Oliver awoke in the early hours of the morning. The sun hadn't yet come up over the slumbering neighborhood, but the bushes that lay root just outside, tickled the glass of Felicity's bedroom window- pulling him awake. He opened his eyes and stared at the edges of ceiling for a moment, his eyelids hanging at half-mast as he listened- hearing the rise and fall of his own breath, which matched Felicity's. She was tucked under one of his arms, her hair draping over his bicep like a warm blanket as he held her against his chest. Oliver turned his head to the side, hoping to catch a glimpse of her sleeping face, but all he saw was the top of her head, a swirl of lemon drop curls. His thoughts kept bouncing back to a few hours before, where he could still feel her fingers tiptoeing through his hair and down his back, making his jaw tighten at the thought of her touch. Everything about her drew him near, like a meteor being pulled to Earth by gravity- he wanted to know everything about her, to access that portion of his brain that held information about her favorite foods and where she is the most ticklish. Felicity shifted slightly, sliding a hand up from her side so that it was resting on his stomach, her fingers tracing the divots of his abs. He knew she was awake then, and it was confirmed when she rolled her head back- big eyes staring up at him.
Felicity licked her lips and gave a small smile. "I figured you'd be gone by now- and I would find a sticky note saying 'that was fun' taped on my dresser."
Oliver pursed his lips- he knew she was joking, but he couldn't help wonder how long it would take before she realized that he wasn't going anywhere.
"Last night was more than fun," Oliver said, bringing a hand up to her face- pushing aside a stray curl.
Felicity blinked up at him, sucking on her lower lip. "It was… unexpected."
Oliver hiked an eyebrow, frowning.
Felicity readjusted herself so that she was sitting up- sighing, as she rubbed her sleepy eyes. "I mean- it's not like I didn't ever want this to happen," she said, her fingers moving to fiddle with a crease on the bed sheet. "I just never imagined that the crux of my fantasy's would manifest themselves outside the walls of my brain."
Oliver remained motionless, with his back propped up against the headboard; a heat blooming in his chest as he watched a new shade of pink strike across her cheeks.
"Unless- of course- you're having second thoughts," she said, her eyes finally meeting his, clearly hoping that this wasn't the case. "Because then that would align pretty accurately with my realistic expectations."
Oliver didn't say anything for a moment- only because he was speechless. He couldn't imagine any part of him regretting being with Felicity- that thought in itself was unfathomable, which prompted him to let out a sharp laugh.
Felicity's eyes grew wide as her blush deepened. "And now you're laughing at me- great."
"No," Oliver said immediately, reaching out to grab her hand, which was resting on her thigh. He felt it shake, making him tighten his grip, wanting to steady her nerves. "It's just- you have no idea."
Felicity frowned, glancing down at his hand on hers. Oliver was breathless as he tried to come up with a way to make her understand.
"Felicity, when I told you I loved you, it wasn't out of doubt or confusion. I don't kid myself about how I feel about you- I never have." Oliver was serious now, his gaze locked on her face as his thumb traced circles into her skin. "When every other aspect of my life was blurry and unstable… you were my only clarity."
Felicity opened her mouth, then closed it, then opened it again. "I've kept things from you."
Oliver gave her a look, shaking her head. "I never gave you a reason to trust me- after how I pushed you away… after Robert's funeral."
Felicity's eyes lit up at this- then a shadow fell over them. "So you read all of them?"
The edge of Oliver's lips teased upward. "Down to the ten page letter about your perpetual fear of kangaroo's."
Felicity's eyes widened. "They are creepy," she said, jutting her chin out like she meant business.
Oliver reached out for her, taking both arms in his hands as he drew her back down to his chest. "I don't doubt it," he said, planting a quick kiss on her temple.
"And your father?" She breathed, her fingers running up the length of his arm. She stops at the cigarette marks dotted on his skin, her fingers feeling the rise of scar tissue. There was a letter about how he had gotten them- from his father, who had been so pissed when he missed seven shots during a rival soccer game that he gave Oliver seven cigarette burns for each missed goal.
Oliver instinctively moved his arm away- he didn't want her to see that part of him, even if she had been there for it all.
"I'm sorry," Felicity said against his chest, snaking her arm back in.
"Don't be," Oliver mumbled against her head. "It's just reflex."
Even still- memory or not- he could feel the ghost of a wall he'd built up so securely in the past, meant to ward off anyone who asked too many questions or knew his life too intimately. It prodded and clawed at his vulnerabilities like a hungry cat, ready to devour and cover up any weaknesses he had.
