So a quick-ish little one-shot that sort of came about because I'm both procrastinating with several other things and university has started again. I can only think that uni is going to kick my butt this semester based on the amount of readings I have to do in only the second week. :/ Hopefully, I'll manage to have a life this semester but it seems like a dim hope, at this point.
Anyway, this is an experiment and I'm not sure how well it went because a) I find Diggle to be the strong, silent, wise type and getting into his head was...difficult and b) I was writing Laurel for the first time and I'll be honest, I don't particularly like Laurel or enjoy her character. I don't know if it's because of how she's been written or played on the show but I find Laurel to be a character I don't particularly sympathize with even when I'm supposed to and, there have been times, where she's genuinely irritated me as I've struggled to relate to her. In saying that, I'm hoping she gets better because I feel she could be a really interesting character - if something changes. Ergo, given both those things, I hope this turns out alright because of both the characterization of Diggle and Laurel. I hope I wasn't too mean to Laurel, anyway.
I hope you enjoy!
Diggle's the first to notice.
In all honesty, it takes him a while to realize what's happening between this love-triangle-that-isn't.
To be fair, he's been distracted. Lyla's pregnancy has progressed to a point where she's visibly showing and they're trying to set up a nursery while dodging questions about the state of their relationship
They'd been married before and that hadn't gone well, so why try again?
Plus, when they'd returned from the Island their first order of business was bringing Queen Consolidated back under Oliver's control. Which came about – in a surprising twist of events – because Oliver and Felicity put their heads together and came up with a solution all on their own.
Diggle is a soldier, so he doesn't pretend to understand how they brought Queen's Consolidated back under Oliver's control but they do.
He also knows that quite a few board members are rapidly replaced once they have.
It doesn't matter because his world is the new base and the renewed hunt for the elite of Starling City…
…and watching Laurel Lance as she loses out to Felicity Smoak.
Diggle's not going to lie, he doesn't know Laurel but he also doesn't really like her. She turns Oliver into an idiot, has spent a good portion of her time hunting the vigilante and is suddenly okay with it? That doesn't add up and so he doesn't trust her.
He understands that Oliver has a history with this woman; he also understands that she is Sara's sister and Sara is trying to make amends and he respects that. But he doesn't trust Laurel, he doesn't like her and no matter what she thinks, she has to earn her place in this team.
And she absolutely has to do it without being mean to Felicity.
Which she's apparently going to find very hard because of how Oliver's acting.
Diggle doesn't know what happened between Oliver and Felicity when they were fighting Slade and, frankly, he doesn't really want to know.
He'd had made a decision that unless whatever was going on between Felicity and Oliver affected the team then he really didn't want to know about it.
Thankfully, Oliver and Felicity had seemed to appreciate his unspoken sentiment and have either done something and are keeping it away from him or they haven't done anything and are still dancing around each other.
It doesn't mean Diggle hasn't noticed that while Laurel is trying to make amends and forge a new, healthier relationship with Oliver, he appears to be keeping her at arms length and spending a great deal of time with Felicity.
Who appears to have become more confident in whatever it is she has going with Oliver and has stopped hesitating to ask things of him or call him when she needs him. Which is happening quite and lot and Diggle has observed, more than once, a call from Felicity that has Oliver politely excusing himself from Laurel's company to go to the blond.
For reasons that are in no way related to the business of being the vigilante because Diggle isn't getting any of these calls.
However Diggle doesn't know exactly what's going on and he, quite frankly, is genuinely happy about that.
Well, he doesn't know right up until Oliver stumbles down into their new base after a particularly bloody encounter with their new target.
For some unknown reason, Laurel is there.
Their new base of operations is one that has been hastily cleaned and fitted with what they had managed to rescue from Verdant. It isn't set out as well as the basement had been and there had already been discussion about how to renovate and build it into something impenetrable. As it was, the training mats were diagonal to the computers and Diggle wasn't exactly a fan because it cut of his vantage point of seeing who was entering and leaving the building.
So, when he glances up from sparring with Roy and sees Laurel Lance standing there, Diggle isn't exactly pleased.
Diggle knows Felicity would have offered Laurel a smile and a cheery greeting when she'd appeared but when Oliver was out in the field, her focus was solely on him and helping him when he needed it.
Diggle isn't focusing on Oliver, so his grunt in Laurel's general direction is his greeting.
In fact, he doesn't actually speak to Laurel right up until Felicity freezes and her 'Oliver?' is filled with enough concern for him to come over to stand next to her.
Actually, he attempts to stand next to her but Laurel is in the way.
Diggle likes the fact that he doesn't have to say anything to the brunette. He just has to raise his eyebrow and Laurel moves.
