part one: take my defenses, all my defenses

"Excuse me, miss Smoak?"

"Yeahhhh…" She spins around in her chair - pen in her mouth absentmindedly - to define where or from whom the sound is coming from, before spotting the actual source. "Oh!"

Spitting the pen out in what must the most unattractive manner in which a person could possibly spit out a pen, she clears her throat, unconsciously straightening out her blouse as she forces a smile on her face, "Hi. That's me. Miss Smoak. Felicity Smoak. My name is Felicity. Smoak is my last name."

She lets out a nervous laugh because this man standing in front of her must be God's own personal handcrafted creation because, my my my, what a beautiful specimen. Annnnndddd he's talking and she's staring. This is awkward.

"S-sorry," she stumbles out, putting a stray of hair behind her ear and sucking in a sharp breath as she looks away from his questioning glance. With two of the most gorgeous blue eyes she has ever seen, may she add. Not that she's only this socially challenged around beautiful people, oh no, she does just fine around less perfect people. "What was that?"

"I said that I'm Oliver Queen," he smiles, tightly and it doesn't quite reach his eyes. He tilts his head slightly, "I'm here, about the laptop? We spoke on the phone."

"Oliver Queen," she tries out, drawing out his name as she taps her fingernails on her desk, trying to remember the particular conversation he's apparently referencing to.

"What kind?" She eventually asks, sighing quietly in defeat, "What kind of laptop? I'm not really good with names but I am very good with computers."

"Harper brought it here, I don't," he starts, staring at her in thought as he licks his lips for a second. "It was black, I think. It… had a blue logo on the front?"

An horrific sinking feeling settles in her stomach. Oh no. He's a incomputerate—a computer illiterate! Why does the universe hate her? Not that she had any sort of illusion that they… No. Even in her own head she can't seem to shut up.

"Have you been living under a rock for like, the past ten years? That trend of being cool for calling technology a phase is over, you know," she teases a little as she opens a file on her computer, trying to decipher which one of her fixer-uppers he was talking about because that might be the worst description of a computer she's heard since people still thought of them as Satan's way to infiltrate society.

She had a carefully organized list of all her foster babies, and no, that did not make her a geek. Her ability to distinguish a FX-4 Quad Core 4300 from a Core i5 processor with one glance, did. Get your facts straight, mom.

He shakes his head to himself, shoulders tense, "Something like that."

She nods tightly, turning back to look at him for a second to acknowledge she heard his response because she doesn't really know what to say to that illusive, not-at-all-informing statement without going into full-on babble mode and she'd hate for him to think she was just ignoring him. That's rude.

He seems to hesitate for a second, arms behind his back as he takes a tentative step closer to her desk, "It, it had a… hole in it. Several of them."

Smiling a little, triumphantly pointing a finger at him and tilting her head in recognition, "Ah, the one with the holes."

"Yes. I… spilled my latte over it."

"You spilled your latte over it?" She snorts, readjusting her glasses as she presses her lips together to keep herself from grinning widely. That was absolutely the worst lie she ever heard. But, it's not really any of her business, now is it. "Here I was, thinking they looked like bulletholes."

"My coffee shop is in a bad neighbourhood." He looks amused, pursing his lips, but just for a second before it's gone again.

"Silly me," she mutters, holding up her finger to signal she'll be right back as she appears into the backroom. She comes back out within under a minute, carrying a document under her arm and with a laptop pressed to her chest. She sits down at her desk carefully, manoeuvring the object infront of her and powering it up, all the while avoiding his persistent gaze. Avoidance wasn't usually her forte, she was mediocre at it at best (something about her mouth having a lack of hesitance when it comes to moving might have a little something-something to do with it), but it would have to do for now.

He steps closer as he leans over her shoulder to look at the computer, his hand resting next to her and arm supporting his weight. She turns her head to look up at him (it's only polite, okay) and he's really close, face blank like isn't aware he's breached her personal space by about ten miles, and she gulps a little, facing the screen forcefully - shoulders stiff.

She's proud of herself that she manages to get out the next sentence pretty normally because did she note he smells really, really good, "So I was able to recover some of the information on it, and I put it all in this folder."

Then her mouth just takes it away on it's own, "Some of it was protected but you're lucky I'm a pretty amazing hacker. Don't tell anyone I said that. As a matter of fact, forget I said it all together. I did absolutely nothing illegal to this computer. Or to any of the others. Seriously, Ray Palmer may come all the way down from the executive floor to this IT-cave to personally kick my ass and fire me."

"What computer?" He deadpans in response and she snorts, because that was weak. Going for the obvious joke to make? Basic. Generic. Still, there she is. Feeling light and bubbly. How teenage girl of her.

She makes the mistake of looking back up at him, "I'm very regretful to inform you that I was not able to resuscitate this beautiful, beautiful baby for commercial use though, but I promise I will use her parts wisely in the future."

"Thank you," he says, not even fazed by the fact their faces are inches apart as he finally grins, and oh, what a beautiful sight. She makes a mental note to call up UNESCO later, this piece of art must be preserved. "That means a lot."

She raises her eyebrows challengingly, "I do have to inform you a certain Mr. Patel might not be as happy with me transcending this information onto you. Since, you know, it is his computer and all."

"My uncle gifted it to me," he retorts, quickly adding, "Maternal." She blinks a few times as they stare at each other, both not budging.

A dark man with big arms and an empty look on his face barges in unannounced, giving her a wary glance before focusing on Oliver, who straightens up immediately, face going hard. They have a small exchange in a different language, and it sounds... not-English. Like something out of an action movie. (Hey, there's people who excel in language and there's people who's maternal language is binary.)

