Hello lovelies! This plot bunny jumped in my head last night and was the result of a combination of my own family night with my friends and an episode of Criminal Minds where the whole team goes to Rossi's house to learn how to make pasta. Team Arrow gathers at Felicity's for dinner (and we will pretend that her apartment is larger than shown on Arrow) and each of them has a lot of thoughts. Quite a few of those may or may not be about Olicity...
Felicity looked around her apartment contentedly, smiling slightly to herself. Team Arrow was scattered throughout her living room and kitchen, talking and just hanging out. Like a family.
And they were, she thought happily, twirling a strand of hair around her fingers as she watched them. They were a little haphazard, crime-fighting, slightly dysfunctional family, one who always had each other's backs in a way that families tied by blood didn't always. No, the ties here ran just as deep as blood.
Except in one case, she thought, her eyes landing on Oliver where he stood talking to Thea and Roy. Felicity's gaze fell to the hand Roy was resting possessively on Thea's lower back and smiled again. Now that all of Oliver's – and by extension Roy's – secrets were open to Thea, the young couple had been working their way back to each other.
She turned to look the other way, watching Diggle bounce little Sara on his hip while chatting with Laurel. Lyla was in the kitchen refilling hers and Digg's wineglasses, and even Barry had made it to dinner this time. Felicity made it a point to get everyone together for a Team Arrow, crime-free dinner at least once or twice a month. Usually, like tonight, it was at her place, but Thea had hosted at the loft once or twice and so had Lyla and Digg.
It was a good, healthy ritual, she thought, standing to refill her own wineglass. They all just needed to decompress from what they did, and it wasn't like any of them could talk to other people about this.
Oliver's glass was empty as well, and Felicity stopped next to him for a moment to pluck it from his hand and take it with her. She didn't miss the small smile he shot her as she did so, or the knowing glance Roy and Thea shared.
"Stop being stupid," she chided herself softly when she entered the kitchen, resting the two glasses on the counter next to the two bottles of wine she'd opened in anticipation of everyone coming over.
"Talking to yourself?" Felicity turned and met Digg's kind smile.
"Of course," she replied brightly, carefully refilling her glass and then Oliver's.
"Felicity…" he stopped her as she made to move past him back into the living room. She hesitated to meet his gaze, afraid he would make some kind of comment about the on-going nothingness between her and Oliver. Instead, he surprised her. "Thank you, for all this." He gestured toward the living room. "It's good to have some kind of normalcy in the middle of all the crazy."
"It seems like the least I could do, Digg." Her gaze moved of its own accord to Oliver's back across the room. "Dinner will be here soon, so I'm gonna start setting the table."
Digg watched her move across the room, stopping to hand Oliver his refilled glass. He saw, was pretty sure everyone saw, the way Oliver watched Felicity when she moved across the room to talk to Lyla and Laurel, who was now holding Sara.
There were times he could really just slap Oliver upside the back of his head for constant attempting to be noble when it came to their tech girl and her safety. It wasn't like she wasn't constantly in danger just by being around them, and anyone with functioning eyes in their heads could see how much she meant to Oliver just by looking at his face when she was around. It was the same way he looked at Lyla.
Digg's gaze shifted over to his wife, who had reclaimed their daughter from Laurel and was tickling her tummy to show Felicity and Laurel the adorable baby noises she made while the other two women set the table.
There was no doubt in his mind that he was one of the luckiest men alive. Not just because of his wife and daughter – although they were most definitely the best parts of his life – but because of the other people that made up their ramshackle family. There wasn't a day since he had agreed to join Oliver's crusade that he had regretted it, and because of that he had some of the most amazing people in his life.
None of it would mean anything though, Digg thought as he walked across the room and took his laughing baby girl from the arms of his wife and dropped a kiss on both of their heads, without these two women. Nights like this, while amazing, would be meaningless if he didn't have them to come home to.
"Love you," he murmured in Lyla's ear, pressing another kiss to her temple.
Lyla smiled up at him. "Love you too, Johnny. You okay?"
