The Mark I Bear

Everyone in the world is born with a mark on their skin, a mark that matches only one other person in existence. These two souls are bound together, irrevocably and irreparably bound for all time.

Tragically, some souls never find their mate and cement their celestial bond. Some die before they ever meet their fated pair. Once a mate dies, the mark is scarred on their partner's skin, a permanent reminder of what was lost.

With the onset of technology, databases were constructed with the sole purpose of pairing mates together, even across continents, for those unable or too impatient to find their mates organically. It's rarer that souls die without meeting their mate, but there are still complications. There are still souls who reject the bond, still souls that meet too soon and aren't right in that moment, still arguments that can't be solved, mates that can't stand each other.

Finding your soul's other half doesn't guarantee happily ever after.

Some say, it doesn't even guarantee happiness


"Oh my God! Is that your mark?!"

Felicity winces at the loud, high-pitched voice from behind her, dropping her arms from their futile attempts to grab the last bag of tortilla chips from the highest shelf and yanking her shirt back down to cover the black arrow inked on her left hip.

Slowly, she turns towards the voice, hoping against hope that the shout wasn't directed at her, but the wide-eyed brunette staring at her confirms her fears. She doesn't recognize the lanky girl, but she knows the kid with her from his signature red hoodie.

"Hi," Felicity says slowly, glancing at Roy who simply shrugs in matching bewilderment.

"Is that your mark?" The girl repeats breathlessly, moving forward to grab Felicity's hand, desperation coloring her voice as her eyes search Felicity's.

She jerks back. "Yes, but, uh, no offense but you're not really my type." And she's pretty sure Roy has a thing for her.

The girl shakes her head. "No. Roy's my soulmate. But your's not a scar."

Now Felicity frowns. The offhanded way she mentions Roy tells her that's not new, but her fascination with Felicity's mark..."'s not. Why would it be? That only happens when your soulmate dies."

"So you know your soulmate?" Disappointment fills her voice. Felicity really can't figure this girl out. It's like she knows the mark and it somehow inspired hope in her for some reason.

She shakes her head, wondering why she's even answering this girl's question, this girl who just accosted her in the middle of the supermarket because Felicity wanted nachos for dinner.

It's not like she hasn't tried finding her soulmate. She's searched all the databases for something – anything – like it. There were a couple similar ones, but none where the shaft of the arrow was composed of a line of computer code, no direct matches. She might have gotten better results if she actually signed up for a database instead of just hacking in. Her mom was always telling her to let it go, and just let life happen. She would meet her soulmate when they were both ready.

Yes, she's twenty-three and doesn't need to listen to her mother, but she does like the romantic idea of just running into her soulmate and falling in love.

She's just a little impatient.

The girl's face lights up and she jumps up and down squealing. "I knew it! I knew it! I knew he wasn't dead!"

Felicity's eyes widen in shock and embarrassment as several customers pause to stare. Comprehension dawns on Roy's face and his mouth falls open. Felicity decides she needs to take charge of the situation and drops her hands on the girl's shoulders so she ceases hopping and drawing a crowd of curious shoppers. But the girl is so excited she still practically vibrates happiness.

She should say something to the girl, something to get her to focus, to get her to explain what's going on, but Felicity's mind is still reeling in shock. This girl knows her soulmate, knows him well enough to be familiar with his mark, to identify it on someone else.

And she thought he was dead...

Felicity's really not sure what to do with that.

She waits too long and the girl flings her arms around Felicity, pulling her close before she pulls away with a huge grin on her face. "Mom's going to be so thrilled!"

"Whoa! Slow down," Felicity finally manages as the girl tries to pull her down the aisle with a surprising amount of strength for her size. "I don't even know your name and, no offense, but I don't really go places with complete strangers, even if they claim to recognize my mark. Not that I don't believe you, but I could be a serial killer for all you know. I mean, I'm not, but I could be." She glances around, panicking at the attention and her unintentional ramble. "I should go."

Ignoring Roy and his soulmate calling after her, she abandons her cart of groceries to race from the store, back to her red mini cooper. Five minutes of calming breaths later, she finally manages to fit the key into the ignition to drive away.

