A/N 1: The purpose of this fic is twofold. First, to resolve the Oliver making Felicity his EA subplot to my own satisfaction - and hopefully to the satisfaction of anyone else who had issues with it. Second, to write some angst-filled season-two-flavored Oliver-and-Felicity fic. Because the internet needed more.
A/N 2: Title from the song Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, by Landon Pigg.
After Sebastian Blood leaves, rather than even approach the subject of caffeinated beverages with Felicity, Oliver goes to make his own damn coffee.
He quickly discovers that Felicity was telling the truth. The coffee maker has been violently broken.
She drove an arrow through the front.
How she managed that Oliver is not entirely sure, but she's always been resourceful. The arrow is being used to pin a handwritten note onto the machine.
You have failed this office.
Oliver has a very difficult time not laughing.
On his way into the office the next morning, Oliver asks Diggle to make a stop at Starbucks. He orders his own beverage, and then orders one for Felicity. Diggle says nothing.
Felicity is not at her desk when he sets the cup down. He's careful to place it somewhere it won't accidently spill on her keyboard or her computer.
So he waits. And waits.
She doesn't show up. He wants to call her, but he suspects that she's still upset with him. He just wishes she could realize how this is for her own good. He needs her close. He needs her next to him, by his side. She's one of only a few people he can trust.
"Do you know where she is?" he asks Diggle.
Diggle doesn't want to be caught in the middle of their fight even less than Oliver wants to be having a fight with Felicity. Still, he says, "I would try getting in the elevator and going down eighteen floors."
Moving to her desk, Oliver picks up the coffee. Then he walks to the elevator and pushes the 'down' button with his thumb.
He finds her in her office, sitting on her old desk. There's a cardboard box at her feet, filled with her things.
"Human resources called me down here," she says, intentionally not looking at him. "They wanted me to clear to my desk so that my replacement - whose application I looked at, and who is startlingly incompetent, by the way - can get moved in as soon as possible."
She seems almost on the verge of crying, and the sorrow in her voice lands a punch right to Oliver's gut.
Felicity picks up a small picture frame from the corner of her desk. "I don't know how to tell my parents." Her fingers run along the edges, blue nail polish sticking out against the dark silver of the frame. "They were so proud of me for getting this job, so happy that I was here doing something that I loved. Do you know how hard my father worked to help me pay my way through college?"
Oliver doesn't, so he stays quiet; Felicity keeps talking. "They'll be disappointed in me, and I don't have anything to say that will make it better."
He holds out the cup of coffee. It's probably cold by now, but it's the only peace offering he has to give. Felicity takes it without looking at him. She sips at it, then cringes, and he just knows he got her order wrong. "Three people have accused me of sleeping my way to the top in the past two hours."
Oliver winces. That was not something he'd even considered. Then again, he and Felicity had participated in a rather loud conversation about spending their nights together.
"Do you have any idea how-" But she cuts herself off, shaking her head. "No. You don't."
Felicity sets the coffee down.
"Look," she says, "I'm not saying that I wouldn't have switched jobs if you'd asked. I don't know what I would have done if you'd asked, because you didn't ask, Oliver, and you can't treat people like that."
He sighs, lifting a hand and brushing the tips of his fingers against her shoulder. He doesn't know how to touch her, doesn't know what's okay and what's not, but this has been okay before and he hopes it's still okay now.
"I'm sorry," he says. "Not thinking things through happens to be one of my more prominent talents."
Finally, she looks at him. "No kidding."
"I need you, Felicity. I need you next to me. I need you in my corner, and I don't-" He stutters, like he always does when the words are so full of everything that they just don't want to come out. "I don't take you for granted."
"But," he continues. "I'm realizing this isn't all about me. So whatever office you go to tomorrow, that's where you'll work."
"And if I choose here...what about those eighteen floors between us?"
"We'll figure something else out." Standing up, Oliver bends down to pick up the box with her things. He sets it back on the desk.
Together, they walk to the elevators. The ride up is spent in silence. When they reach the top, Oliver catches her arm before she runs off to her desk.
"Felicity." It's his turn not to look at her. "On the subject of asking things...what would you do if I ask you to stay here?"
Felicity is silent for a moment, but then she says, "Then I'll be here in the morning, Mr. Queen."
"One," Felicity says later that night, setting the green mug on his desk.
She walks out without a word, and he watches her go.
He does not deserve her.
A few weeks later, Felicity walks into the office to find Oliver sound asleep on one of the chairs. His legs are braced against the glass coffee table, papers are strewn all over the surface and some have fallen to the floor. Bending, Felicity gathers them up, sets them on the table, then turns to study Oliver.
She left late last night and done so only because he promised he was right behind her. She sees now that was a lie.
Oliver might know how to handle arrows and bad guys with claws for hands, but he really doesn't have any idea what to do in a boardroom. Sometimes he strikes her as a little kid playing dress up, trying to mimic fragments of memories of his father.
Add his lack of business inexperience to her lack of secretarial inexperience, and they make quite the team of incompetents. Felicity might be a genius, but there's a difference between Information Technology and Executive Assistance, and it's by no means a subtle one.
