Frea's A/N the First: hello! Welcome to my story! Thanks to shenshen77 for reading this over while I was writing it, and to Felicity Smoak for being so much fun I want to write her all the time.
Five Times Felicity Didn't Babble to Communicate
And One Time Oliver Did
He was already in a bad mood when he stormed into the Foundry, so drawing up short and seeing what was on the white board—which was definitely going in his top ten list of 'worst ideas for the year,' by the way—actually made him stop and stare.
"Is that me?"
"Who else around here wears a mask and shoots people with arrows?" She didn't look up from the computer monitor.
Oliver yanked back his hood to make sure he wasn't seeing things. The white board was one of those digital things Felicity had drooled over so much that he'd purchased it, and now he was regretting it. Usually she doodled her ideas down on any piece of paper or flat writing surface she could find, so a digital white board had seemed ideal.
It was less ideal when it was covered with a marker drawing of a giant dragon wearing a hood and a mask and holding onto a bunch of figures with evil mustaches. A caption bubble above it read, "MINE! MINE!" In the background, a village of straw huts burned.
It was remarkably detailed.
"Is this because I took out those thugs before Digg could have a turn?"
"I wasn't hoarding bad guys, I was doing my job."
"You know he's been kind of down lately. The least you could have done is left him one thug to beat up, you know. Instead of hoarding all of them." Felicity finally swiveled and pointed at the board. "Like a dragon."
Oliver just sighed at her. "I'm going to go clean up. There'd better not be a dragon on this board when I get back."
"Yes, sir." She gave him a salute.
She was true to her word. When he emerged from the shower, working at a kink in his shoulder, there was no dragon on the board.
Instead, she'd drawn an ogre. And he was wearing a mask and a hood, just like the dragon.
The sound of humming over his earpiece made him look up at the sky as though Felicity might appear in the air above him. On the building across the street, Diggle caught the move, for he flashed Oliver a wide grin, his teeth bright against his face.
"Any sign of 'em yet, Felicity?" Diggle asked over the comm.
The humming paused. "Nope, tracker still has them at the charity gala. Lemme…yeah, security cameras there, oh, good, they're not on a closed loop system, which means I can…just like that, buh-bam. Okay, I'm in. It looks like DeMarco's still at the party and he's helping himself to some—no, make that a lot of canapés. You two get to sit pretty for a little while longer."
"Thanks for the update," Oliver said.
"And for calling us both pretty," Diggle said.
Felicity's laugh rolled over the comm. "John, of all of my boys, you're the prettiest."
Oliver looked down at his hand. When had he clenched his fists?
The humming picked up again. He didn't recognize the song, but that was fine by him. He didn't recognize most songs these days. For all that Thea teased him about catching up, he really wasn't all that interested. But Felicity actually had a pretty nice voice.
"Got an earworm?" Diggle asked.
"Yes! And it's so annoying because I can't figure out what it is! Can you, maybe? Here." She hummed a little louder, a few bars more. "It's driving me nuts. It's been in my head all day, but I just can't place the song so I can't go and listen to it and get it out of my head, you know? Gosh. Either of you have any idea?"
"Can we focus?" Oliver asked.
Diggle's grin only widened. "I think I know what it is," he said, and Oliver knew his partner was just messing with him now.
"You do? Oh, what is it?"
"You've been watching How I Met Your Mother again lately, haven't you?"
"Have I? I mean—oh, my god, it's Let's Go to the Mall, you're so right."
"It's what?" Oliver asked.
Felicity laughed, gleefully. "Oh, we're about to blow your mind, Mr. Queen. Check it out—" And some kind of poppy, sugar-saturated 80s song started playing over the comm. Oliver made a face, but didn't pull out his earpiece in case DeMarco left the party and Felicity needed to alert them. So he suffered in silence and when the song ended, deliberately did not mention the thought that had run through his mind:
He liked Felicity's humming so much more than the actual song.
Even though Felicity's desk was empty, there was a cup of coffee waiting for him on his desk when he came in. Even better, it was steaming, and there were two sugar packets next to it. A post-it had been stuck to the handle. It simply said, #32.
Oliver smiled and stuck the post-it on the underside of his desk with the others.
Sign Language (Sort Of)
"The projections that R&D worked up, unfortunately, did not take into account a major bug in the operating system we rolled out in March. I have a specialized team working on that, but in the meantime, I've drawn up some new numbers that should hopefully reflect—" Oliver broke off in surprise, but thankfully managed to cover up his startled reaction with a cough. Both his mother and Isabel, who were seated in the visitor's chairs in his office and therefore couldn't see Felicity gesturing frantically at him from behind the glass, gave him curious looks. "Sorry," he said, coughing again. "As I was saying, I've drawn up new numbers that should hopefully reflect the scope of the project, barring any major catastrophes or setbacks."
