A/N: This is based off of spoilers for 3x22. A mix between a spec fic and a theory for how things could go. Enjoy! And please let me know what you think!
Felicity had been certain that she was never going to step foot in Nanda Parbat again.
And then Malcolm Merlyn came to them with an insane tale and an even more insane plan and now she stood in front of two heavy wooden doors decked out head to toe in the League's finest wedding attire.
The silk shifted around her as she moved from one foot to the other, trying to remember to breathe, and when she took in one overly deep inhale it caused the chains and jewels adorning her to clink quietly.
"I don't know if I can do this," she muttered to herself. The two guards holding torches on either side of the doors didn't so much as blink in her direction or show any other indication that they'd heard her.
"You don't have to."
She spun to her right to see Digg looking down at her with nothing but worry and concern.
"Malcolm Merlyn is first and foremost looking out for himself. You of all people know that."
She nodded her agreement, the soft opaque veil that fell from the elaborate headdress brushing her cheek as she moved. "She can't marry him Digg. For like...a million reasons, none of which have to do with the fact that I love Oliver. But…"
Her top teeth bit down on her lower lip as she squeezed her eyes tight. The memory of Malcolm bursting into their makeshift ops center at Palmer Technologies still fresh in her mind.
He hadn't been lying when he'd said what he needed to tell them wouldn't be easy for them to believe. It was completely unbelievable.
But by the time he was finished, knowing that Oliver and Nyssa were being forced to marry was the least insane thing he'd told them.
It was still a name she was trying to wrap her brain around. That certainly wasn't what he called himself when he'd been with her mother, or the few vague memories she had of him herself.
Malcolm painted the picture for them, a man who had fallen and then found love. He'd tried to change. Tried to be a husband and a father and lead a normal life. And it had worked for seven blissful years.
And then enemies had found him and he was forced to choose. His family, or his life.
So he left them. Left Felicity and her mother with no word and no explanation.
Even that wasn't the craziest part though. No. That came when Malcolm informed her that by right she was also a legitimate heir to the title.
That was when things became fuzzy.
Now they were in Nanda Parbat about to crash a wedding.
Strong hands gripped hers, jerking her from her own mind, "You don't have to go through with this."
"I do though," she whispered, "This is the only way to save Nyssa, and keep Oliver from…"
Tears pricked behind her eyes, hot and quick, "I have to believe that the real Oliver is in there somewhere. I know what we saw back in Starling, and earlier today but…" the memory of him leading them into that cell was almost more than she could endure.
A sharp rap on the door made her jump, the two guards reaching for the handles as she slid one final half desperate look at Digg, "Don't suppose you could walk me down the aisle?" she said with a small smile but quavering voice that betrayed all her fears.
"I've got your back, girl. And if anyone can bring Oliver home, it's you."
The doors were cracked, just enough that the rushing draft made the torches flicker and wave, casting dancing shadows over the room, but all Felicity saw was right in front of her, and that's when she heard Malcolm's booming voice echoing throughout the chamber.
"This union cannot continue! Not when there is a true heir to challenge for title of Demon's Head!"
There was no collective gasp of surprise or shouting of protests. The room was filled with League trained soldiers after all, but Felicity did wish she could see the expression on Ra's al Ghul's face just then.
"What is the meaning of this? Explain yourself Al-Sa-her before I have you killed."
"Damien Darhk has an heir, one that can either bring war to your doorstep or join Al-Sah-him in an alliance that would unite the families for generations."
Her heart was pounding in her chest, the rush of blood to her ears so swift she could barely make out Malcolm's words.
Ra's could have her killed as soon as those doors opened. Before she could even see Oliver. Before this whole ridiculous plan of theirs even had a chance to get off the ground.
It took everything within her to let her hands fall limp by her sides, and just as the doors opened fully her chin lifted.
For a second everything cleared. The noise in her head abated, her vision became sharper. As she paused in the doorway a row of League guards snapped their swords to attention to make an arch for her to walk under. And at the end of that arch was Oliver.
As soon as their eyes met she knew it was him. She was looking at Oliver, not Al-Sah-him. There was nothing but confusion, and fear, and love shining back at her and that was all she needed to see.
Nyssa stood next to him, dressed identically to Felicity, while Ra's stared Malcolm down with complete and utter contempt.
But it wasn't Ra's who had uttered the one word so low it was almost a growl, it had been Oliver.
Malcolm dared to slide a few feet closer, eyes flitting from Ra's back to Oliver as if he didn't know which was the bigger threat.
"I've had Darhk followed for many years. When he attempted to purchase the second earthquake device I looked into him again. That's when I found out about his family. He'd tried to leave the life twenty-five years ago. Marry. Have a daughter." Malcolm paused, sliding a significant look her direction, "But when a threat was made to their lives he sacrificed that happiness to save them. Something both of you are familiar with."
