Tunnel vision: the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.
At some point in their lives, every person on earth suffers from the narrowing of vision so that only one thing remains. This phenomenon can be both good and bad. It can give a person the determination, the drive they need to see out what they crave or it can blind them to the other possibilities of life. It can be the focal point of your life or your obsession. It can make you or destroy you. And sometimes, it can lead you to your destiny.
It was raining. A lot. Oliver had barely been out on patrol for more than ten minutes and he was already soaked to the skin, despite the fact that he was wearing leather. Between the dark and the rain, he couldn’t see a damn thing. The roofs were beyond treacherous. He’d already almost lost his footing more time than anyone who prided himself on his agility the way he did would ever admit. The wind was making it difficult to aim properly, which had led to several close calls. It was definitely time to head back to his penthouse before he broke his neck. He was tempted to stay out a little longer. He had been patrolling the streets long enough to know that bad weather wouldn’t keep all the criminals at bay. But he was only one hero -- and a completely human one at that. There was only so much he could do without killing himself.
Oliver waited for a slightly lull in the tempest before firing a zipline arrow across the city and anchoring the line securely behind him. Traveling on the ground would probably be safer, but even with the weather, there was too big a chance that he would be seen. At the touch of a button, his bow folded in on itself, becoming a sort of pulley apparatus that attached to the wire. He tested the strength of the line. There was a little more give in it than usual, but it would hold. Taking a deep breath, he tightened his grip on the handle and launched himself off the roof.
He knew immediately that was something was wrong.
The amount of give in the line increased the moment he put his weight on the wire. The wind hit him with renewed force, sending him swinging wildly. He struggled to keep his grip on the handle as another gust of wind slammed into him. But it was futile. He lost hold as the line went limp. Oliver braced himself for impact with the ground.
There was a crashing sound and a myriad of sharp pains blossomed across his body before he slammed into something hard. He could hear something crack on impact. Every inch of his body hurt. Even breathing was painful.
Opening his eyes, which had close of their own accord when he first plummeted through the air, Oliver realized that he’d lost his glasses and that his hood had fallen back when he hit the ground. It left him feeling incredibly vulnerable. Pushing through the pain, he tried to sit up. The only truly coherent thought in his mind was that he had to get back to his penthouse before someone saw him.
He didn’t hear the footsteps hurrying toward him and didn’t even realize that he wasn’t alone until a hand gently, but firmly, pressed him back to the ground. He looked around blearily until his gaze fell on a blonde woman with startling green eyes that were alight with concern.
“Lie still,” she said. “You’re hurt pretty badly.”
“Have to go,” He mumbled, trying to sit up again. “Have to--”
She held him down with surprising strength for her petite figure. “You’re safe here. No one’s going to hurt you.”
Something about the woman’s face soothed him. He stopped fighting her grasp and lay back. It was only a matter of time before the pain knocked him out.
“How...bad?” he rasped.
“You fell twenty feet after coming through the window,” she said. “And you had to be falling for quite a ways to break through that glass. It’s bad.”
The woman seemed unsurprised by his request and only nodded solemnly. “No hospitals,” she assured him. She chewed her lips for a moment, then pressed her hand to his chest, just over his heart. A soft glow filled the room, chasing away the dark fingers of unconsciousness that had begun clouding his vision. Warmth filled his body and the aches eased until the pain was completely gone.
The light abruptly faded away. Oliver blinked and tried once more to sit up. This time, no one stopped him. He glanced down at his body. He could see the tears in his leather costume where the glass had cut through it. He could even see the reddish stains were his blood had marked the green material. But his skin was smooth and unmarked. He couldn’t even feel the bruises he’d been nursing after a fight with a meth head a few nights before.
Looking up in wary amazement, he quickly took in his surroundings. An impressive array of computers lined one corner of the room. Oliver had spent enough time familiarizing himself with ever aspect of Queen Industries and teaching himself his way around computers for his night job to be able to recognize that, while the system had obviously been cobbled together, it was top notch work.
A sofa and several comfortable looking chairs were clustered around a television in the corner opposite the computers. A large table dominated the center of the room. The wall between the sitting area and the computer was covered in papers, the most noticeable of which was a large map of Metropolis. The map was studded with pins and lines were drawn across, separating the city into sections. Looking closer, Oliver could see that the other papers were all article on various crimes.
Leaping to his feet, he backed away from the woman, who’d remained kneeling beside him while he examined the room. He put a good ten feet between them and glared at her.
“What did you do to me?” he demanded.
The woman rolled her eyes and stood. Despite the situation, Oliver could appreciate the beauty of her petite, curvy figure and vibrant green eyes.
“Seeing as you’re the one that landed in the middle of my building, shouldn’t I be asking the questions?” she snarked. “And I’d think that it’s pretty obvious what I did. I healed you.”
Oliver blinked. “You what?”
“I healed you,” she repeated. “You didn’t really think that you fell through the window unscathed, did you? Not even your ego is big enough to protect you from a fall like that, Mr. Queen. I have to say, I never pegged you as the leather fetish type of hero.”
Tensing again, Oliver reached automatically for his crossbow only to stop himself as he realized the implications of her words. “You knew I was Green Arrow before all of this? he gestured weakly to the glass that he’d only just noticed surrounded her.
The woman nodded.
