A/N: Hey guys! I'm so sorry this took awhile to get out. I realized as I was editing that this is actually the last chapter before a little epilogue that I'm going to do for it.

I don't know how many times I read and reread over this, wanting to make sure it was good and it would draw this story to a fitting close.

I can't tell you how much all your support has meant. This story has been an interesting one for me to write and post. I truly appreciate all of you who have left comments and let me know that you have enjoyed it! You guys are wonderful!

As always, let me know what you think and an epilogue will be coming soon!

he woke twice to nightmares, gasping for breath as large hands bracketed her face and calmed her with whispered words of comfort and promise.

Both times she was calling for Ellie, watching as she never got there in time, her screams echoing in the large warehouse.

"She's safe. You got her. You're safe," Oliver soothed, stroking her hair and brushing away errant tears.

Felicity buried her face against his neck, pulling in ragged breaths and matching the rise and fall of his chest until she felt sleep pulling at her again.

Both times, she fell back asleep with Oliver's words of comfort echoing in her head.

The third time she woke, it was slow and peaceful. She was warm and comfortable, her head rising and falling gently as his chest moved beneath her. The soft sensation of gentle hands running up and down her back made her smile into the tanned skin. Letting out a soft sigh, she turned her head and pressed a kiss to his collarbone, her nose nuzzling his neck.

He responded with a low hum of approval and that was when she fully woke, realizing that this wasn't a dream. It was very real and she couldn't stop smiling. Instead of panic, she felt peace and ease.

It didn't take long for that easy feeling to shatter when she remembered the previous days events.

As if sensing her immediate change, Oliver's hand halted its movement over her head and his other moved to cover hers where it lay draped across his stomach.

"What is it?" he asked, his voice holding a current of apprehension.

"I just...I'm worried about Kylie and Ellie...I need to go see them. I need to make sure they're okay," she whispered, tilting her head up to catch his gaze and she saw the tension ease from his eyes.

She realized with a pang of regret that he'd been worried she was rethinking the apparent unspoken agreement they'd come to last night in regards to their own relationship.

Needing to reassure him, she leaned up and pressed a soft kiss to his lips. The hand on her head moved to cup the nape of her neck, pulling her closer as he opened his mouth and deepened the kiss, relaxing into her.

Fingers tripped down her side, from her back to her hip and she felt the heat of his touch as they fell beneath the hem of the hoodie he'd given her to wear the night before.

She hummed as his tongue swept along her bottom lip. He grinned, his hand squeezing hers as he placed one more soft kiss on her mouth before letting his head fall to the pillow once more.

She blinked open sleepy eyes to find him smiling softly and her heart warmed at the sight.

When she absentmindedly shifted her legs and began to press against his chest to lift herself up, two shockwaves of pain flew through her.

A cry tore from her lips and she sucked in a deep breath as she went slack, Oliver's arms catching her and easing her back down.

As the pain ebbed, he ran fingers through her hair, squeezing her shoulder before continuing to her injured wrist and gently holding it immobile against his chest.

"That was a mistake," she whispered when she could finally speak again.

She felt Oliver press a kiss against her forehead. "You need more medicine."

"I need to go see Kylie and Ellie," she replied softly even though her body was demanding she stay right where she was, wrapped securely in his arms.

"Medicine first," Oliver said, holding her to him as he slowly eased himself into a sitting position, mindful of her wrist and leg.

Felicity worked with him and carefully shifted her injured leg so it didn't bump into his as he sat them up.

"Thank you," she mumbled into the skin of his neck and pressed her forehead there for a moment before leaning back.

"I think I'm going to need a shower, or at least a change of clothes before I go see them," she added, feeling the day old grime covering her.

Oliver quickly set her on the couch beside him, reaching for her sling and helping her put it on to immobilize her arm. Then, standing, he grabbed the medicine and her water bottle from the night before and brought it back to her. Shaking two pills into her hand, he watched as she swallowed them and handed the bottle back with a soft thanks.

Her phone was placed in her hand and she gave him a grateful look as she saw that she had two text messages from Kylie. One telling her that they had kept Ellie in the hospital overnight for observation and that Ben was now in stable condition. The second text asked her to call.

Felicity sighed as Oliver sat down next to her, arm stretching out behind her as she leaned into his broad chest, seeking his support and comfort. Her body protested every little movement as if realizing the strain it had been put through the night before and decided to make its complaints known.

