By the time that Bella finally made it to bed that night, she felt like she had been walking in a fog. After Diggle finally managed to get Oliver up to their bedroom, she was left to figure out how to get him semi dressed as he had only one functioning arm. “So – how do we do this?” she asked, eyeing the monstrosity of a brace on his leg.
Oliver was sitting on the bed with his legs swung over the edge and shrugged. “We’ll just lay down, cover ourselves with the blankets and sleep,” he said as he eyed her. Something wasn’t right, Bella looked fine, why did she talk to the doctor so long? “Anything you need to tell me?”
She’d been in the process of changing for bed and slowly looked up at him. Unsure of what to say, the hesitation spoke volumes that she did have some secret. “Um…”
“Private stuff?” Oliver guessed. “Something you don’t want to share yet?”
“In a way,” she answered quietly as she pulled her pajama pants on, avoiding him. “I’m not sure how you’d take it right now. I – don’t know how I feel about it yet.”
He frowned and then shrugged. “That’s okay,” he said as he managed to get his legs onto the bed and tried to settle. “I’ll wait for you to be ready to tell me.”
Sighing, Bella sat on her side and looked up at the wall absently. “That’s part of the problem too. History, even though I’m sure you won’t leave, but there is still that little bit of fear that lingers.”
“Bella,” he said as he reached out to her and managed to touch her back with his finger tips. “I can’t run. You should take advantage of that. Whatever it is, just say it because I don’t want to think right now, I’m too tired.”
Turning as she smiled at him, she eyed him before settling under the covers and snuggled up against him after turning out the light. All she could hear was their breathing in the darkness as she was careful where she rested her hands. “You’re right,” she said as she took a deep breath. “How do you feel about Connor being a big brother like he’s been wishing?”
“You’re saying you’re pregnant?” Oliver asked with a yawn as he tried to get comfortable still.
“Yes?” she answered nervously.
“Cool,” he replied with a smile on his face. “Connor will love that.”
“Yeah,” Bella murmured, feeling a little shell shocked as she laid beside him. “He will. Goodnight Oliver. I love you.”
He replied with a grunt which was followed by the sound of him snoring. She sighed as she closed her eyes, ready to let sleep overcome her as well.
The following morning, when she woke up, Bella found Oliver still sound asleep gratefully but she knew he had a rather rough night. Slipping out of bed, she went to make some breakfast for him as she made him a cup of coffee while she prepared herself some of Connor’s cocoa as with the confirmation of the pregnancy, she had to cut back on her caffeine and it would not make for a happy girl later.
With a tray of a hot breakfast for him, she carried it up the stairs as she gently kicked the door open in time to find him starting to wake. “Hm, just in time,” she smiled. “How do you feel?”
“Sore,” he replied with a groan. “I kept waking up or falling in one nightmare to the other…” He said as he tried to move a little to get the kinks out of his body. “How are you feeling?”
“Still feeling a bit cold from everything but the doctor said it’ll take some time for it to pass. My hands are a little numb but it’s normal. My abilities are going to be wonky until I even out again,” she complained. “I made you breakfast. You think you are up to it?”
“Yeah,” he smiled at her as he managed to push himself up to a sitting position and softly kissed her. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” she replied as she returned his kiss and went to set the tray up for him. “Unfortunately, it’s only instant coffee. I didn’t have any more regular and I was actually surprised to find the eggs in the fridge. Felicity or Diggle must have gotten them because I was out doing groceries when I ran into Nyssa.”
Oliver slowly nodded and took a sip of his coffee. “Still a better cup of coffee than at the club,” he said as he tried to remember something and then chuckled. “I only had one dream last night and it was strange.”
She had moved to get some clothes out of the closet to change and smiled as she looked through the hangers. “Really? That’s good then, right? What was it about?”
“You asking me how I felt about making Connor a big brother… I can’t believe I responded with ‘cool’.”
Freezing in her movement, Bella’s breath hitched as she closed her eyes. Holding the sweater that she had in her hand to herself she slowly turned around to look at him. “So, you aren’t okay with it?” she asked.
“I think if you’d be pregnant that I should say something different than ‘cool’. I mean, what are we? Still in high school?” He snorted and then regretted it because it hurt.
“What would you say?”
“That it’s awesome and that we will be awesome and uhm… that I’m fortunate that we can control whether or not we’re getting married anytime soon… and ah… it wasn’t a dream, was it?”
She stared at him and shook her head slowly. “No,” she said, but there was no sound from her lips. “Uh, it would seem that the pill that night didn’t work or Connor has some secret hotline to Santa. Felicity and I were speculating when I realized I was late.”
Oliver looked at her with a huge grin on his face. “I love you, Bella,” he said as he pat on the bed next to him.
Making her way over to sit next to him, she let out a relieved sigh at his acceptance. “I’ve been so terrified,” she admitted. “It’s so soon.”
“Like I said, at least we have control over when we’re getting married,” he grinned and softly kissed her.
“Damn straight. You better not go anywhere near any jewelry stores. Not alone, and not with any friends. Not even as favors for themselves. Lord knows if Connor might have some crazy gas in there that controls your mind to get that last step,” she said as she warned him. “I want absolutely no jewelry from you. Not new. Not old. None. Got that?”
“Got it,” he said. “No jewelry stores, I promise,” he swore and took another sip of his coffee before he became quiet again. If she had known about this for a few days now, why would she allow Nyssa to take her? Not that he wasn’t glad Bella was up there with him because she really saved his butt out there and- she saw him kill. That thought made him sick to his stomach and there was no way he could make it to the bathroom. He set his cup of coffee down and even though he was hungry, he didn’t want to eat. “Uhm… I don’t think breakfast is such a good idea.”
Bella reached down for the waste basket beside the bed and held it up. “They’ll be our friends for awhile,” she replied. “You and your nightmares, me and my nausea. What were you thinking about that upset you?”
