Times Like These

Chapter 10

Once again pain woke her. There were stuttered words, and sure hands, two pills pressed through her lips followed by cool water and the order to swallow. Slowly the burning ache eased from her side and the rest of her body where new bruises were making themselves known.

As the tension left her she opened up her eyes to see Oliver sitting next to her, worry etched all over his face. She reached up slowly to try and touch his jaw but she couldn’t quite make it. He leaned down and met her hand and she smiled, lightly running her nails over the stubble like she’d done when they were trapped. “I was scared,” the words tumbled from her, she hadn’t meant to say anything but she couldn’t take it back now.

When his brows drew together she knew he didn’t fully understand and she licked her lips before she started again. “I came to while we were stuck. You were…passed out and bleeding and I couldn’t move you. I couldn’t breathe, and I didn’t know if anyone was coming. But mostly I was terrified that you weren’t going to make it.”

He was silent as he stroked his thumb over her cheekbone, staring at her so intently she was sure he could see inside her. There was a light pressure as he leaned into her touch and turned his head, lips just brushing over her palm and she was reminded of earlier when he’d kissed her head more than once.

Now she felt like she couldn’t breathe for a different reason, “Oliver…what’s happening?”

His hand came up to clasp hers and draw it down between them, “I don’t know but…I don’t think I can stop it.” she heard and saw so much in him just then. Hope, and guilt, and relief all mixed with a heavy uncertainty as he tried to justify allowing himself to take this chance.

“I don’t want it to stop.” she answered as his eyes fell shut and his shoulders slumped forward as if in defeat. She tightened the grip she had on their joined hands until he looked at her, completely open, soul laid bare for her to do with as she pleased.

The drugs were beginning to pull her under again but she couldn’t leave him like that. She tugged his hand and when he began to lie down next to her she opened her arm and gave him a look she hoped he understood. “Rest,” she said simply.

He lay on his side and shifted down until his head was pressed above her breast. “You won’t hurt me.” she whispered as she began to draw her fingers through his hair. He stiffened for a moment because her words weren’t meant for just then. “You won’t hurt me.” she repeated, and kept stroking his head until muscle by muscle he relaxed into her.

One arm stretched out across her middle and he pulled himself flush against her, hand covering her ribs like he could some how heal them through touch alone. She curled her hips and legs towards him, ignoring the slight pull over her side. His breath was evening out and the last thing she remembered was pressing kisses into his hair as he slept.

When she woke up several hours later to find Oliver hadn’t moved and was still sound asleep she knew she’d done the right thing by making him rest instead of having a conversation that she wasn’t even sure they needed to have.

She laid there until her bladder protested and after shifting a bit and not being left breathless from pain, decided she could try and make it to the bathroom.

Extracting herself from Oliver proved difficult, and she fully expected him to wake up, but after she’d eased herself out from under his head and slid his arm off her waist he merely rolled to his back and let out a light snore.

Walking to the bathroom was painful but it felt good to get up and move. She had more twinges and bruises than she had been aware of and she felt a bit wobbly on her legs but she made it successfully without any problems.

The reflection in the mirror made her groan and she knew immediately she needed a shower. She lost track of time as she stood under the hot spray and let it find every single cut and scrape on her body. She’d left the bandage on her thigh but knew it would need to be changed when she got out. She welcomed the sting, and the hot water eased some of the aches out of her muscles. Washing her hair with one hand proved difficult as she couldn’t lift her left arm over head due to her ribs. A sudden and vivid thought of Oliver helping her wash her hair went through her head and she had to bite her lip to keep her involuntary reaction to herself.

When she was finished she was clean but tired and shaky. Wrapped in a towel she left the borrowed t-shirt on the counter, looking at it with regret but it smelled like smoke from her hair and she couldn’t bear to put it back on.

Oliver hadn’t moved when she padded back across the room and slipped into the closet. She had a set of pajamas in her hands when her fingers skimmed over one of his dress shirts and a smile crossed her lips.

Rationalizing that she didn’t want anything on her injured leg and none of her shirts were long enough to be worn alone she put the pajamas back and stepped into a new pair of underwear before she slid the button down off the hanger and over her arms, not giving herself a chance to second guess her decision.

She had just finished putting a new bandage on her leg and tying her hair back when there was a soft knock on the main door. Felicity limped out of the closet to see Moira Queen quietly entering.

Her mouth went dry and she froze halfway between the bed and the door where Moira was closing it gently behind her. Felicity shot a look towards Oliver, but he still slept silently which actually worried her since his ninja like senses never seemed to shut down.

Hands twisting in the too long shirt sleeves she gritted her teeth and mentally knocked herself for indulging in Oliver’s shirt as she hobbled towards Moira.

