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“Hi, I'm Oliver.”

“I know who you are. Your face has been on tabloids for ages—I haven't been living under a rock. No offense, but this isn't your scene, is it?”

“I had no choice in the matter.”

“Hey, me, too. Oh, yeah—I'm Felicity.”

“Nice to meet you, Felicity.”

“Oh, a handshake. That's… different.”

“Apparently I'm out of practice.”

“No, I like it. It establishes us as equals. It's definitely the nicest greeting I've gotten tonight. One guy tried to hug me. I mean, I'm a hugger, but I like to actually know someone for more than thirty seconds first.”

“…Have a seat.”

“Wow, pulling the chair out for me? That's a nice touch. They say chivalry is dead.”

“Despite common belief, my mother did raise me to have proper etiquette.”

“…Thanks.”

“Everyone has five minutes! …Begin!”

“Ladies first?”

“Because you're the first guy to offer all night, you can ask the first question.”

“Alright. What do you do for a living?”

“Tech. I'm in IT. Do you like puppies?”

“Uh, sure. Why? Do you have one?”

“Landlord won't let me have anything bigger than a rabbit, sadly. But it's a good indicator of a person's character. I just don't think anyone who likes puppies can be bad—at least not through and through.”

“If I had said ‘no,' then…”

“I would have stood up and walked away. Even hardened criminals love puppies, Oliver.”

“Oh.”

“Who signed you up for this? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

“My sister Thea. She thinks I'm ‘moping around the house' and need to get out more.”

“Ah, she has you wrapped around her little finger. Got it. Mine's better: my mother. She's that pushy.”

Wow.”

“Yeah. She's a modern woman—which I love about her. Except she thinks sex is the answer to all my problems. Which it isn't. This is her subtle reminder that she wants grandchildren soon. Preferably in the next nine months.”

“That's…”

“Yeah. That's just my mom. But if we start talking about her, we'll be here all night. Your question.”

“…Um, hobbies?”

“Computers. I mean, I build them at night while watching Netflix. …That's a little pathetic, isn't it? I play a little Warcraft from time to time, and— Oh, God, I'm making it worse. Let's just say I'm a Doctor Who fan and leave it there.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

“I'm sorry about your very bland life. What's your favorite kind of ice cream?”

“Um… anything with chocolate?”

“A vague answer. But it's chocolate nonetheless, so I approve.”

“…Thanks. Since you're asking questions that aren't exactly first-date material, how do you feel about archery?”

“As long as you're not the guy putting arrows in criminals and delivering them to the cops, I don't care. Everyone needs a hobby.”

“…”

“I'm kidding. I happen to think that guy is doing a lot of good in the city. He saved my roommate from getting mugged last week. Favorite book?”

“…Would you believe me if I said Hamlet?”

“Of course. But Hamlet is technically a play, not a book.”

The Odyssey.”

“You're on shaky ground, Oliver, but I'll allow it.”

“You?”

“Favorite book is a tier, not a single literary work. We don't have that kind of time. What are your opinions on guinea pigs?”

“I'm not sure I have any. Why?”

“I have a guinea pig named George. He whistles at me after I get dressed in the morning, but that might be because she knows I'm going bring food with me. Usually I don't appreciate unsolicited opinions about what I wear, but he's very supportive about my wardrobe choices. She even whistles at my yoga pants.”

“You just called it both ‘he' and ‘she' interchangeably.”

“Pfft. George does not adhere to a binary gender system, Oliver.”

“…She sounds like he'd be an interesting guinea pig, then. What—?”

“Why are your lips twitching? Are you laughing at me?”

“My turn to ask a question, remember? If you did have a dog, what would you name it?”

“Mildred. Mildred the Komondor. She would strike fear into the hearts of mops everywhere.”

“…Are you making fun of me?”

“Ah ah ah, Oliver. My turn, remember? Why were you laughing at me?”

“Because you're charming and different. Your first question was if I liked puppies and you have a genderfluid guinea pig named George who approves your wardrobe choices.”

“..Well, I suppose it does sound a little strange when you say it like that.”

“Now, were you making fun of me?”

“Maybe a little. I'd get a Newfoundland and name it Grima, after the Fell Dragon. Maybe a Great Pyrenees, too—and name it after the Divine Dragon, Naga.”

“…What?”

“I'll introduce you to video games later. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“A pirate. You?”

“I can almost picture you as the scourge of the seven seas. I wanted to be a ninja.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“It's your turn, Felicity.”

“Oh, right. Um… How do you feel about gay roommates?”

“Are you asking about the gay part or the roommate part?”

“Hmm… that's fair. I'll allow it. Individually and as a whole.”

“That's a vague answer.“

“I don't offer any other kind, Oliver.”

“…I don't understand what there is to have an opinion about. People should be able to love whomever they want. I've never had a roommate before, so I don't really know about that. …Unless you mean that in a different way.”

“No, no! I mean, I'm not opposed to polyamorous relationships, but I'd make that clear from the beginning. My roommate, Curtis, is gay. Some guys I've dated before have had problems with it. Not that we're dating or anything. I don't mean to presume anything, but—”

“Felicity, this is a speed date. Dating is kind of in the name.”

“Yeah, but neither of us want to be here and we're just trying to commiserate, so it doesn't count.”

“Either way, we're exchanging phone numbers after this. You're the only good conversation I've had all night.”

“Agreed. Anyway, it's a question I start asking on the first date because this one guy got insanely jealous because I'm living with a guy—despite the fact that he, by definition, has no interest in me.”

“Sounds like he had problems.”

“Story of my life. But enough about past mistakes. Your question.”

”This might sound like a line, but it's a serious question.”

“Shoot.”

“How are you still single?”

“You're right; it does sound like a line.”

