By the time the three of them made it back to Bella’s apartment, no one expected there to be another guest waiting there. “Hey Bells,” the voice greeted when she pushed the door open, but the cheery tone turned cold as his eyes narrowed at the figure that trailed in behind her. “What is he doing here?” Charlie questioned.
Oliver refrained from using Connor, who was walking in front of him, as a shield. He was the damn Arrow, why was he afraid of one man? “Uhm… hi, Mr. Swan,” Oliver said as he extended his hand towards the man. Yes, walk towards danger, not away from it, he silently scolded himself. When the man didn’t take his hand, Oliver pulled it back. “Maybe it’s better if I go, Bella. Thn you and your dad can talk.”
“Grandpa! Guess what? Mom found my dad!” Connor exclaimed as he ran up to the older man and hugged him. Letting go, he pulled off his coat before making his way back over by Oliver. “We went to the park and we played Flash and Arrow and had ice cream! He’s going to have dinner with us too! Come on, let me show you my room!”
Bella narrowed her eyes on her son, before looking up at Oliver. “He wants to show you his room, Dad,” she murmured, nodding in the direction to go.
Oliver nodded and followed Connor, amazed by how he managed to dazzle Bella’s father so fast.
“What are you doing, Bella?” Charlie said as he moved to the kitchen where Connor wouldn’t be able to hear through the walls. “The guy let you down and now all of a sudden he’s back?”
She followed him, but she wasn’t looking forward to this conversation. “It wasn’t like that. You wouldn’t listen to me before when I tried to tell you what was going on. We ran into each other a few weeks ago, but honestly, he didn’t know about him. I lied and told him I miscarried because his mother wanted me to stay away from him. She paid that money to make sure we stayed away and Oliver wouldn’t know about him but he found out about him from her. She left him a letter that he only just found out about,” she argued, glaring at her father as she defended him again. “Whatever you may think about the Queens, Oliver deserves to know his son. I’m not going to take away that right like Renee tried to do with you.”
Charlie was fuming by the time she mentioned Renee. “Renee didn’t have access to expensive lawyers, Bella.”
“Neither does he, Dad. Not anymore,” she whispered. “You don’t know him and you never gave him half a chance. So if you don’t want to give him the opportunity to prove himself -”
“Him and his family are the reason you left Starling City! What makes you think that that has changed at all?”
“His mother and protecting my son is the reason I left Starling City. Don’t confuse the two,” she warned, her tone deadly as she stared her father down. This wasn’t a broken hearted girl anymore. She was a mother bear over her cub and now a woman with her heart on the way to being mended and she’d be damned if it was crashed by her own blood the way Oliver’s was. “If you don’t want to learn the truth, there is the door. No one is stopping you.”
Charlie thought for a moment and then sat down. “I’m not going to lose my grandson over this,” he muttered.
“But your daughter?” she asked, insulted by his remark. “Some father.”
“If I lose him, I lose you, don’t I?” He replied. “I don’t want to see you get hurt again, Bella. It may feel good now, but what about next week?”
“Get to know him and judge for yourself. Not what those tabloids claim. Sure he was no angel back then, but neither was I to get caught up in it. He was manipulated just as much as I was and we both have proof of the fact if you don’t want to believe our word,” she said, trying to calm down, knowing that he was a man of facts. “Hard, tangible proof.”
“Show me,” Charlie said with a nod.
Bella sighed as she shook her head, leaving the room to go find Oliver in Connor’s room. In the doorway, she smiled as she watched them for a moment, before interrupting. “Do you have that letter and file on you still? You know Dad. Proof,” she sneered back over her shoulder. “I need to get a copy of my bank records and your mother’s checks for him.”
“Oh, that’s not necessary,” Oliver said as he looked at Connor. “I’m going to help out your mom and convince your grandfather that I’m not evil.”
Connor grinned. “Good luck.”
He got to his feet and grabbed his bag before joining Bella in the kitchen with Charlie. He put the letter on the counter and opened the email Felicity had sent him with Bella’s bank records. “Whenever I get a letter saying one thing, I always have someone check it for me before I do irrational things,” he said with an apologetic look to Bella. “And the extra information says that that letter is wrong.”
“Your mother always twisted the facts to suit her needs,” Bella muttered as she sat in the stool next to Oliver with a grumble.
“I know, she was a straight up bitch even if that letter claims she was trying to redeem herself,” Oliver said and sighed. “I’m actually kind of tired of finding out new secrets or new things that she may or may not have had a hand in. It’s bad enough that she ruined both her children’s lives by thinking she was doing her best at protecting them.”
“I hear a ‘but’ in there,” she said as she looked up at him, ignoring her father as he studied each page in the folder.
“She was my mother. She was my safe place. We might have fallen out with each other towards the end of her life, but she was still my mother.”
Charlie huffed as he looked up from the files. “And if she was still alive and you discovered everything now? What would you have done? Cried to her and still ignored my daughter and the son that you helped create?”
“Dad,” Bella warned again, her patience growing thin as her anger was taking hold.
