Hi! How are the best readers in the entire world? Did you know you made this story top on the list of followers? Over 830! How crazy is that?! I can't thank you enough and I really hope I can continue to entertain you with the story. This is chapter 7, the longest and angstiest so far. Angst is not my forte (as in I've never written it before) so I'm really looking forward to see what you guys think.

Enough about me, now it's time for you. Here's the chapter, enjoy!

Disclaimer: The characters and back story doesn't belong to me. Some lines of dialogue and situations have been taken ad verbatim from the CW show Arrow.

Chapter VII - The Dollmaker

Diggle tried calling his name again after the seconds passed and Oliver didn't answer. The thing is Oliver couldn't process what Diggle was saying.

He took Felicity. The Dollmaker took Felicity. He took Felicity!

How could that even happen? He'd just seen Felicity. He'd saved Felicity. She was hurt but she was there. She couldn't be gone.

Oliver's name rang in his ear again urgently and his eyelids came down to shut the world out long enough for him to gather his wits.


A small rational part of him registered the fact this was the fourth time Diggle called him by his name. Officer Lance had an intercom piece too so any minute now he would be jumping over Oliver, yelling at his face and demanding explanations. Fine, let it come. Felicity is priority now.

But the man was not coming at Oliver. In fact he was awfully quiet. Oliver glanced behind him and Officer Lance wasn't there. The man had gone outside the warehouse to retrieve Laurel and the only thing left, broken and discarded on the floor, was his intercom piece. Oliver picked it up closing his hand around it. It must have fallen off his ear when the Dollmaker hit Lance on the face.

"I'm on my way," he told Diggle and stood up to retrace his steps back to the place he'd last seen Felicity. Diggle had to be mistaken. Felicity had to be there, rubbing her head and going on about how ludicrous this whole plan was. 'I want a raise, Oliver,' she'd say, 'clearly I don't get paid nearly enough for what I do.'

All hope was shattered when he reached Diggle and Felicity was not there. Diggle was the one pressing his hand to stop the bleeding on the back of his head.

"What happened?" he barked.

"He took her, Oliver. I thought you and Lance were taking care of him and he just came up behind me and knocked me out. Next thing I know Felicity was gone. I tried going after them but there were tires screeching in the alley and no trace of them."

"We need to track down her phone," dictated Oliver.

"If she has it on her but listen, Oliver, without Felicity we're gonna need the police for that. I can call Lyla, ask her to run it down."

"Fine, you do that."

Diggle took off to make the call and Oliver looked down to where Felicity's head had struck the concrete base on her way down. There were traces of blood smudged on the surface. She was bleeding. She was bleeding and now she was gone.

The leather groaned in protest around his knuckles when he gripped his bow so furiously it almost broke. Oliver heard steps coming up behind him and in one quick motion he had an arrow pointed at the heart of Officer Quentin Lance.

"Woah, easy there, it's me," the officer said holding his palms up.

Oliver brought the bow down and hid his face to the side.

"I can't thank you enough for what you did for my daugther," Lance said. "She's fine and I couldn't have done it without you and Miss Smoak. Where is Miss Smoak?" he asked, noticing there was something missing in the picture. "I came back to see if she was ok."

Oliver came up with two different ways he could snap the Dollmaker's neck while the officer spoke.

"Mathis took her," he muttered.

"What? What do you mean he took her? How could he even..."

It happened because of me, Oliver's mind answered. He didn't have time to dwell on his guilt now, not while Felicity was in danger.

"She's hurt," he said. "We need to track her."

"Of course, but right now you need to get out of here. This place will be crawling with cops any second now. I need to call Queen," said Lance. The man ran a hand over his face. "That kid, it's just one thing after another. How much bad luck can a person get in his life?"

Oliver knew he deserved everything that was coming to him and now he'd brought Felicity into this and pinned his 'bad luck' on her.

