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Little Black Dresses and King-Sized Messes

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Cover Art by fe-li-ci-ty



Felicity blinks, trying to determine if he really just-- “Did you really just order me to go to Vancouver with you tomorrow?”

They’re in the foundry, waiting on Roy, and, apparently, contemplating team road trips to neighboring countries. She can hear Diggle’s poorly muffled snicker from behind her, but she ignores it, keeping her probably kind of accusatory gaze on Oliver.

He opens his mouth, closes it, then tries again. “I didn’t order anyone to do anything.”

“‘Felicity,’” she says, doing a really terrible impression of him, “‘we need to be in Vancouver tomorrow night to check out Cubism.’” She pauses to cough, because doing that Oliver voice kind of hurt her throat? “And you haven’t explained what Cubism is in this context.” She frowns. “I’m assuming you’re not suggesting we road trip to Vancouver to look at a collection of representational works.”

Oliver gives her that furrowed brow, I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about look. “Huh?” Does he have to be that good looking even when he’s totally confounded? It’s really not fair.

“Pretty sure there’s a Cezanne exhibition in Vancouver right now, actually,” Diggle answers.

Oliver just looks back and forth between them as if they’d randomly switched to speaking Portuguese.

Felicity focuses on Diggle, giving him a little frown when it registers that he’s doing his patented lean-back-with-crossed-arms-and-enjoy-the-Felicity-and-Oliver-show thing. Roy does it, too, but he’s much less subtle. With Diggle, it’s all about the slight lift of those expressive eyebrows. Which... is really not the point right now. “But Oliver doesn’t want to take Team Arrow to the Vancouver art museum, right?”

“He’s referring to Cubism, the nightclub,” Diggle offers, “not the art movement. And the manager of the nightclub might be an arms dealer.”

Felicity considers this. “I hope they took their theme seriously,” she says.

Oliver blinks. “What?” He sounds thoroughly exasperated, standing a few feet from her, arms akimbo, weight shifting a little as he watches them..

“You know,” she shrugs, “cubes for chairs, cubes for lamps, bars made out of cubes.” She purses her lips. “Ice cubes.”

“Felicity.” Oliver is giving her his unamused look, but she knows without having to confirm it that Diggle is smirking at them.

“If you weren’t ordering anyone, perhaps you should rephrase?” she suggests sweetly.

“I know this is last minute,” Oliver says quietly. And if he thinks that is a sufficient apology, then he is even crazier than Felicity thought.

“Oliver.” Damnit, her voice wasn’t supposed to come out all squeaky like that. “I have to work tomorrow.”

Not that she doesn’t hate everything about her job. Her shitty, shitty retail job selling overpriced cellphones to people who really just want a texting platform and a decent web browser.

“It’s the first lead we’ve gotten on this influx of high-grade military weaponry,” Oliver points out. “I just want to get eyes on him, see if he’s using the nightclub as cover for his clandestine activities.”

Felicity tips her head to the side and very slowly and pointedly raises her gaze to the ceiling.

Oliver huffs something caught between a laugh and a sigh. “Felicity.”

He’s right, and his plan is not awful. It’s just... she needs more than a few minutes to adjust to the idea of road-tripping with Oliver and Diggle. Also-- “You want the Arrow to show up in Vancouver? You’re going international?”

Diggle is openly grinning at them. “Yeah, Oliver, are you hanging back and sending Felicity into that club alone? Isn’t it kind of a meat market?”

Felicity stills, eyes wide, as the pieces fall into place. She and Oliver are going to an exclusive new club in Vancouver that may or may not be cover for a gun-running operation. And it’s trendy because of all the hooking up people do there. And if he’s going as Oliver Queen, she’s going as-- “Oh, no way, Oliver.” She bolts out of her seat, marching right into his personal space and valiantly ignoring the way he kind of... leans toward her. He’s very distracting.


“I am not posing as one of your conquests,” she grits out. ‘It’s bad enough most of my colleagues -- former colleagues -- think I screwed my way into that ‘promotion,’” she adds, her voice getting louder. She does not miss the way Oliver’s mouth drops open at her words. “There’s no way in hell I’m going to cement that idea with paparazzi pictures of me and you on some weekend sex getaway.”

There’s a long, awkward silence as the three of them digest what she’s just said.

Felicity feels her cheeks start to burn. “Not that we’re actually--” She shakes her head. “You know what I meant.”

Oliver actually looks offended., “I would never take you to Vancouver for--” He stops abruptly, bringing his hands up and over his head to grip the back of his neck for a moment. Felicity pointedly ignores the muffled sound from Dig that she’s sure is laughter.

After a long exhale, Oliver starts over. “Felicity, there won’t be any pictures of us. We go in, we do some reconn, we get out. That’s it.”

“And why, exactly, do you need me there?” she demands. Because that part isn’t entirely clear to her.

Oliver shifts his weight, his hands palms pressed flat against his thighs. Probably, Felicity thinks, to keep himself from that nervous tick that he knows she recognizes. Not that she can’t read the anxiety in the way he’s holding his body so rigidly, but Oliver can be kind of obtuse sometimes. His shoulder lifts in the suggestion of a shrug. “Because Diggle can’t offer the same... cover.”

Cover. Fake girlfriend or Ms. Right Now or whatever. Felicity bites back her immediate, loud response to this idea that she accompany him to ward off the hordes of women throwing themselves at Oliver Queen, dashing billionaire.

“Think of it this way, Felicity,” Diggle says, “It’s a couple hours at some swanky club. Could be fun.” He sounds positively delighted when he adds, “Maybe you’ll meet a nice guy.” Felicity and Oliver turn matching glares Diggle’s way, but their partner just smirks at the both of them.

It’s not like Felicity would hate meeting a nice, normal, cute, interested guy. It’s just that Vancouver is unreasonably far away. Also, of course, the pesky thing where she’s in love with stupid Oliver. Who sees her as a convenient woman-shaped-shield to keep nearby while he infiltrates places owned by potential psychos and populated by hungry social climbers.

So irritating. Maybe she should take advantage of their little trek to a Vancouver meat market.

“We’re not going there to hook up with people,” Oliver grits out.

Felicity turns her glare to Oliver and points a warning finger at him. “You’d better do whatever you need to do to fit in, and you can make your entrance alone, because I’m not going as your plaything.” The sexual tension between them is reaching ridiculous levels, and she will not be able to keep her less sane impulses under control if she’s forced to play boyfriend/girlfriend with Oliver Queen in a dark, sweaty nightclub, with thumping bass, and secluded corners and-- God, she really needs to stop this train of thought.

Oliver presses his lips together and nods. She hopes in agreement with her announcement, and not that a sign that she’s been blathering on about sexual tension and dark corners in clubs. Although Oliver hasn’t bolted for the staircase, so she’s probably fine.

Felicity tilts her head, considering her other demands. “We don’t leave until tomorrow, and we only stay one night.”

“Right,” he agrees, sounding pretty relieved that she caved.

“Fine,” she grumbles. “But you’re handling the logistics.”

Oliver takes half a step towards her. “Wait, I--”

“Kayak dot com,” Felicity tosses over her shoulder. “Travelocity. Figure it out, Oliver. I need to go shopping.”

“For what?” Diggle wonders.

Felicity puts a little extra sway in her step. “I need a swanky dress for that swanky club.”

Because she’s pretty sure Oliver doesn’t want her -- or possibly is refusing to let himself, well, take her for some godforsaken, idiotic reason -- and she’s not going to go fishing for Vancouver’s most eligible bachelors, but she can at least rock a hot dress and make someone sweat a little.

& & &

Head held high, Felicity sweeps into Serafina, not allowing herself to feel like she doesn’t belong.

She doesn’t usually shop at boutiques -- she’s more of a department store sale kind of girl. Watching her mother struggle on a single unpredictable income taught Felicity early on that it was only smart to live well within your means. No credit card debt, no unreasonable expenses, no skipping the monthly transfer of 5% of her paycheck into savings.

She’s been so good, so methodical, that she has quite a pile of savings waiting for a rainy day. Or, it turns out, less a rainy day and more maintaining her standard of living while she’s stuck working at the stupid tech store. Which of course means she shouldn’t be at Serafina. But for once, Felicity is going to shop at the Park Street boutiques.

She is absolutely not going to think too hard about why she’s making this kind of extra effort. Nope. Nothing good will come of that.

Ignoring price tags, Felicity just browses the cocktail dresses, letting her fingers skim along the shiny and soft fabrics, testing the drape and the colors.

