AN – You're right, I need to look up the word "complete" in the dictionary! :) However, here are a few quick notes explaining myself:
1) I did leave openings with the action in this story as I let the police have the gunmen, didn't answer the question of whether or not there was an evil mastermind behind or even what they were trying to steal! Action scenes are clearly not my thing as I'm sure you all know by now but I was also more focused on developing Lance.
2) I did want to have Lance on the Team but I just couldn't develop him enough to get there and I have too much respect for the character to force him into it (weird, huh?). I think his initial focus and choice will be his daughters and regardless of whether or not he can respect Oliver as a new man I think he would still see it as a betrayal of Laurel (at least).
3). I do have hope that in the future things may be different. So we are skipping ahead a bit for a happier ending for which I give all credit/ blame to Sass-and-Caffeine for the inspirate to write this! :)
DISCLAIMER: Still just playing w/ others' toys without any profit (unless you count review which I do so pay up guys)! :)
Several months after the attempted robbery at QC…
Lance had been sitting in his car for over an hour watching Verdant. This wasn't an official police stakeout but was, instead, personal. It was time he visit "Team Arrow in their cave" at least that's what Sara had told him in those exact words. He was glad he was able to communicate with his daughter and he knew he owed that to Felicity which explained in part why he came. Felicity's phones and programs allowed Sara and him to feel they could safely communicate without endangering either of their lives. He now knew his daughter was alive and as well as could expected as she continued to use her special skill set as she saw fit. Sara had even come back to Starling City and met him in person…Lance had only found out later that "Team Arrow" had provided back-up for her and that was the only reason she had come. He really owed Felicity and with that thought he got out of the car and paused.
Lance had only taken a few steps when he stopped before he realized he hadn't really spoken to Oliver Queen since the attempted robbery. He had chosen to maintain contact with Felicity – well, she chose as she was the one who always checked in on him, just as she does with Sara. Lance couldn't help the smile as the blond was quite good at waiting him out as he now stood just across the street from her.
Sara had actually warned him with a smile that Felicity was tenacious. It was rare to see Sara smile anymore and that gave Lance another reason to be grateful to Felicity. Sara called Felicity "Oliver's light" and he knew she was a little jealous of that. Not jealous that Oliver was doing well, it still surprised Lance but Sara seemed to understand and accept Oliver Queen as he was without concern for their past…or because of it? Regardless, she had forgiven him but not herself.
With greater contact with his daughter Lance had realized the truth of Felicity's words that the island didn't define them but that they still struggled with who they were. In later conversations with Felicity she had enlarged upon that to say that neither seemed to believe they deserved anything good in their lives and anyone who wanted to be a part of their lives would have to fight for that.
Lance was willing to fight to have Sara in his life but it was just coming to realize that she could very well bring the others in with her and that worried him as well which was another reason he came tonight. His concern was not just for Sara but for Laurel who continued to face her own struggles and continued down a dangerous path of her own. She still sought contact with the Vigilante and blew off his warnings – Lance knew he had to trust Oliver to be the one who kept his distance.
I can't protect either of them but instead I count on a man I have hated for years…he protects them both while I've only hurt them.
Lance couldn't help but wonder about his part in both of his daughters' struggles; however, Felicity had also spoken on that too. There's not a lot that Felicity doesn't speak on though, Lance thought with affection for the girl. Felicity told him she was glad he was no longer actively seeking to blame Oliver Queen for the past but then continued to say that he couldn't blame himself either.
That was much harder even than accepting Oliver Queen as a good man – Felicity's and Sara's loyalty to him even when silent was pretty convincing. Diggle was right that Queen himself never fought that battle but only now did Lance accept that the man still simply believed all blame and responsibility were his despite Felicity pushing him away from the past and into the present and possibly a future.
While he had avoided personal contact with Team he had monitored police reports and even gossip columns but there was no proof of a personal relationship between Oliver and Felicity. It appeared all were maintaining their public personas well…Lance just wasn't sure if he was impressed or annoyed about that.
Oliver Queen remained a sore point for him but Lance knew that was only because it was still easier to blame him. Despite Felicity encouraging him not to blame himself when he worked to let go of Queen as a target, Lance had been forced to review his own choices and his daughters' as well. Sara did seem to be moving forward but Laurel continued to spiral downward out of control. Sara was working to not let her personal tragedies define her and yes, she had help from Oliver's Team for which Lance was grateful. However, Laurel was left to her own devices and stuck in a vicious circle of denial and self-destruction.
