A Couple Months Later
"I heard he's back." Tommy watches doctors rush around outside the break room as he holds the phone to his ear. It was all over the television earlier, and beside the returned billionaire, a familiar blonde.
"You heard right, the freaking bastard," Felicity seethes over the phone. "I jumped out of a plane to bring him home and how does he repay me? By making me his secretary. HIS SECRETARY. I'm gonna kill him."
Tommy winces. "Ouch. That's not going to go over well. What did you say?"
"I'm a complete pushover and I gave in," she groans, her anger gone in a heartbeat. "But he's getting his own coffee. That's where I draw the line."
She really cares about him. They both know it. Tommy knew it based on her reaction to the information about Laurel last time he saw her in person. Her face looked like what he imagined his did in that moment. She believes in him, and that's more than enough to convince Tommy that it's worth giving Oliver a second chance.
"He's not killing anymore."
"That's good to hear," Tommy leans back into the couch. "I'm thinking about relocating again."
He can hear the frown in her voice. "What about your residency?"
"I'm actually almost done."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that take a lot more time than just a couple months?"
Tommy chuckles. "I got an offer in Saudi Arabia. It's a good one."
"Saudi Arabia? That's all the way around the world!"
He sighs, looking down at his hand, examining the dried out knuckles. "Felicity, I'm in an unusual situation. My residency has been all over the place, but this...it'll allow me to wrap it up in a year, with a paid position at the end of it. In a place where I can help lots of people."
There's a long pause on her end of the line.
"You said you guys are helping people," Tommy picks up, appealing to her greater sense of self. "Well, that's what I want to do. I'm not cut out for what you do, not cut out to go running through the streets fighting crime."
Another deep breath and he continues, "this is the way I can help people."
"I know that," Felicity sighs. "Logically, I know. But it seems odd. Is it weird that I don't want you to move farther away? It's not like we know each other very well, but that's just so far away..."
He runs a hand through his hair. "I still feel like I need some distance. Mom's family, specifically my uncle...he contacted me. Seems to think it would be better if I'm with them."
"And the only way to get avoid that is to leave the country?"
"Haven't you ever needed to just get some space from your family?"
Felicity snorts. "Well, if you knew my mother, you'd know the answer to that question. I just never had the means to actually leave the country."
"But if you did?" She rarely talks about her family and he has to admit that he's curious.
"I've always wanted to travel the world," she muses, "but honestly, I couldn't picture myself living anywhere else, especially not now."
"But someday," Tommy agrees. Someday, Felicity's going to want to see the world. "Maybe you can come visit."
Tommy looks up as Jen pushes the door open. "Come on, Rhodes. There's been a bus accident. ERs about to be hit bad."
"Gotta go, Lis. I'll call you soon." He hangs up as soon as he hears her whispered 'bye'.
Packing up his life is easier the second time.
He didn't form any attachments this time, didn't ruin every friendship he had and watch his life go up in flames. He's not running away this time, which probably makes the most difference. He's moving with purpose.
Sure, it's to a rough place that promises to be way more stressful than the typical life of a trauma surgeon, but Tommy's starting to understand the adrenaline rush that compels Oliver to run over rooftops night after night. At the end of the day, he's tired but fulfilled.
Knock knock knock.
Tommy grabs the beer he's been sipping as he packed up boxes and swings the door open. "'Bout time, Drew. I was starting to think you stood me..."
The black man framed in the doorway is not Andrew, Metropolis's premier neurosurgeon. Drew is shorter than Tommy for a start and has nowhere near the muscle evident on the bodyguard in front of him.
"John." Tommy frowns. "I wasn't expecting to see you."
"Felicity seemed to think you could use some help."
Tommy shakes his head, frown turning into a smile. "Of course she did. It's good to see you man." They exchange a manly handshake before Digg moves into the small apartment he's called home for the last couple months. "Beer?"
"Yeah, sure," Digg nods, glancing around the apartment.
There's a certain awkwardness in the air. Digg's not a man of many words, and he and Tommy aren't exactly best friends. He's kept in touch through texts and the occasional email, using Tommy more for his medical advice than anything. It was a comradery solidified by silence and beer.
"So you're really moving, huh?" John asks after fifteen minutes of packing rarely-used dishes into boxes.
"Most of this stuff is just going into storage, but yeah." Tommy pauses a beat after taping up the box in front of him. "I need something different. Even here, I'm still close to my old life. If I had an island, and was able to spend so much time without human interaction, I would follow Oliver's example."
But he couldn't do that. He liked being around people too much. Personal interactions were a bit far from him at the moment, but he liked knowing he was just one of a million faces.
"Oliver's not the best role model."
Tommy laughs at that. "No. No he's not. But this...it feels like the right choice, you know?"
Digg nods wisely as he sips his beer. "You're handling it better than I did."
"The army?" Tommy's surprised that it was a difficult decision. Digg seems like a warrior, a soldier through and through. But maybe it was the war that changed it.
"No. Oliver," the man elaborated. "My dad was a soldier. Killed in Action. But Andy and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps."
Tommy sits down for the story, taking a break from the ongoing packing.
"It was Oliver's crusade that made me question everything." John shrugs. "I joined to avenge my brother's death and somewhere along the way I found purpose." He takes another swig as he thinks it through. "I hope you find that in Riyadh."
It's a dangerous decision. Tommy's aware of that. Terrorist attacks aren't uncommon. He's trading the US craziness for a global city in a more tumultuous situation. His life is on the line, but it feels right.
"How're things in Starling?" He's been avoiding any and all news aside from what Felicity tells him, or at least avoiding as much as possible. Some things it was hard to miss even half a continent away.
John shrugs. "Oliver's back out on the streets, doing some real good. Felicity's been pushing him. Between you and me, I think there's something there."
"So he's not with Laurel?" That's really what he wants to know, the question he can't bring himself to actually investigate on his own.
"Your death did a number on her."
He winces at the reminder. He'd assumed that in leaving, she and Oliver would get together for real. They would be serious. Tommy had months to mentally prepare for that eventuality. "I just thought..."
John shrugs it off. "I think he still cares about her, but he also realized they're toxic to each other." His wise brown eyes meet Tommy's gray ones. "Plus, she was in love with you."
"I couldn't be what she needs," Tommy mutters darkly with a long draw of his drink. "As soon as she finds out about Oliver..."
"She blames the Arrow for your death," John answers softly.
Tommy sighs. He walked away. He made this choice. It was the best option for him. He refused to let himself get dragged back into the disastrous love triangle. Oliver and Laurel had to figure out their will-they-won't-they relationship on their own. His life here was blissfully drama-free.
"Not gonna lie, I haven't missed it."
John laughs. "Yeah, I don't blame you. It's a bit much."
They drink their beers in silence for a couple moments.
"You're going to do well, Tommy."
A sad smile lifts his lips. "It's Connor now."
Digg nods and lifts his glass in Tommy's direction. "To Connor then."
The glasses knock together and Tommy finds himself smiling at what lies ahead for him. The future feels wide open. He'll be to define himself too far away from home to allow for any interference. He can grow into his own man, into Connor.
It's what he needs.