Doing O. Henry One Better 1/1
Summary: But what do you get a restored billionaire who also understood how much there was that money couldn't buy? Felicity attempts to find the perfect Hanukkah/Christmas gift for Oliver. Future!fic, set in December 2016 and established Olicity.
Disclaimer: I don't own Arrow. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: Written for outoftheclosetshipper as part of the Olicity Secret Santa. Originally I meant to do something that was a twist on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. But then Felicity decided to go in a different direction-as the title hints-and voilá. I hope you enjoy this and happy holidays!
Thanks to yourubikscubedme for reading this over for me!
As a major American city, Starling City had its more-than-fair share of shopping experiences available for consumers. There were department stores, rich in tradition and luxury. There were exclusive boutiques that sold designer clothing and high-end home decor. Plenty of big-box stores that met every need with practical efficiency. Not to mention the quirky, hole-in-the-wall shops where you could find all sorts of treasures.
Yet none of them had what she needed: the perfect gift for Oliver.
Softly blowing out a breath, Felicity wandered aimlessly through the aisles of Bonner & Teller, Starling's oldest department store. For over a hundred years, the large granite building had been selling goods, and it pulled out all the stops at Christmas. It was lavishly decorated inside and out, Christmas carols played non-stop on every floor, and best of all, free hot drinks to help shoppers get in the holiday mood. But even the very good peppermint mocha she was sipping hadn't helped her.
Buying gifts for Oliver was quite possibly the most frustrating, difficult, challenging thing in the world. Kind of fitting, since that was what it was like to love him. But Felicity couldn't deny that it was all worth it.
Because loving Oliver was also amazing and wonderful and life-changing. She was better with him-better because of him. She was more centered, stronger, happier. He always said that she made him want to be a better man. It went both ways, even though he always got that little forehead wrinkle of doubt when she said that.
Of course, he could just be confused, thinking that she meant he made her into a better man, Felicity thought with a small grin. Then she gave her head a shake and tried to focus on the task at hand.
This year, Hanukkah went from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, to Felicity's delight. She always liked the years when both holidays coincided; it made her feel less like she was on the outside looking in. Not that she was a super-observant Jew, and certainly there was nothing wrong with enjoying the non-religious trappings of Christmas. It was just . . . nice.
Especially with their plans for this year: a Team Arrow/Team Flash dinner party on Christmas Eve at one of Starling's best restaurants, spending Christmas Day with Thea by opening presents and watching old movies, and then a week in Italy, just her and Oliver.
There were still moments when she couldn't help feeling thrilled that her pronouns were now collective ones. It wasn't just 'her' or 'my' all the time now. It was 'theirs' and 'our'. Because instead of just being Felicity, she was now Felicity and Oliver. Most of the time, that is. She wasn't some weird Stepford girlfriend who lived and breathed nothing but her boyfriend. There was still plenty of things in her life that were hers and hers alone.
But she much preferred being Felicity with Oliver than Felicity without Oliver.
And if she kept drifting off like this, she'd never find a gift for Oliver. And since there were only a few days until Christmas and Hanukkah, she was running out of time. Squaring her shoulders, Felicity looked down at her phone, scrolling through the list of ideas she had been making for weeks. But what do you get a restored billionaire who also understood how much there was that money couldn't buy?
All her research, all her soul-searching, hadn't let her figure out what to give him. Thea had told her that she was over-thinking things, that Oliver would frankly be happy with anything from Felicity. And intellectually she knew that. But . . . but he deserved more than just anything. She wanted to give him something meaningful, something special. Something that would tell him they would never repeat the Christmas of 2014.
Frowning a little, Felicity sipped her mocha. It had been two years, yet she wasn't sure she would ever get over what happened when Oliver left to face Ra's al Ghul. How he had just looked at her, giving her the gift of his love, before walking away. How she had finally realized, over the heartbreaking days that followed, that Oliver meant it. He had meant it when he told her in the Queen mansion, he meant it when he kissed her in the hospital hallway, and he meant it when he left her alone in the Foundry.
And he left without knowing how she felt about him. Thinking that she was with Ray.
No one was more selfless than Oliver. More forgiving. So even though he always reassured her that it had been enough for him to simply love her, she still felt guilty for never telling him how she felt. For wasting time by not fighting for him, for them.
But no one was more stubborn than Oliver, except maybe herself, Felicity reminded herself. They both had to learn a lot before they were in the right place for a relationship. Looking back on that fall, neither of them were ready then. In retrospect, it was so clear that they each had issues to deal with before they could get together. And now they were together, in every way, and she was so happy. So happy with him.
