It Runs in the Family, Epilogue (14/14)
Summary: Felicity Stark is the best of her parents. But becoming vice-president of a brand-new division of Stark Industries and moving to Starling City will test her in ways she never thought possible. Especially when a masked vigilante in green leather crosses her path. An Arrow/Iron Man crossover.
Disclaimer: I don't own Arrow, Iron Man or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: Surprise! Given the number of cliffhangers in the last few chapters, I thought I'd give you the epilogue a bit early, so you can find out what Oliver was going to ask Felicity. :-)
I want to thank ginevra-red for the amazing gifset that inspired this fic, and to fanmommer for her excellent betaing skills. And most of all, I want to thank all of you, the readers. For reading, for commenting here, for liking and reblogging on Tumblr: thank you for taking some time from your day to read about the characters we all love. I'm so thrilled that y'all have embraced my version of Oliver and Felicity and I hope you're excited to see the last chapter in It Runs in the Family!
"All right, I'll make a few introductory remarks, and then you and Mr. Queen will come out and read your respective statements. Are you sure you don't want to go first, Felicity? It may look a little odd otherwise."
Amelia's voice was brisk but warm, just like always. It made Felicity smile. "I've got the real bombshell, so I should go last," she replied.
Oliver huffed out a laugh, one that he hid behind a hand. Amelia frowned a little. "I don't like not knowing what you're going to say, Felicity."
"I know, Amelia, and I apologize," Felicity said quickly. "But this is very important to me. And I've already had my mother go over my statement."
"Well, that will do," Amelia said, straightening her blazer. "All right, five minutes to go." And with that, the PR rep left Felicity and Oliver alone, in a small office near the entrance of Starling General Hospital. Even through the blinds-covered window, the flashes of cameras were visible within moments.
Taking a deep breath, Felicity marveled at how different this press conference was from her last one. The last seven months had done a lot to improve her handling of the press. She had gotten a hands-on, practical course in how to deal with the paparazzi. So she didn't feel as nervous about speaking in front of them as she did the last time.
Or maybe it was more than that. After all, she had learned so many things since the last time she spoke to the press.
A warm, calloused hand wrapped around hers. "Okay?"
Felicity nodded, looking up at Oliver. Who, she was pretty sure, was the real reason she wasn't more nervous. "Yeah, I'm good. Thank you for being a gentleman and going first."
He chuckled softly as he leaned in and kissed her lightly-Amelia had already warned him about smearing Felicity's lipstick. "You're welcome, I think. Although you're right-you do have the bigger bombshell."
"Mmm," Felicity hummed, a smile on her lips. "Not every day two billionaires agree to a merger."
"Is that what you're calling it?" Oliver asked, his thumb gently running over the back of her hand, before he wiggled the engagement ring on her finger.
"I . . . I just realized, I have a question for you."
Felicity tilted her head to the side, wondering what was going on with him. "What is it?"
He breathed deeply, in and out twice, before he swallowed. "This is really fast, but I don't want to wait."
Giving him a soft smile, she squeezed his hand. "If you're asking me to move in with you, I might have a different answer this time. Because when it's right, why wait?"
His eyes lit up. "Yeah," he said, tugging her closer. "But actually, I was wondering . . . Felicity, will you marry me?"
It wasn't the question she was expecting. Because honestly, she had only expected him to ask her to move in with him. She hadn't thought they were going to move this fast. Her eyes searched Oliver's face, looking for any sign that he didn't really mean it. That maybe he was asking because he was scared or worried.
But she didn't see fear or nerves in his eyes. All she saw was love. A love that took her breath away, a love that she knew she couldn't live without. A love that had changed her and had saved her.
So there was no fear or doubt in her heart or her mind as she nodded.
"Yes," she answered softly. "Yes, Oliver."
"Really?" he asked, his lips turning up in a wide smile.
She rolled her eyes and laughed a little as she nodded again. "Yes, really! Do you think I get proposed to every day?"
"You should," he said, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her in for a long, slow kiss. One that scrambled her brain too much to point out all the logic gaps.
"No, I'm not calling it a merger. Mom reminded me that humor almost never works in a press release," Felicity said, leaning her chest against his. "Although we were both sad to leave out how my net worth is greater than yours."
"I appreciate not being painted as a gold-digger," Oliver said, his face neutral except for a small twist to his lips and his bright eyes. Then he grinned at her and squeezed her hands.
Laughing, she went up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "I'm excited."
"Me, too," Oliver said, gazing down at her. "It . .. it feels different already, having people know."
