So I was right: none of what I wrote actually happened in the episode, which is not a problem with me! (actually, I honest to god don't understand how Malcolm went through all this trouble not to keep up with the outcome of the fight. The guy had contingencies for the Undertaking but waited three days to pop up to the mountain that was apparently two hours away? Sorry. Just… I'm baffled.) Anyhow: this is a wrap, guys! Another story done, thank you so much for joining in on the fun and leaving reviews! It means so much. Hopefully the end story won't disappoint. Again, thank you to Mawwaw and Lily Anthea.
THE SECOND THING
The reunion with Thea is… Eventful to say the least. It's a wonderful batch of mixed-reactions. It begins with a scream of happiness ("OLLIE! OH MY GOD I can't believe this!"), then a shower of warm tears and sobbing hugs ("This is," sniffle, "the best", sob, "déjà vu ever…"), followed by a punch in the shoulder that makes him wince and a few shoves filled with anger ("You're a jerk, you know that? A lying, miserable, stupid jerk!").
Poor Roy has to leave within minutes because the Louboutin heel that Thea throws barely misses him when Oliver cleverly ducks. The man is brave enough to fight thugs and criminals, but scatters when Oliver's baby sister throws a hissy fit. Oliver doesn't mind, though.
He honestly finds it endearing.
God, how he missed his feisty little sister.
"How dare you use my safety to keep secrets while you promise honesty and lie to my face over and over!" she's yelling thirty exhausting minutes later.
But then she takes him back into a hug and her shoulders shake so hard Oliver almost can't hold her. He kisses the top of her head, reassured by her presence, and smiling despite himself at the memory that flashes in his mind.
"Hey Speedy, remember when I was going to college and you didn't want me to go?" he wonders quietly.
"No," she sobs.
"It was something like a few weeks before my prom and you were crying, asking me to take you with me and since I couldn't take a seven year-old along to a college dorm, I promised you I would always take your calls."
"Yeah, I remember that," her muffled voice mumbles in his shirt.
She doesn't say it, but he can tell she also remembers that he never failed on that promise. Every time she called, he picked up. Even in the middle of a class, he would duck under the table and whisper that he was listening.
"I couldn't imagine a moment when you wouldn't be that innocent and adorable. I still don't want to. That thought… That need to protect you, it's in me. It's always been in me," he explains softly, and Thea has quieted a little, her face turning so her cheek rests against his chest. "I'm sorry I died, but I won't apologize for that. Not when I came back thanks to you."
"What?" she stutters, moving to look him in the eyes.
He explains again how he was resurrected thanks to outside help, someone disagreeing with the League, and how the Pit works, while Thea's eyes fill up with more tears and her arms tighten around him.
"I don't care," she grumbles against him when he's done. "You're not allowed to die anymore, much less for me. I'll fight my own battles. Dying twice is enough. I don't care what they say, third time is not a charm."
Oliver can't help but chuckle, drinking in his sister's obvious affection and happiness upon seeing him. They settle on her couch and hang for a good part of the afternoon, and he lets her alternate her reactions (cry fest, fit of sourness, warm hug. Repeat).
"I'm so happy you're alive," she sighs eventually, her voice still shaky. "FYI, I'm probably never letting go of you from now on, just in case you pull another death on me."
"Roy said it was too soon to make jokes about it."
"Pft! Since when do you make jokes? And if I don't make jokes, I'll go back to crying, would you rather I cried again?"
"I don't know, you've been drenching that shirt pretty well so far…"
"Speaking of crying, how did Felicity react when she saw you?"
He leans back, unable to hide his surprise.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I assume I wasn't the first one you rushed to when you came to yourself, since you came in with Roy. And I legit have no clue how she would be reacting. She was so devastated, hoping against hope that you were alive… she must have been crushed with relief and happiness… But since you're here and not jumping her bones, I'm assuming that she freaked out and doesn't believe it's real?"
Oliver blinks, fazed by his sister's insight.
"When did you guys become such close friends?"
"We aren't," Thea counters, looking strikingly guilty. "I just…" she shrugs, and grimaces. "It's kind of obvious. And we bonded this past week, over the various fights we had over how she wouldn't let me join your team."
Well, he needs to build a shrine to Felicity because even over his dead body Thea wouldn't be allowed to become a member of Team Arrow. Ever.
"Damn right you aren't."
Thea rolls her eyes in obvious dismissal. "We'll see about that."
"It's already seen, discussed and decided. You're not joining the team. I already don't like that Malcolm's been training you."
And he loathes the fact that letting Malcolm in led them to such a dire predicament. Oliver can't bring himself to tell his sister what she did under Malcolm's influence. He knows that eventually, it might come out, but he is thankful that his friends managed to keep that horrid truth hidden, that they spared his little sister.
