Pairings/Characters: Tommy Merlyn/Oliver Queen, Tommy Merlyn/Felicity Smoak/Oliver Queen - Tommy Merlyn, Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak, John Diggle, Laurel Lance, Thea Queen, Malcolm Merlyn, Moira Queen
Summary: Oliver and Tommy work through their issues and come to a realization about each other, with Felicity's help. Tommy's POV.
Timeline: Starts during episode 1x19 (Unfinished Business) and re-writes the rest of the season.
Word Count: 45,000 total / 5,280 this chapter
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them (and some of their words) from Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg.
Betas: Big huge thank you to angelskuuipo for being the best sounding board and hand holder I could ask for. You really helped me when I was struggling with re-writing some of these chapters and this story wouldn't be what it is without your help. Thanks also to apckrfan for lending a second set of eyes.
Author's Note 1: Title from the song "The Feeling" by Justin Bieber (featuring Halsey).
Author's Note 2: This story got away from me a bit. It started with the opening scene in my head and when I wrote what became the first half of the first chapter, I thought that was it. I'd gotten the scene out of my head. Then Tommy decided that he would, reluctantly, join the team and get involved in the rest of the season's storylines he wasn't originally a part of. I figured that this could also be my chance to write a Smoaking Billionaires story, which I've wanted to try. Only the boys decided the focus should be on them since there aren't a lot of long Tommy/Oliver fics out there (at least that I have been able to find). So while there is some threesome interaction, it is not the focus of this story. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Author's Note: Takes place during 1x19 (Unfinished Business) after The Count is dealt with, but before Tommy can quit.
The door reverberated as it bounced off the wall behind it when it was thrown open into Tommy's office. He startled from the spot behind his desk, head jerking up, not just from the door slamming open but because of the woman who came storming in.
"What did you do to my babies?" she demanded.
Tommy's eyes widened in shock as he hastily got to his feet. "Excuse me? I'm pretty sure I've never met you before, let alone done anything to your babies."
Oliver strode into the room behind the irate blonde. "Felicity, calm down," he said, grasping her elbow.
"I can't find them anywhere in that mess. He needs to tell me what he did to them," she insisted, turning to face Oliver.
"Felicity, is it?" Tommy hedged, "I can promise you, I haven't seen any children in here."
Felicity gaped at him as Oliver spoke. "She's talking about the computers, Tommy. Felicity works with me in the basement."
"In the basement," Tommy repeated, slowly. He ran his eyes over Felicity again; surprised that such a feisty, gorgeous woman would willingly help Oliver kill people. His body language shifted, immediately becoming more standoffish, as if the word reminded him that he was angry with Oliver. "Do you know what he does down there?"
"Of course I do," Felicity huffed, crossing her arms across her chest. "Who do you think tracks down the criminals?"
"Her?" he asked Oliver, incredulously. "You involved a girl in your killing mission?"
"It's not like that," Oliver started to say, but was cut off by Felicity.
"Excuse me, but the girl is standing right here."
"Look, lady, I'm sure you're a nice girl… Actually, no, I'm not, if you're willingly involved in his mission..."
"That's enough, Tommy," Oliver interjected, moving to block Felicity from Tommy's eye line. "You can hate me all you want, but you will not talk to my friends like that."
"Oh, so she's your friend. She gets to know all about your secret life but not the guy you've known practically since birth?" Tommy had to turn away before his emotions got the better of him. Being furious with Oliver was so much better than showing how much keeping this secret hurt him.
"It's because I've known you my whole life that I couldn't tell you," Oliver said, quietly.
"How does that make any kind of sense?"
Oliver sighed. Felicity gave him an encouraging nod of her head before slipping from the room.
"If you're willing to listen, I'd like to explain why I felt I couldn't tell you," Oliver pleaded.
"You mean you want to rationalize how you've become a murderer," Tommy spewed.