“Felicity.”

“Ugh, fine. I get to ask you a hard question after this, though.”

“How is that a hard question?”

“…I'm asexual.”

“…I don't really know what that is.”

“No one ever does. I'm not sexually attracted to anyone. …Which is kind of challenging because I want a romantic relationship. I just don't want the sex part. And the guys I tend to date typically are interested in the sex part.”

“That's a really personal fact to share with someone you met a few moments ago. Thank you.”

“When you measure how well we know each other in minutes, it's minuscule, but when you measure it by connection, it's infinite.”

“That's very… deep of you, Felicity.”

“Don't laugh at me, Oliver. I'm a complex person. I'm allowed to be deep.”

“It's just… people don't usually talk like that, Felicity.”

“I can't help it if people aren't interesting. Now for the hard question: What is your biggest aspiration?”

“…Well, I… I guess I want to make a difference, to stop this city from being preyed upon by people like me. I… I guess I want to do something meaningful, to make even the Glades a better place to live. I mean, I'm already here. The least I can do is something worthwhile, whether the history books remember or not.”

“…”

“I know, it's stupid.”

“No, not at all! It's just… wow.”

“…You're, um…”

“My eyes are leaking. Just a little. That was beautiful, by the way. Very inspiring. I would have said something like ‘to move out of IT' or ‘to own a tech company one day,' and now I'm just a little… overwhelmed. Oliver Queen, gentle idealist.”

“…I've never shared that with anyone before.”

“You should. It's passionate. It might help everyone remember you're not the same guy you were five years ago. I didn't even know you then, and I can see that.”

“Thanks. That means a lot, Felicity.”

“You mean coming from a random stranger?”

“You're not a random stranger. If you measure how well we know each other by minutes, it's minuscule, but when when you measure it by connection, it's infinite.”

“People don't talk like that, Oliver.”

“I can't help it if people aren't interesting, Felicity.”

“Oh, wow. You should smile like that more often. It's a nice smile. I kind of want to take a picture of you smiling and hang it on my wall to appreciate for all eternity.”

“People don't talk like that, either.”

“It's complicated for me to explain attraction. …Legend has it that allosexuals—people who experience sexual attraction—sometimes equate aesthetic attraction and sexual desire.”

“As an allosexual myself, I can confirm that.”

“…”

“What?”

“Your eyes. They, um, they just turned really dark. …Anyway. Your question.”

“What would you say if I told you that—?”

“Excuse me, Mr. Queen? Ms. Smoak?”

“Yes?”

“Your five minutes ended about a minute ago.”

“Oh, it's my fault, Ms. Cutter. I sort of distracted him with a hardball question.”

“It's just time to move on to the next table, Ms. Smoak.”

“Better idea: Oliver, do you want to ditch this petty attempt at dating—no offense, Ms. Cutter, but it's not my speed—and go get some anything-with-chocolate ice cream?”

“…”

“…What?”

“I've never been asked on a date before.”

“Screw gender norms, Oliver. Do you want ice cream with me or do you want to do another five-minute date with a stranger?”

“Ask me a hard question.”

“I'm sure I will at some point. But I think that requires ice cream first.”

“Thank you for hosting such a lovely event, Ms. Cutter, but I think Felicity and I will be leaving now.”

“But—”

“Wow, she wasn't happy we left.”

“I think she's been using me to convince women to sign up. There's an ice cream parlor right around the corner, if you…”

“Yes. Absolutely. I want very much. Both to talk to you and to eat ice cream. But we're going dutch. I don't want your money. Donate it to the ASPCA so they don't have to do those sad commercials with Sarah McLachlan songs.”

“That sounds like a deal. …Now, Felicity… I have a hard question.”

“Okay… Are you sure you want to ask before ice cream?”

“Yeah.”

“Fire away.”

“Hypothetically, what would you say if I told you I was the Arrow?”

“…”

“…”

“…Just to clarify, is this a serious question?”

“Very.”

“I'd probably hug you so tight you couldn't breathe for doing such a good job in the city and then ask if you needed any technical support.”

“…I'm the Arrow.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“You weren't kidding about that hug, were you?”

“Not your turn, Oliver. My next question: do you need any technical support?”

“From you? Any day.”

Chapter Text

“Honey, I'm home.”

“Oh, hey, Felicity. I didn't expect you to be home so— That event doesn't end for another two hours. You told Donna you'd stay for the whole event. She's gonna ask me and I am physically incapable of lying to—”

“Calm down, Curtis. The deal was that I wasn't supposed to leave early unless I left with a guy. Which I did.”

“So how was it? The speed dating thing, I mean.”

“Weird. Uncomfortable. Very sexually charged. Remind me to come out to my mother so she stops forcing me to go to these single-mingles or whatever.”

“Felicity, sweetie, that isn't a thing.”

“Whatever. You know I don't do people. …Heh, literally.”

“Your jokes get worse by the day.”

“Your words can't hurt me, Curtis. …I'm opening a cabernet. Do you want anything from the kitchen?”

“No, thanks. Now stop stalling. Just sit down and tell me the details.”

“…”

“…”

“You are way too interested in my love life.”

“I'm happily off the market, which means I have to live vicariously through you. Now spill, sweetie.”

“Fine. His name was Oliver. He's straight, and, surprisingly, a pretty decent guy.”

“Does Oliver have a last name?”

“…Mmm.”

“Didn't catch that, Felicity.”

“Fine. …Queen.”

“No, seriously.”

“Would I lie to you, Curtis?”

“To get out of speed dating? Definitely.”

“I swear on George's soul it was Oliver Queen. The Oliver Queen.”

“Oh. My. God.”

“That was pretty much the thought I had when he introduced himself. Apparently his sister and my mother went to the same meddling school.”

