Chapter Three - Told you I was your light…

Thank you so much for your patience with updates on this story! It means so much that you have both stuck with the story and are so excited for more. The reviews and kudos fill me with so much joy, I don't even have words.

I've decided one of my hindrances on this story is my strong desire for realism in my work - this is so not a story for realism, I've finally accepted that. As a result, it's taken on a sort of Beauty and the Beast air. I'm also aiming for much longer chapters to make up for the arduous wait between updates.

Your patience with my fickle muse is so, so appreciated!


Rain sliced through his jacket like little knives. It cut through the leather and into his skin, paper-thin slashes that slid under the surface, carving him up from the inside out until every movement was pained, every breath ached, every second that slid by had his body burning for more.

For her.

She was close. He'd felt it the closer he'd gotten to the train station, felt his awareness of her growing, but now it was an actual physical presence inside him, something that lived under his skin, urging him forward, urging him towards her.

She was so close he could taste it.

The rain soaked into his hood, making it heavy and cold as he paused on the roof of one of the outer-buildings of the station. He barely comprehended the trains still stalled on the tracks, the lights flickering in time with the storm, the hum of the various emergency generators struggling to keep the power going. They filled the air with a dull drone that only made his heart beat faster.

She was close… so close…

Water slid down his face in thick rivulets, slipping into his jacket, making the leather stick to him. His quiver was filled with water, making the strap dig into his chest, and he barely felt his gloved hands gripping his bow as he stepped up to the ledge of the building, eyes darting frantically across the crowd.

She was down there, somewhere, he could feel her…

People were flooding off the train cars in droves, making their way towards the main building to wait the storm out. The sight of so many bodies, moving separately but migrating as one was mesmerizing… and it only amplified the thrumming desire in his veins. It was becoming more insistent, more demanding. His skin itched, his lungs ached from taking too many rapid breaths, from too much oxygen flooding his system, making the world tilt, his eyes blurring as he stared at them…

She was there, somewhere… somewhere…

Oliver swayed, following the pull he felt deep in his center, the pull towards her… it was the same pull that'd told him the building she'd run into was her hotel, the same one that told she'd already left by the time he'd gotten there, the pull that told him the further she got from him, the less she existed within him…

No.

No, she couldn't leave, she couldn't.

The world tilted and Oliver jolted back when he felt nothing but air. With a startled growl, he shoved himself away from the edge of the building, stumbling back, running into a large metal box.

"Fuck," he hissed, the metal digging into him, biting into his back. He pushed himself off, pulling his bow up as he grabbed an arrow, shooting it into the next building.

He had to find her. He knew the second he touched her, the second he felt her under him again, tasted her, felt her, breathed her in… he'd…

Oliver's eyes slid shut at the memory of her, at the way she'd tasted, how he'd responded to her, how she'd responded, those little sounds she made crawling inside him, a living, growing need…

He had to see her, had to touch her, had to be near her again.

The anxious thrum radiated through his entire body, causing him to stumble when he landed on the net building, crashing through puddles of water, his shoulder slamming into the corner of another metal box. He found the ledge and looked over, scanning the crowd, the dark clouds and flashing lightning keeping curious eyes off him as he looked for her.

She was there, damn it, but where?

He shot another arrow, jumping to the next roof through the downpour.

He was getting closer, he knew he was getting closer… the awareness of her was growing, like a beacon…

Oliver didn't stop to think about what he was feeling, or why he was feeling it; about what was happening to him - to them - or how any of it was happening in the first place. The questions he'd been plagued with in the alley, the fears and worries and horror-laced thoughts, they'd all disappeared, like they'd been burned away, lost in the white noise of need.

He stumbled his way across the roofs with single-minded intent.

Only one thing mattered:

Her.

He'd tasted her mouth, her kisses, her body… his teeth ached at the memory of sinking into her neck, of marking her. Every inch of him shook, still feeling her around him, her ghostly imprint, the way she'd moved against him, her urgency matching his own. How his body had throbbed for her, how good he'd felt pressed between her legs, rubbing against her, seeking what only she could give him. The tiny moment of pleasure - of release - he'd felt in the alley when he'd touched himself, wrapping his hand around his steel hardness, the flesh so tender his eyes had rolled into the back of his head… it was so momentary, so small and useless compared to what he knew waited with her. He barely remembered how it'd felt when he'd started rubbing himself, up and down, over and over until the white hot pleasure had burst inside him.

Ineffective.

He knew he'd felt it, but it wasn't what he craved, what he needed.

He needed more, his body needed more; it was a physical ache that had him gasping for air, his lungs getting smaller and smaller with each passing second, the rain hammering at him as he mindlessly crawled across the roofs, searching for her.

He needed it, that release, but from her, only from her.

He had to get inside her, feel her around him, consuming him, burying him…

Only she mattered.

Oliver shot another arrow, his body moving on pure instinct, feeling the threat of the ledge, the threat of falling several stories, the only thing keeping him going as he swung to the next building…

There.

He landed on the next roof, his steps faltering with the heady rush of knowledge that she was there. He didn't have to see her to know she was right there, that she was…

Oliver ran into the ledge, ramming his lower half into the concrete, but he barely felt it as he looked down…

There.

She stood in the rain, her face turned up to the sky, the water pelting her. Lightning flashed, letting him see her and the frenzy inside him reached a fever pitch as he watched her whispering to herself, her lips moving, her skin flushed with so much more than chill from the cold rain… he could see her trembling from where he stood, his own body trembling with the same urgency he knew she felt… she slowly lifted her free hand up to her neck, her fingers brushing across her skin, a soft sigh he didn't have to be near her to hear slipping past her lips. His body hardened to the point of pure pain as he watched her touch herself, touched the spot he'd bitten. And then she made a tight little fist, that same resolve that had pushed him away before coming back… and she looked back at the crowd.

To leave.

No.

The arrow left his bow before he knew what he was doing, shooting it into a tall overhang of the next building and then he was hopping up on the ledge and dropping down. He couldn't think about anything past her - get her, take her, have her - as he landed in a dark, heavy blur right next to her. She yelped in surprise, and the sound was like a delicious balm to his soul - everything about her was a delicious balm, something he needed with every fiber in his being - but he didn't give her a second to do anything else.