“Mrs. Queen…”

“How are you dear? How’s Oliver? I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk to you earlier but you didn’t seem well at all.” her voice was kind and gentle and most of all entirely genuine. There was no trace of the hard nosed, serious woman who she’d seen in the board room or going up against the likes of Isabel Rochev, or had told her the Green Room had been opened for Felicity to sleep in. She just sounded like a mother who was worried about her son.

“I’m…I’m okay. Oliver’s sleeping, I think he feels worse than he lets on, but he’s always like that, trying to make it seem like nothing bothers him but really it…” she trailed off as she realized who she was talking to.

“You know my son well. Maybe better than anyone.” it was an observation and it made Felicity freeze.

“I like to think so, yes.”

Moira’s eyes drifted back to the bed and softened, “I came in here earlier, but you were both sleeping.” Felicity felt her cheeks go red at the thought of what she’d seen, “He trusts you.”

The statement made her heart stop in her chest as Moira looked back at her, “You see the real Oliver. The one even I have a hard time seeing sometimes. He needs you very much.” her hand dropped to lay on Felicity’s arm and she gave her a small smile.

“I need him too.” she admitted quietly, “I hate that people don’t see how he’s changed and the good he’s doing. He’s really turning the company around and…” she wished she could talk about all the other good Oliver was doing in his other suit, but she couldn’t so she rushed ahead. “I’m just sorry it’s my fault he got hurt. If anything worse had happened to him because of me…I don’t think I could have lived with myself.” she’d lowered her eyes to hide the tears she couldn’t control.

“This wasn’t your fault. This was the actions of a mad man. Take it from someone who knows a thing about being responsible for others being hurt.”

Felicity’s stomach dropped as she realized she’d made Moira think of the Glades and everything associated with it.

“Oh god, I’m…I didn’t mean to…” but she was cut off as Moira raised a hand in front of her.

“Please, Felicity, is it okay if I call you that?” Felicity just nodded her consent, “I came to peace with those demons long ago. At least to a peace I can live with. But I will tell you that there is no point in burdening yourself or those around you with guilt that does not belong to you. And I think my son would say the same thing.”

“He already has,” she choked out through a throat thick with emotion.

“Because he loves you.”

Felicity’s eyes went wide at her words,

“And you love him.”

Her initial response was to sputter out some sort of denial but all she could do was nod her head. “I do,” she whispered.

“I saw you two at the office and I overheard Detective Lance talking to Mr. Diggle. You knew there was a bomb in that package and you ran towards it to save Oliver. He kept you under him while the table and the walls fell on top of him instead of you.” she slid her hand down until she could grasp Felicity’s fingers in her own, “I’m very sorry I ever doubted your relationship with my son. Whatever it is it’s clearly very special, and I promise not to interfere in any way.”

Felicity could only stare at her, shocked at what she’d said. Moira took pity on her and after squeezing her hand once more stepped back towards the door. “Goodnight,” she said simply and exited, leaving Felicity standing there unable to process what had just happened.

It took a few minutes before she could get her numb legs to work. As she blindly, and unsteadily made her way back to the bed, Moira’s words tumbled through her head over and over again.

“he loves you. you love him.”

And the knowledge that she’d agreed and then received his mother’s blessing left her wondering what had happened. By the time she hit the edge of the mattress on what she was now coming to think of as her side she climbed in with no reservation. Two days earlier the mere idea of being in his bed had left her frozen and unsure.

She was so lost in her own thoughts that it took far too long for her to realize Oliver was awake and staring at her.

She’d just laid her head on the pillow and rolled on her right to take the pressure off her ribs when she saw him.

“Oh! You’re awake.” she said, higher and louder than she intended,

He was looking at her with an expression she’d never seen before and her stomach began to swirl, “How long have you been awake?” she asked, time seeming to halt before he answered.

“Long enough,” he sounded rough and gravely and now her stomach swirled in an entirely different way.

“How do you feel?” she deflected, biting her lip as she winced at how obvious she was. His eyes narrowed and she knew he saw right through her.

“Why would you run towards a bomb?” there was a glint of anger in his eyes and his jaw had tightened to the point she could see a muscle twitching. She wanted to reach out and stroke it until it stopped.

She knew he was upset with her for risking her life. For putting his safety above her own. She knew the guilt he carried over others dying for him or in his place and she’d never intended to add to that burden.

“I wasn’t running towards a bomb.” she countered and saw him open his mouth as his eyes flashed in protest but she laid one finger over his lips to silence him.

“I was running towards you.”

His eyes slammed shut at her words and she felt as all the air left his lungs.

“Felicity…” her name sounded like it was ground from him, “You can’t just…”

“What? Risk my life for yours? Why not? You do it all the time.” he looked truly upset with her, but she didn’t stop. “Oliver, it wasn’t something I thought about. I saw the note, I realized that the package I had just left on your desk was a bomb and I reacted. Did you really think I was going to run the other way? Is that what you would have done?”

