Title: Straight to the Heart
Author: Cassandra Mulder
Spoilers: Keep Your Enemies Closer (2x06)
Disclaimer: Arrow and it's beautiful characters do not belong to me. They are the property of DC Comics, Berlanti, Guggenheim, et al. I'm just borrowing them, and this is not at all for profit.
Classification: Arrow; Oliver/Felicity; romance; angst; post-episode
Written: November 2013
Word Count: 3045
A/N: Do you know how long it's been since I wrote fan fic? Well, I don't either, but it's been awhile. So you know it's dire with Oliver and Felicity since they pushed me into it. I hope this finds readers and you like it, because I'm as confused as our dear characters lately. But this came spilling out, and Felicity had to be heard. Reviews are loved and well looked after when received. ;)
Things had been tense – actually, Felicity wasn't sure if 'tense' was the right word – but things had definitely not been right since Russia. Not since she had seen Oliver and Isabel coming out of the same hotel room together.
It wasn't like Felicity was a jealous person in general. She didn't have a right to be jealous. No matter what had happened, how many times he had saved her, how many hours they spent together, he wasn't hers. It had never occurred to her that he could ever remotely be hers until he had said what he had said after they had come home, and just like that she wanted to snap Isabel's pencil neck every time she saw her.
It wasn't really Isabel's fault. It could have been any random woman for whom Oliver presumably had no feelings, and it could have happened anywhere at any time. He was single, and he was adamant that remaining so was the only way he could do what he did. Emotional attachments, deep involvement of any kind, would only be a liability.
What he had said echoed in her mind for the next several days because he had indicated that he could have feelings for her; that he could care about her. Oh, she knew he cared about her, but that was not what he had meant and they both knew it. She was still surprised he'd had the guts to say it because he knew she was smart enough to know exactly what he meant. That's what killed her. Why put that out there to torture her when she knew exactly how transparent her feelings for him were all along?
"You told yourself, Felicity, the moment you met him..." she muttered to herself as she shut down her upstairs computer for the night, "'You will rue the day, Smoak. He'll be nothing but trouble.' Well, look at you now, genius..." She trailed off as she looked up and saw Oliver at the door. Crap, she thought, but she tried to play it off like she hadn't been talking to herself like a crazy person. Again.
She totally avoided looking at him, stood up, and gathered her purse and important papers. "I was just getting ready to go home if you don't need anything else tonight," she said as she tried to carefully skirt around him.
That didn't exactly work as she had planned, because he gently grabbed her arm before she could get by. She stood stock still and sighed.
"Felicity, are you all right?" Oliver asked softly, but he didn't turn her around.
She plastered on the brightest smile she could muster under the circumstances, and turned herself around. All she really wanted right now was to go home and fall face first into her bed.
"I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be fine?" she said without the slightest hint of the annoyance she felt. Even so, it still rang hollow in her own ears. She could see that, typically, Oliver wasn't buying it for a second.
"I just thought after... That I... That things..." Oliver stammered.
She flipped her hair and subtly shifted her body enough that his hand fell away from her arm, and she quirked an eyebrow at him. "Really articulate there, Queen. Pro tip: Don't start your next public speech anything like that."
She could see the exasperation in his eyes, and for a brief moment that was enough satisfaction for her.
"Felicity," he said, and it was almost like a plea. She wasn't falling for that.
"Oliver," she retorted with extra snark. "Look, I am super tired, and unless there's some Starling City emergency, I would really like to just go home and become reacquainted with my pajamas and my bed." Not that she was going to mention the thread count of the sheets she had been able to buy with her recently padded Queen Consolidated paycheck, but she loved them. At least, the three times she had been able to sleep on them. "Please?" she whined, dropping her head to the side while looking as exhausted as she could, which wasn't all that difficult these days.
"Okay," he conceded. "I just don't want you to feel..." he started, reaching for her hand, but she took half a step back before he got there.
"Come on, Oliver," she interrupted. "It's been made pretty damn clear what you don't want me to feel, so can we just drop this so I can go home?" She didn't know how many times she had to ask him, how many times she had to drop the hint not to touch her, and how she was finding the courage to more or less tell him off.
He looked pained, and honestly by the way he was acting, she was starting to wonder if he had dipped into the liquor cabinet he kept in his office. It wasn't like him to push stuff like this, not with her.
"I don't want things to be uneasy between us. I... I need you." This time his hand made contact before she could stop it.