Oliver wrapped his arm around her waist, yanking her against him. Her small warm body was pressed up against his and he groaned under his breath as the wild need that had been an actual living presence under his skin finally abated… before roaring back to life with so much ferocity he wanted to scream. It soothed and stoked the aching desire at the same time, a mixture that made him feel like he was going mad as she gasped…

She latched onto him with just as much ferocity as he wrapped his arm around her tighter, his fingers digging into her waist, pulling her flush against him - his eyes slid shut, the deafening instinct to shove her up against the wall right then and there nearly taking over - but then the trajectory switched on the wire his bow was tied to and then they were flying back up through the rain.

One second they were going up, the rain battering their faces as she held onto him, her face pressed to his shoulder, her fingers gripping him tightly… and the next they were landing on the roof in a mess of limbs, stumbling together until they crashed to the ground.

Oliver dropped his bow and twisted to take the brunt of the impact on his shoulder as they fell, trying to keep his arm wrapped around - never let her go, never let go - but the force threw her away from him and she slid from his grasp, her surprised shout echoing across the rooftop as she slid across the harsh gravel, rocks cutting through the delicate skin on her chin and chest, the briefcase she'd been clenching so tightly falling away.

The second he felt her slip through his fingers again, a staggering madness swept through his veins.

"No!" Oliver rasped, scrambling across the small space towards her.

He didn't care about the puddles of rain, that he was completely soaked through from the downpour, that his leathers were sticking to him so painfully it felt like they were ripping his skin off, that his damn pants were too tight from the hardness he'd had since the second he left the alley, his dick so hard he couldn't move without feeling it…

He didn't care.

Oliver pushed himself off the round, moaning when he slid across the ground, sending painful pricks of pleasure shooting through his system…

All that mattered was her.

Have to touch her, need to touch her, need to feel her around him, under him, taste her, he had to be inside her, filling her…

She shoved the bag strapped across her chest over her head and it landed with a wet plop on the ground as she turned to him, the same mindless need staring back at him, only fueling his, making his more urgent, more dire…

Never let her go, never go…

But she didn't move.

She stopped… and Oliver froze.

Waiting.

She stared at him, her chest heaving with breaths… and time stood still as nothing happened. Every inch of him yearned towards her - she was right there, so close, take her, take her - but he didn't move… he couldn't, not until she did. His hands ached with the need to grab her face, his waist burning with the memory of her legs wrapped around them, a series of pinpricks dancing down his cold chest, remembering how her breasts had felt shoved against him.

He didn't move, he couldn't… not until…

"I don't…" she gasped, shaking her head, her words barely audible. She was shaking, almost violently. She tried to take a step back, tried to move away from him, but it was like she couldn't, like her feet had been welded to the ground. A tiny whimper fell from her throat and he didn't have to see her eyes to know she was closing them as she dipped her head, fighting something, something deep inside herself…

She didn't want this, he could see it - he could feel it. The pull he'd been following the second he'd lost her back at the hotel was there, tugging at him, pulling him towards her… she felt it, but she was fighting it.

It'd been pure instinct to follow it, to find her… but she was fighting it.

Oliver's mind raced as he stared at her, trying to understand the pull, the urge to get closer to her, how she was able to…

Her hands came up, her fingers curved in uneven claws that she shoved into her chest, pulling on her clothes… She faltered, and he knew exactly what she was feeling, the hard scrape of the material on sensitive skin, feeling like a thousand nails dragging over her, hurting but it was something at the same time…

He felt it the instant she lost the battle.

"Oh god, oh god, I can't… god," she whispered desperately.

He watched her touch herself and his entire being burned to do that himself, so much so he managed a broken plea, a quiet, "Please…" that was barely perceptible over the sound of the rain.

It was like the sound of his voice was all she needed. She froze, her eyes finding his… and then she launched herself at him, a move of pure instinct that had her feet sliding on the wet gravel, almost sending her down again, but this time he was there to catch her.

They crashed together with bruising force, hands groping and grasping, their mouths colliding so violently Oliver's lip split.

He groaned, sensation shoveling its way through him. Yes… he was kissing her again, tasting her, feeling her, and it was so much more than he remembered, so much more…

They were equally mindless, equally unable to stop as he wrapped her up in his embrace, drawing her in closer, her hands gripping him so tightly it was bruising.

They only felt each other; the only thing that mattered was each other.

Oliver growled, a wicked wave of possession sparking deep in his stomach, spreading through him like wildfire. He kissed her with a vicious ferocity, his beard ripping at her, her teeth nipping at him and she met him every bit of the way, demanding the same submission from him that he wanted from her. Her hands were everywhere, sliding over him, tugging him closer as much as she used him to pull herself up… he could feel her through his jacket, but it wasn't enough - he wanted to rip it off, wanted to feel her hands on his naked skin, feel her against him. He wanted to shred her sweatshirt, shred everything that was in his way until there was nothing left but her, her naked skin pressing against his.

Oliver's hands roved over her, touching everything he could - she was ice to his fire, fire to his ice, igniting and soothing at the same time, the potent combination making him touch her harder, his grip on her tightening until his fingers ached.

She whimpered…

For him.

God, it was perfect - she was perfect.

The tiny little sound of desperation echoed inside him, urging him on…

More, more, more.

She pushed herself closer, sliding on the gravel again, losing traction. Oliver hauled her up into his arms and she shoved his hood down, exposing him to the icy rain. He let out a short whine at the shock of cold, at the way it intensified the want sizzling along his nerves to the point of pain and the sound spurred her on. She kissed him even harder. He groaned at the assault, helpless to do anything but respond as she wrapped her arms around him, cradling him, nails scraping at his scalp, his neck, his cheeks…

The split in his lip burned, blood smearing all over his chin and hers, the rain washing it away in the next second.

The kiss was hard and ugly, without an ounce of softness, and it only grew harder as their need for more became more urgent, more demanding, impossible to ignore.

She bit at his lips just as he nipped at hers, both pulling and giving with equal measure.

It was everything, touching her like this, tasting her… but at the same time, it wasn't enough.

He needed more, so much more.

Oliver pulled her up, making her gasp in surprise, and he shoved his hands down her sides, his palms burning from the heat he felt through her clothes as he dipped down, his neck wrenching to keep her lips on his. He wanted her wrapped around him like she had been in the alley, he wanted to feel her heat like he had, feel her pressing against him… he needed to sate the burning need deep inside him, sate it the only way he knew how: between her legs.

He gripped her thighs with bruising force and yanked her legs up, pulling her off her feet.

He didn't think about the logistics, or how it would work, he didn't care. The desire whipping through him was so much worse than in the alley, so much worse. It was like now that he knew what pleasure felt like, got a taste of it, got to imagine what it would be like with her… he needed more.

