Actions

Work Header

Spiral: The Unimaginable Part Three

Chapter Text

 

 

Spiral Cover Page

 

 

 

Spiral: The Unimaginable Part Two

Introduction

Spiral - a definition

                                                                       spiral galaxy

 

In science and nature, the spiral is seen in everything from teeth, to shells, horns, the florets of flowers (like sunflowers), and the shape of galaxies throughout universe. The spiral is most often described as a curve which emanates from a point, moving farther away, or closer together, as it revolves around the point.

In terms of spirituality, the spiral can represent the path leading from outer consciousness (ex., external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (ex., enlightenment, unseen essence, cosmic awareness). Movements between the inner (intuitive, intangible) world and the outer (matter, manifested) world are mapped by the spiraling of archetypal rings; marking the evolution of humankind on both an individual and collective scale.

Most importantly within this story, in terms of rebirth or growth, the spiral symbol represents the consciousness of nature beginning from the core or center and expanding outward.

 

 

 


 

 

Prologue

The streets of Star City rumbled and shook. Not from an earthquake but elements of the criminal underworld reforming itself in the void left by Damien Darhk. The evilness of his plans now thwarted, the city was ripe for the taking.

Yet the citizens, who were turning a blind eye to certain telltale signs of violence and mayhem, were themselves busy rebuilding and healing after so many coordinated attacks on their way of life, their homes, their families and futures. The city had come to life and was celebrating everything about it that made it unique and vibrantly resilient. From the suburbs to the inner city to the struggling Glades, people were rebuilding in the face of continued destruction all because they believed in the city and each other.

On rainy nights, storefronts would extend their awnings over the sidewalks, providing shelter for passersby. The sweet scent of roses from flower shops would waft faintly in the warm, wet, night air and the soft laughter of happy couples walking arm in arm through well-lit downtown streets provided the music that the city needed to soothe its slowly returning soul. The rising pulse of the businesses, whether they be restaurants, bookstores or grocery stores, and the returning population was one of relief and joy.

The docks were slowly returning to normal during the day. Ships and cargo moved seamlessly through waterways no longer choked with debris from the last attempt to dismantle the city. Parks workers, gruff and surly to each other, worked diligently to repair inner city playgrounds for the poorest children in Star City. They took secret pleasure at the joy that would light up the small faces when the gates were officially opened and at the sounds of laughter as it rang out on clear, fall mornings.

Oliver and Felicity watched the returning life with a cautious eye. By now they had both been witnessed to the worst humanity could bring to the table and suffered losses that had left enormous scars in their minds, hearts and spirits. The glittering, rain drenched streets were an illusion designed to lull them, they were sure of it. So they remained vigilant, watching closely to the way the docks breathed at night.

They were the lungs of the city. Once so cancerous and blocked, that the water ran black no matter the time of day. They belched smoke, gas and oil fumes, and some days the sun avoided trying to touch the ground altogether. In its place, the air left a grimy, sludge all over every shiny surface. Nothing was left untouched or unmarked, including the consciences of the men and women who made their profit in the inky shadows between the tankers.

Day or night, it didn’t matter, the docks hummed with a tumultuous energy that never stilled. It would grow in volume before settling back into a steady, deep buzz that made Oliver’s skin feel like it was trying to slide off his body. He loathed the docks and did everything he could to avoid them during the day but dove in head first at night. He merged with the shadows and dealt justice swiftly and surely. The night time was his element and he made use of every second of it.

Yet the city’s unending greenspace, its parks and surrounding mountains and forests, cooled the ocean breeze and masked the grotesque underbelly of a city in flux and almost neverending renewal. It was part of what drew Felicity to the city a few short years ago. It was alive and singing at all hours of the day and night.

The perfumes of the gardens and forests, when all was in bloom were intoxicating and drew her out to the streets in the morning and out to parks in evening. She sought out the source of the sweet scent of cedar, pine and roses. They were a balm that soothed her soul before the dark of night would seep slowly from one horizon to the other.

