Written for my pal Meghan (seducingstiles) over on Tumblr. She requested angst for her bday.
Somewhere between total AU and canon compliant. I'm only officially through episode 2x01 but I know some of the development of Olicity in season 2. Set post Undertaking with a few changes of events, which will be made obvious. Also, imagining that in season 1 Oliver was way over Laurel and a lot of the season 2 Olicity development had already occurred in season 1 :)
*Sorry for canon mistakes, first crack at writing these guys.
*Oh and this is inspired by a real bit of technology called "Pepper's Ghost".
Digg was there. Across the expanse of miles and against all logic he had landed on the cursed, sandy beach of Lian Yu to beg him to come home and end his self imposed exile after he failed to save the city from Malcolm Merlyn. After he failed to save her.
"What do you think she would say if she were here?" Digg urged.
Oliver twisted an arrow in his hand, letting the triangle head catch the light trickling into his small shelter. "She'd tell me the same thing you're telling me," Oliver replied, his face emotionless.
Digg flicked his eyebrows up. "So," he continued. "You think you're honoring her sacrifice by staying out here. The city still needs you Oliver. And your family needs you."
That was how Oliver found himself on a plane back to Starling City. Everything was shaken after the Undertaking. Quite literally. His mother was facing prison time and it seemed all responsibility over Queen Consolidated had fallen onto him. Not to mention the care of his teenaged sister.
They had driven through the ruins of the Glades when he'd first arrived home, but Oliver hadn't gone back in the days after that. He remained focused on taking care of the business, making sure Thea was okay, and ignoring the news anytime they reported another story about the Merlyns or the Undertaking or his mother's role in it.
Tommy had come by, but things were still unsure between them. Tommy knew what Oliver had lost. Tommy also knew his failures. Oliver needed his best friend, but that wasn't Tommy. Not anymore. It hadn't been for a very long time. Somewhere along the line, his best friend had instead become a blonde, IT girl with a love of pink lipstick and panda ballet flats.
One morning, over breakfast, Thea was flipping through the day's paper while sipping at a glass of orange juice.
"Oh, whoa," she said. The note in her voice snapped him from his dismal thoughts.
"What is it?" She passed him a small insert that accompanied the morning's newspaper. "They released the names and photos of everyone who died in the undertaking."
Thea flipped it open and began glancing over the pictures and names. They were in alphabetical order. The photos looked like personal pictures—ones that had been submitted by surviving family members. "Some people don't have photos," Thea mentioned. "That's...super sad."
People without family in Starling City, or perhaps people who had died along with their loved ones. Oliver's throat tightened. She hadn't had family in Starling City. She'd only moved there a couple years ago. There wasn't anyone she was close to…aside from him and Diggle.
Thea flipped the page and landed on the on the "S" column. There was her name, and next to it, a photo. She looked beautiful. Bright, happy, alive.
"Hey, I remember her," Thea remarked, her index finger landing by Felicity's smiling face. "She's your friend, right? And she came to visit Walter in the hospital?"
Oliver swallowed hard. "Yeah," he replied. "I didn't really know her all that well."
It was dismissive and cold. The opposite of everything he felt inside.
"Uh-huh," Thea hummed, shooting him a skeptical look.
Oliver downed the rest of his coffee, fighting back his emotions. "I gotta go," he said quickly. "I'll see you later."
He headed out of the kitchen and down the hall toward the front door. Diggle was following behind him.
"I gave the papers the picture," he told him. Oliver stopped in his tracks, his eyes falling shut. "I thought it was the least I could do."
When Oliver finally found the nerve to speak he said, "I'm taking the bike. Stay here. Look out for Thea."
And then he was gone.
He hadn't meant to drive to Verdant, but that was where he ended up. The truth was, he didn't want to go down to the basement. There was too much of Felicity in that place. Even though she hadn't been there in the beginning, she had taken over and now everything about the Hood was attached to her memory in Oliver's mind.
Thea had explained to him that the club had only sustained minimal damage. She had taken over management, along with Tommy, and they had reopened the place a few weeks ago. Oliver pushed on the door and found it open. He strolled inside and saw Tommy at the bar, a glass in front of him half filled, next to a pile of paper. His friend's head snapped up, going back and forth in double take upon seeing him.
