A/N: Hi my lovely readers! How are you all enjoying the story so far? Isn't Felicity awesome? But Olicity is defo amazing! =D haha Here's another installment or you! I have sooo many ideas for this story, so hang in there! As per usual, thank you so much for your support. Thanks especially go out to those who reviewed last chapter: SleazyforAnyWeasley, Jadiee, Lil5weetie, cjjosh4ever, emily. , liferscove2118, CKFan37, Luv2Live, Rolodexthoughts, red2013, Dianitachiva, AnAverageGirl15, Teekanne2210, lightsabove, Starbright62. Thanks to those saving and faving this story as well! I can't wait to hear your reactions about this chapter! xx IFHD
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Chapter 5: Atonement
A A A
By: The Script
You touch these tired eyes of mine
And map my face out line by line
And somehow growing old feels fine
I listen close for I'm not smart
You wrap your thoughts in works of art
And they're hanging on the walls of my heart
I may not have the softest touch
I may not say the words as such
And though I may not look like much
And though my edges may be rough
I never feel I'm quite enough
It may not seem like very much
But I'm yours
You healed these scars over time
Embraced my soul
You loved my mind
You're the only angel in my life
The day news came my best friend died
My knees went weak and you saw me cry
Say I'm still the soldier in your eyes
I may not have the softest touch
I may not say the words as such
I know I don't fit in that much
But I'm yours
A A A
Felicity was languidly awoken by soft humming beside her. It took the disoriented, groaning woman a few moments of blinking and looking around through glazed eyes to find its origins. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, she managed to somehow roll over on her bed and, with a smile already creeping upon her face, reached for the phone on her nightstand. Her toothy smile became even wider when she saw the text was from the person that she was currently thinking of (in a PG-13 kind of way - or so she claimed): Oliver. Hell, in her exceptionally pleasant mood, she didn't even mind that the message was coming to her at 5 in the bloody morning! It read:
Hey Felicity. Hope you're okay. We're going to have a meeting at
Verdant tonight at 7. See you soon.
"Verdant?" she said aloud, her eyes still shimmering from sleep. Without question, she replied with a "Sure, I'll be there" and a "Hope you have a nice day, Oli" before getting on with her day.
She was so excited to know why he wanted to meet that she ensured to reach Verdant at 6:00pm that night. Standing before the doors of the nightclub, she quickly saw that the lock and chains were gone, leaving no trace that they were ever there. The elaborate sign was even alit. Though elation instantly filled her, she questioned what precisely was going on as she stepped through the unlocked doors. Are we going to party tonight or something? she mused, thinking that perhaps a party is just what she needed at the moment. Felicity entered the basement, and she instantly felt as though her eyes were deceiving her. As her stare swept the room, she perceived that the rubble, debris, and destruction from the quake were all gone, as though they had magically disappeared. The floors and walls were shining; the roof, completely intact. Most of the equipment were in their proper place, either restored or entirely replaced. Signs and tools of rebuilding and cleaning were apparent through the space; however, if it weren't for those materials and objects, it seemed as though the quake had all been a nightmare.
What made Felicity stare in wonder the most was that the basement looked as though things were back to normal.
The IT woman let out a little squeal of glee and headed towards her former workstation. It's been way too long, she said inwardly. Fidgeting with and turning on all of her gadgets one by one, she realized that everything seemed to be in perfect working condition. And she thought all had been lost! As she arranged her desk and put everything in its proper place, she saw a glimmer of something from the corner of her eye. Curiosity overtook her, and she picked up the bow and an accompanying arrow beside it. Time to have some fun! She smiled mischievously. Seeing the target to her left, Felicity pivoted her feet upon her heel to face it and try her luck. She positioned her body to proper form, mimicking how Oliver stood as best as she could. With a little trouble pulling the tense bowstring, she loaded the arrow, aimed for the target several meters from her, and fired.
The arrow landed on the bullseye.
"Oh God!" Felicity cried in surprise, almost dropping the bow. When she finally got a handle on the weapon - and on her rapid heartbeat - she turned sheepishly, head hung low. She blushed profusely at the fact that Oliver had just caught her, red handed, handling his property without permission. She needed her best attempt to rectify the situation. With an outstretched her arm, Felicity offered the bow to him, reasoning, "I was just...um...testing to see if it still worked."
