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hold my hand (consign me not to darkness)

Chapter Text

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There are few things Oliver knows as undeniable truths in his life.

One: His sister is, above all, his greatest responsibility.

Two: He wants to make his father proud.

Three: He absolutely hates the train ride into Hogwarts.

Luckily for him, this will be the final September where he is subjected to the hours cooped up in the rolling tin can. The last fall where he’ll have to stare at the seemingly endless country and try to tune out the younger students restlessly wandering the hallways outside and chatting loudly.

Usually, his misery has company and makes the journey a little more bearable, but today he is not so lucky. His little sister, Thea, has decided that at thirteen years old she’s far too cool to be sitting with her older brother. His best friend Tommy is MIA, like he has been most summer, this time citing a Slytherin girl who simply demanded his attention.

At least he gets the compartment to himself, he muses as he stretches his legs through the open space.

The Daily Prophet sits in his lap. He’d brought it on board to read, but so far he can only stare at the front headline – Dark Magic on the Rise Again? – and the moving image of the Minister of Magic calmly explaining with that bland smile of his that no, there was no foul play suspected in the murder of Robert Queen.

Oliver knows more than anyone that it’s all a bunch of public relations nonsense.

The back half of his summer had been overcome by the sudden death of his father, and the intense investigations that followed, so he’d know better than most how much the authorities were baffled.

He still isn’t sure what the worst part about the whole thing had been – watching his mother completely shut down or sitting in a gray room for hours on end while being treated like a hostile suspect in questioning.

It didn’t help that Oliver was the one who found his father’s body, sitting in the living room like a sick surprise for the Queen family to wake up to.

But really, the rumors that followed for weeks in the papers, that he would really kill his own father, probably took the cake. Speculation swirled about – tales of friction between father and son, on a longstanding rivalry, tension, pressure, what have you, emerged from nowhere and circulated the press.

Nobody in his life that mattered – his mother and sister – believed it, but the very idea stung an already painful spot.

It died out eventually, and the press latched onto a new theory – that dark magic was involved, on the rise again and would surely get all wizards this time around.

It was a great scare tactic that the papers loved to use.

Ever since the fall of Voldemort at the hands of Harry Potter so many years ago, wizards still lived in constant fear that a new dark power would suddenly rise and start a third war. There was hardly any evidence of that, but every remotely suspicious occurrence brought on the dark magic rumors again.

And fear sold papers like nothing else.

It made him almost glad to get to escape from home for a while and start the school year. Though the student body at Hogwarts was not the most forgiving, at least no prodding journalists would be able to harass him about Death Eaters when he tried to get breakfast.

He tears his eyes away from the newspaper when he hears a soft knock on the compartment door, before it slides open a few inches, a blonde head poking in.

“Hi, I was just – oh ” blue eyes that hide behind a pair of glasses widen. “I’m sorry – I didn’t realize you were in here. I was just looking for a place to sit. Every compartment is – well, super full. But I can see that you’re here doing your brooding thing and I’ll just –“ she gestures behind her, trailing off.

Almost of its own accord, Oliver feels his head shake. “You can sit here, if you want.”

Bright pink lips turn upward in surprise. “Thanks.”

She shuffles in, hiding a grimace as she drags her trunk in and avoids eye contact, moving through the compartment as it to be as undisruptive as she can possibly be.

Oliver doesn’t realize he watches her movements until she falls into the seat in front of him, looking at him for a second before her eyes widen and she turns to the window outside.

He also doesn’t realize he’s smiling until he catches his own reflection in the glass and has to wipe it off.

A few minutes pass in silence, the girl’s eyes stay almost diligently trained on the window outside but Oliver can’t help stealing glances at her curiously.

Finally, he follows his need to speak up.

“You’re American?” he says, forcing his voice into what he hopes is casual. She tears her gaze away from the passing fields with those wide eyes again, the surprise that he’s speaking to her evident on her face.

“Yeah.” She sputters. “Yes, I am.” She presses her lips tightly together, as though stopping herself from saying more. It’s a curious thing.

“So if you’re American why are you…” he gestures around him.

“Why am I here and not there?” she says with a small smile. “Wish I knew the answer. My mother’s a Muggle, so she didn’t know about any of this stuff. When I got my letter, I just assumed Hogwarts was the only school in the world, which sounds pretty silly in retrospect I guess.” She gives a small shrug. “I guess I was just meant to be here.”

It’s a really simple way of looking at things. He almost admires it.

She doesn’t ask about his own nationality, likely because everyone in this part of the world already knows about the story. Robert Queen sweeping in from America after the war and using his resources to help put everything – including Hogwarts – back in working order, and setting up his lucrative business here.

It’s only at this point does he realize he doesn’t know the girl’s name.

“I’m Oliver,” he offers with a smile.

“Right,” she responds automatically. She pauses. Then blinks. “I mean – I know who you are, obviously. It’s kind of hard not to –” She gestures to the newspaper in his lap. “— with everything that’s been going on.” Her mouth drops open and she looks as if she’s about to apologize, but Oliver stops her with a shake of his head.

She takes a deep breath, looking to the ceiling as if mentally counting down. “I’m Felicity.”

“Felicity,” he repeats, the smile that lands on his face when he says her name almost automatic. “Nice to meet you.”

Felicity returns the grin. “Likewise. Sorry about the—” she moves her hand from her mouth to the floor a few times. “— you know. I would say it’s not a normal thing, but unfortunately this is pretty much my default setting.”

He can’t help but stare at her with a grin on his face, wondering why he’d never met her earlier. Are they in the same year?

When he voices his question, she shakes her head. “I’m a sixth year, actually. And I’m in Ravenclaw.” She nods to the scarlet Gryffindor scarf that sits on his trunk. “So that’s probably why we’ve never run into each other.”

He nods slowly, taking in the blonde in front of him with a growing smile on his face, wondering where she’s been hiding from him all this time.


 

When Felicity knocked on the last compartment of the train’s door, she really didn’t expect to run into Oliver Queen. Even less so did she expect to actually sit down and make conversation with him, past the realm of small talk and diving into anything and everything.

She thought she had known Oliver Queen before – the talk about him never ceased even before his father’s mysterious and unfortunate death – but she was wrong. The Oliver that sits before her is not at all what she’d been led to believe.

Talk around Hogwarts outlined a confident, outgoing star student who charmed all of his teachers with his words and not his wand. Girls in bathrooms gossiped about him being a shameless flirt, a heartbreaker with lines for days but an irresistible attitude.

The boy that sits in front of her today is nothing like the talk.

He’s quiet, just a touch aloof and holds himself tightly. He’s not surrounded by a harem of women like the rumors would make it seem, but seemed quite content to be by himself before she walked in.

But what she likes most about sitting with Oliver is talking to him. His eyes don’t glaze over like so many others do when her mouth runs away with her, but sparkle in amusement.

He lets her do the talking, but carries the conversation well, prompting her with questions about her: her house, her summer, her interests.

He’s an attentive listener, she notices in the middle of a story about her mom discovering she’s a witch, when he leans in as she speaks and never dares to look away. And if he licks his lips in response to her leaning in too, well, that’s probably just her imagination.

“So, she really wanted to put you on TV?” he says with a laugh.

“I know.” She rolls her eyes. “What kind of mother looks at her magical daughter and thinks, we can totally make bank on this, right? But that’s her. All about the drama.”

“Sounds like an interesting woman.”

“She is.” Felicity looks out the window, the familiar ache of realizing she won’t see Donna Smoak for another ten months hitting her again. “I give her a hard time, but she really has worked hard for me. My dad wasn’t really around, so…” she trails off, suddenly very focused on the setting sun outside.

“I’m sorry.” Oliver says softly.

“Don’t be.” She looks back at him and shrugs. “I grew to realize it was his loss, not mine.”

Oliver looks back at her with what she doesn’t want to describe as amazement, but his eyes are wide and a small, appreciative smile grows on his face at her words. She’s heard a lot about his smirks and charming smiles, but this one, which feels like a rare gift, is something she’d rather keep any day. “That’s a nice way of looking at it.”

He leans further into the empty space between them, his elbows resting on his knees. Only later will Felicity realize that she mirrors his response.

“I always liked to think so.” Her voice drops to a whisper.

They fall into a comfortable silence, the only sound between them is the gentle rocking of the train.

When the compartment door slides open, both of them fly back into their seats.

“Hey, Ollie I think it’s oh. ” Felicity looks up to see a dark-haired boy giving a suggestive smile and looking at the compartment. “Hello there, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize Ollie was with someone.”

Across from her, Oliver rolls his eyes. “Tommy, this is Felicity. Felicity, my best friend Tommy.”

Tommy’s looks at her carefully. “Felicity,” he repeats, a sparkle of something unrecognizable flitting through his eyes. “Sorry to interrupt you two, I just came to tell Oliver here that we’re almost at Hogwarts and he should probably change into his uniform now.”

Felicity looks out the window again to see that it’s twilight outside, meaning they’d be reaching the castle any minute.

“Oh!” she says in surprise, jumping from her seat. “I guess I should be getting on that too.”

Tommy looks at her with a raised eyebrow and a smirk – so unlike the looks Oliver had met her with all these hours it feels strange to see.

When the train does stop at Hogsmeade station, Felicity tries to be the first person off. She thinks she can hear Oliver calling out from behind her, but that could be the noise of the crowd playing tricks on her. She finds a carriage to take up the castle with a group of rowdy second years and ignores the way Oliver stops just short of where she takes off, kicking the dirt.

Yes, when she knocked on the compartment door, she didn’t expect to run into Oliver Queen. She didn’t expect to get to know him, or to instantly grow quite as fond of him as she is now.

But Tommy Merlyn’s arrival reminded her what life would be like once they stepped off the train.

That’s why, as she makes her way into the castle with the memories of the ride in fresh on her mind, Felicity doesn’t expect she’ll see much of Oliver Queen in the school year.

Chapter Text

Headmistress Amanda Waller is a terrifying woman.

Everyone knows this, of course.

It’s been said that the woman fought firsthand in the war, was taken by Death Eaters and tortured for information but fought her own way out. The curse scar that runs along her jaw and neck tells its own story altogether.

Felicity can’t focus on any of that right now.

In fact, it’s the headmistress’s hard eyes that keep Felicity frozen in her seat. Her mouth is pinched into a hard line.

When she was summoned into her office after the Welcome Feast, Felicity didn’t quite know what to expect.

She still doesn’t, frankly, because it’s been a good minute of her just staring at Felicity in what has to be some kind of creepy intimidation tactic, letting the student stew over whatever it is they did wrong.

Except, Felicity hasn’t done anything wrong. So she sits semi-patiently, trying to match the stare and ignore the dozens of portraits of former Headmasters staring down at her judgmentally.

Finally, after a maddening three minutes (yes, she counted every second), Waller does a strange thing.

She smiles.

It’s gone as soon as it appears, and she looks down at the set of documents in front of her. “Felicity Smoak,” she reads. “Sixth year. Ravenclaw. Exceptionally bright.”

Oh please, Waller, you’re making me blush.

“You did extraordinarily well on your O.W.L.s last year.” Waller holds the letter that contains Felicity’s standardized testing results. “Ten Outstanding grades. Only a few wizards have gotten close to that. Hermione Granger only had nine.”

Felicity shifts uncomfortably in her seat. “Oh – well, I think her circumstances –“ she cuts herself off at Waller’s look, shrinking back in her seat.

Making someone feel inferior while complimenting them has to be a skill. Waller should teach a class about it or something.

“When I got these results, I asked your professors about you. They all speak very highly of your abilities. It made me wonder why I hadn’t noticed you sooner.” Felicity can’t help but smile as Waller flips to a different page. “Muggleborn?”

The small grin drops almost instantly. “Um – well, I’m really not sure. My mother, yeah, totally a Muggle but my dad – I don’t really … Um…”

Waller narrows her eyes only slightly, but nods in understanding. “I’m sorry I asked. I was just curious. But as I was saying, your achievements are extraordinary, and I would be remiss to let such talent go unnoticed under my leadership.”

The warmth creeping on Felicity’s ears returns, but she can’t help it. It’s not every day the most terrifying woman on planet Earth (arguably) sings your praises.

“I didn’t just call you in here to read the achievements you already know of and make you uncomfortable. Yes, Miss Smoak, I did notice,” she says with a smile when Felicity’s mouth drops open slightly. “I wanted to discuss your options for this year with you.”

“My… options?”

Waller nods. “While looking through your written exams and your teacher notes on your practicals, I noticed you display advanced technique and are likely ahead of many of your classmates. Potions, especially, you were noted to have exceptional skill in. I looked into it deeper, and I think putting you in the next class would be beneficial for your learning.”

Felicity’s mouth drops open at her words.

“Are you even allowed to do that?” she blurts out. The minute she does, she wishes she could take it back, because the look Waller gives her makes her want to drop straight into the ground and disappear.

The corner of Waller’s lip twitches and she ignores Felicity’s question. “Nothing has to be permanent, we can just let you use this week as a test, get a feel for it and see if you feel comfortable jumping to an advanced class. It’s something of a pilot project, as we’ve never had a student quite like you before.” She gives another rare smile, and Felicity wonders if anyone will believe this meeting happened later.

“I don’t… I don’t know what to say.”

“Think about it.” She hands a timetable, showing the seventh year Potions class in the very first slot. “The spot is open for you if you want it.”

Felicity stares at the words carefully.

“I will.” She decides. Though Waller nods in response, assuming Felicity means she’ll consider it, but Felicity’s mind is made up.

“You must be tired from the train ride in. I’ll let you get some rest now. Check in with me at the end of the week.”

Felicity gets up, knowing a dismissal when she hears one, and walks out of the office in a sort of daze.


 

“Wait, she said what ?”

Dinah Drake is, historically, very expressive. And sometimes a little loud. Which is why Felicity probably shouldn’t have told her the news over breakfast the next day, as her response makes more heads turn than she’s comfortable with.  

All she can do is nod and pick at her banana muffin. “Yeah. She smiled and everything, you should have seen it, Di.”

“I wish I had,” Dinah responds thoughtfully, stealing a piece off Felicity’s muffin. “I almost don’t believe you. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re finally getting the recognition that you deserve.” She gives her a nudge on the shoulder. “I’m so proud.”

Felicity ducks her head and takes a sip of her orange juice. The recognition has only felt stranger when she had a night’s sleep to think on it.

“So, you’re gonna do it, right?” Dinah pushes.

Felicity nods. “Yeah. I really want to. And I think I’d be good at it.”

Her friend nods. “Good. I wouldn’t let you do otherwise. And it’s obvious that you’ll kill it. Who knows, maybe you’ll graduate early and abandon me.” She says with a mock frown, and Felicity rolls her eyes in response.

“It doesn’t work that way Di…”  Her response is cut off by the entrance of the Great Hall.

It’s Oliver.

Oliver, who tried very hard to catch her attention after the train ride last night. And during dinner an hour later. And who most definitely had her attention all night. By her thoughts, she means.

His eyes find hers for a split second, brow twitching just a bit before striding to the Gryffindor table. As he walks, a few more heads turn and whispers pick up, the morning’s Daily Prophet – still running yesterday’s story about Robert Queen’s murder and dark magic, must be a slow day – being passed around.

If Oliver notices that he’s subject to more than a few conversations – and Felicity has no doubt that he does – he doesn’t let on, finding an empty space at the end of the table, and pouring coffee into a mug.

It’s hard not to watch him and feel bad. She can’t even begin to imagine what that kind of attention feels like. She knows from their short time together the day before that whatever happened over the summer weighs him down far more than he lets on, and she can see it in how tightly he holds himself now.

She observes as the first year that sits closest to him scarf his cereal down and scurries off the table and frowns, as if Oliver is dangerous at all.

“Felicity?” Dinah pulls her out of her musing. “You okay?” .

She shakes her head. “Sorry, was just thinking about… the rest of the day.”

Dinah nods slowly. “You’ve been kind of off since we got into school yesterday.”

“Well, you would know all about that since you completely abandoned me on the train yesterday.” Felicity deflects, a teasing-accusatory tone colours her words.

Her friend suddenly finds the plate in front of her interesting. “I looked all over for you and couldn’t find you.”

Felicity can only roll her eyes. “Sure thing.” She glances at her watch – a tacky pink thing from a Vegas gift shop, Donna Smoak’s idea of a memento – and gets up from the table. “I’ll bother you more about that later, I’m going to be late for my first class.”

Dinah shakes her head. “Your late is everyone else’s still eating or rolling out of bed, you do know that right?”

Felicity gives her friend a nudge on the shoulder as she leaves. “Later, Di.”


True to habit, Felicity is the first to arrive to class. The Great Hall was still mostly packed when she left, so that doesn’t surprise her. She finds a seat in the front and settles in, pulling out the year seven Potions textbook that Waller gave her as a loaner, flipping through the pages idly.

It occurs to her when she hears people shuffling around in the hallways that being the youngest in a room full of people who have known each other for seven years might bring its own set of problems. She shifts uncomfortably in her seat, the blue tie around her neck suddenly feeling tighter.

Some older Ravenclaw students she recognizes from their common room walk in, one or two even offering surprised smiles and staring conversation with her before taking their own seats. It certainly helps, as she feels her back straighten and assurance that she’s meant to be here settle in.

A different kind of bad feeling returns, however, as more students file in, ones with Gryffindor ties around their necks, and she’s hit with the realization that she never once looked at which house she’d be sharing the class with.

It’ll probably be fine, she tells herself, maybe it’s a fluke, maybe they’re in the wrong class, maybe he won’t –

“You again.” The voice makes Felicity wince. A soft drawl, a hint of amusement. She looks up to see Oliver – who else? – standing next to her desk. His eyebrow is quirked up, not unlike earlier this morning, and he gives her a hint of a smile.

“Oliver,” she says, after maybe a few too many seconds of awkward gaping. “Hi. Fancy seeing you here.”

“Thought you said we aren’t in the same year?” he says, tilting his head slightly.

“We aren’t. It’s, ah, it’s a long story.”

“Hm,” he pulls the chair next to her back, and she isn’t entirely sure if he heard her. “This seat taken?”

She shakes her head in response, but it makes no difference, Oliver wastes no time in setting his bag down on the desk next to her.

“I’d love to hear that long story,” he finally says. “Maybe after the one about why you ran out like a bat out of hell when the train stopped yesterday.”

She grimaces. “Caught that, huh?”

“Kind of hard not to,” he says seriously, and Felicity has to fight another wince.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I realize that was pretty rude of me.” She doesn’t bother to offer an excuse, but he smiles anyway.

“It’s fine.” He taps the table in front of him once. “So, you said something about a long story?”

She sighs. “I did.” She looks around her helplessly, knowing that the truth would come out eventually. “There’s no way to say this without sounding…. braggy.”

The corner of Oliver’s mouth twitches. “I think I can handle it.”

“Okay…well…I kind of met with Waller yesterday after dinner and she talked to me about my grades and suggested I would benefit from an … advanced class.”

Oliver raises an eyebrow. “So, you’re some kind of genius?”

She feels her ears go hot. “Oh no – nothing like that. This is more of an experiment, really. It probably won’t be permanent, Waller just put me here to see if I could do it.” She shoves a strand of hair behind her ear nervously.

Oliver watches her carefully, that small unreadable smile still on his face. “Something tells me that isn’t completely true.”

She’d like to retort, but the Potions professor walks in, calling her attention to the front. She tries very hard not to focus on the fact that Oliver is still looking at her curiously.


Oliver is staring.

He’s well aware of this, and it’s starting to become a problem.

But there’s just something about her. She holds her head high when their professor scans the room and notices her, his own eyes sparking up in recognition. He mutters something about “the young star in our class” that makes Felicity’s cheeks go pink as she uncomfortably runs a finger through the end of her blonde ponytail.

But he isn’t wrong, Oliver notices.

Though at first the attention made Felicity sink into her seat, she quickly finds her stride and answers questions with ease, bewildering Oliver as she takes part in the review of sixth year material – things she shouldn’t have even known.

When class ends, Oliver finds himself glued to her side as they walk out.

He asks her how she knows so much, and she gives a little shrug. “I read a lot,” she says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Not much else to do in Vegas with my mother all summer.”

He nods. He definitely underestimated Felicity Smoak. “So, how did Waller’s little experiment ,” he uses her word from earlier, “turn out for you? Think you’re going to stay?”

Felicity looks back at the door behind them, and back at him with a thoughtful smile. “Yeah, I think I might.”

Chapter Text

The first two months of school passed by with relative ease for Oliver. The added workload of his final year meant he was given a break from the whirlwind that was his summer.

It wasn’t long before the leaves changed outside the castle, and the familiar decorations went up and Oliver realized it was Halloween.

Halloween didn’t mean much to Oliver personally, but for whatever reason it was a special affair at Hogwarts. He didn’t see the point in the holiday, or the need to celebrate with the same imagery muggles considered scary.

He muses over this as he watches the Great Hall get prepared for the day over breakfast, before his owl, Fletch, flew in and dropped a scary surprise of his own.

Thick paper. Impeccable penmanship. A familiar wax seal. Oliver didn’t need to read the envelope to know this was a letter from Moira Queen.

The message inside was short, to the point.

Dear Oliver,

Something has come up, and I need to discuss the matter with you in person. I’ve arranged to come to Hogwarts this evening with permission of your Headmaster. She has been kind enough to let us use her office.

Please meet me there at 7 p.m. sharp. Don’t tell your sister.

Moira D. Queen

Oliver reads the letter over three times, his brows furrowing. The urgency in her words is clear, but what Oliver hates is that she wants him to keep this a secret from Thea.

Like any child would, Thea took the death of their father hard. She tries to hide it at school, but Oliver can tell from the rare moments they run into each other that Thea was affected far more than she let on, and that she missed their mother dearly.

