Times Like These

Chapter 15

For almost three days there was no movement from Nate. It was like he had disappeared, vanished into the ether and out of her life again just as he had been absent for the past seven years.

But every hour that ticked by left her more anxious and worried because she knew that wasn’t the case. She knew he was out there somewhere, waiting, and biding his time, and planning something more heinous than anything he had already done.

The first twenty four hours after the bomb scare at her apartment Felicity mostly spent in a drug induced haze. Digg had insisted her ribs weren’t going to heal if she kept running around and she ran the risk of a punctured lung if she kept it up. With much grumbling on her part, and crossed arms and hard stares on Oliver’s part she reluctantly agreed.

Other than a brief trip to the downtown office the FBI had turned into a makeshift headquarters she hadn’t left Oliver’s bed much less the mansion.

The meeting with the feds had gone as she had expected, except they requested to talk to her alone which Oliver didn’t take very well. She’d assured him she’d be fine and left with the agent without looking back. Less than an hour later they were leaving, although she still hadn’t told him they were seriously considering putting her in protective custody. It had taken a considerable amount of talking on her part to convince them it wouldn’t be necessary. Thankfully they’d seen her walk in with Oliver and his contingent of body guards.

For once they were lucky. Monroe knew a member of the task force that had been assigned the bombing case. She had a feeling that may have been the only reason she wasn’t hustled out a back door into a waiting van and to a safe house. A slight shudder went through her at the thought of what Oliver would have done if that had happened. Which is why she mentioned none of it to him on the drive back to the mansion.

Although it wasn’t even noon she had been exhausted and hurting when they returned and she only made two weak attempts at avoiding the pain meds, not missing the way Oliver and Digg exchanged looks over her head.

She woke up later that evening to find the room empty and tried to sneak her tablet to the bed but was caught on her way back. Oliver had quickly snatched it from her hands with a look as he swapped it with a glass of water and two more pills before calling down to the kitchen for a tray. She was awake long enough to eat before she slept again.

However, the next morning she was feeling only a bit achey. When she found she could take a deep breath with just a small twinge she smiled triumphantly and climbed from the bed with hardly any protest from her leg. She thought she might have to admit to Digg that her enforced rest was exactly what she needed.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Oliver’s voice came from behind her just as she was about to enter the closet.

She turned and gave him an easy smile over her shoulder, “Getting some clothes so I can take a shower and join the land of the living.” it was just then she saw he’d placed a tray on the desk, complete with the bottle of pain medication.

“Felicity,” he began and there was something off in his tone, something that immediately set her on edge.

“Oliver,” she returned as she faced him fully and watched him set his jaw before he spoke.

“You need to rest.”

“I’ve been resting. All day yesterday and all night, and the fact that you’re up and dressed tells me it’s probably already halfway to noon. I’m better.” she stated, hating how her arms came up to defensively cross in front of her but he was throwing off vibes that made her think he wasn’t hearing a word she was saying.

“You’re not better!” he barked,

She didn’t move except to raise both her eyebrows into her hairline as she gaped at him in shock. Something was going on with him. Something she was not understanding, but it still didn’t give him the right to talk to her like that.

“I think I’m the one who gets to decide if I’m better or not.” she threw back before stalking into the closet and grabbing the nearest articles of clothing she could find.

He was blocking the doorway when she went to exit but she kept walking, hoping he’d step out of the way. But he didn’t. Instead he stood his ground and she had to pull up short or risk running into him.

His eyes were a storm of emotion she couldn’t decipher and a gnawing pang of worry crawled out of her belly as she considered the possibility something had happened he hadn’t told her about.

Without saying a word he snatched the clothes from her and tossed them aside. “Get back in the bed.” he ordered,

“I beg your pardon?” the worry she’d just felt was gone in a flash at his action, “You do not get to bully me around, Oliver Queen, that is not how this is going to work.” she motioned back and forth between them with her finger. “If you think for a second that just because we’re…whatever we are now this is how it’s going to be you’re delusional. So you can either tell me what the hell is wrong with you or you can get out of my way.”