“No! Of course not, but…”

“But what? Is my life more valuable than yours? Than Digg’s? Just because you can wield a bow and arrow and have very impressive skills doesn’t mean you’re superhuman. If that bomb had exploded with you sitting there…you’d be dead. So don’t expect me to apologize for trying to save you.” her pulse was thudding in her ears and she fought the urge to sit up and put distance between them. But he hadn’t moved, so she wasn’t going to either.

His eyes locked on hers, “You can’t get hurt because of me. You’re not supposed to get hurt. I couldn't…” his words choked off as he looked away and she closed the distance between them by laying her hand along his cheek.

“How do you think I feel right now, knowing that bomb would have never been there if it wasn’t for me. Nate sent that to you because of me. Our offices were destroyed, thousands of dollars worth of damage done, because of me. Not everything is your fault, Oliver Queen. And if you had been hurt worse, or…” she stopped because she couldn’t finish the sentence, “I couldn’t either, okay.”

“And while we’re on the subject you’re the one who used their body as a human shield to protect me from flying conference tables, and falling walls. Did you think before you did that?”

“There was no time to think. I just…” he cut himself off and gave her a look as he realized he was about to say the same thing she’d said.

“You just reacted.” she finished anyways with a small smile.

He sighed heavily and trailed a hand over her brow and down over the side of her cheek until his fingers slid back behind her ear. “This is dangerous.”

She knew immediately he was talking about them being together and everything it could bring with it.

“I know,”

“We could compromise everything.” but his fingers didn’t stop drawing circles along the nape of her neck, making small tingles of electricity shoot down her spine.

“I know,”

“I could lose you.” he sounded so bereft, and so alone she just wanted to wrap her arms around him again and hold him.

“Never,” she breathed out, the conviction in her voice making his eyes stutter shut.

Before she could lose her nerve she did the only thing that made sense and leaned in, pressing her lips to his.

His lips were cool and a bit dry and she knew she’d taken him by surprise because he startled back just a bit, but it didn’t take him long to recover, and soon enough the hand on her neck was pulling her closer as his mouth now slanted over hers to deepen the kiss.

She moaned into him as his lips moved over hers, swirls of heat and electricity flowing over her leaving everything numb as her world narrowed down to just this kiss.

Her fingers threaded through the short strands of hair at the back of his head and tugged, making a low growl emit from his throat as his tongue traced the seam of her lips and she opened readily. When their tongues touched she arched into him and immediately pulled back in pain, gasping out as a hot band wrapped itself around her side and took her breath away.

Oliver stroked a hand over her head until the pain faded and then laid purposely on his back, letting her know their little make out session was over. With a sigh he guided her down until she was resting against his chest and she settled into him with a slightly disappointed sigh.

His fingers played with the collar of the borrowed shirt and she felt her cheeks warm for a second. “The other one smelled all smoky and I didn’t really want pants over my stitches…” she trailed off as the pad of one calloused finger slipped off the fabric to graze the hollow of her throat and up her neck before following her jawline.

“It’s fine,” he murmured, “Looks better on you anyways.”

Images flashed through her mind of all the ways that man could wear a dress shirt and she was fairly certain he was wrong with that assessment but she wouldn’t argue the point just then.

She pressed one open mouthed kiss just below his Bratva tattoo and smiled into his skin when his hand tightened on her hip and her name came from him as a low warning.

“Am I not allowed to do this now? Are there rules?” she teased and delighted in the irritated grumble that she felt in his chest,

“There aren’t any rules.” he bit out, “But I’d like your ribs to heal before I find out if we’re going to need any.”

Molten heat erupted in her center and she knew her gulp was audible.

“Oh,” she breathed out and complied quickly by laying her head down so her lips weren’t touching him.

They lay in the quiet, the steady thrum of his heart under her ear something she decided right then she want to fall asleep to every night. Her fingers traced meaningless patterns over his chest, not avoiding the scars as he stroked a hand up her arm and through her hair over and over again.

“How much did you hear?” she asked, finally drawing enough courage to ask the question she was certain she already knew the answer to.

His fingers stilled for a second and then resumed their track. “All of it,” he admitted.

“Good,” she said quietly and got a wicked grin on her face he couldn’t see. She turned her head and pressed up as far as her ribs would allow and placed a slow, wet kiss just to the underside of his jaw that ended with her nipping the flesh lightly before soothing it over with her tongue.

“I thought we talked about this,” he said through gritted teeth and she could hear how his heart rate had increased when she laid her head back down with a satisfied smile.

“We did, but then you told me you heard everything. So I get to do that whenever I want and to hell with the rules.”

“That’s going to work both ways, you know.” his voice was smooth as glass and a shiver of anticipation and want went through her.

“I’m counting on it.” she threw back,

“Sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

“Okay,” she agreed and smiled as she felt him press a kiss into her hair.

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