A/N: I'm back! This idea crept in and I couldn't shake it so...you get this, which was supposed to be quite short, and turned into something much longer. It is a one shot. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
This is a post season 1 finale fic. Spoilers for the first season of 'Arrow'.
The week since the device had been set off had been one of the longest of her life. She'd only seen Oliver once and he hadn't said more than three words. Diggle had kept her in the loop via text for which she was grateful or she'd know nothing about what was going on with either of them.
Queen Consolidated had come to a screeching halt for a few days until Walter was instated as acting CEO. The company's stocks were starting to rebound, but it had taken a hard hit.
Merlyn Global was in total free fall. With Malcolm Merlyn outed as the Dark Archer, and Tommy dead there were no direct family decedents to step in. The feds had frozen all accounts for the company while an investigation was conducted and thousands were now out of work.
Going back to the IT department and her real job was actually a relief. She was able to focus on something that wasn't death and destruction. The nights were the worst. She didn't have the foundry to go to. Digg had told her repairs would take another few weeks. It went unsaid, but they both knew Oliver was having second thoughts about continuing as the Hood.
And now it was a week later, and Tommy Merlyn was being buried. Felicity joined the long line of cars as they wound their way through the cemetery. She could already see several black limousines parked at the curb, and the dark green awning with neat rows of white chairs laid before it.
She took a deep breath and hung a hard right, choosing to park a little out of the way. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly before she made herself get out of the car. The ground was soft and her heels kept sinking into the well manicured lawn, forcing her to walk on her toes.
The Queen's had arrived, sans Moira. She had been allowed out on bail but was under house arrest. Oliver, Thea, and a young man who kept looking around him, but stuck close to Thea's side emerged from one of the limos she had spotted; Diggle followed right after. Roy, Felicity remembered. Thea's boyfriend's name was Roy and he was obsessed with finding the Hood.
If he only knew.
Digg lifted a hand to her in greeting and she returned it, noticing he still had a limp, although he covered it well. She knew that he and Oliver probably should still be in the hospital if they were normal people, but since they were who they were they were going about their business like they hadn't both nearly died a week earlier.
Oliver looked straight ahead, his gaze locked on Tommy's coffin. There hadn't been a memorial. Laurel had arranged everything and settled on a graveside service only. Felicity didn't quite understand why, but it wasn't her place to judge. What she did know was this meant it was the first chance Oliver had to face the reality of his best friend's funeral.
She could still hear Oliver's broken pleas as he begged Tommy to open his eyes. She'd heard him when he'd said it should have been him and not Tommy who died that night. She'd never told him she'd heard, she knew he'd forgotten about the comm link, but she'd been there. When Tommy died he hadn't been alone.
Felicity walked up the narrow aisle and felt distinctly uncomfortable. Laurel was standing just under the awning, her face frozen in grief, her father stood a few feet away and gave Felicity a nod when he saw her. Felicity swallowed heavily and nodded back.
She almost crashed into Digg's back when the line to the casket stopped suddenly. She pulled back just in time and steadied herself on the chair next to her. Digg cut through the empty aisle to her right and went to stand off to the side, joining the other men who provided private security for the elite of Starling City.
When she turned her attention back in front of her she realized she was now only a few scant inches from Oliver. His suit jacket stretched across his taut shoulders and she could practically feel the tension rolling off of him. The clenched fist at his side was the only obvious sign that he was about to break.
Her hand lifted automatically, to lay on his back and offer some comfort. She stopped herself just in time. In this world Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen were barely passing acquaintances. She dug her fingers into her palm and lowered her hand to her side.
They moved forward slowly, until finally it was Thea's turn to say her goodbyes. Oliver gave his sister a hug and whispered something into her ear but she shook her head sharply and clung to the arm of the boy next to her. Oliver stood back and watched as they approached the coffin.
Felicity hadn't realized she'd placed herself in this position. She didn't particularly want to walk up to Tommy's casket, but there was no way to slip out of line now without being obvious.
She shifted nervously from one foot to the other, and tried to catch Digg's eye, but he was steadfastly ignoring her. Then there was a hand brushing hers and she looked down in shock.
Oliver had reached back and was now grasping her fingers in his. She looked up quickly, expecting to see him turned to face her, but his back was still to her.
Thea and her boyfriend were exiting and before she knew what was happening Oliver began to walk forward. One small tug and she was next to him. "Oliver..." she whispered in total confusion but he remained staring straight ahead. The only way she knew he had even heard her was a squeeze of her hand.