A salesgirl approaches with a bright smile and perfect makeup and offers her assistance. Felicity demurs at first, but in a few short moments, Cheri is ushering her into a large dressing room with a heavy brocade curtain instead of a door.

Cheri smiles and hangs two of Felicity’s picks for her. “What size shoe?” she asks.

“Huh?” Felicity flushes a little. “Oh, no, I’m not looking for shoes.”

Cheri nods. “Sure, it’s just that it’s easier to evaluate the whole picture if you look at the dresses with heels.”

Hmmm, that sounds actually pretty smart, so she agrees and rattles off her size.

The first dress -- a bright red number with a peplum and a low scoop neck -- is pretty cute, and solidly within her comfort zone. And when Cheri hands her a shoebox with gorgeous black peep-toe pumps, Felicity grins and slips them on. She has to agree that they really help her to evaluate the whole look, instead of just the dress.

Cheri stands several feet away, nodding. “It’s good on you,” she says, “but let me bring a couple other options over for you.”

“Oh, no, that’s okay,” Felicity says, feeling guilty that Cheri is spending all this time on her when she’ll maybe buy one dress. Probably Serafina’s normal customers breeze in and drop a couple thousand.

But Cheri smiles. “Trust me. I’m good at this.”

Felicity nods, and a few minutes later, Cheri pushes back the brocade curtain and hangs a couple dresses inside Felicity’s dressing room.

Felicity says thanks and lets the curtain fall back closed. She runs a finger along the soft blue material of the first dress, grinning a little. She likes this dress -- the top is a modified halter with a skinny racer back that would leave most of her back bare . Which would make the bra situation interesting, but Felicity can go without in the right dress. She tugs on the sleeve on the armhole a little to peer inside -- yup, sewn-in cups.

“You are a fancy dress, aren’t you?” Felicity murmurs, slipping it off the hanger and then carefully stepping into it. It’s -- yeah -- it looks pretty good. She smiles at her reflection. Maybe the dress is a little shorter than was strictly practical, and maybe the back is daring, but she can’t deny that it flatters her body.

Not that she’s deluded enough to think that Oliver will see her in a sleek, sexy dress like this and haul her to the nearest dark corner or anything -- though, to be clear, she would not protest that development. Just -- it would be nice to feel like they were on slightly more even footing for once.

Felicity steps out to make use of the larger mirror. She turns this way and that, really liking the way the dress fits. “I like this better than the red. I think this may be the dress.”

Nodding, Cheri agrees. “It looks great on you. But you need to try that black dress.”

Felicity frowns a little. “I’m more of a bright colors kind of girl.”

“Trust me.”

Felicity grins, getting into the spirit -- because how often would she be catered to in a boutique? Might as well have a little fun with things. “Can’t hurt to try it, right?” But when she steps back into the dressing room and really looks at the black dress, her eyes widen. It’s more wide, interconnected straps than a bodice? She loves dresses with strategic cutouts, but this is more cutouts than fabric. And it’s short, which is actually fine with her normally. It’s just -- isn’t there a rule about boobs or legs? And this dress feels like it would be boobs-and-most-of-her-torso-plus-also-legs.

It’s a lot.

She holds the hanger in front of her and gapes at it. “I can’t wear this.”

“Just try it!” Cheri insists from outside. “It’s going to look amazing on you.”

The look of disbelief she throws in Cheri’s direction is utterly wasted on the thick brocade privacy curtain. Felicity shimmies out of the blue dress to humor Cheri and try on this weird, strappy black thing. Which is a bit of a struggle to get on and make sure her breasts are situated and all the straps laid flat along her body.

When she turns to the mirror, her eyebrows jump up. From the front, the dress looks -- actually kind of good? Like, the V-neck is doing surprisingly good things for her cleavage, and the skirt hits her mid-thigh. But her rib cage is a little on display with the cutouts, which is kind of strange, and when she turns to look at the back -- wow. She’s half-naked.

She makes a strange, eeping noise, and Cheri sounds kind of smug when she says, “I told you.”

“No,” Felicity says, pulling back the drape without moving into the larger space where lots of other customers or salespeople could possibly see her. “This is... like...”

“It’s a lot,” Cheri agrees, looking delighted as she beckons Felicity forward. “Come on, you have to let me see the whole thing.”

Feeling unreasonably nervous, Felicity steps forward, pressing her shoulders back and turning to the large mirror.

“Wow,” Cheri says. “That looks stunning on you.”

Felicity frowns. “Well, I mean, it’s really pretty, but--”

“No buts,” Cheri interrupts, shaking her head. “That dress was made for you.”

Slowly, Felicity turns to get a better look at the back. Or, more accurately, the criss-crossing straps that leaves most of her back bare. It’s... kind of an amazing look, actually.

Felicity hates herself a little for really, really wanting Oliver to see her in this dress. It’s a stupid, childish thought. Buying something this sexy with Oliver Queen in mind is a recipe for disappointment in one form or another. But the longer she looks at herself in the mirror, the more comfortable and confident she feels wearing the dress.

She turns around one more time, more slowly, and examines herself from all angles. “Um...”

Cheri claps. “Excellent!”

& & &

The next morning, Felicity opens her door promptly at 11:30 and frowns at Oliver. “Where’s John?”

Oliver gives her an unreadable look. “He’s not coming. Lyla has a doctor’s appointment.”

“Routine appointment?” Felicity guesses.

“I guess they might find out the sex today,” Oliver explains. “Unless the baby’s being shy.”

Belatedly, Felicity realizes she is beaming at Oliver and tells herself to stop.”That’s so cute,” she can’t help but say.

And then Oliver is grinning back at her, one of those devastating, genuine, I’m-so-happy-I’m-even-showing-teeth smiles, and they just stand there like idiots for a long, surprisingly not-awkward moment. He glances at the bright magenta roller bag and reaches for the handle. “You ready?”

“Sure,” she answers. Right. Totally ready for a few hours in the car with Oliver and no good-natured buffer in the form of Diggle. Should be awesome.

“Everything okay?” Oliver asks.

Felicity tells herself to snap out of it and grabs the dress bag draped across the back of her couch. “Just peachy.”

He quirks an eyebrow as she sweeps past with her purse and the garment bag. “Successful shopping trip?”

She wants to say something flirty and teasing, something to get his mind going. But the truth is, she’s talked herself in and out of wearing this dress about fourteen times.

This morning.

Because that dress may be totally appropriate for the club, and it may be totally appropriate for a date, but she’s almost sure it’s completely inappropriate for spending time with Oliver as platonic friends. Sure, he’s been open and maybe a little flirty and, yes, sometimes he touches her for no reason. But she is not throwing herself at him.

She’s not.

It’s just... she would be okay with it if it turned out that Oliver decided to throw himself at her. More than okay. Maybe something more in the neighborhood of ecstatic?

But she doesn’t expect that, regardless of the flirting. She’s not convinced he looks at her that way. Which is, yes, why it’s possible that she’s quite looking forward to his reaction to her dress. Just purely out of curiosity.

Assuming she doesn’t wear the backup skirt/top combo she shoved in her suitcase at the last minute.

The drive is surprisingly not-awkward. It helps that Felicity commandeers the radio, turns it up, and sings along. She expects Oliver to be irritated; instead, he seems amused by her.

By the time they reach Vancouver, Felicity is actually feeling pretty good. Oliver is relaxed and not all brood-y, the city is beautiful, and maybe her reservations about this entire thing were a little… hasty.

Then they reach the check-in counter at the hotel, and the very nice man behind the desk hands them keycards to their room. Room singular. Which -- no.

“What?” Felicity asks. “Wait, no--”

“Felicity.” It’s Oliver’s placating voice, his I-may-have-made-a-slight-error-but-I-need-you-to-be-calm voice. She hates that voice.

Turning to face him with an entirely fake smile for the benefit of the front desk person, she grits out his name.

“I may have screwed up the reservation,” he says, his hand ghosting along her bicep, and if that’s supposed to calm her down, he’s crazy.

Felicity nods. “Uh-huh,” she says to him. “Sure.” She turns to the very nice man who’s watching them with poorly disguised interest and says, “We need another room.” She glances at his nametag and adds, “Rick.”

Rick gives her a sympathetic head tilt. “I’m so sorry -- we’re at capacity this weekend.”

She blinks. “What?”

“There’s a lot going on this weekend here in Vancouver,” he says, like she’s asking for tourism tips instead of a place to sleep that doesn’t involve her extremely hot, extremely irritating colleague.

“Oh, is there?” she asks, her tone oozing with fake enthusiasm.

