Her head was throbbing.
It was the first thing that she realized as she slowly woke up in the darkened room. Slowly, all her senses started coming back to her. It was chilly where she was, and she was lying on her side on the floor. The air was dry, with the scent of must and sandalwood or some kind of incense permeating throughout the room. Ever so slowly, she opened one eye, and, finding the room dark enough, slowly opened the other. It was a small cell, with a high barred opening in the wall she was lying against letting in the barest hint of the moon outside. The wall opposite her was a large wooden door with two small slots carved into it, one at the top and one towards the bottom. As she slowly started moving her limbs, she realized that the room was slightly blurry, meaning she didn’t have her glasses on. However, as she continued to move her arm above her head, she felt them folded neatly just out of initial reach. Her body shuddered as she attempted to sit up, her head throbbing to the quickened pace of her heart.
“Ugh…” she moaned, holding her glasses with one hand, and her head with the other. Whatever had happened to her, it had given her the world’s worst hangover. She leaned her head back against the freezing stone wall, relishing in the cool feeling that made her head hurt a little less. Slowly, she put her glasses on, and her world came into better focus. She slowly looked down her body. She was in her comfy clothes, an oversized MIT sweatshirt and fleece pajama pants with panda faces on them. She was wearing socks, but no shoes.
‘Ok, she thought to herself, I must have been taken when I was at home. But why, and how long ago was that?’ She tried to think back to her last solid memory, but her head was still fuzzy. She tilted her head back and looked up to the small opening above her. It was too small to be a true window, but it let in a small amount of light in the very dark, and fairly small cell. It was nighttime outside, but that didn’t give her much information to go with.
She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths, willing her mind to clear. Slowly, her short term memory started trickling back in. She had gotten home from work and immediately changed into her loungewear, then headed to the couch. It had been a long day at work, so she had a glass of wine on the coffee table in front of her. The last thing she could concretely remember was that she was working on her secret project on her laptop. Everything after was blank. She really hoped that whoever had abducted her hadn’t destroyed her laptop in the process. She had spent a lot of time picking out the perfect base model, then installing all the bells and whistles on it herself. She had also created her own malware and firewalls. Everything was password protected, so hopefully they hadn’t been able to see or steal anything.
The biggest question that came into her mind was why someone would want to abduct her. She made it a point to stay below the radar. She worked a low level IT job, albeit at a large company, Queen Consolidated, in Starling City. She had a small apartment, and didn’t socialize much, just occasionally said hi to a few neighbors in her complex. After what had happened in College, she didn’t want to risk too much exposure.
Maybe someone had figured out the secret project she was working on. For the past few months, someone had been murdering some high level business people and a few scientists. They were all killed with black composite arrows, leading the newscasters to dub the person the Dark Archer. She had gotten curious as to how the victims were connected, and became even more intrigued when her boss, Mr. Steele, had asked her to look into an offshore company called Tempest. Even though she had given what she initially found to Mr. Steele, and he told her to stop looking further, she hadn’t listened. She was quickly putting the pieces together on a rather large, rather intricate conspiracy involving numerous city officials and influential businesspeople.
‘I guess I didn’t hide my tracks well enough,’ she thought to herself. That could be the only reason why she had been abducted. She just hoped that someone would arrive soon to tell her what was going on. Slowly, she stood up and stretched her muscles. The throbbing in her head was subsiding, and she took a few tentative steps around the cell. It was about 8x8, and stone on all sides except the heavy wooden door. It clearly didn’t look (or smell, she thought to herself), like Starling City, so she wondered where she had been taken. Feeling emboldened, she went to the door and knocked loudly a few times on it. She then quickly stepped back to stand against the opposite wall. After a few minutes of no one showing up, she sat back down on the stone floor. She leaned her head back against the wall again, and in a few minutes, she had fallen asleep.
She woke quickly, startled by the sound of footsteps and a key being placed into the door of her cell. She jumped to her feet and quickly brushed her hair back, attempting to look presentable (like that really mattered.). The door swung open, and a hooded figure crowded the doorway. A deep voice commanded something in a language that sounded vaguely Arabic.
“I don’t understand,” she said, her voice breaking from lack of use, and from trepidation. The figure repeated what they said, but this time gestured for her to leave the cell. Slowly, she walked forward, and was stopped again by the figure, who roughly grabbed her arms and placed them in shackles, then moved down and repeated the process around her ankles.
“Ow! Is this necessary? I was going to follow you,” she told the figure, getting a better look at the clothes he was wearing. A black hood, and what looked like leather and fabric armor was draped around him. He also had fabric covering most of his face, so only his eyes showed. A sword was strapped to his back, and she could see at least one more on his belt. ‘Ok, now I’m officially scared.’ She thought to herself. The man roughly pushed her to move forward, making her stumble slightly. As they walked down the hallway, she noticed that they were lined with torches, and she couldn’t see anything powered by electricity anywhere. There were also several other doors in the hallway, clearly making it a prison wing. At the end of the hallway they turned right, moving slowly up a stone staircase. She stumbled a few times, the shackles getting caught up in the legs of her pants.
“Again, are the shackles necessary? I’m going to trip and hurt myself! Do you speak any English?” She was starting to get a bit angry, especially as she almost tripped one more time. Her guard finally stopped her and removed the shackles around her legs, but didn’t remove the ones on her wrists. Still saying nothing, he pushed her to move forward. They continued down one hallway, then another, then another, until they finally came to an atrium with two large doors across from them.
‘If it weren’t so scary, it would look a little like Hogwarts.” She thought to herself. “A horror version of Hogwarts, but still.’ She and her guard continued towards the doors, then stopped, as he knocked loudly. They slowly swung open, and she was ushered into a cavernous room, with what looked like an altar at the back of it. Standing in front of the altar was a man with no hood, but closely shaven graying hair, and dressed in robes with intricate details sewn into them. As they stopped in front of him, her guard unshackled her wrists and then dropped to one knee, leaving her standing there awkwardly. The man studied her for a moment, then spoke.
“Felicity Smoak? I am the Demon’s Head, Ra’s al Ghul. And it seems I am in need of your assistance.”
Felicity stood there confused. Ra’s al who? And where was she? Before she could open her mouth to ask exactly that, Ra’s spoke again.
“You are in Nanda Parbat, in the home of the League of Assassins. We had you brought here because you have an ability that unfortunately no one in the League possesses. I believe this, is your greatest weapon?” From behind his back, he drew her laptop, perfectly intact. She sighed instantly. But it still didn’t provide her with any answers. He then continued. “No one in the League possesses the talents that you seem to have with computers. We know that you have taken an interest in what is currently going on in Starling City and with who the news has named the ‘Dark Archer’. We have an interest in that as well.”
“But,” Felicity interjected, finally finding her voice, “how do you know about all that?”
“Because, my dear, you looked up information about us,” Ra’s replied. He had her there. The news had gotten a very grainy picture of the Dark Archer, and using that, Felicity had begun searching into the outfit, stumbling across mentions of the League of Assassins. “We are not completely technologically inept, and we have alarms set up for anytime someone searches for us online. When we started looking into you, we found that you possessed the abilities that we need to continue our investigation.”
“You’re investigating why someone dressed as a member of the League is murdering people in Starling City?” she asked him. He smiled briefly at her.
“No, Ms. Smoak. We know who it is. What we don’t know is why he’s doing it, and what his bigger purpose in all this is. That is where your expertise comes into play. We need you to infiltrate his systems in order to find that out for us. Once you have done this, we will return you to your home.” He held out the laptop to her. “The sooner you get us the information we require, the sooner you can leave. I’d get started if I were you.”
Felicity grabbed the laptop from him. “Okay, but first, who is he? Second, how do I even do that, I mean, does the League even have WiFi? And third, is there any chance I could freshen up or even get something to eat before I start? I hate to be rude, but I really need to use the restroom.” She stopped herself from continuing what could have been an epic babble when she saw Ra’s raise an eyebrow at her. He smiled once again.
“You have a great fire within you, Felicity Smoak. Your guard Al-Sahim, will bring you to your temporary working quarters. There, you can freshen up, and while you get started working we will have food brought to you.” He nodded to Al-Sahim, who turned and gestured for Felicity to follow him out of the room. As they began walking away, Ra’s spoke up again.
“Oh, and to answer your first question, Ms. Smoak, the Dark Archer is a former League member named Malcolm Merlyn.”
So, yes, SUPER short, but the next chapter really picks up the pace. These chapters just felt right being separated this way. I hope you enjoy, and we'll see you next week!
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Felicity gets to work in Nanda Parbat. Al-Sahim acts as her butler.
Thank you to all those who have taken the time to read this so far!! I hope you're enjoying it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Stunned, Felicity blindly followed Al-Sahim down a different set of hallways. She knew who Malcolm Merlyn was; everyone in Starling City did. He owned one of the biggest companies in the city, and Queen Consolidated’s main competition, Merlyn Global. He was a leader in the community, and heavily involved in philanthropic ventures. His son Tommy had also recently gotten engaged to an up-and-coming lawyer, Laurel Lance. Felicity also knew that despite being in competition business-wise, he had been best friends with the former owner and CEO of Queen Consolidated, the late Robert Queen. Robert and his son, Oliver, had perished in a boating accident about five years ago. His widow, Moira Queen, along with her new husband - and Felicity’s boss, Walter Steele, now ran QC. How was it possible that Malcolm Merlyn was a member of the League of Assassins? Felicity couldn’t think straight and follow Al-Sahim down the hallways, so she tabled that thought and focused on where her guard was leading her. They went down a smaller corridor that ended with a single door. Al-Sahim stopped, opened the door, and gestured for her to go inside.
Felicity entered the room and looked around. It was a decent-sized room, with a large, very comfortable looking bed against one wall. There was also a large desk with two computer monitors and all the hookups to go with it opposite the bed. Across from the main door was another door that looked to open into a bathroom. There was also a small dresser and wardrobe in the room. She wondered for a moment if there was a change of clothes in there that she could wear, but she hoped that she wouldn’t be there long enough to need that. She walked over to the desk and hooked her laptop up to the charging station.
“I didn’t think you had electricity here, what with all the torches,” she remarked. Al-Sahim said nothing to her, but she caught him sweeping his eyes over the room as if to check for possible intruders. Seeing that everything looked to be in order, he turned and left the room, closing the door behind him. She huffed in annoyance as she heard a click of a lock setting into place outside. ‘What a gilded cage,’ she thought. Turning her laptop on, she quickly went into the bathroom to relieve herself. As she was washing her hands, she looked up at herself in the small, clearly aged mirror that was there. Her hair was messy, and she had some dark circles under her eyes, but otherwise seemed to be fine. She noticed a hairbrush on a ledge next to the sink, and she quickly brushed her hair out, wishing she had a tie to put it up in a ponytail. She removed her glasses and quickly splashed some water on her face. After patting dry, she put her glasses back on and left the bathroom to sit down at the desk to get to work.
She immediately began looking into Malcolm Merlyn and his history in order to figure out when he joined the League. She figured it must have been after the death of his wife, Rebecca, when he seemingly disappeared for a few years. He had left his son, Tommy, in the care of the Queens. When he returned, he had focused on his company and on several philanthropic endeavors, and people commented on his charity, but also his aloofness. They contributed it to the loss of his wife, and the media played it up as a tragic love story. However, that had been almost two decades ago, and he had only started emerging as the Dark Archer six months ago. She opened her document about Tempest, and continued her prior searches. When Walter Steele had asked her to look into Tempest, he had also give her a seemingly blank notebook. Upon investigation, she found that it was written in an invisible ink, and contained a strange symbol, as well as a list of names. Several of the names on the list coincided with those that Merlyn had murdered. Clearly Malcolm was also involved with Tempest, but what was it? She was so engrossed in her searches that she didn’t hear the door opening again, with Al-Sahim carrying in a tray of food. He placed it on the end of the desk, then said something in Arabic that startled Felicity into awareness of her surroundings.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, “Hi there! Wow, I didn’t realize what was going on. Is that for me? I know I didn’t mention this earlier, but I do have a nut allergy, so I hope nothing there contains any.” Al-Sahim said nothing, just studied her for a moment. He then turned and left the room, once again locking it behind him.
“Such the talker,” she groused, pulling her chair over to the tray of food. Luckily, there were no nuts on the tray, but there was what looked like a dish of chicken curry and rice, along with a pitcher of water. Felicity paused for a moment as a fleeting thought of poison crossed her mind, but shook it off and began to eat. The food was simple but delicious, and she cleaned her plate quickly. Looking up from her tray, she saw that there was a large window in front of her, with a view of the desert she was currently residing in. It was midday, and the sun was high in the sky above Nanda Parbat, casting its shadow on the desert floor below. She realized that she was on a high level of what she was considering a palace. In looking out, she also realized that the palace seemed to be carved into a mountain.
She marveled at the view for a moment, then went back to her computer. Even though her mind was going a mile a minute about her investigation, she couldn’t help but feel a bit saddened by the fact that she couldn’t think of anyone to contact to tell them she was okay. She knew now that she had been taken on a Friday, and it was now Sunday afternoon. She wondered if anyone would miss her at work on Monday, then remembered it was a holiday weekend, so no one would know she was missing until Tuesday. She quickly logged into her work self-service hub to request time off for the rest of the week. She had plenty of vacation time, and decided she didn’t want to draw too much attention to her situation. She was sure her manager would approve it without question. Finishing that, she quickly switched her priorities over to continuing her investigation.
Resurfacing a few hours later from her searches, she noticed that her food tray had been taken from the room. The water pitcher had been refilled, and a small plate of dried fruit had been left there as well as a snack. The sky was still light, but getting darker. Felicity took a deep breath as she got herself a glass of water and thought back on what she had found. In researching Tempest further, she had come across an email sent between two of the people on the list from the notebook, mentioning something about an Undertaking. She had no idea what it was in reference to, but knew that it was somehow connected to Merlyn’s nighttime activities. During her search she had hacked various list members’ emails, but hadn’t found much other than the one mention. Her next thought, though she really didn’t want to, was to look into the emails of Walter Steele and Moira Queen. Seeing as how Moira and Merlyn were close, she thought that there might be something there. She had been hesitant because she worked for QC, but she was very good at covering her digital tracks, so no one would know. She was saving looking at Merlyn’s emails for last. She had a feeling that he would be fairly adept at hiding his information, so she would need to take her time with that when she was in the best mindset.
Felicity got up from the desk and went to use the bathroom. Just as she was exiting, she heard the lock on the main door click and watched Al-Sahim enter, once again carrying a tray of food. Still saying nothing, he placed the tray on her table, nodded his head at her slightly, and then left again. Rolling her eyes, Felicity sat down in front of the window to enjoy her dinner with a view. After eating, she went to the dresser and wardrobe, and found that they did have some clothes in them, a few simple pairs of linen pants and tunic tops, all in black and neutral colors. The drawers also had pairs of simple socks and underwear. The bottom of the wardrobe held three slip-on shoes, all different sizes that closely matched her own size. She also, thankfully, found another pair of simple pajamas in the last drawer. While none of the clothes were her style, she was thankful that they all seemed to be about her size, so she could change out of her current clothes, which she was starting to feel uncomfortable in. She quickly grabbed the sleep clothes and a pair of underwear, and went into the bathroom to take a shower. She was impressed when she found that the shower had both decent water pressure and heat. She took her time cleaning all the grime that had accumulated on her, then washed her hair with one of the bottles that sat on the ledge in the shower. They were all unmarked, but she quickly figured out which was shampoo and which was a body wash.
Once Felicity had cleaned and washed everything, she stood under the water for a few moments just to breathe and collect her thoughts. In the last day and a half, she had been abducted by the League of Assassins, been asked to assist them, and found out that Malcolm Merlyn was planning on doing something in Starling City, beginning with the murders of several businessmen and scientists. Her private investigation had been validated, and now she was finally starting to put all the pieces together. While she was still curious and wanted to continue her investigation, especially since the faster she finished, the faster she could go home, she knew that she needed to take a break to sleep and start again fresh in the morning. She turned the shower off and reached for a clearly Egyptian cotton towel to dry herself. She brushed her wet hair out, bemoaning the fact that there clearly was no hair dryer around, so her hair would be a wavy mess for a while. Maybe she could still find something to tie it up with, or she could ask Al-Sahim for one. If he even understood her. She absentmindedly tied the towel around herself as she wandered out into her room to see if there was anything lying around she could use as a tie. It wasn’t until she was putting her glasses on that she heard a noise that sounded like a cough. She looked and realized that Al-Sahim was standing there in the middle of her room, holding her empty food tray. She shrieked, and raced back into the bathroom.
“Ok, new rule! Knock before you enter, and wait to hear me respond! I’m so glad I’m wearing something,” she yelled, muttering the last part to herself. She quickly threw on the pajamas and went back into the bedroom. Al-Sahim still stood there, almost as if he was frozen. “Do you understand me? I’d appreciate it if you knock, okay. And while you’re here, can you see if there are any women here who might have something for me to tie up my hair with? I can’t really focus if it’s down in a frizzy mess. I’m going to go to bed soon, and I’ll resume my searches tomorrow, can you tell that to Ra’s al Ghul? Ok, thank you,”she finished, staring at Al-Sahim as he stood there, waiting for an acknowledgement that he heard her. She saw him shake his head slightly, as if to wake himself up, then looked at her and nodded. He then turned and practically ran from the room, still holding the food tray. He did remember to lock the door, of course, and with that Felicity collapsed onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling.
‘What a weirdo,' she thought. But then she realized something. Most of the people in the League would be of Middle Eastern or Southern Asian descent, meaning their eyes would be darker. But when Al-Sahim had just stared at her, his eyes had been a crystal clear blue color. “Hmm,” she thought to herself, removing her glasses and making herself comfortable on the incredibly soft bed. “I wonder what his story is.” She didn’t think much more about it, because she fell asleep almost instantly.
So for the sake of timeline, I'm going with the holiday as being Easter, with QC giving employees Easter Monday off. That way the Undertaking still happens in May like on the show.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Felicity does some digging, then takes a walk with her shadow.
Thank you for the lovely response so far! Just a note for this and future chapters, there's a lot of food in this story. It's just a thing that happens.
The next morning, Felicity woke up to a solid knock on the door. She grumbled, then called out “Come in!” from the warm cocoon of her bed. The door unlocked and opened, revealing an older woman carrying her breakfast tray. Felicity sat up, confused as to why it wasn’t Al-Sahim delivering her breakfast.
“Good morning. Al-Sahim was busy this morning, and asked that I bring your food, and also assist with your hair?” The lady spoke with a thick accent.
“Oh, um, ok? Let me get up and use the restroom first,” Felicity responded. The woman nodded as Felicity grabbed her glasses, got out of bed and made her way to the bathroom. Quickly taking care of business, she returned to the bedroom.
“You may eat while I assist,”the woman told her, gesturing to the chair, then going to get the hairbrush from the bathroom.
“Okay,” Felicity responded, warily sitting down in front of the food, but perking up instantly as she smelled coffee in the mug in front of her. As she sat back with her cup, the woman began to brush out her hair. Normally, Felicity would have protested that she could do it herself, but she was still waking up, and so settled in with her coffee and gazed out the window as the woman began her work. She didn’t know what to expect, but as she carefully reached for and ate her food, the woman began braiding Felicity’s hair into an intricate plait. Just as Felicity was drinking the last of her coffee, the woman finished and took a step back.
“You may look now,” the woman told her gesturing her to the mirror in the bathroom. Felicity got up and peered at herself. Her hair was tied back in an intricate braid, expertly woven. It was sure not to fall out during the day, and it looked beautiful, much better than the ponytail that she would have thrown it up in.
“This is amazing, thank you so much!” Felicity gushed. The woman smiled, bowed her head, and left the room, taking the now empty tray of food with her. Felicity quickly got dressed for the day in a tunic and pants, leaving her feet bare. She then sat back down in front of her computer, and got to work. She began her morning by hacking into Moira Queen’s emails and text messages. She noticed that there was an increased frequency in the number of texts and calls between her and Merlyn, and so Felicity began following the trail. She immediately found several mentions of the Undertaking, both in emails and text messages. Looking back at her previous notes about Tempest, she remembered that it had been used to purchase a warehouse a few years back. A quick hack of the security cameras later, and Felicity was puzzled. Why was there wreckage of a ship in the warehouse? As she sat back, she remembered that Moira’s husband and son were killed in a boating accident. She was looking at footage of the boat, recovered from the Pacific Ocean.
“Why would she still have this, if the wreck happened five years ago?” She wondered aloud, stretching back behind her. She nearly fell out of her chair when as she reached back she felt something solid behind her. “Oh!” She exclaimed. “What did I tell you about knocking, Al-Sahim!” She turned, but Al-Sahim was not who she had touched. Ra’s al Ghul was standing there, with Al-Sahim standing by the door. She scrambled up out of her chair at the sight of him.
“My apologies, Ms. Smoak. Al-Sahim did knock on my behalf, but when there was no answer I insisted that he open the door for me. I did not mean to interrupt you, I only came to check on your progress,” Ra’s al Ghul spoke, a slightly bemused look on his face.
