Caught in the Rapture
Disclaimer: I do not own Arrow or any of its characters. They belong to The CW and DC Comics.
Summary: AU. Being the daughter of a ruthless and notorious crime lord, Felicity Smoak didn't think her life could get any worse. When her father unexpectedly sells her in marriage as a peace offering to his enemy, she quickly learns it'll take more than just her sharp intellect to survive. But what starts out as a sentence worse than death may actually be her only shot at freedom.
A/N: Hey guys, so this is my new Olicity fic! I'm super excited to see what you think. The arranged marriage trope is one of my faves, and I've had this idea in my head for months now. Just so you know, there is no set schedule for updates with this fic. It's a fun side project while I'm working on Bound to You, but I'll try to be consistent for you guys. Please read and review. Thanks!
Chapter 1: The Deal
Darkness surrounded her. It was both blinding and intense as Felicity tried to gain her bearings. Although her vision had been impaired, it also served to sharpen her other senses. She could hear the rapid pounding of her heartbeat in her ears. Taste the coppery, bitter tang of bile and blood in her mouth. Smell the sweat and tears that had become embedded in the cloth covering her face.
Her sense of touch was the most acute. She could feel the hard thumping of her heart in her chest. Feel the ache in her muscles from the struggle to defend herself. Feel the tight pressure at her wrists and ankles from the zip ties that kept her bound. Every few minutes the floor would vibrate and shake, jostling her. They were on the move. To where, Felicity had no idea.
Her concept of time was lost. It could've been hours or days since they'd captured her. Whatever they'd injected her with prevented lucidity. She drifted in and out of consciousness with nothing but the constant pain and rumbling sensation beneath her to remind her that she was alive. She'd been dreaming of the sun and crystal blue waves breaking against a white-sand beach when a loud clanging sound interrupted. The noise was like metal being torn apart. Moments later, there were hands on her. She struggled to avoid them, but it was futile with her own limbs bound.
She was hauled across the floor. There was a soft snip, followed by another, and the pressure lessened. Her hands and legs separated. Cautiously, she moved them and breathed a sigh of relief when she found they were completely free. The rough hands dragged her again, and her body seemed to tilt. She was placed on her feet, but they were weak from disuse. The grip on her tightened roughly to keep her upright.
"Walk. If you try anything, you're dead," someone muttered harshly.
Felicity, feeling more conscious than dazed by now, whimpered in response to the sharp object she felt pressed against her spine. It was too sharp to be a gun; it definitely had to be a knife. There were at least two men escorting her, she was sure of it. It was the third, however, who mattered. Felicity wondered where he was. Did he have the guts to show his face? Was this punishment for defying him? Felicity didn't care what he did this time. She would never apologize for seeking her freedom. Her only regret was that she'd gotten caught.
Another voice spoke in a tongue that Felicity didn't quite recognize. If she had to hazard a guess, she would say it was some version of Arabic. Every step was like a shock to her stiff muscles. Felicity tried to count her steps in a last-ditch effort to memorize the way out. It was impossible to keep track of all the turns they'd made with her mind not functioning to its full capacity.
Finally, her captors stopped. Someone knocked on a door, and it opened with a heavy creek. Felicity was forced forward once more. It was no more than ten steps before she was signaled to stop.
"Not a word," her captor warned. Again, she felt the knife at her spine.
"That was quite the dramatic entrance." The new voice had an accent and cadence that was deep, smooth, and composed.
"A necessary precaution, I assure you."
Felicity's entire body went rigid when she heard the second voice. It sounded light and casual, but she knew better. It was nothing more than a mask to hide the cold, calculating monster that lurked beneath.
"She's dangerous?" The first man sounded more amused than concerned.
A scoff. "No. Spirited would be a more accurate description. Also, sometimes too intelligent for her own good."
"Is she pure?"
Felicity bristled at the question. If it weren't for the threat of impalement, she would've let out a string of curses and lashed out at the dirt bag closest to her to prove otherwise.
"Yes. Knowing this day may come, I made sure of it."
"We wish to see her."
