title: and I will love you always (with the passion of the sun)
category: arrow
genre: romance/drama/humor
ship: felicity/oliver, felicity/tommy
rating: nc-17/explicit
prompt: flommy + olicity like maybe she likes both and can't choose between them or maybe she dated one but falls in love with the other? – anonymous
: coarse language, sexual content, casual drug/alcohol use
word count: 11,210
summary: Love is never as simple as it should be. When Felicity is fifteen years old, she meets two boys; the two great loves of her life.

and I will love you always (with the passion of the sun)

Felicity falls in love with Tommy Merlyn on a Tuesday.

She's 15 and she says something that makes him laugh so hard he shoots orange soda out of his nose. He's still wiping it from his chin, grinning brightly, when he tells her they need to hang out more.

Hang out becomes make out becomes regular dating. She's not complaining.

She falls in love with Tommy on a Tuesday and she doesn't think she'll ever stop.

"What's your favorite animal?" he asks, their heads pressed together as they lay on his bed. He has one of her hands and he's playing with her fingers, her leg is stretched out, ankle overlapping his.

She shrugs. "Koalas."

He stares at her, his lips turning up. "Really?"

"Yeah, why?" Her eyebrow raises curiously. "What's your favorite animal?"

He nods, saying proudly, "Monkeys."

She scoffs. "How are monkeys better than koalas?"

"Monkeys are awesome! You can teach them to pick-pocket."

Felicity laughs, her brows hiked. "And that's a defining characteristic of any animal worthy of being favorite?"

"In my books, it is."

"What do you even need with a pick-pocketing monkey?" she wonders, shaking his head.

"I don't know, but I'm going to find out."

He's a bit of a dork, and she likes that. So she kisses him, even as he tells her, in between kisses, as he pushes her onto her back, that he's going to teach it to steal very certain things and replace them with other, seemingly pointless, things, and it'll have its own wardrobe, and he'll name it Banana Pants, because why not?

If she didn't love him before, she falls in love with him right then.

They fight over dumb things, like how much she studies and how little he does—

("You know there are other letters of the alphabet than D, right?"

"Yeah, but 'D' has a nice right to it, don't you think?")

Like how he likes to party and she's a little more cautious about how much she drinks—

("You need to catch up, Smoak, I'm got 3 drinks to your 1."

"Or maybe you need to slow down."

"Don't harsh my buzz. I have it on good authority that the host's girlfriend should be a lot drunker.")

Like how outgoing he is, how people fall at his feet for his attention, while she feels awkward at his side, like maybe they don't fit by society's standards—

("If you're trying to blend in with the wallpaper, you're doing a good job."

"You were inspiring the masses. I thought I'd leave you to it."

"I was judging a drinking contest. I'm not sure how inspiring anybody at that table was."


"Felicity, this is me asking you to stop blending in. It's hard to find you when you're quiet. And I always want to find you.")

What they don't fight about it how well their hands fit together; how her lips fit perfectly atop his; how, when he kisses her, he keeps his eyes open because he likes to see how happy she looks. They don't fight about how easy it is to be together, just the two of them; how they fit, side by side; how she can always tell what he's thinking and he can finish every sentence she starts.

And when he's sad, when he misses his mom or when his dad ignores him, he knows he can always go to her. He can put his head in her lap or on her shoulder or just say her name and know that she understands. She doesn't always know what to say or how to make it better, but she holds onto him just hard enough to ground him, and that's enough.

"I don't like fighting with you," he tells her, sitting grumpily in her desk chair, spinning it around.

"I don't like fighting with you either."

"Then we should stop," he says, pushing off the chair and joining her on her bed, laying down beside her, his chin propped on her arm. "Let's just never fight about anything ever."

She snorts, looking down at him with amusement. "You really think that's possible?"

"We've got two options here. Either one of us is always right or we take turns being right… But, just a head's up, I'll pick my battles wisely and the things I'll be right about are probably going to be questionable."

She laughs, shaking her head. "You're an idiot."

"But a cute idiot."

She raises an eyebrow. "Is this the argument you win?"

He purses his lips, turns his eyes up, seems to come up with a better argument for him to win and then grins. "I'm an idiot."

Three days later, when he tells her it's his turn to win, he's the proud new owner of a baby crocodile he found on eBay, and she realizes her boyfriend isn't just a dork. He's eccentric. That shouldn't be as adorable as she seems to think it is.

Tommy is more than her boyfriend; he's her best friend.

There are others, but he climbs the ranks until he's equal with them.

She wonders sometimes, if they'd never kissed, if they'd still be friends and make it work that way. She can't quite imagine her life without him in it and she doesn't want to.

He can be reckless—

("Hey, so what would you say if I said I know a way to sneak into the local zoo after hours?")

And impulsive—

("I'm not saying I did let that monkey out of its cage, but I'm not saying I didn't either… By the way, this is my new pet, his name is Banana Pants and, I know what you're thinking, but it's totally unrelated…")

But he's also sweet—

("You wanna talk about your bubbe…? You guys were pretty close. I brought ice cream and the best cuddler in Starling. It's me, FYI. I have a certificate I had made up and everything.")

And adorable—

("I'm going to kiss you until you laugh, because your sad face is giving me stomach pains. Also, because I want to kiss you and I miss your lips. I'm 90% sure they miss me, too, but we won't know for sure until I ask them, up close and personal.").

And she wouldn't trade him for anyone else.

She knows his relationships are short-lived and there's probably an expiry date somewhere in the fine print, but she decides to just go with the flow, for once, and enjoy herself.

"You know I'm not going to break up with you, right?"

She raises her head, a fry midway to her mouth, dripping ketchup back to her plate. "Huh?"

He shifts in his seat, on the bench across from her. "I'm just saying… I know my reputation is kind of shitty when it comes to long-term relationships, but…" He shrugs.

Half-smiling, she pops her fry in her mouth and chews. "What if I suddenly get really annoying?"

"You're already kind of annoying. I should probably get a sainthood just for putting up with you."

Felicity rolls her eyes. "Very cute."

"Thank you," he replies, grinning.

"You know, just because you're not breaking up with me doesn't mean I won't break up with you," she warns cheerfully, standing from her seat and dusting her hands off before she takes her tray toward the garbage can.

She's just putting it on the top when he sidles up behind her, his hands on her hips and chin on her shoulder. "Bet I can change your mind."

