So this one came as a bit of a surprise. I really wanted to add this to the Stay The Night series, but Oliver just wouldn't cooperate. This is my first posted foray into Oliver's perspective so be gentle. I've written a few others but haven't posted them yet, because they don't feel enough like him. So be gentle? Pretty please? Enjoy!

Oliver pulled back his hood as soon as the door closed silently behind him. His footsteps were light as he entered the lair and he made no noise as he descended the stairs. He opened his mouth to greet his partners but was greeted by the sounds of a heated argument. He raised a brow in surprise and stepped back into the shadows beneath the stairs.

He wasn't eavesdropping exactly, but John and Felicity rarely, if ever, fought. The two of them were usually united against him. But he could see the two of them were locked in an intense stare-down as they argued.

"Felicity, you're being ridiculous!" John asserted with a frown. "For a genius you're actually being rather –"

"Say stupid, John Diggle, and I promise that your credit score will be ruined by tomorrow!" She snapped back. "It's my life!"

Oliver tilted his head to the left as he watched John stalk forwards angrily. He was so confused. Admittedly, he'd been stuck in his own head since Slade had crawled out of the shallow grave Oliver had left him in. His concerns for his family, friends and Sara had left him a little overwhelmed. But he was sure that he would have noticed whatever was causing tension between his friends.

"You're right. It is your life. So be smart about it. Oliver is scared of this guy for a reason, Felicity." John insisted vehemently. "We're just trying to keep you safe. I've told you that already."

Oliver's eyes narrowed as he watched Felicity drop her hands on her hips and raise her chin defiantly. They were fighting about Slade? He hadn't anticipated resistance when he'd asked Dig to keep an eye out for her.

"And I already told you, if Slade Wilson wants me dead? Then you should start shopping for a casket, my friend. Because I'm a goner."

Her words were delivered lightly and it caused something deep within Oliver's chest to burn.

"That's not funny, Felicity." Dig snarled, echoing Oliver's thoughts completely.

She scoffed. "Whatever, Dig. If I see you sitting outside my condo tonight, I'm egging your car."

"Why aren't you taking this seriously?"

Felicity glared at her partner. "I am taking this seriously. I have no interest in dying, John. But it was always a risk, a risk that I was aware of when I signed on for this little mission."

Oliver exhaled deeply, the force of her words a physical blow. He leaned back against the wall and his hand clenched around his bow.

"Not going to happen, Felicity. Oliver and I swore to keep you safe and-"

Felicity laughed. "And I'm still alive. But what we do is dangerous. Need I remind you that I've been shot at, serial killer bait, threatened, collared with a bomb, kidnapped and shot?" She sighed, noticing something on Dig's face that gave her pause. "John, you just got Lyla back. We don't have a lot of chances for a real life. So please don't waste this one. Not for me. God knows one of us should be getting laid. Oliver is the only one on this team who ever gets any play. And I'm officially changing the topic because that sounded bitter. In 3, 2, 1. So how about them Jets?"

Oliver closed his eyes. He took a deep breath and then snuck back up the stairs as the two of them shared a hug. He waited a moment before opening and closing the door sharply. He descended the steps and watched as they broke apart. Dig's expression was stony and Felicity avoided his gaze. She'd been doing that a lot lately.

"Everything alright?" He asked as he turned his back on them and placed his bow in its place. He knew that the two of them were silently arguing behind his back. He heard Dig's soft sigh and his heart sped up. She'd won. He took a few deep breaths before turning to face the two of them with a lifted eyebrow.

"Super." Dig quipped darkly. He watched as his partner gave Felicity an annoyed look before turning and heading up the stairs without another word.

He unzipped his jacket as he kept his gaze on Felicity, who was decidedly looking everywhere but at him. He left the room for a moment to change and she was still leaning against her desk when he returned. He hung up the hood and folded his leather pants before he turned to face her. He stared at her until she finally raised her chin and blue eyes met blue.

"How much of that did you hear?" Her tone held no doubt.