“Oliver Queen.”

“Yeah.”

Oliver Queen.”

“I know.”

“Okay. I can see it now: he focuses on you with those baby blue eyes and that perpetual scowl he has these days. …Is that just me or does it make him sexier?”

“…”

“Right, wrong crowd. Anyway, you see those great cheekbones and the buzzed hair and that beard. And you thought…?”

“To be honest, I thought that stubble might be at just the right length to be scratchy.”

“…You are so ace, sweetie.”

“And you're so gay. Queer housemates for life.”

“You got it, girl. Anyway, what did you talk about?”

“I don't know. Lots of things. Puppies. Meddling family members. George. Books. Even you, as my gay roommate. But we used six minutes instead of the allotted five, and then I asked him out for ice cream. He said yes and we went dutch at a place down the street. Then he walked me to my car.”

“That's… surprisingly sweet.”

“He was. We exchanged phone numbers. Said he would call—call, not text; he's a little technologically challenged—tomorrow for lunch.”

“At the risk of being a Negative Nellie, did you tell him he's not getting any?”

“Actually… yeah.”

“Judging by the smile, that went well. But you came out? Seriously? You tried for months before you told me!”

“I don't know why. I guess coming out to you was such a good experience that I took a chance. …Well, that and it was progressing so nicely and he was so ridiculously charming. Not to mention all the stories I've heard. That man is the walking embodiment of heteronormative male sexuality.”

“Agreed. Set it up for me.”

“Well, he suddenly just told me he had a question that sounded like a line, but wasn't. I heard him out and he asked why I'm still single. I don't know what that's supposed to mean. The world's a big place, and I could be career-oriented or—”

“Felicity, sweetie. That's a line someone uses when they're into you.”

“…Oh.”

“Yeah. Anyway…?”

“Anyway, I told him. I had to explain, but he just kind of told me he didn't know what that was and waited for me to say. When I was done, he just thanked me for sharing, and the conversation moved right along. …He's a hard read because he has these… intense eyes, but it didn't seem to change the way he talked to me.”

“…Wow.”

“Yeah. It came up again when I made one of my I'm-from-another-planet allosexual jokes, but he just played right along. Never missed a beat.”

“Then it went well.”

“It did.”

“And the two of you are…?”

“Friends. I accidentally implied dating, but he was gracious about it. ‘It's a speed date, Felicity. Dating is in the name.' …Well, that was a horrible impersonation, but you get my drift.”

“Yeah.”

“The point is that I'm not going to delude myself into thinking this will work as more than friendship. He's sexual and I'm… not. I mean, how do you tell someone that you want to have a relationship and you love them, but you'll never want to have sex? In an allosexual world, it's… complicated.”

“Look, sweetie, I get it. But you have a romance drive. And while there are other things in life beside having a partner to share it with, we both know you don't want to live your life romantically unattached. So just do me a favor and keep your options open, okay?”

“…Okay.”

“That doesn't mean you should date Oliver Queen. That doesn't mean you shouldn't date Oliver Queen, either. But don't shut everyone down just because they have a libido and it might be complicated.”

“…Thanks, Curtis.”

“As your best friend-slash-roommate, I am obligated to give you romantic advice. …Now, Doctor Who? Russell T. Davies era?”

“Curtis Holt, you're a godsend.”

“Remember that when you need a man of honor at your wedding.”

 


 

“So, Ollie, you never said: How did the speed dating event go last night?”

“Wait, what? You're using a dating service? You?

“Speedy signed me up against my will, Tommy.”

“Well, if you wanted that, we could have gone to a club. Guaranteed scoring every three minutes.”

“Because one of you is my brother biologically and the other might as well be, can I just say ‘ew'?”

“I don't think this is the right place for this conversation, Tommy. Thea is seventeen.”

“And not nearly as naïve as you'd like to think, dear brother. But that doesn't matter. How did it go? Did you meet anyone?”

“Every five minutes, Speedy. That's kind of the point.”

“Don't be a smart ass. You knew what I meant.”

“I made a friend.”

“A friend? Ollie, buddy… I think you missed the point.”

“Ignore him, Ollie. Anything that keeps you from moping around the house at this point is a good thing. Details.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…Fine. Her name is Felicity.”

“And is she cute?”

“…”

“…I think that smile means ‘yes,' Thea.”

“I need more than a name and a vague smile, Ollie. And you know me. I will keep you here all day if I have to.”

“She didn't want to be there, either, and she didn't throw innuendos at me all night, so it was a nice change of pace.”

“Seriously? Do I have to keep asking? What did you talk about? What does she do?”

“She works in IT, Thea. We talked about a lot of things.”

Details, Ollie.”

“We both have meddling family members.”

“A title I wear with pride. Proceed.”

“She has a pet guinea pig named George and lives with a roommate. His name is Curtis and he's gay. She likes ice cream and puppies. …Are we done now?”

“No, but I'll let you slide on the description, even though it tells me nothing. You came home early. What happened?”

“She asked me out for ice cream.”

“Wait, she asked you? I don't think I've ever been asked out by a girl before. …That's kind of an aggressive move, isn't it?”

“Maybe if it's 1952, Tommy. But for the rest of us in the twenty-first century, it's normal. I reserve the right to ask a guy out if I want.”

“I understand, but it's the first time I've been asked out by a woman, actually. Her exact words were, ‘Screw gender norms.'”

“I like this girl already.”

“Did you get her number?”

“It's not like that, Tommy.”

“…That's a yes.”

“Says who, Ollie? You think she's hot and most of our lives have revolved around straight women falling all over us. I have every confidence that you can get her in bed.”

“Again, ew.”

“I said it isn't like that, Tommy.”

“…Is there something I'm missing here?”

