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Like A Queen

Chapter Text

If she’s completely honest, most of the time, Felicity doesn’t really mind being Oliver’s EA. When she found out about her “promotion” she had been more upset about the fact that he hadn’t had the decency to at least ask her about it rather than having it be one huge and aggravating surprise when she walked into the office that day because if he had bothered to ask and explained his reasoning she would have wholeheartedly agreed and probably wouldn't have broken the coffee machine in a fit of rage. Spending her nights using her hard-earned skills to protect Starling City and knowing that Oliver can’t run the family company (let alone save the city) without her makes the endless rumors and judgmental looks bearable.

Except for times like right now when Oliver is almost fifteen minutes late to a meeting with an important investor she repeatedly reminded him about every day for the past week.

Luckily, Mr. Harding is too busy with a phone call in the conference room to bother to repeatedly ask her for Mr. Queen’s E.T.A. like so many of their almost-forgotten visitors. Unluckily, Mr. Harding’s young, brunette, punctual, stiletto wearing assistant (Cassie? Cathy?) decided to stay behind in the outer office and has planted herself in the waiting area directly in front of Felicity’s desk, glancing up from her own tablet every five seconds to check her watch and give her a cool, judgmental look. Like it’s her fault it takes her CEO a hundred years to get up in the morning.

She is about to send him another caps lock filled text when he steps through the door with an iced coffee in his hand and a charmingly apologetic expression on his face.

“I’m sorry, I know I’m late. I don’t have a valid excuse for this one so I’m not even going to try, but, look; I got you an iced caramel coffee thing from that place you like. I would’ve gotten you a scone but they ran out.”

She gives him a hard, steely look as she takes the plastic cup out of his hand and replaces it with one of the fancy folders with the company logo embossed on the cover.

“Mr. Harding is one of our biggest investors, he’s interested in the new satellite system Applied Sciences is working on, and he went to school with your father and is friends with Walter which is probably why he chose to make phone calls and politely wait for you this whole time,” she reminds him in a rush, straightening his tie and fixing his jacket as he skims through the folder. “That’s a copy of the progress report and a summary with cliff notes for you. Fifteen minutes after this meeting the head of Applied Sciences is coming in to discuss the outcome of Mr. Harding’s decision. After you’re done we’re having lunch with Thea and Walter at that sushi place down the street and when we come back I’ll help you go over the quarterly reports on your desk. Got all that?”

“Yep.”

“Good. Now, go charm that nice man into giving us his money.”

He gives her a wink before letting the CEO façade fall completely into place and then confidently walks into the conference room with a winning smile and an outstretched hand, leaving her alone with Katie (yeah, it’s Katie) who is looking at her with a rather forlorn pout.

“No one ever brings me coffee,” she hears the brunette say quietly to herself.

Felicity barely manages to hide her smug smile as she takes her seat at her desk and sips her well-deserved drink.

Chapter Text

Felicity has never felt so satisfied eating a salad. It’s probably because the rosewater bath, deep tissue massage, and lemon-avocado facial have left her feeling like brand new and so relaxed that eating anything heavier would put her right to sleep in her fluffy cotton robe. So, yeah, this super fancy lemon salmon arugula salad thing is totally hitting the spot; and, judging by the happy sighs coming from Lyla’s end of the table, it’s doing the same for her too.

“I don’t know how I’m going to repay Oliver for all this,” Lyla sighs, lazily gesturing around the Serenity Bay Spa and Salon’s chic restaurant. “It’s almost too much for a birthday present; but after having the baby and everything that happened before… this is perfect.”

Felicity can feel the excited squeal that’s threating to climb up her throat and ruin Diggle’s plan for a surprise re-proposal tonight and the real reason for Oliver’s ‘early birthday present’. Luckily, she manages to bite it back with a generous smile.

“Well, I’m glad we can help you feel better, Lyla. And a simple ‘thank you’ will be more than enough for Oliver. Although, maybe also a hug?” she adds thoughtfully. “Is it just me or has he been extra affectionate lately? I mean, I get why he’s been showering Thea with hugs and kisses since she came back because, let’s face it, that girl needs all of the emotional reassurance she can get; but lately it’s been like he can’t leave the room without touching me or something. Not that I’m complaining, he’s a great hugger. But, yeah, what’s up with that?”

Lyla just smiles back and shrugs because, although Oliver has been more affectionate as of late, she can’t bring herself to tell Felicity that, other than his sister, it really is just her.

John had told her all about what Oliver had done to bring down Slade and it had taken some measure of restraint on her part to keep from putting a bullet in him for putting Felicity in such a position, for not only using her as bait without her consent but toying with her heart as well. She knows that Felicity is the type of person who tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, who loves freely and openly once she lets someone get close enough and there is no way she could never hide how she feels about Oliver Queen, regardless of the seemingly infinite number of masks he wears. Once upon a time John was sure that both of his friends were destined for a world of hurt because Oliver refused to speak plainly and go after what they both wanted because, for whatever reason, he wasn’t ready or he thought it was too dangerous. But now, Starling City’s crime rate is at an all-time low, QC is back under the control of the Queen family, and Oliver regularly and openly looks at Felicity like she’s his own personal ray of sunshine and Lyla thinks she’s ready to bet that John was wrong.

There’s a soft hand gently tapping hers and she looks up to see a somewhat amused Felicity and a half-concerned looking waiter looking at her rather expectantly.

“Ly-la. Earth to Lyla!” Felicity calls to her in a song-song voice. “Boy, are you relaxed! Pete here wants to know if you want some dessert before we head over to the salon for our mani-pedis. No? Okay.” She turns to smile brightly at Pete. “We’ll just take the check, then.”

“Oh, there’s no need, Mrs. Qu – I mean, Ms. Smoak. Mr. Queen already took care of everything, including the tip. I hope you ladies enjoy the rest of your afternoon.”

“All right, that’s the third time someone here has almost called you ‘Mrs. Queen’,” Lyla says the moment Pete is out of earshot, “and that’s not counting the general manager who actually called you ‘Mrs. Queen’ twice when he greeted us in the lobby.”

“Yeah, they’ve gotten better at it; before I had to correct them every five minutes.”

Lyla raises her eyebrows at Felicity’s apparent nonchalance to regularly being confused as her boss’s wife. Although she had been surprised at how familiar and comfortable Felicity seems to be in the ultra-exclusive and incredibly expensive spa when they first arrive, she really didn’t expect that kind of response from her.

“About once a month I get my hair colored at the salon,” Felicity explains, suddenly becoming engrossed with the condensation dripping down her glass of water.

“And they would still call you ‘Mrs. Queen’ because…”

“Because Oliver pays for it,” she half mumbles into water. “Hey, how are you getting your nails done? I’m thinking of painting the fingers purple and my thumbs green like The Hulk.”

Nope. There is no way Lyla’s letting this go.

“Oliver pays for you to get your hair done? I get the coffee-inside joke-thing and I know he’s a generous friend, but why would he regularly pay for your hair?”

“Because it’s his fault and he knows it.”

“How?”

Felicity takes a deep breath.

“Before I met him I used to sometimes get it done at a little place on Hill Street whenever I had some extra cash, but most of the time I did it myself and it was fine; in fact, I did it so well no one ever knew I colored it. But then, he walked through my door and before I knew it I was working two very stressful full-time jobs with not enough time to actually make sure that the box of Clairol I was grabbing at Rite Aid was the right shade to touch up my roots. I didn’t even realize it was the wrong color until everything was done and I had zero time to buy the right stuff and fix it. Luckily I didn’t have to go to the office that day, just to, you know, my other job, and I could just put on a hat and hide until morning. But then stupid Roy had to go and pretend to be funny and take my stupid hat off my head and start asking me what was wrong with my hair, so I yelled at him. In my loud voice. Oliver, of course, heard the whole thing and the next morning he had Thea bring me here because this is where she and Moira always got their hair done, which is probably why they’re so used to saying ‘Mrs. Queen’.”

“Whenever I hear someone say ‘Mrs. Queen’ I still think of Moira,” she, unsurprisingly, continued. “And I swear, the first time someone called me that I thought the woman had come back from the dead just to belittle me for hiring her old stylist.”

“She didn’t like you?” Lyla was sure no one was capable of disliking Felicity. Well, except for the criminals and corrupt one-percenters she helped take down and put away but they don’t really count.

“I think, at first, she just tolerated me for Oliver and Walter’s sake; but then I confronted her about Thea and... She just wasn’t very nice,” she explained with a sad sigh. “I did feel bad about bad-mouthing her at her funeral, though.”

Lyla sagely nods her head, to Felicity’s surprise.

“John’s mother hated me, too.  She didn’t like Carly much either. We ate our way through her wake so no one would hear us talking smack about Mama Diggle. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who got along with their mother-in-law. At least in your case no one would fault you for not getting along with yours,” she teases with an almost wicked grin.

Felicity looks at her thoughtfully before humming appreciation. “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”

Lyla has to bite her lip to keep the giddy giggle from escaping because Felicity, the woman who apparently walked around reminding the world that she wasn’t married to Oliver Queen, just about referred to his mother as her mother-in-law.

Chapter Text

When they finally got their fortunes back Oliver and Thea decided to not move back into their childhood home and instead opted to take up residence in the family’s penthouse situated at the top of the most expensive hotel in the city. At first, Felicity thought a hotel was an odd place for a family to buy a home but then she remembered that Oliver’s great-great grandfather made his fortune by playing and winning a real-life version of Monopoly so she just shrugged off their weird rich people logic.

 The penthouse itself takes up the top two floors and residency includes the use of all of the hotel’s amenities which she has no problem taking full advantage of, especially after Oliver pulled her aside one day and told her “What’s mine is yours.” Although, he was most probably referring to the company, his money, and the simultaneously scary and heartwarming notarized legal document that gives her durable power of attorney and not necessarily the use of the hotel’s complementary dry cleaning services. On the other hand, she does clean his Arrow suit just about every other night, so, yeah, whatever.

The point is that when Felicity walks into the penthouse one Sunday morning looking for her clothes she expects to find Oliver eating his Wheaties in the breakfast nook and instead finds Thea and Roy eating her not-so secret stash of Coco Puffs on the couch and no Oliver. 

“He’s not home yet,” Thea tells her and Roy wordlessly hands her the box of cereal, neither of their eyes wavering from the cartoon playing in front of them.

Oliver comes home halfway through their second episode of Adventure Time and the warm smile he greets her with does not cause Felicity’s annoyance level to fall, not one bit. She knows exactly where he’s been.

“Why are you wearing yesterday’s clothes, Oliver? Either you slept in the in the Foundry or you had a very good date last night and, considering that you dropped me off at my place at two in the morning, I’m pretty your answer is gonna be the former. So, really, my question should be ‘Why are you sleeping in the Foundry, Oliver?’”

“He sleeps there when Thea sleeps over at my place,” Roy says helpfully and Thea suddenly understands why Diggle and Sara call him a Mama’s Boy.

“Oliver! Why would you sleep in that dirty, dingy, damp basement when you have a clean and comfy place here? And I know you can sleep anywhere but your king size bed and fluffy pillows have to be ten times more comfortable than that cot I know you slept on. Besides, that is an emergency naptime cot for emergencies and naps, and last night was not an emergency. Do not make me regret buying that cot, Oliver.”

Oliver throws his back and sighs in what appears to be defeat. “I sleep there because I can’t get comfortable here. It feels like a hotel.”

“That’s because it is a hotel.”

“Exactly! It doesn’t feel like home,” he says in a surprisingly animated fashion considering he looks like he still didn’t get some decent rest despite going to sleep in a heavily secure underground superhero bunker. “Even when Thea’s here it doesn’t feel like home. It doesn’t even smell like home.” He makes a face. “Also, I think my dad used to bring his mistresses here.”

Felicity frowns and turns to Thea whose face is mirroring her brother’s cringe. “Thea, are you okay with moving into a new place?”

“Well, I am now.”

*

Since becoming Oliver’s EA, Felicity has stopped being surprised at how quickly money and the Queen name can get things moving; so, she’s pretty pleased at how the realtor’s appointment window immediately jumps from sometime next week Friday to Monday afternoon the moment she mentions she’s Oliver’s assistant.

The realtor, Joan, an attractive woman in her mid-fifties with perfectly styled red hair and equally red lips, diligently writes down every item on Oliver and Thea’s wish list. Thea explains that she wants something with lots of closet space and that her bathroom needs to have a tub; meanwhile, Oliver’s list boils down to “move-in ready” and “not a hotel”. However, when Felicity rambles off her own wish list for the future Queen home the realtor simply raises a carefully drawn eyebrow.

“We’re going to need at least 4 to 5 bedrooms, 3 to 3 ½ bathrooms, a big kitchen, and have good security,” she says, recalling the list she made the night before. “Oh! And it has to be kid-friendly. Or, at least, baby-friendly. Not that we have a baby or are planning on having one in the near future. It’s for when we babysit our goddaughter who is just the most precious little – Wait you didn’t write any of that down.”

