A/N: Based on 2x07 (State vs. Queen), where Felicity gets caught in the Count’s trap & Oliver saves her.
Not so good with action scenes and realism therein, so please be lenient on that count (no pun intended).
Jump over to Part 2 next.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Oliver could hardly breath as he clenched the phone in his hand. The phone that had connected him to an eager Felicity not ten minutes before, when she had excitedly told him of her successful lead on the Vertigo illness.
The lead Oliver had specifically instructed the brilliant blonde not to follow on her own.
With Diggle out of commission until the sickness passed, that meant waiting for Oliver to don the hood in the evening. Something Felicity had clearly been unable — or too stubborn — to do. She had known he would be upset by her actions and chose to tell him when he was already at the courthouse, waiting for his mother’s trial to start in less than thirty minutes.
Oliver had been furious when Felicity told him what she was doing, infuriated by her stubborn need to prove herself in the field when she had already proven herself beyond a shadow of a doubt in every way. He was so angry he nearly shouted at her through the phone.
Until she screamed.
Until she dropped the phone in her hands and Oliver listened helplessly as she struggled with some unknown menace, screaming once more before all went quiet.
Then that voice. That terribly musical and self-assured voice he remembered from months and months ago as if it were yesterday, tied to the feeling of a needle roughly shoved deep into muscle and sinew and the overwhelming chaos of Vertigo overtaking his system.
"Better come and get your girl," the monster breathed into the phone with twisted, amused malice, "She’s become a little frightened now that I’ve sprung my trap. Can’t you hear it in her voice?"
And then Oliver could hear her. Even muffled behind a hand or a gag, Felicity’s whimpers struck his ears so loudly they seemed like a physical blow.
She wasn’t a little frightened.
She was terrified.
"I know she’d love to see you," the beast continued, pleasant and sickening as Felicity’s whimpering faded into the background. "It would be so reassuring if you came to check on her. Besides, I’d like to chat with you about our… cancelled transaction, Mr. Queen. You weren’t very polite to bring the police down on my operation. It was quite rude and it even brought the man in green right to my doorstep. Ruined my business, you might say. And here you are trying to do it again. Perhaps Miss Smoak will be able to help me convince you of your error in judgment… Don’t take too long. She’s waiting, you know."
Oliver listened with dread and fear as the dial tone overtook that awful voice.
The Count had Felicity.
Her brilliant lead had been an elaborate trap set by the Count for anyone bold or reckless enough to tap the source.
As much as Oliver had hesitated to choose between his mother’s trial and taking down the Count, he no longer had any reservations. Felicity needed him. No other purpose held more meaning than that now.
His mother exited the private meeting room in her court attire exactly as he turned to go. Oliver could see the sudden comprehension in her gaze.
"You can’t stay," she stated simply, not a hint of accusation in her tone or her stare. Oliver felt lucky Thea had decided to talk with Jean about Roy’s presence in the court, hanging back far enough not to overhear.
"A friend needs me," was all he could say, an apology of sorts in his raging eyes.
"Go," she told him firmly, and he knew she truly understood somehow.
Not waiting for anything more than that, Oliver rushed from the courthouse one step shy of a sprint. By the time he whipped out of the foundry under the hood, he was close to exploding with impatience and desperation. God only knew what the Count could do with the unfortunate amount of time Oliver had been forced to use up in talking with his mother, getting to the club, scoping the layout of the Count’s location, and using some of Felicity’s treasured technology to view what few camera feeds he could tap into. The very idea made him push the bike harder than he ever had before.
The recently abandoned hotel Felicity had found in connection with the Count was nothing to sneeze at. With twenty levels and awkwardly arranged hallways, and the Count having it staked with guard after guard to protect his thriving kingdom, it was a dangerous infiltration. Of course it had been a trap for Felicity to slip past that many guards unnoticed.
The route inside would be almost impossible to manage with stealth and speed simultaneously, both of which were exactly what Oliver needed. He couldn’t just open fire on the men or create a ruckus. It could mean Felicity’s life and he was unwilling to risk that. But he also needed her to be safe as quickly as possible.
Each corner provided another difficult struggle with silence and secrecy, as well as a new notch in Oliver’s worry and impatience.
