A/N: Hey everyone! Well, this fic has been a long time coming. I think I started it back in October? It's slowly been worked on and I am finally finishing and posting it. This story takes place somewhere within the first half of season 2, however, there are no spoilers for the season two.
Huge thanks to anthfan for looking over the chapter for me!
As always, I love hearing what you think! Thanks for all your support! :)
Felicity's head had barely hit the pillow when the trilling of her phone blasted through the early dawn silence. She groaned into her comforter, knowing if it was Digg or Oliver she was going to have a few choice words for them.
Her body yearned for rest - the week had been long and laborious and while she'd grown somewhat accustomed to the hours after working with Oliver for a little over a year, she could still tell when she was almost at her breaking point.
Grabbing the phone from her bedside table, she glanced at the caller ID before bolting upright in bed, her thumb swiping over the screen.
"Kylie?" she gasped, heart racing in her chest as her cousin's face flashed on her screen.
"Lis?" Her cousin whispered hoarsely and immediately Felicity knew something was terribly wrong.
"What is it? What happened? Did they come back?" The questions flew out of her mouth before she could stop them.
Kylie and her husband Ben lived in a neighborhood just outside the Glades. Ben had been employed at a company headquartered in the heart of the most damaged area in the Glades and was now jobless with an eighteen month old baby girl and wife to support. As crime had escalated in the heart of the Glades, it had slowly spread outward, and it was now literally at her cousin's doorstep. For the past week, they had been hearing noises outside of their bungalow home. While they'd never been able to spot anyone near the house, voices could be heard walking the streets. Kylie had been terrified that one night they were going to barge their way in and take whatever they wanted.
Felicity had called Lance immediately after Kylie's first worried call to her, trying to see if he could somehow get patrols set up in their neighborhood. But, as she expected, the police department was stretched thin as it was - there were no more bodies to send out on extra patrols.
She'd briefly thought about asking Oliver, knowing he'd do what he could to help, even patrolling the area himself at night. But around the same time, a madman had started taking hostages at random throughout the city, asking for ransom before leaving their victims barely clinging to life. It had taken them all week to track and bring the man to justice. In addition, this week had been crucial for Queen Consolidated and the company's bid to outlast the takeover by Stellmoor. Oliver had been sequestered in meeting after meeting with the board of trustees as well as the executives to try and find a solution. Eventually, an agreement had been reached and a loophole found. But not before exhausting most of their resources.
Every time Felicity thought about bringing up her cousin's predicament, she'd seen the weariness in Oliver's eyes and changed her mind - hating to put one more thing on his shoulders and the already full plate in front of them all. Even Diggle had looked like he'd gone a week without sleep, the always formidable man's eyes sunken and bloodshot as they'd left the Foundry early this morning.
"Kylie..." Felicity pleaded, hearing her cousin's breaths come out in desperate heaves.
"They took her," she sobbed, and Felicity felt her stomach drop, her hand clamping down on the phone so hard her fingers began to hurt.
"Oh God!" she breathed, "Please no. Kylie...when?"
Felicity was already scrambling out of bed, pulling on her recently abandoned jeans and t-shirt.
"Just about an hour ago...Ben tried to stop them, but they shot him," A sob interrupted her cousin's words and Felicity swallowed the dread that balled up in her stomach. "He's in surgery...they said he should be fine, but...Lis, I don't know what to do..." Hearing her cousin's cries, she had to blink back her own tears. "What if they...what if…" her words trailed off and Felicity shook her head, knowing where Kylie's thoughts were leading her. "I just need my baby back!"
"Are the police there?" Felicity asked, swallowing her own emotions to try and be as strong as she could for her cousin. She needed all the information she could gather as she snatched her car keys from their hook and rushed for the door to her apartment.
"Yes," the other woman replied shakily. "But they don't know where to start looking...an Officer Lance has been asking me questions for the past hour...Felicity...I don't know what to do..."
She wanted to reassure her that Officer Lance was a good man and that she should trust him, but it would raise too many questions - questions she didn't have time to answer right then.
