Times Like These

Chapter 33

“Oliver! Oh my god!”

She’d been woken up to pressure across her abdomen and a spike of pleasure that rolled up her spine. When she’d blinked open her eyes and looked down she saw him grinning at her from between her thighs.

It was still dark out and she couldn’t see any clocks from where she lay but there was enough illumination from a small lamp that she could make out Oliver’s still naked form.

“Wh…what are you–” her question choked off as he dragged a slow hand across her belly and then down until his thumb dipped into the top of her slit and pressed lightly on her clit.

“I told you…uninterrupted night. And I meant all night,” he said purposefully just before he lowered his head and gave one long lick that sent her head spinning.

“Took your stitches out but you didn’t notice,” his thumbs stroked around the outside of her folds and she was having a hard time focusing on what he was saying, “Then I wondered what it would take to wake you up,”

His grin was downright dirty, and a little bit proud. When she looked down the outside of her thigh she saw he was telling the truth, the stitches were gone, leaving a tender pink line that she knew would take weeks to fade.

But her attention was quickly brought back to Oliver and what he was doing to her. Her hips twitched violently as he continued his slow, controlled assault. Fingers lightly trailed up and down her inner thigh, effectively coaxing her legs further apart as he stroked her at an even, steady pace that sent heat rushing through her veins.

When she felt his tongue on her belly laving wet kisses around her navel across to her hip her breath caught, head tipping back until all she could see was the dark shadows on the ceiling as her hand fisted in his hair.

He was methodical, and almost diabolical in what he was doing. One hand kept up a steady strum of her center; circling her clit, dipping inside to stroke slow and long, running up and down her slit. Each touch was different than the one before but none were hard enough or repetitive enough to give her the release she sought. His other hand seemed intent on covering as much skin as possible. Her hips, her ribs, up the interior of her elbow and then in to just skim over her peaked nipple. For the first time she cursed the well honed fine motor skills that allowed him to so effectively drive her to the brink but not push her over.

While his hands were occupied he pressed open mouthed kisses all over with no discernable pattern. Slow seemed to be his highest speed, and he was reveling in how she responded to him.

She felt overheated, and flushed, every single nerve ending in her body at attention keeping her stiff and frozen except for the involuntary jerks or shivers she couldn’t control. He seemed to delight in each one, her gasps and moans and nonsensical mutterings only urging him to continue.

The mattress dipped near her hip as he shifted upwards, although his fingers never stopped, if anything he timed sliding in two long digits as he moved making her cry out and arch her back, holding that position as he began to suck and nip the sensitive area beneath her breast.

He was gently rolling a nipple between his thumb and forefinger, sending tugs of desire straight to her clit when she had her first orgasm. It washed over her with no warning and she felt her inner muscles clamp tight around his fingers causing him to let out a small laugh. “Starting without me?” he murmured, lips never stopping as he sucked the same nipple between his teeth and bit down carefully.

“Not fair,” she managed to gasp out, ending on a high moan as he slid his fingers out of her, leaving a damp trail across the top of her thigh as her body slowly relaxed.

However, he didn’t stop. His tongue flicked over the small bud of peaked flesh, hands coasting up and down her sides making her shiver and tremble. Her limbs were loose now, legs lying limp and he planted one hand on the outside of her hip and moved over so he could lay in the cradle of her thighs.

With a hiss her pelvis jumped up into his, every part of her more reactive and when she felt his erection at the join of her leg and hip she groaned and pushed into him again, this time on purpose.

Oliver let out a heavy exhale at the action and she ground into him one more time, trapping him against her body as she rotated her hips in a slow circle.

His hand dropped heavy to her waist and pushed until there was space between them. She let out a small whimper but it was quickly cut off by his mouth covering hers.

This slow, almost languid pace was in direct contrast to what had happened between them the night before and each had their pros and cons for what she was more likely to survive.

The slick skin of his biceps rippled under her hands as she clutched him. He was dragging the backs of his knuckles across her ribs, barely there feather like touches that just skimmed the surface of the fading bruises. She didn’t know if he meant it to be sweet, but all it did was make her twitch beneath him as she tried to get more contact.

