Chapter 13: Please Explain

What’s that crate of expensive wine doing here?!”

Bella laughed as she had followed her father while dragging Oliver along by the hand. Glancing back at him, she gave him a wink. “It was a present from a colleague looking to butter me up,” she replied. “We were going to make some use out of it tonight.”

Laurel had been hot on all their heels as she was more interested in what Charlie had been ready to say before. “Forget the wine! You said that Ollie and Bella were obsessed with each other. Why don’t any of us remember this?”

Charlie shrugged and waved it off. “You all were kids. You grow up and you forget. I believed Bella would in time, and she did, but after we moved. It was like she lost a piece of herself and she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t interested in having fun and she lost that sparkle in her eye. I haven’t seen that in so many years,” he said wistfully as he looked over at her. “Moira pushed Oliver into all those schools and from the stories Quentin filled me in on over the years, it sounded like you rebelled against it quite strongly. You had been well behaved and everything that was expected of you but you became – well, you know.”

“So why did we move?” Bella asked, her hand curling around Oliver’s to the point that her nails nearly began digging into his palm.

“Well, for starters, Moira insulted Renee by asking her to become Oliver and Thea’s nanny, seemingly because you and Oliver got along so well, but she wasn’t allowed to take you with her,” Charlie said as he took a swig of his beer and then looked at Oliver. “I think that by now you’ve realized that your mother’s hands weren’t as clean as she made you believe?”

Oliver scowled as he moved to open another bottle of wine and got mugs out of the cupboard before joining Bella again, pouring the wine unceremoniously into the mugs and handed her and Laurel the other ones. He took a big gulp of wine that really shouldn’t be drunk the way he was defiling it, but he didn’t care. “At the time of her death, we weren’t on speaking terms, yes. I couldn’t believe the stunts she pulled, my own mother.”

Charlie leaned on the counter as he looked into the boy’s eyes. “We’ve had our theories over the years but could never prove anything. Now it doesn’t really matter anymore, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder, you know? When Renee was killed, we suspected that Moira might have had something to do with it… I’m not saying she definitely did, and I don’t want to point fingers. But if we’re going to air out our dirty laundry here, we may as well get everything out if you’re going to be around here more.”

“I don’t know, I’d have to look through her files… and I really don’t want that because I’m afraid what else will pop up and it’ll only make me angrier.”

“Then don’t,” Bella said as she spoke up, running her hand over his thigh. “I don’t remember Renee enough for her loss to affect me in any way. No need to open a can of worms that we can’t close.”

“Thea… she’s my half-sister,” Oliver said hesitantly. “That’s one of the things that I argued about with Moira after I found out.”

Charlie and Bella shared a glance as they tensed. “Do you know who her father is?” she asked.

“Of course I know, one of my mother’s partners, my best friend’s father.” Oliver said as he downed his mug of wine in one go. “She’s with him now, getting to know him and whatnot.”

Laurel remained quiet for the most part as she listened, deciding to step in for him. “Tommy’s dad, Malcolm Merlyn. It came out not long before she died, and Thea’s not really speaking to any of us because she believes we all knew and kept it from her, but it was far from the truth.”

Bella wasn’t thrilled about that news because in her catching up on the city, she read about the man as well. “He’s going to be a problem. Wasn’t he supposed to be dead?”

“Oh yeah, the Arrow got to him and a year later he popped up again… to save Thea.” Oliver said as he refilled his mug of wine. “Guess the Arrow needs to learn how to aim properly.”

She narrowed her eyes on him, as she pinched his side for the self deprecating talk he was making. “I’m sure there was more to the situation. The Arrow must not have known something about him then or he had something to protect him. I’m sure he’s already looking into it. Who knows what kind of resources he has access to.”

“I’m sorry, Oliver. There were rumours when your mother was pregnant with Thea, of course, but to go up against the almighty Queen family? That was not done in that time. I doubt Robert knew,” Charlie said empathically. “It’s a good thing that you’ve started to become a positive force in this city, Oliver, even if it’s behind closed doors. Your company helps a lot of people with getting jobs. You know that Bella and I will help wherever we can.”

Oliver’s phone beeped with a message and Bella reached over for it to pass to him. “I’m betting it’s Alfred and Chuck finally getting their asses here,” she smiled with a wink. “I’ll go wait for them at the door. Just – relax.”

“Yeah, they’re asking if they should bring pizza or something,” Oliver said, looking at his phone.

