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68 Days

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Every inch of his body felt numb. His limbs were frozen solid. His breath caught beneath chest. His heart stilled, waiting to beat again. Desperately aching to beat again.

 

He was sat in the same chair where he sat months ago, waiting. Waiting to hear that the woman the woman who had only hours before agreed to be his wife, was alive. And here he was once again, waiting, urgently waiting to here the same news once again.

 

But she wasn’t his fiancée anymore. She hadn’t been for the last 68 days. She had given back his mother’s ring, placed it on the edge of their dining room table before walking out the door. The trust that she had always had in him finally broke when Darhk forced him to reveal that he had a son. A son that he had kept secret, a secret from his voters, a secret from his staff, a secret from his family, and most devastatingly, a secret from her. She left the loft that night and had yet to step foot into for the last 68 days.

 

He could not stop the tears that splattered against his tightly clasped, white-knuckled hands.

 

He should have been faster. He should have been stronger. He should have been smarter. He should have been better. He should have never assumed that Darhk would never go after Felicity again. He thought she had been safe, secure.

 

He should have known better.

 

He should have never believed her words that she was okay, that he should go after William instead of gathering enough intel before storming Darhk’s fortress.

 

He should have known better.

 

He should have known that Darhk was only using William as a diversion and that he was still safely hidden and that Felicity was the real target. She was his light, his guiding force in life, his heart. He should have known that Darhk would try to hurt Felicity once again.

 

He should have known better.

 

His feet and legs moved before his mind could form the orders, rising from his seat as he saw Felicity’s surgeon exit through the swinging doors.

 

“Mr. Queen,” spoke surgeon, as he stepped in front of them, his face void of all emotion.

 

“Is she okay,” Oliver asked quietly, his eyes pleading and full of hope, as he looked directly into the surgeon’s warm brown eyes.

 

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Queen,” the surgeon began, causing Oliver to tumble backwards into the wall before Diggle’s hand landed on his shoulder. Steadying him. “The trauma that Ms. Smoak suffered was significant. We did everything we could. The trauma was just too severe. On top of the injuries that Ms. Smoak had suffered only months before – we did everything we could, but there is a very slim chance that she’ll survive the night.”

 

“No,” Oliver whispered, his head swinging from side to side, eyes burning as tears fell faster, trying to dismiss the surgeon’s prognosis. “No. You can save her,” his voice becoming louder. “You have to save her,” he repeated even louder, his voice agitated, his heart pounding. “I…I can’t lose her. I can’t lose her. You have to save her,” he shouted, as he advanced towards the doctor. “You have to save her,” he bellowed as he gripped the lapel of the surgeon’s lab coat, sharking the doctor. “You have to save her!”

 

It took the full strength of Diggle and Thea to pry Oliver off the surgeon.

 

“You have the ability to say goodbye to a loved one, Mr. Queen,” said the surgeon, still shaken from Oliver’s assault. “It’s a chance few have in this type of circumstance. Take it. Tell her you love her. Tell her that she’s safe. Tell her that everything is all right. Tell her everything that your heart desires. Tell her it’s okay to let go. Tell her goodbye, Mr. Queen.”

 

 

Oliver traced all the tiny lines that marred the palm of Felicity’s hand. His fingers running over and over again, across her bare left ring finger. He had hoped that one day he would be given the opportunity to place a ring back on that finger. Be given to chance to call her his girlfriend, his fiancé, once again. To be able to utter vows he never intended to break and call her his wife.

 

Only the sound of her heart monitor and soft rumble of her ventilator filled the room.

 

Quentin. Thea. Little Sara. Lyla. John. Donna. They had all said their goodbyes. All accepting this fate that none of them ever wanted, that Felicity would no longer be there to brighten up their lives anymore.

 

He couldn’t do it. Not yet. He couldn’t let her go. He didn’t want to let her go. He couldn’t do it. Not yet. Not ever. Not like this.

 

Both of his hands clung to one of hers as his head fell against the side of the sterile hospital bed. He inched closer and closer until his forehead made contact with the side of her body. For the last 68 days he had not been this close to her. He had not felt the warmth of her skin seep into his. He had not been graced with the scent that was uniquely hers. He had not been able to feel the thrumming of life run through her veins. It had been 68 days. 68 long, excruciating, days.

 

“I love you,” Oliver whispered into Felicity’s skin. “I know those words don’t mean as much as they used to. But I love you. I loved you before I even realized I loved you. I loved you from afar. I loved you enough to mistakenly push you away from me. I love you, Felicity Smoak. Please. Please come back to me. I know I’ve made promises that I haven’t kept. But I need you. More than anyone on this Earth, more than anything else. I need you. I love you. Please come back to me,” he continued as his entire body moved closers to hers.“Please come back so I can make amends. Please come back to me, Felicity. Please! I promised for better and for worse. I need you to hear those words said once again. I need to promise you for better and for worse every single day until my body breathes its last breath. I love you. I need you to come back to me. Please.”

 

“Touching,” sparked a man Oliver had called only an hour ago, his British accent caressing the air around him, his entry gone completely unnoticed.

 

“Constantine,” Oliver replied, a small sense of relief filling his mind.

 

“You rang. I’m here,” Constantine retorted. “I told you Darhk was a nasty piece of work,” his voice solemn, as his eyes lingered on Felicity’s prone body, a darkness falling over him.

 

Oliver huffed, his voice void of all emotion. “I should have listened better.”

 

“You should have.”

 

A moment of silence pandered between the two men before Constantine spoke again.

 

“I don’t believe you called me to recite the last rites, did you mate? I’m not as well versed in Viduy prayer, as I probably should be. Why am I here, Oliver?”

 

“You’re here because I need to ask you a favour,” Oliver quietly answered, his response loaded.

 

“I can’t do that, Oliver,” Constantine retorted, his voice hardening, already knowing what Oliver was going to ask. “I may have helped you bring Sara’s soul back from the other side but this, this is not something that I am even capable of.”

 

“Felicity is near the brink of death. Her life is hanging on by a dwindling thread. I can save her. I can save the woman that I love. She believed in me when no one else did. She stood by me when no one else would. She has guided me for more time than I can comprehend. I can save the woman who made me whole. I can do that. All you have to do is just say yes,” spoke Oliver, looking directly into Constantine’s piercing brown eyes, pleading with him. Begging him. Letting him see the fear and sorrow that had pierced his heart the moment Darhk had asked how Felicity was.

 

“What you are asking is highly iniquitous, Oliver. Not even the gods have ever truly granted such an act before. The plonker who tried before was just about to break above the surface when his beloved was ripped from him,” Constantine said, shaking his head. “What you are asking is impossible, Oliver.”

 

“Impossible, but not improbable,” Oliver replied, still pleading with Constantine. “Look at her John,” his eyes lowering onto Felicity’s prone body. “Look at her! She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve to be here, John. All she has ever done is try to make a broken man whole and make the world a better place. Please John,” Oliver said, as he looked back up at the man standing across from him. “Please help me save her. Please help me bring her home.”

 

Silence engulfed the room once again, as Oliver waited. He knew the magnitude of what he was asking of Constantine. This was not a small favour but one that balanced on the precarious edge of life and death.

 

“You understand what you are asking of me, Oliver? You understand the consequences? The risks? The danger? The possibility of failure?”

 

“I would do anything, everything, to bring her back. To see her face light up when she smiles. To hear her laughter ring throughout the house. To see that sparkle in her eyes when she’s accomplished the impossible,” responded Oliver, his eyes returning to Felicity, his hands gripping hers a little tighter. “I would go to the ends of the Earth and back if it means that she was safe, that she was happy” the volume of his voice falling to a whisper. “Please, John.”

 

“Alright then,” piped Constantine, before slowly moving towards Oliver and grabbing a pouch from beneath his trench coat. “Let’s get on with the show.”

 

“What do I need to do,” asked Oliver, his hands still clutching Felicity’s, unwilling to release her, not yet.