A visit from Moira would do help her so much, why would his mother not want that for her?

Oliver has no time to dwell on his thoughts further, because a familiar voice shouts out – “Ollie!” and pulls him away from the letter.

“Tommy,” he says with a grin  as the other boy pats his shoulder in greeting.

“Hey man,” Tommy wastes no time in sitting next to him and grabbing an apple from the fruit tray. “I feel like we’ve barely seen each other this year.”

Oliver nods sheepishly. He really hasn’t been spending a lot of time with his best friend. “Classes have been keeping me busy, I guess.”

“Right,” Tommy says, his eyes trailing around them, seeming disinterested. When he lands on the paper in Oliver’s hands, he lightens up. “Oooh, what’s that?”

Oliver immediately flips the page over. “It’s nothing, just a letter from my mom.”

Though he’d love to talk about this issue with someone, especially his best friend, he can’t be sure that Tommy will be able to hide this from Thea, especially since the two of them share the same house and see each other more than Oliver does.

“Oh, I get it.” Tommy leans back with a smirk. “Trying to hide how much of a momma’s  boy you are.”

Oliver laughs dryly. “Something like that.”

“Whatever,” Tommy takes a loud bite out of his apple. “Anyway. It’s been awhile since I’ve really gotten to hang out with you. I feel like I don’t even see you outside or having fun anymore.”

Oliver feels frustration mount in him. It’s not like Oliver really saw Tommy around this summer either, especially after his father’s death. His friend cited travelling the world with his father as the reason he couldn’t be there for him. “Haven’t really felt like having fun lately, Tommy,” he snaps.

Tommy’s easygoing smile drops and he shakes his head. “Oliver, man, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize –“

Oliver holds a hand up. He’s not in the mood to fight today. “It’s fine. Don’t mention it.” He crumples the letter in his hand and shoves it in his pocket. “I’m sorry I snapped. You’re right. I haven’t really been myself.”

“No worries,” Tommy’s smile is back like it never left. “If you want to loosen up again, though, tonight is the perfect night. We’re holding a Halloween party in the Slytherin common room. Come by if you want.”

“Halloween party.” Oliver repeats flatly. When Tommy nods enthusiastically in response, Oliver almost laughs. Tommy makes him feel like he’s living a bad cliché sometimes.

“Don’t give me that look,” Tommy points a finger up, “I know you’re interested. And even if you’re not, come by anyway. Blow some steam off. Loosen up. You deserve it.” He claps his hand on Oliver’s shoulder before jumping off the table with a grace only Tommy Merlyn can achieve.

Oliver mulls over his words carefully, but the letter he tried to hide feels as though it’s burning a hole right through his pocket.


Oliver spends the rest of the day almost dangerously distracted, a sense of foreboding hanging over him over all the possible outcomes from his meeting with his mother.

None of his classes went by well. His professors took notice and wasted no time in using it as an opportunity to call him out.

In Potions, he used ginger root in a potion when he wasn’t supposed to and created a foul smell throughout the entire class that gave Felicity a headache. Hearing her quietly complain and hold her head certainly didn’t help improve his mood any.

Defense was no better, where he thought he could get away with just sitting and listening he was called on and asked to demonstrate a spell in front of the whole class, incorrectly using a defensive spell and being knocked off his feet.

Everyone laughed, and strangely he could only feel glad Felicity wasn't there to see it.

When lunch came around he really didn’t feel like eating much, but that didn’t stop a second year kid from spilling juice all over his uniform and making him late for class.

All in all, it hasn’t exactly been Oliver’s day.

By the time 7 p.m. rolls around, the stress Oliver felt at the thought of his meeting is replaced by relief that his awful day can be done with.

When he does walk into the Headmaster’s office – not for the first time in his Hogwarts career, if he’s being honest – the only person inside is his mother.

Moira Queen is known for her poise and confidence. Her ability to be perfectly put together even when in the eye of a storm.

Today she has none of those things.

Oliver notices immediately when she stands up from her chair to embrace him.

“Oliver,” she sighs tiredly. When he puts his arms around her, he can feel under his palms how much weight she’s lost. She pulls away and gives him a smile, but it barely reaches her eyes. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, Mom, are you okay?” She doesn’t respond, instead running her eyes over him several times as if to scan for any injuries.

“Let’s sit down.” She gestures to the seating in the office.

He hesitates before he sits down, but the tremble in his mother’s movements makes him comply.

“Mom, please,” he leans forward with his elbows on his knees, “you’re scaring me. What’s going on that you had to come all the way down here and that I can’t tell Thea?”

His mother looks at her hands and sighs, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you. And I’m sorry for making you lie to your sister.” When she still doesn’t meet his eyes, Oliver feels the frustration that built up all day come to surface.

“Mom! What is going on!” he cries out.

His outburst snaps her out of whatever trance she seemed to be in before. Finally, her tired eyes meet his.

“I wish I could be seeing you under better circumstances. But the truth is something is wrong. Have you received any strange messages recently, Oliver? Unmarked letters, that kind of thing?”

He narrows his eyes. “No… I haven’t… I would have told you.”

“Right, right," she trails off, looking at a spot on the carpet.

"There is no easy way to say this,” she finally says, clasping her hands in her lap, “I’ve been receiving a number of threats both at home and at work, aimed at our family.”

Oliver feels his stomach drop. Suddenly his anger seems silly, and instead he feels only guilt. “What? What kind of threats? What did they say?”

She only shakes her head. “I don’t want to worry you with the details. But what you do deserve to know is that many of them were specifically about you and Thea.”

Oliver is silent for a long time, trying to process what his mother’s words mean. A million questions hang off his tongue, but he doesn’t know where to start.

Moira misreads his silence. “Oh, Oliver, I didn’t tell you this to worry. I just want you to be aware. I’ve been working with the Ministry to trace the source of all these threats. And Hogwarts is the safest place for both of you right now. I’ve made your Headmaster aware of the situation and she’ll be taking precautions on this end.”

Oliver knows a situation he can’t control when he sees one. “Okay.”

“There’s just one thing I need to ask of you, and you aren’t going to like it.”

Oliver closes his eyes. “Mom…”

She ignores him. “While it goes without saying that I want you to be more careful and cautious of everything around you… I need to remind you that this stays between you and me.”

“Mom! Thea –“

“Is just a child.” She speaks over him, and it makes him ball his fists in frustration. “Telling her this would only worry her.”

“She has a right to know if it involves her.” He argues.

“I don’t want to add to the already hard year she’s been having, Oliver.”

“If she finds out about this,” he says lowly, “she’ll be furious.”

“She will be happy we didn’t burden her with something out of her control,” his mother says firmly, “I’m telling you this because you can look out for both of you when I’m not here.”

Oliver knows he’s lost the argument. But he also knows this won’t end well. “Fine.”

“It’s getting late,” Moira stands up and Oliver follows. “I’m sorry to throw all of this on you, but it’s for the best, Oliver, really.”

He doesn’t want to end this with a fight. Not after this new danger hanging over their heads. “Right.” He pulls her into a hug of farewell. “It was good seeing you, mom.”

She pulls away and cups his cheek, tracing over his face one last time with her eyes one last time.

She exits through the fireplace without another word, just giving him one last glance before she walks into the fire, returning to their own fireplace, no doubt.

When Oliver walks through the empty hallways, he wonders how late it’s gotten. He’s definitely missed the Halloween feast, but his appetite is far from gone, and frankly he’d rather go back to his room and turn in early, put this entire mess of a day behin—

“Oof!”

His thoughts are cut off when he runs, quite literally, into a mass of familiar blonde curls and specs.

Felicity.

“Whoa there,” she says with a laugh, “where’s the fire?”

“Sorry,” he says distractedly, putting a hand on her shoulder in apology. “I didn’t see you there.”

“It’s fine,” she looks up at him and pushes her glasses back in place. When she really looks at him, she frowns. “Everything okay? You’ve been kind of off all day and right now you have ….” She trails off.

His eyebrow quirks up. “I have…?” he asks half challengingly, half teasingly.

She lifts her hands up – one holding a stack of books, he observes – and points them downwards. “Frowny face.”

“Frowny face,” he repeats dryly. She nods with a hint of a smile that he can’t help but mirror.

A flippant “it’s nothing” hangs off the tip of his tongue, ready to fall out and let Oliver spin on his heel and stalk to his room.

But one look at Felicity’s eyes, wide with a kind of genuine concern Oliver isn’t used to seeing, and the realization that he really, really is not okay, makes him decide otherwise.

He shakes his head almost helplessly. “I’m… I don’t know. A lot’s been going on lately, and I just had to meet with my mother – and – and, now I need to lie to my sister and I don’t – I don’t –“ he looks at his feet when his eyes –mortifyingly – start to burn.

Instantly, Felicity moves forward. She sets the books down on the ground and puts an arm on his shoulder.

“Oliver,” she says gently, ducking her head down to meet his eyes, “look at me. Relax, okay? Breathe.” He pauses and takes a breath. “Good.” She gives a small smile.

“That sounds like a lot. And I don’t mean to pry, but do you want to talk about it with me? In, you know,” she waves a hand around, “full sentences that I’ll actually understand.”

He huffs out a laugh, “I really would.”

“Okay, good,” she nods and pushes up her glasses almost determinedly. “You need some fresh air. Let’s walk around a bit outside, get you to cool down, and then we’ll sit somewhere, okay?”

He looks at her, puzzled at her words and she immediately takes notice. “What?” she asks, self consciously shoving a blonde strand of hair behind her ear.

“Nothing,” he says, finding his throat strangely dry and forcing himself to clear it. “I just… going outside after hours? Isn’t that against the rules?” He forces a small smirk, but it feels unnatural.

Felicity must notice, but she takes pity on him anyway and mirrors his expression.

“Well from what I hear, it wouldn’t be the first time you broke a few rules, Mr. Queen. ” It’s all forced banter, both of them trying to clear the thick, uncomfortable air his little outburst created, but he’s grateful for it.

“I’m just worried I’m starting to rub off on you,” he nudges gently, and she quirks an eyebrow up.

“Who said this is the first time I’ve broken the rules, Oliver?” she says with an almost sing-song voice, gently taking him by the arm and leading him through the empty hallways.

She leads them just outside the castle, and they settle under a tree that faces away from the school and hides them from immediate view.

“All right,” Felicity says authoritatively, pushing her glasses up her nose once more. “Start at the beginning.”

“I guess… it started this morning, when my mom sent me a letter saying she was going to come visit to discuss something…”

From there, the words tumble out.

It’s surprisingly easy. When he launches into the threats (and the weight of what that truly means hits him) and ends at the lie he promised to keep, his chest feels noticeably lighter. His head less cloudy. When he looks at her again, her face glowing from the small light she has coming off her wand, and he feels like he can see her clearer.

She’s looking up at him with raised eyebrows – no judgement, just surprise.

“Wow.” She says finally. “That’s… a lot.”

He laughs, because, it’s sufficient and somehow it isn’t. He rests his head against the tree trunk.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do it, Felicity,” he says, looking up at the stars that hang over their head. “Lying to Thea, every day. Acting like her life – all of our lives – aren’t in danger. How am I supposed to keep her safe if I’m keeping her in the dark like this?”

Beside him, Felicity’s head lands on his arm. Briefly it occurs to him that he’s been monopolizing her time more than he realized, and it must be late.

“Oliver,” she says in that steady-as-a-rock voice he’s come to grow fond of, “it’s not your duty to keep her safe. Yes, you need to look out for each other, but if something were to happen here, in one of the safest places in the continent, there would be little you could have done to stop it.

“For now, maybe your mother is right. It’s too early to know, but if you tell Thea you’re adding a lot of stress on a thirteen-year-old girl who just lost her father,” almost as if she can sense Oliver’s mouth opening to argue, she pushes more forcefully, “ if you think it’s getting to a point where she should know, make the decision and tell her.”

Oliver leans his head down to look at her blonde head resting on his arm in awe, wondering how he could have gotten so lucky to stumble upon her (or be stumbled upon, as it were).

She lifts her head up almost shyly. “Did that help?”

“More than you could know,” he says softly. “Thank you.”

She gives another soft smile. “You never have to thank me.”

He returns the gesture.

“I’m just grateful I ran into you after that meeting,” he pauses and frowns, a different thought entirely occurring to him. “What were you doing roaming the halls so late anyway?” he says with a raised eyebrow.

Felicity’s eyes flash with guilt – like she’s been caught. “Oh I was just in the library…” she waves a hand dismissively. “Reading. Researching. Taking out some books.”

He narrows his eyes slightly, “Felicity…” he really looks at her for the first time that night, and the faint purple lines that trace under her own eyes. “Are you okay? You look really tired.” He observes.

She gives his face a tap, with a sad smile that cuts through his chest. “Must be something in the water, then.”

It’s deflection, he knows it from trying it not an hour ago on her, but it’s late and her eyelids are getting heavier, so he lets her this time.

“Come on,” he gets up and offers a hand down to help her up. When they stand side by side, Oliver tries to ignore how strange the lack of proximity makes him feel. “Let me walk you back to you room.”

They walk into the castle in a comfortable silence, in quiet acknowledgement that whatever happened tonight shifted the young friendship they had.

When Oliver walks back to Gryffindor tower, he idly remembers Tommy’s party offer. He knows if he turned now he could still make it.

Though once he wouldn’t have hesitated, Oliver knows he doesn’t feel like he needs to blow off that steam anymore.

When he heads to bed that night, though the cloud of threats still hang over his head, the last thing he sees before sleeping is a pair of bright blue eyes behind warm brown glasses.

Chapter Text

“You look tired,” Dinah comments over her morning coffee.

Lifting her head from the surprisingly comfortable surface of the table, Felicity gives a mocking smile, “do I?”

Dinah nods. “Mhmm,” she sets her drink down, “and it’s not your usual, I’m overworking myself to death, kind of tired either.”

Felicity frowns, “well then,” Her friend shrugs in a ‘I speak only the truth’ kind of way. “You know, you’re welcome to sit at the Hufflepuff table – your own – if you want.”

“And I’ve told you before I swear they give your house better coffee,” she responds without missing a beat, “but seriously, Felicity, is everything okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Felicity yawns, “just haven’t been sleeping well.”

It’s an oversimplification, she knows. But she’d rather not get into the truth - the truth being that in the past week, a series of strange and confusing dreams had been stealing her nights and giving her the growing headache she has now.

Lucky for her, Dinah knows better than to press, “if you say so,” she looks over Felicity’s shoulder, “your future replacement for me is walking here, by the way.”

“My what?”

The answer comes from behind her.

“Hey, Felicity?” She turns at the sound of Oliver’s voice, his eyes on a roll of parchment in his hand, “if you have a second, I really need your help on the essay due on Monday, I was confused about a few things.”

Her eyes widen involuntarily, “Oliver, hi,” she sputters. It’s been a few days since their night outside together, and Felicity honestly doesn’t know how to feel. They’ve carried on their days just like before, but she can’t help but feel that something underneath has shifted, that Oliver feels more comfortable around her now.

“Yeah, sure, I don’t mind helping. What were you having trouble with?”

He waves a quill around in frustration. “I just don’t know if my ideas make sense. Do you think you’d have a chance to look it over and see if it reads okay?” He looks up at her with hopeful eyes.

She tries not to let her face fall too much, because she really did have a lot to do today, but Oliver looks about as stressed out as she feels.

She holds her hand out and lets him give over the parchment. “I’ll probably get this done by the late evening, is that okay?”

He lights up. “Thank you so much! That’s fine. I’ll be busy after class anyway,  I have quidditch practice.”

Felicity’s eyebrows go up. “You’re on the quidditch team?” He gives her a strange look and she wonders if that’s supposed to be common knowledge, and how out of touch she’s been with the sporting life of the school.

Oliver gives her a small smile, and she thinks he might even puff his chest out just a little when he responds. “Yeah. Actually, I’m the captain.”

Next to her, Dinah hides a laugh with another sip of her coffee.

She ignores her friend, rolls the essay up and puts it in her bag. “I’ll try and find you once I have it done, okay?”

He leans in to give her one of those small smiles and says, “great,” before turning on his heel and walking back to his table.

She doesn’t realize she’s following him with her gaze until Dinah clears her throat next to her loudly.

When Felicity turns her head to the side, her friend is looking at her expectantly.

“What was that?” she asks innocently.

Felicity shrugs, gathering her things, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m going to be late.”

“Class doesn’t start for another forty minutes,” Dinah remarks.

“I know,” Felicity stands up from the table. “I have to meet Professor Morrison before class starts to talk about an assignment due in a few weeks.”

Dinah rolls her eyes, “You make the rest of us look bad.”

Felicity can’t help but ruffle her friend’s hair a bit before she goes. “I’ll see you later.”


Oliver hasn’t seen Felicity since breakfast.

It’s Thursday, which means they don’t have class together. He wanted to get a word in during lunch, but she looked busy tutoring a bunch of fourth years.

But when the day goes on and he only catches glimpses of her, his worry grows.

The feeling carries on all evening, nagging him in the back of his mind and urging him to do something about it. That’s why later on in the night, he finds himself wandering to the library.

The library is empty, which is unsurprising given the time and the fact that it’s not exactly the busiest time for students, but something tells him he should look here anyway.

His suspicions are confirmed when he finds Felicity tucked into a study carrel far into the corner, one of the only places left in the room that has light coming from it.

Her head is bent low, and it’s only until Oliver stands in front of her does he realize she’s fallen asleep.

He hesitantly reaches out to her shoulder and shakes it gently. “Felicity.”

Her head shoots up instantly. Red rimmed eyes meet his own as she instantly reaches up to her own cheek, wiping the corner of her mouth. “Oliver," she furrows her eyebrows, “what are you doing here? What time is it?”

“It’s just past ten,” he says, disapproval colouring his tone, “and after I missed you at dinner, and your friend said she hadn’t seen you all evening, I got a little worried.”

“Oh,” she responds simply, frowning.

He crosses his arms, really looking at her for the first time.

She looks exhausted.

She squints up at him because her glasses sit on the crown of her head, tucked in hair that is tangled up in a half-undone ponytail. Small pink indents trace on her cheek from where she was resting her head. She shuffles her books around, not noticing the way he traces over her features.

“Sorry,” she says distractedly, “I came down here after class to get some work done, do some research and I guess I lost track of time. I haven’t had a chance to look at your essay yet, but I can do that right now if you just give me, like, half an hour,” she pulls out his assignment from earlier under a stack of books and rubs her eyes, picking up a quill to start going over it.

“Felicity, no,” he reaches over and gently pulls the quill away from her, “that’s not why I came down here.”

She looks up at him again in confusion.

“I’m…” he almost laughs, because how is it not the most obvious thing in the world? “I’m worried about you.”

She frowns. “Why? I’m fine.”

He looks at her crumpled uniform, her tired eyes, and then around the empty library. “Right,” he deadpans, “have you even eaten anything at all today?”

She reaches up to her head and pulls her glasses on her face. “Well I was about to go for dinner, but then I remembered there were a few books I hadn’t looked at yet and I lost track of time and then I just kind of… dozed off.” She winces.

He tries to look at the stack of books and convoluted notes she has sprawled on the desk, “what are you working on anyway?”

She wastes no time in rolling her parchment up and slamming books closed. “Nothing, just a little side project,” she puts an elbow on the table casually to look up at him, effectively covering up the notes, “I had a little mystery I couldn’t quite solve.”

“Uh huh," he says, He doesn’t want to push her too far, but something is obviously going on that makes him worried. He tries a different tactic, “well, get up, you’re clearly not getting anything done here.”

“Excuse me?” she raises her eyebrows, clearly not liking his newly bossy tone.

“You’re falling asleep, you haven’t eaten, and you look exhausted. Whatever you’re working on can wait until tomorrow.” He nudges her shoulder gently again. “Come on.”

Felicity looks up at him with an unreadable expression on her face before she finally relents. She packs up her books carefully, angling her body so Oliver can’t see what she’s researching that is so secretive.

“What now, boss?” she says dryly.

“Food. I have an in at the kitchens and I can get you some dinner.”

“You have… an in with the house elves who make food and never leave the kitchens?” she says.

“Oh yeah,” he’s lying through his teeth, but he responds with playfully fake arrogance anyway, “I’m very connected like that.”

Finally, finally, he gets a genuine smile out of her, and the sight makes him feel like he can fly. “Lead the way, then,” she says simply.

He does manage to snag a little bit of leftovers, not without some sweet talking first.

They sit on the floor of the empty Entrance Hall, and as he watches her eat Oliver wonders how much he can pry.

“So,” he finally says in between bites of a bread roll (Felicity has long since admitted she can’t finish all the food he managed to gather), “want to tell me what had you dozing off in the library?”

He looks up at her expectantly.

She frowns and brushes a loose strand of hair back. “Just been a few things going on lately, keeping me busy.”

“Looked like more than just a few things.” He remarks as he brushes a crumb off the corner of his mouth.

She closes her eyes for a second, and Oliver can see the internal debate flit across her face. When she opens them again, she looks younger than she ever has. “I haven’t been sleeping well lately. And school stuff has been keeping me busy that I can’t catch up during the day.”

He frowns. “Why can’t you sleep well? Are you stressed?”

“Um… yes?” she looks at him sheepishly, “Not exactly. I mean, that’s not all of it. I’ve been having these dreams.”

“Dreams?”

“I guess the technical term would be nightmares…” she fiddles with a loose thread on her sleeve, “but it sounds so embarrassing to say, right? Can’t sleep cause of my bad dreams.” She tries to laugh, but it rings hollow to both of them.

“That’s not embarrassing, Felicity, it’s human.”

