Author's Note: I started writing this one way back in December, so what happens in this fic follows canon up until 410, then it becomes it's own beast. Definitely not AU, but just a bit canon-divergent. There will be approximately 10 chapters total. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 1

"Are you sure you're ready for this, Felicity?"


"I know you're disappointed about the implant, but it's experimental. Just because it hasn't worked yet, doesn't mean it won't ever. In the meantime-"

"In the meantime, I want to focus on my reality instead of waiting around for magic."

"Curtis would call it science."

Felicity smiles up at her friend's husband, the man who has led her rehab team since her release from Starling City General. "I know he would."

"But sometimes, when it's your own life, you've got to manage expectations."

Rather than agreeing, she gestures to his face. "Nope, don't look at me like that, Paul. I saw that flash of pity in your eyes. You know I like you best when you're yelling at me like an angry middle school P.E. teacher."

"That is not what you were saying two hours ago, Ms. Smoak." Paul surveys the parking garage and gives Felicity a slightly suspicious look.


"Where is he?"

Felicity adjust so she sits a little straighter in her wheelchair and starts studying her bright teal nails with what she hopes translates into nonchalance. "Who?"

Paul rolls his eyes. "Mr. Hot, Growly and Overprotective. Where is he? Or at least one member of your Entourage of Beautiful People. No way they're all missing this."

Felicity gives up and grins. "Just me today. Everyone else occupied." Or, you know, on a flight to Nanda Parbat in hopes of learning more about Damien Darhk's history with the League of Assassins and the reason why Thea's pit madness screws with his magic...but that's not therapy talk. At least not physical therapy. The whole team could probably use some therapy therapy, but that's a thought for another day.

"Felicity Smoak, does Mr. HGO know what you're planning to do today while everyone is occupied?"

Felicity's grin widens. "I want it to be a surprise. Besides, you just said I'm ready. I don't need a babysitter."

"Fine," Paul walks her over to the brand new, cherry-red mini van. "But when he storms in here on Monday, demanding to know what the hell I was thinking-" he holds up a hand to cut off Felicity's protest. "Which we both know he'll do. Do not think I'm letting you throw me under this particular bus. This is all on you."

"Come on, Paul." Felicity uses the lift and gets herself locked into place at the steering wheel. "You know deep down, he's just as afraid of you as I am."

"Uh-huh, well just remember that Monday is underwater treadmill day, so if your fiancee takes his anger out on me, you'll be the one to pay." He watches Felicity get oriented to the hand controls, notices the flash of nervousness in her eyes. "Stop doubting yourself," he barks. He's proud when he sees his favorite patient wage war with insecurity and win, just as she's done time and time again over the last few months. "Safe driving," he says as he slams the car door.


She's doing it. She's driving again. That means she's one step closer to independence, to getting her life back to as close as before as possible. She's one step closer to no longer being sidelined at both her day and night jobs. Rehabilitation has become her only job and yes, everyone's right to to insist that's all she focus on right now. She wants to regain as much movement as possible. To walk again, she thinks firmly. Everyone's been great, encouraging, helpful...but they've all also had to go on with their lives. Sure, the brakes got slammed on hers, but Palmer Tech still has to run, and Team Arrow still has to fight the bad guys. And so they have. Without her. She won't say anything to the friends and colleagues who've been so good about it all and who've been watching her so closely for any sign of anything less than absolute optimism, but it's killing her. All the other stuff, having to relearn how to navigate the world, the sometimes excruciating rehabilitation, the thousand tiny humiliations that have accompanied her injury- she can deal with them all. But the thought that she might be losing her purpose? It's crushing her.

Felicity's not one to just let herself be crushed, though. She is a woman of action. So she's been doing what she's always done when it comes to reaching the near-impossible goals she tends to set for herself. She's put her head down and worked fucking hard. The only way out is through, right? And here she is, driving herself home, long before anyone would've thought possible. Home, to a blessedly empty loft. As much as she loves her friends (and her mother), she was starting to fear they might never leave her alone again (especially her mother). So she'll try not to focus on the fact that she's getting a little Felicity time because her people (except for her mother, who finally got a plane to Vegas two weeks ago) are off to the place Felicity hates most in the world to see a man who definitely ranks in the top 5 of people she hates most in the world (there's a little competition these days- thanks for the spinal cord injury, Damien Darhk). Or the fact that they're going without her, and that Curtis (who is supposed to be her person) is the one they're turning to for tech support. She'll get there. No way out but through.

She will most definitely not spend time mourning the loss of her Mini, which she loved with all of her heart and soul. And will not at all be upset that she has had to replace it with a minivan. Nope. Not bitter. Not Felicity.

"It was way past time to get rid of the Mini anyway," Oliver had said. "It was weird how you just kept driving it around, even with the blood stains."

