Title: Before

Author: Nimacu

Rating: PG

Summary: Oliver reacts poorly to the way Tommy seems to know Felicity. Brief hints of Olicity. One Shot

A/N: I haven't written anything in a very long time but this idea would not leave me alone.

It'd started out simply enough, she'd gotten off work and headed to Verdant. She planned on checking a computer program that had been doing research in her absence and finding out what night Oliver and Diggle were planning on taking down the next name on the list. She'd been pretty sure nothing was planned for the night, not that she'd always know ahead of time. It's not like Oliver sent out office memos or anything, and he hadn't even responded to her when she'd suggested it. It was a Friday and surprisingly enough the boys usually picked Wednesday or Thursday, weekends were a bad time to topple criminal enterprises.

She'd gotten to the club and found her private parking spot in the back parked in. A huge garbage truck taking her space, Diggle's (well it was supposed to be Oliver's but Diggle never really body-guarded him around anywhere) and Tommy's, she'd gotten out of the car to yell at the driver but he'd only yelled back he was broken down and she'd be welcome to jump out and give him a push if she wanted him gone.

Muttering to herself she headed to the front of the club, it was only six in the evening but the crowd for the opening at seven was already lining up. She felt both a little guilty and a little like the prom queen at the same time as she passed the line, waved at the bouncer and walked in. She could hear the crowd complaining...but really, did they think she was headed to an early VIP table in a blouse and pencil skirt?

When she'd gotten into the club Tommy and Oliver were the only people up front, she could tell they'd been arguing. It was a coin toss as to whether it was Laurel related or Arrow related, they didn't seem to do anything but scowl at each other these days. Not wanting to be in the middle of that angsty crap fest she she'd quickly walked by throwing a hand in the air and a quick "Hi" meant to discourage conversation.

A distracted Oliver ignored her, but Tommy, who apparently hadn't gotten the memo that read "How to Alienate People Without Even Trying" responded back with a "Hey Lis" before he headed in the back. She'd continued on to the basement without stopping assuming that Oliver would either follow later or not. She didn't much care, she loved Oliver (love with a l she'd tell herself all the time, not with a L) but when he was in a foul mood he tended to share it with the people around him. He'd snap at her, try to actually maim Diggle and just all around be rather unpleasant. She just settled down at her computer station when Oliver came down and decided immediately that the punching bag needed a work out. She could tell this was going to be fantastic evening.

Since it sounded like she was going to be spending the evening with him she thought making him laugh might be a good idea, she could always make him laugh. Secretly she was glad when he spent so much time scowling at everyone, or pretending to be happy. A real Oliver laugh was nothing like the ones you'd see when he was with patrons at the club, a real Oliver laugh came on with very little warning, usually because of something embarrassing that she'd said.

She made a few half-hearted jokes about giving the punching bag a break, he'd ignored her.

"Would it help if I printed Tommy's picture and you taped it up there?"

….radio silence.

So that wasn't going to work then, she wasn't in very much of a mood for dealing with angry, broody and silent Oliver so she'd started to pack up her things, she'd just about been ready to say "Adios" and leave when Oliver finally spoke to her.

"Why did he call you Lis?"

"Why did who call me Lis?" She was incredibly confused

"Tommy. How does he know you? And why did you call you Lis?"

"It's my name, well a shortened form of it and honestly not one I use much anymore. Something I used when I was younger..." She'd been about to continue rambling on, she didn't like where this conversation was heading and it was making her nervous but then Oliver interrupted her.

"Why does Tommy know you well enough to call you an old Nickname and why have you never mentioned that you knew him?" He'd glared at her, she'd had half a mind time to make up some grand sort of sordid secret love affair, but her instincts were telling her that this would not help the situation much. Instead of answering immediately she'd sat her bag on the table and sat back down.

"Why does it matter how I know Tommy, it's never bothered you before now? Didn't you ever wonder why he never asked questions about the blonde girl from IT spending all her time in the basement of a nightclub?" She was tired and frustrated, she didn't want to do this. She didn't think it would help and it'd just give Oliver another reason to beat himself up.

His face had gone deadly calm but his voice wasn't "It matters because I need to trust you and if you're hiding something about your relationship with Tommy than I can't!"