“…”

“Okay, I get it. You don't want to talk about it.”

“If you can convince her, brother dearest, find a time and day I can meet her. I want to meet anyone who brings out your protective side. You haven't glared at Tommy like that since I crashed my bike on his watch.”

“Thea, I met her yesterday.”

“Soon, Ollie. I mean it.”

“No promises, Speedy. …Now, if the Spanish Inquisition is over, I'm supposed to meet Felicity for lunch, and I'm already late.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Wonder how long it will take him to realize how bad he has it for her.”

“Never underestimate Ollie's ability to bury his head in the sand, Tommy. He still thinks I'm a virgin.”

“I'm pretty sure Ollie just doesn't think about that.”

“That's kind of my point.”

Chapter Text

“Hey.”

“Oh, hey, Oliver. …So, I realized I forgot to tell you I kind of work for you. I didn't want to make things weird. But I guess I did by not telling you until you offered to pick me up.”

“It's fine, Felicity. And, technically, you work for Walter, not me. I have no interest in the family business.”

“No offense, but that actually makes me feel better. I like the concept of earning promotion based on my own merits, not because I know the boss.”

“So that means I probably shouldn't mention to Walter that your Master's from MIT is being wasted?”

“If you do that, I will hack in and put you on the herpes alert list. I'm dead serious, Oliver. …Stop laughing!”

“I was kidding, Felicity. And Thea says I have no sense of humor.”

“I never joke about unearned promotions, Oliver.”

“Duly noted.”

“Just for that, you owe me a cake. Chocolate.”

“…A cake?

“Yes. A cake. Cakes are awesome. Buy one from a bakery or get Raisa to make one.”

“…She'd like you. Maybe you should come to the house sometime and meet her.”

“…”

“…Felicity?”

“Okay, confession time. The idea of ever going to your mansion kind of wigs me out. Like, who even needs a house that big?”

“…I take it you don't.”

“Of course not! Curtis and I share a two-bedroom apartment with George, Oliver. Most people are satisfied with that kind of room. Maybe a house, if you're feeling cramped.”

“You have strong opinions about this subject.”

“Surely by now you've realized I have strong opinions on almost every subj— What is that?

“It's a motorbike, Felicity.”

“I know that, but are we taking that?

“I planned on taking the keys to the Mercedes, but Thea cornered me about the speed dating event last night. I escaped with only the keys to the Ducati.”

“For those of us who know ‘car' and ‘not a car,' you mean this thing?”

“Yes, Felicity. …You can always follow me, if you want.”

“No, this is fine. You just surprised me. …Is this too conspicuous to take to your… super-secret hidden lair?”

“No, everyone is familiar with my motorbike showing up at all hours. I'm starting a nightclub.”

“Oh. That's clever.”

“And don't call it that.”

“What do you call it, then?”

“Verdant.”

“…That's a little on-the-nose. I like it.”

“Thought you might. …Here's your helmet.”

“Thanks.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Felicity, you actually have to hold on.”

“I know. I've watched movies, Oliver. It's just that you never exactly seem okay with the touching thing and I didn't know how to do it without making you— Oh.”

“I don't mind when it's you.”

“You shouldn't tell me that. I'm a little handsy.”

“…”

“Not handsy! Touchy! …No, I'm making it worse. I'm… tactile. That's the word.”

“…”

“I can feel you laughing silently at me, Oliver.”

“Hold on to me tight.”

“These are so not your normal circumstances for saying that.”

“…”

“…Oh, God, I said that out loud, didn't I?”

“What are you trying to say, Felicity?”

“That my mouth gets me into trouble sometimes.”

“…Felicity?”

“Yes?”

“…For the record, I've never asked a woman to hold on to me before. Just you.”

“Oh.”

“For someone not interested in sex, your mind is a sewer.”

“For someone so well-versed in the subject, you always seem uncomfortable when I touch on it.”

“…I don't want to make you uncomfortable.”

“First, that's a lie. …Well, it's not a lie, but I know that's not the reason. We'll get back to that. …Secondly, we live in a very allosexual world, Oliver. Usually it's only subtle, like women in tight clothing lounging on cars in ads, or covers of dime-store romance novels with Fabio on the cover. It's just part of our world, and it's a thing people do. I'm not repulsed or anything—though some of us are. I'm just not interested. But I still live in the real world, and a lot of it revolves around sex.”

“I'll remember that.”

“…And thank you, by the way. I didn't get a chance to say that last night.”

“For what?”

“For taking it so well when I came out. For not making me feel like a freak. …Let's just say that growing up asexual does not make it easy to connect to your peers as a teenager. I've had a lot of that in the past.”

“I think you're remarkable, Felicity.”

“Well, thank you for remarking on it.”

 


 

“For the record, there will be food, right? Actual food? Because I only get an hour for lunch and—”

“Which is why I ordered a few things from the bistro on Ninth. I didn't know if you had any dietary restrictions, so I ordered a few options.”

“Great. I hope you saved the receipt so I can pay you back.”

“Felicity—”

“I told you, Oliver. Just because you're rich does not give me an excuse to mooch off of you. …That's a weird word. ‘Mooch.' No, not using it again.”

“I don't think it counts if I want to, Felicity. I don't mind—”

“But I do. …And I'm allergic to nuts and I'm Jewish, so kosher is key.”

“I'll remember that.”

“…Wait. That's your security here? A four-digit key code?”

“Yeah…”

“…”

“That sigh was a little dramatic.”

“Do you know how easy it is to hack a four-digit key code? Two seconds. That's how long I need. With my cell phone, Oliver. …Don't worry. I can fix that.”

“I don't remember asking you to.”

“That's okay—I forgive you. I'm sure you have a lot on your mind, between the arrowing and the rich family expectations and the meddling little sister.”

