Oliver didn't have a clue what he was doing when he found himself standing at Tommy's door, fingers still raw-red from the scrubbing he'd given them after he'd done his work for the night. He hadn't wanted to come to Tommy with fresh blood on his hands and lies clogging the back of his throat until it felt like he might have drowned after all . And yet...

″Oliver?″ Tommy answered the door wearing nothing but black cotton sleep pants and the worst case of bedhead Oliver had ever seen. He's squinting like he's not got his contacts in and Oliver almost turned tail to run but Tommy is the only person he's never needed to run from and he's not going to start now.

″What's up, buddy?″

″Couldn't sleep.″ Even if it wasn't completely true, it wasn't a lie either. Small consolation that. ″Thought I'd go for a walk. You have company?″

Tommy shook his head, stepped aside to let Oliver in the apartment. ″Watch out for Arthur. He's gotta be skulking around here somewhere.″

″You still have that stupid cat?″

Tommy snorted. ″That stupid cat has managed to out-live you once so he must be doing something right.″

Oliver shrugged. Tommy did have a point.

″Have a seat. I'm gonna to get something to eat. You want?″

Oliver wasn't really hungry, not after the things he'd done that night, but his stomach didn't seem to have the same qualms and chose that moment to speak up.

″Whatever you're having is fine.″

″Cake. Always cake,″ Tommy said as he wandered into the kitchen. ″Have a seat on the couch. We'll eat on the coffee table and play some Madden '13 on the PS3, if you want. I'll even let you be Tebow. He's the best!″

Oliver scoffed and made sure to pick Peyton Manning behind Tommy's back while he set up the game.

″So what's up, man? I know you didn't drag your ass over here at 2am just to play video games and eat cake.″

The dirty dishes and empty beer bottles had been shoved to the side, the video game controllers forgotten on the floor beside them. Arthur the cat was curled in the space between their legs, purring happily in his sleep. The only light in the room came from the blue screen of the television. It's enough that Oliver could see the look in Tommy's eyes. He's gotten familiar with what he calls the ″I know you're lying″ look. It hurt to see it coming from Tommy and so he looked away.

Tommy was always more intuitive than people gave him credit for.

″What do you want from me, Tommy?″

Tommy blinked owlishly at him for a second. ″Sorry?″

″No matter how hard I try, I can't figure you out. Ever since I got back, everyone has wanted something from me. Mom wants me to grow up and take over the company. I don't know what Thea wants from me from one second to the next. You know all about Laurel and, hell, even Diggle wants me to be better than I am and he never even knew me before the island. But you –″

″I just want you to be okay.″

″I –″ That took the wind right out of Oliver's sails. ″What?″

″You've been my best friend my whole life, Oliver. Whoever you are now, it doesn't change that. Nothing you've ever done has changed that and it never will. If I want anything from you, it's just for you to be okay.″

″I don't know if I can be again, Tommy.″

In that moment, Tommy hated that goddamned island more than he'd hated anything or anyone in his entire life. Hated it so much that, given the chance, he'd bomb it out of fucking existence or burn it to ashes.

Not because Oliver was different but because he had been hurt, was hurting and there wasn't anything Tommy could do to make it better. It didn't seem fair. It wasn't fair after all the times Oliver had put him back together.

″I'm sorry I can't fix it, Oliver.″

″No. No, no, no. Tommy, I'm not asking you to fix it. I just...″ Oliver heaved a frustrated sigh. ″Just keep being my friend, okay? I've lost so much, a lot of it my own fault, but I couldn't stand it if I lost you, too.″

″I'm not going anywhere, man.″ Tommy butted his shoulder gently against Oliver's. ″No matter what.″

″Thank you.″ Oliver said, regarding him for a long second. ″You know, you are not as big a dick as you want people to think.″

The heaviness of the moment now gone, Tommy rolled his eyes.

″Please don't let that get out, okay? You'll ruin my reputation.″ Standing up, he grabbed Oliver's hand in his, holding tight... and being held tight. ″Come on, Queen. You look like hell. Let's get some sleep.″

Tommy found Diggle just where he thought he would, standing at ease outside the door of his apartment.

Handing the older man the tumbler of Colombian coffee he'd made just in case, Tommy said, ″You gonna sit out here all night? I have a spare room.″

″I'm fine right here, sir.″ Diggle sniffed suspiciously at the coffee before taking a sip, making a surprised sound before taking another, deeper, drink.

″You don't like me very much, do you?″

Diggle shrugged. ″Doesn't matter if I like you or not. Mr. Queen does and that's enough for me. Speaking of... Where is Mr. Queen?″


″Sleeping, huh? It's about damn time.″ Diggle smiled. It was the first genuine one Tommy had even seen on the man's face. ″Thanks for the coffee, Mr. Merlyn. Enjoy the rest of the night, sir.″

″You too, Diggle.″