Even if that comes back to bite him in the ass in a few days.
"It has come in handy, you know," Thea replies slyly. "What with crazy vigilantes with a leather fetish attacking me for no reason…"
Oliver would chuckle if he wasn't thinking about the video Malcolm made him watch of his baby sister killing his ex-girlfriend, replaying in his head on a loop.
"I mean it Thea."
Thea smirks, uncaring, and the glint in her eyes lets him know that she's going to say something devious. If the glint isn't enough, the wiggle of her eyebrows are a sure sign she's about to make a wisecrack.
"Would you rather debate about my fighting skills or go see your girlfriend and celebrate your resurrection in the biblical sense of the term?"
Oliver rolls his eyes, annoyed. "Felicity is not my girlfriend."
"Yeah, tell that to your face when you talk about her."
He throws her a pointed look, but it's barely heartfelt.
"Come on, even your face knows you and her not being together isn't right. What gives? She knows your secrets, she has your back way more than anyone would even when you were gone, and she missed you so much it was actually painful to look at her."
"I know. None of my business. I guess I'm just asking… What the hell are you still doing here?"
His eyes fly to meet his sister's, but it's not shock or astonishment, it's… hope. That damn word and feeling again.
"What, you thought I'd be pissed? I was only half-kidding about never letting you go," Thea shrugs. "I guess I can share you with Felicity. I like her. And she looked like she needed a good hug. Which is not a euphemism for… You know. 'Cause… gross."
Oliver blinks, and wraps his arms around his sister in thanks.
"You're the best, Thea."
"Oh, I know," she grins. "Also, I kind of owe you for dying for me and I owe her for… stuff… so… Go. Right now. And don't hesitate to spend the night over, okay? Just send a text that says you're still alive."
Despite feeling intrigued by Thea's feelings towards Felicity, Oliver decides to push it for another time as he shoulders his jacket in a smooth move, and heads towards the door, barely stopping to pluck a kiss on the top of his sister's head.
"A guy dies twice in less than ten years…"
Thea winces, but she still looks amused.
"Roy was right, it's too soon for you to joke about it. Now go. I love you."
"Love you too."
So, going back to Thea was surprisingly easy, all in all. Oliver sort of knew what to expect of her. Technically, none of her reactions were a big surprise and she was right about the déjà vu of the situation. Also, beyond the fact that it felt good to be accepted as the Arrow by his last living relative, it was also easier because Thea was transparent about her feelings.
But now that Oliver is sitting in his car outside Felicity's house, his nerves are getting the better of him.
When he met Felicity, Oliver took delight in the fact that he never knew how she was going to react or what she was going to say. She was a wild card in the best possible way, and she was never threatening. Now, he finds himself worrying that her reaction won't be the one he hopes for. What if she rejects him? What if she doesn't want to see him, what if he broke her beyond repair and she tells him he should have stayed dead?
Diggle and Thea both repeated that she's happy he's back, and that she needs time but Oliver feels like he has none. He knows Malcolm is only letting him come back for a little while and he knows he won't ever be able to keep enough of a low profile to escape Ra's.
He might die all over again, and the truth is, he doesn't want to. Or, if he does, he wants to feel accomplished; he wants to die without regrets. He wants to die old, surrounded by family.
His last thought was of kissing Felicity, and he remembers vividly the warmth of the memory but also the longing and the slicing pain of regret. He died wanting more, and knowing that he failed her.
"Just the thought of losing someone that important to me again…"
"Hey. You're not going to lose me."
He didn't keep his word. He told her he'd come back, and he took too long.
"But I do know two things. You are not alone. And I believe in you."
She believes in him. She never failed him. Oliver takes a deep breath, and decides not to let his fears talk him out of it. He needs her, he wants to be with her, and he died with too many regrets to add another one to his list.
His decision firmly made, Oliver gets out of the car and crosses the street to her town house. The lights are on, and he hopes to god that she's alone, that Ray isn't with her, and that they didn't start something while he was gone. That he didn't need a suit to take her out on a date or something.
The thought alone makes his hands moisten as he knocks shakily on her door.
Well. Whatever, he'll fight for her. For them.
If she wants to.
Holy shit, what if she doesn't want to? What if she thinks he's more trouble than he's worth?
Before he can fully freak out though, the door swings open to reveal a stricken Felicity.
She's taken her hair down and dropped her glasses, but she's still wearing the same tight skirt and orange blouse as earlier in the day. Without her heels, she's way shorter than he is, which forces her to tilt her head up so her blue eyes can meet his and in that instant the rest of the world fades away in the background, non-existent.
Oliver's entire universe zooms in on the beautiful blonde who is gazing emotionally at him, her eyes betraying a confusing turmoil and he finds himself rooted to his spot, unable to move as Felicity's teeth sink in her bottom lip, hesitating.
