Oliver's skin was warm against Felicity's body.
"You're really sweaty."
She hurriedly pushed him off of her, grateful he had saved her life but slightly blushing at their uncomfortable landing position. The mine had exploded, nearly killing her, but Oliver, in true hero's fashion, had saved her just in time. And of course, he had to be half naked, his shirt missing somewhere among the wilderness of Lian Yu. As was her dignity, apparently.
"Um." Her eyes shifted, and she glanced around, looking for Dig. He was there just a moment ago. "Great. Where's-?"
"It's just us, Felicity." Oliver stood up, brushing dirt from his muscled torso. Bright red scratches pricked his skin, temporarily marring what was left of the otherwise smooth sections, those left unscarred from his first visit to the island. "Remember?"
She shook her head, blonde out-of-place hair tumbling down as she did. She touched her face, realizing what a miracle it was that her glasses were still on. "No, no, Dig, he was just-"
"Felicity." Oliver cut her off just as he always did. She fidgeted with her shirt. Something was wrong, but she couldn't quite put a finger on it. Not yet. A darkness lingered at the edge of her consciousness, warning her. Maybe she had hit her head against a rock when Oliver had landed on top of her. Her fingers flew to her head, investigating, but she found nothing amiss. He continued, coming closer. "I can't save you anymore."
"I can save myself." Defiance in her eyes, she met his blue ones. "Just not, you know, from land mines. Thank you. For that, I mean. Not for what you just said. Which was rude. I am fully capable of saving my own life. Most of the time." She was still on an adrenaline high from jumping out of the rickety airplane, not to mention flying on it in the first place. Her life had been on the line from the moment she and John Diggle had set out looking for Oliver. This trip had been one nightmare after another.
The sun fell behind a cluster of clouds, causing the light to dim momentarily. The island settled into the fading light, wind whispering through its trees as Oliver stared silently at Felicity, waiting for her to realize what he already knew.
That nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach grew stronger. "Can you just help me find John so we can go home?" Her voice trembled just a bit on the last word, barely audible over her initial frustration. Home. When had she last been there? It felt like a lifetime ago. So much had happened… Sara. Thea. The League of Assassins. She had to get Oliver to come home. That would make everything okay. It had to make everything okay.
Fear's icy fingers slid into her heart, poking and prying, breaking into little cracks and snapping the thin threads that held her together. Terrible realization was dawning, sneaking in, and Felicity couldn't stop it.
She took a step back, almost afraid of the next words that she was about to say. They couldn't be true. Oliver was here, right in front of her, safe. Alive. He seemed to be quite good at surviving. There was no exception to that rule.
"You can't come home, can you?" she whispered, a tremor rising in her voice. "Because… you're dead."
The word was so final, so horrible. She swore it stole her breath with it. She could feel it in her heart that she was right. She had known all along. Clinging to some false delusion that Oliver would be able to return from his fight with Ra's al Ghul, having slayed the demon himself, was all that had carried her through the past few days.
But that was gone now. Oliver Queen was dead. He wasn't coming back.
The icy fingers in her heart gleefully ripped her apart.
Oliver's eyes dipped before they rose back up to meet Felicity's. The brokenness in hers made his very heart ache. How he loved that woman. She was more amazing than his words could ever describe. He had been wrong to stifle his feelings, to hide them and shove them down where he foolishly had hoped even he would be unable to reach them. "I'm sorry I couldn't do what I promised you."
Kill him. Her own words came back to her in a haunting flash. How she wished he had been able to. She opened her mouth to reply, but nothing came out, not a squeak, not a sound. Searing pain reflected in her eyes. Her arms opened as she reached for him. Soundlessly, Oliver met her half way, catching her in his strong embrace. Hot tears welled in her eyes, painful leftovers at first from the many she had already shed, then faster, a new source springing wide open. "Oliver, Oliver, I'm so sorry. Come back Oliver, please. Just get on the plane with me and John, and everything will be fine, you'll see, you'll be fine, and Thea will be fine- you have to come back, Oliver, we need you. Thea needs you. Your city needs you. I-" here her voice finally broke, shattering into as many pieces as her heart. "I need you."
He caught her chin lightly in his hand, tilting her tear streaked face to his own. Felicity noticed Oliver's eyes were no longer dry, either. Through their two years, she had seen him endure massive amounts of pain, but she had never seen him look at her quite like this. Lost love, tormented regret, decimated hopes… all of it rested upon the burdens he usually carried in his eyes. They truly were the windows to the soul, and his told everything if one only knew just how to read them. Felicity did.
Oliver brought her up to him as his lips came down to hers. Just as they met in a final kiss goodbye, she lost him. He was gone, faded away, vanishing into the trees of Lian Yu. "No, Oliver." She called out, her voice gaining strength. "Not fair. You can't die and leave me stranded… Real you or dream you needs to come back right now, and I'm not settling for the dream version of yourself- though, both are pretty dreamy, I'll admit." She rambled in true Felicity fashion as she combed through the trees looking for her friend. "Where are you?"
The air turned cold. A chilling laugh echoed, devouring the trees and swallowing up the foliage. The island turned all at once, becoming a wintery mountain. Wild wind whipped ferociously, cutting through Felicity's clothes as if they were not there. She hugged herself, trying to stay warm. "Who's there?" she challenged, certain she already knew.
"Oliver's not coming home." Malcolm.
Murder in her eyes, she leapt for him, locking her hands around his throat. She tightened her grip, shaking away her fury into his bones. Choking him was easy. She wanted to snap his neck. Her pain warped into a screaming rage as she fought him, wanting nothing more than to snuff out his life the way he had snuffed out Oliver's. Oliver had spared the despicable human, only to be repaid with death.
"It's your fault! It's your fault he's dead!" Felicity gave it all she had. Her nails dug into his skin until he bled. Her shouts could not drown out his terrible cruelty. She watched his lips curl into a sick smile, wrestling with him as he laughed on and on and on…
Taking his life would not return Oliver's.
She woke with her pillow shoved in her hands as she choked the life out of it. A mangled cry tore from her lips in her dark room as the pain came crashing in yet again. Smothering her the way she had smothered Malcolm in her dream, it seemed all the more heavy when she was alone. The full force of it swallowed her like a light snack, finishing her off in the darkness as she crumpled beneath it. As she closed her eyes in a fitful attempt of sleep, the wisp of a memory came to her. Unsure if it was a dream, a vivid recollection, or if Oliver had truly come back and was standing in the corner, she could have sworn she heard his parting words to her all over again, as simple and bluntly put as when he had first said them.
"And the second thing?"
"I love you."