Okay so this is definitely set in the future, I don't think they're quite canonically in this place yet. Also I just want to add that I wrote this before 2x14 came out so the shirt in the foundry thing was mine first okay? lol
"Tell us who he is."
"Who. Is. The. Arrow?"
"We'll get it out of you, one way or another."
Felicity grit her teeth as her head was roughly wrenched back by a hand in her hair.
"You will tell us what we want to know."
For three hours she'd said nothing but that one syllable. For three hours she'd been questioned, slapped, had her head forced beneath icy water, but she hadn't caved. She didn't care what they did to her. She wouldn't give him up.
She was shoved forward again, her knees crying out in protest as they once more hit the unforgiving concrete. She eyed the trough filled with water and ice cubes and took a deep breath, forcing herself to stay calm. They wouldn't kill her until she talked, and she was never going to talk.
She tried not to struggle as she was held under, knowing it would only drain her energy. But as her lungs burned, her body reacted instinctively and fought for survival. She was hauled up just as black spots began to dance before her eyes.
"Tell us who he is."
It was three more hours before he arrived. She still hadn't talked. Arrows were flying before she knew what was happening, and the masked men were dropping like flies around her. And then his large figure was bending over her, his hands reaching to cut the rope that bound her wrists and ankles.
The words tasted almost foreign on her tongue after saying only one for so many hours.
His hand was on her cheek, tilting her head so her eyes met his.
"I'm so sorry Felicity." The turmoil was plain to see on his face and she hurried to reassure him.
"It's not your fault. And I'm fine, really. I think I'll be sticking to showers from now on though. Baths are no longer something I want any part of." She tried to joke but it fell a bit flat, the exhaustion in her voice cancelling out any lightness in her words.
His brows pulled together and she could see the guilt warring in his eyes.
She went for genuine instead.
Letting her hand rest against his where it held her cheek she offered a small, but real smile.
"Thank you for coming." She said softly.
He nodded, but clearly couldn't bring himself to return the smile.
"Always. Now let's get you the hell out of here." He said, wrapping an arm around her waist to help her to her feet. "Can you walk?"
She nodded, but leaned into his comforting strength as they made their way outside.
Later, when she was warm and dry in the foundry, sipping a cup of sweet tea, he pulled a chair up beside hers and sat down, watching her quietly for a second before speaking.
"I wanted to say thank you." He said, his voice low. "I wish you hadn't been put through that, but… You're constantly amazing me with how strong you are." He sighed, his eyes drifting shut. "I always knew I could trust you with my secret, but you have to know how much I admire you, and how I grateful I am, for what you did today."
Their eyes met for a moment, before he stood, his hand falling to squeeze her shoulder, lingering slightly longer than necessary before he walked away.
She smiled to herself. His trust meant the world to her. His secret meant the world to her. There had never been any question of giving him up. She would have endured whatever they'd thrown at her, because nothing was worth losing this. Their mission, their team, their partnership, was something she'd fight to protect, every time.
Felicity was no stranger to gossip. She'd been that girl in high school who got the perfect grades and wore dorky glasses and opened her mouth without thinking. It hadn't been a particularly happy time.
But she'd hoped that being a fully-fledged adult, would mean she wouldn't have to deal with bitchiness and rumors anymore. That was before she became Oliver's assistant. Now she thought about the days when she could walk into Queen Consolidated without feeling judging eyes on her back, with fond nostalgia. She knew what everybody though of her, knew how they assumed she'd gotten the job as Oliver Queen's PA.
She'd heard every women on their knees joke ever invented and had more than once considered dying her hair back to it's natural brunette just to get away from the endless blonde references.
But every day, she walked back into the lobby with her head held high and a smile on her face. She greeted Oliver chirpily, and did her work to the best of her ability, smiled at the people she was meant to smile at and bit her tongue when she was treated like some sort of inferior being by Oliver's stuffy colleagues.