 

“Relax. This might be a little painful. Well more than a little,” Constantine responded, his head cocking to the side. “Take these,” Constantine continued, pulling out two ancient gold galleons from his pouch and holding them out for Oliver to take. “Those will be your payment Charon. Once you depart the ferryboat you will encounter the Devil himself. You must convince him to allow you to retrieve Felicity. If you are unable to convince him you will have already failed.”

 

“Anything else,” Oliver asked, retrieving the coins from Constantine’s palm.

 

“Most of what you will see, what you will hold, hell, possibly what you even feel below will be an illusion, a distraction to draw you away from retrieving Felicity. Do not fall for it. I say that from experience.”

 

“That’s all?”

 

“You’re going up against the Devil himself and all that the Underworld holds to bring back your beloved from Death’s door, Oliver. Easy as pie,” retorted Constantine, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

 

“Be careful, Oliver,” the sincerity in Constantine’s voice clear. “Trust in your love. Trust in yourself. And trust in her,” he nodded towards Felicity. “She’s always been smarter than you.”

 

Oliver nodded in acknowledgement before Constantine blockaded the hospital room’s door and began lighting candles that had mysteriously appeared all around the room. A vile of blue-black liquid was withdrawn from the pouch next.

 

“This draft will render your heart and body to a near death state, just like Felicity’s, allowing you to cross over the threshold dividing out two realms from one another. You will await Charon’s arrival and give him the payment before you are taken to the Devil. From there, I have absolutely no idea what will happen. If you fail, you will be returned to this plane and any chance of Felicity recovering will be gone with it,” implored Constantine, handing over the vile to Oliver. “Good luck, Oliver.”

 

Oliver’s eyes shuttered as he placed upon Felicity’s forehead, his lips lingering against her skin.

 

“I love you,” Oliver whispered for Felicity’s ear only.

 

Whatever was in the vile, burned like pure acid as it slipped down his throat causing his eyes to water and blur.

 

“Why the hell do I feel like Friar Laurence?” Oliver heard Constantine softly say before he slipped into the darkness.

 

 

His eyes struggled to open, as his body swayed on his jelly-like legs. He was surrounded in a dark mist, with the air heavy with moisture and a suffocating amount of heat. His body was slow to respond as he tried to determine where he was, not recognizing any familiar landmarks.

 

The sound of water trickled through his ears as he moved his foot forward. His brows furrowed, as he spotted the small pool of water he was standing in. The water was dark, and more viscous than any water he had seen before, clinging to his shoe as he attempted to take another step forward.

 

Something in the far distance glimmered before being swallowed by the darkness. His eyes blinked rapidly, trying to find that light. The glimmer appeared again, closer. Then consumed again. With every blink of his eyes, the glimmer glowed brighter, came closer, but disappeared just like before.

 

Oliver had no idea what the glimmering light was, but it was the only light in the great expanse of the darkness and mist surrounding him, and he could not help but move towards it. For so long, he had lived in the bleak darkness until a bright light appeared in his periphery. That light was Felicity, and unconsciously he had moved towards her. He stepped closer and closer to her light, basking in its welcoming and warmth glow until they were melded as one. And then in a blink of an eye her light and warmth were gone.

 

The viscous water had now risen to his shins. The glimmer glowed brighter and brighter, flickering less and less until the globe light stopped in front of his eyes. The globe was attached to a long rod, connected to a rickety wooden boat with a cloaked figure at its helm.

 

“Charon,” Oliver acknowledged.

 

A nod of the clocked figure’s head was all the confirmation that Oliver received.

 

The jingle of coins sliding against one another caused Oliver to reach into his pant’s pocket and pull out the golden coins that Constantine had given him. He reached out his hand, offering the coins to Charon.

 

The coins disappeared in a swirl of smoke before the boat shifted, allowing Oliver entrance to the vessel.

 

The boat swayed as Oliver stepped on, the splash of the treacly water splashing on the boat before seeping through its wooden planks.

 

Oliver did not know how long he was on the boat. Some moments he felt like the boat was speeding, moving with stealth and silence and others moments he felt like the boat was not moving at all. With no markings for him to denote the distance he had traveled.

 

The abrupt halt of the boat lurched Oliver forward, causing him nearly to collide with Charon before some force stopped him. With a wave of his staff, Charon gestured Oliver to depart the boat.

 

The heat and moisture was even more suffocating than before, as Oliver walked across the stone floor. A fiery hearth welcomed him as he walked into the cavern.

 

“Oliver Jonas Queen,” sounded a voice with a British lit, tinged with arrogance and authority, “I did not expect to see you for another 56 years if my calculations are correct.”

 

“And you are,” asked Oliver, his muscles tensing as he faced the strange man that appeared from behind the hearth.

 

A chuckle fell from the man’s lips before he answered, “Well Mr. Queen, some like to refer to me as Hades, God of the Underworld, Satan, the Wicked One, and of course, the Devil. But I prefer Lucifer, it’s the moniker my father gave me.”

 

“You’re the Devil?”

 

“At your service,” replied Lucifer, a smirk accompanying his remark, as he swung his arms out before dipping his head. His eyebrow lifted as he looked into Oliver’s eyes. “You’ve come to me for help, I see. Quite a case you have, Mr. Queen. Knocking on the Hell’s door. Incredibly brave, but entirely stupid as well.”

 

Oliver drew in a deep breath, squaring his shoulders and straightening his spine as he faced Lucifer.

 

“I have a particular gift, you see. I can sense the deepest desire on any individual. I can see what they truly want, what the truly desire, what they ultimately crave. It’s a beautiful gift, most of the time.” Lucifer’s head cocking to the side. “And I can see what you desire, Oliver. I can see what you truly crave and why it has brought you to my doorstep.”

 

Oliver remained silent as he watched Lucifer pace in front of him.

 

“Love, it’s a peculiar thing. So pure and fragile, yet so blatantly powerful. Its power is all consuming, empowering, and puts us at an ease in breathtaking clarity. It’s why I prefer lust to love, myself. A lot less complicated,” Lucifer continued as he stopped right in front of Oliver. “And that is why you are here, Mr. Queen? For love? For the woman you love? One Felicity Meghan Smoak. A beauty indeed,” he said, sighing and smiling as if he saw Felicity in front of him. “Can’t forget about the brains on that one either. My god, the amount of genius she holds. It’s a shame she’s about to take up a permanent residence here. She had so much potential. It’s a good thing I don’t decide when individuals arrive in here,” Lucifer said as he turned away from Oliver and looked into the hearth.

 

“I was like you once, Oliver. I was desperately and deeply in love with another,” Lucifer’s voice full of wistfulness. “She was my sun and stars and everything in between. Unfortunately fairy tales do not exist and a happily ever after there was not. Soul mates, my father once called two individuals so intertwined with one another. But sometimes the Fates do not grant us what we truly desire and we are left in the wreckage we created,” Oliver heard Lucifer say, sadness shrouding his speech.

 

Before Oliver knew it he was facing Lucifer once again.

 

“I can see how much you love Felicity, Oliver. I can feel it. It’s powerful. Entrancing. Precious. But fractured,” Lucifer continued his voice softening, as he eyed Oliver. “I will grant you the ability to attempt to convince your beloved to return with you to the surface. But you must convince her, Oliver. You cannot force her hand. You cannot manipulate her. You cannot take her with you. She must willing come with you and return to the Earthly plane. If she does not agree then she will remain here for eternity and you will return to without her. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes,” Oliver quickly answered, desperately wanting to be near Felicity once more.

 

“The journey to your beloved will not be easy. You will face obstacles that you have never faced before. And I am saying that knowing your full history. But in order to reach Felicity you must overcome them,” Lucifer’s voice filtered through his ears as he watched the flames within the hearth died down until only burning embers were left in its place.

“Sometimes a leap of faith is all really one needs,” spoke Lucifer, a lilt of amusement and sincerity colouring his voice just before he shoved Oliver into the simmering pit.

