Chapter 9 – Felicity AKA Schrödinger's Cat

Felicity stared at the man sitting in the oversized booth on the other side of the Club talking and laughing with Ray, Sara, Nyssa, Laurel, Kendra, Thea, and Cisco. Everything she had thought she had known about her life had just been turned utterly upside-down.

Within the past twenty-four hours both Sara and Ray had returned from the dead. Okay, technically Ray hadn't been dead, but he had been missing and presumed dead for eighteen months, which was almost the same thing. They both brought an unbelievable amount of baggage for her and Oliver, and yet, compared to the revelation she had just received about the man, the return of Sara and Ray paled to insignificance, well, at least for her.

Rip Hunter, Timemaster as he called himself, had blown into her life five days earlier. Unlike with everyone else, whom he had seemed to recruit when they were in some life-or-death peril, he had used a different carrot with her and Cisco, namely a laundry list of tech toys that had them almost drooling from the very beginning. And, of course, there had been the whole time travel aspect.

She had blithely met him out in the Catskills to help him set up Bruce Wayne's ski lodge as a base of operations in this time period. They had spent the better part of two days working together without him ever giving a hint of their true connection. No, it wasn't until her mother had unexpectedly turned up in Starling, at the club no less, a bare fifteen minutes earlier and had spotted him across the way that she had made the totally unexpected pronouncement.

"Oh . . . My . . . God, Felicity," Donna Smoak began while clutching Felicity's arm so hard it actually hurt. "I can't believe he's here. And how can he look exactly the same? I mean, it's been twenty-five years, but he can still easily pass for thirty."

Felicity had just come upstairs. She and Oliver had been standing at the bar waiting for their drinks before joining the others when her mother had entered the club, spotted them, and walked directly over.

She had followed the direction of her mother's gaze which led directly to the table with her friends. The HE of her remark had to refer to one of the three men present. Since her Mom had met Ray on her first visit to Starling two years earlier, she doubted she was referring to him. And Cisco seemed unlikely as he still looked a lot younger than his actual twenty-six. That just left Hunter.

"Oliver, if you don't mind, I need to speak to my daughter in private for a minute," requested Donna. Her voice held a thoughtful tone Felicity rarely heard.

Their drinks had just arrived and Oliver picked up his bottle of beer. "Of course, Donna. When you have finished your conversation, please come join me and our friends."

After the whole business with the League of Assassins had finally ended, Oliver and Felicity had escaped Starling and had spent two whole glorious months just touring the quaint oceanfront villages dotting the Pacific Coast from California to Washington. No saving people. No battling bad guys. It had been a wonderful break from their old lives and the time alone together had helped to cement their relationship.

Towards the end, Oliver had insisted they spend some time in Vegas so he could get to know her mother. With no siblings and a father who had disappeared when she was little more than an infant, her Mom was the only family Felicity had. Oliver had felt it was important Felicity spend some quality time with her Mother, as he had twice learned the hard way you could lose a parent without a moment's notice.

They had spent a week in a luxurious suite at the Bellagio. Every day they had hung out with Donna and every evening they had taken in a show while she was working. As usual, Oliver had been right. After the things she had gone through with losing Sara, her brief relationship with Ray, and the events in Nanda Parbat, she cherished more than she had expected the time she had been able to spend with her mother. Oh, she hadn't divulged any of the deep, dark secrets she shared with Oliver, but her mother's insights had helped her to better grasp some of the emotions with which she had still been struggling.

"Who he, Mom?" asked Felicity when Oliver was barely ten feet away; their conversation already safe due to the blaring, near-disco music the D.J. was currently blasting.

Donna used her chin to point in the direction of the table across the way. "Your . . . your father."

Felicity's father had left her and her Mom when she had been barely more than a baby. She had no memories of him and her mother hadn't kept a single photo after he had disappeared from their lives. All Felicity knew about him was what little her mother had told her and that hadn't gone much beyond repeatedly telling her that she had inherited her brains from him.

Felicity turned her attention back towards Hunter. He was laughing at something Cisco must have just said. He gave no indication he was aware of the two women watching him from the bar across the room.

Hunter certainly was intelligent enough to qualify based on what she had seen over the last few days. Oh, he didn't have her gifts with computers, but that could probably be chalked up to being from a different era. However he had run through some of the math behind his time displacement devices and what she could understand, most of it having gone over her head due to the use of symbols and equations a thousand years beyond anything currently available, it certainly supported the case that he was intelligent enough to have impressed her mother back when she had been a girl of twenty.

And knowing about his time displacement equipment allowed Felicity to understand what could have happened in a way her mother couldn't. If Hunter had traveled back in time in his recent past and had hooked up with her mother, it would explain how he could look exactly the same as what her mother remembered from twenty-five years earlier. Well, given Felicity's current age they would have had to have hooked up more like twenty-eight years ago.

