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Mine at Midnight

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"I told you that this is not my scene." Felicity hissed, tugging at Dinah's dress that was way too short for comfort. She was in the middle of a losing battle with the gold dress though, because every time she pulled on the bottom, her breasts popped out of the top a little bit more.

Approaching a frat house where she wasn't invited had her feeling nervous, and the dress debacle was not helping. 

Dinah looped her arm through Felicity's, "You look hot. Just breathe."

"That's a little hard to do in this thing." Felicity muttered, pulling at the fabric again. She sighed, glancing at her other two roommates. Iris and Caitlin had already started drinking at the apartment, and as she stared up at the massive house, she wasn't sure what exactly had compelled her to offer to be their designated driver. She was already anxious about attending her first ever frat party, and she was worried that they'd turn her down at the door since it was an invitation only party. Getting rejected at the door of a party was like a fear from every romantic comedy she'd ever seen, and it was currently haunting her real life.

Her lack of invitation had been her main arguing point of why she couldn't go with her roommates, but they'd laughed at her. Apparently girls didn't need invitations.

She wasn't sure if that eased her mind or made her more anxious, but she definitely wanted to go home.

Luckily Dinah was still sober. For now at least.

She locked her car, hitting the button three times for good measure. Beer cans and red solo cups littered the snowy lawn. People were stumbling up the driveway, slipping on ice and laughing their heads off at their own struggles. She usually didn't like to deal with drunk people, especially the ones who showed up to the party so drunk that they could barely make it to the door.

Unless it was Caitlin. She loved drunk Caitlin.

"Felicity!" Caitlin whined, pouting and wiggling uncomfortably, trying to pull away from her.

Felicity released her grip on Caitlin's arm, smiling sheepishly at her roommate. "Sorry."

Going to school in Boston had been one of the best decisions of her life. She'd met Caitlin their freshman year at MIT, and they'd become roommates their sophomore year. Then this year, they'd moved into an apartment with Dinah and Caitlin's childhood friend, Iris.

The four of them weirdly got along perfectly, despite being four very different people. When Felicity wanted to go to the bar, she always had at least one drinking buddy. If she wanted to sit on the couch and eat ice cream while watching chick flicks, someone was always willing to keep her company for that, too. She trusted all of them, which they'd totally used to their advantage in coercing her to this house tonight with all of their we'll be right there with you, and we wouldn't let anything bad happen to you, and you'll have so much fun, Felicity, we want you to come!

"Ladies," the frat brother manning the door eyed them up and down.

Caitlin crossed her arms, unamused by his wide grin. "You gonna let us in, Cisco?"

He rolled his eyes, "Ronnie's in the living room, trying to fix the speakers." He grumbled, glancing at Dinah.

Felicity fought back a smile; she recognized the boy from seeing him out at the bars a few times. If her assumptions were correct, Cisco had been infatuated with Dinah ever since Caitlin started dating his frat brother, Ronnie. They'd met him at a bar one night when he tagged along with Ronnie, over a year ago, and he'd set his sights on Dinah instantly. Apparently he hadn't given up since.

Dinah was a little rough around the edges, but she never shied away from a party. Not like Felicity did. So Dinah was always being dragged to Ronnie's frat house whenever Caitlin wanted to go to the parties they were throwing on the weekends.

Felicity liked those weekends. The apartment was quiet for a few hours, sometimes she could finish homework or binge Netflix and drink wine alone. It was glorious. She'd been looking forward to having one of those nights tonight, but apparently New Years Eve was an unacceptable night to spend alone. It didn't really matter to her. It wasn't something her family cared about or even celebrated much at all. She'd never had a New Years kiss, and honestly, she thought it was too hyped up. Of course, for calendars' sakes, it was important. But mostly she just thought it was an excuse for people to get drunk and tell themselves that they would change an undesired behavior or two, even though deep down, they knew they wouldn't.

Caitlin squeezed Cisco's cheek as she skipped inside, followed by Iris. "Save me a dance, Dinah?" Cisco asked as Dinah passed him.

She smiled crookedly at him, always a good sport about his crush. "I think I can manage that. Just for you, Ramon." She said with a wink.

Felicity nudged Dinah as they made their way into the house, "That boy worships the ground that you walk on."

Dinah's mouth twitched into a wider smile, and Iris nodded in agreement, "are you ever going to say yes to a date with him?"

Dinah shrugged, "Maybe the ground I walk on deserves to be worshiped, Felicity. But yeah, I suppose it's about time I say yes."

Felicity raised an eyebrow, sharing a surprised look with Iris. "Really?" Dinah wasn't one to express her feelings very often, but Felicity had not gotten the impression that she was interested in Cisco. Now that Dinah had admitted it though, she liked the idea.

Dinah winked, spotting a keg and dragging Felicity over to it. Iris and Caitlin followed, but they filled their cups quickly and giggled as they found the makeshift dance floor in the middle of the room. With their red cups in hand, Iris and Caitlin pushed their way to the middle of the crowd, dancing and singing as they moved.

Felicity cringed, it was going to be a long night with those two.

Iris was usually Felicity's stay-at-home buddy when Caitlin and Dinah were at Ronnie's frat house, but she had barged into Felicity's room that afternoon claiming that they were going to the New Year's party. When Felicity tried to object, Iris had yelled that she wanted some excitement in her life and that they needed to try new things before they graduated college with zero memories to show for it. Then, in dramatic fashion, she'd pleaded with Felicity, saying that she didn't want to die without any college stories to brag about.

Felicity had raised her hands in surrender, seeing that it was clearly something Iris was worked up about. 

And Iris was making good on her resolution for the new year, dancing with Caitlin and the college boys that had surrounded them.

Felicity had never seen Iris drink very much, she was usually the self-proclaimed "mom friend" on their nights out, but she was clearly having a blast. Felicity was only mildly jealous. It wasn't like Iris was wrong. They didn't take risks. They didn't come home with silly and entertaining stories like Dinah and Caitlin did.

Dinah pointed to the dance floor, and Felicity shook her head. With a shrug, Dinah left her for her roommates, shaking her hips through the crowd until she reached them. And Felicity sat down on one of the stale couches, watching the girls dance.

Eventually Ronnie found Caitlin, and they disappeared. Felicity nodded to herself, trusting that Ronnie would take good care of Caitlin, which meant that she only had two roommates to keep her eye on now. Iris was dancing with an unfamiliar and excited looking freshman, and Dinah was working her way back to the kegs.

"You look like a DD."

Felicity turned her head and watched as a boy sat down next to her. She raised her empty hands. "Does the lack of beer in my hands give me away?"

He smiled at her, "Yes, that. And the intense look on your face." He gestured at the crowd, "You have some friends here that you're watching out for?" She nodded her head towards Iris. "Ah," he said, taking a sip of his beer and nodding. "I should have guessed. I don't recognize her, or you. And as someone whose attendance is required at these things, I would know."

"I'm Felicity." She offered. He didn't look like the usual preppy frat boys. He was insanely hot, yes, but in a more rugged way. And she had no idea what compelled him to come over and sit down next to her.

The boy held out his hand, "Oliver."

Felicity shook his hand and then pointed to Dinah, "Dinah and Caitlin are my roommates."

"Oh, yeah? I definitely know Dinah."

Felicity raised an eyebrow, and Oliver stumbled, "I didn't mean...uh, Dinah can out-drink half of my frat brothers. So, you know, we all kind of know her." He laughed.

Felicity nodded, "I've heard."

He cleared his throat, "And Caitlin is awesome. I don't think I've ever met anyone as smart as her. She's really good for Ronnie, too."

Felicity watched him as he took a sip of his beer. She wondered how Caitlin and Dinah had never mentioned Oliver before. She'd heard the stories about Ronnie's crazy frat brothers jumping off the roof into snowbanks or mattress surfing down the stairs. She'd heard all about the skinny dipping and the insane dares, as well as the bets they'd try to start with Dinah. For some reason, they always thought they could drink more than Dinah Drake. Unfortunately for them, they were always wrong, losing their money and ending up unconscious under a table.

But she'd never heard any stories about an extremely handsome frat boy that obviously knew a good thing when he saw it, if he was impressed by Caitlin Snow.

"So, you live here with Ronnie?"

Oliver nodded, "I do. Me, Ronnie, and eight other guys." She scrunched her nose, and he laughed. "It's not too bad. Luckily most of us like to keep the place clean. It's only really bad after we throw parties like this."

Felicity nodded, glancing down at the floor that was already covered in cups, spilled beer, and...was that a condom? "Cisco Ramon lives here too, right?"

Oliver leaned his head against the back of the couch. "Yes. I'm surprised we haven't met, Felicity. You know Ronnie and Cisco, and they're my favorite brothers." he leaned in a little closer, "How come you've never come around here before?"

She shrugged, "I don't really like parties. My friend Iris dragged me here tonight because she says we don't try new things enough. She thinks we're boring."

Oliver laughed as she cringed. Nice, Felicity, tell the cute boy how boring you are.

"And then they stuck you as the babysitter?"

She shook her head, "I offered. It was the only way I'd agree to come." She glanced around again, noting Dinah on the other side of the room talking to Cisco, and Iris was still dancing.

Oliver followed her gaze, smiling. "Well, I told myself that I would offer you a beer before I came over here, so if I can't do that, can I at least get you a water or something?"

"Water? At a frat party? How do you know that a mystical thing like that even exists in a place like this?"

Oliver chuckled, standing up and offering his hand. Felicity took it and stood up, letting him lead her through the crowd. As she passed Iris, her roommate wiggled her eyebrows, giving her a thumbs up. Felicity felt her face turn red, knowing that Oliver saw it by the smirk on his face. When she reached Dinah, she pointed to Iris, silently asking to keep an eye on her. Dinah nodded.

He kept her hand in his as he found their way to the kitchen.

Oliver opened the fridge, revealing shelves with cans and bottles full of beer. There wasn't even food in it, just beer. Felicity snorted, but Oliver held up his finger, setting his bottle on the counter. He opened a drawer and dug around until he pulled out a water and handed it to her. She smiled, "Thank you."

Oliver smiled back, glancing down at her. "I'm glad you came, Felicity. I was just in the middle of dreading another dull New Year's party when I noticed you sitting there."

Felicity laughed once, "Yeah, I'm sure hanging out in an empty kitchen with a boring, completely sober girl is exactly what you had in mind to ring in your new year."

"Well, it'd only be exactly what I had in mind if I get to kiss you at midnight."

Turning red, she glanced at the clock. They still had forty five minutes. She wasn't sure she would have objected if he'd asked to kiss her now, let alone forty five minutes from now.

Another reason she'd agreed to come; the party didn't start until an hour before the new year. So she knew she had to endure only an hour of the frat party until her roommates could kiss their drunken frat bro's and then she could drag them all out of there.

But she was kind of enjoying where she was. Surprised that she had no desire to leave the party, or the kitchen, Felicity leaned against the island in the middle of the room, taking a sip of water as she glanced around. She heard Oliver chuckle, "I guess I'll have to wait until midnight for an answer on that one then, huh?"

Felicity lifted her eyes to meet his, a snarky comment on the tip of her tongue. But he was smiling at her, and she couldn't stop herself from smiling back. "So, Felicity. Where are you from?"

"Mostly Las Vegas, but my mom and I moved around a lot."

"Dad?"

"Left when I was seven." She sighed, "What about you?"

"Born and raised in Starling City."

Felicity nodded, "I've never been there."

Oliver shrugged. "It's a city, a lot like Boston in a way."

"And your family?"

"My parents are unhappily married," he said casually, "Dad likes the interns at his company a little too much. I have a sister. Her name is Thea and she's way cooler than I'll ever be."

Felicity smiled at the easy way he spoke. "Only child," she offered, "but I've always wanted a sister."

He laughed, "Only people who've never had a little sister would say that. I begged my mom to have a boy, and I'd get so angry at her when she'd try to tell me that it wasn't a choice."

Felicity giggled, covering her mouth with her fingers. Oliver smiled down at her, "I like your laugh, Felicity."

Biting her lip, she felt a blush creeping up her neck. She wasn't used to parties and she definitely wasn't used to talking to cute boys at said parties. During her three years at MIT, the only guys she'd been on dates with were the ones from class who would occasionally ask her out. The list consisted of four boys. They all bored her to tears but she'd continued to go out with them, telling herself that dating someone and falling for them took time. 

Talking to Oliver though, she had no idea what she'd been thinking.

He was easy to talk to, and it didn't feel forced.

Despite her nervousness, it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable to stand there in that kitchen.

She couldn't remember the amount of dates she'd been on where she came home with her cheeks hurting from faking a smile, exhausted from pretending to be interested in the conversation. She hadn't had a crush on someone in years; hadn't experienced that anxious feeling in the pit of her stomach that kept her nervous laughter company. She hadn't felt butterflies for a boy since she was in middle school. The guys she'd met in college just didn't give her that giddy feeling that she knew they should. Her dates had been so disappointing, she was actually beginning to convince herself that she just wasn't capable of feeling like that again.

The worst was Ray Palmer. He could talk for hours. Not that she couldn't, but his idea of an interesting conversation was rehashing what they'd learned in class that day. She'd fallen asleep sitting across from him at a restaurant once, when she had asked what he thought of Professor Kahneman's lecture and he'd rambled praises for fifteen minutes straight. That was the last date they'd been on. Ray didn't call again after that, and she hadn't lost any sleep over it.

"What are you thinking about?"

Felicity's eyes snapped up to Oliver's, "What? Nothing."

Oliver raised an eyebrow, intrigued now, thanks to her awkward reaction. "Oh, that was something."

She shook her head, her eyes widening, "No. I was just- thinking about a date. Never mind. How old is your sister?"

"She's ten. What date?"

Felicity shrugged, "Just a date. That must be weird for her to not have you around."

"I go home whenever I can," he said, stretching his arms. "Are we talking like, a date with a boyfriend?"

"No."

"An ex boyfriend?"

"Not a boyfriend, no. Just a guy...that I dated...earlier this year." She babbled, feeling an embarrassed flush rising on her throat and wishing she'd never opened her mouth. If this boy didn't politely excuse himself from talking to her, it'd be a miracle.

"So, you were thinking about a date...with an ex. Could you just let me know if I should take this as a blow to my ego?"

Felicity bit her lip, trying to stop a smile. "You definitely should not do that." She said, shaking her head.

Oliver looked relieved, leaning into the counter across from her as he took another sip of his beer. "I see. Okay. So it was a bad date." He said, smiling confidently. Felicity just rolled her eyes, and he laughed.

He pushed for details, and she gave in, knowing that she might as well just tell the story. Oliver found it amusing, laughing when she explained how Iris had ignored her for the rest of the night after the date, insulted that Felicity would fall asleep on a guy as handsome as Ray Palmer.

He told her one of his own embarrassing date stories, and they spent the next half an hour talking, only bothered by the occasional interruption when one of his frat brothers would come in to get another beer. Even though she was the DD for her roommates, she knew that Dinah would keep an eye on Iris, and she was not about to walk away from this guy.

Oliver only became hotter as they spoke. Every story he told and question he asked made him even more attractive. He had the cutest smile, and she started to notice the features of his face the longer that she looked at him. Like the scar on his eyebrow and the mole by his mouth. His dimple on his cheek that only appeared when he really got laughing. He had beautifully expressive eyes, and she was having a hard time looking away from them. He seemed genuinely interested in whatever it was that she had to say, focusing on her whenever she spoke. And his eyes would light up as he shared stories about his sister and his friends from home; things that obviously meant a lot to him.

He was in the middle of explaining that scar over his eyebrow; a hockey accident involving a frozen pond and his best friend Tommy, when Caitlin stumbled into the kitchen. "Fliss-ty!" she slurred, raising her hands in the air and giggling when her eyes landed on Felicity. "Dinah told me you met the sexy Ol-ver Queen." 

"Oh my god..." Felicity groaned, glancing between Caitlin and Oliver, but her roommate was oblivious to the fact that Oliver was in the room, sitting on the counter. Caitlin's eyes were focused on Felicity. "Wow, you are like, thirty times drunker than you were thirty minutes ago." She mumbled.

Caitlin giggled, "Drunker. Funny word. Hey!" she said, stumbling into Felicity, who caught her with a huff. "I think you should kiss sexy Ol-ver Queen." Caitlin sighed, wrapping her arms around Felicity's waist.

Felicity held her up, looking over Caitlin's head at Oliver and raising an eyebrow. She wrapped her arms around her roommate, smoothing her hair and listening to her sigh.

Oliver raised his eyebrows, nodding. "I told you; Caitlin is so, so smart. I agree with her. I think you should kiss him."

"Yes!" Caitlin yelled, raising her fist in the air but keeping her head on Felicity's chest.

"Caitlin," Felicity huffed, trying to steady her as she lost her balance. "Where is Ronnie?"

"He had t-help Dinah get Cisco off the table." She slurred, "You gonna kiss sexy Ol-ver...or no? 'Cause that guy is hot, and I jus- I think ya should, ya know? Live a lil, Fliss-ty!"

Felicity kept her eyes on Caitlin, knowing that if she looked at Oliver, her already red face would get redder. "What happened to Cisco?"

"Uh," Caitlin said, swinging her hand around to wave it off and hitting Felicity in the face. Felicity sighed in annoyance, grabbing Caitlin's hand and putting it back down at her side. "He's fiiiine. He got up on the table and took his shirt off and started swinging it around...like this," Caitlin imitated him, wavering her hand around above her head. "And he yelled 'I have a date with Dinah Drake!' Everyone cheered. It was sooooooo funnnnny, Fliss-ty. You shoulda seen it. Oh! But you were talking to Ol-ver Queen. Sexy, sexy, Ol-ver Queen."

"Caitlin!" Felicity snapped, squishing her friend's face between her hands. "Oliver is right behind you, please, please stop calling him that." Caitlin turned slowly, her face still squished. "Oh, hellllloooo," she sang, lifting her hand and wiggling her fingers at him.

Oliver grinned, "Hi, Caitlin. You having a good time?"

Caitlin nodded, "S'okay." She shrugged, "Do you think my Fliss-ty is pretty?"

"Oh god," Felicity groaned.

Oliver laughed, not bothered or uncomfortable at all. "I do. I think your Felicity is beautiful."

Caitlin made a face, accepting the answer as she nodded. Then she turned back to Felicity with wide eyes. "He said you're beautiful." She tried to whisper, but she was way too loud.

Felicity pursed her lips. "Uh-huh," she said, occupying herself with her drunk friend so that she didn't have to look at Oliver. Her heart was already racing out of her chest from his words, looking at him would only make it worse. "I heard."

"How much of what I said do you think he heard? Wait, what was I talking about?"

Felicity laughed, smoothing Caitlin's hair, "Don't worry about it, but I'm pretty sure he heard all of it." She leaned a little closer to whisper, "And I'm pretty sure he can still hear us."

Oliver chuckled, shaking his head and finishing his beer. "Well, Felicity, I should probably go see if Ronnie needs a hand getting Cisco to bed." 

Felicity immediately looked up at the clock, making Oliver smirk. "Don't worry," he winked, "I'll be back in time to kiss you."

She nodded seriously, "Okay,"

Oliver's eyes widened for a brief moment, as if he wasn't actually expecting her to agree. "Yeah?"

She bit her lip, fighting a smile at the excitement that crossed over his face. "Yeah."

"Okay," he grinned, hopping off the counter and hurrying out of the kitchen. "Okay, I'll be- I'll be right back." As Oliver left, Felicity watched. And Caitlin nestled into her neck again, glancing up at her, "You like him," she sang, squeezing Felicity's waist. 

Shaking her head, Felicity hugged her back. Caitlin was probably her favorite drunk in the world; always sweet and complimentary, hilarious, and cuddly. But she was still a bit embarrassed by Caitlin's little blunder right in front of Oliver, so she pinched her sides. Caitlin giggled, jumping away from Felicity and stumbling.

Felicity caught her and guided her to a chair in the kitchen. "Here," she said, holding out the water that she'd completely forgotten about for her friend.

Caitlin sighed, "Yessss, I love water!"

Felicity shook her head, laughing as she kept Caitlin steady, forcing her to take a few sips of water in the hopes of avoiding a killer hangover in the morning. As much she loved drunk Caitlin, she wasn't nearly as fond of hungover Caitlin. Hungover Caitlin begged for coffee and threw pillows at anything that made noise, including her roommates and her boyfriend.

As the minutes passed, Felicity started getting antsy, realizing that she wanted to kiss Oliver a lot more than she had been willing to admit. But with five minutes until midnight, she cursed, knowing how disappointed she would be if it didn't happen. He still hadn't come back, and she wondered what was taking so long.

Ronnie came into the kitchen a minute later, sighing and plopping into the chair beside his girlfriend. "Ramon is going to be doing my laundry for a month after being such a pain in the ass tonight."

"I have a date with Dinah Drake!" Caitlin imitated Cisco again, throwing her arms up and giggling. Ronnie laughed too, but Felicity was tapping her foot and staring at the clock. 

Three minutes.

"Hey, Ronnie," she mumbled, "where uh-where did Oliver go?"

Ronnie smiled, "I think he's in the living room." Felicity nodded, smoothing her sweaty palms against her dress and contemplating if she should go out there or if she should wait.

Her head was telling her to wait. Play it safe. If he really wanted to kiss her, he'd come back like he said he would, right? But the inspired side of her wanted to grab life by the balls like Iris had suggested and go find that swoon-worthy man and kiss him. She did not have the temperament or confidence to be grabbing any hot guys and kissing them. But she wanted to. She really, really wanted to. So, what was life all about if not going after the things she wanted? What if she waited too long and didn't end up kissing him? Would she regret that for years to come? What if he didn't come back? Would it be one of those moments that she still thought about when she was eighty years old, wishing she'd made a different choice?

Wasn't taking more risks exactly what Iris had said they needed to do more of?

Ronnie was still watching her, Caitlin nestled into his chest. "Go," he said quietly, nodding towards the hallway. She'd grown to like Ronnie after the time he'd spent in their apartment, and she trusted his instincts. 

Felicity nodded, heading for the door with one more glance at the clock. 

By the time she fought her way through the crowd, she only had one minute left before it would officially be the new year. And she so wanted to start the year off by kissing the hottest guy she'd ever flirted with.

If she could just find him...

Her eyes wandered around the room until she saw Oliver near the speakers, talking to a brunette who was clearly very intoxicated. He was holding his hands up at her, shaking his head as she spoke. And she was visibly angry, frowning as she literally stomped her foot. If Felicity had to venture a guess, she supposed that someone wanted a New Year's kiss, and Oliver wasn't complying.

But it looked like something else, too. He looked frustrated by the girl, as if he knew her as more than a random drunk girl at a party. Like she knew how to push his buttons.

It intrigued her, but Felicity noticed that the crowd was shifting, finding their partners or putting their arms around their friends.

Then they started counting down, and Felicity's heart dropped.

Oliver's head snapped up, looking at the doorway to the kitchen. She was standing in front of it, and his eyes fell on her. He looked relieved to see her, his eyes lightening and the crease in his eyebrows smoothing.

He smiled, walking towards her and brushing off the girl's hands when she reached for him.

Felicity had questions running through her head. Doubts. But Oliver seemed to have completely forgotten about the girl as he stood in front of her. "Felicity..." he whispered as the crowd screamed "Five!"

"Yes?" She asked like it was a question, but she was nodding as she looked up at him, her arms crossed in front of her.

He placed his hands on either side of her face, "I'm going to kiss you now."

She continued to nod, licking her lips and lifting her head up as they all screamed "Two!"

"Okay," she mumbled.

"One!"

And then his lips were on hers. And she was feeling sparks like she'd never felt them before. Her heart began to race as if she was running a marathon and her breath caught in her throat.

Felicity leaned into him, her arms unfolding so that she could reach up and grip his shirt, pulling him closer.

He groaned, moving his mouth to suck on her bottom lip. Her fingers tightened around his shirt. 

It felt like a long time before he could manage to stop kissing her.

Yet it wasn't nearly long enough.

She caught her breath as he pulled back, taking a moment to inhale and exhale before she opened her eyes.

She was feeling euphoric.

Epic.

Oliver's hands slid from her face, sliding down her arms until he reached her hands. When she felt his forehead against hers, she opened her eyes. 

His were still closed, his thumbs rubbing her hands. He looked exactly like she felt. Affected by that kiss. "That was nice." she whispered.

Oliver swallowed, nodding as his eyebrows pushed together. "I don't know if nice is the word I'd use to describe that."

Felicity bit her lip, enjoying their little moment of intimacy despite the cheering crowd and confetti being thrown around them. "What word would you use?"

"Intense," he said with a sigh. His eyes were still closed, and she wished that she could see them. "Amazing."

Felicity laughed, "You're right." she said, pulling her head back from his and smiling when he opened his eyes to look at her. "But maybe you should try it one more time, just to make sure, you know? For good measure."

Oliver's mouth spread into a wide grin. "For good measure," he agreed, his hands landing on her waist. He hiked her closer, pulling her hips to his own. And then he smiled down at her, pressing a soft kiss to her cheek before he his lips found hers again.

Chapter Text

"I am not going. No. No way." Felicity waved her arms, walking through the apartment and heading for her room. She swung her door closed, but Iris caught it with her foot and let out a frustrated sigh.

"Felicity, you had the most fun out of all of us last year. Except for maybe Caitlin."

She gave her roommate an incredulous look. "Right. And Oliver Queen is exactly why I will never be going to that house again."

"Come on, Felicity!" Iris groaned, sounding much too whiny for her liking. "We're seniors! We only have a few months left here and we need to enjoy them!"

Felicity twisted her hands together, sitting in the middle of her bed. "Okay," she shrugged, "Let's go to the bars. Oh! Let's hit up a night club!"

Iris huffed, "I want to go to the frat house. That's where Caitlin and Dinah are going to be! You know Ronnie has to be there, it's the last one for the seniors. And Dinah and Cisco are still in that honeymoon phase, there's no way we'd convince her to go somewhere else with us. Felicity, we need this."

Lying back onto her bed, Felicity stared at the ceiling. "You realize that this is exactly what we did last year, don't you?" She sighed, "I don't want to see him, Iris."

"Felicity," Iris started, "You've had so much fun this year, and even if Oliver Queen didn't call you, we both know that your amazing year is partly because you had an amazing start to it. With him."

Felicity closed her eyes, knowing it was true as much as Iris did. Her roommate huffed as she stormed out of Felicity's bedroom, mumbling to herself as she went.

Oliver hadn't called her after the party last year. She'd waited, constantly checking her phone for a month before she gave up and agreed to go on a date with Billy Malone.

And then she'd dated Billy Malone. 

And she'd kind of just gotten stuck in a rut. She'd known that she and Billy wouldn't be able to survive past graduation, but she didn't see any point in breaking up with him. Now it just felt like a whole lot of wasted time.

He was a nice enough guy, but she never felt any sparks with him, not once in nearly a year, that she'd had when she had kissed Oliver Queen that one night. Whenever that thought popped into her head, she pushed it out. Billy was a nice guy. He was safe. Why not date a safe, nice guy? Because you were bored, that's why.

Which was probably why she wasn't all that upset when he ended things last month. He wanted to finish his last semester with a clean slate, and she honestly couldn't have agreed more. She was mostly just surprised, never actually expecting him to break it off. She kind of just assumed that they would go their own ways after they left Boston and moved on with their lives. It wasn't like there was anything wrong. She enjoyed his company most of the time, the sex was mediocre, but they shared a lot of interests.

Even as she thought about her reasons for staying with him now, she felt silly. They weren't real reasons to stay...they were just reasons she told herself not to leave.

After he ended it, she'd had a mini crisis as she began to wonder if he hadn't broken up with her, would she have spent the rest of her life in a safe and kind of boring relationship, having dispassionate sex and moving around each other all day without actually noticing one another? 

That's what they had become. But when she allowed herself to stop and think about it, she realized that it was who they'd always been. Just two people who got along and didn't mind spending time together...but didn't have a trace of passion between them.

She didn't fault Billy. That was the kind of love he was looking for. Comfortable. Routine.

But she'd let herself fit into his box. And that was where her post-breakup blues stemmed from. She'd spent almost a year sacrificing herself and who she was without even realizing it. When he pissed her off, she bit her tongue. When he told her that she was being silly or irrational about something, she subconsciously held back. When she wanted to try something new and he didn't want to, like going camping that past summer, she was the one who shrugged it off and stayed put. She was the one who compromised. Every time.

She'd never wanted to be that girl.

Felicity sat up in bed. "You know what, Iris?" She called to her roommate as she hopped out of bed. "Let's go."

Iris squealed, smiling ear to ear as she stuck her head back into Felicity's room like she'd been waiting right outside the door, "Really!? Yay!"

"You're driving though. I did it last year and I also just got dumped, so I deserve to get tipsy."

Iris pursed her lips, "I'll drive, Felicity, but we both know that you're not heartbroken." Felicity raised her eyebrows, and Iris just shrugged, "Not over Billy, at least. You weren't prepared to break up with him yet, but you would have eventually. And I don't believe that you would have ever been upset over losing him, whether it was now or later."

Felicity just nodded, confirming it to another person strangely took a weight off her chest. "Where is this blunt, tough-love coming from?"

Iris shrugged, "New year, time to deal with your shit, babe."

Felicity laughed softly. "I guess you're right." She sighed, lifting her shoulders, "I loved that he was safe. I-I just never loved him." she hesitated, before shrugging. She had never told Billy that she loved him, knowing that it had never been true. And he had never said it either.

Iris considered that for a moment and then nodded, "And a guy like Oliver Queen?"

Felicity gave her a look of warning, "Not that a New Year's kiss can be compared to nine months with Billy...but Oliver Queen is definitely not the kind of guy that would let me fall into a dormant relationship."

Iris smiled gently, "If you know that, Felicity, then you know that one kiss can be compared to nine months." Felicity just nodded again, and Iris sighed, "Okay, enough boy talk! Put on the black jumpsuit and let's get going! Dinah and Caitlin are over there helping the boys set things up."

Felicity rolled her eyes, climbing off of her bed and going to her closet, pulling out the black jumpsuit that Iris was referring to. She'd bought it for a New Year's party at Billy's work that he'd been planning on bringing her to. It had pants, which Felicity loved. And it was much more comfortable than the sequin number that Dinah had squeezed her into last year, but it had a cut that Felicity had fallen in love with, a deep V that she'd have to tape down if she wanted to keep her boobs covered. 

She got dressed, taking a little extra time to run a razor over her exposed calves before putting makeup on and fixing her hair. Then she slipped into her heels, grabbing her purse and coat. "Ready!" she called. Iris danced out of her room, wearing a red dress and looking gorgeous. Felicity whistled. 

Iris waved her off, "Back at ya, girl." She pointed her finger down the cut in the front of Felicity's dress, quirking an eyebrow. Felicity turned to show off the nice way that her outfit hugged her butt. "I love it. Oliv-the boys won't know what hit them."

Felicity narrowed her eyes, "Don't start." She warned, pointing a finger, "Oliver Queen does not exist. If he's there, we ignore. Got it?" She searched for her coat as Iris nodded. She didn't want to admit that her heart rate was picking up at the thought of seeing him again. 

During that month that she waited for a call, Ronnie had dodged any question she threw at him when he'd come over to their apartment. He was covering for his "frat bro", but Felicity didn't find out what he was covering up exactly, until nearly four months later when she saw Oliver at a her favorite coffee shop with his arm around the brunette that she remembered from the party.

"Keys," Felicity said, waving Iris' car keys above her head. She tossed them to her roommate, who looked like she was contemplating something. 

"Felicity," she tried, then pinched her lips together, "Do you ever think that maybe you and Oliver just had a...I don't know, a misunderstanding?"

"No. I don't think about it." She said with a nonchalant shrug.

Iris followed her down the stairs of the apartment building, giving her an incredulous look. "Sure you don't."

Felicity laughed once, "What was there to misunderstand? I waited for him to call me like he said he would. I never got a call. Then a few months later, I see that he's with that girl. It all seemed pretty simple to me."

Iris shrugged as they got into the car, blasting the heat. "Well what if it wasn't? Simple?"

Felicity pondered it for a moment, "I guess we'll know tonight."

Boston was big enough that she hadn't seen Oliver or the brunette since the coffee shop, but in her especially weak moments, she'd been desperate enough to ask Caitlin if he was still dating her.

"Laurel?" Caitlin would ask, turning her nose up. "I have no idea. Depends on the day with those two." So, Felicity knew it was complicated. But she'd known that a year ago, when she saw them talking at the party.

Iris didn't mention Oliver for the rest of the car ride, but as Felicity toyed with the radio, she could tell that her roommate was biting her tongue. Felicity did the same, not wanting to get herself worked up. It'd been a year, maybe Oliver wouldn't even be there. She knew from Dinah and Caitlin that he still lived at the house, but maybe he had other plans. She hadn't asked Caitlin about him in a few months though, so she tried to mentally prepare herself to see him with Laurel.

She knew that it probably shouldn't hurt her feelings to see a guy she kissed one time, a year ago, with someone else. But she knew that it would. She'd felt a connection with Oliver that she'd never felt before. She told herself that it was the idea of a missed opportunity that always made her mind drift to Oliver. She could still remember their entire conversation, and she'd still find herself daydreaming about him whenever she was settled in for a long drive or zoning out while she looked out at the city from the coffee shop window. 

Missed opportunity and unanswered questions.

That was what she'd been repeating to herself for a year. You're just hung up on it because you don't know what went wrong. He hadn't even been considerate enough to call her and let her know that he'd changed his mind.

They pulled up to the house and it looked almost exactly the same as it did a year ago. Felicity sighed, feeling a little saddened by that. When she'd met Oliver, she'd been a scared, timid girl, terrified to step foot inside of a frat. But she had trusted herself and her instincts. She was smart, and she was happy.

Unfortunately, she wasn't exactly sure who she was anymore. She felt like her relationship with Billy had made her slowly lose pieces of herself, and being back at the house, she felt like a different person standing in front of it. "Have I changed?" She asked Iris, glancing at the people stumbling out of the doorway, getting a very real sense of déjà vu. 

