I'm developing a thing for doing Arrow AU stories. I can't help myself!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. The story title comes from the song "Poison and Wine" by The Civil Wars.
Felicity Smoak was four years old when she decided that she was going to marry Oliver Queen.
Felicity's father was best friends with Oliver's father, so she grew up with him. He was eight years old and he was basically Felicity's hero. She followed him around whenever she could, and he let her, so of course that only made her like him more.
Oliver spun the lacrosse stick he was holding in his hand. Robert Queen and Eli Smoak were having a meeting at the Queen mansion, so of course that meant Felicity insisted on tagging along so she could see Oliver. He told her that he was going to practice lacrosse in the grounds, and he offered to show Felicity.
Oliver smiled when he saw Felicity's blonde head ducked over a book. "Are you sure you don't want to play, Felicity?" Oliver asked.
Felicity looked up from the book she was reading and looked uneasily at the lacrosse stick. Even though she was only four years old, she knew that she wasn't very athletically inclined. Still, she set her book aside and accepted the lacrosse stick that Oliver held out to her.
"I promise it's not that hard," Oliver told her. "I play with Tommy all the time."
Tommy Merlyn was Oliver's other best friend. He was kind of annoying in Felicity's opinion, but he was always around so she put up with him. So she followed along with Oliver's instructions until she kind of got the hang of it, and then stood in front of the goal post that was set up.
"Maybe we should practice more," Felicity suggested. She brushed her curly blonde hair out of her eyes and tried to stand the way that Oliver showed her.
Oliver scooped up one of the balls. "It'll be fine, Felicity," he said. "Are you ready?"
Felicity had barely nodded her head before the ball came flying towards her. She tried to move the lacrosse stick the way Oliver had taught her to, but it slipped in her unpracticed hands and the ball ended up hitting her smack in the forehead instead.
Felicity cried out in pain and clutched at her forehead. Her eyes watered due to the force of the impact, but she was trying her very best not to cry. Oliver was right there in front of her, gently pulling her hands away from her head.
"I'm so sorry, Felicity," he apologized. He was trying his best not to be panicked, but he was only eight years old and his friend was hurt. The angry red mark forming on Felicity's forehead was kind of scary, but Oliver's first course of action was to make sure that Felicity wasn't hurt too badly. "I'm so, so sorry."
Felicity sniffled and wiped at the tears coursing down her cheeks. "It doesn't hurt too much," she said.
Oliver studied the mark before he leaned forward and pressed his lips lightly to her forehead. Felicity blinked in surprise, her tears suddenly forgotten. She looked up at him with wide blue eyes, and he gave her a reassuring smile when he realized she had stopped crying.
"What was that for?" Felicity asked in a small voice.
Oliver shrugged his shoulders. "Raisa kisses Thea's boo boos when she gets hurt," he said. He took her little hand in his and began to pull her back towards the mansion. "Now let's go find Raisa. She might have some cookies for us."
Oh yes. Felicity Smoak was definitely going to marry Oliver Queen.
Turning her head from left to right, Felicity inspected her reflection in the mirror. She sighed and pushed her hair away from her forehead. It totally didn't help matters that she was having a bad hair day, so her frizzy hair didn't help her appearance at all.
With another long, drawn-out sigh, she snatched the glasses off of her face and attempted to make out her blurry features in the mirror. Felicity slid the glasses back onto her face when she realized that it was no use. She was stuck with the glasses.
Felicity was thirteen years old and she was going to be starting the ninth grade with glasses. This was not how she wanted to enter high school.
There was a knock on the door, and the last person she wanted to see or hear spoke. "Felicity? It's me, Oliver. Can I come in?"
"Um, no," Felicity stated. She could feel her cheeks heat up, and she knew that if she looked in the mirror she would see her cheeks flame red in embarrassment. "You absolutely cannot come in."
On the other side of the door, Oliver chuckled. "Come on, Felicity. Let me see. They can't be that bad."
Felicity groaned. "Oliver, trust me when I say that they are that bad. Have you ever known me to lie before?"
"Lie? No. Over exaggerate and be very dramatic? Yes."
Felicity yanked the door open in order to level a glare at Oliver. "I resent that," she snapped. She was in no mood for Oliver to be cute—or, as she liked to call it, extremely annoying.
Oliver looked supremely proud of himself, and Felicity realized that, as he usually did, he got exactly what he wanted. Due to her need to prove Oliver wrong, she had opened the door and inadvertently revealed her new glasses to him. "See? I told you they weren't that bad."
Despite her resolve to be mature about the whole issue (she had made herself a promise when she left her appointment to get the glasses earlier that day), Felicity huffed and stomped her foot. "Oliver, I look like a dork!" she exclaimed. She suddenly felt like she was about to cry, but she refused to feel bad about it. She was thirteen years old and about to enter high school—that was a good enough reason as any to cry.
"You do not." Reaching out, Oliver adjusted one of Felicity's frizzy blonde curls. Felicity tried to ignore the way her heart skipped a beat. Oliver Queen was way out of her league, and it didn't matter that she had had a crush on him for as long as she could remember.
Felicity jerked out of her Oliver-induced day dream and was immediately embarrassed at the way her cheeks heated up once again. "Yes?"
Oliver tapped the corner of the frame of the glasses. "Don't be embarrassed. The glasses work for you."
Felicity shyly pushed the glasses up the bridge of her nose. "Okay," she finally said. "Okay. They're just glasses."
"That's right." Oliver nodded encouragingly at her and grinned. "And if anyone says anything, I'll kick their ass." Oliver was a senior at the very prestigious Starling Academy. Felicity had gained early admission; she probably could have even skipped to sophomore year, but she didn't want to miss out on her high school experience.
Ha. She was kind of regretting that decision now.
The only reason Oliver was even still at Starling Academy was because the Queen family made several hefty donations a year. Plus, Felicity had managed to convince him to stick it out long enough to graduate because she would be there.
"Oliver Queen," Felicity admonished. "Violence is not the answer. You can't get into any fights this year. You don't want to get expelled before you graduate!"
Oliver shrugged. "It'd be worth it for you."
Felicity rolled her eyes but hugged her best friend anyway. And the next day, when she saw Oliver threaten some guy that teased her, she didn't yell at him… that much.
Felicity smoothed her hands over her dress and turned from side to side. The skirt swung around her legs, and Felicity watched it sparkle. It was a pretty dress, that was for sure. Her hair and makeup were perfect, and for once, Felicity didn't feel like an awkward sixteen year old.
She was going with a group of friends to prom, and she knew that she was going to have fun tonight. They had all decided not to try and find dates, because it would just be so much more fun to go together and not have to worry about entertaining dates. They would all be arriving at Felicity's house in the next half hour in order to take pictures.
The floor-length skirt of her strapless tulle gown allowed Felicity to wear flats instead of heels. There was no way she was going to try and navigate a dance floor on the sky-high heels her friends were sure to be wearing. Instead of the bright colors that Felicity normally wore, she picked a dress that was a beautiful gray color. The fact that it sparkled every time she moved definitely made up for the lack of color.
Eli was waiting at the bottom of the stairs with a camera. When he caught sight of his daughter, he immediately started clicking away. The bright flash of the camera surprised Felicity, and she almost tripped over a step.
"Dad!" Felicity protested. "Can you at least wait until I get all the way down the stairs before you try and blind me?"
Eli snapped another picture for good measure. "I have to capture this moment, Felicity. This is very important!"
Felicity rolled her eyes but she smiled anyway. Eli had gone all out for the night of prom. Their chef was preparing all sorts of cute little finger foods for the girls to eat before they left, and Eli had ordered flowers to place around the foyer for the pictures.
"Dad, this is perfect," Felicity said. She hugged him tightly. Sure, he had been a bit of an absentee parent at times, but he had pulled out all of the stops for this moment and Felicity could appreciate that.
Eli grinned at his daughter. "That's not all. I have one more surprise for you." Turning, he gestured to someone who was in one of the sitting rooms.
Felicity was surprised when Oliver Queen came into the foyer, dressed in a tuxedo. All Felicity could do was blink a few times. He was so handsome that it was actually unfair.
Chuckling, Eli nudged Felicity. She started and exclaimed, "Oliver!" The young man in question grinned and hugged her tightly.
"Hey, Felicity," he greeted. "Surprise!"
Pulling back, Felicity hit him in the chest. "Shouldn't you be at Harvard right now?"
"Um…" Oliver rubbed the back of his neck and refused to look at Eli, who had started laughing again. "I might have gotten kicked out."
"What? It just happened last night. My dad doesn't even know yet."
"Well apparently my father knows what happened, but I'll let it go for now." Felicity hugged Oliver again. Given that he just got kicked out of yet another Ivy league school, she figured that he needed it. "What are you doing here? And don't think I haven't missed the fact that you're wearing a tux."
Oliver tugged on Felicity's ear playfully. "No wonder MIT accepted you early decision. You have such astute observation skills."
"Shut up." Felicity batted his hand away but couldn't keep the beaming smile off of her face. "Seriously, what's going on?"
Oliver tucked his hands into his pockets and suddenly looked very sheepish. "Well, I knew your prom was coming up and I figured you could use a date. When I called your dad, he said that you were going with a group of friends, but I thought that I'd come and surprise you anyway."
Felicity suddenly felt like the four year old little girl that had been madly in love with Oliver Queen. She was so touched by this sweet gesture that for a moment she thought she was going to cry. She blinked hard and threw her arms around Oliver's neck, hugging him once again.
To cover up her sudden rush of emotions, Felicity said, "Come on. I know you're really just here to make up for the fact that you didn't go to your own prom."
Oliver shrugged his shoulders, but that didn't stop the smirk from forming on his face. He and Tommy had skipped their prom entirely and ended up getting drunk and throwing a big party at the mansion. Felicity knew because she had received a very drunken phone call in the middle of the night. At fourteen years old, it had been quite amusing for her.
"Come on," Eli said. "Let's get a few pictures of the two of you together before the rest of your friends get here."
Felicity posed for pictures with Oliver at her father's direction. With the last one, Oliver spontaneously kissed her cheek. In that moment, Felicity decided all over again that she wanted to marry Oliver Queen.
"Okay, well what about Stanford?"
"Can't. I got kicked out of that one last semester."
"Nah, they already told my dad that they heard about my reputation and they weren't going to let me in."
"That's the first place I got kicked out of, remember?"
Felicity rolled her eyes. "Oliver, you're only twenty-one. How many universities have you been banned from?"
