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we are not your island (you are not our distant shore)

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"I've seen the articles," Felicity said. "And the blog posts. And the stuff on YouTube. And the stuff that used to be on YouTube but that got tossed off thanks to the family lawyers. So."

"So?" Diggle asked, because 'playing dumb' always worked so well for him when confronted with smart women or not-completely-stupid-if-still-somewhat-idiotic-on-occasion men. (In Oliver's case, Felicity expected it wasn't so much that he saw through Diggle's act as that he simply didn't acknowledge it to be there in the first place.)

"So his average rating in the sack is a seven-point-eight - I had to extrapolate from some of the YouTube stuff, and a couple of the bloggers were drunk at the time, so I adjusted their rating using a formula which I'm sure you're not interested in hearing how I came up with?"

Diggle considered for a moment. "On a scale of ten?" he asked.

"Five, actually," Felicity said. "No, just kidding, it's ten."

"Huh," Diggle said, looking thoughtful, which was when Oliver came in, of course, looking his usual grim and serious self, all ready to turn someone into a human pin cushion. Arrow cushion. If they were to refuse his oh-so reasonable request to incriminate themselves straight into jail, which very few of them actually ever did, so, really, now that she came to think about it -

"You must be a deeply frustrated human being."

There were the henchmen, of course. Henchpeople. They were more like collateral damage, though; Oliver didn't really want to shoot them, he just did, because they were there and in the way. (Which probably didn't make their stay in the hospital any less pleasant.)

"Hi." Oliver Queen, Master of Ignoring Things He Didn't Want to Hear. "Got that intel yet?"

"Sure do." A pat on the head would have been deeply insulting, if ultimately forgivable. Couldn't expect too much from a spoilt, rich billionaire who'd been stuck on a not-so-deserted island for five years, after all - even if Felicity had some fond hopes of being able to train Oliver back to being a decent human being at some point, able to fluidly utter such phrases as: 'thank you very much', 'how was your day?', 'it's nice to see you', 'that's a lovely dress you're wearing today, Felicity' and, her personal favorite: 'you look pretty good, Dig - have you been working out?'.

Unrealistic, possibly, but a girl should dream.

"Good," Oliver said, turning away the instant the file was in his hand.

"So close." Well, ten words missing, actually. Still.

Oliver turned back. That was something, she supposed. "Sorry, what?"

"Nothing," she lied, cheerfully, and then, because her mama hadn't raised her to be a liar: "You're welcome."

 

" 'A deeply frustrated human being'," Diggle repeated, looking more amused than a man who'd just gotten stitches ought to look, in Felicity's humble opinion. "Really?"

Might be the painkillers talking, she supposed.

"I didn't mean sexually," she said, although five plus years with no sex sounded like it might leave a guy pretty sexually frustrated, actually.

Presumably, that was where the list of poorly chosen, tragically unsuitable and/or criminally criminal girlfriends that had become ex-girlfriends over the past six months had come from. None of them, sadly, had left any blog posts or YouTube goodies, so Felicity hadn't been able to update her rating.

Then again, numbers always lied, so. "You think Oliver's sexually frustrated?"

"No," Diggle said, too quickly. "I mean, I don't think about stuff like that. At all. I'm a bodyguard."

"And you'll always love him?" Felicity asked, because yeah, that was a classic movie trope right there. "Anyway, that's just your day job. You're not his bodyguard when you're down here."

"He's still my boss," Diggle said.

"Ooh," Felicity said. "Well, I'll grant you he can be bossy."

"Yeah."

"In bed, too, probably."

The left corner of Diggle's mouth quirked, which was a massive tell. "Yeah."

"Wanna find out from first-hand experience?"

"Don't you?"

Didn't everyone? "I think he's stereotypically intimidated by me because I'm smart and a woman."

"Well, you can never tell with Oliver," Diggle said, which was a load of rubbish, clearly, because Felicity could generally tell quite well with Oliver - his thought processes were really childishly simple to untangle, once you figured out which Oliver he was being at the moment and how close he was to switching to homicidal-but-not-really mode. "He might surprise you."

Not with flowers, chocolate or even some overpriced and terrible piece of jewelry, she didn't think.

"So what are you suggesting we do?"

 

Dinner, no movie - which was a pity, given that there were some nice ones showing right now, but then, if there was a time and place to get Oliver reaquainted with pop culture, it probably was after someone had managed to convince him that 'fun' and 'making the city a better place' were not, in fact, mutually exclusive hobbies.

"This is nice," Felicity said. The food was fabulous, actually. The company was ... very good-looking and in the case of Oliver, somewhat distracted. She hoped it wasn't someone he planned on not-killing. "Kind of like a date, huh?"

Oliver looked perhaps five percent less distracted. "There's three of us."

"Three people can have sex together," Felicity said. Her evidence suggested Oliver knew this perfectly well, but he might have (1) forgotten on the island or (2) forgotten because he'd been drunk and/or high at the time. (It hadn't always been easy to tell the difference.) "Or so I read. On the internet."

