Green with Envy

. . .

Summary: Oliver is having a trying night while Felicity and Barry Allen are on a date in front of him. Trying in the way of 'trying' to turn the burn of emotion he feels into anything other than jealousy.

Note: I just can't help myself. I've been itching to do a Oliver is jealous of the new hero in town ever since the Flash announcement and then my sister is all, Barry and Felicity are gonna be a thing you know, they'll totally be a thing. Yes, and Oliver is a bull in a china shop who breaks things, so. Ha. There. Also, two jerkwads that I work with decided to quit at the same time, which means that an obscene number of hours are being split between me and my co-worker at the big box electronics store we work at (Clue: Blue Shirts) and my life has turned into a travesty where my #amellwednesday is being filled with setting up a display for Xbox 1, and having less time to write. So this week there will probably be (1) update for His Girl Friday, and maybe, maybe I can finish editing the next chapter of The Masquerade, but I'll have to hold off on More Interruptus Than Coitus and Far From Paradise until next week after the new trainees hit the floor and I'm no longer working 40 hours a week + school full time + pretty much sobbing over the state of my life.

Also, as LoquaciousGirl reminded me, this has been done to death, but God knows I need to unwind and this is the way of it for me. I almost just crammed it into the just for fun folder on my desktop but…oh, I can't help myself, seriously. Jealousy and Olicity and…. *loves*

And I'm sorry for the ridiculously overdone title, but its been a long couple of days.

EDIT: Thank you to quisinart4 for the edit help!

. . .

"You know Oliver, I'm going to do you a favor." Diggle slipped around the bar, and clapped Oliver on the back. "A service really."

"Oh, please don't." Oliver said, tearing his glance away from the pair at the other end of the bar, his witty blonde sidekick—and god, you know she would kill you if she knew that you refer to her like that-and Barry Allen.

"I'm your friend, by whatever…" Diggle laughed, "You're a mess, man, and my heart is bleeding for you because I am in a good place. I am in such a good place, with a great woman, and I've had weeks' worth of phenomenal nights—and Oliver, it hurts me to see you like this."

Diggle shook his head, sipping at the tumbler of scotch he held in front of himself, while he watched Oliver. Oliver found himself getting annoyed, and then frustrated, and then increasingly annoyed enough with Diggle to start considering less than generous thoughts.

"Then maybe you should have another scotch, and go home to your spectacular life." Oliver suggested to Diggle. "I'm sure your ex-wife is waiting for you."

"Oh, I'm fine." Diggle said, shaking his head and leaning back to observe. "I can't say the same for you."

It was a quiet night at the bar, which only made it that much harder to find something to distract him other than Barry and Felicity. This guy thought he was so smooth, so suave…

He thought Felicity was smarter than this. What was she even doing here with this—this tool?

"How about you should be a little more concerned about Felicity." Oliver snapped at him as he brandished his arm down the bar in the direction of her, giggling and ducking her head.

He couldn't possibly be that funny. Felicity was being nice, because….because Felicity was a nice girl. Because she was a nice girl, Oliver decided, she was an innocent girl and she just didn't goddamn know better.

"Look at that!" he said loudly, glad that the thumping bass beats of the music covered up his exclamation. "What even is that?"

"Two people getting incredibly friendly." Diggle said with a look of surprise. "He moves fast, doesn't he?"

What? Oliver thought, realizing he'd made the mistake of turning away for one minute. As he zeroed in on them, he realized that Barry's hand was brushing up against Felicity's arm, and—where was his other hand? Oliver felt a wave of—protective, yes this was his protective instinct because he needed to take care of her. Who knew who this guy was, aside from some crime lab import?

Just as he thought that he and Lance were in a good place, the former detective brought this into his life. This was literally the worst thing to happen to him since he'd been stranded on a desert island.

"What is she thinking?" Oliver asked him, setting his glass down hard enough that it spilled across the counter, causing the bartender to look his way with a flicker of irritation.

Oh, who did she think she was kidding? It was only the second. It used to be his bar. Used to…

"Maybe she's thinking that he's a good looking guy?" Diggle suggested with a shrug. "They'd make a good match, they're both well-educated…attractive, young…"

"Yeah," Oliver told him, "So were…okay, I can't think of a good example, but that does not make a good match. They don't even know each other. He's a stranger."

His bar.

Oliver smiled widely, pleased with his forward thinking as the light bulb went off in his head. He turned around, trying to keep one eye on Felicity and Barry's hands and the other he used to scan the club.

"Oliver," Diggle said, realizing that Oliver was up to something. "Oliver. What are you doing?"

"Bingo." Oliver said in a low voice, feeling a twitch of a smile as he found his number two.

As he watched Roy Harper passing by with an empty tray, he whistled sharply and waved the young guy over, glancing around to make sure that neither his sister nor Felicity noticed. They didn't. Felicity was occupied with some sort of smooth talking from Barry Allen—and he knew, he just knew how it worked; because he used to do it, and he used to do it so well. And nice girls…girls like Felicity were so quick to believe it.

"Oliver, whatever you're thinking of doing—I'm begging you. Don't do it." Diggle said.

Really, it was his responsibility as her friend to make sure that this guy didn't take advantage of her goodness.

"You beckoned?" Roy asked in a sardonic tone, cocking an eyebrow at him.

Roy placed the empty drink tray on the bar past them, and greeted Trish the bartender easily.

Yeah, Oliver thought, it would work.

"You look like you've been working hard." Oliver said.

"Yeah, well, the boss is a real slave driver." Roy said, crossing his arms over his chest. "She takes the business seriously."

"Well, someone has to." Oliver replied easily, "And thank god for Speedy."

"Yeah," Roy shook his head once, "You know that she really, really doesn't like it when you call her that?"

Oliver grinned, and pointed at him.

"And that is why I do." Oliver said, glancing Felicity's way again.

She was still in the dark corner of the bar, talking animatedly with Barry about something that was apparently interesting to her. He knew it, because he'd seen the same sparkle in her eyes when they talked in their down time.

"Speaking of my little sister, is she around tonight?" Oliver asked.

"On the phone with a vendor in the office." Roy told him, "Everything alright?"

"Nope." Diggle said, forming an 'O' with his mouth as he groaned. "Oliver, refrain from doing something stupid, please."

"How would you like to make a couple hundred bucks and take your girlfriend out for a nice date…or you know, whatever you want to do with it."