Oliver placed a hand on Bella’s leg and gently squeezed it. “Well, I would have done the same thing as I’ve done now. I’ve always loved your daughter, Mr. Swan. I never stopped even though I thought she had, which is why I didn’t seek her out when I returned home three years ago.”
“Yes, ‘boating accident’, wasn’t it?” Charlie said sceptically, even using air quotes.
“Here we go,” she muttered as she rolled her eyes and started to stand up to leave with him.
“Or were you just tired of your perfect life and just upped and left? Is there another mini you somewhere?”
“Stop it,” she said as she stared at her father, knowing that she was reaching her limits as she held onto Oliver’s arm.
Oliver had put his hand on the small of her back, staying calm. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t been asked these questions before and he wasn’t surprised that Charlie had them. “What do you want from me, Mr. Swan? Would you like to see proof of the five years I spent in the wilderness? I am sorry but I forgot to pack my camera when I went overboard and saw my father drown in front of me.”
“Don’t, Oliver,” Bella muttered as she turned around to look at her father. Her face was composed as she stared evenly. Her voice was more calm and assured than ever as she was resolved. “Get out.”
“Bells,” Charlie said surprised. “Don’t do this.”
“You did this. Maybe when you can grow up and accept my choices, then you can come back, but for now, get the hell out of my house and don’t try contacting me or our son until I am ready to talk to you again,” she said as she stood up against him. Her voice was rough while she pointed at him. “This was the last straw. Eight years of you insulting him. Now go.”
Charlie scowled as he gathered his coat. “Look what you’ve done, Queen. Are you happy now?”
“Look what you’ve done, Charlie,” Bella said as she stood in front of Oliver, blocking him, proving just how much of a protector she was to the innocent, as she glared at him before grinning to spite him. “I’m happy now.”
“Yeah, for how long,” Charlie muttered as he opened the front door and left.
Oliver just stood there, dumbfounded before putting his arms around Bella. “I would have answered his questions, you know…” he eventually said.
She shook her head as she let out a breath. “No. Nothing we would have done would have changed his mind. He was just trying to find more ammunition to use against you,” she said as she stared at the door wide eyed. “But – I don’t think I want to be here when he comes back. He hates losing and this is him backing down because I never stood against him like this when you came up. When are you going back to Starling City?”
Oliver blinked at that question and her explanation. “As soon as I get the mutts off the street. Maybe in a day or two… why? Would you like to come with?”
“Connor doesn’t want to stay and frankly – neither do I. If you really want us to work out, 600 miles between us kinda suck,” she pointed out.
“So it does,” he said with a nod with a smile on his face. “Yeah sure, I uh… will ask someone to look into a place for you to rent then or to buy, whatever your preference is.”
She nodded and bit her lip. Twisting her fingers she debated asking him something but it would have been too soon. “Whichever is fine, if the location is right.”
“Definitely not the Glades,” Oliver grinned and softly kissed her. “It’s going to be okay, I promise.”
She nodded and let out a sigh as she leaned into him. She wanted to believe him and clung to it desperately. “I have to tell Connor about Charlie but something tells me he won’t be surprised.”
Oliver nodded. “How about I make us something to eat while you go and talk to him?”
“There are some frozen pizzas in there that are easy enough. I was going to make fresh but that went, you know.”
“Ah well, pizzas are good either way,” Oliver smiled and softly kissed her again before letting her go and turned on the oven before getting the pizzas out of the freezer as Bella went to talk to Connor. Felicity was arriving in a couple of hours and she was going to flip, he just knew it, but he didn’t care.
This was for the best, this was right. It felt right. An avalanche had come down on him within 24 hours but it felt right, somehow. Had he had his own place to stay he would have asked her to move in with him, but maybe that would have been too fast and he didn’t actually have his own place other than the basement at Verdant which was no place for a child and he certainly wasn’t going to impose on Thea.
During dinner, Bella promised Connor that he wouldn’t have to go to school the next day and the boy hugged her tightly for that, promising in return that he would help her pack some stuff for their move to Starling City, which excited Connor in so many ways. Connor was slightly disappointed that Oliver had to leave for work, but Oliver pointed out to him that he and his mom had a lot of things to talk about and that that would be better if Oliver wasn’t there to distract him. He promised to pick them up for breakfast the next morning instead.
When he arrived at the abandoned building to get changed, he found Felicity eating some sushi, patiently waiting for him to arrive. “Hey,” he greeted her as he walked in.
“Hey yourself,” Felicity said as she held up a picture that Barry had sent her, it was Oliver with Connor on his back.
“I told you, I’d handle this myself.”
“Uhuh,” she said as she continued to eat. “Did you?”
“Yeah, they’re coming back to Starling City with me once I’m done here.”
“What now?” Felicity nearly dropped her food as she looked at him, gobsmacked. “Excuse me? This morning you’re telling me that you fucked up and now they’re coming back to Starling City? Oliver!”
“What? Is there a rule that people can’t move back to the place they’ve moved from in the first place?”
