A/N: This is all anthfan's fault because she's an enabler. Just a little thought I had as I've spent the past few days binging now that Arrow is on Netflix. I hope you enjoy.
Oliver: "If you ever need to tell someone about your day, you can tell me." (Salvation – 1.18)
Booze, Sweat and Tears
I can hear him as soon as I stumble down the stairs into the lair. Convenient, really, that it's in the basement of a nice bar run by a girl who sort of maybe likes me. At the very least, they have top-shelf booze I don't have to pay for, and then I don't have to worry about how I'll get home. Not that I drink that much. But there are days. Like today. When it's too much. When I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing. When I'd go crazy if I didn't stop thinking for two seconds. Just two seconds of peace that can sometimes be found at the bottom of a glass if I'm very very lucky.
He hears me, of course. I'm not being especially stealthy as I drop my shoes and lay down on the floor with a sigh, and he's always aware of everyone and everything. But he's used to me loitering when he works out, so he doesn't stop, which is fine-and-dandy because there's nothing like watching Oliver when he's sweaty and shirtless and flexing.
Sure, I know those muscles would probably break my teeth if I bit into them like I sometimes can't stop myself from fantasizing about. I mean. Gosh. Wow. Those arms. Those abs. I can only imagine those butt cheeks. But hey, I'm only human, and it's been a really long time since I've been with anyone, let alone someone not even close to Oliver's level of hotness, and I'm around quite possibly the world's most attractive man, like ever, all the time, and he works out a lot so he's often sweaty and shirtless and flexing and it's just... well... Oh my.
I should close my eyes and take some deep breaths and stop oogling and go home. And then I should compile a list. That's exactly what I should do because it would be so helpful: a database of hotness to reference and remind myself there are others. He is not the only sexy guy in the world. There are lots of men with asses I wouldn't mind breaking my teeth biting. Sure. Uh-huh.
Except he's more than just hot. And he is the only Oliver.
He makes that noise, that grunting sound that should be gross but somehow just makes me think of him, naked, in a big bed, on really nice sheets. I can't help but flex my toes while I watch him. His legs are straight out in front of him as he manages pull-up after pull-up, his sweat dripping onto the floor below him. For a second, I remember those muscles that feel so good through designer dress shirts and have kept me safe and swept me away from death are like the scars and the tattoos. Oliver's muscles are the physical evidence that he was gone for too long, that too much happened to him that he can't, or won't, talk about. Maybe not ever. But they are damn fine to look at anyway. Especially from the floor when I've had one, or maybe two, too many.
He drops to the ground and, without a word, moves to the salmon ladder.
Jesus loves me, this I know. I shift and rest my cheek against the cool tile for a better view. The clink of the metal bar accompanies his sexy work-out soundtrack, and my night is complete. Yeah, it's not so bad. This thing we do, it's good. We're doing good work. We're helping people. We're keeping Starling City safe. Or we try, anyway. Most days, I think maybe we succeed. And when we don't. Well, there's Oliver. And he needs me.
He drops once more to the floor and kneels in front of me.
"I bet you have really nice sheets. Rich people always have the best linens."
"You're drunk," he says. It's not a question.
"Yeah." He wipes at his face with a towel and takes a long drink of water. "I just." He closes his eyes.
"I wasn't ready to face the world either," I whisper.
"So you got drunk?"
"Just a little bit. You won't work out with me, so my options are limited."
"It's not personal."
"So you say."
"It's a bad idea."
"So are lots of things we do all the time," I remind him.
"Maybe when you're hydrated," he says with a small smile.
He settles more comfortably on the floor next to me. Like his work-out sounds, his work-out sweat should be gross too. Only it isn't. It smells comforting and safe. I curl onto my side and watch as the drops weave their way across his muscles inches from my nose.
"I think you need this more than I do." He hands me his water bottle and helps me sit up. He keeps his hand on my elbow while I swallow. I taste the salt from his sweat for just a second.
I don't realize I'm crying until he reaches under my glasses with his thumb to wipe away the tears.
"I'm sorry," he whispers. "I'm so sorry. For asking this of you."
"You don't have to be."
I nod. "Yes. I do. I am. Because this is what we do. And you need me."
"I do," he agrees. "But sometimes we lose, Felicity."
"And sometimes when we win, we lose too. Like today."
I nod again, not trusting my voice. His thumb brushes against my other cheek.
He pulls me into his chest, and I'm pressed against all that smooth, sweaty skin that's still hot from his work-out. I listen to the soothing song of his heart thundering beneath my ear as his lips ghost against my forehead.
"Tell me about your day?" he quietly asks.