Oliver grinned and took a sip of scotch from the fancy crystal tumbler he was holding. "You know the answer to that question, Felicity."
"Well yeah, of course I do. Your dad talks about it with mine all of the time. He says he's running out of Ivy leagues to send you to." Felicity rolled over on Oliver's massive four-poster bed and pulled one of the fluffy pillows under her head. They had chosen to spend the night in the mansion, and Oliver's room was the only place they could find any privacy.
"I know." Oliver snorted and took another long pull of scotch from the glass. "Maybe he'll finally get the hint."
Felicity ignored that comment. "Have you thought about Yale?"
Oliver smirked. "I was banned from ever setting foot on that campus again, so I doubt they would allow me admission." He held the tumbler out to Felicity, and she took it with a skeptical look firmly in place on her face. "It's the good stuff, Felicity. Try it."
"That's what you said the last time I tried scotch." She swirled the amber liquid in the glass and wrinkled her nose. Oliver had always been the big partier, not her. Felicity had spent many a night picking up a drunken Oliver from different parties and clubs, so she had decided to hold off on the alcohol until she at least got to college.
Felicity only had one more month until she headed off to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a little anxious about the fact that she had just turned seventeen and was headed off to college, but she knew it was the right thing for her to do. She had finished high school early, and she was eager to start the next chapter of her life.
Still, thinking about being on her own for the first time in her entire life stressed her out a little bit. So she took a sip—albeit a small one—of the scotch.
Speaking of… "What about MIT?" Oliver suggested. "I'm sure both of our fathers could pull a few strings and get me in there."
Felicity promptly choked on the scotch and just barely kept it in her mouth. It would have been quite embarrassing to spew the very expensive scotch all over Oliver's equally expensive bedspread. When she finally managed to swallow, she managed to get out a surprised, "What?" between hacking coughs.
Oliver grinned at her, and then Felicity noticed that his eyes were sparkling. "I'm kidding, Felicity. You're going to be great at MIT. You don't need to worry about me while you're there. You already had to deal with that in high school."
Felicity did help Oliver a lot in high school. It wasn't that he wasn't smart—Oliver was actually pretty brilliant. But he didn't want to put the work in, and he had some trouble focusing, so Felicity would often sit with him while they did homework. Of course, there was also how she basically babysat him when he went out and partied. It only got worse once he went to college, but Felicity didn't really mind.
There was more to Oliver Queen than the partying playboy image he put out for everyone else in Starling City. He just needed to believe in himself the way that Felicity did.
"Oliver…" Felicity began, but she was interrupted when the door to his bedroom swung open.
"Oliver, where are you?" The voice of Laurel Lance cut through the easygoing atmosphere between Oliver and Felicity. "I've been waiting downstairs for twenty minutes!"
Oliver looked at his watch, cursed, and then snatched the crystal tumbler away from Felicity. He threw the rest of the drink back and then turned around to face his girlfriend. He managed a small smile, and Felicity chose that moment to try and become invisible by sinking into Oliver's lush bedspread.
"Laurel—" Oliver began, but she already interrupted him.
"The movie is going to start in ten minutes. There's no way that we're going to make it in time." Laurel crossed her arms over her chest, taking up a defensive position that Oliver had seen from her plenty of times. Laurel's gaze fell to Felicity, and her face softened a little. "Hello, Felicity."
"Hi Laurel," Felicity muttered. She had also been witness to several fights between Oliver and Laurel. They had been dating on and off for over a year, and they spent a good portion of that time fighting. "It's kind of my fault Oliver got held up. I'm a little nervous about leaving for school, and he was just helping me out."
Laurel smiled at Felicity. When she had started dating Oliver, she had easily accepted that one of his closest friends was a teenage girl with a tendency towards all things nerdy. Laurel never had a problem with Felicity, so it wasn't like she could hate her.
"Don't worry about it, Felicity," Laurel said.
"We'll just go to dinner instead," Oliver suggested, and Laurel nodded his head. He sent Felicity a small smile in thanks, and the younger girl gathered up all of her notebooks and waved before leaving.
Like she said realized before, Felicity couldn't hate Laurel Lance. But that didn't mean that she couldn't be extremely jealous of the fact that she was dating Oliver.
Felicity attempted to juggle her bag, her textbooks, and her cup of coffee while simultaneously reaching for her phone. She wasn't succeeding very well, however, and one of her books and her coffee were perilously close to tumbling towards the ground.
Deciding that saving the coffee would be the best course of action, Felicity let the textbook slip from her grip. She nudged it towards the bench off to the side of the path and managed to answer her phone before the last ring.
"Felicity? It's Oliver."
Felicity was so surprised by the familiar voice on the other end of the line that she nearly tripped over the textbook she had dropped. "Shit!" she exclaimed involuntarily.
"Felicity, are you okay?"
Felicity managed to right herself just in time. "Yeah," she said into the phone. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just tripped over a book. No big deal, it happens all the time. So." Felicity took a deep breath in order to put a pause to her rambling. "To what do I owe this call? It's been a while since I've heard from you."
"Yeah, I know." Oliver sighed heavily. "I'm sorry. I've just been so busy with Laurel and the move and everything else…"
"Ah yes, everything else. Have you been arrested for anything else lately?"
"Shit. You heard about that?"
Felicity laughed at that. "Of course I heard about it, Oliver! You weren't exactly subtle. It's been all over the tabloids. I bet your father is thrilled."
"Of course he is," Oliver said. "He's threatened to cut me off. Again. So, you know."
They fell into a somewhat tense, uncomfortable silence. Things were fine during her first year at MIT. She went back for every break and it was like her and Oliver had never been apart. He even came up to visit her twice.
Then Felicity started her second year, and her workload doubled. Oliver started dating Laurel again after yet another one of their breaks, and he and Felicity just kind of stopped talking. They both got too busy and their phone calls got further and further apart. They stopped talking all together when Felicity was unable to make it back for Thanksgiving break.
"Oliver. Why did you call?" Felicity finally asked.
There was another long pause. "I miss you," Oliver said in a quiet voice. "I miss you, and I'm sorry."
Suddenly, Felicity felt tears burning in her eyes. Her voice was shaky as she spoke, and she tried to get a grip on her emotions. "I know," she whispered. Clearing her throat, she swiped her fingers under her eyes. She didn't want to be the weird girl crying on the park bench. "I'm sorry, too."
"My dad wants me to get more involved with the company," Oliver revealed. "So he's making me go on this trip with him. We're taking the new yacht."
"Sounds fancy," Felicity said. "But it could be fun. It could be like a vacation."
"Maybe," Oliver agreed, but he sounded doubtful. "Anyway, we're leaving in a week. There's going to be a big going away party. I was wondering if you might be able to make it."
Felicity smiled. "I'll definitely try to make it."
A distant ringing sound reached Felicity's ears. She was in the middle of a deep sleep, so she wasn't entirely sure if it was part of her dream or not. When it happened again and it was louder, Felicity knew that her phone was actually ringing.
Without lifting her head, Felicity slapped her hand around on the tabletop of her nightstand. Finally, her fingers hit her phone and she swiped across the screen to answer it before she lifted it to her ear. Her head was still pressed to her pillow, and she managed to grunt, "Hello?" into her phone.
Well, she certainly hadn't been expecting to hear her father's voice. Sitting up, she pushed her messy blonde hair back from her face. It was only three o'clock in the morning, and that thought alone made Felicity's heart thump wildly in her chest. Why was her father calling her this early in the morning?
"Something… something happened, Felicity."
"What is it? What happened?" When Felicity's father didn't respond right away, she let out a frustrated noise and threw one of her pillows across the room for good measure. "Dad!"
Eli let out a sigh. "I'm sorry, Felicity," he said. "But it's Oliver. And Robert. There was a storm and—"
"—something happened to their ship—"
"No, no, no!"
"And they haven't recovered any survivors. I'm sorry."
Eli was still talking, but Felicity stopped listening. The phone slipped from her hand and she could do nothing more than stare off into space as she heard her father's words in her mind over and over again.
She couldn't cry, but she couldn't breathe, either. Felicity clutched at her chest as she tried to catch her breath, and her vision blurred. It felt as though the whole world was collapsing around her, and she didn't know how to handle it.
The only thing Felicity could think of was that she had never made it to the going away party. She had never regretted something so much in her entire life.
Felicity wasn't even listening to the speeches. It was a bright, sunny day—an odd contrast to the somber air of the double funeral for Robert and Oliver Queen. Felicity clutched a white lily in her hand and tried desperately not to crush it in her fingers.
Oliver's funeral felt like some weird, out of body experience. Moira Queen was sitting at the front with her eyes hidden behind huge, dark sunglasses. Thea, Oliver's little sister, was in tears. They were big, sobbing, gasping tears that broke Felicity's heart—but she couldn't think of a way to comfort her.
Laurel was there with her father and her younger sister, Sara. There was an appropriate feeling of mourning with the Lance family, but there was also an unbearable air of tension. It turned out that Oliver had also been seeing Sara on the side while he had been with Laurel.
That made Felicity wonder when she and Oliver had grown apart. Over the past year, so much had happened in his life that she didn't know about. Oliver Queen may have been her best friend, but did she actually know him anymore?
And now she would never get to know what she missed.
Pushing those thoughts from her mind, Felicity instead stared down at the white lily in her hands. She twirled the flower slowly between her fingers, and all she could think about was how Oliver never really seemed like that kind of person who would want lilies at his funeral.
Eli put his hand on his daughter's shoulder, and Felicity wished that she could feel some type of emotion. But ever since Eli had told her what happened, she had been oddly numb. She hadn't cried once, and she kind of hated herself for it.
The funeral was over before Felicity knew it. They headed back to the Queen mansion, where they were having a big, fancy dinner. Felicity hung around Thea for most of the night, which she knew the younger Queen appreciated. Thea was only two years younger than Felicity, and she had a feeling that they would be spending a lot more time together.
Reaching over, Felicity took one of Thea's hands in hers. Thea sniffled loudly and wrapped both of her arms around one of Felicity's in return. She rested her head against the blonde's shoulder and the two young women simply sat in silence.
Felicity couldn't imagine a day that would be worse than this.
*Five years later*
Spinning around in the chair at her desk, Felicity tried her best to ignore the young woman bouncing around in the door of her office. Of course, Thea Queen was not easily ignored. She waved a bag from a very fancy boutique in front of Felicity's face and pushed aside the tablet she had been working on.
"Hello, I just bought you the most gorgeous dress." Thea shook the bag to make her point. "And I have the perfect shoes to go with it. So we're going to go back to the mansion, Raisa is going to make dinner for us, and then we're going to get ready and we're going to have an awesome night out."