She left the building for lunch, going to a coffee shop around the block. She'd learned the hard way that break room lunches were no longer an option for her. The last time she'd tried that, she'd walked in on a debate about whether Oliver had given her the job as a reward for being his mistress, or a bribe to persuade her to become his mistress. The conversation had stopped when she'd walked in, but had quickly morphed into a discussion about Oliver's size, in a very obvious attempt to either ruffle her feathers, or get her to give up details, she wasn't actually sure which. But suffice to say, she'd steered clear of there from then on.
Her friends back in IT still smiled at her when they saw her in passing, but she could tell they didn't really know what to say to her anymore.
For the first month at her new position, she'd considered quitting every single day. Considered giving Oliver some kind of ultimatum that forced him to concede and allow her to go back to her familiar little cubicle and tap away at her keyboard all day. But then he'd smile at her and squeeze her shoulder and thank her for some tiny little thing she'd done, and she knew she couldn't do it. He needed her up here, in this stupidly big office, beside him as he struggled to hold together the company he'd never wanted to run.
And so she put up with every rumor, and every snide look, and every conversation that ceased the second she walked in. She ignored the looks she got from the male staff, ignored the fact that she knew they were imagining exactly what she did to get Oliver to keep her around. She ignored the fact that she hated organizing paperwork and setting meetings and getting coffee. Because Oliver needed her, and because they both knew that this was her cover identity. The real her was down in the foundry, helping Oliver capture bad guys and save the city.
It sucked sometimes. Really, really sucked. But she knew Oliver valued, and needed her where she was, and that was what made it worth it.
There was more than one person she cared about in that room. There was Dig, and Barry and Sara, Roy and Thea, and even Karen, her friend from accounting. But when her eyes caught the odd glint of light flashing through the window of the Ballroom, the person she ran to, without a second thought, was Oliver.
He only had a second to look at her oddly as she tried to push him to the ground, before the glass shattered and the sound of bullets and screams filled their ears. And then he was pushing her down, covering her body with his own as he scanned the room for the others.
The rest of the night was a blur of adrenaline and confusion, and it wasn't until she was home safe in the early hours of the morning that she thought back on her actions.
She hadn't tried to scream a warning to everyone, hadn't told Dig, who was standing beside her, or Thea who was dancing with Roy not five yards away. Her only though had been to make sure Oliver didn't get hit. She had flown across the room, all thought of everyone else slipping from her mind.
She tried to rationalize it; she'd assumed he was the target, he was the one who people had the most motive to kill, it made sense that it would be him the gun was aiming for. She was his assistant, it was probably part of her job to ensure she told him when he was about to be shot... She thought up five solid reasons which explained her reaction. And the fact that no one had been seriously hurt, allowed her brush it off and try to forget about the whole thing.
But the truth was, she'd chosen him over everybody else in that room, and she wasn't sure she was ready to deal with what that meant just yet.
Felicity turned at the sound of the explosion, her terrified eyes settling on the burning building with growing horror. The windows blew out with a crash and the fire roared on, flames licking up walls, gobbling up the structure faster than she could fathom.
A ragged gasp was ripped from her chest and she took an unconscious step forward, her eyes stinging.
"Oliver." It was a mere whisper, but as she heard the word come from her own mouth, the world tunneled before her. Oliver.
"OLIVER!" She screamed, running towards the fire without thinking.
A strong arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her back. She yelled in frustration.
"Oliver's in there! Oliver's still in there." She shouted, struggling against her captor.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart. I'm so sorry." She vaguely recognized Quentin Lance's voice. She struggled anew, her chest heaving with sobs she couldn't release, but his hold was iron tight.
"NO! No. Let me help him, you have to let me help him! Please." She sagged a little in his arms, her eyes fixed on the building, watching as more of it crumbled before her.
"It's too late Felicity. I can't let you go in there. I'm sorry." Feeling her slacken against him, he loosened his grip on her, giving her the exact opportunity she was looking for.
