A/N: This is the former Trope#6: the baby trope. After, overwhelming demand I've decided to turn this into a multi-chapter fic of it's own. The first chapter is just a repost of the chapter from Tropes. Chapter 2, will be the first new chapter to this story.
Clearly, begging and pleading is a successful approach to getting your way. Hope you're all pleased with yourselves. :)
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Felicity had only been home for a few hours when the text alert on her phone went off; repeatedly. It was Oliver, and all it said was for her to get back to the lair asap.
With wild thoughts she threw on leggings and an old sweatshirt from college before she scooped up her bag and phone and headed out the door. There was no active mission she was aware of. Digg had left early for a long weekend with Carly, and Oliver had promised he would be going home as well. She hadn't even planned on going into the lair for at least twenty-four hours.
Thankfully the streets were practically deserted and the lights were in her favor. As she clattered down the steel stairs her heart was in her throat.
"Oliver," she called out before going around the corner, "What's wrong?"
When she saw him she came to a halt. He stood in front of her, bare chested, holding a wailing, squirming blanket covered entity.
He looked petrified.
"Wha...what is that?" she stuttered.
"It's a baby." he said harshly, which only made the bundle in his arms cry louder.
"I can see that, but where did it come from and why do you...oh god..." her hand came up to cover her mouth as the realization that it was Oliver's child washed over her. Why had her stomach just dropped like she'd stepped off a cliff?
His eyes narrowed and he gestured towards the car seat she now noticed sitting on the desk by the computers. "Read the note." he directed, moving slowly and haltingly out of the way. She'd never seen him so nervous and unsure before.
With shaking hands she approached them. A folded piece of paper lay atop the seat, which was piled high with blankets, a bottle, and what appeared to be Oliver's shirt with a very noticeable stain on it.
The letter was typed, on standard printer paper, with no distinguishing marks.
You probably don't remember me. It was one night. You were sad, and I was there. I don't regret what we did or what we made, but I lost everything in the quake. I got out of Starling City, but I can't start a new life with her. It's just too hard. You and your family can give her everything she needs. Please take care of her.
It was unsigned. And no matter how many times she flipped the paper from front to back nothing new appeared to tell her who had sent it.
Tommy's baby. Not Oliver's.
She raised already wet eyes to see him standing there, barely aware of what he held. He was so close to the edge she could see him teetering. He'd been doing so well since he'd come back. But this...this had the ability to send him running again.
Before she knew what was happening he was shoving the baby in her arms, blanket and all.
"Oliver!" she choked out, her hands coming up automatically to hold the slight weight to her chest, "I don't..."
"Please." he said raggedly, "Just...I need a minute, okay."
"Okay," she answered. How could she say no to him just then.
He disappeared like a ghost into the training room, door shutting firmly behind him.
The baby continued to cry, and finally Felicity focused on her.
Enough of the blanket had fallen away that she could make out a scrunched up red face, and dark hair. She had no idea how old she was, but she looked very young. Maybe a month old.
Felicity had no experience with children. She'd spent her childhood rebuilding computers and watching the Discovery channel, not babysitting.
But the baby wasn't stopping, and they had to do something to quiet her down. Hesitantly she moved a few steps and sat in her chair. When she felt secure she slowly released one of her arms and let her bag finally slip off her shoulder.
"Hi...um...well, your mom didn't tell us your name. Maybe you don't have one. I don't know. I don't know anything about babies. Nothing. But I do know about the internet and I'm certain we can find out what we need there, okay. But I'm going to need for you to be patient with me. And with the big guy. He's kind of a mess right now. A lot like you, but for different reasons. I guess he's kind of like your uncle, so you're stuck with him. And I'm stuck with him too, so that means you're stuck with me. So we'd better figure this out."
The baby had quieted down some, now only whimpering slightly as she twisted her head back and forth. Felicity typed using one hand and pulled up the first site she could find that would give her information about babies.
In the next ten minutes she felt she'd at least skimmed the basics. If she was crying she was hungry, needed to be changed, or was tired. Those seemed like simple enough requests. But she was going to need some help.
She adjusted her hold, placing the baby's head on her shoulder so her little body laid lengthways, one hand under her butt, the other cupped behind her head.
The baby seemed to like this and let out a little sigh before finally falling silent.
"You look like a pro." Oliver said behind her. Felicity turned slowly in her chair to face him. He'd found another shirt, and stood a few feet away, arms crossed, watching them.
"Not hardly. But the internet is a wealth of information." she said quickly. His eyes were haunted, and he kept looking everywhere but at the baby.
"Yeah, but..." he waved a hand her direction and anger flashed through her as she realized what he was implying.
"You think because I have the...correct equipment to make one of these I magically know how to take care of them?" she asked incredulously. "I watched the neighbor's toddler once when I was ten. It was a horrible experience, and one I wish to never speak of again. You're the one with the sibling. You must remember stuff from when Thea was a baby."
