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Born To Try

Chapter Text

“Ray Palmer? Hi I’m Oliver Queen.”

Ray swung his chair around and almost fell off his seat. Of all the people to come looking for him in his cubicle, this was not the person he was expecting to see. Because standing there right in front of him was lost at sea-recently returned from the dead-Oliver Queen. If he were to be completely honest, Ray was a fan. You don’t survive five years on a hellish island by being an ordinary person. Clearly Oliver Queen was pretty awesome and Ray liked to think that it must have been the power of positive thinking that got him through his ordeal. Ray was a fan of positive thinking. And of Oliver Queen. He viewed him as a bit of a superhero. Anyone who survived 5 years on the island must have some mad skills. 

“Mr. Queen,” Ray managed to stutter. 

“No Mr. Queen was my dad,” Oliver replied, looking slightly uncomfortable.

Ray however was oblivious. “Yeah but he’s dead. I mean he drowned. Which is why you’re the new Mr. Queen now.” He proceeded to give Oliver Queen a thumbs up before reeling in horror at what he had done. “I didn’t mean that. You father dying is bad! BAD! You see my best friend rambles and I’ve been hanging out with her for too long.”

Oliver grimaced. He really should have just waited for Felicity Smoak to come back from lunch. Clearly his impatience was the cause of his downfall as he was now stuck with this bumbling idiot. He took a deep breath before gritting his teeth. “Ray, they tell me you are the IT expert around here. Could you help me retrieve the data from this laptop? I spilt a latte on it.”

He handed the bullet-ridden laptop over to Ray without batting an eyelid.

“Err these look like bullet holes?” Ray looked scandalized. “Have you been doing anything you shouldn’t Buddy?”

Resisting the urge to slap Ray for calling him buddy, Oliver answered calmly. “My coffee shop is in a bad neighborhood.”

Ray peered at him curiously as if sizing him up. “You’re lucky you went to me instead of Felicity. She hates mysteries. Lucky for you my motto is to always help those in need so I will get this data off the laptop for you.”

“Thank you Ray. Much appreciated.” Oliver gave Ray a tight smile.

“No worries Buddy. Come back this afternoon. Should be done by then. Say do you mind if I tell Felicity about this.” He leaned over on his chair and proceeded to whisper conspicuously. One of those whispers that drew obvious attention to the fact that he was whispering. “I tell her everything because she’s my best friend but if you want to keep this just between us I will be the soul of discretion.”

For a moment Oliver considered yanking back the laptop and stalking off to try his luck with Felicity Smoak instead. She couldn’t be any worse than this strange over-enthusiastic Palmer fellow. Then he remembered that Felicity Smoak was Palmer’s best friend. There was a good chance she was going to irritate him too. Better to stick with the devil you just got to know in this case Oliver thought. Palmer was grating but harmless and it was obvious that he meant well. 

“If you can keep this to yourself I’d appreciate it Ray,” he responded giving Ray a thin smile that did not reach his eyes and somewhat resembled a grimace. 

“Consider it a done deal Buddy,” Palmer chirped back at him, again in that loud suspicion inducing whisper. Oliver resisted the urge to smack Palmer on the side of the head for calling him buddy and quickly backed away from the cubicle. 


A few weeks later

“I need you to analyse the contents of this sports drink for me.” Oliver was trying very hard to stay upright but the room was spinning and Ray in his loud cheerful glory was not helping things.

“Oliver! And here I thought my days of being Oliver Queen’s secret buddy in crime fighting was over,” Ray beamed at him enthusiastically. As ill as Oliver was feeling, he did not miss the concerned raised eyebrow from John Diggle who was obviously asking “Who the hell is this idiot? We’re relying on HIM for intel?” 

“Can you please just get it analysed and get it back to me as soon as possible?” Oliver asked, trying to sound as pleasant as possible. Palmer, irritating as he was, had been extremely helpful, performing any task or research that was asked of him. His only fault was being overly exuberant and constantly badgering Oliver for a team up.

“Say whatever it is you’re up to, I want in.” Ray took the sample from him. “I’m not stupid you know. Felicity is the only person I know who has a higher IQ than me. What do you say Oliver? Let me join your crime fighting team?”

At this John looked extremely alarmed and was about to step forward however Ray, still oblivious to the signs, continued waffling on happily. “It doesn’t take a genius to work out who you guys are. Clearly you’re the Hood and your trusty bodyguard there is your sidekick. You survive five years on an Island and right after your return we have a vigilante in town. Please I’m not stupid, I can put two and two together. Don’t you need a nice nerdy addition to your team? I can build stuff! I can build all your crime fighting gadgets and weapons for you. And morale! I’m great for team morale. You guys look like you could use a little boost in morale. I’ve been reading up on team building strategies.”

Ray beamed at Diggle and Oliver who were looking distraught, flashing them his perfect pearly white teeth.


“Do we need to cut him loose?” Oliver asked as their car queued up in the peak hour traffic. Seeing John’s slightly horrified look Oliver clarified his position. “I mean stop asking for his help. Not whatever it was you thought I meant.” 

“We’ve gone to him for help every week. If we cut him loose now who is going to perform the tasks we’ve been getting him to do.” John didn’t mind Ray. He was a handful with his loud excited rants but he had a good heart and it was a breath of fresh air to mingle with someone who had an extremely positive outlook on life and clearly saw the good in everything. 

“It’ll be hard but I don’t know how much more of him I can handle before I kill him,” Oliver muttered.

“He means well,” John responded with an amused smile. “Maybe if we took him in and trained him, he won’t be so much like an overly eager untrained puppy. Think of all the people we could help with his set of skills.” 

“You make a good point,” Oliver admitted grudgingly.


A few weeks after that

“My first mission! Does this mean I’m officially part of the team now? We need a team name. The Three Musketeers?”

“Ray! Stop ranting and focus.” Oliver snapped at him on comms. “And the Three Musketeers is a horrible name,” Oliver added for good measure. “Is there anything you do that isn’t cheesy?”

“You could try to be a little kinder. I’m excited this is my first mission. I’ve always wanted to be a superhero. This is a big deal for me,” Ray sounded slightly subdue, hurt even. Oliver suddenly felt a little guilty for quashing the other man’s spirits no matter how annoying they were. It wasn’t Ray’s fault he was enthusiastic to a fault. He had been invaluable to them despite his tendency to get on Oliver’s nerves.   

“Just focus on the mission at hand Ray,” he reminded the other man gently, channeling John’s Yoda zen. John was out of town visiting an old flame; hence he had no choice but to send Ray out to infiltrate an underground casino. “Try to stop smiling. Look cool and glum.” 

“You mean look like you?” 

“Yes,” Oliver sighed rubbing his temple. This was going to be a long night. As he was about to give Ray his next set of instructions, something that sounded like a crunching noise echoed loudly over comms and took over his ear.

“Ray!!!!” Oliver snapped in a low but extremely agitated voice, “What the hell are you doing? What is that noise?”

“Nuts,” Ray responded brightly.

“What do you mean nuts?” Oliver snapped. He should just march down there and kill the man himself right now to put them both out of their misery. John should spend the rest of his life wallowing in regret at letting Ray join the team and ultimately causing his death. 

“I crunch down a few assorted nuts every day to stave off developing a nut allergy. Of course the research on this is not clear-cut but better to be safe than sorry. Plus Felicity is allergic to nuts so I try not to eat them in our townhouse or car. Brought some along tonight. Thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. Infiltrate the underground casino and get my daily dose of nuts.” As he finished his sentence Oliver could hear another crunch following by some vigorous chewing.

“Finish…those…nuts…and…pay…attention,” Oliver ground out while desperately trying to level his breathing. One of these days he was going to put an arrow through Palmer. There was only so much nonsense a vigilante loner could take.


And a few weeks MORE after that

“Say…can you give me a run down on how to hack into the FBI database again?” Ray asked, trying to sound as casual as possible. He had managed to upgrade The Three Musketeers systems (he was calling them that even if no one agreed with him that it was officially their team name) and perform a few basic hacks but the FBI, CIA and a few other databases Oliver had asked for were beyond his scope. 

“Only if you tell me the truth as to why you keep asking me to teach you how to hack and what shady people you have gotten involved with,” Felicity responded calmly. “I’m worried about you Ray.”

