Chapter Ten: The Pain in The Heart
‘The Traitor in The Fold’
Before Oliver could even respond there was a gust of wind and then Clark was standing there Dinah in one arm and Ian struggling quite frantically in the other. He frowned and dropped the teenager to the ground. Chloe quickly moved forward and helped him up.
He pulled his arm out of her hands and glared at Clark, throwing back his hood and tossing his glasses on the floor as he shouted. “How could you do that? I told you to leave me!” He moved forward and slammed his fists against the older man, wincing as he hit him.
Victor, and Bart moved forward, but Oliver held up a hand stopping them. Ian slammed his fist against Clark again hard, the frantic movements bouncing off the other man’s chest without leaving so much as a mark, though he couldn't say the same for his hand. His voice loud and trembling as he screamed.
“You made me leave her! They have her…I promised I’d take care of her…” He choked on his words and eventually his hands fell to his sides as he stumbled back slightly and stood there angry tears pooling in his eyes looking lost and vulnerable. Gabe had an arm around Suki as they watched their friend break down.
In all the time they’d known him neither had ever seen Ian so distraught. Clark swallowed hard at the young man in front of him as he spoke softly. “We have to follow protocol it doesn’t--” Ian’s angry voice cut him off. “Protocol? Seriously? Mia could be dead right now and you dragged me out of the school like I’m some kind of kid…you just waltzed in and didn’t even know what was going on…”
Clark opened his mouth, but Oliver cut off whatever he was about to say. “So tell us…what happened Ian? Where is Mia?” He turned slowly to face Oliver taking note of the pain in the older man’s face. His shoulders slumped slightly as he ran a hand over his face, voice lowering slightly.
“I thought you said Headmaster…I mean Rick Flag was on our side…you told us we could trust him…” Oliver’s eyes darted to Chloe before he glanced back at Ian. “Why would you think we couldn’t?” He pointed to the door as he spoke. “Because he’s the one who took Mia…I felt it…I sensed what was going to happen, but I was too late.”
He swallowed hard the image still at the forefront of his mind. “He came up behind her…he had a knife and he just…” His eyes teared up as he caught Oliver’s gaze. “She didn’t even see it coming…he stabbed her…and when she saw the men behind her coming for me…she blew the charge collapsing the only route out…she looked right at me Oliver…she…”
He shook his head hand flying to his face as he pleaded with the older man. “I can’t do this…I need to go back…please…I’ll go myself…I don’t care…I can’t leave her there…She’d never leave me…you know she wouldn’t she broke protocol for me last time….she came back for me…..I can’t lose anyone else I love…”
Chloe gripped her neck as she tried to hide the tear slipping from her eye as Oliver glanced at her before looking around at the somber faces of the rest of the team. His voice was hoarse when he spoke. “If Flag’s teamed up with Trotter, then they know who we are and they know we’ll be coming for Mia…which means it’s a trap…”
He swallowed hard. “As a leader, I can’t in good conscious let the team walk into a trap…” Ian opened his mouth, but Oliver cut him off. “So…I’ll go with Ian…” He glanced at Chloe. “We’ll need to hack into Whisper this time around. We can’t afford any mistakes.” She nodded and wiped her eyes determination once again filling her face as she shifted to the computers and started to bring things up.
Dinah frowned and shook her head. “Oliver, we’re a team…and Mia is our friend we all care about her too. We’re not just gonna let you go in by yourself.” He turned to Dinah and touched her arm lightly. “I appreciate that…but not this time Dinah.”
She opened her mouth and Carter cleared his throat. “Don’t worry…he won’t be alone…you’re not going in with me green jeans…” Oliver met Carter’s eyes and gave him a thankful look. The other man just nodded. He looked back at Ian and arched an eyebrow. “Are you ready for this? Because it’s not going to be easy…”
He nodded. “I don’t care…I’d do anything to get her back.” Oliver gave the younger man half a smile as he glanced around the room and pursed his lips. “Dinah, Bart, Courtney and Clark…how would you feel about doing a little recon work for me?”
Bart was by his side in a second. “Whatever you need bossman…” he nodded. "Good." He spun around to face Chloe and she paused what she was doing and glanced up when he called her name. “Yeah?” He nodded towards the phone. “Can you call Hal? Tell him I need the papers he stored for me last year and see if he wouldn’t mind lending us the Green Lantern for a day or so.”
Chloe grinned. “You got it.” He nodded eyes landing back on Ian. He moved closer to the teenager and spoke softly. “Your friends…any chance they can help us gain access to Whisper 120?” Ian took a few deep breaths and focused for a minute as he pursed his lips in thought.
