A/N: I had forgotten about the little hint of a clue from SDCC that Oliver would be doing something to physically remove reminders of his past from himself. Tattoo removal seemed like a possibility. Just a short fic dealing with his decision to go through with it and telling Felicity. Enjoy! And please let me know what you think!
Oliver's decision to have the Bratva tattoo on his chest removed had surprised her. Once they had begun their road trip they had agreed to no more secrets, but there weren't nightly sessions where he worked his way through every moment of his past. However, he didn't hide anything either, and if something came up naturally or he felt like sharing he did. She knew there were things she didn't know about and she was content to discover them when it was time. Deciding to have his tattoos removed was something she hadn't expected.
"How about we go to Portland for a long weekend, you said you'd never been and it's only a couple hours away."
Felicity looked up from the book she was reading, curled in the corner of the oversized blue and white plaid chair positioned by the wide front windows of the small house they were renting high in the foothills of the Coastal Range. The crash of the Pacific could be heard as salty sea air blew the gauzy curtains around her.
"Sure," she answered immediately. They hadn't made it off the coast, the ocean seemingly permanently on their left as they headed north skipping from one small town to another until two months into their adventure their one week rental of the little house in the hills turned into two, and then three, and then they asked if they could have it indefinitely.
Her finger held her place in the novel as she shifted to see him better. He'd been using her tablet most of the morning with a focused expression she usually only saw in the bedroom these days. "Is that the only reason? A trip?"
A knowing twitch of his lips let her know she was right. "I thought we could leave early I um...I booked an appointment for one o'clock on Friday to have my tattoo removed."
She was shocked silent then sat the book to the side, her page forgotten as she moved towards him, "Oliver…"
"It's okay," he assured, drawing her to sit on his lap when she neared him, "It's something I've been thinking about."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
Broad shoulders lifted in an abbreviated shrug, "I had to work it through but I think it's the right thing. The scars, the brand...I can't do anything about those but the tattoos I can."
"They don't bother me. You know that." one hand lay loose over his chest as he gripped her hip tighter, giving her a soft smile.
"I know." he replied, dipping his head for a quick kiss.
His hand came up to clasp hers, flattening her palm to cover where it was already placed over the Bratva star. "This one."
Her eyes went round, "Not the dragon…"
"Not yet." he said with a swift shake of his head, "This one I see every day. I never wanted it. I was forced to join the Bratva, and yes having that membership allowed me access and resources that have been helpful, but that's all gone now. The star is nothing but a reminder. One I don't need."
"Not this?" she asked, laying her other hand low along his ribs on his right side. He'd never gotten around to telling her what the characters meant and while she'd been tempted to look them up on her own she never had.
He gave her a sad smile, "That one I won't get rid of. It's the only one I got on purpose."
"Well if you want to do this of course I support you." she answered earnestly, sliding her hand out from underneath his to cup his jaw, "How long does it take? Does it hurt?"
He laughed lightly at her concern, "I think I can handle the pain. And this won't be the only appointment, so I hope you end up liking Portland."
"And the doctor is a good one? This isn't some sort of shady, back room in a strip mall is it?"
With an exaggerated sigh and a small poke to her ribs that made her squeak he pulled the tablet towards them, opening up the tab that had all the information about the doctor he'd chosen.
Twenty minutes later she surfaced, still sitting on his lap while he waited patiently. She'd done as thorough a check as she could. "Well, they seem fine. No malpractice suits, and nothing off in their financials." But two fingers tapped an anxious rhythm on the dark wood of the dining room table they sat in front of.
"Felicity, this is the best cosmetic surgeon in the Pacific Northwest." he retorted.
"Who is going to be shooting a laser into you!"
"Into the top layers of my skin. This isn't one of Barry's metahumans we're dealing with."
"Thank you." he said sincerely, silencing any further protest with a kiss that made her forget what her next objection was going to be.
Friday afternoon found her in a well appointed waiting room pacing a track in front of wide paneless windows that showcased the Willamette River. She'd been able to stay with Oliver until it was time to do the procedure and now she was stuck wondering how this was really going to affect him.
As each day had passed bringing them closer and closer to the trip he'd seemed more and more certain it was the right decision, but all she could do was worry the act could trigger something that would set him back, resurface bad memories he'd buried or forgotten.
However, her worries were for nothing. The Oliver that stepped out to join her was healthy, and whole, and looked lighter even than the day they'd left Starling City.
"That was fast!" she blurted out, feet moving forward to meet him.
He grasped a handful of shirt collar and tugged it down to show a white bandage covering the spot.
"Can I?" she asked, hands already moving towards the tape.
He nodded once and she carefully peeled back one edge fingers trembling slightly. "I don't know why I'm nervous." she said with a jerky laugh, "I'm not the one who just had laser beams actually zapped into the skin at-"
His hand closed over hers, "I'm okay."
"Right." she said in a steadier voice, pulling the gauze away to see slightly reddened skin covered in an opaque cream and a much fainter version of the tattoo. "Oh! That's a lot less there."
"The darker dyes are easier to remove apparently. The doctor thinks it'll only take two more treatments for it to be fully gone." he explained as she replaced the bandage, smoothing the tape down in a practiced way that made her gut clench for a second before she remembered patching him on a nightly basis was something she didn't have to do any more.
"So in a few months then it'll be like it was never there."
His eyes darkened for a second, a shadow passing over them and then it was gone. He'd always have demons, she knew that. There were still nights where neither of them could sleep through without having nightmares, but as long as they continued moving forward there would be no slipping back.
"Exactly." he said brightly, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and tugging her into his side as he directed them towards the exit. "Now, we have a very nice hotel room to check into and reservations at one of the best restaurants in the city."
"But what about that?" she asked, gesturing towards the left side of his chest as they entered the glass enclosed elevator.
"Didn't I tell you the best thing about the procedure?" he said with a devious grin that instantly had warmth swirling low in her belly.
"There's no downtime."