Felicity was sprawled on the floor of their living room on the shag pile rug doing her daily stretches. Ray taking off randomly at all sorts of hours meant that she had temporarily lost her best friend and partner in crime. Although Felicity desperately wanted to know what the hell Ray was up to (she hated mysteries after all) she reasoned that in all their years of friendship Ray had never kept secrets from her so if he was suddenly doing so it must be for good reason. Most likely he was going through some sort of midlife crisis (even if he was far too young for it) so Felicity did what any good friend would do. She joined a gym and attempted to regain the athleticism she had in her youth whilst trying to give her best friend as much space as she could.

At first Felicity had thought it was a woman. Ray would come home ecstatic on some days, looking thrilled and uncharacteristically crestfallen on other days. Perhaps he was in a secret tumultuous relationship that he didn’t feel comfortable sharing with Felicity? Eventually Felicity thought it must be another man, having detected a whiff of a piney, grassy scent on Ray once or twice. Maybe Ray was grappling with some new discoveries about himself hence the small bouts of angst. 

Felicity finally decided both of these theories were untrue when alarmingly Ray began to come home asking her to hack into various databases for him, each one more serious than the next. It was then that Felicity decided she had to put her foot down and get to the bottom of this. Ray was in over his head and Felicity needed to save him. 

“I can’t.” Ray responded looking guilty and stressed at the same time.

“What do you mean you can’t?” Felicity sat up and narrowed her eyes at him. “What kind of trouble are you in Ray? If you won’t tell me I can’t help you. I promise whatever it is we’ll work it out together. Are you being blackmailed? Is this why you keep trying to hack into these databases?” 

“I…ugh…I’m trying to help a friend. I promised them I wouldn’t tell you about them Felicity. I want to but I promised. Please these people are good to me. I need the data to help them help other people. You just have to trust me on this.” He gave her a pleading look with his big round puppy dog brown eyes.

Felicity felt herself feeling even more worried now. Ray had a heart of gold and believed the best in everyone. Felicity could understand that to some extent but Ray went to extremes, sometimes denying obvious truths.

“Do you promise me that you’re not being forced into this and that you’re not in some kind of trouble?”

“I promise I am doing this out of my own free will. I want to help people. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.” His eyes sparkled brightly as he said this and Felicity stopped herself from asking any more questions. They had been best friends for many years now and she owed it to him to let this go. Clearly it was important to him and she appreciated Ray admitting he couldn’t tell her the truth. 

“Hand me the laptop. I’ll give you another tutorial but some of the databases I’ll have to hack for you,” Felicity sighed. 


Even MORE weeks after that

Oliver limped towards the four-wheel drive and proceeded to pry the door open. This was the closest safe haven he could get to and he couldn’t risk bleeding out while trying to contacting John or Ray. With any luck Ray would leave work soon and take him back to the foundry. He shuffled in the back seat trying to make himself as comfortable as possible. Well as comfortable as a person bleeding to death could be. 

His mind wandered deliriously as he waited for Palmer. He didn’t figure Palmer, goody two shoes greenie that he was, would drive something like a four-wheel drive. The collection of various stuffed pandas decorating the back of the car screamed Palmer though so he was definitely in the right car. Oliver winced as he saw blood seep onto a cute little plush panda wearing a top hat. Lucky Palmer was good-natured and would forgive him for destroying his toys. What kind of grown man had stuffed panda toys anyway?

Oliver waited for what seemed like an eternity when he heard footsteps approach the car, the clicking of heels reverberating through the empty car park. Those were not Palmer’s footsteps unless Palmer wore heels when no one was around.

Oliver craned his neck to get a good look at the figure approaching the car and instead of Palmer’s Disney Prince mug he found himself gazing at a beautiful petite blonde with bright blue eyes, behind dark rimmed glasses and soft wavy hair that was pulled back in a ponytail. Despite bleeding to death and feeling panicked by the fact that this was not Palmer who was about to enter the car, Oliver couldn’t help staring at the blonde entranced. She was lost in thought; absentmindedly chewing on a red pen before realizing what she was doing and tucking it up behind her ear.


This was the famous Felicity Smoak whom Palmer brought up all the time and spoke so highly of. The best friend. Oliver found himself wondering if Palmer and Felicity Smoak had any romantic feelings for each other, a thought that was ridiculous considering his current predicament. 

“Felicity,” he growled as the pain began to set in. He had a high pain threshold but clearly he was starting to reach his limits. The blood loss was affecting him as he found himself fixated on whether Palmer and Felicity had ever been an item. He didn’t even know Felicity! The blood loss was really messing with his head.

Felicity jumped and attempted to swing her handbag at him. Anyone else would have copped a blow but Oliver managed to catch her wrist in time.

“Felicity I need your help. I was expecting Ray. Please.” He pulled back his hood and looked at her pleadingly.

“Oh my goodness. You’re…you’re Oliver Queen! You’re the Hood? That just explains SO many things about the suspicious way Ray has been behaving lately. Why are you in the back of our car?” she asked watching him cautiously. Oliver was thankful she made no more attempts to whack him with her handbag.

“My mother shot me. I was waiting for Ray but you came along instead.”

“We share a car! Every Wednesday I take the car. Clearly Ray didn’t tell you that.”

“He may have, I tend to tune out a lot of things he says,” Oliver responded drily, as he watched Felicity school her features in attempt to hide an amused smile.

“Can you take me to Verdant?” 

“You don’t need a nightclub you need a hospital,” Felicity said firmly. 

“No promise me you won’t take me to a hospital. Please take me to Verdant. Use the back entrance and punch in this code. My partner will patch me up.” His head was spinning wildly by now as he found himself falling unconscious and toppling on what must have been a pile of pandas. 

“Ok,” Felicity squeaked. “Verdant it is. I don’t suppose you could have moved those pandas before you bled on them? Never mind I’m being petty thinking about pandas with you bleeding to death.” 

She took a few deep breaths to stop herself from speaking and proceeded to drive off as carefully as she could. Tonight would not be a good night to be pulled over with a bleeding Oliver Queen who was incidentally also the Hood in her backseat.




Chapter Text

“On a scale of one to ten how mad are you?” Ray asked tentatively as Felicity sat quietly, her fingers tapping away on the foundry computer. Somehow the endless quiet and calm was even worse than her loud voice, which she didn’t use often on him. He had expected her to lecture him, demand that he quit, lock up his phone, crash all his devices with audio files of porcupine flatulence noises (well he hadn’t checked all his devices yet, she could have very well crashed them all already), yell at him for being reckless but there was none of that. Instead she just sat there looking thoughtful and worried, occasionally glancing up to look at him.

“I’m not mad Ray, I’m worried,” Felicity finally spoke at last, swinging her chair around to face him. “You of all people Ray! This is not your scene! We’ve known each other for years now and sneaking around to help a vigilante duo, consisting of a guy who puts arrows through people is so not your thing.”

“To be fair I’ve never been part of the arrowing,” Ray protested. “I just do their research, look things up for them, get you to hack into databases for them.” His eyes flitted around and he swallowed nervously at the last part of his statement.

He winced as Felicity shot him a ferocious glare before adding, “And I’m trying to soften Oliver’s stance on the whole arrowing people thing. Not quite there yet but he’s warming up to me. He’s ten per cent less growly now than when I first joined.”

“Ray,” Felicity sighed, half of her wishing she was still blissfully unaware of what Ray was up to, the other half feeling relieved that she finally knew the truth about Ray’s night time rendezvous and could start thinking of ways to protect him. “This is so unlike you. Do you hear yourself? You’re the guy who fosters stray kittens and elderly cats. Now you’re suddenly telling me you’re ok with helping a guy who puts arrows through people?” 

“I have always wanted to do more. To do something. That’s why I took on all those cats. But now I can really make a difference Felicity. Beyond cats! If you get to know Oliver, inside that very crusty exterior he is trying to help the city in the only way he knows how. No matter what we think of his methods, he is making a difference in the city, and I get to be a part of that. How can I say no?” 

“You big hearted dope, you’re going to get yourself killed one day. Who is going to cook for me and pay half our rent,” Felicity still looked worried but there was a small smile on her face.

“So does this mean you won’t yell at me?” Ray asked hopefully.

“It means I won’t yell for now but I’m going to bombard you with questions and plaintive sighs whenever we hang out together.” Felicity was no longer looking grim. Ray considered himself extremely lucky to have come out of the exchange relatively unscathed. Really Felicity was being remarkably understanding for someone who had just found out he was working with a vigilante who had also bled over half of her beloved panda collection. Ray had warned her the car was a bad place to display pandas. 

