AN: This is the first fic I've written for Arrow, i've become a bit obsessed since binge watching season 2 & 3. This plot bunny just wouldn't leave me alone until I'd written it in full. Pure fluff. Cross posted to Tumblr (Intangibel) and AO3 (duskbutterfly).
Disclaimer: Sadly DC and the CW own all the characters.
'Ollie is definitely going to lose his mind when he sees you.' Thea said somewhat indistinctly, her voice muffled in the racks of designer dresses she was rifling through.
'He's going to flip out because I'm wearing his mother's clothes - his DEAD mother's clothes.' Felicity muttered darkly as she took out her frustration on the pillow beside her before shoving it under her head and closing her eyes. The strain of a week with only a couple hours of sleep per night had taken away what little brain/mouth filter she had and right now all she wanted to do was sleep. She wanted to stay right here on this couch she'd collapsed on, not try on dresses previously owned by Moira Queen.
'I didn't actually say she'd worn it –'
Felicity's eyes snapped open in horror to see Thea suddenly standing in front of her, a timely reminder that Oliver wasn't the only ninja in the family anymore. 'Oh god! I - I'm so sorry! I -'
'It's okay. No, seriously, it is. You know how much I appreciate unfiltered honesty,' Thea said warding off further appeals for mercy. 'But you are going to a white tie ball so your dress has to be the real deal and you won't let me buy you anything -'
'No. Definitely not.' Felicity interjected, on that point she was not budging. Not one inch.
'- and Ollie will kill me if I let you buy something -'
Felicity rolled her eyes skyward, making no attempt to hide her frustration from her voice as she said, 'which is ridiculous because my salary is astronomical right now –'
'Moments like these he really doesn't know how to handle not being a billionaire anymore. But, incredible salary or not, you still couldn't buy the dress I have in mind.' Thea said, drawing Felicity's attention to the suit bag that was draped over her arm, 'I probably couldn't afford it, which given how much money Malcolm had, which is technically mine even though I'm never ever touching that again, even he couldn't have afforded this.'
Felicity raised a disbelieving eyebrow.
'Is it woven out of solid gold? Because if it is, I'm not –' Felicity's words evaporated as Thea finished unzipping the cover and drew out a stunning swathe of midnight blue silk emblazoned with sliver and gold beading, making it shift and shimmer like the night sky.
'1920s Chanel, custom made from my grandmother.' Thea said, unable to suppress her smile as Felicity continued to make incoherent exclamations of wonder. It would never have suited Thea even if she'd had the willowy build it required. The old-fashioned elegance grated against her own more avant-garde style but the moment Oliver had mentioned needing her to find Felicity a dress for the annual Federation Ball in Central City, which team arrow had agreed to help protect, Thea had known this was the perfect dress. Ideally suited for knocking some much needed sense into her amazing but utterly hopeless brother who insisted he had to walk alone when the perfect woman was standing there right beside him. One who was not only strong enough to walk through fire but who had found the laughter hidden inside him when everyone else had thought they'd never hear it again.
'Try it. I'll be in in 5 to help you do it up.' Thea said, putting the coat hanger firmly into Felicity's hands and leaving no room for arguments.
When Felicity had disappeared behind the door to the theatrical style dressing and makeup room, purpose built when they'd moved the best of the family's couture collection to the loft, Thea sent Oliver a text. He'd said he wanted to see the dress before they left and because for once his controlling nature played perfectly into her plans, she hadn't argued. Well not enough to win anyway, if she'd put up no opposition he'd have known something was up.
Thea was surprised how it was easy to chat and laugh with Felicity as they battled the impossibly small fastenings on the dress. Instead of the bitchy commentary her friends from school had thrived on when getting dressed up, as soon as they'd slid the last button closed Felicity had her in stitches laughing as she mock curtsied and simpered, playing out an introduction to the president, then a knight and finally a parlor maid… Oliver must of followed the laughter because neither of them heard him come in. Seeing him first in the mirror Felicity had turned and curtsied, holding out a regal hand –
Oliver just stood there with an unnatural stillness as he stared at Felicity. Thea had seen the instant heat that had flared in his eyes when she'd first looked up and seen him looking at them in the mirror but even she was wondering if it had been an illusion when he failed to take Felicity's hand.
Felicity's radiance dulled as the silence drew out and she let her hand fall back to her side. Her smile no longer genuine, as she waited for his verdict.
'No.' Oliver snapped, his implacable gaze now firmly on Thea.
'It's perfect, she looks gorgeous.' Thea said, suddenly angry at this block of granite he was impersonating.
