If you like Pina Coladas
Disclaimer: Not mine, you're all shocked, I can tell. Title, as you probably know, is from Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.
Author's Note: So, I actually wrote something else. It's really not what it was supposed to be, it was supposed to be shorter and funnier and lighter, but on the plus side it's less angsty than the other idea I had. That should hopefully be next. Thanks to everyone who reviewed In My Silly Mind, I'm sorry I didn't reply to anyone but I've been crazybusy at work and it took all my spare time to write this. Warnings for a vague reference to the C-bomb, a couple of minor swears and totally gratuitous use of Tommy Merlyn. I hope you guys like this, personally, I have no idea what it is or even if it's any good anymore. When reviewing please bear in mind these wise words from Ben Edlund "Not in the face".
Being woken up at 3.00 in the morning is, sadly, not that unusual for Felicity; the fact said phone call is coming from Oliver Queen even less so. What is unusual is the greeting.
"F'lis-ty, where am I?" Comes the (more than a little) slurred voice of her (for want of a better word) employer.
"Oliver?" It occurs to her that she's not nearly awake enough for this.
"Yes, it's me." He announces happily and her brain takes note of the fact he is very determinedly annunciating his esses, which she takes to mean he's pretty smashed.
"What do you want Oliver?" She's too tired to deal with a drunk dialling billionaire, and while she's on the subject shouldn't he be on the phone to Laurel?
"Where am I?" He's whining slightly and if it wasn't the middle of the night she might find it amusing.
"I don't know, where are you?" She says, hoping to get this over as quickly as possible.
"No, you have to tell me." His tone suggesting that she is the one who's being dense and obstructive.
"I have to be up for work in four hours, good night." She hopes the part about not being in the mood for whatever he's doing is understood without her explicitly stating it.
"NO! You have to tell me where I am, with the computer." He sounds like a little boy, and she briefly wonders if he's actually pouting.
"You want me to track your phone's GPS? Why can't you do it yourself?" She knows there's something she's missing.
"I don't think it's working." He says as though he's unsure how true it is.
"Oliver..." Her voice is taking on her mother's disapproving tone and she takes a moment to mentally note that she needs to stop that.
"I'm lost, and I was lost before, and I don't like being lost, so you have to find me, before I'm traumatisised." He whines down the phone, sounding as far from the arrow wielding vigilante he doubles as is possible. And, the truth is, as annoying as it is there is a part of her which really does feel bad for him. "And Tommy, Tommy will be traumatisised too." He adds as if this might finally win her over.
"And why can't Tommy find out where you are?" She's starting to get an idea of what's going on.
"His phone broke too?" There's a scoffing sound in the background.
"Oliver?" She says, the maternal tone sneaking back in.
"His phone's not working either." She's pretty certain he's trying to sound innocent, while at the same time making sure she drops the subject.
"Ok, hold on." She tells him deciding that the most important thing is to get this over with as quickly as possible. She pulls her tablet off her bedside table and navigates to her app specifically created for tracking Oliver and John though for security reasons she has them under pseudonyms. After tonight Oliver's is getting changed to Myshkin. "You're near the Aquarium, three blocks east, four blocks north, you should be right on the water."
"We are! Okay, come get us." He responds cheerfully.
"No, Oliver. Call a cab." She insists.
"The cab doesn't know where we are, come get us." And with that he hangs up.
Felicity stares down at the phone in her hand. "Balls."
She finds them exactly where they're supposed to be, a parking lot at the back of some office buildings right on the waterfront.
"Boys. In. Now." She says through her car window, she refuses to get out, it's too cold and too early/late to do more than she absolutely has to.
"F'liss-ty! Come look at this." Oliver says with a huge grin on his face.
"No, get in." Her patience is wearing thinner than she'd like.
"No! You get out, and come see. Then, we can go home." Oliver is apparently a total brat when drunk.
"Oliver, I'm not getting out." Stand firm, Felicity she tells herself breathing deeply and trying not to lose the last of her patience.
"Well, I'm not getting in. And neither's Tommy." He's looking as much like a belligerent five year old as a man of his physique can, it's surprisingly close.
