The three men in the room stared at Felicity with their own level of incredulity. Barry looked absolutely gobsmacked, with his mouth so wide that flies might get in. Inwardly, his expression made Felicity laugh. That was one the things she really liked about Barry. He wore his feelings on his sleeve and Felicity didn't need a compass, an Encyclopedia Brittanica and a diving rod to figure him out. Unlike, of course, the stoic blonde standing next to him. You'd have to really know Oliver to know that he was surprised right now. Fortunately, Felicity did and while his expression seemed still, Felicity could practically see the wheels turning his head and as he tried to fit in this information with his personal understanding of his Girl Wednesday. Diggle recovered first with the ghost of a smile on his face.
"You're going have to explain that sentence," Diggle stated, mirroring Felicity's words to him not so long ago.
Felicity sighed, "Well, I was not always the law-abiding, IT girl you see before you, at least not all the time."
Oliver's eyes narrowed at Felicity, "What are you saying?"
"Come on, Oliver. Did you really think I learned to hack as well as I do in school?" Felicity asked, with a thin layer of sarcasm lining her words.
"You don't have a record," Oliver stated simply.
Felicity shrugged, "The best ones don't get caught."
Oliver took a breath, taking this all in. He knew it was foolish to think that Felicity didn't have any secrets, but this was nowhere near what he had been expecting from her.
"What do you know about Cyborg?" Barry asked, finally adding his voice to the conversation. Oliver's head turn sharply to Barry, surprised at his recovery and quick refocus on the case. Barry shrugged.
"I didn't know either, but I have been following the Vigilante for awhile. For her to do what she does requires some major skill, like FBI, CIA recruitment level and you can't learn that power from a Jedi," he finished.
Felicity throw her hands up, "Did you just compare me to Darth Vader?!"
"Anakin Skywalker, maybe."
"Like that's any better."
"Guys!" Diggle called, bring order before the nerd-gument could continue, "What do you know, Felicity?"
"Cyborg is one of those guys who likes to think of himself as a hactivist," she started.
"A what?" asked Oliver.
"Hacker activist," Barry interjected, "You know those guys that expose corporations for wrong doings. They were a huge force the Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring movements. They try to have a social justice focus to their hacking with the businesses and websites they shut down," Barry turned to Oliver, "It's like the digital version of …"
Barry coughed and turned back to Felicity slowly.
Felicity shrugged, "What can I say? I'm sucker for a cause."
Diggle cocked his head to side, "So how deep were you involved in this?"
Felicity pressed her lips together, "Pretty deep. Which brings me to my next point."
Felicity turned to Barry, "I lied to your captain."
"I didn't 'outhack' Cyborg and kick him out of your system. He backed off voluntarily," she stated.
Felicity sighed, "Because I agreed to meet with him."
"You did what?" Barry asked as Oliver demanded, "I'm not letting you do that."
Felicity answered Oliver first, "There is no 'let' about it. It's my choice. My life."
"The last time you said you nearly ended up with a concussion," Oliver reminded her.
Felicity folded her arms, "I'm doing this with or without you, Oliver."
Oliver narrowed his eyes at her, "Did you ever think this was a trap? That he wanted to lure you out. Why would he agree to this anyway?"
"Because once-upon-a-time I was his Laurel. He misses me. He wants to see me. And he'll take a huge risk to do it. Sound like anyone you know?" Felicity asked, staring into Oliver's face.
Oliver swallowed, "I still don't like it."
"You don't have to."
"You're not going to see him alone," Oliver stated.
Felicity cocked her to side, give Oliver a look of exasperation with a tiny bit of softness around her eyes.
"I wasn't planning to," she replied, "But I do need new clothes."
"Clothes?" Barry asked.
Felicity turned to Barry, "Cyborg wasn't in love Felicity Smoak. He was in love with Firestorm."
Barry blinked, "Fi…Firestorm. You're Firestorm."
"In another life," Felicity replied.
Barry face broke into a wide smile, "You really are amazing."
Oliver coughed, returning the attention of the two back to him.
"Firestorm?" he questioned.
"My alias. Like I said, I was in deep and certainly didn't look like this," she stated gesturing to herself, "At least not all the time."
"What did you do?" Diggle asked directly.
Felicity took a breath, "As a hacker, I focused mostly on exposure of secrets and scandals. I also was a member of the hacker group, Phenom. I kind of… helped to… found it, actually."
"Phenom? There's a federal case files on that group a mile wide," Diggle announced and turned to Oliver, "They're on the terrorist watch list."
Felicity exploded, "We weren't terrorists!"
The men all just stared at her. Felicity took another breath.
"I know what this looks like," she stated.
Oliver narrowed his eyes at her, "Don't tell me. You were freedom fighters."
