"You can do the math a thousand ways, but you can't erase the facts
That others come, and others go, but you always come back."
-'I'm Not Dead', Pink.
Sara's ribs ached, sharp pains with each breath. She reached a hand up under her vest, tried to feel for blood. It felt like the vest had stopped the rounds. She hoped.
"The League is not without mercy." Talia said calmly, a long blade in her hand. "I am willing to spare you, Ta-er al-Usfar. Pledge your loyalty to me. Serve me, and you can reclaim your honor at my side. Or die here, a traitor."
"Oliver will avenge me." Sara managed. The searing pain in her head was starting to subside. "You can kill me. But he will follow you to the end of the earth. And he'll make you suffer."
"Like he did after Malcolm Merlyn ended your life?" Talia asked icily. "He gave the Malcolm the League, after he slew you. And now you expect me to fear his vengeance?"
Earlier than night…
"This is a risky assault for you." Vigilante remarked, watching as Oliver adjusted the leather jacket over his body armor. "Why not the usual outfit? Why do this in such a public place"
"The mob would go for a public hit, and it would be harder for mobsters to get his home address." Oliver said, his face obscured by a ballistic face mask. He could get shot in the face with a submachine gun and it would stop the rounds, as long as they didn't go through his eye. "This isn't going to be easy."
"Especially not with a death wish like this." Vigilante said. He hefted a sniper rifle. "You realize there's very little angle from here… if you screw this up, I won't be able to do much. Or are you hoping I won't be able to shoot you once Adrian is dead?"
"Can you blame me?" Oliver remarked. "I'll radio you when it's done, and we all exfiltrate quietly." He gave the zip line a tug. It seemed pretty secure.
"As long as he's dead when this is over." Vigilante said. Oliver nodded, walked over to Sara. She had a zip line harness around her torso, same as Oliver. She still carried her beloved extendable staff, but she had a suppressed TMP submachine gun and a sidearm.
"He's probably going to try to kill us the moment after." Sara said quietly, her voice barely audible.
"Possible. But Adrian has been ahead of us so far. We might need his help, and he might be too distracted to go after us." Oliver said quietly. "Your armor snug?" Sara nodded. Oliver wanted to kiss her, but they were in a public place, and he didn't dare take the mask off. Adrian would die a martyr if they succeeded, and the city would be rocked by the idea of a public official being assassinated right outside City Hall.
But Prometheus would be dead. And hopefully no one would know he had been a public official.
"After this… we're done with it all?" Sara asked. Oliver nodded.
"We'll be free of it all." He said. "I promise."
It felt like forever, waiting, hiding, checking the cameras via his phone—and then he appeared, strolling through the skywalk to the parking deck, confident, at ease, alone. Oliver readied the HK USP, clicked the hammer back, put the phone away, counted to ten. He could hear the wingtip shoes tapping against the concrete, getting closer to Adrian's car. Oliver smoothly stepped out of the alcove, raised the weapon, gratified at the look of surprise on Adrian's face, and fired two rounds into the center of his chest, the suppressed weapon giving a sharp snap but far more quietly than a regular weapon.
The bullets impacted, and Adrian spun, half falling, but turning his fall into a roll, even as he reached into his overcoat and threw something to the ground, bringing smoke up as if summoned from hell.
"Well, you finally had the guts to just go for the kill." A rough laugh sounded from inside the cloud. "What are these? 9mm? 45? Should have loaded them for armor piercing!" Oliver moved toward cover, the weapon raised, his other hand clicking his headset.
"He's wearing armor, target is not down." He whispered.
"Moving to assist." Sara said. She was on the floor below, in case Adrian somehow slipped past Oliver. "Taking the ramp up."
"Kill him quickly and get out of there!" Vigilante snapped.
"Oh, you didn't come alone, did you Olly?" Adrian taunted. "Finally figure out how I've stayed so far ahead of you? Though honestly, I thought you'd go for the dramatic 'you have failed this city!' "
Oliver didn't respond. He wouldn't risk his voice being picked up on any recording device.
"You have hostiles incoming!" Vigilante warned in the headset, just before an bullet hit Oliver in the face, bouncing off the cheek of his armored mask, jerking his head back. He staggered a little, but managed to go for cover, barely seeing several dark figures who had joined Adrian.
"It's the league!" Oliver said. Panic shot through him. They were too split up for this.
"Yes indeed." A voice called mockingly. "The League you both betrayed." He recognized it. Talia Al Ghoul.
"Why are you here Talia!?"
"You killed my father and she betrayed her vows." Talia said offhandedly. "Why would I not come, when offered this chance for justice?" Oliver plucked a flash grenade from his belt, yanked the pin, tossed it, turning away. It exploded like the sun. Oliver moved, cursing that the parking deck was so empty—cars would have provided concealment.
"Moving to east side of parking deck, level 4!" Oliver said into his radio. "Canary, get out now!" He rounded the corner, ducking into cover, turning to fire from protection. Four shapes scrambled for cover as he opened fire. There was an explosion, then the sound of metal ripping into concrete as an anchor tore into a wall near him. Vigilante was sliding down the zip line, a suppressed SCAR assault rifle across his chest. The man hit the ground almost running and raised the weapon, firing rapidly.
"Move up!" Vigilante yelled.
Sara was moving rapidly up the ramp, weapon raised, trying to move as quickly as she could—and something hit her solidly in the chest, knocking her back, before an explosion ripped through the air in front of her, sending her backwards. She tried to take a breath, felt a searing pain in her chest. It didn't feel like anything had punched through. Hopefully. A familiar shape strode idly towards her, and she felt her hope fading. All this way to die in a damn parking garage?
Oliver was focusing as he moved, breathing long and deeply, raising the weapon, aiming, firing, moving from one target to another. The slide on his weapon locked back and he smoothly pressed the release and flicked his wrist, sending the empty magazine skittering away as he grabbed a fresh one. The four that had chased him were down. Vigilante stepped past him, strode closer to the downed assassins, and coldly fired two rounds into each of their heads.
"Well well, everyone loves making friends these days." Prometheus remarked icily. Oliver and Vigilante spun, firing before their sights were even on target. He was already behind concrete
"Olly, I'm really wondering why you so easily forgot about Talia." He taunted. "And where exactly did your little bird fly off to? She never returned to your arm, did she?"
Fear lanced through Oliver's chest. "Canary, where the hell are you?!" He demanded into his headset. Another signal weakly clicked on, a quieter voice coming from farther away than the wearer.
"… willing to spare you, Ta-er al-Usfar." An Arabic voice said. "Pledge your loyalty to me."
"Funny how life gives us these beautiful little moments, isn't it, Oliver?" Adrian laughed. Vigilante squeezed the trigger and a long burst of heavy rounds tore into the concrete, blasting chunks away.
"Nice try, Vigilante! Too thick though." Adrian mocked. "You two are more than I can handle. But is Oliver willing to retrieve a blonde corpse to make sure it is two on one here?"
"Stairwell down. We get her back." Oliver whispered, pointing. It was risky, but too long to take the ramps down. Vigilante gave him a look for a moment, and Oliver could almost feel cold rage from behind the visor.
"Good luck." The man said, advancing on Adrian.
Oliver ran for the stairs.