working alone.”
The Arrow Team watched the hotel while Felicity went through all the feeds that she could on her tablet. When the police arrived, Diggle suggested that they head out because the police would start searching the hotel for Dr. Quinzel, which was something the Arrow Team couldn’t do without drawing unwanted attention to themselves. After Oliver made sure that his mom and Walter were okay, he agreed.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity sat at her desk watching the trigger words that her program detected in the police radio band, pop up on screen. She knew that she was exhausted and there wasn’t much of a reason to stay at the Arrow Cave. There wasn’t much she could do until the Starling Police department filled out an official report that she could hack into.
“Felicity,” Oliver walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder, “Why don’t you head home?”
Felicity sat up straighter, “I’m fine.” She rubbed her eyes under her glasses, “Just waiting for the police to catch up.”
Oliver smiled at her, “Alright. I’m going to at least go get us some food and coffee.”
“You’re a god,” Felicity smiled back up at him.
“Keep an eye on Sara, okay?” Oliver asked, but didn’t wait for Felicity to answer before he put on his jacket and walked away.
Felicity leaned back in her chair and looked at the ceiling. She started thinking about how well Oliver had always treated her. He always tried to protect her and he was her friend. Whatever she did, she couldn’t move on whatever feelings she had for Sara because she didn’t want to lose Oliver. She had already lost too many people in her life.
A clanging sound jerked Felicity out of her thoughts. Her head whipped to the right where she saw Sara using the salmon ladder. Felicity flew out of her chair, “What are you doing?!”
“It helps me think,” Sara paused before jumping the bar again.
Felicity couldn’t believe what Sara was doing, “You’re going to fall or hurt yourself. You’re sick and hallucinating!”
Sara dropped from her hang and looked over at Felicity, “I feel a lot better.”
“You’re all going to give me a heart attack,” Felicity rubbed her eyes and turned around, marching back to her computer terminal.
Sara couldn’t stop a smile as she watched Felicity retreat. It felt really weird for her to have someone vocally caring about her. She always had her dad, but lately it seemed that he was scared to say too much. Maybe he was scared she’d leave again.
When Oliver returned, the police found no trace of Dr. Quinzel. They were only looking for her as a witness so their priority in finding her wasn’t high. It was frustrating for Felicity who knew that that’s who they were looking for.
So she decided to talk about more interesting things while they waited. She checked to make sure that Sara was passed out on the bed when she started the conversation.
“What are we going to do for Sara’s birthday?” Felicity swiveled around in her chair to look at Oliver who was sharpening his arrows.
Oliver looked up, questioningly, “When’s her birthday?”
“Next week,” Felicity answered and twirled a pen in her fingers. When Oliver gave her a curious look she answered, “I have to erase all of your electronic trails. I run across birthdays. Anyway, I was thinking that maybe we could all go to dinner and then you could take her to Paris.”
Oliver smiled, “Paris?”
Felicity nodded. “She’s never been and she wants to go. It’s one of the only places she hasn’t been. It’s romantic and you both could use a vacation.”
“Can Starling go without its masked vigilantes for that long?” Oliver turned toward Felicity on his stool and asked.
Felicity bit the end of her pen. As much as it pained her to plan a romantic getaway for Oliver and Sara, she wanted Sara to be happen and have a fantastic birthday. “I did the math and the average amount of days there are between crises is eight days.” Felicity started twirling her pen again, “Even with the standard deviation of three, it would be pretty safe for you two to be gone for a weekend.”
Oliver thought it over. He looked at Felicity and studied her for a moment. Then his face broke out in a wide smile, “You know what? That’s a great idea. I think four days would be okay. I’ll call Hotel Le Meurice and file the flight plan. Can you do me a favor though?” He leaned back on the table. He waited for Felicity to nod before going on, “Look at the spa packages at the hotel or anywhere in Paris really. The best ones. And any restaurants that look good to you. I’m not really in the loop on what passes for fine cuisine in Europe anymore.”
Felicity swallowed hard and nodded, “Of course.”
There was another lull in the noise. Felicity had nothing to focus on, but the police scanner. She kept her eyes on it for almost half an hour, enough time for Sara to wake up and for Diggle to shower in an effort to keep himself awake.
“I’m going to call Office Lance,” Felicity finally blurted out. Three pairs of stunned and tired eyes focused on her. She offered her explanation in a calmer voice, “The police aren’t looking for Dr. Quinzel as a suspect. They don’t know about Pamela Isley. I think it’s only fair that we warn them. It’s apparent that they’re both very dangerous.”
Oliver looked over at Diggle consulting him. Diggle nodded. Then Oliver looked to Sara, who was sitting on the bed, the sheet draped over her lap. Sara shrugged, her eyes turning to Felicity, “If you think it’s a good idea.”
“After you call him, I think we should all head home,” Oliver stated. “We’re all running on empty.”
Felicity moved her jaw around as she thought, “I should probably call him from somewhere else.”
“You think he’s tracking you?” Diggle asked.
Felicity’s eyes dropped. She didn’t want to accuse someone in Sara’s family of stalking her, but…
“Maybe Laurel is,” Sara answered for Felicity. “She has gotten things that she shouldn’t be able to. Now she’s obsessed with the Canary who knows the Arrow, who is friends with Felicity.” Sara stood up, letting the sheet drop. She picked up her backpack and dug out her keys. She wavered as she walked and both Felicity and Oliver stood up just in case they needed to catch her.
“You can’t drive,” Oliver gently tried to get Sara to see that he was looking out for her safety.
