Anonymous said: I've sorta has this headcannon that Felicity's pretty protective of her feelings, so in the aftermath of Oliver's death, she kinda shuts down when someone tries to talk to her about it, and even when Oliver comes back. Its not until a something happens and Oliver confronts her about it that she has a massive breakdown... is this appropriate for a drabble?
AN: So I'm pretty sure this was completely influenced by my own depression, which has been a real bitch lately. But there you have it. I don't think Felicity would ever go this dark in canon, but that's why we have fic I guess! Anyway. Hope this doesn't bum y'all out too much!
And of course... Happy Holidays! :)
Like everything I've ever known,
You'll disappear one day
So I'll spend my whole life
Hiding my heart away
The first week is nothing but a blur of pain and confusion.
She remembers locking herself in the bathroom and screaming because it hurts so much she was sure she was dying. She remembers forgetting to eat for so long that she passed out. She remembers begging Diggle, Roy, anyone, to bring him back. Pleading with them to just bring him back to her because she can't do this without him.
And then there's a moment of clarity. Where everything goes still and the whole world fades back into nothing. And he's there, and he's angry, furious. He yells at her to live. To fight. To survive.
And so she does. For him.
But she knows that she won't survive if she lets herself feel it for even a second longer. So she shuts it away. Locks her pain into a little box behind her heart, and tosses the key into the ocean.
She throws herself into her work, into the mission, the legacy he left behind. And every time that creeping sense of dread, horror, agony pulls at the corners of her mind, she pushes it back down and works even harder.
She doesn't sleep much anymore. Sleep brings dreams. The bad ones are of him dying, over and over again, and she's always just a little too late to save him. Sometimes there's a hole in his chest and her hands are never big or strong enough to stop the blood from leaking out onto the pavement. Sometimes she listens over the comms as he takes his last breath, raggedy and alone, and her fingers on the keyboard are as useless as her tears. Sometimes he's falling backwards off a building and she almost reaches him. Her fingers grab for his, and they brush, the warmth sending a shock of joy straight to her heart. Only for them to slip away and disappear, along with the rest of him. Leaving her alone and screaming because how could anything hurt this bad?
But the good dreams are worse. The good dreams bring all the things they could have had. All the love that they never had a chance to explore, all the possibilities that lay ahead. In those dreams he strokes her hair, kisses her face, and it feels so real. He smiles at her in that dumb way he does, where the corners of his mouth twitch up just slightly, and his eyes sparkle in amusement. And her fingers scratch through his whiskers, across his jaw, down his neck, trace each scar that adorns his skin. She can feel his heartbeat, so alive, so vital. And then she wakes up. And it's like losing him all over again. Every single time.
So she stops sleeping.
She drinks coffee and stares at her computer screen, letting the days pass, letting the time slip away unnoticed. Because none of it really matters anymore. She's not living. She's merely surviving. From day to day, putting one foot in front of the other, doggedly, enduringly, despairingly.
And then he comes back.
He walks through that damn door like he's just returning from a mission, like he's only been gone for a day and nothing's changed.
She doesn't believe him. Doesn't believe herself, doesn't believe her eyes, her ears, her heart. She feels his fingertips on her cheek, sees his concerned eyes staring into hers, but none of it's real. So she squeezes her eyes shut and digs her nails into the soft skin of her arm, waiting to wake up, to face reality again with that same sinking sensation that greets her every morning.
But all she hears is his voice. Calling her name. Concern morphing into fear. She feels him shake her slightly, and idly realizes that she's holding her breath. But she doesn't open her eyes, and she doesn't breathe.
That box at the back of her heart is rattling, begging to be opened. To coat her with it's dark, swirling emotion, but she can't do it. It'll kill her. If she lets herself believe for even one tiny second, it will kill her. And she promised she'd survive.
So she keeps her eyes closed, she holds her breath, and she waits for him to disappear.
And in a moment he does. And suddenly it's Diggle in front of her. Yelling at her to breathe, shaking her shoulders, holding her neck, large fingers steady against her pulse.
"Breathe Felicity. Come on, breathe!" His voice drops, and then. "For Oliver, Felicity. Breathe for Oliver. You know he'd want you to."
She does. She breathes and feels the air burn her throat, but the box stays closed.
It stays closed when she opens her eyes and sees John's face. It stays closed when she tells him how real it was that time. How real he felt. It stays closed when she wonders if she's going mad.
It stays closed when Diggle steps to the side and she sees him again. Bruised and battered, eyes wet with tears, staring right back at her.
It stays closed.
Because if she opens it, she'll die.
He crouches in front of her. Cautious and slow, like he's afraid to spook her. She doesn't move, but she doesn't shut her eyes, she doesn't look away. He must take that as a good sign, because then he's lifting a hand to her cheek, brushing his thumb back and forth beneath her eye. It chafes and it's warm, and it's the best thing she's felt in weeks. But she doesn't open the box.
