Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://archiveofourown.org/works/1986906. Rating: Archive Warning: Category: Fandom: Relationship: Character: Additional Tags: Stats: General Audiences No Archive Warnings Apply F/M Arrow (TV 2012) Oliver Queen/Felicity Smoak John Diggle, Roy Harper Romance, Flash Fic Published: 2014-07-20 Completed: 2014-10-08 Chapters: 20/20 Words: 21332 Olicity in a Hurry by writergirl75 Summary Collection of post-season two Olicity one shots in response to Smoak and Arrow's Summer Flash Fic Challenge. High-Heeled Footsteps Chapter Summary There's only one woman Oliver want's to talk to - unfortunately their are two women in his new lair. Chapter Notes For FF#1 - Into the Wild. This story surprised me by going in a direction I didn't foresee, and with only an hour to write I just went with it. It was supposed to be about the wild world of job hunting and instead it ended up being about something very different. Anyway, thanks for reading. High-Heeled Footsteps "Unfortunately, Oliver, my supervisor just doesn't think you're the right fit for us," David Edwards said, his voice sounding sincere. "Right, yeah. I understand," Oliver replied, trying to keep the disappointment from creeping into his voice. "But don't give up hope," Edwards said. "Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from you, but I was fairly impressed with your interview, so keep at it." Oliver wasn't sure if the backhanded compliment made him feel better or worse. "Okay, thanks." "Give Walter my best, will you?" Edwards said. "Sure thing. Thanks," Oliver said hitting the disconnect button with a sigh. Edwards parting shot reminded him that the only reason he'd even been able to get an interview with Brown Technical was that Walter had gone to bat for him. He sank down into the chair in front of him, it was an uncomfortable and rather battered folding chair, yet another reminder in his change in circumstances. He pinched the bridge of his nose, and let out a small sigh of relief when he heard footsteps behind him – the undeniable sound of high heels on a concrete floor. He looked up, so grateful she was here. He opened his mouth to greet her has he turned and then froze. "Laurel." She looked uncertain, and he knew the look on his face probably wasn't helping with that. "Hey," she said quietly. "I…uh…didn't know you knew…" he trailed off. "Where you're new secret hideout was?" she finished, giving him a smile that had a bit of an edge. "Is that a problem?" "No," he said quickly, too quickly, and her smile grew even more strained. "Bad day?" she asked, nodding toward the phone. He tilted his head and stood up, walking away from her. "I don't really want to talk about it. Just didn't get a job I'd hoped for." She nodded. "Well, it's tough out there, law of the jungle and all that - especially in this job market." Then she stopped and gave him a little eye roll, "Not that you'd have much previous experience with that." It was obviously meant as a joke, an old standby of hers to needle him about his wealth. It had never been his favorite thing about her, and right at this moment it stung. Silence fell between them – the awkwardness of it grating on his frayed nerves. Still, she hadn't really done anything to deserve to be the focus of his bad mood so he tried to give her a friendly smile. "Is there something you wanted?" She shrugged. "We just really hadn't talked since…everything, and I wondered if you wanted to." He didn't want to talk to her. Why didn't he? He'd always blamed this strangeness he felt with her on the fact that he was forced to lie to her, but now that she'd found out he was the Arrow he knew that wasn't true. "I guess…" The words were cut off by the sound of another set of heels, rapid fire, and the sight of Felicity hurrying into the room. "Oh good, you're here," she said, breezing past him in a blur of pink skirt and purple fingernails. He smiled as she moved directly to her new computer - the one she'd paid for herself - and began typing without even sitting down. "I've got an idea about tracking down that car theft ring," she said quickly. "I thought if I cross referenced the DMV database and…" she noticed suddenly that Oliver wasn't the only one in the room. She smiled politely and said, "Hey Laurel." Then without waiting for a reply she continued, "Anyway, the DMV database with the list of cars they've previously stolen, we might be able to…" Laurel's eyes narrowed. "Hacking into the DMV is a federal offense, you know." Felicity froze, looking startled. "Well…technically yes." Laurel folded her arms across her chest. "And I'm an assistant DA." Felicity shot Oliver a panicked look and he cleared his throat. "And I'm wanted for murder, obstruction of justice, and about twenty-seven other things," he said pointedly. Laurel blinked and turned to Oliver. "Right, sorry. Reflex." He grunted in reply, and took a deep breath. The room went oddly quiet and Oliver looked to where Felicity was twisting her fingers uncomfortably, obviously unsure about what to do next. Giving her a reassuring nod he said, "Go for it." "Right," she said, giving him a grateful smile in return, and turning back to her monitors. When he looked at Laurel again there was a look in her eyes that he recognized from back when they were dating, a combination of suspicion, judgment, and sadness. The only difference was that back then he'd deserved it. "Everything okay?" he asked. She nodded quickly. "I guess I just thought…" she shook her head. "Never mind, I'll let the two of you get back to work." "Great," Oliver said, walking to where Felicity was now seated typing furiously on the keyboard. He put his hand on the back of her chair and turned to Laurel. "Thanks for stopping by." For a moment she looked really sad, but it disappeared so quickly he wondered if he'd missed it. "Yeah, sure. See you later," she said turning to walk out of the room. As the sound of her footsteps receded, Felicity stopped typing and very quietly said. "Did I interrupt something?" He frowned, and then shook his head. "No, of course not. She just dropped by to say hello." "That was nice…I guess," Felicity said. "Yeah," he said with a shrug. Taking a deep breath he said. "Do you have a minute?" "Of course," she turned from the monitors. "What's up?" He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the dented desk. "Edwards called." Felicity's hand came out to rest on his forearm. "I take from your tone of voice that you're not the newest employee of Brown Technology?" She said, looking up at him with obvious sympathy. He shook his head. "Though he said I did better in the interview than he'd expected." Felicity let out an annoyed huff and shook her head. "Their loss." It was good to hear, even if he didn't quite believe it. "I'm not exactly the most qualified candidate in the world," he said. "I did sign my last company away to the minion of a homicidal maniac." "Oh, that," Felicity said with a grin. "No big deal." He couldn't help but smile a little at that. "Not sure everyone else sees it that way." The small soft hand on his arm squeezed gently and for the first time he truly felt the tension of the phone call ease from him. Her eyes when she met his were steady and reassuring. "Don't worry if you can survive the wilds of Lian Yu, I'm sure you can survive anything, even job hunting." For a moment he didn't even know how to respond. Finally he settled for two easy words. "Thank you." "Anytime," she told him, moving her hand back to the keyboard. "Would it help if I found you some car thieves to beat up on?" He nodded and stood up, moving toward where his green suit rested in a packing crate. It was time to get back to work. Interrupted Innings Chapter Summary John Diggle just wants to watch the Rockets game in peace - unfortunately his two friends keep calling, even when what they really should be doing is talking to each other. Chapter Notes For prompt #2 "Game On." John Diggle's phone rang. He looked at the screen and saw Oliver's name. Muting the Rockets game he sighed and picked it up. Without even saying hello he said, "Oliver, she's fine." There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment and then Oliver growled. "That's not why I'm calling." "Sure, man," Digg said, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. "I was just wondering if you'd be up for some training. I've finally got the mats installed," Oliver explained. Digg's eyes strayed to the television screen where the Rocket's best hitter was stepping up to the plate. Between that and the fact that Lyla was bound to be home from a three-day trip in the next couple of hours, the last thing he felt like doing was hanging out in a concrete bunker with his impatient and agitated former boss. "That's great, but I've got the game on, so how about tomorrow?" "Right, fine," Oliver said. Then there was silence again. "What?" Digg said, knowing there was more. "He worked for Merlyn Global, Digg," Oliver said, obvious nerves in his voice. Digg leaned his head back on the couch and counted to five before answering. "You've already pointed that out about sixteen times Oliver. What can I say? The guy and his company check out, and this contract would pay her a bucket load of money." "I don't like it," Oliver said. Digg rubbed his eyes. "No kidding. But neither of us has any right to tell her what to do with her life." Oliver went on as if Digg hadn't spoken. "And interviewing her at a restaurant on a Saturday?" He heard the sound of Oliver punching something. As annoying as his friend's behavior was Digg let out a chuckle. "Maybe he thinks if she turns down the job he can count it as a date." Another, louder, crash came from the other end of the phone. "Not funny, Diggle," Oliver said. "Why?" Digg asked. "Would you have a problem with that?" If he was going to miss part of his game he was at least going to get some joy out of handing some well-deserved crap to Oliver. "Maybe," Oliver said quietly. Digg sat up, surprised. "Then I think you're talking to the wrong person." There was silence on the other end of the line again, and for the first time the conversation held all of John Diggle's attention. "Oliver?" "I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about this yet, to you…to or her," he said finally. Without thinking Digg threw up his free hand in frustration, sending the remote control skittering across his living room rug. "Then I'm not really sure I can help you out much." "Fine," Oliver snapped. "Go back to your damn game." Without another word the call disconnected. Diggle turned the sound back on and stood up to retrieve the remote control. An inning later his phone rang again. "These two are going to kill me," he muttered, seeing Felicity's face on the phone screen. "Hey, Felicity," he said. "Oliver was right, the guy was kind of a creep," she said without preamble. All annoyance dropped away, to be replaced with real worry. "You okay?" "Yeah, just irritated," she said. "I dry cleaned my job interview skirt for nothing." Feeling relieved he let his focus wander back to where the Yankees had just got the second out. "He didn't offer you the job?" "Oh, no," Felicity said. "He offered me the job, but he also talked about how much my TechConnect profile picture brought out my eyes, and how closely we'd have to work together to complete the project on time." "And you weren't interested," Digg clarified. "Of course I wasn't interested," she said, as if he'd suggested the craziest thing in the world. "That creepy, huh?" Digg asked. "Well…no," she said, sounding a bit confused. "He just wasn't my type." "Not a masked vigilante, huh?" Digg said, unable to resist. There was dead silence, which for Felicity was a really rare occasion. Then he heard her gasp, "You have got to be kidding me." "What now?" Diggle asked. There was a muffled sound of her juggling the phone a bit. "He can't give me one afternoon off?" he heard her mutter. "Oliver's there," Digg said, not bothering to ask. "Did you know he was coming?" she said, her anger now directed at Diggle. He wondered if he should start charging them for relationship counseling. Of course to do that they'd have to admit they were in a relationship. "I had a feeling. Talk to him before you kill him, all right?" "Fine," she said. "Goodbye, Digg." John Diggle hung up the phone and wondered just how long it would be before one of them interrupted again, but as the next two innings came and went with no phone call, he hoped that maybe, finally, they'd figured it out. Stronger Chapter Summary When Felicity gets hurt training Oliver learns that Slade's words might have done a little more damage to his Girl Wednesday than he expected. Chapter Notes For FF#3 "Too Far, Too Fast." Oh, and full disclosure - this was like an hour and fifteen minutes. Oliver walked into their new lair and stopped dead. Felicity sat on a chair, in a workout tank top and pants, with Roy holding a cloth to her obviously bleeding forehead. "What the hell happened?" he asked walking toward them, glaring at the younger man. "If you're going to be mad at someone, be mad at me," Felicity said, sounding tired. "This is my fault." Oliver folded his arms across his chest and raised his eyebrows. "You hit yourself in the head?" "Well, no," Felicity admitted, wincing as Roy pressed down again. "Technically Digg hit me, but I'm the one who insisted we train with the sticks." Oliver felt a flash of anger, but he knew accidents happened when you trained. Looking around, he asked, "Where is Digg?" "Oh, he left," Roy said, sounding as irritated as Oliver felt. Reaching for a bandage, he gestured at Felicity, "When blondie here insisted that she wanted to start training again once I patched her up, he told her she was being crazy and took off." Felicity glared at Roy as he set the large square of gauze and adhesive in place on her forehead. "He didn't say I was being crazy." Roy rolled his eyes. "Oh sorry, I believe the words were 'stubborn and ridiculous.' Is that better?" Felicity let out an exasperated sigh, and Oliver looked closely at her. She wasn't wearing makeup, there were dark circles under her eyes, and she looked far more worn out than even the cut on her head could explain. He'd noticed she seemed to be pushing herself a little hard in the last few weeks, but then so had he. There were a lot of bad memories, and a lot of rebuilding to do, and sometimes working hard was the only thing that helped. Still, he wondered if in her case it was something more than that. He looked at Roy. "Could you give us a minute?" "Sure thing," Roy said. Oliver waited until Roy had left the room then he pulled a chair around so he could sit down facing her. "What's going on with you?' he asked gently. She put a hand to her head, and didn't meet his eyes. "It's no big deal. John told me I wasn't ready for it, and he was right. I'm still useless at this." "Hey," Oliver said, frowning. "That's not true. You just pushed yourself too far, too fast. Besides, it's not really your area of expertise." "Yeah," she said. She got to her feet, let out a little hiss of a breath, and put a hand to her head again. "Don't I know it." She walked a few feet away and rolled her shoulders, obviously