When Felicity's phone rang at quarter to three in the morning, she knew something was wrong. As she fumbled blindly to answer, she squinted at the screen and saw it was Oliver. Heart in her throat it took her two swipes before she'd turned it on. Oliver rarely called her. He texted or just showed up on her balcony.
"Oliver, what's wrong?" she asked immediately, already swinging her legs over the side of the bed and heading for her closet.
There was a pause before he spoke, but she could hear his breathing, it was uneven and rough and that just scared her more. She grabbed the door frame for support. "It's Digg." Oliver said, voice strained and she knew she cried out.
"He's still alive, Felicity."
"Still?" she gasped out, hand covering her mouth, "Wha…"
There was a muffled crackling and she could almost see as Oliver rubbed his hand over his face. "He was shot, on the sidewalk outside his apartment. Looks random, but…"
"Oh god, was it Deadshot?" tears had filled her eyes and somehow she found herself groping for clothes while her mind was whirling through horrible scenarios.
"No." he said forcefully and she let out a breath.
"Okay, what hospital, I'll be there as soon-"
"I've already sent a driver, the car should be there any minute." he told her and she exhaled, "Stay inside until he gets there!" he barked and she knew he was barely holding onto his control.
"Okay, I will." she assured him. She'd tell him anything right then if it made him stop sounding like that.
"Hurry." was all he said before he hung up.
Within minutes she had thrown on clothes, grabbed her bag, and was waiting inside the lobby of her apartment building.
She was practically pacing in place as the driver hurried to the door. As much as she wanted to run to the car to save them precious seconds she waited. She barely looked at him as he pushed the door open and took her by the elbow. He hurried her to the car, head swiveling to look for unseen assailants. Her stomach churned as she climbed in, the door shutting solidly behind her. No words were spoken as he pulled away, all she could do was stare out the window and try not to imagine the worst.
The car hadn't fully come to a stop when she opened the door and jumped out, temporarily forgetting she should have stayed and waited for the driver. She almost ran into the automatic doors as they didn't open quick enough for her. Racing across a mostly empty lobby she came to a sudden halt when she realized she didn't know where to go.
There was a rush of blood to her head and her vision tunneled down to only what was in front of her as she panicked. She literally could not get her brain to focus and tell her what to do. When a hand touched her elbow she didn't register it until a slightly familiar voice made it through to her. "Ms. Smoak, you need to stay with your detail." he admonished lightly.
Felicity turned to see the driver, except he wasn't just a driver, it was the security agent who usually handled Thea's protection. "Mr. Queen instructed me to escort you to the surgical ward."
She nodded mutely but couldn't get her feet to move. "This way, ma'am." he directed her with a steady hand to the center of her back and finally she was moving.
The elevator seemed to take forever and when the doors opened she didn't know which way to go. The agent -Philips she thought his name was- Philips touched her elbow again and turned her towards a hallway on the right.
There were two heavy double doors and another long hallway. "Through there, ma'am." Philips pointed through a glass door and she saw Oliver.
The room was small, just a few chairs that the hospital had clearly thought looked comfortable but most likely weren't. A t.v was bolted to the wall in the corner and a battered table held a paltry collection of magazines. There was a stand in the corner with water and a carafe of coffee, but all she saw was Oliver.
He was pacing in the only stretch of floor available, and his back was to the door as she pushed in. She froze, one hand on the handle stretched out behind her as he turned and spotted her.
He didn't try and hide from her. Every emotion was laid bare on his face and she felt her knees grow weak at what that could mean.
Her hand tightened on the door, the only thing keeping her upright as she gasped out a barely audible, "No!"
Oliver crossed the space in two strides and had her by the shoulders in an instant. "He's still in surgery." he said quickly, but it did nothing to stop the vise around her heart.
She didn't even notice as Philips shut the blinds and closed the door behind him.
He towed her towards the far side of the room, his hands falling to grasp both of hers, but they were so cold and numb she could hardly feel him. "Oliver...what happened?" her voice was low, not because she was whispering but because the lump in her throat wouldn't allow her to speak any louder.
His head shook slowly before he answered, "I told you everything I know on the phone. He was unconscious when he was found and they...well he hasn't been able to talk to anyone, has he?" there was a simmering undercurrent of anger that was threatening to boil over, and in a flash she'd found her purpose.
She took both his hands in one of hers as best she could, the other raised to cup the side of his face, forcing him to turn his flashing gaze on her. The blue eyes that could be so warm and filled with light were piercing and cold, but it was better than the dead and hollow look she'd seen after Tommy died. She could work with this.
"Hey, there will be time for that later." she told him, knowing that if there was ever a justification for breaking his vow of not killing, this would be it.