She didn’t fear the night, it held its own mystique, but the day held so much promise, light and sound. It sang to her. The night time had a rhythm, a deep, pounding bass that vibrated under her feet that drove her indoors. Oliver came alive at night, she loved to watch him slowly emerge from the confines of the day and wander out into the dark, free and alive even as she retreated. In their own ways, they kept each other safe in the dark hours after midnight but with Oliver it was more than a job or mission, it was a calling.

When it rained, the streets were washed clean of the grime of the day and they glittered and shone. It was like the two sides of the city would merge. The rain would vibrate and jump up off of the pavement; defying gravity and reach back to the sky that it had fallen so gracefully from.

There was beauty and pain on the streets of Star City and in the centre of it all, a silence built on the intersection of nature and concrete. Both Oliver and Felicity sought that quiet space out, weaving it to the fabric of their souls and feeling it in the soft echo between their heart beats. In their own way, they danced with the song of the city but it was the silence that held all of the love that formed the bond between them. Yet, what held them together was now slowly driving them apart.

By way of distraction, they were focused on areas of the city shrouded in constant darkness. Areas that no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t bring back to life. There were cracks in the pavement and something was leaking out, something amorphous yet oily. It clung to every surface, coating skin, poisoning the air and it was slowly gaining power as it swirled around the edges of the city.

 

 

 

Day One - Interlude Part One

Stealthily and alone
The city welcomes its Hero
Back into its heart.

I

Oliver had no idea how it happened. The change in Felicity took place so gradually that even when he tried to figure out when the shift in her behaviour began, he came up blank. There was no singular incident, it simply came to pass that she slipped away from him like a shadow.

Over the course of a month she had drifted away, floated free from his orbit and now he was dangerously out of balance with himself, with her, and with the city. He couldn’t connect fully to anything and his frustration was growing. He had begun spending more and more time away from the team and from his obligations as mayor. It was a bit of a dance between them, this push and pull, and it was made worse by the reports of how devastating the nuclear bomb had been on Havenrock.

The damage done to the land, air and surrounding watershed was now causing cancers in surrounding towns and villages that dotted that coastline. With every new report, Felicity shrank into herself, becoming smaller and unreachable. She did it so quietly that he failed to notice her silence, her stillness, and her slow withdrawal from life.

As he sat on a hidden ledge between two rundown buildings late one rainy night, he let his mind wander for just an instant and it hit him like a fist between the ribs. He remembered the way she had evaded his eyes earlier in the lair, how she had been quick to move away from his reach should he try and touch her, how she had held her arms tightly to her sides so as to not allow any accidental contact between them. It wasn’t the first time it had happened but it was the first time he had noticed.

Oliver felt his world turn sideways and had to sit back against the cold, wet brick wall to prevent himself from falling. He had been so absorbed in training the new recruits and attempting to be Mayor that he hadn’t felt her untether herself and float away. Now he wasn’t sure if he could catch her before she spiralled away from him completely but he knew he had to try.

The city was quiet now that Tobias Church had gone underground. He was nervous about what that might mean in the future but for right now, it meant he had time to step into the path of her retreat and do what he should have done a lot sooner after Havenrock. His reticence to actually set himself in motion as someone who could help her was a pattern with them, one that needed to be broken, and he finally needed to be of service to her like she so often was to him.

A sudden crash from the alley below him pulled his attention back to his immediate surroundings. He focused in on a young woman making a hasty retreat away from a group of young men who were shouting taunts at her. He could see the fear in her eyes as she looked for somewhere, anywhere to hide, or run to safety.

She was alone and terrified and now, unfortunately, backed into a dead end.

His frustrations with Felicity bubbled to the surface and with a quiet growl, the Green Arrow dropped down to the alley in front of her with hardly a sound beyond the creaking of his leather pants. He could feel a mounting anger beginning to course through his veins like white hot fire and turned his angry gaze on the five young men who entered the alley behind the young woman.

“You do not want to be here,” he growled through his voice disguiser.
“Oh yeah? There are five of us and one of you,” jeered one overly brave young man.

The Green Arrow eyed them up. At first glance, two of the young men looked large and imposing but they fidgeted slightly under his stare. They would be easy to remove from the equation and he would take them out first.

One of the young men looked like he would run at the first chance he got. His body was already angled towards the street and he was casting nervous glances out of the alley. He took a hesitant step towards the left of the alley opening and Oliver knew he would bolt at the first sign of violence.