“So, let me get this straight, you abandoned this girl eight years ago and now you two are back together? What a bad move, Oliver. I know that you like torturing yourself but there’s a kid in play, Oliver. This is low, even for you.”
“You don’t know the entire story, Felicity,” he said as he handed her the letter his mother wrote to him, the one that made him call Felicity in the first place.
She eyed him as she took the letter and started reading it. Her mouth fell open in shock as she finished and handed it back. “Oh my god… Oh my god… Seriously? Laurel is going to freak out! I mean I understand bringing them back. They’re your family and we’ll be there for them but oh my god! You’re a father!”
“Weird, isn’t it?”
“You’re a father even before Diggle was, officially! Oh wow, Oliver, this must be so weird for you!”
“It is and it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but that’s because I have other things to do but Connor is an awesome kid, Felicity. He’s so smart and for some reason intuitive about things, it’s creepy.” He said as he got into his suit. “You’ll like him.”
“Yeah, he’s a cool kid,” Barry in his flash suit said as he zipped in. “How you doing Felicity? Did I miss anything?”
“He has a son,” Felicity pointed at Oliver, still trying to wrap her head around it.
“Yeah, I know. It’s even stranger to see the three of them together, ” he shared as he pulled out his cell phone to show her another photo he snuck when they weren’t looking.
“Oh my god, that is so cute!” Felicity squealed and looked up to Oliver. “You are so cute!”
“You’re talking about baby animals now. Baby animals are cute,” he said as he walked to the bag Felicity had brought with her and swapped some of his arrows with trick arrows.
She smiled anyway, not bothered. “So your mom admitted to screwing with the both of you. That’s fucked up. Did she maybe leave any other secrets that can help us?”
“Money?” Oliver said with a shrug. “Other than that, I hope that this will be the end of it.”
“That works… What’s the plan now? ”
“Barry and I are going to see if we can round up a few of those guys tonight. If not, at least we’ll be getting a feeling of what they can do and try again tomorrow. They’ve injured a lot of cops so we have to be careful.”
“We already made sure that the pods in our prison at S.T.A.R. labs will be suited for them. Professor Wells is already giddy with delight that he might have some cooperative metahumans on his hands.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet,” Oliver said under his breath.
“So what am I doing here then?” Felicity asked.
“I told you, I would deal with it but you insisted.”
“Oh! There’s a trivia night at Jitters. Iris would love it if you’d show,” Barry smiled widely at Felicity. “Join her team and all that.”
“I might as well,” Felicity nodded as she got up to collect her things. “You two be careful out there.”
“Don’t worry,” Oliver said as he picked up his bow and headed to his motor cycle. “Have fun with Iris,” he smiled before putting his helmet on and sped off.
“Oliver’s a dad,” Barry grinned at Felicity.
“I know! Diggle is going to freak!” She squealed and started to jump around. “I’m so happy for him!”
He watched Felicity dance like nobody was watching for a while and then spoke up. “Would you like a lift into town?”
“And ruin my hair? Not to mention my clothes? Nah, you still owe me a new top as it is. Go catch some bad guys.”
The first stop was at the hideout where he had followed Bella to the night before, just to see if they’d be stupid enough to go back to where they were, but they weren’t. Of course they didn’t make it easy for him and Barry. Why should they? Then again, Barry was currently running around Central City to find them and in a way, that was easier than having Felicity do a computer search. All Oliver had to do was wait for Barry to come back and tell him where they were.
“I found Jacob,” Barry said as he stopped nearby. “He’s lurking around Bella’s bank tonight.”
Oliver growled as he nodded. “I’ll meet you there,” he said before going on his way to the bank. It made sense, all he wanted was the money intended for Connor, the money Bella kept safe for her son so that he would have nothing to wish for. It also made sense that Jacob and his gang had targeted two other banks first as practice runs and he knew that the only way to catch them was before the hit, because they would shapeshift and disappear afterwards.
There was also the matter of security. Banks usually had good security and it took time to get around it. He hoped he wasn’t going to arrive too late because if he had to start shooting in the bank, things could get messy. Barry had shown to be fast enough to secure a lot of people in a couple of seconds so maybe things wouldn’t get messy for both their sakes because Joe was going to be pissed enough as it was.
He parked his bike in an alley and didn’t have to look far, they were just standing there in front of the bank, out in the open and what seemed to be arguing. Barry was at Oliver’s side and he blinked. “Really?”
“Trap?” Barry guessed. “Or really stupid?”
“Door number two, please,” Oliver smirked as he shifted a little and retrieved three snare arrows out of his quiver before lining them up. “Don’t go in until the arrows actually hit or I might hit you.”
“Please,” Barry huffed.
“Just saying,” Oliver said as he aimed and let go of the arrows. They hit three of the youngest ones in the group while the rest scattered, either running away or shifting into something else. Barry was quick to run towards them and get most of them.
“Nice catch,” Barry grinned as he waited for Oliver to catch up to him. “We have about twelve of these monkeys.”
“But not Jacob.”