"Hey," he murmurs, a hopeful smile lifting a corner of his lips.
Her hand falls from the door limply, and he dares attempt to step in her direction when suddenly she moves and crashes against him, her entire body collapsing against his, her arms circling his neck as his slip around her waist and his mind is taken back in time once more.
"But I do know two things. You are not alone. And I believe in you."
His eyes are prickling, his throat clogged with emotion. It's her. He's not alone — he hasn't been in a long time, not since he let her in — and she still believes in him. She doesn't need to say the words.
He understands her reaction, and what Diggle has been trying to tell him.
Felicity was crushed because she was waiting for him to come back this whole time. And he hadn't.
His hands close on the small of her back as her fingers slide in his hair, keeping his head in her neck and he breathes in, taking in all of her, everything that makes her who she is. His hope.
God, he missed her.
"I'm sorry," Oliver chokes, but he doesn't know if she hears him because his throat is too tight.
He doesn't even know what he's apologizing for exactly. He's sorry for dying. For being an idiot. For not being a better fighter. For making her wait this long to come back. For not enjoying what they had more.
Felicity doesn't say anything, but her embrace is suddenly tighter and Oliver closes his eyes, basking in the perfection of the moment. He has her in his arms. And it's all that matters.
"I'm so sorry," he repeats genuinely, turning his head and nuzzling her cheek, feeling all the tension and the worry disappear from his muscles when her scent fills his nostrils and her warmth seeps into him.
He feels Felicity take a deep, shaky breath and steps back to let her look him over, as her hands begin to move, sliding from his head to his neck, to his shoulders and his forearms, as if to make sure that it's all there, that she's not dreaming.
"I'm here," Oliver murmurs, when Felicity's hands retrace the same path the other way until they cup his jaw and her thumbs caress his stubble.
He lets his forehead fall against hers, making her stumble against the wall of her house and she closes her eyes. She's shivering, he notices.
"I'm here," Oliver repeats, his own hand sneaking up to seize her cheek.
She leans into his touch instantly, as she always does, and his heart clenches, stutters, bursts.
She's still here. She's still her. He hasn't lost her, and the knowledge shakes him to his core.
Felicity opens her eyes to meet his, and they're not watery, or hesitant or shocked. They're feisty and spirited, and decided. She looks at him like never before and suddenly the air around them is charged with a tension that wraps around them, slowing time to the point where they both feel like it has stopped.
Felicity's thumbs still against his skin, making him want more instantly, and as the seconds tick by her breathing becomes slightly erratic, or maybe it's his, because he knows exactly what's going to happen in the next moment.
In the end, they move at the same time, their mouths meeting in a searing kiss that they don't even try to keep chaste for a second. It's a fierce collision of lips and limbs, Felicity's hands sliding along his neck, leaving a trail of goose bumps in their wake, so she can fist his shirt and bring him closer to her while one of his sinks in the skin of her waist to drag her against him and the other directs the angle of her head so he can deepen their embrace.
He can't help but think that this should have been their first kiss. Under her porch, filled with passion.
Not in a hospital corridor as they broke up. He's such an idiot. He was so desperate then…
Well, he's pretty desperate now too, but it's a different kind of despair, more like a feeling of how he has nothing to lose, just everything to gain, and it's… exhilarating.
Pressing Felicity against the corner of her entryway, kissing her senseless is exhilarating and Oliver thinks he could do this forever. He has to make up for all the time he has lost, for all the times he didn't kiss her when he wanted to, to erase all the regret that mashes his heart.
Soon, he feels Felicity move, sliding against the wall and through the door, dragging him by the shirt and somehow managing to keep them stuck to each other from mouth to hips as their feet tangle in a clumsy dance. It takes all his brain power to remember that he needs to shut the door behind him, and Felicity takes the opportunity to press his back against it immediately, her mouth moving from his lips to skim his cheek, kiss his neck, as her hands roam over his chest hungrily.
Her name escapes his lips and she suddenly stops, jerking a little in his arms, her fingers stilling on his hips and digging in painfully. Oliver blinks, surprised by her reaction and tenses too.
What did he do?
"I love you too," she utters from his neck in such a tiny, strangled voice that he's almost convinced he imagined it.
What is she talking about?
Oliver pushes her delicately so he can see her eyes, and his breath catches in his throat. Her blue orbs are red rimmed, and tears are pooling there, sending a bolt of pain to his chest. Before he can say anything though, Felicity is breaking down and speaking again.
"I don't care if you're a vision…"
Then her head falls on his chest as she hugs him tightly and Oliver's heart shatters. At a loss of words, he can only wrap his arms around her, crushing her against him and kissing her head over and over again.
