The following morning Oliver was walking down the stairs to grab breakfast when Thea met him halfway. She was carrying her laptop in her hands. "Ollie, I need your help. There's some kind of virus on my computer."
Thea shoved the laptop into his hands. "Every time I try to access my hard drive, the entire screen goes blue." She sighed in frustration. "I have an environmental paper that's due tomorrow. If you can't fix it, I'm screwed!"
"Good morning to you too, Speedy," Oliver smiled as he grabbed hold of the laptop.
Thea had the sense to look contrite. "Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. It's just important that I get that paper back."
Oliver used his free hand to turn her around so he could walk her back down the stairs. "Tell you what... I'll get Felicity to look at your laptop. If your paper is somewhere in here, she'll rescue it."
Thea raised an eyebrow as she fell into step with him. "Who's Felicity? You finally have a smart girlfriend?"
Oliver rolled his eyes. "She's not my girlfriend. She's a friend who happens to know her way around computers." They walked toward the dining room.
"Ollie, you don't have girl-friends. They're either current or ex."
Sighing, Oliver observed his sister. She looked pretty with her long brown hair hanging about her shoulders in loose waves. "I do have female friends and Felicity is one of them."
Thea shrugged, appearing unconvinced. "Whatever."
"What are the two of you bickering about so early in the morning?" Moira Queen was sitting at the breakfast table scanning the local newspaper.
"Nothing," Oliver replied as he bent to kiss his mother's cheek.
Thea slumped down into a vacant chair and reached for a croissant. "I'm starving!"
"Grab something quickly or else you're going to be late," Moira admonished. "You overslept again."
Taking a seat opposite his mother Oliver listened to their idle chatter. It was good to be home. He'd missed his family during those five years on the island. It was difficult though, straddling the line between son and brother while keeping his other life a secret. He wished that he could tell them the truth but he knew that doing so would only put their lives in danger. Already Diggle and Felicity were at risk because they knew who he was. Tommy knew too and Oliver believed that he could trust him, but with them barely on speaking terms, it was hard to explain things when his best friend refused to listen.
Then there was Laurel. Oliver wasn't sure how he felt about her. He'd loved her a long time ago, despite how badly he'd treated her. He hadn't appreciated or respected her very much and that knowledge shamed him. Back then he'd been a different man to the one he was now. Seeing her with Tommy had touched a nerve in the beginning and sometimes it still did.
The reality was that he didn't have the time or right to be in a relationship with anyone. He'd learnt that lesson after the debacle with Helena and McKenna. Just one person knowing about his secret life had nearly cost McKenna her life. If he couldn't be honest with the woman he was in a relationship with, then it was pointless starting something he couldn't really commit to. In the end, someone was bound to get hurt.
"Earth to Ollie…" Thea poked him in the shoulder. "Don't forget about my laptop."
Moira and Thea were gathering their belongings. "Try to be home for dinner tonight, Oliver. You're hardly ever here."
Oliver focussed his attention on his sister. "I won't," then on his mother, "Sorry. The club keeps me really busy." Seeing the disappointment in her eyes, Oliver added, "But I'll do my best." She patted his cheek fondly and ushered Thea out the door.
Oliver was about to pour himself some coffee when Diggle rushed in. "Have you seen the news?"
At Oliver's confused look he grabbed the remote control off the coffee table and increased the volume on the TV. Tom Bower's round face filled the screen, his voice booming into the now empty room. "…thought to be the work of the vigilante. Numerous arrows were found all over the crime scene and three were buried in the chest of Starling City banker, Jeremy Coft. No motive for the murder has been found, but City Police are pouring all their resources into finding the killer in the green hood. This is Tom Bowe-" Diggle turned the TV off.
"Jeremy Croft is on the list." Oliver moved toward the door, jacket in hand, Diggle following him closely. "As far as I know, there isn't much on him."
Diggle climbed into the driver's seat of the Lexus he drove Oliver around in. "Nothing that you or I have managed to find. But Felicity? That girl can dig up dirt on a convent nun."
Oliver laughed despite the seriousness of the situation. "She's got skills."
"Not bad on the eye either." Diggle caught his eye in the rear-view mirror as they pulled away from the mansion.
Oliver chose to ignore the comment. "Let's get to work and see what we can find. Someone killed Croft and is trying to pin this on the Hood."
When they arrived at HQ Felicity was already there. Oliver could hear the tap of her fingers as it flew across the keyboard. He could also smell the faint traces of the fresh citrus scent she always wore. Annoyed that he'd even noticed, he moved toward the back of her chair.
Before he got a word out Felicity spoke, "I'm already on it. From what I could find, it would appear that Jeremy Croft was a successful banker who ran a drug smuggling ring on the side. He's been partly responsible for the increase in drug use in the Glades over the last year." Her fingers kept moving across the keys. "Due to the nature of his business, he's made some powerful enemies. Six months ago he stole a cocaine shipment from the Sanchez cartel in Mexico. They could be the ones behind the killing." She finally looked up and met Oliver's gaze. Hers was steady as a rock.
Oliver's hand rested on the back of Felicity's chair. From his vantage point, he could see the tiny blonde hairs that grew at the nape of her neck. What is wrong with me? "Maybe. But that doesn't explain the copycat Hood. A Mexican drug lord would just pull the trigger. He wouldn't go to all the trouble of trying to frame a supposed vigilante. This isn't their style."
Diggle moved to stand on the other side of Felicity. His arms were folded across his crisp white shirt. "Maybe they got someone else to do their dirty work? Someone who has a hidden agenda?"
Oliver moved back. Felicity's perfume seemed to be stuck to his clothing. "We need to know more. From the start. Felicity, check into all known associates of the Sanchez cartel residing in Starling City. If we're lucky a name will pop." He glanced at his watch. "Dammit. I have a meeting upstairs. I can't cancel – again."
"That's okay. You go. I'll set up a meet with our Russian contacts. Maybe they know something. Hopefully by the time you're done I'll be back with some answers." Diggle grabbed the keys to the Lexus and nodded in Oliver's direction as he headed out.
"Oliver," Felicity stared up at him. "I'll do my best to find something." He placed his hand lightly on her shoulder and gave her an encouraging squeeze.
"Call me if anything comes up." He walked toward the staircase leading up into the club before abruptly stopping. "Oh, I nearly forgot." He retraced his steps and reached for the laptop that lay on the side of Felicity's desk. "This is Thea's. Apparently it crashed. She needs an environmental paper that's on here somewhere. Think you could have a look at it when you have a moment?"
"Su-ure," Felicity responded to his retreating figure.
"Thanks!" He called as he raced up the stairs, two at a time.