She widens her eyes as the unnamed man unawarely flashes his gun as he reaches into his pocket to get out his phone as she reaches up to scratch behind her ear out of sheer panic (okay, so her behaviour is more freak-out than flight or fight, who cares), before pretending she's busy with organizing her post-its.

Okaaaaaay. Try not to freak out here, Smoak. Maybe it was just water pistol. Yeah, totally. A grown man would totally have a reason to carry a water pistol. The secretive conversation and the bulletholes? Explanations all around.

The man disappears as quickly as he came, mentioning that he'll wait outside after giving Felicity one more calculating glance. Apparently she's not too much of threat. She won't be offended by that for purely natural selectional reasons.

"Sorry about that," Oliver mentions before reaching out to gather the files and put them back in the folder. "I have to go, but, uhm," the corners of his mouth lift up just a little, "Thank you. Again."

Despite the fact her life feels like a soap opera at the moment, she doesn't seem able to control her facial muscles, nor her mouth but that's not an uncommon occurrence, as she smiles widely, "It was my pleasure."


The next times, she manages to spot him first; so he isn't able to take her by surprise looking like an idiot with a pen in her mouth and stuttering like a pre-teen at a boyband concert, like she's never seen a good—okay, great—looking man.

Fine, he's good looking. He's also escorted by some heavily armed guys and seems to enjoy coming up with terrible excuses on the spot instead of thinking of one beforehand. Sometimes she thinks he was only doing it to humour her.

The next times, plural, because him visiting her seems to have become a regular occurrence ever since the first time. He has her hacking into criminals' backgrounds, looking into arrow manufacturers and even analyzing drugs. Yes.

She has found a few dubious... things, most of them illegal, in the process, but she thinks it's best not to think about those things. Not too hard, anyway.

"So, you're telling me this is a energy drink that your friend, Kevin?" She looks at him for confirmation over the rim of her glasses and Oliver nods, lips pressed together in entertainment, before she continues, "Right, your friend, Kevin, produced but you want to know what's in it so badly you want me to do a spectroanalysis?"

"Yes." He's very curt, she's noticed, but not per se in the mean way a disappointed mother would speak to you, but more in the guarded way of the word. Like he's afraid he'd reveal too much.

"It's in a syringe," she notes matter-of-factly, leaning back in her chair and he doesn't seem particularly surprised she wants to have the same old useless argument.

"I ran out of sport bottles."

"You do look like you would use those often, not that I noticed, or anything. I mean, you're obviously easy on the eyes and really well-build and I'm not blind because you know, I'm not, but 3...2...1...Okay." Deep breath, Felicity. "Sure. I'll have it ready by Monday."

When she finally dares to look back at him cheeks red of embarrassment, he is smiling the tiniest of smiles. "Thank you, Felicity." He hesitates, hand on the door handle as he looks back at her, "You are remarkable."

"Thank you for remarking on it."

They exchange a look, and it's not unpleasant or unnatural per se, it's just strange. It's like they have some sort of a—connection, even though she wouldn't know the first thing about this man. It's stupid, it's a stupid thing to even consider—or, or think about.

For a second she thinks about his life outside of the basement of Palmer Technologies. Does he buy his mother flowers? Does he discuss business with his father? Does he have siblings? Does he ever make jokes around them or does things normal brothers do, like throw around balls and chase them around backyards? Or if they're older, does he take them out to clubs and does he laugh at them trying to do the chicken dance? Does he speak Russian or English at home? Does he have a Mrs. Broody to call his own? Does he ever smile at her like he smiles at her? Do they know what he does? Is he happy?

She's in so deep, darkness surrounds her.

Why her? Please, universe, God, Oprah, anyone, she needs answers or she might die. She hates mysteries. The real question here should be why the frack she is helping him to begin with?

Yes, Felicity, why are you exactly?


"Oliver," a slightly less tall boy appears in the door opening—just as Oliver is trying to come up with an excuse as to why he just brought her a gun with the registration number filed off—and she recognizes him as the one who brought the laptop to her. Something Russian, she has figured out by now, follows so she's not sure what he's saying, just that Oliver responds to it mostly by tensing up.

She crosses her legs, and once again pretends to be interested in anything else but them, even though she doesn't really think her bright pink dress is doing anything to help her in that department. She decides to get back to her own work, cracking her fingers before trying to ignore them.

It's pretty hard.

Oliver starts talking back to him in their own secret language (that they share with the entire country of Russia, but still, she can't help but feel excluded) and she has to admit it's kind of hot. His voice is low and rough and what the hell is her mind even getting at right now? Is it so far in the gutter it doesn't seem able to form any coherent thoughts, or...?

"More illegal stuff?" She says after Roy is out of earshot, arms crossed over her chest as she leans back in her chair. She knows she's coming off as a rebellious teenager throwing a tantrum, like she has a right to know anything about him. Which is the problem exactly, because she kind of feels like she does, especially after all the things she has done for him.

"Felicity," he dismisses her, tone cold, focusing his eyes on the gun, like she knows damn well he can't discuss any of his 'business' with her. And she does. She just… She doesn't know what she wants. There's a lot of blurred lines and mixed feelings.

She sighs, and he hands her the gun, which she takes after some careful consideration. "Wow." She tries it out, moving it over to her other hand and back. "It's lighter than I thought it would be."

He nods, jaw tightened, and she can sense he doesn't really know what to say. She bites down on her lip and doesn't look at him when her brain decides to shut off it's brain-to-mouth filter without her permission once again.