The silence in her apartment rings in her ears as she troops back in, not bothering with the lights and wishing she had at least taken the time to grab her nacho ingredients. She drops to the couch, wondering what is going on with her.

Did it even make sense to run away from the girl who knew her soulmate?

Then again, the girl could be certifiably insane.

Nope. She's pretty sure she's the crazy one. She ran away for God's sake! Who does that? Who runs away from the chance to find her soulmate?

Her, apparently. She could win awards for that particular performance.

She sighs and drags herself off the couch goes through her nightly routine, making the last can of soup from her cabinet since she failed in her quest for nachos. Her mind's still spinning a mile a minute even until she crashes, unable to keep reliving the moments in the grocery store from every different angle.

She collapses into bed, part of her almost wishing it was all a dream.



"Smoak! What the hell have you done?"

Felicity flinches at her supervisor's scream from down the hall, knowing he just found the unauthorized changes she made to the company firewalls, but in her defense, the original was a piece of crap. She only made a couple minor adjustments. She should be getting a promotion for her work, but somehow she doesn't think that will be happening.

She stands and straightens her black pencil skirt before stepping into the hallway to face the beet red face of Mr. Foster, her so-called supervisor, who wouldn't know a brilliant idea if it hit him in the face with a week old fish.

"Smoak! You accessed the firewall and changed the components! You left the company vulnerable to cyber attack. You've threatened the integrity of the entire computer system. Do you know the trouble you've caused?! You blacked me from the system! Me! This is completely unacceptable! Pack your things! You're fired!"

"Fired? Fired? You're firing me?" She laughs and she knows she sounds unhinged, but she can't let this injustice stand. "Please! This place would fall apart! That so-called firewall wasn't keeping anyone out. I patched the holes after stopping two separate attacks. Maybe you need to step up your own work. Your web security is crap. I'd say it's a miracle no one's broken in yet, but they have. I just caught them this time."

Disrespect! Insubordination! You won't be getting a reference or severance pay from Queen Consolidated! You'll be lucky to get a job flipping burgers! Maureen, call security to escort Ms. Smoak from the building!"

She scowls. "No need. I can escort myself out. Good luck without me." She grabs her personal tablet and purse, undoing all her work on the QC mainframe with a minute of rapid clacking on the keyboard. "You'll be fired in a week," she declares to Foster and all the other IT grunts gathering to watch the show.

"Security!" Foster's face is now a mottled purple.

"That won't be necessary, Mr. Foster."

Felicity watches Foster deflate at the voice behind her, eyes widening in shock.

"M-m-mrs. Queen! How can I help you?"

She pales and turns to face the blonde woman she's only seen on news feeds. She's smaller in person, which is equally intimidating and ridiculous as she stares them down with a gaze that can only be called regal.

Felicity feels a bizarre urge to laugh at her own pun.

Moira Queen's gaze shifts to Felicity and the urge disappears, even as the other woman smiles. "I'm actually here to see Miss Smoak."

She blinks in shock, looking around like she expects to find her mother right there too because Moira Queen can't be talking to her. She's just an IT nobody.

"Smoak?" Foster repeats brokenly, like he can't believe his luck is really so bad to have just fired the woman the boss wants to talk to. He really doesn't have the best of luck.

"Yes," Moira repeats, a layer of ice now coating her voice. Her hands cross primly in front of her as she takes a step forward. It makes her look more terrifying, something Felicity didn't really think was possible. "Miss Smoak, I think we should talk in my office."

She nods, unable to speak as her heart finds a new home in her throat. Meekly, she follows the executive into the elevator. As the elevator climbs, she glues her lips together to stop the babble threatening to spill out any second.

"Mr. Foster already fired me." And it just spills out anyway because of course it does. She cringes, but the words have already started flowing. "So you don't have to take me all the way up to your office. Not that you should fire me. You really shouldn't actually. I'm the single best person on your tech floor and that's including my 'supervisor.' And that's not bragging. It's the truth. Just as MIT. Well, you can't ask because it's a school, but you know what I you? Know what I mean? Oh, god. I'm babbling. And I'll just stop. Now. In 3...2...1..."