 

 

The sensation of falling hit Oliver hard, as his hands scrambled to find purchase against the stones surrounding him. His fingers scraped against the scraggly rock walls, cutting into his skin, but it did little to stop him plummeting descent.

 

The impact was softer than he had expected, as his feet met solid ground. His eyes widened as he took in the sight that surround him. He was back in the loft, their loft. The loft that he had barely stepped foot in, in the last 68 days, unable to overcome the overwhelming barrage of memories filled with happiness and love and all that he had shared with Felicity.

 

The ache in his chest returned as he looked around the loft, pieces of Felicity were sprinkled all over the open floor space. The blanket that Felicity had bought while they were in Italy was strewn atop the sofa. The colourful cups that Felicity had fallen in love with in Bali and would not leave without sat atop to kitchen counter. Her favourite pair of heels, gold and black, lay near the loft’s front door like she had left them hundreds of times before after coming home from Palmer Tech. All stark reminders of the time they had spent together, laughed together, loved together. The tightness in his chest grew, as his heart began to beat faster. The magnitude of everything that had happened, hit him like a wrecking ball, a sharp sob falling from his lips.

 

“Who knew a blanket could make Oliver Queen cry?” spouted a voice, dripping with sarcasm, from somewhere behind him.

 

Oliver immediately recognized the voice, a voice that had echoed in so many dreams and nightmares since she had walked out the door. His eyes closed, as his body tensed. A sense of hope that he had not felt for so long flooded through his body. He would get to see her again, to see her breathing, smiling, with no sickly pallor in her skin. He inhaled deeply before turning towards the voice of the woman he loved with every ounce of his being.

 

“Felicity?” Oliver voiced, his eyes drawn in confusion as he stared at the woman only a few feet in front of him sitting atop the counters, feet swinging with their own rhythm.

 

“In the flesh, sort of,” Felicity answered, a smirk playing on her dark coloured lips.

 

A small shake of Oliver’s head preceded his questioning, “You look…different.”

 

“What did you expect me to look like, Oliver? Blonde hair? Short skirt? Wearing those two-toned glasses that you seem to love?” Felicity fired out, hoping off the counter. “Tell me, Oliver. Tell me. Did you have a perfect image of me all ready in your head?” She continued, as she stalked towards him.

 

“No,” Oliver replied, his head shaking.

 

“What? The dark hair, heavy eye makeup, and 90s grunge clothing not working for you,” she questioned, her eyebrow raised, challenging him to respond.

 

“No. That’s not what I meant. What I mean, is that you, Felicity Smoak, would look breathtakingly beautiful in whatever style, whatever hair colour, whatever makeup you decide to wear.”

 

“Turning on the old ‘Oliver Queen Charm’, I see. I’m not surprised really. It’s one of the reasons that my crush on you began to blossom all those years ago. That and your smile,” Felicity sighed, her lips forming a small smile before vanishing as quickly as it appeared. “When you smile, when you really smile, it’s like the sun is shining through you. It’s makes me feel all warm and tingly, all at once, like I’m the center of the universe,” her voice sedate.

 

The pounding of his heart against his chest quickened as he listened to Felicity. He loved hearing her speak, the cadence of her speech, the different octaves that her voice could reach. Her voice comforted him like nothing else in the world. It’s why he hated the silence that had befallen them since everything had been revealed.

 

Felicity huffed, her voice hollow, as she stared in Oliver’s eye, “And I fell. I fell. I fell for your charm, and your smile, and that warmth. I let myself love you,” she shouted. “I opened myself up to you in a way I have never done with anyone else. I took down all those walls that I had been built from the pain and loss despite that small part of myself telling me it was a bad idea. Telling me that you couldn’t be trusted, that you’re history of being a playboy philander was not just a part of your past but your present too and I didn’t listen. I didn’t listen. I threw it all away. I risk it all. And I lost,” tears beginning to fill her eyes as she continued to stare at Oliver.

 

“That’s not true, Felicity,” Oliver declared. “That’s not true. You can trust me. You can see through me. You’re the only one that ever has,” he continued, shaking his head like he was trying to shake away the words she had just said to him.

 

He watched as her eyes closed, blinking away the tears, and laughed.

 

“And that’s what makes it even worse. I could see through your bullshit and your lying the moment we met but it’s like that innate intuition just whittled down over the years. I knew something was bothering you in Central City but I chose to ignore it. I chose not to push you, stupidly believing that you would tell me what it was. Believing that you would trust me. Believing that you would put the same amount of faith in me that I put in you. Believing that I was your partner, in every sense of that word. But you didn’t. You never have. You never let me fully in like I did you,” Felicity uttered, her voice calming to a silence, her eyes filled with regret and sorrow, as she stood on a hair’s breath away from him. “You were never going to let me in.”

 

“That’s not true,” responded Oliver, head still shaking. “That’s not true,” he repeated, vehemently denying all that she had just said, his hands, shaking, as he reached out towards her, grasping her arms in his hands. “You are my partner. You are the one person that I trust and believe in most in this entire world, Felicity. You. Only you, ever,” he continued, his hands running down her arms until he intertwined his hands with hers. “Felicity, please believe me.”

 

“I would believe if you were telling the truth, Oliver,” Felicity countered, her voice deathly calm.

 

“I am telling you the truth, Felicity. I am,” Oliver said his voice rising, panic beginning to overtake him, his heart pounding like it had before but for an entirely different reason. “I am!”

 

“No, you’re not,” she laughed, her voice filled with pain and regret. “You wanted to play house in suburbia with Samantha and little Billy didn’t you, Oliver?” Felicity demanded, her voice rising, her eyes filled with accusation. “It why you kept going back and forth between Star City and Central City, right?” Felicity shouted, pain lingering behind the condemnation. “It’s why you lied? It’s why you left me alone when I needed you the most. When I needed the man I love to support me, to help me for through the worst kind of pain I had ever felt. You left me alone, Oliver. So you could run off and play daddy dearest with your bastard child!”

 

“That’s not true, Felicity,” Oliver responded, violently shaking his head, his hands clutching hers even tighter than before. “I am not lying. I am telling you the truth. The only person that I will ever want to have a home with, a family with, to share every day of my life with is you, Felicity. It’s only ever been you. I will only ever be you. If I could take away all the pain you felt from Darhk’s attack, I would have. I would have,” Oliver yelled, his eyes begging her to believe him. “I’m not lying. I will never lie to you again. Please believe me.”

 

Felicity snickered as she wrenched her hands from his, stepping back from him. Her eyes cold, like he had rarely ever seen before. Filling with fiery steel as she looked back up at him. “When Cooper died, I told myself that I would never open up my heart like I had with him. I told myself that I would be stronger, more confident, put my faith in myself and only myself, and that I was never going to rely on anyone else again. But I threw all that away, for what? A few months of love, happiness, and domesticity with you. I lied to myself, Oliver. Believing that you would change, that you were different. But you’re still the same. You’re just like him.”

 

“That’s not true,” Oliver responded, surging towards her as she continued to back away from him, moving closer to the door. “I’m not the person I was before I stepped onto the Gambit. I’m not the person I was when I returned home from Lian Yu. I’m not the man you met when I walked into your office with bullet-ridden laptop. I’ve changed. I’m trying to change. To be better, to be more inclusive, to be the man who deserves to be your partner in every aspect of your life,” Oliver pled, as he watched Felicity continue to move closer to the loft’s entrance. “Please, Felicity!”

 

“You’re just like Cooper. You came into my life unannounced, picking up the broken pieces that had been left abandoned, and I fell. I fell. I was seduced. I trusted that you wouldn’t drop those pieces, that you were real and that we were real and true and that nothing could break us. I was terrified but I still let you in. But history always repeats itself. You lied just like he did. You broke us just like he did. You left just like he did.” Felicity’s words assailing him like a knife plunging into his sternum again and again. “You smashed more pieces than you picked up. And I was left all alone once again, broken.”

 

Tears began forming in Oliver’s eyes, his hands fisting until they were knuckle white, his body trembling, head swaying from side to side, trying to dispel all he was hearing.