She heard him laugh into her neck as he made his way from one breast to the other, a trail of small bites and nips in his wake. When he completed his journey he took his time kissing and tasting the mounded flesh, avoiding the center as the throb of desire in her core flared to life once again and began to grow.

Not sure if she could handle him teasing her again she growled his name and firmly grabbed a handful of hair to direct him right where she needed him. She looked down in time to see a broad smile crack his face before he opened his mouth and did her bidding, sucking her nipple into the hot interior where his tongue was waiting to flick across the tip.

She keened, holding him in place with surprising strength as his hands roamed with a firmer touch, one arm slipping behind her back to pull her closer to him. She dropped one hip open and ran her foot up and down the back of his knee and quad as she angle herself to get the pressure where she needed it the most. They both stilled and groaned when he accidentally slid through her slick folds, the tip of his cock pushing insistently against her clit.

When she bowed her back that time he latched down firmly on the hollow of her neck and collarbone, sucking what was sure to be a bruise that she distantly hoped could be hidden. But when his hips rocked into hers and her mind blanked white she realized she didn’t care if he tattoo’d ‘Property of Oliver Queen’ across her forehead as long as he could make her feel like that.

She panted and gasped for breath as he pulled back and looked down at her, eyes flashing in the dim light. He looked like he had earlier, all raw emotion and no control and it sent a spiral of heat low in her belly.

One long arm reached for the bedside table and in a split second she bit down on her lip, and made her decision. She slipped out from under him, actually taking him by surprise when she caught his wrist and pulled it back, shaking her head as she placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed down. His brow quirked, but he allowed her to direct him and when he turned and lay back against the pillows she grinned wickedly, loving how his throat worked as he swallowed hard.

She took her time reaching for the drawer, never taking her eyes off of his as she pulled it open and felt around inside until she made contact with the foil square she was searching for. Then she moved back over to him and deliberately sat the condom off to the side, letting him know she wasn’t going to be needing it immediately.

Poised on her knees next to him she felt a thrill shoot through her. Even though she knew he could easily flip their positions in an instant, right then she was the one who had flipped the power roles, and the knowledge that the night before had not allowed her to take her time made her want to do what she could to change that.

Reaching as far down as she could she let her nails come to rest just above his right knee and began to drag them up, loving how she could feel the muscles in his thigh react to her touch. There was a scar there she’d never noticed before, long and jagged, cutting in and then diagonally towards his hip. She traced the edge, watching as his hands clenched into fists at his side.

The deep cut of the muscles that made the tantalizing vee that always seemed to tease her when his pants set too low was too tempting to resist and she scooted back and then leaned down to allow her tongue to follow the line.

A strangled curse in a language that wasn’t English came from his throat as she went back and forth, knowing her hair was trailing across his lap, the ends teasing between his legs. She was only a few inches from his cock which was straining, the tip glistening. When she licked over a certain spot near his hip she saw it twitch so she did it again and got the same result.

Slowly she let her other hand run the length of his opposite leg and then in, taking his cock firmly in hand just as she sucked a mark into his skin. He bucked into her touch, a hand slipping into her hair to gather it away from her face and she flicked her eyes to his and grinned, much like he had when he’d woken her up.

Oliver’s chest heaved as he struggled to maintain his composure. When his eyes slammed shut she knew she had him and she wasted no time in stroking him from base to tip firmly. Her mouth taking him in was a surprise and there were more curses and her name rumbling from deep in his chest as she licked and sucked the head of his cock, swirling her tongue across the top before she took in as much as she could. His hand tightened in her hair and she knew he was doing everything he could to not thrust into her mouth.

She lost track of time as she delighted in going down on him. His responses were almost primal in nature, causing her own arousal to grow as she brought him closer and closer to his release. She knew she’d pushed him too far when his fingers tightened in her hair and pulled upwards. With a suctioning pop her mouth slid off of him and she looked up to see him flushed and ready, already sitting half up as he wrapped one arm around her and pulled her to his chest, mouth crashing against hers.

