Title: She Is Our (Saving) Grace
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: Hello, have some Queen family fluff! Although Arrow definitely packed a punch last episode, I can't help but feel it was too soon for Moira to go. And I admit, I love the visual of a happy Queen family, Olicity included, down the road. So that's what AUs are for! Thea is still Thea Queen, and Moira is still alive, because who doesn't love a universe where everyone is alive and well? :)
Thank you to PuzzledHats for her help and encouragement. Thank you to you if you read and comment. Enjoy!
Felicity hears the cries in the middle of the night, right at that decibel where she's about to start wailing louder at a pitch so high it makes her cringe even as she marvels at the set of lungs her daughter has. She quickly makes her way to the crib set up across the room to gather her nine month old daughter, shushing her quietly as she pats her bottom to make sure she's not wet.
"Shh, shh. Come on now, there's no need for that, I heard you already."
She tiptoes across the room in her bare feet, holding Grace close to her chest so that the baby's cries are muffled. The infant had quieted the second she was in her mother's arms, but Felicity glances at Oliver sleeping soundly in bed and moves down the hall to the seating area by the second floor stair landing. It's set up like a home office with a lamp left on in the corner, and she settles on the couch that's always been her favorite spot when they visit the Queen home. She wore one of Oliver's old dress shirts to bed and is thankful to have the buttons down the middle that make breastfeeding much easier. She unbuttons the shirt while murmuring to Grace who is bouncing impatiently in her lap, then she allows the infant to latch onto her breast and nurse eagerly.
"Well, somebody just didn't have enough dinner, did they? You never finish the bottle and always wake Mommy up in the middle of the night, don't you?" Felicity asks quietly to someone who can't answer just yet, marveling at the sight of the baby in her lap, the way she suckles so eagerly as if Felicity is her life sustenance. Which she is, and it's a fact that knocks her breathless every time. "Someone's not listening to their pediatrician, no, she's not."
Felicity jumps in place, turning Grace in her arms so quickly that her head moves and she lets out a whine of protest. When she sees it's only Moira coming down the hall, she looks back down at Grace, murmuring an apology and allowing the infant to feed again.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."
"It's okay," Felicity says, her a voice a soft murmur just like Moira's. Something about it being the middle of the night with the storm raging outside, yet Grace nursing so peacefully, makes it seem necessary to keep their voices low. "Did I wake you? I'm sorry."
"No, you didn't," Moira assures her with the shake of her head, "I thought I heard her cry."
"Good ears," Felicity says with a smile. "I got to her before you could really hear her high-pitched screams."
"Oh, I wouldn't mind. After all, she's my granddaughter, she needs to know how to make herself heard." Moira observes them with a smile and takes a seat on the couch as well. She has a silk robe on over whatever nightclothes she must have worn to bed, and Felicity feels underdressed and rumpled in a pair of Oliver's shorts and his dress shirt, with her chest exposed and Grace nursing. But Moira doesn't say a word, simply taking in the scene, smiling every so often when she hears Grace swallow greedily.
"I'm supposed to be weaning her off breast milk and start a feeding schedule, but she cries in middle of the night, and that's all she wants," Felicity explains, her words filling the silence that isn't quite uncomfortable, but feels empty nonetheless. "I can't say no."
"You'll realize early on that part of being a parent is being unable to say no to your child," Moira tells her. Her eyes are wise, full of stories and mistakes, of lessons learned and children loved; even in the dim lighting of the room, Felicity can see nerves of steel etched deep in the lines of her face.
"You're right." Felicity nods, an understanding passing between them, one she's only achieved now that she's become a mother herself. "I just can't say no to her."
A clap of thunder makes Grace tremble at the sudden noise, her little hands shaking as she reaches for her mother, the need for food forgotten and the need for comfort awakened. Felicity moves the baby to her shoulder while buttoning her shirt deftly with one hand. "She hates storms."
"Just like her father," Moira comments as she stretches out on the couch, her hand reaching out to touch Grace's soft leg. There's just something about the softness of a baby's skin that no adult can resist. "I remember when he was a little boy, he'd stay up as late as he could to try and wait out the storm before he would fall sleep. He would never admit he was scared. I'd try and stay awake with him so he wouldn't have to."
