10: Don’t wake me up

Author’s Note: Uhh… hi! So… uhm… this still exists?! Okay, let us explain what happened. No, we didn’t forget about this story. Neither did we abandon it. In fact, we were sitting on a whole completed chapter and why was the last update two years ago?

Well… Buggy likes to work on one or two stories at a time and she was bitten by a bunch of vampires and at some point Oliver started to sound like one of her fave vampires. That was not done.

Meeko – for two years complaining about wanting to finish said story.

And then Olicity happened and both Meeko and Buggy said; NOPE! NO WAY! GO AWAY!

Thanks to Mara and Cornelia for kicking Buggy in the arse and for getting the both of us to re-read and realize that fuck, we were so close to finishing this story!

And… guess what? This story IS FINISHED. We went to work and kicked our asses. After this chapter, there will be ONE MORE. And then? We will work on part three in this series. We promise you won’t have to wait 2 to 4 years for it. Okay? (meeko whispers don’t lie….) We need this finished just as much as you need it to be, because what’s going to happen next?!

For this chapter we do want to issue a warning. There’s a character death. Eh, there have been several character deaths so far but this one makes uhh… an impact.

So thank you for sticking with us, and this story and we will try not to fall off the face of the Earth again. Next week we will upload the last chapter of this story! WE PROMISE.

Xxx Meeko and Buggy



The weeks after Thanksgiving were strange for Bella. She had accepted the tentative relationship with her cousin and they were slowly finding some form of middle ground with their rocky past where Bella still held a lot of trust issues. Still, there was a lot of work to be had there.

When she was out around town, she had the feeling of being watched. If it weren’t for having Diggle or Steve with her, she would be more nervous but when they together realized where she was getting the feelings from, everyone’s unease grew. The Cullens weren’t letting up. Even though it was in passing and in public, they weren’t in quite so subtle ways letting her know they were still around. Watching and waiting.

All Bella could do was go about her daily business, manage the club and handle her minor duties for the corporation she built. The lawsuit was becoming increasingly more irritating, even if she was letting the lawyers handle it, but knowing that at the root, it had to do with something so personal, she wanted nothing more than to lash out at the cause.

When Laurel suggested a girls’ day out, to do some holiday shopping, Bella hesitantly accepted. While she wasn’t a fan of shopping, she knew she needed help for ideas for Oliver and they were the only ones that could give her any real suggestions beyond a new neglige.

“What about cereal dispensers for in the lair?” Laurel offered as they were walking down the street. “It’s not just for Ollie, everyone can have some cereal!”

“That’s lame,” Sara replied and shook her head. “It’s not that hard to find a present for him.”

“Oh yeah? You try!”

She shrugged. “DVD’s with the history of the last 10 years.”


Bella moaned as she covered her face with her hands. “He’s too picky with his arrows and quiver. Don’t even get me started on the workout equipment that we’re already stocked in the basement and at my house.”

“I think you’d have to think bigger. How about a week away to some place fun? Like Vegas?” Sara offered after a moment of thought. “You both deserve a vacation.”

“He was supposed to be looking into something already for us,” she admitted. “We kept putting it on hold since the charity night. You think he’d really be into Vegas?”

“Have you seen Oliver’s poker face?”

“Have you ever seen him play cards?” Bella countered.

“Yep,” Sara said with a nod. “Strip poker. You’ll lose playing him.”

“Yeah,” Laurel laughed. “But in all seriousness, Oliver loves that kind of thing. He likes to outsmart people. And Vegas is not just cards. There are shows. There’s a whole desert to explore.”

The girl frowned as she looked at them. “I really don’t need to think about the two of you being naked with my boyfriend. I’m over it. I think. But Vegas does sound like fun… I can make it a surprise. Maybe a road trip?”

“Yeah, that would be right up his alley.”

“And as a small gift you could give him some chocolate. Maybe an Arrow.”