“Felicity,” Oliver warns.

But Rick is nodding cheerfully. “Well, there’s a big scifi convention, and, of course, game six of the Stanley Cup finals.”

“That’s hockey, right?” Felicity knows without looking that Oliver has perked up at the mention of hockey.

“Felicity,” Oliver tries again. “We can just--”

“Share a room?” She whirls to face him, lowering her voice to a crazy whisper shout when she adds, “Share a bed?” She can feel the flush on her cheeks but ignores it.

Oliver’s eyes are wide, but he keeps his mildly-pleasant-famous-guy mask in place and gives Rick a quick nod before pulling Felicity aside. “There’s not much we can do about this now,” he says, and he’s doing that thing where he stands entirely too close to her, and she has to tilt her head way back to meet his gaze.

Her voice is a little shrill when she snaps, “So we should just sleep together?”

They both freeze, staring at each other in a long moment that’s crackling with all the stuff they resolutely do not say out loud.

She blinks. “I mean--”

“I’ll sleep on the floor,” he interrupts, half-turning to grab her bright magenta back from the floor near her feet. His small duffel is already slung across his chest. “Let’s go.”

& & &

They eat dinner in strained silence in the hotel’s overpriced bar/bistro.

Well, the silence is strained on Felicity’s part, anyway, because she’s trying not to think about their room. Their room with one bed. It’s... not going well.

Because, sure, she’s had a few fantasies about sharing a bed with Oliver. But those fantasies always focus on the all-important mind-blowing sex leading up to the sharing of the bed. The bed-sharing is emphatically not the focal point of those fantasies.

But the stress she feels about keeping her imagination on lockdown when they tumble into bed later -- not that they’ll be tumbling into bed together in any but the most strict, technical sense. And even that will be more like -- they’ll both get into bed. Separately. Into the same bed, but separately. It’s a lot to worry about, and yet that’s nothing to the irritation she feels that Oliver is apparently completely unbothered by any of this.

He is simply eating his steak and rice pilaf and sipping his rich-people carbonated water, his untroubled gaze fixed serenely on the buildings visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows as they glimmer in the dusky sunlight.

He’s the picture of an unruffled, totally uninterested man.

And, sure, Felicity has never expected him to fall at her feet or salivate over her or anything, but she is a woman and as far as she can tell, he hasn’t gotten any in quite a while. Is she really that unappealing that the thought of sharing a bed doesn’t raise even the slightest bit of tension?

Apparently whatever flirting she thought he’s been doing with her has just been his stupid, charming, well-mannered self which she’s been wildly mis-reading.

So that’s great.

It’s possible that her hurt feelings and embarrassment have more than a little bit to do with her decision to, yes -- not just yes, but hell, yes -- wear that little black dress.

She will rock the shit out of that dress, and if he doesn’t react, well, maybe someone at the stupid club will buy her a couple drinks and make her feel like someone notices she’s an actual red-blooded woman.

Oliver is watching her closely when they get back to their room, his expression shuttered. And she is just -- not in the mood to try to decipher him. Instead, she focuses on gathering all of the beauty-related accoutrements she’ll be needing.

After he pulls a suit and crisp white dress shirt from the small closet, he ends up standing near the small desk by the window, watching her unpack her makeup case and her hair styling implements.

She pauses and looks at him. “Do you need the bathroom?”

His eyebrows jump just a bit. “No, I’m good.”

She nods. “I’m going to shower. You can change out here.”

Oliver frowns, checking his watch. “Okay. But it’s a little early.”

Felicity fixes him with a look. “Unless you have makeup tips you want to share, you need to find an elsewhere to be while I get ready.”


“I’m serious, Oliver,” she interrupts, letting some of her irritation with him flare to the surface. “There’s a routine, and I can’t get ready with you looming over my shoulder.”

He cracks the tiniest of smiles. “What if I promise not to loom?”

Felicity crosses her arms. “Isn’t there a hockey game you can go watch in the bar?”

Oliver acquiesces pretty easily after that. She pulls the strappy black dress out of her bag and hangs it from the shower curtain rod, then make another quick, secretive trip to her bag for her thong, sneaking a glance at Oliver to make sure he isn’t paying attention.

He has his back turned, and is tugging his dark grey henley off, and she can’t help but watch. She’s seen him half-naked countless times before, but never like this. Never in the low, soft light of a shared hotel room. Her chest aches with longing, because she wants this with him, but she swallows it down when he glances her way.

“I’ll come find you when I’m ready,” she says, then gives him a strange little wave. Thankfully not with the hand holding her tiny black lace panties.

The ache in her chest flares back to life when he gives her a grin and an answering wave, standing there in jeans that -- holy God -- he’s already unbuttoned. She swallows down a completely undignified squeak and practically runs into the bathroom.

Oliver’s gone when she emerges from the shower. She takes her time getting ready, putting extra care into her makeup, trying out a few options with her hair to see how unruly it’s going to be tonight, before leaving it to fall in long, slightly tousled waves. Last but not least, she shimmies her way into the black strappy dress, and holy crap, she’d forgotten just how much skin is on display.

But she can’t deny that she looks pretty fierce.

So with a deep, fortifying breath, she slips on her strappy purple heels, grabs her clutch, and heads out of the room.

She’s got really annoying butterflies in her stomach when she hits the lobby. Because Oliver is sitting somewhere close by in a suit and a casually not-quite-buttoned-all-the-way-up crisp white shirt, no doubt looking like a freaking supermodel, and she just wants some kind of reaction from him.

It probably makes her a petty person, but she will just have to learn to embrace that about herself.

She sees him sitting at the corner of the bar, his body half-turned to the entry, but his attention caught on the hockey game. He’s watching intently, and she’s reminded that he apparently played hockey as a kid. It’s rare but nice, seeing this little piece of the boy he was before the five years in hell.

Shaking herself from such maudlin thoughts, she straightens her shoulders and heads towards him. She will admit she’s gratified when the bartender and a couple of the other men at the bar very obviously notice her. It puts a little bit more swing in her step as she approaches Oliver.

Her heels click a familiar cadence against the hardwood floor, and if she had to guess, she’d bet that’s what catches Oliver’s attention.

He glances over when she’s still twenty feet away, and -- yup -- it feels pretty fucking great when his entire body stills. His blue eyes sweep down her body quickly, then back up, and his mouth parts as he watches her approach. Her breathing is a little off, a little too fast, but it looks like he’s holding his breath.

She stops just inside of his personal space and puts a hand on the bar to steady herself, her small clutch pressed tight against her thigh. “You ready?” she asks, and she sounds almost normal.

But Oliver just stares at her. She grins and tilts her head just a bit. “Oliver?”

He blinks. “Yeah,” he manages, his voice rough and low. “Yeah, I’m ready.”

She nods, shifting her weight. She doesn’t miss the way his gaze drops as she moves. She probably shouldn’t feel quite this smug about his reaction. “Good. We should head out, then.”

“Felicity,” he says, and he’s starting to recover. “You look amazing.” He reaches out, his fingers skimming down her bicep.

Her smile widens. “Thanks.”

When she pushes away from the bar, turning to head back the way she came, there’s a strange half-cough, half-choking noise from Oliver. She stops, looking back at him, fighting really, really hard not to smirk. “You okay?”

“Fine,” he croaks. “I’m fine.” He pushes himself to his feet and tosses a twenty on the bar. In three long strides he’s at her side. And when his hand settles on the small of her back, his fingers are touching her skin. Which is when she realizes there may be a flaw in her petty little plan to make him eat his heart out.

Because she’s pretty sure they both have to catch their breath.

& & &

Cubism, Felicity is disappointed to discover, has not done much with the more obvious thematic options. There are no square seating options, or square tumblers for drinks to be served in, or really anything distinguishing this place from any other aspiring nightspot.

So far, the only benefit to them being actually at the club is that they split up to do some subtle reconnaissance, which gives her a reprieve from all the… weird tension. Even after more than an hour away from him, if she closes her eyes she can practically feel the weight of his stare when he’d seen her in the hotel bar. She can perfectly picture the way his mouth had dropped open.

Like, how is she supposed to function properly after that?

Shivering, Felicity turns to the bar closest to her position, slips through groups of drunk and semi-drunken people, and squeezes between two large men to press her ribcage up against the bar. She flags down the bartender -- eventually, and only after she leans over and uses the dress’s magical cleavage properties -- to order a gin and tonic.