in pain. Feeling confused, Oliver moved forward and put his hands on those shoulders, warm and bare under his grasp. "Why is this so important to you all of the sudden?" he asked. She shrugged, but didn't turn, and he heard a sniff that sounded suspiciously like crying. Stepping around her he saw tears on her face. "Felicity?" There was mutinous look in her eyes when she finally looked at him. "Because I need to be stronger." He couldn't help it, he put a hand on her cheek. "You're one of the strongest people I know. I don't understand…" She pulled away from him, and that, more than anything else, set off a warning bell in Oliver's brain. Wiping her eyes she whispered, "Slade told you…" then she swallowed hard. "Never mind, it doesn't matter." Slade. The name was like cold water being thrown over him. As difficult as it had been too see Felicity as the man's hostage, Oliver had been proud of the way she'd handled it. Not once since they'd talked on the beach had she even brought up what had happened. His mind searched for what she was talking about, what it was that Slade might have said that caused this. Then it hit him – "I was surprised. I thought you had a thing for stronger women." Slade's words echoed through Oliver's head and it felt like being punched in the stomach. Reaching out he put his hands firmly on her upper arms. "Felicity, look at me," he ordered. She raised her face to his, and he tilted his head toward her a fraction. "You were so brave," his voice was rougher than he expected and he swallowed hard. "And whatever Slade said, you are the one who took him down when no one else could." She blinked, and he saw a bit of her old spark returning. "I did, didn't I?' He reached up and pushed back a piece of damp blonde hair, letting his hand linger just a moment against the side of her face. "Yes. And you also need to remember that I…" he stopped just in time. "That we need you, whether or not you ever spend another minute training. Okay?" "Okay." she said, and she finally smiled. You Don't Count Chapter Notes For FF#4, "Alone With You." I couldn't really get this to go anywhere within the time limit, but any scene with Oliver and Felicity alone in the lair can't be all bad right? "So I was thinking of heading home," Digg said quietly. "You okay here for a bit?" Felicity looked to where Oliver was still doing pushups, and then back to Digg's serious expression. She nodded. "Yeah, I'm good." It wasn't that they had ever talked about it, but in the last few days since they'd returned from depositing Slade on Lian Yu, Felicity and Digg did their best to make sure Oliver wasn't alone too much. His mother had been murdered, his sister had disappeared, and he'd gone from being ridiculously busy to having too much time on his hands. "You sure?" Digg asked, looking at the corner of her computer screen where the time showed twenty-minutes past midnight. Oliver had gone out as the Arrow to stop a bank robbery and had also managed to thwart a mugging on his way back. Still, he showed no signs of calling it a night. "Go home, Digg. Lyla's waiting for you," Felicity said, giving him a reassuring smile. "Besides, it's not like I can't sleep in tomorrow." She still needed to find a new job, something she wasn't looking forward too. "True," Digg said with a smile. He turned and walked out of the room, calling goodnight to Oliver as he walked past his friend. Fighting back a yawn, Felicity sat back, kicked her shoes off, and pulled her tablet into her lap. She was toying with her own facial recognition program, it was still in its early stages, but it would be nice to have a more sophisticated system, and even nicer to limit the number of times she had to hack the FBI in any given month. "You don't have to babysit me you know." Oliver's voice made her yelp and she nearly dropped the tablet. She'd been so engrossed in her code she hadn't realized he'd stopped working out and come stand next to her. "You scared me to death," she said, glaring. "And I'm not babysitting, I'm working." "It's nothing that can't wait," Oliver said, his voice kind. She smiled up at him. "I could say the same to you." He nodded and then to her surprise sank down into the chair next to her, leaning his elbows on the desk. She watched his even expression fade away as if a mask were being slipped off. That mask was replaced with a look of pure exhaustion that made him appear several years older and threw the still healing cuts on his face into stark relief. Unable to stop herself she reached across and put a hand lightly on the hard plane of his back. "Is it getting any easier?" she asked, her voice just above a whisper. He looked back at her and the tiniest hint of a smile appeared. He gave one slow nod. "Yeah." "Good," she said, smiling at him. H let out a long frustrated sigh and scrubbed a hand across the back of his head. "But I still need to figure out what happened with Thea, and where I'm going to live, and a job, and…" She moved her fingers lightly against the fabric of his t-shirt, "You'll get there." That ghost of a smile actually reached his eyes for a moment. "If you say so." "I do," she said, tilting her head and giving him her most confident look. He sat up straighter and she reluctantly pulled her hand away. "The biggest problem," he said, "is that what I really want to do is just hide down here. I don't know how to be around…people." "Oh," she said, frowning. Maybe she and Digg had been doing the wrong thing, maybe what he needed was more space. She moved her fingers to quickly close the program. "I can go. I didn't mean…" His hand came out to rest on her wrist, and in rough voice he said, "You don't count…I always like having you here." They simply stared at each other and in that moment she couldn't help but hear his words whisper through her mind – I love you. Swallowing she said, "And I always like being here." A smile broke across his face, but there was something just a touch less genuine about it – part of the mask slipping back into place. "Still, we should go…we both need some rest." With that he stood up and moved to where his keys sat on a nearby table. Turning back he said, "Walk you out?" "Sure," she said. "Sounds good." Making the Rounds Chapter Summary Felicity thinks she has a stalker - but it's not who she expects. Chapter Notes For prompt FF#5 – Red Handed. She hadn't been sleeping well the last few weeks. Even her old standby of Tylenol PM and the latest Nova on her DVR hadn't been working. Tonight though, she was determined to try. She had an epic job interview – Daniel Kord was looking for IT people to get a tech specific branch of his uncle's company up and running in Starling, and Felicity had managed, by some miracle, to get one of the coveted interviews. So she took a long hot bath, pulled out a slightly boring novel and climbed under covers at exactly 10:35. Just as she was starting to feel hopeful that the marginal piece of chick lit in front of her might actually do the job of helping her go under, her tablet started beeping like crazy. Jumping out of bed, she went to her desk and saw it, a heat signature displaying on her newly installed proximity detectors. Someone was standing in her little yard not ten feet from her back door. "Got you," she said feeling a mixture of fear and triumph. She'd seen footprints there twice in the last week, booted footprints far too big to be hers or those of the neighbor kids. She grabbed her cell phone and quickly dialed Oliver's number. He picked up before the first ring finished and whispered, "Felicity?" The whisper made her pause. "Are you out on a mission?" If he was that was news to her, he'd reassured her that he had no plans to do anything dangerous tonight. "Not exactly," he said, and there was an odd tone in his voice. "Good," she said, "Because apparently I've got something of a stalker, and according to my new proximity detectors he's the backyard right now. Would you…" Oliver cleared his throat and spoke at full volume. "It's not a stalker." "What?" she said, surprised. She heard him let out a long sigh, and then he said. "Why don't you open your back door and we can talk about it." Before she could fully process what he was saying there was a quiet knock on the door that led from her kitchen to the backyard. "You're in my yard?" she said in disbelief, but he'd already disconnected the call. Turning on lights as she went, she reached the backdoor and threw it open. Oliver leaned against the door frame, wearing dark jeans, a black t-shirt, and a chagrined expression. "Hi," he said. "Okay…hello," she said, unable to keep the surprise and irritation out of her voice. She stepped back from the door, "You want to come in, or does it mess with your lurking vigilante M.O.?" Giving her an exasperated look that was softened by the slightest smile he stepped into her kitchen. She noticed his eyes traveling over her and she looked down. She was wearing grey yoga pants and a pink tank top – thankfully her doughnut pajamas were in the wash. When she looked back up she caught something in his eyes that made her face feel warm. "Want some coffee?" she asked, and then she frowned. "Not that I can have coffee, I'm supposed to be getting sleep for my interview tomorrow and I don't have decaf in the house – but I could probably get you a cup." "No, I'm fine," he said, and the smile grew wider by a fraction. For a moment there was heavy silence. Finally she folded her arms across her chest, "You want to tell me why you're here?" He let out a long tired breath and closed his eyes for a moment. "Can we sit down?" "O-kay," she said. She tilted her head toward the opening from the kitchen to the living room. "Come on." He followed her through the door and she sat on one end of her long couch, pulling her legs up underneath her and plopping a throw pillow in her lap. It was habit for her, the most comfortable spot and she didn't even think about it until Oliver sat down, a bit stiffly, on the very edge of the sofa at the far end. Leaning forward he put his elbows on his knees and looked across the room, not meeting her eyes. "So," she said, unable to keep from smiling a little at how uncomfortable he obviously was. "You want to explain to me why I caught you skulking in my rosebushes?" "If it's any consolation it's not just your rosebushes," he told her. "I've been keeping an eye on Diggle's place, and Roy's, and Laurel's. Just, you know, sort of making the rounds." She felt her heart in her throat. Checking them all – making sure they were safe. "Every night?" she asked softly. He shook his head. "Just the worst ones." "But three times this week," she pointed out. He finally looked back at her and some of the stiffness dropped from his shoulders. "How did you know?" She shrugged, "Footprints…so I set up some new equipment." Dropping his head a fraction he put a hand out. It didn't quiet reach her, but she stared at it, knowing he was trying, however subconsciously to bridge the distance. "I scared you," looking up she saw the regret in his eyes. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to do that, after all you've been through…" Reaching out she closed the distance settling her grip over his hand. "I was just being careful…it's no big deal. And I knew you and Digg were only a phone call away." He flipped his hand over, gave her hand a quick squeeze and then sat back against the cushions. "Always." She smiled then, and, taking a deep breath she nervously said. "Can I make a suggestion?" He nodded. "Of course." "Next time you feel the need to come to my house and check on me, why don't you just come inside?" she suggested. Leaning his head back on the edge of the sofa he looked over at her. He was so tired, she could see it in his face, and once again it worried her. "And if it's two in the morning?" he asked, his voice just above a whisper. She shrugged. "I'll give you a key." Then realizing what she said, and the possible implications of it, she shook her head. "You know, no reason for a friend not to have something like that…after all I might leave the iron on sometime and need you to come over and turn it off. Not that I iron…I usually go to the dry cleaners and they…" Her rambling was stopped this time with a hand on her shoulder. "I know what you mean," he said gently. "And if this…" she continued, swallowing "If this is about not wanting to be home by yourself. You are always, always, welcome here." He nodded, his hand still on her shoulder. "Sorry about the skulking. I just wanted to make sure you were safe." Whether it was the late hour or the strangeness of having Oliver Queen on her couch, she didn't know, but feeling bold she leaned to touch her cheek to the back of his hand. "I am safe. Thanks to you." To her surprise the words had the exact opposite effect of what she'd intended, and an expression came over his face that looked like physical pain. "No…not thanks to me. Felicity what happened with Slade…I hate that I…" Throwing the pillow aside she scooted forward putting her hand on his arm. "If we hadn't stopped him I'd have been dead along with everyone else when those drones hit Starling," she said forcefully. "Your plan saved everyone…including me." The pain in his face diminished a fraction, and the look in his eyes was so intense that she would have given up her tablet to know what he was thinking in that moment. "I use you as bait…and you're thanking me?" She gave him a tiny smile. "Yes, I am." "You're amazing," he whispered. She didn't know how to respond, but before she could think of an answer his arm came around her shoulders and he pulled her gently against his side. "Can I stay a few more minutes?" he asked into her hair. "Sure," she said, her voice coming out as a squeak. They settled back against the couch and that night, Felicity Smoak had no trouble sleeping. Darkness Chapter Summary Nothing is darker than failing the one you love. Chapter Notes For prompt FF#6 – In the Dark. Don't know if it was the prompt itself or my rough week but apparently the flavor of the day is short, intense, and a little grim. It was so dark. She couldn't see anything, could barely stand in the tiny space she'd been shoved into. Her head pounded, and her face was slick with tears and blood from the cut on her forehead. But that was nothing compared to how she felt. She had failed him. Even in her drug addled state she could remember the needle sliding into her arm, and only moments later his name flying from her lips. The worst part was that she hadn't even been answering their question; she knew how Sodium Pentothal worked, so she'd started babbling about anything other than him. But when they'd hit her again she'd called out for him without thinking. She remembered their laughter as they'd hauled her away, and a snide comment about, "Never trusting a woman." Collapsing against the filthy ground, she gasped for breath. Her stomach roiled, whether from the knowledge of what she'd done or from the drugs she didn't know. He had trusted her with his secret, with his life, and she had failed him. She didn't know if it was minutes or hours until a blinding flash of light filled the space around her. She heard frantic voices calling her name, but she couldn't bring