A/N: THANK YOU! Really, thank you for the amazing response to this story. Also glad to see everyone on board with the Roger/Maddie hate. I expected nothing less.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
The roar of a storm and Oliver's disconnected, strained mutterings woke her several hours later.
Felicity pushed tangled hair out of her eyes and looked over to see his head thrashing back and forth as his hands fisted in the sheets. Agony and terror contorted his face and before she knew what she was doing she was on her knees next to him.
As she looked down, mere inches from his side she could feel the heat pulse from him. Sweat collected in the hollow of his throat and when she reached out a tentative hand to brush against the lines of his forehead she could feel dampness there as well.
She didn't know how to wake him. She didn't know if she should wake him. He'd never frightened her before, but right then he was trapped in a nightmare and she didn't know how he would react. She would never blame him herself, but the same couldn't be said for how he would respond if he did something to her by accident.
With her legs tucked under her she pushed up closer to the top of the bed, her knees almost level with his shoulder and stroked his brow again. He flinched towards her and she froze. When he made another noise of distress she did it again.
Over and over she ran shaking fingers across his head. She traced down to his temples, through the short strands of hair, along the line of his jaw. Her movements were slow and sure, and then remembering how he'd been able to relax in the helicopter she began to talk.
She told him he was safe. She told him she was there and that he wasn't alone. She told him he wasn't trapped back on that island any longer. She told him he was a good man. She told him she loved him.
That last one wasn't supposed to come out.
Gradually he began to still. Until there was a great flash of lightening followed immediately by a crash of thunder that made her jump.
Oliver flew upright, chest heaving with a wild look in his eye.
She didn't dare move, not knowing what he was seeing just then.
There was another boom of thunder and she realized he was saying something. Carefully she moved closer but she didn't touch him. His head hung low and she could see the tension that cut through every muscle of his back.
"Doors. Shut the doors." he ground out.
With a great gasp she finally realized they'd left the doors to the lanai open all night. The storm raged outside, the gust blowing rain in sideways to gather on the tile floor.
Felicity clambered off the end of the bed and raced to the doors. They'd blown outwards with the force of the wind. Grimacing against the rain that lashed at her as she stepped outside she couldn't help the small shriek that left her lips as lightening seemed to land right next to her. Her shoulders were already hunched in preparation of the thunder that followed.
She got one door shut and struggled with the second, finally pulling it behind her with a tug before the handle could slip from her wet hands.
Another bolt of lightening and she scrambled to pull the heavier drapes shut over the sheers, hoping to block out some of the light. She stood, shivering, despite the temperature as she looked over at Oliver.
He hadn't moved. His chest still moved too quickly and she wondered if he was having a panic attack.
Silently she approached, the waves of tension flowing off of him made her falter but she pushed through until she was flush against the side of the bed.
She dropped one hand to his bent knee and he flinched like she'd stabbed him. Tears came to her eyes as she looked at him. She'd never seen him like this before and she wondered how often it happened, and how he always hid it.
When her other hand landed on his back he shuddered, but she didn't move. She could feel how fast his heart was beating, and she wanted nothing more than to fix this, to fix him.
Ever so slowly she felt him leaning towards her, seeking comfort whether he realized it or not. She took that as a sign and wrapped one arm around his shoulders as far as she could reach.
He resisted her first pull, but she was persistent. On the third he sunk down and fell into her.
She planted her feet and took his weight, not wanting to think how long it had been since he'd actually been able to lean on someone.
With her arms wrapped around him and his head resting against her chest she began to stroke steady paths over his head and across his back. He held the rigidity he'd woken up with for a long time. She didn't know how long she stood there with his head under her chin as she comforted him.
Ever so gradually his muscles unlocked. Bit by bit he grew just a little bit heavier as he sunk into her more until she finally had to try and shift her stance less he fall off the bed.
That movement seemed to break him from wherever he had been. The arm that had been trapped between them was suddenly banded about her waist and then she was being lifted and settled across his lap.
Her fingers had dug into his shoulders at the sudden change of position, the breath catching in her throat. He pushed backwards once until he was leaning against the headboard his head still turned into her, warm exhales coasting over the top of her breasts where her tank top ended.
Felicity leaned her cheek into the top of his head and trailed her fingers across the planes of his face and down across his neck and shoulder, trying to ignore the slight tremble she could feel under her touch.
