AN: A lot of people point out typos. Yes, I know there are typos. Lots, hundreds probably. I'm dyslexic and while I have done a lot to overcome it, I cannot avoid this. I used to use beta's but when I got the work back, I often found more mistakes, not less (and believe me, when a dyslexic is finding mistakes, it's not good) and that led to the awkward scenario of asking for another beta, without hurting the feelings of the first one. And how do you fire someone who tried to help you for free. I've been publishing on the internet for at least 15 years now and in all that time, I have honestly only found one beta that I trust and sadly, I haven't written in her fandoms for well over 5 years now.
My book manuscripts are professionally proofed and edited but those services are expensive and frankly, I write fanfiction for fun. While my books provide me with a living, I'm not JK Rowling, if I was, I would happily pay to have these storied professionally edited but in the meantime, I prof them as best I can in the time restraints I have.
If you want to point specific typos out to me, I will of course correct them, as I correct any that I spot when re-reading, but just telling me that there are mistakes and typos, is like telling me there's a traffic jam but not telling me where.
AN2: Sorry for the delay in publishing this. I can't really afford to spend much more time on it So I wanted to make sure the conclusion was good. Not everything is resolved, as I intentionally wrote this in episodic format, knowing that I would address some plot threads (like the new super-heroes) but not necessarily resolve them in this story. I hope no one minds too much and the main plot points of this story are answered. And if someone wants to pick up where I left off, they are very welcome to!
So without further ado, I give you the final instalment of Three, Two, One.
Diggle was already waiting in the Arrow cave when Felicity and Oliver arrived.
"Sorry to call you away from Lyla," Oliver said. "Is she okay?"
"Long as I'm back by dinner time," he said, as Felicity nodded her greeting and made her way to her computers.
"Are you still sure you don't want to come for Christmas dinner tomorrow?"
"Thanks, but after lunch with Lyla, I'm spending the evening with Carly and A.J. while Lyla goes to her folks. What's so important anyway?"
"Barry," Oliver said darkly.
"Did he reveal your secret?" Diggle asked.
"No, it seems he had a secret of his own now. You've heard about the blur in Central City, right?"
"Wait, you're telling me that little Barry Allen, has been flying around Central City, stopping criminals and moving so fast, that the eye can't see him?" Diggle almost sounded amused at the idea.
"That's exactly what I'm saying."
His merriment fled. "How?"
"That's what we're here to find out," Oliver explained. "He decided to play a practical joke on Felicity and got seen at my house, so I had to make an excuse and invite him to stay; he's home packing right now but he should be back any sec-"
Barry appeared as if from nowhere, a triumphant grin on his face.
"Whoa!" Diggle took a step back. "That's a neat trick."
"Thanks." Barry put his bag down, grinning.
Realising that it seemed rather like an interrogation with he and Diggle standing and seemingly staring Barry down, Oliver pulled a seat over and sat down, and the other two followed his lead.
"So, want to tell us what happened?" Oliver asked, sounding as calm as he could.
"Well like I was saying, there was an accident at Star Labs. Some kind of shock wave radiated out then there was a lightning strike that hit my building and transferred to me. The next thing I knew, I woke up in hospital a week ago, and had the ability to run really fast."
"How did you discover what you could do?" Dig asked.
"Well I was released three days later and was on my way into work, they'd given me time off to recover, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't in any trouble from my trip to Starling City, before the accident. The bus was late again and I was really agitated about being late, then we got caught behind a traffic accident and I decided it'd be quicker to run, so I got off the bus and the next thing I knew, it was like the world slowed down. It took me a while to figure out that it was me who had speeded up, not time slowing down."
"And you have no idea what caused this?" Diggle asked.
"They cleaned up my office while I was in hospital but I checked the photo's they took of the scene, the trouble was, almost everything in my lab was broken, chemicals and glass everywhere and I have no idea which chemicals or mixture caused this, or maybe the shockwave affected the lightening or something. I have to assume that the particle accelerator had something to do with this too, it's too much of a coincidence otherwise."
"I've hacked the hospital records," Felicity said and all three men came to stand behind her chair. Oliver rested his hand on her shoulder in an unconscious gesture, but Barry noticed.
"Anything unusual?" Oliver asked.
"Not sure," Felicity admitted. "They did a CT scan of his brain and while I don't know what a normal brain is supposed to look like, the doctor's notes say there's unusual activity in the primary motor and premotor cortex, especially for someone in a coma. Oh, there's a second scan done a few days later, which… shows even more activity in those areas."
"Looks like his brain was re-wiring itself," Diggle guessed.
"That's a really sloppy way to phrase it but essentially, yeah," Felicity agreed. "They didn't do a third scan once he'd woken up, just tested his mental function and reflexes the old fashioned way, but I'd love to get a new scan, see if the activity died out, stayed the same or increased again."
"Well, that's all very interesting, but that doesn't solve the problem of what we do with him," Oliver said.
"Do with me?" Barry looked a little worried at the wording.
