Title: these days they pass so quickly (but the clocks stop when you smile)
Category: Arrow
Genre: Romance
Ship: Felicity/Oliver
Rating: Explicit/NC-17
Word Count: 6,382
Summary: He lived for the moments in between; when their angry world of blood and death was put on pause, the fight pushed to the back-burner, and he could put away the bow, wrapping himself around her instead.

these days they pass so quickly (but the clocks stop when you smile)

Time. It seemed he was always racing against it. Even in the mornings filled with board meetings and profit margins, he was constantly watching the clock, feeling on edge, waiting for the next problem to arise. And at night, if he wasn't infiltrating high security buildings to take out the latest big bad, he was running block to block in the Glades, just trying to keep order.

He was exhausted, constantly, but that was nothing new.

He'd been exhausted since the day the Queen's Gambit went down. Always running for his life, fighting some new enemy, treading water as he waited to inevitably drown under the pressure. If he thought his life was going to get any easier when he left the island, he was mistaken. Sure, there were a lot more luxuries to be had, but now he seemed to be inviting danger to take their best shot. His family, his friends, everyone he loved was a target, and if he wasn't saving them, there was always someone else who needed help.

So these moments, where everything seems to slow down, these were what got him by.

He would like to say that they went out for some romantic dinner earlier, where he plied her with her favorite red wine, watching as it made her cheeks flush with each glass she drank. He'd like to say he set up an elaborate night that ended with rose petals on her bed, romantic music playing in the background, and slow, time-consuming love-making that made his head spin as he pressed her down into silk sheets.

But that was not what happened.

And sadly, given how action-packed his life was, even if he had made those plans, he was sure they would have been interrupted.

What really happened was this:

He was limping. One foot just refused to cooperate to the standard he demanded, and he found himself limping his way into the foundry, wincing with every step.

"Oh my God!" Felicity exclaimed, lurching from her seat at her desk and hurrying toward him. "You said you were fine!" she accused, reaching a hand out to his forearm to steady him as he continued forward.

"I am fine. I'm not even bleeding," he grumbled, finally reaching her chair, which had spun around in her frenzied worry.

He sat down heavily, letting out a rush of relieved breath. Closing his eyes, he rested his head back against the chair, and let each of his muscles relax, tension bleeding out of him.

"It's nothing a little ice won't help."

He could feel her nervous energy around him; he didn't even have to see her, he already knew she'd be biting her lip and fiddling with her hands, desperate to help. It was oddly reassuring, comforting even; no matter how many years they'd been doing this, how many injuries she'd seen, she still worried, still fretted, she always wanted to help him. Perhaps it was the harsh reminder that he was not immortal, he could be hurt, he could die, that always sent her overboard.

It should annoy him. In fact, when they first started out, it did a bit. He wasn't used to hovering, to worry, he was used to ignoring the pain, pushing through it, and he couldn't remember the last time anyone had genuinely been concerned for his well-being. Felicity never stopped being concerned. Bullet wounds and stab wounds, arrows through his chest, Vertigo poisoning, broken bones; the list could go on forever. And each time she reacted with the same level of concern.

He loved her for that.

He loved her for a lot of reasons, but the fact that she never got used to it, never accepted that him getting hurt was inevitable, never dismissed it, made him love her all the more.

When he felt a tug near his foot, he cracked an eye open. Felicity was kneeling down on the foundry floor to undo the laces of his boots. His head fell forward, chin balanced on his chest, as he watched her fingers work through the knot, the bright pink of her nail polish standing out starkly against the black of his boots and the dark green of his leather pants. A contradiction completely.

He could imagine how, to some, they wouldn't make sense. This beautiful, genius woman who could hack into anything, who never failed to impress him with her ability to harness the world around her with satellites and video cameras and information that should be private but never stood a chance when faced with her talented fingers. To the public, he was little more than a playboy playing businessman. And even to those close enough to know his leather-clad secret, he was such a dark, jaded, scarred person that it didn't seem to fit with Felicity's unfailing hope and unflinchingly bright personality and mind.

But they did fit.

They balanced each other. Ying and yang in a way that he was sure benefited him more until she said different, scoffing at him when he suggested he was the lucky one.