Felicity sighed and eyed the bag. Thea did have an impeccable taste in clothes, and it was super tempting to look into the bag. Then again, a night out with Thea was always interesting, if not a little crazy. Thea perched herself on the corner of Felicity's desk and grinned. She knew that she was going to convince Felicity to go out tonight.
"Please, Felicity? You're twenty-three, I can actually legally drink now, and we're hot. We should definitely go out tonight. Please."
Shutting her laptop, Felicity reached for the bag and peered in at the dress. It was actually pretty tame to the dresses that Thea typically bought for going out. It was made of flowy, chiffon material that had a blush colored skirt and a black top. It was an adorable dress, really.
"This seems kind of dressy to be going out in," Felicity pointed out.
Thea rolled her eyes. "Okay, so there's this benefit they're having at the mansion. Mom said I had to make an appearance and I'm making you come with me so I don't suffer from boredom. Then we can go out."
Laughing, Felicity dropped the dress back into the bag and shut off the rest of the machines. "Since you did buy me this dress, I suppose I can go." Thea clapped her hands together, but Felicity held her hand up to stop any further celebration. "But if we have to sit through this benefit, we're breaking out the good bottle of wine. Not the stuff that your mom likes to serve to the investors she doesn't like."
"Duh, I already have a bottle picked out. Now let's go! I wasn't kidding when I said Raisa is going to make dinner for us. I convinced her to go off menu. We're eating nachos tonight!"
Laughing, Felicity followed Thea out of her office. Sometimes, being friends with the daughter of the CEO had perks. Given that it was almost five o'clock, no one really minded if Felicity left early anyway. Still, no one bothered to say anything as the two young women left.
Sometimes, Felicity couldn't believe that she worked at Queen Consolidated. She started off as a part of the help desk team in the IT department. Eli Smoak was still working with Moira as part of the board, but Felicity had insisted on getting the job without any help from her father. Since graduating early from MIT, she had worked her way up and was pretty close to making a promotion as one of the managers of the IT department.
"Lis, let's go!" Thea exclaimed. "I have to pick out my dress for tonight!"
Ducking into the kitchen, Felicity poured another glass of wine for both her and Thea. She was feeling pleasantly buzzed, and she wanted to keep this feeling going the whole night. She snagged a cucumber sandwich and popped it into her mouth before she headed back out to the benefit.
Thea met her in the entranceway to the dining room. She accepted the glass of wine from Felicity and downed half of it in one swallow. "Okay, we're going to finish this glass and then we're going to head out to the club. Sound good?"
Felicity giggled and nodded her head. She took a long sip from her own glass of wine and glanced around the room. There was string quartet playing classical music, and everyone was wearing floor-length ball gowns. Felicity and Thea looked a little out of place in their cocktail dresses (Thea's was made entirely out of black sequins), but there were there for the free booze and food.
Someone was missing from the room, however. Felicity looked around for Moira Queen. She should have been there talking up the investors with her husband, Walter Steele. Poking Thea in the shoulder, Felicity asked, "Thea, where's your mom? We should at least find her and say goodbye before we leave."
Thea huffed out a sigh and downed the rest of her wine. "If you insist."
Felicity finished the rest of her wine as well, and then they were off to find Moira and Walter. They searched all of the places they normally found Moira during benefits—the dining room, the ballroom, the kitchen, by the bar—but she was nowhere to be found.
Finally, they found her with Walter and the family doctor in her office on the second floor. Thea, of course, didn't waste any time in announcing her presence as she burst through the double doors. "Mom, Felicity and I are going out tonight—" She stopped speaking abruptly when she realized that her mother's eyes were filled with tears. "Mom? What's wrong?"
Whatever they were expecting Moira to say, it certainly wasn't what ended up coming out of her mouth. Moira sniffled and wiped her fingers under her eyes, even though her perfect makeup hadn't been messed up yet. Moira grabbed Walter's hand and took a deep breath
"Thea, they found your brother. They found Oliver."
Felicity was glad that she and Thea had downed all of that wine, because she was certain that was the only thing keeping her sane right now.
As soon as Moira had broken the news, they had all been whisked away in a town car that was headed towards Starling City Hospital. Felicity hadn't bothered to protest her tagging along with the Queen family, because she knew that Thea needed her right now.
There were already media crews setting up camp outside of the hospital, so the Queen family (plus Felicity) were let in through one of the hospital's back entrances. They were let into a wing that had been closed off, as Walter had called ahead to set up security. He spoke with the head of the team that he had hired as Moira was speaking to the doctor that had initially seen to Oliver when he first arrived in Starling City.
Felicity grabbed Thea's arm before she could go bursting into the room they were holding Oliver in. "Thea, I'll just wait out here for you guys. I'll be right here if you need me, okay?"
Thea shook her head, and her eyes shined with tears. Grabbing onto Felicity's hand with both of her own, Thea said, "Are you kidding me? You're coming in there with me. There's no way I can do this on my own, and God only knows that my mother won't be much help." She squeezed Felicity's hand and managed a small, shaky smile. "Besides, do you think any of us have forgotten how you and Oliver were practically inseparable growing up?"
Felicity's mouth open and closed, but she couldn't really think of an argument. Instead, her eyes fell to the door they were standing in front of. Oliver Queen was behind that door. Five years ago, Felicity thought that she would never see Oliver again. Now here they were, and Felicity was facing a moment that she didn't think was possible.
"Okay," Felicity whispered. Holding Thea's hand tightly in her own, she nodded her head and together they stepped towards the door. Moira and Walter joined them, and a beat of unbearable, tense silence passed. Then Moira pushed the door open, and they stepped inside.
Despite the fact that Oliver had spent the past five years on some deserted island (that's what they were reporting, anyway), he wasn't lying down in the hospital bed. He wasn't even hooked up to any of the machines. Instead, he was standing up and facing the window. His back was turned towards the door, but his shoulders tensed in such a way that suggested he knew that he was no longer alone in the room.
"Oliver?" Moira whispered.
Slowly, Oliver turned his head. When he caught sight of his family, he made his lips move into something that was supposed to resemble a smile. But there were deep, angry lines in his face that kind of canceled out the effect of the smile.
Moira gasped and threw her arms around Oliver, hugging him to her tightly. Oliver slowly raised his arms and hugged his mother in return. It kind of look like he had forgotten how to hug, honestly. Moira was talking a mile a minute, but Felicity wasn't paying much attention. Instead, she watched as his eyes found Thea.
Felicity took the opportunity to nudge Thea forward. Oliver patted his mother on the back, signaling the end of the awkward hug. Thea stood in front of her older brother, watching him with wide, uncertain eyes. Oliver held his arms out, and Thea ran straight into them. There were tears streaming down her cheeks, but she pressed her face to her brother's chest in an effort to hide them.
Speaking for the first time, Oliver whispered, "It's okay, Speedy." He gently stroked the back of her head, holding her as she cried. It was almost like she was a little girl again and she running to her brother to make her feel better. She could almost pretend that no time had passed at all.
Deciding that she had been hugging Oliver long enough, Thea pulled away and stepped aside. Suddenly, there was nothing standing between Oliver and Felicity. She blinked at him, unsure of what to do about Oliver's sudden entrance back into her life.
Oliver's mouth opened and closed. He scrubbed a hand over his face, blinked, and then said, "Felicity?"
Felicity was suddenly aware of how gravelly and deep Oliver's voice was. Licking her lips, she realized that she was unable to speak. Instead, she nodded her head and wondered if there was anything right to say in this situation.
Then, without realizing it, Oliver and Felicity somehow ended up in each other's arms. He was holding on to her and she was holding on to him, though neither knew who made the first move. His strong arms were wound tightly around her, and Felicity found herself pressed against a wall of hard muscle that she somehow fit against anyway. Oliver pressed his face into her neck and Felicity closed her eyes, holding on to him for dear life.
"We're going to have a party!"
Felicity and Thea rolled their eyes simultaneously. "Tommy, are you serious?" Thea demanded. "Oliver just returned from five years stranded on some god forsaken island. Do you really think a party is the best thing right now?"
Tommy Merlyn snorted. "Please, Thea. When have you ever passed up a good party?"
"Well, never," Thea admitted. "But something tells me that Oliver won't be in the mood for a party, you know?"
"Thea, come on." Tommy wrapped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed reassuringly. For good measure, he ruffled her hair and Thea tried to push him away. "When have I ever steered you wrong?"
"Plenty of times," Thea deadpanned.
Felicity laughed and shook her head. Tommy Merlyn really was something else, that was for sure. When Oliver had first disappeared, no one had heard from Tommy for almost three months. Then, all of the sudden, he had shown up at the Queen mansion and had crashed Thea and Felicity's movie night. Over the past five years, Tommy would randomly appear and either join in on what Thea and Felicity were doing or convince them to do something completely crazy. There was never a dull moment with Tommy around.
Felicity had been so caught up in her thoughts that she missed it when Oliver walked into the room. When he took a seat next to her on the couch, however, she immediately became aware of presence.
Of course, Tommy didn't waste any time in informing Oliver of his plans for the weekend. "Friday night. We're having a party at the club to celebrate your return from the dead."
"Tommy!" Felicity exclaimed. Honestly, couldn't he have just a little bit of couth?
The corners of Oliver's mouth tilted up into the ghost of smile. "It's okay, Felicity," he said. "It's been five years, but I'm still used to Tommy being an idiot."
Tommy grinned. "It's true. Not much has changed, bro. At least in regards to that, anyway."
"So what club is this?" Oliver asked. He leaned back against the couch and stretched his arms along with back of it. Felicity immediately took notice of how close his fingers were to her shoulder. "Did you finally achieve your dreams of opening a club for your debauchery?"
It was almost just like old times. Oliver and Tommy spent more than their fair share of time throwing jabs at each other, and Tommy, for his part, wanted to make Oliver as comfortable as possible by staying with the familiar.
Tommy chuckled. "It's not my club, actually," he explained. "Thea opened it a year ago and it's still one of the hottest places around. She must be doing something right."
"Really, Thea?" Oliver was visibly surprised by this information. "You opened the club?"
Thea shrugged her shoulders and tried to pretend like it wasn't a big deal. Really, though, she was proud of what she had done. In the first few months after Oliver had died, Thea had made it her mission to get in as much trouble as possible. It was only after one particularly scary incident that Thea decided to get her act together. She did better in school and then took several business courses before she began the process of opening the club.
