A/N - Hello! This was originally posted on a different site, but anthfan has twisted my arm (lovingly) to post it here and give this a shot, so here we go. I wrote this before 2x06 aired and it started as a drabble and grew into a monster. I hope you enjoy it as I enjoyed writing it!
Please let me know what you think...I LOVE reading your comments! Thanks! :)
It wasn't until the private jet touched down that Felicity's nerves started to get the best of her.
She worried her bottom lip between her teeth as the she glanced out the window and saw vibrant spires and bleak buildings in the distance. It was a gray, cloudy day, and she could tell without even stepping foot outside that it was cold.
Oliver caught her gaze from his seat next to hers and gave her a reassuring smile. Her eyes darted over to where Isabel Rochev sat, her legs crossed, hands folded in her lap, as she looked out her window.
This was not how this trip was supposed to happen.
They were only supposed to be here under the pretense of setting up a meeting with some of the Russian counterparts to Queen Consolidated, in order to have an alibi while they searched for Diggle.
He'd disappeared three days ago and since then, her every waking hour - which was most of them - was spent trying to figure out where he was and if he'd gone willingly or if he'd been taken. At this point, they were leaning toward the latter and the knots that had woven into her stomach due to her constant worrying had led her to a diet of mainly crackers and coffee.
Finally, last night, by hacking the A.R.G.U.S. database, she'd found a conversation between Diggle and the agent he'd contacted a year ago about Deadshot. That agent - Lyla Anderson - had gone missing two days later, following a lead. And, now, Diggle was gone as well.
After a few more hours of searching, Felicity finally found the lead the agent had received. According to it, Deadshot was in Russia for a hit on a mob kingpin.
Oliver had immediately gone to his Bratva contacts in Starling City but they knew nothing about the hit or Deadshot being contracted by any of their associates.
Felicity had trouble believing that Diggle would take off without telling either of them - they'd come too far in this together. Then again, Oliver had shown his less than stellar record of following through with this threat the last time he was in town. While both men had put it behind them, she'd seen, first-hand, the struggle Diggle went through knowing his brother's killer was still on the loose - still killing people for a living. She knew it was never far from his mind, and she didn't like seeing him put his life on hold because of it.
Oliver shifted in his seat next to her, drawing her attention back to him and she met his gaze once more. The firm set of his jaw belied his outward facade of calmness. She could see the worry lines etched into his forehead, the look in his eyes that gave voice to his desperate desire to move and do something that would put his muscles to use and release some of the tension and unease.
He must have seen the concern in her own gaze because his features softened and he gave her a comforting uptick of his lips, signalling for her to trust him. Whether he was trying to convince himself or her that everything would be okay, she didn't know.
Felicity took a deep breath as the plane rolled to a stop and nodded her head resolutely.
They would find Diggle. They would somehow hide all of this from Isabel. And everything would be okay.
The pilot came over the speakers and relayed the temperature and forecast for the next few days before wishing Oliver a good day.
She grabbed her tablet and purse as Oliver rose and began to follow him toward the exit. The stairs had been lowered and the door held open for them by the staff member who'd been attending Oliver and Isabel during the flight.
Felicity surveyed her surroundings quickly - a habit she'd developed after working with Oliver and Diggle for almost a year. A black Mercedes awaited them on the tarmac, driver standing stoically by the door.
Oliver exited first, and Felicity was just about to followed when Isabel slipped in front of her at the last minute. The brown-haired woman raised a perfectly coifed eyebrow in her direction before taking the hand Oliver had originally held out for his assistant.
Felicity saw his head swivel towards the door the second Isabel's hand wrapped around his outstretched one. His brow furrowed and Felicity felt something flip in deep within her at the knowledge that Oliver knew her touch so keenly. She saw him clamp down on his jaw to keep from saying anything and glanced back to give her an apologetic look.
After Isabel found her way down the stairs, Oliver extended his hand back to help Felicity, and she accepted it gratefully. His large hand engulfed her and the warmth of his skin was a stark contrast to the icy wind that assaulted her the moment she stepped out of the jet. It whipped around her blue dress, causing goosebumps to appear on her her exposed legs and she suddenly wished she'd kept the long coat she'd thought about packing, and at the last minuted decided to leave at home.
