Felicity Smoak was not in the holiday spirit. She did not put out her menorah this year. She had politely declined when they were recruiting people at Palmer Tech to participate in Secret Santa.
How was one supposed to function during a season when everyone was joyful, and you are in so much pain you just want to crawl into your bed and never leave it? Not one week had passed since Malcolm Merlyn had presented them with that sword with Oliver’s blood on it. And told them he was dead.
Oliver Queen was dead.
The love of her life died somewhere on a mountain by the hand of Ra’s Al Ghul. In the cold. Alone.
So excuse her if she did not feel like decking the halls. This attitude was the reason she was scowling at the poinsettia plant that was on her desk. The note that came with it said, “Happy Hanukkah, Felicity, love your Secret Santa.”
Seriously? She wasn’t in the mood for this. She asked around the office, and the HR rep assured her that she had not been entered into the Secret Santa. No one had any idea how it had ended up on her desk with her name on it.
Felicity asked Ray, because this was something he might try in his annoying excessive cheerfulness. But he was innocent of the flower-giving. She considered tossing them in the trash, not wanting the holiday cheer, but she hated mysteries. And this one had to be solved.
Also, they reminded her of the plant Oliver had gotten her after they had first met and she helped him out during the holiday season.
Later that day, she received a box of her favorite chocolates. Whoever this Santa pretender was, he knew her well.
As she was getting ready to leave for the day, an intern brought in another gift. A bottle of red wine. The same brand that Oliver had promised her for helping with that fake scavenger hunt a few years ago after they first met. Thinking of Oliver once more made her heart twist.
Whoever was doing this was cruel. She was already struggling to function in her grief without these constant reminders. Oh well, at least she could get drunk on the wine and feel a little better.
Felicity stormed out of the office with barely a farewell to anyone, and slammed her car door after she got in. She put her key in the ignition and gasped when she heard a sound in the back seat. Slowly reaching for the pepper spray in her purse, she peeked over her shoulder.
“Eeeek!” She screamed.
Felicity didn’t have time for déjà vu, as she was too much in shock to see the man that she loved not only alive, but in her backseat. And bleeding.
“It’s just me, Felicity!” Oliver said in a strained voice.
“I know, and you’re bleeding in my car…again!” Felicity was trying to stop her pounding heart. “And you’re alive! I thought you were dead.”
“I was dead…well mostly dead.”
“Don’t go quoting The Princess Bride at a time like this. I’m freaking out! How did you get here?”
Oliver tried to sit up in the tight space that was the back seat and winced in pain. “I can explain later, after we deal with my wounds reopening. I moved around too much getting all those gifts for you today.”
“That was you? Why would you do such a thing when you are wounded and can barely stay upright?” Felicity scowled at him, but hurried to start her car.
“Important discussion later, patching up first, please,” Oliver ground out, clearly in pain.
“Well, I know you will say no to the hospital you clearly need, so I guess I will take you to Dig and the bunker.”
“No, I don’t want anyone to know that I’m back yet. I just want you.”
Felicity sighed. She knew that when Oliver was difficult like this, it would be hard to change his mind. She had two choices – she could wait until he fell unconscious and take him to John despite his protests, or she could hurry and get him to her place BEFORE he passed out so she wouldn’t have to drag his dead weight from the car to her couch. His softly whispered “Please, Felicity, just you” made her decision for her and she turned toward her apartment.
She just got him back, and if she could patch him up with what skills she had learned in the past few years and have him to herself for a while as he recovered, Felicity wasn’t going to protest.
She was able (barely) to get him home and into her apartment. His wounds had been carefully stitched up, and she tried not to panic at how many and how big they were. The giant one where he had apparently been stabbed by a sword was almost too much for Felicity to bear, but she just focused on fixing the few stitches that had popped.
Oliver fell asleep quickly, and she was relieved that he didn’t seem to be running a fever. He was just weak from his body working so hard to healing his injuries. And from his over-exertion playing Santa to her today. She wondered why he did it.
Felicity knew that they weren’t together right now -his choice, not hers – but she still felt hopeful when Oliver called out for her in his sleep, and held her hand tightly when she placed it in his for comfort. At least “asleep Oliver” didn’t get caught up in his own idiotic thoughts about them not being together.
After several hours, Oliver finally woke up. Felicity heated him up a can of chicken noodle soup in the microwave (she wasn’t sure she even had a pot to cook it on the stove).
