A/N: I'll admit it, this took me longer than an hour. I just... wasn't feeling the story. I had the idea. I still like the idea. I even thought of a title that I actually love (which is a rarity for me). However, the execution was apparently lacking. But there are other things to write... including FF#27, which I randomly skipped for some reason. I'll be back with that (and some other things) soon. In the meantime, hopefully, this piece doesn't disappoint you as much as it did me. Thanks and enjoy! ~Charlynn~
Of Light, Love, and Sin
An Olicity Flash Fic One Shot
Flash Fic Prompt #28: That's Vegas, Baby
With her feet pressed up against the headboard, the crisp, white sheet pooled around her waist, and her neck awkwardly twisted towards the open patio doors and the sunrise slowly warming its stone pavers, Felicity Smoak awoke. While she'd like to attribute her less than orthodox sleeping arrangement to sexcapades, she couldn't. Oh, there was plenty of sex. And escapades. And escapades involving sex. (Hence, sexcapades.) But Felicity found herself backwards in bed that morning, not because of the man snoring softly beside her, but because of nostalgia.
It was a funny thing, nostalgia – not funny in a haha kind of way but as a strange, brow-knitting conundrum. Thankfully, Felicity wasn't prone to it. In fact, this recent bout had crept up on her, surprising her... and just when she thought nothing else possibly could at this point. She should have known better.
For the first few days, she and Oliver had stuck to the coast, traveling along the sea, but the sky beckoned – and so did the sun – until they found themselves turning inland and driving towards a literal new beginning just as the rays of a new day kissed the horizon. At first, Felicity had suggested Colorado. Despite it being May, it had just snowed in Colorado, and she liked the idea of sharing that part of herself – a part she couldn't show him in Cambridge during this time of year. But then Oliver had confessed that there had been snow on the ground the first time he had fought Ra's, and Colorado was all but forgotten.
After that, the world had felt so small. Without a destination in mind, Oliver had continued to push them East, and Felicity had found her thoughts spiraling further back in time. When she had left Vegas at seventeen, she had promised herself that she'd never go back. While she and her mother had recently found a new and better balance between them, and while Felicity loved her mom, and Donna loved Las Vegas, the city of her childhood and youth represented nothing but regret, mistakes, and loss for Felicity. But the desert? Driving through Southern California, Felicity realized that she missed that; she missed the stillness, the seemingly limitless possibilities of the desert's vastness, and the quiet. More than that, she wanted to share it with Oliver. While the nostalgia had been unexpected, its results – Santa Fe, its views, and their time there thus far – had been appreciated.
"You know, this would be a lot easier if you would just let me move the bed."
It was an argument Oliver had been making since their first morning in Santa Fe, and, just like all those other times, Felicity smiled. She smiled because she liked how, contrary to her own wake-up style, Oliver could go from sleeping the rest of the dead to alert enough to flirt with a single flicker of his ridiculously long lashes. (Seriously. He could tickle her with his lashes alone. The jerk.) She smiled because, when Oliver first woke, his voice was rough from disuse, low, and it made her belly tighten and tremble in recognition and awareness. And it made her smile, because it was a romantic gesture only Oliver would make. They were staying in a five-star hotel, and he was willing – nay, eager – to rearrange furniture for her.
Forgetting about the sunrise and rolling over so that she was on her back and Oliver was beaming down from above her – after all, who was she kidding? Oliver's smile was far brighter and warmer than any sun, Felicity lifted a single, painted digit to trail along the seam that ran down the center of his chest, teasing him. "But where's your sense of adventure, Oliver?"
"My sense of adventure," he stressed, bantered. Head propped by his hand and elbow bent to rest against the marshmallow that was their mattress, he regarded her with a very pointed, very quirked, very sexy brow. Felicity licked her lips. Oliver's gaze followed. She grinned saucily. "You're the one who doesn't want to go hiking. Or bike riding. Or horseback riding."
"We're trying to find you... not get lost in the desert. It may be beautiful, and I like a good star display as much as the next girl, but five years lost in the middle of nowhere is long enough for one man, Oliver. Let's not tempt fate. Besides," Felicity added in an intentional, taunting rush, "if I want to exercise, all I have to do is..."
There was a knock at their door, and then there was a long, calloused finger pressing against her lips. As Oliver told her to "hold that thought," Felicity pursed her mouth and kissed him, watching in rapt admiration as he crawled across her and gracefully stood from their bed, perfectly comfortable in his own scarred, tanned skin. Along his way towards their breakfast ordered the night before, Oliver snagged a robe. As soon as the naked flesh disappeared, so, too, did Felicity's attention. It drifted towards food, and thoughts of what they might do that day, and she found her own robe as well, because, while she was getting more and more comfortable with her own nudity – Oliver's obvious regard for her in and out of clothes going a long way in curbing her typical, girl hangups when it came to her body, there was just something about eating pancakes – even blue corn blueberry ones – naked as the day she was born that Felicity just couldn't get passed.