"What's wrong?" He asks, refraining from putting his hand on her shoulder.
That's an Oliver move he does not want to replicate.
Every time he sees Oliver do it, Diggle feels like he needs to give them a moment. It's a little weird.
"He's injured. Extra bodyguard was hired and hit him in the knee." Felicity relays, her face drawn in worry as she listens to whatever Oliver is doing over the comms.
"I'll set up the med bay. Kid, go amuse yourself. He's not going to be in a good mood when he gets back." Diggle directs; making sure his voice is reassuring and calm even as Felicity begins to tap her foot.
Something she only does when Oliver is out and injured and she can't get to him.
"What can I do?" Laurel's voice breaks in determinedly. "I know first aid, I can help." Her tone is on the wrong side of pushy and Diggle glances at her.
"Stay out of our way. He doesn't do well with a crowd." He tells her and then turns to the medical bay when Laurel opens her mouth to say something else.
He's not stupid; he saw the offended look on her face and he can only guess that she'll try and do something once Oliver has returned.
But right now, he just doesn't care.
Plus, Diggle knows he's right.
Oliver struggles with having people around him when he's injured. The man had gone so long without people to care for him that he becomes touchy when two people worry about his injuries, let alone three or four.
In fact, Diggle is pretty sure the only reason Oliver tolerates taking time out to let them fix his wounds is because it upsets Felicity even more if he doesn't.
Oliver seems to spend a lot of time both upsetting Felicity and making sure that she isn't upset.
It's pretty damn confusing.
So when Oliver stumbles into base, yanking his hood down and trying to appear strong while limping, Diggle shoots Roy a look to stay away. This doesn't look good.
The kid makes himself look busy with a punching bag – his attitude having undergone a marked change now that Oliver can kick his ass again – and Diggle folds his arms as Laurel rushes forward.
He knew she'd do something like this.
Diggle tries very hard to not smirk when Oliver straightens away from her touch and glances down at her.
"What are you doing here, Laurel?" He rasps and Diggle listens closely to his voice. There's more pain in it than he'd originally thought.
"I came to talk to you about - " Oliver cuts her off with a look and Laurel appears to blink in surprise.
It's Oliver's impatient, I-don't-have-time-for-this look that edges on mean.
Normally, Diggle likes pushing Oliver when he gets that look. There's something fun about seeing how far he can go before Oliver tries to take his head off.
Clearly, Laurel has never seen this look because she doesn't have a response to it.
Oliver appears to not care that the brunette has stopped talking because he's caught sight of the blond IT girl and his whole face softens.
It fascinates Diggle the way Oliver's facial expression changes as soon as he sees Felicity. If anything, it should be an indication of how Oliver feels about Felicity.
It would be too, except right after Oliver wears that look, he tends to do something asinine and reminds Diggle why he doesn't want to know.
"Felicity. Felicity? I'm okay. It's not as bad as I originally thought." Oliver is trying to appear stoic and unaffected by his knee.
Diggle finds it so touching how Oliver is lying about how badly he's injured.
The man just seems to forget that Felicity Smoak has seen through him since day one and no matter why he's lying, she knows he's lying.
He also appears to forget that Felicity can handle a hell of a lot more than a run of the mill injury.
But Diggle has no doubts that Oliver will get points for trying.
Before Felicity can respond, Laurel apparently recovers from Oliver's look.
Even as Felicity steps forward, she steps in front of her to place a concerned hand on Oliver's arm.
"Ollie, you shouldn't have tried to come back on that knee. You should have called someone." Laurel states firmly, she glances at Felicity who she has clearly stopped from speaking. "Is there any ice?" She asks of the blond and Diggle raises his eyebrows.
Oliver's expression turns mutinous because something about Laurel's tone suggests that she's summarily dismissing Felicity even after Oliver went to all that trouble of lying to her about his knee.
Felicity looks startled by the question. "Oh, I think – "
"Ice would be preferable. It'll help with the swelling." Laurel interrupts Felicity again.
Oliver's expression darkens even further.
"So would letting him sit down." Felicity says sweetly, her eyes flying to Oliver's face as Laurel frowns at the words.
Diggle folds his arms and tries not to smile at Felicity's words. One of his life's greatest pleasures since meeting Felicity was hearing her comebacks, always snappy, to the point and issued with such confidence.
It's always a pleasure to watch her dole them out to unsuspecting persons. Even more so when the unsuspecting person is Laurel Lance.
"Oooh. Discord in the Arrow Cave."
Diggle snorts at Roy's mutter – partly because it's true and partly because it's an impressive use of the word discord – from the general direction of the punching bag and he waits to see if the other three have heard it.
