Notes: So, this was my prompt from rosietwiggs for the Olicity Holiday's fic exchange. I hope I did her and the characters justice with this little 2 part piece of holiday fluff and romance. Enjoy!
Very little scared Oliver Queen. Years of pain, torture, struggle, and survival had taught him that everything could be conquered if you knew how to approach it and showed no fear. However, his island experience hadn't covered the situation he found himself in at the moment. An island filled with mercenaries and crazed maniacs did not, after all, have bachelor auctions.
Years ago, he'd probably have been in his element, eager to see how many women wanted him-be it for his body or his money. This would have probably been the highlight of his year, being deemed one of the 'most eligible bachelors' in Starling City.
But that was a long time ago, and he was a totally different person now. The man he was today wanted nothing more than to be out on the streets shooting arrows into people, or back in the basement of Verdant, working out his aggression with Digg on the mats, Felicity planning their next mission, all while ogling him, not so subtly from her computers.
But, despite how much he might hate this, he hated the thought of disappointing his mother even more. She'd asked for so little of him since her release, which meant he couldn't say no when she asked him to participate in the holiday charity bachelor auction QC was putting on despite his misgivings. The company board, including Isabel, to his surprise, thought the auction would be seen as a gesture of goodwill by the community, as all the proceeds were going to charities helping rebuild the Glades.
The media coverage so far had been favorable, most likely, he thought, because the list of eligible bachelors spanned a wide range of Starling City professions. He'd been surprised so many men had agreed to participate, QC's reputation being what it was at the moment. But he figured it was the spirit of the event, and the holiday season itself. Still, it was with reluctance he'd agreed to his mother's request. But when, a few weeks later, he'd become aware that he was considered the 'top prize' of the auction, things had gotten uncomfortable.
He really didn't think he was at the top of the 'eligible bachelor' list, especially with Queen as his last name, but apparently, his mother, Thea, and quite a few women in the city thought otherwise judging by the media frenzy that had sprung up when his name was announced as a participant.
And then there was the problem of one of his mother's friends, Angela Forthington. He shuddered at the images the name conjured. Not that he didn't appreciate a pretty woman, of any age, but Angela was a very rich widow, a year younger than his mother, who was obsessed with him. She flirted lightly with him when Moira was around, but if she could get him alone, anywhere, it was a different story. He had to do everything he could to get her hands off him, and the innuendos she threw at him made him more uncomfortable than most of the situations he found himself in every day or night for that matter. So when she'd found out a date with him would be up for auction, she'd immediately set about informing him, that he would be hers. It was an outcome he was determined to avoid at all costs.
Which was why he'd come up with the brilliant idea to have Felicity save him from all this by outbidding everyone for him tonight. Well, he'd thought it was a brilliant idea. Felicity it seemed had thought otherwise, at least at first. Although he knew he'd never forget the look on her face when he'd asked her to bid on him. He could have sworn that once she'd absorbed the shock, something that looked a lot like desire had flashed through her eyes.
Of course, she'd immediately tried to convince him of the problems this could cause, and why he should choose someone else, or resign himself to the consequences. He'd admit, he'd had a moment of wondering if it was really wise to have Felicity bid on him, knowing full well, and thanks to Isabel, how some people thought of Felicity at QC right now. And he'd debated with himself if he should even ask, especially since Russia and the awkward conversation they'd had after. And if she'd said a flat out no, he'd have respected that.
But while she'd protested, she hadn't said no, so he'd persisted, playing it off as just another 'mission' and when that didn't work, he'd pulled the Angela card. He knew Felicity disliked the woman as much as he did, after having to rescue him several times from her over the past few months. He was pretty sure she'd take pity on him after hearing his desperation, if for no other reason than she enjoyed seeing him begging for her help.
Because, in the end, he'd ended up begging.
She'd stood strong against him through all his excuses, and bribes (he'd even promised to buy her a satellite for the Arrow Cave if she wanted it), and finally, he'd resorted to simple begging. It was that that apparently won her over. Well, that, and the fact that he'd told her he'd give her the money to bid on him. He'd hidden his amusement at the way her eyes had widened as he'd told her how much he'd be willing to spend for this 'mission.'