“I know,” Sara dangled her keys in front of Felicity, “If you take me home, you can talk directly to my father.”
Felicity gently took the keys from Sara. She looked to Oliver who nodded, “Go talk to Officer Lance. I have some digging to do.” Oliver kissed Sara and then touched Felicity’s shoulder. “Make sure she doesn’t walk up stairs alone.”
“I was on a rooftop half an hour ago,” Sara protested, “No one was worried then.”
“Yes I was,” fell out of Felicity’s mouth as she pocketed the keys and went to gather her things.
Felicity turned on the radio when they got into the car and for every song that came on, Sara asked about all the songs she’d never heard and about the singers she didn’t hear while she was away. Felicity answered as best she could. She didn’t mind helping Sara catch up on Starling popular culture.
At the Lance residence, Felicity walked Sara to the door and waited outside for Sara to send her dad out. Sara kissed Felicity’s cheek goodnight on the sidewalk and told her to take her car home since she couldn’t use it anyway. Sara carefully walked up the stairs. Felicity kept close to the stairs just in case. Sara looked over her shoulder at Felicity when she got to the front door. Felicity offered her an affectionate smile, like she could give anything less to Sara. Sara ducked her head, hiding a contented smile.
When Officer Lance walked out of the apartment, Felicity spilled everything they knew about Dr. Quinzel and her probable accomplice.
“Since we’re in the mood of sharing,” Felicity added, “Anything new?”
Officer Lance shook his head, “What you got is way more than we have. They have some rookie detectives running the show and they have no idea what they’re doing.”
“I’m sure you’ll be back in your rightful position soon,” Felicity assured him with a kind smile. She left their conversation at that and walked back to Sara’s car.
Felicity had woken up slowly and happily. A good night’s sleep really did her good. She thought more clearly and felt more energetic. She made some breakfast to go and made it to Queen Consolidated on time, taking Sara’s car just in case Sara would be around. Felicity parked the car in her designated spot in the parking garage. She rolled her eyes at the sign that proclaimed Executive Assistant to CEO. It was a formal thing, but she missed her old spot one level down and next to the other heads of their departments.
Another car parked next to her as she got out and Diggle got out. He smiled over the red sports car at her, “Nice ride.” He got out, leaving his car in the Head of Security spot.
“Thanks,” Felicity smiled, glad to see Diggle first thing in the morning, “I was hoping to return it today.”
“Not really your style?” Diggle asked, waiting at the trunk of Sara’s car to walk Felicity inside.
Felicity shrugged, “I could get used to it.”
Once they were inside the corner office building, Felicity’s phone beeped. She took it out and found a text from Sara. Sin hasn’t heard of the Professor. She thinks he’s just a rumor.
Felicity went into the police records and found that recent arrests for Vertigo had gone down, so there was no reason to believe that Sin was wrong. Felicity told Diggle this and he nodded, “One less bad guy on the list.”
“That still leaves Dr. Blow-Things-Up,” Felicity used her hands to make her point.
Diggle raised an eyebrow and chuckled.
Felicity smiled, “Don’t make fun of me. I haven’t had time to work on a better pseudonym yet.”
That just made Diggle laugh more.
Olive waltzed in with a smile on his face. “Good morning.”
Felicity tilted her head with a smile, “Good morning, Mr. Queen. Can I get you some coffee?”
Oliver smiled and shook his head, “I think I learned not to ask you that anymore after the last time.”
“Good,” Felicity nodded with a self-satisfied grin.
Oliver stood in front of Felicity’s desk with his hands in his pockets, “Any word about where the good Doctor is?”
Felicity shook her head, “No. The police couldn’t find her or Dr. Isley last night.” Felicity typed around on her computer, “But Sin did confirm that the Professor is just a myth. Police records also indicate that there haven’t been any Vertigo related arrests recently.”
“Good,” Oliver saw motion out of the corner of his eye. Isabel’s assistant walked into the conference room and started laying out folders at each seat. Oliver looked over at Felicity. “Was I-”
Felicity pressed a button on her computer and the printer started behind her. She turned around and got the piece of paper out of the tray, “Everything you need to know.”
“If I gave you the position of CEO, would you take it?” Oliver asked.
Felicity laughed, “Definitely not. Isabel scares me.”
Oliver and Diggle laughed with her before Oliver had to go to his meeting. Diggle decided to go on a coffee run so Felicity took an early lunch because there was someone she needed to see.
The hallway always smelled like sandalwood and Felicity could never figure out why. It was just something she accepted when she started going to the assisted living apartments. Felicity found the apartment number 223 and gently knocked on the door. There was a soft answer, “C’min.”
Felicity pushed the door open and stepped into the small apartment carrying flowers. She smiled when she saw her mother sitting on the antique couch with a book in her hand. On the coffee table between the couch and the window, she saw the pink sticky notes that practically covered the table. Felicity knew that all of the notes were to remind her mother of things she was slowly forgetting. The doctors weren’t sure about the method, but her mother insisted.
Her mother took off her glasses and stood up. “Felicity, I didn’t know you were coming today.”
Felicity let out a sigh of relief. Today was one of the good days. Felicity walked over to her mom and hugged her. “I love you, Mom.” She felt the need to tell her mom when she was lucid so that when she did remember, she would know for sure how Felicity felt.
Felicity probably stayed longer than she should have, but the good days were starting to come at a less frequent rate. Felicity asked her mother about the paintings that she found on her mom’s easel by the window and her mom asked her if she was seeing anyone. Instead of the usual tales of flirtations at coffee shops or programmer meet-ups, Felicity grew quiet.