"I can't just let you go around fighting crime," Oliver explained, perhaps not in his most conciliatory tone. "You're a risk to everyone around you and to yourself."
"I'm not a risk!"
"You broke someone's wrist while you were tying them up," Felicity said, reading an article on her screen.
"Normal people probably aren't built to move at the sort of speed you now seem able to," Oliver added. "You could really hurt someone."
"Oh, this coming from the man who kills people!" Barry's indignation died away a little at Oliver's death glare.
"Only as a last resort."
"Seems like this hero thing is catching," Diggle noted.
"Look, I'm not going to hurt anyone!" Barry tried to defend himself. "I want to help people, like you all do."
"And I don't deny that's your intention," Oliver agreed, "but you're an amateur."
"Then teach me how to do it right."
Oliver rolled his eyes and turned away. "I'm not running a hero academy here!"
"Could have fooled me," Felicity said under her breath, but everyone still heard, only Barry seemed confused by it.
Silence descended over the group and Felicity turned her chair around to face the others.
"This could also be damaging you," Feliciyt pointed out. "You aren't built to move at those speeds and whatever this is, it could be doing unseen damage to your body or brain. We need to check you out before you keep doing this, because there's no point in stopping bad guys if you get yourself killed too."
Barry didn't look happy at her argument but finally nodded his.
"And I really hate to bring this up but…" she pressed he rlips together as she looked at Barry. "Well, your new power sounds a lot like how you described your mom's death."
Barry visibly sagged at that. "I know," he admitted. "I can't explain it and I don't understand it, but maybe now I can find who did it."
"How do you mean?" Diggle asked.
"Well I don't know yet but last time, the problem was that I couldn't see him and he was too fast for my dad to fight him. Now, I'm a much better match and if I can find him, I stand a far better chance of stopping him."
Oliver turned to face the group again. As much as the two new super-powered humans worried him, he did feel for Barry. An injustice like that could eat away at your soul.
"Let's just try and have a nice Christmas," he said. "After that, we'll see about running some tests on you, both to find out how this happened, and what your limitations are. We can see where we go from there."
"We really need to see what kinds of cameras can capture his image too," Felicity added. "You were lucky with the CCTV footage but now that people know you're real, they're going to want to get a picture of you, and some high speed cameras can snap 125 frames per second, maybe more."
Barry nodded. "I hadn't thought of that. I might have to wear a mask."
"I don't know how you were finding these criminals either, but we have to make sure it's safe and that nothing you're using can be traced back to you."
"I used an old police radio that I got off ebay."
"I'll hack in and remove all traces of that sale," Felicity offered, turning her chair back to her computers. "What's your username?"
"CSI dash 99."
She began typing.
"So how does it feel to be the blur?" Diggle asked Barry.
"I don't really know yet, it's all very new," Barry admitted. "But I hate that name."
"How about The Lightening," Diggle suggested, to which Barry turned his nose up. "Or Speedy."
"That reminds me of that cartoon mouse, Speedy Gonzales."
"How about Swift, or Rapid, or Blaze?" Diggle added.
"I don't know."
"We can check a thesaurus later," Oliver said. "Right now we all have cover stories to keep intact."
"I'm nearly done," Felicity told them.
"Then if no one minds, I'll head home. Lyla has a bottle of eggnog ready to open."
"I'll walk you out," Oliver said.
"You okay with this?" Diggle asked once they were out of ear shot.
"I wouldn't say 'okay' but there's not a lot I can do about it."
"He's basically a good kid, they both are."
"I know." Oliver gave a weary sigh. "I got into this to help people, not to teach. I don't want to teach Barry and Roy how to be a vigilante."
"Regardless, you've got the job and contrary to what you might think, you can do this."
Oliver gave him a disbelieving look. "I am the world's worst role model, Dig."
Diggle smiled. "I know it feels like that sometimes but it's not true."
Oliver wished he could believe him.
"Besides, maybe they can learn from your mistakes."
"If there's one thing I've learned about mistakes, it's that you only ever learn from your own."
"So, you and Oliver?" Barry asked Felicity once they were alone.
Felicity turned to him, shocked. "What about us?"
"I'm not blind, Felicity."
Felicity mentally reviewed their behaviour since Barry had arrived in her room, and could see nothing that might give away their couple status. She had asked Oliver not to do or say anything, wanting to talk to Barry herself and tell him. Now he knew though, she couldn't deny it.
"It's still very new."
Barry gave her a resigned smile. "I hope you'll be very happy together."
Felicity felt awful but there was nothing she could do to change things. "I'm sorry."
"You have nothing to apologise for."
She gave him a weak smile and turned back to her screens. He was right, but she still didn't like the slightly dejected expression he wore.
Oliver joined them a few moments later and they stood in uncomfortable silence until she finally declared , "There, all done."
"Then let's get back to the house and try to have a good time," Oliver suggested.
"Thank you for inviting me," Barry said. "I know you were forced into it once your family saw me but… well, thanks."
