Happy Friday, my lovely readers! Thank you all for your reviews. I know you've patiently been waiting for this chapter. Originally, it was going to be much longer but it seemed like way too much to cram into one chapter. So the next chapter will pick up right where this one leaves off. Let me know what you think! :)
Chapter 26: The Aftermath
She was alive. Even in the darkness, she felt it. The steady beating of her heart. The deep breaths. The small twitches of her muscles in her arms and legs. She had only to open her eyes.
Felicity felt her lids flutter. The soft, blurred light came into focus as she blinked. She lifted her head and saw that she wasn't in her room in Nanda Parbat. This room looked more like a log cabin with the wooden posts on the bed and a stone hearth to the right. Testing her strength, Felicity leaned into the bed and gently hoisted her body up. Her head spun for a few seconds as she adjusted to the new position. Why did it feel like she hadn't done this in a while?
With the fogginess of sleep gone, the questions started: Where was she? Had she been kidnapped yet again? Whose voices were those she heard down the hall?
As if she'd spoken the questions aloud, the footsteps came closer. Felicity frantically eyed the room, looking for anything to protect herself with if necessary. When a large, hulking form filled the doorway, belonging to one John Diggle, she sighed in relief.
"Dig." Her elation turned to confusion.
He silently stared at her, taking her in. His eyes watered, but his voice came out steady and strong. "You're awake. How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been asleep for a hundred years. What are you doing here?" She glanced around. "Wherever here is."
Dig entered the room and stood by her bed. "Where did you expect to wake up?"
That was an odd question. "Nanda Parbat."
His eyes widened just slightly. "You remember Nanda Parbat?"
"Of course I do. Why wouldn't I?" She shook her head. It felt more jumbled now than when she'd first awoken. "Aren't you supposed to be in Starling? Is that where we are?" Felicity glanced out the window and for the first time, noticed the heavy snow falling outside.
Well, that isn't right.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Dig's voice was gentle, but she got the sense he was testing her.
Her brow furrowed trying to recall. She'd had this weird dream that she'd died. She'd been in her room playing with Amina when—not a dream, she realized. The memory hit Felicity like a ton of bricks. Instinctively, she placed her hand to her abdomen where the wound would be. It didn't feel different. Felicity lifted her pajama top and gasped. There wasn't so much as a scratch, let alone a stab wound.
"She stabbed me. Talia stabbed me and then—" She shuddered. "I don't understand."
"You're safe," Dig promised. "No one will hurt you here. I'll explain everything, but I want you to realize that."
Her eyes drifted to the doorway, where Sara and Nyssa stood in the shadows. What would they be doing with Dig?
The next question out of her mouth was, "Where's Al Sah-him?"
The trio exchanged loaded looks.
"Where's Al Sah-him?" Felicity repeated when no one answered.
"You remember him?"
"Why do you keep asking me if I remember things?" she snapped in frustration. "Yes, I remember my husband. Where is he?"
"Why don't you take a shower and get dressed? You can join us downstairs and then we'll—"
Felicity shook her head. She wasn't doing anything until she got answers. "Dig, what is going on? Is Al Sah-him all right?"
"He's in Nanda Parbat," Nyssa finally spoke up.
Those four words sunk like a stone in the pit of Felicity's stomach. Tension hung in the air at what was left unsaid.
"Tell me what happened," Felicity demanded.
With a heavy sigh, Dig grabbed a chair off to the side. Sara sat at the foot of her bed while Nyssa remained standing with her arms crossed.
"After the attack, you were…" Dig hesitated. "Gone."
"Dead," Nyssa corrected, rather bluntly.
"Nyssa," Sara gently scolded.
"There is no point tiptoeing around it. I saw it with my own eyes." The stoic brunette turned back to Felicity. "I found you. You'd fallen from your balcony onto another, and you were dead. I was the one to tell Al Sah-him."
Felicity instinctively placed a hand on her chest as her mind tried to grasp the gravity of their words. She felt her heart beating. Felt the air going in and out of her lungs. Felt the nerve endings in her limbs as she wriggled her fingers and toes. Such simple functions and sensations of life apparently all lost at one point.
"If I…died," she nearly choked on the word, "then how am I here?" The realization came to her before they could answer. "The Pit."