She stares at the floor pensively. “Maybe,” she says quietly, “anyway, that’s why I was at the library. Trying to see if I could make sense of all the dreams I’ve been having. Most Muggles think dreams don’t have much meaning, but my mom was always big on superstition and dream interpretation so… I don’t know. I wanted to look into it. Wizard theories are conflicting, but there’s a lot of literature on meaning that I got carried away with.”

She pauses her ramble to reach into her bag, pulling out several books and a mess of parchment before finding what she needs. A plain white envelope, nondescript and only slightly crumpled from its place before, turns over in between her fingers.

“The person I was seeing in the dreams, the person who was trying to tell me something, seemed familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it until a few days ago, but I had to be sure.”

She talks slowly, almost as if to herself and not to Oliver. He gently calls her name to remind her he’s there. “Felicity?”

When she does look up at him again, her eyes glisten. “I told you I never really knew my father, right?”

He nods.

“He left when I was pretty young. I don’t have any strong memories of him. But this person… looked a little like him, I think, just older. But I couldn’t be sure, so I asked my mother to send a picture.”

She holds the envelope up.

“Got this delivered during lunch. Takes a long time to get something from a Muggle in Las Vegas to a magical castle in the Highlands but we make it work.”

“It’s still sealed,” Oliver observes.

Felicity nods. “Once I open it I’ll get my answer, and I don’t know which outcome freaks me out more.”

She gives a sad smile. “What do you think I should do?”

Oliver looks at her tired eyes again, her half-eaten plate from a lack of appetite. He thinks back to the way he found her curled into her desk in the library earlier, exhausted.

“I think not knowing will stress you out more, Felicity. At least with this you’ll start to get some answers.” She looks at him carefully, and nods with a bit of determination he hasn’t seen in her for days.

“You’re right.” She tucks the letter inside her bag again – which is unsurprising, she probably wants to do that alone – and shakes her head out a little. “Let’s talk about something else, please. All our conversations get so heavy.”

Oliver tries to fight a smile and fails. “Guess we just bring that out in each other.” He sits up straighter. “Okay… How is your mom otherwise? It must be pretty hard talking when she lives so far away.”

She smiles. “She’s fine. We miss each other, but she’s happy for me out here. The only time it sucks is around the holidays, I think.”

“I can’t imagine,” he says softly. He’d always taken advantage of how frequently he could see his mother even in the school year.

She shrugs, “it’s not too bad,” she waves her hands around the empty Entrance Hall. “I love it here. There’s no other place in the world I can imagine being.”

He follows her eye line, trying to look at the hall in the eyes of Felicity Smoak, and finds a new appreciation for the castle.

“I mean,” her voice recovers some of its lightness, “there’s certainly some things I could live without.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Like what?”

“It’s always cold here. And I can certainly do without the staircase moving around.” She grumbles and he bursts out laughing.

“What?”

She shrugs defensively, “It’s a safety hazard, honestly. I’m always scared one day I’ll just,” she raises her hand and lets it slide down, “ y’know .”

Oliver’s still laughing. “You know they warn you before they move, right?”

“What?”

“They shake a little so students know to move in time.” He says with a grin, feeling oddly smug that he finally knows something before Felicity.

“Huh,” she says thoughtfully, “good to know. What about you? What’s the one thing about this place you can’t stand?”

He puts a finger on his chin and thinks for a moment, “I could do without the ghosts,” he answers carefully.

It makes her laugh, properly laugh, for the first time all evening and Oliver finds he can’t look away. Her entire face lights up as her lips spread out widely. Her dimples stretch down her cheeks as she throws her head back. “The ghosts, Oliver, really?”

He shrugs, feeling oddly defensive himself. “They’re just not natural. They freak me out. Swooping in and talking to me in the Great Hall while I’m eating and ruin my appetite.” He shudders.

“Who would have thought,” she tries to suppress another giggle, “that the one thing that freaks Oliver Queen out is ghosts of all things.”

He grins back at her, watching carefully as her laugh turns into a yawn.

“Alright,” he gets up and offers an arm down to help her up. “Let’s get you to sleep. I can’t have you falling asleep all over the place on me like this, Smoak.”

She brushes off her pants. “Maybe it’s all these late-night heart-to-hearts we keep having,” she remarks.

Oliver tries very hard to not focus on how close they’ve gotten now that they’re standing. “Maybe we just bring that out in each other.”

They walk in the direction of Ravenclaw tower, ignoring the suddenly thick air around them.

When they reach, the bronze eagle that sits on the door speaks.

Tear off one and scratch its head. What’s once was red is now black instead.”

Oliver furrows his eyebrows for a moment, before Felicity answers, sounding bored.

“Mmm… a matchstick?”

The door swings open.

Oliver looks at her, impressed. “I’ve always wondered,” he says, hit with a strange desire to prolong their time together. “What do you Ravenclaws do if you can’t figure a riddle out or you’re too tired or something?”

“You hope someone else will show up and help you.” Felicity raises an eyebrow and lifts a corner of her mouth. “Of course, I wouldn’t know.”

He chuckles. “Of course.”

She looks through the dark room behind the open door and furrows her eyebrows before turning back. “Oliver?” she asks, her voice suddenly uncertain.

“Yeah?” he breathes.

She hesitates before reaching her arms up and throwing them around his neck.

“Thanks,” she whispers.

He’s caught off guard at the closeness, but pulls her in closer. “Always.”

She pulls away and gives a shy smile before walking into her common room.

As he watches her walk away, his chest feeling warm, Oliver realizes the way he cares about his friend Felicity Smoak might be worse than he thought.


 

When Felicity goes into her room, all her roommates are fast asleep. She draws the curtains and lights the tip of her wand with a dim blue-ish glow.

She reaches into her bag and pulls the envelope out, not hesitating before tearing the side and pushing a letter onto her bed.

The note her mother leaves her is short, asking how she is and why she needed the photograph in the first place. She pushes it to the side, knowing she’ll deal with those questions once she has her answers herself.

Breathing heavily, she finds a small square photograph and gasps.

The gray hair she saw in her dreams is different, a light brown in these photographs.

The face has less lines tracing down the cheekbones and across the forehead, but the features are the almost identical.

The blue eyes that look up at her are the same.

The longer she looks, searching for any nuance that could suggest otherwise, Felicity comes to one conclusion.

It is her father coming to her in her dreams, older than she remembers, but undeniably the same.

The question is, what is he trying to tell her?

Chapter Text

When Felicity is asked about it – at length – later, she shrugs and says, “it just kind of happened.”

And, well, it’s true.

One minute, she’s walking with Oliver out of their class, laughing at how he spilled his potion all over their station and ruined her robes (he apologized profusely, and even draped his own over her shoulders so that she could avoid being caught for a uniform violation).

The next, Oliver brings up going to Hogsmeade, the village just outside Hogwarts, for the weekend and asks if she wants to go.

She doesn’t think twice about saying yes, as she desperately needs a break from the castle.

The past few weeks have been something, to say the least.

After weeks of losing sleep because of her strange recurring dreams, once Felicity finally had her answer in the form of one grainy photo, the dreams stopped altogether.

It left Felicity even more confused than before.=

It definitely was her father coming in the strange nightmares, talking to her with a voice that sounded like it was through a sheet of glass. However, he was far older than she had ever remembered or had seen in photographs.

All theories around what that could possibly mean – coming from weeks of extensive research – ended up being for nothing anyway.

Now all she is, is tired, overworked and confused.

Ergo, break from the castle. Hogsmeade with Oliver.

She can’t tell her three roommates any of this, however, as they eagerly shower her with questions.

“So, it’s like a date?” one pesters.

“No,” Felicity laughs, because the very thought is ridiculous. “Not at all. He just said he needed to pick up a few things for quidditch and I wanted to get some air.” She shrugs, throwing a scarf around her neck.

Another looks disappointed. “Too bad.” She sinks into Felicity’s bed and looks up thoughtfully. “Although, maybe not. He’s been all weird this year.”

Felicity freezes and frowns. “What do you mean?” she tries to ask casually.

Her roommate grabs a book and begins flipping through it idly. “I don’t know. He’s just different. He was, like, social and stuff. Now he barely talks to anyone. He’s all uptight and boring.”

Strangely, Felicity feels indignation rise in her throat. He’s plenty social! He talks to her every day they have class together and most days they don’t, he’d seek her out to spend time with her.

“I didn’t notice,” she says, crossing her arms almost defensively.

Her roommate shrugs, clearly having lost interest in this conversation.

When two other girls walk in, asking what they’re talking about, Felicity has to gather her things with more urgency than she would have liked.

It’s not gone unnoticed by the school that Oliver Queen has steadily grown closer to Felicity. Not that anyone says anything particularly nasty to her, Felicity has noticed an increase of curious questions and her roommates taking a renewed interest in her.

What she hadn’t considered is that the Oliver she’s gotten close to is a far cry from the one others knew him as.

It matters little to her, since she likes the one she knows just fine.

She finds Oliver waiting for her by the entrance hall, an easygoing smile on his face.

She tries to look at him through different eyes, according to what her roommate was saying earlier. He certainly doesn’t look uptight to her now, but relaxed. A gray sweater and jeans replace his usual uniform as he leans on the wall with his hands tucked into his pockets.

“Hey,” he pushes off the wall, his smile growing, “ready to go?”

She gives a little sigh. “More than you know.” He tilts his head to the side and she just shakes her head. “Just been one of those mornings. Let’s get out of here.”

It snowed a bit overnight, which makes the walk up to the village a little more than the peaceful, mind clearing stroll that she had in mind, but it’s still fun with Oliver. She tries not to let the conversation from earlier affect the way she sees him, but it’s hard not to.

She’s wrong. Dead wrong, Felicity decides. Oliver has no trouble joking with her and talking about his own morning as they browse through a shop for him to buy new gloves for an upcoming quidditch game.

He groans good naturedly when she says she’s never gone to a game – “Seriously, Felicity? Six years here and not one?” – and insists that next time he plays she has to watch.

Being around him is fun. And easy. The stress from the school year and the mysterious dreams from her father melt away when she’s around him.

She steers him away from the sports equipment and convinces him to help her restore the junk food stock she keeps under her bed. He frowns, lightly chastising her on all her unhealthy choices.

“I’m not saying you can keep fruits there, that would be a bad idea,” he says as they exit Honeydukes , the sweet shop in the village, “I’m just saying you don’t need three boxes of chocolate to survive until the holidays.”

“That’s what you think, Oliver,” she pushes past a small pile of snow at her ankles. “but I do need them. And I could certainly do without that judge-y face.” She points a finger at his nose, which he scrunches in response.

He opens his mouth to comment – or further argue for healthy choices again, no doubt – but another voice breaks their conversation up.

“Hey, Queen!”

They both turn to see someone Felicity doesn’t immediately recognize walking up to them. She assumes he’s in Oliver’s year and house, although without uniforms it’s hard to tell. Next to her, Oliver tenses.

“Hi, Davis.”

Davis strides over with a grin that makes Felicity uncomfortable and gives Oliver a clap on the back. “I feel like I don’t see you anywhere anymore, man.”

Oliver’s hands slide into his pockets and he kicks the ground under him. “Yeah, I’ve been around. Busy with school stuff.”

The other boy laughs, and Felicity fails to see what exactly is so funny that makes him guffaw on the street like this.

“Right,” he says once he catches his breath, his eyes sliding to Felicity briefly, “so busy. We never see you anymore. I feel like if I want to know what’s going on with you these days I need to read The Daily Prophet .”

Oliver takes a small step away from the shop door, putting himself between Felicity and Davis, she notices, and shrugs tightly. “I think we both know that stuff is hardly accurate, Alex.”

“Right, right,” Alex nods thoughtfully, “they were saying you killed your dad.”

Oliver’s jaw clenches. “Those were rumors that got struck down pretty quickly,” he says evenly.

“I know,” Alex raises his arms defensively, keeping a frustratingly cool grin on his face, “I know, now they’re moving on to dark magic, ” he drops his voice to a stage whisper at the two words.

“Pretty hilarious, right? I mean, imagine Hogwarts’ golden boy tainted by the dark like that.”

Felicity doesn’t like where this conversation is headed, and she can see by his face that Oliver is barely holding his patience together. She looks down to the sleeve of his sweater and can see the tip of his wand peeking out, ready just in case.

“That’s when I knew for sure you weren’t involved, you know?” Alex continues, raising a hand to point at Felicity. “I mean, If it was all this dark magic shit, you wouldn’t be hanging out with a Mudblood every chance you get –“

“You watch your fucking mouth,” Oliver says, his voice so low it almost sounds like a growl, his wand sliding out of his sweater and being raised to Alex’s chest.

The other boy looks unbothered, ignoring Oliver as he steps into his space. “Although, I’m sorry, we don’t know if you’re a Mudblood, do we, Smoak? Your father walked out before he could let you know.”

Felicity is too shocked to respond, her ears growing hot as a few other people on the street turn and look at his words.

Oliver charges forward with his wand raised, poised to aim it at Davis’ throat. Felicity has to force her shock away to grab his arm and drag him back.

“Oliver,” she says quietly, her throat feeling oddly tight as she looks around to see people giving them looks she doesn’t know how to place. “Oliver, come on. It’s not worth it. Walk with me, come on.”

She finds an old empty shop, pushing past the ‘for lease’ sign and forces the door open.

Oliver gives up resisting and follows her without much protest eventually. When they enter the space, he starts pacing.

“I can’t believe he talked to you like that,” he rants, “who even says that stuff anymore? Nobody’s used that word in twenty years.”

She lets him expel some energy, watching him with crossed arms as he walks back and forth.

“Way out of line,” he continues, “I could deal with what he said about me but when he talked to you –“  he breaks off and shakes his head.

“You need to relax, Oliver, I’m fine.” She puts her hand on his shoulder soothingly and urges him to sit down on a dusty bench.

“How are you not angry?” he fumes, looking up at her.

“I am,” she responds calmly, though her insides feel anything but calm, “but I also know that getting mad and doing something stupid like hexing wouldn’t be helpful here.”

“So, you’d have just let him talk to you like that if I wasn’t there?” he snaps.

She drops her hand from his arm and steps back.

“You know I wouldn’t, Oliver,” she says angrily. His eyes drop in shame as he realizes what he’s said. “I just know better than to pick a fight in the middle of the street like that.”

“You’re right,” he says quietly, head still lowered, “I’m sorry.”

She rubs her eyes behind her glasses tiredly. “It’s fine.”

“Has anyone…” he looks up at her again, looking apprehensive. “Has that happened to you before? Where someone said that?”

She shakes her head. “No, it’s like you said, no one uses words like that anymore.”

He reaches over and tugs on her arm, forcing her to sit next to him.

They don’t say anything, just press their shoulders tightly together.

“That worries me,” Oliver reveals after a few minutes. “That no one has said things like that since the war ended but now he’s just…” he breaks off to shake his head irately. “I don’t like it. You should tell a teacher or something, Felicity.”

She immediately shakes her head and pulls back. “No way,” she hugs her arms tight around her torso. “That’s just asking for a whole lot of unnecessary attention. I’d rather just drop it.”

He opens his mouth to argue more but ultimately decides against it.

“I think I’ve had enough of this place, how about you?” he nudges her gently, forcing some lightness into his voice.

“Definitely.”

He holds his arm out to help her walk through the snow, and neither of them realize they stay silently wrapped together until they part ways at her room.

Chapter Text

For a while, things calm down. Oliver lets his guard down and relaxes a bit, enjoying the school year as it creeps closer into the holidays.

He should have known it  wouldn’t last.

The news comes to him at the same time as it does every other student – early in the morning, when he sleepily eats his breakfast as The Daily Prophet gets delivered.

The headline and image of his father feel like a slap that jars him awake.

The paper says it’s an exclusive, delivered by an anonymous source. Oliver doesn’t even want to think about who went around telling this story.

There are  photographs, stolen pieces of the reports from the Ministry’s ongoing investigation and evidence from twenty years ago that spell out one conclusion: a dark wizard did kill Robert Queen.

It’s not new information for Oliver -- he always knew the authorities had their suspicions, but was asked to keep quiet on it for “obvious reasons.”

Reasons Oliver fails to see now, because if they were trying to prevent worry, they failed miserably. He notes this as he looks up from the paper to briefly scan the student body around him, watching as everyone’s eyes widen in horror as their eyes catch the headlines.

Whispers spring up instead of the usual chatter that occurs over breakfast, and when eyes start to point to him Oliver returns to the article.  

Continued on page 3 is a moving photograph of a mourning Queen family, Moira and Thea’s eyes downcast as Oliver’s own glare at the photographer, his lips moving silently in a string of curses.

He remembers that day. Just after the funeral, when they tried to return home, exhausted and grieving, reporters assaulted them with questions. It distressed his mother and frightened his sister, which Oliver recalls being incensed by. The photo doesn’t show the way his mother grabbed his arm as he moved forward and tiredly asked him to step back and not cause any trouble.

It’d been a few months, and he’d almost forgotten. The place he was last summer was a bad one, filled with misplaced anger, grief, and frustration he was ready to expel at any moment, like in these captured moments after his father’s funeral.

It had so easily melted away at his time in Hogwarts, and Oliver briefly wonders if he should feel ashamed by it. The anger comes and goes now, only showing face in rare moments, like the incident at Hogsmeade a few days ago.

He stares hard at the newsprint in front of him, until the words blur out. He doesn’t need to read the rest of the article to know that, thanks to this “exclusive”, the Wizarding community will ask a dozen more questions, most of which will attack his father’s character in a way he doesn’t deserve in death.

Eventually, when he can hear the papers rustling around him as students lose interest and move on to topics that concern themselves instead of him, he looks up again and returns to his breakfast. The toast he was eating feels dry and hard to swallow now so he tosses it back in his plate, pushing off the bench.

There’s still time before class, so Oliver decides walking along the bridge to clear his head might do him some good. He feels wound up and cagey as eyes and new whispers follow him out the Great Hall and in the hallways outside of it.

He finds Tommy walking for breakfast on his way out, looking unsure of himself.

Oliver doesn’t bother with a greeting.

“So, I guess you heard,” he wagers from the look on his friend’s face.

Tommy nods. “Yeah. Are you okay?”

Oliver tries not to laugh at the question. “Fine. Just fine.”

“Do you really think… what they’re saying, is it true?” Tommy’s eyes knit together, and he looks years younger.

“Yeah, looks like it,” Oliver answers simply.

“But that’s… what would your dad be doing getting mixed up with dark magic?” his friend asks.

Oliver’s eyes slide shut. The question has crossed his mind more than once, and he tries to push it away each time. Whatever the answer, he’s certain he wouldn’t like to know, and it hardly matters to him now. His father is already gone, anything that would suggest he was a criminal and taint his memory like that is unthinkable to Oliver.

“I don’t know, Tommy,” he answers tiredly. “It’s not my job to know. And it doesn’t matter to me. He’s still gone.”

Tommy gestures to the bench that overlooks the landscape. Oliver sits down.

“We never really got to talk about it,” Tommy says, looking at his hands, “I was gone all summer, traveling, and I couldn’t be back until right before school started. I missed the funeral. I missed all the shit that happened after. I wasn’t really there for you.”

“Tommy,” Oliver rubs his eyes, not wanting to hear any of it. With a friendship as long as theirs, apologies were unnecessary.

“No, let me, Oliver,” he continues, “I never got a chance to ask you if you’re okay with everything that’s been going on. And what happened just now, that can’t be easy, can it?”

“No, it isn’t,” Oliver admits, “but really, it’s okay.”

“It’s not that I didn’t want to ,” Tommy presses on, and Oliver isn’t sure his friend heard him, “but you seemed like you were getting better. You were happy. Well, happy when you were with –“

Tommy breaks off, and looks at Oliver with an expression he can’t quite place.

“With…?”

Tommy gives a sheepish smile. “With Felicity,” he says reluctantly.

Oliver pauses, unsure of how to react. His first instinct is to deny, but it’s quickly replaced by the realization that Tommy might be right. Just mentioning her name makes Oliver want to smile, strangely enough. He doesn’t know what to make of that reaction but he knows it surely can’t be good.

As his confusion no doubt crosses over his face, Tommy’s guilty expression of before wipes off, a small smirk falling in its place.

“I never have gotten a chance to ask about that, either,” he says, raising his eyebrows.

“Ask about what?” Oliver asks gruffly, knowing he’s just stalling the inevitable.

Felicity, ” Tommy stretches her name out suggestively in a way that makes Oliver shift uncomfortably in his seat, “what is going on there?”

“Nothing.” Oliver crosses his arms. “We’re friends.”

“Friends,” Tommy repeats flatly. “Right, is that what they call it now?”

Oliver rolls his eyes. “Shove it. I’m telling the truth.”

“Sure you are,” Tommy nods sarcastically, “that’s why everyone’s always talking about you spending your free time all curled up and whispering with your other friends.

Oliver tries hard to ignore the curled up comment, (because really, what the hell does that mean?) and instead tries to deflect. He forces a smile that feels as weak as it probably is, “since when are you such a gossip, Merlyn?”

“Since it involves my best friend who won’t tell me a thing,” Tommy leans forward, eyes twinkling.

Oliver shoves him away and get up, “like I said, there’s nothing to tell. I’m going to class.”

“You can run but you can’t hide, buddy!” his friend calls out after him. Oliver shakes his head and laughs, feeling some of the tension from earlier ebb away as he walks to class.


The little break from reality with his friend ends up being just that – a break. Because when classes start, the fearful, pitying looks of the students around him return. In Charms class, nobody even wants to sit next to him, which is ridiculous, if not just a touch hurtful. But he’s a big boy, he can handle it.

In Potions, Felicity doesn’t breathe a word of it, only her brief worried glances give away the fact that she knows. But she tries her best to keep their conversation light and distract him from the whispers behind his back.