She drinks it slowly, leaning one elbow on the bar to preserve the tiny spot she’d eked out for herself. Mindful of the whole point of this escapade, she scans the room, looking for some sign of Oliver’s target. Instead, she catches sight of Oliver.

Of course.

Oliver in that light grey suit, shirt unbuttoned at his throat -- it’s like he emits his own force field. Or maybe it’s more like a tractor beam, sucking in all straight women, gay men, and bisexuals in the vicinity.

Even now, he’s standing in the shadows near the DJ booth, leaning casually against the wall, ankles crossed like he’s in a goddamned photo shoot. His stance is all false relaxation -- though she’s probably the only one who can read the tension in his frame. A group of women drift closer -- because, tractor beam of his hotness -- their movements exaggeratedly casual.

Felicity’s seen it a thousand times, “The ubiquitous Club Girl,” she murmurs into her drink in a narrator’s crisp tones, “circling her intended target.”

She knows Oliver sees it coming, but he doesn’t move. He must have a decent vantage point, or he’d already be employing those reformed playboy moves, flattering them, touching their arms and shoulders even as he made his escape.

Felicity sips her drink and watches the fake smile he flashes, the way he carefully eases away from repeated attempts at casual, accidental contact. It would be funny if it didn’t stir something sad and a little envious high in her ribcage.

Here we see the Uncomfortable Male,” she mutters, “surrounded by a pack of--

“Huh?” asks the guy to her left. Loudly.

Flushing, Felicity gives him her own patently fake smile and says, “Sorry! Just...” she taps a hand to her ear, “talking on my bluetooth.”

He gives her a puzzled look, but turns away.

When Felicity turns her attention back to Oliver, he’s staring back at her. The slightest twitch of his eyebrow and she knows he wants her to save him. She glowers momentarily, and he tilts his head a fraction to plead his case.

“Fine,” she grumbles to herself, draining her gin & tonic and waving to the bartender to order Oliver a whisky, neat. Lowball in hand, she snakes through the crowd toward him.

He’s still talking to the women, though his gaze is locked onto her. The slightest tightening of his lips as she arrives is the only warning she gets.

“Your drink,” she announces, pushing between a stunning, rail-thin brunette and a very well-endowed redhead to stand beside him.

“Hey, gorgeous,” he greets her loudly, accepting the drink. He switches the glass to his other hand so quickly she doesn’t register it until he’s got her hand in his and is tugging her closer. She nearly stumbles, ending up flush against the solid wall of his chest. “You’re back,” he says, and he has that stupid fake smile on, but his eyes are burning with something she can’t quite place. And then he’s wrapped his other arm around her and the ice-cube cool glass is against her spine. She hisses at the contact and arches away, which just presses her breasts against him and what is even happening right now? Oliver’s eyes darken and he groans, really softly, and then he’s kissing her.

She knows it’s fake. She knows she’s supposed to play the role of his flavor of the week so he can keep the hordes of interested women (and men) away from him. But his mouth is soft and warm and insistent against hers, the hand holding hers against his chest is gripping her almost painfully, and he is, like, for real kissing her.

It doesn’t feel fake, not the way he sinks against her.

For one stupid, soul-crushing moment, she leans into the kiss, loses reality in favor of the feel of his lips on hers. His arm is banded so tightly around her ribs that she can’t breath properly, and his tongue is in her mouth and this feels fucking perfect--

Except, no.

She’s kissing Oliver in a nightclub, because that’s what Playboy Oliver Queen does in nightclubs. And his cover tonight is Playboy Oliver Queen. Which makes this cover. Makes his kiss a pretense.

The realization burns all of her stunned excitement away, and she stiffens in his grasp.

Oliver leans even closer, and if she didn’t know better, she’d think he meant it. But she’s angry and sad and they are going to have an abrupt conversation about this later, so she tugs his bottom lip between her teeth and nips him hard enough to sting. Hard enough for him to gasp and pull back, his eyes dark, his breathing hitched and uneven like hers.

They stare at each other for a long, torturous beat, and for once, Felicity can’t read him. He looks -- sad? Apologetic, maybe? Desperate? None of it makes sense.

His arms are still tight around her and she realizes that her free hand is gripping a big, now-wrinkled handful of his jacket. She releases him, and tugs the hand he’s got crushed in his grip until he loosens his hold.

Oliver swallows. “Felicity,” he says in his real voice, in that soft, throaty tone he only uses with her. Her stomach flips. “Felicity, I--”

“No.” She turns in his arms. Because he’s decided to use her to hold this position near the DJ booth, and to hold off the people trying to get into his bed. Fine. It’s working -- his little horde of admirers has mostly dispersed, and there’s a few feet of space around them. So, sure she can do this, but she can’t look at him right now.

She’s still standing inches from him, the heat of his chest radiating to the mostly exposed skin of her back. His arm is looped around her waist, his untouched whisky near her hip. From a distance, they must look like lovers, like she’s melted against him at the edge of the dance floor.

In reality, she stands rigidly in the circle of his arms, not a word passing between them.


Chapter Text

Three hours of torture.

Three hours of Oliver keeping her maddeningly close, his palm against her shoulder, or his palm on the middle of her back. No matter where he touches her, it’s always skin on skin.

Damn this strappy-backed dress straight to hell.

The worst part is they don’t see a single suspicious thing. Not a hint of anything shady.

So the unrelenting buzz of arousal beneath her skin, the simmering anger at him for using her, the hurt feelings -- all of that was for nothing.

By the time Oliver tips the valet and slides into the driver’s seat, Felicity is sitting silent, arms crossed, gaze firmly averted. Her ears are ringing a little from the club music, but she still hears him when he clears his throat and says her name.

“No,” she answers.

His voice is low and resigned. “I think we--”

“Not now,” she snaps. Because this is not a conversation she can have when they’re on their way to a shared hotel room. Platonically shared. Whatever.

She’ll have no privacy, no space to fall apart if he pushes her too far, so she just can’t.

Oliver sighs, but doesn’t press.

Felicity turns up the radio and the awkward quiet between them persists for the short drive to the hotel, and follows them inside. When they reach their floor, Felicity is already out of the elevator before the doors are fully open, heading for their room at a brisk pace. She waits silently beside the door for Oliver to swipe the key card, and brushes carefully past him when he holds the door open for her.

Once inside, Oliver shrugs out of his suit jacket and tries again. “Felicity--”

“We’re not talking about this,” she interrupts, her hand pressed against the textured wallpaper for balance as she unfastens one strappy heel, then the other. She tosses them in the direction of her bag, then veers into the spacious vanity area, still mostly covered by her hair and makeup products.

Her reflection in the large mirror looks pale and sad as she removes her earrings.

She nearly drops the delicate metal when Oliver appears behind her. The image in the mirror twists something in her rib cage -- he’s just behind her, hands shoved in his pockets, and a slight frown on his face. And he’s here as she’s starting to undress after a long day, and he kissed her, and, God, she wants this. With him.

Her eyes sting and she looks away, blinking rapidly.

“You’re beautiful,” he murmurs. “This dress... You’re stunning.”

Her eyes are watery and she tries to keep her gaze anywhere else, but her eyes meet his in the mirror and she can’t look away.

“I...” he starts and stops with a little half-shrug. “I’m sorry I got,” he grimaces, “carried away.”

And that’s it.

Felicity brushes past him and back out into the main room.

Carried away.


She’s crouched in front of her suitcase digging out her -- oh, great; wonderful choice -- her sleep shorts and tank top. Both of which are black and covered with tiny turquoise martini glasses. Because it’s not like she expected to sleep in the same room -- the same bed -- as him on this trip.


“No, Oliver,” she answers softly. “I’m tired and upset and I just want to take this dress off and go to bed.” She closes her eyes, rubs a palm across her face. “To sleep. You know what I mean.”

Pushing to her feet, she brushes past him, but he captures her hand in his. “Felicity.”

She stills, her body tense, refusing to look at him.

“I just...” He sighs. “I don’t think we should go to sleep mad.”

Felicity wrenches her hand free and glares at him, angrily ignoring the tears stinging her eyes. “I wasn’t aware we were married,” she snaps.

Oliver actually flinches at that, and for a moment, she feels guilty. But then her gaze drops to his mouth and she remembers what it felt like to kiss him and she’ll never be able to forget and it’s not fair.

Silently, she moves to the dressing area of the bathroom and closes the door. She leaves the gorgeous black dress hanging from the hook on the back of the door and slips into her PJs. After washing her face and brushing her teeth, Felicity studies herself in the mirror for a long moment, then takes a breath and pushes the door open.

