Author's notes: Thank you for reviewing the last chapter!
Disclaimer: I don't own Arrow or any of the characters associated with it.
(Five Times Oliver Queen Helped the Starling City Vigilante)
Oliver's boots echo in the nearly empty parking garage as he strides toward his motorcycle, shifting his helmet into his left hand as he takes a quick glance at his watch. He curses under his breath when he catches sight of the time, his annoyance nearing peak levels.
He was supposed to have been off work hours ago, but some asshole in accounting had gone and opened a virus he'd told them not to in a veryspecific and threatening email sent out just that morning, so Oliver had then spent the next seven hours of his life debugging and restoring computer after computer in said department. And now, he's going to be late for his first date in months and it is all accounting's fault.
So help him, if any of them come to him with so much of as a paper jam tomorrow, he will find a way to destroy them, body and soul. Somehow.
He reaches for his keys in the pocket of his jacket and goes still in front of his bike, keys wrapped around his fingers, as an eerie sensation washes over him. His shoulders stiffen as he realizes he's being watched, and Oliver concentrates, straining his ears for any out of place sound. The quiet of the parking garage is interrupted only by the buzzing of the fluorescent light about his head, the wail of police sirens in the distance, and there — the slight scuff of boots against pavement behind him.
Oliver's prepared when the touch on his shoulder comes a moment later; he whirls around, knocking his attacker's hand aside. He grabs her wrist and drives her (wait, her?) back into the cement wall, pinning her with an arm across her collarbone. She lets out a gasp of pain as his digs upward into her neck and shoulders, and —
Oliver blinks, the sound of her voice breaking the hold his adrenaline had on him, and he lets go of her immediately, taking a few steps back.
"Felicity! Fuck, shit, I'm sorry! I didn't mean — I don't like being…" he trails off as his brain finally registers the unbelievable sight before him. He takes another step back, gaping at her. "...Felicity?"
He both does and does not recognize the woman in front of him, clad as she is in black leather, with a mask obscuring most of her face and a long, platinum blonde wig cascading down her shoulders. In the past six months, he's seen blurry photos of this woman crop up on every corner of the Internet, her wanted poster runs almost daily on Starling City's cable news stations and newspapers, and never once had he connected her to the pretty heiress who sits on his desk during his lunch hour and asks him for ridiculous favors.
"Holy shit," he whispers, as his world tilts and adjusts itself on its new axis. He runs a hand over his jaw in disbelief.
She slumps against the wall, eyes behind the mask glazed with pain, and with a jolt, Oliver realizes she's bleeding heavily from a wound in the shoulder. He's suddenly aware of the glinting pieces of glass in her hair, how out in the open the two of them are, and… are those police sirens getting closer?
"Hi Oliver," the Starling City vigilante says, her lips quirking up in exhausted amusement, "I, ah, kinda need your assistance."
Oh, he is definitely not getting to his date on time.
"Your brother shot you? What… why?"
Felicity glares at Oliver as she slowly tugs a gray hoodie over her injured shoulder, wincing as the stitches pull at her skin. Not more than two hours ago, Oliver had watched her bodyguard, John Diggle, pull out a bullet and put in those stitches in while she lay unconscious and pale on a cool, metal table at the bottom of an old Smoak Industries warehouse. She still hasn't regained her usual color, and her eyes are glazed with exhaustion and pain, but at least she's awake, which Oliver thought might never happen again.
"People tend to… overreact when I pay them a visit in my official capacity," she says gruffly. "I let my guard down with Elijah. It won't happen again."
"It better not," Diggle says from her side, handing her a bottle of water. "I told you to be careful with him."
"I know, Digg. I still don't think he's involved — "
"Don't be naive, Felicity. You heard the recording."
"I am anything but naive," Felicity says sharply, her voice rising with anger. She slams the water bottle down, practically vibrating with tension. "You weren't there. You didn't see him or hear what he said."
Diggle crosses his arms over his chest, not intimidated in the least. "No, but I saw we he did to you. You were lucky he didn't kill you, lucky that this kid," Diggle thrusts his thumb in Oliver's direction, "brought you here and didn't go to the police. Your luck is going to run out some day, Felicity, and I'd prefer it to not happen under my watch."
Felicity's glower could peel paint off the side of a house, and while she doesn't respond to Diggle's comment, she clearly isn't conceding the argument — whatever it's about — to him. She wrenches the bottle open and takes a long swing of water, stewing in her anger for a little while longer.
"Um," Oliver says at last, breaking the tension sizzling in the cool air of the foundry. The two of them look over at him at the same time expectantly, "So, are you going to tell me what it is you're talking about or do I have to fill in the blanks myself?"
Diggle and Felicity exchange another look, the other man arching an eyebrow in silent warning, before Felicity hops off the table, moving toward Oliver.
"That depends," she says, putting her hands on her hips. Oliver doesn't miss the wince that splices across her face at the movement. "On whether or not you want to join the team."
Oliver's brows raise in surprise. Out of all the things he expected her to say once she was awake, that was not one of them.
"You want me? For what?"
Felicity gestures at the bank of computer behind him. "For what you've been doing all along. As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm not all that tech savvy — "
"Tell me about. I can't believe you've been running operations down here with such a shitty signal and utter lack of firewall and… " Oliver trails off at the look on her face, drumming his fingers against the arm of the computer chair. "Uh, sorry. You were saying?"
"I couldn't have cracked some of my recent cases without your expertise, Oliver," she says after a pause. "You have helped more than you know, and now that you know what I'm doing with that information... I'd like you to continue helping. Officially."
Oliver takes a long look at her, taking in her sweaty, disheveled hair, faded hoodie and scuffed leather pants and boots. He looks past her at Diggle, who had very nearly shot him when he'd appeared in the foundry with a wounded and unconscious Felicity in his arms, and then put to the gun down so they could work together to save her life. He takes in the dim atmosphere of the foundry, the sparring equipment and weight lift contraptions in one corner, the atrocious server and computer set-up he'd already started improving to keep his hands busy, and the rack holding her weapons: her staff, and bow and arrows.
Does he want to be part of this, more so than he already has? He'd be actively engaging in criminal activity, and putting himself in danger and risk of arrest — not that he was a stranger to any of that — to hold Starling City's one percenters accountable for their actions. Could he be a part of this?
Or, more importantly, could he step away from this, from Felicity, now knowing who she truly was and what she was doing at night?
That answer to that, he finds, is surprisingly simple.
"You're not going to put an arrow through me if I say no, are you?"
Felicity smiles at him, and for once, he doesn't think any part of it's fake.
"I'm better with my staff, honestly. I need to work on my aim," she teases, because they both know her aim is impeccable. "So… are you in, Oliver Queen?"
She holds out her hand, and Oliver takes it without hesitation.