“Maybe…any chance Chloe will let me commandeer one of her computers so I can have my team set up there?” Oliver arched an eyebrow at the young man in front of him. “Your team?” Ian nodded as he unzipped his vest and tossed it on the chair. “Yeah…my team.”
He glanced over at Suki and Gabe. “What do you say guys…are you in?” Suki stepped forward first as she straightened slightly. “To find CJ…I mean Mia…absolutely point me in the direction of a free computer.” Gabe grinned. “I made notes of everything that was going on and what changed while you guys were gone.” He pulled the notes out of the bag he’d taken with him.
“I’ll go set up near Suki.” Ian nodded and motioned to an empty section of Watchtower that Courtney had been working at earlier. “Suki we need to gain access to Whisper 120…I want to know every move that’s being made…see if we can use her to tap into the security camera’s in the different sections. Maybe that will give us a hint of where they’re keeping Mia…”
Suki pulled a chair over, sat down and started typing. “I’m on it.” He nodded as he paced back and forth leather pants still up tank top covering his torso. Amusement passed over Oliver’s face and he glanced at Chloe who couldn’t hold back her smile as she spoke. “Well this just keeps getting more and more interesting…he’s like a mini Oliver.”
The rest of the team laughed lightly as they moved around doing what Oliver had asked as both he and Ian paced, neither smiling as they thought about the woman left behind, guilt eating away at them for the failures they both felt they’d made.
Mia jerked awake, eyes blinking rapidly as she tried to shift and winced. Her head was lolling to the side and when she lifted it her hair slid into her face. She let out a heavy puff of air that moved it from her eyes as she glanced around the room.
Papers were scattered near the computer consoles and when she bent her body slightly she hissed in pain at the ache in her side. She groaned as she tested how tightly her hands were bound to the chair she was currently sitting in. “How’s the side?”
Mia’s head flew up to where the voice came from and she saw Flag standing there leaning against the door. She glared in his direction, voice dripping with acid. “You bastard…” He smirked. “Is that anyway to talk to the man who patched you up?”
He pushed away from the wall and moved forward hand reaching out and pressing against her side causing her to cry out. He arched an eyebrow. “Nothing to say? You lost a bit more blood out there then I intended…sorry about that…”
She leaned back in the chair and grunted. “Yeah I’m sure…you’re not gonna get away with this…you know that right?” Amusement danced across his face as he studied the pale woman in front of him. “No? Cause I’m pretty sure so far I’m getting away with this.”
Mia inhaled deeply and winced. Her side was throbbing and she felt light headed as she tried to focus her thoughts. Had Ian made it out okay? She assumed so since he wasn’t there with her. She closed her eyes for a minute and then opened them turning her head towards Flag as she spoke.
“I don’t get it…why? Why bother to go all this trouble to help us only to turn on us in the end? It doesn’t make any sense…We want the same thing…We both want this place gone so the VRA can’t mess with people who have abilities…So why now?”
Rick shifted and leaned against one of the chairs behind him as he shrugged. “Because I had a better offer…and because you went off script and took the person we needed with you when you left.” Mia’s eyes widened, a voice barely a whisper as she spoke. “Ian…”
Rick chuckled. “Ah and she finally catches up. This has never been about you Mia…it’s always been about Ian and the information he carries in his head…you’re just a tool to get him here. For some strange reason he’s completely smitten with you…and from what I can tell he’s a lot like Oliver in that he’d never leave you behind…which means they’ll both be coming…two for the price of one…”
She swallowed hard as her heart clenched at his words. It was a trap. They didn’t want her…and Oliver and Ian were walking right into. She needed to find a way to warn them…to keep them from coming, but she wasn’t sure how.
She heard the door behind her creak open, but she couldn't turn her head far enough to se behind her. Rick looked up and nodded at the man who walked through the door. He stood up straighter and nodded in his direction before glancing at Mia, smirk sliding onto his features.
“Looks like you’ll get to meet the man behind the curtain after all…” The heavy footfalls stopped in front of her and when she glanced up at the man standing before her, her eyes widened, breath catching in her throat, fear coursing through her body as brown eyes met ice cold blue ones.
“I’m in.” Four heads whipped in her direction as Suki continued to type over the keyboard. “I’m inside Whisper 120, but I’m going to need some help hacking into the security inside the program so that we can be Whisper.”
Ian frowned as he placed an arm on the back of her chair and leaned forward. “What do you mean?” She motioned to the screen briefly, before her hands were back on the keyboard. “If we want to get in and be able to bypass all the security features without altering anyone, we need to make sure Whisper is on our side and the only way to do that…”
Chloe cut off the teenagers words. “Is to become Whisper. She’s right. Victor and I have spent weeks attempting to hack into the actual system and take it down, but we never actually tried to override ‘Whisper’ herself. We added the human component to the last version of Whisper, but it wasn’t enough. They realized what was going on. This time we literally have to be Whisper 120.”