His thoughts were interrupted by a gruff “Hey” from Oliver who it appeared had woken up and was strutting over shirtless and in tight leather pants. Ray often wondered about Oliver’s choice of tight leather for his crime fighting activities. It didn’t seem breathable or comfortable and conducive to moment. If Ray ever became a fully fledge vigilante he would definitely wear a comfy suit of some sort, none of this tight leather business. A mechanical suit loaded with gadgets perhaps but he’d line it with something plush and give it lots of air vents to make it breathable. 

Felicity didn’t seem to think the leather was an odd choice though as she observed Oliver appreciatively. Ray fought the urge to snigger as he watched the two of them give each other quiet loaded looks. Tension crackled in the atmosphere and suddenly Ray felt like he didn’t belong in the room.

“You’re alive,” Felicity finally spoke up, breaking the silence.

“Thank you for not hitting me with your handbag again and for taking me here,” came Oliver’s response which was accompanied by a gentle smile (who knew Oliver Queen could do gentle. He only ever had one expression for Ray and that was a scowl). “And thank you for saving my life,” Oliver continued edging towards Felicity’s chair and offering his hand. 

For a brief moment Ray felt indignant as he watched Oliver smile (yes the man SMILED) at Felicity. He had worked just as hard to save Oliver’s broody bleeding ass and the man had pretty much ignored him. Ray’s huffiness was short lived as Diggle entered the room to inform them that Oliver had bled all over the crime scene when his mother shot him and his DNA was now probably in SCPD databases.

“I did a little virtual tour of SCPD systems while Oliver here was unconscious and the blood samples have conveniently been lost,” Felicity informed them calmly. She then went on to say she had upgraded all their systems before getting up to leave.

“Why did you do all this?” Oliver asked, making a conscious effort not to appear intimidating whilst blocking her exit.

“Your systems are from the bad part of the 80s and they hurt me,” Felicity answered calmly. “Besides it will make it easier for me to teach Ray should he come running home begging me for tutorials on how to hack whatever new government agency you guys decide you need to access next.” 

She paused and directed her gaze straight at Oliver. “Try not to get Ray killed.” Felicity picked up her handbag and was about to walk past Oliver when he moved to block her path again.

“Mr. Queen I think we’re done here. And just so you know your secret is safe with me since my best friend is now also involved in your activities.”

Ray couldn’t help but grin at her comment. It had been a long running joke between them that Felicity was the more cynical version of him and tonight that aspect of her personality was definitely on display in full force. He felt like he should say something, after all they were discussing him like he wasn’t even there. He should have felt offended but he wasn’t. He was absolutely fascinated by their terse exchange. A quick glance over to his left confirmed that John was in agreement with him. The other man’s eyes were glued on Oliver and Felicity as they continued their conversation, quite forgetting Ray and John were in the room.

“Please call me Oliver. Felicity how would you feel about joining us? We could use someone with your skills on the team. John and I will be the muscle of the team, you run comms and get us access to any information we need, Ray can take care of our weapons, lab analysis and be the team mascot.” 

Ray bristled at the mascot comment. Really they had taken on none of his suggestions to foster a friendlier environment and refused to participate in any team building activities. He was about to protest when John shot him a warning look. 

“It would mean you’d be around to take care of Ray. Make sure I don’t kill him.” Oliver tilted his head a little and smiled another smile at Felicity. Who knew Oliver Queen was full of smiles. They seemed genuine too, not like the usual forced grimaces he threw at Ray. 

Felicity looked thoughtful for a few seconds before responding. “Look I’m going to sign on provisionally. But only so I can help Ray and slowly transition him to be your fully fledged IT Guy. He’s hardware and I’m software. It’s always been that way. Once I’m confident that he can hack into things without the risk of being arrested I’m out.”

“Whatever you want Felicity,” Oliver responded looking as pleased as Oliver Queen was able to look.


A few months later

“You’re not the only one who knows how to reboot my system.” Oliver loomed over her, his voice quiet and dangerously low. It was obvious he intended to intimidate her. If Felicity weren’t so angry she would laugh in his face as none of his attempts to intimidate her ever worked the way they worked on Ray. The thought of her cheerful, well meaning best friend being snapped at by Oliver sent another surge of rage through Felicity as she moved out of her seat, her face a mere inches from his.

“I made a mistake,” she hissed.


“No I made a mistake signing on with you. Even provisionally.”

They continued to glare at each other and although Felicity knew she was about to hit a low blow, she couldn’t resist adding “Just so you know I would walk right now if it weren’t for Ray. Only reason why I put up with your constant broodiness.”

“So you keep reminding me,” Oliver snapped at her.

As if on cue Ray burst through the door, ladened with shopping bags. “Yoohooo! I brought nibbles,” he boomed cheerfully, either unaware of the hostile atmosphere or choosing to ignore it. Felicity knew John was probably sniggering at them from where he was standing. 

“I’m heading home Ray. I’ll see you at home.” Felicity mustered up a smile, feeling bad that she was ruining whatever he had planned for them. He was always trying to plan nice things for them and although Oliver would rather die and admit it, Felicity had caught him looking significantly mellower during their team lunches and dinners. 

“But I thought we could have dinner together and work on tweaking Oliver’s new bow together. Then you could run through some tracking algorithms with me again.” Ray’s face had disappointment written all over it.

“Another evening Ray. I need a change in atmosphere.” She smiled at him and gave him a fond pat, which caused Oliver’s glare to intensify further. Really Felicity did not know what Oliver’s problem was. Her coddling behavior towards Ray seemed to bother him significantly, which made no sense since he was the one who suggested she join the team so she could keep an eye on Ray. She let out an annoyed huff and was about to walk off when Ray shoved a container of take away into her hands.

“I got you your favourite dumplings.” Ray offered her a placating smile. He glanced warily at Oliver, obviously picking up on the fact that they had just had a little spat. 

Felicity’s expression softened right away as she took the dumplings from him. “I’m going to get a big belly eating a huge box full of these but you know I can’t say no to dumplings. Thanks Ray. I’ll head home and eat them.” She leaned over to give him a quick hug, before walking over to give John one as well while pointedly ignoring Oliver who was now glowering at everyone in the room. 


“You do realize she’s known him since forever and they’re only best friends right?” John casually deposited himself on a stool next to where Oliver was intently sharpening his arrows. 

“Of course I know that. Now why would you feel the need to tell me that,” Oliver muttered, scraping at one of his arrows with more vigor that required. He had finished his business with Ken Williams for the night and Ray was happily tinkering with some gadget in the makeshift space Felicity had partitioned off for their inventions.

John didn’t say anything but just gave him a look that conveyed everything words could not.

“What do you want me to do John?” Oliver grumbled. 

“It’s not up to me to tell you what to do Oliver. The more people we bring into the fold, the more scope there is for differing opinions and the occasional clash. But you can’t deny that Ray and Felicity have made our lives much easier and reduced the number of incidents and injuries since they’ve come on board.”

Oliver knew John was right. Despite his blow out with Felicity, both she and Ray had been invaluable to the team. He honestly wasn’t sure what had come over him tonight. Snapping at Palmer was the norm for him, the latter’s exuberance often annoyed him immensely. Felicity was different though. Felicity had fit in seamlessly. She was soft and understanding with just enough spark and spirit in her. She brought a lightness to the team that was not as jarring as Palmer and he found her uplifting and amusing rather than annoying. 

In fact the only thing he found irritating was her constant fussing over Palmer. God forbid Palmer get a paper cut, it would send Felicity into a tizzy. He couldn’t admit this to John of course as he was sure the other man would give him one of his looks that implied Oliver was the unreasonable one. 


Felicity was raiding her freezer for stray ice cream when there was a sharp wrap on her front door. Wondering who it could be at this time Felicity headed towards the door to look through the peephole. It was too soon for Ray to come back and he wouldn’t knock anyway. They had no plans with any other friends tonight. They had no plans with anyone save John and Oliver these days, Felicity realized. It had only been a few months but this nightly job was slowly overtaking their lives. She really needed to do something about that. Felicity felt like she had a much more balanced existence before the quiet storm that was Oliver Queen blew into their lives. 

Speak (or was it think) of the devil; there he was standing outside her front door with what looked like a paper bag of groceries. Felicity briefly wondered what was going on here. Had Ray sent Oliver on some errands at the grocery store and if so how on earth did he manage that since Oliver was rarely amenable to anything Ray suggested. Another knock reverberated on her door, interrupting her thoughts.

“Hi……Oliver. What are you doing here?” She blurted out as soon as the door opened. She was still a little thrown to find him here at their place and stood blocking the doorway while watching him curiously.