Iris smiled, "Change is good, Felicity. I think you've grown."

"I'm not so sure it was a good growing." She mumbled.

Iris looped her arm through Felicity's. "I think it was. I think you learned about yourself," she shrugged, leading Felicity towards the house. "I think you know more about who you are, even if you had to learn what you don't want in order to get there."

Felicity's brow furrowed, "I'm not sure what you mean."

Iris sighed, "Okay, would you rather go to bed angry and talk things out with a clear head in the morning, or hash it out before you fall asleep?"

Felicity glanced at Iris, "Hash things out before I fall asleep..."

Iris nodded as if it was the answer she expected. "And why do you say that?"

"I don't know," Felicity shrugged, "Billy would always refuse to talk things out. It was like he just wanted the disagreement to be over, whether it was solved or not. I felt like I never actually got to express to him why I was angry, because he would apologize quickly, and move on. I'd just lie in bed staring at the ceiling all night, annoyed and upset, wishing I could get some things off of my chest."

Iris nodded again. "See? You learned. Now you know that you're a 'stay up and talk about it' kind of person."

Felicity sighed, knowing that there was a whole list of differences like that between her and Billy, all of which she'd ignored. The worst part was that she hadn't been ignoring them because she loved him so much that they didn't matter. She'd ignored things, sacrificed her beliefs, allowed herself to change, simply because she'd thought it was what she should do.

As they came into the living room, Felicity headed straight for the keg and picked up a red solo cup from the stack. "Felicity?"

Felicity turned around as she finished filling her cup. "Hey," she said, nodding her head to Dinah and Cisco. She glanced down at where they held hands and felt a pang of jealousy. She'd been feeling that a lot lately. It didn't seem fair that Dinah and Cisco could be so different yet so good for each other. She made him into a more serious guy, and he taught her how to trust again, and they just laughed...more than any two people had a right to laugh. They were one of her favorite couples she'd ever known, so of course she was a little jealous. 

"I didn't expect to see you here." Dinah said. "I'm glad you came." Felicity shrugged, finally looking around the room as she chugged half her beer. "And I see that you're here on a mission."

Felicity raised her cup in salute, not knowing what else to say. She was on a mission to get drunk, that was for sure.

She froze when she saw Oliver, her eyes widening. He was sitting on the couch with Laurel on his lap. "Oh, Felicity," Iris mumbled.

With a shrug, Felicity tipped her cup back until it was empty, immediately turning to fill it up with more beer. "Oh...kay," Iris sighed, "Slow down a bit there, killer."

"I'm fine," Felicity said, already feeling the alcohol rush to her brain. She looked back at where Oliver sat. Taking a moment to look at him, she noticed that he was staring at the floor intently while Laurel talked to one of her friends that stood above them. He looked bored. With a groan, Felicity drank. That's none of your business.

Felicity wiped her mouth, glancing at her friends. "When are we leaving?" She grumbled.

Dinah laughed, and Iris rolled her eyes. "We just got here. Besides, I thought you didn't care about Oliver Queen anymore."

"Fine," she growled, opening her jaw to knock back even more of the awful tasting alcohol.

Beer. She hated beer. She drank more anyway.

"I'll stay. But this night is ending with me kissing a cute boy." She glanced around the room until she saw one that caught her attention. He looked nice enough. Innocent, but very attractive. "That one." She said, blinking. Her arms were getting heavier and her head was feeling lighter, the first signs that she was well on her way to getting hammered.

Iris raised an eyebrow, "Really? Okay. Well, let's go introduce ourselves I guess." 

Felicity smiled, grabbing Iris' hand and waving to Cisco and Dinah with the other, spilling beer on the already stained floor. She danced her way through the crowd, dragging Iris along until they stood in front of the cute boy of choice. "Hi," Felicity smiled, dropping Iris' hand to shake his. "I'm Felicity, this is Iris."

He seemed thrown off, faltering for a moment before he shook each of their hands. "Hi, I'm Barry."

"Well Barry," Felicity said, "I have a New Year's resolution."

"Oh yeah?"

"Mm-hm. Do you want to hear it?"

He smiled, "Sure."

"I want to be honest with people. I need to start saying what I mean, you know? Being more direct?"

Barry nodded slowly, "That's a really good resolution."

Felicity hummed, "Right. So, I think you're cute."

Barry's eyebrows shot up and he laughed, "Oh, well, you're both...very cute, too."

Once she said what she'd wanted to say, she made small conversation with Barry, learned that he was from Central City and was only in town to visit his best friend, Roy. As Barry and Iris spoke, Felicity kept glancing at Oliver. Laurel had removed herself from his lap and was currently helping one of the frat boys by holding his legs in a keg stand. Oliver just sat on the couch, in the same position he'd been in when Laurel was on his lap, drinking a beer and looking miserable.

She couldn't help but see the difference from the carefree, perpetually smiling guy she'd met last year. His eyes were focused on the rug under his feet, not bothering to mingle with the people around him. The only time she saw him move was to glance at whoever sat next to him as the minutes passed, and to drink his beer. She wasn't sure if he'd noticed that she was here yet, but if he had, he definitely did not care.

"Felicity?"

Felicity snapped back to the conversation, "I'm sorry...what?"

Barry laughed, "I asked if you wanted another drink."

"Oh...sure. Thank you, Barry." Felicity forced a smile. He was really nice. And cute. Not that he held a flame to Oliver Queen in her book, but the last thing she wanted was another doomed relationship due to lack of chemistry.

Chemistry was instantaneous, right? She hadn't felt it with Billy. And she wasn't really feeling it with Barry. But what if she just wasn't giving it enough of a chance? But then what if she ended up giving it too much of a chance and wound up in another dead-end, nine month relationship? "So..." Iris said, "What do you think of him?" Barry was almost done filling their cups, so Iris spoke quickly.

Felicity just shrugged, "I think I'm too confused to be making decisions right now."

"Well, he's cute. So I say you go for it." 

Felicity eyed her, sensing something was weird.

Barry came back and passed out their drinks, making a joke about frat dudes and their keg stands. Felicity watched as Iris laughed, even though it wasn't a very funny joke. Biting her lip, Felicity noticed that Barry's eyes lingered on Iris for a moment too long. Sighing, she glanced back at Oliver. "I'm going to run to the bathroom," Felicity said; the fact that she was three beers in, less than fifteen minutes after arriving at the party, was catching up to her.

"Oh," Iris nodded, "Want a buddy?"

Felicity waved her off, "No, you hang out with Barry. I'll catch up with you in a bit."

She left Iris with a subtle wink, telling her to go for it. Making her way through the crowd, Felicity saw how long the line for the bathroom was and groaned. Chugging two beers and working on a third was not a mistake because she felt great...but it was kind of a mistake because of how bad she had to pee.

Her plan of kissing Barry was definitely out. She could feel the sparks between him and Iris.

Felicity took another sip of her beer; now that she'd had enough of it, it tasted more like water than it did beer. She swayed backwards as she drank again, stumbling into a chest. A cute boy steadied her as he passed, smiling down at her as he continued on his way towards the kitchen. Felicity smiled back, telling herself that she would have enough courage to track him down and introduce herself once she peed and finished her beer.

"Felicity?" Felicity turned around and saw Oliver standing in the middle of the hallway, his arms at his sides, his eyes wide and his mouth open slightly. Her heart dropped, and she wasn't sure that her voice would be steady if she spoke. Nerves shot through her body. So she just lifted her cup to him in acknowledgement. Then she turned back around and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. 

She debated if she should run. He'd definitely noticed that she was here now. Too afraid to turn around, Felicity wondered if there were any back doors or open windows she could jump out of to make an escape. "Hey," She heard his voice coming up beside her, and she swallowed.

"Hi." She whispered.

"I didn't think I would see you here tonight." He said, "I was kind of hoping that I would though," he finished lowly, glancing over her head as if he was looking for someone. 

Anger seeped into her bloodstream, probably via cheap beer, and her eyes narrowed. She leaned in to whisper to him, "Last time I saw her, she was doing keg stands." Oliver's eyes darted back to hers and Felicity just raised an eyebrow. "Your girlfriend." She clarified, nodding towards the kegs.

Oliver's eyes shifted over her face, like he was remembering it, his pupils wide. "She's not my girlfriend." He spoke just as quietly as she was.

"She's not your girlfriend at all? Or just not today?" Felicity shot back, "Because Caitlin says-" She bit her tongue, stopping herself and glancing down at her cup. She wanted to run, but she really had to pee and there was only one girl left waiting ahead of her. 

"Laurel was my girlfriend." He said, a familiar smirk on his face that she remembered being charmed by last year. "You've been asking Caitlin about me?"

Felicity glared at him, "Was girlfriends don't typically spend the night sitting on their ex-boyfriends' laps."

Oliver raised an eyebrow in surprise. The sweet and timid Felicity was long gone. Boys who said they would call her and didn't follow through only deserved angry and sassy Felicity. "They do when it's easier to just let them sit there than it is to argue with them for three hours. Why did you ask Caitlin about me?"

She bit her lip, and then sighed. Well that's kind of sad.

She took a deep breath, remembering how she'd wanted to be honest with people from now on. Oliver may have deserved the snarky comments, but she deserved a guy who kept his promises. She was done entertaining him. "Just wanted to know what the guy who kissed me and then never called was up to these days."

Oliver's face dropped, but she was tired of playing games. She was sick of never saying what she wanted to say just to let other people be comfortable. He'd hurt her, and if she wanted to kick off the year with closure of honesty, then maybe Oliver was the perfect place to start. She glanced at him, seeing that he was at a loss for words. But it was her turn for the restroom, so she walked away, leaving him standing in the hallway, watching her.

Closing the door and setting her drink on the counter, she sighed. Felicity leaned against the door and caught her breath. She had to calm down and figure out how she was going to make it through the rest of this party. Oliver would probably be busy with his not-girlfriend. Whatever that meant. She just needed to get her flirt on with a hot frat boy.

She wasn't sure why she wanted to make him jealous, or if she even could. But either way, it had felt pretty damn good to be a little feisty towards him.

As she opened the bathroom door, a pair of hands pushed her back in. 

Oliver gently guided her until her butt hit the bathroom sink, and then he kicked the door shut behind him. "Hey!" She yelled in surprise.

"I didn't call you because I had some things to deal with. I planned on asking you out as soon as I got my shit figured out."

Felicity huffed, accepting that they were going to have this conversation in a dirty frat house bathroom. "How very forthcoming of you," she chided.

She glared up at him, and his eyes narrowed as he looked down at her.

Her butt was pressed against the sink counter, but his hands were still on her hips as he leaned forward, bending so that he was eye-level with her. She met his gaze evenly, crossing her arms but not objecting to his hands staying right where they were. She felt his fingers twitch, gripping her a little tighter. "Did those things involve Laurel Lance?" She asked.

"Yes."

"So, you meant to end things with her, and then call me, but you ended up staying with her?"

He shook his head, "I wasn't with her when I kissed you, Felicity." She raised an eyebrow, telling him to continue, and he sighed. "I've been dating Laurel on and off since high school. We were off when I met you, but she didn't want to be. I...I felt like I owed her some closure, but I had no intention of getting back together with her."

Felicity snorted, reaching for her cup on the counter and taking a few large gulps. "I guess things just happen that way." She finally mumbled, glancing down at her feet.

Oliver leaned in a little more, "Not really," he replied, taking the cup from her and setting it aside. His hand went right back to her waist as his face got closer to hers. "I heard that you were dating someone else."

Felicity's eyes flew up to look at him, "I was only dating someone else because I waited a month for you to call me but you never did."

"I'm sorry, Felicity."

She wasn't sure what exactly he was sorry for, but he'd had a year to clear this up and he hadn't, so she took it as proof that he didn't care all that much about it. "Is that everything?" She asked.

Oliver shook his head, his eyes staring into hers in a way that made her heart race in her chest. "I should have just told you that I had some stuff to figure out. I just really didn't want the girl I liked knowing all of my baggage before I had a chance to take her out on a date."

Felicity bit her lip, and Oliver looked down at her lips to watch. "It's all in the past, right?" She whispered.

"No, Felicity. I don't think so. I don't think it is." he whispered honestly.

Felicity closed her eyes, stepping closer to him, "I don't think so either."

They talked for another fifteen minutes, about how their wires had gotten crossed and they'd both been guilty of assuming the wrong things and not communicating a damn thing about what they really wanted. She told him a bit about dating Billy, saying that she was still sorting it out but that something had been missing.

"So why did you stay with him for so long?"

Felicity shrugged, "I guess I felt safe with him. I knew that he wasn't capable of breaking my heart...because he never really had it."

Oliver closed his eyes, letting out a soft breath that sounded a lot like relief.

He told her about how he'd gone out with Laurel a few times over the past year, like that day at the coffee shop. With his head hung, he admitted that he'd hooked up with her, calling her when he was drunk and lonely and she'd come over, but said that he'd regretted it the handful of times it had happened. She wasn't sure why he was confessing it as if he'd wronged her by sleeping with Laurel, and it made her feel bad.

Even if he hadn't called, he didn't owe her this guilt. She was glad that she was getting an explanation, though.

He told her that Laurel used to come by the house every weekend when they were together, and she'd started doing it again.

As they spoke, Oliver had lifted her onto the counter and stepped between her legs. And she'd absently brought her hands to his neck and twisted her fingers in his hair. "Sounds like you two can't really stay away from each other..." she said cautiously, focusing her gaze on her fingers as they roamed over his hair.

Oliver shook his head, "It's not like that. I haven't been with her in five months. I know this makes me seem like an ass, which was why I wanted all of it to be over and buried before I called you, but Laurel has always been...convenient. Familiar. But...we've never been good together, and I've always known that."

Felicity just nodded, understanding what he meant but knowing that she'd never had an ex that she couldn't help but go back to. In the three relationships she'd had, including Billy, when they were over, they were over. She'd never felt the need to go back to them.

It wasn't lost on her that she and Oliver had been stuck in very different relationships over the past year. She had spent far too much time with a guy that made a wonderful boyfriend on paper, but did nothing for her in the passion department. And he'd spent far too much time with a girl that he'd only felt a sexual connection to, without wanting to commit to her.

But if he wanted any kind of anything with Felicity, that had to change.

"I haven't stopped thinking about you since I met you, Felicity, and I know that I could really...really fall for you if I have the chance."

"Oliver, you were right to try to get your shit together before you called me. But this time, keep me in the loop..." she trailed off, and he nodded.

With renewed courage and that self-honesty policy, she took a deep breath, aiming to be direct. "If you want to ask me on a date, then I will say yes, Oliver. But you need to be done with Laurel before that happens."

Oliver nodded slowly, his eyes staying on hers, his face serious. "You're amazing, Felicity. I'll talk to her, and then I'll call you, and we can just take this thing one day at a time. For now. But you should probably know that sooner or later, one day at a time isn't going to cut it, and I'm going to want to be your boyfriend."

Felicity laughed, smiling at him as she felt heat rise all over her body, starting with her thighs where he had his palms pressed against her legs. "I haven't stopped thinking about you, either, by the way."

Oliver smiled, pressing himself a little closer, and she instinctively squeezed his waist between her thighs. She usually loved pants, but she was especially irritated by the material between her and Oliver Queen in that moment. He pressed his forehead to hers, "It's kind of fitting, isn't it? We met exactly a year ago, and it felt so right at the time...but now it's like we're finally ready for each other."

She nodded, running her nose against his, waiting not-so-patiently for him to kiss her. She was sure that they still had plenty of talking to do. But enough baggage had been cleared that her drunk-anger had transformed into something else: drunk-lust. Oliver sighed, his hands slipping up from her thighs, wrapping around her body until he was gripping her butt in his hands. Felicity groaned, tightening her fingers in his hair and wrapping her legs around his waist.

Someone knocked on the door, making her jump. "One second!" Oliver yelled, laughing as Felicity hid her face in his neck, catching her breath. The person banged on the door again. "I said hold on!" Oliver called.

"That line is probably down the street by now." Felicity mumbled against his skin.

Oliver shrugged, "I'm sure Cisco figured something out. I had him hold them off for as long as he could."

"You made Cisco divert the poor drunk girls that had to pee away from the restroom?"

He laughed, "I told him to unlock the bathroom upstairs. This was an emergency. I had a vivacious, very angry, gorgeous woman to appease." He winked, tapping his index finger to her nose. "We should get out of here though."

"Yeah,"

"Felicity?"

"Yeah,"

"You should probably be prepared." She glanced up at him, her eyes widening as he looked down at her seriously. "There is a whole party out there...and people probably saw me come in here with you." He stepped away from the counter, hauling her along with him and setting her feet on the floor.

Felicity started laughing. Oliver frowned, "It's not funny. You're...sweet, and beautiful, and not the kind of girl you take into a nasty bathroom for a quickie."

Felicity smacked his chest, "Oliver!"

He chuckled, "I mean it, though. If anyone says a word to you, you tell me so I can kick their ass."

Felicity hid her face behind her hands, "You're not kicking anyone's ass!" She cried, trying to cool down the hot flush she felt rising from her neck to her face the moment he'd said quickie. He'd also called her sweet and beautiful, and threatened to kick peoples' asses in her defense, so add two extra shades of red to that blush.

Oliver pulled at her hands, kissing each of her palms once he finally pried them away from her face. Then he pressed his lips to her nose, chuckling softly as she giggled. Someone knocked again, but Oliver waited patiently as she situated her jumpsuit. He smiled, holding out his hand for her, putting his other hand on the doorknob. When she laced her fingers through his, he swung the door open, stepping quickly into the hallway and pulling her along behind him.

Oliver didn't stop, not even as the crowd waiting outside the bathroom began to cheer. 

Felicity squeezed his hand tightly, staring at her feet as she listened to their whistles and suggestive noises. Her face turned red again.

Oliver lead her into the kitchen and then glanced behind him apologetically. He looked mildly irritated as his gaze shifted to the hallway of drunk idiots.

Not that we were acting any classier. Felicity couldn't help but laugh.

His eyes fell to her, and he huffed, "Felicity,"

She started laughing harder, shaking her head in apology and resting her hand on his chest. "I'm sorry," she said as she quieted, "Oh," her laughter stopped suddenly, her face falling. "I left my beer in there."

He sighed, laughing under his breath, as he cocked his head to the side. He looked like he was about to speak but something over her shoulder caught his attention, and his jaw clenched shut, his back straightening. Felicity turned around to look behind her, and she watched Laurel stumbling into the kitchen. She leaned against the wall, her eyes narrowing as she drank from her red cup. "Hey, Ollie. Who's your friend?"

"This is Felicity." He said cautiously.

Laurel's eyebrows shot up, "Felicity? The girl you met...?" Oliver cut her off with a curt not. "Well," she sighed, "you didn't think you'd see her again, did you?"

Felicity turned back to Oliver, her eyes questioning as he glared.

Felicity knew very, very little about their very, very long history, but she was pretty sure that she didn't care.

"See, Ollie told me about you once," Laurel continued, rolling her cup along her bottom lip. "Granted, he was piss drunk, but he told me about the girl he'd met on New Year's Eve named Felicity. He told me that he couldn't get you out of his head, how he'd only spent a couple of hours with you but he couldn't shake the feeling that you were the kind of woman he could spend the rest of his life with."

Felicity hesitated for a moment in the tense silence that followed her words, unsure how to feel. It warmed her heart to know that Oliver felt that way, or he had at one point, but she was skeptical of Laurel, not trusting the source or her motivations.

Laurel smiled. "He slept with me later that night."

"Laurel," Oliver sighed.

Felicity bit her lip, glancing up at Oliver and shaking her head. "It's okay. You talk, I should go check on Iris anyway."

Oliver just nodded, and Felicity smiled as genuinely as she could at Laurel as she passed. The girl was clearly hung up on Oliver, and part of her understood that feeling and didn't want to impose on something if it wasn't over yet.

He said he hadn't been with her in months, but it obviously wasn't over for Laurel. She had an idea about how Oliver felt, though. If he was trustworthy, which she had faith that he was, then it was over. Whether Laurel liked it or not, it was over. For good.

"Hey," Felicity said, finding Iris and Barry talking where she'd left them.

Iris raised an eyebrow, "And where have you been?"

"Uh...Oliver found me."

A wide smile spread across Iris' face as she looked around, "Where is he now?"

Felicity gave her a look, "Talking to Laurel."

"His ex?" Felicity just nodded and Iris made a face. "Sounds complicated."

"Agreed," Felicity sighed, "how are you guys, though? Enjoying yourselves?" She glanced at Barry, but she was looking for some best friend telepathy from Iris. Iris smiled and winked without Barry noticing, and Felicity laughed.

Barry nodded, "When Roy told me that we were coming to a frat party, I didn't expect it to be this much fun."

"Iris tends to have that effect," She said, squeezing her friend.

Barry smiled at them, "I have to agree with that."

Iris was grinning, and Felicity patted his arm, "Get her number, Barry. And when she tells you to call her, you better damn call her."

Barry nodded, "That I would definitely do."

Felicity rolled her eyes, "Well then my work here is done," she said, nudging her shoulder against Iris'. "I'm going to need another drink. Do you guys want anything?" Iris shook her head, still smiling at Barry. And he did the same. "Okay then," Felicity laughed. "I'll catch up with you guys later."

When she reached the keg, she got herself more beer, and then, not knowing what else to do with herself, she sat down on the couch. She hadn't seen Ronnie and Caitlin all night, but Cisco and Dinah were tearing up the dance floor. She smiled behind her cup as she watched Cisco, drunk and unashamed of his dance moves. Dinah was in the middle of a fit of laughter, and Felicity laughed too. "You know Cisco, huh?"

Felicity glanced at the guy next to her and nodded. "Yeah. He's dating my friend."

"I love him, he's a great guy." Felicity just nodded. "I'm a freshman, and Cisco really helped me and the others get a handle on all of this frat stuff." Felicity smiled, nodding again. She didn't know what else to say. "Are you here with someone?" He asked.

Felicity turned her head to look at him, "Not exactly." she said as politely as she could. He had huge blue eyes and nice hair, and she recognized him as the guy she'd bumped into while she waited in line for the bathroom earlier.

She had no idea how Oliver and Laurel's talk was going, or if she'd end up standing in front of him at midnight, but now the thought of kissing this guy, or anyone besides Oliver, made her a little sad. 

"Well," the boy said lowly, leaning closer to her, "There's only a few more minutes left, and if you happen to be sitting here when the countdown starts, I might have to kiss you."

Felicity narrowed her eyes, "Okay. This drink might have to end up in your face."

The boy's eyes widened, and then he laughed. "Fair enough."

"Chase." Oliver was hovering over them, and Felicity jumped. The boy had slowly been leaning closer to her, but Felicity hadn't really noticed. "The keg's tapped out. You better go replace it."

The boy named Chase rolled his eyes, looking annoyed at the interruption. But apparently being a pledging freshman in a frat house warranted obligations, so he stood up. "Maybe I'll see you at midnight." he said, smiling at Felicity.

"You won't, Chase," Oliver called after him, "keep walking!"

Once he was gone, Oliver fell back onto the couch in his place. "Who was that?" Felicity asked.

"Adrian Chase," Oliver sighed, glancing in the direction the boy had left. "I don't like him, and I don't trust him. He's a prick."

Felicity laughed softly, watching Oliver's face. He looked exhausted. Holding a beer in each hand now, Felicity studied him. He inhaled suddenly, his eyes clearing and his features smoothing. He offered her one of the bottles without a word, and Felicity took it, her fingers grazing his. She set her red cup on the floor, grateful for the upgrade in beer selection, even though her teeth were getting numb from how much she'd had to drink.

Oliver glanced at her. "I like you, Felicity." he said, his tone completely different than how he'd been speaking to his frat-brother-nemesis. She appreciated the straightforward way he said it, especially while he looked directly into her eyes as he confessed, his face serious and honest.

"I like you too." She answered with a nod, not taking her eyes away from his.

Oliver smiled, shaking his head, "You have no idea how glad I am that you're here. I really didn't think...we're going to be done with school soon, and I wasn't sure I'd even see you again."

She smiled back, lifting her shoulders, "You could have called me anytime, Oliver."

He leaned back into the couch with a sigh, "The guy you were with seemed a lot better for you than me."

"I could have been the judge of that."

He nodded slowly, "What happened with you guys?"

She shrugged, "We broke up. It just wasn't working. It never really did work, to be honest. At least, not in the way that I wanted it to."

He watched her, "And...hypothetically, if I had called you, out of the blue, on some random night...would you have been happy about that?"

"Yeah," she said slowly, "I think I would have."

"What if I had asked you out? Would you have said yes?"

Felicity hesitated, looking at him as he stared at his beer bottle, pulling at the paper label.

He'd given this a lot of thought. He'd wondered what would have happened if he'd called her. "I would have definitely considered it." She answered.

He glanced up at her, "Really?"

She nodded, biting her lip. "Yes."

"Then I'm really, really sorry that I didn't."

"Oliver..." she said slowly, "Are we going to talk about..." she trailed off, nodding her head towards the kitchen.

Oliver sighed, "Like I said, I'd talk to her, and then it'd be over. It's been over. I can't promise you that she won't call me, or show up here, but I can promise that I'll be honest with you. I'm not going to wait around instead of asking you out this time."

"Was I a rebound?" Felicity blurted.

Oliver's eyes widened, but he recovered and shook his head, keeping his eyes on hers. "I'm over her, Felicity. I was over her before I even met you. I planned on calling you...I wasn't going to give up that easily. I knew how I felt that night, but I started to doubt that you could feel the same way about me. I figured there was no way that a girl like you would want me to call her. Whatever good deed I'd done to deserve spending time with you that night, I knew I'd screw it up sooner or later." he laughed quietly. "It must have been a fluke."

"It wasn't." Felicity shook her head, "I was really hoping to see you again."

Oliver sighed, gently reaching out to touch her fingers with his own. "A lot of regrets are going through my head right now. About three hundred and sixty five nights of not calling you." His hand grazed hers as he spoke, and she ran the tips of her fingers over his knuckles.

"Well, it's been a year, and here we are. Again." She laughed gently, "I'm pretty sure my heart is beating unnaturally fast...and all you're doing is holding my hand."

Oliver's eyes flickered up to hers, and he smiled, "I feel like I don't deserve to kiss you, Felicity. I didn't last year, either."

Felicity leaned a little closer, watching her fingers as she ran her thumb over his palm. She could feel his eyes on her face. "I wanted you to kiss me then, Oliver. And I want you to kiss me right now."

She heard his breath catch in his throat, and she looked up at him from under her lashes, her fingers still playing with his hand. "Yeah?" he asked softly, giving her a smile that reached his eyes. "I'm not a rebound, am I?"

Felicity snorted, shaking her head. He watched her, his eyes falling down to her mouth as she laughed. "I don't think it's possible for you to be a rebound," she said, "for any girl."

"Good," he whispered, leaning a little closer to her. She closed her eyes as his hand cupped her face, his thumb running over her cheek. "It's almost midnight." He whispered.

"Why wait?" She whispered back. 

She didn't care about exes or baggage or drama. She didn't care about waiting for that stupid clock, either. She wanted to feel those sparks that his lips had caused, all the way in her bones. It'd been a year and neither of them seemed capable of thinking of anyone else, so why fight that? She still had the same butterflies in her stomach when he touched her that she had the first time they'd been here. Why try to make sense of it, why not just let it be?

She liked him.

A lot.

It could be that simple, couldn't it? She had no idea what the future held or where she'd find herself in a year, but she didn't care in that moment. Now was fine. Now was enough.

With her eyes still closed, Felicity could feel him. She could feel his eyes on her, his presence right there with her. She leaned closer until her forehead rested against his, and then she nodded slowly. Oliver sighed, kissing the corner of her mouth. She was so focused on him, she didn't care that they were in a room full of people. She didn't hear the music or smell the stale beer anymore.

And when he finally kissed her, she was oblivious to everything else, the whole party falling away into silence as she felt that kiss all the way to her toes. She didn't hear the party-goers starting the countdown, she was already exactly where she wanted to be. He was already kissing her, and he continued to kiss her long after the confetti was thrown around them.

Chapter Text

Oliver had barely been able to keep his eyes open since the moment he woke up. Coffee didn't help. Pacing around his office only made his body feel as tired as his mind did. His eyes burned from the sleepless nights and impossible days. And he felt a cold coming on.

Exhausted was an understatement.

He knew that he still had more than three hours before he could close his eyes.

Although he was thankful that it was a Friday, those three hours until midnight were going to be hell. But he knew that if he fell asleep, he'd never hear the end of it. He might even find himself to be single if he dared to close his eyes and wound up missing her call. Which was why he was on the roof of his apartment building, working out via an intense cardio circuit so that he would stay awake.

As they always did, his thoughts drifted to Felicity.

It'd been months since he'd seen his girlfriend. And even though he talked to her every day, he missed the things that he couldn't get over the phone. Like the smell of her shampoo and the way she'd absently play with his fingers when she was nervous or deep in thought. He just really missed her. "Baby," he muttered to himself as he used the bottom of his t-shirt to wipe the sweat from his face. The unstoppable complaining going on his head was getting annoying. 

They'd been together for a year, and he still felt like he owed the universe, or the gods, or whoever had persuaded Felicity to give him a chance, a giant thank you. 

She was by far the best thing that had ever happened to him. He knew it. He'd always know it, even if their conversations had been shorter than usual over the past two months. Even if she seemed as frustrated as he felt by their schedules. They were both busy. But he'd drop everything for her.

After dating until graduation, they'd spent the summer traveling together, and then the hard part had come. 

He was in the process of taking over Queen Consolidated; which meant months of training, meetings, and tough decision making. Felicity was nothing but supportive of his decision, but he didn't like the fact that it kept them away from each other. Every day since the summer ended and they'd had to start doing this long distance thing, he felt more and more like he should have followed her. Anywhere. Everywhere. He just wanted to be where she was.

Just being near her made him feel like he could do anything, and he needed a bit of that after the day he'd had.

By the time he had built up enough courage to ask her to move to Starling with him, to live in his city while he worked to become the CEO of Queen Consolidated, she'd announced her own news that she'd been offered a job at Star Labs. In Central City. He was happy for her, and beyond proud, but in the occasional selfish moments of missing her, he'd wonder where they'd be if he had asked her to move in with him before she got the offer.

The first few months hadn't been so bad. They texted back and forth most of the day, and although it wasn't the same as having her by his side, it had been enough. And they talked on the phone every night. They'd gotten into a habit of using FaceTime one night when she'd insisted that she had to show him an outfit she'd bought that day.

Oliver had never FaceTimed, he wasn't even sure what that meant, and he was irritated at first as he tried to figure out how to use it. But then Felicity was on his screen and her outfit wasn't much of an outfit at all, and he fell in love with the app. 

And even more in love with her.

God, he loved her.

The head over heels, worships the ground she walks on, people say he's whipped and he doesn't care one single bit kind of love.

On one of their first dates, he'd commented on how incredible she was, joking that he had yet to find a flaw. And she'd very seriously promised him that she wasn't perfect. When he'd asked her to give him one, singular thing that was wrong with her, she'd told him about some of her insecurities, her fears, things that made her anxious.

And he had listened. Not just listened; he'd been enthralled with every word she said.

By the end of the conversation, he knew he was a goner.

She gave him a list of flaws, sure, but they only made him fall even harder for her. He wanted to quiet those fears and insecurities, make her feel safe and protected. He wanted her to wake up knowing that he was never going to leave her, that there was nothing she could do that would make him stop loving her. And that was when he knew that he wasn't letting go of Felicity Smoak for anything.

He'd never met a girl whose flaws made him love her more. He thought that love was about acceptance, taking the bad with the good. But even when Felicity was being a stubborn brat, he never had a single doubt that she was it for him. Even when they argued, or she had her own moments of uncertainty, he knew that what they had was too good to walk away from.

They balanced each other.

Still, it was a strange time for them. They'd only been seeing each other for one year. Exactly one year. It didn't help that they were spending a good portion of that year apart, especially on their anniversary. He had complete faith that they would make it, but he still wished that they could have had more time together before they had to try this long distance thing.

Oliver had tried to get the time off to go see her, but it also didn't help that every eye and finger of QC was on him. Especially the condescending eyes and judgmental finger of Isabel Rochev, his dad's consultant. He felt the pressure of it, and he wasn't sure he'd ever been more stressed out in his entire life.

On top of that, he was pretty sure that his father was sleeping with Isabel, which put him in an awful mood basically every day. Another thing that wasn't doing his relationship any good.

But Felicity was wonderful. She accepted his bad moods as they came and tried to help as much as she could. She supported him in every way, and he was more than happy to do the same for her.

When Oliver finished his workout, he took a moment to catch his breath while he took in the view from his roof. Then he made his way back downstairs to take a shower. 

Successfully killing two out of the three hours until he planned to call Felicity, he took a quick shower and got some work done, hoping to call her a little early.

She hadn't been sure what her plans were, from what she said in her texts earlier in the day.

There are a few parties that Caitlin and Ronnie want to go to, but I don't know. Part of me just wants to stay home and talk to you all night.

Oliver had sighed, typing back; I'll be here whenever you want to call. Just stay away from the frat houses, please.

Felicity had replied with the evil face emoji; But frat parties are where I meet all of my ruggedly handsome boyfriends!

Oliver had snorted when he read it, getting multiple disapproving looks from the board members at his meeting.

His girlfriend was indecisive as hell, which sometimes drove him crazy, but other times he enjoyed the suspense. Their plans could always change on a whim, like the gala over the summer that he'd promised his parents he and Felicity would be at.

He'd spent the whole day dragging his feet, not wanting to go.

And when Felicity had come over and noticed him moping, complaining about the rain as if it affected an indoor gala, she'd changed into a pair of his sweats and a t-shirt without another word. When he asked her what she was doing, she'd shrugged as she pulled a pint of mint chocolate-chip ice cream out of the freezer and told him that people always had the right to the change their minds; "life is too short to do things that you don't wanna do, baby,"  She'd said, handing him a spoon.

Despite the fact that it ended up being an uneventful night at home, full of reality TV shows and plenty of giggling, it was one of his favorite memories to think about when he was really missing her.