"What are we doing to counter bad publicity?"
"PR's put together an incentives package, you can see it on page four of the packet I gave you."
As both women flipped over to that page, Oliver took a moment to squint through the glass at Felicity. She was normally pretty active, usually humming or swiveling slightly in her chair, fingers tapping away at the keyboard or desk. But now she was standing, making giant gestures, swinging her arms wide. When she had his attention, she began to scoop with both hands.
It took him a moment to get it: Diggle.
And then she put her hands on her neck and pantomimed being choked. Oliver's blood went cold.
"Ollie," Moira said. "This may be a bad time to ask this, but is your assistant having a seizure?"
Oliver immediately shoved all of his instinctual worry behind a polite mask. "That's just her way of communicating that I am extremely late for something important that's come up. I'm sorry to cut this meeting short, ladies, but I really have to go."
Such was the nature of these little emergencies that neither of the women in his office protested. Isabel rolled her eyes, certainly, but she wasn't going to complain in front of Moira. As for Moira, she stood and smoothed her skirt. "We'll see ourselves out. You get to your meeting, Oliver."
"Thanks, Mom," Oliver said, and hurried for the door.
"Thank god," Felicity said, and they headed for the elevator together since she had both of their coats. "I thought you were never going to notice."
"Where is he?"
"Two minutes ago, he was in the Glades, but his signal cut out."
Oliver saw the fist coming, but his reactions were too sluggish to do more than tense up. It hit like a freight train to the face, sending bright red sparks of pain from the base of his collarbone to the back of his skull.
He grunted, leaned forward, and spat blood.
"Not so tough now, are you?" Lemuel Dalliance asked, giving that rat-bastard smirk that had made Oliver see red earlier.
"Trust me." Oliver grimaced and hoped that hit hadn't loosened a tooth. "I'm a hell of a lot tougher when the other guy fights fair and doesn't drug me. This how you get your jollies in? Having your boyfriend beat people who can't defend themselves?"
Lemuel shrugged. None of Oliver's taunts had gotten under his skin, which was a problem. For the plan to work, Lemuel needed to get angry, and so far, that wasn't happening. Oliver had to hope that Sara and Diggle were doing better at coming up with plans on the fly than he was.
"Sure," Lemuel said. "Hit him again, James."
"I'd rather you didn't," Oliver said. This time James hit him with a short jab to the stomach that had him grunting. He groaned. "Where's Felicity Smoak?"
"Same place she's been this whole time. I'm not telling you."
"I'm giving you one last chance, Dalliance. Tell me where Felicity Smoak is and maybe I'll let you live."
"Oh, that's precious that you think you're in control here," Lemuel said—and abruptly the lights went out.
It was only for a split-second, but Oliver went rigid, waiting. And surely enough, the lights went out again, shorter this time, and then longer.
"What's going on?" Lemuel asked James, who looked rather a lot like Lemuel had picked him up at the Thug Factory. Big, brutish, lots of muscle, blank face. Indeed, the henchman shrugged. "Is it the generator? I swear, we paid for that thing to work all month. It's impossible to get good help these days."
"It's Morse code," Oliver said, finally angling his hand to fit the key he'd lifted off of James into the handcuffs.
Both the villain and the henchman looked at him in surprise. "What's it saying?" James asked, the first time he'd spoken in Oliver's presence.
Oliver felt the lock click open. "That you're screwed," he said, and dove at the pair of them.
Five minutes later, Lemuel and James lay unconscious in the muck of the cellar floor, drugged to the gills with the formula that Barry had derived to cause temporary memory loss. They would wake up in an entirely different type of cell, Oliver determined, with no memory of what went down.
The door wrenched itself open and he only had time to turn to see the blonde blur that streaked across the room before he had an armful of Felicity. "Oliver! Oh, thank god, you're okay."
"Isn't that my line?" Oliver asked.
She bounced back on her heels to look up at him in concern; he supposed he did look a bit banged up from James's loving care. "I was just bait," Felicity said. "They were after you the whole time. Oh, god, your face."
"It looks worse than it feels," Oliver lied.
Sara, from the doorway, scoffed a little at both of them. "Touching, and all, but we kind of need to get out of here before my dad shows," she said. "You all right, Ollie?"
"Been better." Pride had him walking out on his own, but the minute they were in the hallway, Felicity wormed herself under his arm and took on some of his weight. He was so relieved that she was okay after all, that she hadn't been hurt, that he let her. They were hobbling out of the building together when a thought occurred to him. "Was that you, with the Morse code?"
"Uh, yeah, I wanted to get a sign to you that I was okay so you wouldn't have to kill them," Felicity said.
"Any particular reason why it was just the word 'Cat' over and over?"
