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give me a sign (the universe conspires)

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Felicity is halfway through her Coke when she finally realizes it has Share with your Soulmate written on the side.  She sputters, nearly dropping the can as sugary-sweet carbonation spurts down her windpipe.  

She barely even likes Coke.  She only grabbed the can because the break room, as usual, had been emptied of coffee, and her break doesn’t run long enough to both brew a new pot and run down to the vending machine on the eighth floor to buy those cookies she likes, the ones with butterscotch and chocolate. (Twenty requests, she’s sent to HR, insisting that QC, with its infinite resources, stock the vending machines on her floor with those cookies.  She has even checked to ensure the requests were opened and filed.  She loathes incompetence).  

But no.  Her soulmate is a Coke drinker. He (or she; Felicity remembers the legs on Johanna Marko from Advanced Programing & Calculations and Sara Lance’s impressive abwork) probably likes Lifesavers too, in all their cloying, sticky glory.  Her soulmate is certainly not any of the men she already knows (and really, who uses the world soulmate, it belonged with archaic concepts like destiny and fate and meant to be) - Oliver treats all junk food like it’s out to destroy his pristine body; Dig prefers Pepsi, the traitor; Roy is, well, Roy (very angry, very angsty, and very dedicated to Thea Queen).  

A warning about his (or her) future partner’s feelings towards vigilantism and late nights would have been preferable.  Instead, she’d gotten his feelings towards Coke. As usual, her inheritance - the Smoak Curse - has failed to deliver anything truly useful. 

She’d hoped for glamour and charm, perhaps, like her mother (until she moved on and the men, like always, awoke from the trap she’d sprung).  Maybe insight and empathy, like her Cousin Jean (who’d felt and felt and felt until running for the evergreen trees).  Or even sight through falsehoods, like Aunt Delilah, the best bullshit detector in Vegas (and stunningly, resoundingly single and friendless).  

Instead, Felicity had inherited the gift - she preferred gift over curse; it sounded less, well, tragic - of foresight.  But not true glimpses of the future, not like Grandma Cassie, visions of blood and battles lost and fought and won, all in stunning clarity.  

Instead, Felicity merely caught hints.  Winks, if you would.  Guiding her towards what would come - and what she ought to do if she wanted to meet her future appropriately.

It was utterly, unthinkably infuriating.  

She’d accepted the warning, etched into her desk, the day of her eighteenth birthday, guiding her to stretch backwards halfway through her Calculus exam - Katrina Simmons had been suspended for cheating (with a bloody nose as a bonus) and Felicity had snagged both Valedictorian and a full ride to MIT in exchange.

She’d rolled her eyes but pressed deny, as instructed, when the phone call from Wayne Enterprises came, terrified she’d thrown away her future.  The offer from Queen Consolidated had arrived the next day.  

She’d even been grateful for the message, scrabbled in yellow highlighter across her tablet, that had demanded she leave the office at exactly 7:24 pm that one, fateful day - without it, Oliver Queen would have bled out in the parking garage, and she never would have begun her life of fighting crime.  

(Of course, the opposite occurs when she ignores the messages, overbearing and vague as they are.  

Wait for Oliver, the television had demanded, that evening in Russia. But he’d been running late and Dig was waiting, in Russian prison, and really, what was the worst that could happen?  

Isabel Rochev leaving his room, smug and content and practically swooning that she’d replaced Felicity in Oliver’s bed - which wasn’t even true, for the record - apparently was the worst case scenario her curse had tried, and failed, to prevent.

Get your flu shoot, the steam in her bathroom mirror had spun the day of Moira Queen’s trial.  She still had not quite solved the mystery fate she’d avoided there - what use would she have been, doped up on Vertigo and trapped in the lair alongside Dig? The only conclusion she comes to is that, without her interference, Oliver would never have killed again, his promise to Tommy safe and sound.

She regrets that day often.)

