A/N: Post 2x33 (finale) More of a 'what if' story instead of a spec fic. Picks up after they leave Lian Yu on the plane. Hope you enjoy. Please let me know what you think!
They were half an hour from Lian Yu, with another forty five minutes to the mainland when everything went to hell.
Felicity had chosen to sit in the back in an attempt to catch a nap. She'd looked pale when they boarded, and tired, but she really wasn't meeting his eyes and he knew it was due to the talk they'd just had on the beach where once again they'd relied too much on what wasn't being said instead of what was.
She'd smiled though, and nodded her agreement, and told him it was time to go home and he'd taken all of that as good. Because he had no more words. He'd said them all back at the mansion.
It was Digg suddenly twisting to look behind him that caught Oliver's attention. He had just ripped off his headset and was looking over in confusion when Digg cursed and was out of his seat, trying to squeeze his large frame into the back of the plane.
"What's wrong?" Oliver asked, hands still on the controls as he tried to look behind him, fear for Felicity spiking in his chest.
There was a solid thud and Digg sharply calling Felicity's name and then fear spread throughout his entire body. When he turned again Oliver could now see a sprawl of blonde hair on the floor and Digg kneeling at her side.
"What's wrong with her? What happened?" he demanded, wanting to do nothing more than abandon the controls and crawl back there himself. "Felicity!"
There were more scuffling sounds before Digg spoke, "She's having some sort of seizure," he said, unable to hide his worry,
For a second the world stopped. Everything became muted; the roar of the engines, the sound of his heart beat in his ears, Digg calling her name, he could hear none of it. Then with a snap it was all back, including Digg now shouting his name.
"Oliver! Oliver! If you crash the plane you won't be able to save her!"
A quick jerk of his head brought his attention to the instrument panel where he immediately noticed they were losing altitude fast. He corrected, and brought them back up, rechecking their heading and wondering how long it was going to take them to get back.
"How is she?"
He whipped his head back again in time to see Digg shake his head, "I don't know. She's unconscious, pulse is good but...she hit her head bad when the van flipped. She needs a hospital."
Oliver's stomach dropped much like it had when he'd seen her with Slade's blade to her throat. She'd survived that, risked her own life to save the city. To have something happen to her now when they'd made it out the other side was not something he was willing to consider.
"Get back up here and take the controls. Contact Waller, or Lyla or whoever the hell you need to at A.R.G.U.S and tell them we need a chopper for transport as soon as we land."
Digg didn't hesitate, and as soon as he was back up front Oliver was scrambling to Felicity's side.
"Keep her head turned in case she gets sick, and keep track of her pulse." Digg directed, tersely,
Oliver gave a stiff nod he knew his partner couldn't see, hands hesitating only a second before he pressed two fingers into her neck and felt for her heart beat.
He let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding when he found the steady rhythm, not resisting the urge he had to cup her face, his thumb stroking once across the smooth skin before he trailed upwards to trace around the wound at her temple that had caused this.
Moving carefully he slid behind her and pulled her into his chest, her legs now mixed with his as they splayed out before them over the dirty plane floor.
All he could do was hold her, one hand across her middle securing her to him during the bumpy flight, the other behind her ear, palm pressed against her neck where he could feel her pulse point. He heard Digg's muffled calls into the radio and willed the plane to go faster. He couldn't lose her.
He thought sending her to Slade was the hardest thing he'd ever done, but as he stared down at her too pale face, a thousand terrible scenarios running through his mind of what could happen to her, he knew this was even harder. Because he was helpless. There was nothing he could do. And when they landed he'd have to hand her over to someone else and wait.
Her glasses had become crooked and with a catch in his chest he carefully slid them off her face, closing them gently before he tucked them into the interior pocket of his jacket. Dark lashes fanned out across her skin, making her look years younger and that much more small and vulnerable. But he knew her hidden strength and hoped it was enough to see her through.
The minutes seemed to crawl by as he waited, not knowing if her continued stillness was a good thing or not. There were no more seizures however, and for that he was grateful. But what if they were too late and irreparable damage had already been done? He shook his head forcefully and dipped his chin to press his lips into her hair. He couldn't think like that, not until she'd been treated.
Digg's loud shout over the roar of the engines and a quick look out the window let him know they were finally landing. With his feet braced Oliver held her even tighter, gritting his teeth as his still injured knee banged hard into the floor as they hit the tarmac.