Oliver glanced at the clock, no longer patient with waiting. He pressed his new favorite app and found her name at the top of the list. He really didn't FaceTime with anyone besides her, and his thirteen year old sister every now and then. 

"Hey, you." Felicity answered; a gorgeous, big smile was on her face, just for him. "I love you."

He huffed out a laugh, immediately feeling relaxed at hearing her voice, hearing those words, and seeing her face. "Hi, honey. I love you, too." He smiled back, noticing that her face was in shadow. She seemed to be outside, he heard a car horn in the background. "You decide to go out with Caitlin and Ronnie?"

"Yeah," Felicity answered, holding the phone below her chin as she walked. "Iris and Barry met us at the bar. And we're going to catch up with Cisco and Dinah before midnight."

Oliver sighed, closing his eyes. Aside from how much he hated to be away from her, it also really bummed him out that all of his friends lived in Central City, and he was stuck in Starling. "That sounds like fun," he said.

Felicity looked down at the phone, focusing on him as she stopped walking, apparently finding a quieter place to talk. "It's not the same without you," She said.

He nodded, "I know. Not kissing you at midnight is really going to suck."

Felicity tilted her phone down, giving him a view of her white lace dress, some kind of sheer material over her chest and arms. "I know. And you're missing out on seeing me in this dress in person, which is disappointing for both of us, I'm sure."

Oliver groaned, knowing that she was teasing but really not finding it funny in that moment. "I miss you, Felicity. I miss you so damn much." He said softly, frustrated.

Felicity pulled the phone back up to her face, "Are you okay?" She asked, her voice rising in worry as she looked at him, her eyebrows furrowing. 

He sighed, "Yeah, I'm sorry. You look amazing. I'm just...I hate not being with you, especially tonight."

"I know," she nodded, "Happy anniversary, by the way."

Oliver smiled, "You know, technically I didn't ask you out until the 7th."

Felicity rolled her eyes, "Not officially, no. Because you let Cisco convince you that there was some stupid week-long waiting period involved before you could ask a girl to be your girlfriend."

He smirked, "Hey, it made sense at the time. It's not my fault Cisco is a dweeb."

"It's your fault for listening to a dweeb!" She giggled, "Besides, New Year's Eve is always going to be our thing."

He chuckled, watching as she tucked her hair behind her ear and smiled at him. "We have a thing, do we?"

"Oh baby, we have a lot of things." She said, winking and wiggling her eyebrows dramatically.

Oliver laughed, "Don't flirt with me, Smoak. I miss you way too much."

"I miss you too. Like crazy." He watched her for a long moment, trying to take in every feature of her face and brand it to his memory as if he was there. "How was work?" She finally asked.

"Isabel tried to hijack my meeting again," he answered, watching as Felicity narrowed her eyes. He sighed, "What about you?"

Felicity shrugged, "I like working with Caitlin and Cisco every day. But I'm not sure that I want to stay here..."

Oliver gave her a confused look. This was the first he was hearing about that. "Really? Why?"

"I don't know," she shrugged again, "I told you that I want to start my own company. Star Labs is the job of a lifetime, but it was never my long-term plan. And I've just been wondering if I should find a job somewhere else, start saving money so that I can start my company where I want to."

Oliver's brow furrowed, "Where do you want to start it?"

Felicity raised an eyebrow at him as if it was obvious, "I was thinking Starling City."

Oliver couldn't help the smile that pulled at his lips. "Yeah?"

She nodded, biting her lip in his favorite way. "Yeah."

For the past few months, they'd been carefully avoiding any talk about their future. Aside from the commitment that it would be with each other, they didn't talk about details. He was still in the beginning stages of becoming a CEO and she had just moved away to start a new job. They were both at such shaky places in their careers, they had no idea what the next few years would look like. Neither of them wanted to make promises that they weren't sure they could keep, or dream up some plans that might not come true.

"Well, you moving to Starling would solve at least one of my problems at work," He told her. "I've been trying to convince my bosses that we should open a branch in Central City, and send me there to run it." Felicity laughed, and he joined in. 

As her giggles faded, her eyes softened, watching him. She shook her head, "Just a little while longer."

Oliver could see the love she had for him in her eyes, and he still found it hard to believe, not sure what he did to deserve it. "I'd wait for you," he said with a nod, "as long as it takes."

Felicity groaned, "Why did you think that I would survive this? I hate not being with you right now."

Oliver smirked, "I think you'll make it. It'll get easier, baby. Eventually we'll be spending all of our holidays together, and you'll probably be wishing that you could get rid of me."

Her face softened, "I can't wait."

Oliver couldn't fight the grin that spread across his face. He couldn't wait, either. "Hey, tell Caitlin I said congratulations, by the way."

She cocked her head to the side in confusion, and Oliver's heart dropped as he realized his mistake. "Congratulations for what?" She asked cautiously.

Oliver pinched his lips together, "Never mind?" He asked, knowing full well that his girlfriend was not about to drop it.

"What do you know, Queen?" She asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

Oliver sighed, "Hey, only ten minutes until midnight."

"You better talk fast, then."

He gave her a look, "Felicity,"

She raised an eyebrow, shaking her head. "Spill."

Oliver threw a glare at her, and she gave one right back. "Ronnie sent me some pictures of rings last week, he wanted my opinion. I thought he would have done it by now."

Felicity hesitated in confusion for a moment, and then her eyes widened, "No way!" She cried, covering her mouth. "He's going to propose?"

Oliver nodded, staring at her in warning, "You cannot tell Caitlin."

Felicity rolled her eyes, "How could you possibly think that I already knew about this? If my best friend was getting married, don't you think that I would have answered the phone screaming at you about it?"

Oliver scrunched his nose, "No...I didn't really think that."

"Well, I would have!"

"Yeah...girls are weird."

"Wow! This is amazing! When do you think he's going to ask her? I've been with him all night and I had no idea!"

Oliver shrugged, "No clue. He just told me that he was doing it, finally, and then asked me which ring I thought she would like."

"I hope you picked a good one," Felicity teased.

"I did," he promised, "but she'll say yes either way."

"I know she will. She's been in love with him since orientation weekend of freshman year," Felicity laughed, "Hey, you wanna be my date to this wedding...coming up sometime in the near future?"

Oliver laughed, "I wouldn't ever dream of taking anyone else."

When the clock changed to midnight, Felicity blew him a kiss, and he grabbed a screenshot. She'd been his New Year's kiss for three years strong now, and he had no desire to kiss anyone else.

FaceTime wasn't nearly as good as the last two years he'd spent with Felicity on that night, but at least he got an adorable picture of her out of it.

They talked for another twenty minutes while he climbed into bed and laid there, listening to her babble on about various different things; some of which didn't make sense to him as she tried to explain what they were currently working on at Star Labs. But he liked listening to her voice anyway. 

Eventually he closed his eyes, and heard her laugh. "Are you about to fall asleep on me?"

"I am." He laughed back, "I haven't been sleeping well lately," he sighed, "But that's probably because I don't have you in here."

Felicity narrowed her eyes, "Don't tempt me, Oliver."

He laughed sleepily, "Your snoring always puts me right to sleep."

"I do not snore!"

"Yes, you do. I didn't say I didn't like it. It's a cute snore." Everything about her was cute.

"You know that if I was there, we wouldn't be sleeping right now, right?" She said lowly.

Oliver's eyes snapped open, and he groaned, feeling himself reacting to her words beneath his sweatpants. "What are you doing to me, woman?"

Felicity giggled, "Just stating a fact."

"Well, I think that you've been away from our friends for nearly forty-five minutes, and you should probably get back to them."

"You trying to get rid of me?"

"When you give me a boner while I'm trying to sleep and you're six hundred miles away, yes." He said, smirking.

Felicity huffed, "Fine. But I love you," she said, blowing him a few more kisses, "so, so, so, soooo much. And you're wonderful. And I'm so incredibly proud of you."

He smiled, fighting to keep his eyes open so he could watch her.

Her love always took him by surprise; how big her heart was and how affectionate she could be. He wasn't used to it. His family wasn't the touchy-feely type. He knew his parents loved him, but they just weren't the kind of people that showered you in it. Felicity definitely was. And he enjoyed every second of it. He loved that she was so open and warm. It was captivating. He loved how much she liked to cuddle, and that she always held his hand in the car, and that she wasn't shy about expressing her love when they were in bed together. She forced him to feel it. And it had kind of scared him at first, but he was at a point now where he craved that feeling. 

"I love you too, my sweet, beautiful girl." he said softly, his voice thick with sleep. His past relationships were never like this; so passionate, selfless, and supportive. It was the most generous, healthy, and loving kind of relationship he'd ever had. "You're the best thing I've ever had, Felicity."

"Ugh." She groaned, "Can you stop being so perfect? Or else I'm getting on a plane. Okay, bye!"

Oliver chuckled, "Tell everyone I say hi and that I miss them. And don't forget; not a word about Ronnie's proposal!"

"I won't say a peep," she said, zipping her lips shut with her fingers and throwing away the imaginary key, "Okay, I love you."

"I love you, too. Have fun, honey."

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Felicity."

She hung up the phone, and Oliver fell asleep still smiling.

He woke up a few hours later to a dark room and the sound of Felicity's voice saying his name.

Oliver sat up, grabbing his phone. Half asleep, he stared at his screen, confused. He remembered FaceTiming with her and had immediately thought that he'd fallen asleep still talking to her.

Then he noticed her figure, standing by his bed with her hands out so as not to scare him. "Felicity?" he asked, squinting.

"Hi," she breathed.

He scrambled off of the bed and pulled her into his arms, breathing out a laugh, "What are you doing here? Are you okay?"

"Yeah," she sighed, "I'm fine."

Oliver glanced down at her, feeling his pulse racing and the excitement coursing through him on the inside, but his movements were still groggy with sleep. He cupped her face between his hands, brushing her hair back. 

He shook his head, glancing at the clock on his nightstand and furrowing his brow in confusion as he saw that it read 11:55. His mouth moved to say something, but he didn't have enough coherent thought to form a question.

"It's actually about five in the morning."

He stared at her, "You flew here?" He asked, knowing that she couldn't have made the drive in the less than five hours since they hung up the phone. 

She nodded, rolling her eyes, "The lady at the airport thought I was crazy."

Oliver let out a breathy laugh, "I kind of think you're crazy, too."

"I told you I was getting on a plane."

Oliver looked at her skeptically, "You were kidding when you said that. What were you thinking?"

"It wasn't right for us to spend last night away from each other." She nodded to herself. "We should have tried harder to be together."

He sighed, immediately taking the blame. "I'm sorry, Felicity."

She shook her head. "It's not your fault. It's neither of our faults. I'm just saying."

Oliver nodded, "Okay. You're right."

"So, I turned your clock back." She whispered, pointing to it. "According to that, we still have three minutes. And I want to crawl into your bed with you and have you hold me for the next two and a half minutes, and then I would really like it if you kissed me when that clock says that it's midnight."

Oliver leaned forward to press his forehead against hers, "How did I get this lucky?" he whispered.

Felicity smiled, turning her head to press a few kisses to his cheek, "You struck up a conversation with a bored-looking designated driver at a frat party. Pure destiny, I'd say. Fate, for sure."

Oliver laughed at her sarcasm, "Well, we only have one minute, so you better get your ass in that bed."

Felicity laughed too, kicking off her shoes and climbing in. She slid across the bed to her side; the side that she'd been sleeping on ever since he moved into the apartment and bought the bed.

Even though he was in the same city that he'd grown up in, the same city that had seen the way he'd destroyed his relationships before Felicity, he liked having her there, in the apartment. He liked having a bed that had only ever been graced by her presence, sheets that had only ever touched her skin and pillows that only ever smelled like her perfume the day after she'd spent the night.

He curled himself around her, burying his head in her chest and breathing in her sweet scent. He pressed his face against her breast, sighing in the pleasure of her unexpected visit. "You watching that clock?" he mumbled.

Felicity hummed, kissing the top of his head, running her lips over his hair and forehead. Her arms reached behind him, her fingers gently scratching his back. 

God, it felt so good. 

He was blown away again by her; by her gesture in coming all that way, in the middle of the night. The way she held him and genuinely cared about him was unfathomable. "Oliver," she whispered after a few moments where he'd been lost in the sensation of having her there, holding her between his arms.

Lifting his head, he pressed his lips to her neck, feeling his sweatpants getting tighter as soon as he heard her breath hitch in her throat. He ran his mouth across her skin, bringing it to the corner of her jaw and kissing her there. Then he slid his lips across her chin, peppering her face in kisses.

Finally, his mouth stopped in front of hers. He brushed his lips over hers, his nose doing the same thing. "Happy New Year," she whispered, digging her fingers into his hair, twisting them in it.

Oliver stared down his nose at her; mesmerized for a moment by the sultry way she said the words and the alluring look in her eyes. He pressed his lips against hers softly in a chaste kiss. "Happy anniversary." He replied.

Felicity moaned, using her leverage on his hair to pull him closer, opening her mouth and running her tongue across his bottom lip, "Happy anniversary," she sighed back before abruptly pulling him on top of her.

Chapter Text

Felicity struggled with the zipper of her favorite black dress, balancing her cell phone between her chin and shoulder. She sighed as she looked at herself in the mirror, remembering the first time she'd worn it on Oliver's birthday. And his reaction to it. His eyes had darkened, despite the room full of people, and he'd whispered things into her ear that should not have been whispered in the polite company of their guests.

"You know, this is extremely familiar; you convincing me to go to parties that I really don't want to go to." Felicity grumbled.

She listened to Iris' annoyed huff on the other end of the line, smiling as she imagined her rolling her eyes. "And every time, you end up coming anyway, so why do you put up such a fight?" Felicity shrugged in response even if Iris couldn't see it. "Barry and I will meet you there at nine. Caitlin said she would pick you up. Don't be late, love you!" She yelled into the phone before Felicity could answer. And then she hung up.

Felicity groaned as she fought with the zipper, throwing her phone on her bed. 

The only time she'd ever spent in Starling City was on Oliver's arm. Even if it was a huge city and even if the likelihood of running into him was extremely low, she felt anxious. 

A year ago, she could imagine spending the rest of her life with him. And she still could, but she knew that it wasn't possible anymore. She'd had every intention of moving to Starling and starting a company there, being with him and starting their plan to build their lives together. She knew at the time that Oliver was drained from everything going on with his family's business, and she knew that the work it took to maintain a long-distance relationship was taking its toll. Their conversations grew shorter and less frequent. Some days they were lucky if they even had a chance to exchange a few texts. 

They argued. The distance and the lack of connection made things seem more drastic than they probably were. And she'd often had to remind herself that if he had been there, if she had been touching him, she would know that everything would be okay. But he wasn't there...so they argued.

They snapped at each other about silly, meaningless things. But they also argued about their future, both of them afraid of what it would mean if they had to deal with the distance for much longer. They were frustrated by the way things were and the fact that they couldn't change them, at least not in that exact moment.

He struggled to find even one weekend that he could leave Starling to visit her, and even when he did, he was so exhausted that he'd sleep for half the time he was there. And Felicity still had a few months at Star Labs. They barely had time talk on the phone, let alone do anything fun together when they found the time to be in the same space.

It had taken its toll on them.

And then she'd gotten a different job offer from Star Labs. They asked her to be the head of Technologies. The experience alone would provide her with the tools she needed to be successful. But the pay was so high that she couldn't refuse. Just one year working in that position, and she'd earn enough money to buy a building, hire an entire staff, and start her business.

She couldn't say no. 

Knowing that she'd made up her mind put a knot in her stomach, though. With the place that she was in her relationship with Oliver, she was certain that they couldn't handle much more time apart. They were already at their breaking points. Things were tense and shaky between them, and they'd been holding on to each other for dear life, just counting down the seconds until she could move to Starling.

She'd called him that night, shaking and already crying. She knew what accepting the position meant for her and Oliver. 

"I can't do this, Felicity. I can't do another year." He'd said, his voice barely above a whisper, exhausted.

"I know," she'd cried, "I won't ask you to."

Out of all of that, the thing she couldn't believe, more than anything else, was that they had left it at that. They'd broken up over the phone. And sometimes he would text her when she was in the news, and she'd text him to ask how things were going, but without the obligation of their relationship, they both threw themselves into their work and barely spoke.

When Caitlin knocked on the door, Felicity answered it with a forced smile, "Hi, mama," she said, pulling her friend into an awkward hug. Caitlin was about four months pregnant, and her belly had the cutest little bump. "You look beautiful," Felicity smiled, holding her hands and looking down at her dress. Caitlin smirked, giving her a pose in her tight blue dress that highlighted her curves.

Felicity laughed, "Work it, girl. I don't think I've ever seen a cuter pregnant lady."

"Oh, stop. We'd better get going. Ronnie's in the car, but can I use your bathroom before we hit the road?" she asked, "I pee every five minutes now, it's fantastic." She said, rolling her eyes.

Felicity opened her door wider, waving her arm in invitation, "Be my guest."

Once Caitlin was ready, Felicity locked her apartment and they headed downstairs. "I can't get over seeing you pregnant, it's so weird. Amazing, but weird."

Caitlin chuckled as Felicity opened her door and helped her into the passenger side. Then she climbed into the back. Ronnie spun around to offer her an award winning smile, "Hi Felicity, how's my favorite out of all my wife's friends?"

Felicity snorted, rolling her eyes, "I know you say that to Iris and Dinah, too. Don't try to sucker me, Raymond."

Ronnie just winked, waiting until the girls were buckled before he took off. As he drove, he periodically looked at Caitlin. Every time his wife moved a muscle, he'd throw a glance at her, satisfied that she just had an itch or wanted to stretch her legs. Felicity had been lucky enough to be at their tiny, unexpected and unplanned wedding. Ronnie had asked her to propose last January, and Caitlin had started planning a summer wedding. But just two months later she'd discovered that she was pregnant. Once Ronnie and Felicity had calmed her down, she'd asked him to marry her as soon as possible, wanting to be his wife before the baby came. Ronnie assured her that it didn't matter when they got married or how big the wedding was, so the three of them had gone to city hall later that day.

"Would you say that you look better in blue or in purple?" Caitlin asked, squinting at Felicity as she tried to decide for herself.

"Uh..." Felicity shrugged, "Blue?"

Caitlin nodded seriously. "Well, that made me feel a little disappointed, so I'm going with the purple dresses."

Felicity chuckled, "I'll wear whatever you put me in." She said, rolling her eyes. 

Caitlin still planned on having a formal wedding, and she spent most of the car ride bouncing ideas off of Felicity, much to Ronnie's chagrin. Apparently he was excluded from the planning after a few too many bad ideas though, so Caitlin asked for Felicity's opinions.

By the time they were almost in Starling, Caitlin was visibly uncomfortable after sitting in the car for so long. She wiggled, changing positions ever minute, and Ronnie silently reached out to put his hand on top of hers where it rested on her stomach. Felicity leaned forward, "How is the naming game going?" She asked, hoping to distract Caitlin with a topic that would get her thinking about something else.

Caitlin looked over at Ronnie, raising an eyebrow. And Ronnie sighed. Felicity smiled, catching on to the fact that it was currently a hot debate in their home. "She doesn't like any of the names I've suggested."

Caitlin pinched his arm, "I do too!" she argued, and then her voice got softer, "Martin was your idea."

Felicity nodded, not surprised that they would name their child after a man like Martin Stein, who had been their mentor and such a positive influence on both of their careers. Caitlin sighed, turning in her seat to look at Felicity, gripping Ronnie's hand between hers. "If it's a boy, I think we're both pretty set on Martin. But if it's a girl, we've narrowed it down to about one thousand options and we can't choose any of them."

"Maybe it'll be one of those things where you'd know her name when you see her," Felicity offered.

Caitlin smiled, nodding, "Um...we actually wanted to ask you something, Felicity." She glanced at Ronnie, who nodded in approval. Felicity glanced between them, and Caitlin leaned a little closer. "We'd like for you to be the baby's god mother."

Felicity's jaw dropped, her eyes immediately filling with tears. She unbuckled and awkwardly wrapped her arms around Caitlin. "Oh, of course I will! I would love to, thank you!" 

She moved over to Ronnie and hugged him as he drove, kissing his cheek. "I can't wait to spoil that little button."

Ronnie laughed, moving his face towards Felicity's, "You and me both."

He pulled into the parking lot, and Felicity glanced up at the neon green sign. "Verdant." She shrugged, thinking that it looked like a nice enough place to spend their New Year's Eve. Her first, not including last year's missed midnight since she flew to Starling later, without Oliver.

Ronnie helped Caitlin out of the car, and Felicity checked her phone, seeing that her group message with her old roommates had blown up; Iris, Barry, Dinah and Cisco were already inside. Felicity looped her arm through Caitlin's, "How are you feeling about a sober New Year's celebration?"

Caitlin shrugged, "I don't really mind. You and Iris have suffered enough being the DD's all through college, I think it's about time I paid you guys back."

They made their way inside, finding the table that their friends had saved. Felicity hadn't seen Dinah and Cisco in a couple of months, not since they moved to Coast City. She spent a while catching up with them before Iris dragged her to the bar, where they ordered everyone drinks, including a virgin strawberry daiquiri for Caitlin. 

As the first few drinks were placed on the bar, Iris picked them up, nodding towards the table. "I'll run these over and be right back to help you with the rest."

Felicity nodded, glancing around the room as Iris retreated. The club was packed, which she expected since it was the opening night. The bartender glanced up at her as she poured the drinks. "You're not from around here, are you?" 

Felicity shook her head, "No. My friends and I live in Central City. And Coast City."

The blonde raised her eyebrows, "And you came all the way here for this place? Do your cities not have enough bars?"

She laughed, shaking her head, "I'm not really sure, exactly. It wasn't my idea." She shrugged.

"Well, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The owner is a friend of mine, and New Year's Eve is kind of a special holiday for him. I'm sure he's prepared this place for a pretty killer night."

Felicity picked up a few of the drinks as the bartender slid them over to her. "Thank you..."

"Sara."

"Sara," she smiled, lifting a drink as she tried to wave, "I'm sure I'll be back."

She glanced around, not having enough arms to carry the rest of the glasses and wondering where Iris was. Felicity saw her at the table talking to Caitlin, distracted as she had her hands on Caitlin's stomach, feeling her bump. She chuckled to herself, knowing that Iris was just as excited about being an adopted aunt to that baby as she was.

"Can I give you a hand with those?"

Felicity glanced up at the guy who was already reaching for the rest of her glasses. He was cute, with dark hair and big blue eyes. "They're not all mine," She blurted. 

The guy looked up at her, amused. "Hey, I wouldn't have judged you. Where to?"

She gestured towards their table, and he nodded. "I'm Tommy."

"Felicity," she said. The guy quirked an eyebrow, his eyes flying to her face. He laughed, and she was pretty sure she heard him mumble this will be fun under his breath. She glanced at him in confusion. "Have we met?"

"No," he said quickly, shaking his head, "Uh, we haven't." He eyed her suspiciously, like he was waiting for her to say something. She racked her brain, certain that Tommy had recognized her, but she couldn't remember ever meeting him. "This is my club," he said, falling into step beside her.

"Oh," Felicity said, surprised. "It's...it's a nice club. I like the green. Very cool. Green is a cool color, but not my color. I definitely don't look very cool in green." She winced. Stop saying cool. And stop talking about green.

He laughed and Felicity bit her lip. As Tommy pushed his way through the crowd, Felicity asked, "So, I met the bartender...Sara? She seems to really respect you. She mentioned that New Year's Eve is a special holiday for you." She felt a pinch of pain pulling at her heart, reminding her why it was a special holiday for her, too. "Can I ask why?"

Tommy turned to look at her, "Not me," he said, smirking. "But it's a pretty significant night for my partner." 

He reached their table, setting the drinks down and introducing himself as one of the owners, shaking everyone's hands.

Her friends invited Tommy to sit, asking him a few questions about starting the club, how long it had taken, why he chose the name, all of that stuff. And every time Tommy's answers involved a mention of his partner, he'd sneak a glance at Felicity.

Felicity leaned towards Dinah in her chair, "Does this guy give you a weird vibe?"

Dinah nodded slowly, patting Felicity's knee and clearing her throat, "So Tommy, how did you and your partner meet?"

"Oh, we've known each other since we were kids." He answered, looking at Felicity again.

Dinah's eyes narrowed, "And what made you decide to open a club together?"

She had her cop-voice on, as if it was an interrogation.

Felicity knew Dinah well enough to see that she didn't trust Tommy, or at least, there was something about him that she didn't trust.

Tommy smiled, not backing down from the conversation. "I spent my college years abroad, drinking my way through most of Europe. When I came home, my best friend had become this stiff, boring business man," he said, rolling his eyes. "He was just like our fathers, focused on work, work, work and nothing else. So, I asked him to invest in something fun. The club is mostly a hobby for him, since his job takes up most of his time. But he's been an awesome partner, very tenacious and smart. I figured being the owners of the coolest night club in Starling would help us meet a lot of women, but he's just been focused on making sure that we have a real business here."

Dinah cocked her head to the side, and Tommy leaned a little closer, "It's kind of a bummer for me, since he's not interested in partying like we used to, despite the full access we have," He said, gesturing around the club. "But I guess he's still pretty hung up on this one girl."

Felicity watched as Dinah's face dropped, and her eyes flew to Felicity in understanding. "Uh-oh."

A smile spread across Tommy's face as he watched Dinah, "Oh, don't tell me you didn't know! Is this really just a coincidence!?"

Felicity opened her mouth in question, but then it all clicked. 

Oliver had a best friend named Tommy.

She'd seen pictures of him, granted when he was much younger, and heard countless stories about the wild and troublesome Tommy Merlyn, but she had never met him. Nausea set in as her heart sank into her stomach. Caitlin reached across the table, "What the hell is going on?"

Felicity felt a little weak, her heart was beating so fast and her anxiety was making her feel a little lightheaded. Eight months. She'd broken up with Oliver over a phone call eight months ago. Her eyes fell on Tommy, "Is he here?" She asked shakily.

Tommy's eyebrows furrowed as he stared at her. He must have noticed how scared she looked, because the smug smile faded into understanding. "Yes," he answered, nodding. "Does he know that you are?"

She shook her head.

"This is Oliver's club." Dinah clarified for the rest of their friends.

Caitlin's jaw dropped, and then she immediately twisted in her chair, pointing her finger at Ronnie. "You knew!"

Felicity stared, wide-eyed at her friend. She wasn't sure how such a tiny woman was manifesting that must fire. Ronnie raised his hands in surrender. "I did..."

"Oh, Ronnie Raymond, you are in so much trouble, it's not even funny."

Cisco raised his eyebrows, "You've got that mom voice down Caitlin, tell him!"

Caitlin turned her icy stare to Cisco. "Don't."

Iris rubbed Caitlin's back, "Easy, lady. It's okay. Let's just all...relax." She said, glancing at Felicity.

"I'm so sorry, Felicity." Caitlin said, shaking her head. "I had no idea...I don't know why he-" she pursed her lips, staring at Ronnie.

It had been Ronnie's idea to come to Starling City, and Felicity wasn't exactly sure why he had suggested it, knowing that Verdant was apparently a club that Oliver owned. But she knew that it wasn't Caitlin's fault. 

As if sensing the tension at the table, Tommy whistled, standing up. "Well uh...enjoy your night, you guys. It was nice to meet all of you." He bent down in front of Felicity, "Especially you, miss Smoak," he said, his eyes open and honest, "I've heard so many great things about you. Be gentle with him, okay?"

Felicity just blinked as Tommy stood up and left. She glanced around the table, seeing that her friends were not very happy. Caitlin was angry while Ronnie stared at his feet. Iris and Barry exchanged looks. Dinah looked like she was trying to plan an escape route and Cisco was scanning the room for Oliver.

"Excuse me," she said, standing up and heading for the bathroom. 

She didn't stop until she was pushing the door open. She sucked air into her lungs in quick, rapid breaths. 

Caitlin was right on her heels, "Look at me," she said, grabbing Felicity's shaking hands as the door closed behind them. Felicity looked at her face, focusing on her features. "Deep breath in," Caitlin mumbled, keeping her eyes on Felicity's, knowing how to help her panic attacks after three years of living together in college. "Nice and deep. And out."

As Felicity breathed, Caitlin squeezed her hands and smiled. "You okay?"

Felicity closed her eyes, nodding. "I'm good."

"You want to get out of here?"

"Yes," she sighed, "but I don't want to ruin everyone's night."

Caitlin threw her a look, "It's not your fault. Ronnie did that."

Felicity hesitated, biting her lip, "I appreciate the solidarity, but please don't let me and my stupid ex-boyfriend drama cause a fight between you and your husband, Caitlin."

Her friend shook her head, "He lied, Felicity. He knew that Oliver owned this place and he dragged us all out here without telling anyone." She sighed, "I'm not just mad at him because he basically tricked you into seeing Oliver. He also lied to me about it."

Felicity huffed, "Yeah. But...it's Ronnie," she said, trying to wrap her own head around the deceit. "He wouldn't do it to hurt you. Or me, for that matter."

Caitlin lifted her gaze to Felicity, "I know." She stated obviously. "He just should've known that I would have helped him if he wanted to meddle in you and Oliver's business."

"Caitlin!" Felicity shrieked.

"What!? I would have softened the blow much better than that!" She said, waving her hand at the door, "I could've prepared you a little bit instead of throwing you out to the wolves."

Felicity groaned, "What the hell am I gonna do?" She'd been dreaming about what it would be like to see Oliver again. As much as she felt blindsided, once the shock wore off a bit, she felt butterflies. 

Caitlin shrugged, "You're going to pick your chin up and talk to Oliver."

"Talk to him."

"Yes."

"What the hell would I say?" She asked, crossing her arms.

"You could start with, 'Oliver, I'm still in love with you.'"

Felicity narrowed her eyes. "Caitlin..." she sighed, feeling like she was having the same conversation for the millionth time with an unruly child.

Caitlin wasn't satisfied with the way that Felicity had ended things with Oliver. She insisted that it wasn't over, and Felicity had allowed that to give her some comfort. Their talk on the phone had definitely felt like the end of them, but Caitlin's faith that they would find their ways back to each other always made her feel a little better about everything. It gave her hope that she'd see him again; that that last, heartbreaking conversation wouldn't be the last time she got to speak to him. That kissing him goodbye when he'd come to see her wouldn't be the last time she kissed him. She let herself keep a small, quiet hope that spending the day naked between the sheets during his last visit wasn't going to be the last time that they shared a bed.

 Felicity sighed as she opened the bathroom door. Making her way back to their table with Caitlin's hand tightly in hers, she saw Oliver standing there.

He was talking to Ronnie, who looked like he was explaining something, and Oliver was leaned towards him, listening intently as he nodded.

Seeing him made her hold her breath for a moment, stopping in her tracks. But then she saw him smile at Ronnie, squeezing his friend's shoulder, and all of her nerves were gone. 

Just gone...as soon as she looked at him and remembered how much happiness he'd brought her over the last three years since she'd met him.

She hadn't been nervous around Oliver since the first night they met. He'd always made her feel comfortable and safe. But she was surprised that he still had the same effect on her. She felt perfectly relaxed. They'd spent so long apart that she'd forgotten what he was capable of doing to her, how he could make her feel so calm. After meeting Tommy, finding out Ronnie had duped them into seeing each other again, and an unexpected panic attack in a women's bathroom later, Oliver was only a few feet away, and she was happy to see him.

His eyes flickered up to them as they joined the table, and he lingered on Felicity for a long, tense moment. She offered a small smile, and he cleared his throat, turning his head towards Caitlin, "You look amazing," he said, gesturing to her stomach, "congratulations."

Caitlin smiled, "Thank you."

Oliver's eyes shifted to Felicity, "Hi," he let out a breath, fighting a smile.

"Hey, you." She immediately replied, reminding her of the countless times she'd said it to him before.

Oliver seemed to be remembering, too. "Can we talk?"

Felicity nodded, "Of course."

He held out his hand, gesturing for her to come with him. Felicity stood up, putting her hand in his and waving to their friends. As he lead her through the club, she looked at their hands where he held hers. 

Oliver guided her up a set of stairs, through a supply room, and into a hallway. He let go of her hand when they reached a door that had the club logo on it as he pulled out his keys.

Opening the door, he gestured her into his office.

Felicity glanced around, taking in the giant desk, the couch, and the window that had a view of the city. She wandered over to his desk, picking up the framed picture that sat on it and glancing down. Oliver was sitting on the beach, but he wasn't looking at the camera. His eyes were focused on the waves, and he was laughing. Thea sat beside him, wrapped in a towel with her head on his shoulder, grinning ear to ear with a pair of blue lips because she'd spent the whole day in the water. She knew, since she remembered taking the photo vividly.

Felicity ran her finger over Oliver's face, remembering it as the day she'd met Thea and his parents. They'd been in the midst of the best summer of her life, and they'd planned on stopping by his parents' house that morning before going to the beach so that Felicity could meet his family. Once there, Felicity had blurted out an invitation for Thea to join them after seeing how sad she looked that her brother was only passing through.

"That was a good day," she whispered, remembering how hard they'd laughed when Thea had climbed into the car at the end of it with chattering teeth and asked if they could stop for ice cream on the way home.

"It was," she heard him mumble, and she became hyper-aware of his proximity. He wasn't touching her, but he was right behind her, looking at the picture over her shoulder. Felicity held her breath, feeling a chill run through her. "I remember the first time I saw you in this dress." He muttered, stepping closer, his chest pressing against her back as he reached around her, gently taking the frame from her hands and setting it back on his desk. When she whimpered, unable to stop herself from pushing back into him, she heard his breath catch.

As he pressed the length of his body against hers, Felicity closed her eyes. "Oliver, don't..."

"Felicity, we've never been ones for small talk."

She shook her head, not in control enough to move away from him or even pick her head up from his shoulder. In an attempt to prove him wrong, she asked, "How is Thea?" Trying to sound casual despite their extremely intimate position.