"It's not a problem," Oliver assured him, his attitude softening towards the kid as he remembered that Barry didn't have any family to celebrate with. All things considered, Barry probably stood a better chance of being a good hero than Roy, since Barry didn't seem to have Roy's anger issues, but Oliver knew well that appearances could be deceptive.
When they got back to the mansion, Moira and Thea were gathered in the living room with their guests, sharing mulled wine as Christmas music played on the stereo. Felicity had been told there would be extra people at the Christmas Eve dinner, but she hadn't expected Laurel and her father, or Walter to be there. There were a half a dozen other people there too, two of whom looked about Thea's age and were probably her friends, and the rest seemed to be friends of Moira.
Roy was also there, sitting next to Thea and as Oliver walked in, Roy took Thea's hand and gave him a defiant glare.
Oliver wanted to rip the kids head off for not doing as he'd been told but Felicity grabbed his hand to get his attention and shook her head slightly.
Everyone was dressed in casual clothes and there were no servants milling around serving drinks, just a table set up with a fancy urn that dispensed warm mulled wine, and a selection of other drinks people could help themselves to.
Oliver went to pour mulled wine for himself, Felicity and Barry, and Felicity introduced Barry to his mother, then she joined Oliver.
"He's testing you." Felicity said softly. "Don't make a scene."
"That's kind of hard when he's endangering my sister."
"Well right now, he's only training so she's not in danger and besides, I think that he has real feelings for Thea."
"Then he shouldn't want to put her in danger."
"You're dating me," she reminded him.
"But you know the risks, Thea doesn't."
"You're right but he's trying to get a reaction from you. Don't rise to it."
"Maybe I'll have Diggle talk to him."
"You think he'll listen to Dig?"
"Roy seems to look up to him actually, so he probably stands the best chance of getting through to him."
"Then that's what we'll do but for tonight, try to be nice."
Oliver didn't answer.
"Just try," Felicity said again. "Please."
Oliver nodded his agreement and handed her a glass of mulled wine, which she accepted, then she went to speak to Roy and Thea.
Oliver saw Roy swallow down some nerves as she approached and he realised that the other man probably hadn't thought this through; he had come tonight on impulse, to upset Oliver but he hadn't stopped to think that the woman he had kidnapped would be here also, and that she might be inclined to 'out' him to his girlfriend.
Oliver knew that Felicity wouldn't do that but Roy still didn't know her very well.
Thankfully, Thea seemed to have given up her ridiculous notion that Walter had had an affair with Felicity, and greeted her with a warm smile.
"It's a nice place you've got here," Felicity's brother, James said as he approached. "Scottish Baronial, if I'm not mistaken, early 1900s?"
Oliver turned away from Roy and Felicity and tried to pay them no further mind.
"I think so but my mother probably knows more about the house than I do. Felicity said you're studying architecture, right?"
"That's right," he smiled. "I'd love to have a proper look around the gardens too, if that's all right."
"Help yourself, but that seems a little outside the remit of an architect."
"Buildings are my passion, but landscapes are my hobby."
"They go very nicely together."
"So did your family build this place?"
"No, we're nouveau riche, I'm afraid. My grandfather was a businessman, he started Queen's, then Queen and Son, but it was my father who turned those enterprises into Queen Consolidated. He bought this house soon after he married my mother, just before I was born."
"And you're following in his footsteps."
"Only in some ways," Oliver hedged. He would not put profit above people but he still hoped to run a successful enterprise. "You're hoping to become an architect?"
"That's the plan."
"I have a few contacts that I could put you in touch with who might be able to help your career."
"Thanks but I prefer to let my talent speak for itself, assuming I have any, that is."
Oliver smiled at the self-deprecation.
"That's a nice thought but everyone, even talented people, need a hand up sometimes."
"Look," James dropped the pretence of small talk. "Felix is a pretty special person, she practically raised me and while I don't want to insult you, your track record with women isn't exactly great."
"Your point being?" Oliver bristled.
"Don't hurt her. She's more than just a name in a little black book, and she deserves someone who can see how amazing she is."
Some of Oliver's ire faded, how could he be mad at someone who had Felicity's best interests at heart. He let his façade fade a little so his real feelings could show through.
"Believe me, I know exactly how special she is."
James gave him a long look, as if judging his truthfulness, then nodded. "Good."
"Let me introduce you to my Mom, I'm pretty sure we still have the original plans of the house somewhere, and she probably knows where."
"Thanks, I'd like that."
"Miss Smoak," Lance said, joining Felicity as she refilled her wine glass.
"Officer Lance," she smiled at the formality.
"How about we go with Quentin and Felicity for this evening?" he asked, a twinkle in his eye.
"I'd like that," she smiled. "Can I top you up?" One of his arms was still in a sling so it would be difficult for him to refill his glass.
"How are you?" she asked, some of her pleasure in seeing him up and well fading as she recalled the reason for his sling.
"Coping," he answered.
"I'm sorry about your partner."