"How is she?" Digg asked as he turned the plane and taxied down the short runway,
He didn't know if Digg's sigh meant that was good or bad.
"A.R.G.U.S is here, there's a med facility thirty miles away,"
The door was being opened before the plane had rocked back from its stop and two uniformed men were waiting, a black helicopter and a stretcher behind them.
"I've got her," Oliver bit off, pushing through the pain as he forced himself to his feet, arms slipping under Felicity to pick her up as easily as possible.
The men started asking questions as soon as he was on the ground, speaking in Mandarin he realized when he saw Digg's confused face. Oliver answered back in kind, translating for Digg when he needed information from the other man. She didn't even stir when he laid her on the stretcher, unwilling to let her go until Digg's hand clamped hard on his shoulder and pulled back.
"Let them do their job,"
Taking two shaking steps away from her was almost impossible, and when they began to roll her towards the helicopter he didn't hesitate to follow. When one of the men turned he gave him a glare and a look daring him to say they couldn't come. He knew the chopper could carry more people and there was no way he was allowing her to go without him.
Oliver barely noticed the chopper ride. His eyes never left her face as a neck brace was placed and an I.V started. He physically winced when they pulled her eyelids up to check her pupils and there was no response. He'd never seen her so still before. She was always so animated. Whether it was her hands flying over the keyboard or her ponytail flipping over her shoulder she never seemed to stop moving or talking. He was used to her energy and to see her lifeless was too much.
They landed on a paved square fifty feet from a non-descript building. A team of white coats with the A.R.G.U.S symbol on their pockets were waiting for the helicopter's blades to slow before they approached and once again Oliver felt Digg's hand on his shoulder holding him back as she was moved.
Oliver shrugged off the touch and followed her out, trying to listen to what was being said but his knowledge of Mandarin had never included complex medical terms and he didn't understand everything.
The building that didn't look like much on the outside was a fully functional, top of the line medical facility on the inside.
A woman in scrubs rushed up with her hands raised telling them they couldn't go any further and he stood helpless as he watched strangers swarm around Felicity, hooking her up to monitors and drawing blood.
The nurse tried to get them to leave, to wait somewhere else while they worked on Felicity but Oliver gave her a short jerk of his head and told her they weren't leaving.
It felt like hours that they stood there and watched but he knew that couldn't be possible. Finally the team dispersed and one doctor tugged off her mask and approached. Oliver's eyes were fixed on Felicity though as the bars were raised on the side of her bed and the wheels unlocked. He started forward as they began to roll her down the hall.
The doctor fell in step beside them explaining that her vitals were all strong but they wouldn't know more until they'd done a scan of her brain. Oliver's heart seized at the idea. Felicity having brain damage would be akin to him losing an arm.
They were stopped outside a set of wide double doors and she was pushed through and out of sight before he could blink. A firm hand on his arm towed him to the side where he was shown a large window through which they could observe.
He started when the bed was rolled to the side and a curtain drawn around it. Not being able to see her set a bolt of fear and anger up his spine that left a bitter, metallic taste in his mouth. When the curtain was pulled back he could see they'd changed her into a pale blue hospital gown, a blanket tucked securely around her.
All the sound seemed to fade away as he watched her being transferred from the bed to the MRI. She looked tiny and alone and a spot in the center of his chest twisted with such a pang he had to grip the edge of the window.
The doctor was talking to him again and he had to force himself to pay attention. However, he wasn't expecting her next question and it rocked him.
Oliver visibly blanched before he stuttered out a reply and watched half in shock as the doctor walked away.
"What? What did they ask?" Digg's worried tone brought him back,
"They wanted to know if she was pregnant," he said in a hollow voice before he wiped both hands over his face and resumed his place in front of the large window.
For a long moment they watched as she was slowly pulled into the machine, until all that could be seen was the top of her blonde head. Oliver laid his hand over his breast pocket where her glasses were, as if he needed some sort of connection to her at that moment.
"Lyla is," Digg said, breaking the silence and then waiting as Oliver slowly turned to look at him,
"Found out as I was holding a gun to Waller's head," he said with a half bitter laugh, "Haven't really even had a chance to talk to Lyla yet with…"
"That's…" Oliver began not really able to read his friend right then,
"Yeah," Digg exhaled, everything he wasn't saying more than explaining how he felt,
"You should...take some time off when…" but he couldn't finish the sentence as he trailed off and turned back to look at Felicity,
Digg didn't reply but came to stand next to him, shoulder to shoulder. "Maybe now's not the best time but...what the hell happened? Felicity told me a little but something tells me she left some things out."