He just shook his head. "No. There was a nanny, and I was seven. I remember looking at her now and then but...nothing more."
"What about Digg!" she said suddenly, "He has a nephew."
"I don't want to bother him with..." he cut himself off, but she knew he was going to say he didn't want to bother Digg with his problems. Oliver had already assumed responsibility for the baby whether he realized it or not. It went unnoticed by both of them that Oliver hadn't hesitated in calling her though.
"Okay," she said gently, knowing she was going to have to walk a fine line with him just then.
"Where was she?" Felicity asked,
"Next to the back door." he bit out, and she gasped in disbelief.
"But...what if she hadn't been found? What if...She could have been there all night! The note makes it sound like she didn't know that Tommy..." Felicity unconsciously held the baby tighter, a hand skimming over her hair.
"I know." Oliver ground out.
"Is there anything else in the bag?"
His shoulders lifted in response, "I haven't looked."
She lifted an eyebrow at him and then looked at the bag. He took the hint and pulled it towards him. There were several more blankets, a few outfits, and a small stack of diapers which looked absurdly tiny in his large hands. There was also a pouch that held an ice pack and two pre made bottles with another note.
"What does it say?" she asked nervously
He cleared his throat before he answered, "Just the name of the baby food she's been drinking." he'd obviously thought it was going to tell him something different.
"Formula." Felicity said immediately, "That's what she's drinking. It's called formula." at his confused expression she angled her head towards the screen. "I read about it. She should be eating every few hours and being changed that often too, and she probably won't sleep much. What with all the changing and eating..." she trailed off as Oliver's eyes seemed to glaze over.
A thought struck her and forced her to her feet. She walked towards him carefully, not wanting to disturb him or the baby who was now trying to smash her little face into Felicity's shoulder with surprising strength for something so small.
"Oliver," she said quietly, as she came to a stop in front of him. "Why haven't you called the police or taken her to a hospital?"
It had occurred to her that neither of them had done what would be expected. They had simply taken her on and started talking about feedings and looking up how to take care of her when they really had no claim on her.
He was so still she was worried he hadn't heard her.
"She's Tommy's." he said finally, the force behind his words almost making her step back.
She studied him carefully and tried to speak several times before she could get the words out, "But...Tommy's gone."
Oliver's eyes blazed with anger and pain and she wished nothing more than to be able to walk back what she'd said. "Which means she's my responsibility now!" he ground out.
Her eyes shut tight. She hurt for him. "I know you feel that way...but..." his head whipped towards her, daring her to finish. She swallowed heavily and continued. "But Oliver...this is a baby. Another human life. This isn't a bar tab, or a bookie that needs to be paid off. This is a commitment, a responsibility that I don't think you..."
"I understand, Felicity! Tommy died because I wasn't fast enough, because I wasn't good enough. Now his daughter doesn't have a father. I'm going to make this right." The look on his face was so intense she couldn't have looked away if she wanted to.
"And that's admirable, and even though I don't think you need to atone in that way, I respect that you feel like you do. But...think about what you're saying! How are you going to take on caring for an infant? How will this look to the public when you start carting around a car seat? How will you continue to be Green Arrow. Are we going to set up a nursery in the corner? Do you intend to be a father to this child, or just provide for her financially?" with every question she threw at him he flinched. She knew he hadn't thought any of it through, he was just reacting out of obligation and duty.
"You can't just make a decision like this without thinking about everything. And how do you suppose you'll be able to keep her? Do you think the Department of Child Services is just going to give you, Oliver Queen, custody of a baby?" as soon as the words were out of her mouth she gaped at him in shock. They'd never do that. He'd never be allowed to keep her. And there were no more Merlyn's left. She'd go into the system. She'd be lost.
In a few seconds Felicity saw all of that flash through his eyes.
"Felicity," he pleaded. He looked heartbroken and how could she tell him no. After everything he'd been through and everything he sacrificed.
"Okay..." she said shakily, "Okay...we'll figure it out."
The next thing she knew she was in his arms. Her and the baby, pressed into him. She felt his shaky exhale pass over her neck and shivered. When the baby let out a muffled squeak Felicity was struck with just exactly how domestic all of this was. It made her stomach flip, and her mind go places it shouldn't be going.
She was the one who stepped back, shifting the baby higher so her head was tucked under Felicity's chin.
"But Oliver...if we do this." she shut her eyes in almost disbelief that she was even considering such a thing, "If we do this...if we don't tell the police...then how are you going to explain her? If you of all people suddenly show up with a child...there are going to be questions. People are going to go digging."
"I know. Which is why you'll need to give her a new background." he said immediately.