Did she hallucinate him? Oliver remembers Roy's words about Vertigo, and Thea's remarks and he understands. He hasn't forgotten what he'd seen when he was injected earlier in the year. He wishes Felicity hadn't been in the same situation but now is probably not a good time to talk about it. She was under Vertigo at some point in the past four weeks and she thought she was seeing him when he really wasn't there.
He wasn't there, Oliver repeats in his mind, gulping. He was trying to fight his way back to her, but he hadn't been quick enough.
"I'm not," Oliver whispers in her ear. "You're not hallucinating. Look at me, Felicity."
He cups her cheeks tenderly, forcing her face up so their eyes can meet and leans his forehead against hers once more.
"I'm real. I'm back."
She closes her eyes, shaking.
"You said it would be fine," she murmurs.
"It'll be fine. I'll come back."
"I know, I'm sorry."
"It wasn't fine," she sniffs, her eyes still shut. "It's not fine. It's horrible."
"I'm really sorry," he says again, but he also knows that there are no words that can soothe her right now.
He feels her fists tighten on his shirt, pulling it the same way she did when he kissed her goodbye on her forehead and he exhales shakily. She's still not looking at him.
"I'm back," Oliver murmurs, bending his neck to kiss her lips, his hands settling around her neck, trying to prove that she's not losing her mind. "I'm alive, Felicity. I promise."
Before the knock on her door, Felicity was sitting on her couch, staring at nothing and trying her hardest not to play over and over again what she had seen in the afternoon until she left to see Ray. The truth is, from the moment she saw Oliver's log override the protection of Verdant to getting back to Palmer Technologies by taking a cab (she doesn't even remember driving to the Cave), Felicity has stopped reacting and pressed pause on her brain.
Thinking would lead to realizing that the whole time, for the past three to four weeks, Oliver was alive somewhere, resurrected and her mind can't wrap around it. Beyond the fact that resurrection is not a thing, there is also the knowledge that ultimately, every fear that has been keeping her awake at night has become true and everything that Oliver told her when she was under Vertigo was right. She failed him. She didn't believe in him enough.
So when the knock disturbed the complete quietness of her house, Felicity kept the autopilot she'd pressed earlier in the day and opened it without thinking. She'd frozen, unable to tell if she was under Vertigo again.
And then Oliver tilted his head, grinning like he had that first time and saying "hey" like nothing had happened and she figured: she doesn't care. If Vertigo makes her see this Oliver, if it's so good at replicating his actions, his tones and his smiles, then she doesn't care whether it's a hallucination or not.
Next thing she knows, they're kissing outside her house, her back digging into the concrete of the wall and she remembers that they're outside, and that if she's going to jump off the edge she's going to do it right. If she's riding a tidal, euphoric wave, you bet your ass that she's going to ride it until she crashes, falls; until there's nothing left to take from her.
Also, she's pretty sure that if Oliver were alive, he wouldn't let her jump him this easily. She's pretty sure that he would run away from her, tell her that he doesn't want to cause pain, or whatever, or that it was too traumatic to even begin a relationship. Oliver coming to her place the day he comes back? She doesn't buy it. Maybe it's a general hallucination — maybe Digg and Roy are hallucinating too.
But then he says her name, and she doesn't know anymore. Because she's not sure if her brain can imitate the softness of his voice when he does that. She's not sure even a drug can mimic the notes of emotions that he puts in each syllable, depending on his mood and she stills.
What if it's true? What if Oliver really is here, what if she dodged Diggle's calls for nothing this entire afternoon, what if Oliver wants to be with her and craves her like she's craved him for the past month?
She remembers suddenly her promises and her regrets and if he's alive… if all of this is true, is real, if she's really been kissing him and touching him, then she owes it to herself to tell him the truth. She loves him too.
God. She loves him too. He needs to know.
So she tells him but she still can't discern between fantasies and reality, she can't be one hundred percent sure that she hasn't lost her mind entirely… And she squeezes her eyes, telling the voice in her head to shut up.
"I don't care if you're a vision…" she tells him, because she really, really doesn't.
She can live with being crazy if she gets to feel him. Oliver looks stricken though. Appalled, hurt, broken even. She goes back to hugging him so she doesn't have to see the pain.
"I'm not. You're not hallucinating."
Repeating her name, he demands that she looks at him, forces her to and speaks softly, the velvet of his voice wrapping around her, making her feel warm for the first time in over a month.
"I'm real," he vows. "I'm back."
But it's too good to be true, isn't it? She doesn't get second chances, does she? And what if she wakes up in the morning and he isn't there? What if she's hallucinating the whole thing and there's no coming back?
"You said it would be fine."
Everything was supposed to be fine. He was supposed to come back immediately, victorious; he was supposed to save everyone. He wasn't supposed to die and come back once she'd given up hope.
"I know, I'm sorry."