Felicity suddenly moved, pressing herself back up into a sitting position. "I should go feed Theodore," she said, swinging her legs over the side of the bed, the sheets gathering around her exposed waist.
"Who?" Oliver asked, catching her wrist, forcing her to pause.
"The turtle," she said, nonchalant. "Do you not remember the letter about Thea turtlenapping him from my house for a week? I thought the neighborhood raccoon had gotten to him."
Oliver squinted his eyes. "Vaguely."
"Well, he's been waiting to be fed all night while we deflowered my childhood bedroom," Felicity said, running a hand across the sheets. Oliver smirked at this as he leaned forward, pressing his lips against the soft spot under her ear.
"You're leaving me for a turtle?" He whispered, making her squirm from the heat of his breath against her skin. She then turned to face him, her lips hovering just above his.
"It'll keep your ego in check," she said, before planting a quick kiss on his mouth. She then stood so fast, Oliver didn't have time to grab her wrist again. He watched her saunter out of the room, her naked body glowing as the morning sun crept through the window.
Oliver sighed, turning over to grab his phone from the nightstand, expecting to see a missed call from his mother, who he had been trying to reach all yesterday. There was in fact a voicemail from her, but a solid five texts overpowered her one, as Laurel's persistent messages lined his lock screen. They all varied from 'I talked to Tommy… let me explain' to 'Forget it. It's not worth the conversation.' Oliver sighed, turning toward the door- only to find Felicity watching him from the edge of the bed, her bottom lip clipped between her teeth.
"Are you going to call her?" She asked, a hand sliding under the cusp of a bathrobe she had slipped on.
Oliver blinked. "No."
"Oliver," Felicity said, like she was actually disappointed he wasn't calling his ex-girlfriend back.
"Listen, Felicity," Oliver said, running a hand through his hair, trying to form complete sentences, considering the past twelve hours had only consisted of her name, God's name and fragments of phrases that would be inappropriate in any setting other than the bedroom. "Laurel cheated on me- with Tommy."
Felicity raised an eyebrow.
"Not that I care," he said, blowing out air. "She's just not top on my list of relationships I want to fix right now."
"God," Felicity said, staring at the ceiling. "This feels like an episode of Gossip Girl."
Oliver frowned. "What?"
"Nothing," she said, shaking her head as she crawled back into bed. "But at least talk to Tommy."
"And say what exactly?" Oliver asked, propping his arms up against his knees.
Felicity shrugged, pushing hair from her face. "I don't know… don't you feel like you need some kind of closure?"
Oliver gave her a doubtful look.
"I mean- I plan on talking to Cooper later today," she said, hesitantly looking up at him as she picked her nail polish.
"You do?" He asked, trying to keep his composure.
Felicity cracked a smile, bringing a hand up to his face. "Jealously looks good on you."
He let her pinch his cheek before advancing forward, backing her into the center of her bed where he coursed her down so that she was lying her back. She giggled, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, letting him bury his face in her neck, humming against her throat.
"Are you hungry?" She asked in between breaths.
Oliver moved his lips back up her neck, to her ear. "Yes," he said, as he hungrily moved his hands over her stomach and down to her hips where he held them steady.
"I meant real food, Oliver," Felicity said, smiling as she glanced down at him.
Oliver stopped kissing her as he lifted his head, hovering just above her body as he looked down. "Only if you make your superdeliciouscantlivewithoutblueberrypankcakeswithasideoflove," he said, quoting a line from one of the letters.
He grinned as she groaned, bringing hands up over her face, biting a lip as she rolled her head back. "Maybe I should have revised the letters before giving them to you," she said, finally looking back up at him. "It would have- you know- eliminated some of the weird."
Oliver caught Felicity's chin in his hand, pulling her lip free as he laid a quick kiss on both of them. "Weird looks good on you," he said, then continuing where he left off.
Oliver walked through Queens Consolidated, nodding at people he passed. He could tell that they wondered if he was going to be anything like his father- their eyes full of curiosity and the slightest hint of fear.
He smoothed out his suit, pressing his tie against his chest as his eyes moved past them and actively searched for his mother. When he finally reached Robert's old office, he saw her, leaning over the desk with her hands cradling her head.
"Mom," Oliver said, knocking twice on the open door.
She was crying. He could hear her stifled sobs and persistent sniffling even before she raised her head to show off a pair of puffy red eyes and a mass of mascara smudged under her eyelashes.
