A month and a half after that night when Lance realized that it was Oliver Queen behind the Arrow's mask, Starling City's newest gossip seemed to be the kid's new girlfriend. Well, not new. What the gossip magazines seemed certain of was that now that there was no more Queen Consolidated to rain on his parade, Queen could finally make public his relationship with his former secretary, which most of the magazines affirmed that had been going on for a long time.
The kid wasn't a billionaire anymore, but that didn't seem to diminish people's need for gossip and the Queen name was still a good seller. The Captain snorted every time one of these magazines crossed his line of vision because if there was one thing he was one hundred percent sure was that the garbage they were printing could not be more wrong.
Lance passed the newsstand, entering the very busy coffee shop on a Friday morning. The place was packed, probably because everyone seemed to need a little boost of energy to get through one last day of work before they were free for the weekend, including vigilantes. The arrow shooting type and the computer hacking type of vigilantes.
Ms. Smoak was sitting at a corner booth, completely absorbed by something on her phone and ignoring the whispered words and the staring of a group of teenage girls that were sitting at the next booth. Queen was waiting in line to order their coffees, but still very aware of what was going on around him, if the way he turned to Lance and threw him a nod when he entered the coffee shop was any indication.
The Captain decided to wait for the line to die down a bit before he'd try to get his order in. It was early anyway, he had some time to kill before he had to be at the precinct. He sat at the booth Ms. Smoak was at, facing her and that was what got her attention away from her phone.
"Morning" Lance greeted her when she raised her eyes to him.
"Captain Lance" she smiled, putting her phone down. "To what to do I owe the pleasure?"
"Just waiting for the line to die down a bit. Do you mind if I keep you company in the meantime?" he asked, already knowing the answer since he was already sitting and she seemed okay with it.
"Of course not" Ms. Smoak indicated her phone, before storing it away in her jacket pocket. "I was just catching up on some morning news while Oliver gets our coffees".
The giggles coming from the teenage girls seemed to get her attention for the first time and Ms. Smoak only shook her head and rolled her eyes at the whispering and staring, but didn't give them any more than that.
"That doesn't bother you?" the Captain asked, throwing the girls an unimpressed look.
"I'm used to it" the blonde girl shrugged.
"Used to it? Aren't you two together for a month or so?" was it really enough time for her to get used to it? He remembered how long it took his own daughter to achieve this kind of "I don't give a damn" state of mind when Laurel dated the kid.
"Well, yes. But the gossip has been going since Oliver promoted me" he could almost hear the quotation marks when she said "promoted". "It was everywhere at QC and people weren't really discreet about it. I heard a lot of whispered comments about how I only got the job because Mr. Queen was certainly having a torrid office affair with his secretary".
She was on a roll and it didn't seem like she was going to stop anytime soon, so Lance didn't try to interrupt her. Apparently, she had some bottled up frustration about the topic.
"I wasn't even his secretary, you know? I ran that company more than he did, to be honest. And Executive Assistant is not the same as secretary. Never even got him coffee. Well, I did once but only because he had a terrible day" the girl was wildly gesticulating around and Lance was trying very hard not to laugh at her. "There was that one time he decided to try me about getting him coffee and I broke the damn machine. Violently, if I may add. It was very cathartic".
"I'm still trying to understand what that poor machine ever did to warrant your wrath" Queen put a cup of coffee in front of the girl and she immediately pulled it to her, taking a sip and humming in appreciation.
The kid shook his head in amusement at his girlfriend, then took one of the two cups he was still balancing on his hands and put it in front of Lance.
"Black, right? Figured if I was already in line..." Queen shrugged when the Captain raised his brows in a question.
"Thank you" Lance took a very small sip of the scorching liquid, not very keen on burning his tongue with it.
"Not the machine, Oliver. You on the other hand..." Ms. Smoak went back to the previous conversation when the kid sat beside her. "You were a very frustrating boss. But hey, now you are the one bringing me coffee, so... How's that working out for you, buddy?"
"Amazingly so far. You know what they say about keeping your girlfriend happy..." the suggestive raise of the eyebrow that Queen gave her wasn't even necessary for anyone to understand the innuendo.
"Oliver!" she elbowed him in the ribs, with a mortified look crossing her face. "I don't think Captain Lance needs to know".
"No, I really don't need to know. Nor do I want to, thank you very much" he didn't know if it was his answer or the grimace on his face that made the kid laugh, but there it was.