Felicity gasped as he sucked her bottom lip between his teeth and bit down and then she was on her back again and he was between her thighs and the condom was already on and there were two fingers stroking inside her.

One hand clutched almost desperately to his forearm, the other lay fisted over her head as her breath caught in her chest, the anticipation nearly drowning her. But he wasn’t waiting any longer, his fingers were gone and were quickly replaced as he pushed into her in one solid thrust that left her seeing stars.

He filled her completely, the stretch she felt bordering on pain, but the good kind, and as she gasped for breath he pulled out at an agonizing pace before sliding home once more. His hands wrapped around the tops of her hips as he canted her up into him, changing the angle and making him slide against that spot inside her that made her toes curl and made inhuman noises come from her throat.

Her cry was cut off, turning into a soundless scream when his thumbs dipped in and found her clit, working the small bundle of nerves with a steady bit of circling pressure as he started to pound into her at a much quicker pace.

She didn’t have to tell him to let go this time, he wasn’t holding back and everything fritzed to white in her mind as the pleasure swamped her. Her interior muscles were still spasming around him, making her jerk in reply when his movement became erratic and even more rough. Face red, neck straining, veins popping in his muscular arms as he held her steady, he looked the very picture of strength, and vitality, and manhood. And he was all hers.

He collapsed forward, head burrowing into her neck as he shouted his release and she wrapped her legs around him to hold him to her. His weight made it difficult to draw a full breath, but she didn’t mind. Hands that had just been digging into him with desperate need now drew soft lines up and down his back.

They lay boneless, skin cooling, pulses lowering as he slid down to rest his head on her belly, the rough scratch of his stubble still causing a shiver to skirt down her legs. Her hand lazily lifted and dropped to his hair, scraping mindless patterns and trailing down to his neck and back up. His thumb did the same across her ribs, mindful of the mostly healed bruises. He pressed one kiss to the tip of her still pebbled nipples and then slid from the bed with a muffled groan.

After he returned he resumed the position, making her smile and they lay there quietly while she ran her fingers through his hair.

“I’m ready to go back,” she said suddenly into the silent room, both their hands stilling at her words.

He didn’t say anything for a long moment and his thumb resumed its previous track before he spoke, but she hurried on before he could.

“Back to work, back to the lair…all of it. It’s time,”

He did turn then, pushing up on one elbow as his chin came to rest just above her navel, “You sure?” She could see the hesitation in his eyes. The need to protect her and keep her safe. She’d needed that from him for the past week, but she was healing and they both had to get back to real life or she was afraid they’d drown in the bubble he’d created for them.

She let her fingers follow the curve of his brow, down the side of his face and across to his lips where she rubbed soft skin until he pressed light kisses over the pads, “Yeah, I’m sure,” she answered at a whisper, “You’ve been out since the bombing…I have no idea what’s been said to excuse your absence much less mine. I know your mom has stepped up but…I haven’t been able to bring myself to look at the state of the stocks or anything that’s been said in the press–”

“Hey,” he said quickly, right arm coming up to plant on the mattress near her hip as he pushed himself up to lean over her, “Don’t worry about work. There have been more important things to worry about,”

“The company is important too,”

“Not as important as you,” he countered immediately, and she gave him a soft smile in return.

“I’m not sure the investors would agree with that,”

His brows drew together and she could see him gathering to tell her exactly what he thought about the investors when she leaned up and gave him a lingering kiss, “I love you for everything you’ve done for me, but we need to do this. Our life can’t change. Well…it can’t change in a bad way,” she clarified, as she let her hand trace down his chest and run across his abs, “If it does then he wins and…everything was for nothing,”

Oliver let out a long sigh, slipping his arms around her as he rolled them over until he was on his back and she now lay against him, “It was definitely not for nothing,”

She let the beat of his heart and the soft strokes of his hand through her hair relax her as she traced his Bratva tattoo by memory, “So Monday then…”

He held her just a little bit tighter, “Monday,”

“There’s something else…” she began, inexplicably nervous which she didn’t understand because she knew Oliver would support her,

“What?” he asked, concern filling his voice as he notice her apprehension,

“I want to go to Mr. Monroe’s grave. And I want Digg to take me,” she said quickly and then waited for his response. She couldn’t explain why she didn’t want Oliver with her, it just felt like it was something she needed to do, and something she needed to do with Digg.