herself to answer them. She belonged in the shadows. "Felicity!" She recoiled from the sound of his voice, pulling back into the darkness. His hands were on her arms then on her face. "It's me, Felicity. It's just me." The words came out of her in a ghostly whisper. "I told them. I told them who you were." He let out a growl, and there was a gentle shake on her shoulders. "Look at me, dammit!" She opened her eyes, blinked against the light. His face came into focus, only inches from hers. The blue eyes, rimmed with the green mask, showed no anger or disappointment, only relief and concern. "Are you hurt?" Unable to answer him, she felt wholly undeserving as he carefully picked her up from the dirty floor. She buried her head in his neck, wondering if she'd ever be this close to him again once he realized what she had done. Letting out a sob she said. "Oliver, I told them who you were." His arms closed more tightly around her, and his voice was a low murmur against her hair. "You didn't have a choice, love. It's all right." The endearment startled her, and she pulled back to look at his face. "What?" She saw a momentary flicker of shock roll across his features, and then a corner of his mouth jerked up into the tiniest of smiles. "Maybe I got dosed with a little truth serum too." An insistent voice broke into the space between them. "Is she okay?" John Diggle asked. "She will be," Oliver said. Felicity felt his lips brush against her forehead. "She will be." And he carried her out of the dark. Eavesdropping Chapter Summary Oliver and Felicity overhear a very interesting conversation discussing the physical attributes of The Arrow Chapter Notes Though I wrote carefully enough that I think this still keeps the General Audiences rating, there is one mildly suggestive comment. Oh, and it's pure, ridiculous, fluff – and has a Princess Bride reference thrown in for good measure. For Flash Fiction Prompt #7 - Illusions "Oh come on, he has to be at least six foot-five," one girl said to another "No way, the hood probably makes him seem taller than he actually is. And who picks all green? That's not exactly fashion forward." Oliver nearly spit out his coffee at the word "hood" and Felicity reached to hand him a napkin as he choked. She looked over and, sure enough, two teenage girls were looking at a copy of that day's newspaper – a newspaper that featured reasonably clear images of The Arrow on its front page. "Maybe Addy, but come on, he has to be hot," she replied to her friend. Addy rolled her eyes. "If he's hot then why wear the mask? He probably got burned by acid or something." Felicity put a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud at Oliver's irritated glare as he wiped his face. The glare turned on her, but then seemed to soften slightly as if her amusement took the edge off his anger. "Fine, the face is a question mark I'll grant you that," the friend agreed and Felicity couldn't help but let her eyes trace over Oliver's profile. Maybe she'd have to "anonymously" give a better sketch to the Starling City PD, just to take that question mark off the table. Even with his eyes hidden, his adoring female public should at least know about the jawline. Oliver raised an eyebrow. "Don't you dare," he hissed. "What?" she said innocently. He didn't answer, but the look on his face made her wonder if he'd added mind reading to his skill set. "A little goodwill couldn't hurt," she said with a shrug. Rolling his eyes, he picked up his coffee cup and turned his attention back to his breakfast in front of him. However, as the two girls continued to talk Felicity was surprised to see his face look slightly flushed around the edges. For youngsters, they sure were having fun with some frank speculation and admiration about exactly what lay behind the tight green leather suit. Felicity bit her bottom lip and felt herself blush as well…after all, they weren't wrong, and she wasn't blind. That part of the conversation ended with Addy finally agreeing. "Okay, so the body is at least an 8.5 I'll give you that." This time it was Felicity's turn to splutter and look indignant. Anything less than a ten was just ridiculous…of course they hadn't seen him shirtless, but still. Her attention was brought back to her companion across the table when he cleared his throat. "You okay over there?" he asked. There was a fairly delighted smirk on his features. She squared her shoulders and deliberately picked up her knife to spread jam on a piece of toast. "I'm fine." It was tough to be annoyed with the man when he got that sparkle in his eyes. He must really have been hell-on-wheels in his pre-island days. The girls finally left their table and once they were gone Felicity let out a long breath. "That was one of my more interesting rounds of eavesdropping." Oliver grunted, and took another bite of eggs. "Makes me want to rethink the tailoring on the suit." Felicity let out a surprised giggle. "I don't know. Starling's had a rough year, at least you're giving the women in town something fun to speculate about. I mean before I knew that the vigilante was you, I…." she caught herself just in time and put the brakes firmly on that babble. "You know what, never mind." His smirk had been replaced with an all-out grin now. "And what? Now you know what's behind the curtain, I'm just not that interesting?" "Oh yeah" she said, unable to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. "Completely dull." His eyes locked on hers as he set down his fork and ran a hand across his jawline. The one she'd just been so focused on. "Felicity, I…" Then he blinked and looked behind her. "Hey, Digg. Everything okay at home?" John Diggle slid into the booth next to Felicity. "Just got the new food order," he said with a sigh. "Lyla's mind changes about every ten minutes." He looked from Felicity to Oliver and back again. "I miss anything interesting while I was gone?" Oliver shook his head and took another bite of eggs. "No, not really, just that Felicity apparently thinks I'm a ten." On instinct Felicity grabbed one of the sugar packets nearby and hurled it at his head. He reached up and caught it easily just before it would have smacked him in that too-handsome face of his. "O-kay," Digg said, sounding confused. "Sounds like it was quite the conversation." "Yeah," Felicity said, still glaring at Oliver. "Especially considering it wasn't even ours." Nothing to Hide Chapter Summary The Arrow must reveal his identity or risk losing Felicity Smoak. Chapter Notes For FF #6 – Nothing to Hide. This story owes a little bit of its inspiration to Smallville - another Oliver and his feisty blond hacker girl…clearly this man's type needs some revision in the comic book canon. Oh, and I admit this stretched to an hour and a half, but it was too fun not to finish properly, so sorry, call me a rebel. The image on the computer monitor taunted Oliver. Felicity was being held by the ponytail and screamed at by a man in a ski mask. "Tell him!" "No," she spat. "I won't." Her eyes found the camera, she had been crying, but her gaze was unflinching. "This was my choice, remember," she said, and he had no doubt the words were meant directly for him. "Don't give up everything you've worked for just…" The masked man swore and Felicity was pulled violently away from the camera. "Felicity!" Oliver shouted even though she knew he couldn't hear him. This was just a recording after all, hours earlier. The man in the mask reappeared in the image. "Quite a girl you have there, loyal to her bones. And I'm going to reduce her to those bones unless you reveal yourself publicly to all of Starling City by 5 pm. We wouldn't want you to miss the evening news after all." The man held something up in front of the camera, it was the necklace Felicity had been wearing around her neck and he ran it through his fingers. "Let's see what kind of hero you really are." The screen went black. Total horrified silence reigned amongst the three men standing in the lair as Oliver fought to control his anger and fear. "Okay, so we know from the timing that these guys have to be close to the city. If we can find them…" Roy trailed off as Oliver moved toward the case that held his Arrow costume. "What are you doing?" Diggle asked him. "That deadline is in two hours," Oliver told the two other men, and he was surprised to hear his voice shaking. "There's not much chance we could find her in that time, and every minute I wait is another minute they could be hurting her." "Oliver," John said, and his voice was so even, so gentle that it made him angry. "No!" Oliver shouted, turning on his friend. "How can you of all people suggest there's any other way? You love her too." John Diggle cleared his throat, blinking at Oliver. When he spoke his voice held anger and pain, but Oliver could tell he was trying to stay calm. "That's why I have to think about what she would want. You heard her…she doesn't want you to throw our work away." "That's too damn bad," Oliver said. "My secrets aren't worth more than her life." "It's not just your secrets at risk here," John reminded him. "I know things have been better between you and the cops, but do you think they're just going to look the other way at all the bodies we've dropped? There will be consequences to this Oliver." Holding his hood in his hands Oliver stared at the familiar green leather. "There's only one consequence I can't live with, Digg." Again that painful silence. "I know I'm not exactly the poster boy for patience," Roy said into the quiet. "But maybe we need to just take a minute and think this through." Oliver glared at him, "Roy, what if this was Thea," he turned on Digg, "Or Lyla?" He watched Roy and Diggle exchange a look. Oliver realized in that moment the comparison he'd made, not just once, but twice over. Not a friend, or a partner, but the woman you loved. "It was Lyla once," Digg said, his voice even. "Rotting in a jail cell in Russia, and you did everything you could to help me get her out. But we also had a plan, Oliver. And we need a plan now that doesn't just involve you throwing yourself in the line of fire." "Fine," Oliver said, curling his fingers into his jacket until it the grip hurt. "You've got thirty minutes." Digg gave Oliver a smile that seemed wholly out of place to their situation. "I don't need thirty minutes…we've already managed this once before." "Managed what?" Roy asked. "Had The Arrow in two places at once," Digg said. Oliver looked up at his friend, feeling the first moment of hope since Felicity had gone missing. "Right, but how does that help, exactly?" Digg took a deep breath and stood up. "There's just one sticky bit in my plan." "What is it?" Oliver asked. "We need to have an explanation for why Oliver Queen would claim to be The Arrow to save Felicity Smoak," Diggle said. In that moment Oliver felt every stupid excuse he'd ever used with her tumble into the dust. Seeing her on that screen, beautiful, terrified and fighting for him had broken down the last of his idiotic resolve to keep her at arm's length. "I love her," Oliver said quietly. He looked up at Digg and Roy and swallowed hard. "At least on that point I have nothing to hide. Not anymore." Digg and Roy both grinned and nodded. Digg nodded at Roy, "This one's better with a bow these days. Should we give him a temporary promotion?" "Just don't get used to it," Oliver said, and he moved toward the crate where a second green suit sat waiting. An hour later Oliver Queen in full Arrow gear walked out to face a madman on Founder's Plaza in Starling City. Every news camera in the city surrounded the plaza, waiting to see the results of the standoff. Oliver saw the pain in Felicity's eyes, the way she spent every minute struggling to get free of the binding wrapped around her hands. Her ponytail was gone, blond hair spilling over her shoulders, and Oliver could see a purple bruise on one cheek. Grinding his teeth, he tried to hold her gaze, try to reassure her with his expression. "Let her go," Oliver ordered, stopping ten feet from the man who still held a gun to her head. The masked man shook his head. "You know the deal. Mask off or she dies." To make his point he shoved the barrel of the gun with bruising force against Felicity's temple. Without another moment's hesitation, Oliver reached up and yanked back his hood, pulling off his mask. "I'm Oliver Queen," he said, "and I'm The Arrow." He heard gasps and murmurs from the crowd, and the man in the mask began to laugh. Reaching down with a knife he cut the rope at Felicity's wrists. "I keep my promises," the man said, with obvious glee. "You're free to go." Felicity lunged toward the man, but he held the gun up at her, forcing her to stop. The masked man tilted the gun toward Oliver. "If you're a good girl," he said mockingly, "I'll let you talk to him before I kill him." "Felicity," Oliver said, his voice breaking as it echoed across the plaza. She turned then, meeting his eyes, and then she was running, throwing herself into his outstretched arms. "You shouldn't have done it," she said, her voice thick with tears. "How could you do it?" He put a hand to her face, and loudly enough so everyone could hear him he said. "Because I love you." "But now everyone…" she started. Unable to resist on so many levels, Oliver did something he'd always, always wanted to do, he leaned down and stopped her words with the deepest, hottest kiss he dared while being stared at by half of the city. She gasped against his mouth and he let himself have one more long taste before pulling back. "How lovely," the man cooed. Then he pointed the gun directly at Oliver. "Now, push the young lady to the side. I see no need to kill her as well." As if that had been a cue, an arrow sliced through the air, plunging into the shoulder of the madman. Oliver couldn't help the grin that spread across his face at the look of pure shock in Felicity's expression as a second masked man clad in green leather rappelled into the middle of the plaza. He was assisted by several well placed gunshots from an adjoining building and within in minutes the madman and his minions had been taken out. With a little more swagger than Oliver was comfortable with, "The Arrow" walked toward himself and Felicity. As planned he held out his hand, and Oliver shook it. "Thank you," Oliver said, and the level of emotion in those two words did not need to be faked. "Thank you for helping me save her." "She's my friend as well," Roy said, his voice effectively scrambled by the modulator. He winked at Felicity and then said, "I need to be going." Another rappelling arrow and Roy was up and away, as several Starling City police officers finally rushed onto the plaza. Oliver looked to Felicity and saw a look of confusion and something close to heartbreak on her face. Using his fingers to turn her chin up he said, "What is it?" "It was another performance," she whispered her eyes filling with tears. "Just for the cameras." "No," he said immediately, lacing his hand back into her hair and placing a kiss on her forehead. Leaning in he whispered, just loudly enough for her to hear. "I love you and I'm not hiding and I'm not pretending anymore." And this time, she kissed him. Waiting Chapter