The next couple of weeks passed quickly as they worked with the Starling City Police Department to follow up on Faust's associates. While it had initially seemed that Faust's operation would be simple enough for the SCPD to handle on their own, instead it seemed that every time they gathered enough evidence to bring in one associate, two more would come out of the woodwork. Faust's network had been even more extensive than they'd realized, consisting of many seemingly innocent professionals and not the career criminals the SCPD was used to dealing with. For this reason, Felicity had spent many days (and nights) trying to follow Faust's trail, so that all of the parties involved in the infant thefts and Faust's other black market schemes would be brought to justice.
Felicity was doing just that, working alone in the Foundry, when the pain started. Oliver was out, following up on their most recent lead, while Diggle had stepped out to pick up Big Belly Burger to satisfy Felicity's craving. It had been a busy day at both jobs, with little time for breaks, and Felicity had started to feel so hungry, she'd become nauseated. In retrospect, she'd actually been nauseated for most of the day, but she'd had many days like that throughout her pregnancy which Dr. Zavandi had assured her was normal. "Morning" sickness, after all, was still common after the first trimester. The pain she now felt on the right side of her stomach, however, did not feel normal at all.
Felicity closed her eyes, hands pressed to her side as she breathed deeply, and after a few minutes the pain slowly passed. Running her hands gently across her ever-growing belly, she breathed a sigh of relief and returned her attention to the screens in front of her, dismissing the pain as the result of waiting too long to eat.
Her relief was short lived however, as the pain returned only a short while later. At first she tried to ignore it, choosing to focus on her work, but when the pain was coupled with the familiar fluttering of her daughter's movements, Felicity began to worry. She pushed away from her desk, getting up slowly and making her way over to the cot she'd insisted they keep in the Foundry.
Her comm was still in her ear, and she tapped it, waiting for Oliver to respond.
"Felicity?" he answered. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, of course," she lied. "I just need you to come home."
"Felicity?" he asked, the question clear in his voice as he dragged out the syllables of her name.
In the weeks that had passed since Felicity had finally admitted her feelings for Oliver, they'd grown even closer. Felicity had always felt that she had a pretty good sense of Oliver, able to figure out when he was lying, to discern what he was really feeling. However, since she'd opened herself back up to him, and committed to their partnership and marriage, she realized just how well Oliver knew her.
"I'm okay, really," she insisted. "Just come home."
"I'll be there as soon as I can," he replied.
Felicity clicked off the comm and took it out of her ear. Oliver was on his way, and she tried to reassure herself that everything would be okay. Still she found that she couldn't shake her feeling of unease. She'd been so out of tune with her pregnancy, always trying to focus on work or other things. She wondered if she'd been selfish, too caught up in her own feelings and worries. Had there been other signs? Things she'd missed, things she should have done differently?
She felt the panic well up in her chest, and began to pace back and forth. She had read all of the pregnancy books. If there was one thing that Felicity was good at, it was research, and when she couldn't deal with things emotionally, her usual coping strategy was to deal with them intellectually. Now, she found herself remembering all of the things that she'd read could go wrong. Everyone (including her doctor) had told her to stay off the internet, but Felicity liked to be well informed. Now as she paced, she found herself going through all of the worst case scenarios.
As her anxiety grew, so did the pain, forcing Felicity to first sit, and then lie down on the cot. Closing her eyes, she tried to clear her mind and focus on her breath. Oliver would come soon and everything would be alright.
Felicity was still lying on her side on the cot, arms curled protectively around her stomach when Diggle returned a short while later, food in hand. As soon as he saw her, he dropped the bags and rushed to her side.
"Felicity," he said, urgently. "Are you alright? Is it the baby?"
Felicity bit her lip. "I don't know."
"It hurts," she told him, tears filling her eyes. "I'm scared John."
"I know. It's going to be okay," he said, reassuringly. "Where's Oliver? Does he know?"
"He's on his way," Felicity replied. "I didn't tell him what was wrong. I didn't want to worry him."
Diggle seemed to consider this for a moment.
"Okay, we're not going to wait for him," he said as Felicity let out a hiss of pain. "I'm getting you to a hospital. Oliver can meet us there."
Felicity nodded and allowed Diggle to lift her into his arms and carry her out.
Felicity had already been admitted by the time Oliver made it to the hospital. Diggle was doing his best to keep Felicity's mind off of her worries regaling her with stories of his army days when Oliver rushed into the room, panic clear on his face. Felicity saw the tension in his shoulders relax as their eyes met, only to return a moment later when he noticed the bands around her exposed stomach which connected to the fetal monitor.
"Felicity," he breathed, as he perched on the edge of the bed, taking her hand. "I got here as fast as I could."
Oliver looked back and forth between Felicity and Diggle. "What happened?"
