Oliver rounded the corner beside the 'Q Club', dodging groups of partygoers decked out in a range of garish and provocative costumes. He scanned the crowd looking for Felicity, his 'date' for the night. It took him a moment to find her, and when he did, his mouth went dry.
Felicity was wearing his suit. Well, not quite. It was almost the same, complete with a bow, a quiver, and a hood, except where Oliver had (to his mind) sensible leather pants, she seemed to have a short miniskirt that just about grazed the middle of her thigh. Not that there was much leg on show though, because of the dark green knee high leather boots she was wearing, with heels that looked like lethal weapons in themselves and silver zips that sliced them from the knee to the heel. Oliver swallowed, gaze travelling up her legs, unable to stop himself from noticing the way the tight leather clung to every curve. His eyes finally came to rest on her chest, which was really only partially covered. He'd never seen her show so much cleavage before. He actually felt himself break out into a sweat.
"Oliver?" her voice was a little shaky, almost as if she were nervous, or uncomfortable.
Oliver realised he had been staring and quickly moved his eyes upwards to her face... which was a mistake. Felicity's hood was down, and her hair was up in its usual sleek ponytail, fully exposing the green mask she wore. She had ringed her eyes with dark green makeup, so that they blended almost seamlessly with the mask. And her lips, well, her lips popped. Coated in daring red lipstick and offset against the dark green of her mask and makeup, they looked even fuller and more striking than usual.
"Oliver? Is everything ok?"
God damn it, he was still staring. Oliver clenched his fists at his sides as she moved closer, forcing himself not to step back... or forward. He wasn't sure which was harder.
"Mhmm-hmm. Yes, I'm just... you didn't tell me what you'd be wearing."
Felicity reached up to touch her mask nervously, much like she usually did with her glasses, her eyes half shut as she avoided his gaze.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, I thought it'd be funny, you know? You and me sneaking into a fancy dress party, doing some secret vigilante-ing, all while I'm dressed in your suit. Well, you know not wearing your actual suit, because that would be weird, but..."
He put his hand on her shoulder to calm her, and tried not to notice when she shuddered under his touch. He opened his mouth to speak, and found himself staring at her lips again. When had he moved so close to her? Or had she gotten closer to him? He watched her bite her lip nervously and his hand automatically tightened on her shoulder. He quickly removed it.
"Felicity, it's fine. It is funny... you look good."
He looked her in the eye and smiled when he said it, reassuring her in the only way he knew. He saw her smile in response, her eyes shining in the dark makeup and mask.
"You look good too, you know," Felicity said cheerfully, playfully tugging at the peak of his cap. "I see I'm not the only one who appreciates irony."
Oliver grinned, readjusting the jacket of the cop uniform he wore.
"I had this left over from my short-lived college days." He paused, smile widening. "You know, frat boy stuff."
A comment she had once made about frat boys crossed his mind, but he managed to catch himself before his eyes dropped to her chest again. He half-caught her smile as she turned and led him towards the club opening, where a short queue had already formed.
According to rumours Roy had picked up in the Glades, this club was actually a front for a weapons trafficking operation, and crates of high-powered assault rifles were currently being stored under their feet. Felicity had hacked into their systems the day before to find purchasing records for a very sophisticated security system, complete with an apparently "unhackable" security door. Felicity was the only one who could break into it on-site, and as Digg was taking some time to be with Lyla before their baby arrived and Roy was out of town, it was just the two of them tonight. And that was why he and Felicity were currently using the fancy dress event as an opportunity to get into the club, to hack the door and gather evidence that could be passed on to Laurel. Oliver wondered idly where Felicity could possibly be hiding her tablet in that outfit, found his own outfit growing uncomfortably hot, and turned his mind to other things.
"I didn't expect it to be this kind of party," he muttered to Felicity, gesturing towards the other occupants of the queue. French maids, playboy bunnies, burlesque dancers, and nurses crowded next to them. He was sure he could see some dubious-looking leather outfits further along the line.
Felicity shrugged. "What fancy dress isn't sexual these days? It's fine anyway, you look like a stripper."
Oliver looked at her sidelong, but she continued without pause. "I mean really, with that body, it screams stripper, not cop. And there aren't many women who'd complain if you started taking that shirt off."
The doorman interrupted her and Oliver had to swallow his disappointment. He had liked where that was going. Mentally he shook himself, telling himself to get a grip and focus on the mission. This was Felicity. She was not the kind of girl you took to a party like this, and she would probably be appalled if she knew what was going through his head right now. Besides, Oliver knew that he couldn't think this way about her. He had told her that he loved her, and he knew he shouldn't have, but he had been so afraid that Slade would win and he would never have the chance to be with her again. But now, Slade was gone, and if nothing else he had confirmed Oliver's fears about the dangers of openly loving any woman.
Felicity got a slow, appreciative stare as she showed the doorman their tickets, while Oliver gritted his teeth and pretended not to notice.
"Nice couples' costume. I get it," the bouncer said to Felicity, before nudging Oliver familiarly. "Hey, if the Arrow looked more like her I bet the cops would have gotten their hands on 'im a long time ago."