And while he knew she had misgivings, she'd finally agreed. And while he was extremely curious as to the reasons behind her decision, after all her protests, he had to admit that he was a damned lucky man to have her in his life, and willing to save him from something as stupid as a bachelor auction and an overeager Cougar.
And if he were being honest, the thought of actually having a real excuse to spend an evening with Felicity, outside of both their double lives, on an actual date, was more intriguing than anything else about this whole cockamamie plan.
Yes, things had been strained between them since Russia, but despite his rather ambiguous declaration of his possible feelings for her, he'd begun to take a closer look at what he truly wanted from his brilliant IT Girl Friday. And he'd realized that just maybe, he wasn't as opposed to ignoring his feelings as he'd thought.
In the past few months, Felicity had become more confident and self-assured, as well as more opinionated and stubborn when it came to challenging him. She called him out more frequently, and more often than not, she was right. But he also knew she had and would risk her life for him, and while he hated knowing that, he also knew that she put him, his safety, and the Arrow's mission above most things in her life and her belief in him was humbling.
Then there was the thought of the few times he'd almost lost her, and well, he didn't want to remember how bad the nightmares had been after that. Then there had been Allen. His teeth still clenched at the memory of the younger man, although he'd come to realize that he made a much better ally than enemy. It probably helped that he'd gone back to Central City and was out of Felicity's orbit, although he knew they remained friends. He didn't like it, but he understood. And if it made her happy, how could he not accept it? But the whole experience had begun to open a few doors in his mind about his feelings, as well as make him realize that keeping Felicity with him in a basement or next to him in his office did not make her oblivious to other men in the world. Or any less desirable to him.
Which was why, all this combined, had made him re-evaluate what he believed about his life and personal relationships. And after a lot of soul searching, and some not so subtle prodding from Digg, he'd realized that if there was anyone he wanted to take a chance on a relationship with, it was Felicity. The one woman who accepted all of him, the dark and light, the good and bad, the damaged and broken. She knew exactly who he was, and she accepted him. That right there was something he knew was worth everything. And while he would always worry about the danger anyone he let close to him would be in, he knew Felicity understood the risks better than anyone in his life.
Which was why this ridiculous plan, while it was going to cost him a pretty penny (even though it was all for charity) and get rid of the threat of Angela, had also seemed like the perfect first step towards making Felicity aware that he was ready to reconsider his views when it came to their relationship. The way she'd been acting around him lately, touching him more, talking to him about things again, and the way he caught her looking at him now and then through their glass walls, or from her computers as he worked out, told him she might not be adverse to things changing between them.
And he had to admit, he was looking forward to seeing her face when she saw him on the runway. And where that led—well, while the prize was officially a Christmas date with him, he'd had a lot of time to think over the past few weeks, and he'd had some pretty explicit ideas he wouldn't mind trying out with her, date or no date, if she were willing.
It was that thought alone that kept him going as the emcee began his introduction. Taking a deep breath, plastering on his 'fake smile' he walked through the curtains, keeping his moves slow and steady, knowing to most people, he would radiate charm and confidence. However, his gaze immediately sought out Felicity, knowing her reaction was really the only one he cared about.
As his eyes finally connected with hers (thankfully their table was front and center) he couldn't help but feel a burst of confidence, especially from the way her eyes widened as he began his walk down the runway. Taking a cue from the men who'd come before him, but refusing to stoop to their 'preening' level, he focused on Felicity, determined to get a reaction from her that hopefully, would give him an idea of where the evening might lead. He was so focused on her that he barely noticed the room explode into sound.
Felicity gritted her teeth as the room burst into life around her, people yelling over each other as they struggled to outbid one another before Oliver had made it halfway down the runway. For a group of people, many women and a few men, that were supposed to be the cream of the Starling City crop, it was rather embarrassing. But she held her ground, observing what was happening, waiting for the right time to make her move. Even if she wasn't quite sure why she'd agreed to this insane plan.
She'd been shocked when Oliver had asked her to win him in the auction. It was definitely not what she'd been expecting when he'd walked into her office and asked her for a favor. But, once she'd gotten over the shock, she'd realized that he was serious—and not just because he didn't want to be won by his mother's pushy friend Angela. Felicity had been the one to get Oliver out of several awkward situations with the older woman and she couldn't blame him for not wanting to spend a night alone with her. Although she'd gotten no little amusement from thinking of how uncomfortable it would make Oliver.
