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Succumbing to Shadows

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Oliver kept hold of Felicity’s hand as he led her to the valet stand and offered his ticket to the attendant.

But as the cold night air began to seep into her bones as they stood waiting for the car, so was cold, hard reality. What were they doing? “Oliver.” She hadn’t looked at him since they left the club, and she didn’t look at him now. “We drove here separately. I can’t leave my car overnight.”

“I’ll send someone to come pick it up tomorrow.”

“Oliver, that’s -”

“We’re probably being watched, Felicity.” His voice was measured, calm.

He had a point. A good point. Dammit, how could he be so rational right now? They had just made out like horny teenagers, and her mind was still spinning with the memory. Her body was still a live wire.

They’d needed to maintain their cover, of course, which was why he’d kissed her in the first place. But then things had gotten...heated, and Felicity wasn’t sure where they stood. The way he’d touched her, the way he’d looked at her and kissed her, there was no way it was all an act. But as complicated as their lives already were, they couldn’t possibly get involved now, could they?

Wordlessly, Oliver lifted her hand to his lips, placing a series of soft kisses over her knuckles. Unable to stop herself, she looked up and met his eyes, but for once she couldn’t read their expression. He was probably just trying to maintain their cover.

But what if he wasn’t?

She looked back toward the driveway as the Ferrari pulled up, her heart beating fast.

And what if he was?

 

***

 

The silence of the drive was broken after several minutes, when Oliver spoke. “Can you get in touch with Dig and let him know we have what we need to proceed with part two of the plan?”

Right. The mission. God, she should have called John herself by now. “Of course,” she murmured, already pressing speed-dial and enabling speakerphone.

“Yeah, Felicity.”

But Oliver spoke first. “Dig, we’re on our way back. The club closes at 3, meaning the place won’t be empty until around 4 or, to be safe, let’s say 4:30, which will still give us plenty of time to get in and get out before sunrise.”

He glanced over at Felicity and she nodded to confirm that she was on board.

“Just like we planned, I’m gonna need Felicity with me and you can keep watch outside as backup if we need it. I don’t anticipate any trouble, though.”

“Yeah, all right, sounds good. You good, Felicity?”

“Hey John, yep!” Her voice sounded normal, so she had that going for her.

“All right, I’m gonna grab some sleep, I’ll meet you all at the foundry at 4.”

Felicity disconnected the phone, and the absence of John’s voice made her suddenly very aware of the fact that she was alone with Oliver.

Oliver cleared his throat. “What time is it, anyway?” His voice was softer than it had been when he’d been speaking to John, softer than when he’d asked her to call him, too.

“It’s, uh, after midnight. 12:23, actually.”

Oliver sighed heavily, and Felicity felt her insides turn over in nervous anticipation of whatever he was about to say. “I’m going to drop you off at home, then I’ll come pick you up at 3:45. You should have enough time to get some sleep.”

Instead of answering right away, Felicity looked over at him as he watched the road, letting her eyes wander over his profile, the sharp lines of his jaw, the soft fullness of his lips, the angle of his cheekbone. She knew he was aware of her looking at him, just as he was always aware of his surroundings, and she knew that by saying nothing, continuing to stare straight ahead, he was granting her permission to look as long as she wished. Like always, his beauty cut her like a precisely-wielded knife, except this time the pain was even more acute. Because this time he had kissed her. He’d looked at her with want and need. He’d touched her with a mixture of greed and awe. “You should sleep over at my place.”

“What?” His head turned toward her so fast that the car swerved just a tiny bit.

She looked back at him, turning red, not entirely certain of her own motives, but standing firm in her decision. “It’s going to be 12:30 by the time you drop me off, meaning you won’t get back to your house until almost 1, and then you’ll have to leave again to come get me around 3:15, and there’s hardly any time in there for you to actually get some sleep.” She turned back toward the road. “Stay at my house.”

“Felicity….” His voice contained about a dozen warnings.

“Oliver.” He was right to be cautious, of course. He was definitely right that this was probably a terrible, terrible idea. “It only makes sense.”

“I’ll sleep in the bunker.”

“But you’ll still have to drive back there and then leave to come pick me up, and the distance isn’t different enough to where it makes that much of a difference. Come on, Oliver.” Why was she fighting him so hard on this? “Please.”