He didn't respond but she felt some of the tension ease out of him. She didn't want to ask, but after he'd sent an armed escort to bring her there she had to.
"Do you think it was random?"
His head fell back slightly, and she let her hand drop to rest against his chest. "I don't know. I can't imagine anyone getting the drop on him, but if he wasn't expecting it…"
"Is that why you sent Philips?" her eyes fell to where her hand lay, the fingers unconsciously rubbing across the fabric.
He dropped his head and locked onto her, "I wasn't going to risk anything." the ferociousness in his tone left her gaping; eyes wide, mouth open.
"Oh," she managed to breathe out just before he pulled her towards him.
She fell into him with no resistance as his arms wrapped around her. A shudder ripped through her as the fear she'd shoved aside made itself known again. One broad hand was splayed across her back, the other stroked over her hair.
He'd been back for six months and he'd been more open, been more at ease, but he wasn't much for touching. Unless it was a matter of her life being saved, he kept his distance and she accepted his gratitude in the forms of private smiles and the way his voice only seemed to take on a certain quality when he spoke to her.
She knew what was happening right then was as much for him as it was for her. Tears leaked quietly down her cheeks and she tried to keep her breathing under control so he wouldn't know she was crying. She knew she'd failed when his hand came around and his thumb brushed the wetness from her face.
"He has to be okay." she said with a wobbly voice, "We can't lose him."
Oliver's hold grew tighter as she broke down. His head dipped over hers and she could feel his lips pressed near her ear. He started to say something and then just held her instead.
When she felt like she could look at him without tears she pulled back. His hands rubbed up and down her arms and she gave him a tight smile before a thought struck her. "Oh god, what about Carly?"
Oliver shook his head, "I called her first but her phone went straight to voicemail."
Felicit gasped, "Digg said something about her going to visit a friend back east…"
"I'll keep trying her, don't worry." the way his thumbs were drawing circles along her shoulders was sending tendrils of warmth through her and before it could turn to anything else she stepped away.
They took turns pacing and peeking out the blinds, but all she ever saw was Philips standing stoic sentry and the occasional employee walk by.
It had been over an hour with no word. They'd lapsed into silence with Oliver unable to sit still. Every now and then he'd reach a hand out to tangle his fingers with hers or grasp her shoulder like he had to keep reminding himself that she was still there.
With drooping eyes she looked at the clock and then Oliver. "Want some coffee or something?" his eyes slid to the stand in the corner and she gave him a look. "Not that sludge, I was thinking the most likely, far superior sludge they serve in the cafeteria."
She rose to her feet and approached him slowly her hands coming to rest gently on his folded arms. Personal boundaries had seemed to vanish between them and she didn't have the energy to think about it.
"I don't think we should leave, in case…"
"I'll go." she told him quickly, not wanting to be the reason he felt another second of guilt.
He looked at her sharply, "I'll even take Philips if it makes you feel better." her fingers pressed on his wrist, thumb rubbing over the back of his hand until he nodded.
"Don't take too long." the request had an almost pleading quality to it and all she wanted to do was wrap him up and make it all better.
He walked her to the door, Philips turned immediately when it was opened. "Ms. Smoak is going to run to the cafeteria. Go with her and don't let her leave your sight." Oliver's orders were given in a voice very close to the one he used when he wore the hood.
"Yes sir, Mr. Queen." Philips answered without a trace of irritation of being told how to do his job.
"I'll be fine." she told Oliver, squeezing his hand once before she headed towards the elevators, Philips close behind.
At a little after four a.m, the cafeteria was practically deserted. There was thankfully a twenty-four hour coffee place and she quickly placed their order even if Philips declined her offer. Her stomach felt like a ball of acid was slowly dissolving in it, and the coffee wouldn't help that, but she needed the caffeine boost.
As she added cream and sugar to the drinks she absently wondered what she looked like, old jeans and a sweatshirt from college, being followed so closely by a man in a dark suit and a stony expression. She made a distracted mental note to pull up the RSS feeds she ran on Oliver to make sure no one was posting pictures of him in the hospital.
They headed back upstairs, her hands full of the too hot to drink beverages. Just as they came around the corner she saw a white coat disappear into the waiting room.
Felicity began to jog, hoping she wouldn't miss any information the doctor might have, ignoring the whine of panic that grew in the back of her head that told her they could be coming for a very different reason. She didn't even notice as small splashes of the scalding liquid landed on the backs of her hands.
She hadn't gone two steps when Philips outpaced her, "Hang on, ma'am." he said, arm outstretched to keep her from entering.
Felicity gave a small huff of annoyance and waited as he rapped on the door once and pushed it open, arm still held back keeping her behind him and out of view of the open door.