Nyssa nodded. "Al Sah-him knew it was the only way to truly heal you. It was a long shot, but he had to try."
"No one but him or Ra's is allowed to use it."
"All Al Sah-him cared about was getting you back and he did."
Felicity ran a hand through her hair and rubbed it along her face. What had her husband thought when he found her? He must've been devastated, to see his worst fear realized. She could only imagine the grief and even the fury he must've felt. Oliver had said he'd burn the place down if anything had happened to her, and he'd kept his word if he'd defied Ra's and put everything on the line to save her.
"Thank God he did. I'd heard of the Pit, but I'd never believed it was real until now," Dig spoke up. "At least Al Sah-him did something right." The anger in his voice didn't go unnoticed, but Dig's disapproval of her husband was the least of Felicity's concerns at the moment.
"What happened after that?"
"You were unconscious for a while after. Al Sah-him made sure one of us was with you at all times while he hatched a plan to get you out of the compound. He knew you were no longer safe within its walls," Nyssa explained.
"Ra's tried to pin the murder on Malcolm Merlyn," Sara interjected. "The compound had been on lockdown because he 'escaped.'"
"How did you escape?" Felicity questioned.
"Merlyn," she answered.
Felicity's eyebrows shot to her hairline. "Explain that sentence."
"Merlyn was the one who contaminated your food. He made a deal with Ra's: his freedom for your life. But Ra's and Talia had other plans. They were going to kill you anyway and make it look like Merlyn had entered your chambers. They must have figured your weakened state would make it that much easier to take you out. Ra's ensured everyone knew Merlyn had escaped, and a manhunt was underway.
"Merlyn sent a message to Tommy to meet him. Al Sah-him went with him, and he made a counter deal with Merlyn. He and Tommy broke me out of my cell, and I was to sneak out of the compound and contact John. There was only a short window of opportunity before Ra's realized Al Sah-him was on to his plan."
"I came as soon as I heard," Dig continued. "Sara sneaked me in through the underground tunnels."
Nyssa added, "One led directly to your new room. You were awake, but groggy and confused at that point. You didn't seem to remember anything about Nanda Parbat or the last few months."
"But when you saw me," Dig said, "you trusted me to keep you safe. I got you the hell out of there and brought you to this A.R.G.U.S. safe house."
"It was no longer safe for any of us to stay in Nanda Parbat. Al Sah-him ordered us to leave with you and John."
"So you just left him there alone to face Ra's?" Felicity demanded, her mind already racing with a dozen disastrous scenarios.
"We weren't going to at first. But Al Sah-him said he had a plan, and we trusted his judgment. He said he'd meet us when it was safe."
"How long have we been here?"
"Four days!" the blonde exclaimed. "And he still hasn't come?" She was met with silence. "How do you know he's not in some dungeon in Nanda Parbat being tortured, or if Ra's killed him in retribution?"
"Ra's wouldn't kill him. As his heir, he's already invested too much to give up on him," Nyssa confidently replied.
"But Al Sah-him could be captured and hurt," Felicity pressed. "What if he's trying to reprogram him again so he forgets who he is?
"Al Sah-him is the Heir to the Demon because he's the best of us all. He can take care of himself," Sara assured her. "You just have to have faith."
Felicity knew Sara was right, but her words did nothing to quell her worry. How could she relax when her husband was not by her side and still in danger? It was a lot to take in all at once. "I believe I'll take that shower now." She needed to be alone to process. Despite feeling well-rested and physically strong—thanks to the rejuvenating Pit water—her body still felt somewhat odd and foreign to her.
"When you're ready, come downstairs and join us for dinner. Lyla made spaghetti and meatballs," Dig said.
"Lyla's here, too?"
"Lyla and some other A.R.G.U.S. agents. We're not taking any chances with the League."
That put Felicity somewhat at ease. She moved to get out of bed when another thought occurred to her. "Amina. She was in my room when I was attacked—"
"She's also here with her family," Nyssa assured her. "Al Sah-him ensured her safety when he realized she witnessed the attack."
Felicity breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed her husband had thought of everything—everything but his own safety. Nyssa said he had a plan, but it had been four days since they'd heard from him. How much longer would he be? How was he going to face Ra's on his own in a compound where he was outnumbered? And if he did get out, how would he find them in this icy tundra in the middle of nowhere?