Oliver picked her up and the second she left the ground, gravity tugged him backwards and they fell.

She broke away with a shocked gasp as he landed on his back, air shoving out of his lungs in a heavy gasp as his head bounced on the hard ground. He gritted his teeth, pain exploding in his skull and radiating down his spine as her hands flew out to stop the momentum, her palms sliding across the gravel, the tiny rocks slicing her skin open just as they had across her chin and chest, making her hiss and recoil…

But it didn't stop them… because she landed right on top of him, her legs spread, the heat between her thighs pressing down against him, right where he needed her.

"Oh god!" she cried out, her back arching, her hips instantly thrusting down…

Friction.

Oliver moaned as sensation flooded him.

"Oh my god," she whimpered, over and over, her hips moving faster without an ounce of rhythm, her fingers digging into the ground beside his head, her breathing quickly growing rapid and uneven as she rubbed herself against him in jerky movements. She blanketed him, her face hovering over his, blocking the rain, blocking everything but her as she moved, rubbing her entire body against the length of his.

Her breasts - little mounds his palms suddenly ached to feel - slid over his clothed chest, her soft stomach against his, her lush thighs squeezing his hips…

She was the perfect antithesis to his hardness and he wanted more.

Every inch of him was raw, exposed, and the more she rubbed, the worse it got.

She pushed herself down harder, rubbing against the heavy ridge in his pants, the heavy ridge that felt like it was just for her, and he shuddered, pleasure exploding inside him. It was different, so different, nothing like when he'd touched himself, nothing at all…

Better.

It was so much better.

Oliver's eyes snapped shut and he arched up into her, his hands flying to her hips to push her down even more, his knees coming up for leverage, anchoring his feet, thrusting up against her.

She gasped wildly, little whimpers falling from deep in her throat, her hands flying to his face. Her nails dug into his cheek and neck as they moved against each other, the friction between them growing hot, so hot… it was so good, so, so good, he never wanted it to stop but at the same time… he knew, on a base, primordial level, that there was more, that there was something more

That they were pushing each other towards something, something like what he'd felt in the alley, something that…

Heat scorched him from the inside out, racing through his limbs, all funneling towards his center where it grew hotter and hotter. Did it feel like this for her, was she feeling what he was feeling? Was she burning up inside like he was, was the pleasure coursing through him the same for her? Was that what she was feeling, rubbing herself against him? Were they chasing the same thing?

"Oh… god," she whined, her voice catching, and he knew she did.

"Yes," Oliver breathed, holding her tighter.

She suddenly sat up and threw her head back, changing angles, her hips rocking against him with a new savagery. She cried out, her hands finding his shoulders for purchase and Oliver opened his eyes to see her, to watch her, but the rain was hitting his face, blinding him; it slid up his nose, into his mouth…

He sputtered…

He wanted to see her, he wanted to see what she looked like, he wanted to see what she was doing, how she was doing it, what she was feeling… he needed to, he needed to see it, to make sure she was satisfied… it was a bone-deep need, a pull, something intrinsically tied to her, something he couldn't explain, something he didn't want to explain…

He needed to see her.

Oliver gasped, but all he tasted was fucking rain.

He let out a heavy breath, spraying rainwater everywhere, and then he sat up abruptly, wrapping his arms around her. She let out a shocked, "Oh!" as she wrapped her arms around him, instinctively moving with him as he spun them so he was on top. He knew, somewhere deep inside him, that no matter what she'd follow him, trust him, go with him…

And he would do the same with her.

The realization was shocking and grounding at the same time, sending his need for her even higher.

Oliver pinned her to the ground, barely hearing her shocked cry as they settled in a shallow puddle of water. He gripped the top of her head to keep her from moving, keeping her close as his other slid down to her hip, holding her in place - his hold was too tight, he knew it, but he couldn't stop, he didn't want to stop…

And she didn't stop him. She wrapped herself around him, her hips moving erratically, seeking the friction she'd felt a moment ago, the friction they'd both felt.

He shoved her into the ground and thrust down, making her cry out.

His hood slid back over his head, sending a pool of water over them both, blocking the rain, keeping it out of her face as he hovered over her, thrusting, rubbing himself against the wonderful heat emanating from between her thighs.

She hiked her legs up even more and he settled even further against her as she spread herself open - for him. She was opening herself for him, giving herself to him… The thought was intoxicating and he moved faster, jerking against her jagged thrusts, pushing her into the ground, riding her, seeking his pleasure in her, with her, from her, just as much as he built hers.

Her whimpers grew louder, her fingers digging into his shoulders, her breathing becoming erratic.

Each sound of pleasure she gave him stoked his need for her, for more, for release

It was everything he'd wanted, everything he'd needed, right here, in her arms, in her

"Oh… yes, oh god," Oliver moaned, burying his face in her throat, his lips finding her delicate skin there… right where he'd bitten her earlier.

She cried out, digging her face into his temple, arching her back, her hand sliding up to grip the back of his head through the wet hood, pushing him closer as she bared her neck to him.

The primal need to claim roared through him and just like in the alley, his pleasure grew with alacrity, a blindingly hot burn searing his lower spine, building higher and higher, his dick swelling, becoming even harder, painfully hard…

Bite her.

Claim her.

Take her.

Oliver didn't even think - he opened his mouth and bit her again.

Hard.

The sharp, ugly cry that left her throat cut through him like a serrated knife.

Oliver froze, everything slamming to a sudden halt.

It wasn't a cry of pleasure, an unhinged plea for more… it was one of pain.

He'd hurt her.

"No…" he gasped, his urgency shifting.

His pleasure instantly disappeared and he pushed himself up, still hovering over her, blocking the rain.

The need was gone, the want was gone, all of it was suddenly shoved to the back of his mind as every bit of his attention was on the fact that he'd hurt her, that she was in pain, that something was wrong.

He stared down at her, his hand moving to brush hair out of her face before like it was the most natural thing in the world, needing to see her, make sure she was okay… her face was twisted in pain, her breathing off. Her chest was moving in unsteady hitches, little spatters of rain hitting her face as she let out a pained moan.

"God, I… are you…" he started, but the words died on his lips when she opened her eyes, looking up at him.

Lightning struck again, lighting the sky up just as their eyes met, and she flinched, like she hadn't been expecting it, hadn't wanted it. She pulled her hands away from him, curling them against her chest, turning in on herself, and Oliver's insides curdled.

"No," he whispered, shaking his head, but that was all he had.