"I was having some pain," she began to explain.
"What kind of pain?" Oliver asked softly.
Felicity could tell that he was doing his best to stay calm for her, but she could see in his eyes just how worried he was. "In my side, sort of a dull pain, I guess, maybe like a cramp. You know, I've never really understood what all of that meant, dull or sharp or throbbing. Why does pain need an adjective?"
Felicity shrugged, looking down, unable to meet Oliver's eyes. "I don't know."
"They're running some tests," Diggle added. "The doctor came in and took her blood pressure. She said that it seemed high, ordered some blood work and the fetal monitor, and hasn't been back since. I'm taking that as a good sign. If they don't stick around and keep prodding at you, that probably means they aren't worried."
Turning to look at Diggle, Oliver gave him an appreciative smile. "Thank you for taking care of her."
"Of course, man," Diggle replied, clapping his hand on Oliver's shoulder as he stood. "I am going to go down and get some coffee, and give you two some time."
"Thanks John," Felicity said.
"You're welcome," Diggle leaned down and kissed Felicity's cheek. "Remember, while I'm gone, you're in charge of making sure Oliver here doesn't give the staff a hard time."
"Yes sir," Felicity replied, with a mock salute.
When Diggle left, Oliver shifted in to the chair beside the bed, never letting go of Felicity's hand.
"Why didn't you tell me you were in pain?" he asked.
"I don't know," she confessed. "I told John that I didn't want you to worry but I think the truth is that I was just scared. I am still really scared. What if this is my fault? I mean, I've been so unsure about everything. I didn't know if I was ready, I didn't know if I wanted this and now…"
Tears filled Felicity's eyes as she finally allowed herself to speak her fear aloud.
"What if we lose her?" she whispered, releasing Oliver's hand in order to run her hands across her swollen belly.
"We're not going to lose her," Oliver said with certainty.
"How do you know?" Felicity asked. "I've said such horrible things. What if this is my punishment?"
"I know," he told her, putting his hand beside hers.
"Oliver I practically said that I didn't want her. I know it sounds crazy but what if she could sense that somehow, or if it just put out some sort of bad vibe into the universe? I feel like this is all my fault," Felicity confessed. "There was one time when I forgot that I was pregnant and that I wasn't supposed to have caffeine and I had a latte and what if that screwed her up somehow? I can't remember right now what the book said about caffeine, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't good."
"Felicity, I'm sure that one cup of coffee didn't do any damage. This isn't your fault. This might not even be anything at all," Oliver tried to reassure her.
"I am supposed to protect her Oliver. I am supposed to keep her safe," Felicity used the back of her hand to wipe away the tears that had begun to fall. "She's not even born yet and I'm already a terrible mother."
"You're not-" Oliver began, but then he stopped, his gaze drawn to where his hand rested on Felicity's stomach. "Did you feel that?"
"She's moving," Felicity breathed, feeling slightly relieved.
"I felt her move," Oliver said, incredulous. "Wow."
Oliver leaned forward, his head pressed against her belly, careful to avoid the bands attached to the fetal monitor.
"Hey little one," he whispered to her stomach. "It's dad."
He smiled, his hand gently drawing circles on Felicity's belly. "I can tell you're going to be a handful already. Although, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, you are a Queen after all."
Felicity found herself smiling, despite her worry.
"You gave us a bit of a scare there, little one, and not just today." Oliver's face turned serious. "Sometimes I worry that I won't be able to keep you safe. There are a lot of terrible things in this world, and I can't always protect the people that I love. Some things are just beyond my control. The world is a scary place but I want you to know that I will always be there for you, and I will always fight for you."
Felicity was moved by Oliver's words, his willingness to share his fears. He was a protector, he always had been, and he had been protective of Felicity throughout the pregnancy, at times even overprotective. She'd found it frustrating at times, but she knew that was the way that Oliver showed his love: his love for his city, for his family, and for his child. She knew he would move hell and earth to protect their child, and how frustrated he must feel knowing that there was nothing to do but wait. She knew because she realized that she felt exactly the same way.
"So, little one, I need you to do the same," Oliver continued. "I need you to fight and to be okay. You and your mom, you are my whole world. I love you so much."
Oliver pressed a soft kiss to Felicity's stomach, and almost immediately she felt another movement. OIiver's look of wonder told her that he had felt it too. It seemed as if their daughter was reassuring them that she was still there.
"It's going to be okay." Oliver said, looking up at Felicity, a smile spreading across his face. "You are going to be a great mother, and our daughter is going to be just fine. I know it."
Felicity ran a hand along the side of his face, taking in the love and certainty she saw reflected there. She hoped he was right. She needed him to be right. For the first time in a long time, she was sure of what she wanted, and she hoped the familiar fluttering that she was feeling meant that she would still get the chance to have it.