The arm that wasn't holding Sara against his side snaked around her waist to pull her closer. "Just counting my blessings."
Lyla smiled up at her husband before making a silly face at their little girl. Sara giggled delightedly and reached forward to grab her mother's nose, and Lyla's heart swelled. This little child right here was her whole reason for breathing, for waking up in the morning, for smiling each day. She would never stop being grateful for whatever Arrow crisis had brought her and John back into each other's orbits and eventually back together. Second chances didn't come around often, and she certainly wasn't going to let this one slip by.
She looked over at Laurel and Felicity, who had now roped Roy into helping them set the table. The three of them were laughing about something – Laurel was threatening to dump her water on his head, although with a smile on her face, and Felicity was threatening to never invite either of them for dinner ever again – while they set out enough plates for everyone gathered there that evening.
Turning to look in the other direction, John's arm still resting snuggly around her waist, she watched as Oliver playfully elbowed Barry, half a smile on his face. Based on what Digg had told her, Oliver smiling and looking like he was joking around was quite the improvement over the last three years. He'd been silent, brooding, unwilling to allow anyone close enough to be a friend when John had first met him. Yet here he was now, looking almost happy. Pride swelled in Lyla's chest as she thought about the influence that her husband had clearly had to bring the Starling City vigilante to this.
It wasn't all John though, Lyla thought with a small smile as she saw Oliver not-so-subtly watching Felicity cross the room to answer the door for the takeout. She was perfectly aware of the situation between the two – thanks to John's long-winded venting about their inability to get their crap together – and knew that without Felicity in his life, Oliver would probably be half the man he was now.
Everyone migrated to the table and settled into their seats as Felicity and Barry carried the bags of Italian into the kitchen.
"Here, I'll get Sara into her high chair." Lyla turned to meet Laurel's friendly gaze and smiled.
"Here you go," she replied, handing a still-giggling Sara over to Laurel. Sara immediately reached for some of Laurel's long hair, having reached the stage of her young life where everything must be grabbed and put into her mouth. "I'll go get the chair."
Laurel leaned down and rubbed her nose against little Sara's, shifting the baby's weight to her other hip and wrapping her other arm around her as Lyla walked outside to her and Digg's car to retrieve the high chair.
She was so precious, Laurel thought, moving back towards the table, and so untouched by all the bad things in the world. She just wanted it to stay that way, wanted this Sara to have a much happier, healthier, longer life than her the strong woman she was named after.
The unfairness of it all – of Sara's death and the resulting fallout between her and their father – hit Laurel as she held the baby close, just like it hit her at least once a day. It didn't usually take much: walking past some bright flowers that her sister would never get to see, hearing a song she would have loved, taking down a bad guy in her place. All of it served to remind her, again and again, that her sister was gone and not coming back.
Neither was Tommy, she remembered with another pang, her eyes landing on Oliver as he sipped his wine and talked to Thea. He, like Sara, had died way too soon, leaving another hole in her life, and in Oliver and Thea's.
She had never been fair to him, she mused as she sat down, shifting baby Sara to her lap. She had let herself get wrapped up in Ollie again instead of noticing the wonderful man right in front of her who had loved her far more than she deserved. Tommy had died thinking she didn't love him, that she and Ollie were meant to be, when those things couldn't be further from the truth.
Laurel watched Ollie follow Thea to the round dinner table and settle himself as far away from Felicity as possible and fought the urge to roll her eyes. He was fooling exactly nobody. She wasn't exactly sure of the situation between Ollie and Felicity – despite their managing a friendship, asking your ex about his current love life while out fighting crime together was just too awkward – but she had seen the way they looked at each other when they thought nobody else was looking. It was painfully, blatantly obvious, and she wished they would get past whatever it was that was keeping them apart. Felicity was single now, so it couldn't be Palmer, and Laurel would bet what little was in her savings account that Oliver was the one impeding their relationship.