Felicity swallowed hard. She would not cry, he was not going to make her cry, and if he somehow broke that resolve, she was going to punch him. She'd had a very tough week, and she had officially had enough. "Of course, you do, Oliver," she said with an extremely rare trace of bitterness. "You do. You need me to do your research, keep your servers secure, hack databases, be bimbo bait for bad guys. Bring you coffee," she said pointedly.
"You know that's not what I mean."
She laughed, but it was false. Nothing between them was funny at the moment. "I don't know why you're doing this. You make vague indications of what might be, when you know it never will, and you want to keep digging into the wound. The pain, the scars – I guess that's just your thing."
Her own mouth dropped open. She knew she had gone too far. She could see it in his eyes. But she also knew he had practiced far too much restraint to punish her for it. He would just take the blame and punish himself. That was what he did.
Instead of dragging her forward or letting her go, as she had expected, he quickly filled up her personal space. Everything in front of her and surrounding her was Oliver Queen. All she could see was haunted blue eyes, all she could smell was his cologne, and all she could feel were his hands at the small of her back and the heat emanating from him.
She tried to open her mouth and say something, anything to make him see that whatever he was about to do was going to be a colossal mistake, but nothing would come out. Maybe it could have stopped him, but in the end it didn't matter. She couldn't voice a protest that didn't really exist, and he was apparently there to prove something to her, but she couldn't fathom what.
A second later nothing registered in her world except that Oliver had somehow gotten her back against the door frame, and his lips were on hers. Her eyes, not to mention her brain, slammed shut, and she was frustratingly helpless. She couldn't move, she couldn't fight him, though he would have let her if she had tried, and all she had left to cling to was the heat and pressure of his body against hers. His kiss wasn't nearly as bruising as she had expected after what she had said to him, and the utter tenderness and slow passion she found instead was almost worse. It was absolutely soul crushing, because against her will and better judgment she knew the full meaning of his words. "I need you" didn't mean a single thing she had thrown back at him. It didn't mean he needed her only physically either, but she could feel how much that was a part of it.
Oliver had no one else who knew every part, every side of him, who accepted him for all that he was, what he did, and would go where he would go. Not like she did. And though she had known it all along, ever since the day she met him, she could see now that he had just recently drawn his own conclusion about how she felt about him. Apparently she hadn't been in it as alone as she thought she was.
No one in her life had ever made her feel the way he was making her feel. When he broke away to trail his lips down her throat and to her collarbone, she could have sworn she let out a sob. Her entire body was on fire, and she briefly registered she must have dropped her stuff somewhere because her hands were in his hair. She felt like she would slide to the floor and never get up if he wasn't holding her steady.
They were never coming back from this, but no matter how much the little voice at the back of her mind screamed it at her, she could do nothing. When he was kissing her again, she could feel tears running down her face just because of the way he held her, how gentle and thorough he was now, and she was lost. Tomorrow she would have to turn in her resignation, move to another city, and never see him again. He would destroy her.
No, too late. He already had.
When he finally pulled away (she wasn't even going to pretend she would be the one), he rested his forehead against hers, and the only sound in the office was her trying to catch her breath. She told herself she needed to be strong, to stand up to him, to tell him that this wasn't... It wasn't... What was it? She couldn't tell him it was wrong, because it didn't feel wrong.
The only thing wrong about it was maybe the timing, but when would that ever be right for them?
He pulled back to really look at her for the first time since he had made such a drastic move, but she couldn't handle it. She closed her eyes against the questions and guilt she knew she would see there. She focused on the sound of his breathing and the feel of his warm hands resting around her waist, and Felicity, woman of many awkward words, could not think of a damn thing to say. Either an avalanche of pent up feelings would come tumbling out, which would not be good, or she might say worse things she couldn't take back.
She felt his hand reach up to caress her tear stained face, and she opened her eyes. She didn't think it was possible for him to break her heart more than once, but it kept happening over and over.
"I don't want to make you cry, Felicity," he said softly. "And I don't want to be the cause of that look on your face every time you see me."
She sighed. God, what an angst fest, she thought. Why hadn't she learned to be a better actress? What a waste that theater class in high school had been. No wonder she had gone into computers. They didn't have emotions, you didn't have to hide yours from them, and you didn't have to worry that your boss knew you were in love with him.
What was the use in denying it to herself anymore? But she knew she couldn't do it, because she wasn't Laurel or Sarah or Isabel – she wasn't one to walk away. She wasn't strong enough to take it if it wasn't forever, and Oliver didn't seem to be so great at anything close to forever so far. If he wanted her, it had to be like she wanted him, and it had to be with the same commitment, the same loyalty, all on the same level. Because she knew, as fiercely independent as she could be, that she would not be able to survive it if he left her. Just having a taste had taught her that, and unfortunately Oliver had a way of leaving people hanging. He wouldn't necessarily mean to, but she was afraid that he would leave her shattered in a million pieces on the floor.