"Sassy as ever," he answered softly, his voice right at her ear. She lost herself in the sensation of it; feeling him so close to her again, hearing his voice, the way he smelled. She felt his hands roam over her waist, and she sighed, lifting her own hands to rest on his. "She asks about you all the time," he said, his lips just outside her ear. "I think she misses you almost as much as I do."

"Oliver, please..."

"I miss you every day." He said in her ear.

She forced her eyes open, hearing his voice falter with emotion. She slowly turned in his arms, but he didn't move a muscle, his hands gliding over her waist and staying where they were as he looked down his nose at her. She stared up at him, "Nothing has changed, Oliver."

His eyes darkened, "I've had eight months without you in my life. I'd say a lot has changed."

"Like what?" She asked.

"Like me realizing that I was insane to walk away from this."

"We both decided that, Oliver..." she hesitated, "It was...we thought it was for the best."

"And we were wrong," he said confidently, raising an eyebrow.

She shook her head, "Oliver, you're still here and I'm still six hundred miles away. That hasn't changed."

"Felicity, I don't care. I want to be with you."

Felicity nudged his chest, and he stepped back. "Oliver, it's not this simple."

"It can be. It should have been this simple, Felicity. We were strong enough to handle the distance, for however long it took. We just lost sight of that."

"It was hard," she said weakly.

"Yeah, it was. It was hard as hell," he agreed, "but it was worth it. Felicity, we made a mistake..." he wavered in her silence. "It's worth it, isn't it?"

She knew that it was. But she also knew that spending as much time apart as they had, had made them both miserable. It had gotten bad enough that they both thought breaking up would be for the best. Who was to say it wouldn't happen all over again? "Oliver," she said, forcing her voice to be strong. "I don't know how much longer I'll be working at Star Labs."

Oliver froze, and she wasn't sure if his change of heart was because he meant what he was saying, or if he just missed her. "I thought you said another year...won't you be done in a few months?"

She bit her lip, shaking her head. "It's a good job, Oliver. An amazing opportunity. I was made for it. They're supportive of me starting my own business, and their willing to help me in any way that they can. Just not yet. They want me to lead a few projects for them before I leave...and those will take some time."

His face fell, his eyes dropping to his shoes as he digested that. Then he lifted his eyes to look at her. "Isn't it worth it, Felicity?" He asked again, keeping his resolve to make this work.

The last thing she wanted to do was fight against it. But she'd been dreaming of a someday with Oliver Queen, not a right now.

She huffed out a breath, her heart feeling tight at the sad tone of his voice. "What if we try again, and we just end up miserable like we did before?"

He shook his head, "We've already made that mistake once, Felicity. We wouldn't do it again. I was never miserable to be with you, I was miserable to be without you...I thought it couldn't be any worse than only having a relationship with you over the phone. But then I actually lost you, and I figured out the hard way how much worse it could be."

Oliver..." she sighed. She knew that she couldn't make any plans, not with an undetermined amount of time that she'd have to stay in Central City. She couldn't offer any promises or assurances. 

He deserved better.

More.

"I was proud of you, you knew that, right?" He asked, his voice soft. Her head dropped to stare down at her feet. He'd always been supportive of her and her career, but it was hard for her not to associate the beginning of her promotion with the end of their relationship. She couldn't ignore the fact that if she hadn't taken the job, she would probably still be with him.

Feeling tears springing to her eyes, she heard him curse under his breath. Then she felt his finger on her jaw just before he lifted her chin. "You're doing incredible things, Felicity. I was so proud of you. I still am."

Everything inside of her wanted to let go, to forget all of the reasons that scared her, all of the doubts that ran through her mind, insisting that if it didn't work a year ago, it wouldn't now. She wanted more than anything to give in, to be happy with him like she knew she could be. 

But it became clear, as she looked into his eyes, that running back to him now would only yield the same results. She was afraid that it would end worse than it had before. What if he ended up resenting her for choosing to stay in Central City instead of being with him? What if it was so ugly that he never wanted to see her again?

She still had to hold on to the hope that someday the timing would be right for them, but she couldn't ask him to wait. Not when she had no idea how long it would take. "Oliver, I think..." she watched as he held his breath, his head tilting as he waited for her to finish, his eyes hopeful. "I think we need to let each other go." She released the words, her voice breaking. She couldn't give him a lame answer like not yet, but someday.

Oliver glanced down at his feet, "I don't want to let you go."

Felicity sighed, lifting herself onto his desk and reaching out her hands to him. He kept his head down as he took both of her hands in his. "Oliver, I'm glad that I got to see you tonight, even if it wasn't my intention. The way we left things...we were both so frustrated and tired. I never want to feel that way when it comes to you, ever again. You deserve better than sitting on the phone with me at one in the morning while I cry about how much I miss you, or arguing with me through text messages over silly, pointless things. Maybe we should just...focus on being friends."

Oliver laughed once, "Friends?" he asked, his voice spiking in anger. He dropped her hands and gripped his fingers around her knees, pulling her along the desk, guiding her legs to wrap around his waist. When she moaned, he nodded as if it affirmed something to him. He stared down at her, "We've never been friends, Felicity."

Instead of pushing away from him, despite everything she'd just said, she reached her hands up to his face, meeting his anger with tenderness. As she ran her fingers over his cheeks, his eyes softened. "You've always been my best friend, Oliver."

He sighed, releasing her legs and taking a step back. She felt the absence of it, her body reacting, wanting to have him between her legs again, back where he belonged.

Oliver dragged his hand over his face, sighing as he collapsed onto the couch. Felicity slowly got down from the desk, crossing the room to sit down next to him. She rested her chin on his shoulder, hugging his arm when he reached it out to put his hand on her knee. "I love you." She whispered.

He released a sharp breath, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment. She pressed her lips to his shoulder. When he opened his eyes to look down at her, she tried to smile. "I love you," he said back, "I always will."

She didn't want to admit just how much she was counting on that. If she really wanted to be fair to him, she couldn't dangle maybes.

"I hated the way we left things...a phone call...it isn't us. This seems better." She said, snuggling closer to his side.

Oliver sighed, his fingers tightening on her leg. "Not exactly the way I was hoping the night would end when I begged Ronnie to get you here."

She picked her head up to look at him. "You did?"

"Yes. I want you back, Felicity. Don't think that just because I'm letting you have your way now, that it means I'm giving up on that."

She felt her heart tighten, "Oliver..." she trailed off, unable to form an argument when his words seemed to be exactly what she needed to hear.

In the moment of silence, they heard the whole club starting to scream, counting down to midnight. His eyes met hers, "If you're truly set on not being together, then I'd really like to kiss you one last time...would you hate me if I asked for that?"

Felicity felt a tear escape, her heart completely shattering.

She shook her head quickly.

"No," she choked, "I could never hate you, Oliver." He slowly leaned towards her, brushing her tears away with his thumbs. Then he gently rubbed his nose against hers, and she leaned in to kiss him. He hesitated in surprise for a moment, but then he kissed her back, soft and slow. His hands were still on her face, fresh tears falling along his fingers, because that kiss felt like a goodbye.

Chapter Text

Felicity looked down at the tiny, innocent looking piece of paper as she gripped her coffee cup. Her hands were shaking as she stared at it, unblinking from where she sat at her kitchen table. After that night in Verdant, she feared that she'd never see Oliver again.

If her history had taught her anything, it was that love should make you happy, not miserable. She'd seen the toll their relationship had taken on Oliver, and she wasn't willing to let him get bored of her, fearing that he'd grow sick of a long distance, idle relationship and want something different.

Oliver was supposed to be her amazing, wild love. 

But they'd become stuck. They'd grown lazy. And she was so afraid that it would happen again, but that he decide he never wanted to be with her again by the end of it. 

As she stared at the paper and the simple note that had come with it, she sighed, picking up her phone and putting her speed dial to good use. As the phone rang, she ran her finger over his familiar handwriting. Even with the one, simple plea, she recognized his writing. Please. For me.

Caitlin answered after the second ring. "Hey, Felicity..." She said hesitantly.

Felicity's eyes immediately narrowed, "Hello."

"How are you?"

Her friend was trying to act casual. Felicity recognized her lying voice whether she could see her face or not. "Do you know what I'm looking at right now, Caitlin?"

"Well...I..uh-yes, I can assume." She huffed, "But Ronnie knows more about it than I do! Yell at him!"

Felicity rolled her eyes as she listened to Caitlin fidgeting with the phone, talking sharply at her husband, "You owe her after the stunt you pulled last year!" She hissed.

She heard Ronnie's exasperated sigh. "Hi, Felicity."

"Ronnie Raymond, what the hell is going on? I call my best friend to ask for her advice and find out that she's been keeping secrets from me? I expect it from her, she's weak, but you, Raymond. You should have told me."

"I know, Felicity." Ronnie sighed, "I know that I made you a promise that I wouldn't meddle again, even if Oliver asked. But I made him a promise too, and he pulled out the fraternity pledge, so I had to take his side."

"I'm the godmother of your son, you ass. Godmother trumps frat bro."

Ronnie sighed again, "I mean...he's Martin's godfather..." Felicity scoffed at him, and he sighed, "You're right. Oliver called me last night and told me about his plan. He said that he expected you to call us, and that when you did, we needed to tell you to go."

Felicity ran her finger over Oliver's note again. "And you really think I should?"

Ronnie hesitated, "Honestly?"

Felicity held her breath. Her contract with Star Labs ended today. A secret that Ronnie and Caitlin were sworn to since Felicity promised them that she wanted to tell Oliver herself. She had been trying to calm herself down enough to call him with the news when she'd woken up to an envelope under her door that contained a plane ticket and the note. Please. For me.

She had been preparing for a long conversation with him, not an unplanned trip. She was ready to talk about their relationship, not drop everything and run off for who knew how long. The ticket was a one-way trip to Fiji. 

"I think you need to go." Ronnie said gently. "With you two...it's always going to be there. And I think that you both deserve to give it an honest shot. Not this touch and go, half-assed shit that you've been doing for the past year. You've spent so much time waiting around, Felicity. Putting it off until the timing was right. I think it's time you finally do something about what you really want. Show him that you love him. Do this, and prove to him that you're willing to put in the effort to make it work...even when it scares you."

The flight was leaving in forty five minutes, and Felicity was already getting her coat and shoes on before Ronnie had finished talking. 

She heard him laugh as she muttered to herself, looking for her keys. "Thank you, I love all three of you," she said quickly. Hanging up on him without waiting for a response, she ran out of her apartment, irritated that she had to take the time to lock the door behind her. Then she hailed a cab, feeling like she didn't take a breath until she was in the back of it, on her way to the airport.

When staring at the ticket got old, she tapped on her phone for the rest of the ride, wanting to text him with a million questions. Or at least to just say that she'd be there, but he'd left her a plane ticket and no other explanation besides "Please. For me." So she decided to play along with the vague and romantic gestures.

Over the course of that year, she'd seen Oliver more than she had expected to. What happened between them during those moments was not what she'd intended, but she didn't regret any of it.

After that night in Verdant, she'd left him and fully planned to stay away from him. But that had only worked for a little while.

Five months after that night, Caitlin had her baby, and they found themselves together in a hospital in Central City, supporting their friend. After meeting her godson, she'd been a hot mess. She was happy, but she also wanted what Caitlin and Ronnie had. Feeling wrong for being jealous, she'd excused herself to get some coffee...and Oliver had followed her out into the hallway. He was looking at her like five months of silence between them had meant nothing. He was looking at her like he still loved her just as much as he always had. And she had kissed him. And then they had somehow made their way into a supply closet...

But they'd left things the same way that they had in Verdant. She told him that having a last kiss that night just hadn't been enough, but sleeping together one more time...okay, that was they'd needed. One more time to get it out of your system, and now it can be over. He'd nodded along with her, but she could tell that he didn't believe it. Despite what he believed, she stuck to her belief that they weren't going to work out.

But then...

Two months after that, Cisco and Dinah had invited them all to Coast City for an impromptu wedding. They'd stayed in a tiny motel right on the beach, since it was one of the only places that had vacancies at such last minute.  Oliver had knocked on her door in the middle of the night, and she'd kissed him before he could even say a word. She'd grabbed his collar and pulled him into her motel room, mumbling something about how weddings made her emotional, and that's all it was. That was the only reason she was taking his clothes off. Weddings. Emotions. But when she woke up the next morning and turned over to see him sleeping, his face peaceful, she'd run her hand over his back thinking; you're a damn liar.

The third time it happened was after Barry and Iris' engagement party. Oliver had come to Central City to celebrate with them, and after going out to dinner with Ronnie, Caitlin, baby Martin, Cisco, Dinah, and the rest of Iris' family, they'd gone to a few bars with the happy couple.

Felicity had made the same stupid, stupid mistake that she'd heard countless stories about frat boys making in college...she'd tried to out-drink Dinah Drake.

Apparently that much alcohol made it impossible for her to keep her hands off of Oliver. She'd watched his resolve wavering with every shot. He'd snapped at her in frustration, telling her that he wanted more from her than spontaneous hookups whenever they saw each other, saying that they were better than that.

And she'd cried, her sad, drunk feelings hurt at the rejection. He'd taken her home that night, and curled up with her as she fell asleep. When she woke up the next morning, her head was pounding and her whole body hurt but Oliver was wrapped around her still. And she'd groaned, chastising him for making a drunk girl cry. Oliver had apologized, and that had also somehow ended with him between her legs in a lazy, passionate, early morning cure to her hangover.

"Friends with benefits?" she'd muttered playfully between kisses.

And he had laughed as he moved above her, "We've never been just friends, baby."

Felicity hopped out of the cab and tossed the driver some money, quickly making her way through the airport. She scanned every face she passed, not even sure if Oliver would be at the airport. As she boarded the plane, she glanced around again. The seat beside her was empty and she chewed on her nails as the flight filled with passengers, none of them taking the seat beside her. 

She felt a moment of panic, wondering what the hell she was doing flying to Fiji without having a single clue what she was going to do when she got there. She hadn't even packed a bag, she realized as she caught her breath, leaning back into the seat and chewing her nails to the point of pain.

"Don't look so nervous,"

Felicity's eyes snapped up to meet Oliver's as he collapsed into the seat beside her. She sighed in relief, "I thought you were going to bail on me."

Oliver closed his eyes as he settled in the seat next to her, "I'd never bail on you, Felicity."

"You're crazy, you know that?" She asked, wondering how he looked so relaxed when she was freaking out about this madness. "What were you thinking? I almost had a heart attack trying to decide if I should come here or not. I didn't have time to get ready, or pack, or even figure out where to meet you-"

 He opened his eyes to look at her. "I was afraid that if I gave you too much time to think about it, that you wouldn't come." He nodded once, "You're here."

She smiled at him, reaching over to slip her hand in his. "I am. I've missed you..." she trailed off, remembering the last time they'd seen each other. Caitlin and Ronnie had gotten married three months ago, and as the best man and maid of honor, she'd had to spend most of the weekend attached to Oliver's hip. She had been trying to do the right thing for both of them and distance herself, but her seat at the rehearsal dinner was right beside his. They were posed next to each other in every picture. And she walked down the aisle on his arm. She had her suspicions that Caitlin was silently pushing, and it was confirmed as the pushing became not so silent when Caitlin had insisted that she and Oliver join her and her new husband on the dance floor. Constantly. All night.

It didn't help that Oliver took it upon himself to be the weekend babysitter for baby Martin. Seeing him bouncing an infant on his hip with a burping bib slung over his shoulder made her heart swell in her chest. It forced ideas into her mind that she'd tried to suppress. Dreams about Oliver as a father, having a family with him.

Oliver stared at her, "I didn't expect you to come." He said, sighing.

She cocked her head to the side, "Why? The guy I've been sleeping with invites me on a spontaneous, tropical escape from the freezing city. Why the hell wouldn't I be here?" She shrugged, trying to tease.

Oliver's eyes narrowed. "Four times. We've had sex four times this year. I'm not sure that necessarily counts as sleeping together."

"Well," she said, rubbing her thumb against his palm, "I haven't slept with anyone else, so I'm not sure what else we would call it. Friends with benefits seems the most fitting, but you hate when I say that."

She heard him huff out an annoyed breath, "You still on that charade?" He grumbled, "Doesn't it get exhausting telling yourself that that's all I mean to you?"

Felicity squeezed his fingers, leaning over until her lips were pressed against his shoulder. "That's not all you mean to me." She mumbled, smelling the faint, familiar scent of his cologne and laundry detergent. She picked her head up and put her chin on his shoulder.

He glanced down at her, clearly surprised at how touchy she was being. In the four times that they'd been together, although impossible to not be passionate with him, she'd tried to excuse their behavior each time. She always found something to blame that was outside of the fact that they were simply crazy about each other. She had an incessant need to tell herself that she could stay away from him, but it wasn't her fault. Their godson had been born. Their friends had gotten married in a romantic beach wedding. She'd needed his hands on her to cure her hangover. The parents of their godchild, and basically the reason they'd ever met, finally got married.

Every time, she found an excuse. And promised that it was absolutely not going to happen again.

Every time she said it, he'd laughed it off. Except for at Caitlin and Ronnie's wedding. After finding their way to an unlocked limo and making good use of the backseat...He'd told her that he loved her, kissing her as he'd helped her get back into her dress. And she'd responded with a sigh, kissing him back. "We can't do this again, Oliver. This has to be the last time, and I mean it this time." 

And he'd gotten pissed. "You know what? Screw that, Felicity. If you really want that to be true, I'll make sure it doesn't happen. Next time you ask me to touch you, I'll say no for the both of us, if you honestly regret sleeping with me as much as you act like you do. Do you even realize that every time we've been together, it's been you that initiates it? I sit there, praying that you will. And you always do. So stop giving me this bullshit. Call me when you're ready to really do this, Felicity. But until then, I don't want to hear from you. I'm done."

After he'd slammed the limo door, leaving her alone in the backseat, she'd cried. And he'd barely looked at her for the rest of the weekend. He seemed set on keeping his word.

He was done.

And part of her had been grateful, because maybe if he was done with her, then they'd actually be able to stop. He was right, it was always her that had started it; in the hospital hallway, at the motel, in her apartment, and at the wedding. She always reached for him first. Always needed him too much to control herself. And he'd respond to her in spades, meeting her desire just as fiercely.

She knew how Oliver felt about her. He had always been vocal about that. But she was the one who dragged him into closets, beds, and limos every time she saw him, and then insisted that it couldn't happen again. She didn't think about how much it was actually hurting him, for her to only be giving him part of herself.

It had been incredibly hard not to call him for the past three months, but she'd woken up this morning knowing that she'd made her decision. She was choosing him. She'd always choose him. "I was going to call you today, but then I found this plane ticket under my door and had an almost heart attack." She turned her lips down to his shoulder, pressing kisses to it.

She heard him sigh, leaning a little closer to her, "You were going to call me...?" he asked hesitantly. Felicity nodded, moving her lips to his neck and hearing him inhale. "Why...why would you want to call me? After the way I spoke to you the last time we saw each other, I think you have every right to hate me. I never should have yelled at you like that, or left you in that limo all alone."

As the plane started to take off, Felicity shook her head, "You were right. I wasn't being fair to either of us. I was trying to convince myself that I could walk away from you because I thought that it was for the best. And maybe it was, but I sucked at it," she laughed softly, "I couldn't stop myself from wanting you. I don't think I'll ever be able to."

"I told you that I didn't want to hear from you, Felicity..." he said slowly, his voice full of regret. "I thought for sure that you were going to call my bluff...because you're crazy if you think that I would be able to tell you no if you wanted to spend the night together again." He lifted his hand to brush his thumb across her cheek. "I could never be done with you."

"You told me that I should only call you when I was ready to really do this."

Oliver sighed, "I know, I'm sorry. You can always call me, Felicity. For anything. If you want to label this as friends with benefits, then okay. I don't like it, but okay. I'll call it whatever you want, as long as I get you. I just want to be with you. However I can have you."

Felicity smiled crookedly at him as he rambled, shaking her head. "You told me that I should only call you when I was ready..." She said, her eyes moving between his. "I was going to call you today." She said again.

Oliver's eyebrows furrowed, "I'm not sure what do you mean..." He answered, keeping his voice cautious as his eyes searched hers, protecting himself from getting his hopes up.

She leaned closer to kiss him, brushing her lips against his. As he kissed her back, she could feel how confused and hesitant he was, and she just smiled. "Do you still want the same things that you wanted two years ago?"

Oliver's breath caught, "Felicity...please don't mess with me."

Felicity rolled her eyes, "Me. You. Starling City. Together," she said, lacing her fingers through his. "That was always the plan, wasn't it?"

He kept his eyes serious, his face smooth as he stared at her, being careful not to get ahead of himself. "Fel-i-ci-ty." He sighed.

Unable to stop herself, she hummed, kissing his lips again, "I finalized the paperwork today. Starting next month, I'm the proud owner of 156 Park Avenue in Starling."

He inhaled sharply, pulling away from her so that he could look at her face. "You bought an apartment?"

"Well," she said, shrugging, "I was planning to turn it into an office space. Just to start. A Technology empire needs to start somewhere, right? Star Labs gave me enough money to buy an entire skyscraper, but I want some humble roots to start Helix out. I was kind of hoping to find a roommate," she said nonchalantly, "Maybe a ruggedly handsome CEO with the biggest heart I've ever known."

Oliver's eyes softened as he looked down at her. "I think I might know one of those that you could move in with. And I think he'd be pretty damn happy to have you."

"Oh yeah?" She asked, picking up his hand and kissing his fingers, "Because...it can't just be any old ruggedly handsome man. He also has to be the same man that has excited me and terrified me for the past five years in ways I'd never imagined was possible. He will need to love me despite all of my bullshit, and he definitely has to be so intoxicating that I find it impossible to stay away from him no matter how hard I may have tried."

A smile spread over Oliver's face that warmed her heart, as if her words were everything he'd ever wanted to hear. "Those are some tall orders, ma'am."

"Mm," she nodded understandably, pressing her lips to the palm of his hand and looking up at him. "I think I know someone who can handle it though, so long as he still wants me."

Oliver gave her an incredulous look, "That guy? Oh, he's a sucker for you, Felicity Smoak. Total putty in your hands," he joked, rolling his eyes, "He'll always want you, that lovesick fool."

Felicity giggled, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him towards her. As he kissed her, she couldn't stop smiling, finally feeling like they were getting their lives where they had always intended them to be. Together. Exactly where they were meant to be.

Her lips froze on Oliver's as she heard someone sniffle from the seat behind them, choking on a sob. She opened her eyes slowly, turning to peek between the seats. 

The man sitting there noticed her, his hand flying to his mouth. "I'm sorry. That was just the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Please, carry on. Don't mind me."

Oliver's eyes narrowed, and he groaned under his breath. Felicity couldn't help but laugh, hiding her head in Oliver's neck as she blushed. The man leaned forward, "Also, I'm sorry to eavesdrop, but if you're looking for an inventor for your company, I have a pretty impressive resume that I can send you. I'm Curtis Holt."

Felicity picked her head up from Oliver's neck and looked at the man behind her again, recognizing him now that he'd said his name. "You're Curtis Holt?" She asked, her mouth dropping.

He laughed, "The one and only."

"You invented a microchip that deludes the nerves of patients with long-term paralysis." Her mouth fell open.

Curtis smiled, "Does that mean I have an interview?"

"Uh," she said, incredulous, "No, that means you have a job!"

His smile widened, "I'll be in touch. And congratulations on..." he waved his hand at them, "all of that beautiful stuff."

Felicity laughed, glancing at Oliver, who was pressing his lips together, fighting the awkward moment. She gave Curtis a wave, and he waved back before putting in a pair of headphones. Felicity rolled her eyes, wondering why he hadn't done that instead of listening to their conversation.

She leaned towards Oliver, kissing her way along his cheek until her lips were at his ear. Then she pulled his earlobe into her mouth and listened to his quiet grunt. Grinning, she whispered, "How about you meet me in the bathroom in five minutes?"

His eyes widened, "On a plane?" He hissed, shifting in his seat. She nodded, sucking on his ear now. He cursed, "I'll be there."

Oliver swatted her backside as she stood up to make her way to the bathroom, and she giggled before composing herself and trying to look nonchalant. 

After exactly five minutes of waiting, Oliver opened the restroom door and crammed himself inside the tiny cabin. His eyes were wide and excited, his pupils huge as he stared at her. "Do you realize how turned on I am right now? This is some bucket list level shit, Felicity."

Felicity bit her lip, pulling herself up onto the tiny sink. In the small space, he was already between her legs. She kissed his neck, slowly working her way up to his face as she unbuttoned his shirt. Oliver kept his hands safely on her knees, his eyes closed as he groaned, caught up in the sensation of her lips on his skin. Felicity chuckled, "I'm gonna need you to move a little faster than that, Queen. Someone else is going to want this bathroom eventually."

Oliver opened his eyes to look down at her, pressing his lips to hers in the most deliciously slow way, as if he was trying to spite her words and take his damn time, knowing that she'd love every second of it either way.

"Ladies and gentlemen," They froze as the pilot's voice came over the speakers, "At 39,000 feet, Pacific Standard Time, I'd like to wish you all a happy new year."

Felicity grinned, hearing the passengers of the plane begin to clap. She thought it was very fitting that another new year was being shared with him, glad that they'd now have the memory of her wrapped around him in a restroom, on a plane, mid-flight to Fiji.

Oliver stared down at her, shaking his head at the amused expression on her face. "I love you," he said sincerely, leaning down to kiss her.

Once they were satisfied with their mile high adventure, Felicity spent the rest of the flight sleeping on Oliver's shoulder. He'd nodded off at some point too, and they were woken up as the plane began to descend. Since they didn't have any bags to claim or people to meet, they were out of the airport rather quickly. 

Felicity was thankful that Oliver had at least prepared this trip enough to have a rental car waiting at the airport and a three day hotel reservation ready for them. Once she forced herself to relax about the fact that she didn't pack for it, she actually loved that they had no idea when they'd decide to return home. She was excited to move into his home with him, of course. But it was thrilling to be in a foreign place for an undetermined amount of time with limitless adventures and memories waiting for them. 

Despite her excitement about all of it, the day had been exhausting. When Oliver heard her sigh as they waited for their room key, he'd pulled her into his side and wrapped his arm around her, kissing her head.

She was surprised at how easily they were able to fall back into being together. It was like no time had passed at all as they made their way to the hotel and checked in, talking and moving around each other like it was the most natural thing in the world. Because it is, she realized. Being with Oliver, even if it was difficult at times, was the most natural thing she'd ever experienced. And the most passionate.

The most epic.

And she was never going to let him go again.

As soon as they'd seen their room, they'd taken off to explore, neither of them caring that they were tired and disoriented from flying.

Oliver lead her down a path towards a beach that he'd seen in one of the pamphlets the front desk had given him. The sand was glowing under the bright, full moon above their heads and they could hear the waves crashing even though they couldn't see the water yet. She laughed as Oliver started walking a little faster, getting more excited. She tugged on his hand to stop him. Watching as he turned in the moonlight to look behind him, his eyes meeting hers, Felicity sighed.

She was certain, back when they were in college and still forming their connection, that Oliver was going to make her fall madly in love with him. Now she was certain that the wild, consuming, yet completely soothing way that they loved each other was the rarest thing in the world.

"You're the love of my life." She whispered.

Oliver raised an eyebrow, but then he took in the look on her face, saw that there wasn't even a trace of teasing in her tone or her expression, and he groaned, using his hold on her hand to pull her into his chest. "You wanna know the amazing thing about traveling on New Year's?" He asked softly, stopping himself from crushing his lips against hers like she'd expected him to.

Felicity moaned as his hands gripped her waist, his nose rubbing against hers. "What?"

"Different time zones." He said, glancing up at the moon and studying it for a moment. "I'd say it's about midnight again."

 Felicity snorted, "Can you really tell by that?" She asked, scrunching her nose and pointing up at the sky.

Oliver just shrugged, "Does it matter?"

She rolled her eyes, smiling up at him, "No. I'm going to kiss you either way. Anytime I want, now. You've been warned."

He hummed in approval, turning his mouth down to meet hers and sighing against her lips, "Oh, I am so ready for that."

 

Chapter Text

Staring up at the spinning ceiling fan wasn't helping any more than pacing his room had. He'd already tried a hot shower. He'd tried closing his eyes and even put on some relaxing music. But every time he fell asleep, he jolted awake half an hour later. Sleep was impossible. He was convinced that it just wasn't going to happen tonight.

Sighing, he glanced at the clock and saw that it was 6:00 in the morning.

Oliver reached for his phone, Felicity's face popping up as he checked for a message from her.

Still nothing.

Groaning as he looked at her face on his screen, Oliver turned onto his side. Her nose was scrunched up and her eyes were bright with that gorgeous, infectious laughter that he could hear every time he looked at the picture. 

And he caved.

Pulling up his messages, he found her name and started typing: I think we made a mistake.

He tossed his phone on the bed and laid back onto his pillows with a groan, frustrated because he was sure that she was asleep and he wouldn't get a response. She loved her sleep. But then his phone chimed with a new message and he reached for it immediately: Oliver, we can't...

He grunted, surprised that she was awake, and that she didn't just ignore him. He replied quickly: This is ridiculous. I want to see you.

Keeping his eyes focused on those little dots that told him she was in the process of responding, he tapped his index fingers against his phone, anxious to see what she would say: Please...we promised that we wouldn't do this.

Letting out another noise of frustration, he responded: Felicity, I know what we said.

Then he hesitated and sent another one that he knew she wouldn't be able to refuse: I need you.

Felicity responded instantly: I put a key to my room in your coat pocket last night...

He huffed under his breath as he got out of bed, going across his room to his jacket and pulling out the key card. Rolling his eyes, he gripped it in his fist as he tugged on a pair of sweatpants and left his room, barefoot and shirtless as he jogged down the hallway and pushed through the door to the stairwell.

He took the steps two at a time, not slowing down until he was keying into her room. 

Her bed was empty, but he saw the adjacent bathroom light on, and he followed it.

Oliver stopped in the doorway when he saw her, naked in the bathtub with a cup of coffee between her hands. Her hair was tied up on the top of her head, the loose strands wet against her neck. Her eyes met his for a brief moment, and she raised an eyebrow, her lips hidden behind her mug. Then they drifted down his body, darkening in the way that made him lose all control of himself. Her eyes roamed over his muscles as if she'd never get tired of admiring them.

Oliver groaned, pulling his sweatpants down and kicking them away as quickly as he could. She laughed, but he felt like he couldn't relax, he hadn't been able to all night, knowing that touching her was exactly what he needed. 

Felicity leaned forward, making room for him to climb into the tub behind her. 

The warm water settled around him as he exhaled. Wrapping both of his arms around her, he hugged her tightly between his arms. And she hummed as she leaned back against him, making him hold her a little closer. "Good morning," she said, and he could hear her smile.

He laughed in response, pressing his lips against her hair, peppering every inch of her that he could reach in kisses. Felicity sighed, tipping her head back to give him better access to her neck, and he moaned as he opened his eyes and saw her body responding to him. "Oliver..." she said, her warning voice in full effect. He ran his tongue along her skin and she inhaled sharply, wiggling her head away from him. "We promised. We swore to each other that we weren't going to let this happen."

Oliver lifted his head from her neck, letting it fall back and knock against the tile wall behind him. He let out a loud sigh of frustration, and she gave one back. "Don't roll your eyes at me." He said, closing his eyes and running his fingers along her ribs.

"You don't know that I rolled my eyes." She retorted with another sigh.

Oliver's fingers grazed her stomach under the water, trying to keep to safe areas of her body. "Of course I do. You just did it again. You always roll your eyes when you sigh like that."

She pressed her head against his chest, and he could tell that she was trying not to do it again.

"We made an impossible promise, Felicity." He said cautiously, knowing that she was just as sexually frustrated as he was, and this bath wasn't helping. "We had every intention of keeping it, and that's what should matter. But...I mean, if we both break the promise, doesn't it cancel out? If it's a mutual decision to go back on our word, then no one ends up hurt, right?"

Felicity rested her head on his shoulder, tilting her face up to look at him. He stared back down at her, and she bit her lip, saying quietly, "I want to wait, Oliver. Please."

Hearing the honesty in her voice, seeing that she really meant it, he dropped it. Giving her a smile, he nodded, letting her know that they would wait and he wouldn't try to change her mind. "Okay," he whispered. He hugged her tighter, kissing the tip of her nose.

And then he kissed her lips chastely for good measure. "Okay?" She asked quietly.

"Of course it's okay, Felicity. I'm going to want you every day for a very long time, but I can see that waiting is important to you," he shrugged, kissing her shoulder, "so we'll wait."

"I love you," she sighed.

"I love you, too."

Felicity offered him her cup of coffee, and he chuckled as he took a sip. "I can't believe you're up this early." He said. "I told Iris she was probably going to have to come in here to make sure you were up on time."

She watched him as he settled back against the tub, keeping her warm from the cooling water as he rubbed her arm, noticing the goosebumps on her skin. "I was too excited to sleep." She sighed.

Oliver smiled, "Really? Because I couldn't sleep either, but I was up worrying that I'd wake up and someone would tell me that you ran away in the middle of the night; found some local to get you the hell out of here on a fishing boat or something."

She snorted, "Nope. No runaway bride here."

He ran his hand along her arm where it rested on the edge of the bathtub until he could reach her fingers. "Mmm," he breathed, picking up her hand so that he could admire it. "Yup. Ring's still there."

"Oliver!" She complained, swatting his hand away from hers. "Of course it's still there. It's not going anywhere," she said, holding her hand out in front of her. "I love this thing. I still can't stop looking at it."

"I love that you love it."

She turned around to level him with a look. "Good, because it's staying right where it is. It's happy here," she said, waving her hand in his face. "And so am I." He nodded in agreement, covering her hand with his and pulling her back against him. "Could you really not sleep because you were afraid?" She asked quietly after a moment of silence.

He let out a breath, "Don't get any crazy ideas in your head, Felicity. I want to marry you. It's not about that. I'm not afraid...I'm just anxious, but I'll feel better once I can officially refer to you as my wife."