"I'm sorry," Moira said, wiping tears with the back of her hand as she tried to find some organization in the mess of papers on her desk. Oliver slowly walked over to her as she shoved and tapped the paperwork into some kind of disjunctive stack. He reached out a hand, placing it over her own, to stop the flustered movements.
When Oliver listened to her voicemail on his phone that morning, he could tell that something wasn't right. She told him she was at QC, but she never went to the office- only for emergencies- if then. That was when he knew something was wrong.
"What is it?" He asked, concern thick in his voice as he released her hand.
She looked up at him, taking a shaky breath as she gave him a tentative smile. "Where do I begin?" She said, shrugging. "The company is going under and everyone in this building knows it- they are just too chicken to leave." She was staring at her hands now. "I thought that if I came back in here, I would be able to find something of Robert's that would help me figure out what to do… but there is nothing."
She paused, turning to look out the window as Oliver kept his steady gaze on her.
"Your father spent more time here than he did at home and yet I come up to find that it's all just empty," she said, rolling her lips as new tears pricked her eyes.
When Moira turned back to look at Oliver, who had shoved his hands deep in his pockets, she was swallowing something painful.
"Your father was not a good person-" she said, her voice breaking. "-he did some bad things and I-I need you to know that."
Oliver nodded, his eyes softening. "I do."
He didn't need to tell her that he knew everything, just as she didn't need to explain what she meant. It was an unspoken understanding between mother and son.
Moira sniffed again, drying her eyes as she suddenly stood, smoothing out the folds of her dress.
"Well," she said, giving Oliver a small smile, transitioning back into her 'perfect mother' routine. "I'd say that's enough time in this office for one day."
Oliver had a sickening feeling in his core. Maybe it was the sensation that followed upon seeing one's own mother cry, or perhaps it was because he saw what he needed to do and whom he needed to become- and although he wouldn't outwardly admit it, this scared him.
"I'm going to help you get this company back on track," Oliver said, his voice steady, as Moira's eyes jumped up at the boom of his voice. "And anything else you need."
Her eyes softened at this, a moment of relief and hopefulness crossing over her features- followed by pride.
Oliver stepped into the mud soaked grass, his dress shoes sinking into the muck as he trudged out onto the field. It had been a few days since he saw his mother up in his father's old office, her tear streaked face replaying in his mind like a bad dream. Something shifted in him at that moment, a calling presenting itself loud and clear. After that, a nostalgic wave had washed over him, prompting him to tie up some loose ends and make amends.
He knew it started with John Diggle.
Oliver saw a picture of John in one of the yearbooks, where his back was to the camera- last name DIGGLE written across a soccer jersey. Oliver had a sudden déjà vu, a familiar feeling following after that image, like he had seen it many times before.
So he had called him up, getting the number from Felicity, who was more than willing to oblige. At first he was sure John would turn down his offer to meet, but he surprised Oliver by asking him to, instead, meet at an intramural soccer field just outside of the city.
Now, walking onto that intramural field, Oliver could see John's back, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched a group of little girls kick around a soccer ball. John was a large stack of a man, and he got even bigger when Oliver walked up next to him.
John turned and gave him a knowing smile. "Oliver Queen," he said, sticking out a hand. "It's been a while."
Oliver took it and returned the gesture, glancing out at the soccer field- the smell of summer heat and wet grass distinct.
"It's good to see you," Oliver said, almost adding 'again' to the end, but thought better of it.
John nodded, a tight smile on his lips as he shouted at the girls to form the ladder drill. They followed orders, weaving in and out of each other like frantic ants.
"You're a coach?" Oliver asked, folding his arms over his chest.
John pursed his lips and bobbed his head left to right, as if to say 'kind of.' "My daughter plays on the team," he said, pointing to a small thing- smooth caramel skin with a braid hanging loosely behind her. "It's nice to be apart of something she's interested in."
Oliver nodded, wondering how the world had grown up so fast.
"Usually I work with veterans, helping them overcome traumatic experiences," John said, indifferently. "They like having someone to talk to who understands what's going on over there."
Oliver's interest peaked. "You served?" He asked.
John nodded. "Right after high school."
They stood in silence for a moment, both testing each other's energy, wondering how much the other had changed. There was something about the way John held himself that demanded respect and honesty, all things that Oliver admired.
"Got any tips?" Oliver asked.
John raised an eyebrow.