"Oh," Tommy said, lamely. "I wasn't expecting you."
"I wasn't expecting to be here," Oliver replied.
A long, heavy pause hung in the air between them. "Downstairs is um, well it's a little messy, but I managed to keep building inspectors away. I haven't touched anything." Oliver's eyes lingered in the direction of the door that led to the basement. "Thea's been a big help actually. She's not a bad manager," Tommy said. "Smart kid." Oliver didn't respond. Instead he continued to stare at the door. "Laurel's good too. Physical therapist said it would take some time, but she'd be walking again. Maybe in six months."
Tommy had run to CNRI the moment the Undertaking began. To save Laurel. He'd been lucky. He'd found her under rubble, her spine injured, but she was alive.
"You know," Tommy continued. "She helped save people. You both did. You might want to remember that."
Oliver heard the angry tone in his former best friend's voice. Tommy flipped his stack of flies closed and grabbed his drink off the bar, taking them both into the management office and shutting the door, leaving Oliver standing alone in the middle of the bar.
At some point, his lead feet moved toward the basement door, and down into the lair. Rubble and dust covered the ground, but the structural damage was minimal. It had to have been; otherwise everything above him would have collapsed into the ground. Each step he took was a twist in the knife in his gut, until he reached the bottom.
He walked forward, feet taking him to the long desk, and the screens laid out on top. They were still alive, still breathing, but untouched for weeks. His fingers pushed the chair, letting it spin halfway around. A spare pair of glasses sat in front of one of the large computer screens.
His eyes fell shut and he imagined the last moments she had been in that very spot.
"There's a second device," he heard her say over the comm. "Oliver!"
"Where?" He'd heard clicking, her fingers furiously typing. "Felicity! Do you know where?"
"Lance!" She said addressing the detective. "What's your position?"
He'd heard Lance respond. He was still across the Glades, having just disabled one device.
"Too far," Felicity said. "I'm closer."
Oliver's blood went cold as he realized what Felicity was getting at. "You can't-"
"I'm the closest," she cut him off. "We only have minutes. There's no time for debate."
"Oliver," she said. He knew she had switched off her comm with Lance, since she'd used his real name. "I'll be fine. I just have to hurry."
Oliver clenched his jaw, taking a deep breath. "Then hurry."
He'd collapsed into her chair, twisting back and forth. The movement had shifted the computers and they brightened to life, still on the screens that had been pulled up when she had left them the day of the Undertaking. Tracking programs all flashed "signal lost" in bright red letters. He moused over them, closing each one.
What was he going to do without her? Forget The Hood, forget everything that had worked together toward, along with Diggle. What was he, Oliver Queen, going to do without Felicity Smoak?
He sat staring blankly at the purple gradient of the desktop screen. A tiny icon in the corner caught his eye. A pair of black-framed glasses and underneath it read "Felicity's Ghost".
It was probably some app she had been creating. The name pinched a nerve. Had she had some foresight about her own death? Against his better judgment he rolled the mouse arrow over to it and clicked. He knew he was probably just torturing himself.
"Access Locked" the computer voice told him. "Voice Identification required. Please state name."
He rolled his tongue across his teeth, his curiosity getting the better of him. If the app was on this computer, it meant it was vigilante related-or so he assumed. He wondered if Felicity had set up access for him.
He flinched at the strain in his own voice.
He cleared his throat and tried again. Clearer this time. "Oliver Queen."
"Access Granted." The screen blinked and various windows began popping up in quick succession, too fast for him to even attempt to decipher what was happening.
His breath caught.
It was her voice-Felicity's voice-coming through the computer's speakers.
"Oliver? That's you right? I mean, it has to be you. No one else would have access. Except for Digg. But then the computer would have told me that it was Digg speaking and not you. Unless Digg has figured out how to do a startlingly good impression of you. I mean you both have that serious stare, although his is a little less intimidating. Listen to me...I babble even as a computer. Shutting up now in three, two, one."
Oliver was confused. Had she left some sort of computer message for him...just in case? He sat in silence, waiting for the recorded voice to continue.
