A/N: And finally, the last, last chapter of this story! And they said it'd never happen. Ha! Shows what they know, right?
Thank you to each and every one of you for hanging in there with me, no matter how frustrating this story got. I hope in hindsight it was worth all the hair pulling… and if not, here is a complimentary beanie to hide the bald patches. :D Much love and appreciation to you all. *huggles!*
Hank would also like to say thank and sorry about what he did in your bedroom cupboard. You don't know what I'm talking about… wait a few more days, the smell will explain everything. Sorry about that – it's hard to keep track of him 24/7 and those Ritalin drugs only work for so long… particularly as Hank insists on taking them as a suppository, which I don't think is how you're meant to take them but I try and keep away from Hank's butt as much as possible. Whatever he does with that thing is his business. .
Anyways, this last chapter is hot off the press. I literally just finished typing the last couple of pages. I had a real problem ending this scene (as you will no doubt notice when you start writing) but oh well, you get that on big jobs, I guess.
And I'm almost certain I'm going to do my Halloween story now. Hank has a few ideas… mostly about an evil monkey paw but it's sounding like it may have semi-autobiographical overtones to it, so I'm not sure if committing that to paper is such a good idea, just in case there are more court cases pending then I'm aware of. I'm thinking at this point I'll call it 'HALLOWEEN ANTHOLOGY' but don't quote me on it. Perhaps it'd be safer to just follow me if you want to check out my next story. I do like to change my mind with these things. I'm fickle like that.
Okay, used up my last bit of chatter getting this chapter done, so I'll leave it there. I know, a little anti-climatic but these things often are, it's the nature of the beast. And for one last time, I do hope you enjoy it and hope to see you all soon… muse and Hank willing. :D
Have at it, peeps…
Oliver leapt down the scaffolding and raced to the far wall, jumping up it as far as he could before falling back down, landing on his feet and bolting to the tractor tire in the middle of the room. He threw the sling attached to the large tire over his shoulder and proceeded to drag it from one end of the Foundry training area to the other. "What do you think about Thai?" he puffed as he dragged the hundred pound tire behind him.
Felicity looked up from where she was working away at the computer. "He's nice, very polite."
"What?" asked Oliver distractedly, blinking sweat out of his eyes.
"Ty Nelson, Porter's new driver."
"No, not Ty the driver, t-h-a-i, the food," said Oliver in amusement. "I thought I'd take you out for Thai tonight, you know, for our sixth date."
Felicity arched an eyebrow at him as he continued his workout, now scaling the brick wall using only pegs which he was hanging onto and driving them into the wall to lever himself up ever higher. "Excuse me, sixth? My count has us at five."
"We had lunch together today," said Oliver, muscles screaming at the intensity of his work out.
"With Diggle," said Felicity wryly.
"Was he there?" asked Oliver innocently, letting himself drop back down the ten feet to the floor.
"Yes, he was there," said Felicity in exasperation. "And you know it. We all had lunch together."
Oliver shrugged as he put the tire sling over his shoulder again. "Okay, so it was a double date. Still counts."
Felicity shook her head at him smiling. "I know Digg is a big guy, but you can't count him as two people. It wasn't a double date. It wasn't any kind of date. We're still on five."
"What if one of our date goes past midnight?" pushed Oliver as he ran, dragging the tire behind him. "That should technically be counted as two dates, because it happened over two days."
Felicity laughed. "You're incorrigible."
Oliver grinned as he dropped the tire and jogged over to the salmon ladder. "So, is that a yes?"
"It's a yes to the Thai and a 'get real' to the two dates in one night thing," said Felicity, smiling up at him.
Oliver hung there on the bottom rung of the ladder, crossing his ankles and gave her his best puppy dog eyes. "I think you're being completely unreasonable about making the math work for us rather than against us on this dating quota thing."
"I think you've still got ten minutes left of your workout," said Felicity sweetly. "And you leave the math to me. We should play to our strengths, right?"
Oliver didn't miss the way Felicity's gaze lingered on his sweat covered, bare chest as she said that.
"We don't want your heart rate to drop, now do we?"
"I don't think that's really something I have to worry about around you," said Oliver, using his vantage point of being above Felicity to enjoy the view afforded him of her lower than usual cut blouse.
