"You don't have to do this."
It's not the first time Felicity has said that to him, nor is it the second or third. It's not even the tenth, and just like always, John looks at her, shakes his head. "I have extra people on Moira Queen, Oliver is looking after Thea," he tells her as he places an overnight bag down on the floor beside her couch. "I'm here."
Felicity sighs, pinches the bridge of her nose. "John, if Slade wants to hurt me..."
"He's going to have to keep wanting." John can't even consider the alternative. He crosses the room to stand in front of her, lays his hands on her shoulders. "I will not let anything happen to you."
Her hands reach up and land on his chest, playing with the buttons of his shirt. Her eyes are focussed on the buttons and she's biting her lip. He thinks there could be tears in her eyes but he can't be sure. Either way, it's the moment he's sure that her carefully crafted bravado is just that, and he knows, like he knows his own name, that she would never show this side of herself to anyone but him. He waits for her to speak and when she does, her voice is a whisper. "I'm glad you're here."
John slides his arms around her shoulders, pulls her close and rests his chin on the top of her head. She goes willingly, burying her head in his chest and holding him just as tightly as he's holding her. "It's no big deal," he tells her, even though neither one of them believe that. "C'mon, I spend most nights here anyway..."
Felicity snorts but she doesn't lift her head. "True," she says. "You should just move in."
There is a long moment where he doesn't say anything, where she realises what she's just said.
Then there's a long moment where she freezes.
Then she lifts her head with a jerk, her eyes wide as they meet his. "Not that you should do it right this minute," she says quickly, "or at all, if that's not what you want. And I mean, even if you do want that, it'd be way down the line because let's face it, we haven't been together for very long and this is not even a conversation we should be having right now..."
She stops talking when he takes her face in his hands and kisses her. It's his favourite kind of kiss, slow and thorough, designed to stop her babbling and if he does say so himself, it never fails.
When he pulls back, her eyes are wide again but for an entirely different reason and his hands cup her face. "We can't have that conversation now," he agrees. "But we will have it."
She nods, smile slightly dazed and he kisses her again and again, until the reason for him being here is a distant memory.