My heart is in my throat as I listen to the sound of the crushing metal through the echo of the comms unit that is settled in my ear canal. I let out an unfiltered screech and pray that he is ok, all the while hoping that he has not heard my outburst. I try and keep calm knowing that hearing me panic would only serve as a distraction for him and I consider putting the comms on mute. When the screeching noise stops, I take the breath that I didn't know I was holding and speak quietly and hesitantly all the while pleading to a god that I do not worship or know exists to let Oliver be okay.
"Oliver?" I barely manage to speak his name my ability to talk hampered by the sob that is threatening to escape my throat. I bite down on my bottom lip at the sound of Diggle's increased breathing rate as he runs to Oliver aide, afraid to speak, afraid that Oliver's luck has finally run out. Please, Please, Please, Please I chant inwardly before somehow allowing my pleas to become audible as I plead with Oliver to be strong "Oliver, stay with me, don't you dare leave me"
Before I can continue I hear Diggle's voice crackle into life "Felicity. Listen to me carefully, call 911, advise them I'm on route. Bike accident, Broken ribs, internal bleeding, and possible head trauma"
"His suit!" I Shriek unable to contain the fear I am feeling in that very moment. Nobody can know Oliver is the Hood, his true identity.
"I'm changing him into his sweats now. ROY?"
As I pick up my bluetooth and call 911 I hear Diggle giving Roy directions which I turn deliver to the 911 operator before hearing Diggle instructing Roy to bring Oliver's bike back to the foundry. With the Bluetooth on one ear and the comms in the other I grab my keys and run faster than ever have before to my car, removing my shoes as I hurry along, to gain speed. I feel my heart thumping in my chest and I am struggling to breath. I curse when I cannot seem to get the key into the lock frustrated because all I can think about is Oliver and cannot bear the thought of him being hurt and defenceless. Eventually the key slides in and the lock clicks, now all I have to do is start the engine. Even something as routine as that, something I normally do without thinking seems like an impossible task.
The Journey to Starling General is brief and over far quicker than I expect. I fear that in my race to get to my destination I may have jumped a few too many red lights. I take a mental note to scrub the traffic cameras in the area before the night is out. It is going to be a long night. When I arrive at the hospital, I abandon my car and run in the direction of the ER not in any way prepared for the possible sight that I might be met with.
I apprehensively approach Diggle who is standing glued to the spot peering through a small glass pane to where Oliver has been transferred. I glance into the room beyond and take note of the chaos that surrounds him; a sea of nurses working frantically to stabilize him. As if from nowhere I see them placing sticky pads upon his chest and hear the sound of his monitor flat-line causing my legs to buckle beneath me, no longer able to hold my own weight. Diggle anticipates this and reduces the impact of my fall gently helping me to the floor where he takes up residence beside me. I can no longer old back the sobs that have been threatening to escape since my tears betrayed me on the journey here. Diggles warm and reassuring arm slides around me pulling me against him and I feel him kissing my head affectionately. I turn towards him burying my head against the shelter of his muscular frame. I can't stop shaking, and the lump that has formed in my throat is burning. My stomach churns as I feel my heart thumping so furiously against my chest I think it is going to be stop beating at any moment. Part of me is hoping it does so that he is not alone. So that My Oliver is not deserted as he crosses over. I cannot imagine my life without him, and in this is very instant I know I will never be the same again.
When I feel Diggle lifting his head from mine I look up and see the ER doctor towering above us. There is something in his eyes, I can't describe it but it's not bad news, he doesn't have that look. I clamber to my feet, and as Diggle does the same the Doctor shakes my hand and introduces himself. I don't remember offering it to him but somehow he has my slender fingers in his and his mouth moves slowly as the words leave his mouth. I don't know what his name is; that information seems irrelevant to me, I don't care. When the word 'stable' leaves his mouth I collapse into Diggles embrace as a sense of relief rushes through my veins giving me a high like I've never felt before. As Diggle quizzes the doctor, I wonder if this is how a drug addict feels after a fix, before shaking the thought as a flash of red, heads in our direction.