“Oh, don’t worry, I got it all,” the Joan says through a polite smile.

She didn’t.

*

The first location the realtor shows them is a penthouse suite on the 40th floor of a building about three blocks from QC Headquarters. With two floors, five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a twenty-four hour concierge service it is similar to the penthouse they are trying to leave behind. Actually, it seems like the only difference between the two is the fact that this one has floor to ceiling windows in every room.

“That’s a lot of windows,” Felicity remarks as they enter the foyer and are immediately greeted with beams of sunlight and a fairly impressive view of the ‘Q’ atop the QC building. “There are just windows everywhere. It doesn’t seem very private and we’re big on privacy. Also, the concierge service is a little too hotel-y and the security seems…lacking.”

If Joan the Realtor is surprised by Felicity’s commentary, she doesn’t show it.  Instead she flashes Oliver a pearly white smile and presses a button on a nearby home control panel that causes the crystal clear windows to suddenly turn opaque.

“Mr. Queen, I can assure you the 40th floor will grant you as much privacy as you need.  Meanwhile, the building has a top of the line security system that is monitored, maintained, and was designed by a former employee of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and his very select team of personnel. You will be as safe as the President in the Oval Office.”

Oliver can see from the critical and mildly offended look Felicity is giving the control panel that she can hack it in about two seconds and that is about two seconds too fast for any of them to be comfortable with.

Also, it really does feel a little too hotel-y.

So, Oliver grits his teeth and slips on his perfected CEO smile. “Can we maybe look at houses instead?”

All three of them realize they’re not going to like the second location the moment they realize that Joan is taking them into the hills just outside the city limits, although she tries her best to sell them on the “spectacular views”. Nevertheless, their suspicions are confirmed the minute they walk into the off-beige, ultra-modern mansion and are greeted by its very sleek, shiny, and surprisingly sharp looking interior.

Naturally, Felicity is the first to comment.

“Why don’t the stairs have bannisters? I know this place is going for ‘modern chic’, but isn’t that a safety hazard? Although, that jagged cliff of a backyard is definitely a hazard. We’d have to be extra careful babysitting or she’ll crawl out there when we’re not looking and then it’s bye-bye Digglet.”

Joan simply blinks at her for a moment and then turns to look at Oliver rather expectantly.

“This seems more like a bachelor pad than a family home,” he politely says as he gently rests his hand on the small of Felicity’s back, “and we’re looking for a family home.”

Thea swears she can see the puzzle pieces finally coming together in Joan’s head.

From then on, for the most part, the houses start to fit the criteria set out by all three of their wish lists. While Joan continuously looks to Oliver for his opinion as the man responsible for her commission, Oliver essentially gives each house a passing glance, opting instead to go by Thea’s facial expressions and Felicity’s criticism.

“This kitchen is tiny compared to the rest of the house. Only half of our leftovers will fit in that teeny-tiny fridge.”

“There are no bathtubs in this whole house. Sure, there’s a hot tub outside but that’s not the same as a bathtub and Thea said she wanted one. Thea, didn’t you say you wanted a bathtub?”

“Who puts carpet in their kitchen?”

It takes them the better part of three days to find the right house; and when they do, it is absolutely perfect.

The six bedroom, 3 ½ bath, two-story colonial sits in a high-class neighborhood close enough to both Verdant and the office for traffic to be manageable while still having enough distance from neighbors to maintain their desired level of privacy and security. Thea oohs over the wide deck in the expansive backyard and aahhs over the luxurious Jacuzzi tubs in the upstairs bathrooms while Felicity immediately falls in love with the kitchen and its stainless steel double oven.

“So, Mr. Queen, what do you think?”

Oliver looks at Felicity and Thea’s ridiculously hopeful faces and chuckles, “Whatever my girls want.”

And, just like that, they buy a house.

*

It takes them about two weeks to actually move into the new house. Oliver and Thea first have to go through all of the furniture and knickknacks they have at the penthouse and in storage to figure out what they want to take with them and what they should buy, and then there’s the whole process of actually physically moving everything in. Felicity, the meticulous organizer she now is, has them draw up where they want the movers to put everything on a simple blueprint of the house. Thea had expected Oliver to defer to Felicity for that task but instead found the blonde telling her, “This is your home, Thea, you should put things where you feel they should go.”

Still, it doesn’t stop Felicity from picking out the much needed curtains and the overlooked welcome mat, from placing bouquets of fresh flowers in the foyer and on the kitchen table every week, or having a spare toothbrush and her favorite coffee mug from quickly migrating into the house.

It also doesn’t stop the movers from calling her “Mrs. Queen”; although, she does give up on correcting them after about forty-five minutes and Lyla teases her about it during the house warming party they finally have two months later when Sara and Nyssa pass through town.

They invite the rest of Team Arrow and Laurel and Captain Lance. Walter is in London, but he sends gorgeous and outrageously expensive tea set they immediately lock away in a display cupboard. Oliver buys a grill for the occasion and Felicity bakes four pies in her beloved double oven while Thea contemplates whether it warrants the use of their newly purchased china. Roy saves her the trouble and gets them mountains of paper plates and plastic cups and tells them to “Just make a barbecue out of it, you rich weirdos.”

Thea spends most of the party playing with Lyla and Diggle’s baby in the living room with Roy while Captain Lance and Diggle teach Oliver how to use his brand-new, overly complicated grill and Lyla, Nyssa, and the Lance Sisters follow Felicity on her grand tour of the house.

“I was really iffy about the kitchen having an island but then I baked some pies and I got over it,” Thea hears Felicity say when she wanders into the kitchen for a drink.

Lyla barely stifles a giggle as Sara and Nyssa nod appreciatively and Laurel looks at them in amused confusion.

“I love the backsplash here,” Nyssa comments. “We saw something similar on Property Brothers and I thought it looked somewhat garish, but here it certainly works.”

“It really compliments the counters and cabinets and it brings out the detail in these cute little knobs,” Sara adds and Laurel becomes even more confused.

“Wait, you guys watch HGTV?” she asks.

“We basically live on a cargo ship, Laurel. We have to live out our domestic lives through others.”

Oliver laughs as he walks through the kitchen with a tray full hotdogs and burgers and tells them to gather in the dining room if they want to eat before dropping a kiss on Thea’s head.

For Thea it feels strange to have this rather odd group of people be the ones to attend the housewarming party for her new house. Before the Gambit, back when she had both a mother and a father and an older brother and the world seemed like an even meadow, such an event would have taken place in an opulent mansion and consisted of over a hundred of her parents “closest friends” with catering and staff and gowns. Now, it’s a little over half a dozen people, throwaway dinnerware, and burgers despite the house being more of a modest mansion than a house (although it’s still the biggest in the neighborhood).

When Thea was twelve years old the ocean swallowed her father and brother and that was when she gave up on the idea of home. She still had her mother and their castle of a mansion, but despite her mother’s best efforts and Walter’s steady presence, it became a haunted place with each corner, nook, and cranny screaming absence. Funnily enough, she used to fantasize about them being found and rescued off of some deserted island, having them come home tan and tired and alive; but then she would walk past Oliver’s empty room or hear Walter’s voice in her father’s office and she would hide herself in whatever drug her so-called friends handed her.

When half of her fantasy came true, when Oliver came home tan, tired, and very alive, she hadn’t expected for everything to fall apart.

(In hindsight it all makes sense – her mother, Malcolm Merlyn, Oliver and everything he carried with him to the surface when he climbed out of the Pacific and cut through the night with arrows and a hood.)

Despite all of the changes – a new house, a new extended family, an altered identity, and a new way of looking at the harsh world – she looks at Oliver sitting at the head of the table with Felicity talking animatedly at his right and she feels something familiar beginning to set inside of her.

Later, after the party is over and everyone else has gone home, Thea watches as Oliver gently urges Felicity to leave recovery for the morning with a chaste kiss on her head and soft pull of his hand and she comes to understand what this familiar feeling is that has settled inside of her again.

Felicity isn’t what she expected for her brother. She had thought, like just about everyone else did, that Laurel would be The One. At first glance, Laurel made sense. Laurel has a shared history with Oliver. Laurel is a sophisticated, sharply dressed, high-powered attorney and a seemingly perfect fit for the Queen heir. No one saw Felicity Smoak coming, not this bespectacled bottle-blonde in panda bear flats cursed with a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease. But she has been exactly what he needed, what they needed. With Oliver technically her boss, Felicity doesn’t have to defend Thea’s need for time and a little more space, she didn’t have to ask Thea for her opinion on the house or push for her to get her much desired bathtub, and she didn’t have to use Raisa’s old recipes to bake their four favorite pies from scratch and have the new house smell like sugar and cinnamon and home.

But she did.

So, it’s a funny kind of shock when, on her way to her brother’s room, Thea finds Felicity alone in a guestroom wearing one of Oliver’s old shirts and strategically arranging the pillows on the bed. Still, Thea knocks on the door and her heart is warmed by the affection she finds in her eyes.

“I just wanted to stop by and say goodnight,” Thea says. “And, maybe, also get a hug?”

Felicity’s eyes widen for a moment but then she quickly spreads her arms wide open and Thea settles in her ready embrace.

“Are you okay, Thea?”

She sighs as Felicity starts to softly rub her back. “Sort of. I just wanted thank you.”

“For what?”

“For taking care of us. For everything,” Thea answers quietly and she feels Felicity smile into her hair.

“Well, that’s what family’s for.”

Chapter Text

Felicity's outfit: gala

Back when Felicity first became Oliver’s EA she had thought that one of the perks of the job would be attending all of the glamourous galas and events the multi-billionaire CEO of a multi-national corporation would, for some reason, require his assistant to accompany him to. The first time she tagged along for an event she had been excited about the dress and shoes, about mingling with the movers and shakers that made up Starling City’s high society regardless of how morally corrupt she knew most of them to be.

Now, sadly, she’s over it.

Sure, the dresses and shoes are gorgeous and worth more than her mother ever made in a month; but the shoes are always way too high and pinch-y and she always has to be mindful of how much champagne she drinks because she’s never too sure on how the bathroom situation is going to work with the full length gowns and she absolutely refuses to reenact that horrifying end to her 8th grade prom.

Also, it is really tiring to feign small talk and a pleasant smile with people she knows are really lying, two-faced, white collar criminals in possession of millions of dollars in very dirty money.

All that said, as far as Felicity is concerned, the worst of it is the fact that all they seem to serve at these things are teeny-tiny, half-bite hors d’oerves which just adds to the overall suckiness of the situation. No grub means there is very little to distract her from the frustration of being treated like she’s just Oliver’s pretty, blonde assistant; which, in turn, means that after collecting about two dozen business cards she is pushed into the sidelines and forced to watch Oliver schmooze investors and get hit on by every other socialite in the building. Although she knows Oliver hates these events as much as she does, that he would much rather be chasing down drug dealers as much as she would much rather be eating through a tub of mint chocolate chip, and she knows he does everything he possibly can to get out of them, it doesn’t change the fact that by the one hour mark she is usually uncomfortable, hungry, way too far away from him.

So, when Oliver’s invitation to the Starling City Children’s Hospital’s Annual  Fundraising Gala lands on her desk one drizzly Monday morning, Felicity does everything she can to get Oliver out of it because she knows, she just knows, he is going to drag her along.

Unfortunately for them both, QC’s PR team gets wind of the invitation and by that afternoon half of the team is sitting in the conference room with a rather disgruntled looking Oliver, begging him to do more than just sign a hefty check and actually attend the first event he has been invited to since regaining control of the company.

“It’s only for a few hours, Mr. Queen. All you have to do is show up, flash a few smiles on the red carpet, give a handful of interviews, and have a little small talk with your investors and the like,” one suit says.

“It’s for a very good and wonderfully charitable cause, Mr. Queen,” another adds. “It would be fantastic for our, and your, public image.”

Think of the company, Mr. Queen,” a third pleads.

When the PR team leaves the office smiling and victorious Oliver shoots her a sincerely apologetic look.

“I’m going to make it up to you,” he assures her as he gently rests his hands on her slender shoulders. “It’ll be different this time, I promise.”

Felicity almost completely forgives him.

 

*

Oliver tries to keep his promise to make things different this time and buys her a dress.

He always buys her a new dress for these events, but usually he just hands her his black Amex and tells her to get whatever she wants. This time, however, when he walks into the Foundry the Monday they receive the terrible invitation, he hands her a small stack of catalogues and tells her to pick out a dress.

The fact that all of the products in all of the catalogues say “price available upon request” tells her that all of her options are insanely expensive; and the fact that he tells her that Thea will put in the order tells her that he really doesn’t want her to find out what the insanely expensive price tag is. (Like that will stop her.)

She had assumed that that was the extent of his attempt to make things different.