The thought of Hunter and her mother together was almost enough to freak her out. Of course her mother would have had to have had sex with her father. But with her father long gone, it was a topic she didn't have reason to think about often. However with the pair of them both in the room, it was a thought she suddenly couldn't get out of her head. Everyone had sex, that's where babies came from. She knew her mother was no saint. But even though she had always chosen to dress like a high class hooker, she had never flaunted her sexual activities in front of Felicity when she had been growing up, so Felicity had never had a reason to think about that specific topic too much. But now, she couldn't seem to think about anything else. Her mom and Hunter having sex, Felicity knew her cheeks had to be glowing red.

"Are you sure?" Felicity blurted out before she could stop herself. God, of course her mother would be sure, she was hardly likely to be confused about something like that particularly if Hunter looked the same now as he did then. This could quickly turn as awkward as the stupid sexual innuendoes she had continually blurted out to Oliver back in the early days.

Donna nodded and Felicity could see she was steeling herself to go over and confront Hunter. When she set off, Felicity couldn't do anything but nervously stride along at her side.

Right as they reached the table, the current song ended. In the temporary lull, it wasn't necessary to shout to be heard across the width of the table.

"Daniel, this is an unexpected surprise," stated Donna, her tone hinting at an underlying tension.

Everyone glanced around, as there was no one by that name present, then everyone's gaze returned to Donna. Felicity's own gaze took in the whole table, but was mostly focused on Hunter. Oliver's eyes showed a questioning expression, but other than him, only Ray's showed a hint of recognition at seeing Donna Smoak.

Felicity couldn't believe it when she realized Hunter's expression was as blank as everyone else's. He definitely should recognize her Mom. Okay, she might be twenty-five years older than when they had been together, but she couldn't have changed that much. No, her mother's vanity made her keep herself in good shape; she could easily pass for thirty-eight rather than her actual forty-eight. Her face showed only the first hints of lines and she still looked much as she did in old photos Felicity had seen.

So if Hunter had been with her for at least several years, how could he not recognize her?

Then, abruptly, Felicity understood and she was certain her cheeks must have instantly gone straight from a bright red blush to the white of a ghost.

Hunter didn't recognize her Mom because he hadn't yet met her, hadn't yet traveled back in time to be with her.

She had assumed those events would have been in Hunter's past just like they were in her mother's and her pasts. But there was no reason his trip back in time couldn't still lay in his future.

From somewhere a line from one of the old Terminator movies popped into Felicity's head. Someone had commented how sending terminators back to kill Sarah Connor was like Skynet was attempting to perform a retroactive abortion on John Connor. Her current situation suddenly felt like the exact opposite. If Hunter didn't travel back in time at some point in the future, she would never have been born in the past.

It reminded her of a long ago conversation with Cisco. Due to his metahuman gift, he sometimes had memories of alternate timelines that no one else did. He had told her about one such timeline where Team Flash had battled someone Cisco called The Reverse Flash. The Reverse Flash had been a time traveler from the future, Eobard Thawne, who had been masquerading as Dr. Wells. When his ancestor, Eddie Thawne, had killed himself, Eobard had blinked out of existence.

If Hunter never traveled back in time to be with her mother, or if something happened and he died before then, what would happen to her? Would she blink out of existence just like this Eobard had done? Would it be like she only existed in some closed-off timeline that only Cisco might remember?

Her eyes immediately jumped back to Oliver. What would his life have been like if she had never existed? She had seen It's a Wonderful Life countless times growing up and the riff on that movie so many TV shows had done where the central character imagined what everyone else's lives would have been like without them. Would Oliver have been happy without her? Would he have found love somewhere else? Would he even have survived without her watching his back?

It was like the quantum mechanics thought experiment by the physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The cat in the box could be considered both alive and dead until the lid was lifted and someone looked inside. And suddenly, Felicity felt like that cat – her entire existence was suddenly dependent on someone else's actions in the future.

Felicity realized keeping Hunter safe and ensuring he traveled back in time to be with her mother now had to be her number one priority. And if just thinking about Hunter and her mother together grossed her out, how was she ever going to be able to be the instigator?

Her eyes turned back to Oliver. She was going to have to get his help. She could never do it alone and he had almost as big of a stake in wanting success as she did. Had there ever been a more unlikely pair to play matchmakers than her and Oliver?

End of Chapter 9

Author's Note

I've been watching the Legends of Tomorrow coverage at ComicCon. Other than announcing Hawkman would make an appearance (and it sounded more like as a guest star than as a regular cast member), very few new details of the plot seemed to have been revealed. Certainly, nothing that is drastically inconsistent with my story. Whew. I think it means I can continue to head in whatever direction I want at least until the season premieres of Arrow and The Flash in October.

Recently, I rewatched the episode where Felicity's Mom guest starred and it reminded me they still haven't revealed much about Felicity's Father. So I thought making Hunter be her father would be an interesting twist for this story and would take the time-travel aspects in a direction I have rarely seen. I mean, there are lots of stories about someone going back in time and killing their grandfather and then learning whether or not they continued to exist. I thought it would be fun to do the opposite where Felicity has to ensure Hunter goes back in time or she might simply vanish like the Reverse Flash did.

Have a great day,

Duane