She nodded slowly as she thought. Social security number, and a new birth date wouldn't be that difficult, she'd hacked more difficult servers. "There will need to be a birth certificate. That's the first thing they'll look up. If you want to put yourself down as the father we can do that, but...mother is the one thing that can't be left blank. I mean, I suppose we could just make up a random name, but then it would be necessary to create an entirely new identity for her too and that could become complicated..." she trailed off at the look in his eyes.
With a great gasp of air she knew. She knew what he was asking of her. Her mouth opened and shut but she couldn't say a word. The beginnings of a panic attack crept in, making her limbs numb and before anything could go wrong she handed him the baby.
It was her turn to run.
The baby was squalling now. "Felicity!" he called after her, but she didn't turn around.
"She probably needs to be changed." she choked out as she continued to head towards the back.
"I don't..." he started, but she whirled on him
"I don't either! Figure it out!" she pointed viciously towards the computer screen and disappeared through the door.
She didn't make it two feet before collapsing against the wall and sliding down to sit on the floor.
This was too much. She couldn't...she could not make up false documents that listed her as that child's mother, and Oliver her father. There was loyalty and then there was insanity, and this was definitely the latter.
She was committed to Oliver, committed to what they did, but...this was an entirely new level of commitment. And if she was being completely honest with herself, her feelings for Oliver had everything to do with it.
Not that this would have been easy if she hadn't been in love with him, but she was, she had been for awhile. Being tied to him like this in such an intimate way...how could she be expected to handle that. And she couldn't tell him. She couldn't admit that this would blur the lines between fantasy and reality so much one wouldn't be distinguishable from the other and that wasn't fair to either of them.
Because at some point he was going to fall for someone else, but in the eyes of the world he'd had a child with her. How would that affect them? Would she have to quit to protect his cover? Make the ultimate sacrifice and walk away from all of it? From him? From the baby? How was any of that fair?
But the other option wasn't really an option either. She knew he wasn't going to let this baby go. He was going to keep her. He was going to raise her the best he knew how. His absolution for Tommy's death finally had found a symbol, and right or wrong, Oliver was going to see it through.
So it seemed like her options were she could lose him now or lose him later. She let out a strangled half sob, half laugh at the thought and dropped her head into her hands.
Was she actually considering this? Was she actually going to falsify records for Tommy Merlyn's child that said she was the mother? Was she going to help Oliver care for this baby, because god knows he needed the help.
The night the Glades fell flashed through her mind and she winced and pressed her hands tight over her eyes. If she hadn't missed that second device Tommy would have lived. That baby would have her real father, and maybe every now and then he'd bring her by the club and Felicity would chuck her under the chin and laugh at Uncle Ollie's awkwardness in trying to hold her, but that would have been the extent of it. But she had failed. She'd failed the city, and she'd failed Tommy.
With a long exhale she wiped her eyes and pushed herself to her feet.
She'd be damned if she was going to fail his daughter.
Her own words floated back to her, something she had said to the baby not that long ago. She'd told her she was stuck with Oliver, and it was true. She'd tethered herself to him long ago, even when he was so far away she didn't know how he'd find his way back she'd waited. And he'd returned, a bit more broken, but she'd put him back together again. It's what she did.
So they'd do this. Damn the consequences, she'd see this through. She figured her life had stopped being her own the day he'd stepped into her office with a bullet riddled laptop, so this was just the natural progression of things.
When she stepped back into the main room on shaky legs she didn't expect to see him sitting in her chair, feeding the baby. The corner of her desk had been turned into a changing table and, although it looked like he'd gone through a few diapers, he seemed to have been successful.
"Hey," she said softly, not wanting to disturb either of them.
He looked up quickly, his eyes showing his apology. "Felicity," he began but she stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
"It's ok. You were right before. We owe her. Both of us. So...I'm in." she told him, but he was already shaking his head.
"No. It's too much. I had no right. I'll do it the legal way. I've got money and good lawyers. I can make a case."
"And you'll fail. And she'll be in the care of the city the entire time. And who is going to want to adopt a Merlyn? No one." her voice broke off as she leaned over him slightly, looking at her properly for the first time. "She's got his nose."
The bottle slipped from her bow lips as Oliver's hand went slack, but the baby had fallen asleep and hadn't noticed. Felicity reached out and took the bottle from his hand, sitting it on the desk before she kneeled beside him.
"Thank you." he said so softly she almost didn't hear him. She reached out slowly and stroked one finger over the back of the baby's tiny hand, gasping when she gripped it in her sleep.
"She's strong." Oliver said
"She'll have to be if she's joining Team Arrow." Felicity said, ignoring the tears she could feel slipping down her face.
Oliver's hand came to fall over the back of her neck, fingers stroking small circles against her bare skin. "Thank you," he said again.
All Felicity could do was nod. "We can do this right? We can keep her safe." Two hours ago she hadn't know this little person existed, and now she was claiming her.
"We'll keep her safe." Oliver vowed, his voice sure.