“No, I’m sorry. I can get a little lost in my work, and so I can startle easily. That’s one of the reasons why I asked Al-Sahim to knock. Also in case I was in the bathroom or something. Because that would be awkward,” she rambled, suddenly nervous. “What can I do for you, sir?”
“How are you faring in your searches? Have you found out what Merlyn plans to do?” Ra’s asked. Felicity shook her head.
“I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’m close. I found a lot of mentions of something called an Undertaking, I just haven’t figured out exactly what it is yet. I’m kind of on a tangent at the moment,” she admitted.
“And what is this tangent that is so important?” Ra’s replied, his hands calmly folded behind his back.
“It has to do with one of Merlyn’s oldest friends, the Queen family. Robert and Oliver Queen were killed in a boating accident, and Moira Queen is apparently connected to something called Tempest, which I think is what is helping fund this Undertaking. I’m still trying to put the pieces together,” she explained this to Ra’s, completely unaware of Al-Sahim growing stiffer in the doorway. Ra’s, however, noticed, and said something to Al-Sahim in Arabic. Al-Sahim quickly turned and walked away. Felicity quirked an eyebrow in confusion, but continued. “I was about to start hacking into Merlyn’s phone and emails right now, and hopefully I can find out exactly what he has planned.”
“Well, then, by all means, Ms. Smoak, I don’t want to ruin your concentration. Let Al-Sahim know the minute you find out anything,” Ra’s responded, then turned and walked out the door. Felicity stood there for a minute longer, then sighed, adjusted her glasses, and turned back to her computer. She began the process of getting into Merlyn’s phone and emails, but realized the firewalls and encryptions were incredibly complex. She worked with increasing frustration until Al-Sahim knocked on her door with lunch. She gratefully took a break from her hacks to eat. As she ate, she stared out over her desert view, her mind going in a thousand different directions. What was Merlyn hiding? What was he planning on doing? Why was it so important that he had to kill people? Felicity decided to stop trying to get into Merlyn’s phone for a moment and instead focus on the people he killed. She knocked on the door to let Al-Sahim know she was done eating, then got back to work.
Instead of focusing on the business people that had died, she looked at the scientists. They were from a company called Unidac, which Felicity remembered QC had purchased a few months ago at a business auction. She remembered she had read the press release that had been emailed to everyone in the company after it had happened. She also remembered it because there had been a shooting during the auction, and several bidders had died. She had thought it was pretty crazy at the time. Now she started looking at the scientists, and what they had been working on. After a bit of digging, she found that they had all been working on the same project, but that project in particular was purchased by Merlyn Global, and so she was back to square one. Armed with a little more information, she started looking again at Merlyn and his company. She started running a few viruses intended to break through the Merlyn Global system, then stood up to stretch and use the bathroom.
Knowing that breaking through the firewalls would take some time, Felicity decided that she wanted to walk and stretch her legs. She grabbed a pair of shoes from the wardrobe that fit her best, and knocked on the door. Al-Sahim unlocked it, and stared at her.
“Um, so what I’m trying to do is going to take a little bit of time, and I’ve been holed up in here for over a day. Is there any chance you can just let me walk up and down the hallway a few times to stretch my legs a bit?” She asked him. He studied her for a moment, then gave a curt nod. She smiled at him gratefully, then stepped out into the hallway. She began walking, and found Al-Sahim following her.
“Oh, I was just going to go up and down, you could just stand there and keep an eye on me,” Felicity explained to him. He responded by shaking his head, and instead of saying anything motioned for her to follow him. Shrugging, she followed him down a few flights of stairs and through some winding hallways, until they reached a large door. She noticed very few people walking around, as if this part of the palace was empty on purpose. She watched as Al-Sahim opened the door and gestured her through it. When she did, she couldn’t help but smile at what she saw. It was a small outdoor courtyard, with several flower beds and small trees around it. There were two women tending the flowers, but as soon as they saw Felicity and Al-Sahim, they stopped what they were doing and left. Felicity turned to look at him.
“Why did they leave? They could have stayed here.” Al-Sahim said nothing, so she turned and started walking around the courtyard. It was a surprisingly comfortable temperature outside, and Felicity basked in the bright sunlight streaming overhead. She wandered all around the courtyard for several minutes, looking at all the plants and taking the time to stretch. While Felicity was, in general, not really an exercise person, she knew that sitting at a computer all day was not good for her, so she enjoyed her walk. She was also very aware of Al-Sahim following her every move a few steps away. Doing one more circuit around the courtyard, she finished by the large doors Al-Sahim had led her through. As he approached to open them, she remarked,
“You know, I haven’t had a nice walk around a garden in a while. My apartment doesn’t have one, and the closest park is a few miles away from me back in Starling City. And I usually end up working through my lunchtime, so I never get to go outside, not like there’s any actual gardens around QC. It must be nice to just have open space so easily accessible to you,” Not expecting a response, she continued. “I’m not really an outdoors type of person, but when you sit and stare at a computer screen all day, you just really need to stretch sometimes. I’ve done yoga occasionally, but it’s just not the same as walking around and taking in nature.” She continued to ramble about plants and trees all the way back to her room, with Al-Sahim still saying nothing to her. When they reached her door, she turned to him.
“Is it really necessary to lock the door behind me? I’m not going to go anywhere, and you’re clearly standing there all day, or at least most of it. I get so lost in my searches that I wouldn’t even know if you left and came back. Just consider it,” she walked into her room, and smiled to herself as Al-Sahim closed the door, but didn’t lock it. She went to the bathroom, then sat back down to get back to work.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
Felicity hits a wall, and Ra's gives an ultimatum.
Thank you all again for the continued support! Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Argh!” Felicity cried, bringing her hands down hard onto the solid desk surface. “Ow,” she quickly waved her hands around to try to relieve them from the sharp pain she had just inflicted on herself. The door flew open, and Al-Sahim came running into the room, hand reaching for the sword behind his back.
“Oh, no, nothing is wrong. Well, something is wrong, but you don’t need your weapon for it,” Felicity explained, as Al-Sahim let go of the sword, his blue eyes still darting around the room. Breathing a heavy sigh, Felicity tried to explain.
“Merlyn has all his information on a server at Merlyn Global, and it’s basically unhackable from the outside. I’ve tried every way I can think of, and it’s just not working. Unless I’m directly in front of the server, I can’t get anything off of it. I’m at a complete dead end.” Al-Sahim stared at her, then gestured towards the door.
“I don’t think taking another walk will help the problem, but thank you for offering,” Felicity said absently, glaring at her computer screen. Al-Sahim shook his head, and said something in Arabic. Felicity didn’t understand, until she heard “Ra’s” in his sentence.
“Oh, right, we need to tell Ra’s Al Ghul. Ok, let me put my shoes on.” Quickly putting her shoes back on, she stood up and followed Al-Sahim out of the room. He once again led her down stairwells and long corridors, until they were back in front of the familiar double doors in the great atrium. There were two guards standing there, some of the first people Felicity had seen other than the two women in the garden. Al-Sahim spoke to them quickly, and they opened one of the doors. As soon as they did, Felicity could hear metal clanking on metal, and the soft grunts of people inside. They walked into the great chamber, and Felicity was stopped in her tracks by what she was seeing.
Ra’s Al Ghul was in the middle of a group of League fighters, all attacking him. There must have been a dozen fighters, all with different weapons, and Ra’s had a single short sword. The fighters were attacking from all angles, multiple at a time, and yet Ra’s was handily beating them all. Within moments of Felicity and Al-Sahim entering the room, all the fighters were on the ground, and Ra’s didn’t even look like he had broken a sweat. He said a few things to the fighters in Arabic, and once he was done they all slowly stood, bowed to him, and left the room, also bowing to Al-Sahim.
“While the weapons are not sharp, the lesson sometimes can be,” Ra’s stated, slowly turning to face Felicity and Al-Sahim. “Warriors such as mine learn from experience, and what better way than to try and best me.”
“That was very impressive,” Felicity agreed. She shook her head quickly, “But not why we’re here, unfortunately.”
“Tell me, what have you found?” Ra’s asked, calmly handing his sword to an attendant who seemed to have materialized out of thin air, and then once again folding his arms behind his back in what Felicity had named his signature pose.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anything. Merlyn’s servers are highly firewalled and encrypted, and I can’t access them from the outside. So there’s no way to figure out what he has planned unless we actually go to Merlyn Global and access the server directly. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help,” Felicity explained.
“You have been of great assistance, and that will continue. You and Al-Sahim will return to Starling City and infiltrate Merlyn Global. Once you have retrieved the information, you will be allowed to stay there, and Al-Sahim will return with the information. You will leave in the morning.” Nodding to Al-Sahim, who seemed to be standing very rigidly, he began to turn away.
“Wait, you want me to go back home and break into Merlyn Global? I can’t do that! I can’t just walk in, the servers are located on a floor that is locked only to executives, including Malcolm himself. And besides, I don’t one hundred percent know that what you’re looking for is located there, it just seems like the likeliest place.”
“Then Ms. Smoak, you’d better become one hundred percent sure. Al-Sahim will get you into Merlyn Global, and you will retrieve the information, otherwise you’ll be brought back here and spend the rest of your days in the cell you were first placed in. Am I understood?” Ra’s rounded on Felicity. She shrank back, nodding. “Good. Have some food and rest, you will leave first thing. Al-Sahim, return to me after you bring Ms. Smoak back to her room.” Al-Sahim bowed then motioned for Felicity to leave the room. She did, looking back once more at Ra’s who was standing in front of a water basin, seemingly washing his hands.
Numbly, she followed Al-Sahim back to her room. While she was thrilled to be going home, she was less than thrilled about the prospect of breaking into Merlyn Global. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t even realize she was back standing in the middle of her room until she heard the door close and lock behind her. Rolling her eyes, she flopped down onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling.
After a while, there was a knock on the door and it unlocked. The woman who had braided Felicity’s hair that morning (Felicity couldn’t believe it was still the same day) entered, carrying her dinner tray. Felicity smiled in thanks. “I have brought you a bag for your things. You may take the clothing with you, if you would like,” the woman said, handing Felicity a small black duffle bag.
“Oh, thank you. That’s very kind,” Felicity responded. She took the bag and laid it on the bed. “And thank you again for helping me with my hair this morning, it’s been perfect all day.”
The woman smiled, then gave her a slight bow and left the room. Felicity sat down at the table and ate. The world outside her window was dark, with a clear sky and slight breeze. She could almost smell the flowers she had seen in the courtyard wafting up into her room. Finishing her meal, she went to her computer to maybe poke around the internet some more, but her connection had been cut off. She frowned, then decided to take a shower. She had no idea what time Al-Sahim would come to get her in the morning, so she wanted to be ready. She stood in front of the mirror, carefully undoing the beautiful braid in her hair, keeping the tie on her wrist. At least she would have that to pull her hair into a ponytail in the morning. She showered, then dried off quickly. Peeking out of the bathroom doorway to make sure Al-Sahim wasn’t standing there again, she grabbed the pajamas she had left of the bed and dressed. She brushed out her hair, and brushed her teeth. Leaving the bathroom and going to the wardrobe, she took out a top and pair of pants and laid them out for the next morning. She decided to take one other shirt, as they were quite soft and comfortable, and then packed it away with the clothes she had been brought here wearing. As she was finishing packing, there was a knock on the door, and Al-Sahim entered.
“Oh, hi. I’m just packing things up, because I assume we’re leaving really early tomorrow. And you know, you really didn’t have to turn the internet off, I might have wanted to run another search or something. Even maybe watch some YouTube videos. Which is fine that I can’t now, but it would have been nice,” Felicity said to him, grabbing her laptop off the desk and stuffing it into the bag. She turned to look at him. He just looked at her, then finally spoke.
“You will be ready to leave when I come get you. We will eat on the way to Starling City.”
Startled by hearing his voice for the first time, Felicity nodded. Then finding her own voice, she responded, “Ok, I guess I will see you in the morning.”
Al-Sahim nodded once, then grabbed the dinner tray from the table and left the room, locking it behind him. Felicity moved the bag to the table, then laid down on the bed. Removing her glasses, she slowly fell asleep, worried about what would happen once they returned to Starling City.
*Gasp* He speaks! What will happen when they get back to Starling? Tune in Thursday to find out!!
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Felicity and Al-Sahim arrive in Starling City. Pizza is eaten, the news is watched, and a warehouse is investigated.
A LOT happens in this chapter, so enjoy!!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Felicity woke with a start when she heard the loud knock on the door. “I’m up!” She called out, then quickly grabbed her glasses. Rushing around, she went to the bathroom and dressed for the day, deciding at the last minute to take the pajamas with her. She was stuffing them into the duffle bag as the door unlocked and Al-Sahim entered.
“We must leave now,” he stated.
“Yup, I’m ready, just let me get my shoes on,” Felicity responded, sliding the shoes on and throwing her hair up into a ponytail at the same time. She turned around to see Al-Sahim holding her bag and waiting for her impatiently at the door. “Okay, let’s go,” she said, taking one last look around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. Al-Sahim let out a small huff of annoyance, and Felicity rushed out of the room. Struggling to keep up, Felicity followed him through the palace once more until they reached the outer doors. He led her out, and she followed him into the desert.
“Um, where are we going now? And how far away is it? These shoes really aren’t the best for all this sand,” Felicity called out to him, slipping into the sand. With a huff, Al-Sahim waited for her to catch up to him.
“The plane is on the other side of the ridge. Remove your shoes if it will make you go faster. We are already running behind,” he stated, then started walking again.
“Geez, someone isn’t a morning person,” Felicity grumbled to herself, but took the shoes off, and followed after him at a much easier pace. Fifteen or so minutes later, they had crested the ridge, to see a small airstrip below them, with a jet idling there waiting for them. Al-Sahim hurried her down to the tarmac and ushered her on board. As she went into the main cabin, Al-Sahim spoke to the pilot, who immediately began takeoff preparations. Felicity had just sat down in a seat when the cabin door closed and the plane began moving. She quickly strapped herself in, watching Al-Sahim come in and do the same. Within minutes, they were taking off. Once they had reached altitude, Al-Sahim rose, and went to the back of the cabin. He soon returned, carrying a plate of food.
“There is food in the back. Eat, then rest. It will be several hours.”
Felicity nodded, then un-buckled herself and went to the back of the cabin. She grabbed a muffin and some fruit, then made herself a cup of coffee. She returned to her chair sinking into it carefully while holding her mug in one hand and her plate of food in the other. She stared out the window at the clouds and water below as she sipped her coffee and picked at her food. When she finished, she got up to put her plate away, then went back to her seat. She stole a look at Al-Sahim, who was faced away from her. She startled when she realized that he had lowered his hood while eating, revealing tanned white skin and closely cropped hair. She could only see a bit of his profile, but could see that he also had closely trimmed facial hair. Before she could do or say anything, he pulled the hood back up and turned his head further away from her. Felicity went back to staring out the window, and soon fell asleep.
Several hours later, she was awoken by a hand on her shoulder. “We are about to land,” Al-Sahim informed her, waiting for her acknowledgment before sitting back down and strapping himself in. She quickly did her own buckle, and watched as the city below grew larger in the dusk light. It had taken them all day to get there, she thought to herself. Soon, they were landing on a very old airstrip, probably connected to a closed down airport. As they pulled to a stop, Felicity could see a black SUV waiting on the edge of the tarmac. She unstrapped herself and rose, following Al-Sahim off the plane. She noticed that he grabbed her bag, along with another bag that had been stowed at the front of the cabin. They walked to the car, Al-Sahim putting the bags in the back seat. She climbed into the passenger seat as Al-Sahim got in and started the car.
“So, where are we going now? Does the League have a place here? While I’m sure that’s nice, I’d really like to be in my own apartment, all my stuff is there, including my other computer. That might be able to help us if we’re really going to break into Merlyn Global. I hate to beg, but can you please bring me home?” Felicity requested. Al- Sahim thought for a moment, then nodded.
“We will go to your apartment.” He began driving. Felicity smiled to herself, suddenly very happy and excited to be going home. She had feared that he would have taken her to someplace that the League had, so she was very happy that he listened to her and decided to take her home. They soon reached the outskirts of the City, and began driving through the area known as the Glades. Felicity stared out the window at the squalid conditions she saw around her. She knew that the Glades was the poorest area of Starling City, and she had never ventured down into it, despite her apartment being on the very edge. She realized that Al-Sahim hadn’t asked her for directions either, so he clearly knew where she lived, as well as knew his way around the city. She wondered to herself if he had been the one to abduct her a few days ago.
A few minutes later, they were pulling into a parking spot in front of her apartment, right behind her Mini Cooper. Felicity smiled at the familiar sight, then had a thought.
“Oh, I don’t have the keys to get in! How did you do it when you took me?” She asked. “I hope you didn’t break a window or anything, the maintenance person takes forever to fix anything broken.” Al-Sahim reached down and pulled her keys out of the cup holder. “Okay, I guess that answers that one,” she said, taking the keys from him and opening the car door. She bounded up the stairs, Al-Sahim trailing behind her with the bags. She was glad that there wasn’t anyone around, because it was quite a sight seeing a man in full hooded attire carrying two duffle bags into her apartment.
She heaved a happy sigh when she entered her apartment, everything just as she left it, including the old glass of wine sitting on the coffee table. She grabbed it and put it in the sink as Al-Sahim entered and closed the door behind him. Felicity watched him as his eyes swept around the apartment, taking everything in. She moved back into the living room and closed the shades, turning on the two lamps she had as well.
“So, I don’t cook, like, at all, but I can order takeout from somewhere. Do you want Chinese food or pizza?” She asked him. Moving to take her bag from him, she continued. “Also, I have a second bedroom, right here,” she pointed, “So you can put your stuff in there and get settled in while I order. Do you know what you want?” She looked back at him, still standing there stiffly in the middle of her living room. When he said nothing, she decided for them.
“Okay, I’m going to get pizza. There’s a decent place nearby that will deliver pretty quickly. I kind of developed a bit of a snobbery when it comes to pizza, when I went to MIT I learned that they make the best pizza on the East Coast, and it’s just not the same here. This place is as close to East Coast pizza as I can find around here. Do you want any special toppings, or should I just order a regular cheese pizza?” She grabbed her phone from off the couch, and sighed in relief when she saw it still had a charge, albeit low. She also felt a pang of sadness that she didn’t have any missed texts or calls, not even from her mother. She noticed that she did have an email from QC, confirming her time off for the rest of the week. She again looked at Al-Sahim, who finally seemed to find his voice.
“I like pepperoni,” he stated, sounding surprised at himself. Felicity nodded.
“Okay, I’ll get a large pepperoni pizza. Like I said, the second bedroom is right there, and the bathroom is right across the hall.”
She quickly dialed the pizza place and ordered the food as Al-Sahim made his way into the second bedroom. Once she was done ordering, she hooked her phone up to the charger on the kitchen island counter, and brought her duffle bag into her bedroom. She quickly unpacked, throwing all the clothes into her hamper, and brought her laptop back out into the living room, where she set it up in her docking station at the desk that was in the corner. She could hear Al-Sahim moving from his bedroom to the bathroom, so she flopped herself on the couch and turned the TV on. She turned the news on, just to have some background noise, then decided she wanted a glass of wine. She was pouring it for herself in a clean glass when Al-Sahim emerged from the bathroom, causing her to almost drop the bottle.
He had changed out of his League attire completely. Instead of the black hood and armor, he was wearing brown slip on shoes, a pair of dark jeans and a blue Henley shirt. She realized then that he was gorgeous. His blue eyes popped even more against the color of his shirt, which she noted he filled out incredibly well, and she noted how his facial hair sculpted his jaw perfectly. She gaped at him for a moment before she quickly turned around to collect herself.
“Um, I have wine or water. Unfortunately it’s been a while since I went to the grocery store, sorry. Maybe tomorrow we can find some time to go, if you wanted. There’s a small bodega down the street that I usually go to when I need to grab the essentials.” Feeling collected, she turned to look at him again. He stood there uncomfortably, hands hanging at his sides.
“Water is fine,” He finally answered. “Um, may I?” He asked, gesturing to the small kitchen table Felicity had.
“Oh, of course, have a seat. The pizza should be here any minute, and let me get you the water,” Felicity grabbed a glass from her cabinet and turned the tap on. Letting the water get cold, she filled the glass, then brought it over to where Al-Sahim had settled down. “Here you go.”
“Thank you,” he replied, taking a sip. Felicity stood at the island still, and took a sip of her wine. She was distracted by how normal this seemed. Here was a highly trained Assassin, wearing street clothes and sitting at her kitchen table. She was just about to say something about it when the doorbell rang. Al-Sahim immediately jumped up from the table in high alert. Felicity startled as well.
“That must be the pizza. I’ll get it, you just stay here.” She quickly rounded the island and went to the door, grabbing money from her purse in the hallway as she went. She opened the door and quickly paid for the pizza, then closed and locked the door behind her, bringing the food back into her apartment. Al-Sahim still stood there on edge, but relaxed slightly when Felicity put the pizza down on the table. She then grabbed two plates from the cabinet before returning to the table and sitting down opposite Al-Sahim, who was still standing.