"Uh…" Roy looked around nervously, like he thought he was being tested. "Thea has sort of a strict policy against…my doing things that get me in trouble. I'm practically on probation as is."

Oliver laughed, "I wouldn't ask you to do anything illegal, Roy."

"Not tonight." Diggle said with a sigh under his breath as he took another drink.

He clapped him on the shoulder, "C'mon, you can trust me. I promise, this won't get you I trouble with my sister, and its easy money."

"That wouldn't be the first time I heard that." Roy said, waiting to see what Oliver had to say. "What do you need?"

"Someone to floor it while he's throwing himself under the bus." Diggle muttered.

"He okay?" Roy asked Oliver, gesturing to Diggle.

"Don't mind him." Oliver said, "He's having a rough night. His ex-wife is out of town."

"Uh, right. I'll pretend to understand that." Roy said, "And what is this exactly?"

"Okay," Oliver gestured toward the end of the bar. "See the blonde girl in blue dress?" She's with the guy who looks like a tool. Can't miss it."

"Yeah, yeah…" Roy nodded his head, and then stopped. "No, I know that girl. She's in here with you all the time, Thea calls her your work girlfriend."

Diggle laughed loudly, "That's funny. Nothing gets by her, does it?"

"Diggle," Oliver turned to look at him. "Can you please stop, I'm trying to accomplish something to make everyone's night better."

"Your definition of better concerns me." Diggle replied. "And I would get up and leave just so I'm not a witness to the travesty you're about to commit so that I can be blameless, but I'm truly worried that you will be twice as bad if I'm not here to supervise."

"Okay, so you like the girl or something?" Roy asked impatiently.

"Not like that." Oliver's eyebrow's furrowed together. "She's my friend, and I just want to make sure that she's okay."

"What? Want me to tell the guy there is something wrong with his car while you deal with her?" Roy asked.

"No." Oliver shook his head, "I need you to distract her while I have a strongly worded conversation with her date. Can you do that?"

"Sure." Roy shrugged, "No problem. What's her name again?"

"Felicity." Oliver told her, "Just…ask her to dance, or…"

Roy got a look of concern on his face, "I'm not sure…"

"Oh come on, is my sister really that jealous?" Oliver asked, exasperated with the growing complications of his easy answer.

"I would say yes." Roy nodded his head. "I'd really rather not press my luck."

"And if only you'd try that." Diggle said, glancing Oliver's way. "Not press his luck, you heard that part, right?"

Oliver ignored Diggle. All the estrogen from living with his ex-wife was going to his head. He had this situation entirely under control.

"Fine, whatever…" Oliver groaned, "You're a smart kid. Just…get her out of the general vicinity for ten, fifteen minutes. Whatever you have to do, okay?"

As Roy slipped back into the crowd, and headed into the direction of Felicity and Barry, Oliver felt a twinge of triumph. It wasn't meddling, he told himself, it was just a protective measure.

"Well, congratulations Oliver." Diggle said, looking completely disgusted with him, as he gestured to Roy, who was glancing around Felicity and Barry.

"What is he doing?" Oliver exclaimed, "That is not a distraction."

"I wouldn't say that." Diggle said, "You just hired your sister's boyfriend to pickpocket Felicity. I know you can see it, he's feeling them out."

"Oh, come on," Oliver said as she looked to his friend. "It's not like he's going to keep it. It's just to distract her, he'll give it right back."

"Your moral compass is absolutely fascinating." Diggle retorted acerbically. "I don't think it's going to make Felicity feel any better."

"Felicity," Oliver told him, "Is never going to know. She'll just think she dropped it, and it'll be just fine."

"You remember," Diggle said, "How I told you that I would always have your back?"

"Uh huh…" Oliver said, somewhat distractedly as he watched Roy. It might not be a marketable job skill, per se, but he was incredibly good, or else Felicity and her date were that self-involved. "You're a good friend."

"Yeah, well, I'm retracting that statement." Diggle told him, "When she comes around to fry you for playing games with her, I'm not having anything to do with it."

Oliver rolled his eyes, "You're very dramatic."

"Oliver, I don't understand how you've survived this long in life without a drastic accident befalling you." Diggle said, watching the entire scene with a wary eye.

"I was stranded on an island for five years of my life."

"And I strongly feel that whatever you faced there is going to pale in comparison to the wrath of an angry woman. That one in particular."

Diggle pointed down the bar to Felicity.

"Yeah, you know what." Oliver said, "I can handle Felicity. I don't not need advice in this department."

Diggle snorted as Oliver turned his back on him, as if making a silent criticism of how well he thought Oliver could 'handle' things.

. . .

"…Well, I have known a lot of computer geniuses in my line of work," Barry said, looking up at her with a smile, "But you're certainly the prettiest, Felicity."

Again, she blushed.

Not only was Barry Allen incredibly intelligent, he was so charming. It was nice, this was the first date she had been on in far too long, and he'd almost be perfect if it wasn't for the corny lines…

And as much as she hated to admit it, even that was sort of cute. Sometimes….corny was cute. Then again, it didn't hurt that cheesy was coming at her in a six foot tall blonde, blue eyed package of brains and brawn.

Hardly though, next to Oliver.

Felicity almost laughed out loud. Now, that really was unfair. Next to Oliver it was hard to compete in that department.

Speaking of them, she had sort of thought that they were coming along to join, or god-forbid babysit. The last thing she needed was to have Oliver big-brother her through the first decent date she'd had in what felt like a lifetime.

"Oh, come on." Felicity nudged him, ducking her head in embarrassment.

"Hey, it's true," Barry told her, flashing a smile at her; his hand brushing against her arm. "Smart, gorgeous, funny—you, Ms. Smoak, really are the whole package. I still can't believe I ended up on a date with you. I guess that's why they call it dumb luck."

"You're no slouch yourself." Felicity said, pausing to take a sip from her glass of wine. "How are you liking Starling so far?"

"Oh," Barry chuckled, "I think I'm going to like it here. People are nice—you know, even Oliver Queen. I've heard some pretty rough stories about him, but he was friendly too."

"Oliver is a very nice guy." Felicity said, hoping to stop the topic right there, because she refused to have Oliver ruin her date. They had more than enough trouble between them without that. "You told me you're working a lot with Quentin Lance, he's a great guy."