The remaining two would be the problem. They were both carrying unseen weapons, most likely knives, and were carefully stepping out from the central pack in an effort to flank him. Oliver narrowed his eyes and waited. He needed them to be just a few more inches out before he could make his move.

When they shifted another foot, he acted faster than any of the men could react. With his left hand he threw two flechettes low, slicing through the Achilles Heels of both men in front of him. They dropped to the ground wailing in agony. Blood, black and viscous in the light of the moon, pooled underneath their now crippled legs and as expected, the fifth young man bolted for safety without once looking back to see how his friends were fairing.

Now he was left with the two armed men. They were predators only wanting to hurt or kill whoever crossed their paths. Man, woman, youth, child, Oliver doubted it mattered to them. Power and control were the only things that mattered and if death happened, they wouldn’t bat an eye.

This was his father’s legacy in bright living colour.

“I wouldn’t do anything stupid,” the Green Arrow growled at them.
“No need to worry about us, you should be more worried about you,” the man to his left snarled.
“First you then the blonde,” laughed the one on the right.

At the mention of ‘blonde’, Oliver’s vision went red and the roar in his blood deafened him. His fists tightened and in a blur of movement Oliver lashed out with his bow, striking the man on the left hard along the side of his torso. Spinning, he landed a high kick on the other man’s arm. He felt and heard the sickening crack of bone and the man shrieked in pain.

Oliver finished him off with a vicious haymaker and then turned his complete attention onto the remaining man. He was snarling at Oliver, knife drawn, he lunged with the intent on stabbing or slashing him. Oliver sidestepped him and drew an arrow from his quiver, notching it in one fluid motion.

“Think this through,” Oliver commanded.
“I’ll kill you when I catch you.”
“Have it your way,” he smiled as he released the arrow. He felt the soft swoosh of the passing air and sound of the meaty thunk as it hit its target. Oliver opted to maim, not kill, and the arrow sunk deep into the man’s upper thigh.

The man gasped and then collapsed like a house of cards to the ground, knife slipping from his hand as he pressed down over the wound.

“You’ve killed me,” he said in shock.
“No, I have stopped you from killing someone else,” Oliver snarled as he hit the man in the face with a right cross which knocked him out cold.

“Th-th-thank you,” came a soft voice behind him.
“You should go now. Always be aware of your surroundings.”
“I will,” the young woman said softly as she slipped past him and into the night.

She couldn’t be much older than Thea, he thought sadly. The city was still not a place for women to walk safely and as Mayor he needed to do better by them.

Oliver stood for a moment, disconnected from the scene around him, and surveyed the damage he had caused to four men in the space of one minute. He felt as though he were in the eye of a hurricane, in that pressure filled stillness that masked unrelenting chaos, and he sensed that beyond this momentary quiet was a madness he could drown in. The men, bleeding and screaming in agony, were two dimensional, cardboard cut outs with no substance or meaning that he stepped over on his way out of the alley.

If he lost the tenuous connection he had with that part of his psyche that could feel empathy, which could recognize pain in others, he would become that man he thought he left on the island again. As Felicity drifted away from him, he drifted back to the man the Bratva had created. That man, that killer and weapon, was the man who threatened to follow him out of the alley and now floated behind him like a shadow attached to his skin.

 

II

Long after midnight, Oliver made his way back to the bunker and shamefully hoped no one would be waiting there. His mood was dark and all he wanted to do was get out of his suit, check his bow, grab some food, take a shower and go to bed. Conversation and mission discussion was the very last thing he wanted to do.

Luckily, the lights were low and the computers were dark meaning no one was there. On late nights like this he would normally stay at the bunker instead of going home or to Felicity’s to relax and regain some of his strength for the morning. But not tonight. No, tonight his energy wasn’t waning, it was simmering to a boil under his skin, threatening to take shape and launch into violent action. He had half a mind to turn around and head back out but knew he was far too tired to be of any use.

As he passed the comms station, he noticed that while the central screen at Felicity’s station was dark, it was not off like the rest. Narrowing his eyes, he made his way up to it and turned it on. Oliver expected to see some kind of diagnostic running but instead what he saw was a tracking program running both there and remotely from their servers.