"Is it weird? That I trust you, I mean. I barely know you beside the fact I know you're a really bad liar and you have, at any occasion, at least, three, big armed guys waiting outside to shoot me as I do so much as give you an accidental papercut," she rambles on, head tilted as she finally dares to make eye contact, waving the gun around somewhat carelessly out of habit, since she is quite the physical speaker. He tenses just a little as he puts his hand on top of hers to still her movements, and it's big and warm and shit. Shit, shit, shit.

"Maybe don't… do that as much," he mentions quietly (and she bites down on her lip, hard, to keep from blurting out a 'same for you there, buddy!', a flush forming on her chest under his touch), before finally taking it from her and putting it down on her desk, but not before unloading it, putting the magazine down next to it. He looks back at her and she feels an all too familiar feeling of awkwardness creep onto her spine.

She goes into panic mode, because his hand just touched her for like, two seconds, and she thinks he might have gotten the wrong idea from her earlier ramble and she's starting to sweat just a little and talking is kind of her go-to thing.

"It's probably way, waaaay passed weird, huh? Or maybe for my standards it isn't. I once thought it was a good idea to date a guy who's first name was Leonard Stanley. Yep. Not just Leonard, oh no, Leonard Stanley. Leonard Stanley? Seriously? If that just doesn't scream an infinitely big collection of sweatervests, a probability of him only conversing in binary language and," she deepens her voice slightly, "'I have a penis so I have more rights than you' superiority complex, I don't know what is." She takes a deep breath, collecting herself, as she brushes imaginary dust from the skirt of her dress, "My point is, I know nothing about you—and I, I shouldn't trust you, but I do."

"I guess I just have one of those faces," he concludes casually, visibly more relaxed and she's glad her ramblings are so embarrassing he feels like the coolest person in the room.

At the super-apparent-not-so-amused-look on her face, he softens a little, shoulder slouching as he bites on the inside of his cheek.

"If it makes you feel better," he pauses, and seems like he is in thought, mixed feelings showing on his face as he settles on, "I have a sister. Her name is Thea." It seems like a mundane fact, something you would tell a stranger in a passing-the-time-while-waiting-for-the-train conversation to keep it going without the situation becoming too awkward, but the way he says it, it feels personal.

She gives him a nod out of appreciation, grateful that he opened up to her, even just a little and he nods back.

"Not a real blonde," she points at her hair, trying to lighten up the situation a little and he smiles that special smile. "But if you tell anyone, I'll have to kill you."




She doesn't recognize it as a threat at first—she was used to receiving some more than questionable emails pretty regularly—and figured it was just Palmer Technology related, you know, her actual job. She interpreted that maybe Unidac was trying to psych out the competition, thinking they could get some valuable information about their arch-enemy's applied sciences department through intimidating some silly little girl in IT.

Besides, she never would've considered she could've ever left a breadcrumb trail on any of her extracurricular hackings. At least not one that could be followed by someone that wasn't at least twice times as good as her. She was that good at not leaving trails.

Turns out there is someone out there who's twice times as good as her, even doing so much as adding a detailed description of some supposedly-locked-away personal information to the latest email to show her how serious they are. A pretty dangerous someone if they're emailing people 'THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING TO STOP YOUR RESEARCH. OR WE WILL COME FOR YOU' in their spare-time was any indication.

She had done every possible thing to figure out where the email came from, or who, for that matter, but there was a dead-end every time. It kept referring her back to some sort of Chinese symbols, and even she wasn't that big of an obvlious idiot not to make the connection to the fact she had been hacking into the Chinese's maffia/mob/whatever's database to provide Oliver with much needed intell for the past few weeks.

Honestly, she doesn't know what she was thinking getting involved. This is so above her pay grade. Not that she even gets payed by Oliver for any of this beside promised but long forgotten bottle of wines and that one time he brought her a fern. She has to stop this. Which is what Oliver agrees with as soon as she tells him during his next visit.

She shows him the site that keeps popping up—which is just black, spelling out the symbol in white, which gets them zero points for originality to be honest—trying not to make too much of a big deal out of it, but trying to see if she can get any sort of reaction out of him to pin down the exact severity of it. His expression is blank, but his eyes are dark as he turns to look at her.

His voice is cold, harsh even, "When did you get this e-mail?"

"Last week. But I got more beforehand, this being the only one that actually threatened me with death. Not that it explicitly states so, but I have been forced to watch enough action movies to—Oliver, is something wrong?" She stops at the look on his face, she is starting to get kind of freaked out here. She had hoped he would've told her it was nothing and that she had been able to blindly believe him and go on to live in oblivion.

He takes in a sharp breath, breathing out through his nose harshly as he rubs his forehead in thought, looking pissed. He mutter something short in Russian that she is smart enough to decipher as some sort of profanity. Curse words are pretty universal.

"Chien Na Wei."

"Huh?" She turns her head to look at him, taking her eyes off the screen once more and pushing her glasses further up her nose.

"China White. The symbol." He nods towards her computer, fists balled.

"You speak Chinese?"

"Mandarin, but that's—not important right now. I should've never," he pauses, trying to collect himself. He is looking at her and for a second she sees something flash across his eyes, like he actually cares about her. Which is a stupid and wrong observation. It's gone by the time he starts up his sentence again, eyes empty, "I should've never gotten you involved. I knew it was dangerous and I did it anyway. I apologize for that."

"Oliver, please, you didn't make me do anything, I involved myself. It takes two to tango." She closes her eyes, tightening her jaw at her own comment, "And with that I mean the least sexual way there is to tango."

He isn't amused. He swallows hard, and in that instant she can physically see him making a decision and settling on an attack plan. "This will be the last time I come here. Don't try to contact me. Don't try and find out who's behind this. Don't—just try and forget, okay?"

"That's it? You're just going to let the terrorists win?" She frowns in disbelief, getting up from her desk and crossing her arms over her chest.