“Maybe I can find a female version of his costume as a negligee?” Bella mused. “He gets a show and I get laid.”

“Oh, that would be awesome and something I’d like to witness, oddly enough,” Sara grinned.

Bella stared at her contemplating giving her the same visual she gave Oliver. “You know we are family. It’s bad enough I saw both your and my dad going in and coming out of the men’s room at the club. Something fishy I tell you but neither Oliver and I dared to question them. The visual was traumatizing enough for us.”

“Oh so that’s why the both of you want to remodel the bathroom!” Laurel laughed as she took a sip of her latté. “Oh dear god… that’s really disturbing.”

Sara had the same equally disgusted look on her face as she walked, barely glancing in the shop windows. “I take back everything I said. I don’t want to see you and Oliver together. I think I may be traumatized by whatever you two would be into now… although I think a sex tape would sell for a lot of money.”

“Sara!” Laurel laughed surprised. “Don’t even think about it!”

Suddenly, Bella was pulled from their side and held out of reach from the girls as she blinked in surprise. “Yes please. Don’t think about it,” the man voiced as he held her tightly against him. “And don’t try to think about doing anything stupid. I’m not alone.”

Both Sara and Laurel turned on their heels and assumed a defensive position when they saw the man they’d only seen on a picture named Edward Cullen holding Bella tightly. “Let go of her,” Sara said in a low, threatening voice.

Bella remained silent as she stared back at her cousins, her hand in her pocket as her fingers moved quickly to speed dial Oliver, hoping the call connected. “I don’t think so. You see Miss Swan has been rather stubborn in refusing to speak with me. So I think she will be taking a trip,” he replied, running a gloved finger down her cheek, causing her to turn her head away and make him growl.

“She’s not going anywhere with you,” Laurel said as she took a step closer. “Let go of her and I won’t sue the pants off of you.”

Edward stared into her eyes and grinned. “Don’t move,” he ordered. “I want you to stand there and watch everything. I need a witness after all.”

Sara watched as her sister almost turned to stone. “Laurel?”

“I can’t move,” she stuttered in shock. “What happened?”

“Just a little gift similar to this lovely woman,” he said as he smiled to the girl he held. “Now, Bella. Are you going to come with me willingly or must I take drastic measures to force you to return to the family?”

“Go to hell,” Bella spat at him, spitting in his face. “You can tell Carlisle the same and pass that message on as well from me.”

When Sara moved to kick Edward’s ass, Edward sighed and focused his attention onto Sara. “You’re going to shut up. You see that truck coming towards us? I want you to step in front of it. You’re not going to back out, you’re going to walk straight into that truck.”

“Edward, I can stop that,” Bella sneered as she lunged for her cousin but he tsk’d her and held her back before she could get a hand on Sara.

“I am well aware of what you can do, but you are in the public now. Come. Let’s look at these jewels my dear. Won’t you like something pretty for your neck?” he smiled at her, despite her staring over his shoulder as her cousin slowly walked out into the street.

She could see her struggling to fight whatever compulsion she was under and failing. “Edward – don’t do this. You don’t want me as an enemy like this. All you had to do was leave.”

“S-sara!” Laurel cried out when all she could do was watch her sister step into traffic. She tried closing her eyes but that didn’t work and she felt helpless, she wanted to help her sister. She was going to lose her again and she couldn’t stop the tears from falling. “S-stop!”

Sara kept moving and turned to face the truck that was coming closer, honking his horn as he couldn’t stop. “I can’t!” she cried back. “Tell Dad I love him!”

“I’m going to kill you,” Bella promised Edward as he kissed her cheek and disappeared into the crowd of people, allowing her to start running towards the street but she didn’t make it as the truck flew by. Stopping short at the curb, she jerked back as she stared across the way with a blank expression, frozen almost like Laurel from the shock.

Thanks to Felicity he knew Bella’s location and they were just around the corner from QC but he wasn’t fast enough. He saw body parts flying through the air as it collided with the truck, even with the truck hitting the breaks. The truck swerved after hitting the person and hit a van on the other side of the road and he had to force himself to keep running.