He pulled into a free spot alongside her building and put the car in neutral, finally turning so she could see the conflict raging in his eyes. “Felicity.”

Ugh. She could tell by the hesitation in his voice that he intended to have this conversation here, now. Which was a bad idea for so many reasons. “Oliver.” She laid a hand lightly on his shoulder. “Sleep now. Talk later. Okay?”

He held her gaze a little longer, long enough to extract a silent promise from her that she knew what she was doing, and then he nodded once. “Okay.”

And just like that he was sleeping over.

Felicity gestured Oliver inside her apartment and turned to lock the door behind her just as a flock of butterflies in her stomach surfed in on a wave of a nausea.

He was standing in the middle of her living room, holding his emergency overnight bag, looking lost and completely out of place. Which was totally unfair of him, because it meant he was counting on her to move them both past the sudden awkwardness. She panicked slightly, reaching for humor as a defense. “Well, we kinda turned that cliche on its head, huh? You told Richard Astor you were taking me home, but instead I took you home!”

She looked at Oliver with a pasted on smile, hoping he’d join in on her lame joke, but instead he was shooting her a pained warning look. So that one fell flat, no big deal. Push on. After all, this was Oliver.

“Bathroom’s there, but you know that, kitchen of course, help yourself to water or anything really, but -” she met his eyes in sudden alarm “- don’t eat any leftovers, because I don’t know how old they are and actually,” she took a sudden detour into the kitchen, “let me just get rid of that right now, you -”

“Felicity.”

She swallowed. Her back was to him as she stood at the refrigerator, hastily pulling half a dozen take-out cartons out and dumping them into the trash. She remained silent as she finished.

“I’m fine. I don’t need to eat anything.” She heard the hint of amusement in his voice. “I’m going to go to sleep. You should too.”

She nodded, turning slowly to see him leaning in the doorway of her kitchen. Filling it with his largeness. God, he looked extra huge in her apartment, somehow. And different, under the bright yellow light. Softer.

He was gazing at her with the barest hint of a smile on his face, as familiar as her own reflection and yet transformed, lighter. And suddenly she needed to check. Forgetting everything else, she moved toward him impulsively, needing to know what had caused the haunted look to retreat from his eyes.

He watched her approach, her eyes focusing on him in her unique brand of tenacious curiosity, but it didn’t occur to him to raise his guard because Felicity’s signature curiosity was the least threatening thing he had ever encountered, even when he was its object.  

She stopped in front of him, unconscious of how close she’d drawn to him, bringing a hand to his cheek so she could better look into his eyes. Oliver gazed down at her mutely.

“It’s not just the lighting,” she murmured.

Barely-perceptible surprise flickered over Oliver’s face. “What?”

She shifted her focus from examining him to seeing him, and her heartbeat kicked into high gear when she realized how close they were, how intimate and unguarded. She held his eyes for the space of two shallow breaths, fighting the sudden and overwhelming urge to kiss him. She opened her mouth to answer, but then she realized she couldn’t remember the question.

She watched as Oliver’s eyes drifted to her lips, and how had they managed to get themselves in this situation again so soon? Images from earlier in the night flashed through her mind. His hands on her body, his lips on her neck, the dark pull of his gaze. The ecstasy of succumbing to the needs of her body, even when it meant surrendering to him. Especially when it meant surrendering to him.

But the club had offered them shadows and excuses. The primal thrum of bass had muted words and liberated actions, while the flickering half-light actively obscured the difference between necessity and desire. Here, there was no pretext or cover story, and the overhead lights were steady and unforgivingly revealing. They couldn’t do this. Could they? “Sleep.” The single word took a surprising amount of effort.

He dragged his gaze back to meet hers. “Yeah.”

The decision made, Felicity backed away and then left the kitchen without looking at him, letting words fall out of her mouth unchecked because anything was better than silence at that moment. “I’m not going to try to make this any less awkward because this is most definitely awkward, so I’m just going to go brush my teeth and when I’m done you can get in there and I’ll set an alarm and see you in about 3 hours, okay?” She made it to the bathroom as she finished her speech, closing the door behind her without waiting for his response.

Once alone, she took a few deep breaths, staring at her reflection in the mirror. She was still wearing the ridiculously short red cocktail dress that looked like something she’d pulled from her mother’s closet, and her loose hair was extra-teased from... oh god, from the fact that Oliver’s hands had been running through it. She fell back against the door as she was struck with a sudden, tangible memory: straddling his lap, his mouth doing incredible things to hers, his fingers tangling in her hair.

