Oliver Queen's P.O.V.
"She's cute, I guess," Helena's tone was offhanded, but her words felt like ice cubes floating in his blood.
Oliver didn't let himself respond right away, though he knew he couldn't hide everything from the Huntress.
Helena Bertinelli's relentless race for vengeance had destroyed the morals that might've made her try to turn her mob boss father in to the F.B.I in the first place, but neither grief nor rage had made her stupid. Driven, determined, and merciless? Yes. All traits that once made the vigilante think they were alike and could help save each other, until her utterly unreasoning lack of mercy had proven she'd stop at nothing to destroy her father.
If that meant destroying everything, so be it. Something the vigilante should've realized from the start. Helena had, after all, shot up a crowded sidewalk to take out one crooked man in that crowd. After that, it shouldn't have surprised him that she was so willing to start a mob just to bring her father down. It shouldn't have surprised him, but it did. Because she couldn't see all the innocent people who'd be caught in the crossfire, and after it'd already happened to his mother Oliver couldn't not see them.
Helena, however, clearly didn't care. She'd apologized, but she wouldn't take it back if she could. She'd keep doing it, again and again, until she got what she thought she wanted: and to Hell with everyone else. If watching the whole world burn meant her father would be burning, too, Helena would do it. So Oliver couldn't be surprised she was back in Starling, with or without the forewarning Felicity had somehow found for them before this whole nightmare really took off. He also couldn't come up with a way to stop her that didn't involve killing her.
"What?" Oliver finally made himself ask, his tone flat. Not turning to look at her as her heels clicked over the pavement a few feet behind him.
Helena was pacing. Back and forth as they both waited for Digg to tell them there was movement from the courthouse over the comms.
Or Oliver's comm, at least. The ex-soldier had been utterly unwilling to let him give Helena one. Flat-out refused to even run the op if she had their tech in her ear. The archer couldn't really say he thought the other man was wrong this time. Even if he did: he didn't want Felicity watching over the op and talking to Helena, either, so he pretty much had to let Digg do what he wanted.
"Your new 'girlfriend,'" Helena answered, still trying for offhanded, but with a little too much bite on the designation she might've ended up with if she was willing to let her revenge go a few months back.
In a way, it was probably better off that things hadn't worked out between them early on. With how jealous she'd been of Laurel, whom Oliver had then been making every effort to distance himself from out of respect for both his best friend and his ex-girlfriend herself, he couldn't imagine she would've reacted well to meeting Felicity back then either. Let alone a little later on. Not when he couldn't honestly say there wasn't a growing attraction to the I.T girl even back then; one that definitely might've turned his head if trying to date Helena long-term had become as difficult as it all too easily could have. He honestly still wasn't sure what it was that'd set her off at that unplanned double-date with Tommy and Laurel, but according to Digg the chemistry between him and Felicity had been plain as day for months before they'd done anything about it. So Helena would've seen it, too.
"Or is the computer geek not the only one?" the purple-clad woman snarked, sounding smug. "She's pretty cute, like I said. Useful, too, obviously. But she's gotta be pretty boring."
"She doesn't have anything to do with your father," the archer tried to remind her, even though she hadn't said anything about the former mob-boss herself in relation to the tech genius.
"Oh, I know," Helena agreed, and he could hear the smug smile in her voice like nails on a chalkboard. "But she knows about you. About all of this."
"Marshalls are bringing the vans 'round the courthouse," Digg told him. "No passenger comin' out yet. No guards outside either. Just the two vans backing into the garage."
As expected, because bringing Frank Bertinelli outside to one of the vans would expose him, and even if they'd had a decoy prisoner, too, Helena wasn't above shooting them both. The Starling City Courthouse, however, had several side garages that were built right up against the side of the main building, but completely separate from the public garage that everyone else used every day.
Too many entrances to cover them all at once, so Digg was watching via the traffic cameras Felicity had hacked them into weeks ago. She'd left them one of her 'back doors,' as she called them, just for things like this.
Digg wasn't wrong when he said Felicity Smoak could undoubtedly hack into the courthouse security system for them. Or she could at least tell them how to get into it via some device inside the courthouse; something like that. Oliver didn't doubt that when she said she could hack into what was supposed to be one of the most secure computer systems in the world, she could do it. He was sure she could. She'd already hacked ARGUS, after all, and he didn't think that had anything to do with the likely monitored 'backdoor' Waller had left him access to. Compared to ARGUS, a federal agency that specialized in black-ops and that most people didn't know about, how secure could any other agency be?
But that'd mean exposing her to Helena more, and Oliver was not willing to even consider that.
"Copy that," Oliver answered the bodyguard, not responding to either the unhidden dislike in the other man's voice—directed at the woman they had to help tonight—or what Helena herself was saying. Because addressing either here and now wouldn't help matters. "Movement," he told the brunette. "No one's leaving yet."
Helena heard him, but didn't say anything about that. "I didn't recognize her at first," she went on, attempting offhanded again. "All dolled up like Cinderella."
Oliver did finally turn to frown at her then.
She wasn't looking at him as she shrugged. "Thought your B.F.F might be blowing me off. You know, pointing out your flavor of the week just to get rid of me?"
"But then I recognized her. I saw you with her." Helena did turn back at him then, one eyebrow arching up sardonically. "Before that, I mean. Jogging in the Glades?"
That made him stop objecting again, remembering he didn't want to tell her anymore than she already knew. Which was too much, and that was before he heard this...
"That a new part of your sidekick training? General fitness till she can play dress up like me? Though I doubt she'll be half as hot as me in leather," the brunette smirked at him. "Maybe that's why you're running? 'Cause I remember better ways to work up a sweat with you, Oliver."