"Oliver? Are you there?"
Yes, he said mentally. I'm here Felicity.
"Oh, you're confused, aren't you? You probably think this is some sort of pre-recorded goodbye message I left for you and Digg in case I, ya know…" she made a gagging sound. "I've been working on something for the past few months. I really never got through much testing, but basically, I've programmed myself into the computer. The app I developed has been studying me, getting to know my habits, my voice, my speech patterns. It's observed how I work and can basically, well, be me. If I'm not here." Oliver blinked, still not quite sure what Felicity, or the computer, was trying to tell him.
"You can talk to me, Oliver. I can talk back."
His brow furrowed as he considered what to say, feeling just a little dumb. Oliver wasn't one of those people who talked out loud to the dead, as if they were listening. "Felicity?"
"Oliver!" He could hear the smile in her response. "I know it's a little weird, but you'll get used to it. It'll be like I'm actually here."
"Super genius, remember?" She laughed. "So, how long were you gone?"
"The Undertaking hit, it was the last thing I was working on. I'm guessing things didn't go well."
"No," he replied. "No they didn't."
"If you don't want to talk about it, I can just do a search. My functions are set to update myself hourly with news reports. But the computer has been in sleep mode. I can't run while it's asleep."
"This is-" he stammered, searching for a word that encompassed the situation.
"I know," she supplied. "So, how long?"
"Two months," he admitted.
"Wow," in his mind's eye he saw her mouth gape into a pink lipped "O" shape. "And then Digg went to get you. Where did you go?"
"So, it was that bad then?"
Oliver dropped his head, propping his elbows on his knees, and then looked back up at the computer. "You died."
"Okay, really bad," a long pause hung in the air. "Well then that means there is a lot of work to be done for The Hood."
"You can't quit," she interrupted, just like the real Felicity would have. "Look, if the Undertaking happened, then this city is going to need you now more than ever."
"This city doesn't need a vigilante, checking names off of a list," he scoffed."It doesn't need another killer."
"So, forget the list," she suggested. "Find a better way. Become something else."
"A hero," was Felicity's computer self's simple answer.
A smile curved on the side of his face. Even as a computer, she was still pushy as ever.
He'd introduced Diggle to Felicity, the computer. Digg had had much the same reaction Oliver had-complete bewilderment. But he adapted a little bit quicker. Felicity seemed to interact well with both of them, able to hold entire conversations, and assist in making plans for missions. Though she let them know that she wasn't sure if she would be able to interact with anyone new, should more people join the team.
"I had the computer observing our interactions while working and when inside the lair," she'd explained. "So, it-slash-me knows our relationships. It knows how we respond to one another."
Diggle had just laughed, a proud smile painting his face. "Our girl always was a genius."
Oliver ignored the past tense in reference to Felicity, his mind already focused on getting back to work—with Felicity's continued help.
A few nights later, they decided to take her for a test run. She was still good at insider research and hacking tasks. She could still track, though she was shaky with spontaneous reactions to stimulus. She could still get Oliver out of a few sticky situations; help him find alternate routes during a chase or quick exits when he became outnumbered.
When out on a mission, her voice coming through the comm, it was like she really was there. It was as if she had never been lost in the earthquake that had leveled half the city.
But it stung, that first night he'd come back to the lair, expecting to see her in the swivel chair and finding it empty. Diggle never missed the way darkness would cloud Oliver's eyes in those moments. It was a cold reminder that the reality of Felicity's death hadn't changed. He wouldn't ever see her again.
"I know man," he said, clapping him on the shoulder. "I forget, too."
Computer Felicity called his attention one night after a particular training session. Digg was off for the night, so he had taken the break as an oppotunity to go below and work off the anger that seemed to be his constant companion.
"Everything okay?" He asked, feeling just a little lame. It wasn't as if the computer could have any problems. Although he did worry sometimes about the chances of viruses or other hackers breaking into the system. But Felicity had reassured him that she was programmed to keep updating and checking those things.
"Yeah, what about you? Hitting it pretty hard tonight, there."
His brows lifted slightly. "You heard that?"
"I'm sure your punches could give the bass upstairs a run for its money," she teased. "You need to talk?"