"Seriously Oliver? You go from one nickname to a secret love affair?" Perhaps she could have used that excuse

"Doesn't anyone in your world have friends, and I don't mean in the world of the mega rich, I mean in the world you've created inside your head where everyone is suspect and no one can be trusted, because if you seriously think I'm the kind of girl who do something like that then..." She'd paused, Oliver still livid across from her. It was always so hard not to rant when she argued, a rant was just a babble with edge and when she babbled in front of Oliver things always went poorly. "You're right, we're having a a grand love affair, between the sixty hours I spend at work and the dozens of hours I spend here we jet off to Paris and Rome on secret rendezvous...of course I sleep the whole time, because I already dedicate 20 hours a day to the Queen family"

She'd had enough of the argument and headed to the stairs and he grabbed her arm.

"Don't go, just please tell me."

She looked over at him, he looked a little bit lost and a little bit afraid. She'd seen the lost look directed at her when she had to explain some new piece of technology to him or made a pop culture reference he didn't understand.. The fear scared her because she didn't know what he was a afraid of. Her Oliver shouldn't look at her with fear, he was the one that was supposed to keep the fear away.

"Are you sure you want to hear this? I'm not sure you'll like it much."

"I'm positive" He still had her arm and he led them to sit back down at the desk, she'd seen him display this single minded focus before but she'd never had it directed at her when there wasn't an emergency.

"I knew you before."

"Before what?" There was confusion and more of that fear on his face.

"Before the Island"

He'd looked resigned, in fact his entire body posture screamed "I'm not going to like this"

"I should tell you that we had sex and you forgot about me or something like that, not that you'd have sex with me or forget about me or any combination of these things but you're sitting there looking like I'm about to hand down a death sentence and that's the only thing I can think you're thinking and you've been kind of a jerk tonight and..." He interrupted her "Sleeping with you would not be a death sentence"

Why hadn't she noticed before that point that her throat was so dry? "I appreciate the sentiment but it wasn't anything as lurid as that. We all went to high school together, you might not believe it but in highschool I was reasonably popular, well as long as I didn't bring up my nerd speak in public people tended to put up with me. When you're pretty and rich people will put up with a lot."

"That can't be possible. I would remember you"

"I'm sure you do in your own way. I was a few years behind you, I dated Trent Smythe for most of high school and college. We were never friends or anything and you were never terribly interested in any girl you had no chance of sleeping with, and no matter how many times we met you always called me by the wrong name..." she quieted her rambling on as she noticed him mentally thinking back and just like watching him solve a problem as the hood she could tell the exact moment it came back to him.

"You were a brunette back then, no glasses and quiet. You really don't look anything like that girl anymore"

"I'm not her anymore, I've learned it's better to be myself...in all my rambling awkward "not traditionally pretty" glory instead of staying quiet just to avoid embarrassing myself. Also, glasses add character.

"That girl was pretty, but she was forgettable. Never in a million years would I be able to forget you. And pretty isn't adequate to describe the woman you've become."

"I appreciate the flattery, you've probably realized at this point that it gets you anywhere with me. Not anywhere like THAT or anything but it certainly is making me forget how irritated I was with you"

"Why didn't you ever tell me?"

"I realized almost immediately after you came to my office you didn't remember me, I think that socially at that point I felt to awkward bringing it up and later would have been worse...and then when you showed up in my car as the Hood and I got to know you I realized you'd just add it to the things you hate about yourself and you don't need any more of those. I'd never intentionally add to that list, you already carry more than you should"

"Don't ever feel like you have to lie to me to protect me"

"Why wouldn't I? You protect me and the rest of this city every day, if I can avoid adding to that I will."

It was a stand off, neither said anything for a few moments. Oliver broke the silence

"Is there anything else you're protecting me from?" He seemed ernest in the question and though she knew she might come to regret it she gave him an honest answer.

"You weren't a bad guy before." She thought about adding qualifiers like he slept around and partied too hard, but she didn't need to. She'd said the important part, she tensed in her chair expecting an argument or having to prove her point. But instead he smiled at her

"So what I'm getting from this is you're not sleeping with Tommy?"