Her mother seemed to know that something was up and asked Felicity what it was. Of course, Felicity told her mother everything that she was feeling toward Sara and how she would never betray Oliver like that. She felt like she was in high school again, especially because her mom held her on the couch while she rationalized the entire situation. Her mom just listened, knowing that Felicity could figure things out for herself, she just needed someone to listen while she talked things out.
Felicity hated to leave, but she had to get back to work. She hugged her mother and told her that she loved her before got going. Felicity had one more stop to make.
“Can I see some ID?” the bartender asked Felicity.
Felicity was floored, “Seriously?”
The bartender just shrugged. Felicity struggled to dig out her ID and handed it over to the bartender.
Sara slid up behind the other bartender as he was looking at the ID. She smiled over his shoulder at Felicity, “Nice picture.” Then she tapped the other bartender, “I got her.”
The bartender handed Sara the ID and Sara handed it back to Felicity.
Once he walked off, Sara leaned on the bar, “I thought you weren’t much of a drinker.”
Felicity smiled at seeing Sara behind the bar, “I’m not.” She put Sara’s keys on the bar and kept her hand on top of them. “How do you feel?”
“Good as new,” Sara ran a hand through her hair with a dimpled smile.
“No more old friends?” Felicity tilted her head, making sure she held Sara’s eyes.
Sara shook her head, “No more. How’s your ankle?”
“Good as new,” Felicity slid the keys across the counter to Sara.
“Thanks,” Sara picked them up and put them in her pocket. “But you didn’t have to bring it all the way back here.”
“I know,” Felicity stood up from her barstool. She had done what she came for.
“Are you sure you don’t want to drink?” Sara asked. “I make a mean mojito.”
“I don’t think I can take anymore mean drinks from you,” Felicity gripped the strap on her purse as her smile grew wider just being around Sara. “I really have to get back to work, but I’ll see you later.”
Sara leaned on the bar and watched Felicity walk away. She knew there was something going on between them. The flirtation was great and she knew that Felicity genuinely cared for her. But Felicity was so sweet and kind. She was the opposite of the monster that Sara felt like. She swallowed thinking about how far down she could drag Felicity and shook her head. She clenched her jaw and she picked up a towel, going back to work.
Sara finished her shift with all those thoughts in her head. She could end it with Oliver and see if Felicity wanted to try something, but in the end she wasn’t totally sure Felicity would come out of a relationship with her unscathed. At least with Oliver, she knew he would keep his distance and not be hurt when she kept her distance.
As she descended into the Arrow Cave, she heard the telltale taps of the keyboard. Felicity was sitting in her modern office chair, typing away. As her foot landed on the bottom stair, Felicity’s eyes darted to her. She smiled and Sara couldn’t stop her smile. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Felicity grinned back.
“Have fun at the office?” Sara asked, moving toward the back of the warehouse to get some clothes to work out in.
Felicity swiveled around in her chair to face Sara, “No. I mean, it was kinda fun because I got to do some IT stuff, but at my lunch break I went to see my mom.”
Sara stopped digging in her duffel bag and stood up straight to look at Felicity, “I take it, it was a good day.” Felicity’s smile and nod made Sara’s heart warm. She had thought about what Felicity said about her mother for a while and hoping that it wasn’t too hard on Felicity. She was glad that Felicity was getting a little sunshine in the dingy world she move around in. Sara nodded, “I’m glad.”
Felicity turned back to her computer with a dopey grin on her face. She couldn’t believe that Sara remembered what she told her. It was one sentence, days ago. It meant a lot to her that Sara remembered.
Oliver and Diggle both thundered down the stairs, startling Felicity. Sara had silently moved to Felicity’s side to protect her.
“Turn on the news,” Oliver instructed as he shrugged off his jacket and moved to his costume case.
Felicity pulled up a live broadcast on one of the monitors. When the feed came up, Diggle and Sara looked over her shoulders. The anchor droned on, but Felicity was busy zooming on the car that was being followed by the police and trying to get a good picture of who was driving it. It only took a few seconds to recognize that Pamela Isley was driving and Harleen Quinzel was in the passenger’s seat. It was what Harleen was doing that shocked her the most.
“They’re just driving down the street and throwing grenades and plant toxin bombs out the window,” Felicity couldn’t quite believe her eyes.
“What exactly are they planning to achieve?” Diggle asked, checking to make sure that his handgun was loaded.
“Maybe it’s a trap,” Felicity offered, turning in her chair to watch Oliver and Sara get dressed in their costumes.
Oliver shook his head, “I don’t think they have a plan.”
“The most dangerous people in the world are the ones that just want to cause mayhem,” Sara stated, pulling on her glove.
When Sara and Oliver were on their motorcycles, Felicity was in their ears giving them directions. “They’re heading toward Starling Bridge on 7th.” Felicity paused, “They just turned on Union Street toward the Industrial District.”
Sara gunned her engine and cut through an alley. Oliver easily followed her and they came out of the alley right behind the red Lamborghini that was speeding down the street and swerving around other cars.
Oliver sped his motorcycle up to get close to the car. When he was spotted he slowed the motorcycle down and let go of the handles. He sat up straight and got his bow, easily threading an arrow. He took a moment to aim before letting it fly. The arrow struck the rear passenger tire and the tire immediately blew. The car lost control for a moment, but kept moving.
A grenade hit the ground between Sara and Oliver. They both had to peel away from each other before it exploded in the middle of the street.