Oliver is standing by the window, shirtless, but still in his dress pants. He turns to her, his lips pressed together as she hovers near the foot of the bed. “I wasn’t sure which side you wanted,” he says, the words strained.

Felicity keeps her gaze on the bed, which is entirely too small for this moment, because there’s no way she’s going to be able to sleep with Oliver’s naked chest beneath the same sheets. “Either,” she manages. “Is there-- Do you prefer to be near the door?” she asks, assuming his protective streak would dictate his choices in this part of his life, too. “Or maybe the window?”

He takes her question seriously, and she knows from the way he doesn’t hesitate that he’s already catalogued the best way to defend the room. “I’ll take this side, if that’s okay,” he answers, gesturing to the side closest to the window.

When Felicity thinks about it, it makes sense -- the other side is closer to the door, but also sheltered by the bathroom. His side allows him a lot of freedom to move if he needs to.

His side.

She takes a shuddering breath and says, “Okay.”

Oliver seems as tentative as she is. He tips his head towards the bathroom. “I’ll just...”

Felicity nods, pulling the covers back and tossing the throw pillows onto the floor. While Oliver washes up, she slips into bed, telling herself to get a grip. It feels strange, lying on her back like a corpse, so she rolls to her side. Away from where he’ll be.

Oliver. Shirtless. In bed with her.

She presses her face into the pillow and squeezes her eyes shut. If she can just fall asleep before he comes out of the bathroom, maybe she’ll make it through the night.

The bathroom door opens with a muted swish, and she looks. Why does she look?

Oliver emerges in black boxer briefs, holding his suit pants, which he tosses haphazardly onto his suitcase before turning to the bed and freezing when he realizes she’s watching him. And then he flushes. “Sorry,” he says quietly, gesturing vaguely at his body with one hand. “I didn’t think--”

“It’s fine,” she manages. “Just come to--” She clears her throat. “Let’s just go to sleep.”

She’s never seen Oliver move as tentatively as he does now, walking slowly to the other side of the bed and pulling the covers down. The mattress dips beneath his weight, and Felicity stays resolutely on her side, facing away from him as he shifts around before turning off the bedside lamp.

For a few long minutes, there’s only the sound of their breathing in the room.

Then Oliver shifts, and his hand lands lightly on her shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he says again. “I owe you an explanation, but if you really don’t want to talk about this, I can--”

“I really don’t,” she whispers, her throat tight.

His fingers tighten on her, then he lets go. “Okay,” he whispers back. “Good night, Felicity. Sweet dreams.”

All she can manage in response is a hum of acknowledgment.

& & &

Felicity jerks awake, bleary and confused and -- what is that strange sound?

The hotel room is dark and -- right. Hotel room. And -- shit, Oliver’s having a nightmare. Unless he normally moans in his sleep like that?

Felicity pushes up onto her elbow, half-rolling to look at him. She still feels strange, looking down at his familiar face, shadowed in the dark but so close to her. His brow is furrowed, distressed, and he’s shifting now, his arms moving beneath the covers.

His fingers brush against her knee, and she really shouldn’t react to that, considering he’s trapped in some kind of island-flashback hellscape and not, like, trying to turn her on.

She watches him for a few more seconds, torn. Should she wake him? Would that end badly for her? But can she really sit here and just do nothing while his mind makes him relive one or more of the many traumas he’s experienced?

Carefully, Felicity reaches out, laying her fingers against his shoulder. “Oliver?” she asks softly. He’s rolling his head side to side now, the sheets rustling from his movements. “Oliver.”

It happens so quickly that she has no time to react. One moment, he’s restlessly asleep, the next, he’s sitting upright, his entire body poised for action, his eyes wide and darting around the room. She didn’t notice when it happened, but he’d grabbed her hand from his shoulder, pinning it to the mattress between them.

After a long, silent moment, he releases a harsh breath, and then he’s panting, his gaze finding her.

She’s still half lying, propped on her elbow, and she stares up at him in the dimness of their room. “Oliver?”

It’s like puncturing a balloon -- he deflates, half-collapsing forward, his face pressed into his palms, her hand abandoned by his thigh. “I’m sorry,” he mutters.

She reaches for him, rubbing her palm down the length of his arm, trying to soothe him in whatever way she can. “Don’t apologize, Oliver.”

He takes a shuddering breath, then looks over at her, his expression full of longing and tinged with panic. “Felicity, I...” He shakes his head, looking away.

She knows she shouldn’t. She knows she can’t handle it, particularly after The Kissing Incident earlier, but she tugs on his arm. “Come here,” she orders, easing herself down flat on the mattress.

He’s puzzled when he looks back at her, that adorable furrowed brow confusion. She rolls her eyes at him and tugs his arm again. “Come here.”

“Felicity, what--?”

“You need a hug,” she tells him, and he’s already listing towards her, like he can’t find the willpower to refuse. “So come and get it.” Her eyes go wide. “A hug. Get that, not...” She lets the sentence stumble to a stop, and she’ll take the embarrassment if it helps him remember how to smile.

Oliver turns toward her, a grin threatening to appear, and she can feel her heart start to pound stupidly hard in her chest. She’s just offering him comfort, so she should really throttle down her reaction to the sight of him looming above her in bed, moving ever closer.

Yup. No reason that should turn her on at all.

To her surprise, Oliver scoots down a little bit, angling his body so he can sling his arm low across her stomach and press his head against her rib cage beneath her breasts. Felicity freezes at the unexpected intimacy, and Oliver stiffens against her. “Is this--” She can feel the tension in his shoulders as she brings her arms down to embrace him. “Is this okay?” he asks.

It’s a lot more than okay. It’s a lovers’ embrace -- his head is nestled against her breasts, his stubble rasping against the skin of her abdomen even through her thin tank top, and his elbow is resting against her hipbone. It’s everything she’s ever wanted with him, only all he wants from her is a little comfort so he can go back to sleep.

“It’s fine,” she answers, and her voice is high and thready and not at all convincing.

His arms tighten around her, and he just... melts into her, all warm strength coiled against her body. Her eyes sting a little at this demonstration of his trust in her, and she can’t seem to stop her hands from tracing pattern along his back, rubbing soothing circles against his neck, smoothing his hair.

It doesn’t take long until he turns his face into her, his nose pressing against her, his hot breath making her shiver beneath him. And then he’s skimming kisses against her skin, because apparently her shirt rode up, and the feel of his stubble rasping along her abdomen, the contrast between that and his soft, warm lips, it’s enough to send her spiraling into the kinds of fantasies she’s told herself to stop having.

She lets her eyes drift shut, her hand cradling the back of his head as he continues his sweet torture. It’s like a hazy daydream, and she lets herself drift in it, her body relaxed and turned on, until she lets out a moan and Oliver freezes.

Felicity’s eyes snap open, and she’s tripping over an apology, fighting the urge to slip out from under him and lock herself in the bathroom for the rest of the night. But then Oliver moves, and he’s hovering really, really close to her face. It takes her a moment to realize he’s got his weight on his elbows, one on either side of her ribcage as he looms above her.

“Felicity.” He studies her for a long moment.

She opens her mouth to answer, to say his name, to say something, and then he’s kissing her, and it’s like their little kissing incident earlier was a half-effort warm up. This kiss is fire and love and warm chocolate and petting a happy puppy in the sunshine on a summer day with, like, the best red wine in the world and also Oliver Queen kissing you senseless.

This kiss is everything, and she’s got her hands wrapped around his biceps to anchor him in place. Not that he seems to want to go anywhere.

In fact, he shifts closer, bringing one leg between hers as his hands inch beneath her shoulder blades.

“Oliver,” she says, and he freezes, his body tense against hers.

“I’m sorry,” he says, eyes wide. “Is this-- Is this not okay?”

She gapes at him, because he sounds... uncertain? “It’s very okay,” she assures him. Then she frowns. “I mean, it’s probably okay. Unless this is just comfort. Not,” she hurries to add, “that I don’t want to comfort you. Of course I do. I just meant that I don’t want to be just a warm body that--”

Felicity,” he interrupts, and then he’s pushing himself up and it takes every bit of willpower she has not to whimper at the loss of his heat. He sits up, cross-legged on the mattress, and tugs at her hand, urging her upright.

She’s confused and turned on and embarrassed, but she acquiesces, ending up mirroring his position, sitting so close that their knees brush together. “Oliver?”

“I’m sorry about the club,” he says, taking her hands in his and cradling them. “I don’t want you to think I was using you, or using this connection we have.”