Oliver very briefly glances in Roy's direction and Diggle actually starts to wonder if he should interfere – Oliver's face is lined with pain and it's clear that Felicity and Laurel are both right.
It's also clear that if Oliver doesn't say something soon, this could become a stand off.
Diggle would put twenty on Felicity to win.
"Laurel, go home. You shouldn't be down here." Oliver tells the brunette suddenly, his face creasing even further with pain as he pulls his gloves off and throws them onto the nearest table.
"But, Ollie, I think – " Laurel starts, her expression becoming mulish and Oliver levels her with a glare worthy of being the Arrow.
"Go home, Laurel. I don't want you here." Oliver snaps and then he winces as he shifts onto the wrong leg.
This time, Laurel isn't the one that reaches him. Felicity cuts her off before Laurel can even react to Oliver's pain, let alone his sentence. Sliding her arm around Oliver's waist, Felicity holds steady as Oliver leans heavily on her, his own arm slinging around her neck as he almost visibly relaxes.
Diggle pretends to not notice the way Oliver turns his head slightly, brushing his lips against Felicity's hair in a very tender, very open display of affection.
He doesn't want to know, after all and that is a clear indication that they've probably done something and haven't told him.
Diggle spares a glance at Laurel in the five seconds this occurs and he manages to catch the flash of hurt, jealousy and steely resolve. Somehow, Diggle thinks that Laurel isn't used to Oliver dismissing her for someone else or so obviously choosing to lean on someone other than her.
Not surprising given Oliver's actions since returning from the Island. Then again, Laurel doesn't actually know Oliver that well. She thinks she does but Diggle has been around long enough to know one thing, history with a person doesn't equate to knowing a person.
A distinction Laurel appears to want to ignore.
"Oliver, are you sure?" Laurel demands, her face creased with concern and hope. It's pretty obvious that Laurel is hoping that Oliver will reconsider in the seconds since he'd spoken.
It's also pretty obvious that Oliver is losing his patience with Laurel and the conversation she's trying to have.
"Yes. You aren't needed down here, Laurel." Oliver tells her and Laurel's face falls. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't come down here again unless you're asked." Oliver states firmly, his look level, steady and implacable.
Oliver is clearly cementing the line in the sand that he'd drawn with her during Slade's assault on the city and it's very clear that Laurel wasn't expecting it. Much like she wasn't expecting Oliver to reach for Felicity when she was there to offer support.
Diggle would feel sorry for Laurel if it weren't for the fact that the woman acted both entitled and pushy a lot of the time and, until recently, spent a lot of time blaming everyone else for the way she acted.
She's silent for a moment and Diggle waits to see what's about to happen. He's got a feeling this could go either way and he's going to be really unimpressed if Laurel takes the dramatic route.
Feeling someone come to stand beside him, Diggle glances at Roy who's watching the proceedings curiously and with a look that suggests if Laurel tries to do something, he's more than ready to jump in.
Before Laurel can decide what to do, Felicity speaks.
"Laurel, we appreciate you coming down here but now is neither the time nor the place to talk to Oliver." Felicity is watching Laurel steadily, her hand rubbing up and down Oliver's side soothingly. "If we need you, we'll call. That's how this works and we would appreciate it if you respected that." Felicity tells Laurel and her voice is like reinforced steel, immovable and solid.
If there's one thing to really like about Felicity Smoak, Diggle thinks, it's this. The mass reserve of backbone she displays when she needs it and, as always, it's such a surprise that Laurel seems at loss as how to argue.
Clearly, the united front Oliver and Felicity are presenting is somewhat of a shock to her.
Diggle shrugs when Laurel glances at him and Roy seems to raise his eyebrows and Laurel appears to give in.
A good thing too, Diggle thinks, observing the way Felicity's face is darkening ever so slightly the longer Oliver is standing. He'd bet that if Laurel tried to argue she'd shut her down so fast, Laurel's head would spin.
Laurel may be a lawyer but Diggle has watched Felicity argue with Oliver enough to know that Laurel won't win.
"Oh. Okay. Call me if you need anything." She says; her voice clipped as she moves to pick up her purse.
"Of course." Oliver inclines his head and Diggle has no doubt that Oliver only plans to call Laurel if he needs anything.
Clearly, Oliver plans not to need anything from her for a while, too.
They're all silent as Laurel leaves, her the click of her heels fading as she leaves without a second glance. Diggle turns his gaze back to Oliver and Felicity just as Oliver turns to look at the blond.
"Hi. I need ice." He says softly as Felicity turns her head to look up at him.
"I know. You also need to sit down." Felicity smiles back at him, her hand moving up and down his side soothingly.
