Hell Hath No Fury - Chapter 4: The Sidekicks

John Diggle was about to clock out—thank God the weekend was fast approaching—when his phone vibrated in his pocket. It didn’t vibrate more, which meant he’d received a text message. Or an IM. He frowned. It’s been weeks since last someone has contacted him via IM. And that last contact was from an anonymous user with a strange, unpronounceable username.

Was it possible this was it? Was it time? Was the final showdown between Oliver Queen and whoever was gunning for him nigh?

He was itching to read the message, get his bearings. And he was itching, has been itching for months, to contact Oliver. The man needed to know he still had a friend and an ally in him. John knew he’d exaggerated when he’d severed all contact with his friend. True, Oliver hadn’t been there when he needed him, needed his help, which resulted in Lyla getting hurt. But she survived. She was alive and well, with just a few scars to show for her ordeal. She was alive, and they were together. They were happy.

He should’ve contacted Oliver, asked for forgiveness. Jesus, he couldn’t believe his reaction at what he’d seen as his friend’s desertion. Sure, he’d been afraid for Lyla’s life, angry at everybody, but he should not have reacted the way he had. He should’ve thought before he acted, he should’ve known better. It had been right after Laurel’s death. Oliver had been a wreck—he still was—he had been unable to think about anything but Laurel, his failings toward her, and his guilt.

Thinking about it, John would’ve probably reacted the same way if the woman he loved had died the way Laurel had. Alone. In a burning warehouse. It must’ve been excruciating for Oliver. It must still be. He couldn’t imagine the agony his friend must be in. He couldn’t understand it...But he should’ve been there for him.

He was still vacillating whether he’s done the right thing by staying away. He wasn’t sure he trusted the mysterious IM-er completely. The guy had contacted him a few days after Lyla woke up from her coma, right when John had decided to reach out to Oliver, and put the cards on the table. Someone was gunning for his friend, trying to bring him down, bring him to his knees. And they knew about his alter-ego. This other person’s plan was simple. Isolate and destroy. Isolate Oliver Queen from his support system, destroy his bonds of friendship and relationships. Destroy his friendship with Felicity and Diggle, and when he’s alone, go in for the kill.

The incident that had almost cost Lyla her life, had been carefully and meticulously orchestrated with just that purpose in mind. John would request Arrow’s help, but Oliver wouldn’t be able—or willing—to help, eaten by grief and guilt. Which meant whoever was trying to destroy Oliver had killed Laurel.

Jesus, if Oliver only knew. He’d probably go berserk trying to find this new enemy. John’s contact has been adamant with his request Oliver remain in the dark until the time was right. And John remain away, that he maintain the picture of a friendship destroyed by anger and mistrust. The enemy had to think everything was going according to plan.

He pulled the phone out of his pocket and checked the message.

Pier 17, Warehouse 13.

No date or time. It could only mean one thing. Whatever was about to go down, would happen on short notice. John needed to be able to move quickly.

Λ

Felicity Smoak rubbed her neck, feeling the familiar pressure building behind her eyes. Oh, what fun tonight would be with the migraine the pressure behind her eyes promised. She’d never had migraines before. She’d barely had a meager headache before all this crap had started. Which just showed she wasn’t made for subterfuge, lies, and pretending to stab her best friend in the back.

A white-hot stab of pain zinged from one side of her head to the other. This migraine would be a doozy. Oh, joy.

Serves her right for going down this path. For trusting a stranger. What the hell was wrong with her? Trusting a stranger, someone who she’s never heard speak, never looked in the eye. She’s gone with her gut, her instinct that told her she actually could and should trust this particular stranger. And she’s destroyed Oliver’s life in the process.

Oh, God.

He’s had enough heartache going with Laurel’s death and his grief over it. Over letting her down. He sure didn’t need Felicity heaping more problems, more drama on top of it all. But she had, because the stranger—and her gut—told her she had no other choice. She has had to make it look like she hated him, as if their bond of friendship was broken beyond repair.

Oh, God.

She dropped her head on her hands, clasped on the surface of her desk. She should’ve gone by another route. There were millions other ways she could’ve accomplished the deception. She should not have gone along with the plan the freaking stranger had devised. Jesus, there had never been anything between Oliver and her. Sure, she’d dreamed and wished, but never hoped. She’s always known he was unattainable, that his heart, his soul, his entire being belonged to another. So the whole story about him seducing her and using her to heal his broken heart, and then unceremoniously dumping her, leaving her with her heart broken, was a complete fantasy. And the media gobbled on it like a starving beast.

Oh, God.

What has gotten into her for going through with the lawsuit? Suing her best friend, one of the few people who treated her like a normal human being instead of a freak of nature for her genius-level intellect, for emotional trauma. It should be the other way around. He should sue her after all she’s done to ruin his reputation, his character.

Oh, God.

How will she ever be able to atone for it all? How will they fix it? Was it even possible to fix it? Will he understand? Will he ever forgive her? Would she forgive herself?

Selling company secrets was the lesser of all evils she’s done. And then her mysterious contact let slip a company name, the same company she’d sold Queen Consolidated blue prints to. The company whose true leader—whose name no one knew—was presumably the one gunning for Oliver. Kurumira International.

It was too sweet to resist, so she’d quit her job at QC and applied for a position in Kurumira. And got it. Now she had free rein to explore the hidden recesses of the company’s system and files. She had to find something, a lead, a clue as to who the leader of the company was, what he wanted with Oliver and how to prevent the showdown from happening.

She peeked at the clock on her computer. Nine p.m. on a Friday. Everybody was gone, yet no one would question her still being there, despite the hour. She’d gained a reputation as a workaholic, and she’s been meticulously cultivating that image for this exact purpose.

She listened intently for any sounds that might betray someone else’s presence, then finally accessed the program she’d built for accessing sensitive and encrypted information. Tonight just might be the night. She could feel it in her bones.

She could feel something else. Only she felt it a little too late.

There was a minute displacement of air, a dark blur, and a flash of long blond hair. Before she could turn, or gasp, Felicity felt a quick pressure against the side of her neck, and the lights suddenly flashed out.


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