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it’s gotta be flesh and bone

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1.
The wound isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things – certainly Felicity’s patched up far worse from their little team of vigilantes – but the fact that it nearly was worse, fatal even, is what shakes her. Laurel’s limp and slight loopiness from pain meds does not help in anyway make her feel better. Just a graze – which were pretty much exactly Oliver’s words as he and Dig half carried the heavily bleeding Laurel in through the door.

But bandaged up and dosed, Laurel still needs someone to drive her home. Felicity volunteered without much of a thought because being around Laurel is always the right choice to make.

Laurel does not need to be carried out to the car but slings an arm over Felicity’s shoulders when she wraps her arms around her waist. Mostly it’s about guidance and making sure that Laurel doesn’t run into any walls or trip over her own feet (which she does and would have fallen if not for Felicity catching her). The support needed is minimal and Felicity suspects that had Laurel not been drugged to the gills she’d have insisted on walking unassisted. But this is nice – more than nice – even if Felicity feels a little like a creeper for enjoying the other woman’s warmth and closeness.

She’d never take advantage but that’s never stopped her falling for the most unattainable people. Call it a flaw, if you like, she wouldn’t disagree. But she calls it cruel that the world keeps exposing her to these amazing people and not having them notice her.

“You’re pretty.”

“What?” Felicity nearly drops the handbag that she’s searching for her keys in at the statement. Bad enough that Laurel’s breath has been tickling her cheek the entire time but to have those warm eyes settle on her face – a little unfocussed – a slight smile curving upwards is torturous.

“The worst part is you don’t know…” she sways against Felicity.

“Don’t know I’m pretty?” Felicity finally locates her keys and snatches them up as if they are a life line and she’s drowning (she is). It takes her two tries to press the button to unlock the car.

A slight pause colours the moment. “Don’t know that everyone thinks you’re pretty. Which you are. Pretty.”

Felicity all but tips the other woman into the car. “Right. Okay. Great. Put your seatbelt on.” She has nightmare vision of Laurel being thrown around in her drugged state. “Stop talking.” She slams the door, looks up at the sky and mouths ‘why?’ at the stars.

Why if she had to fall for a superhero couldn’t it have been one that might love her back?

Laurel isn’t particularly chatty on the ride to her apartment and she certainly doesn’t comment on Felicity’s looks again but it’s clear she’s a long way from sober so Felicity helps her up to her apartment and into bed. She squashes an urge to press a kiss to the other woman’s head or stroke her hair or anything else really weird. Laurel has shown a particular talent to remember everything that happens to her in crystal clear detail while drunk or high.

She grabs a blanket and a pillow from Laurel’s closet so she can curl up on the couch in case she’s needed in the night. If the universe is kind Laurel will sleep through until mid-morning, giving her body some time to heal before she thinks about training or taking on anymore bad guys. If Laurel is smart then this wouldn’t be a problem, but despite being an incredibly talented, intelligent woman, Laurel is absolutely idiotic when it comes to her own body and its limits. She’s as bad as, maybe worse, than Oliver with the way she needs to be forced to take care of herself.

“It’s very unattractive.”

“What?” Laurel’s eyes are closed and her breathing even. Felicity had thought she was already asleep.

“The way you don’t care what happens to you.” They’ve had this argument before, more than once, usually after Felicity’s had several sleepless nights worrying about the people she cares about and their dangerous lives.

“That’s why I have you.” Laurel mumbles.

Felicity turns away, biting her lip so she won’t cry. She’s just tired and scared, adrenaline drained away. It’s nearly four am, late by even their standards. Coming home in the early hours of morning isn’t odd, but sometimes Felicity wishes the late nights were because she had been in Verdant, dancing and drinking, instead of under it hacking computers and monitoring her friends while they hunt bad guys.

Laurel's couch is comfortable enough for sitting on and great for movie night but it’s not so great for sleeping on. Usually, if she stays too late to go home, she’ll crash in Laurel’s bed for the night, but lately she’s made very sure she’s not staying too late. She doesn’t want to jar Laurel’s leg, anyway. But twisted in the most comfortable position she can find, she eventually manages to doze off, sleeping fitfully with troubled dreams interspersed with bouts of conscious worrying.

A muffled thud and a round of swearing wakes her from a dream where everyone she cares turned into zombies and tried to eat her. She had Oliver’s bow in her hands but she couldn’t bring herself to shoot them – not that she can draw the damn thing – instead she tried to reason with them, begging, crying, but they just kept coming at her without pausing in the slightest.

For a second after her eyes open she finds herself disorientated by Laurel’s sunlit living room. There’s an ache in her throat and tears on her cheeks, every inch of her is cramped and sore, hands curled into fists, nails biting into her palms.

“Felicity? What are you doing here?”