Oliver's hands clenched on the ledge in front of him, allowing his head to hang down as he studied his shoes. With a rough shake he straightened and let his eyes slowly travel back to the woman who meant more to him than he could understand. Then he turned and looked Diggle dead in the eye, "I told her I loved her,"
Other than a slight lift of his brows there was no reaction, but he was clearly waiting for Oliver to continue.
"We needed a way to get close to Slade and we knew he had Laurel because he thought…"
"He thought she was the woman you loved the most. That's what Blood said he'd do."
Oliver just nodded, "Felicity said I should outthink him...I remembered the day before, after the funeral, I had found cameras in the house, he'd been monitoring us for...weeks."
"So you used that to your advantage,"
Digg's eyes narrowed as he shifted closer, "Did Felicity know about this going in?"
"I…" Oliver ran a hand over the back of his neck, knowing how bad all of this sounded, "There wasn't a lot of time, I didn't have it fully planned when we got there."
"Oliver!" Digg said sharply,
"I didn't even know if I could do it, alright! I didn't know if I could send her in there knowing what Slade was capable of." he spat out, self hatred and guilt for what he'd put her through flowing through him, "I almost walked out of there without saying a word but she stopped me. She pushed me. She said she didn't want to be safe!"
Digg sighed and crossed his arms over his chest before also letting his gaze follow back to Felicity, "Of course she did,"
"Everything after that...Slade just needed to think he had the wrong woman." Oliver gave a disgusted laugh, "That's all I had to say...and it was the truth. And then...it just came out and for a second I was glad. Because if everything went to hell. If Slade killed me or Amanda's drones struck too quick...at least I'd said it."
"Did she know?"
Oliver understood. Diggle was questioning whether Felicity knew he was telling the truth or not.
"I've never been able to lie to her, Digg, not since the moment I met her."
There was another long pause while they resumed their positions at the window.
"Is that what that talk was about on the beach?"
"Yeah...I'm not...she's not...not now."
Oliver looked at him incredulously, "It's too dangerous. The risks are too high. Every time I shut my eyes I see her with Slade's blade to her throat because he thought she was important to me. No. It's too much."
DIgg scoffed, "That's bullshit, Oliver and you know it. She's in danger because of what she does it has nothing to do with whether you're with her or not. If you really thought that you'd tell her to stop working with us."
At Oliver's visible flinch at the suggestion Digg hid a smirk and continued, "But you haven't done that and you're not going to do that. I'm not saying you're ready right now because...I don't know if you are. But that girl's special and you know it and I think that's the reason why you're waiting. Because you only get one shot, and you better not screw it up. Just don't wait too long."
They fell back into silence, Digg's final words running on a continuous loop through his head. Had he already waited too long? Had he already missed his chance? Was he going to have to watch one more person he loved slip out of his life? He'd barely survived Tommy. He hadn't had any time to truly process his mother's death. But he knew without a doubt if he lost her he'd fall into a hole so deep no one would be able to bring him back out.
With his heart trying to beat it's way out from behind his ribs he watched her emerge from the machine as the doctor left the observation room and approached the door.
She had a half hopeful smile on her face that allowed some of his anxiety to lessen and he found himself nodding numbly as she explained what they'd found. However, when she'd gotten serious and requested permission to operate if necessary he felt his knees go weak and was only peripherally aware of Digg's hand catching his shoulder to give him support.
They fell into step behind her bed as she was wheeled out, Digg finally breaking when he couldn't wait any longer. "Dammit, Oliver tell me what they said,"
His head whipped to the side and he saw stark fear on the man's face, "Sorry," he said immediately, having forgotten he needed to translate. "There's swelling on the brain from the...the van flipping. It caused the seizure." he wiped a shaky hand down his face and took a deep breath before he could continue, "They don't think it's left any permanent damage but they want to keep her in a medically induced coma for another twenty four hours to give her time to heal and…"
There was a lump in his throat he couldn't talk past any longer so he didn't try and Diggle just stared straight ahead, not asking any more questions.