"The blood stains that you put there. Plus, your former billionaire is showing. The rest of us don't run around dumping perfectly good cars just because someone nearly bled out in the back seat."

Oliver had wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, "A minivan is a good family car. It's a practical choice."

If he'd said something like that to her before the accident, she would've choked at the implications, but that night she was flooded with so much relief it left her shaking. He was still imagining a future with her, a family with her. Despite his reassurances in the hospital, sometimes doubt still snuck in, especially after Curtis's implant hadn't been the deus ex machina she'd hoped it would be. She hadn't corrected him when he'd gotten her a blanket because he mistook her shivers for a sign that she was cold.

There's a lot Felicity isn't saying these days. But she's getting there.


In the end, Felicity gets just over 48 hours of relative peace. The first night in the loft is pure heaven. She hasn't been alone overnight since the shooting. She orders in some pad thai, puts on her softest, most outlandish pajamas and snuggles into the bed they've moved downstairs with her tablet, Netflix and the latest season of Jessica Jones. Right now, she needs some fictional villains in her life. She's had enough of the real ones. Of course, she notices that they've hidden all but her most mundane tech. Maybe "hidden" is a bit unfair. They've taken it to Curtis. For safe keeping, they said. As if she isn't well aware that they're trying to keep her from getting up to anything exciting. They'd say stressful. She'd disagree. But she'll watch Netflix and let Oliver and Co. win this one, because she'll never forget the wild fear in his eyes in the days before she was moved from the hospital to the rehab center. She could tell he was on the verge of losing it- a suspicion that was later confirmed by Dig when he confessed just how far off the edge Oliver had gone during that time. Felicity knows that feeling. She remembers that same time last year, the same mix of fear, devastation and utterly helpless rage she felt when Oliver went to meet Ra's Al Ghul and then didn't come back. So, despite her rush to get back to normal, she cuts him a little slack on this one and agrees to stick to Netflix.

On other issues, she's not so willing to compromise. Like selling this loft. Nope, not happening. Oliver had wanted to get rid of it before she was even released from inpatient rehab, find something with just one level, something more wheelchair-ready. That had been their first big argument AI (after injury). Oliver had reasoned and pleaded and even cried, but eventually Felicity won the day. It's still a sore point for him, she can see it any time he looks at the stairs, like their mere existence is an insult to her. What he doesn't understand, and what she won't tell him for fear of seeing pity in his eyes, is that she still plans to go up those stairs again. She plans to stand on her own two feet and lean against the railing of that balcony and talk about her day with him again. She knows what the doctors have said, and she knows that the failure of Curtis's longshot means her plans fall slightly out of the "best case scenario" realm and into "effing miracle" world, but Felicity has always set the curve, and she plans to do it again.

She ignores the small whisper in her head that reminds her that they're only even in this loft as a matter of convenience and that it's really Thea's and that modern industrial isn't actually her favorite aesthetic. None of that matters. All that matters is that this has been her place and no one is taking it from her just because she's now living AI.

Her mom calls just as Felicity is dozing off and characteristically freaks out when she's told no, she can't speak to Oliver because Oliver is actually out of town and is unreachable by cell. Donna threatens to buy a plane ticket, but settles for having Quentin Lance call for reassurance that Felicity is in fact okay and capable of spending the night on her own. It then takes two more hours for Felicity to fall asleep because she can't stop worrying about the fact that Lance and her mother are still together, which has to be some sort of record for Donna Smoak. What if this isn't just the fling Oliver insists it is? As disgusting as the thought of her mother having a fling with anyone is, it's something Felicity can handle. Living in shitty apartments with paper-thin walls forced her to reconcile herself to her mother's sex life early on. The idea that it could be more, though? Just, no. That would make Laurel and Sara her stepsisters. She loves both of the other women, but they've all decided that this is the relationship that must not be named, not least of all because it going too far would mean that her fiance had slept with both of her stepsisters. Even worse is the possibility that her mother would move to Star City. Felicity groans. She needs to get ahead of this, maybe talk to Lance about all the crime solving he could do in Las Vegas.

Anyway, these thoughts are enough to keep anyone up at night.

She takes her time getting up on Saturday, lingers over her coffee, and drives herself to the grocery store like a badass. Or, you know, like her normal self BI (before injury). So she's lowered the bar on badass a little? So what?

She's wheeling herself out of the elevator with her groceries (mostly ice cream and several different varieties of chips and salsa, because without Oliver she immediately regresses to her old ways) when she hears a little belly laugh down the hall in the direction of her door. She knows that laugh, so she's not surprised when she turns the corner to find Lyla and a little, laughing Sara Diggle waiting for her.

Lyla smiles sheepishly and waves. "You didn't really think they were going to let you be alone for more than a day, right?"

