MOMENTO MORI - PROLOGUE
Glaring heatedly at the back of her bosses head, Felicity turned her head up and returned her attention to the screen before her, the numbers and words blurring together for a split second before focussing once again into the symbols that she could recognise.
"Are you sure you can’t finish this at the foundry?"
Glancing up once at the voice, she sneered before pushing herself up from her seat and leaning over the desk, the cool glass beneath her splayed fingers giving her a sense to focus on. “If someone would have just signed several pieces of important paper work and amended the Colton contract,” she said with acid almost dripping from her tone, “Then I wouldn’t have to be staying late to make sure that everyone involved gets a copy of the contract and reschedualing meetings.”
Ducking his head and rubbing the back of his neck, Oliver Queen sighed tiredly and looked at his Executive Assistant and partner-in-crime in the eye. He knew that Felicity was mad at him. She had warned him and reminded him that he not only needed to focus on saving the city, he also had a multi-billion dollar company to keep afloat.
Even he had to admit that it was a tricky juggling act. There were some things that fell through the cracks, and unfortunantly, it was Felicity that would inevitably bear the brunt of his mistakes… In both of their lives.
Now it was Felicity’s turn to sigh, leaning back and reaching for a pile of files that sat in her out box on her desk. “Just head on out, Oliver,” she said softly, the fight going out of her when she looked at him once again. “If I get these done now, then I can still have time to run over to Verdant and update the systems.”
Oliver opened his mouth object before thinking better of it, shaking his head instead and smiling softly at her. “Don’t worry, Felicity, I don’t plan on it being a busy night. How about you head on home after you’re finished here? You can update the systems tomorrow.”
The scandelous look that she gave caused him to laugh out loud, genuine mirth making the lines on his face lighter.
Seeing this, Felicity decided to ignore the blasphemy that had come from his mouth
and, instead, sent him a soft smile. “If you insist. But don’t blame me when you complain that finding a bad guy is taking too long because the systems are slow due to lack-of-updates.” she rolled her eyes at his snigger and moved away from her desk, her arms loaded with files. She turned her head to look over her shoulder and raised a hand to wave him goodbye. “I’ll still head over when I’m done.”
Shaking his head, Oliver knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep her away from her babies for long. “Alright,” he said, throwing his hands up in defeat, “I’ll see you in the Lair. Give me a call when you’re done and I can try and get Diggle to come pick you up.”
Biting her lip to remind him that she was a grown woman with her own mode of transport, she nodded once and disappeared inside the elevator, determined to finish her paper-work before Oliver called in the cavalry.
It was late by the time Felicity finished the last report, far later than she had anticipated. Glancing to the large clock on the wall above the elevators, she couldn’t help but wince. “Oliver is gonna flip,” she muttered, stacking her reports up and putting them in a pile to file away for tomorrow.
Speak of the devil and he will appear, she thought not a second later as her phone started chiming, the familiar lines of ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool echoing around the eerily quiet of the office.
Reaching over her desk, she picked it up and put it to her ear, a smile appearing on her face. “I was wondering when you would call. Can’t get anything done without me, right?”
The masculine laugh on the other end made shivers race up and down her back. “I have no idea how Team Arrow functioned without you.”
She laughed, reaching under her desk and grabbing her shoes. “What can I say? It’s a gift.” Standing back up, she slipped her feet in to the heels, groaning involuntarily when the arches of her feet protested.
"Are you okay?"
Biting her lip to prevent herself from launching in to a word vomit to explain just what she really wanted that groan to be, she was momentarily distracted by the light of the elevator turning on, indicating that someone had gotten inside the metal contraption and were coming up.
Standing up straighter, Felicity frowned, reaching for her bag and slinging it over her shoulder. “Oliver, I know it’s late, but you didn’t have to come and get me.”
There was a beat of silence before the sound of a chair being roughly shoved back echoed through Oliver’s end of phone. “What do you mean?” his voice was deeper and harder like that of his Arrow persona, and this time, it sent shivers down her spine for the wrong reasons.
“You are coming up on the elevator, right?” her voice was suddenly uncertain. Slowly moving away from her desk and pressing against the glass wall dividing her from Olivers’s office.