Felicity was changing traffic and security cameras as fast as she could to keep up with the red car. After she was sure neither Sara nor Oliver was hurt in the explosion, she moved her eyes back to the screen with the street cameras. “They just ran over the fence around the Steel Mill.” She typed around, “The cameras for the mill are closed circuit. There’s no way for me to get into them.”
Oliver stopped his motorcycle before he ran over the flattened section of gate. “Diggle, bring Felicity to the Mill so she can hack their wireless network, but keep your distance.”
After the instructions were relayed, Oliver put his hands back on the handlebar of the motorcycle. He looked over at Sara who gave him a nod. That was all he needed. He ran over the destroyed chain link, knowing Sara had his back.
Diggle was getting antsy inside of the car. It had only been two minutes since they parked across the street, in the shadows so that Felicity could work her magic.
“You should go help them you know,” Felicity told him and didn’t look up from her computer. “You want to.”
Diggle internally debated whether or not to leave Felicity alone. In the end, a few muffled explosions in their comm pieces made the decision for him. He opened the door and leaned down to tell Felicity, “Stay in the car.”
“I’m going to sit in the car,” Felicity mumbled to herself as Diggle got out, “I’ll lock the doors. What’s the worst that could happen?”
She buried herself in the suspiciously complex wireless network. It seemed to have a large amount of security for a Steel Mill. However, she was Felicity Smoak and it only took her twenty minutes to hack completely in. She tapped her Comm on, “I have a feed.”
“Where are they?” Oliver quietly asked.
Felicity jumped when the automatic locks on the car all unlocked at once. Her door opened and she was met with a gun on her chin. A woman in a mask that covered the top of her face, half red and half black split down the middle, smiled at her, “Hiya Toots.”
Felicity’s eyes looked around the car while her head remained still, “Are you gonna shoot me?”
“Not if you’re a good little poodle,” Dr. Quinzel ruffled Felicity’s hair like she was petting a dog. She motioned the gun toward the driver’s seat, “Scooch over. I need a ride.”
Felicity turned off her tablet and kept it in her lap as she moved over to the driver’s seat. Dr. Quinzel plopped down in the passenger’s seat in her red and black block colored cocktail dress with black tights adorned with red diamonds. She dropped a bag in the floorboard. She took the tablet out of Felicity’s lap and looked it over, “Neat-o.” She waved the gun nonchalantly at Felicity, “S.T.A.R. Lab cabbie. Move it.”
Felicity put her seatbelt on and started the car. If she was going to die, it was going to be from a bullet, not from a car crash. She knew that if she was going to survive she needed Oliver, Sara, and Diggle to know where she was going. Her earpiece was still on so she tried to put as much information into a question without seeming suspicious. “What are you going to do at S.T.A.R. labs, Dr. Quinzel?”
Dr. Quinzel’s laugh was half melodic and half maniacal. “No one has called me Dr. Quinzel in a long time. I go by Harley now.” She turned on the tablet, “I’m sure you want the whole crazy rant huh? I’ve been planning this for months and blah blah blah. All my patients went on for weeks about their plans.” Harley shook her head, “Someone killed their dad, they were orphans, their mother didn’t love them, it was their divine duty…” Harley made a fake vomiting sound. Then she shrugged. “I got bored, heard about the animals they were testing on, bingo bango bongo, here we are. I might blow some things up too. I’ll decide when I get there.”
Felicity was confused. Oliver and Sara talked through the comms, trying to get a location on each other and agreed to go rescue Felicity. Felicity tried to keep Harley talking, trying to keep herself alive. “So you’re an eco-terrorist?”
Harley laughed again and it terrified Felicity, “Nah. Pammie is an eco-terrorist. Oops. I mean,” Harley made exaggerated air quotes, “Poison Ivy.” Harley let out a mischievous grin, “I think guess I’m just the garden variety kind.” Harley laughed louder, “Get it? Garden variety? Because she’s an eco-terrorist botanist? Poison Ivy?” When Felicity didn’t laugh, Harley’s laughter died down. She mumbled to herself, “People are such squares at gunpoint.”
Felicity was getting more and more nervous being at the mercy of a clearly psychotic person. The more jokes and laughs there were, the more anxious she got.
She decided to try and distract Harley from the jokes and blowing her head off, “What about what happened in the club? Was that a distraction?”
Harley turned on the tablet screen and started nosing around, “Nah. It was a slow night. Got bored.”
“You decided to take two nightclubs worth of hostages and put a bomb in the alley because you were bored?” Felicity tried to control the amount of disbelief in your voice.
Harley grinned, “Yeah. Paintin’ their faces was an homage to a patient of mine who,” Harley tilted her head to the side and stuck her tongue out, using her hand to hang up on the imaginary noose around her neck. “He was pretty cool. Strange obsession with clowns though.”
Felicity bit her tongue to keep herself from commenting on Harley’s obvious choice in clownish attire.
“You ever been shot before?” Harley asked Felicity after they’d gone a few more blocks.
Felicity nodded nervously, “Yeah.”
Harley pointed the gun at Felicity’s head, “You’re about to get shot again if you keep taking the scenic route, capeesh?”
“Sorry!” Felicity apologized loudly and fought to keep her eyes open to see the road. “I don’t know where we are. I never come to this side of town.”
Harley used to front of the gun to nudge Felicity’s shoulder, “You should have just said something.” Harley tapped around on the tablet and propped it up on the dashboard so it was leaning on the windshield. It displayed a GPS map to S.T.A.R. Labs.
