A/N: All right, guys, here's the final chapter! Writing this fic has been a lot of fun, as well as a challenge, and every single one of your follows, favorites and reviews have kept me going! Thank you all so, so much. I hope I've wrapped this up in a way you'll all enjoy.
And thank you, once again, to Bogart, who's been such a fantastic beta!
"She shot me!" Elena shouted as Lance guided her down into the police cruiser. "That bitch put an arrow through my arm!"
"This one?" Lance asked, pointing over his shoulder at Felicity, and Elena nodded emphatically. "Lady, you must be high on your own drugs if you expect me to believe Felicity Smoak shot you with an arrow."
Felicity and Oliver could hear Elena's frantic cries from inside the car even after Lance slammed the door shut. He threw a knowing glancing over his shoulder at the pair.
"Where is our mutual friend, anyway?" Lance asked, noticing the protective way Oliver ran his hands over Felicity's arms as he held her to his side.
Her eyes flickered up to Oliver's, and she shrugged, "You know how vigilantes can be, Detective."
Lance grunted, rolling his eyes. "We'll still need statements from the both of you."
"Tomorrow," Oliver said. It was more of a statement than a question, and Lance nodded.
"Yeah, yeah," Lance sighed and gestured toward his cruiser. "I've still got to get this one booked, anyway. We've got enough evidence to lock Elena Torino up for a long time. The vigilante and Miss Smoak, here, helped us bust a major Vertigo distribution ring tonight."
"Well, she is certainly something special," Oliver said, pride exuding from his voice.
"She certainly is," Lance said, smiling affectionately at the blonde.
"Uh, guys. She is right here," Felicity said, crinkling her nose in feigned annoyance. It was quite possibly the cutest thing Oliver had ever seen her do.
The detective chuckled and ducked down into his cruiser. He rolled the window down and poked his head out as he pulled away. "Hey, Queen, looks like your bodyguard finally decided to join the party."
Oliver glanced over his shoulder and saw Diggle dressed in street clothes and leaning against the Bentley. He held up a finger, signaling that they'd need a minute. Diggle nodded in silent understanding.
Once Lance's car pulled out of earshot, Oliver turned Felicity in his arms so they were facing one another, his hands still moving up and down her arms. The look on his face was as if she might disappear if he let her go, and it made Felicity's breath catch in her throat.
"You shot her," he whispered, his eyes searching her face. "You could've killed her."
"I didn't, though," she said, reaching up to still his hands. "I didn't kill her, but I would have if it meant saving you."
Oliver's chin dropped and he sucked in a breath. "No."
"No," he repeated, his hands stilling on her forearms. "You're not supposed to have blood on your hands."
"Hey, look at me." Felicity slid a hand down the scruff on his face. She could feel his unsteady breath on her fingers as he turned into her touch. Stepping closer, she pressed her other hand over the spot on his chest where he was marked with the Bratva tattoo. "It's no different for me than it is for you. If it comes down to your life or someone else's, I will always choose you."
Once again, she'd saved him. She'd been saving him since the moment he walked into her office with Deadshot's bullet-riddled laptop and a BS excuse. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes, but Felicity swiped them away before they could fall.
"Oliver, I know your intentions, however misguided they may have been, were always to protect me," she said. "But if tonight was any indication, it seems as if you're the one who needs protecting."
A second ticked by before Oliver realized she was teasing him, but he couldn't bring himself to smile. Instead he pressed his forehead to hers and closed his eyes, still reeling from the events of the last 12 hours.
"Felicity, I.." he began, sighing heavily.
She pulled back slightly and clamped a hand down over his mouth. "Nope. I'm not letting you take it back. Those things you said today.. You don't get to take them back."
He raised one eyebrow and murmured something inaudible behind her hand, but she just shook her head. "It's my turn now, so I'll move my hand if you promise not to say anything until I'm finished." Her eyes were filled with determination, and Oliver realized he didn't need to hear her words because he could see it all in the way she was looking at him.
"In the nearly three years I've known you, you went from a vigilante who was hell-bent on vengeance, to a hero willing to sacrifice everything to save his city. So yes, being The Arrow has played a part in make you into the man standing here in front of me," She dropped her hand and laced her fingers through his. "But being The Arrow is what you do; It's not who you are. Who you are is Oliver Queen, an inherently good man who, despite all you've been through, still tries to see the best in everyone. You're loyal and passionate and driven, and that doesn't even begin to cover all the reasons why I love you."
Oliver's pulse quickened at the ease at which Felicity said those words. He'd said them to her, twice now, but hearing her say "I love you" filled a void in Oliver's chest that he didn't realize existed until it was gone.
He opened his mouth to speak but she was nowhere near through.
"I'm aware of how challenging it's going to be. I mean, you'll probably be even more overprotective and bullheaded, and, of course, I'll posses the same amount of stubbornness as I do now.." Oliver raised his eyebrows in amusement at her assessment of them but remained quiet.
"And I know how dangerous our lives are, but I've never felt safer than I do when I'm with you. I chose this life, and now I'm choosing you.. us." Felicity closed her eyes and nodded decisively.
Oliver flashed that lopsided smile, the one he saved only for Felicity, and breathed her in. "How could you possibly think I want to take back anything I said before?"
Her eyes fluttered open, widening in surprise. He slid his free hand around to the back of her neck, drawing their faces impossibly close. Felicity's breath hitched, and she couldn't help it when her eyes flickered to the grin still playing on his lips. "What I was going to say, before you one-upped me with that speech, was that it terrifies me how much I love you, but I'm not going to spend one more day pretending that I don't."
Oliver closed the last few inches of space between them, pressing his lips to hers. He could feel Felicity smile against his mouth as she melted into him. Goosebumps ran through his body as her fingers corded through the short hairs at the back of his neck. This kiss was nothing like the first one they'd shared, full of pent up frustration and desire. This kiss was soft and slow and full of love and the unspoken promise that this was just the beginning.
Felicity pulled back first, breathless, and rested her forehead against Oliver's. He studied her face, searching for signs of uncertainty, and unsurprisingly, he found none. She was always steady and sure, and feeling comforted by that knowledge, he drew her hand up and pressed a kiss against her palm. His grin grew wide against her hand, and he let out a breath, feeling lighter than he had in years.
Oliver had convinced himself a long time ago that he was destined for a lonely life beneath the shadows of the hood, but somewhere along the way Felicity managed to do something no one else could; She brought him back to life. She became his salvation.
"Lets go home," Felicity said softly, her words mirroring the ones she spoke on the beaches of Lian Yu just a few months prior. She smiled up at him, and he was relieved to see the same peace in her eyes that he finally felt in his heart.
He didn't bother asking to whose place they would go. Their apartments were just brick and mortar, places they could lay their heads at night. Felicity was the only home Oliver needed, and he was already there.