She drew off the self-defense moves Diggle had been teaching her; elbow to the ribs, heel to the knee, and run. She twisted herself free as he stumbled with the force of her kick. And then she was off.
She wasn't thinking clearly, she wasn't thinking anything really. All she knew, with every fiber of her being, was that she had to save him. He had to be okay.
She could hear her name being called, could hear commotion and running footsteps, and expected to feel someone grabbing her at any second. But by some miracle, a few long seconds later, she was holding her sleeve over her nose as she braved the heat, running through the sagging doorway and into the inferno beyond. She was dazed for a second, the acrid smoke filling her lungs, her eyes smarting, and the heat almost unbearable against her sensitive skin. But she didn't give in, didn't turn around. That didn't even occur to her as an option. She just needed to get to Oliver.
Coughing against the clouds of smoke, she let her arm fall from her face to call his name. Her voice was already raw and not nearly loud enough.
There was a loud crash behind her and she whirled, a scream escaping her lips before she could stop it. A burning beam had fallen to the floor, causing the whole ceiling to sag alarmingly. She swallowed down her fear and forced herself to venture further into the building, struggling to focus her stinging eyes.
"Oliver!" She called again, straining her lungs. She doubled over as a wracking cough shook her body. Intellectually she knew the carbon monoxide was getting to her, she knew that she didn't have long until she passed out, knew that she should turn around and go back the way she came, get out of there while she still could. Intellectually she knew all of that. But she didn't care.
She moved further in, her eyes scanning each burning room as she passed. She called for him again, weaker this time. She was fading fast.
But then she heard it. Distant and faint but definitely real, and definitely him.
A rush of relief washed through her and she ran towards the sound of his voice, calling for him over and over again, tears running freely down her cheeks.
And then she could see him, pinned beneath a beam; similar to the one she'd seen fall. His face was smudged with soot, and his eyes were unfocused but he was alive. She rushed to his side, dropping to her knees beside him, ignoring the burn of the hot floor against her bare skin.
"Oliver." Her hand fell to his cheek and his eyes met hers. She could tell he wasn't quite there, but she saw the moment he recognized her, and then the moment he realized the implication of her presence.
"No Felicity! You have to…" He broke off and his eyes drifted closed for a second. She shook his shoulder, a sob lodged in her throat.
He looked back at her, his brow furrowed, his eyes confused.
"You have to stay with me okay? I'm going to get you out of here." She assured him, turning her attention to the wood pinning him in place.
"You need to go." He muttered weakly.
She ignored him.
She wrapped her hands around the beam and pulled as hard as she could, it shifted ever so slightly and she felt a burst of adrenaline rush through her. She could do this.
Her hands blistered against the scorching timber, but she gritted her teeth and heaved, putting her entire weight into it. A scream of pain ripped from her as her shoulders strained under the pressure. But it was moving, slowly and surely she was pulling it off him. She could barely see through her tears, could barely hear past the roaring of the fire so close to them, could barely feel past the agonizing pressure in her joints but she didn't care. Because she was doing it.
She heard Oliver's voice again, garbled and nonsensical, whether on her part or his, and her eyes flicked to this face. He looked a little more alert and was struggling to sit up. He met her gaze and nodded, she understood his unspoken message and summoned one last burst of strength, lifting the beam as high as she could.
Oliver grabbed his leg with both his hands and hauled it from beneath the wood just as Felicity's arms finally gave out. Her knees buckled beneath her and she fell to the floor, her head spinning.
The heat was becoming unbearable. Her lungs were screaming for oxygen and her eyes were struggling to stay open. But she felt his touch clearly through all that haze. She realized that he had crawled over to her and was trying to say something, his lips were moving but she couldn't make out the words. She tried to get to her feet but her muscles felt like lead. A cry of frustration welled up inside her, they were so close.
She had come so close to saving him.
She could see that he was struggling to stay conscious, and her own eyelids felt far too heavy, but she reached out for him, with the last of her energy, and her fingers tangled with his.