"Felicity helped me put the business plan together," Thea explained. "And Tommy brought all of his douchey friends that like to party. So I had a lot of help."
Oliver reached over and squeezed Thea's shoulder. "Still, it's a lot to be proud of. I wasn't exactly building businesses when I was twenty-one."
The small group fell silent. When Oliver was twenty-one, he had partied as much as he could, slept around, and got kicked out of several Ivy league universities. He was living the life of a billionaire playboy bachelor. Looking at him now, five years after everyone thought he was dead, it was clear just how much that had changed. This Oliver Queen was a completely different man from the one that had disappeared.
Tommy cleared his throat, and the tense, sad silence was broken. "So this party. Friday night. Everyone be there, and you should all probably be a little drunk when you arrive. It's going to be a wild night."
"Thea, there is no way I'm going to wear this dress!"
Thea rolled her eyes. Sitting up, she slipped on her black leather pumps and adjusted the straps of her backless red dress. She was ready for this party—she had even prepared by taking two shots of some very expensive vodka. She grabbed the glass of champagne she had been sipping on and snagged the bottle as well. Felicity was definitely going to need some more if she was going to relax enough to come out with them tonight.
"Felicity, just shut up for two seconds and come out here so I can refill your glass. And so I can see you in this dress."
Felicity sighed heavily and rolled her eyes. She grabbed her empty glass and pushed open the door to the bathroom. She held out the glass and Thea filled it up while giving an approving nod at Felicity's appearance.
"Lis, you look fine," Thea said. "Now put the shoes on, take a shot, and let's go."
Felicity gulped down half of the glass of champagne at once. Thea had talked her into wearing a slinky black dress that fell to mid-thigh. Tiny straps held up the shoulders, and there was an overlay of intricate black sequins that sparkled with her every movement. The dress was gorgeous, but it just wasn't something that Felicity was used to wearing.
Her hair was twisted up and away from her face and her makeup was much darker than usual. Thea patted Felicity on the back and handed her a shot glass filled with clear liquid. Felicity knocked the shot back, chased it with the rest of the champagne, and slipped her shoes on.
"You look great. Oliver isn't going to know what to do when he sees you," Thea stated with a knowing smile.
Felicity gaped at her so-called best friend. "Thea! Seriously?"
"What? He may have been missing for five years, but I do know my brother."
Felicity could feel her cheeks heating up. "Do you realize who's going to be there tonight?" she demanded. "I doubt that Oliver will be paying any attention to me."
"Please." Thea rolled her eyes. "No one knows for sure if Laurel is going to show up."
"I can imagine she will. After all, her boyfriend is throwing this party."
Thea cursed and drank directly from champagne bottle. "I forgot that Oliver has no idea that Tommy and Laurel are together. Shit."
"Tonight should be lots and lots of fun, then," Felicity said.
Thea offered the bottle of champagne to her best friend, and she took it. "We're going to need so much more alcohol."
Half an hour later, they had arrived at Verdant. Tommy and Oliver were already there, and Tommy had done what every good best friend was supposed to do—he had ordered way too many drinks and already had several women surrounding them. When they caught sight of Thea and Felicity, Tommy put his fingers in his mouth and let out a high-pitched whistle.
"Look at the two of you!" He hugged both of them and kissed their cheeks in greeting. "Oliver and I are going to be busy keeping all the creeps off of you!"
Thea grabbed a drink off the tray and smirked. "Hey, this is a party. It wasn't like we couldn't show up wearing just anything."
Oliver, for his part, hadn't even spoken yet. He was staring at Felicity with parted lips and wide eyes. Felicity hadn't even noticed Oliver's reaction yet. She was trying to act as nonchalant as possible and refused to look anyone in the eye. The two of them were completely oblivious to the affect they had on one another.
Thea elbowed Tommy in the side and gestured between their two friends. Tommy smirked; he had been one of Oliver's closest friends for years. No matter how hard Oliver tried, Tommy knew that he harbored feelings for Felicity Smoak. Even though Oliver had insisted over and over again that he and Felicity were nothing but friends, Tommy knew better.
"Dude, you're staring," Tommy muttered.
Oliver managed to pull his eyes from Felicity and recovered by shooting a glare at Tommy. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Tommy snorted and took another sip of his drink. "Sure you don't." He snapped his fingers and a waiter immediately appeared at his side. Tommy ordered another round of drinks for the four of them and then guided the rest of the group towards a table.
Felicity adjusted the straps of her dress and crossed her legs, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible. She could feel Oliver's eyes practically burning into her exposed skin, and she could feel her cheeks heating up. Felicity reached for her drink and took a long sip of it, hoping that the cool liquid would give her some relief.
"Careful, there," Tommy muttered with a smirk. He knew exactly what Felicity was doing and had no problem teasing her for it.
Felicity's eyes narrowed dangerously and she poked Tommy's shoulder. "Shut up," she ordered, and Thea snickered on the other side of her.
By the time the next round of drinks had been delivered to the table, Oliver got up to excuse himself for the bathroom. Felicity watched him go with her brows furrowed. She had no idea what Oliver had gone through the last five years, but it had obviously been a dark experience. There was a heaviness around Oliver now that had never been there before, and his three closest friends had no idea what to do or how they could help fix it.
"You look entirely too sad right now, Lis," Thea told her. She knew exactly what was making Felicity so upset, and she wrapped an arm around her best friend and hugged her tightly. "Come on, this is supposed to be a party!"
"I know, I know," Felicity said with a sigh. "I just can't help but think that…" She trailed off and shrugged her shoulders. So much had changed in their lives in such a short amount of time, and there were so many feelings that Felicity just didn't know what to do with.
"I know." Thea nodded her head in agreement. She spotted someone approaching them from across the room, and an evil little smirk spread across her lips. "But this night is about to get way more interesting."
Following Thea's gaze, Felicity's eyes went comically wide when she saw who was heading their way. It was none other than Laurel Lance, of course. Her dark blonde hair was falling perfectly around her face in messy curls, and she was wearing a tiny purple dress that made Felicity feel as though she was dressed for the prom. Thea frowned as she watched her friend shrink back into herself, transforming from a confident young woman to the same timid girl from high school.
"Stop it, Felicity," Thea hissed. "You know that you look hot tonight."
Felicity bit her lip and shook her head. "That's not the problem," she mumbled, even though it most certainly was. She refused to make eye contact with Thea, because she knew that her best friend would be able to see right through her.
Since Oliver still hadn't come back to the table, Tommy saw no problem in standing up and greeting his girlfriend with a kiss. She smiled and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. Laurel waved at Thea and Felicity over Tommy's shoulder. Felicity gave a small, half-hearted wave in return, and Thea barely lifted her arm to greet Laurel.
"How's it going so far?" Laurel asked. She slid into her seat next to Tommy and took the drink he offered her. No one missed how she downed half of it in one gulp; she was just as nervous to see Oliver again as the rest of them had been.
Tommy grinned. "It's not that bad. I mean, I don't think Oliver is really in the mood to party, but we're not having an awful time either." His gaze shifted to Thea and Felicity, his eyes softening. He knew how weird it had been for him to start dating Oliver's ex-girlfriend. Of course, Felicity hadn't exactly protested, and Thea hadn't reacted at all—she had kind of known that Tommy and Laurel would end up together. "It's not that bad, right guys?"
Thea took pity on Tommy and patted his head. "It's fine. I just don't think that Ollie is quite used to partying after being stuck on an abandoned island for the past five years."
"Yeah, it's fine," Felicity agreed quickly. She downed the rest of her drink and then slid out of the booth. She couldn't take another minute awkwardly sitting there with her new best friend, the guy she considered to be kind of pseudo big brother, and the ex-girlfriend of the man that she was in love with. Felicity just needed a moment to breathe, so she told them all that she was going to the bathroom.
Of course, Thea knew that Felicity was freaking out. "Do you need me to go with you?" she asked.
Felicity smiled reassuringly at Thea. She would be fine after a few moments to herself, she was sure. "I'll be okay," she said. "Don't worry about me." With that said, she disappeared into the throng of club-goers and headed towards the wall of windows that overlooked Starling City.
Felicity let the slight buzz from the alcohol she had consumed earlier overtake her as she looked out the window. She hated that she felt so overwhelmed about this situation. Felicity knew that she should be happy that Oliver was back, and she was—it was just that all of the feelings she had spent years and years suppressing had suddenly come rushing back.
It was unnerving to have Laurel around, as well. Felicity knew that Tommy and Laurel were blissfully happy together, but that still didn't mean anything if they added Oliver back into the mix. While Laurel and Oliver had never had a very healthy relationship, Felicity knew that they had cared about one another very much. She had been there to see a lot of it herself.
Felicity took a deep breath and rested her forehead against the cool glass. She should just be happy that Oliver was back, and alive, and with them again. With her again. She had known Oliver Queen for her entire life, and she thought that she had lost him. It was truly a miracle that he was back in Felicity's life.
Opening her eyes, Felicity scanned the rooftops of the city. Her eyes caught something moving off to the left, and she focused in on the object. It was… a person! A man in a hood was jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Felicity's eyes widened as she noticed how agile the man was. A gasp escaped her when she saw him aim a bow and arrow at the Verdant's roof. It landed and he rappelled from the roof he was standing on to Verdant.
Completely distracted from her previous thoughts, Felicity spun on her heels and cut her way through Verdant's crowded dance floor. She didn't know what was possessing her to find out who the man was that had rappelled to the roof of the club, but for some reason she really wanted to know.
Felicity had made it to the other edge of the dance floor and was headed back towards the offices when Oliver suddenly appeared in front of her. Felicity was so surprised that she smacked right into the open door of the bathroom. Oliver caught her by the shoulders when she bounced off the door.
"Oliver!" Felicity squeaked.
Oliver steadied her but didn't release his grip on her shoulders. "Hey, Felicity," he greeted. There was a small, barely-there smile on his lips, but Felicity managed to see it nonetheless. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine," Felicity managed. Really, at this point, she should just be used to the fact that she walked into doors and walls and other stationary objects. She'd been dealing with it for the past twenty-three years, after all. "I just thought that I saw… you know what, never mind." Felicity decided that she very well could have had too much to drink and could have imagined the man on the roof.
(Felicity honestly doubted that, but that was something she could deal with tomorrow. For now, she had Oliver standing in front of her, and she wasn't going to pass that up.)
Oliver's smile widened. He had known Felicity for almost his entire life as well. He knew exactly how clumsy she was, and he was actually glad that it was something that hadn't changed over the past five years.