"Use her phone number to track her down. Let me know when you have a location," Oliver ordered.

"Yes, yes, now go!"

Oliver took a cable arrow to a beam on the ceiling and shot himself up just as the police irrupted in the scene.

"Was that the vigilante?" One of the men in uniform ran up to Lance pointing his gun to where Oliver had made his exit.

"Yes, but that's not important. Right now we have another hostage situation, name's Felicity Smoak. The Dollmaker took her as he fled the scene. We need to do a cell phone trace now and get me Oliver Queen on the line." Lance's eyes fell on the blood spatter on the concrete base. "I have to tell him his girlfriend's missing."

"Oliver, you need to calm down!"

Diggle pushed Oliver back for the third time trying to keep him from running off to chase a man they didn't even know where to find. They were standing outside the back entrance at Verdant and Oliver was still wearing his Arrow outfit. His hood was down, the war paint still on and his face was turning more and more red with rage by the minute.

"Do you just expect me to just stand here and do nothing? There is psychopath out there and he has Felicity!"

Diggle took a deep breath and started explaining again why there was no point in going after him now.

"We have Lyla and the police tracking her phone down, Oliver. Felicity is a smart girl, a lot smarter than we both give her credit for. I'm sure she found a way to hold on to it. She knows we can track her. Right now what you need to do is go home and act like the Oliver Queen whose girlfriend got taken by a kidnapper."

Oliver had already received a call from Officer Lance telling him the news about Felicity. He had to use all his willpower to act normal, although he couldn't resist hanging up before the officer had a chance to finish. Diggle had to call him back asking him to excuse his boss' behaviour.

'Mr. Queen is in shock right now and he'll be heading home shortly to wait for news,' Dig told Lance, which led to the present discussion of Oliver refusing to go stand around in his house doing nothing, acting like a concerned boyfriend, while Felicity could be bleeding out to death somewhere or getting turned into a life-sized doll.

"I'm going out there," Oliver said stubbornly but Diggle cut his way again.

"Out there where, Oliver? We don't know where he is!"

"Perhaps the two of you could use some help."

The feminine voice came up from above their heads and they both looked up trying to find the source of it. The lean black figure jumped off into the alley, landing gracefully like a cat in front of the two men. Oliver instinctively brought his head down trying to conceal it from her and Diggle stepped in front of him as cover.

"There's no need for that," she said. "I know perfectly well who you are, Ollie."

They both tensed up at the mention of Oliver's name. Diggle reached for his gun to point it straight at the woman but Oliver tapped his shoulder making him stand down as he stepped out from behind him to examine her more closely.

"Who are you?" he asked again.

The woman stared at him almost nostalgically and her voice was soft again, like a whisper from back in time.

"I'm a ghost," she said. She pulled her mask back along with the luscious wig of blonde hair to reveal a set of shorter light waves and the face of Sara Lance.

"S… Sara," Oliver muttered.

The girl stood there, her eyes compassionate, and Oliver reached out to feel her face, to make sure it wasn't just a trick of his imagination. His fingers met the cool skin and Oliver closed his eyes in pain. What was happening? This had to be a dream, everything from Felicity being taken to Sara being here. It can't be.

"I told you it would change you, Ollie."

"How… how are you here?"

"No time for that, you need to get your girl back and this time I can help you."

Felicity. Oliver's mind was brought back to reality and Diggle chimed in taking advantage of the momentary silence.

"Does anyone care to tell me what the hell is going on here?" he said.

Oliver explained how Sara, Laurel's sister, had made it to salvation after the Gambit went down. He thought he'd seen her die after that but apparently his eyes were not the best of witnesses because there she was, in the flesh right in front of him, wearing a leather suit and offering to help them out.

"How did you find me?" Oliver asked.

Sarah scoffed.

"A mysterious vigilante in Starling City shooting arrows around? It only took one look at that green hood to know it was you."

"And you came back for me," he finished for her.