He considered a moment, remembering long ago, when Felicity had first joined the team. He'd told her that if she ever needed to talk about the work they did together, whenever things got to be too much, he'd be there to listen. They had become each other's tentative confidants. He used to come down from a mission and decompress with her for a few moments before changing and becoming Oliver Queen once again.
It was hard, leading the double life, but it was nice having someone who was in the same boat.
He missed that.
"Will that work?" he asked.
"It should, remember? I'm programmed to know how to respond to a variety of situations. Plus, the computer used to listen to us talk anyways. Not in like a creepy way—I didn't like record our conversations and then play them back…" she let her ramble trail off. "Hang on, maybe it'll be less weird if you aren't, like, talking to thin air."
"What do you mean?"
"Above you, there's a projector. Third drawer down, there's a remote to turn it on."
Oliver walked over and opened the drawer. Inside there was a little remote controller. He aimed it at the projector above their heads and pushed the power button.
"I was wondering what that was for," he remarked.
"I'm not sure how well this will work, but give me a second, I was only just getting around to this part."
Oliver set the remote down and stood back, looking up at it.
A bright light flickered from the projector and flowed down toward the ground.
His mouth fell open as he saw a flickered, slightly transparent version Felicity standing in front of him. Her soft blonde hair was tied into a curly ponytail, her face framed by her glasses. She wore a simple cardigan, blouse, and pair of jeans that he had seen her in many times.
"Did I make it weirder?"
Oliver was still processing seeing her again. If it wasn't for the fact that he could just barely see the collection of arrows in the case behind her, he would swear that Felicity was standing there in front of him. In the flesh. The urge to grab her tight and never let her go was overwhelming.
"Look, I know, I'm dead," she replied. "I hear Diggle and you talk about me in past tense and this is probably really terrible for the grieving process but… it's one of the reasons I programmed this whole thing believe it or not." Her mouth twisted back and forth. The same way the real Felicity's mouth had done whenever she was nervous. "I mean I also thought maybe'd I want to take a vacation or something someday, but I don't know if vigilante work is the sort of thing you can really put in PTO for."
"I'm not sure if this is better or worse," Oliver finally admitted.
"Better than nothing, maybe?" She ventured. "And hey, when I start to babble, at least know you can just shut me off." She laughed. Which made him smile, in spite of the weirdness and she arched a brow at him. "Sooooo, wanna talk?"
Felicity never projected in front of Diggle. She'd only come out when it was just Oliver around. Which was dangerous.
At first it was just after missions. He folded easily back into those after talks with her, letting her humor and brightness push away some of the darkness he would feel. It was uncanny the way the computer had been programmed to respond. She was still there with her sage advice or a joke or to tell him to pull his head out of his ass and stop being a jerk.
After a while, he found himself just going down there to hang out with her, even when it wasn't related to any of their work. He would tell her about his life outside, everything happening at QC. He told her about the ice queen, Isabel Rochev, who was constantly out to get him and take over his family's company. He told her about how Thea was doing with the club and how he'd been tentatively trying to fix things with Tommy.
Seeing her smile, hearing her laugh, watching the flash in her eyes. It was like she had never left.
One Monday night, Oliver found himself without anything to do. Diggle was at home, resting a cracked rib that he had gotten that weekend. Thea was with her boyfriend, Roy. His mother was still locked away. Tommy was with Laurel. Remembering that Felicity was a film fan, he decided to treat her to a movie night. Both she and Diggle had always urged him to do normal things, and a movie date night seemed normal enough to him.
He set up the couch downstairs and one of the larger computer screens.
"What's this?" Felicity asked when she finally appeared.
"Yeah, brought down something you might like that you haven't seen."
Oliver plopped down on the couch, throwing his arm over the back and tapping at it, indicating she should sit. She walked over and lowered herself down, facing the screen.
About ten minutes into the movie, Oliver noticed Felicity wasn't responding to any of it. She wasn't laughing at the jokes or flinching during the tense parts.
"You don't like it?"
"Honestly?" Felicity asked. "I don't know. It does not compute."
"What do you mean?"
"I was programmed for personality stuff like this."