She had hoped that the dress’s sweetheart neckline and open back would at the very least catch his attention.

She never expected to see a sunstruck Oliver holding a slim black velvet box waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs.

“I stopped by the vault looking for some cufflinks when I came across this,” he explains as he secures the gold and emerald bracelet around her slender wrist. “It was my grandmother’s. I thought it would look good with your dress.”

Felicity doesn’t realize she stopped breathing until he finally takes her hand and leads her to the limo waiting for them outside.

*

Red carpets are organized chaos and Felicity is once again grateful that the Queens always opted to speed right past them. She is also very annoyed with the QC PR department for “encouraging” Oliver to actually stop and pose for pictures and, ugh, do interviews.

Thankfully, Oliver is a pro at working the press and he still remembers his old glamor routine from his pre-Island days so all she has to do is stay a few steps behind and out of sight of the camera’s lens.

Except, it doesn’t take long before Oliver notices the distance between them and sees her standing three feet away with a polite smile on her face and her hands folded dutifully in front of her.

He subtly shakes his head and pulls her to his side.

“You’re not my assistant, you’re my partner,” he says, his hand coming to rest on the small of her half exposed back.

It stays there for the remainder of their trip down the press line and doesn’t move until after his second glass of champagne when it finally snakes around her waist as they’re chatting with the Starling City Treasurer.

Felicity, feeling the weight and heat of his hand seeping through the material of her dress, allows herself to revel in the sparks his touch is sending down her back and thinks that, although she would still rather be either at home or in the Foundry, having Oliver’s arm wrapped around her certainly makes getting through a night of chumming with Starling City’s resident one-percenters so much more bearable.  She is so preoccupied with keeping track of who they have spoken to and maintaining small talk while hanging on Oliver’s arm that she doesn’t notice an hour and a half has gone by until she feels her bladder begging for relief.

She pokes his side the second the deputy mayor steps away from them.

“Hey, nature is screaming my name. Why don’t you go and make nice with the hospital director over there while I’m gone?”

He responds with a bright “Okay” and the ease with which he drops a sweet kiss on her temple while in a very public place brings such a wide and happy smile that she actually feels like she’s glowing. The smile doesn’t leave her face even as she waits in the long line for the restroom or even as she wrestles with the full magenta skirt she fell in love with even though she knew she was going to get into this exact situation because, apparently, Oliver Queen can’t keep his hands off of her.

Felicity is floating back to the ballroom when she hears her name half-murmured by a faintly familiar voice in a barely hidden alcove. Turning just a fraction she finds Katie, Mr. Harding’s assistant, and a handful of other young assistants crowded around a stolen plate of mini hotdogs.

Felicity knows better. She really does. But, of course, she hates mysteries and, since they somehow manage to not notice her standing barely six feet away, she stays there and listens.

“Did you see what she’s wearing? It’s a Monique Lhullier,” a redhead in a blue dress says, “from the new collection.”

“It’s probably a knock off. Or she borrowed it from Thea Queen,” a short brunette in sky-high heels scoffs and her curly-haired blonde buddy in gauzy pale dress shakes her head.

“Nope. I ran into her at the boutique when I was picking up Mrs. Jameson’s dress yesterday. Oliver Queen bought that dress specifically for her.”

“He’s gotta be her Sugar Daddy or something,” the brunette says after basically swallowing a mini hotdog whole. “I mean, she supposedly has this fancy degree from MIT but she’s working as his assistant? She’s gotta be secret sex-bomb if he’d dump a woman like Laurel Lance for a nerdy chick from Vegas.”

And just like that Felicity is yanked from her happy cloud and thrown into cold, dark and deep waters.

This isn’t the first time she has caught people talking about her behind her back and she has known all about the rumors surrounding her and Oliver for months.  Usually she doesn’t let it bother her, just shrugs it all off and focuses on her tasks, on the greater mission that her secret identity as Executive Assistant to the CEO hinges on.  She knows she shouldn’t listen, knows she shouldn’t pay attention to anything these women say. Felicity worked hard to get out of her hometown and earn that fancy MIT degree. She has parachuted out of airplanes onto far-flung deserted islands, survived a terrible man-made earthquake, and is one-fifth of a superhero crime fighting team that has saved the city more than half a dozen times.

Yet, despite it all, a familiar heavy, dreadful feeling comes rushing in and sinks into the pit of her stomach. It’s the ball of bone-deep ache born from the orgy of locker room taunts, dirty pranks, well-aimed gumballs, and bruises. It’s the horror of finding that the sad, scrawny, little girl in secondhand clothes and over-sized glasses she thought she had mourned and buried is still very alive and still very much inside of her.

“I think it’s sweet that he brings her coffee in the morning,” Katie adds.

The redhead shrugs. “I overheard Joan, the realtor lady, say that they’re actually living togeth-“

“Hey, there you are!”

Oliver’s voice cuts through the alcove and sends the pack of assistants scattering like the rats they found living behind one of the weapons cabinets in the Foundry.

Her hero.

“Felicity, are you okay?” he asks, his face etched with concern. “And I know that face, so don’t say ‘it’s nothing’.”

“It’s noth – It’s just some stupid gossip,” she says, desperately trying to edge the hurt from her voice. “I overheard someone say my name and… it’s just the same crap they say about us all the time, nothing to get worked up over.”

 “I thought I was getting some Mean Girl vibes out here too.”

“You mean they’re talking about me – I mean us – out there?”

Oliver half-defeatedly runs his hand over his face. There’s a part of him that doesn’t want to know what these women were saying about her but he can imagine because he’s still trying to get the chatter from the other executives wives out of his ear. At first he had been amused and tremendously pleased when he heard that people were referring to Felicity as ‘Mrs. Queen’, but the comments that immediately followed that reveal had him aching for his bow and quiver.

 “Let’s get out of here. Neither one of us actually wants to be here, Felicity; let’s just go get some insanely greasy food, put on our PJs, and veg out on my couch. What do you say?”

He really is her personal knight in green leather and, as much as she wants to let him sweep her away in his limo to his homey mansion and stuff her face, she can’t. They can’t.

Stupid obligations.

So, she puts on her best brave face and says, “We have to stay at least another hour. You promised the PR team, remember? Besides, I’m a big girl, Oliver. I’ll be fine.”

They make it thirty minutes before they are both just absolutely, physically, emotionally, spiritually, existentially done.

When they finally make it out they follow Oliver’s original escape plan and by 11 o’clock she’s wearing her Pac Man pajamas, stretched out on his couch with her feet in his unsurprisingly capable hands and her tummy full of fried food and the imported mint chocolate chip gelato he surprised her with.

“Tell me this makes up for at least part of the night,” he asks her.

“What does?”

He taps her right foot. “This. The overpriced dessert and the foot rub. I promised you I’d try to make up for having to go to the stupid fundraiser. Remember?”

Looking at him and his stupidly hopeful face, Felicity thinks about the seemingly priceless dress hanging in her closet, the gem encrusted jewelry resting on her vanity, and the heat of his hand still burning on her waist and decides that the combination of money and being trapped on a hellish island for five years has warped Oliver Queen’s ideas of favors and romance.

*

The next night they’re alone together in the Foundry, Felicity running much needed updates on her babies with one monitor showing her work, another left blank and positioned to reflect Oliver’s form working its way up the salmon ladder, and the third softly playing the nightly news. She considers changing the station when the news broadcast ends and the programing shifts to Starling Beat, an entertainment show that it seems has decided to start its broadcast covering the fundraising gala, but then she sees hears Oliver’s name and she turns up the volume instead.

She’s disappointed and annoyed when they air footage of the interview he gave but with no audio and he tells her he’s not surprised.

However, they’re both surprised when they hear her name flow out of the speakers during the fashion review.

Oliver Queen looked dashing in classic black Armani and his date, rumored girlfriend Felicity Smoak, brought a much needed splash of color in a striking magenta Monique Lhullier number paired with a gorgeous antique emerald bracelet. Partygoers say that Queen could not keep his hands off of his blonde bombshell the entire night, and, considering the stunning cut on the back of that dress, who can blame him!

“Lynn, I’ve got to say it. I’m gonna call it right now. Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak are this week’s Starling City Beat’s Best Dressed Couple…”

He can see the wide-eyed expression on her face through the one blank monitor as he cautiously makes his way off the mats and towards her.

 Felicity turns her wide eyes towards him as he comes to stand right beside her workstation and bites her lip. Oliver doesn’t even bother to try and smother his amused smile.

“If we put out a statement explaining I’m not your girlfriend, will we still be ‘Best Dressed Couple’?”

So she might be a little shallower than anyone expects. Who cares?

In the end he has the QC PR team give a ‘No comment’ whenever the media asks for their relationship status and their seven day reign as Starling City’s Best Dressed Couple goes on uncontested.

They both count it as a victory.

Chapter Text

Felicity's outfit: out shopping

 

It’s a quiet night in the Foundry when the article surfaces.

Even over the noise coming from Sara and Diggle’s sparring match, Oliver can hear the familiar ping! of one of Felicity’s alerts and the gasp that quickly follows it. He looks up from the row of arrows arranged on his workbench and sees Felicity’s face contort into a frown first directed at the screen in front of her and then towards her belly which she starts poking with a carefully manicured finger.

Wordlessly, he gets up and comes to stand by her side, ready to ask her what could be troubling her when he sees the headline screaming from the Starling Beat main page on her monitor.

Starling City’s Own Royal Baby Bump Watch

It seems that congratulations are in order for bad boy-turned-CEO Oliver Queen. His rumored long-term girlfriend, Felicity Smoak, was seen showing off a growing baby bump while leaving a trendy downtown boutique earlier today.

Photogs were actually trying to catch a glimpse of Real Housewives of Starling City’s filming in a nearby yoga studio when they caught the glowing mama-to-be stepping out in a lovely tight fitting floral-print Calvin Klein dress.

Smoak, 27, is an MIT grad and also works as Queen’s Executive Assistant. The usually private couple made a surprise appearance at last month’s Starling City Children’s Hospital’s Fundraising Gala where Smoak, in particular, wowed fashion critics in a stunning magenta Monique Lhullier dress reportedly priced at about $10,000. Now, it seems that pricy full skirt was hiding a new bundle of joy.

Although a rep for the Queen family could not be reached, sources are saying that Smoak has already moved into the new Queen mansion and that a walk down the aisle is not too far away.

“It’s okay,” Oliver calmly tells her. “This isn’t really a big deal, Felicity. We can just have the PR team put out a statement and by next week everyone will have forgotten all about it.”

She rolls her eyes. “I’m not worried about that. People will realize there’s no baby when there’s no actual baby.”

“Well, then, what’s with the pouty-face?”

She pokes her tummy again.

Oh.

“Am I really so big everyone thinks I’m pregnant?”

Oh no.

“I mean, I always gain weight on my boobs and my butt first and that’s not usually an issue because usually I can take care of things before my clothes get too snug, but I’ve been so busy trying to track that master thief Lyla warned us about and helping with that Applied Sciences project that I haven’t been able to eat as well I should. On top of that, your new neighborhood doesn’t have any sidewalks for some weird reason, so I haven’t been able to run as much. Oliver, we spend like ninety-eight percent of our time together, didn’t you notice me getting bigger?”

He has noticed. Entire parts of him have noticed. Specifically, parts of him that tend to stand at attention when she comes into his office and leans over his desk in dresses that  leave him unable to leave his chair for several minutes and there is no way in hell he is going to tell her that.

“Maybe I should join a gym,” Felicity wonders aloud and Oliver glances confusedly towards the training equipment ten steps away from them. “You’ve got nothing for cardio, Oliver. You and Sara get that done parkouring after criminals. I need a treadmill or a stationary bike.”

Oliver doesn’t need to look over at Sara and Digg to know that they have long since stopped sparring because he can hear them trying to cover their laughter with coughs and failing.

“Felicity, would you like to start training with me again?” Sara manages to ask through her half-hidden giggles and Felicity nods gratefully in response.

Oliver oddly feels like he has just dodged a bullet.

*

When Laurel calls to invite her out to lunch the next morning, Felicity is puzzled.

Felicity likes Laurel, respects her, and counts her as a friend…of sorts.

The thing is Felicity isn’t as close to Laurel as she is with Sara. However, Laurel is Sara’s big sister and Oliver’s friend in spite of (or maybe because of) all of their history, and she seemingly has no problem in sharing Captain Lance, who’s fatherly concern makes her heart twist with a special kind of ache.  Also, she tries to put away as many of the bad guys they catch as she can, making her, essentially, a part of Team Arrow. So, by Felicity’s tally, Laurel is pretty much family; albeit, somewhat awkward and not very chummy but still friendly family, but, yeah, still family.

Truth be told, Felicity partially blames herself for the awkwardness because she called her Gorgeous Laurel to her face when she was still coming to terms with her then little crush on Oliver and sometimes she swears that petty moniker still echoes between them. Luckily, they’re both mature adults who can meet up for lunch on a somewhat random Wednesday and greet each other with polite and still friendly smiles.