He clung onto the waste basket as if it was his life jacket but fortunately didn’t have to throw up. “I… uh…” he thought for a moment but couldn’t find the words. Instead, it made him feel even more nauseated. “You saw me uh… kill someone,” he managed to say as he looked into the waste basket, trying to burn a hole in the bottom.
She looked at him and nodded. “I did and I’m still here. You saw me try to kill my ex-boyfriend in a blind rage that I never would have remembered and was more than willing to have you murder my father on my behalf but would have been capable of doing myself. I’m no angel, but both men were a threat to my family. That man, Oliver, was going to kill you. If he did, then I would have killed all of them and they wouldn’t have been able to stop me. It was harder to watch you suffer the pain and not to do anything to stop it. To see you now and be unable to heal you. But you are here for Connor, for me, and everyone else. That is what matters so you killing that one man…Do you see anything but love in my eyes for you?”
He looked at her as he thought about her words. They made sense so he slowly nodded. “Sorry, Bella,” he said as he put the basket on the nightstand should he be in need of it in the future. “I just…”
“You need your pity party. I get it but don’t pull it with me because I won’t tolerate it. It will just piss me off,” she said, glaring at him.
“No, I don’t,” he said defensively and stared at her. “I should throw a pity party because I’m hurt and immobilized but instead I’m sick of myself for having killed someone in front of you. I’m not sick of killing him, but I did it in front of you and that’s just…”
“And you shouldn’t be! Because I would do the exact same for you!” she argued as she got up from the bed and started to get dressed. “I love you Oliver. That’s what partners do. It’s not like I was ignorant of this world when we agreed to give this relationship a go. If I didn’t know, then that would be a whole different story but I knew of the dangers getting into it. That was my choice now please, find some way that we can get you through this because I may actually hurt you myself if this is going to be an on-going thing.”
“Breathe, Bella. You asked me a question and I answered it truthfully. I don’t know, that’s what partners do, right? Answer truthfully? Don’t get mad at me for doing just that.” She was so lucky that he couldn’t move because he would have walked out and gone to the club to work off his own frustrations so she wouldn’t have to deal with them. “I’ll just keep them to myself.”
She looked at him and blinked. She shook her head trying to take a breath but felt somewhat disjointed from herself. “I-I’m sorry. I…don’t know why I just felt so angry there…”
“Because you went through a lot,” he said gently as he held out his arm for her. “And you can take it out on me.”
“I can’t. You’re already broken all over,” she huffed as she went to join him on the bed again.
“So?” he smiled at her. “You’re my partner, you’re my Bella and you can do anything you want with me, that’s your right.”
“There are many things that I want to do with you but sadly not until you heal up because right now, you have that nasty cut on your flank and my knees would only get in the way. I don’t want to hurt you and just then – I almost wanted to.”
“It’s fine if you do,” he said as he took her hand and kissed it. “And I still have a hand that works. I could do many wicked things with this one hand on this fully functional arm.”
“Horndog,” she snorted as she felt herself calming down. Leaning over to kiss him, she nibbled on the corner of his mouth. “Not until you are better because I want full access. But you do get plenty of sponge baths until then.”
“I’m at your mercy,” he whispered before kissing her tenderly. “We’re going to get through this, Bella, you and me against the rest of them. We’ll win.”
“Good because we are going to need the Arrow to be kicking ass like never before when he comes back from his vacation. Arsenal is handling things for now, but there may need to be some cases that Armoury will have to be called in to help,” she smirked.
“You nicknamed yourself,” Oliver said impressed. “That’s so badass.”
“Still pretty much a badass name for a badass woman.” He stuck out his tongue to her before he heard the door open downstairs. “You ehm… expecting someone?”
She shook her head at first before looking confused. “Diggle said he might come past but in the afternoon. Ten bucks says it’s Felicity.”
Oliver groaned as he pulled the covers closer. “I have a dress shirt or two in the closet, there might be one with no arms in them, maybe that’s easier to get me into.”
“You’re here! The both of you!” Felicity said as she knocked on the door, waiting for someone to call her in – she wanted to come in and hug the both of them to death but what if they were naked? There were boundaries she simply wouldn’t cross.
“Give us a minute Felicity,” Bella called out. “Let me get Oliver dressed. It’s still early,” she called out as she got up to search for the clothes.
“I know that! Your son woke me up by pretending to be Superman and ran up to my bed and just jumped on top of me.”
“What did you guys tell him yesterday?” she asked as she quickly moved to help Oliver sit up and get his shirt on. She looked down at him in his shorts, knowing it would take longer for that.
“That you had an emergency meeting at your publisher and that you forgot to bring your phone. That you’d call or come by later today – if you’re feeling up to that, of course.”
Oliver pulled the covers over him and smiled widely at Bella. “Covers are awesome.”
“Oh, it’s so good to hear your voice,” Felicity sighed relieved.
“You can come in,” Bella said as she maneuvered herself unconsciously to stand where she was protective over him. She refused to let go of his hand as she held it behind her and smiled at their friend.
Felicity walked in and hugged Bella tightly. “I was so worried!”
“I’m fine,” she said as she looked at her. “They only took me to witness.”
“Oh Bella, that’s horrible!” Felicity said as she visually checked her over before turning her attention to Oliver who looked like Oliver, but had a grin on his face like Oliver, had an arm in a cast – which he probably hated because he was going to have to retrain his arm again and she wondered how hurt he even was. “Oliver,” she breathed out. “Can I…”
“No,” Oliver shook his head. “Maybe in a few days but not now.”
“You can’t see it but it’s all body injuries,” Bella murmured, her eyes roaming over the linen hiding him. “We’ll be fine though. Everything is good.”
Felicity eyed the both of them curiously. “Yeah, sure,” she said, not believing a word of it but if it worked for Oliver and Bella, then she wasn’t going to say anything about it until it would become clear that they weren’t doing fine and she’d smack their asses, injured or not. “So, I was thinking to get you your groceries. I got you some before you came back but obviously you have a better understanding of what you need than I do.”