"Speak for yourself buddy, I'm freezing." Tommy dashes from his spot by a railing and jumps into the passenger seat before she can really register he's made a move. "Hi Felicity, I'm sorry I have no idea what's wrong with him right now." He rubs his hands together and holds them up to the heater.
"I'm still not getting in." Oliver says, with what looks like a foot stomp and a pout.
"Well, I'll leave you here then." Felicity notes vaguely she has now very definitely started to channel her mother.
"You wouldn't, you're too nice." She's not sure how to describe what he does as he says it, but she figures belligerent five year old analogy still holds.
"He's got you there." Tommy's keeping a watchful eye on Oliver, but he makes sure to look at her when he talks.
"Hey, how would you know?" It's bad enough being taken advantage of by a billionaire who plays vigilante, she doesn't need to start with one who just plays.
"You're here. In the middle of the night no less, to pick up a drunk billionaire and the not particularly drunk billionaire's drunk best friend when you have work in the morning. You're either too nice, or angling to be his first ex-wife." Tommy waves his hand vaguely as if to suggest this is all really obvious stuff.
"And how do you know it's not the latter?" Because she could be a gold-digger if she felt like it, and it'd be really nice for someone to question her motives every now and then.
"Cause you'd have gotten out of the car to look at whatever he wants you to look at, and you wouldn't be so pissed at him." Tommy smirks, and gives her an appraising glance. "Also, you would have dressed better." He shrugs and turns back to watch Oliver.
"There is nothing wrong with what I'm wearing." At least not considering she's just climbed out of bed.
"No-one in the history of the planet has ever tried to ensnare a billionaire in what is clearly an ex-boyfriend's t-shirt." He cuts her off before she can make whatever objection is on the tip of her tongue. "And what the hell is on that anyway... a cubist unicorn?" He's turned back towards her and is filled with disbelief.
"It's an origami unicorn..." She insists totally focused on Tommy now, because where does he get off judging her outfit?
"Oh, right because billionaire's love those." He scoffs.
She starts gearing up for an epic battle, because she is taking this far more personally than she would with a decent night's sleep. "I'll have you know this would probably prove invaluable to ensnaring someone like Mark Zuckerberg. Who is..."
"Watcha doin'?" Oliver is leaning right into her window grinning dopily.
"Cheese and rice!" She yells, clutching her chest. "Oliver, what the hell?!" She slaps her hand against his forearm.
"You stopped talking to me, I wanted to make sure you weren't trying to leave me here before I could show you." He says like it's the most obvious thing in the world.
"What, Oliver? What could you possibly need to show me in a riverside parking lot at 3freaking30 in the damn morning?" She's lost all patience with him now and is fast approaching the point where she will just attempt to remove his spleen through his nose.
"There's no need to be rude Felicity. Manners cost nothing." He says in a ridiculously prim and proper tone.
"Is this actually happening?" She's rapidly beginning to wonder if she never actually woke up and this is all a really dumb dream. "Am I really being lectured on etiquette by someone who woke me up in the middle of the night because they can't work a phone?" Smacking her head back against the seat as she directs the question to the universe at large.
"I can work it." Oliver says defensively. "It's broken." The look on his face suggests that if he says it enough it'll be true.
"And Tommy's broke too?" She doesn't think he can notice the sarcasm in her voice, or see her epic eye roll.
"Yes, very much so. Especially after he threw it in the puddle and trod on it." Tommy says in the tone of a little boy who knows that he's about to get someone in well deserved trouble by only telling the truth.
"He did what?!" Her head snaps around to look at Tommy, and she starts seriously considering GPSing him into the river his next time out as the Hood. "How is this my life?" She drops her head back on the seat an stares at the ceiling.
"I don't know, but come see this..." Says Oliver racing off towards the guard rail at the far end of the lot and climbing up.
"Have you considered it will likely be quicker to just go and see?" Tommy says giving her a wry smile.
"Yes, of course. It's just if I do go and see, he wins. Again." She keeps staring at the ceiling for a moment before dropping her head into her hands.
"How?" Confusion knits Tommy's brow.
"Felicity... find me. No, Oliver... oh wait, there you. Felicity, come get me. No, Oliver... never mind, here I am. Felicity come look at this... Well, no, not this time. He can just get in the car." Felicity's fairly sure she sounds only slightly more determined than she feels, especially since she's convinced everyone in, or out, of the car knows she will eventually cave and do what Oliver asks.