Oliver couldn’t hide the sharp inhale or the way he half sat up, causing her to push off him and look at his worried face, “Felicity…”

He had a hundred questions she could tell, but the biggest one was why. Why would she do that to herself.

“I have to. He…he died because his job was to protect me. It doesn’t feel right not to acknowledge that,”


“I’ll be okay. I can handle it. You could go to the lair and get a workout in or go by the office…” she didn’t know why she felt guilty for wanting to do this without him, but she did,

“Okay, you…I understand. You don’t have to plan out my every minute,” he said with a quick lift of his lips, “But I think we’ll save going into the office for Monday,”

A wash of relief crossed over her and she let herself be drawn back down to his chest, “Thank you…I’m sorry–”

But Oliver cut her off before she could continue, “Don’t apologize, we’ll talk to Digg in the morning, I’m sure he won’t mind, and I don’t mind either,” his hand gently coasted over the side of her face and then down to cup behind her ear, “But it’ll have to be after ten,”

There was a lightness in his tone that made her pick her head up yet again and look at him with a quirk of her brow, “Why after ten?”

He gave her a wry smile and drew her closer, “I have plans for the shower in the morning,”

She couldn’t help but moan into his mouth as he gave her a languid kiss that shot sparks off in her stomach at what that shower would bring.

Oliver did indeed have plans for the shower in the morning. Which is why it was closer to eleven when she walked out the front door of the Queen mansion with a smirking Digg, her head held as high as she could manage. Luckily no other Queens were present. She didn’t know if she could handle Thea’s wit just then. But when she turned to look back Oliver was standing on the front steps staring at her with nothing but concern and support.

As she slid into the back seat she hesitated, wondering if she should sit in the front instead, but she was used to the back with Oliver by her side and even though he wouldn’t be with her then the familiarity of it was comforting.

Digg was quiet as they pulled away, and she watched Oliver as long as she could even though she knew he couldn’t see her through the dark tinted windows.

“This is the first time I’ve left the mansion since…” she began, hating how shaky her voice sounded. She’d been doing so much better.

“I know, you doing okay?” Digg asked, his tone careful and measured,

“Yeah,” she replied tremulously, blowing a breath out through pursed lips and trying again, “Yeah, I’ll be fine,” and she was pleased to hear she meant it.

“You want me to turn around at any point, or call Oliver I will,” his dark eyes cut to hers in the rearview mirror and she gave him a small smile of appreciation,

“I’m glad you agreed to take me. I couldn’t do this without you,”

He shifted in his seat and gave her a tight nod. “I’ve got your back girl, you know that,”

“That’s why you’re my favorite, Digg,”

As they wound their way through the city she looked at the people around her and felt stunned by how life still managed to keep going when she felt like hers had been frozen in time. She knew going back to work was the right step. They needed to move forward and her leaving the house was exactly what she needed to do; even if it did leave her feeling on edge.

She didn’t know if it was necessary for Digg to take a route right through the center of Starling, but the sight of Queen Consolidated was both good and a bit nerve wracking. The last time she’d been there, Nate had left a bomb in the plaza, which was only a day after they’d almost died in Oliver’s office. But it was still where she spent the majority of her day outside of the lair. It was the site of her first job out of college and where she met Oliver and where she’d return to help him run his company. She hoped the good memories outweighed the bad.

As they waited at a light she spotted a florist at the next corner and quickly asked Digg if he could stop.

The was a space right out front and Digg smoothly pulled in, not even giving her the option of going in alone, for which she was glad. She gratefully took his hand as he helped her out and set her eyes straight ahead at the shop.