He appreciates it.

He doesn’t quite realize how distracted he is until later in the afternoon, when he tries to lead quidditch practice with half his team giving him strange looks. He almost slips off his broom trying to set up a play when his mind wanders to his father again while up in the air.

He flies down sheepishly, and tells the team they can cut practice short today, that there’s still plenty of time before their game against Hufflepuff.

Likely after seeing the exhaustion on his face, everyone goes to change out of their gear with no comments, and Oliver goes to his room by seven.

Things really take a turn for the worse the very next day, however.

Oliver’s eating breakfast with Felicity, going over key points for an upcoming Potions test. He leans over her arm to look at her carefully crafted notes, his cheek brushing against her hair.

Thea comes rushing over. Her hair looks rumpled and the makeup she lines her eyes with runs in black clouds on her skin.

Oliver immediately straightens, pulling his arm away from Felicity. The look on his sister’s face makes him assume the worst. When she speaks, he finds he’s right.

“Ollie,” her voice cracks and her hands shake as they fall to her mouth, “it’s Mom, we have to go.”


The next hour or so passes in something of a haze for Oliver.

He remembers taking Thea’s hand, letting her lead him to the Headmaster’s office.

Waller waits by the fireplace, and explains that his mother is in the hospital, and they need to go now.

It must be serious, Oliver thinks detachedly as they step into the green fire of the Floo network, which transports them into the lobby of St. Mungo’s Hospital. It must be serious, he thinks absently, if they’re being pulled from school. He feels oddly numb as the gravity of the situation floats around him, but never quite hitting him.

It might be their name, or the fact that Oliver and Thea are very much two kids standing in the middle of the space looking utterly lost, but they’re quickly swept up to the fourth floor and pushed down on a set of uncomfortable plastic chairs.

From there, they’re forced to wait, trying to catch the eyes of any healers or nurses that walk by, but Oliver can tell they’re being pointedly ignored.

A frazzled looking Healer comes out to find them after thirty minutes of waiting, and Oliver’s feeling murderous. The feeling must translate into his gaze, because the Healer almost shrinks back when he approaches the Queen siblings.

“What the hell is going on,” Oliver thunders as he stands up. “where’s my mother? What happened? We were pulled from school and nobody will tell us a damn thing and I need answers RIGHT now.”

The Healer, whose tag reads Finnegan, raises his arms almost defensively, “Mrs. Queen is doing well. We had a good team of healers working on her and she’s in a much more stable condition now, she’s resting. You can see her but I suggest you let her rest.”

He speaks almost calmly, and Oliver almost feels bad for blowing up until he remembers nobody has told them what the fuck happened to her that landed her in the hospital at all.

“What. Happened,” he grits out.

The healer opens and closes his mouth almost awkwardly, “all I can disclose is that she was found in her home with apparent jinx symptoms. I think it’d be better if she explained the details of it. Someone from the Ministry will be over soon to ask her some questions.”

He walks off without another word, and Oliver feels the ire inside of him build. He clenches his fist, ready to march off to find that healer and give him a piece of his mind about delivering information, until a small sound breaks him out of his thoughts.

“Ollie?”

It’s Thea. She’s still seated on the chair, looking up at him with wide, watery eyes.

It’s moments like this that Oliver is reminded how much of a kid Thea still is. When the personality that seems larger than life is stripped away, it’s replaced with fear and confusion, her innocence being chipped at far sooner than Oliver would have ever liked.

He steps forward instantly and wraps an arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay, Speedy,” he whispers into her hair. Her skinny, gangly arms wrap around his waist. “You heard him, Mom’s fine. She’s okay. We can go see her right now, if you want.”

He feels her nod against him. When she gets up, her head is down and he hears just one sniffle before she looks up, her eyes clear and hard. Oliver sees so much of their mother in that moment it almost makes him pause.

“Let’s go,” she says simply.

It’s ridiculous and impossible and so unbelievably Moira Queen-esque that when they enter their room, they find their mother looking perfectly put together. She’s half sitting up on the bed, blonde hair in careful waves and her eyes closed.

Oliver can tell she isn’t sleeping by the way she twitches when he closes the door behind him.

He hovers by the entrance, but Thea walks straight to the bed their mother lies in.

“Mom?” Her voice cracks as she reaches out for Moira’s hand. Oliver finds himself watching, holding his breath as their mother opens her eyes and squeezes Thea’s hand.

“Thea,” Moira responds. Her voice is raspy as she sits up on the bed. “Don’t cry, baby. I’m okay. I’m right here.”

Moira strokes the young girl’s hair until she eventually falls to the bed, her body shaking in sobs. “I was so scared, Mom,” she gasps out, “they wouldn’t tell us what was going on.”

“Shh,” their mother brings her in closer, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”

Her head turns to Oliver, and her eyes are almost accusatory as she looks at him. The gaze sets Oliver’s teeth on edge for a reason he can’t name.

She gestures for him to come forward, and it makes him realize that he’s been glued to the spot against the wall as Thea broke down.

Hesitantly, he walks forward and sits down on the other side of the hospital bed.

Moira reaches out with her other hand and Oliver takes it.

“I’m glad you’re okay, Mom,” he says quietly.

Thea lifts her head from her mother’s arm and wipes her eyes. “What happened, anyway? They wouldn’t tell us why you got hurt.”

Moira pauses, and gives Oliver that knowing look again.

“Thea…” she says hesitantly, “there’s something we haven’t been telling you.”

Thea’s eyes flicker to Oliver.

We?”

Their mother shifts again. “Yes.”

Thea leans away from the bed, crossing her arms around her stomach. “Okay…”

“Ever since your father died… I had been receiving strange letters to our home. Threats, specifically, to our family. Untraceable in every way. I told Oliver of them so that he could keep watch over the two of you at Hogwarts,” Thea’s eyebrows shoot up at her older brother, “but after The Daily Prophet article broke about dark magic in your father’s death…”

She stops suddenly, rubbing her arm back and forth.

“What?” Oliver finally says.

Moira looks at him with regret in her eyes.

“I should have been more careful,” she says quietly, “I was careless, opening all of the mail over breakfast without another thought. But it had been a week since the last letter… I had gotten comfortable. That was my mistake.”

“Mom?” Thea asks breathlessly.

Moira looks off now, Oliver isn’t sure if she’s with them or in their dining room back at home, reliving the moment.

“It was unmarked, but I thought I could open it and hand it over to the investigators on my way to work. When I did, there were no words on the page. It was blank. I should have known,” she shakes her head. “There must have been a jinx on the page, or the envelope, that responded to my touch. The next thing I felt was pain, white hot pain, before I was flying across the dining room.”

Oliver tries hard to swallow the lump in his throat.

“I don’t know how I was found. I must have gotten lucky. But I was, and the important thing is now, I’m okay,” Moira finally concludes, reaching out to take Thea’s hand once more, but the young girl pulling back before she can.

“When were you guys going to tell me?” Thea asks.

“Thea?” their mother furrows her eyebrows.

“The two of you knew about this… dangerous thing hanging over all of our heads… and you just weren’t going to tell me? If Mom didn’t get hurt would I have ever found out?”

Oliver’s eyes slide shut as he rubs his temple. This is exactly what he was afraid of.

“Darling, it was more complicated than that. I didn’t want to burden you after everything you’ve been through,” Moira tries to reach forward once again, but it’s far too late. Oliver watches as his sister shuts down.

A Healer Oliver doesn’t recognize interrupts their conversation, entering the room quietly.

He looks at Oliver, “Mr. Queen? Mind if we have a few words outside?”

Oliver looks back at his mother and sister. Thea stares off into the window stubbornly and Moira leans back in her bed, resigned.

There’s little he can do in here.

“Sure,” he says, rising from his chair, and following the Healer out the door.

The healer, whose tag reads Thomas, holds a thick roll of parchment in his hand.

“I’m speaking to you because I was told you’re of age, is that correct?” he asks.

Oliver nods. “Yes, I turned seventeen earlier this year.”

“Perfect. I just had to clarify before telling you this.”

He unfurls and hands the parchment to Oliver, who skims through the legal jargon quietly.

“I don’t understand,” Oliver mutters.

“You’ll need to sign this in order to clear the hospital of any liability should anything happen to Mrs. Queen,” the healer explains, and the words send Oliver’s mind into a frenzy.

“But I thought she was better now,” he says, the parchment in his hand starting to tremble.

Dr. Thomas takes a deep breath, looking oddly caught. “She is,” he says carefully, “but the jinx that letter held was a special brand of dark magic we haven’t encountered in years. That means we’ll have to keep her for a few extra days to observe, just in case any lingering side effects come unexpectedly.”

Oliver stares at his shoes, feeling oddly numb.

“Son,” the healer places a hand on Oliver’s shoulder, but it only ratchets up his frustration, “you should consider yourself very lucky. We came very close to losing her, and that’s why we want to make sure nothing else happens.”

“Fine,” Oliver says hoarsely, “I’ll sign the stupid thing.”

When he does scratch his name across the page, he feels like a part of himself goes with it, but he pushes that feeling down.

Instead, he returns to his mother’s room to see mother and daughter still at odds, looking at opposite sides of the room in silence.

He takes his seat from before and sighs.

This was going to be a long day.        


By the time they return to the castle, it’s past nine.

When Oliver tries to ask Thea if she wants dinner, all she does is curtly shake her head.

They walk in silence back to the Slytherin common room. After today, there’s no way he’d let her walk back alone.

By the time they reach the door, she’s about to enter without another word but Oliver puts a hand on her shoulder gently.

“Thea,” he says quietly. His voice sounds as defeated as he feels. He can’t bring himself to pretend otherwise anymore – he’s tired.

“Ollie, listen, I’m not in the mood –“

“Just let me say this,” he urges.

Her arms stay crossed, but she listens.

“I don’t know what I’m doing here. There’s not map for this. No instructions. I’m lost most of the time, half drowned in worry over you and hoping I’m always doing the right thing. Being a good son, a good friend, a good brother. I’m trying. And sometimes, I mess up. Maybe I shouldn’t have listened to mom. But Thea, I’m just as angry and scared as you might feel. And right now, we just have each other. Don’t shut me out over this. Please.”

She looks at him for a long time, her glassy eyes looking conflicted as he speaks. She takes a deep shaky breath and nods.

“It’s been a long day,” she croaks, putting her hand over his own on her shoulder. “We can talk properly tomorrow.”

He lets out a sigh he didn’t realize he was holding in and nods, leaning in to give her a quick one-armed hug.

He trudges to the Gryffindor common room slowly, the events of the day seeping into his bones with every step. He wants nothing more than to sleep, and put this awful nightmare behind him. He knows tomorrow will bring its own set of issues, but doesn’t quite have the strength to worry about that right now.

He expects to see the hallways mostly empty, given that it’s a weeknight and everyone generally turns in early. What he doesn’t expect is the blonde head tipped over in a book, waiting by the Gryffindor common room’s entrance.

“Felicity?”

Her head shoots up as she pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose. Without hesitation, she slams her book shut and jumps to her feet.

“Oliver, hey,” she twists her fingers together.

“What are you doing here… sitting on the floor?” he asks. He has a feeling he knows the answer, but the idea makes him feel warm in a way he doesn’t want to place just yet.

“I was – well, when you and Thea ran off at breakfast today, and didn’t come back at all – I got worried. And I wanted to wait up and make sure you were okay.”

She says it simply, pursing her pink lips together in a half smile as though it’s the most logical course of action she could have taken.

The corner of his lips twitch without his permission.

“You waited for me?” he repeats, hating the way his voice rises an octave.

She blushes, shoving a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

“Well… yeah. I heard your mother was in the hospital and I wanted to make sure everything was fine. Is she okay now?”

Immediately, his climbing mood drops.

“So does that mean…” he sighs, feeling strangely irritated, “everyone knows, then?”

Felicity’s eyes widen, “No! Well, not yet. They’ll probably find out tomorrow,” she says with a wince. “I just happened to overhear.”

He raises an eyebrow.

“Well, more like I hung out outside the Headmaster’s office and heard her tell your professors why you wouldn’t be in class today.” She admits awkwardly, her cheeks growing redder as she speaks.

Despite himself, he laughs.

Like, harder than is probably appropriate.

He laughs until he doubles over, resting his hands on his knees in the middle of the hall outside Gryffindor tower.

He laughs until tears spring in his eyes, and then the laughter stops altogether when he realizes this is the first time he’s cried all day. When the water starts streaming down his cheeks, his laughter turns to choked gasps.

Felicity reaches out immediately when she notices, placing her hands on his arms.

“Oliver?” she asks, concern colouring her voice.

He looks down at her blurry form and feels as small as dust. “I could have lost her.” He finally says.

He wipes at his face, but somehow the tears kept coming. “That’s what they told me, you know.” He continues. “My mother could have died today. My sister and I would have been orphans. Now, my mother is alive and pretending everything is fine and Thea won’t talk to me. And I have to keep it together like everything doesn’t feel like it’ll fall to shit at any moment when it will. It will and I don’t know – I don’t know how to handle it alone. I’m not – I’m not equipped for all of this – Felicity, I –”  

He breaks off again, this time a louder and much more embarrassing sob escapes and he has to cover his mouth to try and keep this in.

Felicity herself stays silent as he blows up, rubbing her arms quietly and letting him expel all the emotions that built up over the day – no, over the past few months.

“Nobody should expect you to be equipped for this, Oliver,” she finally says soothingly, one hand falling to his cheek to make him look at her. “You’re seventeen, barely of age. You have a dozen other things going on right now. The kind of things you have to deal with are things that are just other people’s worst nightmares,” he leans into her touch, steadying out his breathing so it comes out less ragged.

“But if anyone can handle all of this, it’s you,” she says firmly. “I know you’ll be able to come out the other end with your family together, because you are one of the strongest people that I know.”

He manages a half smile, brushing his own finger down her cheek, “I just take my lead from people around me.” He responds, his voice dropping as he does in hopes that she’ll understand what he means.

She looks up at him from her lashes, her mouth opening in the smallest ‘O’ shape when she realizes what he means.

Instead of responding, she leans up to throw her arms around him, pressing her head against his chest.

When she leans back, her eyes shine in the light. “By the way,” she whispers, “you were wrong. You’re not alone.”

Her lips curve into a shy smile, and Oliver feels like the wind has been knocked out of him.

He wants to kiss her, he realizes with a startling amount of clarity as he looks down at her. He wants like he’s never wanted before.

He doesn’t know where the intrusive thought came from, but somewhere between her arms wrapped around him and the way she looks up at him now with unwavering belief makes him realize he’s fallen, hard and fast.

Or maybe it came far sooner than tonight, somewhere between their study sessions and classes, or all the other times she just seems to be there when he needs her.

But right now she’s so close , he can count the dots that spread on her nose and see the light scratches on her glasses. She’s close enough for him to just reach out, gently urge her forward and get what he wants, like he’s never been denied before.

But his hands still shake. His insides still feel like liquid concrete. He’s still exhausted and stressed from the day.

It’s not the right time by any stretch. It would hardly be fair to her, or himself, if he acted on his impulsive, emotionally-fuelled thoughts.

“Thank you for waiting,” he says simply, before he can say anything he might regret. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

She nods, unaffected by the epiphany that turns his world on its axis. She squeezes his arm one last time – making his heart clench in a frustrating way –and walks quietly to her own room.

When Oliver reaches his bed, he collapses with little care for a normal nighttime routine.

His mind swirling with a mix of thoughts and voices from the day, he can only reach one conclusion:

None of this will end well.

Chapter Text

Felicity loves the Gryffindor common room.

It might make her a traitor to her own house, but she doesn’t care.

The Ravenclaw common room has its own perks: it’s airy, and bright, and a makes a great place to study. The armchairs by the windows are always a great place to read, and she feels comfortable.

But there’s just something about the Gryffindor room.

It feels warmer, cozier. While members of her own house tend to be quiet and never let conversation rise above a polite murmur, everyone in Gryffindor is boisterous, energetic. They’re loud without being overly obnoxious, and everyone seems to be friendly with each other.

It’s a kind of camaraderie Felicity isn’t accustomed to, but she absolutely loves it.

Her attitude has nothing to do with Oliver, of course, who is currently leaning his chin down on her shoulder as they attempt to cram for a Potions test while squished together on a brown couch.

Okay, maybe it does just a little.

But that’s only because the way he’s pressed up against her is a little distracting.

She doesn’t comment on it – because, that would be more than mortifying – but instead lets his breath tickle her neck as he asks her questions.

It’s started raining after they got there, which made the common room fill with more and more people as their time went on, and he has to keep her close to make sure he can hear anything at all.

All in all, it’s keeping her slightly distracted, but she can live with it. Partially because she can tell his mind isn’t at all focused on the test tomorrow.

The first giveaway being the way he flinched when a group of third years started giggling loudly.

The second was when someone in his own year loudly announced, “ that’s my sister!” while holding up a letter and photograph. Oliver’s eyes stayed trained on that scene on the other side of the common room for just a second too long, and Felicity takes it as a sign to put her (meticulously designed, if she must say) notes down.

“Still haven’t talked to Thea?” she asks. She assumes that this isn’t something they need to dance around.

Oliver doesn’t bother hiding it either, as he responds, “Nope. She said she was fine, and that she just needs some time, but I don’t know, Felicity… it’s been a week and she’s avoiding me.”

She feels the weight of his head lift off her shoulder as he leans back into the couch and sighs.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to push it, but I hate being on bad terms with her.”

Felicity doesn’t say anything, but just lets the hand that’s on his knee rubs soothing circles up and down.

She tries switching gears. “How’s your mom?”

Oliver scoffs. “The same. She got released from the hospital pretty quick, and now she’s just pretending like nothing happened.” He rolls his eyes and Felicity winces. Maybe not the best subject change, then.

“Just talk to her,” she leans against the chair. The common room is so crowded that their conversation gets drowned out easily. “You can’t focus on anything else, I can see it. Just talk to her once and clear everything up.”

Oliver looks at her for a long time, his eyes searching between hers for a long time.

He looks almost stricken, and when he opens his mouth Felicity worries she’s overstepped.

Instead, the corner of his mouth twitches up.

“I hate it when you’re right,” he grumbles.

She can’t help but laugh.

“Get used to it, buddy.”

He nudges her shoulder gently and turns his attention back to their study notes.


Oliver eventually seeks Thea out a few days after Felicity’s suggestion.

He’s not procrastinating, he just waits for Friday night. After Quidditch practice. And dinner.

He’s not procrastinating.

He manages to find Tommy on his way out of the Slytherin common room after dinner and asks him to get Thea for him.

His friend gives a wince.

“I can try,” Tommy says hesitantly, “but I can’t promise she’ll come out.”

“Did she say anything to you? Is she still mad at me?”

“No, and no,” Tommy shrugs, “it’s more of a ‘angry at the whole world’ thing she has going on. She won’t even hang out with her friends.”

Oliver purses his lips.

“Just call her out here.”

When his sister does come out, her arms are crossed tight around her middle. Her brown hair hangs limp on her face. The black makeup she lines her eyes with is gone.

Instantly, Oliver feels guilty for letting this go on for longer than a day.

“What?” Her voice is flat.

“Hey, Speedy.”

“What is it, Ollie? I have work to do.”

“It’s Friday night.”

She answers with a glare.

“I wanted to talk to you since we left things off a little weird since Mom was in the hospital.”

“I told you,” Thea says in that same flat voice, “it’s fine. I just need some time. If that’s all you came to say….” she pushes off the wall and moves towards the door.

Oliver immediately moves forward to try and block her way.

“It’s been weeks, Thea. I just want to know where we are.”

She throws her hands in the air helplessly. “What do you want me to say, Ollie?”

“Don’t say anything, just let me say this. In here? All we have is each other. It’s you and me. Please don’t shut me out.”

“Okay,” she says quietly.

Oliver’s shoulders sag, and he lets out a breath that feels like it weighed twenty pounds.

“Really?”

“Yeah. Just, promise me one thing?”

“Anything.”

“Next time something like this happens,” Thea says, her eyes piercing, “and I know it will, don’t shut me out, okay?”

Oliver doesn’t hesitate. “I promise.”


Oliver wanders down to breakfast a little later than he would Saturday morning.

In the entrance hall, he catches Felicity on her way from outside.

And she has… certainly seen better days.

It’s been raining all night and all morning, and it shows on her face. Her hair is soaked and sticking to her face, the ends starting to curl as she’s exposed to warm air. She’s out of uniform, in a simple sweater and jeans, but both are damp.

He can tell she’s cold by the way her teeth chatter as she takes a step forward.

“Hey,” he says cautiously, “what’s going on with you this morning?”

She smiles sheepishly. “Not much. I was just out in the greenhouses helping out and I got caught in the rain on my way back inside.”

“You were just spending your Saturday morning helping out?” he teases. “God, Felicity, you are so good it just makes the rest of us look bad.”

She gives a smile that almost looks guilty, but Oliver chalks it up to the cold twisting her features oddly.

“Yeah well,” she wrings her hair out, “some good it did me, now I’m soaked.”

“It’s no big deal, nothing a simple warming charm won’t fix, just do it now before you get sick,” Oliver suggests.

She flashes the strange look again.

“Totally. Um… do you think you can do it for me? I don’t have my wand on me.”

Oliver reaches into his pocket. “Yeah sure I can – wait,” he pauses, looking over her again. “You went out there to help and you didn’t take your wand?”

He furrows his eyebrows. It’s unusual for any wizard to go without their wand, but especially one who would probably need it helping a teacher, unless –

Oh.

Comprehension dawns over Oliver.

“Oh my god, Felicity,” he says, fighting another grin, “were you in detention?”

She flashes him another guilty look.