Her breathing was erratic, and she knew her heart was threatening to beat out of her chest, but she didn’t dare blink as they glared at each other.

“There is nothing wrong with me,” he said between his teeth, “You can’t be trusted to take care of yourself. You’re not fine. You’re not better. So get in the damn bed!”

The last part he yelled so loud it actually made her flinch as the noise echoed in the space of the closet.

“How dare you! I can’t be trusted to take care of myself? Are you actually saying those words to me? You?! The one who gets shot and stabbed and puts in his own stitches likes it’s no big deal. Oh, and let’s not forget the flatlining and needing to be shocked back to life! Or needing CPR because you’re technically dead! Yet you think you can stand there and tell me I’m not taking care of myself. That’s rich.” she was seething now, never had he induced this sort of rage in her before.

His hands clenched at his side and the veins in his neck stood out as he struggled for control. Anyone else would be scared just then but she was the exact opposite. He was being pig headed, and stubborn, and coddling her for no good reason and she had no intention of standing for it.

She narrowed her gaze as she pressed one finger into the dark blue henley he wore, “And I know you haven’t been sleeping. I woke up last night and saw you pacing in front of the windows, so whatever is going on in your head right now you’d better spill before you make an even bigger ass of yourself.”

“This has nothing to do with me,” he said, voice gravelly, nostrils flaring, as he leaned in just that much closer. “I’m fine.”

“Yeah, you seem real fine to me.” she scoffed, “Yelling orders at me, and not listening to a damn word I’ve said does not constitute 'fine’ in my book!”

“Everything okay in here?” Digg’s careful voice came from behind Oliver, causing him to spin suddenly and give her the opening to slip beneath his outstretched arm and stalk into the main room.

Digg’s gaze flicked from her to Oliver as he clearly picked up on the tension between them. “I knocked but I don’t think you heard me.” he quipped dryly,

Oliver’s eyes narrowed further, the deep crevice in the middle of his forehead standing out starkly but she just threw him another glare.

“Well, sorry, I had to use my loud voice because this one is insisting on being a neanderthal today!” she said angrily, waving her arm in Oliver’s direction.

He stayed stoic, arms crossed over his chest, but she could feel his look burn into her.

There was a long beat of silence before Digg addressed her, “How do you feel?” he asked pointedly,

“Better. Much better.” she answered, stressing the words, moving purposely so she was facing Digg and not Oliver.

He gave her an appraising look and snagged the bottle of pills off the tray. At her immediate response to fight him he held up his hand while he slipped the bottle into his pocket, “I still think you need to take it easy. There hasn’t been any movement from Samuels, another day resting would do you good.”

At the mention of Nate’s name and the reminder that he’d been quiet for the longest period since this all started Oliver scrubbed both hands over his face and took three quick strides to the window, his back now to the room, and them.

She was still angry with him, but their conversation after he’d come back from her apartment two nights before struck her hard. He was still worried, and scared, and the lack of information on Nate had to be driving him crazy as he waited for the next attack at any moment.

“I’ll be good, Digg, promise.” she said, voice much softer than it had been, her eyes never leaving Oliver’s stiff form.

“Here,” Digg reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a slim black case, “They were delivered first thing this morning.”

She opened it up to reveal a pair of glasses exactly like her old ones. “Oh, thank you!” she’d gotten tired of either wearing contacts or nothing since the bomb had gone off in the office. Hurriedly she slipped them on and sighed happily at the correct fit.

Digg shifted next to her, not sure if it was okay to leave and she felt him look between her and Oliver, eyes questioning if they would be alright. Without words she assured him that she’d be okay, and he patted his pocket once to let her know he had the pills if she wanted them.

Felicity didn’t move until she heard the door shut and then she crossed her arms in an unconscious mimic of Oliver and waited.