The static in her head was beginning to rise again at Oliver's stoney expression, until she saw the faintest of movements. The thumb of his left hand was ever so minutely rubbing two of his fingers. It was one of the only tells he had. The gesture he made when he was nervous or uncomfortable.
The gesture that Oliver made.
"And what is keeping me from eliminating the challenge altogether? From killing her where she stands?" Ra's asked, stepping around Oliver and Nyssa to stand directly at the end of the aisle.
"Damien has amassed an army of his own. Would you really risk war at a time of transition?"
The expression on Ra's face was unreadable as always, and the longer she stood waiting the more worried she became that this was all going to go horribly wrong.
"I find it curious that Damien's daughter also happens to be Oliver Queen's beloved." Ra's began as he paced a small track, never looking at Oliver. "Was this your plan all along, Al-Sah-him?"
Oliver's gaze was still frozen on hers, "No. I had no knowledge of these events." but the deep roughness of his voice had lifted some, he sounded more like the Oliver she knew.
"He speaks the truth."
Ra's paused to stare at Malcolm then turned to look directly at her. "And you, child? What do you get from this arrangement?"
"She only has one demand; that Nyssa be released from the League and be allowed to leave."
Ra's raised his brows at this, "Still so self-sacrificing I see. How noble. And how very unworthy of the claim to Demon's Head." he spat out the last few words, finally showing some sort of emotion beyond vague indifference.
Malcolm moved forward, hand held out towards Oliver who she was just now realizing had taken two steps towards Ra's at his outburst.
"I was afraid you'd say that."
Then Malcolm snapped his fingers and moving as one unit the guards placed down the aisle pivoted forty five degrees and pointed their swords directly at Ra's.
There was a beat where shocked silence reverberated throughout the room. Even Felicity was stunned. Malcolm hadn't told her this part.
"Damien Darhk has been infiltrating your League for more than a decade, one soldier at a time. Destroying your base, gathering your intel, infecting you from the inside out." Malcolm's tone was even, bordering on casual but she could see the delighted gleam in his eyes as he advanced, hands clasped loosely behind his back. "You no doubt still have enough loyalists to your cause to engage Darhk in war, but it would be costly, and with no guarantee of a win. Or you could agree to this union, which would ensure peace for many many years to come."
Ra's appeared to not care about the number of blades trained on him, but his hand did come up to rest on the hilt of this sword, "And what do you receive from this union, Al-Sa-her?"
Oliver turned to consider Malcolm as well, as if he too didn't trust the man's motivations.
"The safety of my own daughter, and an end to my exile."
Ra's paused, head bowed and she was certain no one drew a breath until he nodded once.
"An alliance will be beneficial to all parties. I will allow it."
She didn't know the sound had even come from her until every eye that didn't belong to a guard landed on her stunned form. Her stomach flipped, chest constricting as she realized this was actually happening.
Twenty four hours earlier she thought Oliver had been lost to her forever.
Now she was marrying him.
"Felicity-" Oliver's voice saying her name made her gasp, and when she looked at him she understood everything he couldn't say just then, 'You don't have to do this.' 'Don't put yourself in danger.' 'I need you safe.' 'I love you'
She swallowed past the lump in her throat because she knew he could care less who her father was. That wasn't a concern right then at all.
Her head lifted higher and she gave him a tremulous smile while she let him know in her own silent way everything he needed to know. 'I'd do anything to protect you.' 'I will never stop believing in you.' 'I love you.'
The only acknowledgement, she had was the way his eyes briefly shuttered.
"Come take your place then, child. Your father's warriors will surely keep you safe."
She gave a surprised glance to the legions of men surrounding her and knew he was right. It made her shiver and when she took the first hesitant step forward she couldn't feel her feet.
The walk felt ten times longer than it was, the guards falling in behind her until there was a wall of assassins at her back.
Nyssa had already moved to the side, and Felicity didn't dare make eye contact with the other woman.
Her eyes were firmly fixed on Oliver, never wavering as each careful footfall brought her closer to his side.
She was sure she wasn't breathing when she came to a halt right next to him. But they didn't even get a chance to speak before the Priestess raised her arms and began to chant.
No one translated, and Felicity was somewhat grateful, not sure she wanted to know what was being said.
Then the Priestess turned to her and spoke a phrase she didn't understand. It was Nyssa that let her know what had been requested, "The veil needs to be drawn. It is custom that the bride's father be the one to do it."
"Well unless the Magician has some more tricks up his sleeve I'm fresh out of father's right now." Felicity said quickly, before realizing there was probably some sort of protocol she was breaking just then.