 

“Why did you do it, Oliver? Why did you do this to me? Why did you lie? Why, Oliver? WHY?” Felicity shouted, the disappointment and anguish undercutting every one of her words. Her fists unfurling as a silver chain cascaded from her hand. The same chain that he had worn around his neck that held the ring that once called her left ring finger home. Her hand lifted into the air, the firelight glinting off the precious stone, as she continued to speak. “This wasn’t even real was it?” Looking directly into his eyes, imploring him for an answer. “The proposals, the declarations, your urgency to be married sooner rather than later. It was all farce? You weren’t ready to take the next step with me and you weren’t ready to let me go. Had my mother not found the ring you probably wouldn’t even have proposed, right? You were still wondering, still questioning whether our relationship could handle the blows that this life serves. And you were right to, I guess. You proposed to keep me by your side,” Felicity huffed, her body visibly trembling.

 

“Felicity,” he uttered, trying to imbue all his explanations, all the love he had for her, all the regret he felt, everything into one word, one of his favourite words in the English language, in any language, her name. “That’s not true. I didn’t ask you to marry me to keep you ensnared to my side. I asked you because I love you. I want you. I want to have a home with you, only you. I want to go to sleep every night knowing that every morning that I wake up I’ll be beside you. I want a family, a future with you.”

 

“Except I didn’t know the whole story, I didn’t know what I was accepting because you weren’t willing to tell me. I chose you Oliver, I chose a life with you but you didn’t even have the decency to tell me the whole truth. You didn’t give me a choice, Oliver. You took that from me. Just like Cooper.”

 

His breathing quickened, the beating tempo of his heart rising, the quacking of his limbs intensifying, as he watched her shut her eyes and turn towards the door before looking back at him.

 

“Why couldn’t you put down the armour and let me in, Oliver?” Felicity’s voice so soft that he could scarcely hear what she had said. “I let you in. I laid bare for you. Why couldn’t you let me in? Why does it feel like a fight every time that I try?”

 

Oliver stood painfully still, unable to move an inch, as he let Felicity’s words wash over him. He could feel her pain, her sorrow, her regret, and her love in her voice and her words.

 

He couldn’t let her walk away from him again. He wouldn’t. He would fight. Do everything in his power to be worthy of her, to make her feel as loved and cherished that she had made him.

 

“Felicity,” Oliver called out, just as she put her hand on the door’s handle. “Don’t leave. Please. We can work this out, together. Please, Felicity. Give us a chance,” he pled, moving closer to her.

 

“Do you know what the definition of insanity is, Oliver? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I don’t want to go around the merry-go-round again,” Felicity stoically responded, her face erased of all emotions. Her hand releasing the silver chain, a clang ringing through the air as the metal of the ring hit the hardwood floor.

 

“Felicity, please,” Oliver begged, a hand shooting out to grab hers.

 

His hand met thin air, as it passed right through Felicity’s.

 

Oliver’s brows crinkled in confusion as he looked up at Felicity.

 

“I said, sort of,” Felicity, retorted, her eyebrow raised and a look of mirth running through her eyes before her body started glimmering and everything became unfocused.

 

A wave of blinding white light swept through Oliver’s vision, a piercing pain penetrating his entire body.

 

Oliver startled at the sight that met his eyes as his vision returned. Standing in front of him was a woman, in a brown bedraggled cloak, dark wet hair clinging to her sickeningly pale face, and opaque white eyes. He was no longer in the loft but a cave similar to the one he had met Lucifer in.

 

The sound of her cackling perforated his eardrums as soon as she opened her mouth, a sound several more times powerful than the croak that Laurel’s chocker had ever emitted, disorienting him.

 

He could do little to stop her as she leaped towards him, arms outstretched, colliding with his chest.

 

Once again the sensation of falling struck him, as his arms rushed to grab a hold to anything. Only his hands met thin air and clouds rather than scraggly rocks as he continued to tumble downwards.

 

 

The landing was even softer than the last one, as Oliver’s feet floated to a stop just before touching down on the ground. Soft light shone through the windows into the small living room, filled with soft beiges and light browns with splashes of colour here and there. The room was shabby but still well put together.

 

But none of that was not what caught Oliver’s eye.

 

Oliver’s entire body stilled as his eyes fell on a small figure sitting by one of the windows, looking out onto the street. The sniffling coming for the curly, dirty blonde haired little girl, called to him. A fierce sense of protectiveness, a desire to shield the little girl, to tell her everything was all right swept over him.

 

His feet started to step one in front of the other before he could register that he was moving towards the child. His steps were not silent, not wanting to startle the little girl as he approached.

 

“Are you alright,” Oliver asked softly, as he sat down a foot away from the little girl, terrified of scarring the child.

 

“No,” Oliver heard the little girl mumble, the sniffling quietening down, as her head remained turned towards the window and away from him. “Nothing is ever going to be okay again,” the little girl continued before slowly turning towards Oliver.

 

The moment that Oliver’s eyes met hers, everything stopped.

 

He knew those eyes. He would know them anywhere. He had spent hours upon hours looking into them, committing every shade of blue those eyes could become, and every fleck of gold, brown, and green that sprinkled through them. Those eyes belonged to the one person that took a hold of his heart before he even knew it had occurred.

 

“Felicity?”

 

“Do you think he’s ever going to be coming back,” little Felicity asked quietly, tears once again forming in her eyes, staring right into Oliver’s, wringing her hands in her lap. “It’s been over a month since he left.”

 

Oliver could see the pain, the fear, the heartbreak, in her eyes and all he wanted to do was banish such a look from her eyes but he was frozen still. He couldn’t look away but he also couldn’t think of anything to say to ease the hurt that Felicity was felling.

 

“Why did he leave?” her voice quiet, tears falling down. “Am I broken? Is there something wrong with me? Does he hate me? Does he not love me anymore?” Felicity continued, her voice becoming quieter and quieter with each questioning, tears falling from her eyes. “Was I not smart enough? Pretty enough?” Her head bending down, as she wiped away her tears, her little glasses fogging up from the moisture.

 

“Of course not, Felicity,” Oliver finally answered, his head shaking as to try and dispel all the things he had just heard her say. Knowing that none of what she said was even remotely true. “There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing! You are perfect. You are the smartest person I know. You are beautiful, kind, and so very strong. There is nothing wrong with you. There is everything wrong with your father. There is nothing wrong with you, sweetheart.”

 

“Then why did he leave? Why did he just disappear?” Felicity continued, anger mixing with the anguish in her voice. “Why did he do it?”

 

“Your father isn’t a good man, Felicity. He’s done things. Bad things. Things that he can’t undo, no matter how hard he tries,” Oliver answered, trying to come up with something that Felicity could hold onto at a time like this.

 

“But why did he have to leave? Why did he leave us? Why did he leave me?” Felicity asked, the absolute anguish of her broken heart flickering in her eyes. “We’re supposed to be a family. We’re supposed to help and support each other, love each other when the other is in trouble. It’s about getting through the hard times, together. Why would he just leave? Why would he just abandon us? Leave us all behind? Why didn’t he want me?”

 

Once again, Oliver was frozen still, not knowing what to say to comfort Felicity. He had never seen Felicity so broken, so sad, so lost. The light that he always saw shining from her was nowhere to be seen.

 

“Because he is a fool, an utter and absolute fool, Felicity. He’s a fool for leaving because you are the best thing on this world,” Oliver replied, moving closer to her, opening up his hand for her take. A breathing a sigh of relief as she cautiously placed her hand in his hand. “You are worthy, Felicity. You are remarkable, Felicity Megan Smoak,” he smiled at her, trying to get her to smile to. “And one day in the future, you’re going to meet someone who will strive to make you as happy, and safe, and loved as you make him. I promise.”

 

“Promise?” Felicity asked, looking into Oliver’s eyes, a glimmer of hope streaming through hers.

 

“I promise, Felicity. I promise,” Oliver answered, nodding as squeezing her small hand, trying to reassure her that he would endeavour to make her as happy, and safe, and loved as she did him.