“Not yet, no.”
“Seriously?” A voice could be heard, snapping Oliver out of whatever he was thinking and looked at the boy who was free of his tie rips. “Tie rips? See ya!” He said before the group scattered into tiny little flies and flew off.
“Oh. Great. We need something else.” Barry rolled his eyes and looked at Oliver. “Any ideas?”
“I’m just the guy with the bow and arrows, Barry. You and S.T.A.R. labs come up with the bright ideas,” Oliver said frustrated. He kind of knew this would happen, but that was alright, at least they knew now that the group could become as little as a fly if they had to. “I’m going to call Joe, ask him if he can spare a few patrol men to sit on this bank.”
“As if that’d help.”
“With bug spray.”
“Funny,” Barry remarked sarcastically before running off to sit on top of the bank. “No need to call Joe, I’m on it!”
As Oliver thought for a moment, he sighed as he came up with the simplest solution, but now that Charlie was out of the picture, he hoped that Bella could find a babysitter… or actually, he knew one of those as well. “Hey, you think they will come here again if we make ourselves scarce?”
Oliver nodded as he moved back to the alley and then scaled a building to keep an eye on the bank. He then took out his phone and rang Bella, hoping that she’d pick up.
“Hello?” she answered cheerfully, music playing in the background as Connor could be heard laughing.
“Hi,” Oliver replied, already feeling guilty for disturbing something that sounded like so much fun.
Bella found herself smiling, even though she knew this wasn’t exactly a social call knowing where he most likely was. “Hey back. How’s work going?” she asked as she told Connor that she needed to talk to his father and moved to where she didn’t have young ears overhearing.
“Well, we came, we caught and… they flew away…” Oliver replied with a shrug. “I have a question though… Does your shield block them from turning?”
“Uh – I think so. A few of them seemed annoyed whenever I came around because they needed to leave to shift so I would assume so,” she said. “But that was really early on when I had no control and didn’t know what I was doing. Right now I’m stronger on the pushing and shoving people back and away from me.”
“So basically you can contain them and stop them from leaving too?”
She thought about it and nodded, quickly realizing he couldn’t see her. “Yeah, I guess so. Why?” she asked suspiciously. “Wait, when you said they flew away…? You’re talking what? Birds?”
“We had them snared up but they shifted into flies and flew away, out of their restraints.”
“Ew, bugs,” she shuddered. “The little fuckers. I don’t have a sitter and I can’t exactly bring Connor to a crime scene with me Oliver.”
“No, although he’d get a kick out of seeing the Flash,” Oliver grinned. “My friend from Starling City came over with some new arrows for me to use. She’s currently in trivia night with Iris, but I’m sure that she wouldn’t mind the interruption.”
Bella debated it for a hot second. “Sure. Let me just get him dressed and I’ll drop him off there on the way. Want me to pick up a can of Raid while I’m out as well?” she asked sarcastically.
“I thought about that,” Oliver replied with a smile on his face. “Are you alright to bring him to the coffee shop? I mean, I could send Felicity around yours…”
“If my dad shows up?” she asked. “He’ll just take Connor and bolt. Not a chance around people that are familiar with him because we go to Jitters frequently. He knows Iris.”
“Right. Alright, just text me when you’re close to your bank and I’ll come and get you.”
“Is Sonic with you as well?” she asked, her lip curling in irritation.
“He’s on a whole different building, don’t worry about him.”
“Alright. See you soon.” Hanging up the phone, Bella bit her lip as she thought about what just happened before she moved into action. As she headed to her room to change into something dark, she called out to her son. “Connor! I need you to hurry up and get dressed! Now! I have to go help your dad with something!”
“Can I come with?” Connor asked as he obeyed his mother.
“Not by dad but you’ll be visiting Iris and one of dad’s friends at Jitters.”
“Oh, awesome!” Connor said as he walked out of his room, fully dressed. “Does that mean that I can have hot cocoa too?”
She grinned at him and nodded. “You are really spoiled today. Even a Danish. But you know today is a special day that you’re getting all this, right?”
“I know,” Connor sighed as he put his hands in his pockets. “What does dad do for work?”
Bella pressed her lips together at his movement and smiled. “He helps the police as a consultant, so his job is dangerous. He just needs me to bring something to him quickly.”
“Okay. Cool. My dad can kick butt!” He ran towards the hallway to get his coat before he put his shoes on. “We’d better hurry then, don’t want to keep dad waiting.”
She watched him slightly bewildered. “Okay,” she said in a state of shock as she pulled on her own coat. Locking up and heading down to the car, she’d become more cautious of their surroundings, always looking around more. She’d carefully tested her shield, pushing it out to see if any of Jacob’s friends were lurking, watching them like Oliver thought she might be capable of doing in blocking their abilities if they were after her since she knew that he had an unhealthy obsession with her. Luckily there was no sudden transformations that came about and she got Connor in the car and over to Jitters where it was crowded with the nightly activities.