They'd gone a different direction in the large windowless building and Oliver was surprised and a bit taken aback to look up and realize he didn't know which way they'd come from or where an exit was. His normally sharp senses had been numbed. All he knew was where she went he followed.
A darkened room was in front of them with a wide doorway. The lights came on automatically as the end of the bed crossed the threshold and he could see an overly modern hospital room inside. When they stepped in Felicity's bed was being pushed into place as she was hooked to the monitors, the steady beat of her heart blasting into the space until the volume was turned down.
The doctor checked her over one more time, studying something on the tablet she carried before she gave Oliver a nod and left the room. The nurse made a few more adjustments and was also about to leave when she reached into her coat pocket and took something out, motioning for Oliver to hold out his hand. "Your lady's," she said in stilted English and he felt cool metal fall into his palm.
Looking down he saw Felicity's jewelry: earrings, necklace, bracelets. He was just staring at them, too rocked by the sight to say anything. And then she fished in her pocket one more time and the industrial piercing he'd never seen Felicity without joined the rest.
Oliver felt like he'd been punched in the gut.
He didn't know how long he stood there unable to look away. At some point he plucked the bar off the pile and slid the rest into his pocket, but for some reason he couldn't put the slightly curved piece of silver away as well.
The sound of Digg dragging a chair to her bedside made his head jerk up. "Sit before you fall over," his partner ordered.
Oliver didn't realize how weak his legs felt until he practically fell into the seat.
His stomach burned. Leftover adrenaline, or maybe it was just the fear he hadn't been able to shake. The pain in his knee throbbed, sending shooting sparks up and down his thigh making him grit his teeth, the bent position doing nothing to help it. But the couch was ten feet away and that was too far.
"It's too quiet," he said as he maneuvered the small bit of metal in his hand, letting his thumb rub from one end to the other, mapping the shape of it as he followed the rise and fall of her chest. She was breathing on her own, thank god. The sight of the oxygen line running into her nose was hard enough to see, he didn't think he'd be able to handle a breathing tube down her throat.
Digg didn't respond to his comment, just leaned against the wall on her other side and crossed his arms over his middle.
He didn't have to say anything.
If Felicity was quiet then something was wrong.
Something was very wrong.
"You know the story behind this?" he held one end of the bar aloft so Digg could see. It pained him to ask, but he knew Felicity and Diggle had a more open relationship. They talked. They shared.
Digg's eyes held on the bar and then shook his head almost sadly, "No, one of those things we never got around to, I guess."
Oliver twirled it again, the metal now warm between his thumb and forefinger, the width of it was almost the same as his bowstring, making it feel comfortable and familiar. "I've always wondered…" he shifted his gaze to study her face. At first glance the industrial piercing didn't seem to fit her bright, professional appearance and bubbly personality. But once he met her, once he knew her it was just a part of her, something he associated with her, like her glasses or her tablet.
He palmed the piece and reached through the sides of the bed to cover her hand with his. It was the first bit of contact he'd had with her since he'd left the helicopter and as soon as he touched her skin he let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. He'd been scared she'd feel different somehow, but she was warm, and soft, and now that he had her he knew he wasn't letting go.
Finally he took a moment to look around the room. There was a sitting area at the opposite end, flat screen t.v, small kitchen, and other conveniences that seemed out of place in a hospital, even for A.R.G.U.S.
"This isn't one of A.R.G.U.S's normal facilities, is it?"
Diggle gave a shrug, "Waller owed us, owed her." there was a trace of bitterness there that Oliver didn't fully understand,
"This is one of their emergency standby locations. Only to be used when top ranking members of A.R.G.U.S are injured."
Digg just shrugged again revealing nothing else, "She owed us,"
Oliver dropped it.
He knew some of what had gone down with Waller and her drones, but not all of it. He suspected he might never know all of it. And he wasn't going to question how they were being allowed to stay. He didn't know if he had it in him to fight a team of Waller's men if it came to that, but he'd damn well do it if he had to.
However, the staff seemed to be operating under the understanding that they had the clearance and permission to be there. It didn't seem important just then to know the specifics of how that came to be.
His attention kept coming back to her, unable to direct his line of sight anywhere else, even though he knew she wasn't going to move, wasn't going to wake up.
The wound on her temple had been covered, the white bandage and tape standing out and somehow making it all look worse. As he studied her he began to see the things he'd missed. The small cuts. The dark circles under her eyes. The bruises that littered her arms.