The man chuckled while Oliver turned and gave him a long, hard look. He swallowed and waved them through immediately.
Inside, the nightclub was almost pitch black and overcrowded. The party was already in full swing and everywhere Oliver looked people in outlandish costumes were pressed close to each other, drinking, dancing, and shouting above the music. Felicity grabbed his hand and began forcing her way through the crowd. He clung onto her, feeling suddenly protective as he saw her brush closely up against strange men, many of whom looked more than a little interested as she passed. When one guy in a leopard suit took the opportunity to run his hand along her side as she pushed by him, Oliver found his fist clenching automatically and he had to force himself not to punch the other man.
When Felicity stopped, running up against a group of women in cave girl outfits dancing in a large circle, Oliver closed the distance between them. He stood close behind her, almost enveloping her with his body, shielding her from the people around them. He knew he was overreacting a bit, but he didn't care. When the tight press of the crowd forced them even closer together he struggled not to focus on the sensation of her body pressed tightly against his, or the smell of her perfume mingling with her hair as it brushed against his face. He put his arms around her to steady them as people shoved past, and felt her lean into him, turning her face towards his neck. Her heels had added another four inches to her height, and he froze as he felt her breath against his skin when she spoke.
"We need to keep moving towards the back!" she shouted above the din of the music.
Oliver nodded, not bothering to try reply, and moved past her to lead the way. He kept a firm grip on Felicity's hand as he pushed through the crowd, his greater height and size causing people to make way for him easily. He barely noticed the flirtatious glances he drew, his gaze focused on a doorway leading towards the lower level of the club. Just as they reached it a slim arm snaked out to bar his way. His eyes travelled up it to meet the gaze of a pretty waitress, her French maid's costume offset by the tray of shot glasses she held. He looked at her questioningly and she smirked.
"The real party's down there!" she shouted. "But, you have to have one of these first!"
She thrust the tray of shot glasses towards him. Oliver smiled easily, reminding himself that he was supposed to be just another reveller, and plucked a glass from the tray. He downed it quickly, and instantly felt the front of his brain catch fire. He wasn't sure what it was, but it was strong. He went to move forward but the waitress touched him on the arm.
He turned to see her smiling at Felicity. Without so much as glancing at him, Felicity grabbed a glass and knocked it back. Oliver felt his mouth drop open, then found himself wondering why he was surprised. After a second he realised that Felicity was looking at him questioningly, obviously wondering what he was waiting for. He swallowed and moved on, leading her down a narrow set of steps.
The underground club was a fancy-dress rave. Strobe lights flashed on and off, further disorienting his alcohol-muddled mind. All around him bodies of strange shapes and sizes gyrated to the music. Some had already broken off into corners and dark alcoves, ignoring those around them. Pausing on the steps, Oliver glanced towards Felicity. She pointed towards the rear corner on the opposite side of the room. Oliver grimaced, already dreading making his way across the frenzied dance floor. He descended the steps and within seconds they were surrounded. Faces, masks, arms lunged at them from the crowd, the strobe lights and the pounding music lending a surreal urgency to every movement. To Oliver, every gesture seemed like an attack. He pulled Felicity towards him, holding her close against his chest, his left arm tight around her waist. Her hand came up to grip his, her fingers intertwining with his own. Her head rested against the side of his face, and he found himself turning towards her, almost nuzzling her. He told himself it was the alcohol when he felt her push back, her fingers tightening in his grip.
He began moving forward, holding her against him, simply because if he stayed there any longer he would end up doing something he would regret. But in some ways this was worse. He felt her moving against him with every step, could feel the tense and release of her muscles through her thin leather dress. At some point he realised that his thumb was rubbing tense little circles into the back of her hand, but he couldn't seem to stop.
By the time they reached the door to the offices, Oliver had noticed the two bouncers standing on either side. They looked bored and disinterested, but he knew that would change if either he or Felicity approached them. He leaned close to Felicity, his lips brushing her ear.
"I'm going to start a fight," he said.
Felicity jerked around to face him, eyes wide, just as a surge in the crowd pushed them together again, their faces dangerously close. Unbidden, his hands gripped her waist and pulled her closer, and he found his gaze travelling to her lips, her eyes, and back to her lips again. She was staring at him wide-eyed, her makeup making her pupils appear darker than usual, and he could feel her heart racing as it thumped against his chest. He watched in what seemed like slow motion as she anxiously bit her lip.
Blood pounding in his ears, Oliver turned and grabbed the nearest guy. It was that or grab Felicity and... he didn't let his mind go any further.
"You touched my girl!" he shouted, ignoring the poor guy's confused expression. He was about the same age as Oliver, dressed in an innocuous looking cowboy outfit, and Oliver felt a little bit guilty as he shoved him backward, right into a group of dancing couples. Not a few of the men turned around angrily, their dates yelping as they stumbled in high heels, spilled drinks soaking their costumes. The cowboy's friends jumped in to support him almost instantly, and it wasn't long before an all-out brawl was underway.