She was tracking him.

He felt his breath leave his body in a rush of instant rage. As his vision clouded behind a red mist, he shut down her remote link and then the computer in order to make sure she couldn’t restart the program from wherever she was and then slammed his bow onto the desk.

He stood there, stock still at her station, and closed his eyes in an effort to rein in his anger and calm his mind. There was no way he could rest tonight if he didn’t focus his mind, calm his heart and let go of his rage. It was pointless to be this angry with her, with the night, with the men who challenged him, and with himself for failing to see just how far from him Felicity had wandered. Oliver knew he needed to talk to her, to figure out the root of the problem but not yet.

Not yet, he thought as he slowly breathed out his anger.
Not yet, he thought as he replayed the events of the night over in his head.
Not yet, he thought with a growing sense of sadness, but when?

Absently, he felt his phone vibrate in his inner suit vest. He left it where it was. It could only be one person calling him this late at night and while he ached to hear her voice, he wasn’t ready to listen just yet. He wasn’t sure what was making him so angry but something was pushing at him and he was glad for the space and quiet.

Taking a deep breath, he straightened up and made his way to the weapons station and deposited his bow. He knew his anger was about his own inattention to the signals she had been flying the past month. It was something he had promised himself and her that he would try to not do again. Yet, here he was, alone in the lair and frustrated with how they still managed to move past each other in a never ending dance of protecting the other from the darkness that lurked at the edges of their lives.

He was so lost in thought that he failed to hear the elevator door open across from where he stood. What brought him back to the present was the soft staccato tap of Felicity’s heels across the polished concrete floor. Turning, he watched her as she cast a glance at the silent computer bank and then at him.

Her eyes flashed with chaotic energy, a look he knew well after four years of discovering who she was under the carefully crafted appearance of computer genius and superhero. He knew she was gearing up with for a fight with him and he was confused as to what he had done. Not knowing fueled his frustration so he turned to face her, ready for whatever she had to say.

“Why did you turn my computer off?” she demanded.
“Because you were tracking me and since I am done for the night, you no longer need to,” he answered in a clipped, angry tone.
“I only do it so that you are safe, Oliver.”
“Then why aren’t you at the coms?”
“I...I was upstairs,” she faltered, “I needed to be above ground.”

Oliver looked at her and saw the dark circles under her eyes and the way her hair wasn’t quite all in her ponytail. They had been sleeping in their own beds the last few nights and so he had no idea that she wasn’t actually taking advantage of the peace and quiet. He felt his shoulders slump and all the fight left him.

“Talk to me,” he said softly.
“Oliver…,” she sighed wearily, looking down at her hands so she wouldn’t have to look him in the eyes.
“No,” he said firmly but gently, “Talk to me.”

She looked up at him and he watched as tears spilled out of her eyes and down her cheeks. He was across the floor and pulling her into a reluctant embrace. She fought him for just a moment, like the idea of comfort and love was somehow an irritation to her skin and heart, but she gave in to the firm hold he had on her and gripped him as tightly as she could.

“What is it, love?” he asked in a choked voice, “What is it?”
“I don’t know,” she said through her tears, “I feel like I can’t breathe when I am down here. I feel like I am suffocating and I don’t know why.”
“What do you need from me?”
“This. Just...just this.”

Oliver held her and could feel the seething anger leave her body. He knew that where there was anger, there was almost always pain underneath, swirling and churning deep within. He had lived that existence. Alone even though he came home to family and friends, he thought he was facing life being lost in a sea of pain, regret and guilt.

Until her.

“Let me get changed and I’ll take you home,” he suggested quietly.
“Will you come upstairs first? Sit in our garden?” she asked softly.

Oliver smiled. Somewhere along the way, she had started calling it their garden. Their combined efforts had created it out of so much horror and destruction that to see it now, full of flowers and life, was to see love in action. It humbled and overwhelmed him but when they were in it, alone together, it was perfect.

It was the reminder he needed when he felt the darkness beginning to close around him. To keep living until he felt alive again, for himself, for her, for the city and all who lived within it. There were moments though, times like this, when she needed his strength and endurance. That in order for her to remember how to live, he had to show her what it was like to be alive.