The innuendo didn't make him smile even a little bit. She didn't blush as she said it. Didn't clarify. She meant every word exactly as it sounded. Deliberate, biting and harsh. She wasn't Felicity. At all.
John Diggle was noticeably quiet. The heavy silence in his ear was weighted with all the disapproval, dislike and distrust the former soldier felt towards this woman before the brilliant tech girl was really part of the picture.
"The hoodie's better than the ballgown, I guess. Both of you in green's cute," Helena wrinkled her nose. "Bit desperate though, isn't it?"
"What?" Oliver asked before he could think better of it, the response coming out flat as he stared at her.
"Wearing your color when you run together," the woman in purple clarified. "She could've at least picked her own. Pink, like Barbie, maybe."
For another long moment the vigilante could only stare at her, then he shook his head. "You're jealous?"
"Really?" Digg asked then. "You're just realizing that now?"
"Of your Barbie doll?" Helena snorted derisively. "Don't be stupid, Oliver."
"You can't stop talking about her," he pointed out, studying her even as Diggle's rebuke came over his comm.
"She's right, Oliver," his partner pointed out unhappily. "Don't be stupid. Getting her more focused on Felicity's not gonna help anybody."
Oliver ignored him, still staring at her incredulously as he shook his head. "You're the one that left, Helena."
"Because you saved my father!" the Huntress snapped, crimson lips contorting into a scowl. "I had him, and you had to stop me!"
"I was protecting you," he reminded her.
"By betraying me," she shook her head, sneering at him. "Just remember not to make that mistake tonight."
"Unless you want one of your friends to find out what a crossbow bolt feels like. Might make Barbie think twice about wearing green."
"Oliver," Digg warned over the comm again, but it wasn't necessary.
The vigilante held her gaze for a moment, then shook his head. "Which garage are they in?" he asked Diggle as a redirect. Because if he tried to speak to the Huntress right away with what she'd just said, he might just aim an arrow he knew he didn't want to let loose.
There were three possible 'back exits' the marshals could use to bring Bertinelli out once he was done inside the courthouse. They couldn't risk getting to close to any of them, because there was no point immediately nearby from which they could cover all three. So Digg was watching on the traffic cam footage Felicity had permanently hacked them into at some point, unhappily waiting to tell them where to go.
"Northeast side," Diggle answered, unsurprised.
Oliver wasn't surprised either. It was exit that offered the closest access to highway. He just hadn't pointed that out to Helena that because he wasn't willing to risk her thinking storming the court house might be a better way to get her father. It'd be faster, but it wouldn't be better. Just a sure way to drop more bodies, and the former mob boss wouldn't necessarily be one of them...
"It's the beta exit," Oliver told her, kick starting his engine and heading off without another word. He heard her engine start behind him, but didn't look back for her the short ride to the alley he'd picked to watch from—once he was sure the marshals weren't covering the street.
Surprisingly they weren't.
The bum sleeping a few feet from the exit point had been there when Oliver had walked by in a ball cap that afternoon, but he was way too out of it to be a fed in disguise: hadn't even shifted when a car had backfired down the block.
The kids walking home from the nearby bus stop hours ago had waived to the woman in the little convenience store calling: 'Hello Miz Thompson!' as they went by, and the same woman was falling asleep on her feet right now.
The plumbers that'd been working in a nearby apartment building had been swearing too much when they came out covered in something that probably didn't smell too good up close. They were the same three guys finishing packing up their truck now.
If Oliver actually cared about this op, and really wanted to make sure Frank Bertinelli was crossed off his list again tonight, he would be bothered by it. Be suspicious at least. But he was just the reluctant muscle right now.
This was Helena's show.
When she stopped beside him again, he wasn't surprised to see she hadn't bothered with the helmet. Obviously she didn't care that the S.C.P.D and the U.S Marshals should both be on the lookout for her tonight. Then again, the mob life she'd despised probably hadn't taught her much about vigilantism and the need for secrecy even when your target knew who you were. Or especially when they knew you were coming.
"I'm sorry," the brunette tried after a few minutes of silence, sounding like she meant it. And maybe she did; right at this minute anyway. "I really did miss you."
Oliver didn't bother responding. He knew giving her the same response she'd shot at him when he'd told her he cared about her wouldn't go over well, and Digg was right. Arguing with her tonight wouldn't help.
So it was a relief when the garage door they were watching started rolling up just a few seconds later.
"Just your father," Oliver reminded her as the garage door finally opened again. "Anyone else gets hurt and I'll put an arrow in you."
"That's sweet," Helena's smirk was clear in his peripheral vision, but he didn't respond to that anymore than he did her more subdued voice. "Now I know how you charmed your geek girlfriend."
Oliver shook his head, but put his helmet on the same time she did. He was more than ready to get this done.
It didn't matter anymore than he knew seeing her father dead wouldn't really help Helena at all. Not now that she'd gone after people he cared about. Not after she'd hurt Tommy. And not with her interest alone in Felicity feeling like the threat that it might very well be.
Knowing his father had killed himself to ensure that his son would live had haunted that son for years. He couldn't imagine how much worse it'd feel if he'd actually, knowingly pointed the gun and deliberately pulled the trigger. No matter what'd happened between them, he couldn't imagine that ever feeling right. Let alone okay.
No matter what he had done, Robert Queen was never Frank Bertinelli. Whatever he'd done that made him say he'd wronged their city, Oliver knew his father would never harm anyone in his family or those they loved. Helena's father had had her fiancé killed. So maybe it wasn't quite a fair balance to compare the two...
But in the end that didn't matter. Helena was the threat here, and helping her achieve her goal was the only good way to get rid of her. With the only reason he didn't want to help her being a regard for how it wouldn't help her in the end, the choice was easy.
And there was an arrow in his quiver that belonged to Frank Bertinelli.