A/N: Thanks for the great response everyone! Sorry about the evil cliffhanger on the last chapter. This is the final chapter. Hope you've enjoyed the story. Thanks again for reading, and let me know what you think!
Previously in 'Soldier'...
Everything seemed to happen at once. Oliver, Lance, and a host of officers burst through the door just as the gun pinned between her and the assailant went off.
They both jerked, his body collapsing against her as she slumped to the floor.
"NO!" Oliver roared, his voice echoing in her ears as she tried to determine if she'd been shot.
She could feel hot blood, and it was difficult to breathe. Panic filled her until suddenly the man was being shoved off of her and she saw Oliver's frightened face hovering above.
"Felicity!" he cried, his voice desperate as his hands moved over her. Another presence was to her left, and she saw an equally shocked looking Detective Lance.
His hand slipped behind her head and in unspoken agreement he and Oliver laid her flat. "I thought I told you to stay put, Ms. Smoak."
Words had escaped her, and as much as she tried to speak she couldn't make anything come out.
"Felicity, were you hit?!" Oliver asked, the scrub top pushed up as hands worked over her abdomen looking for a wound. One hand came up to cup her cheek and she saw how close he was to breaking. That more than anything brought her back to herself.
"No," she finally choked out, "I don't think so."
The relief on his face made her heart ache for him. His head dropped to hers as he let out a long breath.
"What's this?" Lance asked, and she hissed as he found the wound on her side.
"Got me with the knife." she answered, shutting her eyes tight as the previously forgotten injury flared with sudden and intense pain.
His palm pressed over the site causing her to cry out and bite her lip. Oliver's hand found hers and she held it tight. Lance looked over his shoulder and yelled at one of his men to get someone in there.
She locked her eyes on Oliver's and tried to give him a smile. "Check on Digg. He saved my life."
Oliver rose on one knee and a minute later he was back next to her. "He doesn't look great, but his stats are holding. They'll take care of him." he assured her, his hand kept running over her hair and down the side of her face, thumb ghosting over her cheekbone making her wince.
"He had a mean left hook." she tried to say lightly but her throat was so clogged with tears she failed.
Oliver's eyes darkened and his hand gripped hers tighter. She tried to take a deep breath but it made her side hurt worse. She couldn't help her eyes shutting as her head spun and she attempted to suppress a groan.
"Just hang on, sweetheart, they'll be here in a minute and we'll get you and your trouble magnet boss some help." Lance said reassuringly,
Her eyes flew open at the knowledge that Oliver was hurt too. She looked him over, trying to take in everything, finally lighting on his mangled left sleeve that seemed to be sliced through high on the bicep. The fabric was stained red and she could tell he was holding the arm closer to his side than usual.
"Oliver!" she cried, and tried to raise her free hand to reach across and touch his arm but a flare of pain ripped through her so quickly she thought she was going to be sick.
"Hey, don't. I'm okay. It's not bad, I promise." he told her quickly.
Lance grabbed her hand and lowered it back down. She imagined he and Oliver exchanged a look over her prone for but she couldn't be certain.
There was the sound of people rushing into the room and someone calling Lance's name. He mumbled something to Oliver and she tried not to groan as Lance's hand slipped away from her wound only to be replaced by Oliver's.
"Make sure Digg's okay first." she said, locking her eyes on Oliver's. When he opened his mouth to protest she did her best to glare. "I mean it. Please."
A nurse was suddenly in the space Lance had just occupied asking her questions as she took her pulse. She slid pleading eyes Oliver's direction and he sighed heavily. "Please, check on him first." he nodded to the bed they were next to and the nurse looked between Digg and Felicity.
"I can wait." she said with as much strength in her voice as possible.
"How about we get you out of the way then." Oliver didn't give her a chance to respond before he was slipping his arms beneath her and standing.
She turned her face into his chest at the sudden change in position, her vision tunneling and head reeling. He was saying something to Lance and then they were moving.
"Digg?" she asked weakly, a cold sweat had broke across her skin and all she wanted was to be still.
"They're going to move him in a minute. Lance needs him out of there to...process the scene." Oliver's voice was tight, and it took everything in her to not be sick as she remembered she'd shot two people.
Eyes screwed shut tight she grasped a handful of Oliver's shirt and buried her face in it. "I'm sorry," she muttered into him, "I'm so sorry. I didn't want to kill him but he was trying to get the gun and I couldn't let him have it and he'd already killed that poor agent and-"
She didn't even realize he'd lay her down on a bed until both his hands cupped her face. She blinked open wet eyes to see him only inches from her, his expression so serious and so intense she couldn't have spoken if she wanted to.