“Right now, everything. I’m not picky when there is nothing in the house. Just, um,” she paused as she looked to Oliver. “Are you okay with sticking with instant coffee or get the regular?”
“Whatever is easiest for you,” Oliver said with a nod. “I wouldn’t even mind switching to something not caffeinated, which is probably better because I don’t think I need the energy right now.”
“I’ve been drinking Connor’s hot chocolate,” she admitted. “We have enough of that until the next ice age.”
“I’ll switch to that,” Oliver nodded. “I love me some hot chocolate.”
“I’ll just get some more of that then,” Felicity said as she was writing notes on her phone. “Do I need to pick up some extra bandages or gauze?”
“That would be great. Milk, vegetables. Frozen are fine since Connor isn’t going to be here for awhile and who knows what we’ll be up to eating. Just skip over tomato sauce, chicken, onions, and mushrooms right now. I’m trying to figure out which one of those did me in last night,” she said as she looked thoughtful.
“Huh, okay, that’s why you didn’t want to eat that,” Oliver said as he looked up to Bella. “It was delicious though.”
“Glad you enjoyed it,” she grimaced as she could still remember the revolting smell.
“Is there anything else you might want? What are you in the mood for?” Felicity asked carefully, unsure if Oliver knew about Bella’s little secret.
“No ice cream. I’ve had enough of the cold that it would only give me nightmares. I could go for tiramisu though…damn. It has liquor. Oliver! You suck!”
“I thought you did the sucking,” Oliver replied innocently.
“Yeah well that night there wasn’t much time for that. You’re a dick. Get some microwave popcorn for now. Not really craving anything yet, just finding things that I don’t like so far,” she said with a smile as she sat down next to him.
“Alright,” Felicity said with a smile. “May I suggest you call Connor later today to let him know you’ll be gone for a while? Lyla can watch over him when I’m at work and he seems to have taken a liking to Diggle too. He jumped in his arms when I dropped him off just now.”
Bella nodded as she looked up at her. “I will call him, I promise. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us Felicity,” she said.
“Oh, please,” Felicity blushed. “Had the situation be the other way around, you’d have done the same. Oh! How are you on painkillers? Need me to bring them?”
“I’m fine but he could use some,” she replied as she thumbed over her shoulder. “Ask Diggle for the location of the doctor and he should have the prescription waiting at the office for pick up. It’ll be in my name though.”
“Naturally,” Felicity said with a nod. “I also have a good explanation should the vultures get bored with whatever their latest crush is and contact me or you to ask where Mr. Queen is hanging out. Skiing.”
“I don’t ski.”
“No, but should you eventually feel better and are able to leave the house, your obvious injuries look like they could have been caused by a skiing accident, rich boy.”
Bella groaned as she was going to have a hard time keeping track of the stories.
“If Connor finds out that there are two stories, you could tell him that you had to give the media a story that would hide the fact that his father consults for the police as he used to be the local celebrity or something, he’ll understand that.”
“Thanks. We’ll figure it out. It’d be easier if he wasn’t so smart about things,” she sighed as she looked around and got up to get her wallet out of her pants she had been wearing the day before. Placing her bank card in her hand, she refused to take no for an answer. “Just get essentials that you think we can use and whatever else you might want.”
“On it, back in a jiffy,” Felicity smiled as she headed out of the bedroom.
Oliver tried to get out of bed but his body was protesting too much and gave up after a few minutes while Bella watched on in amusement. Sighing deeply, he managed to settle back down again and pointed at the TV. “Shall we watch some TV? Cartoons or something?” He didn’t watch a lot of TV but he had a feeling that for the next few weeks it was going to prove a good distraction.
Bella grinned as she made her way back to him and nodded. “Cartoons sound great,” she replied as she got back in bed and tucked herself into his side. Relieved for it to be just them again, she sighed against his shoulder. “I don’t know how to feel right now. How did you do this for all these years?”
He thought for a moment and shrugged. “It happened gradually, I guess,” he eventually said. “I mean, if you’re in a situation where it’s basically fight or die for most of the days, you eventually think it’s normal. I tried to fight it because it wasn’t who I was and kept thinking about home, but I realized that if I wanted to survive, I had to focus on that and not about what I had left behind.” Oliver gently caressed her leg. “It’s completely normal to feel whatever you’re feeling or not feeling after what happened. It’s also completely normal to get irrationally emotional about something. It’s just something that you’re going to have to work through. But don’t shut me out, just talk about how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, it will help you.”
She nodded silently, unable to speak more on the subject at the moment. Clearing her throat, she reached for the remote to turn the television on. “I’m saying no against any Power Rangers,” she said, quickly changing the channel.
“I don’t actually mind if we end up watching Baby TV the entire time,” he admitted. “At least there’s no fighting in those little movies.”
Chuckling, she eyed him. “You up for some baby stuff already?”
“No, maybe, I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “But unless we go with Disney movies, I think our best bet of not getting worked up about something is watching Baby TV. Teletubbies or something.”
“You want to give me nightmares, don’t you? You have no idea the blasphemy you are speaking,” she said horrified.
“No to the Teletubbies?” He smiled at her.
Grinning, he softly kissed her. “You pick then.”
Bella smirked and shifted against him as she pulled up the On Demand menu for TLC and started a show that was themed around preparation of parents expecting newborns. “I think you might pick up a couple things from this but it’s still slightly romanticized for reality television.”
“You’re evil,” he said as he managed to put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. After a while of watching, Oliver simply couldn’t understand why someone would allow a television crew to film the birth of their child, it was weird. “Could you tell me about Connor’s birth?”
She let out a breath as she thought back. It wasn’t an easy time, feeling the stress of his mother’s request and her father’s hatred. “It was normal I guess most of the way. A lot of nausea and throwing up through almost the entire thing. But…I was in an accident, on my way home from class…” She trailed off in the memory. “I was fine, but I was pinned against the steering wheel and well, one thing lead to the next. When the bleeding started I freaked out.”