Much, much safer topic. After all the eye-rolls she got from Oliver as she left the office with Barry—never mind the, are you kidding me, Felicity?—she really didn't feel like playing the 'Oliver Queen is such a great guy' game. Right now, he was a little bit annoying to her. So, maybe Barry wasn't a billionaire, or a hero, or…

Maybe he was just a nice guy. And she was fine with that. A guy with zero complications, the total opposite of what she got all day and night with Oliver. Oh my god. Well, at least it's only in your head. Why is it always Oliver who turns you into a babbling fool?

"Yeah, yeah…" Barry said eagerly, leaning across the table toward her, and gesticulating animatedly with his hands as he talked.

Different than Oliver, Felicity caught herself thinking, Oliver was so…comfortable with stillness. It was unsettling and reassuring all at once. Then again, Barry seemed so relaxed in his skin, as himself. That was a nice change too.

"On my first day, he took me out to lunch, showed me around town. It's not so different from Central City—except for the crime. It's…"

Barry shook his head, seemingly at a loss to describe the state Starling was in. She could just see that segue coming.

Not the vigilante, Felicity begged silently, don't talk about the vigilante. Don't even bring up that damn vigilante.

"We don't have any vigilantes in Central City." Barry said, not seeming to notice the cringe that ran through her body as he went there. "Everyone seems to have their opinions on him. I was asking Officer Lance, but he didn't really seem to have much to say. I guess the official police stance is anti-hood—arrow? I mean, the guy is breaking the law…but some people really seem to love him. It's like one of those old folk heroes, you know? Needs a snappier name though, something a little flashier?"

"Oh right." Felicity nodded her head politely, hoping to God the subject would change with due haste.

But it was going so well. How did Oliver impede her date when he wasn't even there?

She was glad that Diggle was here, otherwise she could picture Oliver just standing at the bar, rolling his eyes and making comments about Barry to anyone who would listen. Felicity didn't know what his problem was—Barry was a nice guy; was his highness allergic to those, or something?

"Makes you wonder, right?"

Felicity had a feeling she might regret it, but she answered him.

"Wonder what?"

"Well, what other types like him are out there." Barry said, "There's a rumor of a guy like him in Gotham doing the same—he's part bat, and some people in Kansas swear they've got a hero who flies through the sky."

"Well," Felicity chuckled, that was a little crazy—people who flew, and half-animal people? It was a far cry from a guy with a bow and arrow. "I think people obsess over it too much. I don't spend too much time on that sort of thing. I stick to my computers, and trying to keep track of what nights The X-Factor falls on, and that's it for me."

Felicity shrugged, "I'm not the exciting girl."

"Oh, well I beg to differ." Barry said with a smile at her. "Every second here with you tonight has been riveting."

She started to say something, but was abashed by the sweet compliment as she ducked her head, trying to come up with something to say in response to that—because really, how does a girl respond to that?—she was bumped into, and nearly spilled her drink. With what seemed like lighting fast reflexes, Barry grabbed it, and she glanced up to see Roy Harper.

Roy? Felicity was surprised.

"Oh my gosh…um, I am—I am so sorry." Roy said, apologizing profusely. "Felicity, its Felicity, right? You're Oliver's friend. I am so sorry. It's been a long night, and…are you okay?"

Roy looked her over, his big blue eyes filled with embarrassed apology and Felicity found herself feeling bad. It had to be almost impossible for him to work with Oliver's judgey little eyes following his around the club. He was a nice kid.

"No, no…" Felicity shook her head, brushing off the incident totally. "Really, its fine, and nothing spilled…"

She looked over him with a smile, "Don't worry. No harm, no foul, right?"

"I'm so clumsy." He said, "Are you sure you're okay?"

Roy rested a hand on her shoulder, and checked her over.

"You're sure?" he asked, "I mean, there's you know, club soda if anything spilled—and Thea's got an extra dress in the office."

Well, that was too weird even for her. There was way too much of her life intersecting with Oliver's without wearing his sister's clothing. What she needed, Felicity decided recently, was to extract herself a little, form some sort of separation between work and a personal life so that she could do anything else but like him as much as she did.

"Really." Felicity told him, flattered by the extra attention.

See, she knew that Oliver had been wrong all along. Roy Harper was just a genuinely nice kid. Oliver should know better anyways, Roy had been proving himself with all the incredible intel he was feeding them from the Glades.

"I have klutzy moments myself. All the time actually." Felicity said with a laugh, and gestured to Barry. "This is my friend Barry Allen, he's new in town, but you'll probably be seeing a lot more of him."

"Oh, that's great." Roy extended his hand to him. "Nice to meet you man. We don't get many imports into Starling these days."

"Well, I think this is the place for me." Barry said, shaking his hand.

Roy turned back to her, and Felicity was a little surprised by his persistence. She just chalked it up to wanting to do a good job.

"You're really sure that you're fine?" Roy asked.

"Absolutely." Felicity said with a firm nod of her head.

"Okay, okay…because I think Oliver would kill me for not being thorough." Roy said, leaning against the bar as he talked to her, half-blocking Barry.

Was Oliver everywhere tonight? Felicity thought with a flicker of frustration. It was like she couldn't escape from him.

"I'll be sure to tell him that you were." Felicity told him, and then turned back to Barry as Roy pushed away from the bar and started to walk away.

"Anyways," Felicity said, focusing her attention back to Barry. "Sorry about that. And your reflexes are incredible…where were we?"

"Excuse me." Barry said, as he slipped out of his seat. "Roy!"

Felicity watched in confusion, feeling a wrinkle between her eyebrows. She really hoped Barry wasn't about to superspeed from nice guy to jerk in zero to a hundred. She really had higher expectations for him. He seemed so normal.

And he couldn't possibly be jealous of Roy. Roy was hardly more than a teenager. Cute, but way, way too young for her—as well as totally unavailable.

Roy stopped abruptly, about ten feet from their table and lingered before turning.

"Yeah man, can I get you guys a couple fresh drinks? Some peanuts?"

"No." Barry said with a shake of his head, closing the distance between himself and Roy easily. "But it would be great if you returned the lady's wallet."

"Oh, that's…" Roy started, only to be interrupted as Felicity jumped to his defense at the ludicrous accusation.

Maybe once upon a time, Felicity thought, but he wasn't that kid anymore.