Her heart pounded in her chest as he approached the dark mahogany casket that held his best friend. She knew everyone behind them was watching. She knew Laurel was watching. Felicity had no idea why Oliver had done this, but she couldn't deny him.
The rest of the world seemed to fade away as they stood side by side, a foot from the gleaming brass and wood. Oliver's grip tightened and she turned her hand so their palms met. It was solid and static, and something for him to plant himself on if he needed to. It also sent a shot of electricity through her.
She snuck a glance to her left to see if she could see Laurel. Felicity knew something had happened between Laurel and Oliver right before everything went to hell in the Glades. If she was honest she knew exactly what happened, she just didn't want to dwell on it. But Oliver hadn't looked at his ex once, and Laurel was quite purposely not looking at him.
Her eyes caught the numerous flower displays. Wreaths, spreads, baskets, there were too many. The scent of the flowers was cloying and almost nauseating. Felicity took a slow breath through her mouth to avoid smelling the too sweet scent and turned her attention back to the man beside her.
Her eyes misted with tears, as Oliver's words from that night echoed within her. She looked up at him, but his jaw was set and the lack of emotion on his face was startling.
"Oh, Oliver." she breathed out and took a half a step closer, her free hand coming up to lay on his lapel, smoothing away imaginary lines. She didn't care who saw or what they thought.
She didn't know how long they stood there, until finally he placed his hand on the top of the coffin and shut his eyes tight for a long moment. She held her breath until he opened them and then they were stepping away.
His hand continued to grip hers, even when they approached the seats. There was one empty chair next to Thea, but the rest of the row was full. Oliver looked at her properly, for the first time and she could see the struggle.
She gave him a tight smile, "It's alright, I'll be right behind you." and nodded to the mostly empty row she could sit in.
His hand slipped from hers reluctantly. Thea's questioning gaze was burning a hole in Felicity, but she refused to acknowledge the younger girl.
Felicity allowed her hand to brush over his shoulder as she crossed behind him, and she sat down gratefully with shaking knees.
A steady stream of mourners paid their respects and found seats. Laurel kept up her post, but when it came time for the service to begin she sat on the other side of the aisle next to her father.
A man who had clearly never met Tommy Merlyn spoke, but Felicity found herself watching Oliver. A handful of friends spoke, and she knew that there was no way Oliver could read a eulogy. She kept seeing heads turn in his direction, and hers as well, but he never made a move.
The clergymen running the service was speaking again when he was interrupted by repeated shouts from across the cemetery.
Heads were turning everywhere now, and Felicity tried to peer between Thea and Oliver for a better look.
A man was staggering towards the service, only fifty yards away. She could tell he wore some sort of uniform, although it looked unkempt. Both his hands were full. One held what was clearly a bottle, but the other was hidden on his far side.
The shouting got louder, but she still couldn't make anything out. One of the private security agents left his spot and began walking towards the man, as did Detective Lance. Oliver shifted in front of her, and she saw his hand twitch backwards like he was trying to reach for an arrow.
Fear gripped her suddenly and she shot a look towards Diggle who looked just as on edge as Oliver. A loud bang echoed in the air and she jumped, half rising from her seat.
A scream from her left made her whip her head around. Thea was still sitting and Felicity could see now. The object in the man's hand that she couldn't see before was a gun.
She heard the bellow of 'Gun!' from her right and froze.
Time seemed to slow. She could see people begin to scramble out of the way, chairs were knocked over, and screams rent the air. The man was closer now, the gun raised and pointed towards the crowd.
Felicity was knocked to the side and then a solid mass engulfed her. She was thrown backwards into the damp ground and it was only from the familiar smell that she knew it was Oliver that surrounded her.
His body closed over her, she could see feet running away and chairs upturned, before this line of sight too was blocked off and Digg's voice filled her ears as he crouched over her as well.
Digg was shouting behind Oliver, giving orders to Roy and Thea, before Felicity was bodily lifted from the grass.
One of Oliver's arms was banded around her waist, and kept her firmly attached to his side. There was no time to ask what was happening, she just had to trust him and Digg.
They were running now. Her feet only hit the ground every few steps. She had the stray thought that she was shocked her heels were still on.
The Queen limousine was suddenly in front of them, and Roy pulled the door open hurriedly and shoved Thea in first.
Digg was at Oliver's back until they were all safely inside and they were thrown into the dark leather as he gunned the car.