Lance nodded. "Thank you for coming to the funeral."
"It was the least I could do." Felicity hadn't thought he'd noticed her, there had been so many people present.
"Laurel dragged me here as her plus one," he explained his presence there. "Said I needed to get back in the game, or something. She's been saying a lot of things like that recently."
"She worries about you." Felicity offered.
"Well, considering how I was after Sara…" he swallowed. "Well, I can't really blame her."
Felicity smiled but she was unsure how to reply to that.
"So, do I gather that you and Queen are an item now?" He had evidently decided that a change in subject was needed.
"We are. It's very new."
"Does he know about our mutual friend?"
"No, and I'd rather he didn't." Given that she now worked for and dated Oliver, she had expected Lance to wonder about the arrow and Oliver. She had decided to tell people that it was her secret, much like Laurel had hidden her dealings with the arrow from Tommy.
"You don't think he'd like it?" Lance asked, watching her closely.
"Considering that the arrow went after one percenters, not to mention that he killed Malcolm Merlin, his Dad's best friend, I'd say he wouldn't take to kindly to the news that I sometimes help him."
Lance nodded, seemingly accepting her answer. "Well, next time you do talk to him, tell him thanks from me, for taking out Gold. I don't know how he did it, but the guy has some balls, I'll give him that."
Felicity would call it a reckless death wish, combined with a hero complex, rather than 'balls' but she wasn't about to argue the point and as much as she hated the danger he put himself in, Starling City needed him; it was just her bad luck that she had to go and fall for a guy who took responsibility for others failings onto his own shoulders.
"I will," she assured Lance.
"Do you know if he has family to spend the holidays with?"
Over his shoulder, Felicity could see Oliver chatting to his mother.
"I hope so," she said with sincerity. "I think he deserves to be loved."
"I think you're right," he agreed, then suddenly smiled. "If you'd told me last Christmas that I'd feel this way, I'd have thought you were crazy."
"Insanity is a perfectly logical reaction to an insane world."
"Ain't that the truth." Lance raised his glass and they toasted her words.
"Laurel," Oliver said, offering her a warm smile. He had forgotten that she had been invited but he supposed that she had to find out about him and Felicity sometime, and now was as good a time as any.
"Hey." She smiled. "Thank you for inviting me tonight."
Although he didn't contradict her, his mother had actually invited her, saying she wanted to heal the rift caused when Laurel had tried to convict her of mass murder. Oliver didn't quite believe that and wondered if she had other motives, but he didn't argue. Honestly, a Christmas without Laurel would have been odd, so he was glad that she had come.
"Your father looks good."
"Yeah, he's healing well. It's the scars you can't see that I worry about."
"Your father's strong, Laurel, he's survived worse than this and he'll be fine."
"You're right, I know you're right, I just can't help worrying."
Oliver could relate. "And how about you?" Her scars also weren't visible but she had endured more than her share of trauma in the past year.
"I don't know," she answered honestly. "I think I'm okay, mostly."
She smiled. "So, are we going to talk about the elephant in the room, or just pretend it's a Christmas decoration?"
"You and your assistant, Felicity, wasn't it?"
Oliver nodded. "How'd you know?"
"The little talk you two had just after you got here, and the look you gave her; I remember that look."
"I'm sorry, I didn't plan-"
"No," she cut him off. "It might be weird for me, but I'll get used to it. You deserve to be happy, Oliver."
"Thank you. So do you."
"Thanks." A shy smile played at her lips.
"What aren't you telling me?" he asked, his tone teasing. "Do you have someone?"
Her smile widened. "Maybe. It's very early days but I'm hopeful it's going somewhere."
"Are you going to tell me who he lucky guy is?"
"No, not yet anyway."
"Well whoever he is, I hope he deserves you."
"Excuse me, if I could have your attention," Moira called out, and they turned to her. "Dinner will be served in a few minutes so if you could make your way into the dining room. There's no seating plan this evening, so just find someone you love, or at least, like, to sit beside."
Oliver and Laurel shared an uncomfortable look for a moment.
"I'd better go find my Dad."
Oliver nodded, glad that she hadn't made that any more uncomfortable than it already was.
Dinner was an informal affair and conversation flowed as freely as the wine and water did. It was a three course meal, with a cold starter, steak pie for the main course and a chocolate and cranberry ice cream for dessert. To keep things as easy as possible for the servants, they helped themselves to most of the food, from serving platters set out in the middle of the table
Felicity had Oliver on her left and Thea on her right, eschewing the normal boy-girl-boy-girl dinner party etiquette.
"So, how does it feel to date a billionaire?" Thea asked.
Felicity was a little taken aback at the implication but not entirely surprised.
"Not as much fun as Hello magazine makes it sound," she deadpanned. "I don't have a single gift of jewellery, a fast car, a designer wardrobe or a copy of Oliver's credit card. If this keeps up, I'll have to sell my story to the Enquirer."
Thea couldn't help smiling, although she tried not to. "Oh god, and I so wanted to hate you." She shook her head, disappointed in herself.