I run to Roy and throw my arms around him, he hugs me back with so much warmth it fills me with a sense of belonging, for the first time in such a long time I have a family and Roy is now an integral part of that. He is the little brother I've always wanted and I appreciate the way he rubs my back soothingly. I know how difficult it is for him to let down his walls and allow someone in, he's so used to being on his own that it is taking baby steps to help him realise that he is no longer isolated, he has a family now.
"You ok Barbie?" Roy quips trying to play down the moment we have just had.
I nod wiping away the tear tracks that have set on my cheeks and then head back to Oliver's room, allowing Diggle to fill Roy in. I wait anxiously for the one final nurse that is checking Oliver's stats to give me the green light, my hand vibrates on the door handle, poised and ready to turn and when she nods in my direction, I enter. When I reach Oliver's bedside I remain motionless rooted to the spot as I consider how someone so strong could be in this situation. He has been through too much to be defeated by a fall from a motorcycle. As I sit down at the bed beside him I watch, captivated by the sudden tranquillity that surrounds him. He looks so peaceful; his normal level of tension and strain removed as he lies quietly in the bed before me. My quiet fascination slowly dissipates and my eyes start to fill to the brim with tears at the sight of the tubes and monitors that surround him, filling me with a sense of dread. I reach out and gently link my fingers with his right hand, lifting it my lips. I place a slow lingering kiss on the back of his hand, turning my face to bask in the feel of his skin against my cheek. I inhale his familiar scent; sandalwood and leather, this time mixed with high notes of ash and soot, but nevertheless distinctly Oliver. Instantly I feel my heart rate slow, bringing a level of security that only Oliver's presence can provide. I scoot myself closer, setting up for the night and before I know it I am dragged under into the realm of sleep.
It has been four days. Four long days of poor quality sleep and unwashed hair. After the first seventy-two hours, the doctors brought Oliver out of his medically induced coma, but he has yet to wake up. They assure me that the swelling on his brain has reduced meaning his chances are good and the odds are in his favour but until he wakes up all I have is hope. During the few hours that I manage to rest my tired eyes, perched forwards, head resting on Oliver's hospital bed, all I dream of is the man beside me.
There is a white glow surrounding me as I slip out of the haze that is sleep back into reality and I think I must still be dreaming as I feel his calloused hand tighten around mine, It can't be real. A choking sound slams against my eardrums and I wake with a jolt. Oliver is trying to breath and he is not letting the equipment that is invading his throat do it for him. I instantly smooth his hair whispering words of reassurance while thrashing my free hand onto the buzzer for the nurses' station. Three come flooding in followed by Diggle who takes hold ever so gently of my upper arm prying me away from the man I love to let the nurses do their work. As I pull my hand away I feel Oliver pulling against it, wanting me to stay. I try to tell him that I can't, but I can't seem to find the words. As I stand in the corner enveloped by Digs what can only be described as insanely huge arms I turn away forcing my head into his chest, not able to look at Oliver's convulsing form as he fights against the nurses unaware of his surroundings. Diggle releases me and in three long strides is next to Oliver's bed, he moves so he is not in the way and pins Oliver down to enable the nurses to help him. I watch as Oliver communicates the only way he can tapping lightly against Diggles hand that is grasping one of his. When Diggle responds "She's Safe" I realise Oliver was using Morse Code and I find myself impressed and a little choked that all he's concerned about is me. By the time my legs carry me to his side he's propped up and the tracheal tube has been removed, replaced by a small breathing tube that adorns his nose. When his eyes meet mine, time stands still and my stomach flips as though a thousand butterflies have hatched within. Before I even tell myself to move, my hand is on the side of his face savouring the bristle of his designer stubble. "I'm here" I tell him. My hand absentmindedly slips down and my fingers link with his. I watch as Oliver tries to speak but nothing comes out, his mouth dry from the violation of his throat. I slip my hand away and reach for the water jug behind me, pouring a breaker and lifting the straw to his mouth. He looks a bit annoyed that I'm treating him like the invalid he is, but takes the straw seemingly grateful for the moisture it provides. After resting the breaker back onto the nightstand I turn back and watch as Oliver makes a second attempt at speech.