"Fe-lii-cii-ty! If you don't come look I'm going to jump in the river. And if I drown again, people are gonna be ma-ad." He's balancing on the guard rail, walking down it to the upright then spinning on a toe and heading back, Felicity and Tommy find it vaguely hypnotic.
"Would he actually jump?" She asks, neither of them are worried for his safety, making the whole thing some sort of weird intellectual exercise in how crazy the island really made him.
"Maybe, drunk Ollie'll do anything for attention." Tommy shrugs, though he's no idea how old drunk Oliver and new drunk Oliver truly compare in a real world situation.
"You are not a good best friend." There's no judgement in her tone, she's merely observing, which, for Tommy, somehow makes the whole thing worse.
"He's had me out here against my will too you know." He says full of righteous indignation. "I'd've happily called a cab, but no, only Oliver's personal Nerd Herd will do!" He's really not in the mood to be blamed for getting her out of bed at this time, particularly since he's being held hostage by the same whackjob she is.
"I meant letting him get this drunk." She says in her least confrontational tone. "Also, you mean Geek Squad the Nerd Herd were in Chuck." Because she can never let an inaccurate reference go by.
"Same difference as far as I can see. Besides I take my laptop to my Dad's IT department when I spill a latte on it." Felicity snorts and he stares in confusion for a moment. "And anyway we only had a couple of Pina Coladas at Ferguson's Luau. And they were really weak, like we can only afford three bottles of rum for the lot of you weak." He sounds like he's winding up to a really good rant about proper party planning etiquette, so she jumps in before he can really get going.
"Then why is he in that state?" She gestures towards Oliver's fairly wobbly progress across the guard rail.
"I don't know, I figure someone slipped him a mickey..." He says it so nonchalantly that Felicity would be concerned, except she comes to a more worrisome realisation first.
"Oh, hell on earth!" She slams her hand against the steering wheel and unbuckles her seat belt.
"What?" Tommy asks immediately concerned by her reaction. "Why are you getting out of the car?" Though even as he asks he's following her.
"F'listy, you came to look!" He spins in the middle of the guard rail so he's facing her, giving the hugest, happiest grin Tommy's seen him give anyone since he got back.
"Oliver, did you take your pills?" She asks, her voice gentle and concerned.
"Yes, I took my pills so I don't die. I'm good." Oliver responds, nodding as he says it, looking like a little boy waiting to be given a cookie for doing as he's told.
"Wait, he has pills so he doesn't die?" She hadn't noticed Tommy approach and the fear in his voice draws her attention away from her wayward charge.
"Yes, antibiotics, the only way to get him to take them is to threaten him with death by blood poisoning." She waves a hand to show that it's really not a big deal and Tommy shouldn't worry too much, though she knows that wouldn't stop her from worrying.
"Blood poisoning is bad." Oliver says nodding sagely.
"Yes, Oliver that's right." She feels like her third grade teacher, and the little part of her brain always aware of how people see her wonders why she ever considers the possibility Oliver might one day see her as attractive.
"Do you know what's not bad?" Oliver asks her with a serious look on his face.
"Going to bed at a reasonable hour and sleeping straight through?" It's a long shot, but Felicity has always been an optimist.
"No. Come with me..." Oliver holds his hand out to her.
"Oliver..." She purposefully wraps her arms around her and hopes the chilling wind is going to settle before all three of them get hypothermia.
"Look up." Oliver's hand is still extended to her, but he's staring up rather than looking at her.
"It's the sky. I've seen it before." Felicity's beginning to lose feeling in her toes and would rather he just got to the point.
"No, look." His hand's no longer offered to her but extending into the sky, despite herself her eyes follow it, past bicep and elbow and forearm all the way to the end of his index finger and beyond.
"At what?" She stares up to see if there's something she's missing.
"The stars." He says his voice full of awe.
"Yes, they're very nice." She really isn't sure what she's supposed to be seeing, she casts a glance over her shoulder to Tommy, but the look on his face is just as baffled.
"F'listy, the stars." He insists again, and there's something about his tone that has them both desperate to know what it means.
