The first thing Felicity noticed about Bruce Wayne wasn't the impeccable suit, though he wore Armani well. It wasn't the firm handshake. It wasn't even the laughably insincere compliment he paid her. And it wasn't that he was an extremely attractive man. Though he was. A few inches taller than Oliver, thick, dark hair that was just on the verge of needing a haircut, patrician nose.
No, the first thing she noticed about Bruce Wayne was that he wore the same mask Oliver had when she'd first met him. That same dilettante, playboy demeanor that she would bet money covered up so much more. Maybe it was a billionaire thing. They probably had secret meetings where the rules were laid out and they practiced alternating between disingenuous charm and being superficial assholes to everyone.
Later, as she sat in one of Wayne Enterprises conference rooms, she watched the two men attempt to out smug one another. The amount of arrogance in the room had reached oppressive levels, but by the end of the meeting, it appeared they'd reached some sort of agreement to explore the possibility of working together.
She hadn't been needed for this meeting and slightly resented that Diggle had been allowed to stay home with the flu. She hadn't been surprised when he'd foregone the flu shot this year. Unfortunately, he'd lost that roll of the dice.
As this was purely Queen Consolidated corporate work with no extracurricular jobs planned, she'd made the case that she should stay home, too. Wayne Enterprises had assistants and she wasn't needed to coordinate his schedule or order bagels. Oliver apparently hadn't agreed with any of her excellent arguments and now she was stuck in Gotham.
Things with Oliver lately had been, well, tense. Spending all your time with the same two people was often difficult under the best of circumstances. When you added in a job you slightly resented and combined that with stress filled nights worried that your two favorite people were in mortal danger, it tended to take a lot out of a person.
That didn't mean she had any regrets signing on with Oliver's crusade. She didn't. She was just ready for a vacation.
So she'd spent the last two and a half hours hiding her tablet on her lap while she played Solitaire and sent Diggle funny gifs. Such a perfect use of her skills.
Digg had sent Roger, the guard who was usually on Thea detail, for show, but Felicity knew he was pathetically easy to lose. She'd gotten a stern lecture that morning about the importance of obeying his directives when she'd shown up to Oliver's suite with donuts. Apparently, the donut shops in Gotham weren't to be trusted. She'd even offered a chocolate sprinkle in amends but he'd declined. Weirdo. Who could resist a chocolate sprinkle?
And now Oliver had some swanky charity shindig to go to tonight. And she had…a bunch of free time in a city she didn't really want to be in. She wasn't even 'allowed' to look into the vigilante that Gotham had running around.
She'd brought up the idea that this trip would be the perfect time to find out some more information about the person news organizations had been calling The Bat. But, in usual Oliver fashion, he'd shut her down, telling her he didn't want to invite trouble. She'd protested, but in truth, had already done a bit of investigating on her own.
She'd only been able to find some blurry footage and a few unreliable witness accounts. Barry had been right – black really was a better color for urban camouflage. Whoever this guy was, he was good at getting rid of evidence. She was pretty sure she was better but eventually decided this guy deserved the same amount of secrecy she wanted Arrow to have. For now.
As the meeting wrapped up, and the various executives decided upon a follow-up strategy, she went to window that looked out over Gotham. It seemed darker, more depressing than Starling City.
She felt him approach before she saw him. Maybe she was picking up her own ninja skills from Oliver by osmosis.
"Miss Smoak, enjoying our city?"
She turned to him and quickly plastered an equally fake smile on her face as the one she faced. "Well, I haven't really had a chance to explore yet, but I've heard good things."
"Are you attending the Annual Gotham City Children's Charities Fundraiser with Queen tonight?"
"Oh, um, no. I have been given the night off. I thought I'd head down to Gotham Square and see what I could find."
"Or you could accompany me," he said.
She prided herself on only gaping a second before replying, "As a date? Because frankly, this makes no sense."
Bruce smirked. "Yes, as a date. I admit to checking out the people I work with. You're intelligent, beautiful, have a free night, and I need a date."
Her eyes narrowed. "Is this about irritating Oliver? I don't really know your history together other than you're older than he is and you're familiar with each other from boarding schools. And whatever rarified club you billionaires live in. I mean, he didn't say that last part; that's my own conclusion."
"And if it was about irritating Oliver?" he mused.
Felicity wanted to take the high road. She might not be able to keep a thought in her head before it came out her mouth, but she generally had good intentions. And this, she knew, would not be the right thing. For so many reasons, the least of which was that she was in a mood where irritating Oliver seemed like a good idea. Luckily, good sense prevailed.
"I'm not a pawn, Mr. Wayne. Besides, I think his date is some lingerie model. Using me wouldn't even be a blip on his radar tonight."
Bruce looked over to where Oliver was talking to one of the women from the Applied Sciences department. Ever since he'd walked over to Felicity at the window, he could almost time it when he'd look up from whatever documents he was pretending to read and glare at them. It was quick and subtle, but it happened.
"You're right, of course. Any issues I have with Queen should be taken up with him. My offer, however, stands. So?"
She knew this was a bad idea. She knew Oliver was not going to be happy about this. But then again, he hadn't needed her at all yet made her come anyway. Besides, her decision really came down to one thought. Did she ever want a time in her life to come where she had to tell someone that Bruce Wayne had asked her to be his date and she'd said 'No'?
She smiled, a real one this time. "What time should I be ready?"