The feel of his hand squeezing hers, was what she held onto as the blackness ebbed in.
Flashing lights, rough hands, muffled sounds. She blinked her eyes open, hazily watching as blurred figures descended on them. She tried to squeeze Oliver's hand, to tell him that they'd been rescued, but she couldn't get her fingers to move. Then the world was tilting as she was lifted, and the darkness descended once more.
The next thing she remembered, she was waking up in a hospital, to see Dig's worried face watching her closely. He explained that she had second degree burns on both her hands and knees, a dislocated shoulder, mild smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, but she was going to be fine. He told her not to speak, her throat was damaged, and would take a few days to recover. But he could read the question in her eyes.
He told her that Oliver had a broken leg, a few burns, smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning that was worse than hers, but nothing he wouldn't recover from. He was going to be fine. They were both going to be fine.
A few days later, she and Oliver had the biggest fight of their lives. But it didn't matter; because she knew she'd done the right thing. She'd helped save him and that was something she wouldn't take back for the world. She would always do everything she could to make sure Oliver lived to see another day, and she would never apologize for it.
At six pm on a Wednesday night, Felicity nearly died. She'd gone undercover again, but this time it had gone so, so wrong.
So wrong that she found herself with a bleeding head, in the passenger seat of their suspect's car, careening dangerously across a twenty-foot-high bridge.
She could see Oliver on his motorcycle chasing them in the wing mirror, and she knew Dig wasn't far behind. But as one of the wheels hit the edge of the raised concrete at the side of the road, sending the car hurtling towards the flimsy bridge barrier, she knew they were too late. She screamed as the car dove off the edge, only vaguely aware of the shouts of the driver beside her.
Felicity's last thought before they hit the water, was of Oliver. Of the blame he'd place on himself for her death. If she did die that is, which was looking pretty likely at that moment. She didn't want to become yet another thing for Oliver to torture himself with. She wanted to be associated with good things, not failure, not pain, not guilt. And that was the thought that lingered with her as the icy water rushed in around them.
Oliver didn't think he'd ever been more scared in his life, than in the moment he saw the car with Felicity trapped inside dive off the side of a bridge right in front of him. He skidded to a halt and jumped off his bike, not caring as he carelessly let it fall to the ground. He ran to the side and looked down to see a disturbed, bubbling water where the car had sunk beneath the surface. Yanking his helmet and boots off, he didn't think twice before he jumped off the bridge.
The water was ice cold, but nothing he hadn't experienced before. He ignored the slight discomfort and focused on locating the car. His sole focus was on Felicity. He swam down with strong strokes to where he could just see the dark form where it had settled against the riverbed, a cloud of sand partially obscuring it from view.
He reached the passenger window as quickly as he could, his eyes settling on Felicity's pale body inside. Her pink dress was floating ethereally and a halo of blond hair drifted around her, hiding her face, but it was the sight of the trail of blood swirling above her head that filled him with fear. The door was jammed when he tried to wrench it open, he grit his teeth against the rising panic inside him and smashed the window with his elbow, hardly noticing the pain of the glass slicing through his skin. He reached across her, yanking her seatbelt off and wrapping an arm around her waist. She was cold and unresponsive to his touch. He tried not to think about what that could mean.
He'd just begun to pull her from the car, careful to keep her away from the jagged remains of the window, when he met resistance. He looked past her, his lungs starting to burn, to see her captor holding onto one of her legs, a murderous look in his eyes. Oliver felt rage unlike anything else fill him, and he was about to lunge at the man and break his damn hand off, when seemingly out of nowhere, Dig appeared on the driver's side. He had the door open and the man in a headlock in an instant, the hold on Felicity loosened enough that Oliver could pull her away. He held her close to him as he swam with strong strokes towards the lighter water above, his mind refusing to acknowledge just how limp and lifeless she felt in his arms.