"You did what you had to do. You stayed alive. That is all I ever want you to do." he said vehemently. He pressed a hard kiss to her forehead and she gasped.
"But...Tommy, and…" she knew how much he was against killing now and what it meant to him to honor Tommy in how they did things now.
He let out a ragged breath, their foreheads touching, his exhales coasting over her cheeks when he spoke. "That means nothing to me if your life is in danger. Do you understand me? Nothing." his eyes were flooded with emotion and she could see he meant every word.
Her breath caught in her throat as she processed what he said. To go back on his vow to his best friend, to go back on everything he'd tried to change about being a hero, it meant more than she could put into words.
"Oliver," she whispered,
His hand smoothed hair out of her face as he kept his eyes locked on hers, "Don't ever be sorry for staying alive and not leaving me."
She knew her mouth fell open in a silent 'o'. She stared at him, expecting him to take it back, or tell her it didn't mean what she thought, but he didn't.
His name tumbled from her lips again as he leaned in closer, her heart pounded so hard in her chest she thought it might explode. Their breaths mingled and just as she thought he was going to kiss her, Lance's voice boomed across the room.
"Why don't you back off a bit, Queen and let them work."
Oliver's eyes slammed shut in annoyance as his head tilted to the side. Her cheeks flushed but he didn't look ashamed, just bothered that they'd been interrupted.
His hand tangled with hers as he raised up and for the first time she noticed there was a nurse standing a few feet away on the other side of the bed.
Her eyes slid to his and the little upturn at the corner of his mouth was all she needed to see to know everything would be okay. She settled back against the pillows and tried to pay attention to what the nurse was saying to her.
They took her vitals and asked what seemed to be the same questions to the point of redundancy but she did her best to cooperate. She was given an icepack for her head and her face which she accepted gratefully. The throbbing from both was becoming unbearable.
When they'd determined she probably didn't have a concussion or any unseen brain trauma, the nurse began to cut off her blood soaked scrub top. Two snips of the scissors in she stopped and looked over at Oliver. "Do you want him to step out?" she asked gently
Felicity face went red and she didn't dare look at Oliver before she answered. "No, it's fine."
Covered in blood, and having just been in a fight for her life, she doubted she was much to look at. Oliver seeing her in a bra was the least of her concerns.
When they began cleaning the area around her wound she really didn't care. Her hand clamped down on his as she tried not to whimper, but every swipe made the pain increase until she felt shaky and sick. She brought their joined hands up to her shoulder and turned her head into them.
Oliver's other hand stroked over her hair, avoiding the bump on the back of her head. The anesthetic that was injected around the cut hurt worse than anything else. All she could do then was try and keep breathing. She heard Oliver at her level, and knew he was kneeling next to the bed, but she couldn't open her eyes to see him. He kept running his hand over her head and telling her she was doing fine. His thumb brushed away tears that slid out.
She was trembling when they told her they were done with the needle and to give it a few minutes before they sewed it up. She nodded mutely and slowly sat back, letting their hands fall back to her side.
When her stomach settled some she looked up at him to see him staring at her in concern. Already the pain in her side was starting to ebb and she felt like she could breathe a little easier. Not knowing why, she risked looking down to see the wound.
It was long, four or five inches in length and stretched diagonally across her lower ribs. "Oh," she said breathlessly, "That doesn't look too good."
Oliver's fingers caught her chin and turned her head back so she wasn't looking at it any longer.
"Hey, stop." he told her, "It'll heal."
"I know." she said tightly. What could she say to the man whose body was littered with scars? One relatively small one was nothing compared to what he had.
His fingers hadn't left her chin and now they trailed across it lightly, leaving tiny sparks of electricity in their wake. "You think I care about a scar?"
It was the perfect thing to say. The only thing to say.
She smiled and pressed her lips to his hand before she knew what she was doing. His fingers stilled and she froze, lifting her eyes to his hesitantly. There was a look there she had never seen before and her heart flipped a little.
They really needed to talk.
Oliver seemed to have read her mind. He returned her smile and ran his thumb over her bottom lip before pulling back. "Later," he whispered and she swallowed heavily as she nodded.
A different nurse approached and explained she was going to do the sutures. Felicity leaned back and focused on Oliver. It didn't hurt, but she could feel the pull and tug of the silk thread going through her skin and if she thought on that too hard it made her queasy.
"How do you and Digg do this to yourselves?" she asked under her breath. He just let out a light chuckle and squeezed her hand.
"We don't exactly enjoy it." he admitted, like he was letting her in on a deep dark secret.