"Oh really?" Teasing lined Oliver's tone as he slowly approached her, hands in his pant pockets. Then, he took back his weapon from her hand, inspected it, and nodded towards the target. "Seems like it works perfectly to me."
Felicity followed his glance and eyed her perfect shot. Her orbs twinkled in delight, pride flowing through her. "It's just physics, really."
"Hmm." A pensive looked crossed Oliver's handsome face. His eyes fell upon her calculatingly. "How are you with hand-to-hand combat?"
The young woman grimaced as she contemplated upon the question. "Um...well...I fought off a violent tree branch once. It was in a really bad storm, too. Managed to get away unscathed." She bit her bottom lip. "Okay, maybe a little scathed..."
"Good start." Oliver gave her a smirk, then crouched and began to rummage through a duffel bag at his feet.
Through this, Felicity eyed him questioningly, almost suspiciously, then peered over his shoulder. Twisting his head back slightly, he merely shook his head at her curiosity and pulled out the objects that he was looking for. "Here."
Without any other kind of warning, Oliver tossed Felicity some articles of clothing. The shirt landed squarely on her head, but she managed to catch the flying pair of shorts. She gave him a worried look, then waved the clothing out in front of her as though she were drying it. "What's this?"
"For you to borrow." Oliver answered simply as he swiftly took his shirt off with one motion of his hand.
Felicity's body froze at the sight of him, his taut muscles rippling...well, everywhere, from what she could already see. It was nothing that she hasn't seen before, yes, but she still couldn't help but be affected by his impressive physique. It made her wonder just how much dedication it required not only to gain that body, but to maintain it. I don't think I'll be able to give up pastries to reach that level, she thought. Or pasta. And burgers! Oh, those burgers... She shook the wayward thoughts regarding food for the time being and swallowed nervously. "You're taking your shirt off and you want me to put clothes on?" She said half joking, half anxious. "Is that how it's supposed to work?"
At the quip, Oliver stopped what he was doing for a brief moment and threw her a pointed stare. At first, it seemed as though he was ready to scold her; but, eventually, he let out a curt laugh and shook his head. "We're training."
"Felicity, just change."
Felicity knew from that latter look that Oliver was just going to dismiss any of her further questions, as valid as they might have been. So, with her newfound uniform for the night, she dragged her feet towards a storage room adjacent to them and did as Mr. Queen had asked. After a couple of minutes, the young woman returned, adorned in her new wardrobe and armed with a crinkled expression. The sleeves of the oversized shirt reached down to her elbows; the shorts appeared in kind, and the full length of them reached her knees. All she could do to prevent her bottoms from falling off entirely was to tie the string as tightly as she could - which still remained loose - around her waist.
Upon seeing her wardrobe transformation, Oliver appeared as though he was about to burst out laughing. Instead, he pursed his lips, masterfully cleared his countenance of any sign of mirth or contorted expression, and said in the most serious tone he could muster: "You'll grow into it."
Felicity groaned. "Great! I'll start gorging on pizza now. Extra large. With extra toppings!" She waddled to his side, careful not to let her shorts slip any further down her hips. Seeing that Oliver was now only clad in his jogging pants, she followed his lead and kicked off her shoes. A sigh escaped her lips. "So...we're training ourselves?"
"Yep." Oliver stepped in front of her, reached his hand to the side of her face, and gently removed her glasses. Upon inspecting her blushing countenance, he gave her a nod of approval and a delicate stare. "There. Just in case it gets in your eyes."
"Um..." Despite the tender look that she was now receiving from the man in front of her, Felicity suddenly became nervous once more, her face now entirely pale. "Why would my glasses get in my eyes?"
"Duck." Oliver repeated more firmly, face remaining neutral.