"-on how to move on," Oliver said, tightening his jaw. "To regroup."
John stood there, his eyes scanning the field as the girls weaved and dodged, thinking. "It's going to take a while," he said, shrugging, the look on his face conveying that he knew what Oliver had gone through. "But the first step is accepting who you are now. Acknowledging the past, but not going back there. Live in the present."
Oliver couldn't help but smile at this. "Were you always this philosophical in high school?"
John wrinkled his face. "Nah," he said, letting out a small laugh. "It comes with old age."
Oliver let out a throaty laugh as he shook his head. "Thanks, John."
"You can call me Digg," he said, cocking his head at Oliver, who gave a nod.
"And," he said, shrugging. "I could always use another voice to get this team of eighteen girls into some kind of order… if you're interested."
Oliver was about to decline, coming up with some excuse about being too busy with Queens Consolidated, but then stopped himself. Soccer was familiar to some part of him, just as Digg was also part of that equation. He needed this trigger, and something to ground him into a routine.
"Sure," Oliver said, bobbing his head. "For the sake of your soul."
Just as Oliver said this one of the girls started whining about one of her teammates elbowing her in the eye.
"Thank God," Digg muttered as he moved forward, looking like a man ready for battle.
Oliver grabbed the bottle of Chateau de Beaucastel that was tucked snuggly into a paper bag and thanked the cashier. Shoving his wallet back into his pocket, he made a move to exit the liquor store, checking his phone to see a text messages from Felicity asking him how his meeting with Digg went. Just as Oliver was about to respond with some smart-ass comment about him now having eighteen other girls to deal with, he heard his name. Turning to look at the source of the sound, he saw Tommy standing in the center of isle three, looking like hell.
"Hey," Tommy said, walking up to him, holding a pack of Space Barley.
Oliver nodded, not bothering to say anything.
Tommy ran his hands through his hair, dark circles under his eyes like he hadn't slept in days.
"So, listen, I told Laurel…" he said, trailing off. "She's totally freaking out."
Typical Tommy, going straight for the punch line, while averting any kind of direct conflict having to do with him. It wasn't enough for him to just move on and ignore the situation. Although Oliver didn't remember much about Tommy pre-accident, he'd always gotten the feeling that the guy hated when other people were disappointed in him, probably stemming from some unresolved conflict with his father. It all exhausted Oliver.
"Laurel and I are done," Oliver said, wondering how many more times he was going to have to say it before it sunk into everyone's minds. "We have been for a while- even before the accident."
Tommy was staring at the floor, but still nodding. "I'm just- I'm sorry," he said, once Oliver finished, but it came out more like a mumble. Oliver didn't say anything, instead he shifted the wine from one hand to the other, hoping Tommy would feel his impatience. "I saw you're with Felicity now…"
Oliver hiked an eyebrow.
"The tabloid," Tommy explained, gesturing with a hand, still barely meeting Oliver's eyes. "You used to talk about her when you got really, really drunk. It was actually kind of sad because- I mean- you would get into really intimate details, like the type of shampoo she used to use and the color of her glasses- stuff that no one remembers unless they, you know, loved that person or whatever."
Oliver stared down at the paper bag, rolling the bottle in his hand as he listened to Tommy ramble.
"I'm just trying to say that I'm glad you guys are together because, you know, it was fucking miserable listening to you babble on about this girl you were in love with when there were at least twenty other women throwing themselves at your feet," Tommy said, that bite still present in his apologetic tone, which made the ends of Oliver's mouth twitch up in the slightest. "But yeah- I should go-"
He was about to turn when Oliver stuck out his hand, making Tommy pause and look down at it. A simple gesture, but Oliver could tell it meant the world to him. Their hands made a clapping sound as they shook, finally making eye contact, before both releasing.
Tommy gave a nod before turning toward the cashier as Oliver pushed open the front door, a bell chiming overhead.
Oliver rasped on Felicity's bedroom window, making her jump a good three feet in the air as she let out a loud yelp.
Minutes before, she had been splayed out on her bed, with the TV on as she nursed a bowl of popcorn between her thighs. Oliver had snuck through her backyard, the bottle of red wine tucked under his arm as he walked up to her window. She had looked cute leaned up against the headboard, eyes glued to the screen as the TV's light reflected on her glasses, completely absorbed in what was happening.
Oliver didn't even think about the repercussions of his quick knock, which resulted in both Felicity and the popcorn, flying. When she had finally found some kind of composer, after scrambling off her bed- toward her bedroom door- she turned to see that Oliver was the cause of her heart palpitations.