“If you’re going to stand there, can you at least grab me my wine? I really don’t want to get up again,” Felicity remarked, opening the top of the pizza box and helping herself to a steaming slice. Al-Sahim did just that for her, returning to the table and finally sitting down. He helped himself to a slice as well, and Felicity watched curiously as he took a bite. His eyes closed briefly as he savored the taste of the pizza.
“When was the last time you had pizza? No, never mind, you don’t have to answer that, I’m sorry,” Felicity apologized, taking another bite of her own slice. Al-Sahim took a sip of his water, then cleared his throat.
“It’s okay. It’s been a long time,” He replied, taking another bite. Satisfied with the answer, Felicity and Al-Sahim continued to eat in silence, leaving only two slices left when all was said and done. Finishing the last sip of her wine, Felicity stood and grabbed the pizza box to put the slices away in the fridge. Al-Sahim continued to sit at the table, seemingly lost in thought. She sat back down, and took a deep breath.
“Okay, so how is this all going to work now? We can’t just waltz in to Merlyn Global tomorrow, we need some kind of plan. Did you have any thoughts?”
Al-Sahim focused his attention back on Felicity. “Tomorrow we’ll go to the building so I can find the best way of entering. Then tomorrow night we will infiltrate and get the information that Ra’s Al Ghul needs.”
“Okay,” Felicity agreed. “In the meantime, I’m going to write up a Trojan that will allow me to access the servers from the outside. I can deploy it at the same time I’m getting the information directly.” Al-Sahim nodded. He was about to speak again when the news report caused him to stop and turn to look at it.
“…And in other news tonight the Engagement party for now former playboy billionaire Tommy Merlyn and his Fiancé, Attorney Laurel Lance was held in the Starling Hilton ballroom. In attendance were family friends Moira and Thea Queen, seen leaving here, along with Moira Queen’s husband Walter Steele. As you can see, it appears Thea Queen seems to have a new beau with her, no information as to who he is, but the two seem to be very close. Moira Queen is the co-CEO of Queen Consolidated along with Walter Steele, a position she took over after the tragic death of her first husband, Robert Queen, and son, Oliver Queen, who was also Tommy Merlyn’s best friend. Also in attendance tonight….” Felicity looked at Al-Sahim curiously as his eye were glued to the television. His posture was rigid, and she could see him rubbing his thumb and forefinger together subconsciously.
“Interested in the socialite scene?” Felicity attempted to joke, bringing Al-Sahim out of his concentration. He shook his head, turning to her.
“Looking to see if they would show Malcolm. It was nothing.” His blue eyes pierced hers, making her regret trying to joke with him.
“You know, I actually know Walter Steele. He’s my boss’s boss. I’ve done a few projects for him, actually, one of them being the reason I was looking into the League. He wanted me to investigate this offshore corporation called Tempest. He also gave me this book written in invisible ink filled with names of people here in the City. Some of the people on the list were the ones Merlyn murdered. Then the media showed a blurry picture of the Dark Archer, and I started searching, and now I’m here!” She told him, trying to alleviate the tension that was coming from him. Instead of relieving him of it, though, his tension seemed to grow.
“What did you find out about Tempest?” He asked her. She stood up.
“Here, I’ll show you. It might end up being relevant,” she got up and moved to the desk where her laptop was. She sat down, Al-Sahim hovering over her shoulder. She opened a drawer and took out a copy of the book Walter had given her. “Here’s a copy of the pages in the book. The first page was this weird symbol, I still haven’t figured out what is represents. But this is the list of names. I crossed out the people Merlyn killed,” she handed them to him. He held them delicately, as if they were somehow going to burn him.
“And Walter Steele gave this to you?” He asked her carefully. Felicity nodded.
“Yea, apparently Moira had it hidden somewhere in their house. Or Mansion, since the place is huge. I went there last year for a mandatory work event thing. I got lost going to the bathroom in there! Anyway, and nothing against Mrs. Queen. Queen-Steele? Would she hyphenate? Anyway, Moira had hidden it, and Walter wanted to know why, thinking it had something to do with Tempest.”
“And does it?” Al-Sahim asked.
“I’m still not sure. Here, let me show you what I found out about Tempest.”
As she explained, her fingers quickly flew over the keys, pulling up the files she had discovered while in Nanda Parbat. “Tempest was an offshore corporation, and a few years back they bought a large warehouse here in Starling City. Didn’t hire employees, and only pay for minimal electricity. However, there is a security camera, and I found this,” she opened up the video file showing the footage she had uncovered of the boat pieces on the warehouse floor. As she looked up at Al-Sahim, she was alarmed at his expression. His eyes had narrowed and darkened, and he looked furious. “Um, does this mean anything to you?” She asked tentatively.
“Where is this warehouse?” Al-Sahim asked brusquely.
“Um, it’s in the shipping district, why?”
“I need the address. Now,” he responded, turning and going into his room. Still confused, she jotted down the address on a piece of paper, and minutes later Al-Sahim emerged, once again wearing his League attire. He took the paper and headed for the door.
“I will return later. Lock the door, and do not let anyone enter,” he drew his hood and took off.
Felicity sat there stunned for a moment, then got up and locked the door. She took a deep breath, then turned and went about cleaning the kitchen table, washing the dishes and putting everything away. Still too wired to go to bed, she sat back down on the couch and flipped through the channels to find something to watch. Finally settling on a cooking competition, she sat back as she watched mindlessly. Two hours of competition later, Al-Sahim had still not returned. Felicity tiredly turned off the TV and decided to head to bed. She turned off the lights in the kitchen, and left only one lamp on in the Living room. She went to the bathroom and got ready for bed. Going into her bedroom, she pulled out a pair of pajamas from her drawer and changed. Realizing she had left her phone on the kitchen counter, she went back out into the apartment to grab it. As she was turning to return to her bedroom, she heard the click of a door. She quickly spun around to see Al-Sahim returning. She breathed out a sigh of relief to see him. Then she cocked her head in annoyance.
“Did you just break into my apartment? You realize you could have just taken the key, right?” She admonished him as he finished locking the door and stepped forward into the living room. He pulled his hood down to look at her.
“They would have made too much noise,” he responded curtly. He moved passed her towards the bedrooms.
“Well, what did you find?” She asked him. She could see his shoulders heave with a sigh, then he turned to her.
“I saw the ship. The Queen’s Gambit. And I saw the reason why it sank,” he replied.
“Really? How? I couldn’t tell from the security feed,” Felicity asked, curious as to what he found out.
“There was an explosion inside the ship, probably in the engine room. The metal was bent outward,” he responded.
“How could you tell? And why do you think Moira has it in that warehouse?” Felicity probed. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“I don’t know. But I do know that we need to get into Merlyn Global as soon as possible,” he responded. “Good night.” With that, he turned and went into his bedroom. Felicity stood there staring at the closed door for another moment, then retreated to her own bedroom with her phone.
Full disclosure: I grew up on the East Coast/Tri-State Area, where the pizza is real, and really good. I now live in the Midwest, where the pizza comes from a gas station. Nothing against it at all, but give me East Coast pizza any day.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
More food is eaten, Felicity and Al-Sahim case the joint, and some questions are answered.
Felicity awoke the next morning to sounds from the kitchen and the smell of coffee wafting through the air. She fumbled on her nightstand for her glasses, then got up and opened the door. She decided on using the bathroom before going out into the kitchen, and so after that brief detour, emerged to find Al-Sahim standing in front of her stove, once again dressed in casual attire. He turned his head as she entered the living area.
“Good morning. There’s a cup of coffee there for you on the table, he greeted her.
“Thank you,” she murmured, collapsing into the chair and resting her hands around the mug. As she took her first sip, she realized that he had made it exactly to her liking. Before she had time to process that, he walked over with two plates of scrambled eggs and toast in hand. Placing one in front of her, he sat down across from her with his own.
“Not to sound ungrateful,” Felicity started, “But where did you get all the food? I know I had nothing in my fridge last night.”
“You mentioned the bodega at the corner. I went there this morning and picked a few things up,” he responded. She nodded, then took another sip of her coffee.
“They taught you how to cook in the League?” She asked. Al-Sahim paused in his eating, then slowly shook his head.
“I knew how from before,” he answered vaguely. Satisfied for now with his answer, she started eating as well.
“How did you sleep last night?” She ventured again after a few moments.
“Well enough, thank you,” he replied. “I don’t require much sleep. And the room was too small for me to exercise in, so I did so out here. I’ll move the couch back as soon as I’m finished eating.” Felicity looked up, noticing for the first time that the couch had been moved all the way back to the kitchen island, and the coffee table had been moved to the side as well, leaving a large space in the middle of her living room.
“Oh, um, ok. Thank you,” she responded. “So, I guess we’ll head out to Merlyn Global this morning, then come back here and plan our break in from there?” She asked. Al-Sahim nodded. “Okay,” she replied, as she finished up her breakfast. Al-Sahim could certainly cook eggs very well, she thought to herself. As she stood to clean her plate, Al-Sahim waved her off.
“I will clean everything, I’m sure you want to shower and get ready. The faster you do that, the faster we can go,” he explained. Felicity gave him a bemused smile.
“Right. Thank you,” she replied, then headed into her bathroom. She noticed that it seemed a little cleaner than usual, and that the shower had recently also been used. She wondered how early Al-Sahim had gotten up that morning. She quickly showered, and throwing on her large bathrobe, left the bathroom to go into her bedroom to finish getting ready. As she briefly walked into the hall she could hear Al-Sahim putting all the furniture back in place in her apartment, his well-defined muscles flexing underneath the gray shirt he wore that day. She dressed casually for the day, a pair of skinny jeans and a top, with a pair of flats. She brushed her hair out and pulled it into a ponytail, then started on her minimal makeup. Finally ready, she left her bedroom to find Al-Sahim sitting on her couch, casually flipping through the TV channels. A pang of longing hit her, and she realized that she wished she had some kind of romantic attachment in her life, that would cook her breakfast and look as comfortable on the couch as Al-Sahim did in that moment. He looked positively domestic, if she didn’t know that he was a trained killer. He looked up at her and turned the TV off.
“Ready?” He asked, standing up. Felicity nodded.
“Yup, let’s go,” she replied. She grabbed her purse and keys as Al-Sahim grabbed a gray hoodie and hat from off the back of the couch, throwing both on. She quirked an eye at him as they left the apartment.
“I’d rather be as inconspicuous as possible,” he explained, gesturing to his clothing. He tugged the hat further down his forehead.
“Ok, it’s not like anyone would know you around here, she responded, headed down the steps to the car. She was just out of hearing range, so she didn’t hear him respond, “They would.” Felicity hopped into the passenger seat of the SUV, while Al-Sahim clambered into the driver’s seat and started the engine.
“Do you need directions to get there?” Felicity asked. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“I know where to go,” he replied, then took off down the street. Within a few minutes they were entering the business district, and were soon stopped at a red light across from Queen Consolidated.
Not noticing the tightened grip on the steering wheel, Felicity said, “That’s QC, where I work. I’m on the fourteenth floor. I was so intimidated my first day there. It was crazy, I was so afraid of getting lost. I barely left my floor the whole first month I was there.” She aimlessly chatted about working at QC while the light turned green, and Al-Sahim turned past it on the way to Merlyn Global. A few blocks later, they were there, and Al-Sahim found a parking garage to park in nearby. They exited the car, Al-Sahim fidgeting with his hat again, and looking increasingly uncomfortable. Shooting him confused looks, Felicity followed him out of the garage and down the street towards Merlyn Global.
As they approached, Al-Sahim slowed his walk, loitering near a trash can directly across from the entrance. Felicity watched him as he gazed around the main entrance, then watched as he looked up to the roof of the building. He then began walking again, and Felicity scrambled after him. They walked around the building as much as they could, before crossing the street and slowly walking past the main entrance again. He then sat down on a bench near the front of the building, and Felicity sat next to him. He kept his head down, as if playing with a phone, as people walked in and out of the building. Finally, he got up, motioning for Felicity to stay put. He disappeared for a few moments, then returned quickly, motioning again, this time for her to follow. She got up and followed him back to the parking garage, where she watched him look out again towards Merlyn Global. He then walked to the car and got in, Felicity, climbing in after him.
“Well, what do you think?” She asked him. He handed her something, then started the car. It was an ID Badge for a security guard who worked at Merlyn Global.
“We can use this to access the floors. We’ll also have to get in either from the roof or through the service entrance.” He paid the garage ticket and took off back towards Felicity’s apartment. She stared at him, flabbergasted.
“Did you say through the roof? Are you nuts?” She exclaimed. He shrugged.
“I also said through the service entrance. Maybe we can fake our way in with the cleaning crew.” Felicity adamantly shook her head.
“Or,” she said to him, “We just walk through the front door. We have a badge, and I can create a duplicate. We just have to figure out how to get to the twenty-fifth floor. That’s where the servers are, and the main elevators only go to twenty four.”
“There’s also a ton of security there. And I’m sure cameras. I can’t go in through the front. We’d also have to figure out a way to take out the guards in the camera room so they don’t see anything,” Al-Sahim responded.
“I can try to put the cameras on a continuous loop while we’re in there. That way they couldn’t see anything going on, and it’ll give me enough time to download all the info and upload the Trojan. Which I still need to create, so we’d better get home quickly,” she answered him, her mind starting to run with everything that needed to happen. She was so lost in thought that she forgot about his comment about not being able to go through the front door.
As soon as they made it home a few minutes later, Felicity sprinted up the stairs to her apartment, and impatiently waited for Al-Sahim to catch up and unlock the door. Once he did, with the barest hint of a smile on his face, she rushed to her computer and began working. She was quickly able to see what accesses the ID badge gave her, which was all doors, but not elevators, and also started on her Trojan. She was so busy working that she didn’t realize Al-Sahim had moved the couch again to work out. It was only when nature started calling her that she focused back on her living room, and the scene that lay out in front of her.
Al-Sahim was going through some sword exercises in her living room, and he was doing so without a shirt on. She stared at him in wonderment. His body glistened with a fine sheen of sweat, and his muscles rippled with every movement of the sword. It was only after a few moments of ogling that she noticed the scars. There were several across his back, as well as what looked like a burn mark in the shape of an arrow on his right shoulder. His left shoulder had a tattoo of a dragon on it. As he turned around, she could see more scars littering his stomach and his perfect six pack abs. There was also what appeared to be bite marks on his left waist, just above his beltline. As she gaped, he finally noticed her and stopped what he was doing.
“Did you find something?” He asked her, breathing heavier than normal. Felicity shook her head to rid herself of her stupor.
“Um no. I mean, I’m almost done with the Trojan, and I think I have a way to get into the server room. But I need to use the bathroom, so I’ll tell you about it when I get back.” She abruptly got up from her seat and rushed to the bathroom. Sitting down on the toilet she groaned, her head falling into her hands.
“Ugh, why does he have to look like that?” She lamented to herself. She took a moment to compose herself, finished up in the bathroom, and went back into the living room. Al-Sahim had blessedly put his shirt back on, and was standing there drinking a glass of water.
“Okay,” she started. “The main thing we need to do is distract the guards in the control room. I don’t think I’m going to be able to put their feeds on a loop, so we need to go with a different distraction. I’m thinking one of us poses as a food delivery person, and brings them drugged food. Once they’re out, we can go up without interruptions.”
“You’ll have to do it,” Al-Sahim responded. “Then you can take the elevator to the twenty-fourth floor. I can meet you there to get you to the twenty-fifth.”
“Why can’t it be you?” Felicity asked him. “I don’t see why we can’t both go through the front door.”
“Because I’ll need my gear, and I can’t walk through the front door wearing it,” he replied, staring her down. Felicity shrugged.
“Okay, if you insist. I just need to figure out which fast food place would be best to use. Hm, maybe Big Belly Burger will work. Everyone loves them,” Felicity pondered to herself.
“What’s Big Belly Burger?” Al-Sahim asked. Felicity brightened.
“You’ve never had Big Belly Burger? Oh man, we’ll have to get some for ourselves as well tonight for dinner. It’s the best burger you’ve ever eaten, trust me. And their fries are absolutely perfect. And don’t even get me started on their milkshakes,” Felicity’s stomach rumbled at the thought of it. “Or we could go there now, it’s almost dinnertime and I’m starving.”
“Why don’t you go and bring it back here. I would like to shower,” Al-Sahim responded, moving towards the back of the apartment. “I have no preference as to what I would like. Surprise me.” He quirked a small smile at her and headed into his bedroom. Felicity beamed after him. Just that tiny smile made her heart do a weird fluttery thing.
She quickly grabbed her purse and headed out, climbing into her beloved Mini. She quickly drove to Big Belly Burger and parked the car. Heading in, she stood in a very short line to place her order. A few minutes later everything was ready, and she headed back home. Morbidly, she thought to herself that this could be the last meal she ate outside of a jail cell if she either got caught or couldn’t find what Ra’s Al Ghul wanted. As she pulled back into her spot in front of her house, she could see movement behind the closed curtains. She again smiled to herself wistfully, thinking about how nice it was to have someone to come home to. Maybe she should get a dog when all this was over. That would help.
As she climbed the steps, her front door opened, and Al-Sahim came out. He stared at the bags in her hands.
“Did you buy everything there?” He asked her. She laughed, handing over two of the bags to him and entering her apartment.
“No, I ordered for tonight. And I bought a shirt. That’ll make it look more official when I bring the food over later. We can just heat up the burgers in the microwave before we go, they won’t know the difference.”
Al-Sahim nodded. “I have a tranquilizer that we can put in them as well.” Felicity gestured to the bags she was still holding.
“And these are ours. Two Belly busters, fries, and chocolate milkshakes. I’m so excited for you to try it,” she beamed at him. He gave his small smile back, then ushered her to the kitchen table, which was already set for them. She smiled to herself at the sight. She took everything out of the bags and distributed them between the two plates.
“Okay, enjoy!” She exclaimed, falling into her seat, already grabbing a French fry. “Oh, ketchup!” She bounded up to grab ketchup from the fridge, before returning to the table. “Okay, now we can enjoy.”
As Felicity happily opened the wrapper on her burger, she watched Al-Sahim inspect all the food laid out before him. He slowly opened the wrapper of his own burger, and took a tentative bite. He chewed slowly, then once again gave Felicity his small smile.
“You’re right, this is very good,” he declared. Felicity’s smile grew wider.
“Try dipping your fries in the shake, it’s heavenly,” she responded happily.
“I’ve never been a fan of that. My...” He replied, forgetting himself for a moment. He then shook his head and continued eating. Felicity frowned, but didn’t push him.
“So,” she said, changing the topic, “What’s the day to day life like in the League? Get up, fight, eat, fight, eat some more, fight some more?”
“Something like that,” Al-Sahim responded, chewing on a fry. “You have to practice a lot to really learn your opponent. In doing so you can best them, and better yourself.”
“What made you want to join up?” Felicity asked. Then she stopped herself. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that.” Al-Sahim looked at her seriously.
“It wasn’t a matter of wanting to, it was a matter of not having any other choice,” he responded. “When you first go before Ra’s Al Ghul, you have to prove yourself. After that, you join, or you die.”
“Wow,” Felicity responded. “That’s not much of a choice, is it?” Al-Sahim shrugged.
“It’s all about survival,” he responded. They continued eating in silence. Felicity’s mind kept coming up with questions. Eyeing Al-Sahim carefully, she asked one.
“How long have you been in the League? From what it seemed you’re pretty high up in the ranks, I mean, people were bowing to you.” Al-Sahim looked up from his food thoughtfully.
“Three years,” he finally replied. “And yes, I advanced very quickly. Like I said, it’s all about survival.” He continued eating. Felicity, meanwhile, was slowly starting to lose her appetite. Al-Sahim noticed her picking at her food and spoke up. “It’s really not that terrible. Moving up in the ranks has afforded me several, luxuries. And Ra’s Al Ghul trusts me, which is the most important thing.”
“But don’t you miss your old life? Don’t you wish you could go back?” Felicity asked. Al-Sahim vehemently shook his head.
“That man is dead. Al-Sahim is all that remains. I pledged my fealty to Ra’s Al Ghul and the League. I am bound to them for life,” he finished eating and stood up. “If you are finished I can take your garbage.” Felicity nodded numbly. She was still trying to wrap her head around what he had said. Did he really want to leave his old life behind? It had only been three years, weren’t there people out there who missed him? She was still sitting there lost in thought when Al-Sahim returned to the table.
“We will go in a few hours. I don’t know if you have more work to do, or if you wanted to rest before we go. I must go to one of the League’s safe houses to gather some supplies. I will return in an hour or so.” With that, Al-Sahim walked to the door, pulling on his baseball cap that was sitting there next to her purse. Again, she thought, so domestic. She watched him leave, then with a sigh, got up from her seat. She went back to her laptop, triple checking that her Trojan was ready, and then transferred everything she needed to a tablet. Satisfied that everything was in place, she went to her bedroom to lie down. She had just meant to lie there for a few moments, but she ended up falling asleep.