Oliver gave her fingers a light squeeze before letting go, his hand settling near her lower back as they walked the short distance to the waiting car. Isabel had already climbed inside and Oliver wasted no time in helping Felicity inside and following after her.
She soon found that not having Diggle as their driver was odd and somehow unsettling. She could tell that Oliver felt the same way when his eyes kept flicking to the man occupying the driver's seat. His shoulders were tense - his entire demeanor on edge. This was Oliver in an unknown environment - not knowing what to expect around every turn. He was poised for action, as if waiting for something bad to happen.
If Isabel noticed Oliver's sudden unease, she said nothing. She had pulled out her phone once in the car and hadn't taken too much time to look up from it since they left the airport.
Felicity clasped her hands tightly in front of her to keep herself from reaching out and covering one of Oliver's tightly balled fists. She was able to catch his eye and give him a soft smile, relieved when he returned it, some of the tension slipping from his frame.
She gazed out the window, taking in the passing sights as the car wove in and out of Moscow traffic on the way back to their hotel.
Felicity had never been out of the country, much less Europe, and she marveled at the ornate onion-shaped domes in the distance. She could almost see where the old and new parts of the city met and she was fascinated at the way they blended together, sitting side-by-side. Buildings that had been around for centuries stood tall as brand new cars drove by on cobblestone streets.
After awhile she felt someone watching her and knew instantly it was Oliver. Turning her head, she caught his gaze and was surprised by the curiosity that swirled within the blue depths. She could see the questions and comments forming on his tongue, but he didn't speak, and one glance to the other side of the car told her why.
They weren't alone. He couldn't be himself. As much as he may have yearned to be in that moment.
The sound of his phone ringing pulled his gaze from hers, and she watched as he retrieved the phone from his pocket and frowned at the name on the screen.
She knew immediately it was Thea when he answered.
Oliver kept the conversation short, and, once again, Felicity wondered if it was because of who was in the car. She could tell Thea was discussing their mother's trial and some new development that only caused Oliver to run a hand over his face.
Telling Thea he'd call her later, he ended the call and re-pocketed the phone.
"Everything okay?" Isabel spoke up from her seat across from them.
Oliver's head snapped up and Felicity saw that he'd already adopted his amiable mask of polite businessman. "Fine. Just my sister wanting to know if we made it safely. She worries."
"Well, you did disappear for five months on her not too long ago," Isabel threw back. "I would say she has the right to worry."
Felicity felt a spike of anger rise within her and she bit her tongue to keep from speaking in his defense - regardless of the fact that she too had been hurt by his sudden departure. Oliver kept his face passive; his only tell the twitch of his jawline which Isabel couldn't see from her position.
"The past few months have been hard," he replied neutrally, and Felicity almost scoffed at what might have been the understatement of the year.
Felicity kept her eyes on Isabel as they pulled to a stop in front of an old, ornate building.
The driver turned off the car and rounded the car to pull open the door. Isabel exited first, and Felicity saw the moment Oliver's mask dropped once she was out of sight. Her hand flashed out to cover his arm, but she stopped herself short realizing they were still in a very public, very open area, and the driver was already motioning for Oliver to exit as well. Her hand dropped into the open space between them on the leather seats, and he took a deep breath before she watched him put the pieces of his wall back in place and climb from the safety of the car.
It was his hand that reached back inside for her, not the driver's, and she took that brief opportunity to apply a little extra supportive pressure to his fingers before she let go. His mask remained in place, but she saw the appreciation in his eyes and it was all she needed to know he understood.
A bellhop hurried out, gathering their bags and Oliver led them into the hotel. The manager met them at the door with a smile.
If Felicity had thought the outside had been ornate, the inside was fit for royalty. The arched ceilings gave way to detailed columns. Gold fixtures dotted the walls. Flat screened televisions lined one wall that led into what looked like sitting room - a fire roaring intently in a large marble hearth.