Still, she'd have been a fool not to consider the repercussions of her bidding on Oliver. She'd pretty much tuned out the rumors and gossip about her relationship with him that permeated QC over the past months. It hadn't been easy and there were days she wanted to scream or cry in frustration, but she'd done well at hiding that from everyone and taking her anger out on her couch pillows when she was at home.
It helped that she knew Oliver truly depended on her, and couldn't do what he did, in either of his jobs, without her. But still, this would no doubt stock the rumor mill for months to come. Not to mention Isabel's reaction, which she was sure would be epic. Still, the fact that he wanted her to do this, that he trusted her to 'save' him, even from Starling City's overeager Cougar population, that meant a lot.
And then there was the way he'd been looking at her over the past few months. It was definitely different from how strained things had been in the month after the 'Russia situation' as she'd dubbed it. She wasn't sure what had changed, although she knew Barry's appearance had struck something in Oliver. And she knew he'd taken her words seriously when she'd told him there hadn't been any other choice but to bring Barry in on his secret and she'd do it again in a heartbeat if it meant saving Oliver's life. Ever since then, he'd been looking at her in a different way. A way that made her heart race and her body tingle, and wonder if he might just be ready to think about letting himself care for her…as more than a friend.
And she knew full well the outcome of this evening was an actual date with Oliver Queen. She'd be lying to herself if she didn't admit that that was probably the largest part of why she'd agreed to his plan for tonight. That and the idea of what might happen on said date, or potentially, if she were reading the signs correctly, even before. Now all she had to do was actually outbid everyone else in the room.
Although judging from what the previous bachelors had gone for, and the frenzy that she was now seeing around Oliver, she wasn't exactly sure she could pull this off. She only hoped the ridiculous amount of money Oliver had told her to spend would do the trick. Because both Angela, and Isabel (much to her surprise), looked like they were ready to give everyone a run for their money. She gulped and tried to keep her calm, knowing she had to play this perfectly if she had any chance of pulling it off.
Until then, however, she was going to enjoy watching Oliver on the runway. There was no denying that he was one very sexy man. He wore one of his basic tailored suits that fit him perfectly, showing off his beautiful physique. He'd forgone a tie and left the top two buttons of his shirt undone. With his scruffy stubble and that heart stopping grin, he presented a picture of raw sensuality, just barely contained in the confines of his suit. Even more, his walk was confident, sexy, and said he knew the impact he was having on the people in the room. Hell, she couldn't blame half the women, and a few men, in attendance, for their reactions. She was trying not to drool herself. But a fierce sense of feminine satisfaction ran through her as she realized that unlike the other women in this room, she knew exactly what was beneath his suit.
But it was his eyes, unerringly focused on her as he progressed further down the runway that made her breathing shallow and her throat dry. The intensity in his gaze, as if she were the only person it the room that he wanted to see, well, it was enough to make any girl swoon. There was also a swell of pride that out of all the attractive, wealthy people so eagerly vying for a date with him, he hadn't seemed to notice any of them except her. It made her even more excited, if not a little nervous, for what might happen once this auction was over.
"Man, it's getting brutal!" Roy's voice could barely be heard among the crowd of voices now rapidly calling out bids, and Felicity noted that even Moira was looking a bit uncomfortable. She couldn't blame the older woman, after all, it wasn't every day you watched your business colleagues and supposed friends engage in a bidding war for your son.
With that thought, it was only then that she started paying attention to the actual bidding. Her jaw dropped when she realized it was already up to four thousand dollars. And Angela was leading the charge, an almost savage expression on her face. She swallowed hard, realizing the last bachelor had gone for two thousand. Oliver was well past that and climbing.
The sound of Isabel's voice, bringing the bidding up to five thousand, suddenly registered. Shooting a glance over at the other woman's table, she found the brunette giving her a triumphant look. It was quickly gone as Angela upped the bid and Isabel turned her attention to the older woman.
The look however, set something off in Felicity. The inner anger that always seemed to burn in her whenever Isabel said something insulting to her, or implied it about Oliver, was rising and the thought that the bitchy woman believed Felicity was no match for her tonight, well, Felicity's competitive nature, and, she realized, her not so hidden jealousy, rose to the surface. She felt a vindictive smile of her own taking shape as she steadied her nerves and waited. It would be worth it for the look on Isabel's face. And Angela's, for that matter as she noticed the older woman was now heatedly battling Isabel. The others in the room had quieted down, realizing they had nothing on the two women now staring each other down as they continually upped their bids.
