Chapter Two: Older and Wiser
A second text message came in a minute later. This one read: "Dinner?"
Not amused, Lance turned his phone off and went back to work.
Quentin did not flinch when Queen surprised him at work a few nights later. (How had he not noticed him approaching until the billionaire was practically on top of his desk?)
"What are you doing here, Queen?"
"Well, since you rejected my offer of dinner, I thought I'd ask you out for beer."
"You're wasting your time. More importantly, you're wasting my time, so why don't you head back to your mansion and—"
"But I'd hate to have come down to the police precinct for nothing. I suppose if you're not interested, I could turn myself in—"
"Shut up!" Lance hissed. He made sure none of his colleagues were close enough to eavesdrop before continuing in a low voice. "Get this through your head: When I arrest the vigilante," again, "it will be because I've got him dead to rights, not because he decides to turn himself in on some whim."
"Nice non-sequitur. I was only going to say that I'd confess …that I don't have a liquor license for my nightclub."
"You mean the nightclub that you haven't opened yet?" Lance raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
"You're right; I've still got time to work on that." Oliver smiled. "What time does your shift end?"
"You can't be serious," Lance groaned.
"I merely want to express my appreciation for all the times you've saved my life. If you say yes, I promise not to make any Lancelot jokes."
Quentin narrowed his eyes and muttered something about how the Queen Guinevere in that metaphor wasn't in any position to make jokes.
"How did it go with McKenna?" Diggle asked Oliver the following night, while they were underneath the nightclub-to-be.
Oliver looked at his partner blankly.
"McKenna?" he repeated.
"I thought you were following Felicity's advice to ask her out," Diggle added.
"Oh. Really, you two thought that me and…?" It seemed like he'd gone out with McKenna a lifetime ago. In many ways, he had. "No. I went out with Detective Lance."
"Do you want to run that by me again?" Diggle asked. His tone suggested that if he'd heard correctly, Oliver must be high on Vertigo. They must have left some of the antidote around somewhere.
"It's not that odd," Oliver said defensively. "The man keeps saving my life; he can't possibly hate me as much as he pretends to."
"What happened to his grudge over his daughter's death?"
"Oh, didn't I tell you? His ex-wife told Laurel, who told him, that Sarah survived the shipwreck, which means I am officially not responsible for her death."
It would have been nice to have known that years ago, he reflected. He'd spent over five years blaming himself. Fortunately, the relief at having that weight off of his shoulders outweighed his resentment of Sarah for faking her death.
Queen pulled himself out of his thoughts to find that Diggle was still arguing against his pursuit of Quentin.
"Oliver, you can't date the cop that's hunting you down!"
"Vigilantes don't have a lot of options," the billionaire tried to shrug it off. "And if that's your standard, that lets out McKenna. Quentin recruited her for his team."
"Are you listening to yourself? Lance is leading the team hunting your alter ego down. What happens when you have to cancel a date? 'I'm sorry dear, but I have to go grab my bow and arrow and fight crime. Can we postpone dinner until after you handcuff me and read me my rights?'
"Sorry. I got distracted by the mention of handcuffs," he grinned wickedly.
"Oliver, this isn't a joke! If that man finds out you're the vigilante—"
"Dig, he knows. He already knows."
"No, see, if he knew, I'd be driving your mom to visit you at the jailhouse. What do you mean he knows?"
"You remember when I was under house arrest and I asked you to fill in for me as the Hood?"
"If you're saying he also knows about my involvement—"
"No! Well, he might suspect that, but he doesn't have any proof. In his gut, he knows I'm the vigilante. He was never fooled. Don't you see? It's perfect! He's the one person I can date without having to keep the secret from him. I don't have to worry about lying or slipping up or how the truth would change how he looks at me."
"If he knows you're the Hood, why would he go out with you in the first place?"
"He's… lonely? Alright, I haven't actually figured that out. Maybe he sees it as an opportunity to keep an eye on me. Whatever the reason, I'm glad. Dig, when I'm with him—I can't even describe how he makes me feel, but I know I haven't felt this way since before the island.
"I do hear what you're saying. And I don't know where this is going to go. Maybe I will screw up and he'll wind up arresting me or shooting me. But he's had so many opportunities to hurt the vigilante over the past few months. And instead he's been watching my back when I'm not wearing the hood."
"That was supposed to be my job," Diggle observed.
"Which would be a lot easier if I didn't keep running off on my own, I know," Oliver checked his watch. "Tell you what: I have to head over to pick up Quentin in a little while. You could come with, make sure nobody gets hurt."
"You do know most bodyguards aren't hired to protect their bosses from their dates?"
"Oh, this is just for your peace of mind. I don't need you to protect me from him."
Why should he? He and the detective were well-matched.
Author's Note: Written for annadale's prompt: "based off the last episode; with Diggle telling Oliver he shouldn't be dating the cop who was hunting him," an AU where they were referring to Quentin. :D Well, if that line didn't scream Quiver, I'm not sure what does.
Title is from "Sixteen Going On Seventeen." (I recommend the State Farm version.)
Thanks to those who reviewed and/or added the story to your list of alerts/favorites!
Looking for more Quiver? Check out my latest fic: "Black Bird; Green Arrow."