Her lids fluttered, her lips trembling… she was looking up at him with…

Fear.

Of him.

Please, no, not like this…

"I'm sorry," he croaked, swallowing past the growing lump in his throat. He wanted to talk softly, talk in a whisper, because he knew how harsh his voice was, how ugly it was. "I didn't… I don't…" He stared at her, willing himself to say the right thing. His thumb brushed over her wet forehead. When she flinched, he pulled it back. "Please, I didn't… I don't want to hurt you."

She didn't move.

She just looked up at him.

"Please…" he whispered.

He didn't know what he was asking, he didn't know what he wanted from her.

He just needed… he needed her to stop looking at him like that.

Please…

A heavy drop of rain fell from his hood and it landed on her face, making her jump, flinching away from him even more.

Oliver fought the urge to get closer, to burrow himself inside her, to show her he wasn't… what? That he wasn't something to fear, that he wasn't something she should be scared of?

She should be scared of him. He'd chased her across the city and yanked her away from safety because he hadn't been able to control himself… he hadn't waited to see what she would do, he hadn't cared. It'd only been about that moment, getting to her, touching her, feeling her.

He was a killer, he wasn't a good person, he wasn't anything

But with her…

With her something was different.

But that didn't change who he was.

He should get up, get away from her before he did more, before he lost control again.

He couldn't hurt her, not her

Oliver's eyes danced all over her face - her bruised, swollen lips, the deep abrasions around her mouth from his beard, the little cuts from where she'd landed when he'd dropped her, the same little cuts littering her chest.

She was curled in too much and it was too dark to see her throat, but he knew she had a deep bruise there, accented with teeth marks.

His teeth marks.

What the hell was wrong with him? What had he been thinking, biting her like that? He couldn't explain the urge that had swept over him, taking over, the need to mark her, to mark her as his own. It was almost animalistic, the way he'd seen a lion biting a lioness until she gave him submission, showing her she was his.

His?

She wasn't his.

Yes, she was.

No.

Humans didn't have people like this, this wasn't normal. What he was feeling was wrong, so wrong; he shouldn't have a need to bite her, to kiss her, to mark her so people knew she was his. He shouldn't have this nameless drive inside him, urging him on. He couldn't explain the wordless threat he felt hovering over him, like some part of him was overly aware that there were billions of people in this world… billions of males that could swoop in and take her from him.

No, they couldn't.

Humans didn't do this, because this wasn't natural.

But it was… at the same time, it was.

He felt like he was coming home, the more he touched her, the more he kissed her…

Home.

And the first thing he'd done was hurt her.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, the simple words saying so much more, barely audible over the rain slamming down around them.

He told himself to get up, to move… but he didn't want to, it wasn't even an option. He was here, with her, and that was all that mattered… but not if he was hurting her, he couldn't bear that. It wasn't even a moral thought - it was something deep inside him, deep in his soul: he didn't want to hurt her, he couldn't hurt her.

Not her.

But he had, he had hurt her.

And he'd do worse, wouldn't he? Because that's what he was, that's who he was.

"I'm sorry," Oliver said again, like those were the only words he knew.

Please.

Please…

Forgive me.

She finally let out a short gasp of air, her breath dancing over his face as she shook her head minutely, such a tiny movement he barely caught it. He paused, waiting… and then she reached up, her hand shaking, trembling so bad it was visible, and touched his cheek.

She couldn't see his face, he realized, but she moved like she could, like she knew exactly where she was going, what she was doing.

Her fingers grazed his stubble, her nails drifting over his cheek.

Her touch was so soft, so pure… and he felt like that purification was washing through him.

"God," Oliver gasped, his voice cracking. His eyes fluttered shut, his body deflating against hers as he nuzzled her palm.

She slid it up, cupping his face, her thumb drifting over the gentle skin beneath his eye. He settled over her, blanketing her with his body like a protective force as he turned into her hand with a soft sigh, her fingers brushing over his eyebrow, down the bridge of his nose.

It was comforting - she was comforting him. It wasn't about need or desire, this was about something else entirely, something he couldn't even name.

She was forgiving him… and it washed through him, leaving him feeling like he'd been burned from the inside out.

He couldn't remember the last time someone had touched him like this.

Touch was imperative to humans. It communicated emotions when words failed them; it forgave or it spoke in anger; it was soft or hard, a hug or a graze… it was imperative, a driving need that humans were born with. Intimacy was communicated through touch. When people loved each other, they showed it with touch… and he hadn't been touched like this in so long.

Was that part of his reaction to her? Was that why he reacted so viscerally?

But what about her? She was normal, she had to be - she talked with people, she had meetings, she was carrying things like she was on a trip. She had to have friends and family somewhere, a place she called home, people she saw on a daily basis, people she laughed with, people she loved…

People she touched, people who touched her.

So why did her craving match his?

What was happening to them?

"I can't… I don't understand," he blurted and her hand froze… but she didn't move it away. "I don't understand what's happening."

"I…" Her voice cut off and he waited. He wanted to hear her voice again, he needed to. "I don't either."

Her words were soft, unsure… but so beautiful. They traveled through him, like the timbre was the key to a lock he didn't even know he had.

I don't either.

Oliver blinked down at her.

They didn't know, neither of them understood this… but they both felt it. They were in it together.

He wasn't alone.

The thought slammed into him like a freight train, nearly bowling him over with the power of it.

He wasn't alone.

She softened underneath him, and Oliver sighed again, pressing against her hand more fully, pulling himself over her more. He shifted, feeling the now familiar stirrings of pleasure starting to churn again as he tried to get closer to her, to the comfort he found in her touch…

He moved just enough so the rain hit her face.

She gasped, her eyes sliding shut, angling her head away, sputtering.

"Shit," Oliver rasped, pushing himself back over her, blocking it again. "I'm sorry."

"It's… it's okay, I'm just…" She took a deep breath, lifting him slightly, and he finally felt the fine tremble traveling along the edges of her body. The heat that had been a living force between them had disappeared the second he'd bitten her - the second he'd hurt her - and if her adrenaline drop was anything like his… that meant she was more than feeling the deep cold chill of the water saturating her already soaked clothes.

Get her inside, get her to shelter.

He knew on some level that if he kissed her now, pushed his body against hers again, that heat would come back, but they were still in the elements, still outside…

The pleasure could wait.

He had to move her, get her out of the water, protect her.

It hadn't seemed to important a moment ago, when all he could think about was the warmth her body gave him, but the instant that cry had come from her mouth, his focus had shifted from the mindless need coursing through him to something much more primal.