"If that's what it will take to get you to listen, then yes," Oliver agreed. "Only I hope that you'll come to understand once you've heard my story. I haven't even told Felicity and Digg what I'd like to tell you."
Tommy turned to look at Oliver, his curiosity piqued. While he hated being mad at Oliver, he didn't think there was anything he could say that would change his mind about what he'd heard about the Vigilante. He was also still hurt that Oliver could think that he'd be selling drugs out of their - his - club.
"You've got one shot to talk about this and that's it," Tommy offered.
"That's all I'm asking," Oliver gratefully accepted.
"In that case, I think you're going to need this," Felicity said, walking back in carrying a bottle of vodka and two shot glasses.
"Where did you get that?" Oliver asked.
"When did you get that?" Tommy asked, having been so focused on Oliver that he hadn't seen her leave.
"Just now, from behind the bar." At Tommy's raised eyebrow she said, "What? It's your bar. It's not stealing if you're drinking liquor from your own bar."
"Thank you, Felicity," Oliver said, taking the bottle and glasses from her.
"Yeah, thanks," Tommy reluctantly agreed. He would definitely need the alcohol to hear this story.
"Just, try not to kill each other. The city kind of needs Oliver," she said, turning to leave.
"Uh, Felicity," Tommy called. When she turned back to him he continued, "I just put empty liquor boxes over the monitors and computers after unplugging everything. Your babies should be right where you left them."
"Oh, thank God," she exclaimed and rushed from the room. Her heels could be heard running down the stairs and across the empty nightclub.
Tommy caught the small smile tugging at the corners of Oliver's mouth and he wondered if there wasn't more to their friendship than just vigilantism.
Oliver closed the door before moving to sit on the couch and pouring each of them a shot.
"Prochnost," he said, raising the glass.
"Yeah, cheers." Tommy raised his glass and slammed back the shot. "What language was that?"
"Russian," Oliver answered.
"Right, dinner that first night back... and the model… I'm guessing you didn't learn Russian from the model."
"There was no model. During part of my time away I became involved with the Bratva, the Russian mob. They taught me Russian."
"Now I know you're pulling my leg," Tommy said, standing to pace.
Oliver stood as well and slipped out of his leather jacket before lifting his shirt over his head.
"Whoa man, what do you think you're doing?" Tommy protested when Oliver began to remove his clothes.
"This is going to help tell my story faster than words will," Oliver said, tossing the shirt aside.
Tommy goggled at him. "Your mom said there was scarring, but I had no idea," he muttered mostly to himself.
Pointing to the tattoo above his heart, Oliver said, "This tattoo is a symbol that means that I am a Captain with the Bratva."
Coming closer, Tommy said, "Some of those look like bullet wounds." His hand lifted of its own accord as if to reach out to trace the various scars before Tommy realized what was happening and forced his arm back to his side.
Oliver nodded. "Some are. Some are from arrows or knives or swords." He turned around, trying not to stiffen at Tommy's gasp. "Some are burn marks."
"Swords, really?" Tommy asked.
Pointing to the scars, Oliver said, "A couple of weeks after I washed up on the island I was captured by some mercenaries and tortured."
"That wasn't your only time being tortured, was it?"
"No, it wasn't."
"So, what? You weren't alone on that island and were tortured and who knows what else and that makes it okay for you to run around town killing people now?"
Oliver pulled his shirt back on and poured himself another drink before answering. "My father didn't die when the boat went down."
"What does that have--"
"I'm trying to explain," Oliver cut him off. "Please, just let me tell you this part of the story."
"Fine." Tommy sat back down and had another shot as well. "Talk."
"We both made it to the life raft along with one of the crew. My father shot him, and himself, after telling me that he had failed his city and he needed me to right his wrongs."
"Isn't that your catchphrase?" Tommy interrupted.
Oliver nodded. "When I buried him, I found what I thought was a blank notebook in one of his pockets, but when it was exposed to fire it filled in with writing. It was a list of names. All of the people who had failed this city in some way or another."
"It was your kill book," Tommy surmised.