She feels the flush on her skin at his mention of this thing that’s basically always been between them. “Okay,” she answers, hesitantly.

There’s just enough ambient light in the room for her to see the soft, amused look on his face as he watches her. “I have been trying so hard to keep my hands off of you,” he says slowly, “and tonight -- that dress...” He shakes his head. “I know I kissed you before I explained myself, but, Felicity, I don’t want you to think this is anything less than everything to me.”

She gapes at him, her mouth opening even though she can’t possibly find the words to respond to that. Because everything? He couldn’t possibly mean--

“I want you,” he says, his voice low and rough. “But, Felicity, if we do this, if we take this step...” He squeezes her hands, brings her left hand up to press a soft kiss to her knuckles. “I don’t think I can do things halfway with you.”

Felicity is about 80% sure she’s having some sort of waking dream right now. Carefully, she extracts one hand from his and pinches her arm-- “Shit!” she yelps.

When she looks up at him, he’s smiling at her. “Felicity,” he says, reaching for her free hand, “Is that okay with you? Is this what you want?”

She stares at him, still trying to wrap her head around what he’s saying. “So earlier, at the club,” she begins, tightening her fingers around his, “you weren’t using me for cover.”

“I kissed you because I couldn’t not kiss you anymore,” he answers, his thumb rubbing along the sensitive skin of her hand. “The same as just now.”

Right. Sure. Okay. Felicity nods, ignoring the weird way her lungs seem to be working a little too quickly all of a sudden. “And you want me.”

She actually knows the answer to this one, because Oliver has never been able to lie to her. She could feel it in the way he touched her. But it’s been a long, confusing, torturous summer, and it turns out that she really needs to hear him say the words.

Oliver lets his gaze skim down her body before he quirks an eyebrow at her. “Desperately.”

A strange, high-pitched sort of noise escapes her at that, because the open lust in his gaze, the rough desire in his voice -- it’s way more than she can possibly handle. It’s everything that she wants. “But you don’t want to have sex with me unless we’re, what -- in a relationship?”

His smile falters, and he looks anxious. But he nods in affirmation, his shoulders lifting in a helpless sort of shrug. “I love you.”

Everything in the entire world spins to a stop as Felicity evaluates what he just said. He has never been able to lie to her, which is why his first, Slade-induced declaration had been so confusing. She knew, that night, that he wasn’t lying; she just couldn’t get her arms around the idea that he might be telling the truth.

Which was a distinction made sense in her head at the time.

Tonight, here, now -- she sees the certainty in his eyes, the hope, the love, and she knows he means it.

And then she is crying. Oliver looks horrified for a brief moment, until she smiles and surges up onto her knees, leaning into his body, tilting her head down to kiss him.

Oliver responds eagerly, immediately, his hands on her hips, fingers digging into her flesh as he urges her closer. He’s sitting cross-legged, and it’s a struggle, but she manages to settle in his lap, her legs wrapped around his hips as she kisses and kisses and kisses him.

It’s -- they’re really good.

The skin of his torso is warm and rough beneath her palms, and she can’t stop running her hands along every inch of his back. Oliver’s fingers are digging into her hips, holding her close. She can feel him hard and ready against her sex.

She lets go of him and leans back a bit, desperate for more skin on skin. He looks worried for a moment, until he sees she’s dragging the tank top off her body. She’s so happy, so confident here in the moment with him that she doesn’t feel even the slightest bit self-conscious.

If she had, the way his mouth drops open and his grip on her body tightens would’ve eased her concerns. “God,” he groans, leaning forward and sucking her nipple into his mouth.

She’s caught between laughing from sheer giddiness and moaning from the feel of his tongue on her skin. Felicity arches into his touch, her hands dropping to his shoulders for some kind of anchor. Her hips move restlessly, seeking friction and pressure as she rocks in his lap.

Oliver’s palms trace lines on her back, easing up her spine. Then he’s shifting, turning, and laying her down on her back without even pausing in his attentions to her breasts.

She grins up at the ceiling. “Show off.”

He laughs around her nipple, and the feeling makes her giddy. Then his hot breath is on her ribcage, his warm palms low on her hips, fingers curling into the waistband of her sleep shorts. “Can I?” he asks, demonstrating his intentions with a little tug.

“Please,” she answers, lifting her hips and she’s barely settled back on the mattress when Oliver’s lips are on her hipbone. “Oliver!” She’s moving beneath him, because she needs more. Pressure, friction, something. He holds her still with his hands on her thighs and bites down, just enough to make her gasp, just enough to leave a mark beside her hipbone.

“I want to taste you,” he murmurs, his face inches from her sex.

The sight alone is enough to make Felicity’s hips shift. In fact, if he just hovers there and talks to her in that gravelly, sex-soaked voice, she’s pretty confident she could come without him even touching her.

But, God, she wants him to touch her. “Yes,” she manages, “please. Please.”

He breathes one hot, long breath against her, then presses wet, open-mouthed kisses along her sensitive skin before he really settles in. What gets her, really, isn’t just the feel of his tongue tracing patterns on her clit -- though he is, God, so good at that -- but the way his hands never, ever stop moving over her body.

His palms graze along her thighs, coaxing her to open wider for him.

He cups her breasts, tweaking her nipples.

His fingers tease along her rib cage until she shivers under his mouth.

He finds her hand clenching a fistful of the sheet and tangles her fingers with his instead, giving her something to hold on to.

His free hand skims down the sensitive skin of her belly.

He sneaks his warm palm beneath her body, squeezing and kneading her ass until they both groan.

He pushes one finger inside of her, then another, setting up an easy rhythm.

And all the while, Oliver uses his lips and tongue tirelessly, alternating soft and firm pressure, licking and sucking, flicking her clit, until her fingernails are digging into the back of his hand and she’s--

Oh, she’s coming.

It’s wave after wave of pleasure, and she’s moaning and gasping, her hips lifting into him helplessly.

When her gasps turn to breathy chuckles, Oliver eases off, pressing wet kisses along her abdomen as she squirms beneath him. The hand not tucked firmly in his grasp, she sweeps along the crown of his head, through his soft hair, then down and across his shoulder.

“C’mere,” she orders, her chest still heaving, her pulse still pounding in her ears.

He obeys, settling his weight on his forearms and kissing her chastely, despite the fact that he shed his boxer briefs and his cock is bare and hard and ready against her. She squirms a little at the contact, sensitive and still reeling a little from all of that. He’s really good -- focused and intense and basically all the things she would expect from Oliver. And she’s thought about it a lot.

And now she’s here, in an orgasmic haze, with Oliver naked and on top of her. She closes her eyes just long enough to repress the strange, high-pitched noise that wells up inside of her at the reality of this. Of them. Of him.


She tightens her grip on him, urging him closer, and meets his eyes with a smile. He’s mostly keeping his weight off of her, though his hips rock against her. Felicity slides her hands down the warm, rough skin of his back, along the dip of his waist, and to the curve of his ass. Her knees come up to press against his hips, and she squeezes that delicious ass of his, making him jerk a little harder against her.

“Condom,” he whispers against her mouth.

She stills, thinking about what she’d packed. And then she flushes, because, yes, she actually does have condoms, but it’s not like she was expecting this. He’d better not get all smug and knowing about her having birth control on this trip.

When Oliver eases back to peer down at her, he just looks glazed and full to bursting with lust. His gaze drops repeatedly to her lips, his mouth hanging open just a little, and his breathing is all fast and uneven. Seeing him this way is more than she really ever expected.

Drunk with lust? Is -- wow -- it’s a good look on him.

“Up,” she orders, suddenly frantic. She presses a palm against his hip and he moves quickly, rolling onto his side. She shifts, too, sitting up and half-turning towards him. And while she had every intention of grabbing her bag from the desk and retrieving a condom, she pauses, eyeing his erection instead.

His cock is impressive -- big enough to kick her pulse up a notch in anticipation -- and standing firm and ready for her touch. Oliver’s on his side, propped up on one elbow, watching her watching him. “Felicity, what-- ohhhh.”

He’s big in her hand, hot, soft over hard, and she gives him an experimental squeeze. Oliver’s breathing stutters a little, his hand clenching into a fist against the sheets. She grazes the head of his cock with her thumb, teasing a breathy moan from him, and then strokes his length once, twice, and again. She lifts her gaze to his face, but he’s watching her hand work him, his mouth open, his breath coming in harsh gasps as she speeds up a little.