"Yes, there's less light pollution here, we can see the stars. Great, can we go?" And she knows she's missing something but by the time she gets home she'll have to "wake up" so she's pretty much out of patience.
"We can see the stars." Next time, she's bringing a video camera and putting this on the internet.
"Yes, Oliver. But why is that important?" She's tried everything else, so maybe the direct approach is the way forward.
"I could see the stars on the island." He says and he sound like he's somewhere else, and maybe he is.
"Presumably." She risks a glance at Tommy, concerned he's going to be upset Oliver wanted to share this with her.
"So if you can see the stars here, and I can see the stars on the island. We can both look at them at the same time." She has no idea what he's talking about, but the way he's talking it seems important, and the look on Tommy's face says that he's thinking the same thing.
"So you wanted me to look at the stars because then I'm looking at the same thing as island you?" She asks wondering how that matters or what it says about his current state of mind.
"Yes, when I was looking at the stars and feeling lonely, someone here might have been doing the same." He sounds oddly peaceful, like he's found a source of comfort, though how comforting it'll be when he comes down she has no idea.
"Oh-kaaay." Tommy is apparently not feeling as kindly disposed towards Oliver as she is.
"We can go home now." Oliver announces jumping from the rail and heading towards the car.
"Because I've looked at the stars?" Felicity is totally confused and it's not fun.
"Yes, I'm okay now, we can go." He opens the door to the backseat and folds himself into her tiny car, then he leans out for a moment so that he can yell. "Come on F'listy it's very late, I'm quite tired." He settles back into the car and she heads over counting to ten more or less under her breath.
"Don't kill him. He's not this big a pain normally." Tommy says laying a comforting hand on her arm.
"Yes, he is. He's just more linear." She responds with a chuckle climbing behind the wheel.
"I'm trying to disagree with you..." His face contorts into a pastiche of inner turmoil as he gets in the passenger seat, but it melts into a grin.
"Don't you guys like me? I like you." Oliver complains from the backseat.
"I like you buddy." Tommy says leaning around the seat to pat Oliver on the shoulder.
"I like you when you're not waking me up at three in the morning." Felicity says with a shrug, before fastening her seatbelt and starting the car.
"I could make you like it." Oliver mutters.
"How could you do that Oliver?" Asks Tommy, the gleam of the irrepressible shit-stirrer in his eye.
"Well..." Well Oliver says, obviously ready to give it some thought.
"I don't want to know." Felicity says, checking oncoming traffic as she pulls out of the alley leading to the lot.
"Why not?" Asks Oliver, looking a little hurt.
"Yes, Felicity, why not?" Asks Tommy, looking a little like a kid at Christmas.
"Because I don't want to like being woken up at three in the morning." She says as evenly as possible, not wanting to give either of them an opening.
"Oh. Not even for cake?" Oliver wonders with a puzzled expression.
"Not even then." Felicity says with a smile.
"Cake? You'd make her like it with cake?" Tommy scoffs.
"Everything's better with cake." Oliver intones seriously. "Except raw meat, that's just chewy."
"Right Ol..." Says Tommy.
"And cold... and kind of slimy..." Oliver continues obliviously.
"Yeah, O..." Tommy tries to interrupt.
"And if you have the ability to cook a cake, why wouldn't you cook the meat?" He directs at the universe in general.
"Ollie we're getting off the subject." Tommy snaps.
"And why would you make cake if you were eating raw meat?" Oliver rambles on.
"Tommy, there was no subject, and he raises many excellent points." Felicity says, her own happy little troll face in full force. Oliver sticks his tongue out at Tommy. "If he wasn't stoned out of his gourd right now he might even prove to be endearing." Felicity observes with a soft smile. "Of course non-stoned Oliver would never be this..."
"Dopey?" Offers Tommy.
"No..." She says with a furrowed brow.
"Affectionate?" He says as Oliver's hand reaches between the seats to pet his hair.
"Closer..." She says with a giggle.
"Relaxed?" He asks as Oliver rests his face between the seats with a dopey grin.
"Are you being mean to me? Because I pay both your wages, so I don't think that's very clever." Oliver says with a childish lilt to his tone.