He knew she was still covered in invisible wounds that required the tender gift of time in order to heal. He loved her with a timeless, effortless energy that meant he felt no obligation to provide her the space to find her way to wholeness. It was something he gave freely and with a great sense of honour that she trusted him enough to lay herself raw in front of him.

Felicity took a small step away from Oliver, slipping gently out of his embrace. Taking his hands between hers, she kissed his bruised knuckles and calloused palms. Oliver blinked rapidly and breathed through exquisite tenderness of her lips on his skin. With a smile that failed to erase the sadness in her eyes, she turned and left.

Her footsteps were quieter this time. They lacked the ferocious, angry, chaotic energy she came down with earlier and had calmed down. They weren’t communicating and that was something that he knew they could work out.

With a sigh, Oliver changed out of his leathers. He grabbed a quick shower and snack and then headed up to see what he could do to ease the tension between them.

 

III

“Felicity?” he called out.
“Out here!” came the muffled reply.
“Isn’t it a bit cold out there?” he asked as he slipped through the French doors, hidden by two tall bookcases. He had slipped a fleece sweatshirt on because he suspected she would already be out in the courtyard waiting for him.

He pulled up short when he saw the garden. She had strung tiny fairy lights through the trellises and wrapped them around the various pots and planters. The overall effect created a soft, hazy light that seemed to cloak them with its radiance. An outdoor clay fire pit was crackling softly in the centre of the small patio and he could feel its soft heat on his exposed skin.

“When did you get this?” he asked in surprise.
“Today, I wanted it for these crisp fall nights,” she said from the small outdoor couch. She motioned him over and made room next to her, “Do you like it?”
“I love it,” he said with a weary sigh as he sat down, “It is the perfect way to end the night.”
“I’m...I’m sorry I wasn’t at the comms. I felt like I was suffocating,” she said quietly as she rubbed his arm, “I needed to be away from it but I didn’t want to leave you without some backup.”
“What is it, Felicity? What is going on?” he coaxed gently.
“It’s only been about a month for us, Oliver...I am still...I mean, I am happy but…”
“Felicity, honey, you aren’t exactly making sense.”
“I know,” she smiled in a way that Oliver saw as something filled with melancholy and self-doubt, “I am happy we are working our way back to something wonderful, I can feel that, but sometimes I feel this weight on my chest and I can’t breathe.”
“Maybe we should go away for the weekend,” he suggested carefully, watching her expression to see if it was the right thing to say.
“To our cabin on the cliff?” she smiled gently.
“Anywhere you want. Bali, Positano, Colorado, the moon…,” he smiled back. Oliver felt the stress of not knowing ease from around his heart.
“I’ll be…enough one day,” she said sadly.
“Felicity…”
“It’s ok,” she said quickly, cutting him off before he could finish his thought, “look around, Oliver. Look at where we are. We’ll be ok. I’ll be ok. Ok?”
“Ok,” he agreed reluctantly.
“It’s miraculous that we are where we are,” she chuckled, “Let’s just know each other. That would be enough, for now.”

That was good enough for Oliver. It was better than the last time he brought up leaving town. She refused to speak to him for three days except on the comms. She had been furious to the point where she was shaking with rage but Oliver saw the raw pain underneath all that fury. Felicity was a raw and open wound behind the walls she had erected to safeguard her heart and she had thought he was suggesting they run away again. When they were out of sync their communication became a tornado, lashing them with the debris of the past.

“So what are we doing up here?” he asked softly as opened his arms to her.
“I just thought it might be a nice way to decompress. What happened out there tonight?” she asked as she slipped into his embrace.
“The usual. Group of men decide they want to rape one woman. Green Arrow intervenes and saves said woman. Group of men need medical attention and possible surgery.”
“Oliver...whatever happened to restraint? You know that when you do that the SCPD gets nervous.”
“I DID show restraint,” he said, “they were going to kill that young woman. They tried with me but…”
“No one gets the drop on you,” she chuckled as she ran her hand up under his shirt.

Oliver smiled down at her. She wasn’t forgiving him, but she was understanding him and that made his heart feel lighter, like it was trying to escape the weight of the violence his world was often mired in. This woman, this thunderously regal woman, could still light the way for him to find the way out of the wilderness in his soul.