“So, what’s up?” Felicity asks once the waiter steps away with their orders. “Isn’t Sara joining us?”

“No, I actually wanted to talk to you,” Laurel says before taking a deep gulp of her water and then an equally deep and calming breath. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m happy for you and Oliver.”

“Oh. Um, okay. Thanks?”

Laurel smiles kindly and takes another deep breath.

“See, when Slade came to me and told me the truth about Ollie I struggled a little with it but then Sara told me that he needed me and I thought it all meant that he and I were supposed to be together, that it was fate that brought him back to me after so long. But then Slade kidnapped the both of us and I heard what Ollie said and at first I just thought it was part of the plan but then I saw how he looked at you and how he keeps looking at you and I realized that he had moved on. I’m not going to lie, it hurt; but now, I’ve moved on too.”

There is a cell phone in Felicity’s face now and it takes a moment before her confused mind can focus on the image in front of her.

“Oh, who’s he? He’s cute.”

“Ted Grant. Someone in A.A. recommended I take up boxing to help me work through some things. He runs the gym I’ve been going to,” Laurel happily explains before. “Felicity, I really hope we can be friends. I mean real friends. After everything that’s happened I’ve come to realize that I actually don’t have that many girlfriends and I really don’t want things to be that awkward between us anymore. And I really am happy for you and Ollie. You guys are going to be amazing parents.”

Wait, what?

“Wait, what?”

Laurel gestures towards the bump that is apparently not that well-hidden underneath the overskirt of Felicity’s peplum.  “You guys take such good care of everyone, that baby is going to be so lucky to have you.”

Oh boy.

“Oh, Laurel, no. This isn’t a baby. No, this is chicken nuggets and ice cream,” Felicity very, very, quickly explains. “I’m not pregnant. Oliver and I aren’t together.”

“Oh! Oh, wow, I am so sorry!  I saw the article with the picture this morning and –“

“It’s okay. Really, it is. I totally look pregnant in that picture. I probably would have come to the same conclusion, too.”

They sit in silence for a moment, a slightly different shade of awkwardness still hanging between them when their food arrives.

“Wait, you said you and Oliver are not together?” Laurel asks with her brow furrowed in confusion and her hands hovering over her club sandwich. “But you guys were all…hands-y at the housewarming party.”

Felicity shrugs. “Yeah, I don’t know what that’s about but he started it.”

“You gave a tour of the house, Felicity. You baked pies.”

“Well, I helped pick it out, which, BTW, was kind of a mission. And I baked the pies because I thought it would be nice for Thea to have something familiar and, honestly, I also kind of wanted an excuse to use those double ovens.”

Nope, Laurel is still confused.

“So…you’re really not together. Like, together-together? Are you sure?”

“I’m pretty sure.”

Felicity wonders why that more like a question than an answer, but apparently it’s good enough for Laurel so she lets it go.

“Well, what I said before still stands. Whenever, or if ever, you guys actually get together, I will be absolutely supportive and happy for you both. And I still want us to be friends.”

“You do?”

Laurel nods her head almost enthusiastically. “Yeah! Hey, you probably want to lose that faux-baby weight, right? Come to Soul Cycle with me on Sunday. I’ve been trying to drag Sara with me but she refuses to go and it’s more fun when you’re with someone.”

And, just like that, the awkwardness that once infected the space between them disappears and Laurel and Felicity become actual friends.

*

When Felicity walks back into the office she finds Oliver and Diggle huddled over a large Edible Arrangements Honey Bear bouquet someone put on her desk.

“It’s from Walter,” Oliver explains, handing her the card that came with the delivery as Diggle walks away with a stick of grapes and a very manly giggle.

Oliver and Felicity – Congratulations on your newest endeavor; may God bless you with a happy and healthy child.’

“Oh, that’s so sweet,” she says with a grimace. “Did you call him and tell him there’s no baby?”

Now it’s Oliver’s turn to grimace. “Yeah, he apologized and said he just got really excited about becoming a step-grandpa.”

He doesn’t tell her that Captain Lance had come into the office in full captain’s uniform just as the delivery man was leaving to give him an updated version of his ‘If you break my daughter’s heart I will break you’ speech. Unsurprisingly, Lance’s demeanor didn’t really change after he set the record straight, although Oliver is still wondering if he imagined the disappointment that flashed through the older man’s eyes when he did.  Luckily, Lance agreed to not mention the meeting and left the building munching on a few pineapple stars.

Oliver figures that if Felicity knew just how many people they knew actually paid attention that tabloid he’d never hear the end of it. Back when he and Laurel were together and she gained enough stress weight to make her feel a little too self-conscious about herself, he would distract her with sex. Now, as much as he would love to kick Diggle out of the office, sit Felicity down on her desk, hike up her skirt, and just bury his face in between her legs, he can’t. He’s going to have to find another way to distract her.

“So, how was lunch with Sara and Laurel? Have fun? Did you talk about me?”

He loves that Felicity and Sara get along, but there’s a bigger than he’d like to admit part of himself that tends to feel a little insecure when that blonde duo meets up with Laurel and he is slightly terrified that one day he will walk into the Foundry or his house and find the three of them doing girly things while talking about him behind his back.

All things considered, he believes this to be a legitimate and totally rational fear.

“Actually Sara wasn’t there,” Felicity answers as she eyes the chocolate-dipped strawberries. “It was just Laurel.”

He thinks that might be worse. “Oh?”

“She saw the article and wanted to tell me that she’s happy for the both of us, she’s dating a boxer named Ted Grant, and she wants the two of us to be besties.”

“Oh.”

“I explained that I’m not pregnant and that we’re not together, but she still gave us her blessing. Oh, she and I are going to Soul Cycle on Sunday.”

“Soul Cycle’s that stationary bike thing, right? Well, that’s nice. That’s good that she’s happy and stuff. Yeah. Good.” He watches her nudge the fruit-stuffed ceramic bear away from her. “Do you want to put out a statement now?”

“I stopped by PR on my way up. It’ll be out by end of business today.”

“Oh thank God.”

*

The sun is just beginning to set when Oliver walks into the Foundry that night, the red sky mirroring the redness that blooms on his face when he stumbles on Sara and Felicity moving into downward facing dog with their shapely cotton/spandex encased backsides angling towards him and he all but runs right back up into Verdant.

That’s where a sweaty Sara finds him almost an hour later, sitting at the bar and trying to beat another level of Candy Crush and desperately trying not to think about his two favorite blondes twisting themselves into pretzels downstairs.

She says nothing as she makes her way past him; instead she just gives him a highly amused smile before dissolving into a fit of giggles and rushing into the manager’s office. The knowing look in her eyes suddenly reminds him of that one (or two) times he accidentally called out Felicity’s name in bed and he is filled with an embarrassing amount of trepidation as he slowly makes his way back downstairs.

“Felicity?” he calls out and is greeted with a grunt in response. He finds her in the form of a sweaty heap splayed out underneath the salmon ladder and the way stray damp strands of hair have made their way out of her usually tight and sleek ponytail makes his heart beat fuzzily. “I take it your workout went well, then?”

She lifts her head up high enough give her tummy a quick glance before asking, “It’s a little too early to ask if this faux-baby bump is gone yet, isn’t it?”

 “Maybe just a little,” Oliver answers with a chuckle as he sits down cross-legged on the mats beside her. He glances at the troublesome area on her anatomy and, not for the first time, a question pops into his mind. “Do you ever think about it? Having a baby, I mean. Do you ever think about having a baby one day?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, I hope I will. Someday.” She gives her belly a light thoughtful rub. “Do you think about it?”

He is silent for a moment, but when he speaks his voice is quiet, his eyes fixated on his hands. “Before the island I got a girl pregnant. Laurel doesn’t know, still doesn’t know. But she lost it before anything could happen and when she told me I had been so relieved. I was sure that a baby would ruin my life. And when I came back… I was just convinced that it wasn’t a possibility.”

“And now?”

Oliver’s gaze shifts at the cautious tone in her voice. “And now, I look at Lyla and Diggle and I think that I was wrong.”

She smiles and he swears it’s everything he has ever wanted.

“I want at least two. Being an only child can get kind of lonely,” she says and he nods his head, maybe a little too enthusiastically.

“I agree. Even with Tommy it was still kind of lonely right up until Thea came along.”

He glances at the gym bag he dropped at the bottom of the stairs and for the third time in as many months both his head and his heart work in tandem as a sense of daring fills him and he thinks ‘Fuck it’.

“Felicity, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. You –“

Ping!

“My alerts!” Felicity exclaims, rushing to her and practically running to her precious computers. “I’ve been running a trace on that master thief Lyla warned us about a while back. You know the one that stole all that tech from LuthorCorp. Apparently she thinks he (or she) might be headed our way and, luckily, Professor Wells was kind enough to let me borrow one of S.T.A.R. Labs’ satellites to track them. I guess he’s worried about it, too. Oh, I’m sorry Oliver; you were going to ask me something?”

Looking at her now as she stands over her machines, radiant and completely in her element, Oliver feels the sense of daring suddenly fade away.

“I forgot what I was going to say.”

Felicity shrugs and, not for the first time, Oliver thinks to himself, ‘You’re a fucking coward’.

Chapter Text

Oliver sighs and, not for the first time, wonders what the hell happened to TV programming while he was away.

Its 10:30 on a Thursday night and since the city has been fairly quiet and Felicity begged him to take it easy after rolling his ankle last night so she can have one less thing to worry about during her dinner-time skype meeting with the Tokyo and Paris offices, he decided to give the team the night off.

Truth be told, he is not entirely comfortable running any kind of mission without Felicity’s voice in his ear telling him where to go and set his aim, and coming back from routine patrol isn’t quite the same when Felicity isn’t there to greet him with a relieved and cheerful smile. So, here he is, sitting on his couch with his left foot (in his opinion) unnecessarily elevated, settling on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians because with five missing years and no time to catch up on any television whatsoever the documented antics of the Kardashian clan is the only thing he can actually follow with no problem.

He is watching Scott pull a splinter out of Khloe’s butt when his front door opens and he hears the familiar ‘click-clack’ of Felicity’s heels on his hardwood floors. He says nothing as he curiously watches a half-haggard blonde unceremoniously plop herself on the opposite end of the couch and then swing her legs onto his lap.

“Hi,” she half-mumbles into the arm rest and he admires the way her hair frizzes at her crown.

“Hi. How did your meeting go?”

“Long.”

He starts rubbing light circles on her calves and she groans appreciatively.

“Neither of the project managers in Paris or Japan let me get a word in for the first forty minutes until Gary from Applied Sciences told them I was your science and technology consultant and that the satellites they’re working on are based on my designs that I proposed we manufacture. After that they got all gracious and brown-nosy.” She squints her eyes at him for a moment. “Why did Gary call me your science and tech consultant?”

“Because that’s one of your titles.”

“What? Since when?”

“Officially?” he chuckles. “When we got the company back. Felicity, haven’t you looked at the business cards I had made for you when we came back?”

“Um, no?” She looks at her purse sitting on the coffee table and very quickly decides to just take his word for it rather than make the effort to actually check. “You didn’t have to do that.”

He squeezes her leg. “Yes, I did. I should’ve done that the first time around and I’m sorry I didn’t. You are more than just my assistant and the world should know that.”

His hands move from her legs to her left foot and when his thumb presses into the sole she sighs happily.

“You keep giving these awesome foot rubs and I’m not gonna care what the world thinks of me again.”

Oliver fights the urge to kiss her foot, to move his hands back to her calves and up her thighs and let his mouth follow their path. He focuses on her foot in his hand instead.

“So, other than brown-nosing misogynists who will most certainly get a memo from HR, how did the meeting go? Was it really that bad?”

“No, it was just long with lots of pointless PowerPoints and conversations that go nowhere. You know, like any other meeting. Luckily, at the end of it all, we got a completion date for Watchtower so it wasn’t a total waste.”

 “Watchtower? I thought you were working on a satellite called WTR19… something or other.”

“WTCR1997,” she tells him with a playful eye roll. “Watchtower is what I call it in my head. It’s actually one big satellite that will piggyback a bunch of baby satellites which will not only bring us a profit but will also save me from hacking into S.T.A.R. Labs and A.R.G.U.S. every other night.”

“You had a satellite system built for Team Arrow?”

Her chest puffs up with pride and he feels the emotion wash over him too.

 “Yep! Now even our tech will have a secret identity. To the corporate world it will be WTCR1997, but to the crime fighting vigilantes and the criminals they put away it will be known as Watchtower: The Ultimate Eye in the Sky.” She wrinkles her button nose. “Why are we watching Khloe and Kourtney Take the Hamptons? I thought you’d be in the Foundry doing your sexy Tarzan routine on those metal bars you have hanging from the ceiling. ”

I am watching this because there is nothing else on,” he answers defensively. “Wait, if you thought I’d be in the Foundry then why did you come here?”