She was in so much trouble.

After she quickly got ready for bed, she left the bathroom fully intending to go directly to her bedroom without acknowledging Oliver’s presence, but instead her feet rerouted her to the living room where she found him already changed and sitting on the couch, bending over and shoving his worn clothes into his travel bag.

His back was to her but she could tell by a tiny tilt of his head that he knew when she entered. He didn’t speak or stop what he was doing until she spoke. “Goodnight, Oliver.” She stayed rooted to her spot just inside the doorway, not trusting herself to fully enter the room.

He sat up and twisted around to look at her, gifting her with a rare genuine smile. An unfairly beautiful smile, directed at her and only her. “Goodnight, Felicity.” His voice was soft, matching the look in his eyes.

Fuck. She turned and marched to her bedroom to the beat of her doomed heart. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

She stripped immediately when she got to her room, barely bothering to push the door closed behind her before peeling off the skin-tight dress and throwing it across the room. Her bra followed right after, and her hands quickly went through the motions of pulling on a camisole and an old pair of cotton shorts while her brain remained stuck on the image of Oliver Queen, right now, in her living room, wearing a grey t-shirt and sweatpants, sitting on her couch.

She sat down on the edge of her bed. She needed to sleep. It was, she looked at her phone, 12:51 AM and she needed to get up in little more than two and a half hours. She set her alarm and climbed under the covers and leaned over to turn off the bedside lamp.

She closed her eyes.

But Oliver was still in her living room. Oliver Queen, who was an excellent liar except when it came to her. Oliver Queen, who had wrapped his arms around her and kissed her neck when no one had been watching. Oliver Queen, whose fingers couldn’t lie when they’d traced the lines of her body, whose lips couldn’t lie when they’d kissed her, whose eyes couldn’t lie when he’d looked at her.

He’d pretended to want her to protect her from Richard Astor’s advances, but she had always been able to see through his excuses.

Her heart was racing and she knew she wouldn’t be able to go to sleep like this. She briefly considered getting herself off but before she could even consciously discard the idea, her legs were swinging over the side of the bed and carrying her toward the door.

She paused at the threshold, taking a deep breath, getting her heart rate under control. In. Out. It was no longer a question of whether this was a good idea or a bad idea. In. Out. It just was.

She swung the door open to go confront her fate in the living room, but instead she found Oliver in the hallway, hesitating in front of her door. Her heart flipped over at the image he presented, hard and muscular and wrapped in soft grey cotton, brooding and serious with bare feet, untouchably sexy and out of her league and standing outside her bedroom with disarmingly uncertain eyes.

As soon as he saw her, his look of indecision gave way to surprise, and then panic. “Felicity, I -”

But the choice was already made. She stepped toward him and cut him off, standing on her tiptoes and wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him down into a decisive kiss.

She felt his gasp of surprise for a split second before the tense O of his lips yielded to her soft invitation. He responded immediately to the pressure of her lips, angling his head so he could meet her tongue with his own, gathering her into his arms and letting his hands slide down her body, over her ass. Felicity groaned into his mouth, her body sparking to life under his touch.

Oh god, she needed him now . Letting her instincts guide her, she dropped back onto her heels, enjoying the slide of her body over his, enjoying the way he didn’t stop kissing her even as she started to back toward her bedroom. He let her lead him toward the bed, one of his hands cupping her head, the other sliding up her back, their kisses getting deeper and more desperate with each step.

When the back of her thigh hit the mattress she paused, slipping her hands under his t-shirt and running them up his chest, reveling in the chance to touch him for the pleasure of it. She knew the location of every mark on his body without looking, and he groaned against her lips as she traced over his scars. When she circled his Bratva tattoo with light fingertips, he dragged his mouth from hers so he could slip his t-shirt over his head and toss it away decisively.

He turned back toward her and their gazes caught for the first time since they’d come together.

Oliver was breathing heavily and his expression was so intense, so entirely focused on her, that a shudder ran through her. For a moment it was as if the Arrow was before her, all raw energy and barely contained violence, but the loom of danger dissipated almost before she could make sense of it, because she knew in her bones that no version of Oliver could ever hurt her. The only thing that had ever scared her was how implicitly she trusted him, so contrary to her usually cautious nature and despite the threat he presented.

