Felicity sees Oliver trail his fingers lightly down Sara’s back, and she feels a tiny stab of something inside of her.
She doesn’t know what it was. It wasn’t jealousy over Oliver, which surprised her a little. Maybe it was the casual intimacy of the gesture, maybe it was the way Sara didn’t even seem to notice, the feeling being so familiar to her now.
Felicity looks away sharply as the couple leave, and the sound of Sara’s tinkling laugh echoes through her long after the door has closed.
She sees Dig cast a worried look over to her as she hunches over her computers.
A blush creeps up her cheeks, not because he caught her expression, but because he thinks it’s over Oliver.
Oliver still made her feel things. She was never not going to feel something when a hot guy was walking around with this shirt of all the time. But she had moved past what she had felt for him, or was at the very least beginning to.
She loved him, would always love him, but she didn’t know if she was in love with him in the same way she had been. Somewhere along the way she had let go of it. Having feelings for Oliver was a lot of pain with no reward, and she had begun to realise she wanted more than that. As soon as she had, as soon as she let herself believe she deserved more, the things Oliver used to inspire in her, romantically anyway, seemed to dull.
And she was ok with that. More than ok with that. She used to get embarrassed and feel lesser somehow. And now she wasn’t in love with him she didn’t feel that. That’s not to say Oliver was horrible to her or made her feel like that on purpose, but it was difficult to live in the shadow of a hero. It was difficult to have a relationship that he defined, that he gave permission for. He might have been trying to protect her, but Felicity knew that she had the right to make decisions too.
And so when she saw Oliver with Sara and had felt that sudden rush of feeling, she was so hesitant to call it what she thought it was. Jealousy. Because she wasn’t jealous of Sara being with the man she had once loved. She’d been jealous that Oliver got to touch Sara like that.
It was strange. She saw Oliver as a hero and she would always believe in him and see the best in him. But somehow, seeing him touch Sara, she felt like he didn’t deserve to. It was stupid really, he wasn’t the only one that had done bad things. But Sara…Sara was like this bright invincible symbol of strength, and seeing someone touch her like that was like seeing them try to pull her down in the dark with them.
Felicity rubbed her eyes wearily trying to make sense of her thoughts.
That night, in those limbo moments just before she fell asleep, Sara’s face floats into her mind, fragmented and distant, lost in dreams – but she knows it’s her. She knows her brain had sent her there without thought. The space she’s carved out in the back of her mind for her secret things was once occupied with Oliver. Now though that image was slowly twisting and turning into something else – someone else, and Felicity didn’t know how to stop it.
And after sweating and clenching her way through the labyrinth of her dreams in the endless dark, felicity awoke and knew she could no longer lie, not even to herself about the new things she was feeling for Sara. She wanted to sink into the softness of her, the impossible gold of her. She wanted her hair to slip through her fingers like dripping honey. She wants to fit herself to the indomitable shape of her.
And that when it got awkward. That’s when the glances started between them, the blushing when Oliver and Sara trained together. That’s when she suddenly became able to ignore him on the salmon ladder but not her.
And Sara would look at her right back. Felicity didn’t know if she was warning her away from Oliver, which would make sense, or just confused. She at least had the decency to pretend she didn’t sense Felicity’s eyes on her.
But she did seem to be hovering around her much more than usual. Sometimes when they were discussing plans as a team she would suddenly turn to Felicity and ask her opinion pointedly, even if Oliver had just explained what he wanted them to do. And she took the time to ask if it was ok when they expected Felicity to be able to magic results up in an instant. She made her feel noticed and appreciated in a team that often took her for granted.
Then that mission happened.
They had been tracking a seemingly untouchable mob boss for weeks and had come up with a plan. He was attending a charity ball that night and they would be there undercover to plant a bug on him.
Sara had volunteered for this particular task, which Oliver seemed surprisingly OK with.
Sara entered the foundry in a blaze of beauty. She was wearing a long black sleeveless dress that hugged her figure tightly, her blonde hair curled up in a neat bun on top of her head.
In his awe struck gaze, Oliver didn’t notice Felicity staring in exactly the same way.
She also did not notice the way he had been looking at her all night either.
Dressed in a short but classy pink dress, it had caged sleeves that showed her skin. Somehow these small peeks of her soft skin under her dress served to be more tempting than if she had showed the whole of her top half.
When Sara came in, she surprised felicity by basically blanking Oliver and walking right up to her excitedly, looking her up and down.
“You look…amazing.” Sara breathed with a smile, her hands moving to trail down felicity’s arms. Its an intimate gesture that leaves goose bumps in its wake.
Sara takes hold of felicity’s hands, seeming to forget anyone else was there.
“So do you.” felicity returns quietly and seriously. She really means it.
Sara must see it in her eyes, because then in that small moment something passes between them. A look, an instinct felicity couldn’t place.
Then Oliver clears his throat awkwardly and the moment shatters.
Felicity tries to calm her heartbeat as Sara moves off breezily to greet Oliver.
When they are at the ball, Felicity has to remember to focus on the mission. But between Sara’s dress and long looks and Oliver’s hand on the small of her back it becomes very difficult.
Sara sweeps past her with practised ease, grabbing the bug from her hand when they saw their target. Felicity doesn’t miss how their fingers brush.
Sara moves through the crowd of people so she can corner the target. Felicity stares after her worriedly, straining to catch a glimpse of her through the crowd of people.
Oliver putting a reassuring hand on her back startles her, she had forgotten he was standing right next to her.
“She’ll be fine.” He smiles down at her.
Felicity looks up at him and she feels a strange kind of nostalgia sweep over her. Once upon a time she would have longed for this. Oliver standing dangerously close to her the way he was now, his hand resting against her. But now she just felt worried for Sara. And she almost missed how easy it was before when she had her crush on him. She tried to smile back at him but he sees the sadness in it.
“Come on. Dig is watching out for her, but we can get closer if you really want.”
Felicity is about to ask what he means when he takes hold of her hand and pulls her onto the dance floor.
He presses their bodies against one another as they begin to move. She can see Sara at the edge of the room as they twirl around.
She looks up at Oliver who is making rather intense eye contact with her. Felicity knew the blush on her cheeks was partly because she was still attracted to him. But she didn’t feel like this was some kind of romantic moment. She felt something more like sadness…like pity.
Oliver still thought this was like it was before. Still thought he could have Sara and Felicity’s attentions. It was true they had both knowingly danced around each other and their feelings for a long time, even after he started dating Sara. But it was clear from the way he was looking at her with a tender but undisguised longing, that Oliver had no idea. He had no idea she had moved on, no idea that anything had changed. He still thought he could have these stolen moments with her and then carry on like normal. One time she longed for them. But now she just felt bad. She felt far away from him, even then, pressed against his chest. She felt like she had run miles ahead, she had let go of the things she would never have. And he had not.
She looks away from him guiltily and as she does so she catches Sara’s eye.
It isn’t exactly difficult seen as Sara is staring at them rather angrily.
She’s stood at the edge of the dance floor, her cheeks a little flushed as she watches them, eyes burning with emotion.
She looks back at Felicity with a hurt expression for just a moment before she sees the mask fall, and Sara’s face becomes blank.
“It’s done.” She says into her comms device in a low but expressionless voice.
Felicity untangles herself without warning from Oliver, but when she looks back at Sara, she’s already moving hastily toward the exit.