As he came closer, he could see Laurel and Bella stare in shock at the road and the truck and his heart fell. When he saw the body lying underneath the now fully stopped truck, he knew -that it was Sara. While he wanted to respond to that, he couldn’t. He had Bella and Laurel to take care of and it was sad and bad but the living were more important right now. “Someone call 911!” He cried out as he finally reached Bella and Laurel.

He got out of his suit jacket and wrapped it around Bella as he saw her blood splattered face. “Bella, baby…” he said as he checked her over to see if she was okay. “Snap out of it, sweetheart.”

“Sara…” she mumbled. “He killed Sara…”

“Can’t move,” Laurel squeaked as tears were rolling down her face. “Sara…”

He pulled her into his arms and caressed her back before dragging her over to Laurel. “Who did?” He lifted her hand and had her touch Laurel’s skin, who fell into him, sobbing as she clung on to him.

“Edward,” Laurel managed to get out as Bella was still in her own state of shock.

“He was here?” Oliver breezed, putting his other arm around Laurel, glad to see the girls alright, despite what they had just witnessed. They weren’t hurt. They weren’t hurt and that was the most important thing. Edward, the bastard, may have caused some psychological damage though.

“He did something to keep me from moving and…and he told Sara to walk in front of that truck! He wouldn’t let Bella go until it was too late! He wants Bella back in their family, Oliver!” Laurel cried.

“Enough is enough, they’re all dead,” he promised in a murmur as ambulances and the cops started to arrive. Oliver winced, realizing that Captain Lance was probably the first one to get to the scene and that would be bad.

“Don’t worry, Oliver, Arsenal is on his way,” Felicity’s voice sounded in his ear, heavy with emotion. “Carrying a copy of the CCTV footage. I’m so sorry.”

Oliver nodded and just held the girls close to him. “We’ll get the bastard, I promise you both. We’re going to get him and you two can poke holes in him with burning iron stakes.”

“Sara…” Bella repeated as she blinked up at him. She was going to be the one to handle the loss the hardest once it hit. “No one ever tried to stop him. No one tried to stop her. They just kept going or watching.”

“Shh…” he hushed her when he saw Captain Lance get out of his car and Roy was nowhere in sight. “Captain Lance!” he hoped he brought attention to him holding Laurel and Bella before he saw Sara.

Quentin had started to turn towards the accident scene before he heard his name being called. Seeing his daughter and niece, a bad feeling filled his chest. “Mr. Queen…?”

“I don’t want to sound like a total asshole, sir, but I suggest you let someone else assess the scene and you stay here with me and the girls,” Oliver said when Lance made his way over to them. When he noticed the man looking at him in confusion, he gently nudged Laurel towards her father for both of their comforts.

“Daddy,” Laurel said as she put her arms around her and buried her face in his shirt. “I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t stop her and… I couldn’t… I couldn’t! I couldn’t move! And he… she… she couldn’t stop it either!”

Quentin wrapped his arms around her as he took in the equally stunned couple. “Who?” He asked quietly, trying not to turn around.

“The girls they…” Oliver took a deep breath and for Lance’s sake made sure he at least sounded heartbroken – he was, but he couldn’t be. “They were manipulated – somehow – by Bella’s ex-boyfriend and watched how Sara walked in front of a moving truck… I’m so sorry, Captain Lance. Sara’s gone.”

The older man blinked back in denial, shaking his head. “No. She just came back to us. No,” he said as he squeezed Laurel tighter. “Why would someone want to kill her?!”

“That’s what we want to find out too,” Roy’s voice sounded from behind Lance and walked around them. “Captain, Miss Lance, Miss Swan, Mr. Queen, sorry for your loss.”

“Spare me the bullshit, Harper,” Lance shot at him. “What do you know? Where were you?”