Digg never left her side, his hand hovering just at her back as he ushered her in, head swiveling left and right before he held the door for her.

As she scanned the various arrangements she could feel her tension rise, just knowing that somehow someone was going to approach her and know what had happened as if she wore a sign that announced the trauma she’d been through. But other than the owner calling out from the desk asking if they needed any help no one bothered her and she quickly grabbed a large, brightly colored bouquet and paid for it with Digg right behind her.

The closer they got to the cemetery the more anxious she became. When she found herself systematically plucking individual petals off a flower she purposely sat the bouquet as far away from her as possible and twisted her fingers together in her lap.

Monroe had been buried in the Veterans cemetery and as Digg drove through a wide stone arch she saw hundreds of identical grave markers dotted with waving flags.

The place seemed mostly deserted for which she was grateful, but she wasn’t prepared when the car suddenly pulled off to the side and came to a stop.

With shaking hands she undid her seatbelt and clutched the flowers to her chest but made no move to get out, even with the door open and Digg patiently waiting.

Felicity shut her eyes tight and steeled herself for what she knew she had to do. She didn’t say a word as she climbed from the car, and neither did Digg, but his hand never left her elbow as he slowly guided her across the well manicured grass.

The crinkle of the clear plastic wrapped around the bouquet seemed overly loud as she accidentally gripped it tighter and she winced, pressing it to her chest to keep it from making another sound.

“It’s okay, Felicity, you’re not going to bother anyone here,” Digg said dryly and her eyes flew to his, mouth open in shock until she realized his attempt at gallows humor was a way to get her to relax some.

He just lifted a brow and then his steps were coming to a halt. When she looked down they were in front of a recently overturned patch of ground, the sod replaced neatly but still obvious where it had been cut away.

“Headstone won’t be set for a few more weeks,” Digg offered and she saw the small stand, and the white paper no bigger than a business card with Monroe’s name and rank, and years of birth and death slipped into a clear cover.

It had been a week and a half since the funeral so she hadn’t expected the larger wreaths or arrangements to still be there. Instead there were several smaller bunches of fresh flowers, and with a lump in her throat and fist around her heart she knelt carefully and laid her flowers along with the rest.

A piece of paper tucked under a smaller bouquet fluttered in the wind and she reached out to place it more securely, gasping when she saw it was a child’s drawing. Two stick figures drawn in crayon, one big, one small were holding hands. ‘Uncle Chris’ had been painstakingly copied in the corner. Felicity had to hastily swipe a hand across her face before her tears dripped onto the paper.

It was hard for to believe that under her feet lay the body of the man who had carried her away from a bomb threat, who had shadowed her for days ready to do whatever was needed to keep her safe, and who in the end had given his life in an attempt to save hers.

Digg helped her up when she tried to rise on unsteady legs and held her while she wept. She gladly took his proffered handkerchief, letting out a muffled half-laugh as she wiped her eyes. “I’m going to have a collection of these if I’m not careful,”

“Lets just hope we’re done with things that make you cry for a long time,” he said gently and she nodded her agreement.

With her head resting against Digg’s arm they stood in silence and stared down for a few more minutes. “He was a good man. I’m sorry he died,”

“Yeah,” Digg said gruffly, leaning down to brush a kiss over her hair, “Ready to head back? Not sure if Oliver should be left alone with the training dummies for too long.”

She took one last look and then turned, Digg falling into step next to her, “You’d rather he pummel you instead?”

“It’s sparring, Felicity. Sometimes I’m on defense, sometimes I’m on offense. It’s not about winning.” he objected,

“You keep telling yourself that, big guy.”

He shot her a look and she gave him her most innocent smile, mouthing a quiet thank you as he opened the door for her.