She was careful taking his boot off, pressing his knee for him to lift his leg while she tugged the boot down under his heel and pulled it off slowly. She put it aside and made quick work of the other boot before she stood, brushing her knees quickly, and hurried off in the direction of their med-bay to get an ice pack from the freezer. He watched her go, her long blonde hair tied up in a ponytail. She left it down at work, more often than not, and there were days he had trouble keeping his fingers from reaching out to drag through the soft, blonde waves that fell around her shoulders and down her back. But when she was all business and she had a computer at her mercy, she pulled her hair back to keep it out of her way. It was a nice throwback to the woman she was when they first met, only now she was bending the interwebs in a much less legal way, and her confidence had skyrocketed over the years.

She came back with a pillow from the couch he sometimes fell asleep on after a long patrol, and tucked it under his heel as she laid the icepack over his foot. He winced at the sharp sting of cold, but it was necessary. He had work tomorrow, and he didn't feel like coming up with yet another excuse as to why he was limping. He imagined they were all getting suspicious by now; either he was extremely uncoordinated or his many stories were painting him out to be an unreliable adrenaline junkie. Actually, one of those wasn't completely off.

"Do you want me to call John?" she wondered, moving forward to unzip his top. It was late and they should be heading home. If she didn't help him get out of his leathers, he'd probably end up sleeping on the couch in them, which was never comfortable.

"No." He shook his head, shrugging a shoulder out of the sleeve and leaning forward. Felicity pushed the leather down his arms and pulled it free as he got his hands loose. She walked it over to the case it was kept in, casting a questioning glance back at him over her shoulder. "He deserves a night off."

With a faint scoff, she shook her head. "Don't we all?"

"Sure, but you never leave the foundry when I'm on patrol."

"I rescheduled with Tanya. She wasn't upset. We're going out for brunch on Saturday." Her lips twitched. "If you think about it, crime tends not to happen as much in the morning. I think criminals prefer the cover of night."

"That's the third time you've had to reschedule; I'm pretty sure she hates me."

"Fourth time, actually. And she doesn't know for a fact it's you," she dismissed, reaching down to roll his black gloves off his hands, pausing to rub his fingers and over his knuckles, trying to soothe the ache leftover from fighting. She tucked the gloves into the hip of her skirt before she took one of his hands and started massaging her thumbs back over the top. "Sometimes I tell her it's a family emergency. Besides, she's my best friend, she always forgives me. That's why she lets me reschedule."

"Every time I meet her, she tells me I'm overworking you and that I don't share enough," he grumbled.

"Well, you aren't very good at sharing…" she admitted. "And I do work a lot more than the average person, but that's mostly my own choice."


"I don't care how long I've been your executive assistant, I'd still rather be in IT. Just because I got the hang of it doesn't mean it's where I'm happiest."

He frowned. "I know, and I regret that."

"It's not completely your fault. I mean, I understand why I have to be there…" She rolled her eyes. "Look, there's no point rehashing old issues. I've accepted that I'll be your assistant for as long as it takes. I don't always like it, but it has its benefits."

He glanced down as she switched hands, but returned his attention immediately, his eyebrow arched. "Benefits?"

"Well, thanks to the privacy setting on the glass walls of your office, I don't mind spending my lunches with you. I mean, I don't know how much food really gets eaten, but..."

"Something gets eaten," he returned, smirking suggestively.

A faint blush tinged her cheeks, and he was reminded of how far-reaching that blush was when he had her blouse spread wide open, her bra pulled down and out of the way, her skirt rolled up her waist, her thighs hitched over his shoulders, and his tongue lapping at a very warm, wet part of her. Considering their schedules, they had to find time together in between everything else, so Felicity was very familiar with his desk, his chair, the sofa, the wall, the carpeted floor that always burned her knees, the elevator, and a particularly memorable time in the conference room.

"In any case…" She let go of his hand and reached for the zipper on his leather pants. "Back to the original subject. It's late, and no way are you staying here to sleep on the couch. So either we call John, or I help you upstairs myself… which I think we both know is going to take a lot longer."

"My foot isn't that bad…" At her skeptical look, he sighed. "It's just sore. I walked down the stairs, I can walk back up them."

She bit her lip, but nodded. "Fine. But I'm driving you home myself."