This message, though, baffles her.  Share your coke with your soulmate - she would, except, well, there’s nobody here.  Checking her watch, Felicity crams the last of her cookie into her mouth, chucking the wrapper into the trash can.  Maybe the curse is off this once - a sign she’s close to breaking it (or paying whatever price she’s due for powers given and gifts accepted.  That day too, she’s sure she’ll regret.  That day, too, she hopes is a long way coming).

If she doesn’t leave now, though, she’ll be late, and without Oliver calling the shots anymore, she can’t afford to cut any corners.  Despite the board’s assurances, she’s barely convinced the IT department wants her back as it is. 

Juggling her tablet and her coke, Felicity strides out from the break room, rolling her eyes at the first twenty e-mails that have arrived since she clocked out - porn, porn, easy re-set, password change, potential baby hacker, porn, firewall issue, porn, sheesh

"Felicity, hey -"

Jerking her head up, Felicity manages to pull her tablet away from the line of fire just in time to collide with Oliver’s chest, her coke dousing the two of them in sticky, sweet liquid.  

"Oh my god, Oliver, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there," she babbles, dropping the can, fumbling to place her tablet out of reach, "are you okay?  I mean, it was coke, it can’t really hurt you, but um, that looks like an expensive suit, did you have a meeting or something, I didn’t know you were dropping by today, ugh, that’s not important, I’m really sorry-"

Grabbing her hands and tugging them away from his chest - she’d been trying, however ineffectively, to swat away the coke before it could soak through his shirt; her own already a lost, far cheaper cause - Oliver leads them away from the puddle of Coke pooling at their feet.  

"Felicity." Her name falls from his lips, forever soft and sighed, but his eyes are tight at the corners.  Oh god, he really does have a meeting, and now she’s ruined his suit and he won’t get his company back - “Felicity, hey,” he calls, his lips curling up into the barest of smiles. “It’s okay. I, um - “

Releasing her grip, he steps back, his hands fisting at his sides.  

"I actually came to see you."

"Okay…" she trails off, not sure why he looks ready to bolt.  Felicity’s gaze drops to the Coke soaking his shirt, the message from before flashing across her mind.

It’s not quite sharing, but her gift isn’t always specific… (Barry missed his train, the keyboard had read, the night of Oliver’s near-death by Cyrus Gold.)

Still. Her and Oliver.  Oliver and her.  Unthinkable.  That had been clear, hadn’t it?  (Slade took the wrong woman, scrawled across one of the many papers littering QC’s executive floor.  Just a hint towards the right plan, nothing more). 

"Oliver?" she prompts, moving towards him, her foot squelching in the Coke underfoot.  "Everything okay?"

His smile tightens, his head dipping forward.  ”Yeah,” he sighs, running his hand over the top of his head, “Listen, I’m - um - sorry about your shirt…”  

She raises an eyebrow, confident his shirt is both more expensive and more ruined than hers.  ”I think I’ll survive.”

"Yeah," he chuckles, still incredibly tense. It’s a shame they can’t afford a massage chair for the lair. "Listen, I’ll, uh, see you after work?  I can give you a ride to our - other activities."

How does he know her car’s in the shop this week?  Dig’s been giving her rides; she hadn’t thought it was a problem.  She eyes his posture, the white skin of his knuckles, the way he’s clenching his jaw.  The message flashes through her mind again; she resolutely pushes it away.  

Unthinkable, she reminds herself.  Soulmate, her mind hisses back, the wrong woman.  A friend in need, she insists in return, hoping that split personalities are not her particular downside to the Smoak Curse.

"Okay," she smiles, moving back to her office. "I’d like that." 

(Say you’re busy, her iPod sings, right before Palmer asks if she’s free the next night to discuss the latest Applied Sciences project.  When Oliver asks her for dinner at the end of the day, the curse stays silent.   She assumes the message in the bottle - well, can - was foresight enough and says yes).