Queen was laughing in such a carefree manner that it seemed like he was sixteen again and had yet to go through all of the shit that life had thrown his way. Even his dimples were making an appearance at the moment.
Ms. Smoak looked completely enamored by the kid. She didn't have to say anything. The way she was looking at him and the smile on her lips was enough for everyone to see how stupidly in love she was.
"What?" Queen asked her with a smile still on his face when he saw the way his girlfriend was looking at him.
"Nothing, it's just... You've been laughing so much lately" that ridiculous, loving smile was still on her lips. "I love your laugh".
So apparently love wasn't just blind. Sometimes it was deaf too because that kid's laugh sounded like a nasty cackle in his opinion, but whatever. He could understand the sentiment. He couldn't imagine Queen having a lot of reasons to laugh in the last eight years.
"The Felicity Smoak effect" the kid kissed her temple softly, before pulling his ringing cell phone out of his pants pocket and taking a look at the screen to see who was calling. "It's John. I'll be right back".
When Queen got up and decided to get out of the coffee shop to take the call without all of the noise, the group of teenage girls in the next booth followed him out, giggling and poking each other. Ms. Smoak rolled her eyes so hard that Lance was scared for one minute there that her eyes would get permanently stuck at the back of her head.
"So, what is it like to be the Arrow's girlfriend?" Lance didn't know which one of them was more surprised with the question.
He didn't plan on letting them know that he knew. Plausible deniability and all of that if things ever went south. The question that came tumbling out of his mouth caught him completely unaware, but Ms. Smoak was the one that almost choked on her coffee, so he would say that she was more surprised by it than he was.
"What are you... I don't... I'm not..." a string of incoherent words left the girl's mouth, but then she took one look at his face, and at the pointed look he was giving her and breathed deeply. "You know. Okay, wow. Which one of your daughters do I have to use my loud voice on to remind them that it's not their secret to tell?"
That caught him by surprise more than the words that had left his mouth. He knew that Sara was in on the whole thing, but...
"Wait, no. Sara wouldn't tell you. She understands what's like to have a secret identity better than anyone" Ms. Smoak went on, almost talking to herself at this point. "So it was Laurel, right? I know you're her father, but it's not her secret to tell people".
"Okay, rewind. Laurel knows?" the incredulity was evident in his tone. Sara he could understand, but Laurel?
"If she didn't tell you, then who did?" it was clear the girl was worried that someone else knew and they weren't aware of it.
"You did" Lance whispered, not very keen on letting anyone else hear their conversation.
"I'm pretty sure I didn't, Captain. I would remember if I had told a cop that my boyfriend shoots arrows into bad people" she whispered back.
"Not like that. And I didn't mean you you. I meant the two of you. The way you act around each other, whether he's under that hood or not, is very telling" she seemed confused by what he was telling her, which only made the Captain roll his eyes. "Seriously? A blind man could see that you're in love with each other".
Lance could see the panic starting to build on her face and before he could calm her down, an uncontrollable torrent of words was falling from her mouth. She talked when she was nervous, he knew that.
"I know you don't approve of his methods. I mean... It got better once the killing stopped, but I can still hear the judgment sometimes when you two meet and he's under the hood. But he's doing good, Captain Lance. He's trying to help this city, trying to help people that need a lot of help. And maybe it doesn't change anything to you, but his heart is in the right place. He lost so much because of this life and he's still trying to do good anyway" the girl took a big gulp of air like she had just said all of that in a single breath (which she probably did), but then she just kept going. "He could have gone off the rails so many times. The Undertaking and Tommy... Tommy's death was so hard on him that he went back to that damn island. Did you know that the island's name literally means purgatory? "Irony" doesn't even cover it. And then his mom... He had to watch his own mother being killed, Captain. Slade Wilson killed her right in front of him and he wasn't able to do a single thing about it. He could have let that darkness he keeps at bay get the better of him, but he didn't. He's still trying to help a city that took so much from him because that's who he is. He has such a big heart and he's just... He's so good. I don't know..."
"Relax, Ms. Smoak" he had to interrupt her, otherwise her rambling would go on forever. "I've known since that night with Devan Scott, more than a month ago. Don't you think if I wanted to do something about it, I would have done it already? Or that we would at least be having this conversation at the station and not in the middle of a coffee shop?"