Felicity can fix servers and manage networks and build computers, but none of that has prepared her to take notes and manage schedules and make small talk with other secretaries. She swears at each meeting that everyone there notices her ineptitude; most of them are just too polite to say anything about it.
And she's trying, she really is, but both of them are out of their depth here. Felicity's not sure how long they'll be able to keep treading water, especially with all the sharks that are still circling around Queen Consolidated.
For a few minutes, she debates whether or not to wake Oliver. Finally, she goes to the newly purchased coffeemaker, brews a pot, pours two cups, and walks back into Oliver's office. She sips at her own mug, and then sets them both down on the table.
"Oliver," she touches his shoulder carefully, then says his name again.
Oliver wakes with a start, grabbing at her wrist. She waits for him to settle back into the present, and when he does, his grip relaxes.
"You were supposed to go home," Felicity chides.
"Sorry," he murmurs, rubbing his eyes with his fingers.
Felicity hands him a steaming cup of coffee, and he takes it.
She says, "Two."
"I found your resume. You're talented," Isabel Rochev says, passing over a business card. "Whatever he's paying you to bring him his coffee, it's not enough. Not for you. Give me a call. I have a space for you at the head of my technical department."
Behind her, Felicity can see Oliver watching them. His face is unreadable, but Felicity knows what that means. He doesn't want anyone to know how he's feeling, which means whatever emotions he's warring with are strong ones.
"Thanks," Felicity says, tearing her gaze away from Oliver, "But I'm happy where I am."
Isabel smiles, but it makes Felicity more uncomfortable, not less. "You have to be sleeping with him. No one says 'no' to me."
Felicity adjusts her glasses, and passes back the business card. "Funny. I just did."
Having Felicity as his EA is distracting in all the best ways.
He's not sure how many hours he wastes watching her, but there are too many to count.
Oliver finds he can tell from her body language just what she's working on. If it is vigilante related, she sits up straighter, seems more focused. Her fingers on her keyboard never slow; her eyes never leave her screen.
If she shifts her attention to anything even remotely connected to her position as his EA, however, everything changes. She gets fidgety; her eyes wander around the room.
He knows about the offer from Isabel, knows it's a good one. He also knows that even as much as she tries to hide it and as much as they both try to ignore it, Felicity is miserable.
He's so lost in that truth and how he doesn't know what to do to make it better that he almost doesn't hear her come in.
"Three," she says, sitting on the edge of his desk as she passes him the cup. For a second he wonders if this is because it's the last time, if she's bringing him coffee in preparation to break the news that she's leaving. It seems selfish for him to hope that she's not.
"Oliver," she says softly, "Can I still talk to you about my day?"
He doesn't have words, so he nods his head.
"Isabel Rochev offered me a job." Felicity bites her lip and studies him for a second. "...but you already knew that, didn't you?"
"Are you leaving?" The words feel chalky in his mouth, and he takes a sip of the coffee in an attempt to disguise his distress. It probably doesn't work. He tends to be annoyingly transparent around Felicity.
She shakes her head. "Don't get me wrong: the offer is tempting. A few months ago I probably would have accepted."
"So why didn't you?"
"You and I - and Diggle - we're a team, in the lair and out of it. I'm not walking out on you."
"Even if you're miserable here?"
She doesn't deny it, which makes something inside him twist painfully.
Instead, Felicity says, "I've decided that looking out for you is worth being a little miserable."
After probably the worst board meeting in QC's history, Felicity slips into Oliver's office with a cup of coffee in one hand and Oliver's dry cleaning in the other.
The night before had been inhumanly long, for both of them. Just before sunrise, he'd returned to the lair with a gash in his side the length of Felicity's hand. It was shallow, but it still needed stitches. She'd barely managed to patch him up before they'd had to run to Queen Consolidated and Oliver had to try to hide the fact that he was injured while talking about numbers and financials that made even Felicity's genius level brain spin.
"Four," she says as she sets the coffee down on his desk. Her eyes are sad and her normally perfect lipstick is smudged.
"Take your shirt off," she says, reaching for the buttons of his jacket before he even has a chance to take a sip of his coffee. He shrugs out of it, and as soon as he's done that, Felicity's hands are on his shirt, tugging it out of his pants and undoing the buttons with quick, deft fingers. He hears her suck in a sharp breath at the sight of the still-bleeding wound on his side.
"Felicity," he says, "Glass walls."
"Oh," she huffs. "Now you decide to get modest?"
He gives her a look. In response, she leans over and presses a few keys on his keyboard. The glass instantly darkens, becoming opaque.
"When did you have that done?"
"You were in CoastCity for a week, remember?" She peels his blood-soaked shirt away from the wound and frowns. "You should have let me finish patching you up. I thought for sure this was going to start bleeding through your suit jacket and someone would notice and then were would we be?"
He takes her hands in his, stilling them. She closes her eyes tightly and he suddenly sees the tears spilling from beneath her long lashes.
"Hey," he says, touched by her concern. "I'm okay. I've had worse."
"Don't do that." Her fingers tighten around his. "Please don't do that thing where you think just because you've been hurt badly before it means you'll get through it okay this time all while you insinuate that I'm stupid for worrying."