He shrugged. "Most of it?" He paused and crossed his arms over his chest. "Enough."

She sighed and ran a hand through the hair that had long since escaped its ponytail. He watched with alert eyes as she rolled her head forwards and then stretched her shoulders. She stepped out of her heels and pinched the bridge of her nose. Her gaze left his and settled just over his right shoulder.

"Is this the part where you tell me how stupid I'm being?" She wondered quietly.

His fingers twitched as the sudden desire to cup her weary face rose from deep within him. He crushed his arms more tightly against his chest as he fought to squelch his latest urge towards the blond. She quirked an eyebrow in question and he realised he'd been silent for too long.

"I'm just not sure where to start." He admitted tightly. "You're an optimist. You see the light in the dark and the good in the bad. And we need that, I need that." He blew out a breath as snarls of tension curled inside his stomach. "You said that if Slade wanted you dead, then you were already dead. And that isn't okay. Because you don't think like that. I do. It's fatalistic and that's not you." He took a step towards her but left more than enough distance between them. Touching her right now would be a mistake. "And I need you to understand that I will never let Slade hurt you. Ever, Felicity."

He wasn't sure what he was hoping for, but a snort of grim amusement hadn't been it. When had his bright IT girl lost her sense of optimism? When had she stopped believing in the best? And just when had she stopped smiling when he slipped up and admitted to caring about her?

"If Slade Wilson is half as deadly as you say he is, then I'm not being fatalistic. I'm being a realist. Which for the record, I was always a realist. I was just really good at putting things into perspective in a way that wasn't so doom and gloom. You were always good at making things a bummer on your own." She retorted. "You don't think you can beat him. Which tells me all I need to know. Because if you decided you wanted me dead? I'd be dead, Oliver. Especially since it's usually me pulling your head out of your ass and talking you out of doing stupid and bad things." Her nose wrinkled. "I'm getting off track here."

It's usually me pulling your head out of your ass and talking you out of doing stupid and bad things. She had a point there. But she had also used him killing her as an example to make her point.

"Do you actually think I would ever hurt you, Felicity?" He questioned in a lethal whisper.

He watched as her teeth dug into her bottom lip and she looked away from him. "I know you wouldn't kill me, Oliver."

"That wasn't what I asked." He pointed out. But he had a feeling that he wasn't going to like her answer, if her evasiveness was any indication.

"I, um, I know that you would never physically hurt me either, Oliver." She replied evenly, her gaze on the hands were twisting anxiously in front of her.


She sighed heavily before raising narrowed blue eyes to glare at him. "Fine! I know that you'd never willingly let someone hurt me. I know you'd protect me with your life but –" She trailed off as she ran a shaky hand through her hair. "But it's not like you haven't hurt me before, Oliver. It's not like you don't know how I feel about you. I was pretty clear after what happened in Russia."

He wondered then if Russia would always symbolize how much he'd hurt her. The way her mouth had twisted around the word indicated that it might.

"And yeah, the way you handled the situation didn't do us any favours, Oliver." She paused, pursing her lips. "The apology that was part rejection, part ray of hope. Because yeah, you didn't want to be with someone you cared about while you were the Arrow. But you're not always going to be the Arrow. And so I figured that you meant someday you could be with someone you cared about." Her eyes dropped to the floor. "And the way you said it, I thought that maybe you meant that you cared about me, I thought that you meant someday I'd be the one you chose. I figured you'd hang up the hood, or pass it down and you'd allow yourself to be happy. With me."

He knew that everything she was saying was true. She wasn't off base and even if he hadn't intended for his words to come across that way, deep down that's how he'd meant them. But standing there in front of her, he had no idea what to say. Because he was with Sara. And Felicity was, well Felicity. There was a reason he'd kept her at arm's length.

"But then you brought Sara into the team. And then all of a sudden I was erasing footage of the two of you, you know-" She cleared her throat and wiped quickly at her cheeks. Cheeks that he now noticed were wet with tears.