Felicity flipped the stereotype, saying, "Well I've got to say, I'm a little disappointed you haven't offered me drugs and a joyride yet."
"Touché," Thea agreed. "All I can offer you these days is vitamin supplements and caffeinated beverages."
"You aren't going to keep TMZ going with that."
Thea shrugged. "I'll just have to have an affair with Johnny Depp, then."
"Really? You like him?"
"He's hot, sexy and rich, what's not to like?" Thea teased.
"Two of the three reasons I like your brother."
Thea grinned. "Just don't tell him you think he's hot or sexy, he's ego is big enough as it is."
They shared a smile.
"Are my ears burning?" Oliver asked, turning to them.
"No," Thea answered, but Felicity's blush belied her words. Not that he minded, as long as she could get along with his family, he was happy, even if it was at his expense.
Some guests left after the meal, preferring to get home early, but they were all invited to stay for movie afterwards. Felicity wasn't sure how she felt about Laurel staying. It wasn't that she disliked Laurel at all, she was just a touch crazy jealous of her. Felicity trusted Oliver's fidelity but Laurel had been the love of his life, and it was hard not to envy the person who had that place in his life.
In the event, Laurel decided not to stay because her father looked tired. Felicity had rather thought he looked a tiny bit stoned and she had seen him popping a pill before they ate, but given how serious his injuries had been, she reasoned that he was probably on some pretty heavy medication.
In the end, it was just the family and those staying overnight who remained and they retreated to the living room and while the family debated which movie to watch, Felicity was admiring the eight foot high Christmas tree, and the beautiful ornaments that adorned it.
"Felicity," Moira said as she came to stand beside her.
"Call me Moira, please. Can I get you a drink?"
"No, thank you." Felicity raised her nearly full red wine glass, which she had brought with her from the dining room. "I was just admiring your decorations."
Moira turned her attention to the tree. "We used to have a tree in every room, garlands on every surface but since my husband died… well the tradition died with him."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you."
"Oh, no, you didn't." Moira reached out and picked a crystal reindeer off the tree. "Robert bought this for me, the first year we lived here. Almost every ornament on here has a memory attached."
She put the reindeer back and lightly touched a red bauble with 'Oliver' written in snowflakes.
"We got this for Oliver's first Christmas. He was only seven months old at the time so he didn't appreciate the gesture, but it was our way of including him."
Moira smiled, then dropped her hand and turned to face Felicity.
"I can't claim to know much about you, Felicity, although you seem like a very nice girl."
Felicity could practically feel a 'but' coming.
"But I like you, Felicity, and you're the kind of girl who could be hurt by someone like my son."
"We were friend's first," Felicity assured her. "I know all his faults." 'Possibly better than you do," she silently added.
"Then I've said my piece and we'll talk no more on the subject." Moira smiled.
"Thank you for worrying about me; I was worried you wouldn't like me."
"Why would you think that?"
"Because of the horrendously inappropriate things I sometimes say.
Moira seemed to be trying hard to disguise her mirth.
"Considering the recent scandals this family has endured, and that both my children have been in court for breaking the law, I hardly think a few verbal slips matters, especially since your heart seems to be in the right place.
"You will continue to work for him, no?"
"Yes, I have no plans to leave."
"Good, because I want to ask you for a favour."
Felicity cringed, dreading what it might be.
"Isabel Rochev is not to be trusted but Oliver can't see it yet. I would like you keep a close eye on her movements and let me know if something suspicious happens."
"I don't want to go behind Oliver's back, Mrs Queen, I mean, Moira."
"And I'm not asking you to. Tell him anything you want, just please make sure that you tell me too."
"How do you know her?" Felicity asked. She knew that Isabel had been on 'the list' but she didn't know what for. Felicity had tried researching all the names on the list but some either weren't criminals, or hid their crimes very well. She had tried researching Isabel again once she made her move to buy QC but her luck hadn't been any better.
"That's a long story," Moira brushed Felicity's question off and since she needed this woman to like her, Felicity didn't press her for information. "No matter what happens, please stay close to Oliver, I have a feeling that he's going to need you very much in the not too distant future."
"Good." Moira smiled and walked away, leaving Felicity wondering what that conversation had all been about, and feeling as if she had only been told a very small part of the puzzle.
The Queens reminded her of an iceberg. Each one of them had a visible persona but buried under polite manners and charm, was a mass of secrets and lies that no one could see. Even Oliver was the same. Felicity probably knew more than half of his secrets, but there was still a lot about his time on the island that she didn't know, and that he didn't want to talk about. He wasn't lying to her, but he was hiding the truth from her.
Felicity just hoped that Moira's new secret was not as deadly as her last one, with Malcolm Merlyn.
"Hey," Roy said as he came to stand beside her.
"I haven't seen much of you the last few days and we didn't get a chance to really talk earlier. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Felicity smiled, pleased that he cared about the damage he'd done.