As always, thank you for the continued support!! The french fry scene I took from Laurel and Nyssa, because I really liked it at the time. Also, it looks like someone caught a case of the feelings! Stay tuned for more!
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
It's heist time!
Thank you for the over 100 Kudos! I'm so glad everyone is enjoying this story. Here's the heist, and of course there are many of the same scenes as the actual episode ;)
Felicity awoke to a hand gently pushing on her shoulder. “It’s time to go,” Al-Sahim informed her. He was once again dressed in his League gear, and had a determined look set onto his face.
“Okay. Let me get changed,” Felicity responded. Al-Sahim nodded, then left her bedroom, closing the door behind him. She quickly changed into the Big Belly Burger shirt and fixed her ponytail. From the kitchen, she could faintly hear the beep of her microwave finishing rewarming the burgers they were going to give the security guards. She threw on a pair of sneakers and then decided to wear a pair of contacts instead of her glasses. She put them in quickly, knowing that Al-Sahim would be getting impatient. Satisfied with her appearance, she left her bedroom to find Al-Sahim putting all the food back in the bags.
“Everything has been taken care of. Are you ready?” He asked.
“Yes,” Felicity replied, “let me just grab my tablet and we can go.” She pulled the tablet from the desk, and put a connecting cord and the stolen security badge in her pocket. “Okay, ready.” Al-Sahim nodded, then gestured for her to leave the apartment. He followed, locking the door securely behind them. They climbed into the SUV and took off towards Merlyn Global.
“Do you know what you are going to say to the guards to get them to eat the food?” He asked. Felicity shrugged.
“They’ll probably be starving, so I won’t have to say much. But if I do, I’m sure I’ll think of something,” she responded, suddenly getting nervous. What would she say? She had never done something like this before, and didn’t know what to expect. Al-Sahim looked at her briefly.
“I trust you,” he said simply. Hearing that make Felicity suddenly a lot calmer, and she nodded to herself. She could do this.
They drove back into the parking garage they had been in before. Since it was after hours, the gates were all up, and there were plenty of other cars around, taking advantage of the free downtown parking. They parked in a corner and got out. Al-Sahim went to the back of the car and opened the hatch. He grabbed a bag and a small container. Opening it, he turned to Felicity.
“These are comms units, they will keep us in contact with one another. Don’t use yours until you get in the elevator. I’ll need to know which one you get on, so make sure to look,” he explained. She nodded, and placed it in her ear, adjusting it until it fit perfectly. He handed her the bags of food.
“Time to go. I’ll meet you inside the building,” he told her, staring at her for a long moment. Then, he raised his hood and took off. Felicity steeled herself, tucked her tablet into the back of her pants securely, and then walked to the garage exit. She briskly walked towards Merlyn Global, passing a few people who were out late on the town. As she approached the doors, one opened automatically. The security guard looked up from his handheld game.
“I have food from Big Belly Burger?” She told him. He studied her lazily.
“Do you know who ordered it?” He asked. She shook her head. “No, it’s actually free samples for all you security guys. We know how hard it can be for you to work overnight, so we thought we’d send over a little pick me up,”she lied quickly. He grinned.
“Hell yea, I’ll take a burger. There are two other guys in the control room over in the corner, you can bring them some as well,” he picked up his phone and made a call. “Hey Carl, got a chick here from Big Belly Burger with some free samples. I’m sending her your way,” he hung up the phone and looked at Felicity. She quickly pulled a burger from the bag and handed it to him.
“Here you go! Enjoy, and be sure to visit us soon!” She said cheerily. He grabbed the burger, and she turned to walk through the Atrium of the building to the control room. The door was open, and two guards sat inside, half-paying attention to all the monitors on the walls. As soon as they saw her they stood up.
“Oh man, you came at the perfect time, I’m starving,” one of the guards exclaimed, grabbing the bag.
“There are two Belly Busters and fries in there. Enjoy, and make sure to visit us soon, okay?” She said to them. Giving them a friendly wave, she walked halfway down the hall and ducked into a small alcove, removing her tablet from behind her back. She slowly counted to one hundred, then quietly walked back towards the control room. Both guards had taken the bait, and were passed out in their chairs, the burgers lying on the floor below their limp hands. She quickly pulled the cables from the auxiliary panel marked elevators, and watched as the video feed from all four elevators go dark. She sprinted to the elevator bank, noticing the guard at the main desk passed out as well. She pressed the button for the elevators, and one dinged open. She got on, and pressed the button for the twenty fourth floor.
“Al-Sahim?” She asked, touching the comm in her ear. “I got onto elevator three. On my way up now.” Hearing nothing in return, she leaned back against the elevator wall and watched the floor numbers light up as she ascended. Finally, she arrived to the twenty fourth floor. The doors opened, but Al-Sahim wasn’t standing there. As she peeked her head out of the elevator, she heard a noise from above her. Stepping back into the elevator, she saw a panel being removed from the top, and Al-Sahim’s face appeared. He reached his arm down to her, and she grabbed it. With little effort he pulled her through the hatch and onto the top of the elevator. He then went to stand on a beam next to it, and Felicity followed.
“Don’t look down,” he intoned, pulling something from his bag.
“Too late,” she replied, glancing down the deep elevator shaft. “I should mention I’m afraid of heights. Which I just learned.” She whimpered slightly. In response, Al-Sahim gently wound his arm around her back.
“Hold on to me tight,” he told her.
“I imagined you saying that under different circumstances,” she blurted as she put her arm around his shoulders. He gave her a curious sideways look. “Very platonic circumstances,” she fumbled, wishing her brain worked faster than her mouth. He looked away, and raised a small harpoon gun in the air. He shot, and the bolt caught in the cement across from them. He tugged on the line that stretched from the gun slightly.
“Ready?” He asked. “Uh huh,” she replied shakily. Satisfied with her answer, he tightened his grip on her and pulled the trigger, reeling them up in the air towards the bolt, and to the twenty-fifth floor. They landed on the cross beam silently, and Al-Sahim released both the gun and Felicity. He stepped over the ledge to the elevator door and pulled it open. He stepped through, reaching back to assist Felicity through the entrance. He stood there for a moment, surveilling the area for threats before turning to her.
“You alright?” He asked, softly. Felicity nodded, gagging a bit.
“I’m fine,” she managed to get out. He looked at her. “Yea, this is just my um, about to hack face. I always look like this right before I, you know, hack.” She swallowed back some bile that had risen in her throat as she tried to compose herself.
“I don’t know when security will pass by this floor, so I will keep watch. Get the information as quickly as possible.” With that, Al-Sahim silently moved down the hall, looking for any dangers. Felicity took a deep breath.
“Okay,” she said to herself, her breath and heartbeat evening out. “Okay. I can do this.” She quietly moved a short distance down the hall towards the server room, and pulled out the security badge.
“Let’s see how this works,” She said to herself, swiping the badge and entering a four digit code into the keypad. The keypad beeped, sliding the door open, and she quickly went inside and got to work. She quickly plugged her tablet into a connection on the work desk and started typing furiously. The download began a few moments later, and she started uploading the Trojan at the same time. She impatiently watched the seconds tick as the download continued. Trying to stay alert with two minutes left in the download, she heard the sound of jangling keys and footsteps approaching the server room.
“Al-Sahim, is that you approaching?” She nervously whispered into her comm. “Al-Sahim?”
From outside the room, she heard a soft thud. Then Al-Sahim’s voice came over the comm. “It was a security guard. I have incapacitated him. Are you finished?”
“Just a few more seconds, and I’ll….be….done!” She exclaimed, finishing the download and quickly pulling her tablet from the connection. She flew from the room to find Al-Sahim standing over an unconscious guard. He looked at her.
“Take the stairs down to the next floor, then take the elevator back down. Turn the cameras back on and meet me at the car. The guards will be unconscious for another half an hour.” With that, he stepped back through the open elevator shaft and pulled the doors closed behind him.
Felicity moved quickly, running down the stairs. The elevator was still there waiting, and the hatch had been put back into place. She pressed the button for the main lobby and started taking deep breaths. When the doors opened to the lobby, she sprinted out and into the control room. Ensuring that the guards were still out, she quickly re-attached the cables to the video feeds and took off out of the building, remembering to slow down and not look suspicious. If anyone looked back at the footage, they would see someone in a Big Belly Burger uniform walking to the control room, then back out minutes later. While the server had been downloading, she had looped the feeds to ensure everything would be set. She exited the building, and began to casually walk down the street back to the parking garage. There were still several people milling around, and she wanted to look inconspicuous. She quickly made it to the garage, and the moment she got to the car Al-Sahim appeared. They quickly got in and took off back to Felicity’s house. Felicity grinned at Al-Sahim as he drove.
“I can’t believe we just did that! We did it!” She exclaimed excitedly, pulling her comm from her ear. Al-Sahim gave her his small smile, but then grew serious.
“Let’s hope that we now have all the information that Ra’s needs.” Felicity’s smile fell. She still had so much work to do, and she hoped that Ra’s would be satisfied with what she found so she could be freed completely. The thought of being locked in a cell for the rest of her life loomed above her. She remained quiet as they arrived back home and went inside. Placing her tablet down on the desk, she turned to look at Al-Sahim.
“I think I should start looking at everything tomorrow morning. It might take a while, and I want to be as fresh as possible.” Al-Sahim nodded. Felicity ducked into the bathroom and got ready for bed, removing her contacts and throwing her glasses back on. When she emerged, she heard Al-Sahim moving around behind the closed door of his bedroom. She went into her own bedroom, changed, and within moments was fast asleep.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Plan are discovered, more food is eaten, and a game is played.
The next morning Felicity woke again to the smell of coffee and breakfast being cooked by Al-Sahim. She laid there for a moment, listening to him quietly moving around the kitchen. That was probably the most use her stove had gotten since she moved in, and again it made her wonder about Al-Sahim’s life before the League. Did he used to have someone to cook for? Where were they now? Did he have someone special in the League? Were they even allowed to have relationships there? So many questions filled Felicity’s mind, but then her stomach rumbled, and she forced herself out of bed. Putting her glasses on, she padded out into the living area. Once again, Al-Sahim was wearing casual clothes, but instead of eggs, he was making pancakes.
“I am getting so spoiled having you here. My breakfast is usually a cup of coffee and then whatever I grab on my way into work, usually a muffin or something,” Felicity informed Al-Sahim, pouring herself a cup of coffee. Fixing it how she liked, she leaned against the counter and took a sip. Al-Sahim turned briefly to look at her, then returned his focus to making the pancakes.
“I don’t often get to do this in Nanda Parbat, we have people who cook all the meals. I enjoy cooking when I can,” he gave her his small smile. “Sit down, they’re almost ready.”
Felicity smiled back and went to sit at the kitchen table. She watched Al-Sahim finish the stack of pancakes that he had already completed. He looked so at ease, so natural, in the kitchen. In her kitchen, specifically. Felicity couldn’t deny that she was very attracted to Al-Sahim. He was gorgeous, but she knew that he would return to the League and she would never see him again. He also hadn’t done anything to show Felicity he was attracted to her. Even him holding her last night to jump across beams was strictly platonic and business-like. She wondered again if he was seeing someone back in the League. He set the plate of pancakes down, then grabbed two other plates and utensils from the kitchen. There was already a new bottle of maple syrup, butter, and a bowl of cut up strawberries and blueberries macerating in sugar already on the table. Felicity stared in wonder at the spread lying before her. When she looked up at Al-Sahim, he just gave her his small smile and helped himself to some of the pancakes. Felicity did the same, smothering hers in maple syrup. Seeing the slight frown on Al-Sahim’s face as she was pouring the syrup, she added a spoonful of fruit on top of it. They ate in a friendly silence, and once again, Al-Sahim started clearing the dishes from the table to be washed.
“So, I’m going to start diving into all the information that I collected. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take. Do you have plans for your day?” Secretly, she hoped he was going to do more shirtless exercising in front of her all day. Al-Sahim nodded.
“I’m actually going to go out for a bit. There were some things Ra’s wanted me to check on for him while I was here. Seems like today is a good day for it,” he started washing the plates in the sink, even though she had a dishwasher right next to him. “I should be back sometime in the afternoon. I was planning on cooking dinner tonight as well, if that’s ok with you.” Felicity grinned and nodded enthusiastically.
“If your dinner skills are as good as your breakfast skills, I am going to look forward to that very much.” Al-Sahim gave her his smile, and then focused back on washing all the dishes. Felicity quickly went to the bathroom, then settled herself down in front of her laptop. She connected her tablet to it to access all the information, and with a big sigh, dove into her work. She immediately started looking into everything Malcolm had purchased from Unidac, as well as started to hack into the email system to try and find any communications he might have sent about the Undertaking. There was a lot of information to go through. During one search, she once again found a picture of the symbol that had been on the front of the notebook Walter Steele had given her. She pulled the image and attempted to run another search on it, to see if it came up with anything. While she was setting up the image search, her Unidac search pinged complete. She started reading through everything, then stopped in horror at one part.
Merlyn had purchased an earthquake machine. Well, not exactly an earthquake machine. It was a machine designed to generate earthquakes, but Felicity had no idea why. She pulled up Merlyn’s file again and started reading it, stopping at one key point. Malcolm’s wife, Rebecca, was a doctor, and had a clinic in the Glades. It was also where she was murdered years ago. Felicity saw all the pieces fall into place. Malcolm planned on destroying the Glades in retaliation for the death of his wife. But where would he be storing this kind of device? She furiously continued reading all the Unidac information, finally finding an address to a warehouse that seemed to store everything they had made for Merlyn Global. Felicity looked up at the clock. It was one pm, meaning Al-Sahim would probably be back soon. She realized she was still in her pajamas, so she quickly ran to her bedroom to change. Delivering this news would be better if she wasn’t wearing pants with donuts on them. She went back to her computer and continued searching the mysterious symbol.
Al-Sahim finally came back to the apartment around three-thirty. He still had his hat on, and was carrying a small bag of groceries. Felicity remembered that he was planning on cooking dinner, and hoped what she had to tell him didn’t ruin his appetite. He gave her a small smile as he closed the door and walked to the kitchen.
“I was going to roast a chicken for dinner tonight, is that okay with you?” He asked, starting to put everything he had purchased away. When she didn’t answer, he looked at her curiously.
“I found out what Malcolm is planning,” she said flatly. Al-Sahim closed the refrigerator door abruptly and approached Felicity.
“What is it?” He asked calmly. She could tell he was agitated, though, because he was once again rubbing his fingers together. She took a deep breath.
“He’s planning on destroying the Glades with a machine that causes earthquakes. That’s where his wife died, and I guess he wants revenge. It’s almost twenty years later, why would he wait that long?” She asked. He shook his head.
“I….I don’t know. Do you know where the device is?” He asked, already moving towards his room.
“It’s in a warehouse on 6th, and I have the address. But Al-Sahim, it’s still daylight, you can’t go out there in your League clothes, too many people would see you,” she said, following him and standing in the doorway to his bedroom. He was rummaging through his bag for something.
“I’m not going out now,” he informed her, pulling a cell phone from the bag. “I’m going to call Ra’s and tell him what we found out. He’ll decide what we do next.” Turning the phone on, he quickly found the contact number and dialed it. He spoke gruffly in Arabic when someone on the other line answered, and then waited patiently for Ra’s to get on the line. Felicity knew when it was, because even though Ra’s couldn’t see him, Al-Sahim bowed his head as he addressed him. He spoke quickly, and she could see him getting more agitated as Ra’s responded. They seemed to argue back and forth for several minutes before Al-Sahim sighed and nodded, saying one last thing to Ra’s Al Ghul. He hung up the phone and turned to look at Felicity.
“I will go to the warehouse tonight to disable the device. I am not to engage Merlyn directly,” he explained to her. “Then I am to return to Nanda Parbat.”
Felicity nodded, resigned to the answer. “Well, do you still have time to cook dinner? If you were to leave now it would go to waste, because I have no idea what to do with it.” She tried to lighten the mood. Al-Sahim stared at her. Then, he huffed out what she thought could be a laugh.
“Yes, I will still cook dinner. But tonight will be my last night here,” he looked at the clock on the bedside table. “I should get started.” He moved passed her in the doorway, then paused to look at her. “Would you like to help me?” He asked cautiously. Felicity laughed.
“Thank you, but no. I think I’ll do what I do best, sit on the couch with a glass of wine and stay out of the way. Thank you for offering, though. It was very nice of you,” Felicity patted his firm chest as she moved past him, only realizing what she had done after the fact. She blushed furiously to herself, and busied herself pouring a glass of wine to rid herself of the embarrassment. She quickly plopped herself on the couch, while Al-Sahim slowly started moving around the kitchen, getting everything ready. She turned on the TV, and found something to watch while he worked. A short while later she heard the oven beep at temperature, and turned around to watch Al-Sahim put the chicken in the oven. She briefly wondered to herself where he had found a roasting pan in her cabinets. He came over to the couch.
“Dinner should be ready in an hour,” he replied. “I have a half an hour until I need to start working on the side dishes.”
“Well,” Felicity replied, “This show just started, and it’s a half hour long. Come sit, and when it’s over you can get started.” She patted the opposite side of the sofa, and turned her attention back to the TV. Very uncomfortably, Al-Sahim sat down.
“What are you watching?” He asked.
“The Big Bang Theory. It’s about a group of super nerdy scientists, and their attractive neighbor across the hall from two of them. It’s pretty funny, and they seem to get the science right.” From the corner of her eye, she could see Al-Sahim relax slightly into the couch. A commercial soon appeared, and Felicity got up.
“I need more wine, do you want some?” She asked him. He shook his head, still staring at the screen. She chuckled to herself as she poured. “Not much TV in Nanda Parbat, huh?” She teased him lightly. He shook his head.
“It’s been some time. It’s interesting how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same,” he responded. Felicity sat back down in her spot.
“I suppose that’s true,” she responded. “This show’s been on for five years, you don’t remember ever seeing it?” Al-Sahim stiffened slightly again, then just shook his head.
Realizing he didn’t want to continue the conversation, Felicity sat back and just enjoyed the show. Another started after the first, and Al-Sahim quietly got up and started busying himself in the kitchen again. Felicity glanced back at him during one of the commercial breaks, watching him peer briefly into the oven to check on the chicken, and then pushing a sauté pan around on top of the stove, the food inside it sizzling. At the next commercial break, Felicity got up and quietly started setting the table, trying to stay out of Al-Sahim’s way as he continued cooking. Just as the second episode ended, a timer went off. Al-Sahim moved the pan off the heat, and opened the oven door. The smell of roasted chicken permeated the air, and Felicity inhaled happily. Al-Sahim placed the pan on top of the stove to cool for a moment, then poured the contents of the sauté pan into a large bowl. He then grabbed a pot off the stove, and poured what looked like a wild rice mixture into another bowl.
“I’m going to let the chicken rest for a moment before carving it. Do you need more wine?” He asked, placing the bowl of what Felicity could now see was sautéed vegetables and the rice on the table. Felicity shook her head.
“No, two glasses is enough for me. I’ll switch to water,” she responded. Nodding, Al-Sahim grabbed the two glasses on the table and quickly filled them. Returning them to the table, he started searching through the bottom cabinets for a cutting board.
“It’s in the warming drawer of the oven,” Felicity supplied helpfully. She didn’t mention the only reason she knew this is because she used it when slicing frozen pizzas, pretty much the only thing she ever used the oven for. Al-Sahim reached down to the drawer and pulled the board out. He placed it on a clean spot on the counter, then carefully pulled the chicken from the roasting pan, making sure to not drip anything onto the floor. Grabbing a large knife, he quickly began carving into the chicken. Grabbing an extra plate, he placed the slices onto it. Washing his hands quickly, he brought the plate over to the table and sat down. Felicity gazed at the spread before her.
“This all looks incredible, Al-Sahim. Thank you so much,” she gushed to him. He gave her his smile.
“Thank you. Enjoy.” He reached for the bowl of vegetables, while Felicity helped herself to the chicken and the rice. After another eyebrow from Al-Sahim, Felicity made a show of sighing and grabbing the vegetables. He smiled slightly again, finishing filling his plate. Felicity grabbed her glass and looked at him.
“With all this food, I feel like we should toast or something,” she said to him. He looked at her thoughtfully, then also raised his glass.
“What should we toast to?” He asked. Felicity thought for a moment.
“To my hacking skills. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here right now. For better or worse, I get to have a real meal cooked for me by an assassin. That’ll be a story to tell any future kids.” He huffed, and clinked his glass against hers. Each taking a sip, they began eating, the background noise of the TV providing a soundtrack to their meal.
Again, Felicity thanked whoever taught Al-Sahim to cook in her head. The food was absolutely incredible. The chicken was juicy and cooked perfectly, and the vegetables were perfectly seasoned. The rice was the perfect complement to everything. Felicity was actually looking forward to eating it again as leftovers. As she sat there quietly eating, she wished she had more to talk with Al-Sahim about. He was a puzzle to her, only offering a piece at a time. Felicity loved the challenge of a good puzzle, and here was a perfect one right in front of her.