Faith, she repeated to herself. She had to have faith.
Felicity took her time in the shower, needing to be alone to get her head on straight. The hot water and steam helped to eliminate some of the fogginess in her mind. She felt more alert as she tried to process everything her friends told her. She imagined the soap and water washing away any last trace of Nanda Parbat and the trauma she suffered. Looking down at her unmarred stomach, she could almost pretend that nothing had happened.
Lathering the soap, she scrubbed at her skin—trying to absorb as much as she could of the fresh, woodsy-smelling soap. She arched to reach her back and paused when she encountered smooth skin where her arrow brand should be. She quickly reached for the curtain and threw it open. Felicity looked to the mirror and huffed in frustration at the steam that clung to it, blocking her reflection. She hopped out of the shower, careful not to slip on the wet tile, and vigorously wiped the steam away.
She turned to look over her shoulder and gasped. The arrow brand was completely gone. The Pit…it must've identified her brand as another injury or scar. Felicity didn't know how to feel. She thought she'd be relieved to see the brand forced upon her gone. And yet, she couldn't help feeling like one of the only remaining connections to her husband had been severed. Tears stung her eyes, but she blinked them back. She didn't survive everything she had to fall apart now.
Felicity got back in the shower and quickly rinsed off. Afterward, she dried off and changed into the clothes she'd found in the dresser. Felicity really didn't like wearing someone else's underwear, but she didn't have much of a choice. The bra didn't fit right, so she cast it aside. No one could tell since the sweater was so thick. It was a bit baggy, along with the pants, but she'd manage.
She set about combing the knots out of her hair and dried it with the blow dryer. There was some makeup in the closet, but Felicity didn't bother putting it on. It was late, and it's not like she was going anywhere. Her lips did feel chapped, though, so she applied a little light gloss. Smacking her lips together, she tasted a hint of strawberries.
Once she was ready, Felicity left the bathroom and glanced down the hallway. She noticed a landing and set of stairs in the center. Down the other end, to the right, she saw two A.R.G.U.S. agents posted outside of a door. She stared, frowning, before continuing downstairs.
The soft murmur of voices and clanging of dishes grew louder with her every step. The stairs led down to a foyer. She entered the main living area. It was a wide open room that connected to the kitchen. Lyla and Sahar bustled about the stainless-steel kitchen while Dig and Tommy set a large, rectangular table in front of it. Nyssa tended to the fire while Sara sat on the floor by the couches with Amina playing a card game. All movement ceased the moment her friends noticed her.
Breaking the awkward silence, Felicity said, "Something smells good."
Amina was the first one to react. "Abad-eshams!" she exclaimed, jumping up and running over to her. "You're awake!"
Felicity welcomed her into her arms and held her tight. "It's so good to see you."
"Are you better now?"
"Yes, I'm better now," she said, trying to reassure the little girl and herself.
"Momma and Lyla made dinner. Don't worry, I made sure it's safe."
Amina's comment took Felicity by surprise. Her young friend's concern, and the fact that that awful night made her suspicious of food, caused Felicity's to eyes water. "Thank you. That's very helpful." She blinked back the tears, remaining strong. She didn't want to upset Amina, who was clearly still dealing with the aftermath of all that happened.
"You can sit next to me." Amina led her over to the table.
"I'd love that."
"Would you like something to drink, Felicity?" Tommy asked. Despite the simplicity of his question, she sensed a tumult of emotion in him. He had dark circles under his eyes, and the way he was tucked into himself reminded her of a child who'd just been warned to be on his best behavior.
"Um, water is fine. Thank you."
Lyla brought the food over. Before serving her, she gave Felicity a quick hug. "Glad to have you back."
Felicity was touched by the sentiment and relieved that Lyla didn't turn it into a big, dramatic moment. She already felt self-conscious, sensing they were all tiptoeing around her.
Sahar helped Lyla serve the rest of the food, and they all took their seats. Sitting on the other side of Amina, Sahar sent Felicity a warm smile, silently communicating her concern and thanks. Felicity nodded back and dug into her meal. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until the rich, delicious aroma of the meat, pasta, and tomato sauce filled her nostrils. It had been so long since she'd eaten Italian. Dig offered her a slice of bread, knowing how much she loved to smother it in butter and then dunk it in the sauce.