“I…uh…I came to apologise. May I come in?” he asked in a quiet voice looking significantly less snappy and broody than he had earlier. 

“Sure, step inside.” Felicity moved to the side and waved him in, shutting and locking the door behind her once he had entered the premises. She led him to the living room and motioned for him to sit down on the purple plush velvet couch she had bought with her last pay rise.

Oliver refused to sit, instead choosing to stand there, watching her with that intense gaze of his. “Felicity I came here to apologise. I was hopped up on adrenaline earlier and I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that.”

“So did Ken Williams get to enjoy your adrenaline too or did you use it all on me earlier?” Felicity asked, giving him a pointed look. 

Noting her choice of words, Oliver’s lips quirked up into a tiny smile. “Ken Williams is fine. He returned all the money after I had a friendly chat with him. I didn’t orphan anyone if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“I appreciate you coming over to apologise. Although I didn’t figure you for a regular front door kind of guy. You seem more like the back door type, scale my windows or something. Most dramatic entrance possible.” Just like that Felicity lost her sharp guardedness from before and she was back to being the Felicity he had grown accustomed to. Oliver found himself feeling a peculiar sense of relief. 

“So does this mean you’ll stay on the team? For Ray’s sake. Just so you know I was nice to him for the rest of the night.” He couldn’t quite explain it but in that moment it was important for Felicity to stop being mad at him.

“So an apology and you were nice to Ray. I’ve hit the jackpot tonight.” Felicity flashed him a big sunny smile. Her smile reminded him of a sunflower. Not that he paid much attention to flowers let alone sunflowers but she really did remind him of a happy bright golden flower.

“I was just raiding the fridge for ice cream. I’d ask you to join me for dessert but it appears Ray has eaten my secret stash.” Felicity frowned a little before continuing. “He pretends he doesn’t eat junk and then steals my ice cream when he’s feeling down.”

“Good thing he told me to pick this up along the way then.” Oliver handed her the grocery bag, which she had momentarily forgotten about. “Two tubs of mint chip ice cream and a few bars of chocolate.”

“Dessert!” Felicity clapped her hands with glee. Before they both knew what was happening she stood on her tiptoes and threw her arms around his neck. “My hero,” she declared cheerfully. Oliver stiffened slightly, her display of affection momentarily catching him off guard. Fortunately he recovered quickly enough to give her a quick friendly rub on the back before she disentangled herself and rummaged through the grocery bag.

“Why don’t you stay for dessert,” she asked, beaming at him. “If you don’t have to be at Verdant tonight that is.” 

“I could use some time out. And some dessert,” Oliver replied quickly. He had spent many nights with her over the last few months but always in the company of the other two. He had gotten to know John one on one and even Palmer during John’s stint out of town. Felicity was the only person on the team he hadn’t had a chance to bond with yet and it was important he knew every member of his team thoroughly he reasoned with himself. 


“I’m going to call it a night,” Ray announced. “It’s been a tense sort of evening. I think I’ll go home and proof some bread dough overnight.”

“Bread?” John asked shooting him a quizzical look. He had become somewhat used to the fact that Ray often came up with outlandish ideas at a million miles an hour but he could neither make head nor tail of this.

“I stress bake,” Ray explained. “Hopefully Oliver and Felicity have kissed and made up. I’m just going to head home, get a little yeast going, do a little kneading. It helps me relax and as a bonus there’s fresh bread in the morning! Hey speaking of kisses are you getting some vibes off Oliver? I’m getting some serious I’m so pissed off I wanna kiss you vibes whenever he has an argument with Felicity. At first I thought I was just imagining it and I should be an expert at AngryOliver since he’s almost always annoyed at me. But then with me he just looks annoyed. No kissy face. Do you think he’s got kissy face at Felicity? Frustrated kissy face? Is that because he doesn’t have time to date?” 

John let out a splutter and fought the urge to burst out laughing. If even Palmer was coming up with these theories they were headed for some interesting times indeed.

“Can’t say I’ve given it too much thought,” he answered feigning innocence. “But I’ll keep a sharp eye out next time they have a spat and get back to you with my observations.”

Ray shrugged and grabbed his backpack before John interrupted him. Whatever bond Oliver was trying to establish with Felicity at her house right now, John knew he simply couldn’t have Ray wandering in with his bread dough and disrupting them. There was a good chance Oliver might arrow him on the spot. “Oliver’s set me up with an unlimited tab at Verdant. Since they are sorting out their differences as we speak why don’t I buy you a drink Ray?” 

“Gee I don’t know,” Ray looked hesitant. “I’m not much of a drinker. Sweet fruity drinks are more to my liking.” 

“Then I know of a few Verdant specialty cocktails that you’ll love.” John placed a hand around Ray’s shoulder. He was not taking no for an answer. “Come on Ray. Let’s go get you a drink. You’ve joined the team for months and I don’t know much about you.”

“Ok then if you put it that way.” Ray grinned happily at him and added, “I could even classify tonight as a mini team bonding session. You and me, Oliver and Felicity.”


One hour later

No more talk of darkness

Forget these wide-eyed fears

I'm here, nothing can harm you

My words will warm and calm you

Let me be your freedom

Let daylight dry your tears

I'm here, with you beside you

To guard you and to guide you 

Ray crooned, his voice getting dangerously loud. John hauled him out of Verdant just in time before he started attracting attention. Luckily the club was loud and only a few people had started looking their way. Palmer was a handsome devil and once he burst into song loudly there was no telling who would notice. It had been a miscalculation on his part to take Palmer out drinking. The boy clearly couldn’t handle his liquor and after three pink cocktails Ray was working his way through the entire Phantom of the Opera album.

“We need to get Flisssty here,” he slurred. “Flisssty has a beautiful voice too. She normally does the Christine bit. Oliver would love it! Actually do you think Oliver would love it or would he get cross? Because of Flisssty singing with me. Flisssty is the twin I wish I had instead of Sidney. Sidney is a nasty gimp! So mean that Sidney!” 

“Let’s get you somewhere so you can sleep this off Ray.” John wracked his brain frantically. He couldn’t take Ray back to the townhouse he shared with Felicity in case Oliver was still there. There was nothing worse than raining on Oliver’s parade with a drunken, singing Ray. Ray would definitely get arrowed. Letting out a long sigh he shoved Ray into the back seat of his car, the latter now rambling on about how Oliver would make a great phantom and he, Ray, would make a wonderful Raoul.

John started the engine and drove off to his apartment. The things he did in the name of friendship. The next few months were going to be interesting with these kids. He was going to go grey for sure.

Chapter Text

“This is the fifth Team Arrow meeting we’ve held at Big Belly Burger in the past two months,” Ray complained as he perused the menu, clucking his disapproval at just about every menu item. “Next time we’re trying the vegetarian place down the road. Why even bother with all the training we do if we are just going to throw it away by gorging burgers at every chance we get. Did you know that there are over 700 calories with virtually no nutritional value in a Big Belly Buster…”

He was about to go on when Felicity, who was sitting next to him, gave him a sharp jab with her elbow. “Order the salad and stop complaining,” she commanded giving him a semi stern, mildly fond look that Ray responded to at once. Oliver observed their little exchange in fascination, taking in the dynamics between Felicity and Ray, a tiny part of him feeling unreasonably resentful that Felicity never chastised him in such a relaxed, affectionate manner.

They had come leaps and bounds since their little dessert bonding session at her home. Felicity still didn’t hesitate to speak up when she disagreed with him but he no longer had the fear that she was going to leave the team. Felicity made it amply clear she was on the team for good, even if they did butt heads sometimes. Oliver found himself wishing it wouldn’t be so tense whenever they butt heads. If only she would coddle him a bit the way she managed to simultaneously yell but coddle Palmer at the same time. 

“Who says we’re called Team Arrow Ray?” he narrowed his eyes at Palmer, suddenly feeling slightly irritated at the man in question for no good reason. Diggle on his right raised an eyebrow to give him a warning look. John had gotten rather fond of Palmer of late, especially after the latter spent a night at his house after a drunken bonding session that involved pink cocktails and musical numbers. John was very vague on the details and would only repeat “You owe me one Oliver” in a maddening fashion whenever he was asked about it.

“Felicity calls us Team Arrow,” Ray chirped at him with what Oliver thought was possibly a hint of smugness on his face.