"I'm not arguing."

"Okay. Let's get your pants off. The sooner, the better." She paused, reconsidered her words, and then muttered, "Don't start."

He chuckled lowly under his breath and, balancing himself with his hands on the arms of her chair, he lifted his hips up for her to pull the leather fabric down and off him. She was careful when she reached his foot, removing the ice pack momentarily. His pants joined the rest of his hood outfit before she came back with his duffel bag and dug around until she found a t-shirt and some sweatpants. He offered to stand up, but she immediately pushed him back and told him to save his strength for the stairs.

"I think you just like me helpless."

She snorted. "I like taking your clothes off… Not a huge fan of putting them back on."

He smiled, ducking his head through the deck of his shirt and sliding his arms through the sleeves. She didn't bother with socks when she put his sneakers on, telling him he wouldn't be wearing them long before they reached the house. When she was done, she started shutting down her system and gathering her own things before returning to him to help him from the chair. His foot was still sore and the pressure made him wince, but he made a valiant effort not to show her. They climbed the stairs together and, just as she said, it was slower than it would have been if Digg had been there. Felicity wasn't able to take as much of his weight as Digg could, she was simply too small, but he appreciated that she tried.

The walk across the empty club and the parking lot to her car was much smoother, but he could admit he was tired by the time he sat down in the passenger seat of her car. The adrenaline of earlier in the night was wearing off and his body was quick to remind him of everything that hurt and just how much he'd exerted himself.

The drive to the manor was filled with Felicity-style chatter; she filled him in on her day, the parts he wasn't part of anyway. She talked about files she'd hacked into or bugs she fixed in the systems, either at the foundry or at QC. There was the familiar underlying note of pride in her every word; if it had to do with computers, she was always excited to share the details, even if he didn't always know what she was talking about.

The sound of her voice was soothing. He let it lull him into a sense of relaxed comfort, completely aware that this space was safe; he could trust himself to let down his guard. He crossed his arms over his chest and let his head fall back against the seat, vaguely watching the city pass by in a blur of lights until they became less frequent and they left the bright streets of skyscrapers for the quiet road that led up to the Queen Manor, surrounded by a wall of stone and a tall, wrought iron gate that kept everyone else out. Security was well acquainted with Felicity and didn't bother asking why she was there or even looking to see if Oliver was the one half-asleep in her passenger seat.

"Late shift again, Matt? I thought you were trying to get on days," she greeted.

"Yeah, well, you know, most guys don't want to transfer off a good shift, so I'm still waiting on one to open up."

"Or maybe they know how safe they are with you on guard at night."

He chuckled lightly. "You flatter me, Miss. Smoak."

"I try."

"You have a good night. You're getting in pretty late."

"Work never sleeps," she said lightheartedly.

As the gate opened, she thanked him, and the car moved forward to follow the long path into the looping driveway. Parking under the stone cover in front of the doorway, she climbed from the car and walked around to the passenger side. When the front door opened, Oliver noticed a security guard say something into his wrist cuff, probably informing Matt that they'd arrived and were headed in. The guard left as quickly as he appeared, returning to his patrol of the house and property.

Felicity opened his door, reached across him to undo his seatbelt, and then offered a hand for him to grip as he climbed out. They made their way into the house and he found himself waking up more. She closed the door behind them with her foot and directed him to the stairs. He was tempted to tell her to leave him on the couch in the parlor, but he knew she wouldn't. They climbed the stairs, taking care not to move too fast. She guided him down the long hall to his bedroom, and he noted how quiet it was. Given the hour, he knew both his mother and Thea would be sleeping, if Thea was even home. He quickly shook the thought of where she might be out of his head; he didn't care how long she and Roy had been together, he'd never be completely comfortable with his little sister being with any man.

Closing the bedroom door behind her, Felicity flicked the light on and walked him to his bed. He sat on the edge while she knelt once more to take off his sneakers. He tugged his shirt off over his head and tossed it toward the laundry basket, rolling his shoulders back and twisting his head around to relieve the leftover tension in his neck. When she stood up, she readjusted her glasses. "You want anything before I go? Glass of water, ice pack, medicine cabinet of pain killers…?"

