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one truth always stays the same

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John's been sitting by Felicity's bedside for so long that when her eyelids begin to flutter, for a moment he thinks that he's imagined it. Then they flutter again and her tongue sneaks out to lick dry lips and he's on his feet without even thinking about it, his hand closing over hers and squeezing tightly. Her eyes open at the pressure and she gives him a tiny smile that squeezes at his heart far tighter than he's squeezing her hand. "Hey there, sleepyhead," he says gently, keeping his voice light and she frowns as she tries to speak. "Hold on." He reaches out to the glass at her bedside table, takes an ice cube and runs it over her lips, repeats the movement until she's able to smile.

"Hey," she echoes and he returns the ice to the glass, wipes his hand on his jeans and carefully reminds himself not to put it anywhere near her for the time being. She hates being cold and her reaction to that would probably bring the nurses running. "How long have you been here?"

"Not long." He doesn't even glance at the clock, knows he would have waited far longer for her. "Lance and I teamed up on your mom; he's taken her home."

"Good." Felicity nods once, then her brow crinkles in a frown that alarms him until she continues, "And if you tell anyone I said that, I'm totally blaming the drugs."

John chuckles. "Blame away." He reaches up with his other hand then, touches her cheek. "How are you feeling?"

He regrets asking when tears swim in her eyes. "You talked to my mom? About what the doctor said?"

John nods slowly, doesn't take his eyes off hers. "Donna told me."

She presses her lips together, her jaw set in a look of steely resolve that's more than familiar to him. With a flash of insight, he suddenly knows what she's going to say. "I know it's not what you were expecting... not what you signed up for. And let's face it, it's not like we're married or anything. So if you want..."

She only stops talking because he reaches out - with the hand that had been holding the ice moments earlier, because she evidently needs something to shock her back to her senses - and lays a finger over her lips. "I'm not going anywhere," he tells her, moving his hand then so that both his hands are cupping her cheeks. 

"John..." She tries again, a single tear slipping down her cheek, making its away under his palm. "I'm never going to walk again..."

"So I'll carry you everywhere - haven't you seen my guns?" It's a bad joke, he knows, but it makes her laugh, maybe because it's something that she used to say to him what seems like a lifetime ago, after a long night at the ArrowCave where she'd swear she was too tired to walk to the stairs and shouldn't he put those muscles to good use and carry his girlfriend to their car? He takes the laugh as a good sign, presses his advantage. "Felicity Smoak, you are one of the most badass women on the planet... and the strongest woman I know. No matter what you've been told today... You're still you. And I love you."

Her smile, while wobbly, is the best thing he's seen in hours. Days even. "I love you too," she tells him and he smiles, moving so that he can lie down on her bed with her, take her in his arms. 

"I've missed this," he tells her and the way she snuggles into his chest is her way of telling him that she agrees with  him. 

It's a bit of a tight fit, the two of them in this hospital bed, but just like always, they make it work.