"Just hang on," Felicity said as calmly as possible, swallowing past the lump in her throat. "I'm going to make a few calls. Have you called your parents?" she asked.
"Yeah," Kylie replied. "They're on their way. My sister's almost here."
"Okay," Felicity told her, trying to keep the tears at bay. "Just hold on, Ky."
"Thank you, Lis," she replied, "Oh, the doctor's here...I have to go."
Before Felicity could say anything else, the line went dead.
Already at her car, she pulled the door open and climbed inside, her heart pounding in her chest. The tears she'd been holding back began to spill down her cheeks and she quickly wiped them away as she started the engine. She needed to get to the Foundry. That's where her best equipment was - if she was going to help Kylie, she needed the programs they had to try and pick up any clue she could on the men who had taken her goddaughter.
Halfway to the Foundry, she saw the exit that led to the Queen Estate. She hesitated
for only a second before swerving onto the turnoff lane and heading towards the road.
Much to her surprise, the security guard at the gate didn't hesitated to let her pass when she gave them her name and she quickly drove up the long, seemingly endless, driveway to the massive stone house. She'd been there once or twice before after bringing Oliver back from the island, but she never got over just how much it resembled a castle to her.
She stopped under the car park and exited, her nerves suddenly hitting her full force as she realized she was standing in front of the Queen residence at nearly five in the morning. Wiping her sweaty palms on her jeans, she approached the double doors and lifted her hand to ring the bell. She hesitated, almost turning and fleeing back to her car, but something deep inside her needed to see him if for no other reason than to know tell him she'd need a few days off. Steeling her nerves, she determinedly pushed the silver-plated doorbell.
Her heart thrummed in her chest as she waited, and she wrapped her arms around her stomach, realizing for the first time that she hadn't remembered to grab her coat on the way out of her apartment.
A few moments passed before an older Hispanic woman opened the door with a furrowed brow. "Hello, miss?"
"Uh...hi," Felicity said softly, feeling the blush rise to her cheeks, but recognizing the woman in front of her as the Queen's housemaid. "I'm Felicity Smoak...I know it's ridiculously early and I might have woken up everyone, but I really need to speak to Oliver...er...Mr. Queen. It's important and I probably just should have called, but..." That thought flew through her mind and she wondered why she hadn't done that instead of showing up at his doorstep. "I'm so sorry...it's just..it's an emergency..."
Her voice cracked and a flash of recognition and sympathy crossed the woman's features. Quickly, she ushered Felicity inside the expansive foyer. "Oh course, Ms. Felicity, I remember now. You work with Mr. Oliver. Come in."
Once the door was shut tight behind her, Felicity felt the tears threatening to fall again as the housekeeper laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Let me go get Mr. Oliver for you. Please, come sit while you wait..."
"Thank you," Felicity replied softly as the woman motioned to a settee just below the set of double grand stairs that lead to the second and third levels of the house.
She sat for only a moment until the thoughts became too much, and then she began to pace, rubbing her hands up and down her bare arms as she waited. Her mind was overrun with one horrible scenario after another at what could be happening to her little Ellie. Tears stung at her eyes and she blinked, trying to hold them back, but she could feel the wetness on her cheeks. A sob worked it's way up her throat and she clamped down on her lips to keep it from escaping when she heard his voice behind her.
"Felicity?" he called, his voice rough with sleep and she instantly spun to find him standing at the base of the staircase, hair rumpled, wearing only a pair of grey sweatpants.
Her heart lodged somewhere in her throat as she saw the instant concern that rose in his eyes as he took in her appearance. He took one step towards her and she broke.
"Oliver," she gasped and she felt as if her knees were going out but she somehow managed to stay upright.
He erased the space between them in four long strides. "Felicity, what's wrong?!" he almost growled, but she could hear the fear present in his voice.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come. I should have called, but I didn't know what else to do. I got the call and I just...I needed to do something so I headed to the Foundry but then I saw the exit for your place and I just...I just...Oliver, please, I need your help. She's my goddaughter. Please..." Her voice failed her as the tears spilled down her cheeks and she felt herself beginning to fall.