A second later, Felicity felt the black cloth being removed from her head. Her eyes blinked rapidly to adjust to the light. Thankfully, the light was low (almost like candles) and didn't harm her eyes as much as expected. They watered, and her sight remained somewhat blurred. She had no idea what happened to her glasses.
Eventually, they focused enough for her to take in the scene before her. Felicity felt like she'd been transported back in time. She was in what looked like a throne room carved from stone. The floor, smooth and polished, was the only surface that appeared somewhat modern. Light emanated from the torches set into the walls throughout the room. In her peripheral vision, Felicity saw dark, hooded figures standing guard.
Finally, her gaze landed on the raised dais where a man dressed in elaborate black robes sat on his dark, red velvet throne. There was another hooded figure sitting to his right and two more empty seats to his left. He looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties. His hair was cut short and he had a beard. Her eyes lingered to the large ring, shaped like a demon's head, on his finger. Despite her abduction and everything that came before, it was in that moment that Felicity felt true fear.
"She may be a little worse for wear after the day she's had, but she cleans up nicely."
Felicity's eyes snapped to the tall, blond-haired man dressed in a black suit. Two armed bodyguards were on either side of him. She knew he felt her murderous glare, but he refused to look over. Taking in angry breaths through her nose, Felicity stared between the two. The sense of foreboding took root inside her, knotting her stomach.
"Bring her forward."
The blonde was forced to move closer, stopping just shy of the dais. Felicity couldn't shake the feeling that she was a lamb being brought to slaughter. The man nodded to the hooded figure next to him. The figure stood and descended the steps. If Felicity could've moved back, she would've. She'd been around enough dangerous men in her life to recognize a true threat. The man's imposing size and sleek, predatory movements told her he was definitely not someone to be messed with.
There was less than a foot of space between them when he stopped. Slowly, he drew back his hood and looked down at her. Felicity felt her breath catch. The man was tall and handsome with his chiseled jaw, small nose, and piercing blue eyes. Both his hair and beard were shaved close to his skin. Although he was probably one of the most good-looking men Felicity had ever seen, it was the sternness of his expression combined with the tumult of emotion in his eyes that she found disarming. His stare somehow managed to be intelligent, haunting, and beautiful all at the same time.
The man scrutinized her closely, starting at her feet and roaming up her body. She stood up straight, refusing to cower or fidget under his probing gaze. No matter how terrified she was, showing weakness to a man like this was not an option. Felicity nearly jumped when he reached out to touch one of her blond curls. Afterward, his gloved hand traveled to her face. On instinct, Felicity tried to pull away and felt the blade dig further into her back. The gasp of pain was involuntary and drew the man's attention to her suppressor. The only way to describe the look he sent the man next to her was lethal. Within seconds, the knife was gone from her completely.
The man returned his focus to her. His grasp was firm, keeping her in place this time. He lifted her head, surprisingly gentle, and forced her to look up at him. Felicity stared back fiercely, defiantly. She might not be able to speak, but she would make her feelings about this unwanted invasion of her personal space known. The pair gazed at each other in a silent battle of wills before he finally released her and stepped back.
"Al Sah-him," the other man prompted.
He turned to his leader. "She'll do," he replied in a low, raspy voice.
There was no stopping the guffaw of outrage that tore from Felicity's throat. "Excuse me? I'll do for what?" she demanded.
"Quiet," the blonde man ordered.
"No," she retorted, uncaring of the threat. This would probably turn out badly for her whether she spoke or not. "I demand to know what the hell is going on. You kidnapped me, tied me up, and brought me here to this cave with a bunch of dudes who look like they belong in an Indiana Jones movie. And now I'm being inspected like some kind of livestock, which is total bullshit and, for the record, completely sexist."
"Felicity," he warned.
"Father," she mockingly spat.
"My my," the bearded man commented. "Spirited, indeed." He stood up and approached her. "Do you know who I am, child?" The smirk on his face indicated that the question was just a formality.
"You're Ra's al Ghul," Felicity answered and nodded to the ring on his finger. "Also known as the Demon's Head."
"I am smart, but that's not how I know who you are. My father taught me at a very early age who his enemies are." She added, "You're at the top of the list."
