Where there's life there's hope.
And where there's hope, there just might be life.
Whether Felicity's love and hope had anything to do with it or not, the fact was that Oliver Queen returned home in the flesh about three months after she'd begun leading the team.
He walked in as if it had been any other night, as if nothing had changed since he'd left on what many had called a fool's mission.
As a married man, Diggle saw the danger first. Felicity's back was to them – she hadn't seen Oliver come in yet. He took the opportunity to grab Roy by the shoulder and propel him outside at top speed, throwing a quick 'Good to have you back, Oliver.' over his shoulder as he left.
When they were safely out of range, Roy shrugged off Diggle's hand. “What the hell was that all about?”
“Man, I just saved your life.” At Roy's puzzled look, he added. “Trust me, that was one reunion scene you did not want to be a part of.”
Back underground, Felicity finally turned around. She sat there, stunned, not trusting the evidence of her own eyes. She'd hoped against hope for so long now that she was sure she had to be dreaming.
“Oliver?” she finally managed to ask, slowly rising from her chair to stand there, bound in place by the intensity of her conflicting desires.
“Felicity. I hear you've been keeping the team together while I've been gone. Thank you.” He stood there, relaxed, at peace in a way that Felicity had never seen in him before.
It was the reminder of all those days in hell that finally broke the spell of her bemusement. The possibility of movement came back to her body and in three quick strides she was across the room.
She stood in front of him, breathing in his scent, drinking in his essence, realizing that by whatever miracle, he was alive, and here.
She punched him.
He rocked back with the blow, anger flaring in his eyes before he took a breath, deliberately calmed himself.
“I suppose I deserved that.”
“Yes, you did,” Felicity replied unrepentantly, tears lying beneath the steel. “You had no right.”
“To go?” Steel of his own.
Felicity shook her head. “To say you loved me. You had no right – not then. Not when you were headed out the door to a battle there was a good chance you'd lose and I had no idea when or even if you were ever coming back.” She challenged him with her eyes. “You had no right to tell me then, if you couldn't tell me before.”
Oliver looked down. “You're right,” he said quietly. His eyes met hers. “And I'm sorry I didn't have the courage to tell you earlier.”
Silence again, but this time warmer.
“Oliver?” She hesitated. The words sounded crazy even in her mind, but she had to know.
“Did you... die?”
Oliver shook his head. “I don't know. But I do know this – you were the last thought I had as I died and the first thought I had when I returned.”
She did start crying then. Oliver pulled her into his arms as she broke, holding her close, comforting her with his presence, his touch, as she cried out all the grief, all the longing, all the despair she had felt.
And then she was kissing him, hard and hungry. Unspoken language there too, apology and absolution.
Finally they broke apart. Instantly the shyness, the awkwardness returned, but with a difference. There was a connection there now, an acknowledged connection, and in that there was the power to change worlds.
But for now, the everyday was enough.
“Welcome back, Oliver.” Felicity said, straightening her clothes in an attempt to bring the normalcy back to the situation, put some measure of appropriate distance between them.
“Thank you. It's good to be back.” he replied, equally aware of the change between them.
They stood there, unsure, for a few more moments.
“So, what's next?” Felicity finally asked.
“Well, you're not going to like this, but... I have to go back.”