She bites her lip to hide her smile. "You have my attention…"

She meets Oliver on a Wednesday. He's loud and brash and cocky. He is Tommy's equal, his best friend, the devil on his shoulder that she can't help but like. He makes Tommy happy, makes him laugh, and for that, she can't dislike him.

He doesn't make much of an effort at first. She thinks he thinks she's temporary, just one girlfriend in a long string of many. But then she sticks around and he changes his mind and he tries a little harder next time. He's still a little territorial, he jokes about having shared custody of Tommy, but she thinks there's some honesty in there, too. He doesn't want her to have all of Tommy, he wants to make sure she'll leave some for him. So she does. Because they're best friends and she doesn't want to get in the way of that. She sees the way Tommy lights up when Oliver is by his side and, likewise, she sees the same in Oliver for Tommy. They're brothers by choice if not in blood and she'll never stand in the way of that.

She meets Oliver on a Wednesday, but she doesn't gain his friendship for almost a year. After that, she knows she'll never get rid of him.

The first time she realizes Oliver likes her and isn't just putting up with her is when she makes him smile, genuinely.

She's rambling. She knows she is, but she can't stop. It's a habit and one she's sure he's bore witness to far too many times.

Tommy thinks it's cute, sometimes he kisses her to shut her up. But Tommy isn't there and her hands are waving around as she continues to embarrass herself.

And then Oliver's hand is on her shoulder, warm and heavy, and he just looks at her, his lips upturned. He doesn't say anything, doesn't tease her for how her mouth seems to have the upper-hand, he just continues the conversation, like everything is fine and normal.

After that, it's easy to make him laugh or smile, and Tommy tells her that he likes her, he considers her a friend.

She's proud of that.

They hang out sometimes, without Tommy there to chaperon.

They build up a friendship outside of him, something that's all their own. It's mostly during the summers, when Tommy joins his dad traveling around the world. Felicity finds herself at the Queen Manor a lot, asking Oliver if he wants to hang out. Sometimes he just wants to play video games or lay on the blow-up pool furniture. He doesn't swim, he hates swimming, but she doesn't. He floats around with whatever fruity drink Raisa makes up for them while she does laps and splashes water at him and plays Marco Polo with Thea.

Sometimes they drive around with the top down on whichever one of his dad's cars they borrowed for the afternoon. She likes the way the wind whips her hair around even though it'll takes ages to get all the tangles out. He smiles at her when she lets her hair loose and drives a little faster to encourage her. She wonders if they look like something out of those cheesy movies, but doesn't care enough to stop.

She has other friends, but they come and go over time. Her two constants are Tommy and Oliver and she thinks that'll probably always be how it is.

She can't say that's a bad thing.

"How drunk am I right now?" Oliver asks, laying on the floor of Tommy's bedroom, staring at the ceiling.

"Well, you called me mom and asked me to rub your head and sing you to sleep, so probably pretty drunk," she answers.

He hums, turning onto his side. "Can you do that?"

She frowns, her brow furrowed. "Do what?"

"Rub my head and sing to me."

She blinks. "Is that a trick question?"

He sighs, exasperated. "Raisa does it for me when I'm sick."

"Well, last I checked, you weren't sick."

"Hung-over's a kind of sick," he argues.

"Maybe, but you're still drunk, so…"

"Felicity…" he whines, kicking one foot petulantly.

Her mouth twitches. "Fine. But you need to get off the floor. Sleep in Tommy's bed. I think he'll stay passed out on the couch downstairs."

Groaning at the effort it takes, Oliver manages to scrape himself off the floor and drag his feet as he makes his way over to Tommy's bed, rolling into it and hugging the pillow under his head.

Felicity takes a seat beside him and, hesitantly, reaches out to brush her fingers over his hair. "Is singing really important?"

"Mm-hmm," he hums, nodding faintly.

He looks like a little boy, far younger than he really is. It's sweet and unexpected and she likes him a little more because of it.

So she rubs his head and strokes his hair and sings him a lullaby her mother used to sing to her when she was little.

He smiles as he falls asleep.

She tucks the blanket in around him and makes her way downstairs to Tommy. He's still passed out, snoring loudly. The couch is big enough for both of them, so she pulls his arm up and lays beside him, curling it around her waist. He mumbles something about koala monkeys in her hair and kisses her neck before falling back to sleep.

She wakes up the next morning to the smell of coffee. Oliver's not there but she knows he made it because he leaves her favorite mug by the machine.

She likes Laurel.

She thinks Laurel's good for Oliver.

But then they fight and he cheats and she wonders why anybody would put themselves through that same cycle, over and over.

She likes Laurel but she doesn't think she and Oliver will make it. Or maybe she doesn't think they should.

The first time she tells Tommy she loves him, he whispers it back.

They're lying in his bed and he brushes her hair off her cheek and behind her ear, smiling softly.

It says a lot, because he's usually loud, trying to be heard and seen over everyone else. But this is quiet, this is theirs, and she knows he really means it.

That moment where Tommy's eye wanders or he gets bored or he decides things aren't working out doesn't come.

She forgets to expect the inevitable heartbreak and wonders if maybe her first love can be her forever love.

And then he smiles or he laughs or he reaches for her hand, and she thinks 'maybe' is 'definitely.'

They decide long-distance would suck too much, so Tommy goes to Harvard while she goes to MIT.

They get an apartment together with Oliver, but he barely lasts half a year before he drops out. Felicity wonders if Tommy will follow suit and join Oliver at whatever college he decides to go to next. That's their thing. They go where the other goes. But he stays and she isn't sure if it's for her or because he likes Harvard, but she appreciates whatever keeps him there.

The first night Oliver's gone, the apartment seems especially empty and Tommy is far quieter than she's used to. She cheers him up with naked Twister, but she hopes he'll come around. She wonders what their new normal will be, only to find out it's not much different from before.

Oliver jumps around to a few other schools, never settling anywhere for long, and always ends up back in their apartment, just as cheerful and as carefree as ever. He sleeps on the couch most days, parties late into the night, and tries his best to convince Tommy to do the same. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. All she knows is that Oliver always remembers to make the coffee before he passes out so she has a cup in the morning before school.

Oliver is her deep-conversation person. Granted, he's usually high at the time, or drunk, but he gets pretty existential and likes taking apart the world.