Felicity nodded, unconsciously tightening her grip on Oliver's hands. This morning, Oliver had told his family and his best friends his secret. It had been difficult, watching Oliver struggle to get the words out. His whole body had braced for their reactions like a boxer waiting for a knockout blow. But it had actually gone not as badly as it could have, Felicity thought.
Yes, Laurel was definitely angry and Tommy had been too quiet. But Moira and Thea had done just what Felicity thought they would: hug Oliver and tell him how proud they were of him. And watching that, seeing the tears shimmer ever-so-slightly in his eyes, Felicity had felt like crying, too.
Of course, his mother and sister had questions-difficult questions-that Oliver would have to answer. And with Tommy and Laurel offering acceptance that was only one step up from grudging, Oliver would need to repair the damage to his friendships.
But Felicity knew he could do it. And she would help, in every way she could. Even if it meant her own friendships suffered for a while, it would be worth it.
A quick knock on the door, and then Amelia's assistant popped her head into the office. "Ms. Stark, Mr. Queen, it's time."
"Showtime," Felicity said, kissing Oliver quickly before moving to stand at his side.
He nodded, keeping his hand wrapped around hers, hiding her engagement ring. The ring that was a Queen heirloom, brought to Oliver's hospital room this morning by Digg from the Queen vault at Starling National Bank.
As they approached the glass doors at the hospital's entrance, Felicity watched Oliver. He still looked a bit pale, especially with the bruises and cuts on his face. Honestly, if anyone was really surprised by Oliver's announcement tonight, after seeing only a few of his injuries, then the people of Starling City weren't being well-served by their press.
Stubbornly, Oliver had insisted on not using a wheelchair. So his gait was slower than normal, giving the cameras even more time to take pictures of him-of both of them. But she just held tight to his hand, hoping her ring wasn't cutting into his palm too much, as she smiled at the reporters and photographers.
Oliver was so good at this game. He put on a charming smile, let the press take their pictures and shout their questions, and then held up his free hand. And just like that, they settled down as Oliver stepped up to the podium.
"Thank you for coming to this joint press conference," Oliver said into the microphone. "Even though it should be ladies first-" he paused and looked at Felicity, his practiced smile fading into a small, honest grin- "today I'll be speaking first, to address the questions about the Green Arrow."
The barely restrained hush became less restrained, everyone poised and ready to start asking questions. Oliver didn't speak for a moment and Felicity took a small step closer to him. He lifted his head and looked at her, then turned back to the crowd.
"Five years ago, I was on a ship that sank. I washed up on what I thought was a deserted island, where I struggled to survive. But the island wasn't deserted after all."
Felicity had expected everyone to shuffle their feet and rifle through their notebooks, full of anticipation, when Oliver started telling a somewhat-sanitized version of his story. But instead, there was just silence. Everyone was hanging onto Oliver's every word.
"I learned to hunt for food. To live with injuries and wounds. To expect the worst from people who were just trying to survive, like me," Oliver said, his hand squeezing hers tightly. He took two deep breaths. "And I learned how to use a bow and arrow."
It was like everyone had sucked in a breath at the same moment, and they were just waiting for Oliver's next words in order to release it.
There were fine tremors running through his arm, and Felicity reached out to lay her free hand on his bicep. He didn't look at her, but she could see just a bit of the tension leave his jaw.
"The man who taught me how to be an archer wore a green hood. I wear that hood now in his memory. His, and the others I lost." There was a shorter pause, and then a small smile appeared on Oliver's face, one that expressed relief and perhaps acceptance. "I'm the Green Arrow."
For a moment, there was nothing. No movement, no sound. And then everyone leapt into action, cameras flashing and raised voices overlapping, as everyone tried to ask their question or get their shot all at once.
Amelia stepped up, speaking loudly into the microphone. "Mr. Queen will be speaking more in the coming days. For now, he has said all he intends to say about this topic." She glared down the members of the press who kept calling out questions. There was grumbling, but eventually they settled into a slightly-restless silence.
"Thank you," Amelia said calmly. "Now, Ms. Stark has her own statement."
As she walked to the mic, Felicity could feel Oliver's eyes on her. She turned her head and looked at him, and without saying anything, she knew what he was thinking. If she had changed her mind about him, he would be willing to let her go. Even though they both knew it would kill a piece of his soul-a big, important piece-he was still willing to do that.
But if he could talk to her without saying a word, so could she to him. And so Felicity told Oliver to stop being an idiot.
She knew the message was received by how his lips quirked into a smile and by how he shifted the grip he had on her hand, so that her hand was now on top of his.