"I came here for my family, Ollie. They were in danger, I needed to make sure they'll be okay. Now I'm here because you need me."

Oliver frowned.

"This guy is right," she said gesturing towards Diggle. "You can't go after the kidnapper without blowing your cover."

Oliver's anger boiled up again now that the initial shock of seeing Sara was wearing off.

"This is not about my cover, this is about-"

"Yes, the girl, I know. You're being impulsive, Ollie. We still need a location to bring him down and right now you not showing up at your house would only make you a suspect, distract the police from actually finding her. If they find out who you really are they'll know she was involved and we'd only be bringing her back so they can throw her in jail. And they won't give you a cell to share."

The angry man simmered down at the thought of his actions hurting Felicity again. Still he couldn't just wait around and let everyone else protect the person he had chose to endanger. Sara recognized the look of frustration in his eyes so she told him she could get a head start on locating the Dollmaker through some of her contacts on the underground glades.

"I've got a few eyes around the city, ones that work better than that kid you sent after me," she said.

Oliver's lips tightened at the mention of Roy. That stupid kid, he'd told him not to engage with her. Of course, he didn't listen. Why would he listen? He never listens.

"Go home, Ollie. Stay focused and do your part. I'll let you know when I find her."

Oliver didn't seem very inclined to follow her plan but Sara reached for his hand, putting a little bit of pressure on it.

"I can see she means a lot to you and I still owe you because of what happened to Shado. If you hadn't stepped in…" She let the words trail off and looked at her friend right in the eye. "I'll get her back for you, Oliver, you need to trust me."

Sara waited for Oliver to show some sign of agreement before she let him go. She told Diggle how to contact her in case anything came up.

"Make sure he does what he's told," she whispered to the army man.

"Easier said than done," Diggle said.

Sara smirked and looked back at Oliver one more time before jumping her way out of the alley and into the night. Diggle reached for the back seat door and waved at Oliver.

"Come on, you can change in the car. We need to get you home now."

Oliver wished he could pause for a second and process all this but more than anything he wished he knew where Felicity's captor was so he could make him pay in a wide arrange of imaginative ways.

Felicity woke up to the overwhelming feeling of nausea. She fought the awful sensation back and tried to focus her senses. As soon as she opened her eyes the throbbing pain on the side of her head made her wish she hadn't. What the… ow! No wonder I want to vomit, isn't that one of the signs of a concussion? Maybe I shouldn't be sleeping either.

Then she realized there might be another reason why she was feeling so nauseous. They were moving, fast, she and the Dollmaker. Felicity felt the urge to scream but her fast-working intellect told her it was probably not the best idea. Besides, her mouth was all covered in duct tape so what was the point?

She stretched her neck as far as she could to take a look towards the front seat. The bearded man was fully concentrated on driving as the city lights flew by, shinning against the dark night sky.

Felicity was lying on her side in the back of a softly padded van. It looked like the inside of a mental institution and the rope around her wrists and ankles was also lined with soft fabric, like one those kinky handcuffs with pink feathery things.

Great, I got the only psychopath who has no problem with killing me but can't bear the thought of my skin getting damaged. Well, I don't care how pretty my corpse will be, I'm getting out of here!

Her thoughts immediately went to Oliver. And Diggle. To both.

She needed to work with them, help them find her. Felicity looked around. There was nothing in the back of the van but more of that lined rope torn into pieces, like it'd been used to tie someone else at some point. The Dollmaker had obviously tossed her purse out but the little jar of Mermaiden was still there, peeking out of its bag, mocking her. Felicity reached as quietly as she could into her pocket, struggling to move her hands despite the tight bindings. She held back a sigh of relief when her fingers closed around the cool edge of her phone.

Felicity brought the phone out carefully, trying not to draw attention to the fact that she was now awake. She thought about calling Oliver but it was just too risky. The sound of the phone ringing might be enough to tip her kidnapper. Plus, knowing Oliver he would be furious by now meaning he'd answer the call by shouting Felicity! in that strong, commanding voice of him.