 

“Felicity,” Oliver heard someone call out, his body tensing as he slowly shifted in front of Felicity, shielding her.

 

“Felicity! Where are you?”

 

“Mom,” Felicity answered.

 

“Felicity,” Donna called out, as she stepped into the living room, frantic until her eyes fell on Felicity. “Are you alright, sweetheart?”

 

“I’m fine, Mom,” Felicity replied, still partially shielded by Oliver’s body.

 

Donna’s eyes hardened as her eyes fell on Oliver. “Come here, Felicity,” Donna declared urgently, her hand extending out to reach her daughter’s.

 

“Mom?”

 

“Come here, Felicity,” ordered Donna, her hand gesturing Felicity to come to her, her eyes not shifting away from Oliver’s, fiery steel blazing through hers, keeping Oliver in his place.

 

Oliver felt the shift in the window seat, as little Felicity lifted herself and moved toward her mother. Her footsteps stopped, as the reached the middle between Oliver and Donna.

 

“Donna?” Oliver voiced.

 

“Get out! And stay the hell away from my daughter,” Donna declared, her voice hardened, levelled and clear.

 

“Donna?” Oliver’s brow furrowed, standing up, not understanding Donna’s hostility towards him.

 

“You come in here thinking that you can make it all better, that you can make all the pain you caused go away but you can’t. All you do is cause pain and wreckage. All you’ve done is cause her pain and heartbreak,” Donna proclaimed, anger filling her words.

 

“That’s not true, Donna,” Oliver responded, his pulse spiking. “I would never hurt Felicity intentionally.”

 

“Yeah? Remind me of all the times I held my daughter as she cried over you, that you weren’t there for her when she needed you. You’re just like him, making unilateral decisions, not thinking about the collateral damage that you will cause. You do what’s best for you, and only you. You never thought about her and the consequences of your deception. You tell her what she needs to hear, to suck her in, and then you leave and she’s left all alone again. I won’t let that happen. I won’t let you hurt Felicity like that again,” fired Donna, seething, eyes blazing, as she looked at Oliver. “Come here, sweetie,” Donna said, as she continued motioning to Felicity to go to her.

 

“Donna, I love Felicity. I love Felicity with all my heart. I know that lying to her was wrong and if I could change it I would. I swear!”

 

“People don’t change. You don’t change, Oliver. You’re still the person you once were. You don’t deserve Felicity. You were supposed to be her partner. You two were supposed to trust each other, tell each other the truth, even when it hurt. But all you’ve done is lie to her, Oliver,” Donna said, not mincing her words. “I may not have been there physically when you left for the first time to god knows where, or the second time that Felicity had thought you died, but I’m here now and I’m not going to let you hurt her again.”

 

“Donna, please,” Oliver begged, his muscles tensing as he moved closer towards the two of them, fearing that he would lose Felicity once again. “Please, Donna. You know how much I love Felicity. You know how much I care about her. You know! Please, Donna,” Oliver begged.

 

Oliver could do nothing as he watched Felicity sway her head, side-to-side, looking at Donna then at him, before turning towards Donna.

 

“Please, Felicity,” Oliver begged, trying to get her to turn around, to look at him, to come back to him. “Please.”

 

His heart sunk as he watched Donna envelop Felicity in her arms. He could not describe the sense of lost that was beginning to consume him, the vastness of it, like someone had torn a vital part from him.

 

He continued to watch as Felicity whole-heartedly welcomed her mother’s embrace, his ears straining to hear the sound of her voice as she spoke the her mother.

 

He watched as Donna continued to speak to Felicity but began looking up at him, a malicious smile growing upon her face.

 

Alarms sounded in his head, his body lurching towards the spot where the two Smoak women stood.

 

Oliver’s eyes widened in horror as a long blade began materializing in Donna’s hand, the look of malevolence now covering her entire face, her eyes completely darkened.

 

“No. No. No! NO!” Oliver screamed as he lunged towards them, hoping that he’d reach the blade before it could do Felicity any harm.

 

His body completely stilled, his heart stopping, breath caught beneath his chest, as he watched, helplessly, as Donna drove the blade into Felicity’s back.

 

Time seemed to slow before quickly snapping back to normalcy, as Oliver’s screams echoed around the room. The soft shining light of the sun was now completely trampled by the darkness that was hovering all around them.

Oliver dropped to his knees right in front of Felicity and Donna. Horror completely filling him as he watched the blossom of blood spread across Felicity’s back.

 

His body shook, as he sluggishly looked up at Donna. Donna, who no longer looked like Donna, but replaced by a woman glowing head to toe in red and flames.

 

“Why,” he asked, his voice devoid of all emotion, his breath hitching as he heard the Felicity’s struggling breathes.

 

“To lose, to fail, to see what is lost it to understand what can be found,” the figure spoke, her voice eerily haunting. The flames from her body sparked before quickly enveloping Felicity in one swathe before moving towards him.

 

The sensation of burning swallowed him, as his eyes shuttered close, tears falling from his face, as he let the flames wash away the image of all that had just occurred.

 

Darkness met his mind once again.

 

 

Oliver felt like the weight upon his body lifted, as he slowly began open his eyes. His fingers caressed the soft fabric beneath his body, as the rest of his limbs tranquilly stretched out around him, a hum of content escaping from his lips.

 

The soft light of the afternoon sun shone throughout the room.

 

A sense of comfort and ease, feelings he had not felt in months, began to overwhelm his mind and body.

 

It was the sound of glass tinkling against each other and the warbling of birds through an open window that made him rise from the couch where his body had laid prone on.

 

For a moment, his breath stopped, as he spotted who caused the glasses to clink against one another and pushed the window open.

 

Standing in front of the kitchen sink and the open window was Felicity, his Felicity. He could feel it. He knew it. It was her. Not a figment of his imagination or spirit masquerading as her. It was Felicity.

 

Oliver couldn’t help but stare at her. Breath filled his lungs as his eyes traced the waves in her golden hair as the strands moved against the back of her neck. His smile grew as his eyes followed the intricate lace patterns that adorned the blades of her shoulder. His heart bloomed and belly heated as his eyes traced the gold zipper that started at the base of her neck to the middle of her thighs, the red lace of her summer dress hugging every line and curve of her body.

 

She was here. He had found her. She was here.

Relief filled his body, his mind and soul acknowledging that he had finally found her. He had found Felicity. He was going to bring her home and they could be together once more. Forever more. He would never let her go again.

 

“Felicity,” he called out softly, trying to draw her away from whatever she was looking at, as he moved off the couch and strode towards her.

 

“Oliver,” Felicity replied, shock colouring her face as she looked into his eyes.

 

His heart took over his body as he moved quickly towards her, arms reaching around her until they were both fully encased in each other’s embrace.

 

He felt at peace. He felt whole. He felt like he could finally breathe, his heart beating once more, as he held her in his arms.

 

His fingers, splayed across her bare neck, gently caressing her soft skin, as his other arm band around her waist, drawing her body even closer into his. He clung to her, ever part of him refusing to release her from his hold, refusing to let her go, as the tension dissipated from both their bodies.

 

A smile bloomed, as he nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck, her scent assaulting his senses, as he felt her fingers play across the stubble of hair at the base of his skull, her other hand running across his shoulder blade.

 

A wave of need, of love, of fear, swept over him, causing him to draw her even closer into her body. He needed her. He never doubted that but now he knew, with absolute certainty, that he needed her. Oliver Queen would not be Oliver Queen without Felicity Smoak.

 

They stayed like that for seconds, minutes, maybe hours, as the beats of their heart slowly harmonized with one another.

 

“Oliver,” she quietly whispered, her voice trembling as if she feared breaking the moment between them, “what are you doing here?”

 

“I came to bring you home, Felicity,” he quietly spoke, his body slowly, but begrudgingly, extracting itself from hers, so he could look into her eyes. His hands slide down her arms until their hands were intertwined with one another’s, unwilling to release all connection from her. “I came to bring you home, Felicity. I came to bring you back. I came to bring you back to me.”