Lance would love to have his daughters together so they could support and learn from one another as a family should but with all of Sara's burdens it seemed selfish to push her toward her sister especially in Laurel's current condition. Sara harbored too much guilt and shame already so Lance had accepted his position caught between his girls. He just still wasn't sure how to support both and help them work through their guilt when he wasn't able to work through his own.
Sara and Laurel had suffered at the hands of others but both had also made some choices and some mistakes. It was not only hard to accept they had all made mistakes but that each had the right to try and move on and get past them. He knew, absolutely knew despite the irony of it that Oliver had come further than the rest of them in moving forward. He also understood that Oliver gave all credit for that to everyone but himself and in particular his focus remained as always on Felicity. Sara's description of her as "Oliver's light" rang through his mind and he couldn't help but wish that his daughters had someone to help them as well as he himself wasn't doing too great of a job.
Lance glanced up at a noise from the club and realized he had been pacing beside his car for the last half hour. Now a trip that should have taken twenty minutes had already cost him nearly two hours and he hadn't even gone inside.
Get a grip and go inside, Lance thought in annoyance with himself and did cross the street toward the club. He had played these same thoughts, doubts, fears and dreams in his head for months now and perhaps Sara was right that it was time to take action.
Sara had instructed him to use the regular club entrance and then find Thea or Roy. It wasn't difficult as Thea met him immediately and latched onto his arm with a smile. "I was told to expect you hours ago but better late than never, right Detective? They are all downstairs already but I need to stay here so I'll just get you through the door then you are on your own." Thea had continued to speak as she maneuvered them quickly and easily through the crowded club.
"Who told you—" As Thea was almost as difficult to interrupt as Felicity Lance didn't even get to complete his question.
"Felicity, of course." Thea turned her back to him as she entered a code and then quickly pushed him through the door. "Have fun!"
Lance paused for a moment as metallic clangs reverberated through the…Cave? What have I gotten myself into this time? Despite his concern Lance continued down the stairs and he heard and saw Felicity before he reached the bottom.
"I'll definitely tell Sara she owes me twenty bucks but you can pass along the message too, if you would. Thank you for coming Detective." Felicity's smile was warm and genuine and Lance found it impossible not to return it even if he did shake his head in bemusement.
He did notice it was suddenly quiet in the cave and turned to see both Diggle and Harper stepping over to them. Both men carried metal batons which Lance now surmised was the reason for the metallic clanging noises he had heard upon entry. He glanced around quickly to locate Oliver but found himself distracted by the arsenal of weapons, what appeared to be an entire science lab or emergency room and a desk of IT equipment.
It was Oliver speaking her name in question and as the sound came from above him Lance quickly looked up. There hanging from a metal bar was a shirtless and somewhat annoyed looking Oliver Queen. As Lance watched, the young man quickly flipped in the air and dropped soundlessly to stand beside of Felicity.
"What? He's meeting Sara and I have some new toys for her. He's here as a favor and is going to play delivery boy for us. Didn't I mention that to you?" Lance assumed Felicity was trying to innocent sincerity but even he saw through that one. For people who play such public roles, she sucks at telling lies, Lance thought with a quiet laugh.
"We really need to work on your cover stories." There was a slight exasperation in Oliver's tone but it was no match for the obvious affection in his voice and expression.
Lance watched the by-play with interest as he hadn't actually seen them together in months and was still curious about the truth of the public roles they all seemed to play. As the pair continued to gaze into one another's eyes Lance realized the public story was just that a story – clearly the QC rumors are more accurate though, Lance thought with a smile. He then thought to give them a moment and was planning to look around a bit more when he saw Felicity's hand move up to rest on Oliver's chest. It was then he noted the tattoo and Lance focused his gaze there as he knew it looked familiar but couldn't place it.
He wasn't sure how long he had been staring at the ink on Queen's chest but he then found himself noting the scars. A lot of scars, Lance thought in amazement as he continued his perusal only to find it suddenly blocked by a swatch of hot pink. As he brought his gaze up in confusion he realized it was Felicity's blouse in front of him and just how inappropriate his gaze now was. Lance jerked his head quickly to the side in horror. He looked back sheepishly and was ready to apologize to her when he realized she was genuinely angry not offended. Her anger gave him pause which allowed time for him to process the sudden laughter of the other men present.
Lance watched as Oliver easily picked up Felicity and placed himself between him and the irate blond.
"Oliver, we've talked about the brute strength thing—" Felicity had apparently redirected her anger to Oliver who simply chuckled before he interrupted her.
