Author: Ozluv04

Title: Setting Standards

Disclaimer: The characters are property of J.J. Abrams, The WB, and everyone else who had a hand in creating Felicity. I'm just toying with the characters.

A/N: Here's the deal. I'm a new fan of Felicity. I've been watching it in syndication and I'm nearing the end of season one. I only have the vaguest idea of what's coming storyline wise. This particular story is set somewhere between Finally and Friends. I realize that most fans seemed to have an aversion to Noel. I adore him and his relationship with Felicity. This one shot examines his thoughts on being Felicity's first boyfriend. If you absolutely can't stand Noel this isn't the story for you. This is my first fanfic for this fandom. Feedback welcome. Enjoy!

In moments like this, when Felicity cautiously draped her legs across his looking at him for assurance or approval, Noel was struck by the realization that he was setting the standard. He was her first boyfriend. He would be the model she would hold all others against. Unless there were no others. The thought made him shiver and smile all at once. But if there were others after him, she would remember moments like these, and drape her legs across theirs without caution.

She would expect them to bring her coffee without being asked. She would expect them to appreciate her 12:00 a.m. calls as much as he did. She would expect kisses and hugs and the occasional jealous outburst. And for the most part, Noel figured he was setting a nice standard. Aside from the occasional jealous outburst, anyway.

But he figured jealousy couldn't be helped. Not when Felicity was so damn beautiful and innocent without even trying, without even realizing. He hoped she would expect every hypothetical man who came after him to look at her like a goddess. And if they didn't he hoped she would remember him and realize they were not worthy of her time.

Sometimes he worried about being the first man to love Felicity. It seemed impossible to him that no one had bothered to look past her baggy sweaters and blanket of curls. That no one had realized she was just hiding. He wondered how many guys she had watched and wanted. Wondered if it was only Ben. If it had always been Ben. A little part of him hated Ben for having her and not wanting her. But mostly he was glad that he had not had the sense to see what was right in front of him.

Ben didn't get to set the standard. Ben didn't get to be first. It was Noel's job to show her what it was like to be half of a whole. It was Noel's job to be her confidant, her best friend, and her protector. Maybe, one day when she was ready, he would be her lover too. He could set the standards for that as well. The thought made him blush and hope. He wouldn't mind being Felicity's first everything. He wouldn't mind if he was her only.

But he knew the thought was naive. She was learning with him. She was realizing that a man, that men in general, could love her. Could want her. She was practicing on him. Maybe without even realizing. But he knew it and it scared him. The thought that this was only temporary, that some other man, Ben, would get to hold her and kiss her. To laugh with her. To curl up next to her in bed. To know her, the way he knew her. The thought made him feel like he was falling. It made him hold onto her a little tighter when she fell asleep on his bed. Most of all it made him realize for all the standards he was setting for Felicity, she had set standards for him as well. She had set his standards so high, that no other girl could ever meet them. And that was the most terrifying thought of all.