Finally he reached the ballroom where he would find his IT girl, his system filled with so much untapped energy and anger he nearly ripped the doors from their hinges to get inside.
No gunshots rang out as Oliver moved forward into the ballroom-turned-laboratory with an arrow already nocked, and he immediately saw why.
The Count stood no more than ten feet across from the doors with a familiar form slumped gracelessly onto his arm. Felicity moved in a sluggish, dreamy haze, a trail of crimson running freely from a wound on her thigh. The responsible weapon lay in the Count’s hand, the needle of the green-tinted syringe still coated with scarlet where it hovered in front of Felicity’s throat.
Oliver knew what that drug did, knew the fear of feeling mind-numbingly helpless and weak at its behest, and the sharp pain of having a needle forcefully thrust into his body. Felicity should never have had to feel any of that.
"Oh, this wasn’t very nice of Miss Smoak’s boss, now was it?" the Count spoke brightly, seeming absurdly gleeful he’d been cheated out of a meeting with his intended target.
"Let her go!" Oliver demanded, the voice modulator barely necessary when natural fury deepened and roughened his voice so heavily. He took one step forward in haste, and stopped instantly as his enemy pulled the syringe closer to Felicity’s throat, leaving a trail of red behind on her pale skin.
"Now, why would I do that?" the Count scolded almost thoughtfully, tugging Felicity’s body into a painfully tight hold and sending her head snapping to the side at an awkward angle, blond locks swiping the air. "She’s such a comforting weight. And I wouldn’t want Mr. Queen to think I’ll let him off the hook so easily. This lovely young lady could be very useful… If she survives a second dose.”
Oliver’s blood boiled with unadulterated rage as the Count dropped the bloodied syringe and swiftly took out a second one from his coat pocket, pulling up the sleeve of Felicity’s blouse with his other hand.
“Let. Her. Go." Oliver seethed, unable to recognize his own voice as wrath became him.
The Count laughed outright, his hand drawn back to plunge the syringe into Felicity’s exposed flesh. In the time it took to blink, Oliver saw his opening and let his arrow fly.
Glass shattered as arrowhead met syringe, and while the Count was forced to cover his face, Oliver dove forward to pull Felicity’s unresistant body away from her tormentor and into his own arms.
As bullets flew, Oliver ran for the multitude of large metal canisters of Vertigo set up along the entirety of the nearest wall. Raining bullets, the guards commenced on his position, and Oliver felt the adrenaline pushing at him to move. With Felicity out of her senses, however, he couldn’t risk the gunfire more than he already had. Laying her down in the most protected area behind containers of the filthy drug, Oliver checked her over for bullet wounds as quickly as possible, breathing a momentary sigh of relief when he found none.
Taking advantage of the sudden lull in gunfire as the guards moved to ascertain his life or death, Oliver pulled his bow into position and took advantage of the sudden silence to jump up and fire twice at the nearest targets. Two men went down, Oliver ducked again, and the rest of the guards backed up with caution before opening fire again.
"Stop shooting!" The Count cried out in a fury. "You’re destroying the merchandise!"
Oliver heaved another sigh of relief for this small mercy. It didn’t help him get out any quicker, but at least he didn’t have to watch the protective barrier of canisters disintegrate.
"You can’t stay there forever," the Count called out, all hint of humor now gone from his voice. "Even if you don’t meet the wrong end of a bullet, Miss Smoak will likely die from that first dose. Didn’t I mention it was a stronger formula?"
Cursing the monster with every fiber of his being, Oliver thought through any options he had. If he ran for it, the only way out he could see was the same way he came in. There were no windows in the room he could escape from, and nothing with any practical value in protecting Felicity from the onslaught of bullets anyway.
When help arrived mere moments later, it was not quite the way Oliver had been expecting.
All he heard was the thump of a body hitting the floor and the startled exclamations of the guards as they opened fire in the opposite direction. Daring to check above the canisters, Oliver watched in relief and gratitude as a familiar masked blonde skipped in and out of the tables and equipment to avoid gunfire and draw attention away from him.