“Let’s play a game,” she started, slowing forming an idea in her head. “Kind of like twenty questions. Nothing overly personal, but they can be about anything. What do you say?” Al-Sahim lowered his fork and looked at her. She stared back into his blue eyes as he contemplated her request.
“I have the right to refuse to answer a question?” He asked. She nodded.
“Same goes for me. And we’ll take turns asking. I’ll start. What’s your favorite color?”
“Blue,” he responded after a moment. He thought. “Do you prefer red wine or white wine more?
“Definitely red,”she responded. “Is a sword your favorite weapon?” He shook his head.
“No, I prefer a bow and arrow. How long have you worked at QC?” She looked at him, surprised he would ask something like that. “About three years. I started right after graduating. Favorite sport?”
“Baseball. What made you interested in computers?”
“Well, I built my first one at seven. It was so much fun taking old pieces and putting them all together to create something new. I guess I just started getting really good at it, and that’s why I got to go to MIT. What does your tattoo mean?”
“It’s a reminder,” he answered shortly. Felicity feared he wouldn’t want to go on, but he did. “Favorite dessert?”
“Oh, mint chip ice cream. What’s yours?” He smiled at her again.
“It’s the same, actually.” Felicity brightened. “No way! That’s too funny. There’s this place nearby that has the best mint chip, we should go after dinner.” Looking again at Al-Sahim, the smile on her face fell. “Oh, right. You need to go to the warehouse and destroy the earthquake machine. Never mind.”
“I’m sorry,” he responded quietly. “Perhaps another time.” Felicity gave him a half-hearted smile. She knew he was just saying that, because after all this was done she’d never see him again. Sensing that she was done asking questions, Al-Sahim started clearing the table. Felicity moved to protest, but Al-Sahim waved her off.
“I got it. Can you print me off a picture of what the device looks like, as well as the address? I want to go as soon as possible.” Felicity nodded and got up from the table.
As she was making her way over to the desk, she said, “Thank you again for dinner. It was amazing.”
He smiled softly at her, and continued cleaning. She sat down at her desk and turned on her small printer. While it was booting up, she quickly created a picture of the device and the address. She then hacked into some security cameras a block or two away to surveil the area. The sky had just started getting dark, and there didn’t seem to be anyone around. Al-Sahim wouldn’t have any issues getting into the building.
Felicity looked over the other search she still had running, about the symbol. It wasn’t finding anything, and she was growing frustrated. It had to mean something. She continued to work on the search as Al-Sahim finished in the kitchen and then went into his room to get ready. Felicity was still staring at the symbol when he emerged.
“What’s that?” He asked, standing next to her. She looked up at him briefly, realizing that he had a bow in his hand and a quiver of arrows across his back next to his sword. Now knowing that it was his preferred weapon, she could see how comfortable it seemed in his hand, and how much more confident he appeared holding it. She handed him the paper with the machine design and address, and he folded it into his armor.
“It’s that symbol from the book. I still have no idea what it is, and it’s starting to drive me crazy. It has to be connected somehow to everything.” Felicity kept staring dejectedly at the symbol on the screen.
“It will reveal itself, don’t overthink it. You will find out what it is,” Al-Sahim replied, momentarily placing his hand on her shoulder. Before she could even react he retracted it and made his way to the front door.
“I don’t know when I’ll return, so don’t wait up for me. If I’m successful I’ll probably be leaving first thing in the morning as well.”
“So I might not see you tomorrow?” She asked, surprised at how sad her voice was. He stopped for a moment and turned to look at her.
“It’s possible. If so, thank you for all of your help. The League is in your debt. I, am in your debt.” His gaze was so piercing that she had to look away. For some reason, she could feel tears prickling in the corners of her eyes. She stood and moved towards him, winding her hands together in front of her.
“It was nothing. Just, next time don’t abduct me, okay? You can just come and ask. And if you’re ever back in town and don’t want to stay in a League safe house, you can come here again. I’ll have the second bedroom all ready.” She gave him a half smile, as he gazed at her. Staring for a moment longer, he slowly nodded his head at her, then raised his hood and left. She locked the door behind him, and then turned and looked over her living room.
Despite the quiet whirring of her dishwasher and the soft drone of the still on TV, it seemed emptier now. Just the knowledge that he’d be leaving left a strange hole in her life. It hadn’t even been an entire week, but she had come to enjoy Al-Sahim’s company. And his cooking. And the small smile he gave her that made it seem like she was the only reason he ever smiled. He had blown into and out of her life so fast, and had left such an impression on her. Felicity didn’t know if she would ever truly recover. Shaking her head sadly, she decided to take a shower and then watch a movie. However, her heart fell again when she briefly looked into her extra bedroom. Al-Sahim’s bag was all packed and lying on top of the made up bed. Taking a breath, she turned and went into the bathroom.
Quickly, she undressed and turned the water on. Standing under the warm stream, she closed her eyes and tried to relax. She should be happy to have her apartment back to herself. She didn’t have to worry about walking around in a towel, or about feeling guilty over the amount of takeout she ate. Plus, she had a few more days off, so she could veg out on the couch and watch TV all day if she wanted.
Even though her normal routine should have excited her, she still couldn’t shake the sadness that had settled in her spirit. Who knew that being abducted would spark her drive to do more with her life? She had settled down into a safe routine in order to fly under the radar after her experiences at MIT. She thought that being dull would be safe. But, she was realizing that she didn’t want to be safe anymore. She wanted more excitement, and wanted to do something to help change things for the better.
Realizing the water was starting to chill, Felicity turned off the shower and grabbed a towel to dry off. She brushed out her wet hair, then padded into her bedroom. She threw on some pajamas, and then pulled her MIT sweatshirt out of the hamper and threw it on. She could still faintly smell the sandalwood that had permeated the hallways of Nanda Parbat. She wandered back out into the living room and settled herself down on the couch. She switched her TV over to Netflix, and found a movie to watch. She mindlessly watched what she had chosen, not really paying attention. By the time the movie was almost over, she had dozed off on the couch.
She woke suddenly when she heard the lock on her front door click open, and the door swung open shortly after. She sat up straight as Al-Sahim barged into the room, a look of frustration and rage on his face. Before she could even ask him a question, he ripped his hood off his head.
“It wasn’t there. Malcolm Merlyn moved the device.”
I hope you enjoyed!
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
Felicity looked at him in disbelief. “What do you mean? How?” Al-Sahim shook his head.
“I don’t know. The building was empty except for a few Unidac boxes, also all empty. There were marks on the floor that indicated the machine had been there, but it was moved. The marks were fresh, so it must have happened today. How did he know?”
“I have no idea,” Felicity stated, her nerves starting to rise. She couldn’t imagine anyone finding her Trojan.
Al-Sahim powered by her and went into his bedroom. A few moments later he heard his gruff voice speaking in sharp Arabic. She continued to sit on the couch, her thoughts going wild, as he continued to speak, probably now with Ra’s Al Ghul himself. Felicity took her glasses off and rubbed her eyes. She started to worry that she would be dragged back to Nanda Parbat as a consequence of Al-Sahim not being able to destroy the device. She could hear Al-Sahim raising his voice, but then got quiet again for a few long moments. He then said one last thing, and then was silent. After a minute, he walked back into the bedroom, his bag in hand. Felicity gave a slight sigh of relief, but the worry remained.
“What’s going on?” She asked him.
“Ra’s wants me to return. I’m leaving immediately,” he informed her. Felicity stood up and moved closer to him.
“Does he want me in a prison cell too?” She asked, the apprehension seeping into her voice. Al-Sahim shook his head, staring at the floor.
“No. Ra’s said that you did what was requested of you. Your assistance is no longer required,” he didn’t look happy, his thumb and finger rubbing together on his free hand.
“Are you in trouble?” She looked up into his eyes. He looked at her and quirked the corner of his mouth up.
“No more than usual with Ra’s. He and I often have differences in how to approach things. He’s ordered me back so I don’t do something that would jeopardize the League.” He then reached out carefully for her hand. He wasn’t wearing his gloves, and his hands were warm but calloused. Felicity’s heart skipped a quick beat.
“Felicity,” he said, looking at her earnestly. Felicity realized that it was the first time Al-Sahim had ever said her name. “Thank you. For your help, and for your hospitality. You will never know how much it meant to me.” He squeezed her hand gently, then walked passed her, releasing her hand as he went. Felicity’s hand lingered in the air as he opened the door, turned, gave her one last smile, then left. Felicity stood frozen in place, and listened to the SUV start up outside and take off.
The gaping hole that had started to form earlier in the night grew steadily bigger. She knew he was leaving, but not like that. She could still feel the ghost of his hand in hers, squeezing it, with his calloused thumb running across the back of her hand gently. She leaned against the back of the couch, staring at her hand. There had been such a warm spark between them. And to hear him say her name! The way he said it was unlike anyone ever had. Like her name had been made to come from his mouth. Felicity hugged herself, letting out a heavy sigh. She decided she didn’t want to stay up any longer, so she quickly turned off the TV and started turning off all the lights in the living room. She quickly brushed her teeth in the bathroom, then headed into her room, purposely ignoring the still open door of the now empty second bedroom. She tiredly dropped her glasses onto her nightstand and fell into bed. Even with everything that had happened that night, she quickly fell fast asleep.
The next few days passed in a blur for Felicity. She woke up each morning and tried to find things to do to pass the hours. She did laundry, she went for a walk, and she continued to search for the meaning behind the mysterious symbol. She also finished the leftover pancakes that Al-Sahim had made, and smiled when she saw he had portioned their leftover chicken dinner into several containers for her to take and eat at work. He had taken such good care of her, and she felt guilty that she had just taken advantage of it all. She was determined to shake off her melancholy and start fresh on Monday morning.
Short and bittersweet, but more to come!!!!
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
Felicity has a meeting, and things are discovered.
Thank you all for your continued support! This chapter is one of my favorites, so enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Felicity woke up early on Monday morning, ready to face her first day back to work. She showered quickly, and while her hair was still wet pulled it up into a ponytail. She dressed for the day in her usual skirt and top, then went back into the bathroom to put her makeup on. She brushed out the length of her ponytail one more time, then went to the kitchen to make her coffee. She looked in her fridge, and smiled to herself when she saw the portioned leftovers Al-Sahim had prepared for her. She pulled one out, then grabbed her travel coffee mug and poured her freshly brewed coffee in it, along with her extras. She was still doing well with time, so she decided to head out early and stop on her way into work at a bagel shop nearby. She climbed into her car and got started off. She pulled into the bagel shop drive through and ordered her breakfast sandwich.
As she pulled into her parking space, she grabbed all her stuff and headed to the elevators. As the floors ticked up, she looked up at the top of the elevator, smiling when she saw the small hatch at the top of the car. When it reached the fourteenth floor, she got out and headed to her small office cubicle. She sat down and turned her computer on, taking a bite of her sandwich and sipping her coffee. She opened her email to find her inbox full of tech requests, and settled into work. She kept busy for the entire morning, stopping at lunch to go into the small breakroom to heat her leftovers up, then returned to her desk to continue working. She was still hard at work answering the backlog of IT requests when her manager came and stood in her doorway.
“Welcome back, Felicity. How was your time off?” He asked her. She looked up from what she was doing briefly.
“It was good, thank you. Very restful. But now I’m trying to clear the backlog that we have, so back to the grind.”
“Well,” he said, “That’s going to have to wait a bit. You’re needed up in Moira Queen’s office. She requested you specifically. Better head up there and see what she needs. We need to keep the boss happy, right?” With that, he turned and went back to his own office, leaving Felicity momentarily stunned. Moira Queen requested her? She quickly unhooked her laptop from its docking station and headed to the elevator. She pressed the button for the thirtieth floor, and shifted nervously. Maybe Moira had just requested her help because she had helped Walter out. That was probably why, she reasoned. Feeling more confident, she stepped out into the office hallway. She walked over to Moira’s assistant.
“Felicity Smoak here to see Mrs. Queen? Queen- Steele? Did she hyphenate?” She stopped herself before the ramble could get any worse. The assistant didn’t say anything to her, just picked up the phone and dialed the extension into Moira’s office. Through the clear glass wall, she could see Moira answer and nod. The assistant hung up.
“You can go in,” she told her, then turned back to her computer. Felicity took a deep breath and went into Moira’s office.
“You wanted to see me, ma’am?” She asked, thinking it was better to not address her by a specific salutation. Moira looked up and assessed Felicity coolly.
“Ms. Smoak. Please, come in and have a seat,” she responded, still studying her. Felicity sat down in one of the chairs in front of Moira’s desk.
“Ms. Smoak, I called you up here because I received a rather strange call from Malcolm Merlyn, who owns Merlyn Global. He says that they have video footage of you in a Big Belly Burger uniform delivering food to several security guards on last Thursday night. The guards later recounted that the burgers appeared to be laced with a sedative, rendering them all unconscious for the next hour or so. Malcolm was very upset about his security being compromised.” She stared at Felicity calmly.
“Um, I don’t know anything about that. I mean, yes, I delivered some burgers to them from Big Belly, but that’s just because…” She paused quickly, “…that’s just because I work for them part time. You know, not that you don’t pay well here, you do, I mean, a little more never hurt, it’s just that I like to sometimes have a little more money to play with, you know? Maybe afford a nice pair of shoes or a new piece of tech or something. I mean, this is fine…” she gestured to her current outfit, “But sometimes you want something that might be just out of your normal price range. So that’s why I deliver sometimes for Big Belly. But I had no idea about the burgers being drugged, that’s terrible!”
Moira continued to assess Felicity serenely. “So you had nothing to do with drugging the burgers,”she stated.
“No, I just picked them up from the store and brought them to Merlyn Global. But if that’s what they’re doing, then I’ll quit immediately. I don’t want to get in trouble for something I had nothing to do with.”
“Very well,” Moira said. Felicity rose to stand, and as she did, she noticed a picture on Moira’s desk that shocked her.
“Is, is that your son?” She stammered, looking at the photo. Moira glanced at it. “Yes, Oliver. And my late husband Robert.”
“He’s cute,” she blurted. Flushing from embarrassment, she continued, “I mean, was cute. Because he’s dead. Which you don’t need to be reminded of. So I’m going to stop talking.”
“That would be best,” Moira replied calmly. Felicity could still feel the heat in her cheeks. “I trust that you will not be visiting Merlyn Global again, correct?”
“Nope, never again. I have no need to, I love my job here,” she replied quickly. With that, she quickly fled from the office and raced to the elevator. She pressed the down button furiously, then jumped into the car when the door opened. She pushed her floor button, then collapsed against the elevator wall.
Al-Sahim was Oliver Queen. The picture was from several years ago, and he had longer hair and no facial scruff, but it was undeniable. He hadn’t died on the boat with his father. Suddenly so many other pieces to the Al-Sahim puzzle fell into place. He knew exactly how to get around the city, and he insisted on wearing a hat every time he was out in public. He had refused to go in the front door of Merlyn Global with her, he had watched the news report that showed video of his mom and sister intently, and he also got really upset about the remains of the Queen’s Gambit being in the warehouse. She had wondered about it briefly at the time, but now it made so much more sense. But the Queen’s Gambit had sunk five years ago, and he said he had only been in the League for three. So where had he been for the other two years? And why had he decided to join the League instead of coming home? So many thoughts were racing through her head that she almost forgot to get off the elevator on her floor. She did, however, and raced back to her cubicle. She quickly re-docked her laptop and the sat there, her fingers hovering over the keys. What did she think she was going to do with what she had discovered? No one would believe a nobody tech girl that Oliver Queen was alive and part of the League of Assassins. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She would have to unpack all this new information when she got home that night. She still had a few hours left of work, so she pushed the Oliver Queen revelation to the side and got back to her assignments.
When five o’clock rolled around, Felicity quickly shut down her computer and headed out. She stopped briefly to pick up some food at a nearby Chinese food place, then stopped at the corner bodega for a moment before arriving home. She entered her apartment and began unpacking her food. She then brought it to the coffee table and collapsed on the couch. She heard her laptop beeping quietly, so she grabbed it and brought it to the couch as well. As predicted, none of her searches had found what the symbol was.
She started a new search, but this time about Oliver Queen. Article after article appeared, most from before his disappearance. Most of them told various stories all about his debauchery; his party antics, and his various run-ins with the law. She saw a mention of urinating on a police car, and shook her head. She couldn’t connect that person to who she had met. Al-Sahim was aloof and serious, while the old “Ollie Queen” had been a careless playboy. She also found mentions of him dating Laurel Lance. She wondered if part of his extreme reaction to the news report was about how she was now engaged to Tommy Merlyn, his best friend. She then started looking up the articles about the boating accident. Apparently he and his father weren’t the only two on board. There were several crew members, and another unnamed passenger. Felicity did a little digging, and found that the passenger was a young woman named Sara Lance, Laurel’s sister. She could only imagine what that had meant. She then tried doing some facial recognition searches for the past five years, to see if he had turned up, either before or after joining the League. While that was running, she cleaned up her Chinese food, and reached into her freezer for the pint of mint chip ice cream that she had bought at the bodega. Grabbing a spoon, she sat back down on the couch and kept reading about Oliver.
She was still having a hard time wrapping her head around everything. How had Oliver survived the accident? Did Robert Queen survive as well, and if so, where was he? Did Sara survive? And where had he been for the two years before he joined the League? She brought up a map of the area the news reports claimed the boat sank in. As she looked at the map, she realized something important that Al-Sahim had said. It hadn’t been an accident, there had been an explosion. Someone had purposely sabotaged the boat. She took another bite of ice cream and looked again at the Tempest files and the symbol. It had to all be connected. Maybe Robert Queen had been involved in all this with Malcolm Merlyn. But why did they want to destroy the Glades? What was the purpose of killing thousands of people and leveling a part of the city? She still didn’t have any of those answers, and with a frustrated huff, closed her laptop and sat back into the couch with her ice cream. She finished the entire pint, then, realizing it was already almost 10 pm, cleaned up the last of her mess and headed to bed.
The rest of the week passed by as normally as it usually did. Felicity got up, got ready, went to work, came home, rinse, repeat. She had finished her leftovers by Wednesday, so had gone out that evening after work to actually buy some groceries to make lunches with. She was pretty proud of herself as she looked at her containers, each filled with a sandwich and some veggie sticks or fruit cup. She also had some small bags of chips to take with her for lunch as well.
Felicity bet Al-Sahim (she was going to keep calling him that, despite knowing who he was) would be proud of her for making an effort in the kitchen, even if it was just making a sandwich. She had decided that she would start making more of an effort to cook, because Al-Sahim had made it look so easy. She had also been binge watching cooking shows as well to learn more. She was also considering taking a few classes, but wasn’t really serious about it yet.
Felicity still hadn’t found out what the symbol was. She had all but given up on it, staring at it with frustration every time she went onto her laptop. She had, however, started looking up places where Merlyn might place the earthquake device in the glades. So far she had no idea where the best place would be. Starling City wasn’t really know for having any fault lines. These were the few things that occupied her time for the rest of the week and the weekend.
Monday again rolled around, and Felicity headed off to work as usual, armed with both a good breakfast and lunch for herself. She kept very busy at work, fulfilling all the requests on the Helpdesk log, and boosting some firewalls that needed patching. Instead of eating at her desk for lunch, she decided to go sit outside in the courtyard area, where they had several tables and benches. Felicity ate her lunch and people-watched happily for a half hour. Everyone seemed so into what they were doing; coming and going from lunch, shopping, running errands. Felicity noticed a town car pull up to the front of the building and saw Walter and Moira exit, probably returning from their own lunch. They seemed to be so happy with each other. Felicity felt a pang of guilt that she knew about Al-Sahim and they didn’t, but he must have had a good reason to stay away. She threw away her trash and made her way back inside.
Finally at 4:30 Felicity was ready to go home for the day. She shut down all her computers and grabbed her bag, heading for the door. As she stood waiting for the elevator, she started thinking about what to have for dinner that night. She was so lost in thought that she didn’t hear the ding of the elevator opening, revealing both Moira and Walter again to her.
“Felicity, are you joining us?” Walter asked, holding the elevator open. Felicity startled back to reality.
“Oh! Yes, thank you. Sorry, was thinking about what to have for dinner tonight. How are you?” She hurried into the elevator as the doors closed behind her. Moira once again regarded her placidly, while Walter smiled at her.
“I’m doing very well, thank you. Moira, do you know Felicity Smoak? She works down in IT, and is one of the best there. She’s helped me out several times with different projects.” Felicity flushed slightly from the praise.
“Yes, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Smoak last week when she helped me with an issue of my own,” Moira responded. “It is nice to see you again.”
“Nice to see you too, ma’am,” Felicity replied, looking slightly bashful. Moira was still regarding her with an air of slight disinterest, but Felicity knew she was still sizing her up.
“And how is the IT department these days?” Walter asked. “I’m sure you’re keeping very busy there.”