Summary Felicity Smoak does a lot of waiting. Chapter Notes For FF #6 – Sleepless Nights. I really struggled with this prompt for some reason and kept getting interrupted while working on it. So it was only an hour total, but it was admittedly over a couple days…and it's a fairly abrupt ending, but here it is anyway. Maybe I'll expand it a little and post it in a different collection later :-) Tonight, she is once again waiting. Felicity Smoak does a lot of waiting. Usually it's after midnight, and usually she's alone, with only her computers to keep her company. Oh, sometimes Roy or Diggle is around, but often they are gone as well and it's her, in the silence, keeping her vigil that's both a curse and an honor. She often tries to look busy if Digg or Roy returns first, for fear they will suggest she go home. For fear that she will have to spell it out for them – that she can't go home until she sees Oliver's face again. Can't sleep before she knows he's all right. It's been like this since she helped Digg drag his ridiculously heavy frame into an abandoned building for the first, but not the last, time. Always waiting, listening, praying to hear his voice in her ear, his footsteps on the stairs. Tonight has been especially long. It's is three o'clock in the morning, Digg and Oliver are out doing surveillance on a club that might be luring underage girls in as part of their normal routine. They could be hours yet, and she catches herself nodding off slightly, unable to suppress a yawn. The voice in her ear is soft, the tone almost indulgent. "Go home, Felicity." She loves that voice. She can almost hear that tiny smile of his in it, the one he gives her so often these days. She shakes her head slightly. "I'm fine, I'm fine." Now Digg chimes in. "I promise we'll be okay Felicity. If we need something we can call you." She squares her shoulders. "No, we're a team. If you guys are staying put then so am I." She hears a sigh, though honestly she isn't sure which of them it comes from. Then Oliver says, "Then go lie down for a minute." The only place to lie down is his cot, tucked in the back corner. She knows he sleeps there more nights than he's willing to admit, that is, if he's sleeping at all. And though part of her wants to protest, the thought of kicking her shoes off and curling up there is so appealing she can't fight it. "Only if you promise…" "Everything will be fine," Oliver says, his voice is warm and reassuring, and that tone of voice more than anything convinces her it really is okay to take a break. She goes to the cot, kicks off her red heels, sets her glasses on a nearby shelf and lies down. She pulls the blanket up over her, and blissfully realizes it even smells like him. If she has to wait, if she has to worry, than this is certainly the way to do it. The gentle touch on her face brings her awake with a start, and she finds herself staring into a pair of wonderfully familiar blue eyes - at the very smile she'd been imagining. "Hey, Sleeping Beauty," he says, his voice just above a whisper, his hand resting on her shoulder. She doesn't know if it's the tone, or the smile, or the thought that he's just called her beautiful, but she closes her eyes, wondering if she's dreaming. When she opens them he is still there crouched beside the cot, the green leather traded in for jeans and a t-shirt. She remembers then why she is here and frowns. "I fell asleep." He gives a quick low chuckle, and nods. "Yes, yes you did." Reaching up she feels for the earpiece and finds it still there. "But I should have heard you talking…I should have…" The smile widens. "We muted things on our end," he says. She frowns, rubs her eyes. "But what if…" The hand trails up to her face again, a ghosting touch of his knuckles against her cheek. It makes her hold her breath. "You worry too much," he says, a frown line appearing between his eyes. Without intending to she says the exact thought that goes through her mind. "I like worrying about you. I like that I get to." Then feeling brave she adds. "And I think you like having me here … when you get back." She sees him swallow hard, and the knuckles stroke again over her cheek, lingering a little longer. "Yeah, I do," he says. She smiles. "Then I guess I'll keep waiting." He nods then, his eyes never leaving her face. "And I'll keep coming back to you." Ella Cendre Chapter Summary An in-canon mashup of Arrow and Cinderella Chapter Notes For FF#10 "Stroke of Luck" – for some reason this made me think of a clock striking, which made me think of a certain fairy tale…and that leads us here. "Just remember," Sara Lance told Felicity as she handed her a pair of diamond earrings, "you need to be out of there by eleven. Because…" Felicity rolled her eyes and interrupted. "I set up the security hack remember? I'm the one who's making the facial recognition malfunction for two hours." Sara seemed to take her irritation in stride and with a sympathetic look she asked, "Nervous?" "Nervous? I'm not nervous." But Felicity's hands shook slightly as she slid the heavy diamonds into her ears. There was a tiny ear piece and tracker built into one of them. Thank goodness Oliver still had some toys left. Though she was trying really hard not to wonder why he had something like this lying around. "Good," Sara said, though the laughing tone in her voice told Felicity she hadn't believed her. She handed Felicity a small gold bag and Felicity's eyes when wide as she saw the tiny handgun inside. "League of Assassins special issue. Don't lose it or I'll have some explaining to do." Felicity nodded and climbed to her feet looking at herself in the full length mirror on the bedroom door. Her hair had been temporarily dyed a dark auburn color and she wore a filmy tulle-skirted, sleeveless gown in a pale ice blue. To go with the earrings she wore a large jeweled necklace, this one a very good fake, and she had to resist the urge to pinch herself at how unfamiliar she looked. Sara came to stand in front of her. "Tell me your name," she said her voice all business. Felicity gave her a firm nod, "I'm Ella Cendre." "And how much are you worth?" Sara asked. "Nine billion dollars, once my grandmother dies," Felicity said, and forced herself not to fidget or roll her eyes as the unfamiliar name came out of her mouth. "And what's the plan?" Sara asked. Felicity gave her a look, but Sara's serious face didn't change. "The plan," she repeated. "I go in, I seem aloof, and if necessary dance with a few guys until Lord Kalesque comes to dance with me – which he'll do because he's a gold-digging psychopath," Felicity said. "And you're sure the device will work?" Sara asked. Felicity nodded. "As long as I stay within two feet of him for at least three minutes, it will pull every scrap of information off of his phone." Finally Sara grinned. "Ollie's right, you're remarkable." Then the smile disappeared. "Exit strategy?" Honestly this was the most unnerving part of the plan. "I say yes when Oliver asks me to dance," she said simply. "And hopefully we walk out onto the back terrace and away into the night." ___________________________________________________________________________ Oliver Queen tugged at the cuffs of his shirt and tried not to squirm. He was amazed that anything could still make him nervous, but Felicity running point on an op was apparently what it took. She was also exactly seven minutes late. So he had his eyes glued to the double-doors leading into the ballroom and caught every moment of her entrance into the room. He swallowed hard and tried not to focus on exactly how well the dress fit her, or how exactly right one of his last family heirlooms looked sparkling against the odd auburn of her hair. She was so damned beautiful, and he had to grit his teeth when he realized just how many other men had noticed the same thing. He watched her like a hawk, though he put his best lascivious playboy grin on his face as he did so, hoping the interest he showed in her would come off as simple attraction to anyone paying attention. Then realizing he'd once again let his mind wander he glanced down at his watch and swore. Kalesque was also late. It was twenty more minutes before the man arrived, and it was pushing 10:40 before he finally figured out who Felicity was supposed to be and asked Ella Cendre to dance. They still had enough time, but barely. Unfortunately as the song came to an end, Kalesque seemed decidedly unwilling to let go of the prize in his arms, and though Oliver couldn't blame him, he made his way slowly toward them. In one moment Felicity's gaze caught his and he saw nervousness bordering on fear there – Kalesque was known for his ruthlessness and if he had any idea of exactly who he was dancing with… Oliver picked up his pace, nearly stepping on a couple who failed to move out of his way in time. Finally, he reached them and tapped hard on Kalesque's shoulder. The man turned with a murderous look but Oliver just smiled easily. "Sorry, but she promised this one to me, and I'm not willing to pass up the opportunity." Kalesque gave Oliver a hard cold smile. "We're obviously looking for the same thing in a woman, aren't we?" Clearly, Kalesque assumed that, sans-fortune, Oliver Queen was a gold-digger these days himself. Oliver didn't care what the man thought as long as he let go of Felicity. "I suppose so. And we all deserve a fighting chance." He came down hard on the word "fighting" allowing the smile to slip away to a hard glare. Kalesque shrugged. "Very well." He turned to Felicity, took her hand and kissed it slowly. Subconsciously, Oliver was counting down the minutes. If they were lucky they had three of them left. Finally, the man stepped away and Oliver moved forward taking Felicity in his arms with a little more force than was entirely necessary. He quickly maneuvered them toward the doors, and looked down at her, trying not to notice how amazing she smelled and the way she stepped closer, the front of her dress bushing against his tuxedo jacket. "You okay?" he asked. She nodded quickly. "He's just extremely unpleasant." They were almost at the doors when Felicity flinched hard, putting a hand to her ear. "What is it?" he asked. "Huge feedback squeal," she said her eyes going wide. "I think the security's back up." "Take it off and drop it," Oliver ordered. She shook her head. "But it's…." "Don't argue with me," he said. "The guards outside might be able to sweep for them now and you'll never make it." They were on the terrace steps now, and not waiting for her, he reached up himself and pulled the diamonds from her ear, dropping the earring to the ground. "Now run." "What about you?" she said, her voice a little panicked. "I'll make sure you can get away," he told her calmly. "After all, nobody's going to be surprised if Oliver Queen crashed this kind of party." She nodded and he watched as she flew down the stairs, disappearing into the darkness of the Starling City night. ___________________________________________________________________________ By all accounts the mission had been a success, but Felicity still felt a huge sense of disappointment that she couldn't put her finger on. Then finally as she sank into her chair in front of the computers she realized what the problem was. In her mind, as she had put on this crazy dress and all of the sparkling jewelry she had pictured herself very clearly – not taking down the bad guy –but dancing with Oliver. She heard someone come into the room and looked up, surprised to see him there, tuxedo jacket over his arm and wearing a tired smile. "Well, you did it," he said, coming to stand next to her. With a grin, she echoed back his own words of a few months earlier. "I had help." He nodded. "There's just one thing that went wrong." She frowned, "What's that?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out the diamond earring. She could see that the small tracker and communicator had been removed. Reaching out, he handed it to her, and not even thinking about it she took it. "I'm so glad you were able to get it back," she said "So am I," he replied. The tone in his voice made her look up at him and the warm, intense look he gave her was exactly the look he'd had in her mind for that imaginary dance. He gave her a goofy smile, "You see, the girl wearing that earring was supposed to dance with me." Felicity swallowed hard, and pushed to her feet, glad she hadn't taken off her heels. She slid the earring back on and said. "It's not too late." He nodded, set his jacket down, and held out his arms. She stepped into them, and for almost an hour – with only the music in their imaginations - Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak danced. Who Are You? Chapter Notes For FF#11 "Who are you?" - This was inspired by the not one – but two wonderfully goofy smiles Oliver had on his face in the Season Three preview. It wasn't like she hadn't notice a change in him. Slowly, as things had settled down he'd become different, less intense, more communicative, and well, if she hadn't know better - even flirty. There was the time when he gently flipped her ponytail after she leaned across him to get a better look at her second monitor. And the time he took her out for coffee when they were the last ones in the foundry at 5:30 in the morning; insisting she get two donuts instead of one when she couldn't decide between the flavors. And then there was his quiet but unmistakable defense of her workout clothes when Roy had given her crap about wearing a pink floral tank top. Oliver had glared at the younger man and said, "It looks fine from where I'm standing." Roy had let out a knowing chuckle and Felicity had blushed and shot Oliver a startled look. He had just shrugged. "You should be able to wear what you want." But today it was like her normal, brooding hero had been replaced with an alternate universe version of himself - the playful happy version. She pushed back from her monitors. "I promise I'll get back to this," she said looking over at him. He was mending a spot that had come undone on his hood. "I just need to look at something else for a minute." He looked up at her for a moment and then grinned. It was a grin that could have melted her toe nail polish. Then he put down the suit, tugged off his shirt, and said. "Well…since you asked." She let out a startled giggle as he approached the salmon ladder and without ceremony quickly hauled himself to the top. Once there he looked down at her and winked. "Better?" Nodding, she tried to sound calm as she said, "Better than ones and zeroes? Sure." He knocked out a set of pull ups and then paused, hanging from the bar. "You know, we've been in this basement for four hours now, maybe it's time to actually go outside and do something." She couldn't have been more surprised if he'd suggested trading in his green leather for a clown costume. "Who are you?" she asked, feeling her cheeks heat as she laughed. He hopped down and then shrugged. "Maybe I'm just a guy who wants to see his hard-working Girl Friday get an evening off now and then." Raising an eyebrow as he came toward her she said. "And are you taking this evening off as well?" "Maybe," he said walking around to lean against the table. He was