If felt like forever before she saw his shoulders drop and his head tilt forward minutely. “I’m sorry,”

Her feet were moving before her brain had caught up as she came to his side. There was only the slightest hesitation before she raised her hand and let it lay along his arm.

She felt the muscle tense and then relax under her touch as he took two more controlled breaths in and out of his nose and opened his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, and she could tell he meant it, it wasn’t forced, and he wasn’t saying it because he thought it’s what she wanted to hear, but there was still a bit of steel in his voice and his eyes hadn’t softened any.

She waited, not saying anything as he struggled to find the words to explain his behavior. Her patience paid off when he lowered his arms to his side, hands open and not grasped into fists. “He’s still out there and we are no closer to finding him, ” he began, “I keep waiting for a call telling me there’s been a security breach, or to hear the sound of another explosion.” his eyes shut again and his head shook sharply to the left as if he was trying to rid himself of the sound only he could hear. “If you’re…if you’re in the bed I know you’re safe.” he finished, “I know it’s not fair to you. I know I shouldn’t have said what I said but…”

She let her hands rest against his abdomen, fingers gently gripping the material of his shirt, “I understand.” she told him, blinking suddenly wet eyes, “I don’t approve of the growly voice, and the general ordering me about, but I understand why you feel that way. Every night you put on the hood part of me wishes you wouldn’t. If I could find some way for you to take out the bad guys while staying in the safety of the lair I would do it in a heartbeat. But…you have to go out. And you have to let me live my life and get out of bed.” she said with a slight head tilt that finally got his face to loosen some.

His hand raised, trailing along her arm until he could cup her cheek. Lashes fluttered shut at the warmth of his touch and she allowed herself a moment to enjoy the sensation. When he gently brushed against the frame of her glasses she opened her eyes to see him looking down at her with a much easier expression. “I missed these.” he said, nudging the dark frames again and she couldn’t help smiling.

“Your Girl Wednesday is officially back,” she replied making sure she reached up and adjusted the glasses like she always did. The spark of light in his eyes and small uptick of his lips let her know it was a good choice.

“You’re more than just my Girl Wednesday,” he said throatily, as his arms wrapped around her, drawing her in close. She took a slow breath and let it out before she sank into his embrace. “I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear.

“I know,” she replied, her lips just brushing his neck as she spoke.

Her hands released the hold they had on his shirt and slid around to his back. He held her tighter and she couldn’t resist pushing up on her toes, lips just dragging across his jaw to his ear, “Just so you know, when you yelled at me to get in the damn bed…I was pissed, but…it was also really hot.”

A strangled groan left his throat and before she could blink a hand was sliding into her hair as his mouth found hers. She could almost taste his desperation and worry as well as the tension they had both built up during their altercation in the closet.

Her hands left his back to find his chest again, gripping handfuls of his shirt to tug him closer before she angled her head to the right and swept her tongue over his. It took little effort to walk him backwards until the back of his knees hit the low bench in front of the large bay window.

One push and she was now looking down at him. Eyes dark with desire now instead of anger she bit her lip and grinned naughtily before she took her time lifting one knee to place along the outside of his hip.

His hot palm dropped to her thigh and wasted no time skirting north, the thin fabric of the dress shirt she still wore moved aside like it was no more than tissue paper. She braced herself on his shoulders and slid forward before lifting her other leg and settling on his lap.

Oliver’s hands immediately spanned her waist, the shirt rumpled beneath his tight grip and the dark swirls she saw in his eyes made her core clench in anticipation. He swiftly tugged her forward until her abdomen was pressed to his chest, his face level with the vee of the shirt.

He didn’t waste a second of this new position as hot, wet kisses were laved across the space where the shirt was unbuttoned. Her head fell back as her fingers scraped through his hair, nails digging in with just enough pressure to make him emit muffled moans as his tongue and teeth made their way across her chest.

Her hands fell to his neck, dipping under the collar of his shirt before they slid down his back and gathered handfuls of fabric, pulling upwards almost desperately as she tried to rid him of that barrier. When they’d done this two days ago she’d never barely gotten his hood off and she was not going to fall victim to that oversight again.

