Thanks to everyone who reviewed, read, fave'd and followed this story. Here's the next installment. I had a couple complaints about the fact that she ran away, and I hope that this chapter sheds some light on that. I feel like I've actually kept this almost totally in canon which I'm pretty happy with (it also does a lot to explain the bits of this season that I'm displeased with.)

*warning* there's a wee bit of swearing in this chapter., but it felt very true to the situation.

Anyways, enjoy this chapter! I own nothing.

It's so loud inside my head

With words that I should have said

He waited three days to call her. The message telling him that the number had been disconnected was both painful and surprising.

She'd come back. He knew that. If for no other reason than Diggle was still her family and she'd want to help clean up the city. But he wasn't sure she'd ever come back to him.

Oliver glared into the mirror as he washed the sweat from his face. The marks from his final battle with Slade were beginning to fade, replaced by the ugly shiner John had given him.

"You knew?" John bellowed, fists clenched.

Oliver nodded. He knew before John moved what he was going to do but he made no move to stop him. He stumbled backwards and sat heavily as he watched his friend turn and walk away from him.

Dig didn't stay angry for long. He was too reasonable for that. He came back three hours later with beer and burgers. Felicity would be thrilled to hear that Big Belly Burger had been spared any damage. The owner was single-handedly feeding the Glades these days.

The city was scrambling to recover for the second time in less than a year. Oliver's first order of business after being reinstated was to provide the resources to rebuild the city and funds to help cover the medical expenses of those hurt during the melee. The board had been very eager to agree. Some critics called it a publicity stunt, others seemed to understand that Oliver Queen held himself and his family company responsible for the trauma that had befallen Starling City. Either way, a week after the 'Starling City Massacre' people were beginning to rebuild, to rise from the ashes.

Sara had rejoined Nyssa and the League. Their first mission was to find Malcolm Merlyn. His reincarnation should have surprised Oliver but he'd watched too many die and reappear years later at this point.

Malcolm's visit with Thea had been confusing for his sister. Oliver would forever owe Malcolm for keeping her safe while the city burned. But he had never been prouder of his sister for the way she'd handled herself. His little sister, a woman now, had not only saved Merlyn's life, but had returned to Oliver's side. She would never fully recover from their mother's death, but she didn't blame her brother for it either.

They were a family. Roy hadn't left Thea's side since the fight had ended and Oliver found himself thankful for the young man's presence. A single does of the cure had done little to temper his strength and abilities but his rage would never overtake him again. It had taken seven arrows containing the serum to cure Slade Wilson. Roy had decided to keep his strength for now.

Oliver trudged through the lair and stopped behind her desk. Leaning against a supply table, he stared at her empty chair.

He had considered tracking her down. Felicity could cover her tracks but he was sure that Amanda Waller could find her; she did owe him and Starling a favour or ten at this point. He knew that she wouldn't disappear completely, just in case she was needed. But asking Waller felt like a betrayal to Felicity. She needed space and he was the reason.

He hadn't always known the truth. He wasn't sure if Slade had twisted the truth the way he had done with Thea. Slade had convinced his sister that he'd known of her true paternity for years. He wondered if Slade hadn't altered the timeline with Felicity as well. The irony was that he'd learned the truth about both women on the same day. Felicity's honesty about Thea had driven him to dig into her own past.

After confronting his mother he'd needed to do something, anything, to get his mind off of Thea's paternity and his mother's lies. He'd been in the basement sitting in Felicity's chair, drawing comfort from the scent that lingered in her workspace. His mind had wandered to the beginning of their conversation and how hurt she still was over her father's abandonment. And suddenly Oliver had a purpose. Because he desperately wanted to hit something, someone. And any loser who would willingly abandon Felicity Smoak was an appropriate target for his rage.

He knew that Felicity must have conducted her own research on the man. She hacked federal databases with little effort, so he knew that he'd probably have no success in searching for him either. But he needed to do something.

He'd done a background check on Felicity after their first meeting so he knew her parent's names. He knew her birthdate and her credit score. He'd never thought to actually check out her parents beyond finding their names on her birth certificate.

A quick google search of Tony Smoak was enough to bring the world down around him. His vision tunnelled and his breath caught in his chest as he stared at the man in the white lab coat. It was a group photo of several young doctors standing inside a laboratory.