"Um, I was six when I learned it and my education never progressed?"
Oliver felt his sides begin to shake with laughter. He suspected Felicity only refrained from poking him because he was injured. "Hey, it worked, didn't it?" she asked, shifting her grip on him. She smelled like sewers, same as he did, and Sara, too, but he really didn't mind. "And 'Oliver' is kind of long to sign out over and over."
"'Felicity' is longer," Sara said.
"See?" Validation flashed triumphant in her eyes. "So 'Cat' was just me being smart. So there."
"A plus communication skills," Oliver said, and before he thought too much about it, dropped a kiss on top of her head. She froze a little, but he chose to ignore that. "Let's never, ever do that again."
"Fine by me."
"Whoa, easy there."
His world tilted a little as he bumped a shoulder into the doorjamb of his own front door, but Oliver didn't mind it so much. It was actually kind of pleasant. Felicity, however, didn't seem to agree, for she said, "Oof. Gosh, I'm so glad you're way more graceful when you're not hopped up on industrial strength painkillers."
"Whose fault is that?" Oliver said. "You distracted me!"
"I did not. All I did was talk to you. Well, at you. You were the one that was staring at me like you'd never seen me before so that the doctor could jab you." Stumbling and awkward because he wasn't used to relying on others and she obviously wasn't used to helping injured parties move around, they managed to make it to the couch in the living room together. Felicity tried to help him lower himself gently onto the cushions, but her heel slipped on the wood paneling and so they kind of fell onto the couch in a jumble that almost hurt Oliver's ribs.
He reflected that maybe he should be grateful for the painkillers after all.
"Oh, god, Oliver! I'm sorry—did I hurt you? Are you hurt anywhere?"
The worry on her face seemed absurdly funny to Oliver, so he laughed. Felicity, who was kind of half on top of him, checking him over for further injury, blinked at him a couple of times. Her glasses were askew.
"I'm guessing," she said, sitting back on her haunches, "that's a no."
"Feel good," Oliver said. Carefully, he reached out.
She leaned back and adjusted her glasses herself. "Easy there, trigger. You're going to poke me in the eye. You know what you need? You need some water. Like, we need to pour an entire swimming pool of water into you. Stay put."
"'Kay." He shifted on the couch so that he was lying down fully while her heels clicked away. For a moment, he was fascinated by the patterns on the ceiling, the swirls on the plaster, and just like that, she was back, glass of water in one hand and heels in the other. He leaned up a little to take it from her, eagerly. "Raisa's got the day off," he said. "I'm glad. She probably shouldn't see me like this."
"Tripping balls? She'd probably record it on her phone." Felicity set a package of crackers on the coffee table, and a thing of brie next to that. "Want any?"
She did, making appreciative noises as she dug into the brie. "Doctors say we have to watch you for a concussion, so I've got first shift on that. John should be by later."
"You can't stay the whole time? Bed's plenty big enough."
Felicity bobbled a cracker and some part of Oliver informed the rest of him that that was probably an inappropriate thing to say.
"I mean," he said quickly, "that there are lots of beds. Lots of rooms. Not my bed, I was saying, but other beds. They're all big. We like big beds here in the Queen family. I wasn't coming on to you or anything."
Felicity gawked at him with a forgotten cracker in her hand. Oliver realized he'd probably just made it worse, and kept talking.
"Not that I don't appreciate Diggle, but he's got Lyla, so staying overnight maybe doesn't make any sense, and we've got that really fast internet you like, so you could…you know, stay instead? I'm not propositioning you or anything. I can be really good company. Like I'm pretty sure you could beat me at Scrabble right now if you wanted to."
He gave her what he hoped were puppy dog eyes and not something perverted.
And then she finally laughed, easily pushing his hand away when he reached for one of the fringy pieces on her sweater. "Oliver, I can beat you at Scrabble sober."
He pouted a little, but dropped his hand. "I don't know. I am really, really good at Scrabble. Scarily good, even."
"God, it's weird to be on this side of it."
"This side of what?"
"Babbling. Tell you what. I don't have any plans and Diggle wanted to have dinner with Lyla tonight, I think, so I'll see if Carly can send us over some Big Belly burgers, and we'll play Scrabble and watch movies."
"And then you can see the really big beds."
She made a strangled noise. "When those painkillers wear off, you are not going to be feeling good, buster. And hopefully you don't remember any of this. Drink your water."
"I never want to forget anything that involves you, Felicity."
Her throat worked for a second, and then she nodded. "And someday, I look forward to hearing you say that when you're sober, but until then, drink up, me hearty."
"Yo-ho," Oliver said, and downed the glass, feeling a bit like he had in elementary school when he'd convinced his dad to let him stay up past curfew. "Scrabble now?"
"You got it."