Oliver's voice, Oliver's tone, made Felicity sit up (metaphorically... because she was already standing) and pay attention (literally). Because... that was different. Oliver might have spent half a decade fighting for survival and then the last three years hellbent on a self-sacrificing mission, but there were more than two decades of a pompous heir to a Queendom buried underneath the man she knew and loved, and, in certain situations – like dealing with room service, that man emerged. Oliver wasn't rude towards the hotel staff, but he kept his interactions with others, particularly strangers, to a perfunctory minimum. That shocked 'oh,' that anxious 'hello'? They were anything but casual.
Curious, Felicity moved towards her boyfriend, towards the door, towards whatever, whoever, it was that had...
"Do you want to explain this to me, young lady?!"
Oh. My. Freaking. Godzilla.
No, make that Bride of Godzilla.
Felicity had heard of 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,' but, apparently, she needed to add 'think no evil' to that list as well, because, with one thought of her mother, she appeared. Not that her mom was evil or anything, but she certainly wasn't the most welcome of guest when Felicity was naked underneath a robe in a hotel room with an equally naked under his robe Oliver. And she also wasn't breakfast either... which would have gone a long way in making their current situation better. Maple syrup always improved everything.
Pulling Felicity away from thoughts of her stomach... and other less than parental approved body parts, Donna Smoak scampered towards her in all her bondage dress, stiletto heels wearing glory, a piece of paper clenched to the point that it was unrecognizable in her manicured, left hand. "Don't mom me, Felicity Megan Smoak."
"Ugh...?" She looked over her mother's shoulder towards Oliver, but he was no help, simply staring on in an intimidated funk.
"For years, I've stayed out of your business. I've ignored all my instincts, and I've let you live your life without interference, trusting you to know what's best for you. I bit my tongue after the city you chose to make your home in suffered from an earthquake that took the lives of more than 500 people. After all, it's California, so earthquakes happen... both natural and man made, evidently. No offense, Oliver."
"None taken," he managed to get out.
With wide, apprehensive eyes – because, yeah, Felicity had a feeling she knew where this was going, she met Oliver's equally wary glance, but her mom didn't seem to notice their distraction – just plowing on through as she continued to make her point. "I never complained about the fact that it took you days to let me know that you were safe, and I never once suggested that you move back home. Even after last year when Starling was hit by its second terrorist attack in two years, I held by peace, because I know you and just how stubborn you are. I knew that, if I said anything, that would only make you dig your heels in even deeper. Hell, I didn't even complain after I came to visit you and we were kidnapped. But this!" And Donna Smoak shook her clenched fist in emphasis. "This is too much; it's gone too far!"
Trying for unaffected, trying for a calmness she didn't feel, Felicity started, "Mom, I can't reassure you if I don't know what's..."
But she was quickly interrupted. "Oh, don't pull that innocent, sweet card on me, Felicity. Don't forget who taught you that one." Before she could react, before she could even think of a reaction, her mother seemed to switch tactics. She lost her steam and found her ability, like any good Jewish woman, to make her daughter feel guilty. "I've never claimed to be the perfect parent. I've done my best, and I tried my hardest to be there for you, but I know that I made mistakes."
"I know that, Mom," Felicity tried to reassure her. "And we're in a good place now."
But Donna was in no mood to be comforted. Or placated. "Do you know how much it hurts to have to hear gossip about my own daughter from my coworkers? Do you know how embarrassing it is that, after I called your friend Mr. Diggle and found out that you'd gone on an indefinite vacation, that I had to ask around at all the different hotel chains in order to find my own daughter, because she didn't have the decency herself to tell me what was going on?" She went to apologize, but then her mom took that final step towards her and pushed what Felicity could now tell was a blown up photo against her chest. "Do you want to tell me what the hell you're wearing in this picture?"
Suddenly, she didn't need to see the piece of paper to understand. Taking a deep breath, because this was, apparently, really happening, and Felicity had never wanted to have this conversation with her mother – not only because deniability and distance kept her safe but also because... how; how could she possibly tell her mother about her life? For someone who loved and used words so much, even Felicity could admit that sometimes they weren't enough. "We call it the Atom suit."
"Ray. Myself. The team."
