Felicity doesn’t remember to light candles on the first night of Chanukah. There’s not any particularly good reason, she just forgets by the time sundown comes around. It’s the third night of Chanukah before she actually digs out her menorah. Her voice is thin and awkward all alone singing the prayer, too quiet and too loud at the same time. She jumps when she turns around and sees the Hood behind her, startled and embarrassed at the same time.
“Oliver…” Felicity stammers, feeling the redness spread across her face.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“It’s okay. I mean this isn’t how I envisioned…”
Envisioned you showing up unexpectedly and catching me in a compromising position. She finishes mentally. She flushes further, thinking about what she has imagined about what Oliver might happen upon: her in sexy lingerie or taking a shower.
They stand there awkwardly for a moment.
“Oh, right. There is probably something you need, some reason…” She lets the sentence wander off.
She’s imagined Oliver in her apartment more than she cares to admit. She has imagined him in every corner of her tiny apartment. She knows that the reason he is here won’t be anything related to those fantasies though. He probably needs her to hack or decode something.
“Can you reset my shoulder?” Oliver pulls off his hood and steps closer to her. Felicity tries not to notice the heat that radiates off of his skin or fixate on the angle at which his stubble grows on his perfect jaw.
Felicity knows that Oliver is perfectly capable of putting his own shoulder back into socket but she waits until after she does it to point that out to him.
“Caught me again. Actually, I need your advice.”
That’s new. Felicity knows she should be glad that she’s suddenly this deep in the friendzone. A year ago Oliver Queen, notorious playboy, would probably have slept with her without a second thought. Maybe that would have been for the best, maybe she could have gotten it out of her system and moved on as quickly as he would have. She knows she is way past that now, once she got to know the real him, the Oliver who was driven to be the Arrow, she knew she was far too deep in now to be another casual one night stand to him. So it is for the best that she is well and firmly friendzoned at this point.
“Okay. What is it?”
She knows it is probably Laurel.
“It’s Diggle, I think I messed up bad this time. I’m not sure he is going to forgive me again.”
She can’t decide whether she wants to make him feel all better for him or smack Oliver upside the head. Diggle is the one person who might be more devoted to him than she is, albeit without the schoolgirl fantasies… at least as far as she knows.
“Have you tried… apologizing? Look Oliver, you know Diggle has your back. He just needs to know that you have his as well.”
Oliver may be some sort of badass ninja archer, but he sucks at reading people. That’s probably why he spends the next few days having assassins after him and Felicity is completely busy trying to track down who has put the hit out on him.
She doesn’t get around to lighting any more candles until the last night. It’s past sundown by a good hour before she gets home, but she decides to go for it anyway. Twice is a bad year for celebrating Chanukah, even for her.
Besides, she has earned this little moment of sacredness. Felicity is pretty sure that what she is doing with Oliver is not that dissimilar than the Maccabee resistance. They are going to take back their city. Felicity wonders whether Judah Maccabee had some woman who pulled her life off the rails for him and his cause. Of course he did. No one will ever write about her, though. The Talmud won’t talk about it.
Felicity cuts off the thought and strikes a match to begin the process of anchoring the candles down by melting the bottom of each before placement in the menorah. It’s a necessary step if you don’t want your candles falling over or out.
God will understand why she had to bend the rules she tells herself. The God Felicity believes in cares about the way you live your daily life, how much you do to help others, much more so than whether your candles are lit exactly on time. It’s the thought that counts, right God?
Her voice feels even more frail and pathetic than it did five nights before, if that is even possible. She misses being one voice in many. She is surprised, to say the least, when a low male voice joins her during the final repetition as she lights that last of the candles in her empty apartment. There can’t be anyone else singing… and yet there is. Her own little Chanukah miracle she thinks, unwilling to turn around and break the spell for a moment more. It can’t be.
But when she turns around and there he is: Oliver.
“I didn’t know you knew Hebrew.”
She doesn’t know what else to say.
“I don’t. I looked the words up.” He grins sheepishly, “Happy Chanukah, Felicity.”
And then he is gone, out her window again.
She promises herself she won’t read too far into it. Oliver is just being nice. He is just saying thank you.
It is more than anyone has done in years. It has to be enough.