They were shown up to their rooms, and it wasn't until they reached the elevator that Felicity realized she had booked a suite for her and Oliver on his insistence. This wasn't supposed to be a business trip, and he'd wanted her close for whatever this mission entailed. Knowing the dangers present, she'd relented to the suite even if her stomach did weird things at the thought. They were partners, co-workers, friends, and something more and undefined that went past friendship but not into anything romantic in nature. Felicity was half-convinced he'd never see her in that light, but that didn't mean her own feelings and fantasies weren't very much alive and well in her heart.
She could no more deny how much he meant to her after he'd disappeared than she could deny that she loved computers or red wine.
He was ingrained in almost every part of her life, and when he was gone, she'd felt that missing hole that he'd left behind. The second they'd found him on the island, that hole had dissipated, his presence filling it and making her whole once more.
She was in. All in. And that more than anything scared her. Because her heart was already on the line, whether she wanted it to be or not.
Isabel and an assistant manager got off on the floor below theirs. He was already regaling her with information about all the amenities including having one of the best views to which she merely hummed.
Isabel looked to Oliver before stepping out of the elevator. "I saw your assistant sent out an email with the meeting time this afternoon. I'm going to catch up on some sleep. Can't waste time later having jet-lag."
Felicity wasn't surprised when Isabel spoke as if she wasn't even there, but that didn't mean the sting of it was any less. As soon as the door closed behind her and they were back on the elevator, Felicity let out an annoyed sigh. Oliver glanced at her from the corner of his eyes, but listened as the manager continued to speak of their amenities and how happy they were that Oliver had chosen their hotel once again.
Their suite was one floor up from Isabel's, and Felicity was slightly thankful for that. It meant there was less of a chance of the woman showing up at random times through the day or night. With her accompanying them on the trip, Felicity had already decided she would tell Oliver she was going to ask for another room and see if it could be nearby at least. They didn't need Isabel to get any more ammunition against Oliver or the company.
When the door was finally shut behind them, the manager scurrying off down the hallway after making sure there was nothing else they could possibly need, Felicity let her purse fall to the coffee table that sat in front of the large couch. Opposite the couch, a gaslit fire crackled softly in the hearth, and Felicity gave herself a moment to take in her surroundings.
She'd seen the pictures when she'd booked the room, but she wasn't prepared for the real thing. For a moment, she felt as if she'd stepped into a movie - or perhaps the white house. She could understand why this was called the Royal Suite.
The crown molding that trailed around the room was inlaid with gold. Two chandeliers hung from the inlaid ceiling, lighting up the living room with two plush royal blue couches and sitting chairs. A fully-stocked open bar stood in the corner of the room next to the baby grand piano. Across from the hearth, a large flat-screen television hung from the wall.
As she peered down one hallway, she saw it lead to a large meeting room with a table big enough to fit at least 12 people. Down another, a large mahogany desk sat in what looked to be an office space.
There were two other hallways and Felicity knew one of them led to the bedrooms, but she wasn't sure what the fourth one held at the end until she remembered reading something about a massage room in the room description.
Her mouth hung agape as she turned in a wide circle, taking it all in.
She turned to see Oliver pulling at his tie, loosening it as he walked towards the windows that looked out over the city. He stopped halfway there and frowned and when Felicity followed his gaze, she noticed their bags stacked near the hallway that lead to their rooms.
A sudden feeling of uncertainty flew through her, and her hand flitted to her face, pushing up her glasses in a nervous habit.
"I'm sorry," she blurted out, and Oliver turned looking at her in confusion. "When I booked the room, they asked if I wanted the valet person that usually came with it, but I figured you didn't want someone constantly poking around here. But I guess, you're probably used to that, even though I don't know what they would possibly do all day. I mean, when they listed off some of the services, I wasn't sure they were being serious until the person didn't laugh with me. I should have just asked you, but this is something an executive assistant should know how to do, and so I made a decision. Which now that Isabel is here, I should just get my own room anyway because Oliver Queen sharing a suite with his assistant is not the publicity you want or need. So I'll just call down and tell them I need a room, which is probably about a quarter of the size of this one and that will be just fine…"
She didn't realize she'd been pacing until Oliver was suddenly in her path and she bodily ran into him. Running into Oliver was like running into a brick wall - not that she'd know exactly what that was like - although she had run into her fair share of closed doors and , other objects. If it hadn't been for his hands reaching out with cat-like reflexes catching her elbows, she would have ended up sprawled on the floor.