Oh, she's soooooo fired.

Moira raises an eyebrow before turning and exiting the elevator. Felicity scurries after her, past the curious secretary and into the large office. Moira gestures her to the couch instead of the impressive desk across the room.

"I understand you met my daughter the other night, Miss Smoak."

She blinks rapidly, wondering what's happening right now and when she's going to wake up. Then it hits her. The girl from the supermarket. That was Thea Queen...

"She told me an interesting story about your mark. May I see it?"

"My...mark?" Felicity repeats slowly, trying to wrap her head around what's happening and coming up blank. Why is everyone suddenly so fascinated with her mark?

And by everyone she means the Queen women.

"Yes, Miss Smoak, your mark."

"Umm..." She shifts nervously. She doesn't usually show people her mark. It always feels like she's baring a part of her soul when it's visible. She doesn't even wear crop tops or bikinis. Everyone's just too fascinated when they see the marks on someone else. They want to know all about you: have you met your soulmate yet? What does the mark mean? Do you think you're a little old not to have met your mate?

"No offense, Mrs. Queen...Steele? Queen-Steele? Do you hyphenate? You seem like the kind of person who would hyphenate." She grimaces as she realizes how off-track she's gotten. "My point is that it's a private thing. I don't show it to anyone."

Moira sighs, nodding in agreement. "I understand." She stands, brushing off her skirt as she walks to the desk. "I would have preferred not to do this, but Thea was quite sure." She pulls something from the desk and returns to the sofa holding a small square. With a deep breath, she holds out the paper, eyes fixed on Felicity's face for her reaction.

Felicity reaches out slowly, breaking eye contact only once her fingers connect with the glossy side of the photo.

Gently, she takes the photo, her mouth falling open as she realizes what she's staring at. Moira's imposing presence disappears into the background as all she can see is her mark staring back up at her from the photo.

In awe, she runs her fingers lightly over the inky arrow and its computer code that matches hers down to the last 0. It looks just like a photo from one of the soulmate databases. Her breath catches. She didn't even realize how much she's been waiting for this moment, waiting to see mark somewhere other than inked onto her own skin.

She lifts her eyes back to Moira. "Where...?" She can't get the rest of the words out.

"That photo's from four years ago, right before my son was lost at sea. Robert and I wanted Oliver to clean up his life, to find his soulmate. We investigated discreetly, but there was no match on any soulmate database. When Thea told me your mark matched, I looked into it. You're not registered on any database."

Felicity nods automatically. It's true.

"So you'll understand our interest in finding out if your mark matches, especially if it hasn't scarred."

Her breath catches in her throat as Felicity realizes exactly what Moira's telling her. Her son – the missing Queen scion, Oliver Queen – is her soulmate. Her mark is black, which means Oliver Queen is alive.

Oliver Queen is alive.

In a daze, she rises to her feet and pulls her blouse from her pencil skirt to expose her side and the mark hidden underneath, jumping when Moira's cool fingers brush her skin. It still stands out in stark contrast to her milky skin. Over the past couple years – the past four years really, now that she thinks about it – the mark will occasionally ache, but it's never turned into the telltale scar, never faded and lost it's ink.

Moira pulls back, resting a hand over her heart, tears well in her eyes. "It's true," she whispers before she manages to pull herself back together.

Felicity gives her a moment as she tucks her shirt back in, feeling self-conscious as she lowers herself back into the couch. Her eyes are drawn back to the picture of Oliver's mark, her fingers outlining the photo again without conscious thought.

"You never joined a database, Miss Smoak. Why not?"

She starts, eyes darting back to Moira. "Oh, um. My mom. She's a romantic. She wanted me to find him the old-fashioned way, and I just never saw the point." She takes a deep breath. "I'm good with computers, so I managed to...find my way into one of the databanks in college. Since I didn't find a match, I figured I'd just let it happen naturally. I didn't think it would be anything like this."

"I only ask, because the private investigator we hired was unable to find any pictures of your mark. And we hired the best." Her voice is cool, wary, and Felicity supposes she has the right to be considering her case is highly unusual.

