"You know," Felicity murmurs, dropping a kiss somewhat inelegantly on the tip of Oliver's nose while running her hands appreciatively down his biceps, "I could get used to this."
Her legs are taut around his bare waist as he carries her into her room. They're both already naked – Felicity shed the last of her clothing (her shirt and her bra) somewhere down the hall, she thinks. She can't quite remember. Truth be told, she's glad Oliver's carrying her, because the backs of her legs are still kind of numb from where Oliver pressed her against her kitchen counter and filled her so completely to the hilt that it was impossible to tell where she ended and he began.
When he reaches the bed and Felicity leans down to kiss him, she can feel him smile against her lips. "So could I."
She is reminded inexplicably of their first time in Nanda Parbat when Oliver lies back beneath her, letting her straddle him. And like she did then, Felicity finds herself running her hands over the array of faded scars and tattoos that cover his skin. She goes carefully, fingertips light on his chest, wary of the damage done by those bullets, even with all that armour. Gently, slowly, she explores the smooth skin of his abdomen, and when her fingers inch up his ribcage, she feels his muscles contract at his sharp intake of breath.
She – they – never got to do this in Nanda Parbat. Back then, they didn't think they had time. Now, though, Felicity's determined for the two of them to have all the time in the world.
"I love you," she whispers, and she knows she's said it already tonight but she needs him to know how much she means it. "And I am... so glad you're here. With me. That you're alive."
"I keep thinking this is all a dream," Oliver admits, his hand sliding down the small of her waist until it reaches the curve of her hip, "that at any moment you're going to call me al-Saheem and I'm going to wake up –"
"That I'm going to call you what?" Felicity interrupts.
For a moment, Oliver doesn't answer – groaning softly with effort, he sits up once more, bearing the full weight of her in his lap. And when he does speak, he doesn't quite meet her eyes.
"In my dreams, we would be in the foundry, or in a car, and all of a sudden you would just call me al-Saheem. Just – out of nowhere, you would say it. It was how I knew that those dreams couldn't be real. Because there was no way you would ever... being this other person, this monster – it was so hard. So full of darkness and pain and –"
"Oliver," Felicity says quietly, and she halts whatever he's going to say next with a kiss. It's too soon, and seeing that pain in Oliver's eyes makes something in her threaten to break because she knows neither of them are ready to confront all the things that have happened over the last few weeks. Not yet. And that's okay, Felicity thinks to herself, because they have time. As much time as they want, in fact.
He lets her kiss him, his hands fisting in her hair, pulling her closer so her breasts are flush against his chest and she feels her nipples pebbling when they come into contact with his skin. At the same time, she becomes aware of the hardness digging into her hipbone, and immediately she feels the tug of renewed arousal in her groin.
It's obvious Oliver notices too, from the way his hand goes to her thigh and the fact that he gazes up at her in wonder. "I love you."
Felicity barely has time to smile in reply, though, when suddenly Oliver winds one arm around her waist, flipping them over so he is on top of her. Automatically, Felicity's arms go up to grip his back as he presses kisses onto her jaw and down her neck, and she moans when, with one hand, he nudges her legs apart so he can run his forefinger along the wetness leaking down her inner thigh.
Still, Felicity's hands are caressing his back, her fingers blindly tracing the tattoo she knows he has on one shoulder blade. It's as she's running her palm up his hip and higher, to his other shoulder blade, however, that suddenly the skin beneath her hand feels rougher, and she realises then that he's got a new addition to his ever growing scar collection.
"Hey," Felicity says, trying to lift his face (where it's buried in her neck) to hers. He looks up, and she rubs her thumb over that roughened spot on his back – noting, at the same time, that it doesn't feel like a normal scar – it feels almost triangular under her hand. "What happened here?"
Oliver sighs. "Ra's al Ghul." He closes his eyes. "It was... part of my initiation into the League. A way to burn away my old identity as Oliver Queen and... brand me as this new person."