Either Donna didn't care about who the team was, or she assumed Felicity meant her Palmer Tech team and dismissed them as insignificant. "Felicity, the report this picture went along with said that this suit was seen flying – flying! – around Starling City, saving this one," a thumb hooked over her shoulder indicated Oliver, "when he fell over the side of a dam after police shot him. Apparently, those were some robes he was wearing since they stopped bullets. Not that we're not happy about that, of course." Whirling around on her heels to face the man in question, she warned, "but don't think we're not talking about your getup, too, Mr. Queen."
"Right. Of course," Oliver quickly agreed. When Donna just stared at him impatiently, he realized, "oh, now?" Although he looked longingly towards his pants – and Felicity couldn't blame him, Oliver didn't move or even fidget. Nope. There was no imaginary bow string rubbing going on there. And Felicity would know, because she checked. "I'd just gotten back from a very remote... retreat where the robes were the customary dress. There had been no time to change before... well, what happened."
"And what exactly did happen," Donna demanded to know from her daughter, turning back around to direct those laser-beams of motherly concern and curiosity once more in Felicity direction.
"Given your earlier recaps of my biggest failures as a daughter, I'm sure you won't find it too hard to believe that Terrorist Number Three happened. Oliver fought him. He beat him. But the police are idiots, and they shot him anyway."
"You," her mom looked over her shoulder at Oliver, "fought a terrorist... and won?"
"I, uh, picked up some skills while I was presumed dead."
"I'd say so," her mother murmured underneath her breath. After that, the hotel room fell silent, and Felicity sagged in relief. Just as her eyes were slipping shut on a much deserved exhalation, though, she felt a small hand slap her shoulder, and she snapped her gaze open... only to find her mom glaring at her once more. "Hey, what happened to your so-called fear of heights, huh?"
With a genuine smile, Felicity confessed, "I've learned that there are things in this life that scare me more." Her attention drifted away from her mom and settled upon the man who had both taught her that lesson and helped her conquer her fears. "When I found out that Oliver was in trouble, I was willing to do anything – even fly in a crazy, ridiculous suit – to save him. There was no choice to make." Needing to add a little levity to the moment, she quipped, "plus, constant exposure to heights and the desire to hold on tight don't hurt either."
For several seconds, her mom was still and quiet, but then she smirked, and then she laughed, and then she was crowing, "that's Vegas, baby!"
And, in response, Felicity felt herself getting annoyed. Because, while she had kept her silence over the years every time Donna Smoak made that same exclamation whenever Felicity accomplished or did something great – you built a computer on your own?, you're valedictorian?, you took second at the National Information Technology Competition?, this was the one thing she wouldn't allow her mother to diminish with such a comparison. Oliver's life, Oliver himself, was too important. "No," she countered angrily, raising her voice. "Not Vegas! Using my intellect and skills to build a flying, robotic suit that could save the life of the man I love is not Vegas, Mom!"
"You know, for such a smart girl, you can really be stupid sometimes, Felicity."
To that, she just stared – stunned and aghast, offended. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me, Felicity Megan Smoak. You're being an idiot." Before she could counter, her mom pressed forward. "All these years that I've been saying that, and I just now realized that you don't even understand what I've been trying to tell you. I love Vegas. I love its energy, its brightness, its spark. It's so alive, and it's a place where anything seems possible. But I love you more. The day you were born, the day they placed your wrinkled like a raisin, screaming red body in my arms, you became my Vegas; you became my City of Light."
Sniffing and fighting back her tears with a chuckle, Felicity said, "mom, Paris is the City of Light. Well, and Love. Vegas is the City of Sin."
"So, then you've always been my Paris." Donna simply shrugged at the correction, smiling tearfully as well. "And, now, with Oliver, you can be my Vegas, my City of Sin, too."
"Mom," she chastised loudly, feeling both embarrassed and horrified. "Let's just stick with Paris, okay? Light and love I can handle."
"But sin will get me grandbabies," her mother remarked smugly. Without waiting for her speechless daughter to respond, Felicity watched as her mom sauntered away. Just as she wrapped her small hand around the hotel room's door, pulling it open to reveal a startled bellhop, she called out over her shoulder, "I want to become a grandmother while I'm still young enough to enjoy it. See what you can do about that, Oliver." And then, with a wink and a sashay of her hips, Donna Smoak was gone just as quickly as she had arrived. If it wasn't for the lingering scent of her oh-so-familiar perfume... well, and Oliver's thunderstruck expression, Felicity would have believed the morning to have been nothing more than a horribly awful, awkward, amazing dream.
"Um... room service?"
"Leave it," Oliver requested without looking away from her. And the bellhop did just that. Evidently, permission to leave was all the tip required or desired.
As soon as the door closed behind the hotel employee, Oliver pounced.