12. Musical Fruitcake

laffinggasses asked: Ooh, Arrow fun. How about Red Arsenal being the recipient of the fruitcake that has been passed around as a gag gift in the Arrowcave?

"There's only one fruitcake in the world. It's been passed around from person to person since time immemorial, and it doesn't matter how hard you try. You'll never escape The Fruitcake." - Johnny Carson

John Diggle gets it first because of course his mother sends him a fruitcake. When doesn't she? He's got a pile of them sitting in the back of his closet, waiting to get thrown out, but this year he decides it would be fun to give it to someone else for a change. So he does.

Oliver Queen ends up with it next, baffled and confused as to why there's a fruitcake hanging from the salmon ladder. He stares at it for a moment, cocks his head to the side, then takes it down to examine it, all while Diggle watches with an amused smile. He knows his friend, and he knows he's not going to ask, so he decides to end his suffering.

"Merry Christmas," Diggle mutters, passing by him to get to the stairs.

"Fruitcake?" Oliver asks.

"Fruitcake," Diggle assures him as he climbs the stairs.

"What am I supposed to do with it?" Oliver hollers just before he reaches the door.

"I don't know. That's why I gave it to you."

It sits in the foundry for a year, on a shelf in the fridge, forgotten, until Oliver rediscovers it one day as he's searching for a bottle of water. He takes it out and smirks.

Felicity Smoak is the next person to receive the fruitcake. It sits on her desk beside her keyboard and she picks it up to examine it much like Oliver did when he got it. "What the hell?" she mutters under her breath.

"Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah," he says, stepping past her already suited up for a night of kicking bad-guy ass.

"Really, Oliver?" She rolls her eyes and sets it back down on her desk.

"Blame Dig," he replies.

Oliver is already halfway out the door before she gets a chance to ask what he means, but Diggle remains in the foundry, cleaning his gun at one of the tables nearby.

"John!" Felicity calls his name, and when he looks up at her, she's holding the fruitcake in her hand. "What's up with the fruitcake?"

"Gag gift," he simply answers.

"What do I do with it?" she asks.

"Whatever you want."

It's put back in the fridge and forgotten for yet another year.

This time, Felicity remembers the unwieldy treat and takes it out just in time to surprise the next victim of the musical fruitcake, as she's deemed it.

Roy Harper finds it in the case that holds his suit, on the floor, next to his boots. "What the…?" He gingerly picks up the wrapped bundle and stares at it for several minutes before he realizes what it is. "Fruitcake?"

It's not the first one he's seen, nor will it be his last, but finding it down here, in the foundry, right next to his suit? He knows someone put it there. Although he doesn't know who, it really doesn't matter. It's a decent gift, and with his stomach growling, he decides to bite into it.

Roy unwraps it, takes a whiff to make sure it hasn't gone rancid, and when he deems it edible, he takes a bite.

"Oh, no you didn't!" Felicity shrieks from the landing.

He looks up at her with a mouthful of fruitcake and a confused expression on his face. "What?" he asks upon swallowing the bite.

"That thing is… I don't even know how old it is! I know it's at least three years old!" she replies, rushing towards him.

"It's not bad," Roy says as he takes another bite.

"Oh, I think I'm going to be sick," Felicity mumbles under her breath as her hand flies to her mouth and she looks away.

"Fun fact: A fruitcake can last up to twenty-five years if properly stored in the fridge."

"How do you even know that?" she asks without looking at him.

"Poor kid from the Glades, remember? I can tell you the shelf life of pretty much anything." Roy grins at her, takes another bite, and this time she gags a little before turning around and taking a seat in front of her monitors.

"If you get sick after eating the musical fruitcake, I'm not taking care of you," Felicity sternly warns without looking at him.

He does, promptly after returning from patrol with Oliver.

"Is this the part where I get to say 'I told you so'? Because it seems appropriate," she says as she hovers over where he's on his knees in front of the toilet.

"I'm sorry, Blondie," Roy groans before another bout of nausea forces his head back into the bowl.

The next year, he replaces with fruitcake with a new one, but this time it's made of plastic so it doesn't go bad, and the musical fruitcake continues to make its rounds for years to come.