Felicity woke up late afternoon to find herself sprawled across Oliver's chest and not daring to move because everything ached.
His breaths were deep and even and when she cracked open one eye she saw that he was sound asleep.
Memories of the night before came rushing back to her. Her fingers clenched involuntarily, bunching up the shirt over his abdomen. He shifted slightly, the hand that lay on her back stroked over hair twice before going still.
Suddenly it was all too much. Emotions overwhelmed her and she needed to be out of that bed, and out of that house.
She moved as quickly and carefully as she could as she slipped off of him and out of the bed. Her feet led her straight to the bathroom without looking back.
Once inside she locked the door behind her and leaned against the cool wood, trying to get her heartbeat to slow, but it wouldn't.
One glance in the mirror was enough to make her stomach roll. There was bruising high along her cheek bone, and more along her jaw. Her lip was split and puffy, and when she ran her tongue over the spot she winced at the sting.
There was a pull across her ribs. When she stripped off the borrowed hoodie and lifted the pajama top she was surprised to see a mottled area of skin on her lower right side. If she took a deep breath it hurt more than she expected since she couldn't even remember how she'd gotten that one.
A deep ache resonated from her ankle and she remembered exactly how that had happened.
She crossed to the sinks and turned one on with shaky hands. Something in the mirror caught her attention and she looked behind her to see a large hole in the wall, drywall dust and bits of plaster littered the floor under it.
Shaking harder she ran her hands under the cool water when she caught sight of her wrist.
The bruising from his fingers was stark and vivid. She could make out each digit, even where they overlapped as he'd wrapped his hand around her wrist and squeezed. The flesh was swollen and tender as she reached out a hand and gently traced each bruise. At the last one she suddenly took in a great gasp of air. Panic consumed her and she was back in the club, being drug off the floor, her wrist being held so tight she thought it would break.
Her hands fumbled with the lock in desperation. She needed to leave. Now. She needed her own apartment and her own clothes. She needed everything to be back to normal.
Operating on some instinct she didn't even recognize she made her way from his room, not looking towards the bed to see if he was still asleep. She limped down the hallway and had made it halfway down the main staircase when she realized she couldn't leave.
Panic made her lightheaded and she gripped the railing with both hands as her knees threatened to give out.
She didn't have a car, or her purse, or her phone, or even shoes. Her breath came quick and hard and the world narrowed around her making her feel even more trapped.
Someone was calling her name and she looked up to see Digg, five steps away from her, his hands reaching out like he thought she was about to fall.
A high, frightened noise escaped her throat and she darted around him, her feet clumsy on the polished wood steps.
The main door to the house was heavy as she pulled it open and ran outside. Cold evening air greeted her, filling her lungs as she gasped. She'd made it down the front steps and across the gravel drive when she heard someone behind her.
She whirled on the spot, her hands out to protect herself, to see Oliver also in bare feet, the hoodie she'd abandoned in the bathroom clutched in one hand.
His brow was furrowed in confusion and concern for her and it was too much.
"Felicity, you need to come back inside." he said carefully, slowly moving towards her.
She jumped backwards, not even feeling how the gravel cut into her feet. "No!" she yelled, louder than she intended. "I'm fine. I'm fine. I just want to go."
She needed to leave. She couldn't have a breakdown on the front lawn of the Queen mansion. She couldn't. But if she didn't get out of there soon that is exactly what was going to happen.
"Felicity," he began again but she stopped him. He was close enough he could have touched her if he tried and it made her shake.
"No." she said again, this time quieter. She couldn't explain it. She had needed him so badly the night before she'd made him sleep next to her, and now she just wanted out. She wanted to be gone. She didn't want to remember. And maybe that was it. He reminded her of everything that had happened.
She hadn't even realized she'd been crying until a cold wind made her cheeks cold. She shivered harder and wrapped her arms around herself and was immediately hit with the memory of her arms being pinned across her chest as she'd been drug from the dance floor.
She must have paled as her eyes slammed shut. When she felt his hand on her elbow she let out a yell and scrambled sideways towards Digg who had made his way around to the other side. To stop her if she bolted, some functioning part of her brain noted.
Oliver didn't move.
Movement from behind him made her look up and she saw Thea and a woman she didn't recognize in a uniform looking at her in concern. Shame and embarrassment flooded her cheeks and she thought she might be sick.