It could be a coincidence of course, and Oliver blew out a breath hopefully before clicking on another image. Except that it was the same man in each picture. And as Oliver stared at the man's face he saw her mouth and the same blue eyes. He recognized her features in the man in a way he'd never seen her father's features in her.

His life wasn't complicated enough apparently. Because why the hell else would Felicity Smoak's father be Anthony Fucking Ivo?

He snapped. His rage carried him throughout the basement, destroying everything in his path, as if mirakuru itself pumped through his veins.

Sara said nothing of the damage when she arrived hours later. He'd switched from destruction to painstaking exercise as he desperately tried to make sense of this new truth.

The problem laid perhaps more in the feelings it stirred within him than it did in the fact that he'd killed Felicity's father. Because now that he knew he'd lose her, now that he knew he could never have her, he realised just how much he wanted her, needed her. With their future cracked and shattering around him, he knew with certainty that he cared for her, that he loved her.

He had broken them before they'd even met. So like the coward that he was he decided to push her away, to dissolve her feelings for him. He couldn't let her go though. He needed her, even if he couldn't be with her. So he fell into bed with Sara, pushing away the thoughts of the one he really wanted. He paraded their relationship in front of Felicity, ignoring the burn in his chest at the way it hurt both of them.

His resolve was shaken the night Tockman shot her. Sara's panicked words over the comm had nearly stopped his heart. His girlfriend had been so shaken that she hadn't thought to tell them that the wound wasn't fatal. And he'd never run so fast in his life.

Felicity's declaration in the basement about being his girl girl had stopped him from breaking the promise he'd made himself. Because there was no mistaking the way she felt about him, even after everything he'd put her through. So he'd told her the truth, but in a tone that pushed her firmly into the friend zone.

He thought that things would be easier after that. But he had been wrong. The only one who was oblivious to his feelings for her was Felicity herself. Dig knew, Sara knew, hell, even Roy knew.

His traitorous hands were always reaching for her and his gaze always lingered longer than appropriate. He always shared his deep dark truths with Felicity. She was always the one he allowed beyond the walls he hid behind. He showed only her the weakness that crippled him and every time her faith healed him.

Sara's speech about light and darkness had been about Felicity. He'd known that even before her not so subtle glance at the blonde IT expert.

He should have told her.

There were a thousand different times when he could have, should have brought it up.

But Oliver Queen had said goodbye too many times to too many people he loved. And he wasn't willing to risk it.

So instead he buried the secret deep inside and allowed it to fester inside of him. He allowed it to taint their interactions, to haunt his waking and sleeping hours.

He had pushed her away and pulled her back for months on end. He had shoved Sara under her nose but shared quiet intimate moments with Felicity as well.

It was hard to point out his fatal mistake. He could blame the moment where he instinctively shielded Felicity from Slade's attack in the basement, thus marking her as a future target. He could point out that he hadn't been careful enough around Isabel and had therefore raised her suspicions about their relationship.

But if he was being honest, and at this point he really needed to be, none of that mattered. Because anyone could see how he felt about her. She was always going to be the final target.

His mistake had been in doubting her. Because Felicity was the best of them. If he lived for another thousand years he would never meet anyone like her, anyone as light, as kind and as loyal as Felicity.

He hadn't believed that she'd forgive him, that she'd remain by his side if she knew the truth.

That had been his mistake.

If he'd only told her the truth, the horrible, hurtful truth and been brave the way she had been in telling him about Thea. Hindsight was 20/20 and such a raging bitch.

If he'd only trusted her then she'd still be here. He wouldn't be staring at her empty desk, praying that she was alright.

Slade knew that Oliver loved her. And Felicity should know that now as well. But she probably didn't. Because that knowledge had been tainted by his secrets and his lies.

If he'd only been honest than perhaps they'd finally be together.

But he hadn't.

And now she was gone.

And as I drown in my regrets

I can't take back the words I never said

Angst-fest over here. I hope you enjoyed it and don't worry, there's more. And it won't all be this depressing. Anyways, I hope this did a bit to explain why she took off.

Because I don't think that Oliver killing Ivo (especially when he was already dying) would be enough to push her away for good. And I can't believe that he'd know from the beginning, but I can kind of picture him finding out and then hiding it. And that I think would hurt her, especially after finding out Oliver loves her (because how confusing would that be?)

Let me know what you think? Thanks for reading!