While he ate, he explained what had happened on the mountain, how Ra’s al Ghul had “killed” him. Felicity’s stomach was in knots when she heard about his fall off the side of the mountain. If she knew the address of his friends who had saved him, she would send them 100 letters of thanks for what they did.
“But why didn’t you listen to her advice and stay there and heal? Why did you come back before your body was ready?”
Oliver was quiet for a minute, forming his words. “Because of you, Felicity. You were the last person I thought about before I fell. And when I was sleeping, I dreamed of you. I didn’t go off to fight and you and I just ran away together.”
Felicity just stared at him with tears in her eyes.
“So you decided to risk your life even more by coming back before you were healed?”
“I had to see you. It was the only thing I could think about since I woke up, and I knew I couldn’t rest or begin to heal until I saw you again. You’re my home, Felicity, and I didn’t realize that until I was tumbling over the side of that mountain. I’m so sorry that I was too much of a coward to allow myself to believe it before.”
Tears were now streaming down Felicity’s face in full force. She didn’t know what to say.
“Felicity, I know that I hurt you when I said we couldn’t be together. I hope that you will forgive me and give me a second chance. I want to be with you. I love you, Felicity Smoak.”
She wanted to launch into his arms, but instead hesitantly took his hand.
“I love you too, Oliver,” she said and hope lit in his eyes. “But what about what you said, about not being able to live the life you live and be with me?”
Oliver grunted in pain as he sat up and cupped her face in his hands. She opened her mouth to protest him disturbing his injuries, but the intense look in his eyes stopped her words.
“I realized something when I was about to die, Felicity. You are part of the life I live, both as the Arrow and Oliver Queen. Me wanting to not be in a relationship with you doesn’t keep you any safer. I was not afraid that you would get hurt, I guess I was afraid of letting someone in. I was afraid that you would see the monster in me and I would lose you.”
“You are never going to lose me,” Felicity responded, repeating the words he had said to her before. “I know you think that what happened to you while you were away on the island…and elsewhere…turned you into a monster, but I know that isn’t true.”
“It’s my turn to talk, Oliver. I know you. You are a good man. A good man who has survived a lot and done what was needed to be done to survive and to save this city. Nothing you do or say can convince me otherwise.”
Oliver dropped his hands and shook his head.
“I don’t deserve you.”
“That’s up to me to decide, isn’t it? Please stop trying to decide for me.”
She held her breath as he processed her words. Finally, he nodded, and all the tension left his shoulders. “So we are going to do this?” he asked.
She smiled at him. “Do what? Because I don’t think your injuries will allow for bedroom shenanigans right now.”
Oliver’s lips quirked up into a smile. “Much as I would love to bedroom shenaneganize with you, I mean a relationship. You and me. Together. For always if you’ll have me.”
“Shenaneganize is not a word.”
She laughed at him and closed the distance between them to place a tender kiss on his lips. “For always sounds pretty good.”
His smiling eyes changed into passionate ones as he pulled her back to him and gave her a deeper kiss than the one she had given him. Felicity knew he was pouring all his feelings for her into it, and the anxiety of their separation, because she was doing the same. The melted into each other, and she did not want it to end.
But his wince in pain reminded them both that he needed rest to heal. Felicity extricated herself from his embrace and forced him back onto the couch, scowling at him when he resisted.
“This city needs you, and so do I. Which means you need to lay still for a while and recover.”
“Only if you lay with me.”
“Fine, but for the next few weeks, you are going to be watching a lot of nerdy stuff on Netflix.”
Oliver laughed. “As long as you are in my arms, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
She reached into her bag. “And I’m totally drinking this wine and eating this chocolate you got me. And I’m not sharing.” She was not in any rush to get those though. Instead, Felicity sat on the couch and Oliver snuggled into her.
Felicity took time off of work and spent several weeks snuggled up with Oliver in her apartment as his body mended itself from the fall. They had never had this – down time to just spend together and learn more about each other outside of the office and Arrow bunker.
But soon, growing tensions in the city with the absence of the Arrow could no longer be ignored. Confident he was healed enough to don the hood again, Oliver went back out into the field to announce his presence again, with Felicity in his ear from the bunker.
There would be more challenges to face now that Ra’s al Ghul knew Oliver had survived, and the couple was at odds over how involved Malcolm Merlyn should be in their quest to take the League of Assassins down.
And then there was the matter of deciding how to pay to clean the blood out of the back of her leased car…again.
But they would figure it out one way from now on…together.