Felicity had heard countless stories growing up about the ruthless leader of the League of Assassins. As one would assume by the name, the League was basically a cult of loyal murderers that served only to do Ra's al Ghul's bidding. Her father Damien Darhk, unsurprisingly, was once part of the League. He'd almost been named Ra's al Ghul himself if the last leader hadn't chosen the man standing in front of her instead. Her father had never gotten over it and so he'd fled the League and started his own organization named H.I.V.E., which was every bit as deplorable.
Her father's enemy studied her closely. "Very judicious of him. Although after tonight, you will have no need to fear me, child."
"And why is that?"
"Because after tonight, you will be family."
Her sense of dread tightened in the pit of her stomach, and Felicity looked to her father. "What is he talking about?"
Finally, her father met her gaze. His eyes were as they'd always been, icy and unfeeling. "Ra's and I have decided to bury the hatchet. We've called a truce. In addition to the ceasefire, as a sign of good faith, you will be inducted into the League."
Felicity reeled at that. "What? No," she refused. "I don't want to be a part of the League. If I wouldn't kill for you, then I sure as hell am not going to kill for him." One of the things that needled her father the most was her refusal to be a part of H.I.V.E. He'd never asked her to kill outright, but her participation in some of his plans would've led to the deaths of countless innocents. It was why she'd been trying to run from him all of her life. Unfortunately, Felicity still hadn't fully mastered the art of disappearing.
"I have no plans to make you an assassin, child. You will soon learn that there is more to the League than that. We also value tradition and honor among men. In keeping with our most sacred beliefs, the alliance will be forged the traditional way…through a union between our two families."
A wave of revulsion hit her. "You actually expect me to marry you? You're old enough to be my…" Felicity trailed off. She didn't know exactly how old Ra's was. The legend was that the League had discovered some sort of key to immortality that allowed its leader to live for centuries. Her father said that he'd seen it and even stole some of it for himself, but she'd always thought he was lying to scare her. "You're old enough to be my grandfather five times over. Seriously, you might want to stop with the 'child' thing, because that's just creepy."
Ra's actually laughed at that. "I am flattered, child, but I am not the one you are to be bound to." He gestured to the stoic and observant man next to him. "You will be bound to my heir, Al Sah-him."
This entire situation was a nightmare, but Felicity did feel a very minute sense of relief at the revelation. "Thanks, but I'll pass," she sarcastically replied.
"You don't have a choice," her father chimed in.
"The hell I don't. These aren't the Medieval times when you get to just sell me off. I'm a grown woman. I have the right to make my own choices."
"You are my daughter, first and foremost," her father declared. "And you will do as you're told."
"And if I refuse?" she challenged.
Her father approached her and invaded her personal space, blocking out Ra's and Ra's Jr. His voice was low so only she could hear. "In light of your latest betrayal, Felicity, you no longer have a choice. You will marry Al Sah-him and solidify the truce." He continued before she could argue. "Your only other choice, if you can call it that, is to be turned over to Ra's outright in which he can do with you whatever he pleases. Since you are not a fighter and were lucky enough to inherit your mother's good looks, you'd probably make a better concubine than a warrior. So unless you want to be nothing more than a common whore, I suggest you cooperate."
"In other words, I'll still be a whore—the marriage just makes it more official," Felicity retorted, glaring at him.
"This is the best I can give you, and you're lucky to get that. I've sheltered you for far too long. Time to grow up."
There had been countless times over the years that Felicity had been infuriated with her father. He was not a good man, she always knew, but a part of her deep down inside had always hoped that someday he might change. That he would be the father she'd always wanted and deserved. Someone who wouldn't play devious games to coax her into compliance and actually be proud of her no matter what. Felicity thought she'd let go of that dream years ago, but it wasn't until this moment that she realized she'd still been holding on. Because it was in this moment that that hope completely shattered.
"You're a monster," Felicity whispered, fighting back tears. The intensity of her hatred towards him coursed through her body, leaving her feeling sick and unsettled.
Her father's stare softened for the slightest second before hardening once more. He turned to face Ra's. "We can proceed."