The Count’s focus lay with the black-clad vigilante across the way, whose skills he could not doubt as she dodged this way and that through the melee, coming closer and moving farther away as necessary to keep holding their attention. She had no one to protect, no one for whom she had to continually ensure safety. That seemed to make her twice as dangerous.
Nocking one more arrow, Oliver ruthlessly took advantage of the distraction, lifting the bow Felicity had made for him and aiming with the intent of proving just how dangerous a protective, disadvantaged man could be.
The bowstring twanged and an arrow flew through the air with inexorable accuracy, heading directly towards the one person responsible for Felicity’s life hanging in the balance.
For the first time since returning to Starling City and taking up the bow once more, Oliver didn’t care if his arrow brought death. He could find no suffering strong enough for what had been done to so kind and strong a person as Felicity Megan Smoak.
Not taking even a second to glance at the results of his aim, Oliver pulled Felicity into his arms and raced through the corridors which had since become littered with bodies. Oliver pushed himself harder than ever, making it to the bike and speeding away in record time. Somehow he made it to Verdant driving one-handed, Felicity wrapped tightly in his other arm in front of him.
After the time he had spent getting to her, saving her, and escaping with her, the most nerve-wracking moment for Oliver was carrying Felicity down the metal stairs and setting her small body on the steel table. She looked tiny on the gleaming surface, and the sight nearly crushed Oliver as he hooked up the heart monitor for his own sanity.
Mashing herbs and mixing them in water with single-minded focus helped to steady his trembling hands for a moment. He forced thoughts of her death away with all of his strength, making himself believe he could save her.
Because he needed to save her. Nothing would work right without her by his side. Felicity had slowly and subtly become the glue holding his half-life together. He just couldn’t lose her now.
Oliver raced back to the table and quickly lifted Felicity into the circle of his arm, tipping her head just enough to slip the cup to her lips. Watching her blue eyes flutter with the effects of Vertigo hurt more than he could say. She was so… fragile.
She would kill him if she heard that out loud, but it was true. No matter how strong of a person Felicity was, her body was simply not as powerful as his or Diggle’s were. It was only the truth, no matter how much it annoyed her.
When the drug-induced chattering started to take hold of Felicity, Oliver could have screamed with guilt. It was all his fault. His fault that she had misunderstood his intentions when he forbade her to go in the field alone.
"Oliver… Oliv-ver… fai-failed the mis-ssion… No. Nooo… Shouldn’ ’ave…"
By the end of it, Felicity was in tears and her head shook side to side over and over. Oliver could only hold her tightly in his arms as the drug made its mark, lips pressed to her hair as he vowed to himself he would never again let her think she had to prove herself worthy of their team — or of his trust.
An age seemed to have passed when Oliver finally felt Felicity’s body relax into his grip. At some point he had resorted to rocking her back and forth like a small child, the only means of comfort he could offer that she would understand in her mindless haze.
Moving his hand to pull down her skirt which had ridden up, Oliver suddenly jerked his hand back in surprise. Something wet covered his fingers. Checking what it could be, Oliver blanched at the sight of blood.
Looking down at the source of the bleeding, Oliver saw and remembered the wound in Felicity’s soft skin made by the syringe. Feeling utter rage boil up again, Oliver forced it back with the barest thread of control, cursing his own stupidity for forgetting to care for such a glaring wound. Scowling at his own ignorance, he carefully laid Felicity back down, taking a brief moment to remove his leather jacket and roll it up beneath his partner’s head.
Something in the gentle set of her face and the slight turn of her head urged Oliver to run his fingers through those soft blond locks where they flowed onto the tabletop. With a vigorous shake, the billionaire moved to pull out first aid supplies instead.
As relatively small as the wound was on Felicity’s thigh, Oliver made doubly sure it was stringently clean and well-bandaged before he put away his materials. Left with nothing else to occupy himself, Oliver stood hovering at Felicity’s side with clenched fists, wishing he could do more to help her.
But there was nothing to do, except wait. So that was exactly what he did, rolling her office chair over and settling into it; allowing the vast ocean of tension to hang over him until he could see her eyes open — lucid and pure blue.
My stories and story prompts can be found on the page called The Written Word on my blog.