"Oh god. Get me out of here. Digg, please. Just get me out of here." she pleaded. She saw him cut his eyes over to Oliver but he wouldn't drop his gaze from her.
"Felicity, I know you're upset, but it's cold and you're hurt and you should come back inside." he tried to reason, but she shook her head furiously.
When she took a step closer to Digg she saw a flash of hurt go through Oliver's eyes. "I need to go." she whispered, "Please, Oliver, just...let me go." she was on the verge of sobbing, her throat thick with tears as she pleaded with him.
His eyes finally left hers and she knew he was having a silent conversation with Digg. When Digg took the hoodie from Oliver's hands and draped it over her shoulders she tried not to jump at the contact.
Oliver stepped back reluctantly. She felt his eyes on her as Digg guided her to the car, without touching her and opened the door for her.
He didn't say a word as she curled up on the back seat, and she was grateful. The ride back to her apartment was silent, although she knew he was looking back at her in the rearview mirror almost constantly.
When he pulled up in front of her building she knew he was going to offer to walk her up. "I'll be fine. Here is good." she told him before he could speak. He gave her a look that let her know he saw right through her lies but he respected her enough to let it go.
"If you need anything you call me or Oliver." he said firmly and she nodded. He handed her the bag she'd left in the lair the night before and she let out a sigh of relief. She wouldn't have to find the super and beg to be let into her apartment.
The quiet of her place was almost too much. She dropped her bag and keys by the door and made a beeline for her bedroom. She tore the hoodie off and tossed it onto the bed before stripping off the borrowed pajamas and the underwear she'd put on what felt like days before. The bra went straight into the trash. She'd never be able to look at it again without seeing it beneath a torn blouse.
She turned the shower up as high as she could stand it and got in. Instead of being cleansing and cathartic the heat made her feel sick and claustrophobic. Her head spun wildly when she looked down and saw a large, dark bruise on the inside of one thigh, the other had another set of fingerprints, just like her wrist. Her stomach churned, she didn't remember him having his hands there and she didn't know if that was a good thing or not.
She washed her hair quickly and got out while she could still feel her legs. Her breath was coming in short quick pants that were making her dizzy.
The towel was barely wrapped around her before she stumbled into her bedroom and ended up on the floor, leaning against the bed. Her head spun, and all she could do was lean her cheek into the mattress and try to keep from passing out.
White spots danced in front of her eyes as her vision tunneled down to only what was right in front of her. She could feel herself slipping to the floor but her arms wouldn't work. The last thought she has was that maybe she shouldn't have left the mansion.
When she came to her room was dark, and she was in her bed, beneath the covers. With a gasp she sat up, her eyes scanning the room.
The small lamp on her dresser turned on suddenly and she saw a figure standing in the corner. With a scream she began scrambling backwards. All she could see was the man who had attacked her.
When strong arms wrapped around her waist and drug her back onto the bed she screamed louder and tried to break free.
It was the scent of him that finally made it's way through to her. A specific combination of soap, leather, and cologne that always seemed to be present.
Her body recognized it was safe before her brain did and she slumped in his arms, sobbing.
His hand brushed damp hair from her face and murmured apologies into her neck.
She turned into him, hands clutching at his shirt and her blanket and anything she could hold that was tangible. Her emotions had done a complete flip again. She needed him. Badly.
He held her tight until she was only sniffling occasionally. One of his arms loosened slowly, as if he was testing if it would be okay. She let out a sigh and he took that as a good sign, lifting a hand to coast over her head and down her back.
Her breath hitched in her throat for an entirely different reason when she felt the heat from his palm on her bare back.
He must have realized what he'd done because his hand moved quickly and he apologized again. She swallowed heavily as she remembered she'd come out of the shower with nothing but a towel on and she was fairly certain she was naked under the covers. Covers that she was just now noticing were not covering her entirely.
Oliver shifted slightly and stretched one arm out to grab the hoodie she'd borrowed earlier. He shook it out best he could and laid it over her back. Moving carefully she slid her arms into the sleeves and pulled the sides closed in front of her before making sure everything from below the waist was covered as she finally sat back.
It took her a long moment to bring her eyes up to his. He was worried about her, she could tell. Guilt washed through her at the way she had left him earlier after everything he'd done for her.