They were halfway back to the city when she spoke, “You know, I never did thank you,”

“For what?” his eyes flicked to the mirror and held hers for a second before he had to look back at the road,

“For insisting I learn how to use a gun,” she wiped suddenly sweaty palms on her thighs as she heard the retort of the bullet leaving the chamber echo in her head. She shook from side to side to fling it off, and took in a quick inhale, “I don’t think I’d be here if you hadn’t,”

“I never wanted you to have to do that, but I’m never going to be sorry that you did,”

A tight lipped watery smile just cracked her face and she leaned forward to lay a hand on his arm in understanding.

They were still outside of the Glades when Digg cleared his throat, “I don’t suppose you want to run by your apartment, do you?”

She felt blindsided. Her apartment. She honestly hadn’t spared one thought for the place she called home only two weeks earlier. The last time she’d been there was right after everything with Nate had started. Oliver had carried her bags out and she’d never been back.

Her thoughts went to Oliver’s room, his bed, his closet, the Queen’s kitchen, and her favorite spot in the garden, and in her mind’s eye all she could see were all the ways she’d seamlessly managed to integrate herself. It had never felt awkward, or forced. It only felt right.

They’d need to talk about what that meant, of course, but the thought of going back to her apartment without him made a cold knot grow in her chest. She couldn’t do that. Her arms unconsciously wrapped around her body, fingers lightly tracing the edge of the small bandage that still covered her upper arm, a very real, very stark reminder that her world had been completely changed.

“Um…no, I…I’m okay for right now,”

Digg just gave her a knowing look and she knew her face was flushed pink. They both knew she’d never spend another night in that apartment again.

The rest of the drive she worried the thumb nail of her left hand, anxious to see Oliver. This was the longest they’d been apart since her return and she knew the only reason she was mostly okay with it was because she was with Digg. But soon enough she’d have to cut the cord. For now though she’d be happy with her progress.

When Verdant appeared in her view she couldn’t help the fluttery feeling of anticipation that started in her stomach. She’d missed him, and that had nothing to do with what she’d been through. A warmth filled her as she remembered everything that had happened the night before, and then later that night, and then that morning. Her cheeks were hot with the memory and she was the one pushing open the car door, glad for the fresh air that hit her face when Digg stopped the car.

As they descended the stairs to the lair Felicity could hear the telltale sound of Oliver hitting one of the training dummies with his sticks. Once she reached the bottom she could see the blur of his arms and the way the muscles of his shoulders and back flexed and moved beneath the skin, shiny with sweat. She was glad he’d listened to her and got in a workout.

He finished his session and tossed the sticks to the side, wiping his face and chest with a nearby towel, turning to grab his shirt but she already held it out for him.

“Hey,” he said gently, taking the shirt and slipping it on before he took her by the elbow and drew her close, “How are you?”

He knew going to the cemetery would be difficult for her and she was grateful he asked.

“It was hard…” she admitted. Oliver sighed and stepped closer until she wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest, “But I’m glad I went.”

He didn’t say anything, just dropped a kiss to her hair as she straightened up and gave him a tight lipped smile. “Now, since I’m here I don’t think we should let it go to waste. Got any bad guys you want me to track?”

She saw him exchange a look with Digg over her head and then he gave her a nod. “There’s been some chatter over the police feeds the last couple of days,” his hand found the small of her back as they made their way to her desk and Digg pulled the chair out with a flourish,

“I’ve already compiled a list of the possible targets, but we need you to run all the cross searches,” Digg supplied as she made herself comfortable, fingers already flying as she scanned her screens.

“Okay, got it. Why don’t you two go do…what you do and let me work…” she trailed off, already distracted.

She never saw the swell of emotion in Oliver’s eyes or the way Digg clapped him on the back as they made their way to the mats.

The rest of the weekend they split their time between the lair and the mansion. She was still insistent they return to work on Monday, knowing if they waited any longer it might be impossible. She’d made it through Oliver’s first patrol the night before, barely breathing when he’d gotten into an altercation, but he’d returned in one piece and she’d only clung to him for a solid minute at the bottom of the stairs.

When they were at the mansion she’d made sure they caught up with as much QC work as possible. The last thing they needed their first day back was to get blindsided by Isabel. Moira agreed and brought them up to speed on what they’d missed.