Looking around, she tried to spot the barista she’d come to favor and smiled as she was with a blond man and woman at one of the tables chatting away. She was hesitant to approach them and almost considered turning back and telling Oliver that he would need to figure something else out. The decision was taken out of her hands when the blond woman had looked around and saw them, her eyes growing large at the sight of them.
“Oh my god,” Felicity said as she looked at Connor and hopped off her chair to greet them. “Hi, Isabella, I’m Felicity. We sort of, not really, met when you ran into Oliver a few weeks ago.”
Bella gave her a nervous smile as she held onto Connor’s hand. “Yeah, I remember you. Nice to meet you,” she said as she held out her free hand while she could feel her son sizing up the new stranger entering their lives. “Oliver said that we would find you here tonight…I don’t know if he thought to give you any warning?”
“Yes, he did,” Felicity smiled widely as she shook Bella’s hand. “But not to worry, we have Eddie on our team and he’s Iris’ dad’s partner and we will look after Connor for you. Maybe he can even help us win tonight because up until now, I was the only brains on the table but that’s between us. Shh.”
Connor looked up at his mom and raised an eyebrow as if to say Are you for real? making her snort in response and rubbed his shoulder. “You’ll be fine,” she assured him. “You know Iris baby. I’m going to go help Dad and we’ll be back to get you. Now go say hi while I talk to Felicity for a minute,” she said.
“Dad has some weird friends,” Connor muttered under his breath as he walked over to Iris.
“He’s too smart for his own good,” Bella explained to the girl as she watched him wander off. “I’m having a hard time finding schooling that he’ll fit in. It’s only gotten worse this past year.”
“Don’t worry,” Felicity smiled at Bella. “We’ll sort it out once you’ve moved. Oliver told me.”
She looked over at her sharply, surprised that he’d already had spoken more about them as he had. She’d expected him to keep them a secret as long as possible and it made her heart race with anticipation and excitement to prove her father wrong even more.
“Which was actually surprising because Oliver… he doesn’t like to talk much but something’s changed and that’s good,” Felicity smiled. “I usually have to drag information out of him.”
“Yeah. Um, about Connor – Oliver wanted you to come to the apartment, but I had a falling out with my father about Oliver today and I don’t exactly trust him not to pull something. With Oliver out there dealing with my ex and his friends and everything else, I thought some place a little more public would be safer. Connor knows that he’s not to go with Charlie at all,” she said nervously.
Felicity nodded understandingly. “Looks like Oliver came back into your life at the right time.”
“My father hates him. Never a kind word and he met him only once,” she huffed. “And that was only in passing and Oliver was nothing but polite. So there was no reason for his behavior. Anyway, I need to stop and get bug spray on my way to Oliver but no matter how much Connor tries to con you, he’s allowed only two small hot chocolates and a danish for sweets. He can have anything else healthy, sandwich or whatever since all he had was a frozen pizza for dinner earlier. I already know bed time is going to blow, but he’s not going to school tomorrow anyway as I’m signing him out this week since we’ll be moving as soon as we find a place in Starling City.”
Felicity nodded. “I could help you with that. I’m really good with computers. Seriously, anything you need help with and Oliver can’t help you with, I’m your girl.”
Bella narrowed her eyes on her for a moment. “I assume you’re the one that got my financial record for Oliver then?”
“Yeah… I’m really sorry about that…” Felicity said as her cheeks flushed red. “It’s just that Oliver likes to get the facts right and he was glad that your finances disproved some of the things in that letter.”
“Yeah, don’t worry. His mother had done worse,” she said tiredly. “She’s stalked me for years making sure I wasn’t trying to contact him. Anyway, I don’t know if we should get a house or apartment but I want something with room. Especially if whatever this thing with Oliver works out. He says he wants to give it a go so…” she shrugged. “I guess a house with a yard if there’s one available. For Connor. I need to also find tutors to homeschool him. I can’t do that.”
“One step at the time,” Felicity said slowly. “Just breathe and take it one step at a time. You’re a lot like Oliver, wanting to do all the things all at once,” she chuckled. “House first. Tutoring later. You and your boy will get all the help you need, just breathe and take it one step at a time.”
Bella scowled at her as she soon realized what Oliver saw in her. “He must get really irritated with you around,” she commented.
“He does, but we’re the voice of reason that he usually requires, so he tolerates us.”
“Fine. Okay, I need to go before he starts calling and checking up on me. Funny, he said he didn’t want my help when I originally offered it, calling me a distraction since he couldn’t focus when I was around,” she shook her head. “Oh, before I forget. If we don’t make it back before the end of the night, here’s a key to the apartment. Connor knows the security code to the apartment. Um, ask Iris if she’d come hang out with you there, maybe bring her cop boyfriend with you. Just give him pertinent details that would help convince him along. There’s beer and wine in the fridge that you can help yourselves to.”
“Yes ma’am,” Felicity said. “Connor’s in good hands, I promise.”