Suki glanced at Chloe and grinned. “Exactly. If we can take apart the inner security then we can shut her down internally and reroute all of her functions through here…it’ll take a while, but if I have help….it’ll be quicker.” Chloe nodded and moved to sit next to the teenager.
“Send me the backdoor so I can get in and I’ll help you disable the system.” Suki did as the older woman asked and minutes later the two of them were hunched over their computers hands moving frantically as they worked together to take down Whisper 120.
Ian shook his head and moved away from the computers and turning towards Gabe, Oliver and Carter. It had been just over two hours since they had made their way back to Watchtower and he was quickly losing patients. “What now?”
Oliver pursed his lips, uniform half off half on as he scratched the back of his neck. “Now you and I are going to spar for a little bit…no don’t say anything. Look…I understand how upset you are…trust me if anyone gets it, I do, but you’re not going to be any help to Mia if I can’t get you centered. Your focus is off…it’s going to affect your fighting and that’s not something we can afford right now.”
Ian let out a long breath and nodded. He knew Oliver was right, he just couldn’t shut off his brain. He had so many questions and he was worried and scared. Not knowing if Mia was okay…was a huge distraction. “Okay…” Oliver gave him a tight smile. “Carter, Gabe…can you guys wait for Hal?” They nodded and he met Carter’s eyes as he spoke. “You know what to do with the information Hal is bringing…right?”
Carter smirked. “Who do you think you’re talking to green jeans? I’m no amateur.” Oliver chuckled lightly and nodded. They might not be able to get to Tower Prep right now, but if Flag was working with Trotter then it was possible his team was also. The last time he’d seen the Suicide Squad it hadn’t been pretty…so Oliver sent the rest of his team to go do a little recon on what they’d been up to and where they currently were.
He nudged Ian and motioned towards the back room and right as the teenager started to follow him in that direction the loud speakers connected to the main monitor started ringing. Everyone froze in place as the robotic voice spoke. “Incoming video communication from Unknown….”
Chloe glanced at Oliver and his body tensed. He looked around the room and spoke quickly. “Suit back up everyone…Suki, Gabe stay off the camera…get behind the monitors.” Victor took Suki’s place at the computer as she stepped behind the computer consol with Gabe.
Oliver had his hood up glasses on by the second ring and Carter wasn’t far behind he glanced at Ian and the younger man shook his head. “They already know who I am…there’s no point…answer it…” Oliver hesitated but then nodded towards Chloe.
She took a deep breath and tilted her head towards Victor. “Turn on the scrambled so they can’t triangulate our location.” He did as she asked as she accepted the incoming call. A video popped up on the screen and she enlarged it. Rick stood there with a smirk on his face as he glanced at Chloe through the feed.
“Hello Chloe…I’ve been looking through my recently acquired things and it seems like we have something that belongs to you.” He stepped aside and it took everything in Chloe not to gasp at the sight before her. Mia was tied to a chair her mask gone, hair flowing down, several bruises marring her face and arms and a large red stain by her side that seemed to still be leaking blood.
Ian took a step forward but Oliver gripped his arm tightly, glad that the glasses were hiding the pain and furry in his gaze at seeing Mia looked so helpless. Chloe’s angry voice broke the silence in the room. “We should have known better than to trust you…but unlike you we learn from our mistakes…”
He arched an eyebrow at her through the feed and spoke. “Really and what lesson is it that I haven’t learned?” Chloe smirked speaking with much more confidence than she currently possessed. “Not to mess with our team…we took you down once Flag…you think we won’t do it again?”
He grinned, “I think this time I have something I didn’t have last time.” Chloe leaned back slightly arms crossing over her chest. “Oh really and what might that be?”
“They have me…” Another voice came through the feed as something shifted on the other end and when his face popped onto the screen Chloe tensed, fear shooting through her body, stomach coiling in anxiety as a predatory grin slid onto his face. Her heart slammed into her throat and his grin widened.
“What’s the matter Chloe…you look like you’ve seen a ghost…where’s your better half hmm? Come on Oliver…come out come out wherever you are…I know your there…or should I say Green Arrow…” Oliver’s jaw clenched as he took a few steps forward into the view of the camera while pulling down his hood and discarding his glasses.
He glanced up at the video feed, eyes hard as he stared at the man he’d come to hate more than he thought possible. “Lex…you're looking more lively than the last time I saw you...less blood.” The smug look on his face made Oliver wish he was there so he could beat it off. “Hello Oliver…I’ve gotta say…I should have seen this one. It makes perfect sense…of course you’re Green Arrow. The way our last encounter went down...well I should have realized. Only a man attempting to defend the honor of the woman he loved could be so blatantly ruthless.”