"I can see that," Oliver said. Despite his earlier resolve, Oliver couldn't help the way his eyes swept up and down her outfit. Felicity's tendency towards all things clumsy may not have changed, but the way she dressed certainly had. Oliver wasn't used to seeing her look so grown up… and he definitely wasn't complaining.
Felicity blinked in confusion at Oliver's statement. She was incredibly aware of how he was watching her, and her cheeks slowly started to turn pink. After another long pause, Oliver squeezed her shoulders and finally released her.
"Let's head back to the table," Oliver suggested.
Felicity blew out a long, slow breath. "That's probably a good idea. And then I can order another drink."
Oliver snorted. "I bet that Tommy already has you covered on that one."
As Oliver and Felicity made their way through the crowded dance floor, Felicity concentrated very hard on not bumping into anyone. It wasn't exactly easy to dodge all of the tightly packed bodies. Suddenly, Felicity felt Oliver's warm hand on the small of her back. He helped to guide her through the crowd, and Felicity lost focus of the people around her. All she could think about was how Oliver's hand felt against her.
When their table came into view, Felicity came to an abrupt stop. Of course, Laurel was still sitting at the table, but what was even more interesting was that she was practically sitting in Tommy's lap. His arms were wrapped around her, and there was no mistaking the intimate way they were embracing one another.
Oliver stopped behind Felicity and took in the scene before him. Thea had noticed their arrival back at the table and was now looking between Oliver and Felicity and Tommy and Laurel. Oliver's hand was still on the small of Felicity's back, and his fingers curled into the material of her dress as his entire body tensed.
Felicity turned around and tilted her head up so she could look directly into Oliver's eyes. Unable to help herself, Felicity placed her hands against his chest and waited until he looked at her. Good lord, the man's chest was solid and well-muscled. Oliver had always been in good shape, but now his body was really something else. But she had to focus on what was happening at the current moment in time. She couldn't get distracted by how attractive Oliver was.
"Oliver," Felicity whispered.
Oliver finally looked down at her. His eyes were guarded, his face shadowed. Felicity really couldn't gauge how he was feeling, which was saying something; as his best friend, Felicity used to be able to read him like a book. She supposed that everything had changed over the last five years, including their friendship—and that was hard to accept.
Finally, Oliver's lips lifted slightly in something that wasn't quite a smile, but it wasn't a grimace either. He nodded his head once and slid his hand around to squeeze her hip. Tingles coursed through Felicity at the unexpected intimate contact, and she shook her head slightly. She really had to get a grip on herself when she was around Oliver.
"Are you going to be okay?" Felicity asked.
Oliver's face remained impassive. "Yeah, I'll be fine," he murmured.
"Do you need a drink?" Alcohol was definitely not the answer to their problems, but it would certainly help a little bit.
Oliver let out a sound between a snort and a laugh, which surprised both of them. "It would definitely help," he agreed.
Felicity snatched a glass of scotch off of the tray of a passing waiter and handed it to Oliver. "Drink up," she said, and then she looped her arm through his, and together they walked towards the table.
"I should have said something to him."
Thea was hanging upside down on her bed and twisted her head so she could see Tommy. "Just let it go, Merlyn," she ordered. "What's done is done. You've been with Laurel for almost a year now. It's not like you can do much about it."
It had been both weird and oddly natural when Tommy and Laurel got together. First, it had been very (very) casual. But then something changed in Tommy and he got serious about his relationship with Laurel. The two of them truly were happy together, and it didn't take everyone very long to accept it. After all, Oliver had been gone for four years at that point.
"I still should have told him," Tommy insisted. "I should have given him some kind of heads up."
Tommy, Thea, and Felicity looked towards the doorway to Thea's room. Oliver was leaning against the doorframe. He was now dressed in a pair of plaid pajama pants and a white t-shirt, and the sight made Felicity want to change out of her restricting party clothes.
Oliver stepped further into Thea's room and held his hand up. "Seriously, man, don't worry about it. Laurel and I weren't even together when I went missing. And our relationship…" He shrugged his shoulders. "We weren't very good for each other."
Tommy and Oliver stared at one another for several long moments. While Oliver would always care for Laurel, everyone knew that he was right—they were fighting more often than not during the course of their relationship. It had been the final straw when Oliver cheated on her with Sara. More than that, it was like Oliver had been looking for a way to put a final end to his and Laurel's relationship, and sleeping with Sara had been the way to do it.
Thea and Felicity watched in amazement as some sort of silent conversation happened between the two friends. Then they both nodded their heads, clasped hands, and that was that. All was forgiven. The two girls shared a look and Felicity shrugged her shoulders while Thea raised an open bottle of champagne to her lips.
"Alright, are you two done being all bro-tastic, or whatever?" Thea demanded. "Because we need to start this movie."
Felicity bounced up from the foot of the bed and headed into the bathroom to change into her pajamas. When she emerged in a pair of shorts and a tank top, she missed the way Oliver's eyes widened. Of course, Thea and Tommy noticed.
"How long do you think it'll be before they crack?" Thea muttered.
"A week, tops," Tommy declared.
Thea smirked and held her hand out for Tommy to shake. "You're on, Merlyn."
Thea was still fast asleep when Felicity woke the next morning, and Tommy was passed out on the floor in front of the television. Oliver was nowhere to be found, but that didn't surprise Felicity very much.
She rolled out of bed and stretched on her tiptoes. Felicity smacked her lips together to get rid of the feeling of cotton in her mouth. She wasn't quite hungover, but she wasn't exactly feeling one hundred percent, either. What Felicity really needed was some coffee.
Even within the vastness of the Queen Mansion, Felicity could smell fresh-cooked bacon. She threw a sweater on over her tank top and made her way downstairs. If she left the door open to Thea's suite, the smell of breakfast would surely wake both Thea and Tommy.
Raisa was, of course, creating a breakfast feast fit for a royal family. Upon seeing Felicity, the older woman pushed an extra large cup full of coffee towards her. Felicity gasped and beamed at Raisa.
"Raisa, you're a lifesaver!" Felicity exclaimed. She took a long, slow slip of the perfect coffee and nearly sloshed it all over herself when she heard someone chuckle. Turning, Felicity saw that Oliver was sitting at the other end of the counter.
"Oliver!" Felicity smiled brightly at him. "Good morning."
Oliver nodded his head towards the mug clutched in Felicity's hands. "I can see that you still love coffee as much as you ever have."
"That definitely hasn't changed," Felicity agreed. She took a seat next to Oliver at the counter and took in the spread that Raisa had created for them. There was eggs Benedict, lox and bagels, French toast, Belgian waffles, bacon, sausage, and what looked to be a build-your-own omelet station. "Raisa, are you feeding an army or something?"
Raisa pointed a spatula at Felicity. "Young Oliver hasn't had a meal like this in a very long time," she said. "He needs to be fed."
Oliver rolled his eyes. "I managed to keep myself fed," he muttered. "But I did miss the coffee." He had his own mug in filled to the brim with coffee in front of him, and Felicity noticed that he drank it black. He didn't used to—back when they had been in school, Oliver used to dump at least three packets of sugar and a ton of cream into it. "By the way, I'm not young anymore."
"You'll always be young to me, Oliver Queen," Raisa said. She pushed a plate overflowing with food towards him. "Now eat up."
Felicity pushed her lower lip out in a pout. "There's a plate for me too, right Raisa?"
"Of course." Raisa passed Felicity a plate with a bagel laden down with cream cheese and lox. There was a side of fruit and sausage to go with it, and Raisa even refilled Felicity's coffee cup. Given that Felicity spent as much time (if not more) at the Queen Mansion as she did at her own home, Raisa knew what her favorite breakfast was.
"You're the best, Raisa," Felicity said before she dug in.
The older woman smiled and, after she sent a knowing look Felicity's way, she left the two young adults to eat their breakfast. They sat in a somewhat comfortable, if a tad awkward, silence for several long moments. All that could be heard was the clinking of silverware on their plates. Watching Oliver, Felicity was pleased to see that he was already making a dent in breakfast.
"Were Thea and Tommy still asleep?" Oliver asked.
Felicity laughed and nodded her head. "Of course they were. It'll be at least another half an hour before Thea gets up, and it might take Tommy even longer before he deigns to grace us with his presence."
Oliver watched Felicity for a long moment. Felicity returned his gaze unflinchingly. She wasn't sure what he was looking for, but it didn't make her uncomfortable to have him study her like that.
"You've really gotten to know Thea and Tommy, haven't you?" Oliver asked. Of course, when they were younger, Thea would hang out with them, but she had often preferred to do her own thing. More often than not, Felicity would refuse to be around Tommy because his crazy party ways made her nervous.
Felicity thought on how much things had changed in the last five years. She and Thea had just kind of gravitated towards one another after Oliver's disappearance, and it wasn't long before they pulled Tommy into their little group. He had been adrift, and it hadn't taken long for Felicity to realize that there was a good guy under that party boy attitude.
"I really have," Felicity said. "After… everything… we just kind of leaned on each other." Reaching out, Felicity tentatively put her hand on Oliver's arm. "But you're back now."
Oliver didn't pull away from her, much to Felicity's relief. Instead, he kind of relaxed into her touch a little. "I'm back," he repeated. To Felicity's surprise, he took her hand in his own and laced their fingers together. Felicity beamed at him and to her surprise, Oliver smiled at her.
"What?" he asked when he noticed her wide eyes.
To Felicity's embarrassment, tears burned in her eyes. She squeezed his hand and blinked hard in an effort to keep them at bay. "I just missed your smile," she told him. "That's all."
Ever since they were children, Oliver couldn't resist giving Felicity whatever she asked for. He smiled at her again, and then the two of them went back to eating their breakfast.
Thea came stumbling down the stairs not long after that. She slid into the seat next to Felicity at the island and pressed her forehead into the palms of her hands. "Ugh," she groaned. "I need coffee."
"Well good morning, sunshine," Oliver chuckled.
Peeking between her fingers, Thea glared at her older brother. "Are you actually making jokes again? Because now is so not that time for that." Thea turned the glare on her best friend. "How the hell am I hungover and you're not?"
"Probably because I stopped drinking about two hours before you did," Felicity pointed out. She slid another cup of coffee towards Thea and watched as she dumped four packets of sugar into it. "And I'm sure all of that sugar will help your hangover."
"Shut up," Thea snapped.
Oliver bit back another chuckle and looked towards the stairs. When no one else followed Thea, he asked, "Is Tommy still asleep?"