She bit back a sigh as she shifted her gaze to the younger Queen and her ex-but-kind-of-current-boyfriend. At least one Queen knew how to reach for the happiness they deserved. Roy leaned in to give Thea a quick kiss on the lips – after making sure Ollie wasn't watching, of course – before whispering something in her ear that made her smile. Laurel smiled as well in spite of herself.
"What's got that look on your face?" Barry asked, sitting down next to her and placing two bowls of spaghetti in front of them.
"Oh you know," she replied, bouncing Sara on her knee until the baby gurgled happily, "a nice night with family."
Barry smiled at Laurel's response, taking a sip of his Dr Pepper and watching as Lyla came to collect her daughter and set her in her high chair.
A nice night with family, he mused, looking around the table at the others passing plates and the conversation flowing loud and easy. That would be what this was, he supposed. It was a shame Caitlin, Cisco, and Joe hadn't been able to make it, although they were always invited. The trip from Central City to Starling could be challenging and a bit of a hassle for someone who couldn't make it as quickly as he could. His superspeed was a nice thing to have for nights like this – if there was trouble at home, he could make it back there in…well, in a Flash.
Barry took the basket of bread Felicity passed him and added three slices to his plate, next to the heaping pile of spaghetti already there. At Felicity's teasing remark about him being a growing boy, he shot back a quip about calorie burning and lightning abs. Laughter flowed around the table and the conversations devolved again into segments, silence reigning occasionally as everyone dug into their food.
This was a taste of what he sometimes felt he'd been denied, Barry thought, spinning his fork in the middle of his spaghetti mountain. When his mom died and his father had gone to prison, he'd lost all chance of having brothers or sisters. His feelings for Iris had prevented any kind of brother-sister relationship with her. Joe was a different story though, having easily become his surrogate father.
It was nights like this that also made Barry feel like his mother's murder had been destined. If she had lived, would he have become the Flash? Would he be sitting here with these awesome people who considered him one of their own even though he had his own team in another city?
He passed a plate of linguini across Felicity to Roy and ordered himself out of his rather morbid thoughts. He was here with good people, enjoying good food, and he was going to live in that moment rather than in what-ifs.
Barry caught the quick look Oliver shot over at Felicity as she laughed with Roy and Thea about something and shot the older man a look of his own, one he caught. Oliver narrowed his eyes and Barry smirked back at him. They both knew what his look had meant – get your head out of your ass – and they both knew that Barry was hardly the one to be giving anyone romantic advice, given his own non-relationship-whateverness with Iris. Didn't mean he couldn't stick his nose and try to make Oliver see that what he had said – Guys like us don't get the girl – was totally wrong.
"Thanks man," Roy said as he spooned linguini onto his plate before passing it to Thea. "How's the meta-human fighting in Central City going?"
Roy listened as Barry regaled him, Felicity, and Thea with the story of the latest bad guy he'd taken down. Even though he had been exposed to something that altered him and his abilities, knowing that there was a guy sitting right next to him who could run to Central City and back in less than a minute if necessary still seemed a bit insane to him sometimes.
Thea's hand rested on his knee under the table and he couldn't help himself from tracing designs on the back of it as they both listened to Barry. In between bites of his linguini and garlic bread he occasionally leaned over and pressed a kiss to Thea's cheek or temple. Once he caught Oliver's eye, and while his co-vigilante tried to look disapproving, Roy could tell he was hiding a small smile behind his wineglass.
Honestly, while Oliver's approval meant a lot to him, he wouldn't care much about it as long as he and Thea were together. When he'd had to break-up with her in the middle of his Mirakuru crisis, he'd felt as though he'd lost a very crucial part of himself. They hadn't been together long, but that didn't mean she hadn't become as important to him as breathing. Now, with everything out in the open, they were working through things, and he was happier than he had been in awhile. He wanted everyone else on Team Arrow – though Oliver still refused to call it that – to be as happy as he was with Thea.
Two of them could be, he thought as his eyes darted between Oliver talking to Diggle and Felicity talking to Barry, if they would get out of their own way. Well, really if Oliver would get out of their way, but by this point he was pretty sure Felicity was secretly pissed enough at him to put herself in the way of their happiness if the opportunity arose.