“Oh, yes, definitely. Everyone always seems to have some kind of tech issue, so there’s always something that needs fixing,” Felicity tried to keep her voice as light and calm as possible.
“Well, I know you do have aspirations outside of the department. You mentioned Applied Sciences last time we talked, correct?” Walter asked. Felicity nodded. “You know, we are building a new Applied Sciences building currently, and hopefully when it’s finished we’ll be hiring several more people for positions within the department. I look forward to seeing your resume among them,” Walter informed her.
“Of course, Mr. Steele, I will definitely be applying. Thank you for the heads up,” Felicity replied, smiling at him. She would have to create an alert for herself for when the jobs were posted. The elevator finally reached the main floor, and all three people got off.
“It was good to see you again, Felicity, have a good evening, Walter smiled and nodded at her. Moira gave her a rather thin smile as well.
“Thank you, you too,” Felicity replied, and headed to the parking garage while Walter and Moira went out the front door to their waiting towncar. Felicity drove home thinking excitedly about all the possibilities a job with Applied Sciences could open up to her.
She got home and changed into some loungewear. Walking into the kitchen, she poured herself a glass of wine, then stood in front of her fridge to study its contents. She decided on throwing together a pre-packaged salad and some pre-cooked chicken breast strips. She threw everything together, then brought it over to the couch. Turning on the TV, she took a sip of wine and started eating, watching the latest episode of a cooking competition. She spent the rest of the night watching TV and playing around on the internet. She was thinking about starting to get ready for bed when she heard the lock on her front door click, and her door started opening. She jumped to her feet, grabbing a lamp and raising it over her head, when she stopped suddenly.
Al-Sahim stumbled into her apartment, cradling his ribs and limping. He pulled his hood back and looked at her. He had a black eye, and Felicity assumed an assortment of other bruises on his body. She stared in shock, lowering the lamp back onto the table.
“I’m sorry, Felicity,” he rasped. “Your house was closer than the League safe house. And I need your help again.” He braced himself against her kitchen island.
“What happened?” Felicity exclaimed, moving towards him. Al-Sahim took a deep breath, wincing in pain as he did so.
“I confronted Malcolm Merlyn. And he told me his plan.”
Finally! She knows who he is!! And now he's back? What could happen next?
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
Conversations are had, and a confrontation occurs.
“Did he find out who you are?” Felicity asked carefully. Al-Sahim stared at her in confused surprise as she went to the freezer to get him some ice.
“How…?” He trailed off. Felicity handed him the ice wrapped in a towel.
“I didn’t know who you really are until you left. Your mother called me into her office because Merlyn saw my face on the video footage. She confronted me about it, and I lied, saying that I was working for Big Belly but only delivered the burgers, and had no idea about the drugging of them. I babbled a bit, and she bought it. I was standing up to leave when I saw a picture on her desk of you and your father. I really hate the haircut you had back then, by the way. After that, all the puzzle pieces started falling into place. I processed through everything that night with a pint of mint chip,” Felicity quirked a small smile at him. “I haven’t told anyone, and I’ll keep your secret as long as you want me to. It’s not my secret to tell. But, Oliver…”
“Oliver Queen is dead. Only Al-Sahim remains,” Al-Sahim intoned, almost as if programmed to say it on cue.
“Okay, then, Al-Sahim. But did Malcolm find out who you are? What do you think he’s going to do with that information?”
Al-Sahim shook his head, as if coming out of a stupor.
“I don’t think he’s going to say anything to anyone. He told me his plan because he knows me. He wanted me to join him, and convince Ra’s al Ghul that this is a plan that should be supported by the League.” Al-Sahim moved to go sit down on the couch. Felicity followed, sitting on the opposite side, facing him.
“What did he tell you?” She asked him gently.
“That he’s going to level the Glades as retribution for his wife’s death. My father was originally part of his plan, but then backed out. Malcolm sabotaged the ship as retribution, but didn’t know that I was going to be on it as well. He involved…my mother….soon after our deaths. She was trying to use the Gambit as blackmail, but it didn’t work.”
“Did he happen to say anything about where he was planning on putting them?” She asked him.
He shook his head. “No, he only said that the symbol was the key. He left, and I escaped and came here,” he looked at her seriously.
“I think he’s going to execute his plan soon. Very soon. We need to warn people.”
“Well, what we need to do right now is take care of your injuries. You’re not going to be able to stop him if you have broken ribs,” Felicity responded. “It’s too late for anything now. I think I have a med kit in my bathroom. Take all of…that,” She waved at his League armor, “off and meet me in the bathroom.” She jumped up from the couch and quickly went rummaging through her cabinets. She found the small bag and went back into the living room. Al-Sahim was in the process of carefully removing his armor and shirt. Felicity couldn’t help but once again ogle his impressive chest, but then went back to business after seeing all the bruises he had accumulated.
“Okay, found it. Do they still tape up ribs? I don’t think I have enough med tape for that, but maybe I can run out and get some. Do you need help getting off the couch?” She prattled, watching him. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“No, no tape. Does the kit have any salve?” He asked. Felicity pulled out a small tube and handed it to him as he limped into the bathroom.
“I should let you do what you need to do,” she said, sidestepping him to leave the bathroom.
“Before you go, can you check my back? If I have bruises there I might not be able to reach them,” he asked, looking at her. She bit her lip.
“Um, ok, let me look,” he did have some bruising, but not nearly as bad as his front. Felicity tried not to think too hard about the burn on his shoulder in the shape of an arrow, almost looking like he was branded. “I think you’ll be okay. You can take a look for yourself, but I don’t think you’ll need my help. Do you have clothes or anything to change into? I don’t think I have anything that will fit,” She told him.
“I left some clothes here, actually. They’re in the closet,” he replied, looking sheepish. Felicity raised her eyebrows.
“Seriously? I thought you said we would never see each other again.”
“It was just in case. I knew I’d be back soon, and I like to have things hidden in safe places,” he answered.
“Well, then I guess it’s a good thing the only thing I did was wash the sheets from in there. I bet if I searched I’d find some weapons too, right?” He shrugged in affirmation. Felicity huffed and shook her head.
“Unbelievable. Ok, well, it’s late, I’m tired, and I have to go to work tomorrow. Do you think you’re going to need me for anything else?” She asked him, grateful that she had brushed her teeth earlier in the evening to prevent herself from snacking.
Al-Sahim shook his head. “No. Thank you, Felicity, again, for your help.”
“You’re welcome, Al-Sahim. Goodnight.” With that, she flashed him a quick smile and ducked into her bedroom. Flopping herself down on her bed, she stared at the ceiling. “Seriously?” She muttered to herself. Rolling towards the head of the bed, she removed her glasses and turned off the bedside light. She could still hear Al-Sahim moving around in the bathroom, and heard the faint sound of the shower turning on. She tried not to think too hard about that as sleep finally overtook her.
Her alarm went off at six am the next morning. Groaning, she fumbled for the snooze button, but then realized she once again had a houseguest. She shut her alarm off instead and grabbed her glasses. She quickly went into the bathroom and hopped into the shower. She washed up quickly, then darted back into her room in her bathrobe and towel. She threw on some clothes for the day, a dress and a pink cardigan, and went back into the bathroom to pull her hair into a ponytail. As she was pulling her hair into she could hear Al-Sahim moving around his room. He opened the door just as she was finishing.
“Good morning!” She said cheerily. How did she have so much energy with no coffee in her yet? “Did you sleep okay? How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” Al-Sahim replied. She noticed he was in a pair of pajama pants and a Henley shirt. She mused that if he had hair long enough, it would be mussed from sleep.
“I actually have food in the kitchen this time,” she informed him, smiling. “I can’t cook the eggs yet, but I have toast and English muffins, if you want.
“What time were you going to go into work?” He asked her. She looked at the small clock on the bottom of her electric toothbrush.
“Probably for eight? It’s six forty-five now, so I have about an hour.” He nodded.
“You finish getting ready, I’ll scramble some eggs. You can’t start your day with all those carbs.” He started walking towards the kitchen.
“Are you sure? You really don’t have to, especially if you’re still not feeling well.” She replied. He turned and gave her his little smile.
“Felicity, I’m fine. Go finish getting ready,” he shooed her away and started pulling things from the fridge and cabinets. Felicity watched him once again moving around her little kitchen like he belonged there. She wondered if they would even know each other if he hadn’t been lost. Would they have met? Would he still be with Laurel instead of Tommy? She starting daydreaming different scenarios as she applied her makeup. Re-adjusting her glasses on her face, she let the smells coming from the kitchen lead her back out and to the table. A cup of coffee sat at her seat, already fixed perfectly. Al-Sahim was turning the stove off as she took her first sip.
“I’m impressed, your refrigerator is a lot fuller this time.” Felicity’s eyes opened wide.
“Was that a joke? Did you seriously just make a joke about my fridge?” Felicity asked. Al-Sahim just smiled and shrugged as he plated the eggs and grabbed the two pieces of toast resting in the toaster. He brought Felicity her plate, then went back for his. As much as Felicity would love to keep teasing him, eating his food was much better. She dug in, smiling gratefully at him. She ate quickly, then sat back with her coffee mug and studied him as he ate.
“So, I hate to ruin this really nice domestic moment we’re having,” she started, almost regretting the words as soon as they left her mouth, “but what are you going to do today? About Malcolm? You can’t confront him again, especially in broad daylight.”
Al-Sahim put his fork down. “I know,” he replied. “I think I’m going to go scout around the Glades for possible places he might put the device. You still have the blueprints for it, correct?” Felicity nodded.
“Everything is on my laptop. I can transfer it to my tablet if you want to take that with you,” she offered.
“That would be helpful, thank you. And I think I might need you to do something while you’re at work today. But I don’t know if it’s possible.”
“What’s that?” She asked him. She could see the internal argument he seemed to be having with himself.
“Is there any way you can tap my mother’s phones today? Malcolm might try to reach out to her, and I want to be aware when that happens.”
“I’ve already hacked her cell phone, so getting back into it shouldn’t be a problem. And I can see about tapping into her work phone as well. I can keep an ear out,” she assured him. He nodded.
“Okay. Thank you. Please don’t compromise your job while doing this.”
“Don’t worry,” Felicity responded, “I’m very good at what I do. It won’t be a problem at all.” Al-Sahim nodded.
Finished with her coffee, Felicity stood and went to her desk, quickly transferring all the information Al-Sahim would need onto the tablet. Then she turned to him.
“If we need to contact each other during the day, how should we do that? Do you have a phone hidden here too?” Al-Sahim shook his head, then thought for a minute.
“I think the comms devices are still here, actually. Let me check, we can use those,” he got up and went into his room. She heard him rummaging around, and then he emerged with the small case in his hand.
“Here, take one and keep it on you all day. I’ll keep mine on as well,” he opened the case and handed her the small device. She placed it in her ear. She glanced at the clock, and realized it was time to get going.
“Are you going to be okay today?” She asked him, biting her lip. He nodded.
“Yes, I’ll be fine. I’m probably going to also stop and get you a better medical kit, I used most of yours last night. Get to work, and keep in touch.” Felicity smiled at him, then went to the fridge to grab her lunch. Standing in the hallway, she slipped her shoes on and grabbed her purse and keys. Taking one last look at Al-Sahim, she left and headed for her car. She moved quickly through traffic, and soon was pulling into her usual parking space at work.
As soon as she got to her desk, Felicity got to work on tapping Moira’s phone. She also re-opened the hack of her cell phone. When either rang, she would get an alert and be able to listen in. She would also see any text messages that came across. Satisfied that she was done, she got started on her real work. Her morning seemed to be going by smoothly. Moira’s calls had all been work related, and she hadn’t heard anything yet from Merlyn. She had quietly checked in with Al-Sahim once, and he was wandering through the Glades. He hadn’t seen anything yet. She ate her lunch at her desk in case she might miss anything. Everything seemed to be going fine until about two pm, when Moira got another phone call.
“Hello Malcolm,” she heard Moira greet him. Felicity immediately stopped what she was doing and focused on the conversation.
“Moira,” Malcolm responded. “I’ve moved up the timeline. The Undertaking is happening tonight.”
“You can’t be serious,” Moira responded. “I thought you said we had another few weeks!”
“Plans change, and I can’t wait any longer. The device is already in place and the timer has been set. Tell Thea if she truly loves her street urchin boyfriend that she’d better get him out of there quickly. There won’t be any home to go to come morning.” Before Moira could say anything else, Malcolm hung up. Felicity’s hand instantly flew to her comm.
“Al-Sahim!” She whispered urgently.
“Yes?” He replied.
“Malcolm just called Moira. The Undertaking is happening tonight. What are we going to do?” She was already up from her chair and grabbing her things.
“I’m going to go find Merlyn. You get out of there as soon as you can.”
“Already on it,” she said, jumping into an open elevator. Her finger paused over the lobby button, then moved and pressed the button for the top floor. “I mean, I’ll be leaving in a minute.”
“What are you doing?” Al-Sahim asked her.
“Probably something stupid,” she responded, as the elevator doors opened. She flew into the hall and right past Moira’s startled assistant.
“You have to get Malcolm to stop the Undertaking,” she declared to an equally stunned Moira. In her ear, she could hear Al-Sahim hissing her name, telling her to get out of there.
“What are you talking about, Ms. Smoak?” Moira asked, composing herself quickly.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. Malcolm Merlyn is about to destroy the Glades as revenge for the death of his wife. You can’t let him do that! Thousands of innocent people will die.”
“Ms. Smoak, I don’t have any idea how you know all this, but it is none of your concern. Now please leave before you say something that will get yourself fired.”
Felicity blinked, Al-Sahim still yelling at her in her ear.
“Mrs. Queen, please. Think of Robert and Oliver,” hearing that, Al-Sahim fell silent. Felicity continued. “Robert was trying to stop Merlyn, and he and Oliver died because of that. That’s why you had the boat raised from the ocean floor, to try and blackmail Merlyn with it. Clearly it didn’t work. But you have to believe that Robert was right, and that Malcolm needs to be stopped. What would either of them say to you right now?” She could see Moira processing what Felicity was telling her. “I really don’t think you want the blood of all those people on your hands. Please, try to convince Malcolm. At the very least try to delay him so that we can get as many people out as possible,” Felicity gave Moira one more imploring look. “I’m going to go now, but please think about what I said. The people of the Glades don’t have a lot of time.” With that, she turned and hurried back to the elevators. She stepped into the first one that opened, and pressed the button for the lobby.
“I cannot believe I just did that,” she gasped to herself.
“Neither can I. That was incredibly rash and foolish,” Al-Sahim admonished from over the comms. “Why would you risk your job to do something like that? I told you not to!”
“There wasn’t any other choice, Al-Sahim!” Felicity cried, grateful that the elevator was empty. “Moira is the only person that could get through to him. I had to do something! Who else can we call to help?” Al-Sahim was silent for a moment.
“Just get back here quickly,” he said darkly, then she could hear the click of the comm turning off. Sighing, she turned her own off and watched the elevator slowly arrive to the lobby. She walked out calmly, and soon was in her car heading home.
Wow! Can you believe Felicity! I'm super proud of the confrontation scene. Thank you all again for the continued support!!
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
Felicity seeks help from a new person, while someone does the right thing for a change. And the symbol is the key.
When Felicity walked in her front door, she could see Al-Sahim, still in his street clothes, pacing back and forth in her living room. He didn’t seem to be as mad as he had been earlier, but he was certainly agitated.
“Well, at least she didn’t fire me,” Felicity tried to joke. Al-Sahim glowered at her.
“Yet,” He replied. He looked as if he was going to yell at her again, then just shook his head in exasperation. He started pacing the floor again, rubbing his fingers together.
“What else can we do?” Felicity asked, sitting on the arm of the couch, watching him move.
“I don’t know. I don’t know where the device is. I mapped out the entire Glades, but I have no idea where he would put it,” He paused his pacing.
“Quentin Lance,” He said, turning and going into his bedroom. Felicity looked after him, puzzled.
“Who? Isn’t that Laurel’s father?” She asked. Al-Sahim re-emerged, holding a cell phone in his hand. He held it out to Felicity.
“Quentin is also a detective in the Starling Police. You need to call him and convince him that they need to evacuate the Glades immediately.”
“And how am I going to do that?” She asked him, staring between him and the phone. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“I don’t know, but I’m sure you’ll think of something. You just can’t mention me. He probably still hates me.”
“Yea, I mean, you did possibly get his daughter killed,” Felicity muttered. “I mean, wow, I shouldn’t have said that, I’m sorry.” She flushed in embarrassment.
“No, you’re right, I am responsible for what happened to his daughter. And it’s something I live with every day,” Al-Sahim replied. “I’m going to change. Make the call.” He said, heading back into his room. Felicity sighed, then dialed the number.
“Hello?” Came a gruff voice.
“Um, Detective Lance?” Felicity asked shyly.
“Yea, who’s this?” He responded.
“Sir, you don’t know me, but I need your help. Malcolm Merlyn is planning on destroying the Glades tonight using a device that causes earthquakes. You need to get the Police force to evacuate the area as soon as possible,” Felicity informed him.
“What? Who is this? Why should I believe you, are you playing a prank on me?” Lance yelled. Felicity sighed in frustration. Then she remembered the conversation that she had just had with Al-Sahim.
“You need to believe me, because I know that your daughter Sara was on the boat with Robert and Oliver Queen when it went down,” She replied. Al-Sahim re-emerged from his room, half dressed, and handed her a piece of paper. Felicity looked at it and read what it said. “I also know that you make an amazing chicken cacciatore, and it was her favorite thing that you made. You were making it the last time she was home, before she got on the boat,” She looked up at Al-Sahim, who nodded and ducked back into the bedroom.
“Okay, whoever this is. I don’t know who you are, but you clearly know things that you shouldn’t. They kept her name out of the papers for a reason. Now what’s this about Merlyn?” Lance asked, still hesitant. Felicity explained again.
“Malcolm Merlyn has a device that causes earthquakes. He plans on using it tonight to destroy the Glades in retaliation for the death of his wife Rebecca. Please, Detective, there isn’t a lot of time, and there are a lot of people that need to be moved to safety. I can send you a picture of the device if you need more proof.”
“No, no, I believe you. It’s crazy, but I believe you. I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you, Detective,” Felicity said gratefully. “If you need that proof, just call this number and I’ll answer.” With that, she hung up. Al-Sahim was back in the living room, fully geared up in his League armor, carrying his bow.
“Well, let’s hope that worked,” She said to him.
“He would have just hung up on you if he didn’t believe you, trust me. Hopefully they’ll start the evacuations soon.”
“What do we do until then?” She asked him.
“I’m going to find Merlyn. If I can get to him, maybe I can end all this,” He turned to leave, but was stopped by a beeping on Felicity’s phone. She looked down at it.
“It’s still connected to your mother’s phones.” She explained. “She’s calling a bunch of news people to QC,” She looked up at him hopefully. “Maybe she’s going to do something to stop Malcolm!” She quickly turned the TV on. The news broadcasts had just started, and Moira hadn’t appeared yet. Felicity sat down on the couch, and Al-Sahim loomed behind her. For twenty minutes they sat in silence as the reporters discussed the day’s news. Finally, one of them spoke.
“Breaking news now, we go live to Queen Consolidated, where Moira Queen has called an emergency press conference.” The video changed to Moira, standing at a podium with a crowd of reporters in front of her with cameras.
“My name is Moira Dearden Queen, and I am the Co-CEO of Queen Consolidated. And, God forgive me, I have failed this City. For the past five years, under the threat of my life, and the lives of my family, I have been complicit in an undertaking with one horrible purpose…to destroy the Glades and everyone in it.” At this, all the reporters started raising their voices, but Moira continued to speak. “I realize now that my family’s safety will mean nothing if I let this dreadful act occur. But you need to know, that the architect of this nightmare, is Malcolm Merlyn.” The voices started getting louder. “Yes, and I have proof that he has killed dozens in pursuit of this madness. Adam Hunt, Frank Chen, and my husband Robert and son Oliver. Please, if you live in the Glades, you need to get out now. Your lives and the lives of your children depend on it. Please.” As she finished, a chorus of yelling from the reporters filled the air. As Moira stepped down from the podium, two officers approached her. As the news reporters came back on the screen, Felicity and Al-Sahim watched as his mother was placed in handcuffs from the still live feed.
“I’m sorry, Al-Sahim,” Felicity said softly.
“Don’t be,” he said, shaking his head. “She gave those people a chance. Plus, now the police have to believe Detective Lance as well. This is starting to work out.” He picked up his bow again, which had been resting on the top of the couch.
“Are you still going to go after Merlyn?” She asked him.
“I have to. The laws of the League dictate that he must be dealt with.” Felicity nodded, then reached for her tablet, which was lying on the coffee table. A mapping program had been opened, with different lines drawn on it.
“What’s this?” She asked.
“I was making a map of the Glades, marking as I went so I didn’t forget to look anywhere,” he replied. Felicity stared at the picture for a long moment, then jumped out of her seat.
“The symbol is the key! That’s it!” She cried, running to her laptop. She started typing furiously.