Felicity marched over to him, looking not too pleased, as she unlatched the window and lifted.
"Oliver Queen," she said, placing both hands on the windowsill as she leaned over to meet his eyes. "You scared- at least- one hundred brain cells right out of me, what the hell are you doing back here?"
Oliver tried to hide his smile as he looked up at her. "Well, you said I used to sneak in through your bedroom window in high school," he said, shrugging. "Just thought we could re-live the glory days."
Felicity scoffed. "A little warning would have been nice," she said, moving back so he could climb through. "I was planning on making you wait at the front door for at least five minutes as I yell 'I'm coming' but was really running a comb through my hair and maybe putting on some deodorant in the bathroom."
Oliver held out the paper bag, guiltily. "Peace offering?"
Felicity narrowed her eyes, still flustered. "What's in it?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest. "Chocolate? Flowers? Maybe some Benzo's for my nerves?"
Oliver smirked, taking the bottle from the paper bag.
"Wine?" Felicity's eyes perked up. "Would have gone perfectly with my Olivia Pope theme of the night," she said, gesturing to the popcorn that was now scattered all over the bed.
Oliver didn't even ask as he slid the bottle onto her nightstand and reached out, grabbing her by the waist.
"It's for putting up with me the past few weeks," he said, bringing a hand up to her cheek as he laid a kiss on her forehead. "And for believing in me." She rolled her head back, so her face was tilted up toward him.
"Well in that case, next time you decide to have an identity crisis," she said, playing with his tie. "I want a Generic Guardian 22kW Standby Generator."
Oliver stared at her. "There's nothing generic about that," he said, hiking his eyebrows. "But I'll keep it in mind."
Felicity gave him a triumphant smile as she broke away to clean up the popcorn mess. Oliver helped her, plucking the small Styrofoam- like pieces with his index and thumb.
"I ran into Tommy today," Oliver said, feeling her eyes move to him.
Felicity raised an eyebrow. "Really?" She said, rubbing her hands together over a trashcan.
Oliver hummed in reply. "Apparently you were my topic of choice during my pre-accident drunken rampages."
Felicity offered a smile. "Seems like you two are already fast on your way to becoming friends again."
Oliver sat on her bed, which wheezed under his weight as she rounded the perimeter to meet him.
"I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that," he said, shaking his head, as she placed both her hands on his shoulders.
"Isn't that how boys handle their problems?" Felicity asked, flicking a piece of hair over her shoulder. "Ignore each other for a few days, maybe throw a couple punches, then call it even."
Oliver narrowed his eyes. "Is that how Diggle and I used to handle our problems?"
Felicity let out a laugh. "No, you two were like the rest of us women, passive aggressive as hell, with the occasional side of sass."
Oliver smiled, humming as he folded his hands around her waist, drawing her near- feeling her fingers wrap around the nape of his neck.
Felicity sighed, leaning into him as she pulled herself onto his lap. "So now I have to expect you'll be spending your weekends with eighteen other females?" She asked, raising an eyebrow. "And here I thought I was your only girl?" She joked, pressing her lips against the scruff on his chin.
Oliver chuckled against her nose before moving his lips down to meet hers, slanting them against her own as he brought a hand up to her hair. He held the kiss for a moment, tasting the salt on her lips from the popcorn.
Oliver wondered what it would be like to sit down with pre-accident Oliver. What would he tell him? A boy who had simultaneously given up and captured something so rare- Felicity, his Felicity- a woman who both inspired and challenged him. He was curious, if these inconsistent moments they had shared, between pain and pleasure, loss and gain- were surmounting into something bigger than even them.
Oliver would tell him it was all worth it- every second, because if there was some kind of grand plan, an ultimate fate, it was pulling him to this moments and the thousands of moments afterward; shifting and turning him toward a path that would always lead back to her.
"You'll always be my girl, Felicity," he murmured into her lips, like a prayer.
Author's Note: THE END!
Whew. We made it. Thank you all for reading my story! I adore this couple and am glad to have shared this story with you. I realize that there are some things that weren't entirely addressed but after spending a couple weeks writing out different endings, this one felt the most right. Like life, sometimes we don't get all the answers. But I hoped you enjoyed it anyways.
Please leave me some last comments on what you thought about State of Mind. Hopefully I'll have more stories in the future. Thanks again! You are all wonderful readers and people! Much love.