 

Felicity’s brow furrowed as confusion began clouding her eyes, her head shaking slightly.

 

“I don’t understand, Oliver. How can you be here? How can you be here with me?”

 

“I called Constantine. And may have possibly made a deal with the devil,” Oliver answered, hesitantly, knowing a reprimand was coming.

 

“Oliver,” Felicity lightly admonished. “Why? Why would do something like that?” hurt crossing her eyes.

 

“You are dying, Felicity. You’re dying. And I didn’t save you. I couldn’t save you. It was my job to keep you safe, keep you protected, and I failed! I failed! Again. And I didn’t know what else I could do or who I could turn to, to save you,” he replied, trying to make her understand why he did what he did. “I can’t lose you, Felicity. I can’t! When it comes to you, I will always choose you. I will do whatever it takes to save you. Whatever it takes,” he said, his arm tightening around her.

 

“Oliver – I don’t need you to save me every time. I’m a grown woman who chose this life, this life with you, and I knew the all about the dangers and consequences and I still chose you and this life,” Felicity spoke, her vigour equal to that of Oliver’s.

 

“I know that, Felicity. I understand that. But you are dying and I couldn’t let that happen. I can’t let you die! I won’t!” Oliver responded, his eyes beginning to burn with fire, as his right hand raised up to cradle her face. “I can’t.”

 

“Oliver –”

“Felicity, I love you. I love you with every ounce of my body. I may have a light within me but you are its only ignition source. Only you. I know I’ve made mistakes. I know that I broke the trust between us. I know the damage I caused. I know. I know. And I will endeavour to mend that trust. To earn your forgiveness. To fix what I broke between us. To be better, to do better, so I can be everything you need in a partner. But I need you with me to do that. I need you by my side to do that. So please. I need you alive and breathing. Please come home with me. Come home to me. Please, Felicity,” Oliver implored, his thumb softly stroking the skin of her rosy cheek.

 

“I love you, too, Oliver,” Felicity said, smiling up at Oliver before the smile slowly dissolved in front of his eyes. “But you lied, Oliver. You lied to me, the one person that you’re not supposed to lie to. You asked me to marry you, not once but multiple times,” her voice rising. “But you kept this entire part of your life, a huge part of your life secret from me. That’s not what I want in a relationship, in a marriage. I want you to talk to me when you’re happy or worried or scared or confused. I want to be there for you when you need me most. I want to be there with you for all the good times and the bad. I wanted to be your partner in every possible way, Oliver. But you didn’t want me to.”

 

“That’s not true,” Oliver vehemently denies, his head shaking, his hand trembling against Felicity’s face. “I want you to be my partner in all aspects in my life. And I know, I know I should have told you about William and the role that I, that we, would play in his life. I know Felicity, I know. And I’m sorry, Felicity. I’m so sorry I lied about William. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about him. In hindsight I knew the path that I was taking the moment I didn’t tell you about William after I had found out. But I didn’t know what to do. I was scared and confused and I should have confided in you, the one person who has trusted me, believed in me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I should have, and I didn’t and I’m sorry! I’m so sorry, Felicity.”

 

“I know you are, Oliver,” Felicity spoke softly, her left hand drawing up, fingers stroking the side of his head that he nestled into. “I know, Oliver. I know. And I’m not mad anymore. I’m still a little miffed that you didn’t tell me but I’m not angry anymore.”

 

“Good,” Oliver replied, a small smile, growing on his face, a breath of relief respired, “we can go home then. We can go home together,” the smile on his face growing even wider.

 

“No, we can’t, Oliver,” Felicity softly responded, her eyes still glued to Oliver’s. “You can go home, Oliver. I can’t. I can’t come with you.”

 

“What are you talking about, Felicity,” Oliver questioned, confused at what he was hearing. “You can come home, Felicity. Lucifer said that as long as you agreed to come home with me then you could leave. You can come home,” his breath accelerating, as his heart began to pound erratically.

 

“No, I can’t, Oliver. I can’t leave,” her voice calm and level.

 

“Yes, you can! You can leave, Felicity. Just take my hand and we can walk out of here together,” Oliver retorted, his voice rising, his agitation growing.

 

“I can’t walk out of here with you, Oliver.”

 

“Yes, you can! Just take my hand and we can walk out of here. Lucifer said that as long as you agree –,” Oliver paused, realization hitting him, then confusion, then anger, then anguish. His other hand rose to cradle her face, both hands trembling now, before he spoke his next words. “You don’t want to come home? You don’t want to come back? You don’t want to come back to me,” he asked, his voice terrifyingly quiet, tears beginning to cloud his eyes.

 

Oliver watched as Felicity’s eyes shuttered closed, the tops of her teeth drawing in bottom lip, as he waited with baited breath to see her blue eyes look back into his.

 

“I can’t come with you, Oliver. I can’t leave,” Felicity whispered, her eyes still closed, the pain in her voice present. “Leaving…it’s not something that I imagined when I arrived in this place. I’m at peace here, Oliver. I know you can fell it too, this calm, this sense of ease, this painless, free existence here,” her voice still painstakingly quiet and calm, as her eyes opened, tears filled, latching onto his. “I’m tired, Oliver. So, so, so tired. And here, in this place, I don’t feel tired. I don’t feel like I’m waiting for another shoe to drop, or bad guy to track down, or another business meeting I have to attend. I feel free here. I feel at peace here. I’m happy here, Oliver,” Felicity continued, glimmers of happiness and anguish warring against each other in the glow of her cerulean eyes looked into his.

 

“Felicity,” Oliver voiced, trying to understand what he was hearing. “I…I…I don’t understand,” his voice breaking, as tear began wetting his face. “I don’t understand,” his eyes pleading with her, head shaking, as he looked to her for the answers he sought like a thousand times before. “Why? Why? Why,” Oliver kept asking, his voice rising, agitation growing once more, his hands gliding from her shoulders to intertwine their hands once more.

 

“Oliver – ”

 

“Explain it to me, Felicity,” Oliver interrupted. “Explain to me why you want to stay here. Is this some kind of punishment for what I did? Is there something else holding you here? Just tell me, Felicity. Please, explain to me why you want to stay here when you can come home. Come home and be with me. Please, Felicity,” spoke Oliver, his heart pounding beneath his chest as his hands tightened around hers.

 

“This is not punishment, Oliver,” she assured him. “I do forgive you,” her voice implored. “I’ve just accepted my fate, Oliver,” Felicity responded, her face lighting up in a smile before disappearing in a wave of tears. “I’ve done what I was sent to Earth to do. I helped make the world a better place. I helped those who needed it. I’ve saved lives,” Felicity continued, her voice solemn. “I helped a man see the hero he was always meant to be,” her hands tightening around his. “Saw to it that my company created technology that will change the world for the better,” her eyes aglow with happiness at those words. “I have loved, Oliver. I’ve been loved,” Felicity’s voice trembling now, hands clasping Oliver’s even tighter. “That’s why I can’t leave, Oliver. That’s why I don’t want to leave.”

 

“Bullshit,” Oliver barked. “Bullshit, Felicity. Bullshit!” Oliver persisted, face distorting in anguish and ire. “You’re not done! You’re not,” his entire body trembling now. “The world needs Felicity Smoak, alive and breathing and making the world a better place. You have so much more to offer the world, Felicity. You’re not done. You’re not.”

 

“Oliver, please,” Felicity whispered, her head slowly tilting from side to side, trying to make him understand her decision.

 

“You’re a fighter, Felicity. You’re the strongest person that I have ever met on the face of this Earth. You don’t just accept things. You fight,” Oliver shouted, tears continuing to spill from his eyes just as they were from hers. “You have fought and you have won. But you’re not done fighting, you’re not done conquering, Felicity,” Oliver spoke, pleading with her, pulling her closer to him.

 

Time slowed as they looked into each other’s eyes, silence surrounding them, a silent conversation playing out between them just like it had done hundreds of times before, tears continuing to fall from both their eyes.