"Oh," Oliver responded. His shoulders dropped. "I thought you would like it. You always said you liked Sci-Fi stuff like this."
"If it's something I'd seen before, I could respond to it accordingly. Like I know that my favorite color is purple and I love my mom," she smiled at him. "Well, if you think I'd like it, then I do like it."
He offered her a weak smile in return and they both turned back to the movie. It didn't make him feel any better. It was just another reminder of the illusion.
"You know," Diggle said one day in the car on the way to the office. "I was thinking tonight we might try going blind."
"Going blind?" Oliver asked.
"Yeah, without our eyes and ears," he explained. "Or I could give it a shot. It might be a good idea to get used to not having that advantage again."
"Why? We have Felicity. We might as well use her."
"But maybe we should start figuring out how to work without her around."
"Diggle," there was a warning note in Oliver's tone that said Digg was treading dangerous ground. "There's no point in shutting her down when we need her. Besides, do you want to tell her that she's fired?"
It was a joke, but Diggle didn't see the humor. Oliver worried him. He wasn't allowing himself to grieve properly. He promised himself to keep and extra eye on his friend from that point on.
It was a mission gone wrong. Oliver had been stupid. He'd gone out, without Diggle as backup and almost got himself killed. They had been arguing lately and Oliver didn't want to hear it anymore.
By the time he made it off his bike, he was bleeding out from a stab wound in his shoulder, dragging himself into the lair to get to the med bay. Felicity was there. She had been on the comms the whole time and had heard the entire painful thing.
"I told you not to go without, Diggle!" She yelled at him as he made his way down the stairs and toward the med bay.
He shrugged his leathers off, wincing and grunting in pain as he did so. "Yell at me after I'm not bleeding anymore. Okay, Felicity?"
She bit her lip, her image flickering. "I should call Digg. Let him stitch you up."
"No," Oliver said. "I can do it."
"He can help, you don't have to do it alone."
"I was stitching myself up long before either of you came along-"
Oliver's head snapped up, his blue eyes flashing. "But what?" He roared. "But you're here? But I'm not alone? You aren't here, Felicity. You're dead! You're nothing but a computer program, no matter how many times I forget-you're just," he bit his bottom lip, trying to hold in the emotion that had come flooding out.
"I'm sorry I died, Oliver," she murmured. "I'm really, really sorry."
"Felicity," he breathed. "It's not your fault."
He reached out for her, his fingers heading for her cheek, but meeting only light and air.
His hurt at his inability to truly touch her echoed in the image of her eyes.
"What the hell is going on?"
Felicity disappeared and Oliver whirled around to see Diggle charging down the stairs. He cursed under his breath, aware that his shoulder still had a gaping wound that needed tending.
"I went out," Oliver admitted. "And you can save the lecture, I know it was stupid."
"Yeah, it was pretty damn stupid," Digg agreed. "But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fact that I came down here and swear I saw you talking to Felicity just now."
Diggle grabbed the antiseptic, needles, and thread from the med kit. He dabbed the gauze on Oliver's shoulder, ignoring the hiss of pain coming from his lips.
"It's part of the programming," Oliver explained as Digg stitched.
"She can project herself?"
"Why didn't we know about this before?" When Oliver didn't respond, Diggle realized that it was only himself that wasn't aware. "I see. So, this is where you've been spending time when you sneak off." He tied off the sutures and threw the bloodied gauze in the biohazard bin. "Felicity had a lot of good ideas, but that wasn't one of them."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're not letting go, Oliver. You're not letting yourself move on."
"Move on? I don't deserve to move on. How can I move on, when Felicity-when she can't-when she'll never-"
"It shouldn't be like this," Diggle said. "It's not Felicity. She looks and sounds like our girl, but it's not her, Oliver." The older man extended a hand, laying it over Oliver's clean shoulder. "I think maybe it's time we shut down the program."
"No," Oliver's answer was dark, delivered in a tone that could rival even his scariest days as The Hood. "We need her."
"I miss her, too. She was my friend and she was part of this team, but we have to find a way without her."
"No!" Oliver said again. "You think you miss her? But you're willing to let the only piece we have left of her go?"