"No, it was more than that. It was a list of people poisoning this city, my city. Every slumlord, every politician and one percenter who thought that they could cut corners and get rich while making those less fortunate suffer. They need to be cleansed. They need to learn that they can't get away with it anymore."
"And it's your job to teach them that lesson?" Tommy challenged. "By killing them?"
"Only if they wouldn't listen to reason. If they wouldn't agree to fix the problem they created," Oliver countered. "And not at all since Felicity got involved."
"I guess I can be grateful for her involvement, in that case," Tommy sneered. "Although I don't understand how you could have involved her. She seems so nice."
"She is," Oliver agreed. "I had found a laptop from an assassin I was tracking that no longer worked and I took it to her in the IT department at Queen Consolidated. She helped me out even though she knew I was lying to her and I just kept going back to her for help. When my mom shot me, I found her car and she got me back here so Digg could get the bullet out. She's been a part of the team ever since. She even managed to get me to change how I do things. She made me see that there's another way."
"That doesn't change how many lives you took before she made you see the light," Tommy pointed out, with less venom in his voice.
"No, it doesn't. On the island I killed to survive. When I got back, those instincts were still very much intact. It was the life I'd known for so long where almost everyone I encountered was an enemy. It was often safer to shoot first and ask questions later." Oliver shifted slightly, turning to meet Tommy's eyes.
"The people I have gone after since I've been back are bad people. They have ruined hundreds if not thousands of lives over the years and they are unrepentant about it. They deserved what they got."
"And who made you their judge, jury and executioner?"
"The legal system that failed their victims," Oliver responded. "These people had the police and judges in their pockets and no matter how many times they were arrested they would always get away with it. Just ask Laurel."
"Don't you dare bring her into this," Tommy snarled.
Oliver held up his hands in surrender. "Sorry, I didn't mean it like that."
"Let's deal with one touchy subject at a time," Tommy suggested.
"Deal." They each took another shot.
"Look, once we get the lair back to normal, I want you to come down and observe an operation," Oliver suggested.
"Do I get a costume too?" Tommy snarked.
"No, you'll be staying in the basement with Felicity and listening in on comms," Oliver quickly said.
"Completely. It may have taken me some time to figure out what I'm doing here, but I'm just trying to make my city a better place the only way that I can. Come see how we are doing things now."
"I don't know if I can forgive you for the lives you've taken," Tommy told him. "Or for the way you doubted me this week."
"I understand; but do you think you could eventually move past it to be my best friend again?" Oliver asked, allowing his desperate hope to show on his face. "I'd really like to get to know the man you are now, if you're willing to do the same for me. No more lies."
"I honestly don't know," Tommy said, "but I'm willing to see if you're someone I want to be friends with."
"I'll take what I can get," Oliver said with a genuine smile.
Tommy was organizing the bar a few days later when John Diggle slowly approached him from the hallway that lead to the basement.
"Mr. Merlyn, are you still interested in observing a mission?" he asked by way of greeting.
Tommy stiffened slightly and then nodded curtly. "Oliver has another name to cross off his list?"
"He does," Diggle said. "Come on down and you can hear the briefing."
"You don't know who he's going after?" Tommy asked in surprise.
Diggle shook his head. "Not yet. Felicity just told us she had a hit on one of several people we've been looking into. Oliver asked her to wait until I'd invited you to join us."
"And everyone's okay with me being there?"
"Felicity is all for trying to mend the rift between you and Oliver. As am I. Oliver has a good mission and I'd like you to be able to believe that too."
"Alright, let's get this over with," Tommy said, tossing away the towel he'd unconsciously been playing with.
"Your enthusiasm astounds me," Diggle said drolly, heading for the basement stairs.
"Be glad I'm coming at all," Tommy replied.
"I am," Diggle sincerely stated, punching in the code to unlock the door.
"How are you okay with this?" Tommy asked. "You always seemed like such a law-respecting citizen."