"Yeah," Thea confirmed. "And he's lucky I didn't wake his ass up."
Felicity and Oliver shared a look. "I say we give him another fifteen minutes," she said.
Oliver grinned and dug into his breakfast with renewed gusto. He had missed a lot about civilization while he had been on the island, but there were few things that he missed more than Raisa's cooking.
For once, Thea was actually relatively on time for lunch with Felicity. She popped into Felicity's office and promptly sat in her customary chair in front of Felicity's desk. Felicity grunted in greeting as she furiously typed away at her computer. She was working on a new program for Queen Industry's firewall, and she was just finishing the last few lines of code.
"Guess what?" Thea asked. She was used to Felicity's laser focus when she was working.
Felicity made a noise of acknowledgement in response to Thea's question and continued typing in code. Thea smiled, because she was sure that her next statement would catch Felicity's attention.
"Mom made Oliver get a bodyguard."
"What?" Felicity stopped typing and looked up at Thea in surprise. With high-profile lives like theirs, it wasn't uncommon for them to have a bodyguard or two. Thankfully, Felicity managed to convince her father that she didn't need one. She normally kept out of trouble anyway, so it wasn't as if she really needed one.
Thea grinned at the knowledge that she had some juicy information about her older brother. Even after Oliver's disappearance, Felicity still tuned in to anything Oliver-related. Now that he was back, it was nice to see that it hadn't changed.
"Oliver was attacked, apparently," Thea said.
"He was attacked? What—" Felicity was pretty sure that her heart had stopped. She had lived five years thinking that Oliver was dead. The last thing she wanted to hear was that Oliver was getting hurt. He had gone through so much already, and he didn't need more stress added on top of that.
"Relax, he's fine," Thea said. She gestured to Felicity to sit down, and she did so. Her brow furrowed in confusion, as she hadn't realized she had stood up. "Nothing but happened, but apparently some hooded vigilante saved him."
Felicity's eyes widened. She had seen a hooded man that night in Verdant. There was no way that the two events weren't connected. There weren't exactly many men running around Starling City in a hood.
"What do you know?" Thea demanded. She hadn't missed the look of surprise on her best friend's face. Felicity definitely knew something about Oliver's attack.
"The guy that saved Oliver… he didn't happen to have a bow and arrow, did he?"
Thea blinked in surprise. "How did you know?"
"I saw something…" Felicity cleared her throat and shook her head. "I honestly wasn't sure if I had been imaging it. But when we were at Verdant, I saw a guy use a bow and arrow to rappel onto Verdant's roof."
Thea stared at Felicity for several long moments. Finally, she jumped up and threw her hands in the air. "You saw that and you didn't say anything to anyone?"
"We had been drinking!" Felicity waved her hands in exasperation. "It's not every day that you see some hooded guy with a bow and arrow, you know."
Thea's brow furrowed in thought. She tapped her chin and then pulled out her phone, running a search on the Internet app until she found what she was looking for. Holding her phone out, she handed it to Felicity so she could see the articles.
Felicity scanned through several articles mentioning a hooded vigilante with a bow and arrow. So far, he had taken down several corrupt millionaires and other public figures that had done wrong in society.
"This guy is like a modern day Robin Hood," Felicity said. She handed the phone back to Thea and sighed. This is just what they needed. Queen Industry didn't exactly have the most stand-up individuals working for them, so she had no doubt that The Hood would be paying them a visit soon.
Thea wrinkled her nose. "I just want to know why he was on the roof of my club. You don't think he'll come after us, do you? Apparently he tells the people he targets that they failed the city."
Felicity shrugged her shoulders. "I doubt it. I don't think we've failed the city in any way, Thea."
Seeming reassured by her best friend's statement, Thea clapped her hands together and grabbed Felicity's purse. She handed it to her and then grabbed her arm, tugging her towards the door.
"Let's go. If we leave now, we might be able to catch Oliver coming in here to talk with my mother about his new bodyguard."
They made it to the lobby just as Oliver entered. He was followed by a tall, intimidating man that could only be his new bodyguard. Tommy wasn't very far behind him, wearing a shit-eating grin that Oliver was resolutely ignoring.
He sighed when he noticed Thea approaching him with the same grin Tommy had. Felicity pressed her lips together to keep from laughing, but it looked as if Oliver was about two seconds from rolling his eyes.
"I should have known you would be here to see this," Oliver stated.
Thea held her hands out innocently. "I just wanted to introduce Felicity to the new member of our group."
"He's not the new member of our group," Oliver grumbled.
Ignoring her older brother, Thea introduced Felicity to the bodyguard. "Felicity, meet John Diggle. He's going to keep our boy from getting into too much trouble."
"I don't get into trouble!" Oliver protested.
"Apparently, you do." Felicity reached forward and took Oliver's hand. "Are you alright? Thea told me about the attack."
Oliver shot a look towards his younger sister. "I told you not to tell anyone about what happened." Both he and Felicity missed the knowing look that Thea and Tommy shared. Of course, both of them had picked up on the fact that neither Felicity nor Oliver had let go of one another.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Felicity asked again. She hated the thought that Oliver had been in any kind of danger.
Of course, seeing the way his shoulders tensed and the look in his eyes, Felicity had a feeling that Oliver was more than capable of handling himself. He had managed to survive for five years on a deserted island—of course he knew how to protect himself.
Oliver's lips ticked up in a small smile. "I'm fine," he assured her.
Felicity squeezed his hand and then checked her watch. Turning to Thea, she said, "Okay, let's get out of here before—"
The double doors to the Queen Industry building swung open before Felicity could finish. Several impeccably dressed men in expensive suits came in—and one of them was Felicity's father. Felicity groaned as Thea tried to stifle her laughter behind her hand.
It wasn't that she didn't want to see her father; it was more that she didn't want to have to deal with him while she was in the same place as Oliver. Her father knew exactly how Felicity felt about Oliver.
Of course, Eli Smoak immediately caught sight of his daughter and noticed that she was standing next to Oliver. His eyes zeroed in on how Felicity was still holding Oliver's hand, and she immediately let go.
"Felicity, sweetheart!" Eli greeted. He hugged both her and Thea and shook Tommy's hand as well. Turning towards Oliver, Eli extended his hand to the younger man. "Oliver, son! It's good to have you back!"
Oliver smiled as she shook Eli's hand. Out of everyone that his father had worked with, Oliver had always liked Eli Smoak the best. He was a genuinely nice guy, and was always upfront with whatever business venture he was involved in. More than that, he truly cared about his daughter and didn't just ship her off to boarding school so he could cavort around the city.
"Glad to be back, Mr. Smoak," Oliver replied.
He didn't miss the way the older man's hand tightened around his as he continued to shake it. "And you'll keep my Felicity out of trouble, of course?" he said.
"Daddy!" Felicity exclaimed. They had been standing there for a grand total of forty-five seconds, and Felicity was already embarrassed beyond belief. She couldn't believe that her father would say something like that!
"Of course, sir," Oliver said seriously.
Felicity rolled her eyes when Oliver looked over her father's shoulder and grinned at her. Men, honestly.
Wrapping both of her hands around Oliver's arm, Felicity tugged until Eli finally released Oliver. "Come on, we have a lunch reservation to make." She didn't care if Oliver hadn't originally been a part of their lunch plans. She just wanted to get out of here, and she really wanted throw something at both Thea and Tommy, who were laughing their asses off. Even Diggle looked amused.
The group left the building together, and Thea and Tommy still hadn't stopped teasing them. Felicity glared at the two over her shoulder and said, "Why do we still call them our best friends?"
"I have no idea," Oliver stated.
Felicity grinned as she uploaded the new firewall program to the mainframe. She was actually quite proud of the program she had written all by herself. Now Queen Industry's systems would be three times as secure as before. She'd like to see some of their rivals get past her security features.
When there was a knock at her office door, Felicity was surprised to see Oliver standing there, holding a laptop. She arched an eyebrow and leaned back in her chair, gesturing for him to come in.
"Oliver, to what do I owe this pleasure?" she teased. "You normally try to do everything you can to avoid this place."
Oliver rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm supposed to run this place one day, aren't I? I guess I might as well spend a little bit of time here. But that's not why I came in, anyway." He walked further into the office and set the laptop down on Felicity's desk. "I'm having a little bit of trouble with my laptop, and I heard you're the person to come to so it can get fixed."
It was true. She had originally started in the basement of Queen Industries in the IT Department. She could have easily become head of the department if she had wanted to, given her father's position on the Board. But Felicity had been determined to work her way up, and it wasn't long before she had actually made it to head of Internet security and maintenance. She did consider herself a bit of a technology genius.
Felicity pulled the laptop closer to her. "Oliver, what the hell did you do this?" she demanded. This laptop had been destroyed. It didn't even look like a regular laptop; it was more like one of those heavy-duty, government issued pieces of tech.
Oliver shrugged his shoulders, and the look on his face was deceptively innocent. "I spilled a latte on it."
"Really?" Felicity pointed at the back of the laptop. "Because those look more like bullet holes."
"The coffee shop I like to go to is in a bad neighborhood."
Felicity gave him a look, but Oliver wasn't budging. He wasn't going to share with her why he brought her a laptop riddled with bullet holes, and Felicity wasn't going to push it.
"Just see if you can recover anything from it, please," Oliver asked.
Felicity pulled the laptop towards her. "I'll see what I can do."
It didn't take Felicity long to recover some of the files from the laptop. She clicked through the images she had pulled up with wide eyes. "Oliver," she began. "Why do you have a laptop with blueprints of Unidac Industries?"
"That's what that is?" Oliver asked.
Felicity narrowed her eyes at him. "I thought you said this was your laptop." When Oliver just smiled at her again, Felicity sighed. "Oliver, I don't want to get involved in any weird company drama."
"What are you talking about?" Oliver asked.
"You know that Walter Steele is trying to buy Unidac, right?"
Walter Steele was the man that Moira had married not long after Robert and Oliver had officially been declared dead. Oliver had met him twice since his return home, and he honestly didn't really care to be around the man that much.
Seeing the look on Oliver's face, Felicity turned to click through more of the files on the laptop. "I guess you didn't know." She copied all of the files to a flash drive and handed it to Oliver. "You're not getting mixed up in anything serious, are you?"
Oliver's eyes went wide and innocent again. "Of course not," he told her. He smiled, and Felicity's heart skipped a beat. In the back of her mind, so knew what he was doing; he was trying to distract her with his charm. Naturally, it was working. Felicity had always been a sucker for Oliver Queen's charm.