It was her guilt, her fear, that was driving her on this quest to find the perfect gift. Because she knew that Oliver would be happy simply to spend the holidays according to their plans. But she thought he should get more.
But what was 'more'? Any physical item that Oliver needed or wanted, he could buy for himself. The things that she wished she could give him, the ones that weren't about money . . . she couldn't bring back the people he had lost or erase the physical pain he had suffered on the island. And while Oliver was incredibly thoughtful and sentimental over the smallest things when it came to their relationship-he kept buying her red pens-they weren't a couple that was. . . sappy.
Felicity idly played with the pendant on her necklace while she walked through the jewelry department. It was the necklace Oliver had given her for their first anniversary: a golden disc the size and thickness of a quarter, with a small LED light in the center that most people mistook for a diamond. She had giggled when he gave it to her with the explanation that he thought it would be useful for all kinds of reasons beyond the Arrow-related. Which was true-it came in handy when she needed extra light while working inside a computer in the dimly-lit Foundry. But it was also pretty. Which she had told him in a flood of babble until he kissed her.
Just touching the pendant made her wish she could find something equally special for him. Something that made him realize he was the light in her life.
Distractedly, she let her eyes rest on one of the display cases, the sparkle of gems and polished metal catching her gaze. And suddenly, like Newton when the apple fell from the tree, Felicity had an epiphany.
It was a good thing that she had earmarked her very generous holiday bonus towards Oliver's present. Because she needed every penny of it to have his gift ready in time for tomorrow. But she had done it: wrapped in blue paper with a silver bow, it was sitting underneath the Christmas tree in Oliver's apartment.
Which was only technically Oliver's apartment. His was the only name on the lease, he paid for the utilities . . . but when he had moved into this place a few months after his return, she had spent so much time here that when her own lease ended, she hadn't renewed it. And it had been wonderful, being with Oliver all the time, falling more in love with him, discovering so much about him that she hadn't known-all the silly small things that made him Oliver. It hadn't changed how she felt about him: it just made her understand him more.
But with her gift for him, things were definitely going to change.
Felicity took a deep breath as she finished curling her hair. It wasn't too long before they needed to leave for their dinner party with their friends-with their family, Felicity corrected herself. She was in a bit of a rush since she had lost track of time while debating yet again over how to give Oliver his gift. It was getting harder and harder to keep the secret from Oliver; he knew something was up and he hadn't held back in his attempts to discover what she was giving him. With his teasing smiles and roaming hands, he'd done his best to get her to spill, but she had stayed strong.
But it was very, very hard to hold out against a determined Oliver. She wasn't sure she could wait until first thing tomorrow morning like she had planned.
At the same time she felt the shift in the air that told her Oliver was near, he appeared in the doorway to the bathroom. He smiled at her and Felicity had to smile back. Because she could never get enough of a smiling Oliver. "Hey."
"Hey," she said, pecking his lips quickly before picking up her eyeliner. "I know I'm running late, but just gimme five minutes . . . I'm probably going to have to beat my previous record for fastest makeup application, but I feel good about this. And I don't want to keep everyone waiting, since Team Flash needs to get back to Central City and Digg and Lyla and baby Sara have those plans with Lyla's family-did you find out if Roy asked Thea to let him drive her, after all that needling from Digg?"
"He did," Oliver said, leaning against the doorway, his suit jacket the only missing piece of his look. "They're meeting us at the restaurant with everyone else."
"Great," Felicity said slowly as she rimmed her eyes and started applying mascara.
Oliver didn't say anything else, letting her work in a silence that was only broken by her picking up and putting down her cosmetics. But he smiled at her, and reached out to push a curl out of her face just when she needed it.
"Thank you!" she said, reaching up to pin the curl back. "Time?"
"You're fine," he said, but his voice sounded . . . choked?
She flicked her eyes over to his. "Are you just saying that so I don't freak out?" she asked, turning to look at him. "Because we're the hosts, we can't be late to the party . . ."
He let out a quiet laugh. "We can, you know. Especially when I told Digg we were going to be late and asked him to be the host until we arrived."
"Oh, is that so?" Felicity replied, putting her hands on her hips. "Oliver, if this is another attempt to find out what I'm giving you-"
"Nope," he said, leaning in and gently knocking one of her hands away so he could rest his hand in the same spot. "It's about me giving you your gift."
At his words, Felicity felt a whole colony of butterflies erupt in her stomach. Because . . . because she could tell that this was something serious. Something really, really serious. It was in the tone of his voice, the way his eyes were so blue and intense, how his fingers rubbed ever-so-slightly against her dress-covered hip, not unlike his nervous tic.