"Um, that would be me. I don't like showing it off and I took down any pictures online that there might have been my freshman year of college. I'm sure my mom has some pictures from when I was younger. Oh, God, my mom! Wait until she heard about this!" Then she groans. Donna's going to hop on the next plane to celebrate.

That's just what she needs: her mother squealing at the prospect and embarrassing her further.

"Actually, we're going to need you to sign a non-disclosure agreement, Miss Smoak." Moira's walking back to her desk to pick up a blue folder. "We don't want this to be public knowledge as we resume the search for my son now that we have proof of life. Are we clear?"

"I won't tell anyone, Mrs. Queen." Felicity nods, reading the agreement.

"Moira," she corrects. "And by anyone, I also mean your mother, unless you think she can keep this to herself."

Felicity opens her mouth to object and then realizes her mother would delight in telling everyone she knows. She winces at the thought. "So, no telling my mother then."

Not seeing any obvious loopholes in the agreement, Felicity scribbles her name at the bottom. If she violated the deal, her employment would be terminated. That was, of course, assuming she wasn't actually fired right now...

She hands the folder back and Moira smiles, sitting back down on the couch. "Excellent. Now...why did Mr. Foster fire you?"


Head of IT and Cyber Security.

Felicity draws in a shaky breath as she stares at the open bottle of wine on her coffee table without seeing it, slowly drinking from her glass. This – this being her whole day – wasn't something she could have possibly dreamed would happen when she walked out the door this morning. Her talk with Moira had turned into a meeting with Foster, the head of security and the director of Applied Sciences.

She takes another slow sip of wine as she continues to process the afternoon's events. She never could have anticipated the results: Foster was demoted, she was promoted, and Eddie Raymond, Head of Applied Sciences wanted her to create the programming for their latest device. He even tried to convince Moira to move her to Applied Sciences.

And all this because Thea Queen saw her mark in the grocery store.

What is her life turning into?

Next to her, her phone starts ringing and Felicity blindly grabs it.


"Lis? Where are you? I thought we were meeting up for drinks tonight."

She blinks and twists to get a look at the time on her microwave. "Right. Sorry, Mels. It's been a crazy day and it slipped my mind."

"Crazy? Like a gallon-of-mint-chip-ice-cream crazy?"

Felicity's eyes find the half-empty bottle of wine again. "No. It's more like a I'm-going-to-drink-a-whole-bottle-of-wine crazy. Although, I could use ice cream now that you mention it."

"Give me twenty minutes. I'll bring the ice cream and another bottle."

"You're a lifesaver." Felicity sighs, tossing the phone to the other side of the couch after exchanging goodbyes. She flips on Netflix and grabs another glass and a couple spoons in preparation for Mel's appearance.

Of course, she can't tell Mellie all of it, but she can talk about the promotion.

Knock knockknock Knock.

Felicity grins and swings open her door only to frown as she comes face to face with the brunette she knows to be Thea Queen and Roy Harper. She leans against the door and squints at them.

"What are you two doing here?"

Thea grins, bouncing on the balls of her feet. "Hi! We didn't really get to the introductions last night. Hi! I'm Thea Queen! And you're Felicity Smoak, my brother's soulmate!"

Felicity's mouth falls open and she throws a glance in Roy's direction. She only catches a glimpse of Roy's amused smile before she's thrown off center by an attack hug from Thea.

"Ooof!" Thanks to the wine, she's a little off balance and would have fallen on her ass if she hadn't hit the wall first.

"We're practically family."

Bewildered, Felicity pats Thea on the back, widened eyes finding Roy as he tries to hold back laughter.

"Um, okay...Thea?"

"Mm-hmm?" Thea hums, arms still bands of iron around Felicity's midsection.

"Can you let go? It's getting hard to breathe."

"Oh! Sorry." She pulls back, looking chagrined, but the mood passes quickly and the heiress starts wandering around the apartment. "So this is where you live? Cozy!"

She turns to Roy to ask what they're doing here, but he just shrugs.

"Don't fight it, Blondie. Thea's a force of nature."

Felicity sighs. "Then I guess you should come in, too."

"Thank you!" He grins and saunters in, dropping onto the couch like he owns the place. "So, this is what you do on a Friday night? Netflix and wine?"