Guilt was taking up it's all too familiar residence inside him. He shouldn't have brought her with them to Lian Yu. He should have insisted she stay behind. He knew she was hurting. There hadn't been time for more than a cursory examination after Slade had been taken into custody. Oliver had 30cc of fluid drained from his knee and another injection of lidocaine which lasted until they were halfway across the Pacific. He'd seen Digg get a few scrapes patched, and remembered Felicity disappearing into a bathroom to change into clothes she'd borrowed from Lyla, some of the blood cleaned up when she'd emerged. However, he couldn't remember seeing her being treated by anyone on the medical staff. He didn't know if that was purposeful on her part or just an oversight.
Regardless, she was now in a top secret facility in China in a forced coma and he was left wondering how'd he gotten it so damn wrong.
"Don't go there, man,"
Oliver jerked his head up to find Digg staring at him hard, brows already drawn together in disappointment.
Both hands scrubbed over his head, scratching his scalp as he shifted in the uncomfortable chair and then froze. Somehow he'd let go of her. While he'd been spiraling into his pit of guilt he'd unconsciously removed himself from her. A physical mimicry of the blame he owned manifesting itself by withdrawing the threat he saw in himself.
"She should run," he managed to say through clenched teeth, what he wanted and what he knew was right at war with each other. The thought of her leaving sent an actual pang through his heart, it made him gasp for breath, and left a hot sting behind his eyes he couldn't ignore. But he couldn't deny that she would be safer away from him and what they did. She could go back to doing what she loved, what she had gone to school for. Where there weren't murderous super soldiers trying to kill her because of her association with him.
"Maybe she should. But she's not going to. You ever consider why that is?"
Unbidden his gaze tracked up the stark white blanket, over the lines of tubing running into her hand and up to her face where her blonde hair spread out beneath her. The only point of color he could see just then.
When he remained silent there was a long protracted sigh. "Don't do this Oliver. Don't push her away now because you're getting scared. She's too invested,"
There was a lot Digg was keeping himself from saying, but Oliver heard every word.
The word choice made him recoil some. Flinch. He didn't get scared. But Slade had scared him. Rocked him to his core. He still remembered the look on her face as she pleaded with him to not give himself up, to not sacrifice himself. But he didn't think he'd had another choice.
She'd given him another choice. Once again she saved him from himself, gave him hope, gave him her belief which was more than he deserved but everything he needed.
Digg was right though, she scared him. He hadn't expected her, hadn't expected what she would do to him. All her hope and light and belief made him consider a future he'd never thought possible and he didn't know how to reconcile who he was with what he wanted. Because he did want it. But he'd let it go if it meant she'd be safe.
Oliver looked up then and saw the same fear reflected back at him in his partner's face and it felt like the bottom had dropped out beneath him.
"How are you going to do it? Lyla and A.R.G.U.S and what we do and the baby? A baby…"
The idea was so incongruous to their world he couldn't even seem to comprehend it.
"I don't...I don't know,"
It was the most unsure Oliver had ever heard Diggle sound.
"I need to talk to Lyla and...we've got to figure it out…"
There was so much potential for change. They were standing on the edge of a crack, and either it was going to close up and heal or it was going to grow so wide they'd never be able to jump it together.
He was holding her hand again, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles.
"She'd be happy for you. You know that. Just happy,"
Digg's face softened. "Yeah, I know. She'd tell me to do what I thought was best and that she'd understand. And the thing is she would," he pushed off the wall and took a step forward, reaching down to take her other hand, "She's the best of us. The best of you. It's not selfish to be happy, Oliver, she'd be the first to tell you that."
They stayed that way for awhile with her anchored between them. Until Digg scrubbed a heavy hand across his face and pulled his phone from his pocket. "Need to make a few calls," he said unnecessarily and Oliver just dipped his chin once.
That's how they passed the next twenty-four hours. Oliver never left the room. Never even really left the chair. Digg gave up trying to get him to move to the couch although his exhaustion caught up with him at some point and he woke up with her hand still clasped in his, but there was a brace around his knee and his foot had been propped up on another chair to keep it elevated. Digg just shot him a knowing look that he pretended he hadn't seen.
The same medical team took care of her around the clock but there was no change which was good he was told about twelve hours into their watch. If nothing changed they'd do another MRI and decide whether she could be allowed to wake up or not.