“Mmmmmmmm, yeah. Grilled chicken and broccoli on mine please,” she said.

Oliver typed a message back to say that they needed at least seven pizzas and one with chicken and broccoli, the rest they could figure out themselves. “Done, they’ll be here within twenty minutes.” He turned his attention to Charlie. “So Bella and I were close when we were younger?”

“Oh yes,” Charlie answered with a nod. “Sometimes it even looked like you two were glued together. Renee always said that you two would make a lovely couple when you’d be older. I think she’d be thrilled if she could see you now, at the beginning of something beautiful,” he then took a swig of his beer. “She’d also tell you that you’d better treat her right, Oliver, otherwise she’d have your balls for dinner.”

Laurel started to laugh when Oliver winced. “Bella already warned him about her castrating him.”

“Good girl,” he said proudly.

“With your hedgeclippers,” she added as she hid her grin behind her mug as she eyed her friend.

“Both of you behave yourselves,” Bella chided them as she walked back in to refill her wine and to save Oliver from further torment. “Leave him alone before I come at the two of you with the clippers. Hey Dad? I was thinking of Derek getting started for this branch and stepping back for awhile. I was hoping that you might help with that as I want to begin cutting my hours back to half days beginning this week.”

Charlie’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor in surprise. “Please tell me that you have other plans than being the trophy around his arm because young lady, I did not raise you like that!”

She shook her head at his accusation. “Hell no! Please, no. I just want to do something else for awhile. While you were gone, there’d been some issues at the club and I’ve actually enjoyed my time there a lot more and I’d like to be a little more involved with the business there. I need a break from Swan Security. Of course I’d stay on the board and everything. I’d be available if I’m needed for any press or contract negotiations, but I can’t be the one on top of everything like I’ve been the last seven years.”

Charlie was quiet as he eyed his daughter before he looked at Oliver and back at Bella. “Good for you, it’s about time you started to live a little and bring some fun back into your life.”

“She certainly knows how to have a good time,” Laurel snorted knowingly as she swallowed her wine and looked away, trying to act innocent and ignored the scowl she received from her cousin.

“Shut up Harley or I’ll tell Robin that it was you that accidently spilled water all over her mouse this morning,” she smiled sweetly at her.

“You wouldn’t!” Laurel gasped in horror. She had already been on the receiving end of the wrath of Felicity and it wasn’t pretty.

“Oh I would…” Bella replied, not flinching.

“Who’s Harley and Robin?” Charlie asked, confused.

“Bella has taken it upon herself to call my friends names from the Batman comics,” Oliver explained. “Laurel is Harley and my assistant is Robin. My driver is Alfred and the manager of Verdant is Chuck, for some reason,” he grinned as he studied his wine more closely. He knew he shouldn’t be drinking, but he could really use something to ease the muscles in his back now that they’d decided that tonight was not a good night to go after Peter and that branch fucking hurt.

“Alfred will be here soon, with Chuck!” Bella grinned happily.

Charlie looked at each of them like they might be losing their minds and nodded. “And just who might the two of you be in this little game?”

“Alfred calls me Batgirl,” she frowned. “I don’t see it though. Oliver should be obvious. He’s Bruce.”

“Although technically, she should be Bruce. For now, she has more money than I do,” Oliver said with a nod.

“Semantics,” Bella waved him off as she narrowed her eyes on him. “Hey you. I need your help upstairs with something. Come with me.”

“Charlie and I will hold the fort,” Laurel said as she took a sip and sat down on a barstool.

“Hollar when the boys call,” Bella said as she took Oliver’s hand and lead him away from the kitchen area as quickly as he was able to move. “How bad is it?” she asked, heading for the closest set of stairs.

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “The branch could have broken some skin but the suit’s still intact. I’ll be a bit sore, nothing to worry about, it happens all the time.”

She nodded but didn’t say anything else until they were in her room and closed the door behind them, locking it. “Take it off and let me see,” she said as she went over to one of her dressers and pulled out a couple jars and sniffed at them to find the one she was looking for.

“Bella, I’m fine,” he stated.

“And Charlie is here. What are you going to tell him if he starts getting suspicious? He’s a former cop, remember? And we train with some of the best in the country so just let me take care of you,” she said as she looked up at him. “I have something that will help take away the pain for awhile. It should last long enough until he decides to go to bed then you can go back to being Mr. Tough Guy. Deal?”

Oliver sighed as he sat down and pulled his arms back through the sleeves one by one before bending forward to get the shirt off.