The girl took a look around, apparently remembering where they were and to make sure no one was listening in on their conversation. The coffee shop was still packed and still noisy, though. No one was paying them any attention and if they did, Lance was pretty sure they wouldn't be able to listen to what she had said. Rambling or no rambling, Ms. Smoak was still trying to protect the kid, even if she didn't realize it. She had whispered through her whole one-sided conversation.
"Calm down, okay? I'm not planning on throwing your boys into jail. Or you, for that matter" the Captain took a sip of his coffee before resuming his line of thought. "Like you said, he's trying to help. You all are. And you are actually helping. Criminality is down to a level that it hasn't been in years. I can see the results even if I don't always agree with the methods. As long as there are no bodies being dropped on my doorstep, I think I can live with that".
"My boys?" she was trying to pretend that she didn't know what he was talking about, but the girl wasn't fooling him.
Lance could understand her desire to not give anyone else away. He thought it was admirable how fierce she was when it came to taking care of her team, but he wasn't planning on turning back on them with the knowledge.
"I understand you're trying to protect your friends, but don't take me for a fool, Ms. Smoak" he raised an eyebrow at her, taking another sip of his coffee. "Mr. Diggle? It made sense when I figured everything else out. And the kid in red? The one you call Arsenal? It's Harper, isn't it? That jawline is kind of hard to miss. So yes, your boys. Two plus two equals four and all that. It's not rocket science".
"I told Oliver he should have gone with a full face mask for Roy" she mumbled more to herself than to him and then the girl shook her head with a sigh. "So... You know. Welcome to team Arrow, I suppose".
"Do you really call yourselves that?" the Captain snorted, making her smile for the first time since the kid left to take Mr. Diggle’s call.
"Just when Oliver isn't listening" she answered in a conspiratorial tone. "He doesn't like it very much. Roy loves to annoy him with it".
The Captain shook his head in amusement at her answer. In that moment, "Team Arrow" sounded much more like a family to him than a bunch of vigilantes fighting crime every night, which brought him to his next question.
"How did you get mixed up in all of this?" that was something he always wanted to know.
The question made a faraway look fill the girl's eyes and Lance didn't rush her. He could see that she was reminiscing about something and whatever it was, it was something that amused her immensely.
"I met Oliver three weeks after he came back" Ms. Smoak finally answered, with a smile adorning her lips. "He asked for my help with a laptop full of bullet holes. His excuse was that he spilled a latte on it and when I pointed out the bullet holes, he said his coffee shop was in a bad neighborhood".
That excuse was so outrageous that made Lance laugh out loud. It also reminded him of the night they went after Scott when Ms. Smoak told the kid he was a terrible liar. So that was what she was talking about. And he had to agree, that excuse was worse than terrible.
"I know, right?" the girl laughed too, shaking her head at the memory. "He kept coming back and his excuses got progressively worse. I knew he was lying to me and he knew I knew he was lying, but I've never asked. For some reason, I just trusted him right from the start. And he trusted me. Four months after I met him, I found him bleeding in the back seat of my car at QC's parking lot, dressed in green leather. He almost died that night".
"That was when Moira shot him?" the Captain did the math in his head, receiving a nod in confirmation. And then something else came to his mind. "There was a blood sample that was mysteriously ordered to be destroyed. Do you know anything about that?"
"I plead the fifth" Ms. Smoak gave him a shrug and took a sip of her coffee. "Anyway, after that night... I joined in because I wanted to find Walter Steele. I stayed after we found him because I knew we could do a lot of good and because... Because I knew Oliver needed me, he needed my help. The rest is history, as they say".
She seemed a little lost in thought after that, maybe remembering said history. After a couple of minutes, though, the girl shook her head and smiled, finishing her coffee and pushing the cup away. Lance just watched her for the time she was lost in her own head. From what he knew about Ms. Smoak, it was rare to catch her in a moment where she wasn't talking to her heart's content.
"Can I ask you something kind of personal?" the Captain inquired, pushing his own empty cup away from him and receiving a nod in agreement. "How did you convince him? He didn't look very keen on giving the two of you a chance that night, even if it's clear as day that he loves you".
His words made her laugh and throw the kid a look through the coffee shop window. Queen smiled at her when he caught her eyes and it looked like he was finally finishing his conversation.
"It was something your daughter said, actually. When we were saying goodbye that night, she told me that he couldn't tell me he loved me and then push me away. That I shouldn't let him and if he tried again, I should kiss him senseless" the girl shook her head in amusement, with a smile playing on her lips. "When we went back that night and I tried to talk to him about it again, he gave me the same excuses. So I followed Sara's advice. I kissed him senseless. And here we are".