While the others conversed about random topics, Felicity was content to sit back and listen. Occasionally, they'd try to include her and she'd muster up a reply.
Tommy was the first to finish. She watched him get up for another plate of food and frowned when he headed out of the kitchen with it.
"Where's he going?" Felicity questioned.
The others exchanged looks before Dig spoke, "He's bringing it to his father." At her frown, he nodded discreetly at Amina.
She understood; they didn't want to frighten the little girl by letting her know one of the attackers was in the house. "I saw the guards."
"If it were up to me, he'd be drinking his meal through a straw," Nyssa muttered. Sara reached over for girlfriend's hand, and it was then that Felicity noticed the bruising and cuts on Nyssa's knuckles. Dig said they'd left the compound through the hidden tunnels. If they hadn't fought their way out, then how did Nyssa get those marks on her hands? Based on the contempt in the brunette's voice, Felicity had a pretty good idea.
Tommy returned just as they all finished. Felicity insisted on helping with the cleanup, needing something to keep her busy. Sahar stood next to her at the sink, drying after she washed.
"I'm so happy you're awake, Seti," she said.
"There's no need to be so formal here. Please, call me Felicity," the blonde replied.
"Felicity," Sahar repeated, somewhat timidly. "I hope you can accept my deepest and most sincere apology for what happened that night. If I had any idea your food had been contaminated, I never would've served it to you—"
Felicity paused in her task to face the distraught woman beside her. "I don't blame you at all, Sahar. You couldn't have known what was going on."
"I still should've been more vigilant. I'm just so grateful you and your husband protected my daughter. Thank you."
"I wish she hadn't had to go through that." She looked over at Amina, who now sat on the couch by the fire flipping through a picture book.
"You couldn't have known what would happen either."
"How is she doing?"
"We didn't tell her who Merlyn is or what he did, because we didn't want to scare her. But she worries about the food and access to the house. She's afraid to sleep at night. My husband took the night-shift guarding the perimeter, because it helps her to know he's out there protecting us."
"I'm sorry she's going through this—and that you had to leave your home."
"I'm sorry the League turned against you, and your husband had to stay behind." Sensing her worry, Sahar added, "He's a strong man, and he loves you. I have no doubt he'll find his way back to you."
The two women shared a heartfelt moment of understanding in the silence that followed. When the dishes were cleaned and put away, Felicity sat by the fire to chase away the chill in her bones. Amina cuddled up next to her and showed her the book. The others scattered about; apparently, they had developed their own routines these past few days. Felicity was thankful for the space and distraction. A while later, Sahar announced it was time for bed.
Tommy took Amina's place when she left. He seemed fidgety, which was odd for him. "Felicity, I'm so sor—"
"Not you too," Felicity said, cutting him off. Although she appreciated everyone's remorse, none of them were to blame.
"My father almost killed you," he continued. "I should've let Oliver—"
"You're not responsible for his actions, Tommy."
"I know that, but I'm still sorry. Whatever punishment he must face for his actions, I won't interfere this time," he swore to her. "Even if it means Oliver has to break the deal he made with him."
Felicity began to ask about the deal when something else occurred to her. "You said Oliver, not Al Sah-him."
"Yeah." He scratched the unshaven scruff on his chin. "I know who he really is."
She hadn't expected that. "That's great. I told Oliver to tell you sooner."
"Actually, my father let that bombshell slip. But I'm glad I know. It's not every day your captor turns out to be your best friend brought back from the dead."
"Apparently, being brought back from the dead is becoming a 'thing,'" she joked.
Tommy chuckled and shook his head. "This is all freaking nuts."
"Yeah," she agreed.
"So you knew who he really was this whole time?"
"Not the whole time. I found out in Starling after the bombing. It was a huge shock to me, too."
"Him being Oliver Queen, it changes everything."
"Yes, it does."
Hours later, Felicity jolted awake in bed. Despite the chill in the room, she was covered in sweat and shaking. She put a hand to her stomach, feeling for the knife she expected to be lodged there. She took a deep breath but jumped again when the rough winter wind howled against her window. With every rapid beat of her heart, her panic and loneliness intensified.
I'm safe, I'm safe, I'm safe, she repeated to herself.