"Yes!" He snaps, arms flying up in the air and she winces, to which he takes a step back from her, as he adds in a somewhat calmer manner, "Because it's too dangerous."

"I can do something. I haven't tried hard enough. Maybe—Maybe I can try and find out from which location—" she tries desperately. She can do better, be better, she knows she can.

"No," he barks, cutting her off, "No, you won't, Felicity."

"Why do you even care what happens to me? I thought I was just your infinite supply of information," she retorts without skipping a beat, taking a step closer to him as she challenges him with her eyes. She doesn't like being told what to do, not even a little bit.

"Because of what I do, I can't," he stops, reaching out to touch her upper arm—lingering for just a second—and she knows there's more he wants to say but then he shakes his head, just simply saying, "I can't."

He pinches the bridge of his nose, before looking back at her, "Just promise me you'll stay out of this."

"How do I…" her voice trails off, eyes landing back on the symbol, because she trusts him, but this is the Chinese Triad. She isn't even sure what Oliver is, or is part of, but she knows when the maffia says this is your last warning, they don't mean the last warning before we come over to your house to calmly explain to you why we don't like what you're doing over a cup of tea.

"You'll be safe," he says, and she nods, because she believes him. She suddenly feels like there's a weight lifted onto her chest, because this is it, isn't it? She'll never see him again and she know she shouldn't care this much about that, because what does she really know about him anyway beside the fact he's involved with the freakin' Chinese Triad and they don't actually qualify as friends but he kind of is, her friend. It feels like he is.

She swallows tightly, looking into his eyes to find any trace of—something, but comes up empty. She licks her lips, shaking her head lightly. "I promise," she breathes and he nods and that's that. He's gone.

Being alive triumphs having a kind-of-a-friend, right? Right.


She wholeheartedly intended to keep her promise—no matter how much she disagreed with him on the matter, no matter how much she hated him for making her promise, no matter how much she hated herself for not wanting to break her promise to him—but it's kind of hard when there's some big guy bleeding over your new (and expensive, by the way) carpet and another smaller one is waving around a gun and screaming in your ear in half English, half Russian that Oliver is in danger and she has to help them.

"Are you going to do something or not?" He grunts in English, thankfully, jaw tightened as he finally stops pacing around, staring her down. His eyes are on fire, and she can't help but think he's directing it at the wrong person.

"Put that away," she orders, nodding at the gun, because she might be the only one in the room wearing fluffy bunny slippers, but she's not going to let herself be threatened by a middle schooler pointing a weapon at her.

"Look, lady—" He starts, taking a step closer to her threateningly but Guy On Carpet speaks up, and Felicity is a little impressed with the dismissive tone considering the state he's in. "Roy."

"Digg—" One looks seems to be enough and the young man puts away the gun, holding his hands up. Bitterly (and a little childishly in her opinion) he turns to her, "Fine. You happy now?"

Felicity nods, rushing to get out her computer and placing it on the kitchen table as she opens up the web, Roy informing her what to do and how to find out about Oliver's location. Apparently they had an unexpected altercation with the Chinese and they took Oliver to some unknown location to torture him for information and kill him. It all didn't sound very pleasant in her opinion.

A blonde woman, she hadn't even heard or seen enter her apartment, comes out of her kitchen with a bottle of her favorite wine, a knife in between her teeth before kneeling down next to a shivering and sweat-covered Digg. She puts the knife down next to her, ripping the guy's shirt open to reveal a small but blood-pulsating wound. She raises her eyebrows at him, tilting her head like some sort of screwed up 'nice going there, buddy' before noticing Felicity's eyes on her, addressing her without looking away from the wound.

"Wine is the strongest alcohol you have laying around, that's kind of pathetic, princess."

Felicity snaps out of it, continuing to type away as she mentions bitterly, "I'm sorry it's such an inconvenience to you that when you come to my house in the middle of the night with some dude I don't know, bleeding to death, that I don't have any strong liquor on me! Must've forgotten to put it on my grocery list, right under bleach to clean blood from my carpet and above some damn horse-tranquilizers for your boy here." Talking of said boy, she turns to him, yelling, "Will you stop pacing?!"

The blonde woman in black snorts in response as takes a bullet out of one of the pockets of her pants, using the knife to nudge it apart and carelessly mentioning to Digg that, "I see why he likes her," as she puts the gunpowder on his wound. "This is gonna hurt, Digg." He just nods, eyes rolling back in his head, like he's having trouble even remaining conscious as she lights up the powder with a match before Felicity has the chance to say, "Hey, do you think you should be doing that?!"

She seems unimpressed, "Relax, princess, this will keep him alive until our doctor can stitch him up."

There's one more grunt of pain before he goes fully unconscious and Felicity winces. Our doctor? Was he part of some sort of sect? What the frack was happening right now? What is her life?

"Okay, got it, he's in a warehouse near…" She presses enter, quickly adding, "1700 Broadway."

"If you don't mind, I think we'll keep him here until we're back. I don't think he'll be of much use if he can only take out seven to eight Chinese." She smirks, patting her shoulder and Felicity widens her eyes, lingering on the spot where she was just touched.

He could take out seven to eight people in this state? Frack doesn't seem to be able to convey her true feeling at the moment, this is more of a fuck than a frack. What the fuck?

Roy huffs, loading his gun before pulling out a different one from somewhere behind him and reloading that one, also, "Right. Those motherfuckers seem to multiply by the second. There's always more." He doesn't really seem to be talking to inform her, more to convey his own irritation into insults.

The woman nods to the door, informing him they need to make a move for it if they want to recover a person and not just body parts. Charming. Not nerve-racking at all.