Protect her.

At first the urge had been about protecting her from him, stopping himself from doing more damage, but now it was the torrential downpour that he hadn't felt a moment ago, when her lips had been on his.

It was like the world had disappeared, like she'd become his world.

Protect her.

He'd never felt anything so inherently tied to him before, but it was there, pulsing within him.

"Come on," he said softly.

She froze again, and just like that that fear was back, her hand stiffening on his cheek.

Oliver instantly stopped.

"We're not…" he started, clearing his throat so his voice came out stronger. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had the chance to speak so much, so calmly. It'd been so long… "We're not… going anywhere. There's a door, over there. It's dry…

"I want you out of the rain."

She let out a tremulous breath.

"Please," he whispered.

What was she thinking? Was all he capable of was scaring her, was that all he could do? Of course it was, he was a monster. The second he'd gotten back from that island, the second he'd stepped his foot back in civilization, that's the costume he'd made for himself, the costume he wore, the persona he'd built… the man he'd always been, deep inside…

But he couldn't bring himself to leave her.

What if she said no? What if she told him to get away from her, to leave her alone… could he do that?

Please don't ask me to move, to stop, to ever stop touching you…

He couldn't. Everything else could wait but if she asked him to stop touching her, to leave… he wouldn't be able to do that. He couldn't let her go, he wouldn't… even if he wanted to, there was something deep inside him, an anchor, something that had settled in his foundations.

Wherever she went, he'd go to.

The thought of her going anywhere he wasn't, of not being able to be near her, to touch her, hold her, feel her… it was unacceptable, completely out of the question. The thought alone made everything inside him revolt, made him tighten his hold on her, made his eyes narrow with an anxious purpose.

"Please… I… I won't hurt you. I swear."

She blinked up at him, a torrent of emotions coloring her face, darkening her eyes… it was too dark to see anything past what the lightening showed him when it flashed, but he saw enough: struggle, doubt, fear… wonder… concern…

And something else.

She felt it too, whatever it was that was drawing him to her, she felt it inside too. She was stronger than he was, able to withstand it better… but the longer they stayed near each other, the more it grew, the more the thought of her being anywhere else but right at his side made his bones physically ache at the wrongness of it.

Oliver waited.

He'd wait forever.

"Okay," she finally said, and he let out a breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding.

"Okay," he breathed, nodding. He almost smiled, but instead he just nodded. "Okay."

In the next second, he was moving.

Oliver pushed himself off her, and he inhaled sharply at the instant whip of discomfort that sliced through him from the tiny gap of air between them. His arms shook as climbed to his feet, the shaking translating to the rest of his body.

She sat up wincing, her eyes sliding shut as if she was in pain - did she feel it too?

He reached down, pulling her up with him, and the second she was flush against him again they both sighed, leaning into each other.

Oliver closed his eyes, pressing his face into her hair, holding her close.

He was okay, as long as he didn't stop touching her. Whatever had shifted, whatever had changed, it had pushed the needy urgency from earlier to the back of his mind… it was still there, but it wasn't as demanding.

"Come on," Oliver whispered.


Felicity shivered as he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her in closer as he walked them to the door marked 'Stairs' in big, blocky letters.

She wasn't sure if the shivers were from the cold or from him, from him touching her, from the adrenaline - or rather, the lack of it - or from the pain of his teeth sinking into her neck…

Either way, she didn't care, because the closer she pushed herself towards him, the more she burrowed against his chest, the less she felt them, like his body was soaking them up, carrying the shivers for her.

It wasn't even a thought really - her body just moved towards him, like it was second nature, like he was where she belonged, he was…

Home.

The word made her chest tighten so much she couldn't breathe.

She didn't have a home, she didn't have a place, she never had… but here, with him…

Something had changed, when he'd grabbed her downstairs, pulling her up with him. She'd tried to fight it, but it'd been too powerful. The need had been too powerful, too encompassing - it wasn't something outside of her, it was her, it was within her… and she'd given herself over to it completely, and it'd felt so good, so right.

But what was it? What was happening? What had happened to her the second he'd appeared? He'd grabbed her, and then they'd been flying up… his touch had been like an ignition, unlocking the flood of want and need she'd been battling ever since she ran in the first place, and it'd been too much… she couldn't have fought even if she'd really wanted to. She'd tried, because this… it was terrifying, but it also felt good, so good, so right

There'd been no choice but to give in.

And she was glad… but she couldn't understand it.

Felicity couldn't think with him right there.

Everything before his sudden reappearance felt like it was a million years ago. The alley was clear as day, when he'd been there, but the running, the stark fear she knew she'd felt, the confusion and worry, the train, the way it felt when other people had touched her, when the rain had touched her…

It was all fuzzy, faded.

What she'd felt when she'd pressed herself against him… it'd become the only thing that mattered. Only he mattered, only the pleasure that he could give her, that his body could give her. The need had been too strong, too much for her to ignore. She couldn't stop, she hadn't wanted to stop, because the way he'd made her feel…

Intoxicating.

It'd coursed through her veins, growing hotter and hotter, more powerful, something she'd never felt in her life. It was addicting and painful at the same time, frightening and horrifying, thrilling and glorious… it'd left her spinning, and she'd given into the sensations without an ounce of hesitation, let her body take over, just let go

When he'd rolled them over, hovering over her, shoving her into the ground with the power of his movements…

Felicity whimpered at the memory, her eyes slipping shut, the low throbbing desire starting to make itself known again, now that the fear was abating.

The fear.

He heard her, and he tightened his hold on her as they reached the door.

What happened next? They had to figure this out, figure out what was happening to them, why it was happening to them. She had to call Dr. Wells, Barry, Caitlin, anyone…

She could still feel him over her, feel the power of his presence surrounding her as he'd thrust

But then he'd bitten her, just like he had in the alley, like it was some instinctual thing for him, but this time it'd been harder, and he'd nearly sliced through the skin with the strength of it. Her neck throbbed, feeling his teeth marks perfectly, the pain still there but it was dulled, less urgent. She'd cried out - in pain, yes, but also something else. It'd carved something primitive open inside her, splitting her like a ripe melon, and she'd just… surrendered.

Some calm, logical part of her equated it to a mating ritual… like when the male chased the female, subduing her…

But then he'd stopped.

Because he'd hurt her.

He'd stopped.