“Because after the fifty-third slide from Team Tokyo’s riveting PowerPoint, all I wanted to do was come home to this comfy couch right here and zone out to some mindless TV so, yay, mission accomplished,” she says, her eyes blinking slowly at the TV.

 ‘Come home’ she said. Come home to this couch, the couch he is currently sitting on, the couch in this house that is a good thirty minutes further from QC than her own apartment.

 The urge to put his lips to her skin is stronger now, except he doesn’t want to just slowly kiss his way up her legs, push away her skirt, and settle himself between her thighs anymore. Now he wants to climb right up to her pink colored lips, pull her pretty blonde hair out that flimsy pony tail, wrap her up in his arms, and drink her in because she just called his house ‘home’ and he wants to make her feel as breathlessly happy as she has just made him feel.

It takes him about five minutes to gather up enough nerve to bring her foot to her lips and it’s about five minutes too long because by the time his mouth touches her green-painted toe he hears a cute snuffle come from her end of the couch and he knows from experience that she has fallen asleep.

A week ago he would have mentally beat himself up for not being quick enough, for over-thinking and losing opportunities, he would have called himself a coward and gone upstairs to do as many push-ups as it takes before his body gives out; but not today. Today is a victory because, for now, the city is safe, his company intact, and Felicity came home to him.

Oliver sighs, and for the first time in a very long time, comes to think that he is actually fairly happy.

Chapter Text

Felicity wishes her linoleum floor would just swallow her up.

Her mother is going through her nearly empty refrigerator trying to find something to make breakfast with, tut-tutting about how she’s not eating enough and working too hard as Felicity sits at her kitchen table cursing her decision to hit the snooze button one more time and delaying her departure from her apartment by nine precious minutes and forcing her to call in sick because she found her mother standing outside her door in a skin tight blue dress with a built-in bustier and sky-high heels ready to greet her startled daughter with a way too loud “Surprise!”.

On the other hand, if she hadn’t been home she is pretty sure her mother would have gone to find her at the office and that would be way, way worse than having her rummage through her apartment, so, really she should be thanking her lucky stars she hit that snooze button one more time this morning.

“Felicity, how long has this deli meat been in here? It’s green!” Donna Smoak cries out to her from the depths of the vegetable crisper. “That’s it, we’re going grocery shopping. I honestly don’t know how you’re surviving on such little food. I know you make enough to buy groceries, Felicity. Is that boss of yours working you so hard you don’t get to eat or have you been living off of take-out this whole time? Although, that would explain that tabloid article saying were pregnant. I know how you carry that extra fat when you gain weight and if you don’t watch out it will scare off any man who would be interested in putting a ring on that finger.”

First of all, she lost the extra weight that gave her that faux baby bump and she has never been in better shape in her whole life. Her arms and legs are toned and strong, she has the beginnings of a four-pack going on, and last week Sara bounced a quarter off her ass and she is entirely willing to show her mother that trick if she actually felt like getting up right now.

Secondly, now whenever she gets take-out she gets whatever Oliver gets (or a variation thereof) so she has basically been following his superhero low carb/high protein diet but in Felicity-sized portions and she knows without a doubt that that is fairly healthy eating even if half the time it’s all out of a cardboard box. 

Third, she just went grocery shopping two days ago so she doesn’t know what her mother is talking about. She vividly remembers making a list and dragging Roy away from the cookie aisle while Thea munched on grapes that were half gone by the time they got back home.

“Before we go to the grocery store we have to go to the mall first since your closet is half empty,” Donna continues as she starts throwing out stale crackers and expired cans from the pantry. “I take it to mean that on top of not having enough time to buy food, you also don’t have enough time to buy yourself a new wardrobe?”

And now Felicity is officially confused because she knows for a fact that she has clothes. She has lots and lots of clothes. She has so many articles of clothing that she has gone months without wearing the same outfit twice. Since she started working as Oliver’s assistant she has developed a little bit of a shopping addiction thanks to her increased disposable income that happens to be a by-product of Diggle and Oliver driving her almost everywhere and the fact that she hasn’t paid for her own meal in almost a year.  

Actually, she has to struggle to remember the last time she pulled her wallet out of her purse which, after a moment too long, she remembers was actually at the grocery store the other day when Roy and Thea were loading the paper bags into the cart and she swiped her card at the register. She paid for those groceries. She paid for groceries that only technically don’t belong to her because they are not currently in her kitchen but are instead in Oliver’s house along with her favorite mug, a toothbrush, and the “missing” half of her wardrobe.

Her kitchen is empty, her closet barely half-full, and her apartment is dusty and almost doesn’t smell like her own anymore. When did that happen? When did her stuff wander over to the new Queen mansion? When did she start buying groceries for them? When did she start thinking of it as her second home after the Foundry?

Why is her mother looking at her like that?

And what is that loud tapping noise?

“Felicity, aren’t you going to answer the door?”

Wait, her toothbrush is at the Queen mansion. Did she brush her teeth this morning?

Wait, yes.

She bought an extra toothbrush. She flossed and brushed and rinsed it all out with mouthwash, she is clean and minty fresh and good to go and open that door.

And of course it’s Oliver standing on the other side wearing a jeans, his black leather jacket, and that blue Henley she loves holding a bouquet of daisies in one hand and a food container in the other, because who else would it be?

“Hey Felicity, how are you feeling?” he asks as he steps inside, his tone soft and gentle.

“Um, I’m okay, I guess.” Her voice is shaky as she takes the flowers and tries to nonchalantly block his view of the kitchen, although, thankfully, he seems to be solely focused on her right now. “Is that soup?”

“Yeah, you said you were sick and I thought that maybe some soup would help. I got it from the deli down the street.”

“Oh. Well, thanks! But what’s with the flowers?”

Is he blushing?

“Um, remember that movie you and Thea made me watch? The one where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan hate each other and halfway through the movie she gets a cold and he brings her flowers to apologize and then he makes her tea? You said that you always wanted someone to do that for you when you got sick so...”

“So you decided to channel your inner Tom Hanks?”

He shrugs and she is so distracted by the flowers and his half-dopey smile that she doesn’t notice her mother wandering out of the kitchen.

“Oh, well isn’t that sweet?” Donna says, coming to half-lean against her daughter and playfully bat her eyes up at Oliver who looks at her with slightly wide eyes. “Felicity, aren’t you going to introduce us?”

Felicity bites back a heavy sigh. “Oliver, this is my mother, Donna Smoak. Mom, this is Oliver –“

“Queen?! Oh, well no wonder you looked so familiar!” Donna giggles, graciously extending her hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Queen. I have heard so much about you and, wow, you are so much taller than I thought you’d be!”

Oliver’s smile has gone from dopey to a combination of slightly nervous and totally charming and it’s one that Felicity has never really seen before.

 “It’s a nice to finally meet you, Ms. Smoak,” he says, shaking older blonde’s hand. “Felicity didn’t mention you were visiting.”

“Well, my baby is so busy working all the time I barely have time to talk to her, let alone schedule a visit with her. Luckily I won some airline tickets in a raffle and managed to get some time off to surprise her.” 

Although Donna is smiling half-flirtatiously and she’s doing that breathless voice thing she does when she’s around handsome (and rich) men, there is an edge in her tone and while Oliver doesn’t seem to hear it, Felicity does and she knows she needs to get Oliver out of her apartment before her mother says something that will make things awkward for everyone forever.

She seizes the opportunity when she notices the time.

“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be in the office right now? I mean, I’m grateful for the soup, which I’m sure is delicious, and love the flowers, but don’t you have a multi-billion dollar company to run?”

“Yeah, but you called in sick and I’m kind of useless without my right hand. Besides its Tuesday – paperwork day – and there’s no point in my coming in to just read reports all day if you’re not there.”

Donna is still looking at Oliver with a fairly critical eye and he doesn’t seem to notice because he just keeps going on.

 “And, hey, you didn’t need to call in sick because you’re mom came to visit. I would have given you the time off, you know that, right?”

She grimaces just a little. “I know.  It was a sort of knee-jerk/reflex kind of thing. I’m sorry.”

 “It’s okay, I get it,” he says with a shrug, the dopey smile slowly coming back. “Do you guys have plans for tonight? Why don’t you bring your mom over to the house for dinner? We haven’t had a family dinner in a while. We can cook that pot roast we bought the other day. It’ll be nice.”

Of course, her mother jumps on the invitation.

*

Donna still gives her a funny look when Felicity tells her that the “missing” half of her wardrobe is at the dry cleaners. Thankfully, she seems to believe her and Felicity is able to convince her mother to spend the afternoon at the Starling City Aquarium after Oliver finally manages to get out of her apartment, which Felicity is entirely grateful for because she really doesn’t want to go through God only knows how many hours of going through racks of clothes and hearing her mother criticize her “matronly” choices even though half of her dresses have strategically placed cut-outs and maybe one of them falls below the knee.

A trip to the aquarium, a stop at the grocery store, and a few more hours later, Felicity is putting the finishing touches on her make-up as she listens to her mother fret over the contents in her luggage.

“You shouldn’t have talked me out of that shopping trip, Felicity. I have absolutely nothing to wear!”

“Mom, you brought three pieces of luggage, I’m sure you have something.”

“Not to wear to a billionaire’s mansion, I don’t! I’d ask if I could borrow one of your dresses but they all seem so…matronly.”

Felicity bites back yet another sigh and picks up one of the lengthier dresses that have migrated over to her bed.

“Here, this one’s fine.”

Donna bites her lip and gives it a second look. “Are you sure? It wouldn’t look too tacky in a stately manor?”

The dress is a tight strapless, shimmery gold number that cuts just above the knee and would only not look tacky in a Vegas casino at 3 AM, but Felicity isn’t going to tell her mother that.

“It’s perfect. And the newest Queen residence isn’t a ‘stately manor’, it’s more of a really, really big house.”

Donna’s eyes go wide. “You’ve been there?

“Um…Yeah, a couple times.”

Her mother doesn’t need to know that she has all but moved in with the Queens, let alone that she is just now grappling with that newly realized piece of information and trying very hard not to freak out over the fact that she somehow managed to do it without noticing. Although, she is feeling pretty good about how well she has been hiding her mental freak out for most of the day and she congratulates herself on that achievement during the ride across town.

But then that mini-mental hurray! dies a quick death when they’re faced with the Queen’s front door and she almost opens it with her key and the reality of it all comes back to slap her in the face.

Thankfully, her mother has the presence of mind to ring the doorbell. Thea answers it with a confused smile.

“Felicity, you’re here! Why did you ring the doorbell? What happened to your key?”

Again, Donna looks at her daughter with wide, disbelieving eyes. “You have a key?

“Yep, I have a key, an emergency key that is used for emergencies. But I forgot it, which is okay because this is not an emergency. Can we come in now, please?”

Thea looks at her until something clicks in her mind and a warm, understanding smile slides over the confused one as she introduces herself to Donna and lets them in.

Thea is a smart girl. Felicity really loves Thea.

Walking into the living room they find Oliver struggling to fix a fidgety Roy’s newly bought silk tie while Diggle and Lyla go over the music selection in the antique juke box that sits in a far corner. The Lances are there too, all three of them and for a minute Felicity is confused about that until she remembers that Oliver had said ‘family dinner. She had at first assumed it meant that it would be just them and Thea and maybe Roy; but, of course, if Roy is invited then Diggle and Lyla should be invited too. And if he were to invite the majority of Team Arrow then it would make sense that Sara should be there also. Of course, if he invites Sara then he might as well invite Laurel and their dad while they’re at it. So, yep, this is a family dinner. The whole crime-fighting family meeting her mother. Awesome.

 “Felicity, how do you get any work done with all of these gorgeous men around?” Donna asks in that flirty-breathless voice of hers after introductions are said and done.

Lance gives her a smile Felicity has never seen him wear before, a kind of smile that seems as flirtatious as her mother’s voice and gives her flashbacks to when Donna dated her best friend’s dad, broke his heart, and turned her best friend to into her ex-best friend which is not what she wants to happen to her and the Lance sisters because she really likes having sisters.

“You know, I just find it too hard to believe that you could be Felicity’s mother; although, I do see where she gets her gorgeous looks from.”

Really? He’s going with that?

Still, it seems like Quinten Lance still has some game because her mother eating up his cheesy lines like a starving connoisseur at a wine tasting.

Felicity is so entranced by the exchange that she barely notices Oliver excusing himself to the kitchen to check on dinner.

“He’s been checking that pot roast every two minutes since it went in the oven,” Roy quietly tells her as he continues to fidget with his shirt and tie, a strong whiff of a familiar scent that is not entirely his own radiating off of him in waves.

“Are you wearing cologne? And what’s with the shirt and tie?”

