Author's Note: My goal is to put something out every day between Dec. 1st and Jan. 6th – covering all of the Advent & Christmas seasons with eight chapters in there to recognize Chanukkah. Please note – this will be AU as of Season 3. I am not holding myself to season 3 canon (except in a few instances) because my Olicity heart as too much angst this season for fluffy Christmas fic.

Advent Anticipation – Day 1 - Poinsettia

A knock on her door drew Felicity Smoak out of her bedroom before she could finish getting ready for work. Not that she had much left to do, her shoes and her jewelry for the day, but the interruption was unexpected. She made her way to the door, shoes in hand. Her eyes blinked in surprise even as her polite smile warmed into a welcoming one. "Oliver," she greeted her guest, "good morning…wait. Did I know you were coming by? I don't think I remember a message or a text or anything. Is something wrong? Or-." She cut herself off. "Sorry, sorry, come in."

"Good morning," Oliver Queen stepped inside, a rare smile curving his lips. His gaze swept the apartment out of habit before focusing on Felicity. "And no, this wasn't planned."

"Oh, okay then," she replied, confusion in her voice and expression. She took a moment to slip into her heels, happy when it offset part of the height difference between them. It would never work entirely – the drawback to working with a man over six feet tall – but it gave her a little more presence by giving her a couple more inches and moving her out of average range.

"I wanted to talk with you for a moment," he told her, holding up the package in his hand. "Or to ask you something actually."

"Shoot," she smiled and then laughed. "But, you know, not literally because I really don't think I can explain that for insurance purposes." She paused, head tilting to one side with a curious expression as her mind considered it. "At least I'm pretty sure I can't explain that outside of a criminal investigation and I kind of think we'd like to avoid that kind of thing. For one, that much paperwork has to be a pain; and for two, we'd never hear the end of it from Detective Lance." A rough chuckle interrupted her and she repressed a wince. "And none of that has anything to do with whatever you question you have, does it?"

"No," he answered, his eyes lighter than usual as he looked down at her.

"Let's try again?" she offered. She took a breath. "Yes, Oliver, what would you like to ask me?"

He offered her the package, gesturing for her to open it. "I wondered if you would like to share a holiday tradition with me."

"Tradition?" She opened the package to find an Advent calendar, one of the ones with chocolate behind little cardboard doors. "I'm Jewish."

"Yes, I know." He touched her hand. "And I would enjoy sharing your holiday tradition as well. This is something Thea and I did before…" His voice trailed off and his eyes went a little distant.

"Before the island?" Her voice softened.

"Yeah." Their gazes met and locked for a long moment. Then his eyes moved back to the calendar. "I just wanted to-."

"I love to share it with you," she interrupted, tightening her hand on the box as she moved over to the countertop. "How…how did you and Thea do it?"

"We opened a door each morning," he replied, gratitude flickering in his eyes as he followed her. "We each had one of our own because we didn't like sharing."

"Hmm, now does that surprise me?" Her smile turned teasing as she looked up over her shoulder. "I think we can manage better." Her eyes found the first door and she used a finger nail to peel it up along the perforation. Lifting the piece of candy, she shifted to show him. "A poinsettia."

"Also called the Winter Rose," he noted. "Or the Christmas flower. Mexican legend has it that a child, too poor for any other gift, gathered weeds to place at the church altar on Christmas Eve. The people watched as the humble offering changed into the brilliant green and red poinsettia."

"How do you even know that?" Felicity blinked at him. Then she shook her head. "Hmm…" She put down the candy and reached for her tablet. "I wonder what they symbolize…for the holiday I mean." She began tapping away. "Don't most of the symbols have some kind of meaning?"

"Maybe it's just a pretty flower?" he offered in return. He leaned one shoulder against the wall, waiting for her to finish. "And Raisa used to tell us legends and stories every year."

"The December birth flower," she began to read, "symbolizes good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration." Lowering her table, she offered him a bright smile. "Sounds like the perfect starting point for the holidays, especially this year."

"Oh?" he arched one eyebrow. "Why especially this year?"