Not everyone could be as level-headed as he was, Roy supposed. Well, level-headed might be stretching it a bit, a fact he was sure Digg and Oliver would agree with him on. But he was happy, he was doing good work with the team even if it was frequently a thankless task, and he had gone from living in the Glades alone to sharing most of his life with the people sitting around this table with him. This was his family. A warm feeling settled itself into his chest at the use of the word.
Thea nudged him. "What's going on in that head of yours?"
Roy lowered his head closer to hers so nobody would overhear him. "Ever have moments where you're just extremely grateful for what your life has turned into?"
She shook her head, looking at him with her brow furrowed. "Not lately, no. Why?"
"Nights like these, where all of us are just together like this…these are nights that make me happy that everything has turned out like it has. Especially when you're sitting right next to me." He pressed a kiss to her forehead.
Something about Roy's words unsettled Thea a little. Lately, she'd been so focused on how her life had changed for the worse – their previous break-up, finding out Malcolm Merlyn was her father, her mother dying, finding out everything Merlyn had orchestrated despite claiming to love her – that she hadn't thought about what was good. She and Roy were in the middle of a reunion, she and Ollie were closer than ever, she was practically a ninja now; these all seemed like really good things she hadn't thought to appreciate.
She would do that, Thea decided. She would appreciate the good things in her life more now, starting with her sort-of-boyfriend. He hadn't mentioned anything about making them official again, and she knew he was waiting for her to make that move. He had kind of cheated on her, after all, even if it had been to protect her from himself and the life he led, and her trust had become harder to regain in the last three years.
She squeezed his knee under the table, deciding that after this dinner, they would talk about everything. She would make sure he knew what he meant to her and that she was with him all the way. They all had dangerous lives now, and she couldn't take time for granted.
Now if only some others, Thea thought as she focused on her big brother, would realize the same thing. Rather than appreciating what he had with Felicity – who she didn't know very well and was working on changing that – he was pushing her away and hurting himself. That really needed to change.
Seeming to feel her gaze on him, Oliver pulled his attention from the discussion he was having with Digg and looked over at her with a furrowed brow. She looked pointedly at Felicity, who was talking to Lyla about starting Sara on technology and what she called ninja training early, and then back at him. His frown deepened and he shook his head at her, warning her silently to not bring the subject up.
Rather than doing that, she scooted her chair closer to his, her hand sliding off Roy's knee.
"Don't start," her brother warned, now staring determinedly at his plate of chicken parmesan.
Thea took a bite of her spaghetti, chewing while she thought of what to say to him. "Clearly you already know what I'm about to say, Ollie. I don't see why you're doing this to yourself, and to her."
"You don't know what you're talking about Thea." He sipped from his almost empty glass of wine, still not meeting her gaze.
"I know that the two of you clearly have feelings for each other," Thea replied, her voice low. "I know that whenever she's in the room you watch her more than anyone else. I know her safety is paramount to you, above everyone except mine, and sometimes I wonder about that. I know that you light up when you hear her voice and you have to force yourself to get the look off your face. I know –"
"Stop it, Speedy." There was heat in his words, but the use of her nickname showed her that he wasn't really angry, more frustrated at himself.
He didn't need to hear anything else Thea said. He'd already heard it from Digg, from Lyla, from Roy, from Barry. Hell, even Laurel had hinted at it a few times. Everyone thought that by constantly reminding him of his feelings for Felicity – like he could forget – and of hers for him, they could wear him down until he caved and allowed himself to be with her.
It wasn't going to happen. He wouldn't put her in danger like that, regardless of the physical heartache it frequently caused him.
Thea had dropped the topic and turned back to her conversation with Roy, and Oliver smiled a little at the sight of his sister and his teammate. He was certainly a protective older brother, but he knew that the only person who cared as much about his sister as he did was Roy. That alone made it less uncomfortable for him to see his baby sister kissing someone.