He deserved better than what he had chosen for himself, but she deserved better than that fate as well. She thought she could wait until he was ready, but how long would that be? If it meant watching him dig himself deeper and deeper into emotional isolation from which no one could rescue him, she didn't know how long she could stick around for that, no matter how much she wanted to be there for him.
"Let's not do this, Oliver, okay? I really mean it. Well, obviously we did this," she said, sweeping her hand through the air. "And I'm not going to deny that there is... something here. What's the use? Neither of us are stupid. I know that you have shut yourself off, and you think you have nothing to give. First of all, that isn't true." She took a breath. So far she was being very mature about all of this, she thought. "But I can't give you what you want right now, which is a warm body and a way to make you feel less alone." She stood up straighter and took his hands from her sides to hold in her own. "I'm not that girl. I am better than that girl," she said defiantly.
"I know you are, which is why I would never ask that of you."
"I am totally guilty of saying and doing things I shouldn't do or say, so for now I'm going to let this slide. Just give a girl a break, Oliver. You can't come in here and make me feel like this if you can't follow through, and we both know it's not happening."
"That doesn't mean it can't ever happen," he said.
"See? There you go again." She could see that he was struggling and she knew it was because of her, but she could only summon so much pity. "I can't be your backup girl, or your future maybe, Oliver. If I'm not the only one, for whatever kind of forever we have left, then it isn't going to happen. So while we're putting things out there, that's what I deserve."
Oliver looked suitably ashamed. "I know. I'm sorry, Felicity."
"Things have been really, really difficult lately, and it's not like you needed to go through anymore than you already had. But that can't be your excuse. You can't take advantage of people that way. Not even people like Isabel, not even if they lure you into it." Not even if I kind of hate her guts, she thought. God, she hated being the sensible one. It was torture.
"Understood," he said. She wondered if, being a man, he actually did.
"And you're not alone. You need to understand that, too. Maybe it's not always what you're trying to alleviate in the, uh, loneliness department..." She frowned, because she could feel she was blushing, now, after he had all but taken her against the door frame. Geez. Moving on... "But you have me and Dig. We are with you, Oliver, anything you need, always."
"I know that, and I'm grateful."
She squeezed his hand. "And you have your family, too. I know this thing you've chosen to do is hard. Sometimes watching you do it is hard. But I'm not going anywhere, if that's what you're worried about." Though God knew she had thought about running as far and fast as she could ten minutes ago. "And we'll figure it out, one way or the other. Let's just try to get things back to normal, or, at least as normal as they ever are around here." She knew she meant to smile, but she just wasn't quite there yet. Being the strong one really sucked sometimes.
She could see him mentally kicking himself, probably wondering why he had come in here and started anything in the first place. It hadn't accomplished anything, and now she was further behind on her sleep. Yeah, sleep, that was all she had lost tonight.
"Go home and get some rest, Oliver. Things might not look so bleak in the morning." Though now that she knew what it was like to kiss him, she couldn't say the same for herself.
That garnered a slight smile from him, and when he leaned in again, she thought she was going to have a panic attack. He quickly kissed her cheek, and she gave an exasperated sigh as she wrapped her arms around his neck. She held him tight, and the hug lasted longer than it would have otherwise, but what was this compared to fifteen minutes before? She didn't want to stop, she didn't want to leave the peace and comfort of his embrace, but it had to be done. If only for the foreseeable future, she was going to have to let go.
When she stepped back with a new found resolve, she smoothed her hair, and swiftly picked up her things where they had been abandoned on the floor.
"Good night, Oliver."
"Good night, Felicity," he said with all of that stupid, stupid Oliver charm that he never really meant to use with just the slightest side of embarrassment, and that resolve almost burned into a pile of ash at his feet.
And, we're walking away, she thought to herself as she gave him one last glance, threw her bag over her shoulder, and did just that. He had said he was sorry, but he didn't look sorry enough. He certainly wasn't making anything easier.
She wasn't going to think about it anymore. Not about his words, his kisses, his arms, his hands, and certainly not about what he would look like in the thousand thread count sheets she had waiting for her at home.
Nope, she wasn't going to think about any of those things at all. Oliver Queen wasn't the only one who could lie to himself.