"Wait," Felicity says, "Is there somewhere I can take him? I mean, he might have internal bleeding and you guys might be away for a while and I don't, I don't want a dead guy in my apartment. The deposit I had to pay was like 800 and I work in IT, that's a lot of money." Realizing that might come across a little heartless, "Not, not that I want him to die anywhere else, but, also not here."

The woman smirks, eyes lightening up, "Ah, princess - I knew we made the right decision coming here."


Allegedly, Oliver won't be happy she is here. At least, that's what Raisa, the woman opening the door to the mansion she was ordered to go, informs her off the second she opens the door. She's somehow not surprised an injured man is leaning on her heavily, or that she is here for that matter, but she is muttering a lot in Russian as they both support Diggle, who seems to be slipping back into unconsciousness with each passing second.

She leads them over to a room close by the front door—the place is huge so 'close' wouldn't cut it under normal circumstances, but relatively speaking—and they carefully lay him down on a bed that seems to be designed just for these kind of situations. Like they happen all the time. Right.

There's a metal table with medical supplies that looks out of place in a room with gold rimmed wallpaper. Raisa turns to her, "I call doctor, you wait here." Felicity just nods, because what is she supposed to do? Run away? Call the police? Immigrate to Canada?

She looks over at Digg, who is shaking slightly, eyes rolling back into his head and she quickly rushes over to his side, grabbing a hold of his hand. He's in worse shape than before.

"Lyla," he shouts, head rolling from side to side and she squeezes tighter, "No, it's Felicity. I understand you might not really remember me, but I'm the blonde. With glasses. I do all your dirty IT work, remember?"

"Lyla," he repeats, and he seems to calm down so Felicity doesn't try explain to him once again that she is a complete stranger when the man's closer to dying than surviving another day. It doesn't take long before he goes out again, and not much longer before a woman shoves her out of the way, calling for Raisa, 'to get the blood bags'. Which is totally normal.

Felicity takes that as her cue to leave the room and finds a seat just outside the room, sitting down there on a wooden bench that's probably only there for 'decor' or 'ambiance'. She can't seem to make herself care at the moment. It's not until she takes a deep breath that she realizes her hands are shaking. She's covered in blood and that man—Digg—he was calling out for a person, a real person he loves and he might die and she can't do anything. She's useless. A tear rolls down her cheek but she quickly wipes it away. No time for weakness now.

She doesn't know how long she sits there, just that it's getting light outside, before a young girl finds her—smiling warmly—vaguely reminding her of someone as she hands her a glass of water, which Felicity takes a grateful sip of.

"Raisa mentioned you were still sitting here. Would you like some clean clothes? I think I'm about your size and not to talk shit about Raisa, but her taste in clothes is a little...1960's underpaid housemaid."

Felicity just nods, not finding the strength within her to laugh even though it did lift a little of the weight on her chest. She puts her glasses back on as the girl leads her to a huge staircase, nodding for her to follow her up.

"I'm Thea, by the way, not that anyone here seems to care," she starts, rolling her eyes and Felicity realizes this is Oliver's sister. His sister. She seems so open and warm and careless—nothing like him at all. He always seemed like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, a darkness in his eyes she hadn't come across before. "Welcome to Prison Facility Queen. I would give you a tour, but it's mainly just paintings of old dudes collecting dust and long corridors leading to nowhere. Diggle is fine by the way, don't worry. Laurel is good at ever-y-thing she does, after all."

She senses some sort of aggravation in that statement but knows better than to ask. She's glad Digg, or Diggle, was okay, though. That was good. Thea sighs, opening the door to a brightly decorated room and Felicity takes another sip of the water before putting it down on a makeup table next to a tall boudoir.

Thea opens another door, to which appears to be her closet (the size of Felicity's entire living room), throwing some things over her shoulder while claiming them to be 'so passé' or 'not your color', like Felicity actually cared about anything like that right now. She guesses for Thea this was normal, though, and normal equaled impassivity. Finally, she emerges with a small cobalt dress that was a little too bedazzled for Felicity's taste but she wasn't one to complain. Her mom always said never to look a gift horse in the mouth (or in her case, free martinis and fake diamonds) - which was a stupid saying because 1) why would someone give you a horse unless you're a six year old girl (although sidenote: Thea probably has a pony stocked somewhere in the mansion) and 2) why would you look it in the mouth, wouldn't you just make an x-ray or something like—okay, so Thea has been talking the entire time she was thinking about frickin' horses and was now pulling on her hair. She is probably in shock. It feels like she is in shock. She should be in shock, it would be weird if she wasn't.

"...but if there's one thing I've learned is that you can never go wrong with a dress," the brunette smirks, tugging some hair out from behind her ear and Felicity figures now isn't the time for shame, so she steps out of her pyjamas pants and pulls her old, fluffy t-shirt over her head before shrugging into the stiff dress. It's a little tight, but it works. Most importantly, it isn't covered in someone else's blood.

Thea tsk-tsks disapprovingly at Felicity's choice of foot attire (fluffy bunny slippers were apparently so 2011) before disappearing back into her closet and re-emerging with a pair of black flats of some expensive brand—the worth of her apartment probably (twice, now there were bloodstains permanently imprinted on her floor), wiggling them in the air and raising her eyebrows suggestively.

Felicity manages to smile this time, stepping into them and thanking her. She bites down on her lip, straightening out the a-line skirt of the dress before finally daring to ask, "Do you know if Oliver…" Because despite everything, she was still worried about him.

Thea's smile disappears instantly, pulling on an imaginary thread on her sweater. Her eyes turn guarded, and Felicity recognizes it immediately. Oliver. He has that same exact look.