While the nurse was working on the stitches Oliver picked up the abandoned wet cloth and began to clean the drying blood from her hands. She hadn't realized how much was on her, and most of it wasn't hers.
When he wiped it down her neck and across her collarbone her eyes flew to his. He cleaned one more spot and lowered his hand. Without blinking she took the cloth from him and did the same, cleaning the blood from his hands and arms.
Her other bumps and bruises were starting to make themselves known as the adrenaline wore off and by the time the nurse was finished and a bandage taped in place, Felicity didn't want to move.
She heard vague instructions about keeping the site clean and bandage changes twice a day and coming back to get the stitches out but she mostly just wanted them to stop talking so she could ask for pain medication. A hospital gown was laid in her lap and she looked at in in derision but the shirt she'd worn there had been abandoned in a random room.
Slowly she slid her arms in the sleeves as Oliver's arm lifted her from behind so she wouldn't strain her injury. She tried to raise her hands and do up the ties, but the skin around the stitches pulled and she stopped with a gasp.
"Let me do it." he said softly, and she tried not to shiver as his fingers made quick work of the thin strings, brushing against her back as he did.
The nurse returned with a cup of water and two pills in a paper cup and Felicity was beyond grateful. She took them immediately before she turned to Oliver, "Your turn and then we need to go find Digg." she said decisively and then glowered when he looked as if he was going to protest.
"Please see to the cut on his shoulder." she asked the nurse and shot him a smirk of triumph.
With a sigh he sank onto the bed by her feet, and grabbed ahold of her hand again. They made quick work of treating him, determining he only needed some butterfly closures as the wound wasn't deep.
Lance returned while Oliver was being seen to and came around the bed so he could speak to both of them.
"Glad to see you're looking better, but you really need to learn to listen." he was trying to sound stern but she could hear the genuine concern in his voice.
"Sorry, Detective, the next time I have Triad thugs trying to kill me, I'll be sure to stay put." she demured, not even realizing what she'd said until Oliver's hand pressed down on hers imperceptibly.
Lance's eyes narrowed, "Triad, huh? What would the Executive Assistant to a billionaire CEO know about the Triad?"
Felicity's brain seized and cold terror washed over her. Oliver cleared his throat next to her but before he could speak she began talking. "I recognized the outfits and the fondness for knives from the news reports. I could be wrong, of course." her voice was only a little bit shaky, and she could no longer feel her hand where Oliver held it, but she hoped it had been enough to keep Lance from asking anything else. Lance of course knew she worked with the man under the green hood and would be familiar with the Triad. But Oliver Queen wouldn't know anything about that. But then why would he question her in front of Oliver? Unless he had suspicions of his own that she didn't want to dwell on right then.
"Any idea why they would be after Mr. Diggle?" he asked.
Oliver gave an unaffected shrug, "The only thing I can think of is when that woman broke into Laurel's apartment last year. Diggle was with me when it happened. He saved us."
Lance's back stiffened at the reminder of the danger his daughter had been in. "Well, we've got one of them we'll be able to question. The other three didn't make it."
Felicity's body felt like it had become weightless at the reminder that she'd killed someone. It took both Lance and Oliver calling her name before she came back with a gasp. She turned blurry eyes on Oliver, her breath coming in short shallow gasps.
"Calm down. You're safe and you survived." he reminded her as his hand slid across her cheek and behind her neck, tugging her into his side.
Lance waited somewhat patiently, but when she heard a small huff of annoyance she pulled back and looked at him.
"You can come in tomorrow and give your statement. Both of you." he said, his eyes soft when he looked at her, but hardening as they slid to Oliver.
"Thank you," she managed to say
"Get some rest." he ordered and then turned the most intense look she'd ever seen on Oliver. There was a conversation happening there that wasn't being spoken aloud. "Take care of her."
Oliver went rigid next to her, unable to hide his reaction. Her heart clenched as she realized Lance was warning him to keep her safe, unlike his own daughter. A fierce need to protect Oliver swelled within her.
Jaw set she purposely intertwined their fingers and sat up straighter, "I'll be fine, Detective." she stated, leaving no room for doubt about where her loyalties were or how much she trusted Oliver.
Lance's eyes held hers for a long time. He must have found what he was looking for when he let out a resigned sigh and nodded once. "Mr. Diggle has been moved next door. We'll still be here for a while if you think of anything." he said tightly and then he was gone.
Silence stretched between her and Oliver until she couldn't take it any longer. "Can we go see Digg now?"
He turned to her in a rush, and she just caught the end of how much Lance's unspoken accusation had hurt him.