Felicity made an annoyed huffing noise under her breath, but she disconnected the laptop and returned that to Oliver as well. He watched her for a long, unnerving moment before he got up and headed towards her office door.
Unable to help herself, Felicity swiveled in her chair. "Oliver?"
He stopped with his hand on the doorknob. The bullet-riddled laptop was tucked under his free arm, and Felicity glanced at it before she looked up into his face. There was definitely something he wasn't telling her, but she wasn't going to push him.
"Please be careful," she finally whispered.
Before Felicity realized what was happening, Oliver was suddenly in front of her. He slipped his arms around her and pulled her from her chair, holding her against his chest. Felicity got over her shock quickly and returned his embrace, pressing her cheek against his chest as Oliver held her.
The embrace lasted for long, uninterrupted moments. Felicity's heart tightened in her chest and she closed her eyes. She couldn't help but turn her face into his chest and inhaling. Even after his disappearance and return, Oliver still smelled the same as he had from years before.
Wrapped in his arms like this, Felicity could almost trick herself into believing that nothing had changed. But even she could realize that everything had.
"Please, Felicity," Thea pleaded. "Please, please come out tonight."
On the other end of the line, Felicity sighed. She rolled over on her bed and tucked the phone between her shoulder and her cheek. "Thea, I'm really not in the mood to go out tonight," she said. "I just want to stay in and watch Netflix."
"Ugh." Thea huffed indignantly. "Fine, if you must. But you owe me a night out, Felicity Smoak."
"Yeah, whatever." Felicity knew that there was really no arguing with Thea. It was very rare when Thea wasn't able to talk Felicity into going out. But when she had a night out, Thea normally made up for it by making Felicity go club-hopping with her.
The two young women said their goodbyes. When Felicity hung up the phone, she saw that she had a text message from Oliver. Unable to sop the smile from forming on her lips, she thumbed the screen to open the message. The text was simple, and he just wanted to know how she was doing. It made Felicity's smile widen and she typed out a response.
Felicity settled into the bed and turned on Netflix, flipping to some random episode of the show she had been watching. Felicity didn't pay much attention to her tablet, and instead kept all of her focus on her phone. She spoke with Oliver for hours via text message, just like they used to when Felicity was in high school and Oliver was off attending (and getting kicked out of) multiple universities.
Before she knew it, it was past one o'clock in the morning. The "Are you still watching?" screen blinked at Felicity, but she ignored it in favor of answering another text from Oliver. Before she could hit send, her phone suddenly vibrated and a picture of her and Thea popped up on the screen.
Grinning, Felicity swiped to answer the call. Whenever Thea went out without her, Felicity could always count on either a series of drunk texts or a drunken phone call.
"You only made it to one in the morning?" Felicity asked after she had pressed the phone to her ear.
Felicity could hear the thumping techno beat of club music coming through the speaker of Thea's phone, but there was no immediate greeting. Felicity waited for a few moments, wondering if Thea was trying to find a quieter place so she would be able to talk. But another long beat of silence passed and there was still nothing.
For some reason, Felicity's stomach swooped in fear. She couldn't explain it, but she was suddenly filled with dread. "Thea?" Felicity called. "Thea, are you there?"
There was another terrifyingly long moment of silence, and then Felicity heard the faint sounds of someone shuffling. Jumping up, Felicity ran over to her computer and opened the program necessary to track Thea's signal. She only had a minute, maybe two. She couldn't afford to waste any time and she had to get this trace as fast as she possibly could.
"Thea!" Felicity demanded, unable to keep waiting for her response. She put the call on speaker phone as she frantically typed away at the computer. "Thea, answer me, please!"
Suddenly, Felicity heard someone take a deep, shaky breath. She was so close to getting Thea's location. She only had to hold on for a few moments longer. Thea's voice, quiet and weak, reached her over the speaker. "Lis… help…"
The computer dinged, and Felicity couldn't help the fist-pump she made in victory. She had succeeded in finding where Thea was, and she was at Verdant. It was terrifying to know that Thea was in so much trouble at a place where they were supposed to be safe, but at least Felicity had found where she was.
The line went dead, but Felicity was still on a high from being able to trace the call. She knew she could get the help that Thea needed, but she didn't call the police first—instead, Felicity fumbled with her phone until she had selected Oliver's number.
"Hey." Oliver's voice was warm and filled with amusement when he answered the phone. "I was wondering where you had disappeared to."
"Oliver," Felicity choked out. She pressed a hand to her chest in an effort to calm her racing heart, and her breath caught as her imagination ran rampant with thoughts of what could be happening to Thea.
Felicity could practically hear Oliver tense up. "Felicity, what's wrong?" he demanded.
Felicity could feel a panic attack coming on, and she sank down onto her knees and curled up into a ball. This had to be one of the most terrifying moments of her life. She had never felt so helpless before… apart from the day she found out that Oliver had supposedly died.
"Felicity," Oliver repeated. "Tell me what happened."
Finally catching her breath, Felicity managed to speak. "Thea," she gasped. "Thea's at Verdant. Something happened, but I don't know—"
"I'll take care of it," Oliver interrupted. He hung up before Felicity could respond, and she let the hand holding her phone fall limply to her side. She stared straight ahead, lost in thought. Felicity wasn't sure if she should head to Verdant, or if she should wait and meet them at the hospital. Or she could skip the hospital all together and just go to the mansion.
A grand total of five minutes must have passed while Felicity was processing all of this, but she looked up when she realized that John Diggle was standing in her doorway. Blinking in surprise, she started to stand, and Diggle crossed the room in three strides and was offering her a hand before she had even started to move.
"Mr. Diggle," Felicity greeted. "What are you… I mean, what is…" Felicity huffed and shook her head as she tried to get a hold of her raging emotions. "Where's Oliver?" she asked, because that seemed like the most simple question.
Diggle folded his hands in front of him, but the look on his face was fierce and protective. "Mr. Queen asked me to pick you up and bring you back to the mansion." The tone of his voice left no room for argument, so all Felicity could do was nod her head and grab her purse before she followed the large man out of her room.
Ten minutes later, Felicity was being led through the Queen mansion until they had arrived at Thea's suite of rooms. The Queen family's private physician was there, checking over Thea with a team of nurses while Oliver stood to the side.
Felicity, who had practically run into the room, stopped abruptly in her tracks when she saw Oliver. His arms were crossed over his chest, and there was a look of such foreboding on his face that Felicity was genuinely worried for anyone that said the wrong thing to him in that moment. He glanced up when he heard her enter the room, and their eyes collided.
"Oliver," Felicity whispered.
He moved, holding his arms out, and Felicity was running into them before he had even held them out all the way. She buried her face in his chest, closing her eyes as she held on to him for dear life.
Oliver's arms wrapped around her, anchoring her to him. He settled one hand on her hip while the other cupped the back of her head, stroking her hair gently. Felicity leaned into his touch, relishing in the comfort that Oliver offered.
"She's going to be okay," Oliver told her. "She was drugged at the club, but we managed to get to her in time. They're flushing her system now and she'll wake up in a couple of hours." Oliver gently guided Felicity's head back until she was looking up at him. "It's because of you that we found her. You saved her life."
Felicity swallowed hard and blinked against the tears that were threatening to fall. "I tracked her location," she said. "I didn't know where she was and I didn't know what else to do so I tracked her location and tried to find her and—"
Her voice caught in her throat when Oliver cupped her cheek in one of his large, strong hands. He stroked under her eyes with his calloused thumb, brushing away the tears that had fallen despite her best efforts.
"You saved Thea's life," Oliver repeated.
Felicity bit her lip and nodded her head. She hugged Oliver tightly once again, tucking herself into his side as Diggle approached them. He took in the sight of the two of them and his eyebrows shot up, though he didn't comment on the way that Oliver and Felicity were holding on to one another.
"It was the Count," Oliver said to Diggle. It sounded as though he was confirming a theory that the two of them had already discussed. "The Count did this to her."
Felicity tilted her head to look up at Oliver. "How do you know that?" she questioned.
Oliver looked down at her, and a beat of silence passed before he said, "I asked the bouncer at Verdant. He heard about what had happened and filled me in."
Felicity's eyes narrowed as she studied Oliver, but she didn't pull away from him. As far as the lies that Oliver told went, that was actually a fairly convincing one. Felicity knew better, though. Oliver may not have been outright lying, but he was definitely omitting part of the truth.
Instead of questioning it further, however, Felicity decided to let it go for now. She didn't want to press him for too much information, because the last thing Felicity wanted was for Oliver to pull away.
So she buried her face in his chest again and closed her eyes, thankful that for tonight, everything had turned out alright.
Felicity was surprised when she came out of a meeting and saw Oliver coming out of the elevator. What shocked her even further was that Diggle was practically holding Oliver up. When they caught sight of Felicity watching them, Diggle let go of Oliver.
"Oliver, what the hell is wrong?" Felicity demanded. His eyes were unfocused and his brow was shining with sweat. Felicity was incredibly concerned for him, and she reached out to put a hand on his arm. Oliver stepped out of her reach, which only made Felicity even more confused.
Oliver shook his head slightly. "I just have a little bit of a hangover, that's all."
Felicity cut her eyes to Diggle, who was watching Oliver with far more concern than was necessary for a hangover. He glanced at her and then looked away quickly, and Felicity knew that there was something pretty dire going on.
Cutting her off, Oliver handed her a syringe filled with a bright yellow liquid. "One of my friends is making some new energy drink that he claims can cure any hangover. But you know that I'm very particular about what I put in my body—"
Unable to help herself, Felicity's eyes swept up and down Oliver's body. Sure, he had looked good before he disappeared on the island. Oliver Queen had always been exceptionally good-looking. Now, however, it was practically unfair how attractive he was. His body was taught, rugged, and Felicity would be lying if she said she hadn't thought about licking chocolate off of his abs.
"Oh I've noticed," Felicity blurted before she could stop herself.
Oliver blinked in surprise and then chuckled. Diggle covered his face with his hand, and Felicity was pretty sure that he was hiding his own laughter. Felicity's cheeks flamed bright red, and she pressed her lips together and willed the floor to open up beneath her.
"Anyway," Oliver continued. "Can you do a spectro-analysis and find out exactly where in the city it's made? I'm just trying to find out the secret recipe." His face was blank, completely devoid of any emotion. In fact, it was as if Oliver was keeping his emotions too in check.
Felicity took the syringe from Oliver and studied it. Looking back up at her friend, she asked, "Okay, if it's an energy drink, why is it in a syringe?"