He shook his head and reached for her, his hand settling on her hip. He tugged her forward, until she was standing between his legs and took a moment. He leaned forward, resting his chin on her breastbone, his head tipped back, while his hands slid around to undo the button and zipper at the back of her skirt. Her hands settled on his shoulders as she stared down at him, lips turned up on one side with a smile. When the skirt was loose enough, he tugged it down her hips, letting it fall to a puddle around her feet.

Reaching for the end of her deep blue, button up blouse, he slid it up her stomach and ducked his head down, scrubbing his whiskered cheek against her soft belly. The black lace underwear she wore had a little bow in the center; he took it between his teeth and gave it a tug before he pressed a kiss to her skin. Her hands slid up from his shoulders, gathering at the nape of his neck, fingers scrubbing up through his hair. He opened the bottom buttons of her shirt, parting it for him to drag his lips over her skin, mouthing kisses up her front until his nose hit her bra, less provocative than her underwear, simple and functional. He slid his hands around to her back and undid the clasps, watching as the cups came loose from her breasts but didn't uncover them. She let of him, unbuttoning the top buttons of her blouse and shrugging, so it slipped down her arms. She took either strap of her bra between her fingers and slid them down off her shoulders, slowly, teasingly, until finally both blouse and bra were on the floor.

Her pale, pink nipples puckered in the cool air. He cupped a hand at her knee and pulled it forward so she slid into his lap, bringing her much closer. He ducked his head down to suck one nipple into his mouth, his teeth and lips clasping and squeezing, tongue flicking and lapping. His hands slid up and down her back, spreading over her shoulders before delving down her sides to grip her ass and pull her in closer, hips pressed tight together. She let out a faint whimper, her hands sliding down between them, ghosting over his stomach before they reached beneath the waist of his sweatpants; she rubbed her palm over him through his briefs, cupping the hard bulge there and squeezing. With a grunt, he reached between her legs from behind and took her underwear, pulling them to one side, while his free fingers slid between her folds, rubbing slowly. She rocked her hips down against him and slid her hand under his briefs, tugging his cock free for her to grip and stroke as she pleased, her thumb rubbing circles over the head.

He nipped the top of her breast and slid his mouth up to her neck, scraping his teeth over her collar bone as he went. When they first started, nearly two years ago now, she used to complain that he marked her on purpose, that he littered her neck with hickeys like a caveman marking his territory. So he promised to start leaving them in more discreet places, and used their lunch hour to show her just how creative he could get. He did though. He liked leaving a mark behind on that pale, unscarred skin of hers. It wouldn't last, it always faded, but that only meant he got to do it again.

Her breathing was picking up and she was pressing down hard on his fingers as they slid ever closer, but never quite touched, her clit. She was so wet and so warm, if he had any less control he'd already be buried deep inside her, making her scream, careless of the guards or his mother or Thea. Felicity was loud. He'd learned that the first time they fucked, and he never quite had it in him to muffle those noises. He liked how loud she was, how honest she was in her pleasure. He liked that he was the one giving it to her. But here, in the house, they had to try for quiet. More often than not, she buried her face in a pillow, biting down on it as she came. Mostly because of one memorable moment when she forgot and his mother had come running to see if he was okay. They couldn't look each other in the eye for at least a week after.

He kissed up her neck and nibbled her chin until she tipped her head down to kiss him, twisting her wrist around his shaft in a move that always made him—

A loud, heavy, from-the-gut moan escaped him, his eyes falling shut. She pressed her forehead to his, biting his bottom lip and tugging on it as he struggled to keep from losing himself in her touch. She pushed her chest against his in a signal for him to lay back, and he followed her cue. Her knees pressed down into the mattress to keep her steady before she reached down to shove his sweatpants and underwear out of the way. He shifted his legs up so they slid down over his knees and managed to kick them off and away, wincing when they caught on his bad foot.

She paused, sitting back on his thighs. "Your foot," she said worriedly.

He gripped the edges of her underwear and tore the flimsy lace apart. "I'm not using my foot for this," he said, tossing the useless scrap of her underwear away.

She pursed her lips. "Those were my favorite."

He slid a hand between her legs and cupped her, rubbing his thumb against her clit. "I always replace them."