“Maybe,” she grumbles, “would you please just do the warming charm, I’m freezing here.”

“Right, sorry,” Oliver fights a few more chuckles as he pulls his wand out.

Once she’s dry (and looking a bit happier), Oliver can’t help but press on again.

“So what did you even do?” he follows her into the Great Hall, “stay in the library past hours? Outsmart a professor? Study too hard?”

“Oliver,” she says warningly.

“I’m just curious,” he holds up his hands with a grin, “as to what Felicity Smoak, apple of every teacher’s eye, has to do to get in detention. Really, I always thought I was more trouble out of the two of us.”

She takes a seat at the Ravenclaw table and grabs a plate with more force than necessary.

“If you must know,” she says, staring pointedly at the table, “I got into a fight.”

Oliver’s eyebrows fly up.

He wasn’t really planning to sit down, but he almost falls onto the bench next to her.

“I’m sorry, you did what? ” he has to stop himself from shouting.

Felicity huffs and grabs an orange off the tray.

“I really don’t want to get into it,” she almost whines.

“I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around this.”

“Really, I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it already,” Felicity tucks a stray hair behind her ear, “but it doesn’t matter. Point is, it was stupid and I got in trouble, so it won’t be happening again.”

She tries to push it away, but her words only invite more questions.

“Wait, why would I have heard about it?” Oliver leans forward curiously, “how big was this fight? Did you put someone in the hospital?” he’s only half-joking at this point.

Felicity manages a laugh as she peels the skin off her fruit.

“No, god no,” she says, still looking anywhere but Oliver’s face, “It happened after my Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Someone made a comment I didn’t appreciate.”

“Comment about what?”

Her eyes flash to his with that same expression from before.

“You don’t want to know,” she says darkly..

“Oh trust me, I really, really do.”

“You,” she finally relents. Oliver’s head snaps up, but she continues like he didn’t react, “I mean, kind of. I really didn’t mean to say anything, but we were learning about cursed objects and that prick Bruce Creevey kept making these comments about your mom, and you, and what’s been going on... And I ignored it during class, I swear, but when I was trying to leave and go for lunch, I heard him going on outside and I just—”

She throws a hand in the air.

Oliver clears his throat, which feels oddly tight at her words.

“You what? You hexed him or something?”

“Not exactly,” she winces, “I punched him.”

Well.

If Oliver hadn’t sat down earlier, he would have definitely needed to now.

“I mean,” she continues with a wave of her hand, “tried to punch him is more accurate. Turns out I’m not exactly good at that. Hexing him would have been better, but that might have landed me more than two weekends of detention.”

“I’m sorry I…” Oliver has to force his mouth from hanging open, “you punched him? For me?”

The awe in his voice leaks dangerously into admiration, and Felicity takes notice. Her cheeks turn red and she ducks her head down.

“Don’t make it sound like that,” she mumbles, “it was an impulsive mistake.”

“I’ll say,” Oliver almost snorts uncharacteristically, “weren’t you just lecturing me on picking fights a few weeks ago?”

“That was completely different,” Felicity responds stubbornly.

“Oh, is it?”

“Absolutely,” she shrugs, “I can handle detention, but you wouldn’t even last fifteen minutes.”

Oliver gives an indignant huff, “I’ve had detention a few times before, I could have handled it. But stop trying to change the subject. What exactly did he say that made you so angry?”

Felicity turns the colour of his Gryffindor sweater.

“Really, Oliver, I just want to forget it even happened.”

Oliver notices that she’s starting to look upset, so he leans back and decides to change the subject.

“So, I have a Quidditch match against Hufflepuff tomorrow,” he says conversationally, plucking an apple from the table and taking a loud crunch, “first one of the season.”

“Okay, so?” Felicity asks, though her wary expression gives away that she knows what he’s about to ask next.

“I distinctly remember you promised that next time I had a match you would come to watch,” he says after he finishes chewing.

“Actually,” she says dryly, “I think it was more like you told me I had to come, and I don’t have to do anything.”

“Okay fine, you don’t have to. But I would like you to come watch. Better?”

She nods.

“Much better. I’d be happy to, Oliver.”

“Great,” he grins widely, and when she matches it, Oliver feels his heart swell, “I’ll be the guy flying around in red.”


The morning of his Quidditch match, Oliver makes a deal with himself staring at the mirror in the dressing room.

If they win today, he’s going to walk straight up to Felicity Smoak and ask her out.

It’s risky.

She could say no, and he could lose a friend that’s become very important to him.

But she could say yes.

And he could blame it on the pre-game adrenaline kicking in, but Oliver’s feeling his chances today. He feels good.

It’s why he walks in the dressing room with more of a spring in his step than normal. It’s why his speech before the game starts is delivered with a little more exuberance than the others, and has Gryffindor’s star seeker Barry Allen raising his eyebrows questioningly. Oliver ignores it, mostly because Barry is a little shit, but also because he’s too far in his element to care.

Excitement in the crowd is high when they walk onto the pitch, given that it’s the first game of the year and all the students are itching for an excuse to get away from their books. Oliver looks to the stands and wonders if he’d be able to make out the familiar blonde head that’s been on his mind all morning, but it’s useless. Maybe when he’s up in the air he’ll give it another look.

He barely notices as he shakes the Hufflepuff’s captain’s hand, and it isn’t long before the balls are released and they’re all in the air.

On the stands, Felicity sits uncertainly with a book in her lap. She’s not exactly a sports person, and since she didn’t know what to expect she figured some backup entertainment would do her good.                                                                            

But maybe she wouldn’t tell Oliver that.

It’s really crowded on the Ravenclaw stands, even if their house isn’t playing, which she finds curious. She had kind of hoped that she’d be left alone but instead she’s squeezed tight on the bench between some boisterous boys from her year, who insist on commenting on every play.

Eventually, one of them notice the way she runs her hands up and down the leather spine of her book.

“Did you think you were coming to a picnic, Smoak?” one of them comments, his Scottish accent is thick.

She ignores.

“Shouldn’t you be studying right now for your fancy seventh year course?” he presses on, “I thought you were too good for sports. Or that’s what you told me in fourth year.”

Felicity tunes him out, and instead focuses on Oliver, who happens to fly past the Ravenclaw stands. She perks up just a bit reflexively, but remembers that he’s likely too focused on his game to notice her.

Which is fine.

Though she prides herself on her knowledge and wit, Felicity is quite ashamed to admit that she doesn’t know a single thing about Quidditch. Her flying lessons in first year went so abysmally that she wanted nothing to do with anything that involved broomsticks or being above the ground ever again.

However, for the sake of Oliver, she did enough research to know what would unfold today.

As she understood it, Oliver’s role on the team is the Chaser, which means she gets to watch as he spends the majority of the game furiously zooming around the pitch and scoring goals.

It’s impressive, and certainly captivating enough that she doesn’t need the book in her lap. He’s a natural flyer and leader, with how he goes from one end to the other, shouting plays and directions at his teammates.

In particular, he has a special connection with Barry Allen. It’s unsurprising, given the outcome of the game would rely on Barry catching the golden snitch, but the two of them seemed to have worked out a form of silent communication.

Hufflepuff barely notices the way Oliver scratches his nose and looks pointedly to a corner of the pitch, but Felicity does. She sees the glint of gold at the same time Barry does, and when the young seeker takes a sharp turn downwards, she finds herself unable to hold back her eager cheering along with her classmates.

She’s on her feet with everyone else when Barry holds the golden snitch up proudly, signaling the end of the game. Oliver flies down and lands next to him, clapping him on the back with a grin that goes ear to ear.

It’s the most carefree he’s been all year, and the sight warms Felicity’s heart. If anyone deserved to feel like that, it’s him.

When the two teams shake hands, Oliver’s head starts looking to the stands and a silly part of Felicity’s heart flutters, wondering if he’s looking for her. Immediately, she pushes the thought down, because it’s far too ridiculous.

Students around them start to clear the stands, and on her way down Alex Davis catches her. She freezes.

“Enjoy the game, Felicity Smoak?”

The leery grin and the way he says her full name makes Felicity’s skin crawl, but she tries not to give it away. She nods, hoping that if she doesn’t give him words he can’t continue a conversation on her.

“Didn’t think you were big on Quidditch, I have to say,” he continues, following her down the stairs.

Felicity keeps her head down, the book she didn’t need clutched tight against her chest.

So, here’s the thing.

She knows that Davis is a bully, plain and simply put.

And she’s no suffer-in-silence type, despite what Oliver might have believed in Hogsmeade.

What Oliver doesn’t know is that day wasn’t exactly her first foray with bullies like him.

She dealt with a fair share of it in her second year, when a group of students two years her senior felt threatened by a younger girl who could charm circles around them.

What Oliver doesn’t know is that when she tried to approach a teacher about it, she was told to ignore her harassers and surely, they would get bored and move on.

They didn’t.

All it taught Felicity was that the administration didn’t care, and that when she was on the other side of the world, completely alone and away from the only family she knew, the only person who would look out for her was herself.

Of course, Oliver doesn’t know that because his last name has ensured any minor indignation he might express would go answered.

That’s why, when Davis follows her right to the Ravenclaw common room, relentless in his biting comments despite how hard she ignores him, Felicity decides she won’t tell Oliver about this little incident.

Instead, she goes straight to bed, hoping that tomorrow will bring her a little more patience.


The day after his Quidditch match, though he’s been off his broom for hours, Oliver is still flying high.

It’s been so long since a win like that, it’s easy for him to get drunk on the good feeling he gets.

Though he intended to find Felicity right after the game, he got swept up in celebration with his team and then some other students in the Gryffindor common room. It wasn’t a party, per se, but it was fun to let loose a little.

Still, it was curious to not see Felicity the rest of the night, so when he went looking for her by the Ravenclaw area, some smarmy looking guy Oliver thinks is named Palmer tells him she went to sleep hours ago.

Weird.

Still, Oliver didn’t let his good feeling go away overnight, chewing on his breakfast with a stupid grin he just can’t shake off.

He keeps his eyes trained on the entrance of the Great Hall, waiting for Felicity to walk in so he can let the thousands of golden snitches in his stomach be put to rest.

As he waits, the owls that deliver the mail drop in through the window.

In his plate lands the usual, a copy of The Daily Prophet, and a letter from his mother. Where the latter used to alarm him, he’s come to expect it every other day, as she’s taken up writing just to check in on him.

The last envelope is what makes his blood run cold.

Immediately, the unmarked envelope makes him pause. The paper is a stark white, different from what he usually receives.

Remembering what happened with his mother, he wonders if he should open it at all.

He spins the envelope uncomfortably in his hands. Once, twice, three times before he decides that if it was going to harm him, it would have already.

Still, he tears the seal with the tip of his wand instead of his hands.

His breath comes out short as he reads the words in horror.

You aren’t safe, not even in your school.

Neither is your sister, nor your little blonde friend.

Sometimes, the devils are inside the walls.

Thea.

And Felicity.

Oliver pushes off the chair, his breakfast forgotten.


Oliver hasn’t really faced down the Headmaster like this in a while.

It’s been a good year, okay? He’s been staying out of trouble.

But some things never change, even if he hasn’t done anything Oliver still feels that familiar chill as Waller stares him down with a force that would make a dementor shake.

She stares at him for a long time, not saying anything, and Oliver has to actively remind himself he’s not the one in trouble here.

After five minutes of staring, she finally turns her attention to the note. Lifting her wand, she makes the offending document levitate and turn in the air as she speaks.

“You said there was no mark on the envelope?”

Oliver clenches his jaw. “No.”

“No name, address, any kind of indication as to where this came from?”

“No.”

“What can you tell me about the owl that delivered it?”

“It was… uh,” Oliver furrows his eyebrows, “it was…” he wracks his brain.

She offers a sympathetic look, or at least the closest thing Amanda Waller can muster. “Anything will help. Size, colour, species?” her voice is calmer now, as if she can tell how his breathing comes out more ragged as he searches for an answer.

“It was… brown,” Oliver says finally, his shoulders dropping.

How unhelpful of him. He should have remembered more, why wasn’t he paying attention?

“It flew away before I even opened the envelope ...” Oliver tries to recall the events, but even though it was just half an hour ago he finds he can’t.

“I’m sorry, I was distracted,” he admits shamefully, “I should have payed more attention.”

He realizes, with frightening clarity, the cause of his distraction.

He was so focused on Felicity, on his feelings for her and how to act on them, that everything else blurred out.

Feelings that seem so insignificant now that he stares down a piece of paper that threatens her. A threat that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her knowing him.

If he brought this on her now when they were just friends, who knew what could arise if they ever became more?

As Waller discusses their next steps – precautions they’ll take when the mail arrives, what she will do to investigate this particular note, Oliver silently decides that he has to stop pursuing his feelings for Felicity.

For her own good.

Chapter Text

The holidays sneak up on Felicity with little warning.

As usual, she plans to stay at the castle, since it’s too hard to get back home to Las Vegas for just a few weeks. Despite the fact that she’s been doing this for years, it’s hard not to feel lonely as she lights a small menorah by herself in her room each night.

Wizards aren’t exactly religious. The traditions around Christmas are more out of for the fun of it. But Donna Smoak didn’t drill Jewish customs into her for eleven years only to have her forget it all at Hogwarts (she’d never forget the way her mother wailed at her bat mitzvah)

So that’s why, even if she couldn’t do much else, Felicity celebrated Hanukkah by herself every year. Even if it did make her ache for her mother a little bit more than usual.

The only good thing about this time of year, Felicity’s learned, is how peaceful the castle seems when it’s emptied out.

Only about fifty students stay each year, which means she can get all the best seats in the common room or the library.

It’s a benefit she takes advantage of Christmas morning, where she sits on her favourite chair in the Ravenclaw common room to read the novel her mom sent her for the holiday.

It’s hard to ignore the other reason she feels lonely this year, other than the familiar ache of being away from her mom.

It’s Oliver.

Oliver who, since his Quidditch match two weeks ago, has been either acting strange or avoiding her altogether.

It sucks.

She didn’t realize how easily he had slid into every aspect of her life until the gaps were apparent without him.

She thinks he might have stayed in the castle for the holidays, but she can’t be sure. Given everything that happened in the past few months, it wouldn’t surprise her.

If he did stay, that would hurt for an entirely different reason.

He knows she always stays.

She told him how much she missed being home this time of year.

It would be nice to get one word out of him at least.

She had tried to talk to Dinah about it, but her own friend has been acting strange herself lately, more distant and distracted whenever she’d try and get a conversation out of her.

She pushes the thoughts aside, focusing instead on the novel her mom sent her as a gift.

She gets about an hour of reading done before a shy first year taps her shoulder.

“Um, I’m sorry,” he says, backing away slightly when she lifts her gaze from her book (is she really that scary?). “Are you Felicity?”

“Yeah,” she says cautiously, throwing a bookmark in her page.

“There’s someone outside looking for you. A guy in Gryffindor. He really wants to talk to you, won’t take no for an answer.”

Son of a bitch.

“Okay, thanks, I’ll handle it,” she says. The kid looks relieved that his part as messenger is done and hurries off.

When she gets up, Felicity feels  furious.

She opens the door to the Ravenclaw common room with perhaps a little more force than necessary. On the other side stands, looking rightfully sheepish, Oliver. His hands are actually behind his back, and his eyes wide with shame, looking like some guilty schoolboy in a way that just irritates Felicity even more.

“Hi,” he says after a minute of her staring. The corner of his mouth perks up a bit.

“Oliver,” she says shortly. “What brings you out here?”

“I..…” he opens his mouth, but whatever he planned to say, presumably, gets discarded when he sees the unamused expression on her face.

Good.

He should stew a little bit.

“It’s Christmas,” he says simply, as though that’s the answer for avoiding her for the past fourteen plus days.

“I’m Jewish,” she crosses her arms across her chest and only slightly feels gleeful as his mouth goes slack and his eyes dart back and forth. 

“Oh." he says simply.

She huffs. “Why are you here, Oliver?"

Oliver switches gears, taking the opening to square his shoulders. “I know that I’ve been kind of an ass lately, and blew you off a few times with no reason.”

She says nothing, only raising her eyebrows to convey her best you think? look.

“More than a few times,” he concedes, “and I’m sorry for that. Truly. It wasn’t fair to you.”

She eyes him carefully, knowing him well enough by now to figure out when he’s being sincere and when he isn’t.

Damn. She deflates a little.

“I don’t need an apology, Oliver, but maybe an explanation would be nice. Did I…” she throws a hand in the air helplessly, “do something?”

Oliver’s eyes widen.

“No! Not at all, it was…” he trails off, looking at a spot in the wall with a pained expression. “It was… just some stuff I was going through.”

She doesn’t know what to say. She just nods.

“And so now, I’m stuck here,” he continues, “you’re obviously stuck here, I figured we shouldn’t spend Christmas alone.”

When she stays silent, he brings his hand out from behind him, “I got you a present?” he says in a small voice.

And, well, damn. She would have relented anyway, but now it looks like she just wants the gift.

“Wait here,” she says simply.

She walks up to her room, searches under a pile of sweaters for a silver wrapped box she had long since discarded in her trunk. A present she had meticulously wrapped one night and then thrown to the side later when the hurt of Oliver avoiding her set in.

She’s half surprised to see him still waiting by the door when she comes back down. His head is half peaked in the space as he tries to look around curiously. When he catches her coming down the stairs, he perks up.

She waves the box in her hand. “So, where do you want to do this?” Pause. “And by this, I mean gift exchange.”

Oliver gives her a half smile, one that makes the dimple in his cheek deepen.

“I have Thea waiting in the Gryffindor common room for me. I promised we would open our gifts together. That is… if you want to join us…?” He throws her those damn innocent eyes again and she can’t say no.

“Lead the way.”


So, Felicity wasn’t really that worried about meeting Thea Queen.

Turns out, she should have been, because it only takes two minutes for her to put her own foot in her mouth.

“So, you guys are staying at Hogwarts this year for Christmas?” she tries to ask conversationally.

From her spot on a brown couch, Thea gives a bright smile. “Yup. We were told to stay here for our own safety.” Her voice is featherlight, but Felicity can sense the tension behind it. “Waller passed the message on from our mother. See, we have this thing against talking in our family.”

The young girl sends a glare Oliver’s way, and Felicity winces.

Maybe not the best conversation starter.

Oliver places a gentle hand on Felicity’s shoulder, as if to assure her it’s not her fault. He guides her down on one of the couches.

“Why don’t you start with one of your presents, Speedy,” he says with a little more force than usual.

Thea picks up one of the boxes in front of her. “It’s from Mom,” she says unenthusiastically. She tears the wrapping paper and the box underneath makes her expression soften instantly.

“Oh my god,” she whispers. She gives a little shaky smile and holds the box up. “Ollie, look.”

She holds up a brown box to show Oliver, and whatever it is changes the atmosphere around the siblings.

“No way,” Oliver says with a laugh, but it sounds thick to Felicity. “Let me see that.”

He leans over to inspect the gift closely with a smile.

“I can’t believe she gave it to you,” he says.

Thea nods and gives a little sniff. “Me too.”

He looks up to explain to Felicity. “Our dad used to keep a bunch of cool things in his office that we weren’t allowed to touch. Thea loved this music box, and she would always play with it but could never take it out. She drove our dad crazy asking him if she could keep it.”

As he speaks, Thea turns the magic box around to show Felicity, standing on a golden platform is a ballerina who spins and raises her arms every so often. The dancer gives Felicity a smile.

Thea traces the edges of the box. “I miss him,” she whispers, mostly to herself.

“I do too, Speedy,” Oliver replies quietly.

Felicity watches the scene and shifts in her spot, suddenly feeling extremely out of place as the siblings share a private moment. She briefly wonders if she could slip out the common room without anyone noticing.

Oliver catches her eye just then, as if sensing her discomfort.

“Felicity, want to go next?”

He doesn’t give her time to answer, but slides over a small, navy blue wrapped box with an uncharacteristically bashful smile.

“It’s not much,” he says simply.

Felicity furrows her eyebrows, but tears at the paper to find a rectangular black box. Oddly, she feels her heart pounding in her ears as she lifts the lid.

Sitting inside, a dainty silver bracelet with a small triangular charm dangling from the end.

Without having time to stop herself, she gasps.

“Oliver, oh my god,” her mouth drops open. “You really didn’t need to buy me jewelry, this is too much.”

She sets the box in her lap to look at him.

He fights the smile tugging at his lips. “I uh… I didn’t buy it.”

Felicity raises an eyebrow.

“I made it,” he admits, ears going pink. “In Transfiguration class, we had this extra credit assignment, manipulating metals. Turns out, I got pretty good at working with silver so I…” he shrugs.

Felicity can’t fight off the ridiculous, giddy smile that has been threatening to take over her face as he speaks.

“It’s really nothing.” He concludes.

Felicity shakes her head in awe, and holds her wrist out. “Help me put it on?”

He complies with a smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners when she whispers a thank you. Neither of them notice Thea observing the scene with a wry grin of her own.

Felicity looks down at the chain that dangles from her wrist. She idly flicks the charm back and forth. “What is it?”

“An Arrowhead,” he responds, and she tilts her head to the side, “I got really good at making them.”

She tries again and again to reign her smile in, but fails. “Well, I love it. Thank you.”

Oliver can only tilt his head down shyly. “Like I said, it was nothing.”

Felicity reaches for the silver box of her own, suddenly feeling very self conscious. “It probably doesn’t nearly compare to what you gave but, here. I hope you like it.”

It’s embarrassing, and hard to admit, but given her limited income gets converted from Muggle dollars to wizard currency, she didn’t exactly have a lot to work with for presents this year. Still, she tried her best to get something Oliver would like.

