A/N: It's me again... :) I know I promised you this chapter the day that the last chapter came out, but as I read it, I felt like something was missing, so I added a scene that wasn't originally in the chapter... I hope you guys like it!
Coldplay's song Fix You comes into this one. If you haven't heard it, I suggest you take a moment to listen to it...It's great!
Disclaimer: I don't own the song or the characters.
Oliver sat down heavily on Felicity's desk chair. Putting down the hood and taking off the mask, he looked over at Diggle lying on the cold metal table. He couldn't help the small smile at appeared on his lips in pride. Diggle had managed to get to the fire escape stairs and go down three floors with a tranquilizer dart sticking into his shoulder. Now that was impressive.
"Is something amusing Oliver?" Sara asked sharply as she looked up from where she was analyzing the tranquilizer dart.
Roy, who was sprawled on the floor just at Oliver's feet, cracked an eye open and shot him a sympathetic look that just screamed: 'man you are beyond screwed, but I'll pat you on the back when she's done yelling at you.'
Oliver returned his gaze to Sara, running a hand down his face. He was far too tired to argue with her now. He just wanted to go home. "No."
"See that's exactly what I thought! Oliver this isn't amusing at all, so why the heck are you smiling?"
Oliver winced slightly at the loudness of her voice. "I'm not smiling," he deadpanned. After a pause he spoke again, "Sara, calm down. Digg will wake up soon and then everything will be fine."
"I know that Oliver! I know, but you wouldn't listen to me tonight! It could have been much, much worse. You could all have been killed! This is Slade we're talking about! He's beyond dangerous on his own and he's in possession of Mirakuru! He might already have a superhuman army at his disposal!" Sara looked away angrily.
"We're trying to stop him Sara. This is the first time in weeks that we've had an actual lead on him, so we went in. Do you expect us to sit around and do nothing?"
"Of course not!" She slammed her hand against the table and out of the corner of his eye, Oliver saw Roy cringe. "But you need a plan. His every move is calculated. You can't expect to just go in there and be able to stop him! You know what Oliver, I think that you know I'm right. I think that you just don't want to admit it because you're blinded by what happened to Felicity. You're losing the real focus Ollie. All you see now is red. You want revenge and you're letting it cloud your judgment." She sighed, lowering her voice, "He wasn't even there tonight…I was able to hack into the cameras on the top floor and the room the men were guarding was empty…We'll get him. We will I promise, but we need concrete information and we need a plan."
Oliver set his jaw. He knew she was right, but he was tired of this game of cat and mouse. Sighing, he sent a curt nod in her direction before standing and heading for the bathroom to change.
Roy slipped into the Verdant through the back entrance. He was beyond late, but it couldn't be helped. Not only had he been out most of the night with Oliver and Diggle trying to bring down a madman, the new Foundry wasn't exactly close to the Verdant. He gritted his teeth as the flaring lights swept past his tired eyes and the bass of the music that assaulted his ears, making a mental note to start keeping his bicycle at the new Foundry so that he wouldn't have to wait until the others were done and could drop him off.
Sliding behind the bar, he began taking orders from giggling girls and cocky guys, who were already wasted but insisted on making their next hangover last two days. The club was packed and for half an hour he was turning tirelessly this way and that to get the drinks, pour them, and hand them over. The DJ turned up the music suddenly, and everyone abandoned the bar and packed themselves onto the dance floor.
Roy took a deep breath and sat down, hoping that this night would be over soon. Between, training with Oliver, going on missions, working at the Verdant, and scraping the bottom of the barrel for ludicrous excuses he could give to Thea, there was little time for sleep. Roy was exhausted, and as he sat down, he could feel it washing over him like a tsunami. It didn't matter that the music was so loud the walls shook, it didn't matter that the flaring lights incessantly swept over his face, it didn't matter that there were hundreds of people there, Roy felt like he could sleep right then and there for days on end. His eyelids became heavy and his shoulders sagged.
Roy snapped his head up so fast that it hurt. Bloodshot eyes wide, he found Thea standing directly in front of him. He tried to supply her with a smile, but it failed miserably and his eyelids began to close once more. "HiTheeeaaa," he mumbled as his head drooped.