No longer listening, as her head fell back as soon as the pressure of his finger hit her clit, she braced her hands on his knees to hold herself up, her back arched forward. His other hand slid up her stomach and skimmed under each of her breasts. She was soft all over. If he could, he'd never stop touching her. He rolled her clit between his fingers before sliding them lower and curling them up inside her, thrusting shallowly. Her breath hitched and he watched the muscles of her thighs tense.

That pale pink flush he loved so much spread over her cheeks and painted its way down her chest, curling around her breasts. Sliding his hand around her back, he drew her forward. Her hands left his legs and instead found the mattress, holding herself above him with her back bowed, stomach nearly rubbing against his. His fingers followed the length of her back to her neck, and higher still until he reached the tie holding her hair up. He quickly pulled it loose, letting blonde waves down, falling over her shoulders, long enough they reached his chest, dancing over his skin.

She slid one hand between them again, wrapping it around his shaft and pumping him in time with his fingers moving inside her. He could feel how close she was, could hear it in how her breath started to waver. He watched her face as her brow furrowed and she bit her lip, trying hard to cover up the noises that were desperate to escape. She opened her eyes to look at him, her mouth falling open, and she slid his cock back until the head rubbed against her clit. With his fingers speeding up inside of her, it was all she needed. He leaned up to catch her lips, covering her shout, muffling it enough not to alert anyone. His fingers were still moving slowly, shallowly, while she came down, her forehead falling to his as he laid back against the bed once more.

He brought his hand up and sucked his fingers clean while he met her eyes.

She shivered, pushing herself back so she was sitting up. "You're sure your foot's okay? You're not going to bang it on anything?"

He shook his head, amused, and shuffled himself up the bed, laying it on it lengthwise with his head on the pillows, bringing her along with him. "There. Now I can't."

"Hey, somebody has to be concerned about your safety," she defended.

Her fingers were sliding up and down his stomach, tracing the creases of his abdomen, his many scars, and tattoos running down his side. Smirking, she dragged her fingers down his hipbones and leaned forward, licking a long strip from the base of his cock to the tip, flicking her tongue over the pre-cum gathered there.

He reached for her, his fingers digging into the tops of her thighs, and shook his head. "Not tonight." He scooped his hands under her legs and pulled her a few inches forward. If she put her mouth on him, this was going to be over sooner than he wanted. As much as he'd like to make it into an all-night thing, they had work in the morning, and they were bound to have a crisis crop up that they would need to be well-rested for. Felicity without eight hours of sleep was grumpy, to say the least.

Plucking her glasses off her face, she placed them on the end table before returning her attention to him, bending for a kiss. His hands were quick to explore her body, a familiar map of curves and dips. Her breasts rubbed over his chest as she pushed forward and he reached between them, guiding his cock inside her, shifting his hips up to plunge in deep. He held still for a moment, his teeth clenched, and just enjoyed the way she stretched and squeezed around him.

Breathing out sharply, he started moving. She gasped against his mouth, rocking and circling her hips to meet his thrusts. Her nails dug into his skin, hands planted on his chest, each time he sunk into her as far as he could, a tiny whimper leaving her lips. It was harder to get the momentum he wanted with only one foot and he quickly turned them over, pressing his knees down into the mattress to help him as he hitched her thighs up and spread them wide.

She let out a little hiccup of surprise, blinking up at him. He grinned. It didn't matter how many times they did this, she always mumbled something about ninja skills or giving her warning. Frankly, he liked surprising her. Her hands slid down his chest and settled on his sides, thumbs stroking over angry, puckered scars that she'd long become used to.

Alternating between her mouth and her neck, he spread kisses down her chin and along her shoulders. It was funny how he could tell the difference between her sighs; they were softer when he was kissing her, sinking into that soft intimacy of lips on her skin. They were heavier, thicker, when he moved inside her, thruster a little harder, deeper each time. It was a mixture of each at times like these, like she couldn't focus on which part she liked more.

Her hair was spread out over the pillows and he buried a hand in it, holding tight as he felt her begin to squeeze around him. Her nails scraped down his back and she turned her head, breathing out his name before she bit down on his shoulder as she came, fluttering around the length of him. He groaned, pressing his forehead down against her warm, sweat-damp skin.