so close that the rough fabric of his pants brushed against her forearm. She swallowed as he folded his arms across his chest. "I could be talked into it. What would you do with your evening?" She shrugged, leaning back in her chair a little. "The beach, or a pool maybe, if I could find one that was still open." His eyes moved over her slowly and she had the suspicion that he was picturing her in a swimsuitand he clearly liked the idea. "I could live with that," he replied. Was he seriously suggesting they go to the beach? She had to fight the urge to check his temperature or even do a quick blood workup just to make sure there wasn't some sort of foreign agent in his system. Before she could respond, a notice started flashing on her other monitor and she grumbled. "Looks like no beach for us," she said, not bothering to hide the disappointment in her voice. She slid her chair over and began typing, bringing up the information that was streaming in from her connection to the SCPD. "What is it?" he asked leaning over her to look, and dropping one large warm hand on her shoulder in the process. "Jewelry store robbery," she told him. "Second one this week." As he read the information she was distracted by the circles his thumb was rubbing against the bare skin of her upper arm. It felt ridiculously good. He sighed and stepped back. "I'll get changed. Call Digg and Roy, I might need a little backup." "On it," she promised, starting to type in the commands that would dial both of their numbers. He moved toward bow and then stopped turning toward her. "Just out of curiosity what color is your swimsuit?" She let out a startled laugh. "The one I usually wear is bright blue with white polka dots – it has kind of a fifties pin-up girl vibe." He looked up at the ceiling shaking his head, and when he looked back at her that mischievous grin was back. "I'd definitely like to see that." "Uh…yeah…well, I guess, I mean there's a few weeks of summer left and I suppose I could… well we could," she realized she was babbling and forced herself to close her mouth. Taking a deep breath she squared her shoulders. "Aren't you supposed to be stopping a burglary?" He laughed – a full on real laugh. It was something she wasn't sure she'd ever heard come out of him before. "Thanks for keeping me on track," he said, turning to go change. She shook her head as he walked away. Whatever version of Oliver this was – she certainly liked it. Whatever It Takes Chapter Notes For FF#12 - Whatever It Takes. Really struggled with the prompt this week, and I don't know how well this turned out. Be warned, it's angst city. "I need you to find a way to scramble the voice print on every call coming out of Queen Consolidated in the next forty-eight hours," Oliver said, clipping his bow into its case. "Excuse me?" Felicity said, frowning at both the commanding tone and the extreme nature of the request. "Why on earth…" "I don't have time to explain," he said, hurrying to change his clothes. "Just do it please, and if you could manage it in the next three hours that would be my preference." Felicity sighed and turned back to her monitors rubbing a hand across her forehead. She wondered if he had any idea of the project he had just dropped in her lap at 8:43 pm on a Saturday night. It wasn't that she couldn't do what he had asked, of course she could, but it wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't going to be fun. It also, in terms of tangible rewards, wasn't going to get her a single thing. Not even, knowing Oliver when he was in this kind of mission focused mood, a word of appreciation. But she was going to do it anyway. There were moments, especially over the last few months, when Felicity was aware of the fact that her pre-Oliver MIT girl-power self would be mystified and a little pissed at what her life had become. About the fact that it basically all revolved around one man and his mission to save Starling City. Granted it was her mission as well, and she wasn't exactly the type to commit multiple cyber-felonies unless she believed in what she was doing. Still, if she was being honest with herself a large chunk of it was all about the man who stood at the center of that mission. As she began working through the steps it would take to fulfill the request Oliver had made of her she wondered, not for the first time, how things might have been different if she hadn't fallen hard for the vigilante who climbed into the back of her car. If instead of Oliver, it had been someone like John Diggle, someone she loved and respected, but didn't yearn for. Someone with whom she could have been friends and partners, without all of the emotional drama Oliver Queen seemed to elicit in her. As if summoned by her thoughts he hurried back into the room, out of green leather and back in a business suit, still buttoning his shirt buttons as he walked, his tie draped unknotted around his neck. His hair was damp and there was no hiding the growing bruise on his right cheekbone. "How late am I?" he asked her, reaching for the tie. She'd almost forgotten that Walter had suggested he have drinks with some bigwig that they thought could help Oliver out with his Queen Consolidated issues. "By the time you get there, fifteen minutes," she told him. "Perfect for your playboy reputation." He grunted, looping the blue silk and pulling it tight. She pointed to his face. "How are you going to explain that?" she asked. Frowning, he said, "Explain what?" "Your cheek's turning a lovely shade of purple-green," she told him. She reached for her purse, pulled out a compact and handed it to him. He grabbed the mirror from her hand and held it up. Swearing under his breath he let out a long sigh and she watched his shoulders slump. For just a moment the driven vigilante disappeared and a very real, very battered man stood in his place. Even though things had been rough for them for the past few weeks she found herself climbing to her feet. Taking the mirror from him she put a hand gently on his battered cheek. "Maybe you should sit this meeting out. Get some rest. You're pushing yourself too hard, Oliver." His eyes met hers, and then he closed them, and for one long second they just stood there together, her fingers sliding slowly down his jaw. Then as if a switch had been flicked his shoulders straightened. Reaching up he gave her hand a quick squeeze before stepping away from her. "Maybe I am, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to get this city and my families company back on track." He glanced at her computers. "Let me know once you have the voice scrambling in place." Without another word he turned and walked out of the room. Swallowing hard against the emotion in her throat, Felicity turned back to her computers. Then squaring her own shoulders she stepped back toward her work and echoed his words. "Whatever it takes." Too Quiet Chapter Summary Felicity discovers a shocking piece of information about her family. Chapter Notes For FF#13: Silent as the Grave. So I blame the whole "Oracle" episode title spoiler for this. It's an extremely unlikely scenario, but I couldn't resist. If you happen to be a Batman purist you might want to skip this one. The moment she came through the door, he knew something was very wrong. On the surface she looked the same, she was wearing the same blue dress as when he'd left her at work, the same high heels, and the same perfect ponytail. But clearly for her, everything had changed. As she came down the stairs, her movements robotic, she wasn't looking at him, or anything for that matter, and she was as quiet as he'd ever seen her. It wasn't just her lack of words, it was the way every movement was smaller, less energetic, like she was trying to take up less space in the world. He went toward her – reaching out for her – before she'd even cleared the last of the stairs. Grabbing her arm he said, "What is it?" She blinked up at him, as if seeing him for the first time. In her hand she held a piece of paper, and wordlessly she held it out to him. It was a news article printed from a computer with the headline, "Gotham's Commissioner Shot in New Royal Flush Heist." It showed a middle-aged man in a formal police uniform, his face craggy and slightly tired. Ok, so it was unfortunate that they hadn't caught the new family of thieves that had taken up the mantle the Reston's had left behind. He knew she'd been tracking them, and he could understand why this would make her upset, but her reaction seemed too extreme. "Felicity, we will get these guys, I promise, Don't…" She shook her head slowly from side to side and with a shaking hand she pointed to the man in the picture. "I think…I think that's my father." "What?" Oliver said, wondering if he'd misunderstood her. As far as he'd been able to discover, James Worthington had been a mostly drunk handyman who had disappeared from Felicity's life at the age of five. She'd told him they'd never had any contact with the man, so how could… "I looked him up…you know, in all these years, it was the first time I ever tried…" the words came out slow, as if she was struggling to speak. He maneuvered her toward a chair and when she didn't sit, he pushed her lightly on the shoulders until she finally collapsed, as if folding under too much weight. Oliver knelt in front of her, reaching up to touch her face. "Tell me," he said simply. "James Worthington Gordon," she said the words dully. "Known to the good people of Gotham City as Commissioner Jim Gordon. Apparently he has a sterling career record…" she let out an odd, bitter laugh, "except for one six year gap that occurred about 27 years ago, when he fell off their radar after shooting a dirty copy." Oliver didn't know what to say. He had no idea how to make this better for her. Hell, he didn't know what part of it had rattled her so much. So he settled for the simplest two words that came into his head. "I'm sorry." She blinked and this time tears fell. "He has a family there, a wife and a son." Oliver scanned over the paper in his hand for an important detail that suddenly occurred to him. His eyes found the words, critical but stable condition. Well, at least the guy wasn't dead. That was good, wasn't it? "What do you want to do?" Oliver asked her. She shook her head and reached up to wipe the tears away. "Nothing." "Felicity," he said, letting his tone carry his feelings of disbelief. "I thought, as much as I loved him as a little girl, that he was just some jerk, you know," she said, nearly yelling. The yelling, he thought, was better than the silence at least. "But no, it wasn't that he didn't want a family… he just didn't want me." Her voice broke on the last word, and Oliver leaned forward pulling her into his arms. "Then he is a jerk…and an idiot," he said into her hair. "That article calls him heroic," Felicity sniffed against his shoulder. Oliver clenched his teeth, feeling a surge of anger. Logically, he knew there had to be more to the story. Logically, he knew something about starting over after a dark period in your life. But right now that logic was doing nothing to keep him from wanting to fly across the country and throttle James Worthington – chest wound, or no chest wound. The Peril of Heels Chapter Summary Felicity takes a fall, guess who's there to pick her up? Chapter Notes For FF#14 Oops! It was the kind of thing that made a girl reconsider wearing high heels. She had just sent Digg home and was humming to herself as she crossed the lair, heading to get a leftover egg roll. Hearing an odd rushing noise she looked up at the pipes that coursed across the ceiling. She had just enough time to register the drop of water that hit her face before she felt her right foot slide away from her body. Throwing out her hands she tried to maintain her balance, but four inch heels and wet uneven concrete were a disastrous combination. She felt the pop in her right ankle just before her hands slammed into the floor. The final insult was hearing several inches of the seam of her brand new pencil skirt rip as her left knee crashed painfully against the ground. For a second she couldn't move, stunned by the fall. Letting out a groan as she started to pick herself up she heard Oliver's voice in her ear. "Felicity, you okay?" Right, she was still connected to Oliver. He was out harassing the latest con artist to sweep through Starling and was on his way back. "I fell," she said, even as she tried to pull her right leg back under her she could tell something was wrong with her ankle. "You fell?" Oliver said, sounding confused. "There's a pipe leaking," she said, unable to keep the irritation out of her voice. "It made the floor slippery." She grit her teeth as she reached down to pull off her heels, but even still a hiss of pain snuck out between her lips. "That's not good," Oliver said, sounding truly worried for the first time. "I'm almost there." "It's not a big deal," she protested. "I'm almost there," he repeated firmly, as if she hadn't spoken, and in the background she heard the sound of his bike engine growl as he apparently picked up speed. Rolling her eyes, Felicity used her bruised hands and her left leg to climb unsteadily to her feel. Looking down at herself she grimaced, her light blue skirt was wet and grimy, the ragged seam split to mid-thigh which gave her a great view of her bleeding left knee. She reached up and muted the connection to Oliver. "Lovely," she muttered. Hobbling across the room she made it to her chair and sat down. She wiped her hands on a cleaner bit of her skirt and leaned down to examine her ankle. If anything it was getting more painful as she sat, and it felt oddly squishy as she tried to move it. She was just about to Google sprained ankles when she heard Oliver pounding down the stairs. He pushed his hood back as he walked toward her, a really adorable look of pure concern visible even behind the mask. "Are you alright?" "Watch that spot," she said as he crossed the floor. "Though I suppose motorcycle boots are probably better for that kind of thing." Ignoring her comment he set his bow on a table and came to stand in front of her, his eyes coasting over her quickly. "That ankle could be broken," he said, zeroing in on it. "We'd better get you to a hospital." She leaned back in her chair, staring up at him. "Seriously? You're going to make me go to the hospital for a sprained ankle? I don't think so." Pulling his gloves off, he knelt down beside her, and she had to swallow hard as he took her ankle in his warm hands. It was a fascinating combination having something hurt and yet feel so good at the same time. However when his hand pushed up on her heel she couldn't help but let out a little gasp of pain. He looked up at her, his hand sliding up to squeeze her knee. "It really could be broken. We definitely need to have a doctor look at it." Trying not to notice that his thumb was tracing little patterns against her knee, she attempted to sound indignant. "Well, we wouldn't if you'd agreed to that x-ray machine." She was rewarded with one of his rare genuine smiles, and he gave a little shake of his head. "We have to be a little more frugal these days remember?" Pushing to his feet, he walked toward their first