Felicity shivered again. It'd been so base, so… animalistic, but it'd all stopped when he heard her cry out, when he realized what he'd done, and when he'd pulled back…

She couldn't see his face, but she'd felt his remorse.

She literally felt it inside her, and she'd known that he hadn't meant to hurt her, that he hadn't wanted to…

That it was the last thing he'd wanted.

Oh god, what the hell is going on?

He - the Vigilante, the Hood, the man terrorizing the dark underbelly of Starling City, the man who had killed people - with arrows and his bare hands - the man nobody could put a face to, the shadow nobody dared go near or talk about, the man whose reputation preceded him with such deftness that people from hundreds of miles away knew he existed, those same people warning each other before they came to Starling City… he was holding her so gently, cradling her, like she was the most precious thing in existence.

And she felt safe.

He wouldn't hurt her.

Felicity's stomach hollowed out at the thought. She couldn't explain how she knew it, but she did.

What was happening to them? What was this?

He tried the door.

It was locked.

Of course it was locked, this was private property, this was an emergency stairwell for the building, not for people to randomly break into. But before she could suggest they go somewhere else, he stepped back, turning her away slightly, and viciously kicked the door in with a single hit, a hit that had so much power behind it, it bent the metal. The lock gave with a loud groan and he kicked it again, forcing it open, the sound of her shocked yelp getting lost in the rain and the sound of the door breaking.

He ushered her in first, pushing the door open enough to make room, never letting her go, sliding in behind her, shoving it shut again.

It was warm and dry in the stairwell, the emergency lights blindingly bright compared to the darkness outside.

Felicity winced, turning away from them, instinctively pushing her face into his chest…

That suffocating need she'd felt, the one that'd only grown, that one that had shoved her into a pit of despair on the train, the one that had made her skin feel like it was going to peel off when someone else touched her… it was subdued. The longer she stayed in contact with him, the less pressing it was. It was still there, but it was like something else had taken precedence.

Her safety.

Felicity shuddered and he looked down at her.

His hood was up still, covering his face, heavy with water, dripping…

"Are you okay?" he asked.

His voice was so soft, like a whisper, but it was also rough, harsh and ugly, like his voice had been dropped into a shredder… like he never used it.

Felicity swallowed, not sure how to answer that. Her glasses were fogging slightly, the lenses covered in raindrops, but she didn't move to wipe them as she tried to see into the darkness where his face was - her fingers ached to reach up and push the hood back, so she could see his face, see him - he could see her, she had to see him - but she didn't, and she didn't know why.

Because he wanted it up? Because it kept a line of anonymity between them? Something that made this entire thing less real?

She hadn't even taken a second to wonder who he was.

God, was she dreaming? Was this even real? Had someone given her drugs at some point today?

But it felt real.

So real.

The sound of the rain hitting the rooftop of the stairwell, slamming into the ground outside filled the gaps of silence between them.

He waited.

Felicity nodded and when he didn't speak, she wiped rainwater from her mouth with a shaky hand and nodded again.

"I'm okay."

He shuddered when she spoke, making her mouth dry, her stomach drop. He took in a deep breath… and then his shoulders dropped as he leaned towards her.

Felicity stiffened, just enough for him to feel it and he stopped before their foreheads could touch.

He didn't move, and neither did she; they just stopped. He was hard, so hard against her, and so tall. She'd been wearing heels the last time, she'd been closer to him, but now he towered over her, that same black hole sensation coming back to her as she stared up at him.

Nothing else in the space existed but him.

His breath was hot against her face, slow and even… his hands on her back tightened, his fingers digging in…

She should be scared. She knew she should be scared… but she wasn't.

Felicity wanted to say something - anything - but her mind was blank.

She had no idea how she was supposed to act, what she was supposed to say, or… anything.

Questions. She had questions. Concerns. So many of them… but there was nothing at the same time.

What was this, what were they doing? What had happened out there, what had she been feeling? What had he made her feel?

He'd made her feel good.

Felicity's breath hitched, feeling a sudden stark awareness of the way her mouth hurt from his stubble, her lips feeling twice their size from his kisses. They were swollen, bruised… parts of her hurt and throbbed, parts she'd never been aware of before. Her breasts were heavy where they were pressed against his sternum, her legs shaky… the more she thought - the more she forced herself to step back mentally, to take a look at what was happening to her - the more she felt her insides starting to twist, her intestines tangling as the same fear that had swamped her in the alley started coming back.

She'd felt it, for a split second, on the ground below, when he'd appeared - the urge to run, to hide, to get away from whatever he was making her feel, but now…

The logical part of her that was struggling to the surface told her to listen to those instincts - get out - but it was buried too deep under… she didn't even know what.

She didn't want to leave his side, she didn't want to stop touching him, stop feeling him…

She couldn't.

The strange out-of-body experience that had been hitting her ever since she stepped foot in Starling City attacked her again, and she really did feel like she was dreaming.

Felicity's hands were moving before she knew what it was doing.

She reached up and cupped his face again, cradling him between her palms.

He sighed, his entire body melting against her. Her heart tripped over itself as she struggled to breathe at the way he leaned into her, the way he nuzzled his face against her, his arms holding her tighter.

She felt like something small, something helpless against the incredible force of a predator… a predator that wanted nothing more than to protect her.

One of her hands slid over his featureless face. His eyes slipped shut when her fingers passed over them, feeling his eyebrows, his smooth skin; he was hot, like he was running a fever… She slid over his nose, his beard, his strong jaw, back up to his lips. His mouth was just as swollen as hers and there was something wet, a cut on his lip…

He grunted when she brushed over it, and she jerked away, her stomach clenching in alarm.

"I'm sorry, I didn't… did I hurt you?" she whispered.

She felt his eyes on her, and she gasped, her hands stilling.

"You could never…" he started, his lips moving under her fingers, his gravelly voice cascading through her…

Even his voice…

He paused, and she stared up at him, waiting, his words echoing in her head.

More… please say more…

"No," he said, shaking his head and her hand dropped, sliding down to his neck. She pressed her fingers against his throat, feeling the vibrations of his voice as he said, "Not like I hurt you."

Felicity furrowed her brow.

He cocked his head before he slid a hand up her side - it left a trail of fire along her nerves as he moved, reaching her neck. She felt the heat of him through his gloved hand, strong fingers titled her head so he could see the mark he'd left on her. She didn't hear the rumble in his chest, she felt it as he got a look at what he'd done to her.