“Felicity, I'm glad you're enthusiastic, but that doesn't mean you can waltz in here and—-”

“Oliver, don't be exactly half of a thirty-year-old horse named Theodore.”

“…Theodore?

“Your security is crap, and this is the Glades. If I'm going to be down here, that security has got to be upgraded to the twenty-first century. And… what. Is. That?

“A computer?”

“It's agony, is what it is. They stopped making these in the nineties, Oliver. In computer years, that makes this a museum piece.”

"…"

"Don't roll your eyes at me, Oliver. it's rude."

"You're being dramatic, Felicity."

"I'm not being dramatic. It's like you put that computer there just to cause me pain. …Do you want to cause me pain?"

"…"

"…"

"…Fine. You can upgrade the computer."

"It's cute that you think I needed your permission, Oliver."

"You're starting to be more trouble than you're worth, Felicity."

"I'd be insulted if you weren't smiling. And, for the record, I'm not that much trouble at all. Just feed me cake and ice cream and let me optimize your network."

"Maybe I should pay you in chocolate."

"I'm not a fan of sweets, man. …But you apparently weren't talking to me. Are we giving free tours now?"

"Digg, this is Felicity Smoak. She's going to provide technical support for us. Felicity, this is John Diggle, my bodyguard. He also helps here."

"Ah, he's the one you torment for fun. A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Diggle."

"Miss Smoak. …Oliver, can we talk about this for a minute?"

"There's nothing to talk about, Digg. She has skills we could use."

"You sure that's the only reason? …No offense, Miss Smoak, but I haven't heard about you before and Oliver has a tendency to lose all reason around a beautiful woman."

"I'm trying hard to take that as a compliment, but I'm a little insulted. Not that it's any of your business, but we're not sleeping together. For that matter, why does everyone automatically think that when a man and woman go anywhere together, they're having sex? Or—"

"I think that's more because of me than you, Felicity."

"—for that matter, why does everyone automatically assume I'm straight? …Not important. That's a rant for another time. What's important is that your computer hurts me more than the M. Night Shyamalan version of Avatar: The Last Airbender."

"…"

"…And you don't know what I'm talking about. The important part is that you have offended and insulted me with this setup and I am going to enjoy tearing it apart piece by piece. Along with your security system."

"Felicity, this is my operation—"

"Was. Was your operation. We're partners, which means that we separate tasks according to our skills. You pin people to walls with arrows and do parkour in green leather. I build computers for fun, Oliver. Fun. Sometimes blindfolded, but that was mostly for the club I was in at MIT. …This? The arrow-y, violent, broken-ladder—"

"It's a salmon ladder, Felicity. For exercise."

"—part of the operation? That's yours. But this—the technical, electronic, computer-y part of this operation? It's mine."

"…"

"Your glares are powerless against me, Oliver."

"…I'm starting to think I made a mistake."

"Yes, you did. You put me in the same room as that ancient paperweight you call a computer. …Please don't tell me you're running Windows XP. I'm not sure I can survive that sort of cruel and unusual punishment."

"Felicity, you can't just come in here and change everything!"

"I'm not changing everything, Oliver. Just the parts that are extremely outdated. …Don't worry. I forgive you. After all, you've spent the last five years on an island."

"…You want to start an argument? Fine. If you want me in, Oliver, you have to let me be in. I'm not signing on to be your employee. If you want someone to agree with you every moment of the day, you need to look elsewhere. I'm here because I believe in what you do and because I want to be a part of that. But if I can't have a right to my own opinion, I'm walking out now. Your choice."

"…"

"…"

"…Mmmm."

"What was that?"

"…I'm sorry. …I, um, I want your help."

"Apology accepted. By the time I'm done with this place, the NSA, ARGUS, and the rest of the alphabet soup won't be able to hack in with all of their combined powers."

"I'm not worried about ARGUS. Most likely, they already know. Waller doesn't miss much."

"I don't know what that means, but I'm getting an image of a secret agent and a 'Don't ask questions if you can't handle the answers, Felicity' vibe."

"Miss Smoak?"

"Ew, no. I refuse to answer to that form of address. It's Felicity."

"Felicity. Welcome aboard."

"Um, thanks, I think."

"Take it as a compliment. Diggle doesn't warm up to people that easily."

"Nah, man. I just didn't like you. But you grow on people. …And I've seen you crack mafia bosses without flinching. Yet a blonde who is six inches shorter, dressed in pink, and wearing shoes with pandas on them takes you down. Didn't see that one coming."

"If it makes you feel any better, Oliver, Curtis never wins, either."

"…"

"…"

"…Why pandas?"

"Why not pandas, Oliver?"

"…Sometimes I feel like I'll never understand you."

"You're the one who puts on a leather suit at night and puts arrows in people. If anyone here is complicated, it's you. And I'm not that much of a mystery. I like cake, computers, fuzzy animals, and watching funny cat videos when I'm sad. The rest you'll figure out later. Now, talk to me of lunch. …Is this it?"

"Yeah. Take whatever you want."

"…"

"…"

"Oliver?"

"Yeah, Digg?"

"If you ever drive her away, I'll shoot you."

"I'll let you."

Chapter Text

“How do you feel about Funfetti?"

“What?”

“You know. The cake. With brightly colored candy in it.”

“Are you seriously asking me about a type of cake?”

“Yes, Oliver. Funfetti is a very serious matter.”

“…I don't like it.”

“Sometimes you make it hard to be a good person, Oliver.”

“I don't understand what my dislike for Funfetti cake has to do with you being a good person, Felicity.”

“Because I'm not sure I can be friends with you if you don't know what delicious food tastes like.”

“What is it with you and sweets?”