"Goose?" Felicity completed unsurely. Before she could question why in the hell he was speaking about ducks, Oliver clenched his fist, reared back in perfect form, and threw a punch at the side of her face. Though the movement was slow and calculated, it earned a shriek of surprise from the young woman; to her relief, she actually managed to respond to the attack and move out of the way in time. "I don't like this game!" Felicity sputtered, standing upright once more, a few paces from her 'attacker'. "How about we play some Starcraft?"
"This isn't a game, Felicity. This is serious."
She threw an accusatory finger in his direction and protested, "Well...how am I supposed to concentrate when you're shirtless?"
Oliver stopped for a moment to consider the question. "Do you...want me to put a shirt back on?"
Felicity paused in kind and rethought her statement. She heavily mulled over her options, took a good, long look at his ripped body, and replied: "Well...come to think of it..."
He gave her a side smirk, pleased with her decision. "I'm more comfortable without a shirt. Plus, it can get hot down here. Now..." he took her chin in between his thumb and index finger and prompted her to meet his eyes, "...focus, Felicity. I need you to focus."
She let out a puff of air and nodded in acquiesce. "Fine. I just won't look at you, then."
With a mere shake of his head, Oliver began to teach Felicity his fighting style and the basics of self defense. In his defense, this hard lesson was necessary for the neophyte, particularly because she was so and given the current positions that she held in his operation and with Queen Consolidated. The old adage of 'it's better to be safe than sorry' reverberated in his mind. Plus, he reasoned with her as the lesson progressed, it's always important to learn how to defend oneself in general. In a place like Starling City, you never really know when you're going to need it.
Oliver started with Eastern philosophies and small movements, akin to some of the things he had been taught on the island. A ripple effect begins with a single drop, and he reinforced the idea that even slight adjustments to simple techniques could make a very critical difference. They began with the upper body and arms, then moved to the lower body movements. Luckily for Oliver, and even despite her earlier grumbles, Felicity wasn't as stubborn as he was; she paid attention to everything he said as soon as the lesson started, down to the very detail, and grew quite captivated of what she was being taught. He was proud to see that Felicity was a quick learner and that she was stronger than she seemed on the surface. Taking every challenge as it came, the young IT woman delivered, giving everything 110%.
Now came the lesson when Felicity had to consolidate everything that she had learned in a short amount of time and apply it. Without so much as a warning, Oliver stood behind her and grabbed her head into a one-armed headlock. Though Felicity knew he wouldn't hurt her and didn't mean to even if he did, her body still reacted to the situation, which remained precarious as she was in the position of getting her neck entirely snapped!
"Oh my God...oh my God!" Felicity's high-pitched voice was muffled by Oliver's large arm. His attack didn't stop. Her face started becoming pink. "Oh my God, let go!"
"Just do what I taught you," he answered simply.
The hold remained.
Felicity greedily gasped for air. "But how am I going to be able to throw you when...?"
She heaved out a sigh. The lesson thus far was going so well, so why stop now? With all of the force she could muster, she leaned forward, bent in the manner that she had been taught, and smoothly flipped Oliver to the side and onto the padded ground beneath their feet. He landed quite roughly, though expertly absorbed the impact with his feet and legs.
"Oh my god!" Felicity let out a whoop as she stood up straight once more. Her arms raised in the air in utter triumph. "I did it!"
"Good." Oliver gave her a nod, using his elbows to prop himself from the ground. "Now, react to this."
Before she could blink, and subsequently interrupting her victory dance, Oliver wrapped his legs and arms around her body and tackled her to the ground. Felicity let out a helpless yelp at the loss of balance and landed upon the padded ground in kind. She let out a prolonged groan at the sudden impact. Though Oliver ensured that her fall was cushioned, his offensive didn't abate. With lightning technique, he rolled atop of Felicity, using the pressure of his body to place her in supine position. As she still didn't react to the attack, he easily pinned her arms to the sides of her head and gripped her wrists. Finding herself in this new predicament, she finally attempted to free herself.
"You're pretty strong," Oliver commented, still struggling with the woman below him.
"I'm good with my hands, too." Felicity's eyes grew wide. She continued, sputtering, "Um...not in the dirty way. Just..."
"Could you..." Oliver gulped, head tilting from side to side. "Stop squirming for a sec?"