"Good… I'm glad…"
"Are you okay?" Felicity couldn't help wondering what he wanted with her.
Roy looked down into his wine glass and she almost thought he wouldn't answer her.
"Why did you help me?" he finally asked.
"What do you mean?"
Roy kept his voice low. "I hit you, I kidnapped you, I tied you up, but you still thought I could be a hero. If you hadn't talked him into it, Oliver wouldn't have told me the truth."
"I've seen evil, Roy, it tied me to a chair, much like you did. The difference is, you asked if my bonds were too tight and if I was thirsty. You didn't grope me, or tell me stories about what you could do to me, or to Oliver while I watch, and you didn't relish killing him, even though that was your intention."
"You did what you did because you were angry, and it was stupid, but you aren't evil, just mixed up. Believe it to not, Oliver can be a little the same."
"He wouldn't kidnap anyone."
"You sure about that? You've seen his scars and those experienced have had a big impact on him. He can be single minded when he's worried or upset, which can make him do reckless things, like shooting people in the leg to keep them safe. I'm not sure there's a lot that he wouldn't do."
"Why do you help him then?"
"Because he isn't evil either, in fact, I think he's a pretty moral person, he just doesn't always go about things in the best way. Still, I trust him and Diggle with my life and I hope that one day, I can say the same about you."
Roy looked touched by her words.
"Now tell me honestly," she went on. "Did you come here because you love Thea, or because you wanted to upset Oliver?"
Roy didn't answer.
"You know, if it's the former, I'll back you all the way but if it's the latter, Thea deserves better. Oliver was right, she will be in danger and if you really love her, then I know you'll do everything in your power to keep her safe. If you don't though, even without the danger you're putting her in, you need to let her move on so she can find someone who will love her."
"Honestly, I don't know how I feel right now," he admitted. "I care about her, a lot but…"
"Well, it's been a strange few weeks. Just think about it. Deep down you know the answer and once things have calmed down a little, you'll know what to do."
"So how's the training going?" she asked. She'd had positive reports from Oliver but she wanted Roy's opinion.
"Not bad," he admitted. "Dig's a pretty cool guy. I got to admit too, I didn't realises how much that potion had messed me up."
"Are you okay?" She sounded concerned.
"Yeah, not messed up like that. It's like, it's easier to crush a beer can now but anyone can crush a beer can, even you."
"Okay, you're going to need to dial down the sexism if we're going to work together, but go on."
"Where was I?"
"Right, well things like that are easier, and I can chip brick walls but I have to intend to punch them. What I hadn't realised was that when doing almost anything, especially thoughtless actions, I have to be careful."
"Dig threw me a tennis ball and I almost missed it so when I grabbed it, I split tit open. And bench presses. When I exert myself to lift the bar, I've thrown it feet into the air."
"So you put that dent in the ceiling?"
Roy looked sheepish, "Yeah, sorry."
"It's okay," she assured him.
"Well anyway, I have to learn to re-do a lot of stuff now, but Dig keeps it interesting."
"You like him then?" she asked, although from his enthusiasm, hero-worshipped would have been a better description, but Felicity wasn't completely without tact.
Roy nodded. "He's good people."
"He is," she agreed.
"Felicity, my dear?"
She turned to Moira Queen.
"It seems that you have the casting vote in our Christmas movie choice."
"What about my vote?" Roy asked, perhaps a little offended.
"I voted for you," Thea answered with a smug smile. "And having impeccable taste, you voted with me."
"What are my choices?" Felicity asked Moira.
"Well Oliver, James and I voted for Gone with the Wind, while Thea, Roy, and Barry voted for It's a Wonderful Life."
Great, so she could upset Thea or Moira, either way, she wouldn't be popular with one family member. "Well they're both great movies but… my favourite Christmas movie was always Die Hard. Can I vote for that?"
"Die hard?" Oliver asked, clearly entertained by her answer. "Not exactly Christmassy."
Thankfully, Moira and Thea looked amused by her answer.
"It's set at Christmas time, has a lot of Christmas songs and the violence is a good way of easing the tension at this time of year. Besides, Gone with the Wind and the civil war don't exactly scream Christmas either."
"Well if this is an open vote, I'm going for Gremlins," James added.
"And I vote for the Nightmare Before Christmas," Roy piped up.
"Oh, I love that movie!" Barry grinned.
"And this free for all, is why we only choose from two movies every Christmas Eve," Oliver explained, although he seemed to be enjoying the fray.
Oliver was on a two seater sofa and positioned so that she could lean back against him, so the decision was really, three hours cuddling in front of his family, or an hour and a half cuddling, but more free time later for… other things.
"It's a Wonderful Life," she decided.
"Good choice," Moira said, even although Felicity had voted against her. "Thea?"
Thea jumped up to put the dvd in, while Roy and James moved other chairs and sofas around the television, so they had a better view of the television.
Felicity joined Oliver and he pulled her against him. Although it was a little awkward cuddling with his mom in the room, she gave Felicity a warm smile, as if to say that it was okay with her.