"I'll take you to your apartment so you can get cleaned up and then we can go to the hospital," he told her softly, his chest rumbling beneath her ear.

His use of the word 'we' wasn't lost on her as her lips curved into a small smile.

"Thank you," she murmured even as her eyes began to drift shut again.

The loud beep of the door caused her eyes to fly open. Digg descended the steps, raising an eyebrow when he reached the bottom and spotted them.

"I thought you two might still be here," he stated, "You know when I told you to take care of her, I didn't mean sleep on the couch."

One eyebrow arched in Oliver's direction and he crossed his large arms in front of his chest.

"She was tired and didn't want to get in a car," Oliver explained, rolling his eyes.

Felicity smiled. "Besides, he's not a bad pillow," she added, and then blushed when she realized what she'd said out loud.

Diggle raised both brows and then shook his head. "There are some things I don't need to know, Felicity," he quipped. "That's one of them."

A noise came from Oliver and she glanced over to see him leveling Digg with a glare. Her hand found his and squeezed before standing up slowly. Oliver followed her instantly, his hand at her back as she tested out her leg.

The first few steps, she found she was pretty stiff but it became easier and easier.

"How's it feel?" Diggle asked, eyeing her closely, before giving Oliver a quick glance.

"It still hurts, but not that bad," she said truthfully. "The pain meds are helping."

Diggle grunted and nodded his head. "Good."

"If you're okay, I'm going to go spend some time with Lyla today," Diggle told them, looking back and forth between she and Oliver. "She's got some time off and you need rest."

Felicity nodded. "After I go check on Kylie and Ellie, I will. Promise."

Digg sighed and stepped forward. "Okay," he whispered and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "See you later. Call if you need me."

"We will," she replied and she knew by the twinkle in his eyes, he hadn't missed her own use of the word 'we.'

An hour later, she was emerging from her own bathroom, freshly showered and feeling much better despite the fact that it took her twice as long to do everything.

Oliver was perched on her bed, within earshot just in case she needed help.

She struggled but was able to wash her hair with her one good hand, however, drying it was going to be a different story altogether.

Biting her lip, she made her way towards him, stopping a few feet away.

He looked up at her, his brow crinkling in concern as his gaze swept appreciatively up her body. "Um…" she began, wondering why she was suddenly at a loss for words when she'd woken up on top of him this morning.

"Can you help me with my hair?" she finally blurted out, and watched Oliver's eyebrows rise on his forehead.

"I can't dry it very well with just one hand," she explained and his gaze softened as he reached for the towel she had brought with her.

He tugged her closer, fingers closing over her own until she was standing between his legs. Scooting back on the bed, he guided her to sit and then placed the towel over her hair, gently easing it away from her face and twisting it to wring out the excess water.

The gentleness in his actions surprised her and she soon found herself leaning back against him as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the side of her neck.

The damp towel was thrown to the side as he nuzzled his face into her skin, nipping a soft line down the column of her neck. Pulling air into her lungs, she swallowed as the sensations he was drawing from her threatened to tip her over the edge.

Deft fingers played with the ties of her robe, the heat from his hands searing her through the thin satin material.

"Oliver," she moaned when he found that spot right beneath her ear, her back arching away from him as she pushed her hips against his. A low grunt escaped his throat and she suddenly felt just how much he was affected as well.

Her good hand covered his on her stomach and he laced his fingers with hers as he pulled her earlobe into his mouth, sucking it gently.

She keened, throwing her neck back and breathing heavily. She could feel him smiling against her skin and wanted to make him as breathless as he had made her.

Twisting her head, she sought out his lips, capturing them in a heated kiss, running her tongue along his lips and then pulling the bottom one into her mouth, biting down softly.

The deep guttural groan that rumbled up from his chest had him jerking his hips up as well.

She felt the hand on her head move to cup the back of her neck, angling her head so he could take control of the kiss and by the time she had to pull away for oxygen, the blood was thrumming through her veins, igniting every spark on it's way to her core.

His heavy-lidded gaze only made that feeling stronger, as she ached for him. All rational thought fled her when dark cobalt blue locked with her. Quicker than she should have, she turned in his lap.

The sharp pain that tore through her leg had her crying out as bright spots danced behind her eyelids.

White hot bolts of pain traveled through her as she worked on pulling oxygen into her lungs.

When she could finally open her eyes again, she found that she was pressed up against Oliver's chest, her forehead resting on his shoulder, his hands gently stroking up and down her back as he whispered soft words of reassurance in her ear.