He listened as he spoke and felt his anger towards his mother rising – again. Had she not done what she had, Oliver could have been there for Bella. “I promise I’ll be with you this time,” he said softly. “Nothing’s going to happen to you.”
“I know,” she smiled up at him. “Anyway, I had just been friends with Jake then and the medic managed to get in touch with him since Dad wasn’t answering and he met us at the hospital. He had waited outside while I was in surgery without question. That’s why it had been hard at first to really let him go when he started spiraling out of control. I tried to help him even if we were no more because he’d been there for me.”
Oliver nodded in understanding. “You’re loyal, I would have done the same for anyone I cared deeply about. I’m so glad that you’re still here though, that you and Connor both came through because you know…” he said with a shrug. “We got a second chance together.”
“We do. And we’re not going to let anyone take it from us again. I should have said no the first time,” she said. “Instead I helped cheat you out of years with your son.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Bella,” he softly kissed her. “I would have been scared too, besides those were just seven years. There’s another eleven to go until he’s eighteen and then the rest of our lives.”
“With another on the way,” Bella pointed out, her hand self consciously skimming the bottom of her shirt.
“With another on the way,” he grinned and placed his hand on hers. “I might actually have to find me a decent day job now.”
She rolled her eyes and smiled. “And give up that pretty boy lifestyle? We’re fine. My books do well that we are more than comfortable. I chose to live minimally to give more to Connor before. The money from your mother will always be his but when this one is born I’d like to split it.”
“Yeah, of course,” he said with a nod and then pointed to the safe. “There’s still around 2 million in cash in the bag in there… I haven’t had the time to start making more small deposits.”
Bella’s eyes grew large at that. “I’d say save it for rainy day after everything that’s happened. If you really want it in the bank, I don’t know. If it’s there, then you’d have to report it later. After all that shit, I say that’s yours.”
“It’s ours, Bella. I’ve gotten used to living with not a lot of resources in the last year and I actually like it. We can use that money for fun things for all of us. Disney world, for example. Or a holiday or maybe to replace something if it gets broken or whatever. It’s ours. Not mine, but ours.”
She looked up at him, breathing out his name. “Oliver…Why do you do this to me?” She asked rhetorically as she leaned in to kiss him. It didn’t last very long for their uncomfortable positions but she couldn’t help to grin. “I think we should do something for your friends once everything is settled.”
Oliver nodded. “Most definitely,” he said as his arm started to cramp up and pulled it away from her. They had eased themselves back into comfortable silence again as they continued to watch TV and eventually Oliver had nodded off.
The front door opened with a loud bang, startling both Oliver and Bella. “Sorry!” Felicity’s voice called from downstairs. “I might have kicked it a bit too hard, my hands are full.”
Oliver had been half out of bed already before Felicity called out and before realizing that he really shouldn’t have moved like that. “It’s fine,” Oliver managed before falling back on to the bed and put his arms around Bella while the adrenalin was still pumping through his veins, enabling him to move a bit better. “It’s just Felicity,” he muttered as he caressed her back, feeling her shake like a leaf. “We’ll ask Dig to install a soft doorstop.”
Bella nodded as she pulled her hair back and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “I’m starting to regret giving her a key. You want me to help you downstairs?” She asked as she looked towards the door, almost anticipating someone coming in.
“Oh, no, you don’t have to,” Felicity called back from the bottom of the stairs. “I’ll put everything away and I’m going to bring you your lunch. Sorry it took me a while to do the groceries, it was mental in the supermarket and I had to go to the office for a bit to sort things for Ray. And I’m really sorry for the door.”
“Great,” she replied and turned back to Oliver. “How in the world do you people deal with her?”
“She has a good set of brains and a big heart,” he replied with a sigh, not really liking the position he had moved himself in but he wanted to hold Bella tightly. “I uh… she and I uh… almost dated. Didn’t work out. She’s more like my sister now.”
She tensed slightly at his admission before relaxing and nodded. “Oh. Well, that explains a few things,” she murmured and turned to him. “We’re good. I’m good, I’m okay,” she said. “It’s not the greatest thing to hear but what can I do? It’s the past, right?”
“Yes, it’s the past. I don’t feel anything for her but friendship, I promise.”
“Good because I know you did have a thing for blondes,” she smirked.
“I have a thing for you,” he said, moving a little so he could kiss her better. “You and no one else because no one’s better than you.”
Bella couldn’t help it giggle against his lips. “Smart answer. I want no one else but you either.”
Oliver was glad that after Felicity had taken care of lunch for them that she disappeared again and that no one decided to pay them a visit for the rest of the day. Both he and Bella were still tired, despite talking with each other, both fighting the sleep that wanted to claim them as their bodies desperately needed it.
While he wasn’t a big fan of painkillers, he eventually took one or two just to take the edge off of everything. Oliver wasn’t a good patient because he was impatient. He’d been hurt before and he could have shrugged it off then, but then again, he wasn’t partially immobilized most of the time to start thinking about how his body felt foreign to him.
He hated it that Bella left the bed to take a shower and then went downstairs to take care of dinner because it made him feel even more helpless than he already felt and he wasn’t helpless, this was merely a setback.
Changing channels on the TV, browsing through every channel, occupied his mind a bit, to see images flash before his eyes, tricking him into thinking that he was active, helped a little but there wasn’t really something appealing to him on TV that stopped him from flicking through the channels.
He was temporarily distracted when his phone started beeping with messages from Thea and he couldn’t help but be curious about them. Malcolm says you’re dead. Please, don’t be dead. Not again. Ollie? Please? Don’t be dead! Say something! Oliver groaned and wished that he hadn’t looked.
He didn’t quite know what to reply other than ‘I’m alive’ but he didn’t. He wanted to tell her that he was alive but Malcolm had probably put her up to this and he really didn’t feel like dealing with him now. He put his phone on silent and pushed it underneath his pillow.
Bella finished putting together a simple dinner for them to share and carried up the stairs, pausing at the top when the doorbell rang. doorbell rang. Setting the tray on the floor, she called to Oliver that she’d be right with him before heading back down the stairs to answer the door.