She looks over the top of the couch to see Laurel standing in the doorway dressed in the underwear and camisole she went to bed in and nothing more. The bandage covering her thigh is white against her skin and she’s not putting any weight on her leg, leaning on the door frame heavily.

“Making sure my friend is okay. What are you doing out of bed?” She uses rubbing her eyes to disguise rubbing the moisture off her cheeks.

“It’s my apartment and I need to get ready for work.”

Felicity can only stare as Laurel starts to limp towards the kitchen presumably in search of coffee and breakfast. She flinches every time she takes a step. Felicity would like to believe that Laurel’s only being sarcastic, that she doesn’t actually mean to go into the DA’s office today, but past experience has taught her there is no limit to Laurel’s ability to be self-destructive.

She swallows back the lump in her throat reminding herself once again she’s just tired and worried. “It’s Saturday and you’re injured. You’ve had maybe two hours of sleep. You’re not going to work.” She climbs off the couch trying to not notice her own aching muscles.

“Felicity. I have open cases. I can’t afford to be selfish. There are people who need—”

“They need you to be well enough to look after them properly! What do you think will happen if you work yourself to death? Or even just into the hospital? You need to take some time to rest and heal or you’ll kill yourself. Even if it’s just the weekend.” Felicity doubts even drugging Laurel and tying her to the bed will work come Monday morning, but if she convince her to rest for the next two days she’ll consider it a win.

“You know, not all of us have bosses who—”

Don’t. Don’t bring Oliver into this! Because I will call him and have him come and put you to bed.” She snatches her phone off the coffee table, flicks it on and starts scrolling through her contacts.

But then Laurel attempts to cross her arms only to stumble sideways and Felicity finds herself across the room, an arm around Laurel’s waist to steady her. Her skin is cool to the touch and this close Felicity can see her eyes are a little unfocussed. The injured woman holds herself staggers for a second but then sways and clutches at Felicity for balance.

“I don’t want…” Laurel doesn’t finish her sentence, hissing a little as she allows Felicity to turn them back in the direction of the bedroom. Doesn’t want pity, doesn’t want to be weak, doesn’t want to be fragile, doesn’t want to hurt. There are many things Laurel doesn’t want but that’s not going to stop Felicity caring for and about her.

Felicity’s reasonably sure she’s been stabbed in the heart with a knife. “I know. But let’s get you back to bed.” She hopes her voice didn’t crack but she’s not convinced.

She helps Laurel into bed and turns away quickly so her friend can’t see her tears. Too late, though, as Laurel catches her wrist and tugs her down to sit on the edge of the bed. A gentle hand cups Felicity’s cheek and a thumb crushes the tears away. “What’s wrong?” Laurel’s eyes are soft and caring. Her question is a redirect, but as Felicity’s tired and she’s won the battle of getting Laurel back into bed she allows it.

And comes up with a redirect of her own. “Are you kidding? I spent an hours – literal hours – last night putting you back together and then you wake me up from a nightmare to shout at me and tell me you’re going to work. I’m tired and grumpy. It’s a horrible day and it’s not even seven am, yet. Why wouldn’t I be crying?”

She gently takes Laurel’s wrist to pull it away from her face as she doesn’t want to see the look in her friend’s eyes or feel the kindness in her touch. She doesn’t want to see that look because it’s just her own projection of her own feelings and desires. Laurel sees Felicity as a friend – and that’s what she needs right now, not a love sick admirer.

But Laurel turns her hand around and takes Felicity’s, rubbing her thumb over Felicity’s own wrist. “Felicity?” She waits until Felicity collects herself and looks up. “Stop me if this is a bad idea.”

Felicity isn’t sure what she means, even when Laurel’s grip tights or when her free hand snakes out and cups the back of Felicity’s neck. In fact it isn’t until there’s little more than an inch of space between their faces that she actually understands what’s about to happen. Oxygen is sucked out of the room and Felicity wants to pinch herself because surely this is a dream – much more pleasant than the zombies, but a dream nonetheless.

Their noses bump and their lips don’t actually meet for a heartbeat or so and that gives Felicity just enough time to get over her panic that Laurel’s actually kissing her. She tilts her head so the angle is better and she can return the pressure, every nerve ending singing with desire. She’s thought about kissing Laurel, thought about all the situations that it might possibly happen in – and, yes, in some of those scenarios either or both of them were injured – but she hadn’t imagined the moisture still stinging her cheeks, the tightness in her chest or the slightest hint of morning breath.

Still the kiss is over too quickly and Felicity finds herself opening her eyes to find Laurel wearing a very sheepish expression. She can’t quite stop herself from licking her lips but the way Laurel’s own eyes follow movement manages to soften the blow of confusion. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I wanted to and you looked like you might want me to as well.” Laurel’s expression is open and searching.