“Uhm,” Roy nervously looked at Oliver before looking back at the grieving Captain. “We were on the other side of town, stopping a robbery.” When Lance angrily looked at him, Roy simply nodded. “Go home, all of you. I’ll hand over the CCTV copy I obtained to the next person in charge.”

Bella gripped Oliver’s shirt as she turned to look over at her family. “I want to hunt the bastard down,” she whispered. “No jail. I’m going to kill him.”

“We will,” he said softly and kissed the top of her head before nodding to Roy who darted off to the next cop. “Let’s get you guys home,” he said to the Lances. “I’ll take Bella home once you’re home too.”

“I don’t think I want to be at my place right now,” Laurel murmured, started to tire from her crying.

“Bring them to the manor. There’s enough room for everyone,” Bella said, slowly coming around.

There’s a car waiting around the corner for you guys,” Felicity sounded in Oliver’s ear. “Don’t do anything stupid.” He knew it was meant to sound as a warning, but he didn’t care. They were going to end Edward. Maybe not today, but one way or another, he wasn’t going to live until the end of this week. “Come on, there’s a car waiting for us.”

“Thanks, Robin,” Bella said absently as she let him guide her away from the scene.

Oliver was glad that Steve was at the house when they eventually arrived and Oliver guided Bella towards the bathroom to help her get rid of the blood on her face and have her a change of clothes seeing as they had Sara’s blood on them as well. When they got back to the living room, Steve had made them all coffee or tea to deal with the shock. “Has anyone located Nyssa yet?” Oliver asked Steve, who shook his head in return. “Good, because she went back to her father and I don’t want to tell her yet.”

“Do you think that’s wise?”

“I don’t care,” Oliver reached for Bella’s coffee and handed it to her before taking his own. “Is there any news yet?”

“I had the TV on before you arrived,” Steve said with a straight face. Maybe he had, simply to see what the media was talking about for research purposes. “They’re already talking about it being a metahuman attack.”

“A what?” Lance blinked. “One of those people from Central City? Superpowered freaks?”

Steve shrugged as he heard Bella let out a low growl. “The way it was explained to me and the boss is that there are the good ones and the bad, like the red streak, caused by an accident in Central City. He’s good. I actually know an expert on metahumans in Central City if you’d like me to verify the information the media is letting out?”

Lance huffed. “As if that would help. If I find that asshole, he’s dead.”

“I don’t think it’s wise to go after him, sir, even with the police force you have working for you. Could be too dangerous.”

“Then damnit!” Lance looked at Oliver. “You go and do something about it.”

“You don’t think that we haven’t been working on this already?” he replied, raising an eyebrow as Bella stood and walked out of the room with an aggravated sigh.

“Yeah well, if you had, Sara would still be here, wouldn’t she? You would have shot that sick son of a bitch on sight!”

Laurel shook her head, tears threatening to start to fall again. “Oliver was at work Dad. He has to keep up appearances too-”

“I get it that you’re angry, Captain Lance,” Oliver said quietly as he looked at the grief stricken man. “And that’s alright. I’m angry too. We all are. My team is working on locating him and until then, I’m staying here.”

“Yeah well, better get out there before I throttle you into submission.”

Bella walked back into the room with one of her revolvers, loading several bullets into the chamber silently. Snapping it shut, she held it out to her uncle. “You want to shoot the person who lead Edward to Starling City?” she asked bluntly. “I’ll give you your chance.”

“Bella… What are you doing?” Laurel questioned, her eyes widening but the girl ignored her.

She stared at the older man, waiting for him to answer, the gun hanging from her outstretched palm.

“I didn’t mean that, Bella,” Lance said angrily. “Your boy should have anticipated your ex’s arrival and taken the proper precautions.”

“I do, and Oliver has nothing to do with it. Take the gun and learn something before you start running your mouth in my house about things you don’t know shit about.”