But right now she wasn’t scared. His eyes were dark and hungry but his touch was nothing but reverent, and she could tell by the tension in his lips that he was holding himself tightly under control, waiting to follow her lead.

She reached out and laid a palm on his cheek, and his eyes closed instantly at her touch. She ran her thumb over his lips, wondering when things had changed so that he let her see the vulnerabilities he worked so hard to hide from most people. The thought struck her with sudden force that she might even be the cause of some of them.

“Oliver.”

He opened his eyes at her whisper, and the expression in them had changed. Hesitation warred with sharp desire and below it all, some deeper, unnamed awareness. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen it, though she’d never seen it so clearly mixed with lust.  “Felicity, are you...sure?” His breaths were audible, rapid and shallow.

In answer, she slipped one hand into the waistband of his pants, pulling him toward her as her other hand found the bulge of his hard cock, tracing its shape through the fabric. She watched his face as she made contact, watched the lust overtaking reservation as she wrapped her hand around the most sensitive part of his body.

Felicity dropped her eyes so she could watch her fingers trace over his length. She had felt his erection earlier at the club, but seeing it was different. Feeling it in her hands, even through the cotton, was much more intimate, much more real.

Oliver’s hands landed on her shoulders with a groan and she looked up to find him with his head thrown back, completely at her mercy. Her body throbbed with need at the sight, suddenly, achingly aware of an emptiness between her legs that needed to be filled. She tugged on his pants, silently asking him to get rid of them, and he obliged her by stripping off the rest of his clothes so fast she could barely track the movement.

And then he was standing before her completely naked, and she paused to take him in. He held still, letting her eyes track up his body, letting her see him. He had never been embarrassed in front of her, never modest. He’d allowed her to witness his scars and gawk at his body from the start, back when she was no one to him, back when it hadn’t mattered what she’d seen. He’d worn his bare skin like another mask, a warning against curiosity, a testament of his endurance, a declaration that all of his weaknesses had been burned away leaving only discipline and ash.

But now he offered his skin as proof of something else, something she’d long since suspected, long since known. That his body could still feel pleasure. That he still longed to be touched.

She stepped toward him and cupped his face, bringing his head down to meet her demanding kiss. He slipped his hands under her camisole and began lifting it up even as he captured her bottom lip between his own. She raised her arms and helped him lift the garment over her head, reluctantly disengaging from his mouth to do so. She took the opportunity to quickly discard her shorts and underwear, stepping neatly out of them before moving back into his embrace.

His hands moved to touch her everywhere, greedily getting acquainted with her naked body. His thumbs swept over her shoulders, his fingertips traced the dip of her waist and the curve of her hips, his knuckles brushed over her stomach, his palms grazed over her breasts. She surrendered to his touch, tilting her head sideways as he kissed along her collarbone and up her neck.

“Oliver.” She gasped as he began to tease the sensitive skin of her ear with his lips. “Oh god, Oliver. I need…..” Her breath hitched as he slid his hands over her ass, pulling her tightly against his erection and thrusting slightly, almost involuntarily.

He groaned. “What do you need?”

She slid her hand between their bodies and grasped his cock, running her thumb lightly over the head.

“Oh fuck, Felicity!”

“Exactly.”

He ran a hand along her cheek, encouraging her to look up at him. His eyes shifted between hers. “You’re sure?”

“Oliver.” She held his intense gaze for a long moment before drawing away, climbing backward onto the bed.

He followed her there without hesitation, catching her in his arms and kissing her down into the mattress. He settled between her legs and she could feel his cock pressing thick and heavy against her thigh.

“Wait.”

“Hmm?”

She wiggled so he would lift off her, then she rolled to her side and pulled a condom out of her nightstand. He took it from her and unwrapped it wordlessly.

She watched him position it over his head, marveling at the ordinariness of it. And the extraordinariness of it. How many times had he done this? For how many women?

She was too caught up to worry too much about it, to question whether she was different somehow, to angst over what this act would mean to their relationship. But she knew she was riding on a high that was much more than pure lust, and when he looked up and met her eyes, she was certain the same was true for him.

She widened her legs and reached toward him, inviting him back into the cradle of her thighs, but he shook his head slightly. Instead, he urged her to sit up and move out of the way as he positioned himself so he was half-reclining against the headboard.