So, no phone call then. What she needed was to make sure her phone remained unharmed and in place until they got to whatever it is they were going. That way Oliver and the police could trace it back to her and get her out of this mess.

Her mind was racing. The question now was where to hide it. Felicity knew the Dollmaker liked to dress up his victims so if she left the phone in her pocket chances were he would find it when he tried to get her into the doll outfit. She did her best not to think about that man getting her clothes off or the fact that she'd most likely be dead by the time it got to that.

Next logical solution was hiding it somewhere in the car then. The Dollmaker would most likely park the van at least close to where they were going and judging by the effort he'd put into it patting every possible surface in the car, it didn't look like he planned on ditching this vehicle any time soon.

The blonde was checking her surroundings looking for a good place to hide it but she was brutally interrupted when the car came to a halt. Felicity managed to fake unconsciousness just as the Dollmaker glanced back. He killed the engine and got out of the car letting Felicity know she had seconds to hide the phone before the Dollmaker came to pull her out.

Looking around in panic, she settled for the gap beneath the front seats. Felicity threw the phone so it would slide across the gap but it only made it half way through. She reached up, ignoring the nagging pain in her head, and tried to push it further into the shadows with the tip of her fingers. The phone reached a spot where she thought it'd be safely hidden just as the Dollmaker opened the back door and dragged her out by her ankles.

Felicity squirmed and screamed muffled cries against the duct tape making the Dollmaker grin.

"Good, you're awake! I'll be easier for you to swallow this way, dear."

The side of her head left a bloody trail across the white padding of the van and she winced as the pain intensified. The man frowned when he noticed her injury.

"Well, we're gonna have to fix that, my darling, before we immortalize your face. Can't have ourselves a broken doll now, can we? It diminishes the value of the entire collection. No need to panic now. You'll be as beautiful forever as you are right now."

He held Felicity strongly, her back to his chest, and forced her to walk into what looked like an abandoned chemical plant.

"It'll all be over soon," he said in a soothing voice as he secured Felicity to a metallic grid to keep her upright. She'd been trying to hold on to her rational thinking but now that she'd done all she could to ensure her rescue, Felicity started to shiver in fear. Each time the Dollmaker laid a finger on her, Felicity trembled like a leaf.

"Shh, it's ok. Now let me see that cut."

Mathis turned Felicity's head to the side to shine light over her head injury.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you, my dear," he said as he patched her up, cleaning the wound with delicate strokes. "A doll so pretty doesn't deserve to have her skin severed like that. Detective Lance just doesn't get it. What I'm doing is for the greater good. Humanity needs to have its beauty preserved; life is just too mediocre, too…forgettable to deserve true beauty."

The man's voice was as calmed as it was terrifying. Felicity's heart was going on double tempo now and every second that passed was a second closer to the end.

"That's why he needs to be broken, see?" he continued, "so he can stop interfering with my work. I wanted to give good Detective Lance something he couldn't recover from so I took his last remaining daughter. Too bad I couldn't keep her but that doesn't matter now because she wasn't the last one, was she? You risked your life for his sake, you are the one I'm taking away. Or was it because of the hooded guy that you were there? Either way, I got you now and maybe it'll stop them both in one move. Oh, you'll make a perfect doll, my dear. Perfect, just like the others."

Felicity followed his gaze to a spot on her right and was overflown by sobs at the sight of the three perfectly lined up girls in their pretty doll outfits. They all had a look of terror and death etched permanently on their lifeless faces. He'd killed them all and next it would be her.

She thought about what she'd done with her life, what it had become. No more business reports by day, no more crime fighting by night, no more computers or technology, no more Hanukkah with the cousins at grandma's house.

No more Oliver.