Taking one more deep stuttered breath, she pulled back and the wetness of her cheeks surprised her.

Oliver brought one hand to her face, and using his thumb wiped the tears away.

"Sorry," she murmured, her voice hoarse and a bit shaky.

He let out a deep breath and leaned his forehead against hers as his eyes fell shut. "I'm the one who should apologize. I shouldn't have let things go that far - not while you're still hurt."

Felicity swallowed thickly. "I don't regret it," she told him smiling. "I'm going to expect you to finish what you started here when I'm better."

A smile curved on his lips, his eyes twinkling with darkening desire. "Oh, I will," he whispered throatily. "I promise."


She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his, a slow soft kiss full of promise.

"I better go find actual clothes," she murmured against his lips.

Before Oliver could reply, she pushed on his shoulders and carefully slid herself off his lap. His hands steadied her at the waist and she smiled in thanks before turning and hobbling to her closet.

She settled on a flowing skirt that would cover her thigh injury but not put any more pressure on it and a simple v-necked t-shirt. It was there that she ran into trouble.

As many times as she tried, she couldn't get latch the closure on the back of her bra with only one hand. She had tried to use the other hand but quickly nixed that idea when the throb of pain that went through her arm brought another batch of tears to her eyes.

"Oliver?" she called from just inside the bathroom door where she'd brought her clothes to change.

He was there in seconds and she wondered if he'd been waiting on the bed or had moved even closer.

She opened the door and his eyes widened when he saw her standing there in nothing but a skirt and unclasped bra.

With a huff, she turned around, her tired arm silently holding out the unclasped closures.

Her skin tingled when his hands covered hers , and she sighed in relief when she could let hers drop once he had hold of both sides.

With more ease than she wanted to dwell on in that moment, he had her bra clasped together and she turned and smiled up at him in shy thanks.

The darkened look in his eyes made her stomach swoop and she blew out a long breath as she noticed he was keeping his eyes trained steadfastly on her face. The thought that he probably wanted to help her take that garment off more than he wanted to help her put it on flew through her mind and made a low coil of heat swirl through her stomach.

Taking a deep breath, she focused on the task at hand. Knowing she would need help with the shirt as well, she grabbed it and held it out. He smiled, taking it, and finding the arm that her injured wrist would travel through before holding it up. Gently, he eased it over her hand and up her arm, his fingertips brushing her bare skin and leaving goosebumps in their wake.

The shirt was on before she knew it and his hands came to rest on her hips once more, pads sneaking up beneath the hem and rubbing soft circles against her skin.

Her sudden need to feel his arms around her once more startled her, but she let herself lean into his chest. Strong arms wrapped around her and she sighed contentedly.

As she breathed in his scent, her fingertips tracing the ridges of muscles along his back, she thought back over the changes that had taken place in the last twenty four hours. Just yesterday morning she'd woken up to the call from Kylie. She'd ended up at the mansion without even realizing it, and yet it felt right, just as standing in his arms this morning did.

This felt right. What was happening between them.

In some aspects, it had happened fast. In others, it seemed as if they'd been building towards this from the moment he walked into her office with a bullet-ridden laptop and a flimsy excuse of a story.

"You're thinking too much," his voice rumbled in her ear, and she chuckled softly, lifting her head to find his gaze.

He tilted his chin and studied her face. She could see the concern in his eyes and wanted to wipe it away.

Leaning up on her tiptoes, she pressed her lips to his in a sweet, chaste kiss. "I was just thinking about how yesterday morning things were so different," she said softly, her hands shifting on his back, tracing light patterns over the grey cotton t-shirt. "And yet this feels right."

She watched as he visibly relaxed, his mouth curving into a small smile as he released a breath and pressed his forehead against hers. "It does."

Kissing him one more, she sighed, catching herself yawning.

"Come on," Oliver whispered, sliding his hands down her arms and interlacing their fingers. "Let's get you to the hospital to see Ellie so you can rest. Your body still needs it."

Felicity simply nodded, knowing what he said was true. Her movements were slower than normal and she was thankful for the constant hand at her back and support he offered her as she slipped on her favorite flats and grabbed her purse as they left her apartment.

The ride to the hospital was short but she still dozed off, a combination of the medicine and her body trying to heal making it hard for her to stay awake.

She woke to Oliver's fingers trailing across her cheek, worried blue eyes silently asking if she was up to this.

"I'm okay," she murmured reassuringly, but she knew she was less than convincing. "Let's go."