Felicity followed his gaze and made a mock sound of outrage and put her hand to her chest. "I thought you were a butt man," she admonished him teasingly.
"I am an equal opportunity ogler when it comes to you," he confessed happily. "I'm pretty much happy to scope any part of your body, any time of the day." Oliver immediately looked completely innocent. "Not that you'd ever do anything like that, of course."
Felicity blushed and bit her bottom lip, smiling. "Of course not," she said with feigned primness. "I'm a lady." Felicity snuck another look at his sweat-covered chest. "Although even a lady needs a hobby."
Oliver grinned. "And I'm more than happy to be your hobby. Consider me available 24/7 for that particular task."
"I'll take it under advisement." Felicity waved a hand at him. "Ten more minutes, remember?"
"And what do I get at the end of that ten minutes?" Oliver started to swing his body, working his way up the ladder with the bar.
"The glow of a job well done," said Felicity teasingly, going back to her computer screen.
"I was thinking of something a little more tangible than that," noted Oliver, working his way up to the very top of the ladder. "How about a kiss… or two?"
"What's in it for me?" asked Felicity cheekily as she went to turn around to look up at him but she knocked her pen off the desk at the same time. "Damn."
She went to retrieve the pen from under the desk which meant Oliver was treated to the sight of Felicity's shapely bottom poking out from underneath the desk. He was immediately distracted and missed the next rung of the ladder. The bar slipped and Oliver fell down several rungs before he managed to save himself by catching a much lower rung. He dangled there, regaining his equilibrium.
Felicity retreated back out from under the desk with her pen in hand and frowned up at him quizzically. "You okay? Did you just fall?"
"No," he lied automatically and then pulled a face. "Maybe a bit."
"You never slip—" Suddenly it must have dawned on Felicity as to what had happened. She rolled her eyes at him. "Incorrigible."
Oliver just half-smiled. "Any man in their right mind is going to be distracted by the sight of that gorgeously firm—" Oliver tensed, noticing a small movement out of the corner of his eye and he let go of the bar, dropping the rest of the way to the ground . As he hit the ground he rolled in one fluid motion to grab his bow and he had an arrow strung to it as he came to a stop in front of a startled Felicity, shielding her with his body even as he pointed an arrow up at the stairs.
The man standing halfway down the stairs clapped his hands together and beamed down at him. "Oh bravo, darling, that was just poetry in motion. Do it again." He reached into his coat pocket and drew out his cell phone. "Wait, I've got to record it this time." He smiled brightly down at Oliver. "You know, for posterity's sake."
"Who the hell are you?" ground out Oliver tightly, keeping his arrow firmly directed between the other man's eyes and making sure Felicity was blocked from the intruder's view by his body. "And how did you get in here?"
"Oh, I just adore a locked door," said the man blithely as he started down the stairs. "I can't keep away from them. Truly, they're like my catnip."
Oliver scowled, hating the fact that someone had been able to get the jump on him like this and breach their inner sanctum. His hand tightened on his bow, eyes narrowing. "Don't move otherwise it'll be the last thing you do," he growled.
The man put a hand to his chest and looked more thrilled than nervous. "Oh, so masculine and demanding, I'm all atwitter."
Felicity's hand was on his arm. "Oliver," she whispered, "I think it's Algernon Forbes-Hamilton."
"Oh, how rude of me," said Bunny with an easy smile. "Your little poppet is indeed correct but I must insist you call me Bunny." He looked between them. "So, do I have permission to come aboard, Captain?"
"No," said Oliver tightly. What the hell was this guy doing here and how did he know where here was in the first place?
Bunny waved a hand at him. "Oh well, I'm here now." He kept walking down the stairs.
Oliver watched him descend in disbelief.
"Put the bow down, Oliver," said Felicity, looking at their guest with obvious interest. "He knows you're not going to shoot him."
"I don't know how when I don't know that," muttered Oliver but he lowered his bow anyway, watching Bunny closely.
"Thank you, poppet," said Bunny coming to a stop in front of her. He looked her up and down. "I love this whole look you've got going on, sweetie – the shoes," he waggled a finger at her high heels, "love them, that outfit, to die for and the ponytail with the glasses—" Bunny grinned, "all just too perfect for words."