Thea's soft sobs were the only thing Felicity could hear. She let out a long exhale and settled back in the seat some. She'd been pushed up against Roy and Oliver was close behind her.
"Is everyone ok?" Oliver asked. She looked at him, and saw the look he got when he was the Hood. She knew he felt helpless right then. Everything in him demanded he return to the foundry and fight this new threat, but he couldn't.
"Speedy!" he said, almost harsh, and his sister nodded her head.
"We're good man, we're good." Roy replied, his voice shaky but strong.
"Felicity?" his body was turned towards her completely now. As she twisted to sit straight a flare of pain crossed her side.
"I'm fine, Oliver." she assured him, her hand going to cover the stitch in her side. She assumed she was bruised from falling to the ground, but when her hand made contact she hissed with pain.
There was something wet and hot on her palm and with total disbelief she pulled her hand back and saw blood.
Spots danced in front of her eyes, and she swayed where she sat. "Ol...Oliver..." she began, not recognizing her own voice.
He must have heard it too because his eyes landed on hers and then dropped to see what she had discovered.
"Felicity!" he cried and pushed her hand out of the way.
"Digg! Starling Memorial, now!" he commanded, one arm came down to hold her legs still, the other slipped around her neck to secure her to him as the car was whipped in what was surely an illegal u-turn.
Thea and Roy protested the sharp movement and then there was a babble of voices as they realized something was wrong.
Felicity could hear Oliver, but it sounded like he was talking from the far end of a room. She couldn't focus on anything until his hand came around her neck and cupped her jaw.
"Felicity, stay with me." His eyes were strong and they never wavered. He looked at her just like he had when she had that bomb collar around her neck. Everything she saw in him said that she needed to trust him, and that he would fix this.
It was hard to keep her eyes open and she let them fall shut for a long moment. Oliver calling her name made her open them again.
"Don't do this!" he demanded. She could hear the slight break. It sounded so much like it had the night Tommy died and she knew she couldn't do that to him.
He barked something at Thea and Roy and she was being moved suddenly. Her new view was of the roof of the Queen limousine as Oliver slowly laid her flat on the back seat.
Something was pressed into her side and every ounce of air was wrenched from her lungs. Her back arched in an attempt to get away from the pain, and she couldn't help the scream that came out.
Oliver sat crouched next to her legs and Roy was at her head now. She could hear Oliver telling Roy what to do, but she couldn't actually make out the words.
Her teeth began to chatter. "Oliver..." she said carefully, it was hard to speak. "My hands are cold." its sounded absurd to her as soon as she said it, but her mind was foggy.
She was shifted again, and something heavy was wrapped around her from behind. She turned her head to the side and once again smelled Oliver's familiar scent. Roy's suit jacket covered her legs, but her shaking continued.
"Press here." Oliver said. Roy's face contorted in concentration as he held whatever they had found to stem the bleeding over her side.
Oliver's hand was in hers again, although she could barely feel it. She wanted to feel it. Darkness crept into the edges of her vision until all she could see was his face hovering over her.
They went around another sharp corner, with both Roy and Oliver trying to keep her in one place. Thea's scared angry shouts at Digg were oddly comforting.
She was drifting now, her side blissfully numb. She didn't even know she had shut her eyes.
"Felicity! Open your eyes!" Oliver pleaded, and with great effort she looked at him. His face was inches from hers, the agony written across his features. At that moment she didn't know if he was seeing her or seeing Tommy.
He pressed a hard kiss to her forehead, "Don't leave me." he whispered, and she wanted so badly to touch him, but her arms weren't cooperating.
"...sorry..." she breathed out. Oliver's frantic shouting of her name was the last thing she heard.
Later she would recall hazy memories. Vague recollections of what happened before she woke up. She remembered being taken out of the car. Oliver hadn't waited for a gurney, he'd carried her straight into the ER. She remembered him at her side until he'd been forced away. She remembered a glimpse of Digg's back as he held Oliver on the other side of a swinging door. She remembered doctors asking her questions that she couldn't answer. There was pressure on her side, and then nothing.
A faint beeping is what finally drew her from sleep. Her eyes blinked open several times before she could keep them that way. A bank of machines, and wires to her left let her know she was in the hospital. When she turned her head slightly everything ached, and she couldn't contain the low moan she let out.
There was the sound of a chair scraping the floor and a figure loomed above her. It was Oliver.