"What?" Felicity exclaimed as she jumped up from the table, "Oh no…no."

She rested her hand on Barry's arm, and shook her head. This was horrible, it was all wrong.

"You've got the wrong idea, really." She said, "He's not…"

Felicity turned to Roy, an apologetic look creasing her face. "I'm sorry, Roy. This is all a mistake, he didn't mean anything by it…"

She shook her hands ardently, trying desperately to smooth the entire thing out before everyone got the wrong idea.

"I think," Barry said carefully, "That you may want to check your bag."

When Roy didn't seem to object, and Barry was insisting on looking at her with such a determined look in his eyes she reached behind her to the bar and grabbed her clutch, just to clear this mess up. Even before she opened it, she had a bad feeling settle in the pit of her stomach…she could just feel it. Still, she flipped the cover up and looked in.

No wallet.

"It's not there." She said.

Felicity felt the unhappy crease between her eyebrows, and found the entire thing impossible still.

"I'm sure it's…" Felicity searcher her mind for any other reasoning, anything else really.

Fine, sure he used to be a thief but he'd changed his life. Roy was dedicated to working with the Hood, and…

It just didn't make any sense.

Once Roy produced the wallet though, a sorry look crossing his face, Felicity couldn't make any other argument.

. . .

"Are you kidding me?" Oliver exclaimed, finally overturning his glass in exasperation as post-strike out, when Roy was walking away, it still hadn't worked? "How—how is it that hard?"

Oliver turned in his chair with a groan, and looked to Diggle.

"What—what's wrong with you?" he asked, seeing the unhappy, deep frown of disapproval etched into Diggle's face.

He might have mistaken it, had he not recently been constantly subjected to the sloppy grin of a man in love, like he'd been witnessing lately.

This was not how this night was supposed to be going. Maybe a little Szechuan chicken and chow mein with Felicity in the office after work, and then an easy night, maybe spend a little time with his sister. And now here was this guy out of nowhere, screwing with the entire dynamic of their life.

"Remember how you said that it was going to be fine because he was going to return it?" Diggle said, gesturing toward them. "I don't think you need to worry about it, because her boyfriend just expedited the process."

"He—" As Oliver was getting geared up to remind Diggle that Barry was hardly a 'date' never mind a boyfriend, and turned in his seat to see what Diggle was talking about when he saw that Barry was confronting Roy, and…

Screwing with the whole damn dynamic!

"Damn it." Oliver swore as he watched as Felicity argued with him, finally snatching up her bag from the bar and looking inside. "He's supposed to be good at this!"

"Again," Diggle said, "Can I stress how incredibly bad your sense of judgment is tonight?"

Before Roy ended up in handcuffs, and he had to have a really uncomfortable conversation with the metro police and his sister, Oliver jumped up from the table; but midway between the three of them and his seat, he froze. He didn't have a plan. What was the plan?

Oliver turned to look at Diggle.

"Oh no, you don't." Diggle told him, raising his drink to him at the bar. "I didn't subcontract this mess. It's all yours."

"Diggle," Oliver said, going back to the bar where his friend sat. "I had your back. I have your back."

"Well, now you better go and back up your number two before the both of you find a cell at the Starling jail." Diggle informed him.

"Fine." Oliver said, turning his back on Diggle. It was fine, he could…

And then, all his surety flew out of the window as he saw Felicity taking her wallet from Roy with such a disappointed look that he felt guilty. Felicity believed the best in people, and Roy…well, he was a kid trying to change his life, be a better person, and he'd facilitated this ridiculous lie.

He'd let this go way too far. It shouldn't have gotten like this, it was just...he didn't know why, but she made all rational thought just fly out the window. Felicity made him crazy.

"Hey," Oliver said, stepping into the fray, standing between Roy and Barry and struggling to find a quick fix. "What's going on here?"

"Your employee is a pickpocket," Barry said, pointing to Roy. "He stole Felicity's wallet. I saw him do it myself."

"Oh..." Oliver clapped his hand on Roy's shoulder supportively, at a loss for an innocent explanation. "Well...Felicity, you've got everything, and uh...Roy! Just a mistake, right?"

"Yeah." Yeah, Roy sighed tiredly, glancing up toward him with a look that was equal parts confusion and frustration. "It was, uh..."

Roy scrubbed his hand though his hair, hopeless for an explanation that didn't blow everything, and as it was going on Oliver knew he was doing the wrong thing, it sat with him like...this heavy weight. This was the stupidest thing he'd done in a long time.

"No." Felicity said suddenly in a sharp tone, cutting Roy's slow excuse off as she looked up to Oliver with an icy glare in her eyes, arms folded across her chest. "Just a mistake, right Oliver? Please, tell me all about it. I'm sure you can fix this, can't you? I wouldn't think that there is any need to involve anyone else."

Oliver felt a dry patch fill his throat as she stared him down. Five and a half feet of bristling blonde ire and he just knew it wasn't going to go well for him. He couldn't backpedal his way out of this one.

"Somehow I think that there are a lot of mistakes going around tonight." Felicity said, snapping her clutch shut angrily, "And Oliver, I hardly think that Roy's the guiltiest here."

"I can't disagree." Oliver said in an even tone, "Maybe we can amend that."

He dropped his hand from Roy's shoulder, and gave him a nudge.

"You should probably go." Oliver said quietly.

"I don't understand." Barry said, looking to Oliver. "Shouldn't you be notifying security, this was a crime."

"Don't worry Barry, it was a misunderstanding." Felicity said.

"Yeah, Barry," Oliver tried to bite down on the retort and failed, "I'm sure there's a lot you don't understand."

"Oliver!" Felicity exclaimed in a yell that trailed into a hiss of anger.

"I'm sorry," Roy said to Felicity again, "Really."

Felicity turned to Roy, with a look that was more sympathetic than what she directed to Oliver.

"You can do better than listening to Oliver." Felicity told him in a biting tone that made Oliver's skin crawl. She was furious, and it was like she just knew.

He couldn't dig his way out of this with a shovel and a map.

"I got it. Yeah." Roy nodded his head, glancing at Oliver once before walking away

Yeah, Oliver thought guiltily. It had been an incredibly bad idea.

"What's going on?" Barry asked, looking more confused than ever. "Is there something I'm not understanding?"

"Barry, nothing gets by you, does it? You're just….so sharp." Oliver asked sarcastically, realizing he'd have been better to keep his mouth shut with the look Felicity gave him.

