Dear all, So, so sorry for the delay on updating this story. It's been some time. No excuses. On a more pleasant note I actually Met Stephen Amell and David Ramsay at the UK Nocking Point Wines event. It was AWESOME! – My Muse has returned. They were genuinely really sweet and lovely people and it was an amazing night. Anyways I hope you enjoy this chapter an that it provokes you to review.

To recap: Felicity and the Team must protect her estranged daughter from the possible threat posed by the Man who spawned her. Enjoy!

Roy watched with curiosity as Detective Lance took a seat opposite Eric and Clarice, hiss attention however was quickly pulled in the direction of the little girl sitting cross legged next to him. He rubbed his palms which were uncharacteristically sweaty as the realisation dawned on him of the importance this assignment. Her brown hair that was swept back from her face bobbed behind her enthusiastically and it was then that Roy saw his best friend in miniature form begging for his attention.

"I Thought you were going to play" Nora inquired as she twirled a tendril of her hair around her finger that had fallen loose from her hair tie. Roy, in response, pulled one the many dolls from the toy box at the end of the room and held it up to Nora

"What's this one called?" he asked, one eye still focused on the adults in the room.

"That one is Called Bella"

"Uh huh?"

"So are you my Daddy?" Nora chirped.

"What? Nnnno" Roy responded outwardly freaked out by the question.

"Mommy says that I have another Mommy and Daddy" Nora stated. Clarice noticed that Roy was clearly uncomfortable with her daughters line of questioning and she quickly intercepted.

"Nora. Roy here is a friend whose going to spend a few days with us okay?" She turned back to Roy and Detective Lance, immediately feeling as though she needed to justify their parenting skills. "We decided that we wanted Nora to know from a young age that she was adopted, we felt that it would be kinder than to lie to her."

Roy smiled. completely unprepared for the next question Nora had lined up "Do you know my Biolidical Mommy?" She asked clearly stumbling over her words. Roy looked to Eric and Clarice. They nodded their approval and Roy carefully replied "Yes I do. You're Biological Mom asked me to come and look after you for a few days, you know just to make sure that you are OK."

"Why did she give me away?" Roy gulped. He looked in desperation, back towards her parents, his face pleading with them for an escape.

"She has never asked that before" Clarice offered, clearly unsettled by the line of questioning. "We hadn't thought this far ahead she admitted" Biting her nails. Eric placed his arm around her shoulders

"It's ok Honey. Like we always said, just be honest"

Roy's breath caught in in throat at the scene playing out before him. He for some reason had an unexplainable need to be the one to answer Nora's question. He knew Felicity better than anyone in this room and knew the answer to this little girls question would formulate her image of Felicity for the rest of her life. Looking towards the little girls parents who seemed decidedly nervous Roy requested permission to reply

"May I?" Clarice and Eric nodded and Roy knelt down in front of Nora and took her tiny hand in his. Nora inspected the callouses on his hands, created over time from the string of his bow, while Roy spoke. "Your Biological Mommy, she loved you so much that she wanted you to have all the best things in the world, even the best Mommy and Daddy. She thought that your mommy and daddy here would best the best people in the world to look after you"

Roy immediately looked towards her parents for validation, for reassurance that he hadn't crossed a line. Clarice wiped tears from her eyes and Eric mouthed "Thank you" to which Roy nodded. Nora looked perplexed and when she open her mouth to speak again everyone held their breath.

"Can I dress you like a princess?"

There was an eruption of laughter throughout the room and Roy's response filtered through.

"Sure you can"

From the shadows of the rooftop across the street, Oliver watched over the meeting between Captain Lance and Nora's Parent. His patrol came to an abrupt end once he laid eyes on Felicity's daughter. He watched in Awe as this little person infiltrated Roy's emotional boundaries with little effort and smiled at Roy's childlike form as he sat on the floor next to her. He was snapped out of it by Felicity's voice filtering through the comms.

"What's happening?"

Oliver hesitated "I'm just watching Roy and Captain Lance, making sure it all goes off without a hitch" he replied nonchalantly.

Felicity's hands trembled beside her as the next words tumbled from her lips "Can you see her?"

Oliver nodded, then realised this wouldn't translate through he comms "Yeah I'm pretty sure she has Roy wrapped around her little finger"

Felicity laughed a small chuckle that quickly turned to a silent sob, her heart aching to be where Roy was in that moment. A wave of regret washed over her at the thought of the decision that she had been forced to make all those years ago, but she pushed it aside.

"Hey, she's fine. You did a good thing Felicity" Oliver spoke, sensing her vulnerability.