He wasn't ready. He wanted more. He desperately held back, the feel of her around him almost too much. He slid out of her and ducked his head to mouth kisses down her breasts, teasing her nipples between his teeth. She gave out a faint cry, her hands finding his cheeks, fingers scrubbing through the whiskers there before curling around his ears and sliding down his neck. His hands found her thighs, rubbing and kneading them, massaging up her body, from her hips to her stomach, along her sides and over her shoulders. He rubbed down each of her arms, teasing the inside of her elbows, stroking the pulse at her wrist, before finishing with her fingers, twining them with his. He climbed back up her, pinning her hands to the bed as he pressed a kiss to her forehead and down the slope of her nose, across each of her cheeks, and to either side of her lips.

Her eyes were soft as she stared up at him, and he felt her legs wind around his waist, tugging him closer. He sunk into her slowly, squeezing her hands as he was engulfed, inch by inch, in her tight, wet, heat. It was a blur of movement after that; his hips started at a controlled pace but slowly succumbed to the maddening pulse of heat coiling inside him, desperate to unfurl. He could feel himself chasing after that all-encompassing pleasure, his attention tunneling down to want. Sweat collected on his skin, making it easy for his body to slide against hers. He released her hands to grip the sheets beneath them, and her arms wrapped around him, fingers sliding from the tense set of his shoulders down to the scar tissue that spanned his lower back. Her legs were hitched high on his sides, her heels balanced on the back of his thighs, digging in with each deep thrust of him inside her.

He was panting against the crook of her neck, nipping at her skin periodically, when she tipped her head down, her cheek rubbing against his damp hair. "Let go," she told him.

His eyes squeezed shut and he grunted, pressing his forehead down against her, and with just a few more pumps, he did just that. His hips stuttered against her, losing any sense of pattern, just mindlessly moving against her as his vision went white and he lost himself to the consuming flood of pleasure. He vaguely felt her kiss his sweaty temple, her hands stroking up and down his back, while he tried to steady his breathing. The tension bled so completely from his body that he was left just lying there, weighing her down.

She didn't complain, but she'd admitted before that she liked how it felt to have him cover her completely, the weight of him nice, at least until she couldn't breathe. He managed to turn them over, and kept her on top of him, spread over his chest. He rested his head back against the pillow for a long moment, eyes closed, still coming down. When she shifted on top of him, he wrapped his arms around her in a loose hug, his hand stroking from one shoulder across to the other, feeling her body relax into him. She rested her cheek against his shoulder and he stroked her hair back and off her shoulders, feeling it pool against his arm.

"This wasn't in the plan," she told him sleepily. "Your mom's always up early on weekdays. And I always feel like I'm doing the walk of shame. Not that I'm ashamed, because I'm not. I'm just embarrassed. And even that isn't really because of you, it's just… I just know that she knows I had sex with you, and that's weird. I don't want to look at her over the breakfast table, not when I know she knows what we look like havingsex. So I just keep thinking she's thinking of that while we're talking about going into work over fruit salad and toast - it's awkward. Which is why I like it when you sleep over at my apartment, because there are no moms there… Except for that one weekend my mom visited, which is probably the only weekend we've ever spent not having sex. Not that I particularly liked that part of it. But you probably get what I'm saying, so I'll stop rambling now…"

He smiled lazily, his fingers still gently moving over her back, spreading out as the pads lightly grazed her skin. "She's not thinking about that."

"You don't know that," she argued.

"I know I don't want you to go home." He tipped his head to see her, his brows arched, and he dragged the backs of his fingers down her face, his thumb tracing the curve of her cheek. "Stay." Resting his head back on the pillow, he added, "We don't get enough time together, I don't want to waste any of it."

She hummed. "You know we'll be sleeping for most of it, right?"

"Mm-hmm." He shifted, squeezing his arms around her. "But you'll be here in the morning… and I sleep better when you're here."

"Because you're not worried about the many ways I can be killed in my apartment when you're not there? Don't think I haven't noticed how you've been fixing everything you deem a hazard."

He frowned. "Your windows didn't lock right. I should know, I get in through them all the time."

"Yeah, well, if you haven't noticed, not a whole lot of people scale buildings to the sixth floor."

"All you need is one person who does."

"Oliver…" She raised her head to look at him. "What's the big deal? We spend time together all the time. Literally. We're together all day long. You should probably be sick of me by now."