"Hmmmm?" He mumbled, forcing his head up and his eyes open.
"Where have you been? What's going on with you?"
The combination of exhaustion and the DJ turning up the music yet again drowned out Thea's voice and Roy lazily watched her mouth move, hearing nothing. Thea's exasperated expression turned into one of annoyance—or anger. Roy wasn't really in the mood to analyze her expression at the moment. It took him some time to notice that she was tugging at the sleeve of his shirt, gesturing to the stairs that lead to the office. Rubbing a hand over his face and sighing, he let Thea drag him through the crowd and upstairs.
The music was almost completely inaudible when the door of the office was closed. Roy smiled slightly in silent approval of the new-found silence and sat down heavily on the couch. Thea came to stand before him, arms crossed, looking down at him in a mixture of anger and concern.
"Where the hell have you been? What's going on with you?" She asked a little too loudly for Roy's liking.
"What do you mean? I've been here…working…," Roy said, forcing a small smile.
"No. You haven't. I know that you've been arriving late for work for the past few weeks….I understood when Felicity was in the hospital," She paused, throwing her hands up. "Actually. I don't really understand that. I mean… I get that you showed up with me the first time and all, but you were also there most of the time—sometimes you would even arrive before me. What's the deal with that? I mean it was nice of you and all, but you didn't really even know her—heck you still don't really know her….It's not like she spends time in the club, or in the Glades… she's my bother's Execu—friend, so why did you feel the need to show up so often?"
The first thought that popped into his mind when she finally stopped talking was that she had used far too many words. It took his fatigued mind a moment to process everything that she had just thrown at him. When he finally got the basic idea of what she was saying he shrugged, "She seems like a nice girl… and she's your friend now too." He saw, in the way that her eyes narrowed and her mouth was set in a hard line, that she wasn't satisfied with that answer.
"Fine," she spat out through gritted teeth. "Then how do you explain your tardiness tonight? And why are you constantly so tired…you're not going around trying to get the attention of the vigilante again are you?"
Roy shook his head slowly. "No. I'm done with the hood. He put an arrow in me remember?" Thea bit her lip and nodded. "I was late tonight because I had to wake up early this morning to do some stuff and then I wanted to get some sleep before I came here, but I forgot to put on an alarm and overslept." It wasn't the best as far as excuses went, but it was a heck of a lot better than what he sometimes heard Felicity and Oliver come up with. He could see that she still wasn't one-hundred percent convinced and part of him was way too tired to care at that particular moment. He took her hand and pulled her down to sit beside him on the couch. "Hey, trust me…" Guilt crept up on him as the words left his mouth with a bitter taste. He was lying to her and he hated it. It was in that moment that he gained an even more profound respect for each and every one who spent their nights at the Foundry. Now he really knew what they sacrificed in order to keep the city, and those they loved, safe.
Nodding, she smiled slightly. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and she rested her head against his chest. He knew that she was still suspicious. Perhaps it hadn't been a good idea to visit Felicity so often, or interact with the others at the hospital, but Felicity was his friend—they were all his friends. Until he became part of the team, he'd never been lucky enough to have real friends—good friends—, so he hadn't been able to help himself because he knew that they would have done the same for him.
It was strange, coming home after a mission instead of going to the hospital. He walked by his room at a brisk pace, heading straight for the guestroom in which Felicity was staying. The cold air brushed against him as he quietly swung the door open. The room was dark. As he moved closer to the bed, he could see her snuggled on her side with the blankets tightly wrapped around her and her hair sprawled over her face.
A small smile ghosted across his face. Without thinking, he gently reached over and brushed her hair out of her face. He immediately regretted it. During the day there had been distractions, but now…now he had time to really take it all in. She looked beautiful—she looked beautiful sleeping in his house, in a bed that looked exactly like his. He retracted his hand from where his fingers still ghosted across her forehead and swiftly made it out of the room, not allowing himself to even consider looking back at her sleeping form.