"Okay, I won't." He uses a gentle tug to pull her closer to him. Her forehead falls against his chest, and his arms move to encircle her waist.
There's a sharp knock on the door then, and Diggle's voice calls out, "Is everything all right in there, Mr. Queen?"
That breaks the spell. All the tension leaves the room instantly. Felicity takes a quick step back, and the motion is an earthquake beneath his feet. Oliver swallows, trying to regain his equilibrium.
"Everything's fine, Dig," Felicity says.
One of the requirements Oliver knows Felicity particularly hates about her EA job is the traveling. Sometimes Oliver has to go places and meet with people, and sometimes he needs her with him. Occasionally it's because he needs her for her skills, occasionally it's because he needs her for appearances. It is always because he needs her.
They sit across from each other on his private jet. Felicity's heels are on the floor somewhere and her legs are tucked off to one side of her body, but if Oliver looks he can see the red of her toenails peeking out from beneath the skirt of her dress.
Her hair is down and curly around her shoulders. Oliver hasn't seen it like that in a long time. It's been straight ever since she became his EA. She has her tablet in her hands and her glasses on her nose, and Oliver thinks he's never seen her look more beautiful.
It's late at night, so they're sipping on wine, not coffee, a special bottle Oliver brought just because he knew Felicity would enjoy it.
He knows that he's terrible at being a good boss. He knows that he's terrible at being a good friend. But he doesn't see how that gives him the license to stop trying, even if he keeps failing.
One of these days he has to get it right.
"I am really getting sick of everyone talking about the fact that we're sleeping together."
She's so mad she doesn't even register what she's just said until Oliver's face does that thing that it does when her words come out wrong.
He doesn't comment on it - he never does - just shuts the door to his hotel suite. They've decided to order room service for dinner, and then they catch up some of the work that needs to be done before Felicity slips off to her own room for some much-needed sleep.
"Who is talking about us sleeping together?"
"The other assistants. All the other assistants. And some of their bosses." Felicity lowers her voice to an annoyed mutter, "Apparently my inexperience is fooling the local businessmen in Starling City, but here in GothamI may as well stamp 'I Am Not Trained For This' on my forehead. Who cares if I possess the technical savvy to ruin their lives and reputations in just a few keystrokes? No, I don't know the ins-and-outs of secretarial work, so you must be keeping me around for my skills in bed."
Oliver sighs. "Felicity, they're wrong if they think sex is the only reason I keep you around."
She intentionally doesn't point out that his phrasing makes it sound like sex is on his list of reasons for keeping her around.
"Really?" she says, bending over just enough to remove one shoe and the other. "Because you've said over and over again how this is a good cover for me, but it seems like having me around attracts more attention, not less."
"Your cover is not the only reason I need you around."
"I know, our nights. Seriously, Oliver, I can set up a secure channel, or we can let the whole office that we're getting it on in the elevators if you want..." At the look on Oliver's face, Felicity lets her sentence trail off.
He says, quietly, "That's not what I meant."
And then somewhere in her head, something clicks into place. She doesn't know how she hasn't seen it until now, but suddenly she's connecting dots and she gets what he's actually saying. It's not: "I need you around because we need opportunities to talk about Vigilante things."
It's just: "I need you."
"Listen," Felicity says quietly, "I know that sometimes you have a hard time vocalizing how you feel, but I'm not a mind reader, Oliver. Sometimes people just have to hear things out loud, important things like 'I need you' and 'you matter to me' and 'I love you'."
He reaches for her. His hand brushes her shoulder, and she closes her eyes to savor the touch. She's quiet. For what feels like the longest time she just stands there, eyes closed, savoring the feel of his thumb rubbing circles against her skin.
"I love you," he says quietly. "And you're very important to me."
Her heart leaps in her chest, but she swears if she opens her eyes all of this will just be a dream, so she keeps them closed.
"Felicity," says Oliver, and she's not sure if her name is a question but it feels like one.
So she answers.
"Oliver," she whispers, "please just kiss me already."
As if he was waiting for permission, Oliver swiftly tips her head up with his first finger and lowers his lips to hers. The niceness of the kiss lies in its simplicity, in the way he doesn't push, doesn't ask for anything more than she has to give.
And oh, if she's not careful she could give him everything. Maybe she already has.
When they break apart, Felicity opens her eyes. He's still there, smiling down at her. It's a full smile too, one that goes all the way up to his eyes. He seems to be waiting for something from her.
"You're very important to me too," she says.
Oliver raises an eyebrow. "And?"
"And I love you."
In the morning, he opens his eyes and she's there, standing at the window. Rays of sunlight tangle in the waves of her blonde hair. She's wearing his shirt. The sleeves are rolled up, and it's only buttoned in two places.
With both hands, she raises a cup of coffee to her lips. Then, as if sensing some movement he doesn't remember making, she turns to him. When their eyes meet, she smiles.
"Good morning," Oliver says, sitting up as Felicity walks over to him. Without a word, she offers him her coffee, and as he takes it from her, their fingers touch.
"Five," she says.