He caught her easily and hauled her to him, her arms unwrapping from around her waist and scrabbling against the warm skin of his back. She pressed her face against his neck and gasped for air as his arms banded about her waist.
"Shh," he soothed her, his fingers coasting up and down her back in a calming pattern.
One of her hands splayed against his skin, feeling the gentle thrum of his heartbeat and she tried to match her breathing to the steady rhythm.
"It's okay. You're okay," he murmured into her hair, and the words stabbed at the guilt that had balled in the pit of her stomach.
"But she's not," Felicity cried, wrenching herself away from him, the idea that she was receiving comfort while her goddaughter was in peril upsetting her further.
The ball of guilt threatened to overwhelm her. She hadn't done anything when she could have - when she should have.
"And it's my fault," she rasped, hands furiously wiping at her cheeks, "It's all my fault. I should have done something. And I didn't...I didn't and now she's gone..."
"Felicity," Oliver rasped, taking careful steps towards her. "Hey, talk to me. You're not making any sense."
The guilt clawed it's way up her throat and she just shook her head, covering her face with her hands. "What if she's dead, Oliver? What if they...oh...God...what if she's d..."
Her knees did give out this time and she braced herself for the feeling of the hard floor, but it never came.
Oliver's strong arms banded about her waist and she felt herself being lifted. She clung to him, her hands grasping the back of his neck, holding on tightly as he began to climb the stairs. The blood rushed into her ears and it was the only thing she could hear.
Instead of fighting him, she pressed her face against his shoulder and tried to calm her erratic breathing. The warmth of his flesh bleed into hers and calmed her. His hands tightened their grasp on her when her breath ghosted over his skin and she swore she felt him shudder when her fingers brushed against the nape of his neck.
A few minutes later, she heard the sound of a door shutting behind them and when she cracked her eyes open, she was surrounded by darkness and Oliver's familiar scent. Setting her down on something soft, he let go and she lifted her eyes to see herself on an expansive bed in an ornately decorated room. One of his hands never left her back as he settled beside her and she let her flats slip off her feet and drew her knees up to her chin. Her ragged, hiccuping breaths slowly began to even out as he ran soothing circles across her back. Occasionally, his fingers would trail up to the nape of her neck and massage the muscles there and she found herself beginning to lean towards him, the exhaustion taking over her body.
"Hey," he finally breathed, and she realized her head was pillowed on his shoulder. "Talk to me."
Felicity took a few more deep, steadying breaths - the sound of his heart beating calmly in her ear and his scent surrounding her providing her with the sense of security she needed.
"My cousins…" she finally began hoarsely, twisting her hands in her lap until Oliver covered them with one of his own. "They live just outside the Glades. For the past week, they've been hearing noises outside of their house - voices calling out in the street. They were never able to see anyone, but Kylie has been terrified every night…"
She let out a ragged breath, the guilt settling heavily back in her stomach. "She called me on Monday. She said she just needed someone to talk to...that she didn't know what to do. She'd called the police and they'd told her unless something had happened they couldn't help. They are already spread too thin...I…"
Her voice broke again and a body-wracking shudder ran through her. Oliver's muscles tensed and she lifted her head from where it rested on his shoulder to look him in the eyes. She saw the questions he wanted to ask and her heart ached even more.
"I wanted to come to you - to ask you for help, but there was so much going on - you were so exhausted and I was too...there was never a good time to bring it up. And now...now it's too late," she whispered, a sob catching in her throat. "And it's all my fault."
Her head fell forward and she tried to get the images of a crying Ellie being taken from her family out of her head.
"No," Oliver's voice was stern when he spoke, and she felt his fingers at the back of her neck while his other hand rose to her chin and tilted her head up so she could look at him.
His eyes held more emotions than she had ever seen. Sadness, regret and heartache stared back at her - the empathy that radiated off him surrounding her.
"Felicity, listen to me. You can't blame yourself," he said, speaking slow and deliberately. "You can't put this on your shoulders...that kind of guilt..."
"But I didn't help when I should have. And now…"
Her voice trailed off as she realized with a start what she needed to be doing. She mentally cursed for wasting so much time again.