His breathing evened out and when she covered his pulse point it no longer seemed as if it might explode. She let herself relax into him slightly causing his hands to shift, one coming to rest on her hip, the other resting lightly on her stomach.
Sleep was trying to overtake her again, her eyes kept sliding shut of their own accord even though she tried to stay awake. She wanted to be there if Oliver needed her. Now that he didn't seem so upset she didn't know if she should push him to talk or just wait and take his lead.
He turned slightly and pulled her down some so they were almost laying flat. His head slipped to cushion against her stomach, and she had to suppress a shiver as one of his hands now lay under her shirt splayed over her ribs.
She let her fingers track through his hair, massaging lightly as he settled into her. When she felt the last muscle release she knew he'd fallen back asleep.
Tears fell as she lay there, holding him, hoping he had found what he needed from her even if he didn't recognize it yet. She felt a physical ache in her heart that this man, who was so strong, and so good could still hurt so much. He'd been through things she couldn't and didn't want to imagine. That it kept such a hold on him years later didn't seem fair.
The storm had passed over them. And with only the faint flickers of lightening and distant rumbles of thunder Felicity fell asleep with one hand resting along the back of his neck and the other laying over the arm he had banded about her middle.
She woke up to literal birds chirping and a warmth caressing her stomach. She smiled sleepily and turned into the solid mass behind her without opening her eyes. Little shocks of pleasure were tingling across her skin causing her to hum with approval. Felicity stretched her legs and threw her arm over her head making more skin available for the pleasing sensations that were demanding she stay put and never leave.
There was warm skin under her cheek and she turned her head only slightly to press her lips against it. When the touch on her stomach traveled across her ribs and skimmed under her breast she felt a shot of desire head straight to her core. That more than anything made her open her eyes.
She blinked owlishly before a dark mark came into focus. It took her a moment to realize it was a tattoo and not only that it was Oliver's Bratva tattoo.
The previous night slammed back into her all at once: Roger, the storm, Oliver's nightmare, holding him until he fell back asleep. The memories collided and fought for her attention as she tried to make sense of how she was now lying wrapped in his arms.
She knew she'd tensed as she realized where she was, but it hadn't seemed to phase Oliver who was still trailing, what she now knew were his fingers, across her abdomen. When the edge of one finger dipped just beneath the waistband of her shorts her eyes flew all the way open and she tilted her head up.
He had his head propped on his hand and was looking down at her with an expression she'd never seen before.
Nerves suddenly overtook her and she tried to shift upwards but the hand on her belly kept her in place, and when she stopped trying to move he began his previous task, which was apparently touching every inch of exposed flesh. She still had one arm raised above her head, and now knew it was linked through the arm he was leaning on.
A flush filled her cheeks at how intimate their position was and she had no idea what to say to him.
"Thank you," he finally said, his voice taking on that deep, meaningful quality she knew to be absolutely genuine.
"Of course." she answered automatically,
His hand left her stomach and came up to brush loose hair from her face before stroking over her cheekbone.
"You don't understand. I was...lost last night. Trapped in the past and in my own mind. You pulled me back. You saved me." his head shook slightly as he looked at her like he'd never seen her before. "I don't know how I missed it."
This time when she went to move he didn't stop her and she slid a bit higher and turned so she was laying facing him. Something told her whatever was happening was big and her mouth went dry at the thought.
"Oliver, you were having a nightmare, between being on an island again and the storm I'm not surprised. You don't..." she didn't understand what he was saying, she wasn't upset that it had happened. When his finger laid across her lips to stop her from talking she looked at him in surprise.
"The last time that happened I almost killed my own mother." he said with all the gravity a statement like that deserved. Her eyes widened in disbelief.
"I don't know how you did it, but you brought me back. I heard your voice and I knew I was safe. You found me on the edge and took me with you. And I don't know how I didn't see it before."
It suddenly hit Felicity what he was saying to her and her heart flipped hard as butterflies swooped through her belly. She stared at him open mouthed unable to form words.
He smiled at her temporary muteness and with a great gasp she came back to herself.
"Oliver!" she exclaimed, "Wha...Didn't see what before?" she had to know. Because she knew what she wanted him to say. She'd fantasized about it for months. She never actually thought it could happen. Which was why this whole weekend had been so surreal for her.