Oliver let his gaze slide around the table, skimming past the one person he wanted most to stare at, and instead let it fall on Laurel, seated in between Lyla and Barry. She had been struggling lately, he knew, mainly because of the rift Sara's death had caused between her and Captain Lance, but joining the team had helped her. It gave her the focus that she had lost when Tommy died, it kept her from diving back into a bottle of booze or pills, and if there was one thing Oliver was determined to do to honor his best friend – besides not killing – it was keep the woman he had loved healthy, and as sane and happy as possible.
Baby Sara's giggling drew his attention to her, now out of her high chair and sitting on Digg's lap. She was a beautiful little girl, and he was so happy for Lyla and John. They deserved all the happiness they had, and more. Oliver knew that if he ever voiced that opinion to Digg, the other man would tell Oliver he deserved the same thing and follow it up with a pointed stare at Felicity, not unlike the one Thea had given him only a few minutes ago.
Unbidden, his gaze moved to the blonde woman that occupied so much of his thoughts, waking and sleeping. She was laughing at something Barry was telling her, wiping up excess spaghetti sauce on her plate with a piece of garlic bread. Her laughter moved through him, warming him from the inside out, and he tamped down on the flicker of jealousy that she was laughing with Barry and not with him. Your own fault, he reminded himself. Her hair was down tonight, rather than in its customary ponytail, and she brushed it back over her shoulders every few moments to keep it from landing in her plate. One of the times she did that, his gaze was drawn to her ear, where her industrial piercing was.
She had switched out the usual wavy bar she wore there for something else, something he couldn't make out. When she leaned in front of Barry to say something to Laurel and tucked her hair behind her ear, Oliver sucked in a breath.
It was an arrow. A tiny, silver arrow. He didn't know when she'd started wearing it – he tried to notice as little about her as possible – but there was no denying, even sitting across the table from her, that it was an arrow piercing her upper ear.
Felicity settled back into her seat and her gaze met Oliver's, her smile slipping a notch. Hoping that nobody else was paying attention to them – honestly, everyone else on the team was way too involved in whatever was going on between them – he brought his hand up and briefly pointed to his ear. The smile fell completely from her face – his chest caved in a little – and her cheeks turned pink. Rather than giving him any kind of response, she turned back to Barry, who by now was on his fourth plate of pasta. He tried not to let it bother him.
"I would like to propose a toast," Digg said next to him, lifting his wineglass. Everyone else lifted theirs as well, Laurel drinking water, and Barry drinking soda.
"Wait!" Felicity scooted her chair back. "Let me refill everyone, hang on." She disappeared into her kitchen for a moment, returning with the wine bottle. She made her way around, pouring more into everyone's glasses. She stopped at Laurel, her expression horrified.
"Oh my god, we're horrible people. I'm so sorry Laurel, we shouldn't have busted out the wine tonight, that was really insensitive of us, I cannot believe I did that! Here, I'll get everyone water or soda or something instead, let me just –"
Laurel stopped her with a hand on her wrist before Felicity could start collecting everyone's glasses. "It's fine, Felicity, don't worry about it."
"Are you sure? Because I don't mind, really, we can drink something else you know, I have other stuff here and –"
Laurel shook her head to stop Felicity again, and Oliver knew he wasn't the only one trying to hide a smile. Felicity's rambling never ceased to be adorable to him.
"I'm sure. You guys shouldn't have to pass up on what I'm sure is very good wine just because of me, and we've already made it through most of the night. I'm fine, I promise. It's been over a year, and if I couldn't handle others drinking, I would never be able to go out anywhere. Please, keep pouring for everyone."
Felicity still looked apprehensive. "Now I feel bad for bringing it up. I don't mean to remind you of it, and I probably should have just kept pouring but I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to bother you. Not that just being in the same room with wine would bother you, but you know what I mean. Well, maybe you don't, half the time I don't even know what I mean, especially when I start talking like this. I really should work on it, you know, but I –"
That time it was Oliver, not Laurel, who spoke up to stop her, and he immediately regretted it. Her name always rolled off his tongue nicely, but when it made everyone stare at him like they were – all giving him different versions of the same look – he wished he hadn't said anything.