He heard her rolling her eyes again with that familiar huff, "I'm not running away on some fishing boat, Oliver. I'm fine."

"Isn't it normal to have some nerves your wedding?"

She shrugged, lacing her fingers through his again, "Sure."

Oliver hesitated, taking another sip of coffee. "So, it would be okay if you did...I mean, I know for a fact that I would have slept fine if you had let me stay in the same room with you. But I would understand if you were feeling a little nervous." He glanced down at her, feeling how relaxed her body was, seeing it on her face. "You don't seem anxious at all..." he said, realizing that it was strange for her.

He thought for sure that if he was pacing his room and worrying, then it was twenty times worse for her. Usually he was the one with the level head.

Usually.

"I'm not." She answered with a shrug, taking the cup of coffee from his hands and drinking it. She placed her hand in his and looked down at the way her ring looked with her fingers intertwined with his.

He chuckled under his breath, "Not a single doubt, fear, or hesitation? Felicity, no offense, but you're the biggest worrier I know. You realize that today we're vowing in front of everyone we know...that we're going to love each other for the rest of our lives, right?"

She slowly turned around, her eyes wide, and his breath caught in his throat at the look on her face.

He wanted to make sure that she was really thinking about these things and not just getting caught up in the excitement of the whole weekend. 

He'd done it himself.

But when he took a moment to think, he did find that he was nervous. It wasn't that he had doubts about marrying her or spending the rest of his life with her. He just felt a little overwhelmed when he thought about what the rest of their lives entailed. The idea that they were on their way to starting a family, to him becoming a father someday was scary, but it was also exciting, and knowing that it was Felicity who would be by his side made him confident that they would make it through whatever life threw at them. 

He knew that he'd never be alone as long as Felicity was his wife, and he wanted to make sure that she understood the same thing was true for him. He was always going to be there for her. They could get things wrong, they could make as many mistakes as they needed. No matter how many times they screwed up though, he would never stop trying to make sure she was happy with him.

He knew he'd never love anyone like he loved her. She was the love of his life. She was it for him.

And she looked terrified. Oliver held his breath as he waited for the reality to hit her.

"I asked Cisco to give a speech."

Oliver's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What?"

"Last night, at the bar. He said something really nice about how you and me were soulmates, and I drunkenly asked him to give a speech at our wedding." Her eyes widened even more, pure terror on her face. "Oliver," she whispered, "do you think he'll remember?"

Oliver released a breathy laugh of relief. If the most she was worrying about was Cisco, then he was fine with that. "If he does, I'll take care of it."

"No, Oliver...I don't want to hurt his feelings!" She groaned, "Why did I have to open my stupid, drunk mouth? Do you know how bad this could be!?" She cried, her fingers gripping his arm painfully, "It's Cisco."

Despite the fact that they'd spent the night before their wedding out drinking with their friends, and despite the fact that they hardly slept at all, neither of them felt it.

He eventually left her to try to sneak back down to his own room, still only wearing a pair of sweatpants and hoping that he didn't run into anyone in the process.

Unfortunately, Iris and Dinah were in the hallway, on their way to Felicity's room to help her get ready. Iris scoffed at him in amusement, and Dinah had smirked widely, both of them clearly knowing exactly where he was coming from. "Go take a shower, Oliver. And have a cup of coffee, or six. You look exhausted." Iris said, shoving his shoulder.

Oliver smiled, "I'm good," he said, holding out his hands, "All clean and caffeinated." He couldn't help the grin on his face, satisfied with his morning. "Hey, tell my future wife that I can't wait to marry her today for me, would you?"

Dinah rolled her eyes, "I'm sure you told her enough."

Oliver shook his head, powerless to stop smiling. "I don't think that's possible."

They ran on excitement all day. But Oliver was pretty sure he felt a straight adrenaline rush when he watched Felicity walking down the beach, her hair blowing in the wind and the sun kissing her skin as she moved down the aisle to marry him.

At the reception, when Cisco told them how excited her was to give his speech, Oliver opened his mouth to tell him it wasn't going to happen. But Felicity grabbed his arm, shaking her head with a shrug. And Oliver laughed, cocking his head to the side as Cisco walked away, grinning like they'd given him the greatest gift possible.

"You've let Caitlin live out her wedding planner dreams by telling you what to do all day, trekked around the whole island with our wedding party to satisfy your mom that we captured enough pictures, and you didn't get mad when I broke that whole 'no seeing each other' promise? Now you're going to let Cisco talk in front of all of these people at your wedding?"

Felicity smiled, "First of all, it wouldn't feel right if I didn't have Caitlin bossing me around all day. Someone had to do it, or I would still be standing on that beach kissing you. Second of all, we just spent nearly two hours exploring Fiji, dressed in all of our wedding attire, with our best friends. That was awesome, and those pictures are going to be insanely gorgeous. And lastly, you're forgetting that I put my key card in your coat last night. I knew we weren't going to keep that promise. But I got to share an early morning bath and a cup of coffee with my almost-husband on the day of our wedding and it was pretty damn perfect if you ask me. All of those things turned out wonderfully, so why not see what Cisco wants to say?"

Oliver shook his head, staring down at her. He'd been incapable of taking his eyes off of her ever since he saw her in that dress. "Coolest wife ever."

"Damn straight."

He lead her over to their seats at the front of the reception area, which was just a private patio that they rented from the resort everyone was staying at for the weekend. Felicity ignored her chair and sat on Oliver's lap, wrapping both of her arms around him and pressing kisses against his head. He tilted his head up, his face beaming with happiness, and kissed her.

The crowd started clapping, and Oliver laughed against her mouth, pulling his head back to glance around the room, his face turning red. 

Cisco took the microphone from the stand and waved at the crowd, nodding as they quieted. "I wanted to give a toast to the happy couple." He said, picking up his glass up and waiting as he glanced around the room. Oliver and Felicity both lifted their champagne with the rest of the guests.

"I've known Oliver and Felicity for almost a decade now. I met Oliver eight years ago, when we were freshmen in college. He met Felicity a few years later, and I think they would both tell you that that night changed everything for them. And that's why we're here now, celebrating on a night that has been extremely significant to each of them, and what they mean to one another. I'm pretty happy just to say that I was in the presence of their encounter six years ago, even if I was drunk and screaming on a table because Dinah finally agreed to go on a date with me," The crowd chuckled as he pointed the microphone at his wife and winked. 

"But what Oliver and Felicity didn't know at that time, and what the rest of us could see that night, was that sometimes when you meet a person, things just click in a way that can't be explained. I lived with Oliver in college, and after the night that Felicity came into his life, I got to watch him change. I watched his heart get even bigger than it already was, making room for someone as momentous as Felicity Smoak. Oliver and Felicity have had their struggles, but they've loved each other through all of it...in a way that has always been fierce and unwavering, capable of weathering any storm. They showed me, as I watched them fall in love, that when it's real like that, you don't let go of it for anything. What they have is the rarest, most unconditional love that exists. And I think it's something that gives the rest of us hope. It gave me hope."

Oliver watched Felicity as Cisco spoke, seeing her eyes water.

He rubbed her back in slow circles as Cisco continued, "I don't know if any of us; my wife Dinah, Caitlin, Ronnie, Iris, or Barry, all of us who have been rooting for them since the beginning, have ever told Oliver or Felicity this, but we kind of have a nickname for them... that we may call them behind their backs." The crowd laughed again, and Felicity glanced down at Oliver, throwing him a nervous look. "We were talking one night about how Oliver and Felicity are like two ships passing in the night, their routes weren't always leading to the same place, but they somehow always found one another. Over and over again, as if they were just pulled towards each other by some unknown force, tides that always brought them back together. Now I know that it definitely wasn't me who came up with such a poetic comparison, but eventually one of us referred to them-"

"Me!" Caitlin called from the audience, eliciting another chorus of chuckles. 

Cisco grinned, clearing his throat, "Okay, Caitlin referred to them as 'the unsinkable Oliver and Felicity' because no matter how rough the water got around them, they never really gave up hope that they would be right here someday. And it was because of that, that we lovingly...behind your backs..." he smirked, glancing at them and winking, "called you the unsinkables."

Cisco lifted his glass, "To hope, to an unsinkable love, here's to Oliver and Felicity Queen."

Felicity stood up and crossed the room with tears falling down her face to wrap her arms around Cisco. As the crowd clapped, Oliver came up behind Felicity and offered his hand to Cisco, "Thank you."

Rolling his eyes, Cisco pulled Oliver into a hug, squishing Felicity in between them.

As she laughed, Felicity broke a hand free from the sandwich of their hug and gestured to the table where the rest of them sat, waving for Caitlin, Dinah, Ronnie, Iris, and Barry to come join.

As the reception continued, Oliver surprised Felicity by dancing with her for most of the night. She knew how much he hated to dance, but he could tell that she was content to just sway in his arms, even if it wasn't anything too impressive. He continually glanced down at her, noticing that the excitement of the weekend seemed to finally be wearing off. 

She kept her head on his chest as the night winded down, only breaking away from him as their guests left to head back up to the hotel, wanting to say goodnight and thank them for celebrating with them.

"Well," Caitlin sighed, glancing at the rest of her friends, "Are we going to the bar?" Oliver huffed out a laugh, watching Caitlin, impressed by her never-ending energy. 

Felicity picked her head up from Oliver's chest. "The bar? You're kidding. We just had a wedding reception with an open bar."

Caitlin had finally let loose when they reached the reception, since there wasn't much left to manage. She shrugged, "John and Lyla are watching Martin, and you're giving the mother of an rowdy seven-month old kid a weekend in Fiji, Felicity. I'm drinking this up while I can." She said, winking at her friend.

Felicity groaned, closing her eyes again and putting her head back on Oliver's chest. "Well I've had enough alcohol. I'm fine right where I am." She sighed, not even dancing anymore. Not that she seemed to notice. Oliver tightened his arms around her, pressing his lips to the top of her head.

"I'm in," Dinah said as she hopped off the table she'd been sitting on and grabbed her purse. "The unsinkables are officially the lame ones. Let's go drink, the rest of us are still cool." She teased.

Felicity frowned, glancing up at Oliver and pouting, "Are we the lame friends? It's our wedding, we can't be the lame ones."

Oliver raised an eyebrow at her, "I think spending our wedding night with our friends would actually make us lame..."

Felicity smirked, "True. Be gone, all of you." She waved them off, nestling back onto Oliver's chest.

Barry shrugged, glancing at his wife, "I need to run up to the hotel and change my shoes. But we'll meet you guys at the bar in, like...fifteen minutes."

Dinah snorted, "Please, Barry, fifteen minutes to change your shoes? Why do you even bother bluffing? It's like you forget the fact that we all know why you two can never be on time to anything."

Iris cringed, but then she rolled her eyes, "Fine, whatever. I'm going to go have sex in a romantic hotel with my husband. See you guys in thirty."

Cisco made a face, "You said fifteen."

"Well now I don't feel the need to rush," she sassed back before congratulating Oliver and Felicity again, kissing them each on the cheek on her way out.

Once their friends had cleared out of the room, Oliver sighed, running his hands along Felicity's back. The music had been shut off, but she was still nestled into him and he was hesitant to tell her that they should probably get out of there so that the workers could clean up. "You're exhausted." He mumbled, not allowing himself to feel the fatigue that she was feeling, because he wasn't quite ready for the day to be over.

She hummed, tightening her grip on his neck.

"Are you ready to go? You need some sleep, honey." He said.

"I have all day tomorrow to sleep." She said. "And the next two weeks."

"You can't sleep through our whole honeymoon, Felicity."

She laughed softly, sounding tired. "What time is it?"

"Almost midnight," he answered. "We should probably get up to the hotel before you pass out on the beach somewhere and I can't find you."

She chuckled again, lifting her head to look at him, "Speaking of beaches...I have one more surprise for you."

He raised an eyebrow as she leaned back, taking both of his hands and pulling him towards the door. He gave her a quizzical look, but she just shook her head, not giving anything away.

Oliver followed her down the short path to the beach, remembering the first time they'd been on this beach, exactly one year ago. Sending her that plane ticket had been the best decision he'd ever made.

He'd asked her to marry him shortly after their trip to Fiji last year, but not before he'd spent an entire day trying to find the perfect ring.

He'd taken the day off of work, but after searching for the perfect ring and failing at finding one that felt right, he'd called his mother, not knowing what else to do. And she had told him to come to the Queen estate and look at his grandmother's ring, saying that it was the kind of ring that only women like Felicity deserved to wear. She'd been right. The ring was perfect, and he was ecstatic because it looked like it belonged on Felicity's perfect finger, like it was made to be worn by her.

By the time he'd gotten home that night, Felicity had been anxious. Apparently she'd stopped by QC to have lunch with him. She knew he hadn't been there all day. Seeing her worried about him, concerned about what was going on, made him love her even more. She didn't confront him about lying to her, even though she had every right to. She just asked for an honest answer, wanting to know why he didn't tell her that he was ditching work...before she jumped to conclusions or made any accusations. "Please, just be honest with me here. Tell me what's going on. I can handle it."

So he'd gotten down on his knee response, right in their kitchen, and asked her to marry him. And as she'd cried, accepting his proposal, he'd heard her mutter "you really do love me", and he told himself that he'd spend the rest of their lives making sure she always understood exactly how much he really did love her.

After all of that, he had not been expecting her to be so calm during the weekend of their wedding. He'd kept his eyes focused on her face the whole day, waiting for something to shock her or make her freak out. He was fully prepared to handle a panic attack when she realized how life-changing the whole thing was, but he didn't see a single moment of doubt on her face.

In fact, she'd been nothing but calm and happy about marrying him ever since he put the ring on her finger. 

Oliver's eyes drifted to her face as she watched the waves in front of them.

She looked peaceful. Content.

And Oliver cursed under his breath, if only you'd known that getting a ring on her finger was what it took to convince her, you would have done it years go.

Felicity took her shoes off as they walked towards the water, her eyes scanning up and down the beach. He watched her, her blonde hair glowing under the bright moonlight. Her ring caught his eye, and he glanced down at it, still unable to believe that he'd somehow gotten it onto her finger without a single argument. They'd already had countless conversations about the rest of their lives, their dreams and what they wanted. And she still didn't look like she was worried about their wedding, the fact that it solidified those conversations.

That she was his wife.

His wife who couldn't have been more cool and collected about getting married.

His wife that was wearing his grandmother's ring as if the jeweler had been inspired by her when he made it.

His wife who looked ready and excited to start their life together.

His wife who was currently reaching for the zipper of her wedding dress.

His eyes snapped up from her ring, forgetting all about how perfect it looked on her finger as he choked on his breath, watching her shove the dress over her hips. "Felicity," he breathed, "What-"

She looked up at him, mischief in her eyes, and smirked.

He groaned, watching as she left the dress in the sand and started walking to the water, not waiting for him.

Oliver's eyes widened as he watched her for another brief moment, seeing her turn around to smile at him. And then he was frantically trying to get his pants unbuttoned.

Stripping out of his tux in record time, Oliver ran to catch up to her, grabbing her and picking her up.

Felicity squealed, grabbing on to him as he carried her to the shoreline. He kept her steady while she situated herself, facing him and wrapping her legs around his waist.

The air was warm, and the water was even warmer as he stepped into it, not stopping until just their heads were above the water.

Everything slowed down as she looked into his eyes, and he leaned in to kiss her face, peppering kisses all over her cheek and listening to her giggle, her arms winding around his neck. "Happy anniversary, honey. And happy new year." she said with a smile, her fingers grazing his chest, her eyes zeroing in on the way her ring was glistening in the moonlight, her hand resting over his heart as if she owned it.

She did.

Felicity wiggled her hips against his, sending a shiver down his spine, and she kissed him. Oliver kissed her back, holding her gently as the water lapped around them. She pulled back after a moment and buried her face in his neck, hugging him so tightly that he felt her love all over him.

Oliver closed his eyes, "Our first New Year's Eve as husband and wife." He said slowly, rubbing her back as the water swayed them, nudging them closer together, reminding him of Cisco's speech. Those tides that always pushed them towards each other. He wrapped her tightly between his arms, watching the water and holding her in a quiet moment.  

"This is wedding bliss," She mumbled after a while, kissing his neck. Her fingers moved soothingly over his back, "We're married."

"I know," he answered, "Married life is amazing, isn't it?"

She nodded, pressing her forehead to his, "I'm so happy, Oliver." She whispered, kissing his lips. "And I can't wait to live the rest of my life with you by my side."

"I feel like we can handle anything, Felicity."

"Some might say we're unsinkable," she said, pulling her head back to smile at him, and he was stunned by how beautiful she looked. The moonlight made her glow, her features relaxed and happy. Blissful.

And he couldn't believe that he had made her feel that way. "So far so good." She said softly, her eyes searching his, wondering what he was thinking.

"No regrets? No fears that you want to get off your chest?" He asked playfully, but also still waiting for her to worry about something

 She raised an eyebrow and smiled, shaking her head, "Not one. This is it, Oliver. You and me. Forever." She closed her eyes, pushing her forehead against his again. "It's too late for you to back out." She said, her tone teasing. But he could feel her energy, feel the weight of that moment and knowing that there wasn't a chance in hell that he was going to back out of their marriage.

"I'm exactly where I want to be, Felicity," he sighed, gripping her hips, keeping her steady against him.

She nodded slowly, keeping her eyes closed as her fingers gripped his shoulders a little tighter. "Good. Because I'm not letting you go."

He laughed softly, leaning forward to tip her back into the water, feeling her thighs tighten around his waist. "I won't let you let me go," he whispered, brushing his lips against hers.

Chapter Text

Felicity stared down into her coffee mug, stirring her spoon around her cup. She glanced up when Oliver caught her attention, walking into the kitchen, shirtless and yawning as he rubbed his eye. She watched him, her eyes trained on him and his adorable, disheveled hair and sleepy eyes. 

He didn't look at her as he took a mug from the cabinet, seeming just as tired as she felt. And she pursed her lips. Okay, no "good morning" then.

She kept her eyes on his back as he filled his cup before taking a sip and turning to look at her. She raised an eyebrow at him, and he sighed, "Where are the girls?"

"Still sleeping."

He nodded, "Did they have fun last night?"

Felicity pursed her lips, glancing away from him. "Yeah, Oliver. They had a blast. They missed their dad though. Lydia got through the whole routine without forgetting the steps, and she was so proud of herself. And Logan insisted that I needed to take about a dozen pictures so that you could see her in her costume." She paused, narrowing her eyes at her husband, "Maybe you can look at them later, if you can find the free time that is."

He'd come in late last night, long after Felicity had fallen asleep, after missing his daughters' dance recital.

Oliver sighed, flattening his palms against the surface of the counter as his eyes met hers, pure guilt and regret in his gaze that made her wince. She knew it was a low blow, she knew he felt bad, but she didn't regret saying it. "Felicity...I'm sorry."

Felicity raised an eyebrow, smoothing her features into an unreadable expression. She lifted her chin towards the stairs, "Don't apologize to me, Oliver. Apologize to your four year old daughters that you promised to be there for last night."

She watched as he hung his head and sighed again, looking more tired than she'd seen him in years. God, she loved him more than ever, but he had disappointed her. It was something that hurt her, broke her heart more than she was comfortable with. 

Standing up from her seat, she made her way over to him, setting her coffee aside and wrapping both of her arms around his waist from behind. He groaned as she pressed her lips along his back, his hands coming up to rest over hers. "I love you, Oliver. But this has to change. Your girls have barely seen you in months," she said slowly, knowing that she was referring to Lydia and Logan as much as she was referring to herself.

She missed her husband. But she knew that his scarce presence wasn't entirely his fault.

Or anyone's fault.

When Robert Queen died seven months ago, he left an emptiness not only in his company, but in his son.

And Felicity had been working to fill that hole ever since. She saw how much Oliver was affected by losing his father, so she did everything she could to allow him to grieve. For seven months, she'd been trying to hold their lives together, since Robert left his son with the responsibility of Queen Consolidated.

On bad days, she felt like a single mother of two crazy four year old girls, and on really bad days she felt like a failure of a mother who would occasionally find herself crying alone in her car.

Oliver turned around in her arms, twisting to face her, and as he looked down at her, her heart began to race. It felt like a long time since he'd looked at her like that, not distracted by anything, his entire body and eyes focused on her. "I love you," he said, lifting his hands to cup her face. "I promise it won't be like this forever, Felicity."

Felicity bit her lip and glanced down at his chest. "This has to change..." she repeated softly, "soon, Oliver."

She heard him inhale, "I know," he whispered and pressed his lips to her forehead.

Most mornings when she woke up, Oliver was gone, and she chugged coffee while she chased her twins around the house, trying to get all three of them ready for the day at once.

Then she came home and made dinner, which they were lucky if Oliver made it home for. But more often than not, he would come home just in time to kiss the girls goodnight.Not like this forever wasn't good enough for her.

Oliver had barely touched her in the seven months since Robert died. She felt so aware of his every move that just having his hands on her face was doing a number on her.

Her husband continued to stare down at her, his hands moving over her cheeks, his palms warming her skin as his fingers raked through her hair. She closed her eyes as he smoothed her stray strands back, and she groaned, stepping closer to him. Oliver inhaled, moving his arms to wrap them around her. He pressed his lips to her temple, and then her cheek. "God, you're beautiful," he whispered, his tone rising as if he was affected by it, as if he hadn't spent twelve years looking at her. Felicity tipped her chin up, catching his lips between hers. And Oliver didn't hesitate to kiss her back, opening his mouth slowly and moving his tongue against hers. She gripped his hips, pulling him against her and groaning.

"Mommy!" 

Oliver's hands froze where they were grazing her backside, and her mouth slowed as she let out a frustrated breath. Pulling back from him as she panted, she glanced up, seeing his eyes blown wide as he tried to catch his breath. His grip tightened on her butt, and she chuckled, leaning forward to put her forehead on his chest. She could hear his heart racing, and she smiled, glad that she could still get him to look like that; turned on, fascinated, and slightly bewildered.

"Felicity..." he breathed, shaking his head as he smiled at her. She felt her heart tighten, melting a little more into his arms with the way he was looking at her.

Felicity pressed her mouth against his chest, her hands gliding over his skin. She heard him moan, and she kissed her way up to his collar bone, listening to his breathy pants with every move she made before she settled her lips on his neck and sucked...

"Mommy!"

Felicity threw her head back; strained, frustrated laughter escaping from her throat.

"I'll go," he said, gently guiding her head back towards him and kissing her lips. She nodded as she looked at him, and he gave her a small smile before jogging towards the stairs. "What do you little monsters want!?" She heard him bellow as he reached the girls' room.

She closed her eyes, laughing and shaking her head as she listened to their tiny squeals and giggles.

It was a rare Saturday morning; one where Lydia and Logan had slept in. One where Oliver didn't wake up before her to go into work, which had become a common habit even for Saturdays. She was pretty sure that he only stayed home because he knew how upset she was at him, but she'd take it.

Grabbing her coffee, she slowly climbed the stairs, hesitating outside of the twins' room and covering her mouth to stop herself from laughing as she listened to the debate going on behind the door.

Logan wanted to wear her costume for the day, despite the fact that it was a tutu and it was freezing outside. Oliver was trying to explain that it was too cold for tutus, but she was putting up a good fight, and Felicity gently pushed the door open, seeing her sassy four year old with her hands on her hips, explaining to her father that she had to wear it today.

Lydia was still in bed, but her eyes were open. After four years of trying to drag that kid away from her bed in the morning, Felicity knew that just being awake was the best she was going to get for a Saturday. "Good morning," Felicity smiled at her daughters, giving Logan a warning look.

"Okay, daddy." Logan said, "I can wear my tutu and pants."

Oliver sighed around a laugh, "All right. Sounds like a deal." He lifted his hand for a high-five, and Logan giggled as she swatted at him. "You drive a hard bargain, little lady."

Felicity knelt down in front of Lydia, "Good morning, sweetheart," she said softly, knowing that you had to tread gently with this one or else you'd get a morning from hell.

She'd learned that the hard way after one too many attempts at dragging Lydia out of bed. She'd had to endure the endless screaming and crying until she dropped them off at school with a pounding headache. You did not force Lydia Queen away from her bed. So Felicity had to start waking her up an hour before necessary, giving her plenty of time to adjust. "Are you ready to get up?"

Lydia frowned, groaning and turning away from her.

Oliver chuckled, "She takes after you."

Felicity threw him an amused look over her shoulder, rubbing Lydia's back. He wasn't wrong. He had also learned the hard way that you don't drag Felicity Queen out of bed either. "You have to be careful around the Lydia bear," she mumbled, nestling her lips against her daughter's cheek and kissing her, "don't be too loud," she warned, "and no sudden movements, or she might claw your eyes out!" 

Lydia burst into laughter as Felicity tickled her stomach. "Now," she said, glancing at Logan, "how much longer do you think, until the hibernating bear comes out of her cave?"

Logan rolled her eyes, "Six days."

Felicity laughed, "Sounds about right."

Oliver shrugged, crawling over to Lydia's bed, he held out his hands, "Does the Lydia bear want to help daddy make breakfast?" He asked.

Lydia nodded, holding her arms in the air to be picked up. He easily lifted her, and Lydia cuddled into him immediately, wrapping both of her arms around his neck and resting her head on his shoulder. Oliver smirked down at Felicity, "She doesn't seem so ferocious to me," he said, rubbing Lydia's back.

Logan broke out into a fit of laughter as Felicity's mouth dropped. "That's not fair!"

Oliver smiled, "Whenever you two are ready, Lydia and I will be making waffles."

"With peanut butter!" Lydia yelled excitedly, wrenching back.

He winked at Felicity, "you heard the lady, peanut butter waffles it is."

As they left the room, Felicity looked at Logan, still stunned. "Did you see that?"

"Yeah," Logan said, "Lydia does not listen when you say it's wake up time."

"I know, right?" she agreed with a huff. "What does he have that I don't?"

Her daughter stared at her as if the answer was obvious, "Waffles."

Felicity laughed, pulling Logan into her lap and hugging her. "Lydia might get her sleeping habits from me, but you, my love, have all of my sass."

Once Logan was dressed, in jeans and a sweatshirt with her tutu on top, Felicity followed her down the stairs, finding Oliver and Lydia in the kitchen, making waffles as promised.

Logan ran over to Oliver, "I didn't have jeans on before, daddy, but do you like it?"

Oliver's eyes flickered to Felicity, and he sighed, leaning down to pick her up. Felicity watched, her heart melting as Oliver hugged his daughter, holding her close and kissing her face before whispering lowly, "you look beautiful, Logan, I'm sorry I didn't get to see you last night."

Logan wrapped her arms around him, squeezing him back. He touched Lydia's face as she stood on her stool, mixing the batter. "I'm sorry, sweetheart." he said to her, too.

Lydia just smiled, "Uncle Tommy taped it, daddy. You can still see us dance. He said we can watch it forever now. I bet Uncle Tommy would let you borrow it if you ask nicely." She said with a shrug, and then she pointed her little finger at him, "But you have to say please."

Oliver chuckled, brushing his thumb across her chin, wiping off a smear of batter. 

Their daughters had much more forgiving, innocent hearts than she did. Even though it was already a wonderful Saturday morning, she still had some anger left towards him for missing their recital.

It didn't help that she couldn't remember the last time he'd been home when the girls woke up. Lydia loved to cook, especially with Oliver, but Felicity couldn't recall the last time it had happened. And Logan was a sucker for curling up on the couch with him. Any time Oliver sat down, it was like Logan had a radar for it and would find her way onto his lap, usually with a blanket ready, no matter what she'd been doing.

He promised that things would change soon, that he would work less and be home more, but he had also been saying that for months...

Oliver lifted his eyes up to Felicity as he set Logan back on her feet. He pursed his lips, "Tommy went with you last night?"

She shrugged, "Yeah."

"I didn't know that he even knew the girls danced."

Felicity cocked her head to the side, furrowing her brow. "He does. He's picked them up from dance class before. If you had come, Oliver..." She trailed off, not wanting to start that discussion again. He had already apologized, he was here now, and she was trying to let go of the leftover grievances from last night.

"Did you invite him to go with you?" He asked, his tone cautious.

Felicity stared at him for a long moment. 

He was not going there.

"I did." She said, crossing her arms as she tried to keep her voice controlled. "He called a couple of hours before the recital asking if he could take his nieces out to dinner, and when I told him that they had their first show, he offered to take all three of us out before they had to be at the auditorium. So I asked if I should get him a ticket." She said with another shrug.

"Oh." Oliver nodded, turning back to the stove and smiling down at Lydia, who pointed to the bowl of batter, silently asking if it was ready. Oliver nodded, taking it from her and pouring some into the waffle iron.

Felicity pinched her lips together, her back stiffening. "Is that a problem, Oliver?" She asked, her eyes narrowing at the back of his head.

Oliver glanced at her over his shoulder, "No," he said with an indifference.

And she didn't buy it.

"Daddy, miss Waller told Uncle Tommy that me and Logan are the best dancers she's ever seen," Lydia offered.

Oliver brushed his hand over her hair, "That's awesome, baby. I bet you are."

"Miss Waller asked if Uncle Tommy was a good dancer too," Logan chimed in, "She thought he was our dad!" she yelled, breaking into a fit of laughter. 

Felicity winced, and Oliver kept his eyes on her. She gave him a look, "Obviously I corrected her," she muttered under her breath.

"I'm sure you did." Oliver said back, his voice controlled.

"Are you kidding right now?"

He sighed, closing his eyes. "I'm sorry."

"I've been hearing a lot of that from you lately, Oliver." She snapped, still trying to keep her voice low. She wanted to yell. Even though Logan and Lydia were too young to notice the tension in the room, she assumed that screaming at their father might catch their attention.

He just nodded, moving to place the finished waffle onto a plate and helping Lydia pour the batter to start the next one.

Logan tugged on her shirt, and Felicity picked her up and put her in her chair. Then she silently moved around the kitchen, getting her some milk, a fork, and the waffle. Setting a butter knife with peanut butter ready in front of Logan, Felicity took a deep, calming breath. She watched as her daughter focused on spreading it onto her waffle, knowing that she liked to do it herself. "Mommy, is daddy coming with us tonight?" She asked quietly.

Felicity hesitated. They'd promised to take their daughters to their school's winter carnival, and a week ago Oliver had said that of course he would be there. But she'd been let down by one too many of those broken promises. 

She watched as Oliver's his back tensed, telling her that he'd heard Logan's question. And she sighed, closing her eyes because she already knew the answer.

Oliver glanced over at Logan, "I'm sorry sweetheart, daddy has to work. He promised that he would help his friends finish a lot of paperwork tonight." He said gently.

Logan groaned, and Lydia looked down at her feet, both as disappointed as Felicity felt.

Then Logan perked up, pulling at the bottom of Felicity's shirt again, "Can Uncle Tommy come with us?" Felicity was hesitant as she looked at Lydia first, seeing that her eyes were just as wide and hopeful as her sister's. Then she glanced up at Oliver, who was staring at her, waiting for an answer.

Felicity shrugged, "Yeah, if he's not busy...I don't see why not."

She saw Oliver's jaw tense as he watched her, and she just raised her eyebrows.

She wasn't doing it to spite him. The twins loved their Uncle Tommy, and if the promise of spending time with him made them feel better about their father's absence, then she didn't really give a crap about how Oliver felt on the subject.

Not wanting to spoil the girls' day, Felicity bit her tongue after that and Oliver did too. 

They ate breakfast together, watched a movie, and played with their kids, forgetting about the tension from the morning. Lydia and Logan did their routine for him and were ecstatic when he gave them a standing ovation. He helped Felicity clean the house and make lunch. By late afternoon, the twins were antsy to go to the carnival. And her husband was miserable to go to work, glancing at the clock and sighing since he apparently had to meet some of the board members there at 4:00.

After sending her daughters upstairs to pick out what they wanted to wear, she ran her hand through his hair, "are you sure you have to go to work? I think the girls would be really excited if you could come with us." She mumbled.

Oliver turned over to look up at her, his head in her lap. "It's not like I want to go, Felicity."

She froze at his tone. Taking a deep breath, she brushed his hair back, "I know."

"Then why do you always have to make me feel even guiltier than I already do?"

Felicity sighed, moving to stand up. He sat up, letting her go. And she went to the kitchen, finding the dishes in the sink and getting started on them, needing something to do with her hands. She wasn't sure why he was choosing to blame everyone but himself, but she really didn't like it. He was angry at Tommy and he was angry at her as if they should be doing something differently. But she didn't know what else to do.

She was already doing everything she could.

Felicity tensed when his footsteps approaching a few minutes later, "I'll call you when I'm done with the board," he said softly as he came into the kitchen, his voice full of regret. "And I'll try to make it to the carnival before you head home."

She hesitated as she placed the dishes onto the drying rack. It wasn't exactly what she was hoping for, but at least it resembled the effort she expected from him. "Sure."

He came up behind her, hugging her close for a moment and burying his face in her neck. "I know you're tired of hearing it, and I'm sick of saying it, but I'm sorry. It's not you that I'm upset with." He sighed. "And I love you," he mumbled, kissing her cheek.

Felicity kept her eyes on the dishes as he made his way out of the kitchen, heading upstairs to say goodbye to the twins. She closed her eyes, and then she shook her head and called Tommy to invite him along, and he'd enthusiastically agreed.

Despite the knot in her stomach, she smiled. Tommy was the biggest player in Starling City, and she was sure that he'd have plans on a Saturday night. Whatever they were, he was ditching them for her and her two sassy toddlers. Why can't my husband do the same thing?

Feeling the knot in her stomach twist with guilt at the thought, she tried to remind herself that not only did Oliver have the weight of an entire company on his shoulders, but he was too stubborn to share it, to let people help him. He'd spent seven months just trying to keep his father's company from going bankrupt, trying to save his legacy. He was doing the best that he could, she was just afraid that he was going to look back on all of the time he missed with his daughters and regret it.

Hearing him coming down the stairs, Felicity made her way out of the kitchen, catching him as he put his coat on. She sighed when he looked up at her, his eyes remorseful, and she could tell how much he wanted to be with her and the girls tonight. She hated that his obligation to his father seemed more important to him, but she understood.