His eyes closed for a brief moment and when he opened them she knew. He was looking at her like she knew she looked at him when he couldn't see her.
"You know all of me. The scars, inside and out, the damage, the control, the rage, the need for justice, the disconnect, the fake smiles, all the damn secrets. You know all of it and all you see is me." his eyes were bright and the breath caught in her throat as she looked at him.
That was so much better than what she had imagined.
The hand that had been against her cheek now made it's way back to her waist, the heat from his palm felt like a brand and she gasped.
His eyes darkened and he leaned in a little closer, "I'd like to continue this arrangement when we get back."
It took her a minute to realize what their current arrangement actually was.
"But...they think...I mean we're pretending...but that's not...you can't..." her inability to form a complete sentence was ended by his mouth falling over hers.
This was nothing like the small, innocent kisses he'd brushed over her lips the day before. This was demanding and insistent and full of promises. She lay frozen beneath him as his mouth moved over hers, his tongue demanding entrance which she gave willingly. When his tongue stroked hers she came to life, her hands flying to his face, nails scraping in his stubble as he pulled needy little noises from the back of her throat.
She had pushed him onto his back and was draped over his chest when the need for air made her draw back. "Wow, we're good at that." she blurted out without meaning to, but Oliver's loud laugh saved her from feeling embarrassed. He buried a hand in her tangled hair and looked at her with such emotion in his eyes it took her breath away.
"As much as I would love to spend the day in bed with you, your mother made me promise we'd join them for brunch, and it's already after nine." he said with a quick glance to the clock.
Felicity let out a grunt of frustration and let her head fall to his shoulder, enjoying the way he rubbed his hand across the back of her neck. "Do we have to?" she mumbled into him.
"I'll make it up to you later." he promised and her head shot up at his tone. The look he gave her made heat pool heavy and low just where she wanted it.
"You'd better," she said softly and pressed another hot, quick kiss to his lips before she was sliding overtop him to get out of bed.
She heard his groan as she made her way to the bathroom, and resisted the urge to look back.
When she came back out she had intended to grab clothes from the closet, and she was halfway there when she looked up.
Oliver was still in bed, leaning casually on the pillows, white linens standing out in stark contrast to his tanned skin as he checked his phone for messages.
She'd never seen anything so sexy in her entire life.
A strangled noise came from her without warning and he looked up, giving her a lazy grin that did nothing to calm her racing heart.
She'd taken four steps across the tiled floor before she even realized she was moving.
The height of the bed wasn't a problem this time as she managed to scale it somewhat gracefully. She'd kept her eyes locked on his as she approached, a wicked grin crossing her face as she watched him try to place his phone on the side table and miss.
"Aim isn't always so great is it, Green Arrow." she said as she crawled across the expanse towards him.
His hands flashed out and caught her about the waist, settling her on his lap, legs spread wide around him. "Aim is pretty great when it needs to be." he retorted with a grin of his own.
When he threaded a hand through her hair she moaned at the sensation and then captured his face between her palms.
"What about brunch?" he asked huskily, the hand that wasn't in her hair already working it's way beneath her top to spread over her back.
"Work emergency." she told him leaning closer, until their lips were almost touching.
"I knew there was a reason I kept you around." he murmured,
"I hope that's not the only reason."
His answer was to pull her the remaining distance in, mouth covering hers in a bruising kiss. She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, across his back, loving that she could touch the muscles she'd admired from afar for so long. When she dragged her nails the same route his chest rumbled beneath her.
Her stomach flipped as he sucked on her bottom lip before trailing kisses across her jaw and down her neck. When he reached the hollows of her collarbone she threw her head back letting him support her weight. His teeth bit lightly and she gasped at the way it sent sparks of fire to her core.
Her hips rolled in of their own accord and now it was his turn to groan. His hands swept under her top, tracing over her ribs, over her shoulder blades, just skimming under her breasts, but never touching them.
She pulled back and looked at him with half hooded eyes. "See what happens, right?" she said breathily and didn't wait before she reached down and tugged the shirt over her head.
His eyes held hers for a moment before they dropped. When his palms covered her breasts she couldn't help the moan that left her lips. He was kissing her again as he used his fingers to pull her nipples, coaxing tiny mewls from her.