His touch faltered for a second, a quick second…

Her eyes never left him as he ran his index finger over the mark, making her shiver, a little whine escaping her before she could stop it - not that she would have. She wanted him to hear it. Felicity didn't miss the way the air around him seemed to darken, how his fingers tightened.

"Can I…" he breathed, stopping himself like he didn't know what he was asking.

"Yes," she whispered, nodding, knowing exactly what he was asking.

He growled deep in his chest and pulled his hand away, shoving his finger between his teeth. He ripped his glove off, the leather falling to the ground in a wet heap and then his hand was back on her, touching her… skin-to-skin.

It was like throwing a match on a pile of dry kindle.

"Oh god," Felicity gasped, her back arching, shoving herself closer to him just as he pushed himself against her, walking them backwards until her back hit the wall. She didn't feel the hard concrete against her back, or the way her head bounced off it - all she felt was his hand on her neck, his touch on her…

She'd thought her own touch had felt good, but this…

With a vicious rush, her need for him came back with a vengeance.

"Don't stop," she breathed and he froze.

"I don't want to hurt you," he whispered and the deep well of pained regret in his voice made her even more frantic for him to not stop.

"You won't." She cupped his face, pulling him closer. "Please… please touch me. Touch me… Please…"

It was like a flip switched - gone was the soft gentle touches, the gentleness between them, the easy curiosity, the simple existence. She was suddenly back in the alley, back outside, back when she'd needed him with every fiber of her being, when all that had mattered was him - touching him, feeling him, her body aching…

He gave her a tiny sound of surrender…

They attacked each other at the same exact moment.

Felicity grasped his face, her fingers gripping his collar, pulling him down just as he slid his hand to the back of her neck and angled her head perfectly, his lips coming down on hers. Her sharp heady moan rumbled against his lips, and he gave her one of his own, shoving her back up against the wall.

She tasted him - all of him, it was everything she needed and more. There was a light tinge of copper that instantly disappeared when he angled his head, deepening the kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth. She met him with equal ardor, wrapping her leg around his, needing him to give her what he had outside, what they'd lost when he'd…

The second she lifted her leg he dropped his hand down and gripped her knee, hiking her up higher. Felicity keened against his lips, arching her hips towards him. He swallowed the little noises she made, groaning, almost like he was asking for more as he pulled her leg up higher, exposing more of her to him.

Felicity wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled on him, pulling herself up. He was perfectly in-tune with her, leaning down just enough to slid his hands under her bottom and he lifted her up, anchoring her against the wall, right where she…

"Aah!" Felicity cried, breaking free, her head rocketing back. It crashed against the concrete as he gasped out a broken, "Oh fuck," against her throat where he buried his face, one arm hooking her leg in, the other sliding up, cupping the back of her head. It was the hand without the glove, and his bare fingers slid through her wet strands, getting tangled, scraping over her scalp and god, it felt so good.

Everything felt so good.

He thrust up, his hips moving without rhythm as he rubbed himself against her, rubbed the hardness in his pants against her.

Felicity vaguely heard the cries coming out of her mouth, heard them echoing in the tiny stairwell, bouncing against the walls and back at her, but she was too consumed with sensation to marvel at them. She'd never made sounds like that before, she'd never heard sounds like that before… they were mindless, so pure and honest… a perfect representation of what he was making her feel, what she was making him feel.

His cries started to echo her own as they moved against each other.

He pushed her harder against the wall, nailing her to the concrete as she thrust up into her, rubbing over every inch of her. There was one spot… one spot that made everything turn white with pleasure around her when he hit it. He rubbed against it over and over as he rotated his hips and Felicity dug her nails into his back, her hips moving to meet his.

"There, there, there…!" she heard herself crying, her voice carrying down the stairs. She wasn't sure he heard her, wasn't sure he could hear her because the way he moved, the way he cried out, he was as mindless as she was… but he did. It was like her voice, her direction, spoke to something deep inside him and he moved exactly as she asked, right where she needed it.

God, she needed it, she needed it so badly she wanted to scream.

He thrust over and over, right against that spot, her pleasure jerking up in higher spikes. She never wanted it to end, she never wanted it to stop. It was ecstasy, pure and simple, flowing through her veins. It was fire crawling inside her, flowing through her straight to her center where a heat that felt as hot as the sun was starting to grow. It was building, the pleasure, building into something that was so much more, so powerful, so full

His cries grew louder, more erratic, his hips jerking against her even harder. He pinned her to the wall with his chest as his hips moved back and forth, like he was thrusting into her, not against her… and she felt every bit of it as his hips pinioned, felt it like he was inside her… the pleasure ebbing and flowing between them, like something linking them together…

She could feel him…

The pleasure inside her suddenly peaked, and the sun in her core turned into an inferno that took over everything.

Felicity went silent just as he shouted into her neck, his entire body stiffening, his hips rubbing against her with so much veracity it pushed her over an edge, an edge she didn't see coming, an edge she couldn't expect. The heat inside her exploded, sending waves of pleasure slamming into her.

Felicity gasped for air, grasping at him, feeling like she was drowning in the sensations swamping her, pulling her under… to where? What was this, what was happening to her? She'd never felt this before, never felt anything this powerful before, never felt…

White sheeted over her eyes and she could do nothing but hold onto him as she flew, as she got lost in the waves, as she cried out, her body undulating against him.

He moved against her at the same time, his whimpers echoing his jerky movements… until he couldn't hold her anymore.

His legs gave out and they slid to the floor together.

He was trembling, his breath hot on the damp skin of her neck. His fingers gripped her rhythmically, keeping her close, cuddling her against his chest as he fell into the corner of the landing, pulling her down with him.

Felicity was tired.

It wasn't a bad tired, it wasn't like anything she'd ever felt. It was something else entirely scouring through her system. Satisfaction filled her. It was bone-deep, ripples of it radiating through her. She hummed, curling into him, hissing when the sensitive area between her legs rubbed against him again, sending a sharp aftershock that made her cry out.

She was floating in a soft haze, something with tendrils that kept wrapping around her, almost as tightly as his arms were wound around her, keeping her under…

Everything was sensitive, everything hurt, but in a good way… like nothing she'd ever felt before. There was a deep-seated calmness inside her all of a sudden, a calm that cradled her, a calm he'd somehow given her, one she never wanted to leave.

Felicity wasn't sure how long they sat there, wrapped around each other.

One second there was just them… and then suddenly the lights around her grew dim.

He stiffened, his arms tightening to the point of pain and she gasped.

"Hey!" a heavy voice shouted. "What are you doing to her?"