"Yeah, yeah, not always sexy, I know." Lance could only see Oliver's profile so he couldn't read his expression but it was easy to see the explosion of pink in her face as she hissed his name. It had little impact on Oliver who simply dropped his head to brush more than a few kisses across her lips.
"Felicity, we can't be rude to our guest, can we?" That question came from a still chuckling Diggle.
Just as Roy opened his mouth to torment Felicity more she spoke, "Do not speak, Harper! I mean it!"
Roy laughed and replied, "I was just going to offer our guest a tour, geez Felicity – calm down." Lance noted that Harper also needed to work on his innocent sincere tone just as Felicity did. As they all heard her exaggerated sigh, Lance assumed she agreed.
"By all means, give him a tour! I need to gather the stuff for Sara…" Lance watched as Felicity pushed at Oliver's chest before she continued, "And you need to step away."
Lance barely heard Oliver's low laugh but he did see him again lean in to kiss the blond girl. Again, Lance turned away only to hear Harper speak in a stage whisper.
"Oliver has a death wish…I warn everyone that she's scary but she does seem to favor him so maybe—"
"Roy!" Felicity clearly tore her lips away from Oliver long enough to stop the young man with one clearly annoyed and exaggerated pronunciation of his name.
"So, this is Felicity's desk – note that you should never touch the shiny toys here with her express and written authorization." Lance chuckled as Harper assumed the tone of a cheerful tour guide with obvious relish as he even gestured enthusiastically.
It was hard not to get caught up and even overwhelmed by this group - Lance clearly remembered how they had taken over the rescue operation months ago. It was somewhat surreal though to see such lighthearted antics in the midst of a Cave full of weapons and medical supplies though.
Felicity walked off with an exaggerated huff of annoyance even as the guys chuckled. Lance turned back to them and found all three standing together and watching him. He couldn't help the tension that crept into his body as they really did look imposing and he knew he had only seen part of what they could do.
"So you're training?" Lance knew it was an inane question but there was something about this group that always seemed to throw him off his game. He was surprised when Diggle offered a hand to shake and grasped it instinctively.
"You are welcome to join but I'll warn you that Roy cheats." Diggle spoke with what passed for warmth. Lance had long ago noted that while Felicity and Thea were demonstrative toward many the men on the Team were noticeably less charitable to anyone not in the group.
"Hey!" Roy's affront was comical as he intended.
"Detective, are you sure you want to be here? I know how Felicity can be." Oliver was the one to ask that question but there was no censure directed toward the woman just acceptance.
Leave it to Oliver to cut through to the heart of the matter, Lance thought. "Yeah, I am." Lance actually felt better in verbalizing his choice even though he knew what that choice meant. He had been looking at Oliver but deliberately moved his gaze to the Arrow figure nearby. "Yeah, I am." Lance repeated with even more force.
"In that case, we are glad you are here." Lance returned his gaze to Oliver and noted the hand he offered. Lance didn't even pause as he shook the offered hand.
"So someone mentioned a tour?" Lance cracked a smile and was glad he could joke about this.
The three men lead Lance about the room explaining various facets of the Arrow Cave – medical supplies and equipment, weapons and even training gear. Lance couldn't help being both surprised and impressed by the facility. It also kept him distracted from thinking about just where he knew Oliver's tattoo from and just how he got those scars.
Lance followed along as Diggle and Harper demonstrated some of their training regimes. Definitely better prepared than cops, Lance didn't even stop that thought or feel any anxiety about it. He did wonder if Sara also had such a lair and worked to keep her own skills sharp.
As Diggle and Harper fought with the metal batons, Lance felt Oliver move closer but his whisper was still soft, "Yes, that tattoo is Russian. Do you need to know more?"
Lance gave it serious thought as he watched the other two men continue to battle enthusiastically. "No, I don't, Oliver. I do have one question."
There was a moment of silence before Lance continued. "Does Sara have scars like yours?"
"Sara has her own scars, Detective, but yes, she does have scars." Oliver's voice was quiet and respectful.
Lance felt the pang of sympathy not just for his daughter but for the man beside him. It was too easy to see parallels in their paths and too difficult to separate his responses now that he knew more about them both. He also knew not all of their scars were visible – just as his weren't and Laurel's weren't. Lance was startled by a particularly vicious metallic bang from the ring. He swallowed with difficulty and gave an abrupt nod which he knew Oliver would see and understand. They all bore scars but he didn't want to punish Oliver Queen any more than he wanted to punish Sara, Laurel or even himself. If this place and these people gave Oliver peace then he couldn't begrudge him that…may even take of it for myself, Lance ended the dark thoughts with a lighthearted feeling of peace.