"That's sweet." Felicity smiles at the vision of little boy Oliver Queen stubbornly refusing to fall asleep, stubbornly refusing to admit a weakness. It's a not far cry from the grown man of today who still pushes himself to exhaustion when necessary, forgetting about his own needs as he takes on the burden of others'. "I'm surprised he's sleeping through it now, but it's been a busy week."
"Yes, I know. The police raid at the docks? I'm assuming he had a hand in that?" Moira asks the question point blank, as if she already knows the answer about the Arrow's involvement but she asks because she hopes Felicity will respect her enough to tell her the truth.
And she does.
Felicity nods. "He did. He's been running on no sleep and coffee all week."
"You didn't have to come to dinner, you could have rescheduled."
"No, it's okay. We wanted to come," Felicity tells her. "After all, Grace needs to spend time with her grandma."
Moira smiles in thanks at the excuse, but looks away from Felicity with a sigh. "I can't help but feel lonely sometimes, that's all. Thea's so busy taking her business classes, and although she commutes to SCU, she spends her nights at Roy's. I'm tempted to ask that boy to move in just so I can see her more."
Felicity laughs, the warm echo of it filling the room and causing both Moira and Grace to smile at the sound despite the storm raging outside. "Oh my gosh, you can't! Oliver would freak."
"Oliver would do what?"
Felicity looks over her shoulder, smiling when Oliver joins them, his hair mussed from sleep, sweatpants riding low at his waist. "Speak of the devil," she teases, and watches him stop behind her to bend down to look at Grace who she has still been patting asleep on her shoulder. "She asleep?"
"Yes," he answers, but he reaches out to take the baby anyway, as if he can't resist now that he's in the same room. He takes a seat in between the two women on the couch, adjusting Grace in his lap so he can continue to rock her as she sleeps on. "And Oliver would freak about what?"
Both Felicity and Moira remain silent, smiling at each other while Oliver looks between the two of them. Finally, Felicity says with a laugh, "Your mom misses Thea since she's always spending the night at Roy's and is considering asking Roy to move in."
"Mom, no," Oliver says immediately, sitting up in his seat, his sleepiness vanishing immediately. "No. You can't."
"Oh, Oliver, relax. I already know what they're up to at his place. They've been together for years now. Wouldn't it be better for me to offer them a safe place here where I can keep an eye on them?" Moira asks. Her voice sounds so reasonable and lady-of-the-manor-like, that Felicity can't help but stare at her in shock at the suggestion; but she sees the slightest spark of humor in the older woman's gaze that she's teasing her son. "I'll run a background and credit check if that would make you feel better."
"Which he'd fail," Felicity adds with a grin. "Roy would totally fail. Do you know how many credit cards he has? It's ridiculous."
Oliver scowls at her before turning back to his mother. "That's not funny. He's not moving in. They're not going to be doing... whatever they do, here," he says with a wave of his hand as he makes a face at the thought of his little sister and Roy even after all these years. "You can come visit us more if you're lonely. Right, Felicity?"
They both turn to look at her, waiting for an answer, and she smiles the Queens, their matching blue eyes the very same hue that Grace has too. She hopes they'll darken to the same shade of azure that Oliver's and Moira's do when they're passionate about something, that the blue will sparkle with fury like her father's do when he's angry. "Of course you can. You just... have to catch us when we're home. You know, between our day job and our night job, and well, you know, all our jobs."
Oliver smiles at her, his hand reaching out to hold hers as he squeezes it in thanks. Moira looks at the gesture fondly, her hands moving to fix the lapels of her robe as if she's itching to touch someone too.
"Well, I appreciate that, Felicity. I will keep that in mind the next time I drive by. Well, when I get driven by," she corrects with a grin, and Felicity chuckles because in all the time she's known the Queens, she's never seen Moira behind the wheel. There are some things rich people don't need to do anymore, and driving is one of them.
Grace makes a sound of contentment in her sleep, a little murmur and a sigh as if she's dreaming of good things and happy places. They all turn to gaze at her for a moment, to take in the sight of the child that is theirs, a reminder of the innocence that exists no matter how dark the stains of the family past are.
"I should let you two get back to sleep," Moira says after a moment, her tone reluctant as if she'd be happy if they sat up simply staring at Grace all night. "Hopefully the storm will die down and you can head home after breakfast." Again, her tone sounds like she's wishing they'd stay all weekend, but she's at a point in her life when her children have lives of their own and she's simply thankful for whenever they stop by. "I'll have Raisa make those blueberry waffles you love, Oliver."