"Actually, Walter signed off on the payroll software, and Joanne in HR ensures that everything gets processed, so, you're really not involved in my salary at all." Felicity says in a slightly bored tone making her turn at the intersection.
"Interesting, I just ensure I get paid myself from the club's account, I chase Ollie around for several days to ensure it all gets signed off." Says Tommy with a grin.
"So, QC pays me, and you ensure you get paid, which means Oliver does nothing." Felicity directs her comment solely to Tommy.
"It's almost as if he were merely a figurehead." He replies leaning back into his seat, letting his eyes flit to the rear-view mirror for a moment to check on Oliver, who's slid back into his own seat and is resting his head against the window.
"He's a flower to put on a coat, a bit of decoration to charm one's vanity, an ornament for a summer's day." Felicity says almost but not quite under her breath.
"Heh." Tommy lets out with a smile as they catch each other's eye.
"Are ya sayin' 'm pretty? I c'n live wi' ya guys thinkin' 'm pretty. Ya sh'd always le' your boss know'f ya think's pretty." Oliver mutters, finally giving up the ghost of consciousness.
"How much of this should he be told tomorrow?" Felicity asks checking the mirror and seeing Oliver's totally passed out.
"Nothing tomorrow, we need to hold back on the reveal." Tommy says sagely. "Trust me, I've got experience trolling a hungover Ollie."
"More like you have experience of Ollie trolling hungover you." She responds with a smirk.
"You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment." Pulling his most angelic face for a moment, before allowing something more sincere to take over his features. "I'm sorry he dragged you out here, he was very adamant about you being the only person who could find us when we were lost."
"It's not your fault, I'm sorry he ruined your phone. Feel free to send him over to me with it, and I'll see what I can salvage." She says her own sincere smile spreading across her face.
"Don't worry, Ollie already volunteered your services." He watches her knuckles whiten on the wheel. "No, you can't push him out of the moving vehicle."
"But it's so tempting..." She says with a dismay that's only mostly faked.
"I know, but I've resisted many times, and you're a better person than I am." Again his face is a mask of sincerity.
"That's not true." She reaches over and squeezes his arm for a moment.
"I didn't fight that hard to stop him calling you." He says in a tone that seems to be trying to rile her.
"That just means you didn't fancy getting hit in the face by a ridiculously muscled lunatic." She cuts her eyes across to him and sees his raised eyebrow before adding. "He could bench press me."
"That's what she said." He crows with a grin, and a tone that implies he wants to be punching the air.
"Shut up." She says pushing his arm slightly. "But seriously he can bench like 150 so I'm kinda nothing."
"How do you know what he can bench?" He asks with a laugh.
"He told me as part of his weirdest things about being back conversation." She takes the first left shrugging as she checks the oncoming traffic.
"What? You spoke to him about that?" Tommy's voice is disbelieving.
"Several times. You haven't?" She says still not looking at him, but at the traffic.
"I figured he'd tell me if he wanted to." He says looking put out and more than a little bit hurt.
"Tommy, it wasn't a confessional." She reassures him. "When Oliver runs out of topics of conversation he falls back on certain preset conversations."
"He does?" He says with genuine bemusement.
"Yes, weirdest things about being back, who's insert ridiculous celebrity here?, what's insert ridiculous fad there?, I could totally survive a zombie apocalypse now, erm..."
"Zombie apocalypse?" He questions.
"Thea's got him watching The Walking Dead." Her tone implies that she is not approving of this turn of events.
"How did I not know that?" He says turning to face her.
"I told him he shouldn't discuss it with people after he said Daryl Dixon wasn't that badass." She states, her contempt for Oliver's opinion barely concealed.
"What!?" Tommy yells, and they both glance quickly to see if he woke Oliver up.
"Yeah, but he likes Merle cause he sawed his own hand off." Her eye roll is actually audible in her tone.
"Racist Merle? Merle the complete and total..." Tommy searches for the right term.
"See you next Tuesday?" She offers with a smile.
"Indeed." He says.
"Yeah, I think his brain got roasted on the island." She suggests with a shrug.
"Y'know, you think you know someone, and then you find things out that show you never really knew them at all." He shakes his head with disbelief.
"It's like thinking Jar Jar Binks was a good idea." She agrees.