Finding the tub that she had made, she crawled onto the bed behind him and winced. “Ollie, you’re going to need to take it easy tomorrow,” she muttered as she slowly started to rub the ointment over his back, trying to massage it into the bruising that was already mottling the skin. “How big was this branch because if it hit your head – it could have killed you. It was damn close. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a cracked rib.”

“I don’t know, big enough to knock me to the ground.” He thought he smelled something familiar as she was rubbing in the cream, but couldn’t quite place the scent for now.

“Pairs from now on,” she sighed as she added more to him, working up into his neck. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” he admitted. “I don’t know of any creams to have this instantaneous effect, apart from the one Yao Fei had showed me to make once… On the island.”

Bella shrugged as she handed him the tub. “I learned how to make this from a shaman when I was in China about three and a half years ago. He gave me a bunch of the herbs for it and showed how to grind them, and what to use them for. I have them premixed for different uses to save time.”

He sniffed at the tub and remembered vividly how Yao Fei made the ointment. ‘Treat the herbs like fragile buds when bruising them for cream, soak them in good water for poison.’ Oliver said to himself and shook his head in amusement.

“What’s so funny?” Bella asked as she rubbed excess ointment into the darker bruises on his back.

“Yao Fei told me that on the mainland, this stuff gets grown in special, holy places. Well guarded places because the herbs are considered holy. On the island, it just grows in the wild, but other than the prisoners, no one could get there.”

“The shaman didn’t say anything when he offered them to me. He actually pulled me off the street when I was scouting for a possible branch office,” she shrugged. “It seemed kind of odd but he was harmless.”

“I’ve met those people, they’re good people and seemingly able to sense if someone’s one of their own. The person I met sensed that I’d been on the island and had been treated with the holy herbs and was considered to be one of them – for some reason I still don’t quite understand.”

She was quiet as she looked at him. “I’ve never been on Lian Yu, so what’s my excuse?”

“The herbs didn’t originate on Lian Yu, they belonged to a tribe of people, as you said before. Maybe you are a descendant of that tribe and maybe that’s why the shaman got you off the street.”

Bella’s eyes grew as she sat back, not sure how to react. She’d known she was adopted, it wasn’t a secret in the family – they just chose not to discuss it because it didn’t matter. “Well…That certainly makes everything seem like it’s full circle…” she murmured as she looked at him, now realizing that they had actually been so close to one another not that long ago. “Huh. Do you think we should tell the others?”

“About the weird shaman? No,” Oliver replied amused. “Felicity might find out if she runs a deep scan on your DNA, but I trust her to give me the results and not speak of it if it doesn’t have anything to do with your ability.”

“Oliver. What did you do? How did you get my DNA?” she asked as she stood up from the bed, pulling her hand away from him as if he was lit on fire.

“I wanted to wait for your permission but eager Felicity confiscated the bottle of Jack you’d been drinking from. You have my permission to throttle her but please keep her alive.”

She nodded as she glanced at the time. “Alfred and Chuck will be here any minute. You should be capable of moving by now Lurch,” Bella said as she reached for his hand and pulled him up with her.

As they walked down the stairs, Oliver stretched out his back, relieved for the time that much of the tension was gone. It only gave more credence to his belief that whatever herbs she used had to be the same ones that he was familiar with, making him want to ask her later if she had any unmade that he could compare with his own supply later.

“Go join Dad and Laurel and take it easy. Just because you aren’t feeling the pain now, doesn’t mean the injury isn’t still there. I’ll help them with the pizzas,” she said as she gave him a gentle shove towards the kitchen.

“You know you’re going to have to ease up on the bossy attitude of yours,” he smiled at her as he backed away.

“I’ll lay off when you do,” she laughed as she opened the door in time to find Diggle and Roy pulling up the driveway. Her eyes quickly surveyed the sky, finding only some flickers of lightning in the distance, as if this Peter was subtly reminding them that he was still around and for the first time in a long time, she wasn’t locked in frozen. While she was still greatly unnerved by it, based on the way she had her arms wrapped around herself, she was still functional, if not distracted.

It wasn’t until Diggle called up to her after he closed his car door, that she was able to come out of the almost trance she was in. “Are you alright Miss Swan?” he asked.