She looked over at where her husband should be lying next to her and blinked back tears. The ache inside her expanded. From the hollow center, a strange sensation emerged. Though they were only small threads, emotions like anger, fear, grief, and love battled with one another. They were a part of her, and yet separate in a way she didn't understand.
Felicity tried to calm her nerves, but the darkness and cold in the room combined with the elements outside only put her more on edge. She flicked on the bedside lamp and grabbed her bathrobe. She headed downstairs and was relieved to see that the fireplace hadn't burned out yet. After adding more logs, Felicity grabbed a throw blanket and wrapped it around herself.
Her eyes traced the crackling, red-yellow flames, which helped to calm her—until the invisible thread inside her tugged yet again. She'd been through a traumatic event, she told herself. Her body and emotions would be going haywire. But that didn't explain the odd sensation. It felt different. Other.
A creak in the floorboards had her whipping around. She breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing Nyssa. "Sorry to disturb you."
"It's okay. I'm a little jumpier than usual," Felicity replied, suppressing a grin at the sight of Nyssa's purple flannel bathrobe. She'd never seen the fierce warrior woman dressed in something so…cozy.
Nyssa sat on the single sofa next to Felicity. "Is your room satisfactory?"
The blonde nodded. "I just…I couldn't sleep." She played with a stray thread on the blanket. "Bad dreams."
"I'd hoped if you regained your memory, there might be a chance that night would remain buried." She paused, then said, "I'm deeply sorry for what my father and sister have done to you. It's unforgivable."
"Your friendship and kindness these past months have more than made up for it," Felicity assured her.
"The League was created to keep the world in check. To offer the hopeless and downtrodden a sanctuary with renewed purpose. To do good from the shadows. At some point over the centuries, that mission has been forgotten—even corrupted. I'm ashamed that my father has disgraced its legacy."
"Nyssa, you said you found me that night."
"Yes. At first we'd thought you'd been taken. When I found you on the balcony after that fall—" Her words faltered, and her expression became haunted. "It was like watching my mother's death all over again."
"Al Sah-him, did he—how did he—" She struggled to voice her concern.
"Al Sah-him is the strongest man I know, but even strong men have their breaking points."
Felicity fought back tears thinking about the pain and devastation her husband must've felt in that moment. She feared now what he might do if he still thought she was lost to him.
"Not a force on earth would've stopped him from bringing you to the Pit. I wasn't sure if it would work, but I respected his will to try."
"Besides the memory loss, have you heard of any other side effects?"
"No. Not much is known unfortunately." Nyssa's sharp, dark eyes studied her. "Are you experiencing any other symptoms?"
The feeling in Felicity's chest pulsed, getting stronger. She opened her mouth to tell Nyssa but said instead, "No, I was just curious."
Felicity avoided her scrutinizing gaze and homed in on her friend's hands. The cuts and bruises must've been a few days old, since they had begun to heal.
"Are your hands all right?"
"They will be." Nyssa flexed her fingers. "I've waited over a decade to get my hands on Malcolm Merlyn. Al Sah-him may have promised to keep him alive, but he didn't promise he'd remain unharmed. Any discomfort I feel now is worth it."
"What else did Al Sah-him promise to do?" Felicity questioned. "What did he hope to achieve by staying behind alone? Ra's has the entire League behind him."
"He only needs to challenge Ra's. The League will not interfere."
"Meaning?" Felicity prompted, getting impatient.
Nyssa shook her head, as if in battle with herself over how much to reveal. "That is all I'm supposed to tell you. In fact, I've already said too much."
Felicity stared her down, refusing to give up so easily. "Nyssa, it's bad enough I forgot my husband and have been in a mini coma these past few days. Don't leave me in the dark again. I'm a part of this fight, too."
"Trial by combat," she eventually answered. "He'll challenge Ra's to a duel on sacred League ground."
"It's not far from here. It is why we chose this safe house."
"He has forty-eight hours from the time he issues the challenge to settle his affairs and meet Ra's on the sacred mountaintop."
"But it's been four days since we left Nanda Parbat," she pointed out. "If he issued the challenge and they fought, then he should've found us by now. Unless…" Felicity couldn't even finish the thought.
"We don't know when the challenge was issued. I know Al Sah-him wanted to give us time to escape and travel here."
