FF#50: Who Takes a Keyboard to a Bow Fight? (A Frakking Vigilante with a Blog, That's Who!)
An Olicity Flash Fiction Story
FF#50: A Gun, a Guy, and a Good Book
Felicity Smoak was really starting to second guess her life choices, particularly those she had made concerning her career. Because, while she loved technology and everything that went along with it... especially those canisters of air that were used to clean out keyboards, she really appreciated those, tech companies sucked.
More accurately, the men and women who ran tech companies sucked. As in... they were all crooked mccrookerson crooks. Was it really too much to ask for a tech billionaire CEO who was both brilliant and honorable? Someone who was a shark in the boardroom but not a total douchenozzle in his or her private/personal life? Someone who, while leading a global conglomerate, could also remember the peons – including yours truly – whose shoulders they stood on in order to achieve their remarkable success?
Apparently, it was... if Felicity's own experience in the tech world was any indication.
Because the virtuous and ethical tech CEO was like the unicorn of all man-crushes (or lady-crushes if that's what your heart desired), someone should seriously consider writing the next, great American novel about one... or, given Felicity's own reading likes and dislikes, perhaps the next, steamy bodice ripper. In fact, she'd volunteer... seeing as how Felicity was considering a change in work scenery, and words – all the words, so many words – were sort of her jam, but then the book would be less like a bodice ripper and more like a fantasy novel if life started to imitate art, because it had been that long since she'd had a good...
Frak, where was she?
Oh, yes. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad CEOs of the tech world and Felicity's desire (probably not the best word choice) to escape their clutches. Except... if she left her job at Queen Corruption, she'd lose her inspiration for her side-gig. Not that she'd run out of criminal masterminds disguising themselves as business tycoons anytime soon, but Moira Queen and her downright evil ways had driven Felicity into taking (anonymous) action, and, a drop in the bucket or not, Felicity was doing good work. Important work. Her blog was making a difference, one reader at a time. While unethical monsters like Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn still ruled over Starling City and the world from high up in their glass, skyscraper towers, day by day, a few more people became aware of their machinations, and, eventually, Felicity would cause their worlds to crumble... just like they had done to so many others as they built their empires on the backs of those they exploited in the name of their business genius.
As Felicity unlocked the door to her little townhouse, the barely twenty-three year old sighed in relief. Lately... and she knew it made her paranoid, but she just couldn't shake the awareness, it felt like she was being watched, followed. In fact, she could pinpoint the exact day it started: the day Oliver Queen, the prodigal playboy, was resurrected from the seemingly dead and returned to his life in Starling City, safe and sound if not a little scruffier than when he'd left five years prior. Although his homecoming practically coincided with the first sighting of Starling City's own other vigilante, the Hood, Felicity dismissed that connection as a mere coincidence. While the timing was suspicious, she knew it absolutely had nothing to do with Oliver Queen returning a changed, vindictive man and everything to do with Felicity's own digging into Moira Queen and the revelations her efforts had produced.
Lights on, shoes kicked off haphazardly, and bags dropped unceremoniously by her front door (it'd all be there come morning when she'd need to start her public life all over again), Felicity immediately moved towards her desk (and computer setup), completely bypassing her kitchen (where she should have gone for some sustenance seeing as how she hadn't had anything to eat since... well, she couldn't remember) and forgetting about her bedroom (where she should've changed out of her work clothes and into something more comfortable). She had searches to check, and posts to write, and there were only so many hours in the night for her to accomplish the work that really mattered. While serving as a tech in Queen Consolidated IT department might have paid for the wi-fi she used to publish her anonymous assaults against the amoral elite of her adopted home city, it was her blog that gave Felicity's life its meaning.
It had all started her first year at QC when, one night after delivering papers to Moira Queen's office, Felicity had unwittingly stumbled across someone using the then presumed dead Oliver's credentials in order to log into the company's network. In becoming aware of this suspicious action, Felicity had found herself falling down a rabbit hole of greed, blackmail, and even murder. While the information she found wasn't enough to rid the world of Moira Queen, it surely painted a picture of just what kind of monster she was working for – a woman who was callous enough to allow her son to become collateral damage in order to take out her husband; a woman who had an affair with her best friend's husband, bore his secret, love child, and then passed an unsuspecting, troubled girl off as her now dead husband's; a woman who, along with her former lover (such a creepy word... made even creepier by the thought that someone had once found Malcolm Merlyn attractive enough to reproduce with him) controlled the strings of the dishonest and the dishonorable of Starling City like a megalomaniac puppeteer. And, in researching, and spying on, and digging into Moira Queen, Felicity was able to slowly start to eat away at her power base. Maybe Moira and Malcolm were experts at covering their disgusting tracks, but their minions were not.
So far, Felicity and her blog had been able to expose more than three dozen underhanded businessmen and women from Starling City. She'd taken down slumlords and drug kingpins masquerading themselves as the backbone of one of the West Coast's oldest cities. There were pigs who sold women and women who used charities as fronts for their illegal industries now in federal prison because Felicity had shed light upon their atrocious activities. And, as she continued to piece together her case against the two biggest and worst criminals from her adopted hometown, more would go to jail... that was, if the vigilante didn't kill them first.
Felicity had no problem with others in her city taking up her crusade, but that didn't mean that she was alright with all her hard work resulting in an easy... for the criminal... death. No, she wanted the corrupt elite to suffer for their abuse against the middle and lower classes of Starling City. Death was too good for them, and that's exactly what kind of justice her new green – both in color and in how (not) seasoned he was in this endeavor they shared – vigilante doled out from the business end of his bow.