Her hands flew to his chest to brace herself, and when she looked up she saw the corners of his mouth ticking upwards in a hint of a smile.
"Felicity," he said easily, and even though she'd regained her balance, he didn't let go of her arms.
"First of all, you are right. I don't want someone poking around here. You were right to decline the personal valet. I can handle putting my own clothes away - this time." She rolled her eyes when she heard the teasing tone in his voice at the last two words.
"Secondly, you are not getting another room. I need you nearby and this way I can keep an eye on you," he began and, at her glare, he added. "To keep you safe. I didn't want you eighteen floors down at Queen Consolidated and that's at our normal day job. There's no way I want you even one floor away from me when we're dealing with the Russian mob and a sniper who is known for his accuracy and poisoned bullets. You're staying here."
Felicity wanted to protest, but the desperate look in his eyes stopped her. They already had one member of their team missing. She could tell he was nearing the end of his rope. He needed her to stay close by - if nothing else for his own peace of mind.
She nodded her head, but couldn't help making one last protest. "If Isabel finds out, she'll think…"
"I really don't care what Ms. Rochev thinks," Oliver replied, exhaustion seeping into his voice.
She bristled, and took a step back, letting her hands fall from his chest. "Well, you may not, but I do. I already have enough gossip going around the QC water coolers, I don't need to add this to it!"
She didn't realize how loud her voice had become until Oliver raised his eyebrows and tilted his head to the side, studying her intently.
"What do you mean?" he asked, lines knitting together across his forehead.
Felicity sighed. "Come on, Oliver. You don't get plucked from the IT department to be the highly attractive CEO's Executive Assistant without rumors getting started on why you got the job in the first place…"
When he continued to look at her as if she was speaking another language, she realized he truly didn't know about any of the rumors flying around the office. Of course, who would talk about that in front of the boss?
"You may not care about your playboy reputation, but I don't want everyone thinking I slept my way into this position, which is hilarious in the first place because, to me, this isn't exactly a promotion," she said through gritted teeth.
Finally, she saw the understanding dawn in his eyes and they were immediately tempered with guilt.
The way his name spilled from his lips caused her heart to flip lightly, and she had to turn away to keep her emotions in check.
"It's fine, Oliver, just forget it. We need to find Digg. That's why we're here. Let me just go get my tablet from my bag and we can…"
His hand caught her arm as she began to move past him, and she turned, trying to ignore the heat that his touch sent trailing through her.
"No, first, you need to rest," he stated evenly, and she heard the tone in his voice that brooked no argument. "The jet-lag will hit you harder than you expect if you don't try and get some rest now. And I can't contact the Bratva until tonight so let's both get some sleep in the meantime."
Felicity was tired, but she hadn't been able to work at all during the plane ride and Digg had already been missing for two days. She didn't feel like they couldn't waste any more time.
As if he could see the wheels spinning in her head, he slid his hand down her arm and tangled his fingers with hers. "We won't be any good to him if we're exhausted. You didn't sleep on the plane- neither did I…"
She was about to open her mouth to argue with him some more but when she did, a yawn escaped her lips, betraying her.
Oliver simply lifted an eyebrow and looked at her in amusement.
"Fine," she grumbled, and let him pull her towards their rooms.
Releasing her hand, he grabbed her bag that lay on the ground in the hallway and carried it through the doorway into the opulent room, and setting it on a chair near the dresser.
Her eyes widened at the grandeur she was met with once again, and she shook her head, trying to remember what she was doing here.
A king size bed sat in the middle of the room, silver throw pillows decorating the plush duvet. A small round table sat in a corner near the windows, fresh flowers greeting her from a vase.
Gesturing towards one of the doors on the right side of the room, Oliver spoke. "The bathroom's through there if you need it."
Curiosity getting the better of her, she slipped past him and opened the door. A gasp left her lips as she took in the sprawling area. Black marble covered the floors. Two sinks, a shower, and a jacuzzi definitely big enough for two lined the walls. Gold-framed mirrors hung above the sinks inlaid with gold and white marble countertops. Two bath robes hung near the steps to the jacuzzi and she decided she would definitely be trying that out before they left.