He chuckled lightly and Chloe’s body became ridged, Oliver’s eyes darting towards her briefly, his heart tightening painfully at the fear mixed with pain on his girlfriends face. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the man on the screen. “Or they could be you..." He let out a bored sigh even though bored was the last thing he was. "I know you have an affinity for hearing yourself talk Lex, but we’re bored how about you get to the point.”
Lex pursed his lips and shrugged. “Fine…you want the point here it is. If you want your little teenage runaway back…and I know you do…it will require a trade.” Oliver frowned, “What kind of trade?” He stepped back and pointed towards Ian who had moved forward slightly during Lex and Oliver’s conversation.
“I want Ian Archer…you give me he boy…I give you Mia. Simple as that.” Ian opened his mouth, but before anything could come out they heard Mia’s shout in the background as she jerked her body away from the seat. “No! Ian no!” One of the guards in black fatigues moved quickly his hand connecting with her face causing Ian to yell.
“You touch her again and I swear to god you’ll be sorry! Do you hear me?” Lex smirked at the teenager before glancing back at Oliver. “If I didn’t know any better with the way he acts I’d say he was your illegitimate child…but since I had his parents killed I know that’s not true…”
“You son of a…” Ian ran forward and Oliver gripped him holding him back as Lex laughed. “I’ll give you three hours to make the trade…any longer than that, Mia dies, we come after you,” His eyes shifted to Chloe, glaring at her as he continued speaking, "and I finished what I started..." Lex let the sentence trail off but sent a chilling smirk towards Chloe as he motioned to Rick beside him. “You know how to contact me when you’re ready to deal…”
Before anyone could say anything else the feed was ended and the screen went blank. Oliver let go of Ian and let out a growl tossing his glasses across the room. Carter winced and Chloe stood slowly on shaky legs attempting to keep herself calm. She hadn't see Lex since...well since the day it happened. But she couldn't focus on that right now. She spoke voice low. “Oliver…calm down.” He turned his gaze on her anger in his eyes.
“Calm down? Are you kidding me? Did you not see what just happened? Damn it Chloe Lex has Mia…Lex…did you forget what he’s capable of…” Chloe winced pain crossing her face at his words. Her voice waved slightly as she spoke a hint of annoyance in her voice.
“No Oliver…I haven’t forgotten…trust me that’s not something I’ll ever forget.” He looked away from her and ran a hand over his face. “I’m sorry…that was uncalled for…I just…” He met her eyes and she could see past the anger to the fear that was gathering there. “I can’t lose Mia to Lex…not after everything he’s done Sidekick…he’s ruined our family enough…I won’t let him take her from me.”
Chloe nodded, voice steady. “Nothing is going to happen to Mia…we have a plan…Hal’s on his way…and when the rest of the team comes back we’ll go over everything. This time…he’s not getting away with anything…”
Oliver nodded and took a calming breath as Chloe glanced at Suki and Gabe who were standing there slightly confused. “Suki can you keep working with Victor to get override Whisper 120?” She nodded and walked back towards the computers. “Sure…”
Chloe gave the teenager a small smile before she glanced at Gabe. “You said your ability is Hypersuasion right? You can talk anyone into anything if I’m correct?” He nodded and grinned.
“That’s me…” She smiled. “Great…I’d like you to work with Carter if that’s alright. He’s going to take you to speak with an old friend of mine…I need you to convince her to give us a few things…”
She glanced at Carter and when she met the older man’s eyes she knew he knew who she was talking about. He tilted his head towards the door as he spoke to Gabe. “Come on then…let’s get this over with…” Gabe grinned. “Sounds good English…I mean uh…Carter?”
He grunted as the teenager followed him followed him out of Watchtower and Chloe smiled slightly as she heard Carter reprimanding Gabe in the hallway. She shifted her attention to Oliver as she spoke. “Ollie why don’t you take Ian to the training room for a little while and you two can…” She paused and frowned. “Where’s Ian?”
Oliver spun around quickly to where the teenager had been standing just moments before. He glanced around and caught the sight of something shiny on the ground. He took a few steps to the side, bent down and picked it up. He swallowed hard, stood and held it up for Chloe.
She arched an eyebrow. “What is that?” Oliver shook his head. He’d been so busy throwing at fit at the sight of Lex…and all trouble he'd cause him and Chloe that he completely forgot to keep an eye on Ian. He should have known, Lex might be a bastard, but he rarely lied. Oliver could see the similarities in the teenager and himself.
He should have known that he’d go off on his own knowing that the man who killed his parents had the woman he loved. Oliver would have done the same thing if it was Chloe. He sighed. “It’s Ian Com…he left to go get Mia…”
Chapter Tweleve: The Twist in The Story