I feel a rush of relief at hearing the sound of his voice for the first time in four days which conjures so much joy I want to laugh. I try to stifle it to no avail and I cringe as a snort leaves the confines of my nose slash mouth. When my eyes travel back to meet his gaze he's smiling not just with his beautifully kissable lips but his eyes are gleaming and I can't help but smile in return. My smile slowly disapears as I notice indisputable evidence of tears as the glistening of his eyes are now tracing lines down either sides of his cheeks. "Oliver? You're crying" I mumble, immediately kicking myself for pointing out the obvious. This makes Oliver smile again and he pipes up quickly, I assume in the hope to stop me from an inevitable ramble. As he starts to speak I feel his hand tighten around mine and I squeeze back giving him the confidence to continue.
"Felicity I've faced death more times than I care to remember and every time there was a part of me that wanted to go, wanted to slip into the darkness to release me from my purgatory. This time I had.. I have something to live for. "
My heart catches in my throat at the realization of what Oliver is saying and for quite possibly the first time in my life I don't know what to say. I feel anger rising up within me and I instantly remove my hand from his, but his grip is strong and my hand does not free easily. As I make my way across to the other side of the room, I see Diggle who glances into the room and catches my gaze. He gives me a look that I know is him asking me if I am ok. He trusts Oliver with his Life, but not my heart. I nod reassuringly and as I hear a scuffle and a growl, which sounds reminiscent of Oliver's modulated arrow voice, I turn around. Oliver is sat up and pulling his legs around off the bed, one arm around his midsection holding his ribs. As he grabs hold of the IV drip that is taped to his hand, my legs betray me and I am running to his side to intervene.
"Oliver, No what are you doing?"
He lets out another groan of pure unadulterated pain that seems to eliminate from his ribs and I wince as I see blood that begins to seep from the hole left by the IV drip that Oliver removed. I position myself between his legs as he pulls the breathing tube from around his nose, and despite knowing I am no match for his perfect physique I place my hands on his shoulders to try to stop him from raising off the bed.
"Oliver stop" I use my loud voice and his head whips up from his downward gaze, looking me directly in the eye. As I raise my hand to his cheek, I feel his, pressing against the small of my back. The gentle pressure he places upon me, forces my groin against his where he sits on the edge of the elevated bed and it takes everything I have not to moan in pleasure. He gingerly removes his other arm from where it supports his ribs and brings it up to the side of my face. As his worn rough skin touches mine, my eyes close and I absorb the warmth of his hand allowing my head to lean into his touch. I feel my legs begin to tremble but the arm that he has around my waist steadies me.
"Felicity. I" He begins but I stop him before he can finish
"Please Oliver" I beg, my voice weak and laden with emotion "This is not fair. Please don't do this"
His fingers continue to dance across the side of my face and with a hoarse voice; he responds to my plea "Felicity, I made a mistake pushing you away"
My eyes fly open, pure shock invading my system as a sliver of hope lingers between us. My tears let me down once again and I wonder how it is possible that I have any left after the last few days. His calloused fingers remove my glasses and sweep away my falling tears beneath, and part of me fears that I am about to crumble. His gaze is mesmerizing and I lose myself in the depth of his blue orbs, overcome by the intensity of the silence that surrounds us. My hand reaches to his wrist of the hand that is caressing my face in an attempt to keep it there; I do not want him to stop. His face is excruciatingly close to mine; I can feel his rapid breathing and instantly raise my hand to his heart to feel the thrumming beneath his Bratva tattoo and the second my fingers try to trace the symbol his lips are on mine. His lips are dry but the kiss is soft and tender in comparison, and over far too quickly leaving me unable to speak and quivering as I yearn for more. Our lips part but our foreheads remain in contact as I watch his laboured breathing. I feel a rattle in his chest below my trembling fingers as his breathing moves from laboured to erratic. I pull away slightly to check he is okay and I notice his eyes have turned dark and lips are a disturbing shade of blue. "Oliver?" I question as his breathing turns to a choking, straining sound and in an instant, my hand flies to the nurse's buzzer. I wrap my arm around him and help back on to the bed as a fleet of nurses breach the room followed by Diggle who searches my gaze for an explanation before enveloping me in his large frame and escorting me away from the commotion. I look back creased by the scene before me; my chest feels like it is on fire and I am struggling to breathe myself. When I hear the frantic sounds of his heart monitor, I have to fight back the overwhelming urge to collapse. I watch in horror as they wheel him past me in the direction of the operating room, knowing that there is nothing I can do, but wait.