Bella nodded as she looked back over at him and waved. He grinned back as he went to take a giant bite of the danish that Iris had got for him and sighed. “I believe you. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Oliver got off the building he was on when he received Bella’s text that she had arrived and quickly found her. “Couldn’t let go of him, huh?” He grinned.
“Shut up. Just wait until the first day that you’re dropping him off at school by yourself, Asshole,” she snapped as she tossed him a plastic bag. “Where do you think they are?”
He looked in the bag and blinked. “You actually bought RAID? You want to kill them?”
“Scare them. They’re pussies, trust me,” she said rolling her eyes. “They are a bunch of overgrown children with issues. If they were able to get their emotional states controlled, then they would be okay but with Jacob being king douchebag, it ain’t helping so they need some sense knocked into them the hard way. Then they’ll get dragged off to whatever cage you got arranged. Where is it?”
“Ironically in the same thing that started the mess of them shapeshifting.”
She hesitated as she looked at him. “Oliver…I can’t hold them from shifting all the way there. If I’m going to keep them from knowing who I am or finding out if Connor is affected, I can’t go there. Do you have a back up plan once I got them frozen?”
“Don’t worry, before we actually get to the labs, we’ll stop and we’ll sedate them. Then you can hide and Barry will put them away. He could actually take a load off of you and start doing that when you have them. I think that’s a better idea. You catch them, he takes them away.”
“Great. So I’m a fishing net,” she huffed as she walked by him and flicked a finger over his suit. “And I don’t even get to wear any leather while doing it. When do we start this?”
“As soon as they show their faces again,” Oliver snorted as he pulled her into the alley. “Seeing as this bank is your branch, I’m sure they’ll show up again if we make ourselves scarce.”
She was quiet as she looked up at him, feeling him so close and his presence overwhelming her senses. “I don’t know how I could have missed it,” she murmured as she eyed him.
“I don’t think you did,” he said softly as he looked down on her. “At first maybe, but you eased up on me quite quickly.”
“No, Sonic just annoyed the hell out of me. You were the lesser asshole of the two at that point and I’d rather have dealt with you than him. He’s a child and an annoying one that needs to learn self control. When I saw your eyes, I should have known but it took awhile. It wasn’t until after you said my name that I had to really look harder,” she said as she laid a hand on his chest, her fingers running over the fabric of his hood.
“I never slip up but you were just being a pain in the neck.”
“I knocked the Arrow on his ass,” she smirked up at him playfully.
He snorted and softly kissed her. “That was quite impressive indeed, although in my defense, it’s hard to fight against an invisible barrier that comes at you with such a force that you lose your footing.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you, just to get you to lose your hold on me,” she admitted as her head fell back to the alley wall. Turning it so that she could look out onto the street as she thought about her words, she wasn’t sure how to formulate her thoughts. “I’ve felt the need to fight for years, but I’ve had nothing to fight against. Your mother had me between a rock and a wall. I couldn’t tell you the truth, and if I told anyone else that Connor was yours, you can imagine the trouble she could bring us. My father is just as much of a prick as your mother’s a bitch. Jacob – he was a good friend for a long while, listened when I needed someone to talk to, for what I could say, but he was always jealous of someone that was never around. That I had believed to be dead based on the news with your boating accident. Still, I was so angry and needing – something else. This past year, trying to keep the pack under control helped a lot. Took that edge off from those feelings. I don’t know if I make any sense,” she said shaking her head, feeling ashamed for her own emotional state.
“I understand,” he said softly. “I understand more than you know. I mean… look at me. I’m a nutjob in a suit with a bow and arrow.” He softly caressed her hair out of her face. “And I am so sorry for what my mother has put you through, but I promise you, from now on, things are going to get easier for you and for Connor. You don’t have to do everything alone anymore.”
She looked up at him and nodded, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as she just held him to her. Just remembering everything was bringing up those emotions and rage that she’d been having trouble controlling and she knew she’d need to find a vent soon and didn’t want it to be him. Luckily for them, some familiar voices reached her ears as they chatted, passing nearby the alley they hid in. Pulling back, she turned her ear to them as she listened closer, carefully slipping from his arms and along the wall to peer out onto the street. Clearly it hadn’t been her first time at this particular type of rodeo the way she moved. “Twatwaffles,” she muttered. “He’s just a kid!”
“Who is?” Oliver asked as he peered around her.
“Seth. The skinny one towards the back that looks like he doesn’t want to be there. I know he’s a shifter like them, but he isn’t happy about it and has been avoiding them as much as possible. Seems Jacob must have strong armed him on this trip,” she said angrily. “He’s only thirteen, Oliver.”
“Then we won’t get him involved,” Oliver said to her. “I trust your insights and your knowledge of the group. He deserves another chance.” He tapped his bluetooth. “Barry.”
“Get the skinny, short kid out of here.”
Bella reached out and shielded him, testing her ability that he didn’t shift on instinct. As soon as she saw the red blur swoop down and the tug against her shield, she released him and eyed them as disappeared away. Turning her attention back to the group, she quickly threw the shield up around them before they could react and waited, looking up at Oliver. “Did it work?”