Felicity holds up a bag full of pints of ice cream in response. "I got your favorite- cookies n' cream." Her life AI has been full of Lyla and Sara Diggle, and Felicity counts this as the one good thing that's come out of her current situation.

Over ice cream (and steamed carrots for Sara because she's still little and has a chance of developing good eating habits), Lyla updates Felicity on the team's status. Someday, Felicity knows, the other woman will run out of favors to call in from ARGUS contacts, but that day doesn't seem to be approaching any time soon. For now, Felicity appreciates the way Lyla offers up the information immediately and without having to be asked, knowing that Felicity might pretend to be unfazed about the trip to Nanda Parbat, might even be legitimately happy to have a little space, but that she will never be completely at ease with Oliver being anywhere in the vicinity of the Hindu Kush.

After assuring her that everyone arrived safely and that no one is dead yet, Lyla says, "Dig didn't mention that you were driving."

"It's kind of a new development."

"That's got to feel good."

"It really does."

Then Lyla simply moves on, puts Sara down for a nap, and asks Felicity what they're watching. This is why she's starting to think of Lyla as her best friend. Turns out Lyla knows a lot about being sidelined and even more about just being normal. Sometimes Felicity feels like Lyla's the only person who just lets her be, who doesn't demand a show- Look how absolutely fine I am with having my world shattered around me, look how cool I am with being in a wheelchair, look how fracking half full my glass is! Felicity makes herself stop. Those thoughts aren't helpful and they're definitely not fair. She balances on a slippery slope, knowing that there's no right way for people to act around her, that she could find fault with anything, because the truth is, she has her own rage. And unlike Oliver, she hasn't really had the chance to find an outlet for it.

Lila comes over with another update the next day- everyone's still alive, no one's been imprisoned in a dungeon- and then they finish off the rest of the ice cream. When she leaves, she promises to bring more the next day, and everything is what passes for fine in Felicity's world right now.

It's 1:17 AM when it all falls apart again. The pounding on the door jolts her awake and leaves her heart racing. She fumbles for the phone on the table by her bed and can breathe a little once she sees that no one has been texting or trying to reach her. Maybe whoever it is has the wrong door?

"Oliver! Oliver, open up right now! Now!"

The panicked female voice accompanying the knocking steals away the little hope she has that whatever is going to hell on the other side of the door is meant for someone other than her. The woman's screams are getting louder, and Felicity is sure someone's going to call the police.

"Just a minute! I'm coming!" She calls, then beats her head on the pillow a couple of times, because this isn't going to be easy. It's not going to be just a minute. She's got to get herself from her bed to her chair, and getting up in the middle of the night is just one more thing that's about twenty times harder now than it used to be. The pounding and yelling doesn't stop and Felicity doesn't even try to make herself more presentable as she goes to open the door.

She doesn't know what she expected to find on the other side, but it's definitely not the pretty brunette stranger with a tear streaked face who pushes past her and barks "Where is Oliver? Where is he?"

Felicity goes ice cold. Whatever this is, whatever is about to happen, she doesn't want any part of it. She knows that much for sure.

No way out but through.

"What?" The woman asks, and Felicity realizes she'd said that last part aloud.

"Oliver is out of town. Can I help you?"

"Can you call him? He won't answer my calls." The woman was pacing and her voice was growing increasingly shrill with every word.

Felicity tries to push away all of her questions about who this woman is and how she knows Oliver and why she needs him so badly. She tries to see the obviously desperate woman before her as someone who needs her help. "He's unreachable right now, but maybe I can help you? Miss…."

The woman stops pacing and really looks at Felicity for the first time. Felicity can feel her taking in the wheelchair, sees the mixture of wariness and pity that fills her eyes. She wonders if there's any bracing herself for what she's about to hear.

" must be Felicity. Oliver says you're great," the woman's voice cracks and she dissolves once again into tears. "He says you're really wonderful."

"I'm sorry. I'm at a disadvantage here. You seem to know all about me, but I have no idea who you are." And she doesn't want to know. Felicity is so sure she doesn't want to know.

"It's my fault." The woman crumbles onto the sofa and buries her head in her hands. "But don't you see, this is why! This is exactly why no one could know! I told Oliver, I warned him, and now look at what's happened. Look, baby...he's gone. He's gone, and it is Oliver's fault."

"'re not making any sense...look, I'm going to call the police, okay? I'll get someone who can help."

"No!" The woman's hand flies out to still Felicity's chair. "You can't. Look, God this isn't how this should be happening. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for this, but my name is Samantha and Oliver and I have a son. His name is William, and he's eight-years-old, and they took him. That man, Damien Darhk, the one who shot you, who Oliver has been antagonizing, he took my little boy." The woman's voice cracks, and Felicity's world races right off its axis. "You have to help me. Okay, Felicity? You have to get Oliver back here, and we have to get my William back."