"Because so much could have gone wrong," she replied. "I mean…I know we've gone through a lot this year…" Her eyes flickered away from him and then back again. "A lot," she repeated, "but…we're still here, we're still fighting. Despite Slade and Isabel, despite the attempt at a takeover at Queen Consolidated, even despite…Sara…and Malcolm Merlyn…despite all of that – we're still here."

"Yes, yes we are," he agreed, voice low as he touched her shoulder, gratitude shining in his eyes. "We do have a lot to celebrate, don't we?"

"Thea's coming home to Starling," she offered. "And Quentin Lance's recovery."

"Foiling the takeover at QC," he continued.

"And most important of all, the birth of little Sara Diggle," she smiled.

"Definitely the most important," he agreed. He picked up the candy. "Now, eat your chocolate. We're going to be late." A teasing glint entered his face.

"Whose fault is that?" she shot back. "And I thought we were sharing?"

"I don't think it's going to divide that easily," he shook his head. "It's too small."

"Then we get creative," she replied. She took the candy from him and looked it over. Judging about where the halfway mark would be, she placed her fingers to protect half of the candy. Then she lifted the chocolate to her mouth and bit down. She finished her half and then offered the other to him. "Told you…easy."

"Show off." He took the chocolate, his fingers sliding along hers. Putting the candy in his mouth, he sucked on it, letting it melt.

"Now who's showing off," she muttered as she watched, and then heat rose in her cheeks. "Oh my God, never mind. We are going to be so late." She reached for her purse and keys, a resolution filling her mind as she pushed the feel of his fingers on hers out of her head.

"Don't worry," he replied, having finished the candy. "I'm pretty sure your boss will let it slide."

"Oh, ha, ha," she shook her head at him.

The two of them made their way to the door, and Oliver's hand came to rest at the small of her back as they reached the ground floor. When she tried to turn towards her parking spot, he used that hand to redirect her towards the car waiting out front.

"We left the calendar on my countertop," Felicity realized.

He nodded. "I know."

"What about tomorrow?" she asked. "Should I bring it to work with me?"

"No." He shook his head. "That's…personal. I'll come by in the morning."

Her eyes narrowed in speculation. "And give me another ride to work?"

"Will that be a problem?"

"Well, no," she replied in a slow, considering tone. "It's just…usually we try not to give the gossips more fuel for their sessions, and coming to work in the same car every morning is going to set them off. The Board already gets twitchy whenever I enter the room and the PR department sends me regular emails with questions and concerns whenever they field phone calls from reporters." Her hands came up, moving as she spoke. "And that part confuses me. Don't reporters have actual news to report about? Why is it they have so much free time to worry about what you are or aren't doing? Socially speaking, I mean. I get why they'd be worried about the company, but-." She cut herself off. "Not where I was meaning to go with that. Are you sure-?"

"I'm sure," Oliver interrupted. "We're friends in addition to our work titles, Felicity." He watched her with that intense gaze only he seemed able to pull off. "If it's going to bother you, or be too much trouble, I won't do it, but…" He shrugged. "I'm tired of having to be careful about showing our friendship because of a bunch of talk that's going to happen anyway."

Felicity stared at him for several silent moments before relaxing back against the seat. "Right, okay then," she nodded. "I…I guess…I guess we can do that." A smile curved her lips and she pulled out her phone to check her mail when a sudden thought had her sitting up. She turned wide eyes on him. "Just one thing?"

"What?" A frown furrowed his brow as concern threaded through his gaze.

"Not the Ducati, okay?"

He laughed, with a full uninhibited laugh that distracted her from her comment long enough for them to reach the office building. It wasn't until she heard the car's engine stopped that she realized he had not answered her. "Oliver?" she prompted. "Not the motorcycle."

A smile edged with mischief edged its way over his face and he slid out of the car, reaching back to offer her a hand.

"Oliver, I'm serious!" she insisted as she followed him into the building. She never noticed the eyes or whispers following them into the elevator as she continued to badger him about the motorcycle. It only occurred to her much later as the assistant of the chief financial officer wished her luck later that day. That's also when one other important piece of information occurred to her…

Oliver never did answer her about the Ducati.