"I am. I also know that the law doesn't always help those it is supposed to protect. I'll admit that I was in a similar position as you when I first found out about Oliver's nighttime activities, but after some serious thought and taking a hard look at the state of the city, I came around. I also didn't like the idea of Oliver out there on his own without backup. In the Army, you don't send a brother into battle without backup."
Tommy remembered when Oliver was like a brother to him with a pain in his chest. In truth, Oliver had been more than his brother. He'd been the one person he could always rely on. He really wanted to believe that man was still in there somewhere. He just wasn't sure that he could.
"So, should I call you John or Diggle or what?" Tommy asked to try and get his mind off the fact that he was about to witness whatever it was Oliver did now.
"Diggle is fine. If you stick around, my friends call me Digg," he answered mildly.
Tommy nodded vaguely as he noticed that the basement had been restored to its former set-up as he reached the bottom of the stairs.
Felicity was sitting at a table with three monitors on it, rapidly switching between several files. Every so often she'd glance up to watch a shirtless Oliver clang his way up some kind of exercise equipment unlike anything Tommy had seen before. It was rather mesmerizing. While his friend had always been fit, Tommy didn't remember him ever having such a cut physique.
When Oliver spotted them, he dropped to the floor and grabbed a towel that had been hanging from the equipment and began to wipe off his face and chest.
"Tommy, I'm glad you could join us," Oliver said, walking closer.
Felicity spun around, pretending that they'd snuck up on her, not wanting to let on that she'd heard Diggle's speech. "Me too."
"Uh, yeah, we'll see about that," Tommy said.
"Felicity, what have we got?" Oliver asked, getting down to business.
Turning back to the monitors, Felicity hit a few keys on the keyboard to pull up a file. "Meet Matthew Littlefield."
"The plastic surgeon?" Tommy asked, moving closer to the monitors.
Digg smirked and moved in as well.
"The very one," Felicity confirmed. Glancing back over her shoulder, she asked, "You know him?"
"Not personally. I've seen him around at various charity functions. From what I hear, he's the best Starling City has to offer. Hell, he's the best in 100 miles. How'd he make the kill list?"
"It's not a kill list," Oliver muttered under his breath. Felicity shushed him.
"When Dr. Littlefield isn't beautifying Starling City's elite, he's stealing and selling internal organs from the desperate citizens of The Glades, on the black market. People who are desperate for money go to him to sell their organs. More often than not, he just takes what he wants and doesn't pay up. He's got an appointment, not in his legitimate office, tonight."
"How do you even find out stuff like this?" Tommy exclaimed.
"I'm just that good," Felicity beamed. "I won't bore you with the details, but the trail exists if you know what you're looking for; and my programs know how to connect the dots."
Oliver silently slid his hand onto her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze, causing her to smile up at him. "Good work, Felicity."
Oliver crossed to where a long green wooden trunk sat on a table and flipped open the lid, removing his bow.
"So, what are you going to do?" Tommy asked, getting in Oliver's face.
"I'm going to have a little conversation with the good doctor," Oliver said. "Then I'm going to leave him for the police to find, surrounded by evidence of his crimes."
"You're going to help the police?" Tommy questioned, doubtfully. "I thought you said the police couldn't deal with the people on your list."
"When we're able to provide enough evidence for a charge to stick, we go to the police," Felicity said.
Oliver slipped away to change into his suit while Felicity was talking.
"What's your role here?" Tommy asked Diggle when he realized Oliver was no longer in the area.
"Depends on who we're going after," Diggle said, shrugging one shoulder. "Tonight I'll be accompanying Oliver in case Littlefield has some hired muscle hanging around. If he's not paying out like he promises, you can bet he's gonna have thugs on hand."
"Do you get a costume too?"
"Naw, man. What you see is what you get," Diggle said.
"You're not worried about concealing your identity?"
"If I'm doing my job right, they don't see me at all." Diggle crossed his arms over his chest.
