FF#5: White Aproned (Intentioned) Crime
Flash Fic Prompt #5: Red-Handed
Felicity Smoak didn't understand rich people.
Walter was missing. As in gone. As in MIA. As in no one had seen or heard from him in weeks. And where was his family? Oh, they were at some benefit to save somebody or something that wasn't their husband, their step-father. It wasn't that she undervalued firemen. They were heroes among men – selfless individuals who were willing to put the needs of others before their own safety. She admired that; she admired them. But admiration was something done at a distance, whereas love was up close and personal.
Or so she thought it should be.
If it was her husband, her step-father who was missing, she wouldn't be eating tiny appetizers and writing giant checks; she'd be be out searching the city, harassing the SCPD into getting results, calling in favors and throwing around her last name of Queen (not that she was a Queen, but they were) to find out... something. People didn't just vanish, and there was always evidence – some clue that, if someone cared enough to take the time to look for it, would throw the whole case into a different light, a better light, a more clear light. Sherlock Holmes had taught her that, and, sure, while Moira Queen and her children – especially Oliver – were a far cry from even Watson, they had the money and the resources to hire someone who was. Instead, though, they were off, spending that money on nightclubs, and new party dresses, and Laurel Lance's pet project of the week.
She wasn't jealous; she was irritated, and frustrated, and she felt deceived.
So what if she had a teeny-tiny crush on Oliver Queen? It was Felicity's well-held opinion that she couldn't be faulted for that, because, frankly, said crush was out of her hands. She couldn't help it, and she definitely didn't want it. Dealing with Oliver, and his suspicious requests, and his truly horrific cover stories was hard enough without his little smiles causing big butterflies to flutter in her stomach, without his remarkable praise making her feel just that. The man was too attractive for her own good, and, now, she feared that she had allowed their little flirty-flirt routine (okay, so maybe he flirted, and she blushed, but it was more action than Felicity had seen in months) to cloud her judgement, caused her to look past all of the screaming, neon signs that seemed to flash above Oliver ever time he opened his mouth to ask her to do something else even more dubious than the last favor.
If her inability to say no to Oliver Queen cost Walter... Mr. Steele... his life, she'd never forgive herself.
Nor would Felicity's conscience fare any better if Moira Queen was somehow behind her husband's disappearance, and Felicity had ignored her better judgement by not going to the police at Walter's behest.
Even now, she wasn't sure what she should do. While the cops seemingly had no leads, Felicity had two: Moira Queen had a notebook... or, at least, she had once had a notebook which contained the names of every single one of The Hood's targets thus far, and Oliver Queen frequented a coffee shop in a bad neighborhood where he apparently befriended bank robbers and archers. Everything she knew, however, was hearsay – her word against the Queen family, and nobody was going to believe some IT girl over one of the richest, most powerful and influential families in the world. She needed a smoking gun.
But not literally... because she really hoped that Walter wasn't dead.
The best option would have been to hire a private investigator, but that required money her salary at QC didn't provide her with, and, as she was quickly learning, hacking only took her so far. Some secrets weren't stored on computers. And the Queens – Moira and Oliver both; Thea probably, too – most certainly had secrets. She just needed access to them; she just needed to find a different way, because, if Walter's family wasn't going to help him, then she would. After all, it was the least she could do, because Felicity just knew his disappearance had something to do with that notebook he had given her to research. She had either given him the information that had gotten him kidnapped, or she had failed to give him the information he needed to stay safe. Either way, Felicity was smack dab in the middle of her boss' – her friend's – vanishing.
Plus, like she had told Walter, she hated mysteries.
So, that's how she found herself there of all places, doing that.
It wasn't something that Felicity had decided lightly. She wasn't an idiot. She knew what kind of risk she was taking and for a man that, most likely, wouldn't do the same for her if the roles were reversed. Walter had more common sense, apparently, than she did. But she wasn't the type of person who required kindness in return to do the right thing. And, illegal or not, Felicity believed her actions to be just and honorable. Plus, she hadn't come to her course of action lightly. It was the desperate, no other options culmination of days worth of pacing, and chewing on her fingernails, and biting her bottom lip, and, in general, worrying herself sick. After all, she wasn't exactly a girl who screamed Oz, and, no, unfortunately, she wasn't referring to the version with ruby red slippers. That she could do; those she could rock. No, Felicity was talking about the kind with shivs, and soap on a rope, and electric, barbed wire fencing. Because the Queens didn't strike her as the forgive and forget type, and, currently, she was breaking into their house.
They probably called it a cozy cottage or something else equally as pretentiously flippant and dismissive... which was another thing she didn't understand about rich people – why they insisted upon denying their wealth, because it didn't make them seem humble; rather, it just made them come across as pompous braggarts who were disconnected from the rest of the – poorer – world.
Anyway, it was surprisingly easy to get onto the Queen's property. For a family seemingly so obsessed with their own safety that they employed a babysitter for their grown son (granted, they had believed him dead for five years, and, since his return to the non-island living, he had been kidnapped, arrested, and in a serious motorcycle accident, but still...), ground security was light. As in non-existent. She was wearing all black – a tough enough feat given her penchant for bright colors – and a ski mask... which was much easier to come by seeing as how it was winter, but the precautions were truly unnecessary. There hadn't been any guards to avoid/hide from/run away from; no bright lights, alarms, or walls to scale. Felicity had simply... walked inside.