"Actually, I was meeting up with my friend, Mellie, but I had a bit of a crazy day and I forgot." And now two teenagers are making her feel pathetic about her lack of a social life. "I don't know if you two heard, but I found out who my soulmate was, got fired, then promoted, and then there was a whole lot of talk about my future and finding said soulmate who happens to be missing for the last four years. It's been a weird day from another world. And this," she gestures to the Netflix and the glass of wine that she's picks up again, "is how I process."

Knock Knock knockknock Knock.

Felicity groans because of course everything in her life no longer fits into neat little boxes. No, now everything's exploding into swirling bit of chaos covered in sparkles. Yes, sparkles because nothing is actually terrible. It's just a lot of things at once and maybe she's had more to drink than she thought.

"Lis! You better not be so drunk you can't open the door!"

She swings the door open, well aware that she's scowling and holding a half-full glass of wine.

"Whoa! Must have been some day," Mel comments, brushing past her into the room only to stop short after three steps as she notices the room's other occupants. "Oh. Hello..." She turns back to Felicity. "You better not be replacing me, Smoak."

"Nope. All these people just keep showing up to my apartment." She falls into the couch taking a large gulp of fruity wine. "I would be content with just my wine and three seasons of Warehouse 13."

"You're such a nerd, Lis. Warehouse 13? Really?" Mellie frowns, hands on her hips, clearly accentuating her figure even more than the skin-tight silver dress naturally did. Mel was definitely dressed for clubbing and Felicity bailed on her.

"Yes, really. Claudia's sass gives me life." Felicity sits up enough to grab the mint chip ice cream and one of the spoons she placed on the table.

"So, Lis, going to be a dear and introduce me to your guests?"

She sighs. "Mellie, That's Roy and his vibrant other half, Thea. Thea, Roy, meet Mellie. My best friend since...forever. You know, you guys should combine your names into something easier to say, like Rhea. No...that's stupid. How about Thoy. No. Theroy! That's it! Theroy! Done."

Roy glares at her. "No."

Thea just cackles. "You start using it and I'll do the same for you."

"Ah, but Lis hasn't met her soulmate yet," Mellie contributes, sitting on the coffee table and pouring herself a glass of wine. "Plus, she's tipsy, which makes her internal filter worse than it usually is, which is really saying something, so you can't hold it against her."

"Well, she's making a better impression than when we met," Thea declares brightly as she snags the extra spoon from the table and takes a scoop from Felicity, receiving a glare in return.

"Hey! You ambushed me in the grocery store!"

"And you babbled at me and then ran away." Thea steals her glass for a sip of wine before Felicity swats her away.

"Your mom's going to kill me if she knows I let you drink."

"Please! She lets me have wine with dinner all the time. She's not going to mind," Thea says around another bite of ice cream. "She'll be happy we're getting to know each other."

"You met at a grocery store?" Mellie asks, eyes darting around.

"Well, Roy lives close to here so I already knew him. But I just met Thea a couple days ago." She just stops there because anything else leads to her soulmate and she can't talk about that.

"At the grocery store," Mellie repeats, frowning at the blonde.

"Yup!" Felicity smiles, trying not to look guilty, but her friend knows her too well. But she can't do this. She can't say what's been going on because of that damn contract, even though she knows Mellie wouldn't tell anyone.

"I saw her soulmark," Thea explains as she props her feet on the coffee table.

Mellie raises an eyebrow at that. "Really?"

Thea nods solemnly.

Felicity rolls her eyes and takes another sip of wine, avoiding Mellie's gaze so her best friend can't read the emotions on her face.

"At the grocery store?" Mellie qualifies yet again. Then she gasps and Felicity's efforts to avoid her gaze fail as she recognizes the 'Ah-ha' sound for that it is: the moment her best friend connects the dots. "You know who her soulmate is! So that's why you're binging on wine and ice cream! You bitch! Why didn't you tell me!?"

Felicity flinches as Mellie slaps at her arm. "Ow! I couldn't. I signed the paper thing...the non-dishc...non-dischh...non-discloshurr agreement."