"I'm sorry." she said raggedly.
He was shaking his head before she'd finished speaking. "Don't." he said forcefully, "You have nothing to be sorry for."
She looked down, playing with the edge of the sheets and her cheeks flushed at the knowledge that she sat in her bed, wearing nothing but his hoodie.
"I should...I should get dressed." she stuttered out, anxiously pushing hair behind her ear.
He pulled back from her and slid to his feet. She tugged the sheets down some when an expanse of thigh was visible and didn't dare look at him, even though she logically knew he'd found her on the floor and put her in bed.
"I'll wait out there." he said, pointing a thumb over his shoulder towards her living room.
When she stepped out a few minutes later in her most worn sweats, and oldest t-shirt, donned like armor she still had the hoodie on, now unwilling to part with it.
He was pacing in front of her couch. She had to clear her throat as she approached. He was so wrapped up in whatever he was thinking about he hadn't heard her.
He stopped suddenly and backed up, leaving her plenty of space to enter the room. She didn't say anything, just curled in the corner of the sofa, her legs tucked up beneath her. He came closer but didn't sit.
"I thought being here would be better, but it wasn't." she admitted, her voice sounding rough.
"No one expects you to be okay." he said immediately and she gave him a watery smile.
"If you had been just a few minutes later..." she cut herself off and looked at him with wide eyes. She hadn't meant to say that.
His expression darkened, but she couldn't seem to stop,
"He was...he was going to..." she hadn't been able to say it the night before. She tried to make herself say it then, but he stopped her.
He was on his knees in front of her, her hands clasped in his. "No. No he wasn't." he said, low and purposeful, "I wouldn't have let it happen."
The words hung over them, taking up so much space she felt the pressure in her chest.
"How did you know?" she finally asked. It's something that had been in the back of her mind since it had happened.
He let out a long breath and rubbed a hand over the back of his neck. "I just knew." he said simply and her heart flipped. "Something felt wrong. I looked up and saw the top of your head and someone I didn't know."
His hands fell from hers and clenched in fists. She saw a mask fall over his face, the same one that was usually there when he put on the hood.
"I should have killed him then." he said viciously.
"You've stopped him now." she told him soothingly, knowing how the guilt of what happened to her in his club was going to eat at him.
His fingers traced over the bruises on her face and her eyes slid shut at the contact. "Too late." he whispered, his voice thick with regret.
Her hand came up and she wrapped her fingers around his wrist, her thumb rubbing over his pulse point. He sighed loudly and looked down, his eyes catching where the sleeve had fallen back, exposing the deep bruising around her wrist.
His fingers twisted with hers and brought the hand in front of him, pushing the sleeve back further. Unknowingly he did the same thing she had done earlier. He traced the mark from each finger. She shivered at the contact.
"We should wrap this up." he said in a tight voice.
She nodded her agreement, not trusting what she would sound like if she spoke right then.
"I'll be right back." he told her, rising in one smooth move now that he had a mission to focus on.
She could hear him moving about her bathroom and she wondered if he was being loud on purpose to let her know he was still there.
Soon enough he was kneeling before her again, laying supplies out on her coffee table.
"Found some arnica, it'll help with the bruising." he said, holding up a small white tube.
"Forgot I had that." she replied, hating how forced and fake she sounded.
Even though she could have rubbed the cream on her wrist she didn't stop him from doing it himself. She only winced once when he went over an especially tender spot. He took his time, making sure he didn't miss anything, and wrapped her entire wrist in an elastic bandage.
She was about to thank him when he sat back and patted her knee. She looked at him in confusion.
"Your ankle." he said and she slid her foot out, laying it along his leg.
She sucked in a great gasp of air as he pulled up the bottom of her pants. His hands paused for a second before he continued. He took the same care with her ankle as he had her wrist. When he was done with the second bandage he looked up at her.
"Anywhere else?" she could see in his eyes the desperate need he had to fix her, to fix this.
"My side...where I got shoved into the door." she said slowly. His brows drew together at her words.
He automatically reached for the hoodie and paused. "Sorry." he said, shaking his head at his mistake.
Trembling inside she sat up and pulled down the zipper. She could have put the cream on herself, but this was something they both needed.
When the hoodie was off and tossed to the end of the couch she locked her eyes on his and pulled up the hem of her shirt.