Crossing the space between them, she took his face between her hands and kissed him, pouring as much love and compassion into it as she was capable of giving. And he reciprocated it, meeting her with equal intensity. 

At least that could never change.

"What was that for?" He mumbled, his forehead resting against hers.

"I love you, Oliver. So much." She said simply.

Oliver nodded once, "I'm going to keep it that way." He kissed her one more time before he left.

Felicity pressed her palm to her forehead and sighed, and then she went upstairs to help the twins get ready.

They picked Tommy up on their way to the carnival, and she shook her head when he climbed into the passenger seat, bundled up and carrying a tray of hot chocolate. "You know they'll probably be selling that at the school, right?"

Tommy glanced at her, his eyes lighting up, "You've clearly never had Grandma Merlyn's special recipe."

Felicity raised an eyebrow as she took the cup he offered her, "Please tell me you're not giving my girls spiked hot chocolate."

He rolled his eyes as he handed cups to the twins, smiling and greeting each of them. "Of course not. No alcohol. Just extra sugar."

She groaned, "Fantastic."

Tommy laughed, "This is what fun uncles are for."

"Mommy," Lydia asked, and Felicity glanced at her in the rear-view mirror. "What's spiked hot chocolate?"

Laughing, Tommy turned to look at her, "It's what grown-ups drink."

Logan chimed in, "Like wine? Mommy likes wine."

"Yeah," Lydia agreed with her sister. "She drinks it in the bathtub."

Tommy laughed harder, "I don't doubt it."

When they got to the carnival, the girls released their sugar high on the whole place, and Felicity and Tommy spent a couple of hours staying warm just by chasing them around from booth to booth. When Logan won a prize at one of the games, Lydia insisted that she needed the same stuffed animal. But then Logan gave hers to one of her friends, and they started to fight over the remaining doll. Felicity diffused it easily, familiar with those disagreements after four years of raising twins. Eventually Tommy won them two more stuffed animals, so it didn't matter anyway.

Luckily, it only took a couple of hours for their energy to wear off, and Felicity nudged Tommy's shoulder as they headed for the car. She carried a sleeping Lydia in her arms and Tommy had Logan on his shoulders, who also looked like she was about to pass out at any second. Felicity shook her head, "I blame you and the hot chocolate."

Tommy gave her a look, "Yeah, sure. Their dad could never sit still either, I'm going to say it's his fault."

Felicity snorted, "Still true. I can't even get him sit down long enough to eat dinner."

When he glanced down at her suspiciously, Felicity bit her lip. "You know he loves you, don't you?"

She sighed, smoothing Lydia's hair out of her face, "I know. I just miss him. Some days it feels like I'm doing this whole parenting thing alone."

Tommy nodded, the expression on his face more serious than she'd ever seen it. "He'll figure it out, Felicity. His nagging need to make everyone happy includes his dad, too, especially because he's gone. Oliver just wants to make him proud... but he'll come around. He knows that you and the girls are what's most important."

Felicity smiled at him, "Thank you, Tommy. And thanks for hanging out with them," she said, nodding up to Logan, "I know you probably have other things you could be doing."

Tommy waved her off, adjusting Logan, "Oh, please. These two are the coolest girls I know. It's been a weekend well spent."

"Uncle Tommy," Logan mumbled, "Will you come watch a movie with us?"

He laughed, "I don't think you'll be able to keep your eyes open for a movie, pipsqueak."

"I will," she whined, "mommy, can he come over?"

Felicity shrugged, "Sure."

"Okay," Tommy agreed, "If your mom's cool with it, I'm cool with it. But I'm buying the pizza. Nope! No arguing, Logan. You can pay next time, let me get this one." He teased.

Logan giggled, "I don't have any moneys!"

Tommy sighed, "Well it's a good thing you're cute, pipsqueak."

Logan sighed too, sounding tired as she pressed her cheek to the top of Tommy's head, fighting against sleep. "Uncle Tommy, I wish you were my daddy."

"Logan," Felicity breathed sharply, more surprised than anything else.

Tommy recovered before she did, "Aw, no way kiddo. If I was your daddy, then I wouldn't be your uncle. And I really love being your uncle. Besides, you have the best dad in the world," he said, glancing at Felicity. She was blinking back tears, never thinking she'd hear either of their girls say something like that. "I wish I'd had a daddy like yours when I was your age, Logan."

Oliver was the best dad, but she understood that at such a young age, the only thing that mattered to them was that he was present.

He'd been the most loving, supportive, and selfless man since the moment they found out they were pregnant. He bent over backwards to give her everything, and bent a little further when he had two more girls in his life to please. The biggest problem they'd had was that Oliver had a very, very hard time saying no to them. He always caved, always gave them whatever they wanted. Eventually, he got better about it, but she could still see it on his face every time one of them asked for something, it was just his instinct to want to give it to them.

As they put the girls in their car seats, Felicity stayed quiet, feeling Tommy's eyes on her. He told her to wait in the car while he went in and ordered pizza, and then he came back out and sat in the car with her while they waited for the order to be ready, giving the girls a solid hour-long nap by the time they got back to the apartment. 

Tommy finally huffed, turning to her, as they were waiting for the food. "Oliver knows that you and those girls are the best thing to ever happen to him, Felicity. Even if he's stupid enough not to tell you that every day, he's not so stupid that he doesn't know it."

Felicity just nodded.

Once they got back to the apartment, Tommy carried both of the girls while she carried the pizza and their bags, opening the doors for him as they went. 

She pushed into the apartment and pointed to the couches before she noticed Oliver sitting there, hunched forward with two glasses of wine on the coffee table in front of him.

His eyes darkened as he looked up and saw Tommy, his hands gripping together. Tommy hesitated, and Oliver stood up.

He silently took Lydia from Tommy, nodding in acknowledgement. And then they carried the girls to the couch and gently laid them each down, being careful not to wake them up. Oliver held out his hand to Tommy, "Good to see you, buddy," he said quietly, "thanks for helping my wife out tonight."

Tommy shook his hand, "It's been a while, Oliver. Take a night off sometime. I'll buy your drinks."

Oliver smiled, but it looked forced. "Sure,"

Tommy looked back at Felicity, who was taking her shoes off at the door, keeping her eyes on Oliver and wondering why he was home, especially after she'd been checking her phone all evening since he said he would call. "Thank you for letting me tag along with you this weekend, Felicity. Tell the girls I said goodnight, okay?" He said, taking the pizza box from her hands as she approached and setting it on the coffee table next to the wine.

"I thought you were going to stay." She blurted.

Tommy shook his head, giving her a look that Oliver couldn't see. "We can watch movies and eat pizza any night. The girls are exhausted, anyway." he said, kissing her cheek as he passed. "Goodnight, Felicity." He said, and then he waved to Oliver.

"Bye, Tommy." She mumbled.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Oliver was on her, his lips urgent as they devoured hers. Her breath caught in her throat, surprised and feeling her heart take off, her fingers instinctively dove into his hair. "Hey," she mumbled between kisses, "Easy there, tiger."

Oliver didn't stop, lifting her off her feet instead. He carried her into the kitchen and set her on the counter, his lips never leaving hers. "Oliver," she sighed, gripping his shoulders and thinking that she was going to push him back, but his tongue found its way into her mouth and she was suddenly pulling him closer. "Mm," she tried again when his fingers found the button of her jeans. "Oliver," she said, tipping her head back to stop his mouth, but he just dragged his lips across her chin, bending to nip at her neck. "We have four innocent eyeballs sleeping in the next room, they do not need wake up and see this happening in the kitchen." She said breathlessly.

She gently nudged him, and he slowed down slightly, but he kept his lips on her throat, giving her lazy, easy kisses. "Why didn't you call me?" She asked, tipping his face up so she could look down at him.

"I thought I would surprise you," he sighed, "tomorrow is our anniversary."

"Oh," she said, smiling, "and here I was thinking that you were going to spend our anniversary with your secretary." Oliver winced, frowning up at her. She laughed, squeezing her eyes shut and cupping his face. "At work...doing work...not...her." she babbled.

Oliver grunted, running his hands across her thighs. "I wouldn't dream of spending this night with anyone else." He said, his voice tainted with slight accusation. She cocked her head to the side, her eyes narrowing. "You asked Tommy to stay?"

Felicity groaned, shoving him away now and hopping down from the counter. "Don't do this."

"It's just a question."

She held her hands up in front of her, "Oliver, I mean it. You don't want to get into this fight. You are going to regret it."

He hesitated, "Why? Because you'd tell me something that I wouldn't want to hear?"

Her eyes widened at the insinuation. She crossed her arms, "And what would that be?" she asked, her tone cold. "What exactly do you think I would say?"

He shook his head, staring at her, his eyes conflicted but his stubbornness kept him from backing down.

Felicity stared back. "Are you accusing me of something, Oliver?"

He slowly shook his head again, closing his eyes. "No," he said, "I'm not."

She let out a breath. "Good." She kept her gaze trained on him, "Because if you were, we'd have a much bigger problem than I thought we did."

Oliver opened his eyes to look at her, his gaze desperate. "I'm not accusing you of a damn thing, Felicity. This is about me. We both know it is. I'm failing you," he gestured towards the living room, "I'm failing them. I'm even failing my dad," he laughed without any humor, "I can't even keep QC's head above water." His eyes burned into hers, begging her for something that she didn't know how to give him. "I'm failing, Felicity. I don't know how to fix it, and I feel like every time I open my mouth, I just-I make it all worse."

Felicity blinked, brushing away a tear. "You're not failing me, Oliver. Or the girls. Or your dad. These expectations that you have, these ideas about how you have to be...who you have to be," she held out her arms, "I didn't set those for you. You did. Your father just wanted you to be happy. And all I need is for you to be here. All our daughters want is for you to be here." 

He nodded slowly, "I promise you I will."

She sighed, "Okay," she let out a breath of relief, feeling like the worst of it was over. At least for tonight.

Oliver pursed his lips, "But I have to do something. I'll be back," he said, heading for the door.

"What?" Felicity asked, following him, "You're leaving?"

He turned to face her as he put his coat on, leaning down to kiss her lips. "I'll be back." He said again.

"Oliver," she sighed, feeling exhausted. She gestured to the couch, to the sleeping girls and the wine and the pizza. She wanted to snuggle up with him for a while before they had to wake the twins up to eat. She wanted him to stay. "Please don't go."

He cocked his head to the side, grabbing her waist and pulling her against him. He looked down his nose at her, "You told me that things needed to change soon, Felicity. This is important. I'll be back." He kissed her one more time, and she sighed against his lips, nodding.

She woke the girls up twenty minutes later to eat, telling Logan that Tommy had something come up but they'd see him soon when she asked where he was. After watching a movie with them, that they could barely keep their eyes open for, she gave them each a bath and got them ready for bed, continually checking her phone and glancing at the door for Oliver.

And then she laid in bed for an hour, waiting and fighting against her own tired eyes before she eventually fell asleep.

He woke her up just before midnight with his lips on her face.

She opened her eyes, reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck and pull him closer, "Hi, honey." she mumbled, her voice sounding sleepy even to her own ears.

Oliver sighed, pressing his face into the crook of her neck. "Hi."

"Where have you been?" She asked, glancing at the clock.

He pulled back, kicking his shoes into the corner of the room and pulling his shirt off. "I went to see my mom," he said, climbing into bed beside her.

Felicity raised an eyebrow, "Okay," she said slowly, "can't say I saw that coming."

He laughed gently, "I just needed to talk to her."

She ran her hand over his hair as he laid down on his stomach, turning his head to face her. "Did she help?" Felicity asked, smoothing her palm over his back as he tucked his arms beneath his pillow.

Oliver nodded, "Yeah, she did. She told me not to make the same mistakes my dad did."

"Sleeping with your employees?" He gave her a look and she cringed, "Sorry."

"QC was my dad's life." Felicity ran her fingers up and down his back, and he sighed. "Growing up, I never expected him to show up for baseball games, or award ceremonies, or birthday parties. Because I never wanted to get my hopes up and be disappointed. I gave up on ever expecting him to come. My mom eventually gave up on trying to change him. It was just who he was. We got closer when I was older, but he never had any patience for kids. Not even his own. So he kept his distance. He cared about his company more than anything, that's why it became so successful."

Felicity slid closer to him, pressing her lips to his arm. She'd heard the stories before, but it still made her sad that his childhood had been like that. And she knew that he had been trying so hard to be the attentive and loving kind of father that he hadn't had. "I'm sorry," she whispered, "I know you loved him, Oliver. And he loved you too, in his own way."

"He did. He was the best dad that he was capable of being. But I've become just like him lately, and that's not the kind of father that I want to be. Or the kind of husband. I vowed to you, Felicity, that I would never leave you alone," he cringed, his brows furrowing, "and I know you've been feeling like I did..." 

She froze, knowing that she'd only shared that with Tommy. She'd never intended to tell Oliver, not wanting to make him feel guilty. He tried to smile, "It's okay. I know that you felt like you were raising the girls on your own sometimes. I never meant to let that become our lives, but I do wish that you would have told me how you felt." he said, hesitating. "I may have gone to see Tommy, too."

Her eyes shifted between his, her eyebrows raising. "In an 'I haven't seen you in so long, Tommy, let's have a beer'  kind of visit I hope."

He frowned, "Uh, it was more like a 'please tell me that you don't have a thing for my wife'  kind of visit."

"Oh, Oliver," she breathed, closing her eyes.

"I know, I know." He said quickly, squeezing his eyes shut. "But it's okay. We talked. We...handled it. And I got over myself. I was jealous, Felicity. My best friend was spending all of the time with my family that I wanted to be spending with them. You're-you're my girls. I'm the one whose supposed to video tape dance recitals, and take you all to school carnivals, and come home to watch movies and eat pizza with you," he sighed. "I know it's stupid...but it just-it should be me. My girls...I want it to be me."

He eyed her, waiting for her to get mad. But she just bit her lip, shaking her head. The last thing she wanted to do was argue, even if she thought he was a fool for going to confront Tommy like that.

She wanted him to keep talking. She was liking all of this "my girls"  talk.

"I should have acknowledged how much you do for them, Felicity. And for me. You're an amazing mother. And you pretty much exceed every hope I've ever had for a wife. No, you create totally new, exciting, and sexy hopes. You just..."

He met her gaze, staring into her eyes and begging her to understand. He swallowed.

"I'm in awe of you, Felicity Queen. Every day. And I know that you're sick of hearing my apologies, but you deserve them. Because you are not the kind of woman that a man leaves in bed every morning to wake up alone. You are the kind of woman that deserves to wake up with my arms around you. You're the kind of mother who deserves to be spoiled and to feel appreciated. And the kind of wife that a husband worships."

Felicity smiled, rubbing her nose against his, "Well, it's almost midnight. How about you show me how a husband should worship his wife to ring in the new year?"

Oliver smiled back, "There's going to be a lot of that," he groaned, "Every night for years to come, if I'm lucky."

She laughed, "That would mean that you'd have to be able to keep your eyes open for longer than five minutes after you get into bed."

He raised an eyebrow, "Easy. Queen Consolidated isn't mine anymore, so I'll have plenty of time to sleep" Felicity froze as he continued, "And to worship my wife...and to see my daughters dance in their adorable tutus." He sighed, looking into her eyes, "It's going to be amazing."

Felicity just widened her eyes, staring at him for a long moment, and he waited. "You sold QC?"

He shook his head, "Not exactly. I've been doing the work of three people, Felicity...that's what my dad did, so I thought that's what I had to do. I want to keep the business, it's important to me. But I don't feel like I have to do all of it by myself like he did," he said with a shrug. "I don't want to live like that anymore, so I talked to my mom, and I got some partners."

Felicity's eyes got wider, and he laughed, leaning forward to kiss her nose. "Who?"

"Well, I told you that Tommy and I handled things?" Oliver asked. "And I sent Diggle the paperwork that he'll be filling out tomorrow." He smiled at her, his face relaxed. "It's work that three people should be managing, so now we will."

"And you're sure you're okay with that..." she asked hesitantly. She loved the idea, but Oliver had worked so hard, she was skeptical that after all of that, he was so easily willing to share the success with two of his friends.

"Oh, Felicity," he snorted, "I'm so okay with it. I want to be with you. I want to be with Lydia and Logan. I'm happier right now than I've been in months."

Felicity nodded slowly, shifting until her body was over his. His arms came to wind around her waist. "You're about to get a whole lot happier," she mumbled, laughing into his mouth when she heard him groan in response.

Oliver's mouth was on hers just as the clock changed to midnight.

"Best anniversary ever," he whispered.

"You said that last year." She said, adjusting her legs on either side of him and rocking her hips. "And the year before." He chuckled, his hands smoothing over her back as he kissed her. "You have to pick one."

"I won't. I'm going to say it every year," he murmured against her lips, "Because you're mine."

Chapter Text

"Breathe," Oliver mumbled, putting a hand on her back as he led her towards his parents' house.

"How am I supposed to breathe when I'm about to meet your mother? You said that she scared away every girlfriend you had besides Laurel. And now I'm about to meet her. You also forgot to warn me that you lived in a freaking castle, so..."

"Felicity," he said, twisting her waist and pulling her tight against his chest as they reached the door. His lips found hers quickly, "Breathe," he mumbled into her mouth. It took another moment of his lips working against hers, but then Felicity sighed, melting into his arms. Oliver smiled, "That's better. I was afraid you were going to pass out."

Felicity let out a soft whimper, hiking herself closer. She had yet to get tired of kissing him. They'd been dating for seven months and she still had a hard time not getting carried away whenever he put his lips against hers, and apparently being outside of his parents' house was no exception. He didn't resist when she pushed him towards the wall, he actually laughed as his back pressed into it, sliding his tongue across her bottom lip.

Her hands gripped his shirt, pulling him closer. He groaned in response, his fingers landing on her waist and tugging on her hips, hauling her against him. God, she loved when he did that. She loved feeling his hands grip into her back, as if he couldn't get her close enough. It never failed to send heat rushing all over her body. All thoughts about meeting his family and his intimidating mother were gone. His kiss had its intended effect, and she completely forgot where she was.

It was just him. Only him. And she knew how easy it was to get lost in him. Oliver knew it too, and he smiled down at her crookedly whenever she had a hard time untangling herself from him. He loved it.

She wondered if it would ever stop feeling like that, and she hoped that it never would. 

Someone cleared their throat. Felicity heard it, but she didn't react until she felt Oliver freeze beneath her hands and her hungry mouth. She pulled back, looking over Oliver's shoulder to see an older man dressed in a suit. She raised an eyebrow at the smirk on his face. "You heading inside, Oliver? Your mother is pretty excited to see you."

Oliver smiled, turning his head to nod to the man and untangling himself from Felicity. Oliver gestured towards him, "Felicity, this is the head of security for my family and for Queen Consolidated, John Diggle."

"Oh," Felicity said, offering her hand to him. "Hi, Mr. Diggle. It's nice to meet you."

"Please, Miss Smoak, call me John. Or Dig, if you'd prefer."

"Okay," she said, beaming, "Dig." She watched as he met Oliver's eyes and they shared a nod. "You can call me Felicity." She offered. 

John nodded at her too, "Come on inside, Felicity." He moved to the door, clapping his hand on Oliver's shoulder. But then he stopped, a grin spreading across his face as he passed. "Uh..." he said, pointing to Oliver's face, "you have some lipstick..."

Felicity laughed nervously, turning to wipe her thumb over Oliver's bottom lip. 

They followed John inside, but he left them to attend to work, letting them know that Moira was in the backyard. Felicity felt her heart drop again, and she held her breath. Oliver pressed his lips to her ear and took her hand. "Do I look okay? Or do I look like I look a little too much like I just made out with her son on her front porch?"

"Felicity," Oliver chuckled, "you look beautiful. And you have nothing to be nervous about. She's going to love you."

"Do you have amnesia? Did you forget the Helena Bertinelli story?" Oliver frowned at her, and she raised her eyebrows. "You said that your mother made the poor girl cry when she declined your offer to a school dance."

"Okay..." Oliver hesitated. "So she was a bit protective of me when I was a kid."

"A bit?" Felicity laughed once.

"I shouldn't have told you that story."

Felicity narrowed her eyes at him, "I was just thinking the same thing."

"Look," he sighed, leading her through the house. "I wouldn't let her make you cry, Felicity. Besides, She's calmed down a lot. And I know she'll love you. Hey, look at me." Felicity did, seeing the nonchalant look in his eyes. "I'm not worried about it." He confirmed, lifting his hands to cup her face. She closed her eyes, feeling his lips on the corner of her mouth, and then her cheek, and then her nose, his hands moving soothingly through her hair the whole time.

It amazed her that his touch had whatever effect he intended it to have. Sometimes he touched her and his fingers felt like fire on her skin, spurring her on as they worked her body. And in other moments, he could move his lips over her face like he did now...and her whole body would relax. She had no idea how he did it. But she was half convinced that it was some kind of magic.

"I just want you to breathe," he whispered. "I don't want you to be stressed over this."

"How do you know she'll love me?" Felicity whispered back, leaning into him.

He pressed his lips against hers, chastely this time. Calming. Completely different than it had been outside. She opened her eyes, and he smiled. "Because I love you."

Felicity let out a breath. "I love you, too." It hadn't taken her more than a month to know that she loved him. He was so easy to fall for. He always listened to her, even when they disagreed. He always tried to understand where she was coming from, even if it meant he lost the argument or he wound up being wrong. He compromised. She was already learning so much from him, and she knew that he was learning from her too. They were teaching each other about love. Building their own and discovering the type of people they were capable of being together. She was really starting to love who she was becoming. With him.

He was sweet, and selfless, and so wonderful. And she was falling. So. Hard.

The more time she spent with him, the more she realized that he was an intensely passionate person. He had the biggest heart she'd ever seen. The fact that he loved her with that heart, with that passion, literally made her feel whole. It came so naturally to him. She knew that he wasn't raised to be so attentive, but compassion was in his bones.

Felicity followed him into the backyard, snapping out of her thoughts as she recognized the woman sitting outside on the patio from photographs Oliver had shown her of his family.

Moira Queen was drinking coffee and glancing over a newspaper. She didn't look all that scary. "Hi, mom." Oliver greeted, closing the door behind them. Felicity was gripping the hell out of his hand, but he didn't pull away. Felicity put a smile on her face, trying to look as genuine as she could despite her heart trying to beat out of her chest.

"Oliver," Moira looked up, a bright smile flashing across her face.

"Mom, this is Felicity."

"Hello," Moira said, standing up. "It's so nice to meet you, Felicity. Oliver's told me so much about you."

Felicity laughed nervously, "not too much I hope- I mean, not that I have anything to hide. I don't have a criminal record or anything. I'm sure I'd pass a background check. Maybe a speeding ticket or two, but nothing to make me cry- crying over!"

"Hon-" Oliver whispered, and she swallowed.

Moira cocked her head to the side, "Oh, miss Smoak, don't worry. I don't invite anyone into my home that hasn't passed Mr. Diggle's routine background checks."

Felicity's eyes widened, "You actually-you already-"

Moira smirked, and Oliver let out a gentle laugh, leaning down to kiss her temple. "She's just kidding, Felicity."

Felicity breathed out a laugh. "Right. Of course."

"Come sit kids, please. Do you like coffee?" She asked Felicity, "I could have Raisa make some tea, if you'd prefer..."

"No," Felicity said, letting go of Oliver's hand when he pulled out a chair for her. "I love coffee."

"Yeah," Oliver scoffed. "I can barely get her to drink anything else...like water." Felicity kicked her leg out as he sat down beside her, tapping her foot against his calf. "Ow," he mumbled, and she rolled her eyes, knowing that it didn't hurt.

Moira smiled, her eyes on Felicity. "Hardworking women need caffeine." She commented, taking a sip from her cup.

Felicity smiled back, pouring creamer into her own. "Damn straight." Her face fell. "I'm sorry," she said. "Language. That wasn't very polite," she mumbled to herself, wincing.

Moira looked amused, "No, you're perfectly right. Damn straight."

Oliver huffed out a laugh, "I don't remember ever hearing you swear, mom." He smirked.

She winked at her son, and Oliver glanced over his shoulder into the house. "Is dad home?"

"No," Moira sighed, "He had to go into work early." She took a sip of her coffee, glancing away. Felicity noticed when Oliver's eyes narrowed slightly, his jaw clenching. She could see that he didn't believe his mom. Felicity was reminded of Oliver's suspicions about his father being unfaithful. Apparently Robert Queen didn't try all that hard to hide it, and Oliver had caught him in interesting phone conversations or seen his dad's hands on young interns' asses ever since he was a kid.

It broke her heart that he grew up with that as an example of marriage, but Felicity cleared her throat, "Well, I'm sorry I won't get to meet Mr. Queen, then."

Moira gave her an appreciative smile for breaking the tension between her and her son. There was clearly tension beneath their unspoken knowledge about Robert. Oliver had said that he didn't believe his mom was clueless, but he'd never understood why she put up with it. "Has Oliver told you about the offer we made him?" Moira asked. Felicity nodded, reaching for his hand.

"He did," she answered, squeezing his fingers. "I've been trying to convince him to take it."

Moira leveled him with a look, "See? Smart woman."

"Mom," Oliver sighed, "I just graduated college."

"With a business degree." She offered.

He cocked his head to the side, "I'm not ready to be the CEO of Queen Consolidated." Felicity rubbed her thumb against his palm, knowing his fears. He'd shared them with her already. She knew that he didn't feel qualified, whether it would take a few years or not. The job was basically his father's apprentice, and he wasn't even sure that he wanted to spend so much time with his dad. Half of him wanted to make his father proud, but the other half of him wanted to make his own mark on the world.

She'd been spending most of the summer working on convincing him that he could have both. He could build a relationship with Robert and create his own path at the company. And he could have her, too. He could have all of it. But Oliver was hesitant. He'd told her that having everything meant that he could lose everything, and she could see the genuine worry behind his eyes.

The summer would be over in less than a month, and she'd be going to work at Star Labs. He had already signed a lease for an apartment in Starling, so she knew that even if he wasn't quite ready to admit it, his heart had already accepted the job offer.

"You will be ready, honey." Moira said.

Felicity brought his hand to her lips and kissed his knuckles. "I agree."

Oliver smiled down at her, shaking his head. "All right. As much as I like you two getting along, where's Speedy? I need at least one of my girls on my side."

Moira laughed, "I didn't tell her that you were coming," she glanced down at her watch, "but she should be waking up any minute now."

Felicity felt another round of butterflies. She had been afraid to meet his mom because of the stories Oliver shared about how intimidating the woman could be. But meeting Thea was a totally different set of nerves. He loved his little sister more than anyone in the world, and Felicity was pretty sure that if the eleven year old didn't like her, Oliver would dump her on the spot.

Okay, maybe a little dramatic. But still.

Felicity had tried to prepare herself to meet his family, especially his sister. She'd never really been around kids, and she wanted to make a good impression, remembering from her own experience how strange of an age eleven was. They'd moved some things into his apartment last night and ended up deciding to just spend the night. When he called his mom, she'd insisted they stop by the house before they went to the beach the next day. And Felicity had been up half the night, wondering what she was supposed to talk to a preteen about. She knew enough about Thea from Oliver's stories, but what if his sister didn't like her? What if she was upset that Felicity was there?

"Ollie!?"

Felicity turned to look at the door, seeing a long haired girl with the same blue eyes as Oliver. She smiled, watching as the girl charged towards Oliver, not slowing down at all before she flung herself into his arms. And Oliver huffed, "Ow, Speedy. You're getting way too big for this." He said, catching her and hauling her into his lap.

Thea wrapped both of her arms around his neck, squeezing him tightly. "Hi," she said, looking at Felicity from where her heard rested on her brother's shoulder. "I'm Thea."

Felicity smiled, surprised at how friendly she was. At eleven, she'd been a shy, nervous mess... Well, not much has changed.

"Hi Thea, I'm Felicity."

Oliver started asking her questions, focusing his attention on her, and Felicity knew that he was wrapped around her finger. And Thea knew it too. She eventually dragged a chair over to sit next to him, and Felicity's heart melted as she watched them talk.

He was so sweet with her, genuinely wanting to hear about her developing interests and what she was learning at school. She told him all about her friends, and Oliver already knew and remembered all of their names, asking questions as they went. Moira watched him with the same admiration, and Felicity started to understand that fierce protectiveness she had over her children. Not that she felt it justified making a girl cry for not being interested in her son...but the Queen children clearly had a special charm. Big hearts and an energy that drew you to them. Made you love them.

He leaned back at one point as Thea rambled about her science experiment, draping his arm over Felicity's chair, he winked at her. And she scrunched her nose at him, unable to stop the smile that spread across her face. God, he's perfect. Do they even come more wonderful than this?

"Ollie," Thea said, her rambling cutting off, "do you love her?" She asked seriously, her eyes trained on him, looking for a real answer.

Oliver laughed, glancing back at his sister, "Do I love Felicity? Yes."

Thea nodded, apparently believing him, she grinned, "Will you marry her?"

"Thea, that's a little soon-" Moira started.

"I'm hoping to." Oliver answered confidently and without hesitation. Felicity's eyes widened slightly, her heart rising in her throat. She reached for her coffee and took a sip to occupy herself. And Oliver just watched her with a smug look on his face. "Look Speedy, Felicity and I have to get going soon."

"But you just got here!" His sister cried.

"I know," he said, "but we were just passing through town on our way to the beach." She frowned, and Oliver sighed. "Hey, Felicity helped me set up some of my apartment last night. Soon enough, I'll be back here and you can come hang out at my place whenever you want."

Thea still pouted, unsatisfied with the answer. Felicity swore she saw the girl's lip quiver, and she cleared her throat, "Do you want to come with us, Thea? To the beach today? I mean, if it's okay with your mom of course."

"Really?" She sat up. Felicity lifted her shoulders, glancing at Oliver. "Can I, mom!?" Thea yelled, getting excited.

Oliver's gaze slid to Felicity, his eyes doing that thing that made her body react, his expression getting all soft and sweet as he looked at her like he loved her. She really liked when he said it, but it was almost even better when he gave her that look, because she could see on his face how much he meant it. It wasn't just words, it was all over his expression and she knew that he meant it.

Moira smiled at Felicity, "That's kind of you to offer, Felicity. It's fine by me if it's fine by you guys. Oliver, you don't mind your little sister tagging along?"

Oliver just shook his head, still staring at Felicity. Thea squealed, jumping onto Oliver again. He groaned, finally glancing down at her. "Okay, Speedy. If you're going to come, you need to take it down like seventeen notches." She just stuck her tongue out at him before running off and yelling that she was going to get her bathing suit.

They helped Moira clear the table off and bring everything inside before they said goodbye to her and Diggle when he reappeared, and then they waited by the door for Thea. "You didn't have to do that, Felicity," Oliver said gently, sliding his fingers over her shoulder, pushing her hair over her back. "My sister can be a pain in the ass."

She stepped closer, wrapping both of her arms around his waist. "She's sweet. And you're sweet with her." She bit her lip, "I like it. A lot."

He raised an eyebrow, "Oh yeah?"

She nodded, pushing onto her toes and waiting for him to reach her. He tilted his head down to kiss her, his hands combing through her hair, his fingers sliding down her back. And she sighed. It was a heart racing kind of kiss not a heart calming kind of kiss. Damn him.

"Ick! Are you guys gonna do that all day?"

Felicity pulled back, laughing as she hid her head on Oliver's chest. Oliver let out an annoyed huff, turning around to look at his sister. "Yup. You better get used to it." He said, reaching out to open the door, "Now go get in the car."

Thea picked up her beach bag, which Felicity was pretty sure she had just stuffed full with towels, and sauntered past them. Her giant sunglasses were already in place on the top of her head as she headed for the car. Felicity kept her face in Oliver's chest as she watched the girl. "This should be fun." She chuckled.

Oliver gave her a warning look, "I told you...pain in the ass."

"She's sassy. I like her."

He smiled, "We'll see if you're still saying that by the end of the day." Felicity rolled her eyes, knowing that he was putting on the irritated older brother act but that he was actually excited to get to spend the day with her. He kissed her one more time before leading her out of the house, following Thea.

As soon as they got to the beach, Thea was in the water. It was freezing, but Felicity roughed it in an attempt to spend some time with her. Her fingers and toes might have been numb, but she wanted that little girl to like her, damn it.

Oliver was not as dedicated, coming into the waves to his waist before retreating to his towel and sunbathing. "Pansy," Felicity muttered. She heard Thea giggle from beside her before diving into another wave. The girl had goosebumps all over her skin, she was shivering, and her lips were already blue. "Thea," Felicity said, crossing her arms to keep in her own body heat and fight off the chilly water, "Let's go warm up in the sun for a while."

Thea shook her head, "I just need to get used to it!" She said, her teeth chattering. Felicity groaned, but stayed in with her.

Eventually they were both numb enough that the water didn't bother them, and she challenged Thea to a handstand contest. Felicity was surprised by how much fun she was having, never really thinking of herself as someone who got along well with kids, but Thea was actually quite funny and easy to talk to. After an hour or so, Thea swam over and wrapped her arms around Felicity's neck. 

Felicity hesitated as Thea hugged her, feeling her heart turn into a puddle and get carried away by the waves when the girl rested her head on her chest. Then Felicity sighed, wrapping her arms around her. She glanced up and noticed Oliver laying on the beach, propped up on his elbows as he watched them. He had his sunglasses on, but the smile he gave her said it all.

She waved, and Oliver waved back. "Okay," she sighed, "I'm taking this hug as a sign of hypothermia. Time to get out."

Thea giggled, squeezing tighter, and Felicity carried her out, her skin tingling as the air hit it. She put Thea on her feet once they were out of the water, and she ran straight for Oliver at full speed.

As his sister crashed onto the towels, Oliver laughed, covering her from head to toe and rubbing her back. By the time Felicity reached them, he was ready, his arms open with a towel for her, too.

Felicity sat down between his legs, shivering into the towel as his arms wound around her. She felt him wince, "Your hair is freezing." 