They'll sit on the couch together and he'll rest his head on the back and stare at the ceiling as he contemplates the meaning of life and why parents are so judgemental and what if not everybody has a purpose in life. And sometimes she listens, sometimes she talks, sometimes she even has questions like that herself, but mostly she just likes how he talks so quietly, like this conversation is for them alone.

Much like Tommy, Oliver is a loud personality. He's shouting and laughter and the life of the party. But these moments, the quiet ones, are the ones she remembers best, the ones she holds onto. These ones are personal and real and nothing like the stage-persona he adopts in front of a crowd.

She wonders when they became one of those people in each other's lives, the one that they confide in and trust and can let down their guard around.

She's not sure when, but she's glad they did.

"How high are you?" she wonders, hugging her sweater a little tighter around her front.

The heater is broken and Tommy keeps saying he'll talk to the landlord, but he's so busy with school lately that it falls to the bottom of the priority list.

Oliver turns his head to grin at her. "Never high enough."

Felicity frowns. "Did you want to elaborate on that, or was it cookie crumble wisdom?"

"Cookie crumble," he answers before turning his head back up and staring at the ceiling. "Have you ever been high?"

"No. There was an incident with a pot brownie last week, but that just ended with Tommy taking me to the emergency room."

Oliver frowns then. "That's not cool."

"No." Her lips twitch. "It was very not cool, actually."

"You know what it feels like, though? When you're not have an allergic reaction, anyway."

"No, but I'm sure you'll tell me."

"Like flying. Not in a crazy, hallucinogenic way, although that's fun too, but in an 'I'm free' way."

Humming, she rests her elbow on the back of the couch and her head on her hand. "And what are you trying to get free of today?" she wonders.

He smiles again, but this time it's sad, and he glances at her for just a moment. "Doesn't matter. I'm not very good at staying away from it for long."

She opens her mouth to ask him what he means, but then the door opens and Tommy is there, filling them in on his long day and flopping down in an arm chair beside them. Oliver's high and his reason for it get curbed then. She hates mysteries, but Oliver does a lot of talking when he's high, not all of it as coherent or as deep as he likes to think. Still, she thought he might've been going somewhere that time.

He kisses her once when he's drunk. It's a sloppy kiss that he aims at her cheek and misses.

And then he stops, his mouth lingering against hers, firm and warm and only ruined by the bitter taste of beer resting on his lips. "I think you're my 'what if,'" he says.

He passes out five minutes later and she never brings it up again, but she knows.

She brushes her teeth and crawls into bed next to Tommy and tells herself that her lips aren't buzzing and her heart didn't skip.

She loves Tommy.

She loves Oliver, too, but not like that.

She's in love with Tommy.

Not Oliver.

Not Oliver.

He never brings up the kiss and he disappears for two months after that. Tommy isn't worried because Oliver's like that. He comes and he goes and he'll visit them again soon.

When he does come back, he's with Laurel again, and she thinks that says more than any conversation about their kiss could.

She resolves to chalk it up to a drunken mistake and tells herself to forget it ever happened.

She can't.

When Tommy casually mentions marriage, she flinches.

Not because she doesn't want to marry him, one day, eventually, but because she has a plan. A ten-year plan. One that involves certain milestones, like finishing MIT and getting settled in her career before she ever thinks about marriage.

He gets it. He stops bringing it up.

She wonders if it's bad that she's relieved.

"You'd tell me if things changed for you, right?" he asks one night, as they lay in bed.

She frowns. "What do you mean?"

"If your feelings changed, if you… wanted out or something. You'd tell me, right?"

Turning onto her side, Felicity stares up at him, her cheek on the back of her hand. "Is this because I said I wasn't sure I was ready to get married…?"

He shakes his head, but it turns into a nod half-way through. "I don't want to pressure you. I'm not pressuring you. I just… I mean, if things are different for you, if you don't feel the same about me like you did before, it's okay. I'll understand. Just… be honest with me."

"Tommy, of course my feelings for you have changed. We got together when we were fifteen years old. We've both changed. But if you're asking me if I don't love you anymore, no, of course not. I love you. I've never questioned that."

He blew out a sigh then, full of relief, and she shifted across the bed to lay her head on his chest.

"And if I did, if I fell out of love with you, I'd never drag it out, that would only hurt both of us." She tapped her fingers over his chest. "But I don't see myself falling out of love with you anytime soon."

"I do have the market cornered on 'awesome,'" he boasts lightheartedly.

She laughs, turning her head down to press a kiss to his chest. Her smile fades as she looked up at him seriously. "We're young. We have time to get married."

He nods, sober and sincere, and brushes her hair back from her face. "Just as long as I'm the guy at the end of your aisle."

The truth is, she can see herself marrying Tommy. She can see herself being happy with him.

She can see blue-eyed, dark haired babies with his smile, and they'd be just as cheerful as their father. She can see a whole future where she is happy and in love and it's Tommy by her side.

But she's not sure she's ready for that future to start yet. She's half-way through MIT and there's still so much she wants to do.

So she'll love him and be with him, and rings and marriage can wait a little longer.

Waiting's not wrong when it's right.

Oliver's lost at sea on a Saturday.

She doesn't know how to react at first. There's only numbness, whole and consuming. It spreads over her until she chokes on air and can't seem to stand upright. She can't think straight, she can't move, she just sits on her couch, beside a seat that's all too empty, and she feels lost.

Tommy is distraught and confused and she doesn't know how to help him through that. Oliver was her friend, sometimes that word didn't even cover what he was to her, but he was Tommy's best friend, his closest confidant, his brother.

Two broken people trying to hold each other up is like a tragedy waiting to happen.

Tommy stops going to classes, he fails out of Harvard and spends more time at the bar than ever before.

He drinks too much and loses sight of anything important and the life he built up with her crumbles before her eyes.

He cheats on her with a woman he can't remember the name of and cries in her lap the next morning. He doesn't know why he did it, but she does.

It hurts. He's always hurting. He doesn't know how to do this without Oliver and she reminds him of him. Most of the last seven years of memories are of the three of them together and sometimes when he looks at her she knows he's imagining Oliver right beside her. Only he's not there and neither is Tommy.

She tries to forgive him, tries to understand, but something changes after that. Something twists up inside their relationship and she can't quite get it out.

