It was late when Oliver entered his apartment.
For the first time in months he sighed in relief instead of frustration or anger.
For three years he tried to save his company from bankruptcy and now his hard work was starting to pay off. The board of directors even congratulated with him today, the same board of directors that over two years ago told him he’ll never be able to be the CEO of such an important company.
All because he spent five years on a 'deserted island’.
There was also the fact that people still believed he was just a pretty face, the same playboy he was before his time away, but five years in hell changed him. He became someone else, he saw and did things he wasn’t proud of, but that made him grow, that shaped him into something else.
When he came home three years ago, instead of seeking justice himself, he told everything he knew to the police. He gave them the list of names his father left him and they brought down those who were poisoning his city.
His family was targeted by many people who accused them of corruption and even murder, after a madman -‘friend’ of his family- destroyed half of the city with a man-made earthquake. The same earthquake that also caused the tragic deaths of his mother and his best friend.
Oliver and his sister Thea were left alone, and when it came to the company she told him she wasn’t interested in it, it wasn’t her thing. He couldn’t just throw away what their parents created, so he stepped up with the intention of making them proud of him by saving their legacy.
And today he was finally able to say he made it. Today he made them proud of him. After this long day all he wanted to do was lay on his bed and fall asleep.
He took off his jacket and threw it on the couch. Suddenly he heard a crashing sound, but he ignored it. His new neighbors moved in three days ago, they probably moved some boxes around and broke something. Oliver started to undo the buttons of his shirt. He was at the second button when he heard a woman scream.
“Please, don’t! She-” A thud. Like a body hitting the floor.
He couldn’t ignore this.
If his five years away taught him anything, it was to recognize when something was wrong. And now his gut was telling him just that.
Oliver quickly went outside and noticed that his neighbors’ door was slightly open, the door frame damaged. Someone broke it. He was so tired he didn’t see that a minute ago when he walked in front of it.
Listening closely he heard movement inside and the cries of a baby, probably an infant.
Oliver was about to go in, when the door opened and he was faced with a man holding the crying baby in his arms, shaking her violently.
“Shut up!” He yelled, trying to keep her quiet but failing, she just screamed harder and tried to get away from him.
The man looked away from the baby and froze when he saw Oliver in front of him.
He had a cut on his forehead that was bleeding and scratches on his arms and neck. On top of all that, he had a guilty expression on his face.
Out of the corner of his eye, Oliver saw a woman on the floor behind the man. She wasn’t moving.
His mind was racing to find a way to stop him, but the baby complicated things. Oliver couldn’t risk of hurting her.
The guy carelessly threw the baby at Oliver, who quickly caught her before she ended on the floor. While he was focused on saving the baby, the man took his chance and ran. Oliver wanted to follow him, but he couldn’t leave the baby alone, nor the woman in the apartment.
So he secured the hold he had on the baby, remembering his parents’ words when he first held Thea, and was careful to support the head. He guessed that was a girl because of the pink dress she was wearing and the soft features of her face. She couldn't be older than three or four months. She had short light brown hair and blue eyes. And lungs that worked perfectly, if her screams were any indication.
“Hey, baby girl. It’s okay, no one is going to hurt you. I promise.”
The softness in which he spoke surprised Oliver. He thought he lost this part of himself a long time ago, considering what happened to him.
He quickly checked her for injuries and after he found none he went inside the apartment. Oliver kneeled next to the woman and pressed two fingers against her neck. He sighed in relief when he found a steady pulse.
He grabbed the phone in his pocket and texted the person he trusted the most for a situation like this.
911 - Ambulance, my place.
His friend was fast to send a reply.
On the way.
He put the phone back and noticed that the baby in his arms had quieted down, only a hiccup every once in a while could be heard, while her head rested against Oliver’s shoulder and her little hands gripped his shirt.
He looked down at the woman. She was beautiful. Except for the blonde hair, she was identical to the baby so he guessed she must be the mother.
He could also see signs of a fight. A split lip, a bruise forming on her jaw, matching hand shaped bruises on both of her arms and her left wrist looked sprained if not broken.
Carefully holding the baby in one arm, he gently squeezed the woman’s shoulder to wake her up.
“Miss? Can you hear me?”
After a few moments her eyes slowly opened and she moaned in pain when she tried to move.
“It’s okay, don’t move too much. An ambulance is coming.” Oliver tried to reassure her. “Can you tell me your name?”
“Uh… Felicity… Sma- Smoak.” The words came out slowly and with a slur, which made Oliver think she had a concussion.
“Alright, Felicity. Now I need you to try to stay awake, okay? At least until the paramedics are here.”
He cupped her uninjured jaw to keep her still and she looked in his direction. She had the bluest eyes he’s ever seen.
When she spotted the little girl in his arms she immediately moved into a sitting position, her injuries long forgotten.
“Let her go!” She frantically looked around, grabbed a piece of glass from the floor and pointed it at him.
“Hey, it’s okay. Everything’s okay.” He tried to reassure her.
After hearing the woman’s voice, the baby in his arms started to fuss and reach for her and Oliver had to put his other hand on her back to prevent a fall.
“I said let her go!” She swung the weapon at him, slicing his shin in the process.
“I’m not trying to hurt you, I need you to stay calm or your injuries might get worse.”