Oliver nodded as he moved out of the way from Lance and Bella, nudging Steve to the side as well, but with a full view of Bella and motioned for Laurel to stand with him in case there was a ricochet.

He hesitantly took the gun and looked at Bella. “I’m not going to shoot you. You can’t do anything about this shit, Sara’s death isn’t our fault.”

“No. It’s not. It’s Edward’s. Glad we can agreed on that. But I still want you to shoot me,” she smiled at him. “Go on. It’s alright. I won’t press charges Captain.”

Lance looked at Oliver, questioningly, but Oliver stared right back at him. He wasn’t of any help at all. Bella’s friend Steve looked just as panicked as he probably had written across his own face and Laurel… he wasn’t sure. “I’m not going to shoot you, Bella. I’m not going to lose anyone else today.”

The girl huffed in annoyance. “Fine. Give it to Oliver then,” she rolled her eyes. “Baby? Love? Shnookums? Would you please shoot me?”

Oliver smiled widely. “Sure!”

“Hm…a little excited there,” she murmured as she eyed him as he moved across the room.

“Hey, you asked. I deliver.” Oliver took the gun from Lance and shot Bella without hesitating. It was a good thing Charlie wasn’t home, he would have gotten a heart attack, much like Lance was probably having now, and Steve was just looking at his boss in awe. “Not a scratch on the paint. You rock.”

Looking down at her shirt, she stuck her finger through the hole. “Can’t say the same for your shirt Ollie,” she pointed out as she lifted the damaged fabric to reveal no injury and the mangled bullet fell to the floor. “I say it goes in the trash with that dress.”

“Eh, I didn’t really like that shirt anyway…”

“That is awesome,” Steve said in awe as he looked at his boss. “You are bulletproof!”

“Not really. I don’t know exactly what I am,” Bella shrugged as she glanced to her uncle. “I been like this since I was a child I know – and Charlie doesn’t know.”

“How?” Lance managed to stammer after falling back onto the couch to take a breath.

“I don’t know. I have limitations and I can protect or extend to others. The Cullens know this and Edward was well aware of that when he approached us today. He kept me away from Laurel and Sara when he did whatever he did and he wore gloves so I couldn’t block his ability or go and cover them. I know that Esme, his mother, is able to influence in a similar way and tried it on Charlie and I was able to break it. She did the same with Oliver not long ago…” she explained quietly as she went to sit on the coffee table in front of him as she let him absorb the information. “The … prank that the Arrow pulled on the police?”

“Yeah, that wasn’t funny,” Lance eventually managed to say once he had somewhat absorbed things, he still didn’t understand it but everyone else wasn’t freaking out about it.

“He had no control over his actions until I was able to break her spell. They also drugged him with something that we aren’t sure with what. Something new.”

“The thing with Esme’s ability is that you don’t remember what you did afterwards,” Oliver added as he put the gun on the mantle after securing it properly. “And those drugs are fucked up.”

“Is that the reason why the Arrow has been absent for the better part of two weeks last month?”

Oliver nodded. “But Armory and Arsenal have been taking care of things, and they’re doing much more since then while I take the backburner a little, focussing on other things.”

“Armory? That’s what that new girl’s name is? I’m assuming that’s you?” Lance asked as he turned his attention to his niece, whom merely shrugged innocently, twiddling her thumbs.

“I look pretty hot in my costume,” she only said.

“That’s what I thought too,” Lance replied and then visibly shuddered. “But now that I know it’s you…”

Bella looked at her uncle and curled her lip back in a grimace. “That’s disturbing. Don’t ever think that again. We’ll get revenge for Sara, I promise you that. I’ve already had my sights set on the Cullens for a long time now. This only adds fuel to the fire.”

“It’s just that because they’re superpowered idiots that it’s taken us a while to get all the facts,” Oliver added. “Please stay away from the investigation. I know it’s hard, but you don’t want to deal with it. I’d rather have you stay here or in my apartment for the time being so we know you’re safe.”