When they got within a few blocks of S.T.A.R. Labs, Harley bent down and started rummaging through her bag. There was a lot of clanking around so Felicity figured it was a lot of guns. She was completely shocked when Harley pulled out two grenades. Harley looked at Felicity, “Hold these for me.” She shoved them at Felicity who, startled, took one in each hand.
The car swerved and Harley grabbed the wheel and turned the car straight toward a parking garage gate. They crashed through it, shooting down the ramp. Felicity panicked and tucked the grenades into her chest to keep them from getting jostled around too much as they careered through the underground parking garage while Harley cackled in her seat next to her.
“Well it’s been a ride,” Harley thrust the gear shifter up into neutral and let the car coast toward a wall before barely tapping it. “Have a nice life blondie.”
“You forgot these,” Felicity stated out of pure shock as Harley got out of the car with her bag.
Harley smiled over her shoulder, “Nah. Those are too hot for me, toots.”
Felicity looked down at the grenades in her hands and realized that the pins were gone from the grenades. She just sat there in the car with the grenades in her hands, knowing that a few seconds after she let go, they were going to explode.
She heard the high pitched roar of two motorcycles flying toward her. She couldn’t get out of the car to warn them. She couldn’t even get her seatbelt off. Felicity started to feel cramps in her hands that she wouldn’t have normally felt had she not been holding something that would blow her body to shreds.
“Felicity!” Oliver called in the parking garage.
“Get out of here!” Felicity called, “I’m holding grenades! She pulled the pin out! I can’t…I can’t hold on.” Felicity’s voice lowered considerably when she said, “She’s going to release the animals, but she’ll kill anyone that gets in her way.”
“I got Felicity,” Sara told Oliver. He only gave it a second’s thought before running toward the stairs to follow Harley.
Sara walked over to the car and opened the car door. Tears were silently pouring down Felicity’s face when she looked at Sara and pleaded, “Please get out of here. I don’t know how much longer I can hold these.”
Sara gently wrapped her hands around Felicity’s, “It’s okay. We’ll do it together, okay?”
Felicity sniffled. She swallowed and then nodded. She needed to compose herself. She breathed through her nose and looked up into Sara’s eyes. They were still unmistakably blue under the dark mask. Felicity calmed down knowing that Sara had her. “What do we- what do we do now?”
“Relax your hands,” Sara told Felicity softly. It was like they were back in the Arrow Cave, training for a fight much different than this one.
Felicity took a deep breath and when she exhaled, relaxed her hands under Sara’s, trusting Sara completely. There was something about looking into Sara’s eyes that made it so much easier. She knew she could trust Sara. She closed her eyes to calm down and when she opened them the blue eyes were gone.
All Felicity heard was a dull thud on the top of the car and then two explosions. It was hard to tell where the explosions were because the sound kept reverberating around the concrete structure.
“Sara!” Felicity screamed and fumbled to get out of her seatbelt. Finally she hit the button, and kept calling, “Sara!” Felicity’s mind raced through all the possible outcomes. She jumped out of the car and her eyes frantically searched the parking garage. “Sara!” Her eyes landed on the smoldering remains of a corner of the parking garage. There was a mangled car and there was a hole in the parking garage next to the car. Concrete rubble had cascaded down on top of two other cars, crushing them. There was dust and smoke everywhere.
The voice made Felicity jump. She looked up and behind her, finding Sara perched on a sprinkler line that ran through the top of the garage. She hopped down and landed next to Felicity. It was only a split second later that Felicity threw her arms around Sara. She clung to Sara and whispered, “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
Sara was surprised at how tightly Felicity was holding onto her. She was a little surprised at the ferocity, but moved her hands up to Felicity’s back. She held Felicity and closed her eyes. “I’d never let anything happen to you.”
After a moment, Felicity jerked away, “Oliver.” She ran to the car that Harley took her hostage in, grabbed her tablet, and started walking toward the stairs, with Sara right next to her. “I’ll have to plug straight into the security terminals. I don’t have enough time to hack in.” Felicity swiped her code to unlock the tablet. As soon as the tablet clicked unlocked another sudden explosion propelled them forward, Felicity completely being forced off of her feet.
Sara was knocked forward. She pushed up on her hands and knees and looked over her shoulder. She saw that Diggle’s car was little more that shrapnel. Sara looked ahead of herself and found Felicity rolling onto her back. Felicity groaned and slowly sat up, “Ow, ow, ow.” She moved to push her glasses up, but found they weren’t there.
Sara scrambled over to Felicity when she saw that there was blood coming through her shirt. “Lay back down.”
Felicity saw Sara’s panic and looked down at her shirt. A small portion of her lower shirt was starting to soak up blood. She laid back down and let Sara take a look at whatever had hurt her. As Sara was examining her wound, Felicity picked up her tablet. The screen was an unnatural shade of blue. She angrily hurled it at the wall, watching it shatter and break. She put her hands over her eyes as Sara identified a small angular piece of car sticking out of Felicity’s side.
Sara rolled Felicity onto her side and straddled her hips to steady the woman under her.
Felicity was in shock so she continued on like there wasn’t something sticking out of her. “Harley used my tablet to set off a bomb that she must have hid on the car before she got in,” Felicity explained before she squeaked when Sara started to pull the metal out.
“It’s not in very deep,” Sara told Felicity. “I’m going to get it out.” She held out her hand to Felicity. The injured woman took Sara’s hand in both of hers and closed her eyes tight. Sara quickly yanked out the piece of metal and Felicity screamed.