Felicity's eyes alternated from Oliver's dark look to where their hips touched. "Oh...oh!" Realization hit her expression with the force of a tornado. She attempted to wriggle even more from his grasp in panic. "Sorry! I was just trying to..."
"...You're making it worse."
By this point, Felicity could discern just how stormy Oliver's blue eyes had become. She grew entirely still, now keenly aware of how his presence gave her so much warmth and comfort. Probably helps that he's not wearing a shirt, she quipped inwardly. But she felt - no, she knew - that it was something more than that, something that her exterior couldn't precisely pinpoint.
Intrigued, Oliver silently traced the contours of Felicity's face with his calloused fingers. He eyed her as though he were seeing her for the first time, as though he were memorizing her every feature. Unbeknownst to her, he did commit her comely appearance to memory. His thoughts then began to swirl around their past together and, in truth, around the situation that they currently found themselves in - the positions that they were in.
In the softest of manners, he pressed his lips upon hers.
Desire instantly burned through Felicity as their lips touched, her heart pounding as though it wanted to be released from her chest. At first, Oliver kissed her in an exploratory manner, as though testing uncharted waters. However, it didn't take long before the kiss became more heated, passionate. As the seconds passed, both Felicity and Oliver exhibited to the other the raw need that consumed them entirely. With a soft mewl, Felicity tugged Oliver's glistening body closer to hers, feeling as though his current presence wasn't close enough. She ran her hands through his short hair while his own latched upon the sides of her waist, trembling to rid the young woman of her shirt. "Felicity..." she heard him breathe out briefly before starting to kiss and nibble down her neck. Simultaneously, he ground his hips upon hers in an automatic motion and...
A throat cleared behind them.
As swiftly as he had taken her down, Oliver released Felicity. With agility that impressed even Diggle himself, the couple stood up straight and attempted to quickly compose themselves.
Oliver was the first to recover. He placed his hands behind his back, as professionally as he could, then glanced at the red-cheeked Felicity. "We were training," he explained, voice a little lower and raspier than usual. He still had trouble controlling his breath.
"I can see that." Diggle gave them an arched brow and noticed the slight quiver in Felicity's steps as she moved forward. "Now I'm confident that Felicity can do mouth to mouth resuscitation on me in case I need it." The large man couldn't help but smile at them amusedly when he noticed their appalled expressions. He felt discomfort radiating from both of his friends as the moment passed, so, being as nice as he was, he thought not to press the matter; it wasn't really his business, anyway, he thought. Instead, and, frankly, to alleviate the situation, he hopped down the rest of the stairs and asked, "So, what did you want to meet about, Oliver?"
As Felicity stepped forward, Oliver's eyes couldn't help but follow her form. He placed his hand upon her lower back and motioned for his two guests to make themselves comfortable. These gestures weren't lost on Diggle, and he silently eyed the two in turn.
Oliver cleared his throat. "Thank you both for coming," he began, finally retaining his composure and normal tone of voice. "It's been a while since we've been here together."
Felicity nodded in wholehearted agreement. "Yeah, last time Dig and I were here, he had to almost" - she managed to hold in her laughter, despite the severity of the situation that she was describing - "dig me out of the rubble."
Oliver and Diggle shared a knowing look.
Felicity awkwardly cleared her throat at the silence that passed.
"Well..." Oliver continued again, giving Felicity a nudge of consolation and a smile, "I wanted the three of us to be here to talk about how to move forward. How to change the way we do things."
"Whoa, wait a second!" Diggle crossed his brawny arms, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. "You mean...there's still a 'we'? There's still...our operation?"
"Yes, well," Oliver continued, looking into their eyes alternately. "I was thinking I needed to stop being a vigilante."
Felicity's brows furrowed as she placed her open hand on his upper arm. "Wait...what? I'm confused. Why have you cleaned this place up and...?"
"I mean," Oliver gripped her hand in his and shook his head, "it's time for me to stop being a vigilante and become something else. Someone else."
Diggle tilted his head and gave him a sidelong glance. "What or who might that be?"
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A/N: Even *I* am so excited about what's going to happen! haha! More to come! xx IFHD