Meanwhile Felicity was beaming at Oliver from across the table with a positively angelic look on her face and Oliver found himself rethinking the scowl he had prepared for Ray. Instead he opted for the most serene look he could manage before sneaking a small smile in Felicity’s direction. “See what you’ve done?” he mocked glared at her; earning himself an eye roll from John.

“Hey why didn’t you take any of my name suggestions? I joined Team Arrow before Felicity! Why didn’t I get to name us?” Ray protested. A sharp kick was promptly leveled at his shin causing him to wince in pain.

Oliver looked around innocently to find Felicity and John both glaring at him.

“Let’s put in our food order and get on with it,” he ordered crisply.


Half an hour into their meal they managed to hatch out a solid plan to deal with the Dodger that met Oliver’s approval. 

“Guess this means you’ll run into Detective Hall, your crush object again,” Ray winked at Oliver. “Living up to your reputation as a ladies man Oliver. I had my money on Laurel.” He turned to Felicity and explained placidly, “Before you joined the team he used to drop everything whenever Laurel was involved. Oddly that stopped right after you joined the team.”

“Ooh do you have a crush on the detective in this case?” Felicity asked curiously. 

“Let me get a few things straight. I don’t have a crush on McKenna. Laurel and I are ancient history,” Oliver retorted sharply.

“Oh and Ray, when you try to wink like that it looks like you have a bug in your eye.” Oliver didn’t know what possessed him to add that last line while scowling disagreeably at Ray. Felicity burst into a peal of laughter only to be met with a very hurt look from her best friend. She patted him in a placating manner and pushed her fries in front of him.

“I’m sorry for laughing. I really am. Have some fries.” Ray was slightly mollified by the gesture and shoved a few fries into his mouth. John shook his head disapprovingly at Oliver who looked unrepentant.

“Since we’re on the topic of dating I don’t see you dating anyone Ray. Or are you too joined at the hip with Felicity to date anyone else.” Oliver suddenly felt bold. Ray was the one who had lobbed the first shot about his love life; Oliver didn’t see why he had to pass up this opportunity.

Felicity and Ray both choked on their milkshake and fries at the same time, while John crossed his arms, enjoying the show that the “young’uns” were treating him to.

“Me and Ray? Hell no that’s never happening,” Felicity spluttered, shaking her head vigorously.

Ray slapped her on the back a few times before chiming in. “Under any other circumstances I’d take offence to that but in this case I echo Felicity’s sentiments. HELL NO.” 

“Why ever not?” Oliver demanded. He was completely intrigued by what was unfolding before him and was ignoring the incredulous look John was shooting him.

A quiet non-verbal exchange took place between Ray and Felicity. Eventually Ray spoke up after Felicity nodded at him.

“This comes up with us a lot whenever we make new friends or try to date other people so you may as well know.” Ray looked uncomfortable as he shuffled around nervously. Oliver could feel his heart pounding rapidly as his chest tightened, wondering what on earth it was they were so hesitant to tell him. Were they married? Did they have a baby together that they put up for adoption? What were they being so cagey about?

“Ray has an identical twin brother, Sidney, whom I dated when I was at MIT.” Felicity gave an involuntary shudder at the mention of Sidney. Her eyes, which were always so bright and full of sparkle, looked sad. Whoever he was, Ray’s twin had hurt Felicity immensely and most likely deserved an arrow in him Oliver thought. He had seen Felicity when she was angry and even on the odd occasion when she appeared cynical, yet there was something quietly devastating about her when she mentioned Sidney. 

Felicity regained her composure and continued. “I was young and stupid and it was my first relationship. Let’s just say things ended very badly but in exchange for all the bad stuff that happened I found my best friend and Ray was there to help pick up the pieces. Safe to say Ray and I mean a lot to each other without ever intending to go down the romantic route.”

Ray nodded emphatically and gave Felicity’s hand a warm squeeze before adding; “Plus it would be so weird for Felicity to date two brothers from the same family. There’s no love lost between Sidney and I, but I’m not going to date the same girl as him. Sibling swapping! Who does that anyway?”

A peculiar high-pitched noise emanated from John as Oliver’s face turned red as a beetroot at Ray’s comment. Felicity and Ray immediately realized the sensitive territory Ray had inadvertently stumbled onto and both rushed in at the same time.

“I’m sure there are sometimes reasons for sibling swapping.”

“Reasons that DO NOT apply to us!” 

“We don’t judge!”

“Not at all! Totally not judging!” 

“It’s just not our style.”

“Yeah, really NOT our style. We’re like siblings ourselves.”

“Guys ENOUGH! You’re digging,” John shook his head at them all. “Let’s finish up here and focus on the task at hand okay? Let’s all agree that no one wants to date anyone on this team and move on.” 

Oliver’s first instinct was to protest at John’s sweeping statement however one look at the older man’s slightly smug, knowing smile made him realize he would be playing straight into John Diggles’s hands. He snuck a glance at Felicity who was now blushing slightly before nodding in agreement with as much dignity as he could muster. Palmer in his typical fashion was beaming agreeably at everyone. 


“Where is Felicity? Shouldn’t she be with you?” Oliver peered around. They had agreed that Felicity was to oversee the tracking device on the brooch but Oliver found himself searching for her, especially since Palmer had joined them looking like the well meaning, over exuberant, dapper Disney Prince, that the plucky heroine would roll her eyes at and try to run from for much of the movie. 

He had barely finished his sentence when he spotted her from across the room. There was an audible gasp that Oliver suddenly realized was his own as his eyes took in Felicity who was strolling up to them in a very short figure hugging gold dress.

She was sans glasses and her hair fell on her shoulders in an array of bouncy curls. Oliver had always thought Felicity was beautiful. Soft wavy blonde hair, big blue eyes, perfect features and a slender figure. She always glowed in a luminous, untouchable way that he knew was out of his reach. Yet tonight in that dress Felicity was gorgeous in the most dangerously mortal and desirable way. Oliver was vaguely aware that his mouth was open, very much like a fish. He promptly shut his jaw when he realized Palmer and Diggle were stepping towards Felicity, Diggle looking impressed at Felicity’s appearance in cocktail gear. Palmer to Oliver’s surprise showed no visible reaction and greeted Felicity with his usual warm smiles.

“She’s pretty isn’t she? Some of us get used to it and accept it, some of us might have trouble,” he whispered knowingly into Oliver’s ear. “If you’re going to always look at her like that I’d say you’re in trouble Oliver.”

Oliver had been through a lot in his five years of hell and the one thing he could rely on was the fact that he didn’t startle easily (far from it). Palmer’s unexpected comment felt like a sucker punch. In fact it was probably the closet thing to Palmer ever landing a punch on him. Oliver looked at Palmer sharply. First the mention of McKenna and Laurel the other day, now this. It would appear that in certain matters Palmer was not as vague and or unassuming as he seemed. 

“Let’s not lose our focus and bring up irrelevant things,” Oliver muttered, giving Palmer a quick glare before readjusting his features into a smile for Felicity. With a bit of luck she wouldn’t know that he had been glaring at Palmer. It always displeased her whenever he got snarky with Palmer. 

“I’ve got a strong tracking signal on your family brooch so I say we stand around, eat a few canapés and see where the tracking device takes us when the Dodger makes his move.” Felicity fiddled around with her phone for a few seconds and smiled brightly at the trio standing across from her.

“Hey have you thought of what you’re going to do if the Dodger really absconds with your family jewels,” she nudged Oliver playfully.

Ray burst into a peal of laughter, causing Felicity to shake her head a little and close her eyes. Oliver found himself imagining what it would be like to plant a kiss on her lips when she had her eyes closed like that. He quickly snapped out of it. He really needed to get a grip. Things were starting to spiral out of control and none of this had been part of his plan when he returned to Starling City. He made the right decision forming the team. Everyone (even Ray although Oliver would never admit it) had a role to play and they all excelled in their respective fields. He just needed to control this…this interest he was developing for Felicity. It was most likely stemming from some sort of trauma he had developed from surviving the last five years. He wanted something bright and beautiful to hold onto, to save him and what was more bright and beautiful than Felicity. He was going to start obsessing about Palmer next if he didn’t watch himself and quash this thing.


“Get away from me,” Ray yelled at his teammates as he tried to run away from them. “You’re all going to die with me once he blows my head off if you stay too close. He says we can’t alert the authorities or he’ll blow my head off.” The collar around his neck flashed red ominously as he peered around frantically trying to think of how he could outrun his friends so he wouldn’t take them down with him.

