A/N: Just going to leave this hear and head for the hills. The muse was kind and I let her work. I hope you enjoy!

It didn't occur to Oliver that there would be a downside in his decision to shift Felicity to auditing the Applied Science department. The downside being that he couldn't look up at any moment and see her, that she wasn't with him every second of the day, and it shouldn't have been as disconcerting as it was. But ever since the Count he'd had a lingering fear that he couldn't seem to shake. The idea that if there was a next time he might not be as lucky.

Once he'd given her the task of looking into the department she decided she needed a place to work out of that was a bit more inconspicuous until her report was finalized. There was an empty suite on the other end of the floor and the next morning she'd had Digg help her move the few things she needed.

And then he didn't see her again until he tracked her down midday for lunch.

By the second day his nerves were shot, he kept finding excuses to call or text her, and he'd caught himself calling out or hitting the intercom button more than once only remembering when he saw her empty chair that she wasn't there.

Digg strolled through the outer office door shaking his head in mirth, "You're a mess, man."

Oliver just glared in response, sitting back in his chair and spinning it to face the windows.

A long low whistle cut through the air as the other man came forward, perching on the corner of the desk, "Not even gonna deny it."

That comment he pointedly ignored, but the fingers he couldn't stop from drumming gave him away.

"She's fine, you know. In fact she's barely come up for air since she started working on this." Before Oliver could interject, his thoughts racing to how she was working too hard, or not taking care of herself Digg continued, "You did the right thing. She needed this."

"Yeah, that's what I keep reminding myself." he responded dejectedly.

His chest expanded with a huff of air, fingers rubbing across his forehead, "It's just...if she's out there," he said pointing towards her empty desk as he slowly rotated back to face Digg, "I know she's okay. I know they're okay."

"I understand. The Count still has you spooked. But she's right down the hall."

"For now." Oliver interjected, looking away.

"What do you mean?"

"If this audit goes the way I think it will then...I want to give the department to her."

Digg's response was a single raised eyebrow. Oliver hadn't shared that bit of news yet with anyone other than Felicity.

"And yes, I'm aware that means she'll be on an entirely different floor, and running the projects, and busy at all hours."

"If you're worried about her safety we can put a plan of action into place. I can even get her her own detail."

"You're her detail." Oliver said sharply, dropping all pretenses and starring his partner straight in the eye. "You know I don't need anyone. You're the only one I trust."

Digg just nodded, "Alright. But you've got to lock this down. If she finds out you don't want her out of your sight...I don't see that ending well for you."

"Thanks for your concern." he threw back sarcastically, Digg grinning as he rose.

"Hey, just telling it like I see it. That woman doesn't want or need to be coddled."

"I don't want to coddle her. I want to keep her safe."

The quiet spoke for them until his phone trilled, a new text message from Felicity that said 'I got it!'

He held it up for Digg to see, "We'll be figuring it out sooner rather than later."

Oliver was pocketing the phone and heading for the door before Digg could reply, but he heard him fall into step behind him.

Halfway down the corridor they saw Felicity heading their direction, Oliver lengthening his stride to meet her. Her eyes were bright, the look on her face a mix of anger and steely resolve.

"You are never going to believe this!" she exclaimed.

"How about we talk about this somewhere else," he suggested as he reached her, hand settling against her lower back, turning her the direction she'd just come.

"Yeah, good idea. I probably shouldn't be talking about exactly how low and duplicitous one of the co runners of the company is in front of other employees." she spat in an angered whisper that wasn't as quiet as she probably intended on it being.

Oliver felt his blood begin to rise, mind swirling with ideas of just what Isabel could be up to.

As soon as the door was shut behind them Felicity stalked to her desk, pushing a few keys before she spun the monitor so they could see. On the screen was the employee photo of the current Applied Sciences department head.

"This is Evan Pittman, his credentials, and I use that term as loosely as possible, state that he graduated top of his class from Stanford and has worked in the industry for years. On paper he looks like a good fit." A few more clicks and another photo appeared this one of the same man a few years younger. "Evan Pittman is actually Evan Portman. As in The Portman Group. You know, one of our biggest investors. Evan did go to Stanford, but he barely graduated and he's never actually held a job. He spent the last two years 'touring Europe'." she stated with no attempt at hiding her disdain.

"Who is he to Portman?" Oliver asked, already beginning to see where this was all leading.

"He's Portman's nephew. Apparently the closest thing he has to a son. And since someone went through the trouble of falsifying documents to get him placed, and since Isabel Rochev was the one to personally hire him I have an idea as to what the bigger picture is."

"And what's that?" Digg asked, standing behind Oliver with his arms crossed over his chest.

A new screen appeared with The Portman Group at the top, fanning out below were four of Queen Consolidated's top investors.

"The Portman Group brought in all these investors. It's not apparent at first, but once I started digging into their financials and the shell corporations all roads led back to Portman."

Digg shifted, pointing to the screen,"Do you think Rochev was blackmailed into hiring the nephew?"

"Nope. Not one bit." Felicity bit out, leveling Oliver with a hard stare. "I think she's lining up her knights. I think she agreed to hire Evan in exchange for leverage. With the investors that Portman has brought in if she chose to challenge you she might be able to show majority control in a forced buyout."

It all made sense. Isabel was doing this for her own gain, nothing else.

"Then why risk the Applied Sciences department."