As she opened it, she blinked first in surprise before looked back at her visitors as impassively as she could. “Hello? Can I help you?” she asked.
“Miss Swan, we haven’t met before but I’m Thea Queen,” Thea spoke, her eyes red and puffy from all the crying. “And this is my father Malcolm Merlyn and…” Thea started to sob again. “I can’t do this.”
Malcolm put his arms around his daughter and looked at Bella. “Are you dating Oliver Queen, Miss Swan?”
Bella narrowed her eyes slightly at the man and his movements, shifting to block any entrance into the house. While she was more than willing to welcome Thea inside, she held little respect for her father after the events she’d been forced to watch Oliver suffer due to his own activities. “I know who you are Thea. And I am – familiar with you Mr. Merlyn. Why do you want to know about my relationship with Oliver Queen?” she asked, not bothering to mask her suspicion.
“I don’t know how to say this so I’ll just be upfront about it,” Merlyn said as he straightened himself up. “A couple of days ago I asked your boyfriend to run an errand for me and he has not returned. We both knew this was a possibility, but I’m sorry, Miss Swan, Oliver is dead.”
She looked at him with some amusement, more than a woman should for a stranger telling her that her boyfriend was believed killed. “Is that so? Would that be the errand to Aspen that was to clean up that little mess you created with Thea here?” she asked, gesturing to the girl. “I hate to tell you this but Oliver isn’t dead. I just spoke with him in fact and he’s fine. I don’t know where you got your information but you need to get new resources.”
“What?” Merlyn said surprised and couldn’t hold on to Thea as she wrestled herself out of his hold and tried to get past Bella to go and find her brother. “That’s impossible, no one ever wins from-” he sneered as he realized he almost shared too much with his daughter.
“Hm, yes. That’s what Nyssa said when she – asked – me to come along,” she remarked, holding her position against Thea. “I know who you are and what you represent, or once did. Oliver and I share no secrets so I suggest that you turn around and leave otherwise you may regret coming here with your lies. Thea – he’s not here. But he will be back soon. I promise you that. He just needed to go somewhere so that he had time to heal.”
“Time to heal?” Thea blinked at Bella as she stopped trying to get past her. She then turned to Malcolm and cocked her head. “What exactly did you have my brother do?”
“As I said, sweetheart, I sent him on an errand for me so that you and I can show ourselves in public again.”
Bella snorted as she rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “If that’s all, I have work I need to get back to. I do have a publisher that tends to be rather cranky when I don’t get my writings in when promised.”
“If you speak to him again, tell him that I will find him,” Malcolm said as composed as he could while there was anger bubbling underneath. Thea remained passively at his side, seemingly content with what was being said. “And I will thank him for what he’s done for me and my daughter.”
“If your thanks includes bloodshed, don’t bother,” Bella said coldly. “He and I have seen enough of it this week. However I will pass your message along when I speak to him next. Have a good evening Mr. Merlyn. Now get off my property or I will help you off.”
“Have a good evening,” he said as he bowed and then lead Thea away, back to the car they came in.
“Thea! If you want to come back to talk, you are welcome any time,” she called after the girl.
Thea looked over her shoulder to Bella and nodded for a reply before getting into the car.
“Bella?” Oliver called from upstairs. “What’s going on?” Did he hear that right? Had Bella just called for Thea? Was she at the door? Oh, that wasn’t good, was it? “Are you okay?”
She closed the door and ran up the stairs, grabbing the dinner tray on her way back to the room. “I’m fine. Just had the pleasure of meeting Malcolm Merlyn and your sister. The bastard had the nerve to come and pay his respects for your untimely death up on the mountain,” she huffed. “He wasn’t all too happy when I said that you were in fact alive but still out of town. Thea didn’t seem too thrilled either to learn Daddy Dearest lied to her either.”
“How was she?” he stammered. “Did she look okay? I chose not to respond to her text messages but I feel like an idiot now.”
“She’s fine considering she was told you were dead but don’t worry. I think Daddy is going to be getting one hell of a headache once she comes out of her shock. I invited her over to talk when she’s ready so you might have to see her then. I lied to him and played up the Aspen story. Sort of combining the truth in there because he admitted to sending you on an errand.”
“You should have shoved his ass down the driveway,” Oliver snorted. “And yes, what a great errand that was, the scenery was amazing.”
Bella let out a snort. “Oh I would have but I don’t think Thea could have handled much more to be honest. I did tell him to get off the property or I would help him off.”
“He admitted to me about drugging her so she’d kill Sara… I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done other things to keep Thea fluffing his feathers… once I’m able to actually do something again, like, really do something again, I’m going after him.”
“Rock on,” she fist pumped the air absently as she went to hand him his dinner. “I’ll be right there to back you up. I can pin him to a wall and you can use him for target practice. That sounds like fun.”
“Sounds like we have a plan,” Oliver grinned and started to eat the food. “Speaking of parents, you need to call Connor,” he said as he scraped the last pieces off his plate.
Bella nodded as she watched him. “Sure,” she said slowly as she wondered if he even bothered chewing. Reaching for the phone, she dialed Diggle, knowing that he was with them that night. It took a little while before answered but when he did, he sounded out of breath.
“Please tell me this isn’t what I have to look forward to with Sara?” he questioned in his greeting.
“Umm, if you gave Connor chocolate or an insane amount of hot chocolate to drink today, then hm, yes. I hope you don’t plan on sleeping tonight and thank god he’s with you,” she responded.
“He said you were starving him off hot chocolate. Now I realize that he was overreacting and that you were well in your right to do so,” Diggle replied with a snort. “How are you two doing, Bella?”
She let out a sigh as she looked over at Oliver. “We’re exhausted. Mentally and physically. And we have headache now named Merlyn.”
“Don’t tell me he came to your house.”
“Oh yes! To pay his respects for Oliver’s apparent death from the errand he asked him to go on for him. Don’t worry. I set the fucker straight and sent him on his merry way. How’s Connor? Can I talk to him?” she asked, trying to change subjects so that he couldn’t get worked up with her son around.
