Author's Notes – I hold no claim to Arrow or any of the characters of Arrow.
So, I have been sitting on this story for quite some time. I have never written for Arrow, though I have written for two other shows. Frankly speaking, it scares the hell out of me to post this because the writers on this site can nail these two in a way I highly doubt I can live up to, but I decided to suck it up and post it anyway!
I would love to hear any and all opinions on this piece of writing. Please do not feel like I only want positive reviews. I firmly believe that reviews, good and bad, only serve to better the writer. I honestly am unsure if this will be a one-shot or if I will continue it.
Let me know what you all think!
"Felicity, don't go." the words flow quietly from his lips even though he knows it's too late. He looks to the ground and allows the emotions to wash over him like a tidal wave. Gritting his teeth in a desperate attempt to regain some measure of control over himself, Oliver forces himself to stand still. A strangled curse comes from his mouth as he moves to the training area knowing it will allow for some small release of the thoughts drowning his clarity.
Arriving at her destination, Felicity looks around for the only other person she knows can be trusted no matter what is happening. It's been seven weeks since they returned from the island after depositing Slade in his own personal prison. Seven weeks of wondering. Seven weeks of waiting. Of Oliver pretending none of it happened. She understood the need. In the beginning anyway. They needed to rebuild the lair. Reclaim the company. Get their bearings in this new world they were now living in. Everyone needed a chance to come to terms with the changes.
Felicity knows he has had the most changes. She also knows how much he blames himself for everything that occurred. His burden is always heavier than anyone else, even when it is misplaced. So, she gave him time. Let him take of business. Set his axis a little closer to what the new normal would be. But he never came to her. Never talked to her. She knows he wasn't lying to her. That night in the mansion. She knew when they talked on the island after leaving Slade imprisoned. She could read everything he wasn't saying. Felicity really believed he would move past his fears and finally let her in. She was wrong. Before her mind wanders any further, she hears the sound of his voice calling her name.
Looking up she smiles and waves an arm to her good friend. "Hey Digg." He comes up and pulls her into a soft embrace that contradicts the sheer size of him. Diggle pulls her small frame from his chest and places a hand softly on her cheek, before speaking.
"Are you sure, Felicity? You know you don't have to do this." She looks at him sadly and nods her head. "Alright. Just make sure you find a way to let me know you're safe."
Felicity squeezes his arm confirming her understanding. He holds out a duffel bag that holds the various pieces of equipment she requested he bring. "Thanks." She takes her turn to pull him into a hug as she hears the final boarding call being announced for her flight. Releasing him, she speaks one final time before turning to leave. "Take care of him for me."
She doesn't need to see his response to know he will. That's what they do for each other. Keep each other grounded. They each bring an element that can't be replaced by anyone else. Tockman taught her that. She hands her ticket to the young man in front of her and moves through the gate before she can talk herself into staying. She needs to leave. For the sake of the team. For her own sake. She knows she can't bring herself to sacrifice anymore right now. She needs clarity. Needs to find who she is now. Where she needs to be. She can't be his Girl Wednesday right now. Taking her place on the plane, she fastens her seatbelt and waits for the world to be pulled out from under her feet once again. Closing her eyes and leaning her head back, Felicity replays the last moments with him.
Stepping into the newly designed lair, she sees him arranging some final pieces of equipment and Felicity almost turns to walk back out the door. Her inclination is disrupted by the sound of his voice. Looking up she sees Oliver observing her with a slightly puzzled look on his face. "What's up, Felicity?"
Felicity moves forward, setting her bag on the floor by the desk, as she makes her way towards Oliver. Stopping just in front of him, Felicity takes a breath and wills herself to not lose her nerve. "Just wondered if we could talk." His features soften and he offers her one of the sweet smiles she loves so much. He motions for her to join him on the couch. After the settle into position, she takes note at just how close he is when their knees touch. Trying to ignore the proximity, she clears her throat as she looks nervously around the lair.
Oliver chuckles quietly and she feels his hand come up to her shoulder. Applying light pressure, Oliver attempts to bring her out of the haze she is currently falling into. "Felicity." Her name comes out more of a statement than a question and she shakes her head before locking eyes with him.
"Yea. Sorry, got lost in my head for a minute there." Now or never, she tells herself. This needs to happen. "So, I wanted to talk to you about...," she pauses as she tries to find the right words. He tilts his head slightly as he waits for her to continue. "About what happened at the mansion." She sees his jaw tick slightly and his features give way to tension. He moves to stand up and, before she can think, her hand catches his stopping the movement. "Oliver, please. We need to talk about this."
Her thoughts are disrupted by the feel of the plane as it moves down the runway and she realizes there really is no turning back. This is happening. She shifts in her seat and stifles the cry that is hanging in her throat. She knows she has to do this. There is no other option. Oliver made that clear just hours before and Felicity knows there is no other reality. She just needs time to find how to be strong in herself again.