"Should I send her a thank you card?" the kid was back, pocketing his phone and sitting beside his girlfriend.
"Yes, you should. She's a good friend" she rested her head on his shoulder, smiling when he wrapped his arm around her in response. And then she seemed to realize that he didn't sound surprised by the content of the conversation. "You knew. You knew that he knows".
"I suspected as much, yes. Remember how I told you last week that I wanted to talk to you about something and that I would once I was sure of it?" he was rubbing her arm in a soothing motion and when she gave him a nod to confirm that she knew what he was talking about, he turned back to Lance. "You called me kid".
"I've always called you kid" Lance answered, not understanding where he was going with this.
"Exactly. You've always called me kid" Queen let his eyes run through the coffee shop to be sure no one was eavesdropping on their conversation. "And you called me that the last time we met last week".
The Captain was about to say that he hadn't met Queen last week when he remembered that he, in fact, had an unplanned meeting with the Arrow one night. Sometimes he still had a difficult time thinking about the two as the same person. "Take care, kid" was what he had told the vigilante as the man in green shot a grappling arrow into a nearby building and disappeared into the night after dropping another lowlife into the Captain's hands.
"Huh... I guess I did" Lance mused, scratching his head. "I'll give myself a pat on the back for taking me more than a month to crack, though".
"I was almost sure of it since that night, but you didn't say anything. I wouldn't be the one to bring it up, for obvious reasons" the kid shrugged, disrupting Ms. Smoak's place of rest on his shoulder and she raised her head with a sigh, which in turn made him whisper a little "Sorry" and place a kiss on the top of her head.
"It's okay. Dig's going to be here soon anyway, I can't sleep on you. I just wish I didn't have to work today" the girl sighed again, like just the thought of it was making her tired. "I wish I could just go meet Walter with you and then spend the rest of the day drooling over Megan".
"How did Palmer react when you told him you were taking a baby into work with you, by the way?" the amusement in Queen's tone was impossible to miss.
"Who says I told him?" she raised an eyebrow at him, with a smirk playing on her lips. "I'm dying to see his face".
The kid laughed at her answer, shaking his head at his girlfriend's mischief. By the look on his face, Lance was betting that Ms. Smoak wasn't the only one dying to see her boss' face when she showed up to work with a baby on her hip.
"Megan is Mr. Diggle's daughter, right?" the Captain asked, just to be sure that he was following the conversation.
"Yeah, she's 6 months old and the cutest thing I've ever seen" the girl gushed over the baby, with the biggest smile on her face. "John has a short trip to make and Lyla is out of town, so we're taking care of her for the next couple of days".
"And you plan on doing... you know, the vigilanting thing while taking care of a baby?" Lance could notice the incredulity in his own tone, but it was kind of crazy to do what they did with a 6-month-old infant with them.
"We have it all set already, Captain. Only patrols for the next days, so Roy can do it by himself. If something comes up that requires our involvement, Felicity already set up a system at home, so she can stay with Megan and still help from there while I'm out with Roy" Queen explained calmly like they've had this conversation too many times before. Which they probably did while planning how to do it.
"Seems you have it all figured out" the Captain commented. Then he frowned when he remembered something from her file of when he had taken her into questioning the first time he suspected she worked with the vigilante and turned his attention to Ms. Smoak. "If I remember correctly, isn't Megan your middle name?"
The smile on her lips was even bigger than the one she had when she was gushing over the baby. Her whole face lit up with the question.
"If you ask John he'll say he just likes the name" she answered in a matter-of-fact tone, but then she was inclined in his direction and whispering like she was telling him a secret. "John is also a big fat liar".
"I bet he only named her after you so he would have the free babysitting whenever he wanted to" the kid teased her. His mouth was saying something, but his eyes were saying another, though. By the look he had on his face it was clear that he loved the fact that their friend had named his child after Ms. Smoak. "He knew you wouldn't be able to say no".
"Wait till they have a boy next and they name him Jonas. I bet you'll cry" the girl teased back, bumping his shoulder slightly with hers.
"Manly tears" he joked with a shrug, making his girlfriend laugh and shake her head in amusement at him
Mr. Diggle chose that moment to show up with his arms full of baby, and baby bags, and baby... everything, it seemed. Ms. Smoak jumped right out of her seat and almost fell all over her boyfriend in her haste to get out of the booth, making grabby hands at the baby in her friend's arms.