"Oh," she said softly, gazing up at him. "You . . . you don't want to wait until tomorrow?"
"It seemed more appropriate to give it to you tonight. The first night of Hanukkah," Oliver said, clearing his throat a little.
"Well-well, it's not fair for only me to get something," Felicity said, reaching out to lightly pluck at the buttons on his shirt. Needing to touch him, to feel grounded when her whole body felt like floating away at the tension.
She watched him consider that, then he nodded. "Yeah. Okay. Um . . . you first, then."
Grabbing his hand off her hip, she gave him a tug. "Follow me." Then she took off for the living room as fast as she could in her stockinged feet.
Oliver laughed a little as she pulled him along and Felicity threw a smile back at him over her shoulder. They moved past her menorah, set up in front of one of the floor-to-ceiling windows and throwing the light of the first candle out into the darkness. When she reached the tree, she skidded a little, Oliver's hand steadying her. She squeezed his hand and crouched down to retrieve his gift.
As she stood up, she felt the instinct to pause. To take a moment and fix what was about to happen in her mind forever. Because after this, everything would change.
Change wasn't always good. Like when you dyed your hair after your boyfriend died. It happened when you least expected it sometimes, such as when someone showed up with a bullet-ridden laptop and unbelievable lies. But sometimes, it happened when you made a choice.
Tonight, she was making a choice that would make everything different . . . depending on what Oliver chose.
With a deep breath, she turned around and looked at him. There was a coiled tension in him, the way he got when he was trying to keep a lid on his emotions. She didn't want to make him wait any longer. So Felicity held out the present to him. "Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas, Oliver."
She wasn't nervous about doing this. But the moment it took for him to tear off the paper to reveal a black jewelry box felt very, very long.
Slowly, Oliver lifted his eyes to hers, looking confused. She noticed his free hand twitch, brushing against his leg.
Taking his hand in both of hers, she nodded towards the box. "Open it."
It might be her imagination, but he seemed to hesitate before using his thumb to flip open the lid. She watched his eyes go wide at the ring inside the box.
A lot of research had gone into that ring. Because she didn't want to impair his movement any when he was in his Arrow gear-even with gloves, a traditional wedding band would impact him. Maybe only a little, but that was more than she was willing to risk. But with some help from Cisco, and after paying a few scientists at STAR Labs to work a lot of overtime, she had developed a lightweight alloy that looked no different from platinum, unless you had a mass spectrometer.
"I know this is really untraditional, even for us, but-but I love you and I have been wracking my brain about what to get you for Hanukkah slash Christmas," Felicity began, starting slowly but picking up speed. "Because I wanted to do something special for you, something you'd never forget, which kind of ruled out things like fancy lingerie-not that I'm opposed to that, you know I'm not from Valentine's Day, but-but the point is," she said, pulling herself back on track, "I wanted you to know just how important you are to me."
There was still confusion in his eyes, but . . . but it was starting to fade, replaced with a lot of other emotions. Love, amazement, excitement-but more than all of those, there was hope. He looked so hopeful, like he was on the verge of getting everything he ever wanted.
Squeezing his hand, Felicity smiled, even as she felt happy tears fill her eyes. "Oliver . . . will you marry me?"
He was nodding before she finished speaking, a huge smile appearing on his face. "Yes-yes, Felicity-" Then he was kissing her, pulling his hand away from hers to wrap his arm around her and pull her in tight, and her hands were gripping his shirt and holding on to him as she kissed him back, and then he was laughing against her lips.
"What's so funny?" she asked, kissing him lightly between each word.
Taking a step back and out of her arms, Oliver reached into his pocket and pulled out . . . another jewelry box. "I was sure you were giving me this when I unwrapped my present."
Felicity could feel her eyes widening even before Oliver opened the box, showing her a diamond ring that seemed to catch every single glimmer of light in the room. A ring that was a perfect match for his. He stepped closer to her, somehow managing to juggle both boxes, remove the diamond ring, and take her hand. "I said I'd marry you . . . so will you marry me back?" he asked, gazing at her with a little smile on his face.
"Yes-yes," she said, nodding her head so fast that she felt like one of those dogs that people put on the dashboards of their cars. She spread her fingers wide, grinning at Oliver as he grinned back and slid the ring onto her finger. She looked at her hand, taking in how right the ring looked there. "God, this is nearly as pretty as you."
Oliver let out a snort of laughter, dropping his head to her shoulder. "I love you."
"I love you, too," she said, reaching up to lift his head so she could kiss him slowly. His arms pulled her in against his chest.
They were very late for the party. But everyone forgave them when they revealed their news . . . especially after Oliver gleefully told them all that Felicity had proposed to him first.