Once the movie began playing, Thea turned the lights down and everyone settled in their places to watch.
Felicity sat with her back against Oliver's chest, his arms around her, hands resting on her stomach, his thumb idly stroking her blouse. The move was about fifteen minutes in, when his fingers slipped through the space between two buttons and he began caressing her skin.
Her breath hitched in her throat and while she was embarrassed to be doing this in front of his family, she was also too embarrassed to say something and draw attention to the act.
Oliver undid a button and slipped his whole hand inside her shirt, trailing his calloused fingertips over her soft skin, causing heat to pool in her pelvis. He opened another button, which gave him enough too to reach up and caress her breast through her bra. Her nipple instantly hardened and her breathing became hard to regulate, requiring most of her concentration to breathe evenly, rather than panting.
He tweaked her nipped through the bra and she only just managed to stifle her gasp.
"You're a dead man, Queen," she hissed, but the gentle rise and fall of his chest told her he was laughing softly.
"But what a way to go," he whispered back.
He switched his attentions to the other breast while he opened another button, allowing his other hand to slip inside her shirt and go lower.
She was half thankful that she had worn jeans, which would make it hard for him to slip his fingers under her waist band, and half wishing she's worn something with an elasticated waist. She would be lying if she said that the risk of getting caught wasn't turning her on.
"If you keep this up, I am never going to sleep tonight," she whispered.
"That's the general idea."
The fact that he knew exactly how much he was turning her on both thrilled and angered her. Two could play this game however, and she slipped a hand behind her back, resting it on the crotch of his jeans. He was half hard and rubbing her hand over the bulge soon caused him to harden completely.
He moaned softly in her ear, which was probably the sexiest sound that she had ever heard.
After a few moments of stimulating him, she arched her back to give herself room to lower his zipper.
"Felicity!" His whisper held a note of warning.
She ignored him and Oliver signalled a retreat, removing his hands and re-buttoning her blouse. She was a little disappointed to realise that their game was over but she knew they were pushing the boundaries and anyway, the film seemed to be nearly over. Where had that last hour gone?
"Well, I think we should call it a night," Oliver said as the credits rolled. "If we're awake, Santa won't come."
Thea threw a pillow at him and with unusually good aim, it hit his head. "Don't worry Ollie, you're on his naughty list anyway," she added.
The night broke up then and after saying their good nights, everyone headed off to bed. Felicity paused outside Oliver's door. "Give it half an hour," she said, stretching up to kiss him. "I'll be waiting, and I'm wearing the red underwear you liked."
His eyes flared, then became hooded with desire, and his hands reached down to hold her butt.
"I also have a present for you," she told him.
"You mean the underwear isn't my present?"
"It's not your colour, wouldn't suit you," she said, deadpan.
"Make it fifteen minutes, and you have a deal."
She couldn't stop the grin from spreading over the lower half of her face.
"And turn your phone off," she said; they had suffered too many interruptions for her to leave anything to chance. "Even heroes deserve a night off now and again."
He nodded his agreement and Felicity stepped back, taking his arm with her since she was unwilling to let go of his hand. Eventually she either had to let him go, or drag him after her, so she opted to let him go, her fingertips caressing his as they separated.
She continued walking backwards until she reached her door, then opened it and turned back. He was still watching her, so she blew him a kiss before disappearing inside.
"Now I know why cats purr," she said languidly. Her head was resting on his shoulder as her hands traced patterns on his chest.
"You know, I could have sworn you said you wouldn't sleep with me under my mother's roof."
"Yeah," Felicity laughed. "It seems that when I'm turned on, I have very lose morals."
"You'll get no complaints from me."
She turned her head so he could kiss her.
"So, can I call you Felix now?" he asked.
"Why would you want to? It's one thing for my brother to call me by a boys name but do you really want your friends hearing you say 'Love you, Felix' when you call me?"
"One, that's a little bit homophobic, which I am not, so I'm just going to forget you said that and two, the name Felix is half the size of Felicity."
"It's three letters shorter, five rather than eight, which means it's only 37.5 percent shorter, not half."
"But there is more than one way to measure something. You're working on letters, while I'm going by syllables. Fe-lis-it-y, four syllables, compared to Fe-lix, only two syllables."
"Fine," she smiled. "Besides, only people I adore get to call me Felix, so it's kind of apt that you do."
His teasing smile changed into a broad grin. "You adore me?"
She blushed and considered lying, after all, adore was love in French… or was that amore? Languages were really not her thing, not without Google translate to hand, anyway. Still, she meant it, even if she wasn't ready to say the L-word.
He kissed her, not passionately, but reverently.
"I adore you too," he assured her.
Felicity grinned. "So does this mean I have to call you Ollie now?"
"Please don't." The seriousness with which he said that puzzled her. "Ollie is the man I used to be and he was kind of an ass. I like that you don't call me that, because I don't feel lie him anymore."