Are there tears in his voice? Is he in pain? She can't take his pain.
"It wasn't fine. It's not fine. It's horrible."
He apologizes again, his warm palms sliding from her cheeks to her neck. Finally, the heat spreads through her, the touch grounds her. She's not the one initiating anything this time. Oliver is speaking, softly, kissing her tenderly, trying to convince her.
"I'm back. I'm alive, Felicity. I promise."
These two words do the trick. The two words make her open her eyes, and accept reality.
"I'll come back."
Oliver wouldn't promise unless it was true. He just wouldn't.
Oliver keeps kissing her softly yet stubbornly, until Felicity's hand curves around the top of his head, to keep him close, and opens her mouth invitingly, letting him in completely.
Thankfully, Oliver doesn't wait or need more encouragement. He keeps on kissing her, his tongue darting inside her mouth to seek hers in a wonderful caress and Felicity lets go completely.
He better be alive.
She feels like she is coming back to life herself, because he sure tastes like Oliver and smells like Oliver, and feels like him when he touches her, when he speaks to her, except he's lighter somehow and… It's intoxicating.
Felicity is lightheaded, dizzy, her mind spinning at a crazy pace that, for the first time in a month, doesn't make her sick. The spinning is getting her excited, like the rush of a wonderful drug she doesn't mind getting addicted to.
Before anything can escalate though, Oliver pulls back gently, and offers her his shiest smile. They're both breathing heavily, and taking a moment to let reality sink in.
She smiles too, letting her head lean into his hand.
"You were alive this whole time?" she gulps, trying to wipe the guilt of out her voice.
She can tell Oliver hears it though.
"No. And then I wasn't myself for a while, and Malcolm was dealing with me. I'm fine, Felicity. I don't remember the bad parts, and there's nothing you could have done…"
"I should have known," Felicity cuts in, taking a step back out of his embrace.
She misses him instantly.
"Somehow, I should have… I don't know, felt it."
Oliver follows her, catching her arm and shaking his head.
"No. Felicity, I was dead. Ra's was too strong, no one could have helped me. Not Digg, not Roy. No one."
Her body begins to shake. Nothing makes sense. How could he have died, and then come back? And she knows how he died. The description alone is horrible, how can he be so fine after dying that way? Should she even question it?
If she wasn't desperately in love with him and praying every night for his return, the situation would feel like a Trojan horse for Felicity. But she doesn't feel ready or capable of looking such a perfect gift in the mouth.
He died alone. The simple thought breaks her heart further.
"I'm okay," Oliver repeats, sensing her hesitation, "I promise I'm fine. I don't feel weird. I'm just… I missed you."
Felicity blinks. This should be the proof that he isn't okay. Telling her how he feels? Is he dying again?
"I missed you too…" she confesses, then closes her eyes, her brain going at a million miles an hour, overwhelmed by a thousand questions that she can't process quick enough. "I'm… this is a lot to take. I don't…"
Felicity's legs stop working and she sinks in her couch, trying to understand everything. What is she supposed to say now? Or do? How can she feel so happy and so anxious at the same time? Why does it still feel like she doesn't have him back, like it's not completely real? How does life start over when you come back from the dead? The last time he did that, Oliver came back to his family and began a crazy quest. Except he hadn't really, actually died.
But what is different now? Why isn't he with Thea?
"What are you doing here?" Felicity asks, eventually.
"What do you mean?" Oliver frowns. "I'm… I wanted to see you, see how you were, you didn't seem okay earlier…"
Her mouth opens as she blinks in surprise.
"Well, no, I'm sorry, I haven't exactly been okay lately, what with you telling me you love me and dying brutally."
His face shuts off and she winces. Holy shit. She did not just say that.
"I'm sorry," Felicity says immediately, eyes flying to meet his in worry and genuine apology. "I'm being unfair, it wasn't what…"
"It's okay," Oliver begins.
"No, no it's not. I'm so happy you're back. You have no idea," she shuts her eyes, and grimaces as she plants a finger on her forehead and wishes for the ground to open under her, "or actually you do, considering the fact that I mouth-attacked you… Sorry about that… and the whole… melt down thing. That was mortifying."
She buries her head in her hands and moans because fuck her life. The emotionally-unavailable man she loves helplessly comes back from the dead and, really, the first thing she does is sexually assault him?
But she freezes when Oliver chuckles.
"I'm not sorry about the 'mouth-attacking' part," Oliver shrugs, grinning a little bit. "I'm sorry if it puts you in an awkward position though…"
Felicity's eyebrows rise on her forehead in puzzlement. What is he talking about?
"Awkward position? Because I mouth-raped you?" she snorts self-deprecatingly. "I think I gave up on my dignity when you caught me staring at you on the salmon ladder. Repeatedly."
