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My love I can't hide

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Felicity's Outfit: Farmer's market

 

The farmer’s market is fairly busy, although not nearly as busy as it has been in Sundays past. Between the recession, the Undertaking, and Slade’s army, enough people have closed enough stands for the market to downsize by an entire block. But, the best stands are still there, up, and running and the need for organic honey and the best milkshakes in the world are enough incentive for Felicity to get up early and half-drag Oliver out of the Foundry and into the morning light. Truthfully, he doesn’t really put up much of a fight when Felicity bounces into the underground lair with coffee, muffin, and a short floral skirt that makes his pulse race (although it’s the arrow necklace she wears that makes his heart skip a beat or two).

He told her he loves her and it didn’t happen the way he expected it to. Oliver always thought it would happen in a heat-of-the-moment sort of way, that he would be bleeding and most probably dying because he is sure I love you will be the last words he will say to her before he dies.

He never expected it to happen the way it did – an honest truth masquerading as a clever diversion.

He also didn’t think he would try to cover it up with a thinly veiled lie they both know she sees straight through.

Still, it was while watching her sparkle on the shores of his own personal hell that he suddenly found that falling in love with Felicity had started to feel less like a struggle and more like breathing. In the two months since then he has discovered that the moment the words slipped out of his mouth some part of the wall that keeps his will power in check had come crumbling down and something within him had finally settled comfortably in place.

Now he looks at her and he just craves.

Now he dutifully followers her around Starling City’s bustling farmer’s market, either closely at her back as they cut in between stalls or right by her side while she peruses through merchandise, and he unashamedly admires her every move because, since leaving Lian Yu, the bold line that separates the points between friends and lovers has become thinner and hazier with each passing summer day. They are closer now than ever before, spending almost all of her free non-work and non-Arrow related time together either running boring errands or just hanging out in her apartment and, sometimes, on nice days, they take quiet walks around the park by her building.

Yet, despite this newfound closeness, Oliver can’t bring himself to tip-toe that increasingly fading line and reach out and touch her. Like, for instance, right now. Right now all he wants to do, all he can think about, is holding her hand.

Well, no, that’s not true. He’s also thinking about how cute her neatly painted red toes look in her mint green sandals and how the mid-morning light brings out the golden hues in her hair while her light pink V-neck makes him want to sprinkle kisses all over her neck and collarbone.

But mostly he’s thinking about how nice it would be to reach across the small space between them and just hold her hand.

Her hand - her small, soft, slender, delicate hand that helps to mend his wounds, races across keyboards with precise determination, and is currently holding a small plastic spoon up to his face.

“You need to try this,” Felicity tells him with a bright and eager smile.

He smiles back and curiously looks at the spoon somewhat cross-eyed. “What is it?”

“The best honey ever,” she answers as she starts to swirl the spoon around like it’s an airplane preparing to make a landing.

Oliver chuckles at her antics and, when it looks like she’s about a second or two away from making engine noises, he takes a hold of her slim wrist. With the spoon still in her hand he watches her watch him take the dark honey into his mouth. He hears her sharp gasp and notes how her eyes darken despite the bright summer sun. He is so taken by the sight of her that he almost misses the subtle flavor that invades his taste buds.

“Am I tasting coffee?”

Her eyes are bright again, although maybe still a little glazed, and she happily nods her head as she holds up a small glass jar with her free hand.

“Best. Honey. Ever.”

“Oh, is this what we came here to get?”

“Yep! And I’ll pay for it as soon as I am free to do so,” Felicity teases, shooting a quick but pointed glance to her still captured wrist.

With a deep blush Oliver immediately let’s go and watches as she all but skips to the attendant, pays, and comes back in almost no time at all. Together they head towards a large red tend at the center of the market, their hands brushing against each other as they leisurely come to a stop at the start of a rather long line for what Felicity has repeatedly called “the greatest milkshakes in the whole world”. As far as Oliver is concerned, 10 AM is a little too early for milkshakes, but as she has been ranting and raving and rambling about them form the better part of a week and, as he long ago decided, whatever Felicity wants Felicity gets.