Felicity nodded, shifting in closer so she could stare at the sleeping baby, unconsciously pressing against his leg as she did.
"Oh, little Alice, what have you gotten yourself into?" she thought aloud
"Alice?" Oliver asked
Felicity startled some and looked up at him. "Sorry, it just sort of slipped out. You know, like Alice in Wonderland. She falls down the rabbit hole. This..." she looked around the lair for emphasis, "This is sort of like the rabbit hole. I didn't mean anything by it though..."
"She needs a name." he replied, "I kind of like Alice."
"What was Tommy's mother's name?" she asked suddenly
"Rebecca." Oliver answered immediately.
"Alice Rebecca...Queen." she said slowly, her eyes slipping from the baby to Oliver as the name settled within him.
His head fell back against the chair. She let her free hand land on his knee, giving him a squeeze of support.
"I'm doing the right thing, aren't I?" he asked after a long beat.
She took a stuttered breath before answering, "I think you're doing the only thing you can do." Whether that ended up being right or wrong remained to be seen.
They stayed like that until Alice stirred. Oliver showed Felicity how to change her diaper, and by the time she'd mastered it they were running dangerously low on supplies. She ended up making a run to the twenty-four hour bodega down the street and stocked up on diapers and formula.
When she returned Alice was a wailing disaster that had Oliver walking in circles, patting her back and bouncing up and down trying to get her to calm. Another bottle did the trick and they finally got her to sleep in her car seat before they collapsed themselves.
Felicity decided to use the quiet to start her highly illegal activity. She let Oliver pick Alice's birthdate. He used the same day of the month as Tommy's birthday and she'd laid a hand over his when he'd told her why he'd chosen it.
When it came time to enter their names on the form she hesitated. One more time Oliver gave her an out, but she shook her head and quickly typed in 'Felicity Megan Smoak' in the space for mother.
"Wow," she said, staring at the screen, "I never actually thought I'd ever see that."
Oliver looked at her quizzically, "Really?"
She shook her head, "No, never really thought of myself as the mother type. And then with this...well..." she let it go unsaid, but working for a superhero and having a family didn't seem to mix.
Oliver's hands had clenched when she put his name in, and she wisely stayed quiet. A few more keystrokes, and the baby was official. Felicity took the time to falsify hospital records to make it look like she'd been a patient. She also dug back through the last several months of photos of Oliver and her to make sure there weren't any that were missing an obviously apparent baby bump, but they'd managed to stay out of the limelight recently. She hoped if anyone questioned she'd be able to play off that she hadn't shown that much and had been trying to keep it a secret.
It seemed completely surreal that she was even considering any of this. All she could do was push through and keep working because if she stopped she'd probably freak out.
Oliver had an overnight delivery of every imaginable baby supply ever created sent to both the mansion and the club. She had a good laugh as he attempted to put together the crib, finally insisting he hold Alice while she finished it. The glare he sent her way only made her laugh more.
The next two days were a blur. They barely left the lair. Felicity went home once to shower and change and when she returned Oliver latched on to her with wild eyes and begged her not to leave him again.
Little Alice had gone from only occasionally being fussy to having hour long meltdowns all times of the day and night. Eventually the three of them had collapsed on the couch, exhausted. Oliver's arm was looped lightly around Felicity's shoulders as she used him as a pillow. Alice sprawled over her chest, her little hands clutching loops of Felicity's hair as she slept.
Felicity woke with a start, immediately realizing the weight on her chest was missing. Her hand shot out and grabbed Oliver. "Wake up! The baby's gone!" she cried frantically,
He came to just as suddenly, looking around in panic. "Where is she?"
They were both on their feet. Felicity dropped to her knees to look under the couch, hoping the baby hadn't rolled off her at some point. Fear rose in her throat, but she wasn't there. She barely registered as Oliver grasped her by the elbow and helped her to her feet.
They burst into the training room and stopped dead. John Diggle strolled the edge of the training mat. Burp cloth over one shoulder, baby positioned perfectly, patting her back gently as he walked a slow and steady pace.
"Oh god, she's ok!" Felicity gasped out, clutching Oliver's arm as he too let out an exhale of relief.
Digg leveled them with a look. "You two care to explain why I walked into the lair to find it turned into a daycare?"
Oliver seemed to have recovered from their fright first and went to reclaim Alice, transferring her to his arms with ease now.
There was a gleam of mischief in his eyes that worried Felicity, and as she joined his side she wondered what he was up to.
Alice had woken up and was staring at Oliver with wide blue eyes. "Alice, I see you've met your Uncle Digg." he said gently to her, and Felicity saw Digg's eyes go wide in surprise. But if the uptick in Oliver's mouth was any indication, he was about to go in for the kill.
Deliberately, Oliver stepped closer to Felicity. "Digg, we'd like you to meet our daughter."