He couldn't stop watching the clock. Somehow he'd attached his entire life to that specific moment in time. The second scan would tell them if she was recovering or if more drastic treatment was needed. He wasn't able to consider what it would mean if there was some sort of permanent damage. It left him light headed and sick to even think about it so he didn't.
There were some things that were too impossible.
Every now and then he'd pull out the silver bar and rub it between his thumb and ring finger. A way to release some of the tension that kept building up. He was glad her hair covered it's normal home. It wouldn't have looked right bare.
The final few hours were lived in a fog. He had to force himself to just hold the tips of her fingers. He'd inadvertently rubbed a red mark on the thin skin above her knuckles from the near constant motion of his thumb. Shame and more guilt had flowed over him, but he couldn't let her go.
When they came to get her however, it seemed sudden and too fast and he felt off balance. Once again they walked the halls behind the bed, her ever present guard, Oliver limping due to the brace and brushing away the offer of a cane.
He didn't have to be directed to the window this time, he just resumed his post, jaw set and waited.
They didn't talk. There was nothing to say. At some point in the past twenty-four hours or maybe it was the moment he'd walked into her office that very first day, his future had become entwined with hers. She wasn't the only one who would be made or broken in the next few minutes.
The way Digg was watching him instead of her made him think he was aware of what hung in the balance.
When the doctor came back out he knew he wasn't breathing. Then she smiled and nodded as she began speaking. But her inflection said everything and even Digg knew it was good news. The swelling had gone down, there was no sign of bleeding. Felicity would be weaned off the drugs keeping her under and allowed to wake up on her own.
Digg clapped a hard hand on his back and all Oliver could do was give him a stiff nod in response.
Their celebration was sobered when the doctor cautioned there could be a possibility of impaired speech or fine motor function, even a chance for short term memory loss. She didn't anticipate that happening but she still had to let them know.
He didn't remember the walk back to her room, just that he suddenly looked around and found himself sitting next to her, one less tube running into the hand he held.
Digg had taken up his spot on her other side and they waited for any sign that she was waking up.
It was her fingers twitching slightly against his that made him sit up straight, eyes locked on her face. Then her brows drawing together some and a low almost inaudible sound from her barely parted lips.
There was a sliver of blue as her lashes fluttered and he moved even closer to wait; skin buzzing, blood rushing through his ears. Because if she couldn't talk or didn't know who they were he didn't know what he would do.
She licked her lips and swallowed, fingers tightening over his making her tilt her head down to see. "...plane crash?" her voice was small and weak but it was her and it had been too long since he'd heard it.
Relief made him dizzy for a second as a loud exhale left his lungs, smile so wide it made his bruises twinge but he didn't feel it. She remembered the plane. She could speak. For once everything hadn't gone to hell.
"No, the plane didn't crash," Digg supplied and the corners of her lips lifted in response,
Her eyes fell on him and it was possible his heart stopped. Then her lids were drooping once more, her grip loosening. "Mm'kay...Oliver was flying so…"
Digg's loud laugh made him start but he couldn't help letting out a low chuckle as well.
"Like it when Digg flies…" and then her head rolled slightly to the side and she was asleep again,
He collapsed forward, forehead coming to rest on the side rail of the bed as he just focused on dragging air in and out of his lungs.
"She's going to be okay,"
"Yeah," he answered hoarsely but didn't lift his head,
It was another two hours before she stirred again but Oliver didn't care how long it took. That time her eyes opened fully, taking in the room and the two of them. She didn't miss the brace on his knee or that they wore the same clothes, or that the gown she wore had the A.R.G.U.S shield emblazoned on one side.
"Hey," his voice was thick with unshed emotions he didn't try to hide.
She gave him a weak smile, "Hey,"
Digg squeezed her other hand and she turned to look at him, smile growing stronger. He leaned in and pressed a kiss to her hair, "I'd prefer it if you never did this again, okay?"
"Okay," she agreed and dropped her eyes once more to the black emblem on the gown, "Though I'm not sure what it is I did,"
Digg let out a soft huff, "I'll let Oliver fill you in. Gonna go stretch my legs a bit," his leading tone wasn't lost on Oliver and he shot the other man a look at the wry grin he gave as he passed.
She had a hesitant look on her face as Digg exited and Oliver couldn't help shifting to the edge of his chair.
"You had a seizure on the plane."