“That is so cool,” he said impressed.
“Awesome,” Barry said from behind them. “That is really, really awesome. What’s the plan now?”
“Ship them to the labs one by one.”
“Oh man, do you have any idea how many there are?”
“I got RAID,” she offered. “Want them to turn into flies again?”
“No, no…” Barry sighed. “I can just go and grab one or do you need to release them one by one?”
She looked back at the group, unsure. “I can try shrinking it,” she said. “Go for the one with the red jacket and see.” Blinking in her concentration, she worked on pulling the shield in with some difficulty, and it took a few tries before it worked.
Barry picked up the red jacket boy and ran off.
“You’re doing great,” Oliver said as he gently placed his hands on her shoulders from behind her. “Tell me when you’re getting exhausted, okay? We don’t have to get them all at once.”
She nodded and took a deep breath as the group continued to try to figure out what was wrong and move about themselves, unable to leave their little area of the street. When Jacob turned and faced her direction, she tensed and stood up straighter, the shield shifted and one that was on the outer edge was able to get free, causing her to curse and reach out to get a stronger hold on the group.
Oliver had a tranq dart at the ready in case she faltered and could see that one of them moved differently than from the others. “Don’t worry,” he assured her as he fired the arrow at the young man and knocked him out on the floor. “Don’t over do it, Bella.”
Ignoring him, she stepped out and onto the sidewalk where she slowly approached the group, her anger over the years and the night’s inclusion of her young friend Seth breached her limits.
Barry picked up the one out cold on the ground and moved him to the lab.
She pulled Jacob from the group and threw him back against the brick wall over their head, behind them as she held the shield around the others before using it to push him back across the pavement, slamming him into the building across the street.
Oliver cursed under his breath as he followed her, arrow lined up and ready to deploy. “Bella!” he hissed. “Calm down.”
“He’s just a kid!” she said, staring at him as he groaned on the sidewalk, moving to get up.
“You psycho bitch!” Jacob spat at her. “He came willingly! Why the fuck are you here?”
She pulled him back across the street, repeating the same motion until he crashed face first into the bank wall. “To stop you. Again. He never wanted to be a part of your group. What did you threaten him with? Let me guess. Sue and Leah.”
He realized that Bella was too much like him, allowing anger to take over and really hurt someone. The only problem was that she was super powered with her shield and didn’t even have to touch the object of her anger. Barry kept zooming in and out of the street, taking the other boys one by one, and Oliver wished that he had taken Jacob instead.
“Fuck off, bitch,” Jacob spat out some blood as blood ran over his face. “How about I take your son away because you’re psychotic?”
“You won’t touch my son,” she said in a low and deadly tone, a zone that he crossed as she shoved him by the shield until he was dangling like a rag doll over her as she stepped closer.
Knowing that he couldn’t stop Bella from hurting Jacob even further – he probably really deserved it – he shot a tranq dart at Jacob so that he’d shut up and hopefully Bella would stop her rampage. “Enough!” Oliver shot at her. “Stop what you’re doing right now because you’re going too far.”
She turned to look at him, blinking as she stared at him confused for a moment as if trying to recognize him. Glancing around, she found that it was only the three of them left – four when the Flash returned for Jacob, looking at them with concern. “I don’t feel so well,” she said, back in her normal soft voice before she collapsed to the ground, along with her release of the shield holding Jacob up in the air.
Oliver quickly made his way over to Bella as Barry caught Jacob and zoomed off. He pulled her into his arms and lifted her up so they would be out of sight and out of the road. “Talk to me,” he said softly as he lowered them to the floor, not breaking contact with Bella at all.
She only let out a low moan, but was otherwise severely depleted from the experience. Never having used her abilities in such a way before, her anger taking control of her so strongly.
He searched her pockets for keys to her car and walked with her to her car. He sat her down in the passenger seat, pulled down his hood and drove to her apartment. By the time they arrived, she was fast asleep and he was at a loss of what to do so he called Felicity. “Come on, pick up,” he muttered.
“Yellow,” she answered. “How goes crime fighting with the girlfriend?”
“Are you still at the coffee shop?” Oliver demanded.
“Nope. Back at her place. Connor is tucked away in bed and she has great taste in wine. What’s wrong?”
“I’ll explain in a moment, just buzz us in,” he said as he switched to bluetooth for Felicity and lifted Bella out of the car. He made sure it was locked before heading to the door.
“Um, sure. You’re actually lucky because Iris and Eddie just left. Seriously Oliver, what’s wrong because you’re worrying me.”
He had forgotten about Iris and Eddie and groaned. “Bella is a metahuman and I think she overdid it,” he said. “Now, open the door, I’m here.”
“Seriously? Wow, um, okay,” she said over the phone and ran to hit the buzzer, holding it long enough for him to get in. Unlocking the apartment door, she waited for him to come off the elevator, and her jaw dropped at seeing them. “Holy cow. What did she do? Get into a fight with Goliath?”