With a nod, Ra's waved to someone Felicity couldn't see. Footsteps approached and a small table was placed at the bottom of the dais. What looked like a scroll lay on top. Felicity soon identified it as the contract for the truce and swallowed the bile rising in her throat. After all of her efforts not just to survive but to be independent, this is what she'd been reduced to. Fate was a fickle thing.
Her father took the offered quill—Ra's wasn't kidding about the League being old school—and signed. Ra's followed, and the two men shook hands afterward. Felicity looked away in disgust, her eyes landing on the man they called Al Sah-him. She could barely fathom the idea that this man was to be her husband. It was too weird. Instead of watching the two pompous, power-hungry men congratulating themselves on their new truce, Felicity was surprised to see that his gaze was on her. It was almost impossible to read him, but she'd say he didn't seem too thrilled by the prospect of their impending marriage either.
"Hold her," Ra's called to his servants, recapturing her attention. "Remove her jacket."
"What?" Felicity muttered, startled. The masked men off to the side approached her. Her father's men easily handed her off, and she protested as they gripped her firmly and proceeded to carry out the order. All she had on underneath was a tank top, and the chilly air in the cavern caused goose bumps to form on her arms.
Ra's addressed her, "Get on your knees."
Felicity remained standing. "What the hell is going on?" Although he'd already made it clear that he would do nothing to help her, Felicity found herself looking to her father.
"Kneel, Felicity," her father repeated as more men came. They were carrying what looked like a fire pit, except it was filled with hot coals.
Ra's shot an impatient look to his heir. Apparently he no longer found her "spirit" amusing. "It seems you may have your hands full with this one, Al Sah-him."
As if on cue, the younger man stepped forward. "Kneel."
Felicity lifted her head. "No."
"Kneel or they will force you." His tone was authoritative, though his eyes looked to be saying something different. Felicity was momentarily taken aback by the glimmer of concern she thought she saw reflecting back at her.
Regardless, Felicity stood firm. Seconds later she gasped as the men kicked her legs out from under her, and she fell to her knees. Tears of humiliation burned her eyes. Al Sah-him also lowered himself to the ground and knelt before her. She stared at him apprehensively as he took hold of her hands and put them on his broad shoulders. He was even bigger up close. His own went to her waist, and she tensed in response.
"Hold on to me tight. This is going to hurt," he warned.
Felicity saw movement out of the corner of her eye and turned her head in time to see the red hot poker coming toward her from the pit. Al Sah-him's hands gripped her firmly as she felt the brand being pressed to her skin on her upper right shoulder. The sensation of heat only lasted a second before morphing into blinding, white hot pain. Felicity screamed loudly and instinctively clung to the man before her. Her nails dug in deep, but her body found no reprieve. If it weren't for him, she probably would've face-planted onto the floor. There was no holding back the tears now. They fell freely as her body violently spasmed in response to the searing agony.
As messed up as it was, her would-be husband became her anchor and she slumped against him when the brand was finally removed. Her shoulder burned as the rest of her body became numb, the shock setting in. Spots formed in front of her eyes, and her head spun. Al Sah-him continued to hold her. Felicity thought she felt one of his hands in her hair, but she couldn't be sure. She was quickly losing consciousness, and this time she welcomed the darkness. She'd take anything over the pain and humiliation she just experienced. Without warning, Felicity's body gave out and she fell against him completely. Dazed, with her eyes closed, Felicity was only vaguely aware of her surroundings.
"Take her to be prepared," Ra's ordered. "The ceremony will be tonight."
Felicity felt herself being picked up and carried; unlike earlier, she didn't struggle.
For a moment, Felicity's mind was at ease. She was lying in bed in her apartment in Starling City, sleeping peacefully. Before that she'd been enjoying her night by watching a movie, eating popcorn, and drinking wine. Now it was the middle of the night and the haze in her mind was nothing more than the aftereffects of her buzz. She sometimes had the craziest dreams after drinking—hence the ridiculous hallucination involving an elaborate kidnapping, her father's threat, and the arrangement with the League. Dig would get a kick out of her story when he came to pick her up tomorrow. He'd always said she had a wild imagination.