She could feel him beneath her, hard and long and pressing just where she needed. She couldn't stop the way her hips rocked into his. His hands stilled for a second and then she found herself on her back with him leaning over her.
Slowly he lowered himself down until they were touching again and her hips thrust upwards, impatient. His eyes slammed shut and she could see how his hands clenched the sheets.
The knowledge that she'd affected him so gave her power. Her hands landed on his shoulders and dragged down until her nails cut over his nipples. He let out a growl and pressed into her harder before him mouth was once again on hers.
One hand dropped and slid across her stomach to slip under her shorts. He'd just ran a thumb over her hipbone making her jerk when there was a noise like knocking that broke through.
She felt him freeze above her, his lips pulling from hers with an audible pop. The noise returned and then she could hear the high pitched call of her mother.
"Oh my god." she groaned and felt Oliver drop his head to her shoulder in frustration.
The knocking continued and she pushed him off of her, looking down at her state of undress. "Where's my shirt?" she asked, hair falling in her face as she whipped her head around frantically.
"Oliver! Where is my shirt?" she repeated,
He gave her a shrug and looked like he was about to lean back against the pillows again.
"Don't you dare! Get up! Help me!" she demanded
"Felicity, I really don't think you want me meeting your mother right now." he said with meaning and looked down towards his lap.
Her face flushed red and she hurriedly got off the bed, her shirt on the floor ten feet from the footboard.
She tugged it on without looking and shot him a look before she rushed from the room.
Her mother was halfway through calling her name again when Felicity jerked the door open.
"Good morning, Mom." she said through half gritted teeth.
"Oh, Felicity, thank goodness!" she exclaimed and breezed past her, not even waiting to be asked in.
Felicity pushed rumpled hair behind her ears and followed. Her mother had already sat down on one of the couches and was looking about the space.
"Oh my, this certainly is one of the nicer ones, isn't it. The one your father and I are in isn't nearly this big. Wasn't that nice of your cousin to put you up here." she said distractedly and Felicity had to bite her lip to keep from telling her mother she seriously doubted this was the house she was supposed to be in prior to showing up with one of the world's richest men.
"Mom, why were you pounding the door down?" she had years of practice redirecting her mother when she went off on tangents.
Her mother turned with a look of shock on her face, "Did you hear about Roger?" she asked,
At the name Felicity felt a shiver go through her. She unconsciously wrapped her arms around her middle and waited for her to continue.
"He was found on one of the paths last night. He had a bloody nose and looked like he'd been roughed up." the shock and displeasure in her mother's voice was apparent.
Felicity cleared her throat and tried twice before she could speak, "No, I hadn't heard." she said in a flat tone.
Her mother looked at her strangely and a streak of panic went through Felicity that she'd seen through her lie. She didn't want anyone to know that Oliver had stopped Roger. Questions might be asked, or the press might get involved and they did not need those sort of problems.
"Felicity, your shirt is on inside out...and backwards." she stated in confusion,
Felicity's cheeks flushed red as she looked down and saw that it was true. "I put it on in a hurry." she blurted out and then flushed even harder.
Her mother either didn't understand or chose to ignore her. With a wave of her hand she went back to talking about Roger. "Anyways, I don't know where she got this idea from, but Maddie is insistent that you saw Roger last night. Now, I told her if you did you would have helped him if he was in trouble, but...you know how your cousin can get."
Felicity had gone numb. Had Roger told Maddie what had happened? Was she lying in wait to cause a scene in front of everyone? Her mind whirled with dozens of thoughts as her mother continued to talk.
"Maddie said something about you leaving just before he did. Your father and I were in bed long that though. We just can't stay up late anymore like you kids do." she let out a long suffering sigh and Felicity was amazed at her forty-six year old mother's ability to make herself sound like she was in her eighties.
"Mom, I walked Aunt Mellie to her room and then I came back here." the words stuck in her throat because she had no idea what Maddie knew and how she was going to play this. "But Roger was pretty drunk last night, maybe he just tripped and fell."
Panic began to rise within her and she was seriously about to go get Oliver and tell him to claim some sort of company emergency so they could leave, when he walked out of the bedroom tugging a shirt over his head.
The warm smile he had on his face slid off as he must have seen how worried she was. He gave her mother his best fake smile and lengthened his stride so he reached Felicity's side quicker. His hand covered her back and she moved closer into him, grateful for his support even if he didn't know what was going on. "Hey there, everything alright?"