"Thanks, Mom," Oliver says with a smile, standing up from the couch in one swift movement as not to jostle Grace.
"Do you want to take Grace for the rest of the night?" Both Oliver and Moira turn at Felicity's question, but she continues talking to Moira. "She'll sleep until morning now, although you might have to rub her tummy if she gets fussy again from the thunder."
"I..." Moira looks speechless at the offer, then nods quickly, her hands reaching for Grace before she even gets the words out. "Yes, thank you. I would love that. I haven't had a baby in my bed in... oh, God knows how long."
"Just surround her with pillows in case she decides to escape, and if she needs her diaper changed, I'll come get her because the smell might, well, you know, it's a diaper changing smell," Felicity says with a grimace, her face scrunching dramatically as Oliver bites back a grin. "If you need anything at all, we'll be-"
"I know right where you are," Moira tells her with a smile. "I spent many years popping by Oliver's room to make sure he was home at night, and home in bed alone, might I add," she adds as she scowls playfully at her son, "I know exactly where his room is. It hasn't changed even if he's moved out."
"Right, thanks for that, Mom," Oliver deadpans. But his eyes light up as he watches his mother hold Grace and rock her gently, smoothing back her blonde hair as the infant curls instinctively into her hold. "Good night."
"Good night, Oliver, Felicity," Moira tells them with one last smile as she walks back towards her bedroom, her eyes glued on the baby in her arms.
Felicity resists the urge to run after her despite her offer, because it's still her baby girl who's being taken away from her. Neither she or Oliver can bear to be parted from her for long, their protective instincts kicking in and needing to see that she's safe. She remains seated, looking up finally when she feels Oliver's eyes on her. "What?"
"Nothing." He holds his hands out to pull her up from the couch, wrapping an arm around her when she stands up. "That was very nice of you."
"I'm a nice person," Felicity tells him with a smile. She's suddenly aware of how she's naked under the shirt, not even a bra on, but of course her senses simply light up whenever he looks at her like that. She leans up to kiss his lips lightly, the slightest brush of skin making her shiver with need.
Oliver wraps his arms around her, fingers trailing to the bottom of his dress shirt to slide under it, fingertips trailing along the soft skin of her stomach. She's felt self-conscious about the stretch mark or two that remained despite her strict regiment of putting on lotion every night; but since the pregnancy, Oliver seems to love that skin more than ever, his hands caressing it every chance he can as if to remind himself of the miracle that had grown there. He bends down to drop a kiss at where the collar of her shirt parts, the top buttons left undone as she was busy getting Grace to fall back asleep.
"That was smart of you too," he murmurs. His kisses move up the arch of her clavicle and she sighs, wrapping her arms around his neck to hold on to him, to hold on to something as he still makes her weak in the knees, even after all these years.
"And why is that, Mr. Queen?" She moves her face at the right moment so his next kiss lands on her lips, something he doesn't mind at all from the way he groans in pleasure, his hands tightening around her waist as he pulls her even closer. She can feel his hardness poking her stomach, and she can't help but smile secretly in delight at the effect she still has on him. It's the best reassurance after the pregnancy, and her legs seem to widen automatically to cradle his erection against the place she wants it most. Heat pools between her legs and her breasts feel heavy now for an entirely different reason than needing to feed Grace.
"Because now we're all alone in that bedroom with that great big bed."
"Right, a king bed for a Queen," Felicity says with a laugh.
"Felicity," Oliver says, his voice low with need, the lust visible on his face as his blue eyes darken. He's heard the king-sized bed joke too many times for it to ever be funny again, but Felicity laughs every time.
"I didn't even think of that, honestly," she says with a smile. "I hope you're not becoming the smart one in this relationship." She giggles when he playfully growls, his hand snapping back the waistband of her shorts, his fingers tickling along her ribs. "Stop!" She pushes him away, but he only hauls her closer, lifting her up easily so that she has no choice but to be carried back to bed for the rest of the night.
In her bedroom, Moira holds Grace close to her side and smiles at the sound of laughter drifting from down the hall.
The storm rages on outside.
the end ~