 

“Oliver,” Felicity whispered, her breath hitching, as she tried to come to terms what he as asking.

 

“Please, Felicity,” Oliver begged. “Please. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll give you whatever you want. I’ll be whoever, whatever, you need me to be. I’ll communicate more. I’ll reach out more. I’ll lay myself bare at your feet. Please, Felicity. Please come home. Please come with me. Please, Felicity,” Oliver beseeched. “I’ll be the best partner you will ever have. I’ll be the best boyfriend, best fiancé, and best husband to you. I’ll be the best father to our children. I promise I won’t abandon you like your father did you. I promise. I’ll promise you every day, forever more,” Oliver bargained, there were no lengths that he would not reach for to be by her side. “I love you.”

 

“Oliver,” Felicity pleaded, her hands tugging his. “I love you, too. I will always love you,” she spoke, eyes shining with all the love that she held for him in her heart. “But that alone doesn’t erase everything that has happened, Oliver. That doesn’t erase everything that I’ve gone through or everything I feel. It doesn’t erase my time or place here and the way I’ve felt being here. I chose you, Oliver. I chose every day, every moment that I spent with you, when I was alive. I chose to have a life with you –”

 

“And I chose you,” Oliver spoke, the surety in his voice so clear. “I choose you, Felicity. I will always choose you,” he spoke, eyes pleading.

 

Felicity’s lips ticked up, almost a smile, as her eyes gave way to the pain and the fight that was battling within her before she spoke again. “I know, Oliver. I know. I will always choose you, too.”

 

“Then come home. Leave here with me, Felicity. Come home with me. Please.”

 

“It’s not that simple, Oliver.”

 

“Yes, it is. Take my hand, Felicity. Take my hand and leave here with me!”

 

“Oliver,” Felicity spoke, voice breaking, the waves of tears not stopping, her head shaking.

 

“If you don’t want to leave here then I will stay here with you, okay? I’ll stay here with you,” Oliver traded.

 

“That’s not how it works, Oliver,” replied Felicity, eyes aflame with the heartbreak that she felt.

 

“Why not? Why not? I’m supposed to have 56 more years on Earth and I’m supposed to spend them with you. Only you. Every single one of those days with you. I’ve spent the last 68 days away from you, Felicity, and they have been excruciating. How am I supposed to spend the rest of my life without you? How?”

 

“Oliver,” Felicity whispered, trying to ease the pain they were both feeling.

 

“Please don’t make me go, Felicity. Please.”

 

Sobs tore from them both as their hands released from each other’s before their bodies fused together, arms circling the other.

 

“Please, Felicity,” Oliver begged, his forehead falling against hers as their chests heaved, breathing punctured.

 

“Give more one more chance, Felicity. Please. Give more one more chance to show you how much I love you, how much I need you. Please, Felicity. Give us another chance?”

 

“Oliver,” Felicity spoke, arms clutching the fabric of his shirt, his name saying all that she could not voice in words. His name imbued with all the love and hopes and care that they shared for one another.

 

“Please, Felicity,” Oliver continued, not wavering in his pursuit, his hands pulling her body even closer into his.

 

A wave of energy swept through the both of them, shaking each of them to their core.

 

“What’s going on,” Oliver asked, pulling Felicity closer to him.

 

“It’s time for you to go, Oliver,” Felicity breathed.

 

“No,” Oliver spoke. “No! I’m not leaving you,” his head shaking. “I’m not leaving you,” he implored staring right into her eyes. “I. Am. Not. Leaving. You. I’m not!”

 

“You can’t stay here, Oliver.”

 

“No! I’m not leaving.”

 

“You have to let go, Oliver. You have to let me go.”

 

“No! No! I’m not leaving you, Felicity.”

 

The waves of energy swept through them, becoming stronger and stronger with each subsequent wave.

 

“I’m not letting you go, Felicity. I’m not,” Oliver spoke, heart breaking.

 

“I love you, Oliver.”

 

“I love you, Felicity.”

 

“You have to let go, Oliver.”

 

“No!”

 

“You have to let go.”

 

Oliver’s eyes shuttered close, tears falling rapidly, as his lips pressed against the soft warm skin of Felicity’s forehead.

 

“I’m never letting you go, Felicity. Never!”

 

“You have to let go, Oliver. You can’t stay here.”

 

“I don’t want to lose you.”

 

“You’re never going to lose me, Oliver.”

 

“I need you.”

 

“I’ll never leave you,” Felicity spoke, her right hand rose up, spreading out over the skin above his beating heart. “I’m right here with you, Oliver. I’ll be right here,” she said, hand surging into his skin, “right here with you. I will always be right here with you.” The droplets of her tears falling staining the blue of his shirt.

 

“Please don’t go,” Oliver cried out, his hands coming up and cradling her face, as he looked into her eyes.

 

“I love you,” Felicity spoke, voice quivering but so clear, her hands encircling the hot skin of his wrists. “I love you, Oliver. I will always love you,” her face moving so close to his that they shared the air between them, their noses touching.

 

“I love you, Felicity. I love you. I love you,” spoke Oliver, his body moving, closing the last breath of space between them as their lips came together, and fusing against one another, softly, with the reverence that this was possibly the last time their lips would ever meet.

 

The burning flames of their love spread throughout both of their bodies, every part of him and every part of her, coalescing into each other until they were one.

 

The space between them slowly grew as they drew away from one another, lips stopping only millimetres away, their eyes slowly opening as they looked into one another’s, memorizing every inch of the other’s face, the love, the deep, abiding love that they shared surrounding them.

 

The blinding white light began at the corners of Oliver’s visions, as he continued to look into Felicity’s, never blinking, fingers tracing across the planes of her face.

 

The light grew brighter and brighter, encroaching on more and more of his vision until he was completely blinded, a powerful surge of energy rushing through his body until he felt nothing at all.

 

 

The explosion of oxygen in his lunges flung his body forward.

 

His heart pounded like a jackhammer.

 

His chest heaved from his erratic and heavy breath.

 

His vision blurred.

 

His skin burned.

 

His head throbbed.

 

His hands shot out to steady his balance as an ear-splitting noise pierced his ears. Everything around him was spinning as the noise continued to infiltrate the air around him.

 

His eyes rapidly blinked, clearing his vision, as he began to survey his surroundings. His heart still pounded, breath still shaky, and mind still scrambling from the noise assaulting his ears.

 

He was no longer in the Underworld.

 

He was in a room, a hospital room.

 

Felicity’s hospital room.

 

He was in Felicity’s hospital room.

 

He was in Felicity’s hospital room.

 

The realization of the situation struck him like a bolt of lightening, his body swerving to the bed that Felicity lay unconscious atop of.

 

He moved with speed, limbs flailing, still weak, falling once, before he reached her side.

 

Everything stopped as he understood where the piercing sound was coming from, her heart monitor.

 

The sound of her flatling was the most horrific sound he had ever heard. Something that he had hoped he would never have to hear ever again. His mind unable to stop on the onslaught of sights, smells and sounds of when he was here last, that night that Darhk and his ghosts had almost stolen her from him.

 

His body froze, just for a second, before time caught back up with him again.

 

“Felicity,” Oliver cried out, his hands latching onto her arm. “Felicity! Felicity, come back! Please! Stay with me! Stay with me, Felicity!” he screamed, fresh tears falling from his eyes. “Stay with me! PLEASE!”

 

He didn’t know what to do, his mind drawing blank, as he continued to bellow for her to stay with him, to not leave him, that he didn’t even notice the barrage of nurses and doctor rushing into the room.

 

“Felicity, please, please stay with me! Please don’t leave, Felicity. 56 years, Felicity. 56 years and every one of those days with you! Please! Please don’t go,” Oliver cried, anguish enveloping every word, every break, every breath that escaped from him.

 

He could hear the nurses and doctor shouting at him to move, to leave Felicity’s side, but he couldn’t, he wouldn’t.