"Excuse us, please," Felicity told him with a fake smile, obviously trying to hold it together so she could lay into him in private. "I'll be back in a flash. Really, just...don't go, okay?"

"Yeah," Barry said, nodding his head. "I'll just be at the bar. Take your time."

After Barry was gone, Felicity turned to him with a blisteringly angry glare. So, he supposed a sorry wasn't going to cut it tonight.

"What were you thinking?" She hissed at him, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him out of the crowd. "Have you completely lost your mind, Oliver?"

He never had the opportunity to answer as they passed by Diggle, sitting at the bar and nursing his tumbler of scotch. Diggle seemed stunned when Felicity stopped and turned to him.

"You know, I could picture this sort of behavior from Oliver, but you're better than this, Digg." Felicity turned back to Oliver, pointing her finger at his chest. "Basement. Now. We're doing this alone."

In any other world, Oliver thought, she'd be mortified by it, and the possible connotations of such a demand. Currently, she was just too angry with him to even seem to notice. Oliver had a feeling that this was going to make Russia feel like a cake-walk.

...

In the basement, Felicity threw her bag down on the table hard enough that the row of arrows rattled in their case.

"Felicity," Oliver started, stopping behind the table, and realizing rightly that he needed give her a little bit of space for the moment. "Look, you're right to be angry...it was immature, and completely irresponsible—"

She was even more furious once he started talking. It was like he wasn't listening, like he just…he couldn't be so obtuse! How—how could he even do this?

"Oliver!" Felicity exclaimed sharply, turning on her heel to look at him. "What is wrong with you? What do you even want from me?

Her voice burst forth in a half cry as she tried to work out what this was. He had made it painfully clear after Russia that there was nothing-that nothing was going to happen between them.

She had accepted their clearly defined roles as friends, and with a sort of super human patience she had even accepted the smug, conceited looks that Isabel shot her way each time she stormed into the office and treated her like a mildly competent barista.

This though, this she couldn't accept. It was just too much.

"It's not like that." Oliver said gently, "I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"So you had Roy-your sister's boyfriend do something completely illegal, that could have gotten him arrested...because somehow that would do it? Are you high?" Felicity yelled, feeling her hands twitch at her side, she was just so angry with him. "Oliver, what are you thinking? I've seen a lot of stupid things—most of them during the time I've worked with you, but this…this…"

She'd never really known irritation like this—this constant desire to hit something before she met Oliver. This wasn't how normal human beings acted, he couldn't push her away and then act like a jealous boyfriend.

Because he wasn't. They weren't. And as he'd made painfully clear they weren't ever going to be that way. She was just going along with him, and now it was like he was punishing her for it!

"It didn't go the way I planned." Oliver said stiffly, "And it was...I'm sorry. It was wrong. I should have gone about it differently."

"Oliver!" Felicity threw her arms up, feeling a building rage—because how was he not grasping it? They were here, right where they were now by his choice! "There is nothing to 'go around'! There is nothing complicated about any of this—I'm on a date, and with a nice guy. He is very, very nice! And none of this—I don't understand. I don't understand this at all."

With a sigh, she turned away from him and leaned back against the table. He'd made it clear where they stood with one another—oh, had he ever made it crystal clear where they stood. She pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead, feeling the frantic throbbing of a headache—because how long could this carry on for? She couldn't keep doing this. They couldn't keep doing this, and continue being friends.

"Felicity." Oliver groaned, dragging his hand through cropped hair with frustration, like he was trying to grip for some sort of sense. "It's all complicated!"

In her spot, Felicity froze, torn between anger and desire, and...how could he? It couldn't work like this! She'd spent the last few months unable to decide if she wanted to hit him, or kiss him…

It just wouldn't work like this. They wouldn't work like this.

"You can't do this to me Oliver." Felicity said, feeling a catch in her throat as she realized, weaving her arms tighter against her chest in an effort to contain all the rage and hurt she felt.

He wasn't saying that he wanted her, he just didn't want her to be with Barry. What did he want, just for her to be the ambiguous constantly available girl lingering at his side…just in case? She could have been any number of things for him, but that she would not do.

"I can't...you can't do this to me. I can't just be your girl Friday, I need something outside of work. I need someone in my life who needs me, who might even love me. I can't live on this job alone."

After blurting out all she had to say, Felicity turned away from him and glanced down at the floor. She'd never said it before, out loud, and faced it. But there it was, and there was no other way around it. No matter how much she wanted him, she wasn't going to keep this charade up.

Because that was it, there really wasn't anything else to say. She wasn't giving him an ultimatum, and she wasn't quitting on him—she believed in what they did, in him more than ever. No matter what stupid….

She sighed, how stupid he was being right now; Felicity knew without a doubt that when the moment called for it he would put it behind him, suit up, and do the right thing for the city. This, Oliver was good at. He knew what the right thing was for the city—it was people that he struggled with.

"Felicity," Oliver said carefully, like he was testing out the waters.

"C'mon Oliver," She glanced back his way, making her best effort at a smile, because it wasn't like it didn't just kill her every time.

Like it didn't kill her to constantly be loving him, to worry about him…to stand next to him every day and know that she was never going to have him. But she did, and she put it all aside because it was the right thing to do.

They'd do amazing things together, they just had to stay apart all the while.

"Don't make it into a big deal, it isn't. I mean, it is—but it isn't. I can forgive you, because…because." Felicity swallowed, unable to quite find the words for it. "Tonight was a bad night. It wasn't the first, it won't be the last. You acted spectacularly stupid, and if you're willing not to turn it into a hat trick, and you can just get it…"

Her voice trailed off as she struggled to say it now. It was time for them both to finally put this all behind them.

She couldn't keep chasing after a man who wouldn't want her, and he couldn't expect her to. There was no way for them to live like that.

"You said it best after Russia. And I'm dealing with it, I am." Felicity bit down on her lip, struggling to read the blank look on his face.

The only indication he'd even been listening was the crinkles on his forehead as he thought. She almost smiled, she loved those crinkles. Sometimes she watched him, sitting at his desk like that, and thought about how she could help him to smooth them out.

How she had really wanted to be the girl at his side.

"But Oliver, you have to deal with it too." She told him, trying to be strong with this, as much as it hurt her. "The flirting, the teasing…it's over."