"Oh...I have to get to the lair...I have to find her...I have to…Oliver," she turned to face him, eyes pleading. "I know it's a lot...but..."
When his hand cupped her cheek, the words died in her throat. "Of course," he murmured, brows drawing together in confusion. "How could you possibly think you're asking too much? Felicity…"
The world felt like it stopped spinning for a moment as his unfinished sentence hung in the air between them. The timbre of his voice dropped when he said her name and she automatically turned her head into his hand, letting his touch sink into her very bones. His eyes locked on to hers and she understood everything he couldn't say. Relief filled her chest and she threw her arms around him, mumbling 'thank yous' into his neck. Her hands splayed against the warm skin of his back, feeling scar tissue beneath her fingertips and she had a sudden urge to trace them, learn them by feel as she had already memorized them by sight.
Felicity quickly shook those thoughts from her head as she sat back, knowing she'd already wasted too much time. She propelled herself up, only to begin to fall when she realized the bed was farther from the floor than she thought. Oliver caught her easily around the waist and pulled her back against him and she grasped his arm to keep upright.
Her breath was coming in short pants again and she wished she could get control of her emotions. Being a complete wreck wasn't going to help Ellie.
"Hey," he murmured against her hair. "We're going to find her. I promise."
His words were a balm to her battered heart and she nodded as he slipped from behind her and crossed to what she assumed was his closet. A few minutes later, he re-emerged, dressed in jeans and a gray pull-over sweater. In his other hand, he held an old grey hoodie which he handed to her.
She furrowed her brow at him until he explained. "You were shivering earlier when you came in. You don't have a jacket."
Giving him a wobbly smile, she took the offered garment and shrugged it on over her short-sleeves. A wave of Oliver's scent surrounded her and her eyes slipped shut involuntarily as she inhaled deeply, wrapping it tightly around her.
When she opened her eyes, Oliver was staring at her with intense, dark blue eyes that made her shiver. Taking a steadying breath, she tore her eyes away from his, swirls of heat filling her stomach.
After a minute, he held out his hand and she let her fingers slip into his as he quickly led her through the door and down the stairs to the foyer once more where Raisa was waiting for them.
"Is everything alright, Mr. Oliver?" she asked, concern evident in her kind eyes.
He smiled genuinely at her, "It will be. Thank you. Can you let my sister know that I've gone out?"
"Of course," she replied and before she could say anything, Oliver placed his other hand at her back and steered her out the door as he pulled his phone from his pocket.
Within seconds, he was talking to Digg and asked him to meet them at the lair.
Oliver held out his hand, and she frowned before he motioned to her car. Realizing, he wanted her keys, she frowned about to fight him when she saw how badly her hands shook as she tried to produce them from her pocket. Pulling them out, she handed them over, knowing it was probably better that he drive anyway.
With quick, precise movements, Oliver ushered her into the car and closed the door.
When he slid into her tiny mini-cooper, she couldn't stop the small smile that blossomed on her lips at the image he made.
Oliver started the car and they were headed toward the city in minutes. Ignoring most of the speed limits, Oliver easily had them driving down the mostly deserted streets of the Glades toward the Club in ten minutes.
As streets passed, Felicity's mind whirled. She went over and over the last few days and what she could have done differently. Then she moved on to what she knew she needed to do as soon as they reached the Foundry.
Her hands twisted in the fabric of Oliver's hoodie, the sleeves falling down past her hands, and yet, she felt a sense of safety surrounded by something of his.
How he had come to represent such safety to her was beyond something she wasn't quite ready to dwell on at the moment. But he had. A deep part of her wanted nothing more than to be wrapped back up in his arms until all of this just melted away. However, knowing she couldn't do that, having something of his as small as a simple hoodie provided her with more comfort than she was ready to admit.
She didn't realize she was staring at the dark screen of her phone, grasping it until her knuckles turned white, until one of Oliver's hands came into her line of vision and covered hers. Gently, he eased the phone from her fingers and then wove his fingers with hers, squeezing softly.
Glancing over at him, she gave him a watery smile and focused on the comforting feeling of his hand in hers.