"Ah, thanks, I guess," said Felicity with a smile.
"And you, my prickly little monkey," said Bunny, turning his attention to Oliver, looking him over, taking in the fact Oliver was only wearing his trousers and no shirt. "You're not big on the clothing front so I'm going to have to reserve judgment but I think we can all agree that covering up all this hard-bodied bounty would be the real fashion crime." Bunny reached out and laid a hand on one of Oliver's pectorals. "Oh," he said in delight, "sweaty. I do love a man who knows how to work up a good lather."
Out of the corner of his eye Oliver could see Felicity putting a hand to her mouth to stifle a laugh.
"How did you get in here?" ground out Oliver.
Bunny raised his free hand to reveal a small silver device. "I call it my little universal key. Very handy."
Felicity looked at it with interest. "That's awesome." She looked at him. "Where can I get one?"
Oliver looked over at her, arching an eyebrow at Felicity engaging with the intruder. Didn't she realize that the guy now knew far more about their lives than any of them should be comfortable with?
"What?" said Felicity catching his look. "It is awesome and it'd be very handy to have."
"It's yours, poppet," said Bunny, handing it over to her. "I have more. It's a prototype my company is working on, it'll open any electronic door."
Felicity turned it over in her hand, examining it with interest.
Oliver could see he'd lost her with the enticement of new tech so he reverted his attention back to Bunny. His lips tightened as he glowered down at the other man, looking as ominous as possible. "Are you going to remove your hand sometime today?" he bit out darkly. Bunny's hand was still resting on Oliver's chest.
"Oh, of course, monkey," said Bunny brightly and promptly moved his hand to Oliver's chiseled abs. "Ohh, even more sweaty," he said approvingly.
Felicity's hand was at her mouth again and this time she was turning away to avoid laughing out loud. Oliver sent her an exasperated look for being no help whatsoever in dealing with this strange, uninvited guest.
"Ohh… I like the energy going on here," noted Bunny, waggling a finger from his free hand back and forth between them. "It makes me all tingly – good things happen when I tingle."
"I don't even know what that means," said Oliver shortly, physically removing Bunny's hand from his stomach himself when it became obvious the other man had no intention of removing it himself. "And Felicity and I are none of your business."
"Felicity?" repeated Bunny happily. "How appropriate."
"Why is it appropriate?" asked Felicity curiously.
"Stop engaging him," said Oliver in exasperation.
Felicity shrugged. "Well, he's here now, you can slam as many barn doors shut as you like but this pony has definitely bolted," she pointed out practically.
"And she lives up to her name once again," said Bunny brightly.
Oliver couldn't help himself. "What are you talking about?"
"Felicity, it means intense happiness, as in the little scene of domestic felicity I walked in on where you were all flirty flirty with one another," said Bunny. "By the way, adorable."
"We weren't flirting," said Oliver sharply, not wanting this stranger privy to their private business.
"I was," said Felicity candidly.
"Well, I was."
Bunny patted her arm. "And a fine job you were doing of it too, poppet, judging by the way our little monkey was having trouble keeping his mind on that ladder thingy of his." He nodded his head approvingly. "And again, your felicityness appears to be on show with that bout of honesty – a second meaning to the word, the ability to find appropriate expression for your thoughts."
"I've never heard that before," said Felicity in amazement. "About felicity being a word other than a name."
"Oh yes," said Bunny blithely. "For example, even after just a few minutes talking to you I can see you're one to expose the truth of matters with eloquence and felicity."
Felicity laughed. "Does talking a lot count for eloquence? Because if that's the case, I've pretty much got it nailed. I don't have much of a filter between what I think and what I say."
"Me either," said Bunny in delight, taking her arm. "We're going to be glorious friends, I can just tell."
"No, no you're not," said Oliver in agitation as he untangled Bunny's arm from Felicity's.
"Ohh, he's a jealous one, isn't he?" noted Bunny. "Don't worry, my love, we can share her. I suspect we're both not interested in the same bits anyways."