She silently blames Oliver for it, even as she wishes he'd just come home.

She wakes up every morning wishing she'd see his hung-over face sleeping on her couch.

But it's never there and something hollow burrows into her heart.

She breaks up with Tommy on a Thursday, almost a year after Oliver disappears. He's stoic and quiet, but his eyes are red-rimmed and he can't quite look at her. She tells him she's still his friend, she'll still be there for him, but she can't be together anymore.

He promises he'll get help, he'll see a counselor, he'll stop drinking.

He doesn't.

They stay friends. She visits and calls and tries to support him through everything. But it's hard, because she still loves him, she misses him, and she wishes things were different.

He moves back to Starling and she stays in Cambridge to finish her schooling, in the apartment filled with memories of the three of them, of better times, of a couch she can't get rid of and a face that makes her heart hurt.

He visits sometimes, full of woe and nostalgia. He talks about Oliver non-stop and she lets him.

They sleep together a few times, looking for comfort in someone who understands, but it doesn't feel the same after. Something's missing. She knows it and he knows it and he can't stop apologizing for ruining it.

That only makes it worse.

They stop sleeping together and focus on building a friendship.

She refuses to lose him and he's not sure he can survive this without her.

She pulls him out of the gutter, finds him a good grief counselor, and joins him on his first visit, even if she spends the whole hour sitting in the waiting room until he's done. He looks a little like his old self when he walks out to meet her, a little less burdened with loss. She takes his hand and squeezes it tight.

He'll make it.

He will.

She knows he's getting better when he starts to laugh again. Not that hollow husk of a laugh that he forces from the raw back of his throat, but a real laugh.

It's usually Thea who get him to do it and Felicity nearly cries when she hears it for the first time in three years.

He's still broken, but he's getting better.

He tells her so, and she believes him.

Oliver returns to the living on a Sunday. It's all over the news. She's got a job at Queen Consolidated, working in the IT Department, and the building is abuzz with gossip. She almost passes out, she's hyperventilating so hard.

She calls Tommy because they're friends, even if he sometimes tells her she's his biggest regret, that screwing things up like he did still haunts him. She misses him and, for a second, she even wonders if things can go back to what they were.

She knows they can't.

Tommy might have Oliver back, but none of them will ever be the same.

She sees Oliver again for the first time on a Wednesday afternoon. He's taller than she remembers, broader and scruffier too. She doesn't mean to cry, but then she is, and he's pulling her into his chest, hugging her tightly, his head bowed down, chin on top of her hair, and she laughs and tells him, "I was expecting a malnourished Tom Hanks-type, not Tarzan."

His chuckle vibrates through his chest and it's calming. It's full of relief and comfort and he squeezes her a little tighter and says, "I missed you."

Sniffling, she brings her head back and looks up at him. "You just missed my cooking. Which, just so you know, has been replaced by an unhealthy amount of take-out."

He shakes his head, half-smiling. "Why don't I buy? We'll get dinner at Table Salt. Me, you, Tommy; it'll be just like old times."

She agrees, even though she knows it won't be like old times. It can't be.

Tommy is his old, bright self, full of jokes and charm and topping off everyone's glass with wine as he tells stories about what Oliver missed, acting like he was unaffected when she still remembers holding him as he cried, raging against the world for taking his only real friend from him.

Felicity is quiet, preferring to watch them interact, to let the sound of their mutual laughter warm her heart like it used to.

"So? No ring. What's up with that?" Oliver asks, staring at her hand before he grins at Tommy. "Last I remember, you were just about ready to bend the knee."

Tommy's mood takes a dip then and he clears his throat. "I, uh, forgot to mention that..." He forces a grin as he says, "Felicity and I aren't together anymore."

Oliver pauses, looking between them. "What?"

"We broke up, about a year after, uh... you went missing," Felicity says, playing with the stem of her wine glass. "Things were complicated."

"That's her polite way of saying I fucked up and cheated on her," Tommy informs him, shrugging his shoulders high at Oliver's incredulous look.

"Why don't we change the subject?" Felicity suggests. "Tommy said something about a welcome back party…?"

They let her bury the issue, but she can see Oliver has questions.

He doesn't ask until later, when he drives her back to her townhouse.

She invites him in for a nightcap and they sit together on her couch with a bottle of red between them.

"Tommy wouldn't cheat..." he finally says. "He loved you too much for that."

"Things were different after you disappeared. Tommy was different. He… couldn't cope. He failed out of Harvard, he started spending a lot of time in clubs, and… one thing led to another." She shrugs, staring down at her glass. "There's a lot I can deal with, but I can't get over that."

He stares at her a long moment, his lips pursed. "That night I kissed you… Did you ever tell him about that?"

"Oliver, that was completely different..."

"Humor me."

She frowns, shaking her head. "No, I didn't. You were drunk and you didn't mean it."

"Yeah, well…" He half-smiled. "I kinda did, actually."

When she looks at him, he's not looking at her, staring purposely at the table instead.

"I thought about that a lot, on the island… I asked myself if I regretted it, taking that chance. And sometimes I did, sometimes I wished I didn't know what it felt like to kiss you. And other times it was the only good thing I had to hold on to…" He laughs then, bitter and hollow. "Which was stupid, because I knew you were with Tommy, that you loved Tommy, and that when I came back, nothing would change. He'd still have the girl and I'd be the screw up that slept on your couch."

He swallows thickly, picking at his thumb like he does when he's nervous. "I was relieved when I didn't see a wedding ring. Even now, knowing you broke up, part of me is relieved. And that makes me a really shitty person, I know that, but I just… I fell in love with you when I was seventeen. You were rambling about something, I don't even remember what, but you were going on and on and I just put my hand on your shoulder and you sighed… You just leaned into my hand and smiled up at me and I… I looked at you and I thought Tommy had all the luck."

She stared at his profile, her heart thudding in her chest.

"And I know that's a lot to put on you. I know you still care about him and he's probably still in love with you and I don't expect you to pick me, especially out of pity because of everything that happened. But I just wanted you to know… I just needed to say it. Even if it's selfish and you hate me after, I needed to tell you I love you, because if getting stuck on that island taught me anything, it's that I might only get one chance to say it and I can't waste it, not again."

She doesn't know what to say. She thought when he came back, things would find a way back to normal, eventually. He'd have to heal and relearn the world, but together, the three of them would get him through it. This, though, she doesn't expect.