 “Oliver cornered me in the bathroom earlier. He sprayed this funky stuff all over me and then he forced me into this monkey suit. And then, and then, he tried to comb my hair,” Roy says with an indignant huff. “I know he’s nervous and wants to make a good impression on your mom but he doesn’t need to drag me into it. Not that it really matters, at least your mom’s cool. His mother was fucking terrifying even before she went to prison.”

“Why would Oliver be nervous about meeting my mom?”

Roy says nothing as he huffs one more time, turns around, and goes to sulk and fidget at Thea’s side.

Felicity really doesn’t see why Oliver would be nervous. It makes no sense to her. Why would a young, handsome billionaire be nervous about meeting a middle-aged cocktail waitress? She is sure that if anybody should be nervous, it should be her. Oliver Queen, the man she dreams about almost every night, the man she is about eighty-five percent sure loves her as much as she loves him, the man who risks his life to save the city every night, is meeting her G.E.D. holding, technologically impaired, Las Vegas born and bred mother whose wardrobe closely resembles that worn by Julia Roberts before she meets Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.

And yet, Oliver is doing that thing where he rubs his fingers like he’s yearning to hold an arrow in his hand through most of dinner, even though everyone is laughing and telling Donna all about her non-Arrow related exploits.

“Well, it’s wonderful to see just how many good friends Felicity has made here in Starling City,” Donna practically gushes at the tail end of the meal. “I always worried about her being out her own out here, especially with all of those masked vigilantes running around.”

“Felicity is family, Donna; and we take good care of our family,” Oliver says, giving Felicity a smile she swears he reserves just for her, the affection in his eyes making her chest fill up with pride and other good things that make her feel like she’s floating.

 “I certainly see the family here.  Watching her you would think she was the lady of this gorgeous house. I mean she has a key and a seat at the table. Didn’t someone say you picked out these lovely curtains, Felicity? Honestly, if that ring finger wasn’t bare I’d say Felicity was the new Mrs. Queen.”

And just like that her happy bubble bursts and Felicity comes crashing down.

“Who’s ready for some pie and ice cream? I know sure as hell am,” she announces, rising to her feet and moving towards the kitchen as quickly as she can.

Naturally, Oliver follows her and the worried/half-terrified look on his face stops her from begging him to go away as she starts putting the dessert plates together.

“Felicity, are you okay?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

Maybe if she pretends her mother never said anything everyone will forget about it.

“Felicity, are we okay?”

And there goes that plan.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t we be?”

“Because you’ve barely looked at me all night and I thought that you were coming back around just now but then your mom said what she just said and I... Did I do something wrong?” He chuckles softly. “Are you ashamed of me or something?”

She doesn’t answer and he stops laughing.

“Wait, are you?”

“No!” She takes a deep breath. “Of course I’m not ashamed of you. It’s just my mom…”

“Look, it’s okay. We can all forget what she said –“

“It’s not that either. I think we’re all pretty used to the whole ‘Mrs. Queen’-thing by now.”

“Then what is it?”

She scoops the last bit of ice cream into the last bowl before turning back to face him.

“I can count on one hand the number of times in my life where I felt like I fit in (and I’m counting college as one huge moment here). I know I fit in the Foundry and in Team Arrow, and I’m really hitting my stride at QC; but there’s this side of everything that you and Thea tend to overlook – the part where I go somewhere with you and people look at me and think ‘What is she doing here? Why is he with her?’ And most of the time I don’t let it bother me, but every once in a while it just creeps up on me.”

“Like at the gala.”

“Yeah. And I love my mom, but having her here is just like this giant reminder of how different we are. Oliver, I grew up living paycheck to paycheck in a dingy one bedroom apartment two blocks away from the not-so-nice side of the Vegas Strip. You’re a billionaire who grew up in a castle. I mean, I know there’s more to you than that but, as far as the world is concerned, you and I couldn’t be farther apart.”

Felicity closes her eyes tight and fights the urge to run her fingers through her meticulously done hair.

“I just sounded really vain and shallow right there, didn’t I?”

She opens her eyes when she herself being pulled into Oliver’s tight embrace.

“I think you sounded human,” he says into her hair. “And you know I don’t care about any of that, right? You’re the smartest, strongest, bravest person I know and I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He presses his lips to her neck. “You’re my partner.”

He says ‘partner’ like it means more than just ‘business partner’ or ‘crime-fighting partner’, like the word holds more than its seven letters can carry, and once it escapes his mouth his lips don’t leave the skin of her neck as he breathes her in and holds her close. She wraps an arm around his waist and, with the other, reaches up to lightly scratch the nape of his neck. She can feel his heart hammering away against her chest and, as he starts to press a trail of light kisses down to her shoulder, Felicity thinks that she could stay here in his arms with his lips on her skin and be happy forever.

Except forever lasts about twenty seconds because Thea comes barging into the kitchen, causing Oliver to jump away and scurry out of the room at an almost Flash-like speed while still managing to grab the dessert tray on his way out.

Thea looks at her with wide, apologetic eyes and mouths a very sincere “Sorry” while Roy very loudly asks Oliver why his face is so red.

No one mentions how the half-melted ice cream has made their pies all soggy and, later, when Donna kisses his cheek, Oliver counts the night as a success.

Chapter Text

Even over the roar of his motorcycle Felicity’s voice is clear and steady in his ear as she guides him, Sara, and Roy through the city’s traffic in pursuit of the latest criminal to fall into their radar.

Over the past several months a criminal the FBI has come to nickname “The Shadow” has been steadily moving across the country targeting warehouses owned by major corporations and taking only the highest pieces of tech on the property which, naturally, are also the most powerful and top secret pieces of tech in the company’s possession. It started in Gotham when the newest and shiniest piece of hardware in Wayne Tech seemingly vanished without a trace over the course of an hour, although, because it happened in Gotham, very few bat an eye. It wasn’t until LexCorp and Kord Enterprises were hit that the FBI finally got involved and Felicity, a proud and very protective mama to her digital babies, kept an eye on the investigation and upgraded the security surrounding her beloved Watchtower satellites.

Unfortunately for Felicity, The Shadow, nicknamed because the only footage of the caper has so far been a solitary shadow, has come to Starling City.

Unfortunately for The Shadow, Felicity’s security system is steps ahead of any found in other companies and now the Arrow, the Canary, and Arsenal are all on his back.

“Arsenal, turn left on 8th. Canary, you turn right. Arrow, keep driving him into Mark St,” Felicity orders. “It turns into a dead end; we should be able to trap him there.”

The streets of downtown Starling are still crowded with traffic at this time of night, but it seems that citizens have grown used to seeing a trio of masked vigilantes speed through the city and readily move out of their way. Oliver takes this as a sign of just how much things have changed since he first donned the hood. It’s one thing to have the support of politicians and the police force; it’s another when the people he works to protect back him up too.

Still, even as a blue Corolla switches lanes and honks in approval, he curses when The Shadow’s unmarked black van speeds through yet another green light.

Something doesn’t feel right.

“How the hell is he hitting all of the greenlights?! He’s hitting every single one!”

“It’s like he’s predicting the traffic,” Sara adds, no doubt also feeling that something is off about this guy.

Roy huffs. “Why are you guys complaining? Just drive him into the spot, I’m almost there.”

“He’s turning left into an alley!” Felicity cries out.

Oliver swiftly follows as the van makes a smooth turn into an alley between two brick office buildings, its side mirrors missing the parallel walls by a handful of inches as it drives quickly and, it seems to Oliver, calmly out into a side street and towards the outskirts of town.

The plan was to try and keep the chase in and around the warehouse district, away from people and traffic and the grid. It’s easy to get split up in the downtown area, to get distracted and stuck somehow, and Oliver is starting to see that The Shadow’s drive through the busy streets was a well thought-out diversion. It was like he knew they were coming, like he was prepared.

Felicity’s voice is back in his ear.

“Arrow, a train will be crossing the tracks up ahead in a minute. At the speed you’re going you’re not going to make it across.”

Oliver can hear the train chugging closer and closer towards them; he can see its light seep through the leaves of the trees that line the tracks.

“Arrow, slow down. I’m not even sure if The Shadow will make it across.”

He can see that Felicity is wrong, that The Shadow is calmly driving towards the railroad crossing and Oliver knows that he will make it through in exactly the same way he made it through all of those greenlights.

“Arrow, what are you doing? Slow down!”

He knows that if he doesn’t speed up and get beside him they will lose him.

OLIVER!

He turns off the comm-link with a growl and revs up his speed.

 The Shadow’s van clears the tracks and for a split second he is sure he can follow it across.

He doesn’t.

The train plows through and he slides to a stop so close he feels something sharp and jagged slice through the upper arm of his jacket and his skin. It’s not long before Roy and Sara catch up with him, both of them looking at him wide-eyed and annoyed.

“Felicity is going to kill you,” Sara tells him and he doesn’t dare turn his comm-link back on.

*

Usually, when Oliver returns from a mission the first thing he sees is either Felicity’s bright and proud smile when a mission goes well or her concerned and sympathetic pout when things go south, and when he gets hurt he knows that he will be greeted with warm arms and a face full of blonde hair the second his feet clear the last step on the stairs. Oliver loves coming back from a mission, even if it doesn’t go well and he stumbles into the Foundry cut and bruised, he loves coming home to Felicity’s familiar, pretty face.

Except tonight he dreads it and when his foot clears the last step on the stairs and he is faced with Felicity’s very angry scowl he knows he’s in for it.

Sara, Roy, and Diggle seem to know that too because they race out of her way and basically huddle around the med bay.

When Felicity speaks her voice is low and he thinks it’s worse than her Loud Voice.

“I told you you weren’t going to make it across and yet you still tried to outrun that train even when it was right in front of you. Why?”

“I thought you were wrong.” He knows it’s the wrong thing to say but adrenaline is still pumping in his veins and he is still pissed this asshole got away, so he listens to the stupid voice in his head that tells him to keep going. “You weren’t there, Felicity, you didn’t see how this guy was driving. I knew that he was going to make it and I thought that if I caught up with him then I would too.”

“And then what, Oliver?” Her voice is steadily rising. “Sara and Roy were still behind you. It took seven minutes for that train to clear that crossing, even if you had managed to make it across you would have been completely on your own and we both know a lot can happen in seven minutes. Not that any of it matters since you were just as wrong as I was,” she scoffs. “You didn’t catch up with him and you still got hurt.”

His eyes follow her angry gaze to the bloody patch on his upper right arm where some stray piece of metal from the train seems to have sliced right through his leather jacket.

“It’s just a scratch.”

The cut isn’t dangerously deep and he knows he needs stitches, but it is not by any means the worst injury any of them has ever gotten.

“You need a tetanus shot,” she tells him shortly as she moves towards the med bay.

Oliver follows her while others scurry out of their way.

“No, I don’t, Felicity. Stop overreacting.”

“Yes, you do, Oliver. A dirty and probably rusty train cut you. You need a shot.”

“I’m not getting a shot, Felicity!”

Her ears turn red as she practically growls out, “What is your problem?

What’s yours?

“YOU TURNED OFF YOUR COMM-LINK!”

Her voice echoes in the subterranean space, bouncing off the glass and metal but failing to get past the sound of Oliver’s own heart pounding in his ears.

Now it’s his turn to growl.

You were talking too much. It was distracting.

For a split second Felicity looks like she has just been slapped, but the look is gone before he can react and a calm mask slides over face. Her movement is steady as she gathers her things and when she speaks her voice is strangely smooth and leaves them all feeling uneasy.

“I was just trying to keep you safe, but since I’m just a distraction I think it’s best if I just go home.”

 “What about the satellites?” Sara asks with a gasp. “The Shadow still has them. I thought they were your babies.”

To their shock, Felicity just shrugs as she heads for the stairs. “As important as they are to me, I really just wanted to catch the guy and save us a few hundred million in losses.  There are more important things to protect than some fancy satellites.”

Oliver silently watches her ascend the stairs as Diggle sends him a deadly glare and Roy quietly and worriedly asks, “A-Are we getting a divorce?”

An hour and half after the door closes behind Felicity, a very concerned Donna Smoak calls asking when her daughter is coming home and Oliver feels the ground slip out from under him.

*

Oliver can’t decide if the SCPD’s Headquarters is too loud or too quiet. The only thing he knows for sure is that this nagging feeling of sick déjà vu makes him want to throw up.

In front of him are two white boards – one holding crime scene photos and notes on The Shadow’s latest robbery at the QC warehouse, while the other holds a photo of Felicity’s smiling face and images of her rear-ended car left abandoned in a darkened back alley just outside the Glades.

It didn’t take long for everyone to put two and two together, but as far as Oliver is concerned, it is taking everyone far too long to get any solid leads and bring Felicity back to them.