Felicity would never see his tormented blue eyes again or hear his voice say 'Felicity!' in every possible way. She was only midly surprised to discover that it would be Oliver to invade her thoughts in what could be her last hurrah. And she wasn't even thinking of him because he could save her, she was thinking of him because she would miss him.

The girl closed her eyes and let the tears make trails down her cheeks. She wished with all her might this wouldn't be her last day, she wish she'd get another chance to keep taking care of her broken island man.

"Oliver!" Moira ran to wrap her son in a hug, cuddling his head as only a mother would. He welcomed the hug and felt strangely unsettled to have his mom comfort him over something that was completely his fault.

"It's all over the news, I… I thought you were with her," she said guiding her son to the couch and sitting beside him, keeping a hold on his hand.

Oliver started to deliver his prefabricated story with an emptiness that could very easily pass as shock.

"We had to leave early. She, uh… I dropped her off at her house and then Diggle and I went to get some drinks. I... don't know how she…"

Oliver trailed off. This was ridiculous, pointless, this wouldn't bring her back.

"I know, sweetie, I know," Moira said reassuringly.

There was a police detective in the room taking notes as Oliver related his story.

"They said that man, the Dollmaker, he had Laurel before he took Felicity," said Moira.

Oliver remembered he was supposed to look surprised.

"Laurel's ok now," Moira explained. "The police found her outside that place… What was she even doing there, Oliver? This city is not safe. Why would Felicity go out alone so late?"

Oliver added another brick to his wall of guilt. It was all on him, this no one's fault but his own. Felicity wasn't alone, she was with him and he'd let her down. The detective stopped taking notes for a moment and pointed the back of his pen at Oliver.

"Can you think of any reason why Mathis might have a personal vendetta against you, Mr. Queen?"

"What are you talking about? I'd never even heard of him until today," he said, growing increasingly annoyed at the level of inaction around him.

"Well, I understand you used to have a personal relationship with Miss Lance, correct? And now that he's taken Miss Smoak too- again, forgive me if I'm wrong but -isn't she currently involved with you aside from being your assistant at Queen Consolidated?"

Involved with me... Of course she's involved with me. That's the only reason she's in this mess right now.

Felicity's words to him echoed loudly in his head. 'It's my life, it's my choice.' Why is it that choosing him always let to disaster? Felicity needed to come back. How he would live with himself if she didn't was a future too bleak to imagine.

"Yes," he answered finally.

"Then you see why we would assume this kind of coincidence might not be a coincidence after all," the man said.

Oliver's hand tensed under his mother's and Moira stood up, stepping between Oliver and the inquisitive detective like a lioness protecting her cub.

"Look, I don't know what good is coming out of you interrogating my son, Detective, when what you should be doing is looking for this man and bringing the girl back to us. Felicity is a friend to this family, she's important to Oliver and she's important to us so please if you don't have any actual news to tell us I suggest you leave us alone. And you can stop harassing my son now, I'm calling my lawyer."

The detective sneered at the Queen woman and he told Oliver they'd be in touch and that he shouldn't leave the premises.

"The department is tracking her phone down as we speak so it shouldn't be long now. A couple of our guys are staying here with you in case Miss Smoak tries to contact you."

Oliver gave him an absent nod and Moira thanked the detective leading him out into the foyer.

She could see how unhinged her son was and it broke her heart. Moira came back to ask Oliver if he wanted some tea or perhaps something stronger and when he refused, she decided it was best to give him some space.

The squared jaw, blue eyed man leaned back on the couch running his hands over his face. He hadn't felt this helpless, this useless, since Tommy died in his arms. That couldn't happen again, it just… it couldn't.

The TV was on and a picture of a smiling Felicity in her glasses and business-like ponytail popped up on the screen. Oliver turned up the volume and the reporter's voice resounded inside the living room.

