So here's the final chapter guys and the conversation between Oliver and Felicity. I hope you like what I did with this.
I considered adding some smut but I don't know whether the atmosphere in this story is fitting. Will probably do an outtake later on, though.
Anyway, hope you enjoy! :)
The tired sigh Felicity let out wasn't every promising. "You don't have to beg, Oliver," she said, stepping back and signaling for him to come in.
Swallowing drily, he walked slowly to the open living area and turned to her, awkwardly standing by the couch. She took her time in closing the door and didn't look at him at all, until she passed him by as she made her way to the kitchen. The wall separating the living room and kitchen had an open window through which he could see her moving around setting up the coffeemaker. Finally, after the machine started gurgling, she turned to look at him.
Oliver hadn't thought that this would be easy for either of them. With his determination and feelings as the only weapons in his arsenal, he did think that he had a chance though. The phone calls she had made earlier today to Diggle had given him hope. But now standing in her living room looking on as she maintained a safe distance between them -not to mention a literal fucking wall- made a pit form in his stomach.
"Are you going to stay over there?" he asked, cursing himself at how dejected his voice sounded. He wanted her to forgive him but not pity him.
"Until the coffee's made, yeah. I think we'll both need it," she said, crossing her arms and leaning back against the counter. He didn't know whether she meant the coffee or the distance. On one hand he wanted no space between them, but he also respected her need for it, so he chose to walk over and sit on one of the high seats just under the pass-through. He looked around the kitchen through the opening, trying to gather his thoughts, but she beat him to the point. "I don't know what I'm supposed to say."
"Anything. You can tell me anything. I probably deserve it," he looked at her steadily, the tension in him mounting as she shook her head.
"That's the thing, Oliver. You don't. I'm sorry that I lashed out at you yesterday, because you don't deserve it. The other guy? Yeah, he did, but I don't think he'd get the point considering the result of all the times I tried to talk to him," she sighed and looked away, a sad frown on her face. She was talking about him, the other him: Ollie. "This is such a mess," she finally sighed before looking back at him with a defeated expression that he instantly hated. "I don't blame you, because it's not your fault. You had an accident for Go-"
"Stop. Please," he interrupted her suddenly. The need to speak, to erase that defeated look from her face and the distance between them was choking him. "It was still me, Felicity. It wasn't another person for two months. It was still me," he said slowly, cursing at himself when he saw her looking at her feet. That wasn't the best opening to what he wanted to say, so he rushed on, "But it was me from seven years ago. I was that guy. The one you were disgusted with."
"Oliver," her quiet denial gave him hope, but he squashed it down.
"I was. I used to miss that: being care-free and innocent. I didn't remember how fucked up I was…just that I didn't have to kill or lie to survive."
The coffeemaker beeped, making them both jump in the quiet after his confession. Oliver looked down, folding his hands and placing them on the counter in front of him. A few moments later, two cups of hot coffee appeared next to them. He raised his eyes to watch as Felicity settled on a seat across from him and ignored the disappointment at seeing her keep her distance. With only inches separating them, they still had a wall between them, and if that wasn't a fucking good analogy of where they stood, he didn't know what was, he thought to himself bitterly.
"The point is," she cut through his thoughts, "you didn't know what you were doing. And it's wrong of me to hold it against you. You had no memory of knowing who I was," her voice clogged, causing the ache in his chest to intensify, "so you couldn't know that we were friends."
He fiddled with his cup, looking down as she warmed her hands by wrapping them around hers. "That night I knew," he said quietly, not looking up when her head shot up but keeping his eyes on her hands, as the tightened around the cup.
He heard her letting out a breath before she spoke bracingly. "I talked to Tommy. He said…you went to see him. It's okay, you know. We're okay."
"No, we're not." He forced himself to raise his eyes to hers and keep them there.
She was the one to look away first, the gesture telling him he'd been right in calling her out. Oliver took a deep breath gathering his thoughts, but he started speaking before he knew what he wanted to say, when it occurred to him that she was there, patiently waiting for him to talk when she had every right to kick him out without hearing his excuses. "You're right. It is a mess," he told her as her head shot up and her eyes met his. "I said once I'd be here and for the past couple of months I wasn't. Not in the way that matters. I need you to forgive me for that," he said, his voice low uncaring about the need that carried through with his voice. "Please," he added in a whisper.
"But it wasn't your fault," she replied, seemingly lost but he could hear the uncertainty, the effort to rationalize the hurt she felt. "I told you. How could you know-"
He cut her off softly. They had to be honest even if neither of them were used to being open about this with each other. "I feel like I should have known, Felicity, and you feel it, too. Somewhere deep down there should have been something holding me back from acting like such a dick."
The flash of hurt in her eyes showed him he was right in bringing this up no matter how unsure he'd been about whether she'd understand what he was talking about. "If you didn't remember Digg, why would you remember me?" she asked looking down.