“Not sweets, Oliver. Cake.”

“Okay, what is it with you and cake?

“A question that would answer itself with a little internet research, my friend.”

“…Sometimes I don't understand you, Felicity.”

“Well, I don't understand people who don't like Funfetti.”

 



“I bought a red velvet cake to celebrate.”

“Are you ever gonna tell me what your deal is with cake?”

“…”

“I didn't deserve that sigh, Felicity.”

“It's an asexual thing, Oliver. ‘Why have sex when you can have cake?' Ringing any bells?”

“No, not really. But at least your taste in cake has gotten better.”

“Oh, thank God. If you had hated red velvet cake, I would have revealed your big green secret to the cops.”

“Doesn't that seem a little excessive?”

“People who don't like red velvet cake are almost as bad as people who don't like puppies, Oliver.”

 


 

“Hey, Ollie?”

“What do you need, Tommy?”

“…Why is there a giant carrot cake in the fridge?”

“…Felicity.”

“Who the hell eats that much cake?”

“That will last her a month. And she eats a lot of cake.”

Why?

“…That's a question you should probably ask her.”

“It looks good, though. Maybe I'll just—”

“I'd back away from the cake. That's a very slow, painful way to die.”

“Oh, come on. Ollie, she's, like five-four and just bigger than a toothpick.”

“…”

Really?

“Touch the cake without asking and you will die, Tommy.”

“…Noted.”

 


 

“Felicity?”

“Yes?”

"…You know red velvet cake is just chocolate cake with red food dye and cream cheese icing, right?”

“Haven't you hurt me enough, Oliver?

“Would I lie to you, Felicity?”

“When blasphemy like that leaves your lips, I think you're capable of anything.”

“No, it is. Raisa showed me her recipe last week, and if you compare it—”

“I don't want to hear your lies.”

“I can show you the proof, Felicity.”

“Lies and propaganda made by those who despise red velvet cake and all it stands for.”

“Tommy was there, and he saw. Didn't you?”

“Like I'd believe anything Tommy says.”

“Hey!”

“No offense, but you'd say anything to deprive me of my cake.”

“…Okay, that's not exactly true, but I admit I'm for anything that means I can have more than one tiny slice out of the giant-ass carrot cake in the fridge.”

“Then go buy your own giant-ass carrot cake, Merlyn. I gave you all I'm willing to share.”

“You let Ollie have two pieces. Each were twice the size of mine!”

“Just to let you know, this would be a prime opportunity to insert a ‘that's what she said,' but I am a better person than that.”

“…Stop laughing, Ollie.”

“And, not that it's any of your business who I give my cake to… No, Felicity, don't go there. …Not that it's any of your business who gets carrot cake, but Oliver is my favorite and therefore is entitled to more cake. Because of your, frankly, atrocious pick-up lines, you are only entitled to more cake than George. Mainly because she's a guinea pig and he can't have cake.”

“Ollie, do you see the way she talks to me?”

“Felicity talks to everyone like that over cake, Tommy. It's nothing personal.”

“It's how I express my love.”

“Love me a little less then, you cake-hoarding vixen.”

“I take offense to that! …I'm not a vixen.”

“…I think we got off topic.”

“You mean you're trying to convince Felicity that red velvet cake is chocolate cake in disguise.”

Allegedly. I will not fall victim to these lies.”

“Do you feel like you're fighting a losing battle yet, Ollie? Because that's kind of what you're doing. You are not going to convince that girl off her cake.”

“I'm just trying to tell her something she might find interesting. I have no issues with chocolate or red velvet cake.”

“Yet you spout vicious untruths.”

“…Are we suddenly in a period novel?”

“Shut up, Tommy. I have a way with words. …But the point is that I will never believe such slander. I honestly don't know how we can be friends after this, Oliver.”

“How about I buy you both after you finish the giant carrot cake?”

“…Apology accepted.”

“That's what I thought.”

 


 

“Since you finally finished that carrot cake in the fridge, I had Raisa make a red velvet.”

“Oliver Queen, you are an angel from heaven.”

“…I can think of a few people who would disagree.”

“Then they don't deserve you. And… there is only one thing that could make this better.”

“…A fork?”

“You know me too well. Now to try… Oh, my God.”

“It can't be that good, Felicity.”

“…”

“…Really?

“This is a religious experience. Or… there's a thing allosexuals say relating amazing food to sex. It could be that.”

“It's that good?”

“Yes, it's that good. …Want a taste?”

“…Are you offering to share a fork with me?”

“Either that or you're eating with your hands. Your choice.”

“Tempting, but I'll pass.”

“Your loss.”

“I'm glad you're enjoying it.”

“Raisa is fantastic. You're fantastic for asking her to make this. Marry me.”

“…”

“…I just made this weird, didn't I?”

“…”

“…Oliver?

“…Never. You make things better, Felicity.”

“…Yeah?”

“Always.”

Chapter Text

“…Are you okay, Felicity?”

“That’s a definite ‘no.’”

“Bad day at work?”

“Bad day with my mother, actually.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Right now? Not really. All I want to do is go down to the shelter on Mulberry and go hug some of the homeless dogs. Maybe tonight would call for puppies.”

“Something tells me you’ve done that before.”

“The clerk’s name is Roy. He tries to pretend he’s a little rough around the edges, but if you introduce him to Alexander Hamilton, he’ll let you hang around for an hour and cuddle with all the nice dogs who need cuddles. On one particularly bad day, I left my wallet at home and had cried in the car. He took one look at my ruined mascara and let me in for free. Let me have an hour and a half.”

“Sounds like a decent guy.”

“Definitely. Anyway, I have to go. Puppy cuddling then cake. Lots and lots of cake. …Do you have dibs on the cot for tonight? I think I might need the night away from the apartment.”