Oh nice, it had been a while since she'd had that foot-in-mouth cringe-inducing problem. Apparently it really is something that Oliver brings out in her. She'd done fine until now, but poof. Five seconds with him in the same room, molesting him and she's back to her usual awkward spluttering-self. She sure hadn't missed that.
"Mouth-raped? Really?" Oliver laughs. "I meant awkward towards Palmer."
His eyes are planted in hers, as Oliver once again pulls the rug from under her feet.
"What does Ray care if I sexually harass you?" she frowns.
Oliver tries to keep his façade, like he showed his hand or something, but Felicity thinks dying made him an even worse liar. Which is saying something, considering the man tried to make her believe he carried hangover-cures in syringes.
"Hold on, you think I'm dating Ray?"
One of his shoulders lifts slightly, timidly and Felicity jumps to her feet, mouth agape, shocked with disbelief and actually stammering again. Why would he think she's dating Ray? What the hell does Ray have to do with anything?
"I wouldn't blame you. You guys seemed cozy after your work dinner," he has the nerve to grumble, albeit a little sheepishly.
In the back of her mind, Felicity feels heavily guilty when she realizes that Oliver died thinking that she had feelings for Ray — but she can't deal with that right now.
All the anger that Felicity has been keeping inside her for the past month, the rage and the bitterness of the injustice of Oliver dying bubble back inside of her and surge forward upon hearing his guilt-laced-yet-accusatory-words. Is he fucking serious right now?
"You mean the night you told Cutter about how you couldn't be with someone you really cared about and it was so difficult to watch that woman from afar while unable to be with her? The night you decided to stop dangling maybes?"
Oliver clenches his jaw and looks away, in a typical Oliver move that makes Felicity's head fall backwards, while a low, bitter chuckle escapes her throat. He's been right this entire time: he feels fine and is absolutely no different.
She's. Such. An idiot.
"Oh my god Oliver. I swear, if you weren't just coming back from the dead I would slap you. How dare you?" she pushes him across the chest, upset.
"I'm sorry," he begins, looking genuinely sorry, but Felicity doesn't care that he's sorry. She's been sorry for the past month, begging for him to be back and the first thing he does when he returns is mope about a stupid kiss that meant nothing and that he never confronted her about? "You left when he called to do something with a suit and I just assumed…"
"You assumed what?" Felicity spits, shoving him again, aware that he's letting her (and a little thankful for it). "That when Nyssa dropped by to deliver your stuff and tell us you'd been murdered I just thought 'oh well' and jumped into bed with the first guy to pay me a little bit of attention?"
Oliver's eyes darken with something she can't identify. She doesn't know if it's guilt, if it's jealousy, if it's annoyance or arousal, she honestly has no clue and she doesn't care. A slight, disturbing part of her is reassured by this surprisingly normal interaction for them. Oliver being an idiot? She knows her way around that guy.
"No, of course not! But I wouldn't blame you if you did!"
"Oh well thank you Oliver Queen, I'm so happy I have your blessing," Felicity cackles, pushing him again but this time he doesn't let her, catching her arms to stop her. "No, really, thanks. I'm glad you think all of this is okay. I mean, who doesn't tell a woman he loves her, doesn't give her a second to even say it back, dies, then comes back to tell her it's good she moved on! That's what you meant by 'I love you' wasn't it? Because if that's what it is, I don't want to be a woman that you love. I don't want to be, because you do all these things, and you say them, and then you die, and you leave the people you love behind like they won't care and…"
She can't say anything else, the words getting caught in her throat as her vision becomes blurry.
"I'm sorry," Oliver whispers, his fingers still wrapped around her wrists. "That's not what I meant."
"Which time?" Felicity replies irately.
He looks up, gulping and grimacing. "Touché."
All the fight, all the nervous energy, all the relief crash suddenly over Felicity and she feels completely, irremediably drained. How did they go from reuniting, from kissing like crazy people to fighting about their feelings and throwing accusations? Who does that?
But can she really blame him though? Maybe she should have forced him to listen. Maybe she should have run after him that day, and told him that she loved him too. Maybe all his doubts, his death, this entire situation is on her.
Felicity clenches her jaw, letting her forehead drop to his chest and fights a shudder. He's here. Why can't they just be happy that he's here?
"I was wrong," Oliver suddenly admits quietly.
Felicity blinks, her shoulders sagging.
"Which time?" she repeats.
She knows Oliver is smiling, there's a little movement in his chest as his abdomen contracts, and he lets go of her wrists so he can go back to wrap himself around her. She's surrounded by his smell, he's not pushing her away (a first!) and she forces herself not to think about what happens next.
It's just one night, she figures. He's just going to be with her one night, to need her one night, and then he'll go back to being a hero, and heroes don't have girlfriends. Heroes like Oliver are emotionally unavailable and dying won't help.