As soon as they broke the surface he turned her to face him, one hand still hooked around her waist, holding tight, while the other pushed her hair back from her face so he could see her properly. Her eyes were closed and her lips were blue. He knew she'd been under for far too long, and unconscious, unable to hold her breath…
He couldn't bring himself to check her pulse. She was alive. She had to be.
"Come on Felicity, stay with me." He murmured, swimming quickly to the bank, making sure to keep her face above water at all times. Her head lolled against his shoulder, and he felt a cool pit of ice settle in his gut. She had to be okay. She had to. Losing Felicity wasn't an option.
He lifted her properly in his arms as soon as the water was shallow enough for his feet to reach the ground. And then he was running for dry land, cradling her cold body against his chest. He was vaguely aware of Dig somewhere behind him, but he ignored him, placing Felicity gently down on the grass before leaning over to finally check her breathing, a hand settling across her breast, desperately hoping for the subtle rise that would reassure him that she was still there.
His heart stuttered with fear when he felt nothing, her chest unmoving beneath his hand. His fingers flew to her neck and pressed against her pulse point, finding nothing but still, cold, skin.
He gritted his teeth and forced his emotions down so he could focus. Tipping her head back, he held her nose and pressed his lips to hers. They were cold and unresponsive, and the exact opposite of how he'd imagined them. He forced air into her lungs, struggling to calm himself enough to count the beats. He drew back and placed both his hands over her chest, starting the compressions. He repeated the process twice more, checking her breathing every time, his heart sinking a little further every time he heard nothing.
"Come on Felicity!" He whispered, pressing his lips back against hers, again and again.
"Damn it Felicity! Breathe!" He shouted. He watched her face through blurry eyes as he repeated the compressions. He absently realized he was crying.
His hands were shaking when he lifted them from her chest, the fear he'd been trying to push back rearing up again and filling him with cold, paralyzing dread. He placed his hands on her cheeks, cupping them gently for a second, taking in her peaceful expression, before shaking his head, anger quickly replacing terror. She was not allowed to die.
He began the CPR again, ignoring Dig's voice behind him. When the older man placed a hand lightly on his shoulder, he batted it away with a roar of denial, continuing his administrations in a desperate bid for one last miracle.
And then she coughed. She coughed. It took a second for it to sink into Oliver's brain, and when it did, the flood of relief that rushed through him was unlike anything he'd ever felt.
He quickly turned her head to the side, letting her expel the water from her lungs, one hand stroking through her hair reassuringly.
"Oliver?" Her voice was rough and cracked but damn if it wasn't the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard.
"I'm here." He whispered, bringing his hand back to rest against her cheek.
"Cold." Her teeth had begun to chatter, and Oliver glanced back at Dig for the first time since they'd emerged from the river. He nodded his understanding and set off at a run to get the car.
Oliver bundled Felicity up in his arms, lifting her as gently as he could, wincing as her ice-cold skin touched his. They weren't in the clear yet.
Her hand came up to weakly grasp his collar, and he looked down to see her eyes open, gazing at him curiously.
"You were crying." She murmured, her brow furrowing in confusion. "I don't think I've ever seen you cry."
He held her a little tighter and lifted the corner of his mouth in an attempt at a smile.
"You scared me." He whispered, watching as her eyes widened.
A shiver ripped through her body and Oliver quickly looked around for Diggle. Seeing him pull the car up as close as he could get to the embankment, he hurried up the slight hill, clutching Felicity close against his chest. Her shivering grew worse as he moved and he broke in to a jog, anxious to get her into the warmth.
"How's she doing?" Dig asked as he opened the car door for them. Oliver slid inside with Felicity in his lap.
"Not good. Hyperthermia's setting in, I think." Her eyes had drifted shut and her body was still shaking violently. "We need to get her warm."
Diggle nodded and turned the heat up, quickly pulling out and driving towards Verdant. She'd told them long ago, to treat her exactly how they treated each other when they were hurt. No hospital.