When she says nothing, he accepts it. He stands from the couch, leaving his half-empty glass of wine on the table. He presses a kiss to her forehead and he lets himself out of her townhouse.

She takes the bottle to bed and cries herself to sleep.


Oliver was twenty-two when he went missing on the Queen's Gambit.

He was in love with her for five years and he never said a word.

She thinks about that a lot.

She thinks about that kiss that left her lips buzzing.

She thinks about the days they spent together, the summers they spent alone, the afternoons in his car as he watched her hair fight with the wind. She thinks about their late-night talk and the coffee he always made sure was ready for her. She thinks about the way he hugged her when he came back, tight and warm and like he was afraid if he loosened his arms, she might float away, out of reach.

Five years.

I think you're my 'what if.'

She finds out Tommy is sleeping with Laurel and she doesn't know if laughing is the appropriate response, but that's what she does.

There are tears though, in part from laughing so hard and in part because it's over. It's really over.

She's not sure if Tommy loves Laurel, but she's sure he doesn't love her anymore. Not the way they used to. He'll always love her, just like she'll always love him, but that 'in love' part has faded, folding in to become another part of the friendship she never plans to lose.

She wonders what it means that she goes to Oliver not for comfort but to comfort.

Felicity waves a bottle of red at him. "Thought you might need it."

He raises an eyebrow and invites her into the manor. "You sure you don't need it more?"

She shrugs. "I've had longer to get over Tommy. Even when you and Laurel were off, on wasn't far away."

He laughs under his breath and leads her into the parlor, grabbing out a wine glass for each of them. "So we're ignoring the part where I told you I love you? Because I think that might negate a lot of my feelings on the Tommy/Laurel front."

"We have an incestual group of friends if you think about it… You and Laurel, Tommy and Laurel, me and Tommy…"

"Me and you," he adds when she doesn't, refuses to, won't.

She turns to look at him and he fills her glass with wine, unrepentant for his honest addition.

"You don't have to love me, Felicity, but I won't rewrite my own history."

She frowns. "How are you so sure you're in love with me? We only kissed once. Maybe it was just a really intense feeling of friendship."

He blinks at her. "When we met, you shook my hand, and I remember thinking you had a stronger grip than anybody I'd ever met… When we were seventeen, you used to come over every day that summer and ask me to swim. I hated the pool. I avoided it every year before that. But I knew how much you loved it, so I went out anyway. When you were eighteen, you had that impacted tooth they had to knock you out for, you remember? You were so proud of your stitches, you showed anybody who would listen to the story. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. And when we used to go driving in the roads behind my house, those were my favorite, because the wind would always make your cheeks flushed and you'd smile for hours afterwards… I know how I felt about you. Just like I know how I feel about you now."

"It's been five years. I'm not the same girl you kissed on that couch."

"So let me get to know you now… Tell me who you are, where you've been, where you're going. Who is Felicity Smoak?" He stared at her searchingly. "I wanna know everything, so I can fall in love with all of it, too."

She sighs, frustrated, because this wasn't how it was supposed to go. "I didn't come here for you to fall in love with me."

"I don't think you ever do, but it just keeps happening."

"Oliver." She shakes her head. "Even if I wanted to, and I'm not saying that I do, but even if I did… What about Tommy?"

"Tommy who's sleeping with Laurel…?" He turns his eyes away for a moment and shrugs one shoulder.

"Two wrongs don't make a right. Not… that they're wrong, just… different. But, you know what I mean."

He stares at her a long moment. "Are you in love with Tommy?"

"I love him."

"That wasn't the question."

She sighs.

"It's not difficult. Yes or no. Are you in love with him?"

She bites her lips before she murmurs, "No."

"I'm not in love with Laurel. I don't want Laurel." He reaches for her, his hand curling around hers. "I'm not saying we'll work out or I'm even in a place in my life to make that happen, but I'm saying that I want it to, one day, eventually. When we're both ready."

She looks up at him, taking his words to heart, and never believes anything quite as much as that.

It doesn't take them quite as long to be ready as she expects.

Especially when she finds out his little green secret.

"You're the vigilante."

He stares at her, wincing as the gunshot wound his mother left him with pulls. "I can explain," he says, pushing off the medical table and trying to walk to her. "Just hear me out, all right?"

"You dress up in green leather and shoot archaic weapons and kill people at night."

He pauses, turning his eyes away for a moment. "Archaic is debateable."

"Oliver," she snaps, glowering at him.

His mouth twitches, because loud voice, and then he reaches for her, taking her hand and pulling her in close. "Let me explain before you sign me up for a straitjacket."

She stares up at him, her lips pursed. "You have five minutes."

It only takes three.

She doesn't completely agree with what he's doing, but she can see why and she can't help but think of who he was, who he's always been, and it's hard not to think that she trusts him enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, he's the same guy who pissed on a cop car once while he was drunk, so maybe her judgement is questionable.

Regardless of whatever leather fetish he might have, it doesn't change the fact that he's her friend and she believes in him, enough so to sign on to his cause as his tech guru. She puts her foot down when necessary, however, and lets him know that there are limits to her loyalty and patience. She's known Oliver long enough to know that he's stubborn and bullheaded and sometimes he needs a good kick in the shins for him to seriously consider other options, but he does. And if there's anyone he'll listen to, it's her. So she supports his vigilante lifestyle while also making sure he makes the right choices; it's the least she can do.

He puts arrows in bad guys and returns back to base, to her, where she lingers and waits for him, sometimes to make sure he's all right and sometimes just because she likes being around him and having him close.

Since Laurel and Tommy went public, things have been a little strained. Oliver offered his support, but she sometimes wonders if it's because he's hoping Tommy will offer his back.

She and Oliver are at a standstill. They're not moving forward or backward. They just are. He has enough on his plate, or that's the excuse she uses.

But, eventually, that excuse fails her.

He asks her questions a lot, probing for more information about her and how much she's changed over the last five years. He asks about her favorite books and movies and what TV shows she likes. He pays attention to what nail polish she wears and what colors she frequents and notices that her hairstyle tends to fit her mood on any given day. He catalogues her lipsticks in his head and stares at her mouth until she can almost feel his lips moving against them, like a memory replaying so accurately that it's still happening.