When Oliver starts to thrust into her grip, Felicity braces her other hand flat against his abdomen. Yes, okay, so she doesn’t really need to brace herself so much as she really wants to grope his six pack a little. She’s been enamored of this particular part of his anatomy for actual, literal years, and her hand trembles as she traces the ridges and valleys of his muscles.

But as it turns out, touching that amazing landscape is not nearly enough -- she suddenly and desperately needs her tongue on his abs. She doesn’t stop working him with her hand even as she leans in, licking a hot stripe across the skin just below his ribcage. His muscles jump and flex beneath her mouth, and she can’t resist sucking just hard enough to leave a mark.

Gasping, Oliver jerks beneath her, and pulls her up, easing her hand off of him. “Wait, wait,” he begs, rolling off the bed and to his feet. “I want--” He stands there, looking like a Greek god -- a Greek sex god, and a massively aroused one at that -- and takes three deep, gulping breaths. Then he looks at her with wide, desperate eyes. “I want inside of you.”

Felicity’s entire body spasms in reaction, and she nods frantically. “My bag,” she orders. “Get my bag.”

Oliver puts that athleticism of his to work, snatching her bag from the desk and making it back onto the bed before she can do more than blink. He’s kneeling beside her, his knee pressed against her thigh, which is really distracting. When he reaches down and clamps his fingers around the base of his cock with a low, tortured moan, Felicity’s hands still inside her bag. Her attention shifts completely to him, to the tension in his forearm as he grips himself.

“Felicity,” he grits, and she snaps her gaze up to his face. He looks a little bit tortured, but still a little bit amused. “Condom?” he prompts, that damnably sexy eyebrow quirking up.

“Oh!” She nods. “Condom. That’s what I was-- Right.” Tearing her gaze from him, she digs through the small pockets in the lining of her bag. Nope -- tampons, compact, extra lipstick. There! Emergency condom. Thank God.

“Yes!” she says, grinning at him as she fist pumps, the foil packet crinkling in her grip.

His desperation is replaced, at least for the moment, by amusement as he beams at her. He shifts, exhaling a little roughly as he removes his hand, and then very carefully places her bag on the nightstand before turning back to her.

Felicity leans back, one palm flat on the mattress just behind her hip, and doesn’t miss the way his heated gaze drifts down her body. She holds her hand out in offering, the condom resting in the center of her palm, and in her sauciest voice, she says, “You requested a condom, Mr. Queen?”

Oliver growls -- he actually growls in response, and then the condom is gone and she is flat on her back, giggling, with Oliver looming over her. He braces himself above her, like he’s doing a plank hold, his arm muscles all taut and defined and, damn. Slowly, slowly, he lowers himself down, his biceps bulging in a really lick-able way, and he kisses her desperately. Then he kneels up long enough to rip open the condom. He pauses, his gaze sweeping down her body.

When he licks his lips, she is done.

“Oliver.” His name comes out husky and a little shaky, because her whole body is trembling with impatient desire. And the look on his face isn’t helping. He’s overwhelming like this -- all naked and desperate for her. She pushes on his right shoulder, unable to string the words together to tell him she wants him on his back.

But they’re pretty good at the wordless communication thing, so he rolls on the condom and shifts, reaching for her hips before he’s even settled on his back. She loses her balance, half-falling onto his chest. He takes advantage, lifting his head, and he’s got his tongue in her mouth immediately, his right hand sliding down her thigh.

She can’t stop kissing him -- she’s sucking his tongue, nipping at his bottom lip, licking the raspy scruff on his chin -- even as she throws a leg over him, settling almost exactly where she needs to be. The head of his cock slips through her folds, seeking entrance. Groaning into his mouth, she tilts her hips and reaches down, wrapping her fingers around him.

She can’t stop kissing him.

“Felicity,” Oliver mumbles against her lips as she slides down onto him.

Her fingers grip his shoulders and she tears her mouth from his, sucking breath into her lungs as she adjusts to his size. They’re staring at each other, both breathing unsteadily, and then Oliver lifts a hand, carefully, tenderly tucking her hair behind her ear.

A moment of awareness stretches between them, until she turns her face, pressing a kiss to his palm. Shifting, she sits up, opening her thighs more, settling down further on him. The pressure of his cock inside of her is perfect, hard and insistent, and she has to move.

“You’re-- Felicity, you’re--” Oliver mutters, gripping her waist hard. His hands are strong, so strong, and it turns her on that she can feel the intensity of his desire in the way he’s leaving bruises on her skin.

When she circles her hips, he’s suddenly sitting upright, his hard chest pressed against hers, his huge arms banding around her, pulling her flush against him. “Feel so good,” he says, his breath hot against her jawbone.

He rocks the tiniest bit beneath her, and she feels it all the way to her toes. “Oliver.” Her hands trace the marks on his skin as she shifts against him. She cups the back of his head, tilting his face up, and then she’s kissing him again, and she’s moving. Up and down, slow and easy.

In all her fantasies of this moment, they’d been overcome with passion -- fucking against a wall, or maybe on the conference room table at QC. But now that they’re here, the languid pace, the reverence -- it doesn’t surprise her. For all of Oliver’s darkness, he loves fiercely.

Any doubts she may have had about his unexpected declaration of love in the middle of battle are gone. Oliver expresses his love with each kiss and caress.

Like before, Oliver’s hands never stop moving on her body. He traces every line, every curve, every inch he can reach. His hands are so big and warm against her skin, and his fingers leave trails of goosebumps. And through it all, they’re kissing, breathing into each other’s mouths, lips and tongue sliding, slipping together as she rocks on him.

She starts to move a little faster, a little harder, lifting off of his cock and taking him back in. Her breasts are rubbing and pressing against his chest, his sparse chest hair providing friction for her nipples. It’s not long before her whole body is humming with it -- with awareness of him inside of her; with happiness that they are finally, improbably here; with the orgasm she can feel building, slowly, slowly as they bodies rock together.

Oliver cups her ass, his fingers digging into the flesh, his hands guiding her movements, adding a little force. “Your body is incredible,” he says into her throat. He’s thrusting up into her now as much as he can.

Felicity laughs, tilting her head down to nip his earlobe. “I think you know how I feel about your body.” She drags her palms down his back, letting her fingernails just barely scrape along his skin. He arches into her, his hands clenching on her ass.

She loves the intimacy of this position -- their sweat-slick skin sliding against each other with every shift -- but she needs more now. “Oliver, I need--”

He interrupts her with a kiss -- dirty and desperate, all tongue and teeth -- and then pulls back to meet her lust-addled gaze. “Ride me, Felicity,” he says, and it sounds more like a plea than an order.

Oliver leans back, and once he’s flat on the mattress, she feels his legs shift behind her, and he’s -- God, he’s using his new leverage to fuck her harder, his hips lifting and thrusting into her.

Felicity plants her palms on his chest and meets him, thrust for thrust. And he’s grunting a little now, and hitting her so deep. Her eyes drift closed, and she’s overtaken by sensation -- his huge, hot palms on her ass, his harsh breaths, his hips snapping up into her.

Her orgasm crashes over her unexpectedly. She arches into it, muttering some nonsense that includes his name, and then his mouth is on her nipple, sucking hard, and she gasps, her pussy clenching around him.

Oliver mouth falls away from her breast. He’s chanting her name, his thumbs on her hipbone as he slams up into her, and then he stiffens with a long, low groan.

Felicity collapses onto his chest, even as his hips continue to stutter against her, his fingers digging into her flesh to hold her still. He’s a little sweaty, his skin salty with it when she sucks and nips the skin where his shoulder meets his neck. She’s draped on him like a tired, sweaty blanket, and it feels fantastic. His heart is pounding beneath her ear, the gulping breaths he’s taking lifting her up and down.

She’s never moving from here, ever. “I live here now,” she murmurs, and his chest rumbles with amusement.


He doesn’t say anything else; he doesn’t need to. He tells her entire stories just by the way he says her name.

She smiles against his chest. “Oliver.”

“That was incredible,” he murmurs, brushing her hair away from her face so he can kiss her temple.

“Mmmm,” she agrees, letting her eyes fall shut. Totally incredible. He skims one hand slowly, slowly down her spine, and if she were a cat, she would absolutely be purring.

“Hey,” he whispers, “are you falling asleep on me?”

“Little bit,” she admits, nestling closer. “S’okay. I live here now, remember?” But she knows they have to move -- he’s softening inside of her and she can feel the chill of sweat cooling on her back. She tightens her grip on him for a moment, then groans and slides off of him, ending up on her side next to him, her palm flat on his abs. Because she can do that now.

Oliver turns his head to face her, and kisses her sweetly. “Be right back,” he says, slipping out of bed to take care of the condom and clean up.