"Ollie told me about you, you know," she says instead, staring at her with some sort of challenging look, "He said that for the first time in a long time he met someone who looked at him like he was human. A person."

Felicity just looks at her—pulse speeding up a little—not really knowing what to say to that. It doesn't take long before they hear rummaging downstairs, if you define rummaging with a lot of yelling and the sound of solid objects being thrown around.

Thea nods for her to follow as she rushes downstairs, and Felicity follows in a slightly less dangerous way. Knowing her, she'd trip down the stairs and break her neck. It'd be quite the entrance, maybe the one of the year, but might not be worth the title.

"—don't care! Just fucking cover it up, Laurel."

"It will get infected, Oliver, and when it does, you can go to an ER because I'm not operating on any of you with equipment straight from the seventies, ever again," she spits back, obviously not taken back by his aggressive attitude.

Thea is at his side in no time and he seems to soften, reaching out to squeeze her hand before wincing, leaning away from the doctor's touch as she presses down on his skin a little more rough than necessary.

"You did that on purpose," Thea notes while Oliver just directs his gaze at the ceiling as some sort of way not flip his shit and Laurel looks up to raise her eyebrows at her.

"Hell yeah I did."

She finishes up bandaging whatever wound was inflicted onto his side, and Thea helps him back into his shirt, and he presses a kiss to the side of her head as a thank you.

Eventually, he notices her. Felicity. Standing there.

"You're still here?" Tall, pretty brunette doctor asks, not deeming her worthy of a look as she disposes of her gloves.

Scratch that allegedly she mentioned before, he is not happy to see her. At all.

"You involved her?" He narrows his eyes, turning to the woman and boy from before, who were evidently on her left side the entire time.

"Hey, boss, you were gone," she accuses, almost stubbornly, as a devious smirk plays on her lips, "Someone had to haul our asses out of there and make the decisions."

"Sara!" He yells, obviously not happy with her easy-breezy attitude about this. He slams his fist down on the metal table, before proceeding to harshly wipe everything on it, off it. Felicity winces, having not seen him in such a deranged state before. "Now they'll come for her."

"Is that really our problem?" The boy cuts in and Oliver turns to look at him, eyes dark, apparantly not deeming his comment reply-worthy before turning back to Sara.

"This is your fault."

There's some yelling in Russian, calm on Sara's side, not so calm on Oliver's side. She doesn't seem to budge though, same stubborn, disobedient look in her eyes as before.

"As much as I appreciate you guys talking about me like I'm not here, in the room with you guys, not even three feet away, I can handle myself," Felicity takes a step forward, brow furrowed.

The blonde, Sara, laughs, like an actual loud, happy laugh. Roy seems again, more annoyed at her presence that anything else, huffing, "Sure thing, blondie." Oliver is visibly tense, fists balled at his sides.

He rolls his shoulders, like he's trying to snap himself out of something before he focuses his gaze solely on her, "You'll stay here tonight."

She snorts, uncrossing her arms as she walks towards him, "Uhm, thank you for the kind offer, but I think I'll be just fine at my apartment. If anything happens, I'll call the cops."

Sara exchanges a look with the doctor, Laurel, offering her a shrug, "Told you she was feisty."

"You'll stay here, and that is final," he barks, making Thea wince before he disappears out of the room.

"You can stay in the room next to mine," Thea informs her, and Felicity just nods, too stunned to say anything. You know what? This isn't the 1950's—he doesn't get to control what she does—not that they're even dating, or courting or whatever they did back then. Neither is she their prisoner—she can leave if she frickin' wants to, it's a free country! But she's too tired to fight, and the look on everyone's faces pretty much already spelling out she shouldn't even try. (Except Sara's, she just seems to be challenging her to walk out.)

So in the end, tired wins from sass and she passes out in her bed almost instantly after Thea leaves the room. Quite the eventful night.


She wakes up when it's dark outside, and she guesses from the sounds coming from downstairs, it's around dinnertime.

She's grown more accustomed to the dress now that she's slept and it and all, so she feels less like a stranger in her own body. Which is good, since she's an actual stranger in this house and all.

Instead of going downstairs, she decides to roam the halls to get some answers of her own, because she hates mysteries and Oliver doesn't seem to want to give her any and she is sick of it. Thea was right, there's mostly just painting on the walls of old people and most of the rooms are eerily sterile, like no one's lived in them before. She finds a few that are thoroughly lived in though.

One with dirty clothes (including boxers) spread all over the room, empty candy wrappers on the floor and a iPod on the bed. Another one is slightly less messy, but there's still a fair amount of clothes thrown around, a dogtag hanging on the side of a mirror, right next to a picture of two people, tucked into the border. One of which she guesses is Diggle. There's one that pretty tidy, but smells like sandalwood and girl's perfume but there's one half of a pair of nunchucks hanging out of a drawer of a cabinet to the wall on her right side. There's goes the idea that there might just be a manic pixie dream girl living here, ready to save the day.

She just about enters the fifth (!) bathroom when a voice from behind startles her.

"Snooping around in your host's house, huh?" It's Laurel, leaning against the doorpost with her arms crossed, perfect eyebrows raised. "That's kind of rude."

Cutting right to the chase—after she decides that this woman might be her only chance at getting some answers—Felicity huffs, "So what's this? You're just going to keep me here forever? Are you guys CIA or secret service, or something?"

"All you need to know, all you need to understand, right now," the brunette shrugs idly, stepping closer, "Is that you're safe. Your instinct to survive should trump everything else. Even your insatiable thirst for knowledge."

She cocks an eyebrow.

"So," Felicity squints her eyes, not budging, "You are secret service? Do you guys work for the president?"