"Oh, he does." Tommy announces, and Felicity makes a face like she just threw up in her mouth a little. "He thinks he was 'funny', and 'the best bit of the movie'."
"Best bit of the... that's like saying Sharktopus is more believable than Boa vs. Python." She says shaking her head.
"You've lost me there, but both of those sound awesome." Tommy laughs.
"And there I was thinking you were into genre TV." Felicity sounds mock disappointed.
"I think I'm mostly drawn to anything where there's a plethora of women in leather." He suggests semi-seriously.
"Why am I not surprised?" She says half to herself.
"I'm very open about my love of women in leather." He settles back into his seat watching as the still silent city passes out the window.
"I remember avoiding the gossip pages when they published the pictures." She smirks.
"Hey, my father paid very good money to ensure they weren't published." He scolds gently.
"Are you suggesting I get my entitled deviants confused?" Her voice perfectly scandalised.
"We do all look the same with our floppy hair and thousand dollar suits." He concedes.
"Are you all this self-deprecating?" She wonders.
"No, most of us call perfectly nice people up in the middle of the night because we can't work GPS and believe they'll come if we're persistent enough." Tommy says, not joking nearly as much as anyone would like.
"That does seem to be the case." She takes the final turning that heads them into the fancy part of town with its endless sea of enormous mansions.
"Just because things are true doesn't mean they should be." Tommy says, still staring out of his window. "If you need me to get you his credit card number I will."
"Why would I need his credit card number?" Felicity asks confused.
"To order something embarrassing on his behalf." He states.
"Why?" She raises her eyebrow at him.
"Payback." He shrugs.
"For what? Being an ass when he's stoned on booze and pills?" Her tone implies that it's not even worth being bothered by.
"You make him sound reasonable. He's not reasonable, he's a dick." She slides her eyes to Tommy, to see if he's as serious as he sounds, but she doesn't know him well enough to be sure.
"Yeah, but he's a dick who's been through a lot. So I'll cut him a break." She says, offering him a smile. "And hide a fish in his upholstery." She adds for good measure so she doesn't sound like a complete pushover.
"Well, I'll drop a hint to the gossip rags he's got a girlfriend. They'll follow him around for a..." He says detailing his perfect act of vengeance.
"No!" She exclaims.
"What?" He's genuinely shocked.
"What if they follow him around and figure out his extracurricular activities?" Felicity asks, protecting the secret always at the forefront of her mind.
"Oh, yeah, that." She wonders briefly if he actually did forget that for a moment.
"I know you don't agree with what he's doing..." She begins.
"Ya think?" He says, giving her a hard look.
"But, a lot of good is being done and John and I are there to temper him. If we abandon him, there's no one to keep him in check." She continues, knowing she needs to make her point.
"And you don't think maybe you should be stopping him from running around the city fighting crime?" He asks with genuine interest.
"He's... we're doing good, good that needs to be done. You don't agree, and that's fine, I'm not asking for your approval, and neither's he, but we would like to know that there's not going to be a knock on the door followed by a stay in a correctional facility." She says, making it clear that their priority is continuing their crusade, regardless of Tommy's feelings.
"There won't be. Whatever else, I can't lose him again, even if I'm not sure who he is anymore." Tommy's surprised at how easily and honestly the promise falls from his lips, he doesn't even have to think about it.
"He's Oliver, and where it counts he's a good guy." Felicity attempts to reassure him.
"The island changed him in so many ways. I don't want to know how he got to where he can do what he does, I wish I didn't know." He says closing his eyes and tilting his head against the seat. "I look at him and he's not Oliver, and I was without him and it feels like I'm back where I was a year ago. I hated where I was a year ago." Felicity concentrates on the totally empty private road and ignores the slight crack audible in his voice.
"He wouldn't be him without you. Other than his Mom and Thea, you're the person he needs in his life most." She says, still not looking at him.
"You're confusing me with Laurel." His voice is bitter and he's turned himself so he's staring fully out of his window, watching the large hedges bordering all the properties blur into each other.