“Yeah, hold on, let me get back inside,” Diggle said as she could hear a door opening and the sound of a loud laughing Connor could be heard. “Oh man,” Diggle groaned. “Connor! You want to talk to your mom?”
“YES!” Connor screamed.
“Oh lord…what did he do?”
“Was that Connor?” Oliver blinked at Bella as he could hear the noise coming from her phone.
She nodded as she tried to make out the sounds, but it was all a bunch of rutkus and she ended up putting the phone on speaker so that he could listen in as well.
“Hi Mommy!” Connor yelled into the phone.
“Hey Baby! I’m soooo sorry for leaving you without saying goodbye like I did,” Bella said as she looked at the handheld. “I got that call from work and I had to just go. It was about that book I wrote about your adventures, remember?”
“That’s okay, mommy, when are you coming home? When’s daddy coming home?”
Bella looked up at Oliver and shrugged, mouthing a suggestion of next week. It would give time for the bruising to clear some, but he’d still be quite sore.
Oliver nodded as a response to her and mouthed that he’d call later.
“Next week baby. I spoke to Daddy and he said he will call you later but the case he’s helping on is very hard. I’m going to pick him up from the airport on my way home,” she replied.
“Mommy?” Connor whispered as he had quieted down. “You make money with your books and I know you have money for me. If we put that together and give that to daddy so he doesn’t have to work dangerous jobs anymore and can stay at home, wouldn’t that be better? Daddy doesn’t look like he’s supposed to do what he’s doing.”
Oliver looked at Bella as his heart sank and swallowed hard. ‘I love him,’ he mouthed.
“Connor baby,” Bella said softly as she looked up at Oliver. “Your daddy loves you. You know that, but think about this. Your daddy is really good at his job and he helps the police put the bad guys in jail. He may get hurt in the process but he’s a strong man and…”
“I think he’s already hurt,” he whispered. “I overheard John and Felicity talk about Felicity stocking up on bandages and Felicity works with daddy, doesn’t she? What if he’s already back but really hurt and doesn’t know where he is and…” Connor hiccuped. “Don’t want to lose him.”
“Honey, baby, calm down. Your daddy is fine. I spoke to him. You won’t lose him. I won’t let that happen,” she promised. “And yes, like I said, the job he’s on is a hard one and he did tell me that he did get hurt but nothing that he hasn’t had before that won’t heal again. I don’t know why John and Felicity were stocking up on bandages, but I’m sure they were just doing it for an emergency. Remember this is the first time they are really having to take care of a big boy like you so they don’t know what to expect. Hey…Remember that time at the park and you insisted you could fly off the swing? What happened after that?”
“I broke my arm and my nose was bleeding…I was stupid.”
“Uh huh. And when I told you not to go jumping on the couch?”
“I fell and bumped my head really hard and had to stay home from school… which was actually a fun week.”
“I have a few more examples. Would you like me to remind you of them?” she asked smiling as she winked at Oliver.
“No… I get it. Tell daddy not to do something anymore and he’ll just do it anyway.”
“Just like you. Now be good for John and Lyla. And stop lying about the hot chocolate. I’m going to tell them you’re allowed only one a day from now on if I catch you pulling that stunt again,” she warned. “Be happy I don’t tell them to take it away completely.”
“Sorry, mommy. I love you.”
“I love you too Baby. Now ask John for some warm milk so that you can get some of that sugar out of you. I’ll try to get Daddy to call you tomorrow if possible,” Bella said.
“Okay, but but could you ask daddy to call me tonight? He could tell me a story before I go to sleep.”
Bella looked at Oliver and raised an eyebrow. ‘Late call?’ she mouthed.
He could hear that Connor was really missing them and nodded. ‘Will call in half an hour as a surprise.’
“I’ll see what I can do Baby. I can’t promise anything though because he’s working,” she said.
“I know, I just want to hear his voice. Will you call me again tomorrow?”
“I know how you feel. I will call you tomorrow. Now go get ready for bed. Good night baby,” Bella said and blew him a kiss over the phone.
“Good night mommy, I love you and I will be good. No more hot chocolate.” Connor made a kissing sound on the end of the phone.
Oliver shuffled up against Bella after she hung up the phone and tried to process the words his son had spoken. “Can we keep him?” He muttered as he ran his finger up and down her arm.
“He’s already ours,” she snorted. “You think that Diggle has learned from his mistake?”
“Yeah,” Oliver said with a nod. “Seeing is always believing, isn’t it?”
She got off the bed with a smirk on her face. “I’m going to clean this up and make us some hot chocolate and then we’re going to settle in for Extreme Couponing.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with curtains, does it?”
“Nope,” she said playfully as she picked up the dishes and headed downstairs.
Oliver took the remote control and put the TV onto some animal documentary before fiddling with his phone, still thinking about texting Thea but whenever he thought about his sister and how much she meant to him, he could not help but think about the stunt Malcolm Merlyn had pulled by exploiting just that.
And he wasn’t quite sure if Thea was free of his influence, if the drugging had been only once or was it a regular thing? Maybe he had brainwashed her. Oliver didn’t put it past him and wondered what happened to Tommy’s father. Was Merlyn’s behaviour towards Thea some sort revenge against his mother?
The thought alone gave Oliver a headache and decided not to text Thea, not until he was ready to find out what was truly going on between Merlyn and his sister. He was going to call Connor though, even though it was probably better if he’d call him tomorrow as Oliver felt exhausted, but Connor deserved it. As Oliver was dialing Diggle’s number, he could hear the doorbell ring. It was probably Felicity again, probably forgot the key in her absent-mindedness.
“Hey Oliver,” Diggle greeted him. Oliver put him on speaker as that was easier. That way the phone could be stationary and Oliver didn’t have to move. “Bored yet?”
“No, just tired. And sore. And tired.”
“You want to speak to Connor? He’s just finished his warm milk, he was a bit crazy the other moment but Bella managed to calm him down.”