Sara scooted off of Felicity and sat, grabbed the other woman, pulling her up and into her arms. “It’s okay.” Sara yanked off her gloves and put pressure on the place where Felicity was bleeding from. Felicity leaned back on Sara, sweating and shaking. “I know I was jealous of you guys’ scars, but I’m really not anymore. One was good enough for me.”
Sara smiled and kissed Felicity’s forehead, “It’s only going to be a little one. I promise.”
“You have to go help Oliver,” Felicity muttered, figuring that she could put pressure on the bleeding until Diggle arrived.
Sara tapped her earpiece, “Ollie, what’s going on?”
“All the cages are empty,” Oliver answered, walking slowly through the part of the lab where the animals were being kept.
“Tell him to watch out for bombs,” Felicity struggled to sit up on her own.
Sara relayed the message and pulled Felicity back against her, not letting Felicity up. “Dr. Quinzel seems fond of them.”
“I think I found one,” Oliver stopped when he saw the red blinking light attached to the wall of one of the cages, “Have Felicity pull up the schematics for the Mad Hatter’s bombs.”
“She can’t,” Sara answered, “Her tablet was destroyed.” She hesitated to tell Oliver that Felicity was hurt because he might lose focus and get hurt himself.
“I’m outside,” Diggle interrupted.
Sara heard her car being driven into the parking garage. Diggle jumped out. He helped Sara carry Felicity to the car. Sara got in the backseat first and pulled Felicity in while Diggle helped gently push her in. Felicity was laying across the backseat, leaning back on Sara.
“Oliver, Isley got away,” Diggle relayed over the communications system. “The parking garage looks like it’s about to come down.” He got behind the wheel and hit the gas, getting them out of the way of falling debris as quickly as he could.
Felicity looked down at her side, Sara’s blood covered hands, and her bloodied shirt rubbing against the tan seat, “I’m bleeding all over the seats of your new car.”
Sara stroked Felicity’s hair with a smile, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
Diggle slammed on the breaks when they got to street level. At the nearest corner, there was a helicopter sitting at the intersection. Harley and Pamela Isley were loading animals into the helicopter. As soon as the last dog was put in the floor of the helicopter, Pamela got into the pilot’s seat. The helicopter’s blade started to spin faster.
“Oliver they’re getting away on a helicopter,” Sara could see the helicopter through the front windshield.
“I can’t stop this bomb,” Oliver answered as he was running through the stark hallways trying to get as much distance between him and the bomb as much as possible. “There’s no one else here. I’ll meet you back at Verdant.”
Just before the helicopter left the ground, Harley stuck her head out the window and pointed to Diggle. She made a phone with her hand and mouthed call me. Pamela grabbed the back of Harley’s dress and pulled her back into the helicopter before taking off.
“I don’t feel anything,” Felicity scrunched up her eyebrows as she laid on one of the metal tables in the Arrow Cave. She pointed to Diggle, “What was in that water you gave me?”
Diggle just smiled.
Oliver walked over to the table after he showered and stood next to Sara, “How is it?”
Sara put down the forceps. “It’s going to be fine. The metal that went in was so hot, it disinfected itself.” She looked at Felicity, “You’re going to be good as new in a few weeks.”
Diggle turned on the news and watched as news cameras documented the aftermath of the explosions.
“What they did wasn’t so bad,” Felicity mused, “I mean what they did tonight. Letting the animals go.”
“Harleen Quinzel tried to blow you up twice,” Sara reminded Felicity, pushing Felicity’s hair away from her face.
“Other than that,” Felicity accepted the point Sara made and closed her eyes as Sara continued to stroke her hair. It felt so good, she was just going to enjoy it.
Sara smiled down at Felicity and gently ran the back of her fingers over Felicity’s cheek. Oliver was watching from where he was standing by the computer and nodded to himself. He turned to the monitor to assess the damage. He patted Diggle’s shoulder, “I guess your car insurance doesn’t cover bombs.”
Diggle and Oliver laughed together.
Sara moved Felicity to the bed and sat on the floor next to the bed because Felicity wouldn’t let go of her arm. The medication was making Felicity drowsy so Sara just held Felicity’s hand.
Sara’s phone rang and she looked over at the table where it was sitting. She didn’t want to move and Oliver knew it so he grabbed her phone and handed it to her. Oliver was interested in the phone call because he saw who was calling Sara.
Sara frowned when she saw it and looked up at Oliver, sharing a quizzical look. Sara pressed the green button and put the phone to her ear, “Hey Laurel.”
Laurel explained that she had done a lot of thinking and she wasn’t being fair to Sara. Sara didn’t know where all this was coming from, but Laurel mentioned an invitation to Sara’s birthday dinner the next night along with a particularly compelling email from Oliver about why she should come.
Sara told Laurel that it was okay and she understood why Laurel felt the way she did. When Laurel told Sara she loved her, Sara smiled softly, “I love you too.” When Sara hung up, she looked up at Oliver. “Did you sent Laurel an email about me?”
Oliver was genuinely confused. He shook his head. Then it clicked. There was only one other person with access to his email account. “Felicity?”
Felicity was half asleep, but she smiled a dopey smile and quietly said, “Surprise.”
Sara dropped her head and laughed almost inaudibly. Oliver smiled as well glad that Sara and Laurel were going to make up. He knew it was hard on both of them to fight. Oliver walked around Sara to stand next to Felicity. He knew he couldn’t never properly thank her for everything she did for him. He bend over and kissed her cheek, “Get some sleep.”