"Seriously?!" Thea and Mellie shout simultaneously.

Her eyes dart back and forth between the two before she nods.

Thea rolls her eyes and mutters under her breath what sounds like, "of course she would."


"Stop yelling," Felicity whines and then chuckles because she's whining while pleasantly buzzed on wine.

Mellie huffs.

"Plus, technically, I haven't met him." She smiles triumphantly at her loophole and points to Thea. "Right, Speedy Gonzales?"

Thea pauses, her spoonful of ice cream halfway to her mouth. "Wha...Why did you call me that?"

Felicity shrugs. "You move fast. I met you two days ago and now you're bursting into my apartment. I can barely keep up with you. And not just because I'm not sober right now." She frowns. "Do you not like it? I could come up with another name. That's just what my mom used to call me that when I was younger and talking a mile a minute –"

Her words get caught in her throat as Thea flings herself into Felicity's arms. Felicity swears she feels wet tears on his shoulder and she starts rubbing soothing circle's into the girl's back.

"Thea? What's wrong? What did I say?"

The brunette pulls back, wiping tears from her eyes as she smiles sadly. "It's just...Ollie used to call me Speedy."

Felicity smiles sadly and pulls Thea back into a hug, her heart bonding with the girl for the sake of her loss. Unintentionally, she apparently became a physical representation of Thea's hopes for her brother. She's a symbol to the Queens and that's scary in it's own right, forget about all her doubts regarding actually meeting the missing Oliver Queen.

"I can come up with something else," she whispers, catching the understanding that lights Mellie's eyes.

"No. It fits. It's perfect." Thea squeezes her again and pulls back. "I mean, it's fate, right?"

"Oh my god!" Mellie gasps, eyes darting between Thea and Felicity. "Your soulmate is Oliver Queen!"

Felicity grimaces, but as Thea's already nodding she doesn't have much time to come up with a plausible denial. And she watches the final piece click into place for Mellie as it dawns on her.

"Oliver Queen is alive." Mellie sits back, stumped at the revelation. Instead of going for a glass of wine, she grabs the bottle and downs a healthy swallow. "No wonder why you're drinking."


The resumed search for Oliver Queen hits the news circuits two months later, along with flagrant speculation as to 'why now?'. A couple stations even guess correctly that it has to do with his soulmate, although that's still a closely guarded secret.

Felicity's new job keeps her occupied, but her old cloak of anonymity is discarded in light of her promotion. Between her and Moira, they had convinced Thea not to visit Felicity at work, but she was spending more time with Thea, the girl demanding her time under the argument that they were basically family.

Shopping sprees, spa days, movie nights: it all translated to bonding for Thea and only Moira's desire for secrecy managed to curb some of her enthusiasm. Still, Felicity found herself being pulled further and further into the Queens' lives. She, quite accidentally, became friends with Tommy Merlyn when they had to reign in Thea's match-making tendencies in regards to finding Tommy's soulmate.

It turns out he already knew.

Despite everything working out fine – more than fine, it was perfect, really – Felicity was still unsure how she felt about the whole Oliver-Queen-was-her-soulmate thing. Sure, Thea and Tommy were amazing. Moira had even warmed up to her at the weekly family dinners she was now invited to. But Oliver...

Felicity firmly believed in choice and free will. Yes, she wanted to meet her soulmate, her other half, but it felt a bit skeezy that she was bonding with his family and friends when she hadn't even met her mate yet.

What if he was as bad as the tabloids made him sound? What if he hated her? What if she couldn't stand him? What if he tried to just use her for sex?

With her luck she would be the only person in the history of the world to have accidentally been given the wrong soulmark.

Whenever Thea talks excitedly about her meeting Oliver, Felicity feels like the biggest fraud to ever walk the earth. Mellie brushes it off, calling it nerves, but she's genuinely worried. She doesn't know how she'd react if she came face to face with her soulmate now. She knows so much about him and he's going to be completely and utterly blindsided when he gets back.

She would hate to have that situation reversed.


Felicity's at a family dinner when it happens.

All of a sudden, her goes cold, like liquid nitrogen was applied to the skin. The scream escapes her lips as the area starts to burn. Every head jerks to her. She ignores them, pushing away from the table and rushing down the hall to the powder room.