She heard Oliver chuckle behind her and realized she'd said that last thought out loud. Shrugging her shoulders, she turned to look at him with a smile.
"As long as I'm going to be acting as your executive assistant, might as well enjoy some of the perks," she teased.
Oliver arched an eyebrow at her, and her eyes slammed shut when she realized exactly what she'd said and the implications that could be drawn from it.
"Not that I...Not those…" she sighed, and just shook her head.
As usual, Oliver said nothing, but his eyes twinkled in the soft lighting of the bathroom. Taking a deep breath, she walked by him, slipping back into her room before her thoughts combined Oliver, the bathroom, and perks of her job into a picture she knew she wouldn't be able to erase from her mind anytime soon.
"I'm going to make a few calls. I'll be right across the hall if you need anything." She frowned at his response.
"I thought you said you were going to get some sleep too," she asked, narrowing her eyes.
He gave her a pointed look which she returned. A silent battle of wills began and eventually she saw Oliver's shoulders sag slightly. "Fine. After the calls."
Her lips turned up at the corners - a gesture which he mimicked before exiting the room, pulling the door firmly closed behind him.
Felicity took the next few minutes to do some exploring, and unpacking. The closet was about four times the one she had at home and she stared at it for longer than she should have before hanging up her few dresses and skirts.
Slipping off her shoes, she climbed up into the large, plush bed. Sinking into pillows, she turned on her side, and tried to quiet the thoughts running rampant in her head so she could sleep.
It didn't work.
Every time she closed her eyes, she thought of something else she should be doing. The list of scans and research she'd wanted to start on the plane but couldn't because of Isabel's sudden addition to their trip taunted her. Diggle was missing and she was trying to sleep. He could be hurt or worse. How could she live with herself if something happened to him and she had been sleeping instead of using every possible second and resource to find him.
Those thoughts had her sitting up and pushing the few stray strands of hair out of her face. Slipping from the bed, she tiptoed to the door, listening for the sound of Oliver's voice before quietly opening it
The hallway and living room stood empty, and she smiled when she spotted her purse still sitting on the table in front of the large couch. Finding her tablet, she quickly typed in her password and pulled up the program she used to keep tabs on their trackers. The one Diggle supposedly wore in his shoe like she and Oliver hadn't been responding in Starling City. She hoped maybe it would magically start working here.
She held her breath as it tried to find the signal and then let out a aggravated noise when dots in twenty different locations popped up on her screen. The signal was being scrambled and bounced off of various cell towers in the surrounding area.
Pushing her glasses further up on her nose, she pulled her bottom lip into her mouth as she began tracing each individual signal. In the meantime, she brought up the facial recognition software she'd downloaded on to her tablet and began running through any of the cameras she could hack into to see if Diggle's face showed up.
Thirty minutes later, she was still no closer to finding Diggle and her eyelids were starting to droop. A long yawn escaped her lips and she let her eyes fall shut as she slumped against the back of the couch.
When she woke, Felicity frowned at the feeling of warmth surrounding her and a soft pillow under her head. Wrinkling her nose, she slowly opened her eyes to find herself tucked into the bed in her room.
Her phone sat on the bedside table and she reached for it, stretching as she did. When she saw it was two hours later, she bolted upright and scrubbed at her eyes, finding her glasses also missing.
Throwing back the covers, she padded out of the bedroom to find Oliver seated on the large couch where she distinctly remembered falling asleep.
In his hands, he held her tablet, staring at it intently.
"If you've messed up any of the searches that were running, you'll be sorry," Felicity mumbled, her voice still thick with sleep as she approached Oliver.
His eyes flew to hers, and she noted the twinkle in them that pulled a smile from her despite her displeasure at having lost so much time asleep.
"Do I sleep walk now or did I have help getting to my room because I distinctly remember falling asleep on the couch," she added, coming to a stop in front of Oliver who had changed into cargo pants and a pullover. The black sweater molded to his torso and arms deliciously and Felicity was reminded how much she loved Oliver in them.
He ran a hand over his neck and then tilted his head up to give her an amused glance before sighing heavily. "You were supposed to be sleeping in the first place," he replied in a slightly reprimanding tone.
