A/N: Sorry for the delay – real life and blah blah snore. I hope you enjoy this expanded Felicity POV that takes place at the end of "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak" (3.5). I lifted and altered dialogue from the show, as well as reference that in my version of events, Oliver has been to Felicity's apartment (see chapters 7 and 15). Also, this notion that the Queens are poor just doesn't make any kind of sense, so I'd like to ignore it, but I can't. And last year, I made up a back-story for Felicity that obviously doesn't match what the show put forth. C'est la vie.


Oliver: "If you ever need to tell someone about your day, you can tell me." (Salvation – 1.18)


For Old Time's Sake

I spent the too much of the night awake, throbbing with nervous energy and buzzing from left-over adrenaline and, if I'm being honest with myself, more than a little jittery because while exes coming back from the dead to terrorize Starling City isn't all that uncommon in our line of work, they usually aren't mine. I scissored my legs under the covers like some kind of rejected Rockette, searching in vain for sheets that never had time to get cool, and waited for him to show up. Oliver, after all, is the man who picked my lock and barged in on me in the tub before I gave him a key, which he then used to let himself in so that I woke up with him in my bed.

Only he never came.

Awash in shameful memories of the incarnation of myself I threw away and left behind when I came to Starling City, I told myself it's good he didn't come over. I had my mom stay at a hotel for a reason, which is that I need to be alone. My ex threatened to kill me and used me to try and steal truckloads of money. My creation was used to blackout the city. And it's progress, I told myself, that he stayed in the lair all night, or at least his phone with the tracer did. Because he made it quite clear what he's capable of, and any kind of relationship that involves some vague semblance of normalcy, like checking in on someone after their presumed dead ex-boyfriend lured her mother into town and then kidnapped her and threatened bodily harm and/or dead as motivation for an illegal hack, is not what he wants. So it's good that he stayed in his space, and I stayed in mine. It's important to have limits and boundaries and lines that are not even just a little bit fuzzy, even though we both spent far too much time not sleeping last night, unless his phone grew legs and was moving around all by itself, and the only reason I know that is because I was cyber-stalking on my tablet.

Jesus, I have a problem. Well, lots of problems, really. But only one glaring problem has too-blue eyes and a boyish half-grin and no interest in me, at least not like that, which is its own subcategory of problem.

He finally stopped moving so early in the morning it may have still counted as nighttime, and by the time he was up again, I was already showered and dressed and ready for work, my idea to make Ray Palmer's ingenious napkin sketch work safety tucked away in my bag. When I walked into the lair balancing two cups of coffee, he was hanging up the green leather.

"Didn't feel like tidying up last night?" I tease.

"I thought you vowed to never bring me coffee."

"I was in the neighborhood," I lie.

"This isn't near anything else you go." But he grins and takes the cup, popping off the lid and sipping. "Thank you."

"One more time for old time's sake," I say with a shrug. "I was feeling nostalgic."

"For coffee you never brought me?" he asks.

"You should probably think about domesticating a little bit," I say, not at all subtly changing the subject and trying to seem casual by leaning against the table and blowing on the steaming surface of my own cup. "Get a microwave and coffee pot. Maybe a toaster."

"I'm moving in with Thea."

I'm so surprised I snort my coffee, burning my tongue and the roof of my mouth.

"Sorry," he says, looking away. "Should've waited until you swallowed to say that."

"No," I say. "It's good. I mean, it's potentially awkward if either one of you entertain overnight guests and could lead to questions you really don't want to answer when you come and go at strange times for no reason. But it's better than squatting in her basement. Where is she living now?"

"A huge loft downtown." He smiles, but it's one of his not-happy ones. "It's like she wanted to find something completely different from the mansion."

"Don't blame her for that," I say. "I can see not wanting to bang around the ol' homestead. How's she paying for this new place?"

"She took Malcolm Merlyn's inheritance."

"So much for her not caring about money."

"Yeah," he says with a sigh. "You called that."

"Money's nice," I say. "Or so I've been told. You shouldn't hold it against her."

"It's blood money."

"Maybe," I agree. "Some of it could very well be. Although I assume you mean assassin-type blood money and not just regular ol' rich people blood money, which inevitably benefits from perfectly legal but not at all right tax loop-holes and underpaid employees and skimping on building codes and hiring lawyers more cheaply than paying legal claims and the like?"

Oliver glares at me over his coffee, and I hold up my hand in surrender.

"I'm not judging," I promise. "I'm just saying that great fortunes aren't ever amassed ethically. They just aren't. But Merlyn Global was a legitimately successful business, and surely he took care of things before the Undertaking, and probably quite a bit of Thea's new money is technically fine."

"That doesn't sound fine at all," he says.

"It's not your money or your decision," I reply. "And if you push her on it, you'll lose. Not to mention lose her, and you only just got her back. Maybe now's not the best time to start getting all righteous about her funding. Especially since she generously offered to let you move in."

"You're right." He nods. "You're always right."

"No. I'm really not. Oliver. Listen."