He's not perfect. He can be ornery and standoffish and he shuts down if the island is brought up. He's quieter than he used to be, stuck in his head a lot, and he's haunted in way that her Oliver never was. But she likes this version of him, too. She likes how passionate he is, how much he cares, how dedicated he is to his mission. She likes the way he looks at her, how he reaches for her, how he can say her name and it feels like a whole conversation is embedded in that one word.

While he's learning her, she's learning him, and she knows she shouldn't, she knows Tommy will be hurt, but she does it anyway, and she likes it.

"Tell me something."


"Anything… Everything."

She turns to look at him, sitting on the edge of her desk, playing with an arrow between his fingers.

"I kept my old couch. It reminded me of you. So I kept it and I put it in my office and when I missed you, I'd just sit on it and stare at the ceiling."

He smiles, faintly, and after a few seconds confesses, "Sometimes I'd sit with my back against an old tree and I'd look up at the sky. I'd pretend you were with me and talk to you."

She reaches for him, her fingers curling around his wrist and squeezing. His pulse jumps under her touch and when he looks down at her, his eyes are dark, intense, and she remembers that the man he is now is not who he was. There are parts of him, shadows of him, but post-island Oliver is so different from the boy who used to party away his problems. Maybe that's just the point. He's not a boy anymore, he's a man. A man who has seen and done things that she sometimes struggles to comprehend. A man who's witnessed and played a part in tragedy, but still touches her like she is delicate and beautiful in a world where everything seemed draped in darkness.

She stays a while longer, changing the subject to something lighter. She tells him about her favorite book, about which characters appeal to her and why. And he listens, watching her lips move and her hands wave. And she thinks she can do this, she can be this, she can share this with him. She knows where it's going, and she wonders if this was always where it was headed. Maybe without the trauma, without the pain and the suffering. Maybe somehow, eventually, they would've found each other anyway. She doesn't know, but she does know that he's here now and she's here with him, and she doesn't want to be anywhere else.

He kisses her on a Wednesday, three months after he returns from the island. He has her pressed against the wall of the foundry, one of her hands pinned above her head, the leather of his glove pressed to her palm. His mouth moves over hers like fire, leaving warmth in its wake that stirs something inside her, flaring out from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes. This kiss is nothing like the one on her couch. This one is full of promise and passion and need.

She unzips his leather top and shoves it back, off his shoulders, her fingers running the length of his chest, dipping into the ridges of his abs and the risen skin of each scar. She memorizes every inch of his chest, good and bad, familiar and unfamiliar, until her fingers know it as intimately as they know herself.

He kisses her like she's water and he's surrounded by desert. Like she's salvation in a world of purgatory. Like he loves her and he fears stopping means losing her entirely. But he's wrong. She's not water or salvation and he won't lose her. She's just a woman, just a partner and a friend and a future, if he wants it.

The kiss doesn't end at a kiss.

He pushes her skirt up her hips and pulls her underwear down her legs. He tears the scoop neck of her shirt down so far that it'll never be the same, and peels back the lace cups of her bra so he can wrap his lips around a pebbled nipple in the same moment that his fingers slide along her slit, parting her, teasing her. She's lost to it for a few minutes, the callused pads of his fingers becoming her sole focus. But eventually, she wants more. She gets his leather pants down his hips and shoves them out of the way before they're stumbling back from the wall. She snags a condom from her purse and it's not long before she's sitting on his lap on the couch, stroking her fingers over him until his eyes fall back in his head and he grits her name out between his teeth. She takes mercy and rolls the condom down his shaft.

She expects to be fucked, for it to be hard and quick and full of desperation, but he slows them down. He rubs her thighs and teases her open and fingers her until she comes, her nails digging into his shoulder and her teeth abrading her lip as she tries to muffle herself. He strokes her back as her orgasm fades and smiles as she leans down for a kiss. For a while, that's all there is, kissing two mouths slanting together, slow and long. And then she's ready again then he pulls her forward, sliding himself inside her, inch by inch, until she's filled with him completely. He slips her top off over her head and tosses it away before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her in close, his face nuzzling her neck as he moves slowly, thrusting shallowly, working up a rhythm that is so good and so full of anticipation that she almost can't take it.

He kisses down her neck as one of his hands knead her breast, thumb rubbing circles around her nipple, and then his mouth is around it, his tongue flicking and his teeth plucking. He trades sides and works her other breast over while his hand slides between them, finger teasing her clit until she's rocking herself hard against him and panting his name. He pulls away before she can come, grinning when she grunts in irritation. She reaches down to get herself off, but he only lets her circle her clit twice before he takes her hand, sucks on her fingers, and then plants her hand on his chest, right over his Bratva tattoo.

He licks the sweat from her skin and starts to move a little faster, deeper. His hands find her hips and squeeze, hard enough that she can already feel the finger-shaped bruises that'll be left behind. She can't find fault in that; she thinks she might like the leftover proof of this moment, this culmination of everything.

He feels so good inside her that she almost doesn't want to let go, she wants to just keep feeling this, right here, right on the edge. She stares down at him from her perch in his lap, her eyes half-lidded, and he stares back, his head tipped onto the couch. It's just like those deep conversations they used to have, only this is silent, and they're a lot more naked. But he looks at her like she's the stars and the answers to life's questions are embedded in her skin. He rubs his hands up her sides and around her shoulders, trailing them down her arms until he catches her fingers with his. He brings them up to his mouth and he kisses the tip of each before he draws her palms up to cradle his face.

And she can see it, all those things he's only recently gotten comfortable saying. Things that scare her as much as they thrill her.

He loses his pattern, his thrusts becoming a little jerkier as he starts to lose control. His hands are everywhere then, stroking down her back and her arms and teasing her thighs. He pulls her down for a kiss as he takes her hand and leads it between her legs, pressing her fingers to her clit. She cries out his name against his lips as she finally comes and he watches her face as bliss consumes her every expression. When he finishes, the way he says her name makes her thighs shake and her heart squeeze.

It's probably just endorphins, but she thinks she might believe he really loves her.

He wants to cuddle after; he's affectionate and a little needy and she knows he's worried she's going to regret this.