"Now that you know I'm not part of a love triangle," Felicity began, looking out over the sea of reporters, "my announcement might be less interesting. But I didn't want there to be any doubt about my decision. It doesn't matter to me if Oliver wears a suit or a hood, because he is the man I believe in." She paused as her voice shook a little. "He's the man I love. Which is why I'm very happy to announce that I have accepted Oliver's proposal of marriage."
And now everyone really went crazy, and Felicity couldn't help grinning; even Oliver was smiling broadly, a real smile and not his practiced one.
"We realize some might think we're moving too fast," Oliver said, responding to several questions on the same theme. He stepped in close to her and slid his arm around her waist. "But when it's right, why wait?"
Felicity flushed at Oliver repeating her words from yesterday. "We're also planning a long engagement, because you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get all the Avengers together when the world isn't ending."
There was laughter and even scattered applause, which gave Oliver cover to lean down and whisper in her ear. "Wait, all the Avengers?"
"If you keep thinking I'm going to back out of this, just wait 'til you see all the superheroes who will help me convince you that isn't going to happen," Felicity told him, smirking up at him.
And that made Oliver laugh-really laugh, like she had always wanted to hear. He was still laughing as she kissed him, in fact.
To Felicity's surprise, there were no reporters waiting for them when they stepped out of her apartment building the next morning. No photographers snapping away to capture her messy ponytail, faded t-shirt and yoga pants, or Oliver's cargo pants and too-tight henley.
"Wow," she said as they held hands, walking to Jitters for some coffee. "I thought the press would be awful. Like sharks circling the chum."
"I think they're cutting us a break today. They're not sure how to spin this story yet," Oliver said, his voice still a bit rough from sleep. The sound of his voice made shivers go down her spine and made her knees weak, in the way that she really, really liked. Especially when she then jumped up, wrapped her legs around his waist, and sucked his lower lip into her mouth.
Why had she insisted they leave their bed? Oh, right, coffee.
"It's nice," Felicity commented, "but it feels weird."
Oliver nodded but grinned. "I suppose we should enjoy this, since it won't last."
Dropping his hand, Felicity tucked herself up against his side, wrapping her arm around his waist. "Which is why I'm doing this."
"No complaints from me," Oliver said, draping his arm over her shoulders.
The rest of their walk was quiet, both of them taking in Starling City in the early morning, savoring this chance to walk together without any disruptions to the bubble that surrounded them.
It wasn't until they had their coffees-black for Oliver, venti skinny vanilla latte for her-and were sitting at a table outside the coffee shop that Oliver spoke.
"You know, there was an article in the Tattler asking if your kidnapping was some elaborate plan by your dad."
Felicity quirked an eyebrow. "I did not know. But please, explain this 'article' from that 'newspaper'."
He looked at her with his lips quirking up. "Supposedly, he's looking for a successor and thought he should test the Green Arrow. To see if he was worthy."
"That is the silliest thing I've ever heard," Felicity immediately said. "First off, the suit isn't like Mjölnir-it's not about finding whomsoever is worthy to wield the powers of Thor. Not that you wouldn't be amazing-you would," she reassured Oliver, resting her hand over his. "But there's no way my dad would do that."
If only because it would be such a huge slight to Rhodey, Felicity thought silently.
A small, cocky smile appeared on Oliver's face. "I'm not going to lie-when I was a kid, I liked Iron Man best."
"I'm not surprised," Felicity said dryly. "Not with how much you two have in common." She grinned at Oliver, her hands wrapped around her coffee cup.
He shrugged. "So maybe I should be the next Iron Man."
She knew he was just kidding. And it was a lot of fun to joke with Oliver, to see his dry sense of humor and deadpan reactions and flashes of amusing arrogance, especially compared to her babbling and big gestures. So she smiled right back at him as she lowered her coffee.
"Oh, Oliver-if anyone is going to be the next Iron Man, it's me." Then her smile fell as something occurred to her. "I guess that means I need to get over my fear of heights."
Oliver's laugh was quick and free, and even though it was only the second time she'd heard him laugh like that, Felicity knew she was getting addicted.
"Well, I guess there's only room for one hero in this relationship," she said, grinning at him.
"I agree," he replied, reaching across the table to take her hand. "I'm glad it's you, Felicity."
Felicity had no idea how to respond to that. To hearing Oliver call her a hero. No idea, except the normal one.
When she leaned across the table, Oliver met her halfway, and their lips met in a kiss. Felicity felt a rush of love and happiness as she remembered she was going to be kissing him for the rest of her life.