Oliver was at her side, helping her from the car before she even had her door open. She gratefully accepted his support and couldn't suppress the warmth that ran through her every time his hand brushed against her lower back. The conflicting feelings of desire and comfort stirred within her, but overarching all of them was the feeling of safety that surrounded her because of his presence beside her.

They found Kylie sitting next to her husband's bedside, Ellie sleeping quietly in her arms.

When she saw Felicity, her eyes widened and she carefully shifted the little girl as she stood and reached out her free arm to her cousin.

"Lis!" she cried, and Felicity could hear the tears in her throat. "I was so worried about you. Detective Lance...he said you were being taken care of but he didn't say anything else...just that it would be better for you not to be involved..."

"I know and I'm okay, Ky," she replied, swallowing the emotion that rose within her at seeing her goddaughter safe and blinking open sleepy eyes at her.

"Your arm!" Kylie motioned to the sling that held her injured wrist with widened eyes. "You're not okay."

Felicity gave her cousin the most confident smile she could as she reached for her hand. "I am. It's just a sprain, that's it."

She thought she heard Oliver's chest rumble behind her but she ignored it, sure if she turned to look at him, she'd see the flash of anger in his eyes because she had been hurt worse, but she wasn't going to tell Kylie that. It would raise too many questions of why she didn't get medical help and who had helped her; those were things better left unspoken.

"I don't know what I would have done without you, Lis," she whispered, tears clogging her voice before suddenly realizing Felicity wasn't alone. Wide eyes flew to hers as she regarded Oliver who stood behind her in his black leather jacket and jeans.

"Oh," Kylie breathed, a surprised look crossing her face as she turned to Felicity with an inquisitive gaze. "I'm sorry, I didn't see you…"

Oliver smiled with ease and waved off her concern, "It's fine. I'm glad to see that you and your family are safe."

Kylie gave him an appreciative smile. "Thank you."

Felicity shook her when she remembered she hadn't introduced them. Although by the look on Kylie's face, her cousin knew exactly who was standing in front of her.

"I'm sorry. Kylie this is Oliver Queen. Oliver, this is my cousin Kylie and this," she said, reaching out her good hand and stroking a few fingers down her goddaughter's cheek, "This is Ellie."

Oliver's smile softened as the little girl lifted her head from her mother's shoulder and gave him a long look. She was reaching for him before Felicity could even react and she saw the confusion that passed over Kylie's features.

"Gween," Ellie mumbled as her small fingers latched on to the leather collar of Oliver's black jacket.

Felicity felt her chest tighten at the realization that Ellie somehow recognized Oliver from the previous night. Knowing she needed to intervene before her goddaughter said anything else, she scooped Ellie up with her good arm and spun them around, momentarily forgetting about the stitches in her leg. Oliver's hand on her waist steadied her and she was thankful he was there to give her support in more ways than one. The little girl shrieked and laughed, blonde curls bouncing around her face as she wrapped her chubby arms around Felicity's neck.

Bringing her back to her body, Felicity nuzzled the top of her head. "I'm so glad you're safe, honey," she murmured into the soft golden hair. "She checked out okay?" she directed towards Kylie.

Her cousin nodded, "A few scratches but nothing huge. I have you and the Arrow to thank for that..."

Felicity felt Oliver tense behind her and she shifted back towards him as she swayed with Ellie in her arms.

"Yes," Felicity stated softly. "He did save her...and me."

"Then I have a lot to thank him for," Kylie smiled, reaching out and giving Felicity a side hug, careful of her sling.

She shared a smile with her cousin and then took one more step towards Oliver so her back was almost touching his side. His hand automatically went to her waist and she tilted her head to look at him, the emotion in his eyes hitting her harder than she expected. The worry and guilt was back along with gratitude and she wanted more than anything to lean back into his embrace once more.

When her cousin cleared her throat, her eyes flew back to the woman in front of her who was giving her a knowing look. Felicity felt her cheeks heat and resisted the urge to bite down on her bottom lip. Thankfully, Kylie decided to take pity on her and change the subject although Felicity knew she'd been getting questioned later.

"Are you two going to be here for a few minutes? I need to go talk to the doctors about Ben's recovery. They've given him medication to sleep so he can heal but they said they wanted to talk to me about his recovery and physical therapy…"

"Sure, Ky, go ahead," Felicity said with a smile, "We'll watch Ellie."

"Thank you," she sighed in relief and she gave Felicity's hand one more squeeze before disappearing through the door.