"Hey," he said softly, and it was then that she realized he had a solid hold on her hand. His thumb coasted over her knuckles in a soothing rhythm.
She licked her lips and swallowed several times, her throat dry. "Hey," she replied.
"How do you feel?" he asked
He gave her half a smile, "Yeah, they said you wouldn't be able to have more meds for another hour or so."
"That...sucks." her usually witty and long winded replies were beyond her right then. A thin tube ran oxygen into her nose, and leads ran out from underneath her hospital gown. The hand Oliver wasn't holding had several IVs placed in it, the tubing running behind her.
"I got shot." it was more statement than question, but she still wasn't completely sure what had happened.
Oliver's eyes darkened and his chin tilted down before he answered. "You got shot."
She still felt confused, and slow, and she hated it. "Who? Why?"
Oliver sighed heavily, his foot catching the leg of the chair and dragging it back to where it had been. When he sat he let out a sigh, but he didn't let go of her hand. "He was a former employee of Merlyn Global. A security guard. One income family, already living pay check to pay check. He...snapped."
Even though this man had disrupted a funeral, shot her, and maybe even shot others she couldn't help but feel some sympathy for him. "That's terrible." she said without meaning to.
Her sluggish brain didn't quite know what to do when Oliver was suddenly out of his seat and pacing angrily at the foot of her bed.
"He shot you." he ground out. He looked like he did when he came back from a mission that hadn't gone the way he wanted. That was usually when Digg drug him away for a sparring session. But she couldn't do that at the moment. "He shot you, and I didn't stop it. I said I'd keep you safe, that I'd protect you, but I couldn't. How many times have you been in danger since you started working with me? How many more times will you be? It's too much. Tommy's gone. You're..." He paused at the window, his hands braced wide as he studied himself in the reflection. "I'm done."
The finality in his voice was shocking. She tried to push herself up. Hot pain laced through her side and she balled her fist in frustration. He couldn't do this now. He couldn't give up now when she was in no condition to fight him.
"Oliver." she said as firmly and as seriously as she could manage. He didn't so much as twitch, she didn't even know if he had heard her. "Oliver!" she said louder, wincing at the pain it caused her.
He half turned then, and she at least knew she had his attention.
"Don't be absurd. You're not giving up. I know what I signed up for. And me being in this bed had nothing to do with you. It had to do with a man who lost everything and didn't have any idea of how to cope. Sound familiar?" she paused for a breath and to calm her pulse, the machine next to her didn't seem to like that she was getting upset.
Oliver was two steps closer to her bed now. "I know you think you've lost everything. But you haven't. Maybe you can't see that right now, but you will. And when you do I'll be there. You can't get rid of me that easily." Her little outburst had cost her. She tried to move her hand up to cover the spot that ached so badly, but every movement made her stomach roll, and she couldn't catch her breath.
"I just don't know what to do." he said quietly. She wanted to be able to continue, but all she could do right then was focus on her breathing.
"You could get me a doctor or a nurse or someone with some drugs. That would be great." she managed to gasp out. The next thing she knew all six foot plus of Oliver was flying out the door. She could hear his shouts down the hall.
A doctor and a nurse entered quickly, although calmly, and Oliver was anything but. He took up a post near the end of the room, crossed his arms and waited. The look on his face dared someone to tell him to leave.
She was denied anything to take away her discomfort until she'd been assessed. That meant vitals, and a bandage check, which made her bite her lip as she tried not to make a sound. Silent tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Give her something for the pain." It was the only thing Oliver had said the entire time.
Her eyes were clenched tight, but then there was a soothing coolness entering her vein and after a moment the fire in her side began to fade.
As they had worked on her, the doctor had informed her she'd been very lucky. The bullet had missed everything vital; a straight through and through. Other than her blood loss, and some muscle damage she was fine. She thought there had been a shared look between Oliver and the doctor but she couldn't be sure.
Her eyelids were already drooping when they left, Oliver hadn't moved from his spot.
She lifted a hand weakly and tried to motion for him to come closer but her hand just fell limp. She giggled at how funny it lay next to her leg, like it wasn't even her own hand.
Then another hand entered her field of vision and straightened her arm. He began to pull away but she had enough control to stretch her fingers out and catch his sleeve.
"Stay," she murmured before everything faded away.
Angry voices woke her up. It was dark, the only light spilled from the hallway where the door was half opened.
She can't make out who it is at first, and then she realized it was Laurel and Oliver that she could hear.