Felicity just rolled her eyes and plopped down into the space next to him, taking the tablet from his hands.
"I couldn't...I had to do...something," she tried to explain, her voice strained to her own ears.
He sighed as he ran a hand through his already mussed hair and nodded. "Yeah, I couldn't really sleep either."
Felicity smiled in understanding and glanced at her tablet. Oliver had been staring at the red dots of all the locations from the tracker.
"His tracking signal is being scrambled," she sighed, and swiped the screen to check on her other search. "And so far nothing on the facial recognition scans from local surveillance cameras."
When she went to adjust her glasses and they weren't there, she realized they hadn't been on her bedside table as they usually were when she fell asleep. Then, she saw Oliver reach over to the table in front of them, and hand them to her.
"Thanks," she murmured, slipping them on and then returning her eyes to the screen.
"If we don't get any leads, how are we supposed to find him?" she asked worriedly as she set the tablet in her lap and rubbed her fingers over her temples. "He's been gone for too long without contact already."
She could hear the concern leaking into her voice but she didn't care.
Oliver shifted beside her. his arm brushing against hers. "I've got a call into my contacts here in the Bratva. I set up a meeting tonight at dusk. Hopefully, they'll be able to give me some information."
Felicity nodded, not trusting her voice to work as her emotions began to overwhelm her. Letting out a shaky breath, she glanced at the clock. It was nearly three, which meant they had an hour before they had to be at the company's headquarters for their meeting.
"You should go get ready," she prodded, never taking her eyes off her screen. "I'll keep searching."
She heard the growl he let out beside her. "I wasn't supposed to have to actually go to this meeting," he reminded her. "I should be out there looking for him."
"Well, we can't do anything about it now," Felicity stated, her annoyance also showing at the abrupt addition to their trip. "And if we're late, we'll hear about it. So go."
She practically shooed him off the couch before pursing her lips together and trying to make sense of the scattered tracking points once more.
After a few more minutes, she set her tablet to the side and returned to her room. One look in the mirror and she knew her make-up and hair had to be redone.
With a tired sigh, she grabbed her make-up bag and headed for the bathroom/ She didn't hesitate as she pulled open the door and walked in, momentarily forgetting that she shared this bathroom with Oliver. Her footsteps came to an abrupt halt when she looked up and spotted a shirtless Oliver dressed only in a pair of grey dress slacks. His shirt and tie hung on the door handle as he washed his hands in the sink.
When he looked up, his eyes met hers through the mirror and Felicity opened her mouth to apologize, but, for once, no words came out.
Her eyes traveled over his muscled back, flicking from tattoos to scars. It wasn't the first time she'd seen them by a long shot, but for some reason, in such an intimate setting as this, he took her breath away.
She was even more surprised when she returned her gaze to his and found his eyes a slightly darker shade of blue. The possible meaning of that reaction was too ridiculous of her to even consider and she shook her head, finally finding her words.
"Sorry," she blurted. "I forgot we shared this. I really need to knock, it's just well, it's not like I have to knock at home...or like you knock when you come out of the bathroom at the club half-dressed, not that I notice that a lot. Well, I do, but still, that's not what I meant and I really should just go and give you a chance to finish dressing…"
An slight smile tugged at his lips. "Felicity…"
She was halfway to the door, his voice freezing her in place. When she turned, there was something in his eyes that she couldn't quite place.
"It's fine. I can finish in my room," he said, and went to grab his shirt and tie.
"You can stay. I just need to touch up my make-up," she replied instantly without thinking, "This bathroom is big enough for five people. I think we can manage."
He regarded her for a minute before nodding his head and reaching for his shirt as she walked up to the second sink basin and began pulling things from her bag.
As much as she tried not to, her gaze kept wandering over to his side of the mirror as he slowly buttoned up his shirt and pulled the tie from the door knob, slipping it around his neck and easily knotting it to perfection.
The ease with which they shared the space in such a simple domestic nature was unexpected. And while, her eyes kept flicking over to him, she couldn't help the feeling of contentment it brought her.
The third time she did it, he caught her, their gazes locking for seconds in which she didn't breathe. The heat in his gaze was not lost on her as he pulled his tie through the last loop and pulled it tight.