aid supplies and came back with antibacterial wipes and a bandage. "Why don't you take care of that knee while I go change." He was back in minutes, by which time Felicity had managed to get her hands cleaned up and clamp the bandage over the goriest spot on her knee. Grabbing her coat and purse he handed them to her and said, "Get your keys for me, will you?" "My keys?" she said, frowning. He looked at her like she'd hit her head. "I don't think you want to drive with a broken ankle and I can't very well stick you on the bike like this." Part of her wanted to protest, to insist that she could take care of herself, but he did have a point, and her ankle was really, genuinely starting to hurt. She handed him her keys as he came over to her and she put her arm up, expecting his help to stand. Instead she found herself being easily scooped up into his arms. "Oliver!" "What?" he grunted, moving them toward the stairs. It wasn't the first time he'd carried her like this, but the last time they'd been in a life threatening situation and she'd had a concussion so she hadn't been able to fully appreciate, or be unnerved by, just how good it felt to have his arms around her. Even with the ankle pain and the ripped skirt, the main thought she was wrestling with was how easy it would be for her to lean up and kiss that perfectly stubbled jaw of his. "I don't need you to carry me, you could just help me walk," she protested, swallowing as he moved his hand slightly against the bare skin at the back of her knee to get a better grip as he started to climb the stairs. He looked down at her and the gaze was warm with the slightest tough of humor. "This is simpler," he said. "There's nothing simple about being this close to you," she said, the thought coming out of her mouth before she could stop it. Oops. "I mean…" To her utter surprise he leaned down and planted a kiss against her hair. "I know what you mean." When he pulled back he smiled and nodded toward the door. "Now, put in the key code so we can get out of here." Felicity reached out and punched in the six digit code, then allowed herself to relax into Oliver's hold as he carried her out toward her car. Maybe wearing heels hadn't been such a bad choice after all. Day and Night Chapter Notes For FF#15 Bad Day, Good Night When he’d first come back from the island Oliver Queen had felt like his life was split in two. During the day things weren’t too bad, he could be a son to his mother, a brother to his sister, a decent friend to Tommy, and for a few hours pretend that he wasn’t a broken killing machine. Then night would come. He’d put on a hood and terrorize criminals and kill his soul a little more with each person he thoughtlessly hurt or killed. If he was lucky he’d exhaust himself into a stupor that meant he could get three or four hours of uninterrupted sleep. If luck wasn’t with him he sweated and screamed his way through a couple of nightmares before giving up on sleep altogether. It was Felicity, of course, that made him realize how much things had changed. “Bad day?” she asked as he came into the lair, pulling loose the knot on his tie with a long sigh. He nodded numbly. “I’m as bad at being a figure head as I was at being CEO,” Oliver told her. “And I just found out that they layed off someone my dad hired thirty years ago, and I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.” She stood up from her computers and came toward him. “I’m sorry.” Putting her hand on his arm she tilted her head back toward the table. “I stopped and got tacos from that food truck downtown. You want some?” He nodded again, feeling some of the wearing frustration of the day slide away as he pulled out of his jacket. “Where are Digg and Roy?” he asked. “Roy was feeling restless, so they had their tacos and Digg took him to check out that warehouse on Anderson Street. I don’t think there’s anything there, but, well…he needed something to do,” she said, sitting down in her chair and using her black heel clad toe to pull another chair around. “That’s good,” Oliver said, moving to sit in the chair she’d pulled out. Felicity handed him a couple of tacos from a bag, and took out one for herself. “Seconds?” he asked nodding toward hers. She shook her head. “I waited for you. You want hot sauce?” He couldn’t help but smile at the fact that both sentences were said in exactly the same happy, casual tone. Shaking his head at her question, he swallowed as he realized just how much the first four words meant to him. I waited for you. That was Felicity. Determined to be there for him even when he was making the worst kinds of mistakes, even when his demons made their relationship forty times more complicated that it needed to be. Taking a bite of the taco to help cover his emotions he watched as she turned back to her computer and begin typing in commands, occasionally taking bites out of her own cold, but nonetheless very edible taco. A frown appeared on her face. “What is it?” he asked. She turned back to him and shook her head. “I’m not telling you yet.” He shot her a confused look, and she squared her shoulders. “You need to finish at least two tacos and drink a bottle of water before you run off to fight crime.” Part of him wanted to argue, but tonight that part was overridden by a swamping sense of gratitude. “Thank you,” he said. “For what?” she asked, surprised. He shrugged and stared at his shoes. “For caring.” Leaning forward she placed a kiss on his cheek. It took the breath out of him and made him clench his hand into a fist to keep from reaching for her. “Someone has to,” she said, lightly, though he could tell there was an undercurrent of sadness in her voice. “We need our hero in fighting form after all.” Not able to look at her, Oliver finished his dinner and dutifully went to suit up when Felicity told him that there was a suspected major drug deal going down near Starling’s West High. As he was about to leave, she called his name, “Oliver?” He turned, and she gave him a smile. “Be careful, I want you home in one piece.” Home. Yes, his life was still divided into two parts. But now he had bad days and good nights. Maybe If It Rains Sleeping Bags Chapter Summary Oliver and Felicity get lost in the woods Chapter Notes For FF#16 Detour - A little homage to the X-Files episode of the same name. Honestly, I have no idea how long this took. I kept getting interrupted, and just wrote until I'd finished. "So, we're lost," Felicity said, trying not to show just how nervous she was. "We aren't lost," Oliver insisted. "We've just…" he looked up at the sky for a moment. It was clouded over and getting darker by the minute. The trees around them seemed ominous instead of beautiful for the first time that day. "Okay, so maybe we're a little lost." "Great. And it's not like there's a creepy stalker guy trying to kill you out here or anything," she said. "Oh wait, there is." She knew her sarcasm didn't help, but it was a defense mechanism. It was one of the few available to her since her tablet, with its handy tracking device had slipped out of her hand and into a stream an hour ago. Oliver turned around and gave her an irritated look. "Sorry," she said. "Though if you'd have let me buy that satellite phone I wanted, we wouldn't be in this mess." Oliver took a long deep breath and started to reply but then his mouth snapped shut. With one quick move he shoved her behind him and turned, pulling a gun from his waist band and pointing it toward the tree line. Before Felicity could even react a shot rang out. Oliver fired at the same moment and then grunted as the bullet sliced into his side, knocking him backward into Felicity. "Oliver!" she called out. "Stay down!" he ordered, pushing her toward the ground and taking off toward the spot where the shot had come from. Felicity watched as he disappeared into the trees, sending up a prayer to any deity that would listen that it wasn't the last time she'd see him. It was eerily quiet for a few moments and she was just deciding that she was going to follow him, flying bullets or not, when he called out. "Looks like he took off again, but I got him." The last word came out slightly strangled and it made her hurry as she went toward his voice. She found him leaning hard against a tree, one hand clamped over a growing red stain on his blue flannel shirt. He pointed to a spot where the undergrowth had been trampled down, "Took off that way, bleeding worse than me. I should try and track him…" "No," Felicity said pointedly. She pulled her jacket off and then the blouse she had underneath. Luckily she'd warn a tank top that day, or things could have been seriously creative. "It's getting dark, and unless you have some sort of supernatural night vision and healing we are going to find shelter and wait until someone finds us." The fact that he didn't argue with her told her that things were as perilous as she thought. "Here," she said. "Pull your shirt up so I can see." He gave her a small mischievous smile. "I imagined you saying that under different circumstances." Rolling her eyes she couldn't help but smile, knowing he was trying to cheer her up. Though she nearly winced at the sight of the deep bullet graze in his side she still managed to reply. "Very platonic ones I'm sure." "Nope," he replied, hissing slightly as she pressed the fabric of the blouse against the wound. Startled slightly she looked up and though his expression was deadpan there was a look in his eye that let her know he'd meant what he said. He held her gaze for a minute then looked up, searching the area around them. Nodding to the left he said. "I think that set of rocks is the best we can do. At least it gives us something to put our backs up against." Though Oliver moved a bit slowly he made his way over to the rocks without any help. However when she looked up at him there was a sheen of sweat on his face and she saw him shiver slightly in the cool evening air. "Sit down," she ordered. He shook his head. "We need a fire." "Won't that draw in crazy guy?" she asked. Oliver shrugged and winced. "He knows where we are, and the heat and light can only help us." "Fine," she agreed. "Sit down and I'll start it." To her surprise he again didn't argue, going toward the rocks and lowering himself gingerly onto the ground. However, when she pulled off her jacket and handed it to him he shook his head. "No way, you'll freeze." "You're hurt Oliver, and the last thing we need is for you to go into shock," she insisted. "I won't if you just get the fire started already," he said, giving her a hard look. Putting her jacket back on she managed to find some dry twigs and a collection of smaller branches that she hoped she could break with her knee. She organized them into a teepee shape with handfuls of dry pine needles in the middle. "Were did you learn how to do that?" Oliver asked. She looked back at him and gave a small smile. "You're not the only one with a secret past, buddy. The trick is going to be lighting it. I suppose I can try the bullet method, or the drill thing…" Oliver shook his head, "As much fun as it might be watching you try." He reached into one of the pockets of his cargo pants, pulling out a lighter. At her questioning look he shrugged. "Get stranded on an island for five years and you start to carry a few things around with you." Within minutes Felicity had a small fire going and had broken apart a respectable pile of the small branches. Satisfied she moved back and sat down next to Oliver. She noticed that while the safety was on he still held his gun in his hand. "You think he might come back." Oliver looked at her and she could see him weighing his response. Finally he nodded slowly. "If we're lucky he's too injured, but there's no way to really tell." At the end of the sentence she caught him shiver again. There didn't seem to be any point in responding to that, and she searched for something positive to say. "I don't suppose you have a sleeping bag and two cups of coffee in those pockets of yours?" A smile big enough to show his bright white teeth slid over his face. "So we need two cups of coffee but only one sleeping bag?" She shook her head, feeling her cheeks heat slightly, but determined not to let him get the best of her she gave him her best flirty smile and said, "Well, we'd be warmer that way." He nodded, still grinning and let out a sigh. "You make me really wish I had one." Then the grin slipped a fraction and she saw a flicker of pain. "Here," she said, she reached her arm around his shoulder and nudged him sideways into her lap, pulling the flap of her jacket out so his back was against the warmth of her skin. She drew her knees up a bit as well, hoping the contact would help keep him warm. She had no doubt Digg would show up eventually, but they were at least a couple of hours from the nearest road. "You should rest," she said, putting her arms around him and settling her chin against his hair. He shook his head. "Can't. He might come back." "Give me the gun," she said. "I'll stay awake." The cold metal of the pistol was gently moved into her grip. "Keep talking, that way I'll know you're still awake," he said quietly. That made her laugh a little, "That seems to defeat the purpose of you getting rest." "I don't care," he said, and there was a bit of an edge to the words, something nervous that reminded her that being stuck in the woods probably brought up a very special set of bad memories for him. "Let me hear your voice." And so she began to speak in her softest tones, talking about anything and everything until heavy even breaths convinced her he had fallen asleep. "And I should tell you," she continued, allowing her fingers to trace across his cheek, "that one of the best and weirdest days of my life was when the boss's stepson came into my office with a laptop and a ridiculous story." "Mine to," he muttered, as one of his hands closed warmly over her knee. Startled she tensed and went silent. The hand at her knee gave a gentle squeeze, "Keep talking." And for three hours, until Digg finally found them, she did. The Scorecard Chapter Notes For FF#17 Impulses - Since I went the obvious route with the prompt I decided to try and do something unusual stylistically. I'm not sure if I love it or hate it, but here it is. The Scorecard He's started making lists in his head of all of the little things he wants to do; wants to say. Keeping score of how many times he gives in and how many times he manages to resist. 8:05 am – He wants to wipe the tiny smudge of cappuccino foam from her top lip. He resists. 8:15 am - He wants to tell her how much he likes her new, green, very high heels. He gives in. 8:17 am – He wants to taste the flirty smile that appears as she says, "Thank you. I liked the color." He resists. 8:20 am – He so wants to punch Palmer in the face when he also notices said shoes. He resists, and resists and resists. 8:22 am – He wishes he could tag along like a lost puppy to her technical affairs meeting instead of going to some meeting where he's only there for his name. He resists. 