Note: Interesting that the show introduced Canary's sonic device so soon after my last chapter. Serendipity? Luck? Who knows.
Enjoy this final chapter! Thanks for all the support along the way.
Felicity's eyes flicker open. She's in bed, her own, thankfully, not a sterile hospital room. She vaguely remembers someone getting her to drink something, maybe another someone helping her into a set of flannel pajamas, but not much else.
The morning sun is shining through the window, which means she slept through the night. Maybe more than one night? She groans. Her body clock is going to be more off than the week she bet the nerdbros in her major at MIT that she could pull off the better prank against CalTech. They won, but it didn't matter, because she used their distraction to hit the Harvard servers instead. To this day, no one has suspected the true culprit that set off all the sprinklers in the computer science department. Teach them to not accept her.
She turns over and sees Oliver, sitting in a chair beside her bed. He gives her a smile, happiness or relief touching his eyes. "Good morning."
She tests her limbs with a tentative stretch. Not too cramped up from hours of sitting tied to a chair, thank goodness. "How long was I out?"
"Just one night."
She sighs with relief. There was no telling if her captors had given her anything while she was unconscious. "Thanks for saving me. It's nice to wake up in bed next to you—" She bites her lip. "You know what I mean."
"I do know what you mean," he says, rubbing the top of her hand lightly. "I usually do."
"And yet you still let me trip over my words like a fool?" She gives his leg a too-weak swat. "You could stop me, you know."
"What would be the fun in that?" His eyes twinkle, and she can't help but smile.
Laurel walks into the room then, bearing a tray with something steaming. "Oh, you are awake. I thought I heard voices. I brought some tea, if you want it…"
Felicity pushes herself up to a sitting position. Her arms shake a little with the effort, but she manages not to completely embarrass herself. "I'd love some." Then her eyes go wide as she remembers exactly what she had seen right before she collapsed. "Um, Laurel, you were—that is—do you—?"
"I know everything." Laurel sits down in a chair on the other side of the bed, balancing the tray in her lap. "At least the vigilante part."
"And you're not home in bed nursing injuries yourself?" she asks Oliver, completely serious. "Clearly, you're not in jail, either."
"It was a close thing there, for a while," Oliver jokes. He's behaving like the Oliver she's come to know—the one somewhere between the steely-eyed vigilante and the charming playboy. The one that mixes the best of the two.
But even then, Felicity can't believe the lightness in his tone. She turns a questioning eyebrow on Laurel, who looks very uncomfortable. "He's right. I wanted to flay him with one of his arrows at first. Then I had to put my anger on hold until you were safe."
"Now…" The two share a look, like they've formed an uneasy truce. "You're familiar with double jeopardy, correct?" At Felicity's nod, Laurel continues. "Since he can't be retried for the same crimes, the police are going to have to build a whole new case against him for anything to stick. And I'm a defense lawyer, not the police. If I worked for the D.A.'s office though…"
Felicity shudders. If that were true, they would be in a huge mess right now. "You could still leave an anonymous tip?"
Laurel sighs, eyes going distant as she talks. "I thought about it. And then I thought about how the vigilante has changed since Oliver was first brought in. How I've defended him to my father for the good he's done." Laurel focuses back on Felicity. "Now I know why."
Felicity feels her face go hot. She's tried hard to help Oliver see reason since she joined the team. But to hear someone else actually say it… She deflects with another question. "So who was that psycho? Someone from The List?"
"Anna Belyakova," Oliver answers. "And surprisingly, no."
"You were right," Laurel says. "She was in charge of the human trafficking ring in town. That house had several secret rooms like the one where you were being held. The police are trying to ferret out the rest of her holdings, but they found plenty of evidence in just that one location to put her away for a long time." Laurel smiles suddenly. "And Sonya was released this morning, cleared of all charges."
Felicity finds herself matching Laurel's smile. "That almost makes up for all of this."
Oliver clears his throat. They both turn to see him smiling slightly. "I think I'm going to let Laurel take the next shift," he says, rising from his chair. He places a hand on Felicity's forearm, squeezing a goodbye, and it seems to linger for just a moment longer than she expects. She can't be sure, as groggy as she still feels. To Laurel, he says, "See you Friday night. I'll bring the wine."
"Friday?" Felicity asks.
"To celebrate," Laurel explains, tucking a wavy strand behind her ear and looking down. "The end of the case."
"And more," Oliver says, his voice thick with meaning.
"Oh." Felicity's not sure what to say now. Not sure what she can say. Even with Tommy in the picture, they're old friends, were once much more than friends. She's just the IT girl whom Oliver once found useful.
Laurel starts then and takes Felicity's hand. "Oh, Tommy's going to be there! And you, of course. You're practically the guest of honor! I hope you'll come."
Oliver nods. "We both do."
Felicity stammers a little. "Oh, uh, right, yes, I'll come. What wine did you say you're bringing?"
Laurel and Oliver laugh. "I'll surprise you," he says, and then with another nod, leaves the room.
Felicity watches him walk out—he looks so comfortable and in control. Like he's found another place of safety. Does that mean…? "Tommy's really going to be there?"
Felicity lies back to rest her head against the pillows again. "Wow."
"Not to say all is forgiven… but they're willing to take the first step."
Felicity winks. "And if they get stubborn again, you and I can give them a little push the rest of the way." She uses a little demonstrating gesture, and immediately regrets it, her muscles protesting with pain.
Laurel immediately shakes out a couple of ibuprofen and hands them to her with a glass of water. She lets out a wicked chuckle. "If anyone could get away with that, it's you."
"Just me? You practically keep both of them wrapped around your finger, and you haven't dated Oliver in years."
Laurel raises her eyebrows, and then shrugs. "They don't stand a chance, then."
Felicity tosses back the pills and lifts her water glass. "I'll drink to that."
Felicity's voice buzzes in Laurel's ear. "Take the next right."
The cold air burns her lungs and she's sure the sound of her boots pounding the pavement must be audible for blocks. "Is the girl still okay?" she murmurs.
"For now. But hurry."
Laurel doesn't know how Felicity can see what she sees, but she's thankful. In the days since the Undertaking leveled half The Glades, street crime has gone way up. Thank god Oliver's team had been able to work with the police to stop the one of the earthquake devices, or it could have been much worse.
Tommy's been working tirelessly to make up for the evils of his father with charity work. Oliver and Thea, too. And then at night… well, the vigilante seems to be everywhere these days.
But he can't be. He only appears superhuman to his targets—his friends know otherwise.
With CNRI gone, she's had a lot more free time than before. So Laurel speeds toward the mugging around the corner, bo staff already coming up to land a satisfying crack on one of the muggers' heads. She spin kicks another, and boots the third in the groin. He drops the girl's purse.
Laurel turns to the victim. "Get to safety."
The girl nods fearfully, but does as she's told. Laurel clouts each man on the skull a second time for good measure, and then zip-ties all three to the lamppost. "Tell my dad the Canary's got another present for him."
Note 2: Decided to sync up my AU with the show, just a little. ;) Here's to Laurel taking on the Canary mantle in the future.
Extra hugs and thanks to veritas724, innerbrat, blithers and van_el for beta and brainstorming help throughout.