"Huh?" Felicity blurts out unintelligently.

"I take it you saw the tattoo on Oliver's chest earlier?" Felicity nods, because yes, she did register some kind of black blob on his chest, similar to the one she had seen on Diggle earlier, but you know, he was bleeding from his side and Laurel was bandaging it. No time to gawk or linger. Laurel nods, too, "They all have one because they're part of the Russian mob."

Okay, that made a lot of sense. She was in the middle of a mob war between China and Russia.

"You're not?"

She cocks her head, like she's taking Felicity in, sizing her up, "It's better not to ask questions around here. We all have a story—we all have a reason to be here. Mine is mainly because my sister ends up almost killing herself each week, so I'm here to make sure she doesn't. The rest I just help because I'm not a shitty person."

Felicity chuckles a little at that and Laurel seems to tense at the sound. Felicity seems to start to understand the severity of the situation they're in.

"You need to understand something. If the Chinese Triad didn't like you hacking into their files, they sure as hell won't like you giving away one of their clandestine locations. They're not kidding around, Felicity. They will kill you. And I'm sorry, but the police can't help you—they'll trade one innocent life for a halt on a mob war any day of the week. The only people who can help you are here."


There's a knock on her door. After her encounter with Laurel, she didn't really have an appetite, nor a sense of courtesy, so she figured it was best not to go downstairs. She stayed in her room, talking to her friends and family—making up some excuse about a job opportunity in Central City that she might go and check out for a few days (wishful thinking that they —until her phone gave out and then she just lay in bed until sleep overcame her. Which was not a very fun Friday night, but what other option did she have?

"Mr. Queen would like speak to you," Raisa informs her, opening the door after the second knock. "I will show you his room."

Felicity nods, ignoring the fact she probably looks like a hobo and the fact that she is so hungry she thought Raisa was a waffle for a second there, as she straightens out her dress and follows Raisa downstairs, into a long corridor, and eventually to a large door. She knocks once, before opening the door, talking in Russian from which Felicity is only able to decipher a "Mr. Queen".

There's some muffled talking before Raisa reappears, ushering her inside what seems to be an office. There's a desk and some bookcases and Oliver is facing a large window, his back towards her. He turns around at the sound of her coming to a halt near his desk, nodding at the plate of food on his desk, "You must be hungry."

Really? She's been locked up in a room at his house for 24 hours because the Chinese Triad has put a bullseye on her back and that's his opening line?

She nods and he pushes the plate towards her, signaling for her to sit down on one of the chairs in front of the desk. She's about to politely decline and tell him to go screw himself because she is going home to fix herself a big ol' bowl of fruit loops—but then her stomach rumbles and her hands reach for the plate without permission. She sighs softly as she takes a bite of the toast, before pushing the bacon to the side of the plate.

"I'm Jewish," she notes, before shoving a spoonful of scrambled eggs into her mouth.

He just simply nods and she looks at him, chewing, as she waits for him to say something. Anything.

"Felicity," he starts, trying it out, arms behind his back. "The only way we can justify protecting you is if you're part of the Bratva."

She nods for him to go on as she shoves more food in her mouth.

"You can't become part of the Bratva unless you are willing to do some unspeakable things—which is out of the question—or..." He's obviously uncomfortable as his voice trails off.

Unspeakable things? What does that even mean? Strangling a man with her bare hands as an initiation into their little close knit sect? The look on his face doesn't beg much to differ.

She swallows the food in her mouth, eyebrows raised in dreadful anticipation, "Or what?"

"Or you marry into it."

"You marry into it?" She repeats, laughing. Okay, totally. Logically speaking, that made sense. Considering what he was implying here, it didn't.


"Yes," he simply says, not as amused.

"And what do you propose?" She snorts humorlessly, stabbing her fork through a piece of toast violently, "I put on a nice dress and hit on Diggle? Or better yet, I make a move on Roy so he'll just go ahead and go for the mercy kill."

His jaw tightens, but his voice is eerily calm. "There is a third option."

She scoffs, leaning her hand on her balled fist, elbow on the table (excuse her manners but screw the proper etiquette right now), "Enlighten me, Oliver, please."


That little word was the equivalent of a mic drop; her heart beating loudly in her throat as she stares up at him; gaping almost. "What?"

"I don't intend to marry, ever, for which I have my reasons," he informs her, leaning back against his desk. "It's the rational choice."

Her eyes widen as she points her fork at him, a piece of egg flying of the plate as she laughs, a little manically, "The rational choice is for me, to marry you, head of the Starling City department of the Russian Mob?"

"Yes," he answers, once again, stoic. "There's only one other way this could end."

"Which is?" She cocks an eyebrow, because about anything else would sound better than Oliver Queen pity-marrying her because she took part in saving his life.


Well, okay, except that.


"Are you sure getting married so soon is a good idea? It might look suspicious. I mean, tomorrow is… Tomorrow."

"Why?" He asks idly, looking up from a few files as she storms into his office, unannounced, nervously fiddling with her hands as she comes to a stop next to him.

"Well, okay, maybe you're right. You were in my office quite a lot and your men were always outside. Not that that means we would be doing anything! Not that it would be bad to do anything with you, I just—am gonna stop talking in 3, 2, 1."

"Felicity, it's not a real marriage," he reminds her, and for the first time since she's been in this house, the corners of his mouth tug up just the slightest bit. Not real, she tells herself, a sham, and pretends it doesn't sting just a little.

She runs her hands over the sides of her hair, interlocking her fingers behind her head as she thinks it over. She is so screwed.