There it was. Now she was calling him out to address the elephant in the room. There was so much he wanted to say to her before they cleared that up between them, though. So he started with addressing what he'd done.
"I've hurt you and there's nothing okay with that. I started trying to become a better man after the Glades but it was because of you that I believed that I could actually do it. That I wasn't beyond saving. And now having you look at me like that, like you've seen what I was and maybe still am, instead of what I can be…That's not okay."
"I still believe in you, Oliver. I – I know who you are."
"I'd like to think you do. But do you really? Can you believe in me, in the Oliver you know, after having seen 'Ollie'? Can you look past that and-" He gulped down the bitterness that he heard in his voice and tried to lower his tone. "I know I've asked so much of you. And now I'm asking even more. I hate that all I do is take. Maybe I can't change from 'Ollie'. All he did was take."
Like she'd been waiting for him to trail off, the angry words burst out of her. "You think I can't see past that?" she asked, grasping at her cup tightly and maybe thinking his words were a passive aggressive ploy, but he couldn't stay calm anymore. He wasn't trying to guilt her. This mess had hurt both of them.
"Then why are you still looking at me like I'm him? It's me. Oliver!" His voice then lowered to a whisper, the fight having gone out of him. "Your Oliver."
Her eyes snapped to the ground, her voice matching his in its low volume. "There was never an Oliver that was mine before. There was just the Arrow," she smiled weakly before bringing her eyes up to meet his again. "But he was my hero and I can still see him."
She wanted to separate herself from him, he realized, deflating after his outburst. Oliver didn't think this was going to be easy, but the wall she erected between them at his very first approach stung. Nevertheless, he wasn't about to give up. Gathering his thoughts, his emotions, he took a deep breath and laid it all out before her.
"I can't remember how it feels not being yours. It feels like I always was. Or was always waiting for you to claim me and make me that Oliver. Not the hero, just…who I'm supposed to be."
And suddenly he saw a small miracle in her eyes. The shift of doubt turning into belief once more. The small spark of affection slowly kindling into a love that he'd missed seeing, even if he had only consciously felt its loss for a day.
In true Felicity manner she got flustered quickly, adorably so. She stalled, taking a sip of coffee and looking at everything other than him, while he breathed out a sigh of relief at having taken the first step towards fixing this.
"I said I'd beg," he found himself saying suddenly, breaking the familiar, mystifying spell between them.
"What?" she asked confusedly for a moment, before she made the connection in her head. "No, you said you wouldn't promise not to."
"Felicity…" he uttered in loving exasperation. That wasn't the point.
"Well, you did," she insists quietly.
"Please, please forgive me." His tone turned grave again. Appropriately so, he thought to himself, knowing that the most difficult part wasn't over yet. They might have gotten to a point where that inexplicable understanding was there again, but there were still too many things left unsaid, and he intended to have them all out.
"You know, I was terrified that night," she began and Oliver's instincts told him that he shouldn't interrupt her until she was done. That this was something that had to be said between them. He'd had his time to say some of the things he wanted. Now it was her turn. "Diggle called me to tell me about the accident and all I could think of was 'Not like this'. I'd worried over a stray bullet, a knife wound, some psychotic person blowing us all up but this? A car accident? Not in the realm of possibilities for me. So I was terrified at first, but then not that surprised when you pulled though. I was relieved and grateful and happy…but not surprised. But then, you lost your memory and as I watched you be…him, I realized I had lost you. Because that person, he was a stranger. He- he was care-free, yeah, but it was more than that. He was care-free because he didn't care enough. Not for anyone else, but not for himself either. That was the saddest part. 'Ollie' appeared selfish when what he really did was not care about himself or how self-destructive he was. Because you didn't think anyone else cared either."
She appeared lost in thought as she trailed off and Oliver decided he had to say something before she went on. It might break them but he had to let her know.
"A part of me…it's still there, Felicity. I was him in the past and I dealt with that badly, by drinking, sleeping around. I did those things. But you have to know. I grew up. And growing up for me meant having to do things that are so, so much worse." He cleared his throat looking down at his now-cold coffee, until he mustered the nerve to look back at her again. "I thought I'd come to terms with who I was and that I only needed to work on who I've become. But now I realize I have to do both. And I need you to see I can be all those things and still be….me. Would you be willing- Can you do that?"
"I-" she began and then stopped. Oliver's heart stuttered. She seemed to be considering him carefully and then her eyes fixed on a point somewhere behind him as her mind drifted.
Oliver was sure a ready answer wouldn't have had the same weight as one thought-out, but he fought not to squirm while waiting for her decision. Minutes passed, during which he allowed the silence to linger and seep into him. If it meant she'd accept him, that she'd have him, he was willing to live in silence for the rest of his life.
But this was Felicity. His Felicity. And around her silence and darkness didn't last long.