I look up at the ceiling, the way Oliver always does when he doesn't know what to say.

Cooper didn't take the fall and go to prison because he loved me. He did it for himself. Just like he wiped out those student loans for himself. He used me. And after he got caught, they wanted him because they thought the virus was his. Because he told them it was. But it's mine. It's always been mine. I created it to be exactly what it is, elegant and utterly destructive.

"Felicity." He puts down his coffee and rests warm hands on my shoulders. "Look at me."

"No. I want to explain. Before. Before I came here and went to work for Walter at Queen Consolidated. I was someone else."

"I know something about that," he gently reminds me.

"I never meant," I say, shaking my head. "I was young and arrogant and did stupid things because I wanted to impress a boy who, as it turns out, didn't like me as much as I thought he did. I never should have created the virus. I just wanted to see what I could do, and then I realized I could do quite a bit, and it doesn't matter that I stopped because you can't undo some things."

"Shh," he soothes, pulling me into a hug.

I hide my face in his shoulder and feel his hard muscles through his shirt. I smell his deliciously Oliver soap and am suddenly so tired I just want to curl up in his arms in his little cot and sleep all day where I know I'm safe.

"You were right," I say, my voice muffled in his shirt. "About Cooper. I spent all this time thinking he died, and it was my fault. But he wasn't as dead as I thought."

"I've had some experience with that," he says to my hair.

"No one ever seems to stay dead except the people I'd really like to have back," I whisper, not sure if he can hear me. But he holds me just a little bit tighter for a second.

"I've had experience with that too," he whispers back. I feel his lips on my forehead, his scruff rough against my skin. "Are you okay?"

No.

I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to take a sledgehammer to something. I want to sit in my bathtub with a bottle of wine and sob. I want to go back in time and not be the person I was five years ago. I want to not love men who don't love me back.

"I guess so," I say, disentangling myself from his arms. I reach for my coffee, not because I want it, but because I desperately need something else to focus on. Something, anything, to do with my hands. "Old lovers have a way of opening old wounds. Lovers." I shudder at the sound of the word because I did love Cooper. "Sounds so creepy."

"Yeah," he agrees before busying himself with his cup.

"At least you've actually had lovers. As in plural. I just had the one. The one who threatened to kill me and my mom unless I stole a bunch of money for him because he's too stupid to steal it himself and now he's in prison again because I knocked him unconscious until the police arrived. I'm pathetic."

"You're not pathetic. Felicity." He steps towards me again, but I can't deal with another hug, so I step back. He stops, suddenly awkward, and sighs. "You're loyal," he says. "You have faith in people."

"Like my mom," I say. "She said last night that she worked 60-hour weeks in 6-inch heels for me." I shake my head. "She did it because she loved me. She stuck with me and worked her butt off even though I took her for granted." I pinch the bridge of my nose between my fingers and take a deep breath. "I'm exactly like her."

"Your mom seems like a beautiful, tough, generous woman," he says. "I can think of worse people to be like. When's she heading home?"

"Today."

He looks me up and down, taking in my outfit. "You don't look like you're going to hang out with your mom." I shake my head. "Maybe you should. She did get kidnapped and threatened at gunpoint. Seems like the least you can do is take her to lunch."

I laugh. "Yeah. Maybe. I'll think about it."

"I saw something last night," he says, suddenly serious. "You." He waves his hands towards my computers. "Do what it is that you do. You're my eyes and ears when I'm out. You always get the information we need. You just." He shrugs helplessly. "I don't pretend to understand what you do. It's like magic. You just bend these things to your will. I can shoot arrows all day long, but you, Felicity. You could take out the whole city in a matter of seconds without ever leaving the lair. You could do more damage with a few keystrokes than I could do in a lifetime."

I consider telling him he's wrong because I don't want it to be true, but it is.

I nod. "I know that."

"Now I do too."

"Oliver."

"You're amazing, Felicity. You have all this power, and you don't use it. That's so incredibly rare. You are." He steps close again and takes my hand in his. "Extraordinary."

"I think you know something about that too," I remind him.

"I want you to know that whatever experiences you had to go through, I'm glad that you did. Not that I'm glad you hurt and suffered, of course I'm not glad about that. But they made you the person you are today. And you know how I feel about her."

I'm too raw for this kind of honesty. For this look he's giving me, filled with awe and respect and maybe something more that I refuse to even think because he said no and not ever and dumped me in the hospital hallway so that's that and I can't handle all this back and forth but not really.

"I should head out," I say instead of rushing back into his arms.

I pick up my bag because I have things to do. At work. At my job. Where I'm appreciated and well compensated. And Ray Palmer will be manically giddy when I show him what I worked out when I couldn't sleep last night. He'll bounce in his chair and smile and show off all those shiny teeth and it's weird how quickly I've gotten used to his cheerfulness.

"Spend the day with your mom," he says. "For old time's sake."

"Don't give your sister such a hard time," I reply.

"Touche."

"You're right, Oliver. We have to love our families no matter what."

"No matter what," he agrees.