It’s moments like this that he hates being Oliver Queen, hates his decision to take on a dual identity and a team and questions his decision to even leave the island in the first place. If he hadn’t walked into Felicity’s office that fateful day, if he had gone to someone else, if he hadn’t taken refuge in her car or extended an invitation to join his crusade, she would be safe and sound at home with her mother. He would either be dead or jumping across rooftops in a hood and a mask and not sitting as a useless billionaire CEO in a $400 cotton pullover waiting in bated breath for someone else to do his job for him and fail at it.

He notices a flash of shimmery gold in his peripheral and when he turns to it he watches a teary-eyed Donna tiredly rub her temple.

Oliver finds it hard to believe that just last night he had invited this woman into his home, into the house he had bought for her daughter, surrounded her with their friends and adopted family and assured her that her daughter would be taken care of.

“We’re gonna find her Donna,” Captain Lance had told her when they first came in two hours ago. “Felicity is a smart girl and you and I both know that she is stronger than she looks. Wherever she is, she is gonna make it out and she will come home.”

Two and half hours ago he had picked a ridiculous fight with her daughter and watched her walk out because he let a criminal get under his skin, because sometimes that little voice that has haunted him his whole life, the one that tells him he isn’t good enough, that he isn’t strong or fast or smart enough, gets too loud too ignore and he inevitably takes it out on himself unless someone gets in his way.

Watching Donna numbly chip the bright red nail polish off of her carefully manicured hands, Oliver wants to give her the same reassurance Lance had given her and tell her that he has a team of his own working on finding Felicity, but something in him tells him that it wouldn’t do her much good at this point.

He turns away from Donna and focuses his sight on Lance and Laurel talking animatedly in his office. He is so intent on trying to read their in an attempt to gather any morsel of information that he literally jumps out of his seat when his phone rings.

“We just finished up here at the warehouse,” Diggle tells him hurriedly. “Oliver, none of the microsatellites were taken. According to the inventory the only thing missing is an industrial computer.”

“Do we know what’s on the computer?”

“Your head of AS says that there’s nothing on it yet. Apparently, it’s the computer they were going to use next week to upload the program Felicity created to control the satellites. That’s why The Shadow took Felicity, because she has the program. Gary says she’s been carrying it around with her in that flash drive you gave her for your anniversary.”

Oliver knows exactly which one he’s talking about. He had just about pulled his hair out looking for the best present to give her and he found it in some far off corner of the internet – a two terabyte flash drive conspicuously disguised as a pretty pink tube of lipstick. He remembers how lightheaded he had felt when she opened it with a squeal and then kissed the corner of his mouth in thanks.

He also remembers how proud she was of herself for managing to attach a tracker to it.

*

Despite her splitting headache and the fact that Felicity is about ninety-eight percent sure she has a concussion, this is the most physically comfortable she has felt during a kidnapping.

On the other hand, her level of emotional and psychological comfort is a completely different story.

A little less than thirty minutes ago she found herself waking up in a bright, homey cabin with a headache from Hell, handcuffed to a steel table bolted to the floor, and blearily staring into the face of a man she hasn’t seen since she was six years old.

She remembers being this man’s darling little girl and having him wrapped lovingly around her finger. She remembers his hair being a dark brown instead of dull grey. She remembers that he smelled like old books, printer ink, and sweet cigarillo smoke. She thinks he might still be wearing the same cheap black eyeglasses he wore the day he left her and her mother.

“How are you feelin’ there, Princess?” He kindly asks her, his lips turning up in a smile she once thought she had imagined. “Do you want some water? Or do you have to tinkle?”

She just dumbly shakes her head as she stares up at him, desperately trying to come to terms with the fact that this man is actually standing in front of her.

He takes a seat in front of her and diplomatically clasps his hands on the table, the bright and friendly smile that has been on his face since she woke up still shining bright.

“I don’t think I could ever imagine you being this quiet, Princess. You’ve got to have a whole bunch of questions for me. Go ahead, shoot.”

He’s right; she does have a whole bunch of questions. A mountain of them, in fact. So many she doesn’t even know where to start. Why did he leave? Why didn’t he ever call or write? Why did he run her off the road and kidnap her?

Even without her glasses she can see a familiar beige metal box sitting in a corner of the room along with a few other metal boxes marked with the logos of a handful of corporations and decides that it would be easier to start with business.

“A-Are you The Shadow?”

Her voice is hoarse and her throat is dry. Maybe she should have taken him up on that water.

“The Shadow?” he says with a chuckle. “Oh man, I’m actually surprised the FBI had enough imagination to come up with that one. It is such a better nickname than the one your mother gave me. Do you remember what she used to call me?”

“The Calculator.”

“Yeah! Yeah, she called me The Calculator. Remember how I used to count all the time? I would count the tiles in the bathroom every morning and night and I’d count the number of times you’d run your brush through your hair? She’d say, ‘Noah, the tiles haven’t moved in eight hours. If you’re gonna count something, count cards.’ Remember how mad she got when I taught you how to do that?”

He leans close and for a moment it looks like he considers reaching across the table to take her one free hand.

“See, Felicity, the counting is the reason why I had to leave. It would have been selfish if I stayed. I did the calculations and I knew that if I didn’t leave first I would have destroyed you somehow. I was sick. Do you understand? OCD wasn’t really something people talked about back then, but now I’m on some medicine and my head is a little clearer.”

He finally reaches across the table and lovingly holds her thumb. His hand is clammy and cold and she wants to throw up.

“If… If your head is clearer, then why did you kidnap me? Why did you steal all of those things? What do you need them for?”

“Oh no, they’re not for me. No, I got them for a friend. He’s the reason I had to get you. I would have just knocked on your door or called or something if I thought you would actually give me the time of day, but I can imagine what terrible things your mother must’ve told you about me. And I’m pretty sure that Robin Hood impersonator you hang out with wouldn’t approve of me either. So, I had to do what I had to do.” He gently pats her hand. “I’m sorry, Princess; but you understand. Don’t you?”

“No, I don’t understand. Who’s your friend and what does he want with me? Where is he? Is he here?”

“Yeah, he’s right over there,” he tells her, casually pointing to a large monitor sitting on top a large black metal box in another far corner of the cabin.

“I don’t see him; all I see is the computer. Is he on Skype or something?”

“No, Princess. He is the computer.”

*

The scared and angry look on Donna’s face when he told her he had to go is still haunting Oliver’s vision even as he speeds down the steps into the Foundry.

“Tell me you got her location,” he demands and slams his fists against Felicity’s beloved workstation when the trio standing in front of her computers somberly shakes their heads.

“She put everything related to the satellite program on a separate computer and we don’t have the password for it,” Diggle explains. “Sara managed to figure out that it’s an eight digit numerical password, so we’re guessing it’s a date.”

Roy adds, “We tried everyone’s birthday and the day she graduated from college. We even tried your anniversary.”

“And then we got locked out for two minutes,” Sara finishes.

Oliver stares at the keyboard and thinks hard, he imagines a slender hand with bright blue painted nails speedily pressing the keys as a voice rambles off in his head.

He remembers the day he gave her the flash drive, remembers how her bright smile had turned adorably confused when he called it an anniversary present.

“When you tried our anniversary, did you try 10102012?”

The trio nods their heads.

“Try 02132013.”

Sara’s fingers flash across the number pad and in seconds the password prompt on the monitor disappears and is replaced by a nondescript purple desktop theme.

Diggle chuckles in tired amusement, “That’s the day you revealed yourself to her.”

“Our real anniversary.”

A sharp ping! rings out through the space and is immediately followed by Sara’s triumphant cry.

“I found her! She’s in a cabin in the woods about fifteen miles southwest of the city limits. I’ve sent the coordinates to our phones and to my dad’s. He should be able to meet us there,” she says, as they race to suit up and head out.

*

Felicity stares blankly at the man in front of her for a moment, desperately trying to understand what he has just told her while simultaneously trying to strategize a way out and away from him. She can feel the cylindrical edge of her favorite pink flash drive dig into her leg and hopes and prays that Oliver really remembers as much of what she says as he claims to.

She can tell by his watch that it has been almost three hours since he rear-ended her, knocked her out, and dragged her out of her car. She needs to buy the team as much time as she can so she’s going to do it by doing the thing she does the most – talk.

“What do you mean he is the computer?”

The man practically giggles in excitement. “Oh Princess, I mean just that – he is the computer.”

He keeps calling her ‘Princess’ and it pains her every time she hears him say it. She wants to make him stop. She wants to tell him that she hasn’t been anyone’s princess since he put her down for a nap one afternoon, walked out the door, and never came back.

“I found him late one night about a year ago. See, I was driving through Kansas when suddenly, out of nowhere, my car just stopped. When I got out to look at the engine I noticed these strange lights coming from a field. That’s where I found him. He was in this little black sphere in this crater and he spoke to me. He told me his story and asked for my help.”

 “So he’s an alien?”

“Yes. Well, actually, sort of.  His name is Brainiac. It’s short for Brain Interactive Construct. He explained that he was created by a great scientist on a far off planet. This planet, Krypton, was dying. The scientist created him to help find a way to save it before it destroyed itself, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time. Thankfully, my friend was able to download himself into a satellite and rocket himself away.

“Felicity, something happened when Krypton imploded, a doorway opened, a tear in the fabric of time space appeared and he fell through. Oh God, the things he has told me. The things he has seen. Worlds upon worlds, universes upon universes stacked up on top of one another. He told me all about you, about what you are doing, about what you will do. He told me about your vision for Watchtower and all of the great things that you and your friends will accomplish and he wants to help you.”

His eyes are impossibly wide and his voice is filled with wonder as he recounts his tale and she wonders how long it’s been since he has taken the medicine he is supposedly on.

“H-How is he going to help me?”

“Well, that’s why you’re here. He wants you to let him download himself into the Watchtower’s mainframe when it goes live so he can integrate itself with the code in your Pythia Program. Hehe, ‘Pythia Program’. You and your protégé really take that Delphic theme and go with it.”

“What? I don’t have a protégé.”

She’s trying to keep up with what seems to be the most absurd conversation she has ever had but she’s finding it difficult to do so because she just caught a flash of dark red through the kitchen window and she wants to make sure she makes a mental note to have Sara give Roy a refresher course in ninja-sneaking.

“You will. Brainiac has told me so.”

*

“I got a visual on her,” Roy quietly announces, slinking behind a large bush next to the cabin’s back porch.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure someone got a visual on you, too,” Lance quips into his own comm-link from behind the tree ten feet away from him.

Roy rolls his eyes and continues. “It’s one man. He’s got her handcuffed to the kitchen table in the middle of the room. They’re just talking. She looks a little banged up, but I think it might just be from when he ran her off the road. ”

“The front is clear,” Diggle says clearly and just as quietly. “I got a visual on the stolen goods. He seems to be working alone on this.”

Oliver takes a deep, steadying breath.

“All right, let’s do this.”

*

Felicity is very proud of herself for not jumping as high as her father did when the Arrow and Arsenal burst through the back door with their bows up.

She does, however, scream when her father reaches for the gun she never saw he had tucked into his pants and then manages a gasp when a green fletched arrow immediately cuts through the air directly into his raised arm and is speedily followed by a red fletched arrow that buries itself into his left thigh. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks about the happy sob that escapes her when she feels Oliver’s hands on her shoulders and hears him call Lance and the rest of the team in as Roy kicks the gun away and works to zip tie her father to the refrigerator door handle.

“Don’t hurt him too badly. Or, at least not more than you already have,” she pleads as Lance works to free her from the chair and Diggle and Sara make a quick sweep of the building before calling it clear. “His name is Noah Kuttler and he’s kind of my father.”

“Kind of?” he moans indignantly from the refrigerator door, grasping at his wounded leg with his good arm. “Oh, Princess, just tell them! Please, tell them what I told you!”

“Tell us what?” Oliver growls at him. “Why did you take all of these machines? What do you want with the satellite program?”

Noah looks up at him with a cold and angry stare, holding his chin up high even as he grits his teeth in pain.

“He’s sick,” Felicity answers. “He was talking about some alien friend from the planet Crouton who lives in that computer over there. He said that this Brainiac wanted me to do something for him.”

She feels more than hears Lance’s triumphant ‘Got it!’ when he finally gets the handcuffs unlocked. “Don’t worry, Sweetheart. I’ve got my men on their way; we’ll get him the help he needs. Both mentally and medically,” he assures her, giving Oliver a pointed look as he begins to lead her out of the room, dropping a quick kiss on her head.

With Roy busying himself with the mound of stolen computer parts and the sight of Felicity limping and half-leaning on Lance as she slowly makes her way out of the room becoming enough to distract Oliver, Noah manages to finally stretch his unharmed arm long enough to reach his ankle

Felicity can see and Diggle waiting in their wonderfully familiar van and Sara on her phone, presumably with Laurel. She turns back at the sound of Noah’s grunt and the click that immediately follows it, sees the small handgun flash in the soft kitchen light.

“DAD, GET DOWN!”