Her heart beats too fast in her chest and she can't draw a breath.

Desperately, she yanks her shirt up, twisting to get a look at the painful spot in the mirror. She blinks tears from the corners of her eyes as she lifts her fingers gingerly to probe the mark.

A hiss escapes her as it burns under her fingers.

She bites her lip against the pain and pulls her hand away, letting the shirt drop as she struggles to center herself and calm her breathing.

A fist pounds on the wooden door of the bathroom and Felicity winces at the noise. The words that follow are unintelligible as another wave of pain renders her unable to stand. With a sob, she collapses to the cool tile, tears leaking as she clutches at her side.

Is this what it feels like? When your soulmate dies?

She's heard stories about how the moment sears itself into your soul and your skin, but she never imagined it would feel this terrible.

Another wave of pain crashes into her and she black out.


The room is damp and dingy. There's definitely a leak dripping from one of the overhead pipes and the chill permeating the air is enough to numb bones. Labored breaths fog the air.

"Curious thing, this poison. It doesn't kill a person or increase your pain or anything of that nature. No, instead for thirty minutes it fuses soulmates together."

He stiffens at the man's words as he comes back into view. The man wears a coat and fur hat, but his hands are bare and covered in blood. His sinister smile insights another thrill of fear down his spine.

Then he processes the words and terror takes over everything.

"Yes...that's right. You endured all that torture and now your soulmate is feeling all this pain. You may have damaged it beyond recognition, but I assure you this little poison works just the same." The man flicks open a knife. Compared to everything else done to his body – the beatings, the blowtorch, the waterboarding – the knife is nothing, but knowing that someone else will feel the same pain, will be forced to live the moments with's too much. " about we try again?"

He grunts as the knife penetrates his leg, not close enough to an artery to be fatal, but definitely painful. He hates to think that someone innocent is suffering just because they had the misfortune of being bound to him.

"Who did you contact?" The man leans in close and leers. "The next thing to go is your knee. Your mate, probably a pretty girl, right? Well, I bet this isn't going to pleasant, so why don't you just answer the question. Who did you contact?"

He gasps as the man twists the knife, gritting his teeth against pain. But he forces out an answer for the sake of the poor girl. "I didn't contact anyone."

Then again, this man could be lying, but the side where his marred mark sits throbs with pain, an almost constant burn. It's enough to convince him that something's happening.

"Then how come, they're searching for you, Mr. Queen?" The knife twists a little further.

"I. Don't. Know." Oliver grits out, ignoring the idea that pops into his head: If they found his soulmate, they would know he was alive.

The man steps back, pulls a gun from the depths of his jacket, and shoots his knee cap without a hint of hesitation.

He can't hold back an anguished scream as he thrashes against the ropes still tying him to the chair. He was so close to breaking the knot and fighting his way out of here.

"How do they know to search for you, Mr. Queen?"

He fumbles with the knot, freeing hands as stealthily as possible while the man levels his gun at Oliver's other knee.

"Last chance-"

He moves, grabbing the gun and shooting the man in the leg. He hops on his one working leg and knocks the man out with a solid twack to the back of his neck with the gun. Straightening, he twists to the door, ready to face the guard or whoever's waiting.

Oliver quickly checks the gun before hobbling towards his escape. They're looking for him. It should be easy enough to find someone who recognizes him to send him home, even if he is in Russia.

God forbid, their potion actually works and they hurt his soulmate.

He shakes his head. She should be the last thing on his mind. He used to rest his hand on the mark for hope and warmth on the coldest nights on the Island. He still did, even years after he seared away the mark with a superheated blade.

The room opens into a hallway and he stumbles out into the bright sun of a busy Russian street. Slowly, he crawls down the street until he recognizes a store and changes course. Three blocks later he collapses in a snowbank, unable to walk another step.


"Lis? Lis? Can you hear me?"

She blinks against the bright light and then sits straight up, gasping for air as the mild echoes of pain still pulse in her right leg. She runs her hand over the unblemished skin of her upper leg before her mouth falls open.