"All clear sir?" she heard him ask. Oliver must have nodded because Philips hand dropped and she was allowed to enter.
She brushed past him, her eyes finding Oliver's immediately, he looked worried and anxious but nothing more. She hurried to his side, not noticing when he saved the coffees from her trembling hands.
"This is doctor who did the surgery." he said by way of explanation,
"Does that mean it's over?" she blurted out, her attention now fully on the man in scrubs in front of her.
He nodded once, but his expression was grave. Oliver's arm slipped around her waist and she gripped his hand tightly where it rested against her stomach.
"Mr. Diggle has made it through surgery. The bullet entered through the back and tore through the right lung before exiting. We're mostly concerned about the lung collapsing and the chance of him developing a pneumothorax. The next twelve hours are critical, but I'd say his condition is guarded but good."
Felicity let out a gasp and clung to Oliver as her knees tried to go out from beneath her. She turned her face into him unable to control her emotions. She was only vaguely aware as Oliver thanked the doctor and asked when they could see him.
When she heard the door shut Oliver fell into the chair behind him, pulling her with him. Her arms wrapped around his neck as his head dropped to her shoulder. A great shuddering exhale left his chest and it was her turn to comfort him.
She stroked a hand over his head, fingers trailing down to run across the back of his neck before she repeated the motion. When his hand gripped her hip she felt a flush creep up her chest as she realized she was in his lap.
Pushing it aside, she focused on the man in her arms who was holding onto her like she was his only tether to the world.
"I can't lose anyone else." he said raggedly, the muscles in his neck and back feeling like iron as she ran what she hoped were soothing hands over them.
"You're not." she whispered, "He's going to pull through."
They stayed like that, neither of them moving until there was a knock at the door. Felicity turned slightly and saw Philips. "There's a nurse here. She can take you to see Mr. Diggle."
Oliver rose beneath her, setting her on her feet as his hand fell to grab hers. She wiped her free hand over her face quickly and let him lead her from the room.
They were taken through a set of doors that said ICU to a large open room that had multiple beds, separated by thin curtains. She saw a muscle begin to tick in Oliver's jaw as she watched him take in the space.
Then suddenly a curtain was drawn back and she could see him. "Oh, Digg." she breathed out as Oliver's hand practically crushed hers before he caught himself.
They moved forward together and she knew the nurse was talking but she wasn't hearing any of it. Felicity made her way around the end of the bed, now the one leading Oliver as his feet had almost stopped moving.
The man who looked like a giant now appeared normal sized. Her eyes cut over the monitors and equipment hooked up to him. The breathing tube was the hardest to see. She had never seen Digg as anything other than strong and in control. To see him like this broke her heart.
She approached the side of the bed and tentatively reached out a hand to touch Digg's where it lay on top of a thin blanket. It was warm, she was relieved to discover, and when she slid her fingers over his it helped center her some to see how his hand still dwarfed hers.
Letting out a shaky breath, she squeezed his hand even though she knew he was still unconscious. Oliver stepped up next to her and as much as she wanted to look at him she didn't. She gave him as much privacy as she could. The knot in her gut loosed a bit when she saw him reach out and grasp Digg's shoulder lightly.
When he pulled back he let his hand rest easily on her waist as he canted his body towards hers to whisper in her ear. "I'm going to go talk to them about getting some security in here." he told her. There was a pause before he dropped his contact with her and she wondered if he was going to say something else.
"Stay here." he ordered Philips and Felicity turned to see the agent positioned between the bed and the opening of the curtain, his back to the bed.
She watched the monitors for a long while, holding her breath anytime the numbers dipped in the slightest and then waiting for them to rise again, as if she could will them to change.
When Oliver returned he looked angry, he caught her eye and motioned her towards him.
"Be right back." she whispered to Digg and patted his hand before she joined Oliver.
"What is it?" she asked immediately.
"They refuse to let me bring in private security to this ward, but they won't move him to another location that's safer." his words were tight and tense as he ran a rough hand over his head.
"Why won't they let anyone in? They've let Philips back here." she said in confusion. When she saw him begin to react she laid both hands on his chest. "Don't worry about it. Let me see what I can do, okay?"
He gave her a look like he doubted there was anything she could do and she just lifted an eyebrow. "Can Philips make the call if I get the go ahead?"
Oliver dipped his head once. "Okay, then stay with Digg and I'll take care of this." Without thought she lifted on her toes and brushed her lips over his cheek. Before she could really process what she'd done she was pushing through the doors of the ICU and fishing her phone out of her bag.
