FF#9: Black Tied Affair
A Sequel to FF#5: White Aproned (Intentioned) Crime

Flash Fic Prompt #9: Sleepless Nights

Oliver Queen was touching her.

Okay, so he had touched her before. You know, when he sat next to her, their arms brushed together. He'd tapped her shoulder once after promising her a bottle of wine... which he had still never delivered on. But this was different. This was... whoa. And wow. And holy moly. Because Oliver wasn't just touching her; he was surrounding her, and it wasn't a 'whoa, wow, holy moly this is hot' situation; it was a 'whoa, wow, holy moly I'm about to die' situation... which wasn't preferable. Not by a long shot.

So, Felicity did what she always did when pressed into a jam: she talked. "Souvenirs?"

"Yes, women seem to like taking something of mine with them after we have sex – like, say, my underwear – to prove that we actually spent the night together."

If she wasn't so scared, Felicity knew she'd be focusing on how gross and weird the women who Oliver chose to sleep with were. Seriously? His underwear? She just hoped they were at least clean. "Yes, well, we haven't had sex."

"Not yet. But we could."

She couldn't see his face, so Felicity couldn't be sure, but she had gotten pretty decent at reading Oliver's tone of voice over the past several weeks of their one-sided back-scratching friendship, and she knew that, despite the offer, he really wasn't trying to seduce her... even though his hands had now fallen from her waist and were smoothing over her lower abdomen. Somehow, they had slipped beneath her own hands which were still clenched around the little notebook she held so desperately.

"I don't want to have sex with you now."

Felicity cringed. One word. One freaking word. She had said exactly what she had wanted to say but had betrayed herself... and her attraction – former! – for the man wrapped around her by slipping the 'now' unto the end of her sentence. That betrayal was threefold, too, its string really burning, because she hadn't just revealed that, before learning he shot arrows into people as a hobby, she had wanted to drink that bottle of wine with him (off of him) but also because that one word had only been three letters – a disappointment to her superior vocabulary, and because there was no way she could claim that she meant 'oh, would you look at the time; it's too late for hanky-panky' instead of 'I used to fantasy about jumping your bones.' Stupid innuendo.

That mortification, however, turned to shivers (of fear!) when she felt Oliver's breath coast along the length of her neck. "And why not?"

"Because you killed Walter!"

Whoops. She hadn't meant to play that knowledge card so quickly, but Felicity had never been one for self-censure.

She felt Oliver stiffen... and not in a good way (she didn't mean that!) from behind her. In his agitation, he pulled away, too, which was a really good thing for her sanity. "Why would you think that?"

"Because he is – was – a member of the one-percent, and there has been no sign of him for weeks, and I highly doubt you're very understanding when someone figures out your secret... as he must have when I decrypted the notebook and mentioned to him how several of the names in it had been targets of... well, yours."

And great. Now, she was going to die, too. And in a maid's uniform, no less.

Oliver sighed from behind her. "Felicity, I didn't kill Walter."

"Oh, god, I don't want to die. There are still federal databases that I haven't had a chance to hack into yet; and I'd like to get my doctorate, so everyone has to call me Dr. Smoak; and I need to find out if Jesse survives; screw... Wait," she stopped herself, twirling around to finally face Oliver. "Walter's not dead?"

She watched him cringe. "I don't... I mean, we don't know." He looked away from her, shrugged, pushed his hands into the front pockets of his dress pants. "The police haven't been able to tell us anything yet."

And then she snapped – any last shred of self-preservation flying out of his floor to ceiling windows. "Cut the crap, Oliver." Removing her hands from beneath her apron, she flashed him the notebook she still held. "I know exactly who you are."

He remained unruffled, placid. "What's that?"

"Well, it sure as hell isn't your little black book... unless you have two secrets, seeing as how most of these name belong to men."

Oliver grinned impishly. "I don't have any secrets, Felicity."

"So, that's how you want to play this – like the dumb playboy we both know you're not?"

He chuckled. "I have no idea what you're talking about?" Then, he feigned concern. "Are you alright? You weren't in a car accident were you? Did you hit your head? Maybe we should call for help?"

"Oh, that's a great idea," she agreed with him, stalking forward to poke him in the chest with the corner of the notebook. "Let's call the police, so I can tell them everything – about the laptop, the security fob, the arrows, the syringe full of what was certainly not an energy drink. And then I'll show them this notebook, too."

"And what," Oliver challenged, scoffing. Gone was any trace of warmth or joviality from his tone. Cold precision and a lack of humanity had replaced it. Felicity imagined it was the voice he used when confronting those he would then later kill. "You'll tell them it's mine when I'm not even sure that you didn't plant it here yourself? After all, you're the one who is trespassing. You broke into my house."

"It was unlocked," she fired back, glaring. "And who does that, anyway?" Before he could answer, she feigned sudden realization. "Oh right. Someone who keeps a bow and arrows under his bed."

"For arguments sake," Oliver suggested, moving away from her to stroll casually about the room. As he talked, he fiddled with various knickknacks and books – fingers trailing over spines, knuckles nudging things into slightly different positions. She watched as he removed a loose black bow tie from his pocket and allowed it to fall casually into a silky pile on top of his desk. Flashes of that scrap of fabric being used in a different way – to tie her up; to tie him down – flickered before her mind's eye, but Felicity quickly dismissed them. Tried to forget about them. But the fear and arousal simmered, a taunting heat, underneath her fury.