At least, she hadn't used the front door. She had been more imaginative than that. Rather, she had used the servants entrance and, upon entering, had found the nearest closet... which had turned out to be a pantry... and had quickly changed (thanks to the small, black backpack she was carrying) into the closest approximation of the outfit the Queen family's help wore, Felicity using pictures she had found online from parties past where the photographers had seemingly forgotten the rule that the maids should never be heard or seen. They were background shots, though, so details were scarce, and it wasn't like their was a Maids R' Us nearby either.
However, the uniform was just a precaution, because, while the Queen's secrets weren't online, their schedules and social obligations were. And anyone with a knowledge of google (so, basically, even her neighbors yappy dog who barked at its own shadow) could discover the family's connection to Laurel Lance. With Laurel involved, of course Oliver would be there, and, because it was a fundraiser... which meant a party with a budget alone that would probably cost more than the amount of donations collected, Moira and Thea Queen would attend as well. That meant the house/mansion/castle/estate/cozy cottage was empty, and she was free to snoop to her heart's... or their return's... content.
Felicity had debated where to start. The more public rooms she had automatically dismissed, along with Thea's suite. Nobody would keep their most personal, most dangerous information out in plain view for the help to find, and Thea just seemed a little too self-involved to be responsible for Walter's disappearance. So, that left her with two targets: Moira's rooms... which the idea of made her feel awkward, because that meant they were also her boss'... and Oliver's... which also made her feel awkward because of her crush. He lived there. He slept there. He read, and dressed, and worked out, and showered, and entertained there. Naked. It was intimidating.
Oh, who was she kidding.
It was intriguing as hell.
So, 'Door Lettered O' it was.
She was astonished by how neat his suite was. How meticulous. There wasn't an item out of a place. And she could tell that it had nothing to do with a full house staff at his beck and call, because the space was simply too sterile, too un-lived in and impersonal to be someone's real sanctuary. Oliver might sleep there. He might read, and get dressed, and work out, and shower, and even entertain there, but he didn't live in his rooms. The realization made it easier for her to do what she needed to do and search.
She was rifling through his desk – her eyes observing and her brain analyzing faster than her hands could move – when Felicity heard the creek of a door opening, the floorboards moaning slightly under a heavy weight. She was caught, the game was over, and it had all been for nothing, because she hadn't found anything incriminating, and she wasn't even halfway done with her mission. Desperate, she pulled upon one last drawer, her fingers automatically locking around a familiar, leather-bound, small notebook. With a gasp of success; with a gasp of fright; with a gasp of hope, because at least she had some bargaining power now, Felicity whirled around – her blonde ponytail flying behind her – to face the music.
"Uh... Mr. Queen," she stammered, trying to make herself as small as possible while she simultaneously attempted to hide her shaking, notebook holding hands beneath the white apron of her uniform.
"I thought we had already covered this," he smiled, teased, stalked towards her – the picture of calm and confidence. Somewhere, his jacket and tie had been discarded, and he was left in just his suit pants and dress shirt – hands shoved into his pockets, sleeves rolled up. "Mr. Queen was my father."
"Right," she quickly agreed, skirting around the desk as she stuck to the perimeter of the room. Shuffling sideways, she edged closer and closer to the open door.
"Because he died," he supplied for her. "Because he drowned." When she didn't say anything – her eyes constantly flickering towards her only means of escape, Oliver shifted gears. "My mother didn't tell me that she'd hired some new help. But, then again, my mother hasn't left her room since Walter... disappeared."
Which meant that she was still there. Now. That Felicity had overplayed her hand, and underestimated her opponent, and she was probably lucky Oliver had been the one to find her, because she had a feeling Moira Queen would not be as amused by the situation as her son appeared to be.
"I also didn't realize that QC paid so poorly that you'd need to get a second job. I'll have to look into that."
"That's..." She swallowed thickly, her throat feeling like she had chowed down on an entire jar of honey-roasted peanuts. "Okay."
"Perhaps you could even help me," Oliver suggested. "After all, you are my personal internet researcher, right?"
The man was downright cheeky, but she was mere steps away from being home free... or, at least, out of his bedroom, and, while Felicity understood that still meant that she had to run out of the house/mansion/castle/estate/cozy cottage, through the property, and back to her car which she had stashed down the road, surely Oliver wouldn't run after her. Didn't he have people that he made do those sort of things for him? Plus, he didn't have his costume on. Disguise? His hood. And he wasn't carrying his bow... which she now knew he had, thanks to the list she had found in his desk, so he couldn't shoot her to prevent her from running away.
Her foot was literally in the air – hanging over the line of demarkation between Oliver's room and the hallway – when he spoke once again, his voice coming from directly behind her and making her jump in shock and fright. "I'm going to have to search you, Felicity. It's just a precaution, but you wouldn't be the first woman to break into my bedroom looking for a... souvenir. You understand."
Her face flamed.
And then his hands settled upon, wrapped around, nearly encompassed her entire waist.