It didn't occur to her that it was just barely six in the morning when she made the call. The gruff "Lance" that barked through the phone had come after only one ring and she thought he may have just gotten to work.
"Detective Lance," she began. He'd been reinstated a few months back although she had never stopped calling him that even when he was a beat cop again.
"Ms. Smoak, what can I do for you?" he asked evenly
"There was a shooting last night, or a few hours ago I suppose." she hadn't expected her voice to sound so affected when she started speaking.
Lance picked up on her tone immediately, "A shooting? Are you okay?"
"It wasn't me. I wasn't there. It was John Diggle, Ol...Mr. Queen's bodyguard. He was shot outside his apartment." she explained as best she could. As she said it, she realized Lance wouldn't have any reason to think she'd be friendly with the boss's hired help. She pinched the bridge of her nose beneath her glasses hoping she hadn't screwed anything up.
"I know Mr. Diggle. I'm sorry to hear that. Who's in charge of the case?" his genuine empathy settled her and she let out a sigh before she responded.
"I'm not sure, I'm sorry. Oliv...Mr. Queen might know if it's important. I can go ask…"
"No, it's alright. I can find out. Were you calling to get an update?"
"No, um...Oliver wants additional security at the hospital, his own men, and they're being a bit obstructive. I was hoping you could make a call to someone here and get them to be a bit more understanding." she said it in a rush, also realizing Oliver wanting security for his bodyman was also suspect.
"Does Queen think someone's after Mr. Diggle?" Lance asked, not missing anything.
Felicity winced, "He's just being cautious."
There was a long pause before Lance replied. "I'll see what I can do. I hope everything turns out well." he was gone before she could reply and she leaned back against the wall letting her eyes fall shut as she did. She never did get a chance to drink that coffee.
Lance's quick agreement to assist her made her stand up straight. She half wondered if he didn't already have an idea of who Arrow really was. Massaging her temples she paced a short area off to the side of the hallway trying to ignore the problems that potential issue would bring them. All that was important right then was getting Digg well.
It only took ten minutes before her phone chimed. She looked down in haste to see a text from Lance. 'Bring in your boys. There won't be a problem'
Felicity smiled faintly and walked towards Philips, "The extra security has been approved. Call whoever you need to, Mr. Philips."
He nodded and lifted a hand to his ear, touching a comm link she should have noticed earlier. "Come to the ICU." he said perfunctorily and turned to Felicity, "They'll be arriving in a moment, Ms. Smoak."
"Do you want to wait for them?" she asked, suddenly realizing these were all men Digg had hired and trained as head of the Queen's security team. They were probably anxious to see how he was.
"If you wouldn't mind, ma'am."
"Not at all. Or I could just go on back now." she had already taken a few steps when he stopped her.
"No ma'am. Either we both stay or we both go back."
She nodded and rocked back on her heels. "Sorry."
A man in a suit and a hospital i.d on his hip was heading their direction. "You with Queen?" he asked Philips, all but ignoring Felicity.
"Yes, the rest of our security team is on the way up." Philips answered
"Just keep your men out from underfoot and we'll all get along." the man directed.
Felicity looked up to see three men approaching, she recognized all of them from either the office or the Queen mansion. The one in the front gave her a nod, "Ms. Smoak."
She returned his greeting and stood back as Philips talked to his men. One of them stayed by the doors to the ICU as the rest of them headed back towards Digg's bed.
Philips positioned the other two just outside the entrance to the curtain and pulled it back for her to enter before him.
Oliver had been standing at the foot of the bed. His eyes caught the agents now stationed a few feet away. If it had been any other situation she would have laughed at the true shock that showed in his eyes.
She went to his side immediately, "Did you doubt me?" she asked as lightly as she dared.
His arm went around her shoulders and drew her to his side, "Never." he murmured throatily and she indulged in his closeness by leaning in.
"No," he said with an exhale.
Felicity made her way back to the bed and slipped her hand into Digg's again, eyes going to the monitor. There was movement behind her and she felt a chair slide into the back of her knees. With a gentle push to her shoulder she was sitting, letting go of Digg only long enough to slide her hand through the rail. Her bag fell to the floor next to her feet and she leaned back only to feel Oliver right there. She startled forward until the hand on her shoulder stopped her.
Relaxing vertebrae by vertebrae she sank into the chair until she could feel her hair just brushing his abdomen if she moved her head. Swallowing heavily she focused on Digg and his stats instead.
The longer she sat the more tired she became. The repetitive beeping of the machines and the chance to finally be still began to lull her into a light doze. Oliver didn't help. His thumb began to rub soft circles into her upper back and neck, making her head tilt backwards slightly. When he took half a step closer and her head rested against him she didn't even notice.