Tommy blinked at the massive biceps on display under Diggle's t-shirt. "No, I guess not."
"He takes a ski mask with him, just in case, though," Felicity added, with a pointed glare.
"Yes, I do," Diggle agreed. He could see Oliver returning, so he moved to the gun cabinet and retrieved his pistol, ammo and holster while Oliver strapped on his arm, thigh and main quiver.
When he was fully outfitted, Oliver stepped up to Felicity's table and picked up one of the comms she had set out while Tommy was grilling Diggle and placed it in his ear. Once Diggle was situated with his gun in the holster, he did the same.
Tommy approached the table and picked up the remaining comm. After turning it over in his hands for several seconds, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and placed it in his ear.
"Don't you get one?" he asked Felicity.
"Already in," she said, turning her head so he could see the device.
"Woah, echo," Tommy exclaimed.
"Yeah, we'll have a bit of that since we're both gonna be in the same room. You don't get that when we're separated."
"You coming in the van or taking the bike?" Diggle asked Oliver, getting down to business.
"Bike," Oliver said. "We might need to split up if it gets hairy." Diggle grunted in agreement.
"It's a surgeon, how much trouble could there be?" Tommy asked.
"It's not the doctor we need to worry about," Oliver said, turning to go, "it's the muscle."
"Be safe," Felicity called after them as Oliver and Diggle headed out to their vehicles.
"Now what?" Tommy asked, turning back to Felicity.
"Now we follow them," Felicity said. "You might want to pull up a chair."
Tommy found a chair near one of the other tables and brought it over next to Felicity, who was busy pulling up a city map on one screen and traffic cameras on another.
"The green dot is Oliver and the blue dot is Digg," she explained, pointing to the dots on the city map.
"You have tracking devices on them?" Tommy asked in surprise.
"Of course. In their shoes. Mine's in my industrial piercing," she shared, pointing it out.
"Will our talking distract Oliver?" Tommy asked.
"Nope. I've got our comms on mute for now," Felicity said, pointing to a small display on one of the monitors.
"You're sneaky fast, you know that?" Tommy said, a note of admiration in his voice as he settled back to look at her.
Felicity shrugged, eyes fixed on the monitors tracking Oliver and Diggle. Without looking at him, Felicity said, "You can ask, you know."
"Ask what?" he responded, sitting up straighter and averting his eyes as Felicity turned towards him.
"Why I work with Oliver," Felicity said. "I heard you and Digg talking. I know you don't approve of what we're doing. So go ahead and ask already."
Tommy huffed out a laugh. This woman was something else and he was starting to understand why Oliver wanted her around. Smart, beautiful women were hard to resist, for the both of them.
"Alright, fine. You're right, I am curious. Why are you helping him?"
Keeping one eye on the monitors, Felicity said, "I want to find Walter; Mr. Steele."
Tommy frowned. That wasn't what he'd been expecting at all. "Thea's step-father?"
Felicity bit her bottom lip and nodded. "He was nice to me. I was looking into a couple of things for him before he disappeared and I think the reason he was taken was because of the things he was having me research."
"You think he discovered something he shouldn't have?" Tommy asked, surprised by this theory. "Pissed off the wrong person?"
"He'd given me a blank notebook that belonged to Oliver's mom. Only it wasn't really blank," Felicity said, looking pointedly at Tommy.
He sucked in a breath. "It was a list like Oliver's," he guessed.
"Exactly like Oliver's," Felicity confirmed. "After Mr. Steele disappeared I gave it to Oliver and even though he denied recognizing it - I wasn't part of the 'team' yet - I could tell he did. I think that's one reason Oliver fully brought me in; I can always see through his lies."
"And you just said yes when he asked you to join up?"
"Not exactly," Felicity hedged. "I mean, it was kinda hard to say no when he asked me right after nearly dying in my car after his mother shot him. I told him I'd stay and help find Walter, but I wasn't going to help him kill."
"Bet he took that well," Tommy said.