“Ray we’re not leaving you,” Felicity lunged forward, yanking herself out of Oliver’s grip. “I’m not leaving you. I can do this. Remember that year when you thought I was becoming dark and creepy for taking an interest in learning about computer rigged bombs and how to disarm them. Stop running. I can do this.”

“No,” Oliver pulled her back. “The Dodger still has the brooch and is still traceable. You guide me while I hunt him down and get him to shut down the bomb collar.” 

“What if he decides to press the button once you confront him?” Felicity cried. 

“He won’t. I’ll make sure of that. I’ll save Ray,” he assured her. Palmer meant the world to Felicity and there was no way she was losing her best friend on his watch.

“John can look at my tablet and guide you. I’m going to work on disarming Ray’s bomb collar. We’ll both go at it to see who comes first.”

Oliver knew there was no time to argue with her. Not when there was a risk that Ray would flee to protect them. “Fine we’ll do it your way.”

“Be careful,” Felicity whispered as she gave him a quick hug.

Once Oliver had sprinted off, Felicity set her sights on Ray who was still trying to keep his distance from her. Scrambling up to him she managed to latch onto his arm. “Ray, sit still on this bench. We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way Ray but I swear I’m not leaving you so either you give me the best chance to disable this or we can both blow up together if Oliver’s instincts about the Dodger turn out to be wrong.” She glared at him fiercely and Ray realized that whether he was going to survive or not, Felicity was going to be glued to his side. Although frustrated with her, Ray knew he would do the same if he were in her position. 

“At least make John stay across the room in the doorway. I won’t cooperate unless John is out of the danger zone,” he demanded.

Felicity picked up her tablet and shoved it into John’s hands. “John, please,” she pleaded.

John took the tablet and silently walked across the room to the doorway. 


Felicity squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, as she held her hairpin up, poised to dislodge the last wire. This was it. She was 99% sure that once she dislodge the wire the necklace would spring open from Ray’s neck. Still there was also a 1% chance that she and Ray would end up as bits on the marble floor, scarring John for life.

Without giving it any further thought, and tormenting herself with additional fear, Felicity manoeuvred the hairpin and flicked the wire loose. The bomb collar around Ray’s neck turned green and sprang open instantly. Felicity grabbed hold of the offending object and placed it a safe distance from them before running back to give Ray a crushing hug. 

“I thought we were toast. I mean I have complete faith that if anyone could do it, it was you but there was a good chance that you and I would die and I didn’t want to be the one to cause my best friend to blow up into smithereens just because I decided to be a vigilante and an incompetent one who got trapped by a thief of all people,” Ray rambled hugging Felicity back.

He caught John smiling at them, with a look of sheer relief on his face and waved the other man over. “Come here and join us John. Group hug!!! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to hug you. And Oliver too but that’s more because it’s a forbidden thing. Does he ever hug anyone? Would he ever hug anyone besides maybe Felicity? I want to hug you John because you look so damn huggable. Felicity, am I allowed to swear in lieu of the great trauma I’ve been through?”

Ray did not stop to take a breathe.

“Breath Ray! Breath! Oliver’s just alerted me on comms that the Dodger has been neutralized,” John informed them as he walked over and engulfed his huge mighty arms around them, squeezing both with all his strength. He had grown exceedingly fond of the both of them. They were easy to love. 


“We are going home to eat our weight in ice cream because if there was ever a day to stress eat today is that day. Want to join us?” Oliver noticed Felicity had slipped into a pair of adorable panda flats. Her curls had loosened and were now pulled back into a ponytail. She was so beautiful and warm, not to mention brilliant for disabling that bomb, Oliver found himself longing to accept her invitation despite his rational side screaming at him that this was not something he could have.

What would be the harm in sitting down, eating ice cream and enjoying Felicity’s company? Palmer would be there too. It’s not like he was spending time alone with Felicity. They were a team and Palmer was always prattling on about team bonding.

“I think I will,” he replied with a big smile that garnered surprise looks from Palmer, Felicity and John. “How about you John? Won’t be the same without you.”

“Our first post mission team bonding session,” Ray rubbed his hands together in delight. “I’ll whip up some cookies so we can make ice cream sandwiches. Please join us John?” 

“Well it looks like I can’t say no and disappoint that one,” John smiled, nudging his head in Ray’s direction.  


“This is awesome,” Felicity murmured, balancing her plate on her incredibly well toned abs as she tried to snap herself out of her sugar coma.

“Agreed,” John nodded beside her, polishing off the last remnants of his third home made ice cream sandwich. “We lucked out with those two.” He peered over at the kitchen where Oliver and Ray were stacking the dishwasher and wiping down benches respectively. 

In a surprising turn of events, it appeared that Oliver was also quite the chef and after an initial bout of hesitation, had taken off with Ray into the kitchen to bond over appliances that Felicity did not know exist let alone show an interest in. Then the two of them proceeded to whip up the most delicious choc chip cookies and served John and Felicity ice cream sandwiches while the second branch of Team Arrow lounged around and relaxed on the couch.

“We should get going,” John hoisted himself up with great effort from the couch. “You and Ray have day jobs you actually need to attend remember.” 

“I’m ready,” Oliver materialized from seemingly out of nowhere. “Just turned the dishwasher on.” 

“Team Arrow this was so much fun,” Ray declared giddily, partly aided by all the sugar he had consumed. “You can go straight to bed after you brush your teeth Felicity. Oliver here helped me clean everything up.” 

“My extremely competent boys,” Felicity beamed at them fondly. Before Oliver had time to process, Felicity grabbed him by the face and gave him two hearty kisses, one on each cheek. She then turned and gave Ray the same treatment, smiling a dazzling smile at the both of them after she was done. 

Oliver stood rooted to the spot, rubbing one cheek with his hand looking dazed. He felt John steer him towards the front door.

“Night guys. Sleep off all that sugar,” John called as Ray and Felicity waved goodbye to them. 


“You ok there?” John asked after a long bout of silence in the car. Oliver who had been uncharacteristically relaxed and mellow at Ray and Felicity’s house was currently sporting a troubled look on his face. John suspected he knew what this was all about, and this was as good a chance as any to steer his friend in the right direction. Oliver was a broody one, who could brood about anything at anytime but there was no reason to brood after tonight’s events. John was not going to allow it.

“It’s nothing,” Oliver grunted from his seat, avoiding John’s eyes.

“It’s not nothing if you were having fun, and don’t deny it I know you were, at Ray and Felicity’s place one minute and now you look like someone has set fire to the foundry and burnt your favourite bow. What’s going on Oliver?” John gave him a look that suggested they were not getting out of the car until he told John exactly what was on his mind. 

This was all Palmer’s fault, Oliver thought to himself darkly. Even since Palmer joined the team and the two socialized with each other, John had become bolder and more interfering in all matters concerning Oliver, especially non Team Arrow related matters. And now he was referring to them as Team Arrow. Curse Palmer!

“Felicity is treating me more like she treats Palmer,” Oliver finally blurted out, absent-mindedly touching his cheek where she had kissed him.

“Ahh yes I noticed the cheek kisses before you left. What’s the problem? I’ve always thought it was one of your gripes that she treated you differently to Ray? Now you’re on equal footing.” John’s tone and smile suggested he knew exactly why Oliver was upset by the new turn of events. He just enjoyed messing with Oliver about it. 

“Palmer is her best friend,” Oliver responded morosely, putting extra emphasis on the word friend.

“You worried you’re being friend zoned?” John was now thoroughly amused by the entire exchange. 

“No!” Oliver protested. “It’s just that she kissed me exactly the same way she kissed Ray.”

“In other words you’re worried about being friend zoned? Why are you even denying this?” John Diggle was a mean man when he wanted to be. 

“She is my friend. She’s my colleague, team member and friend.” Oliver sounded like he was trying to reassure himself of something. John wondered if he chanted this mantra to himself whenever he got stressed. 

“Then what’s the problem? You look like you’re well on the way to being one of her best friends, just like Ray.” 

John couldn’t resist that last dig. He knew it was a not in the spirit of being kind but really Oliver needed to get his head out of his ass. He had clearly put Felicity in some kind of box or pedestal and was now working hard to torment himself about something that should be as uncomplicated as can be. John hadn’t seen Oliver this conflicted about Laurel and there was a whole toxic back story right there. But then John knew the way Oliver’s mind worked. In his head Felicity was probably perfect and untouchable, the embodiment of everything Oliver felt he didn’t deserve. John wondered what Felicity would have to say about all of this.