"Are you trying to help me or you're just interested in my daughter?" the teasing tone made the girl give him the side-eye.
"Why do you even ask?" Queen laughed, standing up to help his friend with the things he was carrying. "She would attach Megan to her hip if she could".
"I don't think Lyla would approve of Felicity stealing our daughter" Mr. Diggle said, passing her the baby anyway and greeting the Captain with a nod of the head.
"It's not stealing if she comes willingly" Ms. Smoak cooed at the baby in her arms. "Right, baby girl? You love being with me, don't you?"
The little girl squealed in her arms, waving her tiny arms around and babbling, which made Ms. Smoak smile at Mr. Diggle proudly.
"There's your answer" the hacker shrugged like the baby talk was all of the proof they needed.
"She likes being with you because you spoil her rotten, that's why" Mr. Diggle rolled his eyes, but his tone was warm, filled with affection.
"I'm afraid that's what godparents are for, Dig" Queen put the baby things down and clapped his friend on the back.
"Exactly. She's my goddaughter and I'm going to spoil her as much as I want" she gave her friend a defiant tone, lifting her chin up in challenge. "I don't even know why you're picking on me, to be honest. Oliver is worse than me".
"All lies. Don't believe a word she says" the kid rested a hand on the small of Ms. Smoak's back and kissed the baby on the cheek, making her squeal loudly, probably because of the feel of his scruff on her skin. "I don't think auntie Felicity wants us to tell your dad which one of us doesn't want to put you down even when you're sleeping, does she?"
"I don't think uncle Oliver wants us to tell your dad that he would be incriminating himself too with the answer to that question, does he?" the girl raised an eyebrow at her boyfriend, but Queen only gave her a shrug, trying to pretend he had no idea what she was talking about.
"Great. Now I know where I'll be taking her at three in the morning when she doesn't want to sleep in her crib" the ex-military sighed in exasperation. "May you remind me again why did I make the two of you her godparents when I knew what a terrible influence you would be?"
"Because you love us and we would be an influence either way, since we spend more time together than apart, so why not have the free babysitting?" Ms. Smoak posed it as a question, but Lance could tell that it wasn't the first time she was giving the man this answer, just by the mischievous look in her eyes.
"Oh yeah. The free babysitting, that was it" he teased her back, giving her a small laugh. And then he sobered up slightly. "Are you sure this is okay? You've never had her overnight before. I mean, Oliver hasn't even ever stayed alone with her. You're usually together and now..."
"It's fine, Dig. We'll take good care of her. We wouldn't have offered if we thought we couldn't do it" Ms. Smoak passed Megan to her boyfriend's arms so she could get closer to their friend and hold his hand, giving him a reassuring squeeze. "She's going to work with me while Oliver has his meeting with Walter. I only have some reports to read over, so I can keep an eye on her. Then Oliver is going to get us for lunch and he'll stay with her for the rest of the afternoon because I can't take her to a board meeting or an investors meeting. After that, I'm free for the rest of the weekend. And Oliver is great with her, you know he is. They're going to be okay alone for a couple of hours. We've talked about all of this already".
"I know we did. I just never spent so much time away from her" Mr. Diggle answered with a pained sigh. "I don't know how Lyla does it".
"You haven't seen a thing until they start to want to go to parties alone at night" the Captain shrugged. "I used to have hair. It started to fall when the girls hit their teenage years".
His comment made Queen and Ms. Smoak laugh, but Mr. Diggle didn't seem to find it as amusing as the couple did.
"Thank you, Captain Lance. I was already dreading the teenage years. You've just made it all so much better" his tone was dripping with sarcasm and it only made his friends laugh even harder. He gave them a calculating look and then decided to give them heart attacks, apparently. "We'll see who's going to be laughing when it's your turn. That child is going to have Queen blood in their veins. You two are screwed if he or she happens to follow in their father or aunt's footsteps".
It was quite comical the way Ms. Smoak's eyes went big as saucers or the way Queen's whole body tensed up with their friend's words, their laughter dying in both of their throats so suddenly. Mr. Diggle knew where to hit them. Lance could appreciate that talent.