Felicity scoffs at the idea trying to ignore the flash of hurt in Laurel’s face.

“I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted.” She curls back into herself, away from Felicity.

Felicity stares and she’s sure it’s the exhaustion that makes her overthink this too much but it seems like Laurel might actually, truly, feel the same way about her as she does about her. She pushes the thoughts and the doubts aside for a second, because it looks like there might be tears in Laurel’s eyes and she doesn’t ever want that to happen again. Carefully, uncertain still if it’s a good idea, she leans in and kisses the other woman.

Laurel responds immediately, forcing Felicity to re-evaluate everything she’s thought about her for so long. When Laurel’s tongue traces at the seam of her lips, gently seeking entrance between them, Felicity opens her mouth and lets the intimacy of the touch chase her fears away. She feels herself pushed back into a sitting a position and then is tugged so her upper bodies are pressed against the woman who is kissing her with no small amount of skill.

When they breaks, their lips don’t move far apart for long seconds. Felicity wonders when Laurel’s hand ended up in her hair and her own under Laurel’s camisole. She opens her eyes are Laurel pulls a little further back only to see the upward curl of her lips and lines crinkling at the corner of her eyes.

Quickly, though, the delight is replaced by a grimace of pain when she shifts.

Felicity jerks back. “I’m going to get you some pain killers. Don’t move.”

“Felicity…” but Felicity’s already in the bathroom hunting through the cabinet. She takes three seconds to rinse with the mouthwash she finds before returning to her hunt. Laurel doesn’t keep much in her apartment and certainly nothing that Felicity would consider strong enough for the kind of pain she’s likely in, but she does find a mostly used sheet of co-codamol at the back. It will have to suffice because, despite being a relatively weak dose, Laurel’s unlikely to risk anything higher.

She brings the pain killers and a glass of water back to Laurel and makes sure she swallows them – as strong minded and she is, she’s been known to spit pills out when she thinks no one is watching. And while on an intellectual level Felicity understands her fear of addiction, it doesn’t make the situation any less frustrating. But once the pills are gone she presses another kiss to Laurel’s lips and tells her to stay put while she gets them breakfast.

They eat quietly, in Laurel’s bed, not really talking about much of anything. Or rather, Laurel’s in bed, and Felicity’s sitting on top of the covers – because she’s old fashioned and doesn’t believe in getting into bed with the person she is kissing without the intention of having sex. And has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Felicity is terrified of pushing too far and having Laurel back off.

Laurel manages to get down a piece of toast and half a glass of juice before her eyelids start to droop. Felicity takes the tray out to the kitchen and comes back to make sure Laurel is actually going back to sleep.

“You need sleep as well.” Laurel twists on to her side to watch Felicity standing in the doorway. “I promise I won’t seduce you if you take a nap.”

Felicity thinks about going home. Then she thinks about Laurel’s couch. With a soft sigh, she slips out of her jeans and slides into the bed, trying not to feel self-conscious, because they’ve slept in the same bed before while wearing not much more than they are now. But those nights were before the crush and the kissing so ‘sleeping together’ takes on different connotations now.

She turns on her side to face Laurel, pulling a hand out from under the covers so she can waggle a finger at her. “You’d better not try anything. Absolutely no funny business. I know what you superhero types are like when you see a pretty girl.” She’s reward with a sleepy smile and a soft chuckle.

Laurel wriggles over, still being careful of her leg, then curls around Felicity, slipping a hand under her shirt, laying a palm flat on her ribs. Felicity supresses the urge to squirm at the sudden flutter in her stomach. Laurel slings her bad leg over Felicity’s and Felicity captures her ankle between her feet. The end result is intimate, not shying away from the new aspect of their relationship.

“Hey, you. You promised you wouldn’t try and seduce me.” But her fingers betray any anger she might be pretending by tracing patterns on Laurel’s arm.

“If you consider this seduction then you must be an easy lay.” Laurel says her lips ghosting around the shell of Felicity’s ear.

“And a cheap drunk.” Felicity turns her face so she can kiss Laurel long and deep. “But only for you.” She press her lips back to Laurel’s feeling the heady warmth spreading through her that could become a problem if she’s trying to get the other woman to rest.

“We should do this more often.” Laurel slumps backwards and Felicity’s fears that she’s keeping her awake are put to rest because she doesn’t think much of anything will stop her sleeping now.

“What, make out in your bed? Because we can do that again when you’re feeling better. I’m not doing all the heavy lifting.” What she really likes that she can now do all touching she wanted to do earlier but couldn’t. Stroking your friend’s hair and kissing her forehead might be a little odd but Felicity thinks that if you’re making plans that include sex then the touching isn’t all that strange.

“Okay,” Laurel mumbles, breath tickling Felicity’s cheek.

Within moments they are both sound asleep.