Letting Go - Chapter 25

“What?!” Laurel exclaimed and felt Oliver’s arm around her shoulders as he echoed her surprised question and pulled her closer to the protection of his body. She contemplated pushing him away, purely on a principle, but thought better of it.

After a bombshell like the one Adam’s just dropped, Oliver’s protective gesture, the fury, or was it fear, shaking his frame, were comforting. For a few heartbeats she enjoyed that comfort, her skin and heart warming at his protectiveness. He’s always been protective of her, even his lying about his alter-ego after he’s come back from the island, his keeping her at arms’ length when he thought she didn’t know, had been solely for her protection. She understood that. She probably would’ve done the same if their roles were reversed.

It was also that inane protectiveness of his that was at the root of her unwillingness to let him back into her heart, her life again. However, this was neither the time nor the place to think about any of that. This was the time and place to learn everything she could about why the League of Assassins was gunning for her and what were her options.

So she shook Oliver’s arm off and scooted a little away from him on the bench. She heard him curse under his breath, but she just glared at him and shook her head.

“Please, explain,” she prompted, looking at Adam. “What would the League of Assassins want with me?”

“They’ll go through you to get to me,” Sara said dejectedly. “I’m sorry. I should’ve left, but I truly believed they’d leave you and our family, alone.”

Laurel leaned over the picnic table to grasp Sara’s fingers. “Don’t worry. It’s not your fault.”

“It is not,” Adam agreed. “This has nothing to do with you,” he told Sara. “There is a contract on Dinah’s head.”

“What?!” She might sound repetitive, but that was all she could get out. Adam should really stop doling out information in parts and just get it all out in the open. Before someone did something idiotic like start a fight. Because there was much gnashing of teeth and glowering going on around their picnic table.

“What is this?” Oliver snarled. “A prime-time show? Do we really need so many installments? Just spit it out, man.”

Adam grinned at her. “I like him. Hates to beat around the bush.”

Laurel rolled her eyes. Trust Adam Bachman to put people to whatever test he’s devised even in the middle of a crisis.

“I’m so glad you approve,” Oliver said sweetly. “Now would you mind telling us everything you know?”

Adam became serious in an instant. “As I said, there is a contract on Dinah’s head.”

“Who put it out?”

“Adam Donner?”

Laurel felt her jaw drop open. “Donner? Donner put a hit on me? Are we in a movie or something?”

Oliver bumped her shoulder with his. “Don’t copy my references.”

She pushed him away. “Shut up and pay attention.”

“I am paying attention.”

“Why would he contact the League of Assassins?” Felicity asked, lifting her gaze off the computer screen that was slowly filling with information. Trust Felicity Smoak to be thorough when it came to making notes.

How would he contact the League of Assassins?” Diggle added. “I don’t think you can find them in the phonebook.”

“And I don’t think the DEA would allow someone to make that particular phone call,” Oliver supplied. “At least agent Brody didn’t strike me as that sort of guy.”

“He isn’t,” Laurel confirmed.

Adam shrugged. “My source is a little vague as to how one goes around contacting the League of Assassins—”

“They find you,” Sara supplied softly.

“That is what I thought,” Adam stated, “but somehow Donner found them, or he has good contacts. For now, the how is not important. It is the why, but I think I figured it out.”

“Statement,” Oliver declared.

“Yeah,” Diggle agreed. “His arrest has been pretty public and he wants to make a statement.”

“A bold one,” Adam interjected. “He wants to make an example out of Dinah.”

“Fuck with Adam Donner and we’ll sic the League of Assassins on you.”

“I still think he could’ve used someone more local,” Laurel huffed. “The statement would still be made.”

Oliver glared at her. “I’m so glad you think someone hiring people to kill you is such a trivial matter.”

“I was just stating the obvious.”

“Don’t,” he bit out between clenched teeth. “Just don’t.”

“The League can make whatever statement Donner is making even bigger,” Sara said, staring down at her clasped hands. “They can make a real production out of a kill. But I still think this has to do with me.”

“Sara.”

“What if the League was the one to make first contact? Get two birds with one stone.”

Adam shrugged. “It is possible. I guess we shall never know. But we have to concentrate on what is important right now.”

“Exactly,” Oliver said, “how to protect Laurel.”

She bristled. “What makes you think I need protecting?”

“Hello?” Felicity stared at her wide-eyed. “Haven’t you been keeping attention? Hired killers are after you.”

“Yes,” Laurel conceded. “But I’m also quite capable of taking care of myself. Beside hand-to-hand, my gun cabinet is pretty well stocked, and I can handle an occasional knife or sword. Don’t ask.”

“That might stop one, maybe two attackers,” Oliver admonished. “What if there are more? Confidence is good, cockiness isn’t.”

“I’m not cocky, Oliver,” she retaliated. “I know what I’m capable of.”

“Because he taught you?” Oliver glared at Adam. “The big bad commando. I’m sorry, but no one is invincible. Not even you.”

It was her turn to glare. “You don’t trust me to take care of myself?”

“No, I know you can take care of yourself. I’m just saying you don’t have to do it alone.”

“I know that.” She rolled her eyes. “Jesus. You think I’m stupid?”

“But you said you don’t need protecting?” Felicity reminded her.

“I don’t need protection as in keeping me wrapped up in cotton. I can and will take care of myself. You don’t need to protect me.” She met Sara’s eyes across the table. “This is my fight. Let me fight it.”

“You won’t do it alone,” Oliver insisted.

She put her hand on his arm. “I know. I know you’ll be there, keeping an eye on me, shadowing me, no matter what I say or do.”

And that was the problem.

“Exactly,” he confirmed. “Now, let’s see what you’re made of.”


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