With a certain nod of her head, Felicity turned back to the table and picked up her clutch.

"I'm going back upstairs," she informed him, as she tucked it under her arm, and thought carefully upon her words.

A sense of finality settled around her, and as she was walking toward the stairs she stopped next to him, seeing him just outside of her view. They could have had everything, she thought with a sense of sadness, letting it go was going to be like losing a part of herself.

Felicity brushed her fingers across his arm, "I'm going back to my date, and I'm going to make up an absurd lie about what's happened here tonight. Then I'm going to go home, and come to work in the morning, and we're going to forget all about this weird jealous night. You're going to go upstairs and carry on with your night. Have a drink with Diggle, spend some time with Thea, and God, apologize to Roy…"

She shook her head, "Whatever you promised him, you should double it, because he looked terrified."

There were some things though, Felicity knew now, all the money in the world couldn't quite amend. She couldn't fathom a figure that would make up for finally giving up the idea of ever fully having Oliver in her life. He would be the hero, and she would be his IT girl…and that would be it.

"And we'll see each other in the morning." Felicity smiled, refusing to cry. "I'll be the one with the coffee."

She dropped her hand to her side, and took a deep breath. Now, this was all for the best. It would give them both a fresh slate, a new start. They were on even ground and they both knew where they stood, able to go forward without feeling like things were left unsaid.

A part of her expected some sort of ridiculous argument, anything but he just continued to stand there and with a resigned sigh she carried on to return to her date. They'd both be fine, and tomorrow things would return to the way they should be without any of this mess to complicate it.

. . .

None of this went the way he expected it to.

No, when he followed her down into the basement he expected the angry words, and flying banter with a slight eye-roll on his part. Of course he expected her to be annoyed with him—

But he never imagined that she would turn everything on its head.

Oliver felt a chill settle in, the type he hadn't felt since the island as he listened to her footsteps on the stairs. He'd thought of a hundred and one different way to stop her; he could have grabbed her, or kissed her, or told the girl—the most obnoxiously, right girl he'd ever known in his life—told her that he loved her…

But as she told him goodbye in all the ways that counted he found himself struck dumb and empty-handed, never mind empty hearted. He'd heard every word, he'd always heard everything she told him and he didn't have any answers because he didn't have a fix for it.

Nothing had changed since Russia, the life that he lived was dangerous. He had accepted that from the time he took on this second identity, and choosing these trysts with women he knew nothing would come of had made it easier. He was furious with himself for ever getting involved with Isabel in Russia—maybe if he had spent the night doing anything else, they wouldn't be here now.

For so long, everything had worked well.

He had Diggle, and he had Felicity, and they were a good team. No, they were a great team. Without them, what he was doing—what he had been doing was downright superfluous. Diggle helped him stay on track, see the details—the people—that resided underneath the mission, especially when he was too focused on the big picture, he reminded him that at the heart of everything they did was the people.

Felicity

Oliver balled his hands into fists, frustrated because all he could see in his head was this image of her sitting at the bar with Barry Allen, see her walking away, and feeling like he'd never be able to get it quite right now. Like he'd cut the wrong wire, and everything was minutes away from exploding. Like he was just minutes away from bringing it all down.

There were the short skirts, and the way that she extended a conversation by minutes every time she said something that could even remotely be construed as a sex thing (and even when it frustrated him because she wasn't getting to the point…he loved it), the way that she adjusted her glasses on her face like a nervous tic.

She made him want to be more human. It was easy to retreat into the Hood, but she made him want to have a drink, and eat good food, take a break for a cappuccino at the café across the street from the office…live a life.

Felicity made him want to be better, not just under the hood, but better as a man. He wanted to be the guy she thought he could be—not the guy that every other girl had known.

"Damn it!" Oliver swore, hitting the wall with his fist, and glancing up at the ceiling.

It could not seriously be like this. It could not be like this.

. . .

Felicity walked back across the bar, and she just felt exhausted. Faking a smile, she set herself to carrying out with this date because it was just what she had to do. It was hard now, she reminded herself, but like a lot of things it would just get better with time.

And hopefully, Oliver wouldn't ruin her next date with a pickpocket scheme. She was sure that would help.

Working on an excuse—it was a prank gone wrong, Felicity decided on telling him, it was…a joke between friends. It wasn't a good excuse, it was entirely absurd, but most of this night had been anyways so at least it was fitting with the theme. Considering that Barry seemed intent on trying to have a good night, and he was a polite sort of guy, she didn't really think he'd question it anyways.

"Felicity."

She let out a sight, stopping in her path as she heard Diggle and turning around to look at him. Right, she'd forgotten about chewing him out.

"Digg, look," Felicity started, realizing that she had been unfair when she'd blown up.

In reality, she did know that he'd had nothing to do with it. If anything, she was sure that he'd probably reigned him in from something far more ridiculous. And he wasn't Oliver's keeper—whatever stupid thing Oliver had done was far from his responsibility.

"No, just give me a second Felicity." Diggle told her.

She conceded, and walked over to the bar. Diggle gestured for her to take a seat.

"I think I'd rather stand." She said, setting her clutch on the bar and waiting for him to say what he needed.

Felicity just wanted to get this date over with, actually, she was just really preferable to putting this entire night behind her.

"I'm sorry." He told her, "I should have intervened. What happened was just…"

Considering how at a loss Diggle seemed to be to describe their night, Felicity took it upon herself to help him out. The early night was already feeling too long, and she wasn't feeling like arguing.

"Ridiculous." Felicity offered. "And I shouldn't have taken it out on you. I lost my temper. Oliver just…"

She let out a puff of breath, still feeling a twinge of frustration.

"He makes me crazy."

Something like a smile seemed to linger at the corner of Diggle's mouth.

"I've noticed." Diggle said in an even tone, "I bet you really laid into him this time, didn't you? I don't think he'll forget this lashing too soon. You should be safe for at least the next couple of dates."

"John," Felicity sighed, and shook her head.

"Uh oh…" Diggle said, "The last time you called me John wasn't a great day. You've got your serious voice."

Felicity brushed her hair back, before glancing back to make sure Oliver wasn't near them. He wasn't. What was he going to do, spend the night in the basement? They had an early morning.

"It was overdue." Felicity told him, "I just told him the truth. We both have to live our lives in the way that we think is for the best. It's no secret the way I feel—felt—about Oliver. But I'm going to deal with it, and he has to as well."

