A/N: Just a humorous little one shot that's been in my head for a few weeks. It follows canon but would be before the latest episode, so the club hasn't opened yet. I think I remembered Felicity's show canon history correctly (the parts we've learned so far) but I haven't really had the time to watch episodes more than once. If I messed up any of my facts, let me know. This is my first time writing for these characters, so feedback would be appreciated. Oliver, Diggle and Felicity are likely the only characters I will write for. I like Tommy, but I find Laurel very irritating – neither her storyline nor the actress portraying her is very good. I like the way that Felicity seems to amuse Oliver, and that's the angle I went for here. I have a few more ideas for this pairing, so I'll get to them when I have the time.
Dating Philosophy 101
Oliver entered the basement of Verdant quietly and made his way toward the bank of computers where Felicity was muttering while typing quickly. He noticed her hair was down and straighter than it normally was, as if she had been to a salon that day. He waited for her to take note of his presence; after a couple of minutes passed, he realized that she was completely involved in whatever she was doing.
He shook his head as he pulled back his hood. "You should be more aware of your surroundings."
"Geez!" Felicity's hand flew to her chest, and she turned to glare at Oliver. "Since I'm not on your list, I'd really appreciate it if you didn't sneak up on me like that."
Oliver tried to contain the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "If I were sneaking, I'd be even stealthier. I was just walking. And the door made a noise when it closed and the alarm reset."
Felicity sighed and turned back to the computer. "I'm just trying to fix this problem with the server before I head out."
Oliver put away his equipment and used some wipes to clean the green paint from his face. "Your hair is different."
Felicity glanced up at him as he joined her at the desk. "I got my hair cut today and opted for a blowout for a change. It's not really something I usually have time for."
Oliver nodded as he looked her over. Her hair wasn't the only thing that was different. She was usually dressed far more casually on the weekends, but today she was wearing a knit dress in a deep shade of purple paired with a kelly green cardigan. The v-neck of the dress exposed more of her assets than he was used to seeing, and he directed his eyes back up before his thoughts could wander any further down that inappropriate path.
"Nice dress," he finally said. "And you're not wearing your glasses. Girls' night?" Felicity didn't strike him as the clubbing type, but he honestly had no idea what she did when she wasn't working at Queen Consolidated or helping him.
"I have a date," she answered a bit distractedly. "Can you hand me that disk?"
Oliver picked up the disk and passed it to her. "I didn't know you dated." When Felicity glared at him again, he hurried to explain. "I just meant that you're usually here on weekends."
"And according to my friends, my work is interfering with my social life. This is a setup and before you ask, no – setups are not usually something I go for because disappointment abounds nine times out of ten. But my friend Lindsay says I'm suffering a sexual dry spell that rivals the Atacama Desert, and… I guess you really didn't need to know that," she finished, looking a little embarrassed.
"So your friend arranged a hookup for you?" Oliver couldn't hide his surprise. He definitely wouldn't have pegged her for that sort of thing, and he found the idea a little concerning.
"You really need to pick up an urban dictionary that covers the last five years," Felicity replied, rolling her eyes. "Lindsay calls it recreational dating and if he's as great as she says, maybe it will be worth the awkward first date scenario that's sure to be playing out an hour from now. Personally, I doubt it."
Oliver looked her over again. "So you've dressed up in anticipation of a bad date?"
"No. I dressed up on the off chance that this is a one out of ten situation. IT girl isn't really a look that reels them in – and showing a little skin has the advantage of distraction when I get nervous and start rambling down conversational roads best not traveled."
He leaned against the desk and watched her for a moment. "Have you checked him out?"
"If by checked him out you mean I hacked his Facebook page, email account, bank records, and criminal history then yes," she said. "If Dexter taught me anything, it's that even serial killers can hide behind nice guy images. Of course, I guess if he were like Dexter then all of his records would be clean and I could still end up at the bottom of the nearest large body of water, but I try not to let my imagination run too wild."
"I have no idea who Dexter is, but you should be careful." Oliver crossed his arms. "He may not be a serial killer, but men can be real sleazebags about sex, Felicity."
"I think the more contemporary term is douchebag," Felicity commented as she logged off the computer. Suddenly, she laughed.
"What's so funny?"
"Just that if anyone had told me a few months ago that Oliver Queen would be giving me advice on men, I wouldn't have believed them. And I find the irony amusing given your dating history." She bit her lip suddenly. "Sorry."
Oliver shrugged, keeping his expression contained. "I can appreciate the irony. I guess I see that Oliver as a completely different person, but I understand why others have a harder time making the distinction."