Felicity shifted to roll over onto her side when she felt a dull throbbing in her shoulder. The more pressure she put on it, the worse it ached. It felt tender and raw like a burn. Gasping, Felicity came crashing back to reality and opened her eyes. The lighting in the room was dull, almost like candlelight, and the ceiling seemed to be carved from stone. The bed she was lying on felt harder than her one at home, and she didn't even recognize the bedspread.
What she found most disturbing was her clothes. Her jeans and tank top had been removed and replaced with a long black dress with white embroidered designs on the neckline and hem. The material felt heavy, making her skin damp with sweat. She was definitely not back in her room in Starling City. There was soft chatter nearby, and Felicity slowly lifted her head. She wasn't alone; two women shuffled about the room while another three stood at the foot of her bed.
"This is outrageous," said a short brunette with long, straight dark hair. She had a pretty, delicate face and bronze skin. She couldn't be more than twenty years old. Her dress was almost like Felicity's but dark red and with less flourishes. "I refuse to idly stand by and let this happen. How could Father agree to such an arrangement?"
A taller woman with similar, more defined features stood next to her. Her hair was the same color but shorter. Her outfit looked similar to what Felicity had seen the guards wearing, though it conformed more appealingly to her figure. She replied, "You know why. It was a never-ending battle, and the League can't afford any more unnecessary losses. Father has more important things to attend to."
So these were Ra's al Ghul's daughters. Felicity was immediately on her guard, since the apple didn't usually fall far from the tree. Although maybe she shouldn't be too judgmental considering who her own father was.
"This was my birthright," she argued.
"Actually, it was Nyssa's," interjected the third woman. Her blond hair was pulled back and braided. Her skin was much fairer, showing a smattering of light freckles across her face. She also wore dark gear. "She is the oldest."
"But not the heir. You saw to that," the short one retorted. It sounded like a jab.
"And you took full advantage," the blonde replied, remaining composed.
"It doesn't matter now," said the older sister, Nyssa. "Father asked us to prepare her, and that is what we shall do."
The younger one lifted her head haughtily. "She looks ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if Al Sah-him took one look at her and called the entire ceremony off. She's entirely common."
"Al Sah-him agreed to this arrangement at your father's request and for the good of the League. Besides, the poor girl was just abducted, dragged here against her will, and now branded. I highly doubt you'd look your best after that." The blonde then added with a smirk, "But don't worry, by the time I'm done with her, he won't be able to take his eyes off of her. She's got major hottie potential."
Nyssa lifted an eyebrow. The blonde winked at her before leaning over to kiss her cheek. Nyssa's expression softened slightly. She then turned back to her sister. "We don't have time for your petty jealousy, Talia. Go fetch the jewels she is to wear from the vault and hurry. We don't have much time."
Talia looked as if she was going to protest but another glare from her older sister silenced her. Instead, she turned with a huff and stomped out of the room.
"Better keep an eye on her. You know how she is when she doesn't get her way."
Nyssa nodded at the blonde before glancing at Felicity. "It seems our guest is finally awake."
Felicity moved to sit up and winced.
"Careful," the blonde cautioned. "I imagine you're still sore. We treated the wound and bandaged it for now."
Felicity cleared her throat. "I'll be all right. I was only stabbed with a red hot poker, after all," she muttered sarcastically.
The corner of the blonde's mouth quirked. "You've got fire. I like that." She came around the side of the bed and held out her hand. "I'm Ta-er al-Asfe, but you can call me Sara if you like."
Staring at the woman's hand, Felicity hesitated before finally taking it. "Felicity Smoak."
"Not Darhk?" she questioned.
"No. I chose to take my mother's name."
Sara and Nyssa exchanged a look. "I'm Nyssa al Ghul, daughter of the Demon," the other woman spoke up, sounding much more formal.
"I heard. I'd say it's nice to meet the both of you but since I don't exactly want to be here, I'd rather not lie."
"Fair enough," Sara stated. "How are you feeling? Can you stand?"
Felicity countered, "Do I have a choice?"