9:33 am – He wants to text her and tell her that someone is actually eating the bagels in the QC conference room. He gives in. 9:35 am- He wants to zone out of the ridiculous meeting and text her again, asking her to lunch. He gives in. 10:35 am – He wants to pitch his phone out the window when she texts back that she's sorry but Palmer already asked her. He resists. 1:15 pm – He wants to make a rude comment about the fact that she's back late from lunch. He gives in, and then wishes he hadn't. 2:30 pm – He wants to walk into her new office with a cup of coffee and apologize for being an ass. He gives in. 2:40 pm – He wants to tell her that her new plans for the QC tech infrastructure are brilliant. He gives in. 2:42 pm – He wants to stare at her stunning smile, and keep staring way past the time that it would be sensible to look away. He always gives in. 2:45 pm – He wants to pull out the chair across from her desk, sit down, and listen to her like it's the only thing he has to do today. He resists. 5:05 pm – He wants to ask her if he can walk her to her car. He gives in. 5:15 pm – He wants to tell her they should both take the night off, go do something fun, something that would erase the tired circles from under her beautiful eyes. He resists. 8:20 pm – He wants to smile when Roy says, "Queen, your girl is scarier than you are" when Felicity yet again does something magical with a keyboard. He gives in. 9:05 pm – He wants to punch Diggle when he asks her about lunch with Palmer. He resists, but only because it's Digg. 9:45 pm – He wants to look over his shoulder and catch a glimpse of that ponytail one more time before the night swallows him up. He gives in, and she sees him. 10:15 pm – He wants to walk back and kiss her goodbye. Every time he walks away dressed like this he knows it could truly be goodbye. He resists 12:47 am – He wants to touch her face when she hovers over him putting pressure on his wounds as Digg sews them shut, yet again. Wants to feel something other than pain. He gives in. 1:16 am - He wants the same thing he wants every night the moment she walks away from him. He wants to tell her to stay. Tell her he meant it. Pull her into his arms and never let go. He resists. Today's score: Impulses 11 – Willpower 10 And every day, no matter what the score, he has a feeling he's losing. The Best Man Chapter Notes So I had to skip prompt eighteen. I was on vacation last week and I tried to hash something out, but everything I tried to write was utterly boring. So this is for FF#19 – That Night. Warning – angsty waters ahead. It had been a simple ceremony in front of the Justice of the Peace. She'd been surprised to be asked to be the maid-of-honor. She had a feeling that was more Digg's doing than Lyla's, but she dutifully held Lyla's small bunch of red roses, and tried to smile when the groom kissed the bride. Tried, and failed, not to let her eyes slide to the best man. A man whose smile shifted into something wrecked for the three seconds their gazes held. The wedding party was small, but she'd managed to sit at the opposite end of the table at the restaurant where they'd gone to dinner. Had managed to go the entire day without saying more than three words to Oliver Queen. Most of the time she could pretend, could go back to being Girl Friday, but right now, she just couldn't seem to manage it. When the dessert plates were empty, John Diggle took his not-so-new bride by the hand and led her onto the dance floor. Felicity stood, unable to sit still any longer, and hoped the tears in her eyes read as happiness – because she was happy, for them. When his voice broke into her thoughts she couldn't help the small flinch. "Dance with me," he said, just above a whisper. "You don't dance," she replied, still not looking at him. "True," he agreed. "But this situation requires an exception." "Why?" she asked. She turned then and found him standing at her shoulder, just a breath away. For a moment she thought he wasn't going to answer. Then she saw the pain in his eyes, unmasked for the briefest moment. "Please." She nodded and let her hand fall into his. After everything, it shouldn't have fit so easily but it did, and as always she was taken with how warm his skin was. The music was some ridiculous nineties era love song that would make her cry two weeks later when she heard it floating through the air at the grocery store. He put his arms around her and there was no polite attempt to keep distance, no awkward effort at conversation, he just pulled her against him, and she went, tucking her head underneath his chin. In that first moment she was surrounded by him she felt a stab of fear so sharp that she almost turned and ran. But she was tired of being frightened and angry, so she blocked out those thoughts and made a decision. She was going to have this one moment, just one, to be the woman in his arms. His head turned and she felt his lips again her temple. "You look beautiful," he said. Closing her eyes, she turned her face further into the stiff dark fabric of his suit jacket. She couldn't look at him as she confessed. "I remembered that you liked me in red." She heard him swallow, and felt his breath brush her cheekbone as he leaned his head down toward her. "I like you in anything." Shaking her head, she forced herself to look up and meet his eyes. "Plus, you know, red is so … not bridal. I thought it might help…you know, not to…" "It didn't," he said, an edge of a growl in his words. "I still see it, every time I look at you." And with stunning clarity, the memory came as it always did. That conversation, that night, when he'd told her exactly what she was to him – the promise of something better, a life beyond the hood, a future, "the damned white-picket-fence" as he'd so eloquently put it. "Still think you can't have it?" she said, and the anger crept back in to plant an edge in her voice. She felt him stiffen, start to pull back, but she held tight, softened her voice. "Don't … just keep holding me. Please." He nodded, his expression a mixture of tenderness and pain. "I can do that." They got exactly six and a half minutes before a voice broke in. "Come on, you need to make a toast or something," Roy said slapping Oliver on the shoulder. "After all dude, aren't you the best man?" "Yes," Felicity said, pulling quickly away from him. "He definitely is." Oliver shot her a sharp questioning glance and she gave a wobbly smile and a nod. Selfish, stubborn, and ridiculous yes…but still the best man.. Truth or Death Chapter Notes For FF#20 - Truth or Dare. This was a tough prompt for me. My brain wouldn't go anywhere but a literal direction, I kind of hate the game Truth or Dare, and for some reason couldn't imagine post-island Oliver playing it unless he was forced to. So in the end, I again "borrowed" from Smallville, and did just that. After all, if there can be two versions of Oliver Queen, there can be two versions of deadly-lie-detectorusing bad guys, right? Oh, and in the spirit of Truth, this definitely went way over an hour. Oliver Queen had experienced a lot of unpleasant wakeup calls in his life. But this one…this one, he suspected, might take the prize. The worst part wasn't the funny taste at the back of his throat that let him know he'd been drugged, or the blinding light that flooded his eyes, or the fact he could barely move, or even the disturbing sing-song voice he easily recognized as the psychokidnapper they'd been hunting. No the worst part was that when his vision finally cleared, the first thing he saw was Felicity. She sat across the table in front of him, bound tightly to a metal chair. Her head was awkwardly slumped against her chest and he could see a scrape across her jaw. That was the problem about offering yourselves up as bait. Sometimes you got caught. His eyes snapped toward the voice of the man the press had named the Sweetheart Snatcher. The little man was muttering a steady stream of nutjob vitriol. "Lies, lies, lies, but I'll change you all. I'll make you good, I'll make you true…" "Let her go," Oliver growled, his voice grating out of a dry throat. The man glanced up, his small grey eyes piercing Oliver from where he fiddled behind a machine. "Oh no, we need to let her know what a bad boy you are, Mr. Queen." "What do you want?" Oliver demanded, trying to keep his panic from overtaking his brain. He struggled against the restraints, zip ties he could handle, even handcuffs were manageable, but this guy had him locked up tight. The man's attention shifted back to his machine and Oliver watched with increasing horror as he unspooled what looked like homemade jumper cables. "To make you good, to make you true, to end all of the broken, broken hearted girls. And you have broken lots of hearts, my boy, so many." The Snatcher shuffled to where Felicity sat and some tiny still rational part of Oliver's mind stopped him just short of dislocating his own shoulder as he struggled to get free. "Don't touch her!" The Snatcher gave Oliver a harsh frown. "Oh I won't. I'd never touch another man's girl…not like you…not like all of the bad, bad men." But the words fell far short of reassuring Oliver as the Snatcher clamped each connector to the back of Felicity's metal chair. Then he leaned his head to the side a bit staring down at her. "Still sleepy this one…perhaps just a tiny jolt, a little sting to wake her up." With horrible clarity Oliver realized what the cables were, why the chair she was in was metal. "No! Don't you…" his voice broke, and he watched helplessly as the man turned to his machine and reached for one of the buttons on its control panel. "Let me try …please." He didn't care that an edge of pleading had crept into his voice. The Snatcher folded his arms and looked at Oliver as if considering. "You do seem to actually care…better than the last one. Your pretty girl might even last five minutes before I have to stop her broken heart." Oliver closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing, he felt scraped raw, more vulnerable than he'd felt since returning home. Swallowing he turned his attention back to Felicity, and in a loud, firm voice said. "Felicity, love, I need you to wake up." He could pretend the endearment was for the benefit of their captor, but even as the thought flickered through his mind, he knew it wasn't true. "Felicity, please, for me." He let out a small relieved sigh when her head inched up a fraction. In a small, tired voice she said, "Oliver?" "Yeah, it's me." He took sharp, hard breaths trying to settle his own racing heart. "Felicity I need you to come back to me." The panic he couldn't hide in his voice must have finally broken through her drug induced haze and her head snapped up. She strained against her bindings, as she let out a startled, "Oliver!" "Very nice," the Snatcher interrupted sounding pleased. "She loves the sound of your voice." Then he sighed, "But once I show her your lies, that will change." Oliver saw understanding and terror dawn in her eyes. Then, in a move he would remember, and be utterly proud of for the rest of his life he watched her square her shoulders and attempt to give him smile. "Well, I guess our plan to find the Sweetheart Snatcher worked." He gave a sharp, startled bark of laughter that turned into almost a sob as he looked at her small scared smile. "Felicity, I'm so sorry…I should never…" "It's okay," she said softly, holding his gaze. "No matter what." "That's how it always starts," the sickly sweet voice of The Snatcher interrupted. "Lots of sweet words and long glances, but all the boys lie, and all the girls get broken. I just hurry things along a bit." The Snatcher grabbed another handful of cables and moved toward Oliver. "We'll just plug him in, and see how long it takes him to prove what he really is." "Leave him alone," Felicity snapped. The man drew nearer to Oliver. It took every ounce of resolve he had left not to flinch away when the man reached out and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. For the briefest second he was even tempted to sink his teeth into the man's arm, but he knew that wouldn't help. His only chance now was to cooperate and hope that Digg and Roy could find them before it was too late. The Snatcher roughly slapped two sensors onto the exposed skin of Oliver's chest before turning back to his machine. Of course Oliver had been hooked to a polygraph before, but this felt different, and from their research they knew the creepshow had a background in electrical engineering and psychiatry. He knew he couldn't risk trying to fool this machine, not if he could help it. The Snatcher stepped back to his machine, and with obvious glee pointed to a series of lights on the machine. Turning to Felicity he said, "It's very simple. These stay green and we know he is, for once, telling you the truth. They turn red…." he sighed and looked at Felicity with empathy that was terrifying in its twisted sincerity, "and I will push my button…and the little sparks will start to break your heart." Oliver watched Felicity's teeth clench and she shook her head. "There's no way it's that simple. You're telling me those five couples you killed were all because the men lied? I refuse to believe they'd all put their secrets above the lives of the women they cared about." The Snatcher let out a little laugh and turned back to Oliver. "I do see why you like her," he said. "She's so very smart. Yes, my dear, they told the truth, but in that truth they all quickly revealed how very bad they were. That will also be cause to break your heart." Oliver understood then. If the man perceived him to be anything less than a perfectly devoted boyfriend, Felicity was going to die. The problem was that for everything he felt for the remarkable woman across the table from him, he wasn't her boyfriend, and he certainly didn't come close to being anyone she deserved. Reaching back for his training about polygraphs he forced his breath steady, tried to blank his mind, settle his heartbeat. He had to try. With his finger hovering easily over the buttons of his machine The Snatcher said. "So, to be fair I'll start with an easy one. Just to calibrate things. Do you think she's pretty, Mr. Queen?" A fraction of true calm slid over him. That was an easy one, he allowed himself to stare straight into her eyes as he said. "Of course, she's beautiful." Felicity blinked and the sad smile got a little stronger. "Thank you," she mouthed. He had to close his eyes at that, and The Snatcher's voice crawled inside his mind again. "The most beautiful woman you've ever seen?" There was a snide note in the man's tone, mixed with excitement. Oliver could tell he was expecting the answer to be a lie. So he reached back into his memory, picturing the lightness he'd felt, the surprising flicker of joy it had given him that first day in her office, when she'd given that little head tilt that told him she knew he was full of crap. And he hadn't been able to stay away since. "Yes, she is." He heard Felicity move slightly and his eyes snapped open. He could see she'd braced herself for a shock, eyes squeezed tight, and he felt a stab of sorrow pierce through him. "Well, I admit that's a more promising start than most," The Snatcher said. Felicity's eyes snapped open and she stared at him, obviously puzzled. He gave her a tiny shrug, hoping that the look in his eyes, even more than the damned