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Under the Gun

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Oliver crouches on the upper floor of the warehouse in the green Vigilante gear, curious to see how the guns will be exchanged. A careful watch on the police has informed him that a new group has been operating out of the Glades, selling weapons to the highest bidders. It’s his hope that he can finally get a lock on the mysterious Deathstroke, the man who seems to be buying up enough weapons to power an army. Oliver has been tracking them for months, but he knows better than to try and take out the small-time runners when he can catch the big fish.

He doesn’t have to wait long before a dark van pulls into the building, and a man taller and more muscular than him steps out. His beard is peppered with gray and he looks like he’s been through similar wars to Oliver, but he stands tall and prepared nonetheless, with two swords at his sides. Two other men follow him out, but they’re wearing masks. The only thing obvious about them are that they’re big—which means this is probably the meet Oliver has been waiting for.

A second black van of similar specifications pulls into the lot next to the other, and the man who steps out isn’t who Oliver is expecting. It’s immediately obvious that he’s ex-military, with broad shoulders, a proud stance, and well-muscled arms. Instead of going to meet the other man, he stands by the sliding passenger door on the van, waiting next to it. Oliver doesn’t think it’s coincidence that he also manages to flip his suit coat so that the Beretta at his side is exposed in a quiet threat.

The first face to exit belongs to a man just as likely to be called a boy. High cheekbones and dark eyes study the room, part of his face concealed beneath the red hood pulled up over his face. An assault rifle is strapped to his back, and he pulls a gun from the van that’s nearly as tall as he is. He holds it under one arm as he holds out the opposite hand.

Delicate fingers take the offer, her nails painted blood red. Oliver expects many things from the woman he’s about to see, but the last thing on his mind is a stunning blonde in a short, black pencil skirt and a colorful blouse under a purple peacoat. Piercing blue eyes survey the scene with care, and her heels click against the concrete floor when they finally meet. She pats the boy's shoulder with a smile of thanks, which he returns with the slightest nod. Her hair flows free, and, when she adjusts her jacket, he’s surprised that she doesn’t appear to have a weapon on her.

He assumes that’s the team after watching them exit—three people for each side to make any potential fights fair—but then boots stomp on the concrete behind them. The blonde has a white, square patch pulled over one eye, and, unlike the other woman, she moves like a fighter. A long bo-staff is in her hand, and she's dressed in black from head to toe. Her head swivels in all directions, and Oliver's eyes widen when she looks in his direction. Sara Lance apparently survived the shipwreck, too.

And, more importantly, she's working for a gun runner.

The other blonde, the one with the stoic expression and piercing eyes, isn't so observant of her environment, walking up to the older man with a smile on her face. "Good evening, Mr. Wilson," she greets him with a smile, extending her hand casually, as though she does this all the time. Maybe she does, for all Oliver knows.

Wilson takes it, shaking her hand before twisting it to brush his lips across her knuckles. "Always a pleasure, Miss Morgan," he answers in a thick Australian accent. Oliver is surprised that she'd give him her real name, but then he realizes that the accent threw him off. Wilson didn't say Morgan, but Morrigan. It registers somewhere within, then he remembers something associating the name Morrigan with war. It's her codename of sorts. "I trust you have the merchandise?"

She pulls away, smiling. "Of course," she answers. "Your new shipment—fifty high-caliber, long-range rifles with scopes, to trade for some to be refurbished." She makes a gesture like she’s reaching up to adjust her glasses, even though she isn’t wearing any, and then she crosses her arms. "Before I can offer you my price, I need to see your merchandise, Mr. Wilson." He hesitates, and she notices. "I trust that won't be a problem?"

"Of course not," he answers after a long moment. He motions behind him to one of the two men. "Bring the case for Miss Morrigan's team." He turns back to her. "You've only checked my merchandise once in five years. I hope there isn't a problem." His tone darkens, indicating that it would very much be a problem—but for her.

If she notices the veiled threat, she doesn't acknowledge it. However, the boy in the red hoodie behind her takes offense, draping the rifle he was leaning on across his arms. She doesn't even look back at him before waving him down with her left hand. "Easy, Red," she states, and something about her tone makes her more threatening than Wilson. "Mr. Wilson was making conversation, nothing more." Her words dismiss the threat casually, and the boy drops the rifle to the resting position again. She turns back to Wilson with a smile. "You'll have to forgive the boy," she says with a smile. "He's a new recruit—a little twitchy with the rifle."

Wilson nods at the boy in question. "Not at all, Miss Morrigan," he answers. "Respect like that is a rare thing to find." His smile isn't particularly friendly. "Give this one a few years, and he'll be a finer soldier than your other man." He waves his hand dismissively, as though the man packing a Beretta isn’t worth her time.

This time her smile is thin, and Oliver thinks it probably wasn't a good idea to insult the ex-military man in front of her. Any further conversation is interrupted when Wilson's soldier strides out with a box of weaponry, and he opens it before moving away.

Oliver expects Morrigan to send one of her soldiers to inspect the weaponry, but instead, he's surprised to watch her stride up to the box herself. She raises an eyebrow at Wilson over her shoulder. "I trust they're all unloaded?" He responds in the affirmative, and she checks the chamber just to be sure.

Satisfied that it has no ammunition, she draws one of the sniper rifles out of the box, inspecting it closely. "A few blemishes along the grip," she notes, then tucks it against her shoulder to look through the scope, holding the gun like an expert as she points it toward the same wall as where Oliver is stationed. Oliver had assumed she was just the salesperson, but apparently she knows her weapons well. "Scope is a bit off." She drops it, pulling the firing mechanism apart. "This will need a new firing pin, I think, but it's impossible to tell without trying it." She puts the gun back together before turning to Wilson. "Would you have an issue with me firing it?"