Felicity moved carefully so she was sitting next to him, legs hanging over the side of the bed and after only a beat of hesitation she leaned fully into his side. His arm wrapped around her shoulders and she let out a sigh of relief.
"He's wrong." she said quietly, "I'm safe with you." she felt the rise of his chest as he began to protest and she stopped him. "I am. There is no one I'd rather swing through the air with." her tone was light and when she saw the smallest of upticks of his lips, she was happy.
"Come on." she slid off the bed, hand braced on his knee until she knew she could stand without falling. Her legs felt weak but steady, and nothing hurt so bad that she couldn't walk. The drugs they had given her must have been good, and she was eager to see Digg before she passed out.
Oliver's arm wrapped around her waist, being careful to avoid her side. His hand rested low on her hip and she had to gulp at the sudden streak of heat that shot through her at the contact. They really needed to talk.
When they reached the hallway, he used his body to turn her to the left and avoid looking in the direction of where everything had happened.
Officers were outside Digg's new room and they were allowed to enter without issue. Felicity let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding when she saw him safe and pulled away from Oliver to limp towards his bed.
Digg's eyes blinked open when he heard them and she saw relief sweep across his face when he saw them both alive.
"You're okay?" he asked and she nodded mutely as she approached.
She sank to the side of his bed, sitting gingerly as her left side protested. "Thank you," she mouthed, barely able to see him her eyes so filled with tears. With a great sob she leaned forward to hug him as everything caught up with her all at once.
One strong arm wrapped around her back and held her tight as he shushed her. She cried until her head was light and her ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton. Oliver's and Digg's voices sounded like they were from very far away. Hands were on her and then she was being lifted.
She half opened her lids to see Oliver above her as he moved to the couch under the window. "I think those drugs finally kicked in." he said as he sat down with her, laying her on her right side so that she could place her head on his thigh.
She hummed her agreement that the drugs were indeed working, her tongue feeling too big for her mouth, and it being far too much effort to try and speak just then. His leg shifted under her as he snagged the edge of a chair with his foot and dragged it close to prop his feet on.
A hand coasted over her hair making her eyes fall shut. "Go to sleep."
She drifted off feeling safe and without pain, but she didn't wake up that way. In her dreams she was struggling with the attacker again, except when the gun went off there was a tearing agony through her middle and all she could do was hold her stomach while blood poured from beneath her fingers.
She half sat up with a wild gasp, as Oliver tried to hold her down. His frantic whispers finally made their way through to her and she sunk back into his embrace with a groan as pain flared across her ribs taking her breath away.
Hair had fallen across her face and she pushed it away as she tried again to sit up. Oliver's steady hands helped her until she was resting against the back of the couch, head tilted back as she tried to calm down.
"You okay?" he asked quietly as his thumb rubbed comforting circles over her knee. She dropped her head once in answer and finally looked at him.
"Sorry, bad dream." she explained and dropped her hand over his.
He was turned towards her, his other arm braced near her shoulder as he studied her. That hand lifted and trailed light fingers over her temple, down her cheek and under her ear to cup the back of her neck. She sighed into his touch and leaned in, but when his thumb traced the shell of her ear making her jump at the rush of desire it caused she pulled back some.
"Oliver…" she began, as her eyes cut to where Digg lay, seemingly asleep.
"He's asleep, he finally agreed to let them hook the morphine drip up again." Oliver explained
He hadn't stopped touching her though, and the look in his eyes was something she'd been waiting to see for a long time.
"You scared the hell out of me." he said throatily, tears pricking her eyes as she heard everything he had been trying to keep control of since he'd burst into that room and thought she'd been shot. "All I could think about was how stupid I had been to waste even a second with you."
She stared at him in disbelief as his words washed over her. "Oliver…" she said again, unable to voice what she was feeling.
His head fell to press against her forehead and she gasped at the intimacy of the touch. "You are the most important person in my life, and I need you to stay in it."
"Same goes for you." she was able to get out eventually as her hand raised to trail over his jaw, in awe at how responsive he was.
Whatever doubts she had about what he felt were ended when he pressed his lips to hers. It was light and sweet and over before she quite knew it had begun, but it filled her with warmth and left her wanting more.
He didn't give her a chance to question him further as he pulled her into his chest, leaning back so she was secured to him, tucked under his arm. She let out a long sigh of contentment and played with the buttons of his shirt as she looked over at Digg, happy to see his numbers had improved.
"Everyone's safe. Rest." Oliver whispered into her hair.
She smiled into him and twined their fingers together again as she made herself comfortable. The steady thrum of his heart under her ear lulled her into sleep and this time she dreamt of her future.