“Oh, that’s good and yes, I want to talk to him.”
“Daddy!” Connor blurted through the phone. “Is that really you?”
“Of course it is, Mommy said you wanted to hear my voice and who am I to deny you of that? Are you having fun at John’s?”
“Yes. I’m ready to come home if you and Mommy are back,” he said. “Are you okay? Mommy said that you were hurt.”
“I’m fine, buddy, just a few scrapes and bruises. It’s a tough one, this case, but I get to do fun things too. I’m going skiing.”
Connor let out a breath. “Okay then. I guess that’s okay. I was afraid that you were hurt really bad and that you wasn’t coming home. I’m happy you are okay now. You’ll be home soon?”
“I hope so,” Oliver replied, trying to make it sound as if he was smiling and not lying through his teeth. “But I want you to remember something for me. I will always come home to you. Always. You and your mom.”
“Okay Daddy,” the boy said before yawning. “I love you.”
“I love you too, little man. Sleep well and sweet dreams.”
“I want my story when you come home,” he demanded sleepily.
Oliver snorted. “You will get that story, now go to sleep,” he said softly. “I can hear the Sandman calling your name.”
“No Sandman. The Flash and Arrow will kick his butt,” Connor complained. “Tell Mommy I love her if you talk to her before me. Night Daddy. I miss you.”
“Night Connor, I miss you too, very much.” Oliver disconnected the phone and couldn’t help but to smile widely at his remark of the Sandman getting some butt kicking.
“Oh my God!”
Oliver snapped his head towards the door and turned pale. “Thea…” he said surprised.
“Ollie?” Thea said as she stepped into the bedroom, looking him over to see the damage of whatever her father was involved in, with Bella coming up hot on her heels. “First – what the hell happened to you? Second – daddy?”
Bella stopped short as she looked back and forth, quickly realizing what the girl must have walked in on and suddenly wasn’t feeling very well herself. For more reasons than just another confrontation for the night. “If I had known you were going to make that call already, I wouldn’t have let her up,” she muttered.
“If I had known that we would be bothered numerous of times on our first day back I would have gotten us a hotel room for real in Aspen,” Oliver muttered as he moved to sit up some.
“I know you weren’t in Aspen Oliver,” Thea said with a shaky voice. “He told me what he made you do in order to clear his record with them. I can’t believe you would do that.”
“I had no choice,” Oliver said after a moment of looking for the right words. He went on with presuming that Thea didn’t know everything and he wasn’t going to tell her what she had done under the influence of the drug.
Her lips quivered as she held back from crying from not knowing what or who to believe as she looked around and at her brother and his girlfriend. “So you’re adopting her son or something?” she asked. “I can’t say I’ve thought of you as a dad before.”
“I’m an awesome dad,” Oliver boasted as he held out his hand for Thea to take. “Come sit with me, Speedy, I’ve missed you.”
“I missed you too Ollie,” she said as she looked him over before carefully, wondering how bad he really was underneath everything as she’d learned since he was rescued from the island that he was quite good at hiding himself. Sitting as gently as she could beside him, she gripped onto his good hand fiercely. “I don’t understand how all of this happened. When did everything change so much?”
“We have a lot to talk about,” Oliver said as he smiled at his sister. “Let’s start with the easy part. This is Bella,” he said, nodding towards his girlfriend. “And she and I have a son together. Not adopted.”
Bella leaned against the doorframe as she watched on, letting them have their space with a smile. When Thea looked up at her, she smiled and nodded her confirmation of the fact. “It was almost eight years ago that he and I met in school, though it wasn’t one of our finer moments considering he was in a relationship at the time.”
Thea couldn’t help but punch Oliver on his good arm. “I told you that one day your past would come back to bite you in the ass!”
“Hey!” Oliver whined. “I’m hurt here!”
“I don’t care.” Thea huffed. “Is Bella the one you were planning leaving Laurel for?”
Bella looked at her surprised that she was aware of that as it had taken him some time to convince her that had been his intentions all along. Looking over at Oliver, she was confused at how she had known about her.
“I may have overheard you and Tommy talk about some chick you met and you thought she was ‘the bomb’ and how she made you feel something Laurel didn’t make you feel,” Thea said as she casually waved her hand. “I was little, but not stupid.”
“Yes.” Oliver said with a nod. “And when I was going to tell Bella, she got the drop on me by saying she was pregnant and I…”
“Ran to mommy.” Thea said, scrunching up her nose in disgust. “What else has that bitch done?”
Bella sighed as she let her head fall back to the wall. “She convinced me that it was in Oliver’s, and my, best interest to leave town. Even going as far as to pay me $2 million to never attempt to contact him. If she were still alive, I owe her a good ass kicking…”
“Sounds like a mom thing to do, I’m sorry,” Thea apologized. “I’m so happy you found each other again though.” She then punched Oliver again. “You could have told me.”
“Ow! Where did you learn how to punch so hard?” Oliver whined as he looked at his sister.
“Malcolm taught me,” she said with a shrug. “I needed to do something with the anger I felt towards you for continuously lying to me and because of what mom did. And it helps, you know, to work out.”
“Seems to run in the family,” Bella muttered, giving him her best innocent expression as she held up her hands when he glared at her. “Hey, you wanted to wait to tell her everything because you didn’t think she could handle it. Why don’t you go ahead and tell her the rest.”
“What? Ollie!” Thea punched him again and smacked him on the head for good measure.
“Would you please stop?” Oliver said, getting slightly angry with his sister as every punch resonated through his entire body and even though he had taken painkillers, they weren’t doing exactly their job that well. Thea punched him again for good measure, but this time, Oliver couldn’t feel it and sighed with relief, Bella had stepped in and he was forever grateful. “What do you know about Malcolm? Did he tell you that -”
“He’s trained in martial arts and when he rescued me on the train platform he was wearing some sort of uniform. He explained to me that there was this group of people he had joined and- He let you go up against them to resolve his blood debt?!” Thea fumed. “Haven’t you gone through enough?!” She started to open his shirt to assess the damage.