So there was a chance her husband had stalled on the challenge. Which meant the fight might not have taken place yet. Felicity bit her lip and said every prayer she knew, clinging desperately to the small seed of hope her friend's words planted within her.
Nearly a week had passed, and still there was no word from Oliver. Her friends had answered as many of her questions as they could, but so much of their precarious situation remained unknown. Every day Felicity wondered if her husband was about to do battle with Ra's. She worried how he'd be able to find them if they'd cut off all communication with the outside world. She feared he might be injured and unable to reach them for help. She pleaded with Dig and the others to go to the sacred League area to check if Oliver was there. But they all agreed the area would be monitored by the League and their whereabouts could be exposed to Ra's. It was too big a risk, and so she was overruled.
It was in those dark moments she would chant her mantra of faith to herself. She had to believe Oliver would find his way back to her. Despite her constant worry, Felicity was relieved to be out of Nanda Parbat. She never would've been able to walk back into their bedroom, let alone sleep there. The compound itself was tainted in her mind. Nowhere in that place was safe for her anymore.
Flashes of the attack continued to hit Felicity at odd times. She jumped at loud noises or the howling of the wind against the windows. Nighttime was the worst. She'd wake up to the blackness in her room, sweating and in a state of panic, anticipating another attack. It got so bad she'd started sleeping in the living room, where the large stone hearth always featured a roaring fire. The light and open space helped to stave off some of the nightmares.
After Dig discovered her makeshift bed on the couch, he pretended to read by the fire every night until he drifted off to sleep. Felicity knew he did it on purpose so she wouldn't feel so alone. Everyone treated her with kid gloves. A part of Felicity hated that her friends felt the need to coddle her, but she knew it came from a place of love and concern. There wasn't much else to do in the safe house without a TV or Internet anyway.
The place reminded Felicity of a ski lodge with its high wooden ceilings and stone-accented walls. Every room had a fireplace, as well. Though it was simple, the layout was large to house everyone. Sahar had a well-stocked kitchen and spent most days cooking for everyone. Sometimes Amina would help, still insisting it was her job to make sure the food was "safe."
Nyssa and Sara traded shifts guarding Merlyn. He'd been given the smallest room at the other end of the house with a window so tiny not even Amina could fit through it. Only Tommy entered to bring meals. If Felicity weren't surrounded by her closest friends, who also happened to be some of the most badass assassins in the world, she probably would've felt much more nervous about having the man who tried to kill her so close by.
Tommy waited on Felicity hand and foot, always asking if she needed something. She didn't have the heart to tell him he was driving her a little too crazy in his quest to be helpful. If it made him feel better, who was she to deny him that small reprieve. Mostly they played board games to pass the time, with Amina joining in. Despite Amina's resilience for a child, even she experienced moments of panic after what she went through. She refused to go near the windows or play hide-and-seek.
The only place Felicity could truly be alone and escape everyone's prying eyes was in her room. She didn't have to put up a front that she was okay. Those quiet moments let her take stock of herself. Physically, Felicity felt strong and rejuvenated. The effects of the Pit were a hundred times more potent than when Oliver had helped heal her injuries the first time. Absolutely no physical trace of her attack existed.
But Felicity didn't tell her friends about the odd sensation in her chest. Every day it got stronger, as if the invisible thread were being reeled in. The emotions became more vivid: anger, fear, grief, and love—always love. When Felicity felt a wave of love plagued by guilt so great that it nearly stole her breath, she knew deep down in her soul it was Oliver. Somehow they were connected.
Each day that passed without Oliver, she could see the concerned looks increasing between her friends. She came close to telling them about the connection, then chickened out. Nyssa had said not much was known about the Pit's effects. What if they thought she was crazy? They could so easily attribute it to her own trauma or wishful thinking. Felicity couldn't risk it. She needed that small strand of hope to get through the day. With the sensation growing, she imagined Oliver making his way back to her.
Lying on the couch after doing a bit of reading, Felicity drifted off to sleep when she felt a strong pulse flare inside of her. Her eyes snapped open, and she sat up.
"You all right?" Dig asked her. She didn't get the chance to answer. A message came through on his walkie talkie. The volume was turned down low, but Felicity caught the gist of it. Someone had broken through the perimeter.
Sara and Tommy, who were playing a game of chess nearby, stood up. They drew their swords, armed and alert.