The two bouncers shoved past Oliver, ignoring him as they tried to reach the fight, having abandoned their post without a second glance. Oliver grabbed Felicity's hand and pulled her towards the doorway, which opened into a darkened corridor that was eerily quiet compared to the chaos outside.
"There should be an office on the left," Felicity whispered.
Oliver found the door easily, shouldering it open when he realised it was locked. They found themselves in what was obviously the manager's office, complete with filing cabinets, a heavy wooden desk, a safe, and a top-of-the-line high security door. Oliver flicked on a small desk lamp, and stepped back to let Felicity get to work turning off the security cameras in the back storeroom and unlocking the door.
"Wait," she giggled, tugging at her costume, and Oliver knew she was feeling the effects of her shot as much as he was. He grinned, and then stopped breathing when Felicity slipped the hood over her head, letting it fall forward to cast a dark shadow over the top half of her face. All he could see were her lips, and the faint glow of her eyes, shining in the shadows. He didn't think he'd ever seen anything sexier in his life.
"I need to be dressed properly to do this," she whispered theatrically, moving past him to reach the security door.
Oliver clenched his jaw. "Mhmm-hmm," was all he managed, before crossing to the office doorway to keep an eye on the corridor. Only a few moments passed before he heard the security door beep and swing open. He turned back to find Felicity grinning at him like a cat.
"Wow, this hood really works huh? I should wear it all the time, you know, when I'm doing my IT-girling, vigilante work, around the office..."
Oliver hesitated. "We need to focus... there could be someone down there," he finished awkwardly.
"Oh right, got ya." She sketched a mock salute and stepped back to let him lead the way.
Oliver moved through the door cautiously, doing his best to push all thoughts of Felicity and his outfit (in various combinations) from his mind. He hadn't brought his bow, obviously, but Felicity had been confident that the storeroom itself wasn't patrolled. He had only said someone might be down there to get her to stop talking, because, for once, her babbling was legitimately driving him crazy, though not in any way she would suspect.
The storeroom really was empty, and they easily found crates of rifles stacked against the back wall. Oliver levered one open, and Felicity quickly grabbed some snapshots on her phone, which were instantly uploaded to the servers back in the base. Their job done, they silently made their way back to the office.
Once back inside the shadowy room, Felicity set about relocking the door while Oliver kept watch. She had been oddly quiet since they had entered the storeroom, other than the quietly exclaimed 'Jackpot!' when they found the rifles, and Oliver found himself watching her more than the corridor.
When he heard the door beep closed he moved towards her, forgetting that she had to reset the security cameras. She stood up and turned quickly, then took a step back, obviously surprised to see him so close. Her heel wobbled and she stumbled, her mouth making a little 'oh' of surprise, and Oliver caught her instinctively. Her hood fell back as her body arched against his, and suddenly Oliver was kissing her.
He pressed his lips against hers, hearing her gasp, and savoured the taste of her in his mouth. He held her tightly against him, turning her towards the desk, and felt her moan as his tongue slipped between her lips. And then she was kissing him back, her hands slipping inside his shirt as clung to him, her hips grinding against him as he pushed her against the desk. He kissed her with bruising force, his pulse thrumming as he felt her return his kiss with equal passion. He picked her up and lifted her onto the desk, her legs parting as he stepped between them...
...and then someone's hand was on his shoulder.
"Hey! I said, 'you two can't be in here'."
Oliver turned to find one of the doormen standing behind him, an exasperated look on his face. Part of him was stunned that he had been so consumed with Felicity he hadn't even heard the man approach, but mostly he was furious at being interrupted. Without thinking he punched the doorman squarely in the face, knocking him out cold.
He turned to find Felicity staring at him, tears in her eyes.
"Felicity?" he asked in confusion, the look on her face telling him that something was terribly wrong.
She pushed past him without a word, disappearing out into the hallway. Oliver chased after her, following her small dark shape as she forced her way through the crowded nightclub and towards the exit. He finally caught up with her on the street outside the club, grabbing her arm and turning her towards him.
He stopped when he saw her face, her eyes still red and makeup streaky from where her tears had overflowed. He stared at her, speechless.
"Sorry," she said shakily, clearly struggling for calm. "I just had to get out of there, you know? It all just got to me for a second. I mean, you knew he was there, right? That's why you... I mean, what's a fake kiss after a fake 'I love you'? Nothing we can't handle. Such a cliché though, I really thought you had more imagination."
She gave a half laugh and stuttered to a halt, turning her face away. Oliver could see her hands shaking. He reached towards her, and felt a stabbing feeling in his gut as she stepped back, increasing the distance between them. She stuck her arm out, an almost desperate gesture, and a passing cab pulled over immediately.
"I'm going home. I'm tired. The pictures are on the server, I'll send them to Laurel tomorrow. Goodnight Oliver." She said everything in a rush, still not looking at him, and then suddenly she was inside the taxi and it was pulling away.
Oliver stared after Felicity, the taste of her still on his lips. His heart ached when the cab disappeared around the corner and he realised she hadn't looked back once.