"What…" Diggle seemed to struggle to find an answer to that as he rubbed his hand over his head. "That's uh…What did he have to say?"

"Not much." Felicity said with a heavy sigh, wishing Oliver had said anything. Then again, if he had maybe she wouldn't have had the guts to carry through with this. "But its fine. I'm fine. He's fine."

She smiled, touching her hand to his shoulder. Everyone was fine, and going to be fine. They recovered from a fourth of the city caving in, and this was nothing compared to that. It wasn't even a break-up, because they hadn't ever been together. It was just two adults, making the grown up decision.

"Don't worry, Digg. Everything is going to be fine. Remind him that I'll see him in the office—eight o'clock as usual."

She saw the flicker of doubt in Diggle's eyes.

"I'm going to go." Felicity said, glancing toward the door again. "Make sure he goes home tonight."

After leaving Diggle, she walked toward Barry working out her reasoning in her head. It was all in good fun, but aren't all thefts? She sighed, realizing she was going to sound like an idiot no matter how it went.

Well, at least that was something she was good at.

"You're back." Barry said, turning in his seat to watch her. "I wasn't sure if you would be."

Felicity cringed, okay maybe he wasn't going to be as easy going about this whole thing as she'd thought he would be.

"Barry, I'm sorry you got mixed up in that." Felicity said as she slid into the seat next to him. "I have an explanation for all of it."

"I'm glad." Barry told her as he pushed his drink back to give her his undivided attention, "Because I don't understand any of it. You said that Oliver was your boss, and I've never known a boss that is that involved in their assistant's life."

"He is." Felicity said, recoiling uncomfortably. She used to be such an honest person, and now it felt like lying came more naturally. Never mind…god, she hated the word assistant. Oliver knew better than to use it too, but it was what she was—in all manner of speaking, in the office and out. "I know how weird that looked. He's like...like a big brother."

Actually saying the words felt awful. Letting him go was going to be harder than she thought. He'd always felt like more, like there was this interminable connection between them

"We're old friends." Felicity explained, "And he has this...incredibly annoying urge to protect people. It's sort of like a hero complex."

She almost laughed at her choice in words.

"He doesn't like me like that, and...I'm here with you. I know it seems like I'm a flake...but I swear I'm not."

"Okay," Barry said, nodding her head and apparently accepting what she'd told him. "What about the kid?"

"It's sort of crazy," she said, forcing a laugh that sounded more like a choked giggle. "No, it's a funny story. Actually it's completely crazy. It was sort of a joke. Oliver has a bad sense of humor."

"Clearly." Barry said, raising an eyebrow as he looked her over. "It didn't seem very funny."

"Yeah..." Felicity bit down on the inside of her mouth feeling bad all around. "Look, I know this night has been a complete mess, and not at all like you probably thought, but I'd..."

She tried to find the words to ask him for another chance at this, but struggled at it.

"I ordered you a new drink." Barry said suddenly, gesturing to the fresh glass of wine, and rescuing her from the uncomfortable silence. "I thought maybe we could get a fresh start at the night, and maybe..."

He was a nice guy, she thought tiredly. Somehow it just made it all that much worse. She knew that a long time ago, a lifetime before Oliver she would have really, really liked Barry. Now though, all she felt was a sort of lingering disappointment; because he just wasn't Oliver. This might be harder than she'd thought it would be.

"Actually, would you mind taking me home?" Felicity asked him. "I had more to drink than I probably should have, and—"

"No problem." Barry told her with a smile, as he helped her into her jacket. "Maybe we can try again. Just…somewhere else."

Barry chuckled, before dropping a few bills for the bartender, and turning back to her.

"There is a great little jazz club that I heard about down at the crime lab. I hear they have great food, and excellent music..."

"That sounds good." Felicity told him as she pulled her hair free from the collar of her jacket.

That was what she needed to do, as long as she kept trying she'd figure it out.

"Tomorrow night?" Barry asked.

. . .

"Oliver, Oliver stop. You need to think about what you're doing."

Diggle stepped into his path, and Oliver felt all that frustration that was bubbling up in him coming to a head. He could see Felicity with Barry, and he had to stop her. This was it, there would be no other chances.

"No." Oliver told him, as he kept walking. "I'm done, Diggle. I've tried to be the good guy, I've tried but if the cost of that is watching her go—"

"Hey…hey…" Diggle shook his head, holding his hands up in surrender. "I'm not stopping you Oliver, I just want you to make sure you know why you're doing this. You have to be serious—because there is no other way."

"Diggle, you think I don't know that?" Oliver asked in a hiss of anger. "But she didn't give me any other options."

"Okay, Oliver." Diggle stepped out of his way, "I just want you to be sure you're doing this for the right reasons. Not because for the first time, she's giving attention to someone who isn't you."

"I…"

No way. Oliver looked in Felicity's direction, and through the crowd he saw Barry helping Felicity into her jacket, and her turn toward to look at Barry with a smile as she adjusted her glasses.

"I'm not losing her too." He told Diggle.

Oliver pushed through the crowd, his heart thumping anxiously at the thought. The very idea of Felicity going home with that guy made him feel like it had all fallen apart. It wasn't right, and he knew that she knew it wasn't either.

That was not the guy for her.

He caught them just as they started to walk away and grabbed her wrist to stop her.

"Felicity, don't go."

She spun in shock to look up at him. He hadn't seen her looking so stunned since he told her how he spent his nights, and he had a bullet in his chest then. The surprised turned to a look of an unease when Barry turned to face him.

"Hey, this is really not cool anymore." Barry told him, "You're her friend, or her boss—whoever you are…she's not interested."

Really, really? Was this guy really going to go there with him?

"Look," Oliver held his hand out as he turned to face Barry Allen, stomaching a spark of total annoyance with him. "This is not the best day I've ever had, so if you don't mind—"

"Maybe we should take this outside." Barry said.

"Maybe you should consider yourself lucky that I don't." Oliver responded, ignoring him before he found the guy who once would have happily gone there.

"Oliver!" Felicity exclaimed, "Have you completely lost your mind? I thought we talked about this. This is not what we talked about!"

"No." Oliver said, turning to her with Diggle lingering in the background, apparently undecided as to whether or not he should intervene.

For his own sake, Oliver thought, he better not, because he wasn't feeling very restrained right now.