Footage? Jesus Christ, there was a special spot in hell, reserved just for him.

"And the thing is that you care about her. You've said so. I've heard you say so. So maybe I was just wrong and you didn't mean it the way you said. Even if you didn't mean me. And, I just-" She shook her head and closed her mouth.

He took a step forwards. "You just what?" He sounded desperate and in that moment he was. He felt like whatever she wasn't saying was important. And given the weight of the things she had said, he wasn't willing to ignore the possibility that there was more. Her words caused him pain and he'd gladly take an arrow to the chest, because he deserved it.

Felicity folded her arms across her chest and her shoulder slumped forwards. "It doesn't matter." She hesitantly looked up at him and her eyes were so sad. "You're with Sara now. So we don't need to rehash any of this. I was wrong and you're happy so, it's whatever." She exhaled thickly, "Why are we even talking about this? This doesn't matter. The point is that I'm not interested in a bodyguard. My life is my own and I choose to not be followed around like my life depends on it." She finished.

Oliver shook his head. This did matter. But he wasn't prepared to talk about it. Because everything she'd said had hit him in a way that she was clearly unaware of. He was selfish and hurtful and it wasn't okay. This beautiful, strong woman trusted him to keep her safe, even if she no longer trusted him with her heart.

And that? Shouldn't bother him so damn much. Because he'd never wanted her heart, he'd always known that he wasn't to be trusted with something so delicate, something so pure and priceless.

And he'd gone and broken it anyways.

But he couldn't have this conversation right now. Because she was right. He was with Sara, and while he wouldn't call what they had happy exactly, he knew that he owed everyone more than admitting to it. He needed time to work through the thoughts and feelings that were swirling in his head and boiling in his chest. She needed more from him and right now, he just didn't have anything else to give.

"Your life does depend on it." He replied, letting none of his current turmoil break through the surface.

She shook her head tiredly, stepping into her shoes. "I refuse to endanger Dig's life for my own. I just won't allow it." She pulled her jacket on and slipped her arm through the strap of her purse. "I also think that the two of you are overestimating me figuring into Slade's plans. He threatened to take everything you love from you, Oliver." She brushed past him and didn't look back as she climbed the stairs. "So I don't have anything to worry about." She whispered just loudly enough for him to hear it before she slipped out the door.

Oliver stumbled backwards until his back hit a pillar. His feet slid out from under him and he landed heavily on the floor.

He threatened to take everything you love from you, Oliver. So I don't have anything to worry about.

He buried his head in his hands. She was wrong of course. She'd never been more wrong in her life. No one had ever been more wrong about anything than she was about this.

But how could she possibly know that? He'd been pushing her away from the moment that she'd joined the team. He'd led her on and then disappointed her too many times now. He'd slept with Isobel and then gone and broken his no-kill rule because the Count had dared to touch her. Three arrows to the chest? Totally unnecessary. One would have killed him but his rage had demanded more. The moment he realised the Count had Felicity his mask had slipped and he was lucky that Thea hadn't seen his face. Because he'd been a murderer in that moment. He'd known before he made it to the office that the Count was going to die. And he'd known that he'd enjoy it. And then he'd gone and confused matters even more for her by telling her that there would never be a choice when she was in danger.

She had no idea how much she meant to him. No idea, none at all. And it was entirely his own fault.

But Slade would know. Slade probably already knew. It's why he'd asked John to watch over her instead of doing it himself. It's why he kept her at a distance.

He rubbed a hand over his tired eyes.

He was an idiot. He was an idiot because he couldn't seem to stop himself from hurting the best person he'd ever known. He was an idiot because he'd listened quietly as she'd poured her heart out to him and hadn't had a response, hadn't even apologized. He was an idiot because she genuinely had no idea how much he cared about her.

But most of all he was an idiot because he had a girlfriend and yet he couldn't stop the smile that crossed his lips when he thought of the someday that Felicity had described.

So that's it basically? Thanks for reading.