Oliver unties the neat bow and lifts the lid of the box. His smile grows when he sees what’s inside. “Felicity, these are amazing,” he reaches inside to find a set of brown leather Quidditch gloves with his initials embroidered in gold at the wrists. He holds them close to his chest and gives her a look she can’t place. “Maybe these can be my new good luck charm when I’m out there.”

Felicity feels her neck warm up at his words, but ignores the feeling and juts her chin out. “There’s a little more, look inside.”

He complies, holding up a book from a Muggle author she’d recommended time and time again, and a holiday chocolate set from Honeydukes with a small card tacked on labelled don’t sweat the sweet stuff in her loopy scrawl. It makes him laugh.

“It’s amazing, Felicity, thank you.”

She tries to repeat his it’s nothing from earlier, but the words get caught in her throat as Oliver pushes the box aside and throws his arms around her.  

She curls one hand up around his back and lets it fall on his shoulder, surprised at his display of affection.

A moment later, she feels his arms stiffen as he pulls back. His eyes are cast downwards as he adjusts back in his seat. He gives an awkward smile, as if an apology is on his lips, but decides against it at the last minute.

Felicity clears her throat, feeling warm herself. She looks over to Thea, embarrassed at the display of… something that happened right in front of Oliver’s little sister. But the younger girl is oblivious, enthralled by the long letter Moira Queen wrote her along with her present. Whatever she’s written brings tears to Thea’s eyes and a smile on her face, a far cry from her sour mood earlier.

Oliver nudges her and they move back on the couch.

“So…” she asks, tracing a finger up and down her bracelet, “I need to ask – I mean – This gift was really nice, Oliver, and I appreciate it– but about what’s been going on lately…”

Oliver’s gaze darkens.

“Something did happen,” he says vaguely.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Felicity offers, for once unable to read his face.

“No,” Oliver says shortly. It makes her clench her jaw shut, trying to ignore the sting.

His eyes slide shut. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” he sighs, “I just meant … it was something going on with me. And I let it get in the way of my judgement and pushed you away. For that, I’m sorry.”

She looks at him for a long time, trying to find the catch, the lie, whatever, but only finds sincerity.

“Okay,” she finally says, and he sighs in relief.

They enjoy a moment of quiet, not an awkward one, but a comfortable lull in the conversation.

“So how were your holidays otherwise?” Oliver asks casually.

Felicity shrugs. “It was okay. Hanukkah finished a few days ago so since then I’ve been enjoying my time off.”

“You mentioned that earlier,” he says, “about Hanukkah. I had no idea, I wouldn’t have waited until Christmas otherwise.

Felicity gives a little smile. “It’s no big deal. You didn’t know.”

“I don’t know much about it,” Oliver admits, “what sort of thing do you usually do at the castle?”

“Mostly light my menorah in my room, it’s the only thing I can do by myself, but I like the tradition.”

“It sounds nice,” he observes.

“It is,” Felicity says with a smile. “Really nice. The only thing I hate about it is doing all of it without my mom. It was kind of our thing.”

“You don’t talk about her that much,” Oliver comments.

“Mmm…” she looks up thoughtfully, “Mostly because I miss her, and talking about it sucks. But Hannukah was the one time a year she would always make time for us, otherwise she’d be working so much. And we weren’t really big on cooking, but she wanted to keep our culture alive. But yeah, being here, where no one really gets what I’m doing, kind of sucks,” she shrugs, “It’s hard not to feel lonely.”

Pain flashes through Oliver’s eyes for a moment, and Felicity realizes too late that she may have implied that some of her loneliness this year was caused by him.

“Wait here for just a minute,” he says, pushing himself up with his palms, “I have to get something from my room.”

Felicity furrows her eyebrows at his abrupt change in mood, but nods.

When he disappears up the stairs, Felicity moves over to Thea again to make conversation with the young girl.

It goes better than earlier, she learns in what ways Thea is similar to her brother – dry humor, a Quidditch enthusiast, and a big heart that can’t be hidden with those frowns for the public. Thea doesn’t shy away from Felicity either, asking her questions in return.

They get along fairly well, despite the difference in ages, and eventually find mutual ground in Oliver.

“Hey, speaking of,” Thea looks out the window of the common room and frowns, “The sun’s nearly gone down, where did Ollie go?”

Felicity mimes her actions. Strangely, a rock forms in her stomach.

“That’s –” she pauses on the word strange when they hear footsteps, but it ends up being a boy that Felicity doesn’t recognize.

“That’s one of Ollie’s roommates,” Thea comments, “I recognize him.”

“Do you think he might have seen him?” Felicity asks, but Thea is two steps ahead of her.

“Rene!” she calls out, and at the sound he turns, “Was my brother up there?”

Rene shakes his head. “I haven’t seen him, sorry.”

The rock grows heavier.

“That doesn’t make sense,” Felicity says with perhaps a little more force than necessary. “We saw him go up. Can you check again?”

Rene complies with little fight, trudging up the stairs again. Felicity twists her fingers, trying not to make her growing worry obvious to Thea as they wait. When he comes back down again, Rene confirms that Oliver isn’t up there.

“Is everything okay?” he asks hesitantly, eyes darting back and forth between the two girls.

“Fine,” Felicity says. “Just wondering where he went.”

She purses her lips tightly together, trying to think.

“Maybe he went down to dinner and you missed him,” the other boy offers, but they wave him off.

“Do you mind helping us out? Maybe checking some bathrooms?” Felicity is aware she sounds paranoid, and hell, maybe she is paranoid, but the weight pressing down on her gut prompts the words.

Rene must see the worry, and complies easily.

What starts in the Gryffindor area turns into a search of the whole castle, Felicity and Thea missing dinner in favour of looking through every corner they could.

With each minute, the dread grows and makes Felicity’s hands shake. It’s not long until they’ve looked at every classroom, library carol, and hallway that her logical mind can reach one conclusion.

Thea sighs tiredly next to her. “What do we do now?”

“We go to Waller,” Felicity tries to keep her tone steady as she voices what she wanted to refuse for the past hour.

“She needs to know that Oliver’s gone missing.”

Chapter Text

When Oliver wakes up, the first thing he realizes is that his head hurts like hell.

It feels something like a bad hangover, the kind he got all too familiar with in the summer before sixth year with Tommy. His eyelids feel sticky as he tries to blink himself into awareness, his head a thousand pounds as he tries to lift it off the cold ground.

Wait.

Cold ground?

His neck snaps up, which proves to be a terrible idea as he instantly hisses. He wants to hold his head, but when he tries he realizes his hands are tied behind his back and won’t let him.

Oliver doesn’t know where he is.

He tries to look around, but there’s not much in this dark space for his eyes to adjust to. It’s cold, and damp. It felt like his cheek was pressed up against concrete earlier, so the room isn’t exactly full of accommodations.

Fear bubbles up inside his chest, but he pushes it down, trying to figure out where he is.

The last thing he remembers is going up to his room. The letter he had received from an anonymous source sat on his nightstand – Waller inspected it for hours and said it didn’t hold any danger in the pages. He wanted to bring the letter down, to show Felicity.

But when he pushed the envelope away to reach for the corner of the page, his world started spinning.

And then he ended up here.

He tries to sit up, but it’s hard with his hands pressed against his back. He pushes on his elbows and winces.

He doesn’t know how long he’d been passed out on the ground. It could have been hours, or days. The room he’s in doesn’t have any windows to tell him if it’s day or night. He doesn’t even know if he’s even in the same country anymore.

It’s too much.

The panic that had rung in his ears since he woke up becomes a loud whine, his breaths coming out shallower as his circumstances become apparent.

He was taken, and he doesn’t know where he is.

If someone got to him, it’s possible they might have gotten to Thea.

They might have gotten to Felicity.

He hears rustling behind him, a couple of pairs of footsteps and faint voices. On instinct, he pushes back down to the ground again.

“It’s been over eight hours,” a bored voice says. At first, Oliver wonders if they’re talking to him, but they don’t seem to realize he’s awake yet. “What are we going to do with him?”

“He didn’t respond well to the first line of questions,” another man snickers. “Well, he didn’t respond at all.”

Questions?

Oliver doesn’t remember being questioned. He doesn’t remember being awake in here before this moment.

It’s a strangely disarming feeling, to lose parts of his memory like this but hear about it from others, and he hates it.

“He’s still held up better than others have,” the first man – or is it another person? Oliver can’t keep track – comments.

Oliver tries to move his arms once again. Behind his back, it feels like only a thin piece of thread is binding his wrists together, and he could just snap it off with a bit of effort. To his horror, when he tries to pull it apart, the string gets tighter, digging into his wrists and imprinting a burn into the skin.

He grunts in frustration, and when he realizes it’s just a little too loud, he freezes.

The voices behind him stop, and one pair of feet walks over to him. He’s grabbed by the shoulders and roughly turned around and forced into a sitting position.

From this angle, Oliver can see small blue little light coming off the tip of a wand. It helps him see that he is now face to face with three men in dark hoods and silver masks with snake slit eyes.

He recognizes them, straight out of the history textbooks and the images they’d drilled into students for years and years.

Death Eaters.

“Oliver,” one comments, the masked head tilting to the side. “You’re awake.”

He doesn’t answer. The words don’t find the way to his mouth when his brain is all too busy trying to reconcile the fact that Death Eaters are right in front of him.

“Good,” he says. The sound of wands being drawn make Oliver tense.

“Oliver, let’s try this again,” the one in front of him says. His voice is calm, as if he’s going to ask Oliver the weather outside. It sets Oliver’s teeth on edge. “What did Robert tell you before he died?”

When the other two shift behind him, Oliver’s heart starts pounding. “What? He didn’t tell me anything, what’s going on?”

Though he intended to keep a cooler facade for longer, the fear slips through the cracks too quickly, and the Death Eaters notice. Oliver internally curses, wishing he could be just a little bit stronger in this moment.

“What do you know about the circumstances surrounding Robert Queen’s death?” the same voice asks, a steady monotone.

“I don’t – I don’t know anything. I just know whatever was in the papers, I –”

The tip of a wand presses into his back.

His answers aren’t good enough.

“Think carefully, Oliver,” the man says, “Think about everything you have to lose if you don’t answer. Think about your sister, and your mother. You wouldn’t want us to find them and bring them in, now would you?”

At his words, Oliver feels the weight on his chest lessen. Thea and his mother were safe, then.

“Oliver,” he says his name like a gentle reprimand, “If you don’t answer, we’re going to have to get the answers out of you. Now, everyone knows you worked for your father all summer before he died, what did he tell you?”

Oliver gets the sinking feeling that whatever it is they’re looking for, he doesn’t have it, but that won’t stop them from hurting him.

He says nothing, lowering his eyes to the concrete.

The man in front of him sighs.

“Very well,” he says, bored. He looks to the Death Eaters stationed behind Oliver. “Now.”

One snickers. “Finally. Crucio.

Oliver barely has time to register the curse, and the red light that flashes in front of him before the pain hits.

He’s learned about the Cruciatus Curse in school. At length.

He knows it’s difficult, and painful. He knows the illegal spell was used as a method of torture during the war. He knows that some people who were on the receiving end never recovered. He knows Harry Potter faced it, and used it. He knows that it’s about as hard to bare as it is to recite it.

But nothing he learned from the books could prepare him for this.

It feels like metal, white hot metal cutting through his skin, up his spine and down his centre all at once. The pain is everywhere, it makes his ears ring loudly. His head feels it’s going to burst in two.

The impact makes him fall back, and he barely registers the feeling of his head hitting the concrete when his back arches up in pain.

He can’t speak – can’t even find the strength to scream – but if he could he would surely tell these Death Eaters anything to make the pain stop.  

The feeling – white hot, relentless pain – persists for so long Oliver could no longer keep track of the minutes. Sweat starts trickling down his forehead, and he tries to focus on that feeling, anything other than the persistent ache he felt all over.

Eventually, he finds his voice again. Or at least, he thinks he does, because he can feel his mouth moving again but he doesn’t register anything else until the pain just stops.

As sharply as it came, the white-hot knife leaves his chest. He lets out a gasp when it does, feeling as though his body has come back down to earth.

At some point he must have fallen over, because he’s lying down now. His cheek is pressed against the dust in the concrete, just as it had when he first woke up. His knees are curled up his body.

His t-shirt feels damp from sweat, and it makes him shiver. He wants to rub his hands down his arms but pulls at the binding again and curses – it tightens once more and burns into his wrists.

His eyes slip shut again, but he tries to fight it. He’s exhausted, but something tells him that was only the beginning.

As he catches his breath, one of the Death Eaters walks over.

“It doesn’t have to be this difficult, Oliver,” he says. His voice drives Oliver crazy. It’s patronizing and infuriating but fills Oliver with dread all at once. “We can try something else.” He grabs his shoulders and roughly forces Oliver into a sitting position

“Tell us what you know about the Darhk plan?”

“The dark plan?” Oliver shakes his head, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Frustration leaks into his voice, and he drops his head to try and reign his emotions in.

The Death Eater sighs and pulls back. His mask jerks up just a little.

This time, no one says anything, but when he sees the flash of red light Oliver braces himself.

It’s by no means easier than the first time. The pain still feels like his veins have been set on fire, he still feels himself writhing on the ground.

This time, he thinks he screams. He isn’t sure, but when they stop the pain and he comes down from it, his throat feels raw and dry, his tongue feels like a rock in his mouth.

He collapses against the ground once more, this time feeling blood on his forehead. he can only barely register the sound of their footsteps as they exit before he gives into his fatigue.


From that point on, it’s hard to keep track of time.

Hours pass by. Sometimes he manages to sleep, but his instincts force him awake when his eyes get too heavy, not trusting what could happen to him if he slept.

The same three Death Eaters – at least, he assumes the same, for only one speaks but they all have the same height and sadistic pleasure in torture – come and go.

They ask him the same questions.

“What did your father tell you? What are you hiding? What do you know?”

“Nothing, I don’t understand, please – please – please.

And on. And on.

Sometimes they left water, but in a single metal cup resting on the ground. Oliver didn’t trust anything they gave him, no matter how lightheaded his head started to feel. Not to mention, his hands were still bound behind his back and he would sooner die than to give his captors the pleasure of watching him bend over for his water like an animal.

Some moments, he feels like he is getting better, like he’s becoming accustomed to the pain and can bare it. But sometimes, they change their methods. They stand behind him, they don’t speak, they shield his eyes so he doesn’t know when the curse will hit him. He thinks those moments to be the worst, when he doesn’t have a moment to brace himself before the pain starts and he’s screaming until he’s hoarse.

One day – he thinks a day must have past at this point – a fourth member joins the group. He’s taller than the rest, but that’s all Oliver can differentiate in the group of snake eyed masks and hoods.

He walks over to Oliver, clearly intending to take charge. He crouches down to his knees as if to get the closest view of Oliver as he can.

“I don’t know anything,” Oliver croaks out tiredly. He’s been saying it for days, his words falling on deaf ears. A silly part of him hopes this newcomer could be his saving grace.

“What do you know about Felicity Smoak?” he asks instead.

Oliver sucks a breath in. This isn’t like anything he was asked before.

“What?” he says, feeling caught.

“What is she to you? Are you close? Do you tell her what you know?”

Dread fills Oliver’s chest.

“Nothing, nothing,” he says, the words coming out desperately. “She doesn’t know anything. I don’t know anything. Please – please listen to me, she’s –“

His words are cut off by a sound outside his cell. It comes from the hallway, he thinks, where the door is still open and a sliver of light comes in. It’s the first giveaway that he’s not alone in here, but it makes his blood go cold.

No, no,” he thinks he hears. Oh god, it’s a woman’s voice. It sounds like – it sounds like –

He doesn’t have time to finish his thought, because the pleading is replaced by a piercing shriek that cuts through his heart worse than anything else his captors subjected him to.

He hopes it can’t be real, that it’s just a trick they’re using on him to get information out, but when it makes one of the other Death Eaters flinch, dread fills Oliver.

No one speaks, the shrieking is the only sound Oliver can hear. It drives him mad, trying to decipher if it’s real, if it’s even Felicity like his mind is so ready to believe.

Soon, they leave.

They don’t come back for hours.

The screams echo outside the halls and inside Oliver’s head the entire time.


For a brief period in between, it seems like everything slows down.

They unbind Oliver. Let him relieve himself and force him to eat. He’s left alone for long enough to give into the exhaustion that tugged at his eyes and he manages to sleep enough to feel a little more rested.

But soon, the three Death Eaters come storming in.

It jolts Oliver up, given that it’s a far cry from their usual collected attitude when they come in.

One grabs him roughly and forces him still. They bind his wrists, this time in his front so that they land in his lap. One holds him by the shoulders.

“I will ask one more time,” the calm voice is replaced by an angrier one, “Tell us what you know, Oliver.”

Oliver’s shoulders drop. “I already told you, I don’t –”

Sectumsempra!”

Oliver doesn’t know this spell. It sounds vaguely familiar, like he should know it, but it’s not as common as the other methods they were employing.

The effects of the spell quickly become clear.

The first slash comes down his arm, as though an invisible sword had run across it. His neck snaps down at the stinging sensation, watching the blood trickle down his forearm, but it isn’t long until the next hit comes down his stomach.

He doubles over in pain, watching helplessly as his white shirt gets stained a dark maroon. Another slash on his bicep, down his hip, he thinks he feels blood on his calf too.

The blood falls onto the concrete, and Oliver can do nothing but watch.

This is it, he thinks to himself. He survived days of torture under one of the Unforgivable Curses, but he will bleed out here. All for answers he’ll never be able to give these men.

His head starts to feel lighter, and he knows it’s the loss of blood kicking in. He wants to close his eyes, but his heart pounds loudly in his ears and keeps him going

The Death Eater who did this to him raises his wand once more, but a hand reaches out and stops him.

“What are you doing?” he hisses, “We can’t have the boy die on us. Not yet.”

Whatever he says, it makes the bleeding stop. His chest still burns from where the invisible knife slashed through him, and he still feels the cold sensation of blood trickling down his skin.

The Death Eaters keep talking, but Oliver struggles to keep up. His head feels far too light.

Black spots dance across his vision and he tries to blink them away.

Slowly, his world goes dark once more.


When he comes to, Oliver finds his cheek pressed against damp grass, not the concrete ground he had grown used to.

His wrists are untied, and he pushes himself up as he blinks into awareness.

The outline he can faintly register as Hogwarts Castle comes into view.

Oliver exhales.

With shaky steps, he walks to the front door. Someone opens it on the other side before he gathers the strength to reach the knob, but before he can register who it is, his knees give out underneath him.

Chapter Text

Founded in 990 A.D., by four of the brightest wizards of their time, Hogwarts –

Wait, no. Start again.

Founded in 990 A.D., by four of the brightest wizards of their time, Hogwarts –

Nope.

Founded in –

Felicity slams the book shut, letting small particles of dust fly out the pages and dance around her face. It was useless trying to concentrate.

Hogwarts: A History is listed under Hermione Granger’s official biography of one of her all time favourite books. That’s why it became one of the first books Felicity Smoak bought with her own money once she started school, considering she wanted to embody her hero in every possible way she could.

(A smart, Muggleborn witch? It was hard not to immediately look up to her).

She always turned to the book when she needed to take her mind off other things. The simple facts and rich history laid out on golden brown pages brought her a strange sense of peace.

Today, she can’t get past the first page.

Her mind is a little more than distracted right now. Initially, picking up the book had seemed like a nice way to try and relax, but it quickly became a hopeless endeavor that maybe through the pages she’d be able to find some kind of answers.

It’s been about a week since Christmas, since opening gifts in the Gryffindor common room, since spending her day with the Queen siblings…

A week since Oliver went upstairs to his room and never came down.

A week since Felicity had to hold Thea’s hand, go with her to tell Waller what had happened.

In the past few days, there had been an extensive investigation. The entire castle had been searched, the grounds outside, the train station, Hogsmeade, everywhere . With no luck.

Most students are still on holiday, so they’ve tried to keep the news of Oliver’s disappearance out of the news and as quiet as possible.

But they did have to call Moira Queen.

And jeez.

That woman is scary.

Felicity really sympathized with Waller for having to break the news to her, because it couldn’t have been easy.

After that, there wasn’t much Felicity could do. She spent evenings with Thea, trying to reassure her while ignoring the twists in her stomach and dodging any interactions with Oliver’s mom.

After the sixth day of an Oliverless week, Felicity decided she may as well try and get some schoolwork done before the worry for him drove her insane.

It hasn’t exactly been working.

When she puts her book away, looking around the library and wondering if there would be something else to better distract her, she sees a figure running her way.

It’s Thea. When she reaches Felicity’s table, her hair falls wildly around her face. Her eyes are rimmed red, but she’s smiling.

“Felicity,” she takes a minute to catch her breath, “They found him. They found Ollie.”


So, Felicity’s not ashamed enough to admit that she ran.

She was going for a brisk walk, but when Thea’s steps picked up she couldn’t help herself.

Thea offered little explanation before they took off – “The groundskeeper found him this morning, he’s in the hospital wing now –” but it was enough for Felicity.

Oliver is okay.

Oliver is okay.

As they get closer to the hospital wing, the first thing Felicity hears is yelling. The door is closed, but it’s not enough to drown out the noise.

The sounds send a chill down her spine.

Thea reaches for the door, but when she sees Felicity hesitate, she furrows her eyebrows.

“Don’t you want to see him?”

Felicity’s fingers knit together. “I don’t know,” she twists her hands uncomfortably, “Maybe I should wait. Let him spend time with you and your mom first. Plus I bet the Aurors are going to want to ask him a million questions.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Thea rolls her eyes. “He’ll want to see you.”

She pulls open the door and Felicity follows only a few moments later. There is indeed a crowd of people around him, so she can only see his bare feet at the bottom of his bed, thrashing around.