Felicity could swear she physically felt Oliver's gaze intensify and she turned her attention back to where he stood on the stage. She could tell, from his expression, that he was wondering why she wasn't bidding. She gave him a reassuring look, hoping he'd get the message. When he gave a small, almost unnoticeable frown, she mouthed "trust me," hoping he could make the words out under the lights. When his shoulders relaxed imperceptibly, she knew the message had been received.
She deliberately ignored the look Moira was giving her, obviously having noticed the exchange. Instead, she focused all her attention on the two bickering women. She could feel the anticipation building within her, along with the satisfaction that Oliver's gaze was for her alone. It gave her the boost of confidence she needed as she waited for her moment.
"$8,000. I have a bid of $8,000 for a magical Christmas date with Oliver Queen, from Ms. Farthington. Do I hear $8500? Ms. Rochev, don't bow out now!"
Felicity looked over to see a furious expression on Isabel's face as the brunette considered her options. She wasn't surprised when she called out her bid. Nor was she surprised when Angela countered it.
"$9, 000 dollars! Do I hear more?"
With a hard glance at Angela, Isabel sank back to her seat, shaking her head with a brittle smile. However, a second later, her gaze moved to Felicity and the smile turned triumphant.
Felicity returned the smile with a tight one of her own, blood boiling. She could see the apprehension in Oliver's eyes, his almost pleading gaze on her as the auctioneer began his call.
"$9,000 going once. Going twice … So-"
Her voice was calm and clear despite the gasps that echoed around the room as she called out her bid, rising gracefully from her seat, her attention focused entirely on Oliver. The absolute relief shining in his eyes made her smile. The way the relief turned quickly to something more as they stared at each other…she swallowed hard, trying to keep her emotions under control, ignoring the shocked look Thea was giving her and Moira's triumphant grin. She could feel Isabel's gaze boring into her but she turned her attention to Angela. The older woman was stuttering, looking shocked, and shooting daggers her way.
She couldn't help herself. She gave the older woman a predatory smile. The power she felt in that moment was unlike anything she'd felt before. She'd brought this room to a dead silence, and while the attention trained on her would usually fluster her, Oliver's steady gaze, filled with a barely hidden heat that licked over her skin like fire, gave her a confidence she hadn't had before.
$9500 dollars!" The emcee's voice was hoarse. "Going one. Going twice. So-"
"$10,000!" Gasps again rang out throughout the room at Angela's voice. Felicity remained calm, her gaze focused intently on the other woman, now glaring triumphantly at her.
"$11,000." Her voice never wavered. The amount of money she'd just put on the table, even though it was Oliver's money, technically, should have her fainting. The knowing looks she was getting from those around the room, especially QC employees, should have bothered her. Isabel's irritated yet knowing look should have made her uncomfortable.
But instead, she felt empowered. She didn't know why, especially after all her misgivings. She smiled confidently as she looked around the room, trying not to give a totally inappropriate giggle as she saw Diggle's slightly shocked gaze trained on her from his position at the back of the room. She gave him a wink before turning back to Angela.
"$11,000! Going once. Going twice. So-"
Moira's gasp was audible next to her and Felicity tried hard not to look at Oliver's mother. She still had room to play with what Oliver had told her to spend and it was becoming pretty clear she was going to have to use it. But, as she saw the almost crazy look in Angela's eyes, she wondered if she could do it. Yes, it was only money, Oliver's money, but the amount she might have to spend…even for charity…
Turning her eyes back to Oliver, she found him still watching her with that steady, heated gaze. Her breath caught at the look, even as her eyes asked him what she should do…if it was really worth it to continue. If she got any sign from him to stop, she would. She wouldn't blame him either. A date fending off Angela certainly had to be more bearable than spending the amount she was considering.
But his eyes, as she looked into them, held a fire that made her breathless again, a heat that she could not mistake for anything other than desire. For all intents and purposes, despite his words from months before, it looked like Oliver wanted nothing more than her at that moment. Her heart started pounding in her chest and she felt, for a moment, as if they were the only two people in the world.