“I have a better idea.”

“I’m listening.”

“You go and enjoy your puppies, and I’ll have Raisa set up a room at the house. And then when you get back, I’ll make sure to get the one thing better than cake.”

“How dare you imply that there’s something better in this world than cake.”

“There is. Ice cream cake.”

“Oliver, you’re a genius.”

“No, I just know you.”

“Give me two hours to cuddle with puppies, and I’ll be there.”

 


 

“What do you think about your new place?”

“I like it a lot, I guess. It’s nice and I’ll be a homeowner in a few years. But I have a backyard—and it’s already fenced in! The downside is that my furniture is too small, and I miss George. But Curtis says she feels like a king in his new house. He and Paul told me I could visit anytime, but it’s not the same.”

“…”

“What’s that face, Oliver?”

“What?”

“You’re making a face. That’s an Oliver face.”

“I happen to make those from time to time.”

“Don’t be exactly one half of Teddy the horse, Oliver.”

“What is it with you and that horse, Felicity?”

“He wasn’t a nice horse, and you’re being half of him. The back half. But that isn’t the point. The point is that you’re making a face. Meaning you’re up to something. And I demand you tell me what that face means. It’s a new face, and I know most of your faces.”

“…I might have bought you a housewarming gift.”

Oliver! I told you—”

“That you didn’t want anything. I know. But I knew something you needed.”

“If you made your sister pick out new, expensive furniture that doesn’t look like it came out of a dollhouse—”

“I didn’t. I bought two things, and they’re yours if you want them. If they’re too much, I promise to take them back. Okay?”

“…I accept your terms, Mr. Queen.”

“Let me go get them—I’ll be right back.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Ready?”

“Oh, definitely. I don’t remember seeing you grin like this ever. This is going to be good.”

“…”

Oh, my God! Hand it over. Right now.”

“…I take it you like her?”

“Oliver, it’s a fluffy, white puppy the size of my purse. Why wouldn’t I like her? …And could you be any more ridiculous, with the big, pink bow around her neck? …I have no idea what to name her.”

“She already has a name. Naga.”

“…You remembered.”

“Of course.”

“I almost hate to ask what the second half of this is.”

“Well, she’s not a Newfoundland, so I had to come up with an alternative.”

“…You didn’t.”

“…”

“Oh, you did. Hand her here. I demand cuddles—from both of them. They’re so fluffy!

“I did. Grima is a Tibetan Mastiff, but it’s the only large breed, black dog they had. …I know they’re not George, but I was worried about you being completely alone in a house. Maybe you can stop harassing the dogs at the shelter.”

“I’ll have you know that the dogs in the shelter love my cuddles. And I shall cuddle them every now and again, but now I have two very large puppies to snuggle with me tonight. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“That’s unacceptable, Oliver. Group hug with two very lick-y, fuzzy puppies.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“I meant it. Thank you.”

“…Sure.”

“…Are you okay? Did I overstep? I shouldn’t have kissed your cheek, should I?”

“It’s fine, Felicity.”

“Are you sure? You’re making a face.”

“…Let me help you get them in the car.”

“Good idea. I think these two are going to be a handful.”

“I always heard dogs take after their owners.”

“Hey!”

 


 

“…Felicity, I just came by to— Oof.”

“Naga! Grima! I’m sorry—they’re just really excited when people come by. …Are you okay, Curtis?”

“Yeah. …Seriously? Paul and I have been gone a week and you’ve already replaced George?”

“Of course not! George will always have a special place in my heart, but it was a little lonely, losing my roommate and my guinea pig at the same time.”

“So you went out and bought two monsters?”

“Don’t talk about them like that—Naga is sensitive! And, for your information, they happen to be a housewarming present.”

“Who gives two giant puppies as a housewarming gift?"

“…Oliver.”

“Oliver bought you puppies?

“Yeah. The breeder he bought them from said it would take a lot of persistent training, but, on the plus side, he says they’re welcome at the mansion or in Verdant when I stop by to fix stuff on the weekends.”

“…You know you get this goofy grin on your face whenever you talk about him, right?”

“I know where this ride is heading and I’m getting off right now.”

“No, I think it’s cute. He does the same thing when he talks about you, you know. I mean, he doesn’t really smile all that much, but he stares at you with this really sappy look on his face when he thinks you aren’t looking.”

“…I am so sick of this conversation. Let’s say for a moment I’ll humor your theory—”

“It’s not a theory, sweetie. The man thinks you hung the moon.”

“—and say for a minute that you have a point. If that’s true, why doesn’t he do something?”

“Felicity, I’m not sure he’s stopped saying something. You should have seen him that night you fell asleep at the club. He makes sure you always have cake in the fridge.”

“That’s because he knows it would be hazardous for his health if I ran out.”

“He buys you puppies as a housewarming gift because he doesn’t want you to be lonely. Most people buy a blender or something, but Oliver bought you two puppies.”

“…So?”

“And they’re not just puppies, Felicity. …What breeds are they?”

“Um… Grima is a Tibetan Mastiff, and Naga is a Great Pyrenees.”

“They’re large breed puppies, sweetie. Two breeds very well known for their protective instincts and big enough to do some damage if they need to. This street kind of borders the Glades. So he gave you two cute, fuzzy puppies who can be protective.”

“…Oh.”

“He’s trying to watch out for you. Because he cares. And how many times have you told me he isn’t really talkative? Maybe he’s trying to express himself some other way. Maybe wants you make the first move. Maybe he’s trying not to pressure you. …I don’t know. You speak ‘Oliver Queen’ better than I do.”

“…”

“I know I don’t know him as well as you do—and he’s kind of intimidating—but when he invited us to the holiday party, I had a chance to talk to him. I said something about how relationships are hard for you.”