"So what you can do, Arrow?" Lance knew his question startled the group when silence reigned and he couldn't help a laugh. God, it feels good to even laugh, Lance thought and realized he hadn't laughed much in the last few months.
He turned at a flash of pink caught his attention and saw Felicity Smoak standing nearby with tears in her eyes. She gave him a watery smile and nod before she turned to gaze to the man beside him. Lance also turned to Oliver and watched as he suddenly grinned. In the blink of an eye, he moved into the ring and swept Harper's feet out from under him before he dodged the strike of metal baton Diggle aimed at him. Lance could barely keep an eye on the action as the three men moved with amazing speed, strength and control. He was further amazed as Harper and Oliver moved out of the ring to basically run around the room utilizing every available surface – they hurdled tables, swung along ropes, ran up walls and jumped from the rafters even as they continued to aim blows at each other.
"This is why we needed sound-proofing…so the boys could play." Felicity commented as she came to stand beside Lance. Lance was still staring at the action and was further surprised when tennis balls started bouncing around the room and Oliver barely broke his stride to grab a bow and begin sending a dizzying number of arrows through the balls.
"Ok, now you're just showing off." Felicity directed her comment at Oliver as he continued to speed around the room.
'It's always fun and games until someone gets shot with an arrow…oh wait, that would be me that got shot." Roy's words reached them easily as he suddenly landed beside Lance and Felicity. Lance noted the young man's smile and that he wasn't even out of breath before he registered his words.
"You are joking, right?" Lance didn't appreciate Roy's silence nor did he find comfort in his smile so he spoke to Felicity. "He is joking, right?" He turned to her just in time to catch her grimace but before anyone could speak Oliver landed beside them.
"It was barely a flesh wound." Oliver delivered his verdict with a deadpan expression.
Lance laughed again and even as the others joined in he watched them in amazement. He was distracted by trying to understand them and therefore the slice of another arrow through the air surprised him. He noted Oliver didn't so much as jump even though it landed at his feet.
"Hey Speedy – nice of you to join the fun!" Oliver called out and Lance turned to see Thea Queen walk down the steps with a bow in her hand.
"A flesh wound, seriously Ollie?" Thea's tone was teasing even as she lifted her bow again. She paused dramatically before lowering it and adding, "He does kinda need to be kept in line but no more arrows."
Lance turned to Harper and noticed his eye roll even as he started toward his girlfriend.
"Here's the stuff for Sara, Detective." Felicity held out a small duffle bag for him and Lance was somewhat startled that she moved on and was back to business.
"Wow, you actually do have stuff for her?" Diggle asked with a laugh before he too turned away and crossed the room.
Now it was only Felicity and Oliver who stood near Lance. He watched as Oliver gently squeezed her hand before giving him a nod and walking away as well.
"If you want Sara…and Laurel to let go of the past then you need to do so as well. I'm glad you chose to come today, Detective. Thinking will only drive you crazy sometimes so it's good to take action and even blow off a little steam every once in a while." Felicity gestured around the room which was still littered with tennis balls impaled by arrows. "You have a place here if you want it…and don't forget to tell Sara she owes me $50."
"I thought you said $20?" Lance just had to ask even as he thought he might regret it.
"Ah, but you stayed for the show so that's gonna cost her a bit more." Felicity grinned easily and Lance returned it as he realized the Felicity had bet on him accepting this while his own daughter wasn't sure he was ready. Before he could process the ramifications of that Felicity spoke again.
"She wants you to be ready but wasn't willing to pressure you like I am. We need the Team together and strong as there's just too much evil out there for us not to come together to fight it. Just give it some thought, ok?" Felicity smiled as she too turned and walked away.
Lance took one last look around the room and its occupants before following her. Perhaps it is time to move forward and create a better future…
AN2 – OK I probably can't totally blame Sass-and-Caffeine for this ramble as I really wanted a happy ending with the promise of a future….before CW kills my Olicity buzz and focuses on a Laurel arc that is sure to drive me batty! :)
AN3 – Thanks for sticking with me and I'm always game to try new stories if you have requests and trust me enough to give it a try that is! And again, I'll be continuing the Charlie story (Team Arrow: Front Row Seat) so pls check it out once S2 episodes start this week!