Bella slipped from the room to leave them to talk as she went to make everyone some drinks, feeling that the need for something to help them calm down would be necessary. She also hoped that he considered sharing their other bit of news to help offset the bad she was getting at the moment since she seemed to accept her and Connor so easily.
“Ollie,” she gasped as she looked at his chest, seeing the old scars that she had laid eyes upon once before and the new wounds covered with bandages. She then continued her search by pulling the covers off of him, under protest but her brother couldn’t do anything anyway so she just went ahead. “He said that that group’s leader hadn’t been defeated before. Ever, how could you have won?”
“You don’t want to know Thea. You don’t need to know,” he said carefully, stressing his point as he looked at her.
“But all this, because of my father?”
“It’s done. I’m back. That’s what matters now. Okay? Please Thea,” he nearly begged. “Bella and I have a little boy that we can’t bring this stuff around and we’re trying to get over it some before he comes home next week.”
Thea looked at her brother with tears in her eyes. “Ollie… how can I go back to him knowing that he practically sent you to your death? What did you do to piss him off?”
“I don’t know. That’s up to you to decide. I don’t know what I did but he came to me with information that I couldn’t fight. That’s all you need to know now that it’s over,” he said softly as he took her hand. “You have more family now than just him. It’s up to you what you want to do with it but I would never force you to choose between any of us. I told you that already.”
“I know,” she smiled weakly. “But you’re making a very compelling case against him now,” she pointed out.
“It’s not my intention. If you do choose to keep up with him, I just need to ask you not to bring him around Bella and Connor once you meet him. That is the only thing I would ask,” he said.
Thea nodded. “If he hurts you again, I’ll kill him myself.”
“And I cannot ask that of you either. That is something – you should never have to bear. Let’s just take this one day at a time right now. Okay?”
“Fine. I’ll ask Roy. Since he’s working with the vigilante,” Thea said stubbornly before nodding. “Okay, okay, I won’t do any of that and I will keep him away from you.”
He couldn’t help but sigh as he looked around, wondering where Bella went. “Thea.”
“Thank you,” he smiled as Bella returned with three large mugs brimming with marshmallows. “Great. More hot chocolate.”
“Shut up. You said you were willing to change with me,” she scolded him as she stuck her tongue out and handed them each a mug. “Besides, we need to cut through that stash before Connor gets back. He’s going to be on rations if his conning Diggle is any indication of his activities away.”
“He sounded fine when I called,” he stuck out his tongue to her.
“Warm milk will do that. If Lyla made it, then I’m sure she slipped a teaspoon of Benadryl in it as a precaution to speed up bedtime,” she smirked.
“Ollie used to get hyper on hot chocolate when he was younger,” Thea grinned. “We had staff walking around the house and he’d ask everyone for a mug, until they got scolded at by our father because Oliver had broken something expensive again.”
Bella immediately looked over at Oliver and scowled. “You…”
“The next one will be more like you.” Oliver grinned at Bella.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Thea smirked. “We seem to have good, strong genes. We have a long line of powerful Queens above us… we’re the misfits of the bunch, though.”
Bella glared at him. “You and I are going to have a serious talk about diaper duty if that is true,” she sneered, even though there was a playful glint in her eye as she made her way around the room to sit in the armchair near the bed.
While he had his mug of liquid in his good hand, he could barely move now but only sip at it and smiled at Thea. “I know that you’re now a new Aunt… but you’re going to be another one in a few months.”
Thea blinked at him before looking at Bella, and then looked back at Oliver. “No way!”
“Yep. I got the confirmation yesterday,” Bella smiled at her. “Hence the hot chocolate,” she sighed as she looked sadly at her mug. “I miss coffee already.”
“And Thea? He cannot know about Connor or that Bella’s pregnant again.”
“No, no no, but this is great!” Thea squealed.
Bella looked at them confused for a moment, hesitating. “Um, Babe? It’s going to be pretty obvious in a couple months. Not that easy to hide unless I’ve been cheating on you.”
He looked at Bella and nodded. “It’ll be fine by then.”
“I’ll deal with him, don’t worry. I can run interference,” Thea promised as she looked between them. She eventually sat back and stared at her brother in shock, shaking her head. “Wow. I can’t believe it. Oliver Queen, a family man. You look happy, considering. I can’t wait to meet Connor.”
Oliver couldn’t help but to grin at her like a kid. “Oh you’ll just love him. He may be shy at first, maybe even a little abrasive, but once he comes around, he’s just great.”
Thea started to talk about Christmas, about what her plans were for the club and in her personal life. She thought it’d be just her and Oliver for Christmas and now that she had the big tree in her apartment she wanted him and Bella and Connor to come over but both Oliver and Bella told her ‘no’, that they were going to spend it at the house but that Thea was more than welcome to come by.
Oliver was amused when Thea huffed and said she hadn’t noticed a Christmas tree but that she’d take care of it. He had put his mug of hot chocolate on the nightstand next to him and closed his eyes to listen to his sister talk while he sat up against the wall. While he loved his sister, he wished this day was over. It had been a long day and he wanted to sleep and he was going to ask Bella to remove the doorbell and lock the doors so that no one could come in.
Bella watched as Oliver seemed to nod off and pointed at him. “He really needs his rest, Thea.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Thea said as she got off the bed. “I just thought…”
“He’ll be better in a couple of days, I hope. You’re always more than welcome to come and talk to him, if you like. Tired or not, Oliver will try to stay awake for you anyway.”
Thea nodded as she allowed Bella to direct her towards the stairs. “Nice meeting you, Bella,” she said at the door.
“You too Thea. He doesn’t speak about everyone too often but I know he misses you greatly,” Bella admitted as she looked at the girl. “The last thing I want to see is him lose more family. Not when he just got his son back in his life. Be careful Thea.”
Thea smiled widely. “Don’t worry, I can take care of myself. See you later, have a good night.” And with that, she slipped out the door.