She saw his eyes shift, peeking back at Felicity and the corner of his mouth begin to raise – taking her hope with it – before he shut it down again with an icy determination, 'Not that one.'
Felicity blanched, his rejection hitting her like a backhand to the face.
'I shouldn't have agreed to come. Not here and not to that ball.' Felicity said as she turned on her heel and strode back to the change room saying bitterly over her shoulder, 'I'll just strip for you and be gone before you even know it,' before slamming the door behind her.
Despite his obvious frustration Thea saw the look of torment in his eyes as Felicity walked away, the sudden fire when she mentioned stripping and the bleakness as soon as the door slammed shut. He was doing it again, hurting them both for no reason. And this time, she was going to call him on it.
As soon as the door slammed her knees buckled. It's one thing to predict doom when you're trying to prove a point; it's completely different when that prediction comes true in nightmarish realism. She could hear Thea and Oliver were arguing but they'd moved just far enough away that she couldn't hear the actual words. It was the only thing she'd been grateful for all day.
Whatever this was about she had to get this dress off right now. It might have been the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen 5 minutes ago, it might have made her look, for the first time in her life, like a real princess – like she actually belonged with billionaires like the Queens – but now it just made her skin crawl.
If it wasn't an heirloom and worth more than she'd make in multiple lifetimes she would have literally ripped it off when she realized there was no way out of this dress short of dislocating one of her shoulders. Because dislocating her shoulder sounded better than going back out there still wearing it. Oh and she seriously considered it. The pain sounded pretty good right now to go along with the hole Oliver's inability to even look at her had left.
Except she'd probably need Oliver to do the dislocating anyway which just left one option. Going back out there, getting Thea, getting out of this dress and going home. Steeling herself Felicity opened the door a fraction to check where the argument was up to and felt her heart break just a little bit more at the harsh voices that greeted her.
'Why can't you just tell her she looks amazing –'
'I can't go out there with her looking like that –' Oliver cut in, only to be cut off by Thea throwing her hands in the air.
'You're so full of shit Ollie!'
Felicity would have felt like cheering if Thea hadn't picked that exact moment to storm back downstairs, slamming the door that separated this area from the rest of the loft.
Great! Now she had to face Oliver on her own.
Deciding this was the last i-need-a-favor plus one she ever accepted, Felicity stepped out from behind the door, walking towards where she'd last seen both Oliver and Thea standing.
'I'm sorry, I tried but it has these teensy tiny pearl buttons all the way down my spine and I just can't –' Felicity paused, staring at her feet, trying valiantly to hold it together after what she'd just heard because the only other thing which could possibly be worse than this was to cry and she was damned if she was going to give him that satisfaction. 'I can't reach the buttons.'
She kept telling herself it was fine that he didn't want her to wear it; she didn't want to wear it either – well she did or she would have if it hadn't been his and he could actually bear to look at her while she was wearing it –
Oliver's sharp voice snapped her out of her panicked internal narrative. It was impossible to ignore him but she couldn't bring herself to look up. To meet those eyes which had seemed so hot one moment and so icy the next. So instead she turned, showing him the two buttons that were the only thing keeping her in this damned – unbelievably gorgeous – evil dress.
'Please.' Felicity whispered.
She waited, head bowed, one hand ready to secure the bodice at the front the other wrapped around her waist so it didn't fall into a puddle of silk at her feet when those last buttons came loose.
'Felicity.' This time her name sounded more like a plea for mercy.
She'd been stealing herself, holding every muscle rigid so as not to shiver when his fingers grazed her skin, not to melt into his touch. But she wasn't prepared for his lips brushing the exposed skin at the base of her spine. Wasn't prepared for the open mouthed kiss that followed, or the next one where the next pearl button would have been. Her initial gasp and outrage had quickly become tiny moans as the sensual onslaught continued, the combination of his soft, gorgeous mouth with the gentle scrape of his beard driving her wild.
'You can't –' Oliver whispered against her skin between kisses, 'wear this dress,' he paused for another kiss, 'tonight,' and another, 'because all,' another kiss, this one in the middle of her back, "all I can think about,' and another, as though he truly was unable to bear to lift his lips longer than a few seconds, 'is being the one…' he paused, his lips seeming to tremble against her skin, his breathing every bit as ragged as hers having reached the two she hadn't managed to undo. She felt the gentle pressure of his hands at her hips, turning her ever so slowly until she faced him. As his hand cupped her cheek her eyes met his and she was shocked by the intensity of his gaze. It was like the shutters had dropped and she could see a storm of emotions play out across his features: hope and fear warring with barely restrained desire.
