Chapter 1 - Charlie

AN – This will hopefully be a series of somewhat related and somewhat chronological stories exploring Team Arrow's relationships and dynamics. Pls note that this "Team Arrow" is of my own definition and follows my story You Are the Vigilante. You don't have to read that one but you do need to know that Thea figured out Oliver's secret and she and Roy joined Team Arrow. It's also important to note that this is an Olicity story and they did have a kiss in the Vigilante story!

DISCLAIMER – I did add Charlie and his fam as well as Kyle Martin but all Arrow characters belong to others (unfortunately)!

Charlie sighed quietly as the "new guy" joined him at the security desk.

"I'm Kyle, Kyle Martin, first day here." He spoke as he offered a hand to shake. "Man, I can't believe I actually got the job. Did you know I had to interview directly with Mr. Queen?"

Charlie simply nodded and went back to his monitors but he could already tell this one would be chatty.

"Hey, there he is now. Who's the hot girl with him?"

Charlie had already seen the group in the elevators and knew the kid was asking about Ms. Smoak. "That's Ms. Smoak, IT specialist and Mr. Queen's executive assistant." He glared at the kid while he gave that explanation and hoped he understood the warning.

"Really? Guess it's easy to see what she did to get that position, huh?" Martin sniggered as he rudely looked Felicity up and down. Unfortunately as subtlety wasn't his forte his inspection was interrupted by Mr. Queen's body.

Charlie nodded and spoke, "Afternoon, Mr. Queen."

He smiled sweetly at Felicity who came out from behind Oliver to speak, "Nice to see you Charlie. I hope your girls are doing well."

"Yes ma'am. Thanks for asking." Charlie spoke warmly to Felicity even as he noted that Oliver's eyes were still locked on the kid. Taking pity on Martin whose face had paled, "This is Kyle Martin. He's the new guard." The introduction was moot as Oliver knew who he was but Felicity stepped forward to shake his hand and introduced herself. She didn't realize until she turned and bumped into Oliver's chest that he had followed so closely.

Charlie smothered a laugh as the kid took several steps back after dropping Felicity's hand as if it burned him. He happened to look up and see Mr. Diggle was also smirking a bit. The two kids had stayed closer to the door and seemed unconcerned with Martin's plight.

"Oliver?" Felicity mumbled in surprise as she pushed unsuccessfully at his chest. He simply steered her away after a brief nod for Charlie.

Charlie returned the nod as he liked Mr. Queen, well, he liked all of them as Ms. Smoak and Mr. Diggle were always with him. Actually the group now seemed to include the young couple as well. The sight of the laughing group was a more familiar sight now but it wasn't always. Charlie's thoughts drifted back to the past even as the new guy ran from the security desk…

When Mr. Queen first returned he was rarely in the building and then in and out quickly. His bodyguard/ driver was often with him but neither men spoke nor really even showed emotion. As a veteran, he recognized the signs of trauma in others – watchful eyes, muscle tension and even the protection of personal space. Sure, there were false smiles for others in passing but it didn't seem anyone really noticed the hollowness of either man's expression. Both seemed haunted and Charlie could understand those types of scars as he had some himself.

Soon they were about more often and while their body language changed some it was still only with one another. You could tell when they spoke they were using the opportunity away from others to actually talk. As soon as anyone else joined they were again watchful and on guard but they seemed to recognize the other as a fellow soldier now even if they remained ready for battle.

The addition of Ms. Smoak to the group was a surprise but the effects weren't really surprising. Charlie had had a wonderful mother himself, married his high school sweetheart who he always said was smarted and braver than he was, she even helped him raise a smart and sassy girl who was now raising her own daughter (little Mae was bright and shiny as a new penny herself even if she was only 4 years old). Charlie was a man who fully appreciated the fact that behind a lot of good men stood an even better woman.

He also genuinely liked Ms. Smoak – she had always been bright and friendly and that hadn't changed despite her new position and friends. It was clear the three were certainly friends and it looked like the two new additions were fitting in nicely as well.

Back to Ms. Smoak though, often, at first the gentlemen walked slightly ahead of her or she was in between them. It appeared they were trying to protect her and rarely was there conversation. Almost immediately the trio closed the distances and while she was still often sandwiched between them it was easy to see they were talking, even chatting easily.

You could even begin to see emotions more readily displayed by both men, clearly subtle in comparison to Ms. Smoak but visible nonetheless. And now the trio was often together and worked long hours here at QC – all three seemed happier and were usually in each other's company.

Of course, it was horrible what happened to Ms. Smoak a few months back but at least that Arrow guy took care of that scumbag – good riddance to bad rubbish and all that. Charlie snorted in agreement with his own thoughts.

He knew the rumors at QC had Ms. Smoak and Mr. Queen together but even a blind man should be able to see that wasn't the case…well, it didn't appear to be so until recently when things changed again.

It started when Ms. Thea Queen and her young man became frequent visitors. While Ms. Queen didn't have a soldier attitude any more than Ms. Smoak did, there was weariness in her eyes that contrasted to the rich girl image. Now, Mr. Harper was a different story and seemed to have the same alert wariness as Mr. Queen and Mr. Diggle. Of course, he was clearly from a rougher part of town and, no doubt, street smart. The young people were an unlikely couple but seemed to be comfortable enough together that it could be for the long haul (young people really didn't understand love or commitment).

They were still somewhat uncomfortable around the other three…well, Mr. Harper was but it would be hard to be friends with your girlfriend's older and no doubt disapproving brother. Really, they were all unlikely friends but that is exactly how they appeared to Charlie and he considered himself a better judge of character than most.

As Charlie witnessed a lot of higher ups come through QC he saw a lot of BS and more than his share of office affairs, stealing and cheating. That's probably why Mr. Queen and Mr. Diggle had first gotten his attention – they certainly didn't fit into the superficial business world even if everyone else bought into it. And, of course, their Ms. Smoak was definitely the genuine article.

Charlie chuckled and took an extra moment to watch as Mr. Queen handed Ms. Smoak into the car and followed right behind her which left Ms. Queen and Mr. Harper to follow on their own (the kid didn't even know to help her in as Mr. Queen had – rough edges there). Something had changed recently between Mr. Queen and Ms. Smoak though. They still stood close together and spoke often and there were more smiles but there was something different. He still believed the rumors got it wrong but even he had to admit to a few suspicions lately. Mr. Queen remained protective but as just now displayed with the kid it didn't appear to be limited to potential physical threats but other guys as well. He was acting not just protective but possessive and even an old man like him had noticed the sparks between the two.

Of course, romance wasn't something Charlie gave a thought too since his own Lucy passed away a couple years ago but he did hope Ms. Smoak didn't get hurt. He knew Mr. Queen had been a playboy before the island but it was clear a lot had changed since then. A lot had changed since his return too – he was still on alert but it appeared he had actually seemed happy at times even if most of his real smiles were reserved for Ms. Smoak.

Lucy would have thought that was sweet but even more important to Charlie was the fact that he had witnessed a few of their recent arguments via the security cameras. Clearly Ms. Smoak held her own during those times and it was usually Mr. Queen who brought her a cup of coffee instead of the other way around.

Charlie chuckled to himself as he remembered quite fondly making up with Lucy after a few fights of their fights. Maybe the rumors were true and while he would be happy for them he hoped he never had to witness any make-up sessions between the two.

AN 2 – Not quite what I intended when I started this but it just flew from my brain! I do want to continue from the Vigilante so Team Arrow will be back in place for the next Chapter…possibly starting with this very scene!