Shaking her head clear, she smiled back at the two before going down the rest of the steps. Deciding to be quick, Bella quickly replied and went to fill them both in on the latest turn on the night. “Yeah. It’s still quite unsettling, even if it’s a distance out,” she said as she pointed towards the area of the most activity. “So my dad came back early from his fishing trip. He already started on Oliver, but has since calmed down. I don’t doubt he’ll try to throw a few more cheap shots at him before he goes to bed so we have to keep an eye out. He’s pretty observant, so keep that in mind, as he won’t say anything outright. I’ve already told him some of my plans with the company which I’ll fill you in shortly because I need to talk to him more about that and we may as well do that over food that way he can’t be screaming at everyone if his mouth is full between the pizza and beer.”

Diggle chuckled and nodded as Bella let him and Roy inside. “Where do you want the pizzas, ma’am?”

“I’ll take care of it,” Roy flashed a grin at Bella and Diggle before walking to the kitchen and set the pizzas down on the counter and started to look for the plates before Charlie cleared his throat. Roy sheepishly looked at the older man and then looked at Oliver who was drinking something from a mug and was staring at Roy. “Oh, hi, sir, I’m Roy Harper.”

“Aren’t you a little young to be friends with my daughter?”

“No sir,” Roy chuckled. “I work for your daughter and Mr. Queen.”

Bella followed in with Diggle, rolling her eyes. “Relax guys. Chuck, we’re not on the job so you can lay off the formalities. I know you don’t call him that at the gym,” she said raising an eyebrow. Looking around at everyone, she took a deep breath as she reclaimed her seat beside Oliver and reached over to take his hand and smiled as she sent him a meaningful look, expressing that she had something she wanted to speak about soon.

“Well, I for one, think this was the best idea ever,” Laurel said as she reached for one of the pizza boxes and opened it. “After what happened the other day, we deserve to have a little fun.”

“Yeah, that’s actually why I came back,” Charlie said as he looked at his daughter. “Yesterday’s shooting was all over the news. I thought you said the security at the club was adequate.”

“It had nothing to do with security, Mr. Swan,” Diggle replied. “They were overwhelmed just as much as we were. The gunmen were idiots for trying to rob us. However, your daughter and I have already discussed how we’re going to continue for a while to make it safer for everyone. Especially since she and Mr. Queen are heavily talked about in the media.”

Bella bit on her lip as she searched for her pizza through the mountain of boxes, trying to ignore the looks her father had been giving her. When she couldn’t stand it any further, she let out a sigh. “Dad. You had to have known that they would have tried putting Oliver and I together at some point because of my involvement with his club. Hell, even I expected it, just not as soon as it happened.”

“The gunmen were just that,” Oliver said as he gently rubbed Bella’s back. “The reason why we’re all here is because we think that Bella might have a stalker and we didn’t want her to be alone,” Oliver could feel Bella tense up underneath his touch and kept rubbing her back. “I have already informed Detective Lance and he’s looking into it. But for the time being, once Verdant is ready to be opened to the public again, additional security, from your firm, will be stationed at the club seeing as Bella is planning on spending more time there.” He took a sip of his wine before reaching for a pizza slice of the box that Laurel had opened. “Mr. Diggle has been looking after me ever since I returned from the island, he’s the best at what he does and I trust him completely in making sure that Bella’s safe.”

Charlie sat back as he looked between the two, taking a more searching look at his daughter. “You do know that we have plenty of capable bodyguards at our disposal as well? Oh hell…I can clearly see that there is something else going on that you aren’t telling me Bella and I’m going to trust you but I want you to be careful.”

“Mr. Swan, just to give you a heads up, for Bella’s safety we’ve come up with a reason for her to withdraw from the public eye for a little bit and I don’t want you to be alarmed tomorrow evening when we put out a press release,” Diggle spoke up, knowing full well what Felicity had done earlier that day and was playing off of that. He was going to speak to Oliver later about giving him a heads up before pulling a story out of his ass.

Wincing, she had an idea of what he was referring to. “You talked with Robin about that?” she asked him as she sat back, feeling sick at remembering the phone call with Carlisle.

He nodded to her but didn’t comment further because her father was clearly growing more upset. “And what makes you think that what you, a mere bodyguard, have planned can be any better than what my daughter and her company can come up with?” he asked.

“Dad…” Bella warned.

“No. It’s quite alright Miss Swan. I’ve served our country and have the same training and experience, if not more, than your staff. I’m sure that Bella will agree to the plan based on her future intentions she had already begun to contemplate,” Diggle added with a small smile in her direction.