“It might be best to call Charlie in as well,” Steve pointed out. “In case Fuckward goes after everyone.”

“I actually was thinking of asking Derek to find a way of scheduling something that would send him out of the country for awhile,” Bella admitted. “I have to go into the office tomorrow anyway for a meeting with the lawyers.”

“That works too,” Steve smirked.

“I will have Felicity call our friends in Central City to see if they know of anything to have an early detection device for the Cullens or at least something that can hinder their abilities. No offense, Bella, but there’s only one of you and we can’t have you in more places than one,” Oliver said as he downed his coffee. “Sounds like a plan, do we have to add anything else?”

She scowled at him as she moved to take a seat on the sofa. “Sonic? Really? He’s annoying as fuck. How the hell can you deal with him for any length of time without wanting to shoot an arrow in his face?”

“Because,” he flashed a smile at her. “He’s a constant reminder that having fun with our side jobs doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily bad. That, and he’s a scientist. Helps a lot.”

She was unable to stop herself from rolling her eyes but said nothing else. Resting her head in her hand, she stared up at her lover with a marked level of exhaustion clouding her eyes. “So what do we do now? I vote for flushing the bastards out and stringing them by their balls, like I said from day one.”

“I think that we should order in some food,” Oliver countered as he looked at her. “Eat, then rest.”

“Oliver’s right,” Diggle said as he rubbed his eyes. “As much as I would like to get into action now, we’re all tired and still wired from the events.”

“I was hoping for target practice,” Bella pouted, mumbling to herself, pushing herself up from the couch and walked out of the room.

“I’ll uhm…” Oliver watched her leave the room. “I’ll go after her and have her use me as a dummy.”

Steve frowned as he too stared after his friend with concern. “I’d suggest just letting her be right now, but if you want to take that risk…”

“Well, it’s either that or risk her going out on her own.”

“I doubt she would right now. She’s tired, we can all see that and she’s started working with her limitations. Something she wouldn’t have done a year ago, before she got involved with you. Give her time to process.”

Oliver looked at Dig, who slightly shrugged. “He knows her the longest.”

“Fine,” he sighed as he got up. “I’ll go grab us some drinks and order food.”

“Let me do that,” John said, causing Oliver to glare at him. “What?”

“So, Steve says to leave Bella alone. You tell me that you’ll get drinks and order food. What the hell am I supposed to do, Dig? Twiddle my thumbs?” He questioned angrily as he stood near the exit.

“You need to get out of Arrow mode, Oliver. Grieve.”

“I’m not going to,” he said as he walked out and headed towards the converted barn so he could let off some steam. He wasn’t a child. He didn’t need to be told what to do or be kept from doing what he wanted to do. He’d have gone on a hunt right now, but they needed to do this the smart way and going after them wasn’t smart at this point. With a growl, he kicked against one of the training dummies.

John had switched on the monitor, but not the audio, to see Oliver walk into the barn. Sighing in relief, he finally sat down for a moment as he kept his eyes on the monitor.

Steve pushed himself off from the wall, peeking around the bend to check on the others to find his ‘girlfriend’ already fast asleep against her father while Felicity was quietly tapping away on her laptop. Turning back to Diggle in the kitchen, he scratched at the back of his neck and looked as if he was at a loss for words. “You know, I thought Bella was bad. The two of them together – they are a match made in heaven. Don’t you get the feeling like you’re running after a pair of deranged children with those two?”

“Seventy Five percent of the time,” Dig replied with a nod. “The other percentages has them level headed and useful. Together they make one great adult, though.”

“One. One. On a good day. Hell, I keep wondering every day if she’s not PMSing,” the former SEAL hissed.

“We’ve actually made progress with that,” Dig grinned. “She’s doing a lot better.”

Steve only raised an eyebrow, skeptical as to the other man’s words. He knew his old boss and friend could cover herself well enough when she had to, if it were to keep people off her back. Sometimes, she might surprise him. “She’s Bella and will always be Queen Bitch.”