Oliver drew Felicity to his side and glared at the other man. "I'm interested in all her bits," he said hotly. "There are no bits left over for you." Oliver turned his head to see Felicity arch a pointed eyebrow at him. "Too much?" he backtracked a little.
"Only the part where you all but peed on me to mark your territory," said Felicity wryly.
"That isn't what I was doing," said Oliver quickly.
"I'm having flashbacks to XR-320 Oliver," she warned him.
"You're the accidental gassing survivor, of course you are, it makes perfect sense," said Bunny in delight. "How absolutely wonderful to know I had something to do with preserving all this—" he waved his hands up and down Oliver's body, "—for us to all enjoy." Bunny gave a large smile. "I feel like the little man who stops the erosion on the Statue of David's man bits."
Oliver shook his head in frustration as Bunny had now worked out his association with the toxic gas. He drew Felicity to one side, away from easy earshot of Bunny and tried to make his point. "Felicity," said Oliver doggedly, keeping his voice low, "we don't know this man. He walks in here unannounced, jeopardizing our entire operation and now he knows way too much about either of us for me to be comfortable with. You know how seriously I take vetoing people into the inner sanctum. It's not a do-drop-in ranch, a lot is at stake."
"I know that," whispered back Felicity, "but like I said, it is what it is. Bunny is here now and we just have to deal."
Oliver grimaced, knowing Felicity was right but not liking this situation one little bit. He glanced over at Bunny, only to find the other man had become engrossed in Felicity's bio-suit. "Don't touch that," said Oliver sharply.
Bunny wrinkled his nose. "He's not one to share his things, now is he, poppet?"
"Oliver can just be a little overprotective," said Felicity hastily. "About a lot of things."
"You used my name," said Oliver in defeat.
"You used mine," she countered.
Oliver closed his eyes and pulled a face. "This is a nightmare."
"Oh honey, please, like I didn't know who you were the first moment I laid eyes on that gorgeous face of yours," said Bunny dismissively. "You were screwed on the whole 'mystery identity' thing the moment I walked in the door—"
"Uninvited," ground out Oliver, still annoyed at himself for letting that happened.
"Piffle, if I waited to be invited everywhere I went I wouldn't have met the Queen."
"The Queen?" asked Felicity, looking impressed. "You mean, the the Queen."
Bunny inclined his head. "The the Queen," he confirmed.
"What's she like?" asked Felicity curiously.
"A lot shorter than you'd think," said Bunny thoughtfully. "Knows how to throw a great party. Her hubby's a real card. He's not big on the filter when he speaks either. You've got to respect that in a person."
"Cool," said Felicity, clearly impressed.
Bunny smiled brightly. "So, you see, having already met the Queen, a Queen is no big deal." He paused. "And believe me, I've met a fair few of them in my day, monkey."
"Stop calling me monkey," ground out Oliver.
"Of course, poodle, whatever your little heart desires," said Bunny easily. "Whatever my poodle wants, my poodle gets."
Oliver blinked, not exactly enamored with Bunny's secondary choice of name for him.
Felicity smiled and leaned in towards Bunny. "I think he'd like to rethink the 'no monkey' decree," she said in an overly loud whisper.
"I'd prefer Oliver," he said flatly. "No wait, what am I saying, I'd prefer you didn't call me anything because you were leaving." Oliver's jaw hardened. "Only now that you've seen all this, letting you go isn't really an option."
Bunny clapped his hands together and looked excited. "Oh, please tell me you're going to keep me captive down here and do unspeakable things to me?" he begged Oliver excitedly.
Oliver hesitated and frowned, not really knowing what he was going to do about Bunny.
The older man gave a little squeak of happiness and immediately flung his arms around Oliver's waist and looked up at him adoringly. "Full disclosure before we start this thing," warned Bunny, looking up at him with an excited expression from where he'd laid his head on Oliver's chest, "there is a chance I'm going to get Stockholm Syndrome on your perfectly toned bottom." He wrinkled his nose. "Wait, that isn't true… it's absolutely going to happen. I recommend bracing accordingly."
Oliver screwed up his face in a pained expression, not finding the way Felicity had both of her hands up to her mouth, eyes watering in an attempt to stop herself from laughing out loud, particularly helpful. "Can you take your hands off my ass," he ground out as Bunny had somehow managed to cup his backside in the process of the hug.