Without missing a beat, Oliver replied, "I ran out of sports bottles."
Felicity's mouth dropped open at Oliver's blatant lie, and Diggle actually face-palmed. Felicity stared at him, and he smiled charmingly at her. Realizing that he wasn't going to give her any more information, Felicity took the syringe and headed towards the lab without another word.
Ever since they had found Thea at Verdant, Oliver had been withdrawn and even more secretive than usual. Felicity tried not to push it, because she didn't want to press Oliver. He pulled away when people asked too many questions, and the last thing Felicity wanted was for him to distance himself from her—not when she just got him back.
Even though Oliver was being oddly secretive about everything he'd been doing lately, Felicity knew that he trusted her because he was coming to her for help. He may not have given her the full story, but it was enough to know that he did trust her enough to help him.
For now, that had to be enough.
Thea whirled around the room like a tornado, and Felicity watched her with worried eyes. Thea did her best to ignore her as she gathered up expensive shoes, jewelry, and a bottle of champagne. Finally, Felicity's stare was too much and she stopped, planting her hands on her hips.
"Felicity Smoak, knock it off," Thea demanded. "You're really ruining what is going to be a great night with all of your worry."
Felicity held her hands up, but she refused to apologize for her caution. "Are you sure that you're okay to go to the gala tonight?" she asked for the fifteenth time that night.
Thea rolled her eyes and thrust the silver, strappy heels she had selected towards Felicity. "Yes, I'm sure. Now shut up and go get dressed. I spent hours picking out our outfits for tonight, you know."
Felicity took the shoes with a skeptical look. They were awfully high, even for the heels that Thea normally forced upon her. Still, Felicity stood up and headed towards Thea's walk in closet. She spotted Thea's dress first: it was a maroon color, with a long tulle skirt and a cropped top.
Of course, Thea had picked out the perfect dress for Felicity. It was a bejeweled blue color, and strapless with a full, layered skirt in tiers. Felicity fingered one of the layers almost reverently and turned to look over her shoulder at her best friend.
"Oh my god, Thea," Felicity said. "This dress is perfect."
Thea looked pretty proud of herself. "Duh, of course it is. And wait until Oliver sees you in it."
Felicity almost tripped over herself. "Oliver will be there tonight?" she asked before she could stop herself.
Thea smirked. "Of course he is. This is the first big gala that Queen Consolidated has had since Ollie's return. He basically has to be there, even if he doesn't want to be."
Three hours later, Felicity's hair was swept up into a sleek bun, and she was wearing the strappy shoes and the gorgeous dress. She was wearing a pair of diamond earrings that had once belonged to her mother, and she had to admit that it was probably her favorite part of her outfit.
With a glass of champagne in hand, Thea and Felicity made their way down the grand staircase in the Queen Mansion. Felicity had turned to answer Thea's request to check her hair, so she missed the look on Oliver's face when he caught sight of her.
Thea and Tommy didn't miss it, though. They shared a look when Felicity turned and saw Oliver standing in the foyer. She actually stopped in her tracks for a moment, her steps faltering. Oliver strode across the foyer and waited at the foot of the staircase for her.
It really was unfair how amazing that man looked in a tuxedo. He looked like he was born to wear a tux; come to think of it, it had probably been custom made for him. Felicity licked her lips and reached out to tuck her hand in the crook of Oliver's elbow.
"Hey," she greeted as she smiled. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and she was pretty sure she hadn't fallen flat on her face yet because Oliver was supporting her weight. Really, she was almost embarrassed about how much of an affect he had on her. Felicity couldn't really bring herself to truly feel bad about it, though. There had been a time where she thought that she would never see Oliver again, so at the moment, she didn't really care if he could see how much she was blushing.
"Hey," Oliver said in return. Then he smiled—a true, real smile that spread wide across his face. It took Felicity's breath away, and she squeezed his arm. His eyes took in her dress appreciatively, and a shiver worked its way down Felicity's spine. "You look beautiful."
Oliver's normally closed-off face was open and earnest, and Felicity couldn't help herself. With the added height from her heels, it was easy for Felicity to press a kiss to his cheek. She could feel her cheeks flare bright pink, and Felicity ducked her head and refused to look him in the eye as she turned and tugged them towards the ballroom.
To her surprise, Oliver was practically dragging his feet as they walked through the ballroom together. "Do we have to be here?" he asked.
Felicity arched an eyebrow at him. "Oliver Queen, are you whining?"
"No," he mumbled. He cast narrowed eyes around the ballroom. Thea was at the bar, harassing a waiter into getting drinks for all of them. Tommy was with Laurel, and they were sanding with her father. Felicity's father was standing with Moira and Walter off to the side of the ballroom, and they caught sight of Oliver and Felicity almost immediately.
It was then that Felicity realized that her hand was still tucked in the crook of Oliver's elbow. Eli Smoak definitely noticed that little detail. His eyes zeroed in on his daughter standing closely to Oliver. With eyes narrowed into slits, he looked from Felicity, down to her hands tucked into his elbow, and up to Oliver, where they stayed.
"Um, Felicity?" Oliver murmured. "Your dad is staring."
Felicity sighed. "Yeah, I know. Come on." She tugged on his arm again and steered him towards their parents. They might as well get this part of the night over with, she supposed.
Thankfully, Thea breezed by and gracefully passed Oliver a glass of scotch and Felicity a flute of champagne. Felicity raised the glass in thanks towards her best friend and took a long sip of it before they finally stopped in front of their parents.
Eli smiled at his daughter and kissed her cheek. "Sweetheart," he greeted. His face hardened as he turned towards Oliver. "Mr. Queen."
"Mr. Smoak," Oliver said solemnly. Felicity had to press her lips together to keep from giggling, and she took another sip of her champagne.
"What are the two of you up to?" Eli asked. He looked meaningfully at the way Felicity was still holding Oliver's arm, and she blushed and made to pull away. Oliver covered her hand with one of his large ones, anchoring her to his arm.
"I couldn't let Felicity go without an escort tonight," Oliver said. He delivered his words so nonchalantly that Felicity almost believed him. But she nudged her elbow lightly into his side, and Oliver managed to stop himself from smiling just in time.
Moira, sensing that this situation could possibly get very out of hand, stepped between her son and Eli. "Felicity, so wonderful to see you. You look beautiful."
"Thanks, Mrs. Queen," Felicity said politely. While she had grown up with Oliver and then had become best friends with Thea, she had never been that close to the matriarch of the Queen family. Felicity then caught sight of Thea waving at them from across the room, and she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well, it looks like Thea needs us," Felicity said. This time, she didn't need to steer Oliver. They both made their way over to where Thea was waiting in the opposite corner of the ballroom. It wasn't long before Tommy joined them, and the four friends commiserated together.
"This is so boring," Tommy whined. He grinned at Oliver and nudged him in the side. "Hey, remember when we used to get into so much trouble at these things?"
The corner of Oliver's mouth went up in a small smile. "Yeah, it's probably not a good idea for us to do that now."
Tommy snorted. "Yeah, I guess so. Besides, it's not like we could get away with much while the police commissioner and the great Detective Lance is here."
The aforementioned police commissioner and detective were standing fairly close to their little group. Walter and Eli had joined them, and something that Walter asked about caught Felicity's ear and she tuned into the conversation.
"I heard that you apprehended the Count, Detective," Walter said to Lance. "Nicely done."
The police commissioner clapped Lance on the shoulder. "Yes, he did a fantastic job. And pretty soon, we'll have the Vigilante, too."
Lance shifted, and it was clear that he was a little uncomfortable under all the praise. "I don't know," he said. "The Vigilante was actually the one that took the Count down. He overdosed him with his own drug. He's in a mental hospital right now."
Felicity suddenly remembered the night that they found Thea. She remembered the way that Oliver had told Diggle that it was the Count who had attacked Thea, and she had seen the near murderous look on his face. Something clicked inside her mind, and Felicity gasped sharply.
"Are you alright?"
Felicity looked up at Oliver with wide eyes when he squeezed her arm lightly. There was no way… it had to be impossible… Felicity shook her head and pushed those thoughts away. Now was not the time to try and figure out whether or not Oliver Queen, her best friend since childhood, was actually the Starling City Vigilante.
Pushing her hair out of her face, Felicity made her way through the garage attached to the Queen Consolidated building. Her heels clicked on the cement, and she sighed in relief when her Mini Cooper came into view. She had had a long day at work, and she wanted nothing more than to curl up in her bed and go to sleep.
Her mind had been racing ever since the gala at the Queen mansion three days ago. The more she thought about it, the more likely it seemed that Oliver was actually the Vigilante. She couldn't believe that she had actually come to that conclusion, but it was the one that made the most sense.
(Honestly, Felicity was wondering if she had gone completely crazy, because how was it possible that she was actually entertaining the idea that Oliver Queen was the Starling City Vigilante?)
Shaking her head, Felicity pushed those thoughts from her mind. She just wanted to go home, curl up with some mint chocolate chip ice cream, and watch some Netflix. Felicity just wanted to clear her mind and spend her weekend doing absolutely nothing.
Felicity unlocked the car and climbed into the front seat. She set her bag aside in the passenger seat and buckled her seat belt before she turned the car on. Just as she was reaching for the radio dial, she heard a grunt come from her back seat.
Freezing with one hand stretched out towards the console, Felicity slowly turned her head to look over her shoulder. What the hell was that? Was there someone in her car? She was absolutely positive that she had locked it when she had left for work earlier, so how could someone be in there?
There was a man clad in green leather spread out over her backseat, and Felicity gasped. It was the Starling City Vigilante! "Oh my god!" Felicity exclaimed involuntarily.
"Felicity, I'm not going to hurt you." The voice was gruff, and changed by a modulator, but Felicity had grown up hearing that voice. She knew exactly who it belonged to, and she sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Of course I know you're not going to hurt me," she stated matter-of-factly, even though her heart was pounding in her chest. "I know exactly who you are, and I know that you could never hurt me."
The Vigilante pulled his hood back, and Felicity realized that she had been right; it was Oliver. He had green paint smeared around his eyes, and there was sweat beading on his forehead. His face was pinched in pain, and Felicity reached a hand out to touch his shoulder. He grunted but he reached up, lacing his fingers with hers.
"Felicity," Oliver breathed. "I need your help."
Felicity exhaled slowly and closed her eyes. So much for a relaxing weekend.
So I originally planned on this being a one-shot, but then I got to 13,000 words (and quickly passed that) and realized that that wasn't going to happen. I have no idea how long this is going to be, but I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it. Thanks for reading!