She bounces on the balls of her feet when she finally gets her hands on her long-awaited strawberry-banana shake, although her mini-celebration doesn’t stop her from lovingly teasing him for ordering a gross looking green smoothie.

“Why? Why would you ask them to put kale in your smoothie? Kale?” she asks in between sips of her much prettier and much more appetizing pink drink.

 “Because they didn’t have spinach,” he answers back and chuckles at her mildly horrified expression. “

They have nowhere to be and the market is starting to clear out so they take their time walking the long way around back to her car. They pass the artisan cheese stand and stop to watch the snack-happy farm animals in the petting zoo from a distance. A lone black and white goat stops and stares back at them from behind the wire fence.

“That stuff in his mouth looks like your smoothie,” Felicity quips in between sips. “Are you sure you’re not part goat? Sometimes you eat like a goat. Diet wise, I mean. You have awesome manners but, rock-hard abs or not, I wouldn’t be able to deal with you if you chewed on your food like Billy over there. Except, Billy doesn’t eat meat and you do. Goats are herbivores and browsers and you’re an omnivore. So, really, you’re not like a goat, you’re more like a bear. Oh! And you growl a lot so it fits.”

Oliver stares at her for a second as his brain tries to catch up with her rambling mouth.

“Sometimes you look like a flamingo.”

She turns to look at him with wide eyes and an adorably amused mouth.

“What? I do not. How? When?”

“After you stand or walk in heels for an extended period of time, you lean against something and stand on one foot for a little bit and then stand on the other one,” he explains with a smirk. “Or, actually, you’re more like a parrot because your clothes are usually colorful and you talk a lot.”

“I’m like a bird?”

“The smartest, prettiest bird ever,” he says and there is a sincerity in his voice and a tenderness in his eyes that makes her think he’s meaning more than what his words say. “I like birds.”

“Did you ever have a pet bird?” He shakes his head. “In first grade we had a little parakeet as a class pet, it was the closest thing to a pet I ever had. But it didn’t last long. Someone let Peanut out of his cage. He flew around the room, pooped on Jimmy Olson’s head and then flew right out the window.” She thinks for a brief moment. “Maybe we can get you a pet bird one day.”

He shakes his head and stares at her pretty red toes. His eyes are dark and distant and when he speaks his voice is low and layered with shame.

“The first thing I ever killed was a bird. Sometime during my first days with him, Yao Fei brought me a little bird in a little cage. It took me forever to understand what he wanted me to do and I didn’t want to do it, but I was so hungry. I took it in my hands and told it I was sorry before breaking it’s little neck.”

Felicity says nothing as she moves to stand in front of him.

When they returned from Lian Yu, Oliver started to open up about his five years away, usually without preamble. Sometimes something someone says or does will remind him of that time and when they are alone, either in the Foundry or in her apartment or while they’re taking their little walks, the memories come out and she soaks them in, files them away in the space in her mind where she keeps a record of all his scars. Most of the time they’re anecdotes about life on the island or in Hong Kong or in the Bratva; she knows that he can navigate using the constellations because Shado and Slade showed him how, that a woman named Tatsu taught him how to do his laundry, and that he knows how to distill the best and strongest vodka she will never taste.

And then there are moments like now, when it’s more than an anecdotal aside, when it’s the past rushing into the present and clouding his vision and Felicity takes it upon herself to anchor him.

Standing in front of him, she takes his hand and brings it up to the curve of her neck. His gaze meets hers and she greets it with the best smile she can manage, mentally sighing in relief when she spots the grey clouds burning away in the face of the newfound clarity in his eyes.

“Come on, Mr. Grumpy Face, this little bird wants to go home and share her honey with her favorite bear.”

Felicity laces her fingers through his and he breathes her in deep.

“You mean me and not that panda Pillow Pet you have on your bed, right?”

“Yes, you,” she answers with a playfully exasperated sigh, “but don’t tell Ying Ying that.”

They turn and leave Billy the Goat to enjoy his grass and pellets, slowly but happily making their way through the market hand in hand.