"I'll give it a try, poodle," said Bunny, head still on Oliver's chest. There was a second where Bunny tensed his muscles but his hands stayed where they were. "No, sorry, honey, I gave it my best shot but they just seem to have a mind of their own."
"That's it!" said Oliver in frustration, physically pulling Bunny off him as Felicity dissolved into a fit of giggles. "No touching!"
"Ugh, what is it with you hero types and the no touching thing?" said Bunny in exasperation. "Everyone needs a little cuddle now and then, even the Arrow." He gave a light laugh at the way Oliver looked at him for mentioning his alter ego. "Oh, please, sugar pants, like I didn't put two and two together as soon as I saw this set up and got mysterious vigilante do-gooder of Starling City." Bunny laid his hand on Oliver's chest. "Can I just say, huge fan of the green all-leather ensemble… just a huge amount of fan-age there… and I mean massive."
Oliver grimaced. This was not good.
"Oh honey, relax," said Bunny dismissively. "I can't be the first person to work out your little secret."
"You kind of are," said Felicity.
"Really?" said Bunny in surprise. "But you must be disappearing all the time and keep showing up with bumps and bruises and well, does no one wonder how you spend your nights?"
"It hasn't come up," said Oliver flatly.
"Seriously?" said Bunny, wrinkling his nose. "Is everyone you know special needs or something? How can it not come up?"
Oliver didn't want to talk about his not so secret identity with this man. "You know I could just kill you," said Oliver tightly.
"Oliver," Felicity admonished him, "you're being rude."
"Our security has been breached, Felicity," he said in exasperation. "How can you not have a problem with that?"
"I don't know, I just don't," she said calmly.
Above them the sound of the door being opened disrupted the conversation Oliver had to admit was going nowhere. Everyone turned and looked up to see Roy and Diggle at the top of the stairs.
"Whoa," said Roy in surprise as he came down the stairs and saw Bunny, "what are you doing here?"
"How about you tell me, Roy?" bit out Oliver.
"I don't know," said Roy in consternation. "Why would I?"
"How did Bunny know about this place?" asked Oliver in annoyance.
"I didn't tell him," protested Roy.
"Hush now, monkey, kitten's right, he didn't tell me."
"Monkey," snorted Roy. "Funny." His smile slipped from his face at Oliver's glare. "Well, it is," he muttered defiantly under his breath.
"How did you know about this place?" asked Diggle, as he and Roy walked over to them.
"You all keep disappearing into this place at odd hours and not coming out forever," said Bunny. "I was thinking some kind of sex dungeon kind of set up, but I have to admit, this is arguably a lot cooler… as long as the sex thing is not completely off the table for down here, of course."
"It's definitely off the table," said Oliver in horror.
"Oh, okay," said Felicity, pursing her lips. "Good to know, I guess."
"No wait, I didn't mean us," said Oliver quickly.
"Mixed messaging, monkey, that won't get you the girl," said Bunny knowingly.
Oliver's jaw hardened as he felt the whole situation continue to be outside his control.
"Uh oh," said Roy, "Mr. Throbby has come out to play. Not good."
"Really?" said Bunny, suddenly breathless as his gaze was immediately firmly fixed on Oliver's crotch.
"It's a vein," Roy tried to correct him.
Bunny's gaze just became more intense and Oliver had to refrain from the urge to cover his crotch. He'd never had another man look at that area is intently before and it was slightly unnerving, not that Oliver would ever admit to that.
"In his temple," clarified Diggle dryly, when it became obvious Bunny was not going to give up his quest for a close encounter with Mr. Throbby.
"Oh," said Bunny, sounding a little disappointed as he finally dragged his gaze from Oliver's crotch to his forehead, "so it is. Oh well, you can't blame a girl for being optimistic when you hear the word throbby."
Oliver caught Felicity trying to choke back more laughter. He put his hand to his temple and the vein which was indeed pulsating there, scowling as a definite pain was starting between his eyebrows.
"Headache, monkey?" asked Bunny sympathetically.
"Yes," said Oliver dourly, "and he won't stop talking."