"Let's say that I was who you think I am and that I did have and know how to use a bow and arrows – but, really, it's a ridiculous hobby, right?, why would I ever keep them under my bed in the house that everyone, the police included, know I live in? If I was as malicious and devious as you think I am, then surely I'd have some top secret hideout – one that you don't know about so that you couldn't find anything incriminating against me. Hypothetically speaking, of course."

Her head hurt. Perhaps it was from Oliver talking in circles; maybe it was because, as he stalked about his bedroom, her eyes tracked him, unblinkingly. She was afraid that, if she closed her eyes for even a second, he would pounce, and she'd never be able to fight him off. "Everything that you supposedly have against me is circumstantial, Miss Smoak. Your word against mine. And, besides, I've already been cleared of being the vigilante."

Apparently, they were at an impasse. He wouldn't admit the truth, and she wouldn't swallow his lies. Nervously licking her lips, she asked, "so, now what?" Oliver slunk back over so that he was standing, once more, right in front of her. For a second, it looked like he was watching her mouth, but she dismissed the crazy notion and refocused on what it was she wanted to say; what she needed to say. "Whether I can legally do anything with what I've learned or not, that doesn't change the fact that I know you're The Hood... just like you can't do or say anything to convince me otherwise, and, even though I can't go to the police, that doesn't mean that I can't use my new knowledge against you." Narrowing her gaze in what she hoped was a intimidating manner, Felicity put him on notice. "As I think you're aware, I'm pretty good with a computer. If it's out there, I can find it, and something tells me – oh, say your many trips down to my desk in the IT department, that you're not as good at covering your cyber tracks as you are your physical ones."

"Is that a threat, Fel-ic-it-y?"

She recoiled as if slapped. Even if she hadn't been threatening him, the way he said her name was certainly a warning. "You know, my name means happiness. When people say it, it's supposed to make them smile. But you? When you say my name, I find myself wondering if it's the last time anyone will ever acknowledge who I am."

There was a tick in Oliver's jaw that traveled up through his cheek and made his right eye twitch. "Well, I'm not feeling very happy right now, Felicity. That tends to happen when someone threatens to expose who I am."

"So, then, you're admitting it?"

"And, if I am," he kept things vague. "Then what?"

Instead of answering him, however, Felicity countered with another question. "You swear that you didn't kill Walter?"

He sobered, finally allowing a little sincerity and warmth to bleed into his visage. "My mother and Thea love Walter. I didn't kill him; I'm trying to find him."

"And me?"

Oliver's brow wrinkled with confusion. "What about you?"

"Are you going to hurt me?" Looking down – she couldn't watch him as he contemplated whether or not he could allow her to live, Felicity found her hands white knuckled and shaking. She gripped the notebook so tightly that she couldn't even feel it in her grasp anymore. What she could feel, however, was someone else's hand – Oliver's hand – sliding against the side of her face. He cupped her cheek and then angled her head up and back so that she was forced to see him.

His eyes searched hers, begged for some sign of understanding, of belief. "I'm not going to hurt you, Felicity."

She sighed in relief, her body crumbling forward as the strength that had been holding her up, propelling her forward, and keeping her from giving up left her suddenly with his promise. She sagged against his chest. For several seconds, they stood just like that – Oliver still cradling her cheek and Felicity leaning against him, her hands trapped between their two bodies. But then Oliver's touch slipped from her face and slowly came around her in a tentative yet no less sincere and sweet hug. She turned her head to the side and nuzzled against his chest, her own arms coming up to encircle him. He was so hard – beneath her and in what he did to/for Starling City, but, in that moment, Felicity realized that Oliver could be soft and compassionate as well. The man was such a juxtaposition.

"Okay. Good."

She only allowed herself a moment in their shared embrace before pulling away. "And I promise not to tell anyone about, well, you know." To emphasize, she mimed releasing an arrow from an invisible bow.

"Thanks." What really showed Oliver's gratitude, however, was the sincere smile he offered her in accompaniment to his appreciation.

"And I'll help you," she offered. When his brows raised in silent surprise, in quiet question, Felicity expanded upon her statement. "I mean that I'll help you find Walter."

"Maybe you'll get to hack one or two of those federal databases you mentioned in the process."

Felicity nodded. Deciding it was time to leave before she could do or say anything else to get herself into trouble, she handed Oliver back his copy of the notebook and then turned to skedaddle. Just like before, however, as soon as her foot lifted over the threshold of the doorway, his voice from behind her rang out; his touch upon her made her freeze.

With just a finger trailing over the lines of the bow she had tied her apron's strings into, Oliver told her, "you might want to hang onto this costume. You never know when it could come in handy."

She jerked her head once in agreement and then slipped away.

Apparently, her life of crime – what was supposed to be just one night – was far from over.

A/N: Now, I feel like this little story is complete. Olicity, as we know them, have been teed up, so let the games begin. Hopefully, this sequel satisfies everyone's need for a resolution. Enjoy!

~Charlynn~