"All right, Oliver it is but just FYI, Dig was right, it is weird when you refer to yourself in the third person."
He smiled, then noticed her clock.
"It's after midnight," he said. "Merry Christmas."
She checked, then propped her head up on her elbows so she could look at him.
"Merry Christmas. Do you want your present now?"
"You mean, you were serious when you said that wasn't my present?"
"It felt more like my present," she said, blushing. "And I want another present, once I've recovered enough for round two."
"Dating you is going to be harder work than being the vigilante." Oliver smirked.
Felicity sat up and reached into the drawer in her bedside table, withdrawing a flat present wrapped in red paper, about the side of an A4 page.
Curiosity piqued, Oliver unwrapped it and pulled out an envelope, which he also opened and pulled out a certificate. His first thought was that this was a gag gift, declaring him the 'World's Best Boyfriend' or 'Felicity Smoak's Hero' but it was nothing like that.
"What is this?" he asked, sounding serious.
"It's a stock transfer form." It seemed pretty obvious to her, since it was headed 'Stock Transfer Form', in pretty big writing too.
"Well, I've been meaning to tell you but things were a little bit hectic recently, what with new heroes and kidnapping attempts and catching up at work."
Her tone was almost guilty and he watched her closely. "Okay."
"Queen Consolidated acquired the social media site, Shout, about a month ago, and shares were a part of the deal."
"I remember, that's one of the reasons our profits are up."
"Remember I told you that I had investments?"
"And that some of those investments were in my friends start-ups?"
"Well one of the companies I invested in was my friend Jim Mortiz's company."
"The man behind the Shout website?"
"Yeah. Not only did I give him two hundred and fifty dollars to help him start up, I designed the program that first powered , which was more valuable that my investment, so I owned 30 percent of that company. Jim owned 45 and other investors owned the rest."
"Why didn't I see your name on the due diligence?"
"Because I have my own company for my investments, FMSInc."
"Felicity Meagan Smoak Incorporated," he smiled as realisation dawned.
"Yeah. Anyway, thanks to the sale of Shout and cashing in some other stocks I own, I was able to buy a little more from the other investors who got shares and … I now own one percent of Queen Consolidated. "
"So you're giving me your shares in my company?"
"Do you have any idea how much these shares are worth?" He didn't sound happy about his gift.
"I'm a genius, remember? I know exactly what those shares are worth."
"And you're just giving them to me."
"Have you filed notification with teh company yet?"
"Then I can't let you do this."
Her face fell.
"Felicity, I'm a billionaire, I can't accent a present of this magnitude from someone who earns a fraction of what I do."
She felt a little ebetter that he wasn't angry with her for owning part of his company and not telling him.
"Oliver, this won't leave me short, believe me, I've done my homework and I'd rather you had control of these shares so you can overrule Isabel when you need to. The only reason I haven't sent the forms to QC, is because I don't want her to know about this until you want her to know."
"Then at least allow me to buy them from you, at fair market value."
"This is not a negotiation, Oliver, this is my gift to you and if you don't accept it, I don't have a back up plan. Refusing a gift is rude, you know."
"You are something else," he said with a wide smile.
"Why didn't you tell me before?"
"I don't know, Queen Consolidated is your baby, and I thought you might feel that I was trying to muscle in or something, or that maybe I was insider trading, although I had nothing to do with the negotiations, it was Jim's financial advisors who told him to ask for shares as part of the deal and I had nothing to do with it. Besides, I don't think handcuffs would look very good on me."
"What are you grinning for?" she asked.
"You rambled. Now that we're a couple, you don't ramble as much," he answered.
"No. Now when you make an unintentional pun or double entendre, you blush, but you don't ramble. At least, not as much as you used to."
"That's because now you're my boyfriend now, I'm allowed to sexually harass you," she teased.
"I miss it."
"Yeah, it was endearing."
"For you, maybe, not for me. And don't worry, I'm sure there are plenty of awkward, non-dating situations, in our future for me to ramble over. The next time one of you is in court, for example. Or just arrested, the handcuffs alone would be enough to start me off."
"You like handcuffs?" he asked, seemingly very amused by her statement.
"No, not really. I mean, I like that they're used to restrain bad guys and all that, they're very effective at doing that, but that's where they should stay, no handcuffs in the bedroom, Mister."
"What about whips?"
"Nope, I don't even like them used on race horses."
"Don't you have any kinky bedroom fantasies?"
"See, now you're just trying to embarrass me."
"Is it working?"
Felicity smirked. "Well, there is one."
"Come on, you're not going to leave it there, are you? You have to tell me!"
"I don't have to do anything, Mr Queen," she smirked, enjoying that she had turned the tables. "But I'm not that cruel."
Still, she left a long enough pause before continuing that he started to worry that she wouldn't tell him.
"Leather," she finally admitted.
"You like wearing leather?"
"Me? No. Specifically, green leather." Then she leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "How would you feel about doing it in your arrow outfit?"
"I have a feeling that's one request that I could fulfil, Miss Smoak."