She picked her head up so that he could see her rolling her eyes. Felicity dug her toes into the warm sand, "You wouldn't even come in past your waist! You can deal with my cold hair. Now hold me." Then she reached for his arms, pulling them tighter around her body and pressing her cheek against his chest. The hot sand and warm sun helped anyway, but his body definitely felt a lot nicer as he wrapped it around her, sharing his warmth.

"Yeah," Thea said, lifting her head from the towels, "Pansy!" Felicity pursed her lips, looking down at Thea. Only her face was visible from under the pile of towels, and Felicity snorted.

Oliver's jaw dropped, "Did you just call me a pansy?" He asked in mock outrage. Thea's response was a nervous, contagious giggle. Oliver leaned towards her. "Speedy..." he said slowly, "I hope you've gotten faster than the last time I saw you." Felicity jolted when Thea screamed, jumping up and running back towards the water. Oliver just shook his head and chuckled, pressing his lips to Felicity's shoulder. "Did she learn that one from you? I can't say she's ever called me a pansy before."

Felicity put her head on his shoulder to look up at him, biting her lip. "Uh...maybe?"

He smirked, rubbing his nose against hers and mumbling something about how cold she was. Then he was kissing her again, opening his mouth and working his lips against hers like he was trying to warm them up. "I like seeing you play with her," He mumbled, sliding his lips down her neck and nibbling at her, making her giggle. And then he leaned back, folding her against his chest again and pulling the towel tighter as they watched Thea; jumping over the waves at her feet, chasing them into the sea and running away when they chased her back. Oliver smiled, his eyes light as her squeal reached them, a wave catching up to her. "she's going to be exhausted tonight."

"I'm sure your mom will be pleased." Felicity mumbled back, turning her eyes to Thea, too.

Oliver lifted her hand to his mouth, blowing out a breath of warm air against her fingers. "She likes you."

"Who? Your mother or Thea?" Felicity asked.

He smiled, moving on to her other hand and warming those fingers up. "Both."

She grinned, "I sure hope so. Someone is already hoping to marry me, so I better have made a good impression. I'm just glad I didn't have that pressure on me before I met them."

Oliver snorted, "Felicity, it really shouldn't have been that big of a surprise."

"We haven't even been dating for a year!"

"I'm not saying I'm going to ask you to be my wife tomorrow!" He chuckled under his breath, "But I know the thought has crossed your mind, too. We wouldn't have spent seven months together if we couldn't see this going...there, someday...you know?"

Felicity chewed on her cheek, letting his words settle. She'd been with Billy Malone for longer than seven months and marriage had never crossed her mind. With him, she always knew it would end at some point. But with Oliver...it was a little more up in the air. She knew that it was possible to be happy with him for the rest of her life. The idea was there. He wasn't asking her to commit to that now, or even to promise to commit to it later. He was just saying that he could see it. He could call it what it truly was. Love. The someday kind of love that you planned dreams around. The kind that wasn't a waste of time. The kind that was worth it.

Oliver rested his chin on her shoulder. "I mean...you have thought about it, haven't you?"

She sighed, "I can't tell you that I've imagined what ring you'd buy or where we'd have our wedding...but yeah. I've had those quiet dreams that I keep to myself. I've had them with you in mind...I've thought about a future with you, Oliver. I can picture it. Of course I can, you're...you."

He kissed her cheek with a groan. Then he kissed it a few more times for good measure and she giggled. "It's a pretty good life. In my head, at least." He whispered.

She leaned back to look up at him again, smiling when she saw the happy grin on his face that made her heart feel warm. "Yeah...mine too."

They were interrupted as Thea started running towards them again, out of breath and giggling. "Want some lunch, Speedy?" He asked, moving his eyes away from Felicity reluctantly.

"I'm starving." Thea breathed.

Once they picked up their things, they walked down the pier, stopping to eat first, and then at the arcade to get Thea out of the water and the sun for a little while. She got bored with the games in less than an hour and she was ready for the water again. Oliver rolled his eyes, but they went back down anyway and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach.

Felicity came in and out of the water, playing with Thea and warming up in Oliver's arms. She pulled out her camera and took pictures of both of them, and the view. She'd been gathering quite an exciting collection of photos during her summer with Oliver, but the one she snapped of Thea curled up to his shoulder was instantly her favorite.

The furthest the girls were able to get Oliver into the water all afternoon was his knees. But eventually he got his chest wet as the sun began to set, only because he had to go in and drag Thea out.

Felicity carried Thea's bag, and the girl's sandals scuffed along the pavement as she followed behind Oliver and Felicity, wrapped in a towel and shaking. Oliver looked down at her, "You okay?"

"Tired," she mumbled.

He frowned, and then sighed, bending over and offering his back. Thea scrambled onto him, and he carried her to the parking lot. Felicity pulled Oliver's sweatshirt out once they reached the car, and Thea let it swallow her, reaching past her knees. Felicity chuckled, "There. That'll keep you warm."

"Thank you for letting me come with you guys." Thea said quietly as she climbed into the backseat and curled up.

Felicity smiled, "Anytime." She could tell that Thea's energy was much less enthusiastic than it had been all day, and Felicity suspected that she was bummed out about the day being over. Oliver kissed Felicity as he opened her door, and once he was behind the wheel, he cranked the heat. Felicity shook her head, "We should have pulled her out of the water sooner."

Oliver shrugged, "She's just tired. My parents don't usually have the time for beach days. She was taking full advantage." He said, smiling as he looked at his sister in the rear-view mirror, her head leaned back as she blinked slowly, looking like she was ready to fall asleep at any second.

"Maybe we should take her more often, then." Felicity whispered, glancing at him.

Oliver opened his mouth to respond, but Thea beat him to it, "I'd like that, Felicity." She sighed. Oliver smiled, tucking Felicity's hair behind her ear and agreeing with his sister. As soon as the car started to move, Thea picked her head up, "Can we stop for ice cream on the way home?" She asked.

Oliver glanced at her in the mirror again, narrowing his eyes. And Felicity burst out laughing. "Thea, your lips are still blue!"

"I love ice cream," and a frown was the response she got.

"Pain in the ass." Oliver mumbled, rolling his eyes.

Thea grinned, "At least I'm not a pansy."

Felicity pursed her lips to keep from laughing, keeping her eyes forward when Oliver threw her a glare. "That one is so your fault," he grumbled.

Oliver bought them all ice cream before heading home, and Thea was asleep before they reached the house. He carried her inside and all the way up to her room. Then they stopped to talk to his mom briefly before they were ready to leave.

Oliver reached for Felicity's hand as he pulled out of his parents' driveway with a sigh. "I love you, Felicity. Even more than I did yesterday. Thank you for letting Thea come with us."

She smiled as he glanced down to her. "Do you want to stay at your apartment again tonight?" She asked. He nodded, looking just as tired as she was. "Maybe tomorrow we should buy you a real bed." She said, remembering his lack of furniture. He only had a few weeks left anyway, maybe hanging out in Starling for a little while longer to get him set up wouldn't be so bad.

He smirked, "You weren't complaining about the air mattress last night."

She shrugged, "No...that was actually surprisingly interesting. But you'll need a real bed when you move in. And maybe Thea would like to come over tomorrow and see your apartment."

Oliver shook his head, smiling down at her, "I think she'd like that."

Chapter Text

Oliver opened the door to his home, hearing his favorite sound and instantly feeling his mood lightening. Working for his father had become a burden in his life, one that he knew it always would. He also knew that it was worth it though, working at his father's company, coming home every night to his family, living in Starling. It wasn't perfect. He was tired most of the time, but it was everything he wanted. Opening the door and being greeted by the infectious laughter that he could hear now... it was his dream.

He could hear their giggles coming from upstairs, and he barely gave himself a moment to drop his bag by the door before he started walking up.

Following the sound, Oliver hesitated for a moment outside of the bathroom door to listen. It sounded like Lydia was trying to teach Felicity the words to "Part of Your World" and his wife was pretending she didn't know all of them already. He smiled, knowing that she could probably sing the whole song by heart, but she played along.

"Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far!" He heard Felicity sing, "Legs are required, for jumping, dancing! Strolling along down a- what's the word?"

"Street!" Logan and Lydia screamed in unison, barely audible through the laughter that filled the house. Oliver chuckled, shaking his head.

He couldn't believe that this was his life. It still felt like a dream sometimes, waking up and Felicity's face being the first thing he sees every morning, or coming home from work and being greeted by the most perfect, happy giggles he'd ever hear.

As he pushed open the bathroom door, Oliver looked in at the scene in front of him; Felicity was sitting on a stool in front of the tub, trying to give the twins a bath while they both played in the water, splashing her and getting half of the floor covered in water.

He caught Lydia's eye in the in the mirror, and she beamed, her eyes widening as she pointed her little finger at him. "Daddy!" She screamed, a fit of high pitched screaming and giggling erupting from her. Logan was building a pile of bubbles in her hand, but she joined in too when she looked up and saw him.

Felicity turned around to look at him and smile.

He wanted to freeze the moment forever. He had that thought nearly every day, but it was always true.

When they found out Felicity was pregnant, he'd cautiously been hoping for a son. And he hated to admit that he'd been terrified when they were told they were having twin girls. He'd been intimidated. Sometimes he still was, but looking at his life now, he couldn't imagine it any other way.

"Hi, girls." He said, stepping into the bathroom and putting his hands in his pockets. He leaned against the door, taking a moment to admire his wife, who was currently wet from being splashed. She had a sauce stain on her dress in the shape of one the twins' hands, her hair was in a messy ponytail, and she was smiling up at him.

"Hi honey," she breathed, blowing her hair out of her face. She was looking up at him with the wholehearted love that he'd been certain for so long he didn't deserve. Thankfully, he'd gotten over that, but he was still taken aback by her. She sat there, every bit as beautiful as she was on the night he met her. Yet, she was even more incredible to him now. She was a superhero. And now she was a wife and a mother who gave every part of herself to her family.

Felicity looked at him every day as if she saw him in the same light, and he still found it staggering.

"Hi, beautiful."

Felicity blushed. He had no idea how he was still able to make her blush like that, but he wasn't complaining. She grinned at him, pushing her hair back with her wrist. It was crazy to him how easy to please she was. All he had to do was call her beautiful, and he got smiles like that. It was insane.

Oliver leaned down to kiss her, tucking the stray hair behind her ear that she'd been trying to push away from her forehead. She laughed, "How was work?"

Oliver shrugged, "The same. Isabel seems to think that her..." he glanced down at his daughters, "um, her...friendship with my dad gives her some kind of jurisdiction over me." He gritted his teeth, "But that's not really anything new." Oliver sighed, "What about you?"

Felicity shrugged, "Curtis figured out how to stabilize the reaction of that transmitter, so we're making progress. Sorry Isabel's still being such a booger."

He laughed. Felicity had mastered the PG cursing. He still had his moments. "It's okay. That's awesome that Curtis finally figured it out though, I'm proud of you guys."

"Me too," she sighed, letting out a breath that sounded relieved. "It was a long day though. For all of us, actually." Felicity pursed her lips, looking at the girls with reluctant eyes. He knew the look. She was hesitant to bring something up, thinking that it would upset one or both of the twins. "Lydia," Felicity said carefully, "can you please tell daddy what happened at school today?"

Oliver turned his attention to his daughter as she looked at her sister. He cocked his head to the side, feeling his heart rate speed up but knowing that it couldn't be that bad if Felicity seemed okay. Still... he hated the sullen expressions that fell upon the girls, though.

"Um, daddy..." Logan finally spoke up, "we learned to count to ten. In Spanish!"

Felicity gave Logan a look that said you know that's not what I meant, and I didn't ask you.

It warmed his heart the way they stuck together and protected each other, even when it was against their parents. His daughters were truly best friends, and Oliver and Felicity could never discipline one without the other getting upset. He'd never forget the day that Logan had bit Felicity, in the midst of the worst meltdown she'd ever had. But Lydia had been the one to cry for an hour, begging them to let her see her sister. They'd had Logan go to her room to cool off for a while, alone. And they were both thrown off by how much the whole thing had upset Lydia.

But they had been like that ever since they were babies, always having a special way of communicating and sensing each other.

Logan looked down at her hands, and Lydia's lip started to tremble.

Oliver knelt down in front of the tub, watching both of them for a moment before raising an eyebrow at Felicity. His wife sighed, realizing that Lydia wasn't planning on talking. "Lydia...got into some trouble at preschool today."

"Oh?" He said cautiously, turning back to his daughter. Damn, if that quivering lip didn't twist his heart. "What happened, Lydia?"

When his daughter looked up at him with big, watery eyes, it took everything in him not to pull her out of the tub and wrap her up in his arms.

He always had the hardest time disciplining them, but having them in school made it so much worse. His daughters were perfect, and he was pretty sure that nothing they ever did could be wrong. But Felicity had lectured him one too many times about how he can't let them get away with everything. He knew she was right. And he was getting better at it as they got older, as the lessons became more about how to treat other people, how to be kind, how to be respectful, how to be generous... those lessons were easy enough to enforce. He wanted them to be all of those things. But it was so hard sometimes...especially when they gave him this look.

There was no way that sweet faces like theirs could ever get into trouble.

"What happened, sweetheart?" He asked again, his voice softening, failing at using the firm tone he'd intended. Oliver placed his hand on the edge of the tub, resting his chin on top of it so he could lean in close to look at her. 

"I hit David Lance in the face at school today. I'm sorry, daddy." She said quietly, still staring down at her bubble-covered hands.

Oliver hesitated, his eyes shifting to Felicity, who gave him a toothless smile and raised her eyebrows. "Why did you hit David?" He asked, hating the way that she wouldn't look at him. He wasn't sure if she was embarrassed, or upset, or if she thought he'd be angry, but he didn't like it. "Why, Lydia?"

Lydia continued to stare down at her hands, moving them through the water. "He pulled Logan's hair."

Oliver raised an eyebrow, glancing at his other daughter, "he did?"

"Yes," Logan interjected, meeting his eyes to defend her sister, "and it hurt, daddy."

Oliver looked at Felicity, begging her to let him tell them it was okay. She sighed, reading his expression. "And then mommy had to have a nice chat with Mrs. Lance...one of daddy's old friends." Oliver pursed his lips when he saw the way his wife was gritting her teeth. She'd been skeptical about putting the girls into the same preschool that Laurel's son was in, but he'd assured her that they probably wouldn't even notice. This was his karma, apparently.

"But," Felicity breathed, "we all talked and we agreed that we weren't going to pull hair, or hit, or use our bodies to hurt anyone again, right?"

Both of the girls nodded, and then Lydia lifted her shoulders, "Mrs. Lance said that David probably has a crush on Logan."

Oliver glanced at Felicity when she let out a breath of annoyance, seeing the way her jaw clenched, her shoulders straightening. "Mhm...and what did mommy say about that, honey?"

"You said that's no excuse to pull someone's hair."

Oliver let out a laugh, and Felicity's eyes darted to his. "It's not funny, Oliver."

Oliver shook his head, "I know. Mommy is just...very right. If you like someone and you want to be their friend, you should be nice to them, right?" he offered.

Lydia and Logan both nodded adamantly, and Felicity sighed, "All right, girls. I think we've talked about this enough, haven't we? We're not upset with you. Time to move on and make better choices tomorrow, okay?"

Lydia sniffled again, "I'm sorry I hit, momma."

Felicity shook her head, "You're okay, sweetheart." She said, running her hand through Lydia's wet hair. "You apologized and you promised not to do it again, and David said he wouldn't pull Logan's hair. Thank you for telling daddy about it, but it's time we leave the upset feelings in the tub and get ready for bed soon. No more tears. Sound good?" The girls both nodded again, turning back to each other.

"Mommy says leave the upset feelings in the tub, Logan." Lydia said.

Oliver smiled, watching as Logan nodded seriously. "I'll let mine wash down the drain."

He chuckled, pressing his lips to Felicity's temple, "you're an amazing mother." He took a moment to appreciate her, staring at his wife as their daughters got pulled back into a special little world where only they existed.

God, she was everything.

Felicity huffed, "I don't want them to think that boys are allowed to pull their hair just because they have a crush."

He nodded slowly, brushing his lips against her face. Oliver chuckled softly, and she pulled back to glare at him, "it's not funny," she said again.

"I know," he said, "it's not. I'm just proud of you...standing up for them like that."

"And against your ex-girlfriend, don't forget that part." She said, raising an eyebrow. 

Oliver bit his lip, "you're an amazing mother. And wife. And woman. The best. Perfect. So beautiful. Way too good for me. An angel, a saint-"

"Oh god, stop." She giggled, and he smiled back, pressing his lips against hers. 

As the water cooled and the bubbles dissolved, they each took a toddler and wrapped them up in towels, carrying the girls into their bedroom where they dressed them in their pajamas. Then they went downstairs and Oliver ate dinner while Lydia and Logan helped Felicity make their lunches for the next day. And then he did the dishes, and Felicity colored with the girls, which was also filled with gorgeous giggles.

He loved watching Felicity play with them. She hardly ever got frustrated with them, having the patience of a saint that he felt lucky enough to learn from. History proved that he had a much shorter temper, but seeing the way that Felicity looked at them when they talked to her, the way she focused on them completely, gave them all the time in the world to explain how they were feeling, how she listened... he was glad that he had her by his side. He knew that Lydia and Logan always felt listened to and respected, and it definitely wasn't something that he'd had when he was growing up.

It was all Felicity.

His daughters loved their mother more than anything...even him, he was pretty sure. But he understood why. They admired her as much as he did. She was their hero, and both of them wanted to be just like her. It was beautiful to see, and he knew the feeling.

Oliver glanced at the clock, kissing each of them on the top of the head and taking a beer out of the fridge. Hoping to catch the end of the baseball game, he walked into the living room and turned the TV on. Before he could even sit down, he heard the patter of Logan's feet running down the hall.

Settling into the cushions, he held his beer in one hand and opened his other arm up for her. His daughter hurried over to climb underneath it, silently curling up to his side. 

With a sigh, Oliver brushed her wet hair over her shoulder and kissed her forehead. She never seemed to care what was on the television, she'd come in and cuddle with him no matter what. And he loved it.

Logan had always been a little rougher than her sister, a little more guarded and quiet. Lydia had an easier time making friends at school, and Logan took after him in a lot of ways. Having that time with her was one of the best parts of his day.

Pulling the blanket from the back of the couch, Oliver waited for her to get comfortable before he draped it over her legs. "Logan..." he said. Her eyes were on the screen, but he glanced down at her little face, wondering how she'd reacted when David Lance had pulled her hair. He planned on asking Felicity about it once the girls went to bed, but he couldn't stop wondering. Was she really hurt, or just surprised? Did he make her cry?

"You know that if David or any of the other kids at school ever pull your hair again... if they hurt you, or they make you feel sad or upset... you can always tell me, right? You don't have to be worried about telling me, or mommy. We're always here to listen to you and your sister."

"I know, daddy." Logan said, her eyes getting wide again at the mention of the topic. "You're the bestest listener."

Oliver smiled at her to let her know that it was alright. Then he pulled her closer, kissing her hair. "I love you, baby."

Logan nestled into him further, "I love you too, daddy."

His phone began to ring from the table by the front door, and Oliver started to get up to get it just as Felicity skipped past them, "Don't move!" She ordered, pointing her finger at him, "I have it!"

He stared up at her for a moment, raising an eyebrow and seeing her eyes glossed with tears. He cocked his head to the side, watching as she darted across the room, her eyes meeting his for the briefest moment.

Oliver smiled, instantly recognizing the emotion on her face. She'd been listening.

One of the most fulfilling feelings in the world was when he watched Felicity just be. She was a naturally fantastic mother, and he felt a surge of pride whenever he caught that look in her eyes. He'd had his insecurities, and he'd made mistakes, but he felt like a superhero whenever he caught her looking at him like that... as if he was the best dad and husband in the world. The admiration in her eyes never failed to make him feel like he really was. He was finally able to see himself the way that she saw him.  

He took a sip of his beer, glancing up at the doorway as Lydia shuffled in, rubbing her eye. "Can I snuggle too, daddy?"

His heart swelled at that, just like it always did when either of them asked for such simple, easy things. He knew he couldn't always give them what they wanted, he knew he had to say no sometimes...but never to that question. "Of course you can, sweetheart. Come here."

Lydia crawled up onto the couch next to her sister, and Oliver watched as Logan wordlessly made room for her, pulling back Oliver's hand and opening up his arm, wrapping it back around both of them. Logan shifted the blanket so that Lydia could fit underneath it too, and Oliver just watched them go through the steps, getting comfortable.

He knew for a fact that they wouldn't always be this sweet to each other, and he had particularly terrifying dreams about high school...but for now, it couldn't get better than this.

Oliver caught Felicity coming back out of the corner of his eye, and he turned to look at her with a smile, "There's room over here for you, too. Right next to me..." He said, wanting nothing more than to have his wife cuddled on one side of him and his daughters on the other. His girls. It sounded like the perfect way to end the difficult day they'd all had. 

Felicity's eyes were wide and she was blinking back tears, his phone gripped in her fist as she stared at him. He took in the shocked, scared expression on her face and froze. "What's wrong?" He asked, feeling his heart dropping into his stomach. He fought the urge to get up at go to her, not wanting to jolt the twins.

"Oliver..." she said quietly, her eyes flickering to Logan and Lydia, "it's your dad."


Rushing to the hospital that night, getting his tired, confused girls into the car, was already one of the hardest things he'd ever had to do. They didn't want to go.

And he knew it was about to get a hell of a lot harder.

Oliver and Felicity didn't know what to say to the girls, but it was clear that Logan and Lydia were upset and confused. Felicity simply told them that their Grandpa was sick, and they needed to go to the hospital to say goodbye before he had to leave. Of course, that only made them even more anxious and upset, but his daughters had never had to deal with death. They'd never even had a goldfish that died. They had no idea...

They were only four. And he couldn't get his head on straight enough to explain it to them. Not now. 

Oliver carried Lydia in his arms while Felicity carried Logan, bringing them right into the elevator from the parking garage and up to the floor that had the intensive care unit. He moved wordlessly, trying not to think about the worried glances that Felicity kept throwing him. He didn't have comfort to give her. He didn't even have any for himself.

Felicity continued to try, doing her best to explain what was happening to the girls, but Oliver was barely listening. The girls eventually started to cry in the elevator though, so he assumed that they understood enough. He held Lydia close, pulling her head to the crook of his neck and rocking her gently, biting his tongue to hold back the emotion rising in his throat.

He was pretty sure that Logan and Lydia had never seen him cry, and he forced it down, not wanting to upset them even more.

His dad was dying.

There was nothing left to do but say goodbye.

And he was having a really hard time with that.

Oliver hesitated outside the door to Robert's room, seeing his mother and Thea already inside, their faces covered in tears. His breath caught in his throat, choking back a sob as he stared at his father on the other side of the glass.

He'd never seen him like that. His dad had always been a beacon of strength, and it finally hit him that this was real... staring at the frail looking man in the bed... this was really happening. He was losing his father.

Felicity's hand found his back, moving in soothing circles. Her touch always helped, always made him relax, but this was different. Nothing was going to make the knot in his stomach go away. Nothing could fix this. She pressed her lips against his shoulder, "You go in, the girls and I will wait for a while. I don't want to overwhelm him."

Oliver nodded, setting Lydia on the ground. He expected his daughters to have a million questions, but they'd both gone silent as soon as they saw their grandfather. Felicity took each of their hands, and Oliver paused, watching as his wife led them to the waiting area. He hesitated another moment, seeing her pull both of them onto her lap and whisper in their ears, swaying from side to side as they nestled into her and she kissed each of their heads. 

He was given another reason, on top of the countless others, why Felicity was the strongest woman he'd ever known. She always seemed to know exactly what he needed, even in moments like this when he had no idea. When he could barely form a thought, let alone provide the comfort and strength that his daughters needed. Felicity had enough for all of them. He was glad for it, because strong was the last thing he felt in that moment.

Taking a deep breath, Oliver spared his family one more glance before he opened the door. Robert Queen smiled as his son walked into the room, immediately holding out his hand. 

Oliver took it, "Hi, dad." He said, blinking back more tears. He knew how much his father hated crying. But between trying to hold it together for his daughters' sakes and now his father's, he felt like doing nothing more than letting it out.

He was surprised when Robert's eyes filled, too. "Son," he said, "you came."

"Of course I came."

Things at the office had been tense ever since Oliver confirmed his father's affair with Isabel Rochev, ever since he found out that it'd been happening for years. That there was a list of women before her, too. He'd always known...growing up, he'd always guessed that his dad wasn't the man he should have been. But becoming a husband himself, having his own daughters, it made him feel a level of disdain for his father that he didn't even know was possible.

He'd been disgusted... when he caught them in Robert's office last month, Isabel on her knees in front of the desk while Robert sat in his chair. It had been the boiling point. And it shook him more than he expected it to, since he'd had assumptions before that night, anyway.

But just the thought of ever doing something like that, ever becoming like his dad, it bothered him more than he was willing to admit. He'd gotten into a screaming match with his dad, and then his mom when he'd confronted her too, for the way she'd silently accepted his infidelity for so long. He'd been giving both of them a chilly silent treatment ever since. 

It broke his heart that his parents had never been in love the way that two people who promise each other forever should be in love. 

The way that he was in love with Felicity. It took him a long time to realize that his parents had never truly experienced that. A selfless, honest, and satisfying kind of love.

"Did you bring my granddaughters?"

"Yeah, dad, they're right outside." Oliver choked, regrets rising in his throat like bile. He'd barely spoken to his father in weeks, only long enough to get work done. No matter how Robert Queen had treated his marriage, or even his children, Oliver couldn't deny the way he loved the girls. He was sweet with them, and it had shocked Oliver, since he'd never known his father to be good with kids. But Logan and Lydia loved him.  

Robert nodded, looking up at the ceiling as a tear fell, and Oliver felt his heart breaking. They'd never been close. In fact, it wasn't until he'd graduated college that he'd felt like he got to know his father. He'd spent a long time wishing things could be different, but they'd become closer as Oliver worked at QC. Robert never talked about it either, though. The Queen family wasn't known for being the sharing type.

Suddenly time felt like his worst enemy.

He saw his father as a man with a lot of pride, a lot of mistakes, and even more regrets. One who loved his family, but also one who prioritized all the wrong things.

It crushed him to think that his father was dying that way.

Oliver wasn't sure how he felt about his daughters seeing their grandfather like this, but he knew that it meant everything to Robert. He needed it, to see them and say goodbye. And he also knew that Logan and Lydia were worlds stronger than most little girls.

Thea followed him out of the hospital room, each of them letting out ragged breaths, and the twins spotted her as soon as they stepped into the hall, jumping off of Felicity's lap and charging for her. "Girls!" Felicity called after them in a whisper, standing up to stop them. 

"Auntie Thea!" They both squealed, hurling themselves at her legs.

Thea huffed, trying to step away from them but their grips were tight around each leg. His sister was always patient with the twins, and she'd been one of their favorite people since the day they were born. But Thea had too much going on, too much on her plate, and she clearly wasn't feeling up for the attack. She gently removed each of them, touching their cheeks. "Hey, cuties." She mumbled, forcing a smile and bending down to give them both a proper hug.

Felicity put a hand on each of their shoulders in an attempt to calm them down a little bit. They'd seen Thea just two days ago, but the excitement was always the same.

Logan clutched onto Thea's hand. "Mommy says we're here to say goodbye to Grandpa." She said quietly, the excitement fading and morphing into a nervous tone that squeezed at his heart, as if she was remembering where they were and why. Lydia quickly followed suit, staring up at Thea as if they were asking her to tell them it wasn't true.

His sister's eyes darted up to Felicity, and Oliver was surprised at the anger behind them. "We don't know that." She said harshly.

Felicity's eyes stayed focused on Thea, and Oliver stared at his sister in shock. The doctors had been extremely clear...

"Moira said on the phone..." Felicity whispered, trailing off when Thea's eyes narrowed.

"I'm aware of what my mom thinks," she snapped, "they haven't finished testing him. They haven't...they haven't tried everything yet. He could still-"

"Thea..." Oliver started. He'd seen the reports. He'd seen his father. There was nothing else to do, it was just a matter of time. Time that he realized he was lucky to have, grateful for the chance to say goodbye...to let his dad finally apologize for the mistakes he'd made. It was a gift. He hadn't realized that Thea felt differently. 

"No!" Thea turned her glare at him, "I won't just sit here and wait for him to die, Ollie! It's dad!" She pointed her finger at him, her eyes filling with frustrated, scared tears. Oliver reached for her, but she held out her hands and stepped back, a pained expression in her eyes that he'd never seen before. "And Felicity's standing here talking about goodbye!?"

"It's okay to feel angry, Auntie Thea." Lydia offered, her voice small and afraid as she looked up at her aunt, sensing anger in her that even Oliver had never seen. He could tell that his daughter was anxious. Lydia hated hearing anyone yell or seeing them get upset. She always wanted to fix things, make people feel better. His little peace keeper. "You can make better choices tomorrow, okay?"

Oliver, Felicity, and Thea all froze as Lydia repeated Felicity's earlier advice. "And leave your upset feelings in the tub. Wash them down with the bubbles like mommy says."

Thea stared down at her for a long moment, and then she nodded slowly. Without another word, his sister straightened, making her way to the exit. "Thea!" Oliver said, his heart sinking as he watched her leave, knowing that she would regret it if she wasn't here when...

"Thea, don't go!" Oliver called, but Thea just threw her hands up, shoving open the door to the stairwell. He closed his eyes, taking in a shaky breath.

Lydia's lip started to tremble, just like it had in the bathtub, but this time the emotion in her eyes was for her aunt Thea and not for herself, making it even more heartbreaking. Oliver knelt down in front of her, "It's okay, sweetheart. Auntie Thea is just upset."

"Did I hurt Auntie Thea's feelings, daddy?"

Oliver shook his head, pulling his daughter into a hug. "No, honey, it's not you." He pulled Logan in, too. "Or you." Oliver looked up at Felicity, meeting her eyes to make sure she understood, too. Or you.

Felicity nodded once, wiping away a tear before their daughters could see. Logan burrowed into his chest, "Auntie Thea was mean to mommy..." She said, sounding just as upset about it as Oliver felt.

His wife knelt down across from him, rubbing Logan's arm until she looked at her. "Hey..." she said gently, forcing a smile. "Who is your best friend in the whole world?"

"Lydia." Logan answered without hesitation.

Felicity nodded, expecting that answer, of course. "And who is mommy's best friend in the whole world?"

"Auntie Thea." Logan mumbled.

Oliver watched as Felicity nodded again and gave Logan a smile, "That's right. So, when Lydia is upset, doesn't it make you upset, too?" Logan nodded. "Me too," Felicity sighed, "Auntie Thea wasn't being mean, baby. She's frustrated. And that's okay."

Oliver sighed, kissing Logan's head, and then Lydia's. "She'll be okay, though."

Felicity nodded in agreement, but the look they shared was less certain than he sounded.

He wasn't sure if Thea would ever forgive herself if she missed Robert's last moments.

Oliver stood up, taking the twins with him. He pulled each of them up onto his hips, carrying them with practiced grace after four years with them.

He knew that Logan and Lydia wouldn't understand what was going on. Not completely, at least.

He wondered if they were able to grasp the idea that they'd never see their Grandpa again, or if they were afraid. He never wanted them to hurt in this way, but he knew that it was unavoidable. He couldn't protect them from everything, definitely not from this. And he was surprised to see that his girls, who were usually extremely curious and inquisitive, were silent. It was like they knew that their parents didn't have all of the answers about this, and they accepted it for what it was.

Oliver gently gave Logan to Felicity and wrapped his arm around both of them, holding Lydia in his other arm, against his chest. Felicity sighed, rocking Logan as they walked towards his father's room. They hesitated in front of the window, looking in at his parents.

Standing in front of the glass, Oliver watched his parents as they exchanged words in a private, low conversation, not wanting to interrupt. He knew that more than anything, Robert had things to say to Moira.

"Grandma's sad." Lydia whispered in his ear.

Oliver nodded, closing his eyes, not wanting to see his mother's distress. "Yes," he breathed, "yes honey, she is."

"I called Tommy," Felicity said. "He's going to pick the girls up in about an hour so they can go home and sleep in their beds."

He glanced down at his wife, half of him wanting to tell her that she should go home too, to be with them...and the other half of him wanting her to stay with him. She rested her head on his shoulder, looking up at him like she could read his mind, "I'm not going anywhere." She said.

Oliver focused on Felicity as she swayed slightly under his arm and began to hum. She pressed her lips against Logan's hair, humming "Part of Your World" under her breath and soothing all three members of her family. Logan snuggled into her mother's chest and started to whisper the words, and Felicity smiled down at her.

Oliver took a deep breath, shaking his head in amazement. He watched as the sound of her voice somehow made their daughters feel a little better.

And it worked on him, too.

Kissing Felicity's forehead, he hugged them all tighter to his chest. "It's okay, girls," he whispered, "let's go say goodbye to Grandpa."

Chapter Text

Two more pages. Just two more pages on her final paper and then she could see Oliver.

As much as the parties still made her uncomfortable, she knew that it was the last one of the year, and Oliver had to be there. She didn't mind them that anymore, mostly because Iris, Dinah, and Caitlin were always there. And Oliver never left her side, anyway.

They still spent most of their nights at her apartment, though, especially on the weekends. One too many awkward, early morning run ins with his roommates while she stumbled to the bathroom in his shirt, and her boyfriend didn't mind staying at her place. It warmed her heart how much he enjoyed spending time there. He actually seemed to prefer it. Ronnie and Cisco were over a lot too, and they'd already accepted Barry into the group. Oliver liked spending time in her living room, watching movies with their friends and then being able to crawl into bed with her. For a once wild party boy, it was strangely domestic and easy how he changed the way he spent his time.

She was really enjoying it, too. It was comfortable, a sense of normalcy and happiness that had been missing from her life for a long time.

His roommates were entertaining as hell, and she didn't mind staying there when they first started dating, but her apartment, her room, and her bed had just recently begun to feel like their space. And weekends were deal breakers for her. The frat house was awake and partying until four in the morning on most weekends, and she couldn't sleep there.