Her shivering had quickly morphed into deep tremors that were wracking her whole body. Oliver considered for a second, he knew what he had to do, but also knew that this would be crossing a line they hadn't crossed before. As felicity shuddered against him again, he knew he didn't have a choice. Setting her beside him on the seat for a second, he stripped off his jacket and shirt, before pulling her back into his lap. His fingers dropped to the hem of her sweater but she regained some of her senses as he began to tug it up. Her confused eyes flew to his, and he felt a stab of guilt.
"I need to warm you up Felicity, I'm sorry." He explained quickly, watching as her tired brain tried to understand what he was saying.
It took a second but then she nodded, her eyes drifting closed again as she weakly raised her arms, giving him permission to continue. He stripped her of her sweater and the tank top she wore beneath, before tugging her into his chest, letting the warmth of his bare skin seep into her. She trembled violently and curled herself closer to him, her face coming to rest in the crook of his neck. He tried not to think about how well she fit against him, her small body complementing his larger one just right.
It didn't take too long for her shivering to lessen, but he made no move to let her go. He needed to be close to her, to reassure himself that she was there, he hadn't lost her.
He knew how important she was to him, had known for a while, if he was being honest with himself. But seeing her lifeless face, empty of everything that made her Felicity, unlocked something in him that he'd been ignoring for far too long. She wasn't just important to him. She was everything.
He absently rocked her back and forth, a hand combing through her wet hair. He closed his eyes and just listened to her breathing, letting the knowledge that she was really going to be okay, slowly sink into him. He didn't even notice that he was counting her breaths.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed when Dig announced that they'd arrived at Verdant.
Oliver quickly snapped out of his reverie and wrapped his jacket around Felicity's bra clad upper body, flinching when she shivered again as the wet material touched her skin.
"Sorry. It's just for a minute." He promised, before opening the door and lifting her out. Dig didn't blink when he saw their state of undress, just quickly led the way to the Foundry.
Once inside he briefly considered laying her on the med table, but changed his mind instantly, he wasn't ready to let her go just yet. Instead he carried her to the couch she'd insisted they get a while back.
"Could you grab her a dry t-shirt? I think I've got a couple in the back." He asked Dig as he sat down on the sofa, keeping her safely in his arms.
The older man nodded before gesturing to the gash on her forehead. "That cut will need to be treated as well." He added.
Oliver nodded. "I'll do it." He said. He felt an overwhelming urge to just be close to her, and he wasn't prepared to take a step back yet.
When Dig returned with a dry t-shirt and the first aid kit, he shot him a grateful look, glad that he seemed to understand what Oliver was feeling, and wasn't questioning him on it.
"I'm going to go fetch your bike. You got this?" He asked.
Oliver was surprised to realize that he'd completely forgotten that he'd abandoned his bike on the side of the road. But he nodded in answer to the question and turned his attention back to Felicity.
"Take care of her, Oliver." Diggle called as he headed back up the stairs.
Felicity was drifting in and out of consciousness, but she managed to open her eyes when he asked. He gave her a soft smile before holding the shirt up and carefully helping her pull it over her head.
Her attempt at returning his smile tugged at his heartstrings and he pulled her back into his arms, resting his chin in her hair.
"I'm sorry." Her whisper was almost lost against his skin, but he heard, and pulled away to look down at her pale face.
"What could you possibly have to be sorry for?" He asked, combing his fingers through her tangled hair.
Her eyes dropped and he caught the errant tear that slipped down her cheek with his thumb.
"I constantly need to be rescued. I can't hold my own, I can't…I'm a liab…"
"Hey. No you're not." He cut her off, his voice firm and booking no argument. Her eyes lifted to meet his, and he brushed his thumbs over her cheekbones, not letting her look away. "You are vital to this team Felicity. Partners, remember?"
She nodded and smiled, lifting her hand so it rested over his, against her cheek.
"Thank you." She mumbled.