"Police have confirmed young IT expert and executive assistant at QC, Felicity Smoak, has been abducted tonight outside an undisclosed location in the glades. Miss Smoak's captor is renowned killer Barton Mathis aka The Dollmaker. Mathis had been serving consecutive life sentences at Iron Heights until he recently escaped during the latest earthquake. Miss Smoak was last seen earlier today at the Starling City Police Department benefit in the company of rumoured boyfriend and boss, Oliver Queen. Mr. Queen and all members of the Queen family have yet to release a statement regarding the situation."

The screen changed to display a full sized picture of Felicity in Oliver's arms, the picture of them kissing at the ball. Diggle walked in holding his phone to his ear and he frowned at the TV but kept on whispering to whoever was on the other side of the line. Oliver sat up in attention as the woman continued her recount of the news.

"The couple was spotted leaving the gala early but according to police reports Miss Smoak was alone at the time of the abduction. This is the second victim taken by the Dollmaker in the last 24 hours. Police officer Quentin Lance's daughter, Laurel Lance, had been kidnapped only hours ago but she managed to escape when the vigilante known as the Arrow intervened during Miss Smoak's abduction. Miss Lance is now receiving medical attention with no signs of major injury. Police are yet to confirm if the victims' connection to Oliver Queen has played a part in their abduction. More on this ongoing news after the break."

Diggle got off the phone and Oliver muted the TV walking up to meet his friend.

"Any news?" he asked.

"That was Lyla. We got an approximate location on Felicity's phone. The only thing in that area that stands out is a chemical plant called Methamorpho. Methamorpho has been condemned since the quake, Oliver. Perfect place to make some dolls," Diggle said.

"Not tonight," he hissed.

"I already texted your friend Sara with the address, she's meeting me up there and I'm taking the hood just in case. If Lance or anyone else from the police department shows up it's best for them to see the Arrow there and not me. Listen, Oliver," Diggle tapped the man's shoulder. "We're getting her back."

Oliver didn't answer, instead he just urged him to go. After Diggle left, Oliver stood there wondering how on earth he ended up in this situation again trying to save one girl he cared about only to put the other one in danger. Last time it cost him Shado's life. This time…

The thought that came next made Oliver grab the nearest object, a tall ceramic vase, and launch it half way across the room crashing it against the mirror that hung over the fireplace. Pieces of glass and thick ceramic scattered all over the floor drawing in maids, policemen and one very startled Moira Queen while Oliver took a punch to the wall so hard that his knuckles cracked. Damn it!

"There, all better, dear." The Dollmaker put away the first aid kit and started setting up the tubes and cables to apply his especial polymer.

Felicity had spaced out after their last interaction. The sight of the dead girls brought on the reality of the situation. She was about to die. If someone didn't come for her in about ten seconds, Felicity was going to die.

Mathis removed the duct tape carefully from her lips and she struggled as he forced the plastic tube into her mouth and secured it. Felicity was breathing fast, her heart pounded in her ears. She looked up in the hopes she'd see Oliver crouching down on one of the beams. But she didn't, Oliver wasn't there. Time was running out and Felicity knew it.

Mathis brought a carved white medallion tied to a ribbon and placed it around her neck, the signature piece that branded all his dolls. Felicity eyed the tall glass jar that held the white substance and she cried as she imagined it going down her throat, shutting out the air. The Dollmaker poured it into the tube that led to Felicity's mouth and her panting shook her violently. She had no more tears to shed as the liquid made its way down the clear line and reached the curve that led up to her mouth.

"If you struggle, it'll take longer," he said and Felicity thought she would struggle until the very last second.

The plastic was going up now, inches away from her face, and Felicity shut her eyes not wanting Mathis' face to be the last thing on her mind. Instead she focused her thoughts on a pair of deep blue eyes and a light blonde stubble along a firm jaw line.

Then it was chaos all around. The black figure dropped from the ceiling like one of those circus acrobats hanging from black fabric stripes. She landed on the tube forcing it out of Felicity's mouth and making the Dollmaker fall back on the process.