“Curtis!”

“Hey, it came up. Anyway, he just said, ‘She deserves so much better.’"

“That’s… actually kind of sweet.”

“He did it with this kind of sad smile and that’s when he flashed complete heart-eyes your direction. I think he really wants to be your ‘so much better,’ but doesn’t think he’s good enough.”

“That’s ridiculous. Loving someone has nothing to do with being good enough for them.”

“I think you’re saying that to the wrong audience, Felicity.”

 


 

"Felicity?"

"Yes, Oliver?"

"We have a problem."

"What probl— Oh."

"Yeah."

"I did not know that one puppy could produce this much."

"Well, she did."

"I'm sorry, Oliver. I know you didn't have this in mind when you said I could bring the great dragons down in the lair."

"I'm the one who gave them to you, Felicity. I should have known."

"At least they like you?"

"…Which is great, but my gear is covered in black dog fur."

"Yeah. Apparently Tibetan Mastiffs blow out their coat, instead of shedding it. Which means three weeks of your green jacket having a furry lining."

"In the meantime, how do I deal with this?"

"The same way I do: Furminator brushes and lint rollers."

 


 

“Oliver, I have the info you wanted on— Oh my God, that is ridiculously adorable.”

“…”

“…Oh, come on. I know you’re in here, phone. I need photographic evidence of this for all eternity. Diggle is going to get a kick out of this.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…Perfect.”

“…”

“…Oliver?

“…Hmm?”

“What are you doing?”

“…Didn’t sleep well last night. Or maybe it was this morning? Storm kept me up.”

“Well, it was yesterday or the night before. It’s three in the morning.”

“Felicity, you need to go home. Get some rest before work.”

“…”

“Why are you laughing?”

“Wow, you really are out of it. It’s Saturday, Oliver. Day off? Weekend? Am I ringing any bells?”

“…Maybe.”

“None of that explains why there’s fur everywhere, Naga is mostly lying on your head, and you’re cuddling Grima like a teddy bear.”

“…I was trying to help you brush them to stop the shedding. They don’t like it.”

“I know. How did you survive?”

“One at a time. I tied the leash to one of the columns down here. They stopped squirming when they realized it wasn’t going to make me stop. The other one sat in my lap.”

“That sounds equal parts adorable and dangerous.”

“It was definitely dangerous. Grima likes biting ears and Naga thinks she should sit on my shoulders.”

“Well, I think you’ve made friends. When Curtis babysat last week, he said that Grima didn’t cuddle.”

“Next time, tell him to brush her coat and let her attempt to chew his ear off.”

“I'm sure that suggestion will go over well.”

“…Is your information urgent?”

“No, why?”

“Good. Going back to sleep.”

“And kidnapping my dogs?”

“You’re welcome to join me.”

“…”

“What?”

“…Nothing. You just asked me to join you. In bed.”

“…Oh. Not like that.”

“I know, but you had me for a moment.”

“Naga is snoring. You know she sleeps like the dead, and I don’t feel like carrying a fifty-pound dog out of here.”

“…I can’t believe you’re letting her sleep on your head.”

“Keeps my ears warm.”

“Funny. …Were you actually serious about that offer?”

“Yeah. ‘M not moving.”

“You sound so groggy. When’s the last time you actually slept? I mean for a few hours at a time, not the times you fell asleep for a few minutes while making arrows or reading.”

“Don’t know. Tuesday?”

“Oliver…”

“I make you worry. I know. Talk in the morning.”

“…Something tells me that crawling into bed with you will be a mistake. And not in the way that women usually mean that.”

“Be nice.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…Ugh, Grima, get out of my face.”

“…”

“No, don’t eat my ear!”

“…”

“Oh, there you go. Much bett—oh.”

“Shh, Felicity.”

“You have no sense of personal space, do you?”

“…Is that okay?”

“It’s kind of nice, actually.”

“…”

“…Goodnight, Oliver.”

“‘Night, Felicity.”

 

Later…

 

“Oliver? Felicity? Hey, did you two stay up all night again? Anyway, Thea is looking for you, man, and— Whoa.”

“What’s ‘whoa’ about?”

“Huh? …Oh, hey, Digg. I came to get Oliver this morning. Thea’s looking for him.”

“Still doesn’t explain your reaction, Roy.”

“I walked in to find this.”

“…”

“…”

“I’m getting so sick of this.”

“Of what?”

“Pining. The only one who doesn’t know how Oliver feels about that girl is Felicity herself.”

“I’m pretty sure she knows exactly what he’s feeling right now. I don’t even want to know where his hand is.”

“It’s not like that, Roy.”

“How the hell you can see that and tell me it’s not—?”

“Felicity. She wouldn’t want do anything here, and Oliver wouldn’t ask her to.”

“What’s with the giant balls of fluff?”

“Felicity’s dogs. Oliver lets her bring them down here so she doesn’t have to leave them alone all day and night. Black one is Grima, white one is Naga. They’re terrors.”

“Yeah, they look ferocious. One’s asleep on Oliver’s head and the other is Felicity’s teddy bear.”

“They’re five months old, Roy. Grima will lick your ears off, and Naga will sit on your feet until you give her the attention she wants.”

“Wow. …She’s gonna have a handful. They’re gonna be bigger than she is. Why does she need two dogs that big?”

“They were a gift, Roy.”

“Who the hell would give her two giant-ass dogs?”

“Me. …Naga, lie down next to Felicity. There you go.”

“Oh. Uh, hey, Oliver. I came down to tell you Thea was looking for you. I didn’t mean to interrupt… whatever the hell this is.“

“There’s nothing to interrupt.”

“…”

“Yeah, Roy, he actually believes that.”