“What do you want from me?” Oliver growled, feeling as though cold water had been poured into his veins. He’d thought that he’d been careful, but he obviously hadn’t if this stranger had figured out his secret. Judging from the computer set up and the crime stats, she was exactly the person he didn’t want to know that Green Arrow and Oliver Queen were the same person.
The woman let out a sigh and crossed her arms, giving off the impression that she was feeling distinctly harassed. “I don’t want anything. We’re on the same side, Arrow. Haven’t you heard rumors about the team of heroes who’ve been trying to clean up Metropolis?”
Oliver nodded slowly. He had heard the rumors. He just hadn’t believed them. He was well aware of the fact that he wasn’t the only hero out there. On occasion, some of the criminals he took down mentioned someone named Watchtower. More than one had rambled on about how Watchtower’s team of metahuman heroes were the only reason that he’d been able to interfere in their plans. It hadn’t been long before he’d begun hearing the name more and more, often in conjunction with the defeat of major criminals across the country. Oliver had been of the opinion that, though it would be great if metas could work together, it was unlikely and hadn’t felt that it was worth getting his hopes up for nothing.
A smirk worked its way across the woman’s face. “Well, I’m Watchtower. My friend and I have been fighting crime for years. We started the team when some of our super powered friends decided to help us out. I’m not going to do anything to you,” she said forcefully, crossing her arms across her chest. “I’ve known who Green Arrow is underneath the leather for ages. I make it my business to keep tabs on other heroes in case we need to alert them about something or work alongside them. Both have happened before.” She shrugged self-deprecatingly. “When you’ve spent as much time as I have covering for your superpowered alter-ego having friends as I have, you learn to see through pretenses. After all this time, I’m damn good at connecting the dots.”
For quite possibly the first time in his life, Oliver was completely speechless. His mind struggled to catch up with everything that had happened. He’d fallen from his zipline only to land in the headquarters of a team of heroes he hadn’t believed to exist. He’d met someone who knew his secret and who had no intention of using that knowledge against him. That person had not only healed him, but had turned out to be the very legend that was frightening criminals everywhere. To be perfectly honest, Oliver had absolutely no idea what to think or say.
Watchtower took advantage of his silence to walk over to the computers. She tapped out a quick stream of code and turned back to Oliver.
“Deactivating the security protocols,” She explained. “My team’s probably freaking out right now since Watchtower sealed itself when you came through the window.”
Oliver frowned. “I thought you were Watchtower.”
“I am,” she replied. “One of the boys came up with the idea to call this place Watchtower since it overlooks the whole city and since this is where I do my bit as eye in the sky when they’re on patrol. I didn’t even have a codename for the longest time. When we finally realized that I needed one, Watchtower just stuck.”
That made sense. Having sorted out that little mystery, Oliver turned to another.
“You healed me.” he said. “How is that even possible?”
“It’s an ability I have a result of spending too much time around alien meteor rock,” Watchtower said dryly. “I’m a meta, as is the rest of my team. My power just isn’t as useful in a fight as their powers are. It does come in handy afterward though.”
As she spoke, she swayed slightly where she stood. Her eyes fluttered almost closed and she pressed a hand to her forehead. Oliver leapt forward, grabbing her elbow just in time to keep her from hitting the ground.
“Are you all right?” he asked in concern.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “It’s been a long day and healing you took a lot of energy. I just need a good night’s sleep. I’ll be fine.”
She gently pulled her arm free and made her way to the doors Oliver hadn’t even noticed before She paused just before she reached them and turned back to face him. “I know this is a lot to take in, especially considering you’ve just had your identity revealed. But I’m really not going to do anything to you. All I ask is that you keep in mind that my team is out there if you’re going to patrol the city and not give them trouble. Their codenames are Impulse, Aquaman, and Cyborg. You should be able to tell who they are because they’re actually wearing costumes and not just wreaking havoc.”
She paused, glancing at the windows before going on. “Looks like the storm’s finally blown over, so it should be safe for you to get home. I’m trusting you with the location of Watchtower, seeing as you should have been able to figure it out anyway if you have any knowledge of the city. Don’t make me regret that,” she warned, giving him a look that clearly said he would regret it if he did. Her expression abruptly softened and she gestured to a door half hidden in the shadows beside the computers. “There are stairs that lead down to the street through there. If you run into any trouble while you’re in the city, look me up. I live downstairs and we’d be more than happy to help if you need it.”
With that, she slipped through the door and was gone.
It took Oliver a minute to closer his mouth and actually move. The woman he knew only as Watchtower had completely bowled him over. She was like no one he’d ever met. She hadn’t taken any crap from him, no matter how defensive he’d gotten. Most impressive, to his mind at least, was the fact that she’d been far more honest with him than he’d had any right to expect. He’d never met anyone like her.
Shaking his head in an attempt to clear it, he made his way down the stairs to the street and back to his penthouse. It was slow going, trying to stay out of sight, but without his longbow, he couldn’t shoot off a zipline arrow and he had no other means of transport. His bike was still tucked away in an underground garage near his penthouse. Given the state of the weather, he hadn’t bothered taking it out.
He changed out his uniform and into a pair of sweat pants and a black t-shirt. Leaning against the railing of his balcony, Oliver looked out over the city that would be his home for some time if all went well. He ran a hand through his hair. To his surprise, he found himself hoping that he would get a chance to meet Watchtower’s team of heroes and work with them. If they were doing as much good as was rumored, then he wanted to be a part of it. His stay in Metropolis would be a whole lot more interesting if that happened.