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An Understandable Consequence

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Felicity hits the mat with a crushing thud, the impact stealing the breath from her lungs, rendering her speechless for a moment. She closes her eyes, hoping the ground might actually open and swallow her, because she's been shown this move how many times and she still can't get it right? 

There's a more gentle thud beside her, one she recognises as a pair of knees dropping with cat like grace onto the mat. Not that she'd compare Diggle to a cat, she thinks, unless it's a lion; some kind of majestic animal that silently rules over all it surveys, quiet until its own is threatened and then it leaps into action to protect, to avenge...

She stops the train of thought right there, wonders if she actually hit her head harder than she thought. 

"You ok?" Diggle sounds worried and sure enough, when she opens her eyes, he's staring down at her, dark eyes serious, brow furrowed. 

"Oh sure," she says, "just waiting for the little cartoon birdies to stop tweeting." 

She means it as a joke but his frown deepens and he reaches out, places one hand under her head and lifts it gently, cradles her head while his other hand moves over her scalp. He touches her carefully, tenderly, with the utmost concern and Felicity fights, with everything she has, the urge to close her eyes and melt into his arms. 

His very strong arms. 

His very strong arms that she's been sparring with every night for the last few weeks since he's decided post-Dodger that she's going to learn how to defend herself. 

His very strong arms that have been wrapping around her for less training related reasons in her dreams every night since. 

She knows this is foolish at best, idiotic at worst. 

After all, Diggle is her friend, the man who's by her side when they're running comms for Oliver, the only one aside from Oliver who understands what they're doing and why. In some ways, he's the closest thing to a best friend she has at the moment, certainly the one who knows most about her life and how she's choosing to spend it. All in all, developing a crush on him is probably an understandable, if inconvenient, consequence of all the time they're spending together.

Besides, he's a good man, kind and decent, and he's certainly not so hard to look at - the first time she'd seen him without his shirt and tie on, she'd literally stared at him, boggle eyed. 

She's probably staring at him the same way now, she realises, because his hands have stilled on her head but he's making no moves to release her. Instead, his arm moves from the back of her head to her shoulders so that he's cradling her in his arms, his free hand going up to stroke her cheek. 

Felicity's breath hitches in her chest as a flush spreads across her cheek. She'd be embarrassed by her reaction except that it makes Diggle's eyes dilate, even as his lips twitch in a smile. "Maybe we should get you home," he suggests, and his voice is not usually that low, does not usually make goosebumps break out on Felicity's skin. "Let you get some rest."

"What if I don't want to rest?"

The words are out before she can stop them, before she can think about them and this time, Diggle's smile is slow. 

"Then I'm sure," he says as he lowers his lips to hers, "we can find something else to do."