"It's different."

She opened her mouth to question him, but he was already continuing.

"We're always on the run; at work, at the foundry, looking for the next enemy… But right here, it's just us. Right here, we're safe, and everything can slow down." He kissed her forehead tenderly. "I don't watch the clock with you."

Rubbing her fingers back and forth on his bicep, she smiled up at him. "Okay." Turning her head down, she kissed his chest. "I'll stay."

As much as he liked that she was one of the few people in his life willing to argue with him, he was glad this wasn't something she wanted to fight him on.

It didn't take her very long to fall asleep, soothed by his fingers on his back, the weight of his arm around her a comfort.

Their nights were not full of romance, not the kind she deserved or that he wanted to give her. Many of their nights were full of danger, of time ticking down nearly too quick to outlast, enemy after enemy standing in their way with new ways to fight them. Most nights, he was sore and tired, mentally and physically exhausted from the life he lead. But it was moments like these that he lived for, when he could fall asleep holding her and wake up with her in his arms, when he could feel her steady heartbeat and listen to her even breathing. Signs that she was alive, that he was too, and they were all right, they'd made it another day and would see another tomorrow.

Maybe one day in the future, when they weren't waiting for the next fight around every corner, when the Hood and Arrow and leather and hacking could be put away for good, they would have all the time they wanted. They would take a whole night off, spending hours over dinner and conversation, they'd open a bottle of wine and turn off their phones and ignore everyone and everything to make good use of their bed, where they wouldn't have to worry about mobsters or villains or drug lords. It would be just them and a clock that never ran out.

He was really looking forward to that day.

But until then, he was thinking they should get an apartment in the city, a penthouse so they didn't have any neighbors or anyone above them, so the chances of someone scaling the building were extremely low. He would remodel it so that it had a panic room, and she would design the security system herself; it would be their haven. So the nights that he wasn't there with her, though he imagined those would be slim to none, he would know she was safe. And maybe when they didn't have to fear for their safety anymore, they could turn a room into a nursery. His heart panged a little with want.

Yeah, he was really looking for to their future. It was the one good thing about time ticking down so quick; the faster they dealt with everything, the sooner they could be done with their many alternate lives and get on with their own.

Maybe it was worth it then, he thought.

Hugging Felicity a little tighter, he closed his eyes. As much as he wanted that future, he wasn't willing to waste what little time they had to themselves now. So he would spend the next eight hours getting some much-needed sleep, and tomorrow he would wake Felicity by kissing his way down her body. They'd take their time getting dressed and showered, and then he'd hide his amusement as she stumbled her way through breakfast, second-guessing everything she said to his mother. Until their day officially started at the office, and it would all begin; workplace politics in-between looking for the next villain. And at the end of the day, sore and tired, he'd join Felicity in going home and take however many minutes or hours as he could get just relaxing, letting the tension bleed away as he held her.

Every day, repeat, until one day they were free. As she snuggled her face down against him and murmured something about a particularly complicated piece of code she was working on, he fell asleep smiling.

It would be enough. For now.


Author's Note: Thank you for reading! Somebody asked if I was still writing smut. Yes. Yes, I am. lol. I particularly enjoyed writing this, because I do think that with Oliver's hectic life, he would really savor those down moments. And there was a lot of intimacy in writing Felicity undress him and help him move around. I imagine it would be hard for Oliver to express that kind of vulnerability, so it means a lot when he leans on her, even if he doesn't like showing that he's hurt or needs help.

Just before anyone asks, the next chapter of 'Every whisper, every sigh,' should be up tomorrow. I understand how much you guys like it, and I'm really really grateful you do, but it can be tiresome answering that question repeatedly ever day. I'll also be starting to update, "Until I'm wrapped inside your arms," when I start my winter break, so that's December 9th. Be on the look-out! And if you check my 'fic news' tag on my Tumblr, you'll get an idea of when things are being updated, or if someone's already asked about a particular fic, so be sure to check that out if you're wondering.

Thank you for reading, please leave a review! It's funny, I think I get less reviews for really smutty fics. Y'all aren't embarrassed, are you? You shouldn't be. Sex is awesome. Bask in the sex.

- Lee | Fina