“More and more I’m regretting our decision to move back. Not that I’m unhappy about your new friends – that’s still under investigation, but you were a lot safer in Seattle,” Charlie grumbled as he got up to get another beer from the fridge. “I will trust you, Bella, to make the right decisions in this matter.” He opened his bottle. “Just let me know if I need to be aware of something.”

She nodded with a grateful smile. Knowing that the conversation the group would need to have would have to wait until Charlie went to bed, she slowly grinned as an idea formed. “Hey Ollie? You know we never finished watching that movie the other night…” she hinted.

“Robin Hood, Men in Tights, yes,” Oliver grinned, causing Roy, Laurel and Diggle to snort. “We should finish watching that.” He took a few pizza boxes with him to the living room and was quickly followed by Laurel who brought the wine and mugs with her.

“Really?” Diggle questioned as he looked at her.

Shrugging Bella smirked. “I had a run in with the Arrow that night, remember? I had the urge to watch Robin Hood! You can’t honestly tell me that you haven’t popped the movie in at least once since the guy came to town,” she said, glancing towards her father.

The doorbell rang suddenly, causing everyone to look at one another in surprise. “Were you expecting anybody else?” Charlie asked, standing from his seat.

“No,” Bella answered as she headed into the family room where the others too, stood still, trying to decide how they would proceed.

“I’ll go see who it is,” Diggle announced as he pulled out his own sidearm, winking at Bella as he passed. She gave him a smirk, shaking her head, saying nothing as she moved to try get a view of the foyer without leaving the room. Lucky for everyone else, her impatience would be satisfied as Diggle returned shortly with Felicity, who had an expression on her face that reminded Bella of a chihuahua hyped up on caffeine.

“What?” Felicity said innocently. “Everyone’s here instead of in the club so after work I decided to just…” She then shrugged and turned to Charlie. “Mr. Swan, good to meet you, sir. I’m Felicity, I work for Oliver.” When she mentioned Oliver’s name, she looked at him and briefly tapped on her bag that held her laptop. She had some exciting news from what it looked like until she saw the pizza boxes. “Oh, pizza!”

Charlie blinked at the energy that the woman brought into the house. “I’m getting too old for this,” he muttered as he planted a kiss on Bella’s head. “I’ll be upstairs unpacking and heading to bed.”

“Goodnight Daddy,” she said as she stared after him until she was sure he was out of earshot before turning back to the group. “Okay – now what the fuck? What is this plan and why are you here? And since you are here – you may as well expect to park your ass on the couch for the night with the rest of us for sake of appearances. I have clothes you can borrow.”

Felicity looked at Bella before sitting down. Wearing clothes that the woman wore? The girl had taste, even better taste than her own. “Cool,” she grinned.

“Well,” Diggle said as he sat down. “What we need is to get this Peter to some place where he can’t hide as well as here, somewhere he can’t do a lot of damage. Felicity already basically set up the whole idea of you being in the hospital for anxiety when she called, you know.”

“Yeah, it’s basically just you taking things easy for a while, like… Diggle said you have a good temporary replacement lined up for you at your work?” Felicity asked as she grabbed a slice of pizza and took a bite off it.

She nodded. “I was going to have Derek come to the house tomorrow to go over the change in his role within the company here in Starling City. Whoever is here will be able to meet him as well which will be good because I’d rather you guys deal with him should we have to use Swan Security for anything official as we will need to have his name on the paperwork and not mine. And – before all that goes through, there are some things that I want to get that I need to help you whilst staying off the radar for everyone else.”

“Like what?” Diggle asked, amused.

“Oh, don’t you worry your pretty little head, you’re going to love it,” Bella playfully said as she took a slice of the pizza and turned on the TV to resume the movie.

“Oh, can I? Can I?” Felicity said as she bounced on the couch and Oliver decided to sit down on the floor. “First off, I apologize that I stepped over boundaries – again, and started to build Bella’s DNA profile from the bottle of Jack Daniels she was lurking on today. And it’s not done, yet, but I did find something interesting.”

The woman sighed as she rolled her eyes, making herself comfortable next to laurel and throwing her legs over her cousin’s. “Just hit me with it already.”

“Oh, it’s nothing bad, it’s just interesting.” Felicity said with a nod. “You have the metagene and it’s been naturally activated, nothing disastrous as the particle accelerator explosion because you’ve had it since you were born.”

“Figured as much,” Oliver said with a nod.

“But it’s great, isn’t it? At least now she knows where it comes from!”