"Who is she, Ollie! And don't give me some line about her working on your website. She means something to you!" Laurel's voice was shrill
"She does work for me, but we've become...she's a friend." he was trying to keep his voice down.
"Are you sleeping with her too? Were you with her when you screwed me? Was this some sort of sick plan of yours, to seduce me back into your life when you already had someone else! God, what a mistake I made thinking you had changed. You are exactly the same!" she spat
"I didn't make you do anything, Laurel. You were a willing participant! But you're right about one thing, it was a mistake. One that I won't make again." Oliver's voice had dropped low, and he practically hissed his last words. "Felicity is my friend."
"Keep telling yourself that, Ollie." Laurel said with derision
Felicity didn't try and pretend like she hadn't heard most of their conversation when he pushed back in the door.
Oliver scrubbed a rough hand over his head and sank back into the chair next to her bed.
"I'm sorry it had to end that way." she said after the silence had gone on for too long.
"Me too. I'm sorry she said..." he trailed off, not meeting her eyes.
"It's ok. She's upset and confused and hurting. You can't exactly hold it against her."
Oliver shook his head once and looked at her quickly before directing his attention out the window.
"You amaze me. You defend the guy who shot you, and Laurel..."
"I don't defend the shooting, there is a difference. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not pleased with him for doing that at all." she shifted again and winced, the pain was dull, but still there.
"Do you need anything?" he asked immediately, and she waved him off as she reached for the cup of water that sat next to her, but immediately regretted it.
"How do you and Digg do this? You two get shot and stabbed and just get up and move on like nothing happened." she sat back in frustration at not even being able to reach for a cup of water.
"Digg and I are most likely not the best role models when it comes to being a good patient." he said sardonically as he picked up the cup and moved the straw so she could reach it.
"This is true." she agreed, after taking several small sips.
"You lost a lot of blood." he said tightly, "You..." his hands twisted in front of him, and he couldn't seem to look at her. "You crashed once."
"Oh..."she said slowly, a memory returning to her of Oliver flat lining in the foundry and Digg having to restart his heart.
For the first time since she'd woken up she really looked at him. His tie was gone, the shirt sleeves on his dress shirt were rolled up, higher than they normally would be, she noticed, and when she looked closer she could see a reddish brown stain that had seeped through the fabric.
She gulped once and turned her head away.
"Did you...did you call anyone?" the thought struck her suddenly that she's almost died in an emergency room.
He actually looked sheepish at her question, "Ah, no. You've never really talked about your family or parents and..."
"It's ok." she said quickly, "It's just my mom and she's a worrier, she does not need to know about this."
"Ok." he said with a nod of his head,
"I mean, could you imagine the questions? How did you get shot? What were you doing at a billionaire's funeral? How come Oliver Queen is stalking your hospital room?" she shook her head at the thought and let out a shaky breath.
"You scared me." he said suddenly, like it was forced from him and he had no say over it being spilled forth.
Her heart stuttered at his words. She knew he cared for her; as a friend, as a responsibility as a member of his team, but she couldn't let herself imagine it went beyond that.
"Yeah, well you scare me all the time." she countered, trying to diffuse some of the tension that had crept between them. But the desperate sound of his voice as he'd pleaded with her in the back of the limo kept coming back to her.
He didn't say anything, but he didn't leave either.
"Was anyone else hurt?" she asked
"I uh...I don't know." the surprise evident in his tone
"What about your sister?"
"I sent Thea and Roy back to the house with Digg." he explained
"So...why are you still here?" she asked hesitantly, "I mean, it's not that I'm not grateful, but...you don't have to stay. It's ok if you go, really." she tried to give him a smile, but she couldn't quite manage it.
"I'm here because I want to be here." he sounded sure, and she couldn't help the way her stomach flipped, "Besides, you asked me to stay." she knew without looking his lips were tugging sideways and she chose to pretend she didn't hear him.
"You really don't have to though...I'm sure you..."
"Felicity." Oliver said, cutting her off, "Shut your mouth and rest."
He moved the chair a little closer and wound his arm through the bars on the side of the bed. His hand twined with hers, fingers weaving, until she didn't know where her hand ended and his began. And then he gave her one of his heart stopping, Oliver Queen smiles and very deliberately sat back, made himself as comfortable as he could, and shut his eyes.
She opened her mouth to protest,
"Stop it." he cut her off again, and she huffed as loud as she could considering her injury.