As soon as she was gone, Felicity let herself close the remaining distance between her and Oliver. His hands rested lightly on her shoulders and she felt him press a soft kiss to her hair.

She was about to say something when Ellie spoke up first. Tiny fists once again latched onto Oliver's jacket, wide eyes looking up at him with a smile. "Gween," she gurgled and then was practically crawling out of Felicity's arms into Oliver's chest.

He caught her easily, his hands wrapping around her small body and holding her close to his chest like he had the night before. Felicity felt that same pull deep inside her as she turned and watched Ellie curl up into his chest.

"I think someone has a crush," she teased softly, her free hand reaching up and pushing blonde curls away from Ellie's face and noticing that she'd closed her eyes once more and seemed to be drifting back to sleep.

Oliver looked down at the little girl in his arms in wonder and then to Felicity. The smile blossoming on her lips couldn't be stopped and neither could her need to kiss him. Ignoring the slight pain in her leg she lifted up on her toes and pressed her lips to his.

It was short. Too short for all the pent up emotions raging inside of her, but when they broke apart, he kept her close, his free hand on her waist.

He pressed one more kiss to her forehead before she rested her cheek against his shoulder, staring at a content and sleeping Ellie.

The pang of want became stronger with each moment she watched Oliver with Ellie. She knew it was too fast. They'd just begun to explore something more than friendship and declared their feelings - thinking about a future with children and family seemed a little bit of leap. Then again, she and Oliver were anything but the ordinary run-of-the-mill couple.

Still, she closed her eyes and tried to push those feelings and desires to the back of her mind.

When her eyes fluttered open, Ellie was pulling her thumb into her mouth and Felicity reached out her good hand and tucked a few curls behind her ear, gently caressing her smooth skin.

The words came out before she could stop them. "I never knew if I wanted a family...kids...My own family…" she trailed off with a sigh not knowing where to even start with her mother and father. It was a subject she normally avoided.

She wasn't even very close to her aunt and uncle on her mom's side. But she and Kylie had grown to be almost inseparable when they were teenagers. They were the closest thing to blood family she had anymore.

Oliver's hand had stopped rubbing circles into her back and she could tell he was waiting for her to finish.

"It's complicated," she murmured. "Kylie and Ben and Ellie are the closest family by blood that I really have. My mother is...well….she's my mother," her eyes closed as the painful memories resurfaced sending a shudder through her. "And my father...well, I don't really know what my father was because he abandoned us…"

She felt Oliver's muscles tense beneath her, the stutter in his breath and then his long exhale.

Lifting her head from his shoulder, she gave him a watery smile, not unaffected by the memories her words had brought back.

"With all of that, I never knew if I wanted this," she motioned to Ellie and Ben. "I watched my mom struggle for years after my father left and...I didn't think I could bear it if another man I loved - someone I gave my heart to - left me as well."

Her voice came out as barely a whisper, but she knew he heard because before she'd finished her last word, his hand was on her cheek, thumbs wiping away errant tears she hadn't realized she'd cried.

"I have no idea why anyone would ever leave you, Felicity," he told her, his voice soft but held an undercurrent of conviction. He tilted her chin up and waited for her eyes to meet his before he said his next words. "You're not going to lose me. I'm not going to abandon you or leave you."

A lump formed in her throat and tears clouded her vision. Her chin trembled with the wave of emotion that crashed over her. Those words she'd so longed to hear from someone; words she wanted so much to believe and did believe from him soaked into her very soul.

When her eyes slipped shut, she sucked in a deep breath, as tears tracked down her cheeks.

Warm lips kissed them away, and she leaned up, seeking out his mouth and claiming it with her own.

"Thank you," she whispered when they parted, her breath slightly labored.

He gave her a small smile and she rested her forehead on his shoulder, trying to gather her suddenly overflowing emotions.

A few moments later, she sighed and lifted her head, taking a deep breath she was just about to say something when she heard the door opening.

When she saw Kylie enter the room with tears in her eyes, Felicity quickly crossed the room, reaching for her. "Ky, what's wrong? Is something wrong with Ben?"

Kylie shook her head as her eyes wandered to Oliver and regarded him in disbelief, confusion flitting across her face.

Felicity furrowed her brow and glanced back at Oliver who stood stoically with Ellie in his arms, an unreadable look crossing his features.

"Ben's going to be fine," Kylie finally said, swallowing thickly. "He's going to need a lot of physical therapy and won't be able to work for awhile, but he's going to make a full recovery."