“I think Felicity’s relationship with Ray has reached a stand still. He means the world to her and you saw today how she’d risk her life for him. But they have a very well defined relationship that’s never going to change. You and Felicity, whole different story there but that depends on the both of you.”



Chapter Text

“I haven’t been able to locate the FBI safe house where they’re keeping your father,” Oliver informed Helena tersely. A metre away he could practically feel John’s scowl. Feelings of resentment and mortification simmered inside him. If only he had listened to John about Helena. The truth of the matter was that he had been lonely and was trying to find…something. Unfortunately he had tried to find it in the wrong person.

“I can help with that I’ve been dying to hack into the FBI security system,” Felicity breezed in with Ray in tow.

“She may or may not have hacked it many years ago while drunk. Until I convinced her to be on the straight and narrow,” Ray chimed in, earning himself a glare from Felicity. He deflated at once before adding somewhat sheepishly “I…uh…was the good one in our friendship until I teamed up with you guys. Which was a reckless idea on my part. That I should have told Felicity about before she found out the way she did.” He glanced at Felicity apologetically. This was still somewhat a sensitive issue between the two of them and although Felicity had said she wasn’t mad at him for secretly working with Oliver all those months, he could tell that deep down she was hurt he had kept it from her.

Felicity shot Ray a satisfied smile and was about to respond when Oliver yelled at them ferociously, a hint of panic in his voice. “Get out! Get out right now! This is a private thing guys. Please.”

To Ray and Felicity’s surprise, John also got up and tried to shoo them out, albeit in a slightly more gentle manner than Oliver. There was nothing to do but leave.


“Well that was rude,” Felicity grumbled. “I know he’s prone to moods but there was no need to yell at us like that. Hey do you know who that brunette was?” Felicity felt slightly annoyed that her first question was to ask who the mystery brunette was. Between what Ray had told her about Laurel, McKenna she could very well guess who the stunning brunette was. And really why should she even care at all? She was just like Ray. A member of Oliver’s team. If Ray didn’t care who the brunette was neither should she.

“Crazy psycho ex he dated for a while. Never met her but John told me she was nuts. Oliver taught her how to use a crossbow and then she went bonkers! If you thought Oliver arrowing people was bad you should hear what John told me about this one.” Ray had taken on a very animated tone, one that was about to engaged in a good bit of gossip. 

Felicity temporarily forgot her discontent at being yelled at by Oliver and looked at Ray in disbelief. “So you’re telling me that John Diggle, the soul of discretion told you all about Oliver’s crazy ex? John Diggle tells you personal details about Oliver?”

“To be fair to John he LOATHES Helena, that’s her name. Thinks she’s as mad as the Mad Hatter, and a hell lot more murderess. I don’t get the impression that he likes Laurel either. I don’t think he approves of the girls Oliver’s been involved with.” Ray spoke in such a relaxed and casual tone, as if it was a perfectly common occurrence for him and John to sit around and discuss Oliver’s love life.

“When did he even tell you these things?” Felicity asked with part curiously, part disbelief.

“Sometimes John and I will grab dinner together on the nights that we leave before you and Oliver,” Ray shrugged as if this was common knowledge. Even though he lived with Felicity they sometimes left at separate times, as Felicity often stayed to tinker with the computers while that time of the night was Oliver’s favorite time to work out on the salmon ladder. It didn’t take a genius to figure what was going on there but if the parties involved were going to be stupid about it (honestly he never thought he’d ever call Felicity stupid, not even secretly), he and John were entitled to comment on their behavior.

“So you gossip during dinner about Oliver’s love life?” Felicity asked incredulously. She felt like her mind was being blown with the idea of Ray and John sitting down together for a candlelit dinner while gossiping of all things.

“We talk about a lot of things,” Ray responded in a dignified and slightly defensive tone. “Sometimes the conversation veers towards Oliver’s love life and who might be the right girl for him.” At this comment he gave her a rather pointed look. “We think his days of trying to find a connection with the wrong girl are over. But now he’s stubborn and maybe too gun shy to make a move with the right girl. Maybe he needs encouragement from the right girl.”

“Pretty sure he’s just taking his time to work out his very complicated relationship with Laurel.” Felicity feigned ignorance to everything Ray was alluding too. She and Oliver may work together to fight crime but that was the extent of it. If pushed she would admit that they also had their fair share of take out in the bunker and were decent friends. Clearly John and Ray had had one too many drinks over dinner.

“You should talk to him about it if you don’t believe me,” Ray said innocently. 

“I’m his IT girl, not his match maker,” Felicity shook her head at Ray. She didn’t know what he was up to but she wasn’t going to encourage it by giving him a reaction. Any kind of reaction. All reactions will be squashed by her.

She gave her best friend a good-natured smile. “Sooo tell me! How do you and John settle on a dinner venue? Because we know you like fancy places and I can’t imagine John agreeing to a candlelit dinner with you.”

“We take turns choosing the venue,” Ray informed her serenely. “I’ll have you know John Diggle is an open minded man who likes to try new things. And so am I.”


“You eaten yet?” Oliver’s head poked through the door of the new office Felicity shared with Ray in the IT Department. There had been much gossip and talk when they both jumped at the chance to move into the dinky and dark little room away from the brightly lit cubicles. It added further fuel to the speculation that they were dating but after years of dealing with those types of rumours they were non-plussed about it. This dark little dungeon as Felicity liked to call it, gave them the space and privacy to discuss and attend to any Arrow related business during the day when it inevitably cropped up (which was often).

“Are those takeaway boxes of food your way of apologizing for yelling at me this morning when I was just trying to be helpful?” Felicity asked impishly as she watched Oliver hovered outside her door, looking unsure of himself.

“Yes they are and I am sorry for yelling and shooing you both out. Helena is not someone I wanted you two to be exposed to.” Oliver looked around suddenly noticing that Ray was missing. “Where’s Ray? I bought lunch for the three of us.” 

“Oh he’s gone off to eat his quinoa salad and grilled chicken by the duck pond in Starling Park.” Felicity waved Oliver in and proceeded to pounce the food containers from him. She opened them eagerly while Oliver laid out the napkins and disposable cutlery.

“Don’t worry about the leftovers, I’ll take them home for dinner,” Felicity added hastily after she swallowed her first mouthful of food. 

“The things you will do to avoid cooking,” Oliver teased watching her with a big smile as they ate. “I thought Ray did all the cooking anyway?”

“Not to be ungrateful but he’s been on a health kick since forever so it’s always nice to get a change from his menu. Sometimes a girl just wants creamy pasta or a big tray of lasagna.” At the mention of lasagna Felicity actually had a dreamy look on her face before looking crestfallen again. “But he banned me from that long ago. Only makes whole wheat pasta with crushed broad beans and the like. I make do with mac n cheese from a box. Sometimes it offends him so much he will make me real mac n cheese. He only ever agrees to bake cookies or eat take out when we have those team bonding sessions he loves so much.”

“Well maybe I could cook for us in the bunker a few times a week. I was thinking of adding a small kitchen since Ray added the fridge and couches with his decorative cushions.” Oliver noticed Felicity looking thoughtful and mentally kicked himself. What was he thinking suggesting she commit to spending dinners with him a few times a week after monopolizing most of her time getting her to help him with his crusade already. She probably couldn’t wait to get away from him. 

“Tell you what, if you agree to do all the cooking, I am sure I can order and install a stove and oven myself. I might be able to do the plumbing too but if I can’t Ray can probably do it. It’s a deal!” 

Felicity beamed at him so happily, Oliver temporarily forgot all about the headache he was having with Helena being back in town. So that’s why Felicity looked hesitant. She was assessing their potential for a kitchen down in the bunker, not because she was horrified at his suggestion.

“But you have to promise no salads ever!” she added for good measure. 

“Maybe one every now and then with a good dressing,” Oliver countered, his mood picking up so much, nothing, not even another encounter with Helena could ruin it. “Someone has to try and take care of you.”

“Only as a side dish,” Felicity agreed grudgingly pouting at the prospect of eating salad. Oliver finished his lunch and listened to her chat for the rest of the meal. Things were looking up. 


“Saw Oliver on my way back here. He’s looking less angry compared to this morning. What did I miss?” Ray asked as he settled down in his chair. 

“In fact he’s looking suspiciously upbeat. Something must have happened while I was gone,” Ray added slyly.