After getting into a routine where Oliver hardly ever slept at his house anymore, his brothers were all excited to have him partying with them tonight. She knew that they teased him about being "whipped" but Oliver either ignored them or smiled, completely unfazed. So they were kind of making a big deal about his presence at this party.

Felicity had to finish her assignment before she could go, so she was posted up in the library with her laptop and coffee.

Her phone was going off like crazy, and she'd had to mute it half an hour ago. She knew it was going to be clogged with messages from all of her friends, but she refrained from looking at it until she was done her work. It was an important paper, and she'd been working on it for weeks. This was the last day, and it had to be perfect. It was worth half her grade.

Felicity sighed, cracking her fingers as she read over the final pages, making her last edits. It was at least a B, but she was obviously hoping for an A. Thinking that it wasn't going to get any better, she emailed it to her professor with a sigh, throwing her fist into the air as she fell back in the chair. Closing her eyes, she gave herself a few moments to breathe before she reached for her phone.

The group text with her roommates had fifty unread messages. She glanced over those first, catching up with their plans to meet at the party, and then later, the texts as they harassed her to get her ass over there.

Then she opened the three from Oliver; one wishing her luck on her paper, the second telling her that Cisco had made a bet that he could drink more than Dinah, and she would probably arrive to their friends in a hot mess. The third simply said: I can't wait to see you soon. I love you.

Clicking on his name, she called him as she started to pack up her things. "Hi, beautiful." He answered, the smile could be heard through the phone, but she could also tell that he was a little drunk.

She laughed, "Hey, handsome." She said loudly to be heard over the music and voices in the background. "How's the party?"

"It'll be great once you get here. Are you done your paper?"

"Yeah, I'm just about to leave the library." She sighed, "I don't know how I'll do on it though. I really want to ace this class." She chewed on her cheek, knowing that the paper wasn't technically due until midnight, and she technically still had two hours to edit it more and send it in again.

"You will, baby. Why don't you come over, have a beer, relax, and let me kiss your stress away."

Rolling her eyes, she smiled. "I'll be over soon..." she said, taking her laptop back out, "I'm just going to look it over one more time."

She heard his sigh, "I haven't seen you in two days," he said quietly, "I miss you. And you're brilliant, Felicity. I'm sure your paper is amazing. Just come over and let loose a little bit. We're almost done with school, you can relax."

Felicity raised an eyebrow, "I don't need to relax, Oliver. I need to finish this. Why don't you get that?" She snapped.

He inhaled sharply at her harsh tone before hesitating on the other end of the line, and she closed her eyes. "Okay," he said gently, his voice hurt. "Okay, I'll see you when you're done. Good luck."

She instantly felt guilty. "Oliver..." she breathed, "I'm sorry..."

"No," he said, "it's okay. You're okay, you're right. I'll talk to you when you get here."

"Okay...are you sure-"

"Ronnie needs some help bringing a keg up from the basement, so I'll let you go. See you soon, baby." 

"All right...bye." When he hung up, she was surprised to be blinking back tears.

Since they started dating five months ago, they'd barely fought. Her mood swings when she was on her period and disagreements about how to spend their weekends were their biggest issues. Caitlin kept telling her to be prepared for the "honeymoon" stage to end, but it hadn't. She was starting to think that it never would. But the way she'd snapped at him now was harsher than she'd ever been, and she could tell by his little gasp that he was surprised by it. And he'd just sounded so hurt.

Groaning, Felicity forced herself to fix up her paper one more time, even more anxious to get to him now.

Feeling better about her assignment after a few more minor changes, she emailed her professor, letting him know that this was her real final draft, and then she rushed to get to the party.

As soon as she pulled up to the house, she felt self-conscious. It was the last party of the year, and the girls scattered around the yard were dressed for the occasion. She had jeans and a tank top on. And she wasn't even wearing make-up. Feeling vastly under dressed as she walked through all of the girls in their short skirts, looking extraordinary to her ordinary, she gripped her keys tightly.

Once she got inside, she scanned the room for Oliver. He usually stuck to the living room at these things, so that was the first place she checked.

It wasn't hard to miss the side eyed, judgmental looks from certain girls as she pushed through the crowd, but it was silly to feel self-conscious about it.

She'd been in the house dozens of times. She knew the names and faces of everyone that lived there. Most of the guests knew her as Oliver's girlfriend, so she shouldn't care what she looked like. His house should feel more comfortable to her, but it felt like an entirely different place on a Saturday night when there was a party going on than it did on a Wednesday afternoon when she was sprawled out on Oliver's bedroom floor, studying. 

She couldn't find him anywhere. 

But she saw Caitlin and Iris dancing by the speakers, and she made her way over to them. Iris frowned when she saw her, glancing down at her jeans. When she reached them, Caitlin flipped her messy pony tail, "Felicity, did you come straight from the library?"

"Uh, yeah. I was going to go home and change, but Oliver and I kind of had this weird thing on the phone...and I just needed to see him. Do you know where he is?" She asked.

Her roommates shook their heads, "I saw him about twenty minutes ago, but I don't know where he went." Iris said.

"Okay," she said, looking around for him again, "I'll see you guys later."

She made her way into the kitchen, where Ronnie was restocking the fridge with beers, "Hey Raymond," she greeted him with a smile. "You seen my boyfriend lately?"

He turned around to look at her, smirking. Ronnie playfully swatted her ponytail, just like his girlfriend had done, and Felicity rolled her eyes. "Nope. He said you were pretty stressed about your paper though. You okay?"

Felicity flinched, "Yeah, I wasn't very nice to him."

Ronnie chuckled, "Oliver's just trying to help, even if he doesn't always say the right thing." He said, cluing her in to the fact that Oliver had probably mentioned their conversation to him.

She cringed again. She knew that, she really did. And Oliver actually had a surprising way of saying insanely sweet things exactly when she needed to hear them. "So you have no idea where he could be?"

"You looking for Queen?"

Felicity turned to see Adrian Chase, the freshman who had hit on her at the New Years party a few months ago, who Oliver also hated and strategically avoided at parties like this. Oliver always steered her away from Chase when he showed up to the house. She narrowed her eyes. She got the same creepy vibe from him that Oliver did. "Yeah. Do you know where he is?"

Chase smiled, sipping his beer and nodding. "I saw him heading upstairs a few minutes ago."

She eyed him suspiciously, "Okay," she said slowly, turning back to Ronnie and raising her eyebrows. "See you later." She didn't bother acknowledging Adrian again as she hurried to the stairs, jogging up all of them quickly.

Guests weren't allowed upstairs, and they locked all of the rooms up there anyway. One of Oliver's roommates was coming down as she ran up, and he grabbed her arm. "Hey, you have to stay downstairs, sweetheart." He said.

Felicity narrowed her eyes at him, "Ramirez," she clipped, only partially offended that he'd met her multiple times and didn't recognize her. "I'm dating Oliver." She put a hand to her chest, "Felicity." She said.

"Oh, right." He said, his face dropping.

When he still didn't let go of her arm, she tugged it out of his grip, "Okay, have a nice night." She smiled sarcastically.

Rene grabbed her hand this time, stopping her again. "Uh, why don't I get you a drink. I'm sure Oliver will be down any minute."

Felicity hesitated, her radar going off, telling her that Ramirez was nervous about something. "Rene," she said, "let go of me now, or I'll remove your hand from your body."

He let go of her immediately, "Damn, blondie. Fine, go ahead."

She rolled her eyes, climbing the rest of the stairs and going down the hallway. He'd somehow managed to get the most private room, which she appreciated, but it was also the smallest. There was another set of stairs at the end of the hall that led up to Oliver's room, basically in the attic, and she took them.

Trying the door first, Felicity frowned when she found it locked.

She felt a knot in her stomach as she knocked. "What!?" She heard Oliver's loud, harsh tone from the other side of the door, making her step back in surprise. He sounded annoyed, a sharpness in his voice that she'd never heard. Apparently he was more upset than he'd let on earlier.

"Uh...Oliver?"

"Felicity?" His voice changed, "Oh!"

She could hear his feet padding across the floor before he swung the door open. His wide eyes were the first thing she noticed, but then she frowned at his bare chest, a t-shirt hanging from his fist.

"What are you-" Her eyes glanced back up his body, and finally, her attention was caught by something over his shoulder. A girl sitting on his bed.

A familiar girl.

She was perched on the edge of his mattress in a gold dress, her face stained in tears and mascara, but when Felicity met her eyes, she smirked. Laurel Lance. Felicity's jaw dropped, her eyes flying back to Oliver. She cocked her head to the side, her heart beating faster as he stared at her. Butterflies stirred in her stomach, making her nauseous. 

Felicity blinked, taking a step back. As soon as she moved, Oliver snapped out of it, reaching for her immediately, but she shoved his hand away. The look on his face was what really got her; pure surprise, like he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't be doing.

She'd seen her mom go through this too many times. She knew what it looked like when a woman caught her boyfriend cheating.

"Felicity, just wait," he whispered. She had no idea what he saw on her face, but his eyes widened even more, shifting from surprise to panic. 

She whimpered, turning away from him quickly before he could see the tears in her eyes. If her mother's experiences had taught her anything, it was that you never wanted them to know how much they'd hurt you. How much it stung.

But god, it stung. She felt the pain of it not only in her chest, but in the rest of her body, too. Her legs felt weak as she moved away from him, and she cursed under her breath as she darted to the stairs, forcing herself to be stronger. "You need to go!" She heard Oliver growl to his guest, and she started moving down the steps faster. 

When she reached the bottom, thrown back into the drunk and happy party-goers, she pulled her keys out of her pocket, too afraid to look behind her.

She had no idea what she'd say or do if he was chasing after her, but she also knew it'd hurt even worse if he wasn't.

"Felicity!" His voice cut through the music as he yelled her name, and she gasped, her eyes flying to the steps as he barreled down them. Several people at the base of the stairs looked up at him. But she quickly walked to the door, making her way outside. 

Oliver caught up to her just as she was reaching her car. He grabbed her waist, "Hey, hey, hey," he pleaded, his voice tight. "Slow down, slow down." Twisting her around, he pressed her against the side of her car, his hands lifting to her face, cupping it and tipping her chin to look at him. "This is not what you think. I know it looked bad, but I need you to turn that pretty brain of yours off for a minute and hear me out."

"Really?" She snapped, looking away from him because she was already crying and he could obviously see it but if she looked into his eyes, the tears would only come harder.

"Yes, baby, really." He stared down at her, holding her face in his hands, and she looked back up at him, trying to find answers in his gaze. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and tried to calm down.

"Laurel was drunk and upset, I was just helping her relax."

Felicity's eyes flew open, wide as they met his, anger pouring out of her. "That's your excuse!?"

"No!" he froze when he saw how pissed she actually was, his eyes widening as he realized how his words came across. "Wait, what? That's not what I meant! She was crying, and she wanted to talk. That was it, Felicity. Come on, you know me. I love you and I would never do that to you!"

She clenched her jaw, pushing his hands away from her face, "You said you were done with all of that. That you and Laurel were over before you even met me. You said there wouldn't be any more of this drama!" She yelled, shoving his chest, but he didn't budge.

"I know, I know and I'm sorry. But Laurel has been my friend for a long time, Felicity! She was upset and she wanted to talk. Am I not allowed to talk to her?" He quipped, making her eyes narrow. He took a deep breath, his tone softer when he spoke again, "I was just trying to help a friend. That's all that this was. Please don't make it into something else. Please, Felicity. Please." He begged.

"So it's my fault that I found you shirtless with your ex? In a locked bedroom? That's on me?"

"Of course not." He sighed, closing his eyes. "She spilled her drink on my shirt," he said, frowning. "I was in the middle of changing it when you knocked..."

Felicity scoffed, shoving his chest again, harder this time, until he backed up. "You must think I'm an idiot."

"I don't, Felicity! But this is crazy. If you would just listen to me..." He pleaded.

When he stepped towards her again, Felicity opened her door, leveling him with a warning look. He froze, and she wasn't sure what he saw in her eyes, but his face dropped.

She could see the moment he realized how serious she was. How serious this was. That it wasn't about to be fixed. That this conversation wasn't going to end with her going back inside with him. His eyes softened, begging her to understand. "What do you want me to do?" He mumbled, coming closer again despite the look on her face. 

Ignoring him, she got into her car, but he caught the door before she could slam it. "Felicity..." he said anxiously, "You're used to running away when it's hard. I get that. And I love you, but this is a misunderstanding...and you need to learn how to talk through those, not just leave because it hurts."

She glared at him. He was unbelievable.

Oliver leaned into her car, keeping his eyes on hers, "I'm not going anywhere, Felicity. Nothing happened up there, and I won't lose you over this. Not over something I didn't do." He shook his head, "I won't." He finished, his voice full of resolve.

She knew she had a temper, and plenty of trust issues to work through. But he was the one, cheater or not, who had brought his ex girlfriend up to his room. He was the one who locked the door and got into a situation where his clothes had somehow come off. Misunderstanding or not, she wasn't the only one who had made mistakes tonight. "Let go of the door, Oliver." She gritted her teeth.

He hesitated, and she glared up at him. "Okay...okay, I'll give you space. I love you, and I'll call you tomorrow."

"Don't bother," she snapped back, "Why don't you go upstairs and finish what you started? You've already lost me, anyway. Might as well let yourself indulge in the fun part of cheating, right?"

His eyes flashed with anger, but he pushed it down.

She was looking for a fight, not that she could admit that to herself. It was easier to say it was all his fault than to see what she was doing; that maybe she'd be relieved if he'd cheated. Because at least then, when it ended, she could have a reason to hate him for it.

She didn't want him to be level headed, calm, and sweet. She wanted him to yell. She wanted him to give her an excuse to run. It hurt, and she was scared, and she needed him to do something, anything, to let her blame him.

Oliver clenched his jaw, stepping back slowly, and she slammed the door. He didn't say anything else, and she convinced herself that it was confirmation. Maybe he would go back to his room and sleep with Laurel.

She started her car and pulled out of the driveway, seeing him still standing there and staring at her as she did. But she didn't give him a glance until it was in her rear view mirror. Her eyes met his, and he shook his head at her before turning to go back into the house.

Felicity turned her mind off as she drove home, keeping her breathing even and calm as she focused on the speed limit and her surroundings. She took the long way, using the distraction as much as she could. And she moved just as slowly as she parked outside of her building and went into the apartment.

It wasn't until she was in her room and had nothing else to do, nothing else to think about that she let the tears come again. Falling onto her pillows, she let it all out, feeling her chest tightening as she tried to make sense of everything...most of all, the way she'd reacted.

She realized that she was pushing him away...because the sight of him standing at his door, shirtless with a girl in his room, had terrified her.

She'd only been dating him for five months, but she knew him. Just like he'd said.

She knew that he'd never hurt her like this.

The image of him with those wide, shocked eyes had still rattled her to her core, though. It was a harsh reminder of the kind of men she'd grown up watching her mother date. The men who she'd seen walk all over Donna, throw her heart in a blender and leave her reeling. She'd seen her mom get her heart broken again and again, the worst being by her father, and she'd vowed to never fall into that trap, to never let someone hurt her like this.

Whether Oliver was a cheater or not...he still had the ability to crush her, because she loved him, and that was absolutely unnerving. 

Being with him for the past five months, she'd forgotten all about those men, all about those warnings from her mom, telling her that all men were the same and to never trust them. Falling in love with Oliver had made her forget about all of that heartache. It was easy to forget how afraid she was to have her heart broken when she was busy loving a man who had worked so hard to heal it. One who had all the patience, respect, and kindness she could ever ask for.

She'd lost herself in him, but she'd never been that girl.

Above everything else, she was still terrified of losing him, but the damage might have already been done.

Part of her had been waiting for this. Subconsciously, she'd been waiting for a moment like this, where she could run. He was perfect in every way, and she hadn't even realized that she was doing it, that she'd been waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it seemed that as soon as she had a reason to doubt him, she'd taken it.

Felicity laid in bed for a while, staring at her ceiling and trying to catch up with everything that had happened and everything she was feeling. Glancing at her clock, she finally sighed. Her face was wet with tears that had made their way into her hair and down her neck. She knew that she could use a shower, but she didn't want to move.

A light knock on her door made her jump, her heart leaping into her throat as she sat up. "Yeah?"

"It's me,"

Felicity fell back onto her pillows, recognizing her roommate's voice. "Come in." She groaned.

Caitlin popped her head in. "We need to talk."

"My head hurts from all the talking, yelling, and thinking I've done tonight already." Felicity answered, frowning.

"You're insane."

Her eyes darted to her friend, who was standing at the door, her arms crossed as she glared. Felicity's back straightened, sensing how pissed Caitlin was. She felt herself getting defensive, preparing to fight with her friend now, too. "Excuse me?"

"Do you honestly think Oliver would hook up with Laurel?"

"He told you about that?"

"Not willingly. I overheard Laurel telling some girls that you and Oliver broke up because she slept with him. And you know what my first thought was? That that girl is a damn liar. So, please, tell me, how on earth do I have more faith in your boyfriend than you do?"

Felicity's mouth hung open, shock written all over her face. "It was kind of hard to believe him when I found locked in his bedroom...with her...and he was half naked!"

Caitlin pursed her lips. "Uh huh. And I understand how...initially...that was probably pretty damning."

She nodded, feeling like her friend was on her side now. "Exactly."

"No," Caitlin said, shaking her head at Felicity. "You're still insane. He explained to me what happened. The truth. And I believed him. And I know you, so I know why you didn't. Or rather...I know that you do believe him. But that you're scared." Caitlin sighed, "I love you, Felicity. And I'm not letting you ruin this. What you have with Oliver is...special, and I'll be damned if I sit back while you sabotage yourself."

"I'm not..."

"Part of you has been waiting for the past five months for an excuse. An out. And you finally got one. Now you have to deal with it. You have to decide if you're really going to take it. You can convince yourself that he's a liar, and a cheater, and that you hate him. Or you can believe what we both know is true...he's a dope who is way too trusting of the world." Felicity couldn't help the sharp, surprised laugh that escaped from her throat at Caitlin's words.

"If you can actually walk away from him and not look back, Felicity, then you're doing it for yourself, and you need to be honest with him about that. Don't make him carry around the guilt that this is his fault for the rest of his life. We both know that Oliver is not like your dad." Her roommate continued. Felicity inhaled sharply, her chest tightening at the words. "Oliver is not the kind of man that gives up on what he loves, and my god, does he love you. I'm really hoping that you can see that."

"Caitlin..."

"Do you love him?"

"Of course I do!" Felicity argued, throwing up her hands, "I just think that maybe I should wait until tomorrow to talk to him, maybe we could both use some time to cool off."

"Is there anything you would say to him tomorrow that you wouldn't say to him right now? That you don't already know?" Caitlin asked. Felicity bit her lip and shook her head. "Then stop being scared, Felicity, and go talk to him."

"I told him it was over and that he should sleep with Laurel." She deadpanned, her eyes going wide as she stared up at her roommate. Caitlin huffed, setting her hands on her hips and giving her a disapproving look. "Right." Felicity mumbled. "He wouldn't do that. Right. I know that."

"I can guarantee you that boy is not doing anything but moping. Go tell him how you feel. Make him feel better. He might deserve a little bit of this mess for thinking that Laurel Lance had innocent intentions, but he doesn't deserve all of this, Felicity." Caitlin said, opening her bedroom door. Felicity stood up, straightening out her tank top. "And hey," Caitlin said as Felicity grabbed her keys. "This was a good fight, so you know it's going to be good sex."

Felicity huffed out a laugh, "It always is." She breathed, and her friend chuckled, raising her eyebrows.

"I know, we live together and the walls are thin." Felicity blushed but Caitlin just flashed a smile. She nudged her,"Go!"

With that, Felicity hopped through the apartment, putting her shoes on.

Ronnie was sitting on the couch, and he raised his arms above his head and cheered when Felicity walked out. "Go get him, tiger!"

Felicity rolled her eyes at him, "I don't know if I'll be back tonight," she said, pulling her coat on as quickly as she could. "If not, I'll see you guys tomorrow. Love you!" She yelled, swinging the door open. As she rushed into the hall, she was stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Oliver sitting on the floor, his back against the wall opposite of their apartment. "Oh," she breathed as he slowly picked his head up. "Hi."

Her boyfriend forced a smile, "Hey,"

"I was just coming to see you." She whispered, sliding down the wall to sit next to him. She immediately reached for his hand, grazing his fingers with her own, and he turned his palm over, holding on tightly. "I owe you an apology." She sighed.

"No, I owe you one. I never should have let Laurel come up there, and every choice along the way was terrible. I locked the door out of habit because I always do when there are parties, and I didn't think it'd be a big deal to change my shirt, I smelled like tequila. But then you knocked on the door...and I could see it on your face what you were thinking, and I panicked and I stood there...just not saying anything, and then the more I saw the wheels turning in that beautiful brain of yours, the more I started freaking out." Oliver let out a deep breath. "But those aren't excuses. I should have just...I don't know, told her to go home. It was a game to her. And I fell for it."

Felicity put her lips on his shoulder, feeling him relax, slightly, at the contact. "Fell for what?"

He let his head fall back against the wall with a loud thump. "She came up to me crying and said that Adrian Chase did something to her. She wanted to talk, but she didn't want to be around all the people, so she asked if we could go upstairs, and I don't know, Felicity, I wouldn't put it past Chase, and she seemed really upset..." Felicity nodded slowly, rubbing her thumb against his palm, letting him know it was okay. "After you left, after our fight, I went back up to get my keys so I could come here, and um..."

Her heart knotted as he got nervous, but she forced herself to calm down. Trust. "What happened?"

"Nothing," he replied quickly, turning his head and meeting her gaze. "She was uh...on my bed, and kind of missing some clothing." Felicity raised her eyebrows, letting out a breath of surprise. "But I didn't do anything, Felicity, I swear. I left. I told her to get dressed and to get out, and I sent Dinah in there to get my keys...and then I asked Ronnie to drive my car over because I probably had a few too many beers, and Caitlin said she heard Laurel talking about how we hooked up and..." He scrubbed his free hand over his face, looking exhausted, "It's like as soon as I told Laurel that we could talk, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong."

Felicity kissed his shoulder, "Well...you're here. And I'm here. So maybe not everything."

"I'm so sorry...I had no idea she was going to..."

"You have a big heart, Oliver. It's one of the reasons I love you so much. Someone asked you for help and you were just trying to give it to them. Maybe try to not be so naive next time...and if there ever comes a day when Laurel or any girl besides me finds themselves in your bed without their clothes on, just know that I will not be this understanding again...there's no way something like this could ever happen twice. But I can't blame you for believing the best in everyone, Oliver, even if it was your ex-girlfriend trying to seduce you."

She expected him to laugh, at least a little, but he just closed his eyes. "Yeah...well...never again. I might've I lost you over it, and that's motivation enough for me to never be this stupid again."

"You haven't lost me," she whispered, shaking her head and brushing her lips over his shoulder. "I'm sorry, too. I shouldn't have-"

"No, Felicity," he interrupted, opening his eyes to look at her. "This one is on me."

She bit her lip, "I freaked out."

"And I don't blame you. I just stood there staring at you, probably looking really fucking guilty... You had every right to freak out."

"Maybe at first," she nodded, "but you gave me an explanation, and I didn't listen." Felicity squeezed his hand, "I believe you, Oliver." She said slowly, watching as he released a breath. "I think I believed you before you even said it. But seeing you like that...with her...it scared me. A lot. And even if I knew, deep down, that you would never do that to me, I was afraid. Because you are..." she shook her head, glancing down at their hands, "You have my heart, Oliver. I am so in love with you. And that means that you can hurt me, even if it's an accident, a misunderstanding like this...you can." She glanced back up at him. "You can break my heart. And I always used to tell myself that I would never give someone that chance."

He put his fingers beneath her chin, lifting her face so he could see her eyes. "I understand, Felicity. And I'll just throw it out there that I have no intention of doing that. But I get it. We don't know what the future holds, but you have my heart, too. As much as it feels like I could hurt you, as much as it scares you, you need to know that I feel the exact same way. I'm afraid of all of that, too, but I want this. I want you. I'm not about to give up on you just because I'm afraid of losing you."

She breathed out a laugh, "That wouldn't make very much sense, would it?"

Oliver shook his head, pressing his forehead against hers. "Seeing you drive away tonight was the most terrified I've felt in a really long time, Felicity. But that doesn't make me want to run. It just makes me want to fight even harder for you."

She reached up to press her palm to his cheek, to keep him close. She nudged his nose with her own. "When my dad left us, I felt...unlovable. I was just a kid, and I didn't understand, but I hated myself. I blamed myself. I couldn't stop thinking that something was wrong with me. That I had done something to make him leave me." Oliver gripped her a little tighter, one hand squeezing hers and the other coming up to twist into her hair. "You were right, Oliver. My instincts are to run, but I don't want to do that anymore."

He nodded slowly, his eyes telling her everything she needed to know about how much he cared. He wrapped his arm around her, kissing the tip of her nose and making her somehow feel as if he was protecting her from the heartbreak in her childhood. Healing it. Changing her and making her into a better person.

And he was.

"I want to give you what you deserve, Felicity."

"You already do," she breathed.

Oliver loosened his grip on her hair, smoothing it back as they sat in silence for a while. "I think this is technically our first real fight." He mumbled, "Five months was a long time to go without any serious drama...I guess we had plenty of it saved up that we just needed to get out of our systems."

She laughed, "Oh, it's out. I don't ever want to do that again."

Oliver put his hands on her hips and hauled her onto his lap. And Felicity wrapped her legs around his waist, her arms winding around his neck. She pressed her cheek against his. "Me either," he sighed, and then he pulled back, looking straight into her eyes, "are we okay?"

Felicity bit her lip to keep from grinning. She nodded, "More than okay. I'd say we're better." Oliver closed his eyes again, this time his face smoothed, relaxing now that the worst of it was over. The tension left his body, and she could feel it...she could physically feel how relieved he was. He had been just as afraid of losing her as she was of losing him. 

Leaning forward, Felicity gently circled her hips over him, hearing his surprised groan, his hands flying to her waist and he squeezed. His hands couldn't decide if they were trying to stop her or pull her closer, so Felicity made the decision for him. She rotated her hips closer, feeling him getting hard as he moaned softly in her ear.

Oliver chuckled under his breath, "We're in the hallway of your apartment, honey." He choked, his breath catching in his throat. His fingers tightening on her hips only spurred her on, making her move a little faster. 

She put her mouth just outside his ear, loving the way he leaned into her, as if his whole body was in tune with hers. "We had a good fight, Oliver..." she said lowly, whispering it in his ear and listening to him hum in response, his fingers gripping her even tighter, the heat in his hands radiating through her shirt. "And that means good makeup sex."

Oliver slipped his hands under the hem of her shirt, sliding his hot palms up to her ribs and making her shudder. She moaned when he kissed his way up her neck until he reached her ear, pulling her earlobe between his teeth. He bit down, causing a small sting of pain that had her rocking her hips into him even harder, feeling him where she needed him. "There's no such thing as bad sex when it comes to me and you, Felicity Smoak."

"Well don't jinx us," she teased.

Oliver laughed, sucking on her ear and soothing the spot he'd just bit. "No such thing," he whispered. 

"Mmm," she hummed, "let's test that theory."

"At least three times, I think," he whispered back, his tongue exploring her ear, his hands still under her tank top, roaming across her back and warming her. 

"Three times tonight. Don't forget about tomorrow, though."

"Oh, good point." He murmured seriously. "If we want to prove that we aren't capable of having bad sex, we're going to have to have a lot of sex, aren't we?"

"Mm-hm," she grinned, leaning back to look down at him. He smiled back up at her, "We are, and probably for a very long time, too. Years, I would say."

"Oh yeah?" She nodded, pursing her lips. His eyes darted between hers, "Well it's a good thing I can see myself making love to you for the rest of my life then."

Felicity froze, which made him freeze. His casual mention of the rest of their lives made her heart stop.

This was still new. They loved each other, they were deliriously happy together, even despite their dramatic misunderstanding tonight, but they had never talked about spending their lives together, or marriage, or any of that.

She wouldn't be dating him if she couldn't see herself ending up with him, though. Long-term. Someday. Her heart swelled at the confirmation that he could picture it, too.

Oliver dug his fingers into her back, his eyes patient as he stared up at her. "Feel like running?" He asked softly. Felicity glanced down at him, trying to focus her attention back to him, pulling herself out of her thoughts.

She shook her head, her face spreading into a slow smile, one that he reciprocated. "No," she cupped his face, "not at all."

"Good. Because if you run, you'll miss out on that really good sex we've been talking about."

She smirked, "I think I just said good, not really good." He snorted, giving her a "yeah right," as he rolled his eyes. She kissed him, "But I wouldn't want to miss out on that..." she mumbled against his lips. "Not tonight...maybe not ever."

Oliver chuckled, "Well damn woman, what are we waiting for?" He stood up, and she latched onto him, gripping her thighs and arms around him so she wouldn't fall as he got to his feet. 

Holding on to him, she giggled as he carried her into the apartment, walking right past Ronnie and Caitlin where they sat on the couch. "Aw," her roommate said, "You worked it out! I knew you would."

"Hey," Ronnie said, standing up. "You guys want to go get some ice cream? Caitlin and I were just saying how ice cream is like, the best thing after a big fight and..." 

Ronnie trailed off as his best friend walked right past him. Oliver adjusted Felicity on his hip, putting one hand on the doorknob of her bedroom, the other cupping Felicity's ass, holding her up. He turned to Ronnie and raised his eyebrows. Felicity just laughed, kissing his temple while Ronnie turned red. "Right," Ronnie mumbled, "there are obviously better things than ice cream after a big fight," he finished, glancing at Caitlin. 

His girlfriend handed him his coat, "We're going for ice cream, and maybe to stay at Ronnie's..." She cringed, "But Iris and Dinah will be home tonight so just...oh god, whatever, I'll warn them."

Felicity could feel Oliver squirming, both to get into her bedroom and to get away from this conversation. She tapped his shoulder, telling him to go. "Okay, bye!" She yelled, waving over his shoulder at their friends.

Oliver moved into her room without a word, kicking her door shut and tossing her onto the bed before Ronnie and Caitlin were even out. He climbed on top of her, his mouth fusing to hers, but he waited until they heard the front door close before he reached for the button of her jeans.

She was already so ready for him, they were naked and under the covers in less than two minutes. And his hands and mouth were everywhere. "Oh, god," she moaned, "makeup sex really is the best sex."

Oliver picked up his head from her breast, looking down at her with the most adorable bed hair and wide, aroused eyes. "Agreed."

She smiled, pulling his lips to hers again as his hips pressed against hers, and she sighed when she felt him slide home.

Oliver's hands found hers under the covers, raising them and pinning them on the pillow above her head. His breath came out in shallow pants, mixing with her own as she lifted her hips to meet him, their bodies moving together like they couldn't get enough. His pace increased as he hovered over her, but when he put his forehead to hers and opened his eyes...the whole room, the whole world slowed down. "I love you," he mumbled breathlessly, his fingers squeezing hers.

He held her so tenderly...like she was the most precious thing to him, and she whimpered. She could hear the truth of his words and the emotion of it in his voice. But she could also feel it in the way he moved inside of her, moved with her. She could see it in his eyes. "I love you, too." She said back, feeling him let out a deep breath as if it was all he needed to hear.

Oliver kissed her again before his mouth moved across her cheek and down her jaw. He kissed her neck, her ear, and every inch of her body that he could reach. Felicity's nails dug into his back, scratching down it as the tension between her legs built. She didn't notice when her moans became cries of pleasure.

Her boyfriend definitely noticed, and he made sure to touch the right places, to give extra attention to the spots that caused her to screaming the loudest, to scream his name, because he could not get enough of that sound.

It wasn't until hours later, when they realized how hungry they were, that Felicity pulled his shirt over her head, preparing to sneak into the kitchen. Oliver turned onto his side, the blanket draped over his waist but she could still see the perfect curve of his ass, his abs on full display. She groaned, jumping back onto the bed on her knees and leaning over him. 

Oliver laughed, leaning back and running her fingers through her messy hair as she hovered above him, pressing her lips to his. "Food," she mumbled into his mouth. "So, so hungry."

"Mmm," he groaned, "Me too, but I'm already regretting letting you put clothes on."

Felicity giggled, pulling her lips away abruptly and scrambling off the bed. She hurried out of the room, bouncing through the living room and into the kitchen. She flung the fridge open, and then the freezer. Grabbing the first thing that didn't require cooking, a pint of ice cream- Ronnie definitely had a point, ice cream sounded perfect- and then she quickly grabbed two spoons and ran back to her room. 

Frowning as she hesitated in her doorway, she peeked her head back out, glancing down the hall and seeing Dinah's and Iris' doors closed. They were home.

With a groan, she went back to Oliver. "What time is it?"

"Almost three."

Her eyes widened. "I have no idea when the girls got home or what they heard, but I hope we never discuss it."

He grinned, "Don't be embarrassed. I love the sounds you make."

She narrowed her eyes at him as she handed him his spoon. "I don't think my roommates would appreciate it as much as you do."

Felicity crawled to the middle of her bed, and Oliver sat up as she set the ice cream between them. "Well they should." He answered, "God, they're gorgeous."

Feeling herself blush, Felicity glanced at him. She could vaguely remember the way she'd screamed his name, her moans filling the room and probably the whole apartment. It made her feel better though, that his groaning in response was...just as enthusiastic.

Not that Dinah and Iris needed to hear that, either. Shoving his shoulder, she took a bite of ice cream. "You need to remind me to be quieter next time." She complained, putting the spoon back in her mouth and turning the spoon over, sucking it clean.

Oliver glanced up at her, his eyes shifting from side to side, wondering if she was serious. But then his gaze focused on her lips, watching her mouth without a trace of remorse or apology. His eyes flickered back up to hers as she pulled the spoon from between her lips.

He swallowed, "Yeah, baby, there's no way I'm going to do that."