Oliver smiled his 'oh, Felicity, you are so quirky sometimes' smile, which probably meant he wasn't thinking about having sex with her and Diggle. It was still sort of a nice smile, for all that there was a hint of condescension in it, of being amused at her expense, rather than because she happened to have a wonderful sense of humor and the ridiculous.

"These days, everything's on the internet," Diggle said, which wasn't helpful, but at least it got Oliver to spread his attention and lose another five percent of his distraction rating.

"Lucky for the vigilante," she said. "It'd be a lot harder to find out stuff if everyone wasn't hooked up."

Oliver looked mildly concerned, as if there was any chance of her jumping on the table and yelling: 'hey, everyone, the Hood is really Oliver Queen, who is sitting right here'.

Please. She was much more likely to drunk-tweet about it - where for 'drunk' read 'sufficiently inebriated not to be able to type straight', so there, hypothetical problem reduced to not-even-hypothetical.

"Well, the same goes for everyone else, of course," Diggle said. "Quite a bit about you on there, Oliver." Which might prove that Diggle was, in fact, a canny tactician. Or strategist. (It was a long-term versus short-term difference, but she kept forgetting which was which.)

"I am not that person anymore," Oliver said and yup, that was definitely his I-am-burdened-with-many-responsibilities-and-issues-and-stuff voice right there.

"He looked like a fun guy." Felicity considered, then amended: "Irresponsible, but fun."

"Then I guess I am not a fun guy anymore," Oliver said, which was exactly the statement he hadn't been supposed to make - not that Felicity was surprised he had.

It wouldn't be Oliver if he'd go and make this easy, after all. Oliver Queen was no longer easy. (Easily five times as hot, though, if you liked them muscled and haunted.)

"Well, my theory's that in every not fun guy, there's a very fun guy, just biding his time."

Diggle chuckled.

Oliver, predictably, went on the offensive-defensive. "So do you think Dig's a fun guy?"

"Do you?" Felicity asked, quite cleverly, if she had to say so herself.

"I don't see people that way," Oliver said and then, hopelessly contradicting himself the way all liars ended up doing sooner or later: "But yeah, I guess so."

"Thank you." Diggle inclined his head and sipped his beer, probably to hide a smile. "And do you think Felicity's a fun girl?"

"Absolutely," Oliver said. Probably a spur of the moment, playing along with the normal people sort of thing, but still: a palpable moment of sweet, sweet victory.

 

"Felicity, I am not getting myself shot so the three of us can have a moment," Diggle said, and yes, okay, fair point.

On the other hand: "I didn't mean 'shot' as in 'shot'. Just ... "

"A little bit shot," Diggle said. "Like a little bit pregnant."

"Considered it, but figured it probably wouldn't work," Felicity said brightly.

Diggle, bless him, caught up quick. "You considered getting a little bit pregnant?"

"Fake-pregnant." Not even a pillow required, although possibly she would have had to make the sacrifice of eating the good kind, not-low-fat kind of ice cream more often. "Get him drunk, first, then wake up in the same bed, naked, all three of us, then an awkward conversation two months later."

"I don't want to know the details," Diggle said, a good deal too late, given that he already knew all of them now.

"Well, like I said, it wouldn't have worked. Polygamy still being sort of illegal and all."

"The drunk part might work." Diggle looked pensive. "Just to get him to relax a bit, let down his guard."

"No sex, though, right? 'cause that's ... not cool."

"Definitely no sex." Diggle nodded. "Feeding a man drunk to get him to spill his guts to you - that's perfectly cool, though, right?"

"A little bit drunk?"

"How much would you say is a little bit?"

 

Diggle really did have the best kind of plans.

"You have very nice arms," Felicity told Oliver, who smiled at her agreeably and even, dare she say it, slightly flirtatiously. As if he wouldn't mind if she were to reach out and touch those very nice arms of his. Which she wasn't going to do, obviously, because ... because of reasons.

"You are very drunk," Oliver said, and oops, looked like she'd reached out and grabbed his arm after all.

The good news was: her body had already figured out how to cleverly disguise this moment of weakness as, well, a moment of weakness. A different weakness.

"Are you all right?" Concern, now, with a good deal of warmth. If Diggle'd gone along with the Getting Shot Plan, it could have been him, getting that look.

His loss, clearly, even if, yeah, point about getting shot being Serious Business taken.

"Is she all right?" Speak of the devil - and wow, Diggle and Oliver could have been twins or something. Emotional twins. Twins of the mind. "Felicity?"

"I think she's just had a bit too much," Oliver said. "I'll take her home."

"How come you're not drunk?" she asked. It seemed a fair question; she'd matched him glass for glass. "Are you also a person who doesn't get drunk anymore, Oliver?"

"No," he said, which was a tricky answer, given the way she'd formulated the question. (Her own mistake, then.)