Gone is the steel the two of them displayed as they both spoke to Laurel and in its place is something quite close to romance.
Diggle frowns because he doesn't want to know and right now, he has a bad feeling he's well on his way to knowing what's going on with Oliver and Felicity.
Especially if Oliver keeps looking at Felicity like he is right now, as if she's the answer to all the questions and problems in his life.
Felicity's look isn't much better, to be honest.
"I need to sit down." Oliver says and Felicity nods even as Oliver suddenly frowns a little. "Actually, I need to get out this and shower, first."
"Sure. I'll help you." Felicity goes bright red at her words. "I mean, I'll help you with the shower. Not in the shower! Just to the shower and then I'll, uh, get some ice." Felicity seems to be determinedly looking at Oliver's shoulder as she rapidly corrects herself and misses the small smile that's pulling at Oliver's mouth.
"If he suggests she joins him, I'm bleaching the shower and my brain." Roy mutters, his distaste for whatever is happening in front of them obvious.
Diggle snorts again because Roy seems to have acquired a somewhat brotherly reaction to both Felicity and Oliver.
Oliver opens his mouth to reply to Felicity and Diggle decides he needs to take mercy on both Roy and his decision to not know. Somehow, Diggle is pretty sure that whatever Oliver is about to say will make some thing he doesn't want to know glaringly obvious.
"Oliver, you need to get off that knee and we need to go over what you found out before we call it a night." He interrupts and Oliver looks over to him, irritation flashing at being interrupted. "We need to know why he hired the extra bodyguard and if it was because he knew you were coming."
Oliver stares at him and it appears he's trying to pull him out of whatever headspace being near Felicity has created. He then nods sharply.
"He knew I was coming. We just need to know how." Oliver states and then glances at Felicity. "I need to shower. Can you see if you can find anything that tells us if he knew I was coming tonight?"
Felicity nods. "Seriously? Why do you always ask me that as if I haven't proven I can do it in my sleep?"
Diggle rolls his eyes, Roy smirks and Oliver coughs a little before jerking his head towards the bathroom and beginning to move towards it, his arm still around Felicity's neck, ensuring that she moves with him.
They make their way slowly over to the small bathroom and Diggle winces a little as, just before the door shuts, he sees Oliver turn to Felicity and bend down to press a kiss to her mouth.
So, clearly, not knowing is now not an option
Roy mutters something indecipherable and then Diggle watches as he starts to pull on his red hoodie.
"What are you doing?" He inquires casually, moving over to grab an ice pack from the first aid kit.
"I'm going to buy some bleach." Roy tells him and then pauses. "Next time, I've got twenty on Felicity kicking Laurel out before Oliver even returns."
Diggle considers the bet. Somehow, he doesn't think next time with Laurel will be anytime soon. Both Oliver and Felicity had made it clear she needed to wait for them to contact her and, Oliver in particular, appeared to not want that to happen any time soon.
"I'll put twenty on Laurel leaving on her own when she finds out why you need to bleach the bathroom." Diggle tells him and Roy nods. "Don't say anything, Roy. There's a reason they haven't said anything yet."
Roy snorts. "They suck at not saying anything if what just happened with Laurel is any indication."
Diggle gives him a short nod at that because it's true and watches as Roy heads out, pulling his hoodie up and shoving his hands in the front pocket.
Glancing around the room, Diggle folds his arms.
His decision to not know has no backfired pretty spectacularly, thanks to one Laurel Lance and Diggle isn't exactly grateful.
He now has to figure out what to do with Oliver and Felicity, as if he didn't have enough on his place.
Rubbing his hand over his face, Diggle glances at the closed bathroom door and heaves a sigh.
He'll need to think about this.
Again, this was supposed to be a quick-ish one-shot that hit 3000 words pretty quickly. If only assessments were this easy!
Anyway, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and I wasn't too out with the characterizations of Laurel and Digg.
Onto other news, I'm hoping - genuinely hoping - that I'll get the sequel to Of Processing, Bad Lying and Kissing up by the end of the week, beginning of next week at the latest. I'm hoping if I give myself a deadline, I'll stick to it. It works for my assessments after all, right? So, please look out for the tentatively titled, 'Mint Chip, Gossip and Kissing Bans'.
And, lastly, just out of pure curiosity, I have two ideas half-started that I was wondering about. Both AU; one involved Oliver, Felicity and significant age gap and falling in love in Las Vegas - which is something I'd try and stretch to three chapters. The other, one-shot, Roy spends some time trying to prove his theory that Oliver and Felicity are together - much more crassly put though. So, any thoughts on either of those?
Anyway, I hope you liked this! Please let me know what you think!