Just for a moment there, the kid seemed to let his guard down. It was like he was envisioning it, seeing in his mind what that future looked like and the longing in his face was so clear. If the Captain could see it so easily, then of course that Ms. Smoak could see it too and that seemed to have sucked the air right out of her lungs for a second.
"Do you..." the girl shook her head, taking a deep breath. She tried again, her voice coming out in a soft whisper like she was afraid to break the moment if she spoke too loud. "Do you want children, Oliver?"
"Are we really having this conversation right now?" Queen gave her a nervous laugh, holding the baby in his arms closer to his chest like she could shield him from this talk.
"It doesn't have to be a conversation. It's just... It's just a question" her voice was shaking, her hands were shaking, her whole damn body was shaking. Lance couldn't decide which one of them looked more like a nervous wreck.
"I... I want whatever you want, Felicity" that was the biggest roundabout answer the Captain had ever heard and Ms. Smoak didn't seem very happy with it.
"That's not an answer, Oliver" she took Megan from his arms, passing the little girl to her father and then turning back to her boyfriend. "You always do whatever I want. Don't think I didn't notice it. If I ask you for something, you always do it. I realized that a long time ago, long before we were together. But this isn't just about what I want".
The girl said this didn't have to be a conversation, but it was looking very much like one. It would be something those two would do, wouldn't it? Having a conversation about wanting children or not in the middle of a crowded coffee shop? They couldn't do anything like a normal couple, could they?
"I… I don't…" Queen sighed so deeply that Lance thought that maybe he was trying to expel his lungs out. The kid ran his right hand through his hair in a nervous gesture that made Ms. Smoak take his hands between hers, giving him an encouraging smile. The Captain couldn't tell if it was her touch or her smile, but Queen's shoulders dropped, relaxing slightly. "I got a girl pregnant once. Her name was Samantha and we weren't even together. It was just one night. I was terrified because I just couldn't be a father. I couldn't be responsible for a tiny human being that would depend on me for everything when I was barely responsible for myself. Anyway, she lost the baby a couple of days after we found out, moved away from Starling and I've never seen her again. I was a lot younger and a lot more stupid than I am now when that happened".
"I'm glad you're older and less stupid now" the girl teased him, trying to lighten the mood and yet, it was clear that she was encouraging him to go on. One day Lance would understand how she could do that. She seemed to just know when he needed a respite to organize his thoughts. "No little Olivers running around in this world then?"
"No little Olivers" Queen agreed with a laugh.
"That you know of" Mr. Diggle's whisper wasn't as much of a whisper as he thought and it made Ms. Smoak shush him.
"I have always been very careful after that" the kid answered his friend's words anyway. "And well… Soon after that, I was stranded on an island, so… Since I came back, with the kind of life that I lead…"
"Uh, guys" Mr. Diggle's eyes went from the couple to Lance.
"He knows" Ms. Smoak answered with a dismissive move of the hand, never taking her eyes off of her boyfriend.
Lance only shrugged when the ex-military stared at him like he was trying to figure out when the Captain had find out their little secret and how.
"Since I came back, I never thought it was for me. I hadn't even planned to stay alive this long and I probably wouldn't be if it wasn't for you and Dig. So no, I didn't want children. Never thought I could" he wasn't done. Lance could see he wasn't, but in her haste to assure him that it was fine by her, Ms. Smoak just started talking.
"Okay. Fine. That's fine. It doesn't really change anything. We don't have to…" she was talking so fast that the Captain couldn't keep up. How did anyone, honestly? For all of her words, though, she didn't sound very convincing.
"Felicity" Queen cupped her face gently, smiling at her and effectively cutting the flow of words. "That changed the moment I saw you with Megan that first time we went to visit at the hospital after she was born. I could see it then. I can see it. I can see a little girl as beautiful as her mom, running behind me and asking me thousands of questions I'll never know the answer to because she's as smart as you, which means she's smarter than me. A little girl that looks at me just like you do, you know? Like I'm worth a damn and she'll fight anyone that says the contrary. A little piece of you and me that looks at me like… Like I'm her hero, but really, the only thing she wants is to be just like you when she grows up. I can see it all, Felicity".
For someone that couldn't stop talking until a couple of minutes ago, Ms. Smoak was deadly silent now, but the kid didn't seem worried by her lack of response. Lance realized he was giving her time to digest his words the moment she tipped forward, resting her head at the curve of his neck and exhaling a loud "Oh, God", in a tone that gave him the impression the girl was about to cry from relief. Her eyes did look a little (a lot) misty when she raised them to Queen's face.