“Felicity, I promise to try to not hospitalize all the people I encounter doing bad things,” he teased.
“How about only half the people you encounter? The hospital is overflowing these days,” she teased back. The hand that had worked its way up his shirt was now wandering down, tracing scars and muscles above the waistband of his pants.
“Hon,” he said in a low voice, “Whatcha doing?”
“Hmmmm?” she answered as her hand slipped underneath the waistband and gently stroked the soft skin of his lower pelvis.
“This will only end one way,” he warned.
“I know,” she answered with the heat of passion wrapped around each word.

Oliver could feel the heat between them increase and was grateful that he had locked the elevator behind him. As she climbed over him and straddled his hips, he let the stress of the day flow out of him as her lips met his.

They had been through so much together. Some things had broken their hearts and driven them apart but then there were the things that brought them together and forged the bond between them that appeared to be unbreakable. It was like the broken pieces that lurked deep within them were guiding their hearts on the path forward.

“My place or yours?” he asked softly.
“You have a place?” she teased.
“A hotel suite is a place,” he explained.
“It’s closer than mine,” she mused, “Let’s go. Or we could stay here...”
“No,” he smiled, “Let’s go.”

The hotel Oliver was staying at while he looked for some place to live was around the corner from the bunker. He changed the route he would walk back to it on a nightly basis out of habit. Tonight, it was as straight a line as they could manage from the front door of her office to the front door of the Fairmont Hotel.

“Have you had any dinner?” she asked as they exited the elevator on the top floor of the building where Oliver’s suite was.
“I grabbed a snack before I came up to see you and I have a kitchen in here,” he said as he opened the door and pulled her into the suite.
“Ooooo! Are you going to make us breakfast in the morning?”
“Of course,” he said with a wink, “I value my life.”

Laughing, Felicity wandered into the living room and stood in front of the enormous plate glass window. Slipping out of her heels, she soon got lost in thought as she gazed out at the city. Oliver silently made his way across to her and wrapped his arms around her, drawing her back piece by piece to the shared moment.

“You smell amazing,” he murmured as he kissed her neck.
“Bali perfume, your favourite,” she hummed.
“Felicity,” he said in mock seriousness, “I feel like this is a trap.”
“How so?” she laughed.
“You know I can’t resist the pull of that island.”
“That was my most fervent wish,” she said softly as she turned around in his embrace so that she was facing him.

From that point on, no more words were spoken. Oliver would look back at this night and remember only the way she had pulled him with her through moments so full of tenderness, love, passion and abandon that his heart had stood still. He was powerless to stop her and even if he could have, he knew that he wouldn’t have attempted to.

And it all began with a kiss.

A kiss full of a powerful urgency, as her tongue slipped past his lips and danced around his, exploring his mouth and leaving him grasping onto her with all his might. Her fingers threaded through his short hair before moving downward, past the sensitive skin at the base of his neck, past his shoulders and down his back.

He felt her fingertips against the roughened skin of his lower back as she pushed her fingers under the waistband of his pants. Her hands were warm and soft against the unmarked skin of his lower pelvis and he felt himself harden in response. His body was beyond his control and he had no qualms in relinquishing it to her.

Felicity unzipped his pants and paused to help him take off his shirt. Without her heels on, she was level with his chest and he sometimes teased her by resting his chin on top of her head. Now, as he gazed down at her, he saw the woman he worshipped. Felicity looked up and smiled softly at him before running her hands up his chest and down his arms.

Turning around, she moved her hair out of the way of the zipper that ran down the entire length of her dress. Oliver took a moment to run his hands over her body. She was firm but supple and he could feel her body respond to him, like a guitar string pulled too tight.

Slowly, he moved the zipper down an inch at a time. He wanted to tear the dress off of her but he felt compelled to move slowly, gently and with a restraint that bordered on caution. Inch by inch her back, which was now a roadmap of violence and terror, revealed itself to him. The scars overlapped each other and he reverently touched them, sending visible shivers down her spine. Pushing the dress off of her shoulders, Oliver bent down and kissed the first bullet wound scar she got while saving Sara from the Clock King. He always made it a point to honour her wounds as a way to seek her continued forgiveness.

