A/N: Well right off the bat, I think I'm kicking cannon to the curb. Granted, we don't know what's going to happen on this week's episode but my guess is, Oliver and Sara did have sex... ugh. Anyway, this is how it happened in my head :)
Not Another Mistake
He knew the minute that Sara's shirt hit the mat at their feet that he had to put a stop to it. Warning bells were going off in his head and a voice, one he was sure he should've recognized, was pleading with him to not let this happen. Sara was warm, her hard body pressed to his, and the familiar weight of her made pulling away from her that much more difficult.
He held her at arm's length, his hands firm on her upper arms. He closed his eyes and tried to steady his racing heart. When he was finally able to look at her, he wasn't surprised by the rigid set of her shoulders. He also wasn't surprised by the emotions that he saw playing in her eyes.
He sighed softly and relaxed his hold. He knew that the desperation and longing that he saw when he looked at her had nothing to do with him, not really. Sara didn't need him. She needed someone to help soothe the ache that Laurel's words had caused. She needed something to use as a balm to heal the wounds that she couldn't see.
He had been there. He understood. But that meant that he also understood the repercussions that would come if they'd gotten any further than they had. He wanted to help her but he knew that whatever had been about to happen between them wouldn't help either of them. In the end, they would only hurt the people that they truly cared about.
It was then that he realized that the voice that he'd heard in his head had belonged to the other blonde woman who occupied a large part of his life. The one he'd hurt so much already.
He took a deep breath and stepped further from Sara, his hands dropping to his sides.
"I'm sorry," he said softly, "I can't do this. We can't, Sara."
She remained silent as she bent to retrieve her shirt and he turned away from her to give her a moment of privacy as she redressed. When she crossed the room to Felicity's computers, he followed.
"Laurel really does hate me," she muttered, sinking into the chair at the table, "I don't know that anything that I can do will make it better. I – I thought that she'd be happy."
He rested against the edge of the table beside her.
"Laurel's had a rough few months, Sara, and I'm not trying to make excused for her but you have to consider what she's been through. With Tommy and her addiction… I'm not saying that it excuses her behavior but do you honestly want to add you and I to the list of things that she has to deal with?"
Sara rolled her eyes, "We're adults, Ollie, and as far as I know, you and my sister are just friends, right?"
He crossed his arms over his bare chest and tipped his head back to stare at the ceiling, "Laurel and I are friends, yes, but does that mean that we have to throw out – whatever this is – in her face the minute that you get back? She needs time to process what's going on. You just came back from the dead after six years, Sara. Even you have to admit that that's not an easy thing to deal with. Laurel will come around. She loves you. She's spent years searching for you, wanting to believe that you're alive."
"She accepted you being back," she pointed out.
He glanced at her, "You don't think she wasn't pissed when I came home, too? She wanted nothing to do with me."
Sara leaned back in Felicity's chair, looking up at him. It wasn't hard to remember what it was that had attracted him to her all those years ago. She had been young and beautiful and free spirited. She was still all of those things but there was a hardness to her that hadn't been there before. He knew that her time on Lien Yu had changed her just as it had changed him. But he also knew that being a part of the League of Assassins had shaped her into the woman sitting beside him.
"She blamed you for what happened to me."
It wasn't a question and he didn't bother to answer. They were both silent for a long moment and his eyes wandered to the soft pink sweater folded neatly on the computer table near Sara's elbow. It was Felicity's, the spare she kept there because she was always cold in the cement-walled room. He knew that he shouldn't, but he couldn't help compare Sara with his partner. Felicity was soft and quiet, her strength coming in the form of her intellect rather than her body. But whether or not she was a fighter like Sara, she was just as brave. Although, he thought, her bravery came mostly from stubbornness. She'd jumped out of a plane with Diggle when they'd come to Lien Yu. It hadn't been bravery that had moved her, it had been her stubbornness to bring him home.
"Is it really Laurel that you think that you'd be hurting?" Sara asked, "Or is there someone else?"
He focused on her as the words passed between them. Sara was more observant than most people so it shouldn't have surprised him that she had noticed the way his mind had wandered off.
He shrugged, "I think that you and I falling into some sort of relationship wouldn't be good for anyone. We aren't those people anymore, Sara, at least I'd like to think that we're not. I have people in my life who depend on me, people that I care about, and I know that anything that you and I start would just end badly. You don't love me any more than I love you."
She scoffed, "Since when do you have to be in love with someone to have sex with them?"
He sighed again, scrubbing his hand over his face tiredly.
"I told you, I'm not that person anymore. I've changed, Sara. My life has changed."
She stared at him for longer than he was comfortable with but he didn't back away. He knew what Sara was implying, what she assumed had kept him from letting things between them get farther. And even though he didn't want to admit it, he knew that she was right. At least in part.
He couldn't get Felicity's voice out of his head. He had heard the pain in her voice, heard how afraid she had been that she would lose him if she told him what she'd learned about Thea. But even though she thought that the potential to ruin their friendship was there, she was still honest with him. She had risked hurting herself in order to make sure he knew the truth. He couldn't imagine hurting her, not again. She didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve her but she was there and he would do everything that he could to keep her.
"You should really consider letting her in, Ollie."
He shrugged, "It's too complicated, too… dangerous."
Sara stood then, shaking her head, and rested her hand on his forearm.
"Have you ever considered that maybe she doesn't care about that?"
He didn't respond. He wasn't interested in having this conversation with Sara, not now, not after what they had almost done.
"I think I'm going to go," she said when he hadn't answered, "I'll be at my dad's if you need me."
He remained silent as he watched her walk away. He let her go, waiting until he heard the door close behind her before sinking down into the chair that she'd vacated. He closed his eyes.
Sara would be okay. She would survive without him, she had for a long time. What they'd come close to doing would've been a mistake and he'd already made enough mistakes to last him a lifetime. He wouldn't let her be another one. He knew that if he had slept with Sara, if he'd actually let it get that far, he would've been hurting Felicity more than he ever had before. It would've pushed her away and he would've deserved it when she walked out of his life for good.
The thought made every bone in his body ache. He couldn't lose her. He'd promised her that she wouldn't lose him, something she obviously feared, but he'd made that promise as much for her as for himself. He couldn't let her go. Maybe Sara was right. Maybe he should let Felicity in. She knew him, knew him better than most people, and, not for the first time, he wondered if she was the one who could save him.