The Priestess seemed nonplussed by her statement, repeating the same phrase, her kohl blackened eyes narrowing in what Felicity could only assume was abject hatred.
Movement from the corner of her eye saw Malcolm moving forward and a rush of anger filled her as she reached back and grabbed the thin piece of fabric, "Don't even try. I'll do it myself." she ground out.
Malcolm may have found a way to stop the wedding, and ultimately to get Oliver back, but that did not mean she trusted him or wanted him even attempting to step in.
More words in a language she didn't understand as the Priestess raised her arms high and wide.
"Join hands." Nyssa whispered and her hand automatically rose and then went still.
Oliver's familiar calloused fingers closed over hers, as a rush of electricity flowed through her body. The little whimper at the back of her throat was almost inaudible she thought until he squeezed harder, thumb rubbing ever so slightly over the back of her hand.
This was it. The moment she'd kept forcing from her mind because she couldn't allow herself to go there. Marrying Oliver, even if it wasn't even remotely legal was a thought she'd never even indulged before. And even though the circumstances were less than ideal, her heart still screamed yes. She loved him. She belonged with him and he with her and if this was what they had to do as a first step to wrestling him from the grip of Ra's then it wasn't that much of a sacrifice.
There was more chanting, the voice of the Priestess spiraling higher and higher with more intensity until she pulled a flashing dagger from her sleeve.
Oliver flinched, tensing beside her, shoulders shifting forward to block her but there was no movement from the men behind her and although her heart was thudding in her chest she didn't believe they were in danger.
"Face each other," Nyssa directed, "and turn your hands over"
They did as they were told, her smaller hand looking almost tiny next to his. Then there was a flash of pain as the dagger slashed through her palm and then Oliver's.
Their hands were pressed together, fingers entwined and she couldn't have looked away from him then if she had tried. He wasn't hiding anything from her. No more walls, no more pretend in an attempt to keep her safe.
Right then, in that moment they were just Oliver and Felicity. They were only there because they wanted to be there, because they both believed in what they were doing.
More chants or prayers or incantations, Felicity was barely paying attention. She tried to fight the smile that made her lips tremble and then gave up. She loved him and she didn't give a damn who knew.
Then they were being dragged forward to the edge of the pit and suddenly everything good was ripped away. Oliver's worried eyes lifted to hers as they stared at the swirling water, not knowing what repercussions they might face from using it.
"Dip your joined hands into the Lazarus Pit. This will complete the ritual."
Oliver held her hand tighter, so tight she could feel the bones pressing together, but she never felt the pain.
As one they reached forward, and just before they touched the water he whispered so low she knew no one else could hear, "I do."
Their hands broke the surface, the water beginning to bubble as Oliver guided them further in.
"I do." she stated behind a muffled gasp as a strange tingling sensation began to envelop her hand.
Oliver jerked beside her and she knew he felt the same odd feeling.
The Priestess pulled them back and Felicity was almost afraid to look at her hand because she knew the cut would be completely healed.
"It is done. The two houses have been united. But there is one final step before Al-Sah-him can truly ascend to the title of Demon's Head." Ra's stated, "Starling City must be destroyed."
Now it was Felicity's turn to grip his hand as tight as she could.
The first part of their plan had somehow worked. But Oliver and now she were in the grips of the League until Ra's no longer held the title.
They still had to figure out a way to keep a deadly bioweapon from being unleashed on their home.
Felicity gulped, using her free hand to pull the veil out of her face, before giving Oliver a nervous look. "So... no honeymoon then?"
His hand tightened on hers in warning as Ra's approached.
"Welcome to the family, Al-An-Nar."
At her quirk of confusion he gave a small chuckle, "It means 'The Fire', a fitting name for the wife of the next Ra's al Ghul."
"I prefer Felicity," she had no intention of ever taking a League name.
Ra's just gave an amused shake of his head before turning to Oliver, "I suggest you speak with your bride Al-Sah-him, she keeps her tongue as a mark of courtesy."
The army of assassins around her shifted forward as one and for a second she saw a flicker of something in the Demon's eyes.
Oliver set his shoulders, pulling her slightly towards him, "No harm will come to my wife. By anyone."
"You will complete your task. Or the consequences will extend far beyond the limits of Starling City."
Ra's stepped away, one hand on his sword, the other placed at the small of his back. "In forty-eight hours the place you called home will no longer exist. I suggest you find peace with that, Al-An-Nar, your place is now at your husband's side."
Slowly the soldiers fell back, giving them the illusion of privacy as she finally turned to look up at Oliver, but his eyes were hard and locked on the back of Ra's al Ghul as he exited the room.
She didn't know how far Oliver would have to play his ruse, or how they would save the city, but as his hand gently grasped hers she knew he wasn't lost to her, he wasn't lost to Starling, and that more than anything gave her hope.