"Fine," she said petulantly, turning her head so she could see him and allowed herself to sleep.
It had been six weeks since Tommy's funeral. She always referred to it as that. She never said 'the shooting'. She'd been released from the hospital after two days, stitches out after two weeks. Digg started her back with light training two weeks after that.
Oliver had never again mentioned the conversation they'd had in her hospital room; the one about him quitting. The basement at the club was repaired. She put her two cents in regarding some changes she'd like to see regarding the tech and he'd listened. He'd also put in a bathroom much to her delight.
The Hood had been inactive. Everyone was still getting their feet back under them. She wasn't sure he'd figured out exactly what his purpose was, but she knew he had one, she was just waiting on him to catch up.
Everyone at Queen Consolidated thought she'd been out for an emergency appendectomy. Detective Lance had managed to keep it out of the press. She had been back to work for over three weeks and feeling much more like her old self.
As she stepped into the underground parking she saw someone leaning against her car. Panic seized her until she was close enough to see it was Oliver.
"What's going on?" she asked as she approached.
"Keys." he said simply and she handed them over without thought
"Wait, what's happening?" she questioned again, and reached for the keys but he had them now and was not giving them back.
"Trust me?" he sounded serious and something told her this was important.
"Then get in, and...try not to ask too many questions." he gave her a wry smile and she leveled him with a glare before he opened the car door and shut it behind her.
She did her best to keep silent, but when he drove her little red car through the main gates of the cemetery she balked.
"Oliver..." she began, fear she didn't know she still had crept in on her.
His right hand left the wheel and covered her left where it twisted in the fabric of her skirt. "Trust me." he repeated
He parked in the same place where the limo had been and she didn't know if it was on purpose or not, but she suspected that it was. She waited in the passenger seat until he came around, and took the hand he offered to help her out.
She wiped sweaty palms on her thighs and blew out one long slow breath.
He stood next to her and waited.
"Why are we here?" she asked
He was staring straight ahead, much like he had all those weeks ago. "I need to say goodbye, and you need to feel safe." he said it so factually she was taken aback.
She hadn't thought she'd acted any differently. It was a random act. She hadn't been hunted, or targeted. The man hadn't shot her deliberately, in fact, after hearing Digg's account of the event it sounded like it had just been an unfortunate 'wrong place/wrong time' scenario. The guy hadn't even been aiming when he'd fired. Her body had healed. All that was left were two small, puckered scars that were still raw and tender, she tended not to look at them.
But she'd had to admit that some things were bothering her. She didn't like being alone in the foundry any more. If Digg and Oliver left for the night, she did too, and she didn't come in until she knew they were there.
Oliver had dropped the iron bar he used on the salmon ladder the week before. The noise it had made as it hit the concrete floor made her jump so hard she'd banged her knee on the underside of the desk and had a hard time controlling her breathing afterwards. The bruise still hadn't faded all the way.
Oliver hadn't said anything to her then. She stupidly thought he hadn't noticed.
Tears pricked her eyes, and she swallowed hard. This time it was her hand that reached for his, and he took it without delay.
Cemeteries always look so different when the tent and chairs were gone. She walked slowly in the general direction of where she thought Tommy's grave should be.
Oliver pulled her slightly to the right, "He's buried next to his mother."
She saw it then, the large stone monument with Merlyn prominently displayed in relief on the front.
Tommy'd gravestone was smaller, although still imposing.
Oliver's footsteps slowed as they approached, his grip grew tighter.
They stood in front of the gravestone much like they had stood in front of his casket. She didn't mean to speak, but the words were coming out before she could stop them. "Why did you bring me up with you, at the funeral? I didn't even know you knew I was there."
He took a deep breath before he answered her, "Because you were with us at the end. You heard him die."
Air caught in her throat and she couldn't see because her eyes had glazed over. "I didn't...I didn't know you..."
"He saved Laurel. I got there too late. He asked me if I killed his father, and...I lied." she knew all of this but she didn't stop him. "He was my best friend since we were four and enrolled in the same preschool. After his mom died and Malcolm disappeared he practically moved in with us. He was...my brother." finally his voice broke and she stepped close to his side.
Oliver let go of her hand and wrapped his arm around her waist, covering her scar with his palm. She slipped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest. He was trying so hard to control his emotions he was shaking.