She chokes on her dry throat and Thea holds out a cup of water, positioning the straw so she can drink easily.

Felicity takes a long sip, mind spinning through the dream she just had.

No. It was too real to be a dream. Something had to have actually happened.

She spits the straw out of her mouth and turns to Thea, barely registering that she's been moved to the Queen's sitting room, surrounded by worried and anxious faces.

"Russia. He's in Russia." She frowns. "Moscow, I think! He's a snowbank...on some street I can't pronounce. You have to send someone."

"Felicity, calm down. You passed out in the bathroom. We called for a doctor-"

"No!" She shouts, cutting Moira off in her desperation. She takes a deep breath and speaks slower. "No. You have to listen to me. I saw Oliver. He was being tortured, in Russia. He got stabbed in the leg and then shot in the knee. He got away, but he needs help. You have to send someone!"

Moira glances at Walter, but nods. "I'll put someone on it. But we should get you checked out."

She nods slowly, rubbing at her leg. The pain hasn't lessened but there's no blood or torn skin. It throbs in time with her heartbeat.

"Are you okay, Lis?" Thea ask softly, grasping her hand.

She shifts uncomfortably, her mind still with that snowbank in Russia.

"I will be."


Three days later, they still haven't found him.

Felicity's knee and leg still pulse with pain, but she's pushed it aside to do what she does best. Moira seems skeptical about the Russia connection, so she's taking matters into her own hands.

Her fingers fly across the keyboard at her work desk where the hovering worrywarts can't follow her. It hasn't stopped Tommy, Thea, and Mellie from constantly checking in. Even though the doctor gave her a clean bill of health, there's no explanation for what she saw while she was blacked out. She hadn't dared to tell the whole story at the risk of sounding insane. She just told enough to convince them to look for Oliver in Russia.

Moira's private investigators and reward still hadn't managed to find him and Felicity was getting anxious.

The constant pulse of pain put her on edge, desperate to find him, wherever he might be. Every moment felt like an eternity as she wondered if the mark would suddenly burn again and scar over.

That's why she had decided to go to work. She needed to do something to take her mind off the waiting. Thea was barely leaving her alone, just as anxious as Felicity to find her brother. Mellie was understandably worried about her sanity. The only person she managed to get to back off was Tommy, but that was only because he insisted on having lunch with her and possibly dinner until they found Oliver.

Not that she was doing much in the way of official work. She got most of her work done within an hour this morning. Since then she's been sifting through Russian police stations and hospitals. Translating the Russian was slowing her down more than she anticipated.

Scowling, she tried to rework the translation matrix only to be interrupted by a knock on her door.

"Miss Smoak?"

She takes a deep breath and smooths out her face, burying her hunger under a pleasant smile. "Yes. How can I help you?"

The woman's dressed in a pantsuit that she manages to pull off, but her posture is more rigid than most of the people Felicity sees on a normal day of work. Her long brown hair falls down to frame her face and she smiles politely. "My name is Lyla Michaels, and I need you to come with me."

Felicity frowns. "Is there an issue? I wasn't given any urgent assignments." She picks up her phone to see if she got a text, but it's still clear. "I can send someone up to take a look at your computer, but I'm swamped here. What's your office number?"

"You misunderstand, Miss Smoak. I don't work for Queen Consolidated."

Her eyes narrow, locking onto the woman. "I don't understand." Her hand lingers on her phone in case she needs to do some quick dialing.

"I work for the government. And I need you to come with me, Miss Smoak. It's been cleared with your superiors."

Felicity purses her lips. "If it was, I would have been informed. Do you mind waiting while I verify that?"

She already has Moira's number queued up on her phone so she just presses the button.

No Signal

Felicity frowns at the icon, but reaches for the landline on the desk instead. Lyla's warm hand lands on hers, trapping the phone in the cradle.

"I can't let you do that."

Panic sends her heart racing as Felicity tries to yank her hand away.

"I'm sorry." Lyla as she pulls something from her back pocket.

Felicity feels a prick, but yanks her hand back and starts for the door. She barely makes it two steps before her limbs start to feel like lead and she collapses on the floor, blacking out for the second time this week. She really needs to stop making this a habit.