The late hour -- and the really great orgasm -- catches up to her, and she dozes off a little before he gets back. The mattress shifts beneath her, and then the covers settle over her, and Oliver is there, warm and solid.

She can’t quite convince her eyes to open, but she tilts her face up and he obliges her with another kiss. “I love you,” he whispers. “Go to sleep.”

“Love you,” she answers, snuggling closer. “No more nightmares, ‘kay?”

Oliver’s arms tighten around her. “Deal.”

& & &

Waking up naked and sore and grinning beside Oliver is -- well, it’s kind of great, Felicity decides.

Even if she really has to pee, and she’s sure she has terrible morning breath, and her left arm is asleep from the elbow down because someone slung his stupidly huge and therefore heavy bicep over it in his sleep. Carefully, she pulls her arm free, wincing as the pins and needles set in, and rolls onto her side to face his sleeping form.

Yup, this is pretty great.

The heavy hotel drapes are mostly keeping the sunlight at bay, but there’s enough of a glow around the edges that Felicity knows it’s morning. The morning after some really great sex. With Oliver. She presses her face into the pillow to smother the smug screams she is really scared might tumble out of her when she lets herself think about last night.

Last night, which was perfect.

Well, no, that’s not true. Because Oliver was kind of an ass at Cubism. And then there was the part where he woke up gasping from a nightmare. That part was -- it was a lot.

She’s not stupid -- she knew even before experiencing things firsthand last night that Oliver has nightmares. And trouble sleeping. And, you know, some unaddressed PTSD and assorted unhealthy coping mechanisms.

All of which means she’s never actually seen him sleep before -- not like this morning. He’s on his back beside her, his face turned just slightly in her direction, lips slack, sheets pushed halfway down his torso, one palm flat against his abdomen.

Sleeping peacefully.

She’s seen him unconscious before, but not really ever resting. He looks -- God, he looks younger and happier and free of the burdens that he carries around with him all the time.

She lets her fingertip brush lightly against the bullet wound from the night he nearly bled out in her car. Stubborn idiot. How did he know she wouldn’t work late that night? Later, anyway, since it was already well past office hours when she’d found him in her car, and the only reason she’d actually left was to get a milkshake for--


Felicity startles badly at the sound of Oliver’s husky, sexy morning voice.

He chuckles and shifts his arm up and over her head, waiting for her to lift up so he can loop it around her back and tug her closer. “Sorry,” he whispers against her forehead, his stubble scratching across her skin. He kisses her temple.

Felicity flattens her palm against his chest, letting her thumb caress his warm skin. “Morning,” she answers finally, letting her cheek rest against his shoulder which, conveniently, means she can’t quite look him in the eye. “Sorry, I was just--” She lifts her hand, making a strange twirling motion in the general vicinity of her head, just barely missing his face-- “you know, lots of things going on in here.”

For someone who was not at all moving a moment ago, he stills noticeably. Felicity will never understand how his body can be so very expressive.

“Good things?” he asks, his voice soft and maybe a little unsure?

And, God, if only she felt less awkward all of a sudden and could reassure him, but she kind of really needs him to reassure her instead. “Yes,” she answers, high and breathy and weird, “all good things. Of course good things. Because that--” And this time, she gestures towards his dick, and immediately feels her face burning bright-- “was all good. Really good.”

Oh, God, what is her problem? Yes, the sex was great, but that’s not really what’s got her all wound up right now. It’s the rest of it -- the intimacy of it.

“Yeah?” he asks. “You...” His palm flattens against her back, soothing along her skin. “You don’t sound all the sure about--”

“No, no,” she interrupts. “I’m just... weird? It’s-- This is a lot, Oliver, and it happened really suddenly.”

Oliver shifts, rolling to face her, and dislodging her from her comfortable perch against his shoulder. She moves her head back to her pillow, and their faces are inches away from each other. The intense blue of his eyes is just unfair. Cruel and unusual punishment, trying to keep a handle on her emotions when his stupid eyes are like rays of sunshine. Not that sunshine is blue.

Though light is actually the whole spectrum of colors, so it’s not not blue, but--



His hand drifts down her back, settling on her waist. “This wasn’t sudden. Not at all. Not,” he pauses, shrugging his shoulder, “not for me.”

Her eyes spark a little with tears that she tries her best to blink away. Because she’s loved him for a year, but last night, she hadn’t actually given him the words. “Me, neither,” she says. “The feelings, I mean.”

He starts to smile, relaxing under her hand. “The feelings, huh?”

She can feel the spots of color on her cheek. “Lots of feelings,” she agrees, a hint of playfulness in her tone. She scrapes her fingernails low on his belly. “Lust, primarily, but--”

He laughs against her lips, and then he’s kissing her, and she doesn’t care about morning breath or anything else she’s supposed to be embarrassed about, because he’s here and he’s hers.


He pulls back just enough to meet her gaze, their faces inches apart, their breathing a little ragged. Felicity knows how she feels, knows without a doubt that she loves him. And she believes that he loves her, that he wants this. But it’s still hard. “I...”

Oliver smiles at her. “Hey, I don’t need--”

“But I do,” she interrupts. “And you should know it. That-- That I love you.” She lets out a surprised laugh. Because that wasn’t really that bad. It was actually -- it might have felt a little good?

And the mixture of disbelief and hope on Oliver’s face in reaction is breaking her heart in the worst way.

So she cups his face in her hands and repeats herself. “I love you, Oliver.”

“Oh,” he breathes, and then he’s kissing her, rolling her under him.

“Wait,” she says a few minutes later, breathing a little unsteadily. “I have to--” She stops herself from saying “pee,” just because that’s the opposite of sexy and he’s rolling her nipple between his fingers. “Get up,” she manages. “I have to get up, but -- we’re really doing this?” He tilts his head in question. “You and me. We’re… an us.

She means it to sound like a statement that just needs verbal confirmation. It comes out a little more shy and uncertain than she’d meant it to.

“I love you,” Oliver answers, his tone firm and persuasive. “We’re together.”

She nods, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat, and pretends to think that over. “Okay,” she says finally. “But you have to tell Dig.”

Oliver rolls his eyes, exasperated, and then starts kissing her again. She very -- very -- reluctantly pulls back and presses her index finger to his lips. “Hold that thought.”

The damnable man opens his mouth, sucking her finger shamelessly, and Felicity just gapes at him for a long moment.

Oliver releases her finger and smirks. “Hurry back.”

She blinks. Then she slides off the bed, pausing for a lazy stretch, then gives him a smug look at the choked sound he makes. When Felicity reaches the bathroom door she turns back. He’s a vision of ridiculously sexy, aroused, naked man -- all tanned skin and warm muscle atop crisp white sheets.

Oliver’s gaze snaps up from her ass to meet hers, and she grins at him. “I’ll be right back.”

The rest of their morning passes surprisingly easy. Knowing him so well lets this new aspect of their relationship settle a little easier than she would have ever expected.

Except for the part where Oliver can’t seem to stop touching her.

Not that she’s complaining.

It’s just throwing her off a little. Having the full weight of Oliver’s intense focus on her at all times is... she can feel it along every inch of her skin.

Especially the places where she can feel the light sting of bruising from his mouth and his fingers. She’s basically in a constant state of low-level arousal, just being in his proximity.

And when they climb back in the car to start the drive back to Starling City, Felicity starts to giggle.

“What?” Oliver demands, taking advantage of the red light to study her with a half-smile on his lips. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing,” she says with a playful shrug. “Just-- You know, despite your protestations to the contrary, you just took me to Vancouver for a weekend sex getaway.”

Oliver frowns. “This was not a weekend sex getaway.”

“Cubism was a bust.” Felicity smirks at him. “And then we had sex, like, four times. So basically all we accomplished this weekend was us. And, you know, all the excellent sex. So. I’m pretty sure that makes this a weekend sex getaway.”

“Five times,” he corrects, because, yeah, that’s the important part of her comment. Impossible man. She’s still grinning when he leans over the console to kiss her.

A horn from behind breaks the moment. Oliver grumbles and puts the car in gear, aiming a bitter look in the rearview mirror.

“No road rage-y arrowing,” Felicity says with a laugh.

“Yeah, yeah,” he mumbles. Then he reaches over and tangles his fingers with hers, letting their hands rest on her thigh “I promise we’ll go somewhere much better for our next weekend sex getaway.”

Felicity squeezes his hand in hers and leans her head against the window, grinning at the scenery zipping past. “Deal.”