She focused on him in her own unique way, as if he were a puzzle she was patiently trying to solve. "I never saw you as damaged," she said quietly. "I know. I mean, I guess –because you never talk about it unless it's necessary- that you've been through a lot. Too much. I'll never forget what you said that night: 'Five years when nothing good happened.' I've seen you go…dark. You know I have. Even then, I never saw you as damaged." She took a deep breath as if gathering her thoughts before going on.
"You think I'm naïve – everybody does- and that I chose to see only the good in people. I do. But it's not because I'm naïve. It's because it's my choice to do that. I've never talked about it but…my life wasn't the best either. Nothing compared to yours, sure, but…yeah. So, I choose to see the good in people. Maybe then they'll see it, too. The thing is…I never even had to search to see the good in you. To me, it's who you are at your core. As for 'Ollie' though- I knew it was a mask, a veneer but every time I tried to reach you behind It, you acted as if there was nothing there, as if Ollie was all there was. And then you lashed out and it hurt." She stopped and Oliver held his breath.
The earnestness on her face made it impossible for him to know whether this was a prelude to her kicking him out or accepting him. All he knew, all he understood was that she meant every word. They were teetering on an edge, he realized. He listened carefully at her every word, knowing the next could either break them or make them, unused to the openness between them but welcoming it nonetheless.
He held his breath as she opened her mouth again. "I got scared then. And the only ones I could tell were Tommy and Digg, but even they couldn't really understand which scared me even more. That this," she motioned at the space between them, "was some kind of unidentifiable, un-labeled thing that I couldn't explain to anyone else. It hurt more than it should if we were just friends and no one got that. I didn't even know if you would get that before the accident. And then you were outside my door drunk…and I was more confused and even more hurt. So when you came, especially after that happened- I lashed out. It was hard meeting who you were before but not because I saw you differently, but because I could finally have you back. You'd understand the confusion and the mess and maybe help me figure it out." She paused to swallow and then visibly straightened. "I know who you are and I'll be here for you no matter what."
Oliver let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, but didn't completely relax. "But?" he asked, because it was obvious there was a 'but' following her declaration. He thought he knew what it was about however, and was eager –impatient- to appease her fears.
"But," She cast her eyes down to her hands, clutching the mug once more. "I want to figure this out. That night you said some things besides the thing…You don't have to-"
"Felicity," he interrupted her, the urgency that gripped him, echoing in his voice. He waited until her eyes rose to his face and then covered her hands with his, wanting her to understand about that night. "I would never, ever hurt you. Even if I lost all memories of who I am. Please tell me you know that."
"That's another thing you need to forgive me for," he huffed out a bitter breath.
"Tommy showed you? It's okay-"
"No, it's not. I acted like I would've assaulted you if you had opened that door. You should've called the police."
"Oliver, I knew it was the booze talking," she cleared her throat nervously. "It's okay. Let's pretend it never happened," she withdrew her hands from under his and awkwardly patted them. Before she stopped touching him, he turned his palms against hers and grabbed them.
"No! I'm sorry for yelling and saying what I did. The way I was that night…it wasn't about sex, even though it sounded like it at first. What I said after that, though," he looked deeply into her yes, willing her to understand. "I meant that. I'm not taking it back. I was so lost that night and my brain somehow came up with the one thing I could hold on to: your memory. It wasn't the booze talking, it wasn't Ollie saying I love you. It was me. And I'm willing to spend every night outside your door telling you that until you believe me," he finished, breathing heavily after having said the most important thing he'd come here to say.
She looked surprised. More than that; she looked stunned. Realizing he'd been gripping her hands too hard, he forced his fingers to relax around hers and waited.
Slowly she pulled her hands out of his and stood up, causing a pit to form in Oliver's stomach. Her expression gave nothing away.
He watched as she disappeared from view for a moment but then she was standing next to him. Swallowing drily, prepared for her to send him away – and already thinking ahead of what else he could do to change her mind- he turned on his seat to face her.
He wasn't prepared for her to step between his legs or for her hand to cup his cheeks.
"You said it again without the whole verbal sexual assault stuff," she muttered, a note of wonder entering her voice, as if she had to be close to him, to touch him and look into his eyes in order to believe him. "But, you love Laurel." She looked forlorn for an instant. "All of you does. Oliver and Ollie."
"Felicity," he sighed, watching a stray lock that had escaped her ponytail flutter from his breath. "I told you: I've been yours for so long, I've forgotten how to be me without you. I love you," he whispered, internally pleading with her to believe him. "You know all of it and you still see me. And all parts of me love you for it. You. No one else."
He quietly stared at her, opening up in a way he hadn't before, during all those moments they had shared silently communicating in the past. It was their way of speaking, without words but letting emotions speak through their eyes. Thankfully, it worked once more.
Oliver hoped it always would.
As her lips lowered to his, as his whole body ignited and his existence synced to hers, he knew that 'always' was within reach.
Her whispered 'I love you' as they lay in bed, hours later told him that maybe 'always' had already began.