"As well as you'd expect. We don't always agree with how he does this job, but he's coming around. He can do so much good for this city, if only he'd let himself believe that he can be the hero that I know he can be."
"You're a little in love with him," Tommy guessed. From the way Felicity flinched and blushed, he knew he was right.
Something beeped on the computer, saving Felicity from having to look at him as she said, "I don't know what you're talking about." After a beat, she added, "They're there."
As if on cue, Oliver's voice came over the comms, "What do you see, Felicity?"
She unmuted hers and Tommy's, pulling up a window with security camera feeds that had been in the background of one of the monitors. Tommy hadn't realized she'd already hacked into the feed, although he supposed it made sense for her to be one step ahead of the team.
"One guy guarding a side entrance. That must be nearest to where the doctor is operating, no pun intended. I don't see anyone else outside, but that doesn't mean there aren't more inside. No cameras inside. I see 3 cars - one for the vic, one for the doc and one for the goons. No way to know exactly how many goons, though."
"Roger," Diggle said.
Tommy watched as the guard Felicity had pointed out fell as his leg was shot out from under him. He was vaguely aware of Felicity's fingers moving over the keyboard, but didn't pay any attention to it until the camera feed winked out.
"Hey, what happened?" he exclaimed.
"Tommy," Oliver growled in warning.
"Sorry," Felicity apologized, muting Tommy's comm again. "He's been muted."
"What the hell just happened?" Tommy fumed. "Where did the picture go? How do we know what happens now?"
Felicity muted her own comm and smiled knowingly. "I cut the feed. We don't want any visual evidence of the Vigilante's presence."
"But we can't see!"
"Welcome to my world of worry," Felicity said.
"So you just sit down here not knowing what's going on? How do you stand it?"
"Ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream," Felicity responded. "And wine."
"Next time I'm bringing the wine," Tommy said.
"Next time?" Felicity repeated, hopefully.
"We'll see," Tommy hedged. "I make no promises."
"We're in," Oliver briefed them.
Felicity was still grinning when she turned back to her monitors, starting the outdoor security feed live again to watch for any guards they may have missed.
Through the comms, they heard a door slam open.
"I love this part," Felicity whispered, mostly to herself.
"Matthew Littlefield, you have failed this city. Drop the scalpel."
They could hear the twick of an arrow being released and a howl of pain as it hit its target. They could also hear gunfire.
Felicity held her breath and blindly reached for Tommy's hand, which he readily offered. If he were honest with himself, he needed the contact as much as she did.
His eyes were wide as he helplessly listened to the sounds of gunshots and arrows being fired until suddenly there was silence.
"Oliver?" Felicity desperately asked.
"We're okay," he answered. "How's the patient?"
"Vitals seem steady," Digg responded. "They were just about to start when we got here. He's just unconscious from the anesthesia."
Tommy tapped the monitor, signaling Felicity to unmute him. When she did, he asked, "And Dr. Littlefield?"
"Arrow to the shoulder but otherwise fine," Oliver reported. "He'll have a bruise on his face from where I knocked him out. Felicity, make the call."
Felicity picked up the cell phone that had been sitting in front of her all evening. Tommy was a bit surprised to see Laurel's father's photo flash across the screen as Felicity raised it to her ear.
"Good evening, Detective. You might be interested in swinging by the warehouse at 5th and Mason tonight. Oh, and bring an ambulance."
"You do know that Lance hates Oliver," Tommy said when Felicity ended the call. "Also, won't he recognize your voice by now?"
"Oh, we know," she said. "But he's a good cop. And this phone has a voice modulator."
Tommy just shook his head in wonder.
"How's the cleanup going?" Felicity asked.
"Littlefield and his five goons are all zip tied and unconscious in the surgical room," Digg informed her. "Lance on his way?"
"He is. Come on home," Felicity said.
"On our way," Oliver confirmed.
Felicity continued to watch the monitor with the trackers until she saw them leave the area, then she turned to face Tommy. "So?"