"You can't hang on to your demons forever, Oliver. You have to learn how to let the past go. To learn from it and move on. Or honor it the way it deserves to be honored. You think she would want it to be like this. To be the next demon you hold onto, to renew your drive for vengeance each night, the way you did with your father."
"This isn't about my father. I told you I was done with that," Oliver snapped back. "You don't know what she would have wanted. Why do you think she left this program behind? That's what she told me."
"I don't think Felicity ever really expected to die," Digg countered. "You both had the same damn invincibility complex."
Oliver wasn't thinking and Diggle didn't see it coming. He was letting rage and hurt control him when he spun and landed a hard fist against Diggle's jaw. The force sent the other man doubling over for a moment. Oliver stood there, looking down at him, his chest heaving with equal amounts shock at what he'd done and anger at his former body guard.
After a few breaths, Diggle stood up straight, crimson shining on his lip in the low lighting of their underground lair.
"Okay then," he said turning and heading back to the stairs. "You know, if you ever want to see the real Felicity, maybe try Starling cemetery."
Oliver stayed in the lair that night. If it weren't for his shoulder, he would be pulling his way up the salmon ladder or practicing his combat skills, anything to work off the smoldering fury rushing through his veins. Instead he was laid out on the couch staring up at the air ducts below the ceiling.
"I think Digg is right."
He turned his head to see her image walking toward him, a despondent look on her face.
Oliver sat up, leaving the space next to him open for her to sit down. She did, but he noticed that there was no weight pressed into the couch. No sinking feeling next to him to tell him that she was really there. Because she wasn't. She was just an image. Nothing more.
"Oliver, maybe it is time to shut me down."
"Just listen," she said. "I'm finite. You don't realize it now, but in another year, I could be totally out of date. Technology changes and so does life. It all moves on and I don't."
"You said you could adapt with it."
"There are limitations," she admitted. "I won't after a certain point."
His eyes filled with water and he scrubbed a hand over his face. "I can't. I can't move on. I can't adapt. I don't want things to change. I hate the thought that the world will keep existing without you in it."
"Yeah," Felicity agreed. "I'm pretty freakin' awesome. I can't imagine a world without me either."
Oliver chuckled through the tightness in his throat, and looked over at her. She offered him a small smile. It was weak, but it was so completely Felicity.
"I just thought, because of my life, I'd could never be with someone that I really cared about. Like you."
"What do you mean?"
"I love you, Felicity Smoak," words fell from his lips, easy and effortless. They were the truest words he had spoken in a long, long time. "I am so in love with you."
He stared into her eyes, waiting for her reaction. He thought she might be happy to hear him. There were moments with her when he thought—no he knew—that the feeling was mutual. But it was true, he'd held her at a distance because he couldn't let himself care about someone like that. Especially not Felicity, who meant so much to him. If something ever happened to her…
The smile on her face disappeared.
"Does not compute."
He felt his stomach drop. "What?"
"Does not compute," she repeated.
Oliver was about to ask for clarification, when he realized what she meant. His being in love with her didn't register in her system. Felicity had set the program to analyze their relationship while she was still alive. She'd made notes and adjustments accordingly to make sure the interpretations were accurate.
Computer Felicity didn't acknowledge that he loved her, which meant real Felicity hadn't either.
Slowly, he stood up from the couch, and walked toward the locker, pulling out a fresh shirt. He pulled the material over his head and headed for the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Felicity asked behind him.
But he didn't answer. He just left.
He got on his bike and drove, ignoring the pain his shoulder. It was easy to do with the pounding in his chest encompassing any other ache he felt. He damn near drove to Coast City before turning back toward Starling.
Dawn was breaking as he punched it through the empty streets and before he knew it, he was passing through the gates of Starling Cemetery. The amount of new headstones was jarring. Fresh flowers and pictures and other mementos lined the rows.
He parked the bike next to a tree by a dirt path and flicked out the kickstand with his foot. His boots crunched the gravel as he removed his black helmet and set it on top of the seat.
There was no organization to the graves, no pattern, no easy way of finding her...but he would wandering through each path until he did.
A part of him thought he deserved to face the reality of the deaths caused by the Undertaking, but another part of him heard two voices in his head telling him it wasn't his fault.