The flight goes off without a hitch and before Felicity realizes it, they have landed at their destination. In this moment, she is grateful that Oliver does not know as much about her past as she knows about his. There is no way he will be able to track her to this location, which means she has effectively cut herself off from her life in Starling City until she makes the decision to return. If she returns. Things are still too fresh to even consider how she would be able to handle being near him every day knowing they will never be anything more. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she sends a brief text to Diggle letting him know she is safe at her destination. Felicity removes the battery from the phone before depositing it in her bag. Her last tie to her life disabled as she walks calmly down the corridor towards the exit.
The phone in his pocket vibrates causing Diggle to reach for the offending device. He reads the text as he walks past her computer and can't help the wave of sadness that infiltrates. Allowing himself the brief moment, Diggle drops the device back into his jacket pocket. Joining Oliver in the training area, he leans quietly against the wall watching the man in front of him abuse one of the many training dummies littered throughout the room. The air about the lair is getting ready to change in such a manner that makes Diggle wonders if Oliver will ever really recover. He completely supports Felicity's decision to walk away. Understands why she needs to think of herself for once. He just hopes they all make it through the shift as unscathed as possible.
Several minutes go by and Oliver finally acknowledges the new presence, even though they both know there was never a time Oliver was unaware of his partner's arrival. "Interested in sparring?" Diggle nods almost imperceptibly before moving to face off against a man who has no idea the ramifications of his last conversation with their favorite IT girl. The same IT girl who swore Diggle to secrecy. Asked him to give her as much time as he could to get settled. She needed time to erase her tracks well enough Oliver would not be able to trace her movements. Not unless she wanted him too. As Diggle dodges the first blow, he silently prays she finds whatever peace she is looking for sooner rather than later and reappears in the lair. For all their sakes.
After the two men exhaust themselves, Oliver takes a step off the mat moving towards the shower. Diggle grabs one of the towels sitting on the rack nearby and wipes his face. Calling out to his partner, he bids Oliver goodbye and promises to see him in the morning. That will be the first obstacle and Diggle knows it won't be the last. Since reclaiming the company, Oliver and Felicity always ride into the office together. Except tomorrow. Tomorrow, everything changes in a way Oliver can't even begin to grasp.
Turning on the shower, Oliver lets the hot water massage his aching muscles. It has been a long time since he worked out that intensely. Every muscle had been protesting for the last half hour before he finally called it quits. He moves his face towards the stream of water and lets the heat strike his skin. As he stands there facing the assault, he allows his thoughts to drift.
The feel of her hand on his nearly sends him right back to her side. Just the feel of her soft skin against his has him almost convinced everything could work out. He could have it all. His company. His team. Her. Then he flashes to the moment Slade was holding her hostage and knows. Knows with a certainty he can't explain that he is not meant to have it all. He can't do that to her. He won't. One small pull and his hand is free from hers causing him to immediately feel the loss deep within his soul.
Oliver walks away from the couch a few steps before turning to face her. He struggles to maintain the mask as he speaks. "What is there to talk about, Felicity?" He feels his betrayal with just that one sentence, but he knows he has to continue. "It was part of the plan. I had to fool Slade. I had to make him believe what I was saying."
Felicity's heart skips a beat as she hears the words fall out of his mouth. She regards him for a brief second before her confidence returns and she rises to her feet. Closing the distance between them, she stops inches from his face. Felicity sees the way his body reacts to her proximity and she is certain he is pushing her away again because that is what is best for her. In his mind, anyway. Because she sure as hell knows her mind doesn't believe that sentiment.
She reaches out with her hand, makes contact with his arm, and speaks softly all while looking directly into his eyes. Felicity sees him struggle to not look away and it's all the confirmation she needs to continue. She places her other hand on his chest and feels the sharp intake of air as Oliver begins to lose the tenuous grip on his emotions. Rising up on her feet, Felicity moves close enough to feel his stuttered breath as he falls into her. She watches as his mouth moves to connect with hers. Her eyes involuntarily close in anticipation.
Then, in an instant, the tables are turned and he is pulling away from her. "What are you doing Felicity?" She hears the sharp tone in his voice and opens her eyes to see a much different man standing in front of her.
The lukewarm water streaming along his body pulls him from his thoughts and Oliver shudders in response to the temperature change. Turning the water off and stepping out of the shower stall, Oliver grabs a towel. After drying his body, he dresses in an extra set of clothes kept in the lair. Stepping out of the bathroom, he glances over at the empty computer chair and wishes tonight could have gone differently. Before he allows his mind to acknowledge the loss any further, he makes his way up the stairs and out the door. Reaching his motorcycle, Oliver kicks it to life before driving back to the penthouse he purchased after regaining control of the company. He makes his way through the front door and goes straight into his bedroom hoping the intense workout he experienced before coming home will ensure sleep comes easily.
Sure enough, he finds he has slept through the night when the alarm on his phone sounds off signaling the morning is ready to start. Before he even makes it out of bed the events of the night before crash into Oliver's psyche and he fights the wave of sadness. Knowing everything happened as it should, he forces himself to move into the vast closet. After changing into one of the many suits adorning the space, Oliver makes his way into the kitchen for a quick bite to eat before meeting Diggle in the living room.