Felicity groaned and burrowed into her pillow, keeping Sara’s hand in her own.
Oliver kissed the top of Sara’s head, “I have to go check on something.” He told her and then asked Diggle to accompany him.
Sara’s arm was starting to hurt being elevated like it was. She knew that she could either let go of Felicity or lay in bed behind Felicity with her arm around Felicity. Sara knew which one she wanted to do and which one she should do. In the end, Felicity laying in the bed in a tank top with a bandage over her abdomen won out. Sara couldn’t stop holding her hand. She carefully crawled over Felicity with one hand and laid down, her arm draped around Felicity still holding her hand.
Her heart sped up at the close proximity. She rested her forehead on the back of Felicity’s shoulder with her eyes closed. She took a deep breath. No matter how much she fought it, she was drawn to Felicity. She dropped a kiss on the back of Felicity’s shoulder and cuddled into her. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
When Felicity woke up, it was late the next morning.
Diggle was sitting at the computer watching the news, but other that him, there was no one else in the Arrow Cave. She groaned and rolled onto her back. The only light coming in was from the small windows just above ground level.
“Good morning,” Diggle smiled.
“It’s already morning?” Felicity asked. She lifted up her shirt and saw that no blood had soaked through her bandage. She blessed Sara’s stitching skills and then looked around, “Where’s everyone?”
“They went to get breakfast,” Diggle told Felicity and walked over to the bed. “They’ll be back in a little while.”
Felicity had a vague memory of Sara holding her in her sleep. It made it all that much more painful that Sara was having breakfast with Oliver. Felicity was already emotionally raw from her injury, the painkillers, and just waking up so she pushed up on her elbows. “I want to go home.”
Diggle agreed to take her and helped her into her apartment. She didn’t need that much help, but Diggle wanted to make sure she was okay. She took a few more painkillers before leaving the Arrow Cave so there was always the chance that they would take hold of her before she was ready.
“Do you want me to get you something to change in to?” Diggle asked, watching Felicity crawl into bed.
Felicity stiffly got into bed and settled against the pillow, “You just want proof that I have footie pajamas don’t you?”
Diggle chuckled, “Maybe a little bit.”
Felicity pulled her blankets up over herself. She looked at Diggle and swallowed, seriously. “John?”
“Hmm?” Diggle asked, walking a little closer to the bed.
“Am I a good person?” Felicity asked softly.
Diggle frowned. Even the thought that Felicity wasn’t a good person never crossed his mind. Not even once. “You’re one of the best people.”
Felicity closed her eyes and huffed into the bed, her head swimming in the clouds. “I don’t think I am anymore.”
“Why?” Diggle asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Felicity mumbled against her pillow, “I’m in love with Sara.”
Diggle couldn’t say he was really surprised at the confession. Diggle just rubbed Felicity’s shoulder and told her although he was pretty sure she was probably already asleep. “It’ll all work out.”
Felicity woke up with a much clearer head and no memory of her confession to Diggle. She sat up and started to stretch before she remembered that she was injured. It perplexed her a little to wake up in her own bed, but figured that it was one of the side effects of such strong painkillers. Felicity looked over at the clock on her nightstand. After a split-second calculation she figured she should probably start getting ready for Sara’s birthday dinner.
Felicity took meticulous care in doing her hair in curls. It was the finest restaurant in town and she wanted to look her best. Her emerald dress looked amazing on her. When she was finally ready, Felicity gave herself one last once over in the mirror. She picked up Sara’s present on the way out the door.
When she arrived at the restaurant, Sara, Quentin, and Diggle were already there. Diggle stood up and kissed Felicity’s cheek. Quentin nodded to Felicity from across the table and Sara gently hugged Felicity. Although she was delighted that Felicity came, she was worried about her condition, “You didn’t have to come, but you look beautiful.”
Felicity smiled, happy to see Sara. She presented Sara with a small rectangular present, “You do too. And of course I came. Happy birthday.”
Sara hugged Felicity again, this time lingering. She felt Felicity take a deep breath and hug her back. “You already gave me my sister back.”
Felicity blushed and pulled out of the hug, “I forgot you knew about that.”
Sara pulled Felicity’s chair out for her and Felicity daintily sat down, careful to sit up straight so she couldn’t rip her stitches.
Oliver and Laurel arrived together. He smiled at the group, “Sorry we’re late.” Sara stood up to greet them. Oliver kissed her cheek and move to his seat between Diggle and Felicity. Sara hugged her sister for the first time in a long time and reveled in it.
“It’s so good to see you,” Laurel confessed. “You look amazing.”
Sara returned the compliment and pulled out her sister’s chair as well.
Dinner went amazingly considering that Quentin didn’t really care for Oliver. Oliver, Diggle, and Sara a glass of wine at Laurel’s insistence. She promised that she would be fine. Felicity worried about residual medication in her system, but Sara talked her into sharing a glass of wine with her. She noticed that Sara would occasionally look at her with the tiniest smile on her face. Sara touched her shoulder when she laughed a few times and insisted on Felicity ordering dessert, leaning close to Sara so that she could point out a chocolate soufflé that she absolutely loved on the dessert menu.
Sara hugged Felicity when she opened her present. It was a beautiful oil painting of a canary flying. It meant a lot to Sara and Felicity loved the smile on Sara’s face when she saw it.
When they were done, three hours had passed and Oliver picked up the check. Felicity kept her goodbyes short because she knew that Sara and Oliver had a flight to catch. She hoped that Sara liked her present from Oliver. It was by far more than she could ever get Sara.