"That's great news, Ky," Felicity breathed out in relief, still confused as to the tearful expression and the looks she kept giving to Oliver.

Kylie glanced back at Oliver again. "The nurse also told me all of our hospital bills had been paid along with any more that would accumulate…"

Felicity whirled around as best she could with wide eyes and saw Oliver regarding them with a softening expression. His gaze flicked to hers and she found confirmation of Kylie's words. Her eyes widened and she shook her head, trying to reconcile Oliver paying her family's enormous hospital bill, especially since without Ben's job, they had no insurance.

"I don't completely understand why you would do this, Mr. Queen," Kylie spoke, her voice trembling, "but I can't thank you enough. For everything."

Oliver nodded his head and held out his hand to her cousin. "I'm sorry for the hardships my family's choices cost yours. The Glades wouldn't be the place they are today if not for my mother's dealings. Your family should never have had to go through this. It's the least I can do. And, please, call me Oliver."

Felicity took a step towards him, her good hand landing on his bicep in comfort. She knew the guilt that still rested heavily on his shoulders at not being able to stop what had happened in the Glades; compounded even more by the fact that his own mother had been an accomplice in it all.

Kylie nodded her head and shook his outstretched hand, but then surprised them both by stepping forward and leaning up to place a kiss on his cheek. "Your parent's mistakes are not your own."

Her eyes fell to Felicity and she knew her words were meant for more than just Oliver. Giving her cousin a soft smile, she nodded her head in silent understanding and gratitude.

"Thank you," Oliver stated, and Felicity heard the tremor in his voice.

Kylie's expression changed as she stepped back, and Felicity held her breath. She knew that look. It was the "Felicity is like my little sister" look coupled with the "don't hurt her" look.

"You take care of Lis," she stated evenly, her eyes flashing. "She's important to me."

"She's important to me as well," Oliver replied, not the least bit perturbed or seemingly surprised by Kylie's stern words.

"Good," was her only reply.

Ellie shifting in Oliver's arms drew their attention away from Oliver and Felicity's somewhat undefined relationship and back to the little girl who had brought them all together.

Kylie shook her head in wonder. "Are you a child-whisperer? She never takes to strangers strangers that easily."

Felicity snorted and Oliver leveled her with a playful glare. "Child-whisperer...I like it."

At her smile, she saw his own lips lifting up and then he looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms. Felicity watched in awe as his expression softened and that pull in her chest was back, stronger than ever.

"She's beautiful," he was saying when she finally focused back on the conversation and saw that Ellie had blinked open her eyes to see her mother.

With a happy gurgle, she transitioned to her mother's arms and Oliver stepped up to Felicity, his hand landing at her hip and squeezing. Her fingers found his and intertwined with them.

After a few more minutes, they said goodbye to Kylie, and Oliver told her to let Felicity know when Ben was ready to go back to work and he'd find him a job at the company if he wanted. Kylie thanked him and Felicity gave Ellie one more kiss on the head before they left the room.

Their walk to the car was silent and the moment Felicity sank down into the seat, she felt exhausted, just from that little time. Letting her eyes slip shut, she heard Oliver's door open and him climb in before the door closed and he started the engine. His hand landed on her knee, squeezing gently and she turned her head, opening her eyes to look at him.

"How is your leg?" he asked softly, and she sighed as she shifted down into the seat.

"Hurts, but it's not too bad," she replied honestly.

Her hand found his and squeezed it tightly, letting him know she really was okay. "I'm just tired."

He made a noise of agreement and then she felt the car begin to move, his hand however, stayed entwined with hers until they pulled back up outside her apartment building.

She insisted on walking up to her apartment, but her head rested firmly on his shoulder the entire ride up the elevator. His hand settled low on her waist, guiding her down the hallway and slipping her keys out of her hands to unlock the door.

Half-asleep, she let him lead her back to her bedroom where he gently eased her down against the pillows. He carefully slipped her glasses off her face before pressing a kiss to her forehead. Sleepily, she reached for his hand as he was about to slip away, in silent invitation.

He squeezed her hand before letting go, and she heard him shrug off his jacket and the the clunk of his boots on the floor.

Thirty-six hours after she woke up to a call that flipped her world upside down, she was back in her bed, her head on her pillow once more. Only this time, her God-daughter was safe, Oliver was wrapped around her - strong arms cocooning her into his warm - and she dreamed of a future with him and a family of their own.