She shoves Lance onto the ground with everything she has and barely hears the POP! of the pistol or Noah’s cry as Oliver shoots another arrow into him, this time into his chest. She is surprised at the funny burning feeling in her right shoulder and briefly wonders why she is on the ground before everything around her turns to black.

*

It’s moments like this when Oliver is grateful to have been born a Queen.

After the ambulances came to collect both Felicity and her father he managed to change out of his leathers in record time and still meet Donna, Laurel, and a very angry Thea at the hospital. Thankfully, despite her anger at being left out of the loop, Thea had the presence of mind to drop her name once or a dozen times so Felicity could get the best possible care and they could get their own private waiting area while she is in surgery.

He’s grateful that Lance has never asked the Arrow or his crew to give a statement because he really doesn’t remember exactly what happened. He just remembers the flash of the gun and Felicity’s cry. He doesn’t remember putting an arrow in her father but he remembers the stricken look on Roy’s face when he rushed to her side while Lance got on his radio and called for help. He thinks he remembers Lance calling him by his name and telling him to leave before the area was swamped with cops and medics and Sara and Diggle dragging him and Roy away. He doesn't remember Diggle putting a familiar pink flash drive into his pants pocket.

He does remember wishing he had shot Noah Kuttler in the chest the first time.

It’s been two and half hours since Felicity and Noah were brought in and he can see that the sun is just now beginning to rise over Starling City and filter into the quiet waiting room. He can see that Roy and Donna have stopped sniffling and by the way Thea’s thumb is rubbing calm circles on Roy’s wrist that she is not asleep despite not having opened her eyes in almost twenty minutes. He can see the burgundy toe nail polish on Laurel’s feet as she finally kicks off her shoes and buries herself into her father’s side along with her sister; and he can see worried frown etched onto Digg’s face as he hurriedly texts with Lyla despite how pale and tired he clearly is because they have all agreed that there is no way Noah Kuttler is going anywhere but Lian Yu if he makes it out of surgery alive. They don't care what kind of massive fit Lex Luthor throws, The Calculator will go to the Super Max and Luthor can keep that black metal box of a computer.

He sees a flash of gold and watches as Donna slowly takes a sparkly and love-worn scrapbook out of her tote bag.

“I forgot I had this,” she half-whispers beside him. “I made this for her when she graduated college and moved out here so she could have a keepsake from home. She never took it with her though.”

He, Thea, and Roy look at the scrapbook in wonder as Donna quietly and slowly flips through the pages.

They marvel at the tiny hand and footprints and the lock of dark blonde baby hair and neither can’t help but smile at the sight of a slightly wide-mouthed little girl with light brown hair, green glasses, and a bright frilly floral dress holding a Beauty and the Beast lunch box over her head with an air of pride and glee only a four year old can manage.

They frown at the sight of a now familiar looking man with brown hair, cheap glasses, and Felicity’s ears. Donna chokes back a sob.

“I still can’t believe Noah would do all of this. He adored Felicity. He used carry her on his shoulders everywhere. He used read to her every night and play these silly computer games with her when she came home from school,” she quietly rambles. “Then again, I never thought he was the kind of person who would leave his whole family behind either.”

Oliver solemnly shakes his head. “He was sick, Donna. He is sick. He thought that you two would be better off without him, that he was protecting you.”

“No, he was protecting himself. He thought it would be selfish to stay but it was the wrong kind of selfish to push us away. He was always off doing his little calculations. He calculated what would happen if he stayed, but he never calculated what would happen to us if he left. He was my best friend. We were partners. I would have tried to help him if he had stayed. It hurt me when he left, but it just about destroyed Felicity. She had gone from this bright, happy, outgoing little girl to this frightened and insecure little thing.”

There is an old flame sparking behind her eyes now, fueled by unshed tears and histories left untold.

“She was so afraid of someone leaving her again, of losing someone else,” she continues. “Whenever I left the room I would have to tell her where I was going. Then, when we moved in with my sister and her husband, whenever someone would try to leave the house she would stop them and ask them where they were going and then take inventory of where everyone was. ‘Mommy, you’re going to work? Aunt Cheryl is in the kitchen and Uncle David is in the garage, right? Okay, Mommy, I’ll be here when you come back.’ She did that for years. A part of me is actually glad she outgrew it when she hit that Goth-y/teenage rebellion phase.”

 Donna flips the scrapbook to a picture of a frowning, black-haired, barely recognizable Felicity and Thea’s eyes grow impossibly wide while Roy looks like he’s suddenly on the verge of an existential crisis.

Oliver smiles softly at their reactions and places a comforting hand on Donna’s knee. “I think we’re all glad that Felicity is back to being her bright, happy, outgoing self.”

She takes his hand into hers, grasping his fingers tightly. Her voice is a whisper he struggles to hear, but the fire in her eyes sends her message loud and clear.

“You won’t abandon her, too, right? I’ll admit I was worried about her involvement with you, given your track record. But I’ve seen the way you look at her and you’ve given her this wonderful little family. Promise me you won't push her away, too.”

The day before yesterday, in between preparing the pot roast and cleaning up the house, he had taken out the small black velvet box he keeps hidden in his gym bag, stared at the emerald ring tucked carefully inside and practiced the words he hoped to say to the woman sitting beside him. He had wanted to tell her that her daughter is the most remarkable, most intelligent, kind, and loving person he has ever met and he wants to thank her for giving him his best friend. He wants to tell her that he most probably doesn’t deserve her daughter, but he will gladly spend the rest of his life trying to make her as happy as she has made him.

The day before yesterday he had had a whole speech prepared and now he can’t remember a single word of it.

“I promise,” he says with so much conviction it just about takes her breath away and she smiles.

“Good, now do us all a favor and tell her that when she wakes up.”

*

Felicity wakes up from surgery about six hours after being admitted.

The bullet had gone clean through her shoulder, thankfully missing any major organs and arteries and every single person in the waiting room finally felt like they could breathe when the doctor assured them that, after some physical therapy, Felicity was expected to make a full recovery.

Still, when Oliver is finally allowed to see her, the sight of her in her bed, pale, her hair a complete knotted mess, hooked up to about three different machines is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen because she is alive and awake and smiling at him like he is her favorite person in the whole wide world.

“There’s my fella!” she slurs, weakly wiggling the fingers on her good hand.

“And there’s my girl,” he chuckles as he takes her hand and is surprised by the strength by which she grasps his fingers. “How do you feel?”

“A little sore and also, maybe, a little high.” Her eyes are a little glazed but she sighs happily when he strokes her tangled mane with his free hand.

“I’m sorry about your dad.”

She shakes her just a little. “He stopped being my dad when he walked out the door. Captain Lance is my dad now. I decided. He cried.”

Oliver did hear the other man sniffling when they walked past each other in the hallway.

She seems very proud of her decision but then frowns when she hears the serious and heavy tone of his voice.

“Felicity, there’s something I want to tell you –“

“Oh God, Baby Bear Roy was right, you do want a divorce!” she groans, moving her head away from his warm hand and shutting her glassy eyes tight.

They don’t stay closed, however, when she feels both of hands gently cup her face and he looks her square in the eye with an intensity he usually saves for the Arrow.

“I would never divorce you.”

She hums, once again happy when he kisses her crown and leans his forehead against hers, their noses just barely brushing against one another.

“I’m so sorry for the way I acted before,” he tells her, his voice low and rumbly in a way that makes her chest feel tight in a really good way. “I was frustrated with the chase and I am so sorry I took it out on you. I know you were just trying to take care of me. I don’t think you talk too much and I definitely don’t think you’re a distraction. You keep me focused. You give me something to come home to and I promise I will always do my best to come back to you.”

“You really promise?”

“I do.”

Chapter Text

Oliver smiles at the sight that greets him when he finally wanders into the living room one late Saturday morning.

Before the kidnapping and her shooting, Felicity had already spent many of her nights sleeping over at the Queen residence so there wasn’t even a hint of an adjustment period when she was moved into the guest room she had come to consider her own for the duration of her recovery. There was, however, a little bit of an adjustment period when, after a few days of bed rest and a few weeks of physical therapy, she decided to spend a week at her own apartment. No one is entirely sure who took it worse – Oliver or Thea. Still, her time away didn’t last very long as she left Sunday night and came back to inhabit her favorite cozy sheets that same Friday and now here she is, just where she has been found the past handful of Saturdays, sitting on his couch in her sweatpants and one of his old shirts, with her hair piled messily a top her head while she plays on her tablet and his sister rests her head comfortably on her good shoulder.

Except, as he leans over the back of the couch to drop kisses on their heads he notices that she is not playing some silly game, but looking at apartments.

“Oliver, please tell your sister these apartments are perfectly acceptable for me,” she teasingly demands after flashing him her bright morning smile.

Thea huffs and he frowns in confusion. “What’s wrong with the apartment you have now?”

“My lease will be up next month and, since I’ll be getting a substantial raise when I start as the new Head of Applied Sciences, I thought I’d move myself on up to a place around here.” She holds her tablet up a little higher for Thea to see. “Look, this townhouse is practically around the corner. I wouldn’t be that far away.”

“Whatever you say, Mama Bear. I’m going to go and finish up some business at the club. I’ll see you guys tonight,” she says, giving her a sweet smile before shooting her brother a rather pointed look as she walks past him and out the door.

“I thought she’d be happy I was moving closer to you guys,” Felicity says with a worried pout.

Oliver uncomfortably shifts his feet as he stares down at his toes with deep concentration.

“You know, you don’t have to move in to a new apartment. You could just move in here. With us. With me.”

“And what, just turn the guest room into my room? I mean sure, half of my stuff is already in there but-“

He cuts her off with a quiet, nervous laugh. “Felicity, it’s already your room. What I mean is that you move your things from your room to my room so my room becomes our room.”

“What?”

She is looking up at him with wide-eyed, her mouth pink and parted and utterly kissable, her glasses somehow sitting at the very tip of her perfect nose, her hair still damp from her shower, and her face clear of make-up leaving every single freckle that sprinkles her nose and the apple of her cheeks entirely visible. He thinks that this is the face he wants to wake up to every single morning for the rest of his life; this is the last face he wants to see before he dies.

 Once again, thinks Fuck it.

He made a promise to her and her mother and he is going to keep that goddamn promise.

“I – You - Wait here a second,” he tells her before turning right around and rushing away.

She hears him run up the stairs two at a time; intently listens to him rummage through his closet, and then come back down in no time at all. He comes around the back of the couch, positions himself in front of her, and starts doing what looks like the world’s most awkward cha-cha before finally deciding to drop down on one knee.

It takes Felicity maybe a moment too long to notice the small black box in his hands, but when he opens it, it doesn’t take her nearly as long to notice the elegant emerald ring nestled inside.

Oliver always thought that when the moment came he would be a sweaty, nervous wreck with his heart hammering away in his chest and pounding in his ears. He thought that he would find himself mumbling and stammering away in an oddly cracked voice with tears in his eyes. But now, here he is kneeling before her with a ring in his hand, looking up at her as she sits cross-legged on his couch with an adorably astonished look on her face, and he is calm. His heart is beating slow and steady, his voice is strong and sure, and he swears his vision has never been clearer.

“You once asked me if I had any happy stories and I told you that I had had five years where nothing good happened. Felicity, the truth is those five years ended the day I walked into your office with a shot up a laptop and a half-assed lie. After everything I had done I thought that I didn’t deserve to be happy, and a part of me didn’t even want to be happy; but that’s just what you’ve made me – happy. Sometimes I look at you and I can’t believe you’re real. You are the kindest, smartest, bravest, most remarkable person I have ever met. You make me strong. You make me feel like I can do anything and be anything, and that includes being the kind of hero the city deserves, the kind of hero, the kind of person, you deserve.

“Felicity, I love you. I meant it that night in the mansion and I’m sorry because I’m an idiot and I haven’t told you every single day since then but I promise you, if you let me, I will tell you ‘I love you’ every day for the rest of my life. If you let me, I will try to make you as happy as you have made me.”

His heart starts pounding away again because he can see through his tear-filled eyes that she just sits there for what seems forever, quiet and cross-legged on his couch with that adorably astonished look on her face and tears in her eyes and so still that, for a second, he wonders if she is still breathing.

“Umm,” his voice cracks. “You – Do you… D-Don’t you have something to say to me?”

 “I don’t know what to say, you haven’t asked me anything yet!” she happily sobs, finally letting out the breath she seems to have been holding in.

Oliver’s smile is as bright as hers and so wide his face kind of hurts when he gently takes her hand holds the ring up to her finger.

“Felicity Smoak, will you marry me?”

He barely gets the words out before she quite literally throws herself at him, the both of them falling backwards onto the overly expensive Oriental rug and landing in the space in between the coffee table and the ottoman.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” she gasps, giggles, and kisses into his mouth.

*

They get married in city hall three months later and when she signs her name as ‘Felicity Smoak-Queen’ for the first time, she finds that, oddly enough, it doesn’t look or feel weird at all.