A/N: Just a little something based off the season 2 trailer and the introduction of Isabel Rochev.
Felicity approached him almost cautiously, until she was only a couple of feet from him.
"She offered me a job." she said, voice clipped.
Oliver just nodded, unable to look at her. It was what he had feared, and expected. "Well, she takes the best, and you are...the best." at her slight intake of breath his eyes shot up.
"The position..." Felicity stuttered and tried again, "The position was head of IT."
Oliver's eyebrows shot into his hair line. That wasn't something he should be able to counter. Queen Consolidated was currently in shambles, higher level executives had been leaving in droves and he had been advised by numerous people to not do any restructuring. Hiring new blood would be acceptable, but he needed to leave his remaining employees where they were.
He'd ignore all of it for her though.
She interrupted him. "I know. I know you can't do that."
He could see how much she struggled with this. She'd always been loyal, she'd always been committed. But she was also brilliant, and motivated, and had never sat on the sidelines.
Her hands were wringing in front of her now, as she blinked up at him. "What did you tell her?" he asked hoarsely.
Her head ducked to look at the floor and his stomach dropped at the implication. "It's a huge step for my career. But...the hours would be more than I'm working now doing both my jobs. The responsibility, and the transparency I would have to have would put me under high scrutiny."
A pit formed in his center as he realized what she was telling him. He wouldn't just be losing her from Queen Consolidated, he'd be losing her entirely.
He felt numb. He'd disappeared for five months to heal from Tommy and get his head back on straight. He didn't know what he'd return to, but walking back into the newly redesigned lair told him everything he needed to know about Felicity. She'd never given up on him. She knew he'd come back, and she knew he'd continue his mission. He'd left her a million dollars to appease his guilt and she'd spent it on him; on them.
He never thought he'd be doing it without her.
"I understand." he told her, his voice adopting that smooth, professional quality that she hated.
Her eyes flashed to his. "I don't think you do."
A tendril of...something spiraled north. "What do you mean?"
Felicity took a deep breath before she answered. "I told her no."
Hope was the something and it suddenly sprang to life, surging within him. "Why?"
"I told her I had family obligations." she whispered, and the weight of her choice of words settled around them. "I told you once before. You're not leaving, I'm not leaving. I'm all in, Oliver. What we do...it's more important than my career, it's more important than being poached by a corporate head hunter, it's more important than..."
His hand clamped over her wrist and stopped her from finishing that sentence, "Don't say it. It's not more important than your life." he practically growled, he wasn't going to let anyone else die for him, especially not her.
She gave him a sad smile and lifted a hand to brush over his temple. "I was going to say, it's more important than a signing bonus, but I'm glad to know you care." she gave him a half a smile, trying to swing the tone of the conversation.
"I do care." at his words she stilled and the smile slipped from her face, "I care more than you could possibly know."
"Oliver..." she said breathily, and before he could blink he found himself with an armful of blonde IT girl.
He didn't hesitate before holding her to his chest and taking the first real breath since his return.
"I missed you." she mumbled into his suit jacket.
"I'm sorry I left," he replied, hands coasting up and down the smooth blue fabric of her dress.
Her head rocked slowly back and forth, "No, you needed to. I understood. But I still missed you, missed what we did, missed being with..." she cut herself off when she thought she'd said too much.
"Me too." he whispered into her hair.
"Excuse me. I didn't mean to interrupt." came a voice from behind them, and Felicity turned quickly, Oliver's arms still around her.
Isabel Rochev stood in the doorway to his office, an inscrutable expression on her face.
Oliver stepped back slightly, a pang of regret when he was no longer touching Felicity.
"I'm sorry, I just wanted to thank Ms. Smoak for her time." Isabel said easily.
"Of course. Ms. Rochev, It was a pleasure meeting you, and thank you...for the offer." Felicity said in a rush.
"I understand." Isabel replied and then let her eyes cut over Oliver. "Family obligations." the implication in her look and tone was unmistakeable. "Mr. Queen, until next time."
He didn't move until he could no longer see Isabel in the outer office. When he turned to Felicity she was flushed pink and avoiding his gaze.
"I'm sorry, if she thinks that we're...or you and I, and we're not I just didn't think. I thought it would be the easiest thing and that no one would question it, and..."
Oliver's hands dropped onto her upper arms and fell down to take both her hands in his, "Felicity, it's alright, I don't care what she thinks." he could feel the tension leave her as she took a deep breath and sighed.
"She's determined to gut Queen Consolidated." Felicity warned him,
"I know. But when have you ever known me to go down without a fight."
She gave him a brilliant grin, "Never."
"Exactly. I think we have bigger concerns than Isabel Rochev, don't you." he walked easily back to his desk feeling lighter than he had in a while and took a seat.
Felicity didn't hesitate, she followed in his wake and hopped up on the corner of the desk, ignoring the other chair completely. As she began to detail some ideas she'd had about ways to protect his company, and by default his secret identity, he sat back and let the ebb and flow of her words wash over him, glad to be back.