He pulls her against him, and she goes willingly, letting him encase her in his strong arms, resting her head against his shoulder as he whispers apologies into her hair. Desperate, pleading apologies.
She doesn't say a word.
Because she doesn't really believe he's there.
Days pass and they all get on with their lives. But she's living with blinkers on, letting the world filter by, while she remains detached and listless, because the more time passes, the more afraid she is of letting herself feel. And the more she hides all that emotion away, the more she doesn't feel anything at all.
She can tell they're worried about her. But she doesn't care. She only ever promised to survive. And that's what she's doing.
He likes to touch her a lot. It seems to ground him; a hand on her shoulder, or the small of her back. He tries to get through to her, get her to talk to him, tell him how she is, what happened while he was gone, what he can do to make it better. And those are the times it's hardest to keep that damn box shut. Because there's a part of her that just wants to let it all out. To let that grief go, to feel it, release it, let him help her. Let him take it away. Let him fix her the way she's fixed him so many times in the past. But she doesn't. Because however hard she tries not to be, she's still just waiting for him to disappear.
To flicker off like a hologram, leave her alone in a dark room, with nothing but an open box and enough grief to kill her.
So when he asks, she just smiles, and says she's fine.
It's barely a month after his return that it happens.
An enemy surfaces, and once again, Felicity finds herself in the Foundry, staring down the barrel of a gun. It's times like this that she's glad she kept that box closed. Because she's calm and collected, and there's no fear in her eyes when they meet her opponent's. She almost doesn't care if he kills her. If every day is a challenge, if every day is yet another battle, what does it matter? Better her than anyone else. Someone with a family, someone with a life worth living, someone who wants to live it.
So she stares them down and waits for the shot. Only when it comes, it doesn't bring the end she expects, instead, it brings a sledgehammer down on her heart. Because suddenly Oliver's in front of her, and a bullet meant for her is now a blossoming red wound on his gray shirt.
The sound that rips from her chest is inhuman; a scream of sheer agony, because this can't be real.
He falls to the ground and she doesn't even notice Digg and Roy taking out the gunman, because her hands are pressing into his chest, warm blood seeping between her fingers.
Tears stream down her cheeks, and she's vaguely aware that she's talking, two letters repeated over and over again, a desperate mantra of denial.
"No. no. no. no. no. no."
Because this has to be a dream. One of the bad ones. And she'll wake up screaming and he'll still be gone, but at least he won't be dying in her arms, dying because she's not good enough to save him.
Her fingers scrabble at the material of his shirt, pushing it aside until she can feel the warmth of his skin against her own.
She can feel his heart beating beneath her hands and that stupid box flies open, because she can't hide from it anymore. He's real, as real as anything can be, he's with her and he's dying all over again and she's so stupid. She had a whole extra month. She was given a month. It was a gift, a chance to tell him, to show him how much she loves him. How much she doesn't care what he says about the lives they lead, because in the end it's all that matters. The people they choose to spend those stolen moments with. The people they choose to risk our hearts for. They're all that matter in the end.
And she wasted it. She wasted her chance. Her gift. Her month. She hid her heart away, and now he's going to die again and this time it's her fault, it's all her fault.
She leans forward and rests her forehead against his. Her tears slipping from her eyes and rolling down his cheeks.
His eyes are fluttery and dazed, but she knows he's still with her, just for a little bit longer. So with his blood on her hands and his heartbeat weakening beneath her fingers, she let's herself feel it. The agony, the loss, the love. It crashes over her, wave after wave of emotion that she's too wrought to control. So she doesn't try. She just whispers the only thing that matters. The only thing that will ever matter, at the end of the day.
"I love you. I love you. Oliver. I love you, Oliver. I love you."
And when his eyes close, hers do to.
She wakes to the bright lights of a hospital room, and the sting of a needle in her arm.
Someone squeezes her hand, and she turns to see Oliver, in a hospital bed pushed up against hers, her fingers laced tightly between his.
He smiles at her, and when the fleeting thought that it might be a dream flits through her brain, she pushes it aside, and counts his eyelashes instead.
"Are you done hiding from me now?" His voice is rough with emotion, and when she meets his gaze, she can see he understands, she knows he's been there too. So she blinks back tears, and whispers past the lump in her throat.
"Yes. Are you done dying on me?"
The corner of his mouth twitches up and she chokes on a sob because her subconscious could never get that particular gesture quite right. It was never so perfectly him, when he did that in her dreams.
She shifts across the small gap between them and curls herself into his side, a hand coming to rest carefully over the bandage on his chest. He wraps an arm around her and rests his chin on her head, pressing a kiss into her hair.
And she knows that neither of them will ever fully recover. He'll always have battle scars and she'll always carry the pain of losing him. But she's done wasting the good moments, and she knows he is too.