They shower and dress and he can't stop touching her and kissing her and it should bother her or worry her but it doesn't. She should point out the faults in this plan, but she can't. She should remind him of Tommy, but she doesn't. Instead, she goes home and she brings him with her and they crawl into bed together. She falls asleep with her head on his chest and his arms wound around her, both keeping her close for comfort's sake and shielding her from the world and the darkness he knew lurked in it.

When she wakes up, he's made coffee, and she's not sure she's ready to poke holes in the bubble.

It's surprisingly easy to be with him.

She spends her days at QC, acting like her life is normal, even boring, and then she returns to the foundry at night, joining him and Digg in this crusade against the evil permeating their hometown.

He trades the leather suit for something more comfortable and joins her at home, sitting on the counter while she cooks dinner. He brings the wine, always red, always expensive. She feeds him as she cooks, using him as her tester, and he never complains. He watches her move around the kitchen like it's a dance, like she's center stage in her own production. And then he adds himself, wrapping his arms around her and slanting his mouth over hers. Sometimes he just holds her, just buries his face in her neck and breathes. And other times he asks her to teach him, to show him what ingredients she needs and why and how. And occasionally dinner burns because he's got her bent over the counter, his hands twisting in the straps holding up her stockings, as he fucks her from behind until she screams his name.

It feels right, somehow, to ends her days crawling into bed with him beside her. He cocoons her, spooning up behind her and wrapping his arms around her in a pseudo-bear hug. She knows he's trying to protect her, that even unconsciously, he expects there to be an attack and he puts her safety above his.

He has nightmares sometimes; they follow him even as he wakes up, his eyes wild. She's found him crouching in corners of her bedroom, hunched over, panting, lost in his head. She doesn't touch him. He warned her not to do that before. So she sits on the floor and she calls his name and she waits. It takes him a while, but eventually he hears her and he blinks his way back into reality. And then he apologizes, for being broken and complicated, and she shakes her head and takes his hand and leads him back to bed.

He is broken.

He is complicated.

He's also hers.

Oliver is affectionate. He's physical, even more so than she remembers.

He touches her constantly, reaching for her hand and stroking his fingers down her back. When she works at the foundry, he stands behind her, close to her, and squeezes her shoulder when she gets a hit. He makes a point of kissing her before he leaves for anything, and she thinks that comes from the fear that he might not return. That, somehow, he might end up on an island again, away from her, and he needs something to hold onto. It's bittersweet in that way.

Digg doesn't say anything at first. He sees and he knows but he lets it happen.

It's not until later when he asks her if she knows what she's doing, what she's getting into, and how it all might blow up that she really considers what she's doing.

Being with Oliver is easy, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come with complications.

Bubbles are thin.

Tommy finds out three weeks after they start seeing each other.

It's Thea that lets it slip, tell him that she's seen them together and she's pretty sure Oliver has spent every night of the past few weeks in Felicity's bed.

Tommy confronts them at the club, they're on their way to the foundry door when he intercepts them, a little drunk and a lot angry.

"How long?" he demands, his body vibrating and his face turning a shade of red. "Did it start before the island?"

Oliver pauses, looking at her, and then takes a step forward. "For me it did," he answers honestly.

She's not sure that's the right answer, but she doesn't say anything, because maybe this is more between them than her.

"How. Long?"

"I fell for her a year after you guys started dating. But I didn't do anything. I didn't say anything. She had no idea." He shakes his head. "Honest, Tommy, I'd never do that to you. Felicity would never do that to you."

"Never?" He laughs. "What are you doing right now?"

Felicity frowns then. "You're with Laurel," she reminds him. "And we broke up four years ago."

"It's different and you know it," he growls through gritted teeth before he turns to Oliver. "You knew. You knew I wanted to marry her. And you kept that from me. You never told me—"

"What, Tommy? You wanted me to tell you I was in love with your girlfriend?" He stared at him incredulously, his brows hiked. "You bought a fucking engagement ring. How I was supposed to tell you that? I was already losing her. I wasn't going to lose my best friend, too!"

"Well, now you have her, so I guess I'm expendable, huh?"

Oliver sighs, frustrated, and shakes his head. "It's not like that. We're not doing this to hurt you. We don't want to lose you."

"You have a funny way of showing it…" He smiles then, that empty show-smile of his, and Felicity hates it.


They don't listen at first, too busy squabbling, and then she snaps.

"Stop. Both of you." She glares between them. "This isn't what I wanted. When I started dating you, the most important part of it was making sure that I didn't get in between you and Oliver. He was your best friend, your brother, and he still is." She shakes her head. "And if this is what it's going to be, you two fighting over me like I'm so toy you have rights to, then screw both of you. I'm not a toy. I'm not the girl you bought that engagement ring for or the girl you fell in love with at seventeen. I'm me, right here, right now, and I'm not the person who causes the end of a lifelong friendship." When she steps back, she's sure of herself, of everything she's said and everything she'll do. "So I'm done, all right? I take myself out of the equation. Both of them."

When she walks away, she can feel her heart breaking. It's not for him, not for either of them; it's solely for her.

It takes Tommy a week to apologize to her.

"I'm an idiot," he tells her, as soon as the door opens. "A jealous, possessive, caveman of an idiot."

She holds the door wider to invite him inside. "Go on…" she encourages.

He smiles faintly. "Even after we broke up, I still thought of you as mine. Even now. Even fifty years from now, I'll still think of you as my first love, and that… that is hard to let go of. Especially when I know that you're gonna be here, beside me, that whole time. And maybe that'll be with Oliver, I don't know. Maybe I'll be best man at your wedding, I… The idea scares the shit out of me, frankly. Not because it's unbelievable but because it actually makes sense. Because you're the only one who ever got through to him. You're the only one he tried with. And maybe I knew, maybe I always knew that he had feelings for you and I just chose to ignore them. All I know is that it's hard to let you go, even now, after four years. It's hard to see you with anyone else, but it's especially hard when I know that he loves you and you love him, enough to give him up so he doesn't lose me. Enough to give us both up even though your life would be ridiculously boring without us."

She lets a small smile creep onto her lips. "Is that right?"

"Yeah, it is." He reaches for her then, pulling her in for a hug. "I'm sorry that I screwed this up and I didn't listen when you needed me to. I'm sorry for a lot of things that happened between us but at least this one I can fix…" He leans back so he can see her and says, with all sincerity, "Don't walk away. Don't let him go. I can't guarantee things will be easy at first. It's gonna take some getting used to, but… I will. For you, for both of you, I will."