Shifting the zipper all the way down to the bottom of her dress, he pushed the dress all the way off of her. Felicity turned back towards him and eased back into his embrace. As she pressed her body against his, she helped him remove his pants and gently grasped his hardening cock.

From there it was simply a matter of how quickly they could make it to the bedroom before their seemingly never ending desire for each other threatened to consume them as they stood in the livingroom. Felicity took him by the hand and lead him, without the aid of any lights, to his bedroom.

Felicity was first on the bed and she shifted herself up to the pillows at the top. Oliver crawled up onto the bed, following her lead, and laid down next to her. The city was providing the light in the room and yet he could see her so clearly it was like she was lit by the sun. He had never experienced a love like this before, one that filled his heart and made him feel connected to the universe through her touch.

Tenderly, he stroked her face before slowly running his hand down her body. He could feel how her breathing changed as he explored the silky softness of her skin. Gently, he lowered his head and gently kissed her, parting her lips with his tongue as he slipped his hand between her legs, slowly pushing through her hot, silky wetness and slowly inched two fingers inside her, timing the pulsing of them with the way he sucked her tongue or bottom lip.

She began to move her hips in time with his thrusting fingers but, unable to wait any longer, Felicity pulled him over top of her and gasped softly as he seamlessly pushed inside of her. For just a moment, Oliver remembered their first night in Nanda Parbat and how her body had resisted him but then welcomed him in. The erotic thrill of it, the newness of her, all of it, was etched in his memory.

Tonight there was no waiting, she was greedy and demanding with her kisses. Her hips moved hard and fast, meeting him thrust for thrust, while not allowing him a moment to pause. Oliver finally used his strength to slow her down, conquering her need by pressing down on her pelvis and rolling his hips to the beat of their hearts.

She placed her hands on his chest and traced ancient designs over his scars in a slow, hypnotic pace. Oliver felt himself falling in love with her all over again with each pass of her fingertips over his battle hardened skin. He felt her body tighten around him, taking his breath away in a fast rush, and heard a low, deep moan from her as she clung to him.

This was when his self-discipline kicked in and he slowed even more by pushing her knees up further and burying himself deeper inside her, pressing his pelvis down onto hers, increasing the pressure as she moved closer to her release.

“God...Oliver…,” she moaned, “I love you.”

He always knew when she was ready, her body hummed and sang to his, and his responded in kind. She shuddered and quaked beneath him, her orgasm rolling through them both with bone shaking force, and he felt himself following suit. He thrust into her hard and deep and felt the heat uncoiling at the base of his spine.

There was no stopping it, he came in a hot flood inside her and with a deep growl in his throat. It felt primal and so completely right, like they were the only two people in the world. Felicity clung to him, breathing deeply with her forehead pressed against his chest. He could feel her shaking ever so slightly beneath him but when he tried to ease off of her, she held onto him even tighter.

“Felicity, what is it?” he asked in sudden concern.
“Nothing, I just...I just don’t want you to move,” she answered softly.
“You’re shaking.”
“Just endorphins. I’m ok,” she reassured him.
“Come on,” he coaxed, “Let’s get something to eat.”
“I could go for a snack,” she said looking up at him with a smile.

Oliver ran his hands through her hair, smoothing it away from her face. Try though she might, one look at her and he could see the pain she tried to hide. It glittered like starlight on water deep in her eyes and there was nothing he could do to draw it to the surface. All he could do was wait for her to release the hold it had on her heart and be there for when the flood came.

Later that night, after he plied her with dark chocolate and strawberries, she had pulled him into the shower and, with the strength of her hands and love, she had coaxed him back to life. He made love to her standing up, under the gentle downpour from the shower head above them. His legs shook from the exertion but as she cried out, calling his name in ecstasy, the only thing that mattered was the pulsing heat of their joined bodies and the love between them.

As they slipped off to sleep, exhausted but relaxed and happy, Oliver made a promise to himself that he would not let her disappear from life again. Her hands were finally healed from the aftermath of her sledgehammering down a brick wall so now it was time to truly heal her mind and the remains of the hurt between them.