He made it through the motions without thinking about her: showering, changing into a pair of grey sweatpants and a white t-shirt, turning on his air-conditioning, even tiding up his room a bit. Unfortunately, there was only so much to do and sooner rather than later, he found himself in bed staring at the ceiling. Every time he closed his eyes he was plagued by the ear-splitting sound of the bomb that could have taken Felicity's life, and when that wasn't playing in his mind on a loop, the dreams of the life he could never have would snake their way into his thoughts.
For the first time since the bomb had gone off in the Foundry, Oliver couldn't sleep. The racing thoughts came to an abrupt halt, as if he'd hit the pause button. He sat up, running a hand through his hair in disbelief. Until that moment he hadn't noticed it, but now that he thought about it, it was true. Every night in the hospital he had slept on the chair beside Felicity's bed. For weeks, he had actually slept. Not just for a few hours. Not just until his demons came to haunt him. He had slept until, the sun was about to come up, or the light tried to push its way past the curtains.
As soon as he processed the realization, the play button was hit of his mind's own accord and the image of Felicity lying amidst the shards of glass and scorched wires, her shoulder bruised and blood seeping through her white shirt, flashed in his mind. He threw the covers side violently and was in her room again within less than a minute. Just as he'd known she would be, she was fine, but to his surprise, she was awake.
The lamp on her bedside table was lit, shedding light on the picture of the three of them. She lay on her back, eyes wide open, staring listlessly at the ceiling. Her headphones were in her ears and her hands were placed on her stomach. He knew that she hadn't seen him. His every rational nerve told him to quietly exit her room, but against his better judgment he found her name quietly falling from his lips. She jumped slightly, but gave him a small smile when she saw him.
"Can't sleep?" He asked as she took out her headphones. She shook her head in silence and he walked over to the bed. "Nightmare?" She shook her head again. He loomed over her, standing just beside her, and fought the sudden urge to trace her lips with his thumb.
"Nightmare?" She asked.
"Something like that…"
She smiled apologetically, as if it were somehow her fault that his mind replayed a rare moment in which he had actually been afraid.
"I listen to my favorite song whenever I have a bad dream, or I'm feeling down, or I can't sleep…"
"And what song is that?"
"Fix You by Coldplay." Her eyes widened when his brows drew together. "You haven't heard it?" She asked in disbelief. He shook his head, smiling slightly at her almost offended look. She inserted the left headphone into her own ear and held out the right one. He walked around the bed, pulled the sheets aside and lay down, pulling them back over himself and taking the headphone from her. When he had settled his hands over his stomach and was staring at the ceiling, she pressed the play button on the iPod touch that lay in the middle of the bed.
When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
He reached out and pressed pause. Turning his head to the side to look at her. He couldn't understand it. This was her favorite song? It made no sense. It was sad…and she…she was happy… She turned her head, her eyes searching his in question. "This is your favorite song?"
"Yeah...," she said quietly.
A sad smile appeared on her face and her eyes turned slightly glazed. "My childhood wasn't all butterflies and rainbows, but I made it work…When this song came out… I was long gone from those days, but I just—I liked thinking that someone would come along and fix me someday…and I liked thinking that I could be the one to fix someone someday. To me…it's just a promise for the future…"
Understanding, he nodded. He took out the headphone and turned on his side. She turned on her side as well. He reached out a hand and traced her lips with his thumb in an attempt to wipe the sad smile off of her face. "Half of it has already been done." At her confused expression he explained further, "It's not a done job, but you've fixed me considerably."
Her eyes glazed over once more and she slammed her eyelids shut. Every ounce of willpower left him in that moment. He forgot about the danger, the green hood, Slade, Laurel, Sara, and the bomb. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to be the man in the dreams: the man who could be worthy of Felicity, the man who could have a family, the man who could fix her…
He retracted his hand, but her eyes remained closed. Without looking away from her, he took the iPod and set it on the beside table on his side. Then, he waited. He waited for two things: he waited for her to open her eyes and look at him so that he could try and understand what she was feeling, and he waited for his willpower to return and argue with his heart. Neither of those things happened.
He reached out once more, hesitating for a moment when he thought his willpower had returned, but cupping her cheek when he realized it hadn't. "Felicity?" He said so softly that it was almost lost in the darkness.