"People will probably just think I'm knocked up, that's the logical conclusion for such a quick wedding. Not that I'm being hunted down by the Chinese Triad, but that I had sex with you, Oliver Queen, totally out of my league, and am pregnant." Her face pales as she takes a few deep breaths, what is she supposed to tell her family? Friends? Dying sounds a whole lot easier.

She doesn't even have time to blush at the fact she mentioned having intercourse with him for the second time in under a minute. He tentatively places a hand on her arm. "Felicity. It will be fine. We'll figure out."

The way he uses the word 'we' warms her heart in a way it shouldn't until she realizes he probably means the mob and them, not her and Oliver. Why would he?

She can't help but wonder why he would go through all this trouble just to save her, one little girl from an IT department who happened to help him out a few times. One part of her wants to know why, wants answers and the other part knows better than to look a given horse in the mouth, the horse being her life. The latter one wins out for the time being.


"Wakey wakey, little miss sunshine!"

Thea barges into her room on the day of the wedding, a white summer dress in her arms as she wakes Felicity up. To say Felicity has been having a hard time adjusting to the mob life was an understatement. Three days here and the only person who she could talk to was Thea—because the others (Sara, Roy, a bunch of other people dressed in black) were always off joking around in Russian and laughing, Diggle was still recovering in a room somewhere in this God forsaken maze, Laurel only seemed to come around when someone was dying and well, Oliver was Oliver. Any sort of friendliness that was between before had pretty much disappeared the minute she stepped foot into the mansion. And Thea was loud, warm, friendly, but also dark and secretive.

Yesterday she almost walked in on her doing a line of coke in her bathroom. Almost, because she hopes Thea didn't notice. She was doubting whether or not to tell Oliver, but then figured it was really none of her business. Maybe it was Russian mob thing, who knows? She had yet to be introduced to their customs.

Still, even without any of that, Thea was still Oliver's sister. So she couldn't really talk to her.

"Thea," Felicity sighs as she sits up, rubbing at her eyes before reaching for her glasses. At least she didn't have to sleep in formal dresswear again.

Yesterday, Oliver oh-so-kindly allowed her out of the house under Sara's (and three other unnamed guys) strict supervision, to get some stuff out of her apartment for the time being. They hadn't really discussed living arrangements but she had assumed he wouldn't try and cram himself, Roy and Sara into her small queen sized bed. Those three were inseparable. She was yet to figure out if it was out of actual love and friendship or out of honor and duty.

At least she was reunited with her tech, which did considerably approve her stay here.

"I know this isn't a real wedding or anything," she moves her head as she talks, rolling her eyes, "But, I figured you could at least look the part. Of course, I didn't have time to go shopping on such short notice but I pulled this out of my closet. It's so out of fashion, it's vintage."

Felicity squinted at the bright lights, nodding her head along to practically everything Thea was saying as long as she didn't have to talk back. She hadn't had coffee yet and to say her sleep schedule had been off balance lately would be an unfortunate truth.

"I wore this to Coachella two years ago," Thea informs her, not really interested in a response as she hoists her into the white fabric of the summer dress, dragging a comb through her hair at the same time.

The dress was delicate, not wedding-like at all; the sleeves reaching till just over the elbow with an off-shoulder neckline and the flowy, layered skirt ending just above the knee; it was more hippie than wedding, but cute. Her mother would die if she knew she was getting married in this. Getting married. This was surreal.

She kicks some heels her way before she starts on her make-up, smiling determinedly, "You just wait. By the time I finish, Ollie's going to want to marry you for real."


"I now pronounce you husband and wife," the minister smiles warmly before turning to Oliver, who looks rather impatient, "You may kiss the bride."

"That's really not nec—" He starts, looking at his watch and back at the minister before Felicity leans forward and plants her lips on his. Just for a second—a peck—but still. She can't even believe she did it herself.

"I'm sorry, it's just, I always imagined doing that. Not to you! Oh god, no! Not that I wouldn't want to kiss you, but I mean on my wedding day. And this might be my only one ever, you know so I'm sorry," she stammers, not making any sense and earning a strange look from the minister.

She blushes as he stares at her, studies her even, unfamiliar look in his eyes. They walk out of the ceremony hall in silence, his hand slightly hovering over the small of her back.

"Thea made me wear this," she clarifies, because the silence is suffocating and she doesn't want him thinking this is like a dream come true for her. It would be, if she actually loved him and they were together, but that's not that case.

"I figured," he states and she feels his eyes on the side of her face but she refuses to meet them.

"Thank you," she says, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear as they reach the door of civil hall, knowing they won't be alone for much longer after they step out of these doors because he'll go beat up some Chinese, or whatever he does, and she'll be escorted back into her room at his house by his people waiting for them in the cars.

He nods curtly and she sighs.

"I kind of feel like you deserve more than a thank you for marrying me," she adds, before her mind trails off to the normals customs of marriage and realizing what he must think of her. "N-not that I would give you sex as a thank you, I'm not a complete hussy and before you go there, I don't mean that it's the most horrific thing having sex with you, not that I would know, or ever find out but—oh God, why do I even bother opening my mouth? It's like every time I try and say something, my brain just goes like, wait Felicity, there's ten more ways for you to say this in a way more sexual manner and I—"

He smiles, a genuine one, a special one he keeps locked away from everyone else, putting a hand on her shoulder. It's not the earth-shattering, mind-blowing, love-proving, world-conquering wedding kiss she had hoped for as a little girl but she'll take whatever she can get.

"It's okay." There's hesistance, and then, "They were going to hurt you, Felicity, there was really no choice to make."

For lack of better words and as a lame attempt to distract him from the fact she's gaping at him in awe like a lunatic, she emphases, "Thank you."

He presses his lips together, nodding, "You're welcome."