"You see," said Roy knowingly, "it's harder than you think to rein the guy in, right? It isn't just me."
"Why are you here, Bunny?" said Diggle evenly.
"Oh yes, of course, I got a little turned around," said Bunny brightly. "I see a heaving, rippling piece of gorgeous manhood and I completely forget myself." He looked at Felicity. "Sweetie, how do you ever get any work done in this place with all of this pulsating maleness going on around you?"
"It's not easy," admitted Felicity candidly. "Sometimes it takes me a really long time to do the simplest thing because you know, nipples are really distracting."
"Amen to that, my darling," said Bunny knowingly. "But what a fun distraction they are."
"Focus, Bunny," said Diggle firmly. "Why are you here?"
"I'm here for my favor," said Bunny simply. "My wiggle puppy favor."
"Oh my God," snorted Felicity. "Best nickname ever."
"And one that will never be repeated," said Diggle coolly. "By anyone… ever."
"I don't know," said Felicity. "I'll try but I honestly can't promise it won't just slip out one day."
"What's the favor?" said Diggle, ignoring Felicity's dire prediction.
"Well, you know how I've essentially been a key lynchpin in your recent endeavors—"
"Excuse me?" said Oliver sharply. "I don't think so."
"Now then, monkey, if it weren't for me, you wouldn't be alive… and you'd still have a dead French woman on your hands to dispose of," tutted Bunny. "And of course, last night I was indispensable."
"I'd call last night a fairly mixed bag," said Diggle wryly. "A man died."
"That wasn't my fault," protested Bunny and then everyone looked at Roy.
"It wasn't mine either," he said hotly. "Ross was killed by chickens, a lot of frozen chickens. I had nothing to do with it."
"You had a little to do with it, kitten," countered Bunny.
"You grabbed my arm just as I went to throw that shock ball," said Roy in annoyance. "Who does that?"
"I was pushed, it wasn't my fault."
"Okay, enough with the finger pointing," said Diggle determinedly. "I'm still waiting to hear what this favor is."
"Apparently my involvement in the little melee last night has gotten back to the wrong people and by that, I mean Albert Ross' half-brother and well, he's one to hold a grudge, as it turns out. The man's has made it known he's coming to kill me because he blames me for Albert's death."
"What's his name?" asked Felicity, hurrying over to her computer to look the man up.
"I mean his first name."
They all looked at Bunny but it was Felicity who asked the question. "Albert Ross' half-brother's name is Ross Ross?"
"I know," said Bunny, "atrocious, isn't it? It's like their parents hated them from the get go."
Felicity tapped away at the keyboard, checking the man out. She wrinkled her nose at what she found. "Okay, not a good guy."
"Not even a little bit," agreed Bunny. He looked up expectantly at Diggle. "So, I need my brown bear to protect me."
"You have a lot of personal protection already," pointed out Diggle. "A lot."
"Ross Ross is a big game hunter. That's his idea of fun down time, killing endangered animals. The man is mean and vicious and once he decides to kill something or someone, he won't stop. I don't want my head being mounted over his mantle all because of a mishap with frozen chickens," lamented Bunny. "My men are good but they're not on the same level as you, brown bear. My life is at stake here and I really don't want to take any chances."
"I'm not killing the man for you," said Diggle firmly.
Bunny waved away his concern. "I have counter contract out on Ross already, don't worry about that. I just need you to keep me alive while my man gets to Ross." He gave Diggle an imploring look. "You wouldn't let your little Bunny end up on an endangered species list, now would you?"
Diggle's expression remained impassive as he seemed to mull it over. "Fine, I'll do it."
Bunny's whole face lit up. "Hurrah!"
"Wait," said Oliver quickly, "we need to discuss this first."
"I said I'd owe him a favor if he helped us out with the chemist guy and your antidote," said Diggle pragmatically, "and if this is what Bunny needs, then I'm okay with it."
"I agree," said Roy quickly, "because let's get real, it could have been sooo much worse."
"Oh kitten," said Bunny, patting his face, "I do love the places your mind goes."
"Not intentionally," said Roy unhappily.