"Oliver…," she started in the same soft whisper. She still hadn't opened her eyes. Her brows drew together and she sighed heavily. "Please…please don't say things like that. It makes me happy, but it also allows me to think that you—" He watched as she shook her head slowly, attempting to convince herself of something.
This was it. All he had to do now was tell her how much he valued their friendship and walk out of the room. If he did that then everything would be fine. He'd protect her from himself. She would be convinced once and for all that he didn't have feelings for her. He would finally let her go and she would move on and eventually, live the life he had dreamed of with a man who deserved her.
He moved closer to her, ready to give her the 'I'm so lucky to have a friend like you' speech, give her a reassuring hug, and leave the room, telling her to get some sleep. There was only one problem: his willpower hadn't returned.
They were now inches apart. "Felicity?" he said softly once more, pleading with her to open her beautiful eyes and return his willpower to him so that those very same eyes would be safe and happy and grow old. But she didn't open her eyes. She simply let out a small puff of air and shook her head slowly.
Slamming his own eyes shut, he searched his mind for the willpower to do what he knew would guarantee her safety—her future. He forced his, now still, mind to replay the sound of the bomb, the images of Felicity lying amidst the destruction, the image of the Count holding the syringe to her neck, the image of her lying in the street while the Dollmaker ran away, the frail sound of her voice as he told her that she was alright after the undertaking, the image of her lying on the ground tied up by Helena, the image of a bomb clasped around her neck.
"Oliver…just don't—don't say things like that…"
His eyes flew open at the sound of her voice, but he found that she still hadn't opened hers. "I'm sorry," he whispered into the darkness. He wasn't apologizing for what he'd said, he was apologizing for being selfish because as soon as the words were out, he slammed his eyes shut and he closed the distance between them. A small squeak of surprise escaped her and he felt her tense up for the briefest of moments before her lips began to move against his. One of her hands gripped his t-shirt and the other made its way to the back of his neck.
He moved his hand from her face to her waist and pulled her flush against him. The soft kiss now became more urgent as he poured every ounce of his repressed feelings into it. Her lips parted slightly and he wasted no time in accepting the invitation. A soft moan escaped her, sending bolts of electricity through every nerve in his body. He held her tighter against him in a desperate attempt to bring her closer. None of it mattered anymore: not the danger, not the hood, not even the fact that he was broken. She was his. A possessive growl escaped his throat and he felt her tighten her grip on his shirt while her nails dug into the back of his neck.
The need for air eventually became too much and they pulled apart. He rested his head against hers, eyes still closed, breathing heavily as he tried to compose himself. Her warm breath spread over his jaw and lips, mingling with his own. He could feel her chest rising and falling rapidly against his.
They stayed like that for a long while and when Oliver finally opened his eyes, he found that hers were open as well. He allowed himself to drown in her perfect blue eyes, letting three little words overpower his thoughts: 'I love her.' It was the most selfish thing he'd ever done, because from this there was no turning back. He'd taken it away from her—the chance to live the life he had dreamed of with a man worthy of her. Despite it all, despite the fact that he hated himself for what he had just done, he couldn't help the large grin that spread across his face.
"Oliver…? What just...," she left the sentence hanging, still breathing heavily and looking at him in disbelief.
Oliver leaned in to press a brief kiss on her lips before pulling back just enough to look into her eyes. "You are everything that I need," he breathed. He returned his hand to her face, and brushed a blond lock out of her face. "I need you and you—you scared the hell out of me when the bomb went off. I thought I'd lost you…I thought I'd lost you and it made me realize that I don't want to live without you—that I can't live without you…" He closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head, opening them again. "I considered convincing you to leave the team. I want you to have a normal life. I want you to be safe, and happy, and grow old. I've been fighting myself because I'm not what's best for you…I should have let you go, but I couldn't…"
He could see the tears threatening to spill out of her eyes. He needed her to understand that his feelings for her were genuine. He needed her to understand that he had tried to fight them. He wanted her to understand that she was good for him, but he wasn't necessarily good for her. "I'm sorry," he repeated. A large part of him wasn't sorry in the least. "I'm so selfish…I should have let you go, but I couldn't."
A/N: Yaay! I hope you liked this chapter...
I'm actually very pleased with this chapter, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. :D Reviews keep me writing!