 

“Please, Felicity! Please! Please don’t leave. I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Please don’t leave me. Fight! Fight, Felicity! Please! For me, for us, for the future I know the both of us want to have. Please! Please fight! Come back, Felicity. COME BACK!” Oliver bellowed, his hands dancing along the lines of her body, drawing her closer to his. His body blanketed hers, as he continued to plead and beg for her to come back to him. “Come back to me!”

 

He barely noticed the hands that grabbed a hold of his arms, or the force inflicted upon him as they tried to remove him from Felicity’s side.

 

He just fought harder, screamed harder, screamed for her to stay, to come back to him.

He kept fighting, fighting the nurses and the guards, just fighting, and lashing out, his pain and heartbreak so evident in his voice and his movements.

 

Blood rushed through his ears but he caught the last sentence the nurse behind him spoke.

 

“Sedate him,” he heard her yell. “Sedate him, now!”

 

He barely felt the prick of the needle against his neck before the darkness forcibly enveloped him.

 

 

The weight upon his body grew heavier and heavier as his eyes sluggishly opened.

 

For a moment, as he inhaled, he did not know who he was, where he was, or why he was lying down on rigid mattress with scratchy sheets.

 

Then he exhaled.

 

The magnitude of everything that had happened struck him like a sword through his chest. A sob tore from his lips, as a single tear slid down his face.

 

Felicity was gone. Felicity was gone. Felicity was gone.

 

He could barely breathe as he looked as the crinkled lines in the ceiling of the darkened room.

 

He felt hollow. Lost. Like everything, all the light, all the happiness, all the love, had suddenly vanished from within him. Stolen. Ripped out. The edges left inside of him, jagged and painful, cutting into him at all angles, leaving trails of blood from the bottoms of his feet to the top of his head, through every vein and muscle.

 

The weight upon his body grew heavier and heavier, suffocating him

 

He needed to move, to get out, to run. He wanted to run, fast and as far away as possible.

 

He lived in the darkness once. He could do it again. All he had to do was get up and run.

 

Run. That’s what he was going to do. He was going to run.

 

“Running isn’t always the answer you know,” an unseen man voiced, the British lilt to his voice instantly recognizable to Oliver.

 

“Lucifer,” Oliver replied, his voice like that of a dead man’s, slow, hollow and lifeless, his eyes remained glued to the ceiling above him.

 

“As I was saying, running, doesn’t always work. Trust me, I’ve tried. Sometimes it’s better to stay, to fight, and enjoy the spoils that comes with it,” Lucifer continued, his voice calm and melodic as he walked to the end of Oliver’s bed to face him.

 

“I’ve run before,” Oliver retorted, no fight in his voice.

 

“And look where that got you,” Lucifer shot back, his head tilted and eyebrow lifted.

 

“What are you doing here, Lucifer,” Oliver asked, annoyance underlying his tone.

 

“I’m on a little sojourn from the Underworld. Even the Devil needs a vacation,” he responded, his charming smile lightening up his face before a sombre look overtook it. “I’m here to tell you not to give up hope, Oliver. I know that’s hard to believe and I know that darkness which you seek. But you are here, alive and breathing, with many years ahead of yourself –”

 

“But she isn’t,” Oliver softly spoke, his body beginning to tremble, as his fingers dug into the bedding beneath him. “She isn’t here! SHE ISN’T HERE,” Oliver bellowed, fury engulfing every inch of him as he shot up from the bed to stare into Lucifer’s eyes. “She isn’t here! She’s dead! She’s gone! She’s gone.”

 

“Love, the most powerful emotion that a being can feel. It’s consuming. Seductive. Euphoric,” Lucifer expressed, as he moved away from the end of the bed towards a curtain hanging in the middle of the room. “But its powers can work both ways. The chance for it to damage, to break, to hurt is just as profound, and just as likely. Sometimes it takes only a mere flip of a coin, a choice, a chance to send it into a spiralling descent. Love can be a bitch when it wants to,” his voice emphasizing the end of the sentence. “But that’s not really what happened in your case,” Lucifer continued, sweeping aside the curtain that divided the room. “Well not in the end anyway.”

 

Oliver froze as he looked across the room and saw who was lying atop the bed.

 

Felicity.

 

Felicity lay atop the hospital bed, a diffused light hanging over her bed, basking her in a soft glow. He could see colour in her face, the pink in her cheeks, and to his utter amazement, the rise and fall of her chest.

 

“H-h-how is she…” Oliver stammers out, unable to finish the question as he slowly pushed off the bed. His steps towards her were slow and measured for fear that any disruption could cause what his eyes saw shatter like a mere illusion. His hands trembled as he gradually drew one of her hands into his, the warmth of her skin sinking into his. His grasp was careful but strong. His fear ebbing away gradually, as his mind slowly realized that she was real, that she was alive and breathing and truly here with him.

 

“How is she alive,” Lucifer asked, finishing Oliver’s question. “Well, the doctors and nurses are calling it a miracle, a marvel of science and medicine, possibly due to the fact of the implant in her spine. But that’s not the truth. She’s alive, here right now, because she chose you. She chose to return to the Earthly plane, leaving behind the paradise that the Underworld had carved out for her because she believed. She believed in herself, her fortitude, and her love, especially the love she has for you. She believed in you, Oliver. She believed in you and came back. Love really conquered all in this case,” Lucifer finished, a small smile on his lips before looking straight into Oliver’s eyes. “Don’t muck it up, mate. Trust yourself. Trust each other. Love each other. Choose each other, every single day. Communicate with one another. And for god’s sake, do not lie to her! She’s smarter than you.”

 

Oliver could only nod in response, understanding the chance he had been given by just being able to feel the softness of her skin once more.

 

A soft sound drew Oliver’s gaze away from Lucifer and towards Felicity. Oliver instantly recognized the sound, a soft hum that he had heard every morning since the two of them had driven into the sunset months and months ago, a hum that he had not heard in 68 days, the hum that signalled a waking Felicity.

 

“And that is my cue to leave, Mr. Queen,” spoke Lucifer. “Good luck to the both of you.”

 

“Thank you,” Oliver responded, his gaze still glued to Felicity, oblivious to the fact that Lucifer had already slipped out of the room.

 

The soft hum escaping from Felicity’s lips grew louder and louder until he saw a sliver of her magnificent blue eyes peek up at him.

 

“Felicity?” Oliver whispered, the hope in his voice so clear and so evident.

 

“O…Ol…Oliver,” Felicity mumbled, her voice soft, still full of slumber.

 

“Hey, honey,” responded Oliver, his hands squeezing hers, his face lit up like a by the smile he reserved only for her. “How are you feeling? Are you okay? Do you want me to call the doctor?”

 

“No,” Felicity replied, voice still whisper soft, her eyes closed, “I just want a few moments alone, here with you.”

 

A comfortable silence permeated around the room, as Oliver ran his thumb across the tops of Felicity’s knuckles. His head lay atop the bars of her hospital bed, eyes shut, letting the rhythmic whirr of her heart monitor bring his heart to a relaxed pace.

 

“Oliver?” voiced Felicity, Oliver’s head rising at the call of his name.

 

“What is it? Do you need something? Are you feeling okay?” Oliver asked, unable to temper the concern in his voice.

 

“I’m okay,” Felicity answered, a small smile adorning her face, her eyes shining with so much light. “It’s just that I think I spotted a grey hair near your temple,” she teased.

 

“Really?” Oliver said, playing along.

 

“Really. The light of the rising sun is just making it glare at me,” her eyes effervescing with joy as the smile upon her face grew even wider.

 

“Well, I guess you’re just going to have to get used to it since I’ve got another 56 years right by your side,” Oliver retorted, his eyes filling with love and hope as he looked into Felicity’s.

 

“Sounds about right to me,” Felicity responded, her eyes shuttering close, the drowsiness returning to her voice.

 

Oliver smiled before kissing the palm of her hand. Sleep beginning to overtake Felicity once more. “And today is Day One,” Oliver replied, smiling, staring lovingly at the woman who chose to be his forever, just as he would chose to be hers forever more.