"Does it matter that in my head it's a little boy that looks just like you and likes to parkour over the furniture from a really young age and drive me insane with worry just like his dad?" those traitor tears that Ms. Smoak was holding in just wouldn't stay in, apparently.
The Captain felt a little bit like an intruder when the kid caressed her cheeks with his thumbs, getting rid of the couple of tears that had escaped from her eyes. He felt even more like an intruder when the two of them kissed.
It wasn't anything scandalous, just lips touching. It was fairly chaste, to be honest. But something about the emotion behind it (especially when they rested their foreheads together after and just breathed in synchrony like that night after the whole Devan Scott debacle) made him feel like he shouldn't be witnessing it. But then again, it was their own fault that they decided to have a life altering conversation in the middle of a coffee shop. He just happened to be present.
"That was what you didn't want to tell me? Why?" the girl moved away from him slightly, so she could look up at him.
"It's too soon. Way too soon" Queen answered in a whisper before kissing her temple. "But someday".
"Someday" she agreed, giving her boyfriend the biggest smile Lance had ever seen on her face.
They were making a promise right there, Lance realized. To themselves and to each other. They were promising that they would find a way to make it work in the middle of their crazy lives. That they would find a way to give each other a family someday.
"I'm really glad you two left the days of pretending you didn't know where this was going behind, but we all are gonna be late if you decide to figure out something else about your future right now" Mr. Diggle teased his friends affectionately, raising his eyebrows at them when they untangled from each other.
"This is all your fault. You started it" the hacker accused him, taking the baby from his arms when he passed Megan to her.
"You’re welcome, by the way" the ex-military gave her a mischievous smile.
After that, it was all goodbyes and reassurances that "Yes, John. We know" and Mr. Diggle kissing his daughter goodbye for five minutes straight until Ms. Smoak slipped out of the door with Queen fast on her heels with his arms full of baby bags before Mr. Diggle could start kissing his little girl again.
The other man seemed like he didn't know what to do with himself for a second there and Lance could understand him. Then he shook himself out of it and turned back to him.
"So? What gave us away?" the Captain understood the question right away.
"They did" he motioned to the door the couple had stepped out of just minutes before. "They'll end up giving all of your secrets away if they're not more careful".
"Ha, I wondered how long it would take for someone to catch up. How long have you known?" the other man's tone was filled with curiosity.
"Since Devan Scott. That boy is quite protective of her" he answered honestly and Mr. Diggle agreed with a nod.
"Always has been. When she joined us he promised me, and himself I guess, that we could protect her. He takes that very seriously. It got worse with time, for obvious reasons, but he's always been very protective of her" the ex-military explained, like that was just a fact of life. Oliver takes care of Felicity and that's it. "We both are, to be honest. She's our girl".
"Well, keep it up. She's one of the good ones. The world needs more Felicitys and not less" the Captain took a look at his wrist clock. He should be going soon.
"She's the best" the other man agreed with an affectionate smile and not for the first time Lance could see that there was a lot of love involved in that friendship. "So… Sara thought it was best if I stayed behind at the whole Devan Scott business for fear that you would recognize me and those two idiots were what gave us away. I'll never let them live that one down".
The Captain snorted with amusement at Mr. Diggle's words because he had been witness to his teasing before and he could imagine how much he would mess with them because of it.
"How long do you think it will take them? Marriage? Kids?" Mr. Diggle followed him out of the coffee shop. "I give them two or three years for both".
It was time for Mr. Diggle to snort at his words.
"It's been not even two months and they're practically living together. I bet that boy has a ring picked out already and everything" the man seemed to be having fun with the speculation but Lance also knew that Mr. Diggle knew his friends way too well, so was it really speculation? "They'll be married in less than a year. Less than two for kids".
In the end, Mr. Diggle's only mistake was that Queen didn't pick out a ring. He gave Ms. Smoak his mother's when he asked her to marry him seven months into their relationship. Two months of engagement and they decided that they didn't need to wait anymore. Barely ten months after that night with Devan Scott, the two of them were married.
As for kids? Five months after their marriage Ms. Smoak found out she was pregnant. And Mr. Diggle was right again. Less than two years for kids. Plural. Because that was Oliver and Felicity, and Lance realized some time ago that they couldn't do anything halfway.
She had envisioned a little boy and he had envisioned a little girl, so of course they had both. At the same time.