A/N: The post-finale feels hit me again. Just a short piece. Hope you enjoy.
It all finally came to a head three months after Slade, and it happened on the sidewalk outside their former office building of all places.
She hadn't expected it. Neither had he. They'd been doing a damn fine tap dance those long weeks. A perfectly choreographed pas de deux of avoidance and head in the sand pretending.
Pretending like he hadn't said that. Pretending that they both didn't know he'd been telling the truth.
She knew why he was avoiding and she knew why she was avoiding. But they'd always been so good at communicating without words they quietly overlooked the point where they'd mutually agreed this was the best course of action.
On the surface nothing seemed to have changed. There were still late nights and longer days. Trying to rebuild two jobs and the city left them frayed but they knew it was necessary. There were still furtive glances, and too long stares. Hands that lingered on shoulders and licking of lips at the wrong time.
Except every one of those actions was charged now. Vibrating with an undercurrent of three syllables, three words, eight little letters that had been expelled when the world was ending. Except it didn't end, but the words were still there, and they coated everything now.
The cracks and fissures had slowly started to form on the discongrously beautiful shoreline of Lian Yu. It was simple physics. Nothing could withstand that much pressure without beginning to fracture.
It began with small hesitations and awkward pauses and grew to the slamming of doors and curt replies when she had her first date in over a year because something had to give and she couldn't remain stagnant. She ignored the fact that she hadn't made it past one cocktail before she'd came up with a flimsy excuse and headed back to their temporary lair where they worked in silence for two hours until he offered to walk her to her car like nothing had happened.
The meeting they'd walked out of that day had been promising but ultimately frustrating. He would be able to regain control of the company but it wasn't going to easy. They were only two steps outside the door when Oliver exploded, hand tugging at his tie then scraping through his hair as he hissed at the injustice of having to wear a visitors badge in a building with his name on the side.
She'd let him have his moment, subtly herding him out of the way where he couldn't block the flow of pedestrian traffic as he paced a small circle and gradually got quieter. When she dropped a hand to the inside of his elbow he froze, eyes darting down to her bright nails and then up to her face.
For years she'd wonder why it was then that she said what she said. Why it was that particular moment that caused her to speak. In the end she couldn't find a reason, it had just happened.
"I can't remember the last time someone said I love you to me and meant it," she blurted out, the words almost sounding normal because she hadn't planned on saying them and they took her by surprise as much as they did him.
He blinked twice, mouth opening slightly as he heard her, the shock coming over him at the same time she felt the flush crawl up her neck and across her face.
There was a beat where neither of them breathed, and then she was talking again but the roar of blood in her head prevented her from really hearing what she was saying.
"I mean...people have of course, boyfriends and...and my mother I'm sure but...I'm not dumb enough to think that just because I went to get coffee with someone a few times that we're soul mates and my mom sort of has to, although...after my dad left she...it was hard for her, I'm sure. I don't blame her. I knew she did she just didn't really say it but…" Felicity gave a shrug and trailed off at the almost stricken look that had come over him. Mortified embarrassment made her hand fall to the side as she wished she could break her gaze from his.
"I'm sorry...I...I don't know where that-"
She didn't expect one of his hands to slip around the back of her neck to draw her closer while the other wrapped around her waist, and she certainly didn't expect his mouth to cover hers, lips working almost desperately to halt her words, to swallow them before they had a chance to be heard. To quite literally consume all her fears and uncertainties until they no longer existed.
It took her longer than it should have to understand, but when she did she didn't hesitate. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders and neck, molding her body as close to his as possible.
When he drew back for air he peppered small kisses across her face, each one punctuated with "I meant it," Over and over he said the words, whispered and fervent for her ears alone. Her cheeks, her forehead, the bridge of her nose until he made his way back to her mouth and said it there one last time as she smiled.