“Ellie!” She screamed and then winced, one hand went to hold her head. Felicity closed her eyes in pain, the piece of glass slipped from her grip and ended on the floor.
Oliver saw her sway and with quick reflexes he caught her by the shoulder before she could fall and hit her head. She lost consciousness again and Oliver carefully laid her on the floor, just when he heard sirens coming closer. He grabbed her hand and gently squeezed it.
“Hold on, Felicity.”
For a few minutes Oliver just held her hand, and made sure she didn’t stop breathing. The little girl in his arms was quiet again, when he heard the unmistakable voice of his friend.
“In here! The apartment next to mine.”
Steps came closer and Oliver turned around. John Diggle stood behind him, two paramedics following him with a stretcher. He stood and gave them space to work.
“What happened, sir?” One of them asked.
“I’m not sure about it. I heard her scream and then a thud, so I came in here to check. A man was trying to leave with the baby, he had a cut on his head and scratches all over him. He got scared when I caught him red-handed, so he left her and ran away.” He looked down at the girl in his arms, who was falling asleep on his shoulder, unaware of what was happening around her.
The other paramedic looked at him skeptically. “And that cut on your leg?”
Oliver followed his line of sight and saw that there was a small blood stain on his pants, right where Felicity cut him with the glass.
“I was able to wake her up, but she was disoriented and mistook me for an attacker. At first she had difficulties to speak, slurring her words, so I guess she has a concussion, then she passed out again.”
“Is that so?” The paramedic questioned while studying him.
Oliver was about to respond, but John beat him to it. “Hey. I know this man like the palm of my hand. He’d never do something like this to a woman. If he did, why bother to call you? Also, your job is to make sure this woman is okay, not question a witness. The police will think about that.”
The paramedic instantly went back to work and Oliver looked at his friend.
They’ve come a long way since the first time they met. At the beginning Oliver didn’t trust the bodyguard his mother hired after a mysterious kidnapping, what with spending five years in hell where the only person he could trust was himself. But with time he learned that John was more than a bodyguard, he was a friend. And Oliver started to trust him by telling him most of what happened to him.
“Thank you, John.” He just nodded.
“Sir, we need to take her to the hospital so we can run some tests and do a CT scan to see if there’s any brain damage. We have to take the baby too.”
Oliver unconsciously tightened his hold on the baby. Ellie. Felicity called her Ellie.
“It’s not a problem, we’re gonna take her there.”
“Sir, unless you’re the father, we have to call Child Services. It’s the procedure.”
Without thinking he replied “That woman is my girlfriend. And this is her daughter. I’m not leaving her.”
“Why you didn’t say anything until now?”
John stepped up again. “Because he’s still in shock. His girlfriend was attacked and is still unconscious, he doesn’t know if she’s gonna be okay and he’s already taking care of her daughter. And, again, this is something he’ll have to explain to the police, not you.”
After a tense moment the paramedics went back to work, John subtly nodded at Oliver. His friend had his back.
He was scared.
Oliver didn’t know how it was possible, but he was scared.
He was standing in an hospital room, hovering by the bed while the doctor worked.
“Is she going to be okay?” He asked worriedly.
“For the fifth time, Mr Queen, yes she’s fine.”
“But he was shaking her, while she was in his arms… The guy shook her, don’t you need to run some tests to check he didn’t cause some- I don’t know, brain damage or internal-”
“Mr Queen, babies are stronger than we think. I’ve already checked for brain damage while you were giving your statement to the police Captain. She’s fine and she’s responding well to stimulations, there’s nothing to worry about.”
The doctor finished the visit just when Ellie started to whine and reach for him with her hands. Oliver didn’t waste time and picked her up, one hand automatically went to cradle her head when she rested it against his shoulder.
“Shh, I’m here.”
He didn’t know how it was possible to feel this protective of a baby he just met two hours ago, but he felt a connection he couldn’t explain.
“You can go see your girlfriend now.” She told him and he just nodded.
He left the room and was faced with the police Captain.
“Quentin, do you know how is Felicity?”
“She’s okay. They just brought her back after the CT scan, there’s nothing to worry about.” He gave Oliver a reassuring smile.
“She was confused and disoriented.” He stated again.
“Yes, but they said it’s completely normal after she hit her head. She just needs to sleep it off and she’ll be fine.” Oliver sighed in relief. “Oliver, I know what you said to the doctors, that she’s your girlfriend.” He talked quietly, being careful so only Oliver could hear him. “I know she’s not. So, do you want to tell me why you said that?”
Without realizing it, Oliver held Ellie closer to him. “If they knew the truth they would have taken Ellie away. And, I know it sounds stupid because I’ve just met them, but… I’m sure Felicity will want to see her daughter as soon as she wakes up. She was worried sick about her when she regained consciousness.” He shrugged. “If Child Services took Ellie, who knows how long it’d take them to bring her back to Felicity again.”
Quentin sighed. “I know.”
“Please, Quentin. You know me, I won’t let anything happen to this baby as long as she’ll be under my care.”
The man looked at him.
After he came home it took him a while to get in the good graces of Quentin Lance. But immediately telling him the truth about Sara was the right move. Sara showing up one year later, alive and well, helped a lot too. Then Oliver became like a son to Quentin, and him like a father to Oliver.
“I know, Oliver. I can give you 48 hours, then we’ll have to think about something.”
“Let’s hope Felicity will wake up before then.”