She closes her eyes when they burn a little and squeezes her arms around him tighter. "Thank you."

It's a relief, because as resolved as she might've been to walk away, she's missed them every day since she did.

She hasn't been to the foundry since. It feels like longer than a week when she finally walks down the stairs.

Digg sighs, shoulders slumping in relief, when he spots her.

"Do me a favor," he says as he passes her, "don't ever leave him again."

She quirks an eyebrow. "That bad?"

"Nightmare," he says, shaking his head before he climbs the stairs to the door.

Felicity is silent as she makes her way toward the thwack of Oliver's arrows hitting tennis ball after tennis ball.

"Diggle!" he yells, concentrating on the balls. "When I'm done this round, we'll practice. Your defense is sloppy."

"Way to sugar-coat it. I'm sure he really appreciates the gentle approach."

He jumps at her voice, his bow lowering abruptly as he turns to see her, his brows hiked. He stares at her a long moment, and then looks wary, putting his bow on the table beside him. "What are you doing here?"

"We need to talk."

He winces.

"Sorry, I could've worded that better…" she sighs, reaching up to rub between her brows. "What I meant was that I talked to Tommy and we figured things out."

At his flinch, she rolls her eyes at herself.

"Not romantically! God, I'm really screwing this up. He came over to apologize and to tell me that he made a mistake telling us what to do. He's just having a hard time adjusting to all of the changes and it's hard for him, because we were each other's first loves. And that… That doesn't really go away. It changes and you move on, but who we were to each other, that's always going to be there. But he understands and, in his own way, he gave us his blessing, so…" She blew out a heavy breath as she walks toward him. "I know it hurt when I walked away, but I wasn't going to be the reason you and Tommy stopped being friends. I couldn't do that. You two need each other, a lot more than you need me, I—"

"You don't know that."

She shakes her head. "Oliver, it's Tommy."

"I'll always want Tommy in my life. He's my best friend, he always will be. But I love you, Felicity. I've loved you for ten years. And I know half of that was spent away from you, just holding onto what I remembered, but that didn't change anything for me. And these last few months, spending them together, getting to know you again, that just reminds me why it's always been you." He taps his fingers on the table, his eyebrow raised, before he walks toward her. "I want to do this, I want to be with you. There is nobody else for me, and I don't want anybody else. I can wait if you need to wait. But I know where this is going. I know what I want. And I love Tommy, I do, but I won't sacrifice my own feelings for his, not again."

He is inches from her then and she stares up at him, her lips parted. "You told me once that you thought I was your 'what if'…"

He nods, gazing down at her with all of the intensity she's come to expect from him.

"What am I now?"

"You're my definite." He reaches up, fingers skimming over her cheek. "My absolute." He tucks her hair behind her ear and slides his fingers down to her nape. "My today and tomorrow and always."

When he kisses her, it's soft and promising and a seal to everything he's said, writing it on her mouth and down her neck and into every breath she inhales, printing it on her lungs.

They begin, really begin, on a Wednesday.

And they never really end.

She tells him she loves him a few weeks later, as they lay in bed and he's tracing shapes over her bare back with the tips of his fingers. He stops when she says the words, so soft they're nearly lost to the air.

And then he kisses her ear and her neck and her shoulder and he tell hers, "Say it again."

So she does. She says it while he kisses down her back and he rolls her over, sliding between her legs. She says it while he folds their hands together and presses them down on the mattress over their heads. She says it as he moves inside her, sinking deeper and harder each time. She says it while he says her name, over and over again, his face buried in her neck, her name like a prayer, full of hope and gratitude and love.

"I love you, I love you, I love you."

She says it and she means it and she tells him so, until he believes it and says it back.

Things are not perfect or easy or normal, in any way, shape, or form.

But they are theirs.

Oliver fights crime at night, in green leather and toting a (still archaic) bow around with him.

It takes time for him to open up about the island but, bit by bit, he does.

People come and go.

Sara, Laurel, Roy, Malcolm.

Some good, some bad, some questionable.

They nearly lose Tommy, both in spirit, when he finds out about Oliver's extracurricular activities, and in body, when The Undertaking threatens to topple the Glades. But he survives, they all survive, barely.

And, eventually, they carve out their version of normal.

Tommy forgives them, trusts them, and tries to understand. He and Laurel are up and down, on and off, but Felicity thinks they might just make it.

She and Oliver are stable. As stable as a couple can be when their world is constantly having the foundation shook beneath them.

They love each other and support each other and get through each harrowing experience, side by side.

He asks her to marry him on a Tuesday morning. He's making his arrows and she's updating her systems and he tells her, "I want to be your husband."

It's not a proposal, not really, now that she thinks about it. It's a declaration, one she answers with, "Okay."

So they're not the most romantic bunch.

But he smiles and he leaves his arrow station to join her by her computers. He kisses her hair and says, "How's next week sound?"

They're married eight days later; it's a whirlwind thing at the manor. When they leave, he takes them down the roads behind his house, with the top down and his foot heavy on the accelerator. She laughs happily as the wind tears apart her elaborate up-do, of which Thea would be horrified. Felicity throws her hands up and cheers, happy to be free, to be with him, to be exactly where she is and who she is and how she is.

When she turns to him, her cheeks are flushed, and he smiles at her just like he did when he was seventeen, full of love and adoration and the promise of something forever. He takes her hand and he kisses the back, rubbing his thumb over her wedding band.

They don't exactly drive off into the sun set, not literally anyway, but it's close enough.

Felicity marries Oliver Queen on a Wednesday.

She's 28 and her vows are just as rambly as she is in general. Tommy makes a toast that leaves her weepy and Oliver only hugs her close and kisses her shoulder.

They're not a normal couple. She plays IT Specialist to his vigilante at night and EA to his CEO during the day. They're a conundrum for some and a hassle for others, but they're unstoppable, they're solid, and that's all she's ever wanted.

She marries Oliver on a Wednesday; he might be her second love, but he's also her last and her only and her always.


author's note: So, I found this in my drafts and it's kind of a monster of a story, lol. Also, Abbie suggested that another way it could've ended was in a Tommy/Felicity/Oliver ot3. I might just add that to my to-do list.

I hope you enjoyed this! Thank you for reading!

Please leave a review; they're my lifeblood.

- Lee | Fina