Felicity felt her cheeks flush and looked back to her own reflection, surprised to find her own irises darker than normal. Trying to rein in her composure, she quickly retouched her lipstick, and when she looked over again, he was gone.
She frowned, wondering when he had left, only to have him reappear minutes later with his shirt tucked in and cuff links in hand. She watched him struggle for a few moments while she ran a brush through her hair, deciding to leave it down for now. After placing her brush and make-up back in her bag, she turned to him and plucked the cuff links out of his fingers, shooing his hands away, and ignoring the heat that sparked up her arms at the slight contact.
He didn't say a word, but she could feel his eyes on her as she easily slipped them through the holes. When she was done, she stepped back and smiled hesitantly up at him. Adjusting her glasses, she swiveled back towards the mirror before she could get lost in those eyes again.
There was so much in that gaze of his. They truly were windows to his soul when he wanted them to be - when he let you see. The heartache and pain she'd witnessed after Sara had reappeared in Starling City still haunted her thoughts - waking and sleeping. And as much as she wanted to wipe away every bad memory and moment he'd had to experience in the past, it had made him who he was in the present.
Now, if he could only see the rest of the man - the one underneath the pain and heartache and constant guilt that he clung to as if letting it go would leave him bereft of a place in this world.
Felicity knew he was scared to let all go of all the guilt and burdens he carried with him, but she also knew it was something he needed to do sooner rather than later, or risk being crushed under the weight of it all.
Her hands smoothed down the dress that she'd opted for instead of the now-wrinkled skirt she'd worn on the plane. It was one of her favorites. A brilliant blue with gold flecks woven into the fabric in a pattern of a city skyline. She still wasn't quite used to the new wardrobe being an Executive Assistant warranted, and half the time she felt overdressed. This outfit, however, was an exception, and she'd loved if from the moment she'd seen it in the store.
She didn't realize Oliver was still standing there until he cleared his throat. Her eyes flew to his and she saw the genuine warmth radiating from them.
"You look fine," he murmured. "Stop worrying."
A smile lit her face as the butterflies began to dance in her stomach at the compliment, and she nodded in thanks.
"You still need your coat," she reminded him, wanting the attention off herself and back in safe territory.
They were on the elevator ten minutes later, and right on time as they walked into the lobby. Of course, Isabel was already waiting for them, her eyes unimpressed even though they weren't even a few seconds late.
She gave them an unimpressed look as she rose from her seat, pulling on her coat as they approached.
Felicity looked down, realizing she'd only managed to grab her sweater, and remembered how cold it had been when they'd stepped out of the plane.
Before she could ask Oliver if she could run back up to the suite to get her coat, one of the managers crossed to them, stopping in front of her.
A long coat, lined with what looked like satin was draped over his arms. With a flourish, he held it open for her, and she looked between the man and Oliver, brow knitted in confusion.
"That's not mine…" she began, but Oliver took the coat from the manager's hands and gave her a warm look.
"It is now," he told her softly, slipping it on over her shoulders.
Felicity stood speechless as she looked down at the beautiful blue coat. She shook her head in wonder and was about to say something to Oliver when Isabel cleared her throat startling Felicity. Taking a deep breath, she managed to school her features before she turned towards the woman whose face seemed in a perpetual frown.
"Are we ready?" she asked, voice laced with annoyance. "Or are we going to be late because some people did not come prepared for the weather?"
She saw Oliver give Isabel a quick glare. He then slipped his congenial mask into place and smiled widely at the manager, slipping him a tip before turning back to Isabel. Oliver motioned them towards the door with one hand, while the other came to hover near Felicity's lower back. Once Isabel was turned away from them, Oliver leaned down to whisper in her ear.
"You kept mumbling about whether or not you should have packed it all the way to the airport, and you were cold when you got off the plane, I could feel you shaking…" he explained, and she couldn't suppress the warmth that filled her or the shiver that ran down her spine when his breath hit the sensitive skin of her neck.
"Thank you," she replied softly as they walked through the doors held open wide by two doormen who nodded their head in greeting to them. "But this is too much...it's…"
"It's not, and you need it." He stopped her, leaving no room for any more arguments before leading her to the waiting car.