And this time, when she kisses him, she can taste his pain; she can feel from the way he sighs into her mouth and loses himself in her lips that he takes comfort in her kiss. It's okay, she tells him without speaking. I'm here.
When Oliver pulls away, he meets her eyes with so much gratitude, so much love, that Felicity has to take a deep breath to steady herself before she manages to find the words she wants to say.
"Can I see?"
She's not sure why she's asking. It's not going to be pretty – she knows that much. But she wants to. If only to see the damage Ra's has done to the love of her life, she wants to see. She doesn't have to, though – it's not like it'll change anything if he says no, not yet. Felicity wonders if he's about to say just that as he closes his eyes once more, not answering her question.
Seconds later, though, he moves off her, rolling over so his back is to her. She can hear him holding his breath as she edges closer to him, her eyes searching for the brand he just talked about.
Her heart sinks when she finds it.
It's an arrowhead, burned into his flesh. "Oh my God," Felicity whispers, as her hand moves almost of its own accord to the mark. It feels even rougher than before, and the brand is darker than the skin surrounding it. "Oliver... what did they do to you?"
Only now does she realise how much her voice is trembling. Felicity also becomes aware of Oliver softly, gently exhaling, letting out the breath he's been holding.
"I'm okay," he assures her. She can't see his face but it's not hard to imagine the placatory expression that must surely be on it – the one he's worn so many times before whenever he tells her he's all right, even though he's not. And then, without thinking, Felicity edges forward even more, so her torso is aligned with his and her arms are wrapped around his middle, and she can feel his muscles relax in her grasp as she does so.
"You're not," Felicity says, and she presses her face into the back of his neck, mouthing her next words into his skin, one hand slipping down his abdomen. "I can tell that much. But you will be."
Oliver groans again, and Felicity welcomes the sound, just at her hand moving to cup him between his legs and her breasts against his back. He turns around so he's facing her once more.
"Thank you," he manages to say before their lips meet. The clumsiness of his kiss – landing on the corner of her mouth – is enough to make her chuckle lightly as his hand closes around her wrist. She reaches down once more, and when her palm finds the tip of his cock, he shudders at her touch, his hand tightening around her arm.
"Fe-li-ci-ty..." He draws out her name in the way she loves, whispering it, all the while holding her gaze as she runs her hand up and down his length. His voice is hoarse, almost gravelly, and there's something different, better, in a way, watching him get off like this, feeling him swell in her hand, seeing the beads of sweat forming on his forehead. Maybe it's because for once Oliver doesn't have to be in control – it seems that way, judging from how he thrusts into her hand and reaches out, grappling for some part of her to hold onto.
His hand settles eventually on her hip, just as Felicity moves down a little so she can kiss the Bratva tattoo on his chest. She doesn't stop what she's doing with her hand, though, and it's as she drops kisses up to his collarbone and then his neck that she feels his chest tense beneath her lips.
"God, Felicity – don't stop, Felicity, yes, like that – fuck –"
Her hand tightens once more around his throbbing cock, pressing her thumb on the tip, and his hold on her hip tightens, too, as he comes into her hand and onto her stomach. She looks up, meeting his eyes and smiling up at him, and he looks so spent, so undone, that Felicity's momentarily lost to words.
It's as he leans in for a kiss that he says softly, "Sorry."
She lets him kiss her, lets him nip her bottom lip with his teeth before she replies. "I like it."
He looks surprised. "You do?"
"No, actually, I love it." She's not lying. Some primal part of her can't help but relish the fact that her abdomen is now covered in the sticky mess that is Oliver's essence – that her skin is probably coated in a mixture of his sweat and hers. Especially when she's the one who's done that to him. The very thought of it sends a warm flood of arousal between her thighs that makes her moan softly before she adds, "I love you." She lifts her clean hand to the brand of the arrowhead on his back. "All of you."