Sitting down behind her desk and awaiting computer setup, Felicity cracked her knuckles in preparation for the hours of... internet persuasion... she had ahead of her and frowned. Because, despite not liking his method, she had no one to blame for the Hood but herself. After all, it was Felicity who started this crusade to clean up Starling City. She was the one who, after discovering Moira Queen had salvaged, pieced together, and stored the wreckage of her former husband and son's watery grave in a warehouse on the bay side of town, had written a blog post, revealing the Gambit's unexplained and, frankly, quite creepy presence this side, the side above water, of the ocean. And it was Felicity who had, in a moment of sheer madness, ego, and fury, published a directory of all the men and women Starling residents needed to be wary of and guard against, giving the Hood his to-kill list.
Perhaps, in scrambling to cover her tracks and prevent her son from learning the truth behind his five years lost on an island in the North China Sea, Moira Queen had gotten sloppy, but, whatever the reason, Felicity had made all of these discoveries – and then blogged about them – the same week Oliver Queen swept back into town, a week that ended with the Hood going after his first guilty as not charged in court victim, Adam Hunt.
See. Coincidence. Of her own making.
Even thinking about how sloppy the other vigilante's approach was – still is – made Felicity see red. "Stupid men," she grumbled. And, if her fingers pressed down on her keyboard with a little more enthusiasm than necessary, she felt the release of frustration was owed to her. "And their stupid male aggression. And their stupid... physicality. Not everything needs to end in blood and violence. I had everything handled. I have everything handled. If you wanted to help, then you should've stayed out of my way, but oh no! Not you! You... you, and your bow, and your arrows..." Felicity sputtered in her aggravation, her typing coming to a swift if not graceless end. Throwing her arms up, she ranted to the inanimate objects around her – the couch, the chairs, her Robin Hood poster, the definitely not moving shadows. "Do you not realize how utterly ridiculous archery looks?!"
"Well, now that I know you feel that way," one of the shadows slithered towards her... or, more accurately, someone slithered out of the shadows towards her. "I'm glad I brought my gun instead."
Standing so abruptly that her chair wheeled backwards until it slammed into the credenza behind her desk, knocking several knickknacks carelessly and loudly to the floor, Felicity, unfortunately, could only think of one thing to say. "You!"
"Me," the Hood responded unruffled. In fact, she would even go so far as to accuse him of grinning... if, in doing so, Felicity wouldn't have to admit that the smirk was at her expense. So, nope.
"How did you... I mean, I don't. And you." Thoughts. So many thought. Too many thoughts. But, above all else, Felicity landed upon one worrisome point. "But I'm anonymous! No one's supposed to know who 'Overwatch' is!"
"You're not the only one who can do research, Felicity." That made her mouth shut with a snap and her chest feel like it was both empty and also about to burst. She couldn't breathe. It also made any last vestiges of restraint vanish from the gun-toting vigilante's jaw and tone. Hard, and cold, and detached, he demanded to know, "where did you get the list?!"
Her response was automatic. "What list?"
"My father's list," he growled, stepping closer, the barrel of his gun looming just that much closer. "My father's list that you just... posted online for anyone to read. Now, they know I'm coming after them!"
Just as suddenly as he had appeared... or, more accurately, revealed himself, Felicity's fear vanished, and, in its place, rage and righteousness flooded her system. She leaned forward against her desk in a move that could only be interpreted as the challenge it was. "Don't you mean that we're coming after them?" Before he could respond, she rounded the glass tabletop and moved out into the main part of her living room. "As for the rest of your accusations, information shouldn't be proprietary. That list? The citizens of Starling had a right to know about it. To protect themselves against the people on it. The list is just something I've compiled over the years as I looked into this cess pool of a city. It doesn't belong to anyone, and, if your father told you otherwise, then you might want to reconsider your source, because he's probably just as dirty as the rest of the criminals the list names. And I'd be able to definitively tell you that if you didn't go around killing people, because then you wouldn't need to hide who you are behind your hood, and I'd know who you – and by association your father – were."
Instead of responding to her own accusations, the vigilante across from Felicity surprised her by admitting, "my father isn't on the list, because he wrote it... or a version of it, and he was dirty... before he shot himself in the head in order to save my life so that I could come back to this place and right his wrongs."
At the same time as he pulled down his green hood, Felicity breathed out, "you're Oliver Queen."
"I am. And you're going to tell me everything you know, Felicity Smoak."
She snorted, rolling her eyes. "That's going to take a while."
Oliver tucked his gun... somewhere she really didn't want to, couldn't... contemplate before grinning smoothly. "I spent five years lost as sea. I think I can handle it."
"Said the man who couldn't even wait to find an alley before relieving himself."
"I'm not that guy anymore," Oliver defended.
The hair was certainly different. Better. And his crimes were a little more sophisticated and lot less ew, but Felicity still thought Oliver Queen was an impatient ass. Plus, she had no idea how he would react when he found out the two names that weren't on the list, her list, his father's list, their list – his best friend's father and his mother's names – were the two who deserved to be on there the most. However, Felicity kept these thoughts to herself. Instead, as she walked into her kitchen to pour herself (and only herself) a very large, very deserved glass of red wine, she simply said, "we'll see about that." Because, while Oliver Queen might have been yet another victim of his parents' crimes, sympathy did not automatically beget trust. No, he would have to earn that all on his own, starting that very night.