“Felicity?” Al-Sahim asked, confused.
“Yes!” She finally cried, pumping her fist in the air. “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that.”
“Can you please explain what is going on?” Al-Sahim asked exasperatedly. Felicity nodded, and gestured him over to her.
“I finally figured out what the symbol from the book is. It’s also a map! Well, part of a map. It’s a map of the old subway lines, to be precise.”
“Starling has a subway?” Al-Sahim asked.
“They used to, it was shut down years ago. A few months back there was some weirdo who tried to kidnap a few people, and the cops found him hiding down there. Anyway, look,” she pulled up another map of Starling City. “Here’s a topographical map of the City. You see this red line here? It’s a fault line. Not a huge one, and buried deep underground. And, it runs under a small part of the old subway line in the heart of the Glades. If I were to detonate and earthquake machine, where would I put it?” She asked him, pointing to the screen.
“I know exactly where the device is,” he choked out. He pointed to a spot on the screen. “Rebecca Merlyn had a clinic right there, in the Glades. That’s where she was killed.”
“Of course, it all makes sense!” Felicity exclaimed. She got up from the desk and ran into her bedroom.
“Now what are you doing?” Al-Sahim called in to her.
“Changing!” She replied back. “I can’t deactivate an earthquake device in a dress now, can I?”
“No, absolutely not,” Al-Sahim said, standing in her doorway. Felicity paused in front of her dresser, where she was pulling out a pair of jeans. “That whole place is ground zero, I want you nowhere near it. In fact, I don’t even want you here in your apartment. You’re too close to the edge of the Glades.” Outside, they could hear the sounds of sirens and bullhorns directing people and cars. Her street was already full of traffic.
“If you’re not leaving, I’m not leaving. Besides, if I don’t deactivate the device, who will? The device schematics show that there are two ways to detonate, either by a timer or a remote device. Merlyn said that a timer had been set, but that doesn’t mean that he still can’t override it and detonate it remotely.” He nodded, looking at her intently.
“Call Detective Lance back. Tell him that the device is in the subway station on Pabst street. You can give him directions on how to deactivate it over the phone,” he turned and picked up his bow again. “Please stay safe. Make sure you lock the door behind me and close the curtains, make it look like you left. If anything happens, you leave immediately, okay? Here,” he wrote something down quickly on a piece of paper on her desk. “This is the address to the League safehouse. It’s clear on the other side of the City, out of danger. You can go there.”
Felicity nodded. Then, on pure impulse, she went up to him and hugged him. He froze in place for a moment, then one arm slowly wrapped itself around her.
“Please be careful,” she whispered to him, pulling back. His hand once again found hers, and he gazed into her eyes, blue on blue. Nodding once, he turned and left her apartment.
Changed the location of Moira's speech, but still the same impact. As always, thank you for all your support!!!
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
Angst. With a side of Undertaking.
The moment Al-Sahim left, Felicity reached for the cell phone and re-dialed Lance. He picked up immediately.
“Guess you really weren’t lying, huh?” He said to her. “We’ve got evacuations going on as we speak.”
“That’s great, Detective, but I need your help with one more thing,” Felicity answered. “I know where Merlyn has the device. It’s in an abandoned subway station on Pabst St. If you get there, I can give you directions on how to deactivate it.”
“What? Why there?” Lance asked her.
“That’s where his wife was murdered,” she informed him. “I’m not sure how much time we have, so you have to hurry.”
“Alright, I’m on my way. I’ll call you back when I get there,” Lance quickly hung up the phone. Felicity kept the news on in the background as she sat back down at her desk in front of her laptop. She brought up the device schematics, then just waited. The news coverage showed a mixture of calm and chaos emerging from the Glades, everything from people calmly leaving to rioting and ransacking buildings. In one area cars were being overturned as people yelled and screamed. Felicity wished they would all just get out instead of starting all this unnecessary violence. Finally, the phone rang again.
“Detective,” she greeted.
“Okay, I’m down here, but I’m not really sure what I’m looking for,” he replied, breathing heavily.
“Do you want me to describe it to you?” Felicity asked. She could hear the echo of his footsteps start to slow down.
“No, I got it,” he replied, his breath slowly evening out. “My god,” he gasped out.
“You ready?” Felicity asked him. “You should see something that looks like a circuit board. Pull it out.” She could hear the slight clang of metal. “Do you see a timer?” She listened as Lance shuffled around.
“Seven minutes,” he breathed out.
“Okay,” Felicity braced herself. Speaking up, she responded. “Well, the good news is, this is going to be a paperweight in three.” She nodded to herself. She could do this. She started relaying the instructions to the Detective.
“Okay, look for three wires, you need a green one, a yellow, and one blue. Cut the blue one.”
“Alright I got it.” Lance replied. Instead of the sounds of a device turning off, she heard it revving up.
“Oh my God,” Lance groaned. “No, no, no, no, no, no!” Felicity frantically scanned over all the documents.
“There must be some kind of anti-tamper safeguard,” she gulped out. “Hold on. I’m going to try to figure out how to override it.”
“There’s not enough time, there’s not enough time!” Lance cried angrily.
“Just hold on!” Felicity responded scanning the pages as fast as she could.
“You know,” Lance said, his voice soft, “My girl, Laurel, she was going to work here in the Glades. Instead, her fiancé talked her out of it. If he hadn’t, she’d be down here right now,” he paused. “Do you think the Merlyn kid knew anything about this?”
“No,” Felicity responded. “I’ve got the news right now. Tommy and Laurel just released a joint statement saying they had no idea what Malcolm was planning. Tommy looks pretty devastated.”
“Good, good,” Lance replied. “I’d hate to take back my permission for him to marry my little girl.” He paused. “Am I going to survive to walk her down the aisle?”
“You will if you listen to me very carefully,” Felicity responded. “There’s another blue wire right behind the other one. Cut it, and wrap the end of the first to the end of the second.”
“Come on,” she could hear Lance grunting. Finally, she could hear the whirring of the machine shutting down. She breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“Thank you, Detective,” she said gratefully.
“Yea,” he replied. “I’m gonna head out, try to help out with all that chaos going on outside.” Lance hung up. Felicity sat back in her chair, relieved. Rubbing the sides of her head, she realized she still had her comm device in her ear.
“Al-Sahim?” She asked. “Lance did it. The device is shut down.” She didn’t hear anything for a few moments, then she heard the raspy voice of Al-Sahim, which immediately filled her with dread.
“Felicity,” he gasped out. “There’s another device. There’s two of them.” Felicity gasped, as her lights suddenly started flickering, and the building started to tremble. Immediately, her phone started ringing again.
“What the hell is happening?” Lance screamed. She could hear the total chaos over the phone. Tears immediately welled up in her eyes.
“There was another device. Merlyn had two,” she cried out, as a few pictures fell from her walls and the lights continued to flicker. The TV was showing parts of the Glades crumbling, before the power completely failed in her apartment. Everything around her was shaking. She continued crying as Lance gasped.
“I gotta get out of here. Laurel….” He trailed off, the phone disconnecting. Felicity sobbed, then pressed her comms again.
“Al-Sahim?” She asked. “Oliver?”
“Are you okay? Are you safe?” He replied, his voice thin and watery. Felicity nodded.
“Yea,” she choked out. She checked her laptop, which was now running on battery power. “The damage seems to be contained on the east side. I lost power, and everything is still shaking.”
“Stay put,” he breathed. “Go pack a bag, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Where are we going to go?” She asked, immediately going into her bedroom and pulling a bag out of her closet. She whimpered again as another tremor shook her apartment.
“We’re going to the safehouse. I’m on my way.” She heard the click of the comm turning off.
Felicity started throwing clothes into the bag. She also quickly changed, throwing on jeans and a sweatshirt. She went into the bathroom and grabbed her toothbrush, looking at herself quickly and wiping the tears off of her face. She took a deep breath as she heard the roar of a motorcycle stop in front of her apartment. The tremors had stopped for the moment, but Felicity knew there could be aftershocks. She was throwing her laptop, tablet and chargers into the bag when the door opened and Al-Sahim limped in.
“Oh my god, what happened?” Felicity gasped, running up to him. She noticed that he was bleeding from just below his left shoulder.
“I’ll be fine. Are you ready? He asked. She nodded, and grabbed her bag. Al-Sahim handed her a jacket that was hanging by the door, and she put her phone in one of the pockets. She grabbed her keys and followed Al-Sahim out, locking the door behind her.
“Here, put this on. It’ll be a little big, but it’ll do,” Al-Sahim said, handing her his bike helmet and climbing onto the bike. “Get on behind me and hold tight.” She threw her bag across her body and slipped the helmet on. Opening the visor, she fixed her glasses quickly, then shut it and carefully climbed on behind Al-Sahim. She gently wrapped her arms around his midsection.
“Did you get shot?” She asked, seeing him bleeding from the same spot on the back as the front.
“No, it was an arrow,” he replied. Without any more talk, he revved the bike up and took off down the street. Felicity tightened her grip a bit more and closed her eyes as he drove off. She didn’t want to see the destruction Merlyn had caused.
The ride was slow going at first, but as they got further away from the destruction Al-Sahim picked up speed. A few minutes later he slowed down again, and stopped in front of a small, nondescript apartment complex. Al-Sahim pulled the bike into the small drive behind it and turned the bike off. He helped Felicity off the bike, then led her to the back door.
“The league owns the entire building. There’s only three apartments in it, all stocked with everything we would need when here on an assignment,” he unlocked the door and gestured for her to enter.
“Do you have places like this everywhere?” She asked him, walking into the back hallway. He nodded, then led her up one flight to the second-floor apartment. Opening the door, Felicity entered, Al-Sahim following behind.
The apartment was laid out lengthwise, with the bathroom immediately on her right with a closet opposite to it. Behind her was a bedroom, and as she moved forward there was an incredibly small galley kitchen, with a large table across from it in a nook. The rest of the room was a living space, decorated only with a small leather couch and a workstation. The windows were covered, but Felicity could see they stretched across the length of the front wall. Felicity dropped her bag on the floor by the workstation and turned to look at Al-Sahim. He was breathing funny, and his skin was pallid and clammy. She immediately flew into action.
“Okay, where’s your medical kit here? You need to be looked at right now, you look like you’ve lost a lot of blood. Sit down right there and remove your top,” she pointed to the kitchen chair he was standing next to. Without an argument, he sat down.
“The kit is in the bathroom, under the sink,” he replied, his breathing still irregular. Felicity nodded and went into the bathroom. She pulled a large bag out from under the sink and went back into the nook area. Al-Sahim was struggling with getting his gear off his left arm, where the arrow hole was.
“Let me help,” she scolded him lightly, helping pull back the overcoat. He had a black t-shirt on underneath. “Can you lift your arm, or should I cut the shirt off?” She asked him. He shook his head.
“Cut it,” he rasped. Felicity opened the kit and grabbed a pair of medical scissors. She gently pulled the bottom of the shirt away from him, and cut moving upwards. She pulled the shirt aside and took a look at his injury.
“Well, I don’t know much about gaping wounds,” she said, gagging slightly. “But this looks clean. It isn’t really bleeding a lot anymore either, which is good.
“Can you get me a mirror?” He asked her, rummaging through the med bag with his right hand. “I need to see what I’m doing to sew it up.”
“You are not sewing yourself up, are you crazy!” She responded. Sighing, she grabbed the thread Al-Sahim had just pulled out of the bag from him. “I’ll do it. Especially since you can’t sew behind your back.” He sagged into his chair in assent. Felicity quickly dug around and pulled out some antiseptic wipes, gauze, and tape. “I can’t find any numbing,” she told him.
“I don’t need it, it's fine. Just thread the needle, and I’ll tell you what to do,” he replied. His skin was still ashen, and she wondered if he was going to need a blood transfusion as well. Shaking that thought away, she carefully threaded the needle.
“Okay. Ready,” she told him. He nodded.
“Start from the middle, bring the two sides together, then tie a knot on top of the skin,” he instructed her. She carefully started, trying not to wince as the small needle pierced his skin. She quickly pulled the needle and thread through the other side, and quickly tied a knot, settling it tight on top. “Good.” Al-Sahim said. “Really good. Now cut the strings off and do it again, one on top and one on the bottom of where you just stitched. I don’t think it’ll need more than that. Then you’ll repeat on my back. Got it?”
Felicity nodded. “Yup, got it. Just don’t go passing out on me, okay?” She told him. He nodded weakly.
“I’ll try,” he responded. Repeating the steps, Felicity quickly did the two other stitches. The hole closed completely, and she covered her work with the gauze and tape. She walked around to his back and repeated the process of cleaning and stitching him up. His skin was starting to gain color again, and he wasn’t sweaty anymore. Finishing applying the gauze, Felicity gently pressed the tape onto his shoulder, brushing her hands across as she did. Al-Sahim turned his head slightly.
“All done,” she told him. He nodded.
“Thank you,” he replied. “There’s some electrolyte drinks in the fridge, can you get me one?”
“Of course,” she replied, putting the med supplies down and moving into the tiny kitchen. “Wow, I can see why you liked cooking at my place. This space is so small!” The fridge and the oven were across from each other with only three feet of space between them. Along the wall was a sink with a microwave above it and two very short counters. There were only two cupboards above them. She quickly turned on the sink and washed her hands, the small amount of blood from Al-Sahim mixing into the water as it ran down the drain. She wiped her hands on a towel, then opening the fridge, she grabbed an orange drink and untwisted the top, handing it to Al-Sahim, who took it with his good hand. He took a small sip and then tried to smile at her. Felicity bit her lip and wrung her hands together.
“Are you ready to tell me what happened?” She asked him quietly. He stared over to the closed windows and sighed. Taking another sip, he started.
“I found Merlyn in his office at Merlyn Global. We started fighting, then he tripped something to reveal a secret room where he had all his gear and weapons. He threw a small flash bomb at me, and in the few minutes it took for me to get my bearings, he was escaping to the roof in his Dark Archer gear. I followed, and we kept fighting. I don’t know how, but he got the better of me, and started choking me out. There was an arrow I had shot at him lying on the ground near me, so I grabbed it and stabbed him.”
“Through yourself,” Felicity supplied. He nodded.
“He fell to the ground and was coughing up some blood when you called me over the comms to say that Lance deactivated the device. I told him that it was over, and I was taking him back to the League to face punishment. He laughed at me,” he stopped and shook his head. “He said that there was one thing he learned about as a businessman. Redundancy.”
“That’s how you knew there was a second device,” Felicity finished for him. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes again. Al-Sahim nodded.
“I could hear the rumblings, and went to the edge of the roof to see what was happening. I thought he was down. When I turned around again, he was gone. I had him, and I let him slip through my fingers,” Al-Sahim shook his head angrily. “He was right. I am soft. I’m still holding onto my past, and it will be my undoing.” He slowly got up from the table, wobbling slightly.
“Woah, woah, calm down. And sit back down,” Felicity scolded. “What are you talking about?” He shrugged her off and started towards the bedroom.
“Al-Sahim!” Felicity yelled at him. When he continued to ignore her, “Oliver!”
“DON’T CALL ME THAT!!” He bellowed. He turned and stalked right up to her. “Oliver Queen is the reason Malcolm Merlyn got away. He was too concerned about the people who had been in his life, and for their safety, that he turned his back on his enemy and let him escape. Oliver Queen is soft,” his eyes grew steely. “I am Al-Sahim. I am a member of the League of Assassins. I have no ties to anyone but the League. I will submit to Ra’s al Ghul's punishment for my failure.” Felicity shook her head furiously, a tear escaping her eye.
“You’re wrong,” she said sadly. “Oliver Queen is the reason why so many people’s lives were saved tonight. Don’t you see? If it wasn’t for you, the entire Glades and everyone in it would be dead. You saved all those people.”
“No, you did. You told Lance how to deactivate the device. All I did was let Merlyn get away.”
“And I wouldn’t have gotten Lance to help if you hadn’t suggested it! Al-Sahim, you have to realize what you did tonight. So many people are safe, because we found out was Merlyn had planned. We were able to do so much good in this city. How were we supposed to know he had a second device? I don’t call this a failure. Yes, Merlyn got away, but I don’t think he’s going to be showing his face again any time soon. Or who knows, maybe he went off to die in a hole or something like the troll he is?” Felicity placed her hand on Al-Sahim’s bare chest, over his heart. “You did good today. Ra’s cannot fault you for that. Everything would have been much worse if you had only captured Merlyn. The devices would have still gone off, and he would have won, even if he did die in the end. You were a hero today.”
Al-Sahim looked up to the ceiling and huffed, shaking his head. He then looked at her, his eyes a range of emotions. “Felicity, you’re remarkable.” She smiled at him.
“Thank you for remarking on it.” She replied. They stood like that for a long moment. Then, he sighed and took a step back.
“I need to contact the League, tell them what happened.”
She nodded. “Do you have WiFi? I want to go online and see what the news is, because you don’t have a TV in here.”
He nodded. “The password is on the workstation desk,” he turned and went into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Felicity closed her eyes for a moment and just took a few deep breaths. That entire conversation had been so emotionally charged, and she was drained. But, she still needed to know what was going on. She sat down at the desk and pulled her laptop from her bag. She entered the password to the internet, and watched in horror as news story after news story popped up on her screen. There were fires raging all throughout the Glades, and the Mayor had declared a state of emergency. There was also rampant speculation as to why Malcolm Merlyn had wanted to do all of this. No one had a death toll yet, but all the hospitals were flooded with patients. The few emergency shelters around the area were totally full. No one knew the total amount of devastation because it was so late at night. More would be known in the morning.
She pulled her charger out and connected everything, keeping her computer running. She then walked over and collapsed onto the small couch in the living room. She could hear Al-Sahim murmuring down in the bedroom, but couldn’t tell what was going on. She leaned back and closed her eyes, a wave of exhaustion coming over her. She was almost fully asleep a few minutes later when she felt a pair of strong arms lift her from the couch and walk her down the hallway to the bedroom. She muttered something unintelligible as she was placed on the bed, and a blanket thrown over her. She was fast asleep when Al-Sahim gently pulled her glasses off and laid them on the nightstand, leaving the room and closing the door softly behind him.
True story: The safehouse is based off an apartment I used to live in. It was laid out lengthwise, and the kitchen was literally the size of a closet. The bedroom, however, was massive, go figure.
Anyway, yes, the Undertaking still happens. HOWEVER, Tommy doesn't die! Yay! But poor conflicted Al-Sahim, what's he going to do now?
Chapter 15: Chapter 15
What do you do the morning after a massive earthquake? You go to a diner for breakfast, of course.
Hi there! Do you live in the United States? Are you over 18? Did you vote today? Then by all means, please read the penultimate chapter of this part of the story!! If you live in the US, are over 18, and haven't voted yet, do so AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! Seriously, go vote now!!!
If you live elsewhere in the world, enjoy this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Felicity woke up groggy and confused the next morning. It took her several minutes to realize where she was, and then was wide awake as the events of the previous twenty-four hours flooded back into her mind. She fumbled for her glasses, putting them on and blinking her world into focus. The bedroom was small, but with a large closet along the wall. There was a small window with the shade pulled down at the back of the room. Felicity pulled herself up and out of bed. Looking down, she realized that her bag was in the room with her. She decided to change out of her slept in and very wrinkled clothes before emerging. She changed into a new pair of jeans and a long-sleeved top. She’d have to check her hair in the bathroom when she exited.
As Felicity opened the door, she could hear the sounds of the news still broadcasting, but this time from a TV instead of her laptop. Not wanting to hear all the bad news yet, she ducked into the bathroom to relieve herself and look at her appearance in the mirror. Her ponytail was falling out, and what little makeup she still had on did nothing to hide the giant dark marks under her eyes. She took her glasses off and quickly washed her face, finding a clean washcloth on the rail above the toilet. Feeling a bit more refreshed, she fixed her ponytail and put her glasses back on. Steeling herself, she exited the bathroom and walked into the living room.
Al-Sahim was sitting on the sofa dressed in casual clothes, watching a small flat-screen TV that he had put onto the workstation desk. The news was showing footage of the Glades in the light of day, both from helicopters flying around it and film crews on the ground. Most of the hardest hit area was completely blocked off by police and rescue crews.
“What’s the update? And where did you get a TV?” She said in greeting. He looked up briefly at her before returning his attention to the TV.
“We keep the TV in the closet when we’re not here. Currently the death toll is over two hundred and rising. They’re estimating anywhere from five hundred to a thousand people, but they won’t be sure for another few days. Pretty much all the fires have been put out, but the hospitals are still swamped, and it’s hard to account for everyone. FEMA just arrived, and they created a temporary staging area for people to come and identify themselves and if they’re missing anyone, as well as a temporary site for all the bodies. There’s also a toll-free number and a website going up. Power is still out in most of the City. No sign of Merlyn, but they took Tommy in for questioning. He and Laurel just left the police headquarters.”
“What about Moira?” She asked quietly, watching the screen.