Felicity pointed at him, "You are absolute last person who can throw stones."
Felicity sat down, suddenly tired. She took a minute to compose herself before she continued her story.
"We were mostly just a couple of kids with too much time on our hands and too smart for our own good. You had Mark Zuckerberg making millions and we all know we could code circles around him. It was like building a e-business would be too easy and too cliché for bunch of computer geeks to do. We needed something bigger," she said, "And the something bigger found us."
Felicity ran her fingers through her hair, "There was this hazing scandal at a nearby school when I was in college. One of my friends… she was raped. I don't know if you've ever been around a rape case on a college campus. It sucks. My friend became a pariah for coming forward. It was like she was being interrogated day in and day out with questions like 'what was she wearing?', 'how short was her skirt', 'how much cleavage was she showing? She cried about it every night."
Felicity sniffed, getting her emotions and tears under control as she continued, "Long story short, he walked. Big man on campus. She transferred to school on the other side of the country. I couldn't let that stand."
"I know," Oliver said, surprising everyone, including Felicity. She looked up at him.
"I told you I did my homework on you. You started volunteering in woman's shelters and non-profit advocacy groups," he stated.
Felicity smiled. "That's what Felicity Smoak did... Firestorm burnt that frat to the ground," Felicity stated without no pity or remorse in her voice, "I got a small group of my friends together online. Every piece of dirt, every scandal, every bit of footage we could find was up on the web for world to see. Even the Dean of Students was a member of that frat. We had no mercy…And being in charge of the campus blog didn't hurt either."
She looked at the boys, "That's how it started. Firestorm. Phenom. Cyborg heard about it and was impressed. He suggested that we team up and then that we meet. I knew I couldn't show up as myself so I created someone new," Felicity closed her eyes, "And she was awesome."
Felicity opened her eyes again, "And she is who Cyborg will be expecting. So I need to go shopping."
Diggle held his hand up to stop Felicity from rising.
"Wait. How good is this guy?" he asked.
"Good. Maybe better than me," she stated quickly.
Diggle nodded, "So he's probably watching the precinct remotely, like you would if we were staking out a place. You shouldn't leave until you look like he expects you to look."
"Unless they have a mall in here…"
"I'll get you what need."
Felicity smiled, "John, I appreciate it, but you're already regulated to being Oliver's black driver. I'm not going to add to that by making you my personal shopper too."
"Not that it isn't great working for you, Oliver," she quickly added.
Diggle laughed, "Consider it a favor to a friend."
"Some of things I need, people would raise eyebrows at you for buying… or think you have a really kinky girlfriend," she said
Oliver and Barry just gave her blank stares. She put her head in her palm.
"Argh… my brain… Just try not to make it obvious. And pay in cash so it can't be traced," she said.
"Sure thing," Diggle replied.
Felicity walked to Barry's desk, found a piece of paper and started writing her list. Diggle walked up beside Oliver.
"So what are you thinking?" Diggle asked as Oliver stared the IT girl that looked the same, but whom he realized he didn't really know at all.
"That we all have secrets," he said still staring.
Oliver looked at Diggle, "It doesn't change a damn thing."
Diggle smiled with his eyes, obviously pleased with Oliver's statement, "Let's help our girl."
Oliver nodded and walked to Barry's desk as Felicity finished her list.
"So, what are we going to do about this case while Diggle's out?" Oliver asked when he got close to her. Felicity stopped her pen and looked up.
"I'm not leaving here without you, Felicity. And obviously you're not leaving until this is done. So how can I help?"
Felicity smiled brightly at him, amazed, "I'll let you know."
"How about a cup of coffee?" he asked.
"I'd love it. Thank you," she replied in wonder.
Oliver nodded and left. Felicity just stared behind him.
"You done with that?" Diggle asked, breaking her out of her reverie. Felicity shook her head to refocus.
"Yeah," she stated and handed the list to Diggle, "John?"
"How has Oliver been the past few days?" she asked.
Diggle shrugged, "The usual. Grumpy, Terse, stubborn."
Felicity stared at him intently, silently asked him to tell her the truth. Diggle relented.
"Missing you," he said finally. He lifted the list and then nodded, going for the exit.
As soon as the door shut, Barry's voice came from side of the room where his computers were set up. Even though it was his alcove, Felicity had almost forgot he was there. With Oliver and Diggle present, it was almost like she was back in the Arrow Cave again. She smiled sheepishly at him and walked to his side.
"So…" she started.
"So…" he said and then looked up at her, "Researching unusual cyber-related activity within a 20 mile radius over the past 5 years?" Barry asked.
"Yeah," Felicity replied, pulling up a seat and ignoring any elephants in the room.
"Yeah," Barry replied softly and began typing away.