By eight thirty Monday morning she and Oliver were already in the executive elevator on their way back to their offices. She was as prepared as she possibly could be, but still found herself fidgeting nervously with her dress and her glasses until Oliver reached over and wrapped his hand around hers, drawing it down between them and not letting go until the doors opened.

She hadn’t been back since the bombing and she was shocked to see everything looked the same. Slowly she walked past Oliver, pushing into her outer office and immediately looking over towards his, expecting to see a blown out window with glass and debris everywhere. But it was perfect. Undamaged.

“Wow, they work fast,” she breathed out as he came to her side,

“Only took a couple of days–” he tapped his fingers on her desk and looked down quickly before he continued, “I was only here once while…while you were gone,” he gave a disbelieving huff as he too glanced at his office like he was seeing it for the first time, “I didn’t even notice it had been repaired. Never even occurred to me,”

She let her hand coast down his arm in a comforting gesture and stepped around to turn on her computers, “Well, let’s see if everything actually is how it’s supposed to be. You’d think I’d have more faith in the I.T department considering I used to work there but…I really was the best.” she lifted her eyes quickly to look at him over the rim of her glasses, “It’s not bragging if it’s true,”

His lips lifted in a smile, “It’s most definitely true,” When he leaned over and brushed her lips with his she was too surprised to admonish him and by the time she’d snapped out of her reverie he was halfway to his own desk with a decided spring in his step.

A second later she’d pressed the intercom button, “We’re going to need to discuss the issue of PDA’s at the office…Mr. Queen,”

A lascivious grin cracked his face as he settled in his chair and took his time reaching forward to push the button on the phone base so he could answer her.

“I’m sure we can work out the details later,”

There was no doubt in her mind what he was implying.

With great effort she cut off the intercom and sat down, trying to get back into her normal routine, but it seemed like every time she looked up Oliver would be staring at her.

Luckily he had a phone call scheduled at nine and once he was busy she was able to focus. Although she still caught him looking at her on occasion.

An hour later she gave a satisfactory nod to her desk, her to-do pile already having shrunk significantly once she’d separated the wheat from the chaff. A quick look at their morning schedule was enough to give her a headache but they’d make it through.

With a final glance at her tablet she gathered the needed projections and slid them into a folder, rising to her feet with one more mental reminder that she’d been through a crucible of her own and she’d emerged a better version of herself and not even an eleven o’clock meeting with Isabel Rochev could change that.

As she made her way into Oliver’s office the elevator dinged and for a second she froze. But it was only Digg, and the fear was gone as quick as it came. She pushed the door open all the way, heels making a satisfying rhythm as she approached his desk, and when he looked up and gave her that smile that was for her alone she knew deep and true that they’d survived and that they would continue to survive.

With a smile of her own she perched herself on the edge of his desk as he leaned back in his chair and gave her his full attention. A quick adjustment of her glasses and a look over her shoulder let her know Digg had taken up his usual spot by the door and she couldn’t help the warm feeling of rightness that filled her.

“Now, Oliver, I know reviewing these reports is akin to dealing with Starling’s criminal elite, but it has to be done.” she said matter of factly as she pulled them out and dropped them in his lap, “Actually it’s probably not exactly the same. Because you can’t put arrows in the financials. Well, you could but it’s not going to have the same effect.” a small huff of laughter caught her attention and she looked up to see him looking at her with tenderness and amusement and love.

She tilted her head to the side and smiled again, shifting to her left just far enough that she could rest the toe of her shoe on the edge of his chair. As she began to go over the reports he dutifully picked up the papers and followed along.

The final knot in her gut eased. Things were back to normal. They could run the company by day and save the city by night, and despite his best efforts Nate hadn’t been able to ruin that.

However, as she talked she looked down to see Oliver’s hand wrapped lightly around her ankle, gently following the thin strap and fiddling with the buckle before letting his thumb draw small circles over her skin, sending tiny little fissures of electricity skirting up her calf.

So maybe not everything was back to normal. But she’d always adapted well to change.

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