The two men move silently out the door making their way to the car before the silence is broken. "Everything alright, Oliver?" He knows the question will open the proverbial can of worms, but he also knows not asking it will cause suspicion. Especially once Oliver replays the events of the last hours in an attempt to figure out how to find Felicity. Diggle determined right after hearing from Felicity that he will do everything in his power to not be the reason Oliver finds her. Which is exactly why he refused the knowledge of her impending destination when she offered it to him.
Looking at Diggle, Oliver nods his head quickly before getting into the back of the car allowing for the man in front to take over his assigned role as the black driver. Both men settle into their personas as Diggle moves through the city towards Queen Consolidated. It takes Oliver several minutes past when it should have to notice the path they are taking. As if waking up from some sort of trance, "Diggle?" Oliver doesn't finish the question figuring it is unnecessary.
"Oliver?" Diggle is well aware of the unspoken question, but is in no hurry to offer up anything more than is asked. A larger part of him would much prefer to kick Oliver's ass for pushing the young woman to the point he has. He knew everything between them was going to come to a head sooner or later, but he had never envisioned this being the end result. So, at this point, he is going to make Oliver work for what little information Diggle has to offer.
Leveling the man driving with a look, "Why are we going straight to the office, Diggle?" Oliver maintains eye contact with his partner via the mirror.
"You have a full schedule of meetings this morning, sir. Best to get there quickly so you have time to prepare." Diggle offers a brief look of own before focusing on the road in front of him once again. He knows not mentioning Felicity may spark questions that are unable to be answered, but Diggle hopes the excuse will be enough to stave off more questions.
Much to his surprise the man behind him does not inquire any further which only shows just how affected he is by whatever happened last night. Diggle knows on some level, Oliver must think Felicity is simply trying to avoid him. With any luck that will hold for the rest of the day. The lack of reaction only reinforces Diggle's interest in what the hell was said or done.
Arriving at Queen Consolidated after receiving no more words from Oliver, Diggle enters the executive elevator with his charge. He is silently thankful Oliver is so pre-occupied because it will certainly make his job much easier. Diggle makes a mental note of the quick glance Oliver sends towards Felicity's empty desk before settling just outside his office door.
Sliding into his seat at the large desk, Oliver immediately notices several files laid out across his desk. Looking over them quickly, he finds a note attached to the one he will need for his first meeting. ~ Taking time off. Fried from last night. Notes left in each file to get you through the meetings. ~ Oliver takes a deep breath and lets his head fall forward slightly as he takes in the words. She's pissed. That much is evident. Notwithstanding the fact that he was there last night and saw for himself. Except last night. Well, last night she wasn't pissed; she was hurt. His mind involuntarily slips to the interaction between them.
She is so close that he can literally feel her breathing. The expectation evident in her eyes. The inability to control his breathing. Knowing how well she can read him. The obvious attraction he feels so deep inside that he struggles to find an end to the constant aching. Her hand on his arm is just another sign of his impending undoing and when the other hand lands his chest. Holy hell. He feels himself closing the infinitesimal distance between their lips without having granted permission to doing so. His eyes remain locked on hers as he watches the story being told without words.
Then her eyes close. Completely involuntarily on her part, of that he is sure. The action breaks the spell. Stops the story her eyes were telling him. The honesty that filtered through her unspoken words give way to his mind reclaiming control. He pulls away and steps back what he thinks might be a safe distance. A step that he so desperately wants to take back. To forget. And he almost does. But he can't. Those steps highlight the line that he cannot cross. So he stands firm. It takes all his power to speak the words that come out of his mouth because he knows what they will do to her. To them.
He forces them out anyway. "What are you doing Felicity?" He tries to sound harsh. Affronted that she would be so audacious as to push a boundary that can only lead to danger and heartache. A boundary that she has to know can't be crossed. The risks are too great. There would be too many repercussions. He tries to look equal parts confused and frustrated by her attempt to kiss him, but is pretty sure he is failing. Then she opens her eyes and locks gazes with him. And he knows he's not. Or maybe he is and she is just tired of being the one to reach for him. For them. All he knows he is sure a part of him died as he watches the myriad of emotions flitting across her beautiful features.
Then she turns away and walks towards the stairs leading out of the lair. And he knows he needs to let her go. God, he knows this is the best way to save her from everything that is Oliver Queen. But the way her shoulders fall. The lack of purpose in her step. It makes him want to call out for her. Stop her. Tell her the truth. Tell her, he is so in love with her that the very thought of losing her eats away at him. That he needs her to be safe always and this is his way of ensuring that. He can't do what he does if he knows she has a target on her back. Even though, somewhere in his mind, he is aware she is in danger anyway. He can't bring himself to be so selfish as to hold her in a relationship that is doomed to end badly. So when he finally says the words, they are too quiet. And too late. And, God help him, he knows there are.