A feeling of desolation filled the air as Felicity fiddled with the key in the lock of her apartment door. As the latch clicked she felt Oliver's hand on her arm. With his other hand raised to his mouth signalling for her to be quiet he moved her so she was safely tucked behind him. Pushing the door open, he crept stealthily over the threshold and when Felicity had followed behind him he quietly locked the door and proceeded to check the apartment room by room. Each cupboard was opened and checked for a potential threat, the space behind the doors and even behind the shower curtain. No stone was left unturned. When he was satisfied that the apartment was clear his shoulders slumped as he felt his muscles relax beneath his leather. Looking down at Felicity he noticed that a smile had adorned her face, albeit small. He raised his eyebrows in response, questioning the origins of the smile.
"What? you didn't check under the bed"
"You want me to check under the bed?
"Well you checked everywhere else"
When the words had left Felicity's mouth they were the makings for a joke, poking fun at his thoroughness and thought for safety. But as she heard herself saying those words, somehow she found herself wanting him to check under the bed. Wanting her to feel completely at ease, Oliver took it upon himself to check under the bed. It brought back memories of Thea when she was younger and how every night for three years she would make him check under the bed for monsters or she would refuse to go to sleep. When had climbed back to his feet he flexed his bad leg whilst addressing Felicity "All clear"
Breaking the unquestionable tension caused by the ever growing silence that rained down around them Felicity announced that she would grab a shower. Even though she'd already had one, she couldn't quite shift the feeling of depravity and layer of filth that still lingered from her ordeal. Oliver interrupted her beeline for the bathroom by calling her name. halfway to her destination she turned around at his request "hmm"
"I have a confession to make"
Felicity gave him a blank expression in reply, not quite sure what he was about to reveal. She found herself both intrigued and truly petrified.
"I uh overheard you earlier at the Foundry with Dig. I didn't mean to. I just...you really think that I don't love you?"
Felicity's first instinct from spending far too much time with the Arrow was to check for the nearest exit. She desperately wanted to flee and not have this conversation.
"You don't. You've known how I feel about you since, well since the day we met and you have never done anything about it, instead you throw yourself into relationships with women like Isobel and Helena that are so obviously wrong for you it actually makes my head hurt from the stupidity."
Oliver was a little taken back although he wasn't sure whether it was from her anger or the fact that she was right. "Felicity, I ended up with those so called women because I deserved them"
Felicity raised an eyebrow clearly unconvinced by his argument.
"What I am trying to say is that I never did anything about us because I don't deserve you. You deserve so much better than anything I can ever give you. You deserve someone that will take care of you, die for you, give the whole marriage, kids, the whole 9 til 5 and most importantly someone that won't mean you ending up with a target on your back."
"What if I don't want those things Oliver? Did you ever think of that? In case you hadn't noticed I already have a target painted on my back even being in your orbit so if being in a relationship with you paints an even bigger target on my back, then it would be worth it, and more importantly it would be MY Choice."
Felicity's ramble seem to silence them both. She wondered herself why she had become so irate about Oliver's feelings or lack thereof, as it was all moot point. She had a long way to go before she would consider letting anyone be intimate with her again. The thought sobered her. Walking towards Oliver she whispered "It doesn't matter now anyway"
Oliver moved a stray piece of hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear, the gesture made her grateful to the fact that Brett during her ordeal had avoided her face, no caressing or kissing, leaving some part of her intact. Oliver spoke more gently than he had previously. "It does matter. Felicity Smoak, whatever happens from here, please don't ever question the way I feel about you. I have never loved anyone the way love you."
Felicity sunk her face into the warmth of his had as he brushed his thumb across her face. She nodded gently and then made her way to the shower. As reached the doorway of the the small en suite bathroom she turned around."Everything will be OK".
It sounded like a statement but she was really seeking reassurance. Oliver sensed this and walked the short distance to where she stood taking her hand in his. At first she hesitated but within seconds her hand had molded to his "Starling City will rebuild itself, I WILL get back Queens Consolidated and most importantly I will do whatever it takes to help you through this. So you know what? Yeah everything will be OK"
Oliver placed a feather light kiss on her forehead before pulling away. "Why don't you take that shower and I'll fix us something to eat?"