 

"So," Diggle said, the next day, by way of saying: 'Felicity, I am sorry - my genius idea to get Oliver to open up by getting him drunk was, in fact, a terrible idea'.

"So," Felicity replied, by way of saying: 'Dig, it was a good try, and I will accept your apologies with a cup of real, genuine coffee, instead of the swill they serve up there at the bar'.

A long and beautiful conversation consisting solely of mono-syllables might have developed, had Oliver not chosen that moment to appear.

"Hey," he said, and there was a distinct sense of 'I am happy to see you recovered and no longer grabbing at my arms' to the word, that wasn't half as intriguing as the smell rising from the paper cup with a familiar logo that he'd brought along.

For her, going by the way he was holding it out.

"I love you in the least platonic sense of the word." Diggle coughed. "Most," she said.

"Yeah," Oliver said, which seemed to mean, well, yeah. No fuller sentences hiding inside.

"I was very, very drunk last night and my behavior was totally inappropriate."

"You ... grabbed my arm to keep from falling over," Oliver said. "No problem. What are friends for?"

"Pretty sure I also said some stuff. Embarrassing stuff. Well, true stuff, but also embarrassing."

"I wasn't embarrassed," Oliver said. "I'm sorry if you were. I should have paid more attention."

Now he was resolving to pay more attention to what was going on right in front of him?

"I have to confess, I'm kind of curious now," Diggle said, while Felicity gulped down some liquid heaven mixed with a healthy dose of caffeine and sugar. "What did she say?"

Oliver, being a saint, had only brought coffee for her, not for himself. Which meant she could say: "That I wanted to sleep with him?" without worrying about Oliver getting hot coffee all over him. "Oh, and with you, too."

"That's not what you said." Oliver was standing very still.

"Oh," Felicity said, putting on an innocent expression. "It's not?"

"No," Oliver said. "It's not."

"Oh. Well, good. That's all right, then. Glad we got that straightened out."

Diggle made a very peculiar noise, but Oliver started moving again, getting his bow and not seeming to be about to either shoot someone or run off to assure himself he was intended for a lifetime of being unloved and alone, so Felicity felt that had all gone rather excellent, really.

 

The next move turned out to be still not Oliver's, but Diggle's.

It consisted of a lovely picture that arrived on her phone shortly after her first coffee break.

Not particularly subtle, but then, subtle didn't really seem to work on Oliver anyway - fair enough, given that Oliver himself did most of his communcation by shooting arrows at people.

 

"I slipped in the shower," Diggle said.

Felicity hoped her back broadcasted the word 'COWARD' loud and clear and in all-caps.

"And you fell on your phone?" Oliver asked.

Felicity adjusted her back to extend an invitation for high-fiving later. Six weeks ago, Oliver would never have pursued the topic, obvious lying or not.

"Nothing you haven't seen before, was it?" Diggle said, which was perfectly true. The picture had been entirely SFW, inasfar as a hot guy in a towel was safe to show to one's co-workers without inviting a host of questions and some entirely called-for jealousy.

"It's just ... doesn't seem like you." Oliver looked a little puzzled, like on some level, he did, in fact, have some clue as to what was going on here.

"Job?" Diggle said, which might be the right call. Give Oliver some time to mull it over.

Oliver snapped back to looking unpuzzled and determined to put a healthy and completely understandable fear of arrows into someone.

 

"Are you trying to seduce me?"

Felicity considered turning around but no - better to keep this casual. Plausible deniability was a wonderful thing. "Sorry, would that be a singular you or a plural one?"

If it'd been singular, that might become a problem. She loved Diggle - boy, did she love Diggle, but she wasn't sure if she loved him in a way that meant she'd be cool with him and Oliver hooking up and getting married. Probably not; unselfishness was very overrated.

"Not 'seduce'," Diggle said, so Felicity figured she'd turn around to face the fireworks after all. "As such."

"As such?" Oliver wasn't wearing his bow, but if he had been, Felicity felt this might have been the moment when he'd have put an arrow on and pointed it.

Nobody'd ever claimed Starling City's vigilante to be a nice guy. A good guy, sure, but not a nice guy.

"It's not a trick, Oliver," Diggle said. "It's an offer - one you can refuse. No hard feelings."

"Although I'll be judging you. Hard," Felicity said. "And you'll hurt my feelings if you just say 'no'. And I think it will be very good for you. Sex, I mean. With us. Go team!"

"Go team?" Oliver repeated, but it was his normal, 'hi, I'm Oliver Queen and richer than God but basically an okay guy, more or less' voice.

"Who else you gonna trust?" Diggle asked, which was a very good question.

"You should probably say something at some point that's not just, you know, repeating something someone else said," Felicity said helpfully. "May I suggest 'yes'?"

"That's an answer," Oliver said. "What's the question?"

"I think you're smart enough to have figured that one out."

"Yeah," Oliver said. "I guess I am."