"So then," said Bunny brightly, "it's all settled then? I'm going to be the Whitney Houston to your caramel Kevin Costner?" He fluttered his eyes at her. "You know they had a torrid yet ill-fated romance during that movie, right? Let's hope real life imitates art, eh?"
"It won't," said Diggle calmly.
Oliver's jaw hardened. "I don't like this."
Bunny patted his arm. "Don't worry, brown bear says that now but once we're in the middle of a life and death scenario, who knows what might blossom."
"Not that," said Oliver in exasperation. "All this is because of me. If anyone owes the favor, it's me. I should repay it."
"Oliver, I made the deal with Bunny," said Diggle, unfazed. "I'll repay it."
"Boys, boys, there is enough of Bunny to go around," said Bunny in delight. "You don't need to squabble over him."
Diggle gave Oliver a determined look. "I'm doing this. It's done."
"This isn't a good idea," said Oliver flatly. "I don't like it."
"It'll be a couple of days, tops," said Bunny blithely. "It'll be like an extended girl's night out. We'll braid each other's hair and talk about boys."
"Man, I'd give my left nut to see that," smirked Roy which earned him a cool look from Diggle.
"You will, kitten," said Bunny in surprise. "Obviously you'll be looking after me too."
"What?" asked Roy sharply. "Hey, no, I didn't make any kind of deal with you."
"But you two are a package deal," protested Bunny and then gave them both an impish wink. "And what packages you are," he cooed.
"Are you sure you really want Roy helping out, Bunny?" asked Felicity uncertainly. "He's had a run of bad luck lately when it comes to people staying alive around him."
"Death always comes in threes," said Bunny dismissively. "He's made his quota."
"And once again, because no one seems to be listening to me, I didn't kill anyone," said Roy sharply. "The killers to date have so far been a broom, gravity and frozen chickens. I haven't killed anyone."
"My little Roy toy—"
"We agreed you weren't going to call me that," said Roy flatly.
"—is devoted to me and wouldn't let any harm come to me," said Bunny confidently. "This is going to work out splendidly."
Oliver gave up. Somehow this whole thing had spiraled out of control and now Bunny was neck deep in their business and there wasn't a damn thing Oliver could do about it. He felt Felicity slip her arm through his and Oliver looked down to see her smiling up at him. Despite his many, many reservations about this whole situation, Oliver felt himself relax a little at her soothing touch.
"It'll be okay," she said softly. "Don't stress."
Oliver sighed heavily. "Okay," he acquiesced but then gave Bunny a determined look. "But this is a onetime thing. When this Ross guy is taken care of, our association with one another is done. Understand?"
Bunny just smiled knowingly. "As long as you understand that Bunny is like a box of fine chocolates, one nibble is never enough. You always end up coming back for more."
"That won't happen," said Oliver flatly.
Bunny gave a little, unconcerned shrug and another wink. "I guess we'll see about that, my little love monkey."
Roy gave another snicker. "Love monkey… still funny."
"Shut up, kitten," said Oliver dourly.
"This feels like the beginning of something special," said Bunny warmly, smiling at them all. "This is going to be brilliant, I can just tell."
Oliver had a sinking feeling that they didn't exactly share the same definition of brilliant…
A/N: And that's a wrap, my ducklings! It's been a long, twisty turn ride but you've made it, through cliffhanger overloads, through misunderstandings and miscommunications, through angst and near death experiences, we leave our band of merry warriors in an (arguably) good place with the beginning of Olicity underway and the promise of more Briggle. I have come up with a name for the sequel to this story and it's 'UNDER MY SKIN'. Please keep an eye out for it to pop up in the coming weeks as we delve into Olicity dating, Riggle keeping Bunny alive, secrets from the past and life and death scenarios galore! Lot's planned, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes, won't you? ;)
One last thank you to all my faithful ducklings for hanging in there with me through thick and thin and being so encouraging and generous with my stories. Even I can't find the words to say how much I appreciated it.
Okay, Aunty Lou is outta here but hopefully my little Halloween thriller isn't too far away. Remember, if you've got any votes for what you might like to see in a Halloween story for our intrepid gang, then just let me know and I'll run it by the muse and Hank and see what pops up. ;)
Hope to see you all there… :D