“He brought lunch for us to apologise for this morning. I think he was just stressed about the murderous ex girlfriend rolling into town. I mean being around an ex is always hard right? God knows if Sidney showed up that would ruin my year but add murderous to that and we can’t really blame Oliver for being stressed.” She paused for a moment before waving a container of leftovers under Ray’s nose. “You had enough to eat? Want some?” 

Ray backed away in disgust and shook his head vehemently, “Goodness no! Do you have to bring that home with you? I don’t like it sitting around, giving off pungent smells in the fridge.” 

Felicity was about to argue with him when her machine pinged loudly. “Oooh looks like there is some activity regarding Oliver’s psycho ex. I’ll ring him and let him know.”

Felicity dialled Oliver’s number and to her relief he picked up the phone right away, informing her that he was currently stuck in traffic.

“One of my alerts just informed me that a sporting goods store has been robbed of a giant crossbow. Could be a coincidence or could be your psycho ex girlfriend, Digg’s words as relayed back to me by Ray. Not mine. I’ll text you the details so you can look into it.” 

“Just to clarify I got involved with her when I first came back and wasn’t seeing things clearly,” Oliver explained in an apologetic voice, which made her smile.

“Hey you don’t have to justify your dating decisions to me,” Felicity assured him. “Just try to pick someone less crazy next time. Quirky is good. A bit less murderous maybe.” Felicity couldn’t resist teasing Oliver a little. She was about to say something else when she felt Ray tugging at her sleeve. 

“Uh….Felicity….” Ray sounded nervous as he tried to capture her attention.

Felicity batted his hand away. He was probably protesting her telling Oliver about his chats with Dig. Ray however did not give up and Felicity gave a startled yell, dropping the phone from her hand with a clang when she turned around to see what he wanted. There standing at the door, smirking at them was non other than Oliver’s psycho ex, this time fully costumed in a villainous outfit complete with mask and all.

“I don’t believe we’ve met. I prefer to be called Huntress instead of psycho ex girlfriend.” The Huntress’s smile looked…well for lack of a better word…murderous as she pointed the stolen loaded crossbow at them.

“I was the one who called you that not her so you can kill me first. Or not. Actually name-calling isn’t nice but murder would be an over reaction don’t you think? You know what the name didn’t even start from me and it definitely had nothing to do with her.” Ray muscled his way in front of Felicity, holding his arms out to block her like he was pretending to be an airplane. 

“Ray,” Felicity elbowed her best friend, glaring at him crossly. “What did we say about sacrificing yourself to save me?”

She turned to Helena and said defiantly, “We don’t know you. I mean we know of you but we don’t know you so maybe you’ve got the wrong place and the wrong people. Pretty sure we haven’t done anything to you.”

Helena continued to grin like a Cheshire cat, pointing her crossbow at them, causing Felicity to swallow nervously. 

“You’ll have to get through me before you get to him.” She stepped in front of Ray who protested at once trying to pull her back. The result was the two of them engaging in a noisy tussle in which they spoke in loud voices hoping that Oliver on the other line or somebody would work out they were in trouble. 

“Dibs!!! I called dibs on sacrificing first,” Ray protested loudly, still trying to move Felicity out of the way. He had the big muscles but she was surprisingly persistent and annoyingly tough. 

“Enough,” Helena silenced them as she sent an arrow flying to the ceiling to make her point. “I don’t know what is going on here,” she gestured at them. “Clearly Oliver has moved on into some love triangle with the two of you.”

“Oh no we’re not in a love triangle, she dated my twin a long time ago. And FYI that was NOT a love triangle either! I met Felicity AFTER Sidney blew their relationship up,” Ray corrected Helena at once. 

“Ray!” Felicity slapped him on the arm. 

“It’s been many years Felicity. It’s time we just tell everyone to stop them from thinking we love each other that way.” 

“Does Oliver’s ex need to know?” Felicity glared at him.

“You know I think you need to address the issues Sidney created before you can become your best self and move on with a certain someone.” Even as he was held hostage Ray couldn’t resist studying Felicity’s face to see her reaction to his suggestion. 

“I said enough,” Helena spoke sharply, waving the crossbow at them once more. “As heart warming and slightly disturbing as this friendship or whatever you want to call it is, I need one of you to hack into the FBI database and find the location of my father’s safe house.” 

Helena took a stride forward and pointed the crossbow between Ray’s eyes before addressing Felicity, “You get me the location of my father or else your best friend here gets an arrow between the eyes.”


“I can’t believe she called our friendship disturbing,” Ray pondered, looking thoroughly offended as he and Felicity sat on the floor back to back. They were tied to each other around the waist. Helena had also individually bound their hands and feet together as well. They sat on the floor in one big heap not bothering to try and haul themselves up, figuring Oliver would go looking for one of them soon enough. The Huntress had not killed or injured them so that was something. “That psycho called our friendship disturbing!”

“Do you really think I still have issues with Sidney?” Felicity asked Ray quietly. “It’s been a long time like you said. I feel like I’ve buried that in the past and never looked back.”

“That’s the trouble with you Felicity. You buried it and moved on. I’m not saying you still feel anything for him at all. Just that you never acknowledged the damage he did. You just tried to move on. Which is good but have you truly healed from those wounds?” Ray could be surprisingly astute when he wanted to be, despite his tendency to try and find the best in everything. They were so similar in some ways and miles apart in others. She saw things for what they were but then tried to compartmentalize them so she could move forward. 

“How did you get to be the wise one in this friendship?” Felicity smiled affectionately even though Ray couldn’t see her face.

“I just want you to be happy. And I’m only going to say this now because your arms are tied up and you can’t hit me. I can see something between you and Oliver and when you’re ready to explore it, I don’t want what Sidney did to haunt you.”

“Wow you’re really pushing the Oliver angle aren’t you? Has it ever occurred to you that he doesn’t see me that way? He views me the same as he views you.”

Ray made a high pitch protesting noise at this statement.

“Ok so he has a softer spot for me than you. Gentler,” Felicity conceded. “But that doesn’t mean he sees me as anything more than friends or his IT girl.”

Ray was about to argue with her when their office door burst open and Oliver stormed in, rushing to Felicity’s side at once. 

“Hey, hey are you alright?” he asked gently, caressing her face as he examined her quickly for wounds before taking a knife and cutting the rope which tied her and Ray together. He unbound her hands and ankles and helped her onto her feet.

“I had to give her the address of the safe house where her father was kept or else she was going to put an arrow through Ray. I’m sorry Oliver.” Felicity spoke quickly, guilt penetrating her voice.

“It’s not your fault,” Oliver assured her at once, touching her shoulder.

“Yoohoo don’t forget about me,” Ray called from the floor. John who had just burst into the office ran to his aid.

“You’re stuck with me,” the other man informed Ray wryly as he looked up to see Oliver still patting Felicity’s shoulder.

“What are you going to do now?” Ray asked Oliver when he was on his feet again. 

“Something I should have done long ago,” Oliver muttered, his eyes full of fury as he glanced at Felicity’s chafed red wrists. 


“For what it’s worth I think it was a good thing you didn’t get a chance to kill her.” Felicity walked up to where Oliver was toweling off. Things had not worked out the way he planned and Helena had managed to escape. This resulted in the bunker-training dummy getting a severe beating. John had quietly taken Ray to dinner. They asked Felicity to join them but something told her she needed to keep an eye on Oliver tonight. 

“She hurt you,” Oliver responding, moving closer to her. “And Ray,” he added after a pause.

“Only our pride.” Felicity reached out and gave him an affectionate squeeze on the bicep. The effect was electric. They stared at each other as she pulled her fingers away. 

Oliver moved closer still. Felicity could practically feel the sweat and heat radiating from him. “I don’t like the idea of the two of you being on her radar now. She knows she can use you as leverage against me now.”

“Well to be fair she left you well alone this time and used us as leverage against each other,” Felicity smiled at him. He still did not move away. Not even one inch.

“It worries me that she’s out there and she could hurt you.” Oliver’s hand was now on her shoulder again, fidgeting with the little bow on her top.

“There are lots of things that could hurt me. Lots of things that have already hurt me, none of them have anything to do with you at all. Don’t beat yourself up about this Oliver. Please. I think you can let yourself off the hook for this one.” Felicity tilted her head to make sure he got a good look at her face and knew that she meant what she said.

Oliver nodded, his face pensive like he wanted to ask her what she meant by her comment but thought the better of it. He broke into a small smile and slung one arm over her shoulder. “Come on, let me take you to Big Belly Burger before you head home.”

“I thought you promised home cooked meals?” Felicity teased.

“You need to build me a kitchen first Ms. Smoak.”