"Right, sorry." Felicity continued pouring, not looking at him until she stood behind his shoulder to refill his glass. "Here you go."
"Thank you," he replied, his voice soft, his eyes seeking out the arrow pierced through her ear again. He was perfectly aware of everyone watching them with eagle eyes and shifted uncomfortably in his seat as she returned to hers. "Digg, you were making a toast?"
Oliver didn't miss the smirk that Digg didn't even try to wipe off his face as he raised his glass again. "I would like to propose a toast. To nights like this, where we can all be together in a more relaxing environment than usual." Everyone chuckled, and Oliver felt his eyes drawn to Felicity again. She was watching John, a small smile gracing her lips. "To Team Arrow, which started out with just Oliver but has now grown to include everyone here, even those on loan from elsewhere," he nodded in Barry's direction, "and has become a family. And lastly, to Felicity." Everyone's eyes shifted to her, and her cheeks reddened again. "Who has made it a point to drag us all to these dinners and has kept us alive more times than I can count. Thank you for making sure we are all taken care of."
"To Felicity," Barry said with a smile, and everyone else around the table echoed.
"To Felicity," Oliver murmured, downing his glass of wine in one gulp. Her cheeks were completely red now, one of her hands attempting to cover it from all of them.
"I'm going to clean up a bit," she muttered, gathering hers, Barry's, and Roy's plates and carrying them into the kitchen.
"I guess I embarrassed her a bit," Digg said, looking apprehensive. "I just wanted to make sure she knew all she does for all of us was appreciated." He made to stand, but Oliver placed a hand on his shoulder.
Digg sank back into his seat as Oliver gathered a few plates and followed Felicity into the kitchen. Her back was to him and he wasn't surprised to hear her sniffle.
Felicity jumped, hastily wiping her eyes. "God, Oliver, you scared the crap out of me."
He waited for the sure-to-follow ramble about him not literally scaring the crap out of her, but it didn't come, and he frowned. "What's going on?"
She took the plates he held out of his hand and deposited them in the sink, running some water over them. "Just feeling a little overwhelmed with what Digg said."
"It's true, you know." Oliver took a cautious step closer to her, resting his hip against the counter.
"No, I know. I just wasn't expecting it and it made me a little emotional is all." She turned to face him, mimicking his pose. "Everyone out there…they're the only family I have left besides my mom, and to know that at least one of them feels the same way is…it's wonderful but it just got to me, you know?"
"I do know," Oliver replied, shoving his hands in his pockets. "And everyone out there feels the same way. Digg was right, we are a family, and you're a very important part of that, Felicity."
Something passed through her eyes but was gone before he could identify it. "Right, very important. To everyone, except you of course."
He straightened, her slightly angry tone leaving him unsure. "Felicity…"
She held up her hand to stop him. "No, Oliver, don't. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. This has been a wonderful night and I don't want to mess it up." She made to step past him, but he stopped her with a hand around her wrist. He could feel her pulse hammering against his palm and he tightened his grip momentarily.
"You are very important to me, Felicity." He released her wrist, not meeting her gaze.
"Right," she replied, in a tone that indicated she didn't believe him, "just not important enough." She slipped out of the room before he could formulate a reply.
Oliver cursed under his breath. How did they keep ending up here? Lately every time they were around each other, one or both of them ended up angry and hurt. It wasn't supposed to be like this, staying apart was supposed to be good for them.
He fought the urge to slam his fist through the nearest wall. Instead, he grabbed his jacket from the coat hook by the front door and left, ignoring the curious looks everyone was shooting him from the table. He hopped on the motorcycle he'd ridden over and drove off, riding until he could put enough distance between himself and the one thing he wanted more than anything and couldn't have.
This is intended to be a one-shot, but I can't decide how I feel about the ending, so I may write a second part to continue it, but we will see. The way the show is right now, I don't know if I have it in me to write a happy Olicity ending, at least not yet.
Review please! Much love!