"It's Oliver," Felicity said, moving to stand. She started for the window, but Dig drew her back.
"We don't know yet," he cautioned, his gun already in hand.
"It's him. I can feel it." Felicity placed her hand on her chest, the urge to follow the pull growing stronger by the second.
"What do you mean you can feel it?" He shook his head, dismissing the comment and focusing. "We have to check it out. Tommy, you take the front; Sara, the back. I'll go in the woods."
"Stay here," he replied.
"It's okay, Felicity. We got this," Sara reassured her.
When they left, Felicity reached for her glasses and undid the elastic in her hair. She ran her fingers through the strands to straighten them out. Afterward, she started pacing. Could she have been wrong about their visitor? No, the connection had never been this strong. It had to be Oliver.
What if in the dark, stormy weather they confused him for a member of the League? The pull turned into an ache. If she stayed put, she'd go crazy.
Making a snap decision, Felicity raced to the coat closet. She rifled around and grabbed the first winter coat she could find. It was a few sizes too big, but she didn't care. Next, she kicked off her slippers and put on a pair of boots. Although they pinched her feet, Felicity didn't have time to get another pair. She needed to go outside and find Oliver. Felicity yanked on a hat and gloves, threw a scarf around her neck, and headed for the door.
A powerful gust of wind nearly slammed the door back in her face. Felicity pushed against it and shoved her way out into the winter storm. The cold chill of the wind and icy flakes of snow stung her cheeks, feeling like an elastic band snapping against her skin. Visibility wasn't that great either, but she didn't need her eyes. The connection tugged at her, leading her toward the line of trees. Felicity trudged through the snow, which just reached her knees. The tree cover helped to stave off some of the wind and snowfall. Shivering, she moved forward, trusting her instincts.
Her eyes adjusted to the darkness as best they could. She should've brought a flashlight, since the moon was mostly concealed by storm clouds. A twig snapped nearby, and her entire body stiffened, on alert. Felicity made her way around a particularly large tree and startled upon seeing the barrel of a gun pointing in her face before being blinded by light.
"Felicity, what the hell are you doing out here? I told you to stay inside. I could've shot you," Dig admonished.
"I have to find Oliver."
"I told you we don't know who it is. It's dangerous out here. Get back inside."
"No, I—" Her words faltered upon seeing a dark figure emerge from the group of trees ahead. The connection pulsated in her chest. Oliver.
"Felicity, get behind me."
"It's him. Trust me, Dig." She'd recognize her husband's strong, graceful movements anywhere. Instinctively, Felicity stepped toward him.
A tension-filled minute passed, with Felicity frozen in place while Dig kept his gun raised. The man pushed back his black hood. Oliver blinked rapidly when the beams from Dig's flashlight illuminated his face. He was covered in fallen snow, and a layer of frost coated his beard.
Felicity wanted to run to him and throw her arms around him, but his wary expression contradicted the hopeful look in his eyes. Why was he looking at her like he didn't know her? Had Ra's hurt him? Was he cold or injured, and unable to move any further?
She halted, staring back. "Oliver," Felicity called to him.
That seemed to jolt him from his trance. "You k-know who I am?"
Finally, she realized the source of his apprehension. According to her friends, the last time she'd seen her husband, she hadn't known who he was. "Yes."
"You…y-you rememb-ber?" he stuttered, his voice broken and shaky as shivers wracked his body.
He just barely had time to catch her as Felicity rushed forward and threw her arms around his neck. His arms encircled her waist, clutching her just as tightly back.
"Of course I remember you. You're my husband." Her voice came out muffled, since her face was pressed into his neck. She inhaled his familiar spicy scent, that was also mixed with sweat and what she could only describe as snow and cold. She brushed a gloved hand along his jaw, and he shuddered.
"Shamsi, I-I thought I l-lost you—" His voice cracked, the cold and emotions too much to continue.
"I'm here. I'm here," she reassured him, blinking back tears. She placed kisses along his jaw and cheek before finally reaching his lips. They were cold and chapped, but Felicity didn't care. He'd found his way back to her. She kissed Oliver with everything she had, forgetting for a moment the storm that raged around them.
Seti = My Lady
shamsi = my sun
A/N: Next chapter you'll learn what happened with Al Sah-him and Ra's, and more about Olicity's new connection!