“They’ve charged her with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, but there will be other charges coming once the death toll is final. She’s going to take the fall for Merlyn’s act,” Felicity could tell he was trying to stay indifferent to the situation, but it was weighing on him. “They showed footage of Walter going into the police station, but no sign of Thea.”
“Thea’s boyfriend is from the Glades, and she used to do community service there. She’s probably upset that all this happened,” Felicity responded. Al-Sahim looked at her inquiringly. “She got arrested after her eighteenth birthday for crashing her car while under the influence. One of her friends slipped her something without her knowing. In exchange for a lesser sentence, Laurel helped get her community service hours at a Pro Bono law firm in the Glades where a friend of hers worked. That’s where she met Roy, her boyfriend.” Felicity had looked her up during her Tempest searches, in addition to her car crash being all over the news for a few days. Al-Sahim nodded. Felicity carefully sat down next to him.
“How are you feeling? Do I need to help you check your stitches?” She asked him.
“I’m fine. I took a shower this morning and re-bandaged everything. You did a good job, there won’t be much of a scar,” he said.
“Did you sleep out here on the couch last night? You could have left me here; the couch is way too small for you,” she told him. He shrugged.
“I didn’t sleep much, so I figured you should have the bed. You were pretty tired.”
“Yea, but you were injured. That’s not fair to you,” Felicity argued.
“Either way, it doesn’t matter anymore,” Al-Sahim dropped the subject. “Your computer made a noise a little while ago, I don’t know what it was for.”
“I put an alert on all the surrounding airfields for any flight manifests leaving last night. He might not have submitted one, but I just wanted to check in case he did.” Al-Sahim looked confused.
“Merlyn,” she explained. “Since we don’t know where he went, I figured I’d start by checking flights. I was also going to check boats, but that’s a little more intensive, and I was too tired to code that last night,” she got up and went to the laptop. “There were three flights out last night from private airfields, I’ll check to see if they were for legit people.” She started working on the verifications while Al-Sahim watched. “Well,” She said a few minutes later, “They all were legit. I even hacked the security cameras to do facial recognition. He didn’t leave by plane last night. I’ll keep the alerts up for a few more days, in case he’s lying low before making a getaway.”
Al-Sahim was still sitting quietly on the couch, staring at the TV screen but not actually watching. Felicity went back over to sit next to him.
“Al-Sahim, are you going to be okay?” She asked him. He shrugged.
“I honestly don’t know anymore,” he replied. “So much has happened, and so much has changed.” He looked at her briefly, then looked away again.
“What did Ra’s Al Ghul say last night?” She asked him.
“That the mission was complete. He thinks that me confronting him is enough to scare him away for good, so that League won’t have to intervene again. He also said that I need to head back tonight,” he turned then and looked at her properly. “You can stay here for a few days if you need to. It’s the least we can do for all your help. Ra’s said to say thank you from him personally.” Felicity gave him a thin smile.
“That’s very kind. I should check to see if my landlord called, everything seemed okay last night other than the power, but we left pretty quickly,” she got up and grabbed her phone from her jacket pocket, which was hanging from one of the kitchen chairs where she had left it the night before. She did have a missed call from her landlord, as well as several texts and a call from her mother. Not wanting to open that particular can of worms, she quickly texted her mom back telling her she was fine, then called her landlord. A few minutes later, she hung up and turned back to Al-Sahim, who had turned the TV off and was just staring into space.
“Well, the landlord said that the power won’t be back on for a few days, and he’s having someone come assess the building for any damage tomorrow. From the sound of it it doesn’t seem to be too bad, but he just wants to make sure before letting people back into their homes.” Al-Sahim nodded.
“You should be good here, then. There’s a grocery store and a few restaurants down the street for when you need anything. You forgot your wallet when we left last night, I remembered to grab it for you,” Al-Sahim said. Felicity smiled in thanks, then groaned.
“I’m going to need to go get my car though. And I don’t know if I have to go into work or not,” she looked at her phone again, checking through her work email. “Oh, I guess not. QC is shut down for the rest of the week, everyone should report as normal on Monday. Guess that answers that. Another week off, wow, whatever shall I do with all my free time?” She attempted to joke. The corner of Al-Sahim’s mouth ticked up slightly.
“Is there food for breakfast here? I’m kinda starving, and I haven’t had any coffee yet,” Felicity asked. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“Not really. There’s a diner nearby, but…” He trailed off.
“I can go pick us up some food if you don’t want to risk being seen,” she offered to him. He thought for a second, then sighed and shook his head.
“It’s too far to walk there and back with all the food. I’ll go too, let me get a hat,” he got up from the couch and went to the closet in the hallway. He rummaged around for a few moments before producing a sweatshirt and a baseball hat. He gingerly pulled the sweatshirt on, then adjusted the hat low over his brow. Felicity grabbed her jacket and phone. “You said you have my wallet?” She asked.
He nodded, “It’s on the kitchen table,” he replied. She grabbed it and followed him out of the apartment and down the short flight of stairs.
“So, are all the apartments set up like this one?” She asked as they descended. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“No, the main floor is set up like a gym for practice and exercise. The top floor is pretty much empty.” He handed her the helmet once they got the motorcycle. She put it on, then clambered onto the bike behind Al-Sahim, once again wrapping her arms around his waist. He quickly started the bike up, and took off out of the driveway and down the street.
The diner was ancient, with cracked vinyl seats and worn counters and tables. It was mostly empty, just a few people at the counter, and an older woman handling the front all by herself.
“Have a seat anywhere, dolls,” she called to them in greeting, filling a cup of coffee in front of one of the people at the counter. She slowly made her way over to where Felicity and Al-Sahim had seated themselves with the coffee pot and two menus.
“Morning dears. Anyone wanna cup of coffee?” She greeted them.
“I’ll take a cup, thank you,” Felicity responded. Al-Sahim kept his head down, but shook it no. “He’s not a morning person.” Felicity explained to the waitress.
“I wouldn’t want to be one either, on a day like today. All that chaos down in the Glades last night, did y’all feel any of the tremors? Such a terrible thing,” Felicity just nodded, taking a sip of her coffee. “I’ll be right back for your orders, okay? Maybe Mr. Not a Morning Person will perk up by then.” The waitress winked at Felicity then took off back to the counter.
“That was a little rude, you know,” Felicity admonished him. He looked up at her. “I don’t think she’ll recognize you. She sounded like she’s from the Midwest.”
“Sorry,” he muttered. “I’m just a little on edge.” Felicity shook her head and started perusing the menu. She quickly figured out what she was going to eat. She took a few more sips of her coffee before the waitress returned.
“Y’all ready now?” She asked. Felicity nodded.
“I’ll have the Belgian waffles, please.” She replied. She could see Al-Sahim shake his head at her.
“I’ll have a veggie omelet, please, and an orange juice.” Al-Sahim looked up at the waitress briefly. She smiled widely at him.
“Want any home fries, bacon, or toast, honey?” She asked him.
“Bacon, please.” He responded.
“Alright, I’ll be back in a bit with your orders. You want some more coffee, sweetheart?” She asked Felicity, who nodded yes to her. The waitress turned and grabbed her pot from off a nearby table, and refilled Felicity’s cup. She smiled in thanks.
“See? That wasn’t so hard,” She teased Al-Sahim once the waitress was out of earshot. Al-Sahim said nothing, just raised his eyebrow at her. She laughed and shook her head. They sat together quietly, the waitress stopping over quickly with Al-Sahim’s orange juice. Felicity started playing with the sugar packets on the table.
“My mom used to take me to this diner back home in Vegas,” Felicity said softly, arranging the two different packets in color order, six of each. “While we waited for our food, we used to play tic tac toe with the sugar packets. It was a floating board, so that there was always a winner.” She looked up to see Al-Sahim staring at her intently. Slowly, she pushed the six pink packets towards him, and kept the white ones. He gave her his small smile.
“We never went to diners,” he said quietly, placing a packet in the middle of the table. “They were beneath us. It was either a home cooked meal from our chef, or we went to the country club or some other fancy restaurant,” Felicity placed a white packet to the left of the pink one. “When I got older, and would stay out later partying,” he placed another down right below his original, which Felicity immediately countered, “Tommy and I would stop at a diner similar to this one. We always caused such a commotion, but they were always so nice to us. Tommy always made sure to tip them extra before we stumbled out in the early hours of the morning.” They kept playing, Felicity winning twice, before the waitress returned with their food.
“Here you go, dears, waffles for the lady, and an omelet for the gentleman. Enjoy.” She topped off Felicity’s coffee before she left them to their breakfasts. Felicity happily started digging in to her food.
“Mmm, these waffles are amazing, here try them,” she held out her fork to Al-Sahim for him to try. He gazed at her for a moment, the slowly leaned across the table and took the offered bite. Felicity could feel the change in the moment, and bit her lip as Al-Sahim chewed.
“They are very good,” he agreed, after a moment. Not saying anything else, they both continued to eat in silence, the moment settling over them. Felicity looked around and noticed they were the only ones left in the diner, and the waitress was leaning on the counter watching a small TV.
“I’m surprised there aren’t more people here today. We’re the only ones here.” Al-Sahim looked around.
“They’re all probably in their homes scared because of last night. In a few days most of the people in this city will have forgotten and will continue on with their lives,” he replied, finishing his food. He sat back, eyeing Felicity intently.
“That doesn’t seem right.” Felicity whispered.
“It doesn’t have to seem right to be right. No one cared about the people in the Glades. It’s always been one of the poorest areas in the City. My father used to have a steel factory down there, and when he closed it, that was the end. There was no hope left for them. Merlyn wanted to destroy everything so that he could rebuild it and make it better. I guarantee you no one will move in to fix anything now. Even the people who move back there won’t do anything to better their situations. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Felicity pushed her plate back, losing the remains of her appetite. “I just don’t understand why people wouldn’t want to help others.”
“Because you’re light, Felicity. You only see the good in things. You have no idea the darkness that lives in this world, and what you have to do to survive it.” His eyes darkened, casting a haunted look on his face. Felicity once again wondered what he had endured in the past five years. Their eyes remained locked for several moments, until the waitress sidled up to their table.
“You two all done eating?” She asked cheerily. Felicity blinked her eyes away from Al-Sahim’s and looked at the waitress.
“Yes, and it was wonderful, thank you,” she said gratefully.
“Of course, dear! Here’s the check, I’ll be back in a minute to collect it.” She slid a slip of paper onto the table as she gathered their plates. As she walked away, Al-Sahim took the check.
“I can pay for it,” Felicity offered, reaching for her wallet. Al-Sahim shook his head.
“My treat,” he responded, pulling some money out from his pocket. He counted out some bills and placed them on top of the check. “Are you ready? We should go see if it’s safe to get your car.” Felicity nodded, and then stood up. Al-Sahim did as well.
“All set here?” The waitress asked, approaching them.
“Yes, thank you. You can keep the change,” Al-Sahim replied to her. Then, he placed his hand on Felicity’s back and escorted her out of the diner. As they walked out the door, they heard the waitress exclaim,
“A hundred dollars! Sir, you must’ve make a mistake!”
True story: playing tic tac toe with sugar packets was a fun way to keep kids entertained back in the day when there wasn't readily available tech. Hope you enjoyed, the last chapter of this part of the series (yes, it's a series, folks!) will go up on Thursday. Then I might take a week break before I start releasing part 2, because part 3 (!!) is still a work in progress. Currently 32 pages of progress and not even halfway done, but in progress nonetheless. NaNoWriMo is in full effect for me for the first time pretty much ever.
The ride back to Felicity’s apartment was long, even though they were coming from the opposite direction as the Glades. When they got to the top of her street, they could see it was blocked off by the police. Al-Sahim pulled the bike to the side of the road and sat there, his head low, as Felicity handed him her helmet and approached the police.
“Hi, excuse me, I live right down the street. I know I can’t go back into my building, but is it possible for me to get my car?” She asked the bored officer standing there.
“Do you have your license so I can verify your address?” He asked her. She nodded, and pulled it out of her wallet. He looked at it carefully, then called down to his partner on the other side of the barrier.
“She lives down the street and is here for her car.” The other officer nodded, and moved one of the blockades aside. Al-Sahim quickly pulled up alongside Felicity, now wearing the helmet, and she hopped on, smiling gratefully at the officer. He nodded, and they quickly took off down the street towards Felicity’s apartment.
The road was showing a lot more wear and tear in the light of day. Large potholes had appeared, and the road was very uneven. Towards the end of the street she could see several downed power lines and a few trees down as well. Thankfully, her car seemed to be unharmed as they pulled up to it. Felicity pulled her keys out of her pocket and unlocked the door. Before she got in, she looked up at her apartment. The building seemed to be undamaged, but she knew that she would know more tomorrow. Luckily, she had enough clothes with her at the safehouse for a few more days. She got into her Mini and started it up. Al-Sahim turned his bike back around, and she carefully followed him out of the area. She waved at the officers as she drove by, and they closed the barricade behind her.
As she followed Al-Sahim back to the safehouse, she tried to pay attention to landmarks they passed. She knew she could use the GPS on her phone, but wanted to map the route out for herself. As they were coming close to a grocery store, she flashed her headlights at him, and turned her turn signal on, indicating she was going to stop in the store. He turned into the lot and parked, Felicity parking next to him. Just like the diner, the parking lot was basically empty.
“Do you want to come in with me, or do you want to stay out here?” She asked him, as he raised his visor.
“I’ll wait out here. Don’t worry about rushing, get what you need,” he replied. She nodded, and headed into the store. Grabbing a basket, she browsed the aisles, picking out some things like bread, some deli meat, and other assorted things she would need for her meals for at least the next two days. She paid at the register, and then headed back out to the parking lot. Al-Sahim hopped off his bike and helped Felicity load the groceries into her car.
“Did you get everything?” He asked her.
“I hope so. If not, I’ll just google directions back here,” she said to him. He nodded and hopped back onto his bike. She followed him out of the parking lot and back down the street.
Al-Sahim insisted on carrying the bags into the apartment for her when they got back to the safehouse. Felicity acquiesced, and followed him up the stairs. As they approached the door, Al-Sahim halted suddenly, causing Felicity to bump into him.
“What…?” she started, but was quickly shushed by him. He slowly and softly lowered the groceries to the ground, then grabbed a small knife from his pant leg. Approaching the door, he motioned for her to stay put. He quietly opened the door and disappeared into the apartment. Felicity cautiously made her way to the door, and as she did she heard a few grunts and bodies crashing together. Peeking around the door, she could see Al-Sahim fighting someone who was dressed in League attire. Her immediate thought was Malcolm Merlyn, but soon realized it wasn’t when the other League member pushed away from Al-Sahim and removed his hood.
It was a man of Asian descent, and he bowed slightly to Al-Sahim and spoke to him in rapid Chinese. How many languages did Al-Sahim know? Felicity, sensing that there was no longer any danger, grabbed the grocery bags and slowly entered the apartment. Al-Sahim turned to look at her, still breathing heavily, as he responded to the other League member. Felicity placed the bags on the kitchen table.
“Al-Sahim, mind introducing me to your associate?” She asked him carefully. Al-Sahim sighed.
“Felicity, this is Sarab. Sarab, Felicity Smoak.” Sarab bowed to her.
“A pleasure to meet you. I was just informing Al-Sahim that I arrived here a short while ago to join him on his journey back to Nanda Parbat. I was on assignment here in the States as well.”
“Oh,” Felicity replied. “Al-Sahim said he was leaving tonight.” Sarab nodded.
“That is why I am here now. I was to rendezvous with Al-Sahim, who had the transportation here with him back to the League,” he looked around the now crowded apartment. “I believe I will go downstairs to the training rooms for a while, and let you settle everything here. We still have time before our departure.” He nodded at both Al-Sahim and Felicity, and left the apartment.
“So, I’m guessing Ra’s al Ghul didn’t tell you that this Sarab guy would be joining you?” She asked Al-Sahim, who was carefully putting is knife away. He shook his head.
“No. His being here is a surprise. I thought he was still in Nanda Parbat,” he replied. He looked over at the groceries. “Let me help you put everything away.” He offered.
“You really don’t have to,” she argued uselessly, as he had already begun emptying the bags into the refrigerator and into the cabinets. “One question, though. Are you staying long enough for dinner, or am I on my own?” He paused as he lifted a can of sliced peaches into the cabinet, Felicity taking the moment to check out the small amount of skin showing under his raised shirt.
“I’m not sure,” he said, putting his hand down again, making Felicity frown as his shirt hid the sight from view. He turned to her. “I need to call the pilot, he’ll tell me when he should be ready to go. That will determine our dinner situation.”
Felicity didn’t miss the ‘our’ in that statement. She once again wondered why things were so easy and domestic between them, and wished in the deepest part of her heart that he didn’t have to go, so they could keep whatever they were currently doing going. They finished putting everything away in silence, hands brushing against each other a few times as Felicity passed things to Al-Sahim. All done, Al-Sahim rubbed his hands together.
“I think I’m going to go downstairs and train with Sarab for a while, if that’s okay with you,” he told her.
“Yea, sure, you don’t have to ask my permission. I’m just going to mess around on my laptop for a bit then,” she replied. “Catch up on the latest news about everything.” He nodded, then headed out the door and down the stairs. Felicity grabbed her laptop and collapsed onto the couch. News reports once again flooded her screen, informing her that the death toll was almost to four hundred now, and that parts of the Glades were declared uninhabitable. There were several interviews featuring survivors, who all spoke of the terror they endured as well as whether they were planning on staying in Starling City or not afterwards. Felicity once again checked all the airports, as well as the docks this time for any sign of Merlyn, but came up empty. He was a ghost.
Felicity was still working on her computer a few hours later when Al-Sahim came back upstairs and headed straight into the bathroom. She heard the shower turn on, then zoned back out again into what she was looking at. She didn’t hear him finish his shower and duck into the bedroom to change in to his League attire, nor did she hear him approach her.
“Felicity?” Al-Sahim asked. When she still didn’t respond, “Felicity!” He said, louder.
“What?” Felicity sputtered. “I’m sorry, what?” Al-Sahim’s eyes darted around confused.
“Are you okay?” He asked, his voice softening to the normal volume he addressed her with. Felicity shook her head.
“Yea, no, I don’t know. The death toll is still rising, up to four hundred people. It’s just…a lot, you know?” She responded, rubbing her neck gently to work out the kink that had developed from staring at her laptop for so long.
“I understand,” Al-Sahim said, sitting down next to her. He was sitting a lot closer than he usually did, and Felicity relished the warmth radiating from his body. “Felicity…” he started, before Sarab entered the apartment.
“Al-Sahim? Are you ready?” He asked, walking into the living room. Seeing the two sitting there, he took a step back.
“I’ll be downstairs when you are finished. Felicity, it was a pleasure,” Sarab bowed slightly to her, then turned and left the apartment, shutting the door quietly behind him.
“You’re leaving,” Felicity stated flatly. She tried to push down all her emotions that were boiling under the surface. Al-Sahim nodded sadly, his eyes a storm of emotions as well.
“I’m sorry. I won’t be able to stay and have dinner with you again,” He said softly.
“That’s okay, I bought a few frozen dinners I can heat up. It’s not a big deal,” she said, patting his hand absently. In a surprise move, he held onto her hand as she tried moving away, his thumb running over the back of her hand.
“Felicity,” he started again, and Felicity’s heart skipped a beat at the way he said it. “I know I’ve said it many times before, but thank you. For everything. You have no idea….” He cut himself off, smiling and shaking his head. He stared into her eyes again, with so much emotion behind them that Felicity’s breath caught in her lungs. “Thank you.” He gently, and carefully, pulled her into a hug.
Felicity melted into his embrace, tears welling in her eyes. She thought back to the last time they had said goodbye. This one was so much worse than before. Her feelings for him were bubbling to the surface, and she knew that he was feeling something too. Knowing that made everything harder. He pulled back slightly, and kissed the top of her head.
“Remember, you can stay here as long as necessary, okay? You’ll be safe here. And if you ever need somewhere to go you can always come here, alright? You’ll always be under League protection.” He pulled back enough to look her in the eyes again. Felicity smiled at him through tears, as he smiled back.
“I wish…” Felicity whispered, her voice cracking. Al-Sahim nodded.
“I know,” he replied. He took a deep breath. “I should go.” Felicity looked down and nodded. Al-Sahim pulled her close again, and kissed her forehead. Then, he gently untangled himself from their embrace, and slowly stood from the couch. Felicity quickly wiped the tears from her eyes, then looked up at him.
“Goodbye, Al-Sahim,” she said.
“Goodbye, Felicity,” he replied, and turned and left the apartment.
Thank you all so much for coming on this journey with me!!! There is a completed Part 2, which I'll probably start posting on the 27th, in order to give me time to work more on Part 3, and to avoid posting over the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. As I said in the beginning, I wrote this over the course of ten days, and I am so glad that I've gotten the writing bug back. I truly appreciate every one of you who left me a comment or kudos, and I hope you'll be back to enjoy the next part!!! If anyone's interested, I'm on Twitter with the same handle, I post about the same four things: Arrow, Wrestling, Hockey, and my cat. With other posts spread out in between those. Thank you again!