Nothing has changed. She knew it from the get go, back when she was hoping against hope that he could return somehow. And she'd promised herself that if she got him back, if somehow a miracle happened and he came home, come back to her, she wouldn't ask for more. She can't go and be bitter because she got what she asked for.
He's back. But nothing has changed.
She should be okay with it. She can be okay with it. She'll take the one night.
"Every time," Oliver replies finally.
Felicity pushes away, looking up at him and his eyes are glinting, taking her in as one of his hands brush a lock of hair behind her ear and cup her cheek.
"You were my last thought," he confesses softly.
If it wasn't entirely broken already, she thinks that sentence would have finished to destroy her soul. She was his last thought? Felicity's heart stops, her breath catches and she freezes, her head suddenly dizzy. Oliver sees the shock on her face and rushes to explain.
"As I… When I died, my parents, Thea… they flashed before my eyes… and then it was you, that kiss in the hospital… And my only thought was: why was it only once?"
She tries to gulp, but she can't. Felicity is aware that she's full on crying, and there's no way she can stop this time. He died regretting his life choices? He died thinking it should have been with her? Her body starts shaking. Surely, he can't be admitting what she thinks he's admitting, right?
"And then I was in the Pit, and that I remember. To come back to life, I had to focus on hope. So a few memories popped up, things I'd forgotten from when I was a kid, all of it linked with Thea. But then…"
She thinks back to the look he threw her way when he mentioned the Pit the first time in the Cave. Recollections. Of her.
"Then it was only memories of you. Of how you made me feel. Of what you aroused in me. Your support, your kindness, your smile… it was all wrapped into so many various memories I couldn't even pick one. It was your love that brought me back, Felicity, and the necessity for me to make it right."
Her fingers have joined his on her cheek, but they're cold and numb with emotion as he smiles so tenderly at her that she forgets to breathe.
"So I was wrong, and I'm not going to dangle maybes anymore. You and I? We're happening."
Felicity blinks while Oliver's eyes suddenly narrow as he thinks back on his words.
"If you're okay with it, I mean."
She thinks she's going to faint. She's totally tripping. There's no way this is happening. Did she die too? Did she slice her wrists that night when she took Vertigo and actually die and join him?
"Felicity?" Oliver is asking, worry lacing his voice.
"I think I'm having a seizure."
"What?" he blinks, looking stricken with alarm.
"I'm not sure I understand what you're saying," Felicity elaborates. "It sounds like you want us to… be together?"
Relief spreads over Oliver's face yet he somehow manages to scowl at her.
"Okay, I guess I kind of deserve that."
The sad part is, she's not even kidding about having a seizure. He comes back from the dead, lets her kiss him, accuses her of cheating on her non-existent boyfriend, then tells her he wants to be with her and regrets pushing her away all this time?
What does it say about her that she feels like all of this sounds too good to be true?
"Are you being serious right now?" Felicity wonders breathily.
Oliver smiles fondly, like he actually thinks she's being adorable. "Yes."
His confidence freaks her out. Felicity's heart is beating so hard in her chest, her mouth is suddenly dry and she doesn't remember how to fill her lungs steadily. Honest to god, she thinks this is the beginning of a panic attack.
"What if you regret it?" she voices immediately, what little is left of her brain filter melting away in an instant. "You said yourself that you thought all of this wasn't over… Malcolm is going to come and Ra's will know he didn't kill you… I can't… Oliver, I can't go through this again."
He looks at her carefully, staying quiet for a moment as if giving serious thought to what she has just said and Felicity wants to take it all back. Is she really doing this to herself? He's offering himself on a silver platter and she actually considers saying no? What the hell is wrong with her? What about all these nights praying for a miracle? All these promises to whoever listened that if she got another chance, she'd do it differently? Had they been that empty?
Is she really that scared?
But Oliver seems as decided as she felt earlier that night when he showed up. He looks as serious as he does when there's an Arrow-related problem, when ghosts from his past show up to haunt him, when he tells her he loves her and there are cameras filming them.
If it weren't too soon, Felicity would say that Oliver looks dead serious.
"When the bomb went off last October and I saw you bleeding and passed out… You have no idea what it felt like Felicity. It was Tommy and Shado all over again and I… I freaked, because being happy meant being careless and putting you and Starling in danger. But like I said, when I died, none of the regret was linked to actually being with you. The only regrets I had were holding myself back. Having nothing to look back as Oliver Queen and thinking that I was right. I'd saved my sister, but that was it and it wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked. Because I wanted more. And I still do."
He licks his lips quickly, nervously, his eyes expressing all the seriousness of his words, all the sincerity he felt at that moment and Felicity feels completely overwhelmed. It's the first time she's given Oliver an out and he hasn't taken it.
Actually, she's wrong.