Her mother said good morning and then started all over again with the story about poor Roger being found in the bushes. Oliver tensed imperceptibly at the news, the tension in his shoulders and the muscle ticking in his jaw his only tells.
"You didn't hear anything did you? Maddie has it in her head that Felicity somehow knew."
Oliver narrowed his eyes, "Why does she say that?" he asked evenly.
"She won't say." she said in frustration, "But Roger looks a mess and she's upset about what the wedding pictures are going to look like, and...well these things are important to Maddie."
Felicity actually had to grab Oliver's arm to keep him from stalking towards the front door at hearing that Maddie was upset about the pictures being ruined.
"Anyways, I told Mellie I'd come see you before brunch." her mother said as she was walking towards the door, "You'll be there, right? Maybe you can talk to your cousin and clear all this up before the ceremony."
Felicity was only able to give her a feeble nod. "See you soon dear." she called over her shoulder and they were alone once more.
"I'm so sorry!" she started as soon as the door was shut, turning towards Oliver with a look of horror on her face, "I know this is just...stupid and ridiculous but..."
"Roger and I are going to have a talk." Oliver said with a steely tone.
"Oliver..." she began warningly,
"Don't worry, I'll use my nice voice." he said with a wolfish smile that did nothing to appease her anxiety.
"Your 'nice voice' usually ends with arrows in people." she protested as he made his way back into the bedroom.
"Good thing I left my bow and quiver at home then." he stripped his shirt over his head as he walked into the bathroom and she was momentarily distracted by the play of muscles across his back.
He caught her looking and the ends of his mouth turned up slightly, "I'd suggest you join me, but then there wouldn't be brunch and I want to make sure there aren't any more surprises today."
Her toes curled at the thought, and quite honestly she hadn't heard a word he'd said after he made reference to her joining him in the shower. She swallowed hard and motioned over her shoulder, "I'll just...check in with Digg, and work, and...things." she said and backed out of the doorway, biting her lip as he began to pull off his sleep pants just as she was shutting the door. He was going to pay for that.
She grabbed her phone and swung by the kitchen for a juice before she made her way to a chaise lounge on the lanai. There were more emails, and missed calls than she cared to deal with right then. She scanned through them and separated out what was actually important and what could wait until she was back.
Digg had only written to check in and she wrote him back quickly, being intentionally vague and knowing he'd see through it immediately. Her cheeks flushed at what his reaction would be to her and Oliver.
When that was finished she tried to calm the churning in her stomach at what the day could bring, but her imagination kept going to snide comments from Maddie and Oliver punching Roger again.
"You grip that phone any harder you're going to break it." Oliver said over her shoulder, causing her to jump.
"Geez! Do you always have to walk around like a freaky ninja!" she exclaimed, as she turned to see him looking at her with a raised eye brow and a quirk to his mouth.
He wore grey slacks and a dress shirt but no tie, and all she could do is stare at his neck and wonder if she could lick it again. Warmth crept through her and she didn't know how she was supposed to get through the day without jumping him.
His eyes darkened and she tried to stop her thoughts but he must have seen something on her face. Fists planted on either side of her as he leaned down, his knee coming to rest between hers.
She let out a little gasp that quickly turned into a moan as he kissed her. His hands never moved and when he pulled back she slumped against the cushions with a pout. "I'm going to go try and catch Roger before the meal." he said carefully. She nodded because that was all she was capable of. "I'll see you there." he pressed one more kiss to her lips and then he was gone.
She wished there had been a way to stop him, but she knew how he was when his mind was set. And to tell the truth she would be glad not to have to confront Roger herself. She just hoped that whatever happened didn't end up escalating.
When she heard the door shut she scrambled to her feet and made her way into the still steamy bathroom as quickly as possible. Regardless of the fact that she trusted Oliver, she still didn't want to leave him on his own for very long.
Felicity showered in record time and saved herself long minutes by twisting her wet hair into a bun. Knowing she'd have to put a lot more effort into her appearance later for the wedding she applied some lipstick and slid on her glasses with a smirk. She dared Maddie to make a comment today.
Thirty minutes after Oliver had left she was walking down the path towards the main house, blue skirt rustling around her knees as nerves slunk in and made themselves known. She had no idea what would await her.