“She kinda wears the pants in their relationship, doesn’t it make her King Bitch, instead?” John mused.

“Perhaps. Especially considering Oliver is a Queen, in his own name. Lord knows if they ever get hitched.”

Inside the barn, Bella walked out of the bathroom to find Oliver punching one of the mannequins. Glancing up at the security camera, noticing the activity light lit, she let out a sigh. “Drink?” she asked, heading for the kitchenette to find whatever liquor she could.

“Oh, sorry,” he apologized as he stopped hitting the machine and turned to her, looking at her for a moment before making his way over to her and wrapped his arms around her. “You okay?”

She tensed for a moment, shrugging a shoulder. “As well as could be, I guess. I just want Edward and his parents’ heads at this point. After what he did today, I have no doubt he will be laying low for awhile.”

He sucked in a breath. “We’ll keep turning every stone and we will get him for this, Bella, I promise. Now that he’s shown what he’s capable of, we can work with S.T.A.R. labs to find a way for all of us to be safe when we go up against him.”

“The only way that I can think of is me,” she frowned up at him, hate in her eyes for her ex. “He can’t control me but he can get to you and Charlie in order to get me to do what he wants. I can’t be with the both of you all day, every day if he decided to just randomly show up. You don’t want to take anyone’s life, I understand that. I’m not asking you to, but this fight? This is mine.”

“Babe, I’m willing to make an exception for this. You do what you have to do, I’ve got your back, however, you’re not going after him alone, okay?” He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and smiled at her. “I don’t want him to kill you.”

“If, that’s a strong if, he did manage to get the upper hand, I fully intend on taking him down with me. He’s done as far as I’m concerned. One way or another.”

He let out a short laugh. “Anyone else of that family you want killed or shall we try to contain them and have them go on a nice vacation to a dark cellar on a very deserted island?”

Bella rolled her eyes and turned back to the cabinet to pull out a couple glasses. “Judging from what we experienced with Esme, if she was able to get her hands on any of the guards, she’d be able to convince her way out. And Carlisle favors Edward too much. He hired someone to fuck with my head because I wouldn’t take him back. So, Oliver, dear,” she smiled mockingly. “I vote for their heads to be mounted on the wall.” Turning, she gestured to the empty area above the flat screen television. “Right there seems just right.”

He wrinkled his nose in disgust. “That’s going to smell.”

“That’s what taxidermists are for.”

“We’ll buy a couple of pigs instead, have them feast on their bodies.”

She pouted. “Animal abuse. I don’t want the pigs to get sick. That’s just mean. I get nauseated just looking at Edward’s pictures.”

“How about we kill them first, then decide what to do with their bodies later?”

“Do you think Diggle would let us get away with that?” she asked a little too innocently, knowing that the man was capable of listening in. She knew they were at least watching them.

“Eh,” Oliver shrugged. “I think it’s more of an issue for him when we go dark.”

“Well these are pretty dark times, Oliver,” Bella said seriously as she faced him again. Her eyes raised up as she used her body to block the view of the active camera. “You know what I think I could go for?”

He turned them around so they were completely blocked from the camera. “Camping trip?”

“Just you and I. No one to tell us what to do, where to be. Just pack up and go,” she grinned.

“Leave everything electronic and traceable here, just you and me against the wild,” he smirked and nodded.

“I know where we can go, or at least leave a note for them to think we went. I’m sure considering everything, Charlie and Gordon won’t argue the need for some nature and alone time to heal,” Bella continued, raising her arms to rest over his shoulders. “Go back to where it all began?”

“Great idea,” he softly brushed her lips with his. “When they’re all asleep, so they can’t ask questions why we’re traveling so light.”

Her eyes darkened with new anticipation and excitement as she grinned back at him. “I have no doubt that we’ll come home to some angry friends, but I need more than just sitting and waiting. I can’t be like them and I know you understand that.”

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