Felicity’s heart started beating fast in anticipation as she realized what he intended. Holding his eyes, she climbed on top of him, straddling his lap but holding herself above him. He wrapped his arms around her back, letting his hands slide down her ass and over her hips, his thumbs resting in the hollow of her hip bones as she reached down to grasp his cock, positioning him at her entrance. He sucked in a breath at her touch but remained still, letting her be in control.

Her eyes were locked with his as she lowered herself over him until just his head was resting inside her, and they both sighed at the mutual pleasure of it. She lifted up and lowered herself back down once, twice, letting his head massage her g-spot. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, letting Oliver support and balance her with one hand on her ass and the other on her back.

“Oh god, Felicity.” She could hear the strain in his voice, his pleasure at his sensitive head being squeezed, over and over, by her tight opening. She let herself ride his tip for several more strokes, which was all her muscles and restraint allowed, and then she slowly slid down the rest of the way so that he filled her up.

She closed her eyes for a moment, letting herself stretch to accommodate him, and when she opened them he was watching her, breathing shallowly, waiting for her. She nodded and lifted herself, and without missing a beat he moved with her in perfect counter rhythm.

From the start there was no question of drawing it out. Even before they were on the bed she’d been throbbing with need, and the position he’d chosen for them was perfectly designed to get them both off quickly. And that wasn’t taking into consideration how absolutely fucking amazing it was.

Felicity had had sex plenty of times, but never like this. Never with Oliver levels of intensity and focus. She was riding him hard, lifting up and then grinding down into him as he rose up to meet her thrust for thrust, but it was the way he was touching her that exponentially heightened the experience.

She anchored her arms around his neck and he leaned forward, licking over her right nipple before teasing it with his tongue, reaching up to brush his thumb over her left nipple before lightly pinching it between his fingers. Her body buzzed with an answering rush of erotic pleasure that she could feel in her fingertips and toes and thighs.

Somehow he knew exactly where and when and how to touch her in order to send waves of electricity to corresponding erogenous zones all over her body.

She was vaguely aware of a stream of pornographic sounds coming from her mouth, of Oliver’s grunts, of the bed protesting underneath them at the abuse, but all of that was secondary to the sensation of their bodies moving together, to the electricity he was sparking as he held her hips, as he slid his thumbs along the inside of her thighs.

She was so fucking close, so eternally fucking close. She ran her fingers into his hair and leaned forward to kiss him, to grind harder. She was barely lifting off him now, but he had adapted, wrapping his arms around her lower body to give her extra leverage. His mouth was open to her, letting her lips caress him as their tongues contended for dominance.

And then she was right there, just this side of there, and she leaned back, meeting his gaze without thinking.

He was right there with her, on the verge of orgasm and for a split second his eyes were completely unmasked. He was letting himself feel, revealing a capacity for emotion she had never suspected. She only caught a glimpse before he closed his eyes against her surprise, against her compassion, against her involuntary answering emotions, but she instantly knew she would never look at Oliver Queen the same way again.

And then she was coming, squeezing her own eyes shut against the almost painful pleasure of it, against the feeling that her body was too small to contain it, and she felt Oliver coming beneath her, felt him thrust hard into her, against her, heard his shout and his harsh breathing, felt him start to relax as she did, and she let him scoot them down the mattress and pull her down with him as he leaned back, not bothering to disconnect their bodies.

Felicity was more than half asleep a few minutes later when she felt him slip out of her and roll her onto her side. She opened her eyes and watched him get up and go to the bathroom, and she felt a flicker of anxiety as she wondered whether he’d come back to her bed. She closed her eyes, determined not to watch for him, but something in her heart unsqueezed when she felt the mattress dip under his weight.

She waited to be sure he was crawling back to stay before she opened her eyes. He was looking down at her, his face so beautiful in the dim light it made her want to cry, or kiss him forever, but she did neither. Instead, she looked back at him and lifted the covers so he would crawl in next to her, and after a long moment, he did.

She rolled over and looked at her phone as he settled in next to her. 1:27. Okay, they still had two hours to sleep. She set the phone back down and twisted around to meet his eyes. He was still watching her. “Goodnight, Oliver.”

She couldn’t read his eyes, but his voice was that special, gentle tone that he reserved for her alone. “Goodnight.”