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it’s gotta be flesh and bone

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3.

Felicity wakes one night to find a storm raging outside the apartment she and Laurel share. Her girlfriend slumbers on, undisturbed by the way the wind rattles the panes of glass and rain slaps against the walls in sheets. She’s seen many dark and horrible things in her life – storms are not enough to frighten her. But if she lies with her eyes closed she finds herself lost in the noise, tossed around by flood waters.

Finally she slides from out under the covers, grabs her robe from the back of the chair in the corner and goes to stand in front of the window, looking out at the wind and rain outside.

Streetlights are floating lanterns, not really illuminating much of the street. Felicity can barely see the cars parked on the road outside through the thick fall of rain. For maybe a heartbeat she thinks that this is what it would have been like the night the Queen’s Gambit went down. She hopes that Oliver is safe and inside – not out in the rain, sitting on a rooftop somewhere.

Mostly she just finds herself lost in thought, as if the storm is carrying her away until she’s lost in it, part of it. She thinks about everything that has happened in the last few years from the time Oliver Queen walked into her office with a laptop full of bullet holes – smiling and lying the whole time. She thinks about finding him in the backseat of her car, bleeding, dying and being afraid she wouldn’t be able to get him somewhere safe before he was gone for good.

Felicity thinks about Laurel and how amazing it is to love and be loved – and to know that’s never going to die. She thinks about what her life would be without the other woman as a part of it or as only the friend she was before the first time they kissed. About the conversation they had about marriage and family and decided both were conversations for a later date. About the fight they had about Laurel working too late one too many nights last week. About the make-up sex.

She thinks about the way too many of her friends are injured and hurt in the pursuit of justice. How they’re often the only people standing between those who would harm and their victims. About how fixing other people’s lives sometimes only makes their own lives more damaged. How mental illness can affect the lives of even the strongest people, breaking them down until they’re nothing more than shadows of who they really are.

Felicity stands and thinks about her life until the wind starts to die away and the rain begins to lighten. She stands and thinks until there’s movement in the bed to her right.

“F’liz’ty?” Laurel has propped herself up and is blinking at Felicity, looking so adorable and sleep rumpled as she always does (Felicity doesn’t know how she does it because she always looks like something that’s crawled from under the bed when she wakes). The brunette yawns and pushes herself into a sitting position. “Why’re you over there?”

“I’m watching the storm.” But she shivers a little, only just noticing how cool the room is.

“Sounds like it’s over.” But Laurel slides from under the covers and comes to stand over by Felicity, wrapping her in a hug from behind and pressing a kiss to the exposed skin of her shoulder. “And you’re freezing. Come back to bed.”

Felicity allows herself to be pulled back into the soft warmth under the comforter and wrapped in Laurel’s arms. She starts to drift off, her eyelids heavy and her brain foggy. Before she falls completely asleep she leans over and presses a kiss to her lover’s lips, too quick for her sleepy girlfriend to respond. So Laurel chases her back and presses her own lips to Felicity’s. This kiss long and soft and seems to last an eternity where Felicity is pulled out by the floods of another storm – this one pleasant. When it is over, Laurel seemingly quickly drops off while Felicity watches.

“I love you,” she says.

“Love you, too,” Laurel mumbles back.

-x-x-x-