No! NO! You’re not listening to me!” he shouts.

His voice is unlike anything Felicity’s heard before. It sounds broken, like his throat is sore, but it doesn’t stop him from crying out. The sound makes her take a step back towards the door, silently deciding that she would beg Thea off again.

“Mr. Queen, if you could please calm down so we can –”

“NO. They had her too! You aren’t listening! She isn’t safe!”

“Mr. Queen –”

“No! Felicity!”

At her own name being shouted, Felicity gasps. It’s not at all what he expected when she heard him yelling.

Thea turns back to her. She looks as upset as Felicity feels and raises a shaky hand and gestures for Felicity to come forward.

She walks over hesitantly, and Oliver finally comes into view.

The sight breaks her heart.

His shirt is soaked in blood, arms and his pale face is caked in dirt. He looks thinner, even though it’s only been a week. He’s visibly exhausted, but won’t stop protesting against the Healers who try and tend to him.

“Where is she? They had her too, you’re not listening to me, we have to get her!”

Felicity swallows down the lump in her throat – what happened to him? – and forces herself into his eyeline.

“Oliver,” she whispers, “I’m right here.”

When his wide eyes meet her – he instantly relaxes. The Healer next to him uses it as a chance to press her wand into his arm, and his eyes slip shut and his head falls back against the pillow.

After that, things move a little quickly, but Felicity is too dazed by what just happened to keep up.

Thea and Felicity are escorted out of the room by Healers, insisting that they need to address his injuries and he needs rest, but Thea stays behind to ask a few questions – or demand a few answers.

On her way out, Felicity hears another kind of yelling down the hall. She looks over and sees Moira and Waller. Waller looks calm, a single eyebrow raised as Moira’s hands fly in the air.

… still don’t understand how you could let this happen,” Moira fumes, “ Unbelievable, really, and now I can’t even see him .”

He has to have his injuries tended to, Mrs. Queen, now please –”

“Injuries!” Moira erupts. “ Injuries he shouldn’t have if you kept your promise of keeping him safe!”

Waller says something else, in a low voice that Felicity can’t pick up. She puts a gentle hand on Moira’s shoulder and leads her towards her office.

Felicity tears her gaze away from the scene, turning her attention instead to Thea, who walks back with red rimmed eyes.

She reaches out, placing a hand on the younger girl’s shoulder. “Hey, how you holding up?”

Thea looks down, “I’m fine,” she says, her voice giving away how shaken she feels, “Don’t worry about me, not when Ollie’s –” she breaks off, and Felicity brings her arm tightly around her shoulder to pull her in.

“He’s okay now, Thea,” she says gently, though admittedly she hasn’t been able to see for herself how true that is.

The younger girl just nods into Felicity’s shoulder.

“So, did they tell you what happened?”

Thea pulls away, and her anxious expression is replaced by one that is more annoyed. “They said he was kidnapped for money, but…” she bites her lip. “That’s not what Ollie was saying.”

Felicity’s eyebrows furrow. “What do you mean?”

“He…” Thea trails off. “Never mind, he’s not making any sense. I think he’s just confused.”

Felicity tucks that piece of information away for later, and decides instead to try another tactic. “How is he feeling? From what I just saw, he didn’t look like he was in great shape.”

Thea nods, arms folding around her middle as though to comfort herself. “They had a few healers come in to work on him. They think he got hit with different curses every day he was gone, and he lost a lot of weight. When they found him, he was bleeding out from this spell they didn’t recognize. But he’s okay now. Or getting there. They’re still in there, making sure  there won’t be any lasting damage.”

“It’s going to be okay, Thea.” Felicity says again, sensing the tension that rolls off the other girl’s rigid frame.

“Yeah,” she says distractedly. “They said it’ll still be a while until we can see him properly again, do you want to wait with me?”

Felicity can only nod.

They spend the better part of the afternoon there, choosing to skip over lunch in favor of waiting for any news. Sometime during the evening, Thea and Moira are told they can see him again.

Felicity stays in the hall, not wanting to impose but not wanting to stay too far away either. She waits about half an hour before the Queen women exit again. Moira gives Felicity an unreadable look as she walks past that makes her stomach turn.

“Oliver is sleeping now,” she says simply, “You should let him rest. There’ll be plenty of time to see him later.” She doesn’t bother to look Felicity in the eyes for longer than a second as she speaks, sweeping off down the hall with enough grace that one would think the castle belonged to her.

Felicity’s eyes turn to Thea, expecting her to give some kind of apologetic look for her mother’s tone like she had done all week, but instead Thea gives her an equally perplexing look.

“I’ll see you around, Felicity,” she mumbles as she follows her mother down.

Well, okay.

She figures she’s wasted enough of her day sitting outside the hospital wing, and since it’s become abundantly clear she won’t see Oliver tonight, she rises from her spot to head down for dinner.

It’s hard to keep the meal down, not with a dozen confusing thoughts swirling through her head. Oliver’s cries from earlier have echoed in her head all day, but added to that were Thea’s odd comments about what Oliver said happened and the Queen women’s newfound coldness towards Felicity.

It was a lot.

Felicity tries to go straight to bed right after dinner. It’s been an eventful day and she hopes the knowledge that Oliver is back safe and sound will help her find a decent night’s rest again.

For once, she’s wrong.

It takes a few chapters of a new novel she picked up from the library, reviewing her Charms essay for the third time (no errors, because she’s Felicity Smoak, that’s why), and walking around her empty room before she finally admits it to herself.

She couldn’t sleep. Not without seeing him just one more time.

It’s probably way too late. She might get in trouble for being out of bed at this hour, but she wants to risk it.

Unsurprisingly, the hallways are empty as she walks to the hospital wing. She’s a little surprised that she’s able to just walk through the front door, but she doesn’t question her luck.

There’s no sign of any Healers, and the space is empty except for just one presence.

His.

He’s the only person occupying the many beds. He’s sitting just slightly upright, eyes closed and hands clasped neatly around his stomach.

As Felicity gently walks closer, she can see the bandages that travel down his arms under the short sleeves of his white shirt, and a thick strip of gauze that peeks out from the v neck.

Though his eyes are closed, he’s sitting far too still to be sleeping, she can tell. He doesn’t look at peace, and she can notice the corner of his mouth twitching.

That, and every so often he twiddles his thumbs.

As she walks over, she has to fight the urge to reach out to him.

Just as she reaches his bed, his eyes open as though he had expected her there all along.

“Hi,” he says softly.

It’s the first time she’s hearing Oliver’s voice – in the way she’s always known, not in the desperate shouting from before – and it makes her breath catch. God, she missed the sound of his voice so much.

“Hi,” she whispers back, settling into the chair next to his bed, “I’m sorry if I woke you.”

“You didn’t.”

She looks at him, tired eyes and still-sunken cheeks. “How do you feel?” she asks, but it feels completely inadequate.

The ridiculousness of her question must show on her face, because Oliver gives her a smile. “Fine,” he responds, and then furrows his eyebrows, “What time is it?”

She squints a little. “Close to midnight,” she admits.

Oliver chuckles, and then winces and rubs a hand up his ribcage. “I’ve really made a rule-breaker out of you, haven’t I, Smoak?”

She tries to laugh in response, but it’s hard to find the strength to when she’s confronted with how just a small chuckle brings Oliver enough pain that it contorts his whole face.

Oliver picks up on it right away, and his face immediately turns serious. “Felicity,” he says lowly, “I’m fine. I promise.”

Her throat feels a little tighter at his words, and she has to dig her fingers into her own palm to stop herself from crying, but she just nods.

He doesn’t say anything after that, just looking at her with an unreadable expression. Her hands trace along the sheets of his bed gently as she tries to find the right words to say.

Finally, she can’t keep it in. It’s been eating at her all day.

“Oliver, I have to ask, because Thea and your mother – who, is a real treat, by the way – have been giving me weird looks all day,” she eventually says. He raises an eyebrow. “Why were you asking for me when they found you? Why not…” she stops herself, because outright asking why her over his own family is a dangerous path to go down.

Oliver looks out the window next to his bed. For the first time, his eyes look a little like what they did when she saw him earlier that day. Haunted.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time. Felicity wonders if she asked the wrong question.

“They made me think they had you too,” he finally says after a few minutes of silence.

“They?”

“Death Eaters,” he whispers the words. He looks back at her with shining eyes, “Real Death Eaters, Felicity, just like in all the history books. The masks, the cloaks, all of it. No one wants to believe me, they think they’re just messing around and wearing the costumes but – but only dark wizards could do what they did to me. You have to believe me. I just – I just –”

“Hey, hey,” Felicity leans forward, taking his hands in hers. “Oliver, I believe you.” she moves so she’s half perched on his bed now, leaning in and hoping that maybe the proximity brings him a little bit of comfort.

They do. He seems to relax again, squeezing her fingers so gently she wonders if she imagines it. He looks out the frosty window again.

“The worst part,” he comments quietly, “has to be all the time I lost. I thought it was just a few days. But they had me for almost a week. I don’t even remember some days.”

Felicity has to ignore the horrifying implication of his words, the gaps in his memories.

“Christmas to New Years Eve,” she says, trying her best to match his quiet tone, “Even Death Eaters respect the holidays I guess.”

“Hm,” Oliver looks back at her, “How close are we to midnight?”

“Won’t be long now, I think.” She checks her watch, “Just under a minute to go, actually.”

Her hand still hasn’t left his, she notices, and she still hasn’t gotten up from her place on his bed. When she tried to reach out to him she hadn’t noticed how close she’d brought herself. Now, with only one candle and the moonlight shining down on them, she wonders if his eyes have always been this blue.

As if reading her thoughts, Oliver sits up a little.

“Oliver,” she whispers, “I thought I lost you.”

“I know, Felicity,” his jaw clenches just a little, as though to hold down some of his own pain, “I know.”

The rest is so simple it seems almost unavoidable.

Her wristwatch beeps, signaling the turn of the hour.

He cranes his neck up. She leans down. Her hair falls down her shoulder as his lips brush against hers in a gentle kiss. His hands tighten around her own.

They part eventually, fighting small smiles as they do. Oliver tucks a piece of her hair behind her ear. Felicity wonders if she looks as content as he does at that moment.

When she finally manages to find her voice again, she has to fight down every embarrassing ramble that threatens to make her way up. “Happy new year, Oliver,” is what she settles on instead.

“Happy new year, Felicity,” he whispers, so quietly that if she hadn’t been sitting close she would have missed it.

Neither have the urge to pull away just yet. They lean their foreheads together and Felicity fights the almost hysterical giggle that bubbles in her throat.

It was a feeling she had ignored for months as Oliver’s friend, but between the studying and the breakfasts and late night conversations, not to mention the absolutely terrifying week where Felicity thought she’d never see him again, she was forced to confront the truth.

She has very, very strong feelings for the person in front of her. And by the looks of it, she is not alone.

Oliver smiles up at her, a small, easy smile that makes the corners of his eyes crinkle. When he blinks, she notices that his lids are slow in opening again, and she is reminded of circumstance.

With one final squeeze of his hand, she leans away. “I should let you rest,” she says regretfully, “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

He nods, looking almost bashful as he does and sweeps her lips up in one more quick kiss.

Felicity walks back to her room, an uncontrollable grin on her face. She idly wonders if this featherlight feeling in her chest will ever let her sleep again.

Chapter Text

The sound of the Great Hall opening makes Felicity’s head snap up for the fifth time that morning.

She’s starting to get a neck cramp.

She tries not to feel too disappointed at the sight of a group of first years laughing as they enter the room, but the sinking feeling in her stomach is hard to ignore.

It’s been a few days since New Years Eve. School is back on, all the students have returned from their holidays and classes have started up again as they always do.

When everyone did return, the news of Oliver’s disappearance was kept as a secret, as per strict orders from the Aurors investigating his case.

Given that Oliver has been spending a lot of his time in the hospital wing, the official story was that he took a bad fall while practicing Quidditch over the break.

He’s still mostly recovering, which means that he misses a good handful of classes and most meals.

It also means Felicity hasn’t seen him much after their kiss.

Their wonderful, perfectly movie moment kiss that seemed so brilliantly-timed at the moment but has only filled her with doubt since then.

The injuries he sustained from relentless cursing – that the Ministry insisted were not at the hands of Death Eaters – need more time than traditional magic healing techniques could offer.

The first Saturday since holiday break ended, for example, Felicity knows he had checkups and was forced to be on bedrest all day. And since the term had started up again, so had Felicity’s tutoring sessions, so she was too busy walking a group of first years through Charms practice to give Oliver a visit.

All in all, Felicity hasn’t seen him much, and it partly drives her crazy, given how much was left uncertain after their moment on New Year’s.

She would probably be more concerned if he was actively avoiding her, but in the odd moment he catches her in the hallway and sends her a shy smile, she knows everything will be fine if they give it just a little bit of time.

Still, that doesn’t stop her from days like today, where she hopes he’ll be able to come down for breakfast and join her for the first time in weeks.

Today, evidently, her wishes finally get answered, because when she turns back to pick at her toast, she feels someone slide up to her.

Her eyes widen when she looks up to find Oliver, giving her a small smile and bumping his shoulder against hers.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning,” she breathes out, fighting the wide grin that threatens to split her face open. “Long time no see.”

“Mhmm,” he brushes a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry about that, but I’m here to make it up to you now.”

Felicity raises an eyebrow at all the … well, touching this morning and tilts her head to the side. “Is that so?”

Oliver nods, “You know, it’s Hogsmeade weekend.”

“It sure is.”

Oliver gives her a look, so she just bumps her shoulder back. “I know I’ve been MIA these days with all the checkups and stuff and we haven’t really had a chance to talk about what happened…” when his expression twists from a teasing one to one of guilt, Felicity shifts forward.

“Oliver, it’s fine, I just want you to feel better.”

“I do feel better,” he tries to smile again, but it looks a little uncertain now. “I want to… I want to take you out,” he says finally. His eyebrows crease a little as he finds the right words.

Felicity lets out an “Okay” perhaps a little too fast, and Oliver catches it with a smile before the uncertain look returns.

“I want to take you out… go to a nice restaurant and do everything properly but…”

“Oliver?”

He looks frustrated now, and averts his eyes to the table.

“The thing is… with everything that happened I can’t… sit down for long periods of time,” he finally admits, tracing the veins in the wood as he speaks, “I can’t stomach heavy food most days and it… it sucks.”

“Oliver,” she tries to say, “It’s really okay.”

He finally looks up at her, guilt swimming in his eyes. “I just wanted to give you a nice first date,” his ears turn pink at the last two words, and Felicity can’t deny that they make her heart rate pick up. “The kind of first date you deserve, but I also don’t want to waste anymore time…”

“Okay, stop that,” she finally says, and it makes Oliver look up. “I don’t care about what we do, or what you think I deserve . Oliver, I just want to spend time with you.”

She grabs his hand, which started twisting with the other in his lap. It briefly occurs to her that this is probably something she can just do now.

But she’ll focus on that later.

Oliver smiles, swallowing just a little and nods.

Felicity notices then that throughout the course of their conversation the two of them had moved impossibly closer together. In fact, had it not been for the very crowded Great Hall around them, she might have even chanced another kiss.

“Okay,” he says quietly. He takes the moment to clear his throat and Felicity takes a bite of her toast and lets him collect himself. “I was thinking we could still go to Hogsmeade, I know this little bar on the far side of town that not a lot of people go to. How does that sound?”

Felicity smiles again. “That sounds great.”

“Great,” Oliver says, the lightness in his voice finally returning. “’Cause there’s someone I really wanted you to meet.”

Felicity nearly chokes on her toast. “Is that so?” she raises an eyebrow. “Should I be nervous?”

Oliver only shakes his head. “Don’t be,” he pushes up off the bench, “I’ll meet you by the front after breakfast. And um… dress warmly. It’s a bit of a walk.”

He pauses halfway through getting up, masking a wince as he rises and pressing a quick kiss on Felicity’s cheek.

She tries to fight the smile that tugs on her lips as she watches him leave.


Oliver does indeed lead her far away from the busier side of Hogsmeade, to a less crowded part of the town. She bites back a comment on her tongue about him hiding her away, because she likes having the privacy.

Their conversation is sparse as he walks her towards a cozy looking bar with a simple gray and black sign on the front – The Foundry

Felicity notices the hours hanging from the door, and that they’re a little earlier than the opening time.

“I know the owner,” Oliver comments vaguely as he holds the door open for her.

The Foundry is a decent sized establishment. Warm, brown wood coats the floors, booths and tables are littered all over the area. The walls have old vintage posters -- she thinks one of them might even be from a movie her mom loves.

They find a pair of stools on the bar, and Oliver explains with an embarrassed expression that the booths that wrap around the walls of the pub are too low and would hurt his stomach.

As Oliver helps Felicity take her coat off, a voice calls out from the back.

“We don’t open for another half hour, kids, come back then.”                                                                    

The strong voice is matched with an equally, in Felicity’s opinion, strong figure. Her eyes widen as a tall man in a tight black shirt with, she has to admit, arms the size of her head comes into view.

Oliver seems unfazed.

“Oh, come on, I think you’ll make an exception for me, Diggle,” he says lightly.

The man – Diggle – settles his hands against the bar and raises his eyebrows.

“Oliver Queen. Nice of you to finally grace me with your presence this year.”

Oliver rolls his eyes.

“Felicity, this is my friend John Diggle. Dig, this is Felicity Smoak.”

John finally looks Felicity’s way, giving her an amused look that she can’t read. “Felicity,” he repeats with a smile. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Felicity says, bringing the sleeves of her sweater up her wrists uncomfortably. When Oliver said there was someone he wanted her to meet, she wasn’t sure what to expect, but looking at the deep brown eyes of this bar owner, she’s starting to get the impression that this meeting is far more significant than she had expected.

Oliver seems oblivious to her growing nerves. “I met Dig at Hogwarts, but I’m not sure if you would have remembered him. See, I was this little shit in second year who thought that I deserved a spot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team just because I was, well, me .”

John smiles from behind the bar and shakes his head as Oliver launches into the story.

“The whole team basically laughed in my face, but this fifth year named John Diggle made me believe that if I helped him I could get a spot on the team.”

Felicity raises an eyebrow in amusement. “And?”

“And so, I was his equipment boy for months . I carried around his broom and gross practice uniform at 6 am thinking it would actually make a difference when really Dig just didn’t feel like doing any of that stuff.

“But despite all of that… we became friends. He’s kind of like the older brother I never had and helped me become less of a shit. And two years later, when I did get an actual place on the team, I was John’s partner until he graduated.”

“After that I played professionally for a few years,” John picks up the story, “But apparently no one could be a partner like Oliver, I got an injury during a match that caused some permanent nerve damage and haven’t been able to play since.”

Felicity’s eyebrows knit together in sympathy. “Oh no, I’m so sorry.”

John shakes his head lightly. “Don’t be,” he says simply. “I got to open this bar instead. Something a little different than the usual spots in Hogsmeade. Get to be near this guy.” He gives Oliver a look.

Felicity can’t help but smile at the story. The two of them fall into an easy conversation after that, catching up on mutual friends whose names Felicity doesn’t recognize.

Finally, they order food – sliders and one butterbeer, just for Felicity because the drink is too heavy for Oliver these days – and John disappears behind a door once again.

“So that’s who you wanted me to meet?” Felicity asks.

“That’s who I wanted you to meet,” Oliver repeats with a smile. “After Tommy, Diggle is probably my closest friend.”

“And you brought me to him because…”

Oliver shrugs, “Because I wanted you two to meet,” he says simply.  

He shifts his attention away to a stray menu on the counter, turning it between his fingers, and Felicity wonders -- hopes -- if there’s more to it than Oliver is saying.

Finally, he speaks again.

“After my father’s death,” he says quietly, “Everyone looked at me with either pity or suspicion. They either saw this poor hopeless boy who lost his father, or the prime suspect in the case, or like my father was a monster because he got caught up in dark magic before he died. No one wanted to look at me like I was just a kid trying to grieve. At home, I had to keep it together for the sake of my mom and Thea and I had no time to just… take it all in.”

His fingers find their way around hers. “But then, you walked into my train cabin. And you were the first person who was just willing to… talk to me. Treat me like I was normal, make me feel like I was normal for the first time in months. You didn’t see the worst in me, and I felt like I had more to offer after so long. It meant the world to me.”

When he finishes, Felicity doesn’t realize the effect his words have on her until she has to blink moisture away from her eyes. Their hands stay tangled on the bar as she searches for the right thing to say. There’s a thousand things that hang on the tip of her tongue – she wants to say that she doesn’t just see the best in him, but she sees what is already there, that he does have so much to offer, that he’s done the same for her ….

But in that moment, the words feel insufficient. So she moves closer to him, until their knees brush together and all they do is smile.

John comes back out once more, giving the two a knowing smile when they break apart.

“So Felicity, how you liking the food?”

Felicity looks down at her plate, which is barely touched, and winces. “It’s great,” she punctuates the sentiment with a quick bite and finds that wow, she isn’t lying, this food is fantastic.

John just gives a wry grin.

“So, you seem smart,” he comments, “What’s a girl like you doing with Oliver anyway? Did he Imperius you?” he leans his forearms against the bar.

Oliver laughs dryly. “Very funny, Diggle.”  

Felicity laughs lightly, “He’s not so bad,” she teases. “He’s actually… pretty special.” Her eyes slide over to meet Oliver’s and he his lips twitch up once more.

John groans lightly, “Oh god, you two are worse than I thought.”

At his words, Oliver and Felicity immediately break apart and Felicity feels her cheeks go hot.

Oliver brings a hand to his plate and rolls a french fry between his finger. “So, John, how’s your girlfriend doing?”