"Sit back." he directed, hoarsely.
When his hands touched her she jumped and mentally cursed herself. "Sorry." she said and his head jerked to the side as his jaw clenched. Her body twitched and quivered as he smoothed the cream across her ribs and down near her hip. Fluttery feelings of panic filled her and she wanted to bolt. She wanted to fly off the couch and hide, but she needed to do this.
He looked exhausted when he was finished. Sad eyes looked at her. "You're crying." he said and she gasped, one hand going to her cheek and wiping away tears.
"I won't hurt you." he told her in such a forlorn voice she ached for him.
She reached out and lifted his chin. "I know." she told him, "I'm safe with you." she said with a broken smile.
His eyes shut tight and his head dropped forward to just touch her knee. She carded fingers through his hair; the action as much for her as it was for him.
When he lifted his head he seemed more in control. "Where else?"
A mental image of the bruises on her thighs flashed through her mind and she jumped.
"Felicity..." he started, clearly having seen her reaction. "Where else?"
There was something in the way he said it that made her think he knew there was more. And with a flash she realized he'd picked her up off the floor, passed out, and most likely naked. He'd seen the bruises. But he wanted her to tell her.
She licked her lips nervously and flinched when she ran her tongue over her split lip. "My, uh...my thighs. He...he...god." she pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and tried to go on. "He forced my legs apart...I didn't even know he'd had his hands there until I saw the bruises in the shower." she said it all in a rush, eager to get it out and over with.
She was crying again, and this time he didn't hesitate. She felt the couch dip as he sat next to her, his arms wrapping around her shoulders to draw her into him.
With a sigh she fell into his chest. Her sobs grew harder and it made her angry. She was tired of crying, she was tired of feeling weak, she was tired of Oliver having to apologize every time he moved too quickly.
"I hate this." she ground out.
"I hate feeling weak and scared. I'm not that person, but he made me a victim." Oliver's hands smoothed over her hair as she ranted, but he remained silent. "I'm not a victim. I've infiltrated underground casinos, and survived a damn foundry collapsing around me. I went halfway across the world to drag your sorry ass back from the jungle. That is not something a victim does. But in the space of two minutes he took away any power I had and that pisses me off." she pushed herself up suddenly and wiped furiously at her face.
Oliver studied her carefully before he spoke. "You're not a victim." he confirmed, "You're the strongest person I know." his hand came up, without hesitation and cupped the side of her face that wasn't bruised. "You're remarkable Felicity Smoak." he said with a smile and she couldn't help but feel the corners of her mouth lift in response.
Her hand covered his and brought it between them as she sunk down to lean against him, her head in his shoulder. "You're not planning on going anywhere, are you?" she asked, not ashamed that she wanted him to stay with her.
"Nope." he replied.
They were silent for a long moment. Oliver's fingers stroked through her hair as she let her eyes slip shut. "My 'sorry ass', huh?" he murmured quietly and she gave a small giggle.
"It's the truth." she replied and she felt him sigh.
The air kicked on and she shivered. "I want my hoodie back." she said, reaching for the jacket.
"Your hoodie?" he questioned as he handed it to her.
"Possession is nine tenths of the law, Mr. Queen." she informed him with a small smile and sat up only long enough to slip her arms into the sleeves and then resumed her spot under his arm.
"Is that true?" he asked and she nodded. "Well, then you'd better come to the next board meeting seeing as you own most of me. You'd have the majority vote."
She raised shocked eyes to his to see if he was joking.
He brushed hair back from her face and pressed a kiss to her temple. Her heart was thundering so hard in her chest she was shocked he couldn't hear it.
"In case you haven't noticed, I can barely function without you. You fixed me. Not once, but twice. And last night...last night, for a brief second I had to consider a future without you and it was...not acceptable. I won't allow it. I can't allow it. I hope that's okay with you." his voice was strong and sure, but she could see the trepidation lurking in his eyes.
"That's very okay. Very, very okay." she replied, still not exactly sure what he was telling her.
When he leaned forward and place the softest of kisses on her lips she understood.
He tugged her back down so her head was once again on his shoulder and pulled the throw off the back of her couch to cover her.
"Not going anywhere?" she asked once more.
"No. You?" he returned.
"Not planning on it."