Felicity nodded and watched Oliver make his way out of her bedroom. Just before he walked out of sight she called out for him "Oliver?"
He turned to face her "Yeah"
Oliver rummaged though the kitchen cupboards sourcing something to eat. In the cupboard next to the fridge he found a couple of boxes of energy bars. He smiled at the lengths that Felicity had gone to; keeping a stash of his favorite snacks even though she hated them herself. That was Felicity through and through; always thinking of others and he admired her for it. Continuing his search he found eggs in the fridge that were just within their expiration date and so opted for a fail-safe omelette, after all he was no Gordon Ramsay and he knew his limitations in the kitchen.
After Oliver had watched the omelettes go cold, his mind focused only on the naked form two rooms away, he anxiously headed to the bathroom. As he reached the door he wavered, not wanting to intrude and withdraw her privacy. The sound of the water cascading into the bath below was evident through the closed door, he made a mental note of this and knocked the door gently "Felicity?"
When Felicity didn't answer he knocked again whilst calling her name a little louder. His heart rate increased dramatically, so much so that he could feel his pulse bulging at his carotid. When he failed to receive a response he slowly turned the door knob and entered the small en-suite bathroom. The water that was still running into the bath behind the shower curtain had long gone cold, steam no longer evaporating from the jet of water. As Oliver pulled back the curtain he was met the sight of Felicity sat in the tub in the foetal position with her legs drawn up to her chest heaving from the sobs that escaped her throat.
The hurt that coursed through him from seeing her so defeated, left him feeling angry and hopeless. He grabbed a towel from the radiator and wrapped it round her, trying to maintain a sense of modesty whilst lifting her from the tub. He carried her back to the bedroom and covered her with a robe. When she had closed the robe she let the towel fall to the floor and Oliver picked it using it to rub her hair dry as she perched on the edge of her bed.
"I'm sorry." she offered vulnerably.
"Don't you dare ever be sorry for what that son of a bitch did to you"
Felicity nodded whilst wiping away the stray tear with the sleeve of her robe. Being reminded of Brett's crime, also reminded him of his own. The vision of him plunging the arrow into Brett's chest flashed through his mind forcing him to succumb to the realization that he too needed to wash the death that had clung to him from the last two days. After making sure Felicity was OK he left her asleep as he took a shower in the cold water she had left behind., It didn't bother him though, it reminded him of the few times he had managed to wash on Lian Yu, every time in cold sea water.
As he turned off the shower he lurched forward, tumbling out of the bath at the sound of Felicity's cries from the bedroom. He successfully managed to wrap a towel around his waist as he stumbled into the bedroom where he was met with the vision of Felicity flailing around on the bed, clearly in the throes of a nightmare. He shuddered at the thought of her relieving her ordeal, just as he relived moments on the island every time he closed his eyes. He took the time to slip on some lounge pants that he kept at her place before he moved over to the bed to gently wake her. When she eventually came round Oliver was unfazed by the fact that her first reaction was to swipe for him, landing a punch to his left eye. He gently restrained her by wrapping his muscular arms around her petite frame and whispered gently into her ear trying to calm her down. When reality fell down around her she clung to Oliver as though her life depended on it, absorbing the feeling of serenity that being close to him provided. Oliver remained in close contact with her until her breathing became more even, all the time offering quiet noises of reassurance. "It's OK i'm here."
When her hear rate had stabilized and her breathing had become less shallow she pulled away. "I was there again with him" Felicity choked about behind dry sobs. Oliver smoothed the hair on the back of her head and brought his eyes to meet hers.
"He can't hurt you, he's gone, it was just a nightmare"
Felicity nodded. "I know"
With his hand still on the back of her head he tenderly laid her back down onto the bed and pulled the covers over her, stroking her hair until she lulled into a gentle sleep. When her eyes had closed he climbed up off the bed to make his way to his makeshift bed on the couch. As soon as his weight had shifted off the bed Felicity sat up and grabbed his arm.
"Please don't go" she pleaded pulling back the covers for him to climb in. When he laid down on the bed next to her she moved closer to him and he stretched out his arm under her so she could snuggle up to him.
"Thank you. Its just that when you're here its as though somehow I can..."
Oliver cut her off "Breathe again?"
He knew exactly how she felt.