Chapter 6

Oliver Queen paced in the hidden basement beneath his club. He had just hung up the phone, but his mind was still lingering on the fact that he was going to have dinner with Robert Banner. A man that, Oliver was fairly certain about this, had once been Quentin's lover.

He had never even considered the fact that the detective might swing both ways, and now that he knew, it had caused him to do something stupid.

He'd asked Lance's ex out to dinner with him.

He let out a low groan, grinding his back teeth, mad at himself for making such an impulsive move, but determined to follow through with it.

"Something wrong that I should know about?"

Queen pivoted sharply and nearly hit Diggle, who had apparently entered the basement without him even noticing. That was not a good sign. If he was so distracted that he wasn't aware of his surroundings, it did not bode well for any actions he might take over the next few days as the Hood.

He shook his head.

"No, nothing serious. Just…" He paused, trying to see if he could find the words, but then shook his head a second time. "Nothing. Never mind. Like I said, nothing serious. In fact," he added, trying to make it seem trivial, "It's the exact opposite of serious. It's fun!"

"What's fun?" asked Felicity as she walked in and sat down at her desk, her eyes focused on the tablet in her hand.

"Nothing. Nothing at all," he said briskly, eager to dismiss it.

Diggle looked at him.

"Didn't you just say that it was the opposite? Nothing serious…that translates to something fun." Queen didn't meet his eye and his bodyguard cursed under his breath and then said, "Queen, if you're about to do something stupid, I need to know so that I can keep anything from happening to you."

At hearing the man's tone, Felicity's eyes came up and she looked from Diggle to Oliver, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Uh, did I miss something here?"

The playboy millionaire shook his head.

"No. No, you did not. And with that, I am leaving."

He turned to go, but was surprised when he felt a slight tug on his arm. He looked over his shoulder and saw that it was Felicity. A concerned look furrowed her brow, and her mouth was set in a grim line. She then tried to coax it out of him.

"Oliver…are you sure that nothing's wrong? Nothing that we can, you know, help you with?"

He felt slightly guilty for not telling her, he nearly caved, but he managed to stay strong and replied with, "I'm sure, Felicity. It's nothing bad. It's just…you know. Stuff. Other stuff. That has nothing to do with being who I am here."

She nodded and her mouth settled into a faint smile.

"Okay, if you're sure…"

He nodded back.

"Yeah, I'm positive."

With that, he walked away, deciding that wiling away time down in the basement of his club wouldn't help him in any way. He had a more than a day until he had dinner with Robert Banner, and he needed to do something to take his mind off of it.

He rode around on his motorcycle for a few hours, killing some time, but then decided that he might as well head home. His mother was probably wondering where he was, anyway, and she most likely expected him to show up for dinner. He inwardly groaned at that thought, wondering if it was worth the trouble to actually go home, but even though he didn't want to go home, he needed to go home anyway. After his most recent stint as the Hood, he realized that he needed to start keeping a change of clothes back at the club. Actually, more than one change of clothes, to be exact.

As soon as he stepped through the door, he looked up and saw his sister coming down the stairs…wearing something that she probably thought was a dress, but to him was nothing more than a long shirt.

"And where are you going?" he said, his tone accusing, but she didn't react to it and merely rolled her eyes.

"Somewhere where you're not," she replied, grabbing her purse from the table, slipping her phone into it. "Which, seems to me, can be anywhere these days. Oh, by the way, Mom's on the warpath. Might want to change your dinner plans," she added, nodding her head in the direction of the main living room.

He nodded.

"Understood. Now, again, where are you going? And in that outfit?"

She glared at him.

"Out. With a friend. And if you start in on my clothes, I'll take an acetylene torch to your closet."

He nodded, understanding all too well that her threat was serious. He remembered once when they were kids, he'd tried to stop her from going out with a friend that he hadn't liked and she'd destroyed his baseball card collection. She had a penchant for destruction as a form of retaliation, so he let her be…but silently made the note to ask Felicity to track her phone for him when he got back to the club.

Quickly, he went up to his room and began to grab a few change of clothes, throwing them into a duffle bag that he'd snagged from the back of his closet; it was one that he hadn't used since high school.

Just as he was finishing up, his phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Hello, is this Mr. Oliver Queen?"

"Speaking," he said in a wary tone, unsure of who would be calling him on his personal cell phone. Not many people had the number, and he kept it that way for good reason.

"This is Alastair McCann from McCann Securities," the man said in an Irish accent. "I was calling about the personal security positions. I have several men who are more than qualified and would much enjoy working for you, Mr. Queen. I was wondering if you would be willing to employ our services?"

Surprised that someone had responded so quickly, but pleased as well, he replied, "I'd be more than happy to do so, Mr. McCann. How soon can you start?"

"Is Friday night too soon?"

Queen smiled.

"Not at all, Mr. McCann. I'll go ahead and have my bar manager write up the contract and we'll get it settled over the next couple of days. Can't wait to have you on our staff."

"Likewise, sir."

And with that, they hung up, and Oliver found himself smiling, relieved. Finally. He had security and could breathe a bit easier about having people in his club. Without the security he had been slightly worried that some of the drunken patrons might accidentally stumble on to the door and down into his headquarters.

Now that he didn't have to worry about that anymore, he could focus on all of his other worries. Like Robert Banner. And Detective Lance. And so many other things that he didn't really want to name, let alone think about. Suddenly, he wished the only thing that he had to worry about was the security for his club, but it didn't look like that it was going to change anytime soon, so he resigned himself to the fact that he was simply going to be worrying for next few days.

Not completely at peace with it, but willing to deal with it, he went back to packing and then managed to make it out of the house before his mother even realized that he was home.

Twenty minutes later, he was back at his club, stowing the bag down in the lair, grateful for the fact that both Diggle and Felicity had left.

Dinner wasn't until tomorrow night, but he had a lot of work ahead of him if he wanted to keep up with his other responsibilities as both a club owner and a vigilante. He sat down in front of the computer and began to type in the next name on his list, but then paused. The list was still what he followed, however, he also made sure to keep track of other people that were commonalities among the people that he was going after. Once the big bads were gone, he might have others trying to step up to fill their shoes, which was something that he was actively trying to discourage.

Oliver's hands hovered over the keys for a long moment as he deliberated putting Robert Banner's name into the search engine…and then decided against it.

He was going to meet the man on equal terms, it seemed only fair, as Banner didn't know who he was. He stared at the screen a moment longer and then finished typing in the next name on the list.

He was the Hood first. Oliver Queen, second.


Part 6/?