"No, I'm not. He wouldn't tell Laurel, he'd find a way around it. He trusts you with this, he only let Dig and I in on it because he had no choice. He brought you in because he knew it was the only way you'd accept his help. He brought you in for you, knowing he might lose you, please don't let him lose you." She turns to him, as much as she can, her eyes barely on the road and closes her hand around his arm.
"Does it look like he's lost me?" He asks, as though he expects her to see what everyone else sees.
"No, but does it look like you've lost him?" She answers, making it clear she sees exactly what's there.
"I don't know things can be the same as before." He says, turning back into his seat and addressing his remarks to the roof of the car.
"Maybe they can be better." She suggests.
"Maybe they'll be worse." He says, mostly to himself.
"You don't know unless you try. Talk to him, try to understand." She's on the verge of begging him.
"I.. we don't do that." He's turning away from her again.
"Talk?" She's confused.
"We've never had to, we just know. Do you know how great that felt? And now it's gone." He looks lost, smaller than she's ever seen him. Tommy Merlyn's always larger than life and for the first time she can see why Oliver's so protective of him.
"When I was eight I spent six weeks teaching myself to do a cartwheel. By the time I was 16 I'd lost the knack." She tells him in a quiet, almost inaudible voice.
"So?" He asks, sounding on the verge of ignoring her completely.
"So, when I was at college I spent an afternoon by the lake with my roommate, she was doing cartwheels and, after some encouragement, she got me doing it too. By the time we went back to our dorm I was cartwheeling better than ever." She says, her voice more confident.
"Your point?" He sounds like he's preparing himself for a lecture.
"Maybe it's not gone. Maybe it just needs a bit of intensive practice to get it back." She says, like it's the most obvious thing in the world.
"I'll take it under advisement." His face is soft and his tone is light. "Erm, turn here." He says breaking the tension between them.
"No, Tommy, we can't put the porpoise there, the octopus'll just get jealous and it'll be a whole thing. Put him next to the polar bear, polar bears like everyone." Oliver says from the back seat and they turn to see him fast asleep and mumbling to himself.
"If only I'd thought to record him." Felicity says with a raised eyebrow as she follows the driveway to the Queen mansion.
"Maybe next time?" Tommy suggests with a grin as she pulls to a stop in front of the house.
"Should we wake him?" She asks looking at him, so young and unburdened in sleep.
Tommy unbuckles and gets out of the car, grinning slightly maniacally at her as he says. "Nah, watch this. Ollie, Ollie..."
"Wah?" Oliver stirs, without actually seeming to wake up.
"We need to get inside before Raisa figures out you broke curfew." He says leaning towards his friend and speaking softly.
"Sure, man, let's go." Somehow his words have reached Oliver's central nervous system without having to go through his brain.
"Pay the cabbie." Tommy says, and Oliver fumbles for his wallet before shoving a pile of notes at Felicity as he exits the car.
"Here, keep the change." She sees he's given her around $500 and she resolves to return at least 60% of it when she sees him tomorrow.
"Thanks, have a good night." She says to Oliver's departing back, not able to hold back her grin.
"I'll send him by with coffee as soon as he's awake." Tommy says, smiling.
"Thanks. And Tommy..." Her face shining with genuine gratitude.
"Yeah." He's keeping an eye on Oliver so his attention's beginning to wane.
"You just need to work on your form, you're already doing full rotations." She bites her lip, and hopes he understands.
"I hope you're right." He looks a worried, but optimistic.
"Tommy, c'mon. The turtles are about to get into it with the narwhal." Oliver says, pulling at his friend's sleeve urgently.
"Night Felicity." Tommy smiles, letting Oliver drag him off to deal with whatever aquatic emergency needs fixing next.
"Night Tommy." She replies, mostly to herself, leaning over to pull the car door shut. She starts the engine and makes a wide U-turn in front of the house. As she heads back down the drive she can see Tommy pulling Oliver down off the trellis he's trying to climb, and figures that, on balance, she probably got off pretty easily.
Author's Note 2: For anyone who a) made it this far and b) cares about such things, stuff referenced in this story in no particular order includes: Blade Runner, Star Wars, Chuck, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, House of Cards (UK - as far as I'm aware), dodgy SYFY TV Movies, Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, The Walking Dead, and Just Married. And no, I don't apologise for making Tommy a Chuck fan and you can't make me.