"Felicity, I’m at Verdant." the words were ground out and her stomach seemed to drop.
The only people who had access to the executive elevator were herself, Oliver, Diggle, Isobel and the head of security. Not even the cleaners could come up here without security letting them up first, and security would always call ahead first so as to not startle her.
It also ruled out Isobel as she was out for the next week on a business meeting.
So it was either Diggle trying to freak her out or…
Furiously shaking her head, Felicity almost just out of her skin when the phone on her desk started ringing.
Screaming, she dropped her phone and spun around, her self defense lessons that Diggle and Oliver had drilled in to her leaping to the front of her mind.
Realising that she wasn’t under any threat -unless death by ringing phone was a possibility- she released her breath and laughed to herself softly, the adrenaline making her jumpy.
A tiny voice was roaring though her cell phones speakers, causing another giggle to leave her mouth. Slowly she crouched down and picked up her cell, putting it up to her ear and hearing her boss’s raging yelling. “Oliver!” she hissed, gaining his attention, “Im okay, just the phone wanting to give me a heart attack,” she glanced at the still ringing phone in her desk and huffed. “It’s probably security calling to warn me.”
"I’ll be there in 10 minutes."
Her frown deepened, the slowly ebbing fear turning to annoyance. “Stay, Oliver, I’ll be at Verdant soon enough.” she griped, reaching for the still ringing phone while keeping an eye on the rising numbers of the elevator.
It was only four floors down.
"I’m going to answer the phone now; it’ll probably be Jim saying he forgot to warn me the cleaners are coming up or something." She put the cell down and turned it to speaker so that Oliver would be able to hear and know everything was alright.
She had just touched the phone when it stopped ringing. “Dammnit” she muttered.
From Oliver’s end, the sound of a powerful engine revved before it was muffled, Oliver having switched his handset for his Bluetooth. “What is it?” he growled.
"I was too slow in picking up the phone is what," she snapped, her nerves feeling tight enough to be played like a guitar. She shook her head and jumped when the bell on the elevator indicated its arrival on to her floor.
Frozen as an irrational fear seemed to take root, she stared as the doors opened and revealed…
Nothing. Or more specifically, no one.
As she continued to stare, she noticed something small laying in the very centre of the elevator. Curiosity getting the better of her, she moved around her desk and towards the elevator, her mind suddenly assaulted with images that she refused to acknowledge, of a life that she had left behind.
Straightening her spine, Felicity keep her senses on high alert and reached inside the elevator, her fingers curling around the small, palm-sized white box and picked it up. Examining the outside of it it revealed nothing out of the ordinary, let alone dangerous looking. The small box was wrapped in a crimson red ribbon with a little white tag with her name printed in cursive font dangling off the side.
"Felicity? Speak to me." Oliver’s voice rang over the loud speaker, startling her back to herself. Straightening up, she moved back over to the desk, dread seeming to leaden her limbs. There was a little voice in the back of her head that seemed to be getting louder, but she ignored it for now.
"I’m here, Oliver," she answered, her voice barely above a whisper. She tuned out his voice as her replied, her fingers going to undo the ribbon. Letting the crimson satin fall to the table top, she gently pried open the lid, her world coming to a screeching halt as she saw what was nestled between soft satin pillows.
Her breath froze in her chest, a cold sweat drenched her skin and the little voice that had started in her head was now a roaring wall of noise, screaming in denial and anguish. A low moan escaped her mouth then, the sound pitiful and full of the horror, the utter terror that she felt at that moment. Tears clouded her vision and she suddenly found it hard to breathe and the box slipped from her fingers, the small charm slipping free of its confines and landing on the glass table top with a delicate tinkle.
With out noticing, Felicity crashed to her knees, her vision fading in and out. Her mind was buzzing, memories that she had pushed away flashing before her minds eye like a sick play, reminding her of the horrors of her past and what she had inevitably escaped from.
Before passing out, she could hear Oliver’s angry yelling through the phone that was still on her desk, the stress and worry clear in his voice.
As she tipped sideways , her eyes focused on the lid that had landed flat on the desk, the glass allowing her to read the block letters that she would never forget for as long as she lived.
'Guess who? I've found you.'
And then she knew no more.