He waves a hand. "Not at all," he assures her.

She, in turn, points to Sara without taking her eyes from the gun. "Canary, I need a round from the ammunitions box, please." Sara nods, immediately turning on her heel without a second thought.

"Canary," Wilson muses. "It's quite a lovely codename for a woman so beautiful, but I suppose it's slightly misleading." He chuckles. "After all, if she were as innocent as the name suggests, I doubt she'd be on your team."

Morrigan smiles, and this time it isn't friendly. "She came to us last year from the League of Assassins. I doubt if they've invented a way to kill that our Canary doesn't know." She chuckles as Oliver’s eyebrows narrow. The last time he’d met Sara, she’d been opposed to violence—something that has apparently changed in the last three years. "But, then again, I think only one would suffice, and any member of my team could do that effectively. Sadly, not all of our clients are as hospitable as you, Mr. Wilson, and so we have to make sure that they don't think they can get our merchandise for a steal."

Morrigan looks at the gun, then turns back to Wilson. "Mr. Wilson, if this gun fires as I expect it will, I'm afraid I can't take it from you." She rests her hand on the grip of the gun, pointing the barrel into the concrete floor. "We have a reputation for high-quality weaponry to keep up, and this most likely won't meet our standards. The last shipment we received from you we took on reputation only, and we lost money refurbishing the guns to meet grade. And, well, once bitten, twice shy." He frowns, and she waves a hand. "We will, of course, be glad to sell you the shipment anyway—we just can't take trade with these guns."

He frowns, opening his mouth to say something as Sara returns with the bullet. Morrigan ignores him. "Thank you, my dear," Morrigan says gently, earning another nod from Sara.

Morrigan slides the bullet into the chamber, clicking it into place before situating it on her shoulder properly and taking aim across the room, fifty feet separating her target and Oliver. "I'll say this, though, Mr. Wilson," she says, her mouth turned down into a frown, "if you unmount every one of these scopes, I'll gladly take them and give you credit for them. Heat scopes are ridiculously hard to find, and they're exceedingly good for taking care of rats in the walls."

Heat scopes. Meaning Oliver is visible to her.

Before he can turn the thought into an action, she swivels the rifle toward him, firing almost immediately. Pain tears through his bicep, and he bites back a groan as he ducks behind a stack of metal containers. Almost reluctantly, he draws the bow, firing an arrow back toward her over the containers, but the ex-military man on her team already has her tucked against his chest, pushing her back toward the van.

She's stopped, however, when Wilson pulls her out of the other man's arms and draws one of his swords against her neck. "Perhaps they didn't get those for a steal because they don't know the proper leverage," he says to her in a low voice. Louder, he says to the rest of her team, "Drop your weapons—all of you." Instead of complying, they look to their leader, waiting for instructions.

"Red, do us all a favor and shoot him," she says, almost lazily, as though this isn't the first time she's been in a hostage situation. It earns her a crack across the head with the hilt of the sword, and blood pours from the wound. She doesn't even flinch.

Oliver thinks he might be an idiot—or a sucker for a beautiful woman in distress—but he sighs because he knows he won't leave them all here to be killed. They may be criminals, but Wilson is technically reneging on a deal. Oliver throws himself over the edge and drops to the lower floor of the warehouse, frowning as pain jolts through his arm.

It take him a moment to rise from the crouching position, and he hears two gasps of surprise as he does so. He pulls the bow string tight as he nocks an arrow, aiming it at Wilson. "Let her go," he demands quietly, his voice odd to his own ears under the modulator.

Wilson laughs. "I think there's something wrong with your brain, boy," he snaps. "She shot you—I don't think she deserves your mercy." He eases up on the sword across her throat ever so slightly. "Unless, of course, you'd like the honor of killing her."

Oliver's answer is an easy one—it's clear that this Morrigan means something to Sara, and maybe he's a little intrigued by the weapons smuggler who doesn't carry a gun, even if she does know how to use one. He takes a breath then releases the arrow, sending it through Wilson's eye.

He screams as he releases her, and Morrigan grips at her throat as the boy in red tucks her under his arm, pulling her away. She steadies herself a long moment, then her eyes focus on Oliver, slipping down to the bullet in his arm. "Holy cheese fries, I'm good," she mutters to herself as she looks at the wound.

"You missed," is his reply as he stares at it, too, "though you're probably glad you did." He's surprised by how unafraid she is; she doesn't go into shock, or she hides it very well. Instead, she walks up to him, taking his upper arm in her hands, examining the wound.

"I didn't miss," she corrects. "I wanted to injure you to ask you questions and why you knew about the meet, so I aimed for your arm." She gives him a calm, cheerful smile as she adds, "If I wanted to kill you, well, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now." She turns his arm to look at the back. "I can dig out the bullet for you—it's the least I can do after you saved my life." She pulls back, offering him her hand. "Most people call me Morrigan."

He decides to shake it, thinking he won't get far if he doesn't. "The papers refer to me as the Hood," is his response, but then he looks over her shoulder at the woman with the eyepatch. "I'm glad you made it off that island, Sara."

The entire group tenses as she stares at him, but then everyone unfreezes as Sara's mouth turns into a smile. "It's okay," she says to them in that quiet voice. To Oliver, she adds, "You still wear Shado's hood—I think she'd like that."

Oliver isn't so sure, but the other blonde links her arm through his, her personality completely different now that it isn't business. "Come on. I'll patch you up and we can think of some better nicknames. And you can catch up with our Canary."

He decides to take the offer, if only so the wound in his arm will stop throbbing. But mostly he wants to learn more about Sara and her little ragtag family she's made over the years.

But, mostly, he's curious about the woman who put a bullet in his arm.