He resisted his sudden urge to lean forward and kiss her forehead, instead distracting himself with the first aid kit and the cut along her hairline. He cleaned it as gently as he could, hating her every murmur of pain.
Once it was neatly treated and covered, he looked her over properly, checking for any more injuries. She had warmed up a bit more, a little color was back in her cheeks and her lips were pink once again instead of blue. She looked very small and fragile in his shirt, and he felt a wave of protectiveness wash over him, the sort of protectiveness that made him want to wrap her up in cotton wool and lock her in his bedroom with eight bodyguards watching over her.
It was hours later when Felicity said she felt well enough to go home. She wanted to have a hot shower and watch cartoons. He drove her, and walked her up to her apartment. She managed to convince him that he didn't need to stay with her, and he eventually retreated to his car.
But he couldn't bring himself to leave. He sat outside her apartment building, his eyes on the light that peeked out from the edges of her curtains.
He sat there for nearly three hours. Trying to talk himself out of what he was about to do. He thought about the danger, the consequences, he thought through every possible outcome, he thought about every reason why he should drive home and get some sleep and not do something that he couldn't take back. Because the scary truth was, he knew he wouldn't want to take it back. He tried to tell himself that he was just feeling like this because he nearly lost her, emotions were raw and he wanted the comfort of being around her to assure himself that she wasn't going anywhere. And that was partially true. But the thought that had been plaguing him with every breath he breathed for her on that muddy riverbank was, what if I waited too long? What if he never got a chance to be with her because his own fear and stubborn denial had gotten in the way every time. What if she really was gone, and he had to spend the rest of his life wondering what if? So despite all the reasons why this was a terrible idea, he was willing to risk it all because she'd come so close today, and it simply wasn't worth it. All the fear and doubt and possible, hypothetical disaster wasn't worth not trying. Not taking that leap and seeing if maybe, just maybe it could be the best thing that had ever happened to him. To them.
It took three hours before he gave in.
"Oliver! What are you doing back here?" She held the door open for him, and he walked in slowly, his hands shoved deep into his pockets. He looked anxious in a decidedly un-Oliver-like way.
"I wanted to see if you were okay." He said, his eyes sweeping over her as though she might have developed new injuries since he saw her three hours ago.
"I'm fine. Good as new." She said with a shrug.
His eyes flicked to the bandage on her forehead and she rolled her eyes. "Okay, almost as good as new. It should heal in a couple of days though." She conceded.
He nodded and looked away, his eyes jumping idly around her apartment. She frowned at his odd behavior and took a step closer to him. "Are you okay?" She asked, suddenly feeling quite anxious herself.
"Yeah. No… I don't know." He took a deep breath and looked steadily at a spot just above her head. "I just… When I saw you go over that bridge I… I lost it Felicity. I don't think I've ever been that afraid in my whole life."
She stilled at his admission, her eyes widening in shock.
He closed some of the distance between them, coming to stand just a few feet in front of her, his eyes begging her to understand what he was struggling to say.
But she remained silent, staring at him questioningly.
He fumbled for a second before swallowing thickly and clearing his throat.
"I need to say something to you, I need you to know something. But when I say this to you, everything's going to change and…" He broke off, shaking his head and Felicity realized that whatever he needed to tell her was far bigger than she'd imagined. She'd never seen him so out of his comfort zone before.
"Oliver…" She took a step closer to him, a hand reaching up unconsciously to try to offer some sort of comfort. She caught herself just before her fingers reached his cheek, and quickly let her hand fall back to her side, flushing slightly at her slip. "Oliver whatever it is, you can tell me. You can tell me anything." She said softly, smiling reassuringly up at him.
He nodded and took a steadying breath before he started. And whatever scenarios she'd whipped up in her head, whatever she'd thought might be causing his odd behavior, what she heard next was far from anything she'd imagined.