machine, would tell her it was the truth. The Snatcher sighed. "Do you love her?" Another easy question, he'd loved her as a friend and partner from early on, probably from the moment she'd locked him in his own foundry to save a little boy's father. "Yes." The Snatcher gave a low laugh and turned back to Felicity. "You'd think hearing that would make it all better…but it will only break your heart more when you find out how little that love means." Before Felicity could even respond he whirled back at Oliver. "Have you cheated on her?" Well, they weren't actually together, so that was a fairly easy question as well. "No." The Snatcher shot a puzzled look to his machine, walked toward it and fiddled with the dials. "You haven't touched another woman since you started to care for her?" Damn. Then his brain dug up a response. He couldn't help the urge to smile in spite of their horrible situation. "Not since I told her I loved her, no." Felicity's eyes lit in appreciation of his word choice. Whatever their ups and downs had been, he'd steered clear of every woman but her since the day they'd take down Slade. "Hmm…" The Snatcher said. "Obviously, you're not quite the bad bad boy the papers make you out to be." Oliver felt a flash of anger and he shot the man a dark look. "Sorry to disappoint you," he snarled. The look The Snatcher sent him in response was chilling. "Oh, I'll find something, don't worry on that." His head tilted to the side, and the smile he gave was smug. "Have you ever lied to her?" He shook his head, "I don't like hiding things from her." He was walking a fine line with this response, he knew it, and he heard Felicity swallow hard. It took all his willpower not to glance at the lights on the machine. Whether it was his training or true enough to work, Oliver didn't know, but he let out a relieved sigh when The Snatcher banged on the machine in frustration. "It has to be broken. It must be broken." "He's telling the truth!" Felicity spat. "There's nothing wrong with your machine, except that the wiring looks like it came from 1985." "Felicity," Oliver said warningly, as The Snatcher's arm moved toward one of the buttons. "Don't!" he shouted. There was nothing he could do as he watched the man's finger descend, there was a popping sound and Oliver watched in horror as Felicity's body arched, a cry of pain coming out of her lips. When she slumped back in the chair, Oliver's eyes scrambled over her features trying to tell if she was still with him. Then she let out a shuddering breath, stiffened suddenly, and her eyes flickered open. Her eyes met his and he knew he should try to mask the panic he felt, but he couldn't manage it. "Still here," she said in a harsh whisper. "Be a good girl," The Snatcher said, shaking a finger at her. "A nice girl." Oliver saw anger in her eyes but she clenched her teeth and kept quiet. Vow or no vow, he wanted to end this guy. "Now another question for the gentleman," The Snatcher said, smiling gleefully. "You're surprisingly faithful at the moment but how long do you plan for that to last? For instance, if I asked you to marry her – here and now – would you be willing to do it?" Oliver returned the man's cold smile. The Snatcher wasn't as clever as he thought. The psycho had no idea who he had hooked up to his little love and death machine – no idea of the friendship and faith and loyalty he was dealing with. Yes, Oliver might have a thousand nightmares, a million worries, about what a real relationship between them might mean, but there was almost nothing that terrified him more than losing her. "You have a minister handy?" The Snatcher dived forward, frustrated rage plastered across his pale, scrunched face. He punched Oliver hard across the jaw. "Answer the question!" The force of the chair smashing into the back of his skull made his head swim, but he instantly raised his eyes to The Snatcher's refusing to let the pain show. "In case I wasn't clear," Oliver growled. "The answer is yes." He heard Felicity's exclamation of surprise, but before he could look at her there was a wonderfully familiar thwick-thwick sound through the air, and two red arrows entered his field of vision. One caught the Snatcher in the shoulder, and the other was an obvious, but failed, attempt to split the cable connecting Felicity to the machine. It was nice to know he was still the best. Within seconds Roy had pummeled the Snatcher unconscious, and Digg had entered the room. He looked up at Roy. "There were guards at the back." "On it," Roy said, disappearing again. He reached down and tossed what Oliver hoped were the keys to his restraints to Digg. Digg grabbed the keys and started toward him. "Felicity first," he said sharply. The overwhelming relief he felt as Digg untied Felicity and pulled her away from the chair made him oddly breathless for a moment. Felicity glared at the machine. "Good thing that wasn't working," she said. Then she looked up at him, "Or did you fool it somehow?" Oliver glanced at her in surprise as Digg undid the makeshift manacles that had locked down his ankles and wrists. "I don't think…" he had to stop mid-sentence, still not quite able to get air into his lungs properly. He reached to pull the sensors from his skin, but then paused, and looked at Felicity. Gaze locking with hers he said, "I am not the Arrow." The lights on the machine lit red and a huge arc of electricity jolted the chair, making it rattle against the floor. Felicity let out a startled yelp, scrambling back from it and then stared at him, eyes wide. "You were telling the truth," she said. "Apparently," Oliver said, finally able to force some calm into his voice. He yanked the leads from his skin and stepped around the table. Digg rolled his eyes. "Good thing he was more concerned with questioning your love life than any of your more exciting secrets." "Trust me, Digg," Felicity said, her eyes not leaving Oliver's face. "This was exciting enough." And Oliver was pretty sure she wasn't talking about almost being electrocuted. Happy Thanksgiving, Felicity Smoak Chapter Notes For FF#21 – Three Reasons. First of all, thanks for reading this collection and for all of the kind thoughts about it. It's weird that I'll most likely be saying goodbye to both of my drabble collections this week. My first idea for this was a big, horrible, angst fest and I just couldn't end on that note, so instead you get a little angst mixed with a healthy dose of fall holiday cheer. And of course, I went over an hour again, couldn't be helped. Felicity's doorbell rang – exactly on time. She frowned. Since Diggle had officially become a family man no one on "Team Arrow" was ever on time for anything that didn't actually involve thugs and super-villains. Pulling off the oven mitts she'd been wearing to remove a batch of homemade (ok, so out of the freezer section, but close enough) rolls from the oven she turned and went to answer the door. Pulling it open she froze. Oliver stood there, bottle of wine in one hand and a paper wrapped bouquet of flowers in the other, giving her the little fidgety head tilt that signified he was nervous. "Am I early?" She blinked quickly. She had invited the whole gang after all, she just hadn't quite believed that Oliver would actually come. "No!" she said quickly. "No, of course not. You're on time. Which for you is sort of like being early…not that you don't have reasons for being late." She took a deep breath and repeated. "Anyhow…very punctual today." He gave her a tiny little smile. "That's no good for my reputation." He stuck his hands out. "These are for you." Felicity took the wine and the flowers, shaking her head. The bouquet was a collection of mums in fall colors with sprigs of dried berries – pretty, but clearly not romantic, and she had to sweep that thought out of her head. "I told you – you didn't need to bring anything." Giving a little shrug he said, "You go to someone's house for Thanksgiving, you take something. My mother did manage to teach me a few manners." A shadow passed over his face then and Felicity remembered why Oliver was probably standing at her door. With Thea gone he had nowhere else to be for Thanksgiving. Standing back she tilted her head toward the living room. "It's very thoughtful. Come in." He stepped inside her apartment, and Felicity saw it suddenly through his eyes. A long borrowed table running down the length of the living room because her dining room was far too small, a bright yellow tablecloth she'd bought on clearance at Target, and her mismatched white dishes that she thought were cute but… Suddenly uneasy she said. "I'm sure it doesn't compare to what you're used to, but…" To her surprise he reached out and put a hand on her arm. He rarely touched her these days. "It looks like you – which is never a bad thing." She couldn't help but look at him in that moment. There was a warmth and a gratitude in his face that made her go wobbly for a moment. "Oliver…I know that we…" The doorbell rang again and Felicity jumped. Oliver dropped his hand, and shoved it quickly in his pocket, taking two steps back from her. When she looked at his face a pleasant mask had replaced the glimpse she'd see earlier. "I'll get it," he offered easily. Nodding at the flowers he said, "Why don't you get those in some water." Felicity couldn't help but watch as Oliver went to open the door. Oliver answering her door on Thanksgiving. She got a sudden image of the exact same action in a much different set of circumstances – where this was their home…their Thanksgiving. Her eyes were wet before she could cut her imagination off and Roy gave her a funny look as he came in with Sin in tow. "You okay?" he asked, handing her a can of cranberry sauce. Apparently Roy's mother had stuck in some manners as well, whoever she was. Felicity nodded. "I cut onions earlier, residual effects." "Uh-huh," He nodded, but the look he shot over his shoulder at Oliver made it clear that he had an idea of what had really caused those tears. However, before he could say anything else they were distracted by the arrival of Digg and Lyla with their ridiculously adorable baby. For the next hour, Felicity successfully pushed away the bittersweet thoughts Oliver's "early" arrival had generated. For the first time in her entire life, she had an apartment bursting with people she loved and good food she had somehow managed not to screw up. This was what Thanksgiving was supposed to be about. Then as they passed around pies that had come from the best bakery Felicity could find in Starling, Oliver cleared his throat. "Umm…can I uh make a suggestion?" The uncertainty in his voice brought everyone to a halt. They were used to Oliver giving orders, not making suggestions. She saw Roy and Diggle glance her direction, clearly waiting for her to answer. "Of course, sure," she said. He cleared his throat and stared at his plate. "In my family…" he paused and Felicity felt tears threaten again as she saw his jaw tighten. "In my family we had this tradition. At the end of Thanksgiving dinner we all went around and told each other three things we were thankful for." He glanced up then and his eyes swept around the table. It had been a hard couple of months, with things going from great to extremely difficult in so little time they all had emotional whiplash. "I don't know about you, but I could use the reminder right now." "It's a good idea, boss," Digg said. Felicity gave a tiny smile at Digg's use of "boss." He no longer actually worked for Oliver of course, but it was a gentle reminder that they still considered him the leader of this crazy little team of theirs. "Should I go first?" Oliver nodded quickly, flashing Digg a grateful smile. "If it's okay with Felicity." "Yes, sure, of course," she said quickly, gratified by Oliver's deference to her house and her invitation. Digg looked at Lyla and their lovely little daughter and Felicity knew what John Diggle's first thing would be before he even said it, "I'm grateful for my family," he said. Then he looked at each one of them, ending with her, and Felicity felt her eyes get damp for an entirely different reason. "All of it. In all its forms." Then he grinned, "And the invention of the disposable diaper and, he paused, obviously thinking. "And any night when I get more than two hours of sleep." They all laughed. Lyla and Sin's contributions were less effusive and Felicity knew they didn't feel quite as comfortable voicing their feelings in this crowd. Still Felicity had to smile when Sin ended with, "And for Ambercrombie, even though he's a pain in the ass." Roy took his turn, and Felicity tears threaten again when after casually starting with "Pie and clean socks," he looked at Oliver and said, "For the Arrow, who keeps saving my life." She realized that it was her turn, and suddenly wished she'd insisted on going first. "Who doesn't love pie," she said as her brain and mouth tried to deal with her scrambled emotions. "Um…and like Digg said, family." Wiping away the first tear that had managed to escape, she let herself look around at each person at the table, though she skimmed quickly over Oliver's piercing blue-eyed gaze. "I've never had very much of that in my life, and to have you all here is completely amazing, so thank you for that." Then she was stuck and there was a long, slightly charged moment of silence before she finally decided to be honest. Looking up she met Oliver's gaze. "And like Roy I'm thankful for heroes, especially the ones that sacrifice so much of what they want so they can help others." She watched Oliver's expression break then, and she realized she wasn't the only one fighting tears. It was such a difficult thing to see, that she almost regretted what she'd said. Then he cleared his throat and flashed her a small but very genuine smile. "So I guess it's my turn," he said. He paused for a minute and when he spoke again his voice was steadier. Felicity had a feeling Oliver had prepared what he wanted to say and she found herself holding her breath. "I'm grateful we've all made it through the last few months to be here together," he said. Everyone at the table nodded solemnly. With what they did, that was always going to be something to be extremely grateful for. "And I'm grateful for food and heat and clean water… because I didn't always have that," he said quickly. His eyes got a faraway look for a moment, and Felicity had flashes of the cold jungle of Lian Yu in her own mind. Then he shook his head, and when he looked up, directly at her, she felt for a few seconds like they were the only two people in the room. "And I'm grateful for Felicity." For a moment he looked like he was going to say something else, but then he looked back down at his plate. "Yeah, for Felicity." There was a small heavy silence in the room, and finally Roy muttered. "Aren't we all." Everyone laughed, and nodded, and for a few seconds Felicity didn't bother to stop the tears that fell. Yes, things were hard, and complicated, but there was no doubt in her mind that she had far more than three things to be grateful for. Please drop by the archive and comment to let the author know if you enjoyed their work!
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