He chuckled slightly into her skin before he pulled back, leaving her balancing on her knees as he quickly stripped the shirt over his head. When his hands came back down they went straight for the remaining buttons that kept her covered.

Felicity’s hands dropped to his shoulders, and time seemed to still as she slowly and carefully began to map each muscle, each dip, and valley, and ridge that lay beneath his skin.

A gasping hiss escaped her throat when the shirt was fully unbuttoned and she was suddenly pressed against his chest, bare flesh on bare flesh for the first time. Her mouth fell to his ear as he seemed to be acquainting himself fully with her collarbone. When he sucked one particular spot she could only clutch the back of his neck as she sagged into him, high little mewls the only noise she was capable of making.

With a groan she grabbed his face and dragged it up until she found his lips. His hands slid up her back, the shirt falling off one shoulder as his tongue stroked along hers making continuous shots of heat go straight to her core.

Suddenly he was on his feet, hands cupping her ass as her legs automatically crossed at his lower back. A few long strides and they were at the bed, his mouth continuing to move over hers as his hands slipped past the band of her underwear making her back arch, driving her hips into his.

He let out a stuttered groan and quicker than she could blink she found herself placed diagonally on the bed with Oliver pressed on top of her. The welcoming weight of his body washed over her as she writhed beneath him, hips canting upwards uncontrollably seeking out any pressure they could find.

Carefully, almost reverently he plucked the glasses from her face and folded them before he reached across and laid them on the table next to her phone. She smiled at him dopily as her hands skimmed up his arms and across his shoulders.

Now that she had her hands on him she could finally feel the extent of the damage and torture he’d gone through. Scar tissue riddled his back, small thin lines and larger swaths of destroyed flesh ran beneath her hands. Never once did she avoid a mark, avoid a scar, or a burn, if anything she took more time with those spots, making sure she covered every inch. The unmarred skin was smooth, the muscles rippling just below the surface as she trailed her fingers up and down his spine, just delving into the waistband of his pants when she reached his lower back. His pelvis surged into hers and she brought her knees up on either side of his hips, letting him settle that much closer to where they both wanted him to be.

His name fell from her lips on an exhale as he attacked her throat, her hips twitching and jerking up into him as she couldn’t control her response any longer. The pool of heat in her belly was quickly spreading, and although her ribs occasionally gave her a stinging reminder that she wasn’t fully healed she ignored it easily.

When his hands skimmed her waist and then slowly began to make their way north the breath caught in her chest. His fingers moved over her ribcage with enough pressure to not be ticklish and instead sent shivers of desire coursing through her. Just below her breasts he paused, his thumbs coming in and then up to meet at the center of her chest. In tandem they ran under the curve of her breasts, teasing her by staying inches away from where she needed him the most.

A string of unintelligible words and sounds came from her when without warning the thumbs that had been so slowly driving her to the brink flashed out to cut across her nipples. She was pressed up on her shoulder blades, head falling to the side as she gasped with need. His hands covered her breasts now, fingers alternating between rolling and pinching the sensitive bit of flesh before his mouth dropped down and joined in.

At the first touch of hot tongue to pebbled skin she keened, hands grasping in his hair, his shoulder, the soft duvet they lay upon, anything where she could find the slightest bit of purchase incase she flew away.

Teeth gently tugged her nipple as she pressed into him as tight as she could. His hard length was solid against her center, the thin underwear she somehow still wore and his pants the only thing keeping her from him.

A small cry of desperation left her as her hands scrabbled for his belt. He pushed up some on his elbows, giving her more room to work but her hands faltered as he sucked the nipple into his mouth and swirled his tongue over the tip. She felt a flood of wetness fill her core as the build up inside her grew.

He was the first to hear the trilling of her phone, a long, frustrated growl rumbling from his chest as he released her with a wet pop and raised his head.