"I… I said that I couldn't be with someone I could really care about. But that's not really true. What I meant… is that I think I could care about you, love you more than I ever have anyone else. And that scares the hell out of me Felicity, because it's all wrong. I'm broken and damaged and scarred and all I do is hurt people… Or get people hurt." He broke off and gestured angrily at the cut along her hairline. "And you… You deserve so much better. You deserve someone who can give you a normal life, and keep you safe, and take you to the movies on Friday nights. And I'm scared because what if I can't give you that, what if I can't treat you right, what if all I'm going to do is hurt us both so bad that we'll never really be the same?" He paused and looked away, as though struggling to contain his quickly snowballing thought process.
A lump had formed in Felicity's throat and she was desperately blinking back tears as she struggled to wrap her brain around what he was saying. She briefly wondered if she was hallucinating and was about to pinch herself when he carried on, his eyes boring into hers.
"But you know what scares me more than all of that? The idea that some day something's going to happen, like today… and I'm going to lose you… And I'll spend the rest of my life regretting never taking that leap. Never giving this a chance. Us a chance." He drew in a shaky breath, before continuing. "There are a thousand ways this could go wrong, and a part of me thinks that this is the worst idea I've ever had. But I don't care. Because if the choice is between being rational or loving you… there really isn't a choice. I want you. I want to give us a chance, Felicity… If you're up for it."
Tears were running unchecked down her cheeks by the time he'd finished, and she took a moment to react, simply letting his words sink into her mind, her heart. When she focused back on his face, on the reality that this was happening right now, she realized that he was watching for her reaction almost nervously, as though there was a chance she wouldn't feel the same. Was he really that blind? She almost scoffed at the idea that she'd ever not choose him. Had he really been so oblivious of how hopelessly in love with him she'd been for so long? God knows it had been painfully obvious to everyone else.
She needed to say something, do something, snap out of this frozen state of internal reflection and tell him how she felt. She opened her mouth only to close it when she found herself at a loss for words. What could she possibly say that would give his beautiful speech justice?
Finally, she simply gave up on words. The one time in her whole life she found herself unable to say anything had to be then, of course. So she summoned up all her courage and did what she'd been secretly wanting to do ever since he walked into her office all those years earlier with a bullet riddled laptop and a bad lie. She took a step forwards, pushed up onto her tiptoes, and kissed him.
It took him less than a second to react, a large hand reaching out to grab her waist, pulling her close, while the other came up to cup her jaw, a calloused thumb caressing her cheek. His lips moved gently against hers, there was no desperation; no frantic tangle of teeth and tongue, this kiss was simply the sharing of an emotion. Love, acceptance, relief. Both of them tasting the salt of her tears, both of them feeling that moment where your heart swells because finally you have you what you needed all along, and it feels better than you ever imagined it could.
It was gentle and sweet and said more than a thousand words ever could. And when Felicity finally pulled away to breathe, Oliver simply rested his forehead against hers, letting the sound of their soft breathing, the thud of their racing hearts, remain the only sounds in the room. It was a moment somehow even more intimate than the kiss, a moment of shared vulnerability.
When words finally returned to her, she broke the silence with a whisper, and a promise.
"I choose you too by the way, just in case you didn't know already."
He gave a light huff of laughter and then his lips were on hers once more and she let herself get lost in the feel of him surrounding her. This time there was passion and desperation. But he was still heartbreakingly gentle; as though he worried that she might break if he moved too quickly, gripped her too tight. And it made her heart ache, seeing this man, capable of such violence, treat her with such reverence.
And when they finally fell into her bed, a mess of limbs and lips, fingers mapping scars and memorizing muscles, she wondered if this was what it was meant to feel like and she'd just done it wrong every time before, or if it was just them. Together. The look in his eyes as he pushed into her for the first time, told her everything she needed to know. It was them and it was special and it was something she would do everything in her power to hold on to.
Now that she had him, she had no intention of ever letting him go.
She didn't realize she'd whispered that thought aloud, until he kissed her deeply, a smile decorating his face, and promised the same.
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