Her mouth dropped open in a silent 'o' of shock as she raised a shaky hand to her temple, feeling around the bandage.
"Yeah," he confirmed, her gulp visible as she tried to process what he'd told her.
"You were kept under for a day. We're at an A.R.G.U.S facility outside of Beijing."
"You're going to be fine," he said quickly, spotting the fear and trepidation that crossed her face,
"Good," she sounded a little breathless and he didn't do anything but stroke his thumb over the tops of her fingers while her head dropped back in relief.
Digg's words from the day before overtook his thoughts. She was in danger just by working with him. Her injury wasn't caused by Slade thinking they were involved, it was from the van flipping. He couldn't ask her to quit. He didn't want to ask her to quit.
'It's not selfish to be happy'
"What's wrong?" her words brought him back, raising a somewhat incredulous brow at her question,
"I mean what else," she clarified, "I know something's bothering you,"
He opened his mouth to speak, easy answer poised for response. Telling her he'd just been worried, that's all, nothing else.
And then her head tilted to the side and she gave him that look, the one she'd been giving him since the day they'd met. The one that said she saw right through his bullshit and she wasn't going to tolerate it.
So instead he took a deep breath and jumped.
"Digg said...he said with you I've only got one shot,"
She wasn't expecting him to talk about that.
But now that it was out there he had to press on, "And he's right. I'm not good at this and there's every chance-"
She recovered quicker than he would have expected and cut him off with a gentle touch to his wrist, "He is right. One shot," Oliver's head fell lower at her agreement. It almost seemed like an impossible task. What were the chances he wouldn't mess it all up, that he wouldn't ruin it.
When one slim finger ran beneath his chin and coaxed it upwards he was surprised. There was a small, bemused smile on her face, "What both of you are of course forgetting is that I'll be right next to you the entire time. I think we've got a pretty good track record so far. No need to think that's going to change."
She was right. As usual. Every time he'd allowed himself to consider moving forward he'd approached it like it was something he was doing alone. But he wouldn't be, she'd be right there with him, his partner, just like she was with everything else.
He blinked surprised eyes, expecting to see her laughing at him but her eyes were downcast, hands fiddling with the edge of her blanket. "You think you're the only one with reservations...you're not. I know we're good together but I've only had a few days to come to terms with the idea that you…" she trailed off with a flush of pink across her cheeks, the woman who had seemed so sure just a few minutes earlier now fairly vibrated with uncertainty.
"Felicity...no," he began hastily, not wanting her to think for a second that his feelings for her were new.
"You and John...you're all I've got," she said with a sad shrug, "I mean...I knew something was there with us when you walked into my office with your really terrible cover story but I couldn't let myself go any further with it. Because what we have...I can't lose that. So I never let myself think it could be anything more and I was okay with that. I really was," a single tear splashed across her cheek but she wiped it away immediately and took a deep breath, "I was okay. I need you to know that. But that night...you surprised the hell out of me and I was so sure…"
The quiet stretched between them and he couldn't help reaching out and covering both her hands with one of his, "So sure of what?" he asked quietly,
"So sure it was part of the plan. Except...it didn't feel like that. It felt real, so I tried to give you an out on the beach. I knew you were going to take it back." her eyes raised and locked on his, the intensity almost taking his breath away, "But you didn't. You didn't take it back,"
He shook his head, "No, because it wasn't part of the plan at all. I surprised the hell out of myself too." he paused and really looked at her, still pale and worn out from everything she'd been through, an expression somewhere between hope and wild, nervous anticipation frozen on her face. She was right though. Individually they might not be sure, they might find it easier to keep things the way they were. But together...he'd never failed with her by his side. She'd pulled him up and propped him up more times than he could count. She was his strength. He could do the same for her.
A flash of nerves worked its way up from his stomach, and he gave a little self-deprecating smile and shake of his head, in awe that three words could have such an impact on his life; their life.
"I meant it,"
Her eyes went round, brows lifting. She hadn't been expecting that.
"Oliver-" she said breathlessly, unable to say anything else and he felt like a weight had been lifted off his chest,
"You're right. I've never failed with you next to me. I can't promise I won't make mistakes but…"
"Okay," two syllables, quick and rushed but they caused his heart to leap,
The smile was there now, bright and wide and leaving a spark in her eyes that had been missing. Everything he needed was right in front of him.