“My fiancée,” John corrects with a smile, “is doing great.”

Oliver’s eyebrows shoot up. “Fiancée?” he asks, “When did that happen?”

“This Christmas,” John declares proudly.

“Wow,” Oliver looks stunned, but he smiles anyway, “Congratulations, man.”  

John gives a light thank you.

Oliver leans forward a little bit, his smile disappearing, “Does Lyla still… work in the Ministry?”

John’s eyes narrow just a touch as he cautiously responds, “Yes, why?”

Oliver hesitates, eyes flickering between Felicity and his old friend. “I need answers.”

“What kind of answers?”

Oliver launches into a quick explanation of what happened over the holidays – his kidnapping, the Death Eaters, the fact that no one wants to believe him anymore.

“And right before I was taken,” Oliver reaches into his pocket and pauses, glancing at Felicity, “I was sent this.”

He unfolds a worn-out letter, with only three sentences written in clean ink.

You aren’t safe, not even in your school.

Neither is your sister, or your little blonde friend.

Sometimes, the devils are inside the walls.

Felicity looks at him with wide eyes. “When did you –?”

“I never told you,” Oliver admits, looking ashamed. “I should have, but I didn’t. It was a few weeks before Christmas. And it scared me, and I pushed you away. I shouldn’t have. I learned that the hard way,” he says grimly.

He turns his attention back to John. “I showed Waller this but she couldn’t get much from it. I trust you, John,” he finally says, breathless and worked up from recounting the past few confusing months. “And not a lot of people want to trust me these days.” The plea that goes unsaid hangs between them.

“I’ll see what I can get you, Oliver,” John says cautiously, looking between the couple, “But it sounds you should really be staying out of trouble, not seeking it out.”

“Oh John,” Felicity finally speaks, curling an arm around Oliver, “Can’t you tell? Trouble has its way of finding him these days.”

"You’re not wrong.”

John shares a grin with Felicity.

Beside them, Oliver groans something about being teamed up on.


It’s a mostly quiet walk back to Hogwarts. Oliver and Felicity walk hand in hand, unconsciously moving closer when the wind would pick up.

“I’m sorry that wasn’t exactly the best first date conversation,” Oliver says quietly. “But I wasn’t sure when I’d get a chance to see Diggle again and I didn’t want to write it in a letter.”

“Oliver, it’s fine,” Felicity says, hand tightening in his, “I had a nice time. I liked meeting John.”

He smiles at her, and they pause on a bridge overlooking a frozen river.

“So would you,” he puffs out a breath, and it comes out like a cloud in front of his face. “Would you be up for a second date?”

“Oliver,” Felicity grins, “I would be up for as many dates as you’d take me on, how’s that?”

Oliver smiles, instead choosing to respond by leaning in and brushing a kiss against her lips that makes her toes curl in her boots.

“Sounds good,” he whispers when they finally break apart.

She looks down the bridge again and frowns, “Come on, let’s get out of here. I’m cold and being on this is freaking me out.”

Oliver chuckles, “What?”

She shrugs defensively. “Just… being up on the bridge, looking all the way down, it’s freaking me out.”

“You’re scared of heights?”

“Well not so much scared of heights as I am of falling,” she crosses her arms defensively.

“I thought that’s what the main concern was for most people,” he deadpans. She gives him a look, but he ignores it as he continues, “You don’t have to worry too much. That’s the nice part about being wizards, if you fell, I’d have a way to catch you,” he says with a wink.

“Is that so?”

“Always.”

Felicity raises her eyebrows at his mock-serious tone.

“Well, let’s hope I never have to find out.”

“Hmm,” Oliver responds, takes in her chattering teeth and pushes off the rail of the bridge, “Come on, let’s get you out of this cold.”

They walk back up to Hogwarts hand in hand, exchanging light conversation. Oliver leads her back to the Ravenclaw common room and pauses at the door.

She leans on the wall, watching him questioningly as he looks into the empty hallway side to side.

Eventually, when he is satisfied he brings an arm up and his hand lands next to her head on the wall.

He leans down with a small smile, capturing her lips in a searing kiss that makes Felicity glad she has the wall to support her. He tugs slightly at her bottom lip, hand falling to cup her cheek and bringing her closer.

Then, all too soon, it’s over, and he’s pulling back with a wide grin.

“Felicity?” he whispers. She thinks she just gives a dazed sigh in response, and she feels his chest shake in silent laughter. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She nods, still trying to restart her brain and calibrate the part where words find her mouth. He gives a final squeeze of her hand before walking off – maybe with a little more bounce in his step than usual.

She gets up to her room and dresses for the night in silence, fighting a grin the entire time, and wonders if she’d ever felt this wholly happy before.

Chapter Text

If you’d ask Oliver Queen a year ago what exactly he’d feel like in a relationship, he wouldn’t have an answer.

Oliver Queen of a year ago didn’t exactly do relationships.                                                                   

Oh, he’d tried, but he found that they weren’t as fulfilling as he’d imagined. He would lay on the charm, girls would respond, but in the end the whole thing left him feeling empty inside.

Oliver Queen of a few months ago, caught up in the grief of a dead father and the misery of caring for his mother and sister, would not have thought any relationships were in his immediate future.

The Oliver Queen who discovered his father’s body, who screamed for his mother until his throat went hoarse, who had to watch a tomb be lowered into the ground and hold a broken-hearted thirteen year old together did not think he would be able to feel happy again.

Luckily, that Oliver Queen was wrong.

Today, he knows exactly what he had been missing all those years. He knows that no relationship had been entirely fulfilling because none of them had been her.

Being with Felicity is like flying on the Quidditch pitch.

It’s unreal, it makes his insides feel light . It’s exhilarating and and dizzying.

But most of all, it makes him feel so perfectly, completely, absolutely happy for the first time in a long time.

So happy, that the first month of their relationship seemed to fly by in a daze of bright colours, and laughter, and feeling carefree for the first time in months.

He spent Valentine’s Day doing honest to god relationship stuff . And he liked it.

He calls himself Felicity Smoak’s boyfriend (with a smug smile on his face) any chance he gets – the words are a privilege in his mouth and he intends to exercise that any chance he can get. It drives Felicity crazy, but honestly the way Oliver feels when she turns pink at the words is addictive.

So, yeah, things have been good for Oliver Queen lately.

Today, he’s spending a rare afternoon away from Felicity. She’s in the library with Dinah (“I feel like we’ve barely had time for each other this year, so I’m trying to change that,” she had said with a determined frown over breakfast) And he was not going to argue, choosing instead to pore over strategy with his seeker, Barry, for an upcoming Quidditch match over lunch.

When Barry walks off, the empty space next to Oliver is quickly replaced with another familiar figure.

“Tommy,” Oliver says warily, looking at the shit-eating grin on his friend’s face and bracing herself.

“Hey, Ollie,” Tommy says lightly, “Nice to see you alone for once.”

Oliver tries hard not to roll his eyes.

“Just say it,” Oliver sighs, hiding the parchment with his Quidditch plans (best friend or not, Tommy is still the enemy when it comes to the sport).

“I knew it!” Tommy says, raising his index finger upwards gleefully, “I knew there was something going on between you and Felicity Smoak.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Oliver mumbles. “Took you a month to resist gloating, I’m proud of you.”

Tommy laughs, “I tried. But seriously, I’m happy for you. I don’t think I’ve seen you this smiley. It’s all anyone can talk about these days.”

Oliver frowns. He doesn’t like the idea of people talking about him, or his relationship with Felicity, but he figures it was kind of inevitable.

Tommy reads his expression right away.

“Don’t sweat everyone else, Ollie,” he says easily, “You guys are inseparable, and honestly it was pretty obvious this would happen all year.”

Oliver still doesn’t say anything, giving a small smile at the thought. He likes the idea that they are an inevitability.

“So,” Tommy cranes his neck, looking around the Great Hall, “When do I get to properly meet your girl? I think I only got to talk to her for like a second on the train. I want to see what it is that’s got you all charmed.”

“She’s with her friend today, you know Dinah Drake?” Oliver asks, and Tommy shifts uncomfortably in his seat and shrugs.

“I’ve heard of her. So, that’s a no-go on meeting the future Mrs. Queen today?”

Oliver finds himself suddenly choking over his pumpkin juice. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. Anyway, don’t worry, you guys will be able to meet eventually.”

“Good,” Tommy says, clearly satisfied with himself. His eyes travel over to a girl sitting on the Slytherin table and throws her a smile, “Now that we got that sorted I’ll uh… I’ll see you later buddy.”

With a clap on Oliver’s back, Tommy rises from the table to saunter over to his own house’s.

As he leaves, an owl flies to Oliver’s plate. He hesitates, given that it doesn’t look like the distinguished white owl that his mother usually sends letters from – and the last letter he got from an unfamiliar sender didn’t end well.  

He turns the letter over hesitantly, but at the sight of a familiar handwriting on the envelope he sighs in relief. It’s from Diggle.

The letter inside is short:

Oliver –

I got the answers you needed. You and Felicity should come down to The Foundry as soon as you can.

Diggle.

Oliver reads it over once. Diggle is rarely this curt, but if he truly found something out it would make sense that he didn’t want to write it down in a letter anyone could read.

Damn, Oliver would need to find Felicity soon. There weren’t any official Hogsmeade weekends coming up, but seventh year students had generally freer reign to go off campus in recent years. He wonders if he would be able to stretch that privilege to Felicity.

Regretfully, Oliver abandoned his meal to set off and find Felicity. She had a test on Monday, he could already hear the protests she would give him on the missed studying time.


When they arrive at The Foundry Sunday morning, Oliver and Felicity once more ignore the closed sign hanging on the door and push through it easily. Diggle’s expecting them when they come in, waiting behind the bar with a grim expression on his face.

He raises an arm as they entered, silently suggesting they move their conversation to his office just in case.

It was strange, in all his years of friendship and patronage at The Foundry, Oliver had never been in Dig’s office before. It’s a cozy space, not unlike the décor in the bar, all dark wood and retro art on the walls. Dig seats himself behind the desk and gestures that the two be seated in the chairs on the other side.

It’s an odd arrangement, to see his friend with a desk between them makes it feel less personal, but Oliver pushes down the feeling.

“Alright,” Diggle points his wand to a drawer, pulling out a file after it slides open, “My fiancée Lyla got these answers for me. She risked a lot by getting me this file, but it has pictures and solid facts that the Ministry has tried to keep locked down for over twenty years.”

Felicity raises her eyebrows at the words, bringing her elbows up to the table and leaning forward.

“What exactly does Lyla… do in the Ministry?” she asks curiously.

Diggle smiles, and Oliver mirrors the expression. He’d try to get an answer on this a year ago with little success.

“Lyla works as a part of the Auror’s office, but she isn’t strictly an Auror. It’s uh… a little more complicated than that. They’re called the ARGUS department.”

“ARGUS?” Felicity presses.

Diggle clears his throat and pushes the file forward. There’s the Ministry crest on the front page.

“Another time, maybe,” he says lightly, though it’s obvious it isn’t something he’ll explain soon. “Let’s talk about this for now. So, the first thing is, Oliver, you were right when you said you were taken by Death Eaters.”

“Really,” Oliver says flatly, “Because the Aurors kept insisting that I had been taken for money –”

“That’s what the Aurors want you to believe,” Diggle says with a grim expression. “It’s the same reason they wouldn’t accept why dark magic was involved in your father’s death. After twenty years of peace, the last thing they want is to admit that Death Eaters are at large again, much less snatching children up from Hogwarts. It’ll bring panic, it might mobilize people to the other side, it makes the Ministry look like a failure.”

“That’s so stupid,” Oliver starts, leaning forward in his chair so much that he almost jumps off, “They shouldn’t be ignoring the problem.”

“They haven’t been ignoring it, or at least, ARGUS hasn’t.” Diggle flips the file open. On the first page sits a weathered photograph, of a wizard in clean black robes and white blonde hair moving confidently through an area Oliver vaguely recognizes as Muggle London.

“They’ve been worried for some time about this man right here. Damien Darhk. From what I know, he was Voldemort’s right hand, knew everything about him, first in everything he did. Like a lot of Death Eaters, he was presumed dead in the Battle of Hogwarts.”

“Darhk…” Oliver whispers, staring at the moving image in front of him. He repeats the name a few times in his head, as if trying to search for any signs of familiarity. Finally, it hit him.

“When I was taken,” he looks up with widened eyes, “They kept asking me what I knew about the dark plan . I thought they meant something about dark magic. I was so disoriented, it didn’t make sense at the time. I didn’t think it was important. What if they meant him – Damien Darhk?”

Diggle nodded. “That would make a lot of sense.”

“Wait,” Felicity raised a hand, “That doesn’t make sense. Why was he presumed dead?”

A knowing look returned to Diggle’s eye. “A lot of Death Eaters fled when it became apparent that their side wouldn’t come out of the war as winners. A lot went into hiding. The Ministry went looking for a lot of them, considering that a lot of these guys had rap sheets that had some pretty serious offenses. But a few months after the war, they were really focused on presenting a peaceful society. They didn’t want to give anyone reason to believe that another war that horrific could ever happen again. So, anyone who wasn’t found was presumed dead.”

Felicity’s eyebrows sit high in her hairline. “That’s…”

“Horrible? Irresponsible? Short sighted?”

“Yeah.”

Diggle nods and flips over the photograph to reveal what seemed to be a Ministry report dated a few years ago.

“They started looking into it in recent years because… Well, there’s been a startling undercurrent of the same ideals Voldemort preached. It is, in the simplest form, bigotry. The same old story – blood purity, pure blooded wizards being of superior race and Muggles being filthy, the whole thing. After the war, no one advertised if they felt that way – no one wanted to be locked up for being a Death Eater. But now, almost twenty years later, people are starting to feel a little more comfortable with it. A lot of it is stuff that seems harmless at first glance. Little things here and there to assert pure blooded dominance.”

Felicity nods knowingly, a hard look in her eyes. “Like calling someone a Mudblood in the middle of the street,” she says. Oliver takes her hand under the table and squeezes gently. He knows that day in Hogsmeade, Felicity had tried to calm him down more, and hid how much the words actually affected her.

“Something like that,” Diggle nods. He flips over to another photograph, taken in what Oliver recognizes is the Ministry of Magic, where Darhk stands proudly to the side. The date in the corner reveals this was taken in 1997.

“So, what do you think all of this has to do with my father’s death?”

Diggle rubs a hand over his mouth and hesitates.

“I think, if these Death Eaters really are rising again, they need more people. They wanted your father – your family has money, influence, not to mention –”

Diggle flips another page over. This one features a larger group of Death Eaters next to Darhk. Oliver recognizes some of the sneering faces from history books, but one face in particular stands out. Next to him, Felicity leans over to get a better look.

“Oh my god,” Oliver’s eyebrows furrow, “Is That Malcolm Merlyn? Tommy’s dad?”

“It is,” Diggle says, “He’s said to be clean now, went through a trial with the Ministry and put a lot of effort in erasing any of his ties to dark magic after the war ended, but that doesn’t have to mean anything.”

Felicity tenses next to him, turning the photograph over and tracing the edges.

Oliver sighs. “That’s crazy. I wonder if Tommy –”

“John, do you have the names for all the people in this photo?” Felicity cuts him off, her voice sounding oddly caught, “Like, maybe this one?”

She points to a frowning man in the corner with dark hair, tall, slender, and utterly unfamiliar to Oliver.

John nods, “This one’s Noah Kuttler. From what I heard, Voldemort kept him around because he was wicked smart, this genius in charms and brewing potions to help Death Eaters disguise themselves. Really talented in Legilimency, too – he could read minds like it was The Daily Prophet and got a lot of information out of some powerful Ministry folk. He was one of the many that was presumed dead when Voldemort died.”

Felicity grows more tense as John speaks, her eyes never wavering from the photograph.

“Felicity,” Oliver finally says, “Is something wrong?”

She lets out a long breath. A loose lock of hair that had fallen in her face flies gently as she does.

“That man in the photo… that’s my father,” she finally says. She shakes her head a few times, “I’m sorry. I just… I need some air. I – yeah. Thank you for all this John.”

Before either can say anything, Felicity is flying out of her chair and the office, the door swinging gently as she does. Oliver watches the empty frame blankly.

“You should go find her,” Diggle says, but Oliver’s already pushing himself out of his seat.

Oliver doesn’t know a lot about Felicity’s history with her father. He knows the man left when she was young, and that she didn’t know too much about him, but that she’s always been mostly okay with it.

He can’t begin to imagine what it would feel like to find out your absentee father was a Death Eater.

When Oliver finds her, she’s seated on a bench in front of a pond in Hogsmeade park. It’s not a particularly nice day to be outdoors. It rained all morning, and now gray clouds hang low in the sky. Felicity sits on the damp wood, watching the ripples in the water carefully.

Oliver approaches hesitantly, wondering for the first time if she would have liked to be left alone.

Her arms are bound tightly around herself, the tip of her nose is red, and Oliver doesn’t doubt that these things cannot be attributed to the cold weather.

“Hey,” he says gently as he approaches. She doesn’t look up, but he can see her arms tighten.

He takes a chance and sits down next to her, trying to find the words to say.

He decides to wait for her to speak first.

“All my life,” she eventually says, “I wanted answers. I wanted to know who my father was, why he left, how much of him was in me. My mom used to tell me that he was smart, any time I did well in school she said it was thanks to him. She used to say we were a lot alike; always reading, always problem solving. I loved hearing it. I was young, probably around eight or nine, I didn’t know any better. Back then, he wasn’t the guy who left us, he was this mysterious figure. I hoped one day he would come back, be my hero or something.”

She shakes her head with a bitter laugh. “Obviously, that hero worship thing went away, but I still wanted answers,” she throws a hand in the air meekly, “And now… I know. I know why I was put here, in this school across the ocean from my home, from my mom. I know why I’m a genius. I finally understand…. All of it. And I wish I didn’t.

“Everything I know about myself, I owe it to him. This… this monster. Who tormented people, broke families apart, killed, who knows what else. And in all of this, the only thing I can wonder is… if he is some kind of monster,” she finally looks towards him, eyes shining in unshed tears. “ God, Oliver, what would that make me?”

Her face finally crumples, like the dam she had so carefully tried to keep together erupted, and Oliver reacts instantly, bringing his arms around her and pulling her head down on his chest.

He runs his thumb up and down Felicity’s head soothingly, trying to find the right words to say. He’s never seen her like this, so small, so hurt. He can feel the ten-or-so years of confusion and unresolved issues with her father finally coming apart under his hands and feeling utterly useless to stop it.

“You are not a monster, and you do not owe everything to him,” he finally says, “He doesn’t get all the hard work you’ve put in. Those late nights in the library, early morning meetings with professors, giving up lunch time to tutor other kids, that’s all you, not him. He doesn’t get the girl who waited outside my common room for hours just to see if I was okay when my mom was in the hospital,” he can feel her shudder against him and his arms tighten. “He doesn’t get your strength, your compassion, your kindness. Felicity, you are not him. You’re so much more than that.”

She doesn’t respond, just curling her fingers tighter into his shirt. He brushes a kiss on her forehead before resting his chin on her hair.

They stay like that until her tears go dry, and her breathing evens out. Oliver doesn’t say anything, but waits with a soothing hand going up and down her back. Eventually, she lifts her head and offers him a weak smile that doesn’t quite reach her glassy eyes.

“Thank you,” she whispers.

“Always.”


After some odd minutes, Oliver and Felicity find themselves walking back into The Foundry. Oliver tried to get Felicity back to the castle, but she insisted that she was okay and that Diggle had more to tell them.

So, he holds her hand tightly and doesn’t comment when she runs a hand over her red eyes in the mirror they pass.

Diggle, being Diggle, doesn’t comment on her abrupt exit, but instead continues on. Oliver can tell from the way Felicity relaxes slightly into her chair that she is grateful for it.

“There’s another thing I wanted to talk to you about,” Diggle says, “That letter you showed me, it got me thinking about what it could mean.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Oliver says dryly, “They warned me I wasn’t safe at school, and a few weeks later I was taken from my own room.”

“But you had to be taken from there somehow. The words are right there, ‘the devils are inside the walls.’”

“Someone in the school is working with the Death Eaters,” Felicity finishes.

Diggle nods grimly.

“So… what, it has to be a teacher, right?” Oliver says, “It would make sense. Most students go home for the Holidays but every teacher stays in the castle.”

“That’s what I think. Someone with enough power to make things like have a student disappear. Do you think you’d be able to get me a list of all the staff? I’d be able to run it through to Lyla.”

Oliver and Felicity nod.

“So… if all these Death Eaters are … what, mobilizing? How are they even able to do that? If half of them are presumed dead, how are they flying under the Ministry radar?” Felicity asks.

“I have a working theory that they’re meeting in parts of Muggle towns, where the Ministry isn’t looking as closely. Any kind of trouble there is chalked up to being Muggle crime.” Diggle flips over to another page, outlining a map, “In Muggle London, there’s a place where a lot of lowlife wizards are known to hang out, get their laughs by preying on the weak, that kind of thing. They call it The Glades. Dollars to donuts, if Darhk wants to mobilize people, he’s doing it there.”

“A place where dark wizards can easily group together and cause trouble?” Oliver asks. “And the Ministry doesn’t know about this?”

Diggle raises an eyebrow.

“Right,” Oliver sighs, “They know, they just don’t want to look too closely.”

“You’ll soon learn, Oliver,” Diggle says with a dark smile, “That is probably the answer to a lot of things.”

“Right,” Oliver lets out a breath and leans back in his chair. Felicity mirrors the action, both of them exchange glances.

He suddenly feels very uneasy about returning to the castle they’ve called home for years.