But Felicity was glad that Sara was going to have a romantic weekend away. She deserved it.
“Felicity,” Oliver called her as she was walking down the street to her car.
She turned around, “Did I forget something?”
“C’mon,” he held out his arm with a charming smile. “We have one more stop to make.”
She smiled at his chivalry and took his arm, “Are we going out for a nightcap?”
“You could say that,” he led her to his limo and opened the door for her. Felicity slid into the seat and found Sara and Diggle already inside.
Felicity cocked her head to the side and asked Oliver, “Where are Laurel and Officer Lance?”
Sara took Felicity’s hand and gently tugged her into taking the seat next to her, “They went home. Apparently no one told them about our mystery destination.”
Felicity smiled. She figured she knew where they were going. She was actually glad that she was going to see Oliver and Sara off to Paris. Felicity looked across the limo at Oliver. He smiled and winked at her. That’s when she knew exactly where they were going.
The car started moving and Oliver opened some champagne. He poured everyone a glass and passed it around, “To Sara Lance.”
Felicity smiled and tapped her glass to everyone else’s, “To Sara.”
It only took one funny anecdote to get them to the airport. The limo pulled right up to the jet that was waiting just for them. Oliver opened the door and stood out of the limo. He helped Felicity out first. She was getting giddy. She couldn’t wait to see Sara’s reaction to this massive birthday present.
“Surprise,” Oliver told Sara and kissed her cheek as she got out of the limo.
Felicity made sure to video Sara’s reaction. It was complete shock. Sara asked, “Are you serious?” However when she turned around Oliver and Diggle were getting the luggage out of the back of the limo. Felicity turned her camera toward Oliver and saw a strikingly familiar piece of red luggage. Oliver walked in front of the limo and put down the suitcase.
“Oliver,” Felicity looked at her suitcase in his hand, “What’s going on?”
“Don’t worry,” he told her, “Laurel packed it.” He set the bag down and stepped close to Felicity, pulling her into his arms. He kissed the side of her head. “Felicity, you’re such an amazing friend. You deserve a romantic vacation away with an equally amazing woman.”
Felicity was confused. She turned around and looked at Sara, “What is going on?”
It only took a moment for Sara to connect the dots. She was being set up, but in a good way for once.
Sara slowly approached Felicity who was still processing. She carefully took one of Felicity’s hands and then the other one. “I know this is kind of an ambush, but I would really love for you to join me. Maybe so we can just figure out what it is between us. I mean, you and I can go or we can tell the pilot to fly you to Central City to pick up-”
Felicity didn’t need to hear anymore. She pulled Sara down for kiss. It felt so good and she couldn’t delay kissing Sara anymore. She slid her arms around Sara’s neck and reveled in the feel of Sara’s arms around her waist, pulling Felicity’s body hard against her own.
When they finally pulled away, Felicity had to fix her glasses. She looked into Sara’s eyes and found an unclouded happiness there. She loved what she was seeing. She wanted Sara to be happy, more than anything.
However, there was something putting a damper on Felicity’s mood. She turned around and looked behind herself. Oliver was standing in front of the limo with Diggle. She gently touched Sara’s face and pulled away. She took a few steps on the runway toward Oliver and stopped in front of him.
“Are you sure?” Felicity asked, nervously.
Oliver put his hands on Felicity’s shoulders and looked her face over before pulling her into a hug. When he stepped back and had her at arm’s length, “I just want you both to be happy. Your happiness is with each other.” He slowly moved in and kissed Felicity’s cheek, lingering for a moment. Then he smiled at her, “My happiness is somewhere else.”
“Someone else,” Felicity poked Oliver’s chest with both her index fingers. She took her turn to kiss his cheek. “Call her.”
Oliver lazily smiled at the way Felicity knew him so well. He nodded, “I will.”
“Good,” Felicity told Oliver. She moved over to Diggle and hugged him. They said their friendly goodbyes as Sara carried their bags onto the jet.
Sara was walking back down the stairs to fetch Felicity when she was nearly run over by the other woman. Sara caught her around the waist and used to opportunity to kiss her. Felicity smiled from ear to ear and walked the rest of the way into the plane.
Sara stood at the top of the stairs and saw Oliver still watching the jet. She caught his eyes and gave him a nod. He nodded back and it was all the communication they needed. They understood each other and where they came from, but they didn’t belong together. Her happiness was inside of the plane, trying to figure out what kind of operating system the on board entertainment system worked on. His happiness was probably sitting in the basement of a church at an AA meeting.
After the excitement died down, Sara was sitting on the couch in the plane with Felicity pressed against her side. Felicity’s head was on her shoulder. Sara was stroking Felicity’s hair in a quiet contentment. Felicity’s phone dinged and she picked it up out of her handbag that was next to her without moving from Sara’s embrace.
Felicity smiled and showed the itinerary to Sara. Sara looked closer at the email and saw that Felicity had emailed it to Oliver who forwarded it back to Felicity. When she asked what that meant, Felicity explained, “He tricked me into planning the whole thing.”
Sara smiled, “Then this trip will be amazing.” She kissed Felicity’s forehead and then when Felicity tilted her head up, she kissed Felicity’s lips. The pull was just too strong. All her concerns about taking Felicity down with her were gone because she knew that because of Felicity she was going to try to stop being the dark assassin she once was. She was going to move as far away from that to try and be the kind of person that deserved to be with Felicity.
Felicity hummed into the kiss and broke it with a smile. She looked over Sara’s face and whispered, “Happy birthday.”