"You talked. I listened." Oliver leaned toward her ignoring Barry, and forgetting about Digg—forgetting about everyone and everything else in this club because none of it mattered now. "And I don't like it."

"Well…you…" Felicity seemed lost as he cornered her, refusing to let her skirt this now. "You don't have to like it, you just have to live with it."

If it was down to this, taking a risk with her or losing her forever, he was willing to take the jump. If nothing else, because he couldn't live with the possibility of what they could have had.

"Oliver, stop this now." Felicity swallowed, tucking her hair behind her ear as he watched her, "People are staring."

"That's okay with me." Oliver said, realizing that half the club was in fact staring into their corner of the bar. "Felicity, I can't let you go…"

He shook his head, glancing in the way of Barry. Especially not to him.

"Don't go home with him." Oliver asked her, leaning his head towards hers and watching her blue eyes dart around nervously. "Please. Just stop this now."

"Give me one good reason." Felicity told him, looking up at him with a determined look in her eye as she stood up against him.

"Because he's not good enough for you." Oliver told her.

"Oh, come on…" Barry started, but his voice trailed off as Oliver's head whipped around and glared at him.

"You're better off not." Diggle advised him, with a small shake of his head.

"Oliver, what are you doing?" Felicity asked in a small voice, "You can't—this isn't about jealousy. It can't be."

"It's not." Oliver told her, "This isn't about him. Or any of the others that I could lose you to—it's about losing you. It's about you."

"What are you saying?" She said, with a wrinkle of thought between her eyebrows.

"Don't walk away." Oliver asked, "Felicity, you told me that I deserve someone better, but the truth is, you're the one who does. You make me better, and if you take the chance…I'll be a better guy for you."

"Oliver…" Felicity sighed long and hard, before pressing the palm of her hand against her forehead, "I just…"

She glanced away from him, to Barry, "I'm sorry, I'm just…sorry."

When she turned back to Oliver, it wasn't a happy look in her eyes. He didn't understand, wasn't this what she wanted? Felicity was the one who pressed him to step up, to dare to want more…

Felicity tightened her jacket around her chest.

"Oliver, I need to talk to you outside." She said.

For the moment as he followed her, past the watching eyes and the less than subtle rise of camera phones to clip a picture, he couldn't even wonder what price his personal life went for-because right now it felt like nothing.

This was not the way he pictured his grand, romantic gesture going. He knew he'd been out of practice for a while—but he was giving all of it to her, he wanted to be with her.

At the back door, Felicity banged her hands against the push bar of the door hard and he could tell that it had stung as she pulled her hands away and stormed into the alley.

"Oliver!" Felicity yanked her wrist away from him, and turned to look up at him. "He's not good enough for you? Don't—don't do that to me!"

"Why not?" Oliver asked her, glancing down at her with a look of seriousness in his eyes, a clarity of certainty that he was right. "It's the truth."

"And what about the part where you don't want someone in your life—you can't—Oliver!" Felicity yelled, as outrageously angry as he'd ever seen her.

If it wasn't at him, and if he wasn't worried that he had really made everything worse this time; well, he would have found the outburst funny.

"I was wrong. Felicity, I make bad decisions—I'm not perfect, and you know that. But you accept me for that guy, you've never needed me to be anyone else. You make every day better—you make me better."

Oliver paused for a moment, watching her.

It had always been so simple. Everything with Felicity had been easy.

"I'm not jealous of losing you to him, Felicity, I'm scared of losing you. It just doesn't work without you."

He exhaled, and waited—waited for her to say anything.

"I thought you were letting me go." She said finally, glancing away from him and down the alleyway with the dim lights outside the club flickering like they were straining to remain lit. "I thought you didn't care."

"I can't." Oliver said, closing the space between them, and tilting her face up towards his. "I don't know if it is right, or if it's selfish, and I tried. But I know that you're my girl."

The corners of her lips twitched in something that was unmistakably a smile.

"What was that?" Felicity asked him.

"I said…" Oliver's face broke into a smile as he realized that she was making fun of him. "You heard me."

'I know." Felicity told him, biting down on her lip. "I just sort of wanted to hear it again."

"Felicity Smoak," Oliver shook his head as she grabbed and pulled her close to him. "You're going to be trouble, aren't you?"

"I guess…" Felicity said in a sort of breathless tone, inches away from his face, looking like she was just begging to be kissed. "I guess it's a good thing I've got my hero."

Usually, he would argue this common point of contention with her. This time though, the particulars of the job were the farthest thing from his mind. He closed his hands around her waist and lifted her slightly from the ground surprised as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

He thought that he'd get her first, but like so many other times in their life, Felicity had proven to him that she got him first. Oliver pressed back against the soft lips that tasted like Chablis and berries. When she bit down on his lip, he groaned at the sensation, realizing for well her small body fit next to his.

"Oh…wow." Felicity said breathlessly as he pulled back. "I could…those lips. Wow."

Oliver tried not to laugh, worried that she might think he was laughing at her.

"I could say the same." Oliver told her.

Felicity shook her head, stepping back from him and wiggling her way free from his arms.

"We can't keep playing with each other in a…." Felicity's voice trailed off, and Oliver watched as it hit her. Her cheeks flushing with embarrassed color, her eyes squeezing shut, and her mouth parting and snapping shut again.

He supposed now wasn't the time to tell her about the security cameras that had been installed out here.

"Dark alley?" Oliver supplied.

Felicity looked away from him, adjusting her glasses, and Oliver thought about it…

He was in love with the girl.

"So…" Felicity swallowed, gathering herself as she brushed some invisible dust off of her dress. "We have an early morning, so I should probably…"

Before she could talk her way out, Oliver grabbed her by the waist and kissed her, hard and deep and with every ounce of emotion he'd been holding back on for months.

"Take me home." Felicity said once he'd pulled away, nodding her head. "You…I should…you should take me home. I had—I was drinking. I shouldn't drive."

She dropped her keys into Oliver's hand.

He rested his other hand on her back, and realized that it was all happening. It wasn't a game of what-ifs, and maybes any more. Felicity gave him the chance, a shot at really being happy with someone, and being the guy she deserved.

A chance at being completely, inexplicably head over heels in love with a girl who, for some reason just seemed to take him for who he was. No clean slates, or changing…but loving each other as they were.

. . .