He'd been searching for almost twenty minutes when he found what he was looking for. Simple, brown marble with a brief etching in the gray center. Elegant script and just a few words to encompass everything she was.
Felicity Smoak. Beloved friend and daughter.
A bouquet of purple and yellow flowers surrounded the stone.
"I see you took my advice." He heard Diggle walking up behind him. "I visit about this time, once a week. Bring her new flowers."
He looked up and over at Diggle, noticing the cut on his friend's lip from where he had punched him hours ago.
"She didn't know," he croaked out.
"How I-That I-" He false started a few times before Diggle jumped in.
"She knew that, Oliver. Of course she knew that you loved her."
"No she didn't!" He snapped, more angry with himself than he had ever been before. "The program didn't know. I said it to her and she didn't know how to respond."
Diggle shook his head. "I keep telling you, that's just a computer. It's not her," he could see he still wasn't getting through. "Felicity, the real Felicity. She knew."
"How could she know?" Oliver asked. "I never got the chance to tell her. I was an idiot. And now…"
He would never get the chance.
"Unfortunately, there are always going to be things you'll regret when it comes to her. It's going to take time. But you have to let yourself feel it and then let it go."
Diggle stayed a few minutes longer and then left Oliver in the middle of the cemetery, staring down at the hallowed ground where the love of his life lay.
He took a break for a few days. He needed distance from everything that reminded him of her. He needed to shut it all out. Instead he spent time with Thea, concentrated on work, went to visit his mother. He tried to ignore Diggle's watchful eye. He focused on finding an assistant. Now that he was in control of Queen Consolidated, he needed to start acting like it.
It was difficult and a few times he could help thinking how much easier it would be if Felicity could pose as his assistant. Instead he would have to constantly double up on excuses when he wasn't around or something got in the way of Hood business.
Digg had scoffed. "She'd hate every minute of it," he said.
"You think?" Oliver asked from his desk.
"Of course. She went to M.I.T. not secretary school."
Both men chuckled. Oliver could practically hear her raving about the suggestion in her loud voice. A few tears pricked his eyes.
"Well," Diggle amended, "maybe she wouldn't hate every minute of it."
It was two weeks after he had punched Diggle that he made his way back down to the lair.
It was time to say goodbye.
Oliver paused in front of the computer screens, taking in a large breath. His chest expanded and air filled his lungs. He wanted to stay there, to pause the moment and save it forever. It felt like the end.
He closed his eyes for just a second and saw her.
Sitting in her chair, manicured fingers tapping away at keys faster than lightning. He could see the slow whip of her ponytail as she spun to greet him at the end of a mission. He could feel the softness of her body against his as he pulled her in for one of their usual "I'm glad you're okay" hugs. He remembered the light scent of her perfume and the colors she wore and the angle of her smiles. He could hear her babbles and her loud voice and the voice she used when she was scared out of her mind but trying so hard to be brave. Because that was who she was and always would be in his memory. A fighter to the very end.
His eyes slid open as the computer voice greeted him. He could hear now, the small differences between her and the real thing.
"Felicity," he said, her name encompassing the myriad things he wanted to say. Diggle told him he would always have regrets, and he would-too many too list-and at the moment they were threatening to shut him down. But he pressed on, knowing it was what he had to do. "It's time to say goodbye."
"Okay," she said, without emotion. The computer didn't understand what he meant. It wasn't programmed for goodbyes. Oliver thought they had that in common. His hand reached for the mouse key and he clicked, a small window popping up and asking him if he was sure he wanted to delete.
His voice croaked. "Yeah?"
"Promise me," she said. "You'll be okay."
He smiled a sad smile, tears stinging his eyes. This was why Felicity had created the program, he realized. To make sure that whatever happened, to her, to him, to them, that he would always be okay.
"I promise," he said, pressing his finger down on the button.
She smiled one last time and her image flickered, then faded away.
She was really gone.
Oliver sucked in a breath, a strangled sob that echoed in the emptiness of the lair. A slow tear fall down the side of his scruffy cheek.
Ahh, very nervous writing this. But I hope you enjoyed. Or cried. Or both!
Happy Birthday to Meghan!
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