He hasn't taken any of them since he first told her he loved her.
How hadn't she noticed it before?
"You are right, everything is still a mess." Oliver takes a breath, and seems to brace himself a little bit. "Ra's might kill me, again." His mouth opens, wobbles a little, like he's looking for the right words, like he's desperate to convince her not to give up on him. "I don't know about you, Felicity, but if that's going to happen, I don't want my last thought to be how I should have pursued you harder, or how happy we could have been."
How is it possible that they've been feeling the same? The tears are back again, but she doesn't realize it, her lips turning slightly upwards.
"Now if you don't want to, or can't…" Oliver begins when she stays quiet another second.
Felicity doesn't even listen to the out he's offering, she pushes herself to the tip of her toes, her hands grabbing his shirt and kisses him on the mouth.
No out. Nope.
Screw consequences, screw everything. She's never known how to protect herself from him anyway so why even attempt to start now?
Felicity might be terrified by the idea that the way that he lives means he might be ripped away from her. But ultimately, Oliver is right (she can't believe she's actually thinking that). She's too far-gone to consider not being with him. And if he dies (again), or if she does (it's possible too, she hears), she doesn't want to have regrets.
The worst part wasn't just the hope, it was also the thousands of 'what if' scenarios that she couldn't help but come up with.
"We could have been happy," she'd cried to Digg a week earlier. And she knows, deep down inside, to her core, that she was right. For the first time in forever, Oliver and her are on the same page about their relationship. For the first time, Oliver agrees that he wants to be happy.
"Okay," Felicity agrees eventually. "But you better not be dying anytime soon. Again."
Oliver smiles fondly again, and for the first time Felicity thinks she gets a glimpse at Ollie. Ollie, the young carefree boy who grinned all the time. He seems so weightless yet so strong at the same time, she wonders once more if she's dreaming and her fists tighten on his shirt of their own accord.
"Don't you have to go home?" she whispers half-heartedly.
Oliver's grin turns from happy to shy in a beat, leaving Felicity in awe.
"Thea said she's willing to share me with you."
She thinks her face actually shows her delight upon hearing the words, but Felicity doesn't attempt to quell any of it.
"Spend the night?" she offers, then sputters quickly. "Platonically, of course." Her mind skips a thought as she frowns. "Or not if you don't want to. I could…"
"No," Oliver laughs, bending his head to kiss her chastely. "I don't think any of us is ready for that just yet."
Felicity doesn't tell him that she was born ready, but she thinks it really hard and considering Oliver's face, he might have figured her out. She settles for taking his hand and hiding her blush by dragging him to her room.
It's only a few moments later, when they're both laying in her bed facing each other (platonically, for now) that the reality of the situation finally hits Felicity and her brain resets. There are so many conflicting emotions fighting within her, she doesn't know what to do with them. On the one hand, she's terrified that all of this is still too good to be true, that she's on something, that she'll wake up in the morning and Oliver won't be there. On the other, the relief and his warmth have seeped into her entire being and her eyes are finally shutting of their own accord, telling her body that she can finally rest.
Oliver smiles tenderly when he notices, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear soothingly.
"Go to sleep, Felicity," he orders gently.
"'M'not tir'd," she mumbles, blinking quickly to fight off her exhaustion.
"I will be there when you wake up. I promise."
Felicity blinks again, sneaking her hand inside of his and interlacing their fingers, squeezing as hard as she can so she's sure she's not dreaming already. Oliver's other hand comes to caress her head, his lips falling on her forehead and pressing a fierce kiss at the exact same spot as a month before.
Felicity's eyes drop shut but her heart beats louder for a second and she can't help it. Just in case he's not here in the morning, she needs to ask.
"What's the second thing?" she whispers.
She feels Oliver's lips spread in a smile against her skin.
"I love you," he murmurs, pulling her against him.
Felicity sighs and squeezes his hand once more.
"I love you too."
So I know a lot of you wanted to see Thea's reaction after she infected Felicity with Vertigo and saw her reaction. It was slightly brought up in her scene, but I don't think she would have wanted to talk about it to Oliver: in the end, it would be a discussion either Felicity should have with him or Thea should have with Felicity. Writing a scene from Thea's point of view would have been starting a brand new fic at that point, which wasn't what I wanted to do. Hopefully, her "emotions" were clear enough. The story was more about Team Arrow (mostly Diggle/Felicity) dealing with Oliver's death than Thea or even Laurel. So I hope the lack of deep insight wasn't too disappointing.
As for Oliver and Felicity, I considered turning the rating to M but it honestly didn't feel right, they just didn't feel ready. Ultimately, it wasn't about sex either. It was about them fixing their mistakes and giving themselves another chance. Hopefully, I did it justice.
I hope that story made you happy and entertained you! Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate it.