Felicity jerked up, alarm and horror and fear racing through her system - someone else was there - but he was already moving. He twisted, shoving her into the corner without preamble, shielding her, and then he was on his feet.

"You get away from her! I called the cops!" the voice continued and the alarm and fear in his voice shot through Felicity like a knife.

"What?" she whispered, pushing herself up, using the corner as leverage.

And then she saw it.

Rather, she saw him.

Dismay washed through her, eradicating every inch of peace she'd just felt as she watched him - the Vigilante, the Hood, the man who was a murderer - walk up to the guy and wrap his hand around his throat.

"No!" the guy shouted just as she screamed, "No!"

Their voices combined with a grisly accuracy until it sounded like they were one as the man twisted, wrenching himself out of the vigilante's grasp. He was small, wiry, and he tore himself free just enough to slide under his attacker's arm, diving right for her.

"No, don't!" Felicity shouted, and she had no idea which one she was talking to as the guy grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the stairs.

He was saving her - he thought he was saving her, and she knew this, but she couldn't control the sudden revolt in her body, the sharp painful stab where he was touching her, the pain that made her cry out and try to break free of him the second he started yanking on her.

It was pure instinct when she shouted for him to let go, her words laced with a self-preservation she couldn't even begin to understand...

It was quickly followed with a stinging regret when the man in green leather - the man who had touched her so gently, made her feel something so amazingly good, made her feel so protected and safe - was suddenly there, yanking the guy off of her with a vicious, "Get away from her!"

And then he tossed him over the railing of the stairs.

"No!" Felicity shouted.

She scrambled to the railing as the guy slammed into the opposite wall, his head hitting it with a sickening crunch before he fell to the ground, landing on his leg, which was twisted at the wrong angle.

She heard the snap of his bone followed quickly by his scream of pain.

"Oh god," Felicity gasped, bile crawling up her throat at the sight of blood on the wall, the man grabbing his leg, the screams coming from him almost inhuman… and then she saw him moving for her again.

A very, very different self-preservation slammed into her.

Felicity moved with more speed than she ever had in her life. The Hood was turning towards her, moving towards her, and where before she'd wanted nothing more than to go to him, for him to come to her, to hold him, to feel whatever it was that he made her feel… now she wanted to run.

He was a killer.

A murderer.

He was a monster.

"No!" she shouted, scrambling across the metal floor for the door, the broken door, the one he'd kicked in without a second thought, with a strength that had been so intoxicating a moment ago… now it was horrifying.

His hand slid over her arm, gripping her sweatshirt but she tugged away, falling headfirst into the wall.

Pain exploded across her skull, but she didn't let it stop her as she pushed herself to her feet and grabbed the door, wrenching it open.

"No!" she heard him shout, but she was already falling outside, scrabbling over the wet gravel to get away from him. "Come back!"

He'd touched her with those hands, those hands had made her feel so good, those hands that had just picked up an innocent man and thrown him like he was nothing. The crunch of his head hitting the wall echoed in her mind as she tripped over her feet, running outside, her heart pounding, blood rushing through her as the rain instantly soaked her all over again. Her sex was slick with what he'd done to her, what he'd made her feel, and it made her sick as she spotted her bag and the briefcase.

Felicity dove for them.

He was right behind her - she heard him, heard him chasing her.

She didn't think that there was nowhere to go, that she had to get back around him to get back downstairs, that she had to get downstairs if she was going to get away from him…

Felicity moved for the briefcase, the irrational thought that if she touched something normal, held something that was normal in her life that she'd wake up from this dream, wake up from this dream that had quickly morphed into a nightmare, that none of it would be real, that everything would be the way it was supposed to be.

Instead her foot caught on the corner of a large metal vent, tripping her, and she cried out, falling right onto the metal briefcase, the sharp edge slamming into her forehead.

Another intense shot of pain burst inside her head and then… darkness.


Harrison Wells watched the security footage, a small smile on his face as the Vigilante picked the man up and threw him over the railing like he weighed absolutely nothing.

It was perfect - the terror on the man's face, Felicity in the background, her hand covering her mouth in shock as she watched it happen…

Perfect.

Wells pushed the stop button right as the hooded man started chasing her out of the stairwell and hit rewind, going back a few seconds to when the Good Samaritan had appeared, shouting, looking for all intents and purposes like he was the hero coming to the aid of a woman being attacked. He watched as the Hood - as Oliver Queen - shoved Felicity into the corner, looking for like he really was hurting her, like he was kidnapping her…

Wells watched him attack the man again, watched Felicity screaming, her eyes wide with terror before she looked up at the Vigilante… and then she ran, the Hood chasing her back outside.

"Perfect," Wells whispered, his smile growing, his chest tightening with anticipation as he clipped the video with just the attack, and with a few clicks on the keyboard, he had it attached in an anonymous, untraceable email, going to every major news outlet in Starling City.

'Message Sent!' blinked at him on the screen and he leaned back.

He couldn't have planned this better himself.

Starling City was the key. It'd only taken decades for his work to come to fruition, ten long years of sending her everywhere he could, hoping to find him… but now it was happening - finally - and it was better than anything he could have wished. The reputation of the Vigilante was everything he needed to get them secluded, to get them away from the rest of humanity…

Wells brought up the security footage from the hallway, from the second Oliver Queen kicked the door in, a trembling Felicity in his arms gripping him just as tightly, and hit play. There wasn't any sound on the cameras, but he didn't need any to know what was happening between them.

His eyes slid over to his other computer screen and he hit play on something else…

Felicity's voice suddenly filled the entire room.

'Hi, Dr. Wells, it's Felicity. I, um… please call me back as soon as you get this. It's… something's… wrong. It's not a bad… no, it is bad, but it's… no, it's… okay, I'm okay, but something isn't right. I'm coming back to Central City. Well, no, I'm taking a roundabout way up to Oregon and then coming back down through Nevada, but I'm coming back. I need… please, just call me back when you get this.'

Wells leaned back in his wheelchair and steepled his fingers as listened to the voicemail over and over, watching the scene in the stairwell play out… he watched the steady progression, the whispered words, how close they stood… their touches, the physical reactions unlike anything he'd ever seen in his life… and then it was like something snapping and he had her pushed up against the wall, their bodies moving together in a way that looked old as time, but was utterly foreign…

Soulmates.

This was what he'd been waiting for, this was the key.

Just a little bit longer and then he'd have it.

And then he could go home.


I hope you liked it! I'm all out of sorts with this story - please let me know what you thought!