Then, he winked at her.
And she smiled, even as the auctioneer was making his final call.
"Going once for $11,500! Going twi-"
She kept her eyes locked on Oliver, even as the room around them exploded into chaos. She wasn't aware of anything but the way he was looking at her, a slight curve to his lips the only outward sign of what he was feeling. Oliver Queen wasn't going home with anyone but her tonight.
She barely heard the auctioneer screaming "SOLD! SOLD for $12,000!" She never felt the piercing glare Angela shot her way as she collapsed back into her chair, never noticed the incredulous expression on Isabel's face. She was oblivious to Thea's whoops of joy and Moira's stunned expression. Even Digg's intense gaze went unnoticed as she and Oliver continued to stare at each other.
It felt like minutes but in reality, was only seconds. When Felicity finally came back to awareness, breaking away from Oliver's gaze to look around her, she felt the reaction settle in. It was sudden, but it hit like a tidal wave.
She's just spent $12,000 on a date with Oliver Queen. More accurately, Oliver had just spent $12,000 on a date with himself. She laughed almost hysterically even as she felt Thea's eager tug on her arm, the questions coming fast and furious.
"Thea, leave her be."
Felicity started at Oliver's voice behind her, unaware he'd even left the stage, and a second later, felt his hand come to rest on her shoulder. Heat shot through her body and she had to control a shudder of desire as she turned to face him, suddenly nervous.
"Felicity. Thank you." It was a simple sentiment, but she knew he was thanking her for a lot more than bidding on him. It was obvious in his eyes and his voice, especially the way he said her name. It was amazing the emotions he could convey in those four syllables. It also fanned the slow burn that had begun in her body when she'd seen him on the runway.
"You're welcome." She knew her voice was deeper than normal, could see when it registered with Oliver as his eyes darkened and his hand tightened on her shoulder. She really wasn't sure what might have happened next if Moira hadn't suddenly risen and pulled her son into a hug.
She forced her body to calm as she settled back into her chair as Oliver reclaimed his seat beside her after releasing his mother. Her breath caught as he slipped his arm across the back of her chair, coming to rest lightly across her shoulders. She told herself to relax as she watched him charm his mother and tease Thea about where he was taking Felicity on their date. Suddenly feeling a pair of eyes on her, she looked over to see a very displeased Isabel watching them.
It was childish, really, but Felicity couldn't help herself. She leaned a little closer to Oliver, whose arm came to rest fully around her shoulders, pulling her closer to his side. She noted Angela giving her an expression that would probably incinerate a lesser person. Her smile grew as she allowed her head to rest lightly on Oliver's shoulder, feeling him tense then relax as his hand began to play with strands of her hair.
She gasped quietly at the sensations coursing through her body, heart beating faster as he turned to look at her, his eyes darker than normal.
"You okay?" His voice was deep as he leaned closer, obviously enjoying the way her breathing quickened, uncaring of the looks he was getting from his mother, sister, and Roy.
"Fine, just making a point to certain people." She smiled into his eyes as his lips turned up into a grin she knew he rarely allowed anyone but her and Digg to see.
"And what's that?" His words were low but the look in his eyes made her heart skip another beat. Meeting his gaze, she allowed a knowing smile to overtake her lips.
"Just making it clear who you're leaving with tonight." The words, perhaps not quite what she'd meant to say but definitely what she was thinking, emerged before she could stop them.
As she realized this, she could feel a blush heating her cheeks and started to clarify her words. But all thought was lost when she saw how his eyes had darkened to near black, hand tight on her arm. Everything else faded away as she looked into his eyes, reading in them everything he wasn't saying.
It was only Thea's amused clearing of her throat that brought her out of her Oliver-induced daze and she knew she was blushing as he rose, pulling her with him.
"Well, that was fun." His voice was dry, although she could hear it was huskier than normal, and she thrilled a little to think she might be the cause. "But if you'll all excuse me, it's time I took Felicity home."
She gasped, blushing even more as Thea and Roy started laughing and Moira gave them a happy smile. She was about to say something so the people she respected didn't get the wrong idea, but Oliver grabbed her arm and was steering her through the crowd before she could speak. She managed a small wave to a grinning Thea before Oliver had pulled her towards the lobby. Moments later he was leading her down the steps of the building and towards the valet area.