This is entirely dedicated to Artemis08Luna, who writes the most incredible work ever. It's their birthday tomorrow, so I really wanted to get this out before then. Happy birthday!
(This fic has established Karivarry. And I wrote it so I'm not sure if it has very good quality. You have been warned)
Disclaimer: I do not own Barry, Oliver, or Kara.
Oliver jolted awake with a shout caught in his throat. He tried to be quiet about it, he really did, but you tend to forget those kinds of things when you're sleeping. It worked, partially, because Barry only shifted on the other side of the bed before curling up and falling back asleep. Kara, however, was up like a bullet.
"Shh, you're gonna wake Barry." Kara glanced at the sleeping speedster before turning back to give Oliver a once-over.
"Are you okay?"
Oliver sighed and nodded. "Go back to sleep."
Kara stared at him skeptically, taking in his glassy eyes and tensed muscles. She shifted closer, letting their fingers brush together. "What was it about?"
What was it about? The years spent at Lian Yu, the sting of fists slamming into his face and the excruciating pain of blades piercing his skin. Screaming for help and nobody coming. Never meeting her or Barry or anyone else. Bleeding out in the dark, alone.
The dream was already starting to fade from his memory, but the scars never went away.
"It..." He looked into Kara's shining blue eyes, so full of warmth and innocence, and knew he couldn't take that away from her. "It was nothing babe." Ignoring the way she tilted her head to prompt him to share more, Oliver gently brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "I'm fine."
Kara had been with him long enough to know when he was lying, but she also knew when he wasn't going to talk, and this was one of those times. So she smiled gently at him and decided it couldn't hurt to try one more time.
"You know you can tell me anything, Ollie."
He smiled back. "I know." At that, Kara's smile melted into a more genuine one, full of sunshine and happiness. Her hand lightly brushed through his hair as she leaned forward to kiss him, and then she was rolling over his trembling body and pushing him into the middle. The bed was a little small for the three of them, especially with how much space Barry took up ("I don't take up that much-" "Bar, yes you do."), but they squeezed together and made just enough room that whoever was in the middle wasn't crushed to death.
Oliver usually preferred to sleep on the edge, to protect the others maybe, or maybe it was because having pressure on both sides of him reminds him too much of the ship and the suffocating darkness, or because he just wasn't used to the comfort of a soft mattress and a person beside him, and having two was too... unfamiliar. He wasn't sure. But just the once, he allowed himself to be enveloped by the warmth, accepting Kara's soft hands massaging his shoulders, almost welcoming them.
A moment later Barry was curled into his chest, one hand loosely gripping his t-shirt while the other was slung over the top of his body to rest on Kara's shoulder. Oliver felt his lips twitch upward as he watched his boyfriend breathing contently, hair tangled and skin flushed. The fear from the nightmare still lingered, but it was grounding, having Barry here, tucked under his chin, and Kara's warm hands on his back. Almost like Lian Yu never happened.
Almost. It still had of course, and it still haunted him every night. But he was glad. Because if it hadn't, he wouldn't be here, with a love of his life on either side of him. It was worth every agonizing second, just to see Kara smile, or feel a spark of lightning when he brushed against Barry's skin. It was worth it a million times over. And he would do the whole thing again, willingly even, if it meant he would get to come back to them, happy and beautiful, glowing with a radiance only they could contain.
"I love you Barry," he couldn't help but whisper. Kara's breathing had already evened out, cooling the back of his neck. He didn't want to risk waking her, again (something akin to guilt twisted in his chest, but he tried to force it down), by triggering her super hearing with her name, but that risk didn't run with Barry. He sleeps like a log. It would take an entire marching band to rouse him when he's in deep, maybe more when he's had a rough day.
Something must've been different, tonight of all nights, because Barry snuggled closer, letting out a gentle sigh of happiness and contentment at the words. "Love you Ollie," he breathed.
Oliver felt a surge of something he didn't recognize, a strange sort of gratitude and love mixed together. He was struck by how wonderful his new family was, how extraordinarily proud he felt every time he looked at them. And how safe they made him feel, when they wrapped their arms around him and pressed soft kisses onto his neck, whispering promises he knew they couldn't keep.
He didn't remember falling back asleep, but when he woke up again, early sunshine bathing their room, he felt well rested for the first time in years. Even with Supergirl crushing him and The Flash clinging to him like an octopus, he was happy.
So yes, he decided. It was worth it.