"So? So what?"
"So, is this what you thought it would be?" Felicity pressed.
Tommy glanced at the monitors quickly and removed his comm, setting it carefully on the table. He stood and began to pace, dragging a hand over his face.
"That was torture," he admitted. "How do you do that every night?"
"Because I can help keep him safe," Felicity said, rising. "I can be his eyes from here."
"But you weren't. You couldn't see a damn thing," Tommy protested, waving an arm at the monitors.
"Tonight, maybe. I didn't cut that feed until after I'd told Oliver how many guards there were outside and where he was. Then I was able to watch for more guards once they were in."
"But you couldn't see what was happening inside."
"Not tonight, but sometimes I can. I can disable security systems and scramble camera feeds and help keep Oliver safe. I can help make sure he doesn't get caught."
"And I'm grateful for that," Tommy admitted.
"Are you?" Felicity asked, tilting her head.
"Of course I am," Tommy said. "I may be furious with him, but he's still my best friend."
"Am I?" Oliver asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.
Tommy spun around, silently cursing Oliver's stealth. He seemed to get back there awfully fast. Seeing the hopeful look on Oliver's face, Tommy sagged. "Of course you are."
Oliver set his bow on a table as he quickly crossed the room to pull Tommy into a tight hug, which Tommy returned.
"I've missed you," Oliver quietly said against his neck.
Tommy shivered, holding Oliver a little tighter as he whispered back, "I've missed you, too. You have no idea how much."
When he pulled back, he saw Felicity pulling Diggle up the stairs to the club.
"I take it that wasn't what you were expecting for tonight?" Oliver asked as he began to remove his gear.
"Not in the least. No one died. Plus, I got the pleasure of not knowing if you were alive or dead when all I could hear was a gun fight."
Oliver paused while removing his jacket, looking up at Tommy, knowing there was actual fear under the light tone.
"I'm sorry you had to hear that. I'm sure it couldn't have been easy."
"It wasn't. I still don't know how Felicity does that every night." Tommy licked his lips as Oliver finished stripping out of his jacket and t-shirt. Did he not believe in wearing shirts down here? No wonder Felicity had a crush on Oliver. Tommy pushed his latent desire for his best friend down, again. At this point, it was second nature.
"She's not always blind. In fact, she usually isn't," Oliver said.
Tommy nodded. "That's what she told me. It sounds like you're lucky to have found her."
"I know that I am. When I first came back, I thought that I could do this on my own. As I slowly let Diggle and Felicity in, now I can't imagine doing this without them."
"You make a good team," Tommy agreed. "I don't think there's a place for me on it, though."
"Because you don't want to be?" Oliver asked.
Tommy found himself shaking his head. "Because there's nothing that I could bring to the team. I don't have computer skills like Felicity, or firearm skills and Army training like Diggle. Besides, I don't think I could sit here and listen to you risk your life night after night."
"You can still be a part of the team. Just being here and supporting us - supporting me - would be enough. It would mean the world to me."
Tommy's breath caught in his throat at the intensity in Oliver's eyes. He hadn't even realized that they'd gotten so close to each other. There was a longing in Oliver's eyes that he never expected to see reflected back at him and it scared him.
"No more keeping me in the dark? No more lies to keep me safe?" Tommy countered.
"I'm always going to want to keep you safe, but I'll try not to lie to do so." When it looked like Tommy was going to protest, Oliver took a step closer so they were nearly touching. "That's the best I can do right now."
"I guess I'll have to take it," Tommy acknowledged, his hands itching to touch Oliver with him so close, but refraining.
Oliver took a step back. "Let me get cleaned up and we can go grab a beer."
"Make it something stronger and you've got a deal," Tommy countered with a grin.
"You're on," Oliver agreed, jogging to the bathroom in the back.
Tommy look around him at the dark monitors, training equipment and other tools and wondered what he'd gotten himself into.
With a grin still pasted to his face, he realized that he was looking forward to finding out.