"You probably feel like the old Oliver died on the island and someone completely different returned to Starling City," Felicity observed as she pulled on her lightweight coat. "And I never met that Oliver, but even I can see you're nothing like him."
Oliver wasn't sure how to respond to that – mainly because she was so on target with her observation.
"So does this mean we're friends now?" Felicity picked up her bag and looked at Oliver, head tilted slightly. "It's just that you've never really expressed an interest in my personal life before."
He had to hand it to her – she had a knack for throwing him off balance. She had a quick mind, and she tended to say whatever was on it. "You saved my life. I'd like to think we're friends."
She smiled at him. "We're not now, but maybe we can be. I'll see you on Monday."
Oliver kept his eyes on her until she was out of sight. He supposed she was right and they weren't exactly friends. For one thing, he could sum up what he knew about her on one hand; she worked in the IT department of Queen Consolidated, she was Jewish, her middle name was Megan, and according to Diggle, she'd been building computers since she was seven. He could add her dating dry spell to that list, but he didn't know anything about her friends and family. He wondered why that was only occurring to him now.
Oliver was practicing with his bow when Felicity arrived on Monday evening. He placed the bow on the table and turned to greet her, noting that she looked much more Felicity-like in black pants, a button up pink shirt and a blue sweater. Her hair was pulled back into its usual ponytail, and she was wearing her glasses. Though she'd looked beautiful the other night, he realized he preferred her more casual appearance because it seemed to suit her.
"I stopped at a café on my way here. I got you some tea." He nodded to the travel thermos on the desk. "I wasn't sure if you drank coffee or tea, but the barista said that one is a blend almost everyone likes. And I thought the coffee might make you feel too hyper to sleep later."
Felicity paused, a surprised expression on her face. She reached for the thermos and opened it, sniffing the contents. "Wow, that smells good." She took a sip and grimaced slightly. "It needs sugar though."
He nodded toward the bag. "In the bag." He watched her add two packets of sugar to the tea and stir before taking another sip.
"Perfect. Thanks." She peeked into the bag again. "I don't suppose this muffin is for me?"
"It's for you," he confirmed. "It's blueberry. I wasn't sure what you liked."
"Well, my favorite is banana nut, but blueberry's good too. How was your weekend?" She took a bite of the muffin as she began logging into the server.
"I was here helping Tommy for most of it. How was yours?"
"It was fine."
She didn't elaborate, and Oliver debated the wisdom of asking about her date. On the one hand it wasn't any of his business, but he admitted to being curious. "And how was your date?" He noticed how she stilled her movements and hesitated ever so slightly before her fingers began moving quickly across the keyboard again.
"Okay." She obviously didn't want to talk about it, so he picked up his bow. He wondered if her reticence was due to the date going well or badly. He hoped if it was the latter that it had ended before reaching the bedroom. He heard the sound of fingers on keyboard slowing and then stopping. When he turned to look at her, she was looking at him.
"There's not that much to tell. About the date, I mean. He's a nice enough guy, I guess, but he didn't really do it for me. And I didn't like the way he cut his meat."
And that was possibly more information than he needed, he thought. "If that's a sexual euphemism, I should probably remind you I don't have that urban dictionary yet." He smiled as a blush spread through Felicity's cheeks.
"No, it's not – I mean I didn't like the way he ate his dinner. He just went straight for the meat, no finesse at all, and he never touched the other things on his plate. And I have this theory that the way men do every day things is kind of a window into how they'd be in bed, you know?"
Oliver wondered if she was messing with him. "Are you serious?"
"I had a less than stellar experience in college that backs up my theory in spades – I called that relationship Dating Philosophy 101. On our first date the guy cut his salad into little, tiny pieces and then dipped each piece into the salad dressing he'd ordered on the side. He always ate everything in that same precise kind of way, and sadly his weird little routines didn't end at the dinner table. But you don't really need to know about that, I guess." She was blushing again as she took a sip of the tea. "And I do drink coffee. In fact, I love coffee. But you're right and it kind of amps up my nervous energy, and then I talk more, and usually I don't really need to talk more. I know I talk a lot."
He couldn't argue with that. He also couldn't resist teasing her a little. "You realize I'm going to feel self-conscious every time I eat in front of you now, right?"
Felicity's cheeks warmed even more. "I'm just going to shut up now, drink my tea, and get to work."
Oliver was smiling as he aimed his crossbow and released his arrow, hitting the target dead on. Maybe they weren't friends yet, but it was a start. And he had a feeling that the road to a friendship with Felicity would be an interesting journey.