Felicity shrugged, "Maybe she didn't think anyone would notice. Maybe she didn't think he could be as bad as he was. The employees are actually doing an admirable job of keeping the legitimate projects going. I don't think the contracts we have right now are in any immediate danger, but another few months with him as the head and that might not be true."

Oliver scrubbed both hands over his face, blowing out a long frustrated breath.

Felicity patted his arm, smiling, "Don't worry. She's not getting away with anything and neither is Portman unless they want to be exposed."

"What are you thinking?"

"Call a meeting with the Board. Isabel has to be there. Then we'll lay it all out. Portman won't want the bad publicity and neither will the Board. Isabel will know we're on to her though which means we've got the power now. If you agree to having Evan removed and regain oversight of the department it should be a simple enough concession that will please everyone."

"You think it'll be that easy?" He trusted her. But he wasn't certain Isabel or the Board would be so easy to sway.

"With the amount of evidence I have against them and the guarantee that I can bury her if pushed...yes, I do think it'll be that easy." her eyes held a glint in them that he didn't often see.

With a slow grin he took her face in his hands, "And once again I'm reminded of why I'm so very lucky and grateful you're on my side."

"Oh, you should be." she teased, "You know exactly what I'm capable of, and now Isabel can find that out firsthand."


Oliver's request for an emergency board meeting to be held later that afternoon had earned him several calls from Isabel all of which he ignored. He trusted Felicity. Her suggestion that Isabel was setting him up to take over his company had sparked something inside of him. It was his company. His family's company. And even though six months earlier he hadn't been that interested in taking on the mantle thrust upon him he was now finding it mattered to him very much that the name Queen remain on the letterhead.

Oliver glanced at his watch and then the door again. Considering this had all been Felicity's plan he didn't like that she wasn't there yet. A burning on the back of his neck let him know Isabel had locked her laser sharp gaze on him, most likely a glare, and he didn't give her the satisfaction of acknowledging it.

Technically the meeting wasn't slated to begin for two more minutes and he already had the flashdrive containing all the evidence Felicity had amassed, but he knew she was looking forward to showing Isabel in person exactly how dangerous she was behind a keyboard.

A subtle cough by Digg had Oliver looking up to see Felicity approaching, stride sure and determined.

Digg met her at the door, opening it for her and saying something low that only she could hear. She paused to reply and the next few seconds seemed to suddenly be in slow motion.

A strange expression crossed her face as she hunched forward, one hand and then the other pressing into the side of her belly, the folder she'd been holding falling forgotten to the floor.

Digg caught her by the upper arm, reacting before Oliver could even blink as a wash of terror left him cold and stunned. Then everything snapped back and he moved.

The chair he'd been sitting in flew back with a crash as he exploded from his seat, half vaulting the end of the table not even noticing the members of the board who barely moved out of his way in time.

He was at her side immediately and also far too slowly, one arm wrapping around her waist, a hand covering hers while his mouth felt too dry to speak.

"Felicity!" it came out strangled and foreign sounding, and for half a second memories of seeing her falling to the floor after the Count tried to kill her flashed through his head.

Never would he have expected to hear her laugh. His grip on her tightened as he processed the sound, trying to see her face but her head was still bent. Then she looked up at him with the widest smile he'd ever seen, eyes shining and his heart resumed beating.

Her eyes held his and everything else faded away. Digg, the board room, the meeting, even Isabel. He was certain that for the span of ten heartbeats nothing else existed in the universe but them.

"I felt the baby." she whispered, smile growing even wider. "Here." she said quickly, grabbing his hand with both of hers and moving it down, pressing his palm inwards.

"It was just this strange fluttery feeling at first and I ignored it," her head shook in almost disbelief and he could only stare in shock, still trying to process that nothing horrible had happened. "And then it happened again and then there was a kick or maybe a punch, I'm not sure but it was strong and...oh my god it's amazing, Oliver, I wish you could-"

"You...the baby? It moved?"

She nodded, head turned down to stare at her stomach as if she could will it to happen again. His palm moved under hers, joining in the unconscious parental coercion though he knew it would still be weeks before he'd be able to feel as well.

Felicity jumped again, another small gasp escaping her lips, "Again!" she exclaimed, futily moving his hand but it made a lump form in his throat at her eagerness to share this with him. "The 'little ninja' nickname was so accurate. I swear there's parkour or some sort of training going on in there."

A low, huffing laugh left his chest as he drew her closer to him, pressing a kiss to her hair. "I can't wait." he whispered so only she could hear, threading his fingers through hers while they both took a few breaths and ignored everything else.

When he finally turned he saw that Digg had somehow slipped past them, shutting the glass door to the room before standing in front of it and blocking them as best he could.

He swiveled as Oliver opened the door, muttering a quiet "Thank you".

Digg just shrugged, "I'm certain Ms. Rochev was plotting ten different ways she could kill me with the objects in this room but it was worth it."

He wasn't exaggerating. Isabel's mouth looked like she'd been sucking on a lemon, arms crossed stiffly over her middle as she glared at them from the other end of the table.

Oliver laid a hand on Felicity's lower back as she stepped past him, smiling politely at the members of the board.

But when she locked her gaze on Isabel a change overtook her. His hand fell away as he looked on with pride and little bit of awe at the fire that blazed in her eyes.

And by the way the other woman's face slowly began to turn purple she knew exactly what was coming.