Oliver just eyed her as he brought Bella in and headed straight to her bedroom, gently putting her down on the bed and pulled off her boots. “I told her not to over do it, this is my fault,” he muttered to Felicity who was standing in the doorway.
“Don’t blame yourself. Wait until she wakes up so that you can ask her the right questions. Has she used her abilities like she did tonight before? What is her ability? Even Barry was like this in the beginning when he was getting used to it. Something about his blood sugar, the body uses the energy much quicker. He can explain it to you better. I know he needs to eat a lot more when he uses his speed.”
“No and it’s actually pretty cool,” Oliver managed a smile as he looked at Felicity. “She can knock people away, pull them in, keep them inside an invisible bubble… you name it.”
Felicity’s explanation sounded actually quite plausible, Barry moved at such a high speed that his metabolism would eventually have to catch up with him. Maybe it was the same sort of thing for Bella. “She has anger issues.”
“After the cliff notes she gave about your mother and her father, I would too,” she huffed. “You can’t blame her for having issues and not having anyone to vent to. It’s going to come out at some point.”
“I’m not. She just made me really aware of how I can be when I lose it… like how Barry saw me last night and it’s not pretty.” He said as he pulled the blankets over Bella and took a seat in the chair next to her bed.
Felicity eyed them and pursed her lips. “What happened out there? What caused her to lose it because you didn’t tell me all the details about the case you came out here to help with.”
“The plan was to round up her ex-boyfriend’s gang. I mean, Joe gave me a file, she was in it, that’s how this all started. I failed at the first try because they all shifted into bugs and got out of their restraints. And I wondered if Bella could use her ability to contain a group of people and she did. But you know…” Oliver sighed. “There was this kid she knew who didn’t belong there and she just lost it.”
She nodded in understanding. “She hit the trifecta. She’s a mother and momma bear kicked in. I feel sorry for all the bad guys that go after kids in Starling City,” she said unsympathetically. “They have no idea what’s going to hit them. They won’t even see it coming…”
Oliver grunted as a response but didn’t allow himself to look away from Bella. “How was your night?” he eventually asked. “What do you think of Connor?”
“Kid is awesome. Not sure he likes me much, but he’s still adjusting. I think Bella’s right to be concerned about him though,” she murmured as she watched him carefully for a reaction.
“He’s too old for his age. He’s too smart, too observant,” Oliver replied. “Knows how to play people and that’s scary.”
She nodded slowly. “He’s meta.”
“Is there any other explanation?”
“I’d have to get some blood to be sure, but I’m pretty certain Oliver. He was scary during the trivia games, but he didn’t let Iris or Eddie become aware. He knows that they wouldn’t be able to handle it like we can. He told me the answers but didn’t share them. Said they just come to him,” she said. “Do you have any other explanation? Sounds like the school problem Bella has been having this last year, not a common thing for a seven year old.”
Oliver sighed and shook his head. “No, that pretty much all adds up…”
“Bella is fairly well adjusted with her change as long as she keeps her anger under control, right? She lashed out only after she was provoked? I think considering he’s young enough, growing up with it, he could be just as fine. We can keep an eye on things ourselves. I know she’s worried about the school situation and I’ll help with that. I can work mornings at QC and take afternoons off to work with Connor,” she shrugged. “Are you going to get any sleep tonight? Because I doubt she’ll be waking any time soon.”
“No, I’m staying awake. I’m hoping for her to wake up before dawn, or at least before Connor wakes up so I can go get changed and bring breakfast.” He looked at Felicity.
“Go now and get yourself a change of clothes. First sign of her waking, I’ll call you. Seriously. She’s deader than a log right now. I don’t think a bomb going off next to her is going to wake her before you get back and knowing you, you’ll be speeding through the streets,” she said with an amused smile. “As far as Connor – I may have let him have a sip or two of my wine to get him to pass out. He was bouncing off the walls from the hot chocolate. Kid is addicted to that stuff. You need to watch him.”
“Didn’t she give you restrictions?” Oliver mused as he got up and moved out of the room.
“She said he could have two small hot chocolates. That’s all I got him,” she said, pausing and letting out a sigh. “I bet that cop got him more when Iris and I hit the girls room when the line was empty.”
“I’ll pay him a visit then,” Oliver said playfully. “A Flash taskforce? Please. He’s a pussy.”
Felicity shook her head. “We don’t need another one after Arrow now that Starling City approves of you. Come on, go and get your bag and come back. If your son wakes up and sees you as his superhero, you will never be allowed to leave his sight and your identity won’t be secret any more. Genius or not, he’s still an excitable kid.”
“I know,” Oliver sighed. “How on Earth am I going to juggle having a girlfriend and a kid with the Arrow?”
“The girlfriend thing is easy. I think it would help her a ton to join the team. Therapeutic actually. Worked for Roy,” she pointed out as she left the room.
He peeked into Connor’s room to make sure the boy was really asleep and then turned to Felicity. “I’ll be back in half an hour, with both our bags. Call me if you run into trouble.”
“Yep,” she said as locked the door behind him. “We’ll talk when you get back.”