Felicity opened her eyes in renewed panic and spit out the plastic that made it to her mouth before it got a chance to harden. Her cheeks hurt from the way the tube was pulled out but she didn't care. There were here for her, she didn't have to die today.

Mathis got up and ran but Diggle met him with a combat strike to his chest. The killer took a step back unable to draw breath since the punch sucked the air right out of his lungs. Diggle kicked the man's legs from under him and he towered him, his face covered by Oliver's hood.

"You're going back to prison," he said.

The man looked at him unfazed and then the metal shaft pierced the Dollmaker's heart from behind, coming out all the way to the front as his eyes opened in shock just before he fell back one last time.

"No, he's not," Dig heard Sara say.

The soldier looked at her angrily.

"This is not how we do things." he said.

"Well, it is how I do things," Sara answered. "Grab your girl and hand me that bow. I've got some arrows to shoot if you want them to think it was Ollie here and not you."

Diggle reluctlantly did as she said and he went to get Felicity off from the grid.

"Diggle!" the girl cried.

"You ok?"

Felicity nodded and threw herself at him once she was free.

"Thank you," she sobbed. Her heart was still racing with residues from her previous panic.

"You're welcome. Now come on, let's get you to Oliver before he strangles someone and gets himself thrown off in jail."

Felicity smiled softly and leaned on Diggle for support and they made it out of the chemical plant. Suddenly Felicity stopped and looked at Diggle with a puzzled frown.

"Was that the masked woman?" she asked.

"It's a long story. I'll tell you about it in the car."

Oliver was alone in the living room again after the maids picked up the mess he made and exited the room quietly in fear of another outburst.

He was pacing the room back and forth, glancing over the window from time to time not knowing exactly what he expected to see.

The TV was being completely useless of course, repeating over and over again how there were no news on Felicity's whereabouts or his involvement in the Dollmaker's case. They'd shown some footage of Laurel leaving the hospital under her father's arm but Oliver couldn't think about that anymore. Felicity was out there and he wasn't doing anything to bring her back.

The door bell rang and Oliver just turned his back guessing it'd be more policemen coming to grill him over the fake details of his useless story. He couldn't put up with this much longer. Oliver was breaking out to get Felicity back himself.

The shaky voice coming from the corridor made the hair on the back of his neck stand.

"Yes, I'm fine, I just need to see Oliver," she said.

Oliver turned around not believing his ears.

"Felicity?" he muttered.

The tired figure showed up on the threshold with Diggle hovering by her side. Oliver let out the breath he'd been holding when he met her eyes.

"Oliver!" Felicity closed the distance between them and he brought her in as her arms closed tightly around Oliver's neck. He closed his eyes feeling the weight lift from his shoulders as his nose filled with the familiar scent of her hair.

She was here, she was safe, she was back.

Oliver cupped her face checking for confirmation that she was really ok. He noticed the tear tracks that stained her cheeks and the faint signs of bruising starting to form around her lips.

A murderous feeling took over his body and he looked at Diggle with flames in his eyes.

"Where is he?" he demanded.

"He's gone," Diggle said and Oliver went from joy to shame and back again all in one second.

Felicity looked down and she noticed the bandage on Oliver's right hand.

"You're hurt," she said.

Felicity ran her fingers over the bandage but Oliver turned his palm up so he could trap her hand in his.

"Hey, look at me, it's nothing. You're safe now and that's all the matters."

Her lips curved up and she winced a little at the pain of her skin stretching. Oliver brought her back into him and he wrapped his arms around her shoulders with a sigh. Felicity's head rested on his broad shoulder and she realized this is what safe meant to her, this, being in Oliver's presence. That was safe.

Aww, the feels. I truly love these babies with all my heart. Hopefully I'm doing their awesomeness justice. This story and your comments are a source of joy. Until next time, my lovelies. xOxO, WordaholiC [as always your help and advice are very much welcomed]