“Don’t answer that,” he ground out, lips nipping their way over to the breast he had neglected.

Her eyes shut in defeat when his mouth began to work it’s magic once again, fingers gripping the short strands on the top of his head tightly as the phone stopped ringing. She was gasping, chest rising and falling in short pants when it began to ring again.

On the third ring she pulled her head up and looked down, the sight of him working his mouth over her was almost too much, but the fourth ring made her look to her right where she could just see her phone and the picture that let her know it was Detective Lance calling.

“Shit, it’s Lance.” she said breathless, hands falling to his shoulders to push him away.

“You can call him back later,” Oliver again growled, his hands trailing down her middle and around her navel, making her tremble.

“Oliver…what if it’s important,” she had to swallow heavily as he took a particularly hard draw on her breast that left her lightheaded. She gasped his name again, her ineffectual struggling coming to a stop as his hands seemed to be everywhere at once. But when the phone began to ring for a third time she knew she couldn’t ignore it.

With a grumbling groan she reached sideways, even as his lips did wondrous, devious things to her, only to find her ribs did still have limits and she couldn’t quite reach the side table. A hiss of pain escaped her lips as she brought a hand up to cover her side, half laying on top of his hand. “Oliver, my phone.”

He didn’t make a sound, nor did he stop doing what he’d been doing. He merely stretched out one long arm, giving her a generous view of muscles shifting and straining under lightly tanned skin and snagged the phone.

He dropped it on her stomach and continued on his quest to apparently discover every bit of exposed flesh he could. Sliding down just a bit further he nipped under her breast and over to the side where her injured ribs were to place small, tender kisses across the still bruised area.

She’d never seen this side of him before. He was more free, almost playful, and it made her heart swell to know she was the reason.

“You’d better answer that since you made me get it for you.” he murmured into her, his tongue coming out to trace her side making her breath catch just as she swiped her thumb across the screen.

“Detective,” she said, voice much higher and more breathless than she would have liked.

“Ms. Smoak, am I getting you from something? Usually it doesn’t take me hitting redial in order for you to pick up.”

She felt her face flush even though he couldn’t see her, and when she made the mistake of looking down, the view of Oliver comfortably settled between her spread thighs while he trailed his fingertips dangerously close to her underwear made her throw her head back and gasp as she forced herself to stare at the ceiling and nothing else.

“Ms. Smoak?”

“Sorry, Detective, I just ran from the shower.” she lied, and hoped it was believable, the soft puff of air that crossed her abdomen at Oliver’s scoffing chuckle made her look down and shoot him a glare to which he returned a smirk and began to work his way towards her hip.

“You feeling better? I came by the mansion yesterday but they said you were resting.” his normally gruff voice had softened some,

“I am, yes. Much better. Feeling much better…ah,” she couldn’t help the small noise, high in her throat as Oliver sucked on the thin skin over her hipbone, sending her squirming to the right as tendrils of heat spread out from where he touched.

“Ms. Smoak?”

“Ribs are still sore, I just moved funny, that’s all.” she said too quickly as she finally planted a hand on Oliver’s shoulder and pushed while trying to sit up underneath him, but he was too heavy and he looked far too pleased with himself to stop what he was doing.

She gritted her teeth and did her best to ignore him until the call was over. “So do you have any news, Detective?”

Lance sighed heavily and she could almost see him rake a frustrated hand through his hair, “Nothing new on where Samuels is. But the Feds are good…they’ve pieced together almost everything that was in the bag. A lot was lost, but what they were able to salvage paints a weird picture. I’ll send you the report with the photos. But…”

She swallowed hard and stilled as he trailed off. Oliver must have sensed the tension in her and the change in her demeanor because the next thing she knew he was drawing together the sides of her shirt and shifting up to lay next to her, looking at her with concern.

“But what, Detective?” she asked nervously,

“There are pictures of the dead girlfriend, tickets stubs, emails, things like that. But there are also pictures of you. Part of a birthday card you must have sent him. Even what looks like a take out menu he must have snatched from your apartment.”