"It'd be much easier on us if you cooperate. Your wedding is in less than an hour, and we still have a lot to do." The other two women in the room approached the bed. Sara must've sensed that she was going to argue some more, because she added, "I don't want to hurt you, Felicity, but we have our orders, too. I can either strap you to the bed against your will and force all of this crap on you or you can get up and calmly sit at the vanity while we work our magic. Whatever your choice, remember this ceremony is happening."
Sighing, Felicity moved to get up. "Oddly enough, that's the politest offer I've had all day." She wasn't going to get out of this thing by force. She had to be cleverer than that. Until an opportunity presented itself, Felicity was better off playing along.
Sara led her over to the vanity, and Felicity took a seat in front of the mirror. "Who changed my clothes?" The last thing she remembered was being carried out of the throne room by Al Sah-him. It seemed surreal even in her own head.
"It wasn't your husband-to-be if that's what you're wondering," Sara responded. "Nyssa and I helped."
"What about that other girl? Talia, was it?" she prodded. "I wasn't awake for very long, but I can already tell we won't be braiding each other's hair anytime soon."
"She's harmless," Sara stated.
That sounded like the total opposite of the warning she'd given to Nyssa mere moments ago, but Felicity didn't push. She watched in the mirror as Sara and the other two women adjusted her dress and did her makeup. Felicity's hair was brushed, and some type of sweet and spicy balm was rubbed in at the roots and extended to the strands. Her hair looked much neater and shinier afterward. When the older woman began to pull her hair back, Sara halted her.
"Al Sah-him wants it down."
"I'd prefer it up," Felicity interjected.
"We have our orders."
She didn't back down. "Yes, but I'm giving you new ones. We're not married yet, which means in the eyes of the League, my hair still belongs to me. I would like it up please."
Sara looked to Nyssa, who responded with a tiny nod. It was a small victory, but that's about all the control Felicity had over her life at the moment. She tried not to think about how much worse it was going to get. She would lose it if she did, and right now she needed a clear head.
When they were finished, Felicity stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were smokey and outlined with black liner drawn out to the edges, creating a cat-eye effect. Her cheeks were contoured and tinge with pink and golden dust to highlight. Finally, her lips were painted a deep red and shaped to accentuate their natural curves. Despite feeling unsettled that she couldn't recognize herself, Felicity had to admit Sara and the other two women had done a great job. If only they'd been around to help her get ready that time she wanted to go to prom.
They'd just started to attach her golden veil to her bun—along with a golden piece of jewelry that ran along her hairline and rested in the center of her forehead—when the bedroom door opened. Talia had returned with a medium-sized wooden box in her hands. After what she'd said minutes prior, Felicity expected to see some sort of look of disgust on the younger woman's face. Talia appeared unfazed, however, as she rested the box on the vanity.
"I'm Talia al Ghul, daughter of the Demon." She had the same formal tone as her sister.
Felicity introduced herself in return and watched as Talia opened the box. "This necklace has been in our family for centuries. My father has asked that you wear it."
The necklace had two parts. One that was higher around the neck and the other a medallion that dangled below. It was both simple and exquisite at the same time. Felicity complied and reached her hand out to take it.
"Allow me," Talia offered and came around the back of her. She brushed the veil aside and placed the necklace on Felicity's neck. As she was about to clasp it, Nyssa suddenly sprang forward. She struck out at Talia's hand and dragged her sister away from Felicity in one fell swoop. Out of the corner of her eye, Felicity saw something small and shiny skid across the floor. Within seconds, she realized it was a dagger.
"Are you all right? Are you cut?" Sara exclaimed and proceeded to feel for any injuries.
Felicity was too shocked to speak, so she just nodded in reassurance. Meanwhile, Nyssa was forcing her sister out of the room as they argued heatedly in what Felicity assumed was more Arabic. Only when Felicity reached forward to brace herself against the vanity did she realize she was shaking. In one day she'd already been abducted, essentially sold into slavery, branded, and now nearly assassinated.
"Who the hell are you people?" Felicity wondered aloud. What kind of barbaric psychos had her father sold her to?
Sara's easygoing nature was lost, and she stared back at Felicity with a solemn expression. "Welcome to Nanda Parbat."