Wrapping her arms around her middle she silently berated herself for reacting to emotionally. She wiped at the tear tracks that stained her cheeks and ordered Oliver to let her know what was going on.

"Not much, Nora and Roy were playing with some raggedy old doll"

Oliver heard her breath catch in her throat and the familiar sound of her muting the comms. He knew instantly that she was trying to cover up the sound of her crying.

"Felicity. Unmute the comms. Talk to me"

After a few moments the bleep of the comms being un-muted echoed in his ear followed by her angelic voice that that wavered as she spoke. "The doll, did it have yellow fuzzy hair, and a patchwork dress?"

"That sounds like the doll. Why?"

Oliver heard her gasp and the sound of what he assumed was her collapsing in her chair. "Felicity?"

"I gave her that doll, the day they took her away" she sobbed, completely overwhelmed and overjoyed at the fact that her adoptive parents had allowed her to keep it. Oliver rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, itching to draw an arrow with the bow that rested in his hand and preferably aim it in Jed's direction, to punish him for putting Felicity through all this. He wanted to make him pay for every tear that she had cried and for every moment she had felt scared and alone. He slowed his breathing, composing himself before responding,

"I'm sorry"

He heard her sniff before she bravely replied "It's ok, I'm fine, really"

There was a brief silence and Oliver chuckled to which Felicity automatically laughed in response. Even though she didn't know what she was laughing at, it was purely the sound of a laugh from Oliver, something that she rarely heard, that had a smile spreading across her face and the tears that she had just cried, briefly forgotten.

"What's so funny?" Felicity asked curiously.

"Roy, dressed as a princess"

Felicity laughed out loud. "What I wouldn't do to see that"

"Trust me it's not pretty" Oliver retorted. He listened to the wonderful sound of felicity's laugh on the other end. It was a sound filled with hope, with promise that everything was okay and he basked in it. After a few minutes radio silence Felicity spoke "Oliver?"


"Thank you"

Oliver knew exactly what she was trying to say and it needed no further explanation. "That's ok. Captain Lance looks finished here, I'll head back and take you home.

The ride back to Felicity's townhouse was sombre. Oliver's gaze flicked between the road in front and Felicity, watching everything mannerism and mapping every crease or frown, trying to guess what she as thinking, When they were almost there he moved his hand from the steering wheel and rested it upon hers intertwining their fingers.

"Everything ok?"

Felicity swiftly pulled her hand away, nodding and telling him she was fine. The words she spoke were highly contradicted by her movements and Oliver immediately made another move to touch her which she attempted to avoid.

"Felicity?" Oliver asked briefly taking his attention off her as he pulled up outside her apartment block. "Have I done something to upset you?"

Felicity quickly turned to face him "What? No?. It's just. It's easier if you don't" She couldn't bring herself to finish her sentence.

"You don't want me to touch you?" Oliver asked concerned by her insinuation.

"No, Yes, I mean" Felicity paused, hers eyes searching his for his understanding "Every time you touch me, I feel like I want to do things. Things that right now, with everything that's going on, just seems wrong"

Reaching across the centre console Oliver brushed aside a loose strand of her hair, bringing his hand to rest gently on the side of her face. "I told you Felicity, I will wait as long as it takes, whether that's because it feels like the timing is wrong or that you're simply not ready. I'll wait. But please don't stop me from being able to comfort you."

Oliver couldn't help but feel his heart soar at her reaction, the smile that spread across her face combined with the way she pressed her face into his hand as she closed her eyes. She reached her hand up to cover his. "Thank you"

Oliver pressed a kiss to her forehead, lingering a little longer than he should have. "Come on lets get you home"

As they made their way up to Felicity's apartment Oliver's hand hovered on her lower pack protectively, he wanted to touch her, but felt as though he had already pushed it so made sure to stay close carefully surveying their surroundings as they went. He couldn't help it, it was pure habit, being on alert, being aware and always being prepared for the unexpected. When the lift doors pinged open Felicity headed to her door, head down rummaging for her keys. She felt Oliver tense behind her and before she could react he had his hand on her arm and was bringing her behind him to shield her from the the danger he sensed ahead. Oliver had immediately spotted that the security light was off above her door, something that she normally left on, and as they got closer he could see her door was ajar. After ordering Felicity to stay behind him, but stay close, he stealthily made his way into her apartment.

Pushing the door slowly open Oliver breached the threshold and was surprised by the tidiness that he was greeted with. Everything was in its place, nothing touched. It was when they made their way into the living room that they saw him.