Bella was still confused. “What is a metagene? And what does that mean for me in the long run?” she asked worried.

“Nothing,” Felicity smiled widely. “You’re still the healthy twenty-seven year old that you are. According to people who work with metahumans on a daily basis, do research and what not, you’re just another step in evolution.”

“Yes, but combined with you being a natural and the nature of your ability, we really need to keep this all between us. Nobody else needs to know, especially not the people we sometimes work with,” Oliver said as he reached for another slice of pizza.

She looked over at him with a frown. “Like who? Is there someone that you know that would want me in particular? Secrets Oliver… You know how I feel about them.”

“Yeah, there’s this government agency called A.R.G.U.S. They were set up to deal with major threats like the League of Assassins… uhm, the group Malcolm Merlyn belongs to… and Sara… and they’re good at what they do, honestly. They know a lot of things they shouldn’t know about. They’d kill for someone like you on their team,” Oliver explained. “It’s complicated.”

Bella scrambled up to her feet, not caring that she accidently kicked Laurel in the side in the process. She blinked for a moment not knowing what to say. “Sara…okay. Just another reason for me not to want to deal with her. The other… Just how much should I be concerned. Really?”

“Not everything’s black and white in our world, Bella,” he said as he reached for her hand to pull her down to him. “The League of Assassins aren’t that bad, occasionally we cross paths and mostly they do the same work but on a larger scale, world wide and all that. A.R.G.U.S. sees them as vigilantes and they aren’t really keen on me either. Diggle’s girlfriend works for them though.”

“Grey area,” Diggle said with a nod.

“The only thing you have to remember is that you can trust us, trust me. We’d never take advantage of you or use you for something against your will because you’re more than just this person who’s bulletproof. Especially to me,” Oliver smiled up to her.

She fell to her knees and curled up next to him. “This is getting to be way too crazy too fast,” she sighed.

“I know,” he said as he put an arm around her. “That’s why I’m trying to give you small doses of it all but you keep asking questions you expect me to answer,” he snorted and kissed the top of her head.

She bit her lip as she considered everything and she was thankful for his effort despite her attitude in a lot of it. “After we get through the whole switch-over this week, can we just get everything out later so that I won’t be surprised again? Even if it’s a little bit at a time until but I need to know more about what your world really is like.”

“Yes,” Oliver smiled at her and caressed her back. “I promise.”

They watched the movie while munching on the pizza that was getting colder and colder and drinking wine and Oliver could see that one by one, his friends fell asleep as the night progressed. Either from exhaustion or too much alcohol. It had been a crazy few days and he hoped that things were going to turn back to normal soon.

When it was just her and Oliver left awake, she could see that the treatment she had given him was starting to wear off. “Want to go upstairs? I can draw you up a hot bath?” she whispered.

“Go back to sleep,” he smiled at her. “I’m fine.”

“You’re hurting…” she frowned, running her hand carefully over his back to test his sensitivity.

Oliver sucked in a breath as she touched his back. “I’ve had worse. I know that I probably need to lay down for a while, a day or two preferably and get a lot of pills inside of me but I don’t want that because that will delay us all.”

“Then at least let’s sleep in a comfortable bed. No need aggravating it further,” Bella pointed out. “I can put more ointment on in the morning so that you can get through the day without pain.”

Oliver grumbled. He’d always walked around with pain, this time it wasn’t anything different. If he had to move, he’d move. “Do you have the herbs in dry form as well? Can I take a look at it?”

Nodding, Bella looked thoughtful. “You want some? I have a small box. A little goes a long way with that stuff. Plus you actually have to go to China to get it. I tried shops in Seattle but no luck.”

“Oh, I have some,” Oliver grinned with a nod. “Last time I went to the island to drop off Slade Wilson at an A.R.G.U.S. prison, I took some with me. Like you said, a little goes a long way.”

“You’ll have to tell me more about that one,” she said, settling back down beside him as she realized that he wasn’t willing to take any form of pain relief. As she felt herself start to drift back off, she murmured, “Promise you’ll let me know if you’re hurting too much. I don’t like the thought of you in pain.”

Oliver reached for a blanket and pulled it over Bella. With her using him as a pillow, he couldn’t just get up and move around, do push-ups, to get the pain out of his system like he usually did and it wasn’t as if sitting up against the couch was going to do him any good but that was okay, he was going to deal with it in the morning. He switched off the television with the remote and slowly drifted off to sleep.



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