'All I can think about is being the one who is worthy of taking you home and worshiping every inch of ivory perfection that it conceals,' Oliver whispered, his eyes searching hers as though awaiting her judgment of whether he was worthy. 'You make me believe I can be that guy. I want to be your partner not just a friend. To prove to you that I am yours.'
Felicity lent her cheek into his hand as she reached for him; unable to find words to capture just how much she wanted this, wanted him.
And suddenly that space was gone, his lips moving over hers with a reverence that made her tremble as he gathered her ever closer.
The hand at her cheek shifted, threading though her hair as he tilted her head back, seeking a better angle as his tongue slid across her bottom lip. The moan she lets out when his fingers start tracing swirling designs on her back gives his tongue the access he's been seeking, sweeping into her mouth to dual with hers as her fingers tighten on his shirt, holding him to her. She's rewarded with a growl when she nips his bottom lip, his hands sliding inside the fabric on her dress to caress the delicate skin at each hip.
'So the city's not safe because my dress is too sexy?' Felicity asked, when Oliver finally pulled back, resting his forehead on hers. It was a line of logic she had a feeling she'd enjoy having him explain.
'I'm not just thinking about the city,' Oliver growled, 'I'm not safe. I am having a really hard time not ripping that dress off you right now so it would be a case of god help any of the guests at the ball who so much as look at you twice.'
'And if I said you could later if I get to wear it to the ball tonight?' She asked; satisfied that she'd finally found something that was outside the realms of his god-like restraint. Because for the first time ever he was realising it wasn't just his choice to be with her or walk away.
'Felic-' Oliver gaped at her.
'Did you mean it?' There was a fierceness she'd not felt since she'd left him standing in the corridor of the hospital. She had to know before she walked that line again because she didn't think she'd survive that a second time. 'When you say you want to be my partner, do you understand that means you can't leave when you get scared because this life we've chosen isn't safe Oliver and I'm not going to let you wrap me up in cotton wool –'
'I love you.' His answer was swift, heartfelt but not enough.
Felicity's eyes slammed shut, feeling the familiar pain rising in her chest as she stepped back, 'last time that wasn't enough, Oliver!'
'Look at me. Felicity,' Oliver pleaded as his hands rose to frame her face, and steeling her nerve she opened her eyes.
'I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but losing you –' Oliver paused, his breath unsteady as he laid his heart bare – 'it showed me I can't do this alone. I don't want to die knowing I've failed the one person who believes I can be more than a vigilante. The one person who has shown me that there is more to live for than the atonement for the sins in my past. I want to be with you, Felicity. All in, with the strongest, bravest, smartest woman I know. If she'll have me.'
'I love you, Oliver.' It felt so good to finally say the words which had been bottled up inside her for so long, tearing her up inside with every false start, every close shave with death. 'I love you and I want to be your partner.'
Oliver didn't give her a chance to say another word, drawing her to him as his lips met hers with a ferocity that stole her breath away. Reducing their world to one where nothing else existed except the two of them, together.
It was the sound of a door slamming that finally brought them back, easing a part reluctantly to find a bemused Thea leaning on the door she'd just slammed to get their attention.
'As glad as I am that you've finally come to your senses Ollie, If you're going to make it to Central City in time for this ball you're going to have to let her go so she can get ready.'
Felicity who'd turned her blushing face into Oliver's neck on seeing Thea now attempted to extricate herself from his embrace, her hands flying to the mostly undone back of her dress. Oliver however wasn't ready to let go, tucking her back securely into his arms as he glared at Thea.
'I think Barry will be just fine without us.' Oliver said belligerently, having no intention of letting Felicity go again having heard her say she loved him when he'd honestly given up all hope she ever would.
'You know as well as I do Barry needs someone on the inside,' Felicity said, her embarrassment temporarily forgotten as she pushed at his chest, demanding he listen, 'none of them were able to score an invite. Besides, you promised me no-cotton wool Mister and I promised I'd make going to the ball worth your –'
'And I'm still here!' Thea cut in, quickly not wanting to know what Felicity had promised. There was a line between being happy for them and needing to know all the details and watching them make out was pretty much her limit.
'Fine.' Oliver growled, resigning himself to being overruled by the two most important women in his life, 'we'll go.'
Oliver couldn't help but smile as the hand on his chest curled into a fist just like her victory fist pump. Tugging her close for one final hug he met Thea's eyes over her head.
'You still have the lipstick that didn't come off for a week no matter how hard you try don't you Speedy?'
Thanks for reading :) I'd love to know what you think!