A cold shiver went through her as she unconsciously pushed up and back until she was resting against the headboard, a hand pressed to her forehead as she tried to process what he was telling her.

“Wh…why would there be pictures of me in there? That doesn’t make any sense. I don't…” Oliver’s warm hand dropped to her thigh and rubbed it lightly, all of the desire and need between them having vanished with the phone call.

“Don’t try and make sense out of it, sweetheart, you’ll only drive yourself crazy. The Feds are talking with his parents now, looking into how exactly he was released but it seems like the psychologist who advocated for his discharge has conveniently taken an extended leave of absence from work.”

“Of course he has,” she said dejectedly, “I’ll go over the photos and let you know if I notice anything.”

“I’ll be in touch. Take care of yourself.” he ordered before the line went dead.

Her head fell back with a sigh as she closed her eyes and just breathed. For a glorious twenty minutes she’d forgotten about Nate, and bombs, and stitches, and just knew what it was like to drive Oliver Queen mad with want. Now she felt guilty for taking the past thirty six hours to recover when she should have been doing everything in her power to track Nate down so this could all end.

Oliver tugged her into his side and she curled against him willingly. “What did he want?”

She opened her mouth to reply when her phone chimed with an email alert. With a tilt of her head to the device she tucked herself under his chin, listening to the strong thrum of his heart for a few beats before she answered. “The contents of the backpack have been reconstructed. He just sent me the file with the images of everything they were able to save. He said…he said it’s not just pictures of Jenny and memories of Nate’s life with her. He also had pictures of me and other things…” a violent shake rocked her and he pulled her in tighter, “I just don’t understand.”

She felt Oliver bristle under her and his adam’s apple bobbed against her forehead as he struggled to respond without getting angry. “There’s nothing to understand. He’s crazy. He’ll show his hand, and when he does we’ll get him.” he said stiffly,

Felicity nodded, “I know, that’s basically what Lance said.” and again Oliver tensed. She swatted at his chest, “Don’t get irritated because you and Lance agree on something.”

He mumbled something under his breath that made her smile as she wrapped an arm across his midsection and hugged him as close as she could. His lips pressed into her hair as his hand rubbed lightly up and down her back. The still open front of her shirt was a very present reminder of what they had just been doing.

The hand that had been rubbing her back in a comforting way had slowed and become lighter, the touch making her skin prickle and little bursts of heat to flare when he reached the bare skin of her leg.

She had just lifted her head to meet his for a kiss when her phone chimed again, a loud knock sounded on the door, and Oliver’s phone alerted a text message. Oliver’s chest vibrated as he cupped her face and placed a bruising kiss on her lips before he sat back, did up the buttons of her shirt quicker than she could blink, and grabbed his pullover before stalking to the door.

Felicity had barely recovered before he made his way back, a dark cloud now hanging over his head. “Apparently the investors in Dubai are not pleased, and if I want to have a chance of keeping them without hopping on the jet immediately I need to go make some calls.”

She gave him a sympathetic look and crawled to the edge of the bed, rising to her knees as he stopped before her. “I understand. I told Lance I’d go through the pictures and see if anything clicks. And there’s something weird going on with that psychologist, I’m going to dig into him a little deeper.”

He looked like he wanted to say something, maybe about how she should be resting or staying in bed, but he clamped his mouth shut instead.

“I’ll take it easy,” she placated, hands resting on his chest, “Nothing more strenuous than using my tablet, I promise.”

The look he gave her was one of mild disbelief but she just smiled back innocently. “I’ll come check on you later,” he said

“I’ll let you know if I find anything,” she replied, letting him know that she wasn’t going to be stupid, but she also wasn’t going to stay trapped in his room like some sort of medieval princess, even if the Queen mansion did look like a castle.

He let out a sigh and then pulled her in close, mouth slanting over hers until her stomach was flipping and she couldn’t think straight. Then without a word he left the room.

“Damn him for being so good at that.”


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