Felicity reached one hand up, hesitantly, and stroked over his jaw. His head dipped abruptly and he buried his face in her hair. The grip on her waist was almost painful, but she didn't stop him. She felt him take one shuddering breath before straightening up.
He wiped a hand over his face and stepped forward to then lay it on top of the headstone.
The next thing she knew they were walking away, Oliver's arm still wrapped about her waist, and although her brain was telling her this was very different, everything else in her was telling her it was very right.
They didn't go far, and then Oliver was turning them so they faced back towards Tommy'd grave. She realized with a start she was in the same spot where she'd been shot.
The trembling took her by surprise. She didn't feel frightened in her head, but her body apparently had other ideas, and the stronger it got the more panicked she felt.
"I didn't even know." she said shakily, "I didn't even know I'd been shot. It didn't hurt." her voice was monotone and startled her. "You crashed into me and when we were in the limo I just thought I had fallen on something. And then there was so much blood." he raised a hand to run over her shoulder, but she stepped back, out of his reach.
"I didn't think this place would bother me, you know. I mean, I didn't even know I'd been shot here so...you wouldn't think it would bother me." she took a long time to direct her gaze to his, "But it does. It bothers me a lot."
"You can go talk to someone if you need to." he suggested, although she knew the idea was completely foreign to him.
"You said I could talk to you." she replied pointedly
"Always," his reply was without hesitation
"I've seen you after you were shot. It didn't seem to even phase you and it was your own mother who did it. How do you..." she trailed off, her hands twisting together in front of her.
"I don't know if I'm the best one to ask." he looked down, as if he could see every scar even through his clothes. "But I do know I had to learn to look past it. They're just scars. They're only reminders or restraints if you let them be."
She considered his words and let out a long tremulous breath. "I got shot."
Oliver's eyes darkened, and his jaw tightened, but he remained silent.
"I got shot. But I lived." she said slowly, as if by saying it she finally realized it herself. The past few weeks she'd been going through the motions, but nothing else.
"Something that I am very grateful for." Oliver said, his tone one she'd never heard before. Her breath caught at the look on his face and she could not let herself consider what it could mean.
"Me too," she replied breathlessly, and took a quick look around in front of them. "I think I'm ready to get out of here, how about you?" She was obviously changing the subject, but he didn't stop her.
They turned back in the direction of where they'd parked only to see her car being driven off.
"Hey! My car!" she cried
She turned wide eyes to Oliver but he was just chuckling softly next to her. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her slightly, "It's ok, Felicity. You didn't see Digg, did you?"
She looked again, and saw Digg standing, arms clasped in front of him, next to one of Oliver's cars.
"Oh," she said simply, "I guess that my car..."
"Is being driven by Verdant's new employee, Roy Harper." there was only a touch of bitterness in his voice as he spoke
Felicity looked at him in surprise. "You know he's obsessed with finding out who the Hood is. Is hiding you under his nose really the best idea."
Oliver stilled as the walked the last few yards to the car. "I've been considering adding to the team."
She shot him a hopeful look, "Yeah?"
He just nodded in response.
"I think that sounds like a great idea." she said with a smile, "But it doesn't explain why he just took off with my car."
"Thought we could all have dinner at the foundry. The reopening of Team Hood, so to speak."
She stopped completely, her hands resting lightly on his arm, "Wait, are you saying the work is finished? I can get my computers back? And all the wires have been run like I wanted? And that new server was installed?"
He cocked his head to the side and gave her a look that said 'do you doubt me?'.
Felicity practically squealed with delight and couldn't stop herself from launching towards Oliver and wrapping her arms around his neck. "Oh, thank you!"
He caught her easily, but as her cheek brushed the warm skin of his throat she suddenly realized what she had done. Her face burned as she pushed back and stepped away from him.
Felicity adjusted her glasses and looked up at him sheepishly. But Oliver was smiling; a real smile. And Digg was laughing as he watched them.
The door to the backseat was opened and as she was getting in she heard Oliver behind her, "You must be the easiest woman in the world to shop for."
Something possessed her, and just before he followed her into the car she turned a heated look on him, "I wouldn't be so sure about that, Queen."
The look on Oliver's face was worth the risk she'd taken. And Digg's long, low whistle could be heard even after the door was shut.
Just before they pulled away, Oliver leaned in so close she could feel his breath on her ear and it made her shiver, "I'll take that as a personal challenge."
Felicity gulped hard, and stared straight ahead, not trusting her voice. Team Hood 2.0 was going to prove to be very interesting.