Author's Note: Here we are! The final chapter of Oliver and Felicity's story in this 'verse. More notes at the end.
Chapter 21: Feels Like I'm Knocking on Heaven's Door
He sits at her bedside, large callused fingers running back and forth over the smooth expanse of her arm, feathering the white-blonde hairs that gently rest atop her skin. Up and down, back and forth, drawing aimless patterns, occasionally pausing to press against the pulse point at her wrist. He has been doing this for what feels like an eternity, but in reality can't be more than an hour or two. It doesn't matter. Nothing matters outside of the fact that she is alive and safe and with him.
He hesitates for a moment, scared to take his eyes off of the blonde fast asleep in the hospital bed, scared that she'll be taken away from him when he's not looking. But eventually he does, turns to look at his sister with a gentle smile and accepts the coffee cup she offers him as she moves to take up the seat beside him.
Thea had refused to leave Felicity's side since she and Moira arrived at the hospital minutes after Felicity, Oliver, and Diggle. His sister had clung onto her best friend's hand for dear life and offered her a steady foundation through the flurry of exams and questionings administered by both the hospital staff and police personnel. It was something Oliver had wanted to do, but he knew that the bond between Felicity and Thea was just as strong as the one he shared with the blonde, if not stronger. His sister knew exactly what Felicity needed to hear and when. She knew what was going too far without being told. So he took a step back and used the time to collect himself and process everything that had happened. When the commotion died down a few hours later, Oliver was able to convince Thea to take a lap around the hospital with their mother, giving him some time alone with Felicity.
The hot beverage brings Oliver a small amount of comfort as he takes a grateful sip, just now realizing how exhausted he truly is.
"Thanks for the coffee. How's mom?"
Thea sighs next to him and turns her gaze to her best friend as she replies.
"She's okay. Dad just got here. Took the QC helicopter as soon as he could."
"Good. Felicity will be happy to see him when she wakes up."
Saying that Robert has become a pseudo father figure to Felicity may be a bit of a stretch, but there is no doubt that he cares for her almost as much as he cares for his own flesh and blood. For all of the man's indiscretions, Robert Queen's love for his children cannot be argued. On more than one occasion Oliver has found himself wondering how his father will take the news of his relationship with Felicity.
"Yeah, she will. He and mom are talking with the police right now about how much information will be shared with the public."
The conversation pauses as Thea seems to mull over what to say next. There's conflict in her eyes even as they remain trained on Felicity's sleeping form.
"What is it, Speedy?"
The younger Queen draws in a breath before responding.
"Tommy came with him."
Oliver shouldn't be surprised. Tommy may not be speaking to him, but he cares for Felicity like a little sister. Of course he would come to see her.
"Ollie, I know he didn't take the news of you and Felicity well - "
"He tried to punch me in the face."
His sister shoots him a sharp look of admonishment before continuing.
"One I'm sure you probably deserve for something you've done in the past. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, he has been worried sick over Felicity's disappearance, texting and calling me constantly to see if we had any idea where she was. He asked about you, too."
That catches Oliver by surprise, causing him to quickly transfer his gaze back to Thea.
"Tommy may not be the biggest fan of you and Felicity together, but he's still your best friend. He still cares about your well being. I think you should talk to him."
"It's… It's not that easy, Thea."
A noise of frustration leaves Oliver in the form of a sharp exhale. However, before he can explain why it's not, he's interrupted by a cautious knock on the door. Both Queen siblings turn their heads to look at the intruder, spotting one Tommy Merlyn with his head poked through the door.
"Uhm, hi. I just wanted to see how she's doing."
Thea speaks in a low tone so only Oliver can hear what she says as she gathers her things.
"Isn't it though, big brother?"
"I can come back later if now is a bad time."
Tommy awkwardly scratches at the back of his head as Thea rises from her seat, nervously shuffling from side to side in the doorway.
"No, that's okay. I was just leaving. You guys should talk."
Crossing the room, she pushes up on her toes to press a kiss against Tommy's cheek and whispers something to him that Oliver can't hear from his place at Felicity's beside. Then she's gone and a tense silence fills the room as the two men are left alone. Tommy continues to fidget in place before taking a few cautious steps forward.
"How is she?"
"She'll be fine. There's some nasty bruising and they had to stitch together a small cut at the base of her skull and one above her eyebrow, but aside from that and a minor concussion she's okay."
"Thea says they found traces of some kind of drug. Did they… Was she…?"
Oliver is quick to slam the brakes on that train of thought. He already went down that road while they took her away to administer the exam. It took a doctor, two nurses, and Felicity herself to reassure him that those men hadn't touched her.
"No. She tested negative for sexual assault. It was only to keep her sedated."
A long, drawn out sigh of relief leaves Tommy as he scrubs both of his palms over his face, shoulders falling from their tense state at the news.
Silence once again engulfs the room, and neither Oliver nor Tommy knows exactly what to say next. Instead of focusing on the stalemate between him and and his best friend, Oliver returns his attention to the sleeping girl whose hand he unconsciously moved to hold during his exchange with Tommy. He watches the rise and fall of her chest, counting the beats between each swell and finding solace in the steady rhythm of her breathing. A strand of golden hair has fallen across her face and Oliver reaches out to carefully tuck it behind her ear. Felicity unconsciously leans into the warmth of his hand, releasing a contented sigh when he briefly cups her cheek in his palm.
"You really love her, don't you?"
Oliver answers without hesitation, loving gaze trained on the sleeping girl.
"I really do."
Tommy stuffs his hands in his pockets and shuffles on his feet again before gingerly taking the seat Thea had occupied a few minutes ago. Oliver lets his hand fall from Felicity's cheek and turns to his best friend with a questioning look in place.
"Listen man, I know I lost it when I found the two of you together, and I'm sorry for not hearing you out. But this is Felicity and she's like a little sister to me. You can't honestly say you wouldn't be concerned if you suddenly found Thea and some older guy in a compromising position. An eighteen-year-old and a thirty-year-old, you've got to know how that looks."
Oliver nods in understanding, because he does know how it looks. It looks bad. It looks like he's taking advantage of her. It's the reason he had tried fighting his feelings for as long as he did.
"I know, trust me I do. I fought long and hard with myself on this. But I'm your best friend, Tommy. You know me. Do you honestly think I would ever do that? Let alone to Felicity? Hell, do you think Felicity would ever let someone do that to her?"
"No, I don't think either of you would. You genuinely care about each other, and once I moved beyond my initial shock and anger I saw that. I see that. Now I'm just hurt that you didn't feel like you could come to me about it."
"Tommy, you tried to give me a black eye."
Arching an eyebrow, Oliver casts a look toward his best friend as if daring him to deny the fact. Tommy responds by raising both his hands in a sign of surrender as he replies.
"Okay, fair enough. Regardless of how I reacted initially, I want you to know now that I'm okay with it. Or at least getting there. I don't wanna see you guys getting hot and heavy or anything, but you don't have to hide from me anymore. You're both important to me and if you make each other happy then I wish nothing but the best for the two of you."
It feels like a weight has been lifted off of Oliver's shoulders, one he didn't even realize was there. Tommy's disapproval hurt deeply, but it had fallen to the wayside in the wake of current events.
"Thank you. You don't know how much that means to me."
Both men quickly divert their attention to the source of the soft, feminine reply. Her voice is sleep-filled and hushed, barely reaching above a whisper, but it's enough to be heard in this quiet moment.
"Hey, Lissy. How are you feeling?"
Tommy smiles fondly at Felicity as she blinks her eyes to rid them of sleep. Once she does, she responds with a small smile of her own.
A series of coughs escape Felicity and Oliver quickly reaches for the glass of water at her bedside, holding the straw up in offering. She shifts in the bed to move into a more upright position and takes a few gracious sips, sighing as the cool liquid flows down her throat.
The two quickly get caught up in one another, reveling in the feel of being together again without an imminent threat nearby. The clearing of a throat draws their attention a moment later.
"Well then, I'm gonna go and let you two make heart eyes over each other in private."
Oliver gives a good humored huff of annoyance at the term.
"I do not have 'heart eyes'. Why does everyone keep saying that?"
Tommy and Felicity laugh at the slight exasperation in his tone, the former shifting to standing as he does so.
"Keep telling yourself that, buddy. Felicity, I'm really glad you're okay."
His best friend leans over the hospital bed railing to press a tender kiss to Felicity's forehead, eyes briefly falling shut. It's in that moment that Oliver can see just how much of an effect this ordeal has really had on Tommy. No matter how lighthearted he was acting, the thought of losing Felicity scared him almost as much as Oliver or Thea.
Tommy pulls away, striding across the room to the door. However, he pauses just shy of disappearing from the room and turns back around to say one last thing.
"Hey Oliver, if you break her heart, I'll break your face. And a few other irreplaceable body parts along with it."
With a quick wink to Felicity and a mock gesture of intimidation thrown in Oliver's direction, Tommy quickly ducks out of the room.
Felicity's tinkling laughter fills Oliver's ears, the sound itself bringing light and warmth to the room that has been desperately missing these past few days. He didn't realize how much he had missed it, not only her laughter but the overwhelming sense of belonging and happiness and home that come with being near her. The way Felicity can so easily bring light to the lives of those around her is something Oliver will never take for granted.
Before he gets a chance to say anything, the door opens yet again as Diggle enters the room.
"Well, someone is Mr. Popular today."
Oliver gives a brief huff of laughter before responding to Felicity's quip in a lighthearted tone that feels unfamiliar after these past few days of solemnity and exhaustion.
"I think they might be here for you."
"Can't imagine why."
"Are you two lovebirds done or should I give you a couple minutes?"
Felicity gives a goodnatured roll of her eyes at Diggle's remark before smiling widely at the older man as he approaches.
"Hi Digg. How are you?"
"I think I'm the one who should be asking you that. How are you feeling?"
Digg comes to a stop at her bedside, hands lightly resting on his hips. Oliver takes note of the way his friend's eyes flicker to the machine tracking Felicity's vital signs and the small nod of affirmation he gives when everything checks out alright.
"I've been worse. How's everything out there?"
"That's actually what I came to talk to the two of you about."
Both Oliver and Felicity give the man a questioning look, shifting into more upright stances and silently encouraging him to continue.
"Frank's daughter Helena just came forward with a bank of information on the mob's operations. She has apparently been gathering intel for over a year now to hand over to the FBI and incarcerate her father."
Felicity's eyes widen in shock at the news and Oliver too finds himself surprised by this development. He had only spoken with Helena and her fiance Michael briefly at dinner that night, but he never picked up on the slightest hint of disapproval toward her father's livelihood.
"Why would she do that?"
All Digg can reply to Oliver's inquiry with is a noncommittal shrug of his shoulders.
"What does that mean going forward?"
"I'm not sure. Most likely they'll put him on trial for multiple offenses, your kidnapping included. With all this evidence against him, I don't see anyway Bertinelli will walk out of this a free man. The penalty for kidnapping in California is three to eight years, but organized crime can be a life sentence. It might also help your mom claim duress."
Oliver studies Felicity's face as she processes the information, watching the myriad of emotions play across her features. Shock, confusion, realization, worry, relief… they're all there. He reaches out to take her hand in his and strokes his thumb back and forth across her knuckles in a soothing gesture. Felicity smiles at him gratefully before taking a deep breath to settle herself. She looks to Diggle with hopeful eyes, the bright blue reflecting an innocence that has somehow remained intact despite everything she's been through.
"So my mom is going to be okay?"
"I'm no attorney, but from the sound of things your mom is going to be fine, Felicity."
Sitting back in the hospital bed, Felicity allows Digg's words to sink in. A tear of relief tracks down her cheek and she quickly reaches up to brush it away, laughing at her own emotional state.
"Sorry, I just…"
Diggle holds up a hand to stop the blonde's struggle to find words at the same time that Oliver addresses her in a low, soothing voice.
"Hey, there's no need to explain. You've been through a lot more than anyone should ever have to endure. Trust me, I'm an expert in that area."
Felicity gives a short, hiccuping laugh of disbelief before lightly hitting him on the shoulder.
"Stop it. That isn't funny."
"You're right, it's not. But it got you to smile."
She rolls her eyes at that, but the smile remains in place as she responds.
"God, you're such a cheeseball. Speaking of, I could really go for some junk food right now. These IV fluids are great and all, but I think I hear a cheeseburger somewhere calling my name."
Her smile transitions into an adorable grin, eyebrows raised in a silent question at the two men.
"I think I'm getting a toothache from being in the room with you two and there's a Big Belly around the corner. I'll go pick something up and see if I can sneak it past the nurse's station."
"Have I ever told you that you're my hero, Digg?"
The older man smiles down at the blonde as he shrugs on the jacket previously folded over his arm, getting ready to leave.
"I believe the words 'knight' and 'shining armor' were used once. The usual? Extra pickles?"
The endearing, tooth bearing grin Felicity gives Diggle has Oliver's heart beating just a little faster. He went days without seeing her smile or knowing if he ever would again. That realization slams him hard in the chest and causes his breath to catch in his throat. He barely registers Diggle's departure from the room aside from the sounds of the door clicking shut.
Lost in the onslaught of emotion, Oliver leans in without realizing to press a soft, tender kiss to Felicity's lips. His hand cradles the base of her head, fingers sliding between soft golden strands of hair as he changes their angle to deepen the kiss. When they break apart he doesn't move away, opting instead to rest his forehead against hers and embrace the feeling of finally being close to her once again. They're both slightly out of breath, lips parted and just brushing against each other with each ragged inhale.
"I love you. You have no clue how terrified I was that I would never get the chance to tell you that again, never get to show you. God, Felicity, I was such a mess. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I - "
A small hand reaches up to cradle his jaw, Felicity's soothing yet insistent voice stopping him from going any further.
"Hey, hey, hey. I'm here now, okay? I'm here and I'm safe and I'm with you. It's all gonna be okay now."
Oliver closes his eyes and leans into the palm of her hand. His eyes remain shut as he whispers his response.
"I can't imagine my life without you in it."
"You don't have to."
She must feel the tension still in his body because Felicity quickly moves to take his face in both of her hands, slightly shifting him away from her.
"Oliver, look at me."
She waits for him to do as told before continuing, gaze steadily locked onto his.
"I am not going anywhere. Well except for back to school in the fall, which we also need to talk about but that's a conversation for a later date. Anyway, the point is that I'm here now and I'm safe. No one is going to hurt me anymore. I am going to be fine, Oliver Queen. You hear me?"
The conviction in her eyes blazes with a ferocity that he's seen matched by very few in life. He lets himself get lost in it, borrowing from the strength of the incredible woman before him. And then he allows himself to believe her.
Felicity searches his eyes, making sure he's not just agreeing with her for the sake of agreeing. A loving smile graces her lips when she sees that he's not.
"Okay. And one more thing."
Instead of answering, she leans forward to press a deep kiss against his mouth, letting everything she's just said poor into the action. Oliver loses himself in the kiss, giving just as much as he gets. When Felicity pulls away, they're both breathing a little heavier than they were before.
"I love you, too. Always."
He echoes her without hesitation.
It is in that moment that he knows they'll be the ones that make it all the way to the end. Through the good and the bad that is yet to come, all the trials and tribulations that life has planned for them, they're going to push through it all together. This, them, it's the stuff people spend a lifetime searching for. It's the kind of love and partnership people write poems and songs and novels about. And it's something Oliver never imagined would ever be possible for someone as damaged as him. Yet somehow here they are and he's never been more sure of anything in his life.
He doesn't tell her this right now. In fact, he doesn't tell her how sure he is of them for a long, long time.
He doesn't tell her as they say goodbye after she unpacks the last of her things in her Cambridge apartment 3,000 miles away from Starling City come September. He doesn't tell her when they're sitting in a courtroom, facing the man who almost ripped Felicity from this world as the word 'guilty' rings out with sharp finality. He doesn't tell her when they almost break up two years later because she has MIT and he has Queen Consolidated and the distance is killing them slowly. Nor does he tell her when he gets down on one knee and asks her to spend the rest of her life with him the same day she graduates with a dual degree in computer science and cyber security. And as valedictorian, no less. He doesn't tell her of his surety eight years from now when they make a vow in front of one hundred of their closest friends and family, her mother included, to always be there for each other. Even when she gives birth to their beautiful twins at twenty-nine on what is easily the happiest day of his life, Oliver still doesn't tell her.
Instead he whispers it to her on a hospital bed years and years and years later when his voice is hoarse with old age and he can feel his body shutting down on him. He tells her with her tear stained cheeks captured in the palms of his weathered hands and the sound of his heartbeat slowing down in the background.
"Felicity," he says. "I always knew we would make it to the end."
And they do.
Author's Note: Wow. It's done. I can't believe it.
I started posting this story a year ago this week and it has been an incredible experience. As a first time writer the response to this story has been overwhelming in the best way possible. There were times when I wanted to give up, I'm not going to lie. Not because I had lost sight of what I wanted for this story, but because of the constant going and going and going that I do in my everyday life. However, all of you guys with your